Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve Day 2010 A Walk-in Clinic Waiting Room

Knowing it was a holiday weekend, I decided to go to the walk-in clinic today to check out my lingering cold/cough/exhaustion thing. I know there is a lot going around and I knew I'd have to wait a long time. I was too drained to drive, so my husband drove me, but ran errands while I waited.

There were five little children noisily playing in the waiting room. When the receptionist asked me my symptoms, she said you can add headache to it by the time you are out of here. The children all had to be under the age of 5 and at one point a mother did comment that they had been there over two hours.

The room was divided so that some people sat back to back. I chose a corner behind a book case away from the children. In my corner there was a poor young woman probably in her late teens early 20's. She had faced her chair to the wall, and tried to curl up in a ball to get as comfortable as possible. She buried her head in her arms coming out for an occasional cough or blowing of the nose. Poor girl was so miserable.

Diagonally across from me was this woman with long gray hair pulled back in a pony tail. She wore dark glasses and looked like a hippy.

One of the little boys broke our sanctuary by crawling under the chair. He came out with such a smile on his face that I couldn't help but smile back. The "hippy" said in a stern but not too loud voice, "Don't do that!". The boy was already halfway back around to do it again. The mother told him not to go under those chairs but just the ones she and the siblings were sitting in.

Unfortunately I made eye contact with the hippy. She told me all about the benefits of orange juice versus an actual orange, yet an apple has even more vitamin C, etc. etc. Then my phone rang. My husband was in the parking lot. I told him, "Don't come in here. There's too many germs." I was also saving him from this ear bending woman. He sat and read in the car.

The hippy heard and said, "No, don't let him in."

You know when I'm sick, I was thinking, I don't want to talk to anyone let alone strangers. Then she started in on the poor girl in the self made ball. "Do you have a vaporizer?"

"Huh? Me? I have a hot bowl of steam."

"You need a vaporizer or two and some lavender."

I realized this woman had a job potential. In large post offices there are these postal employees who will talk to the people in line and see if they need any forms to fill out while they are waiting or answer their questions and basically have them all set for when they get to the window clerk. This woman could do that. She could have them all prepped and ready for the doctor. She could even give her diagnosis. She clearly knew yesterday that she had a sinus infection but her doctor said no. Now, here she was at the clinic to prove her wrong.

The poor girl went back to her ball. I tried to look interested in the home magazines. I did not feel like reading, but less so talking. I tried not to think about the millions of germs that had touched the magazines. They should come laminated and be wiped down each time. I avoided eye contact.

In came a father, mother and older daughter. The hippy woman told them it would be awhile and that the healthy ones should get out of that germy place. They decided to take her advice, leaving the father sitting across from the hippy. She began to tell him about the benefits of oranges, apples and vaporizers. She said something about learning about healing powers and being able to send them across the world. The man engaged in her conversation and encouraged her healing powers. I wondered how she had not used these healing powers on herself, but it sounded like something new she was learning.

Mrs. Hippy went on to tell this man that even her daughter's dog was sick. She didn't stop there. It was the dog's own fault. He went into the garbage and ate some sanitary napkins. I was pretending to read a magazine and didn't dare look up at his expression. She went on and on.

At a couple of points the young girl ball and I exchanged eye contact, rolled our eyes and smiled.

When the man had to get up and fill out some paperwork, he did not return to his same seat, but decided to contend with the children, now down to only three.

For some reason (eyes in back of her head?), Mrs. Hippy had stood up at just the right moment and turned around and saw one boy kick the other little boy in the stomach. Now, I didn't hear any crying, but I did hear (as everyone else did), Mrs. Hippy, "HEY! You don't do that!" She woke us all up from our partial comas. "You don't kick people in the stomach!" The mother was young. She told her son that that was wrong and to apologize to his brother.

At this point Mrs. Hippy found it necessary to move to that side of the room--next to the man who had escaped. Although she had her sunglasses on she stared at the boy and kept staring. She had a frown on her face. I could not see the child. After a while, she felt it necessary to continue. "Do you know that if a grown up did that, that they would go to jail?" To which the other little boy said, "Yeah, for a long, long time."

A few minutes later she said, "I did not hear you say you were sorry to him." Again the poor young mother, did not say to the woman, "Mind your own business you old hippy." She told her son to apologize to the other.

Then Mrs. Hippy asked the other child's name. The mother replied. Mrs. Hippy called him by name and said, "Stop kicking your mother's pocketbook." Maybe this woman was actually a waiting room monitor, to keep everyone in line. The children were soon gone and finally the Hippy was called away. I don't want to know how she reprimanded the doctor if she did not agree with her diagnosis.

I turned to the young girl, "Well, that was entertaining."

She managed a smile and said, "It did help pass the time." I suppose it did. Maybe she was not a prep person, or waiting room monitor, but maybe she was entertainment.

I only have a virus. I don't want to be wishing for something serious but they can give you better medicine if you got something else. I did get cough medicine and she did tell me the type of medicine that I needed so this didn't turn into a sinus/ear infection. She said if not better in three days to come back.

I think the real reason why I was there today was just to experience this unusual woman who gave us a smile and for me, one last thing to write about in 2010.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry ChrisTmas! December 25, 20010

Blessings & Milestones have filled our year.
Blessings which started before we were here.
A star leading to a heart filled with love
In the blessing of a Savior sent from God above.

May God bless you richly in the new year.

Merry ChrisTmas!

(Crossing T's high to remember the cross as well as the birth.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wish Me a Merry Christmas

I saw someone wearing this button this year. I want to get one for next year. I think it's terrific. Maybe we'll all need buttons to keep it straight as to who is offended and who is not. I wouldn't be allowed to wear it at work, but I don't see that as offensive, just informative. I hate holding back from saying Merry Christmas. I do find most people say it first. Years ago we would have never given it a second thought.

Looks like I'll have to buy a pack of ten buttons minimum, so I'll be looking for other people who will want one.

This music video goes with the movement and it is great too. Enjoy.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bethlehem Cachet

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One would think that having a day off, that I would stay clear of post offices, however, that's where I headed to on this day. I always knew that the Bethlehem, CT Post Office had a special cachet that you could have put on your letters mailed from there. This year when I read about the town festival this weekend, we decided to make the trip.

When we got to the post office, it wasn't as crowded as I thought it would be. They had several tables set up for you to stamp your envelopes. There was a wall display of over seventy stamp designs to chose from. Each, I believe, was designed by local artists over the years. We quickly decided which one we wanted and easily located the corresponding rubber stamp and started stamping away. It was an efficient set up and fun to "decorate" our envelopes and to mail them from Bethlehem. I wish I had all my cards done. It gave me a boost to get most of them out early. I didn't think like George said, to bring a few blank envelopes--next year. I do believe that I will do this again. I enjoyed the special touch.

Although you missed the town festival, you can still go to the Bethlehem Post Office and pick your own cachet to put on your envelopes. There is no charge to do this. I feel a possible new tradition coming!

Bethlehem, CT

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On Saturday we went to the Bethlehem town festival for the first time. What a unique, quaint festival. Of course, the green has a creche and an American flag. The festival takes up the main street in Bethlehem. Each of the old buildings (library, American Legion, two churches and town hall) housed crafts, food and activities. There are also vendors outside the buildings--fair food in December, imagine that!
They also had corn chowder and chicken soup. I got to bring some kettle corn home.

It is an easy walk from building to building. Your senses are bombarded with the delicious smells of the various foods. Besides many craft booths, there was a used book sale (of course I found a book). Santa was there and crafts for the kids. There were horse drawn hayrides.

We were treated to a wonderful bell choir concert at the First Church.

Outside at one point there were speakers broadcasting Christmas music, but unfortunately it didn't play long.

It was a great day to snow or rain, but it was windy and chilly. Depending on the weather, I'd like to return next year. George kept remarking how out in the sticks it was. I thought it was quaint and a little different from the multitude of craft fairs at this time of year. I'm really glad we went and hope it won't be the only time.

Bethlehem Christmas Festival

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Other pictures of Bethlehem. George wanted me to take a picture of the apple tree which lost all its leaves but the apples still clung on.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cold Hollow Cider Mill

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Our last stop this day was the Cold Hollow Cider Mill. This is a store loaded with all kinds of apple products and other specialities. They have cider donuts to tempt you available at every register. There is a free tour of the cider making process. Once again we encountered a bus group of senior citizens. Despite that, we were able to see after a while--patience is key. At least they didn't pull the blinds like some other place we went. The bus did have us blocked in when we tried to leave and we had to ask them to move, but that was happily our last encounter on vacation with a bus group.

Ben + Jerry's Ice Cream/Green Mountain Coffe

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The next day we headed out for the Green Mountain Coffee Visitor's Center which is at a railroad station. We were hoping that it was a place that you could tour. They have a short video and picture displays explaining their company. There is a store--no bargains to be had, though. They are a company that certainly gives back to the community.

From there we headed to Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory. Again, we were unfortunate enough to find there were several bus groups there at the same time. The management decided to combine two groups together. When we went into the room to watch the video, there weren't enough seats and some people had to stand behind and on the sides. We overheard someone say that in season people have had to wait 3 hours for a tour--listen to me, IT'S NOT WORTH IT!. After the video, you go to the observation area of the factory. This was the only tour on our vacation that wouldn't let us take pictures--like we could see any secret formula or something. Also, because the group was so large (and if you haven't heard, I have shrunk 2 inches!), we couldn't see too well. I decided to stay at the end of the group and get a better look--No! They have these blinds that automatically come down to move you along. I barely got to see anything.

At the end of the tour you are treated to a sample. Along the way, you are teased to try something new. Well, they only had one kind to sample and it had chocolate which George doesn't eat.

To top it all off the gift shop prices are insulting. I wish I could take a piece of paper, paint it black and white to somehow represent a cow and sell it for $5! Yes, they give to the community too, but I don't know if I appreciate their political stands. My ice cream tastes are more conservative.

There was one fun thing, though. If you walk way to the back of the yard, there is a ice cream flavor cemetary of flavors they tried but had to retire. There are headstones with clever sayings. That was the best part of the Ben & Jerry tour and it was free. Skip paying for the "can't see a thing" factory tour and "standing room only" video. If Ben & Jerry really cared about people....

Omin Globe, Fairbanks Museum

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Looking at my pictures I realize I have to backtrack. I told you about the bug art, but I did not tell you about the Omni Globe at the Fairbanks Museum. We were fortunate, since it was late in the day to be the only ones to "play" with this fantastic "toy"--a very expensive, informative globe. By the push of a button, you can get this globe to highlight the people population of the world, the tree population, the path of hurricanes and so much more. We pushed the button many times and could have stayed there a lot longer.

If you are not interested in bug art or a planetarium or the other displays, this is definitely worth the visit.

Cabot Creamery, Cabot, VT

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From granite to cheese. Next stop was the Cabot Creamery in Cabot, Vermont. This tour which only charges a modest $2. starts with a video about the history of the Cabot Creamery. Afterwards there is a nice tour of the factory. At the end they are very generous in all the different types of cheeses and other products that you can sample. The sizes are small, but that is good because there are so many to try! (And we did!). Of course, we bought some too. This tour rates 5 yums!

Rock of Ages Quarry Factory Tour

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After the bus tour, we took the factory tour. When I planned our vacation, I did not know (but George informed me when we got there) that our memorial stone which we already have in place, was purchased from this Rock of Ages Quarry. Our stone is pink. They ship in pink granite from South Carolina or Canada, then it is cut and etched here.

At the end of the tours, there is a place where you can pick up your own souvenir piece of granite, which being a rock lover, I most certainly did.

Rock of Ages Quarry, Graniteville, VT

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Our second day of vacation started with a tour of the Rock of Ages Quarry. We were shuttled by bus to the top of the quarry to look down the 600 feet into what they claim to be the world's largest quarry hole. We had an informative tour guide who explained the process. It is impressive to see the cut blocks and the depth of the quarry.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

John Hampson's Bug Art

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This was quite an unique display. The Fairbanks Museum hosts the complete collection of the nine Bug Art creations by John Hampson. Born in England in 1836, he came to America at the age of 26. He was a mechanical genius, inventor and entomologist. He worked in 13 different states and at one time worked with Thomas Edison. It is said he left that job when he learned that he had to milk a cow.

He ended up in Newark, NJ in the 1870's. He had a passion for collecting insects and saw the aesthetic potential of the many colors and shapes which led him to start creating bug art. Each one of these pictures is made up of 6,000-13,000 common insects, mostly butterflies and beetles, and took him years to complete each one painstakingly with pins and glue. He was a machinist by day and created these artworks in his spare time.

When you first look at these pictures, you don't think much of it, but when you look closely and realize those shiny things are beetles, the first reaction is "eeewww"!
Then you look again and you realize the years of work that had to go into each image. It is amazing. I feel sorry for the butterflies. Yes, I'm the type who wouldn't harm a fly and wish I could say, "no insects were harmed in the making of this artwork."

John Hampson collected and exchanged bugs with people from foreign countries amassing such a great collection that it is now at the Smithsonian. After his death, his daughter searched for a museum to take his artwork and found that the Fairbanks Museum would take it. It is said that people have travelled from all around to see this display--it's one of those things that makes one say, "And now I've seen everything."

An interesting antidote is that when he was 73 years old in December 1906, he fell from a trolley and tried to sue the North Jersey Street Railroad for $10,000 because he could no longer pursue his favorite hobby of butterfly and insect collecting. He claimed before the accident that he could travel 40-50 miles a day. And we thought outrageous lawsuits were new to our century!

Fairbanks Museum, St. Johnsbury, Vermont

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I will have to admit that I read there was a museum in St. Johnsbury and I wasn't sure that I was going to include it on our trip. It turned out we could squeeze it in as our last stop on our first day. We're glad we did.

The Fairbanks Museum has a planetarium which we did not go to, however, there was plenty for us to see and to amaze us. There were animal and bird displays. It was fascinating to see the many types of birds. There was a foreign section with all kinds of hand made items from different countries. This small museum packed a big punch of a large variety of things on 3 floors. It doesn't look that big from the outside. The downstairs has a weather gallery. Anyone interested in weather can find plenty of resources here.

More in the next blog, so I can post pictures...