Saturday, November 26, 2011

The wrong way to stimulate the economy

It appears the state of things has forced the public into their own way to stimulate the economy. We are approaching the season of giving and/or greed. I heard that unfortunately, while people were out shopping for the black Friday sales, houses were being robbed.

Most likely the thieves will re-sell these items benefiting themselves and the people they sell them to for a bargain. Those being robbed, if insured and over the deductible, will report it to their insurance company and then go out and buy replacements, thus helping the economy.

I hope no one will take this seriously. It is a personal violation to have your home invaded. The more insurance claims, the higher rates will go. This is not even taking into consideration it is ethically, morally and legally wrong. Just somehow I feel our world is heading more and more in that direction.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

Yesterday on Thanksgiving eve at work, many customers wished me a Happy Thanksgiving. Sometimes they said it first, other times out of obligation, I said it first. Due to the busy-ness of the day and other events, I wasn't really in the mood to offer happy wishes.

As Murphy's Law would have it, I wished someone a happy Thanksgiving and as soon as the words were out of my mouth, she could tell that I was floundering for what else to say under the conditions. She graciously rescued me and said, "Yes, it's going to be a tough couple of months but I'm trying to get through. I'm working tomorrow." She had tragically lost her teenage son a few months ago.

The last customer of the day had lost the love of his life last year. They had a love so strong and visible. I saw it every time they came in together. She was much younger, and he never expected her to go first. He still honors her memory every day.  He is coping but he misses her dearly.

This puts it all in prospective. As most of us are running around cleaning, cooking and preparing to sit at our annual feast, the holiday just makes the lonely more lonely, the ungrateful more ungrateful and the hurt, hurt more. My mother knows pain around the holidays. She has always tried to emphasize, knowing that pain will come at times, 'It's just another day of the year.'

We can still celebrate but in reality, we should be celebrating and thankful every day. We never know what holiday will be our last or even what day. Let your words that are spoken leave you with no regrets. Let your actions echo what words can't say. Greatest of all, be thankful to God every day for the blessings. Treasure friends and family and your own precious life.

May not only your Thanksgiving be blessed but tomorrow and the next day and the next.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Honoring Veterans














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Some pictures from the Veteran's Day Parade in Hartford, CT last Sunday.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Postal Stamp Change

I just learned that the Post Office has decided to change it rules in regards to who is on a stamp. Previously the rule was someone had to be dead ten years before they could be on a US stamp except for a president who would be honored the year after his death. In recent years it was reduced to someone being dead for five years. Also, a few years ago they allowed a couple of websites to let you put your own pictures or photos on postal stamps for an additional fee. You could put anyone or anything on these. I have seen some of these come through the mail and they are fun to see. I am fine with all this. Well, next year a new law goes into effect. They are dropping the dead requirement on the stamps issued by the postal service. I am sad about this decision. Have they run out of dead people to honor? Surely there are some worthy ones they missed. I am concerned about this becoming a political issue. I don't know how they will determine who is worthy of this honor. If they choose sports figures or actors/actresses, or heaven forbid, politicians, how are they ever going to determine who deserves to be on a stamp? Working with the living is surely going to disappoint some people who think they should be on a stamp or fans of the people who want their favorite idol. There are only so many stamps issued each year. I am going to be very curious to see who will be the first living person to be on a stamp. The other problem with putting a living person on a stamp, is people are human. How many times have celebrities turned out to be not what they seemed to be? I'm not naming names, but I can think of three off the top of my head who were top in their field but have later been discovered to have major skeletons in their closet. If the person were dead, we would not have to worry about skeletons turning up later. I wonder what brought this all about. Maybe I just don't like change. Maybe I just like tradition. It doesn't get my stamp of approval, but my opinion doesn't matter and unless I pay extra, I will never be on a stamp, so I guess I shouldn't care. I do enjoy the variety of stamps that are issued each year. I have my favorites that I like to use on my mail...not just the generic ones. I like the variety and I guess now this will expand the variety. Who knows, maybe one of my favorite living persons will be on a stamp now. It will be interesting. I need to say that the thoughts expressed here are my own and in no way are representative of the Postal Service. These are my personal opinions.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Last Sunday...the one blessiing



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This is the road I live on and how it looked last Sunday. The blessing is that it was not a work day for me. My boss would not take this as an excuse.

October 2011 Snow Storm Alfred





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One Week Ago

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One week ago. Thankfully, it seems longer ago than that. No power from Sunday afternoon through Thursday afternoon. I am done playing Pioneers. I am done sitting in the dark listening to one channel on the radio. I am done playing Abe Lincoln trying to read by fireplace light or thanks to Edison (and Conrad Hubert), by flashlight. I am done sleeping in the living room with layers of clothes and blankets to try and keep warm. Done cooking on a Sterno stove. Done flushing toilets sparingly by pouring water in the bowl. Done sponge bathing and trying to wash my hair. At work, done sorting the mail in the cold and trying to read the addresses by the light of day from the windows or by flashlight. Done calculating prices manually and putting stamps on all pieces instead of meter strips. Done using my cell phone to stay in contact with management. Done shoveling the walkway and now I have to order a new shovel because it broke! On Tuesday it was our 36th wedding anniversary. The fireplace and candlelit dinners had lost all romanticism. I not sure I will ever feel that way about them again. At times during this ordeal, I thought I would actually welcome a call from a telemarketer. That would mean that my phone was working and that I had contact again with civilization. I missed seeing how other people were faring via Facebook and emails, though, it was comforting, in a selfish way, to know that most everyone I knew was in the same boat. On Wednesday evening, we came home from a nice meal lovingly prepared at the Parish Hall in East Hartland for the public left in the dark and cold. As we drove home, in separate cars, I cannot tell the joy we felt as we saw house after house lit up. We were elated that our power must be on. We saw outside garage lights, bright lights in living rooms and even TV's on. Oh, joy! Then five houses before our house were all dark except for the one we knew had a generator. As we pulled in our driveway to our dark, cold house, we realized all those people had generators or powerful alternative sources of light. I could have almost cried as we prepared for another cold night with an inefficient fireplace and dealing with the smokey smell, which still seems to be lingering. I had Thursday and Friday off as we were thinking of getting away for a mini vacation--not! First, where would we find a motel available within 200 miles? Secondly, I could never have a good time knowing that I would come back to dishes needing to be washed, clothes to be laundered, much dusting and wiping to get the smokey smell off of everything. Also, the sad task of cleaning out the two refrigerators and their freezers and sadly disposing of food. That was a heartbreak for the waste. Our insurance company was very nice when we filed a claim. It was done over the phone with no proof necessary and no deductible applied. That helps a little. Then we had to shop for the basics from milk to margarine, eggs and meat. There was no way I could go away and relax with all that to be done. On top of all that, the darkness at night and the cold, made me useless in the evening. I didn't take care of bills to be paid or other things that I could have done by candlelight. The lack of energy in the house equaled the lack of energy in my body. We were just drained. Early Thursday afternoon we were standing in the kitchen and we both looked at each other as we thought we heard a distant ringing. George has tinnitus, so he wasn't sure and asked if I heard something that sounded like a phone. We heard it again and I said, "Phone!" and ran to the bedroom. The kitchen had a cordless which won't work without electricity, but we have a non-cordless in the bedroom. I ran and got there in time to talk via this wonderful invention. It was a salesman, of course. It was actually a solicited one from a home show. I explained our situation and said that we could not even think about anything else at this time. After the phone came back, we got the electricity back in a few more hours. I danced the jig that I promised George that I would dance when it happened. Since then, I've been playing catch up and cleaning. We are also checking into alternative heating sources. Generators scare me and sound kind of like a hassle. We were thinking of a pellet stove, but silly us, we did not know that you need electricity to use them. I used kerosene one year and I swear it made me groggy. Both George and I had the best night of sleep that we could remember that night back in our own comfortable, cozy, warm bed. We woke so refreshed and rested...finally. Well, a week later and about eighteen inches of snow have melted. There are even spots of bare ground where you can see the leaves that didn't get raked. Many trees are still holding on to their rusty and gold colored leaves. We were fortunate for no damage to our trees or property. Unlike the power company or state, whoever is at fault, this summer, George took down a ton of branches and trees that were weak or in danger of causing us damage. So, all is almost back to normal. I just wish everyone in that state had their power back. With all the crews that were supposedly working all this time, that makes more to focus on the remaining customers and therefore, should have them back by the promised deadline of tonight. Note: I did write this with paragraph breaks. I have no clue why they didn't take. My apologies to the reader.