Monday, October 21, 2019

Random thoughts

Time for another random post of whatever jumps into my head. Well, not actually that because even I don't think I could make sense of all of the thoughts that bounce around in my head. I guess it would more appropriate to say that this is a post with no theme, no purpose, no main idea. One that would probably fail as an English assignment. But thankfully, those days are behind me. so let me ramble on.

I've had my first cold-weather cold. I could have picked it up anywhere, but I suspect it was the system-wide work meeting I went to last Monday with a couple of hundred other people. I was pretty miserable for a while, but I am on the tail end of it now. Perhaps the hardest part of the whole malady was not going to work for a couple of days. I could have functioned and done what I needed to do at work so it was hard to stay away. But I have finally learned that it is not being fair to my co-workers if I show up sick with something that I can spread to them. And maybe I would have been fooling myself to think that I could have functioned just fine, because I did more daytime sleeping than I ever remember doing while I was home those couple of days.

Last weekend, I acted on impulse and bought a bag of 50 tulip bulbs from Costco. My thinking went something like this. The picture is so pretty on the bag. And I love tulips in the spring. And we don't have any. And it won't take that long to plant them. And the price is good. So into the basket they went. However, there was one detail I forgot about when I was convincing myself that I just had to have them. I didn't have any beds with the right sunlight to plant them in. I was so proud of myself that I got down to business and prepared a new planting spot. But then there was a second problem that reared it's ugly head. The bulbs needed to be planted 6 inches deep and every inch I dug was filled with rocks, some big, some little, but all spade stopping size. I enlisted Ward's help and with a total of 4 man-hours, we planted 39 bulbs. I'm not sure where the other 11 will go, but by golly, the ones that are already planted better come up next spring and be beautiful just like the picture on the bag she says with a sneer instead a twinkle in her eye. It may take another couple of days before I get back to appreciating the time I spent in nature planting some of her wonders. :)

Recently on vacation, Ward and I visited Glade Creek Mill in Babcock State Park in West Virginia. The mill and its surroundings create a very photogenic scene and have been photographed many times. I was happy on this visit that I finally got to take my own picture of it. Lili of Creative Savv suggested that it would make a good jigsaw puzzle and I agreed. I thought it would make a perfect gift for Ward for Christmas since he loves to work puzzles. I have done this before with other pictures we have taken and found that if you get more than a 100 or so pieces, it can be very expensive.  Anyway, as I was researching "homemade" puzzles both on the internet and in our puzzle supply, guess what I found? A 1000 piece puzzle of the Glade Creek Mill. I don't remember having it, but in my defense, Ward is in charge of what is in our puzzle inventory. So I don't think I need to make another puzzle of that scene. I'll cross that one off my list of To Do's before Christmas. Now what am I going to replace that idea with? Think. Think. Think. Nope, I've got nothing.

Last night we had a few family and friends over to celebrate my sister's birthday. It was fairly low key with help from several directions. However, I think was the biggest help to me, was Theo. Because I have been staying away from the kitchen while I've been sick, I told him what we had planned so far and he took care of everything including the shopping and preparing. And for that I am thankful.

Being thankful seems like a good place to end, until next time...

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Thankful Sunday, October 20, 2019

I am thankful for little things.

Yesterday was a busy day. Besides yard work, errands, and laundry, we were getting ready for a birthday dinner we were having for my sister.  Throw in a bad cold and it was turning out to be a rather tedious day. 

In the afternoon while I was folding laundry, my son called me to the back deck where he showed me a praying mantis on the railing.  It seemed to be enjoying the sunny spot it found on the cool day. We saw praying mantes frequently at our old house, but this was the first one I had seen in our yard since we moved.

Finding that small wonder of nature made me happy.  Sometimes it's the little things that can bring a smile to my face and for that, I am thankful.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Thankful Sunday, October 13, 2019

I am thankful for fall flowers.

The weather has been unseasonably hot. The weather has been dry. The weather has been cool. And through it all, flowers are still blooming. And for this fall beauty, I am thankful.

Here are a few of the flowers I'm thankful for in my yard.

The ever-faithful begonias have continued their bright blooms from early summer through now. I have definitely found the right flower for along our front walk.

And speaking of begonias, I've shown you before the begonias from last year that seeded themselves behind the bushes in the front. Now they have little blooms on them. You have to look hard to find them and I call them my secret garden.

One even made it the backyard and sprung up in the corner of the sidewalks.

When we first moved in, I planted these two mums to fill up a space. They were small, but have come back every year, bigger and better than before.

And speaking of bigger and better than before, these mums have also grown every year since we've been here. They were already in the bed when we moved in but have expanded by almost two feet over the last couple of years.  I have thought about moving some of them, but they are so happy in this spot, I am hesitant to do that.

These mums also play host to a lot of insects like this bee...

...and this cucumber beetle. I'm not sure what I should do with this beetle. Let it be, or get rid of it so our cucumbers won't be attacked by it next summer. More research needed on this.

Near the yellow mums are yellow cosmos. I got seeds for them from a friend in August and decided to plant them even though it was late in the season. I'm glad I did because we are enjoying the bright blooms now.

The canna lilies are starting to fade, but are still giving a nice shoot of red. 

Monday, October 7, 2019


On our vacation, we toured the Weston State Hospital, formerly and now known as the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. It was an interesting but not a fun place to visit, but we did because Ward had talked about wanting to see it for years. I found out on this trip that his desire was mostly to see the architecture of the grand old building up close. He likes to see how things are made.
Image result for spencer state hospital
Hospital in my town, internet source

Visiting it was a very difficult decision for me. I grew up in a nearby town that also had a state hospital. I had a childhood of memories to go with it-some good, some bad. The hospital in my town sat on a big hill overlooking the town. It was a long, Gothic, red brick building with a foreboding appearance that we could see easily from our house. Most days we could hear continual yelling from some of the patients there. We could also hear the constant squeak from swings that patients swung on all day long. We had patients write to us, begging my mother to help them get out. I was afraid of the place when I was little.

When I got older, I went with groups to sing carols and take cookies. My sister went with youth groups to play pool with other youth who were there. Sometimes we would babysit for doctors who lived on the grounds. And sometimes, my friends would be admitted there to deal with drug problems. But everyday, we lived the rhythm of our lives by the whistle that would blow at the hospital--7 am, noon, and 5 pm.

It was an important employer for our town and our neighbors and friends' parents worked there. And some of the residents were important people in our town, too. Teddy was the paper boy whom everyone depended on to be the first out with the paper. Robert had the most beautiful speaking and singing voice I'd ever heard and frequently visited churches to preform. And Esty, who did different jobs for people, was the hardest worker and had the most colorful expressions I had been around. Sometimes she would come help my mother and we would work all day trying to keep up with her. Those are just a few of the people from the hospital who integrated into our town.

After I became an educated adult, I learned that during the 100 year history of the hospital, that sometimes things were bad. Very bad even with the best of intentions. I wasn't sure that I could enter a hospital that was so similar to the one I grew up with. I had very mixed feelings about it.

But I did enter the other grand, Gothic building for a tour. And as soon as I entered I was surprised as  tears started to flow.  But they didn't last. I was able to tour throughout the building--some of which had been restored and some that was in disrepair. One of the things I was worried about was that these tours were taking advantage of the people who used to live there and who were treated there. I felt better after the tour to know that they were very respectful of the former patients. I was also happy to know that people who had grown up with the hospital were leading the tours. They seem to have a knowledge and empathy that I don't think you could have gotten from someone outside of the area just stating facts.

I'm still not sure how I feel about my visit to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. I don't yet totally understand the strong reaction I had to just walking into the building, but I do know that it has occupied my thoughts.  I may share soon some of the actual history of the hospital. It is very interesting just as a history lesson.

Note: All the revenue from the tours is put back into the building to help with restoration.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Thankful Sunday, October 6, 2019

I am thank for

When I first started blogging, I used the free photo editor Picasa. It worked great.  Besides basic edits, it made collages and blurred things out. Then Google bought Picasa and retired it. After that, I have been on a long search for a replacement. I had PicMonkey for a while, even bought the advanced version, but it was awkward to use and, in my opinion, wasn't worth the cost. Then the other day I found a free version of It's the standard set up. The program offers you basics and you can pay for more advanced features if you want. I was thrilled because with the free version, I found a way to blur out personal things in a photo so I can post it.

So for the free photo editing app,, I am thankful.

I am also thankful for my cousins, some of which I saw at my recent family reunion. However because of fotor, you won't be able to see them very well. Just as I had planned. And for that, I am thankful.