Friday, August 30, 2013

The week went pretty fast what with working slightly longer days early in the week to facilitate taking off Thursday without using vacation time.  Since my sister was in it was a good excuse.  The weather has been pretty agreeable too, so it was nice to get to enjoy some of it.  Mom's living room looks great in the newly painted colors, the border in the kitchen is nice... and we finally got her bathroom sink faucets changed out too, which is perfect for there.  It was good to have the help, I'm glad I saved that job for when sis was in.

Convinced mom to go out for dinner, so we had Red Lobster and buzzed into Ross before I hauled back up the mountain to head back into work today.  I went in early and worked through lunch so I could head to my massage appointment.  It almost felt like two weekends in one week.. good thing too, since this weekend is pretty jam packed.

I may or may not have a house guest for the third weekend in a row.  How shocking is that?  I'm doing a wee bit of tidying and washing sheets tonight in case it happens.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Buckle in, this is going to be a long one... and it's all really good stuff!  I'll start by saying this weekend was so full and awesome, with the exception of the typical cleaning I needed to do Friday into Saturday.

Saturday evening I picked up my sister at the Jingletown airport and we headed for a bite to eat before settling in for the night.  The girls were so excited: Last weekend Grammy, this weekend Aunt Jackie!  We decided to try and surprise mom, so she wasn't aware that she was coming, but I had plans to head to Altoona on Sunday, so after church we headed down the mountain.  I sent Jackie around front, told to wait a few minutes and ring the doorbell, and I headed to the back.  When the bell rang mom's response was 'oh shit, who's selling what.'  When she peered out the door and figured out who it was she was QUITE surprised!

As is typical on a Sunday at mom's there was a big meal.  We didn't worry about there not being enough food, heaven knows the woman cooks for an army when I come.  While mom napped Jackie and I washed down the walls in the living room, preparing it for repainting.

Mom had contacted my dad's last living sister for me last week, and set up a time for me to go visit for a while.  She seemed as happy to see me as I was to be there, see her and my uncle, and get all of the information she had to share.  After several hours of hearing some great tidbits, learning some medical information that is good to know, confirming some things I had found, learning more I hadn't pieced together, I left with a bundle of her photos to scan (and return - I refused to take any to keep).  Needless to say I was up way too late last night getting these scanned in and the originals into my fire safe until I can return them.

I hadn't expected the treasure trove she would share with me by any stretch.  I now have several more photos of my grandparents, aunts/uncles, and father, but bigger still... I have photos of both of my great grandmothers!  Since then I was also able to find the sailing information for my Great Uncle coming into Ellis Island a few years after my grandmother (I had found hat I knew had to be her information last week).

I have more questions to ask now that some things have settled in my mind, I guess I should start documenting them clearly, so I don't get so off track and just wanting whatever comes to her mind.  I'm hoping to spend more time with my Aunt to get these answers and more information soon.

All of this carried over in my mood today, making my Monday very tolerable.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I forgot to mention that last night I also pulled the first tomato from the "early girl" plants.  I suspect half of it will need cut away to eat it as it's a bit deformed and brown in that area.  Fingers crossed I start to get a bounty soon.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Major score tonight - I found the ship's manifest for my grandmother!  The trick was using her middle name as given (Grazia) and realizing she came over while still under her maiden name.  So there are two further interesting twists here.

She arrived February 13, 1917...
First:  The Immigration Act of 1917 passed on February 5, and some of the extra questions they then were to ask are on the paperwork for my grandmother.  This tells me at least that she could read and write her own name, or they'd likely have sent her back.
Second:  She also arrived unmarried and she had my dad December 18, 1917.  I'm guessing I'll eventually find information that shows she was coming here to get hitched (she did state she was heading straight to Altoona).

Reading what I am right now, a book about the cruise ship industry (which of course launches into the history of immigration ships), it has really driven home what they went through.  Sure, everyone recognizes that third class passengers didn't have it that great, but 5-7 days by yourself with limited English, arriving to the confusion of Ellis Island with their tests and questions? 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Why is it we can't remember someone's voice the way we can remember a face?  If it's a song/singer, sure we can come close... but I mean people that have left your life/passed away. Worse still why do those people sound so foreign and wrong to you if/when there is opportunity to hear the voice again?

Yes, yes, I'm being pensive again.  It's been a very slow start to the week, the clock is ticking by way too slowly during the day and my dreams are vivid and strange by night.  Which came first the pensive or the crazy dreams?  This one featured me being on an airline flight that basically banked upward and did a loop.  During the loop I realized the plane was going to crash and we were all doomed.  Surprisingly I started to pray in the dream.  I can honestly say I don't remember ever dreaming of prayer.

On Sunday I ran out and picked up two movies that I wanted to report on:
1).  Despicable Me, which I did enjoy.  I admit I enjoy Steve Carell's work.  It was interesting how some of the faces that Gru made I could see as Carell's facial expressions. Of course, now that I've seen this, I can try to catch Despicable Me 2 at Westwood.

2).  Sinister, which was also a pleasant enough surprise.  I needed a small dose of horror to counterbalance the comedy.  It was, however, pretty obvious what the deal was right off the bat in the movie, at least with respect to who did it if not the behind the scenes.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

I forced myself out of the house after mom left, which means I did some shopping.  I've been itching for two different shirts, one with a cross type print, and one with an anchor or nautical theme.  I found the cross one while out, a really cute feminine red frilly top, and a navy wrap that seems to match the navy and coral dress I bought a while back spot on!

Since our local store will be closed for just over a month for remodeling starting on the 19th I also headed to Aldi.  The pickings were pretty slim, I suspect they won't make it to 7pm tomorrow, but I still managed to stock up on some nice inexpensive fruit, chicken, eggs, butter, and even some frozen chicken parm patties (let's see if they're half as good as the parm crusted frozen chicken tenders I bought from there a while back).
Last weekend while at my mom's I asked if she was going to make a trip up to my place to see my new dining room floor once the weather held cooler.  I had end of September or October in my mind... so when she called on Wednesday wanting to come up the next day I was floored.  I asked her to hold off a day to give myself a chance to clean and get it a little closer to mother-presentable and so I could convince her to stay the night into the weekend.

Surprise, suprirse, I spent most of Thursday night cleaning.  After work on Friday I came home and got dinner started before mom arrived.  So far we've eaten, slept, eaten, and she's sleeping again.  The girls were very excited to see Grammy, so much so that Saffy did catch her requiring a band aid.  I still maintain that my desire to hang tight and keep Saffy at bay was necessary, but given where I get my stubbornness from, someone kept telling me she was fine and could handle if Saffy was being spunky.  So I had stepped away to finish cooking last night's dinner when it happened.  Since then Saf has been chilled out, fortunately, the last thing I want is for anyone to inadvertently hurt mom.

The girls each got their own egg this morning (again- surprise, surprise) and are also sleeping out in the sun on the deck.  I'm also happy to report that mom said she can't smell dog, which means that the combination of removing the dining room carpet and employing the ozone generator to negate the caught odors has worked!  Not sure what her plans are for the rest of the day.  That said I may or may not get down there to scrub down living room walls as I had originally planned to do before she called with her intentions to visit.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Happy birthday to my Miss Danika Nicole.  We've spent just over 6 years together of her 8 years in this world, and I can't believe it's been that long - time flies.  She remains my most mellow and laid back fuzzy child.  Her thyroid medication continues to keep her moving well enough.  At some point I'm going to stop citing what we did for an individual dog birthday, as it is our tradition to go to PetSmart and then to get some ice cream.  Dani also got a new dog bed for the living room last weekend.  The previous one was a bit small for her, but she always crammed into it, demonstrating her love for the bolster style bed.

On a bright note, it looks like the first of my "Early Girl" tomatoes are starting to ripen.  I really think they need to all hurry... for those not in the area I'll just state that it is presently 59 degrees and we didn't hit 70 today.  Autumn is truly already here.  I can hope for a nice burst of warm to help more turn quickly, but I suspect I'll be loosing a lot of the small tomatoes or those that are still but blossoms.  Amusingly, several of the plants are taller than I am.  Is there a way to get a tomato plant to stop growing upward and to get on the fruit making earlier?  I suppose I'll have to do a little reading.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I headed to mom's yesterday and did a little more weeding and trimming (2 more bags full).  Then I tried to get myself in trouble by ripping down the wallpaper border in the living room and leading up the stairs.  I'll need to head back to removed the backing that didn't peel off easily and wash down the walls so they're ready for when we can get it repainted.

I didn't get much done around here, just some general upkeep (cleaning in the bathroom and vacuuming), but that's okay.  I really don't want to kick up any more dust since my hives are still popping out.  Today I have two on the palm of my hand.  Want to talk about uncomfortable?

Friday, August 09, 2013

This week has flown, mostly because I had a whirlwind bit of travel here in the past few days.  I worked part of the day Tuesday before heading out to spend time with the girls before taking them to camp.  Then I hit the road to Pburgh where I caught up w/ Eggs for dinner (got my BBQ fix on) and to a hotel for the night before flying out in the morning.  PIT to Phoenix and then on to Oakland.  That in and of itself is a full days worth, but I was then picked up by folks who went a day or two earlier and we headed to afternoon meetings at Berkeley (admittedly that was kind of cool).

Got to spend the night at their guest house.  Wow the views!  They're basically built climbing up the side of the hill, which will let me tell you, allow even your most comfortable heels to create a blister pretty quick.  Next day a few more discussions on campus and then a meeting off campus towards San Francisco.  Since we were over there and had a few hours before our red-eye back we went across the Golden Gate Bridge, drove down the windy street, and spent a short period of time at Pier 39.  If RC were sailing out from around there, it would be a nice place to spend a day or to.  I'd love to go tour Alcatraz.

I got back into PA this morning, and after our drive back was home by 1.  Snagged the girls at 5 and I'm ready to drop into a coma tonight.

I also have to say that I make fun of California for the hippies, and it's a little painfully true.  Examples:
- Burgers everywhere.... turkey, veggie, some other type... none you and I are thinking of.
- Everything is marked as organic, hand fed, humanely raised, blah blah.  Heck, the tuna sammie listing even said it was 'dolphin free'.  I get what they're trying to say there, but it made me chuckle.
- We weren't sure how to dispose of our trays after lunch... the garbage was split into too many options.  Fortunately, when we got up and went to the garbage area everything was marked as to what went where.

I will also say that I wish I had a desire to be in CA.  There were a lot of young and good looking (also incredibly intelligent) guys there, including the one with a delightful french accent.

So the hives are still here... my face and neck has cleared, but I have spots still on my hands, arms, and legs, the legs are quite itchy I might add, my legs are scratched a bit raw.  I decided to look back to when I had a burst of hives before, at that point I had attributed it to a new birth control pill that had iron in them.  Today I look back and see that happened at the end of August last year.  With us heading into cooler weather seemingly early this year, could it be something local?  They didn't taper off while I was away, so does that mean it has nothing to do with something local? Fortunately, I can ask the allergist more questions at my appointment at the end of the month.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

I didn't get a ton accomplished today but it felt like quite the long day.  I had to be up right at 7 so Vixen's medicine was on time for her 11:15am blood draw.  Which, by the way, she put Satin's screams of torture to shame all because she didn't want to be restrained for the draw.  Nothing breaks my heart more than hearing one of them crying.

Prior to heading to the appointment the bug guy came.  Too much money later there is powder squirted at the entrances where we saw bees.  He believed it had to be two different hives.  Doesn't make a ton of sense since what I read said that yellow jackets wouldn't build anywhere near another hive of the same?

A few short hours later I headed to church to put in my hour volunteering as a greeter for the Block Party.  Not much greeting to do since it was the last hour of the event, so I helped tear down a little before I took off.

Back home for a while and desperate for human interaction I tried (unsuccessfully as normal) to lure someone (via facebook) into going to do something this evening.  With no prospects I decided to attempt to entertain myself.  I went and found a little grub at Perkins, ran through Aldi's to score a bit of fresh fruit at their hella good prices, and then did something I haven't done in years and years... I stopped to rent a movie.  I'll admit, I had a bit of apprehension.  I mean, what if I went in there and they didn't even have DVDs anymore.  I dunno, it's possible all would blu-ray now, right?  Fortunately Johnstown is a bit slow, so I was able to walk out with a disc.  I would have loved to snag Despicable Me (the first one), a comedy was what I really wanted, but their DVD copy was out.  Instead I snagged The Host.  Now, it's been a while since I finished reading this book, but I'm content with the movie.  Yeah, they dropped some pieces regarding the medicine and procedures that left me appreciating the book more, but it was a reasonably good way to pass my evening.

Friday, August 02, 2013

The latest saga in home ownership... BEES!  Ok, they're not really bees, wasps really, yellow jackets, the most cuddly of all bees-type critters, right?  I've been spraying trying to deal with it for a couple of days since I first noticed them making their entry around the bedroom window behind the siding.  At best the spray makes them hover around looking pretty pissed off for less than 24 hours, then they are back to business as normal.  Now I'm seeing a couple coming and going around the front door on the same side where the window is.  Greeeeeat.

I gave in and made a few calls after reading more about the beloved little creatures.  I'm set for someone to come tomorrow morning.  $225.  Eeesh.  Not cool.  To think I laughed a little to myself this morning (it's pay day) to see all but $300 of what appeared in my account during the night get escorted out to the mortgage and other obligations (including some savings mind you).  Now who's laughing?  I'm up $75 for my 2 weeks worth of work.  Look at me go.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

During my hunt for a rug for under the dining room table that I liked all I found that appealed were $600-1000, which is simply too expensive for my taste.  Imagine my surprise when I found one rug I had completely fallen for listed on Amazon for an incredibly lower price than anywhere else ($129 vs $699)!  Yes, it's technically suppose to be for a kid's room, but please... just because it's cute doesn't mean it's for kids.

I was showing a friend/coworker and mentioning I was considering purchasing this one when she noticed an error on the page.  The title read 8' x 10', but the description said it was 3' x 5'.  Saddened a bit I wrote the company that had it listed to point out the error and how disappointed I would have been had I ordered.  When I received the reply assuring me the rug was actually the larger size... I ordered, immediately.  Of course, I half expected the smaller rug to arrive or to get an email saying "I'm sorry, there has been an error".

Today, guess what came!  Yes, it really is the larger size.  I can't even believe it.  It's mine, all mine!  I quickly unrolled it under the table and pinned the corners to get them to stay down.  It's just lovely, and plush, and I couldn't be happier.  Yay for the dining room coming together!

On another note, I have quite the rash going on.  It's all over my right cheek, on both sides of my neck, and over one clavicle.  I also have little spots on my fingers popping back out (which a friend pointed out is probably eczema, which can be stress triggered), this time a whole cluster on my one thumb of itchy little sore bumps that if I didn't know better I'd think I had fleas.  Did I eat something new?  No.  Use a different soap or something?  No.  My allergy shot injection site isn't still puffed and sore, so it's not a reaction there.  Maybe it's stress.  Who knows.  Funny how different new oddities show up as you get older.