28 years ago

my dad passed away.

He was 62 years old.

Dad grew up in Norristown, PA. He was the  oldest of four kids.

He went to Norristown High School.,

Joined the Navy, serving in WWII.

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Married my Mom on Dec 8th, 1945 and spent the rest of us life as a devoted and loving husband and father.

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He was dedicated to his family and to his job.

He worked for Bell of PA for over 40 years when he retired.

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He came home every night after work, unless there was a work function he was required to attend. He was not one to “hang out with the guys.”

He was great father, and grand father. Sadly he did not get to meet any of his great grandkids.
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He was a Mason, and a Lion, and elder in his church.

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He loved to be outside. I think he even liked mowing the grass. He mowed 3/4 of an acre on foot, no riding mower for him. For years he tended a garden.

He and my mother loved to travel together. He the driver, she the navigator, drink and snack retriever.

Camping was his favorite type of travel. He and my mother traveled many many miles in their camping years. He also loved the time spent on St Croix, USVI.

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He almost always wore a hat when outside. He took his “piloting” of his Suburban and travel trailer quite seriously!

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When he was relaxing at him, most likely he would be found in his Lazy Boy chair. It was his 50th birthday gift. My mom kept that chair MANY years after he passed.

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He taught me to be punctual and never to be late for work, he taught me to drive (that did not always go well) and that whenever you can you should back into a parking place so you can pull out. Sorry Dad, I don’t always follow that suggestion! 

I know I speak for my family. We all miss him very much. I wish we had been gifted many more years than we had with him here on earth.

 

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Looking back at 2013

Looking back at 2013, I have not been a very good blogger. Really this blog is more for me, than anyone else. I am not able to come up with enough interesting blog fodder to earn a big following. I contemplate from time to time shutting it down, but in the end, I like having a blog and for now I will keep it up and running!

Twenty Thirteen was not my favorite year.

In January I lost my best friend and faithful companion Princess. Eleven months later and I still miss her being close being close by my side when I am home. She was the best dog we could have ever hoped for! Miss you sweet girl!

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In February, for my birthday we added Jack to our family, In no way did he replace Princess, but he did fill a void. He is a silly, curious and sometimes naughty kitty!

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Tara turned 16 in March.  The first few months of 2013, were not the best for Tara.  Panic attacks and anxiety made it very difficult for her to attend school. There was little cooperation with the school trying to work through these issues. In the end, a little too late, Tara was able to finish up the school year on home bound instruction.

She also went from purple hair to being a blonde. I can honestly say I never minded the pink or purple hair, but the blond fits her well.  She really wasn’t meant to be a brunette! Darn my dominant brown hair genes!

A happier day!

A happier day!

April, May and June are quite a blur for me dealing with above mentioned issues! In mid June, Tara’s friend (boy friend at the time) was hit by a car while riding his long board home from our house to his dad’s. He was hurt quite badly. This was the first time for Tara having someone close to her seriously ill or hurt. She spent time with his family in NJ two different times over the summer. He is doing okay at this point in time, and they as a couple have had their ups and downs. That’s teenagers for you!

The closest I got to the NJ shore all summer was on the two occasions I picked Tara up from Justin’s house! I think the only other time I left the state was to take Tara and her friends to Warped Tour in Camden!

Mom turned 89 on July 4th.

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Most of 2013, centered around Tara as you can see!  I worked and did things with Tara!

We started the new school year off back in Commonwealth Connections Academy for Tara. This was the virtual school she attended for 7th grade when we returned to PA from FL. Virtual school is a much better fit for Tara. She still has trouble sleeping at night from time to time, so getting up to be at school by 7:15 was difficult. So far so good. She was also able to get a part time job as a hostess at a local pub.  A job would have been pretty much out of the question if she were having to deal with a full day in school. She works two evenings a week. She would like to be able to work more.

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November brought a promotion for me at work. I am still in the same store, but I am now a “Shift Lead” and a key holder. This means that during most of the shifts that I work I am the manager on duty. I am responsible for the safe, receiving, and customer issues. It all happened at the busiest time of the year, so I have been learning things on the fly. The one down side is I am back to working 2-3 evening shifts a week. I don’t mind so much, but Tara likes having me home in the evenings. At least with her doing virtual school we see each other during the day before I go to work!  I guess it’s a good thing that she likes having me around. Many teens don’t really want anything to do with their parents!

 

I am so GLAD Christmas is over. Retail just sucks the joy out of it for me. I closed the night before Thanksgiving and opened Thanksgiving Day, so by the time I got to my sister’s for Thanksgiving dinner I was so tired I did not want to sit down to eat. I was afraid I would not get back up!  We celebrated Christmas as a family on Christmas Eve afternoon as well, and it was much the same, very tired after a full and busy day at work! I was glad to have Christmas Day off this year.

We had a very quiet Christmas at home, with just Tara, Mom and myself. We got sad news in the morning that my Uncle Doug had passed away the evening before.

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This was not a year of big presents and that was just fine with me. Tara was to have a shopping trip with me after Christmas, but now I think we might start saving for a trip to Disney! It will be FIVE years in June since we left, and we are both itching to go back and revisit things we loved and experience all that has changed! (Watching the Disney Christmas Parade was what put the bug back in Tara I think!)

We continued an almost annual tradition went to the movies. Tara wanted to see The Hobbit” The Desolation of Smaug. I did not set the other Hobbit movie, nor have I ever read any of the J.R.R. Tolkien books.  We rented The Hobbit, but I was not able to stay awake on Christmas Eve to watch it. I might try and watch it before I return it today! We saw the movie at The Movie Tavern which is the best theater. They serve food and drinks to you right at your seat, and because of this, there is lots of leg and seat room. A very comfortable movie viewing experience!

I am ending 2013 with two days off. Time to catch my breath. While Christmas season is busy, so is January at work.. making it all disappear! We spent a very quiet night at home on NYE… just waiting for the clock to strike 12:00 so we could go to bed.

I wish every one a healthy and happy 2014.

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Hello Old Friends

You know you have been away from your blog for too long when you have to take a moment – a long moment – to remember how to log in!

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I would like to the move back to standard time for this opportunity to blog. Neither the cats nor I have adjusted to the change yet. It has only been one day really!

Getting accustomed to your new normal around the house with Tara attending cyber school this year has taken some time as well. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, not having to stress each morning as to getting her out of the house to school and having her stay in school. I no longer HAVE to be up at 5:30 to get myself prepared to get Tara up. Those stressful morning I do not miss. Morning time is mine again, and well, I have been using it to SLEEP, or at least stay in bed a little longer most days. Coffee is still morning requirement though (I am loving Bitstrip!)

bitstripMy work schedule has been a little crazy of late as well. It seems like for whatever the reason is each week, I wind up putting in a few extra hours on a day that was previously scheduled off. We have been REALLY short handed at work so I’ve pretty much been running the my side of the store by myself. We are going through another customer service transformation, going back to the way some things were done a year ago; adding new things in. Retail is a tough business these days, stores have to do everything they can to bring in new business and keep the current customer base happy and coming back, and of course, spending money!

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Tara has also started a part time job, something I don’t think she could have pulled off while going to school 7 hours a day. School took so much out of her. She still has sleep issues which I hope eventually work themselves out. It is a good thing she is no longer required to get up at 6:00, some days that is the time she is finally getting the best sleep.

All this is not to say that we still don’t have the occasional mother daughter argument or teen age meltdown. Usually over something that in the end is not really melt down worthy. They are fewer and further between. Most of the stress now comes from Tara and my mother being home alone all day. My mother is über tough on Tara for whatever reason. Some days it seems like she just has to find something to pick on Tara about, because she was not “pro cyber school” for Tara.

Maybe I don’t get the whole story because I am not here. Tara keeps her room my neater, picks up her clothes, at least gets her laundry to the washer and starts it (she doesn’t always execute getting it to the dryer, but I have trouble with that some days myself! She also prepares at least one meal for herself. My mother however seems to have an issue if a bowl or dish is left in the sink? Bottom line, Tara has come a LONG way in the past few months, and I am very proud of her. Gone is the wardrobe of band t-shirts… she is becoming quite the fashionista and thrifter!

We are going to have BABIES in our family again soon. Yes BABIES. My nephew Chad and his wife Tasha are having TWINS, a boy and a girl. The due date is January 9th, but maybe we will have Christmas babies? It is very exciting. It’s been 12 1/2 years since we had a baby in the immediate family!

Well, I best get myself moving this morning. It’s been nice visiting with you again! Hopefully I can start making this part of my routine again!

 

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Stop by Stacy Uncorked for some other randomness!
Stacy

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New Month, New Outlook

I woke this morning to the sound of thunder and rain! I love a good storm and a rainy day when I have no place to be but right where I am.

What are your plans for the rest of this Labor Day weekend? I am going to be laboring, but  at least it will be labor at home, and not at work!

I sit here on my bed surrounded by boxes and piles of stuff that need to be sorted. Things that need to be tossed or donated, and hopefully very little of it needs to find a home here in my room! I guess instead of spring cleaning which never really happened, I am commencing with FALL cleaning.

The are so many of Tara’s things from days gone by that she has outgrown. Polly Pockets, My Littlest Pet Shops, SILLY BANDS, and clothes.  Most will be packed up for a rummage sale at my Mom’s church next month! So many memories, but time marches on!

I am so looking forward to fall weather. There is nothing I like better than cool crisp fall mornings, fog hanging low, and the changing colors of the leaves. For today, I’ve turned on the A/C though. It is really muggy out!

I am feeling hopeful for this next school year. Tara feels that she can learn better without the distractions that traditional school brings. She has some credits to make up from this past year, but I am confident she will step up and do what needs to be done! She will not be isolated, as she has friends that she will continue to spend time with, and who knows she may make connections with new “classmates”. She is still in contact with one of the girls she met in 7th grade, who still “attends” the CCA (Commonwealth Connections Academy).

Whoa, I went to get a link to add here, and an hour later, I am back. I can get so distracted by the internet. I did six things on my “mental” to do list while I was gone! It is crazy how one thought can lead you so off track.

I felt so “paralyzed” all summer by so many things. Some still loom overhead, but my outlook is now, I can only do what I can do!

With that being said, I better get off the computer and get some things accomplished. The clutter is getting on my nerves!

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The End of Summer

It is really hard to believe that today is the last day of August. We are in the midst of the last weekend of the summer. Where oh where did it go?

I’ve had some stressors this summer, that have kept me from being very open to sharing on my blog. I get a mental block when I have too much on my mind, and sitting in front of the computer with my blog open forces me to THINK!

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I have barely left PA this summer, only time I even got remotely near the ocean was two trips “down the shore” to pick Tara up from Justin’s house.

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Tara had a busy summer, renewing some friendships here at home, as well as 14 days  in NJ keeping Justin company as he continues to heal. 

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One of those stressors really was unnecessary. I was projecting how I felt someone else would react to something, and that paralyzed me a bit. I would go to bed thinking about it and wake up with it on my mind. In the end all is well, and I am glad I can go into September a little less stressed. 

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As I watch all the families shop at Walgreens for their school supplies it feels odd that we are preparing for school in a different way. Tara will once again be attending Commonwealth Connections Academy, a PA public cyber school.

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Last  year, particularly the 2nd half of the school year was very rough for her (and me as well). I am hoping that she can get down to the business of learning once again without the distractions and anxiety that being in the physical school environment causes her.

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She has some catching up to do to get back on track, but in the end I know things will work out.  I am looking forward to not having to dread getting up every morning wondering if there would or would not be a fight getting out the door to school. Here’s to a more RESTED Martha this school year.

I head into work a little later this morning, but as of 4pm, my Labor Day weekend begins. It is not a three day weekend for me, but I am looking forward to two days off together. It will be a busy day at work, the last Saturday of the month is always the worst with tasks that need to be completed, so the day should fly by!

I was not feeling well last week. Maybe all of the stress getting the best of me? I spent from Thursday – Tuesday feeling like I had just gotten off of a boat. I am guessing some type of inner ear issue? I made it into work every day, but wound up having to leave early on two of those days.

Well, I best get off of here, and start getting ready for work.  I just wanted to take this opportunity to close out August with at least ONE blog post. I am hoping to get myself back to blogging on a regular basis!

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Monday Mellow Yellows – Morris Arboretum, Philadelphia, PA

Good Morning.

More than a month has gone by without updating this blog.

First, I did not do anything photo worthy, and then I was having problems with accessing the blog.

I finally worked all that out, and got out for a few hours at a beautiful location with my camera so I have something to share!

Morris Arboretum, just outside of Philadelphia, PA is beautiful place to spend a day.

The land was originally owned by John and Lynda Morris (brother and sister), of the I.P. Morris family. The family made their money in the iron manufacturing business. In 1932 the land was turned over the University of Pennsylvania. It is now designated as the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. During his life John traveled the world extensively bringing plants, art and ideas back home.

Tara and I enjoyed a cooler than usual summer day to enjoy some fresh air. It seems like whenever I have a day off from work she is at a friend’s house, or the weather is not suitable. You can get a decent work out on the grounds of the arboretum, there are lots of rolling hills to walk!

These are just a few photos with “yellow” since today’s post is Monday Mellow Yellows.

I want to thank my friend Karl aka Intense Guy, for the passes!

I will be sharing more photos throughout the week!
Make it a great day!
Martha
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ECOATM

Have you gotten a new smart phone recently, and still have the old one laying around collecting dust? We all know they really should not be thrown away. Improper disposal of electronics and batteries is very bad for the environment.

We recently traded in two IPhones and upgraded to Samsung Galaxy S4s. Yes, if in perfect condition, some retailers/carriers will allow you to trade your old phone in for credit toward a new phone.  Unfortunately, my phone had a very cracked screen and a home button that was wearing out and Tara’s phone had a very slight, almost unnoticeable crack. This made neither of our phones eligible for trade in.

In the past I have very successfully used a mail in company (IPhones To Cash) to trade in our outdated IPhones, but this time around I needed the cash in my pocket PRONTO. IPhones to Cash sends you a postage paid envelope that you then send your phones back to them in, they in turn send you a check. I’ve had this process take an average of two weeks. This time around my envelope was not coming quickly enough, and I had heard of ECOATM through a co-worker.

I googled ECOATM and found that there was a kiosk location at our local mall. I also looked for reviews and watched a video on YouTube. The process looked very simple and the reviews were favorable.

Tuesday morning, I headed to the mall with two IPhones in hand. Tara’s in 1 year old IPhone 4s and my over two year old, very damaged, IPhone 4. I made sure that I had erased all our data from the phones before hand.

20130723_121237I arrived at the ATM, and proceeded to touch the screen to start the process. I got no response from the machine. No problem, I had my cell phone with me, and there was a number to contact clearly displayed.

I called the number and was promptly connected to the agent. He asked for the kiosk number which was also easy to locate, and started to remotely diagnose the problem. I was asked to help in the process. He had to restart the machine, and at one point we got disconnected (I think it was my user error on my new phone!), but I quickly called back, gave the next agent the kiosk number and we quickly picked up where we left off and got the machine recalibrated and ready to use!

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The machine speaks to you, and takes you through the process. I really had hoped to document the process with photo and videos, but I was not coordinated enough to do it all with just two hands!

First the door opens up and you place your cell phone on the tray. It then takes a few moments to determine the model of your phone.

Once that happens, a little sticker is dispensed, the door opens, and the proper charger for your phone has been made available.

I was instructed to place the sticker on the back of my phone, and plug the phone in. The machine again closes and begins to diagnose the condition of the phone.

Once this is completed you are shown the amount that you will be paid for your phone if you choose to continue. You have the option to stop at this point if you choose.

In my case for Tara’s phone, Best Buy would have given us a trade in of $150 if the phone was in perfect condition. The ECOATM quoted me a price of $163! Hell, yes, I will take that! This is a bad photo, but it shows $163 up in the right hand corner.

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If you choose to accept the offer, you are then required to insert your drivers license into the machine, as well as providing a thumb print.

Once this is done, you are asked if you have another device, and you go through the process again. My broken IPhone netted me another $53!

In total I walked away from ECOATM with $216 in my pocket. Even with the troubleshooting time, I was at the kiosk for only about 1/2 hour.

They accept all types of cell phones, and tablets, and if you have all cords/chargers you can put them in a receptacle on the side of the kiosk as well. You don’t get money for them, but they recycle them accordingly. For older phones you might get a small amount of money, but at least they are being recycled and not collecting dust. You even have the opportunity to donate a portion of your earnings to charity via the machine.

Next time you have a cell phone you want to dispose of, check out ECOATM. The process was kind of fun! I wish I had more phones to dispose of! LOL!

I would give this experience TWO THUMBS UP and on a scale of 1-10 – I would give it a 10 for ease of use and a great over all experience.

 

(This is not a sponsored review, just information I wanted to share!)

 

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Catching up

I’ve been completely distracted from blogging lately. It seems every time I get into a good routine, something happens to distract me! I’m hoping this big black cloud that seems to be hanging over our house this summer goes soon. Many little bothersome situations seem to keep cropping up!

Me being silly at Five Below

Me being silly at Five Below

 

Tara was gone for five days visiting her friend (boy friend, I guess is the correct title) and except for working, I did little while she was gone! During my down time, I pretty much just sat and stared at whatever was in front of me. Computer, wall, TV, phone. You get the picture. Hot weather, no motivation!

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We did take the drive from home to Brigantine Beach, NJ (just past Atlantic City) to pick Tara up one evening after I got done work. My mom rode with me, and we had a nice drive. it was just about 200 miles round trip and it took about 4 1/2 hrs! I hope that is not my ONLY trip to the shore this summer. It’s not looking good though! A day trip would make me happy. I love the beach in the early morning and evening. Not so much in the day when it is hot and crowded! I had a couple nice pics of the setting sun, but I must have forgotten to get them off my phone before I reset it to trade it in!

 

Two days later, on July 12th, the summer concert season for Tara and her friends began! I drove Tara and two friends to Camden, NJ for Warped Tour. It was an overcast, and then rainy day. I spent about 8 hours on the top of the parking garage in my car. It was kind of fun. I had DVDs to watch, and my IPhone and IPad to keep me busy! The rain was actually kind of nice! The girls didn’t seem to mind it much either. Much better than the first year Tara went and it was 100°.

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Tara and Lani. I don’t think these girls ever take a “serious” photo!

 

The only glitch in the day was a DEAD car battery! I was careful not to plug my technology in too much, but didn’t realize that there is a light in the back of the mini van that is one when the side door is open. I had that door open quite a bit enjoying the air and breeze! A call to State Farm, and within an hour road side service was there to jump my car! I haven’t had to use road side service in a very long time, and never when I was any distance from home! I had both friends delivered home by 10pm! It was a good day!

Saturday I decided to look into upgrading my phone. You might remember I BROKE the screen on my IPhone! I decided to go with the Samsung Galaxy. I know, I’m a traitor to Apple! I loved my IPhone, but really I needed a change! I am loving the Galaxy. Still trying to figure out all the features.

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I “splurged” at a time I really shouldn’t have splurged and Tara got one too. She was having some operating issues with her phone, and I thought we would get the $150 trade in for her phone on the spot. That however did not work out. More on that in my next post! She was a bit frustrated at first. I should no to run fast and far away when Tara gets new technology! She gets so angry until she figures things out! She had 14 days to switch to an IPhone 5, but I think she’s happy with it now.

Tara has been here and there this summer. She sleeps over at a friend’s or friends sleep over here. She has mended some “broken’ friendships and that makes me happy!

We are still watching Big Brother. Not our favorite cast, but Judd is our favorite house guest. I made this for Tara! I got the live feeds for one month so I can keep up with what is going on daily! There is so much that you don’t see if you only watch the three network episodes a week! Again, Big Brother is a summer tradition for Tara and I.

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Today was day one of my “weekend’. I doubt by the looks of things at work I will have many actual weekends off for the rest of the summer! We are very short staffed as well as having a very small hours budget for our schedule! As with so many places, do more with less people. I don’t have a problem working hard, but I am afraid if we are too short staffed too often it will impact customer satisfaction!

Not sure what I will be up too tomorrow. If the weather is not too hot and humid I might go on an excursion early in the morning with my camera! I wish I could make my self sit and read. I bought the new Dan Brown Book – Inferno after having the library copy for 2 weeks and not opening it once! I have loved all his books I have read and I know if I can just get started I will have no trouble finishing! Again, I’m having trouble keeping my mind on task!

Well, that’s all for tonight! I’m enjoying having the windows open. It was not as hot today, and with the windows open and a fan on, it was quite comfortable. Tonight I am listening to the choir of crickets and watching the light show of the fireflies out the patio door!

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If it’s not one thing it’s another!

I started a few day weekend yesterday, a FOUR DAY WEEKEND working! I worked the holiday and will work both days of the weekend. I do have MONDAY off, and Tara will be away for much of that day!

It is hot, but it is hotter so many other places, I will try to not complain.

I shattered the screen on my IPhone today. I am ready for an upgrade, but there was nothing wrong with my phone, so I was trying to hold out until the next version came out. I put a screen protector over it (I don’t like them….) to see if I can keep it from totally shattering and maybe I can make it another couple of months! It is always something!

Isn't it PRETTY?

Isn’t it PRETTY?

My car requires over $1,000 worth of work to pass PA state inspection. $800 of it is done, hoping a family member can repair the rest (brakes especially) to save me a little on the labor. It’s always something. Still cheaper than a new car and monthly payment! I like my car! Oh, and I’m driving with one expired sticker, so at any time I could and probably will be pulled over by a police officer at any time!

policeTara is in Brigantine NJ, spending the weekend with her “broken” boyfriend Justin. He is still recovering from his skateboard vs car accident. It’s been almost one month. He had both of his casts changed today and should be able to start limited weight bearing. I hope they have fun. Not much they can really do, but they will be together. It was awesome of his mom to drive basically two extra hours to come pick Tara up. I think they needed to get some things from his dad’s too, so it had a dual purpose! I would love to be near the ocean this weekend! One day soon.

Do you watch Big Brother? Lots of controversy this year with house guests being overly bigoted, using racial and gay slurs. If you don’t watch the live feeds (I don’t) or follow those who do on Twitter or blogs, you might never know there was an issue. Two (Aaryn and GM) of the houseguests have actually lost jobs/contracts for their actions in the house. Glad to see that people are being held accountable for unacceptable behavior.

Tonight is our town’s First Friday. Last month it rained like crazy. This month it is just too hot. I am getting old I guess. I’d rather stay home. It’s not like I really have anyone to go with anyway!

I checked Dan Brown’s book, Inferno, out of the library (bookmobile) over a week ago, and haven’t turned a page. I think I NEED to open that book this weekend. I really enjoy his books, and know once I start I will be okay. Most evenings by the time everything is done and I’m ready to relax, my eyes don’t feel like focusing on a book!

 

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Feeling Beachie’s Friday Fill in is in it’s 119th week! Whoo hoo!

This week’s statements:
1. I don’t like rhubarb. (Some one at work mentioned strawberry rhubarb pie today, which I don’t like, so that was the first thing that came to mind)
2. I have a difficult time using false eyelashes. They really are popular now, with many natural looking lengths…. I got them on once, but every time I try now, I get frustrated and give up!
3. I love suspense movies because they keep me on the edge of my seat. Oh, and movies with cute boys like Chris Pine, Johnny Depp and Channing Tatum, just because!
4. I prefer to read magazines because my attention span has not been conducive to book reading lately (see above about Inferno)

I really should end this random babble and go pick that book up right now! I should do something this weekend to enjoy my “freedom” from teenager, but the heat, it’s just too much! Maybe later this weekend!

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