Saturday, February 24, 2007

Chainsaw Carving Rendezvous

The eighth annual chainsaw carving rendezvous ends today. It was another nice event. I spent the week walking around the area, taking photos and talking to the carvers for the newspaper. They are a super bunch of people and I've never met one that wasn't willing to take time to talk or pose for photos.

For those who have never heard of this artform, the carvers use a chainsaw to make the most beautiful creations out of a log. It's incredible to watch them work. Our town is called the Chainsaw Capital of the World and every carver in the world wants to come here to learn and share.

I was finally able to buy a walking stick this year and I absolutely love it! Every year, they go too fast and I always seem to miss out on one. This year, I made sure to grab one the first hour of the 'vous. It'll get a lot of use this year as we're hiking around the State. Thanks to Jake Albright of Hanover, PA for your awesome work!

The auction was this afternoon and they had well over 200 pieces donated. The money raised goes in part to charity and to help continue the event next year. Several thousand dollars were raised while I was there for just about an hour, so I'm sure it'll be a good amount by the time it ends.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It's Fat Tuesday!

Once again, it's that time of the year to indulge ourselves in every decadence and live it up before Lent comes around (at least for those into depriving themselves of things).

Wear those Mardi Gras beads with pride, people! While we're out drinking and laughing it up, lets take a minute to think of the home of Mardi Gras and the devistation that still hasn't been attended to. Time to talk to our Senators and Congresspeople about the horrible shame that in this country, there are people living in the conditions that plaque New Orleans.

Off my soapbox. I hope everyone enjoys the day! I have on my beads that a dear lady sent me last year to celebrate the day.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Price of Children

This is just too good not to pass on to all. Something absolutely positive for a change. I have repeatedly seen the breakdown of the cost of raising a child, but this is the first time I have seen the rewards listed this way. It's nice.

The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140 for a middle income family. Talk about sticker shock! That doesn't even touch college tuition.

But $160,140 isn't so bad if you break it down. It translates into:

* $8,896.66 a year,

* $741.38 a mo nth, or
* $171.08 a week.
* That's a mere $24.24 a day!
* Just over a dollar an hour.

Still, you might think the best financial advice is don't have children if you want to be "rich." Actually, it is just the opposite. What do you get for your $160,140?

* Naming rights. First, middle, and last!

* Glimpses of God every day.
* Giggles under the covers every night.
* More love than your heart can hold.
* Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.
* Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies.
* A hand to hold, usually covered with jelly or chocolate.
* A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites
* Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.

For $160,140, you never have to grow up. You get to:

* finger-paint,
* carve pumpkins,
* play hide-and-seek,
* catch lightning bugs, and
* never stop believing in Santa Claus.

You have an excuse to:

* keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh,
* watching Saturday morning cartoons,
* going to Disney movies, and
* wishing on stars.
* You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay on Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.

For $160,140, there is no greater bang for your buck. You get to be a hero just for:

* retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof,
* taking the training wheels off a bike,
* removing a splinter,
* filling a wading pool,
* coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.

You get a front row seat to history to witness the:

* first step,
* first word,
* first bra,
* first date, and
* first time behind the wheel.

You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren and great grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match.

In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there under God. You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost. That is quite a deal for the price!!!!!!!

Love & enjoy your children & grandchildren

Friday, February 09, 2007


February is flying by way too fast. Soon it'll be March and I dread the 3rd. Some of you know my precious Michael was killed last year on March 3. He was only 17 and was just driving to school in the morning.

I'll never forget that day. My cousin called and said I needed to get down there right away, but wouldn't say why. Our sewer pipe had exploded and I had the plumber on the way, but he said I had to come now, so I called a friend, picked my mom up from work and we drove the 20 miles.

I can still hear the words, "Michael was killed this morning," and feel myself falling. Then had to give the news as each family member arrived. The funeral was awful. Hundreds of kids were there to say good bye. Michael's three younger sisters and his mother were so lost. I couldn't do anything to help them. All I had were some gemstones I picked up, just some magick stones to try and give them something to hold on to.

It's been almost a year now and I still have trouble believing it's real. I go to the cemetery as often as possible, see the tombstone, the flowers, all the things kids have left for him and know the deep empty spot in my life is real. At the same time, I'll look at his photos and can't imagine how someone so young and full of life and promise was ripped from our lives.

I feel myself drawing in and want to just avoid people all together for the next five weeks. I don't know that I can deal with the garbage and meaningless chatter. In the long run, does it really matter how much stuff you accumulate? Or what clothes or jewelry you're wearing?

Family is all that matters. Losing someone you love as much as I loved Michael showed me that the rest is all worthless. Yeah, we have nice stuff - the big screen TV, all the games, cameras and computers, but I'd trade every single thing I own for just one more minute with him. Just to be able to give him one more kiss, hear his laugh or just his voice, push the hair out of his eyes or give him a hard time because of the Misfits shirt he liked to wear.

All the regrets. I saw him at the store just a couple days before he died and I didn't kiss or hug him in the parking lot because he was "too cool" for that stuff. I'll regret that for the rest of my life.

Until we meet again, Michael, I'll love you forever and a day.

Early morning fire

My day started off running to cover a barn fire. I heard it over the scanner and debated whether or not to go, but they said there were four horses in there, so I went.

It was COLD! I get there and see a TV cameraman I know standing up filming the fire, so I go up and stand by him to take photos. After about a dozen, I've had enough, so off we go to talk to the chief. Nothing much, just a few quick facts and a quote and off I go. Of course, to get to the chief, we had to walk down a hill. Normally, no big deal, but the snow was just about up to my knees. The downside to being short.

I get home, have a few minutes and have to be at a meeting in the next town. I'm cold, wet and smell like smoke, but have no time to change or shower. Bet the other reporters just LOVED to sit by me. Ah well, the perils of the job.

It was a lunch time meeting, so they fed us pizza and pop. Should have known it was a bribe because the meeting lasted 1 1/2 hours! Nothing earth-shattering, just the DEP talking about recycling. A real treat to those who have never experienced it.

So, how was YOUR day?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

It's Stupidbowl time!

OK, the Colts are ahead by two points so far, but neither team seems to really want to win. All they're doing is fumbling and turning over. Lets play. Where's the blood?

What was up with that half time show? Doesn't Prince remember the words to his own songs? Geez, I was waiting to hear him and get a melody of other's music. What a disappointment.

Come on Bears, lets get some life in you!