Friday, October 29, 2010

Skywatch Friday

We had to go pick up our dog's arthritis meds this morning, so daughter and I jumped in the car and off we went. It was soo cold! I still can't get warm. The sky shows what's on the way. I don't even want to think about it, but it appears winter is going to ruin Halloween this year.

If you want to see more gorgeous sky scenes, stop over at: for all the links.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The History of Halloween

Sunday is the one day of the year when the young and not-so-young get to let their true faces show during the only time it’s acceptable to be seen in costume and masks. Once again, it’s Halloween, or more accurately, Samhain (pronounced SOW-IN), which means summer’s end and is celebrated at the end of fall and beginning of winter. It was a final celebration of the harvest before the earth slumbered through winter. The day also marked the Celts’ version of the New Year and the time when they believed the dead came back to walk the earth once more. The holiday has been with us for centuries in various forms.

The day was a time to honor ancestors, but also ward off evil spirits by wearing costumes to confuse them. Turnips were carved with faces and placed in the windows to scare off the dead. People would go “a-souling.” They would pray for the household’s dead relatives in exchange for food and drink. In Scotland, the dead were impersonated by men who would wear all white and cover their faces with a veil.

Halloween as we know it today can be traced back to the early Christians. In the 800s, the Catholic Church wanted to wipe out pagan holidays and convert the heathens, so they would create a holy day to coincide with an established pagan festival. The Roman festivals of Feralia and Pomona’s Day were merged with Samhain and the new holiday replaced all three. Pomona’s day was a harvest festival in honor of the Roman Goddess of fruits and trees. This could explain where the tradition of bobbing for apples came from. Feralia was a day of mourning and remembering the dead.

Early Christians began celebrating All Saints Day on Nov. 1. They began their observance at sunset the night before. Some of the ways they celebrated were to dress in costumes of Christian saints to scare away the evil spirits and then they would go door-to-door, begging for food. Eventually, All Souls’ Day, which commemorated the dead who were not saints was added on Nov. 2. Soul cakes (currant buns) were given out when those celebrating went from house to house, offering to pray for their dead, similar to the a-souling.

Less than a century later, those two early Christian holidays merged into Hallow Time (Oct. 31-Nov. 2). Most of the celebrations took place the night before All Hallows Day on All Hallows Eve. Halloween quickly became the name.

Today, the holiday has grown so popular, it is second only to Christmas in the amount of money spent on decorations. Many Christian churches discourage their members from celebrating, saying it is evil; however, simply reading up on the history tells a different story.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Another hospital stay

I'm back in the hospital, fighting a 2-week migraine. Was admitted on Tuesday. Of course, I never leave home without my handy dandy Droid, do I can at least pretend I'm normal.

Have an IV in my hand & get meds every few hours to keep the worst away. Mow we're waiting to hear from a neurologist in Pittsburgh to see if he'll accept a new patient as either in-patient or out-patient. Keep your fingers crossed and if you Have a minute, Please ask your deity to look kindly on me and break the pain.

I'll update this when we know more.

Thanks, everyone!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Camera Critters #132

Once again, it's that time of week when I get to show off my favorite models - animals!!!

My choice for the day are several beauties from Pennsylvania's elk herd located in Benezette. This is the largest free ranging elk herd east of the Mississippi.

While I was there for the ribbon cutting on the brand new multi-million dollar elk viewing area, I found a buck and his harem of cows. They always strike me as the most beautiful animals when I see them. I never get tired of the magic of seeing these huge animals up close. I know they're wild and unpredictable, so I try to respect that and stay far enough away to just observe them and not try to turn them into petting zoo inhabitants.

If you want to see other examples of critters around the globe, just click on the following badge.

Camera Critters

Labels: , ,

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Old friends are better than gold

We had lunch yesterday with old friends who we lost touch with almost a decade ago. The husband & wife were our dearest friends at the time. That's when the pain started to get impossible to deal with & I was put on strong meds.

I found Cheryl's email by luck & sent her a note. She responded immediately.

They Were in town for work - she's a DJ. She called & asked if we wanted to get lunch. Of course! Now, remember we hadn't seen them in a decade, but the conversation was like we never were apart. That shows what true friendship. I'll never lose her again. I realized how much she meant to me & how much we've missed when she hugged me.

Friendship is too valuable to give up on. It should be treasured.

Thank You, Cheryl & Jim! You've always been in my heart & always have a place there.

Labels: ,

Thursday, October 07, 2010

New elk viewing center ribbon cutting & Governor Ed Rendell

Governor Ed Rendell was on hand to help celebrate the official opening of the elk viewing center located on Winslow Hill in Benezette. A standing room only crowd of local, State and federal officials as well as area residents packed into the new center to hear Rendell’s words prior to the ribbon cutting on Wednesday morning.

The 8,420-square-foot green building is located on 245 acres owned by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The building includes interactive interpretive exhibits, wildlife trails and viewing blinds, year-round restrooms and parking for cars and buses. Annual visitors to the new center are expected to reach 160,000 visitors per year by 2016. Today, visitors engaged in nature-based tourism, including elk viewing, spend an average of $138 per day. By 2012, daily expenditures for these visitors are projected to increase to nearly $200 per day. The center will both draw and extend the stay of visitors to the region, according to Rendell. The Commonwealth spent a total of $6 million to build the center and an additional $6 million was raised through private donations and management costs.

The inside displays open at 7:30 a.m. with the sensory-surround theatre opening at 8 a.m. It will present the story of the Penna. elk herd from the birth of new calves to fighting bulls during the rut. There are life-sized natural history display in the center’s main room portraying the interconnection of animals to their environment.

There are six elk viewing areas in the PA Wilds, which include three in the Benezette area with the other three dispersed around the region. “Our vision was two-fold. First, we can do something to help the economies of the counties in the PA Wilds. The second biggest potential is it centers around the elk watching and the beautiful, natural resources that the Lord has given Penna.,” Rendell said. “While most other States and regions have shown tourism is flat or declining, the PA Wilds has shown an increase in tourism. I think the best is yet to come. With this visitors’ center, I think people will flock here. People say I spent a lot of money as Governor, I wish we had money for the State to advertise in Washington D.C., Baltimore and New York City. When I was young, I know my dad would have loved to bring us here. I think if we had money to advertise, this could be a huge economic boom. I think the best is yet to come with the opening of the center.”

“When people in Penna. elected me, they said we elected a big city mayor. It’s interesting how an outsider sees things with different eyes,” Rendell said. “I came up in 2003 when we were formulating this idea. This is incredible. I have lived in Penna. for most of my adult life and I never knew how incredibly beautiful it was. I never knew there were more wild and natural areas than Rhode Island and Conn. Combined. I never knew any of that stuff. I think it’s so important that our children all over the country come and experience this. I remember coming up in 2003 during the mating season. Rawley (Cogan) took us to the woods. We stood out at the tree edge at dusk. I heard one of the most beautiful, ethereal sounds of my life. It was the mating call of the elk. I thought people had to come here, people have to experience this.”

Like always, Rendell showed why he is so popular. He posed for photos with anyone who asked and signed autographs with his Sharpie. Then he started teasing me about wearing Steeler colors to the event. He didn't mention it, but I suppose he's an Eagles' fan.

When he went outside to tour some of the viewing areas, he waited for me to get there and I was the only reporter walking with him and the other officials. When he saw me on the trail, he said, "There she is. Lets go." I have followed him around over the past few years and he always remembers me. Unlike most politicans in his position, he doesn't hide behind a ton of secret service/bodyguards. He had one with him. He wants to meet the people who elected him and have a chance to say good bye since he isn't running for re-election.
I'll miss him, but I imagine he'll still be involved in politics on some level.

As we were on our way home, we saw a few elk in a field. Of course, we stopped and I jumped out to photograph the beautiful animals. There was one bull elk along with his harem of about a dozen cows and several babies. If you've never had the thrill of seeing the animals, you're really missing out. Their size makes it impossible to believe any hunter who "accidently" kill them during hunting season, claiming they thought it was a deer. There is NO WAY that can happen. Even the calf would dwarf a white tailed deer.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

New gaming fun for the entire family

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of PlayStation MOVE. All opinions are 100% mine.

My family loves to get together and play on our video game systems. I'm not the best when it comes to using some of the controllers out there. My 15-year old son gets a tad annoyed when we're playing a war game and I just go in circles, shooting myself in the foot because I can't figure out how to use the controller.

After checking out the new PlayStation Move, I think it would be perfect for our family. We already have a PlayStation 3, so the upgrade won't be that much additional money and it would be perfect to bring us all together for our regular family game night.The cost for the bundle pack is $99. That's about the cost for us to go out and see two movies and have dinner. The new games would be something we can use over and over again.

My children are older teenagers. Daughter is 18 and a senior in high school. Son is 15 and a sophmore. It's hard to convince them to be in the same room as each other most days, but I think having this would be a great way to work out their differences. While they will enjoy the war and other first-person shooter games, I'm looking forward to playing Brunswick Pro Bowling. I love bowling, but my health doesn't allow me to get out and participate anymore. Extreme Pinball also looks like something I'd enjoy. I'm sure having games that allow me to still participate in some of my favorite activities will help with my outlook on life.

This will be on my wishlist to Santa for this year!


Visit my sponsor: PlayStation®Move

Labels: ,

Elk Viewing Welcome Center

The dream has become a reality and the new welcome center will hold it's official ribbon cutting in the morning. It will be a big deal, with government officials all the way to Gov. Ed Rendell attending. Of course, that means I will also be attending to photograph the event and write up an article about the speeches.

The hope is to alieve some of the traffic and give visitors a place to pull off and look for the elk without blocking the highway, trespassing on private property and many other ugly behaviours that have caused most long-time residents to have a slightly skewed feeling towards their famous residents.

Labels: , , ,