Friday, September 26, 2008

Fall at Craigville Beach

Something about the way the light hits the water at this time of year, is a tell tale that fall has arrived.
The dreaded Golden Rod, a horrible blight to those hayfever sufferers, creates a yellow glow on the dunes of sand all over these beaches.
And this fellow is a Horseshoe Crab... Before becoming mature around age 9, they have to shed their shells some 17 times. They can live for as long as 31 years! This guy wasn't so lucky.... Not sure what did him in, but he was resting along the shore and I discovered him on my walk.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Beautiful Pics - Check out Sharon is Sharing!

Sharon is Sharing has some absolutely gorgeous photos of her home in Florida, as well as her many trips around the country. She has a great talent for capturing your eye and your imagination! Go on over and say hi!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Art School

This is a picture that doesn't really do justice to the subject matter, due to the poor quality of the camera used. My daughter came home for the weekend and inbetween catching up with friends, the beach, shopping and sleeping; managed to create this beautiful drawing....

Art school is suddenly looking worth every penny.

Sylvania 300 - NASCAR

I was very lucky to be able to attend last Sunday's NASCAR race in Loudon, NH! With the remnants of the hurricane threatening to rain out the race, it was looking like we'd be driving up, just for the sake of driving. The weather reports promised that the rain would move out in time for the 2pm race to start... and they were right! Just about noon, it quit raining, although still overcast and extremely humid. We marched the mile and a half from the parking lot to the track.

I don't think you can even see up as high as our seats were! I have a fear of heights, but I conquered it, and once we were up in our seats.... what a view!

Our friends were sitting at the Start/Finish Line and sent us via cellphone camera a picture of their favorite driver, Dale Earnhart (#88) as he whizzed by them!

Jimmy Johnson,(#48)my favorite driver, nearly took the race, but with only 3 laps to go, Greg Biffle, (#16) slipped by him with a classic move to take the race. Here's a shot of him performing the "burnout" that every driver does after winning a race!

Diamond Rio sang the National Anthem, and the customary military jets flew over (obscured by the clouds but still loud and awesome!) Senator McCain was in attendance, spoke at the opening and although I waved, cheered and clapped, he just couldn't see or hear me amongst the other one hundred thousand fans! He didn't really get a huge cheering reaction as most folks from these here parts are partial to the Democratic Party. Still, folks were polite, no boo-ing hissing or catcalls were heard... much to my relief, and still, scattered amidst it all, were the few unabashed Republicans... clapping, hootin and hollerin! Just think, I was at a NASCAR race with, possibly the next president of the United States?!
It was a good race, and even if it did take an hour and a half just to get out of the parking lot, I don't regret the experience for a moment!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

545 People by Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does.

You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don't control monetary policy, The Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices - 545 human beings out of the 300 million - are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress.

In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered but private central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority.

They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing.

I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall.

No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.

The president can only propose a budget.

He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes.

Who is the speaker of the House?

She is the leader of the majority party.

She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want.

If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts - of incompetence and irresponsibility.

I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.

When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.

If the Marines are in IRAQ, it's because they want them in IRAQ.

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power.

Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like 'the economy,' 'inflation' or 'politics' that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses - provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

-Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Story of Stuff

An interesting website, with an even more interesting video about "Stuff". It doesn't pressure, just informs... and on a level that all can understand. I am not a liberal environmentalist... but I do believe in taking responsibility for our future. I recycle, shop less, make informed choices when I do purchase "stuff". This website offers even more options for all of us...
Click the link below and check it out!

The Story of Stuff

Friday, September 12, 2008

Silent Calls 911

Please understand that these procedures are for Massachusettts callers only... for all other states please check with your local police or fire departments...

Silent Call Procedure

Massachusetts 9-1-1 Telecommunicators Can Respond to Silent Calls

If you need to call 9-1-1 and you are unable to speak for reasons such as physical disability, domestic violence, home invasion, no access to a TTY or a language barrier, follow these simple instructions using a touch-tone telephone:

Only available from a wire line touch tone phone in Massachusetts

Frequently Asked Questions About 911

Q. What if I call 911 by mistake?
A. Don't hang up!
It happens rarely but sometimes you will be connected to 911 by mistake. The Enhanced 911 Emergency System is very sensitive. If a number you are dialing has the dialing sequence 9-1-1 anywhere in the number it may inadvertently connect your call to 911. If your cordless telephone has a low battery charge, it can send random numerical signals, similar to a child pressing numbers again and again, over the phone line which can sometimes cause the switching office to connect a call to 911. The important thing is not to hang up. Simply explain to the emergency operator who answers that there is no emergency. If you do hang up, and we can't reach you when we try to call you back, a high priority emergency police response will be initiated to the address indicated on the operators computer terminal.
Even if the call is confirmed accidental, we do have to send at least 1 Police officer to actually verify that all is ok.

Q. My bedridden mother's doctor said to call an ambulance to take her to meet him at the hospital. I dial 911 for that, right?

A. Yes and No

You should ask the doctor if an emergency response is necessary. If he says yes, then by all means dial 911 at once. If not, then look up the number of a local ambulance company in the telephone directory and schedule a time for your mother to be transported. This practice will keep vital medical response resources available in the city for genuine emergencies. After all, if your brother across town suffers a heart attack a minute after you call 911 for your mother, the ambulance responding to your brother's medical emergency may be delayed because you tied up a local emergency unit for a non-emergency transport.

Q. If the person who answers my 911 call already has my phone number and address on his computer screen, why am I still asked to provide that information? Isn't that a waste of valuable time?

A. Nothing is more important than making sure that this information is correct

The telephone number and address of every call to 911 must be confirmed. Enhanced 911 is a wonderful tool, but life or death situations are much too important to rely on a computer database being 100% accurate. Your address and number will be confirmed every time you connect to a 911 center to make sure the information is correct. If it is not, Verizon will be notified to update or correct the discrepancy. Another reason is that you may be calling to report an emergency occurring at another location. A lot more time would be wasted by sending units to the wrong place. The few seconds it takes to get it right are well spent in obtaining this critical information.

Q. Because of a severe physical challenge, I communicate with a TTY (teletypewriter). Can I call 911?

A. Yes, you can!
If the answering position unit that you connect to receives a signal (such as it would if you keyed your spacebar or other key) from a TTY, the unit will automatically change to the proper answering mode. You will then be asked, with a pre-programmed message, for the type of emergency service you are requesting. Simply answer the questions you are asked through your device and help will be on the way. If, however, no signal is detected, the call will be treated as a SILENT CALL. The unit will be switched manually to the TTY mode by the person answering the call and the same pre-programmed message will be sent. If no reply is received after a short time in TTY mode. The call will be switched back to voice mode and further voice instructions will be given to you.

Q. Let's say I'm choking and cannot speak. Can I call 911?

A. That's exactly what you should do!
Your call will be handled as described in the SILENT CALL procedure. (see answer to previous question) After we determine that you are not using a TTY, you will be asked to punch numbers on your telephone keypad to tell us what you need.

Q. I called 911 to request an ambulance for my daughter. Two minutes later a Fire Engine showed up. A few minutes later the ambulance arrived and took my daughter to the hospital. Did you make a mistake?

A. No, we sent what you needed!
Some medical emergencies are more time critical than others. Your daughter must have needed help as quickly as possible. The firefighters who came are at least first responders, some may even be EMTs. Depending on the situation and location, the fire department or police may be sent to make sure that some help or treatment can be administered before the paramedics arrive.

Q. I called 911 to ask about donating to a Fire Department fundraising drive for cancer. (A very worthy cause) The man who answered rudely switched on a recording telling me to look up the business number. When I called back on that number the same man answered the phone! Why couldn't he have simply answered my question instead of having me go through all that?

A. 911 is for emergency calls only!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Another Stupid Idea Exposed!

Please check out Buck's post about someones idiotic idea of putting govenors on all our cars.... Buck goes into one of his very satisfying rants and tells it like it is! Buck's Mini-rant-and-couple-of-other-things"

Monday, September 1, 2008

Something in my eye? (lens?)

I went to the nursing home last Thursday, to watch my mother play the piano and entertain the residents and faculty. She does this every Thursday, week after week, and has done it for almost a year now. My father was a patient of this nursing home for nearly ten years, so to all of us in the family, it was a second home of sorts. We spent many hours with my father; each of us separately, one on one time, and then sometimes as a group. We celebrated birthdays and anniversaries, bringing cake, ice cream,and presents. On holidays we decorated his room and brought him home made cards and holiday treats. Someone was almost always with him. The day he died, I had been very ill, in bed and not able to visit him. So I had not been back to the nursing home since he had passed, back in February 2007. I had been thinking about going to see my Mom perform off and on for quite awhile, but had put it off, procrastinated, been busy with other things; but last Thursday I found myself, well, without anything else of importance to do. I called her and told her I would be coming up to see her. I had a couple of hours to pass before going, so I took a drive over to Dowsers Beach, where my father used to take my brother and I to fish. I have fished a few times from the jetty over the last couple of years and enjoy seeing the sunsets over the little bay. I walked the length of the jetty and then around the bend to the swimming beach, picking up shells and noting that there were some small jellies scattered about at the shoreline. It was a beautifully clear day, the hint of fall in the breeze offshore. I took some photo's with my cell phone camera, as I always do... sending a couple to my daughter who is away at college. When it was time to head out, I brushed off the sand from my feet and carefully placed the shells I had collected into the pail I keep in the truck. When I arrived at the nursing home, I went directly up to the third floor activity room where I found my mother already playing to a room full of patients. I sat down in a nearby chair and just moments later, much to my surprise, started crying. I think that it was the combination of being back in that place, seeing my mother so totally wrapped up in sharing herself with everyone, my father no longer there in the corner listening, the music (old love songs from the 40's & 50's), the patients, some singing along, looking old and afraid, but brave in the face of what we all must face.... our mortality. It was just too much, I had to leave the room in search of tissues. I did manage to go back and listen, but only for a moment before the tears started again. I was embarrassed, and couldn't believe I wasn't able to control my emotions.... after all I work at a 911 call center for cripes sake! I stood just outside the door, looking in, snapped a couple of pictures and then quietly escaped to the elevator. I couldn't just leave, without saying good bye to my mother so I waited outside on a bench underneath the trees, a place we had all sat at one time or another, with my father.There was a lovely breeze, and after awhile I got a grip on my emotions. I noticed the gate to the back of the Manor was open. The Manor was where my father had first been placed, but closed a year or so after he was there. I took a quick look at the building, and as most abandoned buildings do, it had started to deteriorate. I'm not sure why, but I took a couple of pictures. I decided to go back in to help my mother carry her things to her car. We talked and after a good chat, parted ways. The pictures below are the ones that I took that day. I had taken several pictures at Dowsers Beach prior to the ones of area where we fished from. They were all fine. The pictures I took after that day were all fine.

What do you think? Something on the lens?

No Light at the End of the Tunnel- Part Two

When I last spoke of work I mentioned a dramatic shift in hours and my schedule due to the fact that two of our dispatchers had left the fold. Since that time, we have hired two new folks to fill the vacancies and are in the midst of training said individuals. During the 3 month training process, the rest of us have had to cover the two open shifts. Now add to the mix, the fact that this has occurred during the summer months when vacations are planned, days off requested, etc. I have been working an extra 16-24 hours a week for what seems to be an eternity. One would think that in another month we would be able to return to a more normal work week but this is Public Service and here nothing seems to go according to plan! So just when you think you've seen a little light at the end of the tunnel..... wait for it.... two more dispatchers have given notice. (They are relocating to a different state). So...... starting in the middle of September...... we will be filling four open shifts..... please just kill me now! Most of you who know me, know that I love my job and generally only complain about the hours.... and the same goes for my co-workers.... they also enjoy their work and are extremely dedicated individuals. However, WE ARE TIRED!!! If I could, I would give each and every one of us a month off - to just chill, gel, relax, party, have fun, de-stress, catch up on sleep, and reintroduce ourselves to our families. Instead, we will sit in our chairs for 8-16 hours at a time, day after day, night after night; answer the 911 phones, dispatch the calls, listen to and monitor all the scanners, and do our jobs. In the wee hours of the night, when all is quiet and most of the world is sleeping, we will be staring at our computer screens, reading SOP manuals, keeping an eye on the storms headed in, maybe playing a game of solitare, until the phone rings.....