Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Trains


    



It's Christmas Eve! I'll get back to that later, however. First, I want to tell you about the days before today.  To begin with, my week was a extremely sad. My grandmother passed away last Monday and her funeral was Thursday. Needless to say, it was a rough week, but in the spirit or remembering her I'm focusing on Christmas, which she loved and knew how to celebrate.

Saturday was my church's Christmas concert of which I had a small part.  It went  very well and I enjoyed being a part of it as well as watching the choirs and the Nativity. Sunday, my good friend, Mel came to visit me! We went for ice cream and hot coca at Ballyhoo.



















After that, we enjoyed snacks, yes , we had more, it is Christmas time after all, and watched movies. The next day after breakfast we traveled to Scranton to the Steamtown National Historical Site.



  



It was wonderful seeing the trains and the exhibits as well as the seasonal decorations.  Later, we went to a local shop, The Post, that sells handmade candles, soap and other goodies, then picked up our friend Nicole for some frozen yogurt.  It was a wonderful day!

All too soon, Mel had to return home, though I know she's having a great Christmas Eve with her family.  I had to return to work, but Christmas cards and cookies were waiting so it wasn't too bad. Then, at last, I was home for Christmas Eve with my dad!  We ordered Chinese food, opened gifts and watched Doctor Who Christmas specials! Of course, it would not be a proper Christmas Eve without remembering the true reason. Thank you, Lord Jesus for loving us enough to come as a Baby only to grow up and die for our sins. This is all for you. Merry Christmas!





Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Lights and Grandma


oh christmas tree, oh christmas tree

Yesterday, I heard that my grandmother from my mom's side of the family passed away.  She was a great woman who raised four children and worked long after most women had retired. She and my grandfather were excellent cooks and threw the most wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

While I'll miss her terribly, I can't help but think that she's going to get to spend Christmas in Heaven, with her husband and two daughters. And I will get to see her again someday.

Tonight, a friend and I drove around Nay Aug park to look at their impressive Christmas lights display and it made me think that losing loved ones is very much like those lights. They shine brightly, enhancing the lives of all they touch, until season's end where they are packed away. Their absence is noted and lamented until before you know it, they make their reappearance. 

So, Grandma's not gone for good, she's just away with the Lord, until I can join her. Merry Christmas, Gram and tell Mom, Pappy, and Aunt Pat, I say hello.



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas :)

Well, I have my tree up, the Nativity scene out, and I even have some cards sent and gifts bought! I may be ready for Christmas after all. I'm excited that I'm enjoying the holiday. I helped decorate the church, made cookies with me niece and nephew and work my elf hat to work. Tis Christmas time for sure!

 

Friday, November 14, 2014

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas; HELP!

I have two very different views on Christmas, one is in favor as the holiday as a whole, the spiritual significance, the gift giving, Santa, all of it. The second is my  view from a retail clerk's perspective, hence the HELP! in the title. Anyone who has worked any type of retail, particularity a major chain retailer knows what a horrendous experience it can be. Nasty, impatient customers, long hours, can all combine to leech all joy out of the holiday.

However, I love Christmas and to quote Charlie Brown, "I'm not letting this commercial dog ruin my Christmas,"  As a long time retail worker I tend to be sympathetic to my fellows out there in stores large in small. That being said, here are some tips to how you as a shopper can make Christmas enjoyable for store clerks and casheirs.

1. If a store you frequent is open on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve do not complain to the clerks. They did not choose the hours and if it's a large chain neither did the individual store mangers. It was a corporate choice. Also, do not tell the workers how sorry you are for them for having to work and then ask what the hours are on the day you are "sorry" they have to work. If you really pity them then do what some nice ladies did at my job; show up with gift cards to SubWay for everyone that had to work on Thanksgiving. Or, you can call or e-mail the store headquarters and complain there, after alkl that is where the hours are decided.

2. Be polite and patient with not just workers but other shoppers. It's amazing how much a nice costumer can lighten a dark day of people yelling about the store being out of life sized Elsa dolls. Smile, at the workers, do not hold them personally responsible for items being out of stock and listen when they speak. If one worker has a bad attitude and treats you badly, do not take it out on the next worker who crosses your path or if you see the worker again. Hopefully, they were just having a bad moment, but if you feel the need report them to management,  but try to not be angry with the manger, they can't control all there workers.

3. Remember what Christmas is all about the gift of Christ to save us all and while not all celebrate that aspect of Christmas, they all deserve the love and generosity that comes with the season.

Now, let's enjoy Thanksgiving and get ready for a wonderful Christmas!

   
  
    Jesus is the Reason for the Season
          

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hello

It's been awhile so I thought I'd just say, "Hello".  I had an excellent mini vacation the last weekend of last month.  I attended the last two days of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire's   2014 season. The season's end is always bitter sweet; it's wonderful and yet it's over until next August.  The  following Monday I visited with friends and did some exploring in Lancaster and Litiz. The Chocolate Cafe is wonderful as well as A Tea Affair. We also found two bookshop, one in Lancaster , Dogstar Books and one in Litiz, who's name I cannot recall though I loved it as well. 

With all those adventures, I'm wondering what the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons will hold. Working in retail, it can be a challenge, but I am determined to enjoy them none the less. I'm still working on my writing, editing my Steampunk novella for possible e-publication and looking for an agent for my fantasy novel.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Come, Follow Me, a book review

This book by  Philip Michales is part crime story, part supernatural thriller, this story follows Thane Sheridan as he tracks down a serial child killer who murdered his only child along with many others. It would be a compelling read in either genre but mixing them makes it more so. However some of the action scenes seemed a bit rushed to the point of my having to read it again to see if I missed anything,notably a scene early on in the book. Also, a romance between two main characters seemed a bit forced and sudden, literally jumping into bed with each other with absolutely no preamble at all.

Because of the nature of the killer and the area, the slums of NYC, there are some sexual scenes as well as foul language, notably the F word.   It's still a good read for those interested in both ghost and crime stories however.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Old School

From the time I was five years old till I was seventeen I would pass an abandoned school on my way to school.  Now was an adult, I pass the same school on my way to church every Sunday. I keep saying that I'd like to get out and explore the place but never have, until today.

As a little kid the graffiti declaring the school as being, "Dead City" always frightened me a bit and I won't deny that today it made me recall scenes from "The Walking Dead". It made me wonder, is "Dead City" a gang, a band, a social commentary on the town of Plains, PA where the school is located or just some random phrase the vandal spray painted on?  I could see no school name on the front of the building, which surprised me, usually older schools had the names carved into the brickwork.

 I have attempted to Google the school based on the town and street name but to no avail. I even asked about it on an abandoned Pennsylvania Facebook page, but again to no avail.  My father suggested  asking at the local library or the school district. I would very much like to know when the school closed, though I know it had to been sometime before 1990 which is when I moved to the area as a small child, and I would like to know why it was left to decay on a busy street. Surly, it could have been re purposed as a rec center or an apartment building.    


 
These alcoves were on the side of the school, wonder what they are.
back of the school; notice the open window.

a back service entrance 


the tiny back parking lot



















An annex they must have added when the student body outgrew the building.
one of two front doors


When I peered into the windows on the doors, I was a bit surprised to see books, an old TV and what looked like an old type writer stacked up in front of the doors.
























science and history text books














This was strange, numbers kept flashing across the screen, though when the picture took, it was reading  zeros.





















If anyone knows anything at all about this old school, please let me know! Thanks again for visiting.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Exploring

This Monday I took my niece to the playground by the lake. After playing on the swings and slides, we walked along the lake, dug in the sand, floated leaves on the water. I love the lake during Autumn, the reflection of the leaves in the water, the way the wind blows the leaves over the water's surface; it's lovely.
















After the lake, I suggested a walk in the nearby woods. My niece was not convinced we needed to go. She drug her feet, she whined, she pleaded to go back home.  "Why don't you want to go into the woods?" I kept asking.
After a bit she finally blurted out, "because, we might meet a great big bear!"
I told her that we probably wouldn't see any because the woods were so close to the playground and other houses. She grudgingly agreed to go at least a little ways into the woods. She ended up looking for squirrels and chasing butterflies and didn't want to leave.      
Sometimes you have to live life despite your fears, no matter how reasonable they are.  Yes, we could have seen a bear, but maybe that wouldn't have been so bad, maybe what we're afraid off is something we need to face and investigate.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Another Ren Faire Post

Because, who can ever have to many Renaissance Faire related anything?   I know I cannot! I had the wonderful and rare chance to go back to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire  twice in the same week! I don't mean I went for both days of the same weekend. I drove there Sunday to meet friends and then went with a different group of friends the following Saturday!

One of the many thing I love about that magical place is that every trip is a different experience even if you see the same shows. The people you go with alter the experience. Some of friends are perfect at interacting with cast and shop keepers, which encourages me to do so . My friend Nicole is the queen of mapping out which shows we want to see and Mel likes to wonder about the grounds exploring, and there's always something wonderful to discover. 















I swear, the place is magic. It brings people together and draws them into the goings on both real and fanciful. The faire has truly been a blessing that I thank God for. It seems like every year I get to introduce new people to the wonders of the faire and I look forward to many more years.
 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Gettysburg

This Monday I got the chance to go to Gettysburg, PA. I'm a huge history buff with a particular fondness for the Civil War. My favorite movie as a kid was Gettysburg. I'm not a history nerd at all (insert sarcastic chuckle). My friend  Mel and I explored most of the battlefield including Devil's Den and Little Round Top, which aside from their historical significance are quite beautiful.  

Devil's Den
Now this is a bit creepy. The place I'm standing in is where that iconic picture of the dead solider was taken. 

  









































The view from Little Round Top 




















After exploring we drove to the visitors center and museum and my personal favorite the
Cyclorama gallery. It's a detailed panting of Pickett's Charge hat wraps around a circular room. It was quite special for me because the last time I was there it was in an older building was being torn down due to asbestos and they park officials were concerned about moving the painting. The tour guide even said that they might not be able to move it and the painting could be lost. I was so relived to see it again and looking even better than I recalled!



  












After viewing the painting we visited the museum and then resumed our tour of the battle field. 


















It was a great visit. We got to combine nature and history. I think it's important to remember the past, learn from the mistakes and triumph in the successes. Also, just getting out and exploring is important, even if you don't learn everything, as long as you learn a bit and enjoy the day. I know I did.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Return to the Faire

This Labor Day I made my second trip to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. This time I took my dad and my niece and nephew.  It's always such a different  experience taking niperkins along because the faire has special shows and events for them. It's almost like going to a different place, in a wonderful way.
 My niece met a mermaid and she and my nephew made some keepsakes in a craft stand by the mermaid.
message in a bottle
treasure map
   It was a pretty hot and sticky day so we strolled through the shire, seeing what we happened upon and taking frequent water breaks. Aside from the heat, it was a lovely day! The kids had a great time and so did my dad and I.

My nephew was intrigued by a blacksmith demonstration and my niece loved the elephant ride. 














Of course no day is complete without seeing a joust and goofing off.



















It was a great time but as always I feel as though there so much more I could share and it left me longing to return.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fun, Food, and Fantasy

After a year's absence I finally made it back to one of my favorite places, Knoebels!    I've been going there ever since I was about five year's old and have loved it ever since then. It's a free admission park, mostly surrounded by forest, so you feel like you're at a small time carnival, but with much better rides, like the new Flying Turns. It's a wonderfully smooth riding, trackless roller coaster. It's modeled after a bobsled track but meant to simulate flying. The only negative is that it's very short ride.

   Then, there's my favorite The Twister! It's a great coaster with lots of sharp and swooping turns.

There is also an old fashioned carousel where you can catch brass rings and a carousel museum that houses horses from all eras  and gives the history of the merry go round.



Inside the museum
There is also a coal mining museum and museum recounting the history of the park.  
Coal Mine wing
 

Knoebels Wing

 There is so much to mention, the wonderful food , the great atmosphere that I do not have room. I will say that it's a place well worth visiting time and time again.