28 February 2006
Yesterday during my memory test, I was asked to name the Continents, and I named Middle East as a continent. I have no idea why. We all know the Middle East is part of Asia.
I was asked to name the 3 types of blood vessels and I said aortic thinking types of heart valves, instead of capillaries, veins, arteries.
I really miss my brain.
On these meds, I think far too slow. I am used to thinking faster than I can talk or type, but that is not the case with these meds.
According to my husband, they make my mood worse also. I miss my brain.
The doctor has me on Topamax and Cymbalta. I really hate the affects.
I see my neurologist in June.
I really hate these prescription drugs. They are suppose to be for my headaches, but they seem to make them worse.
I miss my brain. I miss my intelligence. The meds have me feeling like a tired braindead robot.
24 February 2006
Ex-district court clerk faces criminal charges
By David Hunt
For The Valley Independent
Friday, December 5, 2003
BELLE VERNON - Authorities have uncovered a trail of altered court records they say shows that more than $10,000 missing from a Fayette County district court office went into a former clerk's pockets.
The accused, Rebecca E. Gira, of 326 Cemetery Road, Perryopolis, may find herself in additional trouble pending the outcome of a separate probe into the Perryopolis Area Joint Authority, where she worked for about five years.
Police arrested Gira Thursday morning at the Perry Township municipal building, where she works as the township's secretary.
According to the affidavit of probable cause supporting the 216 criminal counts against Gira, she resigned from Perryopolis District Justice Michael Rubish's office during a routine state-required audit.
Authorities realized that $10,378.32 had been taken sometime between March and November 2002, after Gira's successor pointed out irregularities she'd found in the computerized court records.
A comparison of office records to police records showed that at least 107 citations had been altered. After people pleading guilty to the offenses paid their fines, Gira changed the records to show the citations were either withdrawn or dismissed, the affidavit states. Then she kept the money, authorities contend.
Perryopolis police Capt. Steven Kontaxes, an accountant for 20 years, said the differences in the documents built a strong case.
"This is probably one of the best-documented cases I've been involved with," he said. "This was a very clear-cut case."
Records at the Fayette County Human Resources office show that Gira was working in Rubish's office at the time of each theft. Computer records at Rubish's office showed that Gira was operating the system when the fraudulent entries were made.
In addition to two theft charges, Gira faces 107 counts each of tampering with public records and obstructing administration of law.
She was visibly distraught when police took her to District Justice Jesse Cramer's office in Belle Vernon for her arraign-ment.
Gira's charges are not related to a federal case against former Perry Township supervisor Richard M. Uhrin, Kontaxes said.
Uhrin, 46, pleaded guilty last week to embezzling $381,000 in township funds several years ago. He faces a Feb. 18 sentencing date and is free on recognizance bond.
Gira was released Thursday after her father posted $5,000 in cash -- the required 10 percent of the $50,000 bond Cramer imposed.
After the arraignment, she lay her head on a table in Cramer's courtroom as her parents comforted her. She'd been crying all morning. The judge indicated Gira is married with three children.
She and several others are the subjects of a separate embezzlement investigation involving the Perryopolis Area Joint Authority, which serves customers in Perry Township and the borough of Perryopolis.
Gira worked for the sewage authority from 1997 to 2002, Kontaxes said. He declined to say how much money is missing, describing the amount as "substantial."
In August, police served a search warrant at the authority office. Concealed within hundreds of seized files is the story of how thousands of dollars worth of sewage payments went missing, Kontaxes said. The investigation is continuing.
Kontaxes said his department joined forces with the state police, the state Auditor General's Office and the Fayette County District Attorney's Office to investigate Rubish's missing money.
Gira faces a preliminary hearing on the charges Wednesday before Cramer.
David Hunt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-837-0240.
Last night, I stayed up until midnight watching the Olympics on television. I am so proud of Sasha Cohen. She fell in the first 10 seconds of her routine to pick herself back up and perform an exquisitely beautiful performance. She showed incredible grace and character. She definitely deserved the silver medal.
I liked that our athletes had the courage to take bigger risks even though many of the "safer" athletes went on to take home the gold. I am thinking of a skiing event as I type this. The "Hurricane" was incredibly impressive and deserved a lot more credit than it received.
Is the president an idiot? He talks about "War on Terror" in one breath then he turns around and wants to hand over 6 of our ports to people who funded the terrorists of 9/11. Now, why would these people want the ports? Simple. The structure of our security is in a transition process. With them having control of 6 ports, they can see how our security works and establish what our weaknesses are. It also makes it easier to bring people into our country without suspicion. It is a lose/lose deal for us, and whoever agreed to this definitely needs their head examine, or declare an end to this war. Cannot have it both ways.
22 February 2006
Just two little boys walking down a dusty lane..... They came upon this old
white house... with broken window panes.
The paint was faded, the shine was gone.... the grass had grown so high.....
still they made their little feet... to see what was inside.
They opened up the squeaky door. and then it came to light.... This must
have been an old church house... once upon a time.
Dirty, dusty w ooden pews.. a pulpit that still stood... A bible lay upon
it.... though the pages weren't too good.
An offering plate and song books too... were lying on the floor. They must
have left this old church fast... the day they closed these doors.
And over in the corner a piano was still there... it must have played a
pretty tune... but I guess nobody cared.
So little Bill looked up at Tommy... and Tommy looked at Bill... Why don't
we clean this old church up, and get these old pews filled?"
They took a rag and wiped the dust... to try and make things shine.... And
then they took the offering plate... and put in it their last dime.
They took a broom and swept the floor... and picked up broken glass.... They
got it all so nice and neat... and then they mowed the grass.
They lifted up the old church sign... and stood it by a tree... right down
by that old dirt road.... where everyone could see.
They ran back home, to find Daddy gone... but their Momma was inside....
Just to find her hurt again.. where Daddy had made her cry.
"Don't cry Momma, wipe those tears, " Little Bill and Tommy smiled....
"Cause we have a big surprise for you.... just down the road a mile."
Hand in hand they tugged at her... until they made her run.... "What is it
Bill, Oh Tommy, just what have you two kids done?"
And then they came upon the house... once hidden by the weeds... and there
it stood a country church... just like it used to be.
"But what is it, Mother? What's with your tears? We thought this would bring
you joy." "Yes, but hush kids now and listen close... my two sweet precious
They both got quiet and stood real still.... for the words they heard so
true.... was Daddy praying in the church... with his head bowed on the pew.
"Forgive me Lord! Forgive me Lord! though I'm not worthy of Your love...
shine down on this sinner man... sweet Salvation from above."
"For I've been out in the world, You know.... living my life all wrong....
until I came upon this church; the place where I belong."
"I never noticed it before... all those times I passed it up.... I guess I
wasn't looking, Lord.... or maybe I was drunk."
"Bless oh Lord, yes, bless oh Lord... the one who made me see.... this
little church that used to hide... behind all those tall weeds."
And then he raised his head and stood.... with his hands high in the air....
to find two, dirty, tear-faced boys... with Momma standing there.
They ran up to him, hugged him tight... as their tears fell on the floor.
"Don't worry kids; I'm not the Dad, the one you've known before."
Things are different for us now... so keep on those pretty smiles... and
let's go gather people in... to walk down these church aisles."
Then Bill looked up at Tommy... and Tommy looked at Bill... "Come on
brother; let's get to work.... to get these old pews filled."
"For we need no special blessing... for cleaning up this church.... cause,
God gave us back our Daddy... and that's more than gold is worth."
Sunday morning, pews all filled.... and smiles on every face... Especially
two little country boys... the ones who found this place.
Though it was hid back in the weeds.... and so far out of sight... Nothing's
ever hard to find... if you're walking toward God's light.
They said had run the light
That caused the six-car pileup
On 109 that night.
When broken bodies lay about
"And blood was everywhere,"
"The sirens screamed out eulogies,"
For death was in the air.
"A mother, trapped inside her car,"
Was heard above the noise;
Her plaintive plea near split the air:
"Oh, God, please spare my boys!"
She fought to loose her pinned hands;
"She struggled to get free,"
But mangled metal held her fast
In grim captivity.
Her frightened eyes then focused
"On where the back seat once had been,"
But all she saw was broken glass and
Two children's seats crushed in.
Her twins were nowhere to be seen;
"She did not hear them cry, "
"And then she prayed they'd been thrown free, "
"Oh, God, don't let them die! "
Then firemen came and cut her loose, "
"But when they searched the back, "
"They found therein no little boys, "
But the seat belts were intact.
They thought the woman had gone mad
"And was traveling alone, "
"But when they turned to question her, "
They discovered she was gone.
Policemen saw her running wild
And screaming above the noise
"In beseeching supplication, "
Please help me find my boys!
They're four years old and wear blue shirts;
"Their jeans are blue to match.""
"One cop spoke up, ""They're in my car, "
And they don't have a scratch.
They said their daddy put them there
"And gave them each a cone, "
Then told them both to wait for Mom
To come and take them home.
"I've searched the area high and low, "
But I can't find their dad.
"He must have fled the scene, "
"I guess, and that is very bad."
"The mother hugged the twins and said, "
"While wiping at a tear, "
"He could not flee the scene, you see, "
"For he's been dead a year."
"The cop just looked confused and asked, "
"Now, how can that be true? "
"The boys said, ""Mommy, Daddy came "
"And left a kiss for you."" "
He told us not to worry
"And that you would be all right, "
And then he put us in this car with
"The pretty, flashing light. "
"We wanted him to stay with us, "
"Because we miss him so, "
"But Mommy, he just hugged us tight "
And said he had to go.
He said someday we'd understand
"And told us not to fuss, "
"And he said to tell you, Mommy, "
"He's watching over us."
The mother knew without a doubt
"That what they spoke was true, "
"For she recalled their dad's last words, "
" I will watch over you."
The firemen's notes could not explain
"The twisted, mangled car, "
And how the three of them escaped
Without a single scar.
"But on the cop's report was scribed, "
"In print so very fine, "
An angel walked the beat tonight on Highway 109.
21 February 2006
Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue. Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them. Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.
Eat a live toad in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day. If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague. If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably worth it. It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others. Never buy a car you can't push. Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you don't have a leg to stand on. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. The early worm gets eaten by the bird, so sleep late. When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
for you; the more you have, the longer you live. Ever notice that the people who are late are often much jollier than the people who have to wait for them? If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy? You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person. Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once. Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened. We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names, and all are different colors;but they all have to learn to live in the same box. A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour. Happiness comes through doors you didn't even know you left open. Have an awesome day, and know that someone has thought about you today....
19 February 2006
Yesterday morning started with Ashley waking John up. Ashley is our morning kitty. She knows the alarm goes off at 6 a.m. (on weekdays). Yesterday morning, the alarm did not go off, so Ashley, true to her nature, figured it was her job to get us up. So she started by scratching John’s nose. This was enough to wake him up, but not enough to get him out of bed, so she resorted to a tried and true method. She proceeded to walk on my head to wake me up. John saw this and was sweet enough to concede to Ashley to let me get a few more winks of dreamland.
I got up around 7:30 a.m. It was so nice of my husband to let me have that extra time to just lay there. ( Once I was showered, I asked John what our plans where. He said we needed to go to Sam’s Club. Saturday is usually our shopping day. So I asked him what the temperature outside was. He said it was 18 degrees F. So I wore my flannel lined jeans and burgundy sweater. I then went downstairs to go outside when my husband saw me and asked me if I was going to wear a coat. I wanted to see if I needed one before getting my coat. It was not cold to me since I was wearing heavy clothing. So I replied,”it is not cold.” I did not stop to think that the temperature was dropping at a rapid rate. It did think though that I would be in a store, and I did not want to carry a heavy coat around.
So we went to PetSmart first where we bought cat trays for the litter box, a tub of litter, litter bags, and some cleaning products.
John wanted to go to Michael’s craft store, but much to our dismay, the store was closed down and empty.
So we then drove to Sam’s Club. When we went in, the temperature was still nice (at 18 degrees F). First place we went was to buy new tires for the car since the misalignment really wrecked the tires. We had just had the car aligned when I was rear ended on June 30th. When I went to Bowser to get the estimate for insurance, they said insurance would not pay for alignment damage from a rear ending, so he did not include that. So after only a few months, we had to pay for another alignment on the car. But by that time, the tires were worn very unevenly. So we had to get them replaced. The Sam’s Club at Century III in Milton, Ohio changed the layout of the tire department, which really sucks. The service is much worse now with this layout. It really was much better before they made the changes.
When we got to the tire department, the girl in that department did not even acknowledge us. She was waiting on this one couple. So I waited. Then I saw the girl grab her coat and go outside with the guy. I still waited. The girl came back, still not acknowledging anyone but the original couple she had been waiting on from the start. I was pacing. Another girl came and waited in line. The sales girl was literally bent over on her desk holding her head in her hands just waiting for the first couple to make some kind of decision. So I went to the service department and told a girl there that the girl in the tire department needs help and could she please call for help. The service department girl told me that the only one that could call for help was the tire department girl. But she said that I could stop this one guy for the tire department that was about to walk by without even stopping to help her because he thought she had it all under control. She didn’t. I told him so. So I asked him if he could please help her. Yes, it looked like it hurt her feelings, but this is not about her feelings. She should have asked for help herself. This was about her doing her job and asking for help when she could not handle it herself. When he started helping her, he took care of 3 customers and had them out the door while she was still waiting on the original couple. Then it was out turn, and I told her that I wanted him to wait on us since they were both done at the same time. We ordered our Good Year tires and were told it would be an hour, so we went shopping.
I went to the food court and ordered a cheese pizza and 2 soft drinks. One was for John and I got the caffeine-free diet coke. After eating the pizza slice, I saw a booth that was doing free cholesterol and blood pressure screenings. So I had my blood pressure and cholesterol checked. My blood pressure was 133/88. My cholesterol was 237. My pulse was 66. Considering I had not fasted, I am happy with my cholesterol. And considering the experience I recently had at the tire department, my blood pressure was not bad either. Ok…I will definitely have to have my cholesterol checked again after fasting.
When we were done at Sam’s club, we went to put our goodies in the car and the bitter cold hit me like freight train. The temperature definitely plummeted. I froze just going from the store to the car. Fortunately the car was parked fairly close to the exit of Sam’s club. It sucks to have to admit my husband was right. (
After Sam’s Club, it was Target where I bought some nylons and some make-up for my job interview tomorrow. My husband bought the DVD Outlaw Josie Wales which we watched this morning. Why he bought the DVD I do not know since he has seen the movie so many times already that he has it memorized. I cannot accuse him though of not knowing what he likes. (
John bought some rug at Home depot after that to work on the cat condo. Ashley already let us know that she likes the rug, and she seems to know that it is for them. How? I have no clue. John just said that he has a clue…we brought it into the house.
This morning, it was Rusty’s turn to wake us up. Again, John let me sleep in a little while he took the cats in the living room and started his new DVD (I came in at the middle of the movie).
I am waiting for the day that Moocher figures out he has the power to get us out of bed.
17 February 2006
The President had the audacity to tell reporters that the American people do not care and that it is just the media perpetuating the story. I am not a journalist, and I am really ticked off over the way this was handled.
First of all, lets make this clear that I do support the 2nd amendment, and I do not believe this is a 2nd amendment issue. I think it is a political issue. I think the reason Cheney was cleared so easily was because of politics. The sheriff probably likes his job and with Homeland Security overseeing everything, the sheriff needs the Vice President on his side. The Vice President has the power to make the sheriff's life miserable, and how nice would it be to have the Vice President owe you a favor. So it was politics.
Imagine if this same incident happened, but instead of of the shooter being Cheney, let's imagine it was a poor imigrant. And instead of the lawyer getting shot, lets imagine it was Cheney. Do you really think the poor imigrant would have gotten off as easily? Lets get real here people. And if the poor imigrant did not have a stamp to be hunting the birds, would this poor imigrant only have gotten off with a warning? My guess is that the poor imigrant would be in jail right now for attempted assassination.
Now, as Vice President of the United States, it is assumed he should be much more responsible and held to a higher standard than a poor imigrant.
Cheney screwed up severely.
16 February 2006
There was once this guy who is very much in love with his girl. This
romantic guy folded 1,000 pieces of paper cranes as a gift to his
Although, at that time he was just a small fry in his company, his
future didn't seem too bright, they were very happy together. Until
one day, his girl told him she was going to Paris and will never come
back. She also told him that she cannot visualize any future for the
both of them, so they went their own ways there and then...
Heartbroken, the guy agreed. But when he regained his confidence, he
worked hard day and night, slogging his body and mind just to make
something out of himself.
Finally with all the hard work and the help of friends, this guy had
set up his own company .
You never fail until you stop trying. One rainy day, while this guy
was driving, he saw an elderly couple sharing an umbrella in the rain
walk ing to some destination. Even with the umbrella, they were still
drenched. It didn't take him long to realize they were his girl's
With a heart in getting back at them, he drove slowly beside the
couple, wanting them to spot him in his luxury sedan. He wanted them
to know that he wasn't the same any more; he had his own company, car,
condo, etc. He made it! What he saw next confused him, the couple was
walking towards a cemetery, and so he got out of his car and
followed...and he saw his girl, a photograph of her smiling sweetly as
ever at him from her tombstone and he saw his paper cranes right
Her parents saw him. He asked them why this had happened. They
explained, she did not leave for France at all. She was ill with
cancer. She had believed that he will make it someday, but she did not
want to be his obstacle... therefore she had chosen to leave him.
Just because someone doesn't love you the way you wa nt them to,
doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have. She had wanted
her parents to put his paper cranes beside her, because, if the day
comes when fate brings him to her again...he can take some of those
back with him...
Once you have loved, you will always love. For what's in your mind may
escape but what's in your heart will remain forever.
The guy just wept...The worst way to miss someone is to be sitting
right beside her knowing you can't have her, see her or be with her
ever again.........hope you understand.
Find time to realize that there is one person who means so much to
you, for you might wake up one morning losing that person who you
thought meant nothing to you.
KINDNESS Pays !
One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his
way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was
He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost
his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal
he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought
him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly, and then asked, "How
much do I owe you?"
"You don't owe me anything," she replied "Mother has taught us never
to accept payment for a kindness." He said... "Then I thank you from
As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt; stronger
physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been
ready to give up and quit.
Years later that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors
were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called
in specialists to study her rare disease. Dr. Howard Kelly was called
in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came
from, a strange light filled his eyes.
Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room.
Dressed in his doctor's gown he we nt in to see her. He recognized her
at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his
best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to the
After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested the
business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked
at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her
She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her
life to pay for it all. Finally, she looked, and something caught ;
her attention on the side as She read these words.....
"Paid in full with one glass of milk." (Signed) Dr. Howard Kelly.
Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: "Thank You,
GOD, that Your love has spread abroad through human hearts and hands."
Picture is from Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh beautifully demonstrating the incredible architecture and mason work I joyously marveled at yesterday.
Let me tell you about my day yesterday:
The alarm went off at 6 a.m. I had an appointment at 9 a.m. at Kelly services and was frustrated. It must have shown on my face because my husband asked me what was wrong. I told him I could not find my resume. Next thing I knew, my husband jumps out of bed and gets on his computer. I got up to see what he was doing, and he had my resume pulled up. He told me it was saved on his computer. I did not think to look there. He said he was out of it the night before and did not think about it when I was looking all over for my resume. It had not been updated, so we quickly updated it and ran off some copies on the laser printer. The laser printer only does black and white, but for a resume, it is a better choice than the color dot matrix I think.
So then I did a rush job getting ready wearing my peach sweater and black skirt with peach blossoms with soft black nylons. I put my hair back with the gemmed dolphin clip and we were out the door by 7 a.m.
At 7:19 a.m., I had said bye to John in Uniontown, and was heading up 119 North to the turnpike taking 376 into Pittsburgh. I was making really good time until just before the tunnel. Then traffic was pretty much parked most of the time. The lady in front of me was putting on her make-up.
Next thing I knew in this jammed parking lot, I heard ambulance sirens and and ambulance was trying to get through. I had no idea how I was going to pull over to let the ambulance through. I did manage to pull over though. I got to Grant street with no problem and still in time for the interview. I drove down Grant street trying to figure out where 600 (USS building) was while trying to find a garage or a parking spot. I could not find one. I then noticed I was no longer on Grant, but on Liberty Avenue. So I stopped at the gas station on Liberty Avenue and 40th street and called Kelly Services. By this time, It was a quarter after 9. They were nice there. I was informed that I was in Lawrence. So we rescheduled the interview for Monday, and I figured while I was already there, I would do a dry run and learn my way around.
So I drove back and noticed from a sign that said Strip District, so I though I would find it while I was there. There was a parking lot around 22nd street and Smallman or something like that. I parked there and walked. I was in the strip District, or extremely close to it. I walked up and down the strip. It was a lot different now. The only time I had been before was with my husband on a Saturday. This was a Wednesday morning, and very quiet. It was nice.
I went to Delmonico's or something like that. It advertised the best breakfast in Pittsburgh. The waitstaff was really patient and nice. I choice 1 of 2 of their "low cal" breakfasts...fruit cup, 1 egg (poached), and 2 slices dry rye toast(though she did serve plenty of jelly and butter on the side (I was really good and avoided the condiments). I also had a good cup of decaf coffee which the waitress refilled without being asked...and she did it with a smile.:-) And she served me a glass of cold water also, which was really nice.
I then proceeded to walk to 600 Grant Street figuring I would just head towards the big buildings. For future reference, I must remember to bring walking shoes (I was wearing black pumps). I noticed a garage with cars parked and asked the security there if it was public. They told me it was. Good to know. It was on Penn Ave under some bridge.
Walking the streets, I felt so happy. There is a wonderful spirit there. Looking at the architecture and mason work, I saw the love people put into building their city. The workmanship was remarkable. I loved the small details that I missed with driving by. By walking, I could see the beauty of the city.
At one corner, I saw a man who had a homeless sign, and I greeted him. He warmly returned my "hello". I asked him how he was doing, and he replied that he was doing the best he could. I then said that the best was all we all could do. He then thanked me for noticing that and he complimented me on how nice I looked. I told him that I was dressed for a job interview that I missed, and thanked him for the compliment. The walked light turned green and I crossed the road into downtown Pittsburgh where I joyously set me feet on paths of brick. It was so charming, and much nicer than cement or tar sidewalks and roadways.
I stopped and interrupted 2 ladies who were talking outside of higher learning education building and asked where Grant street was. They were very kind and explained to me that Pittsburgh is 3 main streets (Grant turns into Liberty Avenue, Penn Avenue, & I forgot what the 3rd one was). I was told that I was near the end of Grant Street, so I should go up to Grant which was at the next light, and make a right. So I did that. I saw a building that said 635 Grant street, so I figured 600 Grant street was close. It was. It was across the street in this huge building called USS. So I went over to the building and went inside. I took the escalator up where one of the security asked if she could help me. I went over to her desk and explained to her about Kelly services. She said, "So you are doing a dry run. Smart." She was very nice. I could not go past the 2nd floor without authorization. I was happy I got that far though. The building is incredibly secure.
One the second floor is also a Starbucks. I went over there and the guy behind the counter was really cool. He was patient and quoted Shakespeare. He also greeted me to the building. I then told him that I was also new to Pittsburgh, and was doing a dry run getting here. He welcomed me to Pittsburgh, and made me a Decaf non-fat mocha, and did not think anything of it. The Mocha tasted rich and delicious. I highly recommend it.
Walking back to the strip district, I took more time noticing details in the Mason work, in the architecture, in the roads and curves. There was definitely a lot of love that went into building this city (please excuse the redundancy. The love in the stones & bricks really show).
Back in the Strip District, I stopped at a seafood place on Penn Avenue. I sat at the bar and was greeted by the bartender named "Fat Nicky" who was definitely not fat. As a matter of fact, even though he wore his clothes loose, it was obvious the guy worked out. For all the single girls out there, this guy is definite eye candy. And he is really nice. I asked him what he recommended, and he said a lot of people order the lobster roll. I told him I did not want the fries with it, so he brought me a garden salad instead with side of oil and vinegar, which I only used the vinegar. They did not have a caffeine free diet drink, so I ordered water with lemon slice. The food was really delicious.
I then used their restroom and removed my nylons. That way I could take my shoes off and walk barefoot. I would then put my shoes back on when entering a store. I stopped in the Asian market, the spice market, the vegetable market, the Greek market. At the Greek Market, the lady behind the cash register was so nice and we chatted about Father Frank. He was the father of the church I attended in Huntington, West Virginia. She knew Father Frank, and we agree he is a great guy. She told me that he was transferred to Weirton, West Virginia.
So I walked to the car with my bags of goodies, and tried to get out of Pittsburgh. I was driving around in circles trying to find 376 E. I ended up at the police station where some officers were talking outside. rolled down my window and asked how to get out of this city. This really nice guy with sheriff on his shirt came over and gave me excellent directions, so I found my way back to Uniontown with no problems after that.
I got there early, but John worked until 6 p.m. So I looked at the Pensky's catalog I got at the Strip District. I love their spices.
When John got off work, we went to the new Shop 'N Save over at Walnut Street in Uniontown.
Then when we got home, we put the stuff away, and John got on the computer to relax. I came into the office and asked him for help, and he was excited asking what I wanted help with. I told him that since it was already 8 p.m., I asked him if he could please make dinner while I cleaned the kitchen so we would get done quicker. This was a lesson for me. I need to learn how to ask for help instead of trying to do everything myself. John was so happy that I asked. I do not have to do everything myself.
Dinner was delicious. John made chicken stir fry using the fresh peppers from the Strip District, and mushrooms and onions he bought at Shop 'N Save.
Then after dinner, I made myself a cup of green tea using the new Chinese tea cup (with lid). The tea was excellent.
I had no trouble falling asleep last night. Yet when I woke up this morning, my neck and my throat were killing me. I am still having problems with my neck from the car accident back in June. I have an appoint with the neurosurgeon for a second opinion at the request of my Chiropractor this coming Wednesday. It will be nice when the day comes when I will not have neck or throat pain.
In the meantime, I can think about Pittsburgh architecture.:-)
14 February 2006
Here is the story from:
Updated: 2:48 p.m. ET Feb. 14, 2006
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - The 78-year-old lawyer who was shot by Vice President Dick Cheney in a hunting accident has some birdshot lodged in his heart and he had a “what we would say is a minor heart attack” Tuesday morning, hospital officials said.
The victim, Harry Whittington, was moved back to the intensive care unit for further treatment Tuesday morning, said Peter Banko, the hospital administrator at a hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Banko said there was an irregularity in the heartbeat caused by a pellet, and doctors performed a cardiac catheterization. Whittington expressed a desire to leave the hospital, but Banko said he would probably stay for another week to make sure more shot doesn’t move to other organs or move into other parts of his body.
“Some of the bird shot appears to have moved and lodged into part of his heart in what we would say is a minor heart attack,” Banko said in a news conference outside the hospital.
The doctors said Whittington did not experience symptoms of a heart attack or any other problems. They left the birdshot in place and said he could live a healthy life with it there.
“He’s not had a heart attack in the traditional sense,” said David Blanchard, chief of emergency care.
White House physicians who attended to Whittington at the scene after Cheney accidentally shot him were involved in the treatment, the officials said.
Whittington had initially been placed in intensive care after the accident Saturday evening. He had been moved to a “step-down unit” Monday after doctors decided to leave several birdshot pellets lodged in his skin rather than try to remove them.
A Texas Parks and Wildlife Department report said Whittington was retrieving a downed bird and stepped out of the hunting line he was sharing with Cheney. “Another covey was flushed and Cheney swung on a bird and fired, striking Whittington in the face, neck and chest at approximately 30 yards,” the report said.
The wildlife department issued a report Monday that found the main factor contributing to the accident was a “hunter’s judgment factor.” No other secondary factors were found to have played a role.
The department gave Cheney and Whittington warning citations for breaking Texas hunting law by failing to buy a $7 stamp allowing them to shoot upland game birds. A department spokesman said warnings are being issued in most cases because the stamp requirement only went into effect five months ago and many hunters weren’t aware of it.
Cheney’s office said Monday night in a statement that Cheney had a $125 nonresident hunting license and has sent a $7 check to cover the cost of the stamp. “The staff asked for all permits needed, but was not informed of the $7 upland game bird stamp requirement,” the statement said.
Looking for the humor
Just before the latest news on Whittington's health, the White House had apparently decided that the best way to deal with the incident was to joke about it.
President Bush’s spokesman quipped Tuesday that the burnt orange school colors of the University of Texas championship football team that was visiting the White House shouldn’t be confused for hunter’s safety wear.
“The orange that they’re wearing is not because they’re concerned that the vice president may be there,” joked White House press secretary Scott McClellan, following the lead of late-night television comedians. “That’s why I’m wearing it.”
The president’s brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, took a similar jab after slapping an orange sticker on his chest from the Florida Farm Bureau that read, “No Farmers, No Food.”
“I’m a little concerned that Dick Cheney is going to walk in,” the governor cracked during an appearance in Tampa Monday.
Cheney, an experienced hunter, has not been joking or saying anything publicly at all about the accident.
Katharine Armstrong, owner of the ranch where the shooting occurred, said it happened toward the end of the hunt, when it was still sunny but as darkness was encroaching and they were preparing to go inside. She said Whittington made a mistake by not announcing that he had walked up to rejoin the hunting line, and Cheney didn’t see him as he tried to down a bird.
Armstrong said she saw Cheney’s security detail running toward the scene. “The first thing that crossed my mind was he had a heart problem,” she told The Associated Press.
Cheney 'a great shot'
She said Cheney stayed “close but cool” while the agents and medical personnel treated Whittington, then took him by ambulance to the hospital. Later, the hunting group sat down for dinner while Whittington was being treated, receiving updates from a family member at the hospital. Armstrong described Cheney’s demeanor during dinner as “very worried” about Whittington.
Pamela Willeford, the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland, another member of the hunting party, told The Dallas Morning News for a story in Tuesday’s editions that she and Cheney didn’t realize Whittington had picked up a bird and caught up with them.
Willeford said she has hunted with Cheney before and would again.
“He’s a great shot. He’s very safety conscious. This is something that unfortunately was a bad accident and when you’re with a group like that, he’s safe or safer than all the rest of us,” she said.
But the accident raised questions about Cheney’s adherence to hunting safety practices and the White House’s failure to disclose the accident in a timely way.
Several hunting safety experts interviewed agreed it would have been a good idea for Whittington to announce himself. But every expert stressed that the shooter is responsible for avoiding other people.
Bush was told about Cheney’s involvement in the accident shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday — about an hour after it occurred — but the White House did not disclose the accident until Sunday afternoon, and then only in response to press questions.
Facing a press corps upset that news had been withheld, McClellan said, “I think you can always look back at these issues and look at how to do a better job.”
I hope everyone is having a wonderful Valentine's Day!!!
Here is the history of Valentine's Day according to care2.com:
The origins of Valentine's Day trace back to the ancient Roman celebration of Lupercalia. Held on February 15, Lupercalia honored the gods Lupercus and Faunus, as well as the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.
In addition to a bountiful feast, Lupercalia festivities are purported to have included the pairing of young women and men. Men would draw women's names from a box, and each couple would be paired until next year's celebration.
While this pairing of couples set the tone for today's holiday, it wasn't called "Valentine's Day" until a priest named Valentine came along. Valentine, a romantic at heart, disobeyed Emperor Claudius II's decree that soldiers remain bachelors. Claudius handed down this decree believing that soldiers would be distracted and unable to concentrate on fighting if they were married or engaged. Valentine defied the emperor and secretly performed marriage ceremonies. As a result of his defiance, Valentine was put to death on February 14.
After Valentine's death, he was named a saint. As Christianity spread through Rome, the priests moved Lupercalia from February 15 to February 14 and renamed it St. Valentine's Day to honor Saint Valentine.
What's Cupid Got to Do with It?
According to Roman mythology, Cupid was the son of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. Cupid was known to cause people to fall in love by shooting them with his magical arrows. But Cupid didn't just cause others to fall in love - he himself fell deeply in love.
As legend has it, Cupid fell in love with a mortal maiden named Psyche. Cupid married Psyche, but Venus, jealous of Psyche's beauty, forbade her daughter-in-law to look at Cupid. Psyche, of course, couldn't resist temptation and sneaked a peek at her handsome husband. As punishment, Venus demanded that she perform three hard tasks, the last of which caused Psyche's death.
Cupid brought Psyche back to life and the gods, moved by their love, granted Pysche immortality. Cupid thus represents the heart and Psyche the (struggles of the) human soul.
Approximately 1 billion Valentine's Day cards are sent each year. Half of those are sent through Care2 (OK, maybe not HALF... or even half of half... but we are growing fast!)
In order of popularity, Valentine's Day cards are given to: teachers, children, mothers, wives, sweethearts, Koko the gorilla.
The expression "wearing your heart on your sleeve" comes from a Valentine's Day party tradition. Young women would write their names on slips of paper to be drawn by young men. A man would then wear a woman's name on his sleeve to claim her as his valentine.
And here is the history according to the History Channel:
Image courtesy of Corbis/Lake County Museum.
The History of Valentine's Day
Every February, across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and why do we celebrate this holiday? The history of Valentine's Day -- and its patron saint -- is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.
One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men -- his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.
According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl -- who may have been his jailor's daughter -- who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.
While some believe that Valentine's Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death or burial -- which probably occurred around 270 A.D -- others claim that the Christian church may have decided to celebrate Valentine's feast day in the middle of February in an effort to 'christianize' celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival. In ancient Rome, February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Houses were ritually cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and a type of wheat called spelt throughout their interiors. Lupercalia, which began at the ides of February, February 15, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at the sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would then sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification.
The boys then sliced the goat's hide into strips, dipped them in the sacrificial blood and took to the streets, gently slapping both women and fields of crops with the goathide strips. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed being touched with the hides because it was believed the strips would make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city's bachelors would then each choose a name out of the urn and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage. Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine's Day around 498 A.D. The Roman 'lottery' system for romantic pairing was deemed un-Christian and outlawed. Later, during the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds' mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of February -- Valentine's Day -- should be a day for romance. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. The greeting, which was written in 1415, is part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England. Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.
In Great Britain, Valentine's Day began to be popularly celebrated around the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century, it was common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By the end of the century, printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one's feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine's Day greetings. Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began to sell the first mass-produced valentines in America.
According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.)
Approximately 85 percent of all valentines are purchased by women. In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia.
Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages (written Valentine's didn't begin to appear until after 1400), and the oldest known Valentine card is on display at the British Museum. The first commercial Valentine's Day greeting cards produced in the U.S. were created in the 1840s by Esther A. Howland. Howland, known as the Mother of the Valentine, made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as "scrap".
13 February 2006
By now you probably heard that Vice President Cheney shot a person during one of his hunting trips at 5:30 Saturday evening. It took 24 hours for him to admit to it, and then only after the owner of the land reported it to the Corpus Christ internet news Caller.com
Now, my dad has been hunting all his life. He never shot a person while hunting game. My husband has been hunting all his life. He never shot a person. All responsible hunters (notice I use the term "responsible") make sure they have a clear shot and clearly identify the intended target before firing their weapon.
What if this was a kid playing instead of a grown man retrieving a bird? It is just plain irresponsible. And to use 24 hours to put a spin on the media...and to believe we are ignorant enough to fall for it...is a long shot. Responsible hunters should know better. As Vice President, he should be responsible and set a good example. He has obviously failed on both accounts.
12 February 2006
Scooter Libby testified that his higher-up (Vice President Dick Cheney) told him to leak classified information
The picture to the left is of Scooter Libby who works directly for our Vice President, Dick Cheney. According to Libby's testimony, it was his "higher up" who told him to leak the name of a CIA operative, which is definitely classified information and could cause the death of countless people let alone destroy countless careers. This administration has been playing chess using WWII as a model of moves to take. Only this time, it is the American people who are being check mated.
It is long past the time we put all the pieces together and see that our politics is destroying our country.
Homeland security is just more bureaucracy that is just sucking up money without actually doing anything productive. Homeland security is an oxymoron. The only way Homeland Security can secure our homeland is by disbanning.
I will also be watching who endorses the patriot act. Anyone who endorses it, I will definitely not be supporting with my vote.
I see all these World War II movies and I cannot help but notice the similarities between WWII and what is going on now.
- In WWII, our government knew that Pearl Harbor was going to be attacked before it was. We know have evidence (FBI testimony) that our government knew 9/11 would happen before it did.
- In WWII, we went after Germany before going after Japan, even though it was Japan that bombed us. After 9/11, we went after Iraq before going after Bin Laden, even though it was Bin Laden who planned the 9/11 attack.
- In WWII, the country came together to support its soldiers. After 9/11, anyone who did not support the war against terror was labeled as "unpatriotic".
- In WWII, the people were asked to conserve for the war effort. The president is doing this now telling us that we are "addicted to oil" as oil companies make outlandish profits.
- In WWII, prejudice developed towards Japanese. After 9/11, prejudice developed toward Muslims.
And lets not forget how our president likes to compare himself to Roosevelt. It is time the American people woke up from this paranoid stupor and realize that our ancestors did not fight so our freedoms could so easily be taken away by our government.
11 February 2006
Lets start with schools. There are more students in many classes than teachers can handle, so teachers (some, not all) try to get active students on mind altering drugs to the students more pliable. This scares me. When I was tutoring, I saw this done, when all the student really needed was attention, not drugs. She acted up to get attention, and she was intelligent, but because she acted up, she was labeled as learning disabled. In less than a year, I got this 11 year old from a 2nd grade level to a 5th grade level. All it took was discipline and attention. She knew with the label of "learning disabled", she did not have to try. It is such a shame that our country plays "Brave New World" with these children.
With some doctors, it is like that also. I have noticed that some doctors will have no clue what is wrong, but will experiment with medicines. When you tell them the medicines do not work and actually make you worse, they reply that you need to give it more time than a week. I know when I broke my nose (I heard it crack and pulled out the piece of cartilage and bone), yet, recently when I told an ENT, she replied that my nose was not broken. So I asked her what I pulled out then. She said she did not know. Am I such an idiot that I do not know what bone and cartilage look like? Give me a break (figuratively speaking). I have been diagnosed with deviated septum before by another doctor, but nothing was done for it. I just wish doctors would learn to listen to patients and not assume patients are idiots. After all, we have been living with our bodies our entire lives. It is time doctors and patients were honest and open with information instead of allowing egos to get in the way.
As for politicians, we know that fracturing the truth is part of the job description, but does it really need to be a compound fracture? We are not cattle despite what many politicians believe. It is ok to ask questions. It is ok to question government. That is our job as responsible citizens. Being told that questioning our president is unpatriotic is a political ploy. Believing it is very immature. Time to grow up people and plug in our brains. It is ok to question authority.
10 February 2006
Today, I learned a wonderful lesson.
First of all, please allow me to congratulate the Pittsburgh Steelers on winning the Superbowl.
Second, I would like to comment on our President irresponsibly spreading fear by talking about a bomb threat being thwarted…this threat was in 2002, and he is talking about it now because of the election coming up this year.
Bomb threats have been thwarted since the beginning of this country. We have had 2 White Houses destroyed by the English. We did not go into paranoia then. We had Pearl Harbor bombed by the Japanese. We did not go into paranoia then. We had the Oklahoma federal building blown up by Americans. We did not go into paranoia then. Yet this president promotes paranoia because fear is all he has going for him. That is very sad. And when I talk to people who support President Bush, the only reason they have for supporting him is that they believe Bush will help them end Abortion. The president cannot overturn Roe vs. Wade. And that court case was about privacy, not about abortion. Do you really want your medical records public for all to see? Think about it.
Now about Sex Slavery that is still going on today. Why is this allowed to exist in the world? Women and children being kidnapped and sold, and nothing is being done in the name of freedom or even simple human decency. Women and children are human, not objects or property. Period.
Now on to the lesson I learned today.
This is a lesson my husband has been trying to teach me for a while now. What can I say. I am a slow learner. ;-) Being a Military Brat (Coast Guard), plus the oldest of three offspring, plus being a female born into a chauvinistic family, plus having a mother who could not speak English when I was born, I was a very responsible child. My dad used to say, “if you can not do something right, don’t do it at all” or if he knew he was going to be late somewhere, he would not go at all because being late was unacceptable. The military taught us that everything was suppose to be perfect. As a child, I learned how to iron military creases. At age 6, I was writing business letters for me mom, taking care of the bills, taking care of the checkbook, auditing the checkbook. My dad’s sister used to make sure I knew this was nothing special and that I was no smarter than any other child. So I thought all kids could do this stuff. And I thought all kids were this responsible.
This kid is still inside me. My husband tells me a lot that I do not have to handle everything myself. It is hard to sink in. When trying to get an appointment with the Pulmonologist who specializes in sleep, the doctor I was referred to did not accept my health insurance. My insurance game me some other names that were on the plan and I was getting frustrated because I wanted everything to be “right”. My insurance suggested I let the referring doctor and the other doctor’s office deal with it, which caused me to cry for some reason. And then I realized it was hard for me to turn stuff over and not deal with it myself. Which means my husband is right again. I really need to work on this part of myself and realize I do not have to be responsible for everything and I do not have to handle everything myself. Not an easy task for me.
03 February 2006
Today is the second day of taking the medicine Dr. Soso prescribed, and it is not working yet. This morning, I soaked my neck under running hot shower which seemed to help some. But my sore throat is back and so is my headache. And I just took the medicine about 3 hours ago.
I have to keep going though because life goes on.
I was watching a video of the Steelers on the computer while eating my fruit yogurt for breakfast when Hines Ward started doing his interview. Moocher let out a Meow and jumped up onto the desk to check out the computer. He checked out Hines Ward (the image), then checked out my fruit yogurt, then jumped back down. I think we have a football kitty in our midst.
02 February 2006
First of all, I would like send huge kudos out to Governor Joe Manchin III for closing down the mines in West Virginia until they are inspected for safety. This took a lot of courage on the part of the governor since a large part of the state is financially dependent on the coal industry, and the industry knew it, figuring they could do whatever they wanted at the lives of West Virginianers.
I am so proud of Governor Joe Manchin III for doing what is best for the state. Thank you Governor Manchin!!!
Now hopefully, the federal government will learn something and get their act together putting human lives before monetary profit.
Talking about profit, don't you love the way President Bush is sidestepping the issue of oil companies price gouging (remembering President Bush is an oil man himself) the American people by stating Americans are addicted to oil? Americans are not addicted...we are dependent. There is a huge difference. And if oil companies did not buy patients to other technologies of fuel sources, we would not be so dependent on oil. Yet every time a new source of fuel comes out, the oil companies are in Washington D.C. lobbying for their cause. And who benefits from this? The president, the Senate, the Congress, which all happen to be Republican controled. You figure it out. It is double talk casting the blame on us which really belongs with them.
As for reducing our import on oil and also spreading democracy on the middle east...the president can not accomplish both. It has to be one or the other. The only influence we have is that we are consumers of their oil. If we quit buying their oil, we have no more influence. The middle east will not need us. So there would be no spread of democracy. Think about it. As consumers, we know we have power over companies by boycotting them. If we do not buy their product to begin with, the boycott does not work.
And notice how our gas prices are rising and at the same time oil companies are making outlandish profits? That is definite price gouging. There are suppose to be government agencies in place to protect us from this. But instead, our government blames their neglect claiming we are "addicted to oil". To be fair, our president, being an alcoholic, does know about addictions. And some people do sniff gasoline to get high. So maybe the president is speaking from experience when he states "Americans are addicted to oil". Just don't speak for all of us.
01 February 2006
And to top it all off, I just received a phone call from Liberty Mutual, my car insurance. I faxed them the paperwork to change my car insurance from "limited tort" to "full tort", and she said that it did not have my husband's signature because he is the main person on the policy even though the policy is really in both our names and addressed to both of us. I honestly do not think they like that we are changing to "full tort". When it was time to renew the policy, I was going to do "full tort" and they talked me out of it again. After what I am dealing with now, I never want to go through this again, and I definitely never want my husband to have to ever experience this. When I got a bill from the hospital for the scans that were taken on the day of my accident, and the bill still is not paid, it was a definite wake up call. And then when I called my car insurance, and she said they are deciding if the bills are directly linked to the accident, and which bills to pay, I called and changed my insurance coverage to "full tort" that day. The sad thing is, the accident was no where near being my fault. I was stopped at a red light completely obeying the traffic laws when a work van rammed into me never even attempting to break (there were no skid marks at all on the ground). And it was June, so weather was not a factor either. Yet I am the one suffering. It really sucks!!!