Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Where It All Began

     Oh, oh.

     I've been blogging just fine for six years and now Blogspot is conspiring with Google to make it difficult.  The page is a mess, there's no way I can see to upload pictures, and everything's different.  There's a note that switching to Google Chrome will make it all better.  But I like my old browser just as much as I like my old Blogspot blog.  If the change is a scam to make me use all things Google, it won't work.

    I see my blogging buddy Merle is thinking of retiring if she can't get her own blog to work.  Same here.

    Speaking of good old days, while visiting my son Scott in Washington D.C., we took a day trip over to historic Jamestown.  As the tourist brochures say, walk on the same ground where Pocahontas and John Smith walked over four centuries ago.  And we did.

    Historic Jamestown is as much an archeological site as a historic re-creation of the original town and fort.  During the summer archeologists continue excavating the grounds which still hold a treasure trove of artifacts from the first settlers here (no treasure though).

    Scott and I talked to one local historian who showed us where Pocahontas married John Rolfe, pointed out the well that served as a dumping ground for just about everything when the well went bad, and showed us a picture of Bill Kelso.  Bill was a local archeologist instrumental in the restoration project ongoing. 

   The museum on the site testifies to how difficult life was for the first European settlers in the New World.  Disease, starvation and attacks by hostile natives cut the number of Jamestown residents from 500 to less than a hundred.  It's a testament to the will of those remaining that they survived, let alone eventually thrived.

   I wanted to post a few pictures here, but Blogger had other ideas.  So forget that.

   Anyway, it's hard to picture what life was like back then.  When Chief Powhatan ordered his braves to kill any settlers who wandered outside the triangular fort that protected them, those inside were forced to eat anything they could find, which included the horses they brought with them across the Atlantic.  And still many starved.

    I guess my own problem of trying to deal with a new blog template is trivial by comparison.  At least the first settlers had an Indian princess to help them.  What I need is a tech savvy Pocahontas. 






Tuesday, April 17, 2012

On The Road Again

A few thoughts after spending spending 20 odd hours in a car driving to the east coast and home again . . .

Why are there mile upon mile of construction zones yet little construction going on?

Why does it cost almost $5 just to enter the Pennsylvania turnpike from the west. Then another $13 to leave the turnpike and head south to an expressway that's free. If I were a tourist with limited means, I'd avoid Pennsylvania altogether.

For nearly five years a hundred and fifty years ago, the union forces tried to march on Richmond and the confederate forces tried to do the same to Washington. Neither was successful. Nowadays it takes less than two hours to cover that same distance via I-95 and probably the same number of people do it in a day than fought in the Civil War. Very crowded.

Do NOT try to navigate the beltway around Washington DC without a good map. Even though we've been there before, this time when the beltway split into three while I was heading south to Alexandria, I had no idea which road to take to get to Alexandria which is where we wanted to go.

One option was to take I-95 south towards Richmond, another was to take I-395 into Washington and the third was to take I-95 north towards Baltimore. I chose I-395 first. Nope. Then I-95 south. Wrong again. I-95 north to Baltimore sounded like I was going back the way I came.

So we exited the beltway and used our car compass, dead reckoning and a gas station attendant to find Alexandria. (By the way, the correct answer WAS I-95 north to Baltimore).

I can't expect my wife Wendy to share driving. She can't drive in bright sun, rain, fog, wind, etc. But her excuse this time took me by surprise. She said a comment I made about some stupid talk radio program made her laugh so hard she cried. And the acid from her tears made her eyes burn so now she couldn't drive.

Hmmmm, I don't know. I don't even think my lampooning a radio talk show host was even that funny. He was making up wild hypothetical questions, then asking folks to call in for discussion.

My question was better than his, I thought. "An alien lands his flying saucer in your backyard and asks to use your bathroom. Do you let him? The number is 555-7479."

Not that funny, right? But it got her out of a turn at the wheel so I guess she had the last laugh anyway.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

When Baby Games Go Bad

Whenever I get any kind of upper respiratory infection, I have a nagging cough which can linger for weeks. It's annoying, more so for those around me since I get used to it after a while. Other's don't. Those others include my wife and my co-workers.

So if anyone has a surefire cough remedy out there, please let me know. My livelihood and marriage may depend on it.

But I'm not nearly as bad off as my son Greg who was injured this past Easter in a mishap I characterize as "when baby games go bad."

Seems that Greg was playing a game of peek-a-boo with his son Grant. Greg put his hands over his face, put his head next to Grant's, uncovered his face and called out, "Peek-a-boo!" Grant responded with a poke in the eye (didn't that happen in a Three Stooges short?).

It pretty much put Greg's eye out of commission. The following day he could barely open his eye and headed off to see the eye doctor. (I'm using the word "see" in a metaphorical sense). They diagnosed a scratch and irritated cornea and prescribed drops of various sorts.

Greg says the doctor reported that this type of eye injury is not that uncommon. Babies can have some sharp fingernails.

I asked Lindsay afterwards if Grant felt bad about what he did to his dad and she responded, "Not a bit." Hmmmmm, maybe Grant was saying to himself, "Peek-a-boo me, will ya."

Keeping this a little short as I've been planning a long weekend for Wendy and me. We're going to visit our son Scott in Washington DC and take in some sites nearby, maybe Colonial Williamsburg or Jamestown. The weather's supposed to be a good one for some sight-seeing . . . just so long as I don't play peek-a-boo with my grandson beforehand.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Sick Time

I’m writing this under the influence of Tylenol severe cold and flu medicine. It’s not that I have a severe cold or flu. But I do have an upper respiratory infection that has me coughing through the night as well as most of the day at work.

So I’m very public about taking my medicine so people around me, including my wife and my colleague with whom I share a small office, know that I’m doing my best to fight this bug. I’ve already gone through one bag of cough drops but yesterday found me coughing so hard at work that my manager expressed her concern.

“I rubbed up with Vicks today,” I said. “Can’t you smell the Vicks on me?”

She said, no. But I think she was prudently keeping her distance from me just in case I was still contagious.

It's tough when you're sick and you still have to carry on because, well, for one we're so backed up at my job I could work straight through my next life and still not be current.

And then, after work my wife and I had to stop at Sears to pick up a new mower to replace the one that I finally gave up on last fall. The grass has no sympathy for the ill.

While at Sears, an elderly gentleman was making a purchase just ahead of us. He seemed fairly confused at the process. He had to take his sales slip to the pick-up desk, scan it, then they would bring out his package. Since it was heavy, Sears staff had to load it for him.

We had to do the same with our new mower. I pulled the car around and waited for Wendy to come out with the Sears guy carrying the big box with our mower. He threw it in the back and Wendy and I drove off.

She mentioned that when another Sears guy brought out the older man's box, he asked where his car was. The man explained he was parked on the other side of the building. The Sears guy explained that he would have to drive the car up to the pick-up spot before they could load his box into the car for him.

"I thought he seemed a little confused," I said.

"What's scary is that he was buying a chainsaw," Wendy added.

Sick or not, I had to chuckle at that.