Monthly Archives: October 2007

Welcome Zombies

First of all, for those who claim it is already a holiday elsewhere in the world, Halloween does not start until night fall on the evening on October 31 where you live. (And yes, this is aimed at a specific person. He knows who he is.)

Halloween has a very long history. Historians have traced the origins back to the times of the Druids and Celts. Samhain was the start of the dark period of the year according to ancient Celtic beliefs. And even today, winter is the dark time.

Halloween is not about dressing up and getting candy. It is about the time of the year when the spirits are able to move between the two worlds freely. And spirits do abound in certain places. I have been to Antietam battlefield at this time of year and felt the souls of those who died there.

I live in an area where spirits abound. There have been rumors about my house being haunted as well. There are some who claim some one hung himself in my attic. But asked for the time frame that the hanging supposedly took place, it is always before my house was built. My house wasn’t built until 1925. Prior to 1925, the property housed one of the local blacksmith shops (one of many in town.) The house for the property was the house next door. And most of the people who told me the story about my house are people who have lived in this town less than 30 years. To get the straight story, I simply asked those who were born and raised in this town and are well over the age of 70. The house where the story really took place was actually in Georgetown which is the opposite end of town from me. (My town was originally two separate towns that grew together. But to give you an idea of how little growing was needed, the old part of town is only two blocks long. And looking at the original maps of the two villages, they almost met. And yes, the spot where my house is located is on that map. And there are ghosts in this town.)

And tomorrow is Dia de losMuertos!!!! Although it is associated with Mexico, this holiday is celebrated in other Latin American countries as well.


Now playing: Daddy a Go Go – Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron (60’s Mojo Mix)
via FoxyTunes


Filed under Misc

Frosty Morning

There was no frost warning for last night but here is what I saw this morning about 8:30. –


Now playing: Annie Lennox – Womankind
via FoxyTunes


Filed under Misc

Eye Candy Friday

It is still raining today. We have had rain on and off for 3 days now. But the rain is soaking in so I really can’t complain. Except I know a little furry person who is not happy. One of her favorite things to do is go outside and site and watch everything going on. So I am posting so old photo of her doing her favorite things. Right now it is pouring and she is curled up into a ball sleeping.


Now playing: Anuna – The Rising of the Sun
via FoxyTunes

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Dark and Dreary with Bright Spots

Yesterday was a bit dreary with the reports that people were receiving their October STR shipments. But we had some rain so I couldn’t really complain. And the rain stopped long enough last night for me to head over to Borders to pick up some books that I had on hold. It started raining again after I got home last night so I sat and worked on my Mr. Greenjeans and listened to the rain.


There are two bright spots today despite the fact that it is very overcast, dreary, dark, and drizzly. One is the new book I picked up last night and the other is that my October STR shipment was waiting for me at the post office this morning.

No matter what when I go to Borders, I always check out the bargain books. And last night, I picked up a book about fire trucks and engines. The best part is that the book came with a little wooden ladder truck. With my coupons last night the price was even nicer. So of course this little book got added to my pile. I read the book when I got home and it is really interesting and actually accurate about the descriptions of what each piece of fire apparatus does on a call. I am picking up the last two copies tomorrow night for my chief’s mom. She is going to give them to her grandchildren as Christmas presents. (But of course, she might give one to her son the fire chief!)


This morning it was a tad on the nippy side considering that the temperatures have been in the high 70s over the past few days. I hate cold feet so I reached into the sock day and I am wearing hand knit socks today. My toes are nice and toasty. I also decided that since it was damp that I would wear something made out of wool instead of fleece as a jacket today. I pulled out a poncho I made a few years ago to wear. (I normally don’t wear ponchos but I had to make this one. It is called Poncho Mia!!!)


I was thinking of giving this to my niece but I think I will keep it now instead. It was nice and warm on the walk to the post office this morning. And at the post office there was the nice bright and cheery yellow slip that means you have a package in my box. Yes, it was my October shipment of the Rockin Sock Club from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Let’s just say that Tina must have been communing with the spirits from down around Baltimore. The colors are perfect for the Raven series and Edgar Allan Poe. I am thinking that I will be acquiring more of the yarn in this series. After all, I do live in Maryland and Poe is most definitely associated with Maryland and is buried in Baltimore. So my logic follows that I need yarn from the Raven series.

There is a photo up on my Ravelry stash page that actually shows the true colors of the skein but for here, I am only posting the black and white photo. And here is a shot of what the skies look like today.


Now playing: Anuna – Invocation
via FoxyTunes

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Filed under Misc, Socks


Okay, I was tagged by Dani over at Knit ‘n’ NASCAR for 8 things.

And here are the rules –

Once tagged, you must link to the person who tagged you. Then post the rules before your list, and list 8 random things about yourself. At the end of the post, you must tag and link to 8 other people, visit their sites, and leave a comment letting them know they’ve been tagged.

1. I know tons of useless information. I am the person who you hate to play trivia games with unless sports are involved. I don’t like sports.

2. I used to compete in junior high and high school in debate and forensics. I won some awards in junior high for extemporaneous speech in junior high. I liked debate but I was better at forensics. I placed second in children’s literature reading and poetry at the county level my junior year of high school. And I was on the academic team ,y senior year.

3. I like to confuse people when I tell them I am Chinese. Technically, I am. My passport says I was born in China so therefore I am Chinese. See it is all logical.

4. I know more than the average person about wild land fires. The management system that is used in the fire service is based on the system developed in wild fires in California during the 70s. So I know that a strike team is comprised of 5 of anything. An IC (incident commander) in San Diego yesterday called for 150 more strike teams. He wanted 750 more engines!!!

5. I do not watch television. I disconnected my cable a few years ago and like it better that way. I do use Netflix but really only watch movies 2 or 3 nights a week. I am generally reading or knitting while listening to the DVDs.

6. My tastes in music are very eclectic. Although I do have a preference for Celtic music. Have you hear Old Blind Dogs? You should give them a listen.

7. I can fake being confident although inside I would rather be at home reading or out hiking. I really am shy.

8. I have a slight addiction to sock yarn. P, be quiet!!! Your addiction is just as bad.

Now I get to tag 8 people. So let me so who I want to tag…. P of Knit Buddies is first on the list. She is always first on the list. I am also going to tag my friend Guinfer over at Halfway Down the Stairs. Joy over dynamiteknits is also tagged which means she will blog!!!! Suz over Scattered Gemini is also tagged. Kris over at The Knitting Wannabee is alos tagged. And I will also tag MG from Knit Buddies. If you want to be tagged, consider yourself tagged.

Now playing: Jimmy Buffett – Fruitcakes
via FoxyTunes


Filed under Misc

Remember These?

My nephew has been helping to clean out the basement of the building. And look at what he found!!! There is actually a record player for them as well. He wants the records and the record player. I am not even sure the record player works but that at least is his. I still have to go through the LPS to see what is in the pile. But he will not be getting these records. I earned some of these 45s as payment for babysitting one time. We are talking about the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and U2. There is no way he is getting these precious vinyls.


Now playing: Diamond Rio – I’m Trying (Duet with Chely Wright)
via FoxyTunes


Filed under eye candy

The Color Purple

The color purple is the reason for so little knitting lately. I have been sewing on the binding onto a quilt that is purple. I finished sewing on the binding and just need to create the label for the quilt now. Once I finish sewing on a binding, I generally wash the quilt before sewing on the label. This is a quilt that I finished the top for a few years ago but never got around to having the top quilted. The problem is now that everyone in the family wants the quilt. But this one is my quilt or it will be until I have the next one quilted. And I know what I can give for presents this year at least.


And the weather has been strange lately. My eggplant is still blooming. And there are tiny eggplants on the plant. Eggplant is normally a heat loving plant and the temperatures have actually been dropping at night. But we have not yet had a frost so I may get lucky and get a few more eggplant from this one plant. The cooler weather has meant that it was time to plant fall lettuce. I planted mesclun mix and mustards in my planters. And they have started to come up already. I need to thin them a little but I will wait a few more days. I can eat what I thin.


Now playing: Chely Wright – Scars
via FoxyTunes

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Filed under garden, quilt

Busy Weekend

I had the chance Saturday to go up to the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. The Laurel Highlands are best known for being the site of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. But that is not the only natural or man-made wonder in the Laurel Highlands. As a former white water kayaker, the Laurel Highlands to me means the Youghiogheny River and Ohiopyle Falls. The Youghiogheny, or Yough as it is also called, is where I was first introduced to white water kayaking while I was in college, although I didn’t actually do any kayaking until a few years later. But I loved to go to the river with friends and sit on the rocks and watch the people out playing among the rocks.

Because my father was driving, this was a day trip. I like it when some one else drives because it means I can knit or read in the car. We had a real early start. I was up at 4 am and still ended up waiting for my father to come and pick me up. The route to the Laurel Highlands is the same route my father used to drive to take me to college. So this meant I knew exactly where to tell him to stop so I could take photos.

I did have knitting, books, and a quilt to work on in the car. And of course, one should never travel without an iPod filled with music and podcasts.

The first stop for photos was at Sideling Hill. Sideling Hill is at the edge of Washington County, Maryland, and offers a fantastic of Washington County. The road used to take you around the mountain on a two-lane road. The view from the top of the mountain was spectacular but the road was not a place you wanted to be on a dark, foggy, snowy, or ice-y night. The cut through Sideling Hill cut off almost 20 to 30 minutes off the time it took to get to Western Maryland and made the road safer.

So before 7 am, I was standing on the edge of the rest area taking photos of the sunrise. And yes, it was cold. But the photos were worth standing in the cold with cold fingers. Yes, I was too laze to walk back to the van and get my gloves. The morning was foggy and you could see the patches of the fog as the sun started to rise up over the mountains.


After stopping at Sideling Hill, we headed up towards Cumberland. Cumberland sits in a valley and fog (and smog) is a common occurrence. But the fog lifting was pretty and I was able to take a good photo while still in the van. The next stop was in Frostburg, Maryland.


Frostburg is a very special place to me. I want to university there. And I managed to do it sober. Frostburg is best known for the drinking. People claim that there is not much to do either on campus or in town except drink. Yes, it does get cold there but there is plenty to do. But there is plenty to do both on campus and in town provided you are willing to keep an open mind. And the surrounding area is full of natural wonders that you can go out and explore. But that is not to say that I didn’t drink too while I was there. If there were jobs in town that would allow me to live at the standard I am used to living, I would move back there. Well, I would have to make sure there is a decent yarn shop nearby and a good co-op too first….


The next stop was Urisina, Pennsylvania. Urisina is a small town where one of my mother’s friends was staying with a relative. We met up there before heading to Kentuck Knob. The plan had been to go to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallngwater but there were no tickets available that day. So instead, we ended up going to Kentuck Knob which is another Frank Lloyd Wright house. The major difference between the two houses is that Fallingwater was a vacation home and Kentuck Knob was actually loved in year round.


My only problem with the house tour is that the groups were too large for the size of the house. The tour groups were scheduled 5 minutes apart and my group had 12 people in it. The previous group and the one right after us had just as many. You could hear the previous group’s tour guide and the one behind us as well. The rooms in a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian house are small. I really couldn’t see the kitchen even though I was in it. There were just too many people in the group to be in the room. The house was pretty though.

The grounds around the house were fantastic. There is a sculpture garden on the grounds that is nice but I found that I liked the sculpture by Mother Nature better. I am only putting up a few of the photos I took here. The rest are up over on Flickr in a set called Ohiopyle.

After going to Kentuck Knob, we went over to Ohiopyle. The fire company there has its big fund raiser with an all you can eat buckwheat pancake meal. They time the event for a weekend in October when the leaves are at top color. Well, this year, the leaves are a little slow to turn but the crowd was huge. There were crafters there selling their wares as well. But I didn’t see anything that caught my eye.

Instead I spent my time inside the fire hall talking to the chief. The fire fighters in my county complain about our equipment and the fact that we don’t run enough calls. But they never realize how lucky they are compared to other areas. The Ohiopyle-Stewart Volunteer Fire Department is running equipment that we would not even think of using other than for training. They run about 200 or so calls a year. This fund raiser is how they raise the bulk of their operational funds. It is always interesting to learn about other fire companies and how they are run.

From the fire company, we went over to the actual falls in Ohiopyle. Although I haven’t been kayaking in a few years, the water made me want to go and grab a boat and play in the water. I will let the photos speak for themselves. And go and check out all of the photos over on Flickr.


Now playing: Diamond Rio – I’m Trying (Duet with Chely Wright)
via FoxyTunes


Filed under eye candy, Misc

Seen on the Street

I was walking back from my neighborhood garage yesterday morning and saw this right down the street from me. But I didn’t have the camera with me yesterday. But since my brother forgot something at the school where he works part-time, I was nice and walked down to pick it up for him today. And this time I made sure to take the camera since I knew I would be walking past this house again. All I can say is that some one is really into Halloween or they have a big spider problem at their house……


Now playing: Jimmy Buffet – Desperation Samba (Halloween in Tijuana)
via FoxyTunes


Filed under eye candy

National Fire Prevention Week

This week is National Fire Prevention Week. Every year, the National Fire Protection Association sets a theme for National Fire Prevention Week and this year’s theme is E.D.I.T.H. or Exit Drills in the Home. For specifics of how to plan an exit drill from your home, please visit the NFPA website.

Instead of talking about how to plan an exit drill from your home, I want to talk about smoke alarms and fire extinguishers int he home. For those of you who have not yet read it, Scout had a little visit from the fire company last night at her house. Her son smelled something and asked what the smell was. Scout’s instincts were right to call 911 right away. Her husband’s instinct was a typical male one in that he wanted to look for the source. They were very lucky in that it was the AC unit that had shorted out. When AC units short out, they produce smoke and generally do not catch fire. (Although this is not to say that it doesn’t happen.)

Scout stated that their smoke alarms did not go off. There are many reasons why her smoke alarms did not go off. There are two types of smoke alarms on the market. The first is called an ionization smoke alarm and activate when a fast moving flame fire is detected. The second type is the more common type found in homes and it is called a photo electric alarm. A photo electric alarm will detect a smoldering smoky fire. You can buy smoke alarms that are called dual sensor smoke alarms which are a combination of the two alarms. They do cost more but they are worth the money. For a really good explanation of how both types of smoke alarms work, click on this link.


Depending on when your house was built and the type of heating system in it, your house may have a hard wired system. A hard wired system basically means that each and every smoke alarm in your house is connected to the other one electrically. Hard wired systems also have battery backups in each alarm in case of electrical outage.

To understand how a hard wired system works, I am going to use my house as an example. I have a hard wired system in my house because I have oil heat on the first floor and a heat pump for the second floor and attic. My furnace and oil tank are located in the basement. The furnace and the oil tank are in separate rooms in the basement and each room has a steel door closing it. There is nothing stored in the oil tank room. The smoke alarm for the basement is in the furnace room but it is not located near the furnace. There is a second unit on the first floor and the there is a third unit on the second floor where I sleep. The wiring for a fourth unit is installed in the attic in case I ever finish it off since I have a huge attic. The first floor is larger than the second floor so I have a battery powered smoke alarm on the first floor as well. If something was to happen in the furnace room, all 3 of the hard wired systems will activate at the same time. And considering that I have heard the battery one go off upstairs, I know that I will hear the hard wired ones go off. (And the battery one went off because my brother was testing it.)

Scout also stated that she did not know where her fire extinguisher in her house was located. One of the many misconceptions that the general public holds is that a fire extinguisher will put out a fire. Yes, it will, but the size of most of the fire extinguishers in homes is not big enough to put out anything more than a tiny fire, if that. By having a fire extinguisher in your home, you get a break on your fire insurance and that is about all they are good for.


As a fire fighter, I have had training in how to properly use a fire extinguisher and how to pick the right extinguisher for the job. There are techniques for using a fire extinguisher to put out a fire without spreading the fire. There are calculations for figuring how much square footage you can safely extinguish using a fire extinguisher. Fire extinguishers in public buildings and on fire apparatus are required to be inspected on a regular basis. There is nothing requiring fire extinguishers in residential structures to be inspected. Stop and think about when the last time you looked at the fire extinguisher in your house? It has been awhile hasn’t it?

There are some key things to remember about smoke alarms and fire extinguishers –

If your smoke alarm in your house is more than 10 years old, you need to replace it.

In a telephone survey in 2004, 98% of homes in the US has at least one smoke alarms. But the survey did not indicate how many of those smoke alarms were operational.

There is an average of 11 deaths every day in the US from residential fires.

The batteries in smoke alarms should not be taken out so some one can use it for playing an electronic game.

Fire extinguishers need to be replaced on a periodic basis. If your fire extinguisher is more than 5 years old, consider replacing it.

When you replace your fire extinguisher in your house, take the old one down to your local fire house. We use the contents inside the fire extinguishers to make chimney bombs. Chimney bombs are what we drop down your chimney to put out a chimney fire.

Call your local fire company and they will be more than happy to teach you to properly use a fire extinguisher. We will do this for businesses as well.

Get to know your local fire company. If you live in an area where the fire company is a volunteer company, consider becoming a member and helping out on either the operational or administrative side. If you live in an area where you have a career fire fighter system, stop by the station and see what you can do to help them. Volunteer or career, we can all use the help.

For more information about smoke alarms, please check out the National Fire Administration’s website and the National Fire Protection Association’s website. You can also check out How Stuff Works to see exactly how a smoke alarm works. To learn more about fire prevention and the history of fire prevention, check out this link.

The fire service is the only business that is actually in the business of trying to put itself out of business. We want to make things safe as we can. We like to see everyone but we would prefer it not be because of a tragedy.

Now playing: Ohio Players – Fire
via FoxyTunes


Filed under fire