Friday, January 30, 2015

Lesson 344: Words Are Medicine

We've about kicked January, Readers!
Pour yourself something warm to drink,
and I'll turn The Lamp Post light on for you to read by.

Winter still is biting us here on the north shore.

Erie is holding the top spot in the Golden Snow Globe's
Snowiest US City contest again this year.

Yes, over Boston.
Yes, over Buffalo.
And YES, over Anchorage, Alaska.

Go ahead--see for yourselves.

 The frozen landscape can be breathtaking,

and I find joy in the perfect capture.

Our thermometers dipped into the negatives,

and then experienced a "warm up" (33 degrees)
and things got 

Living here you learn to be bold against the cold.

20 degrees doesn't even warrant a zipped coat or gloves for Sam.

When the red dips below zero,


Old Eloise and her arthritic joints hit the treadmill.
This is where you can find me every morning wedged between
the foosball table and the dart board,
with Joe Paterno cheering me on.

That's my spider plant named Lauren, by the way.
I've had her for ten years.
I got a little offshoot from a baby shower
I attended.
Guess what the baby's name was?
This plant has thrived because I talk to it every single morning.

While Eloise moves it and shakes it inside,
my family tries to get outside as much as we can.

The Harborcreek Parks Department has a great plan
to encourage the community to get out and experience the parks.

Last Saturday, was the first event in the Community Park 
behind the Lamp Post.

The township made a huge snow mound for sledding.

Sam loved it,

and slid down it every way humanly possible.

It's still there if you want to check it out.
I can't wait to photograph it as it melts.  
I bet it will be there until April.

For the locals:
Here is the schedule of events for the upcoming months.
Mark your calendars if you are interested.

February              Saturday, February 21st, 10 am – noon.  6 Mile Creek Park (Clark Road).  Lace up the hiking boots and visit some of the 450 acres of Harborcreek’s newest park. 

March                   Saturday, March 21st, 10am -noonRoadside Park ( meet at HC Municipal Building lower level)  Join members of the Harborcreek Historical Society as they bring you the interesting history of Roadside Park and its vital role it played in the Gauge War. 

April                      Saturday, April 11th, 10 am – noon.  Highmeyer Park on Highmeyer Road.  Bring your hiking boots as we explore the woods and trails of Highmeyer Park. 

May                       Saturday, May 2nd, 8 am – noonWhitford Park.  Kids Fishing Clinic.  Help the Lawrence Park Conservation Club and S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie stock 6-mile creek and then try to land the “big one”.  Bring your own gear or borrow from the S.O.N.S. 

June                      Saturday, June 6th, 10 am – noon.  Rolling Ridge Park.  Get ready for our Summer Crafts program and see what is planned by our parks staff.  

Natalie got a kick out of watching her brother sled ride.
She's not much for speedy slopes.

Natalie must enjoy snow somewhat, though.
Mr. Rocky got her to draw these.
Guesses, anyone?
Alien aircraft?

Ellen's been hard a work on an art contest.
This photo I snapped of her working on it received a ton of likes.

Because Ellen has aroused so much curiosity as to what was capturing her attention,
I'll post her final project next week.

Hubby is giving the ice another week to thicken up 
before he makes the annual drag of the ice hut out onto the bay.

Instead he's been inside at the alleys.
Here he is with the Erie Times News Open finalists last weekend.
I call this one:
Where's Louie?
He's kind of easy to spot.

Lee Eighmy,
the guy with the big Roto Grip smile,
took home the prize and bragging rights for this year.

Hubby beat him by one place last year, 
so Lee was out for blood and would not allow Louie a repeat performance.
Lee's training his own son to be a spoiler, as well.
Little Eighmy jumped in front of my shot!
Next year, Eighmy boys!
Wait until next year!

Best surprise of the week:
This cool Lamp Post from Olivia, my student!
I told her I'd set it on my windowsill with all of my other favorite things.

Aunt Joby chimed in--"favorite paperclip?"
the windowsill over the sink becomes a catch all.
The glucosamine tablet was cropped out to the left,
and my hoop earrings just squeaked in on the right.

Aunt Joby shares my humor, 
and now also love for my favorite TV series ever and FOREVER--
She and Uncle Rusty hold the record for fastest LOST viewing.
Six seasons in ten days.
Sucks to be retired during an Erie winter, eh?

When I happily delivered my LOST viewing companion guides 
to their cozy, North East home,
Uncle Rusty greeted me at the door,
shook his finger at me,
and said,
"I've lost four days of my life because of you!"
I glanced into their living room and Sawyer was frozen on pause 
on their flat screen TV.

It's addicting to say the least.
For my LOST fan readers,
here is my favorite fan fiction tribute to my hero, 
Jack Shepard.

Speaking of memories,
I've been delving into family history, 
while working on my next book
Cookwizardy of a Peculiar People.

I have found autograph books from my grandparents era.

Some dating as far back as 1883!

The penmanship is to die for.

I'm putting the book together at Artifact Uprising.
I stumbled across it on Pinterest.

This was what captured my attention.
This pin linked me to their site.

I love everything about Artifact Uprising
right down to their slogan
Inspired by the disappearing beauty of the tangible

for their mission statement, look here:

Writing is a big part of my life,
so why not write Trivia Crack questions?
I've thought of lots and lots of good ones.

You can write some, too.
Simply go to the Question Factory.

Write a question,
and give the correct answer,
plus three fake outs.

The game keeps track of your suggested questions

 The Trivia Oz didn't like Ellen's question on To Kill a Mockingbird.
It was too, the correct answer!
Apparently Trivia Oz didn't have Advanced English with Ludwig.
Some other little turd must have thought of Natalie's Pennsylvania question.

We all are on pins and needles waiting to see
if our question gets picked.

If I get thumbs down on my Tim McGraw question
there is going to be hell to pay.

I had some really fun mail arrive at school this week.

154 of my students wrote letters to President Obama.
We mailed them to Pennsylvania Avenue a week before Christmas,
in a big, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer postal envelope.
I bet that sucker went through a security scan.

We got lots of nice things in return,
along with the general Thank you, Students, letter.

Then, inside of the bigger envelope,
was this smaller one.

It was printed on heavier card stock and embossed.

The students and I compared signatures,
and the one on my card is clearly ink smudged on the signature--
the top of the B and there are ink flecks around the O.

When the kids got to the inspired by your enthusiasm part,
they said,
"Oh he definitely read it!  That's you!"

Words can be so inspiring.
They make you feel good.
Choose them carefully.

Kind words have power.
And the other good news is this:

 Words are medicine.
Which reminds me of a very good song by Handsome Himself.
Words Are Medicine, by Tim McGraw.
Have a look and a listen to the photo video below
and give one someone a dose of goodness this week.

Let me end with my favorite word tonight,


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Lesson 343: Photograph

It's the weekend, Readers!
Time to sit back, relax,
and take a look at some of Eloise's photographs.
I have some really interesting ones for you this week.

The early part of the week wasn't too interesting.
This is the typical color of Erie in January.

I didn't adjust these photos.
Not too many bursts of color under the heavy, gray skies.
Dreary Erie earns its name.

We look to find other ways to bring color into our lives at the Lamp Post.
Decorating winter trees is one of them.
We have hope that color will return soon.

Even though ice doesn't have much color,
it sure is pretty!

Kids sure are fun to photograph.

That's what we Erieites do in the winter.
Gather together to make the best of it.
Tonight was a spur of the moment sled riding gathering.

This weekend Hubby will bowl in the Erie Times News Bowling Tournament finals.
He was in third place at the end of last week.

On Saturday the top sixteen bowlers start at zero
to battle it out for the top prize and a year's worth of bragging rights.

What did Hubby do to relax and maintain focus before his big match?
I stuck him in the basement supervising the kids tonight,
while I looked at photographs.
I told him the distraction would be good for him.
Maybe not--
he held a hammer in his hand the entire evening.

My family is bummed over Green Bay's loss last week.

Green Bay vs Seattle
was really
Kenyan's House vs My Friend Angie

Angie sent Keyan this photo prior to the game.
I guess the cheese grater was the good luck charm.

What else do we do when we're cooped up during the winter?
We hoe out the house!
The kids stuff is always the first leg of the attack.
I can never bring myself to throw a Woody away!

So, I'm writing about the weather and housework...
can you tell I'm still detoxing?
No sugar.
No dairy.
No caffeine.
I am a little over halfway through it and feel great.

I appear to have lost some weight in my left pointer finger.
My rings are swinging.  
The holiday puffiness is subsiding.
It's every woman's dream to have a more svelte pointer finger, isn't it?
Oh happy day!

Clean eating plus outdoor exercise a few times times a week
is just the recipe I need to stay healthy (and sane) through the winter.

My workout group exercised a Penn State Behrend last weekend.

We are standing in a parking lot that used to be my grandparents back yard!
Their house sat just to the left of the cluster of trees.
I can still see it in my mind as plain as day.

When Penn State Erie expanded,
they purchased the home from my grandmother and eventually tore it down
to create more parking.

Standing there, remembering what once was,
I felt sentimental.
On my drive home, I remembered all the fun I had on that piece of land
playing with my cousins, 
swinging on the swing,
and looking for crayfish in the creek.

The first thing I did when I got home was rushed to my old photo albums.
I wanted to see the house again, just to make sure it was the same as I had remembered it.
It was.

It made me realize how important a photograph is.
It captures a moment.
It freezes time.
It records history.
And for me,
it brings peace.

I'm working on a big photo project here at the Lamp Post.
I'm making a book for my children that has labeled photos of many of 
their ancestors.

Next week, I'll share the site I am using to create the book.
This week, I'll share some of my favorite old photographs.

This is probably my favorite.
My grandfather was at the steering wheel of that great car.

Children I only ever knew as adults.

Some that I never knew.

Children at play.

What were they thinking?

Were they happier back then when life was simpler,

and less technologically driven?

I see where I get my love of music,

and love of games from.

I see myself in all of them.
My ancestors.

Especially her--the one seated on the right.
My great grandmother's second husband was 
named McGraw!

Stay on your toes, Louie!
History could repeat itself.
Handsome's been looking for me, I hear.

I saved this part for last, because it will take some energy for you to get through it.
Below you will find a link to the World's Top Ten Most Famous Photos.
This is one of  them.


Each photo is captioned, giving details about the scene or the person.
I saved it for the end because these images will sap your energy.
If they don't, you aren't human, so get the hell off my blog.

These are tough, but you owe it not only to me,
but all of humanity to look at them.

They are the humans surviving this world--
some celebrating,
others barely breathing.

You, too, will be breathless after you look at them.

The song Photograph by Ed Sheeran was the perfect choice for my photos for this week.  Eloise dedicates it to all of my photography loving friends:  Matt Clicky Kleck, Fionnula, Heather the Honey Badger, Wendy Chwatty, Cousin Andrea, Team Krauza, & Jennifer GT.  This one is for us.

Capture a moment this weekend, Readers, and never let it go.