Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I went to work today, but had to come home at lunch time.  In 3 1/2 hours I ran to the bathroom 3 times and threw up once.  So I had to take sick time I don't have, come home and lay down.  I have never had a virus last so long and I really don't know what to do about it.  I am taking the medicine the doctor gave me but it doesn't seem to make any difference at all.  Maybe if I didn't take it I would feel worse.  Maybe???

I need to feel better by tomorrow because we are having a special program at work and I am the one who takes all the pictures.  It is Animals with Bad Reputations.  The Academy of Natural Sciences is coming with a live animal traveling show.  I worked for the Academy for 7 years and loved my job.  Too bad I got laid off.  I am so looking forward to it.

Joe has a doctor's appointment at the VA Hospital tomorrow morning and I am to go with him.  I need to be better for that too.

Well, baby food, lots of liquids, rest and meds.  That's my plan for the rest of the evening.

Monday, March 28, 2011


I knew it was coming.  People at work have been getting it one after the other.  I tried to stay away from them, but it was inevitable.  After being in the bathroom every 5 to 10 minutes between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. this morning, I gave in and went to the doctor.  He confirmed it.  I have acquired the dreaded "stomach virus."  I have not been able to eat anything today.  I have been drinking liquids to rehydrate myself.  I am to stay home from work tomorrow, call the doctor and tell him how I am feeling.  He will then let me know if I can go on a soft diet.  At least I still have a lot of baby food left from when I had the surgery, so I have a soft diet in the house.  If all goes well, I can go back to work on Wednesday.  As of right now my stomach is still rumbling.  Not a good sign.

We hadn't gone food shopping yet this week, so Joe went by himself this afternoon.  He called me twice to ask questions about what to buy, but ended up doing a really good job picking things out.  What a great husband I have.

I was too sick to make him dinner, so he finished up the left over stew from the other day.  He says it is always better the second day.

My step-mom, Irene, called last night from Florida.  She wanted to know if I had heard about my brother, Michael, having been diagnosed with lymphoma.  I had and have been praying for him.  Please pray for him if you remember.  I haven't talked with Irene for quite a while and it was really nice to hear from her.  She is recovering from a stroke she had the day after Christmas.  She tells me she is doing really well.

Tonight my sister called and told me there is a chance she is going to be laid off from her job or have to take a job in another store.  Please pray for her too that she can stay where she is.  She has been with her job for over 30 years.  Seems like my whole family is going through a hard time right now.

I'm really not feeling well, so that's all for tonight.  See you tomorrow readers.  I hope.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Happy National Joe Day!  According to the Bizarre Holidays website that's what today is.  Apparently if you don't like your name, you have the right to be called "Joe" all day today.  I asked my husband, Joe, what if your name is Joe and you don't like your name?  Ha, ha, ha!

We had a representative from the Gideons at church today.  Lots of people know about the Gideons placing Bibles in hotel rooms, but they do so much more than that.  They are in Philadelphia this week handing out Bibles at universities, hospitals, nursing homes, hotels and on street corners.  Please pray for them if you remember this week.  They have 150,000+ Bibles to hand out this week.  What a revival there could be in this city!  Also when you donate to them, 100% of your donation goes to printing and distributing Bibles.  There is no administration costs as no one draws a salary.  All of their overhead is paid by the members of the Gideons and if they are short of donations, they put their own money into it to make sure the Bibles are printed.  A great organization.

Pastor Wayne spoke today on the rich young ruler in Luke 18.  It is not what we have, but are we willing to give what we have to the Lord.  Our focus has to be on Him, not on "stuff" (my word, not Pastor Wayne's).  He said, "Don't hold onto things that can be put in the trash next week at the expense of those things that last forever....There is a difference between those things which are a means to an end and those things which are an end in and of themselves."  Really great message and gave me a lot to think about.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


The weekend is finally here!  I am so happy to have a day off tomorrow.  I worked today, but it was so much calmer than yesterday.

I began the day by getting up early and putting together a stew in my crockpot.  That way when I got home tonight dinner was ready.  I used the things I got at the farm last week.  It turned out really good.  There's not much left.  Joe loves stew, so I think the leftovers are for him.

When I work on Saturdays I stop at The Pretzel Factory on my way in and bring soft pretzels and mustard in to work for everyone to share.  I get the mini pretzels because they are 10 for $3.  There are usually a couple left and I bring them home for Joe.  But today they were completely gone.  Oh well, he got the stew!  Ha, ha!

I got to work early (for a change).  As I was parking, Marquita drove up and parked behind me.  We went over to the building and saw the gate was still locked, so we were the first ones there.  It was VERY COLD.  About 23 degrees this morning.  I had trouble getting my key into the padlock on the gate and then had trouble turning it, but finally did.  Unfortunately, I then couldn't get the key out.  I tried.  Marquita tried.  Our hands turned red and then blue and we still couldn't get it to open.  I finally took the key off of the keychain, left it in the lock and Marquita and I went back to my car, turned on the heat and sat there until Peggy showed up.  She was able to get the key out and open the door for us.  What a time!  But that was the highlight of the day.  The rest of the day was very peaceful and quiet.

I'm still looking forward to having tomorrow off, though.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Hello fellow bloggers.  I didn't mean to ignore you, but there really hasn't been much to report.  Nothing has been going on and I guess that is a good thing.  Until yesterday, that is.

Yesterday was not a good day at work.  We had a woman come in during the morning hours.  She was angry when she was asked to go through the security gates when leaving.  She screamed at the top of her lungs at us, cursed us all out and threw things around.  I thought she was going to come back with a gun and take us all out.  That's how angry she was.

Around 6 p.m. there was a woman with a little girl about 8 years old in there.  When the mother said it was time to leave, the girl started screaming "I don't want to leave."  She RAN around the building with her mother chasing her.  She jumped, stomped her feet, threw chairs, overturned tables, threw books, all the time running and screaming  "I AM NOT LEAVING!!!  The mother was finally able to get her out of the building, and we could still hear the child screaming when they were a block away.

I have been a nervous wreck working there.  I know I end up taking it out on Joe and he doesn't deserve it.  But there you go.

Today was my day off since I work tomorrow.  Even though I did a lot of work around the house, it was very peaceful.  I can't wait till I can retire.  I know this post isn't very cheerful.  I will try to do better tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I have a friend named Martha who lives in Tokyo with her husband Ryuichi.  I have been receiving updates from her.  I thought I would share some of them with you.

Friday, March 11:
It looks like an earthquake struck my desk...except it looked like this before the earthquake too!
Sunday, March 13:
Trains aren't running, so Ryuichi won't be commuting today. Staff who can will gather at 11am. Conserving power to start momentarily.
 Monday, March 14:
7:15am-Ryuichi just left to attempt to get to work; anticipating that he will spend the night in Chiba to avoid commuting challenges.
Tuesday, March 15:
Just spoke with Ryuichi in Chiba; getting lots of calls from folks overreacting to radiation-the ones needing to be most concerned are the workers on site at the nuclear facilities; no need to evacuate Tokyo. (Editorial comment: He did suggest we be more concerned with the chemical damage such as cigarette smoke that we choose to pollute our environment with that has far more human death toll).
Friday, March 18:
Ryuichi worked the NIRS hotlines today answering questions about radiation exposure concerns. Lots of frightened people, good to be able to reassure them.
Saturday, March 19:
A first time experience: going to my bank at 4:15 on a Saturday afternoon, greeted by 5 uniformed officers and a guard to withdraw money since the ATMs are down. They are also open Sunday and Monday (holiday) to accommodate patrons inconvenienced by the ATM malfunctioning.  They bowed profusely; I think they are afraid that everyone will withdraw all their money and change banks.
Monday, March 21:
Thankful for getting through to friends in Sendai tonight. No gas, but have plenty of food and are safe...thanks, Lord for answered prayers.
Tuesday, March 22:
Thankful for the providential timing that our local gas station (closed since Saturday) was open for a brief window of time as I came home this afternoon. Only 4 cars in line ahead of me, but the attendant held up the sold-out sign as I drove out. Paid just over $7/gallon if my math and the exchange rate are correct.
Please continue to pray for the people of Japan.


It has been 5 days since I said goodbye to my little red car.  I still miss it.  I still look for a red car in the parking lot at the supermarket.  It was a good little car or it would not have lasted 14 years.  It was surprisingly large inside.  When Joe moved into my house we were able to put down the back seat and use it like a station wagon.  We even moved furniture in it.

Here is the new car.  I can't find it in a parking lot.  (So sad.)  But I do enjoy driving it.  Getting a car that's 11 years newer makes quite a difference.  I am getting used to driving it, but I still feel like it's a rental car.  Maybe when the new car scent goes away.  But I like new car scent so I hope it is a long time fading.  I'm such a contradiction.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Stew for you! was the theme for this week's farm pickup.  Seems funny because I just made a stew.  Guess there will be another one coming up.  Different, of course.  This week we got:

           A bag of pea shoots (love them!)
        White button mushrooms
        1 lb. organic multicolored carrots
        2 lbs. organic russet potatoes
        A jar of pepper jelly
        Huntsman cheese
        1/2 gallon of milk (in the wonderful glass bottle)
        1/2 lb. of Amish butter
        1 lb. of grass-fed beef cubes
I also bought two sweet potatoes at the farmer's market area.

I was amused by the shape and color of the carrots.  I've never seen any like them.

Aren't they strange?  It will be fun to use them.

And what to do with Pepper Jelly?  I've never heard of it and haven't the foggiest what to do with it.

Oh well.  I'll figure it out.


Here is my Irish stew recipe as promised.  Believe me this is good!  I got the recipe from the newspaper one St. Patrick's Day when I was around 16 years old.  (For those of you in Philly it was the Evening Bulletin.  Remember that paper?)  I have given the recipe to so many people and everyone thinks it is the best stew around.

1 1/2 lbs. lean boneless lamb, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
(I have also used beef cubes and ground beef made into mini meat balls)
1 1/2 cups water
1 8oz can stewed tomatoes  (I often use a larger can and usually use diced tomatoes.  It all depends on your taste.)
1 1/2 cups sliced onions
1/2 cup celery and leaves
1/4 cup parsley
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 beef bouilon cube
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. pepper
6 carrots, sliced
8 small potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tsp. cornstarch

Combine lamb, water, tomatoes, onion, celery, parsley, garlic, bouilon cube, salt, thyme and pepper in a Dutch oven.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Cover and cook slowly 1 1/2 hours.  Add carrots and potatoes.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Cover and cook 30 minutes.  Blend 2 tablespoons of broth into cornstarch.  Pour into remaining broth mixture.  Cover and cook 5 minutes until stew is thickened.

If anyone tries this, please let me know what you think of it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Such a busy day today.  When I got to work I found out that I was the only Library Assistant there until 2 p.m. (again).  It worked out just as well as the last time I did that except that a lot of crazy (or should I say obnoxious) people showed up.  By the afternoon things had calmed down.

I got a paycheck again today.  I thought it would be direct deposited by now.  Not that I'm turning down any paychecks I receive you understand.    I called Human Resources and they said that usually an employee will receive two checks before the direct deposit starts.  I am to call them the Wednesday before my next payday to see if I am on the direct deposit list.

So I had to get to the bank before they closed to deposit my check.  Joe said he wanted to go with me, and he wanted to drive HIS car.  I told him too late, I'd already taken it over as mine.  Ha, ha, ha.  

Joe got his chance to drive.  We went to the drive through teller to save time.  Then we went to dinner at the Country Club Diner.  We have decided to make Friday our "date night".  For awhile the food at Country Club was really good.  Then it got to be really bad.  We stopped going for about a year.  A few weeks ago we had lunch there with some friends and found that the food was pretty good again.  The dinner we had tonight was fantastic.  Joe had London broil and I had broiled flounder with lemon butter.

After dinner we went food shopping.  We found that 8 p.m. on a Friday night is the perfect time to shop.  Our usual 2 hour visit was over in 45 minutes.  So nice to get in and out.

Tomorrow is the Men's Leadership Seminar at church.  Joe is planning on attending.  I am going to help out with cooking and serving lunch.  My friend, Dorothea, has planned the menu and was going to try to do the whole thing on her own.  So I switched Saturdays with Donna at work and am going over to help her.  (I was supposed to work this week and Donna next week.)  We are cooking roast beef with roasted potatoes and carrots and roast pork with scalloped potatoes and steamed brocolli.  Dorothea is making a pound cake and carrot cake and I am making a sugar-free apple cobbler.  I was going to make it tonight, but I am way too tired so I am going to get up early tomorrow and do it.

Speaking of that, I am going to get off of this and go to bed.  It's already past midnight.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


This morning we went to pick up our new car.  It took much longer to do all the paperwork than I had anticipated and so I was a half-hour late for work.

I did so hate to give up my Escort.  I am so used to it that it almost seemed to be an extension of me.  But the new car is so nice.  I mean really nice.  It is the closest thing to a new car Joe or I have ever had.  I never had a car with a factory warranty before.

I gave my two co-workers a ride home after work tonight.  They both loved the car.  The only problem was I didn't know how to turn on the headlights.  I had to call Joe on the phone and ask him where the switch was.  Fortunately he knew!

I didn't get much sleep last night.  I fell asleep for a couple of hours on the sofa.  When I woke up at 1 a.m. I got up and made Irish Potatoes to take to work today.  It is the first time I made them and they turned out really good.  Everyone was complimenting me on them.  I'll have to save the recipe to use again next year.  It was very easy, just took some time.

 I got up at 6 a.m. and started making my Irish stew.  I have Irish stew every St. Patrick's Day.  I have it other times too, but St. Pat's is the day to have it.  Since I was working until 8 p.m., I put it in the crockpot.  I have never done that before, but it turned out really good.  It was nice having dinner cooked by the time I got home.  I bought some Irish Soda Bread yesterday when I stopped at the supermarket, so we had that also.  It was really good.

It was very busy at work too.  I didn't get nearly everything done that I wanted to.  I was so tired.  I'm still tired.  In fact I'm so tired that I'm going to stop now and go to bed.  Another day of work tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Yesterday Joe and I went to the dealership to test drive the car and have my car appraised.  We got there and had to wait for the salesman to show up.  As we looked at the car we were going to get Joe pointed out that it had a limited warranty.  He wasn't real happy with that.  I started walking around and saw another Ford Focus in powder blue.  It was a 2009 instead of a 2008 and had 35,400 miles on it instead of 31,200.  It also was $500 less than the green one.  And the blue one had the remainder of the factory warranty.  Besides Joe liked the color better.  So when Len, the salesman, showed up we asked to see the blue one instead of the green one.  We took it for a test drive (both of us drove it) and liked the way it handled.  It's a little bigger than my Escort, but not enormous and I could drive it just fine.  So we changed all the paperwork and made arrangements to buy the blue one.

These pictures are of the actual car taken off of the website.

We had the car taken to our mechanic, Mayfair Tire, later that morning to have them look at it.  Early in the afternoon Charlie from the shop called me at work and told me that it was a good car, worked well and would pass inspection.  The only problem was that the rear tires were wearing unevenly.  In six months or less the car would need two new tires, a four wheel alignment (since it is 4 wheel drive) and the transmission would need servicing.  

I called Joe and he called the dealership.  Obviously the mechanic had called them also.  Joe told Len that we were still willing to buy the car as long as those three things were fixed and then have Mayfair Tire inspect it again.  He said he had to speak with his sales manager.  Len called Joe back and said they would leave the car at Mayfair to have them fix it then we would know it was done correctly.

Len called Joe today and told him the car was back and it would be ready for us to pick up tomorrow.  I called Mayfair and spoke with Ron (the guy I usually deal with) and he said they had fixed everything and it was a "nice little car."

So tomorrow morning we are leaving my little red car behind and getting a new blue car.


Here's the conclusion of my trip to Pennsbury Manor.  I want to note that although the furnishings are authentic 300 year old pieces, they did not necessarily belong to the Penn family.  Apparently Penn's sons were not interested in the estate, sold off things and let it fall into ruin.

This is a portrait of William Penn's father.  It's hanging in the upper hall.
 This is William and Hannah's bedroom.   The box on the bed is a laptop writing desk.  (The guide called it the first laptop computer.  Ha, ha.)  Penn suffered from gout and many days could not get out of bed, so he worked on the commonwealth's business here.
This is his adult daughter Letitia's bedroom.  It was very pretty and feminine.
Here's the Great Hall.  The servants and slaves sat on benches at this table to eat.  When the Penns had company, they would pull the chairs up to the table and eat here.
This is a portrait of Queen Katherine, the wife of King Charles II.  The pewter charger on the left hand side is known to definitely belong to William Penn.  His initials are on it.
The red chest was where Hannah Penn kept her linens (tablecloth, napkins, etc.)  In the back you can see a linen press.  There were no irons, so this is how they got the tablecloths smooth and the creases just so.  The portrait on the wall is of Charles II.  We were moving right along and I didn't have time to take a picture of it.
 In a hallway between the Great Hall and a back room there were two little storage rooms.  This was the one on the right.
 And this was the one on the left.
 In the back room Hannah made medicines.  Apparently it was the job of the "lady of the house" to make sure all the tenants were healthy.
 In the bakehouse this lady is making something over the fire.  Can you guess what it is?
 Soap!  Which is pretty funny because we found out that they only bathed twice a year -- spring and fall -- and washed their clothes only three times a year -- spring, summer and fall.  Guess that's why there isn't very much soap being made.

In the cooking part of the building they were making bread and stew.  The fire was very hot.  I would not want to cook in a fireplace in the middle of summer.

These people were making a lemon cake and almond macaroons.  I was able to talk with the lady at length about 17th century cooking.  It seems they ate only one large meal a day between 2 and 4 p.m.  Their breakfast was whatever was left over from the night before.  Because there was no refrigeration all the food had to be consumed quickly so it wouldn't spoil.

When I saw this large cask I thought perhaps this was the laundry room.  But no, they didn't wash, remember?  This was the brewery.  They made beer.  Lots and lots of beer.  Every person drank about 5 quarts of beer a day.  The gentry drank the most potent, the servants the next, and the slaves and children the least potent.  Carole and I were guessing that because they didn't eat a lot, the beer kept their stomachs full.

Once outside we saw a peacock.

We saw some oxen and an Arabian horse.  The guide said they don't know if Penn owned Arabians, but he had white horses, so this is the representative white horse.

I don't think I've ever seen oxen before.

There were some sheep too.

There is a beehive in the herb garden.  Since they grew all their own fruits, vegetables and herbs it was a great way to pollinate their plants.  And they got honey besides.

Penn had his own barge which he kept in a boathouse.  I thought it was interesting that it was built in Southwest Harbor, Maine where my brothers and sister and her family live.  They used to work for a company that built yachts.  I will have ask them if this is the company they used to work for.

And here's Penn's barge.

 It was a great day.  It was windy and got cold toward the end of the tour so we were happy to get back into the car.  Since Joe has never been there hopefully I can take him with me next time.


I got an email yesterday from a lady named Jan.  She said she had been reading my blog and I was an encouragement to her.  An encouragement?  Me?

I have been told in the past that God has given me the gift of encouragement.  I think if God gives you a gift, He expects you to use it.  And I try to.  I really do.  But sometimes life gets to me and I don't think I'm very encouraging.

So thanks, Jan.  But it's not me, it's God working through me to be an encouragement.  And let me say that getting that email was an encouragement to me!

Monday, March 14, 2011


Yesterday was Charter Day in Pennsylvania.  It is the anniversary of March 4, 1681, the day King Charles II of England gave a land grant to William Penn to found the colony of Pennsylvania. 
The following is from the Pennsylvania State Achives:
"Essential to Penn was freedom of worship. He had become a member of the Religious Society of the Friends of God, commonly called Quakers. They did not attend services in a parish church, but met in private homes and plain meeting houses.  They worshiped in silence unless a Friend were inspired by the Holy Spirit to speak. They permitted women to address their meetings. They refused to swear oaths and were pacifists. As a result, the English magistrates physically abused, fined, and imprisoned them. Penn himself was confined in the Tower of London at times."

On June 24, 1680, Penn asked King Charles II for a charter for land in America. The only available tract in eastern North America lay west of New Jersey, north of Maryland, and south of New York, an area that England had conquered from the Dutch in 1664 and which the King had given to his brother James, the Duke of York. After appropriate discussions, the King granted Penn's request.

William Penn traveled to the New World with the charter to a 26-million-acre tract of land to start his dream of a "Holy Experiment" free from religious persecution. He met with the local Native American tribes to ask for peace and for their blessing to settle the land. Penn plotted out the village of Philadelphia between the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. His focus then turned to building a manor house.

The manor is located along the banks of the Delaware River, between the river and Van Sciver Lake. Construction at Pennsbury was begun soon after Penn's arrival in the colony in 1682 and completed in about 1686. In addition to the house, there were separate buildings for baking and brewing, a large stable, a boathouse, and numerous farm buildings. Penn's plan was to establish the sort of gentleman's country estate that had been his home in England.

Pennsbury Manor, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 28, 1969. 

My friend, Carole, and I left our husbands home, had a "Girls' Day Out", and went to Pennsbury Manor's free day of celebration.  All of the outbuildings had costumed guides and they showed us how various things were done in the 17th century.

 This is the view from the parking lot.  How beautiful it must have been when Penn saw it for the first time in 1682.

Statue of William Penn in front of the Visitors' Center.

The main road to the manor house with all the outbuildings.

A carpenter at the woodworking shop.

The smokehouse.

This is the well outside the manor house.  My sister and I visited Pennsbury when we were little and both had our picture taken holding onto the handle.  Ah, the memories.

The view from the front of the house.

Front garden of the manor house.

Another view of the garden.

The back garden from an upstairs window.

The best parlor where Hannah Penn served her guests tea.  The picture on the wall is of William Penn's grandfather.  The rug is on the table.  Rugs were so valuable that people would not put them on the floor to be walked on and have food spilled on them.  They showed them off on the table.

William Penn's office where he met with dignitaries from England and representatives from the Native American tribes.  The Native Americans were so impressed with him and his honesty in dealing with them that when they wanted to compliment someone, they would say he was like William Penn.

A 300 year old clock.  The green tiles around the fireplace are original to the house.

Some more of the green tile around the fireplace in the porch (or entrance hall).  The original house fell into disrepair and was torn down in the late 1700s.  This recreation was built in the 1930s from descriptions in Penn's letters.  Since he was away from home so much, he sent his workers detailed descriptions of what the house should look like.

If Penn really liked you and wanted to continue his business discussion with you, he would take you into this room which adjoined the office.  You would be served refreshments and continue your conversation.  As the first governor of Pennsylvania he did lots of business from these two rooms.

This is the guest bedroom.  The walls are covered in silk.  Love the colors.  It was so bright I don't know how anyone could sleep in there.

And here's the bed.  There must have been lots of mosquitos around living that close to the river so at least they provided netting to keep you safe from malaria.

This is Hannah Penn's sewing/drawing room.  When ladies came to call she would bring them to this room to visit.  The panes of glass that look reddish are because the glass is so old and it has changed color.

This is Hannah's comfortable (?) chaise lounge.  Obviously comfort wasn't a big thing in the 17th century.

William Penn remarried after his first wife died.  Hannah was his second wife.  When she came to America she was pregnant.  Penn had 15 children, but only the youngest, John, was born in America.  He was given the nickname "the American."  This is John's nursery.  There is a device to dry his stockings by the fireplace and his pewter baby bottle was heated there as well.

Here is John's cradle, the nurse's bed and believe it or not a rocking potty chair.  OK.  Yeah, I like rocking on my potty chair too.

There is more to show and I will post those pictures tomorrow.