Friday, April 29, 2011


I got up at 3 a.m. this morning to see the wedding of William and Kate.  It was so beautiful and so moving.  Her dress was lovely, her sister Pippa, the maid of honor, had a beautiful dress also, and the little bridesmaids were so cute.  It was great to see this historic event.  I remember watching the wedding of Charles and Diana and being just as excited.  Too bad the way that turned out.

I loved the music.  It was magnificent and I loved the hymns they chose for the congregation to sing.

What struck me most, though, was the homily.  It was so right on target.  If only people would realize that they are making vows not only to the person standing in front of them, but to Almighty God.  I was very impressed with the bishop.

Needless to say I had to take a nap later on this morning.  Good thing I had off from work today.  Now I have a seven day stretch to work before my next day off.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I took a vacation day on Monday.  Although I have been out of work sick, this is the first vacation day I have taken since I have been back to work following my surgery.

Elaine and I went to Lancaster County for the day.  It was the farthest I've driven the new car.  It handled beautifully.  The day was very warm -- in the 80s -- and I was so glad I had good air conditioning in the car.  It was good to get away even though the day did not go the way we planned.

The first place we stopped was Jakey's Amish Barbecue for lunch.  Joe and I had been there once before and liked it.  But when we went in this time, it was mostly a T-shirt shop with about 4 tables off to the side.  The menu was all changed too and the food was OK but nothing to write home about.

Dutch Haven was next door to them, so we went in and looked around.  I found a few little things there.  I got some sugar-free peach jam for Joe and Elaine got a piece of Shoo-fly pie.

I stopped and got gas because it was $3.82 out there as opposed to $3.89 here.  We were surprised because we always stop at the Wawa on Route 30 and Route 896 and it isn't a Wawa anymore.   Now it is Lancaster Gas and Food.  Wonder when that changed.

We wanted to get take out dinner from Hershey Farm to bring home with us so Joe could have some Lancaster County.  Unfortunately, when we went there, it was closed.  I did take some pictures though.

We ended up at Rockvale Mall which has all the outlets.  The first place we went to was our favorite store Reading China and Glass.  It is a huge store with all kinds of kitchen supplies, dishes, glasses, food, tableclothes, towels, silverware, etc.  You name it, they have it.  Of course I ended up spending $30 there.  

Then we went to Christmas Tree Hill another of our favorites.  We usually find some unique item there, but this time there was nothing.

Next we went to 5 Below which is a dollar store.  I got a couple of things there, but it really didn't appeal to me that much.

We ended up at Lenox.  So many beautiful things, but I am so broke I couldn't afford most of it.  I do have a collection of black cats from them and I ended up buying the third cat in the series.  So pretty.  They remind me of Jenny.

After Lenox we headed home.  But first I took some pictures of the farm across the street from where we were  parked.

The tulips were beautiful.  Hard to believe this is a parking lot.

We watched the cows running and playing.

There were horses too.

We saw a lot of buggies yesterday and lots of Amish people in the stores.  Many more than we usually do.  We were very careful to respect them and not take pictures of them.  After all, besides their religious beliefs about not having their picture taken, I wouldn't want people staring at me and taking my picture.  I really wanted to get a picture of a buggy though.  So when this one went by I waited until it was far enough away so that I couldn't see the people and took the back of it.  It is very picturesque to me.  It reminds me to separate myself from the world and live for the Lord.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Easter Sunday started as a beautiful day.  I loved looking at the sky from my kitchen window.

I got up early because there were a lot of things I hadn't done yet.  How does time get away from me?  I guess it's all the hours I work.  But I made Easter cookies and boiled some eggs.  I used the eggs from the farm and the colors were so pretty I didn't even dye them.  I just used them as they were.

Joe bought me a beautiful bouquet.  It is in a Peter Rabbit teapot and has a stuffed Peter Cottontail with it.  You can't see it, but the flowers have glitter on them.
We had a wonderful church service.  Pastor Justin had several of the people in the congregation take part.  Aaron had the call to worship.  Joe had the invocation and led the Lord's Prayer.  Trish read the scripture.  And Richard had the closing prayer.  The message was great too.

My sister, Elaine, came down from northern New Jersey for a few days.  We all met my brother Larry, his wife Kim, and her parents for dinner.  We went to the Cheesecake Factory.  I had never been there before.  It was really nice and had good food.

After dinner we went to my brother's house for awhile.  Here is his cat Callie.  She was so cute and kept posing for us.

Here is Joe with their cat Tiger.

 My brother travels a lot so I gave him a travel safe for Christmas.  Yes, we were just exchanging Christmas gifts.

 Larry had a pair of World War 2 handcuffs.  Elaine used to be married to a cop, so she was interested in seeing them.

 Here's a picture of my pretty sister-in-law Kim.  And she is as sweet as she is pretty.

It was late when we got home and I was very tired, but it was a good day.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Christ is risen from the dead.  Hallelujah!  Have a blessed day, everyone.

Friday, April 22, 2011


On Tuesday the Insectarium visited the library for Earth Week.  I was really busy that day and so far away that I didn't get a lot of good pictures.  But here are the few I did get.


Here is the gentleman who gave the talk.  He was very knowledgeable about all kinds of insects.

He brought a lot of insects in specimen boxes.  I think these were giant roaches.  Like I said, it was really busy at the front desk and I didn't hear the whole program.

Another huge insect.  I think it's a beetle.  I really thought I would remember all of them, but I don't.  Next time I will have to write them down.

He brought some cheese-flavored insects and some kids volunteered to eat them.  They all said they were pretty good.

Even Jerry, my boss, tried some.  He said they tasted like cheese.  Me?  Not on your life.

It's a little blurry, but I know this one.  It's a butterfly.  He said their wings are really clear, but the sunlight on the scales on their wings makes the colors.

This is Rosie the red-haired scorpion.  He showed her to us, but no one could touch her except him.  When she got too excited, she went back into her aquarium.

Finally here is a walking stick.  It is the largest insect on earth.  And boy was it big!  Hope you enjoyed this short trip into the world of bugs.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Wish I had thought of this title, but this was the theme for the last week of the winter CSA.  It seems we got a lot of "greens" this week.  We got:
     1 head of butterhead lettuce
     1 bag of spinach (we have spinach coming out of our ears)
     1 bunch of kale (same for the kale)
     1/2 lb. of leeks
     4 Jonagold apples
     1 jar of apple butter
     Colby cheese
     1/2 gallon of milk
     1/2 lb. of Amish butter
     1 lb. of grass-fed ground beef
     2 vegan cookies -- one oatmeal raisin and one chocolate chip

In the farmer's market portion of the farm we bought a dozen eggs laid by various types of hens so the shells are all different colors.  I will take a picture of them and show you later.  They are really cool.

Don't know what I'm going to do with my share this week.  Guess I'll be getting on or to look for something.

It will be about a month before they start up the summer CSA.  That will give me time to use up all my winter veggies.

We cleaned out the fridge yesterday.  Amazing what accumulates in the back of the shelves.  Didn't know we had applesauce back there.  And mystery food too.  Ha, ha.  But I made a list of all the veggies we have so they won't get lost and I can work on getting them used before they go bad.  No sense getting a good deal on food you are going to throw in the trash.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Yesterday was a doctor day.  I got to see not one, but two doctors.  Lucky me.

I went to see my family doctor, Dr. Skobinsky, in the morning.  He wanted to see me a week after I cut down on my high blood pressure medication to see how I was doing.  While I was there I got my blood taken for a cholesterol test.  Before the surgery my cholesterol was high.  I couldn't start any medication or change my eating habits until after the surgery and in meals I was back where I should be.  So that is about now.  My pressure in his office was 120/70.  He told me that since I lost so much weight I probably did not need the extra lisinopril and to keep it at the cut down status. 

Then in the afternoon I saw the gastroenterologist, Dr. Resnick.  He was following up on that awful stomach virus I had.  All of my tests came back perfect.  I do not have any bacterial infection, parasites, salmonella or anything like that.  So it was just a virus that would not let go.  He also checked my blood pressure and it was 97/73.  Both doctors said my pressure would go up and down for about 6 weeks until my body got used to the new dosage of lisinopril.

I went to work 4 hours late.  It was tough and I was very tired.  I slept well last night until about 3 a.m. when I woke up with a massive headache that would not go away.   It was so bad I was even dreaming that I had a headache.  Two Tylenol and two hours  later it was still there.  I finally got back to sleep around 6 a.m. and got up for work at 7 a.m.  I'm glad I'm at the Fishtown Branch today and it's an easy day.

Tomorrow is the last day of the Winter CSA.  I forget the theme -- something about Spring being here at last.  I'll let you know tomorrow and show you what we got.  I know I am getting lettuce which is a good thing since something ate all my lettuce plants.  They were big and doing so well too.  I didn't even get to taste it.  I'm going to try to dig them up and plant them in something high and see if I can save some of them.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Blogger has done it to me again.  I had this post all written last night and now it is gone.  I will try to recreate it.  (sigh)

I was feeling better and went back to work today.  It was not as bad as I thought it would be.  I haven't been nauseous at all and hardly went to the bathroom all day.  Pains are mostly gone.  Thank you, Lord.

I got a call from the surgeon's assistant at work today.  She wanted to know how I was feeling.  Also she said the doctor wanted me to go back into the hospital and have a CT scan, upper GI and MRI.  I told her I was getting better, it probably was a stomach virus and I was not going to get all those tests.  I am seeing the gastroenterologist on Thursday and would let her know what was going on next week.  So that's how we left it.

Being out for two weeks I did not know we were having a program and didn't bring my camera to work.  There were three fifth grade classes that came in to see a program put on by the National Constitution Center.  Joe and I have been wanting to go there for some time, but have never made it.  After seeing this program I really want to go now.  The man who did the program was so interesting.  The kids were so well behaved and really got into the program.  It was about children from colonial times until the early 20th century and how they lived and dressed.  He brought costumes and had the kids dress up and talked about their lifestyles.  I found some pictures on google images that are sort of like the costumes he brought.

The first boy was from colonial times.  He looked something like this:

At age 11 or 12 he would be apprenticed to learn a trade and was actually almost a slave to the master worker until age 18.  The boy chose to be apprenticed to Benjamin Franklin to learn to be a printer.

The second student was a Victorian girl.  She looked something like this:

She was from a wealthy family so she had servants and went to school rather than working in a factory to support her family.  The kids wanted to know how she could sit down in a hoop skirt and how she went to the bathroom with a long skirt.  Ha, ha.

The last child was a boy from the early 20th century.

By this time manufacturing had started with the Industrial Revolution.  More children were working in factories and living in cities rather than on farms.

Really great program.  Peggy (our children's librarian) was really pleased with how well it turned out.

Tonight Joe and I had an eye doctor's appointment.
 We both need new glasses.  My eyes have changed just a little, but Joe's have changed drastically.  At least it is not a change because of his diabetes.  The last test was having our pupils dilated and a bright light shone in them.  It was not pleasant but only the last part of the test hurt.  Joe found it really hard to take, but got through it.  We didn't realize how hard it would be to drive home, even with dark glasses.  All the lights we encountered looked like this.
 I prayed my way home and God brought us through safely.  Unfortunately the test was too much for Joe and after we got home he ended up having an epileptic seizure.  Bright lights do that to epileptics.  So I got him to bed and there he is now.  

I am going to wake him up now and get breakfast for us so we can start the day.  I hope this post doesn't get lost in cyberspace.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Some of my flowers are up, but there are still a lot to come.  Tulips haven't bloomed yet at all.  But thought you'd like to see some pictures.

 The pink hyacinths.  The white ones are up, but not quite open yet.

 The yellow daffodils are blooming, but the white ones are still shut tight.  What's with all the white flowers?

 More daffodils.

And the lettuce is doing well too.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Being sick the last two weeks I have not kept up on this blog.  Now that I am feeling better I thought I would post some pictures I've been meaning to show you.

Remember the super moon back on March 19th?  Here's my photo of it.  I couldn't get a really good shot of it though.

I used to have lots of African violets.  All colors.  Single, double, frilled.  Then all of a sudden they all started dying.  I tried again.  All died.  It has been several years since I had an African violet.  I bought this one at the farm last fall.  I paid $1 for it.  It was a couple of leaves and sort of wilted.  I put it in an African violet pot and put it on my coffee table.  When my sister came to visit around Christmas time, she put it in the front window.  It has thrived there.  Here is the first flower.  It has lots of flowers now.  (See my smiling face?)

Here is my haul from the farm last week.  Joe was not feeling well, so my friend, Debbie, went with me.  It's a lot for one person to carry.  Almost everyone has two people picking things up.  The theme was "Use Your Noodle!"  We got 1 bunch of basil, 1 bag of spinach, 1 bunch of kale rabe, 1 lb. of parsnips, 1 baguette, 1 jar of homemade tomato sauce, a piece of Romano cheese, 2 strawberry yogurts, 1 dozen eggs, and 1 lb. of fresh angel hair pasta.  I have never had fresh pasta before.  It was very good.

By the way, for those of you who were wondering, I made the Swiss chard with the tomato sauce.  I posted the recipe earlier.  It was wonderful and I highly recommend it if you have never had Swiss chard before.  I'm thinking of making the kale that way.

Here are my flowers for this week.  They are greenish-yellow carnations with red edges.  I had to get them because they are so unusual.

Tonight we were both feeling better, so Joe and I went to the diner for dinner.  He had meatloaf and I had roast chicken with stuffing.  It was very good.

I hope I have gotten caught up with this post.  More tomorrow.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Did you miss me?  I'm still here.  A little worse for wear, but still alive and kicking.

I went to see Dr. Resnick, the gastroenterologist, on Wednesday.  He examined me and said he thinks I have a bad stomach virus that just won't go away.  He also found that I have lost 6 pounds, and my blood pressure was 77/48.  He gave me this huge bottle of water to drink and took it again.  It was the same.  Maybe this is why I feel like I'm going to pass out all the time.  He told me to cut my high blood pressure medication in half and come back to see him in a week.

Joe wanted to go shopping afterwards, so we went to Michael's and Walmart.  Last year Joe's son, DJ, had bought him a seascape oil painting when we were at the shore.  So I am having it framed for his birthday this year.  It was more expensive than I thought it would be, but that is what he wanted so that is his gift.  I got sick in Walmart so we had to leave.

Yesterday was our all-day all-staff meeting at work, but I was too sick to go.  I spoke with my girlfriend last night and she said it was very boring and people were falling asleep.  She told me that the "powers that be" have all these ideas on how the library should run and they are ridiculous. For example, doing away with Dewey numbers and filing all books alphabetically by author.  The math books, history books, science books and fiction would all be mixed together.  The librarians were up in arms about that.  There were a couple of good fights.  Another one was someone said that houses near libraries increased in value.  So a staff member stood up and asked if that was why they wanted to shut down 11 branches, so the city would lose real estate tax money.  The staff member was told they were running out of time and couldn't answer that right now.  Wish I had been there to have seen that.

While all this was going on, I was taking another test to try to find out what is wrong with me.  This one was to see if I had a bacterial infection.  I'll find out the beginning of next week.

I was going to try to go to work today, but now Joe is sick.  He has a sore throat and sinus infection.  Since I have the note to stay out and I'm still not 100% I am going to stay home and take care of him.  It's always something in the Specht family.  Joe's dad warned me before I married him, but I wouldn't listen.

My primary doctor, Dr. Skobinsky, wants to see me in his office next Thursday morning to see if there is a difference in my blood pressure with the decrease in medication.  Dr. Resnick wants to see me as a follow-up next  Thursday afternoon.  So I will lose another day of work and be very busy going from office to hospital.  Hopefully by then I will be feeling fine.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I stayed home from work yesterday and went to the doctor's office in the morning.  Wrong thing to do.  Because he had been out yesterday, everyone was in there.  I had 18 people ahead of me.  There were no seats left.  An older woman with a cane came in.  She was standing and not one person would get up to give her a seat.  She finally had to leave.  I ended up leaving too.  The pain in my stomach was so bad I couldn't stand there.

Joe and I went back for his afternoon hours and it was much better.  Only 3 people ahead of me.  Dr. Skobinsky does not think I have C. diff.  Like Dr. Chojnacki he thinks it is too far removed from the surgery date, but he is sending me for a test anyway.  The only problem is it is a bowel test and until that settles down there is no way I can take it.  He is also sending me to a gastroenterologist on an emergency basis.  I have an appointment for 9:30 this morning.

The bowels and stomach are starting to settle down, but are still upset.  I told Joe that even if everything was perfect I was still going to go.  Two weeks is two weeks too long.

When I called work and told my boss I would be out the rest of the week he was not happy.  I can't help it.  I told him this was not fun for me.  I didn't do this on purpose.  We are having an all-day all-staff meeting tomorrow that is mandatory for us to attend.  No one wants to go.  But I would rather be feeling great and go to the meeting than have what I have.

I will post later when I find out what is going on.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


My poor digestive system.  I am really sick.  It has been over a week now.  It reminds me of how it was before my surgery.  I do NOT want to go back to that time of my life.

I stayed home from work again today.  I do not have any sick time left so I will not get paid for today.  I don't even care.  I went to the doctor this morning and found a note on the door that said the doctor was not in because he was a witness at a trial but would be in tomorrow.  The staff was there though.  So I went in and spoke with my friend, Jean, who is the office manager.  She offered to refill all my prescriptions, but I said they hadn't been helping.  She then suggested I call the surgeon because then at least I would be speaking with a doctor today.  So that is what I did.

I had to leave a message for Dr. Chojnacki because she was in surgery today.  Her resident called me back.  I explained what was going on.  She said that it did not sound like something connected with the surgery, but there was always a chance and she would have Dr. C get back to me.  Dr. C called me around 5 p.m.  She also said it did not sound like it was surgery related because of the length of time, I had been eating solid food with no problem, and it started with diarrhea.  She said it sounded like a severe stomach virus.  However, I did the right thing to call her.  She suggested I go to see Dr. Skobinsky tomorrow morning and ask him for a C. diff blood test to see if I had picked up a bacterial infection in the hospital which had been lying dormant until now.   She also wants me to get some x-rays to see what was going on and if I am still sick by the end of the week she wants to see me next Tuesday when she is in the office.  So looks like I may not get to work tomorrow either.  I am definitely still running to the bathroom every half-hour or so.  This is not fun.  I hope I can get some relief tomorrow.

Monday, April 4, 2011


My sister sent this to me in an email.  I just had to share it with you.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


I am sick again.  Really sick.  Nausea, runs and now feel like I am going to pass out.  I am also at work.  I forgot that this was my Sunday to work until I got a call at home.  I was half an hour late coming in, but I need the money so badly that I went in sick.  Another 2 1/2 hours to go.  Hope I can make it.

Here is some news from my friend Martha in Japan.  It is from an email she sent me entitled "3 weeks later".

Tomorrow (Monday) school is scheduled to begin again. Many students have left the area, and it will be challenging to get back into the routine of school life, for both staff and students. Pray for sensitivity to students' concerns and the right balance of academics and encouragement. To make up for lost time, every single holiday has been cancelled and another day added onto the end of the school year to complete the school year. Praying for stamina! It has been exciting to see the unity among Japanese believers and missionaries as they have come together to pool resources to collaborate in the recovery effort.

We continue to experience earthquakes, and it is a constant reminder that we are not in control, but God is. We were encouraged last week to use the earthquakes as a reminder to stop and reflect on that truth whenever we feel tremors. But I am actively praying that future earthquakes would not damage the nuclear reactors even further.

Please continue to pray for the people of Japan.  They have a long way to go, but God is doing wonderful things over there.

Friday, April 1, 2011


We had a special program at the library yesterday.  It was presented by the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia where I used to work.  It was called "Animals with Bad Reputations".  Fortunately I was feeling better and was able to go to work all day so I got to see the show.

The presenter was Michelle.  She was very good, especially with the kids.  She had them involved, but kept things under control.

The first animal she had was a tarantula.  She told all kinds of interesting facts about it.  They won't bite unless they are afraid.  And they eat insects that are harmful to crops.

The second animal was a skunk.  It was so cute.  Of course it has been de-scented.  Again, skunks spray only when scared, hurt or threatened.  It's their defense mechanism.

My co-worker, Diane, had to get in on the action.  She asked if the skunk was a male or female.  (It's female.)


The third animal was a vulture.  It lives at the Academy because it was hit by a car, had a broken wing that didn't heal correctly, and can't fly.  It would die out in the wild.  It was a beautiful bird.  Vultures eat dead animals and help clean up the environment.

The last animal was a rat snake.  This is a golden rat snake.  Around Philly we have only black ones.  The rat snake is called this because it eats rats.  We all like that.

It lasted about an hour and was a great show.  So glad I was well enough to be there.