Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ack II

I always write when I'm stressed out about something.
Sometimes I write about the stress, but more often I write about anything else to get my head away from whatever it is that's rolling around in my brain too much.
I've had the itch to write recently, but I haven't been able to do it. This right here -what you're reading now- is the best I've been able to come up with.

I intend to put a percolating story on paper.

I will let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


My oldest son got his driver's license.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pet Peeve

Treadmill walking/jogging is very boring. S calls it the Dreadmill and I can agree with that, but it sure beats going outside in crappy weather; it's wintertime so there's a bunch of crappy weather going on.
I have to exercise; I cannot function normally without it. However, I have pushed not exercising beyond the point of comfort - I didn't exercise at all for two months from about 2 weeks before The 123 opened until somewhere after the middle of November. Unless you count being on my feet for 18 hours at a time and not sleeping for a couple of days in a row exercise. [My body doesn't think that counts as exercise.] It got to the point that I had a hard time moving when I woke up in the morning - I must've looked about 75 years old hobbling around trying to get moving.
This post is not supposed to be about exercise, but while I'm talking about it I will say I've been very consistent for about 3 weeks and I can move better. Not good, yet, but better. I've been spending time on the treadmill everyday and the only way to make something so mundane bearable is to numb the brain a bit: The TV works well for this.
In the past few months, I've spent even less time watching TV than I have spent exercising. I do that fairly often - just not watch TV. A few years ago I think I must've went about 2 years without seeing anything on the television. Sometimes it makes me look like an idiot when the entire room is discussing a plot or a character from a show that I've never even heard of, but I'm sure that's not the only time I've ever looked like an idiot so I don't let it bother me very much. I remember that length of time because I was in a dentist's office for a check-up and they had the TV going in the waiting room with some afternoon talk show on and I was aghast at the content: the language, the violence -physical and verbal- and the content. This was mid-afternoon in a public place with school age children and the show was not appropriate. I mentioned it to a couple of people and they just laughed, shrugged and blew me off as prudish (or stupid) and naive. The things we can get used to...
Anytime I go a length of time without watching TV I am always re-shocked at some of the crap that is broadcast so nonchalantly. It's getting worse; I don't think this is my imagination.
This time it's the drug commercials.
I have a problem with drug commericials in general. They are very good at telling you that you need this drug because it will make you stop sniffling. They then go on to tell you (because legally they have to) that the side effects could include itchy or watery eyes, stomach cramps, internal bleeding, severe brain damage, and death. And yet, with all those hideous side effects, people go to their doctors and ask for that medication because they have an annoying sniffle. They must or the drug companies wouldn't spend the money on advertising.
I think that's stupid.
I've laughed about the drug commercials for years (since they began to allow them on TV -it was illegal for drug advertisements to be on TV at all up until, what, about 10-12 years ago?), but I'm also shocked by the number of generally healthy adults on a regular regimen of prescription drugs. I'm pretty sure that just about everyone is on something. (That's another scary subject....)
The particular drug commercials that have me shocked this go-round with the TV are the ones for ED: Erectile Dysfunction. I'm not sure I've seen any of these since Bob Dole told us he had that problem. That's been, what, 10 years ago? (Oh, hell, that means my initial guesstimate of 10-15 years for TV drug advertising is woefully short - it must be more like 15-20). Bob Dole was quiet and tactful compared to the ads now. Now they don't leave any room for misunderstanding: the commercials are blatant and outspoken with no room for misunderstanding. Apparently, the ED drug market is burgeoning and competitive.
I haven't seen these commercials with my kids in the room, but if they're watching TV when I'm not there, surely they're seeing them, too. What do they think?
I will have to ask them.

Monday, December 8, 2008

My kindergarten teacher told my mother there was something wrong with me because I didn't talk.
She thought it was because I couldn't talk; really, it was because I had nothing to say.

I still get like that: I just have nothing I want to talk about.
It doesn't mean nothing is going on in my head; usually, it means there is too much going on in my head.
Talking, unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), does nothing to empty out my head, instead it adds to the noise up there.
So today, again, I have nothing else to say.

Here are a few random pictures about which I have nothing to say (right now):

Friday, December 5, 2008

I don't have anything I want to say.
Or at least nothing I want to say out loud.
Nothing, anyway, that should be said in this public place.

I think I should have been a bear.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


My Uncle Jim taught me how to cook rice.
It's very simple.
Put rice in pot, add water to cover rice. Use your index finger to check the depth of the water: the water should cover the uncooked rice to the depth of your first knuckle joint. Bring to boil, reduce heat to very low, cover and simmer until done.

That's it.
It doesn't matter if it's brown rice or white rice, basmati or wild. It doesn't matter the size of the pot or the size of your knuckle.
It's that simple.

It took me a few times and a few different pots to believe it, but it always works. I've been cooking it that way now for 20 years and it's always that simple.

Monday, October 27, 2008

What should you do if... see your neighbor's teenage boys climbing a ladder onto their roof and jumping off onto a trampoline?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Over at The 123

I'm still over at The 123.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Taylor Made -Country Music Superstars- will take downtown Grafton for a ride!

On Saturday October 25 Grafton will rock to the sounds of Taylor Made, a country chart-climbing band whose roots extend to a back porch here in Taylor County.

What: A Good Time with some Great Music!

When: 3:00pm Saturday October 25

Where: Main Street in downtown Grafton - the City of Grafton property beside The Grafton 123 House of Coffee.
How Much: FREE.
Yes, really, I said FREE. The local trio -Brian Duckworth, Wendy Williams, & Greg Duckworth- are pleased to have an opportunity to bring their talent back to the community where it all began. There are, however, costs associated with the sound, stage, additional musicians, & transportation. Several local businesses have come together to share expenses, so donations will be accepted.

Why: Taylor County is proud of Taylor Made's success! This is the perfect opportunity to showcase our hometown celebrities, the great strides that downtown Grafton has made recently (the new sidewalks and streetlamps look great, don't they?), and the growth of Taylor County!

Thanks for coming out to this Homecoming Celebration!

See you Saturday!

*cross-posted at and

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Live Music this Saturday Night

Kevin Ford will be performing at The Grafton 123 this Saturday, the 18th of October 2008.

Grafton's new coffee house, located at 123 West Main Street in historic Downtown Grafton, West Virginia, will host an evening of live music beginning at 7pm.

For more information visit or call 304-903-4717.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I'm over at The 123

I haven't been posting much, huh?
I'm over at The 123...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Loon Center

Although I haven't written much about anything lately, I have quite a few pictures waiting to be posted both from the Oregon coffee trip and from the New Hampshire vacation.
Here's one:

I thought it was appropriate to take my family to visit the Loon Center.

And then I saw this picture, taken on a foray into the Goodwill store a few weeks ago:

Somehow, these pictures seemed appropriate together.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

It's a Sign

This sign was good enough to find a spot to turn around and go back to snap a picture:

You can see M's smiling face in the side mirror. We were cracking up. I didn't want to take the chance of it not being here next time I drove by; I had to get a picture. Actually, I got several.

There were other -worse- words painted onto the board and scribbled out with spray paint, but apparently the most important word was unmistakable.

I wonder who lives down that way?

Friday, August 22, 2008

West Virginia Industrial School for Boys, Part I - Featured in September's Wonderful West Virginia Magazine

Click over here for information on my latest publication:
The Taylor County, West Virginia site - August 22, 2008 posting.

You ask, 'Where have you been?' and 'Why aren't you keeping your blog updated?'
Because of The 123. We are very close to opening and I am busy. Happily busy, but very busy.
You can click over to The Grafton 123 blog site for today's quick post to see what's up.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lawn Mower Parts for Breakfast

The lawnmower was broken. I knew it was broken, but I hadn't yet taken the time to find the replacement pieces.
Meanwhile, the grass quietly, slowly grew unruly.

PC politely fed me a reminder on a paper plate:


Bear Warning

After being enthralled with 'Moose Crossing' signs while in New Hampshire, I can especially appreciate this Warning sign.
I would be happy to give credit to whoever is responsible for this sign, but I don't know who that would be. PC sent it to me, but it's likely it was forwarded to him, too.
Whoever you are, thank you for the laugh; it's too good not to share.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Weird Load

Basketball, anyone?

Yet another weird load.

I just got back from a fun -and much needed- family vacation. While I was tempted not to go on vacation at all -I've got too much work to do- PC wouldn't let me get away with it. So I went, I had a good time, and, yes, PC, you were right.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Oregon Trip - Post 9 - City Hall & Mayor History

Here is Troutdale's City Hall:

And this sign about Early Women Mayors:

It says,
"Early Women Mayors
In 1913, one year after Orgeon women won the right to vote, Clara Larsson was elected the mayor of Troutdale, defeating her male opponent, S.A. Edmundson, by five votes. A quarter Indian, daughter of the pioneer family Latourell family, she was one of the first women mayors in the state. In 1914, Troutdale voters approved Prohibition and closed all of the town’s saloons, including one belonging to the Mayor’s husband, John.The city elected a second woman mayor, Laura Harlow in 1924. She was also a deputy sheriff and was the wife of Lou Harlow, whose father was Capt. John Harlow, Troutdale’s founder."

I think it's probably safe to say that Clara Larsson and her husband, John, had a bit of a public disagreement going on, huh?
That must have been interesting (and possibly entertaining); certainly a story or two there, anyway.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Oregon Trip - Post 8 - Behind the Museum

A mossy-rock memorial:

that says,
"Blue Star Memorial By-Way
At Tribute to the Armed Forces of America Mutnomah District 14 O.S.F.G.C."

A "No Dogs" sign:

This notice was a little further along than the dog walk area where a sign asked for courteousness and supplied little plastic poop bags.
I can appreciate a convenient doggie bag ;).

And I couldn't resist snapping this picture of the "Honey Bucket:"

A brick walkway led toward the Sandy River:

And this trestle peeked out through the greenery:

This is the Sandy River, whose currents must be much more dangerous than they look:

because drownings are unfortunately common.

Clear, cold, inviting:

and dangerous.

Unless you're a goose:


Oregon Trip - Post 7 - Troutdale History

This sign was located in the park behind the yellow rail car:

It says,

"Oregon History

This pioneer community, gateway to the Columbia Gorge, was settled in the 1850s. Cattle herds of early pioneers were driven to the nearby Sandy River from the Dalles while the emigrants rafted their wagons down the Columbia.
First known as Sandy, the present name came from fish ponds built by the town's founder, Capt. John Harlow. By the turn of the century, railroad and river commerce made Troutdale a noisy boom town boasting 'A tavern on each corner and one in the middle.'
Here in 1894 part of Coxey's Army, 500 unemployed demonstrators, commandeered a train in and attempt to reach Washington, D.C."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Oregon Trip - Post 6 - BIG

One thing that has always impressed me about Oregon is the SIZE of things; Texas should be jealous.
When we lived out there a decade-plus ago, the blackberries were as big as ping-pong balls.
And, no, I am not kidding. Not exaggerating, either.

I think this is actually a raspberry bloom, but it makes the size of it even more impressive:

This leaf, which was beside the yellow train car, was bigger than my head (no, I did not get my head in the picture as a size-reference):

And this:

was absolutely the most impressive slug I ever saw. It was on a foot bridge, having crawled up through the cracks (I could tell by its trail of slime, which was pretty impressive, too, though it didn't show up in the picture).

It was between 4-5 inches long. It was HUGE. I could probably add a couple of inches to my guesstimate size and not have anyone who knows Oregon slugs argue with me.
Really, really HUGE.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Oregon Trip - Post 5- Depot Rail Museum

In yesterday's post at The 123, I talked about why I found this little Oregon town so fascinating. More specifically -and something else in common with Grafton's red caboose (and other rail history)- this Depot Rail Museum caught my interest:

This little Depot-turned-museum sits at the far end of town, just about on the Sandy River.
"End of the Line Museum Store:"

Unfortunately, I was there too early in the morning to take the inside tour, but I couldn't help looking through the windows:

although the view from the front porch wasn't much:

This yellow car sits in the front yard:

I wanted to take pictures of this car like I did for our red caboose post, so I just walked around snapping away:

It's obvious that this car is much newer than our red caboose.

How much newer?

I googled this train car number:

And learned that this car was built in Ohio in 1975.

It was in service as recently as 1993, because the picture of it on the web page was taken in Washington State.

There was no information online or on-site that indicated when or why it was retired.

I tried to look in the window, but it was pretty blurry:

There was a boiler and a few cots, like a bunkhouse. Does that make it a caboose?

I have no idea.

What impressed me the most -and this wasn't the first time- was the age difference in our history.
Grafton, West Virginia's boom began in the 1850s when the railroad first came over the Allegheny Mountains. Troutdale, Oregon's boom was around 1900. It took time for our nation to move West.

I tried to find out when our red caboose was built, but I can't find a thing. I do know, however, that it has been sitting on Main Street for 30 years or so. That means it was retired around the same time that this yellow caboose was just a baby.