February 26, 2014

Civil War Trust Park Day, 2014

For everyone who hasn't heard, April 5 will be this year's CWT Park Day. Park Day is an open call for volunteers to help preserve and maintain Civil War battlefields. Park Day has been hosted since 1996 and is a great day to give back while spending the day at a historic site.

This is a great chance to get to spend the day at big Civil War sites like Gettysburg or Antietam but also to visit smaller and little known sites. Each site has its own list of tasks for volunteers. Some of the cemeteries and battlefields just need general landscape maintenance other sites need help with organizing, record keeping or restoration.  

To see the full list of sites that are looking for volunteers: Click here.

To register your site to be included for Park Day: Click here.

I'm always interested in hearing who is going where? Does anyone have any plans for Park Day?

February 23, 2014

Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party: Post 8

These days have been flying past. I do not know if they normally move this fast or if I am just more aware of it now that I am spending more time documenting each day.  February has been miserable. We are all stuck in the house, even more so than usual.We had a couple of very nice days lately but I hear there is snow on the way.


Had a good reading night. Sherlock Holmes.


During a short power outage at work, we taught people how to decorate cakes in the dark.


Too much work. Too little pay. :(




My friend always has a way of disappearing at dinner.


Experimented with infrared photography.


Today we had rain and not snow. It was a lovely change, but there was so much fog it was hard to see 10 feet in front of us. Being so foggy, it was a slow day at work and I got to really clean. I had been meaning to do this for a long while.


Remnants of fall.

I can't wait for March. I want to be outside and to enjoy nice days, nature and summer clothes. 

February 15, 2014

Record Breaking in 2014: Secret Life of Bloggers Blogparty, Post 7

 February is normally the time when people are done with winter and ready for a bit of spring. Normally, we are a bit antsy for a view of green buds or a day where we can spend all day outside. But this year we are dying for a day we can spend one hour outside that doesn't involve shoveling!

The polar vortex has every sick of winter! This season is actually recording breaking for the area. Being 4 degrees in NYC broke  a record set in 1898 of 6 degrees. 4 degrees in Philadelphia broke the record of previously degrees. Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia and even Tennessee now have new coldest temperature records. Horah for being historic! Even if it's driving us crazy.  

In addition, tourism to Israel has just hit an all time high. There's probably some sort of correlation.


Getting all of the baked goods ready for Valentine's Day. Is it wrong to want an industrial sink where all of the strainers and appliances fit perfectly, making it really efficient to get things done?


My sister and I curled up on the sofa and watched the most horrible movie. Sherlock Holmes and dinosaurs?


Used my day off to get some sewing done.


I'm starting to think that living in Canada wouldn't be that bad. I like Canada but I never thought I could take the snow.  


I baked way too many cookies!


After the crazy power outages at work last week, we had another one today. The weather was rain, snow and ice. Very few people showed up at work.


Finished for Valentine's Day.

I hope everyone has had a good week and has not been shoveling too frequently. In other news, I hear there's more snow today. 

February 8, 2014

Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party: Post 6

Power outage dinner.
This post is going to be a little different than my other blog party posts. This week has gone by fast but it allowed me to collect my thoughts and do a lot of thinking that I normally do not have time to do.  The huge storm that hit in the area left 500,000 without power, including my house and my job.

We have a problem as a society.The power was out for 2 days and people were flipping out. I'm not talking about the elderly, they seemed to be taking it just fine. But adults in fine health were complaining about how they had no TV or internet at home. What were they going to do? Their kids were going to be so annoying without the TV to watch. People have forgotten how to live without electricity and electronics. People asked me, crippled, what they should do when they got home.   

Audible Noise

I always look forward to power outages. It is not ideal to be without heat in the winter, but I love the removal of developed noise. We are so used to the sounds that our heaters, fans, computers, microwaves, appliances and electronics make that the sounds are almost invisible to our conscious thought. Take them away, and you immediately realize just how loud they've been.

Mental Noise

What is exponentially worse than the audible noise is the mental noise our electronics create.  With electronics, we are constantly multitasking despite the evidence that multitasking is not good. The internet makes it all too easy to fall in the rabbit hole every time you are trying to concentrate. But being constantly distracted is taking it's toll. Our brains no longer have the time to sort through information or think. Our brains and souls remain voiceless. We are too distracted to listen.

Power Outages

Power outages snap people back to reality. Suddenly they have to concentrate on what they are doing. They have to read a finite books and think about what they are reading. They have to sit with their families and talk. They have to think about how and what they will prepare for dinner. They have to plan ahead. They have to help their neighbors out and make sure everyone is safe.

I am as guilty as everyone. As a blogger, researcher, and photographer, I clearly use the internet and technology a lot. Modern technology is amazing to me. It has allowed me to meet friends I never would have without it and learn things and have hobbies I never would have been able to have without it. But I can't say I hate the relief I honestly feel when I know there's no facebook or email to check. No rabbit hole of the internet to distract me and my quiet thoughts and family close by.


While pulling a tissue out of my pocket, I accidentally dropped my change. I felt them falling and was anticipating the widespread fall that was bound to happen. I looked down and the pennies dropped to the floor almost as if a magnet attracted them. They didn't bounce at all and were all facing heads. Four lucky pennies. :)


Groundhog day. For those of you that don't know, it's a holiday that originated in PA and has now spread to other places. I can't definitively say who still celebrates it but I know they do here. One of a few fluffy groundhogs, that normally live in a library, is put into a log and let out. If the groundhog "sees his shadow" and turns back, there is supposed to be a few more weeks of winter. (Oh wait, there's a movie about this. Everyone knows what it is.) :D


Big snowstorm, again.  About 7 inches. Because we almost ran out of it...



Start of the ice storm.


The ice chunks falling from above. The ice on the power lines and trees showered with each blow of the wind.


It snowed yet again today and the power went out again.

Even as I was writing this post I had the overwhelming urge to check facebook and my email, even though I know neither of those things was urgent or would really add to my life. 

February 4, 2014

A Supershort History of @

The @ symbol. It epitomizes the electronic technology overloaded world we now live it. Many of us didn't even notice that little symbol on the keyboard until email became the norm. Now it's something people are trying to name their children.

It's hard to believe that something so seemingly modern actually was in use since the 1400s.Originally denoting a cask for wines called Amphoras, the @ symbol was used in trading. Later the symbol came to mean "at the price of."  The symbol is documented earliest in Spanish and Portuguese trading records.

Although there is no clear evidence indicating why or how the @ symbol was invented. Most historians agree that the earliest known uses of the @ symbol are monastic texts.

The @ symbol was not included on typewriters, when they were invented in the 1860s but was included in the 1890s on early tabulating systems. The symbol would have likely fallen out of use if it didn't find its way into computer programming in the 1970s. It is now an iconic symbol of the information age, maybe we will see more of it removed from computers as there is now possibly a human being named "#."

I had know idea that @ has had such a lengthy existence. I first encountered antique uses of @ in wills from the 1700s. At first i thought they were likely shorthand by a tired transcriptionist but when I checked the original documents, I was surprised at seeing a row of @s staring at me.   

February 1, 2014

Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party: Post #5

The first month finished. Who thought something so simple could feel so hard. I struggled with feeling like there was nothing interesting happening in my life. I was working a lot and therefore not doing a lot of the things I'd normally do.


It's been very cold and I've been spending a lot of time outside and in the freezer at work. Apparently, freezer burn is something that can happen to you. The top of my hands look and felt like I had burnt them in the oven.


Are you tired of snow photos? I'm tired of snow. It's beautiful but way too cold.


Went crazy on cakes today.


Baked a lot of cookies. Everything smelled way too good.


The old fashioned bread slicer at work is quite fun. I wish there was a similar product designed for home use.

I hear we are supposed to get more snow next week.

Went to a dance thing with my friend. Had a lot of fun. This was my only day off from work this week so it was nice to get to do something a little different.

Hope everyone enjoyed month number 1. I can't wait until the weather is nicer and exciting things start back up again. For those of you stuck in perpetual winter, stay safe. 

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