Monday, March 20, 2023

Titles are hard!

 I think I figured out my problem.  

I write about too many things in one post to pinpoint a title!  Back in the day, when I first started blogging on the now-deceased Yahoo 360, I'd use the date 🤣 Which is probably why I'm not too upset that I lost all that content.  I don't remember what I wrote about, but it probably wasn't quality!

Have you ever seen yellow hyacinths????  LOVE THEM!!

Anyhooo - it's the first day of Spring!  Hooray!  Not that it matters much here in Michigan, but I have 3 different colors of crocuses blooming out in my lawn and tulip / hyacinth / daffodil spouts in my flowerbeds, so that makes me happy!  And the robins may be really puffed up, but they're back for the season! 

They remind me of this cartoon.....

So let's get caught up again.   I left off last post looking forward to 3 days worth of search & rescue training.  We had a class on Wide Area Search, which by definition is 1. has an unknown number of victims 2. covers a widespread area.  3. the local resources are tapped out and 4 requires outside assistance.  

So we did a lot of work with actual maps and scenarios from Hurricane Katrina, the Greensburg Tornado, an earthquake in California (the instructors skipped over that one quickly since we don't have a big earthquake problem in Michigan - although fun fact - there's a huge inactive fault line that runs from basically Traverse City to Detroit!)   So we got the scenario and it was if we were first on the scene - figuring out what we were up against and getting needed people, equipment & supplies.  How to prioritize our resources, etc.  Basically stuff I will never need to use, since my SAR team falls under the jurisdiction of the sheriff's department, so there will always be law enforcement on a scene before we are!   We also got to play with the apps that FEMA uses for large scale disasters - where we roamed around the neighborhood, and marking "waypoints" such as animals, debris, structure issues, fires.  Then we went back into the classroom and the instructors downloaded our tracks and looked at the pictures we took.  

Kinda scary!

And there were people from different sar teams, fire depts, police depts, and government agencies so we were on teams with all sorts of people with different experiences and outlooks.   It was a super cool class.  Really interesting. 

I don't care for professional sports (except hockey - I do like that) but at work, I've been known to doodle on the conference room wall (it is painted in special paint so you can do just that!) I was asked to draw for the Super Bowl.  I impressed myself with that Eagle! 

Sis1 lives in "the country" and asked if we wanted to go in on 1/4 of a cow with her from one of her neighbors.  We couldn't find our cooler, so we stopped and picked one up - this one holds 180 beer cans or approximately 265 pounds of beef!  Can't wait for the Spouse to fire up the grill!

I fit easily in the trunk of a Nissan Versa!

I took a weekend road trip with both sisters to see our brother in Ohio and of course I took Chuck the skeleton with me (quick backstory - he's kind of like a Flat Stanley - I take him everywhere and post pics on his own Instagram page - @chuck.d.bones) Some old geezer came up to me in Cracker Barrel and asked if he was my "service skeleton" - we thought that was funny and then he had the audacity to ask if I knew that was weird?!?!?!?!  I was kind of offended!  And then he asked if he could take a pic since none of his buddies would ever believe it.   

Don't be hatin' on Chuck!

Late February / Early March was the 5th anniversary for my SAR team - and seven of us got pins & certificates of appreciation for being with the team since Day 1.   We've come a long way, baby!  We even had a call out at 5am today.  I'm glad they understand that we're volunteers since most of us do have to work!  Luckily they found the kid before I would have even gotten to the scene anyway.

I was helping the Spawn with her taxes recently and needed a printer, so we packed up and went into my office.  The grandkids went nuts and somehow got dirt from my plants ~ everywhere ~, along with potato chip crumbs. LittleMan tried to sweep up but I still left a note for our cleaning guy, apologizing for the huge mess!  

Watch out for BabyGirl!

Of course that's a toy knife - the Spawn used it in a dance routine one year when they did a production of Clue and she was Miss Peacock.  This baby will carry anything around with her.  Empty pop bottles, pens are a particular favorite, baby wipes, you name it!

We usually have a girls' night out for St. Patrick's Day - but this year we just met up with Mom & Sis 1 for dinner.

They are rotten little monsters, but they're adorable!

I've got a few things coming up to look forward to.  2 different Easter Egg hunts with the SAR team - which sounds weird, but imagine a parking lot filled with all sorts of police / fire / emt / other vehicles with candy, and a helicopter coming in to land.  And looking for eggs!  We also are doing our first pack test - where we'll be in full search gear and hike 1.5 miles just to gauge how long it takes.  The beginning of May is a state wide drill with idk how many other teams.  That'll be fun!  I wish we'd have our mounted team ready to go, but that's not looking likely.  

Anyhoooo, Gonna sign off for now.   

I love this tree.  I've got a million pics of it. 

I should add one to the bottom of each A to Z post!

Wait - why does Elmo look like he's flipping you off??
He's supposed to be thinking!

Saturday, March 11, 2023

A to Z Challenge Theme

Welcome to my little corner of the Blog-iverse! 

...some backstory

The first time I did the A to Z Challenge was back in 2012. Jumped right in with 3 blogs.
I had this blog, one dedicated to my weight loss journey and one that's all Halloween, all the time.
I did all 3 in 2013, too. In 2014, I dropped the Halloween blog, because I also do the Countdown to Halloween which is blogging every day in October. It was getting to be a bit much.
2015 was also just the 2 blogs. Then I combined them into what you see now so 2016 - 2019 was just done here.
2020 was a bad year for blogging.  2021 wasn't much better.   
2022 was just a fail.  

So anyway.  I thought I'd go for a super easy theme this year, so I could get my blogging mojo back.  One that I know I'll be able to complete ahead of time and concentrate on visiting & commenting on other blogs.   It also kind of goes along with the A to Z Head Honcho team's theme!


There are some pretty cool logos out there and some plain, but I was easily able to get A to Z!

Thanks to Swift for being my inspiration!

So basically, most of these pics were taken while on road trips.  I went to Houston last spring via Cincinnati to visit my 2 best friends from when I was in the Navy.  I also went on a couple weekend trips with my sisters to visit our brother in Dayton.

There's also a special fun video for "P".

Surprisingly - K was the hardest letter!

Also surprising that I've worked for a trucking company for 22 years, and I've never done a Challenge involving trucks! 

So load em' up and come along for the ride!

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

It's Fabulous February!


Hey folks!  Looks like we have another 'catch up' post on our hands!  

Taking up from where the last real post ended....
If you want to see my Halloween display, I made a post over on my other blog about it.   
By the way, this meme is 100.3% true. 
But this was by lunchtime on November 1!  
The back yard was a different story, but we did have it all put away on the 2nd, tho.
Me & the Spouse.  We have teamwork!

So yeah - there was an adventure a few days before Halloween.  My search & rescue team was putting on a demonstration for a state representative lady who was running for Congress and I was on my way out to the camp where we train often.  I was stopped at a red light and...

I got slammed into by an 18 year old kid who clearly not seen the red light, nor the 10 or so cars backed up at it - therefore had never even touched the brakes.  I always make sure I stop where I can see the back tires of the car in front of me, so there's a comfortable distance.  That being said - that's my front bumper lying there - after it was yanked off the hitch of the truck I was shoved into.  
Ruby was still driveable so I was able to make it into the parking lot of a diner right there.  The guy I was pushed into got out & looked, said he had no damage and left, but not before I got a picture of his truck & license plate!  I was mainly upset because I'd had her in the shop not a week before and got a new radiator, all 4 rotors turned and one other thing (forgot already!)  The kid who hit me was freaking out, in tears and was basically beside himself.  

Thankfully nobody was hurt.  Namely me!
The police made their report and called a tow truck for me. The kid was released from the scene (with minimal damage to his front end) and I was left alone.  I took a bunch of pictures & made a walk-around video, then started taking my search gear & other stuff out of the back so I'd be ready for the Spouse & Tow Truck Guy.  

TTG was really nice.  He pulled into the parking lot, but he had another car on his flatbed.  He had stopped just to make sure I was OK!  He said this (waving dramatically at Ruby) was replaceable, but I was not.  Honestly, I teared up.  He assured me he just had to drop this other car off and he'd be right back to get Ruby.  

While I was waiting again, leaning across my hood and watching the sunset, another car pulled in next to me.  I was mildly annoyed since there was a whole parking lot and they had to park right next to me??  I was going to tell them about the tow truck coming, but the guy rolled his window down and said he was right next to me when I was hit and he couldn't believe I didn't go to the hospital!  I told him I was OK.  He asked if I needed a ride anywhere and since I didn't, he asked if he could go get me some cider & donuts from the place down the street to make me feel better!  That was the sweetest offer!  I thanked him profusely & declined because the Spouse was almost there and I could see the tow truck at the corner. 

The Spouse & I went into the diner for dinner.  The hostess asked if she could get me a drink and I told her what I wanted, she didn't have!  She asked what that was and I said Tequila.  And we all laughed and I explained that it was my mangled car out there being loaded onto the flatbed.  
So now... welcome Smokey to the family!
It's hard to tell, but it's dark blue.  
I never knew blind spot detectors on the side mirrors were a thing until I had my rental car.  But now I have them, too!   And the back up camera is pretty cool.   And remote start.  And a button to open & close the back.  And heated seats!

The very next night was the First Responders Truck or Treat event.  
It was cool to think we are considered First Responders!  
I liked walking around (with my skeleton, Chuck) and getting pics of all the police cars, DNR vehicles, first trucks and various other agencies.  And of course - seeing all the costumes!  

The next big thing was Thanksgiving.  We always get together at Sis1's house but for various reasons, there only ended up being 5 of us, so we didn't even have to decorate / set up tables in the basement!  We just sat in the kitchen to eat.  That was a first!
We took the grandkids out into the barn and we soon realized Little Man was not there!
We found him out in the pasture, feeding hay to the horses.  So cute!  

The next event was the City of Lapeer's Parade of Lights. 
We had just gotten our new gear trailer, so we didn't have a chance to get it decorated so we just walked. 
It was a lot of fun.  Of course we parked near the beginning of the parade route, so we had to hike all the way back.  At one point, this guy stepped out in front of Sis and I and said he wanted to thank us of all we do.  It made us wonder if we'd looked for someone for him/his family before...?  Maybe!

Speaking of - we've already had 3 call outs and one assist with another team this year!
Took the grandkids to my VFW to see Santa at Christmastime. 
Little Man turned 3 on January 2.  
He picked out his presents - a lantern that makes cricket/outdoor noises and a cleaning caddy with a squirt bottle, squeegee, sponge, etc. 
Well played, XM!

So it hasn't happened yet, but I will be moving to a new office at work!  The electrician was supposed to be there "mid week" so we were hoping today.  Nope. I've been sitting in dispatch for 22 1/2 years now and my new manager wants her whole team together, so I'm pretty excited to have windows that look outside instead of onto the loading dock.  This pic is to keep OCD people out - the desks are centered on the wall.  The window is NOT centered on the wall!   LOL!
I'll get to watch the sun rise!!
...and trucks go by.
This past weekend I drove to Kalamzoo for the Dept of Michigan VFW's Mid Winter Conference.  I probably would have enjoyed it more if it actually applied to me!  The training offered was for higher-up officers.  I technically am an officer at my post, but it's one of those very minor, "empty" titles.  I have never done anything in that capacity.  However, somehow I did get suckered into being the chairperson for all of our programs that deal with kids.  
excuse the derpy face & 14 chins!
Patriot's Pen is a written essay for middle school aged kids on a topic the VFW chose and the Voice of Democracy is for high school kids and they have to do a speech on the chosen topic.  Saturday night was the awards banquet for the kids who had won in their district around the state - they were now competing against each other.  The winning high schooler got a $6000 scholarship and an all expense paid trip to DC to compete at the National level. Pretty exciting!  The boy who won was literally shaking when he went up to the podium to accept his prize but he calmed down to do his speech for everyone. 

I was sort of nervous driving 3 1/2 hours to get there because it was snowing off & on, but spending 2 nights alone in a hotel was excellent!  I'd wished I brought a bottle of wine with me, tho. 
We were supposed to get another snow storm Saturday night so I thought it would be dicey on my way home, but the snow went south of my route and it only took 2 1/2 hours to get home. 
Saw this magazine in a Walgreens in Kalamazoo - took me back to middle school!
I had Duran Duran posters all over my room.  I also enjoyed watching them on New Year's Eve in Times Square.

So anyway, that's about all that's been going on around here.  

I have SAR training all weekend so that'll be fun!
Peace Out.