Tuesday, April 30, 2024

#AtoZChallenge - Zombies

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter Z

Welcome to the last day of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge! 

My theme is things that entertain and/or inspire me. 

Why not?


This is one of my favorite monster trucks.

We just saw him last month in Toledo. 

I have a collection of Hot Wheels Monster trucks and they come out with Halloween editions every year. 

OMG - this is a locally bottled beverage - a hard cherry cider and it's SO GOOOD!
When my nephew and his wife were having their first child, everyone at the shower was invited to draw and color a picture so they could make an ABC book.  My nephew couldn't pronounce "Aunt Lisa" when he was little, so he called me Zaza.  I had to choose Z!  

Saturday, April 27, 2024

#AtoZChallenge - Xanthophobia

 #AtoZChallenge 2024 letter X

Welcome to Day 24 of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge!

My theme is things that inspire and/or entertain me. 

But today's letter doesn't fall in either of those categories. 


The fear of the color yellow. 


Friday, April 26, 2024

#AtoZChallenge - Whatevs

 #AtoZChallenge 2024 letter W

Welcome to day 23 of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge!

My theme is things that inspire and/or entertain me. 

My train of thought went several different directions for W.

So we'll just listen to some tunes. 

Def Leppard "Women"
Twisted Sister "We're Not Gonna Take It"
With a mariachi band!
Guns n Roses "Welcome to the Jungle"
Bon Jovi "Wanted Dead or Alive"
Skid Row "Wasted Time"
(warning - strobe lights & drug use)
Pat Benatar "We belong"
Alice Cooper "Welcome to My Nightmare"
with the Muppets!

Enjoy & Rock On!

Thursday, April 25, 2024

#AtoZChallenge - VFW, why did I join?

 #AtoZChallenge 2024 letter V

Welcome to Day 22 of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. 

My theme this year is things that inspire and/or entertain me. 

I'm going to revisit a past V post since I can add to it now.  

I have been a member of the VFW, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Old Settlers Post 4659 in Disco, Michigan since February 2018.
When I was thinking of joining some sort of veteran's organization, my brother who retired from the Air Force suggested AmVets, which is open to all veterans.  I looked into it, but saw they stick their female vets in the auxiliary with the family members.  Um no.  I don't feel that's a good combination.  I deserve to be recognized as a member and not stuck in a group with the civilian wives.. 

I looked into the American Legion, and while I see a lot of females on their website, it was hard to find info for us specifically.  And while I spoke to a lady (a former Marine) from the local Legion at a blood drive who invited me to come visit / to join - I wasn't feeling it. 

For some reason, it just felt right when I looked into the VFW.   Back many moons ago, when Spawn was in Brownies in elementary school and I was one of her leaders, we took the troop to this very same post for Veteran's Day.  I had a nice chat with the commander at the time and he suggested then that I should join.  But all I knew about any of these places was based on my grandparents who only went to "the Legion" to drink & play bingo.   I don't drink enough to feel the need to go someplace other than my back patio to do it and I sure don't play Bingo!

I was made to feel welcome as soon I walked in to meet the guy in charge of membership.  I could tell he was very proud of the post as he showed me around.  So yeah.  I started out with a one year membership, but eventually upgraded to a life membership.  We're currently up to 5 females who attend meetings with any regularity.  
Ya know, hearing about things that happened in Vietnam, Korea or even WWII on TV or newspapers is NOT the same as hearing it directly from someone who was there.   Every time I go to a meeting, I'm in awe of being in the company of these gentlemen who have experienced things that I cannot imagine.   I may qualify to be a member under a couple different bullets on the VFW eligibility list but my time in was cake compared to these guys who saw real close-up combat.
August 2018, our newly installed M60 tank.
I just think it's cool!  Not F14 fighter jet cool, but cool enough.

Last summer, our commander called a meeting of the "younger" folks at the post to get ideas for signing up people who qualify under the Global War on Terror.  The VFW was running a campaign to sign up younger people, so I attended with 5 or 6 guys, and the discussion turned to WHY we joined.  Commander Art asked me specifically and I froze, with all these sets of eyes staring at me!  That's a tough question.  Maybe because I don't like being like other females?  Being a veteran itself sets me apart from most.  Belonging to, and doing at lot with, the VFW also sets me apart.  I don't know.  

But at least being the chairpeep for the VFW Youth Scholarships and our own post's scholarship makes a difference in some lives.  And I really can't wait to dive into the history of our post as post historian, too.  That really interests me, but I'm not quite sure where to start!

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

#AtoZChallenge - Taphophilia

 #AtoZChallenge 2024 letter T

Welcome to Day 20 of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge!

My theme this year is things that entertain / inspire me. 

Today is Taphophilia.  There are many different definitions, but this is basically the deep interest of cemeteries & headstones. 

So I am a taphophile.  Or "tombstone tourist".  I see some places describe it as an "unnatural" or "morbid" attraction to cemeteries.  I don't think so.  I enjoy going to cemeteries because they're peaceful.  I enjoy the art and history that goes along with them.  And judging by the number of Facebook groups I see out there, I'm definitely not the only one out there!

I've never been scared at a cemetery, either.  There's been a few little things that have happened, like one time I was out with Sis1, very early in the spring.  The only thing growing was a bunch of daffodils (which don't have much scent) on the other side of the small cemetery.  We were looking at some stones when I suddenly caught of whiff of perfume as if someone walked past me.  There was no breeze and neither Sis1 or I had any on.  So I feel that the someone was maybe thanking us for stopping by to visit.  Other times I've been drawn to certain stones, where I feel the need to stop for a moment and wonder about their lives. 

I do listen to gut feelings.  If I get the feeling to not touch something - I don’t!  I was recently at a cemetery in Ohio and went to pick up a small stone that was laying face down… stopped right away and left it.  Another time I was at the cemetery that belonged to a “Home for the Feeble-Minded” and made sure I thanked everyone out loud for the visit and asked that no one followed us (Sis1 was with me).  

Here are a few of my favorite stones. 

Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston SC
Post Cemetery, Mackinac Island
The earliest burials likely date to the mid-1820s.
One of only 5 in the world authorized to always fly their flag at half mast - 
due the sheer number of unknowns.  Of 108 burials, 69 are unknown. 
Sacred to the memory of Col John Patterson, aged 52 years
Mary Young, his daughter, aged 19 years and 6 months
Charles Young, son of Mary Young, age 18 months
James Batcholer, aged 17 years
John Morris, aged 8 years and 9 months
Relatives of the above. 
All born at Philadelphia, state of Pennsylvania and fell victims 
within a few days of each other to the yellow fever of 1801 at St. Mary's, state of Georgia.  
This marble is erected my Francis Young and Lewis Levy, sons in law of Col John Patterson. 

Oak Grove, St Mary's GA
Col Patterson was a Revolutionary War vet.  
I visited this cemetery for the first time in 1992 or so and this grave always stayed in my mind.  So when the Spawn's dance team went to Nationals in Orlando in 2018, we flew into Atlanta & drove the rest of the way, just so we could stop here and pay our respects. 
Woodlawn Cemetery, Detroit
The Polar Bears Memorial, White Chapel, Troy MI

Oak Hill, Pontiac MI
Congregation of Moses Jewish Cemetery, Kalamazoo MI
Miss Myra is one of those who I felt drawn to. 
Mountain Home Cemetery, Kalamazoo MI

I haven't seen too many veteran stones with ships on them.  

The Queen City was a steamer acquired by the Union Navy during the Civil War and used as a gunboat to patrol the Confederate rivers to prevent trade.  In June of 1864, she was disabled by 2 regiments of Confederate cavalry and blown up.  Henry appears to have been 14 when that happened. 

Do you enjoy cemeteries?

Monday, April 22, 2024

#AtoZChallenge - Search & Rescue

 #AtoZChallenge 2024 letter S

Welcome to Day 19 of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge!

My theme this year is things that entertain and/or inspire me. 

Today it's all about search & rescue.  Specifically, what it takes to become a member of my team. 


Yes - we look for people!!  You wouldn't believe how many times we've been asked ~what~ we look for! 

I joined the Lapeer County Search & Rescue team when it was first being put together by the Lapeer County Sherriff's Department back in 2018.  Sis1 went to the informational meeting and I tagged along for moral support.  For shitz & gigglez, I applied and was accepted, even tho I don't live in the county. 

Most SAR teams follow guidelines set down by NASAR, the National Association for Search And Rescue. We also belong to MiPSARC which is the Michigan Professional Search & Rescue Council which means we are willing and able to deploy anywhere in the state.

My team has to pass a background check and an interview from the sheriff's department. 
 We do not deploy on searches without approval from the sheriff's liaison and our director.  A lot of times it's for safety's sake. 

The following is some of the qualifications we need to get and maintain in order to keep our certifications.

We start out with 6 FEMA courses in the first 90 days

*Intro to Hazardous Materials

*Intro to Incident Command System

*Basic Incident Command for Initial Response

*Intro to Community Emergency Response Team

*Intro to the National Incident Management System

*Intro to the National Response Framework

Then in the first year, we're required to have

*CPR & basic first aid

*Wilderness first aid

*Bloodborne pathogens

*Crime Scene Awareness

*Land Navigation

*HAZMAT Awareness

*NASAR SARTECH II certification

*Amateur Radio License, Technician or higher

*K9 First Aid

*Equine First Aid

and this is just the basics! Everyone starts out on the ground team, but you can eventually specialize in other units. We have a K9 unit with their own set of qualifications & certifications and also we're hoping to get the equine unit back this summer (the darn team lead, aka ***ME***, needs to get a darn horse!!) which means the horses also have to complete almost the same training as a police horse. We also encourage people to pursue other things - kayaking, man tracking, drones, etc.

And because I am a team lead, I'm SARTECH I qualified, which means I'm a crewleader and once I get my own horse, I'll be in charge of training.

We also have covered Lost Person Behavior and SARIA (initial actions) and do regular refreshers. 
Me on Kisses (right) and Sis1 on Remington (RIP)
doing a public relations outing on the local rail trail.
I did quite well at a 'SAR Olympics" that another team put on a couple years ago.
It was fun - they need to do that again!
Other teams are always welcome to attend our training sessions and a lot of times they do!
Drills in all weather
brrrr we are having FUN.  
Wrapping up a teammate in a 'hypothermia wrap"
Conducting a "building search" at Crossroads Village in Flint
and finding their Halloween decorations!
Kisses is now retired and is a professional Pasture Ornament.
The plan is for Sis1 to rehome one of her other horses so I can have his stall for a horse of my own!
We also get calls to assist with other teams - this was our first assist.
In January 2019, way up in the northern part of Michigan.
Some of our fantastic K9s & their handlers. 
Another drill!
I might not be the most knowledgeable when it comes to the technical side of radio, but I am quite proficient operating one.  
Securing a "victim" in the stokes basket for safe transport.
We're pretty honored to be included among the First Responders for the annual Halloween "Truck or Treat" event. 
We also attended the Lapeer County Emergency Services Gala this year.  
This is about 1/3 of our team - we clean up nice!

Oh, in a nutshell... in 2023, we were called out on 20 searches, got 7 new members for a total of 28 people, drove more then 39,500 miles and spent 4,500 hours of our time. 
Looking forward to what 2024 continues to bring!

Saturday, April 20, 2024

#AtoZChallenge - Riding

 #AtoZChallenge 2024 letter R

Welcome to day 18 of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge!

My theme this year is things in that inspire and/or entertain me. 

So let's go riding.  Also known as Equine Therapy!  

I don't think any further explanation is needed. 

Here's a throwback to my senior year in high school and the neighbor's horse that I rode more than they did. 

The date was circled because it was the Spouse's second time on a horse and we didn't know it at the time, but 4 years exactly from that date would be our wedding day!
Working at the Eastern Michigan State Fair