I may chat about my books, what I'm writing or reading, or just general thoughts. You may read posts about my cats or just my crazy life in general. Comments are welcome, if anyone wants to interact with me. Maybe we can share war stories, whether it's writing related or just about life in general.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Tribute to Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry Oct 1926 - Mar 18, 2017 
Photo courtesy of Getty Images

I’ve wanted to write this post since I read the devastating news of his passing on Saturday, 18 March 2017.  We used to listen to him as teens and when we took up the guitar, growing up, we tried to learn his songs on the guitar.  I still have a close friend who plays the guitar very well.  He grew up playing tunes by Chuck Berry.  I was so sorry to hear of his passing, but I know none of us lives forever and at least he made it to the age of 90, which is longer than most musicians.

Now I’d like to tell you a little about his life.  He was a pioneer in the rock and roll genre.  His career spanned seven decades.  That’s a long time to play music, but that’s what he loved and it’s always nice to be able to make a living at what you love to do.  How many of us really get to do that?

I know some of you have heard some of his best hits, which are “Johnny B Goode,” “Roll over Beethoven” and “Sweet little Sixteen.”

 Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry was born Charles Edward Anderson in October of 1926.  He actually transformed the music industry in the 1950’s by taking R and B and creating rock and roll.  John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones and Huey Lewis were all influenced by this man who helped shape their own careers.

Chuck Berry is survived by his wife and two children.

On Saturday, April first, we start the A to Z Challenge again, so I wanted to post this now because the next post will be part of the challenge, which runs the whole month of April.  I hope to keep up with that along with working and my police class.  We’ll see how well I can manage my time and multi-tasking.  Of course, you all know determination is my theme song, so somehow I’ll manage to get it all done, I hope.  During the challenge, I'll be posting whatever crosses my mind.  Hopefully, it’ll be worth reading.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Many firsts

Citizens' Police Academy continues

Now that isn’t a bad thing at all.  This citizens’ police academy has been such a nice experience that I would encourage anyone to sign up; if you have a program like this where you live.  So much has happened since I last wrote about my classes but I don’t want to bore any of you with everything that goes on, although nothing has been boring to me.

I’ve truly had more going on in my life the last month than I’ve had in a long time.  Last Thursday’s class we all met at the jail in the next town over.  I hardly ever drive there, but I found it just fine. 

The sheriff’s department is also in this building.  We had a simulator on three giant movie screens in their training room where we gathered and could actually strap on a laser gun and answer dispatch calls, as if we were the police officer responding to the calls.  This was very interesting.  Then we got to interview a prisoner in the jail.  They brought him into the room in shackles.  How many of you out there have ever done that?  It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.  The man is serving a twenty year sentence for murder that he got reduced to manslaughter.  It was his first offense.  He gets out in three years and seems to have changed his life while in prison.  He’s spent his time going to school and has earned two bachelor’s degrees.  His intention is to help future parolees obtain jobs and help them to adapt back into regular life.

 I took no pictures in this class and the following pictures will be equipment only and not any people.

The only disappointment in this night was that we didn’t get to see the booking process firsthand.  I’ll ask about that in a future class, if we’re allowed to make suggestions.  Of course I would have actually liked to have toured the jail itself, but I imagine they thought it might be a danger to us so that wasn’t offered.

 This is some of the bomb squad equipment
Saturday’s class was a morning one so I had to drag my butt out of bed and get my act together.  Thankfully the shooting range is only about ten minutes from my house.  It was drizzling and a nasty day with highs in the fifties, but we all assembled there and got to watch demos from the bomb squad, SWAT team and the motorcycle patrol.  Their training facility for some of this stuff is up there at the shooting range.

 This is one of the explosions I took a pic of
This coming Tuesday we get to meet the canine patrol and view a demo by the drug dog, Emma.  In conclusion, I have to say they have put together a great program that must have taken many man hours to prepare.  I have a three-inch binder full of information now.  Plus I have some business cards in case I want to interview any of these people later when the serious rewrite for my books begin.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I finally had to break down and do it

I’m talking about going to the doctor, which I hate to do.  I always try home remedies first and usually only see the doctor once a year.  I keep a positive attitude and am always optimistic about things, even when times look bleak.  Usually I can fix whatever it is myself, but sometimes it takes the advice of a sister or friend.  This usually always works.

In mid-December I had to go to the doctor when I came home from work with a fever and still had it the next day.  I had a bad cold and a sinus infection.  I think I probably wrote about that in a previous post.  The situation now is a bad case of athlete’s foot I can’t get rid of.  I’ve been trying home remedies for the last few weeks.  I attribute this to having to wear socks and sneakers daily at work.  My feet do not like socks and closed-in shoes.  I like going barefoot and wearing my flip-flops.  The first thing to come off after work is the shoes and then all the other clothes I have to put on for the job.  Anyway, this foot problem is an ongoing thing and I expect it to be as long as I have to work and wear this “uniform.”

After burning my feet with a vinegar bath twice a day, I had to call that quits after three days.  I was intending to kill the athlete’s foot fungus.  Well it seemed to get a bit better, but it also burned the rest of my feet.  Being the determined person I am, I put up with soaking for thirty minutes each time.  After the third day, even my strong will power figured I was doing more harm than good so I went back to my green alcohol and medicated Gold Bond powder.

 Birdbath fun
Just inserting a few pics here to break up the text.  Believe me you don't want to see my feet. 
Then I decided to unwrap my poor patio plants and water them and let them get some air.  That led to cleaning up the whole patio and getting rid of leaves and dirt and all the stuff that drifted in over the winter.  Naturally, I was wearing flip-flops to do this entire job, which took a few hours.  That finished my feet off, not to mention my poor aching back.

 Blooms on our Bradford pear tree
Since then I’ve had the worst blister on my big toe.  And of course the athlete’s foot is still there too, but not as bad as it was.  It was finally time to go and see the doctor again.  Good grief!  Twice in three months.  I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come.

To make a long story short, I have two new prescriptions to pick up at the pharmacy tomorrow.  Tonight I start my Epsom salt bath for my feet that I have to do twice a day.  “Stop all the home remedies” the doctor said, but the Gold Bond powder is okay and I can continue to use my ointment for the athlete’s foot until I get my prescription. 

This stuff better get rid of these foot problems because I can’t wear my flip-flops until that blister is gone.  I’m crossing my fingers here.

 Raven wanting to play
On a cheerier note, I got my car fixed and it looks great. The weather has been fantastic.  I love the 80’s and having the windows open.  And the cats continue to amuse me every day with their antics.

 A beautiful sunrise on the first day of spring
I’m still attending the citizens’ police academy and learning so much.  The chief of police came to talk to us tonight and Saturday we get to go to the shooting range and watch a demonstration by the SWAT team.  I can’t wait for that.  More later.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

At what point are we too old to ________________?

I’ll let everyone reading this fill in the blank.  It has many meanings. 

For me this is mostly physical labor kinds of things, such as crawling on the floor on my hands and knees while cleaning the baseboard.  My house has gotten to be such a pigsty of dust and crap that I had to start in cleaning it while I have a day off.  Now my back hurts like heck tonight from all that activity.  But I got part of the dust bunnies up and dusting done.  I never got as much done as I was planning on, but that’s usually the way it goes. 

Tomorrow is back to work again.  Ugh!  Right now standing up on my feet for six hours doesn’t sound enticing at all, but I’m sure I’ll feel better once I get a good night’s sleep.  I do coconut cookies tomorrow so that’s an easy demo.  Most people like them, it’s in the warmer part of the store, and I’m not cooking so it’s easy to keep the tray full of samples.

This is our Bradford Pear tree in the front yard.

Speaking of weather, it’s finally warm.  Spring is here!  I could dance I’m so happy about that.  The trees all over town are budding out.  I even saw a bat out tonight.  That’s early for them to be out of hibernation.  So we can get ready for the allergies, but I’d rather have that than the cold weather any day.

I rewarded myself by sitting in my courtyard soaking up the last rays of the sun tonight.  I wanted to go outside so bad today, but I kept working cleaning house instead so I could get part of it accomplished.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

An action filled Saturday night

This is a similar vehicle that I was in for my ride-along

Wow!  Wow!  Wow!  I couldn’t have asked for a better ride-along with the police department.  I was so stoked I’d love to do it again, but nothing could top this one so I’d likely be disappointed.  And after comparing notes in my citizens’ police academy class, I think I had the best one so far.

I’m not going to mention any names here because I really don’t think it’s my place to say too much about this experience and I don’t want to step on any toes without permission.  Let’s just say it was better than any TV show, or the movies.  After all this was happening in real life and right in front of my eyes.

We did a lot in three hours.  That police radio goes off constantly.  I really don’t know how the guys and gals keep it all straight because the reports come in non-stop and they change every few minutes.  I learned so much from the officer I rode with that night.  He was careful to explain all the equipment and let me look at the laptop that’s mounted partially over the passenger seat.  Luckily, I’m small enough to fit in the tiny space that’s left.  Everything is computerized these days and there are little gadgets hanging everywhere. 

Of course I had instructions to stay inside the car for my safety when he made traffic stops, but I was able to bring him up on the tiny monitor mounted above my window and actually listen to him speaking to anyone when we made stops.  He also explained to me how the radar mounted on the dash worked.

Our first stop actually turned into an arrest of a drunken man that we later drove to the jail after he was handcuffed, read his Miranda rights, and frisked down right in front of me.  Wow!  The officer placed him in the backseat behind me.  Of course there’s a Plexiglas window between the seats.  So that started things out on an exciting note.  After that he took calls for two domestic disputes, stopped a lady for speeding, and then to top the night off he took a call for a stolen vehicle.  That was a crazy experience with about five cars in on the chase to apprehend this person.  I’m not going to go into any more details here. 

Once I got back to the station, I was ready to go out again, but the officer had reports to write up and I needed to come home and wind down.  Needless to say, I was still wound up for the next couple of days.  I don’t think I’ll ever forget this.  It was the most exciting Saturday night I’ve ever had in my life.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Very Interesting

This is similar to the 45-pound SWAT vest

This citizens’ police academy I’m attending is getting more interesting every time I go.  Last Thursday we had two speakers, hostage negotiations and then the lieutenant that heads up the SWAT team.  Both of these guys were excellent speakers and often work together on cases.

They brought all the SWAT gear in and asked for volunteers to put on that big pack.  He looked over at me and asked me if I wanted to volunteer.  Good heavens!  I couldn’t even pick the pack up, much less put it on.  But he thinks I’m fearless, I guess, and up for anything because I told him to put me on the most action-packed ride-along he had.  (This is the lieutenant that sets up the ride-along for civilians.)  He finally grabbed one of the older guys in our group and he was the guinea pig for this demonstration. 

This man wasn’t a big man either and had trouble getting the pack on and he sure couldn’t get it off.  He had to sit down so the lieutenant could pull it up over his head.  Of course they had a couple of shields in there too (like you see on the police shows) and also a battering ram.  We were allowed to pick up and inspect all these items.  How they don’t hurt their backs hauling this stuff around is amazing.

You wouldn’t believe the obstacle and training course these guys have to pass every six months to stay on the SWAT team.  It has to be the best men they have for situations like that so you can only imagine the rigors they go through.  We’ll get to see a demonstration of this later on in the academy when they take us to the shooting range.  Not only do they have to wear this heavy pack weighing about 45 pounds, but they also have to carry other gear and their rifle, or pistol, depending on where they are in the course.  They must carry a 180-pound dummy and leave it at a given spot and then hurdle over six-foot walls while shooting and wearing all this equipment.  All this has to be done in nine minutes and they can only miss 4 shots out of about 80 rounds. 

To say you’d have to be in top physical shape is an understatement.  I honestly don’t know how people do this job for a living.  It sounds damn hard to me, not to mention dangerous.  I know I’d never be strong enough to do this, let alone withstand the initial boot camp to start with.

All the guys we’ve met so far are very nice people and they love their jobs.  This academy certainly gives you a different perspective of the police department when you can see things from their point of view and the things the job requires them to do.  They literally have to make split second decisions involving people’s lives.

Until next time, stay safe out there.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Do your peers ever inspire you?

Store front

I’m talking about coworkers that do the same job you do and are on the same rung of the ladder as you are in the company you work for. 

About five days ago, I had the pleasure of working across the aisle from a peer I really admire.  We both do food demos so basically share the same responsibilities at work, along with all the other crew that works alongside us.  The only difference between us is that I’ve been on the job about a year longer.

The reason I’m even writing a post about this day is because it’s the most fun I’ve had at work in a long while.  This fellow really loves his job.  Anyone could see that by the way he talked all day to sell his product and hand out samples.  He kept me in stitches laughing all day long.  All the customers had smiles on their faces too.  He was thoroughly entertaining everyone in the course of his work.

Who knows what our crew could do if we all were this enthusiastic every day?  I’ve always liked this guy from the day he was hired.  He fits into the job like the piece missing from a big puzzle.  I love what I’m doing although it can be trying at times, but this coworker made me want to strive to do better, even though I give it my all daily.

Has anyone else out there had an experience like this?  I bet most of you would say you’re there to do the job and go home.  But working is so much more when you’re having fun doing it.  That fun is actually contagious and draws the shoppers in to see what’s so funny on your side of the store.  I went home that day feeling very motivated to try harder and do better.  Now that's always a good thing.