We’ve Made It Through The Storm!

While it is still rainy, and while a lot of wind whipped through our area and knocked a lot of  trees down, it seems like there wasn’t too much devastation although I think I’d like to give my sympathy to the man who died in Berks county after a tree fell on his house.

Some roads in our area are still impassable, and there are large trucks out in some areas fixing electric, etc.  It looks like people are being advised to stay home, unless they need to be out.

I hope everyone is fine, I’m fine where I am, but I hope we all remember to stay alert, after having such winds blow through the trees in sodden ground might still decide to drop limbs or even come down.  So even though the storm is over, gusts might still blow through and so please remember to be safe.



Losing Electricity is a Pain, But We’ll Cope!

A  storm is fast approaching and that means some of us might lose our electric which is a real pain in the neck but it’s happened before, and it’s sure to happen again so let’s get smart about it.

1. Use flashlights!  Candles are charming for lighting but they aren’t all that great in emergency situations.  Dig out a flashlight and make sure it has batteries.

2. Find your can opener.  In an emergency situation you can open and eat cold canned items most of the time.  They aren’t going to be quite as tasty, but your family will live quite handily if you open a can of beans and pour them on a salad.  It’s a nice protein enriched meal and for dessert have some canned or fresh fruit.

3. Washing yourself!  Make sure you have enough water to keep clean.  Each person in the family can have their own wash cloth and then you pour water onto the cloth with a cup, add soap to the cloth, wash what is necessary, and then pour more water from your sink, or gallon jug onto the cloth to rinse it and then rinse your face.

4. Wash hair using baking soda.  Add a tablespoon or so to a small mug of water and pour it onto your scalp.  Scrub gently and then use another mug of water or two to rinse.  No suds, and no need for a lot of water.

5.  Washing dishes.  Use the same process you used for washing yourself.  Fill a large dish with water and use a cup to wet dishes next to the dish with water, do not set dishes in the larger dish filled with water, you don’t want to contaminate your fresh water.  Once you’ve rinsed the dish, use a soapy cloth, then get another cup and rinse again with fresh water. Utensils can be kept in a soap filled mug and then rinsed in a similar fashion.

6. I’ve got a leak!  If your roof starts leaking you are going to want to stop the leak, but if you can’t right now, you’ll just deal with it later.  Now if you find water leaking in gather it in a pot, or in a trash can and dump it regularly. If you can’t find a leak, but you’ve got water coming in, then put down newspapers.  Soon you’ll see where the leak is doing the most damage.

7.  If your basement is taking on water then remove items that will sop up the fluid.  Got a throw rug down there?  Then pick it up now and set it on top of something so it won’t draw water.  Have any laundry down there?  Pick it up and put it on something above floor level.  We don’t know when it’s going to be sunny, and large sopping wet items will turn moldy.  Save yourself a headache later, pick up the stuff on the basement floor if you are in a low lying area.

7. Toilet flushing.  If you don’t have electricity and your house’s plumbing is “gravity fed” then you can use a toy bucket filled with water to flush your toilets.  If you don’t have a gravity fed system then I suggest you invest in a portable camping toilet in the future, but for now, you can use a 5 gallon bucket, lined with a plastic bag with a toilet seat on top.  It isn’t luxury but you won’t have to worry about having a stinky unpleasant house until your energy is back on.

Now please know that most of the stuff I’ve written about is the kind of stuff that you’d do if you were going camping.  I’ve written this stuff down because I know people are worried and because I’ve done this stuff when I’ve lost electricity in the past.

The good news I hope is that the Manatawny seems lower than it’s been in the past with bad storms.  The bad news is that if this storm stays around a few days that will surely change.  It’s also good news that we’ve been through this kind of emergency before, so you can pack up your family and head on over to Pottstown High if you are too worried.  This storm will be gone by Wednesday!  We’ll survive.

If anyone is in trouble, feel free to post your concerns or worries.  I  can’t make any promises about helping anyone, but there are a lot of folks visiting to see what’s what about the storm.  I imagine if we have some concerns showing up, that the power of social media will do some good.

Be safe.




Soup For Breakfast!

I don’t know about you, but I have never had soup for breakfast, although thinking about it makes me wonder why I’ve never tried it.  There are some soups that I think would be a wonderful choice for starting the day.  Over at the Daily Mail they are talking about a new diet that says if you have nothing but soup for 10 days you’ll lose a lot of weight!  That seems strange to me because I can’t figure out how cooking something in water takes away the excess calories, but heck, what do I know?

Anyhow, I figured I would try to find some soups that are made for breakfasts online and to be honest, while I found some sites that had “breakfast soup” I didn’t find a lot that contained a whole lot of recipes till I came to this blog which has a “soup list” that is pretty long and the recipes to boot.

So check this Soup Lady’s site out if you like the idea of having soup for breakfast. Honestly, soup might be a healthier breakfast than eating sugar coated wheat or corn flakes.  Just think about it.  I will be!





Hurricane Sandy And Pottstown!

Have you been hearing reports about the possibility of a Frankenstorm headed our way?  Well, so far it looks like Hurricane Sandy might bump into a storm coming in from the West with lots of bad weather and an arctic blast from Canada which will in a worst case scenario all smack into one another somewhere near the East Coast this coming Monday.

So what can you do to prepare for a blow-out storm?  Well, you can make sure that there isn’t anything left outside that will blow away in a bad storm.

You can make sure you have enough water and personal essentials as well as  food that won’t need heat or electricity to eat, and don’t forget you’ll need a manual can opener to open items up if you are going to use canned foods.

You can keep some flashlights handy.  Have a weather radio that is battery operated tuned into local news stations on the radio, you can actually have some duct tape and cardboard, or newspaper and plastic bags for patching and stuffing windows in case any do break because of limb damage or falling objects.

Candles are a bad idea in a storm situation because a house fire in a community wide storm isn’t going to be able to get the attention it would in regular circumstances so be extra smart about using fire during storms, and remember that you might not have access to professional help immediately if a storm shuts down or blocks roads.

If you must drive in the storm please be extra safe.  Avoid driving through large puddles because you can’t know how deep they go- if enough water pools in an area the water can wash away roadbeds and so if there is a large puddle, and you can’t see roadway then don’t chance it.  Go another route.




Designers Notice Gaps and Create Products, Seems Easy Enough!

My class on design has already stumped me.  I am supposed to come up with a problem that causes me and at least 5 other people enough pain that we’d be willing to make a change.  It sounds easy enough doesn’t it?  I should be able to come  up with an artifact that solves a real life problem- so how come I can’t?

It seems like I do things all day that could be easier, or more effective.  I should be able to come up with a problem that needs fixing, but I can’t.  I guess that should clue me into the idea that perhaps I’m not a natural  born designer.

Like the other night I thought it might be nice to have steps that operate using a bellows type idea, so that you step forward on a step rather than stepping down and then the step adjusts.  That would take off the pressure on knees and ankles for older people.  Rather than taking out their steps with those rising seats, why not create steps that work almost like locks used to?

I even have a name for it!  “The Lockstep System”.  But now I have to figure out how to build it, and whether it’s even cost effective.

I’d like to give in and just say it’s probably too hard, or it probably won’t work, but if I do that then I’m definitely going to fail the course!

Heh, I’m going to fail anyhow, but at least I’m going to try.

Got any ideas you can float my way?  I’m a little desperate here 🙂




Driving Through Town Today…

I saw several things driving through town today, on October 23.

I saw lots of houses being built over at Hanover Street.

I saw a couple riding Pottstown’s yellow bikes.

I saw a red hot air balloon around 7:45 am this morning.

Lots of houses are decorated for Halloween!

I noticed the old AAA building has turned into the University of Montgomery Community College.

I ate an asiago spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy’s on High Street

And I think I saw an sign that I think advertised a certificate for a pizza if you got a quote from Nationwide on High Street.

If you saw a taupe Jeep, then that might have been me!




More Coursera Courses!

I’ve become addicted to taking online college courses at Coursera.org.  I’m finding it  incredibly draining and yet it is absolutely fulfilling at the same time!

The good news is that anyone can sign up to take classes.  The bad news is there are no limits to the number of classes you can take, and for me that means I’m handling  more than I am capable of handling at one time.  For example, I am now enrolled in a class on global history, a class on the economics of obesity, a class on Greek and Roman myth, and a class on design and I can’t forget the class on genetics and evolution.

I know, some college kids are taking that many classes, but they aren’t also doing some of the other things I”m doing in addition to going to class.

I don’t expect to complete all the activities and tests and papers in each class, so in all truth I’m not really taking these classes,  basically I’m auditing them, but oh my goodness– it is fabulous to be exposed to so many new ideas shared by so many wonderful professors.

Fascinating facts from my classes:

Zheng He was a sea trader who plied the seas around the time Christopher Columbus did.  His ships were humongous.  The comparison between his huge ships and Colombus’ ships is amazing.  Check it out.

The citizens of the United States tend not to believe in Evolution.  Only Turkey beats us in discounting it as a scientific theory.

Most of you know what absenteeism is, but have you ever heard of “Presenteeism”?  I’m learning about that in the class on Obesity.  The term refers to employees that can make it to work, but that aren’t working as effectively as their “healthy weight” peers.

Coursera is amazing.

Check it out.





Does Anyone Want To Start A Book Club Locally?

I’m reading a couple of books that make me realize it would be fun to have someone to chat with about them.  If anyone wants to start a club, we can find a neat place to meet locally, or we can even meet on Skype!

Just let me know.
Books on my current night table are:

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd

Run by Ann Patchett

The Floating Admiral by Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and G.K Chesterton

Graves in Academe by Susan Kenney
What do you like reading?




Guess Who Has a Leopard Lounging Robe?!

Remember I was saying I’d love a robe to cuddle up in at night?  I asked for one for my birthday and surprise!  I got one, actually I got two,but one is the kind I can snuggle up in in the evening.  I think it even came from Macys!  I opened the box and I stupidly asked where we got a Macys box from, but I didn’t even think that it was possible that my gift had come from there.  Is that silly or what?  It’ just that we tend to re-use old gift boxes, so I usually have some stashed, which means if you ever get a gift from me and the box says “Boscov’s”…it might not be from there! 🙂

My daughter’s did call, so that was wonderful, and my youngest got some girlfriends to sing Happy Birthday to me from school. ( Thanks Faith, and Rebecca, and Natalie).

I got lots of nice cards and some phone calls and emails and it was a very, very happy day.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.