Posted in Everyday Life, Instructions, Rambling, Surprises

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Went to the Post Office

Hi folks!

Long time no blog! Right? Well, I think I’m ready to get rolling again. How exciting!

I wanted to get started with a little postal know-how. Before my experience with mass mailings – beginning in 2008 with my first secretary job, I knew not. After my mass mailings experiences, I know now. See how that works?

First, I will start with the Self-Service Kiosks. These mystical machines exist in only a few very rare places – and NOT NEAR YOU. The easiest way to get started is by googling these keywords: FML IHU.

No, no. Not those! Those are the words you SAY after you travel 22 miles and realize that the kiosk doesn’t do what you want it to do. Sssshhh. Calm down. It’ll be okay.

Instead, do this. Type “USPS” into your browser address bar. Choose the “Welcome: USPS” link. Easy so far.


Next, click “Find USPS Locations”. Locate the drop down bar, and then choose: “Self-Service Kiosk”.USPS 2

Awesome. Now, type your zip code and then choose the number of miles you would be willing to travel (and how much gas you would be willing to waste) to utilize the kiosk. Finally, click “search”.

Voila! Seriously. It is a really easy task. What ISN’T so easy is suddenly arriving at the kiosk and being limited to the Liberty Bell FOREVER stamps and other denominations of stamps and 5 per transaction. Das it.

If you need anything in addition to your 49 cent stamp, either make time to go to the counter and talk with a clerk or go here:

Don’t give me that look. I’ll tell you how I got there.

USPS 3At the same website, click the “Postal Store” option in the blue ribbon. Then, choose “Stamps”. Now, choose the option in the left sidebar that says “Under 49-cents” or one of the others if you so desire.

Great SCOTT! Look at all those options!

Click a stamp with the cents that make sense. (I just made myself chuckle.)

Next, scroll and click through your options. Take a look at how many stamps are included in a sheet, book, or roll. Add the desired quantity to your cart. Check out, and BAM! You’re done until you’ve got those stamps in your feverish little hands.

Now, this is something you CANNOT do at the Self-Service Kiosk. And that’s okay, because we (meaning me) need to do our (meaning my) research so we can avoid the huffy, puffy anxiety once we realize the stamps we want are not available!

This will come in handy too if you want any specialty or limited edition stamps, like Black Heritage, that certain neighborhoods either run out of instantly or do not carry at all.

Next, DO NOT go with the 28lb paper at your local office supply store’s website. Go in the store. Talk to a clerk. Choose the lighter (in weight) paper.

If you choose the heavier default paper, and if you have 3 pages to fill and no more than that, prepare to edit meticulously. If you go over 3 sheets, you’re gonna be looking at extra postage – not from the Self-Service Kiosk.

So, I do hope that this has been helpful to you. Please let me know if you have any Post Office tips that folks might find handy.


Posted in Fun, Music, Rambling, Surprises

What the what?

*If you know who H and C are, you’re in good shape to read the rest of this. If you do not know who they are, imagine a hippy Grizzly Adams for H, and a spry, talkative tween boy (who hates the term tween) for C.


Whew, okay. So now that things have settled down, here’s the other details of our mighty adventure. So, the place itself, the people within the event, and the scenery are mind-blowing for this one-level Ohioan (pavement). The camping on-site actually started a week before we even got there. We took our camping gear and lots of other stuff, but we did not take perishable food. Why? Because we knew there were going to be Food Trucks and because we didn’t know if the place had accoutrements for camp fires. Answer: nada for camp fires. BUMMER!

We put up the tent, got our stuff in it from the car, and I went to a gas station to get a pack of water bottles while H and C trekked the hill to the nearest tower of outlets to blow up the mattress. The first gas station didn’t have jack so I went to the next one, the later offending Exxon. I got the water and some cash from their ATM.

Glory be, what happened to me? The freakin’ electronic window, driver side, would NOT go back up. Crap.

I got back and we explored. We discovered that the trek up to the festivities from our tent was going to be mighty. We got a heck of a workout while we were there. H and C played with banjos, fiddles, and more. We finally found a friend who was camped out clear on the other side of the woods. I cheesed out early on both nights, but H and C stayed out late on the first night jammin’ with the enthusiasts.

On the second day, we checked out more instrument vendors and food trucks. All three of us went to the gas station to pick up a few things, snacks and H for the ATM to get a really freakin‘ cool 12-string mandolin that he later gave to a beaming and overjoyed C.

I have to admit right here, I had a bad feeling about going into the gas station before I went in on the second day.

Right after H got cash out of the ATM, we were standing in front of the refrigerators in the gas station and couldn’t decide what to get. I checked my own cash flow after H asked if I was good for the rest of the weekend. I concluded I was fine on funds. Hunger was getting the better of us so we finally decided on a couple of things each. After I put my wallet back in my bag I got the royal stink-eye from the female shop attendant. I thought she was giving us the evil eye because we must have been lingering too long.

So, H and C go up to the register first, then me. The female shop attendant, a woman in her early to mid-60s said for me to put what was in my bag on the counter too. “Excuse me”?

“I saw you put lunch meat in your bag.”

“Pardon me?”

“You put it in your bag and then you turned around and smiled at me.”

“I smiled because I was acknowledging your presence.”

After my face went blood red and eerily, angrily expressionless (according to H and C – this is a phenomenon I’ll have to explore), I took out of the whole contents of my bag. Nada. Nothin’.

Before I got the last of it out of my bag, the man whom I had seen the day before and had carried the pack of water to my car immediately went to the ice cream refrigerator, offered his sincerest apologies and fudge bars, “since we were wrong”.

Like really, do you want to associate yourself with the accuser here? Did you know she was going to accuse me? Were you accusing me?

She began apologizing, but really back-handedly, “You never can be too sure this time of year” (referring to the festival).

H was incredibly upset and ret’ ta go, C was stunned. I refused the “extras” and said, “No, we’ll take what is on the counter, and pay for it.” So, she rang it up, I paid, we left, and OOPS. H left his sunglasses on the ATM machine. So, he had to go back in and get ’em.

Then, we got hit by a really amazing thunderstorm that shook our sturdy tent and empathetically distracted me from my severe irritation. The fresh mist continued until the next day and we finally packed up and hit the road – open driver side window on I-77N at 70 mph and all.

Lessons learned:

1. Don’t let a fickle window stop ya, but get it fixed when you get home whether it rolled up again or not.
2. Take up a string instrument so you don’t feel like the only person not playing next year.
3. Shop at grocery stores in the backwoods of W. Virginia, not gas stations. Thems some weird, leery folks. They think cash looks like lunch meat.

Posted in Everyday Life, Surprises

New Job

So, I have a new job. I just had my last day of work at and a friend of mine from high school is taking over as secretary/receptionist. I’m very glad that she has the job and she’ll get to revamp some things with her health.

My new job is starting me off with a kickbutt wage, full benefits, and life insurance. WHAAAAT! I feel like a grown-up (almost)! I’ve been waiting for something full-time and permanent since February 2008 when Zales shut the Heath doors on us.

Unfortunately, I heard that one of the girls that I worked with there is not in a good way right now. To that woman:

You are better than your circumstances and whatever you’ve fallen into if what I heard is true. I saw you so many days at work and you were tough as nails. I’m sorry I didn’t keep in touch with you – but I didn’t keep up with anyone else from there. I hope you can find  way to get things right, get your body healthy, and find gainful employment somewhere. We had our squabble in the beginning, but I really grew to like you a lot.

*** I am praying for you. Perhaps it’s not what you want to hear, maybe it is. I don’t take prayer lightly. I haven’t purposefully prayed in a long time. But out of all the people I have met, whatever I say to plead for healthful circumstances, they are directed at you.***

Posted in Everyday Life, Surprises


Seriously! It’s not funny!

Hojo and I got some uber-tasty mexican food yesterday at Fiesta Mexicana. I got “burritos mexicanos”… it was totally to die for. Which is preCISELY what I’ve been doing for the past 2 hours or so. The sour cream, the abundance of it… was such a baaaaad idea. Now, if I had had self-control, I could have scraped off a giant portion from the burritos. Or, I could have actually request much less sour cream than usual.

The stupid part is that I’d suffered this once before, but not this bad. About a month or so ago, Hojo’s parents celebrated their anniversary. We went with them to the restaurant and I order “La Mejor” or whatever it was. Oh, it was so delicious! Worth every rumble, face squish, and cramp.

Lactose intolerance, or lactase deficiency is also known as having the condition of being a ‘lactard’ in my circle. Thank you Carole and Pep. What it means in a nutshell (or milk crate if you prefer) is that folks like us can’t digest lactose properly. Lactose is in dairy products. Our bodies may or may not produce enough lactase which will break down lactose. Some of us can tolerate a little, but if we have too much, you better clear the way to the bathroom. Other results are developing phlegm. Makes ya feel like you’re a never-ending faucet of goo.

Gross, I know.

So, if you don’t want us to tell you stories about what the latest dairy product has done to us, then don’t tempt us. LOL. We have enough trouble refusing our favorite foods as it is.

Thank you Lactose Intolerance

Pity us.

Posted in Health, Surprises


Thank you,

I meant to say “ew”. I know there are highly inconvenient times in which our bodies, in particular our faces, convulse and our noses twitch and itch… and then, we get a look that we hope never, EVER ends up in a photo.

‘Course, none of our sneezes, otherwise known as sternutations, could possibly look this graceful (right). And nope, we don’t have a hanky available either. I mean look at her, she’s got her hair all finely coiffed and hanky prepared (guaranteed, this is actually from a commercial for Kleenex).

The worst part is, you can’t sneeze with your eyes open. Folklore says that if you do try to keep your eyes open during a sneeze, they’ll pop out. Unfortunately, I can’t find anything about the subject on (you’re welcome) regarding sneezing and eyes popping out.

Clicky, clicky.

The most, potentially, dangerous time to test this theory is while driving. It never fails. I get in the car and I’ve already rolled down the windows, set up my iPod and I pull out into the alley…….. and generally something like to the left will happen to me. The squinty face. I’ll try to provoke the sneeze along, but nothing works. Then, when I least expect it, and I’m facing toward the sun. WHAMO! Not the toy company, the nearly mind-blowing experience of sneezing.

35-40 mph, 15-20 feet of spray,

I’ll let you all picture the “ew” of the “ACH-EW”. Let’s say you’re driving along, and you don’t have any handkerchiefs nearby; in fact, you’re not even thinking about needing such a thing. And you get one of those looks depicted to the left, but this one ends up resulting in something from Ghostbusters. How do you get rid of the sudden moment of bodily function surprise? Perhaps, in the case of driving, especially if you’re by yourself, and if you have the mindfulness, the sneeze’ll end up in the crook of your elbow (like my grandma taught me). At least then, it won’t get on anyone or anything else. If not, you’ll end up with something similar to this, to the right, on your windshield and your steering wheel.  Hopefully there’s some wipes nearby, and ventilation. Preferably a hepafilter if you put a pretty penny into your vehicle. Sickie.

The above and to the left, fantastically humorous picture (with the caption “clicky, click”) needs to be credited to I hope you enjoy it just as much as I am.

Here’s a list of my favorite responses to sneezes: “Bless you” or “God bless you”; “Gezondheid” (Dutch for “good health”); “You’re so good looking!” (thank you Seinfeld). Interestingly, in China, Vietnam, and Japan, it is believe that if you sneeze, someone is talking about you. According to my ever-so reliable source, Wiki, one sneeze means someone has said something good about you, two means someone’s talkin’ smack, and three means someone is in love with you… or you’re catching a cold. Heck of a tell-tale sign.

What’s your favorite way of saying “I hope your brain didn’t fall out”?

Posted in Music, Surprises

Chris Brown Tribute to Michael Jackson… I cried.

Yeah. I did. I admit it. I had a heck of a hard time holding back the tears.

CB has somethin’ goin’ on there with the dancing. He does. I won’t deny that, but…

…Charlton Banks (Alfonso Ribeiro) STARTED IT!

Posted in Rambling, School, Surprises

*Update: RIP NHS: 1940-2010

I went to see my high school today. I attended Newark High School from 1998 to 2002. I had a graduating class of nearly 500 students. The principal at the time was Mr. Mann. The band director was Mr. Randall Lamb.

No more sidewalks

The high school will never look like it once did. There were 11 buildings. Some will be demolished, some will be renovated, but overall, the entire look will be different.

“A” was the gym, fully equipped with a weight room/fan stand, large locker rooms (or at least they seemed large in 9th and 10th grade), and it’s where the NHS Pep Band cheered on the male and female basketball players. Locker rooms are definitely a source of humiliation, FYI.

“B” was the building where the food was made. Someone apparently thought it would be adequate torture to put the kids who were penalized with “in-school suspension” in there. How would I know this? In 2001, Mrs. Harvey and whomever else changed the attendance rules. Originally, a student could miss a certain number of days per half year. They changed it so that late-to-rise students like me ended up severely punished for lagging behind and getting to the first class late. The first time was a freebie. 2nd time was a detention, 3rd was two detentions, 4th was in-school suspension, 5th was “Saturday School,” and 6th was an out-of-school suspension. What’s funny is they started calling it in- and out-of-school “support”. Pffffffffft! That was a crock.

“C”, “D”, and “E” buildings alternated roles as the History, English, Natural Science, Foreign Language, Home Ec, Math buildings and more. There are three cafeterias, one in each building when you first enter from the courtyard. Each building’s cafeteria offered a different lunch; E building was usually the pizza building. When I was a freshman and sophomore, there were long tables with attached benches for students to sit on. It was cramped, but there was at least room for everyone. My junior year, the school changed the layout and tried to make it seem like a bit of a cafe. FAIL! The layout was nice, but there wasn’t nearly enough room to accommodate all the students. We all recognized this right away. It also made standing in line for lunch a pain because as the students would stand there, other students would confiscate seats if they weren’t saved. Meh, the price we pay.

F building from the Gym

“F” building, which will be the first building to be demolished, very shortly, was the chemistry building. My first class was Natural Science with a teacher whom I cannot remember the name of. My aunt had done an Americorps program for a short time and she had just so happened to be at Camp O’Bannon where my 9th grade class was going for a ropes course. The others and I were taking a leisurely moment under a pavilion when I saw my aunt Susan. The first thing out of her mouth was “Sweet Pea!” The rest of that school year, Zach Evans teased me with that. Ugh. I took my second class there my senior year with a teacher named Ira. I was quite distraught that quarter because my grandfather had passed away early that school year. I found it interesting that Ira wrote the exact same way my grandfather did, style and all. I made peanut brittle in that class.

“G” building is the Hub. It’s this strangely designed building with two floors. The top floor had some classrooms and the bottom floor had a few classrooms and administrative offices. I had 2 years of French classes on the floor with Madame Waite. I enjoyed every moment in her class.

The Bells and The Hub

“H” building was the industrial technology building. It would have made more sense to label that one G and have the Hub labeled as “H”, but noooo. I had a pottery class in that building with my best German friend, Pep. She had come to the States as an exchanged student. She had, by chance, taken the pottery class with Mr. Bussey, who just so happens to be a friend’s uncle – I didn’t know this until the poor man died.  I befriended Pep by asking her if she wanted to go to church with me. I had thought she would have fun because she seemed like such a bubbly person. Turned out, she was not faring well with her host family for a variety of reasons. I, later, found out that a teacher at our high school got involved and Pep was later transferred to another host family from my church. Since then, she has come back to the States during her summer breaks and visited her kindly host family.

Interestingly, there’s no “I” building.

“J” building was the library. While I was attending NHS, the building was renovated and classrooms were added. I had one 10th grade Science class in that building. I had a lot of fun in the class, but it was mostly because of the shenanigans that one of my classmates caused. Dude, you know who you are. The teacher just so happened to be the daughter of my 2nd grade teacher. 🙂 Boy, oh boy. She had a heck of a time trying to keep control of that classroom.

“K” & “L” buildings were the band/orchestra/choir building and auditorium. There was one make-shift classroom in the front lobby of the auditorium that was designated for the theatre folks. I had one theatre class in there. It was after they’d removed the couches and replaced them with restrictive desks. The band room was directly across from choir and orchestra room. In the band room were several trophies from several decades of contests that the Concert, Symphonic, and Marching band had won. There is a room which contains all the rented and personally owned instruments, from piccolos to drum mallets. Mr. Lamb directed in that room for decades. He directed thousands of students, including his son. And who could forget Mr. Isenhart, Mr. Stemen, Mr. Theller, and Ms. Whiteman! Each of these directors helped us from at least middle school. I was involved in two plays. For the first one, I was a ‘human prop’. It was “Flowers For Algernon”. Shawn White was the male lead. The second one, “Li’l Abner,” I was the Head Make-Up Chairperson. I was a bit clueless and was ever-so grateful for the help of Miranda Oliver. Marshall Gutridge was Abner, James Ramsey was the grandpa, and there were other wonderful classmates including Austin Frazee, Shawn White, Travis Kopp, and Katie Holland (who later married aforementioned Kopp). There was also an elite group of thespians. All who were interested auditioned and only the best-of-the-best were permitted into the next season of actors.

I loved those days. I love my memories, aside from some of the nonsense that occurred. I think it’s ridiculous that the school district has decided to ruin a perfectly good campus that could simply use some remodeling.

The NHS Class of 1940

Trees are gone from “The Hill”. The sidewalks from one side of campus to the other are gone. The class donated monuments are gone as well. I talked to a woman at NHS when I called earlier today who said that there would be special care taken with the commemorative items, donated bricks, plaques and such. Thank GOD. My grandmother’s (Mimi) graduating class, 1940, had a circle of bricks in front of C building (I think it was C). I wanted to take my grandma down there to take a picture of her with her brick, but it was already gone. 😦 Talk about disappointment.

If the school district cannot afford bussing for students, from K-12, and the arts are constantly in jeopardy, what makes them think that a giant building which is intended to house 2,000+ students will help them learn? The kids who will be attending NHS for the next 3 years will suffer in long modular buildings to be placed in the parking lot. Also, where are parents going to come up with $55 per uniform set for their kids who are attending a public school? Many parents get clothes for the kids from a fraction of the cost of 3 shirts and 2 pairs of pants in the offered set. Granted, the school district is asking for donations to meet their projected cost of $84,000 to help families whose children receive free or reduced lunches (like I did, don’t judge). But if it took so long for citizens to vote to pass the latest levy, what makes anyone think that this goal will be met?

This blog post is very subjective, but each of our experiences at NHS were.

***Update: “It’s my understanding the F building is coming down first, which i belieie is already down. Over time C-D-E will come down, then H building. I think they are keeping A-B-G-K-J.” – via a Facebook friend and fellow alumna

It’s good to know at least those buildings are staying. I was under the impression that all the buildings were to be demolished. Let’s just hope that there is enough of it’s old self to call it alma mater still. It looks like the Wildcats monument from the class of 1940 is remaining where it is. However, all the bricks from the courtyard and another commemorative structure in front of the Arts building are gone and will be preserved somewhere else.

A friend just posted a couple of links on my facebook regarding the renovations:

NHS Rendering and NHS Power Point.

A little dry humor....
Something to look forward to...