Mr. & Mrs. Piper Add Another Year – Happy 44th Anniversary!

The secret of a happy marriage is finding the right person. You know they’re right if you love to be with them all the time.  ~ Julia Child
I’d like to give a big shout out to mom and dad, a.k.a. Gigi and pappy.  Today marks their forty-fourth wedding anniversary!  They were married in 1969 at Sacred Heart Church in Youngstown, Pennsylvania.
Mom-&-Dad-in-Germany-1970s-at-Carol-&-Lynns-Party-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Mom & dad in Germany in the early 1970s. The caption read at Carol & Lynn’s Party … looked like they had a good time!

Besides my parents getting married, which six years later became my birthday, what else was going on in 1969?  According to Google, Wikipedia and all other “reliable” internet sources, 1969 was a full year.
  • Richard Nixon was our 37th president
  • 1st man landed on the moon on the Apollo 11 mission by the United States – Neil Armstrong and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin – 1st humans to set foot on the moon
  • In August, more than a half a million people gathered in the small town of Bethel, in upstate New York better known as Woodstock
  • 250,000 marched on Washington in protest against the Vietnam War
  • The US institutes the draft lottery to determine draft into US Forces for Vietnam War (dad just signed up for the Army)
  • The very 1st United States troop, withdrawals are made from Vietnam
  • The FCC banned all cigarette advertising on television and radio (good thing!)
  • Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) established
  • Top movies included Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Wild Bunch and Easy Rider
  • One of the top books was Mario Puzo’s Godfather
  • On August 9th, members of a cult led by Charles Manson murder 5 people (I read the book Helter Skelter a couple of times, scary interesting)
  • Hurricane Camille hits the Mississippi coast killing 248 people
  • Militant black students at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York use force to take over Willard Straight Hall demanding a black studies program
  • Cost of new house $15,550.00
  • Average income per year $8,550.00
  • Average monthly rent $135.00
  • Average cost new car $3,270.00
  • Gas per gallon $.35  (That’s a huge change at about $3.45 per gallon now)
Aunt-Heather-Piper-Christmas-1979

Me (4 yrs old) in my cute little Christmas outfit. Check out the plastic clip on earrings! Dad was holding Ryan (3yrs old) & Nicole (6 yrs old), like usual was cut off from the picture. We were at gram & paps house on the ridge. 1979

 

Yes, on the exact same day only six years later on December 12th, in 1975 I was born.  I guess it’s no surprise that I really enjoy winter and the snow, after all I came into this world with that as my backdrop.  At this point mom and dad moved back to the United States after living in Germany for two years while dad was in the Army.  They lived in the same house that my grandpap Chester built, the same one they live in, to this very day.  What else was going on in 1975?

  • Vietnam War ends as Communist forces take Saigon and South Vietnam surrenders unconditionally
  • The United States carries out Vietnam “Operation Babylift” bringing Vietnamese orphans to the US
  • The United States pulls out of Cambodia
  • New York City avoids bankruptcy when President Gerald R. Ford signed a $2.3 billion loan
  • The unemployment rate in the US reaches 9.2% and recession is recognized by President Ford
  • Jimmy Hoffa (ex teamsters boss) disappears never to be seen again
  • Patti Hearst becomes most wanted and is arrested for armed robbery
  • Margaret Thatcher defeats Edward Heath for the leadership of the opposition UK Conservative Party (Thatcher was 49 and Britain’s 1st female leader of any political party)
  • Average cost of new house $39,300.00
  • Average income per year $14,100.00
  • Average monthly rent $200.00
  • Average cost new car $4,250.00
  • Cost of a gallon of gas $.44 (an so the spiking gas prices begins)
  • The UK implements the Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay Act
  • Construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System begins
  • Bill Gates and Paul Allen develop a BASIC program for the Altair 8800
  • Motorolla obtains patent for the first portable mobile phone
  • The name “Micro-soft” (for microcomputer software) and Microsoft becomes a registered trademark
  • Sony introduces Betamax videotapes and Matsushita / JVC introduce VHS
  • Cray-1, the first commercially developed supercomputer, invented by Seymour Cray
  • Volkswagen introduces the Golf
  • Wal-Mart incorporates as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc
  • Charlie Chaplin is knighted by Elizabeth II
  • The Rocky Horror Show opens on Broadway in New York City
posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,News,Observation & Imagination,Random Fun Facts,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

We Need A Lesson In Accountability!

I call on people to be ‘obsessed citizens,’ forever questions and asking for accountability.  That’s the only chance we have today to a healthy and happy life.  ~Ai Weiwei

Kyle-telling-us-what-to-do-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Kyle likes being held accountable for his actions, & in turn he is fine holding others accountable for their actions too! He’s going to make a great leader!

Life brings up lessons, some larger than others,  But sometimes do we need that lesson?  I mean, to me they are just common sense.  Do we really have to teach adults accountability?  Maybe I’ve lived in a hole my entire life and this has been going on since time began, but it seems like an easy fix.  I’m talking about accountability.

You know that’s one lesson I don’t ever remember my parents having to teach us.  Probably because they taught by example.  Everyone messes up in life, in one form or another, no one is perfect.  But how you handle your mistakes says a lot about a person and their character.  Also those who are directly or indirectly involved and how they handle the situation, says a lot too.  Whether they are quick to assist and find a solution, and more importantly to forgive.

Anytime we’ve messed up, as kids and adults over the years, and there was a lot, we held ourselves accountable for our mishaps.  Each of us took full responsibility for our actions and never tried to lie about anything or get out of it.  On the flip side, my parents accepted our faults, forgave us and tried to assist us in any way.  They would never rub our noses in our mistakes and hold it again us.  Seriously, sometimes it was never spoken of again, or, if the time was right they teased a little, but never lost faith in us that we couldn’t make the right decisions.  There was trust, and that was never questioned.  We might have gotten into stupid trouble, mostly me and Ryan, but it was never malicious, never disrespectful to anyone or their property, and we never tried to put another in harms way.  We were just kids.  Kids who always held themselves accountable without question.

Now as an adult, I still screw up, but again I take full responsibility for my actions and always try to make right, like most people.  Yes, I believe the majority of the population in the world strive to do good, even though sometimes they are a bit misguided in their thinking, and yes, they something don’t choose the best course of action.  Those that are opposite are smaller in number, and again I think the underlying intent is for good.

So my question is, how do you show accountability when there is so much unaccountability displayed with our leaders?  How do I explain that to Kyle?  Heck, I never knew how to explain that to my employees regarding leaders in my own work life.  It’s true, a boss who refused to be held accountable for anything and chose to finger point for his own business.  Similar to our president?  I’ll get to that in a minute.  And you have prominent positions?  With power and authority?  And you don’t feel you need to be held accountable?  Come on people, you are setting the example for our youth!  Your actions effect us all!

The entire IRS scandal still has me in a huff.  I’m sure targeting certain groups is not a new concept (they targeted conservative groups or those businesses who supported the republican party).  That’s not right either, but their actions with our tax dollars is outrageous, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on dance lessons, travel expenses, and who knows what else.  We’re talking about employees who were living high on the hog from the start with their huge salaries and Washington perks.  Seriously, I think it should be paid back to the people, because after all, it was basically theft.  Now, it seems like there is just a bunch of finger pointing.  No one wants to be held accountable, usually making the low man on the pole the scape goat.  Stand up and be a man!  Everyone who does, will feel better in the long run.

Now I heard the IRS, the very same department of the United States of America, who have been proven to abuse their authority and basically steel money from tax payers, are now in charge to say what Medicare pays!  We are putting a bunch of number crunching thieves in charge of our health?  This has got to stop!

Of course, I guess I shouldn’t expect anything different when we have Hillary Clinton who was the Untied States Secretary of State, who would not even take accountability for her lack of action.  At least at present, Hillary was never held accountable for the attacks in Benghazi, the second deadly attack on U.S. diplomatic facility during the Obama administration.  When questioned, she became hot headed and still would never claim any accountability.  It was almost embarrassing watching her sit there and skirt around the subject at hand when questioned.  The facts remain that there were a list of some 234 security incidents in Libya, of which 50 took place in Benghazi.  These incidents including hijacking, bombing, kidnapping and assassination attempts took place between June 2011 and July 2012.  Sounds like a security issue to me.  But Hillary probably didn’t have time to actually do her job and dismissed the warning signs.  She should have absolutely, without question, been held accountable immediately for her inaction.  Yet, did president Obama step up to hold her accountable?  Nope!  Yet he’ll step in and use the government to overrule a hearing involving the Trayvon Martin – George Zimmerman case, when he has absolutely no right.  That is a direct abuse of power!  What about all those innocent people who died overseas?  Some are there under his orders, protecting the United States and its people.  We’re talking about death, not just money, but death because of a lack of accountability.  Sounds like a jail sentence to me!

According to Merriam-Webster:

ac·count·abil·i·ty : the quality or state of being accountable; especially : an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions <public officials lacking accountability>
Yes it actually had “public officials lacking accountability”
Last night I was watching President Obama give another vague, misleading speech on how the economy is getting better.  Yep the upper class and the wealthy are the same, yet there is becoming more of a separation in the middle class.  Fox News gave actual numbers that I can’t remember, number the president wouldn’t share, but bounce around.  Basically lying!  But what really struck me, was his blatant attempt to cover up scandal and abuse of power.  Again finger pointing.  He called out Congress for being less concerned for the economy and more about “an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals.”  Really?  Sounds like someone who doesn’t want to be held accountable for his actions and his position.  Are we really that stupid?  Phony?  There is video tape of the IRS abusing their authority, records of the Benghazi incidences and factual numbers regarding our economy.  They are NOT fake, but maybe the one in charge is?
The president of the United States is not only our Commander-in-Chief, but he is also the leader, our company’s CEO.  Ultimately he is in charge and should be held responsible for his employees actions and misdirection.  In the real world outside the government, if a boss is not running a company properly, in fact running it into the ground, he is fired!  Sometimes put in jail.  He has to be held accountable.  Same goes for the leaders of the motor industry.
Speaking of Detroit, Michigan, they are filing for bankruptcy?  Are you kidding?  What the government is here to give you money every time you spend too much?  Nope, be proud of your area and your people, get creative and be held accountable for you actions.  I’m not saying do it alone, sure ask for help, but don’t ask for a handout.  And certainly don’t think you can sit back and do nothing to assist or cut corners to make it happen.
Maybe I should be talking about respect and common sense rather than accountability.  I’m not saying I have all the answers, and I know I am not truly privy to all inside information that is pertinent to specific situations, but sometimes you need to step back and really see the forest.  Let’s get to the true roots of the problem and work on fixing that, rather than the surface.  Maybe it’s easier said than done, but certainly not impossible.  It’s been done before and it can be done again, but let’s start with ceasing of all lying and start being accountable for our actions.  Everyone, from the very top to the bottom.
posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,News,Observation & Imagination and have No Comments

Who Has the Right To Judge?

And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”  And he answered, “What is it, Teacher?”  “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  When they could not pay, he forgave them both.  Now which of them will love him more?”  Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, to whom he forgave more.”  And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”  ~Luke 7:40-43

Closing Arguments Held In Zimmerman Trial

George Zimmerman – Closing Arguments Held In Zimmerman Trial 2013

The entire human race sins!  Fact!  It is also our obligation to point out the sins of others and to have them answer for it, but it is not our place to pass judgment, especially after a court ruling.  Instead we should pray for one another and we should help our fellow brothers and sisters, getting them back on the right track.

Why the heck am I on this topic?  Simply because of the finger pointing, all the judgements and threats, and all the negativity and the violence and hate that has stemmed from this behavior.

Yep, I’m talking about the famous George Zimmerman – Trayvon Martin case.  Just to recap (since this blog is for my nephew to read later in life, I always try to give details to help him revisit history) on February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old mixed race of Hispanic American, fatally shot Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African American high school student.  The ruling was just announced this past Saturday that Mr. Zimmerman was found not guilty, it was an act of self defense.

Just to get this clear from my point-of-view, that if someone, anyone a teenager or an old person, attacked me, pushed me down and began to beat my head off of cement, telling me that he or she was going to kill me, I would take that seriously.  Hopefully, all my survival instincts would kick in and I would have done the same, without hesitation!  I would have pulled the trigger.

Was George Zimmerman completely justifiable?  Yes he can be faulted for approaching the kid when he was instructed not to, but he did what he was suppose to do, he called the police first and reported the suspicion.  He didn’t just go guns a blazing at this suspicious kid, wearing a dark hoodie, milling around between houses in the rain, at night, appearing as if he was on drugs.  If I was George, I would have done the same, especially since the neighborhood was experiences break ins and violence thrusted upon them.  Imagine if Zimmerman would have just walked way and later found out that the kid killed or hurt someone?  That’s what would be running through my head, especially in the case of the unknown at the time.  I would feel it was my responsibility to step in and help take action to protect my family and friends.

As for caring a gun.  He was completely legal and within his rights to do so!  Apparently, he never really felt safe if he always carried the firearm with him, except to work.  Sometime before this case, he was interviewed and said that a robber fled the scene in his neighborhood, right through his property while his wife was home.  Yes!  That would mean something to me too!  And that would stick in my mind forever!

Let’s step back and really get to the heart of the matter.  First of all, what self-respecting child, calls another a cracker?  I would have never done that EVER!  I was taught to respect others and their property.  So with that out in the open, I would never have been hanging out in the rain if I wasn’t up to no good.  And what kid, who is innocent, attacks another?  Sure, kids will be kids, getting into trouble, but if that was me and my cousins, we would have set off running, even if we just wrong on the account of trespassing.  But never in a million years would we have attacked another, unless there was more to it, than kids being kids.  I can’t help but think, Mr. Martin was up to more than just passing through.  Of course, it doesn’t make a difference now, and that’s total speculation and not my place to judge.

Rioting in LA George Zimmerman Aunt Heather Piper

Rioting in LA from the George Zimmerman verdict 2013

So now my next thought, why are people rioting?  Seriously?  Especially in California, the whole way across the United States, not even close to Florida.  Does looting and destroying private property make everything better?  Does damaging those hard working citizens’ businesses help you get your own way?  When did two wrongs EVER make a right?  My guess there are some deep seated issues residing in some individuals and they are just looking for an excuse.  Again back to respect.  Respect for our fellow neighbor and our brothers and sisters!  Those property owners weren’t involved in the crime, they weren’t even in the same time zone!  I think there are a lot of unbalanced people and I believe there are a lot of lackeys who thrive on violence and supply this anarchy to those in control, simply for a good show.  The media and some celebrities make that list of the guilty.

On a side note, if any of those rioters are on welfare, then technically they are working for the government.  Then, that means the government, Mr. Obama who is the leader, is destroying our own country from within and its hard working citizens.  Isn’t that like a dictatorship?  If the government insists on getting its own way, and disregards the decisions made by a selected jury and our courtrooms, that means the people truly don’t have a voice.  That means one of our branches of government is ruled by the other, our president.  In essence a dictatorship. I know that seems far fetched, but is it?

On the same thought, why is the government stepping in?  What, they have a say so to overrule the judge and the fair jury because they don’t like the decision?  Wake up people!  The government is already spying on us, they have controlled us through our finances with the IRS, which insistently will be controlling our healthcare decisions through the medicare audits, and now you are welcoming them in to overstep the decisions of a fair jury?  We are just handing over our freedom left and right because some want the government to control the legal system?  I’m not saying any branch of office is one hundred percent fair and unbiased, but don’t keep throwing fuel to the already blazing inferno.  The court ruled and that should be the end of it!

Do I feel bad for the Trayvon Martin family?  Absolutely!  I know first hand the pain that comes from loosing a family member too soon and so suddenly.  My heart bleeds for them, but continuing this quest for their own way, still does not make it right.  Yes it’s tragic, but instead of selling your soul to the government to get your own way, maybe everyone needs to step back and really look at the situation.  Although, I know it’s hard, with the grief and the shock of the verdict at hand, but it will help to find peace.

Blaming race is also not the answer.  How can we, as Americans ever get past racial violence and issues, if it’s always thrown out there.  I mean, how is the next generation going to learn this, which is a learned behavior, if it is not taught?  Stop the hate lesson, then the hate will stop!  After all, George Zimmerman was not even a white man, he is Hispanic.  And if I am correct, that race is a minority too.  So what idiot started to play the race card, my guess because there was nothing else, yet got their facts wrong?  Is there really a need to destroy other lives through violence?  It doesn’t change anything, doesn’t stop life from moving on, and doesn’t change the future.  It just makes us barbarians.

I didn’t see any rioting when OJ Simpson was let off.  My opinion he was as guilty as guilty can be.  Nope, that circus courtroom and all the lies was accepted and ruled on, and there were two innocent murders committed on their own property.  Again, completely innocent people do not act out of control, violent and desperate for an escape.  So why the famous high speed chase in the white broncho?  When I heard that ruling all I thought was, ‘Well, God will judge’.  And look at Mr. Simpson’s life since.  Not a healthy one, maybe the guilt is consuming him?

Rioting in LA from the George Zimmerman case verdict

Rioting in LA from the George Zimmerman case verdict

Ok, may that was too long ago for some of us to really remember or care about, but what about the Casey Anthony trial?  Casey Anthony was on trail for the murder of her two-year-old daughter, Caylee Anthony in Orlando Florida.  Again to recap and refresh the memories of many, the maternal grandmother reported the child missing for over a month and said Casey’s car smelled like a dead body.  That was on July 15, 2008.  Casey gave many falsehoods as to the whereabouts of the child including telling the authorities that her daughter was kidnapped.  On October 2008, she was charged with first degree murder and pleaded not guilty.  Later the court ruled on July 5, 2011, and the jury found Casey not guilty of first degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and aggravated manslaughter of a child.  However she was found guilty of four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer.  Using her credit for time served, she was released on July 17, 2011.

Was I mad?  Sure, but I also have faith.  I have faith that justice is always served.  I have faith still in our court systems, even though we know it’s corrupt at times.  I also have faith, that good prevails.  Never, did I ever even think of rioting or steeling from business owners.  Is looting an act of demonstrating or is it a selfish act for the personal gain of oneself?

Later that year on December 11, 2008, the little girl Caylee’s skeletal remains were found.  They were wrapped in a blanket inside a trash bag in the wooded area near the family home.  There was duct tape across the mouth on the child’s skull.  Did I mention that after all the lies, they were trying to prove the little girl drown in the pool accidentally?

Yet after all this, where people outraged?  Sure, but not like whats happening with the George Zimmerman case, with all the violence and damage and threats.  The Casey Anthony case was not in question of self defense, it was a blatant attempt of getting away with murder.  Yet she got off!  I was not in the courtroom, I was not on the jury, and I may not have agreed with the verdict, but I do agree with those who made the decision.  End of case, start moving on!

We need to continue to trust our court systems, albeit they are not perfect, but it’s better than anarchy and counter to radical thinking and radical actions of those on the streets.  That’s when the innocent are really going to get hurt, no matter their color.

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience and have No Comments

Parker Dam State Park Story

There are two big forces at work, external and internal.  We have very little control over external forces such as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, disasters, illness and pain.  What really matters is the internal force.  How do I respond to those disasters?  Over that I have complete control.  ~Leo F. Buscaglia

Parker-Dam-State-Park-Aunt-Heather-PiperDuring a recent visit to Parker Dam State Park, Fishing Toward Independence, Just Had to Take It to Parker Dam, we naturally went down memory lane.  As we fished and shot the breeze by the campfire, dad brought up the time the tornado went through Parker Dam.  I totally forgot all about that!  With the most recent tornado disaster hitting Oklahoma, I guess tornadoes were on our minds.  This tornado, that hit home and presented a miracle and a happy ending for a group of boy scouts, was the subject discussed.  Kyle listened as we shined a light on local past news.

Just to recap, on Monday, May 20, 2013 a devastating EF5 tornado struck down Moore, Oklahoma, with winds of more than 210 miles per hour.   It was such a tragedy of 23 deaths, more than 100 rescued, 237 injured and as many as 20,000 families displaced.  What really hit home was the elementary school that was leveled out by the massive twister.  Sure natural disasters are upsetting and horrible, but when you’re pulling children out of rubble, it strikes another cord with onlookers and tends to pull on the heart strings a little bit more.

FEMA-Photo---Moore-OK-Tornado-Aunt-Heather-Piper

(FEMA Photo)  Devastation from the EF5 tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma on  May 20, 2013.

My thoughts and prayers are still with those who have lost loved ones and had their lives leveled in a single blow.

Moving from that natural disaster and reminiscing on another, the tornado at Parker Dam.

Fortunately, due to no loss in life and because of the remote location, most people don’t know a tornado even hit Parker Dam State Park in Clearfield County.  But it did!  On May 31, 1985 an EF4 tornado leveled about 100 miles of state forest with winds of up to 260 miles per hour.  It even pulled the water right out of the creeks.  Dad said, as far as he could see up and down the hills, trees were flattened.  “It was as if someone clear cut the woods” and left behind splinters in the wake.  “You could see all the way up and down the ridge.  It was something else.”

There were other outbreaks of tornadoes on the same day in Pennsylvania, and the one that hit Parker Dame was the longest lived, staying on the ground for a distance of 69 miles in an hour and a half, reaching Clearfield, Clinton, and Centre counties.  It was one of four EF4 tornadoes to touch down in Pennsylvania on that very same day.  A state who is no stranger to tornadoes, but not really accustomed to the natural disaster either, experienced a major change in the ordinary.

Parker-Dam-State-Park-Dam-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Parker Lake at Parker Dam State Park

Granted, the tornadoes that touched down in Pennsylvania don’t even compare to the Oklahoma tornado, yet the awesomeness of God’s had is still amazing.  Luckily, there weren’t a lot of people in the park when the tornado struck, with the exception of a few campers and a boy scout troop to tell the tale.

The really amazing thing was the zero death toll!  The tornado went right over the camp of boy scouts without touching them!  Granted it ripped off parts of the roof from the octagon shaped building, yet they all returned unscathed.  The boy scouts held onto the doorways and their troop leaders for support, while the massive twister hovered over them and ripped down trees and power lines.  I read an article about the 25th anniversary, commemorating their survival.   To that day, they commented on the locomotive sound that hit them fast and seemingly out of nowhere.  Without shortage of memory, they detailed the events from that day.  That is one of those moments that have stayed with them and always will.  I can only imagine!

Everyone credits the octagon shaped building the boy scouts were hunkered down in, for the reason of their survival.  They feel the way the winds were whipping over them and the unique shape of the building gave them safety.  Perhaps, but if God didn’t want them to live, they wouldn’t have had a chance, even from a sturdy structure.

Parker-Dam-State-Park-Octagon-Lodge-Aunt-Heather-Piper

The Octagon lodge the boy scouts hunkered down in while the EF4 tornado swept over them on May 31, 1985. They all survived!

It took rescuers days before they were able to rescue the survivors, because of their location and all the ground debris.  Frightful as the event was during the tornado and equally as chilling as their tales, I still love hearing those survivor stories!  They are full of hope and faith!  Not to mention, it puts everything in life into perspective.

Today, you can still walk through the recovering tornado ravaged woods.  Naturally, the trees came back, all at different rates, but nature took care of its own.  Parker Dam is another piece of heaven on earth with the green luscious woods, wild animals running free and creeks full of fish.  Yep, pure heaven, maybe with the exception of the mosquitoes.

I guess we’re all going back to camp and fish and just plain chill out.  Seriously, can’t wait!

Parker Dam History

Finding the origins of Parker Dam interesting, I thought I’d share some fun facts I’ve read on the state park.  Some information came from Wikipedia, and some I read on the signs at Parker Dam, and some from online articles.

Construction of the 968-acre state park really started in 1794 with the removal of trees, to eventually leading to the need to reforest the lands by the Civilian Conservation Corps.  During the Great Depression, in the 1930’s the real construction of the buildings and such began, giving us Parker Dam State Park, of Huston Township in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.

Surrounding the state park is the Moshannon State Forest.  Many critters call the park home including the ovenbird, American redstart, turkey, beaver (which I saw on my last adventure to the park), white-tailed deer, bears (which dad has hunted), coyotes, foxes, bobcats, porcupines (better not tell Scooby Scooby Meets a Porcupine) and elk.  Pretty much a stranger to Pennsylvania, I guess elk have settled in the remote areas of the local counties and are now among the inhabitants sometimes spotted there.

So now to the reason for the name, Parker Dam.  Laurel Run was dammed up to make the man made Parker Lake.   This 20-acre lake is usually the centerpiece of picnicking, fishing and even swimming on the sandy beach.  Yes, they have a small beach on the one side of the lake for families to cool down and splash around.  Sorry Seven and Scooby, no dogs allowed!

During fishing season, the lake can be outlined by many trying to catch their prize largemouth bass, various species of trout and catfish.   Evidently, the lake is open in the winter, once frozen over, for ice fishing and ice skating.

As I’ve mentioned hunting is permitted in designated areas of the Park as per the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Also something else I found interesting and didn’t know.  As per Wikipedia

Parker Dam State Park is the western trailhead of the Quehanna Trail System.  This trail is about 75 miles (121 km) long and meanders its way through the surrounding state forests. The Quehanna Trail connects with the Susquehannock Trail near Sinnemahoning State Park.  Backpackers are not permitted to camp overnight at the park. The trails are open to cross-country skiing during the winter months.

Everyone should visit a State Park!  You’ll be surprised at the peace nature can bring to the soul.

 

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hunting & Fishing,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Random Fun Facts,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Just Had to Take It to Parker Dam

A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he knows something.  ~Wilson Mizner

Dad-at-Shobers-Camp-Aunt-Heather-Piper-c.-1987

Chad on the left, dad on the right and Uncle Sonny & Jeremy behind him on the left. At Shober’s camp near Parker Dam c.1987

Recently, my family and I took a mini camping and fishing vacation to Parker Dam State Park, just staying the duration of the weekend.  Evidently, we are going back in a few weeks but this time Aunt Nikki is gracing us with her presence.

Going there as a child, I enjoyed revisiting the area, revisiting forgotten memories.  The Schober’s, good friends of the family had a camp in that area, not far from the entrance to Parker Dam.  We used to go up there along with my Uncle Sonny and my cousins as well as family friends to camp out, fish and hunt.  It was always a lot of fun, camping with other kids, making mountain pies, catching fish, spotting bear and sitting by the camp fire.  This time my experience included setting up our temporary residence in lot #90 with our camper, the dogs, my cat and spotting a beaver.  Yep, even after all these years, still equally as fun!

The entire time, dad was reminiscing about us camping among the state park and all his hunting and fishing trips.  Out of nowhere dad would comment, “I got a big bear back in that part of the woods.”  or “We used to catch big trout out of that lake.” or “Ryan and I used to fish in that creek.”  Actually, it was fun to hear dad comment on all the activities I was not apart of, and the ones I forgot about.

Kyle really enjoyed hearing the tails, especially coming from his pappy.  Probably because it’s so unusual to hear dad go into a story, even though they didn’t include much elaboration, not like me and mom when telling stories.  Still, hearing the stores shoot straight out of dad’s mouth even captured my attention.  I could tell dad really enjoyed talking about Ryan, Kyle’s dad.  And we enjoyed listening.

Ryan-&-Chad-wrestling-at-Shobers-Camp-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Ryan & Chad wrestling at Shober’s camp. Near Parker Dam c. 1987

Dad reiterated a few times, (being an understatement) throughout the weekend about Ryan loosing his buck knife in the woods.  This seriously seemed to bother dad greatly because he mentioned it, no joke, at least a dozen times.  Apparently, Ryan went up to Parker Dam to hunt and wanted to take his brand new buck knife.  The one dad got him.  Dad didn’t want him to take the knife, saying he didn’t need it, however, Ryan had other plans.  While moving through the woods, it fell off of Ryan’s belt and was lost forever.  As Kyle and I were listening from the front seat of the truck, dad said, “He just had to take it.  I told him not to and then he lost it.  O, well, I guess he really liked that knife.”  Kyle gave me a sideways grin because Kyle does the same sort of thing, not listen to sound advice when he has his heart set on his plans.  Kyle’s notorious for taking objects on adventures that were advised not to.  I guess like father, like son.

The whole weekend dad would pipe up saying, “I wish I could find that knife.  I know about the area he lost it.  Ryan said he looked for it but couldn’t find it, course your daddy didn’t look so good.”  as he made eye contact with Kyle.  That’s true too, Kyle doesn’t look so good either when he is looking for something or tracking it down.  It would be right in front of his face and never see it.  Just like Ryan!  Later on, dad said, “Naturally I felt bad about him loosing his knife, I went and got him another one for Christmas.”  Kyle shot me the orneriest grin after that comment.  Dad does the same for Kyle!  Good old pappy has replaced so many items Kyle lost or broke over the years, and Kyle knows his pappy will always do it.  They are all peas in a pod!

So somewhere in the  968-acre Parker Dam State Park is Ryan’s buck knife, unless it found a new home.  Although, dad swears he knows the general location of the crime scene, again it could have ended up lining the pockets of another.  One day, I would love to trek into those woods, once hiked by Ryan, with a metal detector and see if I could find it.  Dad would die happy.  I could tell he would no doubt give it to Kyle with pride.

Sometimes its the little items that bring back the biggest memories and really put things into perspective.  Can’t wait for our next family adventure!

 

 

posted by auntheather in Education & Learning,Family,Hunting & Fishing,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

GoDaddy Down & Up

The response was overwhelming.  I like to share what I have learned with others about everyday happenings as well as issues that make a difference in the world of business.  ~Bob Parsons

This past Monday, in the middle of the day, I noticed all my websites were down.  Yep, that means good old AuntHeather.com was down.  At first I thought it was something I did while making updates the night prior.  In disbelief over this outage, I turned to Facebook to see if others were experiencing issues.  I first saw the breaking news on Mashable – GoDaddy’s DNS Servers Go Down, Along With Thousands of Sites.   Evidently, anyone who had web hosting and domain names pointed from GoDaddy, were all down due to a hacker issue.

Monday night I had Kyle for his piano lessons.  During dinner I flipped on Channel 4 news, a bad habit while eating, and among other stories, I caught the one about GoDaddy going down.  As I was listening to the news, Kyle was half paying attention, strumming his guitar and playing with Storm.  I did make a comment on the GoDaddy situation, but again it didn’t seem to mean anything to Kyle and I didn’t think much of it until later that evening.

As Kyle and I were heading to his music lesson, a friend of mine was texting me, letting me know GoDaddy was back up again.  Naturally, Kyle checked my text messages while I was driving and read me the contents.  All of a sudden, he got this look on his face of complete fear and disbelief.  He asked me, “Aunt Heather does that mean our sites are down?  Even SpyRing?”  I said, “Yep, but Kelly said her sites are back up, which means ours should be too.  I’m going to look when we get inside.”  Spoken like a true business man, he said, “So how does anybody know about our stuff, if they don’t see it on our websites?”  Answering him, I said, “They won’t, that’s why it’s such a big deal, everyone associated with GoDaddy is down.”  Still in business mode, Kyle requested that I check our sites immediately when we get in the building.  He makes me laugh out loud!  I was planning on it, but it’s funny to see that Kyle feels the need to manage and direct me.

Upon conclusion of his piano lesson, he immediately went back into businessman mode and asked me about our sites.  “Aunt Heather, how’s SpyRing? and Thrill of the Hunt?”  I said, “All looks good, Piper Corporation and Aunt Heather are all back up.”  Naturally he didn’t care about my blog but it was neat to see his understanding for the value and importance of the company websites and his sense of urgency.

The next morning I read a story from CNN Tech – Hacker claims responsibility for GoDaddy outage.  The article claimed

“A person affiliated with the hacking collective Anonymous — named @AnonymousOwn3r on Twitter — claimed responsibility for the outage.”

Really?  Was that necessary?  If hackers need something to do, then I have a laundry list to put them to work.  There is no doubt, these hackers are a brilliant bunch and very intelligent, but they claimed to want to check the security of GoDaddy.  Really?  Was there act so selfless?  If that was the case, then don’t take down the company who in turn effects a large part of the population and their businesses, and not certainly for a better part of the day.  But then again, I’m no hacker, so what do I know.  Putting a positive spin on the situation, maybe GoDaddy has beefed up their security.

I can honestly say, I am a customer of GoDaddy’s and this situation has not changed my view of the company.  In fact, I thought they did a pretty good job returning things to their original state.  Personally I think GoDaddy is reasonably priced and they have GREAT customer service.  In the years that I’ve been a patron of GoDaddy, I’ve never had an issue.  I know I’m not the only one in this camp.  GoDaddy!

Also, thank you GoDaddy for the credit I received today because of the mishap.  That really helped to strengthen my view of your customer service.  I know you value and appreciate my patronage.

Techtalk Aunt Heather Piper- GoDaddy

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Education & Learning,Family,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments

Snowboarding? Not Yet!

A snowflake is one of God’s most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together!  ~ Anonymous

Kyle sitting on ski lift in Snowshoe WV Aunt Heather Piper

Waiting for another run. Snowshoe, West Virginia c. 2010

You know, I am definitely more of a cool weather girl.  I tend to favor fall and winter over the heat and humidity.  You know what?  I think Kyle is the same. He hates being overheated and sweaty, he tends to be a salt water covered kid, all year round.  Sometimes perspiration  just pours from his head.  Even when he was a tiny little baby, I used to walk around with him in a papoose type of baby carrier.  I would place him in this backwards type of book bag, hanging off of my chest.  I loved it, he was safe and my hands were free.  Man, did Kyle make me hot!  It wasn’t too bad in the winter, he was like my space heater, but in the summer it was rough.  I’m not really a sweaty person, which doesn’t do me any good when I run, but having Kyle lay on me and radiate heat, makes my body start to sweat.

Snowshoe WV Aunt Heather Piper

Stacey, me, Kyle and Casey (cousins) Snowshoe, WV 2011

Off of that tangent and onto another… Lately we’ve had unseasonable weather.  It’s been in the 50’s and rainy, except this week, which is just cold with a hint of snow.  I will admit, during the dog days of summer, I do wish for winter.  I enjoy all seasons, but I love snow!  I don’t know if it’s from me or not, but Kyle always wishes for the snow to fall too.  He loves to sled ride and be my little snowboarder buddy.  I started Kyle out on a board when he was three years old.  Taking him on my snowboard in front of my parents house, which is on a slight down hill that opens up into my uncle’s field, that was the easiest way to start him out.  I had Kyle stand in the middle of the board while I was strapped in, holding his hands.  We would go down the hill and eventually fall over into the fluffy snow.  We had a blast!!  Sometimes, during our trek across the driveway, before getting any momentum, we would get stuck and dad would stand there to give my shoulder a push and get us going again.

Going down hill wasn’t so bad, not that that’s a surprise.  But it was tough unstrapping my bindings and carrying my board up the hill while holding Kyle’s hand.  He had a hard time walking in the deep snow.  Those little legs where just long enough to get up over the snow, let along make them move up a hill covered in snow.  It was all totally worth it!  We must have made at least 20 runs before calling it day.  In fact, we kept it up in the dark.  Dad turned on the spotlights along side the house so we could see.  We rode until I realized Kyle’s gloves were pretty wet and his hands were getting cold.  He didn’t want to go in, but I told him I would make us hot chocolate and we would warm up.  Reluctantly he agreed.  Even though my body felt like I ran a marathon, not that I know what that feels like, but I can only imagine.

Kyle snowboarding at Hidden Valley Aunt Heather Piper

Taking a break from snowboarding at Hidden Valley. c. 2010

Now back to the present day, last Wednesday to be exact.  As Kyle and I watched the news, showing a brief clip about the town in Alaska that was dumped with 18 feet of  snow, (Yep, not inches, we’re talking feet)  it was funny, I could see Kyle’s brain trying to comprehend what he heard, making sure he understood what the news anchor reported.  I said, “Did you hear that?  They have 18 to 20 feet of snow.  Not inches, FEET!”  Putting a real emphasis on FEET.  His eyes were in shock and then he turned his head toward the front door, threw up his hands and gave a ‘Where’s our snow?’ gesture.  Meanwhile, it was raining pretty hard outside.  I said, “I guess it’s all in Alaska.”  I knew what his response was all about.  You see, Kyle looks forward to hanging with me on the mountain, as do I.  It’s hard enough to maintain patience for myself when I’m waiting on the snow, but trying to be patient with Kyle is an almost unrealistic task.

Recently we did start receiving snow, which I knew would eventually come and currently go.  But I must say, those 18 feet seem like more fun than our couple of inches and light dusting.  I’m really blessed and happy that Kyle and I have our hobby together.  Maybe that’s why I look forward to winter.  I get to hang with my Narrow in God’s country.

Check out the Cordova Alaska snow situation.

http://auntheather.com/2011/lighting-up-the-holiday/

posted by auntheather in Education & Learning,Family,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Snowboarding and have No Comments

Hysteria over Listeria

Caring for our seniors is perhaps the greatest responsibility we have. Those who walked before us have given so much and made possible the life we all enjoy.  ~John Hoeven

Kyle is always thinking. His heart strings are connected to me and my family without a doubt.  After swimming last week we were watching the news while I re-heated the meatloaf.  On a side note, I love it that Kyle wants to turn on the news.  He likes engaging in discussions with me while watching.  I believe he is learning and processing current events.  In fact, sometimes he’ll come up to me and say, “Hey Aunt Heather did you hear about” this or that.

Ronald, Rita, and Kyle Piper 2004 Idlewild Gutchess picnic

Dad, Kyle, and mom- troublesome trio! Hanging at Idlewild 2004

This past week on the news, they were talking about the listeria epidemic found in cantaloupes.  They went on to say how it was more dangerous than E Coli and salmonella.  I heard this earlier in the week but, from Kyle’s ghost white expression, I could tell this was the first time he heard about listeria.

You see, my dad loves cantaloupes and recently I’ve seen him get on a kick of eating them all the time, at least when I saw him on the weekends.  So it was no surprise when the first person Kyle thought of was his pap pap.  He turned to me and said, “O no Aunt Heather, Pap pap loves cantaloupes!”  I said, “Yes he does, but if he was going to get sick, he would have gotten it by now.”  Well, just to prove me wrong, at that exact moment the news said it could take up to a month or so for the listeria to show up.  Then I said, “Honey, that was in Colorado.”  And as if on cue, they pulled up a map showing all the states that the cantaloupe was distributed.  Of course Pennsylvania was on the list and Kyle saw it instantly.  He said, “Look Aunt Heather Pennsylvania is on the list!”

Kyle grabbed my phone and said, “I’m going to call pappy to let him know.”  He dialed as he spoke, showing his sense of urgency.  He got to talk to my mom and I think my dad.  That helped to put him at ease until we saw them over the weekend.

Do all children watch the news and if they do, do they understand it?  Is this common for a child to link something like this to a family member?  Maybe it’s just Kyle or every kid, but I know Kyle is bright and to realize that my dad could have been affected is amazing.  Of all things, he associates my dad with eating cantaloupes.

WTAE Logo

 

 

What You Need to Know About Listeria

15 Infected With Listeria After Eating Cantaloupes

There are a lot of other articles concerning listeria.  I just grabbed a few for reference.

posted by auntheather in Education & Learning,Family,News,Observation & Imagination and have No Comments
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