Friday, December 30, 2011

Farewells are always bittersweet...

When I walked into The Reporter newsroom for the first time as a new employee more than 38 years ago, I was both scared and excited.
Scared, because as a new college graduate, this was my first “real” job — those summers working at a card factory didn’t count. Excited, because the hum of activity was palpable.
Reporters were typing away — yes, typing, at manual typewriters; the AP teletype machine was clattering out reams of news copy, with bells ringing for important stories and alerts; the police radio was loud and constant; and the editor — the stern Cal Craig who was the stereotypical old-school newsman — was barking out instructions to one of the photographers.
It was so similar to movies I had seen about tough news reporters breaking a hot story that I could almost taste it. It didn’t matter that I had been hired to write obits, social news and rewrites, plus take care of the morgue — as the newsroom library was called. It was a job in a newsroom and I couldn’t have been happier.

Here's a photo of me from the late 1970s ... thanks to former chief photographer Willard Krieble for catching me looking my best at a construction site!

Since that day I started at The Reporter in early September 1973, I’ve written plenty of hard news stories and features; shared through my columns and my blog so much of my life, from the tragic to the comic, from the mundane to the magical. You have come to know my daughter and my cats; you knew of the tragedy of losing my husband nearly eight years ago.
You helped me through the rough patches in my life and often called, wrote or stopped me out in the community to let me know how much you enjoyed my cat stories.
So it’s extremely bittersweet to write my last column as editor of The Reporter today.
Yes, I am “retiring” from this career in journalism to start a totally new chapter in my life.
I will be working at a local veterinary hospital; many of you probably think that’s a natural fit for me, having heard my many animal stories. And I am looking forward to the new challenges and opportunities that I am sure this change will bring.
But I will greatly miss all the fine people here at The Reporter and within the Journal Register Co. family.
And I will miss you, my readers and friends in the community, very much.
When I started at The Reporter, it was a private company headed by the Knipe and Berky families. I was here when it was bought by Gannett in 1980 and then by Journal Register in 2001.
I have pounded out those stories on manual typewriters, rejoiced when we switched to electric models, sweated out learning how to use our very first computers and then eased into different systems as computers advanced.
Now I blog, tweet, SMS, post to Facebook and our website, and shoot the occasional video as well as write, edit, work with my mobile news staff and continually strive to learn the latest technology.
When I started here, The Reporter was an afternoon newspaper delivered in part by kids on bikes. We long ago switched to morning delivery, but now we are producing news 24/7 through our website and social media.
Yes, that print edition still is delivered every day, but news also is provided through alerts to smartphones, the website, Twitter and Facebook.
It’s strange to  think back to my first years here, when we typed up our copy and sent it to the composing room in a pneumatic tube;  when I was sent to meet the train in Lansdale so that a freelancer in Doylestown could send his stories via the conductor, to then be typed up and placed in The Reporter because there were no fax machines.
Yes, what changes there have been.
But there are constants as well. There are so many wonderful people in the community that I have been fortunate enough to meet over my nearly four decades here. There are so many who care deeply about this area, the schools, the municipalities, the children.
We have so many devoted readers, who are now becoming bloggers, joining us in our crowdsourcing efforts, following us on Twitter and letting us know what you think we should be covering.
It is gratifying to know that you are so connected to your communities, and so connected to The Reporter.
All of that will continue as The Reporter evolves in the years ahead, with your help.
I won’t be here as an editor anymore, but I still will be reading and blogging as a community blogger. Perhaps you’ll join me in becoming a blogger as well.
It will be strange to not head to Lansdale and walk up those steps to the newsroom every day. I will miss the chatter of the police radio, the interaction with the reporters and the constant whirlwind that is a newsroom.
But I know quality journalism will continue to be produced by The Reporter, and with your help, it will continue to succeed.
Yes, it is hard on one hand to say goodbye; to, in editing parlance, put that “30” at the end of this part of my career.
But I have been very fortunate to be part of The Reporter family for such a long time. And I know that I am leaving the newsroom in good hands.

AND IF WILLARD KRIEBLE is reading this... a special note to you: 700 to 718... over and out. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011


I have had this depiction of Mary,  Joseph and Jesus since I was in college; yes, it graced my wall at Christmas each year at Shippensburg and has had a place of honor ever since. It may be a bit tattered, but it is much beloved.

Below you see the angel that topped our tree during my growing-up years. We had a Santa like the one in the case, but this is one I found at a flea market; not my original. They are shown with Elfina -- I named her that after my Mom gave her to me long ago -- I love her!

Merry Christmas to all!

With all Christmas reverence...

This is a different sort of nativity scene, but one that I love. Yes, cats are people too, and in my mind they simply want to show the love, reverence and respect that animals all seem to possess.

And, as legend has it, at midnight on Christmas Eve, animals are granted the gift of speech to utter their thanks to their Creator.

May we all keep the true meaning of Christmas in our hearts!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Festivus!

Is it time for the airing of the grievances?

I think I'll skip the feats of strength...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Deck the halls...

Here's something a bit weird... found this card in a thrift store. You have to wonder about the person who photographed this ... and then the company who decided to use it as a card! I love it!

A vintage candle set, owned by my daughter -- still works!

What a festive ornament ... a different kind of hunter...

And kind of creepy Santa... this is really an apron, but I love the vintage fabric.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Can you stand more decorations?

Nothing too flashy today, but I wanted to share this shot of part of our Christmas tree, featuring a red bird ornament. I'm sure it's special only to me, because it belonged to a late uncle. He's been gone more than 30 years now, but he's still special to me and this little red bird always brings him to life for me.
The yellow star was cut out of wood by my dad and painted by my mom, with "sparkle" help from my daughter. Another very special ornament!

This Rudolph was crafted by my mother-in-law when our daughter was very young. When you press on it, it STILL plays "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer," and the nose lights up. Pretty impressive, considering its age...

Just a happy Snoopy shot -- and it's actually a potholder, which you can probably tell by close examination...

And a really old-time manger scene, from my teen years...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weird enough decoration?

I've been lax in posting some of my Christmas decorations, and time is running out.
Do any of you have a pig wearing a Santa hat, as noted above? Also, he's a sheriff!
The others below are a bit more normal...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A little Gaga in New York

Back from a week of vacation ... and still trying to get into the swing of things.
It was one of those weeks where you did a few fun things... and got caught up on appointments like the dentist... twice.
But heading to New York City with my daughter was the huge highlight. Lunch ... and cocktails ... at Alfredo's is always so great.
And browsing the stores and taking in the windows, plus Rockefeller Center, of course.
Mega this year was Barneys, with the Lady Gaga display and store. If you get a chance, check it out in NYC... tons of fun!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Santa, Rudy from the past...

OK, another installment of my beloved Christmas ornaments.
I've had Santa and Rudolph for longer than I can remember and yes, they've seen better days. But each year they have to be part of our Christmas display.
I hope they don't just disintegrate one day ... that would be too sad!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December!

There's something about flipping that calendar page and realizing you're in the last month of the year. I'm always hit by nostalgia, disbelief and, yes, a bit of panic.
How in the heck did we get to December? Where did another year go? I barely remember to write 2011 on stuff and soon it will be 2012!
Not to mention the fact that I haven't done a thing to address the holidays, other than work with my daughter to put up our Christmas tree and decorations.
But I'll think about that later.
Meanwhile, I'll try to post, as we go through December, some of our Christmas decorations. Some are old, some not so old; some are weirder than others; some hold very special meaning.
So I hope you enjoy. Maybe others will join in and share theirs, too!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What's your favorite Christmas ornament?

What are your favorite Christmas ornaments? If you're not quite sure, take a look at a few of these. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I visited my sister who lives near Catawissa, and we made a trip to Kohls Christmas Tree Farm near Milton. They boast that they have more than 50,000 ornaments, and I believe it.
How about a "merman"? They have them!

Or if you need something to top that tree, how about a dog angel? I found them a little disturbing, but that's just me.

Of course you gotta love sock monkeys, of every description ... and no tree is complete without a pink flamingo, right?

Don't miss the huge display of tree stands on the walls, ranging the ages, so to speak. This is just a small sample:

And... I love these guys! The Beatles are appropriate everywhere!

Just beware... this animated Santa that greets you at the door is a little creepy ... but be brave. The shop inside is well worth it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I hope everyone has a great THANKSGIVING ... and has many reasons to give thanks.
There are two great reasons to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade -- the turkey, which is an all-time favorite...

AND THIS YEAR ... a balloon by Tim Burton.
Can't wait to see the real thing!

As a vegetarian, I won't be eating any turkey. But bring on that potato filling... and way too much pie!
Hey, we can all diet next week... until Christmas!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

On the trail again, part 2

As promised, here is the second part of my tale of our recent vacation jaunt.
Having been able to base at my friend's house in Harrisburg, on the second day of this vacation we headed to Maryland for a day trip, stopping first at Mount St. Mary's University.
We wanted to walk out to the grotto, take in some of the beautiful statuary and, of course, walk through the cemetery there.
Here are some of the wonderful shots that capture a bit of that stop. If you ever have the chance to check this out, please do so.

After we spent a bit of time there, it was time to get back on the road to our next destination, Catoctin Mountain National Park.

I had never been there, but my friend said it was a beautiful spot and we could do some hiking, so off we went.

We stopped at the visitors center, picked up a map and asked the park ranger which trail he would suggest. Since we're not spring chickens, but also aren't couch potatoes, we didn't want the most challenging trail. He hemmed and hawed a bit, and then suggested the trail to Cunningham Falls. It was supposed to be a bit more than 3 miles round-trip; we figured that was easily doable before dark.

So we set off -- and quickly realized the term "trail" is a bit of an overstatement.
There were no markings at all, and because of all the leaves, you kind of had to guess as you went up and down in the woods, over here and back there, walk, walk walk. We finally passed some people heading in the opposite direction and asked if they had gone to the falls. They hesitated, said yeah, and we asked if we were almost there.
"Ummmm," was about all the reply we got.
We finally decided to rest on a fallen tree for a few minutes, and then thought it would be most prudent to head back.
We hated not getting to the falls, but we had been walking a long time and there was still no water in site.
After getting back to the parking lot, we decided to drive through the park, which was gorgeous. And then we headed up the road to Cunningham Falls State Park. At a lake pulloff, a man in a wheelchair told us there was supposedly an area along the main road where you could park and get to the falls.

We finally found that and at last made it to the falls. They were beautiful.

Now to get there from the national park, you would have had to cross that main road, we discovered. We're still a bit mystified by that national park trail.
So if you ever get down there and want to see the falls, go to the state park. Take one of the other "trails" on the national park side if you just want to trek through the woods.
Still, it was a terrific trip, we had lots of fun ... and have great memories of that long trek to nowhere.
Once again, thanks, Lynn, for a great vacation. And thanks, Danielle, for the great photos.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Please vote today!

Today's the day .... the day to vote!

It's an important election, to be sure.

Be sure to check out The Reporter's live blog and other coverage.

And if you don't know where to vote, check this list.

Now no excuses... it's a beautiful day. Speak your voice and vote!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy hiking ... but vacation's over

A week back at work almost makes you forget that you were just on vacation. Maybe it has something to do with the impending election, and all the related work.
Whatever the case may be, I was just on a week's vacation, and now have a week of work under my belt.
So it's time to get caught up a bit on blogging.

Although this vacation did not turn out to be a trek to Vermont, it was beautiful and memorable nonetheless. Basing out of my friend's home in Harrisburg for a few days (he was willing to put up with us even after hosting us in Cape Cod this summer, thank you!), we ventured into the gorgeous Lancaster area countryside on one of the days and that evening hit a hiking trail near Harrisburg for a little 3-mile jaunt.

Once again, I thank my daughter for "lending" these photos, which catch a bit of the beauty of that walk.
Hope you enjoy these photos -- it was a great place for a walk.

My next blog entry will detail a bit of our journey to Maryland ... and a hike that was a bit, well, different.
Until then, drink in this great scenery (oh, you can skip that photo of us walking...)

Monday, October 31, 2011


OK, so we got quite the trick this weekend.
It's still autumn, it's Halloween -- we should not have had snow!
But let's shrug it off and hope it's not a forecast of a tough winter to come!
In the meantime, Happy Halloween!