Lorie’s List for 05/23/2014

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That’s right, Lorie’s List is back! This week’s list is in honor of Memorial Day weekend and the men and women who have served our country.

  • Portion of a United States flag waving

    Image courtesy of Felixco, Inc. / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    Before Memorial Day (originally known as Decoration Day and Remembrance Day) became the unofficial start of summer, it was set-aside as a day to remember the people who died in service to their country. While we still do this today, the remembering sometimes gets drowned out by the picnics, and the beach, and mattress sales.

  • Wounded Warrior Project – I was fortunate to become very familiar with this organization while I was a government consultant. They do some amazing work for wounded vets. If you don’t know this great group you really need to check them out.
  • The Great Johnstown Flood took place on May 31, 1889, but the storms that caused the flood began during Remembrance Day celebrations honoring Civil War soldiers. As a Johnstown native, the flood is a big part of my history. A later flood is a big part of my personal history, did I ever tell you about…well, you’ll have to wait until later for that.
  • Blue Star families are the loved ones who keep home fires burning when someone joins the military. Gold Star families are the ones left behind when they don’t return. I’ve known, and been related to, many of these families. I have so much respect and admiration for them and what they go through.

This Memorial Day weekend to take in a parade, attend a service in your community, or spare a thought for those who have died serving their country. If you have an opportunity, say hello or thanks to a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine. Thank the families left behind for their sacrifices that only they can truly understand.

If you have any ideas or if you’d like to Guest Write The List, I would love to hear from you! Send me a note here and we’ll get you on the blog!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Lorie’s List for 12/20/2013

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To get us in the Christmas spirit, this week’s List is made-up of three of my favorite holiday videos. They’re black-and-white stop-animations from the 1950’s, and they’re a bit of a tradition in my hometown. People used to wait for them to come on TV each year and gather around each time they came on. When VCR’s were in every home people would rush to record them and then send the tapes to family members living out-of-town.

Today the station posts the videos on-line each year for everyone to enjoy. I am sharing them with you.

I find Hardrock, Coco, and yes, Joe, absolutely adorable. And if you are anything like the me, you’ll catch yourself humming Suzy Snowflake’s little theme song for days! Enjoy!

If you have any ideas or if you’d like to Guest Write The List, I would love to hear from you! Send me a note here and we’ll get you on the blog!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

 

Veterans Day 2013

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I’m blessed to come from a family filled with military service for the United States dating back to the Revolutionary War. I also met some amazing members of the military while working as a government contractor. I’ve been lucky enough to call more than a few former and active duty personnel friends. I am in awe of each one of these individuals. Their sacrifice and willingness fight for our country means more than I can put into words. Thank you for all that you do and all that you have done.

Retired elderly soldier salutes active duty soldiers carrying the US flag in a parade.

Ret. Army 1st Sgt. William Staude salutes soldiers as they march past him during the Veterans Day parade in downtown Pittsburgh, Pa., Nov. 11, 2011. The soldiers are assigned to the 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michel Sauret

Because I’ve known so many members of the military I’ve known a lot people who waited anxiously for their loved ones to come home. Your tears don’t go unnoticed. Thank you for your sacrifice and for all that you do to keep your loved ones going.

Thank you to the Gold Star Families. Those who have lost a loved one in the line of duty. No words can ease your pain. Know you are not forgotten, you are and will forever remain in our hearts and in our prayers.

We owe so much to those who have served, and those who kept the home fires burning. Whether you served in a time of peace or war. Whether you were drafted or volunteered for service. Your bravery and sacrifice will never be forgotten. Thank you for serving.

Lorie’s Friday 5 for 10/25/2013

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First, I want to thank everyone for being so understanding about last weeks post being missing. My husband is fine, we’re hopefully going to find a new vehicle this weekend and put this little deer laden adventure behind us.

Let’s kick-start the moving on….

Since it’s the spookiest time of the year I thought I would use this week’s Friday 5 to take a look at things Halloween related. These are five (probably) random, (rarely) newsworthy and on (nearly every) occasion strange or unique stories. I hope there’s at least one thing on the list you haven’t already heard about so you have something to talk about while trick-or-treating this week.

Let’s see what we can scare-up…

1. Halloween evolved from a Celtic called Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”) and who believed that the boundaries between the living and the dead overlapped and the dead would come back to cause havoc. Their festival involved large bonfires that attracted bugs, which would attract bats, another common sight in modern Halloween.

2. Haunted houses are very popular, both the kind haunted by people in costume and the kind haunted by the bodily challenged.

Freaky angry looking bunny with Amy Bruni and Kris Williams from Ghost Hunters

Scare House Bunny with a couple of TAPS Ghost Hunters

One in my “neck of the woods” has consistently been ranked one of the top in the United States. Scare House in Pittsburgh has even been voted the #1 haunt in the world by TopHaunt.com! If you like getting scared, this is a great place to go.

3. Trick-or-Treat is a huge, am I right? What kid doesn’t love running around in costumes and shaking people down for candy? Americans buy over 600 million pounds of candy each year for Halloween. No word on how much of that candy is bought and consumed by the purchaser before the trick-or-treaters even get into costume.

4. In the US superstition says that black cats are bad luck and associated with witches. In the UK white cats are considered bad luck around Halloween. The cats, reportedly, were indifferent about and then suddenly rushed out of the room.

5. Halloween just isn’t Halloween without a good ghost story. Most everyone has one. Some people like the folks at TAPS go out and make them. Some people collect them. Take the time to tell a good ghost story this Halloween and scare the pants off someone you care about.

That’s this week’s 5. If you have an idea for next week’s Friday 5, or if you would like to Guest Write the Friday 5, I would love to hear from you! Send me a note here and we’ll get you on the blog!

Have a great weekend everyone and let’s stay spooky out there!

Blue Collar Labor Day

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gautier steel mill

gautier steel mill (Photo credit: macwagen)

I come from a long line of steel mill workers, assemblers, miners and other manners of true blue collars. Generation after generation working their way through the ranks at the unions. A few became “White Hats” (supervisors) along the way. These were men and women who worked hard their whole lives. Most of them didn’t finish high school — they dropped out help support their families. They were and are tough. I cannot be prouder to continue their legacy.

Labor Day has become about the end of summer. About parties, and pools and picnics. It used to be a little more about the men and women whose blood and sweat literary built the United States. The people who died in dangerous jobs to create a better world. To remember and honor those who fought for safer work environments and to establish the laws we take for granted today.

This Labor Day I want to thank the people out there doing the tough jobs I couldn’t do. Thank you to the people fighting for workplace safety and equality and making sure the laws are followed. Thank you to anyone whoever put in a hard days work on the production line, or down in the pit, and thought that what you did didn’t matter. . .

You see, it did matter. Because if it weren’t for my mom and dad, and my aunts and uncles, and my grandmothers grandfathers, and my great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers who worked those same lines I wouldn’t have been able to go to college. I wouldn’t have been able to learn video production or to tell stories the way I do.

Thank you to everyone who helped build the United States of America figuratively and literally.

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I’m on holiday break this week, but wanted to take a moment to wish you all a happy, healthy and magical holiday. I hope that you get to tell your favorite stories, and make a few new ones.

Christmas tree with twinkling lights

May all your lights twinkle bright in 2012

Holiday Memories – Tell Your Story Tuesday

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It’s the most wonderful time of year. Chestnuts are roasting, sleighs are dashing, candles are flickering and dreidels are spinning. People everywhere are filled with memories of holidays past…

And I want to hear about them!

As my regular followers know, I’ve been challenging people to tell me a story on Tuesdays. I haven’t found anyone brave enough to do it…yet…but maybe this is the inspiration they need. Tell me a story about your favorite holiday memories. They can be good, they can be bad. They don’t actually need to be yours! Just tell me a story.

I’ve told a few stories of my own (and a tall tale of sorts), and I’m willing to do it again to get the ball rolling.

Christmas was always a really big deal when I was growing up. A tree with lights and tinsel, and a train running through a snowy village underneath. As a kid I thought it was pretty magical. I guess I still do.

Christmas Eve, chromolithography

Image via Wikipedia

One of the best parts of Christmas was coming back from Christmas Eve services and getting to open one present. My mother would carefully look through what seemed like mountains of presents and to pick out one each for my brother, sister and I. We would carry them out to the living room and sit in front of the tree. While my dad filmed (8 mm back then) or snapped pictures and my mom looked on we would rip into this first taste of the presents to come.

It took years for us to realize that those Christmas Eve presents were always pajamas. Every year. Eventually my mom told us it was because she wanted us to look nice for the pictures Christmas morning. Every year she picked out three sets of holiday themed jammies and wrapped them up for us to open, and wear, on Christmas Eve.

I have to admit. At first, I thought it killed some of the magic. Those first gits we looked so forward to were all for show – and pictures.

Today, I’m the mother of two. At my house we have two post church service traditions. The first is the girls getting to each open one present containing, you guessed it, new PJ’s to wear to bed. (My husband even surprised me with my own new PJs the last couple of years). The girls know all about the pajama conspiracy and look forward to seeing what kind they’re going to get.

The second tradition is sitting down in front of the fireplace, eating a cookie or two, and reading “T’was the Night Before Christmas” while their daddy records video and snaps some pictures before joining us.

And, for a moment, we make our own Christmas Eve magic.

It’s your turn. There are some rules. You can find them, and other vital information here in my original post.

Now…tell me a story…