Friday, May 25, 2007

First let me say, I didn't take any of these pictures myself.
If a subject is moving at all I can't take a good picture.

One thing I love about visiting my parents in Florida
is all the different kinds of birds they have down south.
Maybe because I don't see them up here in the north
they seem more exotic.

As we were swinging in the swing out on the back patio tonight, Sean and I saw several different birds in the trees. It got me to thinking, hey we have some very beautiful birds here and we saw the most colorful tonight.

It got me thinking, (my mind never stops) why are the male birds
so much more colorful and better looking than the females? Take the cardinal
for example. The male is a brilliant red and is a stand out no matter where
he's perched. The female, well she's much more subdued. She blends in
where ever she goes. We have a bird feeder filled with black sunflower seeds.
The cardinals (and Chipmunks) love them. We have a pair of cardinals that
visit every morning and evening. The male always eats first, the female is no where
in sight. When he is done, the female flies in to eat. The male waits for her in
the tree by the feeder and shews away any other birds that wants to eat.

We have many goldfinches in the backyard. There's a niger seed mesh feeder that gets a lot of traffic. Sometimes there are 6 or 7 birds feeding with more waiting in the dogwood tree for their turn. The males are bright sunshine yellow while the females are somewhat of a putrid greenish brown color.

My favorite and the most elusive is the Baltimore Oriole. The male is a very flashy bird, bright orange and black. Tonight we had a male and female in the weeping cherry tree. I was thrilled.
The blue jay, another looker, is a rather mean and aggressive bird. They don't share well at all and chase other birds away from the feeder. I couldn't find a picture of a female but I'm sure she's quite drab compared to the male.

I did some checking about this subject and found that the females are the ones attracted to the bright colors. The males couldn't care less about the looks of the females. Very different from the human species. There are less female birds than males and the male has to really look good and stand out so a female will choose them for their mate. The colors make them easier to see also when it comes to territory. Other males can see them and know that this area is taken.

Also birds can see more colors than humans. While humans have 3 cones in their eyes, birds have 4.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Public Service Announcement

Yes, this is syphilis bacteria. Why you ask? Well I was very surprised to hear that the high school within school district I work for has several cases of syphilis. I don't really know why I was surprised, maybe because you don't really hear about it anymore. It doesn't seem to be one of the more popular STDs. What's sad about it is that the female (a sophomore) that had it passed it on to several partners but couldn't remember all of the guys she'd been with to let them know. A fifteen year old that has had so many sexual partners that she can't remember them all! I feel for her. What is so awful in her life that causes her to get her affection from a parade of different boys? I've never been one for casual sex. Call me old fashioned but I didn't have "recreational" sex. I had to be in a committed, loving relationship. What adults do in their private life is their business but a child and yes at 15 she's still a child, well that's not right. I won't show you any of the pictures of the actual symptoms of syphilis, they're gross, take my word for it.

Consider this as a Public Service Announcement. I'm going to give you a tutorial on syphilis.

Primary stage: Symptoms can appear anywhere from 10-90 days after infection with 21 days being the average. You will have a single or sometimes multiple, firm, round, painless sore(s) on your genitals. Untreated this will last 3-6 weeks then it goes away. You can be tested with a simple blood test and syphilis can be cured very easily with penicillin.

Secondary stage: Untreated syphilis presents itself as a skin rash that doesn't itch, sometimes on the palms and soles. You may have a fever, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, headache, fatigue or weight loss, you feel like you may have the flu. As you can see, these symptoms can also occur with many other illnesses. I had all of them when I had strep throat and tonsillitis a few weeks back. Since it imitates other illnesses, it goes unchecked.

Late stage: This stage there are really no symptoms at first but Syphilis is damaging your internal organs including your brain, eyes, nerves, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, joints and can cause dementia and insanity. In the worse case, death can occur. All from an untreated STD.

There have been many famous people that have had syphilis, to name a few, Hernando Cortez, a Spanish explorer, Ivan the Terrible, Al Capone, JFK, Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

With all the attention turned to AIDS, there are still diseases out there that people need to be educated about. Consider that done.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

My dog Cody is an endless source of entertainment for me. When he's not
getting into trouble, he's following me
around or hogging the bed at night.

He lives a good life. He's extremely loved
by his family, has a big back yard to
run around in and is protective. Whenever
Sean slaps me on the ass when I walk by
or hugs me, Cody barks at him as if to
say, "I don't know exactly what you're
doing but get your paws off of her!"
I pity the person who ever tried to hurt me.

Anyway, Cody has found a robin's nest in the crotch of our weeping cherry tree. This tree grows in the middle of our fern garden.

Sometimes the mother robin will just sit in the nest and look at him while he barks at her but other times she doesn't like him at all. She will squawk at him and if she's really pissed she will fly out of the nest and dive bomb him. Sometimes her friends join in. They are definitely each other's nemnesis.

Yesterday I hear and see him barking at the base of the tree. Oh no, I think one of the baby
birds fell out of the nest. I go out to investigate and he is barking at a toad! I think he scared the poor thing out of it's mind. He also paws at crawling bugs and tries to play with them.

Even though he chewed my bottle of cuticle oil, bites the pom poms off of my footie socks when I walk by him and barks at the weirdest things, I couldn't love him any more than I do!
My sister is spending 1000. bucks on a golden retriever puppy and to think we spent 50. bucks on Cody at a shelter. The best deal we ever got.

My favorite flower is the tulip.

Jack in the Pulpit is a wild flower that an old
dear friend gave me years ago. They have spread and I have more than I need. I took some to the cemetery and planted them at
her headstone.

This year for some reason the Magnolia and Dogwood trees are not doing very well. They have very few blossoms on them and some trees have entire branches that have no leaves. Last spring they were so prolific with their flowers and then we had a very hot summer, could this be why?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Game 4 tonight in Ottawa and the Sabres are down 3 games. Please don't let it be a sweep, go down fightin. Teams have come back before. Both Pittsburgh and New Jersey came back from 3-1 deficits to win the Stanley Cup. Can Buffalo do that to win the Eastern conference? I don't know....

As I've said before on here, I'm a hockey fan. Unfortunately it's not as popular in the United States as it is in Canada, Russia and some European countries. I think it's too fast for many people. It can be hard to follow the puck but if you stick with it you learn to anticipate where the puck will go. I've been to countless games from pee wees, high school, college, AHL and NHL and one thing I've learned is never take your eyes off the game. A warning my father told me time and time again. The puck flies into the crowd all the time. In the older days there was little protection, just half a sheet of Plexiglass around the rink. These days there are full sheets plus nets but you can still get hit by the puck. I speak from experience. I once had season tickets to our city's AHL team. I'm talking away, not paying attention and ouch! Hit right in the face with the puck. The good thing about it was it hit me on the flat side, not the edge. I saw stars, didn't need stitches but was very embarrassed because the EMT people came over to check on me. I heard the voice of my father in my head.

If you're any kind of hockey fan I must tell you to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada. When I was a kid we went to the old one that was on the grounds of the CNE, it was fun, I bought a hockey player charm for my charm bracelet. It's still on the bracelet today. The Hall of Fame has since moved to downtown Toronto into a former bank. It's wonderful. The displays are great. They have the usual goalie masks, old jerseys and so on but oh lots more. It is very hands on and interactive. You can go into a room set up like a locker room, go into a broadcast studio and do play by play, try your hand at being a goalie. Tons of things to do, well worth the price of admission. But the best part is the hardware. Go upstairs to the trophy room. It's almost like a sacred place. All the different trophies are on display including the granddaddy of them all, the Stanley Cup. It was the holy grail for me to see it.

The Stanley Cup is the oldest trophy to be competed for by professional athletes, going back to 1893. The team that has won it the most? The Montreal Canadians, 24 times. Each player on the winning team is allowed to take the cup for one day and do what ever they want with it. Show it off to their hometowns and so on. It has been on Leno and Letterman, traveled to the Kremlin in Russia and used as a baptismal font.

Just one quick story because I'm sure I'm boring you if you even got this far. When Sean and I were at the Hall of Fame there was a man and his son looking at the cup with us. I looked at them and a voice said to myself, "you will see them again" it was the oddest thing. It just popped into my head. Later that night we went to a Toronto Maple Leaf game, we're sitting in our seats waiting for the game to start and lo and behold here comes the father and son, they sat right next to me.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Back in the day, one thing that meant that the tide had turned and the warm weather was here was the return of muscle cars from their winter exile. I absolutely love them. Today I see VERY few of them anymore. When I was a teenager and up into my 30's it was pure joy to see them on the road again. I especially loved them if they
had the wide tires on the back.

No self respecting guy would drive their car through the winter with all the salt on the roads so they had a "beater" to drive November
through April. All winter they'd toil on the car, tweeking it to get more power out of the motor. It was their baby. Finally when the time was right, one by one you'd begin to see them appear. GTO's, Roadrunners, Dusters, Mustangs, 'Cudas, Firebirds, even an El Camino once in a while. But my most favorite of all, the one that got my heart beating and still would today if I saw one, was the '69 Camaro Z28. To feel the vibration and the deep rumble of one while it idled next to you at a stoplight, then when it went green, the roar when it took off. I love that sound.
In my first life I was previously married to a gear head. He was into drag racing and had a dragster that we towed to the strip every Saturday. I cringe at the money that was spent on that stupid car. A car that was not street legal. The racing slicks alone would break the bank. Anyway, I spent countless hours at the track, the shop, the parts store and car shows. What I liked more than anything else at the track was the muscle cars. They had a special class for street cars and the infield was loaded with jacked up, high performance muscle cars.
Today most of those cars are gone now. After all they are 30 - 40 years old. I have no idea what constitutes as a muscle car today. Certainly not a rice burner I hope. I don't care about drifting and all the other stuff guys do with imports these days. I just would love to see a cherry '69 Camaro Z28.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Cody, my dog. He's going to be six years old this summer. I love him dearly. We rescued him from a shelter when he was two years old. He's well behaved, doesn't dig, doesn't jump on people, most of the time he comes when you call him, he loves me fiercely. He does have a bad habit though. Cody will eat almost anything if he thinks it smells good.

I have a bottle of OPI cuticle oil that I use on my fingernails. It smells nice, made of botanicals of some sort. Cody loves it. I have to keep my hands away from him when I put it on or he will try and lick it off. This past weekend I used it while sitting outside. I put it in the pocket of my sweatshirt. Well how stupid am I? The top wasn't on tight. It got all over the sweatshirt, my jeans and the bottle. I went inside to clean up but left the bottle on the grass. I was going to clean it off outside. I come back out with paper towel and the bottle was gone. Hhhhmmmm, Cody was outside and I know he likes this stuff. I thought he probably took the bottle to lick it off. I couldn't find it anywhere. Now I'm thinking, "did he swallow it?" He's a big dog, he might be able to get it down but there is no way it's going to come out. How much will this vet bill be? Before I panicked I walked around the yard again to see if I could find it.

Yes, I found it alright, broken and chewed. He licked it clean but being the dog he is, that wasn't enough. He proceeded to chew the bottle. I imagine he chewed the plastic top first, then ate the brush. Wanting more of what was in the bottle he then chewed the glass container and broke it. Little did he know, the oil then ran into the grass. I thought maybe at first Sean ran it over with the lawn mower but then noticed the blood on the plastic. I was going to compare Cody to a billy goat but did some research first. Turns out goats are actually rather picky eaters and have a much more discriminating palate than Cody.

The remains of my 12.00 bottle of cuticle oil.

This is number 2 with grandma and grandpa (my parents) last week after being inducted into the National Honor Society. Although I was very sick I couldn't miss this but it couldn't be over soon enough. I went back to school yesterday after being out for an entire week and promptly took a 2 hour nap when I got home.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

To Snitch or Not to Snitch

No pretty pictures today. There's nothing beautiful about the mentality of those who live by the "no snitch" rule. Let me put it out there that I'm not black nor male but a white woman in her late 40's. I have never lived the life that many of these young people do. I don't pretend to know what it's like to be in their shoes. While I live in the 3rd largest city in my state, I don't live in a very urban part. I stay out of that area.

What bothers me is that this code of silence in the streets makes it that much harder for crimes to be solved and for assailants and killers to be punished. Without cooperation from witnesses how can legal justice be served. I was raised to respect authority figures including police officers. I'm not naive, there are some rotten apples and dirty cops within their ranks that for whatever reason have an ax to grind, get off on bullying people or for the power trip. I don't believe that the majority of officers go into that line of work, put their own lives in danger just to frame people, shake 'em down, beat them and whatever else they get blamed for.

I understand that street cred is important to people and it's unfortunate that it can't be earned by doing the right thing. Lil' Kim comes to mind. This woman went to jail for almost 10 months rather than cooperate with police over a shooting outside of a radio station that she witnessed. Busta Rhymes, nee Trevor Smith is another one. His bodyguard was murdered in front of him and he will not talk. I'm all for loyalty but sometimes there's more to it.

I understand loyalty to one's people and to not snitch. I could be wrong about this but perhaps it goes back to slavery. Slaves did not tattletale on each other and if questioned about other slaves whether it be about a behavior or a runaway, they didn't give them up. They took the whipping. I get that. I hope that if that was me I would be able to take it also. I would like to think that I would've had the courage to be an abolitionist or an underground railroad worker. I try in my daily life to not be judgemental, I feel that we all belong to the human race. Why should anyone be treated differently. It doesn't only happen in the United States. Look at India and their caste system. I could go on about the treatment of women around the world. I'm sure every country has their problems.

I have never felt comfortable using the term African American. My son's best friend is Black. His parents are from two small Caribbean island nations. I don't refer to myself as Scottish, Canadian, German, English, White American so let's do away with those labels. Even the moniker Black is not quite right. People come in all colors like ebony, cinnamon, cafe au lait, chocolate,butterscotch, sorry to be so food related. There's a great book I read with our fifth graders every year called Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. I highly recommend it. Seriously.

It seems to me that the Black community is self destructing. I feel for them. For a mother to loose her child to gangs, crime or murder is horrible. Black on Black crime is huge and more people need to speak out about it. It has to come from within the Black community. The White man can't do it. Instead of Sharpton and Jackson preaching about the white man bringing you down, start rattling the cage of those killing each other. These thugs need to hear how they are destroying their lives and the lives of others, many of them innocents. Distrusting the police has to change. I don't know how. I do know that this is where the do not snitch mindset comes into play. There are Black parents out there that want the best for their children, for them to rise above this nonsense. To become a contributor to a better society. That is so hard to do when you have generations that have been inducted into that everyone is against me mindset and now teach their own children the same things. Please don't get me wrong on this. I'm not lumping all Black families together. There are many black families out there that don't subscribe to these ideas. I understand that yes, it may be dangerous to speak out.

What made me decide to say this publicly is the rapper, Cam'ron. He stated on 60 Minutes that, "he would never cooperate with the cops, even if I knew a serial killer was living next to me. I wouldn't call and tell anybody on him. But I'd probably move." Also, "helping the police solve crimes goes against his code of ethics and is bad for business. " And more, "It would definitely hurt my business and the way I was raised, I just don't do that." These quotes came from the website

Is this enough to get your blood pressure up? Someone so thoughtless to others? Geoffry Canada, president of Harlem Children's Zone says this to that, "rappers like Cam'ron care more about their street credibility than the safety of their streets."

Tshirts with sayings like "Snitches get Stitches" , "Stop Snitchen" and "Ditches are for Snitches" are widely available and are seen in rap and hip hop videos. This kind of thing encourages the Black community to keep their mouth's shut when it comes to police. By promoting those ideals, the next person mugged, robbed, beaten or killed may be yourself. To think that you could have played a part in getting someone off the streets. I'll admit it takes bravery to make a stand but once it gets started, it could spread.

Am I the only one bothered by this kind of thing. NO. I encourage you to go to and read the comments left by readers. A strong leader is needed. Get over feeling like you're being picked on and take action. Don't let the thugs and punks be a representative of you culture and community.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Friendship. There are all kinds of levels of it. There's your see once in a while at the grocery store friend. They're someone you see when you're out and about and do the stop and chat with. Not really someone you'd call, but a friend nontheless.

The work friend. This is someone you work with and are friendly with at work but it's strickly a work relationship. You don't really share personal stuff with them or see them outside of work but you do like them and share a common

I guess an aquaintance would be someone you know but don't for whatever reason want anymore with. You say, Hi, how are you?" and move on.

The seasonal friend. I know that sounds odd. When I was 10 years old my family started going camping at a campground every summer for 2 weeks, the same time every year. There we met other families that did the exact same thing.
They all had kids and for those 2 weeks we were
best buds. Maybe a letter or two would be exchanged during the year but for the most part, it was a 2 week friendship that lasted about 8 years. We would all arrive on the same day and just pick up where we left off 50 weeks ago. I loved it.

The on-line friend. On line friendships can be good. When you meet someone you click with it's fun. They are someone you may have never met in life and may never meet but you form a bond if you take the time. Some may say you can't really form a bond with an online friend but I disagree. You can become very close to someone online. Eventually as your friendship builds you learn more about each other. Maybe more than anyone else knows. You feel comfortable talking with them, knowing they won't judge you. I have an online friend that I just love chatting with. We are from different backgrounds and if it wern't for computers, we would never have met. Love him just the same.

The good friend. For me they are friends that enjoy each other. You have a history together. You like being with them. I will say that my good friends are several of the people I work with. I don't consider them work friends because we share personal things with each other. We use each other as sounding boards. We're a big part of each others lives. We share in each other's triumphs and let downs. We have much fun together and it makes going to work easy. We care about each other and can tell when one is upset, unhappy. One friend and I can read each other's minds. Well ,not really but it seems that way. There's a connection that comes from knowing each other well.

The relative friend. Some people aren't friends with their relatives but my youngest sister and I are. Growing up, when my parents worked I was in charge being the oldest. My middle sister (2 years younger) was old enough to go roam the neighborhood with her friends but not old enough to be in charge of the youngest (5 years younger than me). That's where I came in. Some may have grown resentful that they had to take care of their little sister while the other one did her own thing. I did not. Sure, I couldn't go to friend's house without her coming with me but I didn't seem to mind. As we grew up and I moved out of my parents house she would sleep over at my place countless nights and we did many things together. I took care of her babies for 3 years each while she worked part time. I will take care of them over this summer also. We go on vacations together. Sometimes I think my middle sister is jealous but it goes back to when we were little. She'd rather hang with friends than her sisters.

The spouse best friend. Yes, your spouse can be your best friend. They are a person you love and they love you. You certainly share lots of things together. Your hopes and dreams, your children and you love hanging out with each other. They know your faults, your secrets and are honest with you. They love you unconditionally.

The best friend. Slightly different from the spouse best friend. I know that for women, there are just some things that you're more comfortable talking about with another female. Someone to get things off your chest with, maybe about your spouse. That first person you want to call when something good happens. Someone to shop with, to go to garden stores with, to hang out in your pajamas together late at night out on the patio.

I wrote this today because friendship is not automatic, it takes work just like any other relationship, especially if you don't see each other often. My best friend moved away a while back and it's just not the same without her. I miss her.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Spring Friends

I love pansies, they are such a friendly looking flower. I think the inside looks sort of like an angel.Maybe it's just me?
I'm not sure what this white flowering tree is.
It starts out with furry buds that swell up
then pop open to reveal bright white flowers.
I think it's some sort of Magnolia?
Forsythia is the first thing to bloom up here besides crocus. I like it when it first comes out and is that greenish yellow color, then it turns to a buttery pure yellow. Not crazy about it when at the end it's a golden color.

Last but not least, my favorite, tulips. As you may or may not know,

I can't grow them in my yard. They are the favorite snack of rabbits. Damn rabbits.
So I have to enjoy other people's tulips.
I love all colors of them, even the ones that are almost black.
I'm starting to feel better today. I actually got out of bed and came downstairs for a while. My tonsils are still swollen to the point that it is hard to swallow but I don't need the vicodin anymore. I'll be out of school the rest of the week but do have to go out tonight. Number 2 is being inducted into the National Honor Society at school this evening. I get tired just walking from the bedroom to the bathroom so I'm going to have to have valet service.