Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Tomorrow we leave for a 2 night visit to New York City. We're taking Amtrack into Penn Station. We've been there twice previously and the history, sites, the people, I love it. I wish I could live in a Park Avenue penthouse for 6 months and see everything NYC has to offer. I thought I'd share a few facts about NYC.

It was the site of major battles known as the New York Campaign during the Revolutionary War.

President George Washington was inaugurated at Federal Hall on Wall St.

NYC was once the capital of the United States until 1790.

In 1830 the center of interracial abolishionist activism in the North took place in Manhattan.

NYC has 28,000 acres of parkland and 14 miles of public beaches.

Of the top 25 largest cities in the United States and their crime rate, NYC ranks the lowest at 25.

The crime rate of 216 cities with populations over 100,000 NYC comes in at 197.

Comparably NYC has the same crime rate as Provo, Utah.

NYC is the second largest city in the world after Tokyo-Yokohama, Japan.

More than half of the households don't own a car.

The three top business and financial centers in the world are NYC, London, Tokyo.

The largest landowner in NYC is the Catholic Church.

The property with the highest listed market value at 1.1 billion dollars is the Time Warner Center. No wonder my cable bills are so high, headquarters are located in the really high rent district.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Don't hate me because I...

have 90% of my Christmas shopping done and wrapped!
I can't believe it myself. My sisters and I went shopping the day before Thanksgiving and got some great deals. Everything I bought was on sale and we also picked out our own gifts from each other. Yes I know, what fun is that? but I'm over being surprised. I had a red leather wallet on my list, not just any style, this way I got just what I wanted and won't have to do an exchange after. As far as wrapping goes, usually I do it a few days before the holiday but the urge just hit me and said, "wrap now!"
The hardest people on my list to buy for; my parents. Every year they say, "don't get us anything" but I can't do that. I had a brilliant idea this time, Andre Rieu, a Dutch violinist and orchestra conductor they love is coming to our city in May. I'm going to get them tickets! So, I'm over visiting them and my mom says so excitedly, "Guess what! Dad and I going to see Andre Rieu! We just ordered the tickets!"
WHAT??!! Ok, now they aren't getting anything. But of course I will. Maybe a gift certificate to the Cheesecake Factory and I'll pick them up and chauffeur them to dinner and the concert.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Beer and Coughing

It was a dark and stormy night...
The Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving was very dark,
pouring rain and with lots of wet leaves on the road...
And my baby was going out for a beer with his friends!
He just turned 21 this past September so he is newly legal as the drinking age is 21 in New York.
I am SO not used to that. He brought a 12 pk home with him and he and his father are drinking it. It is So strange to hear him talk about beer, what kinds he's had, what he likes and doesn't. It is So nerve wracking to know he is out drinking beer with his buds. I gave him my speech about being responsible and being in control. He says he knows all that and I think he's smart enough but college kids...

I asked him if he ever had too much to drink, he replied, "Mom, I'm a college student, what do you think?" Back to the dark and stormy night, I have adapted well to the what I don't know won't hurt me parenting skill. Meaning, when he's at Binghamton I don't know what he's doing so I really don't worry too much. When he's home and I know he and his friends drink beer when they're out I worry like there's no tomorrow. Then I see a story on the 11:00 news about this night being one of the biggest nights at the bars because of all the college kids home.
Go back to school will you please.
My nerves are shot.

I haven't felt good for a few weeks now. Translate that into I've been bitchy. The mucinex guy and his slimy friends have taken up residence in my lungs and I've been coughing what seems like constantly.

So much so that I have a constant headache. I think my brain has loosened up. It feels like its rattling around. I did finally buy some medicine and I better be well by Thursday. We leave for our anniversary trip to NYC at 5:45 on Amtrack. It seems that whatever this is, it's not contagious. I've been hacking all over the place and no one else had gotten it. But where did I get it from?? A medical mystery. I should have my soon to be a nurse son listen to my lungs.
Catch you later, stay healthy!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving to all Americans.
I hope everyone one way or another has a delicious turkey dinner today.

Three things I learned about turkeys this week in kindergarten.
They sleep in trees.
Some male turkeys have a blue head.
That red thing that hangs off their neck is called a waddle.
I just called it a gobbler for years. Now I know.

The turkey is really an ugly bird. It looks rather alien.
The male is especially hideous up close and personal. For once the female species of a bird is better looking. Ben Franklin thought the turkey would have been a better choice of bird for the American symbol that the bald eagle.
I have many people and things in my life to be thankful for. To mention just a few:
My family, my parents are still with us. I have a husband who loves me dearly and 2 healthy and smart kids.
My friends, both in real time and on line.
My job, I have a job I love, most days I can't believe I get paid to do it. Some days I earn every penny and more.
Health insurance, I only pay 5% of the cost of my family plan, including prescription coverage.
May you have many blessings in your life also.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's a P C World

It's a PC world out there and I don't mean personal computer. The idea of being politically correct is out of control. At the risk of offending anyone (I apologize if I do) I have my own thoughts on it. First; African American. Who started that? Not every person that is black has roots in Africa. I'm sure many are proud to be referred to as A.A. but to me that sounds less politically correct than Black. Our 17 yr old son's best friend is black but his ancestors hail from Dominique and Barbados. He and his family don't fit under that moniker. I don't refer to myself as Scottish, English, Canadian, German American. I'm just American.

Native American. We're learning about them in kindergarten and I think my students think they're referred to as In-Native-Americans. I can't help myself. I can understand why they don't want to be called Indians. After all they really aren't. Christopher Columbus (a directionally challenged Italian) thought he was in India hence he called them Indians and it stuck. I mean no disrespect when I say Indian. As far as sports teams having to change their In, er I mean Native American names, that's just silly. To me when naming a team after a Native American it is honoring them. After all, N.A. are proud people and fought for what they believed in.

Cochise, Apache leader.

Every so often you read about Native Americans in the news regarding sports teams using the Native American names. Our high school had to change our name from Chiefs to Patriots. I don't know, maybe somewhere there are some patriots that are pissed about that.

I wonder how N.A. feel about the government naming their killing machines after them. Consider the names of helicopters; Apache, Black Hawk, Lakota, Comanche and more. These Indian Nations defended themselves against the white man, maybe that's why we use those names since we are defending ourselves. Apache Attack Helicopter

lThe latest PC edict is by an Australian organization that instructs people how to be a Santa (I sure hope I just didn't burst some one's bubble about Santa Claus) :) has decided that Santa cannot say HO HO HO any longer. I'm not kidding. Check it out.

They state that since ho is an American slang word for prostitute it would be derogatory to women to use it. They suggest HA HA HA instead. How's that for a self esteem buster, Santa laughing at you. Now 99% of the time the person sitting on Santa's lap is a child. Do they know what a ho is? And even if they do, would they equate that with a prostitute in this situation? Prostitution may be one of the oldest professions but I don't think the term "ho" was around when Santa decided to start using it as his signature phrase. But then again maybe he did have a "ho" on his lap. He travels extensively and maybe he misses the comfort that Mrs. Claus provides, but somehow I doubt it. After all, he does all of his travelling in one night and it seems like he'd be too busy to stop for some action on the side.
Hubby says my posts are too long. I guess they can be but once my mind starts wondering, it don't stop. I hope I don't bore you to tears.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Girly Girl

I had a conversation one day with a friend about would you rather be a man or a woman. I should preface this by saying that my friend is a guy.He stated that in no way would he want to be a woman. He couldn’t deal with the mood swings, the physical weakness, the once a month thing and all the other womanly things. I must say that being a woman is difficult sometimes.

You have to deal with hair on several different aspects. The hair on your head; the grass is always greener. If you have short hair, you wish it were long, if you have straight, you want it curly or you wish it were a different color. You want it to look good everyday. That. Is. Impossible. It will do what it wants. Sometimes when my hair does what it wants it turns out very unexpectedly cute. Great! When I try to recreate that look on purpose, it never looks the same again. Other body hair; I don’t go for the European look. You have to shave your legs and underarms. That sometimes includes a little bloodletting. My left ankle has several nice scars from an errant razor. You also want to keep other areas neat and trimmed. (FYI guys, nothing wrong with a little manscaping either.) I’ve got to have my eyebrows waxed and plucked. That hurts. You might become used to it but it never stops hurting. Don’t ask me how some women can get their girly parts waxed. I cringe just thinking about it.

Mood swings, yeah, we got ‘em. If you think we’re hard to live with because of them, just think how we feel living with them. Men, I’ve got a news flash for you, you’re not immune to having them either. Female hormones play havoc with our bodies and emotions. We can’t help it. But let’s put it in perspective. If we didn’t have these hormones coursing through us we wouldn’t have the breasts, or the soft features or sexy voice or curves that you love. Hhhhmmmm, would rather have a masculine looking woman without mood swings or a feminine one with them???Menstruation. Periods. Whatever you want to call it. Is there a woman on the planet that enjoys them? Notice I didn’t say looks forward to getting it. That’s because every month when we don’t want to be pregnant we eagerly await a visit, we hope it arrives on schedule. Once it does, relief for about 3 seconds then it is a hassle of major proportions. There's nothing happy about it. Men, imagine if you will, bleeding every month for 3-7 days and having to wear a pad, tampon or this. I didn’t think you’d like it. I get why you wouldn’t want to be a woman.
Another reason you may not want to be a woman; we are the physically weaker sex. The crimes committed on women are horrible. Most of them are committed by men we know, maybe love and trust. Sexual harassment, been there. I’m not saying that men aren’t sexually harassed but it happens much less. I do think that women are emotionally stronger though.

As for me, I love being a woman. I love the feminine part of it all. I am a girly girl. I enjoy being pampered, wearing toe nail polish, jewelry and make up. Being treated with respect and loved is wonderful. The reason I am most happy to be a woman? Birthing babies. How lucky are we to be able to bring new life into the world. Sure being pregnant can be hard at times but feeling that baby move and the bond you have with that child is the strongest bond you will ever have with another human. The love a woman has for her child is the strongest there is, even if she didn't give birth to that child. Women has a huge capacity for love. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Would I want to be a man? For one day, just to see what it feels like. To know the feeling that draws men to women like a moth to a flame. And what it feels like when they reach that goal. What I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like is having the package between my legs. Talk about uncomfortable. Two last words that might make you wish to be a woman: multiple orgasms.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

You're Going on a Field Trip

This past Sunday was an absolute beautiful day here in New York so we went for a drive.

I decided to take you on a virtual field trip of Rochester. This is the Rush Rhees Library on the University of Rochester campus. The university is known for its business school, medical school and research.

The vaccine for the human papilloma virus was developed here. No, the library isn't cockeyed, it was the photographer, me.
The Strong National Museum of Play. The Toy Hall of Fame is located here. There is also a butterfly conservatory.

Asbury First Methodist Church
Above is the George Eastman House. Eastman was the founder of Eastman Kodak and at one time Kodak was the leader in cameras, film and developing. Today there's much competition in the photography world and most people use digital cameras. He accomplished much and donated 100 million over his lifetime to his community. He committed suicide om March 14, 1932. Eastman left a note that said: To my friends; My work is done. Why wait.

The Memorial Art Gallery

Above, a light post done with mosaic tile. Below, a bus shelter.

I've got more pictures but don't want to tire you out on this trip. We'll go on another soon.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day

I was thinking about CWO Michael Varnado over the weekend. He is the soldier on my MIA/POW bracelet that I paid 5 bucks for in the early 1970's. I've never been to Washington D.C. before so I've not seen the Vietnam Memorial there but I have seen the Moving Wall when it came to our city. When I found his name I noticed that it had a cross after it. I decided to inquire about him in 1991 though the National League of Families Of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia. They replied to my letter stating that CWO Varnado's remains had been returned to the USA on April 28, 1989. I was told that the cross symbolized his status of MIA and that later that year a diamond shape will be engraved over it showing that he has been repatriated.I googled Michael Varnado yesterday and found more information about him and his capture. My heart started beating fast when up came his picture. I could put a face with the name. He was born on Sept. 10, 1948 in Natchez, Louisiana. He was piloting a Huey when it was shot down. Please click on his name and read about his ordeal.
After reading this article I followed the trail to a newspaper article from Monroe, Louisiana stating his family including his mother and former wife had donated some of Michael's items to the Aviation and Military Museum of Louisiana.

Fall, my least favorite season

The view at our house this morning. Notice the Christmas lights along the house. Sean was on the roof last weekend putting heat tape up so I said, "while you're up there..."

Yesterday was a rainy, cold, dreary day. The main reason fall is my least favorite season. This morning it's sunny and very frosty as it got down in the teens last night. Winter is coming!

The leaves in the Finger Lakes region of NY don't seem very vibrant this year, the colors are rather muted. Except for our burning bush. It always puts on a good show.

Friday, November 09, 2007

What is a Manly Man?

Over at Slick's place a while ago he had a post about what makes a manly man and asked what his readers though. I'm going to borrow (that sounds so much nicer than rip off or steal don't you think?) his idea for a post of my own.
What traits do I qualify as manly? First I thought of physical features,
you know, tall, strong, muscular, big hands (love them) and virile.

Then when I gave it more thought I realized that with my definition of a manly man, even a 98 pound weakling would be manly.

A manly man to me is a man that takes care of himself and others. He is a good husband or boyfriend or father as well as a member in good standing of the human race. He is respectful to others especially his wife, girlfriend or significant other. He accepts your flaws, maybe even finds them endearing. He brings out the best in you and gives you the self-confidence you may need. A manly man is a good provider and takes his responsibilities seriously. He strives to be the best father that he can be regardless if his children live with him or not. A manly man works hard at this job to support his family. He is polite. I'm all for women's rights but call me crazy, I like to have a door held open for me and I like to see a man offer his seat to the elderly, infirmed or pregnant. I've seen men that don't do that and it bugs me. Actually that's being a member of the human race. If you're male or female, if you see someone struggling, you help him or her.

He'll watch a sappy movie with me and not tease me about crying over it. Maybe he'll even shed a few surreptitious tears himself. A manly man has a good sense of humor even when the joke is on him. A manly man kills spiders for me. He cleans up when the kids or the dog have been sick. He basically does the dirty jobs.

A manly man knows when I've had a bad day and will cook dinner. He tells me he loves me daily, not just in works but with his actions too. A manly man will apologize when he's wrong and accept one given to him.

He doesn't have to be a handyman, but know when to call a professional to do the job. (Sean is very handy. Around our house he has tiled floors, put in a hardwood floor, built a deck with his own plans, installed an above ground pool and years later removed said pool, fenced in the backyard, done some plumbing, electrical and dry walling, fixed the roof, installed carpet and indulges my love of changing paint colors in rooms. Most men are proud of any bodily noise they make, maybe that makes them feel manly. If not being able to do any of those things makes a man less manly then I guess I'm not very womanly. I can't sew a stitch, I'm an okay cook, I'm not 36 24, 36, my house is not always the neatest, I could go on.

Some men think that several or all of the above makes them a wimp or pussy whipped but I don't think so at all. If they tried doing some of the above it might get them some womanly woman things. Or as Slick would say, "get laid".

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Our fossil trip was a success and the weather cooperated. It was cold and windy with a few snow showers but no rain so not much mud. Several kids found some trilobite fossils. I've gone 6 times and never found one. Below is a piece of horned coral. It's on a regular sheet of 8.5x11 paper so it's pretty big. It sort of looks like petrified dog poo.

Some specimans can look somewhat phalic. No luck with those today.

Last years trip was so horrible, it poured buckets and the mud was awful. This year I bought myself some new boots to wear. Aren't they cute? :) Land's End $39.50 and they come in lots of colors.
These pictures are from last year's trip. What a mess.
An hour to get there and we left after 20 minutes.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

School Daze


Lordy, there are two cases of head lice in my morning kindergarten class. I've only been working in the elementary school for 8 years and have never been in a class where there was head lice. I've spent 6 of the 8 years in 5th grade and lice tends to be mostly in the primary grades. Now this year I work most of the day in kindergarten and 90 minutes a day in 5th. I can't help but feel creepy crawly. Went to the nurse today to get my head checked; no lice.
Anyone can get lice. It has nothing to do with how clean or dirty your house is. It doesn't discriminate but does prefer clean heads and thick hair. I don't want lice because it's gross and you have to do a massive house cleaning to make sure get any that came from off from your head. Sheets, pillows, furniture, carpets.
Working between two grade levels I get to go on field trips with both grades. So far I've been to the firehouse and pumpkin patch with the little ones. Tomorrow I go on the 5th grade fossil hunting trip for the 6th time. We go to an abandoned railroad bed about 40 miles from school. Millions of years ago western and central New York were underwater. We'll find different kinds of coral fossils, brachiopods and if we're lucky, the elusive trilobite. I like to tell the kids that they will be the first humans to touch these fossils that have been around 3 million years.
It's an all day trip, we eat lunch at a park.
Tomorrows forecast; rain and snow, high of 40, winds 25 mph.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

College Shopping

Our college shopping for our Number 2 son is done. We've looked at 3 private school and 2 NY state schools. He wants to be a high school English teacher and lucky for him, New York state has some of the best teaching programs around.
The first 2 pictures are of Nazareth College, a small private college. Total cost of attendance; over 30,000. per year. It's a very nice campus, he really liked it but again, it was the first place we looked. If he went here he would be able to keep his job at Ben & Jerry's.

The picture below is of Syracuse University. Total cost of attendance; way over 30k per year.
He didn't really care for it, maybe it had something to do with our tour of the campus. It was given by two dingbat students and we never saw the inside of any building except the Carrier Dome. Didn't see the library, dorm, computer lab, dining hall, classroom. Nothing. Thank goodness we didn't drive for hours or fly to see it like some others did in our tour. At one point a group of students walked by us and said to Number 2, "don't go here". Hhhhmmmmm

Below is St John Fisher College, another private school costing over 30k. He didn't really like this one either. A large percentage of freshman are tripled in the dorms. Home of the Buffalo Bills training camp in the summer.

Next picture is State University of New York at Brockport. Total cost of attendance; about 17k. We all really liked this school. It was a good size but not huge. Our tour guide took us on an extensive 90 minute tour and she walked backwards the entire time while taking to the two perspective students and parents.

Bingo! SUNY NY at Geneseo is the one he liked the best, another bargain at 17k. It's located in a rural community with a population of about 10,000, 5,000 which are students. It is very nice and is considered one of the two honors colleges in NY. The other being Binghamton University.

Speaking of Binghamton University, this is it. Number One son is a senior here in the Decker School of Nursing, one of the schools within the university. A Division 1 school if that floats your boat. He's president of BU's club racquetball team. No other time for athletics.
Number 2 has sent in all of his applications, now it's just a waiting game. His guidance counselor at school is not completely thrilled with his choices. She wanted him to apply to some reach schools meaning schools that may be hard for him to get into, which he didn't do. He was recruited by some ivy league schools but it didn't make sense. As I said, NY state is one of the best places to get a teaching degree. Why go out of state? Plus he's not an ivy league kind of person. He's a smart kid, GPA is 3.85 and got a 1440 out of 1600 on the verbal/math SAT. To apply at Princeton, Harvard etc. he needs to take the SAT2 and ACT. He doesn't want to do that. So he's limited himself but the colleges he did apply to have honors programs so that will make her happy he hopes. I'm just glad that he's done looking. I don't enjoy it all. Too much pressure for me, balancing the the right fit and the cost.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Does God Hate Fags?

In my life I have not been a member of a church or organized religion. I'm not an atheist but it's just that religion doesn't play a part in my life. I was baptized a Methodist, Sean is a Catholic. Growing up I did attend church when I was young enough to go to Sunday school but eventually we stopped going and I don't remember much.

In my life I may not have gone to church but have lived a moral life. Meaning that I live by the Golden Rule. Do unto others... I am a kind, compassionate person. I hope that when I rest my head on my pillow at night I've done something to make this world a little better. Two of the best people I know didn't go to church much, my parents.

In my life I have tried to treat people with respect, I feel I'm very tolerant and non judgemental. Growing up I was friends with an Indian girl (middle east Indian). I didn't notice she was different from me until about sixth grade. To me, she was just Ruthie. I realized it when I found out her real name. It was long and unpronounceable, that's why she went by Ruthie.
I have gay friends, went to a gay hairdresser for years, vacation in Provincetown, Mass. a very openly gay destination.

In my life I have tried to raise two sons to respect people, accept people for who they are, to treat people equally and to leave a mark in their world. I think it worked, Number 1 will be a registered nurse in the spring, Number 2 wants to be a teacher.

In my life I've done all of this without religion. Now, am I perfect? Are my boys perfect? Hell, NO! Not by a long shot. But we are good people. Is religion a bad thing? Of course not. I question religions that preach about how good their own is and then turn around and won't let women hold leadership roles within the church., only men are allowed. Religions that are against homosexuals, religions that think theirs is the only right one and are intolerant of others. Religions that make people fly airliners into buildings. Look at the conflicts and wars that have happened throughout history, how many of them were started over religion? Lots.

In my life if you are of any religion that I don't belong to , I'm not going to hold that against you. If you're gay, I'll still be your friend and agree that you have the same rights as heterosexuals. What I don't like is when someone tries to push their beliefs on me. Not interested.
For many people, their faith is very important to them and I respect that.

What inspired this post was
this. I don't for the life of me understand this! What kind of religion is this? Westboro Baptish Church out of Topeka, Kansas holds demonstrations at the funerals of military personnel that have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They form picket lines bearing signs with slogans such as "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "God Hates Fags". According to Rev. Fred Phelps, "soldiers are dying because the nation is too tolerant of homosexuals". Have you ever heard anything so insulting or crazy? There are children at these demonstrations holding these signs. The youth of our nation. I can only hope that this is a tiny sect that has splintered off and won't get any larger.

Rev. Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church took a blow when a jury awarded a father, Albert Snyder, almost 11 million dollars when he sued them for invasion of privacy. The group protested at the funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq. Will Mr. Snyder see any of this money? I don't know but it sent a message that this kind of shit is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.