Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Miley Cyrus

While I've never seen that Hannah Montana show nor have I heard Miley Cyrus sing, of course I know who she is, I work in an elementary school after all plus she's everywhere these days. I decided to see what all the hullabaloo is about over her Vanity Fair photo. I admit, I'm torn. But first, check out an old cover of the magazine with the same type of picture featuring Diana Ross. She's very pretty and very sexy.
Now check out Miley. On one hand to me she looks like she just had a romp in bed and is now covering up with the bed sheet like they do on TV. Knowing she is 15 years old I think it's somewhat inappropriate to project that provocative image. And why is a 15 year old even on the cover of Vanity Fair? Tiger Beat I can understand. (I can't believe that magazine is still around. I read it in the days of Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy.)
On the other hand my first thought was she looked like the skinny waif on the Les Miserables poster.

I think is she were my daughter she wouldn't have posed like that. She has lots of years ahead to do that.

My Ears

Do you know an I Can Top That person? Or maybe an All About Me person? I've associated with both kinds and can't decide which type is the lesser of the two evils. I used to work with an I Can Top This person. No matter what you'd say whether it be about something your kid did, some place you went or an encounter with a crazy driver on the expressway, their kid did it too only it was better or worse, they went to a better beach, city, resort, game and they had an even crazier driver experience. This kind of person is most often doubly infected with the All About Me syndrome. Right now the person I work with has a chronic case of this, it's all her, all the time. Every time you try and talk about something the subject gets turned around so the conversation is about her.On and on she goes and if you're successful in getting a word in, it's like she doesn't even hear you.

I readily admit that we're all guilty of this behavior now and then but all the time? It gets on my nerves. I'll give you an example. This person complains about certain behaviors in students and when I try and offer strategies it falls on deaf ears. I've come to the conclusion that she really doesn't want my input or opinion since she never listens. She knows my family and when I told her that my oldest got a great nursing job in New York City, her response, "my son just got a part time job at XXXXXXXX, he's so happy, he'll have some spending money" blah, blah, blah. Now I realize it's his first job and it's exciting so I do the appropriate ooh and ahhing. But no word about my news, nothing.I've always been a good listener, validate people's feelings and so on but with her I'm beyond trying anymore.I'm just going to give up and let her talk or just walk away while she's talking. She never "hears" me anyway.

The thing is I work with her everyday. And everyday she thanks me for my help, tells me she loves me and she couldn't do her job without me. I know she's grateful and appreciative and she's a good teacher but I'm suffering from All About Me burn out. It's making me crazy.

I just sounded mean and petty didn't I?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

This weekend in the garden

This spring has been just beautiful. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. We're going to pay for this somehow. The temperatures have been running anywhere from 10 to 20 degrees above normal. Many flowering trees are weeks early. This is our dogwood tree in the backyard. It usually flowers mid May.
We did have a rip roaring thunderstorm barrel through on Saturday
complete with quarter size hail.
My fern garden is getting a good head start.
More buds.
Ugh. These are lily beetles. I noticed them munching and mating on my crown imperial. The next day there was an article in the paper saying they're originally from Europe and as of late invaded Canada, now they're showing up in New York.
Grecian wind flowers
Bleeding heart
Some sort of crab apple tree.

I hope it was a nice weekend wherever you live.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The high price of gas VS...

My father forwards things from the Internet, most times I read them, but sometimes I don't. Often he'll ask me, "what did you think of that article or those pictures?" and I don't want to hurt his feelings by telling him I didn't bother to look at it so....
Anyway, dad just sent me a price list of items we often use comparing them to the price of gasoline. Last night at the gas station we left with our wallet $30.00 lighter and just a little over 8 gallons of gas. Price per gallon $3.64.
On that sad note here's what my father sent me:
Lipton ice tea 16 oz bottle 1.19......$9.52 per gallon
I found this picture of red tea. We don't have it around here but it looks yummy.

Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail 16 oz bottle $1.25.....$10.00 per gallon
Gatorade 20 oz bottle $1.59.....$10.17 per gallon
Snapple 16 oz bottle $1.29....$10.32 per gallon
Evian 9 oz bottle $1.49...$21.19 per gallon
Evian is naive spelled backwards.

White Out, 7 oz bottle $1.39....$25.42 per gallon

Brake fluid 12 oz bottle $3.15...$33.60 per gallon
Scope mouthwash 1.5 oz sample size .99.....$84.48 per gallon
Pepto Bismol 4 oz bottle $3.85....$123.20 per gallon
Nyquil 6 oz bottle $8.35...$178.13 per gallon
I hate this stuff, I always feel sicker after I drink it.

Finally coming in at a whopping $22.00 per oz is...

HP printer ink

That's more than one ounce of imported
Russian caviar and prices out to $2,816 per gallon!

Now I'm sure that this didn't make you feel any better about the price of gas but I guess we can be thankful that our cars don't run on any of this stuff.
If you want to check out gas prices around the world, click here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Must See TV

It's Thursday and that means 30 Rock and The Office are on tonight. I think they're two of the funniest shows on TV right now. Last week when Michael wanted each employee to write down a name of a woman to fix him up with was hilarious especially when he called the "hot and juicy red head" named Wendy and the number turned out to be a Wendy's restaurant.
I took The Office personality quiz and I'm most like Pam. Thank goodness, her and Jim are the sanest.
In other news hubby finished the powder room a few weeks ago. You never realize how much you need two bathrooms. He did the tile floor, the name of this tile is Chocolate Mousse. Who can resist a tile named after that.
He did the plumbing for the new sink and toilet. Sorry, no picture of the toilet.
I love the new faucet. My son uses this bathroom as his own. He is now under penalty of death to keep it clean. I want it to look like a guest bathroom, not a teenage boy's.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Kisses anyone?
While my husband and son were in Canada I took Cody for a walk over in the woods next to our house. The pond was alive with swimming and croaking frogs. We walked down to the edge and the racket stopped. We stood still for a few minutes and the croaking started up again. It was like surround sound in a frog opera. It was so loud that Cody started barking.
We just learned about frogs in kindergarten a few weeks ago. When they sing the membrane under their chin inflates. The flat spot behind the eyes are their ears.
They were just swimming around and sometimes would just float to the surface and peek up at us.
It was a beautiful weekend here, spring has sprung here in New York.
Actually upon doing some research I found out that these are toads. The American Toad, Bufo Americanus to be exact. Click on this link and you can listen to their song.
I don't know what kind of tree this bud is from but liked the dangley things.

I hope wherever you are the sun is shining and the Earth and all her creatures are awakening after a long winter.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

My husband and youngest son are on a Boy Scout trip to Ottawa and Toronto Canada for three days. That means it's just me and the dog at home. While I usually enjoy my time alone when they go on these trips, this time, not so much. I haven't slept well and the most exciting thing I've done with my time is buy some new underwear. Woohoo.
Now that the news of my son moving to New York City has started to sink in I'm feeling sort of overwhelmed by it. Kevin will be moving away. Now he has been away from home for four years while in college but this is just so permanent. Once he's gone he will probably never live with us again. He will be building his own life separate from ours. Yes, I know that's what kids do eventually but it just happened so fast. He was just in kindergarten not long ago. Being a parent is a huge part of your life for the first 21 years then poof, they become an adult. I can only hope that we've done our job and given him the tools he needs to succeed in life on his own in the big city. I'm just feeling very sentimental, hubby isn't home to discuss this with, he doesn't know yet and I'm not going to call and cry on his shoulder. He'll just feel bad that he's not here. I haven't told anyone in the family. I want Kevin to share his news. This really is the right decision, the decision I wanted him to make. I didn't tell him that, I just said I will support any choice he made and would be fine either way, local or out of town. Sorry, I'm rambling.
I went to dinner by myself tonight, just to a burger joint near our house and was in line behind a senior citizen (she looked about 65) who was taking forever to order, then she had to search through her purse for her money and count out a bunch of change. Honestly, three people in the line next to me ordered before I did. She finally finished but decided to change her order at the last minute. Meanwhile she's already paid for it. Now it has to be rerung. Grrrr. My turn! I order my food, get my little buzzing/flashing thingy and look for a seat. I find the only one left and look at the booth across from me, here sits this lady with her mother. She proceeded to argue with her mother and was pretty rude to her. Of course I don't know beans about their relationship, maybe mom is a hand full but everything out of her mouth was a complaint or criticism of mom. One of their conversations went like this.
Senior Citizen: oh they always do this, they can't get my order right.
Mom: Why? What's the matter?
S.C.: I always order shredded lettuce like they put on the burgers on a plate with some tomatoes and I ask for salad dressing to go along with my fish fry.
Mom: Why don't you just order a side salad?
S.C.: I can't believe you don't get it. It's because I would have to pay for that.
Now I was raised right, I respect my elders, if all goes according to my plan I hope to be a senior citizen myself one day. I just don't want to be one like that. It was depressing.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Warning: A Mom Post

Each of our two sons has an important decision to make in the next week. I'll start with my oldest, Kevin. He graduates from Binghamton University next month with a bachelors from the Decker School of Nursing. When he passes his licensing test he will be an RN. He has two job offers at local hospitals but he went for an interview at New York Presbyterian in NYC this past Monday. Wednesday they called him and offered him the job. It's a nursing job with cardiac patients that are pre and post cath lab. If he takes the job he will start in July. His goal is to become a nurse practitioner which is two more years of schooling. The hospital will pay for that at either Columbia University or New York University. Oh and did I forget, they will start him at over 70k a year. He told them he will let them know by Friday, that he had to discuss it with his parents. My advice to him; do what makes you happy, not what you think we want. I actually want him to take it. If he didn't I wouldn't want him to wonder 20 years from now "what if".

Our younger son Cameron graduates from high school in June and must make a decision as to where he is going to go to college.This kid is smart, with a 3.81 GPA, all AP and honors classes and a 1440 on his SAT's. He was "labeled" gifted in third grade.I hate that term, gifted. We have always kept his head on straight and he never has come across as a smarty pants.His guidance councilor told him he can get in to almost any school he wanted with that. Cam is very down to earth and he feels those Ivy League schools aren't for him. Even with generous scholarships the private schools are out of reach financially. One school offered 60k over 4 years but it was still over our budget. It comes down to SUNY schools. (State University of New York) New York has the largest state school program in the country. Kevin is at a state school. Cameron at this stage is thinking about being a high school English teacher. The best 2 schools in NY for education majors happen to be within an hour of our house. His first choice, Geneseo is a more prestigious school, harder to get in to. He was accepted and was invited to apply for one of their scholarships worth $2,000 per year. He had to write an essay and do some short answer questions. He was awarded one of only 10 scholarships given out to freshman. The other college, Brockport, is also a good school and he was accepted into the honors program there and given a scholarship totaling 18k. My advice to him; do what makes you happy, not what you think we want.
there you have it. I know this post sounds like I'm one of those mother's who brag constantly about their wonderful children but I can't help how proud I am of them. I wonder all the time, how did this happen?

Edit: Kevin called me and made it official, he's accepted the New York Presbyterian job in the Big Apple.It's all very bittersweet for me. Excuse me while I go have a moment.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Song Titles

We are having some absolutely perfect weather today. Sunny with a temp of 75. So far my day can be be summed up by song titles. The first being one of my most favorite songs. Did you ever feel like a song was written just for you. Everything about it screams "that's me! How did he know?"
I was sitting out back in the swing doing a crossword puzzle and it was hot. I went inside and changed into shorts. Upon my return to the patio my legs were glowing and I was blinded by the light. Boy do I need a tan and fast. This leads into the next song title: Blinded by the Light by Manfred Mann's Earth Band. This is circa 1976 and I was in high school. For years I though he was singing "cut loose like a douche anther runner in the night" and I would think, I don't get it, what does a douche have to do with this? But upon further research I found out he is singing deuce. I guess maybe like a two dollar bill? I don't know.

The third song goes along with a previous post that I did a year ago but I'm going to bring it up again. It's that time of the year when a young girl's heart (Me. Well I'm not so young anymore) turns to the mustang. No, not the horse, I'm afraid of horses, they're too big and have big ugly teeth. This The song: Mustang Sally I've linked two versions the first one is a remake, the second, the original by Wilson Picket. Which one do you like better.
I have my favorite.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


You may remember my crocus from a previous post. Pretty sad huh?

These are my neighbor's crocus yesterday! Obviously mine are much more tasty than theirs. These rabbits have a discerning palate. Last night coming home from Ben & Jerry's (Cameron works there, we get a discount but I don't care for ice cream) we pulled in the driveway and lo and behold Mr. Rabbit high tailed it across the front lawn. I wanted to chase it with the car but it would have done a nice lawn job.
No, I wouldn't kill it intentionally. I love animals but I do have a limit. Do I care that deer ate the ivy that took years to grow up a tree in the back yard? No, I understand that winter sucks and it's hard to find food. But, I draw the line at my flowers that I've been waiting for to bloom after a long sunless winter. Keep your cute little paws off of them or else!
Below is some sort of Magnolia, I love that the buds are fuzzy looking. The flowers are pretty too when they bloom. One of the first flowering trees in the spring.
I'm enjoying my spring break off from school. Tomorrow hubby and Cameron leave for a Boy Scout trip to Ottawa, Canada with a stop in Toronto on the way home for dinner at Medieval Times. I've never been but they went last year while on their trip to Baltimore and Washington DC and have a blast. I'd love to go. Why am I staying home you may ask, because it's a trip with lots of Boy Scouts! No thank you.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Here I am in a picture taken this past Monday at school. We took individual pictures of all the kids for a project. We're going to grow a garden on our bulletin board by cutting out our picture in a circle then cutting flower petals to glue around it. Hey, it's kindergarten. Anyway, here I am but this leads to another story...

I don't think that there is a woman alive that doesn't complain about or have a problem part of their body. Well I'm not going to complain about my boobs, ass, hair, arms or any other parts. I'm going to talk about one of the things I do like; my lips. In my opinion I have a decent pair of lips. The lower one is rather pouty and the upper one is nicely full with a nice lip line. Now that I think about it, this post is a complaint because a few weeks ago I noticed that I had a chapped spot on my upper lip. Now usually when I get chapped lips it's a precursor to coming down with something. That didn't happen. But the lip stayed chapped ignoring the fact that I was slathering Burt's Bees Pomegranate lip balm on it. As you can see in the above picture there is just a little redness on the upper left side six days ago. Little by little the crud has been creepin' across my top lip. It's puffy, tingly, red and chapped looking. I now look like Daisy from Rock of Love II.

Well just the lip part. Yes, I admit it. I watch that silly show on VH1. When the writer's strike was on I picked up some bad TV habits. I became addicted to reality TV. I started watching this one and it is so bad but I have to tune in every week to see how these women behave themselves while competing for Brett Michael's love. Most are skanky looking but a few are pretty. All just fawn over him like he's a God. While he's not bad looking, I like the long hair even though he's a blond but when he wears the eyeliner that blows it.
On to another subject. How can people do this to their dog? That poor thing looks ridiculous.
I am so pleased that my favorite shows are back on the air. I dearly missed The Office. The first season it was on I couldn't watch it. I spent too many years working in an office and that shit is not funny when you've really worked with morons. But something about the second season, I now love it. My other guilty pleasure is 30 Rock. Kenneth (Jack McBray) steals every scene he's in. If you've never seen it, watch it. Now where this part of the post is going is this. I do not like Oprah. I can't pinpoint exactly why except so many people blindly follow her and whatever she says as Gospel. Maybe I'm jealous of all her money but there's just something about her. Anyway I just read that she may guest star on 30 Rock. Oh please, please don't do it.

Okay, time for Rock of Love II. Tonight Brett decides who will stay in his house and rock his world. It comes down to Daisy or Ambre. If Brett thinks with his head he'll pick Ambre, she closer to his age and would be better for his young daughters. If he thinks with his other head he'll pick Daisy. She's young, wild and willing to do anything to have him. Insert eye roll here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Eugene O'Kelly

I recently finished reading a book entitled Chasing Daylight How My Forthcoming Death Transformed My Life by Eugene O'Kelly. It's about his journey in the last 100 days of his life while dying of terminal brain cancer. O'Kelly was a highly successful CEO of KPMG when diagnosed in May 2005 at age 53. The book is his story of how he chose to live during the last days of his life. O'Kelly shared how he dealt with the relationships in his life, how he chose to say good bye and how he used his last months on earth to live his life to the fullest. He did go through the stages of grief but focused the most on acceptance. I don't know what made me buy this book, I don't plan on dying anytime soon but something made me purchase it. In the book he talks about the perfect moment. He readily admits that with his very busy lifestyle he didn't have many perfect moments and when he did, he didn't realize them for what they were. It wasn't until he looked for perfect moments that he realized that he'd experienced some already.
I'm lucky, I've always been aware of being in a perfect moment. Since I was young I have experienced moments that were perfect and also not perfect. I would say to myself, remember this moment. The first time I remember doing this was as a girl of 11 walking home from school. I lived at the top of street that had what seemed to me at the time, the steepest hill ever. I hated that hill most of the school year but especially in June when it was hot outside. I don't do well in the heat. (You would think that because I complain so much about winter on this blog that I would be a heat lover. I'm not. While I love sunshine I wilt when the temperature goes above 80. A perfect day for me is about 78 degrees, no humidity and sunny with a little breeze.) One day trudging up that hill in sweltering weather I said to myself, remember this moment when it's January and the temp is 10 degrees with blowing snow. I still remember that day today. Whenever what I think is a perfect moment happens I acknowledge it and try to store it in my memory bank. Can I recall all the perfect moments I've stored? Sadly no but but some I do. Sometimes that memory pops into my head unannounced, sometimes they're triggered by an event, a word, a sight or even a smell.

In Eugene O'Kelly's book he writes that there are perfect moments that are somewhat predicable such as they day you're married and the days that your children are born. He's right, those are perfect moments but he also talks about spontaneity and how those perfect moments are wonderful. I agree wholeheartedly.
One perfect moment I had was 10 years ago. My oldest son played little league and of course we were at every game. He had a wonderful coach who recognized each boys strengths and weaknesses. On Coach Fox's team everyone got to play, they were taught the physical skills of baseball but also good sportsmanship towards other teams and towards their own teammates. The parents also got along extremely well and enjoyed ourselves. We would bring hors d'oeuvres to the game and talk. We made sure to tell each other when their son was up to bat. One particular evening all the stars aligned perfectly. Each boy played well, when a good play happened the parents would sing lines from Will Smith's Gettin Jiggy With It. After the game my husband and I and Kevin and Cameron went to the concession stand and sat at a picnic table while the boys had their treat. I remember walking down the gravel path to the parking lot afterwards, there was a beautiful sunset and I said out loud remember this moment, it was perfect. I don't remember who won the game.

How do you recognize a perfect moment? For me I can tell because sometimes my heart seems to want to burst with happiness. Other times it's a very peaceful feeling. I had one just the other day in school. All the children had a good day, there was no drama or tears, no need for me to discuss any bad behaviors. When the students left that morning I felt very proud of them and I was happy. In our classroom we call that a warm fuzzy feeling.
Everyday brings us one step closer to our own death and while I don't live like my days they're numbered, as I get older I do appreciate the small moments that make me happy.

I know this was a long post and hope you read to the end of it. I would recommend Chasing Daylight for while it's a sad read it is also very heartwarming and thought provoking.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

In the fall we planted 100 daffodil bulbs and 100 crocus bulbs.
So far they're off to a bad start.
The daffodils are just starting to poke their heads up out of the ground and it looks like they may not make it to maturity. Tiny Tim may have tiptoed through the tulips but our dog Cody is dashing through the daffodils. Now for the crocus. Something is eating the buds and flowers. As soon as they burst open, poof! I'm pretty sure what kind of little critter is chowing down on them and if I catch him at it we'll be having rabbit stew for dinner. Oh don't worry, the rabbit is safe because he's eaten every last one as you can see by all that's left are the little nubs. There's nothing left for him to come back to.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


Hubby has been redoing our powder room, tiling the floor, new plumbing, paint et al. We took the window covering off and since then we've been visited by some kooky cardinals. The first few times we thought they were flying into the glass by accident but quickly noticed that this behavior was on purpose. Upon doing some research I discovered that when they see their reflection in the glass they think they're seeing another bird invading their territory. You may think this female is peeking into our bathroom window but in actuality she's doing the stare down, trying to intimidate the "other bird". When the trespasser stares back, she pecks at it. It pecks back.

The next tactic is to flap their wings at the intruder. The intruder flaps back. The final act of hostility is to fly into the glass. I don't think they hurt themselves but I don't want them to hurt their little bird brains. In my reading I found that male cardinals can spend hours sparring with their reflections. In our case it seems to be the female doing more of the fighting although the male does do some posturing.
While she looks rather angelic, in her mind she's one tough bad ass. I guess she does not want to share her mate with another female and I can't blame her!

Some other facts I learned are cardinals did not live up north until the mid twentieth century. In the 1800's cardinals were trapped down south during the winter and sent to Europe where they were sought after for caged birds. They were prized for their scarlet red plumage and distinctive song.This ended when the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was signed in 1881.

Cardinals sing all year long and the male and female call back and forth to each other. Females sing longer and more complex songs than males giving them directions and when to bring food. Sounds like the female wears the pants in this relationship. Want to hear their song? Click here. So there you have it, a mini lesson on cardinals.