Sunday, August 31, 2008

Happy Labor Day

I hope everyone is having or had a relaxing weekend. I know some of you had to work like Slick. Sorry about that. That just means you have a really important job we really need you. Hubby and I are just hanging with no plans.

My nest is empty but I'm feeling better about the kids being gone. Both are happy and doing well in their new digs. Kevin is enjoying all that New York City has to offer except maybe the 50 minute commute to the hospital up near the George Washington Bridge. His college roommates live in NYC as well as a girl from his nursing school who has a job at the same hospital. It makes me feel better knowing that he already knows people in town. Cameron is loving college life and all that goes with it. He's making new friends and liking his classes.

I've come to the conclusion that while I miss the boys what I think is really the issue is that I'm mourning my life as it was. I loved being a mother of young children and I no longer have that. I think I'm having an identity crisis. Now that they're grown and out of the house I have to change my mothering technique. Of course I'll always be their mom but it will be different and I'm becoming okay with that. I have noticed that I'm mothering other things now. We have a pond right near us and in the late spring the tadpoles matured, turned into American toads and came out of the water. Over several visits I captured a bunch and put them in our backyard. I wanted them to eat mosquitoes. I brought over about 60. They're growing up now and before hubby cuts the grass I go out and capture as many as I can so they don't get mowed over. The most I've had at one time was 26. Everyday I go out and look around for some just to check on them. I also found a few baby garter snakes. My little hoppers.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What to blog about?

A blog that I read regularly (who I won't call out) was complaining about bloggers who lament about their kids going to school whether it be kindergarten, middle school, high school or college. I don't take it personally. She stated that there are much bigger things going on in the lives of others and the world. Of course that is so very true. My son's aren't serving in the military, no one is dying of cancer and we aren't foreclosing on our home. But here comes the but...this summer I turned 50 years old, am going through menopause, my oldest has moved to NYC and youngest started college leaving me and hubby empty nesters. This IS a big deal in MY life. Do I feel bad about other's misfortunes? Of course I do but everyone has their own drama in their own lives and if others can't relate to it, oh well. Sorry, that's not going to stop me from talking about it. If it bores you click off and come back another day. But not today because I'm going to talk about Cameron and college. That being said...
This tangled spaghetti mess is in his dorm room. You can see his pillow on the right. Is this safe? There is an extension cord plugged into a power strip which is plugged into a thing in the outlet that give you six outlets instead of two. I can't believe how two boys have so many electronic devices that need to be plugged in. Cam has his alarm clock, fan, 2 lamps, small TV, phone charger, computer, Sonicare toothbrush. His roommate has the same plus more. He brought a desk top computer, laptop, stereo receiver and more that I don't know about. At my house one year we had so many Christmas lights on the tree every time I vacuumed we'd blow a fuse.
Here's Cam striking a thinking pose at this desk. The Cam poster on the wall is one that he colored in second grade. I save lots of shit like that. Anyway I work with his former second grade teacher and will print this pic out for her.
Along with getting the kids off to their respective new living spaces hubby found time to redo our family room. We hadn't done anything to it since we moved in 24 years ago. It had dark panelling. We once tried to take it off but the previous owners glued it on as well as nailed it. I finally talked hubby into painting it. He fought me on it for years. Through the door way is the foyer. That wall is painted Firedance and goes up into the living room.
In this room we have an 8 foot sliding door that looks out into the backyard. I decided to do the room in a rather summery tone. The furniture is actually indoor/outdoor wicker and metal. Three walls are painted Biscuit and the wall in the pic is painted Tradewind, a blue color and the stripes are Rainwash which is a green tone. I wanted the wall striped but not noticeably so. You have to look twice to see it. How do you like it Kevin? You move away and we finally redecorate!
So there you have it, not an exciting post but most of mine never are. Don't have the humor or sarcasm or drama, just my life.
Please excuse the blurry photos. Kevin borrowed our camera to take to NYC when he was apartment hunting so he could take pictures for the roommate who didn't go. When I asked to see those pictures he told me that he had forgotten to take the camera so no pics. Well that camera is no where in our house. It's gone missing. Did someone take it out of his car? Did someone come into our home and take just that? I have no clue. These pictures were taken with Cameron's camera. I cannot take a non blurry photo to save my life. Gotta get a new one I guess, after all it's only money. (That was sarcasm!)

Monday, August 25, 2008

In the garden

You know me, can't go long without pictures from the garden.

Above is crocosmia and this variety is called Lucifer. It's a brilliant scarlet color, maybe that's what gives it the name.
Above is a clematis taken from the underside of the flower.
Clematis is a climbing vine and this variety is Fireworks. What I like about it is that after the petals die off it leaves an interesting seed head.
One of my favorites; hydrangea. I have two varieties of these. Mop head which are the big rounded blooms and lace cap which is the flower above. What I like about hydrangeas is that they're one of the few blue flowers. Now this one obviously isn't blue more pinky/purple but my two mop heads are called Nikko Blue. You can actually change the color of the flower by adding aluminum sulfate to the soil. This will make pink flowers turn blue and blue flowers a deeper blue. Hydrangeas are sentimental to me. I've spend many vacations on Cape Cod and they seems to grow like crazy there. Every yard has them. One year I made hubby to go a nursery while on the Cape to purchase one. It was a small one which was a good thing as we had no extra room in the van for it. I had to hold it on my lap the 9 hours home. We call him little Nikko but he's big now. They also dry very well so every summer I hang some in the garage to dry and have them inside during the winter months.

We planted two tomato plants this year. One's a cherry tomato and the other is a beef steak tomato. The cherry tomatoes have been ripening slowly but now are really starting to turn. We have more than we can eat. The beef steaks are still green. When the cherry tomatoes were first maturing we'd get one or two a day and we noticed that when we would go out to pick them the next day, one of them or both would be gone! What animal eats tomatoes we wondered. A few days later hubby found some green ones out in the lawn. hhhmmmm. Then we caught the thief in action one evening. It was our dog Cody! He'd very gently pull them off the vine, gingerly carry them in his mouth out into the lawn and proceed to eat them. I thought it was hilarious, not hubby. Now we have so many Cody could eat them anytime but he no longer does. He got in trouble and learned his lesson. Can tomatoes make a dog sick?

Who me? Are you talking about me? Do I look like a tomato eater?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Another letter to my son.

First order of business is an apology to Cameron.

Cam, I'm sorry that I said your dorm room is a dump. I'm sorry that I said prison cells are probably better than than your room. I'm sorry I cried when I saw where you'd be living the next 9 months. I'm sorry I said I wouldn't take any pictures of it. I didn't mean to burst your bubble and rain on your parade. It's your first time living away from home and I should have joined in your excitement. In all honesty the room did look better after your things were set up. It's just that I wouldn't want to live there and it's hard to leave my baby living there. It will be fine!! I'll be fine too.




A boy and his dog. Cody will miss you Cam. Tonight when we got home I was verklempt again and Cody sensed that. He kept nudging me with his nose to get my attention. Thank goodness he isn't going to doggie college!

The bedroom is very small so Cam and his roommate Mike decided to bunk the beds. Cameron is on the bottom. He sort of wanted the top but we had made his bed before this decision was decided and Cam's bed was the one that had to be on the bottom. I said the bottom was better. Easier to get out of for those late night bathroom trips or early morning stumblings in plus it's easier to make. I think he may make his bed or maybe he won't. Aunt Carol, the sheets look great!

I didn't even look at the bathroom. I was afraid if I did and it was bad I'd drag Cam out of there and bring him home. Hubby went in it and said that it was pretty good. Cam happens to be in the oldest dorm building on campus. It seems like there have been no upgrades or replacements of furnishings since it opened 50 years ago. I found it very depressing. Cam's college is a SUNY school (state university of New York) and Kevin also went to a state school. The difference being Kevin went to Binghamton University which is the crown jewel, cream of the crop, Ivy League of state schools in the north and I was used to that. Cam's school is much smaller and I don't think gets the funds that the bigger schools get. I shouldn't compain too much about his room. He picked this school because he got the Presidential Scholarship which included a free room and it's a good school for his major (English and education, he wants to be a teacher). Well what a room it is and if I was paying for this room in his tuition I would be pissed.

Before Cam was born and I was looking at day cares for him I felt if I couldn't spend 9-10 hours a day there then my child wouldn't either. I felt the same way about his dorm room but am getting over that as I'm getting used to him not being here. As a matter of fact I slept topless last night which I love to do but didn't because being a mom you never know when you have to jump out of bed for someone or who will be coming in your room. I also went downstairs in my bra and panties to get clothes out of the dryer. Cam, TMI?

Saturday, August 23, 2008


How sad for the baby humpbacked whale that is trying to nurse from a yacht in Australia. The poor thing was either separated from or rejected by it's mother and needs mother's milk to survive. I've gone whale watching many times out at the Stellwagon Bank off of Cape Cod and have seen these animals up close and personal. They are magnificent.

I wish there was something that mankind can do for it but the calf nurses from their mother for almost a year.
The effort to save it would be monumental and experts don't think it can be done. It will die soon without nourishment. Nature can be so cruel sometimes.
On a completely different random note I read that the world's tallest man Bao Xishun at 7' 9" and his wife Xia 5' 6" are expecting a baby. Here they are on their wedding day. Am I the only one who ponders what their intimate moments are like and is he proportionate? I can't be can I?

This summer I've been watching my niece 13 and nephew 10 two days a week while my sister works. I took care of both of them when they were infants - age 3. William and I are hooked on Ninja Warrior on the G4 network. We love the jumping spider obstacle.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A letter to my son

Dear Cameron,

A mother’s love is as individual as her children. While it may seem that sometimes she loves one child more than the other that is so very far from the truth. Mothers love their children for different reasons at different times. If a child is truly lucky they are loved unconditionally. Of course the child is not perfect but neither is the mother. All mothers at one time or another wish that they could change something they did or didn’t do or something they said or didn’t say. If only one could turn back the clock and undo a wrong or relive a moment. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way but we can look at the mistakes we make and learn from them. This is a life lesson that applies to any mistake or error you make in life.

I became a mother almost 22 years ago. When Kevin came along my life was forever changed. You look at the world differently when you have a child. You see dangers where you didn’t before and you’re on the lookout for anything that may affect your child. You realize that you are no longer responsible for just yourself but for a baby that is dependant on you for everything.
Cam and papa age 2
I reveled in all of those “firsts”. Kevin’s first smile, rolling over for the first time, the first tooth, sitting up by himself, sleeping through the night, first steps and first words. I couldn’t wait to hear the word mommy, the sweetest word in the English language.

Kev and Cam horsing around before bedtime ages 3 & 6

We decided that it was time for another addition to our family and while I was pregnant I worried and wondered how could I possibly love another child as much as I love Kevin. How could I find room in my heart for more love? I was very concerned about that. Grandma said not to worry because I would. She must known what she’s talking about since she had three kids.

Kissing cousins Cam and Meg ages 8 and 3
Cameron, I worried myself for naught. My heart actually hurt with love for you. You were a beautiful baby albeit a cranky one. As I’ve told you before and joked about it, I didn’t have an easy pregnancy with you. I was sick most of the time and every test I had done came back slightly above or below normal. I was worried sick. At one time I had a test done 3 times because it looked like you could have spine bifida. Dad and I were asked if we wanted an amniocentesis to see if there were any other defects. We said no. We wouldn’t do anything about it if there was. You were our baby and we loved you perfect or not.

Cam and his other cousin Sarah ages 9 and 7
On the day you were born things were very rocky and in the end the two of us almost died. I won’t bore you with all the gory details but suffice it to say, it was touch and go for both of us. While everything Kevin did was indeed special because he was first, everything you did was just as special or maybe even more so for the simple reason that you survived and I got to experience them with you.

Growing up. He's and Eagle Scout 2006

You’ve grown up into a fine young man that I am so proud of. I know that you will pursue life with your eyes and arms wide open, you’ll do your best to make something of yourself and bring out the best in others. Always remember there is someone out there who doesn’t have it as good as you do or is maybe having a bad day and you have the power to make them feel better whether it be with a smile or a kind word.

His last day at Ben & Jerry's. He was employed there for 2 years and worked his way up from scooper to shift leader to manager. I'm not an ice cream eater, when I would visit him I'd just have a few samples but I went all out on his last day.That's a phish food sundae with marshmallow topping and whipped cream.

My job as a mother is just about finished. I can sit back and enjoy the rewards of my hard work. As a parent our goal is to prepare our children to be responsible, self sufficient adults and I know I’ve succeeded. It’s hard to let you go and I’m not ready for it but I know that you are. It’s time to leave the nest little one. I love you.

Thanks for endulging me on this bittersweet day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hell No!

The body of deceased Angel Pantoja Medina stands erect and leans against a wall by his coffin during his own wake in his mother's home in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Monday, Aug. 18, 2008. The last wish of Medina, 24, who was found dead on Aug. 15, 2008 underneath a bridge in the capital, was to be standing at his own wake, and was embalmed for the occasion.(AP
Please dear family, do not do this to me when I go to the great beyond. This is very creepy. One more reason I want to be creamated and have a nice picture of my bad self for y'all to gaze at.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A few short days.

So I'm back from my little get away up at the St. Lawrence River. The area I have visited since I was a wee one is the 1000 Islands region and yes there truly are over one thousand islands in this part of the river. The teacher part of my personality is going to come out now. There are five great lakes on the border of Canada and the United States. They are Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario which is about 15 minutes away from house. These bodies of water are the largest fresh water chain of lakes in the world. They're connected by a series of canals, locks and five rivers. The St. Lawrence River connects the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Ontario.
One thing that I really enjoy is watching the shipping traffic on the river. Ships enter the St. Lawrence Seaway and make their way west to ports all along the Great Lakes and then return. While you don't know what the cargo is on the ship you can tell if the ship is loaded or not. When loaded she sits low in the water, unloaded you can see the water line. I'm now going to astound (read bore) you with vacation photos but suck it up. I'm suffering from anxiety this week. My youngest leaves for college on Thursday as a freshman.

For years our family camped in a pop up camper at Keewaydin State Park on the river but a year ago we sold it. The kids were working and had a social life that made it hard to go anymore. Last summer and last week hubby and I have gone up and stayed in a motel. It's not the same but we still go over to the park and hang out there for most of the day. This year we stayed at the Channelsyde Motel and they're not kidding, it's right on the shipping channel. I was in my glory.
The view from the yard of the motel.
Another ship.

I also like to fish at the Islands as anyone who's familiar with them calls them. Hubby likes to catch bigger fish like bass and pike which you can from the dock. Good thing since we're land locked without a boat. Thank goodness he caught one! Me? I don't care what I catch. Little ones are fine with me, as long as I'm catching something.
I caught lots of sunfish, blue gills and 2 bullheads during the day no less! The fish were so hungry you could see them follow your bait right to the top. We're strictly catch and release
A view from "our spot" in Keewaydin.
Our new spot at the Channelsyde.

These next shots were taken in a small town called Clayton about 10 miles down river from where we stayed. Here comes a big one heading east.

Oh no, here comes one heading west!
Will they play chicken?

Nope, all is safe and they pass like two ships in the night, well okay, day.

The ships have to have a river boat pilot on board and they guide the ships through the river. Pilots are at least 30 years old and have sailed ships around the world. To become a pilot takes 12 years. You have to learn every foot of the river and landmarks so you don't hit any islands, shoals and stay in the channel. Then finally you are an apprentice for 2 years. Eventually you will be on your own, piloting these big ships through the river. Pilots can be United States or Canadian citizens. Okay, I'm sure your eyes are glazed over if you're still reading. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


This is the most diabolical plant on the face of the Earth.
It serves no purpose other than to make people miserable.
It was put here by the devil himself.
It is the bane of my existence.
What the hell is IT you ask?

R a g w e e d !

That evil ragweed pollen spore on the bottom left corner looks like it's mocking me. I don't care what the pollen counting people say, the ragweed is starting to blossom. My nose knows. I'm starting to get snuffly, sneezing, and a scratchy ears nose and throat. I expect a full coming out party to get underway within the week.

I wish I owned stock in the company that produces this product.

In the mean time I've...

up at the 1000 Islands in the St. Lawrence River.
Where there is tons of ragweed.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Trash or Treasure

I wish that my town taxes included garbage pick up. There are at least 5 different garbage companies that have customers in my neighborhood. This means that inevitably there is garbage out at the curb any day of the week. This includes the people that put their garbage out on Sunday for Wednesday pick up. I understand the right to choose your provider but I wish that they would get together and all come on the same day.My day is Tuesday and we put it out late Monday evening or Tuesday morning. When I was a kid the garbageman actually came into your garage to get your cans, over time you had to put them outside and today they must be at the street. I would just like to drive down my road one day and not see one's trash at the curb. Is that asking too much??

Sunday, August 10, 2008

My house stinks

Hubby is in the middle of painting our family room. First he has to prime it with oil based primer and the smell, ugh. Our poor dog. When we moved in it was paneled and we didn't care for it. Fast forward 24 years and finally we're doing something with it. The builders not only nailed it on but glued it also. It's not coming off. The Olympics are on in the background when suddenly all painting comes to a halt. Why? Because women's beach volleyball has come on.
Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor, the reigning queen's of the circuit. Does he care about their accomplishments? Hell no, he likes the Olympic "uniform".
Oh boy. I'd have to quit the team if I had to wear these itty bitty suits. But then again if I had a body like that maybe I'd wear it to the grocery store.

My question is this; while the women wear such skimpy little outfits, why do the men cover up? Shouldn't they be playing shirtless in a teeny weenie Speedo? Well maybe I'd like the shirtless part but skip the Speedo.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I Love New York?

I've lost the distinction of living in the highest taxed state in the nation. Nah, our taxes didn't go down, they're still 20% higher than the national average. It's just that New Jersey's went up. Damn them New Jersey (what do you call someone from N.J.? Ers, ites, ians?) They stole my claim to fame. Any way here are your top three taxed states in the union based on what residents are taxed on every dollar earned according to the Tax Foundation, a non profit think tank in Washington.
New Jersey 11.8%
New York 11.6%
Conn. 11.1%
The national average is 9.7%
Want to live in the least taxed state? Pack your long johns and move to Alaska where they pay 6.4 cents on every dollar earned. I wonder if the
Time Bandit has any job openings.

And while we're now sort of on the subject of crab fishing; did I ever tell you how much I love that show Deadliest Catch. Sure, it's the same thing over and over again, dump the pot, pull up the pot, empty out the crab. What makes the show are the fisherman. You get a glimpse into their lives and watch it long enough it's like their some of your friends. I miss them when the season is over. My favorite boat is the Time Bandit. They seem to have the most fun although they do have some fun on the Northwestern, Sig is a more serious captain than Jonathan or Andy on the T.B. Keith on the Wizard, now that guy is all business, no fun on that boat. It you've never seen the show catch it on the reruns. It's addicting.

Jonathan and Andy Hillstand

Friday, August 08, 2008

Rain, rain, go away

It's a very dreary day here in my neighborhood. We had some thunderstorms this morning which I enjoy but they've moved on and it's just grey skies, drizzle plus it's freaking cold and damp. I actually had to put on socks. A good day to lay around in bed and I did just that, not getting up until almost 11:00.

While it is indeed drab outside the light does make the colors in my flower garden pop. This is a variety of gerber daisy. I liked it for its spiky petals rather than the rounded edged ones and its vibrant tangerine color.

I swear marigolds must be the easiest and most dependable flower to grow. They can take a lot of abuse; heat, drought, being peed on by the resident dog. I plant a few every year.

The Olympics start today and I do like to watch them but not constantly. I wonder how much NBC pays to get the coverage. I really don't know why any city would want to have the Olympics. The money it costs is astronomical, the security headache, traffic, the whole logistics is a nightmare. I don't understand how China managed to get them. Why were they given to them? I know that politics are not supposed to be part of the Olympics but why reward a country that has so little regard for life. I guess if the Olympic Committee can give them to Russia and Hitler's Germany this shouldn't be so surprising.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Number One has left the nest

It was a roller coaster of a ride this weekend as we moved Kevin to New York City. We left here Friday morning in two vehicles. He's going to see how keeping a car in the city will work out. We borrowed hubby's brother's pick up to cart the kid's things down. Let me say this... Kevin's Honda Civic sips gasoline and he got almost 40 mpg. B-I-L's Ford F150 Triton V8 chugs gasoline. We didn't bother to figure out the mileage, too depressing but guessed between 10-12 mpg and almost 300 bucks in fuel start to finish. Still better than renting a truck. Thank you Tom!!

We got to the city and had to find the real estate office to pick up the key. As you can imagine parking spots are like the elusive giant panda, there aren't many of them and are hard to find.

Eventually we got the key, found the apt. building and another spot and commenced unloading. For someone who didn't have much to take it sure seemed like there was a lot of stuff to move. Thank goodness there was an elevator.

It's in a new building with 5 stories, 10 apartments in all. Five on the front of the building and 5 on the back. Kev's is on the fourth floor. It's nice because there is no one right next to you just above and across the hall. His is on the back side which I hope will be quieter for a day sleeper. Each apartment has a small balcony, enough room for two chairs or 3 people standing. From Kevin's you can see a little bit of Manhattan. The apartment itself is long and narrow with no hallway. The bedrooms and bathroom are right off the main living space. He and his roommate flipped for the bigger bedroom that has an attached bath and Kevin won. The other bedroom is smaller and the bathroom is not attached but it's bigger.
The view from his balcony. Some take beautiful care of their small plots of land, others not so much. There was one lady working outside cutting the grass with a weed eater. You don't need a mower when your yard is the size of a postage stamp.

The entire apartment is tiled and had creamy with a tinge of butter colored walls. The kitchen has dark cabinets with brushed nickle hardware and a gas stove, dishwasher and frig are stainless steel. I wish I had the stove, mine is electric and he's thrilled to have a dishwasher.
His bedroom. His first purchase in NYC was a mattress set. Know what time they were delivered? Ten o'clock Saturday night! It truly is the city that doesn't sleep.
This is looking out his bedroom window and that's the Triborough Bridge. Kevin has the place to himself for one week as his roommate who he's known since 6th grade when he moved here from South Africa (but born in Russia), isn't moving in til this coming weekend. He has a job with the accounting firm KPMG and will work in Manhattan also. The apartment is actually in Astoria, Queens and Kevin's commute will be about 50 minutes to NY Presbyterian Hospital. Add almost another 2 hours on to his 12 hour shift. Good thing he's young.
The living room. See mom and dad, your ugly love seat made it to New York City!
On the balcony. Those buildings off in the background, Manhattan! Don't ask me which part though. Saturday night I watched a lightening storm from his balcony and was gearing myself up for the next morning when we would leave him. The next day dawned bright and sunny . We wanted to get on the road and get the leaving over with. I told myself I wouldn't cry when I left but who the hell was I fooling. The lip started to quiver and it was all over. Now I didn't bawl like a baby, I didn't want to leave like that but yes, the tears were flowing a few times.I will say, don't use Kleenex tissues, they leave little pieces of them all over your face and in your eye lashes.

Kevin walked us to the truck, gave our last hugs and kisses and he turned and walked back to his new place. I stood and watched him, he never looked back. Once in the truck both of us broke down but only for a minute when Mike looked up and said, "is that a fucking ticket on the windshield?" Yes indeed it was! A ticket for parking a commercial vehicle on a residential street. Yes, the truck is registered commercial but it's not for a business, has no writing or sign on it but I guess that doesn't matter. Welcome to New York.

It's a seven hour trip and I think I slept for six of them going home. I was emotionally wiped out.