Thursday, October 30, 2008

They ain't related but they do be brothers.

What do you think of when you hear the word Queen?
Perhaps the Queen Elizabeth of England?

My first thought is Freddie Mercury. Although he lived in England and Queen was/is an English band, Mercury was born in exotic sounding Zanzibar.Queen is one of my favorite bands and I listen to their Greatest Hits CD in the car all the time. For more than a few months my CD was MIA and I finally found it in Cameron's CD collection. I took it back! Mercury had a very distinct and recognizable voice that could span several octaves. There are some vocalists that are so entrenched in a band that they can't be replaced. Freddie was one of those. I hear that Queen is releasing a new album (oops, I'm showing my age) entitled The Cosmos Rocks. To me that really isn't Queen. Freddie Mercury was that band and I've never bothered to listen to the songs without him.

I started thinking about bands that were never the same after the lead singer left or died. Some groups can change their lead vocalist and be fine but others it just doesn't work for me and I don't listen any longer. In my opinion that happened to these groups.

The Doobie Brothers; I liked them when Tom Johnson was the lead but when he stepped down due to health reasons and was replaced by Michael McDonald in 1976 I never listened again. I don't like McDonald's voice and to me they just aren't the Doobie Brothers any longer. I switch the radio station if they come on the song is post Johnson.

The Doors; you can't replace Jim Morrison and they didn't really try to after his death in July 1971 at age 27. (coincidentally the same age as Jimi Hendrex, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain) Two years after his death the band disbanded. The surviving members must have known that The Doors were nothing without Morrison. I'll say this, Jim Morrison was one strange dude.

Some bands with larger than life lead singers can go with a new guy and it works out okay.

AC/DC; They had a good run with Bon Scott with albums I loved, Highway to Hell, Back in Black and For Those of You About to Rock We Salute You until Scott died of alcohol poisoning in February 1980. Brian Johnson took over and I still like them.

Van Halen; David Lee Roth did pretty well for them considering he failed at his first audition for V.H. DLR was their front man from 1972-85. He was replaced with Sammy Hagar (I Can't Drive 55) and he stuck around through 1996. Roth has since rejoined Van Halen but I don't listen to anything new.
I'm stuck in the 60's, 70's and early 80's musically. Give me Reo Speedwagon, Styx, Def Leopard, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Boston and more, I'm happy.
PS. Is there anyone who likes the Burger King commercials with the two folk/Renaissance type singers? I loathe them. The darker haired one with the glasses and weird nose just creeps me out. I never eat there and those two dopes will never change my mind.
One final note; thanks to all who commented and emailed me regarding my post about Ginny.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Today was an anniversary of sorts for me. I can't really call it an anniversary because those are happy occasions to celebrate. Today was one year since my dear friend and colleague Ginny passed away. Her husband Doug brought in a dozen red roses to place in the faculty lounge as well as a large basket of Snickers, her favorite candy bar.
Ginny loved life and embraced it fully as only one can who can suffered their share of life threatening illnesses. She battled cancer four times in the last 25 years of her life. The last time she lost the fight.
I posted about her several times before but want to repeat myself. Ginny was one of the kindest people I know. She knew how to bring out the best in anyone. She loved her family, her friends, her students and any living thing. One year in June at the end of school I threw a half dead plant away rather than take it home for the summer. She picked it out saying it was still alive. A few months later in September when I arrived for the first day of school, there on my desk was the plant, rejuvenated and healthy.
Ginny was a music teacher before changing to first grade. She decided that she needed to reach more children as a classroom teacher. Her second year of teaching first grade she got my oldest son as a student. I was her room parent and became her friend. Four years later she had my youngest son as a pupil. Again I was her room parent. She recognized that being in the classroom with students was what I was cut out for. She saw the difference I could make and how happy it made me. I left my corporate job and nine years ago I started the job I love.
I think of Ginny almost everyday. I hope she knows just how many people she touched in her lifetime. I made sure I told her before she left us. Ginny wouldn't want to see any of her family and friends upset on this day but smile as we remember her.
I'm trying Gin.
When you are sorrowful
look again in your heart
and you shall see that
in truth you are weeping for
that which has been your delight
Kahlil Gibran

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Missing my Boys

Every year from birth til they left home we would take the boys to Power's Farm Market to go inside the teepees to see the carved pumpkins and then to the pumpkin area to pick one out. Now hubby and I do that alone. It's fun to see the happy faces of the kids, cop a feel in the dark teepee and get a donut inside. This year when we went it was a beautiful fall day. But something was off for me. I just had an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach, I was envious of the families with little ones. It hurt to watch them. I was having a bad case of missing my sons.
Fast forward to this past weekend, at the end of our street is a firehouse and we were driving by it. When I saw it I got hit with the biggest wave of sadness. I started to cry thinking how when Kevin and Cameron were little we would take them there every year for the fire department open house. They'd go in the trucks and talk with the firemen and have so much fun. It hit me like a ton of bricks that they're grown up now and that part of being a mother is gone. I've gone from a participant to a spectator in their lives.
Maybe I was just hormonal. Anyway...
Pumpkins galore. Tall ones, round ones, smooth ones, bumpy ones. Take your pick.
It's dark inside the teepees and they have many carved pumpkins lit up. This year they didn't seem to be carved as good as in the past. Maybe it was me.
Several years ago some asshole burned them down just before the season started.
Pumpkin guts. Cameron happened to come home for a few days and he and his friends went to Power's and got some pumpkins to carve. Funny thing, I'm not very into Halloween. I never really was. I absolutely hate spending any money on costumes or decorations. It seems like more and more people go all out decorating their yards now. It's not for me. I never do anything except put a pumpkin out. I do enjoy answering the door and seeing the kids in their costumes. Our house is the last house on the street and next to us is some woods. We get few trick or treaters, average about 12 and most of them are past and present students of mine. This year for the first time ever I put up some Halloween decorations. I saw these in the store and had to have them even though they cost 20 bucks.

Aren't these the coolest?? These are the upstairs windows. You put these inside against the widow and when you turn on the light in the room the eyes glow. I love them!!!! They also had monster eyes, cats, spiders but I loved the cat eyes. Perhaps this the first step in decorating my whole yard.

Or maybe not.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Did you ever notice that no one looks happy in an airport? I don't do a lot of flying but during my last several sojourns through the airport it seemed like everyone there and I mean fellow travellers and employees alike were miserable.

Travellers are petulant because airlines have cut back flights and services. Planes never seem to be on time (Jet Blue). Employees are cantankerous because they're tired of dealing with cranky passengers. They didn't make the rules but they have to enforce them.

Once upon a time airports were a friendly place. People were happy to be there. I liked going to the airport and enjoyed seeing the reunions between loved ones and friends as well as the excitement of going on a plane. At our airport you could get into the terminal and go right down to the gate to meet and greet your traveller. Then things gradually changed. You could no longer wander down the terminal but you could wait in the concourse.

Today don't even bother going into the airport, just drop the traveller off at the door. There's no where for you to go. Get your kisses at the curb. But don't linger because the Sheriff will tell you to move on, no loitering. Better make sure your cell phone is charged when returning home because your ride is waiting in the cell phone lot. Give them a jingle, let them know you've arrived (anywhere from 30 minutes to hours late Jet Blue) so they can drive up and fetch you. Don't dilly-dally saying hello because that pesky Sheriff will return and tell you to shove off.

Then there is the TSA and the people that work for it. This was the experience I had with them.
All in all, airports are no longer a fun place. Thank God I don't travel for my job.

Young people today really don't know anything other than all of these rules and regulations. For them it's just the way it is. For those of us who remember how it was in more innocent times it can be frustrating.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend Update

How was your weekend? Mine was good. Sunday hubby and I took a drive down to Letchworth State Park. It's referred to as the Grand Canyon of the East and was formed by the Genesee River. Now I've never been to the Grand Canyon but I'm sure it's much more impressive.

A turkey vulture soaring on the thermal air currents. While they're quite graceful they are butt ugly. Unless you're another turkey vulture.

One of three major waterfalls in the park uniquely named the Upper Falls.
Oh, it's me!

I think we were about a week too late for peak leaf peeping. While there were beautiful color left many trees were naked.
The river gorge and Genesee River

Playing in the leaves. Some boys never grow up.

While on the way to the park we came across a deer that had been hit by a car. We have so many white tailed deer up here it's not unusual to see a few along the side of the road. It took me a few seconds to figure out why this particular one looked different. Then I realized why. It had no head. I don't mean it was smushed or ripped off during it's dance with a car. I mean the someone had cleanly cut the poor thing's head off. Cut. It. Off. My question is this? Who happens to have something in their car that can cleanly cut off the head of a large animal. Obviously it was a buck and must have had a nice rack. Will this person now claim that he (I say he because I can't imagine a woman doing this), tracked this animal and after much skill and marksman ship killed it and had its head stuffed so he can hang it in his rumpus room? Ugh.
The cheapest gas in the area is about 3 miles from my house. Woo Hoo! 3.10 per gallon.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Click on the link for some fun.

Friday, October 17, 2008

30 Rock

One of the things we did while in New York City was go to what they call Top of the Rock. It's actually the observation deck at 30 Rockefeller Center and offers you an eagle eye view of Manhattan from 70 stories up. We tried to get up there at sunset but didn't make it. It was just as beautiful a few hours later with the city laid out at your feet. It was like a carpet of sparkling jewels.
I'm directionally challenged so I can't tell you what direction I was facing but the pointed rooftop is the art deco Chrysler Building.
Kevin talked me into going up to the higher deck where there is no plexiglass in front of you. I guess they figure if someone is going to jump they'll just land a few floors below to the lower deck. While on the lower deck the glass goes right to the floor so it was somewhat freaky looking down. On the other side of the glass is a 3 foot ledge all around it.

A view of the most famous building in the city; the Empire State Building. Most of the time it's lit up with white light but for holidays, events or tributes it can be different colors. We were there the weekend of Paul Newman's death. The lights on Broadway were dimmed for one minute on Friday at 8 pm and the Empire State Building was lit in blue for his very blue eyes.
The next day we went on the NBC studio tour at 30 Rock. We went into Conan O'Brian's studio (it's surprisingly small), the MSNBC studio, NBC Nightly News where Brian Williams reports from and saw the Saturday Night Live studio. The stage hands were finishing up the sets for that evening and the band was practicing. Strangely enough the funniest show on TV; 30 Rock with Tina Fey isn't filmed at 30 Rock but in a studio in Long Island City in Queens near my son's place.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Nothing much new in my neck of the woods. We went on a field trip to the firehouse this week with our kindergartners. The goal was to teach them about community helpers, fire safety, what to do in a fire and not to play with fire.
A firefighter got dressed in his gear in front of the students so they could see what he looked like before and after. We also wanted them to hear him. A firefighter fully decked out can be somewhat scary with the mask covering his face. We had him speak to the children so they could hear his muffled voice and his breathing with the mask and air tank. Basically teach them not to be afraid, to go to the firefighter if in a fire, not to hide under the bed or closet because he/she looks and sounds frightening. One Star Wars fan said he sounded like a good Darth Vader. The firefighter got down on his hands and knees and let them all touch him and his equipment. He was a good sport. The fire department also has a trailer than can simulate a smokey room. The room has two doors in it and somehow it fills with fake smoke. The students are taught to get on their hands and knees, crawl to the door and feel it before opening. The door heats up and is warm when they touch it so they go out the other door.
After checking out the fire vehicles in the station they moved the hook and ladder truck out and yours truly went up in the bucket.
We went up about 100 feet.
And had a bird's eye view of the surrounding area. While it was fun there is no way I'd want to be a firefighter. Thank God someone wants to be one.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Rise and Fall of Summer

Autumn is not my favorite time of year. Many people love it but I really hate the dreary, rainy, damp days that seem to proliferate the season. Of course there are the warm sunny days of Indian Summer and then I understand why people love fall. The past few days have been like that. Brilliant sunshine, deep blue skies and cool temps for sleeping at night.
Another thing I don't like are naked trees. While the falls colors are beautiful I know that in a few weeks they will be gone and I'll be left looking at bare branches. To me I equate fall to the death of summer and spring its rebirth.

Ever wonder what happens when leaves change color? From the time the bud bursts open and becomes a leaf it takes carbon dioxide from the air and water in through their roots, add some sunshine to the mix and the tree produces its own food called glucose (sugar). The process is called photosynthesis and is helped along by a chemical called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll also makes the leaves green.
All summer long the leaves have the ingredients of fall colors. Carotenoids make yellow and orange leaves. Anthocyanins make red, purple and brown leaves. In the fall the tree slows down and eventually stops photosynthesis, chlorophyll stops being produced, hence no more green leaves. This allows the hidden colors to come out show off.
In fall the sky seems to be bluer than summer. I'm guessing because the high temperatures of summer are gone taking the haze and humidity with them.
This is the last climates from my garden. I picked it and was going to float it in a crystal bowl of water.
My mistake was letting Cody sniff it first.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

New York City Part Two

While in New York City we were down in the financial district and I was thinking about all of the people caught up in the mess this country is in. How can the people who played a big role in it sleep at night? Now I realize that not everyone who works on Wall St. is a crook, they just do what they're told but when you hear about companies like AIG whose employees went on a $400,000. spa trip after they got the news they were going to be bailed out, well it just boggles my mind.

Looking down Wall St.
We came across this store while down there.
I guess even millionaires like a good deal. Maybe some will be wearing the Jacklyn Smith label from K Mart soon...
And trading in their BMW, Lexus or Mercedes for this mode of transportation.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

New York City Part One

My weekend in NYC was great. No drama, no arguing, no one getting in a huff. There was some pouting going on with my 13 year old niece but hey, she's 13. We left Friday morning and after walking through the metal detector at the airport I set it off. They had me walk through again. Set it off again. The officer asked if I had any metal on me, I said no. He then asked me to step aside and into the searching area. I then remembered ahhh, my knee brace. It's become part of me and I forgot all about it. I told him that was what was setting it off, I would pull up my pant leg and show him. "Too late he said. Once we pull you out of line we have to go through the entire process." So there I waited for a female officer. I wondered what are they going to do that they need a female officer and where were they going to do it because I was in a glassed in room. She finally came and proceeded to wand me. Then I had to sit down while she checked my feet, swabbed my socks and hands for explosives and had me show her the brace. In the mean time I told her that my purse was out at the end of the conveyor belt waiting to be picked up. I told her I wanted my purse, didn't want it unattended. Her reply, "you can see it from here, it's fine." "NO it's not. I would like it in here, anyone walking through after me can pick it up. It has all my money in it." She did eventually bring in the whole tray of my stuff. There was only one shoe there. She looks at me in all seriousness and asked me if I only had one shoe. WTF? I had several responses go through my mind but didn't want to get searched anywhere else so I said, no, I wore two shoes this morning. Finally I got the all clear and could join my group who had been waiting like 20 minutes now.
We met Kevin's girlfriend on Saturday night. She's very personable and beautiful. He's very happy. She passed the test and we all liked her.

The weather was okay. Cloudy and cool with some rain off and on. Saturday afternoon was gorgeous with blue sky and the temp was just right.
This is in Rockefeller Center, 30 Rock and the fountain with Prometheus would be behind me.

Our hotel was located right next door to Grand Central Terminal and was extremely convenient. On the left is the front of the terminal and on the right, the Chrysler Building.
This is the side of Grand Central and the view from my hotel room window.
We took the Greyline bus tour around town and you come very close to the traffic lights.
I would like to live in New York City for about 6 months, experience everything the city has to offer and oh, I'd like to live here. This building looks out over Central Park. Hey, a girl can dream.

Friday, October 03, 2008

I'm not home

Jetblue is winging me away for the weekend to...

New York City
For my 50th birthday my mother, my two sisters and 13 year old niece are going down and it just so happens that my number one baby lives in NYC. While he works in Manhattan, he lives in Astoria, Queens. We won't be staying with him at his apartment but staying in Manhattan at the Grand Hyatt right near Grand Central Terminal. He's going to meet us there and stay the weekend at the hotel.
I'm so happy!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Something to think about

By Charlie Reese a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them. Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?
You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does.
You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.
You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.
You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.
I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.
Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.
What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.
The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes.. Who is the speaker of the House? He/She is the leader of the majority party. He/She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to by a 60/40 majority.
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.
If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red.
If the Army & Marines are in IRAQ, it's because they want them in IRAQ.
There are no insoluble government problems.
Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like 'the economy,' 'inflation,' or 'politics' that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.
Those 545 people and they alone, are responsible.
They and they alone, have the power.
They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.
We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!What you do with this article now that you have read it is up to you, though you appear to have several choices.1. You can agree to vote against everyone that is currently in office, knowing that the process will take several years. 2. You can decide to run for office yourself and agree to do the job properly. 3. Lastly, you can sit back and do nothing, or re-elect the current bunch.