Friday, January 30, 2009


I've blogged before about Johnny and how difficult he can be. His home life leaves a lot to be desired. Johnny, his mother, little sister and aunt live with grandma and grandpa in a trailer. Up here in these parts there aren't many trailer parks around. I'm not really sure how this one came about and maybe at one time it was nice but not anymore. I see a direct correlation between the trailer park and the type of kids that live there. Many, not all, you can pick out of your class on day one before you see the address. Often times they're dressed in run down clothes, the kind that no matter how many times you wash them they will appear dirty. They look pale and tired. They're starved for attention. They require some sort of support at school whether it be speech, counseling or just extra help. Many of them fall under my radar. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that every kid that lives in a trailer park is like that, we've had some that aren't but they're the minority.
I've decided that socioeconomics play a large part in a child's development whether it be how s/he learns, communicates with their peers, their manners or values. When a child isn't treated with respect they treat others the same way. If a child is yelled at constantly, they yell at peers. If they don't receive any love at home they're clingy at school. They just want someone to care, even if they don't realize it. Their parents have been treated this same way growing up. You know that old saying, "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree". That's all they know hence they parent their children like that. It's a vicious cycle. At times I feel helpless. I just want to bring the child home with me, give them a loving family and show them how it should be. Of course I can't do that and these kids love their parents. I'll give the parents the benefit of the doubt and say they're doing the best they can but most have low paying jobs for what ever reason. Some just don't know how to be a parent. Again, not every trailer park family is like this.
I've seen kids from average and affluent socioeconomic families treat their children like this. And I'm not saying that lower income people are rude and stupid, you can be dirt poor but still treat others well, have manners etc.
The key in all of this is education. The better your education, the better job you can get, the better living conditions you can have but all that isn't necessarily going to change your values if you were never taught any in the first place.
My point is this; I sometimes get so very frustrated with Johnny when he tells me no or I hate you or is so stubborn and won't do anything you ask. I hate when he pushes me to use what I call my mean mother voice. I know that's what he hears constantly at home. I want him to feel that school is a safe place where he's treated with respect and not nagged constantly. I want to give him what every child wants and deserves, a loving, happy environment. I sincerely care about this child and we do like each other. We do have moments, sometimes an hour or more where we laugh and giggle, work hard and he feels pride in his hard work. Where I know he wants to be with me and feels a connection. Today was not one of those days. We ended up our day in the principals office for throwing pencils across the room. After school my principal sought me out, she knew I was disappointed. I basically told her this last paragraph and that I know he gets ragged on at home so much and I feel like I do it all day in school also. You know when your kids were little or are little and you go in their room at night when they're asleep and you look at them and think I didn't say one positive or kind thing today. It was just "stop that, don't do that, please do that, NO". That's how I feel today with Johnny.
I'll look at my Tinkerbell art and smile even though many of our battles are over Tinkerbell herself. I hope he has a decent weekend.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Have I mentioned lately that winter sucks? If not, it does. Today's storm is making a mess of things. The school buses were over 30 minutes late this morning. Why did we have school? Because the high school has mid-terms and regents exams. Can't close schools if they got that goin' on. Here's the thing though, the high school is closed for this week except for the students taking these tests. Why not let the rest of us off and just send those students to school?
We have a double driveway and is about 2.5 car lengths long. We're running out of room to put the snow, the piles are getting too high. This is the crap at the end of the driveway that the snowplow deposits. It's heavy snow and the small snow blower that we have doesn't like it so hubby has to shovel.
Speak of the devil, there's the plow now, at least it's on the other side of the road.

This car got stuck in the snow trying to get away from that big blade. The plow driver was shoveling salt over to get some traction then he and hubby gave them a push.

Oh no, here it comes again. Now it's on our side of the road.

Tell me how you really feel.
Where am I while all this is going on?
Inside in the warmth taking pictures!

Monday, January 26, 2009


In the last two weeks or so I've had two complete strangers comment to me that I look tired. Plus two people I know. I'm always leery of that remark, does it really mean you look like crap? The thing is though I am tired. Tired of winter, tired of my job, tired of having to leave the house. There is a dark cloud looming over my head.

This is nothing new. Historically this time of year is bad for me and has been for as long as I can remember for several reasons.

First, it's winter time. Our region is moving into the coldest months of the year, January and February. Not to mention the snow and most of all, lack of sunshine.

Second, my family is not as it was for the last 22 years. I have one son living in New York City and one away at college. He was just home for a long break, we took him back yesterday.

Third, I feel my age. Not only physically but mentally as well. My parents are getting up there in years and I worry about them. My kids are grown. Even the dog is aging. He's not a quick as he once was, he's stiff when he gets up and it's been getting noticeably harder for him to jump up on the bed. I just can't believe that my life is more than half over. It seems like yesterday I was in high school or a young mother.

Fourth, my job. This has been a very difficult year for me. I have some heavy duty behavior and emotional issues in my kindergarten classes. My job being what it is, I'm there for those students but around 2:00 I'm out of gas. I had a success story with one little girl. She has come so far and we have a good relationship but she recently moved to a new school district.

I know this sounds like whining. People are losing their jobs, they may be ill or dealing with much heavier stuff but these are my issues.

So yes, I'm tired. The sparkle has gone out of my eyes I guess. It doesn't take much to get me emotional, music, thoughts even sights. Hubby and I are going to Florida in February and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to want to come back.
I'll get over this, I always do but man, I need some sunshine.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hangin' wid my gnomie

Yes, I'm still in Florida but won't leave you hangin without a post.
Maybe five or six years ago I bought this gnome at Jo-Anne's because he called to me and I thought he was cute. He looks happy and I put him in our fern garden. At first Cody barked at him every time he went outside. He finally realized that the little guy wasn't going anywhere or cut into his squirrel chasing territory. I don't usually go in for garden ketch but love this gnome.

Over the years his face started to show his age and his wardrobe was getting shabby. I gave him a full body make-over and he looked 10 years younger when I was done with him. Stacy and Clinton would approve.

He's lived in various areas of the yard like the fern garden, back by the rocks and in the flower garden. He enjoys wherever I put him, and just keeps smiling.

During the winter we place him on the patio table to measure how the deep the snowfall is.

Unfortunately his reign has come to an end. His basket of apples broke off of his back and he developed numerous cracks all over his body. No amount of plastic surgery and glue could help him. He served me well, never complained where he was placed, if it was too hot or too cold or if the dog peed on him. Now I'm on the hunt for a replacement. I'll have to check out the stores when the springtime stuff comes out. Maybe I'll find one in Florida. Check out the website
Gnome Outlet. Who knew there were so many gnomies out there!

Hhhhmmm, I don't know about this one.

I do like this one and he's almost as cute as my gnomie.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Yes sir, that's my baby...

Even though he's almost 19 years old.

This week he had four impacted wisdom teeth removed.
Here he is about one hour post op.

And about 30 hours later.
He finally goes back to college on Sunday after the world's longest holiday brake. He's been off since Dec 13. It's almost like he was never gone. Now I'll have to get used to the empty nest again. Next weekend his older brother and girlfriend may come up from NYC so it's like a revolving door.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Off he goes, into the wild blue yonder...

A sigh of relief can be heard around the country.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Adios, AuRevoir, Auf Wiedersehn

About 450 days ago I added my George W. Bush countdown clock into the sidebar of my blog. Today there is just one day left on it. Being the president of the United States is a super stressful job, I don't know why anyone would want it. I do respect GWB, he must have some good qualities that got him this far. It couldn't all be riding on his father's coat tails could it? I thought he was excellent post 9/11 but once he got us into not one but two wars things snowballed downhill.
When I think of attributes of a president a most important one is that they should be able to speak sensibly, not make up their own words. He should put the needs of his country's citizens first, not special interests. He shouldn't need a handler so he doesn't come across as a doofus and get caught doing silly things like above.
While this
picture is a hoax it's not beyond the realm of possibility knowing him.
Obama may not be able to work miracles and what ever he does will take time but it has to be better than what we're leaving behind.

Adios, AuRevoir, Auf Wiedersehn

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Look at Former Presidents

Yesterday I did a post about a certain someone who forwards junk to me. So far today she's only forwarded me one thing and it just so happens that it's one that I think is pretty cool. Go figure.

While watching the presidents morph into one another I noticed that about one third of them had facial hair. Abraham Lincoln number 16 started the trend with the whole beard thing and number 18 Ulysses S. Grant, 19 Rutherford B. Hayes and 20 James Garfield followed suit. President Grover Cleveland numbers 22 & 24 as well as Benjamin Harrison 23, Theodore Roosevelt 26 and William Taft 27 had just the mustache. I can't leave out the presidents with funky sideburns; Thomas Jefferson number 3, John Quincy Adams 6 and Zachary Taylor 12 . President number 8 Martin VanBuren and number 21 Chester A. Arthur had some crazy hair goin' on. How could anyone take them seriously looking like they did.
Other things I noticed is that in the early years of our nation there were no good barbers around. We had some scruffy looking presidents sitting for their portraits. Also they didn't smile. Smiles didn't really start showing up until Richard Nixon and his little grin, the subsequent presidents all smiled for their paintings. The strangest looking president; number 14 Franklin Pierce. He went down in history as one the worst presidents due to some of his decisions but maybe his dubious honor will be usurped by the 43rd president.
This United States is a young country having just 44 presidents so far. The first president I remember was JFK. I came home from kindergarten one day in November of 1963 and found my mother crying. I look forward to a new regime.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

This and That

Winter. I'm sick of it. We've had snow on the ground since before Thanksgiving this year. I was in the grocery store the other day and decided to buy a little taste of summer even though it cost me 3.99 for a little tiny container. But oh, they were so yummy. Raspberries always make me think of my grandmother so it was worth the price.

I have several pet peeves. Some bother me more than others at different times. I have one bothering me right now. People that forward stupid things to me. All the time. Things I am not remotely interested in. I don't mind forwards if they're funny to me. Most friends know what makes each other laugh. There is a person who forwards me the stupidest things. She will remain nameless but suffice it to say I'm related to her by marriage and I sleep with her son. Let me tell you why I dislike receiving forwards from she who shall remain a secret.

Despite my age, I am not a senior citizen yet. I'm not her peer. I don't want all these cute little stories and animated clip art about being old. I'm not ready to laugh at memory loss, incontinence, dentures, hearing aids, saggy boobs, impotence, etc. I certainly don't want any sex jokes from her. I don't like the I better get this back warnings although I don't think she puts that in there. That comes from who ever started it.

I used to have a roadrunner email address but when our computer crashed over the summer my computer guy (hubby) couldn't figure out how to get it back. The mail box must be filled with spam by now. All from this person. Since I no longer access it I forgot about all the stuff she would send. She found out that I'm not that email and now sends me junk to my yahoo email. How do I tell someone I love to please stop sending me this crap.

* **

So I changed my blog a little bit. Actually just the background design and colors not the content. I'm not sure if I like the white. The black seemed to make the photos "pop" more but I wanted to brighten it up some. What do you think?

Friday, January 16, 2009

No, these are not actors...
they are real teenagers playing a board game in my kitchen.
No Wii or PS2 that night. How refreshing.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Holy Cow!!!

The luckiest people on Earth.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Save the Sea Kittens!

Save the whaaat? It seems that the people from PETA are at it again. This time they want us to stop eating fish. Their marketing campaign to that end is to coin a new word for fish and you guessed it, they want us to refer to fish as sea kittens. The thinking behind that is if we think of fish as a type of cute cuddly kitten we won't want to eat it.

Ashley Byrne, campaign coordinator says, "PETA thought that by renaming fish sea kittens, compassionate people who would never dream of hurting a dog or cat might extend that sympathy to fish, or sea kittens."

This must be the most ridiculous thing I've heard of in a long time. I get very tired of this organization telling the public what they should and shouldn't do or eat. Don't get me wrong, not everything they do is crazy and does some good. I'm all for not wearing fur, I think dog and cock fighting are awful, taking wild animals out of their habitat for zoos or pets isn't right but they tend to take things to the extreme. One thing that bothers me is their stand on animal testing. Where would we be today if cancer fighting, AIDS, and other drugs were not allowed to be tested on animals? Should we test them on humans then? I often wonder when this topic comes up how they would feel if their loved one could only be saved or kept alive by a drug or procedure that was tested on an animal.

But back to the sea kittens. Bryne also states that, "Most parents would not dream of spending a weekend torturing kittens for fun with their families, but hooking a sea kitten through the mouth and dragging her through the water is the same as hooking a kitten through the mouth and dragging her behind you car."

I do enjoy fishing but always catch and release. Most of the time when a fish is hooked the hook goes through a thin membrane around the lip. Honestly I do feel bad if for some reason the fish doesn't make it after I reel it in but then it's food for the seagulls and herons. They have to eat too. It's like fast food for them, they didn't have to catch it, someone else did it for them.

How can you possibly compare catching a fish to dragging a kitten behind your car??

PETA claims that fish have feelings, can feel pain, are intelligent, express affection, form bonds and socialize. I suppose maybe they can but their brain must be the size of a pin head. I can't compare them to a dog or cat. My dog loves me, knows when I've had a bad day or am not feeling well and will try and comfort me. My dog can follow directions. My dog has formed an emotional connection with our family. I've had an aquarium and those fish ignored me 24/7 .

If PETA had their way we'd all be vegans. There's no way they will talk me out of meat, poultry and seafood. I'd make a lousy vegetarian. I don't really like veggies. Animals have been feeding man since the beginning, it's all part of the food chain and I'm glad we're at the top.

So this Friday night when I go out for my sea kitten fry with lemon and tartar sauce that cute little kitten/fish isn't going to stop me.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

At the Movies

We saw the movie Gran Torino over the weekend and I haven't really stopped thinking about it. If you think the film is all about a car you're wrong. While the car was indeed beautiful (I love a pretty muscle car) it played a minor role and never moved from the driveway.
At first I wasn't sure if this film was for me. It was very hard on the ears. I grew up in a home where I never heard racial slurs and they're not part of my vocabulary. I'd like to think that I'm not racist but when it comes down to it, can anyone be completely non racist? While I cringed most of the time when Eastwood's character Walt was spouting his bigoted mind I will admit that a few times it was humorous. I think because of his delivery and the fact that it was so over the top. Honestly I can't believe that in the real world if a person spoke like he does, that somebody would eventually pop him. There was a woman in the theater that cackled every single time he said one. She was the only one laughing. Strange.
I read some of the comments on line about this movie and many people complained about the acting or the story being weak or not enough action. I don't think they were seeing the big picture. I tend to be the type that look below the surface of things in life and that includes the plot of movies. Walt was a lonely, unhappy old man who lived through some experiences that left him emotionally broken. He wasn't close to anyone except his deceased wife and his dog. His children and grandchildren didn't get him. He gradually sees people for who they are and he realizes his thinking is wrong. When the credits rolled I just sat there, not ready to leave. If you stay you will hear Eastwood sing a song written for the movie. I felt it had a very poignant ending. I won't write anymore but I do recommend this movie.

If you're sappy or emotional bring kleenex because I didn't and had to use the sleeves of my shirt like my kindergartners sometimes do.
One last thing, for being almost 79 years old, Clint Eastwood still is in great shape.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Feathered Friends

We have a great backyard for birds. It's surrounded on two sides by trees as well as a maple, dogwood and weeping cherry in the yard. The bird feeder is positioned about 7 feet from the weeping cherry. The most common visitor to our yard is what I call the pig bird better known as the sparrow. Pig bird is certainly not their scientific name but they are pigs at the bird feeder and they aren't particularly pretty, just plain brown. We feed the birds all year long although experts say not to feed in the summer, let them find their own food but I like to see them.
This is a red bellied woodpecker but I don't think the name is accurate. Every one that I've seen has a white belly and my bird books say they have a light blush on their belly. That is hardly red. These are a medium to large woodpecker and have a red hood on top of it's head down and down it's neck. You can't see it in this picture since when I cracked open the sliding door to snap his picture he turned and looked at me.
Earlier there was a downy woodpecker looking for a snack. They're a small woodpecker. The cardinal is a territorial bird and usually doesn't let others on the feeder when they're dining. Woodpeckers first choice of food are insects but they love black oil sunflower seeds which is what we use in our feeder.

Woodpeckers can be very damaging to trees. We found this tree while walking in the woods next door. This particular tree is dead and must be full of bugs. Years ago our house had cedar shingles before we had it sided and the woodpeckers loved it. Why did we have it sided? Carpenter ants, spiders and other bugs would make their way inside.
Other ornithological visitors in our yard include blue jays, tufted titmouse, chickadees, and in the summer, robins, gold finches, orioles, hummingbirds and rose breasted grosbeaks.

Friday, January 09, 2009

North vs South

Why would anyone want to live in the South during the winter? After all they have palm trees, flowers, warm breezes, beaches, sunshine and convertables.
But hey, in the North we have this...

and road salt.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


I have a boy in my afternoon kindergarten class I'll call Johnny. Johnny is different from your average 5 year old boy. He loves Tinkerbell, I'd go as far as obsessed. I think sometimes he sees her fluttering around the room as he is looking up at the ceiling. Sometimes he laughs out loud at something going on in his head and it usually involves Tink. Johnny has Tinkerbell folders and sometimes wears girls Tinkerbell underwear. One day he came off of the bus and said to me, "be quiet, Tinkerbell is sleeping in my backpack". Next thing I know he's shaking it all about saying "she's awake and wants to get out!" At time he flaps around the room like he's a fairy. There are also behavior issues with him.

Johnny is somewhere on the autism spectrum but no testing is being done. He doesn't have any friends, doesn't play with other students, as a matter of fact he scares a few of them. Besides Tinkerbell the other object of his affection is a little girl in the class, lets call her Sally. He wants to sit with her, be near her and gets upset sometimes if he can't. She's pretty good about it and we explain to Johnny that he can't always sit with her. Here's a conversation with him today. He had just told another student that "he doesn't smell beautiful like Sally does".

Me: What does Sally smell like?

Johnny: She smells like butterfly kisses.

Me: What do butterfly kisses smell like?

Johnny: They smell like fairies.

Me: Well what do fairies smell like?

Johnny: Mrs. B., they smell like perfume!

Johnny does have his issues and I know for a fact that his home life is awful. I wouldn't be surprised if that's the reason he seems to live in Pixie Hollow (where Tinkerbell lives with her fairy friends). Since school began I've spent most of my afternoons wrangling him. I've become attached to him and feel protective of him even though some days he makes me crazy. Many times I have to take a nap when I get home from school as he wears me out emotionally.

I have quite an extensive Tinkerbell art collection.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Is it real or is it Memorex?

Way back in 1976 when I was a senior in high school a band was formed with a home town boy, Louis Grammatico, better known as Lou Gramm as the lead singer. The band?

That's Gramm with the curly hair. They've had lots of albums (oops, showing my age) and top ten hits. Gramm left the band and returned several times, one time due to a brain tumor.
This afternoon after school I had on Ellen (never Oprah in my house) and Foreigner was on. Oh nice I thought, I haven't seen them in many years. Well I was quite surprised.

My first thought when I saw Mick Jones was "wow, these guys are getting old" . My second thought was "who are these guys? That's not Foreigner!" They sounded like Foreigner even though the lead singer is now Kelly Hansen and not Lou Gramm. He has the same sort of gravely voice. Thanks to the trusty Internet I found out that the only original member of the group is Mick Jones. It makes me wonder how they can call themselves Foreigner when all but one member of the band is new and not original. It seems like they're more of a tribute band. They sang several of their oldies but goodies from back in the day and it was obvious the goal was to sound as original as possible.
If Paul McCartney formed a band that sounded just like The Beatles it wouldn't really be The Beatles.
Maybe it's just me.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


Most women have a maternal instinct, of course it varies among women and can be quite strong in some and almost nonexistent in others. I understand the urge to be a mother, it wasn't easy for us to become parents. Our children were not conceived the "natural" way. Thank you Dr. Jacobs. It makes me sick when I hear stories about mothers who discard their newborns or hurt their children physically or mentally or allow the men in their lives to hurt them.

I watched 20/20 on ABC last night and the topic for the evening was extreme mothering. It was disturbing to me on various levels. One story featured 2 women who are into reborns. They are very life like dolls that look a newborn baby. Is she real or a doll?
Surprise, it's a reborn!
One woman actually takes them out in public and treats it like a real baby. She gets off on the attention people give her when they coo over her "baby" and is actually disappointed when no one comments on it. These dolls have a wardrobe of real baby clothes, sleep in well appointed nurseries and wear actual diapers that these women change. I could almost sympathize with them if they really thought the baby was real but they KNOW it's a doll.

Another story; women who breastfeed their children beyond what they say society says is acceptable. Two more women, one in the U.S. and one in England breastfeed their children for years. The one mom still feeds her kindergarten son. Debra Roberts, the interviewer asked him how did he ask his mom when he wanted to feed. He responded that he asks her for her "nummies". The parents saw nothing strange about this, she had breastfed his older siblings until they were 6 years old. The other woman had been breastfeeding her various children for the past 11 years. Breastfeeding is a personal decision and I'm not against it but what these mothers are doing well, it just doesn't seem right to me.

Next story; women who have their babies like they did in pioneer days, meaning at home or outside under a tree with out any pharmaceuticals and no medical personal present. I agree that birthing a baby on your back in a bed is hard work. I know I felt better standing or sitting up and I think hospitals have gotten better about deliveries such as water births or birthing chairs. Yes, woman have been giving birth in caves, fields, houses or just about anywhere without medical care since the stone age but in this day and age why would you tempt fate? Maybe I feel this way since my second pregnancy became very high risk midway through and the two of us almost died at delivery but for me there's no shame in being in the hospital or having an epidural.

Next story; women who have babies for others, surrogates. God bless them. We may have considered that option but back then it was almost unheard of for a woman to do that. Again a story of two women who between the two of them have had 20 babies for other couples. One woman used the couples sperm and egg every time but the other used her own eggs. She stated that her family was accepting of this except for her father. He says that she's giving away his grandchildren and I agree. I realize this is the ultimate gift you could give a childless couple but I'm positive I couldn't do it. Even knowing the child is not part of me, I'm for all intents and purposes an incubator, how can you not bond with this baby while pregnant? And to know that it's your child that you're selling because that's what's going on; money is exchanged for the baby.

One final story; women who orgasm during childbirth. How good is that?! I sure wish it happened to me but no such luck.

Check out the 20/20 website and you can watch these stories and let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's Eve

Oh the weather outside was frightful
but the fire was so delightful...
and I was the designated driver.
We went over to our friend's house for New Year's Eve and had a great time as usual. There were 3 couples and when the "boys" get together you never know what's going to happen or come out of their mouths. Us ladies made them promise not to mock Dick Clark at midnight. We had all gone to breakfast a few days earlier while the girlfriend was here and I think they shocked her. Anyway, it was a few minutes to midnight and it took two people to open the champagne.Hurry Man, Hurry!

Here, let me help you.

See what I mean?
They ended up using a channel lock tool to get it open and we toasted at about 12:10.