Sunday, August 30, 2009


I'm not really a tomato lover although I like ketchup but Heinz only. Tomatoes have to be firm and meaty, none of that jelly like stuff with the seeds in them. Hubby planted some cherry tomatoes this season. They're okay he says but the variety he planted apparently don't turn red when ripe but orange. He has a thing about color, in his mind tomatoes are supposed to be red.
Our dog seems to like tomatoes also. Early in the season there were a few orange ones near the bottom of the plant. We didn't pick them because we thought they were still ripening. Well they never did turn red but one day we go outside and the ripe tomatoes are gone. Cody, the tomato eating dog had struck for the second year.
He's checking them out to see what's ripe. I'm not sure how he knows.

He can't deny the evidence, that's a tomato seed on his mouth.
On an unrelated note; we went to the movies and saw Julie & Julia over the weekend and it's a wonderful movie. I'd give it a 10! If you're not familiar with Julia Child check out some of her videos on YouTube before you see the flick. Meryl Streep does a great job as Julia. The voice and mannerisms are right on.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Off he goes...

It's that time of year where parents around the country are celebrating or lamenting the fact that their college kid has returned to school. Me, I fall in the middle. While I miss him when he's gone he does get home often so it's not too bad. His college is only 30 minutes away. We sometimes run out there to take him out to dinner. His older brother's university was almost 3 hours away. Good thing he's close because the last thing I thought he would forget is what was left behind at home. It's his lifeline, no young adult can be without it. He left his phone at home so back we went to get it. Now if it were his brother that did that, UPS would be paying him a visit.

The annual back to school photo op. It's taken place on this spot for the last 19 years. Cody will miss Cameron terribly and will mope around for a week or so, wander into his bedroom looking for him and sit and stare out the window waiting for his return. I think he takes it harder than I do.

Loaded and ready to roll.

Remember this post ?
Well hallelujah Cam's dorm room is down right palatial compared to last years. It's nice and bright, there isn't 25 years worth of grime on the windows, you don't need 3 lights on in the middle of the day to see and you don't feel like you live in a cave. He's on the fifth floor and while the common area of the suite is larger than last year (he's in a 6 person rather than 4 like last year) the actual bedrooms are smaller. But who cares? Not me! I'm so pleased that he's got a good room. I feel bad for the freshman who's been put in last years room, I'm sure his/her mother cried just like I did. Don't worry, next year will be so much better.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

ho hum

Blahhhhhh. That's how I feel this week. It could be several things contributing to this feeling. This is my last week of summer vacation before school starts next week. This is the first school year that I'm not anxious to return. I think that's a bad sign but I hope not. This past year was exceptionally hard with several very challenging students with emotional and anger issues. I have a bad feeling that I will get pulled out of kindergarten and put in first grade because of said students. I don't want that to happen but that thought is floating around in my head. Last year was also full of drama with a teacher I worked with. She ended up not getting tenured and is now suing the district. I do not want to get in the middle of that. She's mentioned me writing a letter but nothing official. I do not want to do that.
My son is going back to college Saturday and while he's been very busy this summer with his job and friends we've not seen a lot of him I'm dreading that trip to school. I know it's his second year, it's not like the first time but I'm sad over it. I shouldn't be I suppose, after all this is life and he's doing what he's supposed to do. Growing up, forging a life of his own. I'm so proud of him. I've done my job with him and he's prepared for life. Well as well as anyone can be prepared. He'll make mistakes and I won't be able to help him but he'll learn. He'll be back next weekend because Kevin and girlfriend are flying in from NYC for Kev's birthday. Next month they fly off to the Philippines for two weeks. I'll nervous about that. That isn't the safest country for Americans.
Blahhhh. I did pick up these flowers at a farmer's roadside stand and they're beautiful. I said to the girl, "I'll take the orange ones". She responded, "we don't have any orange ones but we have red". I have such a hard time distinguishing red from orange and blue from purple. My family loves to poke fun at me for that and sometimes quizzes me, "mom, what color is that car??" Usually don't get it right.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Memories, light the corners of my mind, misty water colored memories of the way we were...

I'm on Facebook and over time found groups to join. One is my high school, another is my neighborhood group and a group for my elementary school. Oh how time flies. Sometimes when I look at them the memories that people post are funny and make me smile. Other times like today I happen to look at them and they just make my heart hurt.

I start thinking about the time that has gone by, how much fun it was being a kid, all the friends you had and how you could leave your house to play and run the neighborhood and no one worried where you were. Playing ball in the greenbelt, wading in the creek and later making out there. I read those posts and it brings back so many memories. I see people on there from the old neighborhood that I eventually babysat for and that seems so weird.

My first grade class. Which one is me??

It's amazing how much you remember when you start reading and thinking about that time. I remembered every teacher I had k-6 grade, things I hadn't thought about in years like our lunch lady Mrs. Long and the school nurse Mrs. Daily. I loved her and just read her obituary a few years ago. We used to get vaccinations at school. I always seemed to visit her during math time.

My graduating class had over 850 kids in it and not many are on the high school site. Maybe many aren't into the whole facebook thing, I wasn't until 6 months ago. I'm assuming many aren't technically savy like the kids of today. I swore I'd never be like that but I am. I have more trouble with the computer and figuring out electronic things but I guess it's a right of passage.

Today is a dreary, cool, damp day, more like late October than August, could be that's why I'm so melancholy. I hope I get over it soon!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Two Ships That Pass in the Day

One thing I love about visiting the 1000 Islands is the ships on the St. Lawrence River. They're either on their way to ports along the Great Lakes or outbound towards the ocean. I happen to live on Lake Ontario but see no ships since they're sailing way out.

My view of Lake Ontario from the beach.
For years we camped at Keewaydin State Park in Alexandria Bay and you could watch the ships go by. The shipping channel was about a quarter mile from shore. Since we sold our camper we stay at the Channelsyde Motel and true to their claim to fame, they are right on the channel and even closer than the park. I lounged waiting for ships to pass and wasn't disappointed.
Here comes one now...

right out in front...

another ship coming from the oposite direction snuck up on me while I was watching the red one.

going, going, gone.

A ghost ship heading out of the St. Lawrence River into Lake Ontario. This is actually the blue ship I saw before. We headed out to Cape Vincent about 20 miles away right after it went by us in Alex Bay.
One of my most favorite vacations ever was when as a kid we camped at a park on the St. Mary's River in Michigan. Many ships passed by everyday on their to and from the Soo Locks. I bought a book entitiled "Know Your Ships" and learned all I could about them. It also had a listing of the ships that sail the Great Lakes. I recently dug that book out and I had written my name and the year 1973 inside and had 91 ships checked off as seeing. Today I don't think the shipping traffic is what it once was but I want to plan another trip out there.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Another Op-Ed Piece

I have to express my opinion about the crazy Scottish government. I don't understand why they would release the only terrorist, Abdelbaset Ali Megrahi, convicted of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland. Terrorists are hard to find, let alone convict one. They either head for the hills or kill themselves in their massacre.
This man and I use that term loosely, was one of who knows how many that was responsible for the killing of 243 passengers, 16 crew and 11 on the ground on December 21, 1988. Finally Megrahi is held accountable and sentenced to life in prison in 2001. Perhaps instead he should have met the same fate as William Wallace did on August 23, 1305. In medieval times people convicted of high crimes received the punishment of being drawn and quartered. This entails first being dragged behind a horse to your place of execution, then being hanged but not quite to death. Upon release of your hanging you were disemboweled and emasculated. In front of your own eyes your genitalia and entrails were burned. Finally you were beheaded, cut into pieces and displayed around town including your head which was dipped in tar and placed on a spike. The difference today is that in civilized nations that would never be done but in those hot bed countries of terrorism they wouldn't hesitate to do that to fellow human beings but their method of choice seems to be blowing people up.
But back to the Scottish government; why in the world would they release this monster just because he's terminally ill? Compassionate release?? Who are they kidding? This animal and others like him showed absolutely no compassion when they blew 270 men, woman and children out of the sky over Scotland. To top it off he receives a hero's welcome when he returned home to Libya. Terrorists 'round the world must be celebrating. Please don't tell me this was all about oil, I hate to think that was the underlying reason.
I am a very compassionate person but this is WRONG.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Time For a Tea Party

I live in New York, the highest taxed in the Union. This is depending on what source you look at. This site has New York at the top. This site has New York in second with New Jersey being first. Our taxes just keep going and going and going up. For instance, take the counties that pay the highest property taxes in the country; of the top 10 highest four of those counties are in New York. New Jersey rounds out the top ten with six of the highest. The gasoline tax in my county is 42.3 cents on every gallon. Our local resident multi millionaire, Tom Golisano recently changed his residency to Florida and now saves $13,000 per day in NYS taxes. Does that mean that the rest of us will have to make up that deficit now, I hope not.

New York state is the third most populated state in the nation but ranked at 27th in size. It goes without saying that our amount of welfare recipients is pretty high also. I've never been on welfare and hope to never be on it. My family is gainfully employed and I'm so very grateful for that. It must be awful for low income families to make ends meet. To worry about feeding your children healthy meals, pay rent and general living expenses is certainly a challenge. There are plenty of folks who try their best using their welfare checks wisely. For whatever reason they need welfare but are working towards getting off of it and supporting themselves. Then there are those who come up with all sorts of ways to cheat and defraud welfare. They've honed their scamming skills and know how to work the system. These are the people that make me angry because after all, who is supporting them by paying taxes that pay their welfare benefits? You and I do!! I do believe there should be some sort of welfare reform allowing people to work lower paying jobs and supplement with welfare.

Governor Patterson just came out with a program that gives low income families a one time extra $200. per child to pay for school supplies. There are over 800,000 kids receiving the 200 bucks. That's a hell of a lot of dough. The money was put on their benefit card that could be used any ATM last Tuesday August 11. Many families are using it for that exact purpose but guess what? Many are not. Last Tuesday many ATM's ran out of money and stores that don't sell school supplies had a huge spike in business. I'm talking about cell phone stores and Best Buy. Best Buy had a run on flat screen televisions and Walmart electronics were also selling like hotcakes. They actually made phone calls to see if this was welfare fraud since this sales bonanza occurred the same day the school supply money was deposited.

Here's the thing, in my city we have many programs that give low income children free backpacks loaded with new school supplies and I'm sure other cities do too. I'm not begrudging these children new supplies at all. I think it's great but I see in my own school families that can't afford new clothes, shoes, backpacks and supplies and they're not on welfare. I can't tell you how much of my own money I've spent on supplies for kids. What rubs me the wrong way about this program is that there are no checks or balances as to how the money is spent. You don't have to prove you spent it on school related items. Seems to me it should have been given out in the form of vouchers, which in turn are presented to "purchase" the supplies. Maybe give it more thought and set up clearing houses where one could go and pick out things. But not waste it on things for the parents. Many kids will return to school without the things they need even though money was provided. Guess who will front them the pens, pencils, paper, folders, books they require? The teachers. Most likely out of their own pocket.

Money is tight for everyone these days and I wish someone would give me a little windfall. One way I could make some extra cash if I was younger is to sell my eggs for stem cell research. Yes, New York State tax payers will pay women up to $10,000 for the donation of their eggs. I'm all for finding cures for diseases and am pro stem cell research but geez my taxes will go up more.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Rolling on the River and the Sidewalk

I'm back! I bet you didn't even notice I was gone and I almost wasn't. We had a mini vacation planned up at the 1000 Islands on the St. Lawrence River and the plan was that my parents were going to dog sit for us. We took Cody over on Thursday night and we were home from that for 45 minutes and the phone rang. It was my dad and he sounded awful. Right away I knew something bad had happened and my first thought was Cody had gotten hurt somehow. Nope, not the dog but my mother. She was taking him for a walk and a few of her neighbors were out at the sidewalk talking. As she was walking over one of their dogs and Cody wanted to meet and greet. They both pulled toward each other on their leashes and my mom's toe caught on a raised sidewalk flag. Down she went. Hard. My dad called and told me she was in a pool of blood and they were waiting for the ambulance. He was quite distraught and I told him that hubby would be right over to pick up Cody and I'd meet him at emergency.
Turns out she needed stitches in her forehead, had a broken nose and broke two bones in her arm between the elbow and the wrist. Not only were they broken but they were open fractures, they'd come through the skin in two spots and retracted back in. My dad and I saw her arm when three orthopedic doctors came in. It wasn't pretty, down right ugly not to mention freaky. Lucky for her the medic on the ambulance crew started a morphine drip. She ended up having surgery to clean out the arm and repair the bones with plates and screws.
The surgeon was going to do the operation during the night but a motorcyclist came in with more open fractures than mom so he went first. Finally after I was able to see my mother following surgery and see for myself that she was going to be fine we left for vacation.
We stayed at our usual place, the Channelsyde Motel right on the river and as the name claims it's right on the shipping channel.
Nobody puts Baby in a closet!
Well, except his parents. We planned on Cam sleeping on the floor with an air mattress but it was a tight fit and me with my bad knee hobbling along it wasn't a good idea. Lucky (?) for him there was a decent sized walk in closet and this is where he spent four nights.

Kevin and Therese came up from NYC and met us there. She's a born and bred big city girl and had never fished before. She was concerned for the poor big, fat, juicy worms used to entice the fish, not to mentioned grossed out.

Therese is a very sweet girl and while she may be from NYC and works in downtown Manhattan she's not what you may think of when you think of a New Yorker. Her parents sheltered her and were very strict growing up. At times she's quite naive making her very charming.

Cam thought this would be a cool picture and he was right.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Right or Wrong?

I'm as happy as anyone else that journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee are home from North Korea after being pardoned and spared 12 years of hard labor in a prison camp. But I think it's crazy that they were in North Korea in the first place. I understand they were gathering material for a story about the trafficking of young N K women into China. Whatever the story is behind that it must be awful and from a moral standpoint needs to be out there. But why take the risk by traveling to a hostile country that the world isn't getting along with right now and that's run by certifiable nut? A country that's threatening to destroy parts of the world with their nuclear capabilities. A country that's considering turning over its government to the 27 year old son of Kim Jong II who has little or no experience at ruling a country. Of course he'll just be a puppet for the real crazies directing the show.
But (I seem to be full of buts today and yes I know you don't start a sentence with the word but) back to Ling and Lee. They traveled to North Korea to gain information for a story for Al Gore's Current TV media venture. Why did he allow them to go, I'm speculating that he knew about the trip, when he aware of the way things are done in that country? Yes, they're adults and can make their own decisions but in the mean time that decision turned into an international incident. Ling apparently has a medical condition, an ulcer and Lee has a 4 year old daughter. Yes, men and women put themselves in danger everyday, firefighters, police officers, our military in Iraq and Afghanistan and many others. I suppose one could argue that they're heroes. They went to North Korea to expose a travesty against women. Many journalists risk their lives for a story they feel strongly about and I thank them for bringing tough issues to our attention. I just feel that Ling and Lee shouldn't have been there. Getting caught brought them horrible consequences. Twelve years of hard labor would be brutal if they even survived it and their families would have suffered. It would've added fuel to the fire in an already shaky relationship with North Korea.
Let me preface this next paragraph. I loved Bill Clinton as our president. There are those who didn't like him at all and voiced that opinion loudly and often. Rush Limbaugh for the biggest example. People that never missed an opportunity to point out a misstep. I thought he did a great job and ran the country well. Do I agree with the whole Monica Lewinski debacle? Absolutely not. He was a hound dog that humiliated his wife and that was wrong; however I can't toss aside all the good he did for our country because of that poor decision. Why do some powerful men think it's okay to do that, I'll chalk it up to ego and character flaw.
Thank you to Bill Clinton who went to North Korea to bring them home. Do I believe that he brokered this whole deal himself? Of course not, many people were behind the scenes with the negotiations. When North Korea didn't want to deal with Gore, Clinton was asked to go. I believe he's a wonderful humanitarian and of course he accepted. Really what choice did he have? But again there will always be someone who will put a certain spin on things. Take Daniel Sneider, associate director of research at Stanford University's Shrenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center;
he stated that, "the journalists release followed weeks of quiet negotiations between the State Department and the North Korean mission to the United States. Clinton didn't got to negotiate this, he went to reap the fruits of the negotiation." Read the full article here.
I guess I don't like the phrase reap the fruits. It makes it sound like Clinton did this just to get credit and to make himself look good. Sneider sounds like a guy who just can't resist giving a little jab. I can't stomach Limbaugh but I'm sure he's on the same bandwagon. But no matter how you feel about Clinton he went there and brought the women home. Like it or not he has the clout and diplomacy to gt the job done.
I'm grateful for our Constitution's Bill of Rights allowing me to be able to express my opinions. The First Amendment provides that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise or abridging the freedom of speech, the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Despite our current condition, this is a great country in which to live.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

My kid is prettier than your kid

I've been watching a TV show on TLC called Toddlers and Tiaras and it is so wrong in so many ways. I feel bad for these poor little children. I don't believe that a 3 year old is into the whole beauty pageant scene. Usually the mother is the driving force behind it all. They seem to have this need to prove that they created a beautiful child. I hate to say it but many of the mothers weigh 250 lbs plus and I seriously think the mothers are suffering from low self esteem. By parading their daughters around they feel better about themselves. The crowns, tiaras,trophies, ribbons and accolades seem to be a reflection on them not their child.
From the episodes I've seen there are several types of pageants. Some are big glitzy ones with a $1000. prize. It's nothing for some parents to spend 3,500 on a one gaudy, sparkly dress to win that thousand bucks. It can get very cut throat between the mothers and that spills over to the children. Tonight's episode was a smaller pageant, held in a West Virginia hotel conference room. There was no prize money, just bragging rights I guess. Of course there was the coveted rhinestone crowns too.

These little girls, girls as young as one year old wear make up. Starting around age 4 or so they wear fake hair pieces, tons of make up, have plucked brows and spray tans! If the contestants are at the age when they start to lose their baby teeth they get false teeth called a flipper. Some girls as young as 7 have acrylic nails. Some of the outfits and moves that the kids do are unbelievable. They look and move like strippers or hoochie mamas. I personally would worry about pedophiles. It's heartbreaking to see these children exposed to this. They grow up soon enough and will have to deal with the whole beauty thing. Most are already divas.
Toddlers and Tiaras is trainwreck TV at it's best but I can't stop watching. Check it out on Wednesday nights at 10 pm on TLC. Every week I'm astounded at what lengths these parents go to to prove that their child is the prettiest. These pageants take place in the south where it's a whole industry, especially in Texas. Maybe it's because I live in the northeast region of the country and we do not have these things up here.
Thank goodness.

NYC Year Two

These photos have absolutely nothing to do with my post but I thought they were pretty.
My son Kevin moved into his second apartment in New York City last week and we weren't there. I thought I'd be happy about that after last year but I'm not. We moved him down and it was tough. The driving down with a loaded truck not having the faintest idea where we were going was nerve wracking and the actual physical moving part was a lot of work. Thank goodness the building was new and had an elevator because he was on the 4th floor. Then there's the unpacking and organizing, ugh.
A little zinnia bud.
This time we stayed here while 3 of his friends from home timed a visit just in time to help him move. Now he's on the second floor with no elevator. That's what happens when you get free lodging in NYC, you're part of the moving party. All went well but...

Getting Bigger...
Now here's the part that makes me wish I was there. He calls me with questions about curtains and rods. His apartment is on the side of the building and he has lots of windows. He called asking about shower heads, taking the old one off and installing a new one. Hubby had to tell him what tools he needed and how to get the old stubborn one off. The little things. The final stage!
This makes me wish I was there to help in person rather than over the phone. But he's got to learn these things on his own.
But it's nice to know he still needs us.

Monday, August 03, 2009

When did I get this old?

I have a new fashion accessory that I'm just so please about.
It's soooo much better than the Mustang I want.
I awoke this morning, tried to stand up and my knee was having none of it. It's extremely painful and I'm losing some range of motion. I did call my orthopedist to get in for a shot and the first appointment he has is August 19.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

And now a message from 1967 and The Young Rascals

Groovin'...on a Sunday afternoon
Really couldn't get away too soon
I can't imagine anything that's better
The world is ours whenever we're together
There ain't a place I'd like to be instead of...
Groovin'...down a crowded avenue
Doin' anything we like to do
There's always lots of things that we can see
We can be anyone we want to be
And all those happy people we could meet just...
Groovin'...on a Sunday afternoon
Really couldn't get away too soon
We'll keep on spending sunny days this way
We're gonna talk and laugh our time away
I feel it comin' closer day by day
Life would be ecstasy, you and me endlessly...
Groovin'...on a Sunday afternoon
Really couldn't get away too soon

Playing Sorry out on the patio.

My knee is really acting up this past week. I can hardly walk on it at times and it keeps on wanting to collapse. We're going away this weekend with the kids and the girlfriend so I hope it feels better. And it surly better be well for school in five weeks. I'm giving it another week and if no improvement it's off to the orthopedist for another shot under the kneecap. Something I swore I'd never do again after last time but oh my aching knee.

A hot dog

Everything needs a drink of water. The wasps get more use out of my bird bath than the birds.

I like his shadow,
it reminds me of Plankton from Sponge Bob.

Gertie, our hummingbird. I call her that because when she sits in the dogwood tree she looks like a gerkin so I referred to her as my little pickle but hubby said we should call her Gertie.

My kindergartner that I worked with this last school year was obsessed with the color yellow and anything with wings, especially fairies and butterflies so when this beauty was flitting about my garden I immediately thought of him. As hard as it was at times I really do miss him. I will send him a copy of this picture.

So that's my Sunday afternoon. Tonight the plan is to watch Big Brother and since we just resigned up for Showtime we'll catch up with season 5 of Weeds. We've rented seasons 1-4 and it's a great show, I recommend it. Who knew drug dealing could be so funny? Finally I'll stay up late for Big Brother after dark. Hubby has to work in the morning :) but not me so I'll stay up alone.