Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mother Nature

Part One


Mother Nature can be very beautiful but also very cruel. I feel bad for the people of the Philippines. The country received a month's worth of rain in 12 hours causing widespread flooding and destruction. Garbage has clogged the storm drains adding to it. At one time the capital, Manila was 80% underwater. While a few places are still underwater most are now covered in a thick sticky mud. People have been left homeless after their houses were swept away as well as members of their family. There are reports of looting and there's sewage in the streets which has fouled the fresh drinking water sources. People are searching for dry clothes, food and water and a place to stay. Electricity is out and the medical centers at one time (don't know about now) were shut down. The fear of disease is spreading. Unfortunately another storm is approaching.


Part Two

My oldest son is in a serious relationship with a Filipino woman. She was born in America but all of her extended family live in the Philippines. Her parents and two brothers live in NYC. We love her and think of her as the daughter we never had.


Part Three

For the last 6 months the two of them have been making arrangements for a once in a lifetime trip to the Philippines. After a 16 hour non stop flight from NYC to Hong Kong and another few hours to Manila, the plan is to spend 3 days in Manila, then travel to some outlaying areas to visit her family and introduce Kevin to them. They will end the trip with a week at a beach resort. They leave October 10. Right after this once in a lifetime storm has blown through. I've been on the fence about this trip from the beginning. The Philippines are not the safest of places for Americans and my son will stick out like a sore thumb, a tall, white, bald guy. I have their itenerary as well as the phone numbers of hotels and her family and was starting to feel comfortable but now this. I'm worried that they will be stranded without a hotel or running water or electricity. I'm worried that they've saved for this trip for so long and now they're going into an area that's been declared a "state of calamity". I've espressed my concerns to my son and I think he'd tolerating me. His girlfriend has emailed family and friends asking about conditions and we're waiting for some response.


It's not easy being a mother sometimes. No matter how old your child is you still worry; I want them to have a wonderful time but am concerned that the conditions are less than favorable.


Here's some of the places they're staying.

L'Fisher Hotel

Renaissance Hotel

Monday, September 28, 2009

Who Gets Custody of the Friends?

Is there such a thing as a perfect marriage? I don't think so. You can't live with someone and not be annoyed, upset, pissed off or just not like each other at one time or another. Sort of like when my mom told me once when I was a kid, "I love you but I don't like you very much right now". Marriages go through growing pains not to mention the stressors put upon it. Whether it be finances, houses, in-laws, kids, poor communication or just plain boredom your marriage can become troubled. I speak first hand about this. Hubs and I have gone through some stress in our marriage and it almost ended it. Without going into the gory details suffice it to say that our communication sucked, mainly his. I can joke about it now but I couldn't then. We worked hard through counseling to save it and are one of the lucky successful cases. Today we are stronger than we ever were but it took hard work, tears and more hard work. We did it because we still loved each other but just didn't know how to repair it ourselves. To quote Barry Manilow, "I've been up, down, trying to get the feelin' again".
Moving on now, Hubby and I are part of a three couple group of friends, M & L and K & B and the two of us. Hubby and I first met our friends K & B when our oldest boys were in kindergarten together. That was 18 years ago. We both have younger sons the same age as well. These are couples we have celebrated many events with; birthdays, graduations, New Years Eves, Superbowls, pool parties, cookouts, breakfasts as well as spending many a night hanging at each other's homes. We've vacationed together on Cape Cod and our children don't remember a time when we didn't know each other. It was always a good time and laughter was abundant. Often times we had tears running down our faces from laughing so hard.
This went along splendidly until about 5 years ago. I started to notice that K would verbally jab at B when we were together. At first I thought he was kidding but the more he did it the more it seemed like he was being mean. After a while I mentioned my thoughts to hubby and he told me that during a one on one moment while in the car going for pizza K said that "as soon as the kids are out of the house I'm out of there". At first I was shocked but then really listened to K and realized that he was going to break B's heart.
When we were going through our rough patch Hubs confided in K who in turn decided to live vicariously through him, encouraging him to do what he himself wanted to do in his own marriage. I called him on it and he apologized but I have never forgiven him for that.
But back to K & B. Over the last year or so they've put on a brave front but you could see there was no closeness left between them and the barbs just got worse. When K was alone with Hubby he would refer to B as the bitch, sometimes the fat bitch, which she is not. He knew damn well not to call her that in front of me. I would have been on him in a second. He now knew that I knew the real K.
The time had come, both boys are grown up and K told B that he's moving out. She was shocked and thought he'd be back after he got his head together. She realized that he was acting different the last year but chalked it up to the thought of the boys growing up and moving out. Which he was but not the way she thought. He preceded to move out while she was at work. While he did agree to go the counseling route, he dragged his feet. Eventually he tried but always had excuses. I felt bad for B because I knew he wasn't going back to her since he had this planned for years but should I tell her? I didn't do it and for months she held out hope for a reconciliation. Recently he took her out for lunch and dropped the bomb that he wants a divorce and he wants it now. He's had 5 years to get used to the idea and complains that she's dragging her feet.
Now the ladies go out separately from the guys. Our friends M & L are trying to stay friends with both of them but I just can't. I have nothing to say to K.
I realize it takes two to make or break a marriage, I accept some of the responsibility for the strife that was in my own. There are two sides to every story and I know I don't know all the details on either of their parts. I just know that he led her on for years and so casually left when the time was right. I don't want custody of his friendship.

Beanie Babies Galore

Everyday in kindergarten we introduce a letter of the alphabet. We have a stuffed animal or puppet for each letter except I. (I'm not sure what animal the teacher has for X) I told her not to worry, I had a large container of Beanie Babies left over from the Beanie Baby craze of 1990's and I'm was positive we had Iggy the iguana. Both of my kids collected them and if I'm honest I collected a few too. Hubby dragged the cumbersome storage box up from the basement and after opening it many memories came back. I figured if I have to hunt through all of them I would take the time to count them.
The kids amassed their collection over a few years with their two aunts buying some for them as well as grandma and I but for many they spent their own money. Often times I'd go halves with them. It was a good teachable moment about spending and saving money.
There were 20 dogs, 9 cats, 20 birds, 14 bears and many more. All total 134 Beanie Babies and 51 Teenie Beanies that McDonald's had offered in happy meals.
I realize that some people went to the extreme collecting these things. I never looked at them as an investment, I thought that was strange. Yes, I scoured the Hallmark stores and the boys were excited when they found one they didn't have but it wasn't my life's mission. You could always tell when they had a new shipment in, there would be a feeding frenzy of mothers. Not me though, I'm like a hyena and waited until the lions had their fill. I was thrilled when I got the Princess Diana bear, I actually won it in a contest for something.
My kids always played with them, we never put them up or in plastic bags. I kept them in a laundry basket and we had lots of fun. We'd sort them by category; dog, cat, forest animal, jungle, ocean, insect, number of legs, color, habitat, etc. While looking through them I found Nanook the huskie and remembered how loved he was by my youngest. He took him everywhere.

The purple one in the center is the Princess Diana bear. She has a jewel (a clip on earring ) on her ear that a friend bought at a garage sale for hers and mine. Beanie Babies were a fad and a nice one that wasn't too expensive if you bought in moderation. Young kids could get into it and they weren't tied into a TV show or product, well except for the McDonald's happy meals.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

AAAHHHHHH, Get it off of me!!!!!!

My son posted this on his facebook and I thought it was just the cutest thing.
Creepy but cute.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

As the Beach Boys sang; Be True To Your School

I attended a large suburban high school that educated students from two towns. One town was pretty rural, my town was typical suburban. My graduating class of '76 had over 850 kids in it!
Image from

Today I live about 15 minutes away from my old neighborhood and high school so our kids didn't attend it. I work in the school district that has the high school they did go to. The high school just completed two years worth of major renovations inside and out.
My school tax $$$$ at work.

New bleachers for the football field. I hated the old ones. They were open and you could see the ground below not to mention drop stuff down there.

Press box and locker rooms for both home and away teams.

But the biggest improvement was the football field itself. It is now artificial turf.
Here I am on the field trying to channel my inner cheerleader. I do my cheering from the stands just like I did in my high school days.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pain vs Itch

My allergies have been absolutely horrible the last few days. I'm highly allergic to ragweed and it must be pollinating like mad. When my allergies are like this it makes me super sensitive to other allergens that normally don't trigger my allergies such as flowers and my dog.

Hubby brought me home some sunflowers from a little farm stand on Friday and they had to go right outside. Notice all the pollen on the table.
At least the bees really got to enjoy them. When you buy them you have to shake the bees off of the flowers before you get in the car or else you bring them home. Then the poor things don't know where to go at night.

Our house happens to be next to a wooded area and all along the fringes of said woods are tons of ragweed plants. We have to keep the windows closed and run the air conditioner even when it's not hot out just to filter the air. Sometimes we have to leave the house and head to the mall or movies so my allergies can calm down away from the ragweed. I take Zyrtec and for the most part it works okay but sometimes it cannot compete with amount of histamine my body is producing.
At school on Friday my allergies were acting up, mostly itching of my ears, nose and throat. After I was home about 10 minutes my head practically exploded. I'd never had an allergy attack that quick or bad. It felt like an army of ants wearing cleats were walking around under my skin on my face. I stopped counting my violent sneezes at 50. I was literally crazed and wanted to scream. Today (Sunday) I have no voice and my throat is raw.
I've suffered with allergies since I was 2 and have tried many medicines over the years. Nothing seems to really work well for me. Mostly I hate the itch. I'd rather have pain than itch. Even a mosquito bite drives me nuts. I'd rather it hurt than itch. I have a high pain tolerance and don't have any chronic pain issues. I know that many people do and I don't mean to belittle that. I know I wouldn't want to suffer with 24/7 pain.
I do understand pain and the emotions it brings out. When I was induced with my second son the pain was well, I can't think of an adjective to describe it but I will say that I lost it for a second. In my mind I knew the cause of the pain was the IV in my wrist that was delivering the pitocin. I started to chew at the tube to get it out just like an animal may chew it's leg off to escape a trap. I had never experienced anything like that before or since that. It was surreal. I just knew some deep down animal instinct was to get that out of me. The nurse was shocked and so was I when I realized what I was doing.
Since itch bothers me more than most pain I'd rather hurt. I've never enjoyed autumn and ragweed is one of the reasons. At one time I did get allergy shots but eventually stopped because they didn't work. So for now I'll spend the worse part of allergy attacks shopping where the air is filtered or visiting people that have no ragweed nearby.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ok, I figured it out. If you want to comment on either of the last two posts please do so on this one.

How Rude!

The world seems to be becoming more rude, boorish, graceless, coarse, inconsiderate and selfish. Take for instance in just the last few weeks we've had government official Rep. Joe Wilson call the President a liar, Serena Williams have a temper tantrum with her tennis racket then proceed to scream threats and obscenities at an official, Kanye West steals the limelight from Taylor Swift and some nutcase fan paints the score and an obscenity on the front lawn of cornerback Leodis McKelvin of the Buffalo Bills after he fumbled the ball that lead to defeat by the Patriots.
Is this kind of behavior becoming fashionable? I hope not for the sake of humankind. I understand that people get upset and blurt out these faux pas but come on, control your impulses. We teach this in my elementary school. Stop. Think. Act. We have bully prevention programs and monthly words to learn such as empathy, respect and self esteem to name a few.
Maybe I'm a pollyanna to want the world to be a kind, tolerant, respectful place but come on people, it's not all about you and your wants and desires.

On that note I'm so pleased that Jordan won Big Brother 11. I understand that BB is a game but it's renewed my faith that there are kind, guileless, honest, genuine people out there who can come out on top. Jordan won by a vote of 5 to 2 over Natalie who lied, schemed, sold out, back stabbed and chewed with her mouth open as well as talked with her mouth full. That drove me crazy, can you tell?

Natalie attached herself to whoever was in power, didn't try in competitions and lied constantly. I will admit the Natalie and Kevin's lie to Jeff was brilliant and it's part of the game but Jordan for the most part remained true to herself, was sweet and friendly, somewhat ditsy at times but was kind to all.

I'm looking forward to Big Brother 12 and wish I didn't have to wait until next summer. This year I subscribed to the live feed and was totally hooked on it. Thank goodness I have the summer off. I'm not sure what I'm going to do now.

One last thing, how classy was it of Beyonce to have Taylor Swift come back on stage to have her moment. We need more of those kinds of people.

Humankind; be both

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

24 25 Another heartbreaker for Bills fans.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Busy as a...

I love my garden but this time of the year it starts to look a little ragged. Many of my perennials have finished blooming like day lilies, bee balm and cone flower. My black and blue salvia is pooping out, something is eating my hosta and my petunias are leggy. The only things doing well right now are my brown eyed Susans, zinnias and trumpet vine. I haven't seen my little hummingbird in at least a week. But what are very active in the garden are bees and wasps.
This one was a granddaddy.
It was getting cool out one evening and this bee would be spending the night on a zinnia.

What an over-achiever, covered in so much pollen that he could hardly fly. I bet all the other bees dislike him because he makes them look bad. Every night I pluck the dead flowers off the trumpet vine and the bees don't seem to care, they just ignore me. The other day I was outside minding my own business talking on the phone when a bee made a sneak attack from behind and stung me on the back of my leg. Go figure.

Friday, September 11, 2009

This has been on my refrigerator since 9/12/2001

Thursday, September 10, 2009

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, NOT

For about the last six months I've been struggling with sleep which is something that has always come easy to me. My head used to hit the pillow and in less than 5 minutes tops I'd be out. Not anymore.
Some nights I'm tired but can't get to sleep, other nights I'm wide awake and no amount of force will keep my eyes closed. Many nights I do go to sleep for about 10 -20 minutes or maybe I'm not really asleep at all but in that transition stage. Next thing I know my heart starts to beat slightly faster and it seems like something in my brain says "Open your eyes!" It's like a slightly panicked feeling but not a panic attack at all. I don't know what it is, maybe just a nasty routine I've settled into. Subconsciously have I convinced myself that this will happen so my brain plays along? I blame it (and a lot of other things) on changing hormones.
All I know is that I have to be bright eyed for 30 kindergartners tomorrow so Mr. Sandman please hurry.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


I had to go to school three days this week but the student's first day of school is Tuesday. I've been busy helping to get our two kindergarten classrooms ready including doing the bulletin boards.

Two like this for morning and afternoon kindergarten...
and two like this. For some reason this picture won't enlarge but the white boxes are cereal boxes that say Special K indergarter and then a bowl with A B C's and 1 ,2, 3 in it with their name on the bowl.
Look! We have a smart board in our classroom. But it's smarter than us right now because neither one of us know how to use it yet. I'm ready as I can be so bring on them 4 and 5 year olds!!