Thursday, December 30, 2010

Snowed OUT of New York City

No flights available from Rochester, Buffalo or Syracuse into any NYC airport...
No Amtrak tickets available into Penn Station in NYC...
No bus tickets available into the Port Authority...
No rentals cars available to drive into NYC...
Parents driving you 5 hours east to Poughkeepsie so you can catch the Metro North train into Grand Central in NYC...

We went on a road trip yesterday on a mission to get Kevin back to his apartment in NYC. He ended up missing a day of work but we got to have him an extra day. The earliest he could get out of Rochester if he was lucky was December 31 but he is scheduled to work that day.
He called to tell us not to believe the reports that all streets have been plowed at least once. Not true. What a mess.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ho Ho Ho

How was your holiday everyone? Mine was great, spent with family and everyone got along.

On Christmas Eve we gathered at Hubby's brother and wife's house for the start of the celebrations. Santa arrived to the delight of my three grand nephews and niece. Even the big kids got something from the jolly fellow.

The three sister-in-laws.
We've never had a picture taken together in the 28 years we've all known each other.
Cam received these mustaches in his stocking. There's a story behind them. On Thanksgiving day he and his cousin got a hold of a Sharpie marker and proceeded to draw mustaches on the side of their fingers. My sister found these and we decided they were perfect for their stockings.
As you can see they were a big hit and they wore them for a while.
I thought Cam looked like Mario or is it Luigi who has the 'stache?
Kevin asked for a text book from Santa so he could study for his advanced cardiac nursing certificate. Good thing Santa only had to get the book. The test costs over $400. to take.
Poor Kevin, he's a Buffalo Bills fan and here he is in his regalia.
Cody even got a few gifts.
He's good at opening but could have used some opposable thumbs.
We really enjoyed having both of our boys home with us this Christmas season but now we can't get rid of one; not that I want to...

Kevin is snowed out of New York City. His original flight was for Tuesday Dec 28 at 6 AM but it was cancelled. Now he can't get one out of Rochester into any NYC airport until at least the 31st.
Amtrack is also booked. He is scheduled to work tomorrow but called to let them know he's stuck. They're having a problem with staffing as people are trying to get in but can't. I told him to give the airline a sob story about being a nurse and his hospital needs him which is entirely true but he's still here. He's not very happy about it but it could be worse, he could be sleeping in an airport or stuck on a subway train.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Is he or isn't he?

In my elementary school career I've spent five years working with fifth graders and have been asked many different questions. The hardest ones were questions about sex which now that I think about it they were actually easy to answer. I just told them to ask their parents when they got home. While we do cover that topic somewhat at the end of the year in the human growth and development unit, it's basically just about he changes the male and female bodies go through. If they want to know more, ask at home. One question I was never asked about was Santa.

After 11 years of working in my current job the question of Santa never came up until last year. I'm in my fourth year of kindergarten and the first two were smooth sailing when it comes to the jolly fellow. Last year came the first questions about him. A student proceeded to tell his table group that there is no such thing as Santa Claus. What made it interesting is that no one believed him. They asked him how did he know and he replied that his mother told him that. One student replied that his mother was stupid.

I called him over to my desk to talk with him and let him know that first, his mother was not stupid and second it's okay not to believe in Santa but most children do and that's okay too so please don't bring it up again. And he didn't.

This year another student (why is it always boys?) told his friends that there's no such thing as Santa, your parents give you gifts. They didn't believe him either. He comes from a family that is religious, so much so that they kept him home the day of our Halloween party.
Strangely enough he believes in the tooth fairy. I called him over to my desk and gave him the same speech and asked him to not tell his fellow classmates that and to please not spoil it for them. I told the teacher I work with so she was in the loop. Five minutes later she heard him telling them the same thing. This time she took him out into the hall and was very stern. Not just for talking about Santa but also because he knew he was specifically told not to. In the long run a call was placed to his parents and they were mortified that he spilled the beans to the other children.

My thoughts are this; some parents believe the whole Santa thing is very commercial or that they're lying to their children because he's not "real". I've never known anyone who was psychologically damaged because they found out Santa wasn't real. I find that sad for the children. Christmas time is a very magical season. Childhood is so fleeting and they will never be this innocent again. You certainly can celebrate the birth of Christ and all that goes with that but what's wrong with celebrating with Santa too? You don't have to go overboard with it. After all it's not like he's evil. Santa has very good attributes; he's kind, loving, caring, joyful, generous, tolerant and unprejudiced. I like to think that everyone has a little bit of Santa in their heart.

My boys with Santa on Christmas Eve

Sunday, December 19, 2010


What have I been doing since I'm not doing much blogging? I've just finished all the Christmas shopping and have it wrapped and delivered to the Christmas morning house. Something I've also been doing is building snowmen. Above are all the parts to him.

I thought he looked a little boring so I glued a rhinestone on the end of his hat.
He was still missing something, every snowman has to have buttons so three more rhinestones glued on.
He's looking much sassier now with his face but I'm never happy with something until I've added my own flair to it and the hat and button bling just wasn't cutting it.
So I glued beads on his scarf. Doesn't he look so much better. Maybe the beaded scarf makes him look like a snow lady. Now multiply this one snow person by 70 and that's what I've been doing. Not to mention tying the little silver strings, writing the names of my students on the front and a little message on the back with my name. Hubby asks why do I do this to myself. I sometimes ask that same question. Then I think of all of my little kindergartners and know why. I hope they like them.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Let it Stop, Let it Stop, Let it Stop

Okay, I'm over it. It can stop snowing any time now. Unfortunately that's not going to happen thanks to lake effect snow off of Lake Ontario. By tomorrow morning we will have about two feet of the white stuff on the ground with more in the forecast for Wednesday. And it's not even winter yet! These pictures are from this morning before I went to school. Above is one of our hydrangeas.
My solar powered freaky teakies are wondering why they aren't where they belong; in Hawaii.

Our dogwood buds are waiting for spring under a blanket of cotton.
The bells are wearing hats.
Don't eat yellow snow!!
Despite my complaining I do love this kind of snow. It's so quiet and peaceful and it's light and fluffy; coating everything with a layer of frosting. The only thing better would be some sunshine to make it sparkle.
Justify FullCome and sit a spell.
I used this sled when I was a kid. Can you believe I had to rescue it from a garage sale my parents had several years ago.
I bought these mitts at Bed Bath & Beyond. They're made of micro fiber towel material that is super absorbent. If you have a dog you'll know what it's like when they come in from the snow. Cody loves to go out in it and comes in covered with snowflakes. I put these on to dry him off and he loves it. He also gets snow balls between his pads on his feet and on the feathers on his legs. I think he goes outside just so he can get rubbed down when he comes in.
He'll go over to them and wait for someone to dry him off. Now if I can only find a way to get the snowballs off. When they start to melt they fall off all over the place leaving wet spots. Then I step on them in my socks...

I hope where ever you are the weather is better. Commutes are awful but I'm very lucky. The school I work at is a 2 minute drive from my house. Four on a day like today. This afternoon it took me longer to brush off my car than to drive home.

Wear your pajamas inside out tonight; I want a snow day tomorrow.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

I've been a bad blogger. Lots of stuff in my mind, no time to write about it. For now enjoy the little kitten picture. I'm not a lover of cats, I'm allergic to them but they seem to love me. Or maybe they know they make me sneeze and itch so they want to torment me. Anyway I thought these two were sweet.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I am just so, so, very, very grossed out. My beautiful dog Cody had a few "growths" on him. He's had some previously and we didn't know what they were. It starts out when we find a small little bump then over the next few days it grows to the size of a pea and looks like it's filled with blood. Next thing you know it's gone. The whole process takes 4-7 days. I've always wanted to take him to the vet to see what it was but Hubby says why bother, it falls off. I want to know what it is so it's an ongoing debate. With in the last two months he's had maybe 4 of these "things". Finally I put my foot down, they gross me out so we e-mailed our vet who happens to live down the street from us and is on maternity leave. She said it sounds like a tick.

A tick?! I told Hubby get him to the vet fast and get it removed. Dr. Hawkins said we could remove it ourselves but he didn't want to do that just in case it wasn't a tick and he's trying to pull it off. Well it was official, it was a tick, a deer tick to be exact. We live next door to the woods and he likes to go for walks over there, that's where he was getting them. The vet says that this is a pretty bad fall season this year, lots of them around. Luckily Cody has had just one at a time but they are so gross and now that I know what they are it's even worse. For some reason they really bother me. I can clean up dog poo, vomit (well Hubby usually does that), clean the sleepy dirt out of his eyes and I've even removed fleas from a previous dog and pinched them between my fingernails so I'm not very squeamish. But these things are hideous. I did some research on line about ticks and I'm not kidding when I say that I lost my appetite for a few days. Just thinking about them makes me feel nauseous.

Do you want to be grossed out too? I can't post the pictures, they're too disturbing to me so I'll give you the link, look at your own risk.

Here Don't say I didn't warn you. I think I just threw up in my mouth.

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's That TIme Again...

...for the Christmas tree to arrive at Rockefeller Center in New York City. This year's tree comes from the yard of Peter Acton a NYC firefighter who was a first responder on Sept. 11, 2001. The Norway spruce is 74 feet tall and 75 years old. In some way it's sad that this tree lived so happily for all these years then it gets chopped down and put on view for 2 months. But if I was asked by Barbara Walters what kind of tree would I be I choose to be this tree. Why? Because this tree will make thousands upon thousands of people smile and forget their troubles for a few minutes.

I've been to NYC at Christmas time three times and every time there's something special about it. The city is dressed in its finest, the decorations are beautiful and Christmas spirit abounds. To see the massive tree lit up with five miles of lights is the icing on the cake. While I'd love to go this holiday season I was just there in October. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to talk Hubby into going again even if we stay with our son. I'll have to settle for the Christmas tree web cam.

Saturday, November 06, 2010


Oh Valene Ewing (Joan Van Ark) what has happened to you?
I never missed an episode of Knot's Landing, a spin off of Dallas that ran from 1979 through 1993. I loved/hated Abby and Greg and thought Valene was the wimpiest, annoying little thing. Who doesn't look better 30 years younger but she is scary. This makes me feel old.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

I'm not a lover of Halloween although I do enjoy spooky movies, pumpkins and candy. I saw this mooning scarecrow the other day and thought oh someone is very clever. Maybe I'll try it next year.

More about cemeteries. Earlier this week Hubby and I went on a torch light walking tour through one of the oldest cemeteries in our city, Mt. Hope Cemetery. It was very cool, we learned some history about it but alas our tour guide told us no ghost stories about it and I'm sure there are some. The 54 acres of land for Mt Hope Cemetery was purchased in 1836 and was considered rural since it was 1.5 miles from downtown Rochester. It was thickly wooded with inaccessible hills and valleys. These hills and valley are what makes it uncommon among cemeteries. Most are flat or have slight hills. Mt Hope is very hilly and a nice place to hike. It has trees that are 200 plus years old and veterans buried there from all wars starting with the Civil War. Two years later it was read for dedication on October 3, 1838. Over the years it has grown and currently is 196 acres. A few people buried there: Susan B. Anthony, a women's rights activist, Frederick Douglas, crusader against slavery, Hiram Sibley, founder of Western Union, William Warfied, world famous baritone and Frank E. Gannett, famous newspaper publisher.I took the above picture not knowing I'd see the smoke from a torch when I downloaded it. It looks somewhat creepy to me since I think I see a face in the second smoke blob to the right of the monument. But if you want to see something really creepy...
I do not like bugs. Yes, I know we need insects to survive in this world and they have a purpose. I once read a novel entitled Dust and while it was fiction the consequences of having no insects in the world were true. It's a good read. Anyway over the summer we were up at Keewaydin NY State Park in the 1000 Islands and came across this thing on this tree. What the heck was it? Let's take a closer look.
Ewwww, some sort of insect emerging.
After it climbed out it turned itself over and hung on to the shell for a bit.
Eventually when it was done molting with the wings fully expanded and hardened it flew away. This took place in a time span of about an hour. We were fishing right by this tree so I kept my eye on it. I wanted to know where it was at all times because I didn't want it crawling on me.

After I got home I did some research and turns out this is a Tibicen cicada that goes by the alias of dog day cicada. It gets that moniker because it emerges from the exoskeleton in July and August, the hottest months of the year. The male cicada is the one that does the singing often being most vocal on hot and steamy days. I do enjoy their song, for some reason it reminds me of my childhood. They can be very noisy in large groups but a lone cicada has a beautiful song.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Oxford University
Oxford University is located in Oxford, England and is the oldest English speaking university in the world. While there is no clear foundation date classes were held here as early as 1096.

It is one of the few universities in the world that use the tutorial system to educate their students. This means you have a one on one tutor for each class you take. You meet them once or twice a week to go over assignments and learn then you do the classwork throughout the week on your own. It's one of the best schools in the world and they only take the best of the best.
Bridge of Sighs at Oxford

To be an Oxford Scholar is to be in the company of world famous leaders, authors, scientists, etc.
Here are a few 20th century Oxford Scholars:
Benazir Bhutto
Tony Blair
Justice Stephen Breyer
Bill Clinton
T.S. Eliot
Indira Gandhi
Stephen Hawking
Edwin Hubble
Margaret Thatcher
J R R Tolkien

So why am I writing about Oxford University? My youngest son Cameron has been invited to attend Oxford next year through a program with the university and his college. When I asked at the parent meeting how do we know he can get in? I was told you aren't invited if you won't get in. What an opportunity for him. He's the perfect kind of student for this experience; smart, motivated, a self directed learner. Plus on his transcript and resume it will say he is a Brockport/Oxford Scholar. I'd guess that would give him an advantage that others within his profession won't have. Here's the catch, it ain't cheap, waaaay over our budget. We could take out a home equity loan but I don't think that will happen. I just hate how things in life come down to money. We don't have a second home or "toys" or spend frivolously. I'm disappointed but not as much as he will be when we tell him he can't do it. It makes me think about all those actors who don't win the Oscar, "It was an honor just to be nominated".

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Someone has made this nearby fence festive.

When I signed in to my blog today and looked at the archives along the side I realized that I've been rather lazy blogger this year. I'm not sure why. Last year at this time I'd posted 147 times, this year just 61. I do know that since school has started this September I've been under the weather with myriad of ailments. First a wicked kidney infection, then a painful back muscle, next up was an issue with my left eye; sore, achy, very red and weepy but not pink eye. My knees have flared up with a bad bout of inflammation. Last but not least I'm finishing up with a bad cold. I can only hope that I've gotten all of the winter illnesses out of the way and it's clear sailing from now on. It's very hard to work with 69 kindergartners when you feel like you want to be home in bed with the covers pulled over your head.

But all is not lost. I did manage to get away for an over night trip to the Adirondack Mountains where we stayed the night at my brother/sister-in-law's cabin. It was nice, the weather was perfect and the trees were beautiful. Last weekend I needed to see a particular nurse so we headed down to New York City to visit our son. This is the first time we've stayed at his apartment rather than a hotel. Our youngest son came with us so there were 4 of us in his little place. I think he was glad to see us leave after 3 nights of togetherness. That trip caused the knee flare up but was worth it.

This weekend was the annual pizza & wing bon voyage soiree at my parents house. They have everyone over before they leave for Florida for the winter. On the way there we stopped at a few places and I took a few pictures. Enjoy autumn in my neck of the woods.

First stop was Power's Farm Market to pick up a couple of pumpkins. They have a huge corn stalk tepee set up with a plethora of carved pumpkins lit up inside.
Our next stop was on a whim. This is Pittsford Cemetery. Call me strange but I enjoy cemeteries. They're calm and peaceful and in the fall often sport spectacular foliage.
I think I was about 5 days late. More leaves were down then I thought would be.
I like to wonder around and look at the different styles of headstones and monuments and wonder about the life of the owners. Some are tragic stories; you will find entire families that died in same time frame. Others lived a long, long life. I love when I find an older grave that someone still visits and leaves things for them. Yes, that's sad but also tells me that the person was so loved.
I've never felt strange visiting a cemetery but have never done it at night. That may creep me out somewhat.
My dear friend Mrs. Rowland is buried in Pittsford Cemetery so I stopped by to say hello. While we were many years apart in age we were kindred spirits of sorts. I was surprised to be reminded that she's been gone 10 years next month.

Friday, October 08, 2010

$94. Poorer

My poor dog Cody, he's had a bad few months. First he needed oral surgery in July due to a massively infected tooth that ended up being removed. In August he had his major surgery to replace his ruptured ACL in his rear right leg. You can see in the above picture that his fur is starting to grow in nicely. But you might notice his latest haircut. Cody has had a bad allergy season this fall with lots of itchies. He's been biting at his tail something fierce and has some hot spots. We took him to see his vet, she looked at it and said it looked infected. They shaved part of his tail to get at the skin and what a mess. He has three hot spots on each side. Now he's on antibiotics for the infections, a steroid spray for inflamed skin as well as his arthritis and pain killer for his leg. He really doesn't seem to mind too much, he gets his meds with peanut butter or cheese. What more could a dog ask for except for not having all these issues.

He still looks like the happy dog he is.
He doesn't let all this stuff get to him.
My poor baby :-(

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

What's in a Name?

I enjoy crossword puzzles and do one every day if I can. Whenever I have an answer that's a celebrity I think, "they've really made it, they're an answer in a crossword puzzle."

But I've got something better; I have a goldfish named after me. A fifth grade student named Jane came to me and asked if I knew a kindergartner named Mary. Of course I did. I have 69 kindergartners this year and Mary is one of them. Seems that Mary lives next door to Jane and Mary was visiting Jane's house one day where they have 7 gold fish. Mary was admiring them and Jane asked Mary if she wanted one. Yes she did. Can I name it? Mary asked. She then told Jane that she has a principal that comes into her classroom all the time and she's really nice. I like her so I'm going to name my gold fish Mrs. Bxxxx. That's me! Now I'm not the principal but I do work in her classroom.

So while I'll never see my name as a crossword answer I do have a fish namesake.