Wednesday, July 28, 2010


My sister plays Bingo every week except during the summer, I play about twice a year. I just can't stand the cigarette smoke. My son and I decided that we'd go this week before he leaves for school so we talked her into playing. He won one of the early games and had to split the pot with 2 other winners for a total of $16.00 each. That was nice, he got his initial investment of 10 bucks back and made 6. (we each played 20.00 worth of cards, I chipped in and paid his other $10). The evening goes on and up comes the big money game of the night. His aunt tells us this is the game you want to win...

When he found out it was a $525.00 pot and he was the sole winner he was incredulous as well as in shock. He's moving off campus this year into an apartment and needs everything so this windfall is perfect timing. He's always been a lucky kid, things just go his way. There were four of us at the table; Cam won the big money, my sister won 50.00, her friend Liz won 160.00 and I won, wait for it...
Maybe it's because I'm a terrible bingo player. I'm always behind on my numbers and heaven forbid you talk to me while I'm playing. I can't do that and look for numbers at the same time. I need remedial bingo or special people's bingo. Plus it's too stressful. You come so freaking close and then someone else yells, "Bingo" I just want to bitch slap them.

The big winner.
He could not stop smiling and neither could I.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Since I'm a diabetic I drink sugar free drinks. At first I hated them, I loved my Coke but eventually got used to drinking diet. Someone recommended Crystal Light and I found it to be pretty good. I love the peach tea. Kraft Foods is the maker of Crystal Light and they've changed their packaging.
This is the old style, the mix came in a little plastic cup and made 2 quarts of drink.
The new packaging has a more pleasing look to it, more modern and the drink mix is now in a little sleeve rather than that plastic cup. I assume that's better for the environment plus the label slips right off the container making it seem handy for something in my kindergarten class; what I'm not sure. I made my first batch with the new stuff and thought it tasted and looked different. It didn't taste like much at all. Me not being a rocket scientist, didn't look at the directions on the new stuff. Turns out to get the 2 quarts of tea you have to use 2 packets! How crappy is that I ask? Is the price lower on the shelf? Why no its not! Manufacturers have been doing stuff like this for years. Take ice cream for example. Used to be you got a half gallon in the carton but over time that has shrunk down to about 56 oz. but guess what? The price didn't shrink. So you actually get less ice cream for the same price and the manufacturer hopes you don't notice that. Maybe we should pay only half of our taxes and see where that gets us...

Since I seem to be complaining today I'll share this with you. Hubby and I went to Arby's last night for roast beef. I got a large sandwich but hey, I didn't have fries with it. I went to get straws, napkins etc. while he waited for the food. I was shocked to see that my sandwich arrived in this exact container. WTF, how wasteful is that? It had to be in it for less than a minute before I took it out then it ended up in the garbage. I know that isn't good for the environment. Not to mention that it can't be cost effective for the restaurant. Next time I'll ask for paper not plastic.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bizzzy Bees

In the garden today I have blooming black and blue salvia, brown eyed Susans, beard tongue, inpatients, geraniums, honeysuckle, hosta, periwinkle, hydrangea, Stokes' Aster and trumpet vine. You'd think with this banquet the bees would be all over everything. Nope, today they're just loving my dalhias, helenium and cone flowers.

Honey bee on a dahlia.
Bumble bee on the left, honey on the right.
I think these flowers look like they're wearing a colorful Mexican skirt.

They love this plant, helenuim.
I like it too, the center looks like a brain.

Cone flower or scientifically know as echinacea.

Something has been munching on the petals of the flowers this year.
There are 50 species of bumble bee found in North America. Unless you're a queen you only live during the warm season. Near the end of summer the queen starts to lay unfertilized eggs, these hatch into drones. Fertilized eggs are female and become new queens. They mate with the new drones and fly off to find a winter home to hibernate in. The drones and workers that are left then die.

More helenium and honey bee.
Honey bees were introduced to North America by European colonists and eventually made their way to all continents on Earth except Antarctica. They live in a hive and have their own community. The queen lays the eggs, up to 1500 a day. The queen bee can sting repeatedly because she has a smooth curved stinger. The workers are always female and gather nectar and pollen to feed the larva. The worker bees also sting but have a barbed stinger that stays in their victim's flesh. While trying to dislodge their stinger they pull out their internal organs and then die. The drones are male honey bees and have no stingers. They're good for one thing and one thing only; mating with the queen. They are helpless and must be fed by the worker bees. In case you think the drone has it pretty good, he dies immediately after mating with the queen.

This honey bee has been very busy collecting pollen, you can see the pollen basket on her hind legs This variety of helenuim have several colored flowers on it, all golden yellow, all orange, half and half and others with just a border of a different color.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Iced TEA

I very seldom speak about politics, it's a topic I stay away from but I do have MY opinions. Ask my family, I can be passionately opinionated if it's something important to me and I'd like to think I'm respectful of other's opinions and beliefs. One thing I can't deal with is haters like Rush Limbaugh and his minions who follow him. Can't they think for themselves? Oh and while I'm at it I can't stand when a person is so republican or democrat that they cannot see beyond their party's line. R.L. is so closed minded to anything other than republican that he's delusional. How he could defend George W. Bush is beyond me. He walked on water as did his father per Rush. Those men ruined this country and reputation around the world. Let's not forget how he hated EVERYTHING about Bill Clinton. But I'm off topic for today...
The TEA Party:
They've been accused of being racist by the NAACP and if you've followed their movement they've had some pretty racist signs at some rallies. The TEA Party say that they're not racist. Then one of their members, Mark Williams puts out this fictitious, pseudo letter written to Abraham Lincoln from a Precious Ben Jealous, Tom's nephew. Click on the letter to enlarge to read.

Now in my book that's pretty racist and disrespectful right down to the pen name of the writer. I can see why the NAACP would be upset but to quote a well known idiom that's "the pot calling the kettle black". In 1994 the NAACP invited Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a well known racist himself who is anti Semite and a homophobe to speak before a group of distinguished black members. In 1996 Mr. Farrakhan was a winner of the Al-Gadaafi International Prize for Human Rights founded by Muammar al-Gaddafi of Lybia. You may remember a Boeing 747 named Clipper Maid of the Seas, it was blown out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988 by a Lybian with the name of Abdel Basset al-Megrahi. This man was convicted to life in prison but was released by the British and welcomed back to Lybia with open arms by Gaddafi. This isn't the Human Rights prize I'd want to win or anyone I'd want to be associated with.
One last thing; where the hell were all these TEA Party members when Bush was president and running this country into the ground? I'll close with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech given on August 28, 1963 in front of the Lincoln Memorial three months before the assassination of his compatriot JFK.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character".

I believe in...

What goes around,
comes around.
I don't believe that this man should have lost his life for his lack of social conscience but there is something to fate and karma.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Found Dogs

I've had five dogs in my life and have loved every one of them but have I ever told you how we came about finding our current dog Cody? In February of 2002 our beloved 7 year old border collie, Shebly was put down after a quick illness, Autoimmune Anemia that she could not recover from. She was only sick for five days. I swore I would never have another dog. I loved her so much that when her life ended I wanted to be the last person she saw and the last voice she heard. And I was. That was one of the worst days of my life and I don't regret it for a second but that's a whole 'nother story.
After four months of a dogless home I started to soften my reserve regarding another dog. My husband jumped on that moment of weakness and searched the internet hitting upon a local non kill shelter called Scottsville Pet Adoptions. There was a dog on their website that caught his attention and he set out to visit it unbeknown to me. That afternoon he shows up after school and says I want to take you somewhere and show you something. I had a horrible cold and just wanted to go home but nooooo. Now mind you, we had discussed what kind of dog we'd get someday; a female, long hair and no bigger than 25-30 pounds. We go into the shelter and lo and behold he shows me a male dog with long hair weighing well over the 30 pounds we decided on. The only thing that met the criteria was the long hair. I felt so sick I just wanted to get out of there so I said okay. After I felt better I asked myself, what have I done???

Cody is truly a Found Dog. Technically his name was Tangle when we got him but that name wasthe pits so we renamed him Cody. It really wasn't hard to do. Cody had been at the shelter for several months after going though several families and returned. His original owner was an elderly man who had died. His wife couldn't handle him so she brought him to the shelter. A family that had cats adopted him. He liked the cats, they hated him so back he came. The next family to take him had little kids. Cody is a big boy, he weighs 80 pounds and it just so happens that he likes to walk between your legs so you can scratch his hind quarters. Big dog that does that + little kids = little kids constantly being knocked down by big dog. You guessed it, back he came and had been hanging around for several months before we came along. That's why I call him a found dog. I own this book and it's wonderful if you're a dog lover. On a side note, I once had another found dog; Sam was a big yellow dog that was rescued from the Genesee Rive gorge by the Rochester fire department. That story was on the news and in the paper. There was a follow up that no one had claimed him so he was going to be put down. I could not let that happen and that was how he got a third chance at life. We had him less than a year because he was a car chaser. I lived in a rural setting with a long driveway. One day UPS came roaring up the driveway and Sam and the truck, well you can guess what happened. :(

But back to Cody, this is one of my favorite pictures of him. We were camping up at the 1000 Islands at the St. Lawrence River and he had a ball. He looks so happy.

He's one of my favorite photography subjects and is always interested.
While we were in Cape Cod we had him boarded at his vet and I missed him terribly. We picked him up this past Monday and he was a little out of sorts. Maybe be was mad we left him? On Tuesday he was back to his old self policing his domain, the backyard. We have a family of rabbits that come out at dusk and munch on clover and he took off after one of them. The rabbit took a quick left and so did the dog but there was a yelp and then a stock still dog with one back leg in the air. I've had this happen to two previous dogs and knew what it was immediately.

At 9:00 the next morning we had to carry him into the vet on Cam's snowsled because he wouldn't walk. Sure enough he had torn the ACL in his back right knee. Oy Vey. Dr. Hawkins wanted x-rays to confirm the diagnosis and for that to happen he had to be anesthetized. We decided to have his teeth cleaned at the same time since they have to anesthetize for that too. We left him in good hands and went home to wait for his wake up call. Shortly thereafter the vet called to tell us that Cody has a severe infection in one of his back molars. So bad that it has spread down the root and caused some bone deterioration. The tooth had to come out. Finally we could pick him up at 6:40 but when they brought him out to us he was like a limp noodle. He wouldn't stand anyway because of his leg but he was still very groggy from anesthesia. Dr. Hawkins thought it was a good idea to keep him over night so we went home without our baby. He will need surgery to repair his leg and our veterinarian office doesn't do that kind of surgery on large dogs because it's much more extensive. Cody's ACL isn't just torn a little bit, it's totally gone. He has a consultation with an orthopedic veterinary surgeon on Wednesday. Now let's do the math here. Before he could be boarded he needed a check up and some shots to bring him up to date $190.00 then his actual boarding fee of almost $300. next we have his x-rays, teeth cleaning, oral surgery, meds and blood work, $705.00. We're up to about $1,200.00 and he still has to have the surgery and aftercare. I have a ball park figure for that but I'll hold that from you until I know for sure.
A few people at my hubby's workplace were astounded (as we were) and said, "but he's just a dog, why spend that kind of money."
He's not just a dog; he's my found dog
that has been a member of our family for 8 years.
I love him to pieces.
If you're a lover of dogs you will understand.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

I LOVE Cape Cod

Have you ever been to Cape Cod? Do you know where it is? Cape Cod is part of the state of Massachusetts and looks like an arm extending out into the Atlantic Ocean. Think of it as an arm making a muscle. The upper "arm" is the upper Cape, the lower "arm" the lower Cape and then at the very end is the fist. This is where Provincetown is located and is actually where the pilgrims landed when they sailed over on the Mayflower. They lived there for about a year and decided that it was too inhospitable out there and moved to Plymouth. Poor P-Town is the Rodney Dangerfield of history, it gets no respect.

I've been to Cape Cod at least 20 times and love it every time. There is something so extremely relaxing about the ocean. I could sit on the beach all day unless it's very hot. I was there the past week and it was wonderful. We rented a house in Easthan with my sister, her husband, my niece, nephew and my parents. The first few days were hot and humid but sunny and the rest of the week was perfect, no humidity, a nice breeze and the sun, everyday we had sun.

This is our lighthouse. We call it that because for many years we camped in North Truro about a half mile from the lighthouse. We could see the light at night in the tree tops. Really it's the Highland Light, sometimes called the Cape Cod light and the oldest lighthouse on Cape Cod.
In 1995 it was moved back from it's previous location due to dune erosion. This view facing the ocean.

And here it is when you walk up to it. I love the glow from the setting sun.

We went to the beach 5 of the 7 days. This year we spent out beach time at Nauset Light Beach in Eastham, part of the National Seashore. In 1961 President Kennedy passed a bill making 43,000 acres of Cape Cod beaches a park to "preserve the natural and historic values of Cape Cod for the inspiration and enjoyment of the people all over the United States". What a smart thing to do. So much of the coast line in the country have private residences and hotels built upon them shutting out the common folk.

We always go to the ocean beaches of the Cape. There are sand dunes and the water is a little rougher, hence bigger waves. The bay side has no dunes, is calmer, warmer and you can find shells. If you find shells on the ocean side they're usually broken from the waves. You'd think I'd like the bay side better but it doesn't feel like the ocean.

Some people go to the beach to girl watch, some to check out the hunky guys, me I go to watch the little ones. They have so much fun chasing the waves, digging holes and trying to build sandcastles. It reminds me of when my own boys were little on the beach. They never wanted to leave although the first time my oldest went (at 10 months old) he wouldn't go off the beach towel, didn't like the sand on his little hands and feet.


Long Point Lighthouse is located at the very end of Cape Cod.
You can see the tip of it curling around.

This is Nauset Light Beach from the top of the sand dune.
You must stay off of the dunes because of erosion plus they're unstable.

The best time of day to go to the beach as far as I'm concerned is early morning. Each day we arrived between 7:30-8:00. We had breakfast on the beach and you had the whole place to yourself plus it's a little cooler. After 4 or 5 hours we were ready to go when it starts to get crowded.

I was surprised that this beach allowed dogs. Others I've been to do not. I don't mind the dogs but this couple let their dog take take care of business right at the water's edge (the tide was going out) and kept on walking, didn't clean it up. My mother took a beach shovel, put the poo in a bag and my son walked it down to them. He said, "you forgot something on the beach back there" and handed it over. They said they forgot a bag. I don't believe that for a second. If you walk your dog a lot and even bring him to the beach it should be automatic to bring a bag or two.