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.

Monday, October 04, 2010


I have been struggling with a kidney infection for the past 3 1/2 weeks. Well I didn't know it was a kidney issue until late last week. Let me tell you if you ever have kidney symptoms get to a doctor before it gets really bad.

Like I said I started symptoms weeks ago but didn't realize what it was. My back started to ache but I thought it was just because I was back to school, on my feet a lot and wearing heels instead of sneakers like the whole summer. I also noticed that I had to pee more often but chalked that up to drinking more in school because there's no AC and it was HOT. No pain either. The days go by and my back is getting worse. What could I have done to it? I must have twisted it somehow. I started not being able to sleep because I couldn't get comfortable with the pain. Last week I started feeling nauseous it hurt so much. Finally Thursday; pain when I peed. TMI I know. Hubby called the doctor because I was on a field trip to the fire station with the kindergartners. While there I said no thanks, I didn't want to go up in the bucket of the ladder truck. Another way I knew it was bad. After lunch I knew I'd never make it on another bus ride for our afternoon class's trip to the fire station so I went home. The doctor called in a prescription and I'm slowly on the mend. It didn't help that I had a very busy weekend and couldn't stay quiet and let my kidney rest, I had a birthday party Saturday and Sunday my dad landed in the hospital again for the second time in three weeks. Today I'm home from school.
By last Friday it was all I could do not to cry. By the end of the day I could barely breathe or move because of the pain. I have a pretty high pain tolerance and this was worse than labor. I almost went to emergency but waited for the cipro to start working.

Do not let this happen to you.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

October 2

Happy Birthday to my beautiful mom!

Friday, October 01, 2010

This could be your child

This is Tyler Clementi, a talented and gifted young man. He's dead now having jumped from the George Washington Bridge in New York City. In August his parents who loved and nurtured him for 18 years said good bye and sent him off to his freshman year at Rutgers University.

It was there where he met his roommate ,Dharun Ravi. For some sick reason Mr. Ravi hooked up a webcam to spy on Clementi. On Sept. 19 he got what he was looking for. Tyler was in his room kissing a man. Ravi twittered to his friends to watch stating that Tyler was "making out with a dude." September 21 he found the webcam aimed at his bed. Despondent, humiliated and possibly shamed Tyler jumped to his death.
Molly Wei and Ravi are childhood friends and were in the same dorm together at Rutgers. He involved her in this but of course it was of her own free will and she did nothing to stop it.

This story deeply saddens and angers me. I don't understand how people can treat others this way just because they're different from themselves. Your sexual orientation is no one's business. Some people so close minded or self righteous that it makes me sick. Did Mr. Ravi have a problem with gay people or did he think playing with Tyler was funny. I've got to believe that he never thought this would happen but I do believe he should be punished. How, I don't know. Is this a hate crime? I don't know. What I do know is that Tyler Clementi was a young man but really still a boy, just 18. He had his whole life ahead of him. His parents will never know what their son will have achieved in his life, what contributions he would have made to society. That potential is gone. People need to wake up and be tolerant of each other. This could be your child.
Joe and Jane Clementi issued this statement, "regardless of legal outcomes, our hope is that our family's personal tragedy will serve as a call for compassion, empathy and human dignity."

This could be your child.