About Me

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Pennsylvania, United States
What changes hath time wrought...mostly a different hair-color, a few wrinkles and loss of short-term memory.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

things that bug me

There have been so many things I would like to blog about but haven't been able to force myself to sit down and do it. So I'm resorting to a list. This is sometimes harder than actually writing in essay form. My friend and I tried to keep in touch by emailing news in headline form. Here are some samples from my 1/22/07 email. (Yes, I keep my sent emails!)


Plus, once I sit down I've forgotten all those things that irk me. But along those lines I must say that I'm learning from the things that bother me. For example I sent an email survey out to a group of people (no one on my regular email contact list!) and it was ONE question and very easy to answer. Out of 14 replies I had 2 that were snippy. I was a little miffed about it but decided that was something I might have done during a hard day at work. So now I have to forgiiiivvveee those people and make sure I never do that to someone else. I guess it's kind of my "pay it forward." My husband gets very angry when people pull out in front of him. He makes all sorts of ridiculous threats. I know I've pulled out when I shouldn't have and it wasn't a personal attack on the other driver! What I'm trying to say is I understand we ALL do things that are irritating. I'm just making a list for therapeutic purposes.

1. People who complain that groups/individuals who make unorthodox statements should be silenced for being Un-American!!! (I could go on and on about Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly!)

2. And mentioning Rush Limbaugh. He was one of Barbara Walters most fascinating persons of 2008. I didn't watch the whole show but did catch this snippet: Limbaugh's salary as a radio personality is in the millions! I think she even mentioned $100 million!!!!!!! Howard Stern is another personality that puzzles me! I tried to watch his show a few times when it was on E!, but I found it to be unwatchable! This is another example of things that irk me. How on earth would these men ever warrant that amount of pay! I feel the same way about sports figures, entertainers, and public figures! If there is that much money to pay the few then it needs to be divvied out more equitably!

3. It bugs me when my computer screen shows one thing but when I print or publish it LOOKS DIFFERENT! It's happening NOW!

4. I can't stand it when there are misspellings in our newspaper. You can find them daily in our local paper. In an obit the other day the word was supposed to be "spirit" the newspaper printed "spitit." Honestly. (Our paper goofs the headlines even! Sometimes the same article appears twice in the same paper.) Along those same lines I can't stand it when things come home from school and there are obvious misspellings in these notes for parents!

5. Mentioning our local paper, I cannot stand the fact that all important world events are relegated to a short blurby paragraph! The Mumbai attack was a total of 7 sentences while the big story was something about our health that you would read in Woman's Day!

6. Why did it take so long for someone in the news media (because I was watching the story as it was happening on CNN) to mention that Mumbai used to be Bombay! I finally read it in our Erie Sunday Times paper. I wondered why I'd never heard of this city of 19 MILLION people!

7. Restaurants who occasionally slip out substandard food. I ate at Wendy's on Fri. and ordered a Southwest Taco Salad. They did not have the special dressing that went with it so I just used Ranch. Good gravy I was half done and my salad was more like soup! I don't know if they'd run the dish through a spray for good measure or what. It was really disgusting. The weirdest thing was the time I ran down to Arby's to pick up dinner and I went in and they told me they were out of ROAST BEEF! I said, "Are you serious? You're ARBY'S!" I turned and left.

8. Someone is attempting to prevent fast food restaurants from airing advertisements to prevent obesity. Maybe it's me but I don't eat because of what I see on TV. I eat because of what I see in my kitchen. And I don't keep a lot of McStuff in there. This irks me the way that anyone who refuses to take responsibility for their own welfare and actions irritates me.

9. I saw a preview for a new show called Momma's Boys (?). It's three handsome men AND THEIR MOTHERS shopping for a mate. What kind of terrible self-esteem must you have to allow yourself to be exploited in such an embarrassing manner?!?!? I mean that for all involved! Are there that many desperate young women out there who are so shallow being on TV is their only goal? Yikes. Unfortunately there must be an audience for these shows. They keep coming out with them.

10. Speaking of embarrassing, Hugh Hefner. (You can tell I watch E!) The man is an octogenarian and seems to think he's hip. And the women make me so mad! Why would you strive to be a playmate? What, exactly, does it get you? Maybe a date/husband. But you must always wonder will they be around when the goods start to spoil? Those "Girls Next Door" are the MOST annoying. The one that mentioned parents with their little girls mobbing them to get autographs because she's a role model!!!!! And I think she was the one that practiced popping out of a cake in the buff IN FRONT OF HER PARENTS!!! It's all sad.

Well, I've spent a lot more time on my catharsis than I intended to. That's the reason I don't sit down to write too often. Although it's not like I'm going to do anything else at this time of night. Tim and I were up last night shopping online at 2:35am. He purchased my Christmas present: A GPS system with a BACKUP CAMERA! (See first "headline" in email at beginning of blog.)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Political Rant

Sometimes I wake up at night to worry about things I have absolutely no control over. And I have no control over the worrying part, either. In the past few weeks the 700 billion dollar bailout has kept me concerned about my dad's retirement accounts and Tim and my own 401Ks. I'm afraid to open the statement from Fidelity. I felt better when the bailout bill passed. Surely, if our legislative branch felt this was the way to save us from a repeat of the Great Depression then we should do it. Since then I see our bank, National City, is floundering and may be bought. AND I read today they're not sure the bailout will save Wall Street! Anyway, I think my fear of a Great Depression has me thinking of the parallels in our society today compared to that period of our history.

In The Derrick today was an article about Sarah Palin's inflammatory speeches. She has repeatedly made a link between Obama pal-ing around with a domestic terrorist (from the 60s). People at these rallies are being stoked into a rage about Obama. Here are some things that have been shouted by the crowds, "traitor"; "terrorist"; "treason"; "liar"; "off with his head". I think the last one made me wake up and see the potential danger we are in as a country. In a quaint European country called, Germany, another inflammatory speaker aroused the ire of his countryman by blaming his country's ills on a group of people about 70 years ago. Germany was still trying to recover from an unsuccessful war and their economy was terribly weak. This charismatic speaker was able to convince MILLIONS of people that Germany could once again be a great and powerful nation. He, of course, became the dictator responsible for millions of lives lost from many countries throughout the course of World War 2.

I do not think Sarah Palin is another Adolf Hitler. I don't think she is that smart. BUT the people who are running the show for the Republicans are putting her face on their ideology. I'm going to quantify a moment: I REALLY like John McCain. I think he is a man of honor and experience and had planned to vote for him. I'm registered as a non-partisan voter. But the more I read about Palin's background, lack-thereof and her interviews and speeches I can only surmise she is simply a pretty face/empty slate who can be controlled by those in her political party who have agendas they want to achieve. (If McCain should pass on.) I've read some on-the street interviews and there are women who think Palin is just like them: female; working mom; idiot husband. (I'm not referring to any husbands I know.) Honestly, she is not the one to break the gender barrier to the White House!!! When asked by Katie Couric to name magazines/periodicals she reads to keep up with world affairs Palin could not name one! Instead she said, "everything"!!!!! Whatever they put in front of her. She may read it but it's not sticking to the gray matter. It's like bringing one of "The Girls Next Door" to a high school assembly to talk about career opportunities!!!!! Please don't let Sarah Palin destroy what so many wonderful, intelligent, determined women have done so women have more rights and opportunities. I swear Palin was selected by the Entertainment industry moguls as 4 years of fodder for comedy sketch shows and comedians!

I'm still not done: One of Palin's speeches said Obama sees America as imperfect/ differently from the way you and I see it. I would love to know the yokels she is referring to when she says "you". OF COURSE AMERICA IS IMPERFECT! WE JUST SPENT $700 BILLION TRYING TO SAVE OUR ECONOMY. WE HAVE BEEN IN AN UNWINNABLE WAR FOR YEARS WITH NO END IN SIGHT. HALF THE COUNTRY HAS NO HEALTH INSURANCE. UNEMPLOYMENT CONTINUES TO RISE. I want to know WHO thinks this country is perfect! I love America but it definitely needs some repairs.

It's been said that Palin was brought in to pull in the evangelical vote. I'm not sure who or what the "evangelical vote" is, but if they are the people attending her rallies, I hope they get so fired up they forget to register. I'm going to get really radical here: If evangelicals are the ones who see America as perfect with no wrongs to correct then they are the "Islamics" of our country. The Islamic terrorists see no evil in bombing and killing innocent people. They do heinous things to their enemies and their own people. They believe in the infallibility of their leader/s and an extreme version of their religion. I'm afraid there is a core group of people in our country who are so fixated on the view America is right in whatever America does. Here's the kicker; to them America is only a country of people like them. To them minorities are the illegal immigrants of past generations. All our country's ills are blamed on them. I really think a large block of Americans can't see the WHOLE picture and want a government that caters only to them. Again, I'm seeing a parallel to that European country mentioned earlier!
People who shout"off with his head" and are not renounced immediately display a level of hate that, until now, has been kept status quo. I plan to vote for Obama. There is no other option for me. I don't think he is ready and I think there are Americans who are not ready for a black president. I fear for his life and that of his family if he is elected. It takes some brave people to make the presidency their life's quest. I wish instead of shouting racial epitaphs or incendiary remarks people would shout out some ideas for making our government a better system. That would be helpful. The former is just plain scary.

Now for another metaphor: I took the photo of Hunley and Jackson this morning. And as I was contemplating my "parallels" that picture made me think of my life and a lot of middle-class folk like us. We are the hamster in the cage. We have everything we need. Every so often we get out and take a walk to see new things. The way other people live. Sometimes we have events that stress us out. Or toxic bedding that makes us sick. But we recover and plow on doing what needs to be done to maintain our lovely way of life. But wait, there is evil waiting to swallow us whole. It's there, watching. Patiently waiting. Who is the cat? The government? The evangelicals? The suffering lower class? I feel like I should do something to protect myself but what could I do? Pet the cat and make sure he is fed so he doesn't try to eat me. What if I run out of food? HMMM what's that a metaphor for?

Am I using "metaphor" correctly? I just looked it up at dictionary.com and am still not positive.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Good Eats

(Try and find two eggplants in the photo.)

I read somewhere that as we age our taste buds become less sensitive. As a kid I would've stuck a salamander up my nose before eating brussels sprouts. Yet, I had brussels sprouts at a China Buffet recently and loved them. I think about that as my children make the 'I'm going to vomit face' when presented with a vegetable. (I remember making that face as a kid.) And hope at least one of them develops my passion for veggies. I say "one of them" because my husband's taste buds must still be sensitive because he won't eat most of the veggies I've come to relish.

And speaking of relish, a friend introduced me to Refrigerator Pickles. They are fantastic! And very simple to make. Cucumbers, vinegar, sugar (Splenda), and spices combined to make an eat- alone delight.

I've also discovered the Joy of Banana Peppers. I had an abundant yield from my garden this year and put them on anything and everything...subs, pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, turkey wrap sandwiches, eggs, hot dogs, salads (of course). Banana peppers on pizza is just divine.

And in the divine category-I had a small crop of eggplant this year. I made eggplant parmesan and thought it was the best meal I ever made. I was already to make this a staple on our monthly menu when I looked up the nutritional value of eggplant: ZILCH. I have a book, Reader's Digest Foods that Harm/ Foods that Heal An A-Z Guide to Safe and Healthy Eating, and it says eggplant has no mentionable nutritional value! What a rip!!! And cucumbers are 95% water! But my book says they (cucumbers) are a good source of fiber. And banana peppers are the best of all three, "Ounce for ounce, peppers are a better source of vitamin C than citrus fruits."

And speaking of citrus fruits, pineapple has become our fruit of choice! This is the first year I've ever purchased a whole pineapple. I think it's odd, now, that in 43 years I've never purchased a fresh one. I always thought they were too hard to cut. They're not. And once I start eating those juicy chunks I can't stop! And it's the one food we ALL consume.

I want to mention my title for this blog: It's the name of a show on the Food Network hosted by Alton Brown. I REALLY like this show. It gives great cooking info and background on foods. Of course I can't remember the details when I finally purchase a food that was highlighted on the show. I've never tried to find episodes online. When I have more time I may do that. But it is a good show.
These little guys were at the China Buffet I mentioned in the first paragraph. My friend had a ziploc bag so they came home to greet Sarah and Jacob. I had tried eating them at an earlier visit and found them just repulsive. I wasn't even sure exactly WHAT to eat. I really wanted to sneak them to a friend's pond, but they smelled so bad after a day I just couldn't do that to them.

Finally, I recently finished Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth. It takes place in the 11th-12th century in England. Talk about Terrible Eats. They would boil water and add turnips and some herbs and spices and that was a meal. Yikes. I can't imagine any children being picky eaters. You ate what was served or starved!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Feeling Self-Satisfied

It's funny how doing something successfully on a computer can make you feel so self-satisfied. I just spent the last 45 minutes determined to add a visitor counter to my blog. I had to visit a different website to "copy" the code for a counter and THEN had to figure out where to put it on my blog site. Honestly, determination always triumphs. I kept getting an error message but when I finally decided to READ the message I tried a few simple tweaks and low an behold I have a lovely counter at the bottom of my blog.

Now to some important stuff: I had my 3-year old son to the doctor on Tues because he hasn't eaten any solid food for 6 days now. He has an instant breakfast in the morning and two Pediasure drinks during the day and that is it. He told the doctor he had a stomachache and when they listened to his belly they did hear some grumbling indicating some intestinal disturbance. We (Tim & I) thought it was a dental problem because for three days, he'd try and chew his food and spit it out! And this is stuff he loves: cookies, StarBursts, and other goodies. I did make some pudding which he will pick at. He insists he is not hungry, but will ask for something (like gummies) put one in his mouth and spit it back out. He will open the door to the refrigerator and just look longingly for something acceptable to put in his mouth. (The doctor did not see anything unusual in his mouth indicating a cavity or other tooth problem.) I think Jake has a strange-looking white tongue. I Googled white tongue. It is a sign of thrush- which I guess is always possible. The doctor felt he may be recovering from hand-foot-and mouth disease. There are so many possible symptoms for H-F-M disease everyone must be suffering from it! BUT Jake doesn't seem to be slowed by his lack of nourishment. I just don't know how long he can survive on liquids! It's a conundrum.

I attended my 25th class reunion this past weekend. It will definitely be a blog, but not until I've had enough time to let it make several laps around my cerebrum. I DID have a very enjoyable time.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Long Time No Post

I've thought of a number of things I'd like to "blog" about but of course when I sit down to do it I can't remember! So this may be a bit jumpy and scattered.

First, friends of mine were recently told they would be given a hot tub. They are the same age as me and I couldn't stop thinking about the SNL Eddie Murphy/James Brown hot tub sketch. My friend did NOT remember this bit. And I couldn't remember how it went. I was sure part of the song Murphy sang included the words he...' can't get in the hot tub 'cause my butt's too big.' Another friend suggested I Google Eddie Murphy/James Brown hot tub sketch. I found the video. Click on link listed here to reminisce. I was wrong about the lyrics, but I think I remember making those lyrics up with a friend. I don't think I could get in a hot tub with out that tune constantly floating on my brain waves.

Second, about a week ago it occurred to me I hadn't had a good belly laugh for a long time. Well, at a recent graduation party we were sitting at a long table under a canopy. There were about 4 tables with chairs on both sides. Now, we had had some good rain and I'm not sure how dry the ground was because the host had put some shims under the table legs. Fortunately the same could not be done for the chairs. The people sitting on my side of the table, the HIGH side seemed to be towering over the people across from us. But none so much as one man, sitting with his neck level with the tabletop, eating nonchalantly. I don't know if his chair legs had sunk into the wet ground or he had extra shims on his side of the table. Honestly, it was the funniest thing I'd witnessed in a long time. Then, watching old episodes of America's Funniest Videos (AFV), I saw the funniest video: a woman would lock a door when her boyfriend/husband would be entering and she would make him dance before she would unlock the door. She did it four times, twice in a car! That was hilarious but it was funny because the guy was sooooooo good-natured and he would do a little dance and laugh! It won the big money. I'm going to try the find the link to that video. (No luck with that.)

I had a successful Yard Sale last Saturday (June 21). Go to www.yegsyardsale.bravehost.com to view my sale items. The cost of a Classified Ad is ridiculous and the more words the more expensive the ad. We sold almost all the baby furniture in Jacob's room. Tim thought I should've asked for more, and he's probably right. BUT we had to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Jacob will get all of Sarah's furniture and Sarah is getting a new, white, girlie, set. And that is scheduled for delivery July 9. Currently he (and Sarah) are sleeping, quite happily, on an air mattress in Jacob's room. We hope to move the bed to his room tomorrow. We have to clear Sarah's room because we are also replacing her awful burnt-orange shag carpet and that will hopefully be done July 8!

I recently read The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I really enjoyed it until the end. I would LOVE to know if anyone else read this and felt the same way. Even though the narrator was telling the story from heaven it read like a realistic fiction book until near the end when it turned into fantasy!!!!! The books most disturbing action takes place in Chapter 1 and you know who the perp is. The story is more about how a family deals with the loss of a child. I appreciate books like this. It makes you more empathetic with people who experience unbelievable tragedy. I'm afraid if my daughter disappeared I would end up in an asylum. I don't know how I could possibly cope with the loss! I feel similarly about the deaths of soldiers. It just seems arbitrary: who could be next?!?!? Entertainment Weekly named The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold as a Modern Classic.

I'm also a bit excited because I read an article about Angelina Jolie and she is supposed to be starring in an upcoming adaptation of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. That book and The Fountainhead are two of my all-time favorite books. And Jolie would be perfect as the main female character in either book! I've never seen The Fountainhead movie with Patricia Neal. I should see if it's available on Netflix. (I've never used this but I might need to start.)

Please feel free to add suggestions to: You Know You're Getting Old... I think of more of them when I'm not trying to!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sex and the City of Cranford

We saw the Sex and the City movie Saturday and I must say it was very enjoyable. I wasn't a huge fan of the series, but I did watch almost every episode on TBS or TNT (I can't remember which) when they first came out in syndication. I'm not sure I watched them in chronological order. I have a terrible time remembering to watch TV shows. The later they are on the better, i.e. after kids are asleep I'm more likely to watch a show. Especially if I can watch them while in bed. About the movie- it was laugh-out-loud funny and sniffle-inducing. It satisfyingly ended the lives of these four girls or at least Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte. No, they did not die. Honestly, I don't need to know anymore about what goes on in their lives. If another SATC movie comes out I don't think I would rush to see it. I could spend another hour writing my opinion of the lives/loves/inanity of these 4 females, but I will save it. BECAUSE I have to recommend a Masterpiece Theater offering called Cranford. I think it is Sex and the City in 1800s England. I was just watching/listening to it as I was taking pictures for my Yard Sale website. I watched Cranford on PBS about a month ago and immediately ordered the DVD from them. It just arrived this past Friday. It is laugh-out-loud funny and sniffle-inducing. The men in this show are purely secondary. And I just caught the part where a cat ate some one's lace they were soaking in some concoction. Lace must have been a luxury at this time. So they rushed the cat somewhere to get a laxative. Then held the puss in a big boot and waited for .... it to come out. As gross as this sounds, it's just hilarious. I had to pause the movie there to write this. A similar occurrence happened in the SATC movie. But not to a pet. In fact, they could've used the same sound effects!

If you like Pride and Prejudice and /or Sense and Sensibility and Sex and the City you would LOVE Cranford!!! It's a show you can watch over and over and never get bored.

I have to mention the new swimming pool in Oil City that opened this weekend amid 90 degree temps and high humidity. The kids and I made it there Saturday at 4:45 and it was still packed. We stayed until it closed at 6pm. It really is a wonderful recreation area/pool. Both Sarah and Jake had a great time and couldn't wait to go back today, Sunday. Tim went with us. It makes it much easier to have him stay with Jacob and me tail Sarah! Sarah's classmates are there and she disappears quite quickly. Fortunately she is tall enough for most parts of the pool and it has a 0-depth entry. There are fountains and an area like a water park. There are 2 slides: one short/low one and one long/tall one. Sarah went down the short one and didn't realize she wouldn't be able to touch the bottom once in the water. The lifeguard had to go in after her. I was about 2 seconds behind the guard. She had swim lessons in May and thinks she is a much better swimmer than she is. She did not go back to the slide. And I stayed very close to her from then on. She starts swimming lessons again in a week.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wildlife Too Close For Comfort

As I have previously mentioned my aversion to chipmunks this update is quite disturbing.

While toting my tender plants from the garage one chilly morning I saw a wily chipmunk zip into the garage. It went under Tim's car and I wasn't sure how I would grab it. I wasn't particularly concerned because I had more plants to bring out and felt the varmint would find its way back out.

But I did NOT factor in Jacob coming out of the house through the door that connects to our garage. OR the fact that he often leaves said door open. I continued to work and assumed the chipmunk had made its way back out. I closed the garage door and found the inner door open. Now, why would the chipmunk come in here? There aren't any nuts lying about or mounds of dirt in which to burrow holes, or delicate buds to nibble. Well, the next day I went downstairs to get something and I heard it- the chirping of the chipmunk- loud and clear. I did not see it. I had things to do and places to go and figured I'd get rid of it later. I did not warn my husband about our unwanted houseguest. The next day Jacob was jammering on about something and Tim went downstairs to check on it. I was on my way out to a lunch date. Tim called me down. Yes, I said, I knew he was there. Tim was just livid and seemed to think I'd purposely let that scoundrel in the house! The thing was just lying between Tim's weight bench and treadmill. Obviously, he wasn't a healthy creature. I told Tim to put something, a plastic bowl, over him and then slide a piece of cardboard under him and dispose of him. Which is what he did, I learned when I arrived home. Tim said one of our cats must've gotten him because he was leaking clear fluid. Honestly, from the cats point of view, they must've thought they'd gotten the perfect present. A "mouse" that never stops moving! It was probably exhausted when Tim and Jacob found him.

We have baby robins! Two summers ago they made a nest under our deck. This summer they made their nest in a rhododendron bush in front of our house and right below Sarah's bedroom window! Since the leaves have come in completely (and the bushes are blooming) that place is no longer a good spot to spy on them. These pictures were taken by simply holding my camera above the nest and hoping for the best. Today we can see the babies and when we first approached they would stretch their necks and open their beaks. Isn't it amazing how different they will look in a few short months?!? I spotted our first hummingbird today buzzing around my pink dahlias. Almost every plant I bought this year was to attract butterflies or hummingbirds.

After the marble-sized hail the sun came out today and we went out to play and garden. We found the cutest toad. It had such a pointed nose. I don't remember the other ones we've seen looking like this one. We also (Sarah) spotted a baby milk snake basking in the sun on our front sidewalk. There's just something thrilling and revolting at the same time when first coming upon a snake!

Tomorrow looks like another good day for outdoor activity. Who knows what creatures we'll commune with? My friend has had a bear as a regular guest and she just lives a little less than a mile up the hill from me!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Wildlife and Challenging Scientific Principles

What a great Memorial Day weekend! Sarah and I hit Kraynaks Garden Center in Sharon for all our plant needs on Saturday. It was the warmest, sunniest day we've had for a while. Sarah was very good- mainly because she knew a new Webkinz was in her future. Anyway, Sarah has just been preoccupied with swamps recently. I'm not sure if it was a book/s she's heard or the Shrek movies, or both. On the way to Sharon she asked if we could stop at a swamp. There are a lot of wetlands on the way to Sharon and we DID find a swamp and it even had a pull-off/parking area. It's a state game land. We really needed boots to make the trip around the swamp. As it were our sandals were no match for what was under our feet- GOOSE POOP EVERYWHERE! Fortunately the flock must've been there awhile ago- it wasn't too squishy. So it was a worthwhile trip for Sarah- a swamp visit, a chihuahua Webkinz, and plants. She really enjoys helping me with gardening.

Today and yesterday we worked to prepare our gardens. Today we found an abundance of wildlife. First, Sarah caught a toad. Then I found a brown salamander. It looked like an earthworm with legs. Then while thinning out some hostas I saw the first garter snake of the season. Now that I write those things together... that snake better not have snacked on the toad! And chipmunks galore. They are so bad around our house. They make huge holes in our gardens and are quite impertinent. They don't even run when we come out anymore! Although, I have to admit, I enjoy watching them chase each other through the dried leaves, Chip and Dale-like.

Now, on to new matters. I just finished an article in the June 2008 issue of Discover. It's called Peter's Principals. And it reminds me of another thing that annoys the heck out of me: close-mindedness It's about a man, Peter Duesburg, who was a pioneer in cancer research in the 60s-70s. In short he was part of the team that first mapped the genetic structure of retroviruses and co discoverer of the first viral cancer gene in 1970. Pretty smart guy. In the 80s he wrote a paper challenging the prevailing theory that HIV was the cause of AIDS. (A side note: I read a book called And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts in the 90s. It's an amazing story about how the disease was ignored, misinterpreted, and used as a tool for furthering careers and fame! So THIS article seems almost anticlimatic, but very interesting! I also recently read a biography of Albert Einstein- Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson. I mention this because Einstein, a pretty smart guy, toppled what was believed to be some laws of physics. ) Because of Duesburg's insistence at being the devil's advocate for a different theory of causes of cancer he has lost major support for his work! HERE IS MY POINT: Didn't we learn anything from Albert Einstein that what we THINK is the truth/answer isn't always right. Now, I don't know enough about this gentlemen to know if he merits government support. BUT the fact that his contemporaries have labeled him a charlatan is quite depressing. I would think highly intelligent people would KNOW that a new way of looking at a situation just may be the ticket to solving a long-standing problem. John Kanzius from Erie invented a machine using sound (I think- or it may be radio) waves to dissolve cancerous tumors. And it is currently being tested in clinical trials at a Texas hospital! And he was no medical man. He was the general manager at a TV station in Erie!!! I understand standing up for your own studies, research and theories. But I truly think a little more open-mindedness in ALL aspects of life would do everyone some good. I'll jump off my soap box now.
The End.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Odds and Big Ends

First- I must say I'm a bit disappointed in the results of my survey question. I don't know why it just bugs me when clothes are inside-out. I take my clothes off so they are right-side out. No extra effort necessary. My next survey question will be about chores. I'm still trying to figure out how to word it.

Second- I gave the wrong web address for PBS Kids. It's pbskidsgo.org My two and a half year old can even play Sesame Street games. I really like the cookie monster game. There's just something delightfully silly about that blue carpet puppet devouring "cookies" and crumbs flying all around.

Third- It's bathing suit time of year. As we have a brand new public pool opening this year we plan on living there. So, a good bathing suit was a must. We had gotten a Land's End catalog in the mail and I'd put it in our newspaper rack to look at when I had more time. Well, the garbage went out and so did that catalog! Now, we have Parade magazines from years ago. And a LLBean Christmas catalog still in the rack. But, no, the new Land's End went out. As you can tell I do not do the newspapers on garbage night. (It WAS unusual for me to want a catalog. I don't usually buy clothes from them. I just did NOT want to take Jacob with me to try on bathing suits. ) This turned out to be a GOOD thing. If you're looking for a suit, go to Land's End online. You fill out a questionnaire and a model appears based on your answers. You can then try every bathing suit on this model of yourself and it turns around completely so you can see all angles! That led me to this depressing discovery: Yikes! I'm old and pudgy!!!
I wanted something to camouflage my protruding abdomen. I found one I liked. It reminds me of an old lady swim suit. When it arrived (quite quickly I might add) I tried it on and shoved it in my drawer. It fits right. It's just my body that's not right. I'd been a contented size 8 from 1983-2003. Of course, I'm not so depressed I'm dieting. It's still a shock when you see yourself as someone different than who you imagined you were. But on to happier musings...

I have to put in new septic system at my dad's house. I suppose this is knowledge I can one day use again. My biggest surprise was there is a Sewage Enforcement Officer. Honestly. And he does not wear a rubber suit, boots and gloves with a big rubber nose plug like I expected. Hopefully once the septic system is installed the house will be sold! That will be a big relief.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Again, I wasn't going to blog today. Nothing much happened. Good Yoga class this evening. BUT...
I just went to Parade.com to vote whether our tax dollars should continue to support Public Broadcasting and I was astounded by the overwhelming number of people who voted NO!!!!! You can read the article at the website mentioned. But, in a nutshell, $400 million has been the budgeted amount for PBS. This administration wants to HALVE that amount!!! I went to vote that I thought the government SHOULD spend money on public broadcasting. Here is the tally so far: 3,138 voters agree with me: we should support public TV
10,096 voters think it should NOT be supported!!!

PBS is the only channel I let my kids watch when I am not in the room. (PBSkids.com is a great website, too.) And the reason is... there are no ads. The ads that are shown on other stations, including, Nick and Disney are horrendous. At one point TV was free. We had an antenna growing up- no cable. I consider that "free." But now advertisers are dictating what we watch on everything BUT public TV. Regular TV must use the advertising money to pay the ungodly salaries of the celebrities, studio heads, and on down. (I'm sure there ARE people in show business who work hard and do not get extravagant wages.) I feel I'm being manipulated by news shows, too. We are being told WHO are celebrities, WHAT is fashionable, WHAT someone said is important, even though anyone with a brain knows Paris Hilton is NOT a celebrity. Those tight tops and hip-huggers are a fashion NO-NO if you have a muffin top body. And who cares what Obama's or McCain's reverend said??????? There is currently no cabinet position for Secretary of the Interior Soul ( or Secretary to God).

The ever-increasing demand for higher-and -higher paychecks is going to completely topple the entertainment industry. Which MAY be a good thing. Who can afford to go to the movies??!!! Our cable-TV rates are outrageous and we only watch a few channels! Advertisers want to reach those with extra money to spend. Most of the shows are about the middle class and up! This could be the cause of a war between the classes! Maybe I exaggerate. I agree the government does not need to have its hand in every single industry. I do think the government has an obligation to offer programming/entertainment that can be honest and un-sexy and nonviolent because it is not relying on meeting a certain demographic or selling a product. The government has taken an apparent hands-off approach to the current entertainment industry and that's probably the right thing. That's democratic. BUT, just like prayer in schools, everyone should have a CHOICE.
And we need to have the option to watch TV shows that are free, in cost and content. ( I know PBS is not "free." We always donate money whenever they have a fund drive.)

I'm not a NPR/PBS fanatic. But I could go off on TV programming. Specifically, I find a show that I like and then the following week it's on a different day or time and I never see it again!!!!! Then I read it's cancelled in Entertainment Weekly magazine. Yes, I subscribe to this mag. And I enjoy it even though I don't always know who they're talking about!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Zoo Friday

I missed a blog day but with good reason-exhaustion. Since Sarah did not have school yesterday we took a trip to the Erie Zoo and visited my sister and dad, who live in Erie. We hit the road by 8:45am and made it to the zoo by 10:15. There were about 8 cars in the parking lot and I was a bit nervous the zoo didn't open until noon, or something. But it WAS open and we had a very nice three hour tour, ending with a train ride. My big surprise came when the tiger exhibits were blocked off and we had to take a special detour to see the warthogs. I had just been telling the kids I thought the warthogs were about the ugliest animals I'd ever seen. And as always when I make those kinds of declarations I had to eat my words. Here they are- looking so cute! Look at their front legs! They look like little pussycats!

After the zoo we picked up Julie, my sister, and went to Max and Erma's for lunch. It's after 2:00 now and we're getting pretty hungry. Mistake #1: My 2-year old son had selected an umbrella from the zoo's gift shop as his souvenir. It was raining by this time, but we had a George Costanza parking spot and he didn't really need it. But I let him take it in to the restaurant. An umbrella can be used as a cane/walking stick, baton, WEAPON! He had lost his TV privileges for Saturday by the time we left.
He fell asleep on the way back to Julie's house. Once I carried him out of the van he was reinvigorated. My sister made my dad a plate of food for his dinner and we- Sarah, Jacob and I,- took it next door and sat with him while he ate. The kids like to go there because it's new territory to explore. Jacob came back to the dining table with a slender crucifix and was gesturing with it like it was a dagger. I took it from him and asked him who it was on the cross. He looked at it closely, (and in his defense it was a figure draped with a chasuble.) He answered questioningly, 'Doc Oct?' That is a villain in spiderman who has a number of robotic arms!

We went back to my sister's house and visited for a while longer. We left and had only gone a few blocks when Jacob declared he had to pee. So back we went. Finally we're on the road and the rain was letting up. I had a $5 off coupon for Kohl's. I made a deal with the kids: if it was raining when we got to Kohl's we would just keep going. If it wasn't we would stop. Mistake #2: It was not raining. I only wanted to pick up a sterling silver necklace. Well, of course they were having a sale on about 10 different brands! Lots of shiny, beaded, floppy jewelry to tempt tiny fingers. My husband gets antsy when I stay in any one department of a store for more than five minutes, so I guess I should've expected the same with my kids. Sarah wasn't bad at first. She just had her ears pierce two weeks ago so she was interested in the earrings. There were quite a few ladies checking the jewelry bargains. I started losing it when Jacob swung one of the displays around with a good show of strength. Then a lady was trying to turn one and he was holding it still! The last straw came when both of them started trying to scare me by hiding behind something and jumping out and yelling, 'BOO.' They DID scare me but only when they wouldn't answer me when I called their name!!!

It wasn't too late when we arrived home. Sarah had taken her camera with her and had snapped a shot of almost every animal we saw (for daddy since he couldn't be with us.) So she wanted Tim to see all the animals. When we finally got them both to bed they were asleep within minutes. I told Tim the details of our trip and tried to stay awake to watch my favorite TV show at 10pm, The Soup. I was asleep within minutes. Unfortunately when I awoke at 12:15am I couldn't get BACK to sleep. My brain kept reliving the day but my body was, like I said, exhausted.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Mistakes and Amends

One of the things that bothers me about politicians and the current president and his administration is their inability to admit when they've made a mistake! In our newspaper The Derrick a hometown columnist, Peter Green- I think is his name, offered his opinions on the importance of making mistakes. You can't learn from someone who is perfect, athletically, politically- if that's possible, or artistically, etc. Mistakes can cause heartaches and other catastrophic events. If they do then whoever made the mistakes better not make them again. And anyone associated with them will hopefully learn that lesson.
I accused my husband of being a "woman-hater" before I knew him. I learned it was more of a sports thing. And he's just impatient with teammates of lesser ability, man OR woman. But I learned and try very hard not to judge people. I'm not sure I would be this way without that first mistake.
Now, politicians. I wish people would LET them be honest about their decisions. If they made an error in judgment let them fix it! (I'm not talking about their sex lives. I don't really care about that.) I think "flip-floppers" was a popular term for Congressmen who had voted for the war and were now against it. I'll bet there were millions of civilian flip-floppers! I was a flip-flopper. I thought Saddam had WMDs and believed we needed to get him away from any kind of "GO' button. It's hard to believe how easily we were misled. We trust the government, I did, and really feel the executive branch let us down. How could they go marching in there and have no idea how they were going to get out?!?!? I think that is why people don't trust the government to start new programs, i.e. National Health Care (see first blog).
I would love for Bush's last speech to include: I am so very sorry for starting this war. I see now how pointless answering violence with more violence truly is. I want every grade school/high school child to learn from my mistake. When you're faced with a fight or a bully. Duking it out will only escalate the problem. People who don't care what happens to them can't be defeated. The source of the violence needs to be explored and diluted or deleted. (I hate to say this, but, people who are willing to kill themselves to kill others need to be deleted.) We need to enlist some non-military advisers to help us understand the Islamic people, not just the extremists, to determine a strategy for this nation to unite and govern themselves. Shoving democracy down their throats will only make them throw up on us. We can give them guidelines but then it is up to them. Because we're going to start putting our money on alternate fuel sources.
Of course he doesn't have to use those exact words. But you get the point.

Well I'm off to the showers Sarah has no school tomorrow so we're heading to the Erie Zoo.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Morning silly

The day began quite lovely; bright, sunny, my daughter ready to go to school on time. Her bus goes by our house and picks her up on the return. So we have about 3-4 minutes before she goes out the door. She put on her coat- only 34 degrees this morning- and backpack then gave kisses. She goes left out the door, down the sidewalk and up the driveway. She should then walk in front of the house to get to the driveway of our neighbor on the right- where the bus stops. My son and I leave the outer door open and head upstairs to watch for her out our living room window. We're sitting there waiting for Sarah to appear when we hear pounding on the glass door. I jump down, sure Sarah'd forgotten to back her library book. I open the door, and in the most excited of voices, she announces, "There's wet bird poop on the driveway!" She is just delighted by this news. I say, OK???, and off she runs through the yard to her bus stop. (My kids have an obsession with poop!) I made the mistake of telling my daughter she would be the official poop-checker when her brother was born (see Ice Age movie for more about poop-checkers.) She has taken on the role with gusto.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What makes YOU laugh?

I didn't think I'd write in this daily, but maybe I will.

In today's edition of The Derrick someone wrote to Dr. Donohue and asked "When one loses weight, is the fat loss removed through elimination processes, or what? Does it just drop off?" I'm curious by what was meant by "elimination process." I don't watch Oprah, but I heard she displayed the amount of weight she lost with a big cart of animal fat. I wonder if this person thought that was what it really looks like! Imagine if it DID work that way! I wouldn't just be warning my 2-year old not to step in dog poop but watch out for the fat globs, too. I would think it would be quite slippery, also.

Now, I don't have A LOT of room to scoff at apparent stupidity. I recently had to repair my mailbox-flag holder. The holes where the screws were had just rotted. So I grabbed our electric drill/screwdriver and attempted to replace the holder in a new spot on our wood mailbox stand. I could not get the drill to go in very far. It seemed to me I'd had the same problem when I'd put this flag up the first time. I attributed it to some very hard wood. So I tried another spot. Same trouble. Another. No go. I did get a mini hole started and decided maybe the drill bit had dulled so I tried the screw and I put all my weight into it. Just as my disgust was about to make me quit, I had to make the screwdriver go in reverse so I could remove the screw I'd forced in a half an inch. When lo and behold...I screwed the dang thing into the wood! Yes, I'd been trying to screw and drill in reverse. It took an additional 60 seconds to get that flag up and adjusted.

Besides stupidity, another thing that amuses me is when kids use unusual words. On Tuesdays I help out in my daughter's kindergarten class for about 45 minutes. It's at the end of the day so I bring her home with me when I leave. I also bring home the children of my friend who babysits my two-year old while I'm at the school. On the way to their home, the little girl- in my daughter's kindergarten class- was telling me about a poisonous frog they'd found in their woods. I asked how she knew it was poisonous. She said because it was black and green. Black and green, I said. She went on, it was green around the perimeter and black in the middle! Honestly, perimeter. That's pretty cool for a six-year old.

Monday, April 28, 2008

In the Beginning...

I was really looking for a website where I could post pictures of items I want to sell at an upcoming yard sale. In the process I discovered exactly what blogs were and how easy they were to set-up. (Hence the title of my blog.)
I guess this a good place to respond to an editorial written by a doctor in my local paper, The Derrick. It just infuriated me. He is against a national health care program. I understand the problems behind such an endeavor but he made a statement that those who use their health insurance more frequently should expect to pay more, just like car insurance!!!!! I would just love to hug all those people who have chronic illnesses through no fault of their own but need expensive medical care to make it through the day. Add the headache of being approved for expensive drugs and devices. AND that's WITH health insurance. What about those people who are not provided this luxury? I'm sure there are millions of Americans in this situation. My sister is an ER nurse and I understand there are lots of people who take advantage of our current health care system. That's what needs fixed; who are the shysters (my father's favorite term) and who are the legitimately in need?

Good Gravy, it's 11pm, time to say good night.