Monday, December 31, 2007

Another bad parenting story...

RedQueen sent me this story about the mother of a six year old girl who had her daughter write a false essay about the daughter's father dying in Iraq just so she could get tickets to see Hannah Montana in concert. According to the story from MyFox Dallas, the essay read:

"My daddy died this year in Iraq. I am going to give my mommy the Angel pendant that daddy put on mommy when she was having me. I had in in my jewelry box since that day. I love my mommy."

The DoD has confirmed that nobody by the alleged father's name ever died in Iraq. The girl's grandmother told the press that the girl's father lives in another town. And now the girl's mother, Priscilla Ceballos, admits the essay is untrue. In fact she stated that they never said it was supposed to be true. She says about her daughter:

"She's aware of what she wrote, and she knows that that wasn't true."

Sure the daughter knows it's not true because her daddy is alive and well but the daughter was writing what her mother told her to write. The six-year old doesn't understand the consequences of this action. She was just doing what mommy told her to do.

And in regards to the essay not meant to be true, I just don't get it. If we didn't know the truth behind this thing, who of us in reading the line from the essay posted above would think it was anything but true? Exactly! If the mother had included something that stated it was not true, they never would have won. The contest officials awarded her the grand prize because they felt sorry for her because her daddy died.

The mother knew what she was doing, she was using her daughter to tug at heartstrings to get the grand prize. Plain and simply put--she lied. And she used her daughter to facilitate the lie. The child surely couldn't realize the consequences of her actions but like a good little girl, she was doing what her mother told her to do. A child isn't going to write about a parent being dead if they know the parent isn't dead. No, the mother told her what to write, the mother was irresponsible and sets a terrible example for her daughter.

Isn't it bad enough when kids make up this stuff on their own? But now it seems the parents are lying and cheating for them. It's just disgraceful. Another example of a woman who never should have been allowed to have children.

I'd recommend to the folks in Garland, Texas that they keep their children away from Ms. Ceballos until she learns how to be a responsible parent.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

My goals in the New Year...

I can't believe we'll be going back to work Wednesday. I can't believe we'll be stating school again on the 7th. I can't believe that this vacation has passed by so quickly. What did I do with all this time? Well I can't brood on what I did or didn't do (sorry dad that I didn't make it over there as much as I wanted to, to help you clean out the workshop!!), but it seems that every day here something had to be done. I had a lot of reading I wanted to do, some cleaning up and organizing, working inside and out of the house and before I realized it---the time is coming to an end.

I've been thinking about what I want to accomplish this year. I don't do resolutions because well--I find that when I make one, I rarely stick to it. All I am going to do is try to stay on track with my goals--long term and short term. As long as I continue to make progress towards achieving them, that's good enough for me. My short-term goals include doing the best I can in my classes this next year, learning to relax and take more time for me. My long-term goals include getting more involved in a few chosen charitable ventures, graduating from college, going to graduate school, and working towards a career I will enjoy. One goal that is both short and long term is continuing my progress towards a healthy and happy lifestyle--eating right, exercising, getting plenty of fresh air and relaxation, and maintaining a relationship with family and friends. That one long/short term goal is a quest which never ends, nor should it. We should all seek to be happy, and when we reach happiness, we should enjoy it.

Anyway, funny how I went from a miserable grinch on Christmas Day to this eh? Hey everyone who knows me knows me to be happy go lucky, but even I am entitled to be a bitch when I need to be, right?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Finished another book...

It took me two days to finish "The Jungle" and I must say that it was quite a read. Of course it's no secret that author Upton Sinclair was a socialist but I didn't come away from the book declaring my new allegiance to the socialist movement.

What I did feel was educated, enlightened and even a little disgraced at the treatment of immigrants by immigrants in those days. The book was written in 1906 and was a catalyst for change within the meatpacking industry. We owe a debt of gratitude to the late Mr. Sinclair for that. Whether or not we believe in socialism, his muckracking piece forced the government to take on the corrupted industry and reform it. If not for the reform, millions would likely have become seriously ill and even died as a direct result of the disgusting practices of the slaughterhouses and meatpacking industry.

I often wonder why many of these classics are not must-reads for junior high and high school students and why so many college students never read them either. I learned about "The Jungle" from my grandmother who read it in high school--back in the 1930's. Ha! You won't find that today.

While I was reading the book, I was appalled and disgraced at the way the illiterate, uneducated, poverty-stricken immigrants were treated by the wealthy, rich, and corrupted of society. Immigrants were treated like dogs if they were poor and ethnic groups hated each other. It was terrible. Of course you throw a large number of poor, uneducated, desperate people from entirely different cultures together and what can you expect? They were doing this to each other.

Anyway, it was good reading. Sure, it was littered with socialist speeches and ideas but I got out of it what I wanted to get out of it, and that's a better understanding of conditions in the early 20th century, which is when a majority of my immigrant ancestors came over from Italy, Sicily, and Romania to find a new and better life. Their hard work and sacrifices made it possible for all of us to enjoy the life we live today.

So I guess you could say I enjoyed it :)

Friday, December 28, 2007

The more things change...

the more they stay the same. Funny but true.

Last night DH and I were listening to one of my over 5,000 old time radio shows, the latest being the CBS Radio Mystery Theatre series. The show was hosted by E.G. Marshall and premiered January 6, 1974, which was in fact the show we listened to last night. One of the great things about these radio shows is that I get to hear old news broadcasts and commercials. Last night's show from the 6th of January contained some great commercials for the VA Hospital (working for vets!) the Better Business Bureau (working for Americans) and Budweiser Beer.

Now when's the last time you heard a beer commercial on radio? Heck that'd be about the time I remember liquor commercials on television!

As we listened to the news broadcast, I shook my head and turned to DH and said "gee, nothing changes does it?"

So...what was in the news on January 6, 1974?

-Nixon refusing to turn over subpoenaed materials to Watergate committee
-OPEC oil embargo
-Nixon signs 55 mph speed into law to save on oil
-Energy crisis prompts daylight savings time to commence four months early
-Gas stations have long lines and fun out of fuel
-Promotion of solar power and windmills
-Massive flooding as a result of rainstorms in California's Topanga Valley
-Unrest in the middle east
-Earthquake in Lima Peru kills
-Tex Ritter is buried

Let's see--government corruption, energy crisis, natural disasters, turmoil in the middle east, and dead celebrities.

Things really don't change all that much do they?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I don't pay any mind to movie critics...

Why?

Because some critics panned National Treasure Book of Secrets and I Am Legend and we really enjoyed both of them. I'm no critic but I highly recommend both. The only movie critic I ever liked was Joel Siegel. I wonder what he would have said about these films? I bet you he would have liked both.

We did see the preview for the new Rambo movie---same old thing, it's cool to see a nearly 60 year old guy out there kicking some serious ass though. Also saw a preview for a movie with Martin Lawrence where he takes his girlfriend back home to meet his family. OMG that movie looks HILARIOUS!! James Earl Jones plays his father, now have you ever seen a movie with James Earl Jones that wasn't good?

DH and I were laughing so hard during the preview, we forgot it wasn't the movie we were there to see!

Anyway, we don't do movies very often but decided since we're on vacation, "what the heck" and since the matinees were only $5 how could we resist? Of course, while we paid a total of $10 each for both movies, we paid $28 for one small coke, one bottled water, two large cokes, two packs of M&M's and one popcorn. And oh yeah, we have to POUR our own soda and POUR the butter on the popcorn ourselves.

WTF are we paying them all that money for? For that kind of dough, I want someone to do the work for me!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Senseless killing of Tatiana, the Siberian tiger...

I can't wrap my mind around this story about the killing of Tatiana the Siberian Tiger at the San Francisco zoo.














Tatiana killed a teenage boy and attacked two other individuals, and police chased it and yelled "stop!" before it turned to attack them.

By the way, WHo yells STOP! to a Siberian tiger?

Why couldn't they shoot the tiger with a tranquilizer gun? Was it necessary to kill her?

Police are investigating the idea that visitors might have been taunting the tiger and possibly helped it get out by putting a board in the moat.

Animals don't have the ability to rationalize as people do. The idea of killing an animal which kills a person doesn't make sense to me. I've read that it's a myth that once a wild animal gets a taste for human flesh, it never goes back. Animals attack for a reason---for food, to protect themselves, their young, their territory. When an animal feels threatened it will attack. Humans do the same thing but the difference is we can rationalize danger, they can't.

Worse case, they could tranquilize these animals and release them in the wild in the habitat of their native country. It seems so senseless to murder them for protecting themselves.

It's no secreat---I'm not a zoo person, in fact I loathe zoos. I know that many zoos do a wonderful job of protecting and caring for the animals, and trying to create as natural a habitat for them. I know that many zoos protect countless wild animals from extinction and work hard to educate the public in order to create more awareness.

Given that, I just don't believe in caging a wild animal, I just don't think it's right. And I don't believe in killing a wild animal (that isn't sick) because it's attacked a human being. I mean we humans have taken these animals out of their natural habitats and forced them to live in cages. We have forced them to adapt to a habitat that is not their own, not naturally, anyway.

Really now, what do we expect?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Bah Humbug...

This would be the first in 38 years I haven't the Christmas spirit. I know what ST would say.....

Oh well, enjoy yours...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Finally finished one book!

I finally finished Charles Dickens "A Tale of Two Cities" and I must say it's one of the best books I've ever read. What an incredible ending! I just kept thinking about that story for hours after finishing it...

Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" is supposed to be next but I may put that one off for now. I'm just not in the mood for it yet. Between reading and relaxing I'm working on some math to get ready for next term so I can really only get one more in right now before school begins. I've a feeling I may wind up with more Sherlock Holmes...just can't get enough of Holmes LOL. My goal is to try and get a book done per month. I enjoy reading, I really do, and I so enjoy the classics.

I'm going to make up my reading list right now!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A tale of two roofers...

Several months ago DH and I noticed the ceiling in the guest bathroom was discolored along the edge in the shower. The wall of the shower was warped too, because water had gotten in there. Of course we put a ladder on the porch and looked at the edge of the roof above the bathroom and felt the soft spot and saw a small hole. We immediately contacted LL who promptly came up one day and fixed it. Problem was it was still leaking. Finally, knowing that we can't have mold growing and that the problem would only get much worse, we contacted LL again and told him we needed to get professional help.

I contacted two local roofing companies. First I called Company #1, who is a very well known and reputable roofing company with trucks all over the place (in fact I once knew the brother of the guy who owns it). I gave the answering service a very detailed message and included our home phone number and even my work number complete with my office extension.

Then I contacted roofer #2, another family business which has been around for nearly 47 years, I'd picked them out of the yellow pages. I like a family run business and I like it when they've been around awhile, that says something about their reputation. I also liked the fact that roof leaks were their specialty. The owner picked up his phone (on a Sunday mind you!) and told me he would be glad to give me a call Monday evening after he and we were home from work. Not only did #2 call us when he said he would, but he came out that same evening to survey the damage. He checked that area and then the entire roof for other possible problems. Finding nothing more than what was above the bathroom, he wrote us an estimate, it was $590 and stated any structural work would coast more. That was good for us, LL had already told us to go forth, and even if we hadn't heard from him yet we would have still gone forth and done it. We told #2 it was a go. He said he'd order the materials.

That was a week ago.

This morning he was here at 7 am, knocking on the door, waking me up LOL (DH was already gone) and by 10:30 a.m. he had departed smiling--with check in hand, roof repaired and mess cleaned up. It cost us--$590.00 He had not only done what he had written on the estimate, but he had also replaced a few pieces of lumber up there just to reinforce the structure, without charging extra.

Now that is the way you do business.

I can't tell you whether #1 actually received my message but I'm tempted to call them and ask them if they did. If they didn't, I'll tell them they should fire their answering service. If they did, I'll tell them that they suck--in a nice way of course. Even if they had just been too busy to fit our roof into their schedule, they should have at the very least returned my call, conveyed their situation and referred us to a competitor. That's just good business practice.

But whatever happened, they never contacted us and it's their loss, but a big gain #2 who is polite, prompt, and professional. Ok so the job was a small one in comparison to others he's done and it was only $590, but he's gained customers, not just with us, but every person we refer to him in the future.

DH and I believe in supporting local businesses, in fact #2 and I were discussing that the importance of it before he departed this morning. It's so hard to find dependable, honest people you can count on to do work for you whether it be a plumber, roofer or any other type of contractor or even a mechanic, doctor, or lawyer. It's so hard to trust people anymore, it's so difficult to get a callback, an appointment, or get anyone to just do their job right the first time and stand behind it should there ever be a problem. We're not the only ones who feel this way. We try to trust our judgment and when we feel good about someone, when they initially show us they can be trusted, and that they're reliable, we go with that. But like you, like many others, we've been burned before. And it makes you hate calling anyone for help. But the fact remains that most of us can't do it all and that's why we rely on trained professionals to do it for us.

Anyway, that's my tale of two roofers---that one who got our business and the one who didn't.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It sucks to be sick...

Since I can't sleep because the Nyquil hasn't kicked in I thought I'd rant a little here. Ranting can be so much fun especially when you feel like shit.

Being sick really sucks anytime it happens, but it sucks worse when it's before a holiday in which you have nearly two weeks off and it sucks worse when you have a lot to do at work to get ready for a break. Fortunately for me, my work preparing for the break is pretty much done save admitting a few students who have turned their credentials in late, but worse case scenario I can do that on January 3rd when I return.

Rewind to this past Monday, it was the coldest day we've had so far this year and in this part of Florida, that's cold. I'd say it was about 36 when DH and I got to work but the forecaster said the wind chill made it feel like it was in the 20's and it indeed felt like it. I love the cold but the only thing about it I don't like is when I have to sit in a cold draft all day long because the windows in my office are so poorly insulated. I have three very large windows that take up the entire north wall of my office. They are six feet high and about ten feet long altogether. The windows open to a beautiful green courtyard, with trees and students milling about, it's very nice. All of us on the north side enjoy our view of the courtyard. And when the sun comes in it warms the office and when there are thunderstorms it's nice and cozy with the dark gray couds and the pouring rain. Having windows adds morale, I highly advocate it for productivity purposes.

Well when I walked in Monday morning, it was so cold in our wing (as it usually is), everyone had their space heaters on high, yes the space heaters we're not supposed to have but we'd all be frozen in our offices without them. Well Sherry was nice enough to bring me her space heater because her office was rather warm. It was one of those small square fan heaters, and I put it on my desk and put it directly on me. It took more than half a day for my office to resemble anything near warm. I had a cold cold draft on my face from my windows all day long. I tried closing my blinds halfway but they are those cheap hanging blinds, you know the ones with vertical slats that just swa back and forth when you open and close them. Well mine began losing slats years ago, with budget cuts there's no sense asking for new ones. I didn't want to close the blinds completely because I'd lose the beautiful natural light flowing into the office. And well, with budget cuts and the administration's push to conserve energy, it is a shame not to take advantage of all the natural light we can. Years ago I had most of the bulbs in my lights turned off save two which are all I need. Between those two fluorescent bulbs and the natural light, it's not too bright, yet not too dark and I believe I'm doing my part to conserve.

Well that cold draft that comes through the windows and underneath them in this strip of metal that holds cables and such in the wall, really worked me. That draft was on me all day long and no matter how well Sherry's heater warmed me, I still had that draft. If I was on my computer it was in my face (I have my computer setup so that I face the windows when I'm working on it, for obvious reasons. It's either face the windows or the office door, which would you choose? LOL) and if I was working on the other side of my desk, the draft was on my back and neck. Anyway I turned it was hopeless, I was cold and sniffling. I blew my nose all day, I tried not to sniffle but it was no use. By the time I got home, I was blowing my nose and sneezing. The next morning I had cold. My throat turned sore, I began coughing intermittently, and in general I felt like shit.

Now some will argue whether or not I picked up the cold from a person or from that draft. I believe it could have been either one. All I know is that every time it's really cold, that draft comes in and settles on me the entire day. And I'm not the only one it happens to. Now aside from the sick factor, what other things do you suppose come out of that?

Well, considering the administration is pushing the energy conservation thing, you'd think they'd do a campus-wide survey of staff and faculty asking for our recommendations and feedback. They did one a while back but it was more about recycling. I addressed that as straightforward as I could but nobody's addressed the issue of badly insulated buildings. Perhaps it would cost millions to renovate the buildings, probably so, but at least they need to begin a dialogue with those of us who can best give them feedback.

The first thing I would recommend is tinting the windows facing the sun to cut down on the heat coming into the buildings in the summer, whch would in turn cut the amount of energy needed to keep the offices and classrooms cool. What could it possibly cost to tint? The physical plant guys could do it. They already get paid for labor right? Just buy the materials. The second thing I would recommend is doing some insulating to keep out the cold winter air by filling cracks in walls and using weather stripping around windows.

Look I know that it costs to do all this and there are many buildings on campus which likely need work. Even if they can't get to it now, how about a dialogue with those who live in those buildings for so much of the workday. At least ASKING us what can be done is better than not asking us at all.

In the meantime, I am trying to get over this crud. I don't want it moving to my chest because I've had bronchitis before and it wiped me out for two straight weeks. That happened in 1994 when I worked in another building on campus, and I think then there was something in the air vents, I had never gotten sick like that until I worked in that building. Since that bout of bronchitis I've never bene the same. For nearly fourteen years I've complained about the mold and mildew in the ducts and vents but nobody listens. And so I gave up.

I had a teacher once who became sick from it in her building at another college in town and she became permanently disabled because of it. When she complained too much they moved her office out into the hall and eventually forced her out. Now the local news reports recently a serious issue in that building.

Hmm....

Anyway, DH and I agreed that a good diet and moderate exercise will help keep us healthy and we've already begun eating more fruits and veggies. In the meantime, there's nothing we can do about the building issues. Until someone of importance complains about it, it's a non-issue.

Off to bed now, the Nyquil is kicking in...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A difficult battle...

I'm just bitching here because I got sick yesterday when I came home from work and I'm just feeling well----bitchy.

I was doing great on the weight watchers (online) but several months ago something happened and I started slacking. RQ and I would weigh ourselves at work on a simple bathroom scale then I bought a weight watchers scale and it had me 20 pounds more so I had to go with that since they are very reliable. That was tough! I'm still weighing every Tuesday morning at home (lost three pounds since last week, but I'd gained a few pounds back in previous months) and DH wants to lose too and we're trying to eat right but I haven't been exercising. I was doing so good and really feeling great--which came straight from that feeling of accomplishment! Now I get depressed again about it for not reaching my goal yet and for not sticking to the change in lifestyle plan.

I've got to get back into it. I told DH no trigger foods like chocolate, pasta or desserts. Of course we don't eat that stuff normally but I don't want it in the house period, not right now. Stress makes me eat, not a lot, but something like chocolate or pasta that I wouldn't normally eat except once a month or so. Also several nights in the past few months we got home from work late because of errands and we'd stop at fast food. I hate fast food, so why do we do it?

I told DH we have to plan our trips better and be sure NOT to stop at those places. It's one of the reasons I hate running errands after work, I just want to get home and get into the evening routine.

I've got to get back into this. I can't let school or anything else get in the way. Look folks, I'm 38 years old, I'm not doing this to look like I did when I was much younger, I'm doing it for my health, to be the healthiest I can be, live a healthy lifestyle and not have the health problems many people get when they get older because they made the wrong choices when they were younger. I don't want to look back and have regrets because I could have changed something and didn't.

I can do this!!!

Now I'm tired--maybe I can sleep this off, off to bed I go!

Monday, December 17, 2007

More proof that zero tolerance in schools is asinine...

According to this outrageous story, a fifth grade girl was arrested by police after school officials caught her using a steaknife to cut the piece of steak her parents packed for her lunch. The ten year old girl was arrested and suspended ten days and may possibly be charged with a felony weapons charge.

All this for cutting her steak with a steaknife. They treat real criminals better than this! In fact we have rapists and murderers running around on the streets raping and murdering innocent people every day. And the best we can do is arrest children for doing nothing wrong?

It's another case of zero tolerance gone way too far. Thanks to zero tolerance, school officials no longer have to do the jobs they're paid to do. They no longer are required to think or use good judgment. Zero tolerance paved the way to treating every child the same for every offense. And these folks are the ones who are teaching your children how to think and make solid judgment. The way it works now is they simply lump everyone together in the same category. All students are exactly alike, all offenses are punishable in the same manner, no exceptions, everything is the same for everybody.

Sounds familiar doesn't it? It's the group over the individual. Instead of weighing a situation on its individual merit and instead of making a decision based on a wide variety of factors, all situations are handled the same, regardless of the who, what, when, where, why or how. The problem is life just doesn't work that way. So ask yourself what message this sends to children?

The wrong message.

Children are getting the message that all people are alike, all circumstances are the same, there is black and white and no gray. The thing is that life is quite a bit of gray. Eventually once we much through the gray, we get to the black and white, which in my opinion is our own moral stance on things. The gray is not a bad thing--it's the area in which a person ponders "ok, what do I do now?"

What they've learned in life, what the adults in their life have taught them, will help them go down either one road or the other, hopefully the right road, but not always so. But still, pondering, questioning and seeking knowledge are good things.

Those of us in the majority who actually care want today's children to grow up understanding right from wrong. We want them to understand the concept of "let the punishment fit the crime". We want them to be able to use good judgment and use the brains God gave them to be able to weigh decisions carefully (in all areas of their lives) and make the best choices they can make in life. Sometimes they'll be wrong, sometimes they'll be right. But to get there we want them to think logically, rationally and carefully. The way it stands, we could wind up with a generation of children who will lack the ability to make rational choices and solid judgments. They won't know how to ponder, ask questions, and seek to understand. And sadly, they will not have the simple capability to understand the inherent differences between people and situations.

The school officials at Sunrise Elementary in Ocala, Florida are more than jackasses, they are assholes. And the teachers who seized the awful weapon and called deputies should NOT be teaching children! It sucks that Sunrise Elementary has created an environment where good children are punished for what one bad child might do. It stinks that they stood by and allowed a ten year old girl to be arrested when no crime was committed. Not only was no crime actually committed, no crime was even planned or in the works. There was no malicious intent on the part of this child and yet you had her arrested.

Can you imagine how frightened that little girl must have been? How she must be now? To a child, being arrested, being taken from your family, and wondering WHY because you have done nothing wrong has to be a terrible nightmare. To arrest a child and treat her like a common criminal when there has been NO crime, NO harm, NO intent to harm, and NO malice on her part whatsoever---is so despicable.

I can't believe that we have people working in the school system, teaching, guiding and counseling children, who are so damned stupid as to think that zero tolerance is the answer. Any adult who thinks a ten year old child should be arrested for doing nothing wrong is an IDIOT!!! And that person should NOT be in the school system where they can do irreparable harm to children!

These morons need to overturn zero tolerance and go back to using their heads and their good judgment, or what's left of it.

Let the punishment fit the crime. In this case, no crime, no punishment.

And this definitely needs to serve as a wakeup call not just to parents of kids in public schools but to all of us to fight back with everything we've got and then some.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Today I was lazy...

But I did have enough energy to go over and visit with ma and pa and grams on the homestead. Since they tore down that old porch the place looks a whole lot better. They've purchased some $15,000 worth of materials and are about to start remodeling a 27 year old doublewide manufactured home. When they're done, it'll be awesome. At one time when pa would ask "where do we start?" but now he's got a plan. Wait till you see the place when it's finished, you won't recognize it.

Saw my aunt and uncle today. It was just my luck they were there when I pulled up. I drove straight to grams house hoping I'd miss them but when I walked over to ma and pa's they were still there. I talked to pa and ignored my uncle. I really didn't know what to say to him.

Back in July I told you the story about the email my uncle sent me asking me not to use the word "friggin" in my emails because it was a curse word. I replied that it wasn't a curse word and he actually took the time to go to several online dictionaries and copy and paste the definition of the word "friggin". I replied to he and my aunt that I was tired of him acting like he knew everything. He hasn't spoken to me since. I don't dislike him, it's just that I'm tired of him always being right and the rest of us being wrong (kinda like DH is at times). I don't feel like I can be myself around him because if I have a differing opinion I'm likely to be hammered with his opinion which of course is always right. My aunt thinks my going over there might have something to do with DH not liking them but actually he's got nothing against them, it's just that until uncle gets off his moral high horse, I just can't go over there.

I wish family could be simple but it isn't. If it were simple, the world would be a boring place, at least my world. For some reason, while I loathe conflict, sometimes I thrive on it. My goodness that's so awful isn't it?

Friday, December 14, 2007

I'm too nice..

I like being a nice person. I think being a nice gal is the real me. I rather enjoy joking and laughing and smiling. All my life I've been a pretty happy go lucky person. Oh I've had my moments but the real me is not a bitch. Oh of course every now and then I have to be a bitch, which is ok, cause it's so rare. But it's not the real me.

Now let me just say I don't start arguments at home. (But I always seem to wind up in one, usually defending myself!) Oh sure I've swept the kitchen floors five to six times in one day because DH would track dirt into the house and prior to the sixth time I said "did you wipe your feet?" and he says yes and I wind up sweeping one last time. But even then I don't yell. I get pissed off and sigh a little but I don't raise my voice. I have been known to slam a few doors and such but nothing major.

But I am so sick of arguing. And today I found myself actually screaming at the top of my lungs "SHUT THE F*CK UP!"

Rewind to this afternoon. DH and I were on the way home from work. We were traveling down the always-bumper-to-bumper Newberry Road when DH suggested we take a shortcut down 51st street. I said "ok" and proceeded to do that till I realized I turned down the wrong street. Well he hits the roof, I mean he was livid, and all the time I'm saying "it's no big deal, I'll turn around" and seriously, it took me a few seconds to turn around and get back where I needed to be. Moments later we were headed north on 51st street towards Buchholz High School.

No big deal.

Right?

Wrong. DH couldn't let it go that I made a wrong turn.

And I'm thinking "big f'in deal".

And so all the way down 51st street I had to listen to him bitching and hollering. Finally I couldn't take it anymore and screamed at him to shut up. And of course he wouldn't. Then finally neither of us was talking and we're on the way home. He put his hand on my leg like he was sorry and I said "why don't you just apologize?" and he said "for what?" and that's when I just looked at him and said "you don't even know?" and he said "no" and I said "for yelling at me" and he said "I didn't do anything wrong".

Then he said "Sorry"

and I looked at him and said "do you know what you're apologizing for?" and he says "no" and I said "forget it, there's no sense apologizing for something if you have no idea what it's for".

So he thinks he did nothing wrong screaming at me.

WTF?

You know I'm not perfect, never claimed to be and I know I have my faults! But still---for crying out loud, HELLO?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It's NOT the University's job to educate me on the effects of alcohol...

According to the UF Dean of Students website:

Alcohol misuse represents a serious health issue for colleges and universities around the country. Surveys indicate the majority of college students drink regardless of their age and that approximately two out of every five college students engage in high risk drinking. High-risk drinking is associated with unintentional injury (e.g., motor vehicle crashes, falls, and drownings), sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, sexual assault, violence, and poor academic performance. In 2005 the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) estimated over 1,700 student deaths, 599,000 injuries, and 696,000 assaults annually associated with excessive drinking. Further, according to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, high-risk drinking epitomizes the greatest single problem that America's universities must address.


Good GRIEF!

UF now requires new students to participate in an alcohol education and awareness program prior to registration. A hold will be placed on a student's record and they cannot register, if they have not done this online program. A person has to score 80% or higher to pass.

Of course it doesn't state what happens if someone fails it!

I feel like I'm living in a nanny society. I'm 38 years old and I don't need an education on alcohol awareness and if I did, it's not the University's job to do it. This has got to be another one of those CYA (cover your ass) programs where UF won't feel so guilty if some idiot student goes out and gets himself or someone else killed due to an alcohol related incident.

I'm sure UF administration doesn't want anyone to die from something as preventable as an alcohol related incident. But do you really think that this online tutorial and quiz is really going to change anything? No. The only students who will benefit from the alcohol awareness program are the students who already have enough sense not to abuse it in the first place. Which is why I think this is just another one of those "feel good" programs hastily put together by administration after a number of dumb students wound up dead because they lacked good judgment.

If you're going to enforce this on students how about faculty too? I mean isn't there some responsibility in faculty members who engage in ridiculous alcohol-related antics with their students? I mean faculty members who supply their students with alcohol, who encourage and frequently attend student outings at local bars, who participate in upside-down margaritas and keg stands, who drive drunk themselves from time to time? Surely their actions have as many if not more negative consequences on the University community and the students!

While we're at it, I could suggest a number of other so-called CYA awareness programs (forthcoming) the administration could put together, because after all, it is the University's job to make sure that Johnny goes through college unscathed physically or mentally. We've got to make sure he is adequately protected from the ills of society, at all costs!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Politicians who have nothing better to do...

Florida state Senator Gary Siplin is again introducing legislation which would ban low-hanging baggy pants in the public school system. The bill calls for suspension and/or expulsion if a student breaks the rule.

Why do we need politicians introducing legislation to ban low-hanging baggy pants from public schools? Isn't there such thing as a school dress code? And doesn't each school district have such a thing? Yes, and the teachers, parents, and students within individual districts should be the ones discussing these decisions, and it's up to school administrators to enforce them.

You might be asking what harm it would cause if the state legislature did pass such a bill.

The harm comes in yet one more piece of idiotic legislation on the books. Don't we already have enough ridiculous government intervention in our lives? Don't these yahoos have more pressing issues to tend to?

When will they get it?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Is it a gender thing? Or is it just me?

DH and I get up at 5 am during the week.

From 5-5:15 I get our lunches ready, from 5:15-5:30 I clean the kitty litter box, feed and water Peeps and Pebs, then I make the bed and straighten up. From 5:30-5:45 I prepare breakfast which normally includes soy milk, raisin bran and orange juice. From 5:45-6:15 I get ready for work. While I'm doing that DH unplugs the coffee pot, makes sure the girls have plenty of water (we keep an extra bowl in the office), and he puts the dishes in the dishwasher. We try to be out the door no later than 6:20 so we can get to work by 6:55.

Three mornings in a row we leave closer to 6:30. This morning I had to iron a shirt because I didn't finish my ironing Sunday night. I squeezed in opening the ironing board and turning on the iron between making the bed and eating breakfast. Then I ironed after showering so I could let my hair dry in the towel.

In the meantime, 6:20 was approaching and I was a few minutes from being ready. DH starts bitching and that's when I chime in "well if you see me running late you could help out" to which he replies "every time I ask you for help, you say you don't need it".

Sometimes I don't need it. But if it's obvious that I'm running behind schedule shouldn't it be friggin obvious that I need help? I guess I just figure if things were reversed and I saw it was happening to him I'd jump in and just do it.

So is it a gender thing or just me?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Florida's attempt at new state songs bites...

Florida's picking a new state song because apparently Stephen Foster's "Old Folks at Home" is too racist. Gee, I've seen the lyrics, sang "Way upon the Suwannee River" when I was a kid, never sounded racist to me. Oh sure, it's written in Uncle Remus but the language reflected the times in which it was written.

Click here to listen to the three choices up for Florida's new state song which is designed to reflect our "diversity"

My opinion:

"Where the sawgrass meets the sky"

Sucks.


"My Florida Home'

Sucks. But not as bad as the sawgrass meets the sky one--ewww!


"Florida, My Home"

Sucks. But not as bad as My Florida Home and definitely not as bad as the sawgrass one.

All the talent we have in this state and we can't come up with something better? Florida needs something "folksy" and something to reflect it's "southern" heritage. So far what they've chosen as the finalists really bites. We can only hope that they'll dump these three and keep searching.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Annoying!

Here's something new.

UF students can't register unless they first provide UF with emergency contact information. That's thanks to the incident at Virginia Tech. Yes it's simple to do, just go into your online portal and add it but frankly I think it should be optional! A few weeks ago I tried updating my directory information I couldn't do shit to it until I entered emergency contact information.

This is basically a CYA move by the institution to protect them from lawsuits. In case some angry asshole opens fire somewhere on campus, they can call the cell phone I don't have and send the email to my account which I don't check but twice a day.

Hmm ok...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

For me the semester is O-V-E-R!

Well I finished the three final exams and my official grades this term are two A's and a B+. Ok ok so I'm spoiled by having earned nothing but A's and one B these last three years, but considering that the Meteorology class was really difficult, I think that B+ is fine with me! My GPA is now 3.63.

Woo hooo!!!

I need a break. Funny thing is that I feel like celebrating and yet all I want to do is NOTHING! No classes, no homework, no studying, NOTHING until January 3rd. My friend and former professor Diana suggested I either take the time to relax and catch up on reading and doing fun things I enjoy OR spend the time catching up on other stuff. I vote for the fun stuff. For me that includes finishing "A Tale of Two Cities" and then jumping into Sinclair's "The Jungle" followed by none other than Sherlock Holmes volume II.

Yeah I know it sounds terribly exciting eh? But a little egg nog and butterscotch schnapps, some warm candles, a toasty house, and a kitty kat sprawled across my lap in my lazy boy chair works for me.

Now I gotta check up on Kelly to see how she's doing in school this term.

Friday, December 07, 2007

No such thing as "the right to own a home"

Extremely high on my list of annoying shit is people who get themselves into loans they can't get out of and then want the government to bail them out. So it's no surprise that I wanted to HURL when I heard President Bush talk about how we have to come together and help poor folks who are victims of sub-prime loans. Ok he didn't use the word victim but somebody is bound to sooner or later.

Here's my take. If you qualify for nothing better than a sub-prime loan, then you really should not even be getting a loan. Rent an apartment, there's no shame in that.

We can thank our government for pushing companies to make home loans to people who under normal circumstances can't afford a home. Our leaders would have us believe that there is some kind of "right" to home ownership, that every American is entitled to own a home.

Well, every American is not entitled. It's something you EARN, it is not GIVEN to you.

Buying a home is a long, costly venture and should only be done by those who can afford the payments and the upkeep. The truth of the matter is that many people simply can't afford it. Does that make them any less of a person? No. It simply means they have more work to do to prepare for the responsibilities of ownership. There's payments, taxes, insurance and maintenance and these things cost in dollars as well as time. A "home" is what you make of it and you can live in a rental apartment or house and make it a "home". If a person really wants to stop renting and live in a home, where with every payment, it becomes more and more their own, which is an investment for them, something they can do with as they please, then they should take the proper steps to get to that point. But we have to toss out the idea that home ownership is a right and that it's for everyone. It's not.

Many of us knew when the government started pushing the idea of loans to people who didn't normally qualify, that something was bound to happen. And we were right. And now we'll have to pay for it.

Blame it on whitey...

Looks like the police in Baltimore found no evidence the woman beat up on the bus did anything to provoke the little bastards so now they're looking into her assault as a hate crime.

The mother of one of the little juvenile bastards said that the woman had spit in the face of one of the girls which caused the TEENAGE middle schoolers (yeah you heard that--teenagers in middle school!!) to jump on her, beat the shit out of her, break down the back door of the bus and drag her out into the street.

Authorities have released the little bastards into their parents custody and are charging them as juveniles. I think they should be in JAIL and charged as ADULTS. It was only a few weeks ago that another group of juvenile perps in Edgewood Maryland assaulted a man with a baseball bat so bad that it paralyzed him. It's time to crack down and show these little bastards they're not going to get away with this just because they're under the age of 18.

I don't have to tell you what the outrage would be if this had been 9 pasty white kids beating up on a black woman, do I? Jesse, Al and the gang would already be there raising a fuss. Of course it's ok for these kids to beat up a white woman because they've been persecuted and treated unjustly for so long, the fear and anger is bound to unleash itself.

Same old story. Blame it on whitey.

Hmm...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

It's BALTIMORE! Of course race was an issue!

This story is horrifying! A woman is beaten severely by nine 14 and 15 year olds on a Baltimore City bus. The spokesperson for the MTA said she didn't know whether the attack had anything to do with the victim’s race.

Oh yeah I guess I forgot to mention the victim was white, the little bastards were "perps of color".

They have to wonder if race was an issue here? It's BALTMORE for crying out loud. Of course race was an issue!!! I wonder how many of those little bastards have daddies at home. I wonder if have any kind of parental guidance period.

You know of course what would have happened if the victim had been in possession of a firearm and shot the little bastards (which I wish had been the case). She would have been charged of course with shooting poor little innocent children. There would right now be race riots in the streets of Baltimore. I won't be surprised if their piece of shit attorneys, whoever they might be, try to turn this around by stating that the poor little children were just lashing out because they were victims of a cruel and unjust racist society.

It's sickening. I could suggest punishment for them but then some jackass might get offended by my remarks and call the police who will then show up at my door and question me, arrest me and charge me with hate crimes, disorderly conduct or some other made up crap!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

RIP Doolittle...

If I could talk to the animals, just imagine it,
Chattin' with a chimp in chimpanzee,
Imagine talking to a tiger, chatting with a cheetah,
What a neat achievement it would be!

If we could talk to the animals, learn their languages,
Maybe get an animal degree,
I'd study elephant and eagle, buffalo and beagle,
Alligator, guinea pig, and flea!

I would converse in polar bear and python,
And I would curse in fluent kangaroo,
If people ask me "can you speak rhinoceros?"
I'd say "of courserous! Can't you?"

If I conferred with our furry friends, man to animal,
Think of the amazing repartee
If I could walk with the animals, talk with the animals,
Grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals,
And they could talk to me!

If I consulted with quadrupeds
Think what fun we’d have asking over crocodiles for tea!
Or maybe lunch with two or three lions, walruses and sea lions
What a lovely place the world would be!

If I spoke slang to orangutans
The advantages why any fool on earth could plainly see!
Discussing Eastern art and dramas
With intellectual llamas
That’s a big step forward you’ll agree!

I’d learn to speak in antelope and turtle
And my Pekinese would be extremely good
If I were asked to sing in hippopotamus
I’d say “whynotamous?” and I would!

If I could parlay with pachyderms
It’s a fairy tale worthy of Hans Anderson and Grimm
A man who walks with the animals and talks with the animals
Grunts and squeaks and squawks with the animals and they could talk to him!

Let me hear ‘em talk

I’d study every creature’s language
So I could speak to all of them on site
If friends said “can he talk in crab or maybe pelican?”
You’d say “I canny can” and you’d be right!

And if you just stop and think of it
Ain’t no doubt of it
I’m gonna win a place in history
If I could walk with the animals
Talk with the animals
Grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals
And they could squeak and squawk and speak and talk to me!

In memory of
Rachael
March 7, 1964 - December 4, 2007

Sunday, December 02, 2007

An "unfortunate, unintentional, innocent misunderstanding" my ass...

The good news today is that British schoolteacher Gillian Gibbons will be released unharmed from a Sudanese jail! Read the CNN breaking story.

Nazir Ahmed, a Muslim member of the British House of Lords was instrumental in encouraging the Sudanese government to release Ms. Gibbons. However, this remark from Ahmed seemed odd...

"This was an unfortunate, unintentional, innocent misunderstanding."

On whose part? Ms. Gibbons or the Muslim extremist Sudanese government?

What this was--was yet another example of radical fanatics hiding using religion to push their own sick and twisted political ideology.

By the way, it was Ms. Gibbons young students who voted to name the Teddy Bear Mohammad.

Friday, November 30, 2007

What? You expected something different from the religion of peace?

Only radical fanatical Muslims would call for a person to be put to death for naming a harmless stuffed Teddy Bear "Mohammad". In this CNN story protesters are calling for British schoolteacher Gillian Gibbons to be executed. She has been found guilty of insulting the Muslim religion.

The case of Gillian Gibbons should be a strong reminder to those who don't think radical Islam is a danger to the entire world.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Way to go Arkansas Governor Matt Blunt

Well, isn't it nice to see a leader with some backbone?

He sent a directive to all state agencies stating that "no one shall be reprimanded or disciplined for saying "Merry Christmas."

He stated, "You need not check your religious views at the door, nor your affection for the season, nor the use of its ancient, time-honored greetings."

Isn't it a shame that the Governor has to issue a directive? You'd think this was all just common sense but unfortunately it is not!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Is there no other news?

Please someone tell me that there is something going on in the world that has NOTHING to do with Tim Tebow or the Heisman. Please! ENOUGH ALREADY.

I wish people who know me would quit emailing me that "vote for Tim Tebow" site. I'm not voting for him or anyone else. I don't give a damn that Tebow is leading the Scripps poll and I don't give a damn who wins the damn Heisman.

So if I don't email you back THANKING you for wasting my time sending me that stupid poll website, then maybe, just maybe...




There, I said it. Let the beatings commence!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

This semester is almost over...

...and I can't wait. Three courses this term was one too many. I've been torn between three rigorous courses with lots of reading and assignments and responsibilities at work, home and other places. I thought I'd pull two A's and a B+ this term but now it looks like it could be an A and two B+'s. Worst case it'll be an A, B+ and B. So much for the 3.63 GPA eh?

It's becoming too much work. Add to it the fact that I am again second-guessing the meaning of life--my life, and what I'm supposed to do with it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

You can't go home again...

Sometimes I fear those closest to me are slipping into persons I don't recognize. But perhaps I'm also slipping into someone they don't recognize either. I tend to be nostalgic--enjoying reminiscing about the times when life was simple. Of course it wasn't simple back then, but it seems so simple now. If only we knew then what we know now. Even with the dysfunction, the rough times, the tense moments, the fear, the awkwardness, the pain, things were good. And now everyone is grown up, times change, circumstances change, people change.

Thomas Wolfe wrote a book titled "You can't go home again."

It was about something somewhat different but still the title itself resonates...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Memphis Steve has me in hysterics!

Steve had me laughing so hard. You gotta read this!

The episode at the KFS is a riot.

And my goodness it's refreshing to know someone other than me has a slight dysfunctional family :D

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thank you Tony Boselli...

I know nothing about the career of former NFL star Tony Boselli. I only know I'd hear his name 20 times a week when he played for the Jags. I'm not a Jags fan so I don't know much about him.

Except that he and his wife are very generous people.

Tony Boselli didn't go out and engage in dog fights, murder anyone, or gamble illegally on his own team. He took his winnings, made a gracious exit into retirement and decided to do some great things for others.

Enter Jacksonville City Councilwoman Denise Lee who is protesting the Boselli Foundation's renovation of an old dilapidated building for the purpose of establishing an afterschool program-one which the city really needs and gets kids off the street!

Aren't we all talking about how the children are our future and how we have to do everything we can to make sure they have a good education, a good upbringing, good morals and values, respect, and consideration for others?

Here's a man who is trying to help do that by giving some kids a chance. And along comes some idiot councilwoman who is pissed off because nobody invited her to the party for a share in the glory. And because of that she's trying to push the City Council into NOT giving Mr. Boselli's foundation a lease to the recreation center. She believes that the city should be running it and not a private foundation.

Of course nobody can seem to reach her for comment. No big shocker there.

Frankly if I were a resident of that area I'd much rather take my chances with Mr. Boselli's private foundation running things. I don't believe ever in the history of this country has the government been successful at running ANYTHING better than a private business has been able to do.

I don't know Tony Boselli and I don't live in Jacksonville but even I thank him for his generosity to his former community and for caring enough about people to give more than just self-serving lip service to help them!

If this has done anything besides helping these kids and the community it has likely served to eventually boot yet another incompetent piece of dog squeeze out of office at the next election!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Rude people...

There's this gal. All she does is talk shit about other people and be rude an insensitive to them. She claims she is just being herself and that the world can screw themselves if they don't like what she's saying (like the world actually cares!) but I think she's trying to cover up for her insecurities. You would think her superior education would make her more intelligent, but she just talks a big game and in the end is just a bitch. A rude, nasty, insensitive bitch. She is not the kind of person you would want to be friends with. Not at all. I feel sorry for her. She is so insecure she has to make fun of others.

Not cool at all.

Friday, November 16, 2007

When I'm old....

I wanna be a Golden Girl.

Watching that show always brings back fond memories of a good time in my life. My grams and I used to watch it every Saturday night. It was fun and memorable. I've seen every episode, I know so many of the lines, but for me the show never gets old. I love Bea, Betty, Rue, and Estelle, they are like a part of my own family. Sure, like Dorothy and Sophia...my mother and grandmother are from Brooklyn and annoy the hell out of one another (and me at times) and of course I would say that RedQueen is sassy like Blanche and hmm...I don't really know a Rose. Not yet anyway.

When I am stressed and need to chill, I pop in one of the DVD's and the world starts to make sense to me.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Nobody gives a damn...

Right now I am feeling a little like Sara Sidle---pissed off at the world though not sure exactly why or what to do about it. I'm sick of the lack of values, the lack of caring, consideration, and respect people used to have for one another. It seems so few actually give a damn. Oh I know lots of people do give a damn but where are they?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Misplaced priorities...

What I don't get is that if your husband just lost his job and you don't work, you have five kids, no insurance and no savings, how in the HELL are you going to afford to spend $700 on video games for your kids for Christmas?

Oh you expect the government to cover your health insurance and immediate needs but you can drop money on your kids video games.

How about this for a change? Go to the local library, get five library cards and have them read books FREE!

What a concept.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"You didn't tell me"

A student tells me he can't get his cap and gown because he was informed he's not on the graduation list. He's all upset. When I quizzed him, it turns out he didn't apply to graduate. I said "how could you forget?" and he replied "I didn't know. You told me I was ok to graduate."

Woah Nelly......yes and no. You were ok to graduate because you met requirements but in the email I sent you at the beginning of the term it included a statement reminding you to apply for the degree.

During the course of our conversation, he reminded me a few times that I told him he was ok. And I reminded him again that he HAD TO KNOW he had to apply for the degree, I mean I can't for the life of me understand how a person who just got an undergraduate degree (and applied for it at that time) couldn't know he had to go through the same process for the graduate degree.

I have no problem helping someone who goofed. I mean, shit happens, who of us hasn't screwed up from time to time? But I do have a problem being blamed for someone else's lack of common sense.

This is why I just can't work in higher education for the rest of my life. It's not just the politics, but there are so many college students out there spending all this money on education and have absolutely no common sense. There are students who expect the "system" to remind them, take care of them, do things for them. I'm sorry, but that's not my job. I am not a caretaker, babysitter, or your mommy. It's enough that I have to run my own life and barely have time for that, no way in hell am I going to take over running yours.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Parents who created myspace account for revenge are responsible for girl's death...

Parents like this don't deserve children and should be in prison!

In the story linked above, two parents create a fake myspace account for the purpose of acting as a teenage boy befriending an overweight girl (Megan Meier) who has a serious self-esteem problem and doesn't make friends easily.

The parents created this account for the purpose of getting back at Megan for dumping their daughter as a friend. When the fake teenage boy (aka the parents) tells the overweight girl Megan Meier he doesn't want to be her friend anymore, and after friends taunt her online for being fat and calling her terrible names, she loses it and hangs herself shortly before her birthday.

The rest is in the story, read it. Then puke. Then ask yourself how adults could behave like this and think it's ok.

I can't believe the parents who created the account won't be charged with something. A 14-year old girl doesn't have the capacity to understand the full consequences of her decisions.

A young girl is dead because of the parents who created the fake myspace account. A young girl is dead because their daughter and her friends signed onto the account taunting and cursing at her.

No they may not have meant for her to die, but they knew this young girl very well, they knew of her emotional instability, and they, as adults should have been MORE responsible than this.

Their actions led to her death. The parents who instigated this should be prosecuted. We have to send the message that this will not be tolerated. Period.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Over the river and through the woods to mom and dad's house we go...

Ok it's not really a river, it's a creek. And there are lots of woods, so I'm good there.

I should wrap up today's events, it was a fun day, I had a great time.

DH and I got up around 6 am this morning as we usually do on weekends and made a big pot of hot coffee and relaxed. DH had gotten most of the laundry done the night before and I had submitted the biggest assignment I have each week--my meteorology. So really we were both free to just hang out Saturday morning. He took the trash to the dump (a favorite hangout for some locals) and when he got home it was my turn--I went over to mom and dad's house.

Mom and dad live about ten minutes away and with the weather being so beautiful and cool recently, dad's decided to take on the task of remodeling their 27 year old Guerdon Statler manufactured home. All I can say is that it's going to be a lot of work. We've got to redo some of the floors, replacing the exterior completely, and put in new insulation. It's expensive and going to be difficult. Dad can't do it alone so I am going to try and get over there and help him.

Anyway my latest task is to figure out how to put up vinyl siding so we can put it up together. Neither of us knows how to do it so we need to figure out NOW so we don't screw it up.

I had a nice visit with grams too--she lives next door. I gave her one of the mulberry candles we bought and she told me it was her favorite Christmas scent. It's hard for her to find them because they are seasonal so next time we go out I'll load up on them for her. Then grams proceeds to empty out her closet of Christmas stuff. She gave me all her lights, ornaments and her Christmas village. She said she doesn't have room for a tree anymore because she uses up all her living room space for her plants, which she brings in from her screened-in porch during the winter. What winter I should have asked! But I said ok and filled my car with the stuff. It's so weird, I went over there with an empty car and trailer pulled behind it so I could bring mom and dad's treadmill home with me. But then I wind up with a car full of stuff grams gave me. I told her I can't use all the lights. She insists I'll find a use for them. I told her I don't have room for the ornaments on our tree. She insists I'll find a way.

I guess I will. These ornaments have been with her since before I was born--I wouldn't dare get rid of them, they're cherished. Besides, they smell like grams house--a nice soft perfumy smell. I will find a place for them somewhere even if I have to put up another tree LOL.

All in all I had a nice visit. Dad's shop looks great, he's been cleaning it up and they poured a concrete addition recently which looks fantastic! Dad's been putting up sliding doors and doing a pretty good job. He said he wished he was forty years younger because now at 61 working outside is much more difficult. But he's doing a good job. Mom looked good too--her hip bothered her at times, she has arthritis and osteoporosis thanks to Crohn's Disease. But she made the best pasta sauce loaded with raisins and italian sausage and meatballs that I'd been waiting an entire week to devour! It's all about the food! No one in this family will ever starve as long as mom's around to cook such great meals!

More to come..a little ranting tomorrow...

Friday, November 09, 2007

I'm too reliant on technology!

I don't have a cell phone, IPOD, or any other fancy expensive gadget, unless you count the 1GB MP3 my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas last year. Other than that it's just a simple PC with a scanner and printer that keeps me busy. I rely heavily on the computer to do my genealogy, schoolwork, and other projects. Which is why when it crashed the other day I lost it. It was already bad enough that I had a terrible cold but not being able to use the computer sucked. I thought it couldn't get worse. But it did. That same day I couldn't find my flash drive. I rely on the flash drive every semester, carrying a flash drive full of current term coursework back and forth between home and work so I can do my assignments anywhere. Well I lost it, couldn't find it, tore the house apart and nothing. I figured there must be a reason why.

By today I was completely over my allergies and cold, one of the guys at work nuked my PC and started over, AND I found my flash drive. Now that last one is the weirdest thing. I looked in this onc place a dozen or so times, knowing this is where I always put the flash drive when I plan to take it to work the next day. Even DH looked in it and never found it. When I dumped it upside down this evening guess what fell out?

Yep, there it was.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

DH turning into

DH and I were talking the other day about how to re-organize and re-decorate our home. We were talking about colors for the walls and window treatments and he gave his opinion about what we should do when he suddenly stopped himself! He realized here he was, a manly man, pondering color schemes. He says "Oh my goodness, what's happening to me?"

I thought it was funny. Of course I said to him "there's nothing wrong with guys wanting to redecorate!"

Later on we're talking again, this time about candles. I bought this nice new tablecloth with fall leaves and fall colors on it that goes great with our color scheme and we had a bunch of candles we'd gotten recently. Some of the candles had a color scheme of dark green/brown/mulberry that a nice complement for the table. DH comments it would look great and that instead of a centerpiece which I'd originally wanted, we should use the candle.

Then he caught himself again and laughed. Here's the manly man again talking candles and tableclothes.

Too funny.

DH loves candles, in fact here's a secret you'll now know. When we went out a couple of Fridays ago to Hobby Lobby with RedQueen, DH filled the basket with a few model cars and lots of candles, all kinds of fall scents. Among them were 8 mulberry candles in jars. He loves mulberry. He loves candles.

Who knew?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Educators need a history lesson about the "oldest seagoing service"

History of the Coast Guard:

The United States Coast Guard, one of the country's five armed services, is a unique agency of the federal government. We trace our history back to 4 August 1790, when the first Congress authorized the construction of ten vessels to enforce tariff and trade laws, prevent smuggling, and protect the collection of the federal revenue. Known variously as the Revenue Marine and the Revenue Cutter Service, we expanded in size and responsibilities as the nation grew.

The service received its present name in 1915 under an act of Congress when the Revenue Cutter Service merged with the Life-Saving Service. The nation then had a single maritime service dedicated to saving life at sea and enforcing the nation's maritime laws. The Coast Guard began to maintain the country's aids to maritime navigation, including operating the nation's lighthouses, when President Franklin Roosevelt authorized the transfer the Lighthouse Service to the Coast Guard in 1939. Later, in 1946, Congress permanently transferred the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation to the Coast Guard, thereby placing merchant marine licensing and merchant vessel safety under our purview.

The Coast Guard is one of the oldest organizations of the federal government and, until the Navy Department was established in 1798, we served as the nation's only armed force afloat. We have continued to protect the nation throughout our long history and have served proudly in every one of the nation's conflicts. Our national defense responsibilities remain one of our most important functions even today.

In times of peace we operate as part of the Department of Homeland Security, serving as the nation's front-line agency for enforcing our laws at sea, protecting our coastline and ports, and saving life. In times of war, or on direction of the President, we serve under the Navy Department.


TITLE 14--COAST GUARD

PART I--REGULAR COAST GUARD

CHAPTER 1--ESTABLISHMENT AND DUTIES

Sec. 1. Establishment of Coast Guard

The Coast Guard as established January 28, 1915, shall be a military service and a branch of the armed forces of the United States at all times. The Coast Guard shall be a service in the Department of Homeland Security, except when operating as a service in the Navy.(Aug. 4, 1949, ch. 393, 63 Stat. 496; Pub. L. 94-546, Sec. 1(1), Oct. 18, 1976, 90 Stat. 2519; Pub. L. 107-296, title XVII, Sec. 1704(a), Nov. 25, 2002, 116 Stat. 2314.)


As a veteran I'm appalled that there are school districts out there promoting the celebration of FOUR armed military services and not FIVE!

AIR FORCE

ARMY

COAST GUARD

MARINES

NAVY

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Oy!

Ok I've been sick the last few days. Woke up Monday morning feeling like crap and it came on so suddenly. It's a shame because the weekend was such beautiful weather and I felt great!

Anyway, been sick, my PC crashed, and I'm behind on schoolwork. More later...

Monday, November 05, 2007

I want to know who is voting...

and that they are actually who they say they are and legal to vote.

In this story, Minnesota Rep. Ellison proposes to ban such requirements because it's akin to a poll tax and allegedly disenfranchises poor, women, elderly and young people.

Oy vey!

The poor can't get a picture ID?
The elderly can't get a picture ID?
Women can't get a picture ID?
Young people can't get a picture ID?

Why? Because they don't have the money?

Ok fine. We can solve this problem by requiring photos in addition to signatures on ALL voter registration cards. The voter reg cards are free and so the picture is too. At the same time all the disenfranchised folks get their voter registration cards they can get their picture taken.

I've got no problem with that. Do you?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Huh?

Here's an interesting but strange video of a Muslim cleric explaining to three young men how exactly a man is supposed to beat his wife if she disobeys him.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I think I'll sue Crayola...

...because I'm offended.

You see, DH, RedQueen and I were at our annual trip to Hobby Lobby in Ocala yesterday. It was Homecoming and we all had the day off so we figured we'd load up on crafting supplies. I was perusing the aisle where they keep the metallic and other type markers when I came upon something quite interesting.





















Now I'd certainly heard of people being multicultural but not art supplies. So I picked up the package and looked at the colors---tan, beige, tawny, gold, bronze, terra cotta, mahogany, and sienna. I didn't see "white" though. And of course all my life I've always been told by others that I'm white so I felt kinda left out when I didn't see any white markers. DH and RQ were also offended because all their lives they've been told they are white and like me, their skin color certainly doesn't match any of those crayola markers. Of course our skin color isn't really "white" but since all our lives we've been labeled as such, I figured that we had a right to expect markers for us too. And now they have this cool multi-culti palette and still they can't come up with a color for people of light skin like us, who are light but not pale or pink, not quite peachy, and not quite brown either.

When I got home I checked out Crayola's website to send an email complaining that I felt discriminated against and this is when I just fell outta my chair laughing.

Crayola's website advertises the markers:

Crayola® 8 ct. Washable Multicultural Broad Line Markers is an assortment of ethnic-sensitive color palette. The broad line markers have a unique conical tip that is good for coloring and detailing. Good colors for school projects.

Crayola not only has ethnic sensitive multiculti markers but they have crayons and pencils too. The crayons are in black, sepia, peach, apricot, white, tan, mahogany, and burnt sienna.

I was thrilled! They had white! But still not "my" color. And then I was thinking to myself how many sepia, black (as in jet black), mahogany and burnt sienna people I've seen and I really couldn't recall any and I have a wide variety of friends, coworkers and acquaintances over the years. Nope, couldn't recall any.

A website which advertises children's educational products describes the multi-culti colors as:

Multicultural markers help children learn about self, family, and community.


Now if only I could find a good lawyer to take my case...

Friday, November 02, 2007

Who says bitching does no good?

While the University of Delaware insists they've done nothing wrong, they've canceled their so-called "diversity education program" amidst cries of outrage over alleged indoctination and reverse racism.

My thoughts are that if they truly believed there was nothing wrong with it, they would have kept the program. The fact that the institution even allowed this course to be taught in the first place shows a serious lack of judgment at all levels.

And by the way, Dr. Shakti Butler, who authored the training materials is defined as multiracial because she is of African, American Indian, Russian and Jewish descent.

Well then we're ALL multiracial aren't we? Why do I have to mark "white" when I have a variety of heritages? I'm an American of Romanian, Jewish, Sicilian, Italian, German, English, Irish, Scotch, Native American, and possibly even Dutch and Russian extraction.

But of course because my skin color is slightly on the peachy side, I can't be multiculti-it's not allowed.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

University of Delaware: All whites are racist...

Wow I knew that some aspects of higher education were going down the toilet but this?

This latest is pathetic. This document is the "Diversity Facilitation Training" Manual from the University of Delaware's Office of Student Life.

You can click on the document above but first read the exerpts:


“A RACIST: A racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality. By this definition, people of color cannot be racists, because as peoples within the U.S. system, they do not have the power to back up their prejudices, hostilities, or acts of discrimination. (This does not deny the existence of such prejudices, hostilities, acts of rage or discrimination.)" Page 3

“REVERSE RACISM: A term created and used by white people to deny their white privilege. Those in denial use the term reverse racism to refer to hostile behavior by people of color toward whites, and to affirmative action policies, which allegedly give 'preferential treatment' to people of color over whites. In the U.S., there is no such thing as 'reverse racism.'" Page 3

“A NON-RACIST: A non-term. The term was created by whites to deny responsibility for systemic racism, to maintain an aura of innocence in the face
of racial oppression, and to shift responsibility for that oppression from whites to people of color (called "blaming the victim"). Responsibility for perpetuating and legitimizing a racist system rests both on those who actively maintain it, and on those who refuse to challenge it. Silence is consent." Page 3

"Have you ever heard a well-meaning white person say, 'I'm not a member of any race except the human race?' What she usually means by this statement is that she doesn't want to perpetuate racial categories by acknowledging that she is white. This is an evasion of responsibility for her participation in a system based on supremacy for white people." Page 8

"The notion of indigenous people as more akin to animals than human beings is at the basis of U.S. policy toward Native Americans. In 1784 George Washington, famous Indian fighter, large landholder and slave owner, advised the Continental Congress that it would be cheaper for the new nation to buy up Indian land than to make war on Indian people for the land. If you make war, Washington cautioned, 'the savage as the wolf' - both wild beasts of the forest - will retreat for awhile and then come back to attack you. Washington's metaphor stuck. The young U.S. nation-state, and all sectors of European- American; began to view the Native American as a wild animal." Page 10


I can't believe an institution of higher education is permitted to promote such trash.

For what it's worth, here's the letter from the Vice President for Student Life addressing the complaint made by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

He states "There is in fact a program within the residence halls that engages students in self –examination of the roles they hope to take in society. This effort is consistent with the mission of the University which states, “Our graduates should know how to reason critically and independently…communicate clearly in writing and speech, and develop into informed citizens and leaders.”

Informed? Please. Informed is understanding both sides and there is only one side presented here. And we wonder why race is still an issue? I don't. With shit like this going on in our educational institutions, you don't have to wonder for very long.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Andrew Meyer's fame comes at the expense of others...

This latest (click on the red) in the Gainesville Sun shows the videotape of Meyer's ride to jail and the taped telephone calls between he and his father during his first and second day in jail.

In the first audio telephone conversation, Meyer is laughing and his dad Joel speaks directly to the Alachua County Jail folks on tape that they should be careful not to use excessive force on his son and that "there should not be a hair on his head harmed" because all of this was on tape.

In the second audio, Meyer tells his dad that he wants the story out there. His dad has already talked to an investigative reporter. Meyer also asked his dad to email the author of the book he was holding at the event and gave his dad the author's website URL. He told his dad to tell the author that he "went to a John Kerry rally with his book and got tasered."

In the third audio Meyer tells his dad that he kept asking for water and nobody would give it to him and his father says he's going to mention that to the attorney.

But...he's lying. You see, towards the end of the video of his ride to jail (which he didn't know about), he thanks the officer for the water they gave him. Ooops!

During the course of the phone conversation, Meyer tells his father, "this is going to be good news for both of us". To which his father replies "We want an apology...you hear that guys? (talking to those listening) "We want an apology before this goes any further."

Meyer then complains about how long it took him to get a phone call and his father complains as well. Meyer also complains about his treatment at the jail stating that "everyone in this place thinks they're God".

In the fourth audio, Joel tells his son the news stations calling him for interviews. Joel Meyer also talks about the police having used excessive force, stating that the Judge will clear him after watching the video. Joel Meyer says, "Any costs are going to be tacked on to whatever else we're looking for".

To which his son replies "we'll take it out of their ass".

In the fifth audio Meyer talks to his mother who is on the verge of tears (can you blame her?). She asks if he's ok and he says "I'm happy that this happened actually." He says he's happy because it will bring to light some things that need to be brought to light.

Of course his mother isn't happy one bit! His mother asks "at your expense?"

Andrew replies like he doesn't understand, "at my expense?"

In other words, no mom, not at my expense. He already knew the exposure he would get, it would not be at his expense. This is after all, what he wanted!

He gets off with having to write three letters of apology, one to the President of the University, one to the University Community and one to the University Police Department, donate $150 to the American Cancer Society or do 10 hours of community service, and stay out of trouble for 18 months.

In the end, he got what he wanted---but at the expense of the two fine University police officers Nicole Mallo and Eddie King (not to mention law enforcement officers everywhere), the University, the community, and even his own family, especially his poor mother.

Andrew Meyer thinks it's ok to sacrifice others to get what you want. His father must be very proud.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Galveston School Board threatens to sue parent for speaking out against crappy school system!

Things are heating up in Galveston, Texas.

Sandra Tetley put together a website, the Galveston Alliance for Neighborhood Schools where she and other concerned parents and members of the community post their opinions about things going on in the Galveston School District. The School Board is not happy and has threatened to sue her.

According to this story in the Galveston County Times, the district's attorney David Feldman states that there are at least 16 libelous postings half of which were posted by Sandra Tetley and the other half by anonymous users. The district claims the postings on the site are legally offensive.

According to Sandra Tetley's research of the books, which are available to the public, the school paid the law firm of Henslee, Fowler and Hepworth $30,613.19 in one lump sum (check number 251656) for the work done so far which includes time spent monitoring the website.

I agree with the concerned parents who stated that the $30,000 could have been better used for education and not on monitoring a website and suing a woman for having an opinion. I could think of many things you could do with $30,000 that would help a school. How about you?

If Sandra Tetley says something about an individual that the individual feels is libelous, then that individual should take action. But remember, to prove a case of libel you have to prove malicious intent and I've read her site, she's angry about what's going on in the school system but she's not being intentionally malicious.

But for the school board as a whole to threaten to sue her because she has an opinion? That's ludicrous--and very poor judgment but considering the state of the school system, it doesn't surprise me those in charge of it lack good judgment.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Drink, drive, kill two people and get acquitted...

On November 26, 2004, Holly and Nancy Cummings, mother and daughter, were hit dead-on by Billy Nichols. Both women died as a result of their injuries. Billy Nichols, a successful local businessman and champion waterskier, had a blood alcohol level of .103. The legal limit is .08. The judge dismissed vehicular manslaughter charges and the jury recently found him not guilty of DUI manslaughter.

How can this be?

It's because Billy Nichols paid top money to a top defense lawyer and a top defense lawyer can hire top experts whose technical jargon for the purpose of confusing the average jury. And that's what happened. Amazingly enough, the jury bought the idea that Nichols had a gastric condition which miraculously caused Nichols blood alcohol level to spike at just the right moment---when he went off and then back on the road and hit the victims. Then of course add in the idea that he was tired and the road conditions were poor, and you have an acquittal.

The gastric issue is an interesting but absurd theory. It does exist but in this case it's hard to digest because the facts don't add up to the possibility that it could have happened, at least not to those of us who have followed the case even a little bit. It just seems farfetched. There's no evidence in Nichols's medical records that he suffers from such a condition. There's no evidence he had a big meal the night before (which can cause this so-called gastric thing to go into action), in fact Nichols himself had told the FHP officers on the scene that he hadn't eaten the night before yet at the trial he said he had.

What this is--is a travesty of justice. Which goes to show that money talks. If you have the money to hire the best lawyers and you parade a bunch of experts in front of an uneducated jury, this is what you get.

The people who voted to acquit Billy Nichols should only hope that next time he has his alleged gastric issues while driving, they're not anywhere in the vicinity.

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's times like these...

...you thank God for what you have.

This story out of El Paso is heartbreaking.

Army Specialist John Johnson was injured in an IED explosion in Iraq and recuperating at an Army Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. His wife Lisa and three young children Tyler (9), Logan (2), and Ashley (5) were on their way to visit him when they were involved in an accident on the interstate, their SUV rolled and killed two of the children.

Logan was buckled into his car set but he died in the accident. Tyler and Ashley were ejected from the vehicle and Ashley also died. Tyler is in a coma and not expected to live. The mother survived but sustained injuries.

FirstLight Federal Credit Union in El Paso has opened a bank account to help the family and they've deposited $10,000 and encourages more donations. This family is facing huge medical and funeral expenses and other bills and needs all the help they can get. Donors can make contributions to the "Johnson Family Memorial Fund" by sending a check to any of the seven branches in El Paso or Las Cruces. There's more info at their website at http://www.firstlightfcu.org/ or you can call 800-351-1670. Also, Bank of America established the "Ashley and Logan Johnson Memorial Fund." You can give at any Bank of America branch in the United States, just give the teller the exact name of the fund and note that it is "domiciled in Texas."