Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Day Of Firsts



It was my first day in my new home with all of my stuff here. It's pretty full right now, but I am getting it done box by box.

It was also very nice to wake up with Veronica here yesterday morning. My first overnight guest! Hopefully she and other nieces and nephews are here regularly.

Patrick and I went shopping at Benny's - I needed light bulbs, wastebaskets and curtain rods. I also needed to have some keys made - to replace the one I dropped into the dashboard of my uncle's truck and the one I borrowed from the landlord.

We went to Michael's house where Chelsea was off to get her hair cut (very cute). As we waited Vanessa and JaeMae came over as I was babysitting the cute little girl while her parents went to the Red Sox game. JaeMae now has two bottom front teeth that make her more adorable than she was when she was toothless.

While we waited for Chelsea to return from the hair salon we fed JaeMae and just hung around in the car. Once she got back we admired her new hair style and we were on the road.

We stopped to get some pizza and milk and then went to my new house. Once there, JaeMae cried so hard, with tears coming down her cheeks which was the first time I'd ever seen as she is usually a very happy little girl. She had some pizza dough which she kept dropping much to the delight of Hannibal who sat adoringly at her feet.

For the rest of the visit we girls hung out on my bed (which is the biggest clear surface in the entire house) and we had a great time.

I'd forgotten how long it takes to get a baby ready when getting ready to go out. So we were running a bit late to return Chelsea and Emilee home. As we were all getting in the car, I put my hand on the part of the car between the front and back doors to lean in and put some stuff on the passenger side of the car. That was when Emi decided to close the door. After saying "open the door" a few times my hand was freed. It hurt, but not too badly as the door closed at the fleshy part of my hand just above my fingers. Emi started to say how sorry she was and then she cried, which made me cry because I knew how badly she felt. It took a bit to get her and me calmed down and then we were off. (Today my hand is fine, it's a bit swollen but it hardly hurts at all.) I have a vague memory of getting a finger or two caught in the car door as a kid, so while it wasn't a first, it was a first as an adult.

Once the girls were dropped off, JaeMae (who was sleeping) and I headed off to her house. She cried a little after we got in the house and I took her sweatshirt off, but I rocked her and she fell back to sleep. I watched a little TV as she slept on the bed next to me and I gave her some kisses.

Just before Vanessa and Ryan got home JaeMae woke up and I was getting ready to change her diaper - but before I did, Vanessa and Ryan were at the door where we met them (along with Veronica, who was there for just a few minutes.) We were standing in the kitchen talking and I felt a warm liquid over my arm and down my shirt. JaeMae was peeing and because her diaper was so full, I was the one to absorb most of her baby pee. I laughed and Ryan went and got a towel for the floor and my arm. I think they were a little mortified that it happened, but it didn't bother me at all.

They had brought some gaggers home so after JaeMae went to sleep we sat and ate and talked about the game where Vanessa (and Veronica) showed some of their moxie by yelling at the loud drunk people behind them who did quiet down after their verbal assault, though somehow a beer came flying at them a bit later!

I drove home (where the radiator light on my car kept coming on (I think I have a leak) - see The Need For Glasses) and then took Hannibal out for a walk. When we returned to the house I turned the door knob to enter and it turned a little bit and then LOCKED!! It was 1 am, my extra key was in the car which I had locked with the keys that were hanging in the front hall. I very briefly thought of going through a window and then decided to walk over to Patrick's house and wake him up and get his key. After banging on his front door for a couple of minutes without any results, I walked around to his bedroom window which was opened. After abruptly being awakened, he very nicely handed me his keys so I could get in the house. I had (until last night) never locked myself out of a house before, though I need to have the lock checked, because it was unlocked as I left the house. I think I will have to do what I've always told my customers to never do - hide a key outside! There are a few good spots, however, and once the alarm is installed it should be okay.

I collapsed into bed about 2 am and slept like I was in a coma. What a day!!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I'm Home

After feeling like a nomad for the better part of a year, I finally am home. I like this place and hope that I grow to love it.

It's pretty full right now, but I am going to go through every box and make a decision; keep, throw away or give away. So far it seems to be working because everyone who has walked out of here over the past two days (except for the movers) have left with something! (Actually, now that I think of it the movers did leave with something; a check from me!)

So I hope to have company, there's room for people to come, sit and visit all at the same time.

The best part of today (yesterday really) is that Veronica is here spending the night with me!!

Life is (almost, sort of, on the way to becoming, I hope) good.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Restorative Power of Sleep

I had forgotten how wonderful a good nights sleep could be, but now I remember and I feel like a new person.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I Don't See Dead People


First night in new house, I barely slept. I am so used to being up all night that it has been hard to sleep normal hours. Tonight, however, I hope to have the good night sleep on my deluxe queen size air mattress that I expected last night. My bed will be here for tomorrow night, yeah.

Patrick and I were on our way back to my apartment last night to move the TV, computer and food. I had the key to the new house in my hand and reached forward to feel if there was a ledge on the dashboard of my uncle's pickup truck, like there is in my car to put the key on. Nope. What there was was a slot that was just the right size for the key to slide down, right into the underneath part of the dash. I couldn't believe it! We loaded up the stuff and I called my new landlord on the way back to the new house. I asked if he had an extra key (yes he did) and I also asked who's stuff (and there's lots of it) in the storage basement area. He said it belonged to the woman who lived in my new house and he'd been meaning to get in there and throw it out because she died!!! Then he said that he probably shouldn't have told me that, so I think that maybe she died here in the house. I didn't put it all together until today, but there was a lot of information about doctors and there is also a ramp up to the front door, so she must have been sick while living here. She does seem to be gone though, because neither Hannibal or I have any sense of her in the house.

Patrick, however, was here after work tonight and he had quite a field day in the storage area, finding all kinds of stuff. There's a vacuum which we found to work quite well; two tall bookcases, one of which is now in my house (the landlord said feel free to take whatever you want); there's a toolbox, laundry detergent to do about 800 loads of clothes; a leaf blower; paint and stain; christmas decorations and so many other things I can't even remember what they are to list here.

Michelle and Veronica were here also. Veronica cleaned the inside of all (and there's a lot) the kitchen cabinets and put my food away. She and I had pizza for dinner and she watched Countdown with Keith Olbermann with me. She will be able to vote in the next election and as much as she abhors politics, she feels that she should be an informed voter. We then watched Ugly Betty for entertainment value only. New Verizon Fios internet and digital cable with DVR, new phone number are all in. I'm learning the new TV remote and hopefully will have it down before the year is over.

Tomorrow I head back to the apartment to throw things into boxes (literally) for the movers when they arrive at 5 or so. I cannot wait for this entire move to be over and done with.

BOO!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Moving


I will be unplugging my computer soon and moving it to my new house, where I will be living as of tonight!! It almost seems sad to be leaving this place, it's been so enjoyable these past 3 days. My favorite part of living here has been listening to Amtrak go by all day long. The train tracks are close enough that I can hear the train even if they aren't blowing the whistle, when they do blow the whistle, I am pleased beyond belief. And while I'm not as close to the train tracks in my new place, I should be able to hear the whistle without any problem as long as they are blowing it! I'll also miss the ducks quacking in the river which is right next to the house.

The phone/cable/internet man from Verizon will be there tomorrow between 8-10 and I knew there would be no way I'd make it there so early in the am, so I decided that Patrick and I are moving the essentials tonight; TV, computer, computer desk, dishes and food. The rest of my belongings will be delivered Friday night by the movers.

On another front, I spoke to the RI state disability rep last week and she said that they recommended to Social Security that I be considered disabled (as the state has already done) and I should be hearing this week from Social Security. I'm almost afraid to check the mail, but I am hoping for the best.

So things seem to (finally) be coming together! Until I get up and running again....so long!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Smoke Detectors And Fire Safety



Entry level fire protec tion
Every home should have working smoke alarms on each level, and protecting each sleeping area. The Home Safety Council recommends installing smoke alarms inside bedrooms as well. For the best detection and notification protection, install both ionization and photoelectric type smoke alarms. Some models provide dual coverage. The type will be printed on the box or package.

Kids and Smoke Detectors
Did you know that despite a piercing 70-85 decibel signal, children often sleep through the sound of a home smoke alarm? A quick response is essential in a fire emergency, so if children don't waken to the signal, parents and caregivers must wake them. Interconnected smoke alarms can make a life-saving difference. Interconnected smoke alarms are hard-wired into a home's electrical system and each alarm is connected together so that when one alarm signals, they all signal, no matter where the fire starts.

With interconnected smoke alarms, you'll have early warning of the fire wherever you are, because the smoke alarm in your room will sound at the same time as the alarm in the room with the fire. If your children or someone else in the household isn't aroused by the smoke alarm, you'll be able to waken them, hastening their safe escape.

Danger: Even with interconnected alarms, emerging research has demonstrated that sleeping children may be able to tune out the blaring sound. Make sure your children wake and properly respond when the smoke alarms signal. Empowering children with basic fire escape skills is a very good idea - everyone should know to react immediately to the sound of the alarm and how to get outside quickly. But before assuming children will react appropriately to a late-night fire, parents must learn if their children will be roused immediately or sleep through the smoke alarm. Even those who awaken to the sound of the alarm may be groggy or move with indecision.

Learn if your children will awaken
To find out for certain, the Home Safety Council urges parents to hold regular family fire drills. Children can participate in the drills by helping to draw the fire escape plan. Once kids have mastered fire escape skills, hold a drill when children are sleeping to learn how they will respond to the sound of the smoke alarm (this is of utmost importance.) Push the "test" button on the closest alarm during the drill. If children don't readily waken and demonstrate the ability to move with decision, parents must make a contingency plan for awakening them in family drills and in a fire emergency.

Important: Children aren't the only ones who sleep through smoke alarms. Research shows that teenagers and even adults can tune out the loud sound while they sleep. Additionally, people with hearing impairments may not be able to hear conventional alarms; special smoke alarms with strobes and/or vibration are available for purchase online and through local fire equipment distributors. Make sure everyone in your family is protected by the early warning that smoke alarms provide.
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. Heat detectors are best for attics where the temperature can be extremely high and near the furnace or boiler.

Make sure there is a smoke detector IN every bedroom. If a fire starts in a bedroom where someone is sleeping and the bedroom door is closed the smoke detector is in the hallway outside will do no good, whatsoever!! Install about 3 feet in from doorway in EACH bedroom.

Choose an installation location that is well away from the path of steam from bathrooms and cooking vapors from the kitchen, which can result in false, or nuisance alarms.

Put new batteries in your smoke alarms twice each year, when springing forward and falling back.


Blocked Lint in the Clothes Dryer
When is the last time you cleaned out your clothes dryer vent hose? You're probably asking, "what and huh?" You should never, ever leave your clothes dryer running when away from the house. Vacuum underneath and behind dryer at least once per year to get rid of any lint.
Clean the vent hose annually. If it's an old white plastic vent hose replace it immediately with a foil or tin one. Available for just a few dollars at Home Depot!
Keep fire extinguishers around the house; kitchen, basement, laundry area, hallway by bedrooms.

Monday, September 24, 2007

It's Happened Again!



It was very quiet last night and I knew that the Dimwit wasn't home. It's odd because she is on home confinement after all.

Then this morning her alarm clock woke me up. For an hour the radio played quite loudly and then, thankfully, shut off.

So I'm wondering "where could she be?" Early this afternoon I heard the Idiot outside, but I was laying down and don't know what was going on, and frankly, didn't care.

A few minutes ago her mother came over, checked the Dimwit's mail and then went upstairs. Several minutes later she left with a bag filled with the Dimwit's personal items.

I quickly went to the ACI website and, sure enough, she's listed as being back in the Women's Division!!!

Since Tuesday (tomorrow) night is the last night I am sleeping here, I'm hoping for two good nights sleep and when the movers come this Friday, I'm hoping to put the Dimwit, the Idiot, their noise and criminal behavior behind me.

Oh wait, except for the fact that I've met with the drug detective for the local PD and they are now doing an investigation, which may have led to her being incarcerated again, though I suspect it had something to do with mandatory drug testing or being out of her allowed area.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq at 3,793

As of Friday, Sept. 21, 2007, at least 3,793 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 3,095 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

The AP count is five higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Friday at 10 a.m. EDT.

The British military has reported 169 deaths; Italy, 33; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 21; Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; Denmark, 7; El Salvador, 5; Slovakia, 4; Latvia, 3; Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand, 2 each; and Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Romania, South Korea, 1 death each.

Rising Seas Likely to Flood U.S. History



By SETH BORENSTEIN

Ultimately, rising seas will likely swamp the first American settlement in Jamestown, Va., as well as the Florida launch pad that sent the first American into orbit, many climate scientists are predicting.

In about a century, some of the places that make America what it is may be slowly erased.

Global warming - through a combination of melting glaciers, disappearing ice sheets and warmer waters expanding - is expected to cause oceans to rise by one meter, or about 39 inches.

It will happen regardless of any future actions to curb greenhouse gases, several leading scientists say.

And it will reshape the nation.

Rising waters will lap at the foundations of old money Wall Street and the new money towers of Silicon Valley. They will swamp the locations of big city airports and major interstate highways.

Storm surges worsened by sea level rise will flood the waterfront getaways of rich politicians - the Bushes' Kennebunkport and John Edwards' place on the Outer Banks. And gone will be many of the beaches in Texas and Florida favored by budget-conscious students on Spring Break.

That's the troubling outlook projected by coastal maps reviewed by The Associated Press. The maps, created by scientists at the University of Arizona, are based on data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Few of the more than two dozen climate experts interviewed disagree with the one-meter projection. Some believe it could happen in 50 years, others say 100, and still others say 150.

Sea level rise is "the thing that I'm most concerned about as a scientist," says Benjamin Santer, a climate physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

"We're going to get a meter and there's nothing we can do about it," said University of Victoria climatologist Andrew Weaver, a lead author of the February report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Paris. "It's going to happen no matter what - the question is when."

Sea level rise "has consequences about where people live and what they care about," said Donald Boesch, a University of Maryland scientist who has studied the issue. "We're going to be into this big national debate about what we protect and at what cost."

This week, beginning with a meeting at the United Nations on Monday, world leaders will convene to talk about fighting global warming. At week's end, leaders will gather in Washington with President Bush.

Experts say that protecting America's coastlines would run well into the billions and not all spots could be saved.

And it's not just a rising ocean that is the problem. With it comes an even greater danger of storm surge, from hurricanes, winter storms and regular coastal storms, Boesch said. Sea level rise means higher and more frequent flooding from these extreme events, he said.

All told, one meter of sea level rise in just the lower 48 states would put about 25,000 square miles under water, according to Jonathan Overpeck, director of the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth at the University of Arizona. That's an area the size of West Virginia.

The amount of lost land is even greater when Hawaii and Alaska are included, Overpeck said.

The Environmental Protection Agency's calculation projects a land loss of about 22,000 square miles. The EPA, which studied only the Eastern and Gulf coasts, found that Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina, Texas and South Carolina would lose the most land. But even inland areas like Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia also have slivers of at-risk land, according to the EPA.

This past summer's flooding of subways in New York could become far more regular, even an everyday occurrence, with the projected sea rise, other scientists said. And New Orleans' Katrina experience and the daily loss of Louisiana wetlands - which serve as a barrier that weakens hurricanes - are previews of what's to come there.

Florida faces a serious public health risk from rising salt water tainting drinking water wells, said Joel Scheraga, the EPA's director of global change research. And the farm-rich San Joaquin Delta in California faces serious salt water flooding problems, other experts said.

"Sea level rise is going to have more general impact to the population and the infrastructure than almost anything else that I can think of," said S. Jeffress Williams, a U.S. Geological Survey coastal geologist in Woods Hole, Mass.

Even John Christy at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, a scientist often quoted by global warming skeptics, said he figures the seas will rise at least 16 inches by the end of the century.

But he tells people to prepare for a rise of about three feet just in case.

Williams says it's "not unreasonable at all" to expect that much in 100 years. "We've had a third of a meter in the last century."

The change will be a gradual process, one that is so slow it will be easy to ignore for a while.

"It's like sticking your finger in a pot of water on a burner and you turn the heat on, Williams said. "You kind of get used to it."

Friday, September 21, 2007

The "Real" War


I recommend that everyone, especially younger people, watch an amazing WW2 documentary that will be on PBS starting on Sunday night. If Ken Burns, who is a terrific director/producer, lives up to his previous documentaries, (The Civil War being among his best), we should have an insiders look into an enormous part of our world history. And a look at a war that really was necessary! It took Ken Burns over 6 years to put this documentary together. He had decided to do it after hearing two things; that over 1,000 WW2 veterans a day were dying and that young people thought we fought with the Germans against Russia!

from PBS: THE WAR, a seven-part series directed and produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, which tells the story of the Second World War through the personal accounts of a handful of men and women from four quintessentially American towns.
The series explores the most intimate human dimensions of the greatest cataclysm in history — a worldwide catastrophe that touched the lives of every family on every street in every town in America — and demonstrates that in extraordinary times, there are no ordinary lives.
Throughout the series, the indelible experience of combat is brought vividly to life as veterans describe what it was like to fight and kill and see men die at places like Monte Cassino and Anzio and Omaha Beach; the Hürtgen Forest and the Vosges Mountains and the Ardennes; and on the other side of the world at Guadalcanal and Tarawa and Saipan; Peleliu and the Philippine Sea and Okinawa. In all of the battle scenes, dramatic historical footage and photographs are combined with extraordinarily realistic sound effects to give the film a terrifying, visceral immediacy.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

SPECIAL COMMENT




By Keith Olbermann
Anchor,
'Countdown'
MSNBC







Olbermann to Bush: ‘Your hypocrisy is so vast’ A reaction to Thursday’s press conference: the president was the one who interjected Gen. Petraeus into the political dialogue in the first place.

"First off, it’s "Democrat-ic" party.

You keep pretending you’re not a politician, so stop using words your party made up. Show a little respect.

Secondly, you could say this seriously after the advertising/mugging of Senator Max Cleland?

After the swift-boating of John Kerry?

But most importantly, making that the last question? So that there was no chance at a follow-up?

So nobody could point out, as Chris Matthews so incisively did, a week ago tonight, that you were the one who inappropriately interjected General Petraeus into the political dialogue of this nation in the first place!

Deliberately, premeditatedly, and virtually without precedent, you shanghaied a military man as your personal spokesman and now you’re complaining about the outcome, and then running away from the microphone?

Eleven months ago the President’s own party, the Republican National Committee, introduced this very different kind of advertisement, just nineteen days before the mid-term elections.
Bin Laden.

Al-Zawahiri’s rumored quote of six years ago about having bought "suitcase bombs." All set against a ticking clock, and finally a blinding explosion and the dire announcement: "These are the stakes - vote, November 7th."

That one was ok, Mr. Bush?

Terrorizing your own people in hopes of getting them to vote for your own party has never brought as much as a public comment from you?

The Republican Hamstringing of Captain Max Cleland and lying about Lieutenant John Kerry met with your approval?

But a shot at General Petraeus, about whom you conveniently ignore it, was you who reduced him from four-star hero to a political hack, merits this pissy juvenile blast at the Democrats on national television?

Your hypocrisy is so vast that if we could somehow use it to fill the ranks in Iraq you could realize your dream and keep us fighting there until the year 3000.

The line between the military and the civilian government is not to be crossed.

When Douglas MacArthur attempted to make policy for the United States in Korea half a century ago, President Truman moved quickly to fire him, even though Truman knew it meant his own political suicide, and the deification of a General who history suggests had begun to lose his mind.

When George McClellan tried to make policy for the Union in the Civil War, President Lincoln finally fired his chief General, even though he knew McClellan could galvanize political opposition which he did when McClellan ran as Lincoln’s presidential opponent in 1864, nearly defeating our greatest president.

Even when the conduit flowed the other way and Senator Joseph McCarthy tried to smear the Army because it wouldn’t defer the service of one of McCarthy’s staff aides, the entire civilian and Defense Department structures, after four years of fearful servitude, rose up against McCarthy and said "enough" and buried him.

The list is not endless but it is instructive.

Air Force General LeMay—who broke with Kennedy over the Cuban Missile Crisis and was retired.

Army General Edwin Anderson Walker—who started passing out John Birch Society leaflets to his soldiers.

Marine General Smedley Butler—who revealed to Congress the makings of a plot to remove FDR as President and for merely being approached by the plotters, was phased out of the military hierarchy.

These careers were ended because the line between the military and the civilian is not to be crossed!

Mr. Bush, you had no right to order General Petraeus to become your front man.

And he obviously should have refused that order and resigned rather than ruin his military career.

The upshot is and contrary it is, to the MoveOn advertisement he betrayed himself more than he did us.

But there has been in his actions a sort of reflexive courage, some twisted vision of duty at a time of crisis. That the man doesn’t understand that serving officers cannot double as serving political ops, is not so much his fault as it is your good, exploitable, fortune.

But Mr. Bush, you have hidden behind the General’s skirts, and today you have hidden behind the skirts of ‘the planted last question’ at a news conference, to indicate once again that your presidency has been about the tilted playing field, about no rules for your party in terms of character assassination and changing the fabric of our nation, and no right for your opponents or critics to as much as respond.

That is not only un-American but it is dictatorial.

And in pimping General David Petraeus and in the violation of everything this country has been assiduously and vigilantly against for 220 years, you have tried to blur the gleaming radioactive demarcation between the military and the political, and to portray your party as the one associated with the military, and your opponents as the ones somehow antithetical to it.

You did it again today and you need to know how history will judge the line you just crossed.

It is a line thankfully only the first of a series that makes the military political, and the political, military.

It is a line which history shows is always the first one crossed when a democratic government in some other country has started down the long, slippery, suicidal slope towards a Military Junta.

Get back behind that line, Mr. Bush, before some of your supporters mistake your dangerous transgression for a call to further politicize our military."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

6 Ways To Ruin A Good Nights Sleep


Early Bedtimes: While heading to bed at 8 p.m. might seem like a great way to get your sleep schedule on track, such an early bedtime will likely deter your good intentions. That’s because hitting the sack before (or too soon after) the sun has started setting usually does not align with your circadian rhythm, the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. In order to keep pace with your circadian rhythm, Dr. Chediak recommends waiting until you’re drowsy to fall asleep and then waking up at the same time each morning, giving your body a set schedule to sleep by.


Bedroom Gadgets: No, not those kinds of gadgets. We’re talking about ordinary computers, BlackBerries, and televisions--all of which are probably best left outside the boudoir. Mingling electronics with your sleep site sends your body mixed messages about whether it should be turned on or off. In order to keep your bedroom a restful place, keep it free of digital devices.


Having a Nightcap or Two: If you’re having trouble falling asleep, drinking is not the right remedy. A few beers will definitely make you drowsy, but that does not translate into a solid night of sleep. Instead, sleeping after drinking is one of the surefire ways to guarantee a miserable morning. You’ll usually get about four hours of light sleep, Dr. Chediak explains, but wake up afterward feeling lousy and unable to fall back asleep. If you’re looking for more solid sleep that will leave you well rested, then the bar scene should not be part of your bedtime ritual.


Working Until Bedtime: Think you’ll be able to fall asleep if you move right from checking your e-mail to bed? Think again. Actually stop thinking. If you’ve got work-related matters buzzing around in your head, give them a chance to calm down before you consider sleeping. Putting a time barrier between work and sleep should ensure that you’re having sweet dreams instead of stressful nightmares.


Watching the Clock: Watching each minute--or second--pass by is not going to help you drift off. Instead, it will likely make you more anxious about the time you’re spending without sleeping. Instead of counting the passing minutes, Dr. Chediak recommends getting up to do a calming activity, such as a crossword puzzle or reading a book and then heading back to bed when the drowsiness hits again. (And turn that clock face away from the bed.)


Dark Mornings: Your morning routine can actually have a pretty big impact on your sleep success. You need to let your body know when it’s time to rise and shine and the best way to do that is by exposing yourself to some bright lights. Doctors recommend getting about 20 minutes of early-morning light exposure. It will let your body know that it’s time to get going and reduce drowsiness.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Moment Of Silence For A Genius


Jimi Hendrix (November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970 was an American guitarist, singer and songwriter. Hendrix is considered one of the greatest and most influential guitarists in rock music history. After initial success in England, he achieved worldwide fame following his 1967 performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. Later, Hendrix headlined the iconic 1969 Woodstock Festival before his death in 1970, at the age of 27.

A self-taught guitarist, Hendrix usually played a Fender Stratocaster guitar turned upside down (so that the right-handed guitar could be played left-handed) and restrung to suit him. Hendrix helped pioneer the technique of guitar feedback with overdriven amplifiers, incorporating into his music what was previously an undesirable sound. He built upon the innovations and influences of blues stylists such as BB King, Muddy Waters, Albert King and T-Bone Walker, and derived style from rhythm and blues and soul guitarists Curtis Mayfield, Steve Cropper and Cornell Dupree, as well as from traditional jazz. Part of Hendrix's flamboyant stage persona may have been inspired by rock pioneer Little Richard, with whom he toured as part of Richard's back-up band, "The Upsetters". Hendrix is also widely thought to be influenced by Pete Townshend of The Who, a band performing in London when Hendrix started his career there. Carlos Santana has also suggested that Hendrix's music might have been influenced by his Native American heritage.

Hendrix strove to combine what he called "earth", a blues, jazz or funk driven rhythm accompaniment, with "space", the high-pitched psychedelic sounds created by his guitar improvisations. As a record producer, Hendrix also broke new ground in using the recording studio as an extension of his musical ideas; he was one of the first to experiment with stereophonic and phasing effects during recording.

Hendrix was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (at 6627 Hollywood Blvd.) was dedicated in 1994. In 2006, his debut album, Are You Experienced, was inducted into the United States National Recording Preservation Board's National Recording Registry.. Rolling Stone named Hendrix number 1 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time in 2003.


from Wikipedia

I've Created A Monster


Besides blogging, Emilee now has email. On Sunday I showed her how to use it, we set up some addresses for her and she has been an emailing maniac ever since! She is so sweet, and it really comes across in what she writes. I've copied some of her emails because they crack me up. Here's a sampling:



NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
AUNTIE I AM WATIHING FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i love you but you your not mailing me ine more o your my now BFF o and daddy colling me i go to go love bye mail me too night

hi ti's emilee i love you maill me chelsea on pogo.com your you on yes or no bye

i love you too but i wot to hlep by emilee come and pick up me too go too hlep you ples bye i love you

auntie your you there????. mail waiting for a mail bye love you.hi auntie it's emilee i an comeing to help you some day call me if you

wot me too help you at your now home love emilee

i am comeing too help you don't move agen ples

This morning I opened my Yahoo! to find that I had 87 emails! All but 5 were from Emi, I don't think she realized how many times she pressed the send key. I have to admit that I truly enjoy getting all of her messages, they certainly brighten my day!

Monday, September 17, 2007

On The Move...Again




















I'm back!

I've taken the last 4 nights off from blogging because I was so busy during the day that I dropped into bed almost as soon as I got home each night. So I just silly blogged instead.
Patrick moved on Thursday. I'm so glad that is behind us. It took the movers just 2 hours from start to finish. And, 24 hours after the movers left, Patrick's house looked like he'd been there forever with everything put away. It looks great.

I borrowed my uncle's pickup truck for the weekend and Pat and I moved a hutch to my mothers, her hutch to Patrick's (which I'm gonna take soon) and we got rid of some of Patrick's junk in the dumpster where I live.

Now it's my turn. I moved in December, March and now will be moving again by October 1. On one hand, the thought of moving again almost makes me want to throw up. On the other hand, I cannot wait to leave this house. It worked for what I needed and I might have decided to stay if not for the Dimwit and the Idiot upstairs. Plus this place is so crowded I actually need to move some things out just to be able to organize for the actual move. So it's time to go.

The house I'm moving to should be my home for a good long time. The rent is extremely low, it's next door to where Patrick just moved (same landlord) and it's got enough room that I might actually have to buy some furniture! Not much though, because I don't want to have to go through the purging of my entire life again anytime soon. The house is in EG, right on the NK line, just down the road from Richard's Pub which is why Patrick moved there in the first place.

The top of my list of things in a new home was to have a washer dryer hook-up. This new place has the washer and dryer to go along with it, and enough storage space for my appliances.

There's a good size bedroom, so that my bureau, vanity and my bed will have plenty of space and I'll actually be able to use the bureaus again, I've been keeping my clothes in piles around the bedroom and my underwear has been kept in a box since December! The kitchen is a small galley kitchen but it has lots of cabinets and drawers to put the silverware in! There's an adjacent dining area and a pretty good size living room.

There's a house upstairs and new people (a young couple) will be moving in October 15. The rental agent said he's a carpenter and she works in Boston. I'm pretty much figuring they can't be anywhere as annoying as the upstairs neighbors I now have. I'm hoping to talk with them soon so that we can share cable and internet service.

I'm looking for volunteers (again) for another move. I will be hiring movers so the real work will be done by them. The help I need will just be in helping me get organized and packed here and then unpacked at the new house. So don't everyone jam the phone lines calling me all at once!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

New Workplace Words



Essential additions for the workplace vocabulary. How many do you recognize?



BLAMESTORMING: Sitting around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.


SEAGULL MANAGER: A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.

ASSMOSIS: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.

SALMON DAY: The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die in the end.

CUBE FARM: An office filled with cubicles.

PRAIRIE DOGGING: When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, and people's heads pop up over the walls to see what's going on.

MOUSE POTATO: The on-line, wired generation's answer to the couch potato.

SITCOMs: Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage. What yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids.

STRESS PUPPY: A person who seems to thrive on being stressed out and whiny.

SWIPEOUT: An ATM or credit card that has been rendered useless because the magnetic strip is worn away from extensive use.

XEROX SUBSIDY: Euphemism for swiping free photocopies from one's workplace.

IRRITAINMENT: Entertainment and media spectacles that are annoying but you find yourself unable to stop watching them. The O.J. trials were a prime example (and as of today, might be again.)

PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE: The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.

ADMINISPHERE: The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.

404: Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message "404 Not Found," meaning that the requested document could not be located.

GENERICA: Features of the American landscape that are exactly the same no matter where one is, such as fast food joints, strip malls, subdivisions.

OHNOSECOND: That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a BIG mistake.

WOOFYS: Well Off Older Folks.

CROP DUSTING: Surreptitiously farting while passing thru a cube farm, then enjoying the sounds of dismay and disgust; leads to PRAIRIE DOGGING.

Why Men Are Better Than Dogs





















Men only have two feet to track in mud.

Men can buy you presents.

Men don't have to play with every man they see when you take them around the block.

Men are a little bit more subtle.

Men don't eat cat turds on the sly.

Men open their own cans.

Dogs have dog breath all the time.

Men can do math stuff.

Restaurants allow men.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

How Dogs And Men Are The Same
















Both take up too much space on the bed.

Both have irrational fears about vacuum cleaners.

Both are threatened by their own kind.

Both like to chew wood.

Both mark their territory.

Both are bad at asking you questions.

Neither tells you what's bothering them.

Both tend to smell riper with age.

The smaller ones tend to be more nervous.

Neither does dishes.

Neither of them notice when you get your hair cut.

Both like dominance games.

Both are suspicious of the postman.

Neither knows how to talk on the telephone.

Neither understands what you see in cats.

Dogs Compared To Men
















Dogs Compared To Men or Why Dogs Are Better Than Men

Dogs miss you when you're gone.


You never wonder whether your dog is good enough for you.

Dogs feel guilt when they've done something wrong.

Dogs don't criticize your friends.

Dogs admit when they're jealous.

Dogs do not play games with you--- except fetch (and then never laugh at how you throw).

Dogs are happy with any video you choose to rent, because they know the most important thing is that you're together.

Dogs don't feel threatened by your intelligence.

You can train a dog.

Dogs are already in touch with their inner puppies.

Gorgeous dogs don't know they're gorgeous.

The worst social disease you can get from dogs is fleas. (OK, the *really* worst disease you can get from them is rabies, but there's a vaccine for it, and you get to kill the one that gives it to you.)

Dogs understand what "no" means.

Dogs don't need therapy to undo their bad socialization.

Dogs don't make a practice of killing their own species.

Dogs understand if some of their friends cannot come inside.

Dogs think you are a culinary genius.

You can house train a dog.

You can force a dog to take a bath.

Dogs don't correct your stories.

Middle-aged dogs don't feel the need to abandon you for a younger owner.

Dogs aren't threatened by a woman with short hair.

Dogs aren't threatened by two women with short hair.

Dogs don't mind if you do all the driving.

Dogs don't step on the imaginary brake.

Dogs admit it when they're lost.

Dogs don't weigh down your purse with their stuff.

Dogs do not care whether you shave your legs.

Dogs take care of their own needs.

Dogs aren't threatened if you earn more than they do.

Dogs do not have problems expressing affection in public.

Dogs mean it when they kiss you.

Dogs are nice to your relatives.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

President On Drugs, Is Now Hallucinating


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Bush seems to be running out the clock of his administration - leaving the mess that he and his criminal cronies started in Iraq to the next President; who I hope and pray will be a Democrat. It truly does amaze me that this idiot thinks we're as stupid as he is. I truly don't know if I can make it another 15 months.


Some excerpts from his speech tonight, with my comments (of course):


"Yet they concluded that conditions in Iraq are improving, that we are seizing the initiative from the enemy, and that the troop surge is working." (The surge is NOT working, the only surge has been the number of dead soldiers; from 1/1/06 to 9/13/06 - 513 dead. From 1/1/07 (start of surge) to 9/13/07 - 773 dead!


"Terrorists and extremists who are at war with us around the world are seeking to topple Iraq's government"(Is he for real? Seeking to topple Iraq's government, we've ALREADY done that!! The new government hasn't started doing anything!! The 2 factions fight, not work together.)


"We must help Iraq defeat those who threaten its future - and also threaten ours" (Again, wtf? The US is the only threat to their future, we invaded and as a result, Al Qaeda is there.)


"The goal of the surge is to provide that security - and to help prepare Iraqi forces to maintain it." (Iraqi forces were not paid, the US stopped their pay after we invaded - and they chose sides; against the USA.)


"The principle guiding my decisions on troop levels in Iraq is "return on success." The more successful we are, the more American troops can return home. And in all we do, I will ensure that our commanders on the ground have the troops and flexibility they need to defeat the enemy." (Is all we're going to do is keep going with no changes, that's the definition of insanity; making no changes but expecting different results. We've not had one bit of success there since initially overthrowing Saddam's government, that's it!)


"These Iraqi leaders have asked for an enduring relationship with America." (No they haven't, they want us gone.)


"One year ago, much of Baghdad was under siege. Schools were closed, markets were shuttered, and sectarian violence was spiraling out of control. Today, most of Baghdad's neighborhoods are being patrolled by Coalition and Iraqi forces who live among the people they protect. Many schools and markets are reopening. Citizens are coming forward with vital intelligence. Sectarian killings are down. And ordinary life is beginning to return." (Baghdad was under siege one year ago, come'on, by US! 4 million Iraqi's have been forced from their home, 2 million living in refugee camps in Pakistan, 2 million living in refugee camps in Iraq, by US. The Iraqi's still living in their homes have no water or electricity and little food and live in constant fear that they will be dragged from their home and killed. The Iraqi citizens do not want to be seen giving anyone information for fear they will be killed!)


"Our troops in Iraq are performing brilliantly." (They are actually performing beyond brilliantly considering that many do not have adequate body armor, the vehicles have STILL not been reinforced to protect against IED's. Many families of servicemen and women have had to furnish their family members with the body armor and other safety necessities the US has not provided!)


"And he expects that by July, we will be able to reduce our troop levels in Iraq from 20 combat brigades to 15." (These reductions were ALREADY scheduled, as the soldiers are at a breaking point, along with the entire armed services, they CANNOT sustain a presence because there just aren't enough warm bodies.)


"Over time, our troops will shift from leading operations, to partnering with Iraqi forces, and eventually to overwatching those forces." (wtf, I don't even know where to begin with this one, leading??? partnering??? overwatching?? That's not even a freakin WORD!!)


"I have consulted with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, other members of my national security team, Iraqi officials, and leaders of both parties in Congress." (Consulted maybe, ignored definitely. He does what he wants, all others be damned.)


"I have also directed them to deliver another report to Congress in March." (By my estimation there will be an additional 571 dead servicemen and women between Sept 14, 07 and March 30, 08!)


"The success of a free Iraq is critical to the security of the United States. A free Iraq will deny al Qaeda a safe haven. A free Iraq will counter the destructive ambitions of Iran. A free Iraq will marginalize extremists, unleash the talent of its people, and be an anchor of stability in the region. A free Iraq will set an example for people across the Middle East. A free Iraq will be our partner in the fight against terror — and that will make us safer here at home." (This is where his hallucinogens have kicked in - Al Qaeda was NOT in Iraq until we invaded. And yes, let's lead by fear - which is business as usual for this stupid administration.)


"Whatever political party you belong to, whatever your position on Iraq, we should be able to agree that America has a vital interest in preventing chaos and providing hope in the Middle East. We should be able to agree that we must defeat al Qaeda, counter Iran, help the Afghan government, work for peace in the Holy Land, and strengthen our military so we can prevail in the struggle against terrorists and extremists." (Oh no, don't you drag those of us who have been against this invasion and war into this speech, most of us really don't give a hoot about the middle east. We don't even care if they all blow each other up which they've been doing for CENTURIES! I'm surprised that Bush even remembers Afghanistan, I think that's where, um, what's his name lives? Whosiwhatzi? Hmmm, oh yeah, OSAMA BIN LADEN, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks who we haven't found in 6 years! I won't even bring up the Holy Land! cripes.)


"We thank the 36 nations who have troops on the ground in Iraq and the many others who are helping that young democracy." (36 nations? Who is he kidding? I think he's confused that with the number of ice cream choices as Baskin Robbins! and the many others? WHO? Again, wtf?)


And the highlight and best part of the speech, THE END! "Good night, and God bless America."
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Statistics regarding Iraq war dead:
Jan/06 62 Jan/07 83

Feb/06 55 Feb/07 81

Mar/06 31 Mar/07 81

Apr/06 76 Apr/07 104

May/06 69 May/07 126

Jun/06 61 Jun/07 101

Jul/06 43 Jul/07 79

Aug/06 65 Aug/07 84

Sep/06 51 Sep/07 34

513 Total dead 773 Total dead

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Polar Bear Population Seen Declining


Sep 7, 10:58 PM (ET)By JOHN HEILPRIN
WASHINGTON (AP) -

Two-thirds of the world's polar bears will be killed off by 2050 - and the entire population gone from Alaska - because of thinning sea ice from global warming in the Arctic, government scientists forecast Friday.

Only in the northern Canadian Arctic islands and the west coast of Greenland are any of the world's 16,000 polar bears expected to survive through the end of the century, said the U.S. Geological Survey, which is the scientific arm of the Interior Department.

USGS projects that polar bears during the next half-century will disappear along the north coasts of Alaska and Russia and lose 42 percent of the Arctic range they need to live in during summer in the Polar Basin when they hunt and breed. A polar bear's life usually lasts about 30 years.

"Projected changes in future sea ice conditions, if realized, will result in loss of approximately two-thirds of the world's current polar bear population by the mid 21st century," the report says.

Polar bears depend on sea ice as a platform for hunting seals, which is their primary food. They rarely catch seals on land or in open water. Because the general decline of Arctic sea ice appears to be underestimated, scientists said their forecast of how much polar bear populations will shrink also may be on the low side.

"There is a definite link between changes in the sea ice and the welfare of polar bears," said USGS scientist Steven Amstrup, the lead author of the new studies. "As the sea ice goes, so goes the polar bear."

Amstrup said 84 percent of the scientific variables affecting the polar bear's fate was tied to changes in sea ice.

As of this week, the extent of Arctic sea ice had fallen to 4.75 million square miles - or 250,000 square miles below the previous record low of 5.05 million square miles in September 2005, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Scientists do not hold out much hope that the buildup of carbon dioxide and other industrial gases blamed for heating the atmosphere like a greenhouse can be turned around in time to help the polar bears anytime soon.

Polar bears have walked the planet for at least 40,000 years.

"In spite of any mitigation of greenhouse gases, we are going to see the same amount of energy in the system for at least 20, 30, 40 years," Mark Myers, the USGS director, said.

Greenland and Norway have the most polar bears, while a quarter of them live mainly in Alaska and travel to Canada and Russia. The agency says their range will shrink to no longer include Alaska and other southern regions.

The findings of U.S. and Canadian scientists are based on six months of new studies, during which the health of three polar bear groups and their dependency on Arctic sea ice were examined using "new and traditional models," Myers said.

USGS issued nine separate reports on polar bears Friday. Those included projections for one group of polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea and two in Canada that are among 19 distinct subpopulations.

They were made public to help guide Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne's decision expected in January on his agency's proposal to add the polar bear to the government's endangered species list.

USGS declined to provide precise estimates of polar bear populations 50 years from now.

A separate organization, the World Conservation Union, based in Gland, Switzerland, has estimated the polar bear population in the Arctic now is about 20,000 to 25,000, put at risk by melting sea ice, pollution, hunting, development and tourism.

Last December, Kempthorne proposed designating polar bears as a "threatened" species deserving of federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, because of melting Arctic sea ice from global warming. That category is second to "endangered" on the government's list of species believed most likely to become extinct.

That action is in response to a lawsuit in 2005 by three environmental groups - the Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council and Greenpeace - to force such a proposal from Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees endangered species.

"This grim news about polar bears and sea ice decline is horrifying, but it is a call to action, not despair," said Kassie Siegel of the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity. "The good news is that there is still time to save polar bears. Our hope lies in a rapid response, including both deep and immediate carbon dioxide reductions and a full-court press on other greenhouse pollutants such as methane."

The fate of polar bears has struck a public nerve. Fish and Wildlife officials have received 600,000 public comments so far on the proposed listing, spokesman Chris Tollefson said.

On Friday, Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., urged the Bush administration to grant polar bears federal protection.

"This is becoming a tragic metaphor for the administration's voluntary approach to global warming," said Markey, chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. "Instead of meeting the challenge, the Bush administration is happy to float along, waiting to see if the planet, and polar bears, will sink or swim."

Another member of the committee, Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., said the loss of some of the magnificent creatures on earth may be the proverbial "canary in the coal mine" needed to prod both Congress and the Bush administration into action on climate change.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11




A strange thing happened to me on the morning of September 11, 2001. For the first time ever I decided at 8:50am to turn my television on to see what was going on in the world.

I was getting ready for an appointment at 10:00 and I don't know why, but I wanted to watch TV. So I turned on channel 10, the NBC affiliate in Providence and saw the Today folks sitting in front of a picture of the smoke coming from one of the Twin Towers. I have to admit that until that day, I didn't know what went on in the Towers, having been to NYC only a couple of times and having zero interest in the financial world, it had never seemed important. So as I watched the TV wondering what was going on I saw an airplane crash into the other Tower and I realized in that instant that we were under attack. Then the news told of planes that had been hijacked, an explosion and probable plane crash at the Pentagon, then news that another plane had been hijacked and the subsequent crash in Pennsylvania.

I knew that day would change the way we lived our lives in America, but never did I think it would lead to something so ridiculous as the Patriot act and our invasion of a country that had nothing to do with the attacks of that day. Even I, who did not like George Bush from the very first instant I saw him and knew he'd be a bad president, never thought he'd screw up so badly.

We had the sympathy of the world and we blew it!

So, the sixth anniversary of the attack by Al Qaeda on America brings back the horror and the sadness of that day for all of us. Particularly those who previous to the attacks had celebrated the date of 9/11 for anniversaries and/or birthdays.

Which leads me to my best friend, Lillian, who celebrates her birthday today, September 11. I can't imagine my birthday being the day that is thought of as such a sad day, but, she handles it as she does everything in her life; with her usual poise, dignity and good grace. All I can say, is thank goodness for September 11, the day my friend was born. It is a good date, after all.
Happy Birthday Lillian with much love!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Blogging Contagion




I've always considered myself to be a trend setter. I'm not sure why, but people have often picked up on one of my sayings, or what I'm doing, or what I wear or carry.

The best example that I can give you is 12th grade - high school (1973-1974.) I had decided that instead of carrying a pocket book or knapsack to school, that I would carry a lunchbox instead.

For some reason I chose a Peanuts lunchbox (and I don't even like cartoons or animation.) It actually worked out great because I was able to carry alot of things in there in addition to my lunch. (As a joke, I carried Smarties, which I called SUPER ENERGY PILLS, and I would hand them out discreetly to my friends in the corridors. Many times I got nabbed by a teacher or administrator as they thought I was dealing drugs.)

Within a few weeks there were more and more people (well, girls) carrying lunchboxes and after a while I stopped because it became so popular. So that's why I consider myself a trend setter.

As you can see from the pictures above, some of my family members have started their own blogs, because they enjoy mine so much! Now I get to enjoy theirs too.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Nick NAC











What is it about teenagers? Just what happens to the sweet kids we all know as they approach their pre-teen years and then go on to become teenagers?

For me, it was hard not to take it personally as each of my much loved nieces and nephews slowly distance themselves from me, until sometime around 12 years of age, they're so far off they are asking "Auntie Who?"

Even though it's been decades since I was a pre-teen, I do remember thinking that I could not wait to grow up, and I felt much older than my years. I figure my nieces and nephews feel much the same way as they approach their teens and beyond.

My nephew Nick is now 15. It's hard to believe because those years have gone by so quickly. As a typical teenager, he's not really happy with much. School, his cell phone, his Auntie taking his picture and probably much more than I'm aware of. It's a tough age, no longer a boy, not yet a man.

When he was almost 2 years old his parents wanted to go away for their anniversary and I offered to take Nick overnight. Veronica was going to be there so I thought we'd have a great time, and we did, until it was time to go to bed. Nick wanted to go home, he wanted his parents, his bed anything but staying at Auntie's house. So Roni and I made a tent in my living room at Mr. Cooper's house. We used enough blankets and furniture to fill the entire room. It kept him busy for awhile, climbing around with Roni and Hooke and me. I thought we'd all sleep under there and it would be an adventure. The only adventure that night was me trying to calm and soothe a little boy who was very upset. I held him, rocking him on the bed for hours as he sobbed and hiccuped. I tried to make him understand (without much success) that the sooner he fell asleep the sooner his parents would be back. All I could think about as the clock moved from 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 am, was that I was driving my Auntie Rita and Uncle Larry to Maine in the morning and returning later in the day. A round trip of almost 400 miles and I would be exhausted. Finally, sometime after 4 am, Nick finally collapsed into sleep on the bed. Roni has fallen asleep under the tent in the living room and after checking on her, I climbed into bed and slept. I think I was happier to see Jack and Dianne in the morning than even Nick was!

Thankfully that was the last little bit of trouble he gave me. He has proven to be quite a funny kid and very entertaining. He's athletic, playing basketball, soccer and baseball as he's grown.

Once when he was about 7 or 8, I was taking him to play baseball and I was so pleased to get a parking space right up front near the field. We pulled in and Nick said "Uh, Auntie, you don't want to park here because the foul balls come out here!" So I moved the car way out in the lot. He was pitching that day and said he would probably hit one of the hitters with a pitch, sure enough, the first pitch caught the hitter right in the butt. I had to laugh at the players, missing the ball when it was hit or thrown to them, throwing over or under to their fellow players. I had forgotten how enjoyable kids can be trying to learn and then play the game.

I'm sure he's a much better player today than he was then. I'm also sure that his mood will improve as he turns 16 next summer, goes into 11th grade, gets a car and continues to find his way through these teenage years. One thing is for sure, his Auntie will continue to admire and love him, no matter what.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Hedgehogs


Rosie had this picture posted on her blog and I just fell in love with it. I knew immediately that they were hedgehogs but then I realized that I didn't really know anything about hedgehogs. So here's a quick little lesson in hedgehog history.

They are one of many spiny mammals species.

The name 'hedgehog' came into use around the year 1450, derived from the Middle English 'heyghoge', from 'heyg', 'hegge' = hedge, because it frequents hedgerows (a row of bushes, shrubs, or trees forming a hedge), and 'hoge', 'hogge' = hog, from its piglike snout.

Hedgehogs are easily distinguished from their spines, which are hollow hairs made stiff with keratin. Their spines are not poisonous or barbed, and, unlike the quills of a porcupine, cannot be easily removed from the animal.

Hedgehogs are most closely related to gymnures (which look like large rats.)

A defense that all species of hedgehogs possess is the ability to roll into a tight ball, causing all of the spines to point outwards. However, its effectiveness depends on the number of spines, and since some of the desert hedgehogs evolved to carry less weight, they are much more likely to try to run away and sometimes even attack the intruder, trying to ram into the intruder with its spines, leaving rolling as a last resort.

All hedgehogs are primarily nocturnal, although different species can be more or less likely to come out in the daytime. The hedgehog sleeps for a large portion of the daytime either under cover of bush or grass or rock or in a hole in the ground. Again, different species can have slightly different habits, but in general hedgehogs dig out dens for shelter. All wild hedgehogs can hibernate, although not all do; hibernation depends on temperature, abundance of food and species.

Hedgehogs have 5 toes on their front paws with short nails. However, on their back paws they have 4 toes with long, constantly growing nails. They have these characteristics because hedgehogs burrow.

Hedgehogs are fairly vocal, and communicate not only in a series of grunts and snuffles, but sometimes in loud squeals (depending on species).

Hedgehogs occasionally perform a ritual called anointing. When the animal comes across a new scent, it will lick and bite the source and then form a scented froth in its mouth and paste it on its spines with its tongue. It is not known what the specific purpose of this ritual is, but some experts believe anointing camouflages the hedgehog with the new scent of the area and provides a possible poison or source of infection to any predator that gets poked by their spines.

Similar to opossums, mice and moles, hedgehogs have some natural immunity against snake venom due to the protein erinacin in the animal's muscular system.
Hedgehogs perform well with other pets, including cats and dogs. They are occasionally threatened by these animals, though, but for those rare instances, the hedgehogs just roll into a ball until the threat is gone.

Although formerly classified in the insectivore family Insectivora, hedgehogs are almost omnivorous. Hedgehogs feed on insects, snails, frogs and toads, snakes, bird eggs, carrion, mushrooms, grass roots, berries, melons and watermelons! In fact, berries constitute a major part of an Afghan hedgehog's diet in early spring after hibernation. The hedgehog is occasionally spotted after a rainstorm foraging for earthworms. Although forest hedgehogs, most well-known to Europeans, are indeed mainly insectivores, this is not necessarily true for other species.
In areas that have hedgehogs in the wild, they are often welcomed as a natural form of garden pest control. Many people leave food out to attract hedgehogs. Although hedgehogs are lactose intolerant(!), they will eagerly consume cheese, milk and dairy products, causing illness.

The common pet hedgehog (four-toed hedgehog) can however have a small portion of cottage cheese as a dietary supplement. Dog and cat food are better than dairy, but both are often too high in fat and too low in protein. Many pet stores sell hedgehog mixes that are specifically formulated for hedgehogs. Crickets, mealworms, and pinkies (baby mice) are also favored treats. It is best to leave out only a small treat, leaving them plenty of appetite for the pests in one's garden.

Depending on the species, the gestation period is 40-58 days. The average litter is 3-4 newborns for larger species and 5-6 for smaller ones. As with many animals, it is not unusual for an adult male hedgehog to kill newborn males.

It is illegal to own a hedgehog as a pet in some U.S. states (I don't think RI is one of them, my former hairdresser, Denise had some as pets) and some Canadian municipalities, and breeding licenses are required.

Now we all know something about hedgehogs!

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Sins Of The Fathers

I love a good boycott. There is nothing more fulfilling as a consumer to see a company go out of business if the way they conduct themselves is less than you like.

I noticed a few weeks ago that Hooters on Airport Road is closed! Oh, what a shame, they can no longer demean women, and the women who worked there can now go somewhere else for their daily dose of degradation. A successful boycott!

My boycott of Bess Eaton Donuts resulted in their demise also. (yep, I'm taking full credit.) Had they refrained from putting biblical quotes on the coffee cups and donut boxes, there might have still been time to make the donuts (whoops, isn't that Dunkin Donut's catch phrase?) I know I wasn't the only one to be offended by their actions, actually the actions of their founder and chairman; Angelo Gencarelli. As a so-called "born again" christian, he felt that he needed to get his message out about his religious beliefs. As consumers, we decided that his messages were offensive and chose instead to make DD one of the most profitable entities in RI. At the end of his little reign Mr. Gencarelli filed for bankruptcy amid questions about their financial dealings. So much for his christian character, hmmm? Another successful boycott!

And speaking of christians, then there are the catholics. I was raised roman catholic and even as a young child found their celebration of mass to be a bit ridiculous. Of course, I find any sort of ceremony to be a bit silly, always asking myself who came up with this stuff? Sit, stand, and kneel; all on demand. I really never got it about a higher power either. Who says? Because it's written in a book? A baby whose mother was a virgin? A guy who walked on water and fed a lot of people with a little bit of food? A guy who rose from the dead? Sounds like a magician to me, or maybe just a tall tale - like Paul Bunyan. I just don't get it, period. But I acknowledge that there are people who believe, and while I don't get that either, I respect their right to their own beliefs.

However...

I have been boycotting the catholic church for a very long time. Yes, even when a kid asks me to buy a candy bar, I always have to ask who they are selling it for. It's hard to say no to those kids, but once I had realized that the catholic church employees (bishops and priests) said one thing and did the exact (and sometimes extreme) other thing, there really was no choice. Like child sexual abuse, also known as pedophilia.

I have up close and personal experiences in that department, and as a result I have always felt that one of my duties in life is to protect those who cannot protect themselves; your children.

So today I read another report of another diocese paying out money to the victims of these horrible priests. Here's a listing, get your calculators out, because we are talking HUGE amounts of money:

The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego said Friday it has agreed to pay $198.1 million to settle 144 claims of sexual abuse by clergy, the second-largest payment by a diocese.Earlier this year, the diocese abruptly filed for bankruptcy protection (still, they didn't want to live up to their responsibilities) just hours before trial was scheduled to begin on 42 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse. Bankruptcy could shield the diocese's assets, but a judge recently threatened to throw out the bankruptcy case if church officials didn't reach an agreement with the plaintiffs. Thank goodness for that judge!

In the largest payment yet in the scandal, the Los Angeles Archdiocese settled 508 cases for $660 million in July, two days before jury selection was scheduled to begin in the first of 15 trials involving 172 abuse claimants there. (Again, they tried to get out of it.)

The Diocese of Orange agreed in 2004 to settle 90 claims for $100 million after a judge promised to set trial dates and begin the discovery process if settlement talks collapsed.

Diocese of Covington, Ky., 2006, up to $84 million for more than 350 people.

Archdiocese of Boston, 2003, $84 million for 552 claims.

Diocese of Oakland, Calif., 2005, $56 million to 56 people.

Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., 2007, agrees to pay about $52 million to 175 victims to emerge from bankruptcy protection; sets aside another $20 million for any future claims.

Diocese of Spokane, Wash., 2007, agrees to pay $48 million for about 150 claims to emerge from bankruptcy protection.

Diocese of Sacramento, Calif., 2005, pays $35 million to 33 people.

Archdiocese of Louisville, Ky., 2003, $25.7 million to 243 victims.

Diocese of Tucson, Ariz., 2005, agrees to fund a settlement trust worth about $22 million for more than 50 victims to emerge from bankruptcy protection.

The Davenport, Iowa diocese, which faces claims from more than 150 people, is still in proceedings.

"The diocese has always been committed to resolving this litigation in a way that fairly compensates these victims of abuse and would still preserve the ongoing ministries and programs of the church," Bishop Robert Brom (of San Diego) said in a press release Friday. "We pray that this settlement will bring some closure and healing to the years of suffering experienced by these victims."

Well Bishop Robert Bozo, what you don't realize is that these "victims" are really survivors! They have lived their entire lives tortured by the memories of what was perpetrated upon them when they were just little kids! There isn't enough money in the world that could fix that for them. Shame on the catholic church, from every pope, bishop and priest who had any involvement or knowledge of what was happening repeatedly from one side of this country to the other and did nothing! Nothing!!!

I'm hopeful for yet another successful boycott.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Dimwit's A Trial

The Dimwit had her trial yesterday and I am amazed as well as disappointed in the Judicial System. All morning I was hoping that she wouldn't return from her court date. Yet at 12:30 I saw the Idiot drive into the driveway. At first I didn't think she was in the car and I was jumping for joy (okay, on the inside.) But there she was, much to my dismay.

I checked the Court System web site this morning and found that she had changed her plea from not guilty to nolo contendere and was re-arraigned while there yesterday. Listed below are the results of the trial:

Possession SCH 1-5 controlled substance: pleaded nolo*, sentence deferred, substance abuse counselling, 100 hours of community service

Possession SCH 1-5 controlled substance: pleaded nolo*, sentence deferred, total assessments (not sure what that means?)

Possession SCH 1-5 controlled substance: dismissed

Driving with suspended license: dismissed

*Nolo Contendere: (in a criminal case) a defendant's pleading that does not admit guilt but subjects him or her to punishment as though a guilty plea had been entered, the determination of guilt remaining open in other proceedings.

I'm assuming that she is still on home confinement, according to the Corrections Dept. web site, that ends in November.

So now I get to check with the landlady to see what's going on from her end. Hopefully the eviction notice has been delivered and it's only a matter of time that she is out of here.

If not her, then me.