Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Monkey And The Ladybug

These little kids just don't have a clue what their parents put them through today and tonight.

When they grow up and see how silly they were made to look there's gonna be heck to pay! So what if it's their first Halloween! That's no excuse to humiliate them!

I'm sure they won't see just how cute they both looked, and how much they are loved by their friends and family.

I doubt that they will remember the smiles they were responsible for as well as the memories they have created.

I, for one, will take their side against their parents. How dare they put these ridiculous outfits on these innocent little children! I mean really, look at his ears and feet! And she's got wings! It's absolutely outrageous!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Year 1908

The following happened:

A ball signifying New Years Day drops in New York City's Times Square for the first time.

Robert Baden-Powell begins the Boy Scout movement.

Women compete in modern Olympic Games for the first time.

United States Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issues an order to immediately staff the Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation.)

Thomas Selfridge becomes the first person to die in an aeroplane crash at Ft Myer, Virginia. The plane was flown by Orville Wright who was also severely injured in the crash but recovered.

Western bandits Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid are supposedly killed in Bolivia, after being surrounded by a large group of soldiers. There are many rumors to the contrary however, and the grave sites are unmarked.

Petroleum production starts in Middle East.

Gordon Johnson's grandmother signed a piece of paper allowing the (then) little known electric company access to her property for the next 100 years, should they need it.

Gordon is my 82 year old landlord.
99 years later, I woke up yesterday morning to the sound of chainsaws and machinery. When I took Hannibal out I looked across the compound and saw a huge machine cutting down trees.
The machine that was being used was pretty amazing as it would grab a tree at about the halfway point - 50 feet or so - and then saw across below where it was being held. The top part of the tree, again 50 feet or so, would then be laid down. The same would be repeated for the bottom half, cutting the tree right at ground level. This was being repeatedly repeated!

I could not imagine why this was being done. Were they going build another house? There are already 7 houses on the property. Were they just thinning the trees? But these tree cutters kept going.

Later in the day when I spoke with Gordon (the landlord) he explained about the electric company coming in, just 1 year shy of the 100 year agreement and claiming the land. He told me that he'd tried fighting it, but with no success. Today, the tree clearers would be back and, sure enough, they returned to continue cutting a huge swath right through his property. Mine, Patrick's and Gordon's front yards is the piece of property being eviscerated by the Northern Land Clearing for National Grid.

It's pretty sad when any trees are cut down. The photos above are the before and after, which is pretty hard to look at. The view out my front door is even worse.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Red Sox Nation

I'm really not a baseball fan. As I wrote in my America's Favorite Pastime blog (7/17) I usually say that I was a baseball fan for a couple of weeks 3 years ago. (Red Sox sweep Yankees, go on to win the World Series against some team.)

So, tonight (or actually this morning) the Red Sox won the World Series again!!! I forgot that they were playing tonight, not that I would have watched anyway, so I spent the night with Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly. The movie was Rear Window. I've seen it many, many times but it's been quite awhile. It finished at midnight, and when I turned it off there was the game.

It was the bottom of the 9th, 1 out and the Sox up 4-3. So I watched more baseball than I have all year over the next few minutes. Papelbon threw a couple of crazy pitches, and then struck out the batter.

And while I'm not a fan, I'm happy that they won. I'm happy for all of my friends and family who are fans and love the game of baseball. I'm happy that the Curse of the Bambino seems to be a thing of the past. I'm especially happy that the season is over.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Refrigerator Saga Ending Soon

Here's the latest on the refrigerator/stove situation. I really wanted white appliances and would take stainless if no other choice. I found that black appliances are like mirrors and when you walk in front of them you can see yourself, so there was no way I was getting black.

I spoke to Joe from the crash and dent place on Friday. I explained that I found a GE basic stove that I liked that was white and, while it didn't have a timer on it (a sure sign I'm going to continue to burn any food that I put in the oven) I did like that I could read the stove top and oven settings without putting my glasses on, which is pretty important.

He told me that he is scheduled to have a couple of LG white refrigerators, like the one that I put a deposit on, coming in later this week. He said the best thing was to move the deposit to the stove in Warwick and he would have the refrigerator in Providence.

So, hopefully I will have a new white stove and refrigerator in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, the refrigerator in my kitchen is getting louder, which seems to me that either it's going to die soon (after 30 years or so it's certainly put in it's time) or I'm imagining it, which seems entirely possible too.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

White House Cut Warming Impact Testimony

By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer Tue Oct 23

WASHINGTON - The White House severely edited congressional testimony given Tuesday by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the impact of climate change on health, removing specific scientific references to potential health risks, according to two sources familiar with the documents.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Atlanta-based CDC, the government's premier disease monitoring agency, told a Senate hearing that climate change "is anticipated to have a broad range of impacts on the health of Americans."

But her prepared testimony was devoted entirely to the CDC's preparation, with few details on what effects climate change could have on the spread of disease. Only during questioning did she describe some specific diseases that likely would be affected, again without elaboration.
Her testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee had much less information on health risks than a much longer draft version Gerberding submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review in advance of her appearance.

"It was eviscerated," said a CDC official, familiar with both versions, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the review process.

The official said that while it is customary for testimony to be changed in a White House review, these changes were particularly "heavy-handed," with the document cut from its original 14 pages to four. It was six pages as presented to the Senate committee.

The OMB had no comment on Gerberding's testimony.

"We generally don't speculate and comment on anything until it is the final product," said OMB spokesman Sean Kevelighan. He added that OMB reviews take into consideration "whether they ... line up well with the national priorities of the administration."

The CDC is part of the Department of Health and Human Services and its congressional testimony, as is normal with all agencies, is routinely reviewed by OMB.

But Gerberding, who could not be reached late Tuesday for comment, was said to have been surprised by the extensive changes. Copies of the original testimony already had been sent to a number of associated health groups representing states, county and city health agencies that the CDC routinely coordinates with, a CDC official said.

CDC spokesman Tom Skinner sought to play down the White House changes. He called Gerberding's appearance before the Senate panel "very productive" and said she addressed the issues she wanted during her remarks and when questioned by the senators.

"What needed to be said as far we're concerned was said," said Skinner in a telephone interview from Atlanta. "She certainly communicated with the committee everything she felt was critical to help them appreciate and understand all the issues surrounding climate change and its potential impact on public health."

The deletions directed by the White House included details on how many people might be adversely affected because of increased warming and the scientific basis for some of the CDC's analysis on what kinds of diseases might be spread in a warmer climate and rising sea levels, according to one official who has seen the original version.

Gerberding seems to have tried to address some of those issues during questioning from senators.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., the committee's chairman, produced a CDC chart listing the broad range of health problems that could emerge from a significant temperature increase and sea level rise

They include fatalities from heat stress and heart failure, increased injuries and deaths from severe weather such as hurricanes; more respiratory problems from drought-driven air pollution; an increase in waterborne diseases including cholera, and increases vector-borne diseases including malaria and hantavirus; and mental health problems such as depression and post-traumatic stress.

"These are the potential things you can expect," replied Gerberding when asked about the items listed. "... In some of these areas its not a question of if, it's a question of who, what, how and when."

Peter Rafle, a spokesman for Boxer, said the senator knew nothing about changes that might have been made to Gerberding's testimony by the White House.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Forget Refrigerator Insanity - This Is For Real

The latest news from the White House is that our Idiot in Chief wants to give Mexico a total of 1.5 billion dollars to fight their drug war. HUH?? BILLION

Not only are we in the middle of a huge fire catastrophe in California, he vetoed an additional 5 Billion just last week to expand health care for middle to low income children because IT WAS TOO MUCH MONEY!

Never mind the the victims of Katrina/Rita are further being victimized by the US Government, that the housing market is in the toilet and foreclosures are skyrocketing, the homelessness problem will only get much worse as affordable housing is harder and harder to find, that we are on the verge of a major global warming crisis (see California fires above,) that education is out of reach for many Americans, etc. etc.. I could go on and on and on.

So, let's help the Mexicans cure their drug problem when we can't take care of the drug problems right here in the old US of A which lead to major and minor crimes. Oh, and I almost forgot, we haven't even secured our freakin borders yet after 9/01!!!

I'm not sure if he has lost his mind or he is causing me to lose mine. What a _______ ! You can fill in the blank with whatever adjective comes to mind.

Raptor redux: Bald is beautiful

10 great places to see our nation's iconic bird
By Rob Lovitt
Travel writer
MSNBC contributor

I've always longed to see a bald eagle, and, according to this article there are lots of them right up the road in Maine. I'm thinking of taking a ride...

Break out the binoculars and spotting scopes — the bald eagle is back, and now’s the time to see them. Populations are rising, leaves are falling (making for easier viewing) and, with winter approaching, it’s prime time for sightings.

The 10 states below, for example, have the highest populations of nesting pairs, a crucial factor in the government’s decision to remove the bird from the Endangered Species List. And for the next several months, they’ll be feeding, flying and posing for photographs from coast to coast. (Note: States are listed in descending order by nesting pairs, not by the numbers that congregate in any one locale.)

Alaska Each fall, the world’s largest gathering of bald eagles takes place when more than 3,000 birds congregate in the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve near Haines. Roadside pullouts, interpretive sites and raised boardwalks make it easy to the catch the avian action, while an annual festival (November 7–11 this year) offers educational workshops, guided excursions and demonstrations with live birds.

Minnesota Fifty-five miles south of the Twin Cities, the city of Red Wing attracts eagles thanks to a local steam plant that keeps the Mississippi ice-free. Resident eagles can be seen year-round — head to Colvill Park or Bay Point Park — with migrating birds showing up in early November. Volunteers with spotting scopes are on hand many weekends during February and March. The new National Eagle Center in Wabasha, 30 miles south, is also worth a visit.

Florida With approximately 1,200 nesting pairs, Florida is flush with bald eagles, although they don’t congregate in any one area. Nevertheless, several natural areas outside Orlando offer good, year-round viewing opportunities with Lake Kissimmee State Park, east of Lake Wales, considered among the best.

Wisconsin Just outside Madison, the Wisconsin River flows through the twin villages of Sauk City and Prairie du Sac where high bluffs and a hydro-electric plant keep the river sheltered and ice-free. Bald eagles begin arriving in mid-November; by January, there may be 200–300. During Bald Eagle Watching Days (January 19–20), visitors can experience live-bird displays, guided bus tours and tastings of nearby Wollersheim Winery’s Eagle White wine.

Washington Every winter, 500 or more eagles make their way to the Skagit River to feed on spawned-out chum salmon (M’m! M’m! Good!). The most popular stretch is along Highway 20 between Marblemount and Rockport, with the best viewing between Christmas and mid-January. Visit the Skagit River Interpretive Center in Rockport, take an eagle-viewing raft trip and, if your schedule allows, attend the Upper Skagit Bald Eagle Festival January 26–27.

Virginia In 1969, the federal government created the first national wildlife refuge established specifically for the protection of bald eagles. Today, the Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge, 18 miles south of Washington, D.C., is the winter home to 50 or more birds. From November to March, the Great Marsh Trail provides the best viewing opportunities as the birds court, breed and prepare their nests for April hatches.

Michigan With its open water and abundant waterfowl, the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, outside Saginaw, attracts migrating bald eagles throughout the winter and early spring. To see them, follow the Ferguson Bayou Trail two miles to Grefe Tower, a 10-foot-high platform overlooking marshes, pools and grassland.

Oregon/California Several states have more resident bald eagles, but the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges Complex on the Oregon-California border draws more birds than any other single spot in the lower 48. Highlights include early-morning “fly-outs” as large numbers of eagles leave their night roosts in the Bear Valley Refuge and the annual Winter Wings Festival in Klamath Falls, which will take place February 15–17.

Maine Thanks to it's extensive coastline (almost 3,500 miles!), Maine has more bald eagles than the rest of New England combined, with the heaviest concentrations Downeast between Lubec and Calais. Cobscook Bay State Park and the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge both have resident eagles; the refuge also features an observation deck with spotting scopes trained on an aerie right next to Route 1.

Maryland The Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on the state’s Eastern Shore is home to the largest nesting population of bald eagles in the eastern U.S. outside Florida. Visitors can usually view the birds along the refuge’s Wildlife Drive or from a second-floor observation deck in the Visitor Center. The refuge also hosts an annual Eagle Festival in March, which features live birds, “eagle prowls” and Native American presentations.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

New New Appliance Dilemma

Wah wah wah wah wah wah wah. I know!! Between my refrigerator whining and my whining, it's been hard for everyone lately.

Good news, however!! Yesterday afternoon Emilee and I went to the scratch and dent appliance store on Warwick Ave (thank you Faith) and after much searching, I actually think I found a fridge.

There were a pretty good amount of refrigerators to choose from. I knew I didn't want any door water/ice features as the well water at my house is pretty gross. I didn't want an ice maker or glass shelves either. I like the basic wire racks and, again, the water here is gross so I don't have the need to make ice. Though I'm curious to know if an ice maker can be tied into a water dispenser, cuz I'll get one if so.

The basic white fridges were perfect, with the right racks and no ice makers, except they were just too small. Roberta, the cranky sales lady, called their Providence store a bunch of times to see if they had the basic model in a larger size. No one there could give her a straight answer. I think Emi was a little scared of her because at one point she said she wanted to leave. We just decided to ignore her and check out the rest of the fridges.

The basic white refrigerators were perfect, except they were just too small. Roberta, the cranky sales lady, called their Providence store a bunch of times to see if they had the basic model in a larger size. No one there could give her a straight answer. I think Emi was a little scared of her because at one point she said she wanted to leave. We just decided to ignore her and check out the rest of the store.

I'm kind of a purist when it comes to many things; napkins, paper towels, toilet paper and appliances, in my opinion, should be white! So I had looked at, but not really checked out, the stainless steel versions. So Emi and I headed to one fridge in the back that is pictured above.

It had three things I didn't want; the stainless, an ice maker and glass shelves. The two things it had that I wanted was size and a good price.

The manufacturer is LG (Life's Good - shhh, Faith) which, coincidentally, I had heard of just last week when I researched a cell phone that Veronica was interested in buying. When I went to their website at that time, I was amazed at what a huge international company it was so I didn't really question the manufacturer when I saw the logo on the front of the fridge. This particular fridge had a broken freezer drawer handle that they will fix for me.

The problem I ran into was that Emi and I had picked out a simple white stove. I'm not that picky, but I didn't really want a stainless fridge and a white stove across from each other in my kitchen. So the guys in Providence are supposed to check for two things; can I get the fridge in white and/or do they have a low end stainless stove? I don't need all the bells and whistles on a stove on/in which I will be burning food, after all!

The stainless fridge online is listed for $1,249. The one I put a deposit on was listed at $899 with a 20% discount to make it $720 which I think is a good price for (what seems to be) a great product.

Depending on what they find with a stove, it should be around $400 - $600, which seems to be okay too.

The answers to these burning questions should come in the next few days.

Living and Sitting Quietly

I've always pretty much been a sedentary person - even when I was younger (and thinner.) As a kid my preference would be to sit and read a book, play games or cards or just watch bugs crawl around in the dirt. I was never one to climb trees and I still have the bike that I got in 1966 - I rode it, but obviously not so much (in my dreams, I am always riding my bike, go figure) that I wore it out.

I wasn't a total slug as I enjoyed baseball, volleyball, hide-n-go-seek and other kid games. I realized in 1967/68 that I wasn't a skier when our family went to Wildcat mountain in NH for one of those "get a free weekend when you check us out" deals. Somehow I had been signed up for ski lessons. It was freezing, I couldn't stay up and when I went down I couldn't get back up. This was all on the bunny hill! What I was good at was sitting on the back of the skis my one and only time down the hill before quitting and going inside. I hated it then and still do.

So I love to sit; whether it's at the computer, reading a book, playing a game, watching TV, playing with Hannibal or doing absolutely nothing - which I have perfected to an art form. Sitting and being quiet is something I wish more people would (or could) do.

Since 1980, other than when I lived at Mr. Cooper's house and the past 8 months I have rarely lived with other people around me. Mr. Cooper, who was 84 when I moved in, was the perfect housemate. Quiet (other than when watching Wheel of Fortune) it was almost like living alone. You all know about the Dimwit and her Idiot boyfriend living above me and the noise that went along with them for 7 months; I used to wonder what she could possibly be doing up there, especially in the middle of the night.

Now, having moved again, I have new people living above me. Chris (who is a carpenter) and his girlfriend Amber (who works at a local university and is studying for her doctorate) seem to be very nice people. They're a young couple with 2 cats. They just moved in last weekend and I'm sure they are still getting settled (I am far from being settled and I've been here 3 weeks longer.) Again, I can't figure out what they could possibly be doing up there; walking around, running water, etc.. The good thing about this house is that there's at least 12-18 inches of space between my ceiling and their floor so no matter what they might be doing, it's off in the distance which suits me just fine. When they do decide to sit and watch TV after unpacking their stuff, I should forget that they are there at all.

Now I think I'm going to go sit on the couch, or maybe the bed... A nap would be nice.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Refrigeration Insanity Continues

You know how when a gong is rung and you hear that reverberating gonging humming annoying sound?

That's what the refrigerator sounds like tonight!!!!!

The trash heap is the only place this refrigerator should be. AAARRRGGGHHHH!!!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Another Saturday Night

If you look very close at this little girl you will see some tomato sauce on her cheeks, chin and nose.

It all started this past Saturday with a trip to the grocery store by Veronica and Patrick. Before they left, we spent about a half hour trying to figure out what we all wanted for dinner. When they left for the store, I had no idea what the final decision had been and didn't really care. All I knew was that my shopping was being done and I was able to take a nap.

I didn't even wake up when Veronica came in and started to unpack. When I did wake up Pat and Roni were getting ready to make chicken parm and pasta! Once it was ready, Veronica put a steaming plate on the kitchen table, and JaeMae, who was sitting on my lap, immediately went a bit wild pointing and ehhhhhhing that she wanted to eat it. So Vanessa, Veronica, Patrick, JaeMae and I sat down to dinner and JaeMae couldn’t wait to dig in.

This little girl had decided quite some time ago that she no longer wants to eat baby food so she had some chicken and pasta along with the rest of us. A couple of times she put her hand in my plate and covered her fingers with sauce. Each time I licked her fingers so that by the third time she planted her hand (in her mothers plate this time) she was able to lick her own fingers. What a smart little girl!

So, much of the sauce ended up on her face and temporarily stained it; it's weird how that happens with babies. But, of course, on her it looked cute.
It's so nice to actually have a home where my family can gather and we can all have dinner sitting at the table!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Friggin Fridge

Now the refrigerator seems to buzz at times, buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I hate it! Cannot wait to get a new one! It's driving me nutsssssssssssssssss.

Good news! I got word this morning that all was approved and a big check is on it's way. So, the first thing Veronica and I did was head to Wickford Appliance to see what's cookin. Their choices were few and their prices were high for stoves and refrigerators so no purchases were made. We will be heading out to other locations for a look-see soon. This has gone on my high priority list of things to do!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Appliance Delivery

There's a delivery truck from Wickford Appliance in the driveway right now and they are delivering a brand new refrigerator and stove... the people who are moving in upstairs today!!!

It's absolute torture to sit here and watch them wheel that refrigerator right by my house.

Refrigerator Woes

Sometimes it's more like wahwah wahwah wahwah wahwah wahwah wahwah wahwah wahwah!

It always ends with a big shudder and the metal shelves rattle.

Have I mentioned how crazy it is driving me? I mean really crazy it is driving me?

Maybe it's possessed! Or maybe it's me! Either way, I'm going freakin nuts!

Friday, October 12, 2007

And Now For Some Good News

Al Gore, U.N. panel win Nobel Peace Prize
Ex-VP, team honored for spreading awareness of man-made climate change

OSLO, Norway - Former Vice President Al Gore and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to spread awareness of man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures needed to counteract it.
Gore, who won an Academy Award this year for his film "An Inconvenient Truth," a documentary on global warming, had been widely expected to win the prize.

Refrigerator Insanity

I'm wondering if it is possible that a refrigerator can actually drive a person mad? As in crazy, as in I am losing my mind with the noise the refrigerator makes here in my new house.

The refrigerator and stove are from the 70's. They are original to when the house was converted from a garage. And they are harvest gold.

The refrigerator runs almost constantly and the sound, wahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwah wahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwah is, I think, driving me mad. IT NEVER STOPS!!!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It's Alarming!

As hard as it may seem to believe, I've not had much to say these past few days. I'm still disgusted with our government and have just been too busy and tired to pay much attention to whatever mischief they're up to this week.

I've been busy, mostly with Veronica, as she has been a very frequent guest (2 overnight visits!!) and we've been working to eliminate boxes and put things away. She has been an invaluable helper and I couldn't be more grateful or thankful.

I am making headway with Mickey, the dog next door, who is beginning to realize that I am his pack leader. I've watched enough episodes of The Dog Whisperer and I really admire Cesar Millan's techniques - don't let the dog dominate (which Micky does with his owners!) So the dog is less threatening to me, but I am not lowering my guard, especially when Hannibal is outside or any of my nieces/nephews or friends.

I've also been sleeping and resting alot and today, which is a rainy dark day, would be a perfect day to climb back in bed or watch a movie or just read a book, except that my security system is being installed this afternoon, so I am busy getting ready for that!

I've missed having an alarm, especially when it comes to Hannibal. When I am away from the house and he is home alone, I am constantly worried that someone could break in and let him out. Or, much worse, there's a fire and he could not escape! My anxiety level will be greatly reduced once it is in and working. Micro, my former ADT co-worker who has turned out to be a great friend, now has his own business and he will be doing the install. Micro is his nickname as well as the name of his company! When we worked together we had a nice relationship as I always enjoyed speaking with him and was (and still am) impressed with his knowledge of alarms/computers/sound systems as well as a million other things. However, I learned a long time ago that when you work with someone you can be friendly but you are not friends.

Micro left ADT before I did and we stayed in touch. Last year when I mentioned to him that the grass in my yard was so long I was losing Hannibal in it, he and his son Josh, who was 12 at the time, came over and worked well past dark to get it cut (and it was NOT an easy job.) I made dinner for them and the new phase of our friendship began. When they left, I gave Josh my telescope which he had been interested in during the visit. I sent Micro an email thanking him for the work they did and he replied that he left something under the towels in my bathroom closet! I checked and there were 2 gift cards; for Dave's Market and for Shell gas! I was floored and deeply, deeply touched! I had found a friend where I had never expected, at work! His generosity and friendship was a very pleasant surprise and now, a year later, it would be hard to think of my life without him and Josh in it! So they both will be here later and I look forward to the visit more than the actual installation of the alarm.

I think I do have time for a quick nap...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Homecoming WW 2007

Is this one handsome kid or what? Oh, and the girl is pretty, too.

Goofy Girls Gone Wild Part 2

So I'm beginning to think that all of my girls are goofy. Here's more proof!

Saturday, October 6, 2007


emilee emilee emilee

she is so cute alot of time
she can also be annoying
but we always love her
she is a good babysitter and
a good cousin to JaeMae!

Goofy Girls Gone Wild

My Three (of 6) Girls

I just had to post these photos of 3 of my 6 girls goofing around on my bed the other night.
I had waited until they came over because of their enjoyment of laying on the air mattress while the air was going out. I snapped some pictures and their fun and enjoyment in the moment really shows.

If I Only Had A Brain

I picked Emilee up this afternoon for our Hannah Montana night at Clayground. She came running out of the house when I got there and the moment she saw me she burst into tears and wanted to see my dog bite! I told her that I hadn't been bitten by a dog. I think she misunderstood what I blogged about the dog next door, so after reassuring her that I was fine and that she would be safe with me and the dog wouldn't come near her we were on our way. She seemed pretty melancholy on the ride to my house, talking about family, missing her poppa (who she never met) and not knowing her other grandfather (my father.) She asked how many people were in our family, how our family began and was my father dead? I told her he wasn't dead, he just lived in Florida (which may be the same thing.)

We got to my house and figured we had about an hour before we left for dinner and then our fun at Clayground. I had pulled the notice out of my purse earlier today and it was on my desk. Emilee asked if today was October 5, right? I said yes and she read to me off the notice that it was scheduled for Friday, October 12!!!!!! I was incredulous, as I was certain it was tonight (Veronica's 18th birthday!) and I had been looking forward to "a fantabulous night of pottery painting, food and fun - Hannah Montana style, along with karaoke", which I really enjoy. Once we realized my mistake, she was pleased that "we had the night to ourselves" so we figured we'd go for dinner and then to the market for waffle syrup and gum, two essentials in auntie's house.

We went to Junction Pizzeria. It was so busy, we decided to go eat in the deli section instead of the dining room, which turned out to be a big mistake! I told the girl as I placed the order that next door was so busy we decided to eat in the deli and was surprised when our bread came to our table in a take-out styrofoam container. I told the boy who brought it that we were eating there, so we dug in and enjoyed the bread while waiting for our food to come. I had noticed a family sitting at the bar, where the TV had the Yankees game on, get the pizza that they ordered - in a box!! So the mom had to put the pizza on a nearby table and load the slices onto plates that they took back to the bar to eat. A while later the same boy comes to our table with a shopping bag with our food in it! I looked at him and said "we are eating here, not taking it to go" where he snapped back that "this was take-out." "No", I said, "It is a deli and I've had better service in a bar for crying out loud." I paid the bill, knowing I was going to complain on Monday when I hope the owner would be in. How ridiculous is it that when you are in a deli, sitting at a table drinking your drinks and you get your food "to go?" Aaaarrrgghhhh!

Quick stop for groceries, back to my house, where we ate and started to watch The Ghost Whisperer until Emi was too scared. So we watched Herbie Fully Loaded, which I thoroughly enjoyed!

She wanted to go to bed at 10 so I laid down with her until she fell asleep, now I'm watching Keith Olbermann and seeing all the signs of a liar in the coverage of GWB in his denials of torture; quickly blinking eyelids, stuttering to get the words out while his eyes are darting around. It's really hard to put into words how much I despise that man.

Tomorrow - a birthday party for Veronica where all of my nieces and nephews will be - thank goodness for them, they keep me going.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Jeff Gordon And Me

Patrick brought Hannibal a big bone the other night. Here's a picture of him enjoying it! Once he was done I threw the bone into the neighbors yard hoping that their dog would choke on it!! (gasp)

Okay, so the TV is back on! I called Chris the Verizon guy who installed all the wires last week and he said I should unplug it and plug it back in. I also asked him for the help line number. I had to move all the album boxes in the living room so that I could pull the entertainment center out to reach the plug. Once I did that I then had to call the help line so we could reconfigure the on/off buttons for the TV and the DVR so they would both turn on and off at the same time. I then thought I could catch up on Countdown but it didn't record last night, so I watched the previous night. Thank goodness for the internet, I can watch Wednesdays show on

After all that activity (moving record album boxes is hard, hard work) I decided to lay down and, of course, I fell asleep. I had the strangest dream - Jeff Gordon and I were chasing after my father who was driving the bland mustard colored Monte Carlo that he had in the late 70's. I'm not sure what my father had done, but Jeff Gordon was determined to catch him. I was the navigator because we were in Providence, which Jeff was not familiar with. We were in a car that was sort of like a Camaro or Firebird with the T-top open! So we were chasing around the city streets until I was woken by Hannibal barking at the landlord outside, so I don't know the outcome. I can't imagine my father out-driving Jeff Gordon, especially in a car that was 30 years old!

I actually started to work in the kitchen today and it's more of a mess than it was when I started. I'm not sure which cabinets should hold which stuff and I'm trying to wash everything that's been in boxes since December (or before.) I think that I didn't get the gene that most other women get because I just don't enjoy kitchen stuff at all. I've got 20 cabinets and Veronica put food in 2 of them. I put my paper china plates in another and that's it so far. I can now see half of my kitchen table and cannot wait to put my grizzly bear lamp back in it's proper place.

Tonight as I was getting ready to take my trash out to the street, the dangerous dog from next door came charging. I got Hannibal in the house and yelled so loud at the dog that the owner came out of the house to see what was going on (their house isn't really close either!) He put the dog in the house, but I carried my MagLite with me just in case and I wouldn't have hesitated using it. It's such a pain that I have to constantly scan the yards to be sure it's safe for me and (especially) Hannibal to go out. I'd much rather have the dog bite me than Hannibal for two reasons; the first being that Hannibal needs to be safe; the second is that if the dog bites me, he's dead! Simple as that. Tomorrow Emi is coming for an overnight visit so I have even more reason to be concerned. I have added the EGPD phone number in my cell phone and will not hesitate to call if necessary.

Now I have to find my sewing machine and the fabric I have to make curtains for my bedroom windows. I have put the cute little bird house fence thingies (sorry Faith and Jan) in my living room windows and I am not sure what kind of curtains to make to compliment them. I'm sure I'll figure it all out about the time I figure out where to put everything in the kitchen.

Secret U.S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations

NY Times
Published: October 4, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 — When the Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.

But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.

Mr. Gonzales approved the legal memorandum on “combined effects” over the objections of James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general, who was leaving his job after bruising clashes with the White House. Disagreeing with what he viewed as the opinion’s overreaching legal reasoning, Mr. Comey told colleagues at the department that they would all be “ashamed” when the world eventually learned of it.

Later that year, as Congress moved toward outlawing “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment, the Justice Department issued another secret opinion, one most lawmakers did not know existed, current and former officials said. The Justice Department document declared that none of the C.I.A. interrogation methods violated that standard.

The classified opinions, never previously disclosed, are a hidden legacy of President Bush’s second term and Mr. Gonzales’s tenure at the Justice Department, where he moved quickly to align it with the White House after a 2004 rebellion by staff lawyers that had thrown policies on surveillance and detention into turmoil.

Congress and the Supreme Court have intervened repeatedly in the last two years to impose limits on interrogations, and the administration has responded as a policy matter by dropping the most extreme techniques. But the 2005 Justice Department opinions remain in effect, and their legal conclusions have been confirmed by several more recent memorandums, officials said. They show how the White House has succeeded in preserving the broadest possible legal latitude for harsh tactics.

A White House spokesman, Tony Fratto, said Wednesday that he would not comment on any legal opinion related to interrogations. Mr. Fratto added, “We have gone to great lengths, including statutory efforts and the recent executive order, to make it clear that the intelligence community and our practices fall within U.S. law” and international agreements.

Here's the link if you want to read the rest of the NY Times story:

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Bush Vetoes Child Health Insurance Plan

ACDC and
Our feckless president, in a sharp confrontation with Congress, on Wednesday vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have dramatically expanded children's health insurance. This guy is such an freaking a*****e!

It was only the fourth veto of Bush's presidency, and one that some Republicans feared could carry steep risks for their party in next year's elections (we can hope.) The Senate approved the bill with enough votes to override the veto, but the margin in the House fell short of the required number.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., decried Bush's action as a "heartless veto."

"Never has it been clearer how detached President Bush is from the priorities of the American people," Reid said in a statement. "By vetoing a bipartisan bill to renew the successful Children's Health Insurance Program, President Bush is denying health care to millions of low-income kids in America. "

The White House sought as little attention, with Bush casting his veto behind closed doors without any fanfare or news coverage (of course, he knows just how stupid it was.) He was discussing it later Wednesday during a budget speech in Lancaster, Pa.

Socialized medicine? The State Children's Health Insurance Program is a joint state-federal effort that subsidizes health coverage for 6.6 million people, mostly children, from families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford their own private coverage.

The Democrats who control Congress, with significant support from Republicans, passed the legislation to add $35 billion over five years to allow an additional 4 million children into the program. It would be funded by raising the federal cigarette tax by 61 cents to $1 per pack.

The president had promised to veto it, saying the Democratic bill was too costly, (guess he forgot about the over $456,000,000,000 we've had to spend on his idiotic invasion and deadly war)took the program too far from its original intent of helping the poor, and would entice people now covered in the private sector to switch to government coverage. He wants only a $5 billion increase in funding.

Bush argued that the congressional plan would be a move toward socialized medicine by expanding the program to higher-income families. (Yeah, and what is so wrong with that? He has the best health care, why shouldn't others?)

Democrats deny that, saying their goal is to cover more of the millions of uninsured children and noting that the bill provides financial incentives for states to cover their lowest-income children first. Of the over 43 million people nationwide who lack health insurance, over 6 million are under 18 years old. That's over 9 percent of all children.

Veto override considerations eighteen Republicans joined Democrats in the Senate, enough to override Bush's veto. But this was not the case in the House, where despite sizable Republican support, supporters of the bill are about two dozen votes short of a successful override (Another bunch of wimps.)

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Democrats were imploring 15 House Republicans to switch positions but had received no agreements so far.

House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said he was "absolutely confident" that the House would be able to sustain Bush's expected veto.

Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott, R-Miss., said Congress should be able to reach a compromise with Bush once he vetoes the bill. "We should not allow it to be expanded to higher and higher income levels, and to adults. This is about poor children," he said. "But we can work it out."

It took Bush six years to veto his first bill, when he blocked expanded federal research using embryonic stem cells last summer. In May, he vetoed a spending bill that would have required troop withdrawals from Iraq (jerk.) In June, he vetoed another bill to ease restraints on federally funded stem cell research (Again, what a freaking jerk.)

What A World

For my new house, I bought a Lady Suzanne Classics Deluxe Soft Cushioned Bathroom Seat.

Any idea what it is?

A toilet seat!!

It's a crazy world where a toilet seat isn't called a toilet seat but a bathroom seat!!

What I'd like to get is a new toilet. With well water and a dead lady who didn't clean very well, I'd much prefer a whole new setup! Though, I suppose she didn't know she was going to die, otherwise she might have cleaned!

I know, I know -- TMI!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


I can't turn my living room TV on!! I had Verizon Fios installed last Thursday and have been learning it ever since. The remote is huge with about 1,000 buttons on it. I've been able to do most things once the TV is on, but tonight I've had no luck turning it on. It's funny because I was able to watch TV in my bedroom because that TV is hooked up to Cox, go figure. Somehow Cox was still active here in the house, so I watch Cox (which is familiar) in one room and Fios in the other! Only in AliceWorld do things like this happen, it seems.

I have a cavity! Went to see Ron, the dentist today after 2 years and I actually have 2 cavities in the same tooth. Aaarrgghh, not what I wanted to hear, that's for sure. Then I went to visit my uncle Tom who is not feeling well. He, I and my uncle Pat watched 2 Gene Autry movies before I showed my uncle Tom how to get onto the internet on his new (and very complicated) laptop computer. I DO NOT recommend Vista to anyone who is used to XP. Way too much work and not a good improvement at all.

My car is so full of things from the apartment that there is room only for me in it. Since Emi is sleeping over Friday night, I do need to clean it out. Problem is that there's so much stuff in the new house that I really don't want to bring anything more in until I can get things better organized. I haven't even started in the kitchen yet, though Veronica was able to wash all of the cabinets out.

There are 2 pitbull mix dogs that run free in the compound that I now live in. One is Buster, who is a beautiful white boy, the other is Micky who is brown. Both of them are very scary. This morning I yelled over to Micky's owner (Mack) because I needed to speak with him before I called the dog catcher. I set him straight on dog leash laws and the fact that his dog chases joggers, bikers and anyone who drives by slowly. We had a good talk and introduced the dogs. Tonight he and his fiance Erin came over with Mona, a cute little Beagle. Shortly after getting here, Micky escaped out of the house (all by himself, I think he went through a screen.) We tried the introduction again and he did just what I had been expecting him to do, which was to attack Hannibal!! Thankfully my boy is okay, but that dog really scares me. They realize they need to do something, I just hope they do it soon. Now I'll wait to see how Buster is with Hannibal and keep a good eye on Micky. There's lots of rocks in the yard, and I think that's the route I'm gonna go for now.

Tweety bird, on the other hand, is getting along just fine here at the new place.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Apartment For Rent

First floor, $800 per month. Includes heat and hot water. Cable and wireless internet are available from one of the other tenants, no idea which one, but it is free.

Other tenants include: Steve AKA Pariah (who almost never leaves the house and when he does it's in the oddest clothing) and his Dominican girlfriend, Thelma; Shawn and Jim who didn't know each other until they moved in together; Cindy of the enormous hair (she moved in when she was 37, 35 years ago); JoAnn and her dog, Grace who used to run a bar together and now paint houses; and on the 2nd floor above you will be Tina and Mike AKA the Dimwit and the Idiot, though from every indication Tina is still in jail, when home she's monitored with an ankle bracelet on home confinement. Mike is just an idiot.

Two rooms with crooked floors. Your pen or any liquid you might spill will take off for the other end of the room at breakneck speed. No kitchen drawers for silverware, foils and wraps or dishtowels. If you want a kitchen table there will be no sideboards available to fix your meals.

Front door is yours, expect any visitor to the house to go to your door, no matter which apartment they want. This includes pizza deliveries, phone, electric and cable men, relatives, friends, police and Shawn who needs to borrow salt, your phone, phone numbers or just needs to talk. He will not, however, remember your name.

Two very nice fireplaces, neither work. Nice architectural detail however. Bathroom is nicest room in apartment, tub and water pressure are great for showering. One closet ceiling is open to pipes and a multitude of cobwebs; small rodents may fall into closet and crawl out under door into bathroom. Also, on occasion, mice will visit your kitchen sideboards.

Pink bedroom sleeps 1.

Small dog extra.

Brain Eating Amoeba

PHOENIX (AP) - It sounds like science fiction but it's true: A killer amoeba living in lakes enters the body through the nose and attacks the brain where it feeds until you die.

Even though encounters with the microscopic bug are extraordinarily rare, it's killed six boys and young men this year. The spike in cases has health officials concerned, and they are predicting more cases in the future.

"This is definitely something we need to track," said Michael Beach, a specialist in recreational waterborne illnesses for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This is a heat-loving amoeba. As water temperatures go up, it does better," Beach said. "In future decades, as temperatures rise, we'd expect to see more cases."

According to the CDC, the amoeba called Naegleria fowleri (nuh-GLEER-ee-uh FOWL'-erh-eye) killed 23 people in the United States, from 1995 to 2004. This year health officials noticed a spike with six cases - three in Florida, two in Texas and one in Arizona. The CDC knows of only several hundred cases worldwide since its discovery in Australia in the 1960s.

In Arizona, David Evans said nobody knew his son, Aaron, was infected with the amoeba until after the 14-year-old died on Sept. 17. At first, the teen seemed to be suffering from nothing more than a headache.

"We didn't know," Evans said. "And here I am: I come home and I'm burying him."

After doing more tests, doctors said Aaron probably picked up the amoeba a week before while swimming in the balmy shallows of Lake Havasu, a popular man-made lake on the Colorado River between Arizona and California.

Though infections tend to be found in southern states, Naegleria lives almost everywhere in lakes, hot springs, even dirty swimming pools, grazing off algae and bacteria in the sediment.

Beach said people become infected when they wade through shallow water and stir up the bottom. If someone allows water to shoot up the nose - say, by doing a somersault in chest-deep water - the amoeba can latch onto the olfactory nerve.

The amoeba destroys tissue as it makes its way up into the brain, where it continues the damage, "basically feeding on the brain cells," Beach said.

People who are infected tend to complain of a stiff neck, headaches and fevers. In the later stages, they'll show signs of brain damage such as hallucinations and behavioral changes, he said.
Once infected, most people have little chance of survival. Some drugs have stopped the amoeba in lab experiments, but people who have been attacked rarely survive, Beach said.

"Usually, from initial exposure it's fatal within two weeks," he said.

Researchers still have much to learn about Naegleria. They don't know why, for example, children are more likely to be infected, and boys are more often victims than girls.

"Boys tend to have more boisterous activities (in water), but we're not clear," Beach said.

In central Florida, authorities started an amoeba phone hot line advising people to avoid warm, standing water and areas with algae blooms. Texas health officials also have issued warnings.
People "seem to think that everything can be made safe, including any river, any creek, but that's just not the case," said Doug McBride, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Officials in the town of Lake Havasu City are discussing whether to take action. "Some folks think we should be putting up signs. Some people think we should close the lake," city spokesman Charlie Cassens said.

Beach cautioned that people shouldn't panic about the dangers of the brain-eating bug. Cases are still extremely rare considering the number of people swimming in lakes. The easiest way to prevent infection, Beach said, is to use nose clips when swimming or diving in fresh water.

"You'd have to have water going way up in your nose to begin with" to be infected, he said.

David Evans has tried to learn as much as possible about the amoeba over the past month. But it still doesn't make much sense to him. His family had gone to Lake Havasu countless times. Have people always been in danger? Did city officials know about the amoeba? Can they do anything to kill them off?

Evans lives within eyesight of the lake. Temperatures hover in the triple digits all summer, and like almost everyone else in this desert region, the Evanses look to the lake to cool off.

It was on David Evans' birthday Sept. 8 that he brought Aaron, his other two children, and his parents to Lake Havasu. They ate sandwiches and spent a few hours splashing around.

"For a week, everything was fine," Evans said.

Then Aaron got the headache that wouldn't go away. At the hospital, doctors first suspected meningitis. Aaron was rushed to another hospital in Las Vegas.

"He asked me at one time, 'Can I die from this?'" David Evans said. "We said, 'No, no.'"

On Sept. 17, Aaron stopped breathing as his father held him in his arms.

"He was brain dead," Evans said. Only later did doctors and the CDC determine that the boy had been infected with Naegleria.

"My kids won't ever swim on Lake Havasu again," he said.