Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Aztec Arachnid

In the old days, we had an Oldsmobile. It was gray. And we had one - or several - gray spiders living inside it.

Now, we have an Aztec (named Xena.) It is orange. And, suitably enough, we have an orange spider making a huge web on the passenger side window (outside.)

It's pretty. But it is going to be washed away tonight. I got freaked out by the little gray spiders inside the oldsmobile - if this thing comes inside, I'm gonna run off the road. I won't kill it. But I don't want to kill myself, either!

An additional mammal

What is it? I'm not sure. It may be a woodchuck or a gopher. Either way, it seems to be living in our backyard. It doesn't seem scary, though. And it's not a rat. But it HAS been nibbling on the tomatoes.

A plethora of rabbits.


Is plethora a good word for this? I don't know, I should look it up before I post it. Too bad, I'm using it anyway.

When I take my walk -- i've been trying to walk every day -- I have noticed that there seems to be a rabbit practically every 10 feet. When I was a kid, there were NO rabbits around here. Where have they all come from?

The picture is proof that I'm NOT exaggerating. Much.
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thanks again to Caffeinated Librarian...

I just watched this. It's a mini-movie called "Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog." It takes some time -- like 40 minutes -- but it is worth it. Watch it!


The good news is that I have the house to myself for the next few days, which is especially good because I'm feeling very blehhhh right now, and I'm tired of pissing off my husband and the boys, and I'm tired of getting pissed off by them so easily just because my mood is so blehhh.

Thor went to Texas, as you may have already noted. When I heard he was high-tailin' it outta here I decided it was a good week for the boys to visit my parents, too. I need some quality time ALONE.

So tonight I had chips and cheese for an afternoon snack and then went to the health club to sweat for an hour or so. Then I ran to Barnes and Nobles and bought about a hundred books. Almost.

The blehhhs seem possibly attributable to the hormones not working again. I've gotta call the hormone doctor again and maybe up my prescription.

Meanwhile, I'll be in bed reading, or possibly at the health club sweating.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My patch was produced!

Remember the patch I drew, about a year ago? Well, they didn't use it for summer camp last year, but they did use it for summer camp this year. I'm so excited! I think it came out really well. This is the patch -- Karen gave me one to keep for my "portfolio," which is the only payment I get. (I'm fine with that, I'm just glad that they got them made!)
This is before

and after...

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

I've never done a meme before, but I decided to do this one, because it's the first one that truly sounded like fun to me. I found it over at the Caffeinated Librarian's blog which I read rather regularly. (Thanks, CL, for letting me play too!)

Here's how to play:

Put your iPod or music player on random.

Post the first four lines from the first 20 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing the song (Skip repeat artists).

Post and let everyone you know guess what song and artist the lines come from.
[The Caffeinated Librarian added a rule, skipping songs that have the title in the first four lines 'cause she thinks it's too easy, but I didn't follow that rule. Because I have weird songs.]

Don’t cheat! (no Googling lyrics!)

Ok. Purely on random, without repeating artists... OK, except I counted solo acts as separate from bands that they come from... (if you know who I mean) and sometimes, the title is right in the lyric, so take a guess! I have bizarre taste in music, I know, but try anyway. And oh yeah -- I apologize in advance if some of these lyrics are just wrong! I did the best I could. So.... Here goes:

Is this just another day
this god forgotten place
first comes love and then comes pain
Let the show begin

Frank knows. Pearl Jam, Love Boat Captain.

I hear the train acomin
it's rollin round the bend
and I ain't seen the sunshine
since I don't know when

Beth knew it was Johnny Cash. Frank knew it was Folsom Prison Blues.

I think I'll pack it in and buy a pickup
take it down to LA
Find a place to call my own
and try to fix up...start a brand new day

Good guess, Frank -- but it's not Cheryl Crow. It's Neil Young, Out on the Weekend.

We took the highway til the road went black
We marked truth or consequences on our back
A voice drifted up from the radio
Some other voice from long ago

No winners. Springsteen, Last to Die (new or at least newish album.)

Somebody pick up my pieces
I'm scattered everywhere
at put me back together
and put me 'way over there

Willy Nelson. (Can't you hear him, now that I've said that?) Singing "Somebody Pick Up my Pieces."

Ah the cool green grass rolled across the foggy hills
As I made my way back to my Irish lass
she laid in wait for the man who went away
On the table was the food that filled my past

If I had given you the chorus on this one, you would have gotten it. Flogging molly was a good guess, though. It's Potatoes by Barley Juice. Jimmy might have know, if he ever checked the blog.

I hear the crying of the hungry
in the deserts where they're wandering
hear them crying out for heaven's
own benevolence upon them

Old Crow Medicine Show -- I hear them All.

Well excuse me baby,
What in the world is going on
got an ear full of trouble
when I call you on the telephone

Stevie would have done great with this song. It's Blackberry Smoke, Nothin' for You.

... And in that bog there was a tree,
A rare tree, a rotten tree,
Well the tree in the bog,
an' the bog down in the valley-o.

Definitely an Irish song -- Irish Drinking Songs, the Bog down in the Valley.

Polly wants a cracker.
Think i should get off her first
think she wants some water
to put out the blow torch.

Frank knew Nirvana. Polly wants a Cracker is the name that comes up on my Ipod.

And when I see the sign
that points one way
the lot we used to pass by

Walk Away Renee by the Four Tops

A friend assures me
It's all or nothing.
I am not worried.
I am not overly concerned.

Counting Crows, Anna Begins.

Your no good...Heartbreaker
You're a liar, and you're a cheat
and I don't know why
I let you do these things to me

By ARetha Franklin. the title of this one is "I Never Loved a Man the Way That I Loved You."

I walk right by him and he's freezing his ass off
He could be dead if we walk away
I don't remember a thing from the summer time
head full of quarters make me feel ok
(?Is this right?)

Freedom by Blues Traveler -- probably listen to this one least on the whole list.

I took my love and I took it down
climbed a mountain and I turned around
and I saw my reflection in a snow covered hill
well the landslide brought me down

Yes, Dixie Chicks (sorry Beth, not Stevie Nicks version) doing Landslide.

Why should the fire die?
My mom and dad kept theirs alive
it's early yet, don't say goodnight
I know you're tired, you'll be alright

Yup, Frank got Nickel Creek -- Why should the fire die

Hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm
War... what is it good for?
absolutely nothin'....
War... what is it good for?
absolutely nothin'....

I'll give you Jacky Chan. War.

When I walk beside her
I am the better man
when I look to leave her
I always stagger back again

Definitely Eddie Vedder. Hard Sun.

(somethin about blue...?I can't quite get it)
There's nothin more that a man could do
don't get your bullocks in a twist
settle down, don't take a fit
You drank a demon straight to hell

Flogging Molly -- Salty Dog.

Out on highway 45
a big white sign hangs in her drive
lease or cash or mastercard
come see the psychic to the stars

Paul Thorn, Sister Ruby's House of Prayer.

Catch a Firefly

I went out to catch a firefly. I got one! On film. It took a while. Can you see it? It's tiny in this photo.
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Where I spent my summer vacation

OK, this is the truth of the matter... most of my summer will be spent right here, in my scenic office. But don't think I'm complaining, because it's actually quite pleasant. I was talking to Thor last night about messy desks and work, and I was wondering if my work desk was considered messy or not. So I told him I'd take a picture of it the minute I walked in the door. This is the way I leave it after I straighten up.

The paper wasn't left there, that was from someone else dropping something on my desk before I got in this morning. My in basket is particularly full right now. My out basket is underneath -- but you would be surprised how many people ask for things and then never come pick them up. So it's been pretty full too. But all in all, I don't think it's too bad. Especially compared to my desk at home.

I sit directly behind my friend Lil, who is very pleasant. It's a tight squeeze, but it seems fine so far.

What do you think -- messy, or OK?
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Out of sight?


Here we have the section against the wall... probably the messiest section. Note the iced tea and the dunkin donuts bag, which appears regularly. My notebooks are sloppy, and so is under my desk, which I hope no one notices.
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The chair

My friend Helen sits directly behind me. She has to look at the back of my head all day. And you'll note the sweater which I leave on my chair at all times, because no matter the season, we can't be sure what the air conditioning will be doing. I must say the Air Conditioning has been perfect lately. And the chair is quite comfy. The box behind the chair will be walked down to the Athletic deparment today. It doesn't need to sit here -- but it hasn't really been bothering me, either. And originally, I had the garbage can under my desk, but everyone else had them in the spot behind them, because it's easier for the custodians to empty them that way.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

More Chadwick Island pictures

Even though my vacation is over and I'm home again, I thought I'd post a few more photos...

This is what it is really all about.
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Chadwick Island Nick

I miss Nicky, who is still in Chadwick Island without us. I know he's having a great time, so I'm not really worried about him. This is probably what he's doing even as we speak...
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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Black and White Swans


We just got back from Chadwick Island, which sounds very New England-ish but is actually an island off the cost of Jersey... one of the barrier islands between Point Pleasant and Seaside. We stayed with Frank's family, and it was very nice.

The Island has an ocean side and a bay side. The house was on a lagoon on the bay side. At the end of the street there was a beautiful view of the bay. It's surprising how natural the area still is, especially considering how many people are there using it every single day. The houses are jammed next to each other, the traffic is a line that goes on and on... but even so, the bay has a very natural area that seems to be in very good shape... at least from our view across the bay.

One surprising thing that we saw were swans. And the most surpising thing of all about the swans was the black swan.

I tried to get a good photo, but couldn't get anything better than this. Even so, isn't it lovely?
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Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Play... Beauty and the Beast

Our county park runs a theater series at an outdoor theater. Every summer, there are three productions -- and every year I try to get to at least two of them. It's not Broadway, but it is very professional with orchestra, lighting, beautiful scenery and costumes, and excellent actors.
Being an outdoor theater in the summer, every time we worry about the weather -- we get rained out quite often on the day we plan to go. Or the weather will be questionable and we have to decide if we want to take our chances. Then, we pack up our chairs and stand in line for a half hour before dinner to get in; we come back just as it gets dark.

This summer I've already seen the Producers which was quite funny. Now, this week they are playing Beauty and the Beast.

The audience was PACKED. I've never seen it so crowded. And the show was great. I would highly recommend it to anyone! Of course, you have to live around here... but it is quite a bargain for $5.00!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Surprise attack.

Warning: Don't read this if you have a weak stomach.
Well, it's not really THAT bad, but it is making ME sick.

I was hanging out minding my own business, eating nacho chips, when my tooth launched a surprise attack.

I have the world's worst teeth in the first place. The back ones are all falling apart. All of my efforts are concentrated on keeping the front teeth in my head and stable. Gram -- the same gram I was talking about previously --had all of her teeth pulled when she was still quite young, and went right to dentures. She didn't recommend it, but I totally understand it.

So when the tooth broke, again, I ended up calling the dentist. I knew what was going to have to happen.

I've already had tons of drilling, then a root canal, and a crown, which didn't work after a few years. I had been going with the "wait and see" approach for the last few years. I was waiting to see how long the little stump that had been left under the crown could hang in there for. It lasted a good few years. So that means I have two down, and one more stump to go. You KNOW that last bad tooth will be coming out one of these days soon.

So I called the dentist. The receptionist knows me already, and suggested I just go right ahead and make an appointment with the oral surgeon.


Nice guy, that oral surgeon. But he's getting older, and his hand shakes alot. I wasn't sure at first -- when he stabbed me with the needle to numb it, I kinda figured he had to shake to make sure the novocaine was squirted all over in my gums.

After he had the pliers in his hand, and wrenched with all of his might, I think he got a bit weaker in the arm. It took a bit of strength to get that bugger out of there. He yanked, and pulled, and struggled and strained. Finally, with a grinding noise and a great screech (could that have been me? Or him? Or the tooth?) he yanked it out of my head.

(I practiced breathing, and I listened to my ipod -- Eddie Vedder's Into the Wild album.) (I kept adjusting the volume so I could hear him. That man was SO polite, I almost think he was making fun of me. It was "Thank you so much" this, "Oh, please excuse me" that. I didn't want him talking, I wanted to concentrate on Eddie.)

The crater is so big that he had to stitch me up. Lovely. That was when I could REALLY tell his hand was shaking.

He packed the gauze in there, and prescribed some lovely pain killers and tons of antibiotics. I can't take the pain killers, though, because I want to go out tonight. I plan on going to see the play.

More about the play tomorrow -- if I make it.
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Making Ice

I was making myself a glass of Iced Tea to bring to work, this morning, and getting the ice out of the freezer made me miss Gram Rodgers quite a bit.

She used to come visit my house for a week or two in the heat of the summer, because I have air conditioning and my mom doesn't. I loved having her over. We had quite a routine, especially when the kids were little and I wasn't working or running all over the place.

Most every morning, she and I would wake up and have a cup of hot tea. We would sit at the kitchen table and read the newspaper and she would usually eat something like toast and applesauce. After breakfast, we would both get dressed. She would ask me what I wanted her to do, and I would tell her "Sit and rest." She didn't like that idea much. She would always make the ice cubes for the day, and I told her that was her job. She would also start the iced tea for the day. We would discuss what we should make for dinner. And then at 10 o'clock, she'd say, "10 o'clock already! Time for tea!" and we'd sit right back down at the table and chat some more.

It wasn't always exactly like this... but that was the feel of it. Lazy, relaxed, and lovely.

I wonder what she would have thought about the new freezer with the automatic ice machine. I didn't get one until after she died. Making the ice was HER job. The freezer was full of ice when she was around -- she made it all day, emptying and refilling the trays. I never got around to it when she wasn't there, and we often ran out of ice.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Summer Sunset


It's a beautiful night, warm, somewhat humid. Faintly, over the neighborhood, you can hear the music from the Iselin Fair. I remember sitting in the rocking chair with Frankie when he was a baby, right next to the sliding glass door, listening to the Iselin Fair sounds and rocking.

I love this photo, even though it isn't real. Well, the sunset was amazing, but this photo was messed with in Picasa. I love to supersaturate.

I wish I could get good photos of stars.
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The real thing... no retouching.


Unbelievable colors anyway. I didn't manipulate this photo at all.
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Sunday, July 13, 2008



Summer is lovely. I took this photo of a bug a few weeks ago, and I wanted to post something so I decided to post this. Isn't it beautiful? Maybe I should say... these bugs. I think there are two bugs here in a compromising position. With the possibility of baby bugs on the way. They look rather jewel-like, don't they?

We just got back from camping. I didn't take my camera because Nicky was taking his brand new cam-corder. Unfortunately he didn't take any photos except one. Also bug related. He also took a little video around the campfire, but he didn't like it so he deleted it. I don't think he's planning on being a director when he grows up.

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I don't think spiders are actually bugs. I'm not sure about dragonflies.

There were a few bugs camping. And plenty of bug spray. I found two ticks INSIDE the tent, but none on any of us, thank goodness. And the flys were buzzing our heads but not really biting.

I hate bugs. I think. But you do have to admit that they often look beautiful, and I know that they have a purpose... these two definitely added a little sparkle to life.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Into the Wild Bus -- more or less

There was a book, called Into the Wild, which was recently made into a movie. Of course, my family was really into it, mainly because Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam made the sound track. You might remember that we went into NYC to see it when it first came out. But in addition to the sound track, the story was very appealing to us as well.

It was about this kid, Christopher McCandless. (Did I spell that correctly?) It's a true story. After this kid graduated college, he had enough money and good enough grades to go to Harvard Grad school and make his parents proud. But instead, he ran away from home. He wanted to get away from society and the materialistic culture we live in. At first, he just wandered around as a tramp. Eventually, He decided he wanted to go "into the wild", on a great Alaskan adventure, and live off the fat of the land. Unfortunately, the kid wasn't well prepared or well trained.

He made it to Alaska, where he found an abandoned bus to live in. He kept a journal of sorts, which is how anyone knows anything about him. And it seems, according to the movie, that he found the answers he was looking for -- but it was too late. He couldn't get back out of the wild. When he tried to hike out, the streams he had crossed going in had become raging rivers he couldn't cross. Being unprepared, he hadn't brought a map to find his way to the place he could ford the river. Then, he accidentally ate poison berries. And died. In the bus.

It was a great story.

No, really, it was, because some of the philosophical questions he had raised were answered... at least, they were in the movie. It's lovely how a movie can tie everything together. It was almost like he sacrificed himself to show you the way to a happy life. More or less. And the video was gorgeous, of all the beautiful scenery.

Plus, obviously the sound track was great -- I like it more than Frankie does, because it's more simplified without the whole Pearl Jam band backing Eddie. And actually, Vedder is doing a solo tour, and tickets go on sale tomorrow. So I have my fingers crossed to go.

So. The point to my story is this.

Frank and I went to the Catskills this weekend. We decided to look into buying property, like a summer house or something. (Which we decided against, but that's a whole other story.) But... one of the properties we found was this.

It was so "Into the Wild", I really would like to get it. It even had a spring, and a two-seater out house! Unfortunately, the out house is just up hill, close to the spring. This seems like a really BAD idea to me.

As for the real "Into the Wild" bus, in Alaska, where the kid actually died, it has apparently become quite a tourist attraction. Which is a really bad idea, because it's obviously a dangerous place... it killed McCandless!

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Happy Fourth of July!

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers

Uncle Bill is doing much better... :)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The email from Aunt Diane

Yesterday morning Bill had a major heart attack. I got him right to the hospital. They gave him a clot buster and nitro. It began to ease his pain and to stabilize him. They also said if we were any later he probably would have died.

They sent him by ambulance to another hospital where the cardiac surgeon was. They put a stent in him right away and a machine clamp on one of his artery to help with the blood flow. He will be in the hospital until at least Friday. It was nice to know that the hospital was one of the top 100 in the country in cardiac care.

Despite telling my children they did not have to come out, they both did. I didn't realize how much their support would mean to me. My brother also came, and again it really helped me a lot. I felt so grateful.

I made phone calls to ask for prayer for Bill and for me. The response was overwhelming. People called friends, relatives and many other prayer groups began to pray. I could feel the prayers just as I felt them when I had chemo. It truly is an awesome experience.

I am not worried. Whatever happens I trust it will be what's best. I expect that Bill will recover, but will have to make some changes in his life style.

I called the nurse's station this morning. He's doing well. He didn't get much sleep. I can just imagine. A hospital isn't the easiest place to sleep.

It was a long, difficult, never ending day, but when I think back on it I realize all the things that went right. There are no words to express how grateful I am.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support.

Please pass this on to anyone I didn't send it to. I don't have everyone's address that I'd like to notify.

God is good all the time.
All the time God is good.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Uncle Bill

Today's post was going to be about Pearl Jam, since Frank finally gave me back the SD card and I could see the pictures we took at the concert, but as I was posting the pictures my Momma called me and said my Uncle Bill went to the hospital because of heart pains.

So please hold a positive thought/prayer in your head for Uncle Bill today, because we want him to be OK. Ok? Ok... thanks.

Pearl Jam