December 27, 2008

I'm going cellular

My friend Sheri has been threatening to buy me a cell phone for the last couple of years. She has been irritated that when I am not home, I am not accessible. She is never home either, which is why we usually talk via her cell phone while she is commuting all over NYC. She took the bull by the horns and purchased me the above phone complete with 2 year contract so that she will be able to reach me whenever, wherever. I have just become part of the verizon network, people. She stipulated some rules. #1- that I stay within the 450 minutes per month. #2- that I am the only, ONLY! one to use it, it is my personal cell phone. This should not be hard to follow as I am the last one in my family to own one. The kids already each have a trac phone and Dan has his nextel. (Thank God she did not get me a nextel, I hate them with a passion). Rule #3 after 2 years I will take over the contract. By then I will probably be just as addicted as the rest of the planet is to having a cell phone and will by all means extend the contract myself. I thank her very much from the bottom of my heart as I know this was an expensive gift and she surely did not have to do this for me. I am glad however that we will be able to connect in an instant now. Thanks for bringing me current BFF.

I have a few cell phone rules for myself, that my peeps will have to understand. (Not that I have that many peeps) Here goes:

#1- I vow to not be one of those grocery shoppers who talk incessantly in every aisle into their phone oblivious to everyone else who can no longer think about what they need because of the rudeness.

#2- I will not be interrupted at my children's sporting events as I have been forever disgusted with the mother sitting next to me who talks and talks and talks to a friend about nothing while her son is up to bat. If I tell you I am at greg's game, that is not the green light to think I am bored and am happy you called to relieve me of said boredom. The only reason I will use the phone at a game is to update anyone who is not at the game who is calling for the score.

#3- If I am ever out with the girls I will not be answering my phone. The only reason someone from my immediate family should call and interrupt my girls nights out is if someone is en route to the hospital via ambulance. I am not kidding. This is my time and I know if this is not stated someone will abuse my phone privileges.
#4-I may make phone calls from the summit of a few mountains to curtail any worrying though I have been annoyed by others talking on cell phones at that time. I will be sure to preserve the tranquility of the moment for any other hikers who may be present.

*subject to change at any further annoyance with my new capability of being "connected".

December 24, 2008

of course the reindeer are female

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year (the only members of the deer family, Cervidae, to have females do so), male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid December. Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring.

Therefore, according to every historical rendition depicting Santa's reindeer, every single one of them, from Rudolf to Blitzen ... had to be a female.

We should have known this.... Only women would be able to drag a fat man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night, and not get lost.

Merry Christmas to all of my blogger friends.

a chip off of......his aunt?

We got through Reagan's Nutcracker Recital
with 2 successful performances. Proof that the show really must go on no matter what, was Sunday's performance that took place minus about 10 dancers during the huge storm that passed through.

On to the next winter activity. Basketball games have already started. This is where I will be for the next few weeks. Back in the basketball bleachers where my family has spent some of its best times together watching my sister play high school and college ball. Time flies. 13 years ago the big guy wearing number 44 slept in my arms many a night in the Adirondack Community College gym.

December 23, 2008

cutting room floor

As I was taking one last stroll through the stores this evening buying "stocking stuffers" (otherwise known as stuff we all need that can double as little presents) I came across the January issue of Adirondack Life magazine haphazardly thrown on a shelf (very far from the book section of the store). Well, actually everything appeared to be far from it's original place in the store. I took a minute to thumb through it while Reagan amused herself scanning items on the self price checker. Interestingly, there is an article this month about blogging from inside the park called Blog Cabin . Of course I quickly scanned the hilighted blogs for my own (ha ha) and was pleasantly surprised that while mine was not among the chosen, some that I read all of the time were. Adirondack Almanack is the lead blog and Adirondack Naturalist is mentioned. City Mouse Country House gets a big plug too. Maybe if I had stuck to the original topic of hiking, I would have had a better chance at being chosen. Like hiking, blogging offers a little escape from real life and I prefer to just do it my way. Turns out, I get about 25 hits a day. Who needs a big audience? I'm just glad someone out there actually "listens" voluntarily to me for an average of 4 minutes at a rip.

December 18, 2008

I'm it..7 weird and random things

For about a month now, I have been amused by other bloggers who have been tagged and asked to write seven random and/or weird things about themselves. I first thought, wow I have no idea what I would write....blogging tends to be a whole lot about ourselves all the time and pretty much all of it is weird and random.

I have to say that I am quite addicted to blogging. I like to have a place to voice my opinion, tell a story, talk about the kids, journal my hiking and interact with other people who enjoy the same. I still find it odd that all of us in the blogging circle "seem" to know each other but may have never even met in real life. We comment niceties, give advice, cheer each other on and praise each other all from behind the disguise of the computer. Nonetheless, my main reason for being here in blogger land is renee. I work with her partner, adam, the frequent co-star of her posts. It was her blog that inspired me to blog in the first place and now she has tagged me for this game. Renee blogs about all kinds of topics at (i am alive). I enjoy her random daily tidbits and as I told her shortly after being exposed as one of her anonymous lurkers (thanks adam), reading her blog raised my level of awareness on current event type topics that I had been ignoring in my busy -raising little kids- life. I am grateful for stumbling across her blog and the effect it has had on me. She gives activist, feminist and environmentalist ideals authenticity for me and that is why I think she (and her blog) is neat.

Okay, here goes:

1. My pinky fingers are crooked (and I mean crooked). So are my father's, my sister's and my daughter's. Not my son's as he is a clone of my husband. Not sure what it means, but it's probably not a good thing.

2. Which leads me to the next weird thing, I am a bit (big) hypochondriac. Not in the normal way either. When I was little I was scared of a lot of things most that would never ever happen to me. Like that the skylab was going to fall from the sky on ME. That killer ants were coming from south america and were going to get ME. I am wicked scared of AIDS/HIV no matter how rational I try to be about it. I blame this on my age at the time the disease was "discovered" and that scare tactics were initially used as preventive measures because they had little knowledge about the spread of the disease. Luckily, I do have the ability to trick myself into believing that I probably don't come into contact with people who are infected even though I know that is impossible especially in my work. (wow, either that could have been a whole other post or all of my seven things and after actually typing that I think I may need professional help)

3. I cry or at least tear up over weird things. I used to be able to hide this pretty well, but now my kids know what my triggers are and look for me to being doing it and then announce it as a big joke. One of them will inherit the affliction and then I'll be laughing. Which I also do when someone gets hurt, but I have convinced myself that it is a defense mechanism to keep from freaking crying.

4. BLT's are my absolute favorite sandwiches.

5. I was the only player to be cut from modified softball. I remember the feeling in my gut like it was yesterday. When I stand on top of my 46th high peak part of me will be thinking- in your face softball bitches.

6. I stood in the oval office during the Reagan presidency courtesy of my secret service officer cousin, watched him from the back lawn of the white house exit his helicopter and wave at me which began my idolization of Ronald Reagan. Hence my daughter's name.

7. I think Adam Sandler singing "lunch lady land" is absolutely hysterical.

so there it is. now my job is to tag seven others who will have to follow these basic rules:* link your original tagger(s), and list these rules on your blog.* share seven facts about yourself in the post - some random, some weird.* tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.* let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs and/or twitter.

My seven is only 5:

My Present Life
Oily Ducks, Oily Dog
Adirondack View
Monkey Barrel Musings

December 16, 2008


Mrs. Walsh started the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and John Walsh needs no introduction. They have advocated tirelessly for child victims and his show has enabled many dangerous fugitives to be captured and forced to "face the music". Thankfully, they appear to feel some relief in the findings of today.

My Schedule for the week:

Sunday- daughter's 4 hour nutcracker practice and cast party
Monday- daughter's 2 hour rehearsal for nutcracker
Tuesday- daughter's chorus concert
Wednesday- son's basketball game
Thursday- more nutcracker and niece's preschool program
Friday- dress rehearsal nutcracker
Saturday- basketball in the morning, deliver adopted family gifts, nutcracker production number one
Sunday- nutcracker production number two

Suddenly this was all put into perspective and just became a little more do-able.

December 15, 2008

meaningful support of local artists

I have 5 kids under the age of 7 to buy gifts for. Running behind as usual on my Christmas shopping, I am refusing to break down and get meaningless toys just to be able to cross names off of the list. It is enjoyable for me to purchase fancier than normal books for the little kids. Mainly because when I was buying picture books for my kids, I found them to be expensive and wasn't always able to splurge. When I did buy a special book, it quickly became our favorite and recalling our time spent reading them together is precious. I can't really tell you what the kids' favorite toys were, but I can tell you that Greg's favorite book was Barney Plays Nose to Toes. It was an interactive book that we used to read right before naptime. Reagan's favorite was What Makes a Rainbow? My niece and my little cousin are getting the above book, written by a former classmate from my High School, Jennifer Fosberry. Even though she currently lives on the west coast, I still consider buying her book making a local contribution.

We have chosen names of the adults we will buy for in my husband's family and I chose his aunt. When I mentioned to my mother that I was agonizing over what to get her, she suggested a print from Lynn Benevento's Gallery. The above print is one of my favorites, at least 3 others are now on my wish list. After talking with the artist for a bit on Sunday, I found that she not only paints local scenery but is very in love with the high peaks and all things outside in the Adirondacks. Her love of nature is very evident in her work and I look forward to purchasing some of her prints for myself. She just lost her husband to cancer and when he became unable to hike they had completed 41 of the 46 high peaks. I am hoping she will finish them someday, as I totally believe he will be waiting for her at the summit of #46. I could not have felt better about my purchases. That is real retail therapy folks.

December 14, 2008

24 years later...the song still fits

This song made such an impression on me when it was released. I realized this last week as it played in an office down the hall from me. I was twelve when it was playing over and over on MTV and I remember buying the 45 record, which was a cool way to make a donation. Now I believe it was the first time I thought globally about anything. Feed the World...and help feed people in your own community.

December 12, 2008

thankful for food, water and family who loves her

Reagan just brought home a thanksgiving project that I'm guessing was decorating the classroom up until this week. It is a turkey with three tail feathers coming off of his body and each feather relays something that reagan is thankful for. I was very taken by her responses, impressed actually. One feather says she is thankful for having a house, food and water. Another says she is happy where she lives. The third feather says she is thankful for having a family that loves her. Could it be that she is old enough to know that these things should not be taken for granted? What stopped her from saying she is thankful for her ipod shuffle or for having minutes on her trac phone or her DC sneakers? Could it be that I have done a good job making sure that she knows those things aren't important or necessary and that buying the latest craze is just plain not going to happen?

When I worked for Social Services, I was devasted more than once as I sat in people's freezing cold homes at this time of year, looking at a branch of a christmas tree and hearing how the parent did not sign up in time for holiday help. Very often, I asked my children to donate something they had duplicates of to these families. One year Greg wrapped up a playstation 1 system that he had and Reagan gave up a magic hair beader for a little girl. I was always going through their dressers looking for clothes for kids I worked with that were close in size to my kids. Reagan was usually involved in my hunt, making suggestions of which outfits I should take. I used to stop them as we walked into our home at night and have them feel the warmth that hit us as we came in. Some people might think that was excessive, that our children should feel that heat in their home is a given. I wanted them to know that not everyone is so fortunate. I feel more confident that by making my kids aware of the daily struggles of people living in our community, in poverty, I have made them more grateful. Less likely to blindly beg for more, more, more. The turkey project proves it to me. I have heard both of my children tell people this year that they don't want anything for Christmas. I recently asked Reagan to make a list for one of her sets of grandparents because they like to get her clothes and they would prefer that she tell them which kind she likes. She told me while walking in the mall last weekend that she didn't want any toys, only clothes (which she needs anyway). Last year they got playstation 2 and guitar hero. This year there will be a few gifts, but mostly there will be a gentle reminder that travel baseball, dance lessons, the shoes and gear that go with both, and all of the other activities they participate in are special gifts they receive all year that we all get to enjoy as a family. I bet no one will be disappointed.

December 7, 2008

the ornament

Dan and I had the luxury of an evening out together last night. We attended the annual Fire Department Christmas Party and stayed overnight at the hotel where the party was held. Luckily for me there is a new, younger fireman who has taken over as the life of the party and Dan didn't feel the need to entertain folks as he has usually done in the past. The thing is, I found that when it wasn't my husband making a binge drinking fool of himself, I could laugh and enjoy the antics of this extremely intoxicated deputy sheriff. His wife was calm and cool as he cavorted about the dance floor, making all of us question whether he actually worked as a male dancer prior to his law enforcement gig. So anyway, we were able to wake up this morning and have an enjoyable breakfast at a little diner up the street from the hotel as a reward for my husband pacing himself and not ending up completely sick and hungover. As we made plans for the rest of this day off together, it was quickly determined that it was now (or never) the day to cut down our tree and decorate it. Dread came over me as I recalled that for the past three years when we open the box of special ornaments, Reagan tearfully objects to us hanging the ornament of the three bears "bearing" the names of the "family" that existed for 3 years prior to her arrival. I, being the first born (spoiled, bossy, know it all) of my family of origin take the stance that it is going on the tree because Reagan must come to terms with the fact that there was life before her and we should not have to retire this ornament because it is (ridiculously) upsetting to her. Dan, the last born (6 years between he and his next sibling, otherwise known as the "oops" baby) tells me to put the ornament away if she is going to cry about it. Of course I win the contest and the ornament goes on the tree every year just as it did that first year she was old enough to realize that it discluded her. I wonder about the sensitivity of the birth order argument (I am sure my younger sister would understand Reagan's discord) and whether Dan has a special understanding of the plight of the family baby or whether Dan is just sticking up for "daddy's little girl". Surely both are a Sociology nightmare. I am not heartless where Reagan and the ornament fiasco are concerned. After some informal mediation (bribing) the ornament went on the tree but we also went to the mall..... We bought a special "Mom, Dad and Reagan" she too has us all to herself.

And then we bought the same cute bears in the family of four version.....

I can happily report that today, she ceremoniously and dramatically managed a few good whines when she saw the original...but quickly stated that she didn't care anymore!

She was more interested in doing a dancing with the stars jive to rockin around the xmas tree. Wow...Cheer up Reagan!

December 6, 2008

retributive justice at it's best

Good for Nicole's and Ron Goldman's family. 13 years to put this guy where he belongs. Good thing Narcissist's can't help but keep their entitled, important selves in the limelight.

December 1, 2008

computer enhanced bullying

I know, one post about hiking and *poof* I am back to posting about other issues, but this is pretty important stuff for parents of pre-teens and older adolescents. I usually get to go to seminars like this as part of my job but when I was informed that this presentation was being given at my son's school, I jumped at the chance to attend as the "mom". We've dealt with a bit of bullying, enough to know that it definitely affects all types of kids and that it can be very damaging. Bullying is all about power and control and has very little to do with the individual target of the bullying. The 3 most important things I took away from the powerful, moving story that I heard today is that 1) you don't ask your child to make concessions for the fact that the bully probably comes from a family less fortunate than his own 2) conflict resolution at school only gives the bully more power and control over the victim and does little to stop the bullying and 3) as a parent it is ok and probably best to address the bully and his parents yourself, directly. Just as important is the new tactic for preventing bullying. Teaching the "bystanders" to have the social skills to stand up for their friends. The expert Dad told us today that it is the peers who have the power to turn the bullying environment completely around.

So, just as I am coming off of this awesome presentation which hi lighted the fact that today's children are so wrapped up in AOL Instant Messaging and that cyber bullying is a huge problem, I find out that a mother called my house this afternoon to ask if my son had just been talking to her daughter on the computer. Seriously, these kids just sat through an hour and half seminar listening to this poor father tell the excruciatingly painful story of his son committing suicide after being severely bullied both in school and on the computer and the next thing I know a boy at school is impersonating my son on AOL. NOT 4 HOURS AFTER THE MAN SPOKE AT HIS SCHOOL. Luckily my son was not on the computer. I had a 45 minute conversation with the other mom when I called her back this evening and to my delight, heard some pretty awesome things about how they knew it was not really my son by the way this boy was talking to her daughter. She said her daughter told her "mom, that can't be Greg because he would never say those things". Apparently this girl thinks my son is cool and nice and best of all he actually has manners. When he talked to the mom on the phone earlier, he actually called her Ma'am. I hung up from my conversation with this other concerned parent feeling relieved that such a positive discussion had taken place and hopefully these kids will get the picture that there are parents out there that are going to be all over them at so much as a hint of inappropriateness. As I type this...the AIM keeps popping up. Girls are telling my son to "you better-big expletive- go out with such and such girl". I quickly type a "you should watch your mouth and consider yourself blocked by Greg's mom" response. You really can sense embarrassment on the other end of this machine as they try to apologize and claim they were joking. For all of you reading this that have little kids, 2 year olds are not terrible and even a 4 year old crying about puke on her favorite pocketbook doesn't hold a candle to the headaches that are just around the corner. Consider yourselves warned. The earlier you get a handle on this stuff the better. Take time to click on the links someday I'm willing to bet you'll be glad you did.