Saturday, December 06, 2008

Why are we so cruel?

My son told me Wed after school that a boy in his school had died. The boy killed himself because he was being bullied in school. My son told me about two incidents: He said that he was knocked down in the hallway and kicked by other kids in school. A girl told him that he should go away and just kill himself. There was more, I'm sure. My son didn't know him well. He is very upset about what the other kids did. I asked him if the boy told anyone about what was going on. He said no, but that the teachers knew about it and some of them tried to stop it.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Talk to God about what is going on in your life. Buy a lock if you have to.

3. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'My purpose is to __________ today. I am thankful for______________'

4. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

5. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli , almonds & walnuts.

6. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

7. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

8. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

9. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

10. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

11. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

12. You are not so important that you have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

13. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

14. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

15. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

16. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'

17. Forgive everyone for everything.

18. What other people think of you is none of your business.

19. GOD heals everything - but you have to ask Him.

20. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

21. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch!!!

22. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

23. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.

24. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

25. When you are feeling down, start listing your many blessings. You'll be smiling before you know it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Latest Updates

Can't believe it has been so long since I've made a new entry! I've been very active on the net - just not on my own blog or even in visiting others.

So will write more later in case anyone still drops by, but the latest updates are:

  • Puppy is still not housebroken. In fact, she just went in the hallway. I need to figure out how to clean my son's one bed as she pee'd all over it the other day and he didn't tell me about it until about 8 hrs later. She has other bad habits as well and is proving to be challenging.
  • First dog and puppy get along very well now and enjoy playing tug of war with a knotted rope.
  • Work is still insanely busy.
  • My son's football team got into the playoffs and just lost their final game tonight.
  • My car was broken into and I lost a bunch of electronics that were not fully covered by insurance.
  • I'm thinking about getting a new car - decision may be accelerated a little more due to the break-in and the fact that I need to replace my GPS, my satellite radio, and my radar detector.
  • My daughter just celebrated a birthday and is working two jobs and going to college.
  • Went to the Who concert in Philadelphia at the end of October and had a great time with other Wholigans and a friend from work.
  • Had many spirited political debates in the last few months. Am hoping that Obama lives up to his promises and that the world will be a much better place in a few years (or at least heading in a better direction!)
  • My uncle who had a lung transplant is doing so well! Most of the family will be in town for Thanksgiving and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone. I will have a house full - 2 cousins, another dog, and at least one sister, maybe two - plus I'm sure the five cousins will be in and out for the week. And, he and his family will be here as well (not staying with me, but at my other aunt's.
  • I redid my family room, but still need to finish up a little more painting. Looks good but the sectional couch I bought is a little big for the room. First quarter next year, I want to re-do my bathroom and replace a broken dishwasher, but I'll have to wait for my bonus to do that.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Foxy - a New Addition

We have a new puppy, Foxy, a 3-month old mixed Labrador. Foxy is supposed to be housebroken, but she has christened my bedroom twice already. Once, right after she was outside and had already gone outside. She is very attached to my son already and cries when he leaves the room. In fact, because of my fear about her making more messes, I have a baby gate across the steps to the lower levels (have a split-level house) but to get to him, she has jumped over the gate three times down the stairs. She's learned now, I think, that I'm going to yell and bring her back upstairs, so now she's sleeping at my feet while I visit blogs and update my own.

I'm not used to puppies anymore. She jumped up on the kitchen chair and then onto the table. I have to keep an eye on her constantly!

So Far, So Good

For those of you on Rachel's community site, you know that my Uncle Mike had his transplant last Friday night. Today is a week and he is hoping to be out of the hospital in a few days. He is no longer on oxygen, is walking and doing incredibly well!

God is good!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Not This Time

They were not able to do the transplant yet. At 3:45 am, they decided that the donor organ wasn't suitable. So, he'll continue to wait for a better chance. Keep him in your prayers that his health maintains until another opportunity arises.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It May Be Time. Say a Prayer.

Uncle Mike was called in tonight for his lung transplant. Keep him and his wife and daughters in your prayers tonight and in the upcoming days.

I'm praying that they are able to do the operation and that it is successful.

What are you thinking? Do you really know these people?

Went off to Los Angeles last Wednesday afternoon for the VH1 Rock Honors show. The concert was awesome, far beyond my expectations. I got to meet many of the people I've been talking to on-line, some for over a year. Disappointingly, some were either not able to be at the show or I didn't get to spend as much time with them as I hoped.

My daughter and I stayed with my sister. Thursday, Sam and I spent most of the day at Santa Monica exploring the Third Street Promenade, window shopping, checking out the pier, and then having dinner with a friend of mine who left Johnson & Johnson and is working at Lion's Gate. Had blisters on my feet after that day! I also lost my camera in one of the shops there, so no pictures.

Friday, we spent the day at a state park near Huntingdon Beach. Colleen arrived and she and I went to meet some of the bloggers for dinner. We had a wonderful time getting to know each other over dinner. Rob Lee, the webmaster, joined us for a bit, squeezing in a visit with everything else that he had to do. Mike Robbins, who organized our summit meeting, filled us in on the last minute details that needed to be done. Ken and Sara filled us in on their meetings with Dave Grohl and others. Kubacheck was there all the way from the DC area. Steve and his wife, Jen, filled us in on the various festivals in the Chesapeake Bay area, like HarvestFest. Joanne, who had the joy of seeing The Who play in the UK when they were first starting out shared her stories of the Monteray Festival (sp?) and going to see our favorites in bars and clubs, most of us have only heard about, but never experienced. Horace, from the San Francisco Bay area, was a fantastic person who has done a lot for the charity fund that we put together. Anna and her family from Long Island were a loud, crazy bunch - a lot of fun. And Dan and Melissa from Oklahoma were also there.

Rob Lee had to leave our dinner to go to a meeting that had been arranged between a board member who was a fan of Roger's. Suffering from MS and basically confined to a wheelchair, other members had arranged to get her a ticket and to get her to the event. Rob and two of the members arranged for her to spend about 30 minutes with Roger. From what I understand, Roger was very tender and the meeting was a dream come true for Alyce.

Saturday was brunch in Huntingdon Beach and then off to the Summit. This was a party that started off in the planning stages as a tail-gating party, then turned into a much more organized event with a room rental, catering and a bar. We said everyone would chip money in and if there was extra monies, we would donate it to the Who charities. We then changed our focus to be a fundraiser for Meg Fox's children. People started donating items to be sold to raise funds. Horace donated quite a bit. It was so much fun getting to know the other bloggers, some from Rachel's site, but most of them from Rob Lee said a few words and Mark Wilkerson presented a letter from Happy Jack. He was going to speak more about his book, a biography of Pete, when we had a surprise guest, Pete Townshend who arrived to say a few words to us and also to sign some of the items that had been donated. These items will be put out on eBay to raise funds for the trust fund. Pete spoke to us about Meg and also the joy of our get-together and our warmth for each other.

From the Summit, we went to the concert. Unbelievably the show was not sold out. Colleen and I moved up quite a bit and if we would have been more daring, we probably could have gotten stage-side. Others did and one or two even talked themselves backstage. Security was so-so. Some of the guards were very vigilent. Others, if you presented yourself as knowing what you were doing, let you go without question. UCLA students waiting outside were basically allowed in free to fill the seats. Some people I know were purposely moved down into better seats to fill the camera sights. Others, I know, were disappointed that people were let in free to have better seats then they had paid good money for, but no one was sorry they had traveled far and spent quite a bit to be there to see the show.

The crowd was on their feet dancing the entire night and all the bands (Incubus, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Tenacious D, Flaming Lips) gave their all to honor The Who. Adam Sandler was very funny in his tribute to the boys. The taped tributes from various musicians and other artists, plus interviews with The Who members, were very touching and heartfelt.

And then The Who came out. The sound system at the Pauley Pavilion is not designed for music shows, but the boys rocked the stadium. I've only seen them in their last tour so can't compare them to their earlier years, but I have never seen them perform before where they were all so energized and playing as a group. Pete and Zak had such a rapport and worked off each other's energy and spirit. Pino and Simon stepped forward from the shadows. Rabbit was there. Roger's voice was strong and Pete's guitar playing has never been so driven and passionate. I understand he ripped off a fingernail early in the show, but he never let it stop him. They were not going to let any younger band outshine them, not on their night!

After the show, we met up with ChrisCapp for some drinks and to get to know him. Another person, I've talked to only on-line. It was so nice to meet him finally. Chris, I hope to meet up with you again sometime.

Sunday, my daughter and I went to Long Beach for a champagne brunch with my sister and her two friends. Well, my daughter became our designated driver since she is underage, but we all had a good time. Then it was an afternoon by the pool and dinner then with Gary and Stephani. My daughter and sister can't believe that I was going to meet people for dinner that I've never met in person and only talked to on the 'net. "What are you thinking? Can you really say you know these people?" They come along for dinner to see just how crazy I am. But we had a great dinner. Stephani has such warm and caring eyes, full of laughter, and tolerance for the blogging world Gary and I sometimes live in. They are such a great couple. I really enjoyed meeting them and spending some time with them, even though I only had less than four hours of sleep and felt barely coherent. Guys, I will definitely give you a call when I am back in LA. Don't think I'll make it to the Nokia shows, but if you want to come to the Philadelphia shows, just let me know!

Monday, it was lunch at the Hotel Bel-Air with a friend. We were hoping to see some celebrities, but if they were there, we didn't recognize them. After lunch, it was off to CBS for the taping of "So You Think You Can Dance." Little bit of confusion with our tickets and for a few moments, I was thinking we would not make it into the studio. But we were finally seated and Sam really enjoyed the taping. Quite a different experience, but not too different from what I had expected.

Tuesday, back home. Totally uneventful flights so all in all, a great time!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Farewell to the Mini-van

When I divorced my husband in 2000, I had a four-year old son and ten-year old daughter who had four best friends. The girls traveled in a pack and often went to a youth group meeting on Friday nights. My car was not in good shape and after putting several thousand dollars of repair into it, I decided it was time to go car shopping. Somehow, I ended up with this very sad car salesman. This man had a black cloud over his head - felt like crying whenever I left an appointment with him. His wife had died, his furnace stopped working ... one bad thing after another. He called me to tell me that he had a minivan he wanted me to look at - preowned, in good mechanical shape, just came into the lot. It was a good price and I ended up buying it. When I went back for its first service check, he no longer worked there. With his run of bad luck, he had probably been fired.

The minivan hauled lots of kids around. The five best friends managed to stay together until middle school and then gradually the numbers dropped until there was only one best friend who also was lost in high school. But there were church youth group trips to chauffeur and my son's friends.

And, then there is the carpool. We've grown to two cars now, but in my group, there are five of us who share driving to the Philadelphia office. Sometimes, when people are out on business travel, we combine the two cars into one and being able to have seven in the van is a good thing. Although, I have to admit, my van is not built to hold four men over 6'4" as well as three regular-sized people. On those days if I'm the driver, I generally squeeze into the third row and let one of the men drive my van.

I prefer to drive my car instead of the van and on the days in our carpool when there are only four of us, I drive the car instead. It is also a smaller car and squeezing five in it would be uncomfortable.

The van, however, needs repairs to pass inspection. So I am bidding it farewell. Am trying to donate it to charity - filled out the form a few minutes ago - honestly stating what repairs it needs. Hopefully they will accept it. If not, I guess I explore the junkyards.

Question is now, do I buy another car? The carpool and I will talk about it the next time we are all on board. We've been trying to get our work to buy us a van. They could cover it with advertising to promote our company's consumer products - thousands of people would see it every day on the turnpike. So far, the company has been considering it on and off, but has not been very forthcoming about doing it. They question whether they would be setting a precedent. Our argument is that this is the type of precedent you want to set - we say we are a green company who cares about the environment - why wouldn't you encourage car-pooling?

Friday, May 09, 2008

You Must Take Your Seats, We're Landing!!!!

I was in Orlando, FL, last week for a conference. Taking a flight to and from Orlando is hardly ever a fun trip. Planes to that airport are generally filled with children. Children who are excited about going to see Mickey. Children who have never flown before or babies that cry throughout the flight. Flights coming home are filled with tired children and families who have brought back way too many souviners and parents who are exhausted.

I changed my seat when I printed out my boarding pass for the trip down. I changed to the exit row as it appeared to be an empty row. And, it was until a man came up while we were boarding and decided to sit there until someone else came along. This plane had an extra row of legroom at the exit row so I know why he chose to sit there. I didn't really mind, but I am hoping the flight attendants didn't think I was with him. During the flight, he ate a bag of those individually wrapped miniature candy bars. As he unwrapped each piece, he dropped the wrapper on the floor and eventually the bag followed suit. The flight attendant asked him 2 or 3 times if he had any trash he wanted to throw away, like his newspaper, and he refused. He never read it again but he left it on the seat beside him as well as a trail of candy wrappers when he left the plane.

The center lavatory was near my seat and it saw pretty constant use. I fly at least 5-6 times a year, some years more, and I have never seen the bathroom events I saw on this trip. Apparently very few of the people on this plane knew that when you went into the bathroom and locked the door, the light above the door turned red. Many people tried to push open the locked door and were confused as to why they couldn't get the door open.

And, at least five people didn't know you were supposed to lock the door. One mother took her child to the bathroom and didn't have her lock the door. The mother stood guard outside the door, until I guess, she got bored and she went about four seats up and started looking thru the overhead compartment. When a man brushed past her to go down the aisle, she suddenly realized he might be going to use the bathroom. She goes tearing down the aisle after him trying to reach the door first, reaching over his shoulder to try and keep the door from being opened.

At one point in the flight, there were probably ten people lined up by the bathroom area (in my exit row). One guy, I thought, must have been drunk as he seemed rather unsteady on his feet. We hit turbulence around then and I thought he might land in my lap. As he turned around again, I realized he had a prosthetic leg which may have accounted for his unsteadiness. Although I later learned he was having an active, loud conversation with a woman two rows ahead of him and he was drunk. (I had a friend who was sitting near him on the plane.) At a later point in time, he returned for a second visit to the bathroom and also did not lock the door. A young boy came down the aisle and opened the bathroom door on him, looked inside for a while, and then shut the door. I only hope he had his back to the door.

We then approached Orlando and began our landing descent. While we were coming down, a woman and her child got up and went to the bathroom. Again, the mother did not lock the door and kept it partially open. Her child is in the bathroom. The flight attendent starts yelling over the intercom, "You must take your seats. We are landing!" The mother tells the child to hurry up and go. The flight attendant again, says, "You need to take your seats!" Finally, before we touched down on the runway, the mother and child returned to their seats. We were not that far off the ground - I was wondering if the pilot would abort the landing because they were not in their seats.

While taxing to the gate, again, a child got up and went to the bathroom. Again, the flight attendant told him to return to his seat. Again, he ignored her.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Can't Get No Recognition

I saw Eric Clapton last Tuesday at a private corporate concert. It was an awesome show that got better as the night went on. He played for two hours without hardly any break between songs - the band transitioned from one song to another seamlessly.

Chris Stainton on the keyboards was exceptional and the band provided him many solo opportunities, as they did Doyle Bramhall II on guitar. He didn't play many of his classics until the end. The crowd was so involved when he played the song "Cocaine" - Clapton actually laughed at the first refrain of Cocaine as the audience just screamed along with him.

I was only disappointed in that they gave no attention to Pino Palladino - I don't think he even introduced him, although he introduced the other band members as they did solos. I had heard Pino was playing with Clapton but I wasn't even sure he was on stage until about 3/4s of the way thru the concert. From where I was sitting I couldn't see him, and they didn't show him on the video screens until a brief shot appeared after the midpoint of the concert. Clapton and Doyle did some acoustic songs about mid-way thru the show sitting down on stage together. They really seemed to enjoy themselves during the show. The entire band did - they seemed to have a great time playing together. Although, they only did a 1-song encore even though the audience was screaming for more.

My only other disappointment with the show was that I had a reserved seat up close to the stage but due to some communication issues, I didn't find out about it until the next day. So a great seat went empty and I didn't like where I ended up sitting. But I could hear just fine, so I guess all was well!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Another Bird's Nest

Did yard work today and was in the process of cutting down a tree that had fallen over. I have two evergreen trees, one on either side of my deck. One fell over and I arranged for a tree service to put it back up. They did and right after that, the other fell over. The one that had been replaced is not looking so good, so I've decided to cut them both down. As I was cutting branches off the tree, I found a bird's nest with two eggs in it.

On a side note, I notice I've been getting a tremendous number of hits on blog. The majority of them are from google - people from all over the world looking for "bird's nest." Here's another picture for them. The eggs from last year's nest were destroyed, probably by a cat. Hopefully, this year will be a better year.

Upcoming Concerts

Early May, I'm going to the SAP and ASUG conferences in Orlando - Eric Clapton will be the entertainment at the conference. Am looking forward to that.

In July, I'll be heading (hopefully) to LA to spend some time with my sister, see some west coast bloggers and go to the VH1 Rock Honors concert honoring the Who. Any other bloggers heading west for the concert? Am hoping that Rachel might do something while they are out there.

A Taxing Season

Hope you all have your taxes done! I did mine late for me, but federal and state for myself and my daughter were sent in last month. Still need to do my local taxes, but they generally get done the day or two before the deadline. So, I'll do them this weekend. I'm one of those who overpays the government each year so I get a refund back. I know I should just bank that money throughout the year rather than "lending" it to the government, but I know if I have it, I'm not that likely to save it anyway, so...

So much uncertainty in the economy these days, and I see it first hand in my work at my church. Not to give you the impression that I spend all my time doing charitable work, I could do far more than I am doing now. But as I've mentioned before, I serve breakfast once a month at a local city church. The number of families with children coming to that breakfast is increasing all the time. Now, it's not mostly men with some occasional women, we are seeing more and more families coming to the breakfast. We ran out of food this month - including cereal which we usually have plenty of leftover. We kept making pancakes until everyone got at least something, but we ran out of eggs, sausage, milk, juice and cereal. Food bank contributions are down and the number of recipients has increased. I notice we get less from the local stores in terms of food donations, like juice, bread and pastries. We used to fill a long table with loaves of bread and rolls that grocery stores gave us - you know, the day old bread they would probably throw away.

As I pay attention to the presidential election, I was shocked to learn that Obama and his wife give very little to charity. Maybe, to give them the benefit of the doubt, they didn't claim their donations, but I find it intriguing that their charitable giving ratio went up around the time he started his presidential bid. Personally, however, I think, he's been planning this bid for years, probably since his college years. The more I learn about his history, the less it matches his public speeches. Some of us are ambitious and I don't necessarily hold it against him, but it does conflict with his public statements. I find it amusing that many of his re-interpretations of his past are not pounced upon with the same glee that Clinton's re-interpretations cause. The Bosnia trip is an example and there is no excuse for her re-interpretation of that event. In some ways, though, I find that more acceptable as I know she is going to do things like that, but I also think she has the knowledge and the attention to details and can make more changes than he can. Maybe it's the fact that she doesn't claim to be as virtuous as he does.

But in general, I find it very intriguing how much people give to charity. It is always surprising to me that the poor give far more in percentage of income to charity than the middle-class or the wealthy. And I was shocked to learn this about a man that I personally find accountable for many of the poor decisions made by the US government in the last 8 years: Dick Cheney and his wife gave 78% of their income to charity in 2005. They made $8.8 million from book royalties and investment income and donated $6.9 million to charity.

I got this information from a tax blog:

This time next week, I'll be sitting on the beach. Can't wait to lay there and listen to the waves come crashing in. Speaking of the wealthy, this is a resort that I wouldn't be able to afford to go to on my own. They rent the cabanas on the beach there for $1000/day. But I'm going with a friend who won a 4-day trip as a sales reward. The ocean always rejuvenates me and after this year, it will be a welcome time away. Am going to be sorry to leave after only 4 days, I know!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Not So Conservative

Was talking to my new manager today. I was telling him about my Who/Fuller mania and the concerts I've gone to over the past two years. Don't remember how the conversation came up, but he was very surprised. Somehow, he had the idea I was super conservative and all into work. I don't know how he got that idea as my road trips are fairly common knowledge. I have one of my Who backstage passes on my desk next to a Who ticket. But, we're still getting to know each other.

I am hoping to get out to another Who concert in July - the VH1 Rock Honors concert in Los Angeles. A bunch of bloggers are also planning on going so it should be a great time. If any one is planning on going, let me know. I'll spend some time with my sister as well.

I am also going to Florida week after next for a 4-day getaway. A friend of mine won a sales trip at the Breakers in Palm Beach. I think the time away will be way too short, but I'm anxious to see the ocean again. I find it very renewing to sit on the beach, watch the waves and hear the sound of them rolling into shore. I can't wait to go walking in the wet sand, wading in the waves.

Monday, March 17, 2008

March 19 - Fifth Anniversary

United Church of Christ 100,000 Lights for Peace

Light a candle and begin the day with a Prayer of Lament, based on Psalm 130 and the UCC’s Pastoral Letter on the War in Iraq.

Take action for peace. Be a light for peace, and light up the Capitol Hill switchboard at 202-224-3121. Ask to speak to your elected Members of Congress. A Meditation for Mid-Day Action is provided to undergird your spirited witness for:
- an end to the war in Iraq;
- greater responsiveness to the needs of returning soldiers and their families;
- greater U.S. aid for Iraqi refugees and others displaced by the fighting and bloodshed.

Join others for a candlelight vigil and tolling of church bells. “Open the way to peace in Iraq” will be our shared petition in our Evening Prayer of Hope.

Zero Tolerance

At a local high school, a teenage boy wore a t-shirt to school that showed a picture of a gun and words to the effect that he was a licensed terrorist hunter. He was suspended and his parents are suing the school for freedom of speech.

One of my son's friends had a pocket knife in his backpack that his cousin had put there. He was caught trying to throw it away and was suspended.

Another boy in a neighboring elementary school threatened to stab his teacher with a pencil. He was suspended.

There is a boy in my son's school. A very troubled boy who alternates between being an average kid and an extreme bully. He scares me at times and I am strongly disappointed in his parents. My son overheard this boy calling some children of color the N-word. He went up to this boy and told him that it was inappropriate to do that and that he shouldn't do it anymore. Some of the teachers found out about it and asked the kids what happened. My son told the truth, as did some others.

Later, the boy ranted at the other kids for telling the teachers what happened. He told my son and the black and Puerto Rican kids to stay 10 feet away from him at all times or he would bring his gun to school and kill them all. And, from talking to a child who has slept over at his house, the boy does have access to a gun at home.

Nothing has happened. I've talked to the principal twice as has another parent. He told that parent that there were no witnesses and it was the boy vs. the two children of color and they were unreliable because they have lied in the past. He has never spoken to my son although he better tomorrow. He said he hadn't talked to my son because the teachers had told him it had been resolved. To me, he said that he was taking action, but needed to maintain privacy out of respect for the boy and his parents. I hope he has taken action, but the parents of the boy refuse to believe anything bad about their child and in many ways, I think the father encourages his son's behavior. I'm also upset that they told the kids not to tell their parents about the incidents because they hadn't been verified yet.

I don't necessarily want this boy suspended. I want him to be given help and counseling. He is a ticking timebomb - the kind of boy that shoots up his high school for past grievances. I'd like to think it is not too late to help him, but I am not sure he will get the help he needs.

I am very proud of my son for sticking up for what is right. He could have looked the other way and done nothing. Others probably did. I've told him how proud I am of him and he's seen all the emails I have sent to the school. He is worried about having to talk to the principal and having the boy find out about it.

I thought with this new principal that things would be different at his school. The last principal did not like children - it was very obvious - and the kids would come home and talk about how racist she was. From the very early grades, my son and his friends, mostly white, would come home and talk about how if a white kid does something, they don't get in trouble, but if a black kid does the same thing, they lose recess or other privileges.

There was some incidents with the old principal where she thought the kids were being too loud at lunchtime, so she would make the kids put their heads down and stop eating as punishment. Some of the kids didn't get to eat depending on when they got to the table. I wrote letters of complaint, called the superintendent of the elementary schools and was told by the superintendent and the principal, that the kids made it all up and were lying. I asked them how all these children, and I talked to many of them at football practice, would independently tell me the same story, consistently the same story, could be liars. They swore they investigated and no adult who was present would collaborate the story. I told my son if he wasn't finished eating his lunch, he had my permission to eat his lunch and not put his head down. After I and others complained, they stopped that practice though so he was luckily never put to that test.

The new principal likes children and I was hoping that he would make positive changes. Until this incident, I thought he had been. And, maybe he is, maybe he is doing something to help this boy, but the different explanations to the other parent and to myself give me reason to doubt.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jon Bon Jovi

Even though I wasn't feeling all that great, yet, I went to the Bon Jovi concert in Philadelphia last Sunday. It was a great show and Daughtry was the opening act. I hadn't done any research on the concert so was surprised who was opening. Also didn't realize until our drive down there, that it was Jon's birthday that day.

On the way to the concert, I felt really bad and was tempted to say turn around and take me home and then go on by yourself. But, once the music started, I forgot about how I felt and had a great time. I've liked Bon Jovi's music but don't have any of their albums and haven't been a major follower of their music. But I saw them perform at LiveEarth and thought they were great. So, when I saw their tour was going thru Philadelphia, I bought some tickets.
Our seats were actually behind the stage, but both Daughtry and Bon Jovi remembered we were back there and played to us for a great part of the show. I really liked how Jon mingled with his audience members. He constantly reached out to them from the stage and halfway thru the show, he disappeared from the stage during a song that Richie Sambora took the lead. He reappeared in the middle of the audience and sang two songs from the back of the Wachovia center, dancing with one lucky fan he picked from the audience. While surrounded by security, he made his way back to the stage, still shaking hands and hugging audience members.

Chris Daughtry also came up in the middle of the concert and sang a song with Jon. Of course, near the end of the concert, before the encore, the audience sang Happy Birthday to Jon - twice actually. The Philadelphia Soul team and cheerleaders came out on stage for the birthday song complete with a cake.

Afterwards, as I look at the band's website, I'm pleased to see that the set design was created by a company local to my area.

I took some pictures with my binoculars which have a digital camera inside them. Most of them did not turn out as they don't do too well with motion and no one on stage stayed still very long. Reading the comments on the band's website, I picked one of the better nights of the concert tour so far.
Here is a copy of the setlist. Unlike some other bands, they mix it up for different nights. This is what they played last Sunday night.

SLEEP w/ Dancin' In The Street & Jumpin' Jack Flash
BLAZE OF GLORY (w/ Daughtry) w/ Knockin' On Heaven's Door intro

Monday, February 18, 2008

Not Tonight, Dear, I Have a Headache

I've been having severe headaches since mid-December. The doctor thought it was a sinus infection, but after two bouts of antibiotics with no relief, he sent me for a CT scan. No infection, so he sent me to an ENT. The specialist said I have a deviated septum and he thinks the headaches are caused by the sinus membrane touching the septum triggering the headache. The sinus medicine helps only because it shrinks the membrane, not because I really have sinus congestion.

I've always had problems with sinus headaches, but this has really gotten to be a major issue for me. I think it has as much to do with the deviated septum as it does with my thyroid levels. I had my thyroid taken out in high school. Took the same dose of replacement hormone until a few months ago when my doctor lowered my dosage. Now, I am in the low range of normal, but I'm having symptoms like really dry skin. During my research on the deviated septum, I found internet reports that lower levels of thyroid hormone can cause swelling in the sinus tissues. Now, I'm thinking that my past sinus problems were due to the deviated septum, but the recent long-running bout of headaches is really caused by my thryoid level. So far my doctor is resistent to increasing my dosage. Have another appointment with him tomorrow so am planning on pushing the issue further.

Surgery is scheduled for Feb 25 and I plan on going ahead with it. But, unlike all those other celebrities who have a new nose after their surgery for a "deviated septum", my surgeon says the outside of the nose looks unchanged after this type of surgery.

Great news is that my sister and her boyfriend narrowly escaped a tornado in the rash of tornado strikes this weekend. They were shopping at a Walmart and went home when the sirens went off. The tornado hit the Walmart, but her neighborhood and her house were not within its path. She doesn't have power or her phone, but she's safe and her family is safe!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Some Time in New Brunswick

Had to spend the week in New Brunswick attending a management training course. The class was good even though it was a lot of topics I've had training on before - you know, we all have different personality styles and we need to manage and interact accordingly and not negatively judge someone who has a different style than yourself. But the best part of these classes is that you get to meet other managers from sister companies all over the country and exchange stories and information. This class bonded very well and I hope to stay in touch with many of the people I met this week.

A highlight of the week was that Wednesday night we went out for dinner to Makeda, an Ethiopian restaurant. Colleen and I had planned to get together ourselves Wed, but instead she joined us as a group. We had a great time.

Most of us had never had Ethiopian food. Makeda is supposed to be one of the top ten restaurants in NJ. It was very good. Here is a URL to tell you more about it if you are interested in it. I do have to caution you, however, that two people in our party, the same two people who shared a dish, were very sick on Thursday and while we were out drinking that night and didn't get back to the hotel until 1:30 am, we didn't attribute it to a hangover. However, it could have been the alcohol.

The atmosphere of the restaurant was very intimate, and while crowded for a Wednesday night, it was not too crowded to interfere with our conversations and enjoyment. After dinner, we went on what was advertised as a pub crawl. Unfortunately, there weren't too many pubs to choose from and we only went to two bars, one of them twice. One bar had a DJ and the other a band. I preferred the one with the band. Although we danced at the bar with the DJ and didn't dance much with the band. Part of that was the style of music as well as having the room to dance.

Interesting to see the South Carolina results come back tonight. Although it can be rather alarming to listen to the press babble about what all this means. They change their stories frequently, it seems, to make the story more dramatic. The other day, their story was that Hilary was going to lose SC and had in fact, basically abandoned that state to focus on the Feb 4 multi-state (20) primary. Today, it is the death of her campaign because she came in second place. And it is fascinating to see how they pick one snippet of a statement and frame the story one way, and then someone else will use the other part of that statement and frame a totally different argument. And, most people who are voting don't seem to pay much attention to their choice in terms of researching their position or candidate. That is, unless, you are in Iowa and had the chance to have coffee with the candidates or even have them in your home campaigning to others. Here in PA, it will be decided already by the time they get here in April. I'm still torn as to who I will vote for in the presidential election, but since I haven't changed my party, I'll have to vote Republican so I'll probably vote for McCain in the primary. My area is predominantly Republican so I stay a registered Republican so when I write to my representatives, I figure they'll pay more attention to my opinion. If I was a Democrat, I think they would just ignore me completely. I'd rather be an Independent since I never vote straight party but Pennsylvania does not allow Independents to vote in primary elections.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Rank the Candidates

I was very surprised by the candidates that came up on the top of my list.....

This is a short 11 question quiz that ranks the candidates by how much you agree with their stances.

Homeless Breakfast

I think I've mentioned before that I help serve a breakfast ministry the first Saturday of every month. This month, the person who does the eggs wasn't there so I scrambled and cooked 36 dozen eggs. We had a full crowd this time, serving over 236 people before our counter lost count of the people there. We serve eggs, pancakes, sausages, donuts, cereal, coffee and orange juice. And, we try and gather the baked goods from local grocery stores that would otherwise be thrown away and put that out for them with them.

Not everyone is homeless. I think many of the people there are stretching their food stamps or their budgets. You can tell the ones that seem to be really homeless by the number of clothes they are wearing and if they are carrying stuff with them. You get to know some of them, the ones who are there every month. There is a man in his 40s who tells me every month, how many months he's been clean, and how he won't use anymore because he's been clean now for 13 months and he would have to start counting all over again. This month, he told me he really wanted to go to an NA meeting that day, but the location is in a bad neighborhood for him - one he used to go to to score drugs and he would run into too many former acquaintances who would try and lure him back into drugs. He was going to try and find someone to go with him who could help keep him strong.

There is a woman who is usually there every month. She wasn't there this time. It made me wonder where she was - was she ok? Did she just skip that day? Did she move or find another job? She had been employed by the city school district, but was let go because they didn't think she was efficient enough.

It was sad to see how many children that were there this month. Usually there are a couple, but this month, there were probably over 20 kids there, ranging in age from infants to pre-teenagers. I was wondering if maybe the parents spent money on Christmas presents that left them short in January for their grocery budgets. Or is this the start of a worsening trend in the local economy.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Five Balls

Work is changing from one day to another and it is stressful. Tonight, around 8 pm, I got a phone call that things have changed again. This time the pendulum has swung to the positive side. But I've decided it's probably not a good idea to blog about work and the transitions. Nothing on the internet is private and could be dangerous career-wise.

But someone sent me this today - someone who didn't know about what was going on. Things happen like that if you pay attention; when you need a message, it comes to you.

From the book "Suzanne's Diary to Nicholas" by James Patterson

Five Balls
Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them - Work - Family - Health - Friends - Spirit, and you're keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls -- family, health, friends and spirit are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life. How?

1. Don't undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. It is because we are different that each of us is special.

2. Don't set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you.

3. Don't take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for without them, life is meaningless.

4. Don't let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future. By living your life one day at a time, you live ALL the days of your life.

5. Don't give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.

6. Don't be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect. It is this fragile thread that binds us together.

7. Don't be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.

8. Don't shut love out of your life by saying it's impossible to find. The quickest way to receive love is to give; the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly; and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.

9. Don't run through life so fast that you forget not only where you've been, but also where you are going.

10. Don't forget that a person's greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.

11. Don't be afraid to learn. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.

12. Don't use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved.