Thursday, July 30, 2009

What Does It Mean To Be A Parent?

Okay, this is a serious. Before I go on my rant, I want to know what you all think. Here are my questions:

1. What is a parent?
2. What is the role of a parent? Emotional? Physical? Social? Financial?
3. When does parenting end?
4. Do parents have any duties or obligations to the children they produce?
5. Is there a difference in the roles of mothers and fathers?

Okay, that's enough, I could go on and on. It will be interesting to see your responses before I post my rant.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Blue M&Ms To The Rescue!

Okay, I just had to take a break and share this with you. Who knew blue M&Ms were so amazing?!

Researchers recently discovered the blue food dye in M&Ms and Gatorade can have beneficial effects in the treatment of spinal cord injuries. No, seriously! Read the CNN Story here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Keep Moving...

I'm still not ready to post again. Still dealing with stuff and working my way through it, also a very busy time for me. So I keep listening to music, to relieve stress, to keep me from dwelling on things I can't get to just yet, and worrying them and myself to death until I can, would really serve no purpose. So, enjoy the happy music of Jason Mraz while I distract myself for a little while longer.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Racial Pimping

Have you been listening to the coverage about the arrest of Harvard Professor Gates? What do you make of it? Who's right or wrong? What do you think really happened? Why doesn't the Cambridge police force release the cop's radio calls back to dispatch and maybe shed some light on what actually happened? Maybe they wouldn't reveal anything, I don't know. I came across this iReport and thought it was interesting. Share your thoughts...

Pure Joy

Okay, I saw this wedding video this morning on the Today show and it made me cry just for the pure joy of it all.

After watching this again, I was reminded of other wedding videos that were fun to watch. So, smile, it's Friday and whatever crap the week laid upon you, shake it off over the weekend.

Groomsmen getting down with Thriller

Baby Got Back

Dads have a sense of humor too.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Stress Relief

Thanks to Pat for letting me vent on the phone to her tonight for an hour and a half. Hopefully she can see some of her favorite artists as a thank you. Enjoy!

Here's P,P&M doing a Gordon Lightfoot tune I believe.

Look for a young John Denver in this video.

When all hell breaks loose - Just Breathe

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Taking a Hike

Taking off for a couple days to the mountains of western Maryland. Be back Tuesday.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Women's Movement in Iran

Robert Dreyfuss over at The Nation wrote an article this week on Women Revolutionaries and the current women's movement in Iran. This article was refreshing because it was in-depth, informative and gave enough background to help me understand not only what's happening over there, but the history behind it and why women now have the organization and ability to protest like they are. I stand in awe of their courage and their continued fight. It's worth the read."Women Commandos" in Iran


So M says to me, "it's so nice out, I feel like we should go do something." It's at the end of the work day and since we live in one of America's many vacation spots, the logical choice was, "let's go to the beach." So we drove down for dinner on the Bay side of the peninsula and then drove over to the ocean side and walked on the Boardwalk and got ice cream for dessert.

There were so many kites on the beach and parasailers over the ocean that the sky was a multicolored patchwork.

Even though it was dinner time or a little later, people were still playing in the ocean. I walked into the edge of it and the water was right on the edge between cool and warm. I took this video with my cell phone, so the quality leaves a lot to be desired, but I thought I'd share it anyway.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Today's News

I was listening to Mary Chapin-Carpenter's "Down at the Twist & Shout" a song about New Orleans this morning when I thought, "is there any other town in the U.S. where they party and enjoy life as much as they do down in New Orleans?" Then when I got to work and saw this news clip, I thought it was just too funny. These people will take anything and find a new twist on it and have a good time.

This is also another cool story. I visited Bishop's Castle back in 1986. It's a sight to behold and an amazing accomplishment for just one person to have achieved.

Okay, just one more. Title this one "All in a Day's Work." Happy Monday.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wreath for the Porch

I wanted a colorful wreath for the front door to go with our colorful makeover, but I didn't want a traditional wreath of flowers or grapevines. I wanted something beachy. While we were walking through the dollar store I grabbed a miniature hoolahoop to use as the foundation for the wreath. M suggested flip-flops and later I went and found seashells. I got out my hot glue gun and here's our end result. We were going to put kids' sand shovels cross-ways in the middle, but I couldn't find any big enough or a color that would work. I was going to put a welcome sign in the middle, but we already have a welcome sign on the porch. Then I thought I'd glue letters to say something like: "enjoy summer." But the colors of the letters didn't look right. So, this is the end result. I took this picture with my camera phone, so the colors may not look right. The flip-flops are peach and aqua, here I think they look more basic orange and green. What do you think of our creation?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Weekend in Massachusetts

We spent the weekend before last, a long weekend, in Massachusetts because M had a conference and a paper to present. Her conference was in Salem, Mass so we stayed there and proceeded to explore Salem and the surrounding towns for mini-adventures and great seafood. This obviously is the old Town Hall in Salem. This was the view from the outdoor table at the pub we ate at the first night, and the second day for lunch. More on that in a second.

Salem has a large number of blocks in the downtown area that are brick lined and off limits to traffic, which makes strolling and browsing the shops especially enjoyable. There were surprisingly very few tourists in town. I assume they all headed for beaches for the weekend, I don't know.

Here's my first meal in Salem. Well, if you're going to do it, do it up right I always say. Maeve asked me what was up with the new picture on the header of my blog. Well Maeve, this is where the picture originated and I thought it looked so good that I put it up there to remind myself to enjoy life every chance I get. Of course, the lobster wasn't enjoying life, but he was mighty tasty and I am a carnivore afterall.

This is the sign outside the pub where we ate. It's on the outer edge of the walking area downtown and just a couple blocks over from the cemetery and a few blocks from the harbor. Great location. I enjoyed the humor of their sign but what I really enjoyed the most was their New England Clam Chowder. Let me preface this with the following information. I HATE clam chowder. It either tastes like a fishy potato soup or it tastes slightly of aluminum as if the clams came out of a can. I've never in my life had a clam chowder that I thought tasted good, until the Lobster Shanty. I swear this chowder could win an award and the chef obviously knew what he/she was doing. This chowder was made with the freshest clams, no canned clams. It was also made with real butter and real cream, just a few, very few potatoes. It was so rich, creamy and flavorful I could have just swam in it. OMG! You would not believe the richness of the chowder both in flavor and texture. I've never had chowder like that in my life. It was so good, that I thought, "hmmm, maybe I just needed to be in New England to get the authentic stuff." So I tried clam chowder again that weekend at another restaurant, nope, crappy stuff. So if you're ever in Salem, go to the Loster Shanty and order their lobster, because, face it, they're gorgeous and they taste good, but if you do nothing else, order their New England Clam Chowder and prepare to have a taste experience like none other. YUM!!

Here's another shot of the walking area downtown. Most of the shops had cool stuff in their windows, flowers in window boxes, white lights in the trees and tables outside to invite you to sit awhile and enjoy.

There was evidence of witchcraft in Salem in case you were wondering. It appears that despite the Puritans' best efforts, witches have taken over the town...along with hippies, Egyptologists, New Age followers and the like. A number of spots
in the downtown walking area were permeated with the scent of Patchoulli. Good thing I love that scent.

We visited the Salem cemetery in the downtown area. There are some really cool, really old tombstones. They had memorial stones set up outside the cemetery in memory of the people hung and/or burned as witches. Of course they were never buried in the cemetery because it is hallowed ground and you don't bury witches on hallowed ground. D'uh!

Here's one of the memorial stones.

Here's a typical headstone.

Here is a really cool, or creepy tree in the cemetery, depending on your point of view. I thought the tree was awesome!

Here's a statue of one of the founders of Salem in front of the Witches' Museum.

When we went in search of water views and other towns, the first town we ventured to outside of Salem, was Marblehead, Mass. It was a beautiful seaside village with twisty winding roads leading up the cliffs along the shore. There were houses on every inch of soil overlooking the ocean. There was a public beach that we saw from above and after a few tries and going down people's driveways, finally found the entrance to. I don't like it when people build everywhere and it blocks the view of the ocean and leaves little to no public access to the ocean for the general public. It turns the area into private beaches.

After Marblehead we ventured west of Boston to meet up with my sister, D, and her husband, J, for dinner. They live in Massachusetts and I hadn't seen her in 3 years. I hate having my picture taken. I don't need any reminders of how much weight I'm putting on, but I'm posting this anyway so maybe I'll think twice about what I eat. *sigh*

The next day we visited Gloucester and Ipswich. We got lobster rolls in Ipswich, but it was rainy and drizzly and we didn't see much reason to get out and walk around. So on to Gloucester. We absolutely LOVED Gloucester! Apparently back in the 1930s, they had some pretty smart people living in Gloucester. They set aside ALL the property running in front of the town, around the entire large harbor, and up to the old military fort as a public seawall and park. So when you drive into Gloucester the first thing you see downtown is the ocean. You can walk the length of the downtown along the ocean and you can continue walking out of town, up to the park and to the old fort. It was so beautiful we went back twice to see more of the town.

There were a ring of old cannons set up on top of one of the bluffs at the old fort, which is now part of the park. I assume since they were pointed at the harbor it was for the purpose of blasting any enemy ships that might try to enter the harbor.

Along the seawall walkway in the downtown area were statues and plaques erected for the families and

sailors who built Gloucester. There was a huge semicircle of plaques listing the names of every sailor from Gloucester lost at sea from 1916 to the present. These plaques also included the names of the men lost in the Andrea Gail of _The Perfect Storm_ story, if you saw the movie.

While we were there the second day, the local Catholic Church was having its annual festival so we got to see marching bands and floats. There is a really strong Italian and Portuguese base to this town as many of the sailors who originally settled here were from those countries.

So when they marched through town with the Madonna or some other Saint on a float, they would be singing songs in their own language.


They also did a blessing of the fleet at the festival. Kids would march through town with paddles sporting the names of different sailing vessels for the blessing. Once the parade and blessing was done, everyone enjoyed the food and carnival rides that were set up.

We discovered Gloucester has two large harbors, although one is called the big harbor and the other the small harbor. After we finished our festivities and walk around the town, we discovered this plaque that was on a hill overlooking the smaller harbor, which is the actual working harbor for the town.

Gloucester was home to an artist who did his work with gorgeous views of the harbor

all from his hilltop home made of granite. Pretty cool.

Last but not least is this little critter. It has nothing to do with Gloucester. Remember, each time we visit someplace we get a kitschy souvenir to put on our porch. Well, we went looking for a small black witch while in Salem to put on our porch and we couldn't find any witch small enough without being too small, or weatherproof or narrow enough to fit on the ledge of the porch. We found plenty of wizards and Egyptian gods, but no witches in Salem! It's just wrong. So we ended up with this horrible souvenir of a teddy bear in a witch's hat ready to drop a frog into his cauldron. Well, it's waaaayyyy more kitschy than I'd planned, but that's life.


Caption this one, "people who have more passion than me, people who hear music differently than me, and F'n with people." I really enjoyed this CNN report. Hope you do too.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July

These video clips are for Tweety who had to work tonight and missed the fireworks. Sorry. Hopefully next year will work out better for you. I apologize for the poor quality, I took these with my cell phone. These were filmed in Hebron, Maryland.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

You say it's your birthday...

For my 46th birthday I share with you the gift of music. Music that has touched me throughout my life and made the journey, deeper, more meaningful, and better. (Bear with me, I'm well known for my taste in bad music.)

I grew up listening to whatever music my mother had in the house, so I blame her for my addiction to the Osmonds. I first discovered them singing "Downtown" on a Parade of Hits album she had. This is a video of one of my favorite songs they did. It was great in concert. I know, totally 70's, but hey, this is my retrospective, not yours. :-)

My mother used to work 3rd shift at I.B.M. when I was growing up in upstate New York. Once she'd left, I'd get up and turn on the radio to listen to Joe Bloomer's Golden Oldie Show. I would call in on a regular basis and request this song. I'm sure Mr. Bloomer got sick of the request, but he generously played it for me each time.

Also throughout the 70s and a few years into the 80s I spent a great deal of time trying to duplicate Olivia's hair, look and singing voice. Well what young girl at that time didn't? Here's a great one, combining fantasy and music. Ahhh.

Of course, I came of age during the 80s. Thank God for 80s music! It was such happy, dancing, exciting music. It still makes me feel good. Back before iPods or Walkmans, if you wanted to take your music with you, you loaded up giant batteries in your boom box and hit the road. I loved to ride my bike on the trails near Charlotte, NC and would strap a small boombox to the front of my bike and crank the music as I tore through the trails. This was one of my favorite songs to blast.

Into all lives a little rain must come and 80s music was there for me when my heart got broken as well.

I discovered the music of Kenny Loggins in the 80s as well. He became well known for all the music soundtracks he did (Top Gun, Footloose, among others) and his music was heart pounding and drove you to dance. I didn't become a fan though until the 90s when he went through a hard divorce and began moving toward a more spiritual nature in his songs. This, among many of his songs, kept me company as I found my way through my own divorce and single parenthood.

I discovered so much music during the divorce period, Nanci Griffith, Sarah MacLachlan, Celtic and folk music. It opened all sorts of windows in my psyche and helped me see there was this huge world out there and so many possibilities. It really helped bring light to my life during the dark times.

Into all lives, a lot of love should come. Who knew what was in store for me. I met M and my world was turned upside down. I spent 3 years watching her from a safe distance, denying my attraction and being confused. When I finally got my courage up and we started dating, she introduced me to many new musical artists, my favorite is Dar Williams. This was one of the first Dar songs she introduced me to. Finally after a lifetime of being with all the wrong people, I finally found someone who really sees me as I am and loves me anyway. How cool. What a great birthday I will have, just because I've finally reached this good point in my life. Thanks to M, to L and P and all my family and friends for being there for me over the years. Thanks also for the music.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I Finally Caught it!

There are many odd things in my daily life that bug me, confuse me, or just simply grab my attention. One such instance is this darn chicken song that NPR seems to play daily. I have NPR running on my computer while I work so I hear their broadcasts in the background. Invariably, at some point in my day, my attention will be caught when this song comes on, usually during the last few seconds. I've been telling M, "NPR keeps playing this chicken song" that I can never remember, find out who the artist is, or anything. So the end lines of run chicken run and breathe chicken breathe, run through my head. I can't get the tune out, but I don't know the rest of the song. TODAY - I finally caught it in time and found out who was playing it. I know it's a random little thing, but take a listen and let me know if the darned song gets stuck in your head too.

Early morning laugh

I was looking at other blogs this morning and saw this in the sidebar on one of them. It made me laugh so hard I thought I'd share it. Maybe it actually is that funny, maybe I was loopy when I saw it early this morning. Hope it gets a chuckle out of you.

Last full day in Europe

Ahh, all good things must come to an end.  Our European vacation is drawing to a close.  We leave Nice this morning to drive back to Barcelo...