Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sharon Stone Topless?

She may as well be walking around topless with the very sheer top she was wearing recently. She sure knows how to get attention. This was almost like the children’s story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, only the Emperor was oblivious to the fact he was naked, while I’m pretty sure Sharon knew exactly what she was doing. One look in the mirror was all it would take, in case she hadn’t realized the top is see through. I’m sure she got a ton of publicity for her trouble.

I have always been fascinated with Sharon Stone. There is just something quite inexplicable about her. I learned she was a member of Mensa, the society for geniuses, she speaks fluent French and is quite beautiful. In fact, when a computer put together all the perfect features of a woman’s face, the end result was Sharon’s face. Of course, if you try to google that experiment now all you get are tons of sites happily showing her 54 year old boobs, but I do recall reading that. Yet, I could never put my finger on what it is about Sharon Stone that intrigues me so much.

Then it came to me. It’s not that she is the world’s greatest actress or has had many outstanding roles. In fact, the one role that probably stands out above the rest, was Basic Instinct and her “chair scene” wear she opens her legs in front of the camera. She plays a psychotic killer followed around by Michael Douglas, until he falls for her. Here’s the thing, I believe that either Sharon is an excellent actress or she could be a millimeter away from being a cold, calculating killer. I watched that movie a couple of times and you can see her disassociation from people, the coldness in her eyes, the lack of emotion…and I swear it’s not just acting. It's like something is going on just beneath the surface. Of course, I am not a psychiatrist, it’s just a feeling I have whenever I see her, that she can go off the deep end at any moment.

I can’t say I would be surprised at anything that Sharon does. I recently heard that Sharon was waiting for repairmen to come to her house to do some work. They were scheduled to arrive at 9AM, however, for various reasons they arrived mid-afternoon instead, promising to stay as long as necessary to complete the job. Sharon was quite miffed at the situation and at having to wait so long, so she terrorized one of the workers by hurling cds at him the whole time he was working. Apparently, this was a new experience for him. It only left me wondering about how many dozens of similar stories have occurred over the years. 

Well, I guess I’ll have to keep wondering about what lies just beneath the surface of Sharon Stone because, as intrigued as I am, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be in a room alone with her any time soon.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Realtor Never Called....

The name of the song says it all!
The Telephone No Ring!

I know in the big scheme of things not everything is as important as it seems at the time. But right now I am irked and have something to say. The above song is one I listened to throughout my childhood and suddenly I find myself thinking about it today! Have a listen.

As you know, I have been writing about selling my house and finding another. I had a realtor come over while I was getting rid of things and doing a few cosmetic jobs around the house. But he wasn’t showing me anything until I insisted. Then he showed me one house, that was everything I didn’t want. Fine. I figured now he can find me something I would buy or at least like. Nothing was happening, so last weekend I found two houses I wanted to see. The pictures online looked great and they actually were in, what I would call, move-in condition.

I called the Realtor Sunday and sent him an email of the first house. When he finally called back we discussed it. He said he could take me, and at the same time I mentioned to him that I also came across a second house I’d like to see. He says he will call me Monday, which he does. On Monday he tells me he will make an appointment for me to see the house Tuesday, and asks if I will be home. I tell him any time Tuesday is great. I can be there at a moments notice. Meanwhile, he mentions he has someone who is waiting for me to put my house up because they are interested in seeing it. Great!

Tuesday comes and goes, no call. Wednesday comes and goes, no call. Thursday comes and goes, no call. Now I am sitting here wondering “What the hell?” Here’s a guy with a chance to make two commissions from one person who is highly motivated to buy and sell and he isn’t very attentive. He’s a nice guy, but I expected a lot more than I am getting here. I know he also does other things, like manage buildings, which bring him a steady income. Maybe real estate is just a sideline? That’s what I am starting to think. There are plenty of Realtors in the area that would be on top of this. I’m starting to think maybe I need to rethink my choice.

I guess when he gets around to calling I will tell him what I’m feeling. After all, after I sign papers, I am locked into to working with him for however many months and I don’t want to be just sitting her finding my own house and buyers.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Colorado Fires…

I learned of the fires in Colorado, not from the news, but from someone I don’t know tweeting on twitter that they couldn’t breathe from the smoke. I looked to see where they lived and saw it was Colorado and I googled it. The fires started Saturday, 32,000 people have been evacuated and I haven’t heard a word on the news? I’m sure they mentioned it, but not enough that I had a clue what was happening. Apparently, the high temperatures out west are putting other states in jeopardy of experiencing the same thing.

I cannot imagine how it must feel to be evacuated from your home with a raging fire destroying your whole community for days on end. Even if your home is spared, which is the best case scenario, what do you go back to? What used to be grass and trees are a pile of ash and rubble. Many of your neighbors may have lost homes and won’t rebuild. The pictures of the destruction are devastating. I seem to read about this happening every year in California. Now, in addition to Colorado, they mention that Utah, Wyoming and Montana are under red flag warnings too.

I have always lived in New York City. We have our share of difficulties in the city.
We have had bad storms. But we really have not experienced the devastation from earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and fires that much of the rest of the country has to deal with on a regular basis. Mother Nature has been kind to us in comparison. Our biggest challenge was overcoming the 911 terrorist attack that happened over a decade ago.

New York City is a far cry from living in the wide open mountain areas of the west. I would love to be surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of nature that exists out west. I imagine it to be calming and certainly the lifestyle a lot less hectic. But, in reflecting on these fires, the loss and devastation, I wonder is there really an ideal place to live? Things seem to get worse with each passing year. I rarely heard of things like this happening when I was growing up. Now it’s a few disasters a year making the news.

I don’t have a background in technology, but I have to wonder isn’t there more that can be done to get an earlier start on these fires or better equipment to help put them out. I read once, a while back, that China has planes that carry water and attack the fires from overhead. And, isn’t there any way to install devices through heavily wooded areas that would sound an alarm or alert authorities when a fire breaks out? Something like the alert  ADT has when a home is broken into? Maybe planes could fly over the areas in jeopardy during dry seasons, several times a day, looking for signs of smoke or flames, before they get a chance to spread too far? I’m not sure what is being done to prevent or get an earlier start on these situations. I hope someone is working on it.

Meanwhile, I’ll pray for those in Colorado. I hope they can contain the fire soon and put it out before it does even more ravishing damage.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Our 29th Anniversary Today…

It’s hard to believe that twenty-nine years have flown by since we said our “I do‘s” at the altar of St. Matthias. We were in our late twenties with our whole married life ahead of us. Back then, twenty nine years seemed like an eternity. But, where has the time gone? I feel like I blinked and I went from being a working newly wed to a retired mom of two grown women. It’s just not right. Time shouldn’t be allowed to move so fast.

I remember our honeymoon in Hawaii. The first drink I had there was huge and I could barely walk back to the hotel room. Every meal was served with pineapple. I love pineapple. I loved seating on the balcony of the hotel room watching the orange red sun set over the horizon. Those were two glorious weeks. We promised each other to go back on our 25th anniversary, but it never happened.

After the honeymoon we got busy working and saving. I knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom so we needed a nice little nest egg. Three years later we decided to start our family and after one heartbreaking miscarriage we went on to have a beautiful baby girl. Three years later that we had another beautiful baby girl. Our little family was complete.

And here we are: twenty nine family vacations later; twenty-nine Christmases later, hundreds of fingerprints, first days of school, birthday cupcakes, sniffling noses, Easter eggs, tiny tears, happy smiles, book reports, wrapped presents, hugs and kisses later. Where did the time go? I’m not ready for this stage of life. I’m still stuck in child rearing mode. My husband isn’t ready either. After working at the same place for over 30 years and hating it, he retired only to be anxious to get back to work. The thing is, he can go back to work. There will always be a job for him. I can’t go back to child rearing. My children are grown. The less they hear from me the better. They want to make they own choices and decisions. They want to be with and confide in friends. My services have been outsourced. I’m not in such big demand any more. I guess I am having a premature “empty-nest” moment. I should just be grateful that I am still in the nest!

What I do know is that I didn’t take any of that time or my family for granted. We made the most of the time, making memories and loving each other. I have no regrets to speak of. I have been blessed more than I can ever say. And, on top of all that, I have so much more to look forward to.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Job Hunting...

Both my girls are looking for jobs right now. One graduated three years ago and hasn’t been able to get into her field, but has been working hard and saving up her money. My younger daughter just graduated and is studying for her license exam in medical laboratory science, while sending out her resume. My younger daughter may have an easier time of it, her education and experience are in big demand. Still I worry about them. I want them to be happy and successful and even fulfilled at what they do.

When I graduated the job market was not good. I sent out 100 resumes and got two calls. At least I got a job from one of them. Not a dream job. Just a bank teller with the opportunity for promotion and advancement. The pay wasn’t great, but it was better than nothing. I took it and stayed there ten years, until I had my first baby. I did well and moved up the ranks at the bank, but, I always hoped my kids would have more opportunities out there. You just never know what the future holds for them when you have children. All you can do is encourage and support them, make sure they get a good education, and eventually land the job of their dreams.

They are both starting out as my husband takes early retirement. He has been home about three weeks now and is already getting restless. He was taking some time off before going back to work part time to keep himself busy. I think pretty soon he will be headed to work at one place or another. He has several contacts and everyone likes him. I hope he can find something to keep him busy that is stress free. He has worked at the same place over 30 years and never cared for what he did. But he kept doing it. The salary and the benefits were great and he wanted to make sure we always had everything we needed. We were able to put the girls through college without taking out any loans, so they are off to a great start compared to many of their friends. They aren’t in debt and can start planning their own futures, maybe travel, and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Maybe we can too, one day soon.

In a couple of years I will probably be blogging about empty nest syndrome. Right now the chicks are looking to fly and testing their wings. I’m not pushing too hard. They will take off soon enough. I hate the thought of them leaving home one day, but I know I’ve done everything I can to prepare them for that big step, so when they take it, they won’t fall down. Hopefully, neither will I.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Move-In Condition???

"The" house! See the little awning over the top bedroom windows?
The wood is almost bare from the paint that peeled off it.
Did I mention there is a condominium next door?

I’m sorry if I have been neglecting my blog the past couple of weeks. I do try to write everyday, if possible, but I have been trying to clean and declutter my house and also I haven’t slept well, which makes me too tired to complain unless I am really, really peeved. Now for today’s blog…

When I first met with the Realtor a couple of weeks ago, I specified what I was looking for in a house. I said I wanted a brick one family house, preferably detached, on a quiet street, with a garage, a finished basement or walk-in apartment and two bathrooms. I would like it if it was in move in condition or as close to that as possible. Yesterday he calls to take me to a house. I already know it’s not what I am looking for, but I agree to go just so I can tell him EXACTLY what I want and what I don’t want. I was pretty pleasant too, considering it was 98 degrees outside.

The house he wanted me to see is a frame house, semi-detached on a busy neighborhood street. It has a huge telephone pole, full of wires right in front of the house, OH, it also has a bus stop right in front of the house. No parking on the street. No garage either, just a driveway. As my husband and I wait, I take a good look at the outside of the house. The little “garden” in front has been cemented away and so has the backyard, except for a tiny patch of dirt where an overgrown rosebush is growing out of control. I look at the house and see that there are three different colors and types of siding. A darker green in the front, a lighter green on the side and white on top, where the second floor is. Sigh. I’m disgusted before he even gets there. Finally he shows up. He tells me the woman spent money on this house, so I am hoping that it shows on the inside.

Living Room (looks better in picture)

He is all too happy to take me inside. As we enter I see there is black designed tile on the floor and the woodwork around the windows is painted black with white walls. He tells me the woman who lived there is Italian and liked tiles…that is a an understatement.

Trust me it's worse in person! Dining Room pft!

The next room is the “formal” dining room. It’s really not big enough for a formal dining room, but that’s not all. The ceramic tiles in that room are a dark cantaloupe color and so are the walls. In the middle of the ceiling hangs a large, black light fixture like you wouldn’t believe. The ceiling is low and the thing hangs about two feet down, so that if you are five foot nine and walk into it you might get decapitated. The light fixture has two, round fans on either side of it. I wish I could find a picture of it so you could see it. My words just can’t do this thing justice, but it’s memory is burned into my brain. I suppress the urge to run out the front door. Next room is the kitchen…oy vey.

Ugh! The kitchen.

We walk into a nice size kitchen. Her color theme is black and red. Black refrigerator and stove, red counters and suddenly I feel like I’m on a checker board. I hate it. The Cabinets are old style, like the kind that were around in my grandmother’s day. There was a half bath off the kitchen, but does that really matter? Off to the “finished” basement.

There is no banister to hold on to going downstairs. I have to tell you that I was so traumatized by the upstairs that I don’t remember the basement except for two things: one window was broken and patched up with clear, contact and the door to the meters was wrapped up like a present with a bow on it. Now I feel like I am on “Let’s Make A Deal” wondering what’s behind door number two. Finally we are off to see the bedrooms.

The first bedroom we walk into I ask, “Is this the Master Bedroom?” He says, “Well yes it’s the largest, but it doesn’t have a bathroom right off it.” I say, “Where am I supposed to put my furniture? I have a full bedroom set.” The layout of the room does not allow for anything to fit right, not even part of the bedroom. Two windows on the only decent wall prevent me from putting anything there. The two side walls” one has a chimney going up the middle of one, the other has a roof type extension coming out. The last wall, opposite the windows has a wall to wall closet that takes up two to three feet of the room with it’s depth. Now I can hardly wait to see the other two rooms. Keep in mind there are tiles on every floor that do NOT suit me.

The next bedroom is small and I hardly even look at it. At this point I have seen more than enough. The bathroom is ok, but I’m not thrilled with it. The last bedroom is painted in a very bright, HOT pink that burned the retinas of my eye. The ceiling was light blue with silver clouds. The floor tiles were one inch square iridescent tiles. And there we stayed while the Realtor took a phone call. It was hot and I was pretty disgusted. Evidently it was even too hideous for the Realtors to take pictures of it.

When he is done we go downstairs. We start to talk. He says she was asking $625,000 a year ago and she is down to $545,000. I said I think it’s overpriced and to tell you the truth, if she took off $100,000 right now I wouldn’t want it. I tell him this exactly the kind of house I don’t want. He asked if there was anything at all I liked about it? I said to be honest with you, no there isn’t. I told him to please find me something he thinks I would like so I know we are on the same page when I really need to start looking. We agree to do that. After a few more minutes of chatting we part ways.

The bad news is I hated the two houses I saw and this one made the last one look good. The good news is that I get happier and more content with the house I am in. Thanks for hanging in there till the end. Rereading this all gave me a stomachache.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Let's Start Taxing the Church...

I keep hearing about the financial crisis in Europe. Several countries keep being mentioned, particularly Spain and Greece. I don’t think Italy is doing well at all either. In fact many countries have a huge debt these days…and you know what else they have a lot of? Catholic Churches. Churches that do not pay taxes, but have plenty of money and land and assets. Why shouldn’t they contribute to the economies of the countries that support them? They can well afford to pay and maybe it’s time their “free ride” stopped.

I learned that not only doesn’t the Catholic Church pay taxes, but their affiliated universities and hospitals also don’t pay taxes. They are considered non-profit. My daughter and I both attended a Catholic university and the tuition was just as high or higher than other private schools. How is it they don’t make a profit charging thousands of students $30,000 per year tuition? Why should religious institutions of any kind get special treatment? They are very vocal when it comes to politics and issues. They are protected by the military, the police, the fire department, just like everyone else. 

Small churches, that are actually non-profit, and do good with the money they collect, should maybe be exempt from taxes. But larger churches, that are most certainly a business and are clearly making a profit, should give some of that money back to the government that supports them. I have read time and time again how much money the Catholic Church has and yet, when it comes to special charitable causes, instead of using the money they have amassed, they do an extra collection for that cause. Why are they permitted to amass money if they are non-profit? Who does their accounting? Who are they accountable to?  Something is surely not right with this picture. 

Let’s not forget that everyone’s taxes, religious or not, pays for the services that the church is only to happy to benefit from. If there is a crime committed against the church, the police are involved, and who pays the police? Whose taxes pay to have a strong military to protect our whole country? We cannot pick and choose who our tax dollars go to help. The church doesn’t call in private investigators to solve their crimes. They have all the advantages that come from everyone’s tax dollars without having to contribute one thin dime. 

I don’t see the big churches doing much good for the community or anyone. I see them prosper while everyone around them is struggling. How can they continue to prosper when the world economy is so bad if their donations come from those who can ill afford to give? The good they are doing is not so much for others, as it is for themselves.

All churches benefiting from our tax dollars and operating as a business should pay their fair share of taxes; property tax, sales tax, income tax and any other tax.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Carrie Underwood Speaks Up For Gay Marriage!

And now the "haters" are going on the attack!

Yes, I was just alerted to the fact that Carrie Underwood came out in support of gay marriage.I am so proud of her! I read the article and this is what she had to say: "As a married person myself, I don't know what it's like to be told I can't marry somebody I love, and want to marry," she said. "I can't imagine how that must feel. I definitely think we should all have the right to love, and love publicly, the people that we want to love."

Carrie was raised Baptist, but she and her religious husband, Mike Fisher, have switched to worshipping in a nondenominational church. She says, "Our church is gay friendly," she said. "Above all, God wanted us to love others. It's not about setting rules, or [saying] 'everyone has to be like me'. No. We're all different. That's what makes us special. We have to love each other and get on with each other. It's not up to me to judge anybody."

Well, the fact that she expressed her opinion and beliefs drew some sharp criticism and attacks from some of her country music fans and it makes me sick. I happen to agree with Carrie 100% on this issue. If she had expressed the opposite opinion I would not have “disowned” her or criticized her for it. I love her. She sets the bar pretty high when it comes to the way she was brought up and lives her life. Now she is being slammed for having a different opinion than some in the Christian community? It’s appalling. What she says makes perfect sense. Who appointed all these bible toting judges to presume to speak for God. They quote the Bible as God’s word. Jesus said he left us ONE commandment “love one another as I have loved you.” Period, end of story! Is anyone reading that? God is an all loving, all knowing God. He created us ALL. Who are we to question His work? Who are we to say some people are more worthy, more faithful, in the way they are living a Christian life? I am just sick to death of the hypocrisy. This anti-gay way of thinking is an anti-Christian way of thinking. There is no way around it.

I already wrote a couple of blogs on Gay Marriage. I don’t want to repeat myself all over again. But, I do want to come to Carrie’s defense and support her on this issue. She took a big career risk exposing herself to a lot of hateful Christians, who now claim they won’t buy her cds and more. Here are a few of the nasty comments she received from loving (or should I say hating) Christians:

“I'm very disappointed in Carrie. … The Bible says what is [sic] says, and you can either follow it or not. It is explicit in the Bible that men do not lie down with men and women the same … God will judge Carrie, not me,” wrote a user named jlvowell.

“Equal rights … yea sure!!! Carrie Underwood read the bible. Honey!! The bible says Adam & Eve, Not Adam & Evan,” Carol wrote.

“If GOD says it makes Him sick … then to all Christians alike … it should make them sick to their stomachs as well,” wrote Neal.

With fans like these bible reading, “loving, compassionate” people, who the hell needs enemies! They are sitting in judgment of one of the most beautiful entertainers that has come along in ages. The media can’t even find any “dirt” on her or you know they would print it in a hot second. She is the one living her life according the laws of the Bible not her haters. I would love to open some of the doors these Christians have closed and expose their skeletons. I know there are plenty, I’ve seen the hypocrisy and double standard they live by.

I am in full support of Carrie, past, present, and future! And furthermore, I hope this risks gets other talking and realizing the this is the time for change and equality for all, not just those we feel are "worthy," but ALL God's children. That's what I real Christian would say! God Bless you Carrie Underwood Fisher!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Jerry Sandusky's Trial...

Smiling as he goes to court...pft!

I really tried to avoid any news to do with Sandusky's trial because I knew it would rile me up. Since the story first broke about Sandusky sexually abusing boys at Penn State it triggered my feelings about the pedophile priests that I am still waiting for the Church to do something about…besides lip service. But, unfortunately I do listen to the news and when I heard the words “victim number ten” took the stand to testify, my blood pressure shot up.

Victim number ten. Ten victims that were willing to testify against him and who knows how many more could not. They were all abused over a 15 year period. Sandusky even created a charity, The Second Mile, to give him access to disadvantaged boys. Just on these ten victims alone Sandusky is facing 52 counts. Then there was testimony from a janitor who reported he saw two pairs of legs in a shower one night and then was told by a coworker, that he witnessed Sandusky performing oral sex on victim eight. And of course witness Mike McQueary, an assistant coach, who witnessed Sandusky assault a young boy in the shower and reported it to Joe Paterno, who reported it to school officials. Penn State failed to report any of this to law enforcement, but instead handled it by firing Sandusky from their school and washing their hands of this mess. In so doing, they made it possible for the alleged abuse to continue for who knows how many more years. Almost like the Church transferring priests from parish to parish, and allowing the abuse to continue.

I really didn’t want to get into this again, but then I saw the above picture of Sandusky arriving at court with a smile on his face and it made me sick. I heard how his lawyer, in questioning the victims, tried to make something of the fact that these, now men, could not recall all the specific details of what happened at the time. Never mind that they were abused and scarred for life. Never mind that they were traumatized. Sandusky’s lawyer, Amendola, is trying to create doubt and say these things horrible things didn’t happen because the victims can’t remember details or didn’t tell anyone at the time. It’s nothing short of badgering these men, who are now in their 20’s. It’s disgusting that they are being made to relive this whole ordeal and then their credibility is being questioned. There are TEN of them and witnesses!

Alleged Victim 1 on cross-examination tells Sandusky's lawyer: “I’m going to keep telling you the same answer. I want you to stop asking me the same questions over and over.”

I know he is trying to defend Sandusky, but there comes a point when a criminal’s actions are indefensible. His lawyer is no better in my eyes. He chose to take on Sandusky as a client. Everyone has the presumption of innocence, but here we have ten victims speaking out, we have eye witness accounts, and the evidence is overwhelming. Do the victims really need to be tortured even more? Something is wrong with this picture, when a person on trial, accused of harming at least 10 young victims, is smiling as the victims are being abused once again by his attorney.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lindsay Lohan's "Accident"

A couple of days ago, when I saw a headline that Lindsay Lohan was in a car accident, I jumped to conclusions. Here we go again! She is going kill herself or worse, innocent people on the road. But, as I read the article, I happy to learn I was mistaken. A truck, an 18 wheeler, allegedly cut her off, totaling the Porsche she was in with her assistant. By the way the Porsche was rented, and the car the studio provided for her, with a driver, was following her car, as she was going to the set of “Liz and Dick.”

Lindsay was in the Porsche with her assistant. She told police officers that her assistant was driving the car and that she was the passenger. However, while Lindsay was being treated for minor scrapes and bruises, her assistant told police that Lindsay was driving and she was the passenger! I knew something wasn’t right. Okay, it doesn’t take a genius if the story involves Lindsay, does it? I don’t know why Lindsay chose to lie. Is it just a bad habit or did she have something to hide? In any case she didn’t do herself any favors because providing false information to the police has now put her probation for shop lifting in jeopardy. She could serve jail time. Really? What, another 15 minutes behind bars? I’ll believe that when I see it. She has really learned her lesson hasn’t she? She must have nine lives like a cat. There isn’t an accident or courtroom that can scare her straight.

Unfortunately for Lindsay, several honest witnesses stopped to tell police that both Lindsay and her assistant got out of the passenger side of the Porsche. What possible reason could there be for that I wonder? The only reason that sounds remotely plausible is that she was driving the car. Her assistant has no reason to lie. Oh, and another little tidbit, when the truck driver denied cutting her off, as Lindsay claimed, she changed her story to the brakes on the Porsche failed. The brakes on the Porsche failed? For all the lying Lindsay does, she still isn’t very good at it. Maybe if she was driving a Hyundai or Toyota she could claim the brakes failed…but a Porsche? 

Since she doesn't have much luck with driving, maybe she should have been a passenger in the company car with a safe driver? It seems to me she goes out of her way to look for trouble every which way she can.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Jessica Suspended For Anti-Bullying Video

Another incredible story. What should have been a good story, even an inspiring story. A young girl, Jessica Barba, gets an assignment in school to create a persuasive advertisement. She decides she wants to use her project to make a difference in this world. She chooses a problem that she wants to bring awareness to, bullying. She creates a wonderful video about a fictional, 12 year old, named Hailey, who is being bullied at school and on a fake facebook and ends up committing suicide. The video is clearly labeled in the beginning and end as fictional. Jessica puts a lot of work into her project, which she hopes will spread her message to all teens: stand up against bullying. She puts her video on youtube (see below) and, when she returns to school, she is called down to the office. Jessica thinks it is to be commended for her project. But no, it's not. A parent, who watched the video, "thought" it was a true story. She notified the police and the school about Hailey, who doesn't exist. The school must have viewed the video and they decided that Jessica needed to be punished for making it. Yes punished. She was suspended for five days for creating a disturbance in the school. Five days! More than most bullies probably get for their offenses. The story of Jessica's suspension hit the news media. More people watched Jessica's video. The teens at her school made T-Shirts saying, RIP Hailey...Free Jessica, because they felt the school was bullying Jessica. The students were told not to wear the T-Shirts. Jessica was interviewed by several news media and says she thought she was being told to go to the office to be commended for her work and was shocked to learn she was being punished. However, she feels that all this attention has furthered her goal and spread her message even further. She is very proud of her work. Jessica's suspension has been lifted, but not after she missed several days of school just before final exams. Her father insists the school provides tutoring for her for the time she has missed.

I find this disgraceful. A teenager who is trying to do a good thing is punished? What kind of message does that send out? This is really crazy. Considering how out of line the school was, shouldn't that be punished or sanctioned in some way. Shouldn't they offer Jessica a public apology and praise her for her efforts? Clearly her intentions were the best. Yet the principal told her that she could get six months jail time for what she did and a possible suspension for the rest of the year. Imagine that? He scared her to death for trying to help others, following her heart and doing what she was passionate about. If you are interested, I have posted the video below. See what you think and how the school could have even thought about punishing Jessica.

House Hunting....

As I get my house ready to put on the market, my husband suggested we go to a couple of open houses yesterday. I thought it was a good idea too. They were close by and would only take a few minutes of our time. We wouldn’t have to bother a realtor to take us and we would get an idea of what is out there. Houses always look better when you read about them in the ads.

The first house was about a block away from a very large boulevard. In fact you can clearly see it from the front door. I want peace and quiet. I was too turned off to even go inside and look around.,  Besides that, I took a look at the outside and the bricks and steps up to the house needed work. I didn’t want to waste any more time there.

The second house was on a nice quiet little street. Quiet being one of my major concerns. The door was open and the realtors were there ready to show it. We had to take our shoes off as we walked in because of the white carpet. We started to look around. The large living and dining rooms were covered in a floral print wallpaper, not to my liking. The kitchen cabinets were dark walnut and so was the paneling. It was a small, efficiency kitchen so needless to say it was too dark for my taste. Even the refrigerator was paneled…YES…paneled to match the wall paneling. My husband didn’t even know what it was at first, he had to open it to see. I will admit that is the first time I ever saw that in my lifetime.

Now we proceed to go to the bedrooms. We walk into the first one and I ask the realtor, this would be the master bedroom? He says no, there is another one that’s larger. I am surprised. The problem with this bedroom, as with another one we saw, is that the wall opposite where the bed would be, is all closet space. That’s great except there is no place to put the triple dresser. Anyway, we move on to the next bedroom and not the realtor says, oh the other one was the master bedroom, because this one is clearly smaller. Fine. I move on to the third bedroom which is the size of a walk-in closet, just big enough for a crib and dresser, not a grown person. Finally, I peek into the bathroom. The color theme is yellow, it almost makes me nauseous. It’s nice and clean, but yellow in the bathroom I could do without.

Then we proceed to the finished basement. It’s finished all right. It’s all paneled with a natural, raw wood that looks like it’s been varnished or shellacked, with knots in the wood and everything. It has a half bath down there. Again, it’s not suited to my taste.

We thank the realtors and have some last minute chit chat about how technology is taking over the children of today and share a few laughs. As we walk out and I trying to make sure I am out of earshot before saying a word to my husband. At a safe distance he asks “what do you think was wrong with it?” I told him a better question and shorter list is what did I think was right with it? Everything is wrong with it. If I have to pay over $500,000 for a house, I don’t want to have to gut it out before moving in.

That was the bad news. The good news is that when I got home I was a lot happier with my own house and how it looked. So maybe I can be more content as I pack and clean and not so anxious to get out. I know we just started, but I wonder if this is going to be the case with every house? When they say move-in condition, it’s not the same “move-in” condition I have in mind.

Friday, June 8, 2012

I Hate Small Planes...

You know those small planes rich people can pilot themselves? I hate them. I don’t know how many people I have heard of that have died in an accident involving one of these planes. I remember Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin Jr, John Denver, John F. Kennedy Jr, Aaliyah, Jim Croce, and so many more. Every time I hear about one o these accidents I cringe and think how these people might still be alive if it wasn’t for the fact they had a lot of money and could afford to own planes. Of course, my thinking might be warped, but I still can’t help but to think that way. It’s such as waste and so tragic.

Many years ago, my mother had a brilliant orthopedic surgeon, who was the head of his department at a local hospital. My mother was having problems with her back that were very painful. She had some fracture in her spinal column and it took weeks to heal. We had been to that doctor several times. One day, during the holidays, we read an article in the local papers. The doctor, his wife and two grandchildren died in one of these small planes while flying to Virginia for Thanksgiving. Another tragic waste. I’m sure many who own small planes manage to do so safely, but accidents occurring in flight most often end in fatalities. As nice as it is to be able to get in your own plane and fly just about anywhere you want, I doubt I could ever shake the feeling of doom I would feel. I never really got over hearing about this accident either.

Today I was reading a story that dredged up all these feelings. A Kansas business took his wife and children to the Bahamas for a vacation. Their private plane crashed in the swamps of Florida on Thursday and the whole family was killed. The plane started breaking apart in midair. Five bodies were found in the plane, one of the children’s bodies is missing. The debris of the plane is spread out over a five mile area. A witness says it looked like the engine just shut off and the plane came down. Of course the news is devastating for family and friends of the family. The story just made me sick. So much tragic loss in a matter of seconds.

There really is no solution outside of doing away with small aircrafts altogether, but I had to vent about it. At least if you are driving in a car and have mechanical problems, you can pull over and call for help. But, what can you do in midair, when your engine shuts off, a wing falls off or your plane starts falling apart? The only place to go is down. I hate it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Getting The House Ready To Sell…

I’m exhausted and we have hardly begun! Last week the painter came to paint my bedroom. It really needed some plastering and a good paint job. It took him two days to do it, but it took me several days to take out all the knick knacks, books, pictures, and so many little odds and ends. I filled five boxes with those items, but I am leaving them packed away. I only put a handful of them back out. Still, it was exhausting for me to get all those things out of the room.

Meanwhile, the painter put a lot of scratches on my nightstands. I was upset over that. I have had this furniture for 29 years and, though I put a few scratches on it myself over the years, I never put as many as he had. It was making me a little sick, so I hurried to get my cleaning supplies and used an almond stick to hide all the scratches and then some furniture polish. The next morning I covered them with towels and told him about the scratches, which he pretended not to know about. This is why I hate to have anyone come in the house to do any work. It’s always something. I was still trying to decide if I wanted to keep this bedroom set or get a new one when I move, maybe for my 30th anniversary next year. I did a little looking online and so far I didn’t see anything I liked better than what I have now. I polished all the furniture last Friday, in preparation of bringing everything back into the room. It still looks great. I am now leaning towards keeping it. I still have a few things to get rid of before I am done with this room.

Yesterday my husband and I went to Home depot to pick up a few things that I could use for some cosmetic repairs. I am not going to redo the whole house, someone else may not like what I do to it. I’d rather keep the price low and let them fix it up themselves. One of the things we got were 48 marigold plants. When I first bought the house, one of the things that caught my eye were the little flowers in the front and along the entire side of the house. It may not seem like much, but it made it feel like a home to me. So I decided to get a bunch of them and recreate that little homey feeling. All the bending wore me out. I only managed to plant 24 of them and them I gave up. I will hopefully get to the others today. While I was doing that, my newly retired husband was trimming the branches on the back tree that were hanging a little low. I also picked up a little wood to fix the back steps a little, before my husband gives them a coat of paint. They are a little run down, but they’ll look a lot better after they are painted. I have a couple of other inexpensive ideas for the backyard too. We’ll see what happens.

Now I am resting a little before doing anything else. The last thing I need to do is hurt my back. I have too much to do and hope to be done in a couple of weeks. In the process I am collecting a few black and blue marks and scratches. That’s the price I’ll have to pay for trying to do a few things myself. My husband isn’t very handy at all and I have little strength, so we make a great pair.

I’ll keep blogging about our “progress” or lack of it. I heard on the news that the housing market has been doing a lot better, so maybe our timing, at least, is good.

Financial Retirement Tip: I am going to pass this along for anyone who is retiring or whose husband is retiring any time soon. We got some advice from a couple of people that my husband should take his full pension, instead of one that would provide money for me after his GOD FORBID early demise. The financial advisers suggest taking the full pension and then taking out a large life insurance policy on him in the event he should die early, so that I would have the insurance money to replace the lost pension. The insurance probably costs a lot less than the reduced pension he would get if he took the pension option providing survivor benefits for me. So think about that and ask someone before you cross that bridge. It may be a good option for you too.

P.S. Sorry I haven't been able to write the past few days, but to tell the truth I have been too tired to think.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Santana of Mets Pitches No Hitter…

I am not a big sports fan. Never was. But, I spent my summers with my cousins during my teenage years. Their son, Lenny, who is about six years younger than me, loved the Mets. He would eat a few bowls of cereal and explain the statistics, the teams and what cities they were from, but mostly he talked about the players that he loved. I became familiar with names like Tommy Agee, Bud Harrelson, Ed Kranepool, Cleon Jones, Ron Swoboda, Tom Seaver, and more. I loved his enthusiasm, it was contagious. I used to fantasize that my future husband would be a sports enthusiast and we would watch the games together. I got my wish. In 1983 I married a guy who loved baseball.

My husband was playing ball practically from the moment he could walk. His mother often told me how he would play baseball in the yard by himself. He’d throw the ball in the air and hit it, then he would run around “bases” he had set up. His love for baseball has been lifelong. He would play on his high school and college teams. I supposed he dreamed of being in the major leagues one day, but that was not meant to be. When we started dating and long after, I learned that he had an encyclopedia of baseball information in his head. That was fascinating to me how his head could hold so much trivial information when there were books full of it that were so easy to access. So, whenever he would forget something I told him to do it would irk me to no end. “How is it you can remember years of useless baseball statistics, but you can’t remember a simple thing I ask you too?” He had no answer. I told him to try to forget some of that baseball stuff and make room for things I needed him to remember.” Unclutter the brain!

We watched many a baseball game, Yankees and Mets. My cousin, Lenny’s passion for the Mets still stayed with me because they were part of some of the happiest days of my life. So I got very involved with the Mets and they became my team. In 1986, I knew all the players, I had my own favorites and I cheered them on. My husband explained the nuances of the game and answered all my questions. Little did I know that they would go on to win the 1986 World Series. I was so excited! You would have thought I had a huge bet placed on them. But, all good things come to an end. After the season was over, I learned that they were trading away some of my favorite players to other teams. To say I was angry was putting it mildly. How dare they trade anyone who just won the World Series? And if they were going to trade someone they should have consulted me, I knew who should go! My husband never heard the end of it and I’ll bet he was sorry he encouraged my interest in baseball too. 

A couple of years later, we went to visit my cousin Lenny’s family, who were now living in Florida. Somehow we got to talking about the Mets. I went on a long rant about all the players and how the team made some bad trades, and his father started laughing out loud. He was surprised and shocked that I knew so much about the team and the game. So was I. However, with the trades and team changes, I lost total interest in the Mets. Who cares if they win anymore! They got rid of the guys I was emotionally invested in and I didn’t want to know anything! I’ll show them! They lost a fan! And that ended my interest in baseball (though I still have a soft spot for the Mets, who were never the same after 1986).

Last night, my husband was apparently watching the Mets game downstairs. He came on and switched the channel from my “Little House On The Prairie” to baseball. He hadn’t done that in a long time. In face he rarely watches baseball at all any more, but I am glad he watched last night. Last night something special happened that hadn’t happened in 50 years of Mets history. Last night Johan Santana pitched a “no-hitter.” It was the firt in team history. Of course, I know that pitching a perfect game is nearly impossible to do. Many pitches can’t even pitch for all nine innings, they usually put a relief pitcher in. But, Santana not only completed the nine innings, but he pulled off the perfect game! The Mates had had extraordinary pitchers through the years: Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver were two of my cousin’s favorites, and Dwight Gooden was one of mine. None of them ever pitched a no-hitter.

My husband was very impressed, in his quiet way. I’m sorry I missed the game, I could have blogged my reaction, but who knew? All I know right now is that this amazing pitcher has brought back to mind some amazing memories and now I have preserved another little piece of the puzzle called “my life.”