My World and Welcome to It!

These are my thoughts and opinions about life in general. I also get daily prompts from DSP which inspire me to write. If I throw in some scrapbook pages I've done, photos I've taken, and stories about me, you will have an idea about my loony life!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Just Because

Blog prompt: Today is Just Because Day. What will you do today just because?

Today I’m going to help my friend who is a middle school teacher just because she needs me. I’ve been really missing the classroom and all the excitement that happens at the beginning of the year. This homesickness for school didn’t hit me last year but maybe because it was my first time in retirement. Plus this year I am more connected with educators online and doing workshops that I hear more about school. When I heard my friend all upset and frustrated about all that she had to do, I practically begged her to let me come help her. She is really great and hadn’t wanted to impose on our friendship but she sounded glad I was coming. I even promised not to talk during the whole time I was there so she could get work done during her planning. I used to hate when volunteers came and expected me to visit with them which really defeated the purpose of having a volunteer.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Are Women Equal to Men?

Blog Prompt: Yesterday was Women’s Equality Day. Do you think women are equal? Why or why?

No I do not think women are equal to men and never will be.

Physically I don’t think God ever intended them to be. Men can’t have babies and women will never be able to do some things men do. I believe we were meant to be this way in order for our species to survive.

Emotionally I don’t think we are because women are just more emotional than men but again I think that we are meant to be that way. Our children need the strength of a father (or father figure) to learn to get through tough times, and the softness of a mother (or mother figure) to learn compassion and empathy. Together, we become a unique member of society.

Intellectually I think we are but a lot depends on what kind of education we all are given, what kind of environment we grow up in, and what kind of support system we have. Whether we choose to use our intellect is totally up to us.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Romantic Evening

Blog Prompt: Today is Valentino Day. Describe a romantic evening that you would love to have tonight.

My romantic evening would be getting dressed up and going out to dinner somewhere fancy where money was no object. I would get a nice juicy steak and hubby would get some kind of fish for dinner. Both dishes would taste fantastic and the service would be outstanding. We would even splurge for a dessert that is so tasty it melts in your mouth. There would be a candle and dainty flower on the table and soft music would be playing in the background. People would notice that we are so much in love, even at our age and marvel at how long we have been together (26 years). When it comes time to pay the bill, we find out that someone has already paid in as a tribute to our happy marriage. The glow of happiness follows us out of the restaurant and continues as we head for home.

Friday, August 22, 2008

New River Gorge

We arrived at the New River Gorge in West Virginia yesterday and it is still as beautiful as I remember it. We walked to a few overlooks and then took the scenic drive down to the bottom of the gorge so you can look up at the awesome bridge that goes across the gorge. This drive used to be the only way to get across before they built the bridge and there is video showing how the bridge was built. While we were there, we got to see some rafters going down the rapids and it was fun to watch them. We also drove to some historic mining towns that used to exist when this was booming coal mining area. Beckley also has a coal mine exhibit too that we’ve been to before. Then last night we went to the Cliffside Theater at Grandview to see the outdoor drama Cinderella (Rodgers and Hammerstein version) which was fun but Don says it was a chick flick! I was so exhausted by the time we made it back to the hotel that I didn’t even turn on the compute.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Tooth Fairy

Blog Prompt: Tomorrow is Tooth Fairy Day. How do you think the tooth fairy has changed since you were little?

As a child, when I lost a tooth, the tooth fairy left a nickel under my pillow. When my children were little, the tooth fairy left a quarter. Now my friends tell me the tooth fairy has started leaving a dollar bill under the pillow. Isn’t it amazing how the tooth fairy knows about inflation and the cost of things today. Maybe we need to elect her President!

Original image: 'Wishing and Hoping' Gabriela Camerotti

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pittsburgh Zoo

This morning we left Lockport, NY and headed to Pittsburgh. I wanted to go to the zoo because it is a reciprocal zoo with my hometown zoo and with our passes, it didn’t cost us anything. I was really impressed with the zoo. There were a lot of animals and it seemed like they were close together so we didn’t have to travel far to get to the next exhibit. I enjoyed the penguins, polar bear, baby tiger cub, sea otters, beavers, giraffes, elephants, gorillas, and especially the aquarium. We spent about 3 hours there and decided to leave around 4pm before rush hour traffic. I couldn’t believe that it took 45 minutes just to leave the parking lot. There didn’t seem to be any method to the madness and cars were coming from every direction having to merge into 2 lanes. Of course, no one was there to direct traffic which amazed me. Then when we finally reached the road, getting on the interstates were a nightmare too. We had to cross over four lanes of traffic to exit for one interstate and then as soon as you merged with the traffic, other traffic merged from the right. Then immediately after that merging, you have to cross three lanes of traffic to exit right for the other interstate. Normally I drive in big cities and busy traffic but at 4pm, we didn’t think it would be a problem. Boy, were we wrong!

Once we got out of Pittsburgh, it was smooth sailing other than all the construction on the road. About 7pm we started to look for a place to stay and didn’t find a decent priced hotel until we reached Sutton, West Virginia by about 10pm. I’m exhausted so this won’t be a long post (besides putting you to sleep too!). I’m hoping we will spend tomorrow night in Beckley so we can go see Cinderella at the outdoor theater.

Effects of the Lousy Economy

Blog Prompt: How has the change in the economy affected you?

Since prices have risen so outrageously, we are changing the way we do things such as:

· Traveling in the United States instead of other countries.
· Doing errands all at one time to save on gas.
· Going grocery shopping once a week.
· Eating at home instead of dining out.
· Saving our money instead of just buying luxury items we want.
· Not buying clothes because we want it and not because we need it.
· Not hiking so much because the trails are so far away and uses to much gas to get there.
· Working on the house and yard more instead of going out all of the time.
· Cutting expenses to save money.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Niagara, NY and Lockport, NY

We left Canada early this morning and headed to Niagara Falls on the US side. The trip across the border was quick and painless because there were no lines and no hassles. We even found free parking along the side of the road and walked across to Goat Island. Then we decided Don was feeling well enough to do the trip to the Cave of the Winds ($10 per person) and it was awesome. Of course, we got drenched. I thought we got wet on the Maid of the Mist, but that was nothing compared to this. They give you little sandals to wear and you take off your shoes and put them in plastic bags. Then they give you this long yellow rain poncho to wear that helps somewhat. Of course the wind got so strong I thought it would blow me off the platform and it tour my hood right off my head. But it was awesome and I’d recommend this to anyone going there. Then we walked around the park and finally to Hard Rock Café for lunch. We are collecting bottle openers/magnets from every Hard Rock we visit but some of the places don’t carry them or they are sold out.

When we left there we headed up the road to Whirlpool State Park where we hiked on a trail along the rim of the gorge. Then we stopped at the Robert Moses Power Plant that we saw in the distance on our hike. The power plant was a neat place to bring students on a field trip and there was a self guided tour with a short video.

After we left there, we drove to Lockport which was about 30 minutes away and bought tickets for the 5pm cruise down the Erie Canal. We stopped at Denny’s to eat dinner and found a hotel room at the Lockport Inn and Suites, which is a really super place to stay. Check out the pictures in the gallery on their web page! First of all, the man at the desk was very friendly and welcoming, which makes a huge difference when I’m deciding where to stay. Sometimes I’ve met some really rude people and told my husband to drive on because I’d rather pay more than have to deal with a rude person. The room was only $72 which included a queen bed, table with comfortable chairs and a newspaper, cable TV/some movie channels, desk and chair, refrigerator, coffee maker and clean bathroom. There were chairs outside each room if you wanted to sit outside. Even the décor of the room was welcoming and cozy. When we got back from the canal cruise, someone had come in the room and left a vase full of beautiful pink roses. Wow! That simple gesture made me feel like I was staying at some expensive bed and breakfast. All around the buildings were hanging plants and flower beds full of flowers. You can tell someone really enjoys gardening and the entire place is well taken care of and loved. I expected this place to be out of our price range when I checked if they had a room available and was surprised at how reasonable it was. The Holiday Inn Express down the road was asking $89 with a coupon but I think we lucked out on finding this treasure. Another feature we really liked is that it was family owned because we feel that if a place is family owned, it is usually safer and better cared for. Besides that, these big franchises get enough money, and in today’s economic times, we need to take care of family owned businesses. (No, I’m not getting paid to advertise for them and they don’t even know that I’m writing this!) But if you ever get a chance to do the canal cruise, consider staying here for the night.

The cruise down the Erie Canal was really great too! With our AAA card, it cost $26 for both of us and it lasted 2 hours. There were only 11 of us on the 5pm cruise and the boat pilot gave a narrated tour which was great. They also served soft drinks, wine, and beer. It was really neat going through those locks and hearing him explain how it worked. We even heard the song about the Erie Canal that I learned when I was in elementary school (a gazillion years ago). This was magical for me because I remember studying about the Erie Canal in school but never imagined that over 40 years later, I would get to ride down it and see the locks.

Not sure where we will head tomorrow and it all depends on the weather. We might head for Pittsburgh to go to the zoo and the aviary. But of course all that is up in the air.

The Worst Movie

Blog Prompt: Tell about the worse movies you have ever seen.

The one that stands out for me is the The Mask with Jim Carrey. I’m not a big fan of this actor but I went to see this movie at the $1 movie theater by myself. I thought it was stupid and bizarre. I don’t usually feel that $1 is too much to pay for cheap entertainment but I don’t think this movie was even worth a dollar.

photo credit: Original image: 'thumbsdown' Darek Šmíd

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Day at Niagara Falls

Since I am up at 5am every morning, I let my hubby sleep until 7:30 but I was starving, so I rousted his butt up. We made it to the Maid of the Mist by 9am when they opened and quickly got on the boat. Before we got on the boat though, we were given blue rain ponchos to wear and boy did we need them! The boat took us all the way up to Horseshoe Falls but my photos didn’t come out well since my lens got water drops all on it. This was well worth the money ($14.50 per person).

After that we walked up to the place where you buy tickets for Journey Behind the Falls but people were saying their feet got all wet and since we were drenched on top already, we decided to pass this up. Hopefully tomorrow on the American side, we will do the Cave of the Winds.

Then we walked all the way back towards our hotel, which is probably over a mile. We stopped at Hard Rock Café so I could buy a magnet (we collect magnets from the places we have been because they don’t take up too much room and are easy to display). We also looked at different souvenir shops and by this time, it was almost lunch time. At first we thought about Kentucky Fried Chicken but ended up eating lunch at the buffet in the Casino Niagara. After lunch we dropped our stuff off back at our room and then wandered around town some more. We probably walked about 4 miles total so my feet were beginning to hurt.

had walked all the way to the other casino at the other end of town (probably over a mile from our hotel) when my hubby suddenly got sick to his stomach. Do you know what it is like to try to walk back to your hotel with a gagging husband? I thought we would never get back but we did. He was pretty sick so I ran out and got some Coca Cola to settle his stomach. It must have helped because he is sleeping right now while I play on the computer. Of course, I’m getting hungry and it is 7pm so before long I will be waking him up to go get something to eat, or I will be bringing something back to the room for me to eat.

My last $20

Blog Prompt: Tell five things you would buy with your last $20 and why.

I would buy :
1. a diet pepsi because I love them.
2. a chocolate glazed Krispie Kreme donut because if this was the end of my money, I don’t know when I would get another one.
3. Some yarn so I could crochet something and possible sell it so I could get more money.
4. A newspaper so I could find a job to make more money.
5. Some food for my family so they wouldn’t be hungry.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Erie, PA/ Niagara Falls, Ontario

We woke up this morning in Cranberry, PA which is just north of the city of Pittsburgh. A friend on Plurk suggested that we eat at a place called Eat-N-Park which happened to be right down from our hotel. After breakfast we decided to go to Niagara Falls, Ontario, then decided to go to Toronto first and work our way south back home after that. Then we arrived in Erie where there were lots of things to do so we spent most of the morning and early afternoon there. We went across to Preque Isle State Park which is right in Lake Erie. It was a beautiful park and we got out to walk along the beach and see one of the lighthouses. It was really hard to believe that we weren’t looking at an ocean and only seeing a lake because there were lots of waves as the water hit the beach. After the park, we went downtown to see the festival Celebrate Erie which had a lot of vendors so we found a great lunch (sausage hoagie with peppers and onions, cheese fries and a drink).

When we left Erie, we decided to spend the night in Buffalo but when we got to Buffalo, it was still early so we decided we would go on to Toronto. Luckily I went online to try to find a hotel, and the ones downtown near the Canadian National Exhibition was about $200 a night plus $30 a night for parking so we changed our mind and decided we would save that trip for another time. Instead we headed to Niagara Falls, Ontario. I didn’t realize how long it would take to cross the border because the traffic was horrendous. There weren’t any clear lanes and people were switching lanes and cutting in front of others. Finally we got to the border patrol where we were asked bunches of questions and then told to go to an area where they could search our car. My poor baby car was strip searched. They went through it with a fine tooth comb and I wish I knew what they were looking for but I know they wouldn’t find it in my car.

Finally we arrived at our hotel, Hampton Inn at the Falls which is only a couple of blocks away from the falls. I was so hungry at this time that we went to Burger King for dinner. We both got a Whopper value meal that cost me $18.01 USD! I have never paid that much at a fast food restaurant for a hamburger before! Then we walked along the water front and saw the falls. They were beautiful! Once it got dark, they turned the lights on the falls and the lights changed colors so they looked like a rainbow at times. At 10pm, they had a fireworks show over the falls and then we headed back for some much needed rest.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Best Friend, Relaxation, and Personal Feelings

Thursday's Blog Prompt: Today is Best Friends Day. Who is your best friend and tell why?

My best friend is my husband. We have been married for 26 years and he knows all of my secrets and I know his. When I say all, I mean all. We do not keep secrets from each other at all. I do have things I would rather not tell him and may delay telling him, but the guilt gets to me and I spill my guts (like when I dented the car, forgot to pay the bill etc.). He has always been there to support me no matter what I am doing. He encourages me to do things that I should do but sometimes fear keeps me from doing it. When he knows I really want to do something but not sure if it is logistically possible, he will do all he can to help me make it work. When I am sick, he never wants to leave my side and cares for me better than anyone else ever could. I can’t imagine life without him.

Friday's Blog Prompt: Today is National Relaxation Day. How do you plan to relax today?

I plan to play on my computer, walk in the park with my husband (4.5 mile exercise walk), read Nora Roberts’ book The Hollow, and crochet. It is really easy to relax now that I’m retired. I can do what I want when I want. I have had to make up a little routine of doing household chores or I would never get them done. I know my life sounds boring right now but I’m enjoying it.

On a more personal note: I just have to share some of my feelings lately. I feel so out of sorts that I don’t feel like scrapbooking or blogging. I think it is because school is about to start and I’m missing it. Last year was the first time I didn’t have to go back to school and it was actually a neat feeling, like being on holiday when everyone else wasn’t. I really didn’t mind not going and didn’t miss it at all. This year I’m more connected with other educators online because I’ve been doing some consulting work and for some reason, I really miss it this year. I know this feeling will pass, especially when I hear about the paperwork or the discipline problems so I will just ride it out. I think it was also hard because I was offered another job yesterday for a wonderful position but I couldn’t take it. It was to be a 1 on 1 teacher with a middle school special ed student who couldn’t handle the school situation. It would be like being a home school teacher to someone else’s child. The pay would be great but it would tie us down and I promised my husband five years of not committing to anything long term. Especially with the health scare he had this year (nothing serious even though at first we thought it was), it really brought home that life is too short. I will still contract with the school district to do teacher evaluations which is easy to do because I determine when I observe and have meetings. Oh well, thank you for letting me share this because now I feel a little better.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sewing Machine Day

Blog Prompt: Today is Sewing Machine Day. If you could sew, what is something you would love to make or if you already sew, what was your favorite thing you made. Describe it.

My mother sewed all my clothes when I was growing up and even made my wedding gown. I picked out the pattern, material, pearls, lace, and she took it home to FL to put it all together. I never saw my gown until the day before the wedding and had no doubts about how well it would fit. She knew my measurements and everything she made always fit me perfectly. We would go to the store and I would point out things I would like to wear and she would go home and sew them up for me. Of course as a teenager, I never appreciated all that she did and the sacrifices she made for me to have these clothes. I was so selfish that all I could do was resent that I couldn’t have store-bought clothes like my friends. Now I wish I could sew like her. If I could make something, I would make a dress to wear that looked simple but classy. I would like it to be in a pastel color with some black swirl print on it (I’m into swirls lately). I’m so tired of wearing the same old dresses to church but since we retired, it is hard to justify buying new clothes when I really don’t have anywhere to wear them to.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Garage Sale Item

Photo by _moonpie
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
Blog Prompt: Aug. 9th was National Garage Sale Day. What item in your home would you just love to get rid of and why?
This is really hard because I don’t know where to start. I have so much junk (my husband thinks these are treasures) that clutter up my house, shed, and storage building. I think the biggest item that I have is this old vending machine that is in storage. My husband had it in his office and filled it with crackers and cookies so people who were waiting could buy them for fifty cents. It is really heavy, old and just plain in the way of me storing more junk (I mean treasures) that he continues to buy at flea markets and garage sales.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Olympics 2008

Blog Prompt – Today is the first day of the Olympics in China. What is your favorite and least favorite event in the Olympics?

I really like to watch the gymnastics competition because I think it takes so much strength and self discipline (both of which I have so little of). I am always so amazed how young they are and what abilities they have because they always look so graceful (yes even the men!). When I was in high school, we were required to some some gymnastics and I was pretty awful. A somersault was about the best thing I can do and since I had very little muscles in my arms, pole vaulting and parallel bars were pretty embarrassing. I could walk across the balance beam and sometimes turn around and walk back. Now that you can picture my gymnastic ability, I will leave you with that hilarious picture in your mind and let you return to your daily life!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Professional Speaker Wish

Blog Prompt: Today is Professional Speaker’s Day. If you were in charge of a meeting, who would you invite to be the speaker and why?

I would invite Jill Bolte Taylor. She is a brain scientist who had a stroke and recovered. I first heard her speak on TED Talks. Then I read her book My Stroke of Insight and then I listed to the podcasts where Oprah interviewed her on her soul series. I thought she was so inspiring that I loved to hear her story. I also felt that she had great messages for teachers and other care givers out there in order to be better at their jobs. I would love to meet her in person!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Fresh Breath Day

Blog Prompt: Today is National Fresh Breath Day. If you had to work closely with someone with bad breath for a few months, how would you handle the situation?

First I would try to put out some mints and then offer it to the person. I learned a long time ago that if someone offers you a mint, take it and eat it. If that didn’t work, I would eat a lot of mints so the smell might cover up their smell. If I just couldn’t take it anymore, I would say something as tactfully as I could like: “I’m not trying to hurt your feelings, but for some reason your breath is kicking off my allergies. It is probably just me, but would you please eat this mint?” If that didn’t work, I would start making gagging sounds every time they got close to me! LOL

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Simplify My Life

Blog Prompt: This week is Simplify Your Life Week. What are some ways that you could simplify your life?

I have found that being retired pretty much simplified my life but left me feeling so disorganized that I couldn’t enjoy it. I decided to do certain household chores on certain days of the week. This helped me get them done instead of trying to do all of them at once whenever I got around to them. Another thing I’ve done was plan dinner for the week and grocery shop once a week. This has helped us save tons of money plus I’m not stressing about what we will eat each night. I also garden about an hour each morning and try to do a little bit each day instead of trying to get everything done all at once. I’m starting to see a lot of progress by doing this and I don’t feel miserable when I’m done.

Monday, August 04, 2008

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Food

Blog Prompt: Today is National Chocolate Chip Day. Describe your favorite chocolate chip food.

My favorite chocolate chip food is Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies. I remember when I was a teenager, I always wanted to make them at home but I wasn’t allowed to touch anything in the kitchen (because I almost burned the kitchen down once, I was not allowed to do much in it but that is a whole ‘nother story). When I was in college, I helped my roommate make these using our dorm oven. Now how hard is it to make these, right? Well about ten years ago, I tried to make these in my oven but they melted on the cookie sheet and was about 1mm thin and burned. I called my neighbor to come help me because I needed to make them for a garden club event. Being the good neighbor, she rushed over and helped me make another batch. I had her watch me closely to make sure I followed the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag which I did. But when they came out of the oven, the same thing happened. After I got done crying, I went to the store and bought the Pillsbury dough that you spoon out on the cookie sheet and bake. They came out perfect but they weren’t Tollhouse cookies. Ever since then, I’ve stuck to Chips Ahoy cookies but someday….

Friday, August 01, 2008


Blog Prompt: Today is Respect for Parents Day. How were you taught respect when you were growing up?

My mother used to always have this saying when she was really mad and it was, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out!” Plus, my mother never said anything she didn’t mean so I felt she really believed this. I used to think I was such an abused child when I was younger. I had to do chores before I could go out and play, I had to make up my bed, I had to vacuum once a week. Was I Cinderella? Plus, I was not allowed to talk back to my parents or my older sisters. If I did not do what I was told to do, I was spanked by my mother. How horrible was that!

I have to admit that I was a pretty spoiled child. My mother’s spankings usually entailed being swatted with her hand or a ruler. My father only slapped my hand once in my life when I was about four years old. I went in his pocket because he wouldn’t give me money. He took his belt out of the buckle and swatted me with the end of the belt (while it was still in his pants) so it couldn’t have been very hard. I cried for two days because my feelings were so hurt and he never ever spanked me again. All it took was a look or him saying how disappointed he was in me and I felt miserable.

My sisters were ten and twelve years older than me so I actually learned a lot by watching them whenever they got in trouble. I learned from their mistakes because I never wanted my parents to be mad or disappointed in me. As I grew older, I realized how little we had and how hard my father worked so I didn’t want them to worry about my behavior on top of it. Respect was never an option when I was growing up and I’m so grateful that my parents expected it.

Photo: Me with my two sisters