Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"Plaaaay Ball!"

"Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet..."

"Take me out to the ballgame..."

Outside of hockey, baseball is my most favorite sport. It's definitely my favorite summer sport, both to watch as well as play. My youngest son is a HUGE baseball fan, and a decent player, too. It's a sure sign of Spring in Michigan when the professional baseball season begins.

Today is Opening Day for the Detroit Tigers, and I'm a huge fan of theirs. I only wish I had tickets to the game, so I could head down to the city to beautiful Comerica Park to support "my guys" with all the other rowdy fans instead of going to work. It's great to watch the game on TV, or listen on radio (something my dad and I always did when I was a kid and we couldn't get down to the old Tiger Stadium to see a game) but nothing, NOTHING compares with being there in person, part of the energy of another Opening Day in Detroit!

The weather forecast is a bit "iffy" in regards to off and on rain showers, but nobody will care (it's better than snow) come 1 p.m. when the first pitch is thrown.

Hottie Justin Verlander will be on the mound pitching to start the season off for the Tigers. It looks to be a promising season - hear them roaaar!

Let's Go Tigers!

Words of Wisdom...

Seek peace, and pursue it.
Live an honest life and walk uprightly.
In all things, give thanks.
Be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.
If a man thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
Don't be weary in well doing.
Where there is no vision, people perish.
Love is patient and kind.
Wisdom is far more valuable than precious jewels.
Be hospitable to one another, without complaint.
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Whatever you do, do it heartily.
Study to be quiet, and to do your own business.
It's not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.
Amend your ways, and your deeds.
Be watchful.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
Honor one another above yourselves.
In your patience are your souls possessed.
Encourage one another, and build each other up.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.
Love never ends...

The Name of the Day is ... "McBean"

Have you ever paid much attention to other people’s names before? I happen to find language itself very interesting, and names are no different.

Today’s ‘Name of the Day’ (which simply means that I LIKE a specific name) is sponsored by none other than the name: (Ta-da )- “McBean”. Why? I’m not sure. I guess for a few reasons. First, it stumbled across my desk this morning and caught my eye. Second, I like the way it sounds when spoken. Go ahead, say it out loud now – you KNOW you want to! “McBean”. Doesn’t that sound distinguished!? Next, it makes me wonder what it means. Yes, I know I could simply Google the name and find out, but that’s too easy; besides, I prefer my own little game of imagination instead. The name itself reminds me of... BEANS! (No surprise there, right?) When thinking upon it and speaking it aloud, I see images of the descendents of the name “McBean” flocking to Ellis Island from the Scottish lowlands around the year 1900. Their knees are exposed, because they’re wearing these short little plaids of green, brown, yellow, and white while coming abroad from their homeland – BEAN colored plaids, they are! When speaking, they have this nice little lilt to their voices that is smooth and comforting. I wonder if there was such a thing as bean farmers over there. What kinds of beans did they grow? Green beans, string beans, wax beans? Finally, the name “McBean” reminds me of McDonald’s coffee. So I think I’m going to go get some now!

Have a GREAT day. . .it’s BEAN fun (not been, bet ‘bean’ - Get it?! Sheesh, laugh a little, already)!!! As a matter of fact, all this McBean talk has made me hungry. I think I’ll get a McChicken sandwich, too, while I’m at it!

This is actually a PICTURE of the real McBean (Pinto McBean!) in Alberta, Canada. How cool is that?!

Simple minds. Simple pleasures. What can I say?!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The good-old-U-S-of-A

I come from a long line of United States Military family members. At one time, I even considered joining, myself. For reasons that are irrelevant to this blog, I never did enlist. Despite that, I was raised in what would be considered your typical middle-class-working American household under the watchful eye and loving hand of an Army dad who later became a restaurant owner/operator, and a part-time grocery store clerk mom who focused the majority of her attention on us three kids while at home, but who also believed in contributing to the family income via working outside of the home in her spare time. Our family was by no means "perfect", and we were far from "rich" monetarily, but through it all there was much love that abounded, and there was an even greater commitment to the bettering of our family lives, home, community, and the country in which we lived. We were taught that as our family was so richly blessed in many ways, it was not only our responsibility and our duty to reach out and bless others in kind - to give back, but our PRIVILEGE to have the OPPORTUNITY and FREEDOM to be able to do so.

A very large part of my upbringing submersed me in not only the concept of Christian morals, values, and beliefs, but also very patriotic ideations. I was taught that the United States of America was the GREATEST country in the world; that she represented GREAT principles that were attained at the loss of many, many lives over the years throughout several wars - all for the sake of MY continued freedom (in one capacity or another), and that of my future children. I was taught the personal values and appreciation for all those who had gone before me, sacrificing their civilian independence for a military lifestyle to insure that this GREAT nation would not only survive, but thrive. Freedom of speech. Freedom to think. Freedom to choose. Freedom how to live. Freedom of religion. More freedoms than any other nation in this world. And they did it all for me... and for you. Today is no different.

So, no matter what your own personal beliefs may be at this very difficult moment in time in our nation - whether you're for the war or against the war in Iraq; whether you're for President Bush or against President Bush; whether you're for foreign policy or against foreign policy; whether you agree or disagree with many issues involving this nation at this present time - I would humbly ask that you would learn to honor and respect all those service men and women who have served over the years (and who continue to serve daily) of their own free will and volition for the sake of this nation's future freedom and liberties. Don't make what all those who have gone before us, for the benefit OF US, to have been done in vain.

You may not agree with what's taking place in the world around you whatsoever, but is it too much to ask - to EXPECT -that you have the maturity and decency to still honor your President, honor your flag, and honor your nation at large, even though you disagree with policy? What has happened to the civil citizens that once this nation had? Do you no longer believe in what this great land stands for? Freedom. Liberty. Justice. For ALL.

In the midst of a troubled nation where it's citizens behavior can oftentimes be viewed as treasonous, I will STILL proudly stand in the midst of you all - alone if need be - as one of the remaining few who proclaim, "I love my country. I love my flag and all that it proudly stands for as it waves in the breeze. I will honor my President, even when I don't agree with him. I will pray for those who serve for my freedom, and that of my children's. I will never give up on finding solutions to our problems through proactive, positive measures. I was born an American, and I will live my life conveying to its fullest all that the word 'American' should mean to the world today: Righteous. Honest. Sincere. Hard working. Compassionate. Free. Proud... until the day I die. This IS the land of the free and the home of the brave. This IS the greatest nation is the world. I vow to do MY part in insuring that what my forefathers gave their lives for will not be lost in either my generation, or the next." America, I salute you!

Yes, you have the right to speak freely about your concerns and disputes over current events and policies - and be very thankful that you do, because if you were in most any other nation in the world, you would NOT! But next time, before you automatically lash out about American issues that you are in disagreement over, maybe it would be a good idea if you think before you speak - because I really don't believe that negativity and destructive attitudes, like pointing the finger at any one person or thing in blame, is conducive to actually SOLVING any of America's problems today. Do you? Stop focusing on just the problems exclusively, and learn to work TOGETHER again for solutions.

Monday, March 17, 2008

"Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams..."

One day, when I'm rich and famous... (or at least once my kids are grown and gone!) I have dreams of travelling to Europe. Being that I still have romantic notions about princes of might and valor, pretty princesses, and knights in shining armor, I would love to visit some of the great castles of Europe. One of the very first I would see when venturing to Ireland would be Ashford Castle in Cong, Co Mayo; about 30 miles away from the city of Galway.

It was founded about eight centuries ago (around 1228) by the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family following the defeat of the native O'Connors of Connaught. It served as a mighty fortress for many years to come, and it's ownership changed hands numerous times over the centuries.

As you can clearly see, it's set amidst the backdrop of spectacular forests, lakes, and mountains, and has an almost magical, ethereal quality to it's physical characteristics that stirs up little-girl fantasies of fire breathing dragons and jousting knights attempting to win the hand of a fair maiden.

Although it has undergone many changes over the years, it appears to still retain the beauty of it's former glory. It's actually a hotel/castle now, so people can STAY in it during vacations!

As with most luxury hotels, this has the typical spa treatments and exercise rooms available for its patrons to frequent, but what this particular one has that all the others do NOT is... a school of Falconry! Yes, I'm serious! Isn't that unique? I would definitely have a visit with the school (and the Falconer's not bad, himself, either I might add)!

Around 1985, a group of Irish-American investors actually purchased Ashford Castle and restored it to the luxurious castle that appears before us, today. (In fact, it's certain to be BETTER than ever, because castles were typically not built as places of luxury in their origin, but of necessity). There are hundreds of beautiful acres to the estate where visitors can relax while picnicing, fishing, hiking, etc. in addition to exploring the grand castle itself, gardens, and grounds.

Many rich and famous Americans have stayed within the castle walls (Jack Nicholson, The Reagans, Molly Ringwald, Johnny Cash, Harry Belafonte, John Travolta, and more) and I can't wait until MY name is added to the list of guests! (I better start saving my money NOW, I'm sure!)

So tell me... where do YOU dream of going?!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Top o’ the mornin’ to ye! Come on in and listen to me bunch o’ blarney!

A chairde, Cead Mile failte (Translated: Dear friends, a thousand welcomes to ye!),

Being that it’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend, I thought I’d share with ye a bit o’ the Irish superstition and folklore that’s been handed down from generation to generation. In fact, some Irish stories have been in written form since the 8th century, but most originated over 2,000 years ago when the druids passed stories on orally.

The most famous of these legends (or infamous, if ye prefer to refer to them in that manner), is the Irish fairy more popular than them all – otherwise known as the Leprechaun! Standing only about two-feet-tall, these little old shoemakers with rosy cheeks and twinkling eyes look friendly, but they're actually quite the tricksters. Being aloof and unfriendly little fairy souls, leprechauns aren't easy to spot. No, indeed. They spend all their time busily making shoes, and stashing away all the money their craft brings them in a hidden pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow. Everyone's heard o’ the legendary pot o’ gold, and the only way to track one is to follow the sound of a leprechaun hammering the shoes. They say if ye catch one, he'll promise to take ye to his pot o’ gold, if ye can just keep him in yer sights! But these tricky little fellows know just how to get ye to look away. Once ye do, they've disappeared and yer chance of riches is gone, gone, gone! Keep in mind that they’re given to excess, so if ye hear one a’ hammerin’ shoes this weekend, ye need only bring out the bottle o’ whiskey, pipe tobacco, snuff, and Guinness to capture his attention!

Then there’s the trefoil, or Shamrock. It was at one time called the “Seamroy”, and it symbolizes the cross and blessed trinity. The legend of the Shamrock is directly connected to none other than yer old friend, St. Patrick, and his teachings. When preaching in the open air on the doctrine of the trinity, he is said to have illustrated the existence of the ‘Three In One’ by plucking a Shamrock from the grass growing at his feet and showing it to his congregation. Before the Christian era though, the Shamrock was a sacred plant of the Druids because its leaves formed a triad. (Personally though, I prefer the four-leaf clover; but that's another story!)

Finally, another well known legend is that of King Lir, his children, and the swans. It is said that King Lir’s wife (the children’s jealous stepmother) had all four of his children turned into swans for 400 years! The sentence is now long passed and the four died as ancient humans, but to this day it is illegal to kill swans in Ireland! (Although, I fail to see WHY anybody would WANT to kill swans, anyway. They’re beautiful!)

And now, for yer grand finale – a poem about me favorite little green fella o’ the weekend – written by Sheri Amon.

The Legend of the Leprechaun
by Sheri Amon

Oh, the leprechaun, a mysterious fellow,
An Irish fairy he be.

An unfriendly sort who keeps to himself,

A miserly fellow is he.

Making shoes for his living, not a bit does he spend,
Instead stores it all in a pot.

At the end of the rainbow his hiding place is,

And to find it will bring you good luck.

If you happen to hear a shoemaker's hammer,
tis the sound that a leprechaun makes.

Find him and corner him,
he'll tell you his secret,
If a stare you can maintain.

Look not away for this fairy is tricky,
He'll attempt to sway your glance.

Gone will he be, look away for a moment,

And you'll lose your one only chance.

So then, have ye some corned beef and cabbage and green beer this weekend! And do yerself a favor if ye catch that leprechaun, kick up yer heels and dance ye a little jig over his pot o’ gold!

Go mea dai Diatha! Slan go foil. (Translated: May God prosper you! Bye for now!)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

You're a naughty, naughty boy!

Psst. . . How well do you REALLY know your spouse?!

What is this, “The Year of the Intern”?! Every time I turn on the TV lately, the headlines are plastered with news of saucy political sex scandals taking place amongst America’s politicians.

It all takes me on a journey back in time to the days of “Slick Willie” (AKA President Bill Clinton) and the good ol’ Monica Lewinsky political sex scandal.

Reporter: “Mr. President, have you at any time in the past engaged in sex acts with intern, Monica Lewinsky?”
Slick Willie: “No, sir. Absolutely not. I swear that I have NEVER had sexual relations with that woman”.


Yeah. Right. We believe you. (Currently winking).

More recently than Slick’s incident, has been the Sex, Texts, and Lies scandal that recently rocked the community of Detroit with their Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, having had a long term sexual affair with his Chief of Staff, Christine Beatty. The circumstances of this particular scandal evolved out of a Whistleblower’s lawsuit which involved the unjust firing of two former Detroit police officers, and the Mayor perjuring himself under oath (lying on the witness stand ) pertaining to that case. Apparently, unbeknownst to the Detroit City Council, he (the mayor) made a secret deal to cover up those facts, which cost the taxpayers in the city of Detroit only a measly. . . $9,000,000.00. . . http://thedetroitreport.com/

Is that all?! (Currently shrugging).

Yeah. Right. Somehow, I’m quite certain the citizens have better things to do with their money during a recession than throw it away on a gangster mayor who is getting caught up in his own lies.

(This story is still in progress, but it appears highly likely that the mayor will be criminally charged by the prosecuting attorney, end up disbarred - he is an attorney, himself -, and could spend up to 15 years in prison for the coverup).

Today, I click on the television only to be greeted by the caption that the New York Governor, Eliot Spitzer has resigned after getting caught in a call-girl scandal that has basically made a mockery of his “straight arrow” image. He also will be faced with the prospect of criminal charges being filed against him, as well as possible disbarment (hmm. . . another lawyer).


In his situation, apparently Federal law enforcement officials placed a wire tap on the 48-year-old father of three’s phone line, thereby catching him off-guard in the act of repeatedly spending thousands of dollars on a call-girl at a fancy Washington Hotel.

Yeah. Right. (Currently scratching head with index finger).

Is it just me, or does anybody else seem to think that real life politics nowadays has begun to mimic the latest episode of the “Sex and the City” television drama series? I find myself thinking, “Jeez, I can hardly wait to see next week’s episode (not!)”.

When I was watching footage of the consequences of the latest political sex scandal erupt earlier today, I noted that the Governor’s wife was up there with him, publicly. Thinking back, I realized that’s exactly the place where I saw the Mayor of Detroit’s wife when his “shit hit the fan”, and further still, that’s exactly where we found Hillary when Billy Boy came clean.

I mentally asked myself WHY in the world these women were standing beside their men under such embarrassing, pathetic, criminal circumstances. Don’t get me wrong – I love my husband, too. But on the same note, I think if he were ever in the position of these men, where he was a prominent political figure, community leader, and role model for youth and citizens alike, the ONLY reason I’d ever be by his side under similar circumstances (on a stage publicly after incidents of sexual promiscuity and alleged felonies had taken place) would be so that I could have the perfect setup to haul off and blast him across the face with my slap where everyone could see - if for no other reason than the simple fact of the embarrassment he would have caused his family to suffer (as well as that of his supporters). I could NOT have just stood there like a puppet-on-a-string by his side acting like everything was alright. I’m just not "fake" enough to do that, and I honestly think I would buckle under the stress emotionally, and not be able to control my arm from arising all on its own . . . WHACK! (No, I do not have impulse control problems! I’d just be extremely pissed! What’s he gonna do – press charges for assault?! Yeah. Right. My husband, the filthy, lying, political criminal? Not likely. )

Thinking along these lines though got me wondering. . . how well do we really know our spouses or significant others?!?!?!?!?! I mean, we think we do. We believe we do. But I’m sure these women all thought they knew their spouses, too, and didn’t. . . not really.

What do you think???

Friday, March 7, 2008

Collage-style Art

I find collage-style artforms very interesting to view. I enjoy the busy-ness of the art, the color variations, subjects, textures, depths, and framings. I oftentimes find myself thinking, "Is there a moral to this picture? What is the message the artist is trying to convey?" while viewing it. "Do I agree with the artist's perspective? Have they utilized good skill in arranging the collage?" , etc. I believe it's a rather unique form of creativity that captures my attention in a dramatic way.

Below I've posted a few variations that I find quite good. Please feel free to leave me your comments as to whether or not you like them. If so / if not, why / why not?

Collage-style Art

Collage-style Art

Collage-style Art

What do you think? Leave a comment.

I Spy...

...with my BIG blue eye...

...a handbell, a lemon, a doggy bone, the number "6", a pocket watch, a rabbithead and ears, a camera, a four-leaf clover, ALIENS, an alligator, a candle...


Have a GREAT weekend!!!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Familiar Fragments (also known as - ADD moments...)

When the sun is shining, I face the world with a very optimistic attitude. Sunshine makes the world a friendlier place to be; everyone around always seems happier.

Fresh Ricotta cheese in lasagna tastes so good. (Sometimes I substitute it with cottage cheese that I have in the refrigerator if I forget to buy the Ricotta, but there really is no comparison between the two in terms of flavor). How do Italians make theirs?

Why do the dogs hate the wild critters so much? Is it a territorial issue for them? Surely, they are smart enough to know that a possum or raccoon poses no threat to their domain (German Shepherds). Or are they?

The arrival of all the spring nursery catalogs has me anticipating the growing season! I can’t wait to dig my hands into the dirt and plant more flowers and veggies. I have been craving fresh grown eggplant, cucumbers, and tomatoes lately. The store-bought ones never seem to be very flavorful during the winter. I didn’t cut back my roses like I should have in the fall. I need to do that very soon, too.

Perfect 4.0 GPA and 3.9 GPA – it doesn’t get any better than that! How did I ever produce such smart kids? God has really blessed me. I hope and pray it continues through high school and college.

What is going on with the Red Wings lately? I’m very discouraged. I can’t watch anymore. I can’t listen, either. Just wake me up when it’s all over and tell me the final outcome, okay?! UGH!

Look, a Robin! Take heart, spring is near. Another desolate winter will soon be past. I need to keep reminding myself of this.

Baseball sign-ups this week! YES! I’m pulling out my hats this week. My son keeps bugging me to go practice throwing and batting with him, but there’s still snow all around. It doesn’t seem like baseball season is just around the corner. . .

I wish my daughter were more responsible with her stuff. She is too old to think that money grows on trees anymore; but she sure acts like it. I hate that. Next time, she’s going to be on her own - to be taught a lesson. I love to help but I won’t be taken advantage of.

If I close my eyes and imagine, I can actually smell the aroma of fresh cut grass and flowers blooming. I want to mow the lawn and bask in the warmth of the sunshine on my face. Smiling.

Do we have a Material Safety Data Sheet for fast drying Liquid Paper? (AKA White-out)

I need to remember to schedule summer vacation time off this week. What will we do this summer? Sometimes I think teaching would be nice, because you can have the whole summer off each year. Michigan summers are too short. Vacations are even shorter. 30 kids five days a week would be difficult.

I like the way the alveoli look hanging from the respiratory bronchioles on the model. They remind me of grapes. They’re pretty.

Will the next president of the United States actually be any different from the current president? Can an administrative change in person actually foster an improvement in society (during their term)? I used to think so. On a smaller scale, I think it’s possible. . . but on a larger scale. . . I’m not so sure anymore, given the condition of the country. I don’t feel very hopeful in view of any of the candidates who appear to be “leading” in the polls. (Hockeydino for president??? Hurry, finish frying your fish, Dino baby)!

Shake, shake, shake. Shake, shake, shake. Shake your booty! Shake your booty! Shake, shake, shake. Shake, shake, shake. Shake your booty! Shake your booty! Oh shake it, shake it. Shake it, shake it – very well. . . This song makes me want to get up and dance. (It makes me think of RollerKaty, too. I should visit her blog). You go, KC & the Sunshine Band!

Why is the cost of everything going up, but my paychecks are not? If housing in Michigan is decreasing in value on average of 25%, why is our assessment going up (and thus, our taxes)? I have to remember to call the township hall and ask about this.

I don’t like baths. I like showers. Baths are like sitting in dirty, yucky water. How can you get clean that way? There’s body particulate surfacing and floating on top in the water. Eeew - baths are just wrong!

I like the Allegra-D 24-hour. It doesn’t over dry like some OTC drugs do. But it makes my blood pressure go up 10 points systolic. I think I need to get the plain Allegra.

Sticks and stones can break my bones but names will never hurt me”. That is such a lie. Why did my parents teach me that? Words CAN hurt. Why didn’t they know that? Words are powerful things. Choose them wisely. Use them wisely.

I think I’d like to buy a cow to keep in my pasture. They’re such gentle giants, and I like to sit and watch them being lazy. It seems like they’re always so content just lounging around. . . chewing. They remind me that it’s ok to SLOW DOWN in life from time-to-time and “smell the roses”. I have a horrible habit of running at mach speed routinely in life. They’re very friendly, and have the sweetest-looking expressions on their faces. The farmer’s cows down the road know my car and run (ok, so I’m exaggerating – they actually more like. . . saunter) over to the fence when they see me coming. They think I’m bringing them treats – which, of course, I am! But my husband says they’re lazy, stupid beasts that stink horribly and get fly-infested in the summer and need to be cow-prodded to get moving anywhere when you want them to move! He says he’s NOT getting me a cow because I’ll become too attached to old ‘Bessie’ and never let him kill her to eat! (Well of course not, silly guy! I want the cow as a PET, not food. Don’t you know there are literally pounds of undigested red meat lodged within your 45-year-old male bowels?! “Give me meat- give me potatoes”! You need to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean white meat and fish – not cows! I don’t mind the occasional steak on the grill, but not my PET!) Oh well, I trust his judgement. He was raised in the country and worked on farms and ranches in his youth. He knows what he’s talking about; but I still want a cow for my pasture.

Tomorrow I want to go driving to take pictures. I hope it’s sunny outside. Pictures look nicer when the sun is shining, don’t you think?

My daughter is home for spring break. I told her she could help me with spring cleaning – she laughed!