Saturday, May 29, 2010

Red Admirals!

There were about fifty of these little guys on a flowering shrub in the garden. Friendly things, I had a few land on me.

They don't stay still for long, so it was difficult getting photos.

Click to enlarge:

Friday, May 14, 2010

And I Was Having Such A Nice Day...

I get to work, check my cell phone. Seven missed calls. One voice mail.

And what did the voice mail have to tell me? NOTHING. Whoever left it was tenacious enough to call SEVEN TIMES, but not considerate enough to actually leave a message.

Then I realize the number looks a bit familiar. Could be the school....after all, they're probably the only ones who'd call me during my morning commute. So I call it. Yep, it's the school.

Being a neurotic mom, all kinds of things are running through my head: bus accident, schoolyard fight, shooting, knifing.......then I wonder, if something really awful happened, wouldn't the school just leave a message, telling me to call asap? Maybe they called her father when they couldn't get me, and he hasn't gotten in touch with me yet? Maybe they didn't want to leave a message that would scare me. Okay that's just silly, NOT leaving a message scares me more.

I have to fight with the school's IVR system, which keeps telling me to dial zero for the office, except it won't accept zero - or any other number - then it disconnects me. I call back, slamming on the ZERO key, until a human being finally picks up the phone. I tell her "I have SEVEN missed calls, and NO voice mail from this number, so can you please tell me what's going on????".

Apparently the office lady noticed the freak out in my voice, and managed to say, "everything is okay...don't worry!".

Whew... no missing limbs, no knife fights or bus problems....yay. Turns out, my daughter wore a pair of khaki shorts that were too short. An inch above the knee too short, not "hiked-up-the-butt" short. So a teacher sent her to the office, and she tried calling me, repeatedly, to see if I can bring her another pair.

Now, bear a few things in mind:

1) I've been having the clothing talk with her for years now, ever since the school went with a uniform dress policy. Her clothes are too tight, too short, and yeah, I know, my parents had the same problem with me when I was a teen. So sue me. We didn't have a school uniform, and the only dress policy was: a) No shorts. Ever. Long pants only - even if it's 95 degrees in June and the school has no air conditioning. Whatever doesn't kill ya makes ya stronger. Also, b) no tube tops or tank tops for obvious boob-spillage reasons.

2) In addition to number one above, it's not like I let her leave the house wearing whatever she wants. I've sent her back upstairs to get changed plenty of times. However, she's been warned that if something gets by me and she gets caught by the school, she's got to take the conduct card, detention, etc. Yeah, I'm a big meanie.

3) I've reminded my daughter, repeatedly, about leaving me voice mail messages. If she's going to call like a stalker, at least give me the courtesy of leaving a message.

The office lady was very kind and understanding. She also sounded exactly like Grace, The Office Lady from Ferris Bueller. They gave her the choice of detention, or using the school's "spare" pair of capris. Apparently they keep extra clothing stashed around for these exact reasons. She opted for the capris, but whined they were too big.

Afterwards, I told my daughter I didn't care if they gave her a Snuggie – she should smile graciously and say “thank you”.

And yes, I'm giving thanks it was just some silly shorts, and not something worse.


It was misty, green and lush this morning. It rained all night, not heavily, but steady. Out here in the country, it leaves everything looking electric green, as if the woods took it's vitamins.

I'm long past my years of worrying about my hair and frizz, and tend to enjoy a day like this, even if the sun isn't shining.

There were four birds in the garden looking for worms. I would've loved to get photos, but I was on my way to the school bus stop, so no camera. Three fat robins and a cardinal that looked SO RED against the intense green backdrop.

I've seen this cardinal in the garden a lot recently. We don't usually have them, so I'm hoping it might build a nest. Often, we have a robin's nest in the hedge and baby bunnies in the snow-in-summer.

I stopped at the grocery store on the way home last night, to pick up milk and few other things, and made the mistake of passing the Tastykake section. We've been so good lately, eating healthy, I broke down and bought a package of the mini chocolate donuts.

I remembered we used to get these as a “treat”, once in a while when I was a kid. My sisters and I would try to be the first to get into the box, and then fight over the ones with the chocolate covered the donut hole - because that meant more chocolate!

Which reminds me, it's time for breakfast. Fiber filled oat/wheat/flaxseed crunch, or a donut?


Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Since I have soooooo much spare time during my commute to (and from) work..... you know, with all the stopping, starting, and stopping again......I've noticed a few strange things.

On the left side of the highway, in the median, there are sticks. Metal sticks. Covered in what appears to be poop.


Not Poohsticks.....that would be cute, and warm, and fuzzy. I-78 is not remotely cute or warm, and definitely not fuzzy.

But it's not really poop. Well, probably not. Maybe. Anyway, that would be really weird, even for Jersey.

However, I've been trying to determine the origin of these sticks, and why they are covered in a substance resembling poop.

Upon further examination, during a particularly nasty traffic jam, I realized these might be metal markers that originally had reflectors on them. A long time ago. Like, maybe in the dark ages. Or 1970.

Now they're all snapped in half, probably due to all the stupid driving going on. Add to that, all the road debris flying around, ready to impale itself on a sharp metal stick: the oil, gasoline, random car parts, body parts, plastic, garbage, blood, and quite possibly, poop.

There you have it.....poopsticks.

As you can see, I've managed to lose what's left of my mind. Four hours of NJ traffic, daily, will do that to you.

Here's a few more fun facts I've learned during my six months of hell:

- It rains rocks. For no apparent reason. Rocks. NOT kicked up from a truck, but falling from the heavens. Like manna. Or bird crap.

- Speaking of rain, it brings out the mentally deficient. Forget snow. Rain turns the PA/NJ commuter into a Tokyo Drifter.

- Under no circumstances should you listen to Motley Crue's Kickstart My Heart while driving. Before you know it, you're buzzing along at 95 mph, inviting a traffic stop and a body cavity search.