Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Unusual November weather

November 29, 2011...taken at 8 a.m. (59°F.)

November is usually a month where we, in the Northeastern part of the U.S., see a cooling down of temperatures and would have seen some snowfall by now...even if it didn't stay. However, this year, it's been a lot warmer than usual  and we haven't seen more than a dusting of snow...twice. (I will not complain!)

From our 1st snow...barely more than a dusting
Our first snow came down fast and hard...then tapered off, leaving a slight coating on the grass as pictured above. By dark, it had all melted.

The beginning of our next snow storm 11/17

The next storm dumped a little more snow on us...probably about half an inch that lasted until the next day. Though it's not unusual for it to melt back off...we have in the past seen more than this for snow totals.

A white out...you can barely see the traffic on the highway

I looked like we were really going to get some snow...it came down hard, literally blowing in and covering everything.

 It did start to accumulate on the railings on our porch and steps...

November, overall, has remained a very warm month for us, with only a few cold days that hovered around the 30°F. mark. The rest of the time, the temps have remained in the mid-to-high 40s and lower 60s.  

Pretty unusual weather and I am sure the deer hunters are hating the fact that tracking any deer is pretty much out of the question!  Me--I'd say that it's more sporting...giving those deer a better chance!  (Sorry guys!) 

With November almost done...and we are expecting snow showers tomorrow...I can only wonder what December will bring. 

Musical at the mall

screen shot of unsuspecting Santa & elf

Improv Everywhere has struck again...this time at a mall in New Jersey. A man walks towards Santa and his elf, and starts singing about wanting to sit on Santa's lap. 

Watch the unsuspecting shoppers faces as the troop begins their show!


Monday, November 28, 2011

"If you were a tree, what kind would you be?"

Elm tree

I read an interesting blog today that asked the question: "If you were a tree, what kind would you be?" 

Oak tree
When faced with an issue that  you may not agree with, do you stand tall and proud, and not willing to give an inch, like the Oak tree...or are you willing to bend, give a little and perhaps work on a compromise, like the Elm tree? 

To answer that question for me, I am both of them. 

When I know that maybe I should give a little, I do or try to, without comprising myself too much...like the Elm. I believe that we can compromise on some things...it just depends on who we are and what the issue is at hand.

If I know that I am right, then I am definitely like the Oak tree and won't budge because it's extremely likely that it's something that is important to me NOT to compromise on. And there are at least a hand-full of things that I will not compromise on what-so-ever.

But in this world, I think we all have to be like both of these trees...in order to get along with others, and to leave room for us to continually grow as a person. If we are like both...then we don't compromise who we are as individuals.

So my question to you is:  "If you were a tree, what kind would you be?" 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A melancholy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has always been about being together as a family and as we approach Thanksgiving day tomorrow, I can't help thinking about how things have changed over the years of my life. While memories can give us solace at times, it also gives me a sense of sadness too.

As a child growing up, the holiday season...Thanksgiving and Christmas meant family get-togethers with a huge variety of foods...enough to last for days afterwards. Turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash, cranberry sauce, breads of all kinds and of course the pies.  Lots of pies. Pumpkin, blueberry, mincemeat, apple, cherry, pudding pies...yummy!

In those days, the house was full of laughter and good conversations between my parents, aunts and uncles, and my cousins and I. Good times.

As I went into adulthood with my own children in tow, I tried to keep that family tradition alive during the holidays, with the large varieties of foods and the large selection of pies for our desert later; tried to keep that sense of family intact.

However, in the past couple of years, as my children grew into their own families, the tradition has suffered a slow death of sorts. Last year, my youngest son spent the holiday with his in-laws, and of course, my oldest spent his in prison, isolated from the rest of us. I spent the two holidays with my daughter and her three children, relinquishing the helm to let her do all the cooking and pie baking...which also meant that there was a reduction in the amount of food prepared as there was now only 5 of us. 

This year...while I will be cooking a meal for my brother, niece and myself, there won't be the baking nor the sense of family or tradition. My youngest will spend his Thanksgiving with his girlfriend's family, and my daughter will take her children to spend the day with her in-laws. And once again, my oldest son will spend his away from all of us...locked behind iron gates and razor wire. 

Tomorrow will likely be a melancholy day for me...although I will try my best to not be sad and try to keep the spirit of Thanksgiving alive...giving thanks for all that I do have despite all the changes over the years. 

May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving here in the US...and for those of you abroad...have a wonderful and thankful day! 

Thanks for reading.

Friday, November 18, 2011


When I was a child, there weren't many tales of my father's youth that were passed down to me but the single one that I do remember was about "Moonbeamers". Although the story isn't long...it is amusing...!

Dad had 5 siblings. A brother and 4 sisters. They grew up on the same farm that I did and I am sure enjoyed all the normal childhood antics that any family goes through.

One time while at my grandparent's, in a dusty and crowded back room, where all kinds of miscellaneous stuff was stored, I came across an old, moth eaten bear skin.  Yes--a real 'bear' skin!  Being a curious child, of course, I asked Dad about it.

I never learned how the bear skin was acquired, but I did learn what it was used for...every chance Dad and his brother could catch their sisters unaware. It's funny...yet cruel...

When it was dark as dark can be, either Dad or my uncle would don the bear skin and sneak up on their sisters...pretending to be some deep woods creature with glowing red eyes. I can only imagine the shock and fear that went through my aunts...the screeches and screams! The chaos of 6 children running in every direction!

This creature: a "Moonbeamer"...who only came out at night, with glowing red eyes...that came to get little girls.

Thank goodness the bear skin and the idea of the Moonbeamers were retired before I came along.  It was bad enough that I thought werewolves were real!!!

Have a good day folks and thanks for reading! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The swing

I had a swing like this when I was a small child
Today I saw a photo of a swing on Facebook and it reminded me of the one I had when I was a little girl of about 5 or 6.  With it came a flood of timeless days swinging and swinging and swinging my days away.  And it also reminded me of a incident which would forever more change how I viewed and swung on that swing.

My dad made the swing for me, from a limb of a huge old tree...the tree which was for the most part the center of a row of trees that lined a steep bank that was several feet above a ditch. I can remember swinging out over that ditch...and out over the edge of the road...just a little...feeling like I was flying.

Being the only child at the time, it was up to me to amuse myself. The tree swing was my most favorite thing...I can remember getting up early in the morning, still in my pajamas and going out to swing until my mom called me back inside.

From my perch there on the swing, I had a wonderful view of the farm where my dad worked...along with all the cows, machinery and barns; my grandpa and grandma's house; a few fields and a plot of woods. I was a princess who often surveyed her royal grounds! 

One day, while dad was working on the farm...and mom was inside doing what mom's did...I was doing what I loved most...swinging in the swing when a car drove very slowly by.  Too slowly. 

Inside were two men, two scary-looking men (in my little girl's eyes) who stared at me causing me to look elsewhere. I can remember feeling suddenly afraid and although I didn't look directly at them again, I could see the car had stopped and started to back up. 

Alarmed...I ran into the house and told my mom about the men...who by then were parked in the driveway and one had come to the door.  I hid behind my mother while she answered the door...but my little child's mind doesn't remember what was said...or why they were there at our door. 

What I do remember though is the relief of their leaving and the praise of my mother who told me that I had done the right thing by coming to her. I often wonder if she sensed something bad about them too. 

From then on, I always was watchful when I was not only outside, but swinging. I think that is when I learned that there are bad people in this world...and I had seen two of them. I didn't swing much on my swing after that...those men robbed me of the pleasure and freedom that the swing meant to me.  Even today, I can feel the sadness of that little girl within...and as a woman, I feel anger that those men could do that to an innocent child. 

Below is a photo of me at the age I was when those men stopped...dressed as a little Princess, in a white sheet and a hair wreath and bracelet made of pop-together beads:

 Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Spare the rod, spoil the child: Case 2

While reading a news site a few nights ago, I came across an article that falls right into line with my "Spare the rod, spoil the child" blogs (my first blog and Case 1) and ...and I couldn't help but to be more disturbed about what is happening: children dying from being beaten...in the name of religion.

20/20 published a report: "Child's Death Sheds Light on Biblical Disciplinary Teachings" this past week (11/8) that lightly detailed a handful of child deaths that resulted from punishment from followers of a ministry belonging to Michael Pearl: No Greater Joy (NGJ) Ministries.

He preaches his believers TO not only spank the child but how to do it!  And all, of course, in the name of God. Anderson Cooper did a segment on Pearl:

Because of his teaching...these children have died (recently and in the last few years) as a result:

** Hana--age 11...from the state of Washington. She and her brother were Ethiopian children adopted and brought to the US. 

** Lydia Schatz--age 7...from California. Also adopted.

** Sean Paddock--age 4...South Carolina.
How many more are out there that have yet to be linked to this man and his teachings?  It's sickening to even contemplate.

RH Reality Check published an article November 3rd:

Corpses Don't Rebel: Former Quiverfull Mom Reacts to Death of Hana Williams by "Biblical Chastisement" via Corporal Punishment

The article starts out:

Trigger Warning: This article contains graphic descriptions of infant and child abuse.

The death toll from parents following Michael and Debi Pearl’s teachings continues to mount. Another child is has been “biblically chastened” to death via corporal punishment, and Michael Pearl is defending his teachings in the mainstream media while promoting his new book.
The writer, talks about Pearl's methods...and her thoughts about them. If you have the time, I recommend reading it...even though it is a bit long.

The movement against corporal punishment and beating a child in the name of God seems to be picking up momentum. It's about time. It's a horrid way to discipline a child, not to mention what it does to them mentally and emotionally. But look at what it's taken to get the attention across the media!
Do a Google search and you will find a variety of news items, blogs and even videos all related to what I have posted in these blogs. Yet even more...you will find horror stories...some of which will churn your stomach. 

At the risk of sounding redundant...think of the children. We CAN stop this to a larger degree...but it is going to take a lot of time and effort by all of us.  The biggest part of all of this is educating and advocating. 

Just think of the children....

Thanks always for reading.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Spare the rod, spoil the child: Case 1

Wooden spoon for spanking?
Last week a YouTube video went viral on the internet, showing a Texas judge using a belt on his disabled teen daughter, which then caught media attention. If you haven't seen the video, this is it: 

(Warning...very disturbing footage.)

When I first watched this video, I could only stomach the first 30 or 40 seconds of it and then had to stop it. This is beyond appalling, and this by a judge who decides the fate of others in his courtroom?  Unbelievable!

This is a beating in its truest form...the judge didn't care where he hit his teenage daughter, man-handled her like she wasn't even his child, and wasn't satisfied with one or two or even three strikes...he just kept going on and on. 

The child's mom then joins in and gets her whack in...for what purpose, it's unclear, but you can hear the mother say to the teen something to the effect of 'turn over and take it like a woman'!  (I wonder if mom could have taken the beating her husband handed out "like a woman"!  I doubt it.)

This is exactly what I was talking about in my first blog: Spare the rod, spoil the child.  THIS is corporal punishment. This isn't discipline, this is abuse.

And...this should not be tolerated! No matter what the excuse...it very much IS child abuse.

The daughter herself was the one that uploaded the video to YouTube and she explains her reasoning behind doing this 7 years after the fact in the following video which aired on NBC November 3, 2011.  

Did she do the right thing by exposing her father? I believe so...even if it is 7 years later because we are seeing more and more child abuse cases where children are being abused with belts, paddles and even switches made from tree branches. In the past month, there have been at least one or two cases where a child DIED because of the beating. (That will be covered in my next blog as Case 2.)

What is happening to our society where we are--as parents--needing to punish our children in what is considered a violent manner?  We are raising children that are likely going to perpetuate the cycle of abuse. 

Is this the way we choose to bring our children up? Is this the way we want to teach our children good morals, ethics, compassion...etc.?  Seriously? 

This morning, Lorraine Devon Wilke published her thoughts on the very subject in the Huffington Post's Parents blog. Thank goodness I am not the only person that is disturbed by this video...and even appalled by the way some of the people out there feel about this form of punishment.

Yet...it goes on...and will continue to go on, unless we as parents, aunts, uncles, grand-parents and even neighbors say "Enough!"

Think of the child...please.  Look at this photo: 

bruises from a belt on unidentified child

Can you live with yourself knowing that you...and I...could have prevented this? 

Think about the children.......

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Broken...Been away too long...

Sunrise, Nov. 3, 2011

Over the years, I have been aware that as time went on, I was loosing more and more of my 'self'...and for a long time I really thought it had everything to do with my depression (PTSD) and breakdown (in 2001). But then again...although they were a part of it, there were also other factors that had a direct bearing on what was happening to my loss of self. 

I have been spent most of my life caring for others, beyond the capacity of just being a mother and wife. For a couple of years, after the death of my mom when I was 16, I became responsible for running our household, doing all the things my mom did, which included taking care of my brother and sister, and being a student myself. 

Into adulthood, I became a mom at the age of 18, and a wife just before my 19th birthday. When I had my second and third child, I was in my second marriage...and was a full time step-mom to three children as well. 

Marriage three...wasn't so draining, as there were no children other than my two youngest to raise, and my husband wasn't a burden in the sense I had to take care of him too. But of course, I still felt I was giving more of myself away and none of it came back to me. 

After my breakdown, I lived with my daughter and was with her through the birth of all three of her children...and as they grew, and she entered the work force, I stepped-up and babysat my grandchildren while she worked. At the time, it seemed the right thing to do. 

But I realize now...with the help of my sister in a conversation she and I had today, my living with my daughter actually drained me as much if not more than what all the years prior had. Instead of getting better...mentally and emotionally, it hindered me in ways that I didn't see until now. 

In the past few weeks that I have been back home in New York (after my move to Wisconsin that didn't work out, which I have talked about in my earlier posts) I have felt my 'self' coming back...not really the old me, but a new and improved version of me.

For along time, I really didn't know how to get this part of me back or if it would even come back...but it has and is. I feel life beginning to flow back through my veins again. It's the part of me that is a care-free spirit, who loves life and wants to live it, not to just 'exist'. 

Laughter comes easier, feelings are more intense...and aren't dulled by being so unhappy...feeling so used up. Even with the recent hurt and sorrows of a relationship gone wrong...it's okay...I am okay. It's not bogging me down...because I see it another lesson in living. An adventure I don't regret. 

I have been away from my self for so long...felt broken for so long...but I am coming back. I am learning to love those parts of me that were/are broken...they are a part of me too. 

I am reawakening...becoming...me.  Again. Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes.

The video below, "Broken" by Seether (featuring Amy Lee) carries a duel meaning for me.  Enjoy....


I wanted you to know I love the way you laugh

I wanna hold you high and steal your pain away
I keep your photograph, I know it serves me well
I wanna hold you high and steal your pain

'Cause I'm broken when I'm lonesome

And I don't feel right when you're gone away

You're gone away

The worst is over now and we can breathe again

I wanna hold you high, you steal my pain away
There's so much left to learn, and no one left to fight
I wanna hold you high and steal your pain


'Cause I'm broken when I'm open
And I don't feel like I am strong enough
'Cause I'm broken when I'm lonesome
And I don't feel right when you're gone away

You're gone away

You don't feel me here anymore