Monday, June 29, 2009

Nights in Rodanthe

I rented Nights in Rodanthe last night to watch during the rainstorm. I thought I had read the book, as I thought I had already read all of the Nicholas Sparks books. But apparently not, because I didn't recognize the story at all.

I don't know if I am just getting too cynical about Nicholas Sparks stories, especially as they are all so damned predictable, or what. I just didn't care for the movie at all.

Normally I like Nicholas Sparks movies and books. And I love Diane Lane and usually like Richard Gere, and the two of them usually work well together. But I felt that the love affair was forced. I didn't see how it happened and it just didn't feel real to me. And I didn't even cry at the end of it. If you know me, you know that I cry at just about everything.

Perhaps it's because I was so restless last night and just kept rambling on my blogs. Perhaps it really wasn't a great movie, like so many people liked to think.

Whatever the reason, I was kind of sorry that I spend the dollar, especially because I'm sure it will be on one of the movie channels to which I subscribe any time now.

Maybe I should try reading the book? If you have read it, please let me know how it is! I kind of want to redeem my negative feelings toward the movie......

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Eddie is yummy

In case you haven't already heard, I have a slight obsession with Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam. I have had this obsession for 18 years now, and it's not ending any time soon.

And in case you haven't already heard, when my friend and I went to Albany to see the first two nights of his solo tour a couple of weeks ago, we got to meet him.

It was the single greatest moment of my life.

I had bought a new camera before the trip, because I was determined to meet him this time (four solo shows and at least 12 full band shows.....). And wouldn't you know I was so nervous again that I couldn't operate my stupid camera??

I did get a few pics with my camera phone, and ended up with a couple of good shots with the digital outside after we met him the second night. You can see my pictures and read the stories of the two nights:

We Met Eddie Vedder!

We Met Eddie Vedder......Again!

And just as I was getting over the whole thing, tonight my friend had to post her photo album of the event. I totally stole this picture off of her page:

Because it is beautiful! The fact that I was this close to my idol, my muse, my favorite celebrity in the whole wide world whose music has kept me going for 18 straight years.......!!!

I almost flew down to Atlanta to stay with friends and family so that I could go to two more nights and try my luck again, but I couldn't make it work. In some ways I am kicking myself. In other ways, I am grateful that I didn't, because the venue probably would not have been conducive to meeting him again. And why risk ending on a less wonderful note?

Now for the new album and next tour.........

Julio as protective big brother

Ok, I am obviously bored out of my mind. I was trying to work my gardening jobs today, but got rained out yet again, and I just cannot concentrate on writing articles! That Bright Hub one I did wore me out!

So, the saga of the battle between the canines and felines continues......I finally found Fiona hiding under my dresser in my room. (Damn, I STILL haven't found Cassie! I need to try to do that.....) Eventually the boys got bored and left my room, so she decided to come slinking out. I held her on my lap for a while. Julio came back into the room and jumped up on the bed, so I put her up there with him.

But then Jefferson came around the corner, saw Fiona, and started barking at her. So, she ran and hid under my bed now. It's kind of annoying, because I know she will probably come out while we are asleep, but then they will hear her and chase her in the middle of the night. But I don't know what else to do right now.

I got amused at the dogs' reaction to her being under the bed, though. Jeffey was trying to be all tough, barking at her, but she would hiss, so he would back away. (Apparently he once was attacked by a cat with claws, so he keeps his distance. Cassie is declawed, so he has never feared her.)

Julio, on the other hand, is trying to coax her out. He, too, tried to crawl under the bed and pull her out. She just went farther back under the bed, so he just spent the last ten minutes barking at her, tail wagging. But it wasn't the "I want to chase you" bark. It was more of a "Come out, I want to play" bark. It's like he's saying, "Come play with my brother and have fun!"

Now he has given up and has passed out, almost protectively, in between the edge of the bed and the door to my bedroom. Jeffey is out in the hallway. It's kinda cute.

Random story: The day that I brought Fiona home, she was a tiny kitten. At this point, Jefferson no longer lived here. I held Fiona on my lap, and let Julio come up and sniff her. First he licked her head, and I thought, "How cute! He's going to take care of her!" Then he smacked her in the face. I guess he wanted to establish his dominance over her?

But the two of them quickly became the best of friends. He put up with her crawling all over him and they like to snuggle together. It's like kitty and doggie calendar cute. [I'm too lazy to look on my computer for any of the pics right now, though.)

It is my hope that some day soon, they will all make peace! And then I will have to find something else to ramble on and on about.......:-)

She did it again!

I came home from my gardening jobs this afternoon and was going down into the basement to work on some more laundry, and again I could hear crying coming from above my head! This time Fiona had somehow gotten up on the hot water pipe!

This time Mommy was able to get her down faster, because I already had the camera phone with me, haha. I brought her upstairs and slammed the basement door shut, because I don't want to keep doing that! At least up here she can go hide in the extra bedrooms or something, where the boys don't go.

I still haven't found my other poor girls.......yuck and now I can hear my sister's dog yakking in the other room........*sigh*

My Psychotic Siamese

So, my sister's dog has come to stay with me for a while. He is also an adorable Shih-tzu. The boys together have been harassing my older cat, Cassie, ever since they were little puppies. Julio gets along with my Siamese, Fiona, as I introduced them when she was a kitten. Jeffey, on the other hand, wasn't here when Fiona arrived, so he never had the pleasure, and she is terrified of him.

I haven't seen the cats since I brought Jeffey home yesterday, and figured they may be down in the basement hiding. So, when I went down to get my laundry this morning, I fully expected to see them. But they weren't there.

But when I walked into the laundry half of the basement (also known as the "unfinished" half of the basement), I could hear Fiona crying. But I couldn't see her. Then I realized the sound was coming from above me.

Somehow, she had gotten up into the ceiling of the "finished" half of the basement, and now couldn't get herself down!

Naughty mommy that I am, instead of rescuing her immediately, I had to run back upstairs to get the camera phone. By that time, of course, she had hidden herself even further back and it took a lot of coaxing to get her to come to where I could reach her again.

I found the situation highly comical, even as I was terrified trying to balance on the archaic bar stool. She is such a little sh!t and frequently gets herself into trouble! And something tells me I won't find it as amusing if she does it again......

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Celebrate Each Day

There was just a beautiful story on the Today Show about a family whose baby only lived for 99 days. The fact that he was even born at all was a complete miracle. I cannot remember the name of the genetic disorder that he had, but children with that disorder often don't even make it to birth. If they do survive until birth, they usually die within 9 days. This child beat that eleven times over.

Instead of being upset and mourning the loss of their baby, his parents decided to celebrate each day of his life. They maintained a blog (I believe called "Dear Eliot") and had a birthday party for him every day. Bigger to-do's were saved for the bigger milestones of his life, as in the achievement of each month.

Eliot was forced to have tubes for oxygen and feeding, and after he turned three months old, they were taking out. Of course, just over a week later, he passed away. But the fact that he was able to have the tubes taken out was yet another miracle.

At his funeral, his family and friends let 99 balloons go -- one for each day of his life.

It was a beautiful story, that of course got this emotional Cancer going this morning. But it's just another reminder that you need to cherish each day as it comes. Each day that you wake up breathing is a gift, no matter how bad things seem at the time.

I especially try to hold onto that every day that I work this summer. On one of my Facebook status updates one day, someone commented on how lucky I was that my work was to create pots and plant for other people. I have held onto that every day. So even when I get bug bites, and my muscles get sore, and people occasionally ask for ridiculous tasks to be done, I am so grateful that I get to spend 3-plus months of the year working in the Great Outdoors. I get daily fresh air, exercise, and get to bask in the glorious sunshine as I help to maintain a beautiful Earth.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Britain Drops Spelling Rule

Even if you are a horrible speller, I'm sure that you remember the rhyme "i before e except after c"....and then about 85,000 exceptions to the rule afterwards. It's the one rule that every school child learning English actually learns, remembers, and recites, even if they can never remember to follow it.

And now the British want to get rid of it.

Jack Bovill, leader of The Spelling Society, is looking to simplify the spelling of the English language, and feels that this is one way to do it. Because the rule has so many exceptions, there is just no reason to teach it and further confuse the children.

Is this a good idea? Would it help to make the spelling of the English language simpler? Do we need to take this route and people in general are dumbing down?

In some respects, I think it could be a good idea, especially as I witness the plethora of spelling errors made by my friends, former students (yikes!), and people trying to write profesionally. But would it actually help them? Or would it add to the "dumbing down" of society as people wouldn't learn the "new" rules, either?

How much of our literature from the last several years and decades would go by the wayside as the spelling would be completely different? Would reading Hemingway become as painful as trying to decipher Shakespeare and Beowulf?

Obviously English has evolved over the centuries, and perhaps this is just another step in the process.

And I am one of those people who learned spelling and grammar at such a young age, to the point where it is as much a part of me of my hair and arms. I tend to be resistant to change. But it just seems really weird to me to change the spelling rules.........

"British government spells end of "i before e' rules Yahoo!News Retrieved 6-21-09 from

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Newly Discovered Use for Peppermint Essential Oil

I found a new use for peppermint essential oil.

The other night, I sprinkled lavender essential oil on my bed, as I have been doing since I bought it. And I started thinking about the peppermint essential oil that I have. A few people told me it was supposed to wake me up, but I remember reading on a different bottle that it was supposed to be energizing.

I was stiff and sore after working a lot on the computer and doing other stuff, and my neck was bothering me. I realized that I didn't have any Icy Hot or otherwise similar product to use on my achy muscles.

So, I grabbed the bottle of peppermint, and put a couple of drops on the sides of my neck. The peppermint sort of iced the area, and the pleasing aroma mixed nicely with the lavender to relax me further.

Today, it has been raining all freakin' day. Rain sometimes gives me a headache. Plus, I have been doing a lot of computer work, writing and researching. So, when the headache ensued, I decided to try something new. I put a few drops of peppermint essential oil on my forehead, and rubbed it around to my temples. Again, it made me feel icy and relaxed away the headache.

I don't know if it's supposed to be used in this fashion, and I know it is recommended that pregnant women not use it. But I have to tell you, I think I have found a new use for it and will continue to use it, until someone proves to me that I shouldn't!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

PETA Goes After Obama

The big news yesterday was that President Obama had managed to swat and kill a pesky fly during an interview with CNBC. It was all over the news stations, replayed again and again, and of course all over the Web. This morning, the news said that PETA is upset with Obama for killing a fly, because it was inhumane.


But, something like his voting record seems to usually be in favor of animal rights, so they aren't going to go after him too strongly. But they are going to send him some kind of a trap that allows you to humanely catch the insects to release them into the outdoors where they belong. Because he doesn't have anything better to do or worry about.

I wonder how PETA would feel about me using the attachment on the Shop-Vac to suck the little buggers directly out of the air?

In case you missed it, here is the video that I found on YouTube:

And, of course, the remix video:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Review of New Rice Dream Milks

My friend and I went to our local co-op, Abundance, the other day for some tasty organic groceries. As we were perusing the aisles, my eye fell upon some new Rice Dream milk flavors. One was Hazelnut Vanilla, and the other was Chocolate Chai.

I have now tried them both, and I have to say, YUM!! The Hazelnut Vanilla is actually quite similar to the plain Vanilla flavor, but with just a touch of hazelnut flavoring. It would probably taste really good in coffee. (I was first introduced to Rice Dream by a former neighbor who always put it in his tea.) But it's also nice as a special tasty treat when one is thirsty.

The real winner, though, is definitely the Chocolate Chai. It has got a rich chocolate flavor with plenty of spices. Think of it as the cold version of the chocolate chai Yogi tea (also highly recommended!). But the flavor is even richer and more intense. This one is definitely good for an after-dinner treat. It satisfies that craving for something sweet and chocolately, and is infinitely better for you that dessert!

The price, though, left a little to be desired. It was $3.49 for one of those little boxes of milk. What are they, about 32 oz? Then again, Abundance isn't known for being cheap, so it will definitely be worth watching for sales, then stocking up!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Reflecting on The Bucket List

I like to doze off to movies, and last night I watched The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. I love that movie, and have watched it a few times. I believe my father actually enjoyed that one, as well, even though he usually hates the formulaic movies of today.

Every time I watch that movie, I always have to ponder my own bucket list. What do I really want to accomplish? What is left for me to do? And perhaps I was even more moved to do so based on current events.

So, what would I put on my bucket list? Well......Change someone's life. Become a published writer. Meet Eddie Vedder and thank him for the last 18 years of musical lifeblood. Have a family. See Mt. Everest (just like the movie!) though I don't think my ankles would allow me to climb it. Go to Africa. Go to Italy. Visit France as an adult. Read every book ever written. Work as a gardener or horticulturist. Travel cross-country like Jack Kerouac or Donald Miller.

I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones that pop up again and again. And well, I can already cross a bunch off. I am a Montessori teacher, and I know that I have changed the lives of children and their parents. I write for over a dozen websites, so I am a published writer. I met Eddie Vedder, TWICE, last week (in case you hadn't heard, but if not read more here.) My family right consists of close friends, and my kids are my furry ones. If I am meant to have the other kind, it will happen, but I'm not picky. I'm working on reading, and I'm reviewing books on Associated Content, Suite 101, and Andi's Book Reviews. I am doing the gardening every summer now for myself and families from school, and just started Andi's Gardening Experiments. And the traveling is yet to come. But at 31, that isn't such a bad start!

The other thought-provoking part in the movie is when they are sitting atop the Pyramids in Egypt. Morgan Freeman is talking about the two questions that are asked before one enters Egyptian heaven. 1. Have you found joy in your life? 2. Have you given joy to others?

1. Yes, I regularly find joy in my life. It may only be glimpses here and there, or it may be an extended period. But, you need to experience some sad and frustrating times to make you truly appreciate those joyful times.

2. I like to think I have brought joy to others. I have been told that I have. I strive to do so. So, I guess I can get into Egyptian heaven?

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Random Thoughts....Essential Oils

This is going to be my quirky place to put all of those weird random thoughts that frequently enter my brain, and that do not fit into any of my other blog areas. You never know what I am going to come up with and may not agree with me all of the time, and that's okay. I'm always up for productive conversation!

First random thought of the day......essential oils.

As I am sitting here working at my computer, I can see my little collection of new essential oil bottles. I have eyed these lovely things for weeks, but have never tried any of them. Finally, a sale at the local co-op encouraged me to try a couple. I was most interested in the lavender, because I can often have difficulty sleeping, especially when my brain is on overdrive. Lavender, unfortunately, is quite expensive. But the first night that I tried it, I slept really, really well! I think I used too much, though, because the next day I was still totally in a zone. But now I have used it three nights in a row, and it is quite relaxing.

Because I was so tired after the lavender, people suggested to me that I try peppermint to wake up. But the bottle of peppermint says it is calming. I did notice that I was calm, and it does wake you up a bit, depending on where you put it. When I was at the store I noticed that spearamint is supposed to wake you up.

The third one that I have tried is a lemon eucalyptus one. It was recommended to me for use as a way to ward off bugs when outside working in the garden. I noted that it also claims to be an awakening scent. I have used it a few times in the yard, and I haven't had as many bugs bothering me. I'm also using it along my windowsills, where I want to have the windows open for fresh air, but my darling cat has ripped the screens, so the bugs come in. It does, again, seem to be warding off the bugs. But the problem with using it in my bedroom is, I have to remember to use it in the morning, because the scent keeps me awake at night, thus defeating the lavender!

Any further suggestions for essential oils to try would be greatly appreciated.....especially as they are on sale through the month of June. :-)