Friday, July 25, 2008

Lots of wildlife this morning!

Well after all the rain we had, the wildlife came out this morning and I was glad to see it. On my way past Lake Wyola this morning I saw a crane of some sort perched on the end of someone's kayak. Then after I dropped my daughter off at daycare, I had to stop the car to let a family of turkeys cross the road- mom, dad, and about 5 babies. Very cute. Some of the babies were very young. When I got to campus I was greeted again. This time by the sight of a bunny rabbit in the "garden" on the north side of the library. He/she never knew I was there. While I was enjoying seeing something besides the usual squirrels and ducks on campus, someone pointed out a pair of morning doves. They were staying very close to each other, out between Thompson Hall and the South College loading dock. Wish I could have stayed out longer, but work beckoned. Ah well. Nice start to a Friday morning at least. Definitely lifted my mood after a tough night and morning with Abby.

Small online discovery

Stumbled upon something called "live journal" this morning. I was looking for something about birds at Lake Wyola, and my Google searches weren't finding much. But this person evidently posted some pictures of Lake Wyola so came up in my search. Interesting individual, and an interesting site I think. Live journal has some appeal. I might have to check it out more and see some other writers stuff too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Boy do I feel old! Leno is leaving the "Tonight Show"boy

Boy do I feel old! I remember when Johnny Carson retired in 1992, and Jay Leno took over "The Tonight Show". I turned 21 that year, and I remember it happened in May, right around the time I was breaking up with my boyfriend L. I was hoping that David Letterman was going to get the job, but it went to Leno instead. I think my mom has been a loyal fan of Leno's, but I never liked him very much for some reason. Now I hear he's only got another year left on the job before he calls it quits. Carson had the job for 30 years. I figured Leno would last that long too, guess I was wrong. In any case, I feel old knowing that he's calling it quits. It just ages me somehow. Rumor is Conan O'Brien may get the job next. O'Brien is on so late now not many people get to see him, myself included. Maybe I'll Tivo some of his stuff to see if he'll be worth watching. I still like Letterman better, but since I'm usually not in control of the remote, it doesn't matter much.

Enough rambling. I've got to get back to work. Only a few more days until I begin my vacation at home with Abby, while DH goes to Long Beach for his conference.

Friday, July 18, 2008

McDonald's vs. Burger King etc.

Well since the franchise closed most of the Wendy's around here, we really have mostly just 2 choices- Burger King or McDonalds. Sure, there is a Taco Bell here and there, and a Wendy's in Hadley, but there are definitely more McDonald's and Burger Kings around. I know there has been a lot blogged about the competition, so I'll add my blog to the ranks too. So let's see I'm a little fuzzy on the pricing because my husband usually gets stuck paying, but I know they try to be about even. The value menus seem about even in the range of items etc. So where does it break down?
Restrooms- Burger Kings are always gross and dirty, and they don't have diaper decks. McDonald's ones are nicer, cleaner and do have diaper decks. So yay for clean and yay for diaper decks!
Dining Rooms- I generally think that the ones at McDonald's ones look cleaner, but it does vary. Both have self-service drink dispensers but some places stock them better than others. In Greenfield, MA the Burger King is in definite need of an upgrade all around, and maybe now that they have taken the play structure out, they will start.
Food- I like Burger King better, but you know it probably has more calories. I need to research this a little. A Quarter Pounder is not as filling as a Whooper or a Stackhouse Burger or whatever it is. Plus I like BK's option of onion rings, another plus for me. On the other hand, McDonald's has yogurt parfaits which are yummy, and better chicken sandwiches. I think McDs burgers and breakfast sandwiches are more salty than BKs. I like McDs coffee better though, and my husband likes their sweet tea.
Kid's food- McDonald's apples are cheaper than the new apples at BK, and I usually like the toys at McDs better too. My daughter seems to prefer the McDs hamburgers over the BK ones for some reason, not sure why.
And our latest bonus category is the play spaces. Between the diaper decks, better toys, and the play spaces, McDs seems more kid-friendly overall. If only they could improve the food for the adults, we'd all be happy.

Monday, July 14, 2008

mini book report- "American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, the birth of the "it" girl and the crime of the century

I finally finished reading "American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, the birth of the "it" girl and the Crime of the Century" by Paula Uruburu. The title alone is a good clue- this is a long book. It was not a fast and easy read at all, but it was detailed and interesting. Evelyn Nesbit was an underaged model and chorus girl in the early 1900s.

This is the story of her childhood and the events that led up to the murder of Stanford White. White was a famous architect in New York City (and elsewhere I suppose). He designed Madison Square Garden among other places. The book gives a lot of detail about Evelyn's relationship with White and others (including Jack Barrymore). The murder itself is but a flash, and then there is the aftermath- the trials of Evelyn's husband and the ordeals she had to go through.

What happened after the trials is another flash, which was disappointing to me, but understandable. This is not supposed to be a biography of Evelyn's whole life I guess. It's just an account of the events surrounding the murder of White, whom was Evelyn's benefactor and lover. Plus it talks about Evelyn's marriage to White's murderer, Harry K. Thaw.

I'll admit I'm more interested in learning more about Stanford White now, and how he managed to maintain so many secrets in his life without his wife's knowing, or maybe with her knowing and not caring. In any case, this book is good if you are interested in learning more about famous women from the 1900s, or about women in abusive relationships, and also about the theater life in New York in the 1900s, especially what was called the "Tenderloin district". From Wikipedia:

"The Tenderloin was a once-seedy neighborhood in the heart of the New York City borough of Manhattan. Police Captain Alexander Williams allegedly coined the term in the late 1870s.[1] This district was in Midtown Manhattan from 23rd Street to 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue to Seventh Avenue, much of which is known now as Chelsea and the Garment district. The northwest corner of the Tenderloin was Longacre Square, now called Times Square.

The Tenderloin was a notorious red-light district. The raffish reputation of the Tenderloin's 1890s bordellos, repeatedly raided by Anthony Comstock's vice squad, was recreated in the 1960 Sheldon Harnick-Jerry Bock musical Tenderloin, based on a novel by Samuel Hopkins Adams.

The Tenderloin of the early 20th Century is described from a police perspective in Behind the Green Lights, the memoirs of Police Captain Cornelius Willemse.

By 1914, middle-class African-Americans from the Tenderloin district started moving to Harlem, which had been primarily white.

The name appears to have fallen out of favor in the 1940s, when massive redevelopment of the area removed much of the associated stigma."

"Stanford White (November 9, 1853June 25, 1906) was an American architect and partner in the architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White, the frontrunner among Beaux-Arts firms. He designed a long series of houses for the rich and the very rich, and various public, institutional, and religious buildings, some of which can be found to this day in places like Sea Gate, Brooklyn. His design principles embodied the "American Renaissance". In 1906 White was murdered by millionaire Harry K. Thaw, leading to a widely-reported trial."

Information about Evelyn can also be found at Wikipedia etc, so I won't quote anymore of that. It's a long book, took me several weeks to read because of all the details, and honestly some nights I just wasn't up for it. So it sat sometimes a week in between chapters, but I got through it and now I know more about a piece of New York's history.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Abby the shoe diva

Last night we went to the mall to meet my FIL for dinner and we got there a few minutes early. DD took off, so DH followed while I waited for FIL and Miss J. to arrive. DH said dd took him straight to the shoe store and started looking at shoes. Finally FIL and Miss J arrived and DH managed to get dd out of the store with a promise to come back. After dinner sure enough we went back. DD tried on about 20 pairs of shoes, and had her foot measured by the clerk to get the right size. She finally selected a pair of water shoes (blue, yellow, black) that FIL ended up paying for. She started with Disney princess sandals though, and tried on a lot of different stuff. When she finally got the shoes she liked, she ran around the store with them (we were the only customers) and checked her feet in all the mirrors. LOL!
This girl is going to be impossible when she is 16! I don't think I can buy her shoes online anymore that's for sure.

(DD=dear daughter, FIL= Father in law, DH=Dear Husband)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

4th of July weekend

Well much to my surprise, Abby actually enjoyed the fireworks this year! Well the first half anyway, and then she got tired and we had to go home before the finale. No surprise, it was 9:30pm after all. She absolutely adores older boys too. Her current crushes are a 6 year old boy who is the son of DH's best friend, and an 8 year old boy who is the big brother of a kid at daycare. Amazing how young this stuff starts, huh?
Anyway, we had a very small turnout for our cookout on Friday, so I will probably be eating chili for the rest of the week. Saturday we saw Grandma A, who is doing a little worse every time I see her. She fell recently and had to have a couple of stitches on her face, just under her eye. Sad to see her all banged up like that. Sunday we saw the 6 year old again, this time at a local park. I was exhausted by Monday morning, since I'd also taken Thursday off from work to clean house, but it was a good weekend all and all. Yay!

And now of course I've got more Disney ideas. I think I will try to work in the fireworks at Magic Kingdom and Epcot into our plans in September.

Work is busy again too, with the official beginning of Fiscal Year 2009. My "summer season" is over, and fall work has begun!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

my mother and Happy 4th of July

Well my mom did beat whatever she was dealing with for her housing mess, and she moved either June 30th or July 1st. Not sure. I don't have her address yet, but I think her phone number stayed the same so I think she's still in the same area. I think the housing people bought some lie she told them about her drug charges, but whatever. She wasn't dealing drugs, she just got caught with some pills. People have gotten away with much worse lies than that. I'm not happy about her lieing of course, but I'm glad she's not homeless at least.

4th of July is Friday. I will be off-line from the 3rd-7th probably, so if anyone is reading this- Happy Holiday weekend!!