Thursday, May 29, 2008

Please Pick Charlie

This is a plea to John McCain....please help save the State of Florida. Please help save the education system in Florida. Please help save Volusia County Schools.

Please pick Charlie Crist to be your running mate!!

Lets start with the schools, behind our buddy Charlie, the biggest problem Volusia County Schools has is Margaret Smith the Superintendent. The Beacon has a great rundown on the school boards latest antics and their cutting of 659 positions including 384 teachers. The teachers union says the numbers don't support that deep of a cut, I would say they are right. Nothing else this idiotic board has done has made sense so why should this?

Local 6 reported this morning that our brilliant Governor was unsympathetic to Volusia County teachers and basically said they should quit whining. That is not a quote, I missed the whole story but that is the message he sent. THE PEOPLE'S GOVERNOR, this website is insulting to our intelligence, there are references to President Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and he has quotes by Ronald Reagan, go check it out, if it does not make you want to vomit I will be amazed.

Now after you are done reviewing that ridiculous bit of propaganda, go take a gander at this..... FLORIDA GOVERNOR if you can get past the garbage news headlines he has listed take a look at the right hand side, the links to the Hope Task Force(Foreclosure Prevention), they sure say nothing on that one.

Amendment ONE this one needs no words, other than to point out what a success this plan was, it has without a doubt contributed to the destruction of our public school system, yes, each and every homeowner will save a couple hundred bucks and 384 teachers in our county alone will be out of work, only our children suffer, yes Charlie that was sure a smart one!

But my favorite by far is FLORIDA KIDS CARE he actually touts this on his website. Did you see the latest ranking on childrens healthcare? Florida is 50th? The only state that is worse is Oklahoma, now think about this for a minute....Florida does not beat West Virginia, Kentucky, and some other notable states that are not known for healthcare, we are only better than OKLAHOMA. You are kidding me.

So all of the above speaks for itself. Now our buddy Charlie has also jumped into the child custody arena, he signed a bill that takes away the term "primary custody" and replaces it with "parenting plan". Along with a variety of other nonsensical garbage that makes no sense. He obviously has not a clue about the reality of some of these "custody" situations. How will a "parenting plan" work for a mother who has children who have not seen their father in months or years, or those that receive no support, or a variety of other situations, use your imagination. Great plan Charlie, it is right up there with Amendment One and Florida Kids Care. Love it. I wonder if he read it before he signed it....or spoke to any actual parents...

So in conclusion, Mr. McCain, I am sad to say that it is unlikely that you can win the election, so do us a favor in Florida, pick Charlie to be your running mate, you may not be able to save the country but least you can save one state from total destruction.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

F.R.O.G. Ministries

I went to the FROG Ministries this morning. They are located at 700 Canal Street in New Smyrna Beach. Their story is inspiring.

Anyway, I took two boxes of clothes, some household items things like that. A man came out from the back to my truck to carry the boxes, asked me to come in and take a few things, he said "if you bring something in you should take something out." He asked me if I had children and invited me to bring them on Saturday for their hot dog cookout and fellowship. He made me want to come home and find them more things to donate.

So take a minute and clean out your garage, your closets and your kitchen and run it over to the FROG. They have plenty of parking and a wonderful attitude, I was in a foul mood when I got there and smiling when I left. You will be too.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Meet Molly

Meet Molly. She's a gray speckled pony who was abandoned by her owners when Katrina hit southern Louisiana, USA . She spent weeks on her own before finally being rescued and taken to a farm where abandoned animals were stockpiled. While there, she was attacked by a pit bull terrier, and almost died. Her gnawed right front leg became infected and her vet went to LSU for help. But LSU was overwhelmed, and this pony was a welfare case. You know how that goes.

But after surgeon Rustin Moore met Molly, he changed his mind. He saw how the pony was careful to lie down on different sides so she didn't seem to get sores, and how she allowed people to handle her. She protected her injured leg. She constantly shifted her weight, and didn't overload her good leg. She was a smart pony with a serious survival ethic.

Moore agreed to remove her leg below the knee and a temporary artificial limb was built. Molly walked out of the clinic and her story really begins there. 'This was the right horse and the right owner,' Moore insists. Molly happened to be a one-in-a-million patient. She's tough as nails, but sweet, and she was willing to cope with pain. She made it obvious she understood (that) she was in trouble. The other important factor, according to Moore , is having a truly committed and compliant owner who is dedicated to providing the daily care required over the lifetime of the horse.

Molly's story turns into a parable for life in post-Katrina Louisiana . The little pony gained weight, her mane felt a comb. A human prosthesis designer built her a leg.

The prosthetic has given Molly a whole new life, Allison Barca DVM, Molly's regular vet, reports. And she asks for it! She will put her little limb out, and come to you and let you know that she wants you to put it on. Sometimes she wants you to take it off too.' And sometimes, Molly gets away from Barca. 'It can be pretty bad when you can't catch a three-legged horse', she laughs.

Most important of all, Molly has a job now. Kay, the rescue farm owner, started taking Molly to shelters, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers. Anywhere she thought that people needed hope. Wherever Molly went, she showed people her pluck. She inspired people. And she had a good time doing it.

'It's obvious to me that Molly had a bigger role to play in life', Moore said, 'She survived the hurricane, she survived a horrible injury, and now she is giving hope to others.' 'She's not back to normal,' Barca concluded, 'but she's going
to be better. To me, she could be a symbol for New Orleans itself.'

This is Molly's most recent prosthesis, shows the ground surface that she stands on, which has a smiley face embossed in it. Wherever Molly goes, she leaves a smiley hoof print behind!

You may have seen this story as it has circulated around in an email for awhile. I checked Snopes and they say it is true. If you would like to purchase the story in a wonderful children's book from LSU Press do so here. No, we do not make any money off of that. I just think it is a nice story for all of my animal loving friends.

Welcome to Monday

More Here

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Green is Good

Everyone is talking about "going green", I even talked about it on Earth Day. I try and do my part to limit my carbon footprint (did you know there was a website dedicated to this)and save the world from global warming . I religiously recycle, I use canvas bags when shopping (these have a gazillion other handy uses), I hang my clothes on the line, I try and turn off my lights - my father points out I am not so great in this area.

Anyway, it has recently been pointed out to me by a dear friend, who I used to be related to, that I am failing miserably in the "saving the world" effort. Why you ask are all my efforts in vain?

I am going to confess, here it comes....I DRIVE AN SUV . Yes, it is true, it is a big american made, gas sucking pig SUV....the really shameful thing about all this is....I LOVE MY truck.

Thankfully, I work from home, so I can defend my socially irresponsible decision to drive a vehicle that gets 12 miles to the gallon by saying I only drive it about 30 miles a week. WELL, my treehugger friend and former relative feels that I should trade it in on a 50 mile a gallon, corn burning mini car.

It ain't happening.....I should be ashamed to say, I love my truck, its eight cylinders of gas sucking horsepower, its I can go anywhere 4-wheel drive, its rear entertainment center and leather and towing package, I love it all. I frankly don't care that it gets 12 miles to the gallon in the city and 15(maybe) on the highway. Yes, this may make me a bad person, particularly if you read this. You will only be able to read that if you can get past the assinine picture of Al Gore. I mean check it out, it was obviously taken before he discovered baked potatoes and butter. Well read this about Mr. Inconvenient Truth and make your own decision. Then know I am off to the farmers market in my SUV with my canvas bags...and I won't feel guilty about it.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Beachfront Park - Update 5-24-08

Check out today's News Journal, apparently this is NOT a done deal as the city scrambles for funding.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that a state land-acquisition program is funding the purchase of 3-acres for a beachside park at the end of Esther Street in New Smyrna, this is designed to provide improved public access to the beach and the Atlantic Ocean, help with restoring the sea-turtle nesting habitat and reduce urban flooding.

The city is planning to build a picnic pavilion, playground, sand volleyball area, wildlife observation platform, fitness trail and an amphitheater.

The city of New Smyrna Beach will get $2.88 million from the Florida Communities Trust and will provide a local match of $4.32 million for the Esther Street Beachfront Park.

If you are not familiar Esther Street is located just North of Flagler Ave. Part of this three acres is a large vacant lot at Esther and the Atlantic with a seawall that is a graffiti, beer bottle and trash magnet.

A park will be a great addition to this area.


Every once in a while you have to say to yourself... "Self, are you kidding me?" I had one of those moments yesterday...I got a call from the school, so I answered and it is this really mean, unhappy, bitchy sounding woman, she says, "this is Mrs. M, I am substituting for Mr. T and I am having a problem getting your son to behave", I was flabbergasted and not really sure how to respond, I am thinking, OK, why are you CALLING me in the middle of the school & work day, I know the school has provisions for this sort of thing, send him to the principal, I know she will deal with him.

It gets better....she then proceeds to tell me that she asked him for his mother's phone number so she could call me and he gave her the wrong phone number, which she called and got one of his friends mothers...At this point I am about to fall off my chair, I am trying to decide if I should laugh or kill him. So she says, "will you talk to him?" of course I will talk to him, it is clear he is taking advantage of someone who probably has no business substituting in the first place. So I told him to apologize and I would talk to him when he got home.

I did. It turns out a group of boys in the class were being smartasses and she was having a hard time controlling them. GREAT! Guess the substitute training and screening process is a big success in Volusia County. SO, to summarize..she stopped the class to call me(while I was working by the way), only the first time she got someone else's mother, then got the correct number and called me. Do you wonder how much time did all that take out of the day...because YES, she stopped the class to make an example of my child and call his Mama.

Of course my kid should behave and be respectful in class at all times, and of course he lost plenty of freedom for his antics, particularly the fake phone number. BUT COME ON....can you imagine if every time one of the 8,000 some odd students in our county misbehaved they stopped classes to call their parents.

It would be chaos.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Local Weekend Events

With the ridiculous gas prices you may want to stay close to home this weekend, kids are out of school starting tomorrow so start enjoying the weekend. Here are a few things to check out.

Fish Stock
- local fishing tournament, boat show, kids activities & more

Art Walk on Flagler - art, local merchants, food and entertainment, sponsored by the Gallery Group

Concerts in the Courtyard has a couple of shows this weekend. The Garlic will have the Mark Hodgsen Trio on May 25 & Flagler Tavern will have Dueling Pianos from 7-10pm on May 25th.

I also found this article from last year that summarizes some of our more popular bars and restaurants, I read threw it and it is still accurate. I heard that Chase's is closing but last I went by they were still open.

Enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is upon us, the official start of summer for most people around the country, summer started here a few weeks ago whether we like it or not! Memorial Day is truly about more than summer and barbecues and fun. I found this interesting site that has alot of information about Memorial Day. Here are a few more about our National Cemetery that permanently memorializes our soldiers.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Tomb Guard

No matter what you are doing this weekend, or who you are remembering, take a minute to remember and pray for past, present and future members of all branches of our military.

Come back Thursday for local weekend events!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Great Guys in Baghdad

NO matter how you feel about President Bush, NO matter how you feel about our troops being in Iraq, the only right thing to do is support our troops. This story makes it easy.

St. Baldrick's Foundation

Watch It Here

Welcome to Monday

Here are some more great participants.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Find Your Spot

Take a quick quiz at Top Spot and see where you should be living. I did and I am right where I am supposed to be!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Growing Up

Do you remember 5th grade? I remember it well, my teacher was Mr. Jones, he was the first teacher to make me stand in the hall. I think he threw an eraser at me once or twice.....

My son is in fifth grade, headed to a small private middle school next year, Volusia County and their nonsense forced that decision. Anyway, this past Friday was the "fifth grade video". You remember the one....the boys see one video, the girls another. The "sex video"

We all saw it in fifth grade, when I saw it the mom's came and saw it with the girls and the dad's with the boys. Here I had to sign a permission slip for him to see it and if you really were worried they would send it home for you to preview....apparently the video has not changed much since we were in
school in the 70's.

My son came home with a little pamphlet about puberty and a little thing of Old Spice deodorant. I asked him if he had any questions about what he saw, he looked at me sort of cross eyed, like "WHAT???" I said to him if you have questions that you don't want to talk to me about you can talk to your Uncle Rick or Uncle Robby, I was dead serious.

The kid looked at me and burst out laughing..."MOM, I know all this, and I can ask you anything"....OK, this is good that he can ask me anything, since DAD is no where to be found...BUT WHAT? you know all this???

Perhaps they need to start showing the video in third grade, since my third grade daughter was quick to point out that she "heard" the video was stupid....please help me.....I feel like I am a hundred years old...and I really want someone to send me to the hall and throw an eraser at me....

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Be Prepared

Hurricane Season begins on June 1st. On April 8th, Dr. Gray, the Hurricane Predictor updated his 2008 Hurricane Forecast. You can read it here. It is a real good thing to pick up if you have insomnia, but overall, Dr. Gray is "predicting" 15 named storms, 4 of those intense, with a 45% chance of a category 3-4 storm hitting Florida, somewhere. I am curious if Dr. Gray has ever been close in his predictions.

Regardless of his success in predicting storms, if there is one, there is a pretty good chance it will come our way and we better be ready. Now, I live between the ocean and the river so ready for me is putting the dog and kids in the car and heading north, but for most normal people(who are not huge chickens) there is a bigger plan to be made.

The National Weather Service has designated the week of May 25th as Hurricane Preparedness Week.

If you check out their website it will give you all sorts of information, what are the dangers and what you need to do to be prepared, hurricane tracking charts, historical information etc. Although it is scientific and not real exciting it has some excellent information.

This radar picture is of a hurricane approaching our coast, if that does not scream RUN I do not know what does. If you are the brave sort and decide to stay, please be prepared with the essentials you will need to ride out the storm, you could spend several days, even weeks without power. I, for one, do not function well without power, ever, I do not even go camping, ever, so check the list on the website and get the things you need, don't wait til the radar looks like this. You do not want to be fighting for that last bottle of water with all the other brave people who decide to ride it out.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Chum Checks In

Another blogger checks in on the brilliant Brenda Quiles and her economically sound, scientific backed plan to close our beaches. The Chum Slick is hysterical.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Close Our Beach?

Do you read the Orlando Sentinel? If you missed the "Viewpoint" in the Sunday Volusia section please feel free to read it here

This individual, Brenda Quiles, from Oak Park, IL has sent her suggestions and comments about our beaches here in New Smyrna to Volusia County. She has apparently visited here at some point in the past although she does not say when. She is clearly dismayed by our terrible record of shark bites.....our lack of appropriate "policies and procedures" to reduce the number of shark "attacks", she even suggests our beaches be closed, she says and I quote,

"I am requesting that the county immediately close this beach or implement reasonable policies and procedures to minimize these shark bites by providing effective policies which limit the number of shark bites. I am also requesting that the county provide accurate and reliable statistics on the number of shark bites."

Is this woman out of her mind? How in the world is someone who has visited here suddenly become qualified to advise and request the county to close the beaches? Much of the local economy operates because of our beaches.

I would advise and request Ms. Quiles to mind her own business, find a new place to visit as a "tourist" or better yet, stay in Illinois where I am pretty sure she will be safe from sharks.....

Happy Mother's Day

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Local Stuff

I was looking for other local blogs and found a few:

I Love NSB - This has great local information on restaurants, businesses and things to do around town.

Sandi's Out & About - Sandi has quite a bit of information about the area also, great photography too!

New Smyrna Beach Real Estate - the title speaks for itself, all about our real estate market

Florida - this one is all about Volusia County, very interesting, lots of news

yes2localnews - lots of news about local happenings.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Postal Carrier Food Drive

Tomorrow is the annual food drive conducted by the National Association of Letter Carriers

Help them stamp out hunger, place non perishable canned goods in the bag they provided at your mailbox and they will do the rest. If you don't have the bag, you can use one of your own.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sea Turtle Protection & Other Beach Stuff

It is Sea Turtle Nesting Season, this runs from May 1 until October 31, Beach Driving hours are 8am-7pm in Volusia County, signs like the ones above can be found all along the beach. The Sea Turtle Patrol places tape(similar to crime tape) and stakes around the sea turtle nests. Do not mess with the Sea Turtle Nests. Same goes for the birds, leave them alone too. Mainly because it is the right thing to do. If that is not enough, there are Beach Patrol Officers in big white trucks with lights and guns patrolling the beach all day and into the evening. They will be HAPPY to explain the reasons why you don't mess with the sea turtles.

Please do not litter, there are big blue cans all along the beach for your trash. I followed the beach trash guys this morning on my bike, they were stopping every few feet to pick up cans, bags, and other refuse left behind. Not only is it ugly but it is terribly bad for the wildlife and the environment.

The Speed Limit is 10mph. There are many children on the beach, they will run in front of you. If that is not a good reason to go 10mph refer back to the big bad white trucks that contain Beach Patrol Officers. They WILL pull you over and have full authority to write you a ticket. I saw someone getting one this morning.

We have miles of gorgeous beaches here in New Smyrna with a little cooperation everyone can enjoy them..especially the sea turtles.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Pick A Lane

If you drive in New Smyrna Beach I know you have said "pick a lane", you have probably yelled it at any number of drivers...teenagers on the phone, senior citizens trying to figure out where they are going, and other assorted people not paying attention and driving all over the road.

I am incredibly guilty of being very vocal in my car, sometimes my kids are with me. I need to shut up. Today I was driving down the road, Pioneer Trail to be precise, and a man pulled in front of me to drive 30 mph. WHY I ASK YOU do you need to be in a hurry to get in front of me to go 0 MILES AN HOUR.

So...after this guy pulls in front of me my daughter says "move it dickhead", yes I almost drove OFF the road. I said, "What did you say?" , she looked at me with her almost nine year old grin and said, "Mommy, he does not know how to drive he is a dickhead." Well as you would expect we had a discussion about appropriate behavior and words that are ok to use. All the while I was thinking, how many people have I called "dickhead" while she was in the car. YIKES.

Anyway, long story short, we are on the way home a few hours later and I was looking at a house that was for sale and I swerved slightly over to the shoulder, she looked at me and said...yes she said it.... "MOM, PICK A LANE!"

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Save the Beach

The Beach Renourishment Project continues, this is what is looks like when the sand is running full force. They are situated right off Flager in front of The Breakers Restaurant. You can click on the webcam on the right hand menu to watch it live and listen to the waves of course!

I found some old information from 2006 on the Save the Beach effort if you are interested in how it works. It does not appear to have been updated in awhile but it is very interesting reading if you are not familiar with what has gone on.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sunday Stumble

I was surfing and stumbling around and want to share my finds with you:

Food Blog Search - put in any food and you will get a list of blogs that contain the recipe. Good stuff.

Recipe Matcher - slap whatever you have in your fridge or pantry in the box, click and you get a list of potential recipes you can make with those items. Sounds problem, YOU must have something in your house to put in the box. Fruity Pebbles and Ravioli will not work!

Many Uses for Vodka - this title should speak for itself

Old Fashioned Homemaking - I know what you are thinking...has she lost her mind???? Forget the title, it has some good stuff!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Big Weekend at the Beach

Lots of things going on at the Beach this weekend!

is going on at the Marine Discovery Center both Saturday and Sunday from 10am-6pm. It is Free and there will be food vendors, a kids area and much more. All proceeds benefits the Marine Discovery Center Programs.

The 20th Annual Halifax/Indian River Cleanup is Saturday beginning at 8am.

The Gallery Walk along Riverside Drive and Canal Street is also Saturday from 4-8 pm.
Check out my favorite The Clay Gallery

It will also be another great weekend for the beach, if you are headed over to the beach be aware. The Beach Renourishment Project has moved down to Esther and Flagler. The Flager Beach Ramp will be closed this weekend. Head up to Beachway on the North Side of Flagler, park at Sapphire or head down to the South Side for several approaches.

Make it a great weekend!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Time Flies

I wish I had something clever and witty to say here. I know what you are thinking...if you don't have anything to say shut up...ah well, can't do that. The end of the school year is almost upon us...and it is wearing my butt out...end of year trips, baseball, end of year parties, baseball, field trips, baseball, church trips, baseball.....

I continue to have my hate hate relationship with Volusia County Schools, I heard tonight that they are losing two fifth grade teachers at our elementary school, one being my son's teacher, since they have not been there three years they are not being "asked back" next year, other more tenured teachers will fill the slots. Somthing like 267 teachers are being displaced. I am not exactly sure how they can lose that many teachers and function, let alone have the kids learn anything, but our BRILLIANT politicians don't seem to care. My daughter is going in the 4th grade and will remain in the elementary school next year. My son is going in the 6th grade and he will be attending a private school, one that is not having budget cuts and might be able to provide a class with less than 25 kids.

On that happy note, go on over and check out Ann Crabs she has a bunch of new Freebies up, including free bowling and free books from Barnes and Noble. A year of Golf Digest and much more.

Get yourself some free coffee below!

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One more freebie for all my computer geek friends:
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