Blogs > Rise and Shine

Good Morning everbody. Check here for your wake up call every day. We will have updated traffic, weather and few fun things to get you through the morning.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rise and Shine --- What option?

Good Morning and welcome to the middle of the week!

So, after all these months, I'm still trying to figure out what is wrong with a public option for health care.
Apparently, there is something wrong with helping people get the care they need when they need it. Apparently, the vocal minority has twisted the facts enough to muddle up all the works. A Senate panel voted down the option yesterday.
Once again, we are being pushed into a black hole by those with an agenda. Their agenda is to see this administration fail at every turn.
We have the nutcases out there who still don't think Barack Obama is a U.S. Citizen. They probably also believe all-knowing aliens are running our brains. No wonder there's been a shortage of tin foil a the local Giant the last few weeks.
Sometimes, you just have to shake your head. Studies show 80 percent of the country wants or needs a public health care option. Yet, the other 20 percent shout, yell, throw things, bring guns to debates and believe everything said on talk radio.
Maybe, just maybe, the rest of us have to start standing up.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rise and Shine --- What would you do?

Good Morning and welcome to fall!

It's out of some kind of television show, maybe called 'What would you do?'
While walking the dogs on Sunday, mom and son saw some ruffians walking around a neighbor's house. They were looking in windows. They were keeping low. They were walking around the house, looking in other windows.
Now, in a time long ago, you might keep walking, figuring the home owners knew what was happening. We, unfortunately, don't live in that time any more.
You have to assume the worst. You have to assume people sneaking around a house are up to no good.
So, do you keep walking while ignoring everything? Do you stand there, letting them know you are watching? Do you confront them?
What is the right way?
Really, when you look at it, there is no choice. You have to help out. You have to at least say something and see the reaction.
So, Mom asked the people what was going on.
They reacted with some kind of excuse about how they knew the home owners and were playing a joke.
Mom told them to knock on the door.
They repeated they were playing a joke.
Mom said (paraphrasing since I wasn't there), OK, then, I'll call the police and see what they have to say.
At that, the people left the property.
Maybe they were just fooling around with a classmate. Maybe they were going to get a big laugh.
Still, we can't take that chance. We have to protect each other in these times. It's the only way we are going to make the world better.
We really are our brother's or sister's keeper. It's the best way to be.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Dumb dogs

Good Morning and welcome to a new week!

A couple of years ago, I was talked into getting two pugs from the Pug Rescue.
For the most part, they've been fine. The children like them. They lick mom's leg. They lie around most of the time despite being jumped on, kicked and pulled.
There have been a couple of emergency trips to the vet (expensive) and the normal upkeep of a pet. It's annoying when they leave 'gifts' at various times, but it's forgotten after being cleaned.
When we picked up the pugs, they were huge. The normal weight for a pug is about 13-18 pounds. These two, Sky and Nabisco, were pushing 35 pounds each. They were obviously being fed a lot by former owners and didn't get much exercise.
Well, a couple of years later they are back to 'normal' weight. That, though, brings a big problem.
Now they can jump up on chairs then on tables, which means any bit of food left on said table will disappear quickly.
That brings us to Saturday. After bringing home about seven bagels to use for breakfast the next few days, they were left on the table.
Now, I thought the chairs were pushed in enough the pugs couldn't get up there. I was wrong.
A few hours later, I found a chewed-through bag and no bagels on the floor.
Uh, Oh.
The pugs were moving slow, after all, imagine if you ate seven bagels in about 10 minutes. Getting off the couch would be a chore.
So, that night, they left plenty of 'gifts' in the boys' room. ALL over the boys' room. Then all over the living room. Then all over the dining room.
Nothing like waking up to a lazy, rainy Sunday to a major cleanup job.
What I've come to learn is dogs have no conscious when it comes to food. They just eat and eat until there is nothing left.
Now, we have to hide not only the cookies, but absolutely everything else.
Whoopeee!

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Back to School Night

Good Morning and welcome to a nicer day!

Every school has them this time of year (most sometime this past week), it's time for Back-To-School Night (or Parent Night or Teachers Don't Have Enough Time to Really Say Anything Night).
They are all the same. Everybody gathers in a central location. The principal gives the same speech he/she gave last year. The teachers are introduced. The teachers leave the room in a parade. There is a call for involvement in a home/school group. There is a call for fundraising. There are calls for volunteers.
Meanwhile, parents are either zoning out, snoring or trying to figure out who made those ridiculous chairs and if the inventor really found them comfortable.
Then the parade of parents head for the door, which is really too small for everybody to fit through at once, although, as if the principal has some really bad halitosis, everybody tries to fit through.
There is a rush to your student's room. A quick look around, a lot of squeezing into too-small desks and the teacher talks. And talks. And talks.
Then, after more talking by the teacher about school work, the genious of homework, classroom rules and how 'this is the best class she/he ever had,' it's time to go home.
The parents stagger out with too much information crammed into their old brains.
What was said? I don't know.
What are the students doing this year? I don't know.
How's the teacher? I don't know.
What's your name? I don't know.
Is there a better way to do all this? I don't know.
Hey, at least there was no loud snoring this year.
So, since we all need a wake up call, here you go:

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Happens all the time

Good Morning and welcome back to the soup!

So, you finally break down and put all the air conditioners away. You start to pull out the fall jackets and sweatshirts. You do this all in time for oppresive humidity to take over the area.
Happens all the time.
Meanwhile, it's nearly a month into the school year and the beginning and end of the day is still ridiculously hard. Rush to get everybody to bed, rush to get them up, rush to get them breakfast, rush to get them out the door. Of course, it's all forgotten with one smile. Think about it for a minute. There's an old saying about a smile being your umbrella. Just when it looks like all is dark, somebody's smile brings out the sun.
Happens all the time.
Really, when it rains in Florida it rains. After getting things together (after ballet and Cub Scouts), I thought it was perfect for a few minutes of baseball. Clicked on the Phillies, watched a little bit then the skies opened up. Thankfully, I went to bed before Brad Lidge could rain on the Phillies march to the playoffs. Yeah, they'll still get there, but it doesn't seem the road will be as easy as last year. Then again, they did win the World Series last year, so anything this year is just gravy. Right? Right? By the way, ever notice how a manager is a genious one year, then a bum the next? Charlie Manuel, despite wearing a ring, better watch his back.
Happens all the time.
So, that nutcase Glen Beck gets higher ratings, which scares Rush Limbaugh. So the original hate monger goes a little further. The loudmouth actually called for segregated buses. It's not even worth commenting on except to say it's becoming increasingly clear this lunitic fringe needs to be ignored. Let them keep spewing hate, but don't listen.
Or, maybe laugh:

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Bedtime? What's that?

Good Morning and hopefully you got a good night's rest!

By about 8 most nights, I'm pretty much out of it. That's what happens when your alarm goes off every morning at 3 a.m.
So, about 7:30 p.m., it's time to get the troops ready for the bedtime ritual, which usually involves a lot of arguing and, sometimes, yelling.
Coming off the summer bedtime of about 9 p.m., the school-time sleep schedule appears to start too early for these three children.
Here's how it goes:
7:30 p.m.: "OK, guys, time to get ready for bed. Let's get a quick bath and put on the pajamas."
Five seconds later (spoken in unison): "WHY? WHY?"
7:40 p.m.: "OK, it's time to get ready for bed. Everybody upstairs."
Five seconds later: "It's TOO EARLY!"
7:50 p.m.: "Really, guys, lets get moving upstairs."
Five seconds later: "Your not going to bed why should we."
8 p.m.: "All right, enough fooling, up."
Five seconds later: "WHY? WHY? WHY?"
Five seconds later: "Move it."

So, after getting everybody bathed and dressed, the dance continues.
"OK, everybody's teeth brushed?"
"NO. No. No."
"All right, brush teeth."

A little while later, everybody's in bed. It's time for the 'Good Night's'
"Wait, I didn't brush my teeth."
"ARGHHHH!"

It would be kind of funny if it didn't happen EVERY NIGHT. Then again, it wouldn't be so, I don't know, interesting?
Eventually, everybody gets to sleep. Eventually.
Soon, it will be time to start it all over again. Maybe, I'll try some soft music tonight (although I don't know if this one would work for me).

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rise and Shine ---- Going digital

Good Morning gentle readers!

I can clearly remember the first day we got cable TV. I was in high school and it seemed like everybody else had cable TV. They were watching MTV, talking about the new-fangled way of seeing music. As an awkward teenager (yeah, big surprise there) I felt a little out of it.
Finally, after plenty of begging, my parents relented and called the cable company. Soon, on top of the TV, was this crazy looking box where you had to push buttons to get the different channels.
Yeah, it was interesting. We were able to watch all the Phillies games on Prism and get plenty of movies, etc. We also didn't have to play with the rabbit ears on top of the TV to get a station.
Well, through the years (obviously), cable has exploded. Now, you can spend upward of $200 a month to feel 'connected.' While I don't feel the need to have that many channels, cable TV has continued to come through the box.
Now, Comcast has decided everybody needs to 'Go Digital' and are moving channels off the basic cable band.
You can read a fantastic story about it HERE.
That means you have to get a box again, only this one works with a fancy remote control.
So, when it was announced even more channels would be moving digital, it was time to break down and get the box (can't live with three children and no Cartoon Network).
Well, after one weekend, it looks like it might be worth it.
After getting the box hooked up last week, we dove right into the digital world (the 10-year old was beside himself in talking about On Demand). Hey, we were even able to rent a movie without leaving the house.
So, it seems to work out. Even if those rabbit ears looked so stylish in the room.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Now is the time

Good Morning and welcome to a new week!

It's amazing how different things are as the seasons change.
After the doldrums and greyness of winter, we love to see the first flowers bloom in the spring. Then comes summer, hot (although not so much this year) and free. There's no school. Maybe there's a vacation. It's easy to float along.
Then comes the fall. We have the intensity of school-day mornings, then work, then running around to the schools, making dinner and it's already time to reset.
Still, there's something about fall weather that can make it all seem OK.
Case in point, this weekend. It was beautiful out each day. Be it a walk around the park, letting the breeze blow in the windows or just goofing around, it was all about renewal.
Yeah, I know fall doesn't offically start until today, but it sure has seemed like it over the past few weeks. We are starting to see pumpkins and fall flowers. We are taking the light jackets out of the closet. We are eating apples.
Sure, it's still pretty intense. All that running around is there each day, but it is nice to take a break once in a while...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Changing times?

Good Morning and welcome back to the only state in the nation without a budget!

So, about an Arizona couple suing Walmart has to make you think.
If you can get in trouble for taking funny photos of your children while they are taking a bath, what can you really do?
As part of the opening of school this year, we were asked to send in pictures of ourselves the same age as our children.
So, that meant pulling down the box of old photos to find myself as a 4-year old and second grader.
Many of the photos are funny. Just check out those pants! How about that hair! A big bow tie? Thankfully our children don't dress like that.
Throughout all my childhood photos were bath-time pictures. Photos with lots of bubbles. Photos with shampoo in my hair. Photos with water flying in the air.
It was fun at the time. They are funny photos and I've taken the same, most probably have them sitting around.
Yet, for some reason, this family in Arizona was upended when they were charged with abuse. Their children were taken away. They were put through the wringer.
Now they are suing (which, of course, is the answer to everything in America).
Where does it end?

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rise and Shine --- On the 'net

Good Morning as we rapidly fly through September!

You know, ever since we've jumped blindly into this thing called the Internet (invented by Al Gore, perfected by George Bush), there have been some crazy things out there.
What's crazy? Why don't you type these searches into Google (or save the time and click on the links):
Build your own coffin
New York newscaster curses on air
Fountain of mis-information
More mis-information
Even more
How to boil water
Fire Andy Reid
Fire Charlie Manuel
How to buy nothing
Future late-night comedy host
Then again, there is always some real stuff:

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rise and Shine --- What's the need?

Good Morning and welcome to the middle of the week!

The request comes every other day now (it used to be once a week).
'Dad, everybody is school has a cell phone. Can I have one?'
The answer is always the same: 'I didn't have a cell phone until I was 40 years old. You don't need one at 10.'
Now, I've come to the realization that cell phones are now a way of life. We don't even have a land line at home anymore, it's just better to keep the cells around.
Still, I can't wrap my mind around why elementary school students need cell phones.
Maybe, just maybe, if the student is involved in a lot of clubs that have open-ended meetings, a cell phone is useful. After all, most children probably wouldn't know how to use a pay phone if they could even find one.
So, maybe in a small instance, a cell phone is necessary.
While my answer is kind of contrite, I don't see the need for a 10-year old who gets dropped off at the school door every morning, then gets picked up at the school door every afternoon needs a cell phone.
At least I'll keep fighting the battle until I'm too beat up.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Movie making

Good Morning and welcome back to the Internet!

The rules of parenting have changed over the years.
Those of a certain age might remember the paddle. They might remember white gloves. They might remember getting dressed up for every occasion. They might remember walking home from school alone. They might remember going outside with no parental supervision.
There was a time when parents were supposed to be disciplinarians. You might remember having to clean your room every day. You might remember continually saying 'Yes sir' and 'Yes, Maam.' Never saying 'No.'
The times change. Now, you can't let your children out of your sight. You can't let them play outside alone, forget about walking home from school or hopping on a bike to go to a friends house.
It's the nature of the world and, well, whether we like it or not, it's the way things have to be done.
Still, with school pressure starting in first grade, children need an outlet. So, we might let them go crazy at home. They can play. They can create. They can run around in the house.
Of course, that leads to broken things and, more often than not, toys throughout the house.
Staying on top of things while working is virtually impossible. You do the best you can and keep trying.
Right or wrong, the children run the roost at our house. Sure, they have 'jobs' to get done each week. Most times they get done, sometimes not.
Where is all this going, well, over the weekend the 7-year old decided he wanted to be a movie director.
He has an idea for the movie in his head. He is recruiting his brother, sister, friends and even the dogs as actors.
It's an interesting story about good guys, bad guys and a search for pirate treasure (I think).
So, we'll let him get the story done and see where it goes.
There's just one part about a burning house that may need to be edited out.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Who are these people?

Good Morning and welcome to the start of a new week!

So, I stayed up way too late last night and while flipping around the cable channels stumbled upon the MTV Video Music Awards.
Now, since MTV really doesn't show videos anymore, the award show is kind of an odd thing. Anyway, for MTV it's obviously more about the party than the videos. Whatever. It's their money. They need the ratings. Why else invite Kanye West?
Still, I sense the passing of time, but it's not until I check out these kind of shows where I really notice it.
It's not like the children are any help. The 10-year old listens to Warren Zevon and the 7-year old listens to anything I put on. The 4-year old, thanfully, is kept up-to-date by Mom and is into Lady Gaga. Maybe that's who I should ask about these performers.
I wouldn't know Kid Cudi from Kidd and Play or Wale from Free Willy.
So, call me old. Call me out of touch. Just don't call me late for dinner.
By the way, I caught this and just found it odd:

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Really? Eight Years?

Good Morning and welcome to the rain!

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, a 2-year old boy and I were looking into the engine of a car. The vehicle in question was leaking antifreeze and oil. Both needed to be refilled as we tried to squeeze every last mile out of the thing.
So, while pouring in the green liquid, a neighbor poked his head around the corner and said something about Howard Stern talking about something happening in New York.
I blew it off while trying to figure out why a 60-something year old neighbor was listening to Howard Stern.
Slowly, I gathered the boy up and went back inside, where the phone was ringing (these were the days be forever EVERYBODY had cell phones).
Kathleen, with a rather somber voice, asked if I knew what was going on. I mentioned about the neighbor talking about Howard Stern and how I was thinking about going for a walk.
Kathleen then told me to go upstairs and turn on the television.
So, the 2-year old and I walked up to the third floor and turned on the TV.
The images, as everyone knows, were frightening. There were reports of more planes being hijacked. About the possibility of attacks in Los Angeles, Florida, Washington D.C., more in New York. This was, after all, before we were inundated fully with a 24-hour news cycle.
Now, eight years later, the 2-year old is a fifth grader with plenty of questions.
Liam wants to know what the World Trade Center looked like. Kathleen, having gone to school in New York, can paint a picture with her words like I can't.
Liam wants to know where the towers are now. Liam wants to know how many other things happened that day. Liam wants to know if it's safe to fly.
I can answer all those questions. I can show him video of the attacks. I can let him read about what happened that week, month, year.
Inevitably, Liam will ask why it happened. He'll ask why anybody would intentionally try to hurt people (be it here, Iraq, Israel, anywhere terrorists ply their trade).
That question, I (we?) still can't answer.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rise and Shine ---- Time not on my side

Good Morning and welcome to October!

OK, I know, it's not really October, but it sure feels that way out there today.
By the way, have you ever noticed how time seems to speed up when you need it to slow down.
Case in point, while the two little ones (Malena's getting ready for another year of Pre-K and Brendan's staring second grade) had a couple of more days off before school starts today, we had one more afternoon of 'summer.'
We played. We talked. We cleaned. We yelled. We ate. You know, a typical day with a 4- and 7-year old. Those hours seemed to last forever. The clock wasn't moving as we waited to pick up big brother (Liam, 10, started fifth grade on Tuesday). By 3 p.m., it seemed like we had spent weeks since the morning drop off.
So, we slowly walked down to school, waited for the exit and slowly walked back. We got home about 3:30 p.m.
Suddenly, the clock went into hyperspeed. It was time to get ready for the first day of ballet class (it apparently is next week, but at least the dancer got to dress up). Mom was on the way home. The phone was ringing. The boys were fighting. There was 'stuff' all over the place.
In the whirlwind of dance, eating, walking dogs, filling out forms, making lunches, giving baths, checking last-minute e-mail, joking around, reading --- AHHH! --- it's 9 o'clock.
So, somehow, five hours lasted five minutes. Nothing got done without a rush.
What just happened? How do you slow it down? Where is Mick Jagger?

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Rise and Shine --- The world as it is

It appears to be a good morning to fly a kite!

It doesn't take much (sometimes) to see the world as it really is or can be.
Take for instance all that much ado about nothing yesterday when President Barack Obama was about to make a speech to school students. I actually saw a parent on morning television saying he would keep his child out of school on the first day as a protest against the school showing Obama's speech.
Now, what exactly is wrong with the president (or anybody really) talking to students about the joys of school.
Do you really think it's the downfall of society? Are some brains really so much jelly they have to 'protest' anything out of Washington?
Truth be told, it's probably a small minority of people who were upset. How come those people get the most play.
I have a theory about all this hubbub. Maybe Fox News gets such high ratings because it's funnier than the Comedy Channel. The comedians (intentional or unintentional) are what get our blood boiling. It's good for water cooler talk and arguing.
Then, thanks to a little dancer, you can easily be brought back to the real world.
Instead of worrying about the 'socialists taking over,' we can step back, see that people are trying to make things better and go along for the ride.
The blither blather can fade away in one fell swoop. Just take a 4-year old girl who wants nothing more than to dance to a ballet class.
If it doesn't give you hope for the future, nothing will.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Rise and Shine --- Back to school

Good Morning and welcome to the real end of summer!

Today is Back To School day at the house. Most of Labor Day was spent getting clothes together, putting names on notebooks (and everything else) and packing the school bag for the first day.
For the first time, Liam (10 going on 15) is excited about going back to school (he's starting fifth grade). Sure, there is some nervousness, but nothing like the last few years. In fact, I'm probably more upset than he is about school starting. (I always get a few stomach pains at the end of summer. I enjoy being with the family so much, that any break from that routine is tough).
Anyway, while walking the dogs Monday night, the neighbor was asking Liam about starting school. Then turned to me and said, 'Don't you wish it was you getting ready for school?'
Now, that is a rather innocuous question. He was laughing. I was laughing. I said, 'Yeah. That way I wouldn't have to worry about going to work.'
Then, while lying awake last night, I thought about my answer. Sure, being of school age is fun. Sure, learning (although I didn't realize it then) is fun.
If I had never gone to work, though, I never would have met an angel. It happened, in of all places, a library (work library, but a library all the same).
For some reason, the angel smiled at me and I knew, just knew, the world was (is) a beautiful place.
After that day (through even today), I saw (see) the angel everywhere. The angel is in the clouds. In the sun. In trees. In flowers. In the other room. In this room. In the rain. In music.
Now, I have to go back to school to make the angel see the amazing world she has created.
Thank you.

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