Monday, November 14, 2011


At this time of year, when the weather turns colder, we occasionally get critters making their way into the house. Usually a field mouse or two - which Sparky will humanely trap and toss back outside. Then they try to make their way back in. It's his version of the Circle of Life.

Me, I have a different theory. They're animals and they belong outside - catch them, kill them and staple their hides to the door as an example to other mice considering our home as a winter vacation. (I'm the bloodthirsty one in this family)

So it wasn't a huge issue when I heard the skittering of tiny feet and saw a flash of brown fur. I texted Sparky that we needed to get the traps and went on with my life. (I know what you're thinking but geez - It's not like I could catch it bare-handed, these little fuckers are FAST!)

The next day, I saw it again only this time I actually SAW it - it's not a fieldmouse.

He looks just like this...

We have the world's biggest hickory tree in our front yard, so we're always seeing squirrels in the yard. For a few years, we had a particularly sneaky red-tailed squirrel who would hurl hickory nuts at us. He had great aim, too - you'd have to duck and run from the driveway to the front door. But we've never had one in the house. Suprising, really considering Son O'Mine has a habit of leaving the doors wide open when he is outside.

We can't use the mouse traps because squirrels have bigger heads (even though this is a little squirrel) so we need to find a better way to get rid of him. I did a little research. They said to close him off into one room (did that) and open a window or door to outside (yep) and put a cracker with some peanut butter on the sill outside (check).

Now, I didn't sit there and watch - left the door open for a couple hours, but the cracker is still there. Maybe he doesn't like JIF creamy peanut butter? Should I have used the Skippy Extra Chunky?

Or maybe he did go outside - haven't heard him since. Although I half expect to see him one of these days pumped up and pissed off...

Hey, it could happen...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Penn State Shame

"May no act of ours bring shame"
Too late, Joe.

Ok, so as the wife of a Football Coach, you know I couldn't stay silent about this horrific situation at Penn State University. I thought letting some time pass would allow me to calm down and see this rationally. Yeah, not so much.

When the Board of Trustees fired Joe Paterno, I was relieved to see that they seemed to finally be getting their priorities straight. But it seemed a matter of too little too late. While Joe Pa might be the most visible villian here, he is by no means the only one.

First and foremost, Jerry Sandusky is the lowest form of life there is - a pedophile. There is no punishment dark enough, painful enough to pay for what he did. He is simply a waste of skin.

Then there's Mike McQueary. He actually witnessed Sandusky raping a 10 year old boy in the shower. What did he do? He called his father. Then he reported it to Joe Paterno.

Did he call the police? NO.

The reports keep mentioning that McQueary was a graduate assistant at the time - making it sound as if he were a young student himself. The man was 28 years old. A grown man who made a choice NOT to notify the police after he witnessed a crime.

Then there's Tim Curley, the Athletic Director. After Paterno reported what was witnessed in the shower, Curley informed his superiors and 10 days later, he and Senior VP of Finance Gary Schultz interviewed McQueary.

Did either of these men call the police? NO.

It took them over two weeks to take Sandusky's keys to the locker room and they banned him from bringing children into the football locker room (a ban that Curley admitted was unenforceable).

Gary Schultz supervised the campus police at the time. He stated that he thought the incident involved Sandusky "inappropriately grabbing the boy's genitals" but it was "not that serious." He also told the grand jury that he knew about a 1998 investigation into a similar incident involving Sandusky and a boy in a shower and STILL did not report this.

And lastly there is Graham Spanier the University President. The incident was reported to him and he was fully aware that neither the campus police or any other police agency were notified. This man has a background in sociology and marriage and family counseling and it never occurred to him to report this or follow up?

All of these men knew and CHOSE not to report it. Nor did any of them attempt to identify the boy involved or make one move to protect him or future victims.

The only moves they made were to protect the football program. This was a cowardly conspiracy of silence.

As I've said before, Sparky coaches football. For years we've understood that when it comes to holidays, family gatherings, social obligations, birthdays and such, they all come in second to football. We try to schedule around games and practice. And when he is home, the conversation runs to what players he's recruiting, what plays they'll use in the game this week, re-plays of last week's game, who's doing well/bad in practice - it's all football all the time - we get that.


He takes his role as a Coach seriously. He spends his time reaching out to kids, encouraging them to work hard, keep their grades up, respect themselves and others and grow into decent, honorable men.

And I know without a doubt that he would NEVER put football ahead of the safety of a child. EVER.

My advice to parents of football players - do your research. Check out the Coaches and observe how they interact with the players on and off the field. Does the Coach invest in the players or does he demand blind obedience? Coaches are there to support the players, they are not Gods.

The men at Penn State created a Football Cult.

Football is a wonderful sport and it can teach youngsters about strength, determination, teamwork and life.

Just don't drink the Kool-Aid.

P.S.  Final score on these players:

Indicted: Jerry Sandusky
Fired: Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier
Admin Leave: Tim Curley (Penn State is paying his legal costs)
Retired: Gary Schultz (Penn State is paying his legal costs)


Friday, November 4, 2011

Storm Alfred - The Butler did it

Day 3:

Three days after the storm and still no power.   
Each day we venture out to forage for food and due to the extensive damage here, we're forced to turn around and find another route to get where we're heading. It generally takes about 4 tries to get anywhere because the streets are full of splintered trees and downed power lines.

And the new game in CT is "Where's CL&P truck?" They're harder to find than Waldo.

Day 4:

Sparky developed his own method to chart the power recovery process. He leaves a little early for work every morning to scout which Dunkin Donuts shop is open.  Coffee is a big thing here in the Suburbs. We live within 5 miles of at least 9 Dunkin Donuts and 8 smaller independent coffee shops. Suburbia runs on caffeine. At the moment, it's all that stands between us and the complete breakdown of civilization.

Day 5:

Still no power and even the Bear is beginning to show signs of strain.

Power to the Bear!

All in all, people are still relatively civil here. We patiently wait our turns at the intersections with the dark traffic lights. We smile and nod to each other because we all know how powerless (PUN INTENDED) we are. We are at the mercy of CL&P (CT Light & Power). People are helping each other.

But there's a distinct edge appearing. It's most visible each evening when the Governor drags Jeffrey Butler (COO of CL&P) out like a sacrificial lamb and throws him to the press.

At first, the reporters asked polite and respectful questions like "When do you expect power to be restored?"  Butler gave vague and evasive answers that went largely unchallenged.

After 5 days, that's no longer the case. Now he has to field questions like "I heard you can't get help from outside contractors because you didn't pay the bills from Hurricane Irene - is that true?" When he blustered, "Those bills were paid yesterday," another reporter piped up - "Did you pay them within 30 days? If I don't pay my CL&P bill within 30 days I get a nasty letter!!"

Maybe it's all the coffee we're drinking to stay warm.

Day 6:

1:51 PM - Power restored. Bear is happy.

Bear Power!

 Let me clarify - MY power is restored. There are still a couple hundred thousand people in CT without power.

And until that is resolved, each evening the press will snap and snarl at Jeffrey Butler until there's nothing left. He reminds me of Tony Hayward. Remember him? He was the CEO of BP Oil who pissed everyone off by being so arrogant after the Gulf Coast Oil Spill and then capped it with the whine heard around the world, "I want my life back!" BP shipped him off to Siberia (Honest - Google it!). I'm thinking Northeast Utilities (the parent company of CL&P) must be thinking BP had a good idea there.

First thing we did when the power came back? We made a pot of coffee.

Yes, we New Englanders love our coffee. We may politely let you go first at the intersection, we will shovel your walk, bring you food or help you clear that tree, but make no mistake about it - try to cut in line at the Dunkin Donuts and we will Fuck You Up.