Growing up in Burrwood

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Open Carry Laws

I know I haven’t blogged in a long long time and I’m sorry that this will
kind of be a rant but I’m exercising my constitutional right to state my

I've seen several videos posted on Facebook today that made me shake my
head and wonder what makes people tick. Bare with me then let me know what you

The first video I saw was in Texas. 5 or 6 men and women walked into a
Chili's restaurant with AK rifles slung over their shoulders. BTW, in all of the
videos I saw each one was being recorded by the people themselves. Anyway, the
manager told them they'd be happy to serve them but to please take their weapons
back to their cars. There wasn't a no weapons sign posted but the manager has
every right to ask them not to bring guns in the restaurant and he did.  That
Chili's was the second place they tried this with the same result then they
walked out laughing like little girls. In fact one of them said  "can't do
anything, my momma won't let me do anything" The only thing they proved in my
opinion was how stupid they all looked.

Another video I saw was of a husband and wife walking down the street
with him carrying his assault rifle slung over his shoulder. It wasn't long
before police showed up, held him at gun point and told him to get on the
ground. She's recording everything and when another cop walks up to her and asks
her what she's doing she said that she's recording for her husband's safety.
Again, they got exactly what they wanted and expected.

Then there was the one where 3 or 4 girls walked into Walmart with their
guns. Police were called again and they were asked to leave Walmart.  This cop
looked ruff and gruff and someone who edited the video was was inserting text
calling him a Nazi cop and accusing him of harassing those people. Once again
because they were recording all of it you knew they were just out to cause a
situation and they got just what they knew they would get.

The last video I watched was of 3 young men who were again walking down
the street with their assault rifles slung over their shoulders and once again
police were called.  In each of the video's I watched they told each cop that
they were just exercising their 2nd amendment rights and couldn't understand why
the cops stopped them.

You can't tell me that they didn't think cops would be called when
someone saw them carrying assault weapons strapped to their backs and be wary
after all that's gone on lately. Then to complain because a cop is just doing
his job is asinine.  When there's a complaint made cops have to answer it, plain
and simple. If you're going to walk down the street with a AK strapped to your
back how are people suppose to know if you and your toy is just out for a stroll
or if you're going on a rampage or not?  They got just what they knew they would
and then had the gall to be offended.

This police officer explained so well that anyone should be
able to understand.

Like he told them, he doesn't know if  you're a felon or not. So now because of people like this it wouldn't surprise me that laws are created that you can't refuse to show your ID to a policemen like these guys did.

In my opinion the only thing these people are accomplishing is nothing more than making fools of themselves.  It is these kind of people who will force states to repeal the open carry laws because of a few bean heads who didn’t prove a thing.  Don’t be mad when the cops show up because if they do it’s because someone else called them.A nd someone called because they didn’t know what the hell you were going to do with that AK 47.  With all the shootings that’s happened in this country the last few years you can’t blame people for being scared when they see someone doing that. It’s just all so stupid and I just don’t get it.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Okay, I’m going to try this again.

I think it’s been about a year now since I blogged last. To be honest, I haven’t even been around to visit in a long time and I do feel bad about that. I am going to try to be better about that however. So, how have you all been? I hope you are all well and happy.


I’m kind of sad. We have to have our little dog put to sleep. A couple of months ago I noticed his lip looked swollen.  I didn’t think much of it at first but it kept getting bigger and bigger. He’s actually my son’s dog who is in N.Y. so I called him to tell him about it. He told me to take him to the vet and have it checked out. Well, I made an appointment thinking that he might have an infected tooth and antibiotics would solve the problem. Not to be. It turns out that he has melanoma. I couldn’t believe it when the Vet told me that and tears instantly came to my eyes. The tumor is growing so fast and it’s getting harder for him to eat, in fact, it’s taking over his entire mouth and under his tongue. Soon it will affect his breathing as well. The worse part is, he’s still his old self for the most part and still likes to chase squirrels and other dogs and runs around like a puppy. Because it’s our sons dog he came home to handle the sad job of taking him in and I’m glad he did because I don’t know if I could have done it. It breaks my heart just to look at him knowing what has to be done.


It is going to be hard getting use to not having him around too. Even though Snuff is my sons dog he is more attached to me as he’s been with us the last year or so.  He follows me everywhere. And I mean everywhere. He sits on the arm of my chair next to me, he follows me around the house and waits outside the bathroom door when I’m in there. He watches every move I make and never lets me out of his sight. He’s a Chihuahua mix but he thinks he’s King Kong and will try to take on any dog no matter how big they are. If I didn’t have him on his leash he’d chase down any other dog in sight. Anyway, Bill is going to make an appointment tomorrow. That tumor will just get bigger and bigger until it chokes him and we don’t want him to suffer that way and we can tell it’s starting to do just that. Poor little guy.


It’s nice having Bill home for awhile but wish it was for another reason. The holidays are coming up so hopefully he’ll be able to make it home for them.  I sure hope so anyway.


I’m so sorry that my first blog in a year is such a downer but that’s what’s on my mind right now. I promise my next one won’t be so depressing. It might be a couple days or so after he’s gone though. Hopefully I won’t be a big baby when Bill takes off with him. I thought about going with him then I thought no, I don’t think I can do it. He still remembers Bill and is always happy to see him when he comes home so he’ll do just fine going with him. I just wish it didn’t have to be.


Okay, enough of that. If I keep talking I’ll start crying. So until next time….Take care and be good to yourself. See ya soon. xox

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ellis Island

Of all the places we visited Ellis Island was the most humbling to me. As we sailed up to the Island I tried to imagine what it might have been like for those who came from so far away many years ago to start a new life.

The Island had many names. The Indians called it Seagull Island, Dutch Settlers called it Oyster island and when pirates where hanged from the trees there it was called Gibbet Island. It wasn't until around the time of the American Revolution in 1776 that a merchant Samuel Ellis from New York owned it and built a restaurant on it for fishermen. In 1808 an heir to Samuel sold it to the city of New York who kept the name Ellis Island. Later that same year it was sold to the Federal Government. Later the Island was expanded and other islands built from the landfill taken from building the subway system.

The brick structure was opened in Dec. of 1900 at a cost of 1.5 million dollars and was designed to handle 5000 immigrants a day. As years went by more buildings were added to the Island. Later 

When the U.S. entered WW1 the island was used to detain German soldiers and a couple of years later it was taken over by the Army and Navy to care for sick and wounded soldiers. 

When you first walk in you are taken aback by the size of great room where the immigrants were first processed as they came off the boats. The room measures 100 ft. by 200 ft. with 56 ft. vaulted ceilings. The tall ceiling and huge windows are beautiful. Right across the room from the doors is a line of hundreds of pieces of luggage that was left there by the immigrants. When you look at them you visualize what must have been in them at one time. Ones entire life's possessions in each and every one of them. 

The many rooms there are of different sizes and uses. There is the medical examination room, the mental examination room, the registration room, a court room, a dinning room (which we ate lunch in on the very same tables) a hospital, a laundry room and of course the dormitories. 

We watched a movie while we were there. Before the movie starts a tour guide tells you about the island and what the immigrants had to go through to be able to stay here. I found out that if you had any medical issues no matter how small you could be sent back to your home country.  Many who came had an eye disease. A doctor would examine their eyes and if they were infected they would be turned away and sent back.  They would watch to see if you had any physical disabilities as well and if you did you too were sent back.  When I heard that the first thing I thought of is, I would have been one of those turned away. I was born with a dislocated hip and have always limped. Since they only wanted or allowed the healthiest and the strongest to stay I would have had to leave.  Parents of children who had any problems had to decide who would stay here and who would go back with their children if they were turned away. Can you imagine what that must have been like? If you were allowed to stay and if you had family here to claim you your native currency was exchanged for American money and you were free to go.

Throughout the building they have rooms of pictures placed inside cardboard boxes which are lighted of some of those who came here. They have rooms of clothes from every corner of the world each with it's own style and fashion at that time. You can visit the dormitories where the bunks are 3 high and the bathrooms of just the basic necessities but were probably a blessing for them. They have letters and letters written by many. What I found interesting and funny at the same time that even back then those in charge, who had to be immigrants at one time as well, were complaining about all the immigrants coming and should put a stop to it or slow it down at least (sound familiar?). Some of the letters that were displayed were heartbreaking while some where joyous and happy. There were drawings on the walls where people drew pictures of birds or a outline of their hands with their names in it.

They have books and books of the names of those who came and you can look through them to find your family name. We found ours. We found both sides except for my grandmothers as she was a Cherokee Indian. In fact, there is a website where you can search the registry for your family. Just go here

I was very humbled after visiting Ellis Island. To think what our ancestor's went through to make a better life for themselves and for their families for whatever reason they had makes you feel a little ashamed for complaining when the power goes out or something breaks down and yet, grateful at the same time. As many problems as our country has it is still the best country in the world and we are lucky to live here. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

I know I'm probably forgetting something and if I think of it I'll throw it in another blog. For now though I'll leave you with a video of a scale model of the Island. Here's  a link to a website that tells you more about Ellis Island then I every could. I was so impressed and humbled from this expierence. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Statue of Liberty

As with most every place you visit as a tourist in N.Y. you have to go through security. However, this is the only place we went to that I saw an armed soldier standing guard. Miss Liberty was a gift of friendship from the people of France Oct. 28th 1886 as universal symbol of freedom and democracy. She was dedicated on October 28, 1886 and designated as a National Monument in 1924. A symbolic feature that people cannot see is the broken chain wrapped around the Statue's feet. At the bottom of her robe, there is broken chains that symbolize her free forward movement, symbolizing to the world with her torch the freedom from oppression and servitude.

Ticket prices aren’t too bad, only around $17.00 for adults. You can only get to the Island by the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Ferry. Personnel and privet boats are not allowed to dock on the islands.
The line was long and it was another hot day the day we went. Thankfully there were vendors there selling water and ice cream. Once we boarded the Ferry we headed for the upper deck so we could have a clear vision of everything around us. I can’t tell you what an amazing sight it is as you get closer and closer to the Statue. Not to mention the view of the City as well as the Brooklyn Bridge.
Once you dock on the Island you are behind the Statue. As you walk toward her through the court yard there is a table set up with pamphlets and information. There are headphones you can use for an audio tour as well.
The courtyard is beautiful! Along the sides of the courtyard are vendors and on the other side there are white cast iron tables sitting between rows of trees. As you walk around she comes into view and it just stops your heart to be so close to her. You can have your picture taken by photographers and then view them in the gift shop when you’re ready to leave.
Speaking of the gift shop. I have to admit that I was very disappointed. Of course they have the normal things like shirts, key chains, cups etc. BUT…they were all made in CHINA! I didn’t see one thing there that was made here and I think it is outrageous that souvenirs sold at our national parks and monuments are made in foreign countries. When I think of women & children working in sweatshops making these things for gift shops at, of all places, our nations proudest places it blows my mind. Because of that, the only thing I bought there was the pictures we had taken in front of the Statue. I will treasure that forever! To be there with my boys means more then I could ever say and means more then a mere trinket.
I can’t even begin to tell you the feeling that comes over you while you’re there. To look up at her and realize the reason she’s there is nothing short of humbling. Knowing what happened in the past and the reason the French made this for us is a lesson for us all.
We walked around the entire Island before heading back to the Ferry which would then take us over to Ellis Island. If you ever get the chance to go there don’t turn it down. You won’t regret it.
In my next blog I will tell you about Ellis Island.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The 9/11 Memorial

You have to have a ticket and a reservation to get in to the Memorial site, as of right now they are free. They only allow so many at a time and you can pick a day and time you hope to be there. If there are too many for that day and time they will let you know. Security is tight there as well, you and your bags have to go through a screening there too. When you go in they give you a roll of paper and a crayon so you can etch a name on it if you want as well as information.

Kathy and I went to the Memorial and Bill and William went to the Natural History Museum that day.

As with everywhere you go in N.Y. there are lines of people waiting to enter and the Memorial was no different. I’m sad to say that Kathy lost her Dad in the towers the day of the attack. Families who lost someone that day doesn’t have to wait in line, they have a separate entrance for them and I think that’s how it should be. Her Dad’s name is engraved on one of the pools.
It is hard for families. Kathy said that even though she understands why people want to visit there, for her it’s grave site. At the same time, it’s a tourist attraction and a place to mourn.

There is a temporary museum there right now while the permanent one is being built. You can see it in my picture that is titled…People at the Memorial in the back of the photo. It’s slanted building and it will be amazing when it’s finished.

All through the museum there are video’s. Video’s of the day of the attack, video’s of the aftermath and clean up. Video’s of peoples reaction and of the first responders who never gave up. There are artifacts of the buildings and of the planes, of personal items found in the wreckage. There is a wall of just photos of those gone from us and a wall of those who are still missing. There is a flag called the honor flag that has the name of every person who perished that day. It is very humbling to say the least.

The names around the fountains are arranged not alphabetically but by the group of people who were close together on the day the planes hit. Police officers are listed together, as are passengers on each of the planes that crashed -- and the crew and passengers of each plane are listed on the pool corresponding to the tower their plane hit.

The Reflecting Pools are amazing and beautiful. They are the centerpiece of the memorial and are two giant, square pits and they sit in the footprints of the two towers. The waterfalls cascading down the four walls of each fountain are the largest such fountains in North America. To me the the continuous fountains are reminders that we will never forget.

There is a tree there that was originally planted in 1970 that now stands alone in the plaza, it's called the Survivor Tree. It is a pear tree and is the last living thing pulled from the ruins. The tree was found in the smoldering rubble and had sustained extensive damage. When it was found it had lifeless limbs, snapped roots and the trunk was scorched and blackened. At that time it was 8 feet tall. It was taken to a nursery and nursed back to  health and replanted and now measures 30 in height. Since trees is my most favorite thing in the world other then my family I had to get a picture of it and of course I had to touch it. To me the tree  symbolizes that as Americans you can  knock us down but you can't knock us out. We will  'Always' get back up and do what needs to be done to make things right.

Next time I'll tell you about the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. For now I'll leave you with a video of one of the Reflection Pools.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Before I talk about Ground Zero

Let me tell you about the subway system.

We would walk just up the street from Kathy’s apartment to the entrance. You have to have metro passes to get through the gates to the trains. It was so hot when we were there and the only good thing being in the subway when it’s hot is that you’re out of the sun. It is hot down there as well and very humid. The trains though are air-conditioned thank God!

There’s a big difference between Brooklyn and the city as far as the subway goes. It’s not as clean in Brooklyn right now. Some of the tiles along the walls are chipped and cracked and dirty. Once you get into the city though it’s like a whole other world under there. Once in the city there are shops and restaurants and it’s all spit polished and very clean. Bill said they are in the process of renovating it all under there so it’s just a matter of time before it will all be as nice as it is in Manhattan.

I don't know how many times I've heard over the years that New Yorkers are rude and unfriendly. Well, I'm here to tell you that that isn't true.  Some of my fellow subway travelers offered me their seats more then once.  I'm sure I was red from the heat and of course I walk with a limp so no doubt they thought I needed to sit more then they did and I appreciated it. 

People do find a way to pass the time in their travels though. I saw many with Ipads, and kindles. Some brought their knitting along. Teens and kids had their Ipods and mp3 players. I saw a few Rabbi's reading their bibles, mom's and dad's with their babies and of course some working on their laptops. Me, I'm a people watcher so I would sit and watch them. 

You have to be fast getting on and off the trains as they don't wait for anyone. If there are a lot of people trying to get on the same car it can get pretty tricky. Kathy told me though that I was as good as a New Yorker and got through the crowd like I did it for years  though lol. It's hot under the subway too and humid. At least the trains are air-conditioned though. Thank God for that because it was so very hot there, and of course there's no air flow under there. They do have benches for you to sit and wait for the trains though. Not many but there are some. Just talking about it makes me want to go back. Heat and all lol.

No doubt you've heard about people singing and playing music in the subways hoping to make a little extra money. It is true. Even though I didn't see anyone on the platforms panhandling there was twice that I did on the train itself. They walk from car to car holding out their hats or cups hoping for a donation. No, I didn't donate and in fact, I didn't see anyone else donate either. 

I'll leave you with a short video of one of our entertainers. Tomorrow for sure I will tell you about Ground Zero. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The day we left for New York

We had to get up bright and early to catch the 3:00 a.m. bus to Chicago as our plane was leaving at 6:45. I love flying by the way. If you’ve ever been to O’Hare airport you know how big it is. It’s always a long walk from where you check in to where you board the plane so you want to give yourself plenty of time to get from point A to point B. Once we boarded and were on our way I couldn’t wait until we got there.
I took this picture of the city from the plane with my Ipod.

New York 077

The tall building you see in the center of the picture is Freedom Tower which is  at ground zero and is still under construction. I won’t go into that anymore right now but will talk more about it in another blog.

We landed in LaGuardia around 10:00. I have to say that I was pleased to find out that LaGuardia isn’t anywhere near as big as O’Hare is.
Bill’s girlfriend Kathy, who was born there and grew up in New York, met us at the airport. She said it would be cheaper to hire a car to take us from there to her apartment in Brooklyn so that’s what we did.  Otherwise I guess we’d have to take buses and the subway and change several times before we would get to her place.

Morning walk in Brooklyn 004
She lives on the 6th floor in this building. The best part is is that it has an elevator. I guess the apartment she had before she bought this one didn’t and she lived on the 8th floor there. So needless to say, I was thankful that she moved lol.
Her apartment is nice, small but nice. It’s a one bedroom but she has a hide-a-bed that I slept on and William slept on a portable air mattress so we were comfy.
There is one thing that I didn’t like about her place and it’s a big one for me. When I walked into her place and after we got settle in I went to pull her blinds apart so I could look out the window. You guesed it? All I could see was another part of the building and a direct view into another apartment. Needless to say she keeps the blinds closed at all times lol.
I have to be honest here. I think I could live just about anywhere, there included. But! I could not live in an apartment where I couldn’t sit by a window and look out. I just couldn’t. I’d also have to have a balcony so I could sit out and enjoy the weather. That would be a must for me.
I felt so closed in and penned up while there that I would go out and go across the street and sit on a park bench for a couple of hours. I usually did that every morning while they were still sleeping and after we would get back home from our sight-seeing trips. I would walk down the street to the corner store in search of coffee lol. She doesn’t drink coffee so for survival sake I had to find it somewhere. I’d take my coffee and walk across the street and sit and people watch. Prospect Park is right there across from her building too so I would take walks in the park sometimes as well.
She lives in a nice neighborhood in Brooklyn and I felt safe. I think I saw every race and ethnicity there on my walks and coffee breaks. I was surprised to see so many people with dogs. Some with 2 or 3. They must all take their dogs to obedience school because I never once saw a dog bark or growl at another dog or person the whole time I was there. It has to be hard to have a dog and live in apartments like most people there  but it seemed to me plenty do.
We went out for dinner at a place called Johnny Mack’s that night. It is a typical neighborhood place with good food and friendly faces. I wish I’d taken pictures inside while we were there but I was too excited being with them that I didn’t think of it. We did take these photos though.
Bill, William and I at Johnny Mack's
 Kathy, William and I at Johnny Mack's
We drove around a bit after dinner and made our plans for the rest of the week. I must say, they were very gracious hosts and was willing to do anything and everything we wanted. I think I might have worn them out though because I wanted to keep going and going lol. I’m the type that I want to see and do as much as I can while I’m there and they did everything they could to make that happen for us. I usually have a must do list when I travel and this time was no exception.  I’m happy and grateful to say I was able to check off everything on my list for this trip. 
Stay Tuned. The next blog will be about Ground Zero at the the 9/11 memorial.