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Last Visit 2016-04-04 09:29:22 |Start Date 2007-08-13 08:30:04 |Comments 728 |Entries 207 |Images 109 |Videos 2 |

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07/05/10 03:48 - 85.ºF - ID#52104

Maybe taxes aren't so bad

Several people we talked to about moving to NY mentioned the ridiculous state taxes. So we expected the worst...

But I really can't say I have too many complaints. I love it that states like NY don't tax necessities like food (which is taxed in IL). And when I consider that I can visit several state parks within a reasonable drive from Buffalo and enjoy hiking, swimming, sunning, disc golfing and camping. Well, I'm almost happy to put my money in the collective pot that makes the state park system tick.

I had a great day yesterday at Beaver Island State Park sunning on the beach, cooling off in the water (and seeing (e:) PMT) and it triggered my thought that I'm really grateful for the NY State Park System. I wonder how many people visit the state park and don't realize that it's our tax dollars at work.

Now, the politicians and how they manage the money, that's another story...
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Permalink: Maybe_taxes_aren_t_so_bad.html
Words: 161
Location: Buffalo , NY
Last Modified: 07/05/10 03:54


06/11/10 08:16 - 69ºF - ID#51856

Political Fail

I ran into Mayor Byron Brown and some political aide at the video store. It was a little awkward. He went a little too out of his way to hold the door open for me and was super polite, but in a disconnected way.

They wandered a bit around the front of the store looking at videos in this odd way that clearly indicated they weren't really interested in videos, but needed to pretend they were and then left as I finished checking out.

I laughed and told the clerk it was the most awkward scene I had ever witnessed and the clerk told me he comes every Friday night to CAMPAIGN!

If he was trying to look like the average joe browsing the video store in his fancy suit with a political aide - FAIL

If he was trying to engage people in his campaign by wandering around and not actually talking to anyone - BIG FAIL

And if he was actually trying to rent a video - REALLY BIG FAIL

Really, when I go to the video store, I want to rent a video, not run into Mayor Brown - no matter how nice and polite he is.
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Permalink: Political_Fail.html
Words: 200
Location: Buffalo , NY


06/09/10 12:45 - 54ºF - ID#51835

Kids and plastic

When I read (e:Libertad)'s posts on plastic,





I meant to comment about my own frustrations in a similar area. With the kids came a whole lot of plastic and other cheap disposable items that just drive me nuts.

Any toy present from family/friends had a lot of plastic packaging and a lot of unnecessary packaging material period. We got a lovely firetruck set from my in-laws and I was astounded at the amount of plastic wrapping and cardboard packaging. When I first looked at the package, I thought it would be little more involved than opening a box and taking the truck out. But then I began to unwrap small parts covered in plastic, undo plastic ties, and pull apart cardboard packing. We also bought a few things for the kids when they first came and I was overwhelmed at the amount of packaging, plastic and otherwise, and I would have never guessed it was all in there from just looking at the box.

Foster son visits a fast food restaurant once a week as part of his special needs community based program (which is a WHOLE other issue) and gets a cheap plastic toy that he brings home and basically ignores.

Foster son and daughter both get cheap plastic things from their family during visits that are easily destroyed and some entirely ignored - leaving our house scattered with cheap plastic toys, that I can't just pitch because you need to be sensitive to the children in light of these gifts coming from their parents.

And apparently registering your child for PreK/K involves going from booth to booth and collecting paper coloring books and small plastic toys that, again, will be destroyed or ignored.

(e:drew) and I can make choices that eliminate bringing cheap plastic stuff into our house to an extent, but it's harder to control what happens outside of the house at school or with their family. And I do admit that I most definitely struggle with minimizing the "disposable" items and trying to reuse instead of buy new. With us both working and occupied with the kids when not working, trying to push forward with reuse, reduce, recycle gets difficult at time because it does take time and effort. But that leads into a whole other discussion down the road about lifestyle changes for (e:drew) and me.


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Permalink: Kids_and_plastic.html
Words: 408
Location: Buffalo , NY


06/04/10 08:35 - 62ºF - ID#51796

Fear Mongerer

A woman stopped by our house a few nights ago. She was scoping out the neighborhood in advance offering to install alarm systems for free in exchange for posting a company sign in the yard. An alarm system company from Canada moving into the Buffalo area.

At this point, I was ready to tell her to go away, but she was a good saleswoman and knew how to keep the spiel going so we couldn't end the conversation without being really rude. And I have to admit, Ii was curious where she was going to go next....

And she thoroughly satisfied my curiousity as the friendly tone turned into fear mongering. She painted images for us of burglars coming in through our windows and moving all of our possessions back out of them all without a peep from our neighbors...or the fire that was certain to come in an old house like ours with an outdated electrical system... and have we ever seen Backdraft? Because that's the type of fire that is quietly smoldering away inside our house. And well, she has her own testimony. Heat sensors saved her children from exploding in a fire. Well, no, not really exploding, but nonetheless saved them from being burned to a crisp.

We said goodbye and walked away and I said loudly to Drew, She's a fear mongerer, I hope no one in the neighborhood takes her up on this offer ... hopefully loud enough for her to hear. I get tired of explaining to people (mostly co-workers) that living in Buffalo doesn't mean we're constant victims of crime. And I'd hate to see these signs in people's yards reinforcing this concept that Buffalo is a scary place requiring extreme levels of security to live safely in one's home.

So, who's going to help me take down security signs in the middle of the night when they go up in the neighborhood?

"Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe."
Proverbs 29:25

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Permalink: Fear_Mongerer.html
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Location: Buffalo , NY


05/28/10 09:52 - 68ºF - ID#51744

The good and bad of surprises

A bad surprise on this past Wednesday was when I was driving down Amherst. I looked to the left and then forward and then slammed into the truck in front of me.

The nice surprise was that the neighbors in the area were so friendly and trying so hard to help I practically had to beat them off with a stick. Actually, replace "beat them off with a stick" with "assure them repeatedly that we were going to be alright".

I gratefully accepted all the bottles of water, but declined car rides and invitations into their homes. I knew the husband was coming very shortly to pick up the kids and the tow truck was coming very shortly to tow the car and I wanted to be waiting outside and be ready for as soon as they came.

I think I'm going to take a few seconds to write thank you notes this weekend and drop them off in their mailboxes.
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Permalink: The_good_and_bad_of_surprises.html
Words: 161
Location: Buffalo , NY


05/05/10 12:09 - 76ºF - ID#51508

Laugh of the Day

I thought this way funny, so I'm going to share this intro to an article on small child morality from the NY Times magazine

[box]Not long ago, a team of researchers watched a 1-year-old boy take justice into his own hands. The boy had just seen a puppet show in which one puppet played with a ball while interacting with two other puppets. The center puppet would slide the ball to the puppet on the right, who would pass it back. And the center puppet would slide the ball to the puppet on the left . . . who would run away with it. Then the two puppets on the ends were brought down from the stage and set before the toddler. Each was placed next to a pile of treats. At this point, the toddler was asked to take a treat away from one puppet. Like most children in this situation, the boy took it from the pile of the “naughty” one. But this punishment wasn’t enough ��" he then leaned over and smacked the puppet in the head. [/box]


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Permalink: Laugh_of_the_Day.html
Words: 185
Location: Buffalo , NY


05/01/10 01:05 - 73ºF - ID#51486

School board update

Buffalo news gives their endorsements for the school board candidate (almost exactly who art voice advises against):




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Permalink: School_board_update.html
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Location: Buffalo , NY


04/30/10 10:12 - 65ºF - ID#51476

School Board Elections

Get out and vote on May 4th in the School Board election. Even if you don't have children, the success of our schools will impact the success of our city.

This election you're voting for school board representatives of your district. See the map at the bottom of this site to figure out your district:



A Buffalo News Article gives a short summary of all the candidates in the different districts:



At the bottom of an Artvoice article on illegal campaign practices is a list of all the candidates by district.



Buffalo Rising has been covering the north district candidates which covers a lot of North Buffalo and a lot of the Elmwood Village area.





The above article links to each of the candidates websites.

Some information from the Candidates night on Tuesday:



Happy Reading!
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Permalink: School_Board_Elections.html
Words: 177
Location: Buffalo , NY


04/23/10 09:18 - ID#51440

Five years down and 45 more to go

Seven and a half years ago, on a sunny August day, I cautiously met some guy from an online site on Temple's campus to grab a bite to eat.

Six years ago came a proposal on a beach in New Jersey while watching the sunrise.

Five years ago we said "I do" and made promises for forever followed by a fabulous and fun party.

Several adventures later, I wouldn't have done it any differently.

Happy Anniversary, Drew!
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Permalink: Five_years_down_and_45_more_to_go.html
Words: 77
Location: Buffalo , NY


04/11/10 09:03 - 46ºF - ID#51369

First Vacation with the Kids

Highlights include:

Foster daughter at the zoo constantly asking where the animals were but never looking when we pointed them out.

Foster daughter always having to go poop when out in public and sharing that fact with a large audience of people.

Foster son puking on the steak dinner my father made after my father spent all night talking about how good the steaks were going to be and how expensive they were.

Foster son on the ride home pulling out his little friend and playing with it. I tried to explain that it was for private and not public, but I was laughing too hard and tears were rolling down my face. The husband had to turn around and handle that one.

Foster daughter kept calling the hand dryers in the bathroom hair dryers and kept asking to go outside "bear tracks" instead of bare foot.

Foster son sweetly pushing his sister on the swing. Then trying to push me. But miscalculated his distance from me and ended up being pushed over by me on my way back. He's a tough kid and he got off the ground with a smile. He definitely saw the humor.


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Permalink: First_Vacation_with_the_Kids.html
Words: 197
Location: Buffalo , NY


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