Monday, June 19, 2006

Do Not Call Registries

The following are a couple of website that allows you to register or "Opt-Out" from receiving telemarketing calls and unwanted credit or insurance offers via the USPS. I've used both of these sites and have noticed a significant drop in the number of calls and USPS offers - Of course, do your own research, and use at your own discretion:

"National Do Not Call Registry" - The National Do Not Call Registry gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home. You can register your home or mobile phone for free.

OptOutPrescreen - is a centralized service to accept and process requests from consumers to "Opt-In" or “Opt-Out” of firm offers of credit or insurance. is the only internet website authorized by Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion for this purpose under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Words of Wisdom

  1. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
  2. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.
  3. When you say, "I love you," mean it.
  4. When you say, "I'm sorry," look the person in the eye.
  5. Believe in love at first sight.
  6. Never laugh at anyone's dream. People who don't have dreams don't have much.
  7. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the o nly way to live life completely.
  8. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.
  9. Don't judge people by their relatives.
  10. Talk slowly but think quickly.
  11. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you ant to know?"
  12. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
  13. Say "bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.
  14. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
  15. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and responsibility for all your actions.
  16. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
  17. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
  18. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice. If telemarketer, tell them to piss-off then hang up, but smile.
  19. Spend some time alone.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

American Bull Frog

I continue to educate my 4 year old daughter on the wildlife in and around our area. Yesterday our adventures continued with the catching of one of my favorites, the Bullfrog.

The bullfrog brings up many fond memories of my childhood, of a time when these types of amphibians were more common and I didn't know what true responsibilities were. Summers visiting and vacationing on Sebago Lake's Frye Island. We wouldn't have been to the cottage for very long before I'd race down to the swamps in search of some type of critter - snakes, toads or frogs. Bullfrogs were the more common and most fun and I almost always ended up bring one or more back to the cottage to spend the time with.

We were fortunate to come across a bullfrog yesterday while visiting my mom. This frog was kind enough to let me catch him so that my daughter could get a first hand, up close look and feel and yes, even a kiss... Up until this point my daughter had only seen and held tiny frogs and toads but this critter put the name "bull" in bullfrog. This guy was even kind enough to "cry" for us. I don't suspect many people have heard a bullfrog cry, and that's too bad, it's a sight and sound to behold.

Internet Bullfrog reference

Friday, June 09, 2006

Eastern Snapping Turtle (Chelydra Serpentina)

I came across this turtle in the middle of the road the other day. This is a female Eastern Snapping Turtle (Chelydra Serpentina) -

The day before my dad had brought home an Eastern Painted Turtle he found crossing the road. I thought it would be a good learning experience and contrast to bring this girl home too and introduce her to my daughter - she's 4. I also wanted to ensure that this critter didn't become a road kill casualty, as so many do this time of year.

She proved to be a VERY aggressive girl. The following morning we took some pictures then hoped in the truck and took both turtles to a nearby pond, where we released them. Hopefully they're happy and enjoying there new home...

*** Update, June 13, 2006 - I caught another snapping turtle this past weekend. This girl was larger than the one pictured above. She too was attempting to cross the road. I tried to get her turned and headed away from the road but she refused. At that point I decided it best to not chance her attempting to cross after I'd left so I took her with me. We took some pictures of her and this time I measured her shell - 13" front to back and 10" wide, then off to the pond for her release.

The following information was obtained from the Internet -

The Eastern Snapping Turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in Massachusetts. Snapping Turtles are distinctive and ancient-looking turtles that can be as large as 20” and weigh up to 35 pounds, although some individuals are even larger. Males are much larger than females in this species. The carapace of a Snapping Turtle is serrated at its posterior margin and may have keels on the dorsal scutes. The tail is long and “saw–toothed” and the head is large with a hard beak.

The shell is usually dark green to black and is sometimes covered with algae. The skin is usually brown, black or tan. The legs are large and heavily scaled and the feet are webbed with long claws.

The Eastern Snapping Turtle ranges from the eastern United states and southern Canada southward to the Gulf of Mexico and west to the Rocky Mountains and can be found in most permanent or semipermanent bodies of fresh or brackish water, including rivers, streams, pools, bogs, legs, lakes, and marshes. The Eastern Snapping Turtle frequents well-vegetated wetlands with soft muddy banks or bottoms and is almost entirely aquatic.

Snapping Turtles are omnivores, feeding on fish (bullheads, sunfish, perch), aquatic invertebrates, crayfish, live vertebrates, carrion, and plant material. They are highly herbivorous and can be seen “grazing” on cattail roots (Typha) and water lilies (Nymphaea).

The Snapping Turtle reaches sexual maturity between 5 and 7 years of age. They typically lay eggs in soil, lawns, fields, and leaf or twig piles and deposit between 11 and 83 eggs in one or two clutches per year. Snapping Turtle eggs usually hatch after 2+ months of incubation, usually in early September.

Mom, I Miss You - Sweet Dreams...

Gently, Goodbye
by Linda McDonald
My love…my life, we’ve been partners in this game for so long.
We are one player.
We have tolerated so many quirks in one another for so long…
Can we even name the quirks now?
We’ve laughed together, wept together, fought together, parented together, as husband and wife
Now I see the life ebbing slowly from your being.
My heart is breaking…I can’t lose you.
How can I go on without you?
Yet I must take care of you now. You are tired and you are hurting.
My love gives me endless energy so that I can be at your side to cherish every remaining moment that God gives us.
Let me serve you, my love, as you have so gently tended to me in times of need.
God will support me now while I support you.
And when God quietly takes you from me, I will weep.
I will know that your pain is over.
I will know you are waiting for me.
We will again be united in love with our Father in heaven.
About the author: Visit Linda’s web site

Copyright © 1994 by Linda McDonald. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Vlad's Suggestions

I have begun compiling a list of recommendation from a colleague of mine. This will be a random list of items, from movies to books to foods to wine. There will be no order, nor rhyme nor reasons to this list just a list. Moving forward this list will be referred to as, "Vlad's Suggestions".

I will update this list as new recommendation come in, so return frequently because you don't want to miss a thing -

**** Items highlighted in green have been tried, completed, read etc

*** Update, June 9, 2006 - This just in...Vlad has refused to provide additional recommendations UNTIL I have acted upon, at least, one of his suggestions below. I was simply asking him for a nice wine recommendation and WHAM he hits me with this ultimatum. Arguably I agreed with him, so off to the book store I go to pick up "The Name of the Rose", afterall I refuse to eat Duck Liver Pate...

*** Update, June 13, 2006 - Well I made it to the book store Friday night and picked up two books - "The Loved One" and "The Name of the Rose". I hope to begin reading The Loved One soon.

*** Update, June 23, 2006 - Tried Gazpacho at lunch today - it's not too bad. I am not a big fan of vegatables in general, therefore since Gazpacho is made from fresh vegetables I didn't enjoy completely. However, the juice was tasty and reminded me of what my mother would call "butta butta", which I believe is Greek for dipping.

*** Update, June 24, 2006 - When Vlad and I made our WholeFood run on Friday to pickup the Gazpacho, I also picked up two Iggy's bagels - one plain and one multigrain. I had the multigrain one this morning toasted with butter - very, very good and tasty bagel! Typically bagels with toping almost alway loose their toping in the process of slicing toasting and buttering but this bagel held onto the majority of it topings.

*** Update, June 25, 2006 - Purchased a six-pack of "Old Speckled Hen" ale today and gave one a try - I enjoyed it, However, very expensive, as I paid $8.50ish for a six-pack...

*** Update, July 3, 2006 - At Vlad's request the "Cîroc® Vodka" needs to be removed from his list of recommendations below. Although this vodka came highly rated by Vlad origionally it has tumbled and it no longer a favorite. Too fruity a taste, which is too overwhelming when consuming this vodka in the quantities that Vlad drinks.

*** Update, July 20, 2006 - Today I tried Salmon caviar. It was meticulously prepared by Vlad himself on a piece of dark bread with plenty of butter. However, there's a bit of a discrepency with this 'tasting'. Apparently, Vlad doesn't believe it was a true tasting because there was "not enough quantity"...go figure.

*** Update, July 31, 2006 - We purchased from eBay, "Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask". We just have to find the time to watch's on the 'list'!

**** Movies ****
  1. Woody Allen film - "Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask" - starring: Woody Allen, Tony Randall, Lynn Redgrave, Gene Wilder & Burt Reynolds
  2. Black Cat White Cat (1999) - starring: Bajram Severdzan and Srdjan Todo

**** Foods ****

  1. Iggy's Bagel - "Iggy's Bread of the World" is at 130 Fawcett St., Cambridge, 617-491-7600. Iggy's bagels are sold at many Whole Foods Markets
  2. Duck Liver Pate with Truffels...I'll be passing on this one, YUK!
  3. Avocado - Cut in half, add salt, use spoon to scoop and eat.
  4. Gazpacho - A Spanish-style soup that resembles a sort of chunky liquid salad, with lots of fresh, uncooked vegetables suspended in a broth of pureed tomatoes or tomato juice and chicken stock.
  5. Pelmini - Are a national Eastern European (mainly Russian) dish - usually made with minced meat filling, wrapped in thin dough (made out of flour and eggs, sometimes with milk or water added). Pork, lamb, beef or any other kind of meat can be used as a filling and mixing several kinds is popular. Pelmeni belong to the family of dumplings.
  6. Caviar (Salmon) - Caviar

**** Wine/Beer/Liquor ****

  1. Old Speckled Hen - A most gratifying Ale.
  2. Cîroc® -Vodka distilled from fine French grapes.
  3. Matua Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc - A distinctive and aromatic Marlborough sauvignon blanc, delivering bright and lively gooseberry and passionfruit characters with a hint of lime. Produced by Matua Valley Wines in West Auckland, New Zealand.

**** Books/Readings/Author's ****

  1. Haiku
  2. Evelyn Waugh - "The Loved One", "A Handful of Dust", "Put Our More Flags"
  3. Umberto Eco - "Granita", "Misreadings", "The Name of The Rose"
  4. Vladimir Nabokov - "Lolita
  5. Gabriel García Márquez - "One Hundred Years of Solitude"
  6. Paulo Coelho's
  7. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta SwamiPrabhupada - "Bhagavad Gita"
  8. Charles Bukowski - "The Most Beautiful Woman in Town and other short stories"

**** Miscellaneous ****

  1. Netflix - Netflix link
  2. Google Earth - Google Earth link
  3. FAST LANE - The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority's Electronic Toll Collection Program. FAST LANE is also operational anywhere E-ZPass is accepted.