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Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Day at the Museum

Having a few days off from work, before I return on July 5th,  I had been looking forward to taking my family into New York City to visit The American Museum of Natural History.  I received passes for me and my family from my local library which offers them in advance.  I had booked the passes about six weeks ago and it was a great deal for the five of us.  The only drawback to the passes was the lack of entry to the Rose Center for Earth and Space.  That was okay because we saw so much through the rest of the museum. 

The expressions on the faces of my children when they viewed the large displays of dinosaur fossils was my highlight of the day.  They marvelled at the sheer size of these colassal creatures.   We walked through one exhibit called: The World's Largest Dinosaurs which featured Sauropod dinosaurs.  These dinosaurs were huge.  They had some bones on display, one leg bone was easily over 10 feet tall.  The entire display was really cool.  My children also had a chance to become paleontologists by using a chisel and brush to dig for dinosaur bones.  The World's Largest Dinosaurs

After walking through this exhibit and surveying several other sections of the Museum, we decided to have some lunch at the Museum's cafeteria.  There we discovered that our passes included a discount at the cafeteria.  Following our lunch, we walked through another special exhibit called Frogs: A Chorus of Colors.  This exhibit was facinating as it conatined many varieties of frogs.  These frogs were not only green but yellow, red and blue.  Many of these colorful frogs were posionous and their bright colors serve as a warning to other predators, hey don't mess with me.  One cool part of this exhibit was a virtual frog dissection.  Using a touch screen, I dissected a frog the same way I did it in school many years ago except that it was a much cleaner process this time.  Frogs: A Chorus of Colors

After the frog exhibit, we walked around some more at the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life.  The dioramas there depict many assorted forms of marine life and ecosystems.  The polar bears were nice to look at as were the walruses.  Joseph quickly noticed that one walrus had a tusk that was much shorter than another walrus.  The tiger shark looked menacing to me.  The hall was nicely laid out and suspended above the hall was a blue whale which covered most of the ceiling.  The blue whale can grow as long as three school buses and this one here looked as though it was the size of a football field.  The Milstein Hall of Ocean Life

It was here at the Milstein Hall when my children, Samantha in particular, began to get really cranky.  She and her sister, Caroline, are only three and they did do a lot of walking at the museum.  At the museum, they looked to me and my wife to carry them whenever we could.  Unfortunatey, we did not pack a stroller, which probably would have helped us.  We then decided that we would leave the Museum and head home before NYC rush hour would begin. 

We picked the car up at the garage near the Museum and I drove down Riverside Drive and then the West Side Highway.  We passed Ground Zero and saw the construction progress of the Freedom Tower (I can't believe its almost 10 years since that terrible day).  We made our way up the FDR drive and finally to the RFK Bridge and then home to Long Island with two sleeping girls in the back and one inquisitive amateur paleontologist asking question after question about dinosaurs. 

We had a nice day and we look forward to returning to the city for other adventures with the kids in the future.  I highly recommend the American Museum of Natural History for families to include as a place to visit while visiting New York City.   

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Endings and Beginnings

I tried to come up with the subject of this post but I had a hard time deciding on the subject matter.  I have been out of touch with the latest news, until last night, as I had a busy week wrapping up my school year while also preparing for a quick return on July 5th (I don't work in the Public or Catholic School Systems).  This means some slight changes to my classroom, both staff and students.  At least its the 6 week summer program, a less intensive period for the kids.  It should be fun.

I am looking forward to visiting the Museum of Natural History with my family in Manhattan during my respite from work, so that should provide some upcoming blog material.

As the title of this blog indicates, June is a month of endings and beginnings.  For many young people, graduation from High School marks the ending of their schooling and possibly a beginning down a future path at college, in a trade school, in service as a member of the armed services or perhaps directly into the workforce.

In June, as well as the summer months, many young couples begin their lives in marriage.  Just yesterday, the New York Senate passed a bill legalizing same sex marriage.  This bill was quickily signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who made this a major issue in his campaign for Governor.  Politically, this was a shrewd move, as Cuomo successfully courted this financially powerful constituency with a deft touch.

The Catholic Church here in NY has taken a anti-same sex marriage position and its reaction was swift:

I am not going to offer my opinion on this subject although I will say this, the law will most likely be a boon for divorce lawyers as the pool of married couples who potentially split up will rise.

Endings and Beginnings:  Good Luck to All.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thoughts on Father's Day

Well with Father's Day 2011 almost concluded, I wanted to express some thoughts on being a father.  It is quite a responsibility to have three young children.  I am truely blessed that they are healthy and thriving.  Their futures have yet to be written.  It's great to see each of their individual personalities emerging.  In my son Joseph, I see a boy so curious about his world and I love that he asks me so many questions that begin with "why."  He is also displaying a mechanical ability by working with tools and last week he assisted me and my father-in-law last week to assemble beds for his twin sisters, which is great.

My daughters are fantastic, they are very chatty.  I suppose that they are making up for lost time from late last year when their daycare teacher expressed concerns that they weren't talking.  Anyway, Sami can be reserved around others and makes quiet observations when faced with a new person or surroundings.  Caroline, is the second son, I will never have.  She wants to do everything her brother does and she charges right into battle.  I am amazed that she can also turn into the girly-girly just as easily as she does the tom-boy stuff.

I loved all the drawings and gifts from my children today.  Aimee, my wife made the day extra special for me with a surprise breakfast and we all enjoyed the day together.  We also visited my father to wish him a Happy Father's Day.

My father is the best.  He has taught me, through his example, to be a devoted husband, a listening father and a good son.  I am very lucky, I was born into a large family of 12 children.  At some moment during the course of the day, I will have a brief moment where I am in awe that my father and mother raised all of us.  I am certain that it wasn't always easy for them, but we never once knew that.  What we knew was that Daddy and Mommy would be there for us.  That security was what we needed to grow and develop and become the persons we are today.  I hope I can be as half as good of a Dad with my three children.

There's a song lyric that I like and it sums up to me what family and being a father is all about:

"What does it mean when you belong to someone
When you're born with a name, when you carry it on." 

Past, present and future all sumed up so eloquently in this song.

Happy Father's Day 2011.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Where have you gone...

The title of this post truly sums up my current thinking, as well as my lack of postings to this blog.  First, I have been quite busy the last few weeks with work.  I have been organizing my paperwork with an eye towards finishing the final weeks of school and preparing report cards.  My family duties have also kept me running around with my son playing Little League Baseball, usually twice a week.  Also, my in-laws are visiting from Florida and they have been staying much of their trip with us.  Their arrival has brought an opportunity to clean out much of the clutter around the house.  Most of the clutter is in the form of baby supplies and toys.  We are targeting a large garage sale for the next weekend not only to get rid of these items but to generate some cash for what else, more stuff!!!

While, I enjoy the process of blogging, my goal with this blog was to generate some discussion regarding topics, mostly current events, which I have an interest in discussing.  While I have had some feedback, it has been minimal so I once again ask those who read my posts, join the discussion and leave me feedback.  Opportunities to do so can be found at the bottom of the post or through my e-mail: or Tweet me by following me on Twitter @SteveKeegan10.

Speaking of Twitter, Congressman Anthony Weiner of NY has sought to take a leave of absence following his revelations that he engaged in sending pictures of himself, some sexually explicit, through social media sites of Twitter and Facebook.  While he was quite foolish at the start of this mess with his claim of a prank, he then followed the standard playbook for all politicians and Tiger Woods: the public apology and press conference.  I heard some of the Q and A's while driving my children home from daycare last week.  Don't these people ever think about their own wives and families?

I still believe that while Weiner's conduct is atrocious, it distracts us all from the real issues facing our great republic.  First and foremost is our languishing economy.  The jobs picture is very bleak.  I graduated last year with a Master's degree in Education.  I am certified to teach Elementary Education or Special Education grades 1-6.  I was unable to even get a single interview last year, prior to 2010-11 year.  Fortunately the organization I was working for operates a school for severely disabled children and I was successful in getting an interview and finding a job there.

I have been a critic of the President in terms of how he's handled the economy.  Gas has been too high this spring, where is he?  He has the Bully Pulpit he needs to use it more than he has, which has been never at all.  During this unraveling time, our country needs a clear focus and purpose in this 21st Century interconnected world. 

Finally, I couldn't sleep this past Friday night and I began listening to AM Coast to Coast on the radio.  The topic that night was on Near Death Expereinces (NDE).  According to the expert, P.M.H. Atwater, people who have NDE's tend to lose their fear of death, and become more loving and charitable.  What struck me most, while listening was those who go through NDE learn that there is one god, one people, one family, onme existance, one law (love), one commandment (service), and one solution (forgiveness).  Isn't the last part a great recipe for living? Love your neighbor, be in service to others (not expecting anything in return) and forgive others.

Wouldn't the world be a better place if we can follow through with these tenets for living. 

"Where have you gone Joe Dimaggio, A nation turns its lonely eyes to you."