Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Permanent PMS

Most of the parenting blogs I read are about the parents of little kids. Seems that blogging when you have an infant/toddler is a way of getting the rage out and allowing yourself to feel really successful when your child passes another milestone. Oh boy, what a great mom I am kind of thinking. I've been there, said that plenty of times in the past during my Usenet days. I kind of like reading blogs about little kids because whatever a parent is going through with babies and toddlers, at least they're not dealing with the delightful time in life called puberty. Now, much of the time I like the Girl and am happy to have her around. But this kid gets PMS like you can't believe and she becomes a roaring bitch and impossible to be around. She just can't stop the bitchiness, even with many warnings. I try to cut her some slack because I used to be a roaring bitch during my 'monthlies' too, but heck, I don't have to put up with being screamed at by a banshee all day every day for 10 days a month. It's not fun and I'm frigging tired of it.

When people say that they think Girls are easier I just want to choke with laughter. Boys might be stupid and impulsive, but they tend to live their mothers and try to be helpful. Girls, or at least my Girl, wouldn't offer to help if her life depended upon it, insults me, my cooking, my clothing, my looks, my driving, even my breathing. I can't win with her.

I'd like to suggest an alternative to me having to put up with Ms Moody. Boarding school programs for PMSing Adolescents. Every town should have one, and as soon as you get that first flash of 'tude, off she goes to her boarding school where she can fight to her hearts content with all the other bitchy adolescent PMSers. It's sort of the modern day Red Tent. I think it's a great idea. Do you think we could get special education dollars for this school?
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How frigging humid is it?

Well, it's so frigging humid that when I opened the door to our air conditioned home to let the cat out at 7 am, and left the door open for a few minutes to watch him try to decide if going out was really in his best interest, the damn smoke detector went off. Not only are my windows completely fogged over, but the damn smoke detector went off.

I'm never going outside again.
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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Night Sweats 24/7

What the heck is this latest insult to the aging-but-still-hip woman I thought I was? The past two nights I've been kept awake most of the night due to night sweats. Vicious, soak the t'shirt night sweats. My pillow had to be wrung out night sweats. Ok, it's hot outside, but we have two air conditioners pushing cold air into the entire downstairs and they haven't been off in days. I haven't been outside in days either, because we've had a few intestinal/headache/sore-throat/earache problems this week. Nothing like a pair of whining, complaining teenagers to make my week! Additionally, I've been kind of ill myself, but with what I can't say. General doldrums plus headaches plus the drizzlin' shits and a lot of heart pounding/breathlessness. I've been a good girl and take all my meds when I'm supposed to, but the lasix isn't working as well as it should, even when I've doubled it. Tripling it one day did make me pee a lot, but my heart still feels overloaded. Nothing like the joy of congestive heart failure on top of menopause.

Back to the sweats. I thought I might be fluish, but that's not it. My core body temp was 97.0, so I'm not feverish. Although I think if I stuck the thermometer under my boob (I haven't passed the pencil test ever) it would register about 105. I mean I'm HOT (and I don't just mean my good looks!) And I'm groggy because I get so sweaty I wake up dripping and need to stick my head under water and wash off my neck then change my shirt. Because my liquid intake is restricted, I think my electrolytes are all out of kilter due to the extensive liquid lost. I don't know, I might be fine but I feel like complete shit.

Mary came over today and she was more disorganized than usual. She's pretty funny and I shared a couple of things that I'd intimated on the blog with her. We had a great talk and the kids were totally charming, those demon actors. Who do they think they're fooling?

So I've done virtually nothing this week except complain and listen to complaints, prepare an occasional meal and listen to the whining about how it isn't what they wanted (tough shit, sherlock), etc. I've watched a lot of TV, including trying to decipher All My Children without knowing the backstories. Man, the women on that show should eat more. They're scary. And they seem to do nothing but go to the office and talk about their personal lives wearing incredible designer clothing. How do I get a job like that?

I'm putting off sleep as long as possible because I know that I'm going to be so hot and sweaty withing a few minutes that I'll wake up and will have nothing to do. I hate this. Maybe my favorite drug, Mr Ambien, will come and call on me?
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Take note of the donation link, please!

Today another blogger commented here suggesting that I put a donation link for help with the G's B'nai Mitzvah costs, which are going to be astronomical for me. I hadn't considered this for a second, but I think it's an idea worth exploring, so I put the link into my sidebar. If you're so inclined, and believe that kids should have an opportunity to experience a rite of passage despite the family's financial situation, the please consider donating towards the tutoring costs we'll incur. And I promise you'll get an invitation if you tell me who you are!

Thanks in advance.
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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Katrina and the waves

Didn't think that the band that sang "Walking on Sunshine" would end up being the nations biggest nightmare this week. Katrina is currently a category 5 hurricane heading right for New Orleans. It's actually bigger than Andrew, the hurricane that hit the Miami area on August of 1992. It just happened to be the day I had the kids, so I remember it well.

Katrina looks to be even more devistating than Andrew and Camille (1969) because it's hitting a city head on that is actually below sea level. Although the city is surrounded by levees and dykes and a lot of different safety measures to keep Lake Pontchartrain inside it's banks, that just isn't going to be possible with 160 MPH winds. 1.4 million people have been ordered to evacuate New Orleans, creating one of the biggest traffic jams ever. In addition, at least 30,000 people have chosen to stay inside the SuperDome trying to wait out the storm.

Mayor Ray Nagin warned the hurricane's storm surge of up to 28 feet could topple the levees protecting the city, which sits in a bowl-shaped area, and flood its historic French Quarter.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I wish I had better news for you but we are facing a storm that most of us have feared," Nagin told a news conference after reading out a mandatory evacuation order. "This is a threat that we've never faced before."

An estimated 1 million of the area's 1.3 million people were believed to have evacuated, emergency officials in nearby Jefferson Parish said.

Some of those unable or unwilling to flee piled into the Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans' enclosed sports stadium. Nagin, appearing on "Larry King Live" on CNN, said by Sunday night about 25,000 people had gathered in the 72,000-seat stadium, which he called "the shelter of last resort."

"This is an unprecedented storm with incredible power," Nagin said on CNN.

Several roads were turned one-way outbound to speed the evacuation and Louisianians lined up at gasoline stations and convenience stores to buy water and other supplies.

The worst part of all this, beyond the devistation to a beautiful city, is that there are oil rigs and oil production facilities right in the path of the storm, which has already affected the price of gas and heating oil. Like we needed more of an increase.

To all of you in the southern part of the country, be safe.
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Friday, August 26, 2005

Mature parenting? Who would have guessed?

We resumed our family therapy after a break of several weeks for vacation, etc. It was nice coming back, but I needed to talk to S about the Girl and what was going on, so first the Girl left and went to see her own therapist, and then after a few minutes the Boy left as well.

I filled her in on the backstory and talked about how I reacted, how I didn't yell because there was absolutely nothing that yelling could do to help the situation, etc. I also talked about how I spoke to the Girl when she got back from camp, and how we dealt with the whole thing, ensuring that the worst wasn't happening, etc. And I told her about the various conversations we've had since, the new rules in the household regarding friends visiting, etc. She told me some stuff that I didn't know, some of which totally floored me. She thinks the reason the Girl goads me so much is that she's petrified about my health and me leaving her, so she demands attention. I hadn't thought of that since the Girl seems completely disinterested in my health and has never appeared to be the slightest bit worried, but I'm digesting this information and will maybe talk to the Girl more about the upcoming surgery and the various other things that I've kept to myself.

Additionally, we talked about how I've kept the entire incident away from the Boy, because it's not his business. S told me that this was a sign of mature parenting and that I was doing exactly what a good parent should do, keep the kids separate and not to involve them in each other's dramas, so they could grow separately as individuals. Who would of thunk it, especially after the whole GAL report and the evaluations upcoming. I felt really good about what she said, and I felt that I had turned a corner in making good parenting decisons. My parenting has changed so much in the past couple of years. I just stopped yelling, and I'm a lot more open to the kids about my own feelings. I'm trying to share the right stuff, but to keep them out of the stuff that doesn't concern them, like finances and other worries.

It's been such a hard road, but I really feel like we're turning the corner and we're a healthier, happier family. When we got home we pulled out the lawn chairs and sat in the back yard and talked and played the music game. We laughed and had a lot of fun. At one point I kind of looked at us from the outside and thought "this is a healthy family" which is a thought I haven't had in a long time.

At one point the Boy was doing something on the other side of the yard and I mentioned to the Girl that the Boy and I had spoken about doing the b'nai mitzvah next year, and that we could have a great party here, something fun for the kids and fun for grownups as well. I think we could do a BBQ with burgers and dogs and maybe some chicken for the grownups, and a bunch of different salads, and a big cake. Nothing fancy, no drinking other than beer and wine (to keep the kids away from alcohol). We could have about 6 large tables on the side lawn, have the barn driveway turned into a dance floor, set up the BBQs in the parking area, and it would be fun. And guess what? She agreed! So I've got the Boy and Girl both thinking that this would be a fun thing, and now I have to see how much $$ I can get from JCFS to fund this shindig and find a place where they can have an aliyot and maybe do a d'var torah and share the haftorah and maftir.

At least I've got something to plan now. And that makes me so much happier about the whole thing.
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Thursday, August 25, 2005

It's like a horse kicking you in the chest.

I don't know, do you think this is the kind of information a doctor should give a patient considering surgery to install a defibrillator? I kind of think it might be a case of way too much information. But regardless, I made the appointment and I'm having the damn thing inserted into my chest. I'm so not looking forward to it, but I need to do it. I'm having some syncopy issues that need to be resolved and this is the way to do it. So Medtronic will be inside my body. Hiho, hiho.
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Oy! Down and out in suburbia

Yesterday I was down in the dumps all day. I slept poorly, I took several small naps, but I was just totally depressed although at the time I didn't recognize it. I could hardly rouse myself to make the kids a birthday cake and put very little effort into the whole birthday. And the strange thing is, I didn't get why I was feeling so down until I got an email from a friend whose son has the same birthday. She was wishing us birthday wishes for this monumental birthday and I slapped my forehead and said "oh Shit! No wonder why!".

My kids turned thirteen yesterday, which should have been the most important and planned birthday of their lives. They became b'nai mitzvah yesterday and we did absolutely nothing to mark that occasion. They have no party upcoming, they have no haftorah reading, no maftir, no aliyot, nada. Yes, there are good reasons for this. The boy was not in a position to learn for the past year and a half, and it's not his fault. The girl has no interest in the whole thing and refused to even think about doing an aliyah even though we set up one for her on a Thursday morning so she could be in and out in a flash. She refused.

The main reason why my children are not having an aliyot this upcoming weekend is that we no longer feel welcome in the Jewish community. We belonged to a shul for years and the Rabbi was not only not nice to us, he was an outright jerk. So we no longer go to shul there. There are other shuls in town, quite a few of them. Some are Reform and I don't feel comfortable in a Reform shul. Some are Modern O, and with an older boy, he would have to sit in the men's section and that wouldn't work well for us. Plus I can't walk to shul anymore. There is a Chabad shul virtually around the corner that I COULD walk to, but the kids refuse to go to a black hat shul of any kind and I'm not sure I would feel comfortable there as well. There are several other Conservative shuls in town, but they tend to be big money shuls and we just can't possibly pay the dues or keep up with the other kids, plus they have strict rules about b'nai mitzvah that would negate our kids being able to have their simcha. There are 2 Recon havarut that I know pretty much nothing about. One is way too liberal for me, too touchy feely and Berkeley-ish. The other one is a mystery. I guess we should make an effort to investigate it. But I'm not comfortable in most Recon situations. And then there is the Minyan. It is where I would feel most comfortable by far, we know a lot of people who go already, I know I'd like it but.... my ex-boss who fired me goes there and I don't think I could face him without being really nasty. And another person we know goes there that I just do not want in my life. So we go nowhere.

Now the HiHos are coming up again and we have no place to daven. I need a small havarah with like people and I just can't find one where we live. I miss going to shul more than I ever thought I would. I love going. I love being part of a community. I love singing out loud and nobody shushing me. I love hearing ivrit and thinking that it's what I should be speaking. I just love being in shul. My kids hate it, but they did love it as little kids and at least the boy remembers everything he learned in day school.

I'm so sad that my kids won't have a b'nai mitzvah. I want them to. I wish I could figure out how, but finances being what they are, it's impossible. This is why I feel so apart from mainstream Judaism. I can't finance my kid's tutoring, hebrew school, etc. I just can't. Nobody else has stepped up to the plate, and nobody else seems interested in helping us out. I've asked JFCS and so far, no help at all.

I feel so empty now. I identified why I'm feeling sad, but there is no way to improve upon the situation. It sucks so much. You know, there ARE poor Jews and we struggle so mightily to keep a kosher home and to keep our kids Jewish. I think I'm losing that battle.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Oh my Gawd, they are teenagers!

Thirteen years ago, I was a brand new mommy with two babies. Today I'm an old mommy with two teenagers. I never ever thought any of us would live to see the day! It has been the biggest and craziest experience of my life raising these two kids from infancy to teenhood. We've been through more trauma than most families have in a life time. We've braved moving across the country and back, changing schools numerous times. diagnoses that I hoped never to hear, illness, acting out, psychiatric treatments, testing and more testing, poverty, homelessness, depression and pretty much any other lousy thing you can think of in these 13 years. And I've also grown two extraordinary children in young adults. Beautiful children, smart children, nasty children, rude children, friendly children, inquisitive children, brave children, children who can endure all. They are amazing people, my children, despite their foibles.

I didn't ever want to have a child with a mental illness. I didn't want to have a child with myriad learning disabilities. I didn't want a child on the autistic spectrum. I didn't want a child who would have to reside outside my home for our own safety. But I got all of those things, and we've survived it all. There are times where I think I'm the biggest failure on the earth, and then I look at these beautiful faces, happy faces, brilliant faces and I get that even though so much as gone wrong, so much more has gone right.

It's been a hard day. With literally no money left this month after a month of huge and unexpected expenses, I wasn't able to have anything fancy for the kids. The girl went to her Dance Camp today, and the boy and I stayed home. It was a beautiful day outside and we walked around the property and sat outside for a while, but I was so exhausted I kept having to lay down and nap. Picked up the girl from camp and went to visit Jean. We stayed for a couple of hours. She gave the girl a nice b'day present that hopefully she will use. It is a jewelry box suitable for traveling, and quite cute. She gave the boy his new amplifier for his electric guitar. He's thrilled.

I got the girl a diamond mogen david necklace, and the boy his electric guitar. They are happy with the presents. The girl has been wearing her necklace for a couple of weeks now, because I bought it with her, before she went away to camp. She requested it, and I'm a sucker for Judaicia. The boy has been begging for an electric guitar for months and months. I bought him one after we made three separate trips to Guitar Center and two different locations. He choose one guitar but it was sold before we could come and pick it up, so he picked out an epiphone junior in solid black. Goes with his Ramones T'shirt.

The epitome of the whole birthday was the cake I made. The cake itself was a nice butter cake. I made a quarter sheet cake because I still haven't found the box with my baking pans so sheet cakes are the only choice. But I was watching the Brat Camp finale and didn't want to get up to make the icing. So I made it during a commercial and I was hurrying and made the most butt ugly pink icing you've ever seen. It looked like bubblegum icing, or like a Barbie cake. Just horrible. I used a bit of mint flavoring because the girl refuses to have chocolate cake or chocolate icing, and didn't like the orange icing I made for the last cake, so the choice was moot. No flavoring, or mint. I went with the mint. So we had a glowing pink cake with minty flavor. Can you say Toothpaste Cake? YUM.

I hope they forget this birthday. It really did suck. I feel like I didn't even make an effort, but I'm so broke this month that any effort I did make was undercut by the lack of excitement.
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Let's Shoot Pat Robertson

Since Pat Robertson has advocated shooting Venezualian president Hugo Chavez, I suggest that we look at Robertson as a terrorist and a danger to American society. Anyone want to take me up on this?

From the NY Times:

"If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Mr. Robertson said Monday on his show, "The 700 Club." "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop."

Yesterday Mr. Robertson's statements were denounced by both the State Department and by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. In Caracas, he was criticized by the vice president of Venezuela, and in Havana by President Fidel Castro.

Vice President José Vicente Rangel of Venezuela said: "This is a huge hypocrisy to maintain an antiterrorist line and at the same time have such terrorist statements as these made by Christian preacher Pat Robertson coming from the same country."

If it weren't so bizarre, you would assume this is something from The Onion. However, this is real. And worst of all, this is a friend of the Shrub. Ouch!
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Bicker Bicker Bicker!

My mom use to say this when my brother and I would get going. I thought it was sort of weird at the time, but it does tend to tie up my feelings on my day today. I swear it, having Ms Moody home all day long with a sore throat and a headache really sucks. She's just the worst sickie. She hates being sick, she overacts to the nth degree and I spend way too much time asking her to stop moaning and groaning and go upstairs to nap. But no, she has to nap on the sofa bringing down every comforter she owns, along with a couple of polar fleece blankets and drapes them over her body wrapped in sweats. She's freezing, she claims. It's close to 80 degrees in the house and I'm sweating bullets.

Meanwhile, the boy has decided to loosten up a bit and has started bugging her bigtime. He's bored and he's annoyed that she's sick and complaining. What a combination. I didn't let her stay up to her normal bedtime because I'd totally had it.

The boy, seeing that his entertainment was upstairs, decided to go up early and get some sleep. Leaving me blessedly alone for a couple of hours.

You know how people never admit that their kids drive them nuts? Well, count me out of that club. I'm in the mutter under my breath "you frigging bitch" and "you little prick" school of parenting.

I made peach cobbler for dessert tonight. I bought peaches on sale the other day, and they ripened today, so I sat down at the kitchen table and peeled them. They were so juicy that I was soaked by the time I had them all peeled. Mixed up a crumble topping with oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon and butter and spread it over the peaches. Baked until it was bubbly hot, and then we had it for dessert after a nice dinner of chinook salmon, salad, and brussel sprouts.

I might be a mutterer, but at least I feed my kids well!
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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Sometimes I am such a moron!

I decided to update this blog today, and in a fit of pique I thought it could use a redesign for a more design-friendly look. But I forgot to make a copy of the old template, and lost all my links. It took hours to reconstruct the links and I know quite a few are missing. I feel like the biggest idjit. Blogger even tells you you're going to lose your customizing, and I just thought, oh I'll lose some colors. Nope, I lost all those links I spent so much time collecting. Some of the blogs I referenced in the previous iteration of this blog aren't up yet. It will take me some serious backtracking to find them all, especially the cooking ones. I tried looking in the blogger search but didn't come up with much I liked. The have more commercial crap than anything else, and if I wasn't in such a vile mood I'd flag the ones I find offensive. Oh well, I guess that's for another bad mood.

If you notice something missing, please tell me. And let me know what you think of the redo.
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Monday, August 22, 2005

I like clean clothes but I hate doing laundry

It's the age old dilemma. I love having sweet smelling clothes, nice soft, out of the dryer warm clothes. But I absolutely detest doing laundry. I don't mind folding the clean clothes, but other than that one step, I hate everything else.

Since we moved, I haven't yet hooked up the dryer, which is gas and therefore requires a plumber to come and do it. We've been hanging up clothes on the line and it is amazing to see the savings on my gas bill. I'd like to continue doing this for another couple of months, until it gets too cold and wet to continue on. I put up lines on the front porch, so we look like we are trailer trash, but I don't care. I like the idea of hanging up the clothes, and I also like the idea of not bleaching everything out. Sun does some ugly damage to clothing.

I put up a rack just for socks and underwear, and then I got a second rack because we seem to be doing laundry all the time. I've got the kids doing their own laundry now and that's a big help, but man, they do a shitty job. Girls socks are so encrusted with dirt I don't get how she can even put them on. They are stiff and brown. Boy is better, but he resists doing it at all costs.

Now lets talk about laundry baskets. For some reason, they tend to disappear in our house. The laundry is in the basement (one more reason to hate it) and clothes tend to go down in a basket, but at some point the monster in the basement eats the basket or something. I don't know what the hell is happening to all my laundry baskets, but they aren't where I need them to be.

So, to sum up: I hate doing laundry, I like having clean clothes, I like not having the dryer running, my kids do a crappy job on their laundry, and I just want to wear something that doesn't have stains all over it. And, if I have to hang out my laundry, I want it to be over a canal in Venice, where it looks charming.
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Friday, August 19, 2005

He's Back, too!

The boy is finally home. It's been such a long haul, filled with such horrible anxiety, worry, stress, and fear. But it's finally over and he's home for good. Or at least until he goes to college (sob). It was funny, after all the finagling to get him here, and all the angst we've had for the past several months, it was very anticlimatic. He strolled in, put down his stuff, and went to play his guitar. It's like it hasn't sunk in or something, but it will. Day after day of being home with his sister will definately test him to the limits, but I'm confident that he'll survive it all and with flying colors.

We get another puppy tomorrow. They've promised a female black lab but ther are so many other puppies available that it could be just about anything. I'm psyched and so is the boy, but the girl isn't all that happy about the prospect of more work. Like all she does is slave around the house. Yeah, right!

Took the girl to the doctors today. It was a difficult appointment. The tests were negative, and I had hoped, but otherwise it was a big lecture about behaving badly. I promised to call her therapist and disclose the information. I just wish I knew the full story, but there is very little hope of ever finding it out.

We met the new case worker from Compass today. She seems bright enough and has worked with NVLD kids, so at least she gets the basic ideas down. We have to come up with some successful level system or something. I don't know what, but something has got to improve. I'm so tired of begging for them to do anything.

I had a long talk with the girl about staying out of my bedroom and the very same night she was in there and took a pillow off the bed. I was pretty pissed off. I also had to ask her over and over again today to put things away and take stuff off the floor. She just can't seem to remember no matter how many times it's repeated. I must must must learn to be more patient. It's so hard.

If it rains this weekend, we've committed to a baking day. The girl has asked for
shortbread, oatmeal raisin, and peanut butter cookies. The boy wants soft chocolate chip with cherry chunks. I'll maybe do two, or at most 3. I'm not doing all 4 types unless it's pouring and I can't take another second of them.
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She's back!

The girl came home from camp today. We had a very serious discussion with D about everything that's been happening while she was gone, and she wasn't as forthcoming as I had hoped. She was pressured, she did admit that. But things are uncomfortable and I need to get to the bottom of this. I'm so disappointed in her, but I just don't know how to make it clearer to her that she has to learn how to tell her friends "NO" when she is feeling pressured to do things that make her uncomfortable.

The cut on her foot was pretty bad and I'm taking her to the doctor tomorrow to check to see if it's all cleaned out.

She's really tan and came back with absolute dreadlocks from not brushing her hair after swimming in a pool. It was so knotted I was sure that we'd have to cut it off, but we got through it with about 2 hours of poking every strand apart with a pen. I know, it's ridiculous but she has such a thing about that damn hair. I wish it was GONE.

Tomorrow the boy comes home forever and ever. I've been looking forward to this day since he left for school last spring. It's been such a long haul for him and there is so much more to do.

Lots of stress here this week. It's only going to get worse until school starts.
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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I can't bear to watch the news or read the paper

Watching the evacuation of the Gaza settlements is too painful for me to watch. I can't stand to see people made homeless by the terrorists who have vowed to kill ever Jew on the earth. I just don't get it. I understand that it is necessary to try and execute some kind of peace between the "Palestinians" and the Israelis. However, to make people leave their homes, their communities, their synagogues, their schools, their families, with absolutely no guarantee whatsoever of peace, or even of the terrorists promising to stop the senseless assinations of innocent Jews. The PA is a corrupt government that cannot even keep it's own streets clean or it's people employed. They expect that Israel should keep their people employed, and should keep them fed and healthy. But at the same time, they want to kill the Israelis. It makes no sense at all.

Watching the faces of the settlers pushed out of their homes, seeing the IDF soldiers in tears knowing what they are doing is wrong, and yet it still continues unabated. Sharon has turned against his own people in allowing this to happen.

Why should the homes, the communities, the shuls that the settlers worked so hard to build be left to a bunch of people not wanted anywhere in the world? Why should they get the gifts of homes, of community buildings, of schools. I think every building should be destroyed. If they want the land, let them have it. It's nothing but inhospitable sand anyhow. But they don't deserve one single brick or block provided by the Jewish settlers they are trying to anihilate. Not one brick.

People wonder why the security fence is going up. To protect the innocent from the fanatic suicide bombers. It's not rocket science. Keeping them out of the country has already lowered the number of senseless deaths, and that's with the wall nowhere near finished. I love the idea of the wall, both to give the Israelis the sense of security they no longer have, and to ensure that the "Palestinians" stay the hell out of Israel. If they want jobs, let them provide for themselves. They wanted their own country, heck, give it to them. Piles and piles of sand.

And in the meantime, Israel should provide new homes, new communities for the settlers who have lost everything. It's only right.

Settler removing the mezzuzah from his door before leaving his home.
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Monday, August 15, 2005

Man oh man, I'm not a fan of bureaucracy

This week I get to fight a bunch of agencies. Lucky me. First I have to deal with the student loan place and try to get the to lower my payment, which is ridiculously high right now.

Then I've got our friends the IRS. Now this one is my fault. I've just spaced them out way beyond what I should have done and I need to deal with it asap. I know it, but who wants to make that call? It's like calling the funeral home or something. That feeling of dread admitting you're a complete fuckup and didn't file because you lost the W2 for the 3rd time.

I've already done the social security office, which was a total waste of time. Not surprising, but still. I did learn that when you go on disability you aren't eligible for medicare until 2 years after your file date. That means that I can't get medicare until Jan 2007. That makes a lot of sense, right? Well, wait til you get a gander at this!

Mass Health. They're my biggest bugaboo by far. I find myself fighting with them over the stupidest things, but now they've cut off my health insurance. They say I make too much money. WHAT? Oh yeah, they use the federal poverty guidelines and take not one penny for a cost of living adjustment. So they're saying that it costs the same to live in Podunk Iowa as it does in Boston and therefore I should be able to live the high life on my SSDI. I think they're insane. So I've contacted Governor Romney's office and got back a lovely form letter (how thoughtful), Cynthia Creem's office (she had a flunky do some investigation but came up with nada) and then I got the numbers of a bunch of other places to contact for help. So far, nothing, but I'm looking at finding some legal help. But, from Cynthia Creem's office I did find out this tidbit. If Mass Health tosses you and you're disabled, you CAN get back on Mass Health within 6 months IF you run up $10K worth of medical bills. No, they won't pay for the bills, that's your responsibility, but they will allow you to incur this huge debt in order to get back on Mass Health. It is criminal that they KNOW they have a medicine dependant person on disability and they just toss me. The whole thing makes no sense to me at all. Nor to anyone else I've dealt with.

In addition I have to set up a new psychopharm for the Boy, deal with my therapist now that I have no insurance, set up new medical procedures to get my prescriptions for free with both doctors, etc.

And then I have to deal with the Girl, who has a ton of her own big issues going on right now.

Being a grown-up sucks.
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Thursday, August 11, 2005

I scream, you scream, we all scream for Ice Cream

What is it about hot summer days that says you must eat ice cream, even when you know you'll regret it later. I've been trying out a bunch of new ice cream products this summer, trying to find one that not only tastes delicious, but is a bit lower in fat and calories. I am trying to buy smaller quantity products like Klondike Bars, that only give you a restricted amount of the glorious food. So far, I'm doing OK. I discovered the White House Klondike Bars that feature cherry ice cream with the chocolate coating. And excellent product that I give 4 stars.

I've also tried Edys new super blended low fat ice cream. Although the flavor I got wasn't my favorite, the ice cream is ok. Not great, but does satisfy the craving. Their full fat option is better, however. I'd give it a 2.5 stars.

I can recommend the Tropicana Creamsicles. They are a combination of an orange popsicle and a small amount of vanilla ice cream. Works well if you're outside as it's a bit drippy inside. I'd rate it 2.75 stars.

Then there is my all time favorite ice cream. Full fat, ridiculously high in sugar but damn, it's so good. Ben and Jerry's Phish Food. Chocolate ice cream laced with marshmallow and caramel swirls, and full of dark chocolate fish. It is the best ice cream in the world, but I can't eat it anymore. I'll still give it a 5 star rating based on memories.

Cabots, our local ice cream parlor, has what the G's call "The Hulk" sundae that I particularly like. Once a year or so I'll order it as a special occasion item. It consist of peppermint stick ice cream, hot fudge, hot marshmallow topping, and a bright green mint sauce. Man, it's so good. I think it would put me on a sugar rush for the rest of the year, so only once a summer. Cabots has many other ice cream extravaganzas and they do make their own ice cream, which is full flavored, but not particularly rich. The hulk earns a 4.75, their plain ice cream a 3.5.

The newest ice cream to arrive in our town in Cold Stone Creamery. I haven't been yet, as I'm waiting for both kids to be home at the same time, but we'll try it out. I've heard all the superlatives, however.

We also have J.P Licks in town, but I find them expensive, not a particularly clean shop, and the flavors aren't always what I want to order. Rating: 3.5.

Outside of our town, but in the greater Boston area is Toscaninis. It is the ultimate in rich, dense ice cream. High priced, inconvenient to get to, and always a line, but it is so worth it. The owner's brother has another ice cream store called Rancatores, which we used to live a few blocks away from. Both are great ice cream and it's apparent that their mom taught them a thing or two about sweet confections. Both stores earn a 5 star rating.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Why does late night TV suck so much?

There are millions of insomniacs like me out there, and we need something to watch on TV. I like to watch PBS really late at night because there are no annoying commercials and you get to keep the volume down low at the same time you could possibly be learning something. But lately PBS has been sucking royally. They have boring concert shows in between begging sessions. I know they have to beg, and I support them and hope everyone else does, but WHY do they have to have begging in the middle of the night? This is the time when insomniacs want to set the sleep timer and just drift off to dreamland whilst listening to some British drama. Nice and comforting shows like Castles in Ireland or Jellyfish of the North Sea. Shows that you don't really have to watch, but just listen to. But no... we get 20 minutes of begging in the midst of Broadway Babes belting out tunes my parents listened to in 1940. No thank you.

So, if PBS is out, what else is on? You have your celeb gossip shows, Entertainment Tonight and Inside, but they are so boring and so chock full of commercials that it's not really a good late night choice. Then you have the ABC news show that goes on and on, and is really OK except the banter between the cohosts gets annoying. Of course, it's packed with commercials that raise the volume, too. There's the Shop at Home channel. Lastly, there are the infomercials. I hate both of those choices.

If you can't afford, or don't want cable, why do you have to suffer late at night with no choices? We get a lot of channels, something like 15 non-cable channels. Couldn't ONE of them be showing something decent at 3 am?

Shows I'd like to see, commercial free, late at night

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Feles mala! Cur cista non uteris? Stramentum novum in ea posui. *

Brushing up on your latin? Well, this is one of those things I say all the time to Ringo, so you might think of some of the things I complain about regarding him. And no, it's not that my feet are shredded and covered in bandaids right now. That's a new phenomenon.

*Bad kitty! Why don't you use the cat box? I put new litter in it.
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Monday, August 08, 2005

My, aren't WE hyper today

While I'm tired and want to do nothing but watch TV all day, Claire has decided that she's feeling better and has been a riot all day long. She's totally rambunctious, has gone up and down the stairs about a dozen times, each time showing me how proud she is that she can get up and down and looking for a lot of praise. Then she decided that playing speed raceway around the perimeter of the downstairs rooms would be a blast. From the hallway she's been sliding the oriental, taking off like a bat out of hell into the kitchen, rounding the corner to the dining room, and then sliding home thru the living room and back to the hall. What fun!

She has been chewing on all her toys and discovered the joy of the squeaker in one of her chewy tug of war toys. Squeak squeak squeak for hours. She's so happy here. She wants so badly to play with Ringo, but he's not giving and inch. He is, however, climbing all over me and begging for many hugs and kisses. So I've got the best of both worlds, I guess. (She ways dubiously.)

Now, for the big news of the day!

We have had our first tomatos. Actually, we've eaten three of them so far. They are quite delicious and so much bigger than I had expected. I bought patio tomatos, but I think we got something like Big Boy or Early Girl instead because they're quite large and meaty. Very tasty and firm. And we have a cucumber as well. I feel so lucky. Fresh basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and sage plus lavendar are all ready in the herb garden. Only the chives have gone by.
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