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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Friday, September 30, 2005

OK Blogger Friends

Here's a fun interlude in your quest to read as many blogs as you can.

From Suburban Misfits:

The Rules:

1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same.

My tags: Belinda, Carrie, Linda, Ellen, and Melissa. Tag, you're it!

My sentence: "It seems unreal that a parent would steal a child's belongings, but then there you go."

This, of course, needs some explanation. Sit back, it's a long and sordid story.

When I was born my Granny Rose started a sterling silver collection for me. It was added to every year for many years, and then for my 16th birthday I was 'presented' with my sterling flatware and serving pieces, to be given to me when I had a place of my own.

I went on to college and grad school and then had a place of my own, but my mother was using my sterling and didn't want to give it up. So the next assignment was to buy a house or get married. As things progressed in my life, I asked several times to have my silver, but my mother always had an excuse as to why my life wasn't good enough for her to relinquish it to me. Then, Easter 1980, I gave up speaking to my parents and washed my hands of their evil demeanors. I didn't tell them, I just stopped calling. Since they never even bothered to call me, time went on and on, and years passed. I didn't much miss them because they made it well known throughout my childhood that I was a mistake, that I was unwanted, that they didn't like or love me, and that I could never ever meet their expectations. Gee, who would want to walk away from that?

The years passed, and in the lae 80's I heard from a sibling that my parents were selling everything and moving to Arizona. Selling everything meant the furniture, the vast collection of art glass, the art work, and of course, my sterling silver. I was livid because it did not belong to them, but I was powerless to stop them. Long since written out of the will after I had the terminity to write a letter to New York magazine about how my parents hadn't paid for my college or helped me start up after college (all true but a serious embarassment to Jewish parents to be outed publically like that), I didn't expect I would get anything but I really did want my silver. It wasn't to be. My mother stole it from me and I have never seen it again. However, there is one perfect anecdote from this period that gives you the reader an idea of what an evil bitch this woman is. When I was in undergraduate school I was incredibly poor because my parents gave me nothing, and I was on financial aid, work study, and grants and loans. I was also on food stamps, but that's besides the point. For my mother's birthday in November, I bought a print from a local artist and gave it to her. It wasn't really expensive, but for me, it was a fortune.

So years later when I learned that they were selling everything, my sibling told me that he had BOUGHT this picture I had given my mother as a gift at the auction. Honest! And then he wanted to trade me for a glass picture I had recently bought, which I did, so I now have in my dining room the print that I bought my mother so many years ago. Every time I think of this, I get smarmy grin on my face. I think Mom would be pissed as hell if she knew I had this print. After all, this is the woman that (I heard tell) was gushing about the adorable babies she saw pictured on my siblings fridge and then asked who they belonged to. When she was told them were mine, she responded, "Oh, they're not that cute, are they?" What a delight she is. I hope she rots in hell.

You gotta admit, it's a miracle I turned out as screwed up, but basically normal as I did. The best revenge is seeing what a good parent I ended up being and how I didn't learn one thing from my own parents. OK, I did learn one thing: When you pass a cemetery with your kids in the car, you are required to say, "People are dying to get in there." That is the extent of my parenting skills gained from my own parents.

And one more thing. My mother's aunt knew about what happened, and I ended up inheriting her sterling. It's a pattern I never thought I'd have in my home, very very ornate, but I love it and am thrilled that I have it. It's decent revenge.
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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Where do I fit in?

Tomorrow night is the dreaded Back To School night at the middle school. The Girl has asked me to go, knowing how much I hate these events. You never get to speak to the teachers, you get a bunch of Rah Rah School's Great lines from the Principal and Guidance while you're crammed into the auditorium with a bunch of other parents, all of whom seem to have known each other since birth. I'm not good at this stuff. I hate social situations as a rule, and I'm terrible at small talk. I don't know how to explain who I am, I have trouble introducing myself, and then there is the problem of what to wear. All the other parents are in their designer duds and I'm always looking particularly like a fish out of water in my t'shirts and jeans. Now that we've changed schools I don't know one single soul at this school and I'm just not all that psyched about making new friends. I just want to get through the school year without blowing up the school or myself in frustration. Is that asking so much?

In our town, most of the mom's are SAH and they have tons of money. They drive up to the schools in their Range Rovers and Jaguars and Escalades, thin as rails in designer workout clothing. Their hair is perfectly couiffed, they wear makeup, and they walk in designer shoes. They appear to have names like Muffy and Bubbles, but they're mostly Jewish so they probably are all Sarah's and Lisa's and Amy's. I know I don't fit in, I know I stick out like a sore thumb, but why do they make it so uncomfortable for the parents who really don't fit in. Being the sole parent of my kids makes me different. Being older than most of them makes me different, too. Being disabled definately makes me different. Having striped hair probably makes me look deranged and different but that one I don't care about. I'm going to grow out this hair dye if it's the last thing I do on this earth. I'm planning to die gray-haired, just as I should.

The PTO is big in this school and they're already dunning for money. It costs a lot just to join, and then you get to pay for the student directory, and lord only know what other fund raisers are coming up. I don't mind most of them because I just ignore anything that asks my child to beg our neighbors for magazine subscriptions, etc. But it does bother me that when you do volunteer for something, if they don't know you, you never get the job. I'm not taking it personally, I just have issues with the professional school moms. In our elementary school, and then again at the other middle school, there was one mom in particular that hung out in the school the entire day. She was a professional volunteer and she ran the whole class. Every time I volunteered to chaparone a field trip, they didn't need me. I thought that was a bit odd until I found out that she and her buddies did every single trip and no other moms were ever included. OK. That's weird, but I can handle it.

The high school Open House is in a couple of weeks and I'm actually looking forward to that one. I know some of the parents, because our kids are all new to the school we're all in the same place and we're all interested in checking out the new interim principal that nobody knows. That alone is worth the price of admission. I only pray that they offer something besides instant coffee to drink.
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Things that really tick me off

Tonight in another insomniac daze I was reading a couple of new (at least to me) blogs I've recently discovered. Both were interesting blogs and I enjoyed reading them until.....

The ADHD Rant

Why do people have to express their opinions that all ADHD medications are evil? Even more puzzling to me is why people who believe that all ADHD meds are evil, when faced with posts that completely obliterate their arguments with personal stories of anguish from living with a child who has ADHD then feel the need to comment that it's OK for that particular child to maybe try meds after the parents have suffered for years, but all other kids are still misdiagnosed and should never be exposed to medication. I'm so frigging sick of people who think they know that ADHD is caused by sugar, TV, lack of exercise, food colorings, junk food, etc. Man, the ignorance surrounding ADHD is overwhelming. I try to inform instead of losing my temper but there are limits, people. Try living with a child who is suicidal because he's so miserable in his own skin. Try telling that kid at 7 years of age that he should just buck up and take it. Try living with a child who is so destructive, so impulsive, so violent, and so angry that everything will be fine if he stops watching TV and eating Oreos. Try explaining to all your friends, coworkers, and strangers on the street that you don't know why your child is leaping into traffic, pulling things off shelves, jumping on furniture, and is unable to focus long enough to hear your constant yelling. Try living with the mind-numbing pain of not being able to communicate with your extremely bright child because he just can't follow a sentence without losing his attention. Try sending that child to school and watching him fail every single class, not because he doesn't have the intelligence, but because he's so hyperfocussed on something other than what they're learning in school, so unable to transition from one topic to another, so unwilling to cooperate and do classwork and absolutely unable to follow any general rules.

Then you take that kid to the doctor and they say, "try medicating him" and you, as a parent are fearful of meds and buy into the whole "every kid is on ritalin" nonsense and hesitate to give your kid the help that he needs. When you finally succumb to the pressure and medicate your child he turns into a zombie or he gets tics or he has such severe rebound that it's worse than it was without medication. This is just a tiny bit of what living with a kid with ADHD is about.

My son has severe ADHD. He not only has the problems with focussing, but he is also extremely impulsive and has problems with distructiveness, violence, and explosiveness. With medications, he is able to get through the day without losing it, without screwing up, and with a modicom of success socially. He's now a straight A student in high school, and he's happy in ways he's never been before. For this I bless the drug companies for finding medications to help him. Medicating a child that needs it is not a bad thing, and I do not want to ever hear that my kid is the exception to the rule. There are so many kids like mine, and their parents don't need the guilt of those who don't know and don't live with the problems of brain disorders.

Hidden Disabilities

I've seen quite a few comments about people who have the unmitigated gall to park in a handicapped space with a hang tag but who don't look handicapped. People, I'm sick of this crap. I'm one of those people with a hangtag that doesn't look handicapped, but if you have followed my blog for any length of time you'll know that I am disabled, that I have a serious and life threatening heart condition, and that I deserve to park in a handicapped space regardless of whether or not I look handicapped. So lets set the record straight: when you see someone with a hangtag, regardless of what they look like, know that they have had to prove their disability with doctor's recommendations to the DMV. Their doctors know more than you do. They might have end stage cancer, or might be on dialysis, or might have heart disease. Just because we look good doesn't mean we feel good, so please, no more judgements. And don't park in our spaces, even for a few minutes to just 'run in' and get some coffee. If you take our spaces, we can't do the errands we need to get done. I can't walk from the back of a parking lot to a store. I need that handicapped space and if you take it, you're depriving me of my rights.

OK, enough ranting.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

My house is so clean

The house has been looking pretty disgusting lately, between the pooping puppies, my inherent laziness and inability to do much physically, and the kids complete disinterest in cleanliness of any kind. It was dusty, had dust bunnies the size of the cat, and in general looked like Wall Street after a ticker tape parade. Cleaning is important to me, but I'm not able to do it much anymore. However, the one bright light in this whole disability thing is that I now have a home health aide who comes weekly to clean. Yes, I have a state paid-for cleaning lady. She also does grocery shopping, prescription pickups, and cooking. If only she would move in! Today she came and spent four hours cleaning the bathrooms, kitchen, and the downstairs rooms. Plus she vacuumed both sets of stairs and my bedroom, did a load of my laundry including sheets, and washed all the wood floors. The house smells delicious, that lovely combination of simple green and murphy's oil soap. Yum. I'm so happy.

Another bus accident happened yesterday. This time it was a tour bus that hit a school bus, but these bus accidents are getting alarming. These kids weren't in our school system, but were Metco kids and for the life of me, I can't figure out why they were on the road they were on, as it's way way way out of their way.

In other news, the most popular Catholic priest in our area has been summarily fired and removed from his parish for improprieties regarding parish finances of around $75K. Interesting considering this priest was one of the most outspoken opponents of the archdiocese and the dispicable Cardinal Law. The archdiocese has been out to get certain outspoken opponents of the handling of the sex abuse cases in Boston, and they struck yesterday at this priest. There are huge protests going on at the rather large church and people are very upset. It amazes me how the archdiocese doesn't understand the feelings of the parishioners about the recent orders of church closings and the attacks on certain priests. The way this whole incident was handled is just astonishing to me. I'm not Catholic and I'm pretty happy about that at this point. I don't know how local Catholics can keep their faith after what the Boston archdiocese has been through in the past few years. I can't wait to hear what the Voice of the Faithful has to say about this latest incident. I really feel for the people of this parish. They don't deserve any more upheaval and this really does seem like a witchhunt against anyone who was vocal about opposing Cardinal Law (that scum).

It is all so different from Judaism. We have our own set of problems, to be sure, but having a central agency that is corrupt and disinterested in it's parishioners and interested more in public appearance and financial gains is foreign to our religion. Judsism is far from perfect, and at this point I'm pretty angry with the way certain synagogues run their businesses (they are a business) but it all pales compared to what's been going on in the Church. Living right in the middle of this whole controversy makes me even more aware of how difficult it must be to continue to go to Church with all this crap hanging over your collective heads.

Lastly, the Donald and Melania are expecting. Why do we care? I don't know, but this little tidbit made the national news. WHY IS THIS NEWS?
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Monday, September 26, 2005

Archives have been taken down temporarily

Due to a rather nasty security breach on craigslist, I have taken down all the archives. When and if I feel comfortable about craig's resolution of this issue, I'll put them back up. In the meantime, I'm going to continue to blog, but will be focussing on general discussions and nothing remotely personal. Sorry for the inconvenince! Nothing I can do about the assholes who think it's OK to publish my blog URL without asking. But then again, it's really so perfectly typical of the type of people you find on CL. Manners of crocodiles, those ones.
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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Somehow, American Greetings met the Girl and created this in her honor

This is pretty funny. Reminds me so much of the Girl in the upper levels.
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Saturday, September 24, 2005


The girl and I just made and ate the most delicious Meyer Lemon cake. I should feel guilty and mad at myself, but I don't because today I put on a pair of jeans I haven't worn in 3 years and they were too big. So, I ate cake. And it was good.

Itchy and Scratchy have been adopted. We miss them, but I don't think anyone misses cleaning up after them. I don't yet know whether or not they went to separate homes or were placed together, but I hope that they were placed together. Itchy drove Scratchy crazy biting her tail, but they were so darn cute together. No new puppies for us until Oct 3, when we are getting another one.

I've had a headache all day long and I'm grouchy.
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Friday, September 23, 2005

I think autumn is just about here

We've had a remarkable summer. It's been so hot you could fry an egg on the car hood for a good part of the summer. Then we've had a bunch of absolutely gorgeous days, the kind we got in Northern California with bright blue skies, hot but not scorching hot and with no humidity. A few rainy days are to be expected but unlike last summer, it's been mostly clear skies and good sailing.

The past couple of nights it's been crisp outside, and we've had to close the windows, which is even more of a reminder of California. While the baseball game is playing in the background, I'm typing next to my window that is still open, and I'm chilly. The fan laying on the floor is no longer needed. All the perennials in the garden have finished blooming and are setting seed. My herbs have started to flower and need to be brought inside and frozen in ice cubes for the winter. The tomato plant is finished, and we pulled it out of the ground a couple of days ago.

We're watching the end of the season, with the Red Sox down by half a game after being up 3 games most of the late summer. We're all in the edge of our seats here, hoping that we'll be in the playoffs. The whole feeling of baseball and summer changes at the end of September. Will we be the Boys of October again this year? It's 6:3 at the bottom of the 9th and the entire crowd at Fenway is standing. We need this game. The dreaded Yankees are winning their game against Toronto. My heart can't stand much more stress. It already feels like last year's playoffs where New England and Red Sox Nation stayed up until the wee hours of the dawn watching record length playoff games, praying that our beloved team would do the impossible. I cried more during those games than I ever had in regards to sports. I love my Sox.

Tomorrow is the big Steve Glidden (SOX WON!!!) Yard Sale. Steve was one of the four students killed in the Oak Hill bus accident in Canada in 2001. The Boys and Girls club hosts a huge yard sale in Steve's memory for his foundation. The sale brings people from all over the area, and raises thousands for scholarships to the Boys and Girls club camps. My kids have benefitted from this foundation, so we try to attend the sale. Because the sale attracts so many people, the rest of the city goes Yard Sale crazy and there are signs all over the place. I wish I actually had money to spend. I do love a yard sale!

I'm feeling so sad about New Orleans. I just can't believe it's happened again. Rita has toppled the levees and the city is underwater, flooded again. Why is this happening to this poor city? How much more can they take?
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Thursday, September 22, 2005

What a shock!

I'm a socialist. Who woulda thunk it? I think this test is just about as valid as all the other online tests, but then again, I am just about as socially liberal as one can get without leading from Havana. Go ahead and take the test and let me know what your results are.

You are a

Social Liberal
(70% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(11% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Peter piper has some pooping puppies.
How many poops did the pooping puppies poop?

If I told you how many poops we have cleaned up since Itchy and Scratchy moved in, you just wouldn't believe me. I figured it would be a lot. Belinda said that it would be a poop every couple of hours. She was vastly underestimating these puppies ability to poop and pee with abandon. Here's an example. Today when I got out of bed mid morning, there were 14 poops on the floor. The Girl had cleaned up the nightime poops at around 8 am, so within the next three hours, we had 14 poops. I've got newspapers all over the place, and sometimes they use them. Sometimes. Usually not. This is exhausting.

They are eating like champs, and Itchy discovered that I make a mean White Chocolate Chip Cranberry cookie and was totally jonesing for them. Hilarious considering the cookies are bigger than she is.

Still no word on the surgery, but the good news is, I didn't get one "Woman" tonight.
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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Contrary Mary strikes again

We've been having a tough couple of days. The Girls has a tendancy to argue a lot on a good day, and her mouth is outrageous these days as a rule, but Geesh...how much do I have to take. She's taken to calling me Woman, as in "Woman, are you Stoopid?" or "Woman, will you stop annoying me?" I don't like being called Woman. I especially don't like being called a stupid Woman. Believe me, that isn't a truism. But it bothers me more than a lot of people because I was always told I was stupid by my bio-family. I come from a long line of smart people. My mother graduated from high school at 15 after skipping two years. My father was also bright in a scientific type way. All my siblings are smart as well. But in our family, being a daughter automatically meant that you were worthless. As a kid, I had no value. I was chubby (but never fat, even though they did horrible things to me regarding weight), I was the second girl and very unwanted, and they never let me forget it. My father didn't believe that girls deserved higher education, so they refused to pay for one cent of my college ed. When I graduated, my parents came out to the graduation not because they were proud, but because they didn't believe that I actually could graduate from college. They insisted on me getting my diploma so they could see the proof. They weren't proud, they were incredulous. Ditto for grad school.

So for me, being called stupid or dumb, even by a 13 year old with a nasty streak, brings up things that I just don't want to revisit. I hate being reminded of my shitty childhood. I'm not one those people who are paralized by the past. Eleven years of therapy definately helped me distance myself from the bad feelings. That and not having any relationship whatsoever with my parents since 1980. I keep the feelings very far down inside me because I need to protect myself in order to perform daily tasks without tears. This stuff makes me angry and sad and I end up questioning my intelligence, which is ridiculous. I'm smart, I know I'm smart, but when you have parents who tell you otherwise your entire childhood, that stuff just boils up inside me when the Girl calls me names.

We're working on it. I've talked to her therapist about it, and to our family therapist as well, but she forgets when she gets irritated and the insults start to fly. Either I need to learn some nice calming techniques or kill her. One seems like a better option than the other.
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Monday, September 19, 2005

I am so angry about this

Yesterday I was reading my favorite blogs and I came across a post that just threw me for a loop. I don't know the author, but I've been reading her blog long enough to know that something is very wrong with our society for a woman as interesting, bright, and loving as Melissa to feel so badly about herself. To compound the situation, her husband has been acting like a complete jerk about her weight, making her feel even worse about the situation. I wrote a comment last night, but came back to look at the comments other people had written as well. I was floored by what I was reading. How does it happen that 120 women (so far) all have the same lack of self-worth because of their weight? When did weight become the most important definition of who we are as women? What has happened to us that we don't even think about how smart, or interesting, or funny, or even intellectual we are, we first think "Oh, I'm SOOOO fat!" How did it happen that so many women have such lousy self-esteem once they have given birth and their bodies change. Just what has society done to us? Are we all so mesmerized by the media's ideal women that we honestly believe that like Gwyenth Paltrow, we should lose our baby weight in only a couple of weeks? Are we all insane?

I'm just seething about this. Last night at the Emmy awards, Heidi Klum made an appearance only 6 days after giving birth. This woman must have been wearing maxipads in her bra to absorb the gushing milk flow, but there she was in a gorgeous gown. Lets get real, people. This is ridiculous. Who leaves a 6 day old baby to go off to the Emmy awards? And yet we're all supposed to be talking about how great she looked, like that is the primary issue. The woman left her baby, for God's sake! Why aren't we alarmed at this? Why are we focussing on what she looked like?

Ditto the Britney pregnancy. Now anyone that knows me knows I can't abide the trailer trash pop queen (now thankfully deposed), but even I got a bit ticked with all the comments on how fat she was during pregnancy. She was pregnant, folks. You get fat when you're pregnant. She's not going to lose that weight like a normal person. She's going to have it off in weeks because she can afford personal trainers, nannies, and a gym in her own home. We can't. We aren't ever going to look the same way, and I want to go on record right now as saying that we have to accept the changes in our bodies and revel in them because we are Mommies and we brought lives into the world, and we did it with our own bodies, and we should show the scars of birthing. We deserve the extra weight because we pushed a giant head out of our vaginas (or we endured surgery and permanent scarring to get that baby to live) and if some man thinks we're too fat, then screw him. Screw him to the wall.

When I was a kid I read Lysistrata and I thought it was one of the most brilliant ideas ever. I say, if your man is being a complete jackass about your post birth weight gain, then get him where it hurts. If he finds your increased weight unattractive, then I guess he doesn't want to sleep with such a fat slob, does he? You fatties sure isn't going to pleasure him either, are you? I say, lets go on strike and refuse sex until men get their collective acts together Are you with me?

I think all women are a bit dysmorphic at this point. I don't see how we can't be with all the messages that are shoved down our throats about how size matters. But why do we buy into it? I try not to. I'm not thin by any means, but I don't obsess over my weight. Before I got sick I never owned a scale, and I often forget that I have one. I don't diet successfully, but who does? I don't believe that my life is going to change if I lost weight. I don't believe that things would be better if I wore a size 11, the smallest adult size I've ever worn. I'm 5'9" tall and very big boned, and I'm never going to be a size 2. I'm fine with that. I don't care much about what I wear, and I don't have a Mom Ass because I don't have an ass at all. Honest, flat as a pancake back there!

Please, my female friends. Lets support each other as Moms and accept that we get a bit more padding as we age. It's natural, and it's not a bad thing.
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Sunday, September 18, 2005

My algebra teacher lied to me!

About (mumble mumble) years ago, my algebra teacher, after watching me fail algebra for 3 semesters in a row, promised me that I would never had to look at another algebraic equation again. Lo, these many years have passed and now my own children are studying this damn mathematic nightmare and they have the unmitigated gall to ask me for help. Me, the person who almost didn't graduate from high school until my father lied to get me out of the math requirement. Even my own father realized that math and I are a toxic mix. The conversation goes like this:

Girl: What elements intercept between X and W?
Me: I don't know.
Girl: Oh wait, it has to be graphed.
Me: Number lines? I have no clue.
Girl: Oh, at 5, they intersect at 5!
Me: Uh huh.
Girl: I had to draw about 10 graphs to get how to graph.
Me: Mmmmm.
Girl: Now I have to graph the solution sets.
Me: Mmmmmm.
Girl: What does that mean, for number 9?
Me: I don't know what a domain is.
Girl: What do I graph?
Me: The solution sets are the answers.
Girl: Mommy, I don't know what I'm doing!
Me: Uh huh.
Boy: I suck at number lines. I can't help you.
Me: Man, those brownies were good!
Girl: Where's that cat? Maybe he can help!
Girl: Ooooo Oooo....oh, just kidding.
Me: (muttering under breath "please let it stop")
Girl: Oooo oooo ooooo, answers in the back!

Yes, it's another night of math homework that nobody in the house has a clue of how to do. The boy skipped this stuff in his school when he took Algebra 1 last year, and he's usually a big help to the Girl, but he just doesn't know this stuff. The Girl refuses to allow me to call or email her teacher. She promises that she will ask for extra help, but I'm doubtful. She doesn't have a great history of asking for help. The thing is, the school is supposed to have a full time aide for her in math as part of her IEP but the aide's father died and he left the state for several weeks. Did they find a sub for her? Why no! They have had various subs, but no one permanent and it's been totally chaotic. Again the school system is out of compliance, and it's only the second week of school. Time for more complaints. I swear it, if I get throught the year without a law suit over this kid's IEP it will be a miracle.
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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Introducing Itchy and Scratchy

We got the teeniest foster puppies I've ever seen today. The kids named them Itchy and Scratchy, but they are both females. Oh well. The agency said that they think they might be some mix of terrier chichuachua, and gerbils. I swear it, they don't even weigh more than a pound each. They also have worms, but were wormed this morning. They are kinda stinky, but man are they cute. Ringo is not amused, and already gave Itchy a swat. This is going to be quite the week, I think.

Addendum: The Boy noted correctly that these pups are the same size as Beanie Babies. It's weird how tiny they are and how much the pee and especially poop. I've set up a basket for them with an old sheet and they lay in it like it's been their special place forever. The Girl is smitten and wants to know if we can keep them both. I think not. I like a dog that is more than a couple of pounds soaking wet.
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Friday, September 16, 2005

You don't meet a lot of people like the Boy

He's a pretty rare character. He has pink hair, he's just 13 and in high school, he's very smart and very funny and he likes to prepare for every contingency. Today he's playing Scrabble with himself. He's not really playing, he's figuring out how to get the highest possible score using weird letters and having them in the right place. So far, he's found that quizzical up at the top of the board can be worth 333 points. That seems to be his favorite find but he's still looking. Will he ever get a chance to use this knowledge. Maybe someday, but the point is, he'll never forget this and will work towards this as a life goal.

He's already read his entire Latin book and knows pretty much everything there is to know in it. Why? Because it's interesting to learn the declensions so he can read Latin books in the original Latin. This is also a goal in his life.

I love this boy with such a full heart that there are times I just can't contain it. He's one of the most interesting persons I've ever met, he thinks of connections that I just don't see, he's so politically astute that it astounds me and yet he plays scrabble with himself just to find winning moves. He's going to make some woman one weird husband.
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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Small Rant

The hospital called me late Thursday afternoon to tell me that my surgery wasn't going to be next Wednesday. They didn't know when it would be, but it wasn't going to be when it was scheduled for the last fucking month. Now, normally I would take this in stride, but in order for me to stay at the hospital I have to make a TON of arrangements for the kids, dealing with small things like transportation to and from school, to and from events, etc. And those doing the transportation need to know at least a couple of days ahead of time when I'm going to need them. At this point, I don't know, and I let the person who called know that this was pretty unacceptable from my viewpoint.

I'm about to call the whole thing off. Why is it always at their convenience and not mine. I'm the customer here. I should at least be consulted as to when the surgery should be. I have to change everything to suit the hospital. Sorry, but I think this sucks.

I love my cardiologist, who is a saint in my book. She's thoughtful, she listens to what I have to say, she remembers personal stuff about me and my family and always asks about us, she's competant to a fault, and she's got the kind of soft touch that springs into a lion's roar when she feels something needs to be investigated or corrected. I think she's incredibly smart, and she's the parent of a very ill child, so she understands what it means to live on worry.

The electrophysiologist, on the other hand, is quite young and I don't think she's even married never mind being a mom. She seems perfectly pleasant and had a good sense of humor, but I felt like she didn't see me as part of a family unit, and that can really be detrimental when I'm trying to get things scheduled, like oh, say, a stay in the hospital!

I wish I were incredibly rich and had servants. That would make life so much easier.

(An aside. the kids were born in one of those round towers in the above hospital)
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Aren't they a little old for naptime?

Yes, it's 4:30 and both of the kids are fast asleep on their nap mats on the floor. Ok, they're 13 years old and maybe they are a bit too old for naps, but they both come home from school looking exhausted, and they need to recharge. I've had about a bazillion experts tell me not to let them sleep in the afternoon, but they need the extra sleep. It is the only way they'll be able to make it through homework and the rest of the evening until bedtime without a tantrum.

Why kids need naps at this advanced age seems to depend upon the kid. I know for the Boy, he spends all day at school stuffing down his simmering rage. He has such issues with other people and he needs an outlet to get him from his anger back to pleasantness. Today he got into a fight with another kid, a junior. That would make this kid 17ish, a good 4 years older than the Boy. They were playing football in the gym and the junior kept pushing into the Boy, trying to plow him out of the way. The Boy eventually lost it, as he does so often, and thru out a punch. The junior came back at him, and then it got broken up. The Boy came home in tears. You could see he'd been holding it in from the second he got on the bus, and as he walked in, the flood gates opened up. He needed hugs and a backrub, and then a nap. The nap will get him to put it all in persepective and he'll be able to deal with the whole situation tomorrow when the other kid apologizes to him (which is coming, as we heard from the program director already).

On the other hand, the Girl has non-verbal learning disabilities that make it very hard for her to pay attention and understand what is being said in school. She struggles all day long trying so hard to pay attention and take notes and get the gist of what's assigned. She's such a good diligent student and it's so hard for her that she comes home exhausted. Even when she does day camp in the summer, she's wiped by the time she gets home. She has to work about 5 times harder than anyone else just to understand basic conversations. That is tiring. So she naps, is that really wrong?

This is yet another one of those YMMV moments, where as a parent I made decisions that go against the grain of conventional wisdom because it's right for my family. Of course, this makes us eat dinner late, sometimes as late as 8 pm, which makes us very continental, I think. But we eat together as a family every single night, and that's a good thing. Ok, the kids fight thru dinner unless the TV is on in the next room, but even so, we sit down and talk every night around the dinner table. I'm doing OK with this raising teenagers thing, at least so far.

Yawn. I think I'll take a bit of a snoozy myself.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Read any good books lately?

Here is a meme regarding what you're read. I like to see what everyone is currently reading, and what books you love and have read in the past. Steal this list, highlight the books you've read, and then add three more of your own. I actually cheated and added 6. I just could not decide. I think my highlighted books tell you that I love Victorian fiction and have read pretty much everything ever written. I could have listed another 50 books and not even grazed the surface of what I've read and what I'm reading. Have fun! Don't forget to tell me where you list is.

[meme via CityMama]

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. 1984, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corellis Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Sorcerers Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The DUrbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alices Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Susskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Joness Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo

92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnights Children, Salman Rushdie
101. Three Men In A Boat, Jerome K. Jerome
102. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
103. The Beach, Alex Garland
104. Dracula, Bram Stoker
105. Point Blanc, Anthony Horowitz
106. The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens
107. Stormbreaker, Anthony Horowitz
108. The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks
109. The Day Of The Jackal, Frederick Forsyth
110. The Illustrated Mum, Jacqueline Wilson
111. Jude The Obscure, Thomas Hardy
112. The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13 1/2, Sue Townsend
113. The Cruel Sea, Nicholas Monsarrat
114. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
115. The Mayor Of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy
116. The Dare Game, Jacqueline Wilson
117. Bad Girls, Jacqueline Wilson
118. The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
119. Shogun, James Clavell
120. The Day Of The Triffids, John Wyndham
121. Lola Rose, Jacqueline Wilson
122. Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
123. The Forsyte Saga, John Galsworthy
124. House Of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski
125. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
126. Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett
127. Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison
128. The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle
129. Possession, A. S. Byatt
130. The Master And Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
131. The Handmaids Tale, Margaret Atwood
132. Danny The Champion Of The World, Roald Dahl
133. East Of Eden, John Steinbeck
134. Georges Marvellous Medicine, Roald Dahl
135. Wyrd Sisters, Terry Pratchett
136. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
137. Hogfather, Terry Pratchett
138. The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan
139. Girls In Tears, Jacqueline Wilson
140. Sleepovers, Jacqueline Wilson
141. All Quiet On The Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
142. Behind The Scenes At The Museum, Kate Atkinson
143. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
144. It, Stephen King
145. James And The Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
146. The Green Mile, Stephen King
147. Papillon, Henri Charriere
148. Men At Arms, Terry Pratchett
149. Master And Commander, Patrick OBrian
150. Skeleton Key, Anthony Horowitz
151. Soul Music, Terry Pratchett
152. Thief Of Time, Terry Pratchett
153. The Fifth Elephant, Terry Pratchett
154. Atonement, Ian McEwan
155. Secrets, Jacqueline Wilson
156. The Silver Sword, Ian Serraillier
157. One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, Ken Kesey
158. Heart Of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
159. Kim, Rudyard Kipling
160. Cross Stitch, Diana Gabaldon
161. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
162. River God, Wilbur Smith
163. Sunset Song, Lewis Grassic Gibbon
164. The Shipping News, Annie Proulx
165. The World According To Garp, John Irving
166. Lorna Doone, R. D. Blackmore
167. Girls Out Late, Jacqueline Wilson
168. The Far Pavilions, M. M. Kaye
169. The Witches, Roald Dahl
170. Charlottes Web, E. B. White
171. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
172. They Used To Play On Grass, Terry Venables and Gordon Williams
173. The Old Man And The Sea, Ernest Hemingway
174. The Name Of The Rose, Umberto Eco
175. Sophies World, Jostein Gaarder
176. Dustbin Baby, Jacqueline Wilson
177. Fantastic Mr. Fox, Roald Dahl
178. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
179. Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, Richard Bach
180. The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery
181. The Suitcase Kid, Jacqueline Wilson
182. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
183. The Power Of One, Bryce Courtenay
184. Silas Marner, George Eliot
185. American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis
186. The Diary Of A Nobody, George and Weedon Gross-mith
187. Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
188. Goosebumps, R. L. Stine
189. Heidi, Johanna Spyri
190. Sons And Lovers, D. H. Lawrence

191. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
192. Man And Boy, Tony Parsons
193. The Truth, Terry Pratchett
194. The War Of The Worlds, H. G. Wells
195. The Horse Whisperer, Nicholas Evans
196. A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
197. Witches Abroad, Terry Pratchett
198. The Once And Future King, T. H. White
199. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
200. Flowers In The Attic, Virginia Andrews
201. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
202. The Eye of the World, Robert Jordan
203. The Great Hunt, Robert Jordan
204. The Dragon Reborn, Robert Jordan
205. Fires of Heaven, Robert Jordan
206. Lord of Chaos, Robert Jordan
207. Winters Heart, Robert Jordan
208. A Crown of Swords, Robert Jordan
209. Crossroads of Twilight, Robert Jordan
210. A Path of Daggers, Robert Jordan
211. As Nature Made Him, John Colapinto
212. Microserfs, Douglas Coupland
213. The Married Man, Edmund White
214. Winters Tale, Mark Helprin
215. The History of Sexuality, Michel Foucault
216. Cry to Heaven, Anne Rice
217. Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe, John Boswell
218. Equus, Peter Shaffer
219. The Man Who Ate Everything, Jeffrey Steingarten
220. Letters To A Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke
221. Ella Minnow Pea, Mark Dunn
222. The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice
223. Anthem, Ayn Rand
224. The Bridge To Terabithia, Katherine Paterson
225. Tartuffe, Moliere
226. The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
227. The Crucible, Arthur Miller
228. The Trial, Franz Kafka

229. Oedipus Rex, Sophocles
230. Oedipus at Colonus, Sophocles
231. Death Be Not Proud, John Gunther
232. A Dolls House, Henrik Ibsen
233. Hedda Gabler, Henrik Ibsen

234. Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton
235. A Raisin In The Sun, Lorraine Hansberry
236. ALIVE!, Piers Paul Read
237. Grapefruit, Yoko Ono
238. Trickster Makes This World, Lewis Hyde
240. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
241. Chronicles of Thomas Convenant, Unbeliever, Stephen Donaldson
242. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
242. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon
243. Summerland, Michael Chabon
244. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
245. Candide, Voltaire
246. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, Roald Dahl

247. Ringworld, Larry Niven
248. The King Must Die, Mary Renault
249. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein
250. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline LEngle
251. The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
252. The House Of The Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne
253. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
254. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan
255. The Great Gilly Hopkins, Katherine Paterson

256. Chocolate Fever, Robert Kimmel Smith
257. Xanth: The Quest for Magic, Piers Anthony
258. The Lost Princess of Oz, L. Frank Baum
259. Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon
260. Lost In A Good Book, Jasper Fforde
261. Well Of Lost Plots, Jasper Fforde
261. Life Of Pi, Yann Martel
263. The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver
264. A Yellow Rraft In Blue Water, Michael Dorris
265. Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder
267. Where The Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls
268. Griffin & Sabine, Nick Bantock
269. Witch of Blackbird Pond, Joyce Friedland
270. Mrs. Frisby And The Rats Of NIMH, Robert C. OBrien
271. Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt

272. The Cay, Theodore Taylor
273. From The Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg
274. The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster
275. The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin
276. The Kitchen Gods Wife, Amy Tan
277. The Bone Setters Daughter, Amy Tan
278. Relic, Duglas Preston & Lincolon Child
279. Wicked, Gregory Maguire
280. American Gods, Neil Gaiman
281. Misty of Chincoteague, Marguerite Henry
282. The Girl Next Door, Jack Ketchum
283. Haunted, Judith St. George
284. Singularity, William Sleator
285. A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
286. Different Seasons, Stephen King
287. Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk
288. About a Boy, Nick Hornby
289. The Bookmans Wake, John Dunning
290. The Church of Dead Girls, Stephen Dobyns
291. Illusions, Richard Bach
292. Magics Pawn, Mercedes Lackey
293. Magics Promise, Mercedes Lackey
294. Magics Price, Mercedes Lackey
295. The Dancing Wu Li Masters, Gary Zukav
296. Spirits of Flux and Anchor, Jack L. Chalker
297. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
298. The Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices, Brenda Love
299. Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace.
300. The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison.
301. The Cider House Rules, John Irving.
302. Enders Game, Orson Scott Card

303. Girlfriend in a Coma, Douglas Coupland
304. The Lions Game, Nelson Demille
305. The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars, Stephen Brust
306. Cyteen, C. J. Cherryh
307. Foucaults Pendulum, Umberto Eco
308. Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson
309. Invisible Monsters, Chuck Palahniuk
310. Camber of Culdi, Kathryn Kurtz
311. The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
312. War and Rememberance, Herman Wouk
313. The Art of War, Sun Tzu
314. The Giver, Lois Lowry
315. The Telling, Ursula Le Guin
316. Xenogenesis (or Liliths Brood), Octavia Butler
317. A Civil Campaign, Lois McMaster Bujold
318. The Curse of Chalion, Lois McMaster Bujold
319. The Aeneid, Publius Vergilius Maro (Vergil)
320. Hanta Yo, Ruth Beebe Hill
321. The Princess Bride, S. Morganstern (or William Goldman)
322. Beowulf, Anonymous
323. The Sparrow, Maria Doria Russell
324. Deerskin, Robin McKinley
325. Dragonsong, Anne McCaffrey
326. Passage, Connie Willis
327. Otherland, Tad Williams
328. Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay
329. Number the Stars, Lois Lowry
330. Beloved, Toni Morrison
331. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christs Childhood Pal, Christopher Moore
332. The mysterious disappearance of Leon, I mean Noel, Ellen Raskin
333. Summer Sisters, Judy Blume
334. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo
335. The Island on Bird Street, Uri Orlev
336. Midnight in the Dollhouse, Marjorie Filley Stover
337. The Miracle Worker, William Gibson
338. The Genesis Code, John Case
339. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevensen
340. Paradise Lost, John Milton
341. Phantom, Susan Kay
342. The Mummy or Ramses the Damned, Anne Rice
343. Anno Dracula, Kim Newman
344: The Dresden Files: Grave Peril, Jim Butcher
345: Tokyo Suckerpunch, Issac Adamson
346: The Winter of Magics Return, Pamela Service
347: The Oddkins, Dean R. Koontz
348. My Name is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok
349. The Last Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
350. At Swim, Two Boys, Jaime ONeill
351. Othello, by William Shakespeare
352. The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas
353. The Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats
354. Sati, Christopher Pike
355. The Inferno, Dante
356. The Apology, Plato
357. The Small Rain, Madeline LEngle
358. The Man Who Tasted Shapes, Richard E Cytowick
359. 5 Novels, Daniel Pinkwater
360. The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Juliet Marillier
361. Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
362. To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
363. Our Town, Thorton Wilder
364. Green Grass Running Water, Thomas King
335. The Interpreter, Suzanne Glass
336. The Moors Last Sigh, Salman Rushdie
337. The Mother Tongue, Bill Bryson
338. A Passage to India, E.M. Forster loved
339. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
340. The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux
341. Pages for You, Sylvia Brownrigg
342. The Changeover, Margaret Mahy
343. Howls Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones
344. Angels and Demons, Dan Brown
345. Johnny Got His Gun, Dalton Trumbo
346. Shosha, Isaac Bashevis Singer
347. Travels With Charley, John Steinbeck
348. The Diving-bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
349. The Lunatic at Large by J. Storer Clouston
350. Time for Bed by David Baddiel
351. Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold
352. Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre
353. The Bloody Sun by Marion Zimmer Bradley
354. Sewer, Gas, and Eletric by Matt Ruff
355. Jhereg by Steven Brust
356. So You Want To Be A Wizard by Diane Duane
357. Perdido Street Station, China Mieville
358. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte
359. Road-side Dog, Czeslaw Milosz
360. The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje
361. Neuromancer, William Gibson
362. The Epistemology of the Closet, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
363. A Canticle for Liebowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr
364. The Mask of Apollo, Mary Renault
365. The Gunslinger, Stephen King
366. Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
367. Childhoods End, Arthur C. Clarke
368. A Season of Mists, Neil Gaiman
369. Ivanhoe, Walter Scott
370. The God Boy, Ian Cross
371. The Beekeepers Apprentice, Laurie R. King
372. Finn Family Moomintroll, Tove Jansson
373. Misery, Stephen King
374. Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters
375. Hood, Emma Donoghue
376. The Land of Spices, Kate OBrien
377. The Diary of Anne Frank
378. Regeneration, Pat Barker
379. Tender is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald
380. Dreaming in Cuban, Cristina Garcia
381. A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
382. The View from Saturday, E.L. Konigsburg
383. Dealing with Dragons, Patricia Wrede
384. Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynne Truss
385. A Severed Wasp - Madeleine LEngle
386. Here Be Dragons - Sharon Kay Penman
387. The Mabinogion (Ancient Welsh Tales) - translated by Lady Charlotte E. Guest
388. The DaVinci Code - Dan Brown
389. Desire of the Everlasting Hills - Thomas Cahill
390. The Cloister Walk - Kathleen Norris
391. The Things We Carried, Tim OBrien
392. I Know This Much Is True, Wally Lamb
393. Choke, Chuck Palahniuk
394. Enders Shadow, Orson Scott Card
395. The Memory of Earth, Orson Scott Card
396. The Iron Tower, Dennis L. McKiernen
397. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
398. A Ring of Endless Light, Madeline L'Engle
399. Lords of Discipline, Pat Conroy
400. Hyperion, Dan Simmons
401. If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, Jon McGregor
402. The Bridge, Iain Banks
403. Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit, Daniel Quinn
404. Angle of Repose, Wallace Stegner
405. The Gold Coast, Nelson DeMille
406. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
407. The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri
408. The Jungle, Upton Sinclair
409. What's Bred in the Bone, Robertson Davies
410. My Life, Bill Clinton
411. Palace Walk, Naguib Mahfouz
412. Tuxedo Park, Jennet Conant
413. Idiot, Johnny Damon
414. East Lynne, Mrs. Henry Woods

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Now here's some heavy thinkin'

Sometimes I think that I'm dreaming this stuff up, but then I find out that, nope, it's true. People are as stupid as this and are still allowed to breathe. Pat Robertson has declared that Hurricane Katrina is Ellen Degeneris' fault because God is angry that Ellen has been chosen to host the Emmy awards. Doesn't that make awesome sense? But there's more. It's also Ellen's fault that 9/11 happened, because that was the first time Ellen was to host the Emmys. This is one of those pronouncements that you just have to ask, "Does anyone actually buy this shit?" This is my favorite part of the article:

"Robertson added that other tragedies of the past several years can be linked to Degeneres’ growing national prominence. September, 2003, for example, is both the month that her talk show debuted and when insurgents first gained a foothold in Iraq following the successful March invasion. “Now we know why things took a turn for the worse,” he explained.

In order to avoid further tragedy, Robertson called not only for the Television Academy to find a new heterosexual host, but to bar all homosexuals and bisexuals from taking part in the ceremony.

He said employees at the Christian Broadcasting Network had put together a list of 283 nominees, presenters, and invited guests at the Emmys known to be of sexually deviant persuasions.

“God already allows one awards show to promote the homosexual agenda,” Robertson declared. “But clearly He will not tolerate such sinful behavior to spread beyond the Tonys.”"

I swear it, someone has to put this guy out of his misery.
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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

This drives me FRIGGING INSANE

What is it about Californians (and yes, I AM one) that makes them think they're the only people on earth? Why do they think they are so special? Why are they so smug about how special they are, and how repulsive the rest of us are? What am I ranting about? Read here, on Margaret Cho's blog:

In the midst of all the chaos caused by Hurricane Katrina, something quite remarkable quietly unfolded in California. An Equal Rights Marriage Bill, which would make gay marriage legal in our state, passed in the Senate AND the Assembly. This means that California could be the first state to vote against discriminatory marriage laws and make it legal for the rest of us – IF it is signed by our governor, Arnold Schwarznegger. He said yesterday that he will veto it - probably to please all the conservative religious groups. Just like the terminator – he holds the future in his hands…

Um, hello Margaret. Gay marriage has been legal in Massachusetts for a year and a half. MA was the first state to legalize same sex marriage, not California. Vermont also has a law that allows same sex unions, but they do not call them marriages. And New York and CT just passed similar laws, but have not yet gone into practice. If you read a damn newspaper, or even poked your ignorant head out of California, you might find that the rest of the country aren't a bunch of rural rubes so stupid and so bigoted that we have to follow California in order to get anything done.

OK, rant over. Well, maybe not. I just HATE the smug attitude of so many Californians, especially those from the SF Bay area, that firmly believe they live in paradise and the rest of us are wallowing in bubbaland. Guess what? We're progressive, we're smart, and we're liberal. Any state that votes for Arnold for governator ought be be shoved right into the pacific ocean. I mean, really. Wasn't Reagan bad enough? Do you have to repeat your mistakes and vote for another conservative rabid actor?

I'm done now.
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Aren't cats just swell pets?

We have a cat named Ringo. We 'rehomed' him when he was 8 years old, about one and a half years ago. He has never had the greatest personality, but the Girl adores him and he loves her. It's the rest of us he's not all that thrilled with. When the Girl was at camp, he switched his allegience to me, and that was fine. He started snuggling with me, and even sleeping with me. It was pleasant and we both enjoyed it, although I knew I was just an alternative to being alone. He's fickle that way. Then the Girl came home from camp and he transferred his allegience right back to her.

Then life as we know it changed. Some fool, some evil demonic fool recommended a kitty treat called Temptations, made by Whiskas. They are. simply, kitty crack. I've never seen anything like it. Our normal cat has turned into a Temptations junkie. He jones for these damn treats 24/7. You cannot hide them, because he will find them. No matter where you put them, he will get them and attack the package and start pushing off anything on a table or shelf until you give him a treat. But what is worse is that he won't just take 'no' for an answer when you think he's had enough. My stomach looks like a bloody roadmap of deep scratches from him jumping up on me and trying to get more. He grabs with both paws. He is desperate for the crack. I've turned my kitty into a Temptation addict.

There are no methadone clinics for Temptations junkies.
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Monday, September 12, 2005


I just wrote this long and terribly insightful post about how hard it is to parent my particular set of children and why, and frigging Blogger ate it. This is the perfect ending to a completely shitty day.
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Obsessive Parenting

I was reading Freakonomics recently and there was a short chapter on obsessive parents. I digested the information and thought about all the posts I've read on various forums over the years by obsessive parents who are so sure that the right stroller, the right books, cosleeping, extended breastfeeding, homeschooling since birth, organic foods, wooden toys, and of course, the SAHM who would never ever use a babysittter or daycare.

I think back 13 years to when my guys were infants, and life was easier for a parent. Back then I called it competetive parenting, but mostly it was more of a Your Milage May Vary time, when what worked for you may not work for me.

But now, it's blue states and red states of parenting. If you use a crib, you're a red state. If you use Gerber jarred food, you're a red state. If you own a bugaboo stroller you're a blue state. How did we get so divided? How did we all get so judgemental? And how on earth can we all pull together and agree to disagree?

I feel like one of those grandma's that says "back in the day when I was parenting" because it has been quite a long time, but really, back in the day I don't think I knew anyone who didn't vaccinate their kids. I knew plenty of people, me right at the top of the list, who attended chicken pox parties to expose our kids to the pox when it was convenient for us. It worked well for my family, but geesh, I've gotten more shit about this. Why would you purposely expose your child to a disease? Well, because it's better than nothing and the shot has only just come out and it wasn't really very effective. I figured it's better to get the chicken pox at 18 months than when they were 8.

Now, there seems to be hip clothing for kids, and you must get your kids Robeeze shoes and Oilily clothing. Who can afford this stuff? Why would you want to pay that kind of money for clothing they outgrow anyhow? Cars seem to be another blue vs red topic. If you drive a minivan, you're red. If you drive an SUV you're so damn red you have a baboon's ass. If you drive a hybrid or a Volvo, you're blue. This one has me shaking my head. But heck, if someone can fit car seats into a hybrid, then I say drive the damn thing.

What saddens me about all of this competitive/obsessive parenting is that mommies seem to have their self esteem dashed by the judgements of others. Parenting is such hard work in and or itself, and who needs a bunch of judgemental bitches telling you that you must subscribe to Mothering Magazine (very blue) rather than Parents (very red) and if you don't, you're a bad mommy. We're not even in the circ/no-circ or BF vs bottle territory here. We're talking mainstream parenting choices like "do you decorate your nursery?" and "do you use a sling or a baby bjorn or a stroller". These all seem to be legitimate parenting choices, but if you choose a sling, then you also choose not to use a stroller because Dr Sears says strollers are evil. This is the kind of stuff I hate. I just want to tell all the new moms I know to find their own way and use what works for their child. You might have a baby that hates being held. I did, and a swing was a lifesaver for me with the Girl. You might have a baby that won't touch rice cereal. Or one that wants rice cereal at 3 months old. Babies, like grownups, are different and have their own likes and dislikes. You have to learn what your child likes and go from there. You can't fit a sensory overloaded kid into a sling. It isn't gonna happen.

Love your kids, moms. And learn who they are and what they want and need. Forget what is politically correct. Use what works for your family.
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Saturday, September 10, 2005

It is very quiet up there

Boy and Girl both went to bed early tonight. Boy because he was banished for driving his sister to distraction by continually trying to lay his head on her butt on the sofa they were sharing. Girl because she's bored with nobody to terrorize. Yup, things are back to normal.

We've committed to trying a 'level' system to get behaviors under control. There are three levels, and each one has a different amount of privileges on it.

Level Three is the highest level. The kids wanted it that way, but I find it confusing. If you're on Level 3 you get free access to TV, phone, games, music. You can have friends over, you can go out but MUST be home by dark. Bedtime is 10:30 on school nights, 2 on weekends.

Level Two has time limits on activities. TV only for 2 hours, games 1 hour, phone 1 hours, music 1 hour. Home right after school, and you need permission for contact with friends. Bedtime is 10 on school nights, weekends 12:30.

Level One means you have to be home right after school. No plans, TV, phone, games, loud music. Bedtime is 9:30.

Every night we meet to discuss the levels they're on, depending upon the warnings they got during the day. I can move their level down during the day if the warnings continue unabated.

They have rules they must follow, like personal space, no touching, do chores, take showers, no eating anywhere but kitchen, don't take things without permission, etc. Rules are kind of tough for them to follow, but I'm trying hard to get them to be consistant. I'm making headway with some of the rules, but others just seem to be impossible for them to remember.

They also have a list of chores. The Girl has a white board checklist for kitchen duties because she cannot remember what she's supposed to do after more than 3 years of doing the same damn job. So tonight she lies on her checklist, and when I go into the kitchen to check, she's like "I DID clean off the stove" even though there are crumbs and sauce and a mess. Yikes.

I think we're all getting on each other's nerves. The Girl had a friend over this afternoon and she was acting up all over the place. I remember those days when you tried to act all bossy towards your siblings and all tough towards your mom, like following the rules of polite society is optional. Man, these teen years suck.

We all went to Russo's to pick up veggies and fruit and the Girl was helping herself liberally despite several warnings. I tore into her and ripped her a new one right in front of her friend. Yet another promise to myself that I would never behave the way my mom did gone down the drain. Shit, I'm losing this battle.

Bought a bunch of asian veggies for a stir fry this week. Both kids like my stir fry a lot, even with the huge amount of garlic and ginger I put in it. I also bought cannolis that we had for dessert tonight. So damn good.

Fever Pitch is coming out on Tuesday and they have a new Red Sox edition. We'll be getting that one. Sox beat the Yankees tonight and Shilling was pitching. Great game. Great season. I love this team.
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