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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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Fall Fashions: Bulky but warm

I'm not a fashion maven, but I do love to look at what the designers have shown in order to be all the more thankful that I'm not going to have to actually wear this stuff. This week, the Boston Globe Magazine had their fall fashion premier, and oh my, clothing is going to be odd this fall and winter. Warm, but odd.

Unfortunately, my absolute favorite spread did not make it to the web site, but they showed two pages of women wearing fashionable jeans, pants, sweaters, scarves, hats, shrugs, sometimes all of the above and then, to add fuel to the fire, socks with pumps, come fuck me's, boots, etc. Socks. Socks you could see. Not only were leggings prominently shown, but now we get to see about 2" of leg between the legging bottoms and the sock tops. So fugly.

Black and white is shown a lot. Most of the colors for fall are very neutral, beiges, grays, browns, blacks, and sometimes a hint of rust. No prints, no animal prints, but occasional fur colors and shrugs. This prison leggings are an example of what you're going to be seeing on the streets in a few weeks. Be prepared!

Knits are the fabric for fall, and layering knits is the look of the year. Thin knits like cashmeres with heavy knits atop them. But huge cape things over knit dresses. Makes me itch just thinking of wearing this stuff.

The overbra is a style I'm just not happy with. I can't imagine anyone, large or small, fat or thin, or just plain medium looking good with this. Maybe I'm silly, but aren't bras supposed to be worn under clothing? My granny would just die if she ever saw anyone walking on the street in this number.

Hats are an important part of any ensemble, evidentally. Here we have the Taliban hat for the urban terrorist look. Helmet head, anyone?

And then we have this Marc Jacobs hat that anyone who has ever taken up even the most fundamental knitting could make in an afternoon. In fact, I've got a pattern for a similar hat in a stocking knit stitch what I've made myself countless times. My cost? Maybe $5 worth of yarn. Marc Jacobs cost? $350. Is this serious?

How do you like this Hefty Bag dress? I can imagine people saying "Hefty Hefty Hefty" when this poor fashion schlub walks by. This is not an attractive look, people.

This pantsuit was one of my favorites. Model, size 0. Pantsuit size 16. Look at the length of these pants. Is this a deathwish pant suit? Watch the matchstick model fall and break up into pieces? I don't get this look at all.

This one was a real classic. A fall plaid is a given in most women's wardrobe. I've got a black watch kilt I got in Scotland that I wear occasionally. I'm not a big fan of plaid. It makes most folks look a bit broad in the beam. But this outfit? Tallyho! Pull out the dapple gray and saddle up!

Check out this model's legs. Do you think she's eaten anything since 2005? Those things make Nicole Ritchie look chubby. They look like they could snap in half with a sharp kick. This is fashionable? Starving nutters in plaid? Not my cuppa' tea.
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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Can you make sense of this?

Massachusetts is among the top five states for income in the US. That means we're on of the 5 richest states in the country. Ok, so far I'm going to go with that fact. It seems that yes, we're wealthier than pretty much everyone else (and thinner, too!) in the US. So can you please tell me why our social services are so bad? Not just poor, BAD. Why can't we, as the 5th richest state in the country, provide low income housing for the people who aren't making 6 figure salaries? Like the service employees that wait on you in restaurants, serve you in department stores, take your information at doctor's offices, etc. Never mind those that clean your homes and offices.

How come we can't give food stamps to people that are paying non-subsidized rents that average around $2000/month for a family? Doesn't it seem that families that are paying say, 90% of their income towards rent should get some help feeding their families?

How come we have almost no fuel subsidies. The average subsidy for fuel is about $600/year. The average heating cost last year, a very mind winter with much lower fuel costs? $1400. If we're so wealthy, why can't we help people pay for their heat? Why do we have to make them choose between food or heat?

If we're so rich, how come our state-ordered health care is going to cost the poorest citizens the most money, making it virtually impossible for the poor to pay the mandated cost? Why are we willing to send people to jail for non-payment of healthcare they can't afford? How is a family of 4 supposed to pay $165/month for health care they previously got for free? Are we going to raise their salaries by upping the minimun wage to a living wage? Finished laughing yet?

If we're so rich, how come we're in the bottom 5 for higher education support? Oh, that's because most of our rich kids can go to the Ivy League or private institutions, and the rest...well isn't Zoo Mass just good enough? You know you want your child to major in elevator surfing, right? You want your kids to attend schools where bricks are falling out of the structures due to the lack of restoration. Yeah, Zoo Mass is good enough for those scummy poor kids. It's what they deserve for being poor.

If MA is so rich, how come our schools suck so badly? Why are we pretending that the schools are as good as they were 25 years ago? Because they aren't. They're terrible. Embarassingly terrible. We barely offer AP classes anymore. We have almost no honors classes. We don't offer much in the way of art and music, and certainly much less than do other schools, even in California. Oh, yeah, I forgot. It's just like the whole college question. Why would anyone send their kids to, ahem, public school when there are so many wonderful private schools to attend. Aren't the public schools just for the plebes that can't afford private education? Or even worse, for those stupid liberal parents that actually believe public schools are the right decision for every child? What dupes they are.

If we're so rich, why is our infrastructure so horrible? Yes, the Big Dig has shown us all first hand how serious the graft is in this state. No surprise to anyone who has lived here for any time at all. Our politicians are rotten on the inside, the whole Irish Pol support system is as corrupt as a government can get. We know this. But why don't we stop electing these jerks? Who the hell votes for them? I mean, Tom Reilly? Doesn't he scare you more than just a little? He scares the shit out of me. I wouldn't trust him near a bridge or tunnel. I've never noticed the roads in Watertown are well paved, have you?

Let's call a spade a spade. MA is a great place if you have money, you're white, and you're young. If you're making that 6 figure income and can afford to live the lifestyle of the upper middle class, then yes, MA is a great place to be. But it's a state that is divided by race, by age, and by economics. Who would have believed that liberal Massachusetts, the state that was so proud to invest in it's citizens, it's technology, it's education, would have become a state divided by class, by income, and by race.

I'd like to blame Mitt Romney, who is definately at the forefront of blame, but the real issue is, MA has become a complacent society that believes in a two class system. And the top class has no interest in helping the bottom class. The middle class? They're all moving to North Carolina.
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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Six words you never want to say

There are many things in life that you hope never to hear. There are a few things that you really don't want to say. My top pick: "Get the bucket, I'm gonna hurl."

Yep, the gastrointestinal distress that has been making it's rounds amongst bloggers hit me, and hit me hard. I can't quite figure out how I caught this dreaded disease, but I've narrowed down the suspects to Dave at Blogoraphy or Jon at Blurbomat. They both seem to have shared my symptoms.

I swear, yesterday was the first day in many years that I never got out of bed at all. I just layed there, moaning and groaning and drifting in and out of sleep. Every joint in my body ached. I couldn't even get on the floor to walk to the bathroom across the hall. When I stood up it was like the world whirled around me. I shook like a leaf. The only place for me was bed. The rest of life was completely unacceptable. I remained there until around 5 this afternoon when the veil of crapiness lifted a bit and I actually brushed my filthy hair and walked downstairs to the underworld.

Typing appears to be something that I will once again remember how to do when I get back to normal. I don't know when that will be. I do know that I feel thinner and lighter having consumed virtually nothing that isn't on the brat diet for 2 days. That's not saying much either. Ymmmm, rice for dinner.

Whilst I drifted in and out of sleep these past 2 days I watched an inordinate amount of TV reflections on the anniversary of Katrina. I am beyond disgusted with our shitty shitty President and his cardboard government for doing virtually nothing for the citizens of our country at the same time he is throwing taxpayer's money at Iraq at 300 times the rate. Half the citizens of New Orleans never returned to their city, their homes are still standing filled with muck and mold while FEMA and their insurnace companies argue about reimbursements, and yet we can afford to throw young bodies at Iraq with ridiculous amounts of weaponry and other instruments of distruction, and for what? An immoral 'war' that nobody asked for and nobody but those fatcat purile assholes in Washington who are making money on the 'war' hand over fist. Or maybe that should be fist over cock. I hate them.

It is so quiet here. Both kids are doing their summer reading in a desperate attempt to finish 3 books before school starts. Heh. And soon I shall head back to laying down and watching the ceiling swirl above me.
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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Memories of Junior High

Carmen, blogger and mother of millions (OK, I exaggerate, only 6) at Mom to the Screaming Masses has asked for stories of our favorite teacher. This is sort of difficult for me, because I actually have several favorite teachers, but one was so outstanding that I always remember Mr Levine as the best teacher I ever had in school.

I attended Hale Junior High in Woodland Hills, CA. Mr Levine taught 7th grade history. OK, I know that everyone in the world hates history, but I never did, and I still don't. I love it. I think one of the reasons I love it so much would be Mr Levine. He made history come alive in a way that you so rarely see in teachers.

Mr Levine was young, probably in his early 30's when I had him. He was married to Mrs Levine, the French teacher, who was as mean as he was nice. We had endless conversations about how those two got together, as they were just so damn different.

Mr Levine was slight of build, with shiney black hair and a pale face. He used to wear short sleeved oxford shirts and sansabelt type pants. This was before dockers became popular for teachers, I guess. He was classically ADHD. I mean, this was a man that never stopped moving. He jumped up on desks when he got excited, he roared out lines in foreign accents, and he talked a blue streak. For most kids, Mr Levine was interesting because you never knew what he was going to do next. He had radical ideas way back in the 60's. He taught us about women in history, and about the poor and how poverty affected the politics of a country. He introduced us to the music and food and art of the historical times. But all of those were just small tidbits compared to what he did twice a year in his history classes.

Mr Levine held mock trials. The first mock trial of the year was Napoleon. The kids all chose parts (I was Marie Antoinette and got to say "Let them eat cake") and prepared an entire trial for poor Napoleon. We had juries and lawyers and witnesses and the trial lasted for days. It was a type of experiential learning that had never been done before in my experience, and it was breathtaking in getting kids involved and informed. We learned so much about the French that we started speaking in pseudo French accents. We yelled "Guillotine" to each other in the hallway. This was history that was unforgettable.

The second mock trial was Hitler. This wasn't quite a fun as Napoleon, primarily because my school was filled to the brim with Jewish students, many of whom were the children or grandchildren of survivors. It was way too close to so many of us, and we took on the assignment with a grimness, knowing that we were going to learn more than we probably wanted to know. One of the witnesses was a boy's father who had liberated Auschwitz and had albums of photos he had taken of the liberation. This man then served on the Nurenberg Trials as a witness. He was too authentic in a way, especially for 7th graders, but Mr Levine made sure that it was not only palatible, but was the learning experience of a lifetime. There is much I have forgotten about my childhood, but I still remember this witness's full name.

Mr Levine was a small man with a huge place in my memory. He brought history to life in a way that made me go on to become a history teacher myself. He believed that every kid on every part of the bell curve could have a part in participating in making history come alive. He helped each of us to find our own talents, our own skills, and built our self-esteem by allowing us to delve into history in a way that few kids were ever allowed to do.

I have no clue what happened to Mr Levine. I moved on to high school and then left California. I've thought of him often, and if there was some way to let him know how much his class affected me, I'd like him to know that, too.

My brother and I both were so lucky to have Mr Levine.
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What's big, round, red, and sweet?

Tomatos! Big, fat, juicy tomatos. Finally turning red tomatos. Firm, warm from the sun, fragrant tomatos. I planted 5 different varieties. One of the roma tomato varieties are huge. I've never seen roma tomatos this large. The early girls weren't much earlier than the big boys, the cherry's kinda fizzled out quickly, and the smaller italian romas are just starting to come in this weekend.

What do you do when you have fresh, juicy tomatos straight from the garden? You make pizza. With basil from the herb garden, and fresh mozzerella from a cheese shop and of course, nice baby bellas. An herb crust, a pizza stone, a hot oven, and you've got a treat that disappears so quickly you can barely watch the pieces being devoured.

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Corinne Bailey Rae has the voice of an angel

Today I got to do something really special. The Girl and I got to go to a private concert featurnig Corinne Bailey Rae. She is just beginning a US tour and played a small venue in Boston this evening. Corinne is from Leeds England, and she has been getting really amazing press both overseas and here in the US. Her voice is enchanging and I think she's poised to take over the American music scene. She sings with an amazing confidence like a real British R&B chanteuse. She almost stops time with her presence. Can you tell I love her music?

Not only did we get to see a concert with less than 50 people in attendance, we also got a free IPod. Someone was VERY excited to get this new toy. For the Girl, what surprised her most was that there was a lot of free food. She's really interesting. Things she would never put in her mouth at home, in a bar with free food, she's scarfing it down.

And.... her favorite store in our town has a warehouse store right next door to the venue and she was absolutely in bliss checking out the merchandise. Bargains galore, people. T'shirts were $5, designer jeans were $25-39. Big name stuff, too.

What did you do tonight?
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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sqeeeee! I'm lovin' these shoes.

Just look at these babies. Are they not the cutest shoes evah? Aren't they perfect for winter special events? Don't you wish they were your shoes? Well, they are not. And no, you cannot borrow them either. Because when you put them on, you immediately go 1940's and want to put your hair up in a french twist and wear a fitted suit with a fur collar. DSW, I lub you.

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14 years old and still tantrumming

Today the Girl and the Boy turn the ripe old age of 14. The are firmly entrenched in adolescence. I thought it would be funny to try and write one of those Dooce letters to them, but really, what milestones have they conquered in the past year? The ability to crash the computer within seconds? Making the biggest messes in the universe? Cooking Ramen in the middle of the night? How to lie convincingly? Losing Mom's Ipod on the front lawn overnight? Nope, all of those milestones were long since mastered. This might be harder than I thought.

In a few days, the Girl will enter high school as a student for the first time. She'll be a small gold fish in a very big pond for a bit, but knowing her, by the end of first term she'll already be the size of a marlin. For the first time in memory, she has no nervousness about taking on the high school. She's got a wardrobe that will blend in, she's ready for her classes, her friends are all lined up, and the bus stop changed and will now be right by our house. She'll be looking for a new babysitting position soon, to have spending money and to buy the things she deems necessary that I think it a waste of money.

The Boy is an upperclassman, and he's not as excited about going back to school. He's had the first summer totally and completely without activities and schedules, and it suited him well. He's relaxed and feeling good about going back to school, anxiety wise. He's already gotten his schedule and he got the electives he wanted, so he's psyched. Since he got his b'day money, he's thought of nothing else but buying a TV for his room so he can play his XBox up there instead of in the family room.

They've both turned out to be interesting semi-adults, my kids. They are funny and kind and loving. They are nice people, polite, well-mannered, and still have a kick-ass amount of fun packed into their personalities. They roll with the punches better than most kids, but then again, they both still tantrum with the best of them. Both have quick tempers, but both have learned over the years to calm down and apologize for their errant behavior.

They still see the world with a wide-eyed innocence that only youth can hold on to. I've never censored news from them, they are both cognizant of all the bad stuff that goes on around us, and interestingly this has turned the Boy into a political junkie. They are empathetic and they can screen out bullshit better than I can at times. They have little patience for bad government and they believe that getting Republicans out of office will clean up the country. See, wide-eyed innocence.

I love these children so deeply, with so much conviction, with so much emotion that sometimes it startles me. Although the do drive me crazy and they are far (very very far) from perfect, who they are becoming has me agog with the surprises they give me. The Girl, she has a new career goal, for example. Marine archaeologist. And I was sure she's become a comedianne like Gracie Allen when she was a baby. You just never know.

I love you Girl and Boy. Happy Birthday.
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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Just the facts, Ma'am

Lots of little things to mention, nothing big and heavy and morose. Yahoo!

  1. Bought the Girl her b'day present today. I think she'll like what I got her. Of course the Boy, who can't keep his mouth shut for 2 seconds told her where we shopped and how much money I spent. Sigh. There is no such thing as a secret in this family.
  2. Miss Zoot featured guest posters today to share the blog love. Run over and see the recommendations. Lots of new blogs I haven't seen before.
  3. Caught the Girl in a massive lie today and she's in trouble. The thing is, she didn't need to lie, but she just did.
  4. I have a parenting dilemma that I'm not sure what to do with. My brother sent the kids checks for their birthday. A friend also gave them checks. They now have a nice chunk of change to spend. The Girl has already cashed one and went to the mall this evening. No problem with her spending. She'll blow it all on clothing. But the Boy. He wants to buy a TV for his bedroom so he can move his XBox up to his room. I am anti-TV in kids rooms. But I'd love to get the Xbox off the family TV. Believe me when I say I would be thrilled never to hear the words "Can I play my XBox" again. I had him come up with 3 compelling reasons why a TV would be a good idea. And with rules we could live with. I also told him that any infraction of the rules would result in immediate parental controls on the TV. I think we can agree to this. Gulp.
  5. While shopping today, the Boy found a jacket he would be willing to wear. Because he never wore a jacket all winter last winter, any jacket he's willing to wear is a good deal. He froze his butt off last winter but he hated his jacket and refused to put it on. It was a jacket he picked out and bought with his own money, so this really confused me. As in "What the..."? We put the jacket on layaway. It's a leather bomber jacket. Lined, Calvin Klein. It seems warm. It will last a long time. I guess it's a decent investment.
  6. Lots of bloggers seem sad and depressed. People are quitting their blogs. People are on long vacations. It feels like the blogging world has intestinal distress. I hope everyone feels better soon.
  7. It is officially the twin's birthday!
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I'm channeling Suri Cruise

So Viacom's Sumner Redstone pushed him off the Paramount lot, and severed their relationship with the embattled nutcase and raving lunatic, Tom Cruise. Couldn't happen to a bigger nutter. Tom battled back by stating that he and business partner Paula Wagner would be setting up their own production company. In other words, I'm taking my ball and I'm going home.

But the upshot of all this is, you just know Suri's photos are going to be released anytime they actually find a baby to pose as their own. This is pure classic Tom. Strike back from insanity by promoting yourself and your poor girlfriend Katie (the prisoner) Holmes. But since we haven't seen hide nor hair of the 'baby', it's obvious that this is how Tom is going to bounce back from this latest embarassment.

This could be a reality show: America's Most Dysfunctional Family.

Me, I'm just pleased he gets his comeuppance. I wish that everyone in Hollywood were as brave as Sumner Redstone and treat Tom like the pariah he has become.
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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The surprising smell in my kitchen

Today we had to pick up a prescription at Walgreens. I do not like Walgreens pharmacy. They are unprofessional, make way too many mistakes, and have the nastiest help working there. A trip to Walgreens always sets my teeth on edge, but unfortunately, it is also the pharmacy we use regularly. We're very good customers.

Not surprisingly, the prescription we needed was not ready. Even though it was supposed to be ready last week and this is the third time I've gone there to pick up the damn prescription. But this is my life at Walgreens. It happens over and over and over. I did mention how much I hate this pharmacy, right? Since I already pitched a mega hissy fit on Saturday when the same prescription wasn't done, I figured they would at least try to have it done today. But no... so I made the pharmacy tech call the doctor again and get the Rx faxed while we were at the store, which she did. I think I must be pretty scary when I'm pitching a fit because this one was actually pleasant about it. With an hour wait, we got a chance to really finger all the merchandise.

I got b'day cards for the kids, they had a sale on twizzlers, the Boy found a new binder for his baseball cards (school? We don't need no friggin' binders for school!), we checked out all the school supplies and the game aisle, and then the Girl found something and called me over to see.

Scented candles. I usually abhor scented candles. They always smell chemically, plus most of them give me asthma attacks. But the Girl found scented candles that smelled, oh... like I wish my house would smell all the time instead of eau d'kitty. I'm just sayin'...

Two 'flavor' scents stood out. Apple Cinnamon Strudel and Oatmeal Raisin Cookie. To die for. The candles were on sale. They were downright cheap. I paid less for 2 of them than one cost on the web site. They come in sugar shakers that you can use once the candles are gone. The shakers alone were worth the price of the candles. So this virgin scented candle user bought them.

As soon as the prescription was finally ready, because after all, what's a week between pharmacy and consumer, we scooted home. I lit the Apple Strudel candle and lordy... my house smells like Grannie Rose is baking strudel in the kitchen. These suckers smell yummy.

These candles are made from soy, and the label says that they are highly fragranced (true), environmentally safe, clean and long burning, and they support American farmers. You can't go wrong with that combo. They are clean burning. I don't get any of the cough cough asthma that I do on Friday nights when the Shabbat candles die down. Now those are lethal!

My house smells so yummy. And better yet, I'm putting an herbed turkey breast in the oven in a second. It will smell just like Thanksgiving right soon.
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Monday, August 21, 2006

It's all just flying by

See if you can guess who went to the movies last night with a girl? Hint: not me.

In 3 days my babies will be 14. Fourteen frigging years old. Both in high school. Where they have hard classes and electives and team sports. How come I still see them as babies? Soft, squishy smell good babies. Not big lunky kids with foot odor. The Boy has gotten so tall this summer. When he hugs me it's like hugging an adult. I do not like this. I do not approve. I keep telling him to stop growing but he will not listen.

When they were infants, I wondered a lot about what it would be like when they grew up. I couldn't even think about what kind of adults they would be. It was like having modeling clay and beginning with a big lump and over the years molding and shaping it, bit by bit, into real live persons. I'm pretty sure I did OK. I did the best I could anyhow. I like who they are, and other people seem to think that they're possibly going to be a decent addition to the adult population outside of prison. I guess that's acceptable.

One thing I never expected was how beautiful they would be. Neither their father or I could ever be construed as top tier hotties. We're average people with regular "Jewish" looks and decent shapes and sizes. I didn't realize that the combination of our genes would produce such quirky, but rapturously beautiful children. They look very different, and they act very different as well. But each has taken on the best attributes from our gene pool and really did something with it. HaShem was working with Fimo, not plasticine that day.

I also never expected that they would both be so funny. I'm funny, their father is deadly serious. Funny runs deep in my family. But both of my kids hve their own unique brand of humor that appeared early on. When the Boy was 3, he made up his first joke, which has held up over time. "What do Jewish pirates say?" "Ahoy vey". It's pretty damn good for 3.

I never thought I'd have a fashionista for a daughter. The one thing I am not is fashion crazy. I need complete comfort in my clothing and shoe choices. I've never owned high heels in my life, and I'm not starting now. I like clothes, and I have good taste, but the Girl, she's amazing with the designer identifications and matching and all that other fashion stuff that I don't care one whit for. Makeup? I think not.

I knew they would be smart. They kinda had no choice in the matter. They got geeky smart parents with way too many degrees. But I did not know that they would have learning disabilities and neurological differences. That was quite the surprise. We've all learned how to deal with it, and honestly, if the Girl didn't have her learning issues, I'd be sort of misty-eyed because she is so freaking funny when she tries to get stuff a bit over her head. I swear it, there are times when we laugh so hard because they are just hilarious. A recent example: we were watching the news and they had a story where a man swam the English channel for the 13th time, and she piped up, "The English Channel...do we get that one?" I mean, you just gotta crack up, and she's laughing too once you explain the reason why you're peeing your pants. I would be so sad without her logic. It's one of the greatest gifts ever.

Anyhow, I'm going to be a bit melacholy for the next few days. My babies... they're getting way too old.
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Please help me get a life

It is 4:30 am and I have been sitting on the sofa for the past half hour sobbing so loudly I woke the Girl up. Why? Because I just finished Season 4 of 24, and the ending is so sad I just couldn't stand it. Man, this was worse than Brokeback Mountain. What a sobfest. There is no more Jack Bauer. The world is a dimmer place.

And I really need to get over this show. I do not recommend watching 96 hours of this in 2 weeks time. It has really taken over my life. My kids are obsessed. We've been walking into rooms and yelling "clear". It is apparent we are all totally nuts and it's Jack Bauer's fault.

Anyone know when Season 5 is going to be released on DVD? There is no date on Netflix, but we've already reserved a copy of the whole season. And Season 6 starts Jan 17th.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

How to get your teens to bend to your will

Here's a parenting tip.

You want a quesadilla. Your son has made one for himself, but not for you. You ask nicely but he's too lazy to get up. How do you solve this problem?

You sing in the loudest, most off key voice you can muster, at the highest register you can possibly reach, "Oh please make me a quesadilla, one with melted cheese and tortillas, I just love the quesedilla and you are gonna make me one because I want one right now and I need to eat a quesadilla so please make me one because you make such good quesadillas...." and you keep on going till he gives up because his ears are on fire from the horrible noise.

Works like a charm! Heh.
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Celebrations this week

This week marks my 3rd year of blogging. I know, hard to believe, isn't it? I've talked about so many different things since the first blog, but the main themes remain the same: my kids, my annoyance with government bureaucracy, Judaism and Israel, parenting, health, television, food, and opinions on everything else that crosses my path. There has been humor, annoyance (plenty of annoyance), whining, sobbing, worry, anger, and a lot of laughing as I've written each post. Sometimes I'm in a lousy mood for days, sometimes I'm so tired I have little to say, and sometimes I think I come up with strokes of pure genius. Ok, not that often, but sometimes. Gimme some leverage, please.

I've come up with an idea for a new blog that I'm going to be rolling out fairly soon. It should be entertaining and will give everyone a chance to participate in telling their story. Stay tuned as I bring this idea to life.

Lastly, the 14th birthday is this week. I know what the Boy is getting, because he's already gotten his present. He collects baseball cards and wanted a reference book for his collection. He is hoping his cards are worth a lot as he's been collecting for years now. He does love baseball cards, but now that he's older he's realized that certain brands are better buys, and have better value in the long run, so he's concentrating on Fleer and UpperDeck, with Upper Deck being his first choice.

I have NO clue what the girl is getting. She's got so much stuff already, she doesn't really NEED anything like clothes, although she loves them and would take anything offered to her because she's a fashionista. I found her a backpack for a bargain price that she'll use, and I bought a lot (but not all) school supplies back in July when we did our inaugural trip to WalMart.

Any ideas for inexpensive but cool gifts for a 14 year old girl with severe teenageitis would be appreciated.

And a small whinge: my freaking gum is bleeding again, and so sore. I am so sick of my mouth hurting and I've got 5 more weeks before I can get my crown installed. I'm living on tylenol because I was taking so much ibuprophan I was afraid I'd get kidney/liver damage. I even got some Orajel. I haven't bought that in, oh, 13 years. This sucks.
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Friday, August 18, 2006

Shut down the United Nations

I am extremely anti-United Nations. I think they are a horribly biased organization that supports terrorism and is rabidly anti-Israel. They do nothing ever to help Israel, and haven't since the formation of the country. In fact, they do nothing but continually condemn Israel, no matter what happens to that tiny country surrounded by enemies. When Israel is attacked, it is always their own fault, according to the United Nations.

Here is the latest UN attrocity. They have just voted to give reparations to Lebanon for the 'rebuilding of their infastructure". But they have also voted not to give Israel a penny for help with rebuilding after the Hezbollah attacks on their country.

Hezbollah started this latest conflict by invading Israel, a foreign nation, and killing and kidnapping soldiers. They came into Israel illegally and performed a terrorist act. Israel responded with force. They were defending their country. They have a right to defend their country against foreign terrorists. There isn't another country in the world that would not retaliate for a terrorist action against them. Look at the US. We invaded countries that weren't even involved with 9/11 after we were attacked. But Israel... nope...they're not allowed to defend themselves according to Kofi "anti-semite" Annan. That man couldn't find anything nice to say about Jews if he was forced to with a knife to his neck. That he leads an internation "peace" organization is bewildering at best. He's so biased against Jews that it's not even hidden.

Why is it fair to grant Lebanon funds to 'rebuild' when they have Iran and Syria pumping money into the country to support Hezbollah. It isn't like they're hurting for money. But if they need reparations to help repair their infastructure, then why isn't it fair to grant Israel the same funds? After all, Hezbollah rockets destroyed buildings in Israel. Plenty of buildings and homes. How come it's OK for Israel to struggle to repair things on their own while Lebanon gets help?

Because Israel is a country where many of the citizens are Jewish, that's why.

If you think, as I do, that this is outrageously unfair, there is an online petition that will be presented to the UN. Please sign it, and make sure to add a comment.
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Cooking with kids

When my twins were in first grade, I enrolled them in an afterschool cooking class that met twice a week. They learned basic cooking skills like how to stir vs fold ingredients, how to measure wet and dry ingredients, how to grate cheese, and basic knife skills. They cut veggies and fruit, and the made dinner to bring home every Thursday night. Sometimes it was an interesting dinner, but we ate it with gusto and I took note that my very picky eater, the Girl, usually ate everything she had made. It was, as Oprah says, one of those lightbulb moments when I realized that the more she was involved in food preparation, the more likely it was that she would eat the food.

So we continued cooking lessons at home, and that hasn't changed to this day. Every night when I make dinner, the kids help. Interestingly, the Boy is more of a help than the Girl, because she's just so not into almost anything I cook. But the Boy, being and enthusiastic and brazen eater, likes to help cook. Not only does he like to help, he likes to cook himself, although he's so lazy he'll complain bitterly about it because it involves actual movement of the body, rather than just of the thumbs.

Last night he helped me make a rather spectacular dinner. We had two large bluefish filets, some freshly picked corn, israeli couscous, and edemame. We first cleaned off the bluefish, which can be a rather bloody fish. I lightly oiled the broiler pan and placed the fillets on the pan. We sliced thin pats of butter and laid it atop the fish, then sliced a lemon in thin slices and laid it atop the butter. A sprinkle of fresh dill from the garden and sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and the fish was ready to bake.

I cooked the Israeli couscous according to the package. I added soaked dried cranberries and freshly made pecan pralines, and then dressed with a light drizzle of light olive oil.

The edamame was frozen, so I thawed it in the microwave for a few seconds, and then added fresh porcini buttons sliced thin and sauted in olive oil. I added thinly julianned red pepper for crunch and a bit of lemon juice for flavor.

We steamed the corn and served dinner.

When the Girl sat down, she looked dismayed because the fish was 'spicy'. She saw the dill and assumed it would be too spicy for her, but when I told her it was the same dill she's been picking and eating in the herb garden by the back door, she decided to take a chance and taste it. She ate her whole piece, which was amazing. She tried everything else, but didn't really like the couscous. That's OK, it's a rather advanced taste for her palatte, which is kinda stuck on pancakes and yogurt.

The Boy, however, inhaled everything and ate a full fillet of fish. He saw how I made the fish as he was helping with the corn and the salads, and now he knows how to make something new on his own. As he helps me cook, he's mastered simple things like making rice and pasta correctly, and he's moved on to pan frying (although he doesn't flip things over very well due to lousy small motor skills) and baking.

This has got me really excited, because now I can say things like, "OK, who wants to make some scones?" and after they fight for 10 minutes about who did it last time, and how tired they are, and how it's not FAIR that they have to help cook dinner AND make scones... someone will get off their butts and make scones. And it doesn't always have to be me. Yeehaw!

Now, the controversy arises when other kids come over because in this town, nobody has chores. Most of the parents don't cook, they just have $100K show kitchens with restaurant style Wolfe stoves and 2 Bosch dishwashers and a undercounter wine cooler. Instead they order in or have personal chefs that deliver food, or go out to eat. We know kids who go out to eat every single night. So the guest kids, who can't even make ramen by themselves, think that my kids are treated like slaves because they have to, gasp, help with dinner, and even worse, set and clear the table and do the dishes. I've even had parents complain to me that I'm making my kids do too much. Of course these same parents have maids and husbands with 6 figure salaries...

I've never been a helicopter parent. I don't believe it's healthy to hover over your kids and protect them from everything. Kids who have hovering parents grow up to be unable to do for themselves. Remember in college when you first moved into the dorms and there were kids there that were incapable of doing anything for themselves? I have always believed that this was a crime. Parents are supposed to guide their children into adulthood, and one of the skills learned is how to cook a meal for themselves.

There are other skills I think are equally important.

  • How to vacuum a rug.
  • How to wash dishes.
  • How to dust.
  • How to load and run the dishwasher.
  • How to do your own laundry.
  • How to mow the lawn.
  • How to do minimal gardening (planting, weeding, etc.)
  • How to straighten up a room without moving piles from one place to another (we're still working on this one)
  • How to make coffee.
  • How to order in a restaurant.
  • How to ask for directions.
  • How to manage your allowance or money you've earned.
  • How to use an ATM machine.
  • How to wash a floor.
  • How to change the litter box.
  • How to care for a pet.
  • How to respect other people's property.
  • How to keep track of your own property.

These are some of the skills that I've worked on with my children since they were very young. I have ulterior motives. There is no guarantee that I'm going to be around to help them later on in their lives, so they need to learn now. These are skills that will enable them to move away from home and take care of themselves if need be. And they are skills that will help them in future personal relationship. Honestly, who doesn't want a man that can cook? Or ask for directions?

So I continue teaching my children to cook and clean, because I know it will make them better adults. And besides, I love the company in the kitchen.
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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Stupid criminals have been done to death

In our town, we're so ahead of the game, so into pushing the envelope, that we have stupid victims. I mean, really stupid victims. We get a weekly local paper that covers the crimes in town. When the paper comes, the Crime Watch column is my favorite thing to read. It never fails to entertain me. For example, in today's paper we have this tidbit:

A resident had her unlocked 1999 Jeep Cherokee broken into for the second time in a month. Whe woman told the police that the Jeep was parked in her driveway and was entered between 11 pm and 10:35 am. Missing from the vehhicle was a Prada bag, Canon digital camera and Gucci glasses. Police advised the owner to stop leaving baluables in the car.

How about this one:

The owner of a 1997 Mercedes Benz reported her car broken into at 11:38 am while it was parked in her driveway. The glove compartment of the vehicle was open and the window seal on the driver's side door was tampered with. A pair of Chanel sunglasses, a silver chain with a pendant, a portqable compact disc player, 20 CDs and a pair of prescription glasses were missing.

Now, I can't afford Prada purses and Chanel glasses, but even if I could, I wouldn't leave them in a car sitting in my driveway. You gotta wonder how blaise the citizens of this community are that they leave valuables in their car and then complain about their stupidity to the police when the cars are broken into. I mean, come on folks. Take some responsbility for your actions. Don't leave a purse in your car overnight and think that it's going to be there the next day. That's just stupid.
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I will not engage

I've tried this before, and then I slack off because the truth is, I like to argue, too. But this week I've resolved to refuse to engage with the Boy when starts to argue with me. I can't engage anymore because he will not back down and he will argue and argue until I'm down on the floor begging for some peace and quiet. A usual argument starts with me making a statement like "Clear the table". Simple, right? His response is almost always "It's not my job, I did it last time, I'll do it later, I don't want to move, Why do I have to do it...?" Pick one or all, it doesn't matter. The argument is always the same.

When I engage I start to reason with him. But there is no reasoning with a teenager bent on exhausting you until you give up and go running off holding your head in your hands and screaming with pain. So I stopped. Cold turkey. I didn't even discuss it with him, because it would just lead to another stand-down. Why bother?

Today I gave him a direct order. School starts in 3 weeks. He has not started his summer reading yet. He is required to read three books, one that all kids in his grade and class read, one chosen from a list, and one of his choice. The book of his choice is always a book he's read before, and I don't really care because he's an excellent reader and he reads most of the year. But... he hates fiction. Hates it. Unfortunately, the two books he has to read are fiction. So the third book is a non-fiction book about plagues. That's more his style.

Back to engaging. I have nagged and nagged for weeks about reading, and every day it's a new excuse. After hearing every damn reason why he doesn't have to start reading until a day before school starts, I got pissed. And I locked him out of the computer. Tomorrow, if I don't see him crack a book, he loses the Xbox too. If he still hasn't broken a spine on at least one book by Thursday, he can't watch anymore 24 episodes, which I presonally consider a fate worse than death.

It's up to him now. He can either make the last three weeks of his vacation suck or he can start reading. Ditto for other things. He either cooperates or he loses the things that mean the most to him. The arguing is too annoying otherwise.

Of course, he started in on his sister as soon as he realized he wasn't getting on the computer.

In other news, I picked up my new glasses today. It has been so long since I've had a new pair of glasses (9 years) that when I put them on and walked out of the store, I got nauseated. It was really unsettling, but I'm pretty much used to them now. I don't particularly like the frames, but they are sturdy, blend in to my face, and are comfy. I got a tint that is a bit darker than I've had before, but I have to have a tint due to my light sensitivity, especially around flourescent lights. I'll manage.
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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

We honor diversity...
as long as it doesn't include Jews

I've mentioned quite a few times before why I can't stand the Bay Area with all it's phony "we love diversity" and "I couldn't live anywhere else because it's the most diverse city in the world". Cough bullshit cough. I have never been anywhere were people think they are more priviledged, more hip, and more PC than the people of the San Francisco area, but in actuality are less tolerant and more self-important than anywhere else in the world. They go on and on about what a great place it is to live, and how they're just so open to the many different people (as long as they're Asian and completely a-religious) that live there.

Well, THIS is what the Bay Area is really about. Which is why I'd never go back, never. Not even to visit. Because this city is more hate-filled than anywhere I've ever lived, less tolerant, and so filled with self-importance because they live in San Fran-Fucking-Cisco that I can swallow.

There is absolutely nothing I like to see more than a bunch of heathen morons holding signs equating Jews to Nazis, and claiming that Jews run America. Yeah, we're talking real tolerance there.

Me, I'm praying for a nice big earthquake to drop the entire area into the ocean, where they belong.
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Monday, August 14, 2006

Jack Bauer has saved my life

This is not a whiney post. You know why? Because I've spent about 48 hours straight with my true love Jack Bauer and now I feel so much better. Because if I'm whining nonstop about my life.. well than Jack might as well just pack it in because he has to fight crooked politicians, nuclear bombs, the world's stupidest daughter, double agents, spies, and at least 10 gunfights per day. That's just not a life worth living unless you're Jack Bauer, who always remains unscathed.

A couple of weeks ago a friend told me that she had just purchased Seasons 1-4 of 24. Which makes it 96, actually. Anyhow, as a fan of 24 on tv, I was psyched to borrow the disks. What I hadn't realized until I started watching them is that how you can get so hooked on the cliffhangers when you know that you've got the next one following with a flick of the remote, that you just can't stop watching. Plus, without the disgusting commercials, this show kicks serious ass. We've rewatched Seasons 1 and 2 already, and plan to finish 3 in a day or so. Twice I've stayed up until it's light out before going to be because I just HAD to see the next episode.

Other shows are much better on DVD than on TV, especially Lost, but nothing really compares to watching 24 on DVD because of the heart stopping action and the continual need to guess who the bad guy is going to be. Good guys turn bad, bad guys sometimes turn good (George Mason comes to mind) and Kim remains a moron. How Jack ever got a daughter this moronic is beyond me. Elisha Cuthburt isn't the best actress either, but this girl gets into the stupidest situations and she never seems to learn from her mistakes. Her mother wasn't the swiftest dog on the track, but she wasn't a complete moron either. More of just a whiny, too trusting, doofus. I can't stand Kim.

Anyhooooo, I'm feeling much better and it's all due to Jack Bauer, super CTU agent and a way hot gunslinger to boot. He's such a hunka hunka burning lust.
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Friday, August 11, 2006

MBTA, I didn't really want a
two-hour tour of Boston today

Dear MBTA,

You run a service for disabled passengers. You call it The Ride. Remember? It's supposed to pick up passengers at their homes, take them to where they need to go, and bring them home. Easy peasy.

So why the hell do you make so many mistakes? Why are the reservationists so uninformed that they don't even know where they do and don't go? Why are the drivers stuck with incorrect addresses, no GPS systems, and their own maps? Why do you charge your passengers a hefty fee per ride for really bad service?

Let's give you an example. You require 24 hour advanced notice of a ride reservation. You only take reservations between 8 am and 4 pm. It's a real pain for passengers but usually we learn how to work around this issue of not being able to go anywhere, like say an emergency doctor's appointment, unless we've given you 24 hour notice. Not really very user friendly there, buds.

So on Wednesday at 3:15 I make two reservations for Friday. One for Friday morning to get to the dentist and back, and a second one to get to the optomitrist and back. Not so tough. You should be able to handle that without a backwards glance, right? WRONG.

I got picked up on time, sort of. The driver was 15 minutes late but that's within the realm of possibility because my appointment time was 10:30 and my pickup time was 9:13. Then the driver got a second victim passenger and took him first to Faulkner. Still OK, because you left me such a huge amount of time between pickup and appointment time. I am not yet pissed off.

I'd like to thank you for the lovely scenic ride between the Faulkner and BU Dental. We drove by the golf course, the zoo, and through much of Roxbury on Blue Hill Ave. I don't usually get to that part of town. I arrived 20 minutes early, the dentist pulled out my stitches, and then I waited 1.5 hours for the Ride to pick me up and take me home. Yes, it was a long wait, but you gave me a chance to catch up on my reading when I wasn't being tortured by the mom and her 5 screaming brats in the lobby. But that's not your fault.

A lovely driver, Diane, picked me up only 10 minutes late. Wow, you guys are really getting good with the timing! She had another passenger to get at 47 Tremont. Confident that she knew where she was going, we went from the South End to Chinatown, but there was no 47 Tremont. Not even close. So she thought it might be the other end of Tremont, past Mass Ave. After another scenic tour of both Chinatown, the South End and Roxbury, we discovered that there was indeed no address at 47 Tremont. She called dispatch. They told her it was in the South End, and gave her the wrong cross street. The street they gave her was actually a one way street going the wrong way, and was totally blocked off by construction. The poor driver got out and walked up and down the street but nope, no 47 Tremont. We went up and down several streets before we accidentally found the address, not on Tremont at all, and in the middle of the projects. How about giving the driver a hint as to where her next passenger is, you jerks!

The woman we picked up was NOT happy. We were really really late. Like an hour late. And you know what? She had a right to be pissed off. And so did I. Because it took me TWO HOURS to get home. And I had to pee. I didn't want a tour of Boston. I wanted to get home, pee, eat something for lunch, and get my second ride.


But dear MBTA, the second ride had already come and gone before I got home from the first ride. Not only did the abandon me, but they also totally screwed up my reservation. You see, Veteran's doesn't go to the mall. But the reservationist didn't tell me that. Nope, they took my reservation, even asking me what entrance of the mall I needed, and having a big discussion with me whether or not there was an entrance near Macy's or Sears (I didn't know, as I don't really do malls).

When I finally got home, peed, and called Veteran's, they told me that they didn't service the mall and that Joint Ventures did. Having never even heard of Joint Ventures, I called them to try and straighten out my ride. They said they had called and left a voicemail, but they didn't. They couldn't pick me up. They denied all responsibility. They got mad at me when I told them as contractors for the MBTA it was their responsibility to ensure that clients got where they needed to go. Guess what? They didn't care.

Back to Veteran's, I tell them that this little fuck-up has cost me $40 I can little afford. Fortunately, I had made a second appointment just in case last night at the optomitrist down the road. The difference between the one in the mall and the one down the road? $29 vs $69 for an eye exam. $40 difference. But I can't go another day with no glasses. My head is pounding, dear MBTA, and I need to see.

Veteran's finally agreed that they were at fault after I complained bitterly about the two hour ride, the two hour ride (sung to the Gilligan's Island theme song). They are taking me to the second appointment. But they don't want to assume the $40 bucks. Yeah, because I'm just so freaking rich that I can eat that money.

So, MBTA, maybe you can see why I'm a tad bit annoyed with you today. All I wanted to do was go to two medical appointments. I wasn't asking for a trip to the ski slopes or a vacation in Cancun. I wanted to get to the doctor and back twice. And you couldn't even manage that without screwing it up.

Nice Job!

Another Dissatisfied Customer, Margalit

(I know, you're all sick to death of me whining. Nobody, but nobody is more sick of this than me. Believe me, I know it sucks to be living this life right now. But the latest upset is just insane.)
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Bang bang Maxwell's silver hammer
came down on my head

I knew it was coming. I've been feeling hints for the past couple of weeks. The stress of all the disasters has been adding to my frustration and anger, but mostly it's not having any time at all to myself, plus being in such a financial morass that I see no clear way out that is bring on my old buddy, depression.

Like so many bloggers, I've been in the throes of clinical depression for many years. Only mine isn't just down in the dumps depression. Oh no, that would be way too easy. I've got an anxiety disorder that manifests itself with absolutely life stopping depression. When it gets me, I can't do anything because my anxiety is so debilitating that simply walking out the door seems impossible. I sleep, and I hide as much as I can. I go into depression hibernation. Once, and only once, many years ago, it got so bad that I became agoraphobic. I couldn't even open the door to get my mail. It took months for me to recover to the point that I could leave my house and go to therapy, but I was frozen. I had to leave the state I was living in and come back to Boston in order to function at all. I'm an expert on having a safe place. I need to feel safe or I just cannot function.

Right now, I'm not functioning. I take 4 hour naps in the middle of the day. I'm snapping almost non-stop at the Boy, who is driving me bonkers right now. I made him cry yesterday and I didn't even apologize because I'm such a wreck that if I start to open up, I'm going to end up losing any composure I have left. I can't do anything. I'm so stuck in frozen fear that I'm just unable to open up at all. It is not safe in my house. It needs to be safe.

I take Effexor to function on good days, but right now, it's not enough. I need to go back to therapy, but with no health insurance, that's not going to happen right now. And mostly I need the kids to go back to school so I can have some time alone, because I can't leave the house right now and we're just falling all over each other here.

I haven't been this bad in several years. I'm scared because I have so much to do and I'm frozen and can't do anything. I'm so angry right now, at the absurdity of being disabled and really sick but with no health insurance because the Governor is such a complete asshat that all the state legislature does these days is override all his vetos to restore money to the social services he's raped in the past 4 years. I'm furious that the housing authority is so dysfunctional that they don't even bother to try and help people that need the help. I'm beside myself because there is no free dental or optical help in the entire state, deeming the people not insured or on medicaid unable to afford much needed care.

People, you know how you read about how people have to choose between food for their families and paying their utility bills. I haven't had enough money to buy groceries in over a month. We've been clearing out the cupboard, the freezer is totally empty now, and we're down to literally rice and pasta. A friend brought over some fresh fruit and veggies today and they're almost gone. The kids were desperate to eat the blueberries, bananas, and melon. We had a green salad with all fresh veggies for dinner. Tomorrow we'll have a stir fry with the bok choy and cabbage, and that's pretty much it. Gone.

The kids have been living on ramen, macaroni and cheese (last box eaten today), saltines, and graham crackers. This is not a healthy diet. No milk, no cheese, no chicken or meat. They need protein, they're eating salt instead. I can't even watch it. I've pretty much stopped eating altogether because I'm diabetic and the food we have is so bad for me that not eating is better than eating. With our last can of tuna gone, there is basically nothing left that I can eat. We don't have any hope of this changing for a month or maybe more. I can use the weight loss, but the hypoglycemia isn't healthy. I can't live on glucose tablets indefinately. We need food. I've even considered going to the grocery and bouncing a check, just so we have food. But now that I have no glasses, that's out.

This isn't a way to live. It's just ridiculous that because I was born with a crappy heart I have to not only suffer from bad health but from a totally uncaring government, both federal and especially state, that refuses to acknowledge that there needs to be a safety net and health insurance for all.

I can't even fathom how we're going to make it through the next few weeks. No food pantry in August, and no hope of hitting the grocery store until the plumber, the dentist, the optomotrist, the phone company, the electric company, and Staples for school supplies are taken care of. Therapy...so far down the list that I just can't even begin to consider it.

Oh, and now that Mass Health has dropped my kids from their roles due to THEIR clerical error, the Boy is going to have to go med free because I can't pay for his meds, which costs hundreds and hundreds of dollars a month. Guess which agency hasn't scheduled my protest hearing despite 3 different requests?

Is there any wonder why my anxiety is at peak levels and I can't stop crying? There is no way out of this mess. None. It gets worse and worse and worse with no stops. Day after day, it is just more bad news, more financial failures and responsibilities. I'm just so sad and so angry and feeling the futility of it all.

My head aches from crying. I want to stop feeling so bad. I want to be a better mother to my children right now. I want them to not be so hungry. I want them to be able to look forward to their birthday in 2 weeks and think that maybe they'll get something. Last night the Girl asked me if we had enough stuff to make a cake, and I had to say no. What kind of life is this? Why can't I get a fucking break, just once?
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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Kick me while I'm down, Housing Authority

I am so steaming mad right now that I just don't even know how I'll be able to express myself coherently. Like this week hasn't sucked enough, there is yet another installment on the screw Margalit and her family to the walls. Today I got a call from the Boy's therapist, all psyched to tell me that 886 new Section 8 vouchers were released. She gave me a web site to check out, and off I went. But the website required membership to get the information, and membership is organizationally based, not for individuals. So I do what any normal, rational thinking person would do, I call my local Housing Authority. They are asshats on a normal day, but today was well beyond normal.

First, Chantelle, the receptionist, told me that there were no Section 8 vouchers available. So I tell her again that they've just been released today, and tried to tell her about the web site, but she wasn't interested. She said that the NHA didn't belong to the consortium that was releasing the Section 8 vouchers. She didn't know that the consortium was, because I never got a chance to tell her...but that's not that important because evidentally she works with her third eye open and just knew from osmosis that there were no vouchers.

No matter how much I tried to get an explanation of why she wouldn't even bother to look, she refused all information. In addition, she told me that they wouldn't have an available Section 8 vouchers for "at least 20 years". See, osmosis again. I'm getting madder and madder and I use the word 'fricken' and she tells me she's going to hang up if I swear again. I tell her that fricken isn't a swear, I even spell it for her, but she's on her high horse now. She not only refuses to give me any information regarding HOW I am supposed to get one of these Section 8 vouchers if she won't take an application or send in anything to HUD, but she gets all uppity if I get pissed off.

So I try another tac. I ask her what number I am on the list. I used to be number one, but the NHA in all it's infinate wisdom decided I wasn't disabled anymore about 2 years ago. They never checked with my doctor, nor did they ever ask me for any substantiation. They just moved me down the list and informed me by letter. When I requested a hearing, I never heard from them again. You see what a nice organization they are? I just love dealing with them. So today when I ask for my number, Chantelle refuses to give it to me, telling me I have to call on Friday because that's the only day they have the list. How stupid does she think I am? I mention that I'm ON THE PHONE WITH HER RIGHT NOW (and yes, I did yell) and that I wanted the information now, not on Friday. She has to put me on hold because it's so scary to actually used a fucking computer and look on the list. She comes back like 3 minutes later and tells me my number is the same that it was two years ago.

Now that's a problem. Because it's a sequential list, and if I'm the same number that I was two years ago, that means that not one family has moved in 2 years. And I personally know of two families that have moved. So something is very rotten in our city. I tell her that this isn't possible, that I know people have moved, so how come my number hasn't changed. Hmmm... she's a bit stumped there. Then she tells me that's not how the list works. But that's exactly how the list works. People move out, you move up.

I tell her I'm finding this extremely suspicious, especially since I was number 1 and then pushed way down the list and now the list remains the same. When I was on the top of the list it moved but not it no longer does? Something is not right. Something is very wrong. I tell her I want to come into the office to see proof that they are housing people. She rebuffs me, but I insist. She says she has to check with Bill Henderson, the head of the Housing Authority. Back on hold I go, but guess what? She never connects me. This is a tiny office. I've been there. It's one big room. Unless he has terrible stomach problems that require a half hour with his pants around his ankles, I'm being put into hold hell. I finally give up.

But I'm not really giving up. I contacted the newspapers. I want an investigation. Since our Mayor is too hung up on building his new legacy high school to bother with small little details like the problems of the citizens of his fair city, I've also contacted the city social worker.

You see, unlike most poor people, I'm educated, I'm pissed as hell, and I'm not going away. This is outrageous behavior on the part of a tax-funded office, and they just don't get to treat people like shit because they're poor. Disrespectful asswipes.
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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Can you see me now?

Because I can't see you. In fact, I can't see a damn thing. I'm literally blind. My son, better known as the asshat that sat on my glasses and destroyed them, took care of that. Ok, it's true that my glasses were older than some of you. But still, he put his stinky ass on my only way of seeing anything and they're now in non-repairable pieces sitting on my desk. I sometimes wonder if having kids is worth the hassle. Today, I don't think so.

This means an eye exam, and new glasses. Unfortunately, not only am I broker than shit, but I also hate the new style of glasses, that rectangle fat plastic frame. Ugh. They look good on... well, nobody. They're just weird looking. Oh, I ammend this. Nello looks good in them. She would look good in anything. But for the rest of us, they're not an attractive look. Especially in some bright color. I wear my glasses all the time. I want them to fade into my face, disappear in fact. I don't like glasses that shout, "This old lady is blind as a bat."

So tomorrow I have to get my act together, take a cab down to the optical store down the road, and get a pair of glasses on the $99 sale rack. That should be fun. Because they always have the best frames on the $99 rack. Right?

I'm going to have to get a single prescription and say goodbye to my no-line bifocals because I can't afford bifocals. I can't afford glasses.

You know what else I can't afford? Another visit from the nice, but extremely expensive plumber. But do I have a choice. Why no, I do not. Because, even though I haven't yet paid him for the last visit, the disposal from hell, now something from the kid's bathroom upstairs appears to be leaking right into my kitchen ceiling, causing not only a constant dripping, but a big brown stain. Just shoot me now, please.

Have you ever heard of anyone with worse luck? It's like it just piles up and when I think it's finally the top of the mountain of shit, yet more comes raining down. Man, this so sucks. I'm just beyond feeling at this point. I'm totally numb. It's like I'm living Jack Bauer's life, only instead of kidnappings, murders, virulent gasses, and a shitty dishonest president (OK, I do have that in my life, as do we all), I've got plumbing, eyeglasses, dental woes, camp payments, and school sports and bus fees. Yeah, and I'm made of money, too. I pick it right off my money tree in the back yard. Aren't I lucky?
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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

It's like looking in the mirror

Occasionally, very occasionally I read something online, or in a book, that seems so profound and moves me in a way that surprises me. I'm rather moved by an honest appraisal of society that makes me question the way I'm living my life. This post, 7 Reasons the 21st Century is Making us Miserable, is brilliant. It is rare that I read something that so clicks with what I'm thinking and feeling about my life and the lives of so many around us. I know that the author doesn't know of my existance, but he's caught so many of the things I've been thinking about regarding my relationships with people in real life. I never realized that so much of the lack of communication in my own surroundings is due to the technology expansion since my youth. But as I read this post, I recognized so much of myself and my life here.

I gotta make some changes.
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Monday, August 07, 2006

What's all this about back to school?

I keep reading about kids that are already back to school. What? Who starts school at the beginning of August? It's too hot, and August is part of summer. School shouldn't be scheduled in the summer. It starts in the fall. What's wrong with those school officials that take children out of camp and the pool and pluck them into a classroom when it's 100 degrees outside? Feh!

We don't start until after labor day. I've come to the conclusion that this might be a tad bit longer than I can take, mentally. I honestly thought I was going to lose my mind yesterday when the Boy was just being a complete PITA the entire day. By the 11:00 pm news, I was drooling and cradling my head in my hands begging for him to just disappear into the stratosphere. But he remained in the house being annoying until I sent him to bed, took away his computer time today, and threatened to lock him out of the house today if he didn't just go away and leave me alone.

Today it's better. But phew, we've got weeks to go before school starts. I'm never one to look forward to the school year because it means that the battle begins anew. Every year I have to gird myself once the schedules arrive and I know the names of the opposition. But this year I'm really hopeful that it's going to be different because we have finally big adieu to middle school and high school is just easier to deal with. Even with an unknown and brand new to the community principal, I'm hopeful. Both kids have friends, both kids are in good programs with enough support to allow them to be successful, and so far, I'm in good with the high school. I haven't had one cross word with them....yet. Hopefully, this year will go as well as last year.

I've had such mixed feelings about going back to school. To me, it not only means getting back to a schedule that I abhor, it means trying to get kids up at an ungodly hour, being organized, policing homework time, dinner at normal times, and a routine. I don't like routines any more. But it's not all about me, even though I wish it were, and the kids need a bit more of a routine than staying up late and sleeping half the day away. God, I love summer!

And then there winter. Once school starts, gulp... shoveling snow isn't far behind. I can't deal with winter.

But, but, but.... this winter we have big plans. We're going to build an ice skating rink in our back yard. A big one. It's pretty easy to do, evidentally, and it hopefully will provide hours of fun playing hockey and racing each other across the ice. I'm so psyched to do this even though I've never been on ice skates in my life and am not about to start now. With the large sledding hill in the front, we have a veritable winter wonderland. An Olympic park right on our property. I'll be inside making the hot chocolate. You can take the girl out of southern California, but you can't take southern California out of the girl. Ice skating? I think not.
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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Why my mind has turned to mush

Whilst looking at my blogging friend's blogs today, I came actoss Tracie's post on television. I knew immediately that I was a prime candidate for filling in this meme because television and I, we are close friends. There's a list below of way too many tv shows that have aired over the years. Every show I watched has been bolded in red. I then added three shows that were missing from the list that I loved, but that also show my considerable age. My additions are Burns and Allen, The Life of Riley, and The Jack Benny Show. See, ancient! And one fairly modern but obscure favorite, Monarch of the Glen. Oh Archie!

Now it's your turn. Copy and paste the list, and bold all the shows you watched. Not the just glanced at once, but the shows you really glommed onto to and made a part of your TV viewing. Then post the results and link back to me.

The List

3rd Rock from the Sun
7th Heaven
Aeon Flux
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Allo Allo
American Idol /Pop Idol/Canadian Idol/Australian Idol
America's Next Top Model/Germany's Next Top Model
Arrested Development
Babylon 5
Babylon 5: Crusade
Battlestar Galactica (the old one)
Battlestar Galactica (the new one)
Beavis & Butthead
The Ben Stiller Show
Beverly Hills 90210
Big Brother (US)

Bosom Buddies
Boston Legal
Boy Meets World
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Bug Juice
Burns and Allen
Chappelle's Show
Charlie's Angels
China Beach
Commander in Chief
Cowboy Bebop
Crossing Jordan
CSI: Miami
Curb Your Enthusiasm

Dancing with the Stars
Danny Phantom
Dark Angel
Dark Skies
Davinci's Inquest
Dawson's Creek
Dead Like Me
Deadliest Catch
Degrassi: The Next Generation
Designing Women
Desperate Housewives
Dharma & Greg

Different Strokes

Doctor Who (new Who)
Doctor Who (series 1-26)
Due South
Dungeons and Dragons (old cartoon)
Earth 2
Entourage ER

Everybody Loves Raymond

Facts of Life
Family Guy
Family Ties
Fantasy Island

Fawlty Towers

Get Smart
Gilligan's Island

Gilmore Girls

Gomer Pyle,
Green Acres

Green Wing
Grey's Anatomy
Growing Pains


Happy Days

Head of the Class


Hill Street Blues

Hogan's Heroes

Home Improvement

Homicide: Life on the Street

I Dream of Jeannie

I Love Lucy

Invader Zim
Iron Chef (Japan)
Iron Chef (USA)

Hell's Kitchen

John Doe
Kath and Kim
LA Law
Laverne and Shirley

Law and Order

Law and Order SVU
Law and Order Criminal Intent
Little House on the Prairie
Lizzie McGuire

Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Lost in Space

Love American Style



Magnum P.I.

Malcolm in the Middle

Married... With Children
Melrose Place
Miami Vice
Mission Impossible
Monarch of the Glen
Mork & Mindy

Murphy Brown

My Family
My Favorite Martian
My Life as a Dog
My Mother the Car
My So-Called Life
My Three Sons
My Two Dads

Mysterious Cities of Gold
Night Court
Northern Exposure

One Tree Hill


Perry Mason
Picket Fences
Pirates of Darkwater
Power Rangers
Prison Break
Project Runway
Quantum Leap
Queer As Folk (US)
Queer as Folk (British)
Queer Eye For The Straight Guy
Remington Steele
Rescue Me
Road Rules
Samurai Jack
Saved by the Bell
Scarecrow and Mrs. King

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?


Sex and the City
Six Feet Under

Slings and Arrows
So Weird
South Park
Spongebob Squarepants
Sports Night
Square Pegs

St. Elsewhere
Star Trek
Star Trek: The Next Generation

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Voyager
Star Trek: Enterprise
Stargate Atlantis -- New season
Stargate SG-1 --New season
Survivor Taxi
Teen Titalns
That Girl
That 70's Show
That's So Raven
The 4400
The Addams Family
The Andy Griffith Show

The A-Team

The Avengers

The Beverly Hillbillies

The Bionic Woman

The Brady Bunch
The Colbert Report

The Cosby Show

The Daily Show

The Dead Zone
The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Flintstones

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

The Golden Girls

The Jack Benny Show
The Jetsons
The L Word
The Life of Riley
The Love Boat
The Mary Tyler Moore Show

The Mighty Boosh
The Monkees
The Munsters

The Mythbusters

The O.C.
The Office (UK)

The Office (US)
The Pretender

The Prisoner

The Real World

The Shield
The Simpsons

The Six Million Dollar Man

The Sopranos

The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
The Twilight Zone
The Waltons

The West Wing

The Wonder Years

The X-Files

Third Watch


Three's Company

Top Gear
Twin Peaks
Twitch City
Upstairs, Downstairs
Veronica Mars
Vicar of Dibley
What Not To Wear (US)

What Not To Wear (UK)
Whose Line is it Anyway? (US)
Whose Line is it Anyway? (UK)

Will and Grace
Xena: Warrior Princess
Young Hercules

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