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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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Say goodbye to your rights, folks

Women, heck you don't mind going back to being mere chattel, do you? Men, you don't mind having to make every decision about your family planning by yourselves, right? Because nows the time for us all to take a deep breath and enter the Way Back machine, Sherman, because Dr Peabody couldn't stop the Alito confirmation. That's right, no filibuster, and we have a new Supreme Court Justice, one that believes that the balance of power is a joke and that the executive branch is one step away from a monarchy. The guy who doesn't support any rights for women, who is against abortion, family planning (i.e. birth control) and advanced reproductive help.

But we don't much care, do we? Because we've got such a great country with a president who is leading us right into complete disaster, a Supreme Court that has no clue as to what the 'average Joe' might believe or care for, a congress that is more into filling their own pockets by emptying ours, and a international mystique of incompetence, terrorism, and pomposity beyond anything seen since King George III.

I'm just sick. Sick that my daughter isn't going to be allowed to make decisions about her body because some asshole white guys in Washington know what's best for her. Just ask them, they'll tell you. She's just a stooopid girl and she couldn't possibly understand that her job is to breed dem babies and shut her trap.

American the beautiful? I think it should be changed to America the terrifying.
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Monday, January 30, 2006

My word cloud

Via Persephone I created this word cloud, which shows the words most commonly used in my blog. I don't think it's exactly representative of what I write, since some things figure prominently that I've never written about, but do appear in the About Me on my sidebar, but otherwise I think it's a pretty clear snapshop of what content is here.
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Tell me why, please

I absolutely need to know this. Why is it allowed that Exxon-Mobil can make a 10 BILLION dollar profit in one quarter, yup in 3 months, and we're paying gas prices that keep skyrocketing upward? Is there NO control whatsoever on corporate greed? And why isn't this company required to provide free heating oil and natural gas to all low income families that qualify? Why do the stockholders of this company deserve to reap such huge profits off the backs of the rest of us? And how can ANYONE be a stockholder and know that they're robbing America blind?
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Sunday, January 29, 2006

I'm sick of pasta

There, I said it. I'm frigging sick of eating pasta whenever we can't get it together to make a 'real dinner'. We always have pasta of all kinds on hand, and we've got cans and cans of plum tomatos and diced tomatos to make sauce. It's not that it takes a long time, or it's particularly horrible, but I just do not want to eat it ever again.

So, with that said, dinner suggestions please? I've just about lost the ability to think outside the normal dinner items. Remember, we keep Kosher, so no pork, shellfish, or mean and dairy mixed together.
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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Riddle me this, Batman

Help me out with this one, internets. My kids both have wicked anxiety over food spoilage. Not normal anxiety, more like "am I gonna die if I eat this" anxiety. But not over moldy food from the fridge (come on, you have science experiements at the back of your fridge, too), all food. Like, the Girl will take out a box of cereal opened two days before and ask in a paranoid voice, "Is this still good?" It's cereal, for God's sake! Ditto with cheese. Every piece of cheese needs the big question "When did you buy this and is it still good?" OK, cheese does get moldy, but not in the amount of time we usually keep it. This drives me nuts. Literally anything that is opened is fair game for the paranoia. Anything. They both check expiration dates obsessively. They do not believe in shelf dates. If the date is passed, it's BAD.

Now, if you think I'm making a mountain of a molehill, they do this with cookies, candy, chips, and any other junk food they can get their sticky hands on. Who checks the expiration date on a candy bar? Only nutcases and my kids. I swear I am not like this. Nobody I know is like this. Why are my kids like this and how do I make them stop. It drives me nuts. The Girl even questions gum. And ice cream. Ice cream that doesn't last 2 days in our house. Is it bad. NO, it's GONE.
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Friday, January 27, 2006

Well, this is pretty cool

I got an email a couple of days ago from a woman wondering if she was related to me. She found our family information on the Jewish Geneology website, and recognized some similarities to her own family tree. I wrote back and gave her some more pertinent information regarding my great-grandmother, grandmother, and great aunts and uncles. Sure enough, she wrote back and we're cousins. Long lost cousins, but cousins, never the less. Her grandfather was my grandmother's younger brother. I don't know what kind of cousins that makes us, but it's so cool to find a new relation. Best thing about it? She lives close by and grew up in our neighborhood. And she has kids! So my kids have potential cousins that they might even have a relationship with.

Isn't the internet just way cool?
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Thursday, January 26, 2006

You know you're a modern parent when...

You're sitting on the throne in the dark, comtemplating cleaning up the world's biggest cat poop right next to you, and your daughter comes into the bathroom with her laptop on which she's doing her monthly book project, plops it down on the sink and starts asking you, the human thesaurus, for synonyms for the word blame.

So much for privacy, huh?
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True Confession

I am a dentalphobe. I hate dentists, I hate anything to do with dentists, and I do not go to dentists unless I am absolutely dying of dental pain. I am a terrible mommy, because I also do not take my kids to the dentist regularly. Neither of them has ever had a cavity, they have had their teeth sealed, and they brush fairly regularly. The Boy went to the dentist within the last year. The Girl has not gone in years. 3 years, to be exact. I took them to a dentist but I hated him, and I haven't gotten it together to find another one that takes our insurance (hardly any do). The Boy is supposed to get braces, and we actually have an orthodontist that I can tolerate, but have I taken him? Nope, I haven't. See, bad bad mommy.

But, the deal is, I have a wicked toothache. I've had it for months, but now it's getting to the point where it's interfering with my life. The entire right side of my mouth hurts like hell. I'm sensitive to hot and cold. Searing pain going right to my sinuses. I suck. And not only that, but I can't afford dental work. See, my kids have dental insurance, but me, nope, not happening. When my health insurance was cancelled (oh, I have a meeting in a couple of weeks to argue that stupid decision) I didn't even lose dental coverage because they don't offer dental or optical coverage for adults, only kids. That's why my glasses are 6 years old and so fragile I barely touch them at all, and that's why I'm walking around with an aching tooth.

Tonight I finally bit the bullet, as it were, and started looking for low cost dental services. Ha! Like that's possible in a city with 3 dental schools. I found a service that provides free service for the disabled in 34 states. Guess which state wasn't listed? Yup, mine. Asshats. There is one clinic that I might possibly get into, but it looks like they only take Boston residents, and I'm not a resident. So that leaves the fricking Dental Schools. I've got a choice of BU, Tufts, or Harvard. You have to pay for all of them, but you get reduced prices if you allow a dental student to work on you. Sure, what the hell do I care? I need a crown on my frigging tooth and I need it now. I'll be calling around tomorrow to see what I can get and when I can go. I hate this. It's a choice between food and my GD tooth next month. This so sucks.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

American Idol: Hit or Miss?

I've never been much of an American Idol fan. I don't like that kind of music as a rule, and I'd never choose to sit down and listen to an hour of it for fun. I completely missed the first season, watched the beginning of the second season, and have skipped all the rest. Tonight, however, the Boy turned it on for a bit while I was filling out one of the bazillion forms I have to fill out for the Girl to attend her school's 8th grade trip, and I have to admit, it caught my attention. Not in an interested way, but it literally made me cringe I felt so uncomfortable for those poor misfits trying out.

I have to wonder, do these people really think they have any talent, or are they just there to get their minute of fame? It appears that thousands and thousands turn out, and yet only a few get in to see the three judges. What happens to all the rest of those poor sods who believe their one minute away from fame and fortune?

I also have to ask, what is the deal with that Simon Cowell? I know from his reputation vis a vis the trades that his schtick is to be a bastard, but really... is it necessary to be so rude to his coworkers? Is he an adult? If so, why did he run away from his job in a snit? He does realize that this is going to be on TV nationwide, correct? Also, Paula Abdul. Tell me, does she think everyone is good? Does she have any possible taste? You wouldn't know it by the comments she makes.

I know the show is hugely popular with middle schoolers, but I wonder just what kind of influence it has on them. Frankly, if I were 12 and about to consider trying out for the school play, I'd think twice after watching AI. Not only do most of the people not get encouragement, but they get rude remarks about their appearance, their lack of talent, and lord knows what else. Is this the right kind of message we want to show our kids when they're at their lowest level of self-esteem and their most impressionable? I'm glad my kids haven't ever bought into the show. We've got enough bad influences as it is. We don't need another one.

I feel really sorry for the people that spend money to get to the interviews, just to be rebuffed so rudely. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think that the rudeness is necessary. It's not that hard to tell someone that they aren't what you're looking for in a polite manner. Maybe it doesn't make for good television, but then again, I think the show sucks no matter how the judges act. I guess I feel that to reinforce rudeness in an environment where rudeness abounds is kind of stupid. I'm no Pollyanna, for sure, but I'd like to believe that those of us raising children are at least trying to set a good example by being polite, even in trying circumstances. To me, this show gives me the same feeling I used to get as a kid watching the Road Runner. I never got that one either. Why is it funny for the coyote to get the road runner over and over and over again? And what kind of company is Acme that they make everything from anchors to pianos to anvils? Makes you wonder, huh? Meep meep.
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When do you get too old to be a MILF?

A friend of mine and I were discussing the whole MILF phenomenon tonight. She's a physician in her early 50's, the mother of three lovely girls ranging from 15 to 11. She's divorced and her ex-husband cheated on her with a Rabbi, whom he then married, and they have twins. My friend is a delightful woman, funny as hell, so bright and so interested in the world. Her house is a mess, she's disorganized, but she's a blast to hang out with, always up for something fun and one of the coolest moms I know.

She's also pretty damn attractive for a woman in her age group. She lost about 40 lbs maybe 5 years ago, and having carried that excess weight for quite a few years kept wrinkles from her face, which looks young and dewey. In our conversation I told her that the Boy once said that she was in the MILF category, and once she stopped choking, she wondered how he could possibly know such an acronym. Well, he's in high school and in high school they talk about such stuff. She was pretty pleased to hear this, and I was happy to relate this to her. It's not often that you can say this to your middle aged friends, right?

The conversation came up because my friend reads my blog and often follows my links around blogland. Lately she's been coming across a lot of blogs whining and moaning about the fact that the authors are no longer considering themselves to be in the MILF category since their boobs head south, their tummys hang down over their bikini underpants, and they have stretchmarks on their dimply thighs. Never mind that they tend to weigh quite a bit more than they did pre-kids. OK, that's a natural fact of aging and one we all have to accept unless we're Britney Spears or Gwyneth Paltrow and can exercise all day every day after giving birth with our personal trainers whilst eating only a raw diet. For most of us, that just isn't possible. Heck it's not possible for anyone except people that count on their looks for their paychecks. That's so not me. It's so not my friend, either.

I've been thinking about this because most of my friends have hit the half century mark or are almost there, and with that come a lot of indignities that just happen overnight. The normal sagging southward is just gravity doing it's thing. Unless you have a plastic surgeon on call and all the time in the world to recover from various lifts and tucks, it's gonna happen to you. Accept it and move on. What surprised me about aging, besides the ravages of menopausal insanity, is what has happened to my skin. Not my face, I still have smooth skin and occasional acne because, after all, I'm 53 and evidentally still an adolescent. I don't have a crease or a wrinkle on my face because my skin is naturally oily. That's one blessing about oily skin.

But I have a bunch of creepy things growing on my body, things that seem to have no rhyme or reason for being there other than to creep me out and make me want to run to the dermotologist for a complete body scrape. I've got skin tags, I've got little red spots, I've got liver spots, the skin on my hands is thin and looks like crepe paper, and I get these little under the skin cycts that sit like bumps on my chest. What the hell are those things, anyhow? Last year in a panic I went to the dermo for an all body checkup, and she seemed to think I was a complete idiot for worrying about all these patches of crap on my skin. "It's aging" she told me. Oh joy!

Now, when I talk to my peeps, they tell me about all the weird things they have growing on their bodies too. And we compare all these grossities of aging with our eyes agog because we have, yes indeed, become our mothers. How the hell that happened is beyond me or my friends, but there you go!

So among my friends are quite a few women who have recently become divorced when their husbands exhibited temporary insanity and started fucking anything straight out of grad school. Appears to be a common theme amongst the men of a certain age. Many of my friends are incredibly attractive accomplished women, women who are funny and intelligent and just so much fun to be around. But are they still in MILF territory? When does an attractive woman stop being a MILF just because of age. Sure, there are plenty of examples of women in their 50s that are definate MILFs. Andie McDowell comes to mind. But that woman might look like total shit without 3 inches of makeup on. How do we know for sure? Does she still qualify as a MILF? She has 3 grown kids. Plus, she's gorgeous, no doubt about it. And that accent. (But, as an aside, do you think for one minute those boobs are all her?)

I just don't know. How do women who have been left behind by cretin husbands decide to get back out there into the social swing? Where does a woman in her 50's go to meet men? Or is life over for women just because they are over 50? I have no answers, but I'm wondering what you all think.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

It's the little things in life

The Boy had an appointment today with his new psychopharmacologist. We've been waiting for months to see this guy, and now I understand why. What a great guy! We liked him so much, and we haven't seen a psychiatrist we have liked since Julie Low, the world's best child psych. Things that impressed me about this new doctor:

  • He read the rather large chart (an inch thick at least) from top to bottom and he knew pretty much everything about the Boy since he was in second grade.
  • He seemed to understand certain things that I always thought were obvious, but evidentally aren't obvious to everyone. Like that sarcasm is a lifestyle for Jewish families.
  • He quoted Moliere, Monty Python, Dianna Wynne Jones, and Mel Brooks which of course says to me that he's 'one of us' in that he has a wicked sense of the absurd, a well defined sense of humor, and was well read and knows his movies. We both liked that a lot.
  • He listened to the Boy, and asked him questions that were thought-provoking and yet relevant.
  • He listened to me, too.
  • He's willing to consider alternative medications if we want to make some changes up the road.
  • He obviously likes kids, talked about his own family a bit, and really seemed to "Get" the Boy, something very few people really do.
  • And best of all, he had all sorts of hershey's kisses in every flavor imaginable, and he gave them out at the end of the session.

But the reason the Boy really liked him? He gave the Boy pens from the drug reps. Pens of every one of his meds. So the Boy now has a complete collection of every med he's ever been on. It doesn't seem like much to me, but to the Boy, it's those little things that make him happy.
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Monday, January 23, 2006

Technology is cool but...

The Boy and I are watching NewCenter5, News You Can Count On, where we're digesting the local news. We hear this announcement that has us both in stitches. The earnest female reporter says "Now you can get severe weather alerts on your cell phone". Uh, can't you look out a window? Do we honestly need to be called on our cell phones to hear that it's snowing out? Are we that insulated from the real world that we've forgotten that weather happens OUTSIDE and in order to be prepared, it might be a good idea to take a peek out the front door every once in a while?

Man, that is so totally stupid. What say you, peeps?
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Better News Today

Runaway update: The Girl isn't home from school yet, but she called to tell me the news. J was in school today. He was staying in Somerville at a relative's house, but not one that the police looked into. I'm not sure just who he was staying with, or why the moron didn't call this kid's poor mother, but he did drive him to school today. J was completely astonished to find the police was looking for him, and the Girl said all the kids involved crowded around him and told him about how upset they were, how upset their parents were, and what a dolt he was for running away.

Remember when I said that he had called Friday afternoon and I rebuffed him? He told the Girl that he was calling to ask if he could come over, and to tell her what was going on. Man, do I feel like chopped shit on toast. He also said his cell phone was stolen on the T. He didn't call his mom or his friends the whole weekend, and he honestly had no clue that people cared enough about him to worry and search for him. Can you imagine that? This kid had no idea that people cared about him? It makes me so sad.

Hopefully this won't ever happen again. I think because the police were involved, he's going to have a CHINS filed for being a runaway, which means that the court will be involved in his life and he will have to appear in front of the judge fairly often to report on what's going on. I imagine that the judge will probably get DSS involved. I hope it will all sort itself out. I hate to think that a kid can just take off for days and cause such a rukus with no consequences.
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Too creepy for me

I love Post Secret. Every Sunday I look forward to seeing the updated site with all the new postcards containing all the new secrets. But the first one on this week's blog update just totally creeped me out. Is it just me, or would this SO freak you out?

Posted in accordance with Post Secret's legal authorization to post ONE image with a link to their site. So go check out the rest of the confessions this week. There are some really good ones.
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Sunday, January 22, 2006

You be the judge

Remember back in October when I questioned whether or not Katie Holmes was really pregnant? I came up with my little consipiracy theory about how they were faking the pregnancy because she was looking 5 months pregnant back in October, which was physically impossible. As we watched Katie month by month she looked bigger, she looked smaller, then she was bigger, and then smaller again. My theory was that not only was the pregnancy faked, but the whole engagement thing was faked. I think that they're going to sneak her into an exclusive wing of Cedar Sinai, and then bring in a newly adopted baby which they're going to pretend is Tom's biological child. Since Tom has never had a biological child, and since any sane person has surmised by now that he's gay and so in the closet he's become the closet rod, this make perfect sense to me.

Today, on Pink is the New Blog, there was a composite comprised of photos of Katie's 'bump'. And yes, it's up and down, up and down. So what do you think? Is my theory holding water, or is Katie experiencing the weirdest pregnancy since Rosemary's Baby?

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No good news

Runaway update: They found his cell phone in Charlestown. It had all of our messages on it. Someone turned it into the police station there. His mom called this morning and spoke to the Girl for a few minutes. She's looking for any leads. He's been to Lowell and hopefully back, and he might be going to Somerville. It's like the kid is drawn to bad neighborhoods or something.

I was up almost all last night in a state of panic. This brought back a lot of the anxiety of when the Girl went through her skanky Russian phase. Thank God she came out of it OK and stronger for it. But the panic and anxiety I was feeling then came right back. I cried a lot last night, worrying for this poor boy and for his family who is so worried and scared.

The Girl is so upset and scared for her friend. All the kids in her 'group' keep calling each other for news. Nobody has heard much of anything, but they're all hanging in there. This is just so terrible.

Please pray that he gets home safely.
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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Excuse me while I recover from heart failure

The doorbell rang at 11:30 pm tonight. The Girl was in the kitchen washing up after a cake baking session. I was playing with the Worthless Pet to keep him away from her. When the doorbell rang, I couldn't believe it. It's dark and cold and nobody just drops by at 11:30 pm.

The Girl got the the door first. It was the police. One of her friends from school ran away and has been missing since Friday afternoon. The police were doing a house to house search of all his friends, thinking that he might be hiding from his mom. Of course, he's not here, but he did call on Friday afternoon when the Girl was babysitting. I told him she was grounded and would not be able to speak on the phone this weekend. Now I feel SO badly, so guilty. He might have been reaching out to her, and I just cut him off.

The police interviewed the Girl, and she gave them a few leads. It seems that this boy has an aunt in a bad part of the state, and he goes there to hang out. This is NOT a place you would want your suburban 14 year old boy to be alone. It's getting cold, and if he's hiding there, he's in a really terrible place with a lot of violence and gangs. We called a few of his other friends while the police were here, and nobody has heard from him or knows where he is.

The Girl said that he's run off before, but not for this long. I'm beside myself with worry. When the Girl ran away a couple of years back, I was absolutely apoplectic and I KNEW where she was. But to have a kid take off because they're angry is just so scary and so guilt inducing. The weird thing is, the mom just seemed to have called the police. I guess she wasn't that worried, but I would have been completely out of my mind with fear. Maybe it's different if a boy takes off, but I can't see why.

I just feel so terrible for this family and for the kids involved. They're all scared for their friend, and nobody knows what to do or how to make it better. Moms, hold your kids tight. They can do really stupid things sometimes. Surviving the teen years is just too fricking hard.
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Jamaica Jamaica!

I've been such a reggae frame of mind. Maybe it's because it's 60 degrees outside in January. That could be contributing to the fact that I can't seem to get enough reggae. I like to listen, close my eyes, and imagine that I'm in Kingston. I've got this "The Harder They Come" frame of reference, where it's still in the 70's and everyone is smoking huge spliffs on the street and the whole city reeks of Jamaican gold. Ah, those were the days. I was introduced to reggae by Perry Henzell, the man that made The Harder they Come. He was a 'friend' of my sisters, and I saw the movie when it first came out in LA with them. It was magical and I never forgot the film. I bought the soundtrack, and that brought reggae into the forefront of my musical loves. From there I started listening to Marley, Cliff, Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Toots and the Maytals, Black Uruhu, Burning Spear, The Ethiopians, Aswad, and a bunch of more obscure artists.

It didn't take long for me to fall for Ska once it came out. I was a huge fan of the (English) Beat, the Specials, Madness, Selector, Bad Manners and the BodySnatchers. I couldn't get enough of ska, the best dance music I've ever heard. Something about ska makes me want to jump up and down with pure joy. But reggae, that was always a favorite and when I'm feeling blah, I just have to put on some reggae or ska and I feel like I'm 23 again, and swimming in the deep turquoise blue Caribbean sea.

Today it was time to expand the CD collection. I took the kids to our favorite CD store, and while they browsed the rock, I picked up the new Damian Marley, Welcome to JamRock, and Matisyahu, Live at Stubbs. I'm listening to Matisyahu as I write this. It's rather a unique take on reggae. Matisyahu is a Chasidic Orthodox Jew, and he sings fairly observant music to a reggae beat. It's original music and very different and unusual, but I like it. Damian Marley is the 23 year old youngest son of Bob Marley. He is carrying on the Marley tradition by singing Rastafarian songs with a voice that brings Bob back to life. Plus he is so freaking HOT. Oh my G-d, he is so beautiful you can't believe he's actually human. Mmmmmm.

Now all I need is some rum punch, palm trees, and a nice beach chair and I'm all set. Jamaica, Jamaica!
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Friday, January 20, 2006

The new guitar teacher

Today the Boy started guitar lessons with a new teacher. He's a young kid, goes to a music college here in the city, and he's giving lessons to makes some extra money. He's teaching the Boy exclusively rock guitar so the Boy is totally psyched. They went upstairs to the Boy's room, which he voluntarily cleaned yesterday in preparation for the lesson, and started rocking out. The Boy had printed off some tabs he wanted to learn, and I never asked what he songs he was hoping to start with. So I'm sitting downstairs reading the paper and I hear Pink Floyd coming from upstairs.

I'm so going to like this new guitar phase. The Boy has been enamoured of the guitar since he was about 3. He got his first 1/4 size acoustic guitar at 4, and taught himself how to play chords by watching Tom Chapin and Raffi videos. He's always played acoustic, but this summer he got an electric guitar and amp for his birthday, and ever since it's been "BWAMMMM" from upstairs at all hours. He wants to start a band, and knew that he needed to learn some decent covers, hence the new teacher. He writes original music, and I think that a band is going to be a good thing, especially with the barn so they can practice out of the way. I have a feeling our neighbors are going to be hating us come spring when the windows open again. But in the meantime, this momma is rocking out with the Ramones right upstairs, and that is good.
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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Theo's back!

As what, we don't know, but he's back in the front office and Red Sox nation couldn't be happier. When Theo Epstein announced he was leaving the General Manager position last October, fans were frightened. Theo thinks outside the box, he is an unusual and creative manager, and he was extremely popular with the players. And the man is hot! Since leaving Fenway in a gorilla suit to avoid reporters last fall, Theo hasn't shown much interest in going anywhere else or working for any other ball club. Theo's a Red Sox fan from birth. He was born and brought up in Brookline, close enough to Fenway to walk there as a kid. It was thought that Theo couldn't get along with one of the owners, Larry Luchino, but whatever the problem was, they seemed to have solved it or at least learned how to live with it, because the most successful General Manager in Red Sox history is back in our front office, and in this house, we couldn't be more pleased.

And Bob Lobel, you're a pompous ass and I for one do not appreciate your pontification on this announcement. You're a sports talking head. Shut your trap and stop the editorials. And you might put the bottle down before you go on TV. Only Rudolph has a redder nose than you do these days.
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Oy Vey iz Mir

What a day today! The weather was gorgeous after yesterday's freak storm that left trees all over the streets, flooding, and a loss of power. We fared ok, a big oak right down the street fell over and closed our street for about 20 hours, but it's cleaned up as of this morning. The huge intersection near our house still has blinking lights, so the traffic is bizarre, but otherwise, no leaks and no damage despite very heavy winds and blinding rain.

So today the storm is inside the house. After a delightful trip to Petco, where we indulged Worthless Pet with new catnip, a catnip toy, and 2 bags of kitty crack as well as a 10 lb bag of cat food, the Girl and I came home and she was in a mood to end all moods. She wanted to watch Finding Nemo, which is her all time favorite movie. I'm sorry, it was cute the first 50 times, but she's 13, and we're sick to death of that damn movie. The Boy had already watched Kung Pao something or other on the computer, so it was suggested to the Girl that she might watch Nemo there instead of on the TV. No dice. She wanted Nemo, the couch, her blanket, and that was that.

The Girl is intractable when it comes to things she wants. She will argue to the end of the world, but she will never ever back down, compromise, or apologize. It's her way or the highway. She put the movie in, and while she was doing the DVD thing, the Boy sat on 'her spot' on the sofa. It's not her spot, but she decided that was where she was going to sit and there was no discussing it. When she turned around and saw him there, she walked over and sat on him. He pushed her off, she turned around and punched him about 5 times before I could pull her off, then he grabbed her and gave her a headlock and was choking her. I had to throw both of them off of each other, and I was bullshit.

The Boy is upstairs for the evening and he's lost his controllers for two weeks. No XBox for him, which is the worlds worst punishment. The Girl screamed bloody murder at me because I needed her to admit that she started this, and of course, she refused. So no Nemo, parental controls are on the TV, and they're not coming off for 2 days.

WHY do they fight like this? I just hate it. I hate the physicality of it, and I don't see any reason that normal people would have to fight over who sits where on a sofa. I honestly don't get it. There are plenty of places to sit in the room, but nope, they both wanted that particular spot and they are willing to fight to the death for it.

I know it's a sibling thing, and it's normal and all, but still it drives me crazy to have to referee this kind of inanity. I am, by nature, not the greatest disciplinarian, and I have a hard time following through on things, but even when I do, they never seem to learn from their mistakes, so why bother? Well, that's not all true. The Boy will eventually apologize and admit that he shouldn't have hurt her. But the Girl, she will never ever back down. It's never her fault, she's always the victim, I'm a terrible mother for allowing her brother to live, and if she had her way, it would be what she wants, when she wants it, and we should all kowtow to her wants and needs. This drives me so crazy. If she were able to compromise in any way, it would make me so happy, but she's just unwilling and unable to do so. Even her therapist has admitted that there seems to be a compromising gene missing. It's so hard to live with someone like this. It wears my nerves thin, and drives her brother crazy. Not that he's an angel, because he's not. But he is reasonable most of the time, and she never is.

It's only 6 pm. Will we make it through till bedtime without another incident. Stay tuned.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Hi there. Whatca Wearing?

I was catching up on my blog reading and came across Mir's entry last night in Woulda Shoulda Coulda that got me to thinking. She's posting naked from the waist up. I'm posting in an outfit that would make Mr. Blackwell run screaming into the night. If we're any example of bloggers that post during the evening hours, then lots of you out there in the blogosphere are wearing some pretty bitchin' getups. So look down, and describe what you're wearing right now. Don't embelish, just tell us what you've got on. You can post anonymously if you're too mortified to admit you're wearing something even worse than my ensemble. I'll start:

I'm wearing a pink print nightshirt with a cornflower blue sweatshirt over it. I've got on white sweatpants, and my powder blue Uggs. It's about 62 degrees now as the heat turns down at 11 pm, so I'll be adding a scarf soon.

And you?
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Monday, January 16, 2006

A Shocking Realization

All day long I've been sort of humming and smiling and being happy because, after an unbelievably long week of being sick at home with two other rather whiney, grumpy beings who are also sick, tomorrow is a school day. At last, at blessed long last they are going to school. To school, that place where kids are kings and queens and where they learn and play and do all those school-ish things like gym and art and latin. Man, I just love school. School. What a fabulous word. Conjures up all these images of apples and rulers and pictures of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the wall, doesn't it? Ah, all is right with the world when the kids are in school and mom's home baking cookies and reading novels.

Then I looked at the calendar. Gray skies and rain clouds gathered in my head. Oh shit, you know what next month is bringing? Another week of 'vacation'. Already! Didn't we just have a week of vacation? Why on earth do we have to endure yet another week of squabbling, whining, and taxi service? You want to know why? Because February vacation started back when we had the original oil crisis in the early 70's. When heat was 'so expensive' the powers that be determined it was cheaper to close schools for a week during the coldest week of the year than to use heating oil. OK, I'll go with that. But now oil is about 10 times the price it was back then, so why not just close the schools altogether?

I'll get over it. I'll recover my senses and be happy by the time February rolls around. Hopefully we'll have enough snow to have a couple of sledding parties. Maybe the people the Girl babysits for will want her during vacation so she can make some money and stop helping herself to my wallet. That would be nice.
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Another Shameless Appeal
So many new visitors have been stopping by recently, and I want to welcome you all and thank you for taking time to visit. While you're here, let me tell you a bit about myself and my family, so you don't feel lost in the wilderness without reading the archives.

I'm Margalit, mother of fraternal twins I call the Girl and the Boy. They're 13 years old and are as different as night and day. We have one cat who is known as the Worthless Pet. He spends most of his time sleeping in the pantry atop the stack of paper bags awaiting recycling.

I used to work full time as a writer, however I no longer work due to a congenital heart defect that has gone kaflooey recently. I am still writing at home, however, working on a novel and of course blogging. I also work occasionally as an educational advocate, helping families with special needs children attain services through their often reluctant public school systems, as well as finding appropriate schooling choices for special kids.

Past jobs have included:
10 years as a college instructor, teaching writing
6 years as a secondary school English and Social Studies teacher
21 years in high technology
1 miserable summer making puzzles at Milton Bradley
kiln builder and potter

I've lived in Massachusetts since I ended up here for Graduate School, leaving once for a 2 year sojourn in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina, and returning to California for 4 years. Although I abhor the weather in MA, I can't really imagine raising my children anywhere else, especially after living in Northern California for a while. Definately not our style.

I've traveled all over, but my favorite places to visit remain Italy and England. In the US, I can't think of a nicer place to spend a week in summer than Block Island, RI. I've been all over Canada, and another great vacation spot is Shediac in New Brunswick. Warm water, French language, and the worlds largest lobster. Can't go wrong with that combination. My favorite childhood vacation spot would have to be Harrison Hot Springs in British Colombia.

I'm an avid reader and my favorite author is Robertson Davies, a brilliant Canadian author. I read a lot of Victorian fiction at University and wrote a thesis on Wilkie Collins and Sensation Novels. Now I read a lot of contemporary British fiction, which I prefer to American fiction as a rule.

I watch TV unabashedly and am a huge fan of Lost, Gray's Anatomy, and the Amazing Race. I'm not a fan of American Idol, the dancing and ice skating celebrity ripoffs, or most sitcoms. My kids also watch TV and play video games on their Xbox (nothing violent). They eat moderate amounts of junk food including candy and ice cream. They are both skinny and healthy! Sugar doesn't make they crazy, they were crazy to begin with.

I love to cook and am passing on this love to both kids. The Boy is more interested in meal preparation while the Girl prefers baking. We're ramping up now to more complicated items in the hopes that they'll be able to cook adequately for themselves when they hit college. The Boy only has a couple more years to go, so it's important to us both that he learn how to make the foods he likes.

That's a pretty fair summary of life here at Chez Cough and Wheeze. If you like what you see, please consider voting for me here. And while you are voting, here's a plug for our beloved Belinda at Ninja Poodles, who is in the running for Best New Blog. Her blog is great and she's the most delightful person.
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Sometimes it just hurts to laugh

The Girl has some residual hearing loss from her recent bout of pneumonia, and when she's not paying attention, she tends to mishear things in the most hilarious way. I wish I could have written a lot of them down, but most of them are long gone because my head is so filled with snot that I can barely think. Tonight, just before she went off to bed, the Boy told me that they were doing a new Henry VII on Masterpiece Theatre. She must have totally misheard him because she thought he said they were doing a show on what Henry ate. She wanted to know who Henry was. I told her that the show was on Henry VII and she said, "Oh, I know that dude. He was the king of Florence, right?" Um, no. "Yes he was, that mean guy that burned all the paintings and jewelery, you know." So I tell her that Florence is in Italy (geography not being her strong suit) and that she was thinking of Lorenzo di Medici and Girolamo Savonarola.

Close, but no cigar. I tell her that was a king of England and that he had 6 wives, and changed England's religion forever, creating the Church of England so he could divorce and remarry. She can't wait to see it.
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Sunday, January 15, 2006

A day of peace

Today has been so peaceful at Chez Cough and Wheeze. Everyone has sort of been doing their own thing, busy and yet nice and quiet. The Girl has been reading a book for school, one that the teachers have approved but she's not all that thrilled with. She's reading it despite the fact that she finds it somewhat boring.

The Boy did his football thing for a while, then read some of Al Franken's new book. I heard him chuckling and gasping as he read. He loves Al Franken, as do I. This latest book, The Truth, isn't as funny as the previous ones, but even with it's very sobering message of how corrupt the current administration is, it leaves you with some hope that eventually things will leave the darkness of Republicanism and revert back to a time when government was for the people, by the people, and not for the rich and by 7 or 8 corrupt assholes in Washington. This means you, GWB and Karl Rove.

Later on the Boy and I watched Murderball. If you haven't seen this film yet, we highly recommend it. The story of the USA Para-Olympic Rugby Team, this movie helps you gain a new appreciation for the triumph over adversity, no matter what. The Boy wanted to watch the specials after the film and found the Jackass show done right before the film was released. Obviously, I'm not the target audience for Jackass, but really, I don't get it. Why is that show funny? I mean, Cattle Prod Fencing? What the? Of course, the Boy, who is the target audience, thought it was hilarious.

I talked to a couple of friend today, but my voice is almost gone so mostly I tried hard to keep silent. Surprisingly, it was easy today. Everyone cooperated, even the worthless pet. Pleasant!
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Saturday, January 14, 2006

We've all experienced hate, right?

Some of the 'comments' I've received on my blog, and elsewhere are amazing. I mean, when I read a blog, I take what is said at face value. I have no reason to doubt what a person is describing or what a person is sharing. I try not to read into other people's posts, just as I hope people don't read into my posts things that aren't there. I think that's fair. I get enough positive comments from most of you that I can tell when someone's had an off day or maybe an off year, as opposed to being just plain off. But there are some people out there in netland that have more than a screw loose. Those are the folks that make me more than a tad bit sad. Recently, I've been accused of faking my disability. Well, I'm sure the social security agency that did months of investigatory work on my particular PHYSICAL disability might be surprised. I don't know why people have decided that my disability is mental, or in one case, that my disability is that I'm fat. I think social security would be in a lot bigger mess than it's proported to be if fat people could collect SSDI. Not that these accusations are in any way plausable since none of these people know me personally, but...

What astounds me about this kind of stuff is not only that someone could be so mean as to make fun of a disabled person, but that the level of stupidity is so high amongst some people that they actually believe social security is just handed out like diaper coupons. So I'm about to set you all straight on how difficult it is to get SSDI and what kind of hoops you have to jump through to qualify. Maybe that might enlighten the readers amongst us that don't get it.

To qualify for SSDI you must have a very specific physical or mental disability. Mental disabilities are expecially difficult to prove and can take years to justify. Physical disabilities are equally difficult, and social security knows exactly what is and isn't total inability to work.

To apply, go online and visit Social Security Online, where you will have to fill out an incredibly long and complicated form. In order to fill in this form, you need the names and dates of all doctors and hospitals you have been in, the names and dates of all medications you take, information about your entire education and work history and any other personal information they ask about. You cannot refuse to answer any questions. From what I've read, and from personal experience, it can take up to two weeks to get the entire form filled out and submitted.

Once you have submitted the form, you'll hear back from social security, probably from your local office, telling you that their online form is unreliable and thus you have to go through the entire form again either in their office or by phone. They make a phone appointment, and you must be there for the call. Then they submit that report. This is their take on how the application process works.

You tend to wait between 3-6 months from that time, before you get a determination. It's estimated that only 15% of applications are accepted the first time around. Luckily mine was, because I have such a clear cut disability and there is no mistaking that it is both life threatening and therefore too dangerous for me to work. Here is social security's definition of disability.

Everyone clear on this? Can we now move on?
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Fiddler's on TV

My true confession: I love Fiddler on the Roof. OK, it tends to be a corny movie that represents a complicated time in history in very simplistic terms. The first half and the second half don't quite fit together very well. But damn...can you watch this movie without breaking into song? I can't. Two years ago a local theatre had a Fiddler on the Roof sing-along showing. It was sold out for weeks but we lucked out and got tickets for the whole family. Lets just say the kids were a lot less enthusiastic than I was. We had to wait for hours on line in the cold of winter just to get into the theatre. As we entered, everyone was handed a bag of props to use during the movie. The theatre offered free coffee, cookies, and hersheys kisses. My kids were busy scarfing up the kisses and sneaking coffee before the film started. Around us were many people who were obvious fans of the film. Women were dressed in babushkas and long skirts. "Bearded" men were dressed in boots with pants tucked in, heads covered in hats with peyus (sidecurls) peaking out, and of course there were tallit katon (small garments worn under men's clothing with strings hanging down) all over the place. There were some Yentas, some Lazar Woolfs, and quite a few Chava type girls. Even a Cossack or two Definately set up the mood. My kids were mortified.

When the lights went down, a couple of 'leaders' taught us what to do with the props in our bags, and lead us in some required hand motions. My kids were sinking into their chairs, looking horrified. I was having a blast and was so excited to begin. Then the movie started, and Tevya came walking down the road with his milk wagon, as they say in sports, the crowd went wild. People were belting out songs in full voice. Some, like me, were reciting the lines of the film as they were said. All of the songs had captions so people could sing the correct words, but I didn't need them. I'm kind of sad that way. A guy behind us must have been trained vocally and he was singing in the most gorgeous theatrical manner. My kids were almost parallel with the floor and groaning. I was belting out songs like Ethyl Merman.

At intermission the kids snagged cookies and some coffee, and started begging to go home, but I hung firm. We're going to do this to the end because I am having fun. Period. When the second part started, and the film turned darker, they both started paying more attention. During the wedding scene, when the Cossacks break up the party, the Girl audibly gasped. There was less squirming and a lot more intensity. A couple of times, I heard a bit of singing, and props started coming out of bags at the requisite time. Hooked!

By the time Anatevka was playing, there wasn't a dry eye in the house, including my kids. I don't think they had understood before why their great grandfather left Russia at the age of 14 by himself and stowed away on a ship to NY. Now they got it. For my kids, Jewish intolerance has been felt, especially during our stay in the Bay Area where religion as a rule is frowned upon and Judaism is absolutely beyond the pale. But they have always been protected by our family and our community and they feel safe being a Jewish child in America. It didn't occur to them that this was not true only 100 years ago in Russian, nor 60 years ago in Europe. Fiddler made them appreciate their lives, their family, and their freedom. Now, the girl is sitting on the sofa watching Fiddler and watching Motyl Kamzoil get ready for his wedding. So long, Lazar Woolfe.
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Friday, January 13, 2006

Why has this not been invented yet?

My house sounds like a TB ward. We all have this horrible cough. The Girl has pneumonia, and the boy and I have bronchitis. We're inhaling albuteral like crack whores, drinking gallons of juice, and drinking cough medicine directly from our own individual bottles. Why is our cough not subsiding? Two reasons. One, our remarkable shitty health insurance has taken cough medicine with codeine off the formulary, so we have to stick with OTC stuff, which doesn't work. Evidentally our health insurance company hasn't watched the news this week. Additionally, the types of antihistamine they do now recommend to help a cough is absolutely verboten for those of us with heart conditions. So much for that idea!

But the second reason we're all coughing up a storm is that nobody has yet invented the lung vacuum. How hard can this be? You stick this thing in your mouth, turn on the machine, and all the phlem comes up and is collected into the machine. Sort of like a lung Dyson. It seems to simple, doesn't it? Just what is good about coughing and coughing and coughing until your ribs ache and you are gasping for breath? Why is that better than the lung Dyson? Of course, it's not. So which enterprising young inventor here is going to take up the challange? I promise to be your first customer.
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Aggressive Boys

Yesterday I wrote about the mean girl phenominom and now mean girls negatively affect society. Besides a huge dose of narcicissm, mean girls and women are intolerant and completely lack empathy for anyone outside their cool circle.

Today, I'm heading into boy territory. Last night, because I'm coughing so hard from this damn disease, I sat up most of the night watching PBS. There was a 2-hour special called Raising Cain, which was based on the book of the same name. I read the book a long time ago, and liked it, but when I read it my son was young enough for it to be more of a theory than reality. How times have changed. There were several points that were made in this special that got me to thinking. The first was a comparison of Japanese preschools to American preschools. In our preschools, parents expect teachers to intervene whenever a child hits, bites, pushes, or shows any aggression. In Japan, teachers do not intervene and let children take care of their small squabbles on their own. Time and again, the Japanese children learned to walk away from the aggressor while his or her friends came over to show empathy and give advice like "If you play with Yoko, you're going to get hit, so choose another friend." These were 2-4 year olds, and they were practicing conflict resolution beautifully. What was even more remarkable, the aggressors came over to apologize and to make sure that the person he attacked was OK.

This was really impressive to me, because it tends to reinforce the system of parenting I chose when my kids were little. With twins, either you intervene constantly or you let them solve their own small issues by themselves. In our house, there was a strict rule: "If there's no blood, nothing is broken, and there is no fire, solve it yourself." Worked pretty well for us and definately alleviated a lot of the tattling.

My son was extremely aggressive in preschool. He wasn't the worst, there were a couple of boys that easily could have ended up on Superman's list of enemies. But my son has almost no patience, coupled with horrible perfectionism, and that leads to some fairly spectacular outbursts. When things didn't go his way, he was like Mt. Etna. At one point he got so mad at a teacher that he hit her over the head with a large block, and she never returned to the school. I was mortified, but luckily his head teacher was male and understood what had happened, and after a serious discussion, things got back to normal.

In kindergarten, my son was misplaced in a class where he didn't match with the teacher at all, nor did he match with most of the kids. That could have been my fault because I wanted the kids separated, and the Girl's teacher was the best for both of them. Oh well, hindsight. So in kindergarten he spend a lot of time outfoxing the teacher and the other kids in a passive aggressive manner. One event stands out. They did the letter of the day thing, but my son had been reading for 1.5 years and this was so far below his capabilities that he hated to cooperate. That is, until they got to the letter K. He had gone through the dictionary and found every word that began with a silent k, and those were the words he used. The teacher didn't find it amusing.
Low elementary school was a disaster for my kid. He was academically far ahead of the other kids, and the teachers weren't too flexible about finding something to interest him. Instead, he took out his anger and aggression on his sister and the other kids. He was suspended several times, and by the winter break of second grade, he was talking about killing himself. The kid was severely depressed, and he was getting violent.

Violence in young boys is a part of their developmental process. That's just a fact. It doesn't mean that they need to be fed violence on TV or in Movies, but discouraging them from making up pictures or stories just because their is violence in them is not doing a young boy a whit of good. A teacher in Grafton MA found that boys were unable to write coherent stories without a "bad guy getting killed". Trying to dissuade young boys from acting out violence only makes it more exciting as they get older. Allowing your boys to act out violent scenarios like cowboys and indians is appropriate. So are things like Laser Tag and Paintball.

As boys move thru the school system, more and more of them get tagged with ADHD. Nobody knows better than I do that ADHD is a real condition and that for some kids, the only way to deal with it is to medicate. The Boy has been medicated since his first bout of depression in 2nd grade. It has done him a world of good, allowing him to take control of his impulses and to focus more on what is important at that moment, albeit school, chores, or a movie. Over the years we've made many medical adjustments, and of course he's been in therapy and our family has been in family therapy for years. Living with a child with severe ADHD isn't easy, and the impulsivity and aggression that go hand in hand with this disorder can scare a parent shitless.

I do believe in ADHD, but I don't believe that so many kids have it. I do think that taking recess out of elementary schools, and shortening lunch periods to ensure that the school day is all academics isn't doing boys any good at all. When I was in elementary school, we had two recesses per day, plus lunch outdoors. We got all our ya-ya's out and were able to concentrate more easily in school. But that's long gone. By the time my kids hit elementary school, there was one 30 minute recess, and for the Boy, that just wasn't a possible scenario. In third grade I pulled him out of school and homeschooled him until 5th grade, when he was able to return to the classroom.

In middle school, the aggressive posturing begins in earnest. Suburban white boys start flashing gang signs and dressing like they live in the ghetto. This is the media image of a powerful man that they see, and it's exciting for a preteen or young teen to see huge diamonds and gigantic cars and ridiculous houses of their heros. This is what kind of man they aspire to be, and the media encourages it by showing incredibly sexual videos and print media surrounding these hip-hop stars. This is when America begins to be afraid of their boys. They look scary, even if it is posturing. Middle school is all about being the same. Anyone different is horribly teased. And at the same time, this is where the first adult images of themselves as men come into being. What are we doing to our boys?

By high school, the pressure to belong somewhere is overwhelming. You can be a prep, a jock, a burnout, a bandgeek, or a nerd. The categories rarely change over time. But for the boy that wants to play a sport, but is also a science whiz, it's not a comfortable place to be. During these high school years, the aggression comes out in very foolish play. Drunk driving, diving into quarries, alcohol poisoning, jumping off roofs, elevator surfing. The list goes on and on. Even when a boy is 18, he isn't fully adult and he lacks the judgement skills to say 'this is dangerous'. But at 15 or 16, man, a boy will do just about anything to impress his peers. This includes a lot of fighting and illegal activities.

I don't have answers for how we can change this curve towards dangerous and violent behavior. Most people claim that having an involved father is the first step towards reigning in aggression in boys, but the fact is 40% of all families in the US are lead by single women. Mine included. My son has male role models, good male role models. But I worry every day about his involvement when he's out of my sight. So far he's only made good choices, but that hasn't always been true. What I do know is, boys today have no heros other than sports stars, and I find that so sad. Of course, they can't look towards this government for heros, but there needs to be great men again. We need to start thinking about how we can change our boys before they change our society.
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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Cliquey Clique Clique

Do you know women that are in their twenties and thirties and haven't stopped acting like they're in middle school? I don't know what it is about the mean girl phenom that happens when girls reach around 11 or 12, but most of us outgrow it. Or at least I hope we do. The Girl is in eighth grade, and she's pretty much already past the worst of the mean girl phenom. Last year was a killer for her, because she went to a school that did nothing to stem the bitchy behavior of a certain clique of girls. These girls weren't nice, and they weren't supervised by their parents. The worst part of it was, and I do not mean this to be or sound in any way racist, most of the meanest girls came from Russian families. Perhaps it's a cultural thing, but these kids had parents who would lie up one side and down the other, even in court, to protect their kids, but they never paid one whit of attention to them other than when they had to, usually because they were in serious trouble. Stealing, yup. Shoplifting, yup. Lying, yup. Fighting, yup. Even a stabbing. All of those things happened, and no matter what the real story was, the mean girls blamed every other kid in sight, including my daughter, for things that she didn't do.

Miraculously, a change of schools and a change of friends and voila! No more trouble. It isn't like my kid changed that dramatically, because she didn't. But she did make huge strides towards recognizing the typical mean girl behavior and she's staying far away. There is one girl that lives near us that tends to be pretty mean, and my kid has already steered way clear of her after she pulled something nasty. I'm really proud that the Girl has begun to understand the difference between being used and being liked for who she is. She's working very hard at this, and it doesn't come naturally to her because she's got a non-verbal learning disability and one of the main issues with NVLD kids is recognizing social cues. So, mean girls are falling by the wayside for my middle schooler.

However, the mean girls don't always grow up, do they? The ones that can't stand that you're not in the cool group. The ones that think they know everything because they live in cool cities in cool houses in cool neighborhoods with cool strollers and cool childcare and cool husbands that work in cool jobs so the cool moms can replay the 50's and stay home with their cool babies. We all know these people. Sometimes we see them online, sometimes we see them in the park, and lots of times we see them at Starbucks drinking the cool latte of the month listening to their cool ipods with cool music while their cool babies drink the cooled off cool hot chocolate.

These are the cool girls that drink the cool cocktails and pretend that their lives are similar to the women in Sex and the City except they don't date unless they happen to be in cool open marriages with cool spouses who welcome cool boyfriends and girlfriends, because after all, it's cool to be bi. These are the women who brag about smoking dope because they think that dope is still cool. I did mention lost in the 50's right?

The thing about these cool women is that they have no tolerance whatsover for people that are different than they are. They don't like anyone that practices any religion because that's so uncool. Belief in G-d...well that is just unacceptable to the cool moms because it's only cool to be an athiest, or a pagen. That can be cool if you're into goddesses. But mostly, religion is out. They have no tolerance for anyone that might be even the tiniest bit conservative, because leaning left is cool and anyone who doesn't must be insane. Psycho. Nuts. OK, I happen to agree that anyone who remains a Republican after this administration needs to have their head examined, but I do have friends and unfortunately family members who are (gag) Republicans. And I love them anyways.

These woman have no tolerance for bad looks. It's important to have makeup and a hairdo and cool clothes for you and even cooler clothes for baby. You ain't got Robeez, you ain't cool enough for them. They hate anyone fat, they hate anyone with an obvious flaw, and lord knows, they wouldn't spend a second being friends with someone like that because it's just not cool. But if you're in your 40's and have purple dreadlocks, well...you're cool then. You might be a murderer, but heck, that's ok because we know how cool dreds are.

What happens to these cool moms is, they end up in cliques with all the other cool moms, and they exclude anyone else. That means they exclude the old, the infirm, the conservative, the religious, and anyone else they've deemed uncool. These excluded moms would be bad mommys who put their kids in daycare, who use cribs, who bottle feed, who, G-d Forbid circumsize their sons, and who aren't into attachment parenting. The cool moms see themselves as this new phenomenon, the stay-at-home mom, the ladies that lunch, and shop, and chat online. But I grew up in the 50's and I see this as a repeat of the old, not anything new. I see these women who feel that their husbands should support them, and they're entitled to homes, and they're entitled to expensive things because they deserve it. You, know, they're cool, so they should have all this.

What happened to feminism, people? Where did we fail so miserably that we get this entitled bunch of mean girls raising the next generation. Does this scare anyone besides me? I fear for these kids. Their only hope is to rise up and throw off the yoke of 1950's parenting in the new millenium. I pray that they do.
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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Humor before death

Tonight while we were watching Lost (wow, pretty cool episode, huh?) and at the commercial the Boy got up and wrapped his blue blanket around him really tight and form-fitting. As he walked away, the Girl said, "Oh look, it's the Boy on the Red Carpet. Who are you wearing?"

Well, we thought it was hysterically funny, but we're so feverish that anything seems absurd to us.
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Whoa...now THIS was unexpected!

Somehow, I've made the top ten finalists in the Best of Blogs--Best Mommy Blogs category. Who would have thunk it? I've got a ton of serious competition, including Mim at Morphing Into Mama, Grace at Saving Grace and Flea at One Good Thing. I read them all and love their blogs, so it will be hard to compete against such great bloggers. I'm in awe. Thanks to the people who nominated me, especially my son who felt like he should definately say what a great mom I am (and of course that was before I got sick and refused to get my ass out of my chair and make something to eat) to him. I sure try to be, and I'm just astounded that I'm getting some notice. Thanks, all you bloggers and readers. You're the best!

Now I HAVE to get the blog redesign in high gear, huh?

Oh, and while you're excited for me, don't forget to vote for Belinda of Ninja Poodles in the Best New Blogs category and Dave of Blography for Most Humorous Blog. They both have such great blogs. And you might even get a puppy out of it!
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Cough Cough Life's Swell Cough Cough

Well, life's kicking my butt. How about you? As predicted, I'm sick now, too. It's like a TB ward around here. A cacaphony of coughing. A symphony of sniffling. A myriad of moans. Isn't alliteration fun?

Last evening whilst watching my cheeky wee monkey Craig Ferguson hosting the most horrid People's Choice Awards (who the hell ARE these people?) my thoat started getting a tad sore. And the coughing started. Then the headache came. And my knees and legs started aching. Waaaaa, I'm sick. I HATE being sick, but there is nothing, and I mean nothing worse than being sick in a household where everyone is sick and they're counting on me, poor weak sick me, to take care of them. I don't want to. I want them to take care of me. I want people to deliver meals, to tuck me in bed, to make me tea, to soothe my aching brow. I do not want to cook dinner, I do not want to pick up after sick kids, and I do not want to hear anyone else whining about how sick they are. I'm sicker, so just shut up. How's that for the bad mommy award of the year?
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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I live in a sick ward

The Girl came home from school yesterday telling me that the school nurse thinks she has pneumonia. I knew she had a head cold, but the nurse heard crackles, so I called the ped and made an appointment for this morning. After dinner the Boy started sniffling and complaining that everything ached and he had a wicked sore throat. Out came the thermometer and they both had temps over 100, so no school for them. Lucky me!

By this morning the Boy looked pale and gray and the Girl's eyes were watering non-stop and she was all red in the face. So off to the doctor we went. Our Ped, who is a friend as well as our doctor, squeezed the Boy into the Girl's appointment. Bottom line: The Girl has pneumonia and is on an antibiotic, plus a ventolin inhaler. The Boy has strep and the head cold with watery eyes now, and he's on antibiotics as well. It's one little pill fest over at Chez Sicky.

A friend came over with the filled prescriptions, I'm making soup for dinner, we've laid in a supply of Kleenix, toilet paper, paper towels (you never know!) plenty of Advil, and chocolate. One MUST have chocolate when one has sick children. Oh, you thought the chocolate was for them? You must be dreaming!

Right now they're both laying on the sofa watching Malcolm in the Middle. They're laying so that one is on the right, the other on the left, and they're all covered in blankets. It looks like a two headed monster on there. So cute!

I'm so not looking forward to tomorrow. Plus Thursday is a half day, so I think we've shot the entire week schoolwise. Great. Just freaking great.
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Lurky-Loos Don't Forget

It's National De-Lurking Week here on What Was I THINKING? Look over to the sidebar. See the little logo? I'm not making this up, kiddos. You're supposed to leave a comment. I don't care what kind of comment. Make it snarky, or hey, just suck up to me. I need someone to suck up to me. My kids sure don't. Tell me where you live and what it's like? I know you're out there, lurking and snorting with digust. So just introduce yourself. It doesn't hurt...much.

I want to know who my reader is in Chestnut Hill. How about you in Waltham? We're neighbors. Say hi! I'm soooo curious. Make me happy. Just tell me. OK?
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Are Tattoos cool or trashy?

The other day I was reading an online parenting forum, one consisting mostly of west coast women in the 35 and under age category. As a rule, these women consider themselves to be the hippest, coolest, funkiest and snarkiest moms on the web. They call each other "ho" and "bitch" like that's just the funniest thing since sliced bread. Sigh. Pretty immature for the most part, and I don't think any of them are the sharpest knifes in the drawer, but it's fun reading. Anyhow, they had this thread going about tattoos, and I got to thinking about the subject. Me, I'm way to old to think of tattoos as anything other than really trashy looking. It's probably a generational thing, but I'd just as soon cut off my left arm as have a tattoo on my back. I don't get the whole body art thing. I've seen plenty of it during my last sojourn as a Californian, and none of it has made me change my mind. I don't think it's cool, nor do I think it's rebellious. If it were rebellious, how come every frigging woman under 35 has a butterfly on the shoulder or a little rose on their ankle? It's not only commonplace, it is boring to me.

I feel the same way about body piercing. I don't find it sexually attractive at all, in fact I think it's very offputting and kind of nauseating. I know people differ on this, and for a while everyone and their brother was getting their navels pierced, but the idea of sex with some guy with a Prince Alpert is completely disgusting to me. The germs.... blech! One of the things I keep thinking about when I consider tattoos and piercings is how it's going to look 30 years from now. All those college boys with gauges in their ears. I mean really, what the heck is that going to look like when they're 50 and their ears and all hairy and flappy. It happens, folks. Or the woman who has one of those full back tattoos and gains about 50 lbs over the next 30 years. What's that going to look like? I saw a photo recently of a woman with a double mastectomy who had a huge tattoo covering the scar. The thing was, the way a mastectomy looks, the tattoo was more disfiguring than just the scar. It wasn't pretty.

I think about these young women on that forum bragging about the numbers of tattoos they have, and I have to think of all the women I know in my real life that are in their late 40's to mid-fifties and have been left by a stream of dirty-dog men looking for younger women. It is going to happen to some of these women too, and they're going to be in their late 40's up to the mid-fifties looking for new men with their middle aged bodies decorated with old saggy tattoos. Is that going to be attractive to someone? Do men like this?

We've all seen old men, sailors most likely, that have horrid old saggy tattoos they got whilst in the service. Honestly, is that good looking to anyone? It just isn't to me. Not one bit. Maybe it's being Jewish, where tattooing is not only a terrible reminder of a very dark time in our history, but is also highly discouraged because disfiguring your body is a reason not to be buried in consecrated ground. Me, I want to be buried amongst my people, the people I love. And a tattoo would circumvent that. It is so not worth it to me.

My kids have similar views on tattooing, mostly because when we see someone highly decorated we tend to be horrified. I don't have much fear of either of my guys getting body decorations. They have no interest and they know my feelings on the topic. What about you? How would you feel if your kids started decorating their bodies? Would you be upset? Do you see tattooing as art? Is it attractive to you? Do you find it sexy? Ugly? Beautiful? Rebellious or commonplace? And do you have body decorations you want to share?
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Monday, January 09, 2006

National De-lurking Week Begins TODAY.
And this means Y-O-U

This is the week you've been waiting for! Or not! De-lurking week! This year we're giving you a whole week to come out of the closet (so to speak).

Many of you made resolutions last week to lose weight, or quit yelling, or to join a gym, and Sheryl over at Paper Napkin, who is the founder of Delurking Week, just read a Psychology Today article that found a direct correlation between weight loss, and commenting on your favorite blogs, so leave a comment because it will make you skinny. Not that you're fat, because you're not!! So please tell me how long you've been reading my blog, or your favorite movie, or the first line of your favorite book or even a complaint about your Mother-In-Law, and remember, if you don't leave a comment, you're letting the terrorists win.

If you head on over to Paper Napkin you'll find a bunch of buttons you can right-click-and-save, and upload on your site, and then all your readers will see the button, and be compelled to say something on your blog. It's a win-win! Okay? Okay! Happy commenting!

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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Misc. Sunday Topics

The Girl just made me a smoothy. Blueberry Peach. It is very tasty, although really cold. However, it would taste a lot better without the large chunks of wood in it. Another wooden spoon bites the dust.

Last night I had miserable insomnia. I watched Frontline on TV at around 2 am and got so upset that I really couldn't sleep the rest of the night. It was the show on American torture in Iraq and at Gitmo, and it was so agonizing that I literally froze on the sofa, barely able to breathe. The show followed the paper trail from Rumsfeld through several multi-star generals, and down to the MI and MPs who were 'following orders'. And you know what? They were following orders, right from Mr Rumsfield himself. It's one thing to read about this in the newspaper, it's another thing to see the various participants and to look at the documents signed by that self-righteous asshole telling soldiers to discount the Geneva Convention rules of war, plus all international rules of war, and exactly how to torture the captured Iraqi's, especially in Abu Graib. Watching Rumsfeld testify over and over again in front of congress and LIE through his teeth is so disconcerting. This government is so corrupt and so immoral. It makes me sick.

So then, because I was all wound up, I read an entire book that had arrived in the mail today from the most delightful Neener. She sent me Julie & Julia, a book I'd been dying to read since Neener first pointed me to Julie Powell's blog some 2 years ago. The subtitle for the book kind of describes it all: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, & Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living. Julie Powell decided that her life was going nowhere at the age of 29 and took up both blogging and a project. The project ws too cook every recipe in Julia Child's seminal volume 1 of Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. The book isn't quite as funny as her blog, and of course so many of the disasters and successes in the kitchen aren't in the book, but it's a fairly good representation of both the blog and the energy it took to finish the project.

I loved this book. I cried at the end. I'm a sap. What can I say.

Update: The Julie/Julia Project blog is still up, but you have to manipulate the pages yourself by changing the date in the URL. Here is the first post. From there you just have to change the dates forward to read the posts.

Last night we watched Spike Jonze's film Adaptation. Loved it. Absolutely loved it. Of course, the first scene was the set of my all time favorite American movie, Being John Malkovich, and I'd read the book on which Adaptation is based and loved the book, so this was a no-brainer. I knew I was going to like this film. But the ending...POW! It was quite the surprise and I was laughing and crying and in utter shock all at the same time. I was totally blown away by the Hollywood parody and thought it was brilliant. If you haven't seen it, rent it today.
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