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

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Friday, March 31, 2006

A sad time for our family

As frequent readers know, something has been going on in the background regarding a family friend. We were hoping that perhaps this friend would be able to come and live with us due to some family issues at the friend's home that are very difficult and sometimes disconcerting. We have been anxiously awaiting the decision made by the courts, but unfortunately it was decided that another course of action was to be taken. It is a very sad time, especially for the Girl, who has been so counting on this friend to remain in the community. It wasn't up to us, but we tried to make it clear to those in power that we were there to stand in whilst things cleared up for this difficult family situation. However, the friend was unable to stay in the community and was brought this afternoon to a new situation, where there is at least a 45 day commitment. We are very sad to have this outcome, and we wish this family and our friend a time of great healing. We will make every effort to keep in touch with our friend, despite the difficulties involved, and we have told our friend how much s/he is loved.

There are many tears at our house this afternoon. We will miss our friend terribly.
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Oh shoot, what will I wear?

Tomorrow it's rumored that the temperature will top 70 degrees. I've waited a long time for the feeling of sun on my face. I almost remember what sun on my skin feels like. It's been quite warm all week, but tomorrow promises to be a summer day. Of course, this mean no more corderoy pants and thermal shirts. Ahem... I guess this means summer clothing is needed.

Upstairs I pulled out a large bag of my summer clothing from the floor of my closet. Hey, did you think my kids invented bags in the closet? No, they learned from a master. Actually, that was the only bag on the floor of my closet, which made it quite easy to find. I pulled out a few t-shirts and some shorts. Shorts! My legs are the color of white eggshells. I'm very very pale. Many people are actually blinded by the gleam of my untanned skin. It is not a pretty sight.

Unfortunately, the shorts, they are too big. Oh, I'll wear them because I don't believe in ever getting new clothing until my stuff literally rots off my body, but I guess I knew this day was going to come. I have gone down at least one size, maybe two. My pants have gotten so baggy I think I could fit a friend in with me. But pants cover a multitude of sins that shorts do not. Big shorts show people parts of me that I'd like to pretend don't exist, like the tops of my thighs. They are weapons of mass destruction all by themselves, those thighs.

T-shirts, they'll just look big and baggy and what do I care? But the shorts, I believe I must think of replacing some of the shorts.

Most women in my situation would be thrilled to go and buy new clothing. Not me. I never buy clothes for myself. You know how you feel trying on bathing suits. That's how I feel trying on anything remotely like clothing, including coats. Makes me shiver just thinking about it. I am shopping adverse. I believe I will order online so I can pretend that flourescent lights do not exist. That will make me happy.

Or, I could eat all the girl scout cookies we picked up yesterday and then the shorts might fit again? That's not a great idea, right?

Instead I will garden and hopefully get the perennial beds cleaned up. Exercise in the sunshine. My goodness, spring has sprung.
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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Self-promotion time

I've been published on Club Mom. I sent them a story about a month ago about the Boy's issues with planning ahead, and today I got an email saying that it was published. Interesting.... I guess if you get published there you earn points that you can redeem for merchandise. That's a rather unique way of getting recognition in the blogosphere. Anyhow, go and read it.

Also, had a call bright and early from the Girl's principal, who agreed to all my requests, so I am now officially her English teacher. YIPPEE! What a relief for us both.
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Uncle

I give up. I've contacted our educational attorney, and as of Thursday morning, which would be today, I'm pulling the Girl out of her English class and will homeschool her for the last term, which coincidentally started this week. She will remain in school for the day, but will not attend English. I'm not even going to go into why. I think anyone that has read this blog (including all the teachers from our public school system) knows why. It's just enough. She can't stand being the target of a lousy teacher, and I can't stand sending her in to a classroom of a bully who either has serious personality issues or ought to be sitting in a psychiatrist's office at least 3 times a week to determine why he still is in a profession he obviously is unqualified for, and hates. Nobody could be such a jerkoff unless they have deep-seated issues of self-hatred. Adults don't pick on children unless they have really serious problems.

Now that I'm taking over, we can toss the 'literature' she's currently been assigned, a book about rape and teen angst. Such great literature belongs in the circular file, and that's just where it's going. That they made me PAY for this crap... man it burns my tush.

I'll be following the state curriculum, and we'll be doing what she does in her current English class, which is to read books aloud and work on vocabulary. Period. That's what they do. I'm pretty sure I can do better with my hands tied behind my back. Oh, let me ammend that. I KNOW I can do better. Perhaps it's the 10 years of teaching writing at the college level or the 5 years of teaching English at the secondary level. I think I've got the background covered.

Hottie Reporter

Anywhoooo, tonight on the ABC overnight news that I am so fond of watching (you insomnics out there must check out Ron Corning... what a cutie-pie) they did a story on Post Secret and showed Frank Warren, showing him sorting through all the postcards he receives daily. It never occurred to me that he gets hundreds of entries every day. I guess I never thought that so many of us had guilty little secrets, but apparently I was incorrect. Have you sent in a card? I have.

Laying on the couch

Moreover, the boy's therapist checked in today, and she and I came to some interesting conclusions, much of which I don't want to share here. But we both agreed that therapy must be getting either too challanging for him, or he's getting too close to opening up, which he hates to do, and so he's starting some really annoying behaviors. Time for a meet and greet with all of us together, we think. Friday gets busier and busier.

Weekend Update

But, something to look OH so forward to this weekend. The CraftBoston crafts show is on this weekend and we're going. I'm really psyched. They have top notch artists at this show, and even though I can't afford to buy anything, I love to look at the glass, ceramics, and clothes. Oh, the clothes, they are so spectacularly beeeeutiful. The jewelery is fabulous but unaffordable unless your last name is Trump. The Girl loves these shows too. The Boy, not so much, and might choose to stay home and watch TV and sneak his XBox which is still off limits. Oddly enough, my brother, the Lost Boy, might actually join us. I keep trying....
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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Charitable Giving, Tzedakah Style

This post starts with a bit of a lesson in how Jews view charitable giving. From there I'm going to expound on how this philosophy might be expanded upon for charitable giving over the internet.

Tzedakah (Hebrew: צדקה) in Judaism, is the Hebrew term most commonly translated as "charity", though it is based on a root meaning "justice" (צדק).

According to Maimonides (known as the Rambam) there are eight levels of tzedakah in Jewish tradition, ranging from publicly giving funds, so that the donor and recipient both know who each other is, to providing the means by which a needy person can become self-sustaining.

Maimonides defined the following eight levels of charity:

  1. Giving a poor person work (or loaning him money to start a business) so he will not have to depend on charity. This is because the person is now free from having to rely on charity. The giver has not just helped the recipient for the short while, but instead for the rest of their life. There are four sub-levels to this:
    1. Giving a poor person work.
    2. Making a partnership with them (this is lower than work, as the recipient might feel he doesn't put enough into the partnership).
    3. Giving a loan.
    4. Giving a gift.
  2. Giving charity anonymously to an unknown recipient.
  3. Giving charity anonymously to a known recipient.
  4. Giving charity publicly to an unknown recipient.
  5. Giving charity before being asked.
  6. Giving adequately after being asked.
  7. Giving willingly, but inadequately.
  8. Giving unwillingly.

Note that these are listed in order of 'righteousness', with number one being the most righteous was to give, and number 8 being the least righteous.

Judaism is very tied to the concept of tzedakah, or charity, and the nature of Jewish giving has created a Jewish community that is very philanthropic. Because Judaism puts emphasis on the doing of good deeds, one's acts of righteousness are extremely important in living a sacred life. Because the second highest level of tzedakah is giving anonymously to an unknown recipient, anonymous donations are especially common in the jewish community.

Charitable giving over the Internet


Unlike Maimonides's second level of charitable giving, over the internet it is impossible to donate to a charitable cause or to an individual's tip jar anonymously. This is because your identity as a giver is tied into your credit card information. When someone drops a tip into my tip jar, (and thank you to those that have), I know who the person is because they've used PayPal, which demands authentication through bank accounts. I'd much rather not know who donates, and I wonder if the people that donate would rather be anonymous. For example, Mir is currently raising money for the 3-day Walk for a Cure walk in Boston. When you donate to Mir's fundraising page, there is no way to make an anonymous donation. I find this mildly irritating, because I do try to adhere to the principles of tzedakah when I am considering a charitable donation to an institution.

In our home, we have several tzedakah boxes, as you would see in most Jewish homes. We tend to drop our change into the box, occasionally stuff an extra dollar or two in there as well, and when the boxes fill up we take them down to have the change sorted and counted and then discuss where we plan to donate the money. I usually buy a money order at the post office, because those can be anonymous, and then send in the donation to our charitable choice.

But what about anonymous giving over the net? Would you want to be able to do this? Would you want to be able to direct your charitable giving to the exact projects you support when donating to a large organization like the United Way or your alma mater? If you were to give to the American Cancer Society in honor of a friend who has overcome Hodgkins Lymphoma, would you want to ask that your donation go directly into fighting that particular disease? Do you want to donate anonymously to an individual with a tip jar on a blog, knowing that person might be embarassed by the small amount of your donation? Or that you might be embarassed that all you can donate is a dollar, but you still have that person in your thoughts?

I would be much more likely to donate over the net if my donations could be anonymous. I am bothered by the constant phishing for my personal information, something I believe should be kept private, especially in giving tzedakah. Much of this refers back to the issue of authentication I mentioned a few days back. I've got some ideas I'm brewing in my brain, and will be posting more about this, but I'd really like your opinions on charitable giving over the net. Do you give the same way over the net that you do in snailmail or in person? Do you give anonymously? If you receive charity, do you want it to be anonymous? Would you rather know the donator? Would you be more likely to give if you were able to ensure that your gift went right to the program that you want to support within a large institutional charity?

Lots to think about.
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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Remember this?

Remember this post, down at the bottom, when I said that the Girl had written a good book report but her teacher wasn't even going to bother giving her anything but a C-. Well, I was wrong. He failed her. Yup indeedy, a big fat F. You wanna know why? Because I wrote the half the paper for her, following her ideas from her first draft, but fixing it up so that it had a definate flair like a professional book review. So he accused her of cheating. Now, I set him up, and I even posted about it so that he KNEW I was setting him up, but just as I expected, he was so out to get her, that he didn't even bother thinking about what I said. Do I know he reads my blog. YES, I do, for a fact.

Today, the SpEd teacher called me back, after I left messages for both the English teacher and the SpEd teacher yesterday afternoon. I wasn't pleased with him because he intimated that the Girl was a cheater, was dumb, and was a liar. No, he didn't say that straight out, but she came home and she felt really upset about the implications of the conversation. She felt that he thought she was "too stupid to write a good paper" and that she didn't "know any big words" both of which are false. I again mentioned that she has two pretty severe learning disabilities, like maybe someone in the school MIGHT, just MIGHT recognize this and give the poor kid some credit, but noooooo.

I did mention that I've already met with the principal over this very topic, and have contacted the superintendant as well. Now I'm going to have to have a face to face with the superintendent and the attorney's involved. You would think that the damn teacher would realize I'm not playing games here, that I advocate for my kid vociferously and that I am not backing down. I guess he's either too stubborn or to dumb to get it. Really, I don't care which it is, I just want my kid to like English again and not have her self esteem dragged through the mud by a teacher who seems to get off on being a PITA.

OK, I've had way too much coffee today, and then I dealt with the damn computer for 5 hours, so I'm not in a very good frame of mind, but I'm so sick of middle school. Does it HAVE to be this bad?

The math teacher, OTOH, has been so much better now that the Girl is no longer in her study hall. It's miraculous. No more Ms MathTeacher stories. Except that her dog barks too much when the Girl is visiting her friend's house, who lives right in front of the Math Teacher. Otherwise, no complaints at all.
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I'm in FireFox hell

Anyone know the intricacies of FireFox? For some bizarro reason, my computer believes that I am running FireFox and will not let me open up FireFox. It keeps telling me to delete the version that is running, and then restart if the delete doesn't work. I've tried to find the Firefox process it thinks is running, and it is invisible. It is NOT running anywhere on this machine that I can find. I've even gone as far as reinstalling Firefox to try and get it to run, but it won't. I'm really upset because my profile is just perfect the way it was, and I HATE Internet Explorer with such a passion, I can't even begin to count the ways I hate it.

I've tried to find information on the mozilla.com site but there just isn't anything that pertains to my bizarro problem. I'm thinking of uninstalling Firefox completely and reinstalling a virgin copy, but I want to save my profile and it will write over it.

What do I do? Why are simple things so fricking frustrating? They don't need to be. Why can't a computer just work? I'm so pissed off. I just want this to work. I love Firefox. I'm feeling sad and abandoned. And jittery. But that might be the two giant cups of coffee I drank this morning in a meeting. You think?


Update: I fixed it. It took close to 5 hours, but I did it. Now, let's go over why it took so long. Um, could it be because the information on the mozilla.com web site was WRONG WRONG WRONG? Well, yes it could. And it was. I spent hours going from the support site to all the documents they posted (all wrong) to the mozilla newsgroups, and nothing worked. Finally, I kludged something that I would not recommend unless, like me, you're near hysterics and want to bash the computer in it's ugly little monitor. But, it eventually worked! YAHOO. This was, by far, the most non-intuitive fix I've ever come up with. It took so long because it made so little sense, but who cares, it works! I'm not loving mozilla right now, though. Not at all.
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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Not to discriminate.....

Here's the Boy's room, before and after. I swear, this has been great therapy for us all. I'm having a blast memoralizing the mess, and they're having not so great a time cleaning. But so far it's been enjoyable seeing their rooms displayed for the world to see. The comments the Girl got on her room definately kept her entertained.

So, here's the before photos:

Although he's not quite as bad as the Girl as far as clothing on the floor, he isn't winning any prizes for neatness.



His closet is also filled to the brim, but he wouldn't let me photograph it with the door wide open.

.

Note the mess on the dresser. He will not remove one item from that dresser.


The little table in the middle of the floor is his 'bedside' table. He likes it there. Don't ask why, because I can't tell you. But I can tell you it's never been dusted once.


He tends to let his laundry pile way up.


Check out the dust on that bookshelf. Isn't that whale adorable. I got it when I was a kid and he's always liked it, so now he has it. But when I was a kid, it was dusted.



Make his bed? Why would you ever do that?



Isn't a desk for piling magazines and books on top? Note the drawer is missing. He completely killed that drawer until it was nothing but tinder.




Oh, and about the curtains. He picked them out himself and he loves them. So no comments.



Here are the After Photos
This first one is his bed made. See that blue blanket? He's had it since he was a baby and he still sleeps with it every night. He says it's going to be his Chuppa (Wedding Canopy) when he gets married.



The dresser remains exactly the same, as promised.



The laundry has been taken down to be washed. Hurrah! And the books are much neater in the bookshelf. The guitar still isn't in it's case, but let's not be picky, right?



The desk has been cleaned off, but the specially saved newspapers are still not filed away. They're all to do with the Red Sox, of course. Note the shoes lined up under the desk. That Boy does love his shoes.








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And after

The Girl cleaned her room on Saturday afternoon. Had I known that her filthy room would be such an interesting topic, I would have considered posting more pics. The post got picked up by this site, and I got plenty of hits, hopefully from curious parents who wanted to see the depths of dirt. So welcome, all you Universal Hubsters. Stick around, I've got another kid's room to share.

So here's the results of the big clean.




Note the broom and dustpan are in the exact same place where she left them on Saturday.




See the closet? The pile is about 5' high.




Look at how nice and neatly the clothing stacks on her shelf.




Wow, even the shoes are lined up.




The bookcase has been straightened up and all the nailpolish is in the basket. Still some makeup left out, however.




She can even find her laptop and use her desk for homework. That's new!




Her bed is 'made' but she didn't change the sheets, even though she claimed she did.




Look at the hidden pile of stuff behind her bed. Ooops!




The floor is so clean. It's just like I remembered it from when we moved in. I think that was the last time I saw it. So, as predicted, it's cleaner...but no cigar.

Stay tuned for her brother's room.
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Saturday, March 25, 2006

As promised...Before

Here are the before photos of the Girl's room at it's absolute pinacle of filth and slovinliness.



You gotta give her credit for best use of the floor as the world's largest shelf.



Interesting how much clothing she has, and yet she rarely can fine somethng to wear.


Note that she has not yet unpacked from her camp week, 2 weeks ago. Or, she's pulled the stuff out of the suitcase and just tossed it on the floor. That works.



The child really has it rough, doesn't she?



She's claimed to have cleaned her room this afternoon. I haven't been up there yet, but I'm betting her idea of clean and my idea of clean are two different things.



She did, however, bring up a broom and swept the floor.


I can't wait to see.
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Coke with lime.... eh?

Dave has been singing the praises of Coke with Lime forever. When he couldn't find it for a while, he was despondant. But it has appeared again in the markets, and today while at the Stop and Slop, I saw some and decided to try it. Let my say first that I buy Coke once a year, for Passover. In fact, I bought 4 bottles of KLP Coke today, alone with my requisite 5 lbs of matzoh. We don't drink soda in our house. I kind of think it's a big waste of money, calories, and contains too many chemicals for me to justify the expense. We drink flavored seltzers and water. We're incredibly boring.

The second we got home, the Boy couldn't wait to open that bottle of Coke. He drank it and said it didn't taste limey to him. The Girl also had a glass, and she liked it a bit more. I drank a glass, and it gave me wicked gas. Bloated me right up. I'm so not used to soda. But it did taste pretty good considering that I don't like cola drinks at all. I'm more of a traditionalist. Give me cream soda or root beer if I'm going to drink soda. Coke, well it doesn't really taste like anything but sweet brown fizzy stuff to me. So sorry Dave. I tried to love it. But it's just as well, because it's nasty stuff, Coke. Nasty.

In other news:

I am so frigging sick of CBS prempting all my nightime shows for that damn basketball nonsense. I want Letterman and I want CRAIG. I miss CRAIG. I'm mad for CRAIG. I'm actually having to watch horrible Conan who is not funny and sort of repulses me. Never mind Leno who used to be so funny and now is a whiney Hollywood stooge. I remember him from his Boston comic days when he was hilarious. That was a long time ago.

I've even watched Jimmy Kimmel a bit, but I don't really "get" him. I remember him from his sidekick days on Ben Stein's Money. Then a bit of "The Man Show". I think maybe he's more of a guy thing.

I'm all caught up on my late night PBS watching. I need Craig to come back and make me drool over his Scottish accent and that adorable face. He is so hot.

I cannot wait for Lost next week. Everytime I see the promo of Locke diving to reach under the steel wall descending my heart thumps. It's gonna be so good.

Pesach:

I'm (obviously) starting the Pesach prep. We are limiting the amount of hametz (foods not eaten on Passover) that comes into the house and we're going to try and eat it all up before the holiday. We never can really do that, but we always give it a try.

This year I've pretty much planned what we'll be eating in advance.

  1. Turkey, of course, because a holiday in our house MUST have turkey, my kid's favorite food.
  2. Brisket, because I love it and the Girl will eat it, but the Boy, not so much.
  3. Sole encrusted with seasoned matzoh meal and lightly fried
  4. Chicken soup with matzoh balls
  5. Roasted Orange Glazed Chicken
  6. Shish Kebab with lots of veggies
  7. Matzoh Brei
  8. Leftovers for the other nights.

I'll make a vegetable kugel, a potato kugel (both kids love this), and the mushroom kugel I made a couple of years ago what was so popular.

Lots and lots of veggies that we can eat (no peas. corn, or green beans, sigh)

We'll by the requisite huge amount of Pesach candy, because this is the time of year when sweets become a necessity to make up for the lack of so many other things. I'll get several cakes during my big shop at the Kosher store, and probably some other goodies like almond macaroons. I'll also make some chocolate coconut macaroons.

I can't wait to make a huge tub of charoset. No matter how much I make, it's never enough. I could LIVE on that stuff.

The cleaning I'm not looking forward to, but at least the kitchen in this house will be easy to Kasher. Not much to it.

Every year right before Pesach I swear I'm never doing this again. It's such hard work and so tiring, but it is my favorite holiday. I'm weird. I love Pesach food.
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Friday, March 24, 2006

This weekend in pictures

This weekend we are going to clean up our rooms. And by we, I don't mean me. My room is, well, it's not spotless, but you can see the floor.

Stay tuned. This could be hilarious.
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It's pretty grim in blogland

This has been an interesting week in blogland. Or at least the blogland that I read on a regular basis. Of course, there's the debacle Mim started with her post about false advertising in marriage. I can't even begin to comment on it because I found it to be one of the more inane ranting I've ever read. But the shit did fly, and it found itself homes here, here, here and lord only know where else. Actually, Tertia at So Close has a decent list of some of the blogs that have commented on the original post. So, OK... we now know that being fat is bad and too many women buy into the whole 'I have to please my man, no matter what" viewpoint. I'm just not there.

Additionally, there have been surgeries, and illness, and some breakdowns, plenty of tantrums, and lots of other blogland traumas. Perhaps this is the reason, but I actually thing astrology is a crock, so I'm not buying into this one. But you can, if you need an excuse for why things are so intense. However, I'm worried about some bloggers with health issues, and want to give a shoutout to anyone that is feeling poorly.

So of course, because Mercury is in retrograde, this means things at Chez Double Trouble are also a 10 on the intense scale. That vague problem I've been blogging about blew up today, as I knew it would. Lots and lots of stuff going on, but the upshot is, it is quite possible that our family dynamic is going to change drastically in the next couple of weeks. Yes, this is a good thing, and no, nobody is pregnant. There are an amazingly huge amount of things to deal with in order for this to occur, and I'm trying my best not to get overwhelmed by it all. It comes out of some seriously bad shit, and I'm terribly sorry for the trouble that is making for a lot of tears, but this is absolutely for the best. Can't get into it more than this, because it involves a lot of privacy issues that aren't mine to disclose. But for the reader that does know, we're praying that it works out the way we all want it to. And I know you know that.

There is a distinct bad odor eminating from some place in the kitchen but I can't find it. I have a bad feeling about this. As in, dead mouse bad. Please pray for us.

In case you didn't know, I STILL hate basketball and have no interest in March Madness and wish it would go away. It is way way overblown. It's enough. Give me baseball.

Tomorrow I am doubling up on the pee pills and will be in the bathroom all day, in case you're trying to find me. Lasix drives me nuts, but if I don't take it, my feet blow up and it's uncomfortable. Another indignity of getting old.
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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Authenticity

One of the things I'm looking at for work is the issue of authentication. Ok, don't all yawn at once, because this little word affects all of us every day.

How are you represented online? How does any company you deal with online know who you are? What proof do you offer them, or what proof does a company demand in order for you to trade with them. And the question that I've most been thinking about, how are your children, or mine for that matter, representing themselves online.

Which brings us to Friendster, MySpace, and some of the other online 'communities' where children congregate. MySpace does no authentification whatsoever when someone creates an account on their servers. They ask for no proof of who you are, nor do they care who a prospective user is. They ask the small question about age, but kids are experts at lying.

While perusing my kid's MySpace accounts last night, as I do nightly just to make sure everything is up to my approval, I saw that the Girl had accepted a Friend I didn't recognize. On going to that person's site, I noted that this was a kid in my daughter's 8th grade class that was representing himself as a 19 year old boy from California. Because of how he represented himself, he had a lot of soft core porn on his site. I deleted him immediately as my daughter's friend, and reported him to MySpace for fraud. His page is still up today.

My children and their friends are experts on Ebay. They know how to buy buy buy, but they're not all that astute about how sellers work. They don't always notice things adults would, yet they are liable for shopping, even when the seller is less than honest. Had ebay used an authentication methodology, they would know that someone under the age of 18 was entering into a binding contract without parental consent, which isn't legal. But ebay doesn't authenticate once a userID and password has been attached to an account.

Some of the ways to authenticate who is using an account are by using passwords, but we've all learned that controlling passwords is fairly pathetic to ensure secure transactions online. What about those ecommerce companies that promise secure transactions by placing that little SSL padlock on the bottom of a page? Is that any safer? Nope, it's not. That padlock guarantees pretty much nothing except that you have been told to trust it. But it's not trustworthy.

What about pin numbers? Same as passwords, they're too easy to break and again don't promise security. Biometrics is exciting and new, but there are way too many things that don't work about it. Fingerprints aren't like on CSI, where you run them through a computer and get a perfect match in 5 seconds. It's much more complicated than that, and hardly foolproof. Iris scannings? Are you planning to stick your eyeball into an ATM machine? Not me. DNA... yeah, right. Maybe in 200 years but certainly not now.

So what does that leave? One thing is to change the way we authenticate who we are in this country. Some think that a national identity card is the way to go, with an embedded PK1 chip that would contain all the information as to who you are. It would not be linked to a driving license...or maybe it would be a national driving license. It would not be linked to a passport. But still, how do you prove who you are in the first place?

One idea that has been kicking around is to have a digital birth certificate of sorts. This would be similar to an identity card, but could be international in nature, and goverened by an agency outside the control of any government or nationality. I like this idea. a lot. As you may have grasped, I don't trust business to authenticate, but I also don't truse. governments, especially our government here in the USA to be responsible for identity authentification. Can you imagine the disaster that would be, since HomeLand Security can't even pass their own security tests. Nope, they're not to be trusted at all.

I don't mind having some kind of international identity card that authenticates who I am, but I do want it to be based on some legal premise. Right now in the US, we don't have any legal way of proving who we are. Birth Certs are easy to obtain, social security numbers are as well. And yet those are the two methods we use to say who we are. That's kind of sad.

I'm going to continue this in a series of posts. But I'd like to know what you think about this topic. So please comment.
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Holy Shite, Batman!

Literally. On Monday night we had a plumbing disaster. It was extremely unpleasant, as plumbing disasters are wont to be. I cleaned up the best I could, and then Mary cleaned it again the next morning. But.... and oh, this is gross.....

Some of the overspillage seems to have gotten under the floor. A brand new floor, less than a year old. It's buckling and now has two large lumps under it. I think it has to be pulled up and replaced. But that means the subflooring is probably soaked as well. A small plumbing overflow causes mucho damage. Holy Shite, indeed.

Because, if the floor has to be replaced, than the vanity probably does as well. And the brand new bathroom just redone before we moved in? Gutted.

Shoot me now, please.

I have bad bathroom karma, evidentally. Our guest bathroom in California also had leakage problems, and (I am NOT making this up) the mold was so bad that mushrooms started growing around the base of the toilet. That would be the joys of building a house with no basement. Of course that meant pulling up the flooring and subflooring, re-doing the bathroom from the joists up, and hoping for the best. It was an interesting experience watching flora grow around the toilet base. Especially when you're allergic to mold. Not the best experience.

Blech.
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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Blogging on my mind tonight

Tonight when we were at Papa Ginos, that unfabulous pizza parlor, home of the most bland pizza in the world, we were sitting next to two women, both of whom had two children with them. One of them looked amazingly familiar and I looked at her several times, thinking, "Where do I know this woman from?". Her kids were gorgeous and very lively. They didn't look familiar but they were about 5 and 8 years old, and I really don't know too many kids that age in real life.

She looked at me several times, but she looked more at my kids. I could see that she had some sense of recognition of them, but didn't know their names. Ditto for me, I had no clue of the names she called her kids. But it was apparent to both of us that we looked familiar in some way we couldn't figure out.

After they left, I said to my kids, "I think that woman is a blogger."

I didn't know which blog it was, but she just looked way too familiar and she was obviously a single mom out with a friend, so I tried to think of who it could possibly be, thinking of single moms in that age group. I went up and down my blog roll, but I finally figured out who it must have been.

If that mom is reading, wow, your kids are really beautiful! It was nice to see them, and I wish I had even a remote clue of who you were then so I could have said "Hi" and introduced myself. Oh well, maybe another time.
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Decisions made aren't always fun

Sometimes being a grownup just plain sucks. Today I had to make some really tough decisions, decisions that not only affect me and my family, but the community to which we belong. Again, I can't post the particulars, but suffice it to say it was a very tough choice I had to make, and I did it for the welfare of my family and others, even though in the short run it isn't going to be great for anyone involved. I'm sad and sorry and feel very down because I don't choose to hurt anyone, but know I had to for the better good. There are so many things that I wish I could change, but the fact is, sometimes life just beats you down and there is nothing anyone can do about it but hope for eventual change.

After the Boy's guitar lesson, I decided that we needed to get out of the house and take a quick trip to Staples for some office supplies, and then I'd take the kids out for pizza. For once, no complaints. Because it has been the first time in ages it's just been us, the mood was light and we had a good time with no moaning and groaning.

It seemed almost odd to be just us, after so many visitors night after night. I like having company, honestly I do, but there are days when you just need your family and a bit of alone time. I'd been longing for some time to catch up with the kids without an audience, and it was great. I think we all felt relieved to have the time to share what's going on in our respective lives.

Once your kids reach a certain age, they choose friends over family. I understand that, but family has to take precedence over friends. That's a hard concept for teenagers to understand, so it's my job as the "adult" to make it happen. That isn't always easy. Kids want to come over because they know our house is always a safe place to be. Funny that it turned out to be our house that's the safe house, but that must give you all an inkling of how fucked up other families in our community must be. If my family is the sane one, what the heck is happening in this world?

I feel overwhelmed at times because too many people count on me. I want my kids to count on me, and I hope that they'll always know that they can come to me no matter what. But do I want ever teen in a 10 mile radius to count on me too? I don't think I do. I don't know. I'm so torn between helping kids to be safe and to feel like they can trust me, and needing space for our own issues.

Of course, our issues are kinda normal compared to other people. That's so interesting to me after a couple of years back when we were trauma central and everyone else seemed so blessed with great kids. I felt cursed back then, but maybe it's just that my kids were precocious and did the worst of their acting out at 11 instead of during the teen years. Or maybe I'm just kidding myself and we're just in a decent lull right now. Who knows?
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Monday, March 20, 2006

Tidbits

My owie is now a WOWIE. It hurts like hell. I took the muscle relaxants last night and couldn't wake up this morning. Maybe that was a bit extreme. But this thing is really bothering me and I have to do something because it hurts to type.

Some kids seem to be confused about where they live. My kid no longer comes home after school, but goes over to her friend's house, where I guess she is welcome anytime. In exchange, her friend comes to our house and stays all evening until I toss her out at bedtime. I'm confused. How come nobody stays at home anymore?

We played the most hilarious game of Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture DVD edition tonight. If you haven't played it yet, it's a lot of fun and the DVD hints are so.... odd. Some are so easy it's ridiculous and others are like "who in the hell would evah know that?"

The downstairs toilet overflowed tonight all over me and the bathroom floor. It was tres disgusting and took me forever to mop it up. I learned that we desperately need a new mop. Who would know these things? The Boy helped me with the last part of the cleanup while the guilty party hid upstairs in her room.

Nothing says middle school like a sobbing girl on the phone, begging to talk to your child. Even better when her mother calls because the sobbing girl is pitching such a fit that she cannot call herself. Can you say DRAMA?

I read Carl Reiner's new book NNNNN today. It wasn't at the top of my 'must recommend' books. But I finished it because I must finish books or else the authors will come and yell at me.

I made chicken soup tonight for dinner and The Boy ate nine (9) bowls of it. Please tell me he has a hollow leg because otherwise, I have no clue as to where he puts this food.

The Girl refused to eat because she wanted to watch the season premier of Prison Break, and then she snuck 2 pieces of cornbread upstairs to my room, which is VERBOTEN. I told her to bring it downstairs and she refused. I grounded her and then she cried to her friend, who was STILL HERE, about how she didn't think she should have been grounded since she didn't really bring the food upstairs. Yeah, it disappeared into thin air someplace between the kitchen and my bedroom. After she yelled down that she was sitting on the floor eating it. Not her most shining moment, by any means.

The girl wrote a very good paper on Fallen Leaves, the memoir she's been reading for the past three months. She showed it to an English teacher from another team today, who went over it with a fine tooth comb, helped her correct any errors, and told her it was definately an A- paper. How much you want to bet she gets a C- from the teacher that knows no other grade? I'm putting money on it.

Another 24-hour market in our 'hood was robbed today. The one at the end of the street was robbed a week ago, this robbery is about 1/4 mile away. This is the 5th robbery in town by what appears to be the same guy, but the police are too busy downing their Dunkin Donuts and directing traffic outside Whole Foods to bother with armed robbery. It's so inconvenient to actually have to catch criminals, you know. We live in the safest city in America, according to some magazine rating, but we're in danger if we set foot into a Store-24 to pick up some cheap milk.

All in all, a tip top day!
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I have an owie

You know how sometimes you sleep funny and you wake up with a bit of a stiff neck? Yeah, we all do that. But I'm special. Special, I tell ya.

Because I go to sleep and wake up with half of my body screaming in pain. Ok, I exaggerate a little. But not so little. Not half my body, just the upper right quadrant. That would be my neck, shoulder and a searing pain going down my right arm. Plus my entire shoulder round the back to my spine. Aching, oh man it is aching.

Advil isn't cutting it. There is this burning sensation all around my shoulder like I've pitched 90 at 95 mph during the playoffs. Please take me out of the game, my rotator cuff feels like it's burned to a crisp.

I took mysterious muscle relaxants a friend passed on to me when her insurance company made a mistake and misread her prescription and sent 4 huge bottles of these things instead of one bottle. Their mistake is my gain. They usually work on lower back aches and pains, but nope, the did not touch the scorching agony running down my arm.

This means I have to, oh dear God, call the doctor. Who will yell at me because I've been avoiding her since, well...you know. Since I cancelled that little procedure for the 3rd time. Because I am a bad person and I suck.

However, the doctor will have the magic shot of steriods that will make my shoulder stop hurting. And if I make promises to reschedule that procedure, which I will of course cancel because it is not my nature to let strangers stick things up my darkest nether regions, she might, just might take pity on me and give me pain killers. I really like pain killers. They kill pain, but they do so much more.

"Oh, is the house on fire? Pretty pretty flames!"

And if I am very very good, she will give me a sling to put my arm in, and I will be happy because then nobody will beg me to type their papers at 11:00 at night, not that I'm tattling on anyone in particular (cough the Girl cough).

If I really play my cards right, I can sucker someone, again, no names (cough the boy cough) into cooking dinner. Heh.

I am now going to bed where I shall hope to sleep without hurting the other upper quadrant of my body. Wish me luck.
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Sunday, March 19, 2006

It is rock n roll and we love it

Our usual Sunday trip to the library was a bit unusual this week. First, the girl had two friends with her, so I had 4 teens tagging along looking for stuff to entertain themselves. They hightailed it up to the 3rd floor which is the audiovisual floor of our library. The boy heads right for the CDs, the girls head for the DVDs. Me, I headed for the bathroom.

We picked out films that everyone could agree upon, and then I went downstairs to find some new stuff to read. I read so much that I take about about 10 books every 3 weeks, and usually finish them all and start on a book I've had on the bedside table pile.

The Boy took out the DVD of the Monterrey Pop Festival, circa 1969, and he's been watching it since we got home. Wow, it's blow your mind groovy! I'm having a blast listening to it and thinking back to my high school daze (pun intended) when this was pretty much all I listened to, and all I pretty much cared about. Seeing Janis and Jimi alive again in my living room brings feelings of such regret. You gotta wonder what they would be like today, if they had lived. Jimi is so amazing. He was so revolutionary and I don't think we even realized what an astounding talent he was back then. I watch him play his guitar now and there is no way you can figure out how those sounds came out of that stratocaster. It's miraculous.

The most striking thing about watching this all play out on our TV is the lack of ridiculous clothing and backup dancers shaking their booties. What we see are real musicians singing their hearts out about the injustices of live, about their sad pasts, about their loves gone sour. And you listen to the words and feel the pain points because it's real, not just the idea of some fat producer jackass in Orlando who thinks with his penis. You watch Janis Joplin sing, and there is no way you can compare her soulful performance to Beyonce or Christina. You know what I mean?
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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Imagine this, if you will

One thing you don't know about me (out of many, actually) is that I have the absolute loudest sneeze you're probably ever heard. I'm not one of those delicate little flowers with the teeny tiny 'cheoo' sneezes. Nope, not me. I'm a "AAAAAAAACCCCHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOO" kinda gal. I mean loud. Really really explosively loud. Window rattling loud. Scaring off birds and squirrels loud. Competing with overhead jet planes loud.


Why am I sharing this information? Because, dear friends, it is the very beginning of allergy season. The time of year when the sneeze becomes a precious part of my personality.

My sneeze is so thunderous I have to plan ahead. Oh, a trip to the library today? Gotta wait until I've had at least an hour of solid sneezing under my belt. Because we don't want to disturb the patrons and knock books off shelves, do we?

During the heart of allergy season, I wake up and sneeze and sneeze and sneeze, rapid fire. I'm thinking that they could send me to Iraq as a weapon of mass destruction because I could destroy the eardrums of all around me. Plus, I'm spreading germs. Germ warfare... and added bonus! How come Cheney hasn't thought of this, yet?

When the Worthless Pet is in the same room with me and I sneeze, he jumps sky high and runs away like he's just been hit with a pellet gun. I'm that scary.

Once, a doctor told me that it is dangerous to hold in your sneezes, that you should sneeze as vigorously as possible. I wonder if she meant rib breaking sneezing? Pee in your pants sneezing? I can't imagine anyone would actually recommend sneezing like mine. But then again, the entertainment value is priceless.
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Friday, March 17, 2006

A little bit of business

I have finally cleaned up my blogrolls. I know, it took forever and I apologize down on bended knee, blah blah blah. I suck.

What is new, you ask? Well, I have cleaned out some old links I no longer read. I've removed those links that are either dead, as in the blog is no longer published, or dying, as in the blog isn't updated enough to bother with. I've added a bunch of links to some new, fab blogs that I've been reading for a while, but just haven't linked up till now.

There are new blogs in just about every category, with the Mom list having the most changes, followed closely by the This That and The Other list. Some of the links are old hat, some are new to everyone, so check them out.

I also added a ::new:: tag to my blogroll that will show all updated posts within the last 12 hours. So I'll know if you update!

Why do you care? I dunno. Maybe you don't. But there are some cool new blogs to check out, and I'm always happy when people update their blogrolls. It's exciting!

Why am I telling you all this? Because I have an ulterior motive. Heh heh heh. No, really I don't. But please, if you don't see yourself on my blogrolls and want to be there, drop your url and a short introcution into a comment and I'll add you. Or, if you think there is a glaring hole in my blogroll and I'm missing the absolute best blog in the world, let me know that too, along with the url.

Finally, if you're on my blogroll and haven't returned the favor, I'd be mighty appreciative if you would add me to your blogroll next time you edit. You can add me immediately if you have a Blogroll account by pressing the Blogroll Me link right under the Blogroll heading. Easy Peasy.

Don't forget to add yourself to Technorati, which will help you increase your traffic and will enable more bloggers to find you, too. And ditto for the ecosystem at The Truth Laid Bear, if you haven't already done so. A bit of linky love is a good thang.

Coming soon: I finally update my reading list, which is woefully out of date.
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The thing about being the cool mom

Our house is THE house to hang out at after school. I'm not bragging, the fact is I wish it weren't the house that they all come to after school. Besides teens eating me out of house and home, they are loud and nutty and disturb my quiet peaceful home. But, on the other hand, I know where my kids are, who they're hanging out with, and what they are up to.

Today, the Girl brought home 5 friends. That would be 6 13-14 year old kids in the house, 2 boys, 4 girls. Screeching girls. So, I put them to work. I did. I swear it, I made them clean. Why not? My feeling is, they're only going to mess it up, so why not at least start out with a nice clean space. Ms M polished furniture and dusted. Ms A swept the floor. Ms G vacuumed. Mr G picked up all the crap laying around and crammed it into a bag to take upstairs to the Girl's room. Mr B helped empty the dishwasher and load it up with dirty dishes. I polished the glass, cleaned off my desk, directed traffic, and beamed when my house ended up clean and fresh looking. Man, why didn't I think of this before?

Then they ate cookies we baked yesterday, and all played on DDR. Once they were all nice and sweaty, they all piled into a car and went off to the JCC to go swimming. Ah, quiet again.

A couple of issues: one of the girls is nice, but she can be oh so catty. I'm not big on catty behavior as a rule, and I can't stand hearing girls dis other girls for looks, body image, etc. It makes my teeth grind. She just kept dissing girls, and I had to pull her aside and tell her that in my house we kept those comments to ourselves.

Another girl kept going on and on and on about how fat she was, how big her butt was, etc.
I finally asked, "How tall are you?"
"5'5"
"And how much do you weigh?"
"116"

OK, that just about killed me to hear. How does a girl get such weird ideas of what she looks like? Especially when another girl in the room is quite heavy and pretty damn happy with herself. So I had to tell Girl A privately that constantly harping on her weight in front of another girl is not nice, rude, and probably hurts her friend's feelings. I gotta ask, how come her mother hasn't told her this stuff? Why doesn't she know that she's being mean and rude? Isn't anyone teaching these kids moral behavior anymore?

Last issue... well I can't share it. I wish I could, but I can't. However, it's getting me very upset and angry because I see how it is affecting other people, including my kid. It makes my cry just to think about it. Tonight I was soooooo tempted to do something I swore I wouldn't do...get involved. Involvement would be very messy and wouldn't solve anything. But I was really very very close.

That's the thing about being the cool mom. You see the kids who are really hurting, you see the kids who are foundering and trying to put their lives in some kind of order despite parents that are way fucked up. You see kids who don't even have parents. You know more about them than you probably should. And your heart aches for them. I wish I could take a couple of these kids in and make them better. I wish I could solve the hurt and pain of their ugly lives. I know what it means to have grown up in a dysfunctional family with physical and emotional abuse. I know the ramifications of such a background, how long it lasts, and how hard it is to believe in the good that people have. I want to tell them all that it will get better, that they only have a few more years to hang in there.

But when you're 13 or 14, 4 more years is a lifetime and then some. If I could, I'd bring them all into my home and my heart and try to teach them to love and trust again. I get so frustrated that I can't. I want to know how to help them without being intrusive. Without getting involved in their dysfunctional families, and the danger that could possibly ensue. I often feel more like the helpless mom than the cool mom.

Oh, and one more thing. One of the girls has decided she's marrying the Boy. She now refers to his as her future husband. He's a bit nonplussed by this attention!
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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Nasty comments begat new, not so nice posts

I've mentioned the harassment I've been getting by family members of our not so favorite teacher, who, in her defense, hasn't been horrid at all this week, especially since the Girl was transferred out of her team time study hall. Today I received this delightful ditty from Rachael, her younger daughter. I'm so impressed by the grammar, spelling, and general tone of the comment. I thought I would share it, so that all the other teachers and members of her family could feel so proud about what a bright, communicative daughter she is. I know if she were my child, I'd be kvelling right now.

(Update) Anony-mouse claims that Rachael did not write the post below. Here is the first line of the post. Sorry to use your last name, but this isn't a game any more. If you don't stop, I'm going to the police. I mean it... stop before it becomes a very big embarassment to your entire family as well as your school compatriots. I've asked several times for you to stop commenting. This is now harassment, plain and simple. So here it is, for all to see. I've left off much of the identifying information, but the most you harass me, the more I post. I'm assuming you don't want this information made public, so let me again tell you

STOP READING AND COMMENT ON MY BLOG. GO AWAY AND LEAVE US ALONE. THIS IS NOT A REQUEST, IT IS A DEMAND.

Rachel Collins has left a new comment on your post "3/11/2006 12:24:00 AM":

I would like to say that if your going to write about people get your facts straight! My mother...yeah my mom...has three daughters. Two of her children were away last week and the other one has a life and is constintly busy and is unable to walk the dog because of her hetic schedaul. If that was the reason why my mother had to leave sargent camp early, it was a legit reason! So if you feel like writing about us again now u can add that your friendly math teacher has two older children that are in college and are succesful even though they were raised by a witch(according to you) and another daughter who is a hard worker and is incredible at sports. So all in all your cunt of a teacher...my mother...knows what she is doing!
And just so you know I decided to write this myself. You brought the family into this and I'm just giving you the facts.
oh and it's a really smart idea to put pictures up of your daughter online.

Domain Name attbi.com ? (Commercial)
IP Address 66.30.11.# (Comcast Cable)
ISP Comcast Cable
Location
Continent : North America
Country : United States (Facts)
State : Massachusetts

Here is the next post from our friend:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "3/16/2006 05:21:00 PM":

The anonymous comments did not come from Rachel but from someone else. You make quite a few comments about spelling and grammer, have you checked your own lately?? You are as bad as everyone you dish. I also noticed that comments from others have just as many errors yet you do not rant about that. You like to pick on people who do not agree with you only. There are alot of people who will tell you that The teacher is a good one and they have come to appreciate her after they get to the high school. She is right about putting pictures of your kids on the web, not to brilliant. I believe the girl will have just as much trouble in her other team time due to her disrepect, (wonder where she gets that from) and nasty behavior. Well at any rate, Have a nice day!!!!!

Domain Name attbi.com ? (Commercial)
IP Address 66.30.11.# (Comcast Cable)
ISP Comcast Cable
Location
Continent : North America
Country : United States (Facts)
State : Massachusetts


Amazing, eh? Thanks, Rachael, for our afternoon entertainment. Quite a few of your mom's students are over and we've all had a great laugh at your expense. Sure you still want to keep commenting? Because you're fair game now that you introduced yourself (not that the anonymous signature fooled me for one second, but...). You comment, I post it. Or you could just stop reading my blog. That's an idea!
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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Here's a sober topic to ponder

I've always been forthright on the facts of medication in our household. As in, I take a shitload, and so does the Boy. Most of my meds are heart or asthma related, but there is that Effexor that makes me a pleasant human being, and I do have some Xanax for flying and other freak-out moments. The Boy has even more fun drugs, all of them prescription. One in particular, you know, the one that begins with an R, is deemed the most dangerous drug in the world for our children to take. Yup, Ritalin. He takes it in two different forms, as a long lasting capsule with a pump in it, called Concerta, and then regular tablet form in the afternoons for the ability to concentrate on the homework he never does, and honestly, to keep me from killing him.

The Girl won't even take tylenol. She's totally anti-medication.

Anyhow, we've had popular street meds in our house for years and I've never really worried about it. Or thought about it for that matter. We leave mine in my medicine cabinet, and the Boy's on a shelf in the living room. Or we did until today. For it dawned on me that this was a really stupid thing to do, especially with teens coming in and out of our house on a daily basis.

I don't think my kid's friends are inherently dishonest or would be drug pushers if they could, but having bottles of medication sitting in front of them isn't safe. I worry that a kid might go into the bathroom, open the medicine cabinet, and help themselves to my meds without knowing how dangerous that could be. Some of the meds I take are very serious drugs and aren't to be taken lightly, never mind without a heart condition. But how would a kid know that?

Today I made the Boy put his meds into a drawer, out of sight of anyone interested in "borrowing" some pills to sell or take. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with mine. I don't have a medicine cabinet that locks, and I don't think there is any way to make mine lock. Replacing it would mean taking down quite a bit of tile, and I'm not willing to do that either. A lock box is possible, but if my meds aren't right in front of me, I forget to take them. I'm not great at medicine compliance in the best situation, so moving them seems stupid to me.

I'm kind of out of ideas.

The point of this is, if you have teen babysitters or teens of any stripe that enter your home, have you thought about the safety of your medications? I don't know what the liability issues are, but I have a feeling that if a kid took your medicines in your home, a parent might sue. Anyone know about the legality of this?

Scares the shit out of me to think that a kid might help themselves to my meds. But I'm pragmatic. I know it's going to happen, it is the nature of teens to do incredibly stupid and thoughtless things, thinking themselves invincible. I don't want it to happen to me, and I don't want it to happen to you, either.
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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

'Impeach Bush' Reaches the Mainstream

As quoted in it's entirety by the Martian Anthropologist.

I've been waiting for this day for a while. Impeachment is no longer a word only used by "radical left-wing liberals". Heh. Among others, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post are writing about it:

From The Washington Post:

...Because, damn -- this impeachment stuff is really getting around.

It's all over the blogosphere. It's the cover story in the current Harper's. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has passed an impeachment resolution. Antiwar activists, civil libertarians, all the usual-suspect constituencies have growing impeachment tendencies.

But it's reaching beyond the usual suspects, as I discovered last month when I appeared on a media panel before the national legislative conference of a major union. Local activists from across the nation spent an hour asking us questions, and one out of every three queries, it seemed to me, boiled down to, "How can we impeach this guy?"

From the Toronto Star:

Lewis Lapham, the outgoing editor of Harper's magazine and one of the country's most outspoken Bush critics, makes the case for impeachment in the March issue of his magazine.

It includes this indictment:"We have before us in the White House a thief who steals the country's good name and reputation for his private interest and personal use; a liar who seeks to instill in the American people a state of fear; a televangelist who engages the United States in a never-ending crusade against all the world's evil; a wastrel who squanders a vast sum of the nation's wealth on what turns out to be a recruiting drive certain to multiply the host of our enemies.

"In a word, a criminal --— known to be armed and shown to be dangerous."

From the Wall Street Journal:

If Democratic candidate Tony Trupiano wins a Michigan House seat this fall, he pledges that one of his first acts will be to introduce articles of impeachment against President Bush.

That has earned Mr. Trupiano the endorsement of ImpeachPAC, a group of Democratic activists seeking to remove Mr. Bush from office. ImpeachPAC's Web site lists 14 candidates offering similar commitments, which are reminiscent of the Republican drive to oust former President Bill Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

So: All of you out there that love America, but are getting tired an American President trashing the freedoms that so many of our countrymen have fought and died for, take heart.


The criminal is on his way out.


Originally written on the Martian Anthropologist Blog.
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Back to the old, in with the new


Wes, you can skip this post! Really.

This morning I had to get up before the crack of dawn to attend a business conference on Identity Management. Haven't been to one of those in a few years. First, I had to panic about what to wear. Oh, I've got plenty of business dresses and stuff to wear, but most of them are packed away someplace, and I really wasn't all that sure where. Then there was the shoe issue. I'm mentioned previously my absolutely hatred of all shoes that aren't comfortable. Heck, I wouldn't be wearing those Crocs if I had even a modicom of shame, but evidentally, I don't. Let's see, of the shoes under the bed I've got the powder blue Uggs, the gray Stegman boiled wool clogs, my shearling slippers and the aforementioned crocs. What a style maven!

So I sent the Girl into the dank dark resources of our 'under the stairs' hall closet to root around for a pair of shoes. She came up empty and I was getting a tad bit nervious. But of course she came to the rescue and found a pair of brown leather clogs, slightly scuffed, that would indeed work.

This morning I actually put on nylons. Me. Stockings. I can't even recall the last time I wore a pair of those outside the synagogue, but it's been eons. I can still attest that they are both uncomfortable and ugly, even in a lovely black shade. I even had on matching underwear, although certainly not of the Victoria's Secret variety. Your standard black cotton via Target. I was just delightfully matching underneath this morning. And atop, a brown velour dress only slightly out of style. I swear, a vision of business chic, I was.

I arrive at the Weston bright and early, except I was half asleep and it was pouring. But we'll just stick with bright and early for dramatic reasons. Inside the hotel, and down a long corridor of meeting rooms with odd names, I find my meeting space.

Ohhh, breakfast! The mood is picking up already. Hot coffee, only they use those itty bitty china cups that hold three sips. Starbucks has spoiled us, coffee drinking citizens. We now expect to be served coffee in buckets. One bitty cup isn't going to cut it. But I press on towards the fresh fruit. Watermelon, honeydew, cantelope, fresh pineapple, strawberries, blackberries. Oh man, I'm a happy camper. I load up my plate with fruit and a cranberry orange muffin, then turn around and behind me is a hot station with eggs, bacon, sausage, homefries, and french toast. Being the well behaved girl that I am, I only had a small scoop of eggs.

Bringing my repast into the conference room, I proceeded to introduce myself to my tablemates. They were pretty cool and when I told them that I was doing corporate blogging, I was the hit of the table. We talked a lot about the security issues involved in blogging, both in a personal space, and within a corporate space. One of my tablemates worked at Staples and we had a long chat about the Easy Button commercials. Did you know that if you buy an Easy Button at Staples, all the proceeds go to charity?

The conference itself was OK. There were representatives from large consulting companies shilling their methodology for Identity Management. Some of it was interesting and begged further exploration. Other stuff, well... somewhat limiting when you consider the kind of security problems out there right now. All in all, a good morning, but it only begs much more work in the immediate future.

I got home and passed out on the sofa within 5 minutes of arrival. It's been a while since I've used my business brain this much, and evidentally it needs downtime. Yawn.

Oh, and about the stockings. Evidentally whilst I was snoozing they worked their way down, and when I stood up, they fell off, right down to my feet. In front of the kids, and the Runaway, who is over for the afternoon. Man, this mom is happening, huh?
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Monday, March 13, 2006

Self esteem problems? I think not.

The Boy: I love you, Girl

The Girl: I love me too.

Me: hysterical laughing. You gotta love those kids.
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Sunday, March 12, 2006

These are the people in my neighborhood

Every time I go by this house, I draw my breath in. I do not get it. If you have a gorgeous old Victorian home, a home that is worth millions, why would you paint it to look like either you're on acid and having quite the bad trip, or you've always wanted to live in Barbie's Dream House, and this was the best you could do.



This house is huge. I've never been in it, but the Girl has, once. Her friend lives next door and she reported that it's just as unusual inside as it is outside. They're artists, she says. I guess that fits.

The thing is, I'm from the land of beige houses, California. Nobody has a house that isn't some shade of beige in California. So when I came to the east coast and saw houses painted all kinds of colors, I was entralled. However, I live in a beige house. It just happened that the house I fell in love with is, and probably will remain beige. So when I see a house that is painted in about 12 different colors including aqua, fusha, shocking pink, yellow, purple, lime green, and a whole bunch more, I think I'm in Oz. This is outside my comfort zone. Unfortunately, I took the photo today, on a dank gray day. You really can't see all the colors as the photo doesn't do it justice. But I happened to have a camera on me when we went by, and I sent the Boy out in the drizzle to snap this picture.

I know the right way to have a Victorian home painted is to use multiple colors. I also know that it's recommended that the colors be 'of the period' which were dark colors. They didn't do aqua and yellow. I wonder what the original owners of this wonderful house would say if they saw it now?

The funny thing is, sometimes I like it, and sometimes I just hate it. I can't make up my mind what to think about it. How about you?
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Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Girl is back and she's already in trouble

Hey na, hey na, the Girl is back!

Right from the get go, I was shaking my head and wondering just what she's thinking. I go to pick her up at the correct time, and she's not there. No bags, no Girl. I see a friend of hers in the car in front of us, so I know it's her group and her busses. But no her. Then a car comes up honking behind me, and she's in it, waving madly. Why? You got me. But she decided that this mom would follow us home rather than to transfer all the stuff. OK, I'm copasetic.

We drive up our hill and she gets out of their car and she's wearing pajama pants. Remember the girl with 8 zillion pairs of pants? She's gone and put on PJs. Okaaaaay. She lugs her junk bags into the kitchen and drops everything, where it sits for hours until I lose it and bitch at her to get it the hell off the kitchen floor. Yup, she's back!

Honestly, she is so weird. She takes of her PJ pants, leaving them on the kitchen floor, of course, and under them she has sweats. Under the sweats she has long underwear. She's boiling hot. It's almost 70 degrees here in Boston. A tad bit overdressed, wouldn't you say?

Once she's peeled off several layers and cooled down, she starts talking and 7 hours later, she went to bed. She had a fabulous time. She loved it. LOVED it. First, our friendly math teacher left on Tuesday because she didn't think her kids (all in high school or older) could take care of her dog. Very interesting, eh? This made the girl's trip all the better. The kids she bunked with turned out to be great, even though she was a bit hesitant about them. They used Ellen's conversation card deck to get to know each other and that worked very well, she reported.

The best part of the trip was the ropes course. She's always wanted to go on ricketey old bridges way up in the air, and she got her wish. She was one of just a few kids that did the highest course, which was way up there. There is a photo of her below on the course. She also loved ice fishing (what Jewish kid likes ice fishing?), orienteering, rock climbing and hiking. She thought snowshoeing was 'weird'.

One of her friends is a riot. He's just the sweetest kid, but totally and completely klutzy. She told story after story of him falling here, there and everywhere. They did a skit at the end, and his tumbles were the highlight of the skit. She was there with 'the runaway' and he had a good time, too. Her girlfriends were not all there, but one friend in particular was, and this experience made them even closer.

All in all, she had a great time. She came home happy and beaming, and as sweet as sugar. Unfortunately, the Boy loused her mood up with his own foul mood, because once again he had not made plans far enough in advance and wanted to go to a party tonight that we couldn't find. I tried twice, once with totally incorrect directions and address, the second time with nebulous directions and an address that we couldn't find.

New England homeowners, TURN YOUR OUTSIDE LIGHTS ON. It's pitch black out, you can't see a damn house number worth shit, he got the street name wrong, then the second time we almost got run off the road by a semi truck barrelling down the road about 3 feet out of my back hatch. I don't drive at night evah, and I really did try, but it's way too dangerous and I get so keyed up that I only tried twice, and said no more. He was pissed and sulked and then spent the evening revving up his sister.

Back to normal. Ugh.

More pictures will eventually end up on flickr when I can get them to upload. I already spent 2 hours trying and nothing would upload today.
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