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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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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Domini Domini Domini... I don't get it.

Tonight we were browsing at Borders in the giant white marble palace we call "The Mall'. No kidding, that's the REAL name of the damn edifice. Anyhow, I'm looking around just browsing because I have at least 10 books in my 'to read asap' pile beside my bed. The boy is off checking out the CDs and the Girl is browsing amongst the pink books (chick lit because she tends to choose books by color). There is a huge table near the cash registers by the new novels. A table totally devoted to the DiVinci Code phenom.

Yeah, I know that the movie is coming out soon and so people are boning up on the DiVinci Code trivia. I'm even going to read the book again before we see the film, because I've read at least 200 books since I read that one, and to be honest, I don't remember every damn detail. And details count in Dan Brown books.

What I don't get is all the supplementary texts. We actually saw one titled Math in the DiVinci Code. Can you imagine anything more boring than that book? There were a lot of books explaining the Catholicism in the book. Yes, that makes sense to me if, and only if, you're a scholar and want to ensure that all the information contained in the book is accurate. But if, say you're like me, and know the book is a novel, why on earth would you want to read 3 or 4 books just on Opus Dei? I mean, is the subject that enthralling? One book was just on the Church of Mary Magdeline. I like a pretty church as much as the next tourist, but if I'm going to read a book on a church it sure as heck isn't going to be some obscure one in the northern British Isles. I think I might choose, oh, lets say Notre Dame. That big one in Paris with the rose windows and the flying buttresses in the middle of a river.

I'm curious as to who buys all these extra books. Anyone?

I'm also curious as to who buys all the special editions of Dan Brown books. We saw at least 5 different versions of DiVinci Code, from the el-cheapo paperback for $7.99 to the illustrated special verson at $29.99. Ditto for Angels and Demons.

I admit that we have the hardcover because I'm a book whore and I love hardcover books and will buy them over a paperback anyday. Which is why when we moved we had 59 book cartons and often get the question, "Have you read all these books?" when workmen come into the house. Yes, I have. And more. Many more. I sold on half of my library in the early 90's because it was taking over my home. It's almost time to do it again, except I love my books more than anything else I own. It's an addiction and I have admitted I have a problem, as my daughter reminds me every time we're in a bookstore. "The first step is to admit you have a problem" she says as we walk into the store. The wiseguy!

The Boy, who read all of Dan Brown's books at least once, and some (Angels and Demons) several times, looked through all the auxilliary books and pronounced most of them a waste of money. Are they? Has anyone ever read one of them?

I am looking forward to the film, but I have to say I just cannot see Tom Hanks as the lead character. He just doesn't strike me as professorial in the least. He might be great. Who knows?

Are you going to see The DiVinci Code when it comes out?
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It's all just so shrill

My kids are great. They're funny and smart and they mostly behave in acceptable manner considering their age and diagnosis.

They are also the shrillest human beings on the planet. There are days when I think "you know, ear plugs would be ever so nice right about now." They don't mean to be shrill, it's just that they both are rather loud, and appear to have no volume control. Sometimes when the girl is telling me one of her long, dragged out story, she'll starting getting louder and louder and I'll remind her to shhhhh up her voice, and she'll lower it for about 4 words and then she's off again. I swear it, if it isn't shouted, it isn't worth saying should be her motto.

Since she's been removed from computer use for two weeks, she's constantly on the phone. Constantly. Like she never never shuts up. She's screaming at top volume right now to her poor friend on the phone. The same friend she's spoken to at least 4 times today. What on earth can you converse about 4 times in one day? I've got no idea because I'm not a phone talker as a rule. I'm not phone phobic, but I'm not a call and chat kinda girl.

She's shreiking and yelling and in general having a grand old time upstairs on the phone.

What I don't get is why every parent of every friend she has loves her. LOVES her. They all tell me about what a nice kid she is (she is!) and how polite she is (um, who are they talking about?) and how friendly and well spoken she is. I gotta wonder if she's got a clone someplace that does all her public appearances because honestly, I have no idea of who the kid they're describing and the kid that lives in my house could possibly be one and the same.

Actually, I know my kids are polite. I've drilled manners into them since they were infants. Manners are important to me and I believe that they do make a huge difference in how they're perceived as young adults. Apparently I was right. They like her. They really really like her!

So what about you? Do you practice manners with your kids? Do you think it makes a difference in how their friend's parents view you and your children? Do you notice kids with not so sterling manners when they play at your house? Do you try to instill manners in other kids who are in your home, or just leave it to their parents?
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Saturday, April 29, 2006

You just gotta wonder

Sometimes I have to just shake my head at the insanity of the mommyblogging world. A blog I have read for a couple of years, Suburban Bliss, has lately been filled with self-recrimenation and a lot of self-hatred. Melissa, the author, spends a lot of time venting about her weight, her parenting, her husband who is hotter than she is (according to her commenters), and how much she hates her job at Blogging Baby. Well, I don't blame her about the Blogging Baby job, I don't know how anyone with any sanity can write that drivel day in and day out without developing serious ulcers. But what bothers her, she continually states, are the BB comments. She's constantly complaining about the comments she gets. Now, being the nosy person I am, I went right over and looked at the comments for the past month of posts. Yes, some of them are stupid and inane. That's understandable when you're writing posts that are often very judgemental of other people's parenting choices. You gotta expect that if you're getting paid to write about parenting.

After another tirade the other day, I left the following comment on her blog:

I read your site because I like what you have to say, despite the fact that you obviously don't like me or what I have to say. That's ok, my skin is pretty thick and I don't really feel the need to argue a point on a blog, which is why I rarely comment.

But I have to ask a couple of questions. Is it possibly to move to another blog within Weblogs, one that isn't so controversial and is easier to deal with? Could you manage that and still being in the income you need?

Can you find a job blogging elsewhere entirely? There are jobs out there for professional bloggers. I blog on 26 different professional sites for my job and I can promise you that my job is going to need more bloggers as we grow. No way can I keep up with that volume.

Is your commitment to blogging about parenting only, or can you consider blogging about other things?

Do you have to read the comments on the Flog? Is that part of your job description, or can you just ignore them? I know that I rarely read any comments on the Flog because I don't think they're really relevant to my lifestyle.

And lastly, are the comments that upset you directed at your personally, or are you just taking it all personally because you're upset? I know that you blew my head off the last time I commented and your response was pretty harsh considering what I said. Since you don't know me from Adam, I thought it was pretty funny that you made such a harsh statement about me without even taking into account that what I said is my OPINION, and even if you don't agree with it, it doesn't make me a bad person.

Maybe you need a vacation from all blogging for a bit. I don't know if you can do that financially, but if you can, would you consider it?


Now, I see absolutely nothing offensive in this, nor do I see anything nasty or even remotely confrontative. I did say that she was exceptionally rude to me because of an earlier comment, seen here:

I don't think tv is evil either and my kids have learned amazing things from tv. I grew up without a TV and I think it did serious damage to me socially. I pity any child that has to grow up with a sanctimonious parent that will only buy hand made toys, wooden stuff, and pooh-poohs TV and media. They have no clue the damage they are doing to their kids socially. None at all, nor will they listen because they KNOW they're right. Blech!

But, with that said, I don't believe in DVD players in cars either. I know people think they're great, but heck, I drove across the entire US with 2 4th graders and no DVD player and we had a blast. It was the best trip ever. We had toys and games and stuff to do, but a lot of car travel is trying to make up things to entertain each other. I'd never wreck that experience for my own kids with a DVD player. I get why people want them, but they're so not for our family.


And her response:

I couldn't disagree with you more margalit.

"They have no clue the damage they are doing to their kids socially. None at all, nor will they listen because they KNOW they're right."

Not watching tv will not damage your child. Watching tv will not damage your child.

Perhaps people don't accept your opinion as fact because they have their own opinion. It's not about being 'right' or 'wrong' it's about what you choose for your own family.

It's insulting to anyone to be told they are making the wrong choices in parenting their own children. On either side of any debate.


Did you think my comment was nasty, insulting, and judgemental? No, I just stated my opinion, based on my personal experience. I guess that's not to be allowed on Suburban Bliss. I don't leave nasty comments ever, even on blogging baby. Not that I haven't been tempted, because I have, but I just don't. The comment above is about as harsh as it gets.

This is the third comment I have left on her site in the past month. Following will be her response. Now you tell me who is having a hard time and who is just unable to be polite or even pleasant. Can you spell bitch? I can...M E L I S S A. And yet, I took it because I thought she was having problems and maybe she needed to just vent, even more than she usually does. HA! What a fool I was.:

I think Missy has a great point, and you're just getting caught in the flogging. FB has changed tremendously in the past year and it isn't for the better. The simpering over expensive products, the constant flogging of personal agendas (Yes Karen, we GET that you adopted, now move on), the lack of understanding between different cultures (Stefania, you're NOT Jewish, even if your kid attends the JCC preschool), and the mean-spirited judgemental attitudes that come pouring out of some posters (Dutch, we get that you're uber cool but you don't know shit about living in the real world), plus the unstinting slant to the left coast is SOOO much cooler than the rest of the universe 'tude tends to be quite the turnoff. It isn't YOUR writing per se, it's the whole feel of what FB has turned into. I think some of the mistakes made over the past year can be rectified by pushing more writers like you, who don't have the whole left coast hidden agenda and who are living a real life in the real world.

I also think that no matter what, people are going to be assholes when it comes to discussing parenting issues. It's just a given.

Missy, just because someone is FAT doesn't mean that they're bitter. Fat does not equal jolly or mean or anything else. It's what a person weighs, and not who the person is, what class they are, or what they believe.


Note that in MY comment, I said they needed more writers like her at FB, because I honestly think she was almost the only one who writes there that I can stomach.

Here is her delightful response:

Margalit, I think it's impossible to please certain people.

Karen was asked to come on board because the adoption community complained they weren't represented.

You complained about the under-representation of the Jewish faith so we've tried to cover that more in what ways we can since we are not of the Jewish faith.

You complain about the over representation of the west coast but we have an even representation with me in the midwest and two other international writers.

Again, it's very frustrating to take your kind of criticism because it's IMPOSSIBlE TO WIN.


Let me just add that I wrote to BB in December complaining about the oversaturation of Christmas posts for 6 full weeks before the holiday, and another couple after the holiday, while there was, I believe, one post about Chanukah. So they decide to 'rectify' the situation, not by asking for guest Jewish bloggers to post about their holiday preparations for ANY of the upcoming Jewish holidays, but having a avowed athiest who sends her 3 year old to a JCC preschool become the Passover expert and post Pesach recipes. How insulting is that? They couldn't find ONE Jewish blogger on the whole internet that might write a post about Passover? And Jews who read blogging baby are supposed to be oh, so thrilled, when they get to read a crumb about such an important holiday written by Stefania 1/2 Italian 1/2 Korean and NO PART JEWISH Butler? Maybe I can write all about the black experience for Karen Walroud? What's the difference?

No pleasing me? Just get a JEWISH writer to write about Jewish topics. Preferably one that has stepped inside a synagogue in the past 20 years, knows something about Judaism, and doesn't write about how they celebrate Christmas with a Hanukah Bush. (Yes, BB did have a couple of posts about this and no, the didn't see the irony or the insulting nature of this.)


This is the insane part. She BLOCKED my comments. I mean, I know she's a hurting buckaroo, and I know she's miserable in her life. Man, she goes over and over and over about how she hates this and that and the other. Her house sucks, her neighborhood sucks, her husband often sucks, her weight sucks, her job sucks, blah de blah. But to block someone for simply disagreeing with them, after taking the time to make helpful suggestions? Anyone have a prescription pad handy, because this woman needs some serious antidepressants.

The funniest part? I was writing her a congratulatory comment because she quit Flogging Baby and found another gig. I was actually foolish enough to try and congratulate this person because I'm glad she's found something that just MIGHT turn her back into a human. And she blocked my comments.

She's SOOOOO off my blogroll.
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Friday, April 28, 2006

Oh what a bee-u-ti-ful morning!

Oh, what a beautiful day. But it sure didn't start out that way.

Around 6:30 the Girl climbed in bed with me. She's a human radiator and it was a bit chilly this morning, so she was a welcome addition. Following on her heels was the Worhtless Pet, who jumped right up on my other side, creating a mom sandwich. He was purring so loudly there was no way I could fall back to sleep.

Then the Boy's alarm clock went off. Bee beep, bee beep, bee beep. Annooying little piece of plastic, that. I hear no movement, so I call out "Boy!" and I get this response.

"Shut the Fuck Up. You are SO ANNOYING."

"Do not talk to me like that"

"Then SHUT UP"

Biting my tongue I again remind myself that this is before medication. It's like this every morning. I hear the pill bottles and I know that in a half hour he'll be human again. After several reminders to get out of bed, and several rejoiners to STFU, I tell him to brush his teeth. You would think that by the time a child is almost 14, you would have gotten it down that we brush our teeth in the morning, no questions asked. We just do it.

But no, every single morning we go through the dance of the toothbrush. Someday, in the distant future, I'm hoping this well end. In the meantime, I take the abuse and keep reminding nagging him.

He actually brushes his teeth, then goes back in his room to do whatever he does in the morning, and as his bus arrives up the hill he yells out, "Bye Mom, I love you."

Talk about your mixed messages!

I just hope his future partner, whomever that might be, will be as accepting as I am. Living with a bipolar person isn't easy in the best of times. Before meds, it sucks. But thank G-d there are medications that can turn a bear into a puppydog in 30 minutes. The wonders of science.
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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Hard work

I've been singing this all morning. If you haven't yet seen Pink sing to the Shrub, you're missing something powerful.


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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Local commercials that bite

Lately on the Universal Hub, there has been a lot of discussion about the worst local commercials on television. Most people agree that Dunkin' Donuts new campaign "Doing things we really like to do...YES" sucks majorly. I'm right there with them, I absolutely hate that commercial. But compared to two other local commercials, I'd be willing to watch it all day if it would just get rid of Ernie Boch Junior's "Come on down" and "The Jewelry Exchange" which isn't even local, because I suffered through that same one when we lived in Northern California, with the same hideous rings, necklaces, and bracelets that nobody in their right mind would ever want. Them things are FUGLY.

But let me just dwell on Ernie Boch for a moment, OK? He's one of the richest men in the state, he's a young guy who never ever has to appear in his own commercials, and yet the guy is a constant in late night television. If you're an insomniac in the Boston area, you get to spend your late nights with Ernie Boch. My feeling is, that's a fate worse than death. Because Ernie has dealerships that sell Toyotas, Hondas, Kias, and Chrysler vehicles, he can have many different commercials on competing with each other. It's weird.



Ernie inherited both the "Come on Down" catch phrase and the business from his father, Ernie Boch Sr. I never found Ernie Senior anywhere near as offensive as Jr. In fact, I kind of liked it when he smashed windshields as he yelled about smashing prices. A little bit of comedy in local car commercials can be funny.

Apparently, I'm not alone in the Ernie Boch hate. His raspy voice, his stupid 4-wheel drive commercials where he's screaming about off-roading on a straight sanded dirt road, his constant screaming... this is one annoying guy. A guy that happens to own late night airtime on tv, no matter what you're watching.

Please Ernie, SHUT UP.

Of course, he's not the only incredibly annoying car dealer hogging the airwaves. So tell me all about the one in your neighborhood that drives you right over the edge with the screaming, the constant sales, and the weird gimics.
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Out and in and out and in

Sometimes we take simple things for granted, like say, breathing. How much do you think about breathing outside of yoga classes and an occasional attempt to meditate? Not much, huh?

Asthmatics think a lot about breathing because, for us, there are times when it is almost impossible to accomplish what should be completely natural. I don't like to think about my breathing at all, I just want it to happen automatically without my having to do things like take bad medications and visit emergency rooms. Most of the time, I'm pretty lucky that way. Sometimes I lose the crapshoot. Then it takes a couple of days to bounce back and I go through a renewed vow to be ubercareful with my preventative medications.

Today I slept until 3 pm. You wouldn't think it could be possible, but I hadn't slept the night before due to the asthma attack, and then I was so completely exhausted just trying to breathe that once I got into my bed with the nice clean sheets and the comfy pillows propping me up, I was out like a light. The boy woke me up when he got home from school.

The wonder of it all is, I feel so much better. Restorative sleep, lots of medication, and the ability to breathe again is incredibly renewing.

Now I've got a ton of work to make up, and very little time to do it. Thank goodnews Lost is a repeat tonight.
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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Through thick and thin

As a rule, I'm a fairly healthy person for someone with serious and sometimes life threatening health problems. Meaning that I don't get a lot of flus, coughs, colds and stomach bugs, but when I do get sick, I get really really sick. Like deathly ill sick. Like I can't move, I can't walk, I can't breathe, I'm dying sick.

Now, I bet you are surprised to hear that I don't like being sick. Unlike most mom bloggers, my kids are certainly old enough to take care of their daily needs if I'm in bed, so I can stay prone as long as I want. But usually I don't want to. I want to do things I've committed to doing, I want to feel good, and I want to be able to be in control of my household.

However, today was not such a day. I was feeling poorly last night and went to bed after taking my regular meds, hoping for a good night's sleep. Well, that didn't happen. I kept waking up and with every awakening my chest was a bit tighter, my breath shallower, and my throat more swollen. I was stuffed up and feeling kinda shitty, but figured it was just allergies. That was until around 5:30 when I woke up unable to breathe. I have what's called cough varient asthma, which is pretty much what it sounds like. When my asthma flares up, I start with a tight chest, a feeling like my throat is closing up, and then I start coughing. And coughing. I keep thinking I can cough something up, but there isn't really anything to cough up. Maybe a bit of phlem, but mostly it's a dry, painful cough.

What sucks most about this is, the more I cough, the less able I am to breathe. I start out with shallow breathing and then I end up literally gasping for breath, feeling as if there is a huge piano sitting on my chest. And after that, the nausea kicks in. Nausea and vomiting. Man, nothing like a full scale asthma attack to really make you feel reliant on the medical system.

I sleep with a rescue inhaler next to my bed, like all asthmatics, and I gave myself a couple of puffs. Nope, that wasn't working. If I do more than 3 puffs, my heart starts racing and I get dizzy and my muscles cramp. I'm a complete mess. So I did my 3 puffs in about a half hour, and although it did a tiny bit of relief, I was bad. Really bad.

Once the kids were up and off to school, my home health aide took me to the ER for some prednisone. I got a rescue shot, an hour of oxygen, they hydrated me, and gave me an Rx for prednisone pills. For those of you that don't know, prednisone is a steriod and it is not a fun medication to be on. Yes, it does help to control asthma attacks, but it has a lot of ugly disgusting side effects and I get them all.

We got back home and I still couldn't even try to lay down. I have to be totally upright to be able to breathe. I was so dizzy and so lightheaded and so completely out of breath that it really wasn't safe for me to be alone. My HHA kind of made me a nest with the telephone, water, various asthma meds, and some food in our family room, and there I sat until I started having to pee all that water they stuck into me back out again. Even heading to the bathroom was so exhausting I almost didn't make it a couple of times.

By 5 pm the predisone had started working, the edema caused by the IV was going down, and my breathing, while still quite labored, was much better.

Hopefully I'll be able to sleep tonight and by tomorrow I'll be feeling better. When I have a mega asthma attack like this, which might be once or twice a year, it can take up to a couple of days to get back to 'normal'.

I do have another doctor's appt on Thursday at the hospital and hopefull I'll be better. They have put me in the hospital before for attacks like this, but I tend to refuse unless I really feel I'm on the edge. I was very close today.
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Monday, April 24, 2006

Parenting teens in the days of MySpace

I've written before about MySpace and that I allow my teens to have pages on this site, despite my reservations. I do so because I am ever vigilent about watching their pages, questioning anything I think is inappropriate, and deleting friends I don't want them talking to. I'm extremely careful and I talk about adding new friends and giving out personal information all the time. My kids roll their eyes they've heard it so much. But evidentally not quite enough.

Today I was checking the Girls page while she was in school. First I go through her inbox to see any new messages. She has several, from some guy I've never heard of, and a couple of them are really inappropriate. So I looked at his site and there are 6 pages of women and no men at all in his friends list. Plus, quite a few of the women are scantily clad and a bit too sexy for my taste. They guy identifies himself as 23 years old. I'm really not happy.

I contacted MySpace and reported him as a preditor. I contacted the police and reported him as a preditor. The police are taking it seriously enough to come over and get the printouts of his mail to the Girl. They're going to be watching his space carefully. I also sent him a message telling him I was reporting him to both the police and to MySpace and not to contact my daughter any more. She is no longer on his friend's page, either.

But what upsets me the most is that when the Girl came home and I questioned her about this guy, she told me a friend of hers is in love with him, and that he's been to our house to pick up said friend. Her friend is 13, too. OMG, I'm so upset it's beyond pissed and angry. This is bothering me to the core of my being.

I deleted this guy and blocked him from my daughter's site. But the bad thing is, unknowingly she gave him WAY too much information as to where her friend lives now, and now to get in touch with her. I don't think she meant to, and she says that he's a 'nice guy', like all preditors are. She just doesn't get the whole preditor thing at all, despite watching Dateline shows on this very topic over and over. She thinks that because her friend knows him in real life, he's OK. Even when I showed her the latest mail from him asking about her sexual preferences. She's 13. I don't think she needs to be asked this by anyone, never mind some 23 year old creepy guy on MySpace.

I so want to delete her page, but she is using it appropriately 99.9% of the time. She made a bad error in judgement, one that involved the police and her friend's parents. Hopefully she'll learn from her mistakes. If not, the page goes.

Update: About 2 hours later, after I had talked to her about this, this asswipe emailed her thru MySpace again. AGAIN. First he responded to my email telling him to leave my kid alone with this ditty:

" I might also add that a bitter old lady should really mind her own business and allow her daughter to become a person, not just a posession that you monitor. "

Then the Girl writes back, idiot that she is:

" THANK YOU. want to tell her that. but i really am sorry and i like totally cried ova this "


He responds to her mail:

" HAHA, Im sorry, I know your mom is just looking out for you, but i dont think your profile says ur 13 anyway does it? i thought it said a bit older, but dont worry, im a nice guy, I assume mxxxxx told you some stuff about me so....ya, thatd be good lol. so how was ur day otherwise??? "


Then she writes back:


"if i were u, i would nt message me, but if u want to talk to me, tell some to message me and tell them to tell me to message u back. i can message u and we can talk that way but u shouldnt message me first. did that make any sence?"

And he responds:

"it would make more sense if you just had an email address lol???"

At which point I catch her in the act and go ballistic. I emailed him this:

"How fricking stupid are you? I told you to leave my child alone. I've reported you to the police. YOU STOP HARASSING MY CHILD NOW. NOT ONE MORE WORD. NOTHING. You are a preditor and a real sicko. She's 13. Marley is also 13. I've contacted her Mom, and she isn't happy. Either you stay far away or I'll be forced to have the police take immediate action.

DO NOT RESPOND."

So, I again blocked him from her site (yahoo to MySpace for ignoring me the first time), copied all the emails for the police to pick up tomorrow morning, and banned her from the computer unless I am sitting with her. She told me she felt badly that she just left this jackass hanging. She STILL thinks he is a nice guy.

I called her friend's parents to let them know, and found that her mother had already reported this guy and called the FBI. And still he goes on.
I haven't yet pulled down her page, but the computer is now password protected and she cannot get on it without my knowing. Heh.

I fricking HATE THIS.
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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Oh man, I've been thru the museum ringer this weekend

I promised the Boy that I would take him during spring vacation week to the museums. The week kinda flew by and all of a sudden it was Thurdsay and we hadn't made plans, so we sat down and decided Friday would be the Museum of Fine Arts, and Saturday would be the Museum of Science.

He had particular exhibits that he very much wanted to see at both museums. At the MFA they had an exhibit of old rock posters from the Avalon and Fillmore, featuring bands like Jefferson Airplane, Buffalo Springfield, The Association, Jimi Hendrix, and Big Brother and the Holding Company. Holy memories, batman, I've seen all of those bands in my former life as a hippie.

At the MoS he wanted to see the special exhibits from Star Wars, including a planetarium show and another pricy exhibit of costumes, robots, and props from the movies. I wasn't all that interested in the Star Wars stuff, but I'm a slut for the Science Museum, especially if we can catch the Electricity Show where they set off lightening bolts inside an auditorium. It's totally rad.

I separated the museum posts because they're long and have lots of photos. So here's our trip to the Museum of Fine Arts.



Friday he and I headed off to the MFA on a a glorious sunny day. We found the posters right away and he fell madly in love with the Les Paul Gibson guitar they had on display. He liked the posters too, and was quite amused that I could easily read the bubble writing. Hey, stuff like that never goes away.



Then we went to look at the furniture, which is one of my favorite things to gawk at. We headed through the American art, the folk art, the European art, and of course the impressionists.


We had to check out the big gift shop, and they had so much stuff I'd love to have, but we had to spend so much money PARKING ($21) that we really couldn't spend much more. Plus, even with passes we had to pay $5 each to get in. What a ripoff the museums have become, bleeding people dry for the privilege of seeing art that belongs to us all. I find that fairly offensive.


We very much enjoyed our visit and saw some things that we hadn't remembered seeing before, which is always exciting. Here are some of the artworks that caught my eye on that lovely Friday.



From the impressionist room, Monet's haystacks and waterlilys. Gaughan's Tahiti, Renoir's dancer, an amazing pair of craftsmen style light fixtures, and so much more. The MFA is a wonderful museum, and they're currently fundraising to enlarge it to almost 2 times it's current size. The plans are ambitious, but I'll certainly welcome seeing some of the best pieces of art come out of the basement and back into general circulation. Like, say, Scott Prior's Nanny and Rose, my all time favorite painting.


This painting is the most amazing work of realistic art I've ever seen. It's quite beautiful, and it speaks to me like no other painting does.

Next, we're onto the Museum of Science in another post.
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Far far away in another galaxy

We visited the Museum of Science today. It was cold and drizzly and a museum visit seemed like a good thing to do on a day like this.

We got to the museum and got tickets almost immediately because we have a member pass. I paid for two extra visits, one to see the planetarium Star Wars show, and one to get into the special exhibit of Star Wars costumes and props from the movie. I've been promising to take the kids for a long time, and the show is about ready to close so I just had to grin and bear it, even though it cost a small fortune to get into everything

We first stopped at the exhibits on the first floor and did a bunch of the interactive stuff. The Girl and I particularly liked the magnetic pictures we made out of little chains. That was fun. I made the sailboat, she made the house and garden.

The Boy finally learns how to brush his teeth with this model. If only we could get him to do this at home!
The Boy liked the little diorama on how to build the pyramids. Of course, I had to start singing "Let my people go" to completely embarass the kids.


We then went off to see the Electricity Show. If you've never seen this, try as hard as you can to make a special trip to see the Van de Graaff generator. This 35' high generator creates actual lightning bolts inside the museum theatre. The noise is loud, the lightning scary, and the whole show is just a blast. It's one of our favorite things to see in any museum, and we try to never miss it, despite the show only being available for viewing 4 times a day.


After the electricity show, we had to head right to the Planetarium where we had tickets to see the Star Wars show. I don't know about you, but planetariums always have the same effect on me; instant snoozing. I love the shows, but the seats are so comfy and you stretch out in the dark and there's soothing classical music, and the next thing I know it, the show is over. This experience was no different than any other, except that the Girl also fell asleep right after I did. Kinda a waste of money, but the nap was nice.


Next stop was the gift shop, which is always a must go experience. They have a great giftshop at this museum, and lots to play with. The Boy found a lava lamp he was dying for, and the Girl fell hard for a pair of geode bookends. They were really lovely. Me, I fell head over heels with a really cool big gong wind chime. It was great and it made the coolest gong sound. Just what I needed. Consequently we bought nothing but some water at the cafe.

Finally it was time to go to the main Star Wars exhibit. I gotta admit, I wasn't looking forward to this at all, but the Boy was dying to go and he's such a geeky Star Wars fan that I didn't think it was fair to let this opportunity pass by, even though the Girl and I were not enthusiastic.

We got into the exhibit after waiting on line for a bit, and first thing we saw were some of the props from the movies. I'm sorry, I'm going to disappoint all you SW fanatics, but I don't know what the hell any of this stuff was, despite having seen all of the movies multiple times in theatres, and thousands more at home. So I'll just present a few pictures and you can fill in the blanks for me with what I don't know.


First, the Girl looking witheringly at me forcing her to stand next to Chewbacca and Hans solo and pose. After this pic, she found a bench and sat there bored out of her skull.



Then we saw this ship, which may or may not be the Millenium Falcon.


Here are a bunch of characters. Here's Darth/Anakin. And some friends? Enemies? Who knows?


Here are more ships.

Here are weapons. And light sabres. Light sabres are way cool.


Here are more characters and costumes. I know these...R2D2, Princess Leah, and C3PO. See, I'm not a total Star Wars heathen.




Here are more ships.



I don't know what this thing is, but it's cool.




Wookies! And the Boy.



More charaacters.



More damn ships.



More and more and more and more. My feet were killing me. The Girl was falling asleep on the bench. I joined her. The Boy finall agreed to go home.

But of course, there was a Star Wars themed gift shop on the way to the exit. So the Boy got involved in looking for that special $120 neon light sabre he wants, while the Girl and I yawned and held each other up. But then... we saw the nerdy gift to end all nerdy gifts. The Star Wars chess set. We had to photograph it. And when we showed it to the Boy, he said he really wanted one. Oh Lord, what did I do wrong?


Home to spaghetti, lousy tv and now it's bedtime. I'm planning on sleeping all day tomorrow.
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Friday, April 21, 2006


"Splain this, Mumbles"

Mumbles Menino, the Mayor of Boston, has been in interesting character to watch over the years. I just never know what to think of him, for sometimes I like him and other times I just shake my head in dismay.

Today, whilst driving home from the Museum of Fine Arts on Huntington Ave, I noticed that new signs had been installed all down Huntington Ave. heading towards Brookline. Evacuation Route signs. On Huntington Ave. A street so packed with traffic on a good day, I can't even fathom what planner could decide this was a good way to get out of town fast in case of a tsunami or something. Huntington Ave has quite a few colleges on the length of it, including Northeaster, Mass Art, Wheelock, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Pharmacy School, Berklee College of Music, etc. In addition, the worlds best hospitals are all situated right off Huntington Ave, including Brigham and Womens, Children's, Beth Israel, Joslin Diabetes, Dana Farber Cancer, and let us not forget Harvard Medical School. Can you imagine the traffic nightmare just trying to evacuate these institutions alone? Because Huntington Ave. is, at best a two lane route out of town. At some junctures it narrows down to one lane before it turns in to Route 9 in Brookline.





Interestingly, once you pass into Brookline, there are no longer evacuation routes. So I guess we should just consider that once you leave the city, you're on your own! Hmmmmm.

I guess I don't get why Mumbles and his team could even think that Huntington Ave would be a safe evacuation route. Maybe Storrow Drive? Memorial Drive? But not a road with trolley tracks running down the middle of it, filled with enormous potholes, and an apparent overabundance of patients that need special care and handling getting out of Boston.

Man, I don't know about you, but this evacuation plan doesn't make me feel really comfortable about the residents of the city. I think we're all screwed, folks.
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Thursday, April 20, 2006

I need some help here, peeps

Maybe you parents of teens could give me some help with a couple of issues I'm currently facing. I'm once again floundering, clueless of what's the right thing to do.

First, the Girl has her first real boyfriend. I'm soooo not ready for this. I knew it was coming for a while now, and I've tried as hard as I can to dissuade her, but the fact is, it's puppy love. The flirting that goes on between them is so sickeningly sweet it makes my teeth hurt. So far, they have had absolutely no opportunity to spend time alone together, and I'm extremely cautious about allowing her to spend too much time with him, but he 'drops by' a lot, and he really don't quite get that the rules don't apply to him. He's called a number of times knowing she's lost phone privileges and tries to talk me into letting him talk to her. It's a no go, but that doesn't dissuade him.


The fact is, I'm not overly enamoured with this kid. He's perfectly nice, but not in ways that I trust. He can be charming, Eddie Haskell charming in fact. But behind it lies a kid that doesn't get consequences, has a LOT of issues, and needs some professional intervention in my opinion.

I've mentioned this boy several times before, and those of you who are longtime readers will recognize him as the Runaway. Yup, doesn't that make you happy? (Dripping sarcasm here.)

This is a kid who has real temper issues and needs some anger management training. He's told the Girl that he is unable to control his anger and that he thinks he's bipolar, but his guardians have not begun to seek any outside diagnosis. Sad that the kid knows more than the guardians about this stuff. I've met him mom, and she seems perfectly nice, but not effective as a parent. He doesn't live with her anyhow.

The fact of the matter is, I just don't trust him. And I'm just beginning to regain my trust in the Girl after she has lived through some really dumb teenage stunts. I need to feel comfortable about trusting them both, but I don't. Period.

NEXT!

The Girl has been even moodier than usual the past couple of weeks. Young love, sadness over her friend who isn't in town right now, dealing with school issues she can't understand, and a friend with a depression problem that counts on my Girl for continual support. OK, with that in mind, yesterday after she came out of therapy she was incredibly upset. She appeared to have cried and she was furious and very confrontational. When we got home she went upstairs and must have cried for a long time, then came down and started a fight with the Boy, when back up and cried some more, and then came down feeling a bit calmer. She refused to tell me why she was upset and would not give me even a hint as to what's been bothering her for the last couple of weeks.

So, I called her therapist today and asked simply what the topic was. I didn't ask for details, I just wanted to know what has been bothering her. She refused to tell me anything. Not one thing. My kid has been seeing this woman for over a year and a half and she has never once spoken to me. I'm a big believer in confidentiality between teens and their therapists, but this is the first time I've ever asked anything, and it's also the first time she's ever even acknowledged I exist. I don't want details, but I'd like to be at least pointed in the right direction so I can start a conversation without "are you upset about X?" "No, what about Y?" "How about Z?" That's irritating on a grand scale and I feel strongly that she should have given me at least a hint. She gave up nothing. She did offer to let me come to next week's session to see if the Girl wants to confide anything at all. Whooo hoooo! I feel special.

So parents of teens, what would you do? Would you go to the session? Do you think that is intrusive? Would you keep questioning your kid, or would you let it lay and hope that things improve on their own?
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Ewwwww GROSS!

We bought some packaged chicken strips today as it's after pesach and the kids eat them for snacks. Tonight the boy opened up the package to make his apres dinner snack, and the first strip out of the package had a bite in it. YUCK. You could tell it was a bite. It had toothmarks in the bite, and check out the shape. That's a human mouth. Blech!


I wrote to the company and demanded my money back. We tossed the package. I'll never eat breaded chicken again unless I make the strips myself. I'm completely grossed out.
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Kudos to BlogMad Support Team

Those of you that have used Blogmad to surf must have noticed today that they lost their database and that means all the Blogmad users lost their credits and profiles. Some users were lucky enough to have retained their profiles. I was not so lucky. When I went on this evening to surf, I noticed that my account was really bizarre. It made no sense. Once I read the homepage and saw that they had experienced a database corruption, I chatted with some other users, who told me how to get my profile and credits back.

I emailed Blogmad support and within an hour they had restored my credits and had gifted me with an extra thousand credits. I couldn't believe it. What a gift. Now I can play games without guilt. :-)

I don't use the other surf sites since Blogmad went live. I like it, the blogs that I see when surfing are, for the most part, interesting and introduce me to a bunch of different bloggers that I'd never find otherwise. I mean, where am I ever going to find a blogger from Nepal just hanging around my corner of the 'net? But I did on Blogmad and spent hours reading his site. It was like a private tour of his gorgeous country.

So Kudos to Blogmad for restoring my account and gifting me with so many points. Now excuse me while I go explore the games.
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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

It's (ACHOOO) Spring at Last!

This afternoon I took the two miscreants to their respective therapy appointments. Or rather, the Girl to her scheduled appointment and the Boy to his impromptu session in the park across the street. His therapist gave him the choice of going to get some coffee at Dunks or the park, and he went with the park.

I followed behind and gloried in the beauty that is spring in New England. Maybe it's because we have such a hellacious winter, but spring really means something around here. People come out of their burrows and bring the kids to playgrounds and tops go down on the convertables and you see toes in sandals instead of encased in UGGS. It's just special enough that people want to celebrate it, unlike in warm climates where there aren't real seasons.

So I bring you a taste of spring. These two photos are my two favorite trees in my fair city. They happen to be right across from each other at the park, and when my kids were little, they would hide in the weeping beech and giggle like mad as I pretended I didn't know where they were. The conifer is gorgeous, a really amazing specimen that you can enter inside and it gets all quiet like in the middle of a pine forest. I don't know the variety of the conifer, but I'd love to have one.



The weeping beech looks like somebody sneaking up on you when it's devoid of leaves, but when the leaves come in, it's a deep dark green color and absolutely perfect for hiding in. I'll take another pic this summer when it's in full leaf.



The boy decided to wear this shirt, unknowing that he might run into his therapist. She loved it, and teased him about his superpowers. The sad on the bench and talked while I watched the little kids on the playground. Then, when they were done, I snapped this gem of him in front of a forsythia in full bloom.



The final photos are my neighbor's garden. She lives behind us and this garden is on a mound at the end of the street. It is astounding in the spring, so alive and so fragrant. It isn't a summer garden, but she does have some perennials in there for summer.

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G'wan kids, go shopping


Blogher isn't looking promising for me. I want to go, I'm entering both contests offering free room and board, but I need a flight. That's where you come in, readers. I've created a store filled with merchandise for you to purchase. My products feature the artwork of the wonderfully talented Secret Agent Josephene, who worked hard to the create the images. I can personally recommend a couple of the items in the store that I use often.




We use the tote bag for carrying books and media to and from the library, and for small shopping trips.

I use the laptop bag for work, carrying a notebook, papers and books to and from my coffeeshop office.

I wear my t-shirt, and my kids wear theirs. Sometimes we wear them all at the same time, unplanned. We're adorable!

Join us by wearing your own What Was I THINKING? designs. We'll love you forever, love you for always...

Don't forget to donate to the "Send a Woman to Blogher" campaign. You'll find the link on the upper left sidebar.
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