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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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I'm kvelling

Today I attended a graduation ceremony at the Boy's school. I was invited last week and really encouraged to come, but nobody would tell me why. The Boy isn't graduating, and although several of his friends were, I didn't know why it was such a big deal for me to come, but since I was asked, I went to the ceremony.

The Boy was given an award today! He was named Student of the Year for being the quintessential student all year long. He got the award in front of the Mayor, the Superintendent of Schools, two Assistant Superintendents, all of the housemasters, and many other community leaders. He was as surprised as I was, but so very very proud. He asked to have his award framed, not just hung on the fridge.

I can't begin to express how proud of him I am, and how much he's grown in the past year. He's such a great kid and has worked really hard all year for this award. He deserves all the kudos he got, and so much more.

Student of the Year! I just can't believe it.
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Monday, May 29, 2006

Pat's off the meds again

I have a fascination with Pat Robertson. He just can't seem to shut his mouth for long, and every time he makes the news, it's just a bit more pathetic for Pat. I know some people think he's got a mental disorder or is in the thoes of early onset Alzheimers, but you would think that his PR people would either admit that he's speaking out of his ass, or just apologize and lock him up in his ranch bedroom. Neither has happened, so I'm taking it on faith that Pat has his full mental faculties and is just a fricking moronsky. His latest gaff:

"When you think of Jewish people, you think of successful businessmen. You think of people that are very wise in finance and who are prosperous. And when you think of poor countries around the world, you'd never would consider the nation of Israel. But in parts of the Jewish nation, poverty is growing at an alarming rate. Watch this.
It shocks people to hear that there's poverty in Israel. We assume Jewish people are very thrifty, extraordinarily good business people. There shouldn't be poverty there. What's the story?"
Obviously, this isn't blatent antisemitism, but it's there, it's hidden in his comments about Jews being 'thrifty' and good 'business people'. Can you say stereotype? If nothing else, poverty amongst the Jews is little different than poverty of any other ethnic group. We have a large elderly population living on fixed incomes, plenty of Russian immigrant families that have never caught on to 'the American way" of financial success, and there are enough disabled, sick, and just plain poor Jewish people out there all over the world, including Israel. Not everyone who is Jewish has a professional degree and makes a 6-figure salary. Thinking that they do is wrong. Pat is wrong. As usual.

But that's not all. Pat has now claimed to have leg pressed 900 kilos. Yup, our man Pat is now an Arnold wanna-be. Interesting that exercise guru's claim that it can't be true. Pat and his minions swear that it is. OK. Clay Travis of CBS SportsLine.com called the 2,000-pound assertion impossible in a column this week, writing that the leg-press record for football players at Florida State University is 665 pounds less. Pat is claiming to have leg-pressed 2000 lbs, or 1 TON, in 2003. Pat is now 76 years old.

And there's more. Pat decided that in late may the world would be smote(d) (is that a word?) and there would be tsunamis and terrible storms on the American coasts, but not to worry, because FEMA is on the job. Yeah, that provides cold comfort, doesn't it? Pat actually said, He said, 'If I heard the Lord right, the coast of America will be lashed by storms this year.' I love that. If I heard the Lord right. What Pat, you weren't listening to the big guy, or were you mulittasking and leg-pressing thousands of pounds when G-d was talking to you?

More great Pat-isms from here:

What Pat Robertson said: "The Antichrist is probably a Jew alive in Israel today" (quote found in both Wikipedia's article on The Book of Revelation and "The Christian Paradox," Harpers.org)

What God said, if I heard him right: "I like being famous, but then you get your crazy fans, your stalkers, and they ruin it. You know who gets a lot of that? Shatner."

What Pat Robertson said: "I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected him from your city . . ." in reference to Dover, Pa., after eight members of the school board there who advocated teaching "intelligent design" failed in their bids for re-election. Intelligent design is a theory that posits that the universe is too complex to have evolved without divine intervention.

What God said, if I heard him right: "Intelligent design? For that you can't beat Restoration Hardware. I love it. If I didn't live in heaven, that's where I'd live, Restoration Hardware."

What Pat Robertson said: In 1998, concerning Gay Days at Disney, "I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you." (Author's note: Hurricanes did hit Orlando six years later. They also hit Florida during the 1500s, before the nylon rainbow flag, or nylon, was invented).

What God said, if I heard him right: "You know what I heard? 'Every day is gay day at Disney!' HA! That's funny. People are funny, although I prefer puppies, at least as pets. You know who can't tell a joke? Jesus."

What Pat Robertson said: On Jan 6 according to CNN.com, Robertson suggested that "Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine retribution for the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, which Robertson opposed." Robertson: "He was dividing God's land, and I would say, 'Woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the [European Union], the United Nations or the United States of America,' " and "God says, 'This land belongs to me, and you'd better leave it alone.' "

What God said, if I heard him right: "I said, 'Pat, get a tape recorder, they're like $30 at Staples.' Does he hear that? No. People have selective hearing. It's a fact."

What Pat Robertson said: "You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if [President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela] thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it." (Robertson later apologized).

What's on God's mind, if I understood him at all: "That kind of thing depresses me. It's like throwing a party, and you have nice wine and food and flowers, and some idiot just has to pick a fight. There are so many other things to do. I'm thinking about going on MySpace. But I don't have a single good picture of myself. People think I'm invisible, but I'm just not photogenic. You know whom I look like? Angelica Huston. Ha! I wish! That's funny, you believed me. It happens all the time."
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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Vacation is all I ever wanted

Off for the long weekend. I'll be back next week. Have a great weekend!
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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Oprah, shut the fuck up already!

Let's be clear. I'm not an Oprah fan. I find her self-serving and self-congratulatory and overly impressed with her wealth and placement in the public's eye. I find her repulsively over the top most of the time, and I can't stand when she inserts herself into situations that frankly don't really have anything to do with her. She's too self-important for my tastes. Plus, her hair looks HORRIBLE in that ponytail. What was her stylist thinking?

Today I saw a commercial for her show tomorrow. She's accompanying Elie Weisel to Auschwitz. I'm furious. FURIOUS. I can't believe the audacity of this woman to insert herself into a Jewish tragedy. The holocaust has NOTHING to do with her. She's turning the Shoah into another media circus. It's not about you, you cow Oprah. It's got nothing to do with you. It's reprehensible that you would even consider this appropriate. It isn't appropriate at all. It's despicable. It's offensive. It's infuriating.

I was talking to a friend about it, because I was just so ticked I felt that I had to bitch to someone other than the Boy. My friend said that she was surprised Elie Wiesel would agree to this, but I think he is so desperate to have the Shoah remembered as it was, and not as the Nazi apologists have rewritten history, that he would aquiesce to have Ms Self-Important accompany him to Auschwitz because she has such a huge, world-wide audience and can possibly bring the Shoah back into the thoughts and minds of those that have just repressed it.

That is the only way I can accept her waltzing into Auschwitz and doing what you all know she's going to do. Which is to compare slavery in America to the Shoah. Because Oprah has never been in the least bit interested in Judaism or topics relating to Jews. There are so many stories she could have covered in her 20 plus years of the Oprah show about Judaism, but I don't think she's ever done one. Not one. Her Legends Ball; did you see anyone Jewish honored? I don't think so.

Yes, Oprah is a black woman with great power. But she's never bothered to use that power to help anyone but blacks. She gives money to African children, and she did shows about Katrina because the victims are black. She's said that she wouldn't help Americans in poverty because she believes that everyone in American can pull themselves up by their bootstraps. I find that disgusting, but then again, I find so much about her disgusting, including the fact that she's constantly giving away gifts to people that can already afford everything. Why give diamonds to people who can buy diamonds by the pound? Ugh, she's SO irritating.

I can't believe that she's going to commercialize the experience of Auschwitz. I'm extremely unhappy that she feels like she's the appropriate person to do this kind of show. She's not. She doesn't have the background, she doesn't know a damn thing about what it meant to be a Jew during the rise of the Nazi regime, and she certainly doesn't have the sensitivity to cover this type of story. She's too self-absorbed to step outside of herself and try to understand what this story means to the 6 million Jews lost and the millions that are still alive today. Commercializing the Shoah is such a bad idea. This is so offensive to me that I'm just outraged. I wish she would just mind her own business and shut the fuck up.
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Monday, May 22, 2006

Freeloaders, my ass!

Like many of you out there in the USA, we have a MIX radio station in town. I don't much like the music as it's pretty bland and popish for my taste, but when the kids are in the car, it's the one radio station we all can agree to tolerate, so it's on the pushbuttons.

MIX has this program, called Freeloaders, where you join up and give them information about yourself in exchange for 'points' which you can use to 'win' prizes. They change the prizes fairly often, and people do occasionally appear to win things. The prizes range from politically incorrect trips to Aruba to kids DVDs and tickets to concerts you have no interest in attending. But every once in a while they have a prize that you want.

Right now, they have two tickets to tomorrow's Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway Park. You get the tickets, hats, a cooler, and some other stuff, all of which has Red Sox logos on them. Me, I just want the damn tickets. And that's where my incredibly infuration comes in. You did note that I said the game is TOMORROW, right? Well, checking the time, it's actually today in less than 18 hours.

For the past 3 days we have had the site up 24/7 and have checked it almost every minute all through the weekend. The Boy stayed home from all weekend activities to check the site and purchase the tickets. We've got way more than enough points. We're ready to roll. We only need one thing.

FUCKING MIX, would you PLEASE PUT THE TICKETS UP? It drives me absolutely NUTS that they wait till the very last second, and then they may or may not even have the tickets. We don't know. We'll never know. What I DO know is that most people can't just change their plans to hit the ballpark after leaving work to pick up the tickets at the other end of town. For me, both the station and Fenway are close to where I live, but to get tickets means that I have to pick them up in Brighton, then pick up the Boy, put on our red sox clothing, get on the T, and get to Fenway in time for the game. It's almost idiotic. No, not almost. It IS idiotic that those tickets haven't come on sale yet.

People quit being freeloaders because they can never spend their damn points. The stuff comes up for sale at very weird times, and let's face it, most of it is total crap. Maybe it's just me, but a copy of Walter the Farting Dog isn't of interest to my family. Offer something good, I'm all for trying to win. But if you offer something, then make it available for sale. Let people at least have a chance at the merchandise you're pushing. Don't fake them out with prizes that they want, and then have them marked 'sold out' when they were never up for bid in the first place. Stop cheating your freeloaders, folks.

If you offer Red Sox tickets, put them up for bid at a reasonable hour and make sure that someone gets a chance to bid on them. But don't have 'coming soon' marked on the offer only hours before the event. It makes you look like lying scum. Oh, what's that you say? You ARE lying scum? Yeah, I kinda figured that.

Update: 1 pm and the tickets still aren't up for bidding. I think I was right by saying that they didn't exist. That makes me SO mad. Scumbags.

Second Update: It's 5:15 pm and as I predicted, the tickets never came up at all. They still say Coming Soon. What a crock. False Advertising. Total and complete scumbags, the MIX people. I called the station to ask about the tickets. Funny thing, couldn't talk to a real person. Geesh, I wonder why?
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The lilting song of the flute

Dear Neighbor,

I love to hear you practice your flute in the morning. It is relaxing and peaceful to hear a long flute playing on a sunny spring day. I also like to hear your students playing for you when they come to your house for lessons.

What I don't like is when you have a day-long recital and not inform any of your neighbors that there will be many many strange cars going up and down our shared driveway, parking willy nilly all over our parking area, sitting on MY front lawn on blankets waiting for their kids, dropping garbage onto MY lawn and garden, and taking my parking space if I happen to go out.

I know that this is your livlihood and you've been doing this for as long as you have lived in your house. But that doesn't give you priority over the lawn, garden, and driveway. You need to let your neighbors know when you're planning an all day recital, so we can plan accordingly.

You also need to tell your stupid clients that I don't live in a garbage dump and I don't live in a public park. They are NOT invited to lay down on my lawn, picnic on my lawn, set up camp on my lawn, or in fact step on my lawn without my expressed permission.

You also need to tell them about parking. This isn't your driveway. It is shared by four homes. Your clients should respect the rights of the residents and not park in the spaces reserved for residents. Your neighbor (that would be ME) is handicapped and needs her space right in front of her house. It is rude to ignore your neighbor's needs, especially after I've asked you and your clients repeatedly NOT to park in my space.

You run a business, just as I do, out of your home. Note that MY business partners, when they come for meetings during the week, do not park in your space. They park in the extra spaces in front of the barn. Spaces that are marked for visitors. You know why? Because I told them not to park in the resident spaces.

While we're on the subject of your behavior, would you PLEASE stop threatening my kids if they step onto the side lawn. When they are playing ball in OUR yard, and the ball meanders over to your side yard, they have to go and get it. They aren't doing anything damaging, they just want to retrieve their ball. Shaking your fists at them isn't winning them over. Note that when your son comes home from college, he disrupts the entire neighborhood with loud music, pot smoking, cigarette smoking, and cars picking up and dropping off with the radio blaring in the middle of the night. He's disruptive and yet you get annoyed when my kids simply go to get their soccer ball.

I've tried very hard to be a good neighbor. I've shoveled your car out of the snow. I've given you bounty from our garden (and didn't get a thank you). I've added a lot of pretty things to the garden and worked on making my house look attractive. I've kept my kids away from you. I only ask in return that you keep your fricking clients OUT of my handicapped parking space. Is that so much to ask.

Your neighbor,
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Perhaps we have ghosts?

Tonight's mystery is brought to you by the Girl. She went downstairs to the basement to get her clean laundry, and sitting atop the dryer were 5 pairs of pants, neatly folded. They ranged in size from 0 to 5. They were all low rise jeans or cords. We have never seen them before. We do not know where they came from.

But, what is interesting is that she tried them on and they all fit. Even the size 0 pants, a size she hasn't worn in a couple of years. Go figure!

We have absolutely no guesses as to where these pants came from. The Boy, who was last to do his laundry, didn't notice them on the machine when he was down there several times. But, consider the source. They could have flashing neon signs on them and he might miss them.

I haven't been in the basement in at least 10 months, so it's not me that put them there. Nobody else has access to our basement. The bulkhead is kept padlocked and it has not been tampered with.

Spooky, huh? Or maybe not. The Girl is just thrilled she has new jeans, and at least one pair is one of those ridiculously overpriced brands.
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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Art is rampant today

My city has a yearly weekend event where all the artists in town open their homes for a large open studios tour. All the sites are clearly marked with signs and red balloons, and a map of all the sites, plus a small description of all the artwork to be shown is available throughout the city prior to the event, and is also available at each stop on the tour. This year there were over 160 artists exhibiting in 61 different locations. Plenty to see and do, and to keep you busy all afternoon.

Yesterday the Girl and I went to a couple of the sites and those definately whet our appetites to see more great art. This morning she woke me up insistantly and off we went to explore various neighborhoods to see the art. We had 4 stops we knew we wanted to visit, and then there were a few more that we thought we might visit if we had time.

First stop was a large 1960's ranch-style home, where there were 7 artists showing their work. The Girl loved the paintings of artist Marcia Cooper, whose home it was. She was graceful and outgoing and helpful as she talked to the Girl and gave her some tips about painting the human form. her husband Jeff Rosenberg does beautiful stained glass, and we very much enjoyed his work. Other artists exhibited figure and portrait sculptures, mixed media paintings, printmaking, beads and fibre art. Still a tad hungover, I forgot that I had the camera with me and didn't take any photos at this location. Sorry.

Next we hit the JCC, where 28 different artist were exhibiting paintings, ceramics, glass, and various other mediums.

One of the artists made collages out of old international postage stamps, and then digitized them into prints. They were pretty unusual.

At this site I found a painter that I admired so much. Sometimes you find an artist whose works just speak to you, and this particular artist was shouting to me. I loved her work and if I had disposable income I would have bought several paintings.

A delightful elderly Russian sculptor had a couple of sculptures of his poodle, and again, had I the money they would have been in the mail tomorrow to Belinda. I loved them!

Some interesting ceramics, and some more interesting portraits of children. Very cute and this artist works from photos. I wish I could have found her years ago when my kids were babies.

Of course, some of the artwork was amaturish and not to my taste, but the artists were so friendly and willing to chat that it really didn't much matter.

Next stop was a lovely house in the centre of town. I think there were 7 artists exhibiting there, and we had a great time chatting them up.

First stop was a really cool exhibit of mosaic glass mirrors, frames, and decorative plates. This artist does amazing backsplashes, which I've seen in a friend's house.

One guy worked in fused glass and he sold a lot of little cheese and cracker trays made out of old melted bottles. They were selling like hotcakes.

He also did some nice fused glass trays that I liked.

The owner of the house made the most adorable fabric tote bags and small purse totes. We love them all, but there was no way to choose a favorite. I was partial to the sushi one, and the Girl was big on the polka dots.

An artist there made the most adorable 3-dimensional invitations and note cards. They were so cute and I could have bought out her entire stock. Her b'nai mitzvah invitations were great.

Our last stop was the Newton Art Center, which is a gallery all year round, but opens up for the sale with 13 different artists showing this year. Two very wonderful photographers, one that does b&w, the other digital color were highlights. Some stuff wasn't that great.

Remember that house I posted about maybe a month ago, the bright Victorian with the garish paint job? Well, the Girl spotted this photo and said, "That's from the house on xxxxx Street." I looked and she was right. You can see the house in the reflection at the bottom photo. Sharp eyes, that one!
In the gallery there was the strangest installation. I didn't get it, but it was about the 14 Stations of the Cross, with a basis on some Mexican children's game that I hadn't ever heard of, with the devil, and umbrellas, and hearts and little bunches. I read the artist's explanation twice and I was still a bit bleary. But it was pretty cool looking.

And now, I'm so freaking tired I don't know if I can stay awake thru Desperate Housewives.

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

My first semi-drunken post

I'm not the worlds biggest drinker. I rarely indulge in large amounts of alcohol, but lately I've been feeling more and more that I need a little drinkie-poo to get through the day. Nothing to worry about, I really don't drink a lot, but man, there are those days.

Today was very busy for a lovely spring day. I got up early, and the Boy and I went to the city plant sale, where we bought some herbs to replace those washed away in the deluge. We also bought a few new perennials for the beds. On the way home we stopped at Dunkin' Donuts for some coffee, and then headed home where the Girl was waiting for us.

She and I had made plans to go the the city art show, which is held all over the city in artist's houses and in public buildings. Our first stop was the JCC, but they were only open on Sunday. Uh Duh!

But, while we were there, the huge parking lot was empty so I let both kids try to drive the car for the first time. It was hilarious. They were so true to form. The Boy was scared and drove about 2 mph and did a great job. He had a blast, but he was so overly careful. Then the Girl got behind the wheel and she didn't listen all that carefully to the directions, as usual. She almost drove over a curb and she was laughing so hard and talking so much she didn't look where she was going. Typical! A couple of times around the empty lot and then we went home, dropped off the Boy, and the Girl and I went on to a few houses on the artist's tour.

The first house was a fricking MANSION with all caps. It was such a gorgeous house, right on the lake with spectacular water views. There was a big barn/studio in the back near the pool, and several artists were showing their works. The work was great, but the house. Oh my god, it was unbelievable. HUGE, gorgeous landscaping, a brick circular driveway. To die for. We also went to another cool house with the most amazing golden oak woodwork throughout, and old english tiles set into the woodwork. Very very beautiful.

Then I dropped the Girl off at her babysitting job, and the Boy and I did a couple of hours of gardening, finishing off the big bed, planting the perennials and some cosmos and lupin seeds, putting in the tomato bed, and finally planting the herbs. Everything looks great, and I'm happy it's finally done. What a lot of work!

This evening I went out with my friend Iris looking for shrugs for her daughter to wear to the many b'nai mitzvah she's going to attend this upcoming year. We went to Bloomingdales first, and then to a ritzy mall across the street. After hitting about 20 stores and finding nothing suitable because it's an odd time to be buying shrugs, I guess, we headed to the Cheesecake Factory Bar, where we proceeded to have some delicious drinks. I had several Mojitos, she had a candy apple martini. We had a great time once we finally got seated at the bar. I love me a mojito. Minty cool, perfect for this time of year.

By the time I got home I was feeling no pain. But the Girl, she's entertaining. She has several friends over and they're sitting on the front porch chatting. Lots of drama going on, much of which I can't yet share. But oh, the teenage angst. It's painful!
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Friday, May 19, 2006

Have you tried this yet?

More fun with the computer! You know when you're on hold with tech support or the phone company and you need to entertain yourself. The canned music is horrible, you can't listen to another second of "Raindrops keep falling on my head" and you've won 346 games of Solitaire in a row? You need something to occupy yourself, right? OK, well here are a few fun things to do.

Create your own newspaper article here. And then post it on your blog.

This site generates a lot of fun things.

This one has a fun plane banner generator. You never know when you might need it.

This is a classic. Don't you need this on your site? Maybe your .sig file needs some bling?

And some entertainment.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

This naming thing is getting out of hand

My friend Nina and I have spent many many hours of our time exchanging weird names that we've come across either in real life or on the internet. For some reason, weird names entertain the hell out of us. Nina has a slight advantage in funny Jewish names, since her former spouse works in a large synagogue and gets to meet hundreds of children. But I can also give as good as I get on the name front. Today, Nina sent me this NY Times article chronicling the latest really popular name for girls. I'd never heard of it, but then again, I don't hear many made up Christian names as a rule. My specialty is based more on ethnic names my kids encounter in school, like the boy named Urin my daughter went to school with in California. Or another favorite, Barr Levi Lev-Ari. That's a classic. Or the woman that named her daughter Jezabel. OK....

Anyhow, this new name is the result of a Christian pop star who appeared on MTV called Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D., in 2000 with his baby daughter, Nevaeh. "Heaven spelled backwards," he said. Neveah is now the most rapidly growing name in the United States. A totally fake name, btw. According to the ABC Evening News, which also featured this story tonight, the name is growing fast amongst young Born Again Christians who like the idea of heaven spelled backwards. I guess it's not all that much weirder than Nomar Garciaparra, who was named for his father Ramon. Nomar is Ramon spelled backward.

I have two all time favorite weird name stories and a third that I saw many many years ago on Oprah when she was fat and actually conversed with her audience members. Oprah was doing a story on crazy names, and there were quite a few hilarious ones, but the one situation that I remember most was when she put the microphone up to a well-groomed and coiffed black woman who said, "I'm an identical twin. My name is Regina and my sister's name is..... Vagina."
Oprah literally buckled down to the floor she was laughing so hard. An all time classic.

Once I was on the subway in NYC with a friend and a very large black woman with a small brood of kids was in the car when we got on the train. She had an adorable little girl with a bazillion braids and colored ponytail holders all over her head and the girl was running up and down the car at warp speed. Mom yelled to her, "Spatula, you get back here right now. Spatula. SPATULA." We were convulsed with laughter. You just gotta wonder.

Years later, but still some time ago I was in a deli with another friend and a woman was sitting down with her friend in the table next to us. She was visably pregnant and they were talking names. She mentioned the possible name Shoshana and said, "Shoshana, it be an AFRICAN name." Again, you could have picked me up off the floor. Just hysterical. (For those that don't know, Shoshana is a Hebrew name that means Rose. It is the Girl's Hebrew middle name. It is SO not an African name, though I appreciated it being used, as it'a a lovely name.

And so, I present you with one of my all time favorite sites to waste a couple of hours cracking up and staring in disbelief. Have fun!
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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

How annoying is this?

I bit the inside of my mouth a few days ago, and with the bite came a raised chunk of cheek that kind of sticks out. That's fairly annoying in and of itself, but the deal is, I keep biting the inside of my cheek on the chunky part over and over again when I'm sleeping. I think I must be chewing on it or something, because the inside of my mouth is ragged and sore and so freaking annoying. I can't figure out how to make it go away. I'm even thinking of stuffing gauze into my cheek at night to let it clear up, but then that would drive me nuts, too. What's a girl to do?

And that's not all. I usually have very strong fingernails, and my toenails are made of iron. I can barely clip them they're so thick. But every once in a great while my nails start to chip and split for no discernable reason. Today is one of those days. All day long my thumbnail has been peeling off in short slices. I finally just gave up trying to save the nail and clipped it down, but then where I clipped it it started to peel some more. How annoying is that?

Honestly, my life must be really boring if all I can come up with the complain about is my cheek sore and my peeling nails.

Oh, and my TOTALLY obnoxious son who thinks it's A-OK to play frisbee and soccer in the living room. Have I mentioned that I'm about to auction him off on ebay? The kid is driving me crazy. I do believe it's time for Margalit's Margarita. Make it a double.
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Almost loveable, but then again...

The infamous Worthless Pet has discovered that sitting in a chair while we're eating might, just might get him a tasty morsel. More likely it will get a "get down right now", but sometimes the face is just too cute. He also has taken to sitting in his seat while I'm on the computer, and just staring at me. It's rather creepy.

The Girl is his woman, and only she can hold him like this and expose that tummy. It's squishylicious, huh?

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A weird sort of fog

Some time ago, I entered a housing lottery for a new, moderate income housing unit that was being built in town. I entered because it would be one half the cost of my current housing costs, it is all on one floor and has a handicapped entrance, it's in a really nice part of town, and oh, did I mention it would be half the price of my current home. I got my lottery number and waited and waited for the lottery to be run.

Tonight was the night. We got there right on time, to the auditorium in City Hall, and sat down in a small group of people, all looking anxious. The lottery was in 3 parts, for two separate units. First priority were city employees, and they got two entries into both units. Second priority were those residents of our city. Third priority were minorities. They only pulled two of the three sets of numbers because we had over 50% minority applicants, where only 17% and below would have required a third pull.

The builders spoke first and explained to the audience all the various strands of information regarding how to proceed if your number was called, etc. He took questions from the audience and once again the kids and I were astounded by the total density of some people. EVERY bit of information was already in the three packets we received. It was pretty clear what to expect, what was required of us, and what the lottery was about, but a couple of people either didn't bother to read the information or needed it to be repeated verbally and asked a bunch of redundant questions. Man, I hate that. Do your fricking homework, people. If I have to read and digest tomes of information, that doesn't let you off the hook.

Finally the Mayor showed up 1/2 hour late and proceeded to pull the numbers. Each of the two lotteries would have 30 numbers pulled. The higher up you are in the pulled numbers, the better your chance was of getting one of the units. The top 15 are usually the ones that end up getting through the whole process and getting a unit.

We were the last number pulled. So, we're in the process for the next step, but it looks grim. 29 people ahead of us would have to not qualify for the mortgage or the financial requirements for us to get the unit.

But at least they called our number. That in and of itself was pretty exciting since there were plenty of people whose numbers didn't get called at all.

We'll see. I'm not counting my chickens or anything, but geesh, to halve my housing costs would be so fabulous. Though the kids and I don't want to move at all. We love our little house.
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Something New

I recently joined the Blogging Chicks, and you can see at the very bottom of my right sidebar a scrollbox filled with new blogs to check out, all members of Blogging Chicks. There are some great blogs that I've already checked out, and plenty more I'm looking forward to discovering. I'm excited to find a whole new set of women bloggers (not just mommys either!) that I can love. So won't you check out the Blogging Chicks blogroll and introduce yourself to some great new reads. Oh, and to join, just click here.

For my new Blogging Chicks readers, let me introduce myself briefly. I'm Margalit, a single mother to two exceptionally wacky twins, the Girl and the Boy. I'm a part time, stay-at-home, work-at-home professional blogger and writer, and a full-time lover of Hershey's Cherry Cordial Kisses, reading, watching way too much TV, gardening, getting all hot and bothered by stupidity in our government and my school system, and lastly, pet guardian to the Worthless Pet, our very chubby cat. We live in the greater Boston area, where my kids attend our local, less than perfect schools.

Feel free to check out my archives and learn more about me, my family, and my rantings. And welcome!
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Monday, May 15, 2006

Dickens was right

It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. And I'm basically freaking my little ass off about the worst of times.

We found out today that our family did not win the lottery for the camp scholarship, and there is just no way I can pay for a month of overnight camp right now. It isn't gonna happen. I had to tell the Girl today that she couldn't go away to camp, and she was so upset. I don't blame her one bit. EVERY single friend of hers goes for the entire summer. Nobody will be here all summer and she's going to be stuck here with her brother, both of them in crappy moods because they want to be entertained and I can't possibly entertain them because I now have work to do during the day.

I feel so badly for her. But I'm just so freaking sick of not being able to afford what are simple pleaasures. I deprive myself of everything. I have nothing new that belongs to me. I give everything I have to my kids and it isn't enough. I feel so much like a failure because I can't provide for my kids the want I want to. I'm not trying to 'keep up with the Jones". I can't do that. It's just impossible. I'm trying to provide my kids a decent summer experience that doesn't mean sitting on their butts and watching TV all day long.

My kids have never ever not gone to camp. They have always been away for at least a month. It's a time for them to be on their own, to grow as individuals, and to be away from each other. I want this for them. Actually, the boy really hates camp, but he was supposed to go to guitar camp for a month, and he was really looking forward to that. It was a day camp, but that was pretty much all he could handle for this summer. Now, he's not going. The Girl was supposed to go to overnight camp for a month, and then to CIT at our local Boys and Girls club. Now, she's not going to be able to do the month away, and it's questionable how much time we can afford at the B&G club.

I'm so sad about this. I feel like the economics of our life never ever get better, even when I am working and getting paid for it. The weather conspires against me, making us use heat in the middle of May. Heat I can't really afford. The price of gas is just outrageous. The cost of food keeps going up because of the gas crisis. It just never ends. I want so badly to make my kids have the fun that all their friends have. For the Girl, not going away to camp is a big punishment. She's literally the only kid that won't be going someplace for the summer. This sucks SO much I just can't even believe it's happening.


OTOH, with the Girl's graduation from Middle School looming ever closer, and with all of the girls planning their graduation wardrobes, it became necessary to set foot in a store and shop for an appropriate dress for her. We looked in Marshalls, but they had almost nothing. We looked in a couple of local stores, but again, not much that was appropriate. Dresses seem to be either too girly or too sophisticated. She wanted a halter dress in a bright print. We saw plenty of chocolate brown and black and white dresses, but not much in bright prints, and what we saw were just too fancy. So today we braved the drizzle and went to the mall. That's the kind of mom I am, braving the elements for dress shopping for my baby Girl.

I'm not much of a mall shopper. I'm not much of any shopper, but malls creep me out. Today, however, the mall was almost empty due to the weather. Of course, the escalator was broken. That never fails. We looked in a couple of stores. One had a dress we both loved but it was in the $400 range, so we didn't even bother to have her try it on.

As we were walking by Ann Taylor she spotted a dress she liked. We went in and looked at the dress, but it was around $200, so that was out. Then, way in the back I spotted the sale rack. A sale rack filled with summer dresses. We picked out 6 to try on. Some she didn't like, but I wanted her to see that the style was going to look good on her. Some were a bit too small in the waist, and too big in the boobs. But one she really liked fit like a glove. It was prefect for her. And it was marked down $50. Still well over what I wanted to spend (which was nothing), but within the realm of affordable. She agreed to put up half of the money from her babysitting, and so we bought it.

We've decided on light green shoes to match the green in the dress. She might change her mind and want pink shoes. I dunno, I'm so not into this whole fashion thing. But she has agreed to trim her hair before graduation. And she's going to do DDR for an hour a day and maybe lose a couple of lbs before the big day.
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Sunday, May 14, 2006

No, I'm not drowning and other stuff

We've got to be the only people in this state that haven't had something float away. Living on top of a large hill does have it's problems in winter, but we rarely have a flooding problem. All our water goes right down the hill into the street and probably flows into some poor shlub's house that lives on lower ground. Everyone else seems to be flooded out or dealing with leaky roofs. We've had 10 inches of rain in the past 24 hours and it isn't stopping any time soon. Five days ago, the 10 day forecast said we would have 10 days of rain. Tonight, the 10 day forecast says we're going to have ten more days of rain. I am wondering if getting a canoe might be a good idea.

People are taking the rain with some sense of humor, but it's getting very very annoying. I think not seeing the sun is hard enough, but day after day of driving rain can make a mentally healthy person think about suicide. We're not there yet, but my kids are both acting like jerks and begging to stay home. The Boy pitched a major fit tonight when told to take out the garbage. It was overreacting at it's best, and yet he couldn't stop himself and even came back for another round a few minutes later. My oh my.


Mother's Day went as expected. I was awakened around 11:00 with pancakes, which we all ate in my bed. The kids made cute cards for me, and the Girl bought me a nice new coffee mug that says "Mom Needs Coffee" on it. She said it came filled with candy, but I never saw the candy. I'm not surprised by this. The Boy, as usual, made absolutely no effort to help in any way, complained when he was asked to make a pot of french press, and basically acted like a pill most of the day. Both kids let me read and then go back to sleep, so I literally spent the whole day in bed, which is just what I wanted and needed. My ankles are now a regular size and shape, after almost two weeks of horribly painful swelling. I just needed a day in bed to get back to normal. I feel so much better now, well rested and not filled with bloat.


The Girl and her friend went to downtown Boston's City Hall on Saturday Night to attend the 2006 Bagly Prom (Boston Area Gay Lesbian Youth). Her friend is bi, and the Girl went to lend support to other gay kids she knows. She had a blast. She said it was the most fun she's ever had at a party, and there were no drugs and no alcohol, and there were thousands of kids from all over the city in attendance. Mumbles Menino, the Mayor of Boston, sang a song, and she reported he sounded like kermit the frog. I'm gonna give her that one.

Before the prom, there was an annual Youth Pride March in the pouring rain. Gay-Straight Alliances from all over the state and some from New Hampshire came to march in a downpour, and the pics here show what a great time they had.

I was exceptionally proud of the Girl for asking to attend this event, and for her bravery in going. She was younger than most of the kids, and it didn't even occur to her than she might be talked about negatively if she went. When I talked to her about it today, she shrugged that all off telling me that she could hold her own, and yes, I believe she can.


Television comments: The last episode of West Wing left me sobbing. It's no surprise to any longtime reader of this blog that I love this show. Even after it jumped the shark a few years back, I couldn't give it up. I'm a hopeless political junkie and I have wished and prayed for a president like Josiah Bartlett. What we've got now, not quite the same, is he? Just when I was about to give up on the show, they introduced my true love Jimmy Smits as a presidential candidate, and then tonight as the newest president of the United States. Watching Bartlett sign Toby's pardon, and then opening Mallory's gift from the now deceased Leo brought me to apoplectic tears. I'm such a complete softy when it comes to this show.

BUT... even to the end, the fact checker screwed up on the way Haverhill is pronounced. It is NOT Have-er-hill. It has never been pronounced like that. It is Hay-vrill. Drives me nuts when they mention towns in our state and can't even discover how to pronounce them. Leominster is NOT Le-o-min-ster. It is Lem-in-stah. Worchester is not Wor-Ches-Ter. It is Wus-tah. Medford is not Med-ford. It is Meh-Fah. Get it right, Hollywood.

Ist part of the Gray's Anatomy season finale? Oy vey! Izzy is playing with fire, I tell you. With fire. Can't wait to see how Christina reacts to the shooting. Can't wait to see how Dr Dreamy reacts to Meredith. Loved how Dr Bailey told off that idjit restaurant manager. That was funny. Tomorrow we have two more hours of Gray's Anatomy. Can't wait for that.

I recorded Survivor to watch another time, but I did switch channels a couple of times and caught who won. As long as it wasn't Terry, I'm happy. I did catch the whole bit with Shane talking about quitting smoking and going nuts, etc. That was great. He's absolutely bonkers, but I like him. The Blackberry thing turned me into a fan. He is so nuts but so likable. I'll watch the show later on this week.
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Saturday, May 13, 2006

The obligatory Mother's Day Post

I'm not big on Mother's Day. Or any of the other Hallmark Holidays for that matter. Because I don't have a mother that I want to honor with a gift or a card, I sort of grew apart from the celebratory part of Mother's Day. Now that I'm a mother, my kids do want to celebrate, but we don't do all the hoopla that some other families do. We don't go out ot eat. We don't get flowers delivered. Some of us don't even get a present for me, not that I'm naming names or anything.

Mother's Day, to me, seems like a silly holiday. Mothers should be honored everyday for the invaluable job they do. They don't need one 'special day' where they're respected, they deserve that respect every day. Mothers work harder, take more crap, and are less rewarded than any other profession I can think of. Most days, being a mother is plain hard work. You're part social worker, part maid, part social director, part psychologist, part chef, part laundress, part fashion consultant, part hairdresser, and full time comforter of little beings. You take care of the house, the kids, the pets, the bills, the various errands, and for the most part you do it uncomplaining. It's part of being a mom. A job I certainly signed up for, knowing, or at least thinking I knew, how hard it was going to be.

Like most of us moms, I was clueless as to the draining nature of mothering. Not so much the being on call 24/7, but the constant solving of issues regarding your kids childcare, schools, camps, and dealing with rules and regulations and deadlines that often seem ridiculous and arbitrary. For me, that's the hardest part of parenting. I'm not so organized, I guess.

There is the fact that your identity is kinda swallowed when you become a mom. From (insert your name here) to (insert your child's name here)' s Mom. Like you faded into the background because your identity is solely that of a mom. I think for a while there, I forgot what my name was, because I was constantly introduced as The Boy/Girl's Mom. Now I'm at peace with this, and of course my kids are older so they introduce me themselves using my real name. Such an honor to be found again.

I love being a mom. There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not astounded by what gorgeous kids I have. I look at them in wonder, questioning how I could possibly have hit the jackpot with these two nutcases. They're funny, and smart as whips, and they are loving and gentle and inherenetly kind (although not to each other at times). Yeah, they are bad and do incredibly stupid things sometimes, but that's the nature of being a kid. I love being able to guide them towards better choices, and to watch the light dawn that maybe there is a better way to behave. I love having them question my opinion on things, and to form their own ideas about tough issues. I'm unbelievably thankful that I have these kids, nutty as they are, and as difficult as they are to parent. I believe that they're lucky to have me, too. I'm a lot more understanding of their foibles, and a lot less psychotic when they make really bad choices than most parents would be.

But with all that said, celebrating me for a day seems kinda stupid to me. My kids celebrate me on many days. I'd so much rather get a handful of lilacs from our bush just because than a present they spent money on because it's almost a requirement. I'm much more touched by their efforts when it comes from the heart, as their little gifts to me often do. The Boy bringing home another honor roll card means so much more to me than a "World's Best Mom" mug ever would.

I go along with Mother's Day because inherently I'm not a Scrooge, but I still think it's silly. I just hope someone makes pancakes for my breakfast tomorrow. Hint hint.

Make your own Supermom card here.

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Who would have thunk it?

After years of searching thru various sites using a lot of internet tools, I finally found three members of our family that have been 'missing in action' for about 13 years. Last night a lightbulb went off and I thought to myself, look on myspace. After all, everyone in the free world and probably beyond has a myspace account, so why not check it out. Yup, I found one right away, the second was linked to him, and the third was linked to the second. They have pictures and various other links to other people and videos and all sorts of information for catching up. It was so strange seeing these faces I haven't seen since they were all little kids. Now they're finished with college and doing really cool and interesting stuff and they look so much like they fit in with the family.

I'm very happy to have found them, but I didn't make any contact. I'm not sure it would be welcome, not through any misunderstanding or anything, but because I've faded away and I don't know exactly what they know and don't know about our situation. I'd rather get in contact with the adults, but that's a sticky wicket. A very sticky wicket. So I'm trying to decide what to do. I'll be pondering this for a while, trying to figure out the best strategy for renewing our relationships without putting forth any anxiety or stress. This should be interesting.
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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mass Health just plain sucks lemons

I'm scared to death of the new Health Insurance mandate passed by the state legislature and ballyhoed by our jerk of a governor, Mitt Romney. For those not in the loop, MA residents are going to be required to have health insurance coverage. There isn't a choice, it's a mandate. If you are under the poverty level, you can get Mass Health for free. Since nobody could possibly live in MA under the poverty level, that means pretty much everyone is going to be required to be covered at work or to purchase MassHealth for themselves.

Now I know most people outside of MA see this as a step towards universal health care and consider it a positive step. However, this program has serious flaws, especially if you're not financially able to pay for your own health care. Small employers must put a tiny amount towards health coverage, but the basic responsibility is on you, the user. If you have free care from a hospital now, you're going to lose that excellent coverage and will have to get half assed MassHealth coverage instead. If you're living paycheck to paycheck because you pay a ridiculous rent or mortgage, adding several hundred dollars a month to your budget has just become mandates without any additional funds coming to you. Aren't you lucky?

Why does this matter? Because MassHealth refuses to cover a huge variety of items, mostly prescriptions. So not only do you lose good care that covers pretty much everything if you have had free care, you are now required to pay high prices for crappy care and to fight for every prescription your doctor orders for you.

I'm not talking about weird medications. I'm talking about pretty much EVERY allergy medication, many asthma medications, blood pressure medications, GERD medications, sleep aids, antidepressants, cholesterol medications, and birth control pills. Yup, the state gets to tell you what kind of birth control you can use, and they will not pay for other prescriptions ordered by your doctor, even if the bc pills they do cover don't work for you.

Today I took the Girl to see a specialist at Children's Hospital. After the examination, the doctor wrote two prescriptions for her, and she wrote extremely detailed directions for the labeling, just because she has had such trouble with MassHealth. Off we went to CVS to fill the prescriptions. MassHealth denied them both. Not just one, both. Now we have to have the doctor file an appeal, and the thing will take at least a month to solve. The doctor wouldn't have written the prescriptions if she didn't think the Girl needed the medications, and yet the state's mandated formulary is so bad that we couldn't get either of the meds she needs.

Aren't you all looking forward to dealing with this agency? You'll just love them. One month, back when I had MassHealth, I had to appeal 7 different medications because they changed their formulary without any patient notification, and when I went to refill my scripts, they were no longer covered. This meant contacting 3 different doctors to have them write appeal letters to MassHealth and then waiting impatiently for almost 2 months for the appeals to be decided. While I didn't have my medications my doctor scrounged up free samples for me to use.

This isn't health care coverage, it's a sham program that denies, denies, denies. Aren't the people of MA fortunate to have such groovy coverage? Um, I'm pretty worried myself.
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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Reliving the good times

Today, while searching through the Girl's medical records to find a salient document for her doctor's appointment tomorrow, I came across all her infant records from Children's Hospital, where she spent a goodly amount of her time as a baby and toddler.

When the twins were about to be born, the Girl was diagnosed with IntraUterine Growth Retardation (IUGR), a fancy schmancy term for her brother hogged all the food and she stopped growing inutero. Because of this, I was induced early and the twins were born prematurely. When the Girl, who was baby b, arrived, she was a footling breech delivery, and her placenta was black with calcification. Her umbilical cord was as thin as one of those red coffee stirrers from Starbucks, completely black, and fell off at birth. Her apgars were 4 and 8. She was not a healthy, robust baby. She weighed 4 lbs 5 oz at birth, and because she was born during the very short era of driveby deliveries in MA, she was sent home weighing 4 lbs and slightly jaundiced. Good times.

Because of this shakey start, she had a lot of birth issues that created the Worlds Crankiest Baby (tm). She cried pretty much nonstop for around 18 months. She had a lot of physical problems and saw a bevy of specialists including a neurologist, otolaryngologist, and pediatric gastroenterologist regularly. She had lots of tests including an MRI, a couple of EEGs, full genetics workup, etc. Oh, the fun of it all.

What I found today was the case notes from the famous (or infamous, depending on your opinion) Dr. Richard Ferber of Solving Your Child's Sleep Problems fame. Yes, my baby girl was an actual patient of the good doctor. But not only was she a patient, we were also his neighbors, so I could threaten to drop her off at his house if she didn't learn to sleep. It was quite convenient.

Now I know that the 'anti-cry-it-out' crowd is freaking out with disbelief that I would subject my poor baby to this monster. You couldn't be more wrong. Dr Ferber is the sweetest, kindest man you could ever imagine. Plus, he's a miracle worker. He got my baby to sleep when nothing else worked, including medications. The Girl went to see him when she was 18 months old and not only had never slept through the night, she never slept for more than 2 hours at a pop. From his notes:

...in general Girl is asleep by 7:40 with a pacifier. She wakes between 8 and 8:30 and stands, yells, and has a demanding cry or whine. The mother (that's ME) is in within about 5 monutes, lays her down, gives her her stuffed animals, covers her, and leaves, and she goes back to sleep. She then wakes again between 10:30 and 12:30 in the same way but cannot be consoled easily in the crib so the mother has taken to bringing her into her bed. Once they leave her bedroom, she is quite happy. She goes back to sleep with the mother after 15-30 minutes. In bed with the mother she wakes 1-4 times more (usually 1-2 times) and sits, talks, chases the cat around the bed, and lets the mother keep putting her towards the pillow. She is up for another 15-30 minutes at each of these wakings. She does not seem in distress or even unhappy in that setting. She wakes in the morning, most days around 6 am (only occasionally as late as 7:30). This means she is in bed for 10 1/2 hours and gets perhaps 8-8 1/2 hours of sleep....

Is there any wonder why I was a zombie after 18 months of this? The funny thing is, she's still a terrible sleeper. She is the lighest sleeper I've ever heard of, and she doesn't sleep through the night even now. She doesn't get into my bed and chase the cat anymore, but she really does have sleep issues even to this day. Makes me wonder just how bad her sleep habits would have been without the help of Dr Ferber.

When you go as a patient to see Dr Ferber he spends an initial two hours with the family. He talks about all the family habits and schedules and is interested in everything from what you eat at every meal to what kind of TV you watch. He gets a great picture of how the family unit works, and what the child uses as transitional objects. The second hour is a physical exam of the child, plus a discussion of what you need to do to change naps, mealtimes, and even bedtimes to suit a particular child. Every child is different and he certainly took my Girl's personality into account when he designed a new schedule for her.

The changes were fairly simple, changing from 2 naps to 1, moving mealtime and bedtime to a schedule more in tune with her needs, and a progressive waiting routine. Within 2 weeks, the Girl went from frequent nighttime wakings to sleeping through the night, even in the midst of a raging ear infection.

The man is a miracle worker. He saved my life and made me a nicer, calmer, more rested mommy. So don't you go saying anything negative about my sleep guy. Evah!
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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Are Mean Girls getting meaner?

Today the Girl and I were sitting with a social worker friend and got to discussing what mean girls are like these days as opposed to when the adults were kids. Frankly, the conversation was kind of scary. My kid does come home and tell me every day what Kelly did to Kristi and how Marcie and Mary got into a big fight over matching clothing. Some of the stories make my blood boil. There isn't a day that goes by where I don't say to her "But that's MEAN!" She knows it's mean, but the culture of middle school sort of revolves around being mean to everyone else.

Our friend D, who went to another middle school in this town and is in her mid-30's, talked about how when she went to school, she was one of the judgemental mean girls. She was a cheerleader and on pep squad and evidentally one of the cool crowd. She was telling us about how now she looks back on some of the things she said and did and cringes. She also said that when she moved to high school, her friends were totally different than those of middle school, and she stopped being mean almost immediately. Making fun of the other girls just don't have as much cache in high school, she said.

When I was in Junior High, back in the Pleistecine era, I was so tangentially involved in the social whirl that I honestly can't remember being either picked on or being mean. I know I was really picked on in elementary school because I wasn't allowed to do any physical activity including recess, and that didn't go down big with the other kids. I was also 5'9" tall in 6th grade. But in Junior High, I was into horseback riding, dressage, jumping, and spending time at the stables. I babysat a lot, and I read a lot. I did have friends, but I can't even recall who most of them were. Once I got into high school, I got more popular, got into more usual stuff, and started noting the popular girls. The school queen bee, Laura Bammer, was the one to emulate, but unfortunately for me she was about 5' tall and maybe 100 lbs soaking wet, with long straight blondish hair. Me, 5'9, 140 lbs, long brown curly/frizzy hair and more of a Janis Joplin type. There was no way I was gonna fit in with her.

But I was smart and artistic and I ended up knowing most of the very cool kids because they were smart and artistic and a bit out of the box, like me. By my senior year I was definately in with the in crowd, but I still didn't much get into the whole mean girls thing. I don't think I'm mean at heart.

So I was saying to the Girl that I often cringe when she tells these stories about how Buffy ran into someone and tripped and everyone stopped and laughed at her and called her names, etc. Or when some girl walks up to someone and accuses her of being blind because her outfit doesn't match. Conformity is extremely important in middle school. Any diversion from what is considered acceptable is greeted with hoots of insults. I can't stand it. I'm always telling the girl how mean she sounds, but the weird thing is, she's extremely popular. The other kids LOVE her and look up to her. Now, I love her too, but when she's out of line, I let her know in no uncertain terms that her behaviour just isn't acceptable. I have no tolerance for that kind of meanness.

In talking about this, I realized that a lot of my negative reactions to perfectly normal, if obnoxious, insults comes from my own experiences as a kid and being completely outside the social scheme in Junior High. I wasn't expecting such a visceral reaction to this discussion, but I did have one. I'm hoping that by pointing out to the girl that judging and making fun of other kids is just plain mean, she's outgrow it and move into high school with a different attitude. I just don't know though. It's so freaking hard to be a teenager right now as compared to when I was a kid. I don't envy this generation at all.
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Monday, May 08, 2006

When even your "in" doesn't know

I was just over reading Waiter Rant and he posted that he's going to be on Matty in the Morning tomorrow morning. Matt Siegal will be interviewing him. I'm so freaking excited I almost peed my pants. I KNOW Matt Siegal. I'll find out who Waiter is and what restaurant in NYC he works for. I'm totally in the Zone.

The Girl is very good friends with Matt's twins C and L. So I make her call C at her father's house to see if he knows the information. He's freaking clueless. CLUELESS. He didn't even know he was interviewing the Waiter until I told him what time it was, etc. Geesh, he's the worst "in" I've ever known. He knows nothing. I'm going to have to get up at 7:15 like everyone else and listen to the Waiter. And I'm going to be in the dark as to his identity, as usual.

But you know I'm gonna ask Matt again after he talks to Waiter. Because I refuse to believe he is going to interview someone and not even get a hint.

I need to get better connections in this city.
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Kids, I don't know what's wrong
with these kids today!

This afternoon I took the Girl shopping for her graduation dress. Yes, the child is graduating from middle school (Baruch HaShem) and all the girls have already gotten their new dresses, so she's been begging to go shopping for a while now. Me, I can't believe that anyone would want to buy a dress for middle school graduation. It sure was different when I was growing up, that's for sure!

She has a dress type in mind, one with a nice light floral pattern, a halter top, and a knee length handkerchief skirt. Why she's decided this is what she wants is a mystery, but we sure couldn't find anything that fit the description and also fit the Girl. We did see two dresses she liked, but they just were too teeny to believe. They were marked Size 3, but I think it might have been a negative 3. There is no way she could wear these dresses and she was sad. So very sad.

Graduation is more than a month away and she's panicking. I have no intention of paying full price for a dress she'll likely wear only once or twice. We'll probably have to go downtown to (gulp) Filenes Basement for a gander at what they have.

I just realized that I have to dress up for this soiree as well. Great. I might just start crying now.
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Sunday in the garden with the Boy

It was a beautiful day today in the neighborhood, and as we agreed, the Boy and I spent a few hours working in our sorely neglected garden. Last year we had no clue as to what was going to come up, so we just basically left it as is. This year I know what needs to be done, and how much effort I have to expend to make it look like someone cares for it.

The Boy and I agreed that he would do some heavy work and I'd pay him for the work her performed. Like most kids his age, he has no clue of what real physical work means, and the fool agreed to my offer with no bargaining. I bet that doesn't happen again.

First thing that needed to be done was to define the edges of the 4 beds that make up our perennial garden. I don't think the garden has been edged in many many years, which makes for very confusing mowing lines. This means the guy that mows the lawn will often mow down plants in the garden. That's not acceptable to me. So edge we did.

The Boy did 4 of the 8 needed edges. He worked hard, and he spent a good amount of time either complaining that his back hurts, or that it was too hot, or that the work as too hard, or that he was tired, or or or or. But he did the work, and that's a major accomplishment for him.

While he was edging, I was planting the herbs and some annuals in my large pots I keep by the back door. I grow herbs in containers to ensure that they're easy to use in the kitchen. I've got chives, rosemary, basils, lavender, lemon balm, parsey, and thyme so far. I'm still looking for some greek oregano. I also put a cherry tomato plant in a container, because we usually eat those right off the plant, like they're candy. They don't usually ever make it into the house!

Then I prepared a long bed for the main tomato garden. I'm putting in romas, early girl, and big boy. I haven't yet looked for any of the older varieties, but I'll try and find at least one or two heirlooms. The Girl loves the yellow ones.

I had to spread a couple of inches of new topsoil, and then add some cow manure. I'll get the seedlings in maybe on Tuesday, as I have meetings all day on Monday.

The Boy picked up the clumps from the edging he got done, and cleaned up some of one bed. He also spent a lot of time thinking of how he was going to spend his newly earned money. There is still a lot to do, maybe another 6 hours worth of work.

By the end of the gardening session my feet were so swollen I couldn't even find my ankles. I know there are some bones in there somewhere. This is what my stupid heart does that makes me so nuts. I hate hate hate the edema.

Here are photos of my azeleas I mentioned last week. The big one started blooming today. It is over 7 feet high and round. It's really enormous.

The smaller red ones aren't shaped, but the color is spectacular. They are just beautiful.

Lastly, here is a nice mountain laurel that grows on the side of the house. Pretty, huh?

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Want vs Need

I wrote this huge long post with lots of pictures and was just polishing off the last sentence when the power went off. This is the third power outtage this weekend. I'm still incredibly pissed off. That damn post took me over an hour to write. So I'm splitting it up into two smaller posts, starting with this one.


After spending several hours gardening with the Boy, the Girl arrived home from babysitting and asked if we could go return some summer clothing I had bought her that didn't fit quite right. I agreed since we needed a break, and off we went to the local sporting goods store. The Girl returned her shorts and T's, and bought a pair of Puma's for herself. I got them both new Red Sox shirts, the Girl choosing Coco Crisp and the Boy wanted David Ortiz. We got her some new shorts and t's and then paid and left.

Next stop was a store favorite of ours, Newbury Comics. For once I remembered the camera and I've always wanted to take some photos of some of our current faves from this store.

The Boy is really in his element here. He loves looking at the Xbox games, DVDs, and of course the CDs. He's also big on the posters, books, and t-shirts.

Hard to choose between Moses or Frankenstein, eh? These are just two disperate examples of the great and highly weird toys they offer in this store. Today I wanted to buy the Girl a Chia Homer Simpson, but she wasn't interested. She's so lame.

The Girl loves the clothing, belts and accessories, and the games and toys.

I'm extremely fond of the lunch boxes.

These are what I want for Mother's Day. The whole collection. OK, maybe not the Jesus one, because that's a bit irreverent for me, but I cannot possibly live much longer without my Jane Austin action figure. I NEED it.

But I also like the rubber duckies.

The Girl has been hankering for this 'shroom for a while now. It's actually a little stool.

I love looking at all the buttons and bumper stickers. They are decidely anti-Bush and they have some really funny ones. I usually end up buying a bumper sticker for a friend who has no shame about papering the whole back of her car with stickers.

This cutout of Curt Shilling pitching would look great standing in a corner of my bedroom.

This mannequin's shirt is directed at Johnny Damon. It's pretty good, eh?

We had a good time, I got the new PINK CD, which the Girl has already absconded with. Figures.
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