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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Saturday, June 30, 2007

In other, cheerier news

I had a real live adult afternoon. It's been so freaking long since I've done anything just with grownups and just for me I almost didn't know how to handle myself. But I did just fine. A very old friend of mine, a pre-kids for both of us friend, came over and we went out for a delightfully long, leisurely lunch at a chi-chic Mexican restaurant. We had fancy margaritas, we talked about grown up stuff, we laughed and had fun until I got the phone call.

I believe I have mentioned that I'm so not a fan of the cell phone. And here's why. We're sitting out on this shady patio behind the restaurant, eating and having a grand old time, and I get a call from the Boy. Not to worry mom, but I've been in a small car accident. Heart in mouth, I try desperately to remain calm. Actually, I did a damn good job of it, considering. He tells me that he went to his afternoon appointment at Dunkin' Donuts to see his therapist, and then he talked her into taking him to a friend's house at the other end of the city. She agreed, they got started to merge onto Rt.9, and she got rear ended. And then a third car rear ended the rear ender. He's fine, she's fine, everyone is fine. But as a mom, I had to see that for myself.

Lunch ended with a bang, shall we say. We got back home, he's honestly fine, she's honestly fine, my friend and I regain the color in our faces, and then my friend took him off to see his friend at the other end of town.

Now, let me just say that, for my first experience with a child in an accident without me, I did very well. I didn't cry, I didn't scream in agony, I didn't panic. I listened carefully to both The Boy and The Therapist on the phone, and they sounded calm enough so that I didn't immediately go into panic attack mode. I just needed to see for myself that he was fine, and then off he went, and I took a nap.

I think I was very successful in being a calm, rational parent. WHO THE HELL AM I???

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We've got a big dose of fear

I know this whole BF thing is probably boring half of you to death, but this is the only way I can work out what's going on, because I really can't talk to anyone in town about it without them knowing to whom I'm referring. Which kind of sucks. So I have to do it here, where it can be anonymous and yet still compelling.

Today's installation in the drama was anticlimactic. My kid, when told about just what the next step was, froze and was too afraid to move forward. Which isn't particularly strange considering all we've learned in the past couple of days. This is extremely scary stuff. Even I'm fearful that the crazy could descend upon our own house.

OK, so this is what we found out yesterday. BF's dad evidently is running very scared, and so he sent some 'affiliates' of his (we assume) to Love Interest's camp two states away. At first, when we heard the story, we thought that the authorities had gone to the camp to interview LI, because that's what he told us. But upon further reflection, something wasn't right. I called DSS and the local police and asked them if they had crossed 2 state lines in order to interview LI, and search LI's cabin. No, they did not. They never cross state lines. They never search anything without a warrant. Un duh! I watch enough crime shows to know this.

So when we talked to LI again last night, we went over the story. It was a bunch of men in suits. Which set off flashing lights, because DSS doesn't hire men in suits, they hire young, mostly female social workers who don't ever wear suits. Black suits, especially. Nor do the police. Nor do they toss a cabin and leave it a mess. These guys didn't show any ID. They didn't interview him with the camp director. They didn't interview him with another adult. In other words, they entered the camp, staked him out, and then ambushed him. Scared the shite out of me, knowing that these guys just walked into a sleep away camp.

say is Dad's prerogative and not against the law), and the additional allegations of sexual abuse we haven't yet reported, we're a bit overwhelmed and frightened. My kid, because they talked to BF With this in mind, plus the fact that BF is being completely isolated (which both police and DSSsurreptitiously on the phone while BF was at camp, is fearful that BF will know we were the initial reporters (BTW, I'm a mandated reporter in this state, but because BF was not my student, I can't report it under the mandate, which sucks for various reasons) and that BF will be very angry and will never be my kid's friend again. That could be possible, I honestly don't know. But it isn't worth the anguish BF is enduring under this crackpot's despotic rule, is it?

What scares me the most is that Dad is able to get private cell phone numbers, able to find a kid at camp and intimidate them to the point that LI is petrified and just wants out and that he has no compunction about using illegal and intimidating actions. I can't take that kind of stress in my life. This alone is driving me bonkers. I don't need more.

But I've told my kid that we need to see it through to the end, and that means that we will report this other stuff. LI's parents are on holiday and don't know what is going on. I think they're going to be ballistic when the get back. My kid is scared that anything we do will make things worse. That is entirely possible. But this guy evidently has ways of getting what he wants and so far I've seen through all of them. I'm not about to let this go, but I think we have to take it one step at at time.

I do want to say Thank You to all of you who have supported me in comments and in email. I appreciate it more than you could ever know. This is, for me, moving into very difficult territory. As the abused kid, I'm re-experiencing things I thought I had long put behind me. I'm trying hard to balance my past with my kid's futures. They don't have the same background I do. They don't know abuse. They're mystified about this whole situation. It's very hard for me to balance keeping it all plain information and bringing in the dark stuff I know they don't understand.

Keep those cards and letters coming! I really feel bolstered by them.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

What the F?

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

This is based on using the words gun, crappy, and murder.

Me thinks this is the worst tool on the internet. You do know I'm definitely an R, right?

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Distressing BF update

Through subterfuge, my kid was able to get a message to BF, asking BF to please call my kid during camp. BF called today. The news is not good. Not good at all. I'm now so upset I just do not know what to do.

BF reported that Dad took every single bit of technology away. All computers are locked up in basement. He has BF's cell phone (more on that in a bit). TV, Ipod, all gone. Land line, gone. Even clock radio gone. BF is totally separated from the world. BF is not allowed to go anywhere, talk to anyone except for camp. BF said that the only thing BF can do is sleep, draw, and read. BF is not a reader. BF is spending all the time sleeping. BF thought that all his/her friends deserted BF. Had absolutely no idea that people were worried. Said that Dad told BF that too much family information was being shared, which is why BF is in isolation. Isolation will be in effect until school starts in September. So not cool.

BF said that police, sheriff (who knew we even had a sheriff!) and DSS came to home. NEVER questioned BF alone. Talked to Dad, who was furious and lied. What a big surprise. BF said nothing about being physically examine. BF also said that Dad filed a false claim report. I didn't know there was such a thing, but that is what BF said. BF also believes, as Dad does, that love interest made the call.

Now, the cell phone. Dad has BF's phone, and has been texting Love Interest and other people leaving false information. He texted Love Interest and "broke up with him" and left threats. There were at least 4 text messages. He has also left Friend text messages. In addition, any calls to BF have not been reported to him/her, so BF does not know how many people have tried to get in touch with BF. Grandma is complicit in this, not telling BF about phone calls coming in for BF. Love Interest has no clue that texts are fake. LI is highly upset and away at camp.

So that's the update. Obviously, I'm more than a little bit concerned. BF isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, and we're dealing with a kid with a LOT of learning disabilities. BF doesn't understand the subtle nuances of what's going on. My kid was giving BF hints about talking to Dad, calling DSS, etc. BF didn't get it. What is happening in that house is unacceptable. You can't do that to a kid. Especially a kid that did nothing wrong. This proves my suspicious that Dad is off his rocker. So what are the options?

Call DSS and report this and add the sexual abuse to the initial report.
Do nothing and stew all summer, worrying.
Try and talk to Dad, which obviously won't do a thing but make more trouble.

I didn't even get a chance to talk about this to our family therapist because we had such a "lively" session this morning, as both kids were totally 'on'. Oh my God, I think the therapist was dying to just run away screaming. It was kinda funny it was so horrible.

Help me decide what to do next, please.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

BF update + Fun fun fun!

The Boy was getting ice cubes out of the freezer and dropped the entire tray on the floor right after I told him I had just made that tray and they were not yet ice cubes. Sure enough, cubes were easily shattered and floor was soaking wet. First he blames the pizza dough for making him drop the tray. Um, not gonna work. Then he leaves the mess on the floor, promising to clean it up after dinner. OK. I'm not unhappy with that.

So we eat dinner and then he's got to clear the table. He walks into the kitchen and says, 'Hey, the floor is all wet." I reply, "I wonder why?" He looks at me totally puzzled. I say "Ice cube tray". He gets this funny smile and says, "Good point!"

This is how he cleaned it up. Yes, a real effort, isn't it? And people wonder why I say teenagers are no different than toddlers. Big giant toddlers with very foul mouths and body odor.

I tell the Girl to get the camera and all of a sudden he's all, "No, I don't want anyone to see this." My feeling is, if you're so damn lazy that you can't even wipe up a mess you made, then you deserve to be featured in my blog. It's like the public stocks!

He comes over and sees that I'm posting about this and he's begging me not to. But I don't care right now. So he threatens, "When I'm the ruler of the universe I'm not going to take kindly to this." Oooooo, I'm scared! Quaking in my boots. Heh. If he wants to refute the story, he knows how to post on my blog.

In other news, my mommyvan appears to have finally reached it's death knell. First the rearview mirror fell off...again. Then the car started bucking and gasping for breath during he heatwave we're currently experiencing. Then this morning the car was hesitating to the point were it just didn't want to go anywhere. At all. I got it to go a few blocks, but that was it. I think it's not salvagable at this point. Not that I can afford a new car right now, but maybe I'll have to negotiate and see if I can find something that isn't a beater, but is cheap enough to not kill me. Like maybe an imaginary car. With air conditioning that works. And maybe an engine that goes. You know, like a real car!

Not only was the Boy annoyingly funny today, the Girl had her own antics to report. First, I got a package that was wrapped in a log of different bubble wraps. Oh man, there is nothing more fun for the Girl than bubble wrap. I left it on the coffee table just waiting for her to notice it. Hours later she spys it and starts popping it. She's cackeling and laughing like an insane person with every pop. You had to be there to appreciate her.

Then, after the bubble wrap, she decides she's hungry. But too lazy to actually get up off the floor where she's lounging, so she says to me, "Make me a sandwich, Woman!". As you can imagine, that didn't work. I ignore her and she decides that perhaps whining at top volume might work better. It did not. I tell her that there is a new loaf of bread in the freezer, the peanut butter is already out, and I think she's capable of getting the jam. But no, she is "too tired" so she wants me to do it. Studiously ignoring her pleas, she gets up in a huff and makes her own sandwiches. Harumph! She's reading this over my shoulder as I type it, and I tell her to go away and she says, "Don't dismiss me like I'm nothing." Toddlers, I tell you. Tall, very verbal toddlers.

I wrote a paper check to someone today, and he went to three banks and couldn't cash it because they could not read my handwriting. How embarassing is that? I write maybe 2 checks a month, and they can't read my writing. Mortifying. But damn funny.

Right now they're fighting over a blanket. A freaking blanket. Heaven help me, this is the first week of summer vacation. I'm so screwed. Send in reinforcements. Quick!

Addendum: As I'm posting this, Bob O'Reilly (aka Teenage Wasteland) comes on the Ipod (with speakers), and they decide to dance. They are both completely over the top insane. Honest, I'm surrounded by inmates and they're taking over the asylum.

BF Update: BF was spotted at day camp by a mutual friend. Friend reported that BF was leaving early and was picked up by an unfamiliar car. That is all we know, but that probably indicates that BF is out of the house. Or not. We're trying to get more info.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Elizabeth Edwards for President

Elizabeth Edwards, wife of candidate John Edwards did the impossible today. She rendered professional bitch Ann Coulter virtually speechless. Anyone who can do that, who can make Coulter stumble for words deserves to be the President as far as I'm concerned. Now, if she could only find a way to make Coulter melt like the bad witch she is. Or maybe just have a house fall on her. Now that would be fun. We could all watch her feet shrivel on You Tube!

Go Elizabeth!

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Tidbits on Tuesday

You wanna know how old I am? Old enough to remember the original Mickey Mouse Club on TV. That's freaking old. I only tell you this because this morning the Girl asked me if it was Tuesday, and I immediately started singing:

Tuesday, Tuesday
Tuesday is real good news day
Today is Tuesday, you know that that means?
We're gonna have a special, special guest
So roll out your carpets
Strike up the band
And give out a hip hooray
Wiggle your ears
Like good Mouseketeers
Cause Tuesday is Guest Star Day!

Yes, I remember ever damn word because I am a freak of nature. I can't remember how to spell anything, but I remember Spin and Marty episodes from 1959.

Took the adbrite ads off my site. It slowed everything down to a crawl. I need the money, but not to the point of my site bogging down when loading. Sorry for the inconvenience.

I want to give a shout out to the folks at All Clad for making the best pots and pans to ever ever exist. I love my All Clad. My pots and pans are about 10 years old now, and they perform beautifully every time I use them. Best investment I've ever made for kitchen equipment. They'll last forever, I'll pass them down to my kids, and they'll probably go to my grandchildren as well.

I used to burn stuff when I used crappy pots and pans. I had RevereWare. It sucked. When I got my All Clad, I got the deal of a lifetime. My former employer had given us gift certificates for holiday gifts. I used mine for the All Clad when it was on an after Xmas sale. But even better, I got even more off the price because I opened a charge account (never used) at Macy's to purchase the All Clad. I got so many pieces for almost nothing out of my pocket. I think it was one of my best ever purchases. If you're cooking with crappy pans, buy one good skillet or saute pan and see how it performs. The difference is tangible.

Why do scissors and tape disappear? Where do they go?

Why is it when you need to file your nails you can never find an emery board, even though you have bought thousands of them over the years?

Do you clean your phones? I don't have germ phobias, but phones... they need to be cleaned with an antibacterial. All those germs spitting out of various mouths. Ugh.

What is it about people that need to say "Hot enough for you" when it's 90 degrees outside. Yes, it's hot, dimwit. It's summer!

Why does my rear view mirror keep falling off my windshield?

When the Boy downloads stuff onto Itunes, Itunes is nice. But when the Girl or I use the computer, Itunes just pops up and takes over the computer. Why does it hate us so?

Soap opera actresses are not very good. Especially the new ones. Whenever a new character appears on AMC I think, oh she couldn't be worse than the last one, but she always is. Sad.

The only decent thing on television right now is Hells Kitchen. I love me some Gordon Ramsey, and this year they have quite the crop of bizarro wanna-be Chefs. I'm guessing Julia is going to win. She's the calmest under fire, she desperately wants to learn, and she has already impressed Gordon several times. So she cooks at the Waffle House. She's really the best of the bunch.

Big Brother is starting next week. I love that show. I get so into it. I don't get the 24-hour feeds, but I read the transcripts online and follow it pretty closely. The Boy likes it too. A lot. We end up gabbing about the "houseguests" for hours. There is just something so, I dunno, prurient about this show. It's as it you're spying on people's lives. Yes, I know a lot of it is staged. And I know that the people are acting as much as they can. But some of the characters they find for this social experiment are so freaking bizarro. It hooks me every single season. Although I think it's going to be hard to beat last summer's All Stars with Dr Will and Boogy. Those two totally cracked me up. With Janelle playing them, and Howie acting like a mental case. That was good television.

I love the smell of Murphy's Oil Soap. So fresh and clean.

Hungry. Gotta go.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

The ploy to avoid the truth

Last night around 11 there was a tragic shooting in the city. An 8 year old boy was murdered in a tough urban neighborhood. The first reports said that the mother claimed 3 armed gunmen rushed the apartment building she lived in and shot her son. Throughout the day, reporters claimed gang violence on the upswing, and people clucked at the horror of armed men bursting in to a home and shooting a child.

We heard wonderful reports of what a special little boy Laquarrie Jefferson was. His teachers, his neighbors, his friends all spoke of him with glowing reports of what a kind, good kid he was.

The Mayor of Boston was outraged. The citizens of the city were furious. Violence has been on the upswing all year, but a child, a little boy shot by armed intruders? That was beyond anyone's wildest nightmare.

And if was beyond nightmares. Today the mother recanted her story. It turns out that Laquarrie and his 7-year old cousin were playing with a gun, and the cousin shot Laquarrie in the stomach. The cousin and his mother then disappeared from the city, where they have not yet been apprehended.

This story saddens me beyond all understanding. Why were there guns in the house? Why were the guns available to such young children? Why did the mother lie about how her son was killed? Where did the illegal gun come from? Why did the mother cover up the accidental death and blame it on armed gunmen, knowing that gang activity is very high right now?

Laquarrie's father, who is currently in state prison, is a reputed member of the Castlegate crew, an infamous gang responsible for the 1994 murder of 9-year-old Jermaine Goffigan. I wonder what he's thinking about now in his jail cell. I don't believe in just retribution, but you just gotta wonder in this case.

Such a terrible tragedy. I'm so tired of the violence. This one really got to me, though. Look at that sweet face. Such a pretty little boy, so full of possibility. Gone. Gone forever because of illegal weapons in the home. I'm so angry at this. Guns DO kill people. A gun killed this child. There is no other logical way to look at the facts.

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Oh Lord He Cannot Change

Let's talk about the Boy for a bit, shall we? I haven't had much to say about him lately. But he certainly was "on" today. I had to take him, at the crack of my dawn (8:15 am) someplace. He was incredibly up and ready well before it was time to leave and had the Ipod at the ready as soon as we got into the car. He plugs it into the car 'sound system', which consists of an ancient tape player and factory installed speakers because we are real high class when it comes to sound systems. The first tune is a Bob Dylan classic, then we move on to some Jimi Hendrix, and then some Rolling Stones. I'm OK with the music until Freebird. Freaking Freebird!

He turns it way up during the guitar solo, and I tell him to turn it down. It is, after all, very early in the morning for Freebird. He dutifully turns it down for about 2 seconds, and then turns it way up again. I tell him a bit more forcefully to turn the damn thing down. He does, but with complaints. "It's such a good guitar solo." Like that matters at this ungodly hour of the morning, and me with no coffee.

A few seconds go by and I say to him, "You know, there is someone outside your bubble." He agrees, and I continue, "You're not the only person in the car and you're being incredibly annoying by turning that up immediately after you were asked to turn it down." He says, "I know, but it's SUCH a great guitar solo." Like that's a good excuse for being rude. I am now totally disgruntled.

Freebird ends, and another song of the 60's comes on, and I say to him, "Isn't there anything from this century to listen to?" He says. "What do you mean?" I say, "Like music from when I wasn't in high school."

So he puts on the White Stripes. Really loud.

Ah, it's gonna be a GREAT day. I can tell already. Fortunately, summer school starts next week. He's taking a math class. At 8 in the morning. Thank God.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Small update on hypothetical situation (Updated)

So, hypthetically, the authorities did make a visit. I do not know what happened. I do know two things; since the initial story I've heard a lot more and my hair is now 5 shades whiter than it was a few days ago. Very sordid stuff, much of which hasn't been reported. And the family in question has gone underground. No IM, no MySpace, no Facebook, no e-mail, no phones. Nothing but silence. Not for lack of trying on other people's ends. Friend of a friend decided to take the rap for reportage. Nobody knows why, other than friend loyalty.

In actuality, there is nothing to report other than there was a visit from the police and DSS. After that, due to the total silence (expected since BF has been a prisoner in her house for years), we don't know what is happening in that house.

I am severely worried. I do not know what will happen next, but I am terrible frightened and cannot get it off my mind.

That is all for now.

Updated: well, there's more. Evidentally BF's dad called love interest's parents again, and made some serious threats. Parents called the police, who called Childrens Services, who both came over and found BF with cuts and bruises. In addition, BF called Friend's phone and threatened him, too. Friend informed his parents, who also contacted the police. Then Love Interest had a visit at camp from Children's Services who intereviewed him at length, even though he is 2 states away from us. He told them what he had heard and seen, plus what BF had told him. Again, nobody can get through to BF's house, so we don't know what's going on, but it sounds more and more like they took her out of the home and arrested him. I don't know if that happened at all, it may have, it may not have. But to not answer phones, and to keep all the computers shut down is very untypical of how this household works.

Please, if you believe in prayer, or even if you don't, keep BF in your hearts. She needs all the help she can get now. I'm terribly worried about her.

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Literal thinking thwaps me upside the head

The Girl is the most literal thinker I've ever met. As part and parcel of her various learning disabilities, she often finds it difficult to think outside the box. Thus, any analogy, oxymoron, or play on words often totally alludes her.

Today, we were in the library talking about a book we were looking at together. It was a book on Family Violence. I had her read a paragraph that was particularly pertinent to the family situation we have been watching. She dutifully read it, but didn't understand one part. I explained it to her, and the light dawned over Marblehead and she said "oh, I get it!". And then I made my crucial mistake.

I said, "With friends like that, who needs enemies?"


I repeated myself.

"Huh? I don't get it."


I know that this is going to be a long drawn out affair. I've been there, done that. It's so hilariously frustrating. So I try to explain the adage. "If you have a friend that is doing bad things to you, then you really don't need enemies, because your friend is actually acting as your enemy."

"That doesn't make sense."

"Sure it does" I respond. "Say it's like your old nemesis G. You thought she was your friend but she constantly got you in big trouble. So, with a friend like G, you didn't need an enemy because she WAS your enemy, right?"

"I don't get it."

At this point I do the mime gun to my head, BAM, and let my head fall over. The lady standing next to my chair browsing books starts chuckling. The Girl reminds me that we're in a library and I have to be quiet. Yeah.

I try to explain it again. The Boy chimes in with his own examples. It does not penetrate. She absolutely cannot understand what I'm talking about.

Literal thinking. Hard to get around it. It's OK, she knows that she misses subtile nuances in speech. Amazing how years of speech therapy has taught her to compensate for her LDs. But I gotta say, there are times when I just want to slap my head like those V8 commercials, because I fall for it EVERY freaking time. I should know better, but I honestly think that every time we come up with these speech issues, I'll be able to explain it so she'll understand. It's MY particular bad mommy moment, because I never succeed and then I get all sad and frustrated and feeling like I suck that my kid can't understand a simple adage.

It's my issue. Just venting because I so want to be successful at this and I do not know how.

However, she CAN recite the entire part in Finding Nemo where Marlon says "With fronds like that, who needs anenomes." That she can do just fine. Upside the head, I swear it. :-)

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Love your house, hate your neighbors?

Today in Cambridge, right outside of Harvard Square, Harvard University closed off several blocks of Mass Ave in order to move three large houses, formerly used as offices, down the street to be rehabbed as dorms. Because such a huge thoroughfare was rerouted, crowds came out to watch the houses move, one by one, down the avenue.

The Ukranian house, the largest of the three buildings was first. It rolled down the street with ease, followed by the second and third buildings. See the entire flickr set here. I watched much of the move on TV, where it was almost breathtaking to see such large victorian structures out for a mid-morning stroll. This isn't a usual occurrance around here. As a matter of fact, I can't ever remember an urban building or three being moved down the street. I wonder if Harvard moved the buildings because it was cheaper to renovate, or because the buildings were protected. Either way, what a cool thing to witness.

Have you ever seen anything like this before?

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Jessie Davis found murdered

As soon as I heard the story out of Canton Ohio about a young mother, 9 months pregnant with her second child, who went missing, I knew there was foul play. All through the week or so that she was missing, I tried to be hopeful, but I just couldn't really toss aside the idea that her boyfriend, a police officer on the Canton police force, had murdered her. Unfortunately, it seems I was right. I didn't want to be right, but sadly, I was. Jessie Davis was indeed murdered, and her boyfriend Bobby Cutts, Jr. was under arrest for her murder. Jessie's young son must have witnessed the murder. He told police that "mommy was in the rug", words that made me just sick with dread.

Cutts was arraigned on two counts of murder, Davis and her unborn child. He was married to another woman, and had children in that marriage. He is, I repeat, a police officer. He left his 2 year old son alone in the house when he carried off her body. What kind of man is that? That would not only murder his girlfriend and their unborn child, but then to leave their other son alone after witnessing the murder?

Does this sound familiar? It does to me. Yet another case of a powerful man committing murder of a pregnant woman. I do not understand this. Why do these men not walk away? Why do they have to kill a woman and a baby yet to see the light of day? What is it within their psyche that allows them to think that these actions are even slightly rational? He must have loved her. He had stuck with her for several years, fathering 2 children with Jessie. What could have gone so wrong that he felt murderous?

I don't understand the rage of men. I know that they have some kind of extra testosterone surge when angered, but still, why can they not contain their rage? This year in Boston we've had a huge upswing of murders. Men killing men, men killing women, men killing strangers, men killing children. Men killing. There are nights when 2 or three stabbings or shootings happen. People injured or killed for no reason. Or no sane reason.

I understand the rage of poverty. I understand the rage of being a second class citizen in this country. But I don't understand the rationality behind thinking that it's within my right, or anyone's right, to kill another person. Heck, I can't even kill a fish when I go fishing. I don't have one of those "life is sacred" philosophies. I just don't get killing. I get anger. But killing is beyond me. Harming another person is beyond me.

I am never ever an advocate of the death penalty. I don't fall for the old 'an eye for an eye' adage. I believe in punishment. I want Cutts to be severely punished for his crime. I don't think he should ever see the light of day again. If he's guilty, of which there is little doubt after he lead the police to Davis's body, I hope he gets life with no possibility of parole. Maybe in some horrible prison far away from his family. Family that never needs to see this man again.

Can you imagine what his wife and children are thinking? And Jessie's son. What will become of him. Such a terrible tragedy. Such a senseless waste.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Hypothetically, a crisis is in motion

You know how hypothetically you know something that you need to act on, but hypothetically you feel completely conflicted about acting on such hypothetical information? As in, I have something to talk about but, hypothetically, it's not really real, ahem.

My kid has a best friend. This person has been a best friend for a couple of years. My kid spends a lot of time at best friend's house, but best friend is rarely if ever allowed to spend time at our house. Or any else's house, for that matter. It isn't us, it's BF's family, which appears a bit sketchy. Mom is out of the picture for salacious reasons, dad and dad's mom are raising BF. OK, got that so far?

BF has a lot of issues. Self-esteem is at the top of the pile, but there are many others. I happen to like BF, but when I see BF I'm often telling BF motherly advice that seems to be totally missing from BF's life. If BF, for example, is feeling poorly, BF will call me for advice. BF asks for school advice from me sometimes. BF doesn't seem to have any adult advisors to turn to.

Today, my kid was very very upset most of the day. At dinner, my kid was so upset that my kid ran upstairs in tears. This is not a usual occurrence. I sent other kid away, and talked to my kid, and what came out really disturbed me.

BF is being physically abused at home. BF's father hits, evidently a lot. Grandma is unable to help because, hypothetically, he hits her too. It turns out that BF's father is a bit off, not just sketchy, but clearly not mentally healthy. Which kinda makes sense, although my kid has kept most of this information private and has not shared this with me, which is unusual. It just fits in with all the strange information I've heard from my kid over the past couple of years. One week BF is moving cross country, next they aren't. One week BF's dad has a new business, next week, not so much. Crazy mother, crazy father, history of abuse. Adds up to a very sketchy family.

The catalyst for all this is that BF had a 'dinner date' tonight with BF's love interest and love interest's parents. They tried to call BF to solidify plans and BF kept hanging up and saying that it wasn't a good time to talk. BF was crying during each phone call. So love interest went to BF's house to take BF to dinner, and BF's dad was hitting her right in front of love interest. Love interest scuttles off with parents, who do nothing.

Love interest calls my kid in tears, my kid admits that the abuse has been known for some time to love interest, and then love interest talks to his/her parents, who don't know what to do. So they do nothing.

I'm from an abusive family. My father beat the shit out of me as a kid. Often. I know what it did to me. I know how dangerous and dysfunctional it is to grow up in a family like this. Like my father, BF's dad has the "don't tell anyone what goes on inside our house" policy, which, although common, is incredibly damaging. It teaches mistrust.

OK, deep breath here.

I need to think through what I should do with this information. My options are, hypothetically:

  1. Call police and have them go to house next time there appears to be physical abuse
  2. Call DSS and report abuse to them anonymously
  3. Call father and tell him I know what's going on and if it doesn't stop I will involve DSS
  4. Take BF aside and tell BF to contact me the next time there is abuse so I can call for help
  5. Talk to Grandma and tell her I know what's going, etc.
  6. Do nothing, mind my own business, and let my kid suffer with BF

Obviously, all of these options are difficult and will involve some ugliness on our part. First, hypothetically, the only people that know about the hypothetical abuse are my kid, me, love interest, and now love interest's parents. It will be VERY obvious who will report this family if I do it. And I do fear repercussions. This isn't a stable family, and in the time I've 'known' them (I don't know them at all) I've had serious doubts about letting my kid remain involved.

My kid reports that BF wants friends over all the time because Dad is not abusive if other kids are in the house. Thus, my kid has never hypothetically witnessed the physical abuse. Because my kids are not up on hitting, having not experienced that themselves, they aren't great judges of what is and what isn't physical abuse. But because BF is virtually a prisoner in their home, the abuse isn't easily observable by other parents that might be suspicious and looking for it. So I question restricting my kid from BF's house, even though I'd much rather my kid not be involved. But BF needs someone safe to talk to, right?

What I do know is that this is a situation that is untenable for me. Having been that abused kid, I can't just sit back and allow it to happen as the adults in my life did to me. I need to tell someone. I'm going to discuss this with our family therapist this upcoming week, but I'd like some words of wisdom here. What do you think I should do, and what would you do?

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

You like this background better?

With so many comments about the RED background, I went back to my original choice, which the Girl pronounced 'depressing and morbid". She's Ms. Cheery right now, after getting grounded her first night after school let out for summer, so let's just disregard what she has to say, shall we?

Do you like this better? It's also cobblestones, but dark dark dark.


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Can I get an appointment before I die?

You know how every time universal health care is brought up, you hear the 'horror stories' about how people have to wait forever and ever to get an appointment, and how we're so lucky in the US with our messed up overprices healthcare options because we can see a doctor any time we want.

Um, I think not.

I've spent quite a bit of time this month on the phone making various medical appointments. I called the kid's pediatrician for checkups at the very beginning of June. Her first available appointment? September 19th. Ok. That's a bit screwed up, but they're not sick, they just need to have a checkup, something they haven't had in quite some time. Like a couple of years. Hey, they're physically healthy. Why waste money?

Coincidentally, I made an appointment with my cardiologist for my followup. I last saw her several months ago. I usually see her every 3 months. Her next availability. Why September 19th. How special!

Then I call my primary care doctor because I'm REALLY late in getting in for a followup. Like 5 or 6 months late. Ahem. I'm busy. I've got other things on my mind. I'm a jerk. What can I say. So when is his next available appointment? August 15. Which honestly isn't that bad unless you know that I'm supposed to be seen pretty frequently for monitoring.

So much for the short wait times. These are just followup appointments. Nothing serious. But Geesh!

Universal health care looks really really good to me. Of course, we already have it in Massachusetts. But still, anything has got to be better than this system.

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Blogher vs MotherTalk

Blogher, which provides some revenue for my blog through it's ads, has recently changed their policy about compensated reviews. The book reviews I have been doing for MotherTalk are no longer allowed under Blogher's exclusivity contract. It used to be that you could receive goods and compensation under $40. Now, you can't.

I love doing the book reviews. I like getting books I'd probably never find on my own. I like having the ability to review a book and tell you what I think. I'm pretty unhappy about this change in policy. So unhappy that I've decided to put up a book review site so I can continue doing the reviews. Please click over to read my latest post on Garage Sale America.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I finally got everything to work. I have a new template. No more bridge. No more green. And now that I've got this whole thing figured out, I'm going to be changing my look more often.

Let me know what you like, and what you don't like, please.

Anyone know what the tag line is from? Who said it? Aw come on, try and guess.


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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Under my skirt you'll find

You honestly think I'm going to tell you what's actually covering my bottom? Well, guess again. What happens in Chez Margalit stays in Chez Margalit. I'm also not going to talk about hemorrhoids or the state of my pubic hair. Nor will I describe my underwear, and for that you should all be eternally grateful. Let us just say that Target is my underwear store of choice. Okay?

What I will talk about it what's under my persona. Much of what I post here doesn't give you a hint as to who I actually am. I know that people form strange impressions of bloggers from what tidbits they glean on the sites they read. From me, you've probably figured out that I'm a reader, gardener, love TV, and have two quirky kids. You know I have strong opinions, that I'm a fighter, and I don't give in easily. I'm verbose. Sometimes I'm funny, lots of time I am not.

You don't know that I'm incredibly introverted. Oh yeah, I am. I'm very shy, I have serious social anxiety, I hate crowds unless they're ball games or concerts where you don't have to make small talk. I do not do small talk well. I can't stand weddings and bar mitzvahs and places where you not only have to be happy, but you have to talk to people and be pleasant. I don't feel pleasant in situations like that. I just feel the need to flee as fast as I can until I'm in a safe place.

I'm also uber-emotional. I cry very easily, and not just at sad things. Blackbird often posts stuff that makes me cry, that wench. My kids love to talk about some of my sob fests. The last episode of NYPD Blue left me incapable of speech for days. I cannot see Jimmy Smits without getting tears in my eyes and thinking of when Bobbie died. I'm not an emotional wreck. Most of the time I'm just fine. But I have a fine sense of beauty, probably well over the top, and when I see things that are beautiful, I cry. Do not ever ask to accompany me to the Musee D'Orsay, for example. Sob fest. I don't do well at sad places. I'm the person that fell to the floor in agony, sobbing my eyes out at Anne Frank's House in Amsterdam. Yad Vashem? Oh my God, never again. I get teary eyed at synagogue when Etz Chiam Hi is sung. Every single time. For years.

I am very silly. I know, that's a surprise. But I am. I keep my kids in stitches much of the time because I have a very sharp sense of humor, I'm sarcastic as hell, and I make very funny faces. Now that my kids are older, I can reduce them to puddles of gel just by doing something silly. I like to be silly, too. Especially when we play the Nose Game. I can get them to laughing so hard that I win every freaking time. It's a rare talent!

Underneath my skirt you'll find a whole person. One with a lot of feelings. One with a lot of talents. One that does good things, tries hard to be a good person, loves her family beyond all understanding, and one that often doesn't appear on this blog. There's so much more to all of us than what we share. There's so much more of me than I'll ever share. I'm a very private person. Most of my very long time friends know very little about me. That's fine. I am happy with how I am. Nobody needs to see everything under my skirt.

Written for the Parent Blogger's Network and Sk*rt, who are sponsoring this What's Under my Sk*ort contest. Sk*rt is the new "womens" DIGG-type site, where you can vote for posts that you like. Be sure to go on over and join Sk*rt and vote for my post! Thanks for reading.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Seriously Ewwwwwwwww

Sometimes I think people just are insane. I mean, you think your life is going on at a regular old level, and then someone throws up a product for sale, one that just makes your skin crawl. Introducing the Home Semen Detection Kit. Oh yeah, you read that right.

Don't trust your wife or girlfriend. Or even your boyfriend for that matter? What about that teenage daughter? Are you sure the entire neighborhood isn't out screwing your family while you're at work? Well, worry no more! You can now test your daughter's underwear and your wife's sheets and see what they've been up to. Who needs CSI to come to your house and check for semen? You can now do it yourself!

Look at what the advertisement says:

The CheckMate Semen and "Sperm" Detection Test Kit is the easiest and most cost effective way to put an end to the nightmare of suspicion and doubt caused by the infidelity of a cheating spouse or of a sexually active teen. Quickly, easily, and accurately detect and identify semen in undergarments in 5 minutes or less. The Check Mate Infidelity Test Kit tests 5-10 articles of clothing for the presence of semen and works on any type or color of material. Check Mate also provides instant results without damaging or staining the article being tested. If any traces of semen are present on the area you decide to test, even in the smallest trace amounts, the CheckMate Semen Detection Test Kit will detect it. Invisible traces of dried semen can easily be detected for up to 2 years.
Man, I'm gonna get myself a kit and check every hotel room bedspread. Because I just know there's loose semen about. I saw 20-20. I'm in the know when it comes to semen stains.

But read on:

Test a Woman

After sexual intercourse, all women experience "Flowback." This "Flowback" causes a woman to have dried and or invisible traces of semen in her undergarments long after every sexual encounter.

Is that a semen stain in her underwear? Find out in 5 minutes or less with Check Mate!

Typically, a woman will continue to secrete small amounts of semen for up to 72 hours after intercourse. Even after showering! If you think she is "cheating," this is the easiest and fastest way to find out, what's really going on in your relationship.

Even though most users will be interested in testing articles they suspect have only recently been soiled, traces of dried semen will remain present for long periods of time. As long as the article to be tested has not been washed, invisible traces of dried semen can easily be detected for up to 2 years or even longer.

You can be certain if any traces of semen are present on the area you decide to test, even in the smallest trace amounts, the patent pending Check Mate Infidelity Test Kit is guaranteed to detect it.

Test A Man

A man continues to secrete small amounts of semen for up to 2 hours or more after each sexual encounter.

Long after he has sex, a man will have dried/invisible traces of semen in his underwear.

Even if a man uses a condom during sexual intercourse or even if he only engages in oral sex, there will still be traces of semen in his underwear.

Check Mate is specially formulated to detect a certain enzyme found in a man's semen. As long as the article to be tested has not been washed, traces of dried semen will remain present for very long periods of time. Up to two years or longer. Some studies have shown traces of semen remaining on unwashed material for almost 40 years!

On Sunday morning he left the house and told you he was going to play golf. Then, when he came home and took a shower, you grabbed his underwear and did the test. If you detected semen, what is he going to say? "I was masturbating on the golf course."

If this isn't enough to convince you that society has gone to hell in a handbasket, well I just don't know about you. But for only $49.95 you can order a kit and test your loved ones. Why trust when you can test?

While you're on the Brickhouse website, look at some of the other "security" products they sell. This is apparently a paranoid's dream store. So much to buy. So little trust.

I'll be upstairs taking a long hot shower. Or two. Seriously Ewwwwwww!

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Weekend fun (or frustration)

I spent much of the weekend redoing my blog template. Oh, you say. It doesn't LOOK different? Really? How about squinting. Nope, same damn bridge. Same cheery summer weather. Same disorganized mishmash sidebars. So what's up?

Well, not the new template. That's for sure!

I have it 99.9% done. There is one little tiny thing that I cannot get to work. I've labored long and hard over it and I'm completely stumped. It's totally usable. But it's not perrrrfect. Ms Obsessive Compulsive demands perfection, doncha know?

The problem is, I made a new banner. It's 950px in width. I place said banner on my template on the main space, which is also 950px wide. You would think that this would allow the banner to stretch over the entire width of the main space. You would be so wrong. For some reason, the banner absolutely will not cooperate with me. I've made it bigger, smaller, and just right. Just call me Goldilocks, Blog Designer. Or not. Because no matter what changes I make, and they were legion, the banner always behaves the exact same way. It leans to the left, it will not center, and it will not fit across the entire width of the required space.

Why is this a problem? Because it's not symmetrical. I cannot deal with it being out of symmetrical order. It looks wrong.

Now, don't go thinking that this is the only thing that's not absolutely perfect. I'm working in a sandbox, and until I get the glob, oh, I mean blog, up there are going to be some ugly little things that I'm going to have to just breathe through. Like my google ads, which are currently green but must immediately change color or I will combust.

Don't get me wrong. I love doing this. I honestly do. It's fun and it exercises my brain. I like fooling with code. I like playing with Illustrator and Photoshop. But lordy, when something stares me in the face for a whole weekend and I can't see what the problem is, I get a tad bit frustrated. You might even say I'm 'testy'. Because I am.

I promise you, once I solve this little problem, I'll get the thing up and it will NOT look like every other blog with cute mommy's drinking coffee or martinis. Cause I don't fit that profile.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Come on down!

I know it's controversial to say that you like Rosie O'Donnell. But I do. I always have. I like that she speaks her mind, that she has interesting idea, that's she's 'crafty', that she loves to sing, and that she has an exuberance for life despite her clinical depression. I like that she's open about her struggles with food, but doesn't succumb to preaching about it. I like that she's open and honest about her family, her children, and her lover/wife. I like how she talks about her kids, not bragging or making them sound fabulous. She's just kinda real. Even if she does send those poor kids to a Waldorf school and doesn't allow them to watch TV.

I heard the other day that Rosie is being considered as Bob Barker's replacement on The Price is Right. At first I thought that was kind of an odd job for her, but when I thought about it, I realized how great she would be. It's a job where she gets to converse with real live regular people. That's something she's always excelled at. It's also a job where you get to give away prizes and swag. Which is Rosie's forte. She was the first person to give audiences gifts. Everyone else has copied her, but she's always been generous with the swag. The Price is Right is the ultimate in prize giving. Once I started imagining Rosie as host (minus the long Barker microphone which is currently selling on Ebay for some outrageous amount of money), I could just see her doing it. She'd be excellent. She's funny, irreverent, and she gets along with normal chubby people in silly costumes. What could be better?

At the Day Time Emmy's, Bob Barker actually endorsed Rosie and said that he would like her to follow him. She's meeting with the folks in LA next week, according to her blog. Hopefully, the meetings will go well, she'll like what she hears, and Rosie will be back on TV in a new and totally different persona. Will she be the first female game show host? I don't even know.

What I do know is that I'd watch the Price is Right just to see Rosie do her shtick, whatever it might be. I used to watch the View just to see what Rosie would say or do. Now, I don't even bother to turn it on as background noise. It just sucks without her. She made that show interesting, controversial, must-see TV. Nobody cares what conservative little Elizabeth Hasselback has to say. And the choices for guest hosts. I'd like "Hey, find me a young, attractive black woman with few opinions, stat!" It totally sucks now.

I miss my Rosie TV.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Being a teen in LA

I grew up in LA. I was from a wealthy family, and even way back then, there was a serious divide between the rich and the poor. But the divide has gotten even crazier as the pathetic icons of teen girls, Lindsey, Paris, Nicole, and Britney have shifted the haves into a gear so high that the have nots couldn't ever hope to catch up. Not that they need to, or should even want to. But hell, what have we shown our teenagers? What kind of sick lifestyle are we presenting to them? This film was made for the NY Times. It's fairly distressing if you're not a big fan of consumerism. However, it needs to be watched by every mom of a teen. Or an about to be teen. Because no matter where you live, the pressure teens experience to be one with the celebrities is always there.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sweet Ruin

As part of the MotherTalk booktour, today's review is of the novel Sweet Ruin, by Cathi Hanauer. This wasn't exactly a pleasant read for me. Much of the elements of the book annoyed me. The recipe seemed a bit trite:

One unhappy and emotionally spent suburban housewife mourning the loss of her infant son for over two years.

One work-a-holic lawyer husband who has lost track of his family from never being home.

One opinionated and oddball day care worker whose Sanctimommy behavior intimidates the housewife.

One out-of-touch grandfather with some serious issues still standing in the middle of the relationship with his daughter and granddaughter.

One hot young neighbor who falls instantly in love with our suburban housewife and threatens to tear her marriage to pieces.

As individual elements, we've seen them before, and we'll see them again. However, in Sweet Ruin, Hanauer weaves a web of intrigue, disloyalty, and dysfunctional behavior from all adults that makes these elements come together in a rather surprising manner. A marriage suffering from a lack of communication and the inability to overcome the grief of a lost child is the foundation from which this story is built. We have Elayna, the housewife that does not trust her ability to parent 5 year old Hazel, and is filled with doubt whenever she retrieves Elayna from Pansy, the day care provider with an agenda. Elyana is lonely and has retreated from her family and friends. She wants to bounce back into life again, but is feeling lost as to how to reach out.

One day while outside her front porch, she sees a fresh pile of dog poop and notices a young, attractive guy walking a dog across the street. She calls him over to clean up the poop, and thus begins her relationship with the mysterious Kevin. He lives directly across the street, he's very young and very sexy, and apparently has fallen madly in love with Elayna and Hazel from their very first meeting. Elayna feels the attraction herself, but tries to remain true to her marriage. But her husband is oblivious as he works on a big law case that takes him out of town for days.

Meanwhile, Elayna has been allowing her father to reenter her life, even though she distrusts him and isn't sure what his motivation is towards her and her daughter Hazel. When trouble inevitably occurs between her father and Hazel, Elayna retreats, but does not share with her husband what happened. This draws them even further apart. Just as their marriage is about to fall to pieces, Elayna realizes that she must communicate all that has been going on between her and Kevin, her father, Pansy the daycare worker to her husband. Elayna's challenges thrust her husband back into the game.

This look at suburban New Jersey life isn't pretty. And I'm not sure that it rings all that true. While I liked the book, something about it nagged at me. I felt as if it was about to turn off into a direction that I didn't like or support. I'm not a fan of fiction about affairs and adultery. I'm also not big on redemption and instant forgiveness. I think that it's easy in novels to have everyone kiss and make up at the ending, but in real life it just doesn't work that way. I get bothered when I read a simplistic ending to a novel fraught with anxiety and raw emotion. Which is why I can only recommend Sweet Ruin with reservations. It's well written, it's interesting, but it rings false to me.

Buy the book here from Amazon.
Check out Cathi's website.
Read an interview with Cathi Hanauer.

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Today I'm proud to live in Massachusetts

I love this commonwealth. I know it's a tiny state in the frozen north with little appeal to those than have never lived here. But as a native Californian, living in a state that is not only exceedingly liberal in politics, but is populated with the brightest, most progressive people in the country, I feel the weather, crappy as it is, has little to do with how wonderful it is to live in the land of the thinking.

Today, once again, the Commonwealth spoke about the equality our country is all about. When the Constitution was written 350+ years ago, it preached equal rights for all the citizens of the United States of America. Unfortunately, that is not the case in 49 of the fifty states. Only Massachusetts allows full equality for gay and lesbian citizens. Only Massachusetts allows gay and lesbian marriage that is no different than any other marriage. It isn't a civil union. It is marriage, with all the rights that go with a legal union.

photo by shushieque

Not every citizen of our commonwealth loves same-sex marriage. In fact, some citizens banded together to try and place an amendment on the 2008 ballot, asking the citizens of the commonwealth to vote on whether or not same-sex marriage should be outlawed. Yes, some citizens felt that it was right for the people of the commonwealth to vote on a civil right.

Not one other civil right has ever been voted upon. We have never, as citizens of the United States, been asked to vote on equality for women. We have never been asked to vote on whether or not minorities have the right to vote, hold public office, or even own land. We have never voted on whether or not a certain religion should be protected under the constitution. Not one other civil right has been given to the citizens to decide upon.

However, what if we had been able to vote on such issues. Do you believe that men would have ever allowed women to vote? I highly doubt that. Do you believe that minorities would have been given equal rights? After all, we fought a civil war to keep them as slaves. What about religion. Do you think people would have accepted Scientology or Mormonism as a real religion if they were allowed to vote upon it? Honestly, if we were allowed to vote on civil rights, we would be a country of rich Christian (protestant only) white men that make all the decisions. Not that we're not still mostly in that position today, but women and minorities have made significant inroads politically, and they're both allowed to vote.

Today in Massachusetts, the amendment to put the right to same-sex marriages on the 2008 ballot was soundly defeated. The citizens of our commonwealth are not going to vote on whether or not same-sex unions are legal. Our legislators have spoken, they have made it clear that civil rights are not to be decided upon by the citizens but by the courts and the government. For Massachusetts, this is a very good thing. We welcome same-sex marriages in our little state. We stand and cheer for same-sex parents, be them biological or adoptive. We see gays and lesbians as equal citizens here. We're a kind, proud, liberal state, and we practice what we preach. Equality for all.

Now if we could only get the damn weather to improve. 58 degrees in June is ridiculous!

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Reading is entertaining

I've read a couple of books in the past week I wanted to tell you about. The first, the biography of Gordon Ramsey by Neil Simpson, I've already mentioned briefly. Gordon Ramsey, the "host" of Hell's Kitchen, a reality TV show on Fox, is a famous British chef. He's famous for a couple of reason, his TV shows, and his many excellent restaurants. But what he's most famous for is his temprament, which is volitile when he's working in the kitchen. On television, you see glimpses of Ramsey's other side, the side discussed throughout this biography. Mostly you see him screaming expletives at the poor hapless fools who volunteer to be harassed in his kitchen.

Ramsey has another side beyond the screaming, angry chef. He's the father of 4 children, including a set of twins. He's a dedicated husband to his wife of many years. He's a marathon runner, a former professional football (soccer) player, an attentive son to his elderly mother, and a concerned sibling to his recovering drug addict brother. He employs his father-in-law, supports his wife's business as an importer and shopkeeper of Indian decor, and he's a mentor to many younger chefs throughout England.

Ramsey's kitchen persona is one of demanding perfectionism. In fact, he is such a perfectionist that he's created some of the best restaurants in England and was one of the first chefs to turn the English food scene from boiled meats to gourmet meals. He did so from an unlikely background as the son of a depressed and demanding father who never had a kind word for Gorden. As an abused child, Gordon constantly seeked approval from his father, approval that never came before his father's untimely death at the age of 53. Because Gordon looked for approval that didn't come, he worked harder and demanded only perfection of himself. Which is exactly what he also demands of those working in his kitchens.

When you see him screaming on television, you only see a part of who he is. This is a man that is extremely supportive of the people working for him, seen in their loyalty to him. Many of his employees have worked for him for 10 or more years, which is highly unusual within the restaurant trade.

This biography has less to do with food, and more to do with the man behind the food. After reading it, I have a whole new respect for Gordon Ramsey, and an understanding of why he acts as he does on television.

Changing from fact to fiction, I also read Sophie Kinsella's latest entry into her Shopaholic series. If you've never read any of Kinsella's books, she's the master of English chick lit, and a very funny and astute commenter on culture and society wrapped up in fiction. Shopaholic and Baby is a riot. I laughed almost all the way through the book. Becky Brandon, shopaholic and new wife, is pregnant with her honeymoon baby. Becky is a professional shopper in a new large and unsuccessful department store in London. With her wealthy husband Luke, she's shopping for a new house containing her secret wish, a shoe room. I didn't even know such rooms existed, but evidentally, they do. The new house must have the most decorated, exclusive nursery containing all the expensive celebrity-endorsed baby equipment including many different types of prams. Becky hears about a celebrity obstetrician while shopping for baby, and is determined to get into her practice. Turns out that the OB is Luke's college girlfriend. And fun ensues as Becky imagines a romance between the OB and her husband. As her imagination grows wilder, Luke gets in touch with his other college friends and provides even more fodder for Becky's illusions.

Meanwhile, her best friend Suze has gotten involved with a Sanctimommy of the worst order, who is writing a cookbook on all natural, organic, whole foods to feed baby. Becky and the Sanctimommy don't like each other, but Suze is caught in the middle until, quite by accident, the incompetant private detective Becky hired to trail her husband, shoots the Santimommy on the street:

I handed Suze the long-lens photograph--the only thing I saved from the original folder. It's of Lulu in the street with her children. She looks pretty frazzled--in fact, she seems to be yelling at one of them. In her hands are four Mars Bars, which she's doling out. She's holding a couple of cans of Coke too, and under her arm is a jumbo packet of chips.

"No." Suze appears almost too staggered to speak. "No. Are those--"
"Mars Bars" I nod. "And Cheesy Wotsits."
"And Coke!" Suze gives a gurgle of laughter and claps a hand oer her mouth. "Bex, that has made my day. How on earth..."
"Don't ask." I can't help giggling too.
"What a hypocritical....cow!" Suze is still peering at the picture in disbelief. "You know she really got to me. I used to fee so inferior."

Perfect dialog that captures the Mommy Wars. The description of Becky and her husband shopping for prams (strollers) is so funny it will have you peeing your pants. I love all of Kinsella's Shopaholic books, but this one is pure gold. Honestly, don't miss it. It is the perfect summer beach read.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Font Magic

I've been redoing my site in my spare time, and I'm kind of stuck on the font I want to use for the sidebar headings. The problem in a nutshell: I love fonts. Love them. Because I am a font whore, I have hundreds on my machine. Some are obviously not going to cut it on a blog. My copious amounts of Hebrew fonts, for example, aren't going to be the right choice for this blog.

My many different fonts present a problem with I'm designing for myself. I can't decide what fonts look like me. I know what I like, but I don't really know what represents me the best. Do I go with a modern look? Something fuddy duddy? Something with high impact? Something conservative? I have no clue. What I do know is that I want something that represents my content as well as my personality.

It's funny. When I design for other people, I don't have any problems deciding what fonts to use. But for me, I'm always stuck. It's taken me hours with the color blender just to decide what colors I want to use. I don't know what my deal is. Anyhow... here are some of the choices.

I've given you a few choices. Which one do you think best matches my blog? These aren't my only choices, not by a longshot. But they will give me an idea of what you think most looks like me. Click to enlarge the .jpg. The name or abbreviation come directly after "recent rants & raves." Just write down the font name in the comments, and maybe tell me why you chose the font you did?

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Mortality and old age

Today I was talking to my friend C, and she was talking about how her baby is almost a 3rd grader and how it's making her aware of her mortality. So I said that my baby is about to be a junior in high school and although that's kind of freaking me out, what with the SAT and the college visits and the prep classes, what's really freaking me out is that my sister is turning 61 in a couple of weeks. Sixty one. Man, she is OLD. I said that I didn't really understand how my sister, who used to be 6 years older than I am, is now 20 years older than I am. Just how did that happen? Time warp?

I know a lot of people freak out when they turn 40, but that birthday didn't bother me at all. My 30's weren't my best years, and my 40's started out with a huge bang, as I was hugely pregnant with my twins. I loved that birthday, and all the subsequent ones through my 40's. I felt as if I had finally reached the "right" age. It was comfortable and easy. I didn't have to pretend to be young and cool, I didn't have to listen to crappy 90's music, I didn't have to wear junior fashions and pretend to be hip. I could be me, 40 year-old style. I liked who I was in my forties.

I didn't mind turning 50 either. It wasn't such a great year. It was the year my heart went a bit wonky. It was the year we moved across the country to be back home with our family and friends after a rather dismal stint in Northern California. It was a tough time educationally for the kids, and emotionally for the Boy. Things were changing fast for us, and I wasn't all that thrilled with all the changes.

In a month I'll be 55. I don't think it's going to be a milestone birthday. I don't feel older, wiser, or more put together. But at least I'm not 61 like my old fart sister. heh.

Later on today, I was on the phone with yet another therapist (not mine) and she was asking a bunch of questions, and one of them was, "Are you going to die?"

Um, yeah, we're ALL gonna die sometime, I answered her. What she meant is to ask if I'm in any imminent danger of dying, and the answer is unknown. I don't think I'm going to die soon, I'm fairly stable when I am careful, don't do too much, stay away from exercise, and eat well. Stress does affect my heart negatively. That's just a fact of life when you have CHF. But no, I'm not planning on kicking the bucket any time soon. But what a weird question!

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Barry Bonds in Boston

All you Sox fans know that inter-league play is going to bring the San Francisco Giants to Fenway this weekend. With the Giants will be the biggest cheater in this history of modern baseball: Barry Steroids Bond. Bond, who is 8 homers away from beating the all time home run record set by Hank Aaron, isn't going to find a warm welcome here. He's loathed. Hated. Reviled. There is absolutely not one positive thing you can say about him. He has admitted to using steroids and human growth hormones, although he says it was 'not knowingly'. Um..right, Barry. You didn't know you were pouring that poison into your body as your neck grew like a sequoia tree and your balls shrunk to resemble blueberries. Maybe the people of San Francisco are blind and dumb, but here in Boston we don't like our baseball players to be cheaters. We hate A-Rod because he refuses to play fair against the Red Sox. He's infantile, but at least he's not abusing drugs to such an extent that it's physically obvious to anyone without vision deficiencies.

There's already discussions about the reception Bonds is going to get here. I'm hoping that it doesn't get ugly and sticks to verbal booing. But Boston... our baseball fans are rabid and we just do not tolerate cheaters. I have a feeling that there will be stuff tossed onto the field when Bonds comes up to hit.

Bonds was voted the least popular player in both leagues. His own teammates hate him. He's got all the side effects of steroid use. He's mean, nasty, rude, violent, and arrogant. And yet he's still playing baseball. I have to ask why he's allowed to continue as a professional player when it's a known fact that he's using steroids. I don't get it. But what I do get is that he's going to get exactly the reception he deserves here.

He's a horrible example for young children that follow the game. Think about it. We teach our kids not to cheat, to be kind to our teammates, and to respect the rules of the game. Bonds does none of those things, and yet is still paid a multi-million dollar salary to publically cheat. It makes me sick.


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Sunday, June 10, 2007

My Blogging Story

Chilihead is collecting stories about how you came to blogging. She's asked a series of questions, and you can answer them and put your name on her Mr Linky list, so other people can drop by your blog and see your responses.

Here are mine:

How did you start blogging?

For me, blogging was a natural progression from using web forums and Usenet to talk about my family and political issues that confronted us. I started blogging in 2003, but pulled down most of those archives long ago as the information was not really what I wanted to focus upon.

Did you intend to be a blog w/a following? If so, how did you go about it?

No. I didn't even know that blogs had followings when I first started. I don't think most of them did, for there weren't a lot of personal blogs back then. When it dawned on me in around 2005 that people had followings, most of the people that did weren't the kind of blogs that I ever wanted to write anyhow. So I didn't really make much of an effort. Also, I'm too opinionated and passionate to ever have the kinds of following that other "popular"bloggers have. I argue. I disagree. I can be ruthless. Those aren't qualities that attract millions of readers unless you're Ann Coulter. And I'm no Ann Coulter, thank God.

What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful? If not, do you have a plan to achieve those goals?

My blog has always been about thinking through issues I feel passionate about. Recently I think I lost focus and started trying to cull readers. This was a big mistake for me. It made me feel like a fake, and it put me in cahoots with bloggers I don't admire. I think my blog has been quite successful in cultivating local readers who are interested in local politics. I get hundreds of hits when I post on local issues, and I've become a respected voice in our community's political power struggles. I do think I've been less successful in talking about national and international issues, but I'm beginning to change that. Much of my blogging is on the politics of poverty, something that seems to be a huge hot button item for many bloggers. But I feel compelled to write about it, and to hopefully help people to recognize that poverty exists within their own little worlds.

Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?

Yes. I was more political in the beginning, and then took much of those posts down and started focusing more on my family and especially my kids. Because I have older kids, it's much more difficult to blog about them due to privacy issues, and because so many readers have very bad attitudes towards teenagers. Then about 18 months ago I began blogging more on local politics, and less about my family. Plus, I blog professionally so I no longer blog much about recipes and food issues on my personal blog because I do that for work.

Additionally, I spent quite a few months trying to please readers and keeping my inner voice fairly silent. Now, not at all. I'm working to change the direction of my blog and if it bothers other people, I've asked them to stop reading. I've really clutched onto the "It's MY blog and I'll post what I want to" (think Leslie Gore) theme very recently, and it's a huge release for me. I'm happier blogging when I'm venting and not just trying to post cute little stories that are bland and boring.

What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?

That the myth of the MommyBlogger 'community' is really just a myth and that there is a serious "in-crowd" mentality within the "popular" Mommy Bloggers that rivals most middle schools. It's pretty ugly. Had I known what unpleasant people these mean mommies are, I would have stayed far far away. Live and learn.

Do you make money with your blog?

Yes. I make a fairly decent amount of money on advertising, plus I blog at several other places for payment. My blog makes enough to pay for a nice night out on the town (not that I take one, but I could!) and my pay blogging covers a decent amount of revenue as well.

Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?

Yes. My children both read my blog daily, and my sibling also knows about it. I do not think my mother knows, but since we have no contact, whether or not she does is of no interest to me. My son has posted on my blog several times, and now has a blog of his own. My daughter likes to read posts about her, and to see what photos I've posted about her. Much of our town's school department also reads my blog. That is a mixed blessing!

What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?

Stay far away from the popular bloggers and build your own traffic by creating good content. Don't count on 'networking' with the popular bloggers in order to build traffic. It will backfire.


Make your content as unique as you are. Don't try to pretend to be someone else. If you're open and honest about who you are, no matter how opinionated you are, you'll eventually find the right audience and will build traffic in an honest fashion.

One more:

Look for bloggers with similar themes to yours, and join their blog carnivals. You'll make better online friends with like people that you will counting on people who are inexplicably popular. Because the popular people won't care if you exist, won't help your traffic, and won't support you if you disagree with them.

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The blogging double standard (with addendum)

Let me just preface this post with this thought. I don't think I've been happier blogging in a very long time. I have been letting it rip for the past couple of days. I'm on a serious tear. And I've got no intention of stopping anytime soon. It takes a lot to get me really pissed off. A lot. I have not been this motivated to blog in, oh, I can't even say how long. Forever. But the floodgates are wide open now, and I'm going to say what I want on my blog, for as long as I want, until I'm spent. If you don't like it, don't read it. If you're here to make trouble, don't bother. Your comments won't be approved and I'll just shut the comments down completely. Remember, my blog, my opinions. And I have a ton of them.

Okay. Now that that's outta the way, lets talk about the huge blogging double standard within the so-called "community" of MommyBloggers. Here's a topic guaranteed to get some people royally pissed off, but I think the majority of women bloggers who happen to be mothers are going to find what I have to say not only compelling, but true. It's been said recently on other blogs. It's not original thinking, per se, just my take on it. Again...red X at right hand top of page if you need to go pee or something.

There are two levels of acceptance within the mommyblogging community. There are the established, we're too cool for school bloggers. They can do no wrong. Even when they only have one or two topics that they post about for months at a time, they have thousands of commenters right behind them with lots of (((((((hugs))))))))). It's enough to make me vomit. These are the bloggers that do not allow dissent. If you disagree with them, you are a troll. You are a bad person. You need to be swept from the blogging community. These bloggers are often highly insecure about themselves, and so they need the constant acceptance and cheers of their commenters. They live for other people telling them how nice they are, how smart they are, etc. In other words, sycophants are their best buddies. When someone tells them to buck up, or disagrees, they call in their reinforcements, the other sycophant heavy bloggers, who attack. We've seen this when that bitch Violent Acres first came out with her photoshopped pics of Sweetney's kid. We've seen this at the former Trainwrecks site. We've seen this a lot on Surburban (alcoholic) Bliss. And at Vodkarella (hmm, alcohol...isn't that a grand way to present yourself as a mother).

So where's the double standard? These posters whine and complain more than the average Josephine. How many "nobody will buy my house" posts have you read lately? On two specific sites. How many "TV misrepresented me and I'm really not an inarticulate boob, boo hoo hoo" posts did we see on a certain heavy drinker's site? When THEY whine and complain, it's allowed. They can go on and on ad nauseum, and the sycophants rise to the occasion. Why is that different than someone with a passion talking about a political issue? Because it's the "special" bloggers.

Note that these "special" bloggers constantly promote each other. They employ each other on their lame parenting blogs. They fire people whose 'voices don't fit' because they're the voices of sanity, experience, and rational thinking. They self-promote constantly. Read me HERE! I'm HERE today. And they promote each other. They invent little prizes and give them to each other. Squeeeee.... I had lunch with XXX today! I'm flying off on an alcoholic weekend with YYY today. Look at our pictures on flickr. It's just so.... pathetic. It's this whole cult of building each other up to make yourself feel better. The thinking is, if I'm friendly with ZZZ, then she'll promote me and I'll get more hits. So I'm going to comment about how wonderful she is, and send her emails, and then she'll be my friend and maybe I'll get a job at her lame-o aggregator site. You just have to look at the list of bloggers at the aggregated sites to see I'm being truthful. Babble? Could it BE more of an in-crowd? Could it BE more high school cheerleadery? I think not. Besides the fact that the site sucks for a huge majority of the blogging world who don't need to keep pretending to be 'hip and cool' when they're approaching (or have already hit) 40. What the fuck is the point of being 'hip and cool' when it's total conformity? You got me.

What you don't see from these particular sites is a promotion of unknown bloggers. Because they're so uncool. You don't see them promoting charities UNLESS it's one of their friends running a race, or collecting for something. You don't ever read about them doing good works, volunteering to help other people, working for their communities. Because that wouldn't be cool.
The double standard goes right to the top, the infamous BlogHer. Who keeps getting the editor jobs? Yeah, right. Who gets the speaking jobs. Again...right. It's pervasive and it's elitist and stupid. Personally, I'm sick of it.

The blogs that I love best have never been the popular bloggers. Oh, I like Dooce well enough, but she doesn't participate much in this whole 'we're cooler than you are' crap. Plus, she actually writes well, something we can't say for some of the other popular bloggers. The blogs I love are uplifting, funny, and that rarest of rare, raw. They don't have 90 commenters telling them how wonderful they are because they don't ask or want that. They have content that speaks for itself, so there is no need for sycophants.

The analogy I keep drawing about this double standard is that of a gated community. Inside the gates are those few bloggers that look down their collective schnoozes at everyone else. Because they honestly think that they're better people. Outside the gates are two groups. The jealous onlookers (commenters) who believe that by licking the feet of the gated community residents, maybe someday they'll be given the code to the gate. They're going to be waiting a long long time, because there really isn't a code. And if they get inside, they'll be kicked back outside if they utter a word of disagreement from the gated groupspeak clones. The second group is the rest of us. The people who look at this insane makeup and say "what the fuck is this all about?" Who died and made this small group of gated jackasses God?

Most of us go on our merry way, talking about what we want to. But sometimes, just sometimes, we start coaching our words. We start blogging about crap that isn't even interesting in the hopes that we'll be considered nice and sweet and maybe cool enough to be hanging at the gate. We stop blogging about what's really going on inside, because we don't want to ruffle the feathers of the mighty powerful insiders.

Until the insiders attack. Which they do with stunning regularity. And then the outsiders switch places. Some move back a tier, others move forward. Depends on your opinion on the attack.

Me, I've moved way back in the crowd. I've decided I'm going to say what I want, when I want, how I want on my blog. I've decided that I'm not going to pretend that there isn't a double standard, one perpetuated by a small cadre of bitches who need to constantly have their backs rubbed in order to build themselves up. I'm tired of the mentally unfit being told that they're good moms when in fact they teach their children how to be judgemental meanies, just like them. Or the teach their children that the only way they can be happy is when they're drinking way too much alcohol. These are the parents who are going to wonder where they went wrong when their kids get caught dead drunk at 2:30 AM at the age of 13.

I'm going to talk about it. All of it. A lot. Because it needs to be said. It needs to be exposed. It isn't being judgemental. It's being dead honest. I looked in the mirror and saw a woman that had closed off her passion for fairness and honesty in order to be a hanger-on. I don't like that part of myself. I've never been one of the 'in crowd' because I think the people who are always seem to be the most mentally fragile. That's so not me. I'm incredibly secure in who I am. Always have been. I'm a very strong person. Very creative. Very smart. And very very opinionated. I'm never going to stop voicing my opinions. And I'm never going to pretend again that it's OK to support people who are obviously unfit to be parents. Not for one cold second.

Addendum: I'm not the only one that came up with the gatekeeper analogy. Interesting that Seth wrote about it in 2004 and it's only gotten worse!

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Looky Looky Looky! Canada has poor people!

There ARE poor people in Canada. Plenty of them. Who wudda thunk it. Certainly not all those Canadian Sanctimommy bloggers who congregate at the Troll Queen's lair. Gosh golly gee, there are single parents, and disabled people and plenty of poor people, even in Toronto! Over 54,000 single parent families live in poverty in Toronto alone. Oh my goodness. I guess Canada isn't the best place on earth either. Let's take a look at the government care for the poor and homeless, shall we?

Here's a spot where you can read all about the children living in poverty in Canada. I know, some people pretend that there aren't any poor there, and those people that are living on the edge are disturbed individuals who should return their children to the hospital before they kill them. But you know what? PLENTY of kids are poor there. Almost as many as in the USA. According to this article, close to 1.2 million children - almost one child out of every six in Canada - still live in poverty. Now that doesn't sound too good, does it? 17.4 percent of all children in Ontario live in poverty. In fact, the average low income Canadian family is living in deep poverty. The average two parent low income family would need an additional $10,400 year to bring them up to the Canadian poverty line. The average female lone parent family is living at $9,400 below the poverty line. In spite of a strong economy the average low income income two parent family is still living as far below the poverty line as they were 11 years ago. This isn't quite the rosy picture our Sanctimommy painted, is it? Nobody ever accused her of being bright or of being capable of research, I guess.

Again, according to this article, finding employment IS NOT a guaranteed way to escape poverty. Are you hearing this, Sanctimommy and her little choir of morons? About 1/3 of low income children live in families where at least one parent worked full-time for the entire year. Not like Sanctimommy, whose husband not only provides her a nice comfortable income so she can look down her nose on everyone else, but pays for her jaunts to visit friends in the USA (I hope she showered carefully after arriving back in Canada) where she drinks too much. Of course she doesn't eat, so why not pour back the alcohol? Cause alcohol is SO helpful for someone with serious depression problems.

Now here's something interesting. One in every four jobs in Canada pay less than $10/hour, and two of every 5 jobs are precarious-- part time, temporary, contract or self-employed. Canada isn't sounding all that great now, is it. What person that makes a big $400/week before taxes can afford $150 a week on food, especially organic vegetables. Only Sanctimommy and her cadre of dumbasses, that's who.

Look at this! Government programs exist in Canada. Yes, they do! Here's the GST credit, the Canada Child Tax Benefit and Employment Insurance. They help reduce the rate of child and family poverty. Without these PUBLIC investments the poverty rate for low income families would be much higher, at around 24%. You read that right. ONE QUARTER of all Canadian families would be living in poverty without government assistance. Humph! Mindboggling.

Guess what else? The availability of affordable housing is a KEY FACTOR affecting the rate and depth of child and family poverty. Two in every three low income families with children lived in unaffordable housing in 2003, where shelter costs more than 30% of their total income. 1.5 million households have been identified as having a core housing need. Plus, increased energy costs are putting additional pressure on low income families.

Average shelter costs increased by more than 20% between 1993 and 2006. Yet the Canadian government spending on housing went from 1.98 billion in 1993 to 2.03 billion in 2006. When adjusted for inflation, this is a 25% DECREASE in the federal budget allocation for housing. All of a sudden, this is sounding really familiar. Why Canada is JUST LIKE THE USA! Lookie here. Canada remains one of the few countries in the world without a comprehensive affordable housing strategy and permanent funding. But even worse than in the USA, there is absolutely no Low Income Energy Efficiency Program for low income renters and homeowners to undertake energy efficiency upgrades. We have that in the US.

In November, the Canadian Council on Social Development released its figures for child poverty, followed closely by Statistics Canada’s first ever tally of the number of Canadians living in shelters. The reports highlight the enduring nature of poverty, even in modern, developed societies like Canada’s. But they also documented some unsettling increases for a number of key poverty indicators. For example, the number of people relying on food banks has escalated, as well as the numbers of Canadians living below the accepted low-income cut-off point. Oh my goodness, there are Canadians that can't afford to feed their children, just like in the good ol' USA. Astounding!

The effects of poverty reach beyond hardships for individuals and families. Many reports have documented connections between poverty and low birth-weights, increased illness, lower labour force participation, family disintegration, and increased rates of homicide or suicide. Education and development studies have further confirmed this issue. A number of surveys have found that children at the lower end of the socio-economic scale had poorer health and developmental outcomes than children in the middle, and that children at the top of the socio-economic scale had better results still. Parents at the lower end of the scale showed some effects of living in poverty. They suffered increased stress and difficulties functioning with their children and higher levels of depression, both of which are bound to have serious effects on the capacity of parents to take care of their children. While living standards are difficult to measure or calculate, the basic economic ramifications of poverty are easier to deduce. Economic performance is markedly affected by the problems associated with poverty. The productive capacity of a healthy workforce has been shown to be greater than that of an unhealthy workforce.

Here's another shocker. There are disabled people in Canada, and they get financial support, just like in the USA. Turns out that the First Nations people (we call them Native Americans or Indians) have a higher percentage of disabilities than the whity white population. And that there are more poverty stricken aboriginal people in Canada than any other culture. I am shocked! SHOCKED. (rolls eyes) The Government of Canada, through the Social Assistance Program, provides funding to make sure that on-reserve Aboriginal people, including those with disabilities, have adequate food, shelter, clothing and other essentials. Most of this funding goes to First Nations, which in turn deliver programs and services to their communities.

Not only do most people in Canada get turned down for disability just like in the US, you have to go though THREE different appeals processes to collect. That ought to take several years. Most people will just give up because it's too hard to fight a government agency. Any government agency. I loved this little sentence I found. Even in America this isn't true: There is no federal assistance for the purchase of a wheelchair. Nice! But in other news, their disability program is run exactly like ours in the USA:

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability benefit is available to people who have made enough contributions to the CPP, and whose disability prevents them from working at any job on a regular basis. The disability must be long lasting or likely to result in death. People who qualify for disability benefits from other programs may not qualify for the CPP disability benefit.

You must apply for a disability benefit in writing. There are also benefits available to the children of a person who receives a CPP disability benefit.

Once you qualify for and begin receiving a CPP disability benefit, you must contact SDC to keep us informed of certain specific events in your life. Some examples include: if you change your name or your address, or if you earn over $4,200 in 2006.

SDC will occasionally review the health and work status of people receiving a CPP disability benefit, to ensure that they continue to be eligible.

So in Canada, as in the US, you're allowed to make a small income if you're on Social Security. In the US, it's $600/month. Which I make. But I don't make more. In Canada, you're only allowed to make a bit less than $400/month. Now that sucks!Now, nowhere does it say how much your payments are for disability benefits in Canada, but my guess is they're probably very similar to the USA. The more income you made, and the longer you worked, the higher your payment. I'm at the top level of payment in the US because I made a shitload of money when I worked, and I worked full time from 1978 to 2002 when I got sick. That's considered a full career. Remember, I make "too much" on SSDI to qualify for ANY government subsidy, but we live in poverty. "Whine whine whine", says Sanctimommy. But it isn't a whine, it's a FACT. She just isn't capable of wrapping her pea brain around the difference.

In summary, Canada sucks as much if not more than the US (after all, who wants their weather?), they have plenty of poor people living off the dole, they have the same problems as do most other industrialized nations, and they suck as empathetic mothers. So do you want to live there? Not me. I'd rather live someplace where mothers teach their children about empathy and understanding, instead of being judgemental and bad tempered. I also prefer to eat. But that's just me!

And by the way, all you Sanctimommy readers coming to visit. THIS is how you have a discussion about poverty. With facts. Not with mean judgemental name calling, not with raw emotions, and not with a bunch of asinine rhetoric about Welfare Queens. Learn something about your neighbors to the south, just like I learned about our unfortunate neighbors to the north.

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