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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Monday, April 30, 2007

The collector

I am not a packrat per se, but I do love to have stuff. I'm big on stuff. I have a feeling that if money were no object I'd have to live in a palace to contain all my collections, current and desired.

I like to collect things. I've always been a collector. When I was a kid, other kids were collecting baseball cards and barbie dolls. Me, I collected spoons. Weird? Yeah, well it probably is. But we were a family that traveled a lot. By car. All over the country and Canada. I've been everywhere. To commemorate my travels, I got one of the little collector's spoons, which I displayed in a couple of spoon racks. I liked this collection a lot, but it wasn't really interactive or anything. When I was older, like after grad school, I found that my darling mother, better known as "the Evil One" gave my collection to my niece. I wasn't thrilled, but what can you do. She was a kid, she liked the spoons, and now she has them. Except now she's out of college and I don't know what will happen to my spoons.

From spoons, I got into postcard collecting. Only I was very specific. I only collected postcards that were sent to me. And I only collected tacky postcards. No pretty scenery for this girl. I liked Jackalopes and deer driving cars while the hunter was strapped to the hood. The tackier the better. I used to beg people to send me tacky cards from wherever they were going. I have a spectacular collection of the bizarre postcard, if I do sy so myself. I started this collection in college, and by the time I lost interest in it, I had thousands and thousands of postcards crammed into shoe boxes. I still have them. I still look at them occasionally, reading the back of the cards and trying to remember who the people were that sent me all those cards so many years ago. I've forgotten so many of them.

Next was my shell collection. I started that in high school, but after really geared up after college. I traveled quite a bit, and my shells are from many places. The best shell collecting was the caribbean, where the Evil One lived in the winter. I got some fabulous corals, and may shells. Those reside down in my basement in a box, carefully wrapped up. I love them a lot and wish I had a place to display them. Alas, not in my little house. There simply isn't enough space.

In between these major collections, I found myself collecting pins. I started small, with many of the political pins from elections in the 60's through to the 80's, when pins stopped being such a big giveaway item. In addition, I got many of the best punk pins in the 80's. Hundreds of them. I have them all tucked away on a large bulletin board...also in the basement. I've always had them in my kitchen on the wall, but there are no walls in my current kitchen. So they remain downstairs until the Boy finds them and absconds with them.

Now, my last collection brings me to the point of this post. Did you know that Queen Elizabeth is coming to visit? If you've never seen her, even if you think the monarchy is insane, ridiculous, and a waste of money... go and see her if you can. It's a huge thing to actually see the Queen. I've seen her twice, once in London where she waved to me (I have pictures...it's true!) and once in Boston when she came for the bicentennial. Both times were a complete thrill for me.

My grandmother (z"l) was British, my kids dad is British, I'm a ridiculous anglophile, and even when I lived in Britain, I still loved it. My grandmother, when she was a little girl, saw Queen Victoria. It was something she spoke of her entire life. My sister had a Queen Victoria doll that we were not allowed to play with. I can remember sneaking in a touch or two, knowing how valuable it was. From the time I was a teeny girl, I wanted to see the Queen. Elizabeth was coronated right before I was born. She is still Queen, 54 years later. I've gotten to see her twice, I hope I will be able to see her again, this time with my children. It is like carrying on a family tradition.

Anyhow, this brings me to my last, but favorite collection. British royal commeratives. They're hard to get in this country, but my collection was started in the early 80's by my now ex-FIL. He also collected them, and had an amazing collection of hundreds of pieces scattered through his home. I would look at them longingly. I don't even know why I like them, I just do. So I started adding to my collection carefully, one piece at a time. All of a sudden, I had a decent sized collection, and they give me an inordinate amount of pleasure.

I think collecting is a great thing for people to get into. My son collects baseball cards and his collection is growing from the mundane to a very well cataloged collection that is becoming somewhat valuable. He's got some great rookie cards.

My daughter collects Dala Horses, which was started with a Dala Horse I got as a kid. She's got quite a few now, although they are way too expensive to build a big collection right now. But she's got the foundation for a decent collection.

What about you? What do you collect, how did you get started, and what does your collection mean to you?

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Things passing through my crowded head

Interesting that the post on Israel only brought one naysayer. I though it would be much more controversial, but I guess that when you come down to it, and look at what various countries have done for the world at large, Israel comes out a lot higher than any of it's enemies. As in, what's Iran done for the world lately?

When only one kid is in the house, it's so easy and relaxing. The noise level goes way down, there isn't any arguing over who gets to do what, and they tend to leave me to my own activities...like napping!

I've been reading True Mom Confessions for a week or so, and I'm convinced that at least half of the posts are, shall we say, figments of some very active imagination. But it sure is a good read. Some of the stuff is so sad. Some of it just seems implausable. I don't know, maybe it's all true and people are living some really sad lives.

If I don't go grocery shopping tomorrow, my children will be eating the furniture. Sigh.

Does your family use tons of cups/glasses every day? We fill the top of the dishwasher and then some every day. Me, I drink water out of the same glass most of the day, but the rest of those heathens... glass after glass after glass. It looks like we've had a cocktail party here every evening. This drives me crazy, for every night we have to do the cup roundup. There are so many of them, and the kids ditch them on shelves, window sills, and whereever they happen to plop down, so I have to go and search them out.

The Boy and Dave are so similar sometimes that I think they might be separated at birth. Only Dave is a much better artist. But otherwise...scary!

I miss junk food so much some days. Mostly I'm ok, but there are days when my mind just screams, "Buy some chocolate...NOW!" But I'm still on the "take care of your body" diet, which I made up myself, and it's still working. I think I've hit a bit of a plateau, but it's to be expected. My clothes are ridiculously huge right now, but I'm still wearing them. When they fall off my body, I'll get new ones. Until then, I'm saving up for bigger and better stuff.

When we went to the library today, it was partly sunny and clear outside. An hour later is was pouring like we were in the middle of a hurricaine. Weird! But we had a very successful library trip and I got a bunch of books while the Boy went for the Media room and took out the final season of The West Wing and the Romber season of Amazing Race. He's a good kid, that one!

I am putting off cleaning up by finding a million convenient things to do. It is getting ridiculous because the house is a disaster area. But I still hope that Alice from the Brady Bunch will show up and take over my life. I really could use an Alice.

Getting the dishes done in this house is worse than pulling wisdom teeth. No matter what time of day or night it is, they're "Too tired" and make a million excuses for not washing their dishes. Not that the dishes are the only thing they put off. I've had a bag of stuff that the Girl is supppsed to put down in the basement. It's been sitting in front of the basement door for THREE WEEKS. She's been down in the basement. Everyone has. But the bag remains. No matter how many times I remind her, she will not do it. So it sits. And sits. And eventually I'll either get pissed off and scream at her, or I'll do it myself. This, my friends, is the joy of parenting teenagers. They are so freaking LAZY. And slobs, oh my goodness, they are slobs. The combination is deadly!

The rearview mirror in my van fell off again today. That makes 4 times. This time I finally got ticked enough and used a combination of superglue and packing tape. Who ever heard of a rearview mirror that continually falls off? Am I cursed?

Have I mentioned how much I love Method products? Well, I do, a lot. And they just sent me some soap and this amazing body lotion that I'm kvelling over. The lotion is in a square package, and they call it The Bloq. It's different than any lotion I've ever used. It's more fluffy, and it isn't oily or greasy or heavy at all. It's light and has a totally different texture than most other lotions. I got the Pure Minimalist body lotion and the Eternal Optimist soap. The lotion is all natural, with natural exfolients and olive oil, no parabens, and of course, no animal by-products.

And speaking of Method products, do you use their laundry detergent? That stuff is to die for. It gets your clothes so soft and clean, and the smells...oh it is yummy. I'm almost always allergic to detergent scents, but I'm not with Method. I've use the Free and Clear detergent with no scents or colors, but we've switched to the scented when I discovered that it didn't bother me. I love this stuff. I used to have to shlep to Target to get it, but now my not-so-local grocery store carries it. Excellent!

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Friday, April 27, 2007

If you're going to boycott Israel - do it properly!

This was in The Daily Sport - British version of New York Post

The View from Here

OK. So I understand that you are ticked off at Israel, and in love with the Palestinians. That's fine with me, as long as you have truly weighed all the facts.

So, you want to boycott Israel?

I'll be sorry to miss you, but if you are doing it - do it properly. Let me help you.

Check all your medications. Make sure that you do not have tablets, drops
lotions, etc., made by Abic or Teva. It may mean that you will suffer from colds and flu this winter but, hey, that's a small price for you to pay in your campaign against Israel, isn't it?

While we are on the subject of your Israeli boycott, and the medical contributions to the world made by Israeli doctors and scientists, how about telling your pals to boycott the following:

An Israeli company has developed a simple blood test that distinguishes between mild and more severe cases of Multiple Sclerosis. So, if you know anyone suffering from MS, tell them to ignore the Israeli patent that may, more accurately, diagnose their symptoms.

An Israeli-made device helps restore the use of paralyzed hands. This device electrically stimulates the hand muscles, providing hope to millions of stroke sufferers and victims of spinal injuries.
If you wish to remove this hope of a better quality of life to these people, go ahead and boycott Israel.

Young children with breathing problems will soon be sleeping more soundly, thanks to a new Israeli device called the Child Hood. This innovation replaces the inhalation mask with an improved drug delivery system that provides relief for child and parent. Please tell anxious mothers that they shouldn't use this device because of your passionate cause.

These are just a few examples of how people have benefited medically from the Israeli know-how you wish to block. Boycotts often affect research:

A new research center in Israel hopes to throw light on brain disorders such as depression and Alzheimer's disease. The Joseph Sangol Neuroscience Center in the Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer Hospital, aims to bring thousands of scientists and doctors to focus on brain research.

A researcher at Israel's Ben Gurion University has succeeded in creating human monoclonal antibodies which can neutralize the highly contagious smallpox virus without inducing the dangerous side effects of the existing vaccine.

Two Israelis received the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Doctors Ciechanover and Hershko's research and discovery of one of the human cells most important cyclical processes will lead the way to DNA repair, control of newly produced proteins, and immune defense systems.

The Movement Disorder Surgery program at Israel's Hadassah Medical Center has successfully eliminated the physical manifestations of Parkinson's disease in a select group of patients with a deep brain stimulation technique.

For women who undergo hysterectomies each year for the treatment of uterine fibroids, the development in Israel of the Ex Ablate 2000 System is a welcome breakthrough, offering a noninvasive alternative to surgery.

Israel is developing a nose drop that will provide a five year flu vaccine.

These are just a few of the projects that you can help stop with your Israeli boycott. But let's not get too obsessed with my ducal research, there are other ways you can make a personal sacrifice with your anti-Israel boycott:

Most of Windows operating systems were developed by Microsoft-Israel. So, set a personal example. Throw away your computer!

Computers should have a sign attached saying Israel Inside. The Pentium NMX Chip technology was designed at Intel in Israel. Both the Pentium 4 microprocessor and the Centrum processor were entirely designed, developed, and produced in Israel.

Voice mail technology was developed in Israel.

The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 in Israel by four young Israeli whiz kids.

Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R. & D. facilities outside the US in Israel.

So, due to your complete boycott of anything Israeli, you can now have poor health and no computer. But your bad news does not end there:

Get rid of your cellular phone. Cell phone technology was also developed in Israel by MOTOROLA which has its biggest development center in Israel.

Most of the latest technology in your mobile phone was developed by Israeli scientists.

Feeling unsettled? You should be. Part of your personal security rests with Israeli inventiveness, borne out of our urgent necessity to protect and defend our lives from the terrorists you support.

A phone can remotely activate a bomb, or be used for tactical communications by terrorists, bank robbers, or hostage-takers. It is vital that official security and law enforcement authorities have access to cellular jamming and detection solutions. Enter Israel's Net line Communications Technologies with their security expertise to help the fight against terror.


A joint, nonprofit, venture between Israel and Maryland will result in a 5 day Business Development and Planning Conference next March. Elected Israeli companies will partner with Maryland firms to provide innovation to the US need for homeland security.

I also want you to know that Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.

Israel produces more scientific papers per capita - 109 per-10,000 - than any other nation.

Israel has the highest number of startup companies per rata. In absolute terms, the highest number, except the US., Israel has a ratio of patents filed.

Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies outside of Silicon Valley. Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds, behind the USA.

Israel has more museums per capita.

Israel has the second highest publication of new books per capita.

Relative to population, Israel is the largest immigrant absorbing nation on earth.

These immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom or expression, economic opportunity, and quality of life.

Believe it or not, Israel is the only country in the world which had a net gain in the number of trees last year.

Even Warren Buffet of Berkshire-Hathaway fame has just invested millions with Israeli Companies.

So, you can vilify and demonize the State of Israel. You can continue your silly boycott, if you wish. But I wish you would consider the consequences, and the truth.

Think of the massive contribution that Israel is giving to the world, including the Palestinians - and to you - in science, medicine, communications, security.

Pro rata for population, Israel is making a greater contribution than any other nation on earth.

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It's all about ME

The wonderful and highly entertaining Naomi sent me 5 questions to answer. Before I even start answering them, let me tell you a bit about Naomi. For those of you who know and love her, skip right to the questions. But for those of you who have never read Here in the Hills, Naomi's blog, you're in for one of the great treats of the blogosphere. Naomi is an honest to God Broadway and Hollywood actress, now happily retired in the Hollywood Hills where she has one of the most outstanding cactus gardens in the world.

Naomi blogs about her acting life, her friends who are likely to be famous actors, and of course about that magnificent garden. You never know who is going to pop up in a Naomi post, but they are always interesting, provocative, and leave you with a feeling of Hollywood in the 60's. Because I grew up in LA not that far from Naomi's home, and my family was also in 'the industry', sometimes Naomi brings up things from my childhood that make me shiver in rememberance. I just love her blog.

And now on to the questions:

1. If you had to change your hair color and style, what would you change it to, and why?

Um, my hair is naturally gray, having been growing out for several years now. I would like it to go back to it's non-gray color, but I don't want to color it because it grows so fast that I always have gray roots. So it's gray to stay! But as far as a style, man could I use some updating. My hair has been the same style forever. It gets shorter and longer, but essentially it's long, brushed straight back, and that's about it. So I'd like to have one of those cuts where it is parted on the side, with long bangs that sort of brush by the side of my eye, and shoulder length with some fringy stuff on the sides. I don't know what this would be called, but it would look well on me.

2. Dancer or Singer?

Easy peasy. Singer. Totally rocking singer. I love to sing, I have a good strong clear voice that was trained when I was younger, and people tell me all the time that I have a great voice...in shul!

3. Do you believe in "The Power Of Positive Thinking"...Explain?

This is a tough one. I want to believe in it. I really do. But in actuality, I don't. It doesn't work for me. I know that it does work for some people cough(Oprah)cough, but the fact is, I'm a pretty positive person most of the time, and I believe that things will improve and I work hard to see the positive in things, and yet things don't change for me. So I guess the answer is, I don't know...maybe...for some people...but I need more empirical evidence.

4. The Zoo has said that you may take one animal home with you. Which animal would you pick, and why?

This is can answer. A Giraffe. I just love them. Those big doe eyes, that long neck, they can be so gentle and inquisitive, very loving animals. Yes, they can also be dangerous and wild and can kill a man with one powerful kick, but they're essentially gentle and sweet. And so freaking pretty!

5. You have just been elected President of The United States. What are the first 4 things you would do in your new position?
  1. Remove the troops from Iraq immediately.
  2. Petition Congress to change both the minimum wage (which is actually going to happen, but it's not enough) and the poverty rate so that the poor can get subsidized housing and health care through their state government.
  3. Repair the American infastructure. I'd provide money for road and bridge repair, school upgrades, police and fire stations, libraries, etc. I'd make sure that there is enough housing for EVERYONE, and that market rate apartment buildings must include some subsidized units.
  4. Outlaw vinyl siding. It's the most digustingly ugly think in American society and it must go...NOW.

Do you want to play along? Follow these instructions and you too can be interviewed!

  1. Leave me a comment saying "Interview me."
  2. I'll respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
  3. You post your answers to the questions on your blog.
  4. You include these directions and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  5. When other people comment asking to be interviewed, you ask them five questions of your choosing.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Aren't ambulances RESCUE vehicles? Updated

It's happened again. Another vehicle crashes into a home. It's a nutty rash of weird accidents. There's one almost every day. Cars crashing into stores, homes, schools, and every freaking building type you can think of. I've talked about it before. Since then we've had one almost every day. But today? Today it's an ambulance that crashed into a home in rural Dunstable MA. Local news says that two people, the ambulance drivers were seriously injured in the accident. So they had to call another 3 ambulances. If I were the homeowner, I'd be scared shitless with all those ambulances careening into houses!

What the heck is going on? Is it that hard to see a large wooden structure and apply the brakes? Is this phenomenon happening everywhere, or is it just an eastern MA spectacle? They're surmising that the ambulance driver had a heart attack and lost control of the vehicle. Is that ironic or what?

I can't even imagine waiting for an ambulance, thinking that they're going to rescue me from some horrible accident or illness, and then hearing the horrifying crunch of my living room being invaded by a large ambulance. You gotta wonder what that felt like.

And the big question is, did the ambulance have it's siren blaring and lights flashing as it plowed into that house?

Update: Two people were killed in this accident. One was an employee of Patriot Ambulance, the other was a patient in the ambulance. There were 4 people in the ambulance when the accident occurrred. What a terrible accident. I'm sorry that I made light of it originally.

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LOST Discussion Thursday

Definately NOT my favorite episode. In fact, it totally pissed me off. OK, I admit that infertility is my personal bugaboo and that I don't take misinformation on the topic lightly. So I was not pleased with this entire episode. Before I get into my own personal rant (and it's a good one), here is a recap of the episode complete with commentary:

Flashbacks are mainly based to show you how much Sun loves Jin.

Shortly after the wedding.... A women blackmails Sun for $100,000 by threatening to reveal that Jin’s father was a fisherman and his mother was a prostitute. Sun finds Jin’s father and he confirms that Jin’s mother slept with many men. He is not even sure that he is Jin’s father. She left Jin with him and he chose to raise him.

Sun borrows the money from her father and ultimately gives it to the woman. The woman as some of you may guess is Jin’s mother. Before they walk their separate ways Sun reminds her how powerful her family is. She sort of implies my husband thinks your dead we can make it a reality if you show up again.

Real time

Sun gets suspicious of Jack when he keeps asking questions about how she is feeling. Sun asks Kate if she thinks Jack has changed since being with the others. Could he be working with them? Do you think they’re after my baby? Kate reassures Sun Jack is on our side and tells her the story of Juliette and Claire and issues with other pregnant women.

Sun questions Juliette and she tells her the pregnant women on this island die.
In the middle of the night while all are asleep Juliette gets Sun to go with her to the medical hatch. Equipment is still there you just need to know where to look.
Juliette says if you got pregnant before you got here then you’ll be fine if you conceived on the island then you will die. Sun tells about her fling with the other man.

Inside a locker is a lever that opens a blast door behind another set of lockers. In that room are all the items from when Claire was taken and a sonogram machine.
By measuring fetus Date of Conception D.O.C. is determined. She also says, after Sun reveals that Jin had no sperm count that sperm count is five times greater on the island. (ugh)

DOC is only 53 days they crashed about 90 days ago so Jin is the father. Sun cries for joy that it is Jin’s but now only has two months to live. Women usually die by the middle of the second trimester. No one makes it to the third. They leave the hatch. Once outside Juliette tells Sun she want’s to make sure she covers her tracks in the hatch. She goes down again and in another locker is a tape recorder. She leaves a message for Ben informing him of the pregnancy and Jin being the father. She still has to get samples for all the other women and thinks that she will get Kate’s soon. She stops recording momentarily and speaking into the recorder says, “I hate you Ben” (Best line of the night, imo)

In the meantime...

Desmond has no idea who this parachute woman is and she is mumbling in another language. Hurley believes it’s Spanish but it turns out to be "Italian" which is similar. He understands when she says “I’m dying, I’m dying.” They open her jumpsuit to reveal a branch that has penetrated into her side and punctured her lung. Desmond wants to run and get Jack but Charlie refuses to let him go. He says "The others are out there and they will get you if you’re alone." Hurley then accidentally shoots off a flare gun into the sky.

They argue again and Desmond is now desperately wanting to save this woman. He needs answers. Then you hear someone running towards them. It’s (Mikhail) Patchy he stops they all exchange looks and Mikhail turns and runs away. Jin catches him Charlie and Hurley know who he is and they know he’s supposed to be dead. Desmond threatens to shoot him in the chest with the flare gun for answers but Mikhail fearlessly says “as your friend pointed out I’ve already died once this week.”

Mikhail hears the woman speaking and seems concerned. He says he can save her if they let him go as if he was never there. He starts asking about the woman and if you found anything with her. Hurley mentions the book and phone. Charlie gives him a look as if to say why are you telling this guy about the phone? Mikhail asks if the phone works, Hurley then says yeah like I’d tell you that.

Mikhail saves her and says she will be fine in a day. Charlie says, "A day, she’s got a punctured lung!" Mikhail says "yes things are different on this island, a day in a half."

Desmond lets Patchy go against Charlie’s wishes. Jin notices the phone is missing and chases him down and gets it back from Mikhail. Charlie and Mikhail exchange some words. I suspect it’s not over between these two. Once again Desmond lets him go. Charlie is mad about it and later is arguing with Desmond. Desmond says because they have to make a stretcher and carry her back and they wont be able to also watch a prisoner.

Charlie says, "they kill people". Desmond says, "by my count you’ve killed more of them than they have of you."

Later as Des, Jin and Charlie are talking or doing something, Hurley is next to the woman and he is playing with the phone pretending to talk. “Hey Ma” he says.

Then Naomi says "where am I?"

Hurley: "You're on an island, did you come here to save us? We crashed here from Flight 815 a few months ago.'

Naomi: "Flight 815 from Sydney?"

Hurley: "Yeah"

Naomi: "That’s impossible. They found that plane everybody on it was killed."

End of episode.


This whole infertility story makes almost no sense. OK, it makes NO sense. We're supposed to buy that women can't carry any pregnancy past the second trimester, and that all the pregnant women die. Now, if YOU were pregnant and you knew you were going to die, wouldn't you consider terminating the pregnany? I would. Or is abortion illegal on an island where everything else appears to be legal.

When Juliet took Sun to have an ultrasound, Sun did not have a full bladder. No way could she see anything without liquid to bounce off of. That's how the ultrasound works, for heaven's sake. PLUS, she did not take any fetal measurements, which is how a fetus is aged. There is now way Juliet could even begin to guess fetal age without measurements. Big big technical errors. So big that the Girl, who has had one frigging ultrasound in her life, caught the errors.

Next, the Island cures cancer (Rose), spinal fractures (Locke) and about every other disease or illness, but it can't cure infertility? Oh, only for WOMEN it can't. It can take someone with no sperm count and make him fertile, but it can't help women. Nah, something is terribly wrong with this whole sequence of events. Like, it was written by MEN. Because you know, infertility is always the woman's fault.

So let's look at other fertility facts on the island:

The pigs don't seem to have any trouble reproducing on LOST island.There is an abundance of them. I think there was a reference to a baby pig or boar by Locke. And there are plenty of fish to eat too, they haven't died off or become extinct. And what about the cows they are eating? They would have to run out of beef sometime if they were not having baby calves. So if it's not the environment that is preventing the reproduction in the animals then it wouldn't effect the women either. So there is an added element that the women have been exposed to.

This raises at least one question, when did this 'affliction' start? How far back were female humans on this island unable to carry a pregnancy without dying. Was the 'incident' that Dr. Candle refers to in his orientation film be the cause of this 'affliction'?

Could the Dharma food be the culprit? The Others aren't idiots so surely they would have thought of that? If the Others have split from Dharma and Dharma wanted to get rid of them, a simple way would be to put something in the food
drops. I've always thought that the DHARMA food wasn't really food as we know
it. Maybe it's "soul food," so to speak. I think the "fully hydrogenated" cookies are also a clue.

Remember what Ben said to Locke in his kitchen about the plate of
chicken in his refrigerator? Locke was doing some major grinding on the fried chicken and Ben says something like ... "if you knew what we do here you wouldn't put the chicken back it the fridge!" That freaked me out. If someone would say something like that to me I would get goose bumps all over. Anyway.. so there are fertile chickens on the island too. Actually, now that I think about it, it was the reverse. Locke said to Ben, "If you had any idea what this place really was...you wouldn't be putting chicken in your refrigerator." What the hell did that mean?

Funny that Locke also said, "I never really...appreciated chicken until right now." Maybe the problem has something to do with the women's eggs. The health of the eggs declines with age, and apparently there is, or was, a 26-year-old woman on the island with the endometrium of a 70-year-old. Juilet's use of the word "decomposition" supports the afterlife theory.

The comparison to the film Children of Men, and of course the book by the ever-wonderful P.D.James upon which the film is based, is food for a lot of thought this week. I'd like to hear what you all think of the way the film, and then Lost, seem to have such similarities (although in the book, it was men who were the infertiles). Especially Claire and Aaron vs the girl in the film who has the baby.

A couple of other thoughts:

I think Kate should stop her relationship with James if shes only with
him because she can't have Jack. She's looking rather skanky right now.

Jin's mother was a real piece of work. But why didn't his father want Jin to know about Sun's visit? Something is a bit off about that whole family.

We learned tonight that Sun was responsible for Jin becoming her father's stooge by paying off Jin's mother. Did you see any guilt later on for that decision? Is she supposed to have pretended not to know what he was doing, just like she did with her father? She's one tough cookie.

How come nobody knew what language Naomi was speaking. Jin thought it was Chinese, Hurley though it was Spanish, Patchy Mikal thought it was Italian... or was she speaking all those languages and she's a real polyglot?

The ending... that was creepy. How on earth did the Other's cover up the survivors of the flight?

No Sawyer? What a ripoff. And not one funny line tonight.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The taint of mental illness

One of the things that scares me most about my Boy's future is that he has a 'record'. No, not anything illegal. He's not wanted by the police, nor has he had any nefarious dealings with them. His record is much more damaging socially. He has an inherited mental illness. He has been hospitalized for this problem. Despite the fact that he has asked for help, and he is med compliant, and he has done everything that is asked of him, including therapy, he still is tainted. His record will follow him his entire life. He will be judged negatively, he will be discriminated against, he will have to defend himself forever. He will have trouble dating, and probably in marriage. He will have to decided if having biological children is the right thing for him to do, knowing that he has a strong chance of passing this disease onto his progeny.

So many people in our society have issues with mental illness. Depression is rampant. Most of us can't think of at least one person we know well who is taking an antidepressant. Many of us are taking one ourselves. We have become a society of sad, anxious people. And yet, people don't judge plain old depression with such negativity. Ok, some do. There are families that would rather die than have a family member to to therapy. It is deemed weak to seek help. But for us, the stigma of depression isn't very strong. How can it be when we're all there at one point or another.

But when you move past depression to a chronic mental illness like Bipolar Disorder, it starts to get scary. Bipolar is neferious. It is challanging and confusing. It is not easy to treat. It can often be tragic. Even when caught young, bipolars can be erratic and untrustworthy. Employers might question the ability to hold a job. Colleges might question the ability to complete a degree program.

That's no way for a kid who already has issues to have to face the world. I am frightened that my son might be held back from his full potential because of his illness. I worry so much for his future, and because I do, it causes him anxiety. I am trying to stop with the assumptions that he will be doing x, y, or z as an adult. I have no idea what he will be doing. I don't know if he will be able to go to college. I don't know if he will be able to be on his own and remain med compliant. I don't know how to predict a future when I can't even make assumptions about the present.

This is tough parenting. It makes me tired and unhappy and scared.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Is your 'hood on the list?

Outside.in just published the 10 bloggiest neighborhoods in the USA. I'm shocked and thrilled to see that our little corner of the world is number 4. Ahead of Portland and San Francisco and Manhatten.

Number one was Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

Is your neighborhood on the list?

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Monday, April 23, 2007

He is HOME!

Picked up the Boy this afternoon and he is now home, on the phone, and feeling fine. Phew. It only took 4 phone calls to the school, one to the hospital, and the attempt to send email to school about a bazillion times before I realized that their new spam blocker has literally cut off all communication to the school from yahoo, hotmail, and gmail. Now isn't that convenient? I do have a Verizon email account, but I have never once used it and don't even know what the username and password are. So much for easy communication with the school.

Miraculously, last night while I was perusing my favorite part of Craigslist, the FREE column, I saw an ad for free daylilys from a person almost around the corner from the hospital. So we stopped there on the way home and got the very last bag they had. A big bag, which should sprout into a really nice bunch of daylilys within a couple of months. I can't wait to plant.

For everyone who has been feeling out of sorts over the horrendous weather we've had here this spring, what a wonderfully delightful reprieve. I'm wearing shorts, it's in the 80's, the magnolias, forsythia, and daffodils have all burst forth this morning, and it's finally looking like spring. Just having a day like this makes all the difference in how I feel. We all were a bit vitamin D deficient here in New England. It's wonderful to be able to catch up!

In summing up, if I could find the bandaid box, life would be perfecto right now.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Is this our year?

Four straight homers in a row. FOUR HOME RUNS IN A ROW. Go Red Sox!

Manny first, over the Green Monster and onto Lansdowne Street. At least he didn't hit a parked car!

Then J.D. Drew hit over the Boston bullpen into the right center-field bleachers.

Mike Lowell hit over the wall at left field.

Tek hit another liner over the Green Monster.

And Dice-K pitched his first win over the dreaded evil empire from NY. He killed the pinstripes.

Meanwhile, SWEEP! Oh yeah, it was hot in Fenway this weekend.

What? You say that the Yankee's Suck. Um, duh. Loved the A-Rod booing. Every time he was at bat, I had to smile. Booooooo. Yeah, he's hot. But their pitching sucks. Heh.

In other Boston news, Mass Ave Bridge was closed today from 6 am to 3 pm for a movie shooting. 9 hours for a 45 second backdrop shot. OK. Lucky we weren't TOO inconvenienced.

Film is to be called 21, and is based on the most excellent book "Bringing Down the House", a true story of a group of MIT kids who built a gambling empire and took Vegas, Atlantic City, and several Riverboat gambling casinos for millions. It's an enthralling read, if a bit heavy on the math.

What do you expect from MIT students, though!

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Spring, mansions, and the Boy: Photo Essay

Not that those three topics have anything in common other than they're all thoughts I've had so far today, but...

Just got back from visiting the boy. He's doing really well and is starting to want to come home. Being that there isn't really anywhere outside that he can go, other than a walled courtyard, he's got a touch of spring fever. When I got there, all the teen girls were laying out in the sun with their shirts rolled up and shorts on. Tanning seems to take on new importance when you're spending time in the hospital.

On the way home I stopped to photograph a couple of little shacks that I drive by. Honestly, I don't see how a family could even FIT into one of these houses, they're so tiny. Check out the conservatory on the right side. That one room is larger than my entire house. Doesn't this look like the frigging White House?

I love this one. It's so typically New England. It's of the Federalist period, and has the most gorgeous landscaping around it. Just a beautiful and very scenic home.

Is there any question about why this town is called Swellsley?

Got home and the Girl is gone, and the Dishes. Are. Not. Done.

Someone's in trouble!

Lastly, although every blogger in the Northeast has mentioned this countless times in the past couple of days, spring has at last sprung. I didn't think I could make it through another dreary rainy day, but that past couple of days have been glorious. It's warm and sunny, the forsythia is starting to bloom (a month late, but beggers can't be choosers) and one clump of daffodils are just about to pop open. My chives are up, all the perennials have started appearing above the ground, and it's time to start gardening. The ground is still a tad bit wet, so I'm planning to wait until next weekend to expand the beds and do some edging. I've got a bunch of plans for this summer, including enlarging the kitchen garden to include beans, cukes, and summer squash along with the herbs, tomatos, and courgettes. I'm also going to sow a few rows of exotic greens, hopefully incuding radicchio and rocket. I've got the seeds, I just need to get the ground prepared in time.

In the perennial bed, I'm adding a buddleia, some phlox, astilbe, campanula, delphinium, echinecia, a bunch of day lilies I'm getting from a friend, who originally got them from me in another garden years ago!, red monarda, salvia, more lupines, veronica, bleeding heart and dutchman's britches, and hopefully a tree peony.

I might not get all of it in this year, but the plan is to get as much in as I can, and to restore all of the beds as well as to install a large cement birdbath that is hidden in the woods into the center of the garden. This is what it currently looks like. Bitchin' illustrator drawing, huh? Such a fabo artist me is!

The beds are sort of freeform now, and I want to even them out and get them to a more formal shape. Some are wide, some are narrow, some piddle out in the middle of the grass. But when it's restored, it's gonna be gorgeous!

I want to add a bench like this too, which is also kind of stuck at the edge of the woods.

Whomever originally planned the garden, before it went to hell from lack of careful gardening, did so with that type of theme in mind, and I'd really like it to get back to it's former glory. I believe the gardener destroyed the rose bushes last fall when he cut them all down to the ground (why, I do not know) but that's actually a good thing, as they were rambling and took up way too much space and needed an archway trellis, something I can't afford.

I can't wait!

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The dreaded sleepover saga

Last night, after we got home from the hospital and the mall and a bunch of fun stuff, the Girl asked at 10:30 pm if she could go over to her friend's house to sleep over. I couldn't believe it. Of course I said "no" and she totally lost it. This is such an unusual event that I've been pondering it for over 24 hours and I'm still not sure what the hell happened. It was honestly the most bizarre behavior I've seen from her in years.

She's not a sobby kind of kid. She usually yells back and she's got quite the potty mouth when she gets going, something that I'm not all that proud to say she gets from me. But she didn't do any of that last night. She burst into tears and cried and cried and just wouldn't accept that you don't go to people's houses at 10:30 at night for a sleepover. You just don't.

Plus, she's stayed over this house a bazillion times, and spends most of her awake hours there as well. It's almost as if she thinks she lives there. Lately, I've been sort of uncomfortable about the amount of time she spends there, and also question the veracity of some of the things she tells me. Or more correctly, they both tell me. You see, BFF supposidly isn't allowed to go over to other people's houses. We've known her for years and she's been here twice. TWICE. This makes me very uncomfortable. For the first time, I've been questioning why she won't come over, and I cannot get a straight answer.

Tonight the begging started up again, and I set a rule. There is no way I'm going to let the Girl sleep over this house again until I speak to the Dad to find out why his daughter isn't allowed over other people's houses. I know she's not. I've heard it from other parents and other kids. I think it's weird. I want to know why. I've gotten a lot of BS from both girls, but nothing that makes any sense. Plus BFF is very worried about my speaking to her Dad. I've talked to him before. He's reasonable and strict and I trust him. But something fishy is going on.

So anyhow, the Girl spent the entire day at their house. She was supposed to be home at 5, and at 6 called and I told her to get her butt home toot sweet. She wasn't happy. Tough. She's home for an hour or two and starts begging to sleep over BFF's house. I say no way. She's got BFF on the phone because the girl calls us every freaking hour on the hour all day long. She drives me nuts.

I speak to the BFF and tell her that this new rule is, I need to speak to her Dad. She's nervous. She asks why a million times. I explain it, but she's unhappy. She BEGS me not to tell her dad something I know she did, that I've already chastised her for. I promise her I won't. I've told her I won't about a million times, and I haven't. I've promised the Girl I won't. She knows I won't. But BFF is worried. Teen angst and all that.

Once the Girl realizes that I'm serious and I won't back down, she calls another friend and wants to sleep over there. I say no to that too. So she arranges, with my permission, that friend2 will sleep here. Ok by me. Friend2 tells me that she isn't allowed to hang out with BFF, which she does all the time, because BFF isn't allowed over her house either. It's creepy. Plus now I know that Friend2 is also lying to her parents about where she's hanging out, since she comes to our house and the two of them hightail it over to BFF's house.

Something is very rotten in Denmark.

I'm so glad school is about to start up on Monday. I'm not sure that it's such a great idea that every public school in Massachusetts is off at the same time. I sort of which they would stagger the vacation times so you can keep better track of your teens.

The Boy should be home in a couple of days. He's doing well, they're just working on the med changes which should be completed early in the week. I can't wait, although I must admit, it's been incredibly peaceful with only one kid around. Most of the time.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Medication VS Parenting: Who is right?

I heard a story this evening that made me literally ill. It was so upsetting and so stupid that it enraged me. I'm going to repeat it here, leaving out any identifying information.

Billy (not real name) is a 5.5 year old boy. He has some extreme behaviors, and has been asked to leave two schools. He has been violent, angry, and experiences both low and intense moods. He has been hospitalized three times. THREE times before first grade.

He lives with 1 parent who is the decision maker. The other parent is uninvolved. He is a single child. His mother is an earthy crunchy type, and refuses to allow her child to be medicated. She is unable to handle him, she's had him in the hospital 3 times voluntarily, she knows there is something seriously amiss, and yet she will not allow the doctors to either test him nor medicate him. She feels that testing is irrelevant, and medication is the work of the devil. (Think Tom Cruise here.)

She keeps trying crackpot 'cures' for this boy. The ones I heard about were colonics (remember, he's 5), an elimination diet that took all gluten products away because she decided he had Crohns Disease (no doctor involvement), all sugars and dyes because she decided he had yeast problems, biofeedback, meditation, and some kind of psychic healing.

Of course nothing worked because the child is mentally ill. Every time he has been hospitalized, the doctors try to work with the parent, but evidentally she is unmovable. This last hospitalization, he drove all the other kids so crazy on the unit and was so disruptive to staff that they called in the state social services, and filed a 51A, saying the parent was neglectful, which is a form of child abuse.

The state took custody of the child after a court hearing, and put him on medication. He responded well, and was released from the hospital into his grandmother's custody. Grandma was told by the court that Mom was only allowed supervised visits. But she allowed Mom to come for days at a time, and Mom took the medication away, lying to Grandma about it. Billy deteriorated, and when it was time for the FST worker to visit (home visits by a Family Stabalization Worker/Therapist), it was noted that Billy's behavior was back to horrendous. They called DSS, DSS came and took the child, and placed him in a special needs residential care in another part of the state, far enough away so the mother cannot get involved on a daily basis. She has supervised visitation weekly, I believe. This child is stable and happy in his foster care situation, but the mother has petitioned the court to get her kid back. They're going to court soon.

OY. So much to comment about. So little time. First, what the fuck is WRONG with a parent who will allow her child to suffer for her own political agenda. How fricking stupid must this woman be to KNOW that medication works for her child, but she thinks it is so bad that she would rather see him fail in academic and social environments for her own ideology? This makes me SO ANGRY.

What makes me equally angry is that the state had to get involved to get this kid help. The hospital couldn't do it because the mother is a nutcase. They had to get the state involved in order to practice medicine. How annoying is that? And the state.. WHY would they place this kid with the Grandmother when the Mom was obviously very involved in Grandma's life? If they're trying to keep the child healthy, and Mom won't cooperate, then WHY not put him in a secure facility or a foster care situation until he was stable and improving enough for the Mom to wrap her dull little brain around the fact that meds work. Why did it take Mom pulling him off meds and forcing him back to enemas and a stupid diet that doesn't EVER work for any neurological or mental issues in order for the state to place him in a residential setting?

And what about the school's liability. They never filed a 51A on this Mom for abuse, but they knew what she was doing to him was abusive. They talked to her and she told them what she was doing, and they just sat on their hands. How fucked is THAT?

Obviously, these kids of stories burn my butt because my own child has struggled for so long with his own set of mental issues. I've worked so hard to make things right for him. If you had any idea of the planning and the care that goes into keeping a child like mine safe and happy you'd bow down with respect. The daily phone calls, the doctor appointments, the therapy appointments, the testing, more phone calls. Parenting him is a full time job. When I used to work, I spent so much time dealing with his issues that my former boss ORDERED me to take one day a week off just to deal with my son. That's how time consuming it is.

I do it because it's the right thing to do. I'm not selfless. I'm not a hero. I'm not special in any way. I AM a ferocious mother and I protect my kids from harm. I do not allow anyone to shit on them, or me for that matter. I call it as I see it. When I see a bad parent, like this Mom, I tell them that they're fucking up their kid. I believe it takes a village to raise a child, and I'm happy to be the village bitch if I have to. When I see parents who don't take an active interest in their children's welfare, or who refuse to get help because they're too busy or overwhelmed or in denial or whatever the excuse is, I get angry.

To me, parenting is my JOB. It's not just about sitting and reading Parents Magazine and talking about how my boobs have dropped. It's not about lamenting my stretch marks and pouchy tummy. It's not about drinking at playdates and what kind of Mom jeans you wear. It's not about what playgroup you're in, or what afternoon activities you drive your kids to. It's not about what kind of stroller you own, or what kind of cool t-shirts you dress the little buggers in.

It's about advocating for your child. It's about teaching your child how to advocate for themselves. It's about teaching morals and about ensuring that your child has EVERY advantage for success. It's about looking at your child first, and your own needs second. It's about changing your life for your kids. If you aren't willing to drop everything to care for your child, then parenting may not be the right choice for you. If you're unwilling to look objectively at your child and make sure that s/he gets the help he needs for any illness or abnormality, then perhaps you need to find a parenting advocate for help. Because that's your JOB.

If you have a special kid (yes, all kids are special, but go with me here, please!), a kid that needs extra, then it is your RESPONSIBILITY to get it for him. It is not the school's job. It is YOUR JOB. If your child has a hearing problem, don't rely on the school for testing. They have their own agenda, which is saving money by denying services. They will LIE to you. Take your child and pay for testing. If the tests come back saying that your child needs S&L therapy, DO NOT rely on the school. They will do the bare minimum at best. Pay for your child to get the best. Use your insurance. Fight for help. Use early intervention. Get the state to help.

If your child has a behavior problem, don't pretend that you know more than qualified professionals. YOU DO NOT. You might read quackery on the internet and decide that it's all the fault of vaccinations or gluten or sugar or dyes or whatever. But NONE of those studies have ever been supported by the medical community. Doctor's aren't your enemy. They don't do research for fun and profit. They are altruistic folks and they honestly want to find cures for problems. They don't just make up studies because they're evil bastards. And you are NEVER going to find one study that says no-gluten cures autism or that sugar causes AHDH. Sorry, but you're not. Maybe crackpot studies, but nothing by anyone respected in the medical community.

And if you DO decide that you know more than the doctors, and that all medication is evil, be prepared to lose your child. Because, at least in my state, that's considered abuse, evidentally. Perhaps this one case is the extreme, but it's a precedent now. Which bears deep consideration.
All I can say is, do your job and do it with diligence. You chose to be a parent. You took on this responsibility. Now you need to be selfless and do for your child regardless of your own agenda. If you want to kill yourself with homeopathic remedies for cancer, then go ahead. But you have no right to do such a dumb thing to your child.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Anyone have a title?

I've got a couple of topics here to discuss, but they don't mesh together and they don't fall under any one topic. So we'll call this a MishMash post, OK?

First, lots and lots of meetings and phone calls about the Boy today. So many things to consider. So many things to ponder. Much boils down to a couple of main themes: the Boy hates school, which is not only a lifelong bloop, but one we really can't do much about as he won't turn 16 until after he graduates from high school, allevai. So with the school, we are going to work out an alternative plan so he can pass his classes without so much stress and turmoil. Which means a lot of tweaking and probably a bit of homeschooling. Oh joy. But we're going to make it work.

The other major theme with the Boy is also a long term issue: he does not transition well. Now for all of you with spirited 3 and 4 year olds that don't transition well, do not assume that they will naturally outgrow this trait. Not all kids do. The Boy has never transitioned well. He's been the kid with the 15, 10, and 5 minute warnings since his preschool days. In thinking over all that's been going on, I've come to the conclusion that his ability to hyperfocus, joined with his refusal to transition without warning, causes him undo stress and strain. Which means we're back to the time warnings. Oh geesh, does this crapola ever end? It's actually OK. I just thought, mistakenly, that by the time a kid was a teenager, he wouldn't need to be reminded of a change. But I was wrong. Not the first time and certainly won't be the last.

Because these themes have resurfaced again and again throughout his short life, it becomes rather apparent that when he's depressed, he needs structure. He's always done much better with structure. Unfortunately, I'm probably the most unstructured person on the planet. So I've got to buckle down and get onto some sort of schedule. I think I'm allergic to schedules, but I'll epi-pen my way through this stage. I've done it before, I'll do it again.

Lastly, more med changes. The pdoc at the hosptial wants to change everything. I haven't yet spoken to his pdoc here, but I'm guessing he's not going to be all that thrilled with big changes, as he's on vacation most of May. Plus, some of the changes the pdoc at the hosptial mentioned are not things that I'm willing to consider without a lot more research and probably another opinion or two.


Ok, so that's a Boy update. Let's move on to a Girl update. Tonight she had "the best night of her life" according to her. Her VBBF's dad is involved in the music industry, and he invited the Girl and his daughter to a private party for a band he's involved with. The Girl LOVES this band, called OmniSoul.
I've never heard of them other than my kid, but she loves them. So imagine how exciting it was to not only go to a private concert, but then to join them afterwards and have their photos taken. Swoon! Oh, come on. She's 14. This is the ultimate for a 14 year old. When I was her age I got to go to a private Jefferson Airplane concert in Santa Barbara and it was absolutely the highlight of my life. :-)

She's going to be working at the Rocky Road Music Festival and will see this band again there. Be still my heart! She's going to be paid for working in the Festival 'office' for her BFF's father, the promoter and organizer. There are 27 different bands playing over the weekend. She's going to have the best time of her life. I may go and supervise one day, just to make sure everything is safe and secure, but she's got decent adult supervision and a good head on her shoulders, so I'm not particularly worried.


I'm totally upset about the Supreme Court decision regarding 'late term' abortions. As a person that has had what could technically be determined as a late term abortion due to Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM), I am appalled that these asshats on the Supreme Court have refused to consider the life of the mother in this determination. I got so sick from this pregnancy that I almost died. I was in the hospital for a week on IV antibiotics and it took weeks at home to recover. I wanted this baby desperately. It was an IVF baby. I had long passed the danger zone of the first trimester. When my water broke, I would have done anything to keep that baby. According to the ruling this week, I would have had no choice. I would have had to deliver that baby vaginally, which wasn't happening, and I could possibly have died from the infection. I had a D&C, but it was very late term. They would not have allowed it. Which means that I would be dead, and the Boy and Girl would never have been born. Pretty stupid logic, methinks.


My blood sugar is out of control. Perhaps because I'm not following any diet right now. I'm barely eating, and when I am eating, it's the wrong stuff. I know it, I'm clear that I'm doing it, but right now I seen to have no control over what I stuff into my mouth. I can't bring myself to cook for myself. The Girl eats almost nothing I want to eat. With the Boy absent, why bother cooking? So I eat things that I shouldn't and then I am so tired from carb overload I can't function. I'm going to do better tomorrow.

Later, gaitors.

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LOST Discussion Thursday

My 5 word exclamation at the end of tonight's episode, called Catch-22: What The Heck Was That?

I liked this episode. I like Desmond, even though he seems to have a serious problem with commitment. He doesn't seem able to keep a job, he's left two women in a lurch, and he's pretty lost in life as well as on the Island. But he's interesting, and it was nice to see how he met Penny and how the two clicked right off the bat. It sort of explains how Penny got so involved in him that she would look all over the earth for him. She needs to rescue him. And she's starting to punch holes in the deep cover of the Island's hidden facade. Which is going to be interesting to watch.

Remember those two Portuguese guys who telephoned Penny and told her "I think we found it." That was a hint last season that she was serious about looking for Desmond. A tracking beacon was on Desmonds boat, when the hatch blew, it at least momentarily made said beacon visible on their radar screen and Penny has finally tracked the love of her life down. Penny sends the woman in the flightsuit (character name Naomi), with the picture of Desmond to find him. Naomi does call him Desmond when she sees him, doesn't she? Well there you have it, Helicopters are a short range craft, the ship that it launched off of isn't too far away, help is coming. SO why is Hurley being shot at in the second preview in a row, hmmmm. I believe it was the electromagnetic anomaly at the Swan station which made the island temporarily visible.

Maybe Penny's dad sends Naomi with the picture of Desmond to wax his sorry butt, kind of like Kill Bill meets Lost, and it is all about to turn bad. I always thought that Pennys dad was on the board of directors of DHARMA anyway. Whatever, daddy dearest is one bad ass character and I'm sure we haven't seen the last of him.

I don't know why Desmond concluded it was going to be Penny coming to the rescue. Wasn't his photo found in a book written in Portuguese? Those guys that worked for Penny in the artic were Portuguese, but they were men, not women. So who WAS this woman? And how does she know Desmond other than from the photo? The figure in the flight suit was slight. And Desmond's "flash" told him that Penny was searching for him. So he put two and two together and decided that must be Penny. Instead, it turned out to be some other woman, who was likely sent by those two Portuguese scientists, who in turn are working for Penny. So Desmond was only partly right. She may not know much. So she tells Desmond "I was hired by two Portuguese scientists to search for an electromagnetic anomaly in the South Pacific, where they believe you disppeared. Penny Widmore is paying for the expedition. But I flew into some kind of turbulence and my helicopter went out of control and crashed. Where are we?"

But for Desmond, this will be the first confirmation that Penny has detected the EM anomaly from the island and is actively searching for him. Probably the search will be greatly intensified now that the helicopter has disappeared. And that gives him cause for hope.

But until Penny figures out to search by submarine, the boats and helicopters she sends will just keep disappearing. I think it's now pretty clear that if traveling to the island by boat or by aircraft, folks check in but they don't check out.

The book they found in the hanging backpack didn't help matters. Even though before he ever found the photo he saw "Ardil-22/ Joseph Heller" in BIG HONKING LETTERS on the cover of the book. :) He wouldn't have know what was what until he looked inside the book and saw the photo of him and Penny. So he picks up the book and it's in a language he doesn't recognize. He undoubtedly ignored it because he had no idea what it could mean anyway; it's only human to give higher priority to things we understand (a photo of ourselves and our loved ones) and just file away things we don't understand for future reference.

But like I said, it probably had no significance for Desmond (or any other Lostaways), because none of them know that Penny has hired Portuguese scientists to search for him.

Desmond didn't try to take apart the satellite phone to get clues as to its origin either, did he?

Last random thought, if a major organization like the Dharma Initiative put together an organized effort to rescue/kill surviviors of the plane crash, do they send in the rescue/death squad with a minimally charged satellite phone? I THINK NOT. That was lame, so it again pulls us towards Penny as a savior and not that Naomi is a nemesis.

What do you think about all that, BROTHER?

So far, here's the status of the search for Lost Island:

1. Penny thinks Desmond may have disappeared around the location of the EM anomaly, which she is searching for. But she probably doesn't even know there's an island there--given the producers' statement that the island is mostly invisible.

2. Michael and Walt know about the island and DHARMA's Swan Station, but once they're rescued they don't know how to retrace their steps and find it again. And Michael doesn't want to talk much about it anyway, because of what he did to Ana-Lucia and Libby. Not a bad extrapolation on Michael...just about the only way he could expiate his sins on the island would be to spend his freedom in the
outside world in finding them and getting them rescued. Assuming of course that he actually has a conscience.

I think the whole Michael story is an important clue as to how the whole
series will end. It would be unconscionable for the producers to let a killer like him go free, and live a life of tranquility back in our world. Also, it wouldn't be right for Walt to be denied a life with his only living parent who did what he did, out of an overwhelming love for him.

Thus, the only way out is: Either they both die, or it turns out the incident is corrected, and flight 815 procedes to LA without a hitch-- as none of what we've seen has really happened, in so far as the amended time-line goes. However, like Desmond, everyone would have memories of what they went through, and thus will benefit in the long run.

I don't see the point of the monk stuff yet (maybe it will figure in later, or maybe it's to do w/sacrifice and faith) but now we know why Desmond calls
everyone "brother"

So was the flash of "lightning" that appeared on the screen when Hurley complained he wasn't exactly the Flash a little joke by the Lost crew, or a sign related to Desmonds vision? Either way - it was a nifty little touch.

3. Meanwhile, from The Lost Experience we know that Rachel is going to dig up the dirt on Dr. Mittelwerk and DHARMA.

I think all these things are going to come together in Season 4 in some dramatic way--maybe Michael and Penny will team up and they will get word as to what Rachel has been learning.

Other thoughts:

Desmond sure does like being trapped. First he's in the military, than military jail, than a monk, than on a small sailboat, than in a hatch, now trapped on an island.
One wonders why he didn't want to be trapped in a marriage.

Did you notice that the jewelry store lady was in a picture on the desk of the Monk. The one that told Desmond all about his viewing of the future! It sure was, but it looked like she was crudley photoshopped in, and enhanced to make sure the audience could see it was her. Like her face stood out more clear than the Monk on the photo.

Helicopters are liable to crash, just like Henry Gale's balloon.
and Desmond's boat Elizabeth
and Yemi's Beechcraft
and Magnus Hanso's Black Rock
and Oceanic flight 815

What will crash next? Penny's on the right track. But she still needs to figure out that she needs to send a submarine, not a helicopter or boat. She'll probably have to lose a few more helicopters and boats before she decides to search underwater instead.

Best line of the night:

Sawyer says to Kate: "Do I have to make you a Mix Tape?" That just totally cracked me up.

also from Sawyer: "It's three men and a baby. I count Hugo as two men."

Upcoming episodes comments:

"D.O.C." - After learning that the Others' pregnant women died before giving birth on the island, Sun allows Juliet to examine her; Desmond allows an unlikely nemesis to help save the life of a new, mysterious island inhabitant. Jin becomes aware of the identity of the father of Sun's baby.

This should heat things up a little. I wonder who the new mysterious island inhabitant is? Who is the unlikely nemesis? Is the new mysterious island inhabitant Naomi, the women ejected from the helicopter? Is the unlikely nemesis Locke or Locke's father, who will turn out to be the real Sawyer. Or will it be Juliet? She's looking pretty damn good for a nemesis.

Jin finds out who is the father of Sun's baby?

I hope for her sakes that it was never a question that it was Jin's, and its just proven to be true. Clever wording, perhaps, but maybe it isn't Jin's! Then it has to be Bald Tutor Guy's baby. And let's face it, how are they really going to know? Without DNA testing or the soap opera standard of the baby having a different blood type than Daddy, how will they ever know? Unless Sun didn't have sex with Jin at all prior to the crash. Which seems somewhat unlikely considering his personality before the crash. What does D.O.C. stand for anyways? Death Of Charlie? Please God, let it be Death of Charlie.

"The Brig" - A newly focused Locke breaks away from "The Others" in an
attempt to persuade Sawyer to help rid them of a great nemesis that has caused nothing but pain in both of their lives. Meanwhile, a new island inhabitant discloses some shocking information about Oceanic Flight 815.

O.K. If its a common character between Locke and Sawyer, I'm betting that
it is finally revealed that Locke's father is the real Sawyer. Oddly, some sites list the flashback for this episode as "unknown character", while other sites say there is no flashbacks in this episode. Interesting. They refer to him as a "nemesis". I wonder if this is the same as Desmond's "nemesis" in the previous episode, or if the "new island inhabitant" they refer to is Anthony Cooper?

"The Man Behind The Curtain" - is supposed to feature a flashback of Ben
Linus. I wonder if they'll show Jacob? Aren't you just dying to know who and what Jacob is? I know I am.

"Greatest Hits" is supposed to feature a flashback of Charlie Pace. I predict he dies in this episode. Most people think that a bands creative period is over when they release a "Greatest Hits". If the title is a musical reference, Charlie probably dies in this episode. Just let him be dead before the season is over. Please!

"Through The Looking Glass 1 & 2" is supposed to feature a flashback of Jack Shephard. Boring! I hate Jack's episodes. How many episodes does this guy need? His story has gotten so diluted that we had to go to a backstory about a tattoo. I hope this information is inaccurate, because this would be a miserable way to end the season, unless the island events are spectacular.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

One Day of Blog Silence

To honor the dead and wounded at Virginia Tech, as well as victims of violence the world over, I will be participating in One Day of Blog Silence.

Silence can say more than a thousand words.

This day shall unite us all about this unbelievable painful & shocking event and show some respect and love to those who lost their loved ones.

On April 30th 2007, the Blogosphere will hold a One-Day Blog Silence in honor of the victims at Virginia Tech. More then 30 died at the US college massacre. Many more were wounded.

But it´s not only about them. Many bloggers have responded and asked about all the other victims of our world. All the people who die every day. What about them? Why not honor them as well. Because our world is filled with violence and death. Innocent people being gunned down in our streets and blown up by terrorists bent on assuming control. All these people deserve to be honored as well.

This day can be a symbol of support to all the victims of our world!

All you have to do is spread the word about it and post the graphic on your blog on 30th April 2007. No words and no comments. Just respect, reflect and empathy.

You can participate as well. Click on the banner in my sidebar to get your own banner. Tell the world that you support victims all over the world. Do it with your blog. Do it with silence. Just do it.

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Mystery in the 'hood

I think we might have to contact Hercule Poirot. We have a mystery here on the hill, and although I've tried to solve it myself, I've failed miserably.

Someone is stealing garbage can lids. Not the cans, just the lids. It started out slowly. Our lid disappeared a month or two ago. Then we found it, or another one just like it. But that one disappeared too. We suspected our nutty neighbor behind us, but upon inspecting her back yard, we did not see the lid.

Then one of our neighbors lost his lid. Interesting, but still not enough to start looking at suspects. Until a second lid on his recycling can disappeared as well. We began to wonder.

Another neighbor lost his lids too. This was getting stranger and stranger. What would someone want with all these Rubbermaid garbage can lids? You can't even use them for sledding because all it does is rain. No sledding snow all winter.

Today, being garbage day, we checked around the 'hood. Well, that was an interesting ride. Most of the cans were lidless. Not just in our little compound, but all around the whole neighborhood.

Evidentally we have a garbage can lid thief.

I have to wonder just what was happening. Yes, it has been really windy and perhaps some of the lids blew away. But to where? We checked the woods next to us, and to our woods on the hill. No lids. We checked the park. No lids. We checked the school playground. No lids. We drove around every tiny street and peeked down driveways. No lids anywhere.

Where are the garbage can lids going? And why?

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What happened to Mom power?

I watched part of the View today while I was drying off from my shower. They were discussing the shootings in Virginia, and Rosie O'Donnell, who I don't particularly like but agree with politically most of the time, brought up something that I've been mulling over all day long. It's really bothering me, in fact.

Rosie said that gun control is impossible in this country. She said that the gun lobby is so strong and powerful that there will never ever be any chance for changing the gun laws. She used the word futile.

Futile is a very strong word. So is impossible. Put the two together, and you've made quite a statement about how hard it might be to band together to institute change. But I'm still a believer. I think Rosie might be wrong. I think with a more liberal president, and one with a brain in his freaking head, plus a democratically let Congress, it just might be possible to start making some changes. Small changes, but never the less, changes.

I saw the guy that owned the gun shop where the shooter bought his Glock semiautomatic. He was actually shaking. No, he's not going to shut down his shop and start lobbying for gun control in Virginia, a state with such wide open gun laws that anyone can get a gun immediately. But there are 5 KNOWN murders excluding yesterday's massacre that can be directly attributed to this particular gun shop. Meaning that the owner is complicit in at least 38 lost lives due to guns he sold. That's a freaking lot of people.

Anyhow, I thought back to right after Columbine, when Moms got together and marched on Washington trying to change the gun laws. Do you remember the Million Mom March? Yeah, a dim memory, right? But it happened.

The MMM didn't change a damn thing. Mostly because we had asshats in government that were still saying things like "guns don't kill people, people kill people with guns." Stupid semantics. Being slightly pollyanna-ish, I think we've actually got more Mom power now, with the advent of blogging and internet sites devoted to women's causes. I believe that we can start to have our voices be heard. I think we need to tell our representatives, our readers, our constituants that we want gun control, we want guns off our streets, we want our neighborhoods back, we want our children to be safe.

Therefore, I challange each person who is lamenting the shootings at Virginia Tech yesterday to write a post saying that you will stand up and support candidates that are working toward gun control. Say that you will not support candidates that are NRA members and believe that guns are a right guaranteed by the Constitution. We've ammended the Constitution before, we need to ammend it again. The founding fathers were not thinking about semiautomatic weapons in the hands of mentally ill young men that decide to shoot up a college campus. They were thinking about muskets, hunting, and allowing a militia to form. Not with Uzi's and AK-47's. Not in our streets. Not killing our children. Nobody wants that. Even that freak of nature, "shoot'em up Cheney" doesn't want that.

What I want, and what I hope many of you want, is for guns to be strictly controlled. For citizens to be able to own guns for hunting that are appropriate for hunting. For fully automatic and semi-automatic guns to be illegal across the board. For guns to be returned and destroyed. For handguns to disappear. For a national registry database that is strictly regulated. For a week-long waiting period. For gun permits to be displayed prominently on someone carrying a gun.

I want to eventually live in a country where kids can't buy guns on the streets. Where there aren't private gun shops. Where the purchase and sale of guns is run by a national registry in government run shops. Maybe I'm going for pie-in-the-sky, but they can do it in Australia and the UK and so many other countries. Why can we not do it here?

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Monday, April 16, 2007

What words are there left?

The nation is again stunned. 33 students, many of them still teenagers, shot down in cold blood by one of their own. 33 bright young minds gone forever. 33 families mourning the senselessness, the abject stupidity of this action. Thousands of students on this campus in deep mourning for their loss, and for the innocence they will never get back. Millions of people the world over questioning once again the US policy on handguns. The numbers are staggering.

Is this the pivitol moment where congress will finally say "enough" and start to tighten the gun laws? Is this tragedy another in a long line of mass shootings with no changes and little accountability? Will Virginia question why you need little more than a heartbeat to purchase weapons in their state?

My heart is so heavy. I think of my own children who are starting to discuss college. I want to hold them close, to suggest that the community college down the road is just FINE. I don't want to let them go into a world filled with such sadness and anger.

How could this happen again and again with no changes in the way we govern handguns?

My sympathies lay with the families, friends, and students of Virgina Tech.

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Decisions we never want to make

Today the Girl asked me if she could go to visit her friend S and sleep over on Friday night. I didn't even hesitate for a second. I said "no." She has slept over this friend's house many many times in the past few years. I know the parents, I like the girl and her family, I think that the Girl would have a great time there, but I said no. Why?

Because of the violence in the city. Boston has had a very bad rash of shootings, stabbings, assaults, and way too many murders so far this year. It has become a war zone in certain neighborhoods, with innocent kids being killed at parties, watching TV, and sitting out on their stoop. It's become so dangerous that media hog Curtis Sliwa and his band of red-beret gestapo called the Guardian Angels have blessed the city with their presense by walking our streets. Aren't we lucky?

The Girl's friend lives in a neighborhood in the city that has been wracked with crime. It seems like every time you pick up a newspaper or listen to the local news, there's been another violent crime in this neighborhood. S has to deal with the crime on a daily basis. I understand that and certainly empathize. Her parents are hard working folks who bought a home where they could afford to live. A nice home, btw. They've lived in that neighborhood for many years, and have deep roots in their community. I don't know how they are even coping with what's happening in the streets right now, but I'm sure they're scared and angry, just like most of the citizens of the city.

But my Girl isn't street smart. She wouldn't know what to do in any dangerous situation. If she heard gunshots, she'd be the kid who would want to look out the window to see what was happening. That's why I said no.

I feel like a racist. Like this should be a 'teachable moment' that would help the Girl to grow up in an increasingly violent world. But the fact is, I love my child and I want to keep her safe. I've never had a moment's worry about her visiting her friend before. I loved that she got to know a neighborhood so lively but different than her own. I like that she knows this part of the city, the shops, the food, the people.

However, right now this isn't a safe place for anyone, never mind my Girl. Does this make me a bad mommy? I don't really know. My job is to protect my children and keep them safe. If that means keeping the Girl from a dangerous part of the city, well then I'm doing my job well. But the message. The message makes my stomach churn. The priviledged white girl message. I hate that message. I want to ensure that my children feel real equality. My kids have friends of every color, every religion, every culture. We practice real diversity in our family. And now I feel like I've drawn a line in the sand with my lily-white daughter on one side, and the inner city children of color on the other side. Interestingly, the mother of the other girl invited wouldn't allow her Guatamalan child to go, either. But that doesn't alleviate my guilt one bit.

It's these parenting moments that get me. The ones where you have to challange your core beliefs. The ones that you will wonder about for a very long time. Did I do the right thing? Am I acting like a racist jerk?

I honestly don't know.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Amazing Laughing Girl

Even with all the angst going on at home, we've been laughing a lot. I don't know why things appear to be so funny, but some things seem uproariously funny right now.

Yesterday, on the road right next door to the hospital, we saw some horses. The Girl loves horses, so I pulled over to look at them. All of a sudden she got batshit excited and started yelling "There's a llama! It's SHIRI" Now, to most of you, that doesn't seem in and of itself funny, but for anyone whose kids have attended a Hebrew Day School, "Shiri ha Llama" is a character you never ever forget. Shiri is the Dick and Jane of day school. Shiri is the first book in hebrew that most kids learn to read. You never ever get Shiri out of your life once you've read those stories. They're patently ridiculous.

Shiri seemed to right things for us. First, he had two jet black back legs, and two furry brown front legs, which looked very funny. He had a big long white neck with a brown muzzle and he was just standing outside the barn looking regal. We fell in love. Today it's pouring out, so no Shiri. But we pulled over to look.

Also on the ride home is the most astounding house I've seen around here. We go through a rural part of Wellesley, which is a fancy schmancy community to our west, and the home of Wellesley College, Hilary Clinton's alma mater. To the west of the college there is a house, nay, a mansion with 8 chimneys and a huge conservatory. I promise to take a photo of it as soon as the weather clears. When we initially drove by, I looked, pulled the car to the side of the road, and said "That looks like the frigging White House!" I think it might be about the same size as the White House, too. There are other big huge homes with lots of barns and horses. It's actually a beautiful ride home.

As we drove Kelly Clarkson came on the radio. I am NOT a fan of Ms. Clarkson. I never have been. Every song, like Beyonce, seems the same. Clarkson has a formula to her songs. She starts off with this throaty low sexy voice, singing a few bars of a relatively simple tune and THEN SHE STARTS SCREAMING IN HER LOUDEST HOARSEST VOICE FOR THE SECOND PART OF THE REFRAIN.

So freaking annoying.

I do an imitation of her and the Girl totally loses it. She is laughing so hard that I think she's going to pee her pants. "Again" she says. I swear it, sometimes she's like an overgrown two year old.

Today, as we're driving to the hospital, we've got her friend S along for the ride. The Girl asks me to do my Kelly Clarkson imitation for S. I do it and S laughs so hard that she has tears flooding her face. She's snorting when she laughs. She cannot stop guffawing. She's in hysterics.

I had no idea I was so funny. I guess I am.

After a quick stop at Blockbuster to pick up some movies to watch, the Girls are snuggling under a blanket on the sofa.

We all feel better after a good bout of laughter. It really is healing.

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