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

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Friday, August 31, 2007

Blog Day 2007

Welcome to Blog Day 2007

As a Blog Day 2007 participant, here are my recommendations of 5 blogs for people to explore and I'll also link them up to Blog Day web site. This is your chance to explore our wonderfully diverse Blog World and meet new bloggers for whom you might be totally unfamiliar. Bloggers are all over the world will be doing the same thing. I made a conscious decision not to feature any "mommybloggers" because I think they spend enough time promoting each other (ad nauseum). Instead, I chose blogs that I read daily that are informative, increase my knowledge of the world around me, and are relatively unknown outside the Jblogosphere.

Click the links at the bottom of the post to check out the International Blog Community

1. La Coquette. She says "Don't hate me because I live in Paris." But then she makes it so hard because you really want to live her life. She's a foodie, she watches cool movies, she is a fashion maven, and oh, she's adorable. She's actually half-American, but it doesn't matter because she makes you want to get on the next plane and move to the Latin Quarter. But she does not post enough.

2. Amuse Bouche. A local foodie and cooking teacher writes about really good food. With really good pictures. Knowing she lives nearby makes me want to be her best friend so she'll invite me over to dinner...a lot!

3. Solomonia. Hard to describe. Political. VERY political. A milestone in discussing Arab-Israeli politics from a Bostonian point of view. He's wicked Smaaat. He always has the best news about the local Jewish community. He follows the national and international news on antisemitism, the Islamic media (oy!) and always has the best of the kooks!

4. Rabbi without a Cause. He's funny, he's smart, he's SuperRabbi. No, he's just a Rabbi who has a comment on pretty much everything, and a great way of showing you the inside workings of a synagogue. Never disappointed in his posts, I find him very thought provoking and amusing.

5. The Muquta What can I say about Jameel? This is what he says about the Muquta, "I decided to actively promote love of Israel, the land of Israel, and aspiration of living in Israel to the JBlogosphere. It doesn't matter if you are secular or religious, left-wing or right-wing (politically) -- the key for me was to promote aliya: ascension to Israel. While life in Israel may not always be a picnic, I try to describe my rather ordinary life in these unordinary times." You want to know what's going on in Israel, right from the source? Read Jameel.

BlogDay web site

If you want to participate in BlogDay 2007, check this out:

BlogDay posting instructions:

  1. Find 5 new Blogs that you find interesting
  2. Notify the 5 bloggers that you are recommending them as part of BlogDay 2007
  3. Write a short description of the Blogs and place a link to the recommended Blogs
  4. Post the BlogDay Post (on August 31st) and
  5. Add the BlogDay tag using this link:
    http://technorati.com/tag/BlogDay2007 and a link to the BlogDay web site at http://www.blogday.org

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Boston Fire Kills Father of our Friend

A kid the Boy has been friendly with for many years lost his father last night in a devastating fire in Boston. The kid's dad was a Boston firefighter, one of two killed and 11 injured last night. There was a terrible fire last night in West Roxbury. It was a huge fire that started in a Chinese restaurant and spread to a couple of other stores. The loss of firefighters is always terrible. The loss of a man you knew, a father of a kid you've loved for years, it just breaks my heart.

The kid we know, we've known a very long time. He's an unusual kid, troubled at times, absolutely daring and filled with fun but dangerous antics. He's from a large family, although his father only had one other child with his mom. The mom is VERY troubled and has some serious issues that have created big problems for the kid we love. The dad, steady as a rock. A really good solid man. He tried his best to care for one autistic son, and our friend who has his own set of issues. The Mom stood in the way of every possible improvement. The kid was happy living with his dad, the court made him live with his mom.

This is a kid who has a smile as big as the ocean. He's funny and sweet and a kid I adore. Even when the Boy and he grew somewhat apart, he was still always the kid I hugged first and hardest at every event. This is the kid that can't catch a break, and yet he always has a smile and a funny thing to say. Sometimes he is like a stone wall because so many shitty things have happened already in his young life. But this, the loss of his father, this is too painful to bear.

I sit here sobbing because life is so unfair. This kid started out in life just like all our kids did. He was a tiny baby with a chubby tummy and a head of nappy hair. He gurgled and smiled and loved his parents and his brothers and sisters. He grew up to be a funny but troubled kid in elementary school. His mother was having babies left and right, he was crowded out of their house, his dad was kept away because of the mother's antics and behavior, and then trouble started happening in school. With each crazy stunt the kid pulled, I would take him aside and talk to him and ask him what was he thinking to do something so dumb. And he pulled some real winners, this kid. But through it all, he never lost that goofy smile and that "oh, I dunno" demeanor. He wanted to be better, but he just didn't ever have the right kind of guidance.

This year he changed schools and went into the same program as the Boy and I got to see him often. I feel like in some way I needed to look out for him, because I know about the times he wandered around town all night long when his mom locked him out of the house. I know about how he basically lived with another kid because his mom wouldn't care for him. I know about it from both the kid and his dad, who told me about the fight to get both of his son's away from the mom, and how the court was so biased. I fed this kid, I tucked him in when he slept over. I took him to visit the Boy in the hospital several times. I really love this kid. My heart is just broken, I feel so sad.

There is a fund set up for the families of the fallen firefighters. To donate:

West Roxbury Fire Fund

Boston Firefighters Credit Union
60 Hallet Street
Dorchester, MA 02124

Any funds of any size will be much appreciated.

Please pray for our friend JP. Pray hard.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

If school doesn't start soon...

I cannot be held responsible for my actions. There, I've said it. I am SO over summer vacation. Vacation? It's been 3 months of brutal, mindbending hell. I'm exhausted. I'm tired of cooking for armies of teenagers that just appear in my house. Sometimes they just walk right in. Today I was sitting at the computer and the door opened and one of the Boy's friends just walked right in. I said to her, "It is customary to knock before entering" and she kinda mumbled something about thinking the Boy would be downstairs. Well, he wasn't, and what the hell does that have to do with knocking? I don't know.

Right now the Boy has two friends over. They're sitting at the table waiting for dinner to be served. The Boy? Why he's playing video games and ignoring them. Social Skills 101, anyone?

Meanwhile, the Girl's social engagements are so out of control that she has yet to start her summer reading. Which isn't very smart. I'm not going to nag anymore. I've made it clear that I expect them both to read the damn books. They haven't. I have, but they haven't.

Now that I've won the decorating contest, I'm under a lot of pressure to make my house somewhat presentable so the decorator won't go screaming out of her with her hands covering her eyes. This is not as easy as it sounds.

True Confession: We've lived in this house 2.5 years. We are not unpacked. Not even close. Not remotely close. I still haven't found my living room oriental. It's in a box somewhere. I have no clue as to where. I finally got my good meat dishes unpacked for Pesach last April. Yeah. We have a beautiful antique lamp packed somewhere. In it's place we're using the Boy's baseball lamp because he broke my Eiffel tower lamp from Target. The torchiere has been broken for a year. I finally broke down and got a slipcover for my chair and a half on sale at Linens and Things. It's kinda ugly, but it was wicked cheap. Honestly, I can't even imagine what she can do with what we have other than to throw up her hands and say "Toss it all".

And then there's this little brouhaha that I'm upset about that I can't talk about. But I'm angry and hurt and annoyed and really pissed off at the cliquishness I see around me. Not cool, sisters.

My bank doesn't do local car loans so I had to apply at a bank with which I have no relationship. Awkward. The car is waiting on me. I just want to get it so we can get the hell out of town and get in some decent family time before the HH starts. In 3 weeks. Oh my GOD.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

National Crisis! Alert the Media!--Updated

Gotta to use Lots Of Exclamation Points!

The Boy has Lost His Ipod!

He lost it when nobody else was home!

There is nobody to blame but himself!

It is KILLING him!

He has to search the entire house all by himself!

He has to CLEAN HIS ROOM from top to bottom!

He even has to retrace his steps for several hour!

This is a crisis of epic proportions!!! In fact, the world must stop to help look for his Ipod!

Have you seen it? Did you sneak into our house and take it while he was home playing on the computer all by himself? I know you did! It's YOUR fault!

Because really, how could it be the Boy's fault? He's perfect. Just ask him. He'll ensure you over and over again ad nauseum. Because he's Perfect and you're not!

Honestly, this is the saddest I've seen him in a long long time. He lives for that damn Ipod. He loves music, he bases his freaking life on music, and to lose the Ipod, when there is nobody but himself to blame, is killing him. He's moping around picking things up and putting them down again with a look of pure confusion. How could this have happened? He does not understand.

I really feel for him, I do. But man, this is so much a lesson he needed to go through. Everything is always someone else's fault. EVERYTHING. He has a really difficult time with personal responsibility, but for once, there is just no way he can blame The Girl or me. We weren't home when he lost it. All of his headphones are here. He set it down someplace and forgot where. It's in the house, he was alone, nobody took it, it will eventually turn up. But the hangdog look and the sadness he is exucing, just wow. Poor kid. I know it sounds mean, but this is really good for him. REALLY good for him. And no, I didn't take it. But until he finds it, he's going to have to feel what the rest of us do: that "Oh, I'm such a jerk" feeling when we do something dumb. He's in therapy now and I'd bet anything they're talking about the lost Ipod. We'll be talking about it until it's found. He's very focussed that way. Not on school, but on the Ipod. Yeah.

Update: The Girl came home from her friend's house, went up the back stairs, and a few minutes later, came back down the front stairs. Half way down the stairs she called for her brother. The Ipod was sitting right on the stairs. He had been up and down those stairs countless times and walked right by it. Oh man, it was so freaking funny!

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Holy Moly, I actually WON!

You know that person that never wins anything? That's pretty much me. I've never won a big contest in my life, no matter how many times I enter. My brother, he won a frigging Saab. Really! Me, well, I won a copy of the latest Harry Potter book. That's good, right? I'd already read it, but it's good to have a second copy that the Boy can destroy. He's not that careful with his belongings.

But me.... I never win much of anything, even with my SIL's Aunt Trudy's trick of crumbling the entry forms just so, so they get more surface and are picked. Never worked for me. Aunt Trudy was lucky, I guess.

But today I got an email from Boston Mamas, which is NOT the New England Mamas, and I won a contest I had entered. A good contest. For something I desperately need. Check this out. I'm going to get an interior designer to come to my house and redecorate. Man, nobody could use this more than me. My house, shall we say, has a lived in look. Very lived in. Beyond shabby chic. Just plain shabby. Loved, but not what I'd ever call a magazine cover in the making. Unless it was Interior Errors. Then, maybe.

I don't know what they can possibly do with what we have (early crap), but I'm willing to let them go wild. And maybe, after 2.5 years of living here, we'll get the pictures up on the wall. Yeah, they're STILL sitting in a pile in the corner of my dining room. I'm that sad.

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Another Branch Falls off the Shrub

Gonzales is the latest embarassing resignation from the Bush administration. Although it's long overdue, it just illustrates the crumbling of a dynasty led by the emperor with no clothes. How Gonzales lasted this long with his obvious 'memory lapses' to Congressional investigators over the firing of federal judges will be a serious black mark in a serious of black marks against the Bush administration. You gotta wonder just how an administration could fall so far? Corruption is an obvious answer. Bush and his cronies have always been corrupt. That's not surprising. But the arrogance is what I believe led them down this path to destruction. The belief that they could get away with anything has led us to a war that nobody wants, to a wanton disrespect for the middle and lower classes, to the cutting of social services based on a political agenda that is frankly mysoginist, and the idea that they are royalty above all the rest of us has indeed led this country to the worst international standing it has ever had. Thank you, Bush family!

According to the Associated Press:

Bush denounced what he called "unfair treatment" that he said prevented Gonzales from adequately doing his job. He said the attorney general's "good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons."

Though some Republicans echoed Bush's veiled slap at Democrats, Gonzales had few defenders left in Washington.

Many Republicans welcomed the departure of the embattled attorney general, some quietly and others publicly so.

Bush only defended Gonzales because Gonzales was a puppet, turning the Attorney General's office into a political joke. He was never, in my opinion, fit to run the nation's legal system. Whatever he's gone and I'm glad.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Well you got to have friends...

Lucky, we are. Today many of the New England Mamas got together for a deee-lightful lunch and schmooze session. It was so much fun, and we got a change to put the names and faces together. Some of us live in neighboring towns, some of us live in the central or western part of our state, but we all have one thing in common: we're all mothers blogging about our little corner of the USA.

I got to sit right next to Mrs. Chicky, who actually has a real name! And it's not Chicky, either. She's just lovely. Smart and sort of regal with such beautiful posture and mannerisms. Made me calm just being next to her.

In this photo, Paula, Mrs. Chicky, and Binky are chatting post meal. Binky brought "The Boss" who is the most adorable two-year old, and VERY TALENTED. She can do a mean Johnny Cash imitation of Ring of Fire. But not on demand. She also is an excellent coloring artist, a brilliant conversationalist and the best behaved two I've ever seen. She's a real keeper, that one. Binky is pretty and a good writer and drove all the way from a neighboring state so I love her.

Across from us sat Major Bedhead and her delightfully WELL-BEHAVED daughters. Man, were those kids good. Major Bedhead, who also has a real name, is just as amusing in real life as she is online. I enjoyed her company a lot.

Directly across from me is the most beautiful blogger on the planet, the absolutely stunning Miguelina, aka The Reluctant Housewife. She's so smart and thoughtful and really gave us all a lot to mull over about blogging family issues without causing anyone pain.

Next to Miguelina was a one of my personal blog favorites, Fairly Odd Mother. If you don't read her yet, start today. She's just as funny and as genuine as you can get. She always has something that cracks me up, and today was no exception. Love her!

Going towards the right of the table was the mom and daughter pair that blogs at Pinks and Blues. They look SO MUCH alike. It's always amazing to me to see women that are related that mirror each other. That is so not the case in my own family. I didn't get to talk much to them because they were too far down the table.

Sitting next to Pink and Blue was Paula of Rock the Cradle, who was dropped off by her hottie doctor husband and delightful daughter. She's very outgoing and I think we probably have a lot in common besides our love of her neighborhood bakery. I hope we can maybe get together and schmooze again.

Alex, of Formula Fed and Flexible Parenting arrived late, but sat right down and joined in the conversation. She's so friendly and has the most infectious laugh. I wish I had more time to talk with her. Next time!

Mrs Chicky says we're from New England so we do not gush, so I guess I can't say any more. But fun was had by all, and we're all wanting to do this again. Soon. Please!

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Armenia VS Turkey: Genocide remembered

Although I don't live in the biggest city in the world, we have our own little corner of the international market on world controversy right now. I know it's hard to believe, but this international controversy was sparked by one man's letter to a local newspaper. A letter that has no reverberated all over the world, has gotten nations pit against nations, and has aroused the the ire of world leaders. So what is this all about? It's about the Anti-Defimation League's policy on the Armenian Genocide at the turn of the century by the Turks.

What the F am I talking about? Ancient history? How controversial can this be today? VERY controversial. In fact, it's possible that this little tiny story from our neighboring town might be part of the political agenda in the upcoming presidential elections. So let's talk a little history, shall we? For photographical evidence, check out these sites.

What is the Armenian Genocide?

The atrocities committed against the Armenian people of the Ottoman Empire during W.W.I are called the Armenian Genocide. Genocide is the organized killing of a people for the express purpose of putting an end to their collective existence. Because of its scope, genocide requires central planning and a machinery to implement it. This makes genocide the quintessential state crime as only a government has the resources to carry out such a scheme of destruction. The Armenian Genocide was centrally planned and administered by the Turkish government against the entire Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. It was carried out during W.W.I between the years 1915 and 1918. The Armenian people was subjected to deportation, expropriation, abduction, torture, massacre, and starvation. The great bulk of the Armenian population was forcibly removed from Armenia and Anatolia to Syria, where the vast majority was sent into the desert to die of thirst and hunger. Large numbers of Armenians were methodically massacred throughout the Ottoman Empire. Women and children were abducted and horribly abused. The entire wealth of the Armenian people was expropriated. After only a little more than a year of calm at the end of W.W.I, the atrocities were renewed between 1920 and 1923, and the remaining Armenians were subjected to further massacres and expulsions. In 1915, thirty-three years before UN Genocide Convention was adopted, the Armenian Genocide was condemned by the international community as a crime against humanity.

Who was responsible for the Armenian Genocide?
The decision to carry out a genocide against the Armenian people was made by the political party in power in the Ottoman Empire. This was the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) (or Ittihad ve Terakki Jemiyeti), popularly known as the Young Turks. Three figures from the CUP controlled the government; Mehmet Talaat, Minister of the Interior in 1915 and Grand Vizier (Prime Minister) in 1917; Ismail Enver, Minister of War; Ahmed Jemal, Minister of the Marine and Military Governor of Syria. This Young Turk triumvirate relied on other members of the CUP appointed to high government posts and assigned to military commands to carry out the Armenian Genocide. In addition to the Ministry of War and the Ministry of the Interior, the Young Turks also relied on a newly-created secret outfit which they manned with convicts and irregular troops, called the Special Organization (Teshkilati Mahsusa). Its primary function was the carrying out of the mass slaughter of the deported Armenians. In charge of the Special Organization was Behaeddin Shakir, a medical doctor. Moreover, ideologists such as Zia Gokalp propagandized through the media on behalf of the CUP by promoting Pan-Turanism, the creation of a new empire stretching from Anatolia into Central Asia whose population would be exclusively Turkic. These concepts justified and popularized the secret CUP plans to liquidate the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire. The Young Turk conspirators, other leading figures of the wartime Ottoman government, members of the CUP Central Committee, and many provincial administrators responsible for atrocities against the Armenians were indicted for their crimes at the end of the war. The main culprits evaded justice by fleeing the country. Even so, they were tried in absentia and found guilty of capital crimes. The massacres, expulsions, and further mistreatment of the Armenians between 1920 and 1923 were carried by the Turkish Nationalists, who represented a new political movement opposed to the Young Turks, but who shared a common ideology of ethnic exclusivity.

How many people died in the Armenian Genocide?
It is estimated that one and a half million Armenians perished between 1915 and 1923. There were an estimated two million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire on the eve of W.W.I. Well over a million were deported in 1915. Hundreds of thousands were butchered outright. Many others died of starvation, exhaustion, and epidemics which ravaged the concentration camps. Among the Armenians living along the periphery of the Ottoman Empire many at first escaped the fate of their countrymen in the central provinces of Turkey. Tens of thousands in the east fled to the Russian border to lead a precarious existence as refugees. The majority of the Armenians in Constantinople, the capital city, were spared deportation. In 1918, however, the Young Turk regime took the war into the Caucasus, where approximately 1,800,000 Armenians lived under Russian dominion. Ottoman forces advancing through East Armenia and Azerbaijan here too engaged in systematic massacres. The expulsions and massacres carried by the Nationalist Turks between 1920 and 1922 added tens of thousands of more victims. By 1923 the entire landmass of Asia Minor and historic West Armenia had been expunged of its Armenian population. The destruction of the Armenian communities in this part of the world was total.

Were there witnesses to the Armenian Genocide?
There were many witnesses to the Armenian Genocide. Although the Young Turk government took precautions and imposed restrictions on reporting and photographing, there were lots of foreigners in the Ottoman Empire who witnessed the deportations. Foremost among them were U.S. diplomatic representatives and American missionaries. They were first to send news to the outside world about the unfolding genocide. Some of their reports made headline news in the American and Western media. Also reporting on the atrocities committed against the Armenians were many German eyewitnesses. The Germans were allies of the Turks in W.W.I. Numerous German officers held important military assignments in the Ottoman Empire. Some among them condoned the Young Turk policy. Others confidentially reported to their superiors in Germany about the slaughter of the Armenian civilian population. Many Russians saw for themselves the devastation wreaked upon the Armenian communities when the Russian Army occupied parts of Anatolia. Many Arabs in Syria where most of the deportees were sent saw for themselves the appalling condition to which the Armenian survivors had been reduced. Lastly, many Turkish officials were witnesses as participants in the Armenian Genocide. A number of them gave testimony under oath during the post-war tribunals convened to try the Young Turk conspirators who organized the Armenian Genocide.

What was the response of the international community to the Armenian Genocide?
The international community condemned the Armenian Genocide. In May 1915, Great Britain, France, and Russia advised the Young Turk leaders that they would be held personally responsible for this crime against humanity. There was a strong public outcry in the United States against the mistreatment of the Armenians. At the end of the war, the Allied victors demanded that the Ottoman government prosecute the Young Turks accused of wartime crimes. Relief efforts were also mounted to save "the starving Armenians." The American, British, and German governments sponsored the preparation of reports on the atrocities and numerous accounts were published. On the other hand, despite the moral outrage of the international community, no strong actions were taken against the Ottoman Empire either to sanction its brutal policies or to salvage the Armenian people from the grip of extermination. Moreover, no steps were taken to require the postwar Turkish governments to make restitution to the Armenian people for their immense material and human losses.

Why is the Armenian Genocide commemorated on April 24?
On the night of April 24, 1915, the Turkish government placed under arrest over 200 Armenian community leaders in Constantinople. Hundreds more were apprehended soon after. They were all sent to prison in the interior of Anatolia, where most were summarily executed. The Young Turk regime had long been planning the Armenian Genocide and reports of atrocities being committed against the Armenians in the eastern war zones had been filtering in during the first months of 1915. The Ministry of War had already acted on the government's plan by disarming the Armenian recruits in the Ottoman Army, reducing them to labor battalions and working them under conditions equaling slavery. The incapacitation and methodic reduction of the Armenian male population, as well as the summary arrest and execution of the Armenian leadership marked the earliest stages of the Armenian Genocide. These acts were committed under the cover of a news blackout on account of the war and the government proceeded to implement its plans to liquidate the Armenian population with secrecy. Therefore, the Young Turks regime's true intentions went undetected until the arrests of April 24. As the persons seized that night included the most prominent public figures of the Armenian community in the capital city of the Ottoman Empire, everyone was alerted about the dimensions of the policies being entertained and implemented by the Turkish government. Their death presaged the murder of an ancient civilization. April 24 is, therefore, commemorated as the date of the unfolding of the Armenian Genocide.

Are the Armenian massacres acknowledged today as a Genocide according to the United Nations Genocide Convention?

The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide describes genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group." Clearly this definition applies in the case of the atrocities committed against the Armenians. Because the U.N. Convention was adopted in 1948, thirty years after the Armenian Genocide, Armenians worldwide have sought from their respective governments formal acknowledgment of the crimes committed during W.W.I. Countries like France, Argentina, Greece, and Russia, where the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and their descendants live, have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide. However, as a matter of policy, the present-day Republic of Turkey adamantly denies that a genocide was committed against the Armenians during W.W.I. Moreover, Turkey dismisses the evidence about the atrocities as mere allegations and regularly obstructs efforts for acknowledgment. Affirming the truth about the Armenian Genocide, therefore, has become an issue of international significance. The recurrence of genocide in the twentieth century has made the reaffirmation of the historic acknowledgment of the criminal mistreatment of the Armenians by Turkey all the more a compelling obligation for the international community.


What about this is creating an international controversy?

Turkey has become an important country as a go-between Muslim and European nations. Because Turkey is in both Asia and Europe (it really is!) and because it has a large secular Muslim population as well as an ever growing religiously fanatic Muslim population, it is an important country to keep friendly to the Europeans and Americans. It is one of the only largely Muslim countries on 'friendly' terms with the US. However, if the US demands that the Armenian Genocide be recognized by the Turks, this will anger the Syrians, who are friendly supporters of the Turks. In turn, this will anger Israel, who has been a friend to Turkey. This small incident has the possibility of turning into a world war, and so it is important to solve it as gently as possible, while not twisting history or rewriting the past just so the future might be more peaceful.

Did the genocide exist? There is no doubt that it did. So why is this so controversial to the US? Because the largest population of Armenians in the world lives in the US. Watertown MA, where the controversy started, and Fresno CA. are two very large communities of Armenians. These communities live largely separate lives, still speaking the Armenian language, still reading Armenian books, and thankfully, still eating Armenian food, which is DELICIOUS.

The Armenian Genocide bill, House Bill 106, which was proposed in January, would ensure that the United States foreign policy reflects that the Armenian genocide did in fact exist. The bill is currently in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. There’s a similar bill in the Senate.

Historians have long recognized the Armenian genocide as a campaign waged against ethnic Armenians by the Ottoman government during and after World War I. Between 1915 and 1923, as many as 1.5 million Armenians died.

So how did this controversy grow from a small local paper in Watertown to an international incident? The town of Watertown, as well as my own city and many others, have joined a movement called "No Place For Hate" which is sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL is known as a Jewish organization, as it was founded to protect Jews from hate crimes, but it now deals with any type of hate crime, including the still feuding Turks vs Armenians and Turks vs Greeks, both of which simmer in our little corner of the US. The local area director of the ADL was upset that the national ADL did not recognize the Armenian Genocide and requested a change in policy. He was fired the next day. Outrage over his firing commenced, the ADL policy was questioned internationally, and here we all are right now.

I know it doesn't seem likely that this is going to affect your lives, but you could be so very wrong. Now Turkey is annoyed with Israel. This story isn't stopping and frankly I wouldn't be surprised to start hearing rumblings on the presidential trail. Why? Because a candidate's support for Israel has long-been a key issue in national elections. I know a lot of people who in the past would never consider voting for a Republican who voted for George W. Bush simply because of his strong support of Israel.

Also, keep in mind that Newton resident and former ADL board member Steve Grossman has been a big name in all this. He's also a major Democratic fund raiser and a key money person behind Sen. Hillary Clinton.

This is the news story to watch. It's going to be a very interesting ride. You are right in the beginning of an international controversy. A controversy about a small town wanting to right the wrong of the No Place for Hate campaign.

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Could I be more shell-shocked?

After the gigantic 2-day birthday bonanza, there has been a severe letdown here at Chez Bombe. I've spent so much time plotting and planning this birthday thing, so much time shopping, doing errands galore, talking with the kids, trying to keep the more grandiose plans more reality bound. Now it's all over with and life marches onward towards school.

I'm tired, I'm virtually spent. I've been going at full speed for almost 2 weeks, and mostly I'm a life in the slow lane type of woman. It was as if everything I didn't do all summer had to be done RIGHT NOW, and I just revved up the motors and did what I could. Now, all there is left is... the forms. I have a pile of forms up to the sky to fill out. I know I have to do them. I've even made all the copies I need to accompany the forms. But geesh, can't you hire people to fill out forms? They are so tedious, especially all the freaking school emergency forms, which contain the same exact information as they did last year and the year before. I've put them off until I can't put them off anymore, and Monday is the day. I have to just do it.

I can't tomorrow because I've got a meet-up with the New England Mama's, a group of beautiful blogging women from right here in our tiny corner of the world. We're getting together for a schmooze, lunch, and a bit of planning over the future of our site. I'm psyched to be meeting up with women who get blogging. It does get tiring to try to explain to others just what blogging actually is.

After I get home from the blogging meetup, I have to head out again with the Boy to take him to meet his girlfriend and her mom, who is taking us out to dinner. That should also be very interesting for a variety of reasons I can't go into here. But suffice it to say, I'm really wondering just what this whole meeting is going to accomplish, if anything.

What I want more than anything is a day in bed. I really could use one, too. But there isn't any time. We have doctor's appointments and dentist appointments and therapy appointments and every freaking appointment under the sun next week. I still haven't found the time to apply for a car loan for the new car. I have to do it this week. I'm not even sure where to start because my bank is pretty much the last place, interest rate wise, I want to go to.

I think this is going to be a light week, blogging wise. School draws ever nearer, and although every possible bit of shopping has been done for supplies, clothing, etc. more little things crop up all the time that take up time I honestly don't have.

We're down to our last roll of toilet paper, paper towels, and we're out of napkins. Another trip to the store. I just can't wait till the kids drive and I can send them. DO NOT EVER repeat that statement to me. I know what it sounds like. It's all lies, anyhow. I can wait a good long time.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Promised for 7 years

Finally delivered tonight. I rock!

My Girl loves fruit. Fruit flavors, fruit ice cream, fruit in general, fruit candy, fruit desserts. It's the flavor she always chooses. She's not a fan of chocolate, and she's not big on vanilla either. She liked fruity stuff. Me, I like fruit, but I'm kind of repulsed by fruit flavored things. I like fruit sorbets and sherberts, but I'm not big on fruit ice cream. The Boy is a chocoholic and would choose anything on the brown scale for desserts. This means that choosing a dessert for their birthday often involves a lot of plotting and planning on my part.

This is what I came up with this year.

This is a bombe made from many different flavors of sherbert. I started out with black raspberry, then layered lemon, watermelon, orange pineapple, peach, and raspberry. It took an entire day to make and it really wasn't frozen stiff enough to serve it in well defined slices. But it was for a bunch of teenagers, and they just liked the flavors and the idea of so many different flavors all in one slice.

The Girl has a few friends sleeping over, and it's incredibly loud, and well as hot. So guess what appliance conked out today? Yup, one of the air conditioners. The other one is working, and the one upstairs is barely taking out the humidity.

But no matter when you have good friend over and a huge mound of sherbet to eat. This friend made the Girl a cake this morning, but it was decimated by the time I got to see it. I heard it was good. The Girl was rather nasty and selfish and refused to let her brother have a piece, even though it was his birthday as well. He pitched a well-deserved fit and punched 3 holes in the wall. He got punished for the damages, which he'll be repairing on Sunday. She's in trouble too, and was told loudly and clearly right in front of her friends to knock it off or they were going home pronto. She can be such a bitch when she wants to.

This is the Girls friend who is very gassy. Every time she comes over we all have to duck and cover a lot. But she's SOOOO funny that we love her anyhow.

The Boy eating his slice of bombe and behaving admirably with 4 rather loud teenage girls in the house. Good for him!

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

So much more than I ever thought it would be

Fifteen years ago tonight, I was laying in bed with my heart pounding, thinking about what was about to happen early the next morning. I was going to the hospital at 6 am to have an amnio, and if it looked good with the babies lungs developed enough, my OB was going to induce me. Honestly, I had no clue of what most of that meant. I had refused an amnio much early on in my pregnancy due to my history of miscarriage, so I had no experience with that test at all. Additionally, I had read about being induced in the pregnancy books, but the books so rarely correlated to my particular pregnancy that I pretty much discounted what they said. The women on my Usenet parenting group had nothing but horror stories, which weren't all that helpful either. I was going in pretty much blind.

My doula, a personal friend for years, was going to stay with me through the entire procedure as the baby's dad was overseas working and unable to get away that quickly. She picked me up and off we went, two nervous friend having little idea of what was really going to happen.

The amnio went off without a hitch, both babies had mature enough lungs, and I was moved into L&D and hooked up to a pitocin drip. I had an amazingly easy labor, with labor pains less uncomfortable than my regular period cramps. Really! When I was 5 cm dilated, the most hilarious anesthesiologist came in to put in my epidural. He was from Japan and just visiting for the summer, and we had a great conversation about my collection of plastic food from Japan. Once the epi was installed, I didn't feel a thing until they finally determined that the babies were starting to be in distress, and moved me into the OR. There were 15 women and one man, a med student, in the OR. It was this huge feeling of sisterhood.

My OB told me to push, and after 6 pushes, Baby A, aka The Boy arrived at 9:05 pm. Baby B was transverse and stuck tight. My OB had her arm so far up my cooter that I couldn't see her elbow, and she couldn't get The Girl. She called for a C-section team, and tried once more, grabbed a foot, and birthed Baby B as a footling breech at 9:12 pm.

The Boy was 6 lbs even, the Girl was 4 lb 5 oz. She was IUGR, her placenta was black with calcification, and her cord fell off in the OR. She was very near death, and was whisked off to the NICU before I ever got a glimpse of her. The Boy latched on almost immediately and was a great nurser. The Girl never was strong enough to nurse without a supplementer that I had to tape to my nipples. Eventually I bagged that and just pumped for her, which was less of a hassle and easier on her weak muscles.

The first year flashed by in a haze of sleeplessness, bad diagnosis after bad diagnosis, early intervention, and about 10 million appointments to Children's Hospital. We had PT, OT, ST, and a special DD playgroup. I was told the Girl would never walk. I was told she might be developmentally delayed. I was told that they didn't really know what to expect. No truer words were ever spoken. The Girl didn't sit up by herself until she was over 9 months old. By 11 months she was rolling over at last. She crawled for 2 days and then started to walk. She has never stopped moving forward since then.

The Boy was a happy baby with low muscle tone. He was a late walker (14 months) because he was so fat. He weighed 29 lbs at his 1st b'day office visit. The Girl was a more petite 17 lb. He was a voracious nurser, a big happy baby with a love of Popsicles. The Girl was the most miserable baby ever to exist. She cried non-stop her first 18 months. She never slept. She was very sensory oversensitive, couldn't stand loud noises, anything touching her, being held, sleeping, and motion. Other than that, she was a piece of cake. At 18 months I finally shut down, called the pediatrician at 2:30 in the morning and told him to get her the hell out of my house, I couldn't take it anymore. He called an emergency appointment with Dr Richard Ferber, and 2 weeks later she was sleeping through the night, her personality had changed, she smiled and acted like she wasn't an axe murder.

Preschool years were OK. The Boy had trouble with kids his own age and his best friend was his teacher, who was in his mid-twenties. They had an amazing relationship. Both kids thrived, learned, and were ready to move to Kindergarten when they were barely 5.

Elementary school had serious ups and downs. We tried 3 private schools before I gave up and homeschooled. Then we moved to the public schools and things got markedly better. But until the Boy was grade advanced, he just didn't really fit in. He does much better with kids that are older than him and get his sense of humor and his interests better than age peers. The Girl always was socially active and had a ton of friends, but was often left behind academically because private schools would not address her learning disabilities. Public school changed those issues, and we've stuck with it every since.

Middle school....we'll just say it was a total disaster for both kids and leave it at that. But it was also the onset of the boy's Bipolar issues, and the identification of the Girl's somewhat hidden learning disability. Those were the hardest parenting years I ever hope to have. I've never felt so alone, so mystified, so angry, and so confused by 'experts' that didn't know their ass from their elbows. I've never been so glad to get out of a learning environment as I did middle school.
Now we're in high school, we're learning about each other's foibles, talents, habits, and disappointments. We're moving forward as a family, even with all the crap thrown in our direction. We're doing OK. Honestly, we are.

My children are not what I thought they would be when they were in-utero. I had ideas about how my kids might be great readers like I am, but what they really love are movies. I thought the Girl would end up doing high school athletics because she's so gifted in sports, but she was so discouraged in middle school that she refused to even try. I thought the Boy would be a geeky math and science nerd, but he's so not. He's a bit nerdy, but his specialties are movies, TV, sports, and politics. I thought both of my kids would be equally interested in college, but that the Boy would end up in an ivy league school and the Girl in some art school. The Boy isn't even interested in going to college right out of high school (which I'm more than happy about, because he's so young), and the Girl is thinking about medical careers, or maybe science. She's even talking about maybe being an astronaut.

I've learned so much about my kids and yet they continue to be a mystery to me. I can't wait to see what kind of adults they'll become. I know that I've prepared them well to be able to carry on by themselves as adults. They can cook and clean and do laundry. They can use the Yellow Pages, know how to call for a Taxi, how to order a pizza, how to take public transportation all over the city. They're not afraid to ask for directions or ask for help. They like to visit museums, they are willing to try new experiences even if they aren't 'cool'. They're kind, good friends. They have empathy for other people in crappy situations. They fight like complete whackos, but they care about each other more than they're willing to admit. They're nice people, my kids. They drive me freaking nuts much of the time, but isn't that their job?

For all I complain about them, I cannot even imagine life without them. The other day in the shower it crossed my mind that in a few years they'll both be gone. How will I manage without them? Who will I talk to? Who will go on little special trips to see this or that? Who will entertain me? Who will pick out movies I have "got" to see? And even more compelling, who will take out the garbage on garbage night? I panicked. I don't think I know how to live without them anymore. But I know, no matter what, they'll always remain close to me. My kids show me every single day how important I am to them, and how important they are to me. My kids still hug me before they go to bed at night. They still want to snuggle on the sofa. They tease my about my horrible hair and rub my head when they walk by (which, btw, drives me insane). The Girl picks out clothing and little presents for me. The Boy isn't capable of stepping outside of himself to do things like that, but he shows me over and over again that he does care. He doesn't want to disappoint me, and cries when he does.

Parenthood is harder than I ever thought it could be. When we go into it, it's hard to see beyond those tiny babies and little toddlers. It's difficult to imagine that eventually those babies turn into grown ups, taller than you are. They will surprise you with their own contrary ideas, they will astound you with their interests that are so different than yours, and yet they will melt your heart over and over again. Because after all, they are your babies.

Happy Birthday to The Girl, The Boy, and the Triplet. We love you all so very much!

They still enjoy a nice naptime almost every day!

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Could we at least TRY to advertise correctly

I'm a crack addict when it comes to freecycle and the free lists on Craigslists. I read the ads all day long, hoping that something might come my way that we need and I just can't afford. Recently I got a boxspring and mattress for the Boy, to replace the one he's been sleeping on for years with a broken spring. This is a nice set, Sealy, in great shape. Used as a guest bed. Perfect for us. Then I went to pick up an Ikea dresser for the girls. Good shape, and just what she wanted. She's totally redone her room with freebies, and she's pretty darn happy.

I like finding stuff, but I have got to say, Craigslist either brings out all the morons, or we have a problem in our schools that goes way beyond NCLB. Like spelling. How hard is it to spell DRAWER. As in "the dresser has four DRAWERS." More likely, you'll see "4 draw dresser". I'm not sure what that means.

Another one I especially loathe is "buro" OK, I'll give you one that bureau isn't the easiest word to spell, and it's French to boot, but geesh, BURO. Or BUROW. God help us all.

Then there are the people that don't even bother cleaning up their place before they take photos of the items. I mean, do you really want to believe that someone is going to buy a dresser covered with crap and stuff leaning up against it? Even if it's free, hey, you're a slob, why would I want your furniture?

Lastly, people. Put up a picture. It takes no effort of time to post a photo. Nobody is going to want to take your item sight unseen, plus, you're asking them to drive to east bumfuck on your description alone. Not a great idea. Especially when you're trying to sell furniture. You don't describe furniture. You say things like "sofa and matching love seat, good condition but has cat scratches on arms. $500" Now honestly, are you going to bother with this ad? It has no description of piece. No color, no size, no style. Skip. Pictures say a thousand words. Use them.

For those PURCHASING from CL or getting something from freecycle, read the ad. It it says $20 EACH, that means that you don't get 5 items for $20. READ people. If the ad says CASH ONLY, that means the seller wants only money, not credit cards, not checks. If the ad says that the item is in Hoboken, do not ask 'where are you located and do you come into Manhattan so you can bring it to me?" Come on, buyers. Make a little effort!

If you want something, come and get it. Don't leave a seller hanging. You're notoriously flakey, craigslist peeps. Try not to live up to that reputation. If you contact a seller and say you're interested, and then do not respond to the seller's information, well, you're going to be crossed off the list. Are you really interested enough to pay the money and take the drive to pick up the item? If the answer is yes, then contact the seller. If it's maybe, or no, then leave the poor seller alone. Nothing like getting 70 emails from people who aren't really all that interested in your item.

Here's another tidbit. If an ad says "Need Help Weeding Garden--$10/hour" don't email the advertiser and say "how much does the job pay?" Really. Don't. And while we're on the topic of answering 'help wanted ads', don't you think it might be a good idea to spell check your email response? Wouldn't it be a great idea to make sure that you're being polite, courteous, and eager to help the advertiser? I mean, which respondent would an advertiser want to hire?

Hi, saw your ad on craigslist. I'll wed your garden for $15 but I can only cum on tuesday becuz my sister is getting married on sat. call me back at..."

Hi, I'm responding to your ad on Craigslist. I would be happy to help you with your garden. I've been a landscaper part time for 4 years and am a fast and diligent worker. I'm available on the following dates and times, and would love to help you out for the specified price.
Hmmmm, not a hard choice, is it?

In conclusion, make an effort. Be polite. Be descriptive. Be communicative. Be HONEST. Or be gone.

That is all.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cats can get concussions

Who knew that it was possible for a cat to give himself a concussion? I mean, cats land on their feet. Cats are graceful. Cats are careful. And oh, cats can be really really stupid.

Worthless Pet has never been known as the sharpest knife in the drawer. He's not that sweet, he's not that bright, in fact he's not the world's greatest pet in any way. Hence his nickname. But until yesterday morning, I am least gave him credit for being bright enough to understand that windows contain glass. Evidentally, I was crediting him with a bit more than he's able to handle.

The Girl was laying on the sofa which is in front of two large windows. Triple paned windows. The windows were down, but the screen was up. Because I'm such a fabulous housekeeper (cough cough) the windows happened to be very clean, but between the double paned window and the storm window, a large creepy spider was knitting his latest lair. He was going about it at top notch speed in order to catch some tasty morsel.

Worthless Pet jumped up on the Girl for some lovin' and caught sight of the spider. He jumped from her tummy right into the glass pane. He hit the window with such force that he bashed his head, rebounded right off the sofa, and fell to the floor where he was out cold for almost a minute.

He woke up a bit wonky, sort of walking crooked and seemingly drunk. The vet said to make sure he stayed awake. Have you ever tried to keep a cat awake? He kept slipping off to sleep somewhere, and we'd have to find him and rouse him. He was not happy.

Today he doesn't have a lump on his noggin, which I find astounding, and he's been inside most of the day as well. Of course, to show his extreme frustration with being jailed for 2 full days, he had to pee on the dining room floor. That's his "I'm totally annoyed with you" spot. Right now I'm typing while he's slung over my shoulder, something so rare I figured I should document it.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Farmer's Market Dinner

I wrote last week about how I'm changing our diet, and how it's becoming easier and easier to eat great delicious food inexpensively with a bit of extra effort. In our city we have a Farmers Market twice a week. On Tuesdays it's close by, on Friday it's at the other end of the city. Tuesday is usually my day because it's just such a piece of cake to get in and out if you get there early. Today we did not get there early. It was packed. The parking is atrocious. People tend to be preoccupied with what they're getting from what farm stand and walk right in front of moving cars. Plus there are tons of very small kids and lots of dogs around, so it tends to be quite the circus. Which is why I like it so much.

We came to the Farmers Market straight from the library. In the middle of the day, the average age of library patrons is about 82 years old. It's the old man's club, where the elderly come to read all the newspapers and sit in the front room and chit chat with their buddies. Occasionally you see a few younger women, in their 60's. I felt positively child-like picking out my books.

To leave the confines of the elder hostel and get to the Farmer's Market is like culture shock. From pastels and beige's, there's a riot of color at the market. The stalls are brimming with local produce. People might think that farming is a thing of the past in MA, but they would be very wrong.

Our market has berries, fresh peaches and nectarines, the very first apples (I got two types), many varieties of corn, herbs, squash, zucchini, eggplant, onions, potatoes, and one the most gorgeous Asian veggies. I always try and get some pea plants from him. I absolutely love those soft pea tendrils stir fried with garlic and a tiny bit of olive oil.

In addition to the veggies and fruits, we have a meat guy that sells grass fed organic beef, a fish guy that sells huge swordfish steaks, bluefish, scallops, shrimp, lobster, crab, and salmon right off the boat that morning. There's the pot pie guy that sells turkey and chicken pot pies in several sizes.

There's the bakery that has all whole grain breads in a variety of types, plus delicious desserts and pies. We have an Italian Ice guy, and an ice cream guy. Pretty much anything you need in produce you can find at this market.

But today was amazing. One of my favorite farms had about 25 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes. You could mix and match because they were all selling by pound. I bought 6 different varieties for tonight's dinner.

When we got home I grilled the burgers in my grill pan while I heated up the water for the butter and sugar corn. Put the corn in, sliced up all the tomatoes, picked a bunch of basil leaves out of the garden, and topped that mixture off with shavings of fresh mozzarella. Instead of adding a lot of thick slices of cheese, I used it much more sparingly to save the calories. A sprinkling of EVOO, a turn of salt and pepper, and we had salad caprise. The corn was perfect, the burgers lean and fresh, the entire dinner right off the farm.

This is the kind of meals I want to prepare nightly for my family. It's of course a lot harder in the winter, but I'm also doing something about that, too. I bought a big bag of peaches that I'm going to blanch, and then put in storage containers in the freezer so we'll have fresh peaches come winter. I've already put away a bunch of blueberries. I tried with raspberries but they got eaten before I had a chance. I don't mind the frozen veggies from Trader Joe's, but the fruit isn't to my taste, and I prefer to have it with no sugar at all.

Farmer's Markets are sprouting up everywhere (pun intended). What is your farmer's market like, and do you go often?

I still hate beets with all my heart and soul. But they're pretty, aren't they? Vicious disgusting vegetables from hell.

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It's like a sugar rush without the sugar

I'm taking this new medication to alleviate stress. I knew that I was stressed to the max, what with the Boy being all manic and everything. Usually my response to extreme stress is to freak out, get really agitated, and then sleep the sleep of the dead. But this new medication, which is basically valium, has smoothed over the rough edges and all of a sudden I've got this burst of energy that is allowing me to GET. THINGS. DONE. After the weekend's marathon of laundry, I figured I'd be wiped, but nope, I'm still going strong.

Already today I've:
  • Taken the Boy to his Pdoc appt (more new meds!)
  • Returned overdue books to library, paid fine, took out movies, and some new books.
  • Hit Walgreens to get Boy's new prescription filled.
  • Went to Farmer's Market where I got corn (oh I cannot wait), heirloom tomatos, peaches, apples, and yellow squash
  • Then on to Post Office to mail ebay item to buyer
  • A quick stop at Dunkin Donuts for a gigantic iced coffee, NO SUGAR!
  • Home to drop off veggies
  • Took Boy to friend's house to pick up his bike and play video games
  • Took Girl to mall to check out acne remedies at Sephora since every thing we've tried in drug store hasn't worked. Didn't buy anything. Will make appt with dermotologist and have insurance cover cost of acne medicine because this stuff is pricey!
  • Stopped at Staples to make copies of documents I need in order to mail forms. Looked at binders and other things. We have almost everything needed for school.
  • Hit Marshalls on the way home and put a whole bunch of needed winter things on lay-away. AND bought myself a sweater marked down to $5 and two shirts marked down to $7 each. The Girl tried on every shoe in her size and several other sizes. I found a pair of coach sneakers for $35 but I didn't need them so didn't get them. But if you have little kids, they have the CUTEST freaking kids shoes right now. Little tiny Tims, Little Converse All Stars, and all sorts of other little adorable shoes.
We got back home a few minutes ago and I'm exhausted. This is the most I've done in one day in a couple of years. I'm tired but I'm feeling good. It feels great to be able to DO stuff that I need to do without having to make huge plans to get them done. I haven't felt like this in a long time. I just hope it continues.

And that's about it!

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Monday, August 20, 2007

I live in Appliance Hell

First it was the stove. Dead as a doornail. 4 long days it took to determine that the circuit breaker was shot and have it repaired.

Last week it was the hot water heater. That took a few days to get replaced. I was all happy that we finally had hot water as some of us are rather ripe and refused to take a cold shower. Some would not be anyone of the female persuasion.

I'm sitting here reading bloglines and watching Letterman. The dishwasher is humming in the kitchen when BAM! the freaking door blew open and started to flood the kitchen. Now we can't get the door to close.

I'm telling you, appliance hell.

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Checking things off the list

I admit that I've had a remarkably lazy summer considering the fact that I've got one fairly out-of-control kid that needs an amazing amount of extra care. We've done a few good things, we've done a few busy things, but mostly we've been connecting as a family, working on our social skills, and trying our hardest to have fun under some tough circumstances. I think we've done pretty darn well on that front.

As school and fall approach however, there is business to attend to. A lot of forms to fill out for various and sundry programs. A lot of things to buy, and even more to sell. So what does this all mean?

Sunday we did 12 loads of laundry. Around 200 lbs of laundry. Many many plastic bags of laundry. Some of it piled up due to the hot water heater issue, which was fixed today. But most of it was clothing that had been hidden behind beds and under dressers and in closets. Some of it was bagged up last year and stuck away in the attic where I 'forgot' about it. But it's all of the clothing the kids have grown out of, and it's going up on Ebay. Clean, in good condition, and tomorrow we spend a couple of hours photographing it. I think we have enough stuff to turn a pretty penny, which would be great for school clothing.

Today we picked up a new boxspring and mattress from a family turning their guest room into a circus school. You read that right. Totally interesting people, too. I really like the whole Freecycle thing where you meet all these people you never before knew existed. It's way cool.

We brought the boxspring and mattress upstairs into the Boy's room, and made it up. He finally has a bed he won't complain about. Yahoo. This kid is like the Prince and the Pea. But this is a new, heavy duty Sealy mattress and should last him a while.

This afternoon we drove to a town I've never set foot in to pick up an Ikea dresser for the Girl. She donated her old dresser to the downstairs bathroom because it was too small and she had totally killed it. An antique oak dresser, it's in great shape except for the top, so the whole thing needs to be stripped. That's a fall project. I like to reclaim furniture. I also like to get furniture for free.

I mailed out the backpacks I sold on Ebay, and now am about to mail out some other items that I've had up for sale.

The best thing about cleaning out the clutter is knowing that you'll get your money back on Ebay. I decided that the only way I'm ever going to get the kind of stuff the kids need as they go off to college is by selling what we have today. A friend of mine in Washington has been cleaning out his workshop for about 6 months now (can you say SERIOUS packrat) and is making about $1000/month just on stuff in his workshop.

As the clutter is reduced, and we have a LONG way to go, I feel happier knowing that I'm not going to drown in kids crap.

Also today, we had a visit from a gorgeous golden retriever and his mom. He had lost his tag and the Girl found it, so I called the number to return the tag and they were so surprised. I was afraid that when a tag is found, a dog is lost. Turns out that Boomer is an expert at losing tags. Worthless Pet almost had heart failure when he saw the dog and immediately sunk his claws into the Girl's ingrown toenail. What a fracus ensue! Dog barking, cat hissing, Girl screaming. WP really hates dogs.

The Boy seems marginally better. Still a way to go, but this medication is starting to work. However, he is eating so much that it's frightening. The Girl and I didn't eat at home all day today. Not one dish was used by us. Tonight the sink was completely piled up with dishes and when I told him to do them he was highly insulted until I reiterated that every plate, glass and piece of silverware was his and his alone. Hard to fight reality. He tried, of course, but it's still hard.

I'm starting to look forward to apples. It's gotten chilly and crisp for the past few days and it's starting to feel like fall. It will get hot again, but I keep thinking apple crisp would be good about now!

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Big Brother 8-Crazy Reality TV at it's Finest

We're about half way through the Big Brother 8 season and again, I'm hooked. This show hooks me in like no other reality show for a variety of reasons. It's on 3 times a week plus you can follow it 24/7 on the live feeds. I don't get the live feeds, but I do read Jokers Update at least once a day to follow the trials and tribulations of our houseguests. Of course, I'm rooting for Evil Dick and his equally smart but evil daughter Danielle. Dick is one of the best players ever. If he, Dr Will, and Mike Boogy were ever in the house together, can you imagine the total and complete chaos that would take place? They're three of a kind, those evil houseguests.

Of the players who are left, Jamika by far is the most annoying, Praise God. She's such a hypocrite, and such a mean woman riding on the back of Jesus. If I hear her say one more time that Dick is going to hell for not taking Jesus as his personal savior I'm gonna reach through the TV and grab her shitty ugly throat. And all the time Erik keeps his mouth shut. He's Jewish. Didn't she get that her constant Jesus talk is HURTFUL to him? Why no, she doesn't. She's gotta go.

And (sob) Amber (wahhhhhh) (sob) (sniffle). Oh my god, how did this woman pass the psychological screening? She's a mess. She cries over everything. She's an ex-crackhead. She swears on the head of her daugher a bit too much for my my taste. She's dumb as a box of rocks. I can't wait for her to disappear behind the 'garden' on the way to Julie's 'guesthouse' which of course is all in one studio and looks faker than crap.

The second tier of Must Get Evicted houseguests include Jessica, Eric, and Jen. Jessica, I gotta ask. Do you comb your hair with an eggbeater on purpose? And that voice! Have you taken lessons in practicing like a whiney 5-year-old for a long time now? Jessica is another dumbell. I can't figure out how she ever got out of high school. She sits and ponders for hours, and then always comes up with the solution either Dustin (z"l) or Eric put in front of her face. Evidentally she missed "Thinking on Your Own 101" in college. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Eric is America's Choice guy. How they picked him is beyond me. Maybe it's the evil arched eyebrow he exhibits as they give him the secret card to read in the diary room. Cause that's one creepy face he puts on. I don't get Eric. The pierced nipples throw me. Is he gay? Is he straight? Is he just weird? The fauxhawk haircut makes him look demented. He lies like a rug, as we all know, and he has cozied in to Jessica of the empty brain for his 'love interest'. Maybe that's because she's so dumb she doesn't even bother to notice now that Dustin (z"l) is no longer a houseguest. Of course Dustin was as out and proud as them come, but maybe she was planning to change him. See, Dumb Dumb Dumb.

And then there's Jen. Jen is smart. Jen is manipulative. Jen is slightly psychotic. Jen has a borderline personality disorder. She likes to put her name on everything. She's a Jenius. She belongs to Jensa. Oh lordy, those sayings are annoying. Jen has a great chance of winning this game. She's been on the hot seat 3 times and has survived. She's the houseguest that cannot get the hint to leave. So she's going to be backdoored this week. There's a deal going around. If it works, and with Evil Dick in charge, it will, we'll be saying Goodbye to Jen in a few days.

The leaders are, as I've mentioned, Evil Dick and his daughter Danielle. Dick is a 42 year old kid. He works in rock and roll, but we're not quite sure what he does. He's heavily tattooed, has excellent red streaks in his spiky hair, many piercings, and totally looks the part of Rock n Roll dude. He's incredibly smart and manipulative. He's profane to the point that he is bleeped a bit too much. He farts, he burps, he gets right into people's faces and tells them off until they cry. He's totally scary, but he's a nice guy underneath it. The scary is a great act. He loves his daughter, he'll protect her ass, and all the other houseguests are just there for his enjoyment. I love him. I think he's brilliant and PERFECTLY cast for a houseguest from hell.

Danielle is a little slip of a girl. She's so pretty that you think it must be fake, except she's just 21 years old She's very bright too, and has an amazing endurance. Between Dick and Danielle, she's the brawn, he's the brains. But she's not a typical brawny woman. She's tiny with arms so little they look like twigs. Maybe she weighs 95 lbs. No matter, she wins competition after competition because she's got a will that can't be beat. She's got a good act going. It's the "He's my father but I can't control him, don't blame me for what he does" rant. She does it with tears. She's good. But she's plotting along with Dick all the way to the bank.

Zack. Oh yeah, Zack. He's a wildcard player. He's very buff, he's very quiet, he seems to be siding with Dick and Danielle, but you just can't tell with this kind of player. He's too quiet, too easy to get along with, and he rarely speaks his mind. I'm always on the lookout from when he's going to break through and become an A-list player. I imagine that it will happen once we get rid of (alevai) Jamika, Jess, Eric, and Jen.

If you don't watch BB, you gotta try it. It's a psychological study in young, self-absorbed, slightly whacked people shoved together into a house with no exits, no internet, no tv, no news at all for the summer. What happens ON the tv is interesting, what happens during the feeds is just plain trainwreck funny.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hogsnorts, indeed!

For Belinda and Alex, with much love from my Bershon Girl.

You never know what you're going to find when you shop at Savers. I happen to love the extremely huge sweat pants with Flighting Fisherman on them. You gotta wonder where those initially came from. No matter, it's an outfit!

Please excuse huge pile of junk on right. That's our ebay sale pile. Slowly but surely, we're weeding out the crap. And it feels GOOD.

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Sometimes I ask myself what's the point of eating?

The other day, I was pulling into a parking space in front of a satellite hospital building for an appointment with my primary care physician. The space was a handicap space to the right of the side doorway, where people wait for valet parking to bring their cars around. The Girl and I looked and saw a very thin, very bleached blond smoking a cigarette right in front of the door. That's not allowed in ANY Massachusetts public building, and especially in front of a medical building.

As we opened the door, the woman started to walk towards our car. I got out, the Girl got out of the passenger side, and walked around to meet up on my side. As we started walking, Ms Bleached Blond said "Well, You don't look very handicapped" like it was her business to comment upon my right to park with MY placard (including my photo, birthdate, and expiration date of placard, all of which were in order and uncovered). I was flabbergasted. Never had anyone been so outrageously rude about my right to park in a handicap space. The Girl looked at me in horror because she knows what I mouth I have when I'm pissed. "What the hell business it of yours what my handicap is, you C**T" is what I said. She was ready to start a fight, but I just walked away into the medical building as a security guard walked towards her.

I was seething the rest of the day. I mean it, I was literally bullshit. When a person has a legitimate tag displayed in a car with her photo, name, DOB, and expiration date on it, who the hell thinks it's OK to question a handicap. Obviously it was a legal tag. In MA, many people use tags that aren't legal. That is because the RMV allows, no PROVIDES those with hangtags a sliding coverup to hide the photo, name, and identifying information of those to whom the tag is issued. A recent study found that of 1000 tags, almost all of them were being used improperly. I've seen it happen. But even when I am sitting and waiting for a legitimate handicap space and I see a young mother who is obviously healthy as a horse get into a car with a hang tag that couldn't possibly belong to her, I wouldn't challange her. As long as there is a tag, the only people that have the right to challange the tags are the police. Not some half drunk asshat smoking illegally in front of a doctor's office.

Anyhow, it bothered me probably more than it would have before certain "special" bloggers decided that I wasn't really handicapped and that I could definately go to work despite what my cardiologists (yes, that's plural) and the American Heart Association say about patients with congestive heart failure Stage 4.

Although much progress has been made in the treatment of heart failure, there is a 20% overall annual mortality, particularly in patients with New York Heart Association Class IV symptoms.2 Many patients succumb to progressive pump failure and congestion, although half die from either tachycardia or bradycardia-induced sudden cardiac death. Some patients die from end organ failure resulting from inadequate systemic organ perfusion, particularly to the kidneys. Indicators of poor cardiac prognosis include ventricular arrhythmias, higher NYHA Heart Failure Class, lower left ventricular ejection fraction, high catecholamine and B-type natriuretic peptide levels, low serum sodium, hypocholesterolemia, and marked left ventricular dilatation. Patients with combined systolic and diastolic left ventricular dysfunction also have a worse prognosis than patients with either in isolation.3

Stage 1 includes patients at risk of developing heart failure but who have no structural heart disease at present. These include patients with hypertension, diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, use of cardiac toxins, and familial history of cardiomyopathy. Strategies to prevent ventricular remodeling, including ACE inhibitors in selected cases, are advised.

Stage 2 includes patients with structural heart disease but no symptoms. The use of ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers is recommended.

Stage 3 includes patients with structural heart disease and symptomatic heart failure. Diuretics, digoxin, and aldosterone antagonists may be added to ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers depending upon the severity of symptoms. Cardiac resynchronization therapy also may be considered in selected patients.

Stage 4 includes patients with severe refractory heart failure. Physicians are urged to consider either end-of-life care or high-tech therapies such as cardiac transplantation, based on individual cases.

While a simple rule for the treatment of all patients with heart failure can not be formulated because of varied etiologies, hemodynamic features, clinical manifestations, and severity of heart failure, insofar as the treatment of chronic congestive heart failure is concerned the administration of an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor has been shown to retard the development of heart failure and should be begun early in patients with cardiac dilatation and/or hypertrophy, even if they are asymptomatic. Then, as symptoms develop, simple measures such as moderate restriction of activity and sodium intake should be encouraged. If these and the use of an ACE inhibitor are insufficient, therapy with a combination of a diuretic, a vasodilator, and usually a digitalis glycoside is then begun. The next step is more rigorous restriction of salt intake and high doses of a loop diuretic, sometimes accompanied by other diuretics. If heart failure persists, hospitalization with rigid salt restriction, bed rest, intravenous vasodilators, and positive inotropic agents follows.

I thought you might find it interesting to see what a stage 4 CHF patient takes every night. It is probably the reason I can't make myself eat breakfast in the morning. I'm too full from the pills. That would be 13 bottles of pills. I take these at night. There are more pills in the morning. I'm such a lucky duck!

Kinda of astounding, isn't it? Just so you know I'm not faking illness so I can be a welfare queen and sit on my ass all day eating bonbons and watching the soaps before I take my cadillac out for a spin around town, and then return back to my palatial mansion for a dunk in the pool.

See that water glass? That's the palatial pool. I take every one of these pills all at once. I'm a master of stuffing huge amounts of pills down my throat. The two big white ones on the left? Metformin. The two colored ones on the front left? Effexor. Green pills, Vitamin D and Allegra. Pink in back? Verapamil. Blue in front? I can't remember what it's called. The darker pink is my Lisinopril. The square one is Singulair. I can't remember which is which in the photo. I take them every day. It is too much to remember. One is the lorazapam. One is fexophenadine. One is simvastatin.

Whatever. Let's just way it's way too much medicine.

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