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

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

We do pumpkins right in Boston

This Halloween is the first Halloween in my entire life when I didn't get a pumpkin. Things conspired against pumpkin consumption this year, so it's also the first Halloween without pumpkin seeds roasted to perfection in my oven. But without the Girl here, there just isn't any Halloween spirit at all. Nobody comes to our house because we live too far up a gigantic hill that is dark, unlit, and very spooky. It isn't worth the effort for a crummy candy bar, I guess. Even from the street behind us people do not venture onto our property. Perhaps it has to do with the 'no trespassing' sign that was posted by our wacky neighbor on the back of our gate. She doesn't like people walking through in front of her yard. She's nuts.

The Boy went out trick or treating with a friend. They're targeting the mansions by Boston College in Chestnut Hill, as rumor has it, the people give out big candy bars. What a coup that will be if the rumors are true.

I've read a lot of people posting about how horrible it is that teenagers go out on Halloween. To which I say, wait till your kids become teens and then pass judgement. I think, frankly, that is is reprehensible to target any age group and say "they aren't ALLOWED to trick or treat" when Halloween clearly is no longer a child's holiday. These judgemental people are the same folks that go to adult parties and dress up in costumes. Anyone see a bit of, oh, maybe stupidity at bitching at teenagers. Some are jerks. Most aren't. Some might do some damage. Most won't. But that isn't any different from younger kids. In fact, I think the worst behaved kids are consistantly those from 10-13, the middle school age. Those kids do a large majority of the pranks and mostly get away with it.

My teens do go out on Halloween. The Girl plans group costumes with all of her friends. This year they were all English school girls, with plaid skirts and black tights and little black jackets with school patches. She had her costume ready weeks ago, and was so sad that she isn't able to go out tonight. Last year they were all devils, and they were adorable.

The Boy has gone army, with camo pants, hoodie, a green t-shirt, and even a camo laptop bag slung across his shoulder. No guns, no weapons at all. I didn't allow it. It might not be the most inventive costume out there, but this is the first time since second grade, when something unpleasant happened with a friend, that he has even ventured out for Halloween. This is a HUGE step for him and the was no way I was going to cite some stupid 'age rule' when there isn't really one, is there.

For the mom that posted that she gives teenagers old rotten candy from under her sink, shame on her. That's dispicable. Not only is it not funny, it's dangerous and mean. I'm sorry, you don't give out old rotten candy because you disapprove of kids over a certain age trick or treating. Get over yourself already. How would YOU feel if your kids came home with rotten candy? You'd be the first one on the phone with the police complaining about how horrible your neighbors were, trying to poison your kid. Shame, shame shame.

Because I promised not to post about that Baseball Team anymore, my halloween post is interspersed with pumpkins that were originally posted here. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rolling Rally was Fabulous

Today I was a very bad mommy and pulled the Boy out of school to go to the Red Sox Rolling Rally. He also brought his friend with him, whose parents allowed him to leave school as well. It was amazing how many kids we saw that (ahem) missed school today.

We took the subway by our house. The first train to come was so crowded we couldn't even squeeze on the steps. I've never seen the trains that packed. Then another train came, and there wasn't a lot of space on that one either, but I got a handicap seat (go me) and the boys rode standing up. More people kept trying to get on the train, but it was like a sardine can. I thought I was in Tokyo it was so crowded. Boy's friend counted 15 kids on our car alone that were from their high school. That place must have been a ghost town by noon!

We arrived in Copley Square and of course, no handicap exit in the T. So I had to climb up 2 flights stairs, but it was worth it to see my beloved Red Sox. When we got up to the street, we had an awesome spot right up against the fence. Unfortunately there were some annoyingly nasty college students right by us, but we basically told them to act more politely. There was a family with very young kids and those college apes were swearing and acting like total asses. A lot of people complained, but you know, college kids out on the loose in a situation like this just do not get polite behavior.

We had to wait an hour or so for the parade to start up, but then we got to watch the helicopters and the Blimp coming closer and closer. First sign that the duck boats were getting really close was the first confetti throwing car.

The crowd behind us keep getting thicker and thicker. At one point, we only had a single row of people behind us. But by the time the boats came, there must have been a crowd 40 to 50 rows thick all up and down Boylston St. It was packed, even more than in 2004, I think. Maybe it was because of the sunshine and great weather. Maybe because this victory was even sweeter than 2004 because it solidified the power and glory of Red Sox nation. I don't know. But it was one mass of humanity out there.

The first duckboats were filled with the owners, the management, etc. And then the players started appearing right in front of us. So close that we could almost see their pores, in some cases. It was amazing. Inspiring. So much freaking fun.

Paperbon passed by us on the flatbed truck with the DropKick Murphy's playing Irish Punk music as he danced and acted like a complete fool. He's adorable. I mean, he's so freaking cute you just want to pinch his cheeks and coo. That adorable.

Manny and Papi were on the same duck boat, but we couldn't see the both at the same time. Papi was smiling so much it looked like his face was lit up with teeth. Manny was wearing an dreadlock hat marked Africa. He looked like he was having the time of his life.

Shilling was beaming. Mike Lowell's duckboat stopped for a long time right in front of us, and everyone was screaming MVP MVP. There were a lot of signs saying "Re-sign Lowell" and it was apparent that nobody whatsover had any interest in A-Rod appearing in Boston, even for a weekend visit. We hate him. We don't want him. We want Mike.

Tek's duckboat also stopped right in front of us for a while. He was having a blast, taking pictures. Julio Lugo was taking video and the guy by us, known as The Skunk, had this amazing mohawk in black and light gray (hence the name) attracted him, so we're all going to be in his home video. Cool! A lot of the players took photos of us because of The Skunk, who was quite the attraction on the route. Even Johnny Pesky was laughing and motioning to him about his hair. He was pretty cool, The Skunk. We needed batteries and couldn't get across the street to get some, and he gave us a 4-pack he had just bought. Wouldn't take any money, either.

We had the best time. It was so exciting. I know you're all pretty darn sick of my Red Sox obsession, which I warn people about on February 15, the first day of Spring Training (only 108 days!). I love this team. I'm baseball obsessed. I admit it. I'm not even embarrassed that I find the players totally hot and want to have their babies....not that this is even a remote possibility or anything.

Once the parade went by, we waited a long time for the crowd behind us to dissipate so I could get out without being crushed to death. I'm not particularly steady in a crowd, so I need to stay behind until the path clears. Then we looked around for someplace to eat, ending up in an Irish pub with expensive but mediocre food. The boys were starving, and I was too tired to walk much further. So we ate there by default.

By the time we got back on the T, the crowds had thinned out and we actually had a comfortable ride home. I was so glad to see my sofa, but the Boy had already staked it out and fell almost instantly asleep for 3 hours. To say that this was an exhausting day would be understating it. But it was a day that I'll always remember, just like the last parade in 2004. I don't care how sick I am, I will do this again and again if my Sox win the World Series again. Because I love them!

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Holy Cow!

I've never had so many visitors to my site. Ever. This Fall Y'all Giveaway is insane. Have you gone over to Shannon's site and entered any of the 300+ contests. All sorts of stuff being given away, so if you haven't yet headed over, don't hesitate!

See that new button on my sidebar, the one that says I'm trying to win a pink dyson. Well, I am. I'd take a yellow or a purple one. I'm not picky, but the pink one is the one offered in this contest. My current vacuum is dead. Oh, it runs. But it reeks of burnt cat hair, and it picks up next to nothing. It's not even old, which is what bothers me the most. But that's the deal with vacuums. They're disposable nowadays.

Today was a nutty day. I had a lot of business to do and no matter what I tried to do, I couldn't get anything done. I need to get car insurance. I can't get car insurance without paperwork, evidentally. I need to pay for my errant excise tax. I didn't get that done because the person who does it wasn't at work today, and nobody answered my message I left at city hall. I need to get my drivers license renewed, I can't do that without the excise tax paid. Total run-around. But I was in such a good mood because of the Red Sox that I just didn't let it bother me.

My friend Iris asked me today to make the turkey for her Thanksgiving dinner. She'll provide the bird, I'll cook it and bring it over for dinner. I'm going to make some other sides, as my family has a traditional Thanksgiving meal, and they're going to want to eat that. Like, she wanted to skip stuffing. Who skips stuffing at Thanksgiving? Insane, I say. Absolutely bonkers. One MUST have stuffing.

My son is driving me nuts. If he says to me one more time, "Why are you so mean to me?" when I ask him to do anything, like pick up the altoids he spilled all over the floor, I swear, I'm going to put an axe into his skull. Of course, I don't OWN an axe, and have no clue of where to get one in a hurry, but don't let that stop my imagination. Please! I found out this morning that he has not been taking his pills regularly at all. What a shock! No wonder he's been so horrible. So we're back to me passing them out in the morning and checking to see what he's taken at night. I hate this. I feel like he should be responsible for his own meds, but apparently I'm in the minority.

Tomorrow we're going to see the Rolling Rally for the Red Sox. We're planning to go to Copley Square because there is a jumbotron there so we can see the entire rally. We don't want to miss the Dropkick Murphys singing Tessie with Papalbom dancing on the flatbed truck. I'm so psyched. All my Red Sox clothing is newly laundered, the sun will be shining unlike the last Rolling Rally, and I just cannot wait to see my Red Sox up close.

My friend Nina has started blogging at last. Do go and say "Hello" to her. She's got a compelling story (read her About Me page) and she's the most wonderful person. You can't find a better and kinder person on the face of the earth. Plus, she's the mom of the Triplet. Her younger son was born the exact same time and date as my twins. Plus he's a lot like the Boy, only better behaved now that he's older. So go and show her some love.

This means that almost every one of my old IRL friends are blogging. Some are private blogs, some aren't. But I feel like this is a great way to keep in daily touch with my old friends who now live far away. I miss the daily chats, and reading friend's blogs is a great way to keep up with them, and with the friendship.

Hey, did you see Barry Teitelbaum from Jordan's on the national news tonight? They were covering the Red Sox furniture score of the century. Lucky Jordan's got some great insurance policy to cover that contest. They sold more than 30 thousand pieces of furniture that they'll now have to refund the sale price. It was an amazing and generous publicity stunt and it that it made national news proves how successful it was. But they're never do it again! I have to admit, I miss Elliot. I liked their stuff when Barry and Elliot did it together. They're second only to the Tappit Brothers in delighting me with their brotherly 'love'.

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Fall Y'all Bloggy Giveaway

This Bloggy Giveaway will end promptly at 4 pm EST today, Friday the 2nd of November. Thank you for participating. Because there were so many responses (Yay you!) I will be using a Random Number Generator to determine the winners, who I will notify by email. I will also post their names here on my blog. Note, I ONLY go to the post office on Thursdays.

Shannon, from Rocks in My Dryer, is sponsoring another Giveaway. Last summer she hosted the first one, which had hundreds of participants (including me) giving away prizes. And here we are again. All you have to do to be eligible to win is to leave a comment with your name and contact information. Say something nice, tell me why you want to win!

So what am I offering this time around? Books! Yes, Books. Two absolutely wonderful books. Two fabulous prizes.

The first book is The Dangerous Book for Boys, by Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden. If you haven't yet seen this best selling book, it's a must have for any boy from elementary to middle school age. Or older. Even adult men are coveting this book. It is a compendium of lots of important information that kids today just don't get a chance to learn. It covers around eighty topics, from building a tree house to catching rabbits and how to understand girls. The Dangerous Book is a guide book for dads as well as their sons, as a reminder of lore and technique that have not yet been completely lost to the digital age. Recall the adventures of Scott of the Antarctic and the Battle of the Somme, relearn how to palm a coin, tan a skin, and, most charmingly, wrap a package in brown paper and string. The book's ambitions are both modest and winningly optimistic: you get the sense that by learning how to place a splint or write in invisible ink, a boy might be prepared for anything he might need later in life.

Dozens of short chapters, in fairly random order, cover a wide range of topics in conversational prose. Simple instructions for coin tricks and paper airplanes alternate with excerpts from history such as Famous Battles and facts about ancient wonders of the world and astronomy. The dangerous aspect is more apparent in such chapters as Making Cloth Fireproof, and Hunting and Cooking a Rabbit, but also applies to the overall premise that action is fun and can be worth the risks. A section on stickball, for instance, includes advice to possibly flee the vicinity in the event of a broken window. The information is appropriately concise. The knot-tying section, for example, sticks to five basic varieties with clear instructions and useful diagrams. Occasional topics such as Marbling Paper and Latin Phrases Every Boy Should Know may not fit the stereotypical interests of young males, but support the general theme of cultivating curiosity.

The second book offering is The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz . Modeled after the Dangerous Book for Boys, this brand new offering is the manual for everything that girls need to know -- and that doesn't mean sewing buttonholes! Whether it's female heroes in history, secret note–passing skills, science projects, friendship bracelets, double dutch, cats cradle, the perfect cartwheel or the eternal mystery of what boys are thinking, this book has it all. But it's not just a guide to giggling at sleepovers --although that's included, of course! Whether readers consider themselves tomboys, girly-girls, or a little bit of both, this book is every girl's invitation to adventure.

I'll be reviewing this book for MotherTalk next month for my review blog, and have just started reading it, so I'm going to turn it over to Design Mom, who already reviewed it. She says:

"...And to be honest, I was a little worried I might not like it. Would it be too pc? Would it be too girly and assume girls mostly like to groom? Would it pretend girls are the same as boys? But my worries were unfounded. It's lovely.

Some of my favorite sections:

Make Your Own Quill Pen

Telling Ghost Stories

How to Play Four Square (My kids were totally asking me about Four Square and I couldn't remember the rules. Hooray for the book!)
How to Tie a Sari

Lemon-Powered Clock

Campfire Songs

Robert's Rules

Books That Will Change Your Life
Plus, lots of interesting women throughout history. And the French and Spanish words and phrases that every girl needs to know. And many, many, many more sections.

Oh. And the cover has this subtle glitter thing going on that is really fantastic. I've already bought two copies as gifts. A great book. Ralph finds it as interesting as Maude found The Dangerous Book for Boys. If you have both sons and daughters, you'll enjoy having both books in your home."

Both of these books are guaranteed to have your kids enthralled with all the cool things they can learn, and you will be able to learn a few things yourself.

Remember, to win these books, leave a comment with your name and contact information! And the more creative the comments, the more fun I'm going to have wading through them, if you get my drift!

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Sunday, October 28, 2007


Oh man, this is good. This is just delicious. Mike Lowell as MVP. Another World Series trophy for Boston. A team that was a band of brothers all year long. A team with the best damn players in baseball. What else can I say? These are the best days, the days of knowing that finally, finally the curse is so over. That our kids won't ever experience the heartache of losing year after year after year.

It was a great World Series, not just for the Red Sox and the Nation, but for the Rocky fans as well. They accomplished an amazing feat, entering the World Series as a brand new expansion team. Amazing. They played hard. They did a great job. But they couldn't compare with this years Sox. This was a team to beat, and it turned out to be an impossible dream.

So, A-Rod is now a free agent and all I want to say is, PLEASE do not sign him. Mike Lowell, our MVP, is also a free agent, but he deserves to finish up with the Sox. A-Rod is never going to be welcomed in Boston, regardless of what a great clutch hitter he is. We can do fine without him. We don't need a one man show. And we sure don't need or want A-Rod.

Red Sox, re-sign Lowell. We love him. We love our Sox just the way they are. They're scruffy, they're silly, they're RiverDancers, they're entertaining, and they're just the best damn team in Baseball. Leave them be.

Congratulations, Red Sox. Congratulations, Red Sox Nation. Now, let's Party! But let's be safe. The police presence is insane!

I'm happy, but I'm also sad. The season is over. I hate that. Baseball makes me so happy. Now I have to wait until February for the team to fly to Ft. Meyers and start training camp. That's a long cold winter.

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Just for you, my dear readers

I have finally cleaned up my template. It was getting beyond scruffy and I haven't paid a whit of attention to it in the longest time. I'm terribly sorry. I know it took forever for the site to load with all that crapola on my sidebars, and I've trimmed them significantly. You probably won't even notice, but I swear, I did it for you.

As we rush headlong into NaBloPoMo, starting November first, along with the Fall Y'all Giveaway, I expect that there will be new readers and it's only nice and polite to clean your house before your guests arrive. You never know, I might even change the curtains!

I'm always excited to start a new blogging project. I loved doing NaBloPoMo last year, even if it is impossible to type, and I know it's going to be fun this year as well. The blog randomizer is now on the NaBloPoMo site, so you have to go there to look at all the 2000+ sites that are participating. You can link to the Randomizer from my left sidebar, so go right ahead and meet some new friends.

I wonder if I'll ever get a change to read all of them. I've only got a month. It seems unlikely, but I'm going to try. I'd like to be able to leave a comment on every participant's blog, but I'd also like to sleep, eat and pee too. So maybe not. But I'm going to try, I promise you. If you're participating and you want me to come visit you, leave me a link in the comments and I promise to drop on by.

Also, I'm planning to incorporate Kerflop's new fangled blogroll into my sidebar at some future point. If you want to be on my blogroll, leave me a comment and a link. I've got a Blogroll already, currently hidden due to the complete and total lack of updating in the past couple of years, but I do want to add this new graphic blogroll. It's way cool! So be sure to let me know if you want to participate.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Big News

I went car shopping today and ended up buying a new old car. It's a 2000 Caravan, kind of a greenish silver color. It is a great deal, honestly. I brought my friend Iris, the champion bargainer of the world, and between us we got them down a full thousand dollars. I have pictures of the car, but the batteries in the camera ran out, so I can't post them just yet.

But I bought a car! Wahoo!

Then we went to see the Girl and drop off some stuff. She's doing great. She and her brother almost got along, no sharp words or anything. My dead car is still in the parking lot there. When I get my new car, I'll go, clean out the old car, and donate it to the special Olympics. I can't think of anything else to do with it.

On the way home we stopped at a furniture store because Iris is in the market for a new sofa. She fell in love with a blue chaise lounge that was very comfy, and then we found out that a sofa that we all loved could be covered in an eggplant colored microfiber. If you knew Iris, you would know how funny that was. So she ordered the eggplant microfiber to cover the sofa, and a really nice contrasting fabric for pillows. I'm so excited for her. This is for her den/TV room, which is sort of her private oasis from her family. This is a great purchase for her to make, and she didn't buy MATCHING furniture. This is a turning point for her! I'm very very proud of her.

Plus, Red Sox tonight. A very exciting and productive day. Eventually, to be illustrated with pics when I get batteries tomorrow.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Bullets of bitching

Oh my God, I have the migraine from hell. So this was my day today:

  • The Boy got mad at having an in-school suspension because he skipped a class earlier in the week. So he did a typical Boy thing, exploded, and skipped all his classes today. When they finally found him on campus, they suspended him and sent him home where he went ballistic on me for not bailing him out. In-school suspension again on Monday, but now he knows that everyone is serious and the rules DO apply to him. We'll see if he actually goes to the suspension, but if he doesn't, there is a backup plan. One he does not want implemented.
  • Got a new home health aide today who did a great job of cleaning. Yahoo! Plus, she actually speaks English, which the last one did not. Hard to give directions to someone who only speaks Haitian Creole, a language nobody but Haitians speak. Plus, she was a terrible cleaner.
  • The Girl told me today that she's being transferred to a step-down, but I don't know for sure if it's true and they didn't call me, so we're still wondering and waiting.
  • I got a wonderful gift in the mail today from Janice. See's suckers and a box of candy. OK, I shouldn't eat it. But I'm gonna. Every freaking piece. Slowly, one at a time. I'll watch my blood sugar. But I'm going to eat it all because I deserve it.
  • I've got a new project in the works. It's gonna be revolutionary. I can't wait to announce it later on. Not for a while. But it's coming.... hopefully soon.
  • I spent a lot of time looking at used cars online today. Why are the cheapest used cars minivans? I don't really need another minivan, although I loved mine, but they're so cheap!
  • Tomorrow I'm going car shopping, and then to visit the Girl. She wants her Red Sox blanket. She says it's cold in her bedroom. This from the kid who wears sweats all summer. She's always cold.
  • Worthless Pet is missing the Girl a lot, which means that he's Mr Snuggles with me. In the middle of the night. Just when I so do not want to pet his tummy. Insistent little bugger, he is.
  • It's finally getting cold. I talked the Boy into taking the air conditioners out of the windows. He did so, but placed them in front of each window on the floor. They will undoubtedly remain there for months until I get him to take them down to the basement. But I think they add a certain chic look to the decor. Yeah, right.
  • Amazing Race is starting up in November. I love that show. Can't wait to see it. There's a couple of "goth" women that look like they're going to be entertaining.
  • Watching the World Series is taking it's toll on me. All those late nights and excess energy expended so late at night. I'm tired. So is most of Boston. At least I'm finally in with the in crowd!
  • Rudy Giuliani is pretending to be a Sox fan. If that doesn't tell you what a phony he is, I don't know what will. That man is a tried and true Yankees fan, a lifelong Yankees fan. He's just pandering to Red Sox nation. I don't buy it. Don't you either.
  • Good Lord, they're giving Regis Philbin another TV show. He's going to host a new edition of Password. Do we not suffer enough?
  • I think All My Children has finally jumped the shark. The story lines are so stoopid right now, and all of a sudden all the blonds have gone brunette, which is confusing. Plus that new Babe. Can't stand her. I was hoping that Kendall would shoot herself AND Greeley with her handgun, leaving deaf-baby alone in the park. But no!
Later, gators. I'm going to bed.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Say it ain't so, Tony

If you're a follower of the best show on television, 24, you might not know that the trailer for Day 7 was shown tonight during the 7th inning stretch of the World Series. See, there IS a reason to watch the Red Sox. Anyhow, the trailer is.... shocking. The spoilers are.... more shocking. Jack Bauer has gone rogue....again. But that's not the shocking part. Check out who the new big bad guy is. And a hint, he's not an Arab national.

Last season's 24 was not great. It stunk. The first 3 hours were the best of the 24. They were pretty darn good. It went downhill from there. Day 5, the year before last, was the best of the seasons, so Day 6 was particularly painful to watch. So our family has big hopes for Day 7. From what little we can glean from the trailer, it has the possibility to be really really good.
No more CTU, this season will take place in Washington DC, because honestly, how many more times can LA suffer from nuclear attacks? And how many US Presidents have summer white houses in LA? It was getting ridiculous. The newest President is a woman, according to Fox. I don't think Audry will be back. One can only hope, anyhow. Kim is long gone, thank God. But there are faces from the past in Day 7. Some are friends, one is foe.

Frankly, I can't wait until January. I just love this show.

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Empathy can be painful

One of the things I value most in the world is the ability to be a good friend. I try very hard, within my limited set of resources, to be the best friend I can be. I do what I can, I try desperately hard to be supportive even when I'm frustrated as hell, and I work at it because I'm very introverted and, much of the time, would rather be off in some mountain cave than deal with anyone else. But I try hard because it is what I value so highly.

Women are often crappy friends. A lot of the time, women are set up to learn to be bad friends. We're taught to value looks over substance. We're taught that men are so integral to our value that we need to have one, even if it adversely affects our friendships. We're taught that friends can be disposable and striving for a friend higher up on the social ladder is acceptable behavior.

I hate that.

I've had friends in the distant past that have treated me like shit when they find a boyfriend. I've had friends that kept me as a friend because it made them seem prettier. I've had friends that were so shallow that the world revolved around them in planet Self Absorbtion.

I've also had great friends, friends that have stuck by me through thick and thin. Friendships that I value very highly despite differences that other people could not overlook. I do so because I believe in friendship. But I also know that friendship comes with pain as well as joy.

I have a friend with a tough life. Not that mine is an easy life, because it isn't. But my friend really has it hard. We often laugh about how we're both headed down the path to complete destruction because we have the worst freaking luck on the planet. If it's not one thing, it's another. We both have serious health issues. We both have a son with serious issues. We both have a daughter with attitude problems. We cling to each other sometimes, because we know we're always there for each other. Some days my life is shit, other days her life is worse. Sometimes we laugh about it because it's pretty funny living these cursed lives. Thankfully, we both have senses of humor.

But I worry for her. I fear for the future. I feel her pain acutely. I know that VERY BAD is coming. She know it too. It's inevitable, it's just what it is. Her future is going to change forever. She's going to have to deal with stuff she's never dealt with, she's going to have to step up to the plate day after day after day. Like I do. As the days pass, and her spouse gets sicker and sicker, it is almost unbearable to watch her persevere, to go on with her job, her life, her kids, her pastimes, knowing that she's soon going to be planning a funeral. Most days, I'm able to accept what is happening and be supportive. Some days my heart almost breaks for her because I'm just so sad that she has to suffer like this. And she feels the same for me. She writes on her blog about how my suffering is hard for her to bear. It seems wrong that two women who fell into a friendship should both have such crap in their lives. It seems unfair. It IS unfair. But we manage to live our separate hellish lives day after day after day.

I used to have a lot of women friends. I don't anymore. I have a few good friends, and I'm grateful for them. Many people drifted out of my life after we moved to CA. When we came back, I was so shellshocked by my declining health and my faltering finances that I didn't reach out like I should have. I just hid, which is my natural instinct. Now, at my age, making new friends is almost impossible. I don't even know where to begin to find new people in my life. I'm also not sure I can take on anyone else's problems anymore. I'm so overwhelmed with my own problems and my friend's problems that more would sink me.

But I'm lonely these days. I didn't even realize it until my car died and I got really stuck in the house. Because we live on such a huge freaking hill, I can't really walk anywhere. I can get down the hill just fine, but getting back up... nope. It's too steep and my heart couldn't take it, I don't think. I've tried a couple of times, and I've gotten about half way up before I feel like I'm going to collapse from a lack of breath.

So I sit at home, day after day after day and I'm sad and alone. I hate to feel like this. I believe in friendship. I know I'll find new friends. I've never had problems making friends. I just need to get out there so I can. Once I get a new car, hopefully next week, I can resolve this issue. I'm waiting for an opening for a parents group for kids with mental illness. Right up my alley. I'm going to do some more volunteer work once I have transportation. But today, I'm feeling sorry for myself, worrying about my kids, my friend, myself. I worry, and it hurts.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It's never easy, is it?

I saw the Girl this afternoon at the hospital. She is doing really well, looks good, and actually slept last night for the first time in forever. I think she is reacting well to medication and is actually psyched to take it (a first, believe me) because it's helping her to sleep. Sleep is never overrated in our family of insomniacs.

We had a long meeting with her case manager, who has talked at length to the Girl and gave me some insight into what's going on that I didn't know about. See if you can guess....

I'll give you a hint. It's illegal.


I knew there was some smoking going on because I smelled it and we talked about it at length. But... and this is a big but, I had no clue that she was experimenting with anything else. I was wrong. Nothing I'm petrified about, no crack or crystal or anything, but she's playing with stuff that can potentially be dangerous and it's going to stop immediately.

Because there has been drug involvement, she's in an AA program which she HATES. She has to go with old people! Imagine the horror! OLD PEOPLE. Like you and me. If it helps, I'm all for it.

This means that she's not coming home right away, which is also OK. In the meantime I'm working on getting the Boy stable, which he is so far away from being it's ridiculous. This morning he out and out refused to go to school, which was a first. He stayed home, but it isn't an excused absence. I will not excuse him even though it's the first absence of the year for him. Because I'm mean and contrary and refuse to rescue him. Sink or swim, baby. Sink or swim.

Meanwhile, the car remains dead as a doornail in the parking lot of the hospital. I have no clue what to do about that damn car. NONE. Every option seems to be overwhelming. I just feel like I want to wish and hope it to come alive. Yeah, like that's gonna happen.

So tonight is the first game of the world series and I just made a batch of my famous cranberry pecan chocolate chunk cookies. YUM. The Boy just took them out of the oven and of course he snuck one right away. You know, he was actually shocked that I knew he had taken one. Yeah, I'm not only mean, I'm a moron as well.

The fires in CA are totally freaking me out. As a native of LA, I lived though these fires all of my childhood and when I see this stuff happening, I get scared all over again. It's one of the things from my childhood that I can't seem to let go of. My sister's house burned to the ground in a fire, and I've never forgotten the heartache it caused her. Everything gone. I feel for those folks that have neglected to fully cover their homes with replacement insurance, and who didn't document what their homes contained. If you live in an area that is prone to disasters of any kind, flood, fire, earthquake, hurricane, blizzards... document your household goods yearly. Take pictures of everything, even inside closets and cupboards. It doesn't take a long time and it's so worth the effort if you're caught in a disaster.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lessons to be learned--updated!

I cook, you clean. We all know that one, right? If I spend an hour or so making a huge pot of chili that feeds your friends and yourself, the least you can do is clean up the kitchen. Seems pretty standard to me.

But then, I'm not a lazy 15-year old Boy. I am certainly not the laziest teenager on the planet, one with an attitude that honestly believes all housework should be the domain of someone else. Who? I don't know. It isn't gonna be me, that's all I know. But the Boy, he's a bit deluded when it comes to actually getting off his ass and doing chores. Even chores we agreed upon. He always has an excuse.

"Oh, Margalit", you say, "stop complaining. He's a kid!" To which I respond in the affirmative. He is a kid. A lazy, manipulative, lying kid. But he's all mine! And I love him despite the fact that he makes me insane on an hourly basis.

Last night I had him do the dishes. He had a bunch of friends over for dinner, I made a big pot of chili, they ate, he was supposed to clean up. Now remember, we have a brand new dishwasher, so all he has to do is rinse the dishes, stick them in the washer, and turn it on. It is not rocket science, nor is it backbreaking labor. Um, yeah.

This is his attempt to do the dishes, as of this morning:

Chili pot unwashed. Pitcher for juice unwashed. Dishes unwashed. Cutting board unwashed. Sink left filthy. You should have SEEN the counters. The second I got downstairs I spent some time with a sponge cleaning them up. They were disgusting.

I'd say "check out the stovetop" but blogger is being a shit and won't let me upload another picture. So use your imagination and picture a stovetop filled with crumbs and all sorts of detrius. I don't even know what all that crap is on there. But I do know he didn't clean it off even though he swore that he did. He stood in front of my bald face lying that he had not only finished the dishes, but had done the counters and the stovetop. What a jerk!

Funny thing, he really misses his sister. He keeps asking when she's going to come home, and he wants to talk to her on the phone. OTOH, she is totally disinterested in him, doesn't care that he misses her, doesn't want to talk to him, etc. She's not bending an inch on this. I was hoping that she might see the light, but not so far.

I talk to her several times a day. She's having a hard time. She can't sleep there, even more than not being able to sleep at home, and that is negatively affecting her behavior and outlook. She's not overtly acting out, but she's been pretty damn nasty to the hospital staff, especially the psychiatrist. Not that he's remotely pleasant, but you can at least feign politeness.

I'm going to see her tomorrow. A friend is driving me out there, and I'm going to try and get the car started so I can at least drive home and take it to a garage nearby to fix. As it is, it's miles away from home and from anywhere near a garage. I'm not even sure how I'm going to get it home, since AAA doesn't pay for long distance towing.

And speaking of money, here's a real dilemma. I had money in my wallet. I KNOW it was there because I gave the Boy some of it to take to the store to get something to munch on. He came back, left me some change which I left on my desk. Both the money in my wallet and the money on my desk are missing. He had friends over, but I don't think they would have taken it. I don't know. All I know is, I'm now penniless until the end of the month because that was all the money I had. I honestly have nothing in the bank, nothing in my wallet, nothing anywhere. I've got a couple of things up on Ebay, so if anyone needs a winter jacket for middle school kids, I've got two I'm selling. So far, no bids either.

I've got a bunch more stuff to list, but the batteries on my camera are dead, and I have no money. My life is such suckage these days. I swear it, every time I try to get ahead I fall further behind.

UPDATE: Not only did he not do the dishes, he did not take the garbage to the curb. Why? Because he didn't feel like it. Honest, that's what he said. How pissed am I? SOOOO pissed. No computer for two weeks. That kid has to be the laziest human being in the entire world. Who is going to marry him?

So what do YOU have to complain about. Let it rip in the comments.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Let's Get Ready For Wednesday Night

Here's a bit of help for those of you who aren't familiar with the Red Sox theme song "Tessie" by the Dropkick Murphys.

Now you can sing along:

"Tessie" by the Dropkick Murphys

Tessie is the Royal Rooters rally cry
Tessie is the tune they always sung
Tessie echoed April through October nights
After serenading Stahl, Dinneen and Young
Tessie is a maiden with a sparkling eye
Tessie is a maiden with a love
She doesn't know the meaning of her sight
She's got a comment full of love
And sometimes when the game is on the line
Tessie always carried them away
Up the road from "Third Base" to Huntington
The boys will always sing and sway

Two! Three! Four!

Tessie, "Nuf Ced" McGreevey shouted
We're not here to mess around
Boston, you know we love you madly
Hear the crowd roar to your sound
Don't blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn't live without you
Tessie, you are the only only only

The Rooters showed up at the grounds one day
They found their seats had all been sold
McGreevey led the charge into the park
Stormed the gates and put the game on hold
The Rooters gave the other team a dreadful fright
Boston's tenth man could not be wrong
Up from "Third Base" to Huntington
They'd sing another victory song

Two! Three! Four!

Tessie, "Nuf Ced" McGreevey shouted
We're not here to mess around
Boston, you know we love you madly
Hear the crowd roar to your sound
Don't blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn't live without you
Tessie, you are the only only only

The Rooters gave the other team a dreadful fright
Boston's tenth man could not be wrong
Up from "Third Base" to Huntington
They'd sing another victory song

Two! Three! Four!

Tessie, "Nuf Ced" McGreevey shouted
We're not here to mess around
Boston, you know we love you madly
Hear the crowd roar to your sound
Don't blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn't live without you
Tessie, you are the only only only
Don't blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn't live without you
Boston, you are the only only only
Don't blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn't live without you
Red Sox, you are the only only only

Just when you thought you knew how to serenade the Sox, here's another ditty you need to learn:

"Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond

Where it began
I cant begin to knowin
But then I know its growin strong

Was in the spring
And spring became the summer
Whod have believed youd come along

Hands, touchin hands
Reachin out
Touchin me
Touchin you

Sweet caroline
Good times never seemed so good
Ive been inclined
To believe they never would

But now i
Look at the night
And it dont seem so lonely
We fill it up with only two
And when I hurt
Hurtin runs off my shoulders
How can I hurt when Im with you

Warm, touchin warm
Reachin out
Touchin me
Touchin me

Sweet caroline
Good times never seemed so good
Ive been inclined
To believe they never would
Oh, no, no

Sweet caroline
Good times never seemed so good
Ive been inclined
I believed they never could
Sweet caroline

And lastly, you must be able to sing this classic song that Boston holds dear to it's collective heart:

"Dirty Water" by the Standells

I'm gonna tell you a story
I'm gonna tell you about my town
I'm gonna tell you a big bad story, baby
Aww, it's all about my town

Yeah, down by the river
Down by the banks of the river Charles (aw, that's what's happenin' baby)
That's where you'll find me
Along with lovers, fuggers, and thieves (aw, but they're cool people)
Well I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston, you're my home (oh, you're the Number One place)
Frustrated women (I mean they're frustrated)
Have to be in by twelve o'clock (oh, that's a shame)
But I'm wishin' and a-hopin, oh
That just once those doors weren't locked (I like to save time for
my baby to walk around)
Well I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston, you're my home (oh, yeah)

Because I love that dirty water
Oh, oh, Boston, you're my home (oh, yeah)

Well, I love that dirty water (I love it, baby)
I love that dirty water (I love Baw-stun)
I love that dirty water (Have you heard about the Strangler?)
I love that dirty water (I'm the man, I'm the man)
I love that dirty water (Owww!)
I love that dirty water (Come on, come on)

Now you're ready to become an official Boston Red Sox fan. Get yourself a new Boston ALCS shirt in red, the official color. If you don't have a Sox hat yet (and why don't you?), here's the spot to shop for all your Red Sox needs.

Get a lot of sleep the next couple of nights, because you're going to need every ounce of energy you have to cheer on the Sox. You can do it!

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Can you say "World Series"? I can!

Holy crap. It looked like we were down for the count only a few days ago. But my beloved Red Sox do not shy away from a challenge. In fact, they relish a comeback. Remember the playoffs in 2004? Well, they did it again this year. Cleveland was strong, but the Nation is stronger. The Nation will be going to the World Series and I will be in a baseball daze for days to come.

I'm not afraid of the Rockies. I think it will be a more interesting series than 2004, which was, if you recall, a total sweep. But I don't think that the Rockies have what it takes to beat the Sox. Right now, the Sox are playing at the top of their game. The fact that J.D. Drew, who has been somewhat useless all year, hit a grand slam, shows that they're reaching new heights. Even Dice-K pitched well tonight, despite all of the Nation's fears. And Shilling? Wow, did he step up to the plate yesterday. Coco Crisp continues to disappoint, but Ellesbury has been an excellent replacement.

I love baseball. No, can you tell? From April until the fall, I live and breath the Red Sox. I don't even know why this game has such a hold on me. I mean, I'm so not the type to spend hours watching sports of any kind on TV. I don't even watch the Olympics. I find most TV sports coverage to be terribly annoying. I don't like the announcers, I don't like the sob stories, I don't like the beer commercials. But baseball? Watching Papi in his silly poncho and swim goggles before the champaign starts to flow. Watching Manny grin like a little boy as another batter runs home. Seeing the whole team crowd onto the field jumping like little boys when they win the pennant. It's magical. It's American. It's apple pie. And I love it. It brings me to tears watching teammates hug each other. It's the ultimate American melting pot: Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, and Whites all hugging each other with such joy.

For me, baseball is a family sport. It isn't a guy's domain at all. Little kids come with their moms to the ball park, eager to root on their favorite team. Everyone singing "Tessie" together, people in the stands hugging their neighbors. Maybe football and basketball are like this, but I don't think so. Baseball is the game that becomes the great equalizer. It has fans from every nationality, every age group. It isn't gender specific. It's just amazingly fun to watch and participate in.

We're going to the world series. We're going to the World Series AGAIN. My kids will never know the pain of rooting for a team that never wins. It's a great sport, and the Sox are a great team. Thank you Tito, for providing me with such great entertainment and such hope. Thank you Josh Beckett for winning the MVP. Thank you Red Sox for winning the American League Championship. I love you all.

Let's Go Red Sox!

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Love my FIOS, hate my router

We've been having internet woes for days now. At first I thought it might be due to the nasty storm we had, with hail and high winds and lots of pouring down rain. But that didn't seem to be it, so I decided I would have to bit the bullet and call Verizon. I dread calling that company with every fiber of my being. They are horrible. They have a voice trail that goes from one option to another, and you never want any of those options.

When you dial their repair number, you get the electronic voice asking you if you want to purchase services. No matter what you say, they want to know what you want to buy. This is their tech support number, but it's voice response hell. You push button after button, say Yes and No louder and louder, and yet you never get what you want. It takes forever.

So of course, I had an audience while I was trying for the 3rd time to get thru to Verizon. The Boy came home from getting in trouble (more on that later) with two friends, who were enjoying me screaming into the phone "Give me frigging TECH SUPPORT", all to no avail. I finally got a tech support person, and was talking to him about all the things we had already tried, hoping that he would not ask me to please reboot the router and the computer. I knew that wasn't going to help. So eventually he figured out that my router was dying, and did some finagling to keep us on the server at Verizon to bypass the router. Did you even know that was an option? I didn't.

Now the internet seems to be working well, and I can finally catch up on my reading. I'm sorry that I've been skipping so many blogs for the last few days, but I've had bad internet and a bad life and that seems to interfere with my desire to read blogs.

The Boy got caught today playing on the roof of some overpriced bath store up the street. The store called the police, and the police called me. All the kids got the parental phone call. I am so not pleased. We have been through the "no playing on roofs" speech several times, starting when he used to jump off the roof of the subway station in town in 6th grade. You would think he would know better, but as he and his friends say, "Everyone plays on the roofs". Unfortunately they happened to get caught at it. Dumbasses. I don't think anything will come of the police report, but if it does, I'm going to go ballistic. The police in our town are one step from Gestapo officers when it comes to kids. They love to prosecute kids. LOVE IT.

Didn't get to see the Girl this weekend due to dead car, which is still sitting in the parking lot of her placement. I may not get there until Wednesday, which sucks. She's feeling a LOT better though, more relaxed and less stressed and miserable.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

A different kind of tests

Usually, at least to me, tests mean medical tests. We have a lot of those in our family, medical tests. Way more than anyone with any sense would bother with, in fact. But they are a fact of our lives.

However, that's not what's on my mind today. Today I'm thinking about the other kind of tests, the kind that test your academic knowledge. Remember those?

The Boy took the PSAT this morning. Getting him up was quite the chore, but he eventually got his butt out of bed, walked to school eating fresh cranberry orange bread that his loving mom made him, and took the test. When he got home, the first words out of his mouth were "that was so easy." We'll see, but knowing that he didn't struggle at all with a standardized test that doesn't allow accomodations was great. Usually he takes his tests untimes in small groups with special education staff proctoring. This time he didn't, and he was fine with it, which means that he can probably do the SAT with no accomodations. I'm very happy about that.

Also, the Girl's MCAS test scores from last year came in the mail today. She's in the first class that has to pass the new science segment of the test, and from what the Boston Globe wrote a week or so back when the test scores were released, the class of 2010 isn't all that proficient in science. In our school, 88% of the kids passed with at least a 'needs improvement' but far fewer were deemed proficient or advanced.

When the Girl took the test last spring, she came home fairly despondant feeling like she had failed the test. She had done well in her physics class and she's always been a very good science student, but she doesn't have a lot of confidence in her ability to do well on standardized tests. However, her score on the MCAS was wonderful. She did extremely well, not only passing, but on the cusp of an advanced score. I was so excited for her, and so proud. When I told her today about her score she was incredulous. She honestly couldn't believe that she not only passed, but did very well.

Testing was good news today. News we really needed.

Now I'm waiting for the Sox game to begin. CHB is being interviewed by those morons on Fox, Coco Crisp is a goner, Jacoby Ellsberg is in, Shilling looks to be in decent form, and the Nation is all praying. We have to win tonight, or we're out of the World Series. We're pumped here in Boston.

I'm making a huge pot of chili, and I'm psyched for the game to start. I really miss the Girl.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Try and top this. Go ahead, try!

I have had the worst day today. I mean, maybe one of the worst days ever. Like in my entire life. I just cannot even begin to process how much everything is sucking. I know, this whole week seems horrible, the month seems worse, the year has been a disaster.... I know it. I swear it, I'm not looking for trouble, trouble just finds me.

So anyhow, I get up at 6:30 this morning to get the Boy out of bed and ready for school. Then I get ready to go and bring the Girl stuff at her placement, and to sign her in. Now, you know that I have the world's most unreliable, old piece of crap automobile in the world. And you know that I rarely drive anywhere, especially on the highway. So, I get in the car and start heading towards the hospital, which you get to by taking the highway. Lovely.

I arrive at the hospital after going up and down one street FOUR freaking times looking for it, but true to Masshole signage, I'm on the wrong roads time and time again. This place is in the back woods and it is HARD to find. Finally, I stop a guy in a pumpkin patch and ask where the hell the place is, and it's right down another road which isn't marked at all. You just cannot believe how complicated this was, typical of New England road suckage.

They tell me to go to the blue awning, and so I pick up the Girl's duffle bag and trudge all the way up to the blue awning to be rudely told I was in the wrong place. Delightful introduction! I get back in the car, drive down this long driveway to the right building, park the car in a handicap place, and once again drag out the duffel bag and trudge up to the stairs. This time the people are markedly nicer. I fill out the forms, sign my life away, visit with the Girl for a bit, and then leave as I have a doctor's appointment in Boston that I have to get to.

Except the car is dead. Defunct. Gasped it's last breath. Gone but not forgotten. Back I go into the placement, and ask if they can get me a taxi voucher. Nope, they cannot. I freak out because this doctor's appoint CAN NOT be missed, it's with a specialist that rarely sees patients as she mostly does research, and with her genetics team. I MUST get there.

I call a friend I know is leaving for Poughkipsee and get her husband. I tell him what's going on, he says he'll pick me up (bless him) and take me to the hospital. Phew. He must have booked it down the highway because he got there in no time, and we got to the hospital only 15 minutes late. I had called to tell them I would be late, so they were still around.

I have not yet eaten anything and it's 11:45.

My blood pressure is through the roof. I tell the doctor about the stress I'm experiencing and how hard everything is. We talk about me, a favorite topic, and not about the kids. I love her. I am so tired of talking about the kids all the time. They're nuts, get over it. After the exam I meet with the genetics team and go off on this huge tangent about how I'm so frigging sick of the whole Pink campaign and how come nobody understands what it means to like with heart disease. I'm on a freaking roll. I bet they thought I was insane. I don't care.

Then the genetics team has me read this huge long form about blood used for research, and what I will and won't allow, and how they should or shouldn't contact me with information beyond my own genetic disease, blah blah blah. I sign here and there, and we go get the bloodwork done. 5 vials later, I'm free to go. But I don't have any way to get home except the dreaded T.

Let me explain. My line is divided into sub-lines. Each sub-line goes to a different place, so you have to be on the right letter to get to where you want to go. I live on the D. The hospital is on the E. I have to walk to the train, get on the inbound line to the city, and then change at a station that has both D and E stops. On the subway map, it looks like Copley is the right station. But when I get to Copley, which is under construction as is most of the T these days, there is now way to get from E to D unless I go upstairs and pay again to get into the subway. Not likely!

So I go more inbound to Arlington, and there I'm able to change lines without paying. But... this station is also under construction, so when you used to be able to walk across the tracks from one train to another, now you have to go up and down large flights of stairs. I've already walked my limit, but I drag myself up the stairs, over the bridge, and down the stairs to wait for the train. In a station which has no air at all, and is about 90 degrees and 100% humidity. Lovely. I ask some woman to move over so I can sit, and she gives me a harumph and a filthy look, but moves.

I'm underground in the pit of hell and a B train comes. Then a C train comes. Then another B train comes. And an E train. But is there a D train? No, there is not. I wait and wait. Crowds come and go.

Finally, a D train. I get on, actually get a seat, and sit in air conditioned splendor. Of the new additions to the T experience is a voice telling you what the next stop is, and what door will be opening. The stops were right, the doors were wrong about 75% of the time. If he said left, you went to the right side door. It was sad. How hard is it to tell the left from the right?

Finally, my stop. Life is looking up. I get off the train, and go up to the taxi stand. There are always taxis there. Always. Except today. Today there were no taxis at all. I wait and wait. Nope, no taxis. I call home and tell the Boy to call me a cab. I wait and wait some more. Then a black Lexus pulls up and this handsome boy screams out, "Hey, are you The Boy's mother?" I say "yes" and he tells me that the Boy called him to come and pick me up. He takes me home where I discover that the Boy has a ton of friends over. I shoo them away because I am too exhausted to play hostess with the mostess right now. All I want to do is collapse and cry.

And that, my friends, was my day. It started at 6:30 and not one thing went right until 4 pm. Really, top that!

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They found a placement tonight around 9 pm. She was transferred there and I have to go in tomorrow morning bright and early to do the paperwork. When I talked to her on the phone, she sounded quite chipper, so I think she's just happy she got what she wanted. I'm not sure she has any clue of what she's in for, but she asked, no she begged for a break and now she's going to get one. Meanwhile, the Boy.... oy vey! Talk about instant decompensation. I knew it was coming, but geesh. Can't a girl get a freaking break?

I did get some sleep, sleeping through the entire Red Sox game unless the Boy woke me up to see some play or other. So you know how tired I was, sleeping through this horribly important game. This is very rare. I'm going back to bed, hopefully to get more sleep. Then I'll be able to face tomorrow.

After I see the Girl, I have a doctor's appointment with my new hypertrophic cardiomyopathy specialist. I'm psyched to finally have the appointment, but I'd really like it to be another day. However, she's so busy with research that she only sees patients one day/week, and if I cancelled tomorrow, I probably couldn't get in until next spring. Not willing to wait.

Thanks for the good wishes. We'll work through this, and we'll be OK, but boy...right now it's very very hard.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Quick Girl Update

We went to the hospital today at 10:30, and at 5:15, when I left to go home, we still didn't have a solid plan. She's probably going to stay overnight at the local pediatric ER and then we'll know tomorrow what's going on.

Suffice it to say my hair is grayer today than it was yesterday, and as she was talking to the various therapists and insurance people today, I learned a lot more about what is going on and man, it ain't pretty. Much of it I knew, some of it I suspected, but there's always that bit that you just don't suspect that comes up to bite you in the ass.

I'm exhausted. I didn't sleep last night at all, so I'm close to zombie-esque right now. I'm going to try and sleep a bit between the phone calls coming in. The one thing about having such a huge mental health support system is that all the therapists like to check in. Often. I appreciate that they do, but I'm so tired that it's almost painful to talk to them.

So that's where things stand right now.

Of course, just as I predicted, the Boy had a particularly bad day today at school, with the program director calling me to ask me if he should send him home. But I was already gone and at the hospital. Too bad, so NOT sad. He had to spend the whole day in school. Heh.

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Depression spreads it's ugly wings

Wednesday was not one of the best days on record. It started with a terrifically sad funeral, a bench warming with my BFF as she talked about her dying husband's upcoming funeral, family therapy that went terribly awry, and the Girl talking to me about some very serious stuff that has to be dealt with asap.

My worries about the Girl were not unfounded. She is having a lot of issues, most of which I can't discuss, and she needs immediate action. Her schoolwork is being affected, she's not eating, she's terribly unhappy which translates into her being a walking advertisement for PMS 24/7, and she's miserable. Her friends are all having big problems, BIG problems, and she's far to empathetic and takes on their issues. It is affecting her to the point where she feels she's not functioning.

Teenagers. A bundle of emotions that misfire all day long. It is terribly difficult to parent them. Even the ones that talk to their parents and their therapists and tell us that they're hurting beyond normality. They are filled with such angst, such fury. I try to think back to those times for myself, and they are clouded by the presence of drugs, so I honestly can't remember feeling this bad. But I know I did. It's clearly documented in my psychological profile.

Depression runs deep in our family. I can't think of a single person in my biological family who was not visited by the depression fairy on a regular basis. When I decided to have kids, I knew the odds of bipolar disorder and clinical depression were off the charts high. I knew the possibility of bringing more depressed people into this already depressed world. But knowing and experiencing on a daily basis are two very different things.

My kids hurt and I'm powerless to do anything beyond what is already available for them. Medication? The Girl refuses to take any of it. She's got a serious thing about pills and no matter what I say, what her therapists say, we can't seem to get beyond her will. Hospitalization? We're going to look into it. But the chances are slim because she honestly isn't a danger to herself or others, although she's close on several points. That's pretty much it.

Unlike her brother, who presents classic symptoms for bipolar disorder, the Girl keeps it together better and doesn't get in other people's space, so she's regarded as OK. But she's not OK right now, and I'm terribly worried. I'm worried about her, obviously, but I'm also worried about the Boy. For all his bitching about her, mostly justified, he adores her and when she's not around he declines fairly rapidly. He worries terribly about her. He worries about me, but he worries more about her. He doesn't express it well, but he does, and it scares me.

So we're in a holding pattern until I can find something for the Girl. She needs to be out of the house for a week or so. Now. She needs to be out of school and to decompress before she explodes. She's talking to me now, but she may not tomorrow, and she absolutely needs to be in a safe place immediately.

Meanwhile, I am so exhausted mentally I'm barely functioning.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I think it's time to panic!

Ouch! That was painful. 3-1. Damn!

I guess I can be a Rockies fan. I went to school in Boulder. I'm allowed. But I will hate Cleveland forever. Especially some creepy guy named Blake who looks just a bit too much like a demented Abe Lincoln. Those eyes are demonic.

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The Reincarnationist

I've just posted a review of M.J. Rose's latest novel, The Reincarnationist, on my review blog. This was a pretty interesting read, so check out the review.
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Slowly crawling uphill, one step at a time

I still have a migraine. It isn't going anywhere anytime soon. It's now trying to be my new best friend, but I refuse to allow it. I don't like this migraine. I want it to go away. It makes me miserable.

But, I'm feeling better otherwise. I got out of bed, showered and got dressed before 2 pm, which is a huge improvement. That's how bad it was. I also left the house, which was an interesting adventure. I took the Boy to his pdoc appt and barely bothered to get pissy at him, even though he was unpleasant and snippy. By the time we were done with the appt., he had calmed down a bit and came to CVS with me to pick up prescriptions. Many many prescriptions. Prescriptions for the entire family. Because we're real party people over here. We love the drugs!

Midterm reports arrived today. Let us just say that some people think homework is optional. It isn't. We'll be addressing this issue often in the next few days. Fun!

Also, some people have a different idea of cleanliness than I do. Believe me, I'm no clean freak. I can tolerate a pretty disgusting level of slovenliness before I go ballistic. But there are things I will not tolerate. Not at all. Like, if an animal tips over the garbage, I feel strongly that the garbage should be cleaned up. Some people disagree. However, since I am the boss, and I control the money, there isn't much discussion. Getting it cleaned up might take a bit of prodding, but it will be cleaned.

The Red Sox better freaking win tonight. I cannot tolerate another night of "Cleveland Rocks". I mean, who but Drew Carey likes that song? I need to hear the Standells sing "Love that Dirty Water" because I'm getting mega depressed with the Old Towne Team. Papi's knee can't take many more games. We need to win to save Papi's knee.

Other Bloggers: Please stop posting about lice. I'm sorry you have lice in your house, but those posts make me itch uncontrollably and I can't stand it. OK?

Did anyone watch the new series on PBS about the heart? The first episode, which dealt with heart transplants, scared the crap out of me. But it was interesting to see how sick the people were who got transplants.

Just heard that a woman we really liked from shul died. Funeral tomorrow at 11. Man, that came out of nowhere. I mean, she was sick, and she was at rehab, but while I was talking to my BFF as I was typing this post, she got the phone call. Unexpected. Very sad.

Oh, and see that nice little ad at the top of my right sidebar? Could you please click it and take the Blogher survey? That would be so nice!

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Let's just get a few things straight, OK?

First, I have felt like complete and total shit for the past couple of weeks. I don't have the energy to get out of bed, never mind read a lot of blogs and comment. I'm tired, I'm in foul humor, I hate life and I'm pretty annoyed with the world right now. And the freaking Red Sox are not making me feel any better. They better get their frigging act together NOW because I'm not going to be happy with one more screwup.

OK, moving on.

To my children:
Perhaps you are confused about role playing in our home. I am the parent. That means I make the rules, I enforce the rules, I tell you what to do. You are the child. I don't care that you are 15 and feel like a contemporary of mine. You are not. You are my child, you do what I say, you follow MY rules, and you don't argue with me about how unfair your life is because you have to empty the frigging dishwasher. Just shut up and DO IT.

Also, while we're on the subject of doing what you are told, you do not get to tell me to shut up, shut the fuck up, fuck off, or anything similar when I ask you to do a chore you are scheduled to do. You do not get to tell me you'll do it later, tomorrow, when you feel like it. You do it when I say to, and you do it without the mouth. Because if you don't, I'm sure that someone somewhere is interested in adopting a 15 year old lazy brat with a foul mouth and a worse attitude. Shall we try?

To my landlady:
If the toilet backs up three times in 2 weeks, and it's had a history of backing up since we moved in 3 years ago, and you TOLD me to call the plumber next time it happens, you do not get to tell me that I'm to pay the plumber. Um, nope. That's not how it works. Your toilet, your tree roots clogging up the sewers, not my problem. I don't pay your plumber. You do.

To my primary care doctor:
I am tired of having to have blood tests every week. I don't want to do this anymore. Leave me alone and go play dracula with someone else.

To my bank of cardiologists:
If you want me to come and see you, how about opening up an appointment before February. I can't get by your office drones. They keep telling me they can't book an oppointment before 2008. I keep telling them that you want to see me sooner. We are at an impasse. I remain in bed until you stop the stalemate and clear your schedule for me. Because I am special.

To my head:
Stop with the migraines already. I can't take anything for them. So stop it. It isn't funny. I'm tired of laying in bed in pain. I do not enjoy wearing the same PJs for days at a time. Leave me alone and go pick on someone who can take medication. Bye!

To my cleaning person:
If I can see cobwebs on my dining room light fixture and on the ballastrades going up the stairs, you are not doing your job well. Please dust! I can't breathe with this much dust.

To everyone else:
Eventually I will feel better and regain my personality. Until then, be glad I'm not visiting your blog and being crabby.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Sustainable Seafood Helps Oceans Revive

When it came to posting about the environment today for Blog Action Day, there were so many things I wanted to write about, it was difficult to narrow it down to one topic. I wanted to discuss plastic in the ocean and how there is a vortex in the Pacific with mountains of plastic garbage twirling around waiting to harm sea birds and sea life. I wanted to talk about zone creep due to global warming, where native plants are being decimated by newer species never able to grow in climate zones before, and how this affects wildlife. There were household hints I wanted to give you about how to live a greener life to help the earth survive. But today I'm going to talk about sustainable seafood, seafood that can be eaten that will not decimate species.

Around the world many traditional fisheries are threatened with collapse, due to unsustainable fishing practices and habitat destruction. Where I live, in New England, many native species have been literally fished out, meaning that there are not enough of the fish left for any fishing of the species. Not only does this affect the fish population, but it has a second negative affect of creating poverty and hardship amongst the professional fishing population. In Massachusetts, there are many towns that rely on the fishing industry, and with fish populations dwindling and dying out, those towns are experiencing a rise in unemployment, poverty, and terrible hardship.

Fish comprise the world’s largest wild food harvest and provide a vital source of protein as well as livelihoods for many families. Globally, more than 120 million people are dependent on fish for all or part of their incomes, particularly in developing countries (www.fao.org/gender/en/fish-e.htm). Animals such as whales, dolphins and seabirds also rely on fish for their food. Fish are a vital part of marine ecosystems and are key to the essential services that these systems provide (e.g., global nutrient cycling).

It is troubling that over the last century commercial fisheries have drastically reduced fish populations and altered the world’s marine ecosystems. On a global level, most fisheries are poorly managed and fish stocks have been fully exploited (52%), over-exploited (16%), or depleted (7%). The world’s capture fisheries peaked in the late 1980s and, despite increased fishing efforts, catch rates have dropped. More hours on the water for fishermen have yielded fewer and fewer fish.

Put simply, what we take out of the ocean as seafood or bycatch is greater than what the ocean can sustainably provide. We are not only facing a decline in the capacity of our oceans to provide a sustainable food source but we are destroying the basic ecological processes and food chains that we and marine life depend on.

While the overall catch from the world’s oceans appears to be maintained at a high level, this does not mean that catches are sustainable. High levels of catch have been maintained as commercial fleets move to new, previously unexploited species or areas, once their original target stock is depleted. This “sequential depletion” of marine organisms has been masked until recently by improved technology, expansion to different or deeper parts of the ocean, and over-reporting of fish catches for political reasons by some national fisheries organizations. All the while, previously undesirable species, often lower on food chains, are marketed to consumers.

Some fisheries, however, remain healthy and productive due to succesful management, responsible harvesting and advances in contained fish farming.

You can help support sustainable fisheries with the choices you make at the restaurant or the seafood counter. Choosing sustainable seafood is a simple and effective action that you can take every time you eat at a restaurant or buy seafood. Whether you are an individual shopping for your family, a chef buying for your restaurant, or a supplier sourcing from fishing communities, your choices count. Voting with your wallet sends a strong signal to government and industry leaders, telling them that you support responsible stewardship of our natural marine resources. The following chart is an easy guide to follow when you are shopping for seafood. However, it is not regionally based. If you are interested in regional lists showing which seafood is native to your area, see here for the West Coast, here for the North East, here for Hawaii, here for the South East, see here for the Central US, and here for the South West.

Better Choices

Catfish (farmed)
Crab: Blue, Dungeness, King

Halibut (Pacific)

Herring (Pacific)
Mackerel: Atlantic, Spanish
Mussels (Black, Green-lipped)
Octopus (Pacific)
Oysters (farmed)
Pacific Black Cod (sablefish)
Pacific Cod (pot or jig caught)
Prawns (trap-caught, Pacific)
Rock Lobster
Salmon (Wild Alaskan)
Scallops (Bay - farmed)
Shrimp (US farmed)
Squid (Pacific)
Striped Bass (farmed)
Sturgeon (farmed)
Tilapia (farmed)
Tuna: Pacific Albacore
Uni (sea urchin)

Moderate Risk

Flounder: "Summer Flounder" Fluke

Lobster (Atlantic)
Mahi Mahi or Dorado
Octopus (Atlantic)
Prawns (US farmed or wild)
Rainbow Trout (farmed)

Salmon (wild from WA, OR, BC Canada)
Salmon (farmed from Chile or WA)
Scallops (Sea, Bay wild)
Shrimp (domestic, trawl-caught)
Snow Crab
Squid (Atlantic)
Swordfish (Pacific)
Tuna: Yellowfin or skipjack

Best to Avoid

Alaska King Crab
Atlantic Cod
Caviar (wild sturgeon)
Haddock (Atlantic)
Halibut (Atlantic)

Hoki (Atlantic, New Zealand)

Orange Roughy
Pacific Rockfish (Rock Cod)

Prawns (imported, tiger)

Red Snapper
Salmon (farmed from Scotland or Faroe Islands)
Seabass: Chilean
Shark: all species
Sturgeon (wild)
Swordfish (Atlantic)
Tuna: Bluefin
Yellowtail Flounder

If I can convince you to only eat seafood from the list of best choices, you will be helping to save our depleted oceans. I know, it's difficult to avoid certain fish when you go out for sushi, but bring a list with you (printable lists available from the Monterey Bay Aquarium) and only choose from the seafoods that are sustainable.

Please support the Magnuson-Stevens Act by visiting this site and sending this message to your congressional representatives.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Trot, I hardly knew ya

Today Red Sox nation is in a somber mood. We're tired. Very very tired. The game last night was 4.5 hours long, and it started at 8:25. That would make it about 1:30 before we got to bed, and when we finally did break free of the television, it was with heavy hearts. That other team, the one with the horribly offensive logo on their hats? They came alive in the 11th inning after an old and beloved friend, Trot Nixon, broke the tie that had lasted several innings, and opened the flood gates. After Trot's hit, Cleveland went wild and scored 7 runs in the top of the 11th. It was painful. Very very painful. Trot is our friend. He's one of the good guys. When he left the Red Sox this past winter, we were sad to see him go. And look how he returns the favor.

OK, obviously he has to play hard for his new team, but really. Does he have to take their logo so seriously and lead a massacre against the Sox?

I'm taking this personally.

I honestly like Cleveland, the city. It's a really great city. It has the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, which, if you have never been, you MUST go, especially if you're a baby boomer. Jacobs Field, where the Indians play, is huge and new and has Kosher food stands! Cleveland has a vibrant Jewish community. It's a nice place to live. Real estate is about half that of Boston. It's close to Chicago and New York. They have a good art museum. They're on a lake. OK, they also have a river that occasionally catches fire. That's a problem. But all in all, it's a fine place.

But those Indians. I'm not loving them.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Pink is beginning to stink

I'm not happy this month. I'm so freaking tired of Breast Cancer Awareness month. It's terribly overdone and the commercialism behind it bothers me. No, I don't think breast cancer is anything to take lightly. My mother is a survivor. My BFF is a survivor. But honestly, enough is enough. The news has a new segment every time it's on, sometimes 7 or 8 times a day. Really, do we need this much information about breast cancer? It's not like it's the major killer of women. It's not even close to heart disease, which is the major killer of women, and yet you don't see a bazillion segments on heart disease, do you?

The deal is, 25% more women are surviving breast cancer than they were 10 years ago. The survival rate for Stage 1 and 2 breast cancer is up to 98%. It is now a curable disease. Although many women get breast cancer, statistics now say 1 in 6 women, the fact of the matter is that women survive breast cancer in larger numbers than any other cancer.

So what about the other cancers? Women get all sorts of cancers. Ovarian, cervical, stomach, pancreatic, lung, head and neck, bone, and blood cancers. Why don't we hear about them? Why is breast cancer so freaking commercial? What is with the pink blenders and the pink rolling pins? Does this really help in raising money for breast cancer research? Or does it raise just enough to make a fat profit for the companies selling the products?

I'm not trying to belittle breast cancer. I know it's a serious and debilitating disease that does, when not caught in time, kill women. I've got that. But I can't abide the fact that every freaking program on TV is discussing breast cancer when, at the very same time, women are dying of heart disease in much larger numbers. Why aren't we focussing on what actually kills women instead of commercializing a disease that most women survive?

There are so many other chronic diseases that are continually ignored. I don't understand how we let breast cancer become such a 'hip' cause when there are so many other illness to focus upon. I don't think I'd mind Breast Cancer Awareness Day or even Breast Cancer Awareness Week, but do we really need a whole month of these special reports? Honestly, aren't you feeling overdosed by all the pink?

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cleveland school shooting media massacre

No secret here, I'm very unhappy with the media when it comes to reporting the school shooting yesterday in Cleveland. I don't understand why this incident, like every other school incident, has to be sensationalized to the point where the information is vastly distorted. This drives me absolutely bonkers for very personal reasons. I have a child with a mental illness. My child could easily be described by reporters just like Asa Coon, the shooter in yesterday's tragedy. The difference in a nutshell: my child receives a lot of help and has absolutely NO access to guns or money to buy weapons. Otherwise, my kid has been suicidal, has been in trouble in school, has had conflicts with teachers (like most teenagers), and has bickered with other students. So yes, I take it personally when I hear the descriptions of Coon that make him sound deranged. But what I really am angry about is that it is questioned by certain reporters (Chris Cuomo in particular) as to why Coon was allowed in that 'special' school for high achieving kids.

Um, unless I'm mistaken, and I know for a fact that I am not, there is nothing that separates giftedness from mental illness. In fact, many highly gifted kids have mental and emotional problems. They tend to go hand in hand, in fact. If Coons was academically eligible for a magnet school for the gifted, then he got to go. It's called FAPE. A Free and Appropriate Public Education. It's part of federal law. Discrimination against the mentally ill is also illegal. A child with mental illness is just as eligible for schooling as a child with a physical disability, or a completely normal child. A child is a child in the US, and they are all eligible for FAPE. For Coons, who apparently was academically gifted, entrance into a magnet school was appropriate. That he wasn't given help within the school is another matter, but that's not Coon's fault. It's the fault of the Cleveland schools that failed to provide help for a child with a record of mental illness and violence. Which, unfortunately, seems to be the norm within many public schools in the USA.

What bugs me is that the media glosses over these facts and paints a picture of this child as evil and demonic when in fact he was probably desperate, miserable, and mentally ill. He had a history of suicidal tendencies. That alone marks him as being depressed. He had a history of violence. That gives further credence towards a diagnosis of mental illness. He was lonely, out of place in an almost all black school as a white student, and evidently had access to weapons. These are serious warning signs that were ignored. But is this Coon's fault, or the fault of the mental health and school officials that should have been watching him carefully.

As the parent of a bipolar child, one who has been violent in the past, one who is academically gifted beyond what most public schools can handle, one who has plenty of wacky behaviors, it is my responsibility to ensure that my child not only receive an appropriate education, but one that includes accommodating his mental illness. In our school system, this is easily accomplished within the local public school. Our school has many programs within the school called 'small community' programs. Both of my kids are in small community programs. My son has a therapist that comes to the school weekly. His program is run by a psychologist that specializes in kids with behavior issues. There are group meetings that deal with school stresses, and the kids can be completely isolated within the program if they are unable to deal with the larger school community, or they can take all their classes outside the program if they are doing well enough to deal with the rigors of a very challenging school program. My son does a combination, taking most but not all of his classes outside of the program. But because he is in the program, he is watched very carefully and I am in almost daily contact with the program director about how his school day went, his successes as well as his screw-ups. My son is by no means alone as being bipolar and able to manage a large public school successfully. There are 25 kids in his program alone, as well as plenty of other kids in other small community programs within our school. Because those kids are so closely monitored, any incident that could lead to violence within the school is most likely averted before it gets out of hand.

Yes, this is expensive and unfortunately isn't always fail safe. But the level of parental involvement, the inclusion of the state department of mental health and the local mental health center that provides in school therapy, and the inclusion of trained psychologists to run the program provide a lot of insurance that the kids are less likely to act out inappropriately.

Parenting a child with a mental illness is a full time job. Every day is different, every day might be dangerous, crazy, or just plain normal. You never know. But what I do know is that because MY child has a program within our public school that works with his therapist, me, and our family therapist, I know that he is safer and happier than he would be in any other type of setting.

Often people deride me for living in such an expensive area. Many bloggers have gotten on my case and been totally asinine about me moving to a less expensive area and calling me irresponsible for staying here. I stay here for this program and this school system. I stay here to protect my children from bad schools and bad school officials that don't care about mental illness and offer no protection for my children. I stay here because I know that this is the best I can do for my children. And nobody can convince me otherwise, despite the ridiculous cost of living. When every high school in the country offers programs equal to or better than the programs my children currently participate in, then I'll leave. Until then, shut the fuck up about how you know better about my economic situation than I do.

As for the media, get your opinions out of your reporting and learn the laws about education within the USA. It's ridiculous that any reporter questions why a child is "allowed" to attend a certain school. FAPE, people. FAPE.

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