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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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Sunday, August 31, 2008

BitchFest Post

For those of you not following this weekend's Bitchfest, volunteers are hosting other posters who want to blog but who need to do so anonymously.




Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Of course no one can make the decision. It's one I have to make in my own time, in my own way. It's just that my way means taking suggestions. So help me out.

My husband and I met when I was still in high school. We dated for three years before we were married. We've had a decade together. Until about nine months ago, I loved him more than life itself. There's never been enough sex, and there are typical couple problems, but we were an epic couple, really.

Then, for the second time since we married, he quit a job without having another job. He fell into a deep depression and did little to nothing to try and find a new job. He took a really demeaning job as the resolution to a deadline I gave him. Then he found a better job. He's lost, though. He doesn't seem to "get it" when it comes to bills and money and work. Our credit is ruined. I live in fear that I will get calls at work, or that we will be sued. We barely make enough to cover our essentials. I thought that this was a temporary setback, that he had found a place where he could hold a steady job, even if it took a little while to get a decent paying permanent position. His job would have ended in November, and he was talking about sitting at the house and collecting unemployment all winter. Then he lost his job. He's kind of looking for a new one. There still isn't enough sex, and he really doesn't seem to understand the depth and the breadth of the situation, or he isn't able to deal with it.

I still love him. I don't want to hurt him. I'm very angry. I'm scared. I can't live the rest of my life this way, and he doesn't seem to understand that. I'm resentful. I work full time and go to school and I have a great job and I make good money and I bust my ass, only to get further and further behind. He feels guilty. He feels bad that I'm so stressed and hurt. It's just enough to keep me from breaking his heart. Right now. I try to feel that love, the way I used to, and I may get a short glimpse at it once and awhile, but it just makes me sad. Not hopeful, like it should.

My friends are divided. The ones who know him well say that they'll support me no matter what I do, but that if we could survive this, we would be better than ever. They're not sure whether he gets it either. No one seems to know what an appropriate amount of time is to give him to see if this is something he'll overcome. If he doesn't get a new job soon, we won't be able to keep our mortgage current. If that isn't a line in the sand, I don't know what is.

I worry about throwing something really special away like yesterday's trash. I worry that I'll regret not leaving, and that in another five years, I'll be that much older. If I can do that. If he can keep a job? I don't know. I just don't know.

My good job means that I make enough money to live on my own. I could probably keep my house, but I don't know if I would do that. Too many bad memories, too far from work and too isolated from people. I wonder if I could get a deal on a bankruptcy and a divorce? Just kidding. I think.

I'm not yet thirty. He's four years older. I'm coming into a lot of confidence, and a lot of success, along with a lot of hard work and a ton of fun. I want an equal partner to share it with. I question my husband's ability to be that partner. My frustration and anger and fear mean that I see him through a veil of resentment. I've asked myself how I would feel if he were suddenly happy in his career and making decent money. I don't have the answer to that question, but I wonder how much of that is resentment and disgust as opposed to the actual absence of love and tenderness.

What would you do if you were me?

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Things change, things stay the same

Weekends are tough. School vacation is tougher. Put them together and we have some seriously conflicted kids and one mom on a very short rope. Fighting has been fierce these past few days, and there seems to be little signs of a truce until....

school starts.

Then all will be OK again. Hopefully.

I am exhausted beyond anything I've experienced in my life. I've worked 48 hours in a row and I just can't do it. I've tried. I really have tried. But all I do is work and sleep. It's not healthy and it's making me so short-tempered and angry that I'm impossible to be around. This level of trying to cram in my entire life into a few short hours/day isn't possible when I'm so exhausted. This weekend I slept 14 hours on Saturday and today another 12. I'm dragging. Nothing is getting done but work and sleep. Nothing. I haven't cooked a meal, I haven't cleaned or did laundry or done virtually anything other than work and sleep.

I knew when I took this job what it would vastly affect my quality of life. I just didn't realize how much it would affect my health. Sitting for so many hours at the computer has caused my edema to ramp up, which affects my breathing and makes me even more tired. It's a vicious cycle that I can't control.

I'm not working tonight, and I've spoken to the "boss" about the hours and we're going to try and adjust them in the next week or so. It's just too much for me. I feel like such a failure, especially after the constant harangues of "everyone can work if they want to." Well, everyone can't work a full time job, even if they DO want to. And I want to. I like this job. It's vastly entertaining, even when it's boring. I don't think I've ever had a job where I've learned so much about human nature in such a short time.

So work is on hold until we can figure out a better time schedule and get it approved. I'm still on board, but it could a while till I get back online. Which is really GOOD news for me, as we have a lot on our plates with school starting this week.

Reading has not been going well for the kids. The Girl has read absolutely nothing, which is no great surprise. The Boy finished (today) Fahrenheit 451, which is required of every kid in the school. I will have to read it out loud to the Girl for her to get it done in time for Thursday. As for the other 2 books they were both required to read....well, not my problem!

Pepper is growing like a weed. She's long and skinny and kinda nuts. She has a couple of really strange things that make her very unique. First, she has a very long tail and often curls it up over her back like a Spitz dog. It's so funny looking. She also is a total licker. She will lick and lick and lick me until I can't stand it anymore. Last night she got under the covers with me and snuggled down my my thighs. She started licking one, than the other leg, than moved up to try and lick my navel, which I am not fond of, then moved on to my stomach, arm, and tried to get into my face to lick my chin and nose. I can't stand the licking on my face. CREEPY. But she will lick and lick for the longest time. Not so much kneading, just licking.

Worthless Pet is feeling much better now, and has taken a bit of a shine to being Pepper's big brother. I wouldn't go so far as to say he actually likes her, but he plays with her and he no longer resists when she gets up in to his face. She's so persistent that I guess he gave up in disgust. Their favorite game is for him to get under the glass coffee table and for her to sit atop it and then they pretend to attack each other. It's pretty funny to watch.

My heart goes out to the people of the Gulf Coast as we all await Gustav's arrival. There is nothing I can say or do, nothing anyone can say or do that will make this storm suspend it's path towards New Orleans. I do pray that the evacuation saves many lives of both people and their pets, and that the government has learned the harsh lessons of Katrina and will be more prepared for the upcoming storm.

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

We have not forgotten

For JP



Firefighters Paul J. Cahill and Warren J. Payne were memorialized yesterday on the one-year anniversary of their deaths with the unveiling of two brass plaques installed on the outside wall of the firehouse, between garage bays where the firetrucks are parked.

"That's the first thing the firefighters are going to see when they back the apparatus in," Ladder 25 Captain Gerald Hogan said.

The ceremony drew about 100 people to the two-story brick building on Centre Street, including about a dozen of Cahill and Payne's family members, who stood gazing at the plaques as the strains of "Amazing Grace" were played on a lone bagpipe.

Dignitaries including Mayor Thomas M. Menino and City Councilor John M. Tobin Jr. joined firefighters' union president Edward Kelly and Kevin P. MacCurtain, the department chief, in making brief remarks.

"Today we all gather to remember that night when two courageous firefighters lost their lives," Menino said. "Firefighters Cahill and Payne gave their supreme sacrifice. We shall never forget. To the fam ilies, we shall never forget you, also."

Cahill and Payne were among the first firefighters to respond to the Tai Ho Mandarin and Cantonese restaurant on Aug. 29, 2007. Grease from the restaurant's kitchen exhaust system had seeped into the ceiling and ignited.

When the firefighters arrived, there were few visible flames and hardly any smoke.

But within minutes the blaze turned deadly.

Payne was killed when a fireball exploded from the ceiling. At 9:06 p.m., Payne's radio sounded a distress signal, indicating he was in mortal danger. Cahill succumbed to smoke inhalation after becoming disoriented in the kitchen.

In a further commemoration, at 9:06 last night, the Fire Department sounded an alarm on its radio system in honor of the men. At the signal, firefighters across the city drove fire engines from their bays and parked outside, lowered flags to half staff, and observed a moment of silence, fire officials said.

A cookout to thank neighborhood residents for their support after the deadly fire was canceled earlier this week by Fire Department brass, who said it was an inappropriate way to memorialize Cahill and Payne.

But yesterday lunch was served nonetheless by Tex's BBQ Express, a Dedham catering company, in a parking lot next to the firehouse, off city property.

One of the employees of Tex's was a friend of Cahill's.

After the plaques' unveiling, family members said they appreciated all that the West Roxbury firefighters had done to remember the two.

"They deserved it, Paul and Warren, and I think [the Engine 30 and Ladder 25 crews] did a nice job," Cahill's widow, Anne, said.

There was no sign of the controversy that has plagued the Fire Department since shortly after the firefighters' deaths, when autopsy results indicated Payne had cocaine in his system and Cahill had a blood-alcohol content of 0.27, more than three times the legal limit to drive in Massachusetts.

City officials and the firefighters' union have been engaged in a bitter contract dispute over the issue of mandatory drug and alcohol testing since the autopsy results became public.

MacCurtain, the chief of the department, focused his sentiments on the other legacies of Cahill and Payne, including a new city law requiring training and certification of all commercial kitchen grease-cleaning companies, the Fire Department's purchase of thermal imaging cameras, and added training on rapid rescue techniques.

"Paul Cahill and Warren Payne deserve nothing less than our utmost respect," MacCurtain said.

"They were lost while serving the people of this city."

from the Boston Globe




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Back To School: When it's not what you planned

Crossposted at Mid-Century Modern Moms

A girl in my son's program has become very friendly with my daughter over the school year. Maybe it's because she's my daughter's boyfriend's sister, maybe it's because she's a nice kid with a lot of things going on and my kid is Ms Empathy. I don't know, but I do know they've grown very close in the past few months.

This girl in going into her senior year of high school. She also just became a mother this past weekend.

At just 17 she had a beautiful baby boy. We went to see him in the hospital just hours after he was born. Oh my, such an adorable little guy.

But the mom? She's not doing well. It's a long involved story with a bad abusive baby daddy and a new boyfriend who can't take the pressure and broke up with her, and parents who just aren't quite with it.

This new mom is planning to go back to school in six weeks. She actually wants to go when school starts next week, but it's not going to happen. I was thinking about her today, thinking about being 17 and a new mom, with a family that's not particularly supportive and a baby daddy that's got some serious issues. She wants to go to college. She wants to make something of herself. She's a good kid that bad things have happened to. And now she's got this teeny baby who is solely dependent on her.

She's going to start school next week with a home tutor and her regular school work. Did you know that new moms still in school are given the same maternity rights as the rest of us moms? She gets 6 weeks of tutoring at home before she's expected to attend school. She's found a daycare that takes infants, and she'll be leaving him during the school day. She'll be a regular kid for about 6 hours a day, and then it's back to being a mommy.

I can't even imagine this. I've thought and thought about it. Right now she's going through a bit of post-partum depression and she's spending a lot of her time crying. She hasn't taken a shower or gotten dressed in 3 days. Her parents haven't suggested that she call her doctor. They don't know. All of their kids are adopted and they have no experience with infants. This girl was 4 when she came to their home.

My heart is breaking for this girl. While her friends are having fun at school, she's going to stuck at home all alone with a brand new baby. At 17. While her friends attend classes, she's going to be caring for a baby and doing all her classwork.

For me, teenage pregnancy was always sort of abstract. Oh, I've known kids who got pregnant in high school, but never well and never with daily contact. I've seen the After School Specials, I've even seen the films. But this is real life and it is painful and scary. This is a girl who made some mistakes, to be sure, but she's mired in a situation that is too much for her to do by herself. She should be excited to go back for her senior year. She should be thinking about senior portraits and the prom and applying to college. Instead, she's a mommy with a mommy that can't really help her, a baby daddy that's dangerous, and seemingly no real support.

Back to school for this girl is just plain painful.

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Pandering to Women

How insulted did you feel today when Sarah Palin (who??) was announced as McCain's choice for VP? That was the worst case of pandering to women I've ever experienced and it made me feel dirty and disgusted. That McCain had to be led by Karl Rove to choose such an unsuitable and frankly weird candidate was not surprising in and of itself, but that McCain expects that women will flock to that dumbass because she's got a vagina...well, not this woman. Nor any of the women I know.

There are many reasons NOT to vote for McCain. Too many to even list, in my opinion. But that he thinks so little of women's minds that he would assume we're dumb bunnies in aprons popping out the babies and waiting for our big strong men to come home from the freaking Snow Mobile races? OH MY GOD. We know how little McCain thinks of women. That's not been a big surprise. The man calls his wife a C*nt and suggests that she enter the topless parade in Sturgis. He is a kept man, living off his druggie wife's fortune. He left his first wife when he was already deeply involved with Cindy. He doesn't believe in birth control, he's anti-choice in all situations. He thinks that equal pay is wrong, and that women aren't as educated as men. HATE HIM.

So now he chooses this thing. This "woman" who has absolutely not one iota of national, never mind international experience. This person from the 49th largest state who thinks it is more convenient to MOVE the capital from Juneau to Ancorage for her, because that's where she lives. This person who we all know has a vagina because she's popped 5 kids out of it, but who isn't a mother that I'd ever admire because she left her 3 DAY old baby with a disability to go back to work. WTF? Who the hell does that? Nobody I'd ever consider to be a good woman or mother.

Palin has 1.5 years as the governor of a state that couldn't be more different than the rest of the country. Alaska? How hard is it to govern a state with less people in it than most large cities in the lower 48. Oh, and let's not forget that she was the mayor of a town of 9000 people. THAT sure is great experience for someone a heartbeat away from the presidency. She makes Dan Quayle look like a decent choice.

What are the Republicans touting about her qualifications? Oh, that she's a mother of 5 who refused to abort her 5th baby after discovering that he had down syndrome. That she's a lifelong member of the NRA that shoots high powered rifles and hunts moose. Oh, and eats moose. That certainly qualifies her to lead the country. She's anti choice, she's against gay rights, gay marriages but says some of her friends are gay. Oooo, how L I B E R A L of her. She fought corruption in Alaska but is now under investigation of her own over the firing of an official that refuese to can her ex-brother-in-law. Let's not forget that she was a former beauty queen, runner up to Miss Alaska, and that she believes in "(Un)Intelligent Design". The woman doesn't believe in dinosaurs. What kind of mother is THAT?

Already the plurkers and twitters are going wild discussing this poor choice. There are some funny things that have just shown up today. Have you seen this and this? Seems the dems have finally got plenty of dirt on the McCain choice to go a little wild and crazy.

Her approval rating is supposed to be huge in Alaska. The first Alaskan I found today said this about the choice:

Ask an Alaskan about Palin's "80%" approval rating. Huh. She's the main factor behind the "capitol creep" motion to move the capitol city of Alaska, which is Juneau, where I live, to Anchorage. Why? She lives in the Mat-Su. No one will pass the bills to move, so she's doing it unofficially by slowly making all the major governmental players have offices in Anchorage instead of Juneau.

We had the highest heating oil and fuel prices EVER this year and her solution? Is to give everyone that qualifies for a PFD the relief money. Which, for about 25% of the state, means we won't get one. But those who manage to meet the qualifications and not actually LIVE IN AK will get almost $3200 bucks. Hubby and I have lived in AK since last July. But you need to be here an entire calender year to qualify for the PFD payout. So, while we were here for $5/gallon fuel, $500/100gallons of heating oil, and electricity at 55cents/KWH, we get SQUAT in assistance. BUT, also? EVERYONE who gets a PFD gets energy assist. The 2 year old down the street? Check. The baby born last week? Check. Me, who slaved to pay my bills all year? Sorry bout your luck. FUCK.
Doesn't sound like she's a Palin lover, does it?

Other comments on plurk today:

I sincerely hope he doesn't think he's getting Hillary voters by picking a pro-life, pro-gun, pro-creationism, anti-gay rights candidate

And I feel very insulted that John McCain thinks we are stupid enough to follow the "shiny object" instead of intelligent enough to know what we want.

Well, I'm not telling anyone WHO to vote for. I'm just calling it in when someone blatantly insults my intelligence. Women are NOT interchangable. People do NOT follow HILLARY because she was merely a WOMAN. You CAN NOT substitute one woman with another to placate "the woman vote". We are NOT that stupid, or uninformed.

Palin is a creationist, pro-life. She would NOT do women ANY favors in the White House. Gotta get past thinking that her gender will win out

I can't wait for Hillary's statement on her - but seriously, she's a creationist who is pro-ANWR drilling.

Palin is a great choice for Obama. Women aren't stupid. They know what pandering is like.

I watched speech. Interesting McCain not let her stand alone & his nervous twiddling of wedding ring. Fascinating!

many won't like the fact that she wants to overturn Roe vs Wade, then again some will love her for that

yeah. roe v wade, church and state - and a lack of addressal of concerns about social security, privacy laws, and foreign policy

neo-cons hold the American public in utter contempt
they lie to your face and don't care whether or not you know they're lying

First, McCain chooses a totally unknown, untrained, VP. Governor of Alaska for 2 freaking years. Mayor of Podunk Alaska? PANDERING TO WOMEN.

I'm so glad that McCain thinks that Obama is inexperienced, but she should be in a VP position? McCain's VP matters a lot given his age...

He can't use the "inexperience" rationale any longer with his VP pick even less experienced.

and Palin just said NUCULAR. *headdesk* (g_doh)

Dear McCain, it's pronounced and spelled SUFFRAGE not SUFFERAGE.
between Sufferage and Nucular the REP campaign is sounding mighty unedumicated

They have got to adjust grammaring so that people don't think that the politicians are not talkin down to them but talkin to ehem It worked for Bush

and her belief that Intelligent Design should be taught in schools

UGH. She also believes in Intelligent Design and sued the government to take polar bears off the endangered species list

no thanks. Tho the pro-life was the dealbreaker for me. I could go on, but I think I've amply covered here other negative factors over here

Believing in ID is enough to turn me off in a flash

McCain can go die in a fire for all I care... Bush the 3rd is not going to win, the American people are fed up

Even a couple of the more hardened Republicans were disgusted with the choice. In fact, I've only seen ONE person on the entire, but limited scope of my internet wanderings today who was excited about the choice. One.

Hello President Barak Obama. And thank you Loser John Asshat McCain.

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Blog Fodder

While I was working tonight, there was a terrible accident directly across the street from our house. The Girl was in her room, with all her windows open, and heard it the minute it happened. She came running downstairs because from her viewpoint it looked as if the car had driven into the house on the corner. In actuality it had jumped the curb and hit a tree at fairly high speed, damaging the tree and setting fire to the car. The tree branches fell on the car and in the dark you could barely see anything.

Of course all the neighbors poured out of their houses to see what happened. A small crowd formed at the bottom of our hill as we watched the ambulances, firetrucks, and police cars arrive. They closed off the street, and pulled a body from the car. We weren't close enough to see much due to the branches and the angle, but that certainly looked like a fatal accident to us. Or at least one with a serious injury.

The reason I mention this is that while we were all standing on our front lawn watching the flashing lights and the various neighbors I thought to myself, "Man, I can't believe we don't have batteries in ANY camera. This is such good blog fodder."

WTF is wrong with me that this is a thought in my mind? I'm so annoyed with myself. Since when did I become the neighborhood reporter?

But the thing is, it IS good blog fodder. We saw everything, and even the real reporters in town (hi Gail) couldn't possibly have seen what we did, as the road was closed behind the accident. I really would have posted on the town paper's web site about the accident, as well as on my own blog. I'm not a journalist, and I don't even consider myself a citizen journalist, but when stuff like this happens, I feel my adrenaline pumping and I want to get all Jimmy Olson on you.

For which I apologize greatly to the family or families of the victims of this traffic accident. Really, I don't mean to be ghoulish at all. I'm going to try and curb this desire to be the next ob Woodward. I am. Really.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

How dish washing has created WW3

The honest truth is that nobody likes to wash the dishes in our house. I hate it, my kids hate it, even the dishwasher hates it. But another truth is that the dishes have to be done daily. And that truth has created such tension in our house that I have to say it's pretty much the only argument we have daily. So let's take a peek into my world and you can see why it's such an issue.

The Girl is tasked with this chore. That sounds simple, right? Oh no, so so not right. See, she barely eats here and so she has decided that she should only wash the dishes that she wants to wash.

Conversely, the Boy eats constantly and leaves dishes all over the house. On a daily basis he might use 6 to 10 plates, 5 or more glasses, pots, pans, and even baking dishes. He cooks a lot, and he leaves a horrible mess. If he makes ramen, little pieces of noodles are always left on the stovetop to burn. If he makes pasta, little pieces of the dried pasta end up on the kitchen floor. Things boil over and he never wipes up the spills. He opens cans and jars, packages and wrappers and leaves them where he opened them. He is the consummate slob.

So, I don't blame the girl for being so pissed off about the dishes. I feel the same way. No matter how clean the kitchen gets, if he steps foot in it, it's filthy in minutes.

So lately I've decided that he needs to wash his own dishes.

Hah! I am delusional.

This is how he washes dishes. Just tonight I brought him downstairs about 4 different times to get the kitchen cleaned up. He hems and haws and has to sit down because his knee hurts, blah blah blah. I finally get so fed up I lost my temper and told them that nobody leaves the house until the kitchen is clean.

They start screaming at each other. She's pissed, he's put upon, the dishes aren't getting done. I raise the ante with another promise of punishment.

He goes into the kitchen, runs the water, puts on the dishwasher that is almost totally empty, spills water all over the floor, and runs up the back stairs. He claims he's going to sleep.

I get him downstairs and scream at him, and he relents and washes like 4 dishes. Up the back stairs he goes again.

The Girl is beside herself. Once again she's left washing his dishes. But it's her JOB. She's had this one particular chore for years. I don't ask much of my kids, but the dishes are sacrosanct. They MUST be done, and often he or she will wash half the sink and leave the rest. It drives me criminally insane. My eyes turn red, my veins pulse, I want to bang their heads together.

The Girl will do a half-assed job, refusing to do the utensils and knives at the bottom of the sink. She won't wash out the recycling jars and cans. She lines them up on the side of the sink. I think she believes the recycling fairy will drop in and rinse them all and put them in the bin. I believe she's delusional, too.

She hates the smell of bleach and because we have the crappiest old cheap laminate countertops, bleach is the ONLY product that cleans them well enough. Or at least Comet with Bleach. It's the only harsh chemical cleaner we use, but nothing else works. She won't use it. She will, if pressured (screamed at) wipe down the counters, but she will not clean them. Nor will the Boy. He figured out that if she won't do it with smell aversions, he can claim that bleach makes him want to vomit. Voila! Nobody does it. So I have to.

Now, you think that at some point I would ask for help in getting the dishes done. For 3 fucking years every family counselor we have seen has solely focussed on this issue. I mean for me it's a make or break thing. I can live with their abject slovenliness, but I CANNOT live with a dirty kitchen. We have had therapists with years of experience give up because we cannot solve this problem. It's that bad. I've got two stubborn kids, and I'm stubborn myself. They do not want to do it, and I require it.

Oh, and yes we have paper plates, paper bowls, paper cups, and plastic utensils. Guess who uses them? That would be me. They don't LIKE them.

I swear it, if I make it another year it's gonna be a miracle.

Teenagers are worse than toddlers. Yes, they are! And if you don't believe me, you can borrow mine for a week. Or trade. I'll take toddlers any day.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Blogging and working do not mix well

I have no time to read blogs anymore. I am ignoring everyone and I feel terrible about it. I'm going to go through my bloglines this weekend and trim way back because I can't do it anymore and I'm sorry if it's your blog that has to be cut, but I can't read this many blogs anymore. Because I am working and work is hard and tiring and well, somewhat boring. My job requires a lot of thought but very little creativity. The best part is that all the other people working at the same time have to IM each other and that can be very entertaining if we have a particularly funny request come in.

While I am ignoring my online life, my real live life continues to take up way more energy than I want to give out some days. Like today. Two different crisises, two different kids. Let's start with the Boy.

Yesterday he came home complaining that his knee was bothering him. He has complained on and off about a sore knee since he was about 8, but this time I could see he really was in pain. I looked at his hairy legs and sure enough, swollen knee. I gave him iburpofan and told him to ice it, which of course he refused to do. When he finally got out of bed at 5:00 pm mumble o'clock, his knee buckled and it was really painful. Again I looked, and it was still swollen, so we got in the car and headed over to the NW ER. After several hours of waiting, but with excellent decorating magazines to keep us entertained, we were finally seen. X-rays confirmed what I already thought: the boy has inherited my family's horrible knees. His father had knee surgery, I've had a knee replacement, both of my parents had knee surgery. And it looks like the Boy got the bad knee genes.

After close examination he was referred to an orthopedist, and the ER doctor implied that there would be laproscopic surgery in his future. Looks like a torn medial meniscus. BTDT. He got one of those foamy velcro cast things, and now he's like a bull in a china shop. He's never been all that coordinated, but this is just ridiculous. He's falling all over the place. I think he's milking it for all he can. :-)

The other crisis of the day involved the Girl. She went to her first day of job training at Panera where she found out several things that have her in panic mode. First, she can only wear two earrings in each ear. OMG, the cruelty. She's positive her ears are going to close up so she's got a whole plan about changing earrings in the bathroom.

Don't even bother. I tried to talk to her. Hello Brick Wall?

Second, she has to try every single thing on the menu. Even Lobster. She told them she wouldn't eat the lobster, and being in JewVille, they didn't press it. But there are foods she's never put in her mouth on the menu there. She's a VERY picky eater. I think this will be good for her. Today they started her on the bread, and she brought home a half of a baguette. Boy was that good! She liked it a lot because it was a carb product. She eats most carbs. Not much else though.

Third, and this was the kicker. She has to get dark solid color polo shirts, a belt, and plain dark pants. No jeans. You would think the end of the world is nigh. The child has a big Gift Cert that she got for her B'day and she hit not one, but two Marshalls and couldn't find ONE THING. Nope, not one polo shirt, not one pair of pants.

Now, if you believe this, let me sell you a bridge I know of in NY.

So I sat down with her and had a bit of a chat. I explained how nobody cared what she looked like, they cared what their food looked like. They didn't care if her pants were gorgeous as long as they were clean. Since they are work clothes, you get the cheapest stuff you can find, so you can just toss it in the washer and not worry about it. Get BOY polo shirts. They fit better than girl's shirts. Get plain dark khakis. Nothing fancy. Nothing that you care if it get's dirty.

Of course she thinks I'm nuts, but I don't care. I'm not falling for this crapola. She gets a couple of pairs of pants and a few polos, and then when she starts getting a paycheck she can get cute clothes for school.

Plus, you should have heard her on taxes. She was incredulous that they will take taxes out of her check. It was so funny. It's like she's never even considered the ramifications of actually having a job. Following rules, wearing what the dress code demands, etc.

She'll be fine once she settles down. She had to read an employee handbook and I swear, it was the first thing I've seen her read all summer. I was shocked that she read it. I really was.

So, if you are in the area, stop at Panera and tell her how cute she looks in her polo shirt and without all those damn earrings! I'm sure she'd love it.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I was gonna....

Well, my plans got totally sidetracked. I was going to write this informational post on moving scams, having just saved one of my plurk buddies from undergoing quite the terrible moving nightmare. But the day just totally got away from me and now it's 2 am and I just this minute finished working. My brain is fried, and the only thing I'm going to write is drivel. Sorry, it's all I have in me.

So, Hilary's speech tonight. The first half totally pissed me off. It was all about her, and I don't think that she should have done that. She's NOT the democratic choice. She needs to get over herself and move on. So do her supporters. Being such sore losers doesn't bode well for the results of the election. Is 4 years of John McCain REALLY worth punishing Democrats for not loving Hilary? Does cut your nose to spite your face ring particularly true here? I think so.

I'm embarrassed by the women my age that are playing such stupid games. It's not a game. It's reality for the country. Do we want 4 more years of George Bush with white hair? Or do we want and need change? I'm all for change. I want someone I trust. I want someone who isn't willing to take Pac money, and who isn't willing to run a filthy dirty campaign. McCain is loathesome to me.

Now, the second half of Hilary's speech, when she remembered it wasn't all about her, was good. I think she was clear in her support of Obama. I think that she tried to encourage her die hard followers to stop sulking and move on. But was it a successful speech? I'm not sure I would say that. I know the media fell all over her with praise. But that doesn't mean, at least for me, that I think she couldn't have done a better job. She was there to convince delegates that she has become a big supporter of Obama. She was there to convince voters to move on and support the Democratic ticket. She was there to lend her support to Joe Biden as the VP nomination. Yeah, she was disappointed that it wasn't her chosen for the ticket. But as I said to my kids, she has the chance to become the new Ted Kennedy. The new Democratic powerhouse and leader in the Senate. Kennedy never became President, but look at what he's done for the country. She could be that as well. And she could be that for a lot more than 8 years.

I'm not looking forward to Bill's speech tomorrow, although it isn't going to be in prime time anyhow. I just don't know what he's going to do. He's such a wild card in this whole situation. Maybe I should be a bit more open to his rhetoric, but I think he's still harboring a lot of resentment that Hilary didn't get the nod. We'll see.

Work continues to be interesting. But man, does it interfere with my lifestyle! This week I'm getting a mid-day break, which is great for a nice long nap. But next week I will go on my normal hours and that's going to be a killer until I get used to it. Once school starts, some time in the next millenium (really Sept 4th), it will be easier because the kids will be gone most of the time. Tonight they had a screaming fight upstairs while I was working and they both stomped downstairs for some refereeing, and I refused to involve myself in their dispute. They were SO made at me, but all I kept saying was "working". Eventually they'll get used to it and they'll be fine with it. It's new and they are so used to me being at their beck and call 24/7. This is all very different for us, and until we get used to it, we'll have some growing pains.

Our washing machine died yesterday and it was a $180 fix. Gulp.

Lastly, some great news. The Girl got a job at Panera! She starts tomorrow and she's SO psyched. That child is counting her money before she's earned it. I'm going to have a rule that she has to save a percentage of her money towards a car or whatever big thing she wants to save for. Like oh, college. And she has to put some money towards tzedakah. I'm not making her put a lot away, but something every week. I just want her to learn how to budget some charity into her weekly check. It's a great habit to get into.

I'm just hoping she can bring home the leftover oatmeal cookies. I LOVE those cookies!

Now the Boy is jealous because he realizes that she'll be able to get her permit in a couple of weeks, and he won't due to his NOT having a job. Will he look for one? Stay tuned. But don't hold your breath!

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Things I love about trolls

As you all know, I've got a set of trolls who follow my site pretty carefully. Oh, I find them hilarious and they're sure not hurting my hits, so I'm not going to get all upset and cry foul. In fact, they're fabulous entertainment for me. Why? Because they're so stupid and inconsistant. They try so hard to find things to bitch about that they fall all over themselves to contradict each other as well as themselves. They ignore anything that they can't complain about, but if they see something that strikes them as different than the way they would do it, oh my...it's time to attack. Except the attacks, well they kinda suck. They're just lame.

Some recent examples:

Horribly upset about how our financial troubles they scream and yell about what an asshole I am for not working. But when I get a job? Silence. Man, that must hurt not being able to complain anymore about me being a welfare (as if) queen. Because, welfare and SSDI are the same. What? You don't think so? The government doesn't agree either? But everyone is WRONG. In trolldom, welfare and disability are one and the same and they're both leaching off the goverment troughs.

My letter to my Sweet Sixteens? Emotionally abusive. Yup. That's why my kids went out with friends. They didn't want to spend time with their mean mother. Heh. Guess this troll hasn't lived with teenagers. So freaking obvious. But what really cracked me up is that this set of trolls attacks the Pioneer Woman for not "keeping it real". But when I "keep it real" in that note and say what is really happening with my kids, positive AND negative, I'm emotionally abusive. There is NOTHING in that post that anyone with teenagers would find anything other than honest. We mothers of teens all go through it every day. The slovinliness, the reliance on friends more than family, the eating... oh my god, the eating. NORMAL, people. But when you talk about it, it's emotionally abusive. Can you say contradictory? Poor dumb trolls. Not even bright enough to realize that they aren't A students in the troll dept.

Remember when the Girl bought that dress for me at Marshalls last summer? You should see how they twisted that one into something horrible. She bought me a gift. ONE PRESENT. That is VERY BAD. You should never allow your children to spend money on you. You should never teach your children to be generous, or to think more of giving than getting. THAT IS BAD. What was essentially a sweet moment had to be turned into yet another example of my incessent greed. Never mind that I said about a million times in the post that I never bought clothes for myself (hello $7 shorts...another huge controversy...how DARE I spend $7 on shorts for myself when my clothes are 2 sizes too big?) and how unusual it was that I actually liked something. But that was ignored because it didn't fit into their view of my greed. GREED for letting my child buy me something she begged me to get. Begged me. Of course I was there and I know my kid, but they know more about me and the Girl than I do.

Because they are such bad trolls, and they choose such stupid things to harp on, and one in particular has an obvious agenda to hold a hate she claims is over 15 years old, I just find it funny. I wish they were better, but stupid people make stupid trolls. Maybe they ought to quit trolling and get themselves an education. And a job. Because really, is trolling ALL they can think of to do?

Sad little people with sad little lives. And they call other people emotionally abusive. Pot...kettle...black.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

The saga of the cake

One of the things that most sucks about being a twin is forever sharing your birthday with your sibling. Especially if you and your sibling are nothing alike and don't see eye to eye on anything, never mind how to spend their birthdays.

When they were little, I simply made one cake for him and another for her, and then it was all good. But as they got older they got more set in their ways and they not only wanted different kinds of cakes, they actively hated the other kid's choices. But not only did they hate the other kid's choice of cake, they started wanting store bought cakes. The Girl especially thinks store bought cakes are the BEST. She likes a supermarket white cake with white frosting. Ugh. But it's what she likes more than anything else. Oh, except for cheesecake. The Boy likes my cakes, but he's also a big fan of bakery cakes. Not supermarket bakeries. Not for that boy. He prefers high end bakery cakes. Fortunately we have a specialty store here in town that sells high end cakes by the slice, for a decent price. Because this momma doesn't spend upwards of $25 on a cake. No way, no how.

This year the Girl was terribly disappointed by my not having a birthday cake. A friend who was supposed to buy one bought cupcakes instead, and the Girl is STILL sulking over that gaff. She apparently believes that one is required to have cake and ONLY cake on their birthday. My friend will not make that mistake again!

Anyhow, for a full month she's been moaning and groaning about how she wants a cake, a supermarket white cake. CAKE CAKE CAKE. Right before her birthday she mentioned her cake desires and of course her brother went ballistic. No white cake for him. Chocolate inside and out.

Thinking I would outsmart them (which never happens, and I never learn) I bought and tucked away two cakes from Trader Joes. A little teeny cheesecake for the Girl, and a tiramisu cake for the Boy. The hue and cry over those damn cakes was ridiculous. They are NOT birthday cakes.

No, they're not. They are cheap but very tasty frozen cakes. But they would not do for birthday cakes. They were not acceptable and that was that. So once again the cake rose to the top of the whine charts as the day grew closer and closer. Finally, with my last few centavos, I went to the grocery store and picked out tiny 4" cakes for them. She got the white cake with white frosting and pink flowers. He got the chocolate fudge frosting on dark chocolate cake. I proudly brought them home and wanted to put candles on them and sing the birthday song.

Foolish Mom! Teenagers don't do candles and cake. I don't know what I was thinking! I must be insane. So the cakes went into the fridge and I was kinda crestfallen as they both went out with their respective friends for the evening. You know me, Ms Chopped Liver? I stayed home and worked. It's OK, I am so glad to be working the time flew by.

When the Girl got home at midnight, she dove into the fridge and pulled out..... the cheesecake. Yup. A full month and then some of whining over a damn white cake with white frosting and hideous flowers and she ignores the damn thing.

Teenagers. They make you wonder why you thought having kids was a good idea.

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Sixteen

Dear Girl and Boy,

As you know, I'm not in the habit of writing sappy dear children posts, but this is a rather momentous birthday, so I've decided to go against my usual sarcasm and deal out some sappy. Today you are 193 months old. Sorry, I couldn't resist. Let's start over.

Today you are both Sweet Sixteen. A birthday that is a milestone of grand proportions. You are now able to get your learner's permit, and in 6 months your driving license. You'll be able to drive when and where you want to go, and your level of freedom will seem awesome, but of course there is always responsibility that you're required to remember. It's hard to be 16. It's the step between being a young teen and becoming an adult. You're changing a lot, both of you, and some of the changes are so awesome to me.

Girl, you're starting to believe in yourself, which has been a long time coming. You no longer try to compete with your brother and you've learned to defend yourself from his sometimes irritating behavior. Your choices in friends is improving slowly but surely as you learn that kids who cause trouble get you into trouble, and that's really not that fun in the long run.

This is the year you had terrible trouble with school, where nobody listened to you and made judgements about your character based on what other parents said about you. The school learned the hard way that most of the incidents for which you were blamed had nothing to do with you, and the slate has hopefully been wiped clean.

You proved yourself in your math class this summer to be the capable student I have always said you were. As your confidence grew, you stood taller and felt better about your capabilities and it made me so proud to see how you rose to the top of the class all on your own. In algebra/geometry/trig. Amazing!

This past year is also the year when you struck out on your own as far as fashion and style is concerned. No longer a sheep to local fashion, you made many choices about your appearance that were all your own. Some of them weren't things I liked, like the tongue and navel piercings, but you'll eventually figure out that they're kinda lame. I have faith in you.

This is also the year that you found your own personal music likes and dislikes, and stopped being a follower of what's popular and started liking all different kinds of music. Some of it even I like! Your brother too!

You have become such an awesome kid this year. Oh, you're not without your faults, Miss "in five minutes, just a minute, shush, tell the Boy to do it". You're lazy as fuck, you do not understand that everything in the house doesn't belong to you, and you're a major slob. But all of those things can be changed, and hopefully you'll take the initiative to make those changes sooner rather than later.

I'm SO proud of you, and what a lovely young lady you're becoming. Happy Birthday, my sweet little girl.

Boy, you grow right before my eyes. There are days where I swear you grew inches overnight. You have become a giant this summer, growing several inches in height even without your extreme poofy hair. Looking up at your is kinda creepy after so many years of towering above you. Knowing that you have outgrown everything you own time and time again, sometimes after only a couple of weeks scares the BeJebus out of me. Stop growing already.

This past year was a banner year for your social life. You went from a few friends to a plethora of friends, many of whom believe they actually live in our home. I wish you would set them straight that they have their own homes and their own cupboards to eat bare. Your 'group' isn't the hippest or the sportiest or the cleanest kids in town, but you're a tight group of geeky kids and it's wonderful to see how much you've grown socially over the past year. From a kid who was afraid to make a phone call to a kid who is on the phone until I yell at you to get off, your social abilities are vastly improved.

I love that your friends come over and play board games here. I always wondered if our collection of games was kinda weird, but when I see you all screaming with laughter over Apples to Apples or SceneIt, I know that you have not only found your own social milieu, you've found great ways to entertain your friends. But they eat too damn much.

This was a banner year for you in school. High honor roll, honor roll, excellent grades... all of which are going to help you find the right college. Unfortunately, you made some bad choices, too. Like choosing NOT to attend the SAT prep courses that I paid for. But when your SAT scores came back, and they weren't as high as you thought they would be, you apologized and said that you would take the class in the fall before the SAT in October. Will you? I have my doubts. But maybe you realize that working hard to reach a good score is worth a few weeks of effort.

This is the year that you came home drunk (once) and spent a goodly amount of time very very grounded for that bad decision. This is also the year that you thought it would be a good idea to have a party when I was in Washington. That was another really bad choice. But I have to admit, seeing you act like a 'normal' teenager was such a relief after so much trauma the previous year that it was hard to get too mad at you.

At home however, things continued to be sketchy. You still haven't gotten a handle on personal hygiene, your room continues to be so disgusting that I believe the junkman would look at it with dismay, your clothing isn't changed nearly as often as it should be, and you leave the house an utter pig sty. You are the laziest person on the planet. Every single chore is prefaced with complaints about how much you hate me and how unfair your life is. You cook and never clean up a thing. In fact, you spill things all over the stove every single day and have never once wiped it up, even when I've directed you to do so.

You eat more than Michael Phelps. I do not get how you metabolize so much food. You have your favorites, chili, hamburgers, spaghetti, fish, pizza, all of which you make on your own. You're a decent cook and you seem to enjoy it, but you have not figured out some of the simplest rules of cooking like wash your utensils and pans right away before food congeals on them. I tell you over and over, but you never listen to me. You know more than I do.

You've lost the desire to read, which breaks my heart. You used to love books and now I can't even get you to read the required summer reading. You've taken that love of books, however and turned it into a love of film. I've never met anyone that loves movies like you do, and sometimes you remind me of a young Danny Miller. But I don't think Danny memorizes whole movies.

You remind me so much of Dave sometimes. You have the same taste in TV and most films, and you seem to like most of the same foods, albeit you're a meat man and Dave is a veg. But I think that you're going to grow up and be a Dave type, an independent but really talented guy, partly geeky, very very smart, and funny as hell. You don't know it yet, because you still insist that you hate everything and have no interest in anything, but once you get over the teen malaise, you're gonna soar.

This year is a big one for you. It's your senior year, you have to decide whether or not you're going to take a gap year or go right to college, and you're also going to have to select colleges to apply to. This is going to be a big year school wise too. You're taking very advanced courses (Physics of Music???) and attempting to do coursework like you've never done before. And homework. You might actually have to do some after 11 years of never once doing a damn bit of it.

I know you're going to end up fine, despite all your deficits. You're a strong personality, you're smart as a whip, you are funny and you have so many talents to explore. Getting over the hump of sophomore year has been difficult, but look how far you've gotten. I know you can do it. I have such faith in you. But please, could you TRY not to be such a pig?

I love you both more than you can ever imagine. You've turned my life into something to be proud of, to live for, to love. You're the best thing to ever happen to me, and I'm so proud of you both.

Love,

Mom

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

misc.crap

You won't believe what I learned today. Did you know if you get really lost because you're driving right into the sun and are totally blind and hungry after a day at the beach, and you end up on the Mass Pike with no money but a debit card, they let you pay later? They give you an envelope to fill out, you have 14 days to send back a check (yes, a paper check) with the amount you owe, and no surcharge. Isn't that awesome? I had no clue, and I was totally lost due to that damn Big Dig that changed all the roads I used to know into roads I don't know at all, and the toll guys were really nice. I thought I'd get a ticket or something, but nope. Just pay us later.

I also did my first night of training on the new job, and it was pretty darn fun. I wasn't sure whether or not it would be a lot of repetitive stuff, but every single task was different than the previous one, which not only held my interest, but entertained me. Some of the stuff is wicked funny. I wish I could share it with you, but I can't. Take it from me, I had a lot of laughs.

The Girl and I went to the beach in Swampscott today and afterward we drove to Marblehead and I showed her the private beach where I used to spend my summers. The guard wasn't there, but she was afraid to even set foot on the lawn. However, she loved the old neighborhood, and then when I took her for a ride around the Neck, she was all "Oh, I want to live here." I guess maybe she should marry a nice rich guy, because you need millions to live on the neck. But I agree with her, it's an awesome place to live.

The more I think about it, the more I think John McCain is going to pick Mitt Romney for his running mate. If so, I think Massachusetts bloggers need to make a concerted effort to educate the country on what a dipshit Romney is, and how he destroyed our state. If he's the candidate, I'm going to host a blog carnival on Romney.

Still loving the Joe Biden choice.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Obama picks Joe Biden for VP!

I know a lot of people have been wondering and hoping for their Presidential candidates to choose their VPs. I'm certainly one of the crowd that has been hoping and praying that Obama would pick Joe Biden for his VP. And he did. Just announced after midnight, Joe Biden of Deleware is the VP pick for the Democrats.

I'm a big fan of Biden. Biden, 65, is a veteran of more than three decades in the Senate, and one of his party's leading experts on foreign policy, an area in which polls indicate Obama needs help in his race against Republican rival John McCain. With Biden on the ticket, Obama has the potential to pick up many of Hilary Clinton's supporters who said they would move over to the moron Republican party and support 7 houses and OLD McCain. Hopefully those people will move back where they belong and realize that with Biden joining Obama at the helm, foreign policy will be well handled like Democrats and not like War Mongers.

Besides being the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Biden also serves on the following committees in Congress:

For a comprehensive accounting of Biden's voting record see Project Vote Smart[12] and other material noted in the Reference section.

Biden is a soft-spoken man with strong ethics and a real desire to work in public service. He first began his political career in 1970, and has run unsuccessfully for president several times. Biden supported the Farm Bill and has supported funding the Farmland Protection Program. These are both very important issues to me, and I have appreciated Biden's work on behalf of Delaware, a tiny but highly agricultural state.

Biden supports energy conservation and has a plan for a secure energy future in America including investment in alternative energies, learning how to conserve energy, increasing renewable energy sources, etc. He's on the ball with energy conservation.

Biden's views on Health Care, while not exactly mine, are going in the right direction. Since I'm not thrilled with Obama's health care policy either, I guess I'd much rather take rather big steps towards health care for all than deal with the Republican of health care for those that can afford it. Senator Biden is committed to reducing the ranks of the uninsured—especially the 9 million children without health insurance—and improving American’s access to essential health care services. He is working to provide health insurance to more Americans by:

  • Expanding the SCHIP program to allow more children to participate, and increasing outreach efforts to enroll every child eligible for SCHIP and Medicaid—so that families won’t have to rely on emergency rooms to get needed health care for their children.
  • Allowing uninsured Americans the opportunity to purchase an insurance plan that mirrors the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan (FEHBP) and by giving people 55 and older the chance to buy in to early coverage under Medicare.
  • Providing federal coverage for catastrophic cases so that patients have a limit to the burden of astronomical health care costs and to help lower premiums to make insurance more affordable for businesses and individuals.
Encouraging Prevention and Modernization: The United States spends more money than any other nation on health care—currently around $2.2 trillion—but does not have the expected health outcomes to show for it. Obesity rates have doubled over the last two decades and we currently spend 75 cents of every health care dollar on patients with chronic diseases. Senator Biden wants to bring health care costs under control and increase the quality of care by:
  • Placing a greater emphasis on prevention and wellness to contain health care costs associated with chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, asthma, osteoarthritis and heart disease.
  • Establishing a Comparative Effectiveness Panel to evaluate treatment protocols, medical devices and new technology, and establish best practices for management of chronic diseases.
  • Continuing support for and increasing investment in health information technology like electronic medical records.
  • Urging the adoption of uniform billing and claims processes to reduce administrative costs.
Strengthening the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program: Senator Biden fought for years to expand the Medicare program to cover prescription drugs with a plan that would provide valuable coverage, be easy to use, and affordable to most seniors. Senator Biden supports improving Medicare’s prescription drug program by:Allowing the federal government to directly negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, which could help lower drug prices for consumers.
  • Eliminating the benefit gap in coverage, otherwise known as the “donut hole.”
  • Speeding up availability of generic drugs.
Increasing Funding for Biomedical Research: Senator Biden understands the important role the federal government plays in finding cures for cancer and other diseases by supporting important biomedical research. He is working to strengthen these efforts by:
  • Continuing robust funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), building on the successful effort that doubled NIH funding over five years.
  • Adopting the NIH guidelines on federal funding for stem cell research.
  • Establishing a biotechnology coordinator in the Executive Branch.
  • Developing vaccines and other effective responses to potential biological weapons.
Protecting the Privacy of Medical Records: Senator Biden knows how important it is to patients that their personal medical information be kept private. He supports:
  • Making sure individuals’ medical information is not used against them or unknowingly sold for commercial profit.
  • Ensuring that as we move toward more efficient, cost-saving electronic medical records, privacy interests remain a priority.
  • Preventing the use of predictive genetic information, such as whether someone carries the gene for breast cancer, from being used to discriminate against persons in decision-making related to employment or health insurance.
As I said, not nearly enough, not my hopes and dreams, but at least with Obama's view on healthcare, steps forward instead of stagnation.

Biden has been a great supporter of veterens rights and has worked to make the health care system for veterens more accountable. He's helped to secure family security for vets, to provide healthcare and family and medical leave for up to 6 months.

His views on Afghanistan and Iraq can be seen here.

I hope that you can learn to support the Obama/Biden ticket. Try to learn all you can about Joe Biden. Although he is a bit more conservative than I am, I think he is going to make a very positive impact on the US, and I believe he can add much that has been missing in the Obama campaign.

If not, there's always this option:

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Guest Blogging

Have you noticed the latest trend in MommyBlogging? The Bloggers are disappearing and asking other people to keep their blogs alive and well by posting as guest bloggers. I'm not feeling all that comfortable on this trend.

It used to be that when a blogger had to take time off for say, having a baby or illness, they would ask a few people to fill in and guest blog for a few days. I think that's a fair use of the guest blogger. It adds a new dimension to the blog, it introduces you to new bloggers, and it gives lesser known bloggers a forum to pick up new readers. It's a win-win for everyone.

But lately people are taking months off because they're tired or overwhelmed or bored, and are asking people to fill in the gaping blanks in their blogs. I'm not down with that. My feeling is, if you're going to take a haitus of a month, tell your readers you're taking the hiatus, put up a 'gone fishing' last post, and disappear into your real life. I know I'd much prefer that than to feel like I have to read the guest posts and give support to the guest posters. I don't really need to read the guest bloggers. I've got enough of my own life to say "enough" to blogging.

But I feel for the guest bloggers. They work hard on their posts, probably much harder than they do on their own blogs, and they largely get ignored. I know when I see a blog taking a month off, I don't even bother to read the guest posts. I don't go to that blog to read a concoction of guest posts for a month. A week, maybe. A month? I think that's asking too much of your readers. They come to read you, not a bunch of people they don't know.

If this just happened once or twice, I'd shrug it off. But it's all over the 'net right now, the guest blogging phenom. And I'm getting the feeling that we're all being ripped off. We read certain blogs because we love the bloggers. We grow to care about them, their lives, their families, their work. And then not only do they dump us for a month, but they ask us to read bloggers that they love, but who don't necessarily move us in any way.

Again, birth, sickness, family illness... whatever. Those are times when guest blogging works.

But a month off? Just take the month and don't leave us feeling cheated.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

The aftermath of extreme stress

Nobody is able to deny that I've been a tad bit stressed out lately. What with money woes, school woes, health woes, and political woes, I've been unable to sleep, I've had a hard time coping, and I tend to be a little bit grumpy when I'm stressed out. Especially if the stress lasted say, 4 or 5 months.

But the aftermath of stress is even more interesting, at least to me.

Yesterday was a day where some big problems were solved. Once I got through dealing with it all I was a bit numb, but otherwise nothing really hit me. Then this morning I got up early and had a meeting with someone who helps me with organization and planning. She's been a godsend at getting me organized to fill in the bazillion forms I have to take care of just to get through the regular living of life.

For those of you that believe that I'm a welfare crack whore eating bonbons and laying around doing nothing, I challenge you to deal with the paperwork I have to deal with and come out of it less crazed than I am. There are forms and more forms and financial statements galore, and each of those forms has to be accompanied by a bunch on supporting paperwork, all of which is different from one form to the next. Just remembering what number of copies I have to make to ensure that everyone needing supporting income gets the right copies in their envelopes can totally throw my day into chaos.

So after 2.5 hours of organizing, phone calling, and envelope stuffing, my helper headed off and I went through piles of papers to find even more forms that needed to be filled out by my doctor.

Then I started on my way to one of my cardiologists for an appointment. The Boy came with me, as we had something else to do directly after the appointment. The doctor was uncharacteristially late and we were stuck in the waiting room where we both dozed off. The doctor has just moved into a new hospital building and there were NO magazines. WTF? Not one freaking magazine? Pshaw!

We finally got into the doctor's inner sanctum where we waited even more, and she then spent a good 10 minutes with me. I'm doing well, and don't have to come back to this specialist for a year. Good news!

Another errand, I made dinner, we ate while watching Big Brother and all was OK.

And then the end of the stresses hit me like a clop over the keppe. I went down like lightening had hit me. I fell asleep on the sofa from sheer exhaustion and a release of the stress. I woke up well after 11, checked my Plurk responses, and now I'm ready to go back to bed.

It's as if so much weight was lifted off my shoulders that I'm able to breathe again. When my stress level is drastically reduced, I feel so tired and I just need to sleep for a day. I don't have time to think or to get anything done. I just want to sleep it all out of my body. Like Scarlet O'Hara, I keep thinking that 'tomorrow is another day' and I'll be back to normal. At least I hope so, because this fog I'm feeling is pretty outrageous.

Suffice it to say that I'm taking a hiatus on blog reading and being chatty on Plurk for a few days until my body catches up.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happier days are hopefully here again

Not wanting to be too freaking hopeful about the future, because there's some bleak shit still on the horizon, but there is good news. Really good news.

First, the Girl's school situation seems to be resolved. It's a long involved tale of woe, but suffice it to say that when the state board of education got involved, things were solved almost instantly. I got apologies, I got some very interesting excuses, and I got pretty much what I wanted all along. The Girl will be going back to her regular high school, she'll be taking all Curriculum 1 classes (college prep), she has the electives she asked for, she has the foreign language we wanted, and she has 4 blocks of learning support per cycle. It couldn't be more perfect! Plus, and this is just an extra cherry on the top, Insane Daughter of Insane Dad will NOT be attending that school anymore. PHEW.

Second, remember that hint I gave you last week about good news? Well, it is very good news. I got a work at home job that is a real live work at home job doing tech support. I'm so thrilled. And I owe it all to one of my readers who told me about the job in the first place. She TOTALLY rocks. Today I had the software needed for the job installed on my computer, and I'll start training tomorrow. I'm working pretty decent hours, 11am to 8 pm with a break for dinner cooking and eating. This gives me plenty of time to deal with the kids in the morning and even more time to supervise homework and hang out in the evenings. I'm pretty psyched even though I had to take a low hourly wage as to not screw up my SSDI. If I screw up my disability, I lose my health insurance and that would be a serious disaster. This way I can make a supplemental income to enable us to catch up and eventually even save some money once the economy is repaired by not paying millions and millions every day for a stupid war that is bankrupting the nation. Ahem.

Lastly, the Girl's friend had her baby this morning and we went to meet him. OMG, so gorgeous is this little boy. I mean, one spectacular baby. My ovaries were aching. It was hard to sit in a hospital room with a 17 year old girl and pretend that everything is peachy keen. I wanted to just put my arms around her and tell her that she'll do fine, but I wonder if that's true. She's not even going to try to nurse the baby, and that made me sad. I didn't want to push it, but I did try to encourage her to try but she's afraid that it will hurt. She's a kid. She's not with the baby's daddy, although he was at the birth and in the hospital. He isn't really liked. Say no more. The baby was 5 hours old when we were there and sleeping. The diapers were so tiny. I forgot what newborn diapers looked like. The Girl couldn't believe how tiny he was. When I told her that she was 3 lbs tinier at birth she was shocked. It's hard to believe a baby could be tinier than this one, but actually he was a robust 7 lbs 3 oz. Practically a giant compared to my kids.

All in all, a freaking good day!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Oh what a night!

Every once in a while, things just happen that are wicked cool. Not planned, but just one thing on top of another and your whole night is wicked excellent. Like tonight. Totally awesome.

First a friend invited me to a wine and chocolate tasting at Lindt Chocolates in Back Bay. I actually put on nice clothes and everything. I picked her up in Cambridge at her workplace and we flew over the bridge to Back Bay. Circling around Boylston St. we found our destination and there was miraculously a parking space right across the side street. Unfortunately, there was also a woman standing in the space, so I asked her to move so I could park. She was very unhappy to do so, saying that she was saving the space for her husband. OK. I showed her my handicap parking tag and told her that the 4 handicap spaces right around the corner were all filled with... guess what? Come on, you know. Cars without handicap placards. Oh yeah. Nothing that warms my heart more than that. So the lady was totally ticked when I told her that she just couldn't hold a spot, and that I needed to park there. She said something totally awesome. "You're taking advantage of that tag." Yeah, because I like to actually park my car and be able to get to my destination without dying. At that point I didn't care and scooted right into the space. My friend and I were just waiting for her to say the dreaded, "You don't LOOK handicapped!" but at least she didn't say that. I did offer to exchange hearts with her, though.


We went to the Lindt store and there were two experts, one on chocolate and one on wine. They made presentations to teach us how to taste the chocolate, and how to pair it with certain wines. They first gave us a coconut white chocolate with an Anime Pink Prosecco, a dry rosy sparkling wine. It was very dry and paired well with the chocolate, which was too sweet for my taste.

Then we moved onto milk chocolate and Cugnexio Moseato d'Asti. This was by far the most delicious dessert wine I've ever tasted. I had thirds. I know! It was a sweet, fruit based wine that had undertones of apricots. It was REALLY good.

Lastly, we had a 70% dark chocolate with Cycles Gladiator Cabernet Sauvignon. The chocolate was really good with a lot of fruity flavors as it melted on the tongue, but the wine? I didn't like the pairing that much. I found the wine too dry for my taste, and a bit dusty. But I'm not a fan of the cabernet as much as other red wines. I don't have a highly developed palate for wines, mostly because my wine of choice is Three Buck Chuck.

I took my friend back to Cambridge and booked it home. When I got there, Ringo was outside which is forbidden, and nobody was home. The Girl left a note, the Boy did not. I changed out of my clothing and sat down to get some work done and the Girl and her friend came back soon after, both absolutely hysterical because they ran into Insane dad and daughter....again. They wanted to go out to dinner, but ID and D were at the same place so they came home instead. They asked me to take them to dinner and friend offered to treat us, so we went off to Panera, which is pretty much the only thing open that late around here.


At Panera we had such a good time, laughing and making funny jokes and the mood lightened so significantly that the Girl's friend suggested getting ice cream at Cabots, an old established ice cream parlor on the other end of the city. Off we went to the other side of town and sat down for ice cream. Poor Girl, every flavor she wanted they didn't have. She wanted Apple Crisp. Nope. She wanted Pumkin. Nope. She was getting down and didn't know what to order when we both found the one thing that I knew she would love, the Apple Pie Sundae. Her friend got the most disgusting combination ever and ended up hating it. Cotton candy ice cream with malt powder on top. GROSS. But she ate it.

I had my standard, mint chocolate chip ice cream with hot fudge and marshmallow. I'm not a whipped cream fan on my ice cream. I had the smallest size you can get, and it was a lot. Really a lot on top of dinner and wine and chocolate. I can't even remember having that much food to eat in a long time. Thankfully today's scale reading was down 2.5 lbs, so I'm not going to lose that much traction on the diet scene.

Great evening, fun friends and family, and wonderful edibles. What else can you ask for?

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Gulp! Thinking about college

Today I spoke to a woman who is going to become our college coach. What? A college coach? What the heck is that? Until today I really didn't have much of a clue what it was, but all the cool kids have them so we needed one too.

Honestly, I don't know if the cool kids have them, but the kids who have disabilities do, as this coach is provided by DMH to help us navigate the whole college scene. Kids with special needs tend to need colleges with a less crazed atmosphere than your normal Big-Ass State U. Not that I think the Boy needs a lot of coddling in school, because I don't. But he has no clue of what to expect out of college and he's very very young. He'll still be 16 when he graduates and let's face it, most 16 year olds aren't really what you want to unleash on the general public. You know?

So we have this college coach. She's pretty nice and she works only with this population so this is going to be a great help to us as we start to navigate the world of financial aid and college applications and all that stuff. So far, we have no clue of what we're doing. None.

Plus, I have to admit. This college stuff is scawy. Weally weally scawy.

There's what I hope will happen next year.

There's what the Boy will happen next year.

There's what reality is.

And someplace in amoungst all that wanting and hoping and wishing is the truth about what is really plausable and what is just too far of a reach.

The weird thing is, right off the bat, before we've even met, our coach said not to even think about UMass. I fell in love right there. I have been dreading the entire UMass situation. School is too big. School is on poverty's doorstep. There is not enough aid for him to go there. I know this, but try explaining it to a kid who has his heart set on going off to school with his friends. Never mind that MEFA, the state fund that provides student loans, has not one cent and didn't provide one loan for the upcoming semester, leaving parents and students scrambling to come up with money they though they had in MEFA loans. Nice!

MA isn't a great state for higher education. Our best friend Mitt the Pitt Romney not only took money from the state agencies, he did so from the state college and university systems as well. UMass used to be a decent school. It has declined massively and doesn't have the money or the resources to rebuild itself. Hard to believe that the public colleges in our state end up being more costly than private schools with endowments, but such is life.

A college coach. Hmmm. Who would have thunk it? Let's just hope that we find the right type of school for the Boy with plenty of money to fund a good part of his education. Schools I'd like are Hampshire, Oberlin, Grinnel, Bard... nice small liberal arts schools. Schools he'd like: UMass.

This is going to be quite the adventure!

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Best excuse ever!

Some kids in town got into a bit of trouble this weekend. Not MY kids, thank the heavenly spirits, but some kids we know. Kids that have the best excuse ever for getting a speeding ticket.

We've all tried to get out of a ticket. Oh, pish posh, you know you have. "I had to pee so bad, Officer..." is one I've used. They've heard that one a million times. Even if you're doing the pee pee dance in the drivers seat, you're gonna get a ticket. "My kid is going to throw up" is another I've used. They don't care either, even if your car reeks of vomit. You're gonna get a ticket.

Thinking up an excuse at the last minute is tough. But this one? Genius.

So the kids were driving fast at about 9:50 last night on Rt. 9, a commercial 4 lane 'highway' of sorts. Speed limit is 50 in some spots, 40 in others. They were in a 40 MPH zone. I don't know how fast they were going, but when the cop pulled them over and asked why they were speeding, they used the most classic teen excuse ever:

"We were trying to get to McDonalds before the dollar menu ends."

You gotta laugh. You just gotta. It's so perfectly teenage. The logic screams 16.

When the cop snorted, one of the kids, not the driver, spoke up and said, "We're hungry. How am I gonna get my meal?"

The cop remarked that they had already missed the 10 pm closing of the dollar menu but McDonalds was still open.

The kids were incredulous. Who would go to McDonalds if they had to spend more than a dollar?

Good point! Who would?

The story was all over town in a matter of minutes. This is one of those classic dumb teen stories that will live on in the history of the town. It's a "remember when..." moment. I just love it.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tax Free Weekends

In Massachusetts we have a "tax free" weekend where purchases under $2500 (each) are tax free for the weekend. This is the very weekend. Having nothing huge that I need or can afford, I avoided the stores that sell furniture and appliances like the plague. Although my friend I bought herself a brand new dining room set and saved a small fortune on our 5% sales tax.

Instead I bought my son his b'day present (and NO I'm not telling you what I got because he reads my blog), went to the grocery store for some necessities, and stopped at AJ Moore to get something for a baby shower we're invited to.

I know that the mommy-to-be is going to get plenty of cute things. She's only a kid, and her parents will help her, as will her boyfriend who is not the baby daddy. It's complicated. But I wanted to do something special for her, mostly because I don't think anyone else will. She's a nice kid who made a huge mistake and she's taking responsibility for her error, continuing on in school to finish her senior year, and hopefully make something of herself.

I never thought I would be in this position. I've told the Girl over and over that I don't approve of what happened with her friend, but I'm not going to be a bitch about it. She's got enough negativity already. The baby is due next week and the shower will be held after he's born. She's doing a good job with prenatal care, she's put up a nursery of sorts in her bedroom while the baby is an infant, and they have created a room in her parent's house for the baby when he gets older. I think this kid is doing a rather remarkable job considering that she's 16. I can't see my kid being so organized and responsible.

So I wanted to make the baby something that this mom will cherish. Not anything fancy or unusable, just something that has the baby's name on it, embroidered with pretty embroidery floss. I bought a bib with some needlepoint fabric embedded in the front of the bib, and I'll embroider the name and a couple of teddy bears on it. It was very inexpensive and luckily on sale, and I have most of the floss colors at home anyhow, so a really unique gift will also be cost effective. I like that.

The Girl is going to help me on the project, and we'll make a really nice card and package up the bib in a pretty box. This is the kind of thing I really enjoy doing, making something special out of practically nothing.

I just hope she likes it for her baby son.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Michael Phelps: Man or Bionic Swimming Robot

What is it with Michael Phelps? He seems like a nice guy, a sportsman, a decent fellow. His mother and sisters are his biggest fans. He appears to be well adjusted albeit a person that eats 12,000 calories a day. Can you IMAGINE?

But this need to win every single medal in the Olympics? It's kinda bothering me. Oh, I love winning. I'm big on contests and being competitive and all, but at some point is it too much? Does he really NEED 8 gold medals? What is he going to do with his grand total of 14 medals? How do you even display that much gold?

I think what bothers me is that I know that if I were up against him, I would give up because really, what's the point? Nobody else can win against him. I think that at some point he becomes a deterrent to other competitors. How can someone do their best time and time again knowing that they can't ever win?

Maybe at some point there needs to be a limit on the amount of medals that one person can win in one sport. Is 8 too much? I think so. Is 5 too few? I don't know. But when one athlete takes over the games, it doesn't feel sportsmanlike to me. It almost feels like Phelps is a bully of sorts.

The thing is, he's really really good. He is born to win. That's obvious. But when does it become kind of sour? When does it feel almost like it's rigged (it obviously isn't, but I bet it feels like that to other competitors)? When does it feel like "what's the point of competing against Phelps"?

I don't have any answers. But I know if I were Phelp's mom Debbie I would be so proud of him. And if I were the mom of any other guy competing against him, I would be plotting some injury to knock him out of competition. Just kidding. But I would be pretty damn annoyed knowing that MY baby doesn't have a chance next to that robot.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Another view of the MA court system

This morning I had to help a client whose kid got into a bit of a mess legally. Nothing too horrible, but enough to have to appear in front of a judge to be arraigned. The mom was frantic and really needed someone to hold her hand. I didn't really need to be there, but she couldn't have done it by herself without breaking down.

I got to the courthouse promptly at 8:30, which is when we were told to appear. I saw my client and her kid, plus the other kids involved (4 of them). We were told to go down to the probation department and sign in. Down we went, and each kid had to be spoken to separately. We had to wait a good half hour for our turn and then were ushered into a conference room where volumes of paperwork was filled in. We found that a court-appointed attorney costs $150, which surprised me. I didn't know you had to pay for them. But you do.

We were sent up to the second floor where a bevy of cops were hanging around chit chatting with the court staff. The courtroom was massively hot and there seemed to be no real action going on. We waited for another half hour, and then the probation officer came up and told us we were in the wrong courtroom.

Downstairs we found the correct courtroom and laughed at the fact that we had all three floors covered now. We waited and waited. There are court appointed attorneys talking to each other, and a few people waiting for things like restraining orders and arraignments. The kids all sat in one row, and we were directly behind them. They were subdued and scared. Forty-five minutes crawled by and finally the judge appeared. She sat down and was no nonsense. She started up as soon as her butt hit the chair.

We were the second case called. The kids were all released on their own recognizance and they seemed to understand that they couldn't get in any more trouble. The judge appointed our kid an attorney and then we had to wait for him to talk to us.

He took us into a conference room and spoke to us for a while, explaining that since there was no witness that our kid did anything wrong, he thought the case would be dismissed. But that at the upcoming hearing he would ask for a stay because he wanted to hire someone to contact the aggreived party and see if they would drop the charges against my client's kid.

We were in front of the judge for all of 2 minutes. We talked to the attorney for about 10 minutes. We waited for at least 2.5 hours.

It's not at all like it is on TV.

The attorney warned us that this could go on for months and months.

All I have to say is, "What a waste of the taxpayer's money."

But I have to admit it was interesting.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Readers Choice: What's for Dinner?

The other night we had a nice option for dinner.

We could either have shishkebab.

Look at all those healthy veggies. Squash, peppers, eggplant, onions... and an itty bitty bit off steak tips.

or...

We could have Kittie Casserole.



Hmmm, what to choose, what to choose?

Ringo votes for kitty casserole. What about you?

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Paperwork sucks

You know that day. The one where you just have to do the paperwork that's been piling up on your desk? The paperwork that is probably either overdue or right on the borderline of late? That has lots of forms you have to fill in and stuff you have to search in your files for so you can copy them and then assemble little packets of paperwork that doesn't fit in regular envelopes? The packets that have to be mailed at the post office because they weigh more than an ounce and the mailman won't take them?

Today was that day.

I have a real fear of paperwork. It isn't the forms, per se. It's the sitting down and sorting through a bazillion sheets of paper to find all the supporting documents. Let's just say that I am not the most organized person. Let's also say that my home health aid that comes in weekly to help out, she is a piler. She piles the papers up here and there, and I don't know what is in the piles because she piled them and I didn't. So... it is disorganization plus around here.

Now, I recently went through all the paperwork and threw out all the old bills from 2004 that I really didn't need. And I filed away much of the paperwork very neatly in those accordian folders. I was quite thorough. Except for one thing. I never labeled the folders so I have no idea of what is in each one, meaning that I have to paw through them to find anything.

I have file cabinets. Three of them. I don't use them because I have some weird anti-filing gene and I tend to lose ANYTHING that is placed in a file cabinet. Instead I use those big cheapo plastic see-thru boxes with lids. For some reason, those are easier for me to deal with, knowing that every box contains a different subject matter. There's one for school, one for bills, one for my client's paperwork, one for household crap like user manuals for the vacuum cleaner, and one for medical stuff. That one is especially messy as there are three of us and one box and OMG, I am such a procrastinating idiot when it comes to filing.

I had quite a few different forms to get out there. Like way more than I ever thought would pile up. I got 3 done. But those three were the big ones and they took the most time. Tomorrow I'll work on the next couple, and I'll get them all done by next week.

Just in time to do all the school forms in Sept when we go back.

Does anyone else just reel on the first day of school when the kids come home with those packets of health forms and all the other stuff we have to sign? Every year the same information. I hate those. For some reason, our school system has 3 separate health cards that contain the exact same information but need to each be filled out separately. Love those!

I might have some really excellent news coming up. I can't say anything about it yet. I know, everyone does this and it's horribly annoying, but honestly, I can't until it's reality. But it's good.

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