31 December 2007

Get Back to Roots

There are things in my life I'd like to just get away from, my redneck roots being one of them, but I just can't seem to do it!

I was born a poor black child in a very small town in Eastern Washington. Some of my earliest memories involve sitting on the bleachers on Saturday nights at the Ephrata Raceway Park while my uncles raced street stock class. The smell of burning oil and rubber, the deafening noise, and the drama - ohhh, the memories.

My family got out of racing when most of them moved to central and western Washington. Life happened, and I never thought much about it until a visit home about seven years ago. Seems the family has gotten back in to racing - this time in Idaho at the Stateline Stadium & Speedway - Bump-to-Pass class. Dig deep for that stereotypical image of a "good old boy" and you'll be able to fill up the grandstands! Here I was, building those same redneck memories for my son, who thought there was nothing better than having "Rhino" sign his cheap plastic checkered flag!

I recovered from that visit, and although that signed flag still hangs in my son's bedroom, stock car and bump-to-pass racing never crossed my mind again. How could they? I am a well educated, well traveled, city dwelling refined redneck woman ... or so I thought ...

Friday night, my husband is flipping through the 9,486 satellite channels trying to find something to watch. He settles on the SPEED channel which is showing Get Back to Dirt. Sounds like it could be a great flick to get hubby in the mood, especially if it involves a little water mixed in the dirt, but no, it's an award winning, 90-minute documentary on street stock, dirt track racing.
You'd think he would have had a fight on his hands, but "Honey, would you please turn on the Lifetime channel?" never crossed my lips. I watched the entire 90 minutes like it was CNN. I just couldn't rest until I knew:
  1. If Gayla Jones, the only woman racing in any class at Devil's Bowl Speedway, would finally ask her race suit sniffing sponsor move out of her home like her husband wanted (she did, but her marriage broke up anyway),
  2. If Bubba Meeks learned how to read (he didn't, but he did get his teeth fixed)
  3. If Travis Pace would blow up his garage again while working on his car (he didn't, and seems to have recovered from last year's accidental burning down of the family home)
  4. If Doug Smith's 16 year old daughter would follow in his footsteps (she did, and Doug cried when he had to sell the engine from his car to pay for her car), and
  5. If Trandel White would get caught cheating (he did, but no one seemed to mind much).
The truth hurts, and that moment was excruciatingly painful. I knew I would never be able to deny my redneck roots - that they were always simmering just below the surface of my tarnished polished image.

Did I mention it is only 48 days until Daytona???

30 December 2007

Sunday Secret

Four years later, I am still resentful for having given up so much to be with you, and watching you give so little. It wasn't worth it to lose myself.

28 December 2007

Personal Responsibility

Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will - his personal responsibility.
~ Albert Schweitzer

I have been spending much of my unemployed free time exploring politics in general. I am frustrated with the common assumption that there are only two viable political parties and that we must select one or the other. I am frustrated with the Electoral College and the overwhelming knowledge that the popular vote no longer matters. I am frustrated that our country seems to be voting against candidates and ideas rather than voting for candidates and ideas. More than anything else, I am frustrated with this prevailing thought that we need more government - more social programs - to take care of our citizens.

It seems that in this overly politically correct society we have fostered, no one is willing to step up to the plate and say, "Take care of yourself!" We cannot do that because:

(1) It is not their fault
(2) They can't do it on their own, and
(3) They are repressed because they are [fill in the blank with anything other than white male]


What we need (in my oh-so-humble opinion) is LESS government. We need to allow people to fail, and to take personal responsibility for their failures. We need to concentrate on not only perceived, and real, constitutional rights, but the responsibilities we all have to uphold those rights, and we need to do that as individuals rather than relying on our government to do it for us.

When we endorse a bigger government - more social programs - we are giving all of our power to just a few people. We are in essence saying, "We cannot take care of ourselves." In fact, I take this concept even a bit further and say that when we start making excuses for people based on race, education - you name it - we are actually holding them back from succeeding. We are telling them they do not need to improve, they do not need to work harder, they do not need to better themselves, because it's not their fault.

Somehow, I do not think these are the ethics and ideals our founding fathers envisioned.

27 December 2007

Google Reader

DAMN you bloggers (too many of you to mention) who wrote about the virtues of Google Reader! What started out as a small folder of Blogs on my Favorites toolbar has now morphed into a L-O-N-G list of subscriptions on Google Reader. Sure, Google Reader has made my blog reading more efficient, but now it's so efficient that I've discovered I can read many, MANY more blogs!

The upside to this is that a whole new world has opened up to me, and being the introvert that I am this is a good thing, but now I'm wondering just how long the list of blogs, and blog searches on specific topics, will get. Will there ever be enough? Will I constantly feel the overwhelming need to find more? Will my legacy be something like the cat lady with 257 felines living in her home, only reference my obsession with blogs?

Anyone know of a 12-step program that can help me??

26 December 2007

Enough Already

Back to the senseless blog postings of the days before Christmas!

Not too long ago, there was this upsurge of posting of senior photos on blogs of those who have been out of school for a while *cough*twentyfiveyears*cough*

Odd thing - I don't have a copy of my senior picture - in fact, I'm not even certain anyone in my family has a copy of it, but I did find a wallet size senior prom pic (spring 1982) and have decided to entertain y'all with it. Sorry about the quality, but trust me, you don't need to see the details of this photo!

Just for shits and grins, I Googled my prom date's name in hopes of finding out some wonderful tidbit of information, but it seems he's disapeared off the face of the earth - probably the direct result of finding his own copy of this photo!

25 December 2007

Merry Christmas

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.

~ Agnes M. Pharo

24 December 2007

My Version of Norman Rockwell

I've been reading many of the holiday blog greetings with a bit of fleeting envy, and a dash of cynicism. Repeatedly I read about fabulous food and family gatherings, most bordering on visions of Norman Rockwell and all seemingly devoid of anything negative. I'm not sure if my views on the holidays are selfish, or just far more realistic than most people are willing to confess. With Santa a passing memory, I'm done pretending, and wishing, that Christmas is anything more than what it is.

As a kid, my family always went to Aunt Vicki and Uncle Dick's house. They had the most kids and thus, the biggest house. They were also centrally located in Washington state, making the trip "fair" for the family living on the coast, as well as family living on the east side of the state. One Christmas, when I was 14, we just stopped making this trip. I don't remember any specific event that took place to cause the change - it just happened.

My family has its share of quirks and drama, with the occasional alcoholic and bi-polar relative thrown in. My guess is that it looks like most other families. I don't know about the rest of you, but I've yet to meet a family where all members are still married to their first spouse, and there aren't warnings to young children about staying away from the creepy uncle.

The older I get, the clearer my family’s quirks become. I don't see this as a bad thing. The little family I grew up in has gained in-laws, stepparents, current-love-interests, etc. and things just aren't as they once were, or as others think they should be. This is the main reason I give for changing my nuclear family’s Christmas traditions, and for celebrating the holidays in "our" home, on "our" terms.

It’s taken me quite a few years to accept that life is short, ever changing and not fair. I have lost the desire to pretend for the benefit of others. Every family has their history, and mine is pretty screwed up rich and vibrant. I've given up on using my family filters - I call a duck a duck - and my family doesn't like it. I do things differently than I used to - I no longer avoid confrontation with my mother over parenting, but instead ask her to leave my home when she has crossed boundaries. I no longer pretend that my father can have just one beer to loosen up a bit, but rather tell him if he visits, there will be no alcohol in the house and he will be asked to leave if he brings his own.

We can’t pull off the Norman Rockwell version of the holidays. Not everything is fine, and I’m okay with that. This Christmas, I will miss my extended family, but I'll enjoy my own nuclear family, with our Kielbasa and macaroni and cheese Christmas dinner and our trip to the movies afterward.

On one hand, I see myself as the most selfish person in the world, as someone who’s not willing to put a face on for the sake of family. For all of our flaws, we are, after all, family. Who am I to extract myself? What about the kids?

On the other hand, I know there are other people who either have done this, or wish they had the nerve to. Maybe it’s just the evolution of family and traditions through time. At what point did your parents change your family’s traditions? When will you? How liberating would it be not to have to suffer your jerk sister-in-law simply because she shares the same parents, and absolutely nothing else, with your spouse? Would you give her the time of day if she weren’t family?

It may not sound like it, but I really do like the Christmas season and the new traditions my "blended" family has started. I sincerely hope you are able to enjoy your family and friends - those that you have specifically chosen to spend your precious time with.

23 December 2007

Sunday Secret

My son's biological father died over two years ago, and since he never asks about him anymore, I haven't shared the news.

22 December 2007

First an Award, now a Meme

I know ... I know, I claim I don't do awards or memes, then have one of each in my blog this week. Can I claim alien abduction? How about temporary holiday insanity?

I first saw this at Preposterous Pondering's blog, and have since seen it at a handful of other blogs. I like it because it doesn't involve the dreaded tagging attached to so many other memes and it is full of shiny objects pictures.

For those of you not familiar with this meme, it involves answering a number of questions by typing them into Google image search, and then posting a picture from the first page of your search results. I found that if you take the "safe search" off, the results are a bit more fun.

Age next birthday?
Apparently Colorado attempted to pass an Amendment last year that would allow adults ages 21 and older to possess and use up to an ounce of marijuana without facing a $100 fine. Unfortunately, for those Colorado citizens who actually inhale, the Amendment went up in smoke, and unfortunately for me, I'll be hitting my mid 40's next year.

Place I'd like to travel?
Greece! There is something about the tranquil colors of the architecture and the ocean (blue and white) that draws me to the country.

Favorite Object?
It called "Turtle Frenzy" and it is a fabulous object, alone or with a friend! The bonus? It's WATERPROOF!! If you want one of your very own you can visit my friend Leighann's Passion Party website .
Favorite Food?
I think it's likely my Seattle upbringing that caused my intense love of salmon. It is my first choice any time it's on the menu.

Favorite non-alcoholic drink?
It is the blood of life for me - again a remnant of my Seattle upbringing.

Favorite alcoholic drink?
Without a doubt my favorite! I drink it straight with a twist of lime. YUMMMM!

Favorite Animal?
So I'm not a warm and fuzzy kind of chick when it comes to animals. I find bats fascinating and in their own way, kind of cute!

Favorite Color?
I'm thinking this royal blue boa, and nothing else, might look good - or send people screaming and running - in which case I'll just have to get the Turtle Frenzy out of the "naughty" drawer!

First Job?
... and it was a COOL job! Not only were the hours great, but I got to see movies for free! Not a bad deal when you are 16.

College Major?
Although round one of college included a silly idea that I was going to be a music major, round two (the actual degree completion phase) was more practical - Paralegal Studies. Unfortunately, I'm starting to rethink that one as well.

Bad Habit?
Yes, it's true, and I am so embarrassed by this bad habit that most people who know me in real life have no clue! I'm a 1/2 pack a day, closet smoker, although I'm really trying to quit!

Favorite Holiday?
That's right! Talk like a Pirate Day! What other holiday can you dress, talk AND drink like a wench and claim you are actually celebrating an international holiday??

20 December 2007

The Truth About Santa

I knew this day would come, in fact, I thought it was going to happen sooner than it did, but it still made me just a bit embarrassed sad ...

In between bites of his Vanilla Creme Frosted Mini-Wheats this morning, and in a most serious tone, my 11 year old son asked, "Mom, is Santa real?"

I must have given him that look of Rudolph caught in the headlights of an 18-wheeler because he just scowled at me. I tried the "Santa is the spirit of Christmas" line which got me, "MOM! I asked if Santa is a real person!" Oh no! Caught in one of the BIGGEST parental lies out there. Now what?

So, I sucked it up and told the truth, of course not until I asked what he thought (gotta test the waters) before coming clean. When he told me he didn't think Santa was real, I spilled the brandied eggnog beans. No son, Santa isn't real. You mother has been lying to you for years now even though she spews the importance of always telling the truth.

I'm thinking the dirty deed is done, my son will now move on in life with the knowledge that his mother is a liar and a hypocrite Santa is not real, but NOOOOOO! He continues to rub it in my face. "So that means that Rudolph and the reindeer are not real? And all those times we sat watching Santa at the NORAD web site go across the country - that wasn't real either? But what about the Santa dollar that was left in my stocking that one year? That was a fake too??" Mommy guilt at it's finest ...

Just wait until he learns about the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy!

19 December 2007

"Holiday Kindness" Blogger Award

Like memes, I haven't really gotten in to blogger awards, but I have to make an exception. I am awarding my very own "Holiday Kindness" blogger award.

As many of you know, I became unemployed in early November. Money has been tight, but we are by no means in dire straights. Yes, I did have to cut back a bit on my gift-giving, but the most important people (the kids) will not feel the pinch of restricted finances.

After receiving the beautiful piece of artwork/jewelry from Real Live Lesbian as part of her blogger game, I asked about purchasing additional pieces for my son and step-daughter for Christmas. She sent me photos, I placed my order, and within days my package arrived.

Here is where the award comes in to play. Not only did RLL send me the two pieces I ordered, but she sent me additional pieces out of the kindness of her heart - because she knew I was going through a bumpy time and she wanted to bring a bit of unexpected holiday cheer.

I wouldn't know RLL if I were to slam into her on the street (although I might enjoy slamming into her on the street *giggle*) and yet she went out of her way to do something special for me - allowing me the opportunity to give one-of-a-kind, beautiful gifts to some people on my list that would not be receiving gifts otherwise.

For this true display of selfless giving, I am awarding RLL my very own "Holiday Kindness" blogger award! Words could never express how much her actions meant to me and how they restored my otherwise cynical view of what the holidays are all about.

Thank you seems somehow not enough - but I hope this "award" somehow conveys my gratitude. It's actions like hers that truly define holiday spirit.

18 December 2007

The Principal's Office

You know, I didn't like being called to the Principal's office when I was in school, and I like it even less now that I'm not in school, but today I got that special feeling once again when I answered the phone and heard, "Mrs. C, I have your son in my office." *stomach drops, immediate nausea ensues*

Seems my dear 6th grader decided to push boundaries a bit too far (not sure where he got that from) and he landed smack dab in trouble. It was an instance of a few, minor things all lumped together in a 30 minute time frame that suddenly became larger than life. No single, terrible thing - just all over, general disrespectful behavior that is completely unacceptable.

We are currently experiencing the beginnings of (black cloud hovers) puberty in my house, and my little boy has decided that not only is he a man, but he has an opinion that he will freely express, damn the consequences. Well, today he found out that the consequences of being a man child involve in school suspension for the day and grounding from all communications with his friends (internet, IM and the good old telephone) outside of school for a week.

... and I discovered that the Principal's office still looks, smells and feels the same way it did 30 years ago!

17 December 2007

Blog Etiquette

I was catching up on my blog reading today and came across RockDog's recent post on Blog and Chatroom Etiquette. It was a timely discovery for me - I had just been doing some research on blog etiquette last week after a disastrous episode with a fellow member of a Yahoo Group that I belong to.

Long story short, she and I are like oil and water and she was quite bothered by my judgement observations of her blog. So much so that she posted a portion of a private email I sent to her regarding her blog (and other observations) on her blog. The only problem was that she didn't give any history behind the email, nor did she post the entire email. Her blog post resulted in a barrage of nastiness from her readers directed at me. I didn't add a comment to her blog (although I really, REALLY wanted to) but rather just let her have her moment of validation from her cyber friends.

Now, I'm a big girl and I take responsibility for my actions. What I said was the truth (as I see it) and I didn't spew my views in a public forum, but rather in a private one (as private as email is). I don't have any regrets for any of the things I said, but the realization that private email conversations can be manipulated, then reposted in a public forum was an eye opener for me. I starting thinking I had better find out if there is general, good blog/blogger etiquette. What I found seemed to be common sense to me, but apparently common sense is not rampant in the blogger world.

For example, RockDog's #4 - Being new to the blog and pimping your site, begging for comments, or being a jerk in general. I'm thinking I wouldn't make friends in real life if I did this, so why in the hell would I do it in cyberland? Where is the common sense here? I knew nothing about blogs/blogging when I started mine a few months ago. I just thought it would be cheap therapy fun to have a place to vent and get my thoughts out of my head. I wasn't even sure I wanted anyone to read this blog, let alone make comments on it. When people started posting comments, it seemed logical that I would acknowledge those comments and visit their blogs to see what they were all about. No different than waving to one of my neighbor's as they drive by my house.

I remember when I saw my first meme and I thought, "Hmmmm ... interesting concept." But then there was this whole tagging thing. Hell, I didn't like being forced to be "it" when I was in elementary school, I sure don't want adults telling me I'm "it" now! I write what I want, when I want to, because that's what's in my head. Occasionally I'll see an interesting twist on the meme, like the "Letter to 13 year old you" that I read on a few blogs. Although I wouldn't likely participate, every one of them I read was a great read.

I understand reading blogs written by people with distinctly different views and lifestyles - it makes the world all that more interesting - but I am surprised when I hear that people will read what they find to be "offensive" and then post comments to that blog regarding how "offensive" it is. For goodness sakes, if you find a blog "offensive", don't read it! It's not rocket science, it's common sense!

I sit here shaking my head as I write this. Really people (and I do realize I am, for the most part, preaching to the choir here) it's that good old Golden Rule - Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

16 December 2007

Sunday Secret

You think I have multiple orgasms when we have sex, but seldom do I even have one.

Stuck with the Fighting Irish

Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy traveling during the winter? Currently, I am sitting in the "Business Center" of a Comfort Suites Hotel in South Bend, IN wondering if I'll be able to make the 180 mile westward trek home sometime today. Here is the current radar screen

I am hoping that by checkout time (11AM) the snow will have stopped and I'll at least be able to see the tollway to make it home. Yesterday afternoon, I hopped in the car and drove to the tollway assuming all would be well. The roads weren't too bad (bare and wet - like some of you like your women *giggle*), but there was no visibility. I turned around and decided my son and I were much safer staying in a hotel for another night.

I took a peek out the window this morning and today isn't looking terribly promising either, but if I can make it out of the unplowed parking lot, I might be OK. Fortunately, I'm quite comfortable driving in the snow - seven years of Minnesota winters will do that for you!

I'm taking bets on how long the normally 2.5 hour trip will take this afternoon. Anyone up for an informal poll?


Ahhhh ... good old best intentions ...

It just seemed 11AM was far too late to leave. Yes, it was still snowing in South Bend - yes, the weather report indicated that there were significant lake effect snows just west of South Bend in La Porte - but I am Dana, Princess of Power, and none of those things mattered - I wanted to head home and head home I did!

We left at 8:37AM. It was still snowing big giant flakes, but I could see the tollway was moving at a decent pace. I should have known there would be trouble when I turned to get on the tollway and the on-ramp had not yet been plowed.

As I do when the weather gets a bit dicey, I tucked myself behind a semi-truck once I got on the tollway. He seemed to be driving a bit conservatively which, considering the weather, seemed quite appropriate. The first 10 miles of the trip weren't bad. Only the right hand lane was relatively clear, but we were maintaining a 50-60 mph speed. Then all hell broke lose.

About 10 miles outside of La Porte the snow started to really come down. I knew this was where the lake effect snows were, so I wasn't surprised. What did surprise me was the fact that just as quickly as the snow started coming down, the road and visibility went to shit. I could not tell where the road was and the only thing I could see in front of me were the back lights of the semi-truck. At speeds averaging 25 mph, this is what I could see (no, I didn't snap a pic while driving, this was one I found on-line that was close to the conditions today, but not quite as bad)

After about 20 minutes of nail-biting, "Ah Shit!" driving, we did make it through. I felt like a lemming, knowing if the semi drove off the road, into a ditch, I'd be following him right on in. I am an experienced winter driver and these were the worse conditions I've ever seen.

Just as quickly as the snow started, it stopped. Once we got to the west side of La Porte, the skies were bright blue and sunny. It was the strangest thing. The rest of the trip was uneventful and we pulled into the garage at 11:42, 3 HOURS AND 5 MINUTES from the time we left South Bend.

There's no place like home ... there's no place like home ...

14 December 2007


There are times when I must admit I am wrong possibly mistaken, and this just might be one of them (how's that for non-committal?).

Reuben called back yesterday afternoon! Yes, a state employee not only kept his word, but did so in a timely manner. Apparently no one is quite sure what this hold is that found its way to my benefit week. Fortunately, Reuben's supervisor has the authority to remove the hold and did so. Funds for the benefit week "should be" deposited to my account on Wednesday.

I talked to Reuben's supervisor and told him what a great job Reuben did. It seems kind of strange to be giving kudos to someone who is DOING THEIR JOB, but it is so rare to get good customer service that I felt I should encourage the behavior.

Do I dare be optimistic?

13 December 2007

Unemployment - The Remix

EGADS! Can I please go back to work? Someone? Anyone? I've got some great, marketable skills! This unemployment thing is driving me batty!!

So, as previously discussed, I filed an unemployment claim last year but never collected because I quickly found a job. I applied for benefits this year and they tell me I have an unpaid waiting week due on my last claim for the benefit year ending 11/11/2007. OK, I don't agree, I file an appeal, I move forward.

I now start a NEW benefit year. Of course, there is another unpaid waiting week due for that benefit year (week ending 11/17). So now I've been unemployed for two weeks and have yet to see any $$. Fine, I can scrape by with TWO waiting weeks pending my appeal - everything should be on track, right?

I get a benefit check for the week ending 11/24 - things are looking up! On Monday, I call in to certify for benefits for the weeks ending 12/1 and 12/8. I've even got direct deposit set up now. Any guesses on where this is going??

Well, I got $$ for the week ending 12/8, but NOT for the week ending 12/1. WTF?? (that was for you RockDog). Let's call the unemployment office so that I can blog about shitty customer service like Jay did today. Ahhhh ... and I wasn't even disappointed.

I talk to "Reuben" and immediately think of corned beef, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing and rye bread - I'm hungry!

Distracted ... concentrate ... Reuben is speaking English - kind of. Reuben goes through all of the obligatory security questions and then gets very, very quiet. He mentions something about a hold of some type on benefits for the week ending 12/1, but can't seem to tell me what kind of hold it is or why it is there. He starts "fishing" for a little help, trying to come up with something *I* must have done to make this happen. Sorry Reuben, I can't help you there. I've been doing EXACTLY what I am supposed to be doing.

A few more moments of silence with an "ummmm" added for covering his ass emphasis and he says, I'm on the phone cue this afternoon and it is really busy. I'll need to look in to this when I have a spare moment and get back to you." It's another WTF?? moment. Reuben didn't seem to give a rat's ass care about the fact that this is my son's Christmas gift we are talking about. Instead, he assured me he would get back to me, but just in case he forgot he gave me his direct extension. I guess I'll just take his direct extension to the bank and attempt to deposit that in my checking account! Or better yet, maybe I can use it as a gift card at Target!!

I know this will all work out, but dammit I am tired of doing someone elses job and not getting paid for it!

12 December 2007

The Christmas Tree Hunt

This weekend we conducted our annual Christmas Tree hunt. For some people this is a relatively easy quest - pull the box out of the basement and set up the pre-lit tree - but in our home it is a weekend project.

First, we must rent a vehicle - an SUV to get the tree from the tree farm to our house. The tree certainly cannot be tied to my husband's Chrysler 300M Special (shame on the wife who would ever even suggest such a thing), and my car is too small to comfortably haul the family in. Early Saturday morning we pick up the rental SUV, grab some breakfast, and head out to the tree farm.

We let the kids pick out the tree - having them switch off with the responsibility each year. This year my son picked, and I think we looked at about 254 trees before he decided on "the one" - a TEN foot Norwegian Spruce. Next comes the sawing process, the wrapping of the tree, the picking of a wreath, the obligatory family photo, oh, and then the hot chocolate, cookies and popcorn. By the time we got home, got the tree unloaded, in the stand and in the front room, Saturday was gone and I was exhausted!

Guess what we did Sunday? That's right! Time to decorate the monster in the front room. Get the ladders and all of the decorations out. Check all of the lights to make sure they work. Wait, some are blinking and some are not. Can't have that - make sure all of the lights are blinking. String the lights on the tree - oops! Not enough lights - run to the Ace hardware in town to get 3 more strings of lights. Lights are on, kids start with the ornaments. Of course mom still has to help - can't have the kids on the ladder or we'll inevitably have a trip to the ER. FINALLY finish at 6PM Sunday. Put all of the bins that hold the decorations in the basement and, what?? It's time for bed already? Where did the weekend go?

11 December 2007

Ice, Ice, Baby ...

This is what dumped on northwestern Illinois last night, and continues to dump as I type ...

Although beautiful, the 1/2" of ice is wrecking havoc. My driveway can now be used as an ice hockey rink and only warm water would allow me access to my car door. Schools are closed (at the last minute - just 25 minutes before the bus was due) and my 11 yo is driving me insane with his "bordom." Not quite sure why he doesn't appreciate my ideas to keep him busy - cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming - these are things that keep me from being bored, but it seems he'd rather spend his time on Club Penguin. He's cleaning bathrooms now *evil mom grin*

09 December 2007

Sunday Secret

I'd rather hear my husband say, "You are beautiful" than hear him say, "I love you," but he has never said those words ...

08 December 2007

Another Virgin Experience

I did something on Thursday that I've never done before - no, this has nothing to do with the nip pic although that was a virgin experience as well - this task actually has the potential to facilitate positive change in my community. I wrote a letter to the editor of my local paper and I emailed my state legislators.

I decided when my son started middle school this fall that it was time for me to become more involved in the education process and the community in general. I know, I know, the standard mom thing to do is to be involved in the early years of education, but I have a different philosophy on that. When do kids have the most potential to get in to trouble? When they are 6 and their biggest concern is recess and snack time, or when they are 12 and going through puberty, and thinking they are now men and women? Speaking from personal experience only, I'd have to say the middle and high school years have the greatest potential for catastrophic decision-making.

I signed up for the Parent Volunteer Committee (PVC) during the 6th grade orientation this past fall. I became an active member of the committee - even taking on a position as an officer of the committee. On Monday, I was asked to attend a meeting of the PTO/PVC Officers from all of the schools in our district. I was amazed at all of the information that was shared at that meeting that directly affected my son's education. One of the key issues was funding for new schools and school renovations.

I live in a very small, but rapidly growing community. Our current population is 3500, but is expected to be somewhere near 35,000 in ten years. In fact, the community is so small that currently the middle school and high school kids attend classes in the same building, however that changes next year. The district built a new high school in my community and has scheduled renovations of the current middle school/high school for this summer in order to make the "new" middle school more functional. We passed a referendum in 2005 that increased our property taxes in order to pay for the new high school and the renovations to the middle school.

What does all of this have to do with writing a letter to the editor? Well, when the referendum was passed, part of the deal was that the state would reimburse a percentage of the construction costs incurred with the new high school. Guess what? That's right, the state has not held up its end of the bargain. In fact, the state has not issued any reimbursements for these approved projects since 2002. Our district must receive the reimbursement by January in order to go forward with the middle school renovations.

As a parent and community member, I had read about the state budget impasse, but had no idea that this affected my family, my community and me. My theory is that if I didn't understand this concept, chances are others in my community do not understand it either. What better way to explain the challenge, as well as offer a solution (writing our state legislators) than through a letter to the editor? So I did!

Will my efforts facilitate change? Honestly, I have no idea, but if they do, it's a huge success for my community. If they don't? Well, at least I have earned the "right" to bitch about the situation by actually doing something to change it.

I challenge all of you to take action the next time you find yourself complaining about something. It really is a good feeling knowing that you haven't just watched from the sidelines, but actually participated in the game - whether you win or lose. Now, if I could just implement that thought process in all areas of my life that are in need of change ...

06 December 2007

Blog Modeling

Yes, it's true - I just couldn't help myself. You see, Real Live Lesbian makes just absolutely gorgeous jewelry. I secured a piece of her art in a blog contest and jokingly asked her if it would make good nipple jewelry. I told her I'd send her a pic when I got the item to show her how well it worked. Being a woman of my word, I did just that!!

She offered to allow me to remain annonymous - I told her to use her best judgement, and that she did! I think she may have even airbrushed me!! Just to show there is no shame in my game, here is the un-retouched photo of my tit RLL's art!

She does do beautiful work, doesn't she???

05 December 2007

Tit Squish Boogie

I know ... I know ... it is supposed to be Wordless Wednesday, but I just had to share!

At 43, I finally had my first mammogram - about three years late, but I hate doctors. Anyway, I had heard all of the stories of how painful the process is - how they flatten your tit, how they often have to retake the mammogram and you know what? It's all bullshit!

Now mind you, I do have a fairly high pain threshold (I know you are all surprised by that), but still, breast feeding my son was far more uncomfortable than the mammogram, although he did get teeth early. I felt downright silly for putting this off as long as I did as it was really nothing to be at all concerned with.

I also got quite a compliment. Apparently I have great tits for taking a mammogram! I have a good layer of muscle behind them (critical for a proper mammogram - who knew?) AND my mammogram was one of the clearest the tech said she had ever seen. WooHoo!!

Even better news? The initial results were good. No hidden gems lurking anywhere in these tits.

So, all of you women, don't put off your mammogram. And all of you men, encourage your women to get in there and get it done!!

04 December 2007

A RockDog Twisted Backwards Fucking Meme For The Ages

Anti-meme RockDog challenged his readers to take any 8 of the reader generated, twisted meme questions and answer them in their next blog. Well, I have never been one to pass up a challenge, so here we go! I actually answered 9 of the questions hoping to get extra credit.

1. Brand of underwear - I am in no way brand loyal when it comes to underwear, but I am style loyal. Thongs it is, but only because I have a HUGE aversion to panty lines. I think panty lines look extremely tacky and I haven't found any other style of underwear that effectively eliminates them like a thong does.

2. Favorite Drink - Grey Goose with a lime twist. I will not drink any other vodka and I refuse to dilute the flavor with any mixer.

3. Blondes, Brunettes, or Redheads - redheads, definitely redheads!

4. How Old Were You When You Lost Your Virginity?

I was 16, and I didn't have sex a second time until I was 18.

5. If you could change one thing about you that would effect the life of just one person for better, would you do it, even if it meant changing something that you liked about yourself?

This really is a difficult question and, for me, is so dependent upon circumstances. In a nutshell, yes I would, but ...

I would need to feel the person had no other options and the change that I made would significantly impact their life in a positive way. Now, what that means - who that would be - I really don't know, but I *would* know if the opportunity arose.

6. Favorite Book Ever - Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. It's the only book I own that I waited in line to have the author sign.

7. Favorite Movie Ever - Pulp Fiction - hands down!

8. When you were 10, what did you dream of being when you grew up?

I wanted to be a lawyer. I grew up wanting to make life more "fair" and thought this was the way to do it. I got close - I am a paralegal - and I haven't given up on going to law school at some point in my life.

9. If you could change one thing about your appearance, what would it be?

I've been told I have a chin like Jay Leno (NOT the kind of complement a woman wants to hear) and I am extremely self-conscious about it. I'd like to have a chin job, and a bit of a nose alteration for good measure!

02 December 2007

Sunday Secret

I made a short, "adult" video and posted it to an amateur video website. I hope my husband finds it when, instead of being in bed with me, he is surfing porn.

30 November 2007


Let me start this post with a *WARNING* What I am about to say will likely offend some of you. In fact, it is so un-PC I'm certain someone will accuse me of being racist. For the record, I'm not, but this post will have many of you wondering.

As you know, I was let go from my job on November 2nd. I filed for unemployment benefits. This will be the first time in my 28 year work history that I have EVER collected unemployment (yes, I am very thankful for that). So, there is this whole waiting week issue with collecting unemployment - you are required to have one waiting week for each benefit year where you are not paid any benefits. This I knew. This I expected.

I call in to certify for benefits on the 19th of November as my instructional letter indicated. I get through the whole, irritating automated menu, hear a message indicating I have reached the end of my benefit year (I filed for unemployment benefits last November, but never needed to certify/collect them as I immediately found employment), and will receive additional information in the mail for my next benefit year. OK, not a problem.

I call in to certify for benefits on the 26th of November as the follow-up instructional letter indicated. Again, I go through the whole, irritating automated menu to get my confirmation message. Yesterday I receive a check - for ONE WEEK of benefits. What?? I've been unemployed for THREE weeks, why do I have two waiting weeks without benefits? Must call my local office to get that information ... and here is where the ranting starts!

When calling any State Government office in the United States, I should NOT have to "press 1 for English." The default should be English and anyone not speaking English should need to "press 1" for their native language. Through yet another automated menu I go, pressing 2, then 3, then 2 again, until I finally reach a live body. Guess what?? English is CLEARLY not this person's native language. Not only am I having difficulty understanding them, but they are obviously having difficulty understanding me - and English is my native language.

Now, don't get me wrong, I heart America!! The melting pot is what brought my family here and I am proud to live in a country as diverse as this one. As you all know, I gave up 5 years to the U.S. Army to insure this country remained a melting pot. But here's the deal, my ancestors were required to assimilate in to the American culture. They could not get a job until they spoke fluent English. They didn't expect everyone to accommodate them and their language, but rather did their best to quickly learn the cultural norms and language of America. Why is it that when I call a State Government agency, I get a "customer service" person whom I can't understand and who can't understand me? Not only that, but why am I getting SEVERE attitude (and refusal) when I ask (very politely) "Would it be possible for me to speak with someone else as I am having a difficult time understanding your explanation?"

I was told, "No! You can't speak to anyone else. They will just tell you the same thing." What?? You are supposed to be serving ME! These are MY benefits that I have worked 28 years for and you are going to tell me I can't talk to someone who I can understand? This was one of those times where the person I was speaking with just kept saying the same thing, repeatedly, only louder each time, as if I was going to somehow understand them if they screamed at me.

ARGH! It's humiliating enough to have to collect unemployment - really - but can I be treated with a little, tiny bit of dignity and respect? Is that too much to ask? And can I please speak to someone who speaks my native language fluently since you are bending over backwards to accommodate those that don't speak English?? Please??

Now I get to file an appeal for the one week of "missing" benefits. Do you suppose I'll get to meet with someone who can communicate effectively - in ENGLISH??

29 November 2007

What's a Blogger to Do??

I haven't really decided what I want this blog to be. I am an regular reader of several blogs that are sarcastic, cynical and just plain funny, and that is what I had hoped my blog would become as well, but it just doesn't seem I have the knack for that type of writing. So instead, y'all are just going to get what you get!

I recently finished a book titled Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's written by John Elder Robison. It is a thought provoking look in to the life of someone diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) - a neurological "disorder" that falls on the autism spectrum. Amazon has a short video introducing the book and the author here if any of you are interested. I've decided to spend my blog time today sharing my story of AS.

According to the Mayo Clinic, conservative estimates indicate that two out of every 10,000 children have AS, and boys are three to four times as likely as girls to have the disorder. Chances are you know or work with someone with AS and just think they are quirky. My son Cam was diagnosed with AS when he was 6 (he is now 11).

My son shows some of the classic signs of AS - deficiencies in social skills, difficulty with transitions or changes (he prefers sameness,) an inability to properly interpret body language and proper body space, and an oversensitivity to sounds, tastes, smells, and sights, that wouldn't even be noticed by the "normal" person. Unfortunately, his odd and unusual behaviors are often misinterpreted as intentional rudeness and bad behavior and I am seen as a "bad" parent - even by my own husband. I do not use his Asperger's as an excuse, nor will he, but having the diagnosis does enables me to better understand how he thinks and how I can help him be successful.

So why am I sharing this? I feel strongly that neurological disabilities - especially those that are somewhat mild, are often considered "less" of a disability than ... say ... paralysis. I think it is important for all of us to understand that just because a person's disability is not clearly visible, it can be just as much of a challenge for them.

25 November 2007

Sunday Secret

I don't think I'll ever be successful in my degree field because what I really want to be is a stay-at-home mom.

24 November 2007

American Gangster

I am a huge fan of documentaries, biographies and any movie based on a true story - this movie was no exception.

Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe are amazing as Frank Lucas and Richie Roberts - they bring this story to life and keep a 2 hour 40 minute movie from having a single boring moment. This "success" story of a cult figure from the streets of 1970s Harlem is a not-so-gentle reminder that there is a price to pay for every decision we make in life. I watched the HBO documentary, The Making of American Gangster, prior to seeing the film and would recommend it as a solid foundation for full enjoyment of the movie if you are not familiar with the Frank Lucas story.

I did take my son (11) to this R rated movie (violence, pervasive drug content and language, nudity and sexuality) and although there was really nothing I was concerned about him seeing, the movie did not keep his attention for long. I was hoping he'd stay engaged as there really were some valuable life-lessons in this film, but instead, he seemed to have get quite bored with all of the character development necessary to make this film a success.

My rating? Definitely worth the price of admission, and a bucket of popcorn, but leave the kids at home!

22 November 2007


I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and new.
~ Will Carleton

21 November 2007

20 November 2007

When did my shower become a Petri dish??

We have one of those master bathrooms that is about the size of a small bedroom - it has a separate shower, corner soaking tub, separate his and hers sinks/vanities and even a separate little room for the toilet (so hubby can have his privacy during the morning constitutional while I am in the shower). So, you get the picture - big ass bathroom.

Now, I like to think of myself as a fairly good housekeeper. I am by no means germaphobic, and you wouldn't want to eat off my kitchen floor, but there aren't usually unidentifiable colonies living on anything either. Well, at least I didn't think so until I cleaned the master bathroom this morning.

Now, I understand the concept of mold and mildew - give it a warm, wet, dark place (SHHHH! RockDog) and it will grow into a beautiful specimen, but I'm a bit fanatical about turning on the bathroom fan and leaving the shower doors open after my shower to allow air circulation. I even have one of those automatic shower cleaners that claims, "We Work Hard So You Don't Have To." Well today, I had to work HARD!

I happened to drop my hairbrush on the floor this morning and while I was at ground level, I caught a glimpse of the bottom of my shower surround - it was ALIVE! OK, not really alive, but it was pretty shades of pink and black that are far better suited for a hoochie Barbie® Doll than for a bathroom shower. I am proud to say that they no longer live there - they were blasted with bleach and a scrubby sponge, but still … EEUUWW!!

One more thing … can one of you men tell me why there was so much hair on the floor in the little room that houses the toilet? I know this isn't my hair (it was blond, and I am not), I know that hubby doesn't have that much hair left on his head and I also know that if he had been hiding some blond bimbo in there, I would have run in to her by now. Where does this hair come from?? What is he doing while sitting on the toilet that generates that much shedding?? And just where is he shedding from?? Or do I even want to know ...

19 November 2007

Is It Cheating? (Part 2)

For the record, I am NOT having a torrid on-line love affair with some cyber hunk/hottie. There has been no groping and no nuddie pics have been exchanged through email (although I *do* owe RLL a photo of her beautiful artwork proudly displayed). That being said, I'd be lying if I said I haven't fantasized about it.

I like to think that one of the things that happens as I get older is that I learn from past mistakes. I don't mind making mistakes, but I really don't like making the same mistake again and again. Cheating, and the damage that can result, is a lesson I learned long ago - but it's still been on my mind.

I stand by my position that it is unrealistic to think my husband should be all things to me at all times. He can't possibly meet all of my physical and emotional needs all of the time. Now, how (or if) I choose to fill those gaps is really what this is all about. In my world, it's not the physical act of sex that defines cheating, but rather the secrecy behind it all. The act of sex does not require, nor result in, intimacy - intimacy is something far removed from sex. Can they happen in the same moment? Absolutely! Must they? I don't think so, and I don't think it's a *bad* thing when they don't.

Jaded? Cynical?? Again, I don't think so, I think I am just realistic. According to current infidelity statistics up to 70% of men and 40% of women are involved in extramarital affair. No, this isn't meant to be an accusation that everyone will cheat, but rather acknowledgement that it happens more than many of us realize (or want to admit). Maybe honesty is still the best policy ...

18 November 2007

Sunday Secret

My self worth will always be determined by the number on the scale.

17 November 2007

Is It Cheating?

What Constitutes Cheating?

Seems odd that this has been on my mind, but it has. Ten years ago, I wouldn't have had a philosophical decision with myself on cheating, I'd have just gone out and done it. Age, wisdom, bad decisions experience, have brought me to a place where I ask more questions before acting.

For example, is it even realistic to think my husband should be all things to me at all times? Should he really be able to meet all of my physical and emotional needs all of the time? I don't think so - in fact, I am certain that I don't meet all of his physical and emotional needs all of the time.

Sometimes the cheating line is pretty damn clear - having sex (not the Clinton definition) with another man, without hubby's knowledge, is definitely cheating. But sometimes the line gets really blurry. What about sex with a woman without hubby's knowledge? Completely different type of emotional and physical need being met there - is it cheating? What about flirting (male or female) with a grope thrown in for good measure? What if it is confined to the cyber world but includes hard core intimate photos and videos being exchanged - is it cheating?

I suppose I could stand in hubby's shoes - would any of the above bother me if it were what he was doing? Honestly, not at all as long as he's not endangering my health or the well-being of the household or the kids. Of course, I'd prefer to know about it so that I could watch feel a part of the decision, but it's just sex - right??

14 November 2007

12 November 2007

A Veteran's Day Rant

This holiday, which was actually yesterday, irritates me, but likely not for the reasons any of you might think. You see, I *am* a veteran. I served 5 years in the U.S. Army and I am somewhat (OK, completely) a military snob. You see, I believe only those who have served, and been honorably discharged, should have this holiday off with pay. Not only that, but I believe EVERY employer should be required to give this day off - WITH PAY - to any employee who can show that they served in the military and were honorably discharged.

I left the military in 1995 and since that date I have NEVER gotten Veteran's Day as a paid holiday, yet my postal carrier, my bank teller and my son's school teachers (all of whom are likely not veteran's) receive the day off with pay. Why is that? Does anyone really believe these employees are honoring veterans in any manner (and no, taking advantage of the sales at the mall does not count)??
Yes, I do feel strongly on this, but I gave 5 years of service to my country to maintain the right to spew my opinion.

11 November 2007

Sunday Secret

It's not the other man my husband needs to worry about, it's the other WOMAN

09 November 2007

Anyone Want To Play???

So, I was perusing Leighann's blog, reading through the comments (I am an admitted voyeur after all, and the internet has *worsened* my condition) and I stumbled upon two very *fun* blogs - RockDog and In Search of My Hip Bones (Real Live Lesbian). Now, Real Live Lesbian is playing a game, and we all know that I like playing games (especially those involving lesbians), so I've decided to play too.

Here are her rules:

"The first 5 commenters here will get a small gift in the mail from me. All you have to do is post this on your own blog and promise to gift the first 5 commenters on your post if they promise to gift the first 5 commenters on their posts… you see how it goes. What do they call that? The domino effect. After you comment jot your address in an email and click it off to me. As soon as you participate in the game I will get your little something in the mail."

Now, I don't have a cock or shiny objects to send, but I'm pretty sure that I can find a little something that will bring a smile to your face. Just send me an email with your mailing address and I'll make sure your postal carrier (politically correct) finds his/her way to your mail box.

Week One

I've made it through week one of unemployment and you want to know a secret?? I am LOVING it! How terrible is that? Here's the deal though. For the past 4 months, DH and I have both been working 12-hour days (including commuting time). There seems to be no time to take care of the "normal," daily stuff, and since the majority of it is put on my shoulders, I'm the one that feels the stress.

So, this week I've had dinner ready when DH gets home (he used to have the dinner duties as he was home before me), the house is reasonably clean, laundry is caught up, the basement and front doors no longer squeak, the light switch in the master bath no longer shorts out, Cam's homework has been completed every day before dinner AND my resume is updated! I feel FABULOUS!!

At this point, I can see that our home runs far more smoothly when I am home. Everyone seems to be more relaxed and everyone has a better attitude. Guess what? Assuming things continue to go this well, I don't want to go back to work any time soon! I never thought I would say that - my self worth has always been tied to my employment - but I'm discovering that my family is far more important than my professional growth.

I did get my unemployment insurance information in the mail yesterday. I will receive $473/week for 26 weeks. This isn't a HUGE difference from my regular take-home pay, and it will be extremely easy to save the difference between the two just in transportation costs. I'm hoping to find some type of part-time or freelance work rather than the 9-5 grind I've been doing. The problem? I've got to convince DH this is not only a great idea, but one that is financially sound.

If any of you faithful readers have any RELIABLE sources for freelance/WAH positions, please leave me a comment. Of course I've googled both and had thousands of hits, but I am very skeptical when it comes to online resources.

05 November 2007

Just When Things Start Looking Up

They come crashing down. I've been at my "dream" job for 4 months now. It's doing exactly what I wanted to do after graduating from college last year. I've been frustrated with the position at times - training has been sporadic and inconsistent, I had absolutely no experience in the field going in - but I was just starting to feel like maybe things were clicking.

I spoke to the office manager on Wednesday and gave a bit of an ultimatum - I was frustrated and needed more training. I asked that I be either given that training or let go if I wasn't the right fit. I wanted to do the best that I could for the firm, but I wasn't being given the tools I needed to succeed.

Friday afternoon one of the partners stopped by my desk and asked me to come to the office manager's office. Her first words? "We have decided that today will be your last day at the firm." Wow … so much for my "dream" job … My reason for termination? I am not a good fit for the firm.

I'm having a really difficult time with this. I am questioning whether I am a good fit anywhere. A quick look at my employment history for the last 4 years (5 different employers) starts looking questionable. Did I screw up by completing a degree in paralegal studies? Am I just too stupid to handle the demands of an international trademark paralegal position? Should I just go back to accounting, earn $35,000/year and be happy?

DH has been GREAT through all of this, telling me there is no need to worry - financially we'll be fine - that this really isn't about my inadequacies - blah, blah, blah. I'm grateful for his support (he *owes* me after his last unemployment debacle), but I don't believe a word he is saying. I find myself in a position where I doubt all that I thought I knew, and that is not a good feeling.

The job-hunt starts today with a revamping of the resume. I've got to look at going to a functional resume rather than a chronological resume, as my employment history is so spotty these days. I've done some preliminary searching and it doesn't look real good out there. The holiday season is never a good time to be looking for a job.

Damn … damn … DAMN!

04 November 2007

Sunday Secret

I am afraid that if I tell people my first husband committed suicide just three months after we got married, they will wonder what it was that I did that made him take his own life ... because 18 years later, I still wonder what I did ...

31 October 2007

Wordless Wednesday

28 October 2007

Sunday Secret

I am a huge fan of PostSecret - I have so many myself I think it's time to share them.

I read the "Missed Connections" posts on CraigsList in hopes that one of the hundreds of people I randomly pass in my daily life might actually want to get to know me.

25 October 2007

Thirteen Pet Peeves

  1. My son ruining his $100 pair of shoes in less than 3 months by walking on the backs of them.
  2. Explanations beginning with the word "Again" - if you are saying what you just said, and I didn't understand it the first time, how am I supposed to magically get it just because you repeat it?
  3. People who verbalize punctuation while speaking - PERIOD!
  4. Mumbling, then saying "Forget it!" when someone couldn't have possibly heard what you said.
  5. Shouting "drop it" the moment a conversation veers into an unwanted direction.
  6. Restaurant forks whose tines are crooked.
  7. People who stand in the way of folks wishing to use an escalator, moving sidewalk or doorway.
  8. Swinging a cigarette wildly while making way through a crowd, especially at family oriented events.
  9. People who camp out in the left lane of the tollway/freeway driving the speed limit and/or blocking traffic.
  10. Laws that are never enforced (Illinois' law regarding the above.)
  11. People who chew with their mouth open or talk with food visibly in their mouth.
  12. Doctor's who expect you to be prompt for your appointment so that they can make you wait 30 minutes past your appointment time.
  13. Goofy holidays like "Sweetest Day."

21 October 2007

Some Things Never Change

Yesterday, I was wondering how I was going to make it through four more days with my mother - by 6:00 last night, I only had to wonder how I'd make it through the next 18 hours.

My mother is, and always has been, a button pusher. I remember the behavior as far back as when I was five. My mother finds, then pushes, pushes and PUSHES, the emotional buttons of EVERYONE she meets. She had been pushing buttons, and boundaries, since the moment she stepped foot in this house. Yesterday afternoon, a minor incident brought her visit to a screeching halt, when she decided to participate in her button pushing mantra one too many times.

Cam had picked up one of those paddleball toys and looked like he was going to start playing with it in the family room. I looked at Cam and said, don't play with that in the family room. If you want to play with it you'll need to take it outside of upstairs to your room." Seems harmless enough, doesn’t it? Well, here is the rest of the conversation:

MOM: Why can't he play with it in the family room? (Said in an openly defiant manner)

ME: Because we don't allow toys in the family room.

MOM: Why? (Again, openly defiant and taunting)

DH (to my mom): Karen, you don't want to go here. You really need to respect our home and our rules or you need to leave.

MOM: MAKE ME! (Anyone having flashbacks to a recent conversation with their five-year-old?)

DH: I'll pack your shit up and throw it in the middle of the road if I have to!

MOM: Dana, can I use your computer?

ME: Of course.

DH (as my mom heads down to the basement): Please close the door.

MOM: What do you think? I'm STUPID?

… and this wasn't the worst of it. You see, this little game has played out THOUSANDS of times in my childhood home. I know what is supposed to come next. It was at this point that I was supposed follow her downstairs and tell her how much I love her and beg her not to leave (she went downstairs to change her flight information). The problem? She was WAY out of line and there wasn't a chance in hell that I was going to do what she wanted. The next hour was ugly.

She eventually went upstairs to her room and beckoned Cam to bring her cell phone to her room. Not happening! Again, I *know* this game. This is where she finds the most vulnerable person in the immediate area (me, as a child, now Cam) and fills his or her head with nonsense about how everyone else is wrong and she is just misunderstood. You see, at this point she knows she's done wrong and she attempts to cover her tracks as best she can. This CANNOT be her fault so she begins her crusade to convince those she can manipulate to be on her "side." Well, she was NOT going to do that to my son, so I refused to let Cam go talk to her and instead, I brought her cell phone to her.

I can only speculate on what happened over the next 30 minutes. I *know* that she called her friend in Las Vegas who was going to pick her up. I *know* she called my aunt (her youngest sister) to make changes to her itinerary so that she could leave today (three calls from my aunt followed the blow-up with my mother) and I *know* that the story she told my aunt was NOT what happened in my home. By the time my mother went downstairs to attempt to print her boarding pass, I was livid! Not only had she been unreasonable with her behavior in my home (not a complete surprise), she had attempted to drag Cam, and had involved other family members and strangers, in this situation. Cam was SOBBING on the sofa - certain he was responsible for what had happened. It was time for me to confront her.

I don't believe my mother has EVER seen me stand up to anyone the way I stood my ground with her. Not only did I tell her I couldn't believe she had the audacity to do this to my son, but I told her I wasn't playing her games - that I was an adult and she was a guest in my home - and not only did she need to change her flight, but she needed to find an airport hotel AND call a cab because she was not welcome here any longer. Her response? GO TO HELL!

Eventually, with my aunt acting a "mediator," we were able to move somewhat forward. I decided to allow her to stay here her last night and I will be driving her to the airport at noon today. It is definitely time for her to go, and I will tell you that she is not welcome in my home again.

Now comes the tricky part. I don't want to interfere in the relationship between my mother and Cam, yet I'm not sure that her influence in his life offers more positive energy than negative energy. Cam deserves caring, loving and STABLE grandparents, and although I know my mother loves him, she routinely sabotages our parenting and our household rules. I'm thinking this is in no way a good thing.

I wanted to believe my mother had changed - that she had figured out that the way she lives her life brings nothing but chaos and confusion to her. Unfortunately, at 65, she still hasn't figured it out, it's becoming more and more clear that she never will.