30 April 2008

Dangling Testicle Bill

Can you think of a better topic for hump day? I didn't think so!

Have you heard the latest? Apparently lawmakers in Florida are more concerned with bull nutz (not to be confused with beer nutz) than they are with
the state's huge revenue shortfalls. There's been a new trend in vehicle adornment - dangling, big metal bull balls on the back end of a trucks - and Florida wants them banned.

The concern? well, according to state Sen. Carey Baker, "... the state needs to draw a line on what's obscene before more objectionable adornments appear." What? Like Truck Tits? One little thing though, apparently Florida is only concerned with the metallic version of these. Does that mean these are OK?

And just what are we going to do about these?? Will we need to ban them too??

Baker's bill will fine drivers $60 for displaying the ornaments and his bill recently passed the Senate. It's now up to the House, but there's only a slim chance that members would pass the measure before the session ends this coming Friday.

My words of advise? Just make sure you don't visit Florida after visiting Cape May, New Jersey this summer. Something tells me this bumper sticker might get you in a bit of trouble!


Don't forget to stop in and read Daddio's Daily Dose. Yesterday he posted part three in his series Save Thee? Or Sell Thee? As Michael says, "Plan on being informed, provoked, inspired, possibly irked, educated, amused and maybe even a tad thankful." He's on the mark with this one!


29 April 2008

TMI Tuesday

TMI Tuesday

1. Early bird or night owl?

Early bird - gotta catch that worm!

2. Where was the first place you ever had sex?

In a hotel room, between the beds on the floor.

3. On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you? (1 is lowest, 10 is highest)

Well, I have this theory that smiling makes everything just a bit better, so even if I'm not happy, I'll likely be smiling. Now, to get back to the question, I'd say that parts of my life are a 10 and parts are a 1.

4. Are you more submissive or dominant?

This might surprise you (or maybe not) - definitely submissive.

5. Do you believe in love at first sight?

Nahhhh ... I'm old enough to know better, however I do believe in LUST at first sight!

Bonus (as in optional): Describe your bed time habits. What side do you sleep on?

I sleep on the side of the bed furthest from the bedroom door.

What do you usually wear?

Ummmm ... nothing!

Any night time rituals?

Check the doors to be sure they are locked. Check them again just in case. Take the cat upstairs to the laundry room. Brush and floss. Wash my face. Put the anti-aging cream on and say a prayer to the anti-wrinkle goddesses. Strip down and get into bed. Turn the TV on - volume at 2 (got to be an even number). Lay on my stomach, right leg pulled up against my chest, then fall asleep ... and wake up in about 90 minutes ... then fall asleep again ... then wake up in 26 minutes ... then back asleep ... are you starting to see the pattern??

28 April 2008

Monday Madness

Had I just waited until Sunday evening to post my secret I'd have had a real doosey. Most of you know that marital bliss has not been on my radar for quite some time. There's been some fence sitting.

Well, the clarity fairies visited yesterday. A verbal argument escalated rapidly into the shattering of a glass full of milk against a wall I was standing by. I was concerned for my safety - I felt the situation had the potential to escalate to a point where someone (me) could get hurt - my gut reaction was to dial 911. Although I thought I hung up before the call connected, the police were pounding on the door within 3 minutes. Their visit quickly changed the tone of the situation.

I do believe this is the beginning of the end. It's clear that this relationship is out of control, and I don't know that either of us feels it has the potential to mend itself, even with a lot of work. This was not the way I had hoped it would end. There is much uncertainty.
I will keep y'all updated as time allows.


I want to thank all of you for your support, wisdom and kind thoughts. I can't bring myself to answer each of your comments with the same, "Thank You!" but know that I am grateful to have a safe place to sort my thoughts. There is much more to this story, as I am sure many of you assumed. Although I was not the one who threw the glass, I certainly played a part in escalating this situation.

This blog may take on a bit of a different direction in the coming weeks - I do hope you all will stay with me through the process. Don't worry, HNT will still be a regular feature! Silly as this might sound, there is something quite healing in taking and viewing those pics.

Now excuse me while I go eat a sleeve of Thin Mints and drink some Bagwine ...

27 April 2008

Sunday Secret

Although I was not married to my son's father, he was married, and lived with his wife and son in the same condominium complex that I lived in.

26 April 2008

Opening Day 2008

Nothing says spring quite like opening day of Little League Baseball Season! Yes, it looks like it was a beautiful day, but in reality it was 47 degrees with 25-35 mph winds!! YIKES! Not exactly the best weather for baseball!

Fortunately, the league was kind this year and kept opening ceremonies short and sweet. Funny - it was the parents complaining the loudest - the kids were just thrilled to be playing ball again!

I'd love to be sharing some pics of my son actually playing, but there was a bit of a problem. You see, in our house school is the priority, and unfortunately Cam hasn't stepped up to the plate (pun intended). His playing ball is completely dependant upon his completing - and TURNING IN - his homework each and every day (we've been struggling with the turning in portion). Last week, Cam managed to neglet turning in two assignments.

The consequence?
Well, he got to tell his coach that school is a priority in our home and he would be supporting his team from the bench today because he had neglected his priority. He was still required to suit up and support his team, but he was not allowed to play.

Harsh? Although it is really difficult as a parent to dole out this type of "punishment", my hope is that it will teach him personal accountability and responsibility - two characteristics that seem to be lacking in our society these days.

With a nickname of "The Big Hurt," his absence also impacted his team. For those of you not familiar with baseball, "The Big Hurt was the nickname given to Frank Edward Thomas - a player who is part
of an elite group of only four players in baseball history to have at least a .300 average, 500 home runs, 1,500 RBIs, 1,000 runs and 1,500 walks in a career. The others are Mel Ott, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. I'm all for a little peer pressure when it's used in positive way such as this. His teammates let him know they were disappointed.

The good news? Despite his bench warming status, his team won 9-3. Let's hope this was a lesson learned the first time - he's got another game on Tuesday!

25 April 2008

7 Weird Things Meme

I'm lacking in original thought today so decided I'd do this little meme that I've seen on many of the blogs I read. Of course there are "rules" (i.e. tag other bloggers, blah, blah, blah) and I don't like to follow rules, so I won't be including those in this post.

*RANDOM ODDITY* I haven't seen this meme in months on any of the blogs I regularly read, yet as I was getting ready to publish this my Google reader told me that HAMMER had just posted the same meme. Hmm...

1. I was stationed in Korea for a year when I was in the Army. While there I worked in the Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic - a very busy place in a country that services service members in a multitude of ways. I've probably seen 300+ service member's ... well ... members ... and many of them were pretty damn scary!

2. I like even numbers - in fact some people might say I have a bit of an obsession with even numbers. The volume on the TV must be set at 8 or 10 - not 9, even if that is the "best" setting, I've been known to wait to take a ticket at a parking garage until the time stamp hits an even number and when I read a book, I always read two chapters so that I end on an even number. There are more, but I'll just keep those to myself lest you start thinking I'm a nut-case.

3. I started playing the clarinet when I was eight and played through my first year of college. I gave it up when the demands of a music major in college made music more work than fun. I miss it terribly and am thrilled that my son has taken up the oboe so that I can live vicariously through him!

4. I am left handed ... kind of. I write left-handed and eat left-handed, but I throw right-handed and sight a weapon with my right eye. Most everything else I can do with either hand, including batting, painting and yes, that too!

5. I have a very visual memory. If I've seen it, even if it was 5 years ago, I know where to find it again. This comes in handy when driving (if I've driven there once I can get there again years later) and when looking for items other's have "lost" (I'll remember exactly where I saw it).

6. I am an only child and have not lived within 1000 miles of either of my parents for over 20 years.

7. The hangers in my closets are color-coded - white in my closet, blue in my husband's closet and black in my son's closet. All garments hang facing the same direction and are grouped by item type and by color. No, I'm not kidding ...


If you are looking for something to read this weekend, consider visiting Michael over at Daddio's Daily Dose. He's currently posting a series titled Save Thee? Or Sell Thee? that discusses the business of religion in a factual, rather than emotional, manner. It's a great read! While you're there you might want to check out his Mating Growl series as well - in it he talks about mating, dating, kid and marriage lessons (all from a male's perspective). It's thought provoking, funny and insightful!

23 April 2008

Thin Mint HNT

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.

~ Robert Fulghum,1987 at Middlebury College

(no Thin Mint cookies were harmed in this photo shoot)

Shameless Blog Plug

Anyone who has been reading my blog this week knows that a dear friend of mine, Tali (a.k.a. Talisman, ChemGeek serious pain in my ass) was instrumental in my acquisition of Rhonda for a steal fair market price. As a proclamation of my undying love appreciation of her efforts, I've been forced to decided to plug her blog. For some silly reason she likes to have readers. Well, actually, she likes to have commenters - seems she has readers.

Tali used to blog quite a bit, but got sidetracked with PsyPets, Homeschooling and her continued work on her PhD in Chemistry. She's a raging bit of a geek, but that doesn't make her eclectic blog any less interesting.

You might read about the day's home school lesson,
see what table salt looks like highly magnified

or even hear her opinion on a television documentary. On special occasions, you might even get a glimpse of chemistry
humor with Carcin.

She has given me her word that she will continue with regular blog updates if I put my tarnished shining reputation on the line and plug her blog, so here it goes.

Please stop in and read Misadventures Of a Modern Day Alchemist . Tali will get really giddy (Tali? Giddy?? Well maybe more like STOKED!) if you leave a comment (she's a self-proclaimed comment whore) and you might just find yourself laughing and learning at the same time!

21 April 2008

TMI Tuesday

TMI Tuesday

1. Pancakes or waffles? With or without toppings?

Pancakes - the thick, bread-y buttermilk type - with butter (real butter, not margarine) peanut butter (creamy, warmed in the microwave so that it doesn't tear the pancakes) and white Karo Syrup!

2. They say, "Way to a man's heart is through his stomach." What is the way to your heart?

I'm really a fairly simple woman and have always believed it's the little things that count. Pick me a bouquet of dandelions, surprise me with a picnic (even if it's in the backyard) or hand me the TV remote and actually sit with me while I watch my favorite show (yeah, I'm pushing it with that one). Know me well enough that you realize that loading the dishwasher, without me asking, is more likely to get you great sex than buying me a diamond.

3. Have you ever gone to a topless/clothing optional beach? If yes, did you participate?

Believe it or not, I've never been to one, but would certainly entertain the idea if I was invited.

4. What song reminds you of a previous relationship (for good or bad)?

My first husband was a HUGE Ozzy Osborne fan. Crazy Train was one of his favorite songs and brings back some of the more happy memories I have of that time.

5. When, where and with who was your best kiss ever?

I'm hoping I've yet to experience my best kiss ever!

Bonus (as in optional): Does anyone not currently in a relationship with you have pictures or you or your body part(s) that you would prefer that other people not see?

As a matter of fact, yes, but I trust him implicitly - and that's all that I am going to say about that!

20 April 2008

A New Toy!

No, not that kind of toy, I've already got a "naughty drawer" full of those! I decided it was high time I purchase a laptop. Even this old dog 40-something woman can learn new tricks, right??

Isn't she beautiful?? I think I'll name her Rhonda. She's got an AMD Turion 64x2 2.1 GHz processor, 4 gigs of RAM, a 250 gig HD and an NVIDIA GeForce 1 gig video card - she even has a built in webcam!

Shhhhh!! I don't want to hear about how it's too bad she isn't a Mac!

She has sleek lines and gorgeous body art.

The best part of Rhonda is the story behind her acquisition. You see, I've been wanting a laptop and became extremely jealous when my good friend Tali purchased a new one last week. I knew we were going to visit Tali this weekend and I knew she would be strutting her "stuff" in my face. After a great deal of surfing the net research, I came to the conclusion that I really liked her "stuff" and wanted "stuff" just like hers. The problem? The cost of the system was $100 more than she paid less than two weeks ago ... kind of ...

There was a blurb on the main laptop page saying the system was $799. When you clicked on the link to that product it showed a price of $899, and when you looked at the local area flier it listed a price of $849.

$100 isn't much of a difference when it comes to computers (or so Tali kept telling me), so off to Best Buy we went, Tali leading the way. We head straight to the computer section and find the model I want - selling in the store for $849. She informs the sales geek that the website is showing the model for the $799 she paid. Sure enough, he logs on and sees that for himself, and then the tail chasing began.

Around and around sales geek went, following the path of three different prices. Then manager geek was called. Around and around he went following the path of three different prices. He even went so far as to look at what the lowest price was that the system had sold for in the past and the computer was telling him it was $799. Manager geek argued that whomever rang up Tali's system must have overridden the price. He also gave some song and dance about how they were only required to honor the local price, the website was national, blah, blah, blah ...

Just when I thought it was inevitable that I was going to have to pay the $849 price, Tali pulls out the smokin' ace up her sleeve - although she doesn't have the sales receipt, she has a rewards card that allows them to pull up the transaction. Guess what?? Just last week they sold her the very same system that I wanted for $799 - no price override. And guess what else?? They agreed to sell me the system for $799. They weren't happy about it, but I was!

And making me happy is what it's all about, right???

Sunday Secret

I found a receipt for a vibrator in my husband's pants pocket. He claims he bought it for a co-worker who was too embarrassed to buy it for herself. I don't believe him.

18 April 2008

Flittering Friday Thoughts

I have a new "fight" song.


There's nothing like a good pity party brain dump to get all of your feelings out there, finally making them real enough to deal with.


Beware of people who claim that they are only saying hurtful things because they care. They have often overlooked the impact of their words on an already volatile situation and likely won't be there to help pick up the pieces they've left behind.


Anyone who thinks, even for a moment, that cyber friends are silly has never had them come through for them like I did these past two days. I wasn't just in a funk, I was in a very dark place, and I had many, many hands reach in and pull me out. The brightness is blinding, but warm. Thank you!


16 April 2008

Longing HNT

There is an immense, painful longing for a broader, more flexible, fuller, more coherent, more comprehensive account of what we human beings are, who we are and what this life is for.
~ Saul Bellow


Delay of the Thin Mints, but it's Worth It!

I'm in a bit of a quandary (or obsessive funk, whichever you prefer). I've been playing up this damned Thin Mint HNT thing all week. Jahooni went out of her way to make it happen, I bought the chocolate syrup and the hot fudge, I was ready to go ... and then came the funk. Actually, I've been fighting the funk for what seems like an eternity a few months - grabbing the smiling face from the jar, putting it on each morning and pretending I'm happy. I thought it might just fool the funk. It didn't.

Then, I'm going through my Google Reader yesterday morning and stop for a quick rest next to Vince on the Big Leather Couch. If you haven't been there, you really should go - there is always great music playing and the atmosphere is quite comfortable. Anyway, I digress ...

His post yesterday was titled, Is It Worth It......? Now, y'all know how it is when you start reading a blog and you think, "Oh my ... how did he/she get in my head today?" I had one of those moments. Vince talked about evaluating the things in our lives to determine if they were "worth it." Now, he had some mushy shit romantic thoughts in there as well, but the "worth it" part really struck a chord with me.

For about the past year I've been doing some steady fence sitting in some very important parts of my life - specifically my marriage. I've been waiting for a lightening strike to my left tibia an epiphany to help me decide if it was time to buck up and give 100% to try to save the marriage, or if it was better to give 100% to ending it amicably. In that year I've watched my financial stability plummet and my self-esteem suffer greatly. I think it's likely that my son has lost respect for me due to my seeming inability to stand up for myself - or for him - in this situation. And yet I continue to precariously perch atop these white pickets.

You know, the longer you sit on the pickets, the more used to them you get, but as I was reading Vince's post I had to ask myself, "Is it worth it?" What is the price I am paying to sit on this fence? Would my husband pay the same price to sit where I've been sitting? Is it fair to ask my son to pay that price? It all became pretty damn clear - it's time to make a move. It's not going to be easy to get off that fence - I have semi-permanent indentations in my ass from sitting there so long and my legs have fallen asleep - but the price I am paying (and subjecting my son to) isn't worth it.

On that depressing thought light note, I can't seem to give Thin Mint HNT the attention it deserves. My mind just isn't there right now. Not to worry, there will be an HNT post, but it likely won't be like any of those you've seen before, and I hope there won't be any more like it in the future. I know that I can't do Jahooni's Thin Mint HNT justice tomorrow - not with where my head is right now - so I'll keep those boxes of asparagus cookies in the freezer, and the chocolate syrup in the pantry until I can do Jahooni justice ... or do Jahooni ... whichever comes first!

15 April 2008

TMI Tuesday

TMI Tuesday

1. Did you have to pay or did you get money back?

Got money back on the Federal taxes (enough to pay off the balance of the taxes still owed for 2006) and owed $83 on the State Taxes. My goal is to ALWAYS be +/- $100 when I file taxes. I prefer to use my own money during the year rather than allowing the government to use it - interest free!

2. What was your biggest financial mistake?

Not acknowledging the difference between want and need.

3. Are you a screamer?

Only in bed *wink*

4. What part of your body, other than your genitals, do you love to have touched?

My heart and soul ... emotionally ... my head (including my face) physically. Want to get me in the mood? Brushing my hair will do it!

What part of a partner's body, other than their genitals, do you love to touch?

Again, I would say his/her heart and soul. Physically? Wherever it is that they most like to be touched.

5. What commercial catch phrase best describes your life?

"Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don't."

Bonus (as in optional): What was the last thing you took without permission?

A pair of my husband's dress socks. Although his socks are really nice, I really need to buy my own.

What was the last thing taken from you without your permission?

Money - indirectly. My son downloaded a song from iTunes and the money came directly out of my checking account. We've had this discussion before, so this song will cost him DOUBLE what it would have had he asked first. The next one will cost triple, and so on ...


A Special birthday wish to Os!! He is best known for Half-Nekkid Thursday, but there is much, much more to the man! I hope that you have a very special day and that this year brings many good things to your life!

Your gift will be late, but it is on the way!

14 April 2008

You've Got Mail

Anyone want to guess what this is?? If you peek at the little tear in the package you might get a bit of a hint!! Yes, they are the much anticipated Thin Mint Cookies!! In all fairness, the first box of these orgasmic cookies arrived in my mail box last week (yes, I still have 1-1/2 sleeves of bliss left) and the sender was "properly" rewarded!

These arrived Saturday and I had to sneak them in the house so that no one knew of my secret stash. This also means Thin Mint HNT is on this week!

Thank you Jahooni!! Proof, once again, that bloggers are far more dependable than my husband!

12 April 2008


Can you see that?? It's SNOW ... on April 12th, just 2 weeks away from opening day of little league season. Note the tree. Do you see a single bud even attempting to open yet? Didn't spring start a couple of weeks ago??


It's been an interesting week on my blog - high highs and low lows. I got this award from Leighann:

She wrote: Next the award goes to, my pal and every one's favorite Half Nekkid Thursday-er, Dana. She makes me think when I need to, even though I don't want to. Damn her.

I don't know about the favorite Half Nekkid Thursday-er part, but I know there are many people who want to DAMN me *giggle* Speaking of which ...

Seems there are those who believe I am an [QUOTE REMOVED AT THE REQUEST OF THE SENDER - I had edited some "identifying" information from that sentence that appeared in the email and the person who wrote it feels she was misrepresented] Don't visit my blog comes to mind. Come on people, if you don't like what I post, go somewhere else! That First Amendment right goes both ways!


Finally, I also wanted to do a quick follow-up on my Autism post. Any of you who have kids with disabilities "non-traditional" kids have likely seen this, but for those of you who don't, this piece does better than anything I've ever read explaining what it is like being the parent to one of these amazing kids.

A Trip to Holland
By Emily Perl Kingsley, 1987. All rights reserved.

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away...because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss. But...if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

11 April 2008


Blogging is kind of an odd thing. I've been doing this for ... what? 8 months now? I think in those 8 months I have met more genuine, caring, intelligent and compassionate people than I have in my 43 years on this planet. Y'all know about my blog crush Matt-Man, but what you may not know is that he has started a new thing he calls a Blog-Fo-Mercial© The first one he did was for Vinny over at the Big Leather Couch for the blog's 2nd anniversary (you can see it [HERE]). It really was amazing! Matt-Man announced at that point that he would be doing the Blog-Fo-Mercial as a regular feature.

Now, this Blog-Fo-Mercial© is a cool thing, but I am not the kind of person who asks other people to do things for me - it's just not my nature. I filed it in the "someday when I have big gonads" file and left it at that. Imagine my surprise when earlier this week Matt-Man let me know that he had done an unsolicited Blog-Fo-Mercial© for me! And all it took was me posing in a Bagwine Ruminations wet t-shirt! Actually, I suspect Matt-Man is far more compassionate and caring than he might lead you to believe, but don't let him know I am on to him - it's supposed to be a secret!

If you haven't been there already, go get yourself some Bagwine and sit down to a daily dose of satire. Oh, and tell Matt-Man I sent you - it might earn me a few more ass-kissing points!

One more thing - I had no part in picking out this song, but Matt-Man really did an AWESOME job in his selection - this verse in particular really resonates with me:

Hang on to your hopes, my friend
That's an easy thing to say, but if your hopes should pass away
Simply pretend
That you can build them again

09 April 2008

HNT - Wine Anyone?

“Who loves not wine, women and song, remains a fool his whole life long”

~ Martin Luther

08 April 2008

April Is National Autism Awareness Month

Many of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that my 12-year old son was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome when he was 6. In many ways his diagnosis was a relief. I always felt my son was just a little bit quirky but could now see that he was having great difficulty fitting in at school. Having something to call it made it real, and meant it could be fixed, right?

Understand that I really believed I had the only baby who got more fussy when he was held, yet if I wrapped him up tight in a baby blanket and placed him on the floor, he would stop crying. Most babies needed quite to sleep - the smallest sounds waking them up. Mine? One day when nothing was remotely coming close to soothing his crying fit, and I couldn't take the persistent noise any longer, I decided to vacuum to cover up the sound of the crying. He immediately fell asleep. It seemed my baby found loud, continuous and predictable sounds soothing.

As a toddler, little things would set him off into huge meltdowns. A seam on the toe a sock (he often went without socks even during Minnesota winters) a tag on the back of a shirt (if I didn't cut them out immediately he would pull on them until he ripped the shirt) or a different route home from the grocery store. Any of these things could be cause for my 2 year old to throw himself violently on the ground and start banging his head.

The daycare told me he was dangerous to other kids. They told me he had behavioral issues - he would sit in a corner and rock for hours - likely because I was a single mom with a lack of proper parenting skills. They told me if he didn't potty train before he was 3 they were going to have to ask me to remove him from the daycare as he was so much bigger than the other kids his age and was posing a physical danger.

Sometimes, during these very lonely and tiring days, we'd go to the local home improvement store and watch ceiling fans. I could put him in a shopping cart on his back and he would watch the fans spinning around and around until he fell asleep.

When he started school at 4, he had a terribly difficult time. The transition to a new school - a new after school care program - left him withdrawn and angry. As time went on and he adjusted to the changes, he began to blossom. He had a gift for music and at 4, could play back simple tunes on the piano that he had just heard on the radio. He had a fascination with numbers and patterns and could easily pick out what the next object should be even in a long series of items. There were still problems. A thunder storm, a need to stay inside for recess due to rain or a child missing from class could again be cause for a melt-down. Often he would hide under a desk, refusing to come out. His teachers were at a loss.

Due to the limitations of the Magnet School he was attending (it was pre-K and kindergarten only), he had to start yet another school in first grade. This was our neighborhood school. We spent much time there before he started school in hopes he would be comfortable and transition more smoothly. He didn't. The elementary school had a student enrollment of over 900. He was overwhelmed by the relative chaos of the daily school activities. His performance and behavior began declining rapidly. Within months the school had contacted me requesting he be evaluated for Special Education services.

I had an independent evaluation done at the same time the school conducted their educational evaluation - both resulted in the same findings - Autism Spectrum Disorder, specifically Asperger's Syndrome.

It's been very much a roller-coaster ride since the first days of his life. At 12, he's an incredibly bright young man who consistently scores above the 90th percentile on tests, yet he's failing 3 of his 8 classes. For the most part, he can now look at people when speaking to them, but if he gets flustered he just shuts down. In addition to his piano/keyboarding skills that are self taught, he started playing the oboe in 5th grade. He continues to have an affinity and natural talent for music. He can look at a car going the other direction on the tollway at 85 mph and tell you the year, make and model with amazing accuracy. Most of the time, he can even tell you engine size, torque and horsepower. He plays catcher in baseball and has the ability to focus so intently on the pitched ball that seldom does a ball pass him. I still cut the tags out of his shirts, he still refuses to wear socks and he can still watch a ceiling fan for hours. I might be a bit biased, but I think he really is a neat kid! He cannot (and should not) be "fixed", but he should be understood and supported in any way I can.

April is National Autism Awareness Month. I am not one who usually asks people to support a cause - to click on a link - but this is quite personal to me. Chevy is partnering with Autism Speaks to help create awareness of autism and the effects it has on our families. If you have a few minutes, please visit Help Chevy Help Autism and watch the short virtual tour of the new Chevy Malibu. Chevy is donating to Autism Speaks for each viewing of the video. It's one small click that can make a big difference for autism and for those of us whose lives it touches daily.

Free Lunch?

There was a recent article in The New York Times titled, As Jobs Vanish and Prices Rise, Food Stamp Use Nears Record. Once again, the media is attempting to grab our attention with headlines that are only half-true.

Estimates are that 28 million Americans will use food stamps in 2008 - that is the highest number ever. However, that number is a poor measure; it doesn’t provide context.

What this article doesn't tell you is the percentage of the population that is on food stamps. Guess what? It's 9.2%. Something else? 1993, 1994 and 1995 were the years the with the highest percentage of the population on food stamps - 10.4% in 1993 and 1994, and 10% in 1995 (which for those of you paying attention was during the Clinton administration). Although the headline is accurate, it is misleading.

So why the sudden increase in the use of food stamps? I'd be a fool if I attempted to minimize our current economic issues. Yes, people are paying more for fuel and groceries, and I have no doubt there are those that need a little help.

Here's my question though - if the need is so great - if there are millions of Americans going without food, why did the USDA have to launch a $3 million advertising campaign this winter? Not only were there old-fashioned jingles blaring across radio stations, but several states launched TV commercials attempting to coax people to apply. Surprisingly (not), applications for food stamps went up after the advertising blitz. Were these really people who were in dire straights, or were they people who discovered there was such a thing as a free lunch and the Government was handing it out?

It used to be that being on food stamps was somewhat of an embarrassment. You actually had to pay with coupons that resembled something similar to a scarlet letter on your forehead. Was that such a bad thing? Is it possible that the "shame" of taking a handout motivated people to do more for themselves?

We've made it easy to depend on the Government for help. We spend millions of dollars advertising social programs on television and radio and we give food stamp recipients an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card so that no one will be able to tell that they are on food stamps. What happened to shame? What happened to encouraging people to do for themselves rather than encouraging them to be dependent on the Government?

06 April 2008

Secrets, Archives &Memes

I have to say that I am completely taken aback by the comments on my Sunday Secret. Buffalodickdy and DoggyBloggy were the only two that even questioned what I wrote. "Good Luck" and "Cool Beans"? Yeah ... yeah ... I know ... d'issing my commentors isn't the way to get people to comment. Maybe some of you didn't know what to say, but felt an obligation to comment? I don't know ... I just find it somewhat curious that I can post about infidelity in my marriage and not a single person stands up and says, "What the fuck?" Curious ...

After a great Sunday morning, I decided to spend a little more time going through the archives of yet another one of my blog crushes (you know who you are). I don't usually spend the time to go back and read archives of even my favorite bloggers. I'm not sure why, other than it just takes a lot of time and I barely have the time to make my daily visits, but I think I might have to change my views on this policy. This person has been blogging for 3+ years, I am through just his first year and am already seeing amazing growth. It's interesting to watch the evolution of a blogger - when they find their spot and just shine there.

Anyway, while going through his archives I found this little picture meme. I know ... I know ... meme's (with the exception of TMI Tuesday) aren't really my thing either, but I was curious to see how this one would turn out and, as is always the case, I won't tag a darn one of you!

Here are the "rules":

Go to Google Images. Type in the following and post the first (or your favorite) picture the search engine finds.

  1. The name of the town where you grew up
  2. The name of the town where you live now
  3. Your name
  4. Your Grandmother’s name (pick one)
  5. Your favorite food
  6. Your favorite drink
  7. Your favorite song
  8. Your favorite smell

... and this is what I got ...

I used only the city name, but Google Images came up with the right city and state on this one! Oh how I miss this part of the country!

Didn't quite get the same accuracy with this one, but I'm kind of glad I didn't!

You're kidding me, right?? I have never heard of Dana Hamm, but damn I'd sure like to look just an itty-bitty bit like her!

My grandma Elsie. I think that is the absolute perfect name for a grandmother! I miss her terribly!

Are words even necessary?

Nothing like an excellent bottle of vodka!

You laugh at Simon & Garfunkel? Shame on you! The hardest part of this one was figuring out which song of theirs to choose.

These won't bloom for probably another 4 weeks or so - I can hardly wait! I've got two bushes in my yard!

Sunday Secret

We've been emailing daily for over three months, have had coffee together twice and will be going for a walk in the forest preserve today. He writes with passion, humor and intellect and his gaze gives me goose bumps. I don't know where this will go, but I fantasize - likely too often - about where I hope it will go.

05 April 2008

Thin Mint Debacle *UPDATE*

When I posted the Thin Mint Debacle, I had no delusions of Thin Mints dropping from the sky on to my front lawn - silly me - that is exactly what happened! Well, maybe not on my front lawn, but definitely on my front porch step!

A huge thanks to all of you who offered up your sympathies AND your Thin Mints. Both Osbasso (of HNT fame) and Jahooni (of "Can't I win a prize?" fame) are sending cookies my way. Sure, I had to prostitute myself to get the Thin Mints, but a Thin Mint themed HNT seems like such a small price to pay.

A special thanks to Lu, a new reader who also offered up her Thin Mint connections. The only reason I didn't take her up on her offer was because I knew if I ate more than three boxes of Thin Mints, the Thin Mint HNT wouldn't be so thin!

04 April 2008

Thin Mint Debacle

I'm not sure what happened this year, but I am sure it qualifies as a debacle ... maybe even a calamity. I was not able to secure a single box of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies! You might wonder how that could possibly happen.

I have had numerous people knock on my door selling magazines, newspaper subscriptions, holiday garlands, "free" home security alarm systems, but do you think a single Girl Scout knocked on my door??

What’s even worse is that no one at my job sold cookies on behalf of their Girl Scout daughters and my husband, who had access to such sales at his job, blew off the 736 emails few emails I sent him as a reminder. If our marriage wasn't already on the rocks, this, in itself, would have been just cause for filing divorce paperwork.

Wait! There's more!! You know how those cute little Girl Scouts stand outside of the supermarkets selling caseloads to every customer who walks by? Well, not at my market - they don't allow solicitors of any kind. How un-American is that?

Then, when going to Lowe's to pick up a plunger, I hit pay dirt - the Girl Scout cookie table set up outside the entrance. I ran like the wind sauntered to the entrance and stopped at the table. Something was terribly wrong. There were two boxes of Trefoils (those wonderful shortbread cookies), one box of Lemonades™ (some evil take-off on the Trefoils), one box of Thanks-A-Lot™ (thanks a lot for putting fat on my thighs) and one box of Cinna-Spins™ (who buys 100 calorie packs of Girl Scout cookies for goodness sakes). I started to panic ... where are the Thin Mints??? "We're sorry ma'am (sure, add insult to injury by calling me ma'am) but this is all we have left." I wanted to wrap her Girl Scout sash around her throat and tighten it until she shit Thin Mints scream! I plopped the money down for the Trefoils and pouted during my entire Lowe's shopping trip.

Then I had a brilliant idea! There is a cookie locator option on the Girl Scout page. I enter in my zip code waiting for the payoff and I get the following message:

The Girl Scout cookie season for Girl Scouts - Sybaquay Council, Inc. has ended.

No!!! It can't be!! How could this happen to me??? This is a state of affairs that simply cannot continue. I’m going to write a letter of complaint to the local Girl Scout Council to redress this grievance.

Then I'm going to decide if it's really worth bidding on the Thin Mints on eBay. If anyone knows of a Thin Mint crack cookie dealer who might be able to feed my addiction, please leave a comment. I don't think I can wait another YEAR!

02 April 2008

HNT - Blog Crush

Has anyone figured out who my blog crush is?? Well, at least my blog crush on the only blogger I regularly visit who has his very own clothing line ... friggin' liberal, self-promoting, Bush (with a CAPITAL "B") hating, capitalist that he is.

Admit it! Each and every one of you has a blog crush and you know it! Think about it this way, a blog crush may include one or more of the following (which I shamelessly adapted from [HERE]:

A) You can't wait to read what they post next. You are often one of the first commenters on their blog and you can't help but go there - immediately - when they pop up on your Google Reader, even if you have to go to the bathroom really bad.

B) You'd like to have a beer (or a little Wild Irish Rose) and some loose meat with them.

C) You think they are the cat's meow - or is that C.O.W.'s mooooooo?

D) You find them attractive- physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, in the way that they write, their humor, their complete disregard for anything remotely politically correct, etc. (I'll let y'all decide where my blog crush falls in this list).

E) If you met them in person, blushing might occur.

F) You may not necessarily like them, like them, but you'd like to be like them.

Yes, it's true, Matt-Man is the blog crush I speak of. I think I might need an intervention, or at the very least a 12-step program, should he ever leave the blogsphere.

This HNT is in his honor, and if you want to be one of the cool kids, you can get your very own Bagwine stuff [HERE]. I hate to admit it, but Matt-Man didn't even offer up this tank top as a selfless promotion of his blog. Nooooo ... it's true ... my sickness blog crush is so severe that I actually PAID for this shirt out of my own pocket, however I did ask permission to use it in my HNT post!

I know that most of you already visit Matt-Man on a regular basis, but if you've somehow missed him, you can find him [HERE].

01 April 2008

TMI Tuesday

TMI Tuesday

1. How are your March Madness picks doing? or What is your favorite event?

I know this is kind of anti-American, but I don't do March Madness. I do know that all 4 of the top seeds made the finals - how easy should that have been to pick??

2. What is the best April Fool's joke - EVER?

I don't do April Fool's Day either - well, not really. I did make a meatloaf on April fools one year and "frosted" it with mashed potatoes and then served a cookie and tootsie roll concoction that looked like used kitty litter for desert. No one was fooled but they did have fun with it!

3. Valentine's Day - bogus holiday or romantic holiday?

I think it's become far too commercialized to be romantic anymore, yet I can't help but think how special it would be to get a hand-written love note, or a special home-cooked meal on that day. In other words, I'd like it to be a romantic holiday, but in order to protect my heart, I pretend to think it is bogus.

4. If you made any New Year's Resolutions have you broken them yet? or What have you done lately to make yourself a better person?

I don't do "official" resolutions - this year was no different. Kind of odd ... someone asked my just a few days ago what the top 3 things on my "to do" list were for this year. I had to think about that - I've been pretty much in "survival" mode since November, but here was my response:

(1) Maintain my weight loss (maybe even lose an additional 15-20 lbs) and increase my fitness (I could have counted this as two, but I'll play fair since they are closely related)

(2) Go back to school ... again. Since it looks like accounting is most likely where I will focus the next 10 years of my career, I'd like to go back to school and finish a BS in accounting and just maybe take the CPA exam.

(3) Do whatever I can to help Cam be successful in school so that he can start 7th grade in the fall with confidence.

5. If you believe in 'regret', what is your biggest regret? If you don't believe in 'regret', what do you call 'errors in judgment' or 'missed opportunities' in your philosophy of life?

I always hate questions like this. I really try not to have regrets as I don't believe they serve much purpose. It's not until they are seen as opportunities to change for the better that they offer any value.

Bonus (as in optional): Tell us about four things about yourself, one of which isn't true. (Anyone want to venture a guess as to which one ISN'T true??)

~ I qualified as an "Expert" Marksman, with an M-16, while serving in the U.S. Army.

~ I lost my virginity when I was 16 and it was a one-night stand.

~ I lived in the same house for most of childhood.

~ My parents are still happily married after 46 years.