31 October 2008

Friday Wrap-Up


I heard this morning that the election is less than 100 hours away - it seems to have been going on for 100 years. Maybe I'm just more cynical these days, but it sure feels like the blogshpere is dripping with nastiness over this thing. I've dropped many blogs from my reader in the past few weeks out of sheer frustration. Great bloggers have turned into political pundits and I found myself getting sucked right in by it all - participating in commentary that was not constructive - and began doing the very thing I was complaining about - being nasty. If your blog has been focusing on politics, and I haven't been commenting, it's nothing personal - I just don't want to be part of the problem as I see it. I'll be back as soon as you get back to your regularly scheduled blogging!

Veggie Tales live was a BLAST! Seriously, Cam and I had a wonderful time. We both got to let loose without concern of judgment by anyone - and let loose we did - dancing in the aisles, singing at the top of our lungs and cheering for Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato!

Cam is attending a Halloween party tonight with a "date." Of course, this means that I'll be playing chauffeur - 45 minutes each way - and the party doesn't get over until 11PM. I just hope I can stay up that late. I had better raid the candy bowl and eat lots of chocolate in preparation.

Speaking of Halloween, do any of the rest of you have official Trick-or-Treating hours in your towns? I just visited the village website and discovered that Trick-or-Treating hours are from 3PM-8PM. When I was growing up, you NEVER went out before 6PM - it was common courtesy to allow families to eat their dinner before you started ringing their doorbell. And you always skipped any house without a porch light on - that was the universal sign that they were crabby old geezers not honoring the Trick-or-Treating tradition. I find it a little disturbing that lack of common sense now dictates that we set "official" Trick-or-Treating hours. And what happens if a kid violates the hours? Is there a special Halloween posse out there looking to take away all of their candy as punishment?

One more thing! I can now proudly say that the blogiversary winners gifts were not only sent, but received! If you haven't been there, go visit Lu to see the grand prize loot, including the lap blanket I made for her while half-nekkid! Knight did a wonderful vlog tribute to the special shirt I came across that just screamed out her name, and Ms. Lily sent me a very nice Thank You email! Y'all have such good manners!


29 October 2008

HNT - Spiders


“Will you walk into my parlor?" said the Spider to the Fly;
"'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy”

~ Mary Howitt

Halloween. It's likely my least favorite, highly celebrated "holiday." It is filled with all of kinds of heebie-jeebies and anxiety provoking elements. I hate to be scared - hate things/people jumping out at me - I can't even watch a horror flick without covering my eyes 92.7% of the time! Imagine my horror at learning HNT would have a Halloween theme this week!

And spiders? They seem to be a favorite Halloween decoration. They lurk on those store bought webs, posing as the harmless plastic variety, just waiting to attack! (EDIT: Apparently I misread something imagined there was an HNT Halloween theme and covered myself in these creepy spiders unnecessarily!! Now I really hate them and I feel foolish!)

Well, maybe the orange spiders aren't so bad ... *CLICK*



Does Anyone Teach Them Any More?


Manners. What has happened to them? Have we, as a society, really become so self-centered that we've forgotten that all of our actions impact others? Has common courtesy become something not very common?

I used to take the train into the city every morning, 5 days a week. It wasn't unusual to see a very pregnant woman, or an elderly passenger, holding on for dear life and struggling to stand as the train lurched forward and haltingly stopped at each station. Just as common a sight was that of passengers sitting in the seats that are designated for the elderly, disabled, and other people who need to sit, listening to iPods, typing on their laptops, so completely self-absorbed in what they are doing they don't even notice the protruding belly, or aging hands standing right in front of them.

We seem to be so concerned regarding blog etiquette, texting etiquette, email etiquette - that we've forgotten to address some of the old fashioned manners that our parents (hopefully) taught us. Those manners that deal with people rather than things. Those manners that follow what appears to be the long-forgotten Golden Rule. How many of us are using basic manners and actually teaching them to our children?

Thank-you notes
How exciting is it to get something in the mail other than advertising fliers and bills? And just how special do you feel when someone goes out of their way to actually hand write a thank-you? (EDIT: I think there is an exemption for Bloggers who publicly display their thanks on their blog)

In these times of text messaging and email, paper correspondence is somewhat of a lost art. Sure, sending a thank-you email is better than no acknowledgement, but it’s that taking of time that really shows our appreciation. Taking the time to find a piece of stationary or a card. Taking the time to write the words in one's best penmanship. Taking the time to find a stamp and walk to the mailbox. It likely amounts to no more than 10 minutes, but it's 10 minutes that makes a huge impression.

Holding doors
This isn't a chivalry thing either - women need to pay attention too! When I am opening a door, and I see someone near, I hold the door until they are able to get there. Holding a door shows that we’re paying attention to what’s going on around us and that we care about others even if they’re a complete stranger. Not only that, it's just plain nice. Ever have a really crappy morning and have someone then let a door close on you as you are walking into 7-11 to get your coffee?? It's just the icing on the cake! But what happens if you've had a crappy morning and a stranger goes out of their way to do something - no matter how small - simply out of kindness?

How many times have you been on and elevator, the doors open and a crowd of people waiting to get on rushes toward you, making it next to impossible to get out? What is the big hurry? When you summon an elevator, stand back from the door so that those getting off the elevator can actually do that. In fact, waiting until everyone exits - whether it is an elevator, a restaurant or a dressing room - is always the best practice!

Remember when our greatest concern with the phone was getting a message right for our parents and how far we could stretch the phone cord if it was a call for us? Now we must deal with obnoxious ringtones, picking up calls in public places and forcing innocent bystanders to listen to "private" conversations.

Why can't we just excuse ourselves and take that phone call in a private place? And if we're not in a place where privacy is available, why can't we keep the conversation brief and appropriate? Making plans is one thing, talking about the results of your colonoscopy is probably better left for a private conversation. Better yet, when did we all become so important that a phone call had to be answered immediately?

Please, thank you, and you’re welcome
How many of us heard, "What's the magic word?" while growing up? Using these simple words really does show our appreciation for what someone is about to do or has done for us. Most of us use "thank you" regularly, but have you noticed the lack of "please" and "you're welcome"? Why have those words become any less important than they were 30 years ago?

My son calls me the "Manner Maniac." I tell him that consideration and respect go a long way in leaving a great impression on others.


28 October 2008

TMI Tuesday #158 - Vlog-Style


Biscuit (y'all know Biscuit, right? If not, you really should!) did her Wednesday Weirdness Vlog-Style last week, and I was so impressed that I decided to vlog my TMI Tuesday. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, right?? Fortunately, this week's questions are fairly tame, so hopefully I won't blush!

TMI Tuesday


27 October 2008

God Didn't Eat His Vegetables


I don't talk about religion much here, but I thought I'd throw all caution to the wind today. Hey! At least it's not a political post! Not to worry, I won't do this too often.

A little background first. I am not a huge fan of organized religion. My experience is that organized religion has started more wars and stirred up more hate than any other single entity. The number of people killed in the name of God, Allah, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster is mind boggling.

I was quite active in a church in my youth. It started out with being forced to attend with my parents on Sundays (let's look like a good Christian family on Sundays, then go home, have Dad drink a case or two a beer or two, physically and emotionally abuse the family and return to our normally dysfunctional family programming.) Lather, rinse, repeat.

It was in junior high school that things changed a bit. A good friend invited me to her church. They had a great youth program including an extensive music ministry. It was actually the opportunity for another performing venue that peaked my interest. Church was not only a place where I felt I belonged, but a place that was safe from the horrors at home. At a time when I felt no one loved me - no one cared - there were these people who claimed they did. Of course, they had no idea how deep my need for love was - I didn't dare tell them what was happening at home - the price of discovery was too high.

When my father finally left our home (I was 15), I left the church. I felt I didn't need "those" people any longer because my reason for attending - to escape from my father - had vanished. I spent the next almost 30 years with my back turned to organized religion and to any formal recognition of a God.

Sure, there were a few dabbles here and there. After Cam was born, I looked to find a church again, but it was a daunting task. I felt like an outsider - like I was being "measured up" for my ability to contribute to the church - as if somehow there was this foundation of the congregation whose expectations I had to meet before I was one of them. I found organized religion to be exclusionary and elitist rather than forgiving and accepting.

One of the things that has come up in counseling (which I am now attending alone until I am "fixed" - per husband's requirement) is the lack of a spiritual component within our family. No mention has ever been made as to what that should be, but there has been recognition that we really don't have one at all. Husband initiated a visit to a non-denominational, Christian Church (after it was suggested by the counselor) and we took the kids - exactly once.

But guess what? One of the kids (Cam) found something he liked in that church. It was time to step up to the plate to support Cam's interest in spite of my general distaste for organized religion. This was a decision Cam should be able to make independent of our (my) personal experiences. I'm sure it won't surprise those of you who have been reading me for a while that I was the one who would insure this happened. Cam has since become involved in the middle school youth group and he and I have been attending church regularly on Sundays.

Tuesday night, we'll be watching 8' tall vegetables prance around a stage. Cam has always had a bit of a fascination with Veggie Tales, thanks to an early indoctrination from a good friend of mine in Minnesota, and there will be a live show at the church this week. He's decided he isn't too old to attend and begged asked nicely if we could go.

Of course, my involvement in the church is only for the benefit of Cam. I couldn't possibly be getting anything out of this. Me? Wrong in my generalizations of organized religion? Me? Relinquishing control and considering the fact that there might be a force greater than myself in the world? Nah ....

Let's just say that this experience continues to make me reevaluate my stubborn unwavering beliefs and brings up far more questions than answers right now. But what I do know is that I'm never going to look at a cucumber quite the same after being introduced to "Larry" live on stage!


26 October 2008

Sunday Secret


I cannot believe that, when we were talking about how tall my son is, you commented, "He must have been held back a year in school, right?" I guess in your small mind it was the only logical conclusion. Now I wonder how many other parents in this small town we moved in to are making that same small minded assumption.


25 October 2008

Sunday Secrets


Just because I survived it doesn't mean I will ever be OK

I'm learning to love myself and starting to see the good things I have to offer others. It's the hardest thing I've done.

I am not brave enough right now to take the risks that would make me happy.

Every time I read something you write, I fall more in love with you word by word.

Repentance Vlog


I have been a bad ... BAD blogger. Remember that blogiversary drawing I held a month ago? Yeah, well ... I didn't send out the prizes until TODAY! So, as repentance for my blogging sins I present this Saturday morning, no make-up, looking goofy, blinking too many times vlog!


24 October 2008

Friday Wrap-Up


It's Friday!! It was a busy week here in the puckies
  1. PTO meeting on Tuesday
  2. Cam's youth group on Wednesday
  3. Cam's first band concert last night (for those of you who don't know, Cam plays the oboe - this is his third year playing)
  4. Tonight is the first middle school dance of the year
These are the kinds of days where you are up at 5AM and constantly on the move until 9PM. Now that I am old more life experienced, having a week of these starts taking it's toll. Worse yet, there is no rest for the wary. This weekend I must finish painting the sitting room. Hmmmm ... I do paint nekkid sometimes ... nekkidness, latex paint ... could be an HNT in the making!


Speaking of nekkidness, I don't know how some of you do it. Do what you ask? Visit all of the HNT-ers each week! I try, at a minimum, to get to everyone who leaves me a comment each week, but usually sometimes I come up short on that endeavor.


One of my blogging buddies is doing a bit of a fundraiser for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Yes, it's another of those "send me a pic of your boobies and I'll make a donation" kind of things. Not something I would normally promote, but G-man isn't the "stereotypical" blogger that makes these kinds of requests. You can see an encore of one of my HNT shots over there today, and he'll be doing one last tribute to the boobies next week. Anyone interested in participating can read about it [HERE]. I'd encourage all of you who are so inclined to stroll on over there and surprise the crap out of him with the sudden influx of contributors. Right now, he's at a $26 dollar donation ($2/image) - $26 measly dollars!! I'd like to see him have to make at least a $50 donation!! No nudity is required (or even expected) and he'll even post your pic anonymously if you'd like!


One last thing ...

I saw this over at Corky's Log and literally laughed out loud. Yeah ... yeah ... this is a pro-Obama video *gasp* but it really is, as Captain Corky put it, BRILLIANT! And during this time of mud slinging and name calling amongst bloggers and politicians alike, it's quite refreshing to see politics done in this way!

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die


22 October 2008

HNT - Coffee


Wednesday nights have become a bit sacred to me. Cam is active in a youth group that meets from 6:00PM until 8:30PM. It's a bit of a drive for us (as is everything when you live in the puckies) so rather than drive home, I visit the local Starbucks, have a Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte, no foam, 2 extra shots, log on to the free wi-fi, and spend a little quality time with Rhonda. It's relaxing and I really look forward to it!

Coffee has two virtues: it is wet and warm.
~Dutch Proverb

Don't those silly Dutch know you are supposed to add cream to cool it down? *CLICK*



Is it a Right, or a Wrong?


There are a handful of blogs that I read that I've never commented on. One of those - Clusterfook - recently wrote a thought provoking post on health care coverage. Lisa's perspective on health care coverage is far different than mine, and understandably so - she's been battling cancer for years.

Her post was inspired by a post of another blogger, Miss Britt. Miss Britt is one of those bloggers who I've seen "around town," but never visited, although after reading her post, Yes, Health Care is a Right, that will likely change. No, I'm not going to be a thorn in her side because I disagree with her (which I do), but rather because I find her perspective interesting and likely representative of many people I know.

Health Care is a HUGE issue in this election. Personally, I think it's wrong a stretch to say that health care is a "right" - that because the Declaration of Independence speaks of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness," that somehow translates to health care coverage for all (the foundation of Miss Britt's argument that health care is a right) - but then I'm not a member of the Constitution being a living, breathing document either. That being said, there are some very real issues surrounding health care coverage in this country:

  1. Coverage can be extremely expensive depending upon deductibles, level of coverage, heath history, etc.
  2. If coverage lapses it can be difficult to find a stand-alone policy that is affordable.
  3. If coverage lapses and you have a significant preexisting condition, it is almost impossible to secure health care coverage.
  4. Many employers do not (or cannot) offer coverage making the individual responsible for the entire cost.
  5. Malpractice lawsuit awards are often completely unreasonable and over the top.

We (as a family) are quite fortunate. Husband's employer picks up a great deal of the cost of health care coverage - the cost to our family of five (all three children are still covered) is just over $2,000 per year - this includes health, dental and vision coverage. We've also been blessed with excellent health. Other than the occasional routine exam, strep throat or sports injury, we seldom visit the doctor. If we figure in copays for doctor visits (counseling copays are $30/week) and prescriptions, we'll like see costs this year in the $5000 range, and I am considering our situation as fortunate.

Those who support universal health care usually claim that health care is an expensive privileged for the few. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 84% of Americans have health insurance. 84% would certainly qualify as an overwhelming majority of Americans. Yes, in many cases, it is expensive, but so are many things in this country that aren't "rights." Auto insurance and homeowners insurance - coverages that are required by law - aren't provided by the government and can be quite expensive depending upon your circumstances and history.

Did you know that Federal Law prohibits denying health care to someone who needs it? That doesn't mean you won't have to be financially responsible for the care you receive, but it does mean that you will not be required to just sit in the corner and die. In nearly every city in America, there are hospitals who, on a daily basis, treat patients who have no way of paying. There are also thousands of clinics and programs (government and private) to help those who cannot pay catastrophic medical bills.

I'm not happy with the proposed health care plans of either candidate in this presidential election. One of them MANDATES that every child born will be covered by a health care plan that their parents will be required to fund. The other, although claiming to promote competition amongst insurance providers, offers nothing more than assumptions regarding how it will actually accomplish that. Both candidates claim they'll at least partially fund their plans through better management of health care. Please give me one instance of when government interference has made things better - not short term, but long term!

I think we, as Americans (said generally), use the word "right" without consideration of the cost associated with the "right." What are we willing to give to secure the "right" or are we just entitled because we were born in the greatest country in the world? Should it be a "right" to have a permanent place to live? A "right" to an acceptable standard of living? A "right" to a certain level of education? More importantly, what price are you willing to pay for those "rights?"

Depending on who wins this election, you might be quite surprised at what price you'll pay, and I'd be willing to bet that it won't just be measured in dollars and cents.


21 October 2008

TMI Tuesday #157


TMI Tuesday

1. Have you ever felt guilty or ashamed after a sexual experience?

Hmmmm ... yes and no ...

Let's start with no first. I have a bit of a ... well ... for lack of a better word, kinky side, or like I prefer to say, I am open-minded to a variety of sexual experiences. In this sense, no - I've never felt guilty or ashamed of anything I did, however I have wondered just how "normal" I was (you know me - always got the "normal" meter out)!

Now, for the yes. I have been involved in sexual infidelity in the past, and yes, there was guilt and shame - not for the infidelity itself, but rather for the deceit.

2. Did you ever own a fake ID?

No - never. Hell, I was 6' tall by the time I was 12. When I was 16 I was able to walk in a liquor store and buy alcohol. There was no need for a fake ID.

3. How often do you tell white lies? Is it with or without thinking?

White lies? Not so often. But there are times when I give partial information - you know, those lies you claim aren't lies, because you aren't giving false information, you're just leaving out critical information? Yeah ... you still feel like crap afterward ...

It's something I am working on, but there is a safety component here that has to be considered. I'm not justifying, just being honest.

4. On a scale of 1-10, how well do you receive constructive criticism?

It depends on who is giving it and the motivation behind it. True constructive criticism? I'd say I'm about a 9.5. There is always just a twinge of remorse for not meeting expectations (which I think is a good thing).

Then there is the downright nastiness veiled as constructive criticism. You know the type ... the ones who tell you they are just saying these things "... for your own good" when in reality, there is some other personal motivation at work? I take that at about a -4 ... even if there is merit in what they say.

5. Have you ever shaved your pubic hair?

Of course! The real question is will I ever find that special person to fulfill my fantasy to have someone else shave it for me (refer back to question #1 if you are confused here)?

Bonus: What percentage of women do you think are capable of handling being in a "friends with benefits" relationship? How about men?

You know, this is a tough question. What did someone tell me recently? Men give up love (attention) in exchange for sex and women give up sex in exchange for love (attention). I think this is really dependent upon the situation and the people involved. I've know many a person who has entered in to this type of arrangement only to develop feelings at a later time. I've also known a handful of men - and women - who are so completely detached from people that sex is nothing more than intimately shaking hands.

In other words, I don't know!


20 October 2008

Art Class


GACK! It's Monday, and I have nothing. No cute little Cam stories. No family drama that I am willing to share. No thought provoking posts on immigration, politics, public schools ... nothing!

I spent my weekend working on my sitting room ...
  • I bagged all of the donations for Goodwill (6 LARGE trash bags) and dropped them off
  • Went shopping for a desk and finally found one after visiting my 4th store, but also found a great desk chair and floor lamp
  • Put the desk, chair and lamp together (about a 2 hour project in itself)
  • Chose colors for the sitting room/master bedroom
  • Primered the sitting room walls for paint (one of the downsides to new construction)
I feel like I was in a brawl. My body is not only sore, but beat up - literally. I've got a knuckle buster on one hand and bruises and scrapes from head to toe! What's worse is that I cannot tell you where most of them even came from.

I was perpetually busy and am looking forward to the work week so that I can relax a bit.

I did, however, steal this from Volly. What can I say? It's Monday and I don't feel like thinking ... but drawing with my mouse? Always a little mind numbing!

drawing personality

What does your drawing say about YOU?

The results of your analysis say:

  • You tend to pursue many different activities simultaneously. When misfortune does happen, it doesn't actually dishearten you all that much.
  • You are a thoughtful and cautious person. You like to think about your method, seeking to pursue your goal in the most effective way.
  • You are creative, mentally active and industrious.
  • You have a sunny, cheerful disposition.


19 October 2008

Sunday Secret


When I ran away at 15 I had a plan - a well thought out plan. For the first time in my life, I was living with family who loved me and knew how to show me they loved me. I knew you would be happy that I was gone - you reminded me daily how worthless I was and how resentful you were to have been burdened by one of those kids. But you couldn't do it - you couldn't let me have a chance at being loved and feeling good about myself. You had worked too hard to make sure that would never happen.


17 October 2008

Friday Wrap-Up


My meeting with the principal and vice-principal last Friday went fairly well. Seems there was a significant lack of communication that contributed to the "tone" of the email from the vice principal. I got to hear how they had really treated Cam with kid gloves last year - gave him a break "maybe too often" (their words) - and are disturbed that he was recently overheard saying, "I don't have to do my work in class - they just pass me anyway."

After finding out about this comment, they decided to put a thumb on Cam (something I've requested all along - consistent accountability) and are now surprised that he seems a bit defiant and uncooperative. I think this is most frustrating because I spent last year telling the school they were NOT doing Cam (or themselves) any favors by letting him "get by," now they are surprised and frustrated that it's biting them in the ass? Hello?


I mentioned last week that I've decided to consider "better living through chemistry" options for Cam. We went back to the doc on Tuesday to get his blood work results and guess what? He is anemic - his red blood cells are too small and he has a significant iron deficiency (FAR below the normal range). Not sure what the exact cause is, but diet is likely the greatest factor. I'm working on increasing the iron content in his (our) diet, reducing iron blocking foods (milk, eggs, etc.) and serving vitamin C rich foods with every meal (to aid in iron absorption). He's on an iron supplement now as well.

Interesting enough, symptoms of low iron levels include depression, fatigue, listlessness, impaired learning and cognitive function, ADD and ADHD type behavioral disturbances, poor memory, decreased attention span and increased distractibility. Until we get his iron levels into a normal range, there will be no consideration of any other meds.


Found this self portrait of Cam on the camera when I downloaded my HNT shots this week. I have no idea how he got this (this was straight from the camera - no editing), and although it has a bit of a "dark" feeling to it, I like it for the emotion it shows.

(*CLICK* to big it)


Speaking of HNT, I had a bit of a change in self-perception yesterday. Usually, when I post an HNT shot, as I look at it throughout the day I become more and more critical of it. Picking out the flaws in not only myself, but in the composition of the photo as well. That didn't happen yesterday. In fact, the more I looked at the photo, the more personally detached I became, and the more I was able to see the beauty in it. Odd feeling - very odd feeling.


15 October 2008

HNT - Sleep


Arduous, stubborn, entangled sleep
Where demons find an idle mind
then hide between the sheets
wrapping themselves around unsuspecting legs
waiting for morn

~ Dana C



14 October 2008

TMI Tuesday - Foresight


TMI Tuesday

Let me preface this TMI Tuesday by stating that much of this is what I would do/have done in an intimate relationship. In true TMI Tuesday fashion, it is probably best that I "come clean" with the fact that there has been no intimacy in my home for quite some time (months).

1. What do you do that sends a clear signal to your partner that you're interested in an intimate evening?

I'd say it depends upon what kind of sex I'm hoping for - loving, gentle sex or raw, physical sex.

If loving, passionate sex is my goal, I might send sappy texts throughout the day, bring him lunch, have dinner ready when he comes home and rub his shoulders/back after diner. I would attempt to be attentive and arousing. This works really well with "themed" sex too, where preparation makes the experience all the more intense.

If it's raw, physical sex I'm hoping for, an email, right before he leaves work to come home saying nothing more than "Come home and fuck me" would probably do the trick!

2. How important is foreplay to an exciting evening?

I think foreplay is extremely important when hoping for the loving, passionate sex. I also think it becomes more critical the older you get. Let's be honest - for the majority of us, things don't always work as quickly as we want them to once we hit our 40's and beyond. That doesn't mean the desire for great sex is any less, but foreplay has the potential to help the process along!

3. What is the first thing you do during foreplay or what is the first thing you like done to you?

Are we talking preparation foreplay, or we're nekkid in the bed foreplay here?

Preparation foreplay (I want sex but it's not yet a sure thing) would include touch - a lot of touch. Not overtly sexual touch, but rather overtly sensual touch. A brush up against him as he sets his laptop down - a hand on his lower back as he walks by - a hand on his forearm as he tells me about his day.

I usually like to start nekkid in the bed foreplay with kissing and more intimate touching - kissing and nibbling the his shoulders, his neck, his ear and eventually his lips. Deep, tongue probing kissing soon follows as I continuously and wantingly caress his chest - his thighs- his arms - with a firm, passionate touch.

Whew! It's been a while! I think I got myself all worked up over than one!

What works on me? I'm a simple woman - let me know that you want me - that I am the single, most important thing at that moment - and I'll be putty in your hands.

4. Are you a one and done kind of partner (20 minutes or so) or do you like intimacy sessions longer than 60 minutes?

If we have 60 minutes I'll take 62 minutes, but if 5 or 10 minutes is what we've got, I can work with that too!

BONUS: If you are interested in sex with a same-sex partner, what would be the first thing you'd like to touch on that other person, and why? (For those already in same sex relationships...what was the first thing you touched, or if you were interested in a relationship with the opposite sex, what would be the first thing you touched?)

Having experience in same sex relationships, I've not done anything any differently. Foreplay has to be tweaked to the individual. It's something that has far more impact if you are doing what the other person wants/responds to - not just some preplaned foreplay game. This hasn't been any different for me in a same-sex relationship than in a heterosexual relationship *shrugs*


13 October 2008

Pumpkins & Llamas


Thought I'd share a few pics of the pumpkin farm! We had a great time - ate too much roasted corn and too many apple cider doughnuts - but we still had fun! You'll notice the pumpkins are not on the vines. Unfortunately, the flooding we had last month impacted the pumpkin crop and these had to be brought in from another location. This is the second year in a row they've had this issue.

We've done this trip for the last 4 years with friends of ours and their son and daughter. The boys are getting to the point where they think they are too old, but they still enjoy themselves, and Cam loves spending time with their daughter (he really is a gentle giant)!


11 October 2008

Sunday Secret


I am feeling more and more comfortable with telling you "No" when you are being unreasonable. After all, what is the worst thing that could happen? You leave me? Ummm ... OK ...


A Celebration of Life


How very softly you tiptoed into my world. Almost silently; Only a moment you stayed. But what an imprint your footprints have left on our hearts.

Sometimes, life brings you people who touch your heart deeply, and often times these are people you will never meet in person. Over the past few months, I have watched a young, vibrant and loving family, discover in June that they would be welcoming a little brother for their son Grayson, and then be told in August that their unborn son would likely live only a few minutes outside the womb (he was diagnosed with Anencephaly, a neural tube defect).

I know Jaimey through a Yahoo Group that I am a member of. She shared her story both with the group and on her blog, It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This. Her story is one of amazing courage and grace - of a family who was given the gift of a special, angel baby - and stood strong in their beliefs while facing challenges I cannot even begin to imagine.

What is truly amazing is that this is not a story of sadness and grief, but the story of the celebration of a very special life.

Jonathan Mitchell Buquet was born on Thursday, October 9th at 2:56 am. He weighed 1 lb. 3 oz. and was 12 inches long.

It was possible that Jonathan would not live through the birth process, but he did. It was likely that he would live only a few minutes after his birth, but he wanted more for his family - he stayed for almost 3 hours, giving them the opportunity to create a lifetime of memories in too short a time.

Jaimey, Zack, Grayson and Jonathan, you've touched my heart so deeply. You gave me perspective when I needed it most. You shared lessons of grace, strength and love that I might never have known. Thank you for sharing your story with such openness - for allowing so many of us to take part in this celebration of life!


10 October 2008

Friday Wrap-Up


Another week has come and gone, but there is still work to do today! I've made a couple of significant decisions this week. The first is to take complete control of Cam's health and education - eliminating husband (not Cam's bio-father) from the equation. I have allowed husband to dictate the direction (usually with my support) of both of these issues and I've seen minimal progress and great frustration in both Cam and husband. It's time for a change (I'm sounding like Obama - ACK!)

The second? After five years of fighting against medication to possibly assist Cam with some of the educational issues he has, I've decided to explore the option. I've tried everything else and am now to a point where I am seeing Cam's self-esteem plummet due to his performance and comfort level in school. Although I still have significant reservations (I am not a better living through chemistry person - I usually refuse antibiotics for goodness sakes!) , I know it's time to approach this from a medical standpoint.


The meeting I had with the 7th grade teaching team regarding Cam went fairly well. I tried to walk in with an open mind, but as I entered the door and saw five teachers, sitting in a circle in the middle of the class, I couldn't refrain from rolling my eyes and saying, "Oh great - I hate circle time."

I know my comments are fairly general and not inclusive of all teachers, but I have to wonder sometimes if they don't do some of these things as a show of power - an "I'm king of the hill" kind of thing. Let's be serious, adults do NOT have meetings in a circle time format. The school has conference rooms available (where the teachers have their meetings) with real tables and real chairs. Why aren't meetings with parents held in that environment?

Off on a tangent ... focus ... focus ...

I shared the independent educational evaluation results with the teachers and informed them of my decision to explore "medical intervention" for Cam. They suggested some informal "accommodations" that they are willing to put in place to aid Cam in performing up to his potential (he has an IQ in the superior range but is failing three of his classes, and getting D's in three others) and I asked for suggestions on what I could do at home to help them. It appeared we were on the same page.

That night, I get an email from the vice principal.

I was informed by Mr. R that he had called you when Cam received 4 tardies. Well, he is now at 6 total. The next tardy he receives will put him in ISS (in school suspension). Please talk to him about this over the weekend. I hope all is well with you. Have a nice holiday weekend.

I respond with:

In my conference with the 7th grade team, there was discussion surrounding informal accommodations for Cam. We all believe this will help with the focus and the tardies. I will talk to Cam, but I would also ask for a bit of "tolerance" while we implement the changes discussed today.

And she replied:

I will show Cam some tolerance, but what you need to understand is most of the 7th grade students have lockers in the same area and do not have trouble getting to class on time. I also observe Cam in the hallway walking as slowly as he possibly can. Four minutes is plenty of time for all of the students to get to class. I think you need to know where I stand on this. Have a good afternoon.

At this point, I'm losing my "ha-ha" and send another reply, copying all of the teachers who were present in the meeting and the principal:

I certainly understand where *you* stand on this, and I believe it is equally important that you know where *I* stand on this. I am in no way excusing his behavior, just asking for some consideration so that we can put some things into motion before giving him ISS for tardies.

I am, and always have been, supportive of school policies and procedures. I am not the type of parent that believes my child should be the exception, however I do believe that when a team of teachers and a parent agree to try some things to improve a situation, there should actually be time given to see if the situation improves. I will continue to talk to Cam about promptness and communicate the expectation that he will be to class on time.

Well, guess what? I have a meeting at 11AM today with the principal and vice principal. Seems my "challenge" may have earned me some in-school suspension. Anyone want to go with the "fruit doesn't fall far from the tree" comment?


Pumpkin Farm, apple cider doughnuts and freshly roasted corn on the cob tomorrow. Looking to do a 15 mile bike ride on both Saturday and Sunday - we're expecting highs in the upper 70's! This is the some of the scenery I regularly encounter while riding - it's beautiful!




08 October 2008

HNT - Sweat


About a month ago, I decided it was time to do a few things for myself. One of those things was to become a member of my local gym. Exercise allows me to focus on my physical being while letting go of the tangle of emotions running through my head. It's a healthy alternative to some of my less than healthy coping strategies. However, I sweat - a lot! This is after a typical workout.

So, should you run into me after a workout, you might want to consider the wise words of George Carlin:

“Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things”

~ George Carlin

Good thing there is a shower *CLICK*



The "Other" Political Parties


After last night's debate (or political debauchery, whichever you prefer), I am more confident than ever in my Presidential choice. I am frustrated by a political system that has limited itself to only two, viable political parties that are polar opposites. There are at least three additional parties that fall somewhere in between that vast crevasse of political leanings and should be just as viable: The Constitution Party, The Green Party of the United States and The Libertarian Party.

For me, like many others, this election has become one of choosing the lesser of two evils. I can't ... no ... I won't cast my vote based on who I fear the least. I've given too much of myself to this country to disrespect the political process in that way.

Add to that the fact that, with the electoral college in place, and living in a "Blue" state, my vote for anyone other than Obama won't count anyway, I've decided to vote my conscience rather than voting for a candidate who doesn't meet my needs.

Anyone know this guy? My guess is that you don't, but he will actually appear on your Presidential ballot in November. Meet Bob Barr. He's the Libertarian Party Presidential candidate. His general position? Smaller government, lower taxes and more freedoms. More specifically, he shares my views on many of my critical issues.

Education - "School reform starts by shifting control over education from government to parents. We must abolish the Department of Education, eliminate federal grants and regulations, and begin moving power back to the states and local communities."

Entitlement Programs - "Government should stop acting as the welfare agency of first resort under the guise of providing social insurance. In general, private charity should be the first resort for anyone in need. The process of welfare reform begun by Congress in 1996 should be continued to reduce even further people’s dependence on Washington."

Health Care - "Today’s health care problems are complex, but the solution is not socialized medicine in any form. Countries that have nationalized their medical systems inevitably ration care through the political system; costs are driven down only by denying needed care."

Border Security and Immigration - "The border can never be completely open or completely closed. But the starting point of any immigration policy is to secure the borders to the extent possible. Equally important, we must end government benefits and services for illegal immigrants. The U.S. also should reconsider the policy of “birthright” citizenship."

There are many folks out there who are comfortable with making a choice between McCain and Obama, I am not one of them. If you share my disdain for these two candidates, take the time to research the "other" candidates - the ones who just might be far more centered, pragmatic and realistic.

Exercise your right to vote, but don't let the Republicans and Democrats fool you into thinking they are your only options.


07 October 2008

TMI Tuesday - The Seven Virtues


TMI Tuesday

1. Prudence: When do you feel it is most important to exercise prudence? When is it acceptable to throw practicality out the window?

I think any time your words/actions have the ability to negatively impact others, prudence is critical. Practicality out the window? That's like throwing out the baby with the bath water!

2. Justice: Is a sense of justice really a virtue, or is only a tool that allows us to pass judgment on others without feeling guilty? What do you feel is the greatest injustice facing the world today?

Justice is so subjective that I don't consider it a virtue, rather I see it as a measure of "us" against "them." The greatest injustice facing the world today? I'm going to keep this local and a bit political as there are far too many injustices in the world to limit it to one. I'd say, in this country, it is the "socialization" of America - the complete and total deviation from the words/intent of our founding fathers. The sense of entitlement many here seem to feel and the intrusion of our government into everything from health care to personal relationships.

3. Temperance: All things in moderation. Should we allow ourselves a few excesses? How well do you restrain yourself when faced with your deepest desires?

Temperance is NOT my virtue. Moderation is 2-1/2 times a four-letter word! I may be restrained when facing my deepest desires, but hopefully I won't be restraining myself *wink*

4. Courage/Fortitude: How well do you confront fear and uncertainty, or intimidation? Does facing the little things make you as brave as facing the big things?

Intimidation? I confront it quite well. Fear and uncertainty, not so well. Fear is what holds me back in most every aspect of my life. Fear of failure - fear of being vulnerable - fear of appearing foolish. And yes, the only way to be able to show bravery in the big things is to first exhibit it with the little things, for the little things for one may be the big things for another.

5. Faith: Is it important to have faith? How steadfast are you in your core beliefs? Do your core beliefs equate to faith in something?

Faith ... hmmmm ...

I think it is important to have faith in oneself. Faith in a God or higher power? I struggle with that one. I am fairly steadfast in my core beliefs, but as I get older I find that those core beliefs are mine and mine alone, and should not be "forced" on anyone else, nor used as a measurement tool of "good" and "evil." My core beliefs most closely equate to faith in the golden rule - Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

6. Hope: Does having hope for the future help you deal with the present? How good are you at finding the good in the bad? What is the thing you hope for most?

Hope in the future is what gets me out of bed every morning and I've always been one who believes there is always some good in any perceived bad. In fact, I would say that sometimes I am too much that way - finding the good when I really need to acknowledge the bad.

What do I hope for most? A happy, healthy son who finds his place in this world and enjoys every moment of it!

7. Love/Charity: How easy is it for you to give selfless, unconditional, and voluntary loving-kindness? How easy is it for you to receive selfless, unconditional, and voluntary loving-kindness?

I am far better at giving loving-kindness than I am at receiving it, although I am working on that particular skill. It's difficult to receive when you don't feel "deserving" - always wondering what the other person wants because they can't possibly be doing it just to see you happy.


05 October 2008

I Think I've Said Enough


I learned something yesterday - what it feels like to read less than flattering things about yourself in another's blog. In this case, there was no malice intended - in fact, knowing my dear friend as well as I do, I have no doubt that he felt not saying what he said would be far more detrimental than saying it.

It wasn't just his post, but some of the comments, that really stung. I know there are many of you out there who would just like to grab me by my cyber shoulders and shake some sense into me. What's odd is that you (said collectively) have, and yet you don't see the change. I'll admit - it's slow - painfully slow at times - but there has been progress.

Clearly, I am getting something out of this relationship or I wouldn't still be in it. Maybe I do revel in the victim mode - maybe I am so manipulative that I sit on the fence only to garner all of your sympathy and attention - or maybe I'm just human, making mistakes along the way, mustering up enough honesty and integrity to lay out all of the ugliness and imperfections in this very public forum. As I re-read my words (and your comments), as I gain self-worth and perspective, as I take chances and move forward - progress is made.

I'm not going to attempt to justify any of my actions or inactions. There are no justifications, only excuses.

I've turned off comments for this post. I think I've said enough.

EDIT: I turned off comments because I felt that responding to them would come across as trying to justify my position. I just don't want to do that - not now - not again - not ever.

I'll return to regularly scheduled programing tomorrow - it will be, after all, TMI Tuesday!


Sunday Secret


Growing up, I would sometimes hurt myself physically as a way to cope (punish myself) with overwhelming emotions such as anxiety, stress, numbness and self-loathing.

To this day, I must work exceptionally hard to curb the urge to engage in self-harm, and occasionally, I still fail.


03 October 2008

Friday Wrap-Up


First, an apology. I haven't forgotten Lu and Ms. Lily, my drawing winners (and you too Knight), but as you all know, life has been a bit ... well ... off this past week. I'm only working until noon today and plan to get everything wrapped up and ready this afternoon - and hopefully in the mail on Saturday.


The silent treatment has continued with one exception. Thursday morning, as husband was getting ready to leave, I asked if we were ever going to speak again and was told, "Some day." Then, as he was walking out the door I said (in a sincere tone of voice), "Have a good day" which got "You are the most selfish, inconsiderate, and unappreciative person - I get no credit for everything I do here." I must have looked like a deer caught in the headlights!

I think (don't know because he's not talking) that he measures VALUE to the household and the marriage in $$ only. He brings in about 70% of the income to the household and it appears that qualifies as "everything" he does. Sure, we wouldn't be in the house we are in if it weren't for his income, but I wouldn't be cleaning said 3200 square foot house either! It's pretty clear that I need to "earn" my value by doing everything else because my $$ contribution is less. I've always thought this was the case and now I'm fairly certain of it.


Thursday night is family/marriage counseling night. When it was time to leave the house to go to the appointment, husband was no where to be found, so Cam and I headed out. I half expected husband to show up there. He's been known to have an agenda for counseling, presenting it as a sneak attack. Not so last night. He was a no-show, which was somewhat of a relief, as well as an eye-opener.


The goal this weekend is to spend some family time with Cam. Looks like a trip to the local apple orchard on Saturday and church *gasp* on Sunday. Not sure about this whole church thing, but must admit that what I've been doing hasn't been working. It's time to shake things up a bit and see what the mess looks like. If nothing else, it's an opportunity for both Cam and I to interact with people - respectful and welcoming people - what a concept.


01 October 2008

HNT - Indecision


“Then indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting o'er lost days.
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute;
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



Wednesday Bits


I want to thank all of you for your supportive comments yesterday. I know that I didn't address each of you individually, but my energy level is a bit low. In fact, I think I now know what it's like to be a snow cone with all of the flavor sucked out of it!

My home life last night was pretty much as I expected. I was ignored. The dinner I cooked was shunned in favor of a self-made peanut butter sandwich. As I was cleaning the kitchen and helping Cam with his homework, the volume on the TV was turned up to obscure my irritating behavior. Not a word was spoken. I slept in "our" bed but did not set the alarm, nor did I wake him up this morning.

*UPDATE* I attempted a congenial conversation as husband was leaving this morning and received the hand and a "I have nothing remotely nice to say to you" as he walked out the door. I didn't do anything to escalate the situation and simply watched him walk out. It's pretty clear this must be about more than the alarm clock, but as he is not speaking, I have no idea what other infractions I may have committed, but I am certain they are many.

This isn't typical of how I usually handle these situations, and I think that is a step in the right direction - a small step, but a step none-the-less.


Remember when I told you I requested an agenda for the "special" conference next week? This was the response I received:

Mrs. Dana:

Cam is having some difficulties with organization, work completion, and staying focused on task. We are hoping that by having the longer conference period, we can develop an intervention plan to assist Cam with some of these concerns. The results of the independent educational evaluation should be very helpful in developing a plan. Thanks.

When I requested the agenda, I informed the author of the email that Cam had an independent educational evaluation done over the summer. My guess is he won't feel it is quite so helpful when he has an opportunity to review it and finds that the evaluator believes this is an issue with the learning environment rather than a problem with Cam.


A really cool thing happened in the blogshpere yesterday. It was a marriage proposal! It looks like I'm going to have to share my blog crush "officially" now. If you haven't already done so, you really should read the PROPOSAL POST (don't forget to read the comments where she FINALLY accepted), then stop by and congratulate Matt-Man and Schmoop!

As difficult a day as yesterday was, this warmed my heart and renewed my faith in love.