31 May 2009

Sunday Secret

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When I encourage you to spend more time with your daughter, it's really not about the importance of your father/daughter relationship. I just want you to spend more time away from home ... and away from us.

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29 May 2009

Friday Wrap-Up

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I really do like three-day weekends, but not-so-much when the following four-day work week just happens to be the last week of the month and I have to close the books for four branches - rather than my usual three - because one of my co-workers decides she needs two three-day weekends in a row! It will be a busy one today!

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Speaking of work, last week we got the news of a reorganization. I think there was an audible *GASP* in the room when it was announced. During rough economic times, we all know that reorg usually means "We don't want to have to call these layoffs, so we'll call it a reorg and eliminate your position instead."

Now, the powers that be have pinky sweared assured us that this isn't the case - that we are fortunate enough that standard attrition rates will take care of the need to cut positions, however they won't be replacing anyone who leaves ... which means we'll all need to "pitch in" to cover the redistribution of the work load. Oh, and by the way, since we are asking you to do more work (my work load has almost doubled in the past year), we are also letting you know that the cost of your benefits is going up AND we will be by-passing performance reviews and raises this year because you all should just be grateful you still have a job.

Guess what I'm going to do next week? I am going to ask for a raise anyway! This will be the first time in my life I have ever asked for a raise, but I cannot let all of the power shift to my employer. In addition to just a general increase in work load, they have also made me the branch accountant who will be implementing the first phase of the reorg - a HUGE increase in responsibility.

Am I crazy to thumb my nose at their "NO RAISES" policy this year and demand ask for one anyway?

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I want to thank all of you for the discussion on my When Will We Learn post. I know some of you who commented tend to stay away from the more controversial posts, yet you still dipped your toes into this one. I think it was a great discussion - one that, for the most part, stayed on track and on topic. Whether you agree that society plays a role in this type of tragedy or not, I hope the post got you thinking "What can I do now?"

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ffi

And...here we go!

1. It's cold and fall-like in the southern hemisphere.

2. Husband claims he is allergic to tomatoes. I think I'll plant a secret crop of them in the backyard!

3. My favorite health and beauty product is Vermont's Original Bag Balm. It's the best moisturizer for dry skin in the winter and pampers my feet in the summer!

4. I still haven't managed to get on my bike and take a nice long ride.

5. Well, first of all I hate starting a sentence with "Well, first of all" because if it's the first thing I am writing, everyone already knows it's first!.

6. Jay and Matt-Man; those were the cast of characters in a recent dream and it was quite disturbing thought provoking to see Matt-Man, in his layered underwear fashion statement, drinking beer with Jay, wearing his viking helmet - and nothing else.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to exhaling, tomorrow my plans include weeding the flower garden, moving a shrub and organizing the garage, and Sunday, I want to "ride my bicycle ... I want to ride my bike ..." sing along with me!

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27 May 2009

HNT - Blooms


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It's lilac time again ... well ... almost! I was afraid if I waited another week the blossoms might be gone. They are one of my favorite flowers - delicately fragile, yet powerfully fragrant.


“As long as we are persistence in our pursuit of our deepest destiny, we will continue to grow. We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time.”
~ Denis Waitley



Are there any more lilacs? *CLICK*


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When Will We Learn?

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It's yet another one of those stories. A 23 year old mom confesses to suffocating her 3-year-old son as he slept on the climbing gym, then burying him under the climbing gym's hanging bridge, where the body was found two days later. Neighbors called the crime cold-blooded and struggle to comprehend how a mother could do such a thing to her own child. I wonder how we could have done such a thing to her child ... and to her.

Tiffany Toribio had been kicked out of her mother's home, and then a friend's house, in the days before she killed her son. Tiffany had no criminal record or history of drug or alcohol abuse. She was homeless, and sleeping in a community park, surrounded by neighborhood homes, and no one noticed her or her son Ty.

When asked why she killed Ty, Tiffany said that she did not want him to grow up with no one caring about him the same way that she had grown up with no one caring about her. The complete lack of anyone noticing she and Ty were living at the playground is certainly confirmation, although not directly, that no one cared ... until it was too late.

As I've recently written, I am exploring opportunities to serve the "invisible" people like Tiffany and Ty. We all see them every day - those people - the ones that evoke a sense of fear, and sometimes panic, when we pass them on the street or in our own neighborhoods. Those people that we can't even look in the eye when we walk by them. Those people ...

I know what it is like to feel overwhelmed. To wonder if maybe death isn't better than the life I've given my child. To be too proud to ask for help, or worse yet, to not know where to go to find help. To wish and hope that someone - anyone - would care enough to just ask how I was - if I needed anything. To long to be acknowledged as human.

When I read this story, I wasn't angry with Tiffany. No, I was angry with all of the people who walked by and looked down at their feet instead of looking her in the eye and smiling. I was angry with a neighbor who said, "Now, his mother will find out this baby has a lot of people who love him and will do anything for a child" for not showing that love sooner. I was angry with a family who couldn't find a reason to take Ty in and try to find help for his overwhelmed single mother. I was angry with a society that condemns the actions of the desperate without reflecting on what they do - or don't do - to contribute to tragedies like this one.

Shame on us - all of us - who have the ability to do more, but turn a blind eye instead. We should all be angry - angry enough to do the right thing instead of the easy thing.

Are you getting your hands dirty now, or waiting until later to ask yourself what you could have done?

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26 May 2009

TMI Tuesday #188 - Rambling Edition

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TMI Tuesday

1. Before the industrial revolution, most people never traveled more than 30 miles from their home. How far from your birth place do you now live?

According to Google maps, I am 1,862 miles from where I was born and 2,018 miles from the town where I actually grew up. I was born in the same small (very small) eastern Washington town that my mother grew up in, but when I was 18 months old, my parents moved to the Seattle area where they bought the home that I lived in until I was 18.

2. What is the farthest distance from home you have you have ever had sex or an orgasm? What is there farthest distance you have traveled from your home to have a sexual encounter?

Well, Seoul, South Korea is about 5,200 miles from "home," and there was a bit of sex that went on during the year I was there, so ... yeah ...

I'm assuming the second part of this question is one focusing on intent - how far have I traveled with the primary intent of having sex? I've not traveled with the primary goal of a booty call, but I've had someone else make a roughly 1200 mile journey to me for a booty call.

3. How many states (or Canadian Provences or your country's geopolitical division) and counties have you had sex and/or an orgasms in?

I don't have a clue ...

I've lived in Washington, California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas, Maryland and Illinois, so those are all a sure bet. I've also traveled throughout the U.S. extensively as a SINGLE adult sooo ... *shakes head* ...

Best estimate would be somewhere between 10-15?? Again, that's nothing more than a wild-assed guess.

4. Have you ever had sex in a vehicle? While the vehicle was moving?

I've had sex in a motor home! That counts as a vehicle, right?? But it wasn't moving.

Then there were those few times when I was the giver of the "It's not really sex if you are the President and it's not your wife" sex - while someone WAS driving *snicker*

5. Do you have any travel related fantasy? If so, share, please.

Are we talking travel related sexual fantasy here? No, I don't have any of those, but I do have travel related fantasies! I often long for a trip like Katherine recently took. There are many destinations I'd like to visit at some point - most of them outside of the country - and most of them to places less traveled!

Bonus: On holidays that honor our military do you tend to remember those currently serving or veterans of military service?

This is a bit of a thorn in my side ...

Being that I am a bit of a military "purist," we have just two major holidays here in the U.S. honoring the military, Memorial Day (Decoration Day) and Veteran's Day.

Memorial Day is a holiday of remembrance of those who served, and lost their lives. I honor them on Memorial Day.

Veteran's Day is the holiday designated to show appreciation for ALL of those who have served in the military ... and that is how I celebrate that holiday.

Imagine ... me ... following rules ...

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25 May 2009

Decoration Day (or Memorial Day, if You Prefer)

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The National Moment of Remembrance, established by Congress, asks Americans wherever they are at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day to pause in an act of national unity (duration: one minute).The time 3 p.m. was chosen because it is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday. The Moment does not replace traditional Memorial Day events; rather it is an act of national unity in which all Americans, alone or with family and friends, honor those who died for our freedom. It will help to reclaim Memorial Day as the sacred and noble holiday it was meant to be. In this shared remembrance, we connect as Americans.

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I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did.

~Benjamin Harrison


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The Soldier's Creed

I am an American Soldier.
I am a Warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.

I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.

I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.

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No ... this is not my "standard" type of post. Usually, you'd find an opinion - some confrontation - or an attempt at justification of why the military is not only needed in this country, but the most honorable gift of service one can give their country. Rather than posting a great deal of opinion, encouraging those who feel differently to focus on their argument, I decided instead to post three short pieces that each give a different view of the importance of the holiday in hopes that EVERYONE would focus on what is really important.

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24 May 2009

Sunday Secret

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Of all of the things my son could do in his life that would make me proud, there is one thing that will generate far more pride than anything. Making the honor roll? Graduating from college? Choosing a life mate that makes him happy? No, none of these. The one thing he could do that will generate an abundance of pride is to serve in the military, and I have encouraged him to do so from an early age.

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22 May 2009

Friday Wrap-Up

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It's been quite a week - LONG days - beginnings, endings and treading water.

Monday is Cam's counseling night. When your live in the puckies, an hour appointment turns into a 2-1/2 hour event with the 45 minute (each way) drive time.

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Tuesday was my final PTO meeting as President (another 2-1/2 hour event). I'm glad I took on this opportunity, but I'm also glad it is over. Listening to spoiled rotten, princess acting stay-at-home moms, whose husbands are pilots for a major airline, tell me that $250 is "no big deal" to come up with for a trip to our state capital if you "really love your kids" made me want to poke their eyes out with pencils - dulls ones at that. So what did I do? I got myself elected treasurer for the 2009-2010 school year *rolls eyes*

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Wednesday is Cam's church youth group. This one is 2-1/2 hours PLUS the 45 minute (each way) drive time. I went shopping and spent money I didn't have, but I had a 30% off coupon and just "had" to use it. Actually, Cam was in desperate need of summer clothes. With the 40 lbs he's lost, and 4" he's grown over the past year, his clothes were literally falling off of him.

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Thursday? Relax at home? Oh no! It's the last choir/band/orchestra concert of the year. Here's a bit of trivia for you, how long does it take to get through the 6th grade choir, 7th grade choir, 8th grade choir, 6th grade orchestra, 7th grade orchestra (are you getting tired yet?), 8th grade orchestra, 6th grade band, 7th/8th grade band (Whew! They finally combined two groups) ... AND ... a grand finale of 7th/8th grade band combined with the 7th/8th grade orchestra? Yeah ... it took longer to get through than it just took you to read this. Give up? THREE hours, 37 minutes and 23 seconds on WOOD bleachers ... not that I was counting or anything ...

I tell you, there is no end to the tolerance and butt endurance love of a parent!

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And tonight? Well, I've got a meeting with some folks at the church regarding an opportunity to use my paralegal skills in the prison and/or homeless ministries. As odd and out of place as it might sound, I am extremely excited. Not only will it enable me to use that "useless" degree that costs me $200/month in student loan payments, but it's an chance to make a difference for those folks that many of us just pretend aren't there. How often does an opportunity like that come along?

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And just because I can ...

ffi


1. Moving like a hot knife through butter.

2. Born free, and life is worth living, But only worth living, 'cause you're born free.

3. My best quality is my ... ummm ... errr ... ability to let things go?

4. I really don't need any of the gory details.

5. In nearly 10 years, my son will graduate from college.

6. A good fucking roll in the hay is what I need right now!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to one or ten two beers, tomorrow my plans include a long bike ride and Sunday, I want to plant flowers!

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20 May 2009

HNT - Stained Glass

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“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”

~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


Is this the light from within? *CLICK*

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The Grass is Always Greener ..

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When your glass is half full ...

... and today, my glass is half full of insight, resolve, comprehension, observation, perspective, realization, intuition, intention, integrity (man, that's a lot of "i" words),conclusion and finality.

I need to remember this feeling and what it took to get here. I was given a "gift" yesterday. It certainly didn't look like a "gift" two days ago - nor even yesterday morning - and the givers of the "gift" certainly didn't intend for it to be a "gift" ... but it was!

I like it when that happens!

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19 May 2009

TMI Tuesday - (HNT Anniversary Editon)

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TMI Tuesday

1. Have you ever participated in HNT? If so, when? If not, why not?

Anyone who stops by here regularly knows the answer to this one. I've participated every week since Valentine's Day 2008 It's been an interesting journey of self-exploration and human nature.

Being a "part" of this group has exposed me to all that is good - and all that is terribly wrong - in the blogsphere - both from those who participate and those who don't. Although far less obvious (they play nicer), HNT - like all blog circles - has it's cliques and "issues." I try to stay away from that side of things as much as I can, but sometimes the drama finds me *shrugs*


2. Have you ever avoided certain sites because of the HNT pictures that were posted?

There are just a handful of sex bloggers who are fairly ... ummm ... graphic ... that I don't usually visit. I've learned to really enjoy the artistic/creative side of HNT and prefer those types of photos far more than the "hardcore" sex shots.

3. Have you ever posted a HNT picture that you wish that you hadn't?

Nope! There are some that I like better than others,but each one represents a specific emotion or event and each one taught me a little more about myself.

4. Do you email/text/call anyone regularly with someone you met through HNT?

I do, but just two or three. When I first started HNT, I was somewhat enamored by the novelty of it all. I craved the attention more than I enjoyed the process. Any time anyone gave me the least bit of approval, I mistook that as an interest in friendship and basically became an attention whore. I kept in touch with far more HNT-ers in the beginning than I do now.

5. What percentage of your online friends are current or former HNTers?

I have no earthly idea, but definitely less than 15%. Most of the blogs I read I read for content, not HNT pics. I do try to get through the full list of HNT participants each week though!

6. Does anyone in your "real" life know that you do HNT (if, of course, you do)?

No one in my "real" life knows I blog. They'd likely be mortified if they knew I did HNT!

7. Other than previously-known friends, have you met any fellow HNTers?

I have! There was my first HNT-er meet Nothing like starting off with a bang. Then there was a wonderful evening with Moose and a whole gaggle of them in Indy.

8. Have you ever downloaded someone else's HNT pictures?

Nope! Maybe when folks post them they expect others to do that, but I just wouldn't consider it without first asking ... and I'd be embarrassed to ask (figure that one out).

BONUS QUESTION: Have you ever submitted a picture for "...the Other HNT"?

I have ... maybe three times? It's gotten a bit "over the top" for me (stop looking so surprised!), and has FAR more traffic than my silly blog, so I tend to shy away from it.

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18 May 2009

Sunday Secret

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I'm not at all concerned about dying - I'm concerned that no one will care when I do.

When You Hate the Blogsphere

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Sometimes, I hate the blogsphere, so much so that I find myself wondering why I still play out here. Fortunately, those feelings are quickly replaced by the reality of all that is good with the blogsphere, but today? Today it is on my hate list.

There is one thing that has the potential to really set me off, and it seems to have happened, simultaneously, throughout several of my regular read blogs in the past 48 hours.

Without getting into specifics (because doing that will serve no constructive purpose, but will surely piss people off and cause me grief down the line), let me just speak in generalities.

I don't like secrets, especially those kept by people I consider to be friends. I'm not talking about what you bought me for Christmas, where you had sex last night, or what you fantasized about the last time you masturbated, but those secrets that aren't really secret - the ones that people share with some and not with others - where, through their actions, they indicate who they trust and who they don't trust. Basically, that situation where you are standing with two other friends, a generic comment is made, the other two friends give each other "that look" then turn to you and say, "Inside joke."

If it's an inside joke, keep it inside and don't flaunt it as a "Neener, neener, neener ... we know something you don't!" At that point, I literally shut all emotions off. Why? Because there has now become a "pecking order" in your friendships and you've made it clear where I fall. I'm not going to beg for your friendship - not because I don't need it - but because sometimes I need it too much. Competing for the attention of friends and not getting it is far worse in my world than having no friends at all. It's like always being the last kid picked for playground kickball.

Am I overreacting? Most likely. In fact, several of the blog posts that I read this in to probably have no clue I'm even considering them a part of this group. Why? Because I soooo internalized the post - beyond what was ever even imagined by those who wrote it.

You all know my inclination to face confrontation (at least out here) head on, yet I've kept quiet. With the exception of a single email that will certainly come back to embarrass the shit out of me haunt me I've left no comments on any of the blogs, nor contacted any of the bloggers. On an intellectual level, I know how ridiculous I am being, but on an emotional level the reaction is far different.

*UPDATE* It looks like the email I sent won't embarrass me too terribly. Although the situation cannot be resolved right this moment, the quick reply to my email included the statements, "Yes, you're overreacting, but I understand why," and "Quit being paranoid! :-P," which - although it might not seem so - really were good things to hear!

So, do tell. Do you ever feel like an outsider in the blogsphere? If you do, how do you handle it?

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17 May 2009

Sunday Secret

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The reasons I hesitate to publish posts like yesterday's are twofold:

(1) I know that I open myself up to criticism, and being that I am often so self critical, I take everything that everyone says personally and use that criticism as a tool to "punish" myself even more, and

(2) Once I put things in writing, I feel an overwhelming obligation to follow through and be accountable, even when I have contradictory thoughts at a later time.


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16 May 2009

How Did I Get So Tired?

*NOTE* This is the post I referenced "sitting on" yesterday. I got - as Lu so eloquently put it - "stupidbrave"

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So, just what was it that sparked my I am Tired post? It was nothing, really. A small blip in the radar compared to some of the issues we've dealt with, but the impact and realization that came with it were significant.

The epiphany came after a "minor" confrontation between Cam and husband. Husband and I had - I thought - come to an agreement about how we would handle discipline with Cam. In short, I would be the one responsible for for it. This agreement alleviated a couple of issues:
  1. Husband is often impulsive with discipline - overreacting to a minor incident then requiring me to uphold a discipline decision that I was not a part of. I react by compromising his discipline (not a good message to Cam). If I make the discipline decisions, I consistently uphold them.
  2. Husband and Cam have an adversarial relationship. Having husband out of the discipline mode gives him an opportunity to develop a more caring relationship with Cam.
  3. We avoid the, "He isn't my father" trap.
It had been working well. As Cam's grades and performance continued to improve, I was giving him more privileges and freedom. If I saw Cam needed a bit of reigning in, I addressed it ... until Sunday.

Cam has a cell phone. Initially, he was allowed to use it only when leaving the house - a way that I could keep in touch with him. When it was clear he was being responsible with that privileged (a year later), he was allowed to keep the cell phone during the daytime hours - leaving it downstairs overnight. Again, he showed a great deal of responsibility with that and earned sole discretion of the cell phone.

Sunday night, Cam was on his cell phone at 10:30PM when husband came to bed (we do have a "No incoming phone calls after 9PM rule" on the land line phone). Husband went into Cam's room, yanked the phone out of his hand, and grounded him from all phone use for a week (cell phone and land line). He then walked into our bedroom and yelled, "God damned kid" and proceeded to rant about Cam's phone use. Like I said, in comparison to things we have dealt with in the past, this was minor, but ...

Husband had complete disregard for our discipline agreement, acted out of assumption and impulsivity, then demeaned Cam verbally, making certain he was loud enough that Cam could hear him in his room.

At that moment, I realized that this is typical of our relationship. We agree to some course of action, at some later date something randomly sets husband off (usually not even related to the current situation), he reacts and invalidates the agreement. We've talked about it again and again. Husband's reasoning is always along the lines that I am not stepping up to the plate, so he is forced to (this applies whether it is Cam, making dinner, grocery shopping - you name it). Personally, I believe it always comes back to husband feeling a lack of control over his life and reacting to that "threat" by being a bully to both Cam and me, gaining an artificial sense of control over at least his home life.

Now, I'm not placing all of the blame on him. I certainly have my faults. The difference is that I am addressing my faults - giving Cam the resources to address his faults - and husband is doing nothing to address his.

It's also become extremely clear that we have significant differences in priorities. Husband equates his value as a person to his professional status and salary - to the things he has (a nice car, a nice home, name brand clothing, etc.). On the other hand, I equate my value as a person to the things I do - to the success of my relationships (with Cam, with the community, with my God, etc.). In the process, husband feels he can't do enough to make me happy and I feel I cannot do enough to make him happy - because neither of us value the priorities of the other.

I'm not implying that husband is "wrong" and I am "right" - just acknowledging that we are very, VERY different. I kept thinking there was a happy medium - that if I could just get the house clean enough - if I could just make meals that he liked every night - if I could just get Cam's grades on track and his behavior headed in the right direction - if I ... if I ...

When it became clear that wasn't going to work (the things I was doing were of no value to husband - they weren't monetary), I decided that maybe this was as good as it gets. One doesn't have to look too hard in the blogging world to see that my family isn't that unusual. Just read a few infidelity and sex blogs and you'll see there are a large number of people out there, looking to fill the voids in their marital relationships with sex, while continuing on in unfulfilled (in some way) marriages. Maybe that was the best way to handle it. I started getting lulled into the "this isn't so bad" mode - I have a beautiful home - a husband who works very hard to provide - bills get paid - maybe I was being ridiculous longing for a deeper emotional bond with my husband. Maybe I should just find that component elsewhere.

Sunday night I realized that this really isn't about me or Cam. Neither of us have the predisposition to valuing the "things" that husband values. Cam is his mother's son - he is passionate in the things he does - he is the one who will stand up to the underdog - he looks for justice and will use logical arguments to demand justice (frustrating when coming from a 13 year old). Cam and I both struggle with self-esteem and fitting in, and living in an environment where we will never be "good enough" (again, because our priorities are so different than husbands) just multiplies our struggles. This has beat me down emotionally, and I'd be silly to think it isn't doing the same to Cam.

Over the next 2 months, Cam and I have a unique opportunity to separate ourselves from this situation. My hope is that it will allow me a chance to get stronger emotionally. I'll be with people who understand husband far better than I do (while with his family - without him - in San Antonio) and who love me (while with my family in Spokane). There will be no need to put on a smiling face. Both Cam and I will be able to relax - to let our guard down - knowing we won't be judged for being less than expected.

I know that I will likely have to give husband an ultimatum when we return from Spokane. Either realize that he is part of the problem and commit to taking specific steps to address his part in this (i.e. counseling, making time for family, working on his relationship with step-daughter, etc.) or Cam and I will need to go so that we can live a less stressful, more "real" life. I have to be ready to hear that he will not make changes - that the problem is not his. I have to be strong enough to stay true to my ultimatum and walk away.

I've been too tired to do this. Now I'm too tired not to ...

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15 May 2009

Friday Wrap-Up

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It is Friday, right?? What a week - sales training at work (I didn't attend, but it always makes the work environment a bit more tense) - dinner with husband at my favorite micro-brewery on Tuesday - Cam's church youth group on Wednesday - back to my favorite microbrewery on Thursday for dinner with the sales force. Tonight? Other than cooking Thai Peanut Stir-Fry for dinner, the evening is mine! WooHoo!!

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Our summer schedule is firming (and busying) up.

Cam's "official" last day of school is June 18th, however his last attendance day will be June 9th as we are heading to San Antonio June 10th (for a graduation June 11th) and won't be returning until June 18th. This will be an interesting vacation as we are visiting husband's family, but he will be there June 11th through the 14th only (he and step-daughter have work/school obligations). Cam, step-son and I will be there the remaining time without him. I'm looking forward to it!

Cam has football camp the week of June 22 - 26th. He is so excited about being able to play football this year - I hope it goes well for him.

Once Cam is done with football camp, I'm sending him off to church camp (almost as disturbing as sending him to band camp)! He'll be there June 29th - July 3rd. This will be his first "overnight" camp and the first time I have ever been away from him for more than 24 hours. Yes, I know, he's 13 and will be fine, but will I be fine??

July 4th we head to Spokane. We'll be there through the 14th. This is another vacation sans husband - he doesn't visit my family *shrugs* Actually, that is probably a good thing! This is a story in and of itself as husband had agreed to purchase the airfare for Cam and I to take this trip, then backed out of the commitment. At 44, I had to ask my parents for help in purchasing the airfare (Can we say humbling?).

Football season starts July 20th, so we'll get back just in time for 2-a-day practices for Cam. I think this is the busiest summer we've had.

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Any of you ever write a post and sit on it, trying to decide if you really want to share your convoluted thinking with seventeen people who read you the world? I've got one of those - a follow-up of sorts to my I'm Tired post earlier this week. Maybe I'll get stupid brave this weekend and put it out there.

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13 May 2009

HNT - Blossoms

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Break open a cherry tree and there are no flowers,
but the spring breeze brings forth myriad blossoms.


~Ikkyu Sojun


Hmmm ... I wonder if there are any blossoms here *CLICK*

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12 May 2009

TMI Tuesday #186

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TMI Tuesday

1. Which traits from your parents do you see in yourself?

Gahhh! Really? Let me see ...

I definitely have my father's stubbornness persistence and was lucky enough to "inherit" his love of writing. My mom? This is a little more difficult as I am far more like my father, but I would say her sense of justice and her wanderlust.

2. Which traits from you/your partner do you see in your children (if you don't have kids, which would you like to see)?

I must say that Cameron is proof that nature, not only nurture, plays a critical role in who we all become. He has his father's charisma (which terrifies me at times) and he has my love of numbers and creativity.

3. How did you get the birds-and-bees talk?

I don't know that I ever did - at least not from my parents. I think the only time I ever even formally got the basics was 6th grade health - and that was very basic. I do remember the family vacation we took that summer though. When walking through the Grand Canyon I exclaimed, "I'm so hot I could ejaculate!" The horror on my parents faces was priceless! I guess I was a bit confused on that definition.

4. What was your favorite childhood book?

I have two! Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are and S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders, which, coincidentally, Cam is currently reading in his literature class.

5. What is your favorite piece of erotic literature?

Do I earn bonus points if I say Ms. Inconspicuous' blog? This might come as a surprise, but other than the "Reader's Forum" column in my mom's Playgirl magazines (if she only knew how much of an education I received from her naughty drawer), I've never read much erotica ... until I found the virtues of sex bloggers.

Bonus: What is the one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself as a child?

My 6th grade teacher introduced me to Shel Silverstein. Each day, he would write one of Silverstein's poems on the blackboard. Although I identified with many of them, there was one in particular that I wish I had heard as a very young child:

“Listen to the mustn'ts, child.
Listen to the don'ts.
Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts.
Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me...
Anything can happen, child.
Anything can be.”

~ Shel Silverstein

Double Bonus: If your life were a book or movie, what would the title be?

Well, "Amid Life's Crises" of course!

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11 May 2009

I am Tired

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Tired of trying to be the "perfect" wife when perfection is elusive and efforts are seldom appreciated.

Tired of enforcing rules that make no sense.

Tired of listening to a grown man belittle the children in his life.

Tired of worrying about financial security when spending priorities are impacted by the decisions of only one person.

Tired of trying to fix things when what really needs to be fixed is never acknowledged.

Tired of acting as mediator.

Tired of putting on a smiling face for the public and crying in private.

Tired of compromising my own growth - my own happiness - when the results are that no one is happy.

Tired of wishing he'd do something clearly abusive so that I could justify walking out.

Tired of feeling defeated.

I am just so tired ...

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10 May 2009

A Mother's Day Wish

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This Mother's Day, I'd like to give every mom the gift of less judgment - of themselves and of other mothers.

Many of us set some unrealistic bar in mothering perfection. There are no fights between siblings because we are "good" parents and we teach our children to resolve conflict peacefully and love their brothers and sisters. Our kids remain injury free because we buy them crawling knee pads, watch them every second as they begin to walk and continue chaperoning their field trips through middle school. We protect our kids from bullies, heartache, disappointment and punishment, and we start judging other mother's the moment we hear they did something that could be considered the least bit dangerous.

We allow fear to brainwash us. We worry that everything we do as a mother may be putting our kids in danger - that they will hate us later in life because of what we did - or didn't do. If we thought it would help, we'd wrap them in bubble wrap and secure with duct tape.

The problem is that we are not only doing ourselves a disservice when we are so self-critical, but we are doing our kids a disservice as well. Every time we rescue or protect our kids from natural consequences, we are telling them (through our actions) that we believe they are not capable and competent. We are actually holding them back from developing into smart, happy, responsible adults.

Stop. Take a deep breath. Teach them basic safety, then give them some freedom - freedom to develop logical reasoning and coping skills. Statistically, the crime rate today is equal to what it was back in 1970 and crimes against children have actually decreased (although you'd never believe that based on media reports). Let them feel the pain, disappointment and consequences of their decisions, and know in your heart that this is the BEST thing you can do for them as a mother. And quit being so hard on yourselves ... and other mothers.

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09 May 2009

Semper Paratus

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Any Marines or Latin lovers, or even Latin loving Marine's, out there?? Semper paratus ==> Always ready ... which isn't always the case if you are a man over 40 ...

*enter $5 billion in advertising spent by the pharmaceutical industry in 2007*

Viagra - Cialis - Levitra Drugs developed specifically for a men's health issue. What was once referred to impotence is now more lovingly called erectile dysfunction (ED). Bob Dole was the ED spokes person pioneer back in 1999 (who'd have ever thunk it?) but now, commercials discussing ED are as common as those referencing osteoporosis.

Seems Representative Jim Moran (D-VA) takes issue with that. He has introduced H.R. 2175 - a bill that would "prohibit, as indecent, the broadcasting of any advertisement for a medication for the treatment of erectile dysfunction" - at least between the hours of 6AM and 10PM.

You see, Representative Moran (and many who support him) thinks talking about *gasp* sexuality is indecent. What if your 8 year old was to ask you what an erection is? Oh no! As a parent I'm supposed to answer those kinds of questions? No! I did not sign up for this. Children shouldn't even be asking such questions - surely if we ban all television reference to it and refuse to discuss it, we can avoid embarrassment, right?

Sure, I've seen the commercials - usually during televised sporting events, James Bond movie marathons and other programing targeted at an audience that would be most likely to have concerns with ED. I've certainly never seen any ED advertising on Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel or during Saturday morning network cartoons.

Look people, if you are worried that your 8 year old might ask you what an erection is - and that you might have to actually answer them - how do you feel about "feminine protection" advertising? Or is that OK because manufacturers use a lovely shade of blue water and a test tube to get their point across? What about condom advertising? Wait! Or ... or ... K-Y® YOURS + MINE® advertising? That's right, Johnson & Johnson, the same folks who make your baby powder and "no more tears" shampoo, are producing commercials that tell you sex should be enjoyable for men and women. The horror!!

Erectile dysfunction is a medical condition, just like osteoporosis, diabetes and severe depression, yet Representative Moran isn't supporting a bill that bans all pharmaceutical advertising, or even all pharmaceutical advertising that addresses sexual health. Nope! Only that evil word "erection" needs to be yanked from television.

Should advertising addressing treatment for ED be banned from television? Do you suppose it is predominately women who take issue with ED advertising or do you think men are equally bothered by it? And what ever happened to the option of turning off the TV if you don't like what it exposes your children and family to?

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08 May 2009

... and the winners are ...

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Remember back on Monday I had the wacky idea to give away a copy of Tony Dungy's "Uncommon" and to finally get off my lazy ass get "The Fourth Turning" passed on to another blogger and vlog the drawing? Well, as promised, here you go! Just more proof that although it might take me a while to get motivated, once I make a commitment I do follow through!




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What?? You didn't watch the vlog and yet you still want to know who won?? Well ... I'm all about accommodating my readers ...


Katherine and Flyinfox, please email me your mailing information
(dana.luann@gmail.com) and I'll get your packages in the mail soon!

Have a great weekend everyone!

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06 May 2009

HNT - Polished (Retro)

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I love painted nails, but with Midwest winters being so dry and cold, my nails take a beating. I usually go with the bare nekkid look from October through April, when my nails start to grow again.

Welcome to the first painting of the season!

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Who is Parenting the Kids?

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I'm sure most of you heard the story of Madlyn Primoff - the lawyer/mother from an affluent New York suburb who ordered her bickering 10 and 12-year-old daughters out of her car in a business district three miles from their home, and drove off. She was charged with child endangerment and spent the night in jail.

Yesterday, Another Suburban Mom wrote about a British government study that is looking into fining parents for their children's misbehavior in the classroom - forcing them to “share the responsibility for maintaining discipline” through financial punishment.

Parents can be fined the equivalent of $75 if their kids are caught in a public place without a good reason within the first five days of being suspended or expelled. The fine doubles if it’s not paid within a month. And — parents have to be interviewed by teachers before their child is allowed to return to school.

Schools can also require parents of children who are misbehaving to take parenting classes. If they don’t attend, they can be fined up to $1,500.

What is a parent to do? In the Madlyn Primoff case you have a mother who is attempting to make a point with children that are old enough to understand consequences for their actions, yet the government steps in and calls it child endangerment. How far is the U.S. from the financially motivated and punitive actions being considered by the British government? Do you want me to discipline my child(ren) or do you want to punish me for not doing it the government's way?

I should have some freedom in raising my child the way I feel is fit (withing the realm of reality - I'm not talking about physical abuse, neglect, etc. here). The government wants me to be a "good" parent, but then punishes me if I take a natural consequences approach like Madlyn Primoff did?

Quite frankly, (and without knowing the full details of the Primoff case), I'd say the real criminals in this situation were the couple who picked up the 10-year old girl, took her out for ice cream, then decided this was a matter best handled by the police rather than one to be handled in a community/neighborly way. They took it upon themselves to be judge and jury for Primoff's actions rather than phoning her, hearing her side of the story and offering a little empathy (empathy does belong in the community, not in the Supreme Court). It is "criminal" that so many people are quick to call the authorities, escalating a problem that could be handled in a much less intrusive manner.

I'm guessing most of you will see this in one of three ways:

  1. This is appalling, neglectful, and abusive parenting. A well-to-do mom - an attorney - is completely lacking in such basic parenting skills? She should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law and her parental rights should be questioned.
  2. What's the big deal? The girls are 10 and 12, not toddlers. They were left in an area they were familiar with and within walking distance of their home. So a couple of tweens with attitude are held accountable for their behavior and have to walk home - maybe they'll learn a lesson.
  3. I'm torn. I can understand reaching this level of frustration as a parent, but this was just taking it a little too far.

What do you think? Child endangerment? Natural consequences? Or somewhere in between?

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05 May 2009

TMI Tuesday #185

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TMI Tuesday

1. Have you ever bought a membership to a porn site? If yes, what is the most recent one and did you like it?

I did, but just once (free porn satisfies most of my fetishes). A few years ago I bought a subscription to fuckingmachines.com, and it was worth every penny!

2. Would you rather watch a erotic/porn movie, read a story, or listen to an audio? Why?

Yes! I would like to watch an erotic/porn movie, read a story, and listen to an audio! I don't actually have a preference - it depends on my mood. They all do the trick!

3. If you have a significant other what do you do for each other to get in the mood? If you don't what would you kind of thing could a future potential long term partner do to get you in the mood?

I'm wondering just how many of the women will answer vacuum, or do the dishes ... and it's true! Actually, a significant other doing something for me that I know they don't want to do, or enjoy doing, but they do it because it makes my life easier? That will get me more than in the mood, and that will get them ... well ... let's just say I'll let them decide what that gets them!

4. When it comes to sex, how much do you talk about it with others? How comfortable are you talking about sex?

After standing in the front of an auditorium, speaking to 200 soldiers about herpes, chlamydia and gonorrhea, talking about sex is like asking how the weather is. I'm not embarrassed about sex and sexuality, nor do I judge others on their preferences. I think I've done seen or heard about every fetish/practice there is, and with a very few exceptions, none of them even elicit an "eeeeuuuww" from me.

5. What are the last 5 things you search for on Google (or another search engine)?

This was interesting - I pulled down my google search history and copied the last five entries. I'm afraid there is nothing very exciting here though:

tony dungy uncommon (for yesterday's post - needed a link for the book summary)
number tablespoons in a cup (I was adjusting serving sizes for a recipe)
Acer rubrum (any horticulturists out there?)
autocar (after seeing a vehicle in a photo by this manufacturer)
90 people get the swine flu and everybody wants to wear a mask. A million people have AIDS and no one wants to wear a condom (after seeing someone reference this on Twitter)

Bonus: Have you ever had a fantasy that you were ashamed of?

Hmmmmm ...

Ashamed of? No, but quite a few that I would be embarrassed by if the objects of my fantasies ever knew I was imagining doing what I do in my fantasies with him/her!

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04 May 2009

A Little Fun on Monday!

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I thought Monday might be a good time for a GIVEAWAY! And because I've been extremely irresponsible I like you all so much, I'm actually going to give away two things to two lucky readers. Does it get any better than that? Of course it does, but on a Monday, this is as good as it gets!

First, way back in September, I won a drawing for a copy of "The Fourth Turning" from Jay (Cynical Bastard).


This was meant to be the start of a pay it forward kind of thing. Fortune Cookies, originally read the book and passed along to another blogger. When Jay passed the book on, he mentioned that it would be a fun thing to watch the journey of the book through the blogsphere. Then the book found it's way to my house and has been on hiatus (sorry!). It has now been begging to have it's pages fondled by another blogger. Who am I to say no? This book is not "light" reading, (click on the title link for more information) but is an excellent book. If you are a reader who prefers "mind candy," you might want to skip this one.

Next we have a brand-spankin' new copy of Tony Dungy's "Uncommon" (the copy I read was checked out from the library).


Although this book is geared towards men, its message - finding your path to significance - is one that certainly crosses gender lines. I found the book to be quite inspirational and a wonderful insight into raising Cam to be a successful and "significant" man. There is a CLEAR, Christian/Biblical leaning to this book. Tony Dungy is a Christ Follower who doesn't attempt to hide his faith. If just hearing "Christ Follower" makes you want to roll your eyes, you might want to skip this one.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to leave me a comment telling me which book you are interested in and why. Yes, you can put your name in for both of them if you'd like. I will draw names from all comments left no later that Thursday at 5PM central time. And yes, this means you will be subjected to a vlog (haven't had one of those in a while) of me selecting the winners.

Just remember, if you are a lucky winner, you'll have to give me your name and address. I know - scary thought!


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02 May 2009

Who is More Important than the President?

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A U.S. Supreme Court Justice ... and we are about to get a new one.

For those of you who might not be familiar with the process, Supreme Court Justices are nominated by the President and confirmed with the "advice and consent" (majority vote) of the Senate (currently holding a Democratic majority). Once appointed, Supreme Court Justices effectively have life tenure. Their terms end only upon death, resignation, retirement, or conviction on impeachment. These are the people who determine how laws will be interpreted and upheld in the future. Although they may seem like nothing more than a geriatric coffee club, their decisions reach down and grab each and every one of us.

Friday, President Obama described what he would be looking for in David Souter's (set to retire in June) successor. Most of the qualifications Obama listed were those we expect to hear: legal experience or extensive legal training, spotless ethical record and devotion to the rule of law. But then he added another component - one he mentioned during his campaign - empathy.

"I will seek someone who understands that justice isn't about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a casebook; it is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people's lives, whether they can make a living and care for their families, whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation," Obama said. "I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles, as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes."


This makes absolutely no sense. Empathy? It sounds great - warm and fuzzy - but empathy has no place in any courtroom, let alone the U.S. Supreme Court.

The American Heritage® Dictionary defines empathy as:

Direct identification with, understanding of, and vicarious experience of another person's situation, feelings, and motives.

Yet courts are required to be impartial - not favoring one more than another, treating all alike, unprejudiced, unbiased, disinterested, equitable, fair, just - in other words, empathy and impartiality are NOT synonyms.

It is likely this Justice appointment will not significantly change the "look" of the U.S. Supreme Court. Although David Souter was nominated by President George H. Bush, and initially aligned with the conservative side of the Court, he is now considered part of the liberal wing of the Court as will likely be true of his replacement. But looking for an empathetic replacement? That's just a slap in the face of the U.S. Judicial Branch.

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01 May 2009

Friday Wrap-Up

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ffi


Because I want to sit at the cool table with Os and M ...

1. The first rule of working in an office and getting along is don't fart in your cubicle and try to blame it on your neighbor.

2. As a child, I used to really enjoy digging for clams.

3. When I think of carnivals I think of creepy, drug-dazed indigents in charge of large, powerful equipment filled with small children.

4. Any blooming flower is my favorite spring flower.

5. Things on my desk include a 32 oz coffee cup, a half-full bottle of Pepsi Max and a tube of Lip Vitamins Lip Oil (mango flavor).

6.Life sometimes makes me wanna curl up in a little ball in the corner and act like a dust bunny.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to grocery shopping (not really, but that's what I'll be doing), tomorrow my plans include cleaning out the front planting beds for perennial planting next weekend, laundry and church and Sunday, I want to go on a 15-20 mile bike ride!

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Generally, there are TWO (four if you count Mother's Day/Father's Day and Valentine's Day) holidays that people in long-term relationships feel should be formally acknowledged - birthdays and anniversaries. Of course, men and women sometimes differ on their expectation of "formal" acknowledgment, but most of the women I know think a card (purchased, hand made or even a sticky note on the fridge) is all that is needed.

When the day of your wedding anniversary rolls around and your wife leaves a card on the bedside table for you to find as you wake up (along with a cup of fresh coffee and your reading glasses so that you can actually see the card) coming downstairs 30 minutes later and saying, "I've just been too busy to card shop, but I'll make up for it today" is probably not going to earn you any brownie points.

Showing up that evening to meet for a beer and appetizers at your favorite micro-brewery, and still not having said card in your possession is likely going to make her want to spend the next anniversary at the micro-brewery without you.

Any guesses???

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When you tailgate me on the way to work and I am forced to choose between driving through a big puddle or hitting a semi-truck head on, I'll choose the big puddle every time. Yes, I reallize that means that I will splash muddy water on your white 2009 Accura, but flashing your lights at me because you felt I should have slowed down so as not to splash you was a little ridiculous.

Making sure you got to the front door at work before me, and letting it close in my face as you gave me a sneer? For a 56 year old woman that was extremely childish behavior. I really don't care that your family name is on one of the main streets in town. Next time I hope your window is rolled down when I drive through that puddle!

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