31 August 2009

The World Gets a Little Smaller - Part I


While I've been gone, I've been keeping a journal of sorts. Little notes to remind me of the sequence of events - of my feelings when it became apparent Cam's life was spiraling out of control and there was very little I had done to prevent that from happening.

I decided to share this story, even though I am extremely embarrassed and ashamed. No, not embarrassed and ashamed with Cam's behavior (his behavior disappointed me), but embarrassed and ashamed that *I* allowed things to get this bad before addressing them. I am well aware of the number of times I turned my head when I should have spoken up, the number of times I should have spoken louder with actions rather than just giving out stern words, the number of times I just chalked things up to "normal teen stuff" when I should have been digging deeper.

I am fairly certain that much of this is due to "normal" teen hormonal crap, but in our situation, this has been impacted by "blended family" issues and having a deceased biological father and a disinterested (at best) step-father. Then there are the environmental issues of living where he is one of only 2 "brown" kids.

Last weekend, I became aware of several things - pot (found in the washing machine after washing Cam's clothes) - that it's likely someone has either been coming into our house through the basement egress window, or Cam has been going out of the house through the basement egress window - and that Cam has befriended a couple of kids who are really, REALLY bad news.

Sunday was a busy day. By the time I went to bed, the following checks were in place:

(1) I contacted the parent of one of the other boys involved in this mess (a 13 year old who Cam has been friends with for about 2 years). I left her a voice mail asking her to call me back so that we could discuss what was going on with the boys.

(2) I installed real time GPS locating on Cam's phone.

(3) I installed a keyed entry lock on the basement door making it completely inaccessible to Cam.

Sunday night my greatest concern was keeping Cam in the house until morning. He was more upset than I have ever seen him. He was lashing out verbally and threatening to leave. It was all I could do to remain calm and remind him that his actions were responsible for the tighter boundaries. This had little to do with me and much to do with him.

We managed to make it through the night, however Monday would bring a new set of challenges. School wasn't due to start for another week and there was no way I could take the financial hit of missing more work.


30 August 2009

Sunday Secret


It may have been the right thing to do, but calling the police to report a crime my son was involved in was one of the most difficult things I've ever done.


23 August 2009

Blogging Break

Things have come to a head here. I eluded to the fact that Cam was facing a crossroads, and making poor, life impacting decisions. I need to take a break - to focus not on my "family", but on my son.

I hope to be back soon, but am not in a position to make any promises. My son has my full attention right now, whether he intended that to happen or not.

Prayers and/or thoughts for the strength and wisdom to do right by Cam would be greatly appreciated.

I know this is cryptic, but for now, it needs to be. I'll update when and if I can.

A special thanks to all of you who have been here for me when things have been good, and times like these when they aren't anywhere near good. I don't know where I'd be without you!



21 August 2009

Friday Wrap-Up


I've been reading quite a few articles on Caster Semenya and the "accusations" that she may not be woman enough to compete with other women. I think the most disturbing thing I read was that gender testing was mandatory for female athletes at the Olympics until 1999. I don't mean to go all Betty Friedan on you, but really? I had no idea! Did we conduct gender testing on male Olympians to insure they weren't too male, or maybe just a wee bit female? Nope! Just the women!

I understand that we don't want anyone to have an "unfair" advantage in competitive sports, but what is at question here is NOT whether Semenya is doping, but whether inter sexuality (having physical characteristics of both sexes) has given her an unfair advantage.

This bothers me ... *really* bothers me. So, only women need to prove they are women and we (said generally) initiate gender verification based on performance and appearance? Why? Because real girls can't possibly perform that well? Because preferring pants over skirts and dresses somehow indicates you aren't quite woman enough?

I often wonder if our gender and sexuality hang-ups, will ever go away.


Sent my son the following text on Thursday:

You are surfing web sites that you have no business being on - and yes, I know what a pink taco is!

Do you suppose he was more mortified by my text than I was about the Safe Eyes alert I got telling me he attempted to visit there?


I'm feeling extremely guilty about all of the blogs in my reader. Jay? Vinny? I am not ignoring you but want to do more than just skim your posts, so I'm waiting to read them until I can give them their proper attention!

And everyone else who is wondering why I'm not commenting? It's been a bit hectic around these parts lately. You know I'm not that rude and judgmental!



... and here we go!

1. I remember, I remember *looks around room wondering why I'm there* ... NOOOOOOO ... I didn't, did I? Damn it!.

2. Dear IT Manager, I want you to know that I will call you out in front of your peers - AGAIN - when you refuse to give promised updates on critical issues. It was worth the ass-chewing I got from my supervisor to see the astonishment of accountability on your face.

3. Is that my underwear you are wearing on your head!!???

4. I'm trying to resist the temptation of telling my employer that I am positive about the branch consolidation process - I am positive it's going to be a cluster fuck if they keep ignoring the limitations of the employees they are giving responsibility to.

5. I'm saving a memory just for you!

6. If I made a birthday list a Dyson Animal would definitely be on it!!!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA (or two ... or three), tomorrow my plans include carting Cam all over the place as his schedule is CRAZY these days and Sunday, I want to weed the flower bed - it's starting to look like a weed garden rather than a flower garden!


19 August 2009

HNT - Froth & Bubble


“Life is mostly froth and bubble, Two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another's trouble, Courage in your own”

~ Adam Lindsay Gordon

Is this froth, or bubble? *CLICK*



Pat! I'd Like To Buy A Vowel!


Spondylolysis. Try saying that three times fast ... with peanut butter in your mouth!

What is it? It's Cam's diagnosis. The word itself doesn't look too bad, although it could use a vowel or two, but just like antitransubstantiationalist (one who doubts that consecrated bread and wine actually change into the body and blood of Christ) and floccinaucinihilipilification (the estimation of something as valueless) spondylolysis is a big word for something fairly simple - stress fractures of the spine. Yep! Cam broke his back ... kind of ... he has four stress fractures on both lateral sides of his L4 vertebrae.

Cam's doctor is going with a rather conservative treatment plan - a back brace (he's being fitted today) and physical therapy for 6-12 weeks. The great news is that Cam can expect a full recovery, and although his football season this year (as a player) is over, his football career shouldn't be impacted.

For those of you not familiar with the circumstances surrounding this injury, it's one of those not-so-proud mom moments. During the second week of practice, Cam was talking smack to one of his teammates. You know ... the "I'm going to kick your ass" 13-year old boy kind of smack. Well, the kid he was going up against just happened to be the team's strongest defensive lineman, and he LAID.CAM.OUT Cam took a few minutes to get up - complained about his back hurting - then got back to practicing. He got nailed a second time and wasn't able to finish practice.

I am well aware that football is a physical sport. Players spend most of the season with something hurting. I wasn't too worried about Cam as I figured he probably pulled a muscle in his back and would be good as new after a few days rest. I did take him to our family physician as a precaution - he prescribed an anti-inflammatory and a few days rest. Cam was feeling better the following week and headed back to practice.

You're seeing where this is going, right? He complained about back pain after his first day back, but stuck it out a second day (with a little encouragement and taunting from his coaches, teammates and ... yes ... ME). It got to the point where I decided we should probably rule out any significant issue, but it really looked like Cam was milking this injury. One minute he'd be jumping across a creek, and the next he was walking all hunched over.

I took him to a Sports Medicine doctor about 2 weeks ago. The doc did a full set of x-rays that were inconclusive. He ordered a bone scan which we had done last Thursday. Since that appointment, Cam has been attending practices and games, but not actively participating in either.

Then Sunday, before Cam's game, I was spying on him saw him out on the practice field, jogging, kicking a soccer ball and diving for passes thrown by one of his teammates. Ha! I had been duped. Cam was just fine. No wonder his coaches and teammates were questioning his dedication to the team. The bone scan results were due back on Monday and I was certain he'd be suiting up for practice Monday night.

I called the doc Monday morning and discovered they hadn't gotten the bone scan results from the hospital. I called the hospital and their computers were down - and had been since Sunday evening. I tried throughout the day but discovered Cam existed only digitally and there was no way we were going to get the results on Monday. He attended practice Monday night without pads or a helmet.

Yesterday I called the hospital - AGAIN - and got the bone scan results faxed to the doctor's office. I called the doctor to get the results and he was at his other office. His nurse told me he probably wouldn't get to them before today. At this point, knowing that Cam was milking a minor injury anyway, I told the nurse, "Well, I hope there isn't anything wrong because I'm sending him to practice tonight fully padded and fully participating." The doctor called not more than 10 minutes later.

I honestly thought the doctor was kidding when he told me we were looking at the "worst case" scenario. Seriously? But I was watching my kid play soccer just two days ago. Apparently this is the nature of the injury. Some physical activities cause no pain (like walking, jogging and kicking a soccer ball) yet others that might not be as physically demanding do cause pain. Hmm ... who'd have thunk it? Oops!

Cam's coaches have appointed him "team manager" for the year. He'll still attend all practices and games and will stay involved with the team, just in a different capacity.

*EDIT* Since some of you asked, and more of you will probably wonder, Cam has had mixed reactions to this news. He was extremely disappointed to learn he wouldn't be playing this season, but when I asked him if he still wanted to be part of the team - go to practices and games - his reaction was, "Well ... OF COURSE!" (said in his best 13-year old boy attitude) I've had to implement some physical limitations (like no bike riding) until we get clarification from the doc this afternoon, and he has been both receptive and compliant to those limitations.

I think in some ways he was relieved to learn that there really was something wrong with him. He had been taking a LOT of crap from his teammates and from his coaches as they presumed this was more of a "Football is harder than I thought and I don't want to work that hard" attitude (based primarily on the conflicting physical actions they were seeing at practice). I was right there with them after spying seeing him on Sunday and I also had several
parents question the validity of his injury. These results "prove" that Cam really does have an injury and is not just a crappy teammate with a crappy attitude, and quite honestly, he seemed to enjoy the "I told you so" moment.

We'll see how compliance with the brace and physical therapy goes. I'll know this afternoon if the brace is rigid, or something more pliable. I'm guessing the more comfortable it is the better compliance we'll have. Physical therapy will focus on back flexibility, and core strengthening to stabilizing his spine. He's hoping a side benefit will be getting those 6-pack abs he's been dreaming of.

This also impacts school. The doctor is writing up a request for school modifications - no PE for 12 weeks, a second set of books at home (Cam won't be able to carry a backpack during this time), the ability to stand or sit, at will, in class to alleviate pain, etc. I've been nagging at reminding Cam that he'll recover more quickly if he follows ALL of the doctor's instructions. We'll see how it goes.

And for the record, not only will I allow Cam to play footbal again, I'll encourage him to play again next year. Football is a rough sport - injuries happen. He'll be fine.


18 August 2009

TMI Tuesday #200 (Happy Anniversary!!)


I debated on whether or not to participate in TMI Tuesday this week. It was a moment of integrity, personal responsibility and accountability. Yeah ... I know ... it's only a blog post for goodness sakes, but ...

My answers are not at all flattering. They paint quite a vivid picture of a side of me that carries enormous shame. One of those situations where I can feel bad about myself, justify my self-loathing based on my actions, then continue the actions so that I can continue to feel bad about myself. And around and around we go.

It's likely none of these answers will surprise many of you, and most of you won't even judge me in a negative way, but just know that it was difficult to put it out here.

TMI Tuesday

1. What is the longest you have been in a monogamous sexual relationship?

I don't know exactly, but I'd say right around two years. If any of you are doing the math, it will become quite clear why this series of questions was difficult for me to answer honestly.

2. If your current relationship would fail, do you have a back-up for physical or emotional comfort?

I remember those days of a back-up - I think that's something geared more towards the younger, dating crowd. Once you have a family and obligations to others, it's difficult to give your primary relationship the time it needs, let alone attempt to develop a back-up.

No, I do not have a physical back-up should my relationship fail, but I'd have to say I do have an emotional back-up ... sort of ... but it's not dependent on my primary relationship failing.

3. Can you be "just friends" with someone when there is an unrequited sexual attraction?

Can I personally, or can people generally? I can if there is reason to keep it "just friends" (i.e. one or both of us are in a committed relationship, there is a conflict with a work relationship, etc.) but I think it's something that requires a great deal of discipline and maturity. That sexual impulse can be quite strong.

4. In a assumed monogamous sexual relationship have you ever cheated, been cheated upon or been a knowing third party to the infidelity?

Yes, yes and yes ... and that's all I'm saying about that.

5. Historically, what has caused the most arguments in your relationships?

It's nearly impossible for me to limit this answer to a single thing. BC (before Cam) it was most frequently money/financial priorities. AC (after Cam, in case you needed a little nudge) it has been parenting AND money/financial priorities.

Bonus (as in optional):What do you want from a partner in a long term relationship?

Really? You want me to answer this? I can tell you what I think I want, but it's so entirely foreign to me that I don't know if it's reasonable or some ridiculous ideal.

I want to be able to be honest - I'm tired of hiding things.

I want physical and emotional intimacy.

I want someone who appreciates who I am - what I can offer - and who believes I only need change if I feel I need change.

I want someone who doesn't just accept Cam as part of the package, but who wants to develop a healthy and supportive relationship with him.

I want ... I want ...

More than anything, I want unconditional love, for me and for Cam. I want to know that I can tell my partner what's on my mind and not fear emotional or physical retaliation. I want to know that disciplining Cam is done out of love and not out of anger. I want Cam to feel safe. I want to feel safe.

And clearly, I don't want it bad enough ...


17 August 2009

Who Let The Dogs Out?


Michael Vick ...

That's how it all started. Those two words on the Facebook wall of one of my long-time friends who happens to live in the Philly area and is a huge Eagles fan. Her wall quickly turned into a melee ... and here I thought Facebook was such a civil place.

I love dogs. I grew up with dogs. There were times in my life when I was certain that the only "person" in the world who loved me was my dog, but that doesn't impact how I feel about Michael Vick.

Michael Vick committed a heinous crime. He was convicted and sentenced. He served his sentence and has been conditionally reinstated into the NFL. This doesn't mean he is guaranteed a multi-million dollar NFL contract, or that his reputation has not been tarnished beyond repair.

What I find more disturbing than Michael Vick being conditionally reinstated into the NFL are the judgmental, unforgiving, inhumane opinions of some of the people who believe Michael Vick should be held to a different set of standards than those society holds for other convicted felons.

This comment (and somewhat "popular" opinion) disturbed me most:

I would have an easier time forgiving the person that gets drunk and ACCIDENTALLY kills another person (i.e Dante Stallworth), than a person who tortures puppies.

Ummm ... really? Since when is drinking to excess, hopping into a two-ton "weapon" and killing someone an "accident"? There is every bit as much intent in that act as there was in Michael Vick's inhumane treatment of animals, and Stallworth killed a PERSON for goodness sakes! Or is it just that it's easier to understand Stallworth's crime - that we accept Stallworth's actions because we've done the same thing, or know someone who has? Damn if those aren't terrifying thoughts.

Michael Vick committed, and was convicted of, a felony. He was sentenced (within guidelines "we" set ) and he served that sentence. As a convicted felon, there are additional civil sanctions he faces which may include the inability to serve on a jury and the loss of voting rights. Shall never have the opportunity to play in the NFL is not one of those sanctions.

Now, if Major League Baseball would just do something about Pete Rose I'd really be happy!


16 August 2009

Sunday Secret


Growing up, I despised my mother for staying with my father, when he clearly didn't care about either of us. I've forgiven my mother, but I cannot forgive myself for becoming just like her.


14 August 2009

Friday Wrap-Up


We successfully navigated the bone scan yesterday ... TWICE! Why twice? Well, Cam got through the first scans (and yes, this is Cam's actual bone scan) just fine. We got to the hospital, they shot Cam up with radioactive dye, we patiently waited went shopping for 2 hours and they were done by noon. The tech walked us out and we headed home. Just as I walked in the door, the cell phone rang. Apparently there was a lack of communication between the tech and the radiologist and an entire scan sequence (3D of the midsection) was missing. We had to go back.

Remember, I live in the "country." It's a 40 minute drive each way to the hospital. I was irritated, but I just couldn't seem to muster up anger. Cam and I went back, smiled, laughed and got two complimentary meal passes at the hospital cafeteria for our troubles.

Ummm ... thank you, but ...

I should get the results of Cam's scan early next week.


Did you hear what Jet Blue is doing? They have an All-You-Can-Jet pass available for just $599. From the website:

Enjoy unlimited travel with our All-You-Can-Jet Pass! For just $599* you can take JetBlue anywhere you like, as often as you like, from September 8 to October 8, 2009. Use your All-You-Can-Jet Pass for business, for pleasure, to visit your favorite cities or to meet with a client. You might as well just do it all! With more than 50 cities to choose from, and for just $599, it's a deal you can't pass up.

Oh how I wish I had $1200 (Cam needs one too) and a month long vacation! I would be on this like ... well ... like flies on shit! Look at all of the cool places we could go - think of all the bloggers we could meet.

Ahhh ... dreams ...

And no, Jet Blue did not pay me to plug their deal (maybe I should have started with NOS like Matt Man did), but if they wanted to give me a couple of these passes I would not be too proud to accept them!

Ahhh ... BIGGER dreams ... if only I were a mommy blogger (go read Jay's post on this - it's really funny!)



And...here we go!

1. When will I ever learn?

2. True Blood and Hung was were the last good book I read or movie I saw or tv shows I watched.

3. Everything has its beauty but everything can also be made quite ugly.

4. Baby back ribs and apple slaw is what I had for dinner.

5. I'd like your opinion on Michael Vick for a post I'm planning tomorrow.

6. Far away from mean and judgmental people is where I want to be right now.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to vegging, tomorrow my plans include visiting with friends who are stopping by for a BBQ and Sunday, I want to relax but have far too much to do to even consider that as an option!


13 August 2009

HNT - No One


No one can see me - no one can hear me - no one knows it's where I cry.



12 August 2009

Will It Get Better If I Cry?


Have I mentioned lately that there are times when I'd like to allow someone else to raise my son? OK ... that's not entirely true, but I am really, really (did I mention REALLY) struggling with Cam right now.

Much of what is going on is the result of a kid being just a little different, of middle schoolers being extremely "mean" and adults forgetting to act like adults.

I think many (most?) of us have been through this at some point in our life. We feel like we don't fit in - like EVERYONE else in the world is part of a group that we just can't seem to get in to no matter how hard we try. We are always on the outside looking in. But watching Cam go through this has been laying heavy on my heart. I want to fix it, or at least the parts of it that are a result of my actions, but I can't seem to lessen his pain.

Part of Cam's struggle is environmental. I should have listened to the little voice in my head that said, "Moving your bi-racial son to a small farming town of ultra-conservative white folks might not be a good idea." Before moving here, when I made my list of pros and cons, the pros overwhelmed the cons. Unfortunately, that was because I believed that Cam's skin color really wouldn't matter - that we were moving to an neighborhood of well-educated, socially responsible people who wouldn't possibly get caught up in such simple judgment. Ummm ... let's just say I underestimated the power of ignorance.

The other side of this is that Cam sometimes contributes to reinforcing these archaic ideas of our community. His style of dress, his love of all that is "blingy" and preference of hip-hop music get him stereotyped quickly ... and not in a good way.

I've talked to him about this again and again - stressing to him that although his actions, not his appearance, are what people should judge him by (and what we, as a family, base our perceptions on) , that is not always the case when dealing with other people. No, I don't buy him all-out gangster/ghetto clothing, but if it's not Abercrombie & Fitch, or John Deere, it doesn't go over very well in this community ... and Cam is definitely NOT Abercrombie & Fitch, or John Deere.

I've allowed Cam to dress as he likes (within my guidelines) but have also reminded him that there is a cost associated with his style preference and, like it or not, the only way to change other's perception of us is often to change the way we present ourselves. He has dug in his heels (where-oh-where does he get that stubborn streak?) and I am watching him pay that price.

He is being ostracized from the "cool" kids (i.e. every kid, except him) - he's never been invited to a party (birthday or otherwise) in the three years we've lived here - he cannot seem to find a place where he "fits" ... or is allowed to "fit."

This summer, I've seen that need to belong, that need to be relational, that need to be accepted and loved (by someone other than me) manifest itself into some really poor decision making. Decision making that has the potential to negatively impact his life for a VERY long time (and don't even ask because I will not get in to specifics). There have been repercussions and consequences at home, but even those seem to be a price he's willing to pay (and they have been quite high) to just have a friend - any friend.

I am at a loss. I know part of this is the growing/maturing process, but at 13 I cannot - will not - take a hard-lined, tough love stand. I am finding it difficult to find a balance here, yet the tighter I reign him in, the more outlandish his behavior becomes. I am hoping that we can just get through these next few weeks before school starts (part of this is an "Idle hands are the devil's workshop" summer break issue) without him landing in Brat Camp ... or worse ...


11 August 2009

TMI Tuesday #199


TMI Tuesday

1. How do you differentiate between love and lust?

Well, in my world lust is a physical, animal attraction to another person, and love? It isn't lust, but can include lust.

I have a difficult time defining love. It changes depending on the needs of the relationship. What I might define as love today may not be my definition tomorrow. What's even more interesting is that, as I've gotten older, my definition of lust has remained consistent, but my definition of love has grown and changed.

2. You are happily married, engaged, or committed in a relationship, yet you have a hot sexy dream about someone you have always wanted to do it with. Have you cheated at least in your mind?

Pffttt! Really? Let's be honest here, "cheating in your mind" is what I generally call fantasizing and is a normal, healthy aspect of emotional maturity.

3. Do you trust your significant other?

I hesitated when answering this. Do I trust him to love me unconditionally? To remain by my side during the good times and the bad times? To support me emotionally when I need him most? No ... I don't ...

Do I trust him to remain physically and emotionally committed to our marriage? Honestly (this is TMI Tuesday, right?) I don't really care. I wouldn't be crushed if he cheated, in fact, it would be one of those black/white boundaries that I've been waiting for him to cross.

4. How important is your Husband or Wife wearing their Wedding bands? Is it important to you and why?

Let me start by saying that when husband and I got married, he told me he would NEVER wear a wedding band. I decided I wanted to wear one because having a physical symbol of our commitment was important to me. I wore my wedding band for the first year of our marriage until it became clear my commitment was far different than husbands commitment.

It *is* important to me that there is some physical symbol shared between two people in a committed relationship. Does that need to be a ring? No, in fact it doesn't even have to be the same thing for the each of the two people. One might wear a ring while the other wore a necklace. Archaic and old-fashioned? Absolutely!

5. Do you feel that flirting is OK if you are taken?

I think that flirting, within boundaries that are comfortable for your significant other, is not only OK, but healthy.

Bonus (as in optional):If you were 100% guaranteed not to get caught having a one night stand with someone else, would you?

It's been over seven months since I've had sex. I miss sex, but what I crave is intimacy. A one night stand would only increase my desire for intimacy that much more, so no ... I wouldn't.


10 August 2009

Sticks and Stones


We all know the children's rhyme ... "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." I've got news for you - that's a crock of shit. In fact, I would argue that broken bones heal quicker and more completely than broken souls, and words break souls.

No, there isn't any specific thing that happened on this blog that inspired this post. Sure, I've been on the receiving end of some nasty, spiteful and intentionally hurtful comments in the past, but so have many bloggers who put themselves out there on a daily basis.

One of those bloggers - Crystal, from Boobs, Injuries & Dr. Pepper- recently wrote a post titled No, I Don't Have Too. It's definitely worth a read, and worth personal reflection. In it she writes:

I have been advised that since I put my life out there for people to gawk at I need to grow a thicker skin. I disagree; I think if you're going to come here and gawk at my life, you need to grow a fucking conscience, a spine and the ability to walk a mile in my shoes.

How many times have I heard those very words? How many times have I been told that I need to ignore those who don't play nice? How many times have my readers attempted to stand up for me when one of those bullies comes into my "home"? And how many times have I lashed out with similarly hurtful words?

Is it possible to misread something? To have it so colored by our own life experiences that we take it completely wrong? Yes, but those instances can usually be dealt with in an adult manner with a little clarification and communication. I'm not talking about those reactions, but rather the ones that are motivated by nothing more than hypocrisy, ignorance and hate. There are far too many of those out there.

*EDIT* Let me be clear, I'm not referring to comments or blog posts with differing opinions on current events or things of that nature, I'm talking about words that are intended to hurt, embarrass or humiliate the blogger or the commenter. Differing opinions, stated well, open dialog and help us to see things through a different perspective. Vile and demeaning posts and comments are motivated by something that is in no way productive and can often be damaging.

I know I have made "hurtful" comments on blogs Whether or not that was my intent, it was the result, and I must own that. If I don't, I become part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

Yes, we all have that wonderful right of free speech, but that right comes with a responsibility - a HUGE responsibility that sometimes seems to be overlooked.

Our words have the ability to make someone smile - to make their day better - but they have equal power to send someone over the edge, and as much as we might want to hold that person responsible for their reaction, the responsibility is really our own.

Words can (and do) hurt. Words are powerful. As bloggers and commentors, I believe we have a responsibility for what we put out here.

How responsible are you?


09 August 2009

Sunday Secret


As I built the pallet of cardboard boxes at the food bank yesterday, I said a prayer over each one - asking for a little peace, a bit of happiness and a moment of serenity for each person who came in contact with that box. I hope my prayers were heard.


06 August 2009

Friday Wrap-Up


There was a bit of an issue in the cyber neighborhood yesterday - Twitter went down for quite some time - and it wasn't due to maintenance, at least not planned maintenance! Seems there was a "distributed denial of service" attack launched by someone who ... are you ready for this? Was attempting to silence a lone Georgian blogger who criticized the Russian conflict. You can read more about it [HERE]. I'm using a UK news source so y'all *know* it's true!

So ... I was a little surprised of how odd I felt not being able to "connect" with folks on Twitter (I follow primarily news sources and people I know). It's not like I couldn't have sent an email, or visited a web site, but somehow that just isn't the same. And before anyone makes any smart ass remarks, yes! I badmouthed Twitter (and FaceBook) and now update both regularly. Jay was right ... just this one time though ...


*Poor picture quality disclaimer - these were taken with my 2-year old, 1.3 mega pixel LG Chocolate phone*

I spent yesterday afternoon, with Cam, at a Sports Medicine Clinic. He suffered what appeared to be a mild lower back injury a couple of weeks ago. I took him to our family Doc, she prescribed an anti-inflammatory - and told us to come back in a couple of weeks if it wasn't better. At Monday's practice, Cam aggravated the injury again.

After determining this was a hyper-extension back injury, the doc ordered a full set of x-rays. Apparently it is not uncommon to see small fractures of the vertebrae in this type of situation.

The good news is that there weren't any obvious injuries visible in the x-rays. Space between the vertebrae looks good. There weren't any clear fractures. The "hmmm" side is that it looked like one of his vertebrae might be pushed forward about 1 mm, and because of that, the doc has ordered a bone scan. They'll inject him with radioactive dye, make him sit for 3 hours, scan him for an hour, and produce 3-D pictures of his glowing bones.

There is a possibility of a stress fracture - or soft spot - in Cam's spine. Now, I'm not terribly concerned about this - definitely not in full-out panic mode. I realize that, because football is such a physical sport, whenever there is an injury, doctors will want to err on the side of caution, and that is what this is really all about.

So, today I'll be navigating my insurance plan, seeing what hoops I'll need to jump through to make this happen. It's a rather expensive procedure and the doc told me I might get some resistance from the insurance company depending on our coverage level. Who knows? Maybe next week I'll be posting about the wonders of implementing a National Health Care Plan!

Pffftttt! Nahhhh ....


Has anyone ever seen one of these before? The place we had to go for Cam's x-rays was also an Urgent Care Clinic. You know, one of those minor injuries/illnesses - night and weekend hours kind of places. In the lobby was a GIANT fish tank (seems to be a requirement of doctor's offices these days) and?? Yep! It's a prescription vending machine.

I have no idea how this thing works, but it was the first time I've ever seen anything like it. Anyone have some change? I'm thinking I'll order up a dose or two of Valium if we ever go back there!


05 August 2009

HNT - Paperwork (RETRO)


It's been absolutely NUTS at work. With my back-to-back vacations and month-end just days ago, it feels like I'm swimming in paperwork. What is even crazier is that we are attempting to move towards a paperless accounting system. Yeah ... don't tell my file cabinets that - they'll never believe you!


“We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.”
~ Werner von Braun

Clicking only makes the paperwork pile bigger!



Stimulus Recovery


Whew! After yesterday's back and forth with Jay and Matt-Man on the blog, then the back and forth between Kimmeh and Jay on Twitter (anyone doubting Jay's stalker status?) my brain needs a stimulus recovery and former president intervention.

Speaking of Jay, he's got a bit of a different view on the Car Allowance Rebate System (i.e. Cash for Clunkers) ... just in case you didn't get that from his comments here yesterday. Everyone go over to Jay's place - read his I Got Yer Clunker post - and make him think of clever responses, m-kay??


Can I just say that I think the "rescue" of Euna Lee and Laura Ling by Bill Clinton is even more idiotic than the Cash for Clunkers program? Yeah ...I'm a cold hearted bitch.

*NEWS FLASH* There is no amount of American Law bubble wrap that can protect you when you travel to foreign countries. The rights you have here? They don't apply elsewhere. You are at the mercy of the law in the country you travel to.

Don't like it? Don't walk the border between China and North Korea. Check the batteries in your GPS before deciding to take a hike near Iran. Hello?

So, do you think Bill Clinton swallowed?


I was watering the plants yesterday morning and noticed the heavy fog was offering up some interesting photo ops. Although I scream like a little girl when I see a spider am not fond of spiders, I do find spider webs quite fascinating. This one was even missing its maker - BONUS!

Found myself one of those cool water droplet photo ops while I was out there too. Of course it was missing the sparkle from the blazing sun, but if you use your imagination ...

As I was looking for more water droplets, I came across something terribly disturbing - bug sex! In fact, I was so disturbed, I took a bunch of pictures of it (in the name of quality control ... really!). In fact, it wasn't just bug sex, it was a full-on bug orgy. Those that weren't in the act were watching the act. Imagine ... all of this in my front yard, right in clear view of small children and dogs!


04 August 2009

Life is a Highway


C.A.R.S. - Car Allowance Rebate System - Cash for Clunkers. Call it what you want to, but I call it another failed government program.

What? A program that was supposed to last three months with it's initial financing but ran out of money - due to its popularity - in less than a week a failure? Why yes ... as a matter of fact ...

In honor of full disclosure, let me say that I looked into this program when it first came out. I drive a 1998 Chevy Cavalier. Cavy (as I like to call her) has been a GREAT car. Not only does she have economic value, but she has emotional value as well - she is the only car Cam has ever "known". She's made it through five Minnesota winters and now 6 Chicago winters. She's been run in to a couple of times (minor dents) but has never been wrecked. She's been EXTREMELY cost efficient - with routine maintenance, she's never needed any major repairs. But with her odometer at just under 140K miles, there has been talk of trading her in on something a little newer.

Here it was! A government program that I was paying for that I could actually use! Hot damn! I didn't qualify for the mortgage programs (that's what happens when you make your payments on time), and I watched helplessly as the government bailed out banks (while allowing HUGE bonuses to be paid to people who allowed them to fail) and the auto industry (who ignored the need for more fuel efficient cars, allowing foreign auto makers to fill that "niche") wondering just what I was getting for my money (other than a nation further in debt). Then came C.A.R.S.

Cavy seemed to be a perfect candidate - less than 25 years old - I've owned her and insured her since conception - her fuel economy is sliding - I just knew she'd qualify for the program ... or not ...

What I didn't know was that the program based eligibility on the "new" (as in 1998 - when Cavy was born) combined city/highway fuel economy. That number needed to be at 18 or below. Cavy? In her prime she was rated at 23. In other words, my 13 year old son might be embarrassed to ride in Cavy due to her "clunker" status, but the government thinks she's a gem! Seems the term "clunker" might be a bit subjective since the government deems a 2008 Hummer H3 4WD to be a "clunker," but not my 1998 Chevy Cavalier ... hmmm ... I beg to differ.

Maybe I am just a wee bit bitter, but just for shits and grins the heck of it, let's take a look at the goals of this program versus the results of this program, shall we?

In a nutshell, the goals of the program are to help the environment and to stimulate the economy. Can we all agree on that? OK ... let's look at those two points.

Supporters of the program say that the higher fuel efficiency of new cars (reducing the use of fossil fuel) and the increased demand for new cars (helping out the failing auto industry ... again ...) offset the economic value of the scrapped "clunkers."

"Reduction" in fossil fuels ... OK ... One could argue - logically - that forcing someone to keep their gas-guzzling "clunker" might actually result in a greater reduction in fossil fuel consumption. If they are paying more to run their vehicle, they will likely try to drive it as little as possible.

The flip side of this is that, generally, new cars are more fun to drive. Couple that with the fact that the more fuel-efficient cars cost less to operate and you have someone who may have been limiting their driving actually driving more. And what about the energy it takes to scrap old vehicles and produce new ones? Couldn't that process increase the use of fossil fuels, negating any benefit of the additional fuel efficiency of the new cars?

Sure, we've seen an upsurge in new vehicle sales since C.A.R.S. was implemented a week ago, but many (most?) of the people who have traded in "clunkers" would have likely upgraded to more fuel-efficient vehicles within a year or two anyway. That just means we'll see an increase in new cars sales now, and they'll likely flat line again in a year or two.

And since when is moving money from one taxpayer’s pocket (mine) to the pocket of another taxpayer (that 2008 Hummer H3 4WD owner) sound economics? The subsidy doesn't add to net national wealth, or reduce the national debt, instead it moves a bunch of quarters from one bucket to another, and it pays the taxpayer to destroy a perfectly serviceable asset in return for something he might have bought anyway.

This is a clear case of government policy favoring one industry (one they just bailed out - coincidence?) at the expense of others. The program does help consumers who can take advantage of it, and it certainly boosts profits and employment in the auto industry, but it's funded by all other taxpayers, harming consumers and industries that are not supported by the program.

Let's call C.A.R.S. what it is - a redistribution of wealth tax dollars from a majority of tax payers to a few consumers and to the auto industry. It looks all pretty wrapped up in it's "environmental policy" ribbon, but it is nothing more than an additional auto industry bailout.

The government was close when they required "clunkers" to be scrapped - they should be scrapping C.A.R.S.

*EDIT* In my original response to Hubman's comment, I stated, "... no part of the vehicle traded in can EVER be used again." I have since edited that comment as that statement is UNTRUE!

According to 49 CFR § 599.401 (c) (1) (the Federal Regulation governing this program):
The disposal facility may: Sell any part of the vehicle other than the engine block or drive train
In other words, the only parts that must be shredded are the engine block and the drive train.

It was not my intent to distribute erroneous information to support my position (as some of my readers *cough*Matt-Man*cough* have accused me of doing), but rather was a honest case of not being thorough in my research before responding to a comment that addressed a topic that was not part of my original post.


02 August 2009

Sunday Stealing


Because I couldn't think of a secret I wanted to share ...


My roommate and I once: Had sex in the same room, at the same time, but with different people

Never in my life have I: Felt unconditionally loved, until recently.

High school was: Not something I'd ever want to do again.

When I’m nervous: I usually have an anxiety attack.

My hair: Is getting really long again.

When I was 5: My mother gave me a pixie cut that made me look like a boy.

When I turn my head left: I'm not looking right.

I should be: Doing laundry.

By this time next year: I'll be getting ready to send my "baby" to high school.

My favorite aunt is: In South Carolina and I miss her terribly.

I have a hard time understanding: How people can feel comfortable judging others. When I do it, I feel immense guilt.

You know I like you if: I bake for you.

My ideal breakfast is: Anything that is cooked, and served, by someone else.

If you visit my home town: You'd be surprised at just how small it is.

If you spend the night at my house: I'll make sure you feel at home.

The animal I would like to see flying besides birds: pigs. Definitely pigs!

I shouldn’t have been: So concerned about finding a father figure for Cam.

Last night I: Drank three beers and slept very, very well.

A better name for me would be: She-Ra, Princess of Power.

I’ve been told I look like: Jay Leno - UGH!

If I could have any car, it would be: a Harley *wink*