30 October 2009

Friday Wrap-Up


I am one of those annoying Twitter folks. I'm not quite the over-tweeter that ... say ... Kimmehkins is with her 17,099 tweets (as of the writing of this post *EDIT* I do mean this as a compliment. Kimmeh has an amazing ability to tweet smiles!), but I do find it kind of a fun way to keep in touch with a core group of people.

I also follow several news feeds, some travel tweets, and a few "shopping deals" folks (I'm always looking for a bargain). Yesterday, one of the tweeple I follow posted this tweet:

Just thought it was a little funny that someone was complaining about spelling while butchering the English language. I curbed the urge to re-tweet her faux pas with a snarky comment like, "It doesn't bother me nearly as much as tweets with grammatical errors," but decided it was best to remember that I have had my share of grammatical errors and prefer they not be thrown back in my face.

... but it was funny!


Cam had a band concert last night. For those of you who don't know, my gangsta-wanna-be son plays the oboe ... and has for four years now. Yeah, it's difficult to pull of the tough guy image when you're sitting in the oboe section, but that doesn't stop him from trying.

Last year, we were treated to a concert by the entire music department - nine groups - a THREE HOUR concert. That wouldn't be a terrible thing if we were sitting in an auditorium in comfy chairs, but we were sitting on bleachers. Needless to say, parents complained. Really complained, and complained loudly.

Last night? It was just the 7th and 8th grade bands and choirs and the concert was a wonderful 60 minutes.


Can we talk about Halloween for a minute? I mentioned yesterday that I am a party-pooper - that Halloween is not my favorite holiday. Let me be clear here. My reaction to being scared borders on neurotic. I know! Y'all are surprised by that because I am so normal in the rest of my life, but it's true! I literally shut down - can't scream - can't move. A panic attack immediately follows. It's not that I don't like to be scared, it's that I have a significant and debilitating reaction to being scared.

I have a pretty good idea of where this "neurosis" came from - why I get a "play dead" kind of reaction to these situations - but it's EXTREMELY embarrassing when it happens ... which is why I avoid Halloween as much as possible.


I like it when an entrepreneur comes up with a catchy slogan or company name. This one made me want to go out and buy a dog just so I could make an appointment for a "doggie style"!


29 October 2009

Thursday Thunks - Almost Halloweenth Version


Welcome to the October almost Halloweenth version of Thursday Thunks!
Where they make you think a little bit before you blog!

This week we will answer some crazy questions brought to you by Berleen,
the color Blood red and the number 31.

1. So Halloween is this weekend, if you haven't heard. Are you gonna open your doors up or not?

Nope! Won't be home so won't be opening the doors ... and won't be leaving a large bowl of candy out there for the first visitor either!

2. You better open 'em cuz I'm coming... what are you putting in my treat bag?

Coal! Consider it an early Christmas gift.

3. Since October is the bestest month for television (well for cable & dish subscribers it is) and there is a horror movie on at any given time of the day - are you sick of them yet?

Not at all ... of course that's because I never watch them. And if someone has the audacity to turn one on when I'm in the room I'll promptly leave.

4. Which one of those movies can you watch over & over again?

None! Just like how many of those movies have I seen just once!

5. Tell us about a Halloween scare you've had....

I am such a party pooper, I just don't do Halloween. I think it stems from the childhood trauma of being 5'-10" tall when I was 10 and having people refuse to give me candy after they told me I was too old to trick-or-treat. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

6. Did you watch the old Casper cartoons when you were a youngin? Well, back then they weren't old I suppose, but I'm sure you still understand my question.

I did watch Casper, but always thought that Scooby-Do was far more scary!

7. Have you ever found a four-leaf clover?

Only on a 4-H sign

8. Haunted Houses... you know, the kinds you pay to get in and they chase you with chainsaws and severed heads.... do you like 'em?

Hate them! Hate them!! HATE THEM!!! I have severe anxiety reactions to being scared. ... like curl up in the fetal position and become despondent kind of anxiety. Go ahead ... make fun ... I'm a wuss.

9. Do you use cute cartoon type wrapping paper for Christmas presents or the not cutesy paper? Or are you one of those gift card and/or gift bag people?

I'm sure y'all will be terribly surprised by this. I buy plain green and plain red wrapping paper. I wrap all gifts, ensuring all edged are folded and clean and that all folds are crisp and equal. Then I use a solid color ribbon (usually curling ribbon) of a different color for each family member. For instance, Cam is silver so all gifts with silver ribbon are his ... but I change the colors every year and I don't tell anyone what their color is until Christmas morning!

10. How long do boiled eggs need to stay in the boiling water before they become hard boiled eggs?

You put the eggs in COLD water and bring the water to a boil. Just as they come to a boil, you turn off the heat, put a lid on the pot, and let the eggs stand for 15 minutes. Immediately drain the water and shock the eggs in an ice bath. Perfect!

11. Jason is coming in through your front door... Freddy is coming through your back door... zombies are at every window of the house and Norman Bates is calling to invite you to dinner... what do you do?

See number 8!

12. Did you know that the scariest part of Halloween is giving all of your Reeses Peanut Butter Cups away?

No ... it's even worse when the Reeses Peanut Butter Cups get melted and squished so that you can't eat the chocolate off of the peanut butter center. When that happens you WANT to give them all away.

13a. If you were to play a part of a haunted house (not the ghosts in the attic kind), what would you want to be?

Is there an opening for a Casper type friendly ghost?

13b. Have you ever played a part in a haunted house?

If you haven't already read #8, please do so now!

14. If Thursday Thunks had a Halloween party, what do you think Kimber & Berleen would come dressed as?

Thelma and Louise? Ketchup and Mustard? Sauerkraut and Brats?

15. Do you cook a turkey for Thanksgiving?

I haven't for many years, and I miss doing that! I think I need to find a local family for Cam and I to have Thanksgiving with this year.

16. Have you ever read a book that scared the pants off of you?

Scary books get much the same response as Haunted Houses. I can't even imagine picking one up and considering reading it.

17. Whats the predicted high temperature for today?

67 degrees F! In Chicago! At the end of October! Can you believe it?

18. Have you ever howled at the moon?

Howled at THE moon, or catcalled at A moon?

19.You are in an alley and a werewolf and a vampire are coming at you - one of them has to win. Which one do you want to bite you?

Hmmm ... bitten by a hairy, 4-legged critter or an eternally dead but breathing critter? I'm pretty sure I've dated both of those guys in the past so I've already done my duty.


28 October 2009

Good Without God?


Freedom of speech. It's something I hold near and dear, never forgetting its importance, but not always liking the message it brings.

The American Humanist Association, as part of a coalition of eight atheist organizations, purchased a month-long campaign that puts their posters in a dozen busy subway stations throughout Manhattan.

The ads are simple. A single question written over the image of a blue sky speckled with white clouds: "A million New Yorkers are good without God. Are you?"

The campaign, funded by an anonymous donor, coincided (do you suppose that was a miracle?) with the Tuesday release of Harvard University's Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein's book, Good Without God: What a Billion Non-Religious People Do Believe.

My first reaction to the ad campaign, and the concept, was very negative. Then I watched Epstein's promotional video:

As a Christian who has traveled the atheist/agnostic road more than once in my life, the concept of pursuing good in the world without relying on or seeking guidance from God is ... well ... interesting. I know an awful lot of people who don't seek or rely on God, yet they do good. They volunteer. They have compassion (there's that word again). They sometimes sacrifice their own lives for the good of others.

I also know some people who claim to follow Jesus but do little more than serve themselves. They lack compassion. They are more about appearance than action. They use God as an excuse to do nothing. I'd say this is fairly good evidence that people can be good without God and not so good with God.

Epstein claims his book, and message, are intended to create dialog across the atheist/believer divide. I must admit, I'd rather see people be good without God than bad with or without God, but that is also why I think his argument shouldn't be against God, but rather against people.

In fact, it's that concept - that my problem with religion wasn't an issue with God, but an issue with people - that brought me back to a belief in God. But that stance - one against people rather than against God - would be far less controversial and probably wouldn't sell many books now, would it?

Tell me what you think. Is Epstein's message a good one (pun intended) or one that is a threat to the concept of God? How do you feel about evangelizing, whether that be evangelizing against God or for God? Is being "good" good enough?


27 October 2009

WWC - "F" and Altered


His satire is relentless, but life caught up with him this weekend and he landed himself a spot in a semi-private room where the sheets are changed daily, all of his meals are served to him in bed and no one lets him sleep for more than 47 minutes at a time!

Get well soon Matt-Man! Thoughts and prayers are with you!


You, too, can join WWC. You'll find information over at Jay's place, on Facebook or on Flickr.

This week’s words are “Altered” and “F.” Again, these are cell phone pictures and all but one of them was altered (I really enjoy playing with pixels) with a little help from paint.net and picnik. Any guesses which photo wasn't altered?

Following the fall harvester. I was behind this guy for about 5 miles with no way to pass him as the harvester took up almost the entire road!

I am lucky enough to have Food in the pantry. Can you spot the SPAM?

Altered reflection

Food sign - this is a landmark sign in my community. Home of the best broasted chicken in the Chicagoland area!


26 October 2009



n. Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.

I'm struggling these days, with a TON of emotional stuff. Seems the more I let go of my perceived control of my emotions, the more chaotic my emotions become. Ha! Imagine that!

I've been thinking a lot about compassion. How it feels to want it and not have it, and how it feels to have it and not give it.

Compassion is a funny thing. It doesn't require that you agree with what a person does or that you condone their freedom to chose a path different than yours. It doesn't ask you to judge - to determine if the person deserves their suffering. No, it only requires that you be aware of the suffering of another and have a desire to see them relieved of that suffering.

Yet we seem to dole out compassion in little, measured bits - hording it - afraid we might accidentally give some of it to someone undeserving. I've done it - looked at a situation and walked away with all of my compassion chips held tightly in my fist - knowing that those people didn't deserve my compassion generosity.

It's not like I can bank compassion - save it all up and earn interest on it - use it for a better retirement. I won't run out of compassion - it's a renewable resource! So what is it that keeps me from offering compassion?

What is it that keeps you from offering compassion?


25 October 2009

Sunday Secret



23 October 2009

Friday Wrap-Up


Want to find out who your real friends are? Need a big old slice of humble pie? Gotten just a bit too big for your britches? Participate in HNT for 18 months, decide you really don't like the "unintended message" you are sending (Emmy, you have no idea how much that post impacted me) stop participating, then pull most all of your HNT shots from your archives.

You'll quickly learn that many (most?) HNT-ers (and Thursday lurkers) don't like you or what you write, nor do they admire your photography skills, they just like to pad their stats (HNT-ers are very loyal on Thursdays), look at nekkid pictures and feel like part of the "in" crowd.

This isn't meant to badmouth HNT or all HNT-ers. I forged a few great friendships through my participation in HNT. Generally, HNT-ers are a supportive, well-mannered group of people. I realize that time changes all things, but it saddened me to see something that should have been (was?) - at most - a sensual photo-meme, turn into a hook-up place for extra-marital affairs and alternative lifestyles. A place where the "guidelines" and the expectations were not reflective of one another. A place where gossip and back-stabbing were becoming more and more frequent and more and more difficult to hide. A place where those most vulnerable were "groomed" and sometimes taken advantage of (IMHO). A place where art was no longer art - where it was more important to show more than it was to convey more emotion. And I was part of the problem.

I got caught up in it all; the attention, the illusion of belonging, the superficial friendships. Eventually the attention HNT was bringing was far worse (and I'm not talking trolls here) than the lack of attention I was experiencing before I started participating.

Think I'll ever see the day when my WWC pictures get 52 comments and 542 page visits? Yeah ... me neither, but I'm OK with that. I know that those of you who come by here are not here out of a sense of obligation, nor to generate one more comment - one more stat count for your blog - but because you actually want to take the time out of your day to stop by and say hello.

Sex may sell, but it can also sell you out. I sold out and became someone that I didn't like very much.

Any HNT-ers reading this are likely going to feel a strong urge to justify their participation - been there - done that. Quite frankly, it's not my place to judge. I just know that it was no longer right for me.


I received the following email Tuesday from the "Team Mom" for Cam's football team:

We'd like to tp the cheerleaders houses before their competition on Saturday. We would like them done on the 23rd at night of course. I will coordinate the houses and get all the supplies for everyone. If you are interested, contact me and I will give everyone lists of houses to "hit". Thanks!

Really? Am I just so uptight that the thought of having my house TP'd doesn't elicit some wonderful "I'm popular" response? Are we also going to send a team out to clean up the TP the next day? Do adults realize this is vandalism?

I was so taken aback by this request that I had to read it several times to convince myself that this was a 40-year old woman sending the email. And no, I won't be participating.


Did you know this week was GANG INITIATION week? Apparently there is this really well written email traveling the internets that says it is - and our school district has gotten so many phone calls from parents keeping their kids home because of it - that our school district had to send out a tweet AND a rapid response phone/email message to all parents to assure them it was a hoax.

A local OpEd writer even took on the urban legend in this article.

Parents? If you have a computer in your home and access to the internet, you really should become familiar with snopes.com

Oh, and by the way? Wikipedia really isn't a credible research reference either. Those 15 facts your son contributed to the science fair project he and Cam are working on might as well have been pulled from a Cracker-Jack box!


From the Are You Kidding Me? idiotic employer policies file ... Early last week we received a memo from the company President telling us that holiday decorations were a no-no this year (for the first time in 86 years) and that we were now going to be limited to THREE visible personal items in our cubicles. You know, another one of those "Let's kick them while they're down because they should be grateful they have a job" policies.

Because he clearly didn't think he was being enough of a moron with that policy, he sent out an email this week - complete with a link - asking us all to vote for his house in the [NAME OF CITY] Spooktacular Halloween Decorating Contest. Seriously. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried!


22 October 2009

Thursday Thunks - Memes, And Endorsements, And Zombies- Oh My!


I've had Thursday Thunks in my Google Reader FOR.EVER ... well ... maybe not that long, but for a long, long time, but I never participated because there was something else to post on Thursdays that brought far more gawkers visitors my way. Now that I've spent some time reflecting on my participation in that meme, I decided this might just be my new Thursday habit.

This week we will answer some crazy questions brought to you by
Kimber, the number 70, and the color mellow.

1. If you were to start a meme (or a second or third), what would you call it and what day would you pick?

I've become a HUGE fan of photography memes. Since becoming somewhat disenfranchised with where Half-Nekkid Thursday (HNT) has gone, I'm thinking a clothed, self-portrait meme would be nice. A name? How 'bout Picture Me Saturday. Wait ... that would make it PMS ... maybe Picture Me Wednesday would be a better choice!

2. When a celebrity endorses a product, do you really believe they like it/use it?

I believe they've seen it at least once and have been paid a lot of money to make me believe they like it!

3. Why don't zombies ever just eat each other?

Everyone knows Zombie brains lack nutritional value. NOMM ... NOMM ... NOMM ...

4. If you were an elephant, would you rather roam free or be in a zoo?

Let me roam! I'd rather spend a few good years out in the wild, going wherever the herd leads me, than being cooped up with some zoo cell mate named Bubba.

5. The doorbell rings on October 31st, do you answer it?

Not this year I don't! One of our good friends is turning 40 and there is a surprise party for him on the 31st.

6. If you see a piece of paper on the ground while out & about, do you pick it up? If so, do you look to see what it is?

*giggle* I will usually pick it up. If it's pre-printed I won't read it but will just put it in the trash. If it's hand-written? I'm a snoop - I'll read every last word!

7. If Jon Gosselin and Octomom got married and then their own reality show, do you think she would try to get pregnant again for better ratings?

Octomom? No, but I think Jon might!

8. If Thursday Thunks was to be put on hold or quit completely, would you be sad?

Why yes I'd be sad! Just when I find a fun little weekly meme to replace HNT and you're threatening to take it away?!?! How dare you! *stomps feet and pouts*


21 October 2009

Who's Watching The Kids?


In my The World Gets A Little Smaller series, I mentioned that I added "FamLo" - GPS locating - to Cam's cell phone. Cam claims this is yet another way I stalk him, and in a sense, he is right. What I didn't realize was just how common these types of locating devices are.

These days, if you have a computer or cell phone, and an electronic tracking device you can locate a missing pet, follow the path of your stolen car, find a skier buried in an avalanche and rescue a hiker lost in the woods ... and keep tabs on your kids.

Like most of us, I was familiar with cell phone locating. We've known for years that it was quite easy to triangulate a cell phone location using cell phone towers. But there is an entire industry devoted to what are marketed as child "safety devices". For just $20, you can purchase your very own Giggle Bug, a device that clips on to the clothing of your child and allows you to trigger a "child friendly" beep if you lose them.

Do you have an older kid? the Brickhouse Child Locator operates in much the same manner, but doesn't look quite as geeky. A little gizmo attached to a backpack or key ring, coupled with a hand-held monitoring device, allows tracking and directional indicators to locate a child (they also recommend this for elderly people who "wander") up to 600 feet away outdoors, and up to 250 plus feet away indoors.

Just about every cell phone service offers some sort of GPS locating. Our carrier - Verizon - offers their Family Locator Service for just $9.99/month. This has been one of many tools I've been using to keep Cam honest. It allows me to set up different zone alerts (home, school, etc) so that I am automatically notified if Cam leaves or enters any of those zones. I can also use my computer or cell phone to locate him at any given moment ... assuming his phone is turned on, he's not on a call and his battery hasn't died.

When I was doing the research for this post, I also discovered there are all kinds of GPS locators not associated with cell phones. Zoombak offers a "universal" locator that is portable and is small enough that it can be placed just about anywhere as well as Car & Family model that can be hard-wired into your vehicle to track not only location, but speed of the vehicle.

As confident as I am that I did the right thing by adding "FamLo" to our phones, there are two things that really bother me about these devices.

First is the creep factor. When I set Cam's phone up on the Verizon service, my intent was to verify that he was where he said he was going to be (trust is a significant issue right now) and to be alerted should he attempt to run away (that threat has eased a bit). Cam is well aware that he is being monitored via GPS. But some of these devices could easily be used without knowledge of the party being monitored. Suspect your spouse is cheating? Attach the portable receiver to the inside of his/her trunk with Velcro and learn EXACTLY where they've been. A bit of a control freak? Checking mileage on the odometer isn't enough? We can help you with that too!

Then there is the parenting factor. As a parent, do I gain a bit of false security knowing that I can "find" my kid? Am I less vigilant in watching where my toddler wanders because with a single click I can activate their beeping beacon? I am well aware of the limitations of locating Cam. He can turn the phone off and I won't be able to find him, and the locator service tells me where he is, not what he's doing.

What do you think? Are these devices a good thing or a bad thing? When using them with a teen, is it an invasion of privacy or a tool to insure personal accountability. Creepy or ingenious?


20 October 2009

WWC - Sit and Fall


I am just having a ton of fun with the Weekly Word Challenge! You can have all of this fun too by joining WWC over at Jay's place, on Facebook or on Flickr.

This week's words were SIT and FALL. I decided to go with the fall that was not seasonal because ... well ... because I took most of these photos during my all-nighter Friday night and since we were indoors it was difficult to find seasonal fall photo opps!

When I'm sitting on a bar stool, my feet SIT on the bar rail

Not a bad place to SIT

Lots of places to SIT

Where bowling balls SIT to wait for their trip down the alley

They didn't let me FALL when I climbed to the top!

That zebra striped bag looks like it's about to FALL

I hope the giant noodles don't FALL on my head!

No one wants to FALL down these steps!


18 October 2009

Sunday Secret



16 October 2009

Friday Wrap-Up


I need to start this post with an apology of sorts. Just so you know, I have not forgotten my blogiversary winners. Ask anyone who has won one of my drawings in the past and you'll discover this is pretty much par for the course.

It's not that I'm blowing y'all off, or that my intentions aren't good, I just need to carve out a few hours to get the shopping properly done. And you know, it's kind of like Christmas shopping - I *know* everyone who won fairly well, and I want to get the perfect gift for them - something that will make them say, "Wow! Dana really was thinking about me when she bought this!"

I'll get there ...I promise ... it might just take another few weeks!


I got a couple of awards this week and want to acknowledge the givers. Emmy, over at Right Turn Without Signaling gave me a Loyalty Award - an award given to someone who reads and comments on her blog regularly.

This is a no-brainer as Emmy is one of those perfect combinations of geek and femininity ... and she drinks dark beer! It doesn't get any better than that. You never know what you might find at her place. She participates in the 365 photo meme, she writes about her kids and she gets geeky on occasion. Just a warning ... Emmy is also an HNT participant, so there are days when you might want to wait until you get home to read her blog!

Yes ... I'm supposed to pass this on ... to 5 people who read AND comment on my blog. There is just no way I can do that! Seriously! Every comment I get makes this blog a much more interesting place, and naming just 5 of you wouldn't be fair. So there!


I also got the "Arkham Approved Blogger" award from Joker at Ravings from Arkham Asylum. Joker is one of the bloggers (along with his wife) that I had the privilege of meeting this summer while in San Antonio. He is also one of those Live Journal folks so his blog isn't exactly easy to access, but worth the effort!


Had a bit of an illness scare with Cam this week. He started running a fever Monday night - 102.2 I did the normal mom things, made sure he wasn't putting the thermometer on the light bulb gave him some Tylenol, sent him to bed and planned on calling the school the next morning.

He seemed to be improving through the day Tuesday, but then crashed again Tuesday night - his temp was back up and he was complaining of a sore throat. My first thought was strep, so I decided to give it another day and see where he was.

Wednesday morning I get a call from the middle school. They were calling the parents of all of the kids who are out sick to alert them to the fact that there was a confirmed case of .... H1N1? Nope! MUMPS! Yes, mumps ... that childhood illness that was eradicated in the U.S years ago through the MMR vaccine? Yes ... that mumps!

Cam has had two doses of MMR which gives him (generally) only a 10% chance of contracting mumps, but that's still a 1 in 10 chance. Fortunately, his symptoms - although consistent with mumps - appear to have been something else. He was back to school on Thursday.

There is a growing population of parents who are concerned about the safety of vaccines. Hell, I question the safety of vaccines at times. I appreciate the right of a parent to chose NOT to vaccinate, however I also believe there is a responsibility associated with that choice. Like to limit enrollment in public schools only to kids who have been vaccinated.

What? You say that is the law now? You'd be right except for the little loophole that allows a parent to fill out a form stating they have medical or religious objections to vaccinating there kids. We are seeing a resurgence in this country of childhood diseases that we haven't seen in decades - and that concerns me.


If you don't see me around all weekend, don't be surprised. In a moment of ... ummm ... stupidity? Confusion? I decided to volunteer to serve at my church's middle school event that starts tonight at 6:45 and lasts through ... are you ready?? 7:00 Saturday morning.

It's an all night gig, filled with live bands, entertainment, bowling, lazer tag, swimming and rock climbing. We are talking 300+ 12-14 year olds, and a handful of adults. I was thinking about it this morning and realized that these kids weren't even born the last time I pulled an all-nighter. What was I thinking?!


15 October 2009

Are You Stupid??


You all know how I feel about zero tolerance policies - especially when it comes to their implementation in schools. Let's be honest here, defining something as a weapon can be a bit subjective. For example, last year Cam was sent to the office for wearing a metal chain belt fastened with a lock (*shakes head* I never said he was a fashion diva). When I saw him with it on that morning, I told him he would likely be told he couldn't wear it - that it would be considered a weapon - but he decided to wear it anyway.

When the school called to tell me they confiscated the belt as a weapon, and that I could pick it up from the office, I told them to put it in the trash. I warned Cam (even though I thought calling it a weapon was a stretch). He decided to take his chances. He was wrong. Learn to live with the decisions you make in life.

Fortunately, his school didn't bow down to the zero tolerance Gods. They thought this could be interpreted/used at a weapon, but they didn't implement the mandatory suspension guidelines.

A similar thing happened to Delaware first grader Zachary Christi. Apparently Zachary's family camps regularly. His parents bought him a handy-dandy folding fork, knife, spoon utensil. Zachary decided the pocket spork shouldn't be just for camping and took to school so that he could use it to eat his lunch.

In another time - a time when people still used their brains to think - Zachary probably would have been asked to hand over the tool and the principal would have called his mother to the office for a little discussion. End of story.

Unfortunately, we live in a time when kids take guns to school and shoot each other, and as is usually the case, over-zealous, zero-tolerance policies are put in place in school districts across the country. Delaware’s zero-tolerance policy toward "weapons" required Zachary to be punished - 45 days in an alternative school for troublemakers.

As a side note, the best way to teach kids to be troublemakers is to put them in a classroom/school full of troublemakers, but I digress ...

It would be nice if school administrators were left with a little more discretion in these matters, but that would require them to think - to apply discretion without prejudice - to be held accountable for their decisions. We don't do that well in public schools. Hell, we don't do that well anywhere. We like it when we can do something, then say, "It's not my fault!"

Zero-tolerance policies can usually be more accurately named zero-common sense policies. They leave very little wiggle room when it comes to doling out reasonable discipline. But there is another side to this ...

If Zachary or another student had been hurt by the knife, intentionally or unintentionally, who do you suppose would be held accountable? I'm pretty sure the school district has the deepest pockets. Again, the zero-tolerance policy comes into play. Policy usually makes for a great defense in court.

So what's the answer? Zero-tolerance policies are idiotic. Asking teachers and administrators to always make the correct discipline decisions is ridiculous. Sounds like our hands are tied, right?

I have one word for you - PARENTING! How the hell did little Zachary manage to get that utensil to school? Did his parents give him permission? I heard them on an interview say, "There's nothing wrong with it. We let him use it to eat at home." Hello? Are you stupid? There is a significant difference between home and school and as parents, we have an obligation to insure that line isn't crossed. As parents, we must pay attention and use common sense (there's that phrase again).

The crime in this case wasn’t Zachary’s. Certainly the bone-headed, bureaucratic system of laws, regulations and buck-passing played a part, but not as much as some would like to believe. The real criminals in all of this? Zachary's Parents. They had the ability, and the responsibility, to be aware of what their 6-year old was bringing to school. In this case, there should be a 45-day alternative program for "troublemaker" parents.


13 October 2009

WWC - "S" and Water


It's that time again ... that time when I get out the poor quality cell phone camera and attempt to make art with it!

Wanna play? No nekkidness involved! You can join WWC over at Jay's place, on Facebook or on Flickr.

You can always find a photo opp in the women's restroom!

Mmmmmm ... BakerS Square pie ...

Anyone remember the old days when there were letter prefixes to phone numbers that identified where you lived? Now we use them to spell words.

Frozen water on a windshield (it was COLD this weekend)

Lots of bottled water in little bottles ...

... and lots of bottled water in big bottles


12 October 2009

5 Words


I know y'all have seen it ... the 5 word meme that has gone somewhat viral recently. Although I took mega doses of vitamin C, and even tried the new Meme-eze, my immune system finally gave in and I caught the bug. True to form, it was Jay who gave it to me ... again ... but this time I think he got it from Karen!

Anyway, Jay gave me my 5 words and I am to do this stream of consciousness thingy to recuperate from the meme virus. Now, Jay couldn't give me words like butterfly and Twinkie - nope, he had to give me the hard core, H1N1 version words. *rolls eyes*

RAGE: Dylan Thomas wrote one of my favorite poems whose first verse is:
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
ENABLE: GAHHH! When I saw this word my first response was, "Great ... now Jay is calling me an enabler." Then I came to my senses and realized that Jay (and most everyone else) really doesn't think of me that much.

Then I wondered when enable became such a negative word. It used to be the used as a powerfully positive word. Enabling meant empowering. Now? It's pretty much has negative connotations. I think I'll try to focus on the positive side of enable.

ADVENTURE: It's odd really. Parts of my life are full of adventure. Take driving across country last summer with Cam, or moving from the east coast to the Midwest when Cam was 18 months old. Adventures have always been opportunities for growth for me, yet I almost have to be forced - at knife point - to take them on.

TECHNICAL: I do well with tasks that are technical - far better than I do with tasks that are relational. Technical tasks are straight forward, logical, not complicated by emotion or choice. "Things" I understand. People? Not so much. I'm thinking Data and would have made great lovers ... except Data isn't capable of love ... maybe not ...

CONFORMITY: Speaking of love, I have a love/hate relationship with conformity. I'd like to think that I am open-minded, capable of forward thinking, pushing the boundaries of conformity, yet I realize just how often I give in to societal conformity. The pull of being like others - of fitting in - is a strong one for me. I care (far too much) about what people think of me and find myself compromising my core beliefs for the comfort and peace of conformity.

Not one of my better traits.


Since there aren't many rules with this meme, I'm thinking a few of you might want to play. Feel free to scream "WORDS" in the comments and I'll email you 5 of them for you to fondle in your own post.

And no, you won't have to wait for those 5 words as long as some of you are waiting for your blogiversary gifts *grin*


11 October 2009

Sunday Secret



09 October 2009

Friday Wrap-Up


I think I've really hit the blogging big time now! Not only do I attract a troll or two on the blog, but the blog gossip and nastiness has carried over to Facebook! I thought about "monitoring" it - following people around to see what other nastiness they might spew - then realized just how totally creepy that process is. It made far more sense to just remove blogs from my reader and "unfriend" the Facebook offenders.

Now ... if I could just get a little hate mail I'd really know I hit the big time!


Some of you may have noticed that I turned off comments on my Sunday Secret last week. I'll likely do that every week. It seems my secrets are an invitation for some folks to lose all common sense and common courtesy. I figure if anyone feels a strong urge to comment on a secret, my email is easy enough to find.


I want to thank you all for the support on my Domestic Violence Awareness Month post on Tuesday. I know that many of you who left supportive comments still shake your head at times. Don't feel bad - I do too!

There were a couple of positive, and unexpected, side-effects of that post. First, I realized that I often do the very thing that a few of my commenters did - I read a blog daily and don't comment until I have something biting or controversial to say. That's just not the kind of person I want to be and I've taken steps to correct that.

Second, and far more important, I moved forward in my struggle with the domestic violence circle. I'm not yet where I need to be, but I can see that I stepped off that comfortable, but destructive circle just enough that the next steps might be a little easier to take. This process won't move forward quickly enough for many of you, but I can honestly say that it is moving forward.


Can someone tell me when the Nobel Peace Prize started being awarded for intentions rather than results? Seriously, the nomination came two weeks - TWO WEEKS - after Obama took office. It's not like he made " ... extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples" during his first two weeks in office.

One has to wonder what the motivation was in nominating Obama. I think it's a bit unfortunate that he was given this award so early as he will likely be far more deserving of it in the future (bet that statement caught a few of you off guard).


Plans this weekend include serving at the food bank Saturday morning, Cam's first football playoff game on Sunday and the prediction of our first hard freeze (lows in the 20's) Sunday night. Let's just hope we are lucky enough to have a winter as mild as our summer was.

Yeah ... right ...


07 October 2009

WWC - Warmth and Depth


Remember last week when I mentioned I was considering participating in WWC with nothing more than my cell phone camera? I probably should have read the "rules" before making the assumption that photos were posted on Wednesday ... because they are posted on Tuesday. Oops!

Yeah ... well ... I'm just living dangerously these days. And yes, all photos were taken with my "old school" 1.3 megapixel LG Chocolate camera phone. No editing other than a little bit of cropping!


I love the WARMTH of fall colors

The sun attempts to peek through the clouds and provide a little WARMTH

Raspberry Zinger Tea provides WARMTH to my tummy

Pots and pans need WARMTH to do their job

I wonder if that is my prince in the DEPTHs of the egress well

What you'll find in the DEPTHs of my junk drawer

I always wanted to have a story about the DEPTHs of the football field bleachers