31 May 2010

Memorial Day


No controversy. No cries for peace. No grandstanding.
Just remembrance and gratitude for those who gave everything for this country.

Day is done ... Gone the sun ...

From the lakes ... From the hills ...

From the sky ... All is well.

Safely rest ... God is nigh.

Fading light .. Dims the sight ...

And a star ... Gems the Sky

Gleaming bright from afar ...

Drawing nigh ... Falls the night.

Thanks and praise ... For our days.

Neath the sun ... Neath the stars ...

Neath the sky ... As we go ...

This we know ... God is nigh

~ Major General Daniel Butterfield


30 May 2010

Sunday Secret



28 May 2010

Friday Wrap-Up


It's been a while since I've done one of these. These past few weeks have been full of BIG things to blog about ... even on Fridays.


I'm considering a road trip this weekend. Long story short, what was supposed to be husband doing front/rear brake job on the Cavalier (no, that is NOT a sexual euphemism) turned into a frustrated tantrum ending in a severed brake line and a rental car for me for the week ... at husbands expense. I've got a car that I am comfortable taking on, say, a 300-400 mile trip and I've got a 3-day weekend ahead of me.

Anyone have a spare couch or floor space for three? Oh! I didn't mention Cam and "Rhonda" will be with me? Yeah ... maybe we'll just stay home.


While getting my hair cut Wednesday, my stylist - whose brother owns the local tavern here in town - told me he was looking for a part-time bookkeeper. This would be a few hours a week - something I could do whiles sitting at the bar getting schnockered at home on the weekends - and it would give me enough pocket cash that I wouldn't have choose between going to the laundromat or going to the grocery store. Keeping my fingers crossed.


Cam and I have a meeting at the school this morning - a meeting we shouldn't be having. I think many of you would be surprised at the depth of the bullying issue and the blatant favoritism in the treatment of the girls. This is the stuff news reports and lawsuits are made of ... and I'm really starting to lean that direction.


The most exciting news of the week?? I got a new phone! It's not an iPhone or a DROID. It doesn't even have a touch screen. But it was was the phone to have ... about two years ago! AND!! AND!! It has a QWERTY keyboard.

Look, I've been using a standard numerical keypad for texting for the past 2 years. Do you have any idea how long it takes to punch in grammatically correct sentences ('cause I refuse to use that text speak crap) when you are working with only 10 keys??

This is an exciting moment for me. The phone did require a $9.99/month data plan. I wish I had a clue what data I get for $9.99! I think I need a phone tutor. Any former LG enV3 owners out there willing to help me find a use for my data package??


27 May 2010

HNT - Stripes


“There's nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos.”
~ Jim Hightower

*CLICK* You never know what you might find

Yesterday was "one of those days," which, in my case, was not a good thing. But ... there was a light at the end of the tunnel - an appointment at the salon beauty shop! What was intended to be nothing more than a trim resulted in a short, sassy cut and color. Who needs chocolate?

This post was actually supposed to be a pictorial of the process, but apparently waking at 3:42 AM - tossing and turning, unable to find sleep again - then deciding you might as well get up and work on a blog post, is not conducive to managing photo files. Ummm ... yeah ...



26 May 2010

Mean Girls


I did a guest post over at Real Live Lesbian's place on the "new" cyber bullies - women. When I was reading articles in preparation for that post, I stumbled upon quite a few articles discussing girl-on-girl bullying (don't get too excited Jay, this has nothing to do with the Lingerie Football League). Little did I know that "mean girls" would become a factor in my life outside of the blog.

I got a call yesterday from the middle school principal (yes ... again), but this time Cam wasn't in trouble ... yet ...

Seems there was an altercation in the hallway with a girl who has been somewhat of a thorn in Cam's side throughout the school year. She knows Cam's buttons and enjoys pushing them ... repeatedly. Of course I go with the standard, "Just ignore her and she'll stop" line, but it falls on deaf ears.

Yesterday, when she was taunting him in class, he said, "Someone just needs to slap you." The girl then goes off on a tangent - "Are you threatening me? Go ahead! Hit me! I'll make sure you never come back to this school!"

Fortunately, Cam had enough self-control to walk away from the situation and head to the office.

Long story short, about two hours later, "confrontation girl" and her friend decide they need to tell one of the teachers that Cam has been "exposing himself" to them in class. Ummmm ... yeah ... I'm not kidding. Talk about yet another parental nightmare.

The principal reads me the girls' written statements. The stories are similar, but have some key differences. Of course, I ask Cam about it. Cam looks at me like I've just grown a second head and says, "Are you kidding me? That is disgusting!" I'll be honest here - I am not one of those "not-my-kid" parents. If there is one thing I know it's that ANY kid is capable of doing ANY thing. But ...

Guess what we learned at the band concert last night? It appears these two girls had discussions, throughout the day, on what story they could tell about Cam to get him in to trouble. They were quite aware that their stories had to remain constant and they spent a great deal of time working through the process. Two of Cam's friends, who just happen to be members of the band, overheard these conversations (BAND GEEKS UNITE!) and will be passing on the information to the principal.

Cam has spent a great deal of this year being told to "ignore" these girls - girls who have "called Cam out" in class and other public areas in an attempt to embarrass and humiliate him, deliberately excluded him from class projects and discussions, called him names, spread false rumors, made false accusations and initiated other malicious verbal interactions, encouraged other classmates to ignore or make fun of Cam and incited Cam to act out violently or aggressively. Cam is being emotionally bullied.

It's been my belief that over the past 40 years there has been a strong move in public schools (especially elementary and middle schools) to emasculate our boys, holding them to a different standard than girls.

There is significant social stigma attached to boys admitting to being bullied by girls - it is just expected that boys will endure girl bullies. The complete lack of discussion and recourse for girl bullies sends a VERY clear and strong message to boys: Girls bullying boys is acceptable.

I know I have a lot of male readers. I'd be interested to know if any of you have experienced this type of "bullying" in school or as an adult. Do you think it is just a right of passage or should it be punishable by the school? Oh, and women? Please chime in too!

*UPDATE* Because the principal could not determine if the girls' claim is true (Cam's word against the girls') AND because the incident supposedly took place over 4 months ago, the principal has decided that there will be no punishment. Somehow that just doesn't seem right ...


25 May 2010

15 Ways to Predict Divorce


I've got a guest post up on predictors of divorce.

Just click the pic to find me today and every Tuesday ...


24 May 2010



I've been waging an internal war for about the last year. You've seen glimpses of it here - moments when I seem to be in the throws of a major pity party - times when I just don't quite keep up with the blog, my commitments to others, life in general.

Usually I put on the happy face and move forward. I'm pretty good at stuffing emotions ... I've got 45 years experience. What once was a survival tool (growing up in an alcoholic home, you learn quickly that being invisible is the best place to be) became the only way I know to deal with emotions.

I'm quite good at diverting attention when needed too - talking about something, ANYTHING, other than what's going on in my life. I can keep the inner turmoil at bay for months and even years without allowing most people to see the struggle. I'm smart enough to know what people expect to hear from a healthy, well-adjusted person and I make sure they hear every one of those things.

Recently, I've gotten to the point where putting on a happy face takes far more effort and energy than I have. No matter how hard I try, I just can't seem to shake the feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. I've tried just about every diversion I can find - from church to Twitter - hoping to find some way to connect to life again. They all last a while, and then fade just as quickly.

I'm starting to have a difficult time justifying why I'm NOT addressing this - why I DON'T need to talk to a doctor. I think I'm ready to admit that I've failed yet again, that this is bigger than I am, that I am too weak to just "get over it," because I'm starting to fear what will happen if I don't.


23 May 2010

Sunday Secret



19 May 2010

HNT - 5th Anniversary


Half-Nekkid Thursday (HNT for those of you in "the know") is celebrating its 5th anniversary this week. Pretty darn amazing for a "meme" - even a photo meme - to remain so strong for that long. In celebration of this accomplishment, HNT has an anniversary theme this week - one that lured me back to participate "just one more" time.

The theme? Re-post your very first HNT and a current re-creation of that picture.

I first "officially" participated in HNT over two years ago not really thinking about where it would take me. It took me on quite a journey. What is ironic is that although I gained much during my participation in HNT, what I had hoped to gain - validation - continues to elude my grasp, because I continue to look for it externally. I know that, and I know that what I once saw as the failings of HNT and the HNT community were really my own personal failings.

Some day, I hope to find that place where being me is good enough for the one person that really matters ... me!

This is where it all started in February 2008

*CLICK* the picture for my "artistic" re-creation of the original.
(And yes, the *CLICK* is actually quite safe for work, or small children, or fuzzy kittens.)




I Judge


I make a concerted effort not to judge others. Sometimes I fail ... miserably.

Take, for example, Cam's girlfriend who, in the name of anonymity, we'll call Rhonda.

Let me start by saying I don't think a 14 year old boy needs a girlfriend - especially not a 17 year old girlfriend. Yes, I understand that Cam looks older than he is, but the bottom line remains that a 17 year old is looking for different things in a relationship than a 14 year old is ... at least I think they are. I didn't have a "real" boyfriend until I was 17 and I know what I had on my mind.

I judge.

Rhonda is a nice girl. She is always respectful and polite. She seems to possess some common sense and generally has a solid moral compass. Her parents are hard-working folks who struggle to do right by their family. But they live in a trailer park. Three generations, NINE people in a single wide, 3-bedroom mobile home.

I judge.

Rhonda and I (and both of her parents) became friends on Facebook. In the last two weeks Rhonda has joined the following Facebook Groups:

Rhonda likes Apparently saying "Ok" is smart-mouthing your parents when they're angry

Rhonda likes Mom I love you... but u be trippin sometimes.

Rhonda likes I would vote to legalize Marijuana & Hemp

Rhonda likes morning sex :)

Rhonda has also posted the following status updates (for the record, all of her status updates are in this "tone", with this type of grammar and punctuation):

wow...life is hectic and crazy.. 3 people moving in wit us in 1 month.. bills are crazy... and skewl is about to end....

took a walk... kikd it wit da guyz n just chiiiiillleeeddd...had an amazing time catchin up on old jokes n the kid days

I judge.

Rhonda smokes. Rhonda's parents know she smokes. Rhonda's parents purchase cigarettes for Rhonda.

I judge.

I hate being judged. I expect people to look beyond the surface and get to know me for me, not for my appearance, my possessions or where I live. But in this situation? When it comes to my son?

I judge.


18 May 2010

Is It Just a Peanut Buster Parfait?


I've got a guest post up on open relationships.

Just click the pic to find me today and every Tuesday ...


17 May 2010

Life in a Single Day


We had an interesting Saturday ... a very interesting Saturday ...

I found out Tuesday that my step-son's college graduation was going to be on Saturday. According to husband, his ex didn't send out graduation announcements to "his" side of the family, nor did she let husband know when graduation was. Of course, there were several other ways husband could have learned about graduation ... like calling his son ... but it was much easier to place blame elsewhere.

Husband asks if we (Cam and I) would like to go. It's about a 2-1/2 hour drive to Peoria from Podunk. The thought of spending an entire day with husband - 5 of those hours in a car without escape - was a bit daunting, but I really did want to be there to celebrate step-son's accomplishment.

Overall, it was a good trip, yet it was clearly a microcosm of the relationship with husband.

We were supposed to meet up at the house at 5:30. At 5:20 husband calls to make sure we are up and will be on time. This is ironic as I am always on time and husband has this thing about demanding everyone be ready at a certain time and then not being ready himself. True to form, we got to the house at 5:32 and husband was on his computer. We left at 5:40.

The trip down consisted of superficial chit-chat about work and things happening in the world.

Husband showed his "generosity" by paying for lunch (9 of us, including husband's ex-wife, ex-MIL and all of the kids) after graduation, all-the-while complaining to me that his ex would expect it.

The trip back culminated in husband making a phone call to his ex, getting unreasonably pissed off irritated during the conversation, hanging up on her, Calling her the "C" word several times (after hanging up on her) then treating Cam and me with disdain for the remainder of the trip.

In the end? I was grateful Cam and I were headed back to our own home. Had we still been living with husband, the situation would have been one of those where Cam and I paid the price for husband's outrage with his ex. My guess is he took it out on the cats.

I see a day coming when I will accept the fact that husband will never "love me enough" to change and I will love myself enough to know that I deserve better.


16 May 2010

Sunday Secret



14 May 2010

Friday Wrap-Up (Twitter Style)


Well, not really true Twitter style or it would be 140 characters or less, right?

A little over a week ago there was some Twitter discussion about @BurlG (a.k.a. Burl from Annie & Burl Live) having a striking resemblance to Steve Hatch from TLC's Little Chocolatiers.

Being the geek good friend that I am, I put together this photo and sent it out via twitter

Now understand, I have like 130 followers, which borders on pitiful. I thought it would make a few people laugh and disturb Burl. It was a success!

Actually it was even more of a success than I realized. TLC (who has a few more followers than I do) picked up the tweet and rebroadcast it!

Love it! Any other TLC lookalikes out there? RT @BurlG could be a stunt double for Steve Hatch!

I had the following "private" twitter discussion with a long-time friend of mine after sending my I just want to cry ... or throw up ... not sure which ... tweet on Wednesday:

Friend: Wish I could help.

Me: Wish I could give up ...

Friend: no you dont. But I know it's hard, gotta be harder than anything I've ever done. I can't even imagine.

Me: Oh yes! I really do. Unfortunately there is no where for him to go. It would be a frying pan into the fire moment. And that I can't do.
I am emotionally and physically exhausted. I keep moving forward - trudging through the muck - hoping it will get better and it never does. I'm pissed. I feel like for the past 6 months I've been doing the right things and yet I just keep getting more crap. I am so ready for Cam to be finished with school, yet realize that only brings on a whole different set of issues (some of you might remember last summer).

I love my son dearly but there are days (many) when I'd just like to quit. I cannot do anything without concern about where Cam is and what he is doing. There is no place that is "safe" for him any more. I don't get a break - ever - and it is simply overwhelming at times.


We had a bit of rain yesterday - 3.25 inches in 12 hours - and were under a flash flood warning. That's not unusual for spring in Podunk, but usually we just see a little water on the road. Not the case yesterday. I shared the following pictures/tweets on twitter yesterday:

This *was* my parking lot at work. We had to be shuttled in via semi truck. Flooding anyone?

For the record, see that underwater tree in front of the burgundy SUV? That tree is at the front end of my parking spot.

... and another of the raging waters through the parking lot ...

We have two entrances into work. Both were blocked off by flood waters. With the exception of a few foolish brave souls, all employees had to park about 1/2 mile from the office and then be "ferried" in to work via semi-truck.

The good news is that with the exception of a few trees down, and part of a fence taken out, there was little damage. I'm afraid the farmers weren't so lucky though. Corn had just started to sprout and many farmers lost large sections of their corn fields.

It was a rough, wet day ... and not in a "good" way!


13 May 2010



And you thought I ♥ Bobbies was bad ...

An Illinois woman was cited for contempt of court and sentenced to two days in jail for wearing an inappropriate T-shirt (with the above logo) in the Lake County Courthouse.

Associate Judge Helen Rozenburg charged 19-year old Jennifer LaPenta with contempt of court for wearing the t-shirt in her courtroom. LaPenta was sitting in the gallery waiting for a friend's case to be called when the judge called her forward.

Rozenburg asked LaPenta if she thought her shirt was appropriate.

LaPenta said she told the judge that it would have been inappropriate had she been the defendant.

I guess the judge didn't like that answer - she immediately ordered LaPenta to 48 hours in jail (LaPenta was released after 24 hours), stating:

LaPenta was in "direct criminal contempt" for "displaying herself in the front row wearing a shirt displaying obscene wording, and having been questioned regarding her apparel offering no excuse as to her displaying its content in open court."

LaPenta's response? "They should be out looking for people who are breaking the law, not arresting someone wearing a T-shirt. They just threw me in jail. They never told me what I was going to jail for."

Ummm ... really? My guess is LaPenta was told she was being held for Contempt of Court. Just because she didn't know what that meant (which is a problem in and of itself) doesn't mean she wasn't told why she was being held.

LaPenta complained, "All the officers thought it was hilarious -- it was humiliating."

Did she not consider the fact that wearing that t-shirt into court was "humiliating" to the judicial system?

Better yet? According to LaPenta, she bought the t-shirt in the gay section of Spencer's. She said she is openly homosexual and complained that the judge was a "homophobe" for putting her in custody for wearing the t-shirt.

I'm guessing that statement will come back and bite her in the butt when her civil suit against the judge goes to court.

Yes, she has retained an attorney to file a civil suit against the judge. Personally, I can't imagine the civil suit will get LaPenta anything other than her 15 minutes of fame ... or at least I hope it doesn't.

What do you think? Did the judge over-react? Should LaPenta have been given the opportunity to leave the courtroom?


12 May 2010

I ♥ Boobies


Have you seen these bracelets? They are sold by a California based not-for-profit agency called the Keep-A-Breast Foundation. The Foundation's mission (from their website):

... to help eradicate breast cancer by exposing young people to methods of prevention, early detection and support. Through art events, educational programs and fundraising efforts, we seek to increase breast cancer awareness among young people so they are better equipped to make choices and develop habits that will benefit their long-term health and well-being.

Well, they've raised awareness all right. These bracelets are a hot commodity for the middle school crowd. In fact, my son purchased one at the mall Monday night. No, I didn't buy it for him - in fact I wasn't even there - he purchased it during a visit to the mall with a friend and her parents. That said, I don't have a problem with him wearing it ... except ...

I saw that he had it on yesterday morning on the way to school. There are a few things I know. One of the things I know is that it doesn't matter how many kids are wearing these bracelets, Cam will be called out for it.

I asked Cam if he thought it was a good idea to wear the bracelet. He, in true Cam form, gave me every excuse reason he should be able to wear it, including that it was for breast cancer awareness and that all of the other kids are wearing them. I explained that it was his choice, but that if he got sent to the office I didn't want to hear any whining about it. He knew the risks. He needed to deal with the consequences.

Well, as fate would have it I had to pick him up early from school yesterday for a psychologist appointment. When I went to the office to sign him out, the secretary came up to me and gave me Cam's I ♥ Boobies bracelet, letting me know that Mr. W (the principal) had asked that she return it to me.

Apparently, this is an issue in many schools. There is currently a news story out of Silverdale Washington where a principal of a secondary school has "banned" these bracelets saying, "... the "boobies" reference causes problems in classrooms when some students made inappropriate gestures ... some staff members who are breast cancer survivors find the bracelets offensive."

Ahhh ... here we go again ...

Where does the right to free speech infringe upon the rights of others? I was told by Cam's school that when male students wear the bracelets it is considered "sexual harassment", but that the girls were allowed to wear the bracelets as they had a vested interest in breast cancer awareness.

Ummm ... yeah ...

Guess what? Cam wore his I ♥ Boobies bracelet again today - turned inside out so that the writing wasn't visible. Now, I can't say how long that lasted once he went into the school, but I did tell him that if the bracelet was confiscated again, I would not pick it up.

I'm not looking to get in to a parenting discussion here, although some of you will - no doubt - succumb to an overwhelming urge to tell me what a crappy parent I am for allowing my 14 year old son to wear this bracelet. I am curious as to what y'all think about the gender discrepancy issue here. Does it make sense? Is it fair? Is it right to assume girls are wearing the bracelet in support of breast cancer awareness, but boys are wearing them only for the sexual innuendo factor??

Well ... maybe there really is no need to answer that last question ...


11 May 2010

Queen of the Hill


I've got a guest post up on cyber-bullying.

Just click the pic to find me today and every Tuesday ...


10 May 2010

Who's Watching the Kids?


"White people adopt black kids to make themselves feel good... A black child needs black parents to raise it."

"Maybe she adopted one because the blacks in the community wouldn't step forward and adopt?"

"What's the big deal? If no white person ever adopted a black child, they'd be saying why don't white people adopt black children."

"Who cares what race they are? A woman got a child, a child got a mother...it's BEAUTIFUL!!! And yes I am black...if it matters."

These were just a few of the comments made by readers of CNN's article on Sandra Bullock adopting an African-American baby.

Why is it that a white celebrity, adopting a black child, raises questions and suspicions? Why does it make it worse that this was a child from the United States rather than a child from ... say ... Africa? Is Sandra Bullock just attempting to recreate her role in "The Blind Side" in her real life?

In 2007, forty percent of children adopted domestically and internationally by Americans were of a different race or culture from their adoptive parents. We have legislation in place that prohibits agencies getting federal help from discriminating against would-be parents based on race or national origin.

I would agree that it is ideal, and probably far less complicated, to match children available for adoption with same-race, same-culture families, but shouldn't placing a child in a permanent, loving home be of the utmost importance?

That said, I also don't believe that a permanent loving home is "enough" in an interracial adoption. Using my own bi-racial, biological child as an example, I'd be the first to admit that I took the significance of Cam's African-American heritage far too lightly. At the very least, I should have considered the impact of living in a predominantly white area of the greater Chicagoland. I've encouraged Cam's interest in black history and continue to seek out role models/mentors who are black, but it's been an uphill struggle living in an area with very few "diversity resources." I imagine these issues would be equally important in an interracial adoption.

In case you are wondering why this came up, I was recently asked - for the 1,472nd time yet again - if Cam was adopted. This time the question came from one of the middle-schoolers who attends our church youth group. It reminded me that although I'd like to believe that race doesn't matter, it does.

What do you think? If there are multiple people vying to adopt the same child, should there be a race preference?


09 May 2010

Sunday Secret



07 May 2010

Friday Wrap-Up


If you pay attention to google you likely noticed that it is Tchaikovsky's birthday. I've always been a big fan of Tchaikovsky, although I prefer his lesser known symphonies over the likes of the Nutcracker and the 1812 Overture.

Take Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, "Pathétique", 1st movement (Part 1), performed by the Adagio. Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala of Milan and directed by Yuri Temirkanov.

Ahhhhh ... I don't care what anyone says, it just doesn't get any better than that ...


I had to do something this week that I've never had to do before - order flowers for a memorial service.

Cam's girlfriend's grandmother died last week. We had the opportunity to meet her a few months ago and both Cam and I were invited to her memorial today. Although I won't be able to attend, it was the first time I've felt a desire to attend a service like this - not because I knew Grandma K well, but because I wanted to support the family during their time of grief.

Does this mean I'm finally growing up?


Last Friday was my 4th wedding anniversary. Husband and I went to dinner together. Yes, that's a little odd considering we haven't lived together for 5 months now, but it seemed the "right" thing to do.

I will admit, I still have moments of hope. I take my wedding vows pretty damn seriously and struggle with the thought of going back on my word ... even when husband has already done so. I don't see wedding vows as reciprocal agreements - for better or for worse as long as you hold true to your commitment to for better or for worse - but rather as a commitment to the end result ... no matter what.

Yet spending those few hours with him last week brought back a flood of negative emotions and a reality slap up along side the head. I talked about family. He talked about work. I talked about goals and priorities. He talked about work. I talked about the future. He talked about work.

*shakes head* I just don't know if he has he capacity to give anything - or anyone - as much as he gives his job.


My favorite picture from my Project 365 blog this week was the one I took for The New York Times "A Moment in Time" project. From their website:

Attention: everyone with a camera, amateur or pro. Please join us on Sunday, May 2, at 15:00 (U.T.C./G.M.T.), as thousands of photographers simultaneously record “A Moment in Time.” The idea is to create an international mosaic, an astonishingly varied gallery of images that are cemented together by the common element of time.

I was quite happy with how this turned out.


06 May 2010

Random Dozen

1. What was the last thing about which you procrastinated?

Buying a vacuum. I know ... I know ... this seems a little odd, but one area I procrastinate heavily in is spending money. I'm a saver, not a spender. Any time I am spending $50 or more on any single item I want to make sure I am getting the most for my money.
Thanks to a random act of kindness from a fellow blogger, I've had the "opportunity" to make this purchase for a few months now. I felt an obligation to spend wisely to insure my purchase was worthy of the gift. Yesterday I hit the purchase button.

2. How long does it take you to fall asleep, and do you sleep through the night?

I am one of those people who can fall asleep in seconds - if I'm tired - and I can fall asleep anywhere.

Staying asleep is another issue. I cannot remember the last time I slept through the night. Waking 3-4 times during the night is my normal.

3. Which decade would you choose to exemplify your favorite fashion styles?

Well, since it doesn't have to be a decade I actually lived in, I'd go for the 50's. That decade just seems to be classic in fashion ... with the exception of poodle skirts!

4. What is your personal best dish to feed a crowd?

Hmmmm ... thinking ...

I make a mean beef enchilada and although the prep is fairly extensive, I can assemble a tray of them fairly quickly. They are always a hit!

5. Are you an impulse shopper? What was the last thing you bought on impulse?

Odd ... I didn't read this question until after answering the first one.

I am NOT an impulse shopper and can't even remember the last time I purchased something that wasn't planned. I don't even impulse buy when grocery shopping.

6. What is one wish you have for your own funeral?

That everyone drinks, eats and laughs too much! Oh ... and that people actually show up!

7. If it's true that joy is in found in the simple things in life, what does your joy look like today?

My joy was the smell of the blooming lilacs outside my apartment.

8. What is your favorite type of bread?

Any! Seriously, I don't think they make a bread I don't like. If they do, I haven't found it.

9. What trait do you fear developing the most? (Laziness, greediness, grumpiness, etc.)

Apathy. Without a doubt.

10. What trait would you like most to develop?

Reckless abandon, but I'd settle for a bit of spontaneity.

11. Which room in your house best reflects your personality? Why?

Right now, none. The apartment is furnished minimally and contains only the essentials for daily living. In the old house? The kitchen. It was designed as a family gathering spot - where food and love were served in abundance.

12. How do you maintain balance in your life regarding, work, family, church, other organizations and activities, and blogging?

Balance? What's balance? Is that anything like normal?

I am much better about it than I was say ... a year ago? Blogging (and generally time on the internet) was an escape from an unhappy home life. Now I do it when I feel like it and most of the pressure to perform every day has gone away.


05 May 2010

Don't Shoot!


On the heels of a violent baseball bat attack in a "prestigious" Chicago neighborhood that critically injured two young women (one of whom is still in a coma), Chicago's Mayor Richard M. Daley is promoting round seven of Chicago's voluntary gun buy-back program across the city ... because guns kill people ... baseball bats just fracture their skulls and permanently disable them.

Head to one of 22 Chicago area locations with your spare weaponry and you can earn a prepaid MasterCard to purchase better guns, drugs, nutritious foods for your family - no questions asked.

Got an unused assault weapon you couldn't get rid of at your last garage sale? That will net you $100. Not to worry, that riffle you used to kill Bambi last fall (along with any other non-assault gun) will earn a $75 gift card. Regretting your decision to buy little Ralphie that Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas? The city will pay $10 for any BB gun, air gun or replica gun.

I am not a huge fan of guns - especially guns kept in homes for "protection" by people who have no business riding a bicycle, let alone having access to a loaded weapon. I will likely never have a gun in my home as I believe they have far more potential to hurt someone unintentionally than they do to actually defend their owner against harm. But ... but ...

I feel very much the same way about my "right to bear arms" as I do abortion. I likely won't use my "right" in either case, but I don't want the government taking that "right" away from me either.

I can't help but wonder how the money being used to fund the gun buy-back program might have better results being used to fund community programs in more violent neighborhoods, or to improve a school in an inner city neighborhood.

That saying, "Guns don't kill people - people kill people" may be corny and over-used, but you know what? It is true. This country doesn't have a gun problem. This country has a PEOPLE problem.


04 May 2010

Kindness is Big


I've got a guest post up on kindness.

Just click the pic to find me today and every Tuesday ...


03 May 2010

Therapeutic Day School


Those three words have turned my world upside down. They bring to mind images of those kids - the ones so out of control that therapeutic day school is just one step away from a stint in a juvenile detention center. They bring to mind images of those parents - the ones who have not loved and nurtured their kids the way they should have, resulting in broken kids.

Cam will be attending a private, therapeutic day school at his school district's expense in the fall. His high school education will look very different from the one I had imagined. Although he will still be enrolled in the local high school - in theory able to participate in high school sports and extra-curricular activities associated with that high school - he will attend classes in what is called an interim alternative educational setting.

There will be no band camp this summer. No marching band in the fall. We'll be absent from freshman orientation and that automotive engines elective class that Cam had such interest in will be replaced by group therapy.

Cam will attend classes from 8:30am to 2:30pm, but will be away from home from 7:00am until 4:00pm due to a lengthy commute to the school. He will receive a High School Curriculum that parallels the basic offerings of his local high school. In addition to "regular" school, he will also receive related services, including Occupational Therapy, Art Therapy, Extended Day, Psychiatric and Psychological Consultation and School Health Services.

This is a school that uses a cognitive-behavioral/problem-solving approach and narrative principles to help students overcome problems at hand, practice more successful behavioral alternatives and explore ways to “re-write” their frequently negative life stories. They work with students to build on their strengths and gifts, and fight with them against their weaknesses and obstacles. The environment is based in a positive nurturing model where “natural consequences” for behaviors are frequently utilized. They avoid using restrictive and punitive methods of behavioral management and they do not have a time-out room.

This isn't a permanent placement, but rather a placement until Cam is ready and able to return to a less restrictive learning environment.

I should be thrilled. There are parents who have been fighting for years to get their children in a placement like this. There are parents who have taken out second mortgages on their homes to pay for this type of placement for their kids when their school districts have refused. There are kids who never get this opportunity because their parents don't care.

Yes, I should be thrilled, and on many levels I am, but once again I struggle between the conflict of what I know (that this placement is an amazing opportunity for Cam) and what I feel (that this placement magnifies everything I've done wrong as a parent and I am responsible for Cam "losing out" on traditional high school), and what I feel is winning ... and beating me down ...


02 May 2010

Sunday Secret