31 August 2010

Secular School Selection


I'm over at Lynn's place today!

Click the pic to find me today and (most) every Tuesday ...


30 August 2010

Teen Suicide


One of the leading causes of death amongst teenagers is suicide. The Centers for Disease control report that it is the third leading cause of death, behind accidents and homicide, of people aged 15 to 24. Even more disturbing is the fact that suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for children between the ages of 10 and 14.

Although the CDC does not track attempted teen suicides, other research indicates that there are an estimated 8-25 attempted suicides for each teen suicide death and four out of five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warnings.

This weekend I learned of an attempted suicide, and subsequent hospitalization, of one of Cam's friends. One of the three kids that I transported to the church youth group on Wednesday nights. One of the three kids that I spent four hours with each week last year. It hit me kind of hard.

Katie is a "typical" teenage girl in many ways. She is into fashion, changes her hair color monthly, enjoys the attention of boys, and does fairly well in school.

But she lost her mom to cancer three years ago.

Her dad is a single parent, and in addition to Katie, he has two older children (both high school graduates - one still living at home) and two years ago, took on a fourth child - a 5-year old niece who was removed from her parents' home by child protective services. They live in a nice, single-family home in one of the newest developments in Podunk.

Katie's dad drives a delivery truck at night so that he can spend his days with the kids - getting them off to school - cooking dinner for them at night.

Monday night, when Katie's dad called her down for dinner and she didn't respond, he went upstairs to her room. She was hanging from the clothing rod in her closet - a belt tight around her neck.

Fortunately, his timing was impeccable. She hadn't been there long. He was able to loosen and remove the belt from her neck and immediately took her to the hospital where she was treated for her injuries then was transferred to the psychiatric wing for a 3-day observation.

Listening to the kids talk about the suicide attempt this weekend was disturbing. I heard a lot of "She was just looking for attention," "Katie is a drama queen" and "Katie's just emo." I learned that she is a cutter and has been for quite some time.

I saw Katie at church last night when I was waiting for Cam. In true Katie fashion, she ran to the car, waving and screaming, "Hi mommy!" (she gave me that "title" last year). She opened the passenger side door and sat down to talk to me for a few minutes.

I lost it. The tears started flowing.

In addition to asking how she was, I told her I heard about what happened. I told her that, although I'm not her mom, if she needs some "mommy" time she needs to call me. I asked how her dad was doing and told her that I loved her - no matter how much she might feel like no one does.

It was probably a four-minute conversation, but I hope it's four minutes that will make a difference in her life.

I don't know how to navigate this issue, but I do know that I cannot lose another person in my life to suicide. I do know that her father has got to be beside himself and that (from what I've heard) he could use some support in this situation too.

I don't know what to do, but I do know I must - and will - do something.


29 August 2010

Sunday Secret



27 August 2010

Worry Wart


Back to school ...

Major calendar events like the first day back to school afford the opportunity to reflect - to analyze success or failure of the previous time period - like summer break.

I was dreading Cam's unsupervised time this summer. The events of last summer were still vivid memories. Fortunately, the combination of two weeks of camps, vacationing with a friend for a week, an XBox 360 in the house, and maybe, just maybe, a little bit of maturing over the past year,kept Cam out of trouble. In fact, I'd even say he had a very successful summer.

Summer anxiety has now been replaced by school anxiety.

I continually remind myself that I have done a "decent" job of giving Cam the skills he needs to make good choices, while remembering that making choices for him gives him little opportunity to refine those skills. It's difficult to allow Cam the freedom to make bad choices, but I know he needs to feel their wrath, to see what doesn't work, so that he can know better and do better the next time. Cam's return to school - a school he will remain at until he navigates the path of good choices - brings a new set of challenges my way.

Cam's school performance these first two days has been less than "stellar" (I hate that word). How do I know? Well, every day Cam is given a Parent/Teacher Communication Form outlining his day - both positive and negative behavior, effort and academics. Yes, it reeks of the communications used in daycare centers for babies and toddlers, and Cam hates that I know this much about his day, but it holds him accountable and keeps me in the loop. Both good things.

But I worry ... boy do I worry! I worry that Cam is not grasping this school placement as an opportunity to succeed. I worry that Cam will never take his education seriously. I worry that the teachers and the staff at the therapeutic day school will tire of Cam, feeding his distorted expectations of adults in his life (they always give up on him). I worry that Cam's performance and behavior in school negatively reflects on my parenting. I worry that I don't know as much as I think I know about his challenges and what he needs to be successful. I worry that a day will come when I have no longer have the "strength" to keep trudging through the muck.

I worry ... boy do I worry ...


25 August 2010

The Single Parent Thing


*Yes! Cam made it to school today!* Now back to blogging ...

I've been meaning to get back to a topic that came up last week in the comments section of my Who Let The Angry Traditional Family Mob Out? post last week, specifically the importance of a two-parent family in the life of a child.

Let's get a few disclaimers out of the way ...

1. When I use the term "two-parent family" in this post, that is a broad description. In my world that means two active (more than every other weekend) adults.

2. A two-parent family is not gender specific.

3. A two-parent family does not require that both parents live under the same roof.

OK! Now that that's out of the way ...

Data indicates that children from a two-parent, married, biological household do the best - "best" most often measured by progress and performance in school, delinquency, substance abuse, depression, employment, and early or casual sexual activity. Recent (but controversial) data also indicates that children born to lesbian couples do just as well, if not better, than the rest of the population.

That said, the social science on child welfare overwhelmingly shows that economic resources are the main determinant of child well-being. Speaking in general terms, the median adjusted per capita incomes for single-parent households is half that of married households and in cohabiting families, the median adjusted income is 65 percent of that of married households. Are there exceptions? Absolutely! But the majority of the population falls within these "norms"

Looking at the above information, it would follow that children from a single parent family, having the same economic resources as a two-parent, married biological family, should fare as well as their peers living in a two-parent, married biological family.

I get that.

The problem?

That is seldom the case.

When I got pregnant with Cam (an unplanned pregnancy) I knew that I was going to be a single parent. Of course I didn't have any idea how much of a single parent I would end up being, but I did know that Cam's father would likely not be around much. I was 30 years old. I was working for a large corporation making just under $40K/year.

I knew this wasn't an ideal situation, but I was financially stable. I would be fine. Being a single parent wasn't that big of a deal. My child would do well - even thrive - without a father around.

Nine months later, when I was headed home from the hospital with 30 staples in my belly and a 10-lb, screaming, crying, shitting machine in my arms, reality hit me right up along side the head. I felt like a butterfly on the grill of a semi-truck.

My single-parentness was magnified by the fact that I had no family within 2500 miles (I was living in Maryland at the time) and no significant social support network in place - something I hadn't considered when I knew I didn't need a second parent to help raise my son.

The first year was hell, and the second year was even worse.

The large corporation that I was working for sold off its Environmental Health & Safety division - the division I worked for. I had to apply for a job with the corporation that acquired my division. A job that came with significant financial incentive, but required that I move half-way across the country with an 18-month old. A job that would pull me away from the minimal social support network I developed in Maryland.

But it's all about economic resources, right?? Wrong!

Look, I'm not stuck on some silly notion that a two-parent family must consist of a married, mom and dad who are biologically linked to their child. That is pure nonsense.

Being a parent is a complex, selfless and seldom rewarding endeavor most of the time. Bringing a child (or continuing to raise a child) in a two-parent family allows for sharing of the muck rather than drowning in the muck - it can be the difference between a child surviving - and a child thriving.

Setting out to be a single parent is selfish - I was selfish - even if you are emotionally and financially stable. Fortunately for the kids, sometimes it works out anyway.


24 August 2010

Negative Nancy Strikes Again!


GAH!! No! Seriously! GAH!!

Cam starts school tomorrow. I am more nervous this year than I have been any other year. I want him to be successful. I want to know that pushing for his placement in the therapeutic day school was the right move. I want him to find just a little joy in learning. I want him to have transportation to school ...

What? That's right! Less than 24 hours before school starts and he still has no transportation.

This was one of my greatest concerns when the district "embraced" Cam's placement back in May. I was assured transportation would be provided (the school is a good 60 minute trip from Podunk). Based on experience, the word of the school district meant very little to me.

When Cam and I went to the intake/orientation meeting at the therapeutic day school on July 21st, I expressed my concerns regarding transportation. The therapeutic day school made a phone call to the district and let me know that I should hear something within two weeks, and if I didn't, I should contact the district special education office.

I heard nothing.

On August August 12th (three weeks later), I emailed the director of special education for the district. She claimed she "didn’t receive a call," that the therapeutic day school "would have called the office secretary to set that up," and that she would "make sure Lenore gets back to you regarding the transportation schedule for Cam."

I did get a call from Lenore. She explained it was just a 24-hour process and I would have transportation information by the end of the day Friday, August 13th.

On August 19th, after hearing nothing, I called Lenore again. She told me I have a new contact - Patty - and transferred my call to her. When I spoke with Patty she told me I would have transportation information by the close of business on August 20th.

Anyone want to guess what happened?

After hearing nothing from anyone at the district, I called again yesterday at about 2PM. I got Patty's voice mail and left a message including my name, my phone number, Cam's full name and my reason for calling. My call was not returned.

The district offices close at 4:30 - at 4:31 I sent another email to the district special education director (copying God and country) explaining my attempts to get information and the complete lack of action on the part of the district. I let her know I'd be showing up on her doorstep this morning and planned on staying until the issue was resolved.

Obviously, the director of special education heard that I am a trained killer. I got an after-hours response from her saying, "I will check into the situation tomorrow morning. Let me see what contacts I can make. It really won’t be necessary to come to central office on the 25th because the transportation is not run from that office. We do the special education transportation out of the PPS office at the High School."

Ha! Sure! Send me to a building far, FAR away from where you work. I get it ...

The special education director went on to say, "I do know that Patty was directed to work on all the schools that started up already and most likely is working with the taxi company on Cam’s transportation now. I will contact you via email tomorrow and Patty will be calling you with the times."

What do you guys think? Should I hold my breath??

I think what irritated me the most about this recent exchange with the special education director was the opening line of her email.

I am very sorry to hear of your communication issues.

Really? My communication issues?? I don't have any communication issues - I've been communicating quite well, assuming communication consists of me following up FOUR times after being told FOUR times that I would receive information on a specific day and hearing nothing.

I've got an idea! How 'bout you step up to the plate and apologize for the fact that your transportation people have clearly dropped the ball? How 'bout you apologize for their lack of communication. You are very sorry to hear of my communication issues??

GAH!! No! Seriously! GAH!!

*UPDATE* I received a call from the area special education director this morning. She assured me a transportation request was submitted at 9AM and that she would call me before she leaves today (4:30pm) She then explained to me how my expectations were unreasonable - that this is the way it's done. That's when I told her it would have been nice had someone explained that to me rather than telling me they'd get back to me the following day just to get me off the phone. *shakes head*

*UPDATE 2* Husband called me at work this morning (asking for favors - no, not sexual favors) and I shared my frustrations with him. He told me to talk to our attorney - to have our attorney call the school district - and that he (husband) would pay for the attorney *gasp*

*UPDATE 3* At 2:15PM I received a phone call from the district detailing Cam's transportation arrangements. If you see a large plume cloud in Illinois at 7:00 AM CDT tomorrow, you'll know the taxi didn't show up.


23 August 2010

I Can See Through You


One of the things that I have always been proud of in writing this little blog of mine is my transparency. I use real names - I post true (yet often embarrassing and humiliating) stories of child rearing and life - I rant - I am opinionated - I piss people off - sometimes I make people cry.

And let's not forget the secrets. I share secrets that I hope other people can identify with - secrets that "prove" I am human - secrets that I am tired of carrying around. Secrets that, kept to myself, are little more than one more piece of me pretending to be something I'm not. I am no longer willing to live like that.

I've always been aware of my visibility on this blog. My visibility can, and does, make me vulnerable. It's a chance I'm willing to take to be "real" in a world that often isn't.

There are some of you out there who blog anonymously - who choose to use fictitious names - who give your kids cute little IDs like "Snowflake" and "Puppy Dog Tails". Some of you have a full page devoted to your "Cast of Characters" to help readers navigate your posts.

I understand why people choose that route. For some it is safe - the people you know in real life can't judge you if they don't really know who you are. For some there are professional concerns - public visibility requires that you keep your private life private. Some of you just have no balls. *shrugs* I respect your choice to remain anonymous and I try not to judge (too much). It's just not how I want to be.

Up until yesterday, I would have told you that I pride myself on hiding in plain sight (and yes, I did steal that from one of Jay's tweets over the weekend) ... that is until I was unexpectedly "called out" on my Sunday Secret via email. I'll be honest - I about shit my pants.

I considered pulling the post back into draft. I have other secrets just waiting in the wings. I knew most of you would never even know a switch had occurred ... but I would know.

I thought about back-tracking. I could make up a story - claim it was a misunderstanding or that it was taken out of context. I'd have probably been able to talk my way around it ... but I would know what I had done.

I even toyed with the idea of going private (not the first time I've considered that). After all, I'm quite experienced with the cut and run move - it's how I keep from getting hurt in personal relationships. Most of you would understand if I went private. Many of you have even suggested I go private. No one would care ... but I would care.

In the end, I decide to go with ... FUCK IT!

I did change the photo used in the secret as there was a slim possibility the text of the secret could be misinterpreted by someone familiar with the facility in the photo, causing my secret to have unintended, negative repercussions for an entire group of people, but the text of the secret remained (stubbornly) in place.

This blog is about me. It is the one place in my life where it is always about me, and I'll be damned if I am willing to give that up for anyone! It's my journey. It's where I am right now. That cannot be censored.

In the end, I spout off far too much about personal accountability and integrity to compromise my own. I won't do it, and I'm willing to "pay the price" for that decision.


22 August 2010

Sunday Secret



20 August 2010

Friday Wrap-Up


We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

Not sure what happened this week - I've got tons of ideas for blog posts - just couldn't find the discipline to sit down and put those thoughts together. I'd think it had something to do with Cam returning to school, and attempting to adjust to a new schedule, but he doesn't go back to school until next Wednesday ... maybe ...


Cam's new school is about an hour away and the district is providing transportation (i.e. taxi service door-to-door). I hadn't heard anything on the transportation schedule so I sent an email to the district explaining my concern.

I received a phone call from Leonore shortly after sending the email. They were putting the order in on Thursday - they would get back to me Friday with the details. I asked who I should call if I didn't hear anything on Friday and got the, "Oh! You'll hear back on Friday. You won't need to follow-up!" Ummm ... yeah ...

Yesterday was the one week mark and I have heard nothing. I called Leonore and suddenly she wasn't the person I needed to talk to - she transfers me to Patty.

Patty insists this isn't a quick process - that Leonore gave me incorrect information a week ago - but that she will have the transportation information for me Friday (today). Anyone want to take any bets??

Accountability seems to be as elusive as the yellow-bellied sap-sucker these days.


I created chaos at work this week and - for a period of time - thought I might have pushed a little too far.

I am the regional accountant for our western division branches (Northern California, Southern California and Arizona). My AZ branch has always been a thorn in my side. I've got an incompetent bookkeeper there, and a General Manager who has an odd (inappropriate?) relationship with her. She continues to screw up - to negatively impact the success of the western division - and no one will do anything about it.

This has been going on for 3+ years. It came to a head on Tuesday, and resulted in closed door conference calls involving the Controller, the CFO, the VP and the GM in AZ. I was a bit stressed.

True to form, no one has given me any status update, but I do know that my bookkeeper in AZ did exactly what she was supposed to do yesterday, and that was my goal.

What happened to people honoring their word? Doing the right thing rather than the easy thing? Addressing conflict and performance in a direct manner rather than bitching about it behind closed doors and doing nothing?

*shakes head*


Donations for Boo and her family continue to come in. Thanks again to all of you who have supported her with donations and continued thoughts and prayers.

Just a reminder that Nitebyrd is donating 100% of the proceeds from any/all sales in her Etsy Shop to Boo and her family through 25th.

I am a huge fan of her Designer Upcycle/Recycle Tote Bags. Not only are they adorable, but they are quite practical too!

Clicking on the banner below will take you directly to Nitebyrd's shop


17 August 2010


I'm over at Lynn's place today!

Click the pic to find me today and every Tuesday ...


16 August 2010

Who Let The Angry Traditional Family Mob Out?


Seems Jennifer Aniston and Bill O'Reily had a "moment" recently ... kind of ...

In an interview promoting her summer comedy "The Switch" (about artificial insemination shenanigans) Jennifer Aniston had the audacity to say, "Women are realizing more and more that you don't have to settle, they don't have to fiddle with a man to have that child."

Cue the angry traditional family mob, led by their fearless leader, Bill O'Reilly with Gretchen Carlson and Margaret Hoover nipping at his heels.

Gretchen Carlson insists that Aniston's comments weren't because of her movie (Aniston portrays a single mother having a child through artificial insemination) but because of her own personal "failings".

"No, this is about the fact that in her personal life, she's a 41-year-old single woman who has never been married and probably has not ruled out the chance of having a baby."

Ummm ... there was that Brad Pitt guy, but who's keeping tabs?

Then, Fox News Analyst Margaret Hoover says that Aniston's character is "suspiciously similar" to Aniston herself (i.e. same age, single woman, etc.)

Really? The movie is about a 40-something single female and they cast a 41-year old single female for the part. My! That is "suspicious."

O'Reilly claims Aniston is "throwing a message out to 12-year-olds and 13-year-olds that hey, you don't need a dad! Dad ... eh ... you know."

Well, the movie is rated PG-13. I suppose if, as a parent, you didn't believe that was a message you wanted your 12-year old to hear, you could ... well ... be a PARENT and tell them "NO!"

Look, statistics show, time and time again, that children growing up in two-parent homes are, on average, more successful (The Daily Beast published a great ARTICLE outlining some of these statistics).

Personally, I feel it is quite selfish to intentionally have a child knowing that child will be raised in a single-parent household (although I feel differently about adoption by single parents and haven't been able to resolve that glaring inconsistency), but I don't believe that Jennifer Aniston's comments were, as O’Reilly called them, "destructive to our society." It's Jennifer Aniston for God's sake!

It's been almost 20 years since Vice President Dan Quayle denounced Candice Bergen's "Murphy Brown" character for having a child out of wedlock. Talk about stuck in a rut. Maybe O'Reily, his angry traditional family mob, and Quayle should sit down, have a Walter's, and remissness about the good old days of women's suffrage.


15 August 2010

Sunday Secret



13 August 2010



Last week, there was a bit of a brew-ha-ha in my immediate blog-sphere. Surprisingly it wasn't me who initiated it this time (I was more like collateral damage) but it could have been me. In fact, it has been me in the past.

What happened? Well, Matt-Man had the audacity - as a non-New Yorker - to write a post about the Mosque at (near) Ground Zero. If that wasn't bad enough (because we all know New Yorkers have special privilege when it comes to being affected by 9-11, and Matt-Man is many things but he is not a New Yorker) he quoted a comment left by Karen, used it in a "less-than-flattering" manner ... and ... he didn't give her a heads up.

There was a time not so long ago when I would have said that Matt-Man exercised bad blogging manners ... and I'd have been wrong. *gasp*

What?? How can that be?? Well, I've written several posts where I have quoted and/or just plain "called out" other bloggers on their opinions and comments (HERE , HERE , HERE and HERE ... for starters). Some of these posts I gave the bloggers/commenters no warning. Some of them I gave a heads up and mentioned they would likely not agree with my opinions. I've used parts of posts/comments without referencing the writer. Hell, I've even offered to let bloggers/commenters READ THE POST before I publish it (they've always declined) and you know what? With very few exceptions (Jayman and Matt-Man come to mind), I've gotten the same response each and every time. Those I disagree with are PISSED.

See, this isn't about good blogging manners, it's about having a differing opinion. When I blog about the [ego-stroking adjective] post that [blogger name] wrote, I get nothing but appreciation and adoration. But have a differing opinion? And make it public? Then use the blogger/commenter's words as part of my argument? That will get one removed from the Christmas card list, unfollowed on twitter, blog removed from Reader AND unfriended on facebook.

What was my part in the Matt-Man/Karen brew-ha-ha? I didn't stick up for Karen. Her feelings were hurt. I get that, but I didn't feel what Matt-Man did was wrong and I agreed with his opinion. I don't think Karen's reaction to what Matt-Man wrote would have been any different had he sent her an email saying "I'm using your comment in a blog post tomorrow" (although she believes it would have). Experience tells me the reaction would have been the same - Karen would still have been PISSED.

Why? Because this is about people and how they react to opinions different than their own - especially when they are held accountable for their own opinions in a public forum.

Before anyone starts screaming "HYPOCRITE" at their computer monitor, yes, I have over-reacted to a blog post or two (or many) in the past. I will definitely probably do it again at some point in the future. What I hope I've learned though is that it is far better to reach out to the person behind the blog and ASK what their intention was rather than assuming it was meant to harm, belittle or embarrass in a public forum. Hopefully they'll have the gonads to be truthful in their response (not always the case).

You see, when all is said and done, Aunt Becky from Mommy Wants Vodka sums it up quite well:

I don’t owe The Internet anything.

I can help my friends with whatever they need, but I don’t owe anybody anything. There’s a difference there, you see? It may be a fine line, but there is a line.

I would argue it's not really a fine line - that this particular line is drawn with a Sharpie Chisel Tip, not a 0.5mm Pentel P225.

I don't owe The Internet anything.

Better yet? The Internet doesn't owe me anything, and it's quite liberating to (finally) embrace that!


11 August 2010

Boo Update


I've been a little overwhelmed with the amazing outpouring of support for Boo and her family, but I did want to take a moment to share some things with all of you.

You'll notice that I added a "Prayers for Boo" button to my sidebar. This button was generously put together by Singlemama CC and, when clicked, will lead readers to my original post telling the story of Boo's family. It's also a reminder that thoughts and prayers (if you are the praying type) are a very important part of what we can all do for Boo and her family.

If you'd like the html code for the button, leave a comment or contact me via email and I'll be happy to send it to you.


I received an email from Boo yesterday that said, in part:

I can't begin to describe how much the love and support of everyone in my life has helped me through this. It's the hardest damn thing I've ever had to face.

She is doing her best to stay busy - to stay focused - continuing to be strong for her girls while mourning the loss of Moo and D'oh and promises to keep us updated as time and emotions allow.


Like so many of you, Nitebyrd was looking for a creative way to help support Boo. She graciously offered to donate 100% of the proceeds from any/all sales in her Etsy Shop between now and August 25th.

Clicking on the banner below will take you directly to Nitebyrd's shop


Again, thank all of you so much for your thoughts, prayers and donations. I will leave the donation button active through the end of August. You can access it at any time by clicking on the "Prayers for Boo" button on the top of my side bar.

You guys are AWESOME!


10 August 2010

What You See Is What You Get?


I'm over at Lynn's place today!

Click the pic to find me today and every Tuesday ...


Please consider making a donation to help support blogger Boo and her children after the tragic house fire that took the lives of two of her children.


09 August 2010

One Of Our Own


Thursday's HNT was an emotional one for me. One of our own, Boo (formerly Boo(duh)) - a fellow parent, blogger and HNT-er - a dear friend of mine years before I started blogging - shared some shattering news.

Her short, but poignant post read:


On Monday July 19, there was a fire at my ex's home. We lost Moo and D'oh. Deedles is my hero, because she got Ganigan, Beans, and herself out of the house. She did everything right. I'll tell the full story later. Right now, I have too much to do and think about.

I lost my babies.


This is Boo's family. This will always be Boo's family.

However two of these children are no longer physically with the family.

Moo (age 9)

And D'oh (age 3)

Boo shared with me that, although they have received an outpouring of support and donations, as I'm sure you can imagine, their needs are many. Donations received to date have been split between Boo (the primary residence of the children) and her ex (where the fire took place).

Boo is not currently working and is not sure when she'll be emotionally ready to return to work. In addition to the overwhelming emotional tragedy of this loss, the financial impact is a very real concern every day.

I have set up a PayPal account in Boo's name for donations for her children. If you have a PayPal account - or would like to donate using a credit or debit card - just click on the button below. 100% of what you give goes directly to Boo. I realize these are difficult economic times for many of us. I ask that you give what you can - no donation is too small - to ease one stressor from this family's list of many.
PayPal Button Removed

If you are not comfortable with a cash donation, but would still like to help out in some other way, please email me at dana.luann@gmail.com and we will work out the logistics of your donation.

If you have a blog and would like to link to this post, I encourage you to do so.

If there is one thing I know, it's that the blogging community has amazing strength during times like these. Let's remind Boo that although she is not yet in a place where she is ready to talk about this in a public forum, we stand strong - holding her up - during this unimaginable time in her life.


08 August 2010

Sunday Secret



06 August 2010

Friday Wrap-Up


I had several people contact me regarding the blogger mentioned in yesterday's HNT - offering to help with anything the family might need. I was extremely touched by that kindness and will keep all of you informed should there be any future needs.

Fortunately, it sounds like their immediate physical needs have been taken care of. My goal is to insure their long-term emotional needs are taken care of.


A strange thing happened at work yesterday afternoon. The payroll administrator (i.e. the receptionist who got one hell of a promotion) and the HR Director (i.e. the only person the company could find willing to work in Podunk who speaks fluent Spanish and English) called me into the HR office. Why yes, it was an "Oh Shit!" moment.

As it turns out, they were having a difference of opinion and wanted to ask me a couple of questions regarding policy changes my employer is considering.

Would I mind having my lunch reduced from 60 minutes to 30 minutes? Ummm ... hello?? You're going to take 30 minutes of paid time away from me and you are wondering if that would be an issue?? Hell yes it would be an issue!

The second question requires a little explanation. My pay designator is Salaried Non-Exempt. It's a really strange pay category - one not used many places. What it means is that if I work 37.5 - 40 hours I receive 40 hours of pay. If I work more than 40 hours, I am still eligible for overtime. In other words, it's a glorified hourly position.

The HR Director asks me if I would mind having to work 40 hours/week, rather than the 37.5 hours/week currently required. My question? Are you going to adjust my pay to compensate for those 2.5 hours per week? Well, no.

Now I realize HR Director isn't a numbers guy, so I explain to him that adding those 2.5 hours/week to my work schedule, with no additional pay, results in a 6.3% pay DECREASE - that I would be making less money than when I was first hired 2-1/2 years ago. Yes ... yes I would mind.

I am amazed at how completely out of touch the HR Director is with employees. He's either an idiot, or believes we are idiots who wouldn't realize we were getting a massage without the happy ending.


I woke up this morning to the freezer door WIDE OPEN. I'm not sure what happened, but since there was a bag of broccoli cheese soup on the floor, I'm pretty sure there was a whacked-out, orange and white cat named Scooter involved.

Unfortunately, it had been open for quite some time. Everything inside had thawed and was semi warm including 2 lbs of hamburger, 2 lbs of pork chops and a 5 lb bag of chicken breasts. I considered taking my chances on the meat but then figured the health care costs for treating E. coli would be much higher than the cost of replacing the meat.

Still ... it was tempting ... as I put everything in a big black trash bag I felt like I was throwing a $20 bill in a bonfire.

I'll be picking up a child proofing lock for the freezer sometime this weekend.


No big plans this weekend which is kind of nice. As we get closer to the school year starting up again the routine begins to take shape.

That is a good thing!


04 August 2010

HNT - Disbelief


It was news one never expects.

A dear friend and wonderful mother. A thinker. A dreamer. A blogger and a former HNT-er. An inspiration during some of my most difficult times. It was a short blog post:

On Monday July 19, there was a fire at my ex's home. We lost Moo and D'oh. Deedles is my hero, because she got Ganigan, Beans, and herself out of the house. She did everything right. I'll tell the full story later. Right now, I have too much to do and think about.

I lost my babies.

Two of her five children are gone - her 9 year old son and her 3 year old daughter. I sat in disbelief as I read the post, wanting to somehow reach through the screen to physically comfort her and offer her strength. Thinking of how petty my own concerns have been recently. Wondering how this could possibly be any part of a just and loving God's plan.

*I have intentionally NOT linked to her blog as I don't know how she would respond to the sudden and unexpected number of visitors during this incredibly difficult time*


The i's Have It!


I had an epiphany when watching Roy Wood Jr. on Last Comic Standing Monday night. In his set, he mentioned how "white folks" should be required to wear a wristband - or have a hand stamp - if they are "black folk" friendly. As he said, "We want to like you, but we just can't tell you from the bad guys!"

I'm thinking this is EXACTLY what I need for my Twitter relationships - color coded twibbons that identify just what type of follower someone is. A visual cue, if you will, alerting me to the social norms and expectations that are reasonable for that follower.

No more guessing, "Is this twitter follower just trying to get free publicity and will unfollow if I don't RT them? Or is this a Twitter relationship with the potential to grow into a 'real life' friendship?" No more hurt feelings when what you think is an iBFF turns into an iQuaintance, or worse yet, runs like an iFrenemy in the middle of the night (similar to the Baltimore Colts).

I propose we use the following color code designators/definitions for all Twitter relationships:


This relationship has evolved over a long period of time, through multiple social media venues and often in person. Through mutual respect, trust, and openness, you feel absolutely comfortable sharing private information with the iBFF including your real phone number and street address. When something happens in your life - good or bad - your iBFF is one of the first people you text or DM. You work hard to maintain this bond through reciprocity, accessibility, empathy and compassion. You would never unfollow an iBFF without talking to them face-to-face, or at the very least, on the telephone.


This relationship is still in the beginning stages. You are starting to trust them and enjoy the friendship that seems to be blossoming from your tweets and DMs. Loyalty isn’t guaranteed, nor expected, in an iFriend relationship. You might give this person a PO Box to send something to, and you'd arrange for a meeting in a public place, but you'd never consider giving them your real phone number. An iFriend can become an iBFF or an iFrenemy in the span of 140 characters or less so be careful! iFriends will often unfollow without discussion, but everyone will notice.


This is a random person that follows you and may be active in some of the same cyber communities as you are. You don’t really interact with this follower frequently, but when you do, the banter is casual and friendly. You know very little about each others personal lives, and that's fine - you don’t really care to! iQuaintances can become iFriends over time, but that is a rarity as these followers include celebrities and news agencies. Expectations are low and unfollowing can occur at any time, painlessly and without notice.


This is a person with whom you may have a lot of common followers/cyber contacts but who also has a random dark side. Expect an iFrenemy to continue haunting old stomping grounds and to never completely go away. The iFrenemy can often be found searching the Twitter stream and talking to iBFF's behind your back. Know too, that you will likely become the iFrenemy's iFrenemy. It is just the natural progression of this relationship. It is recommended, for your own safety and sanity, that you limit yourself to only one iFrenemy at any given time.

Simple, right?? The way I see it Twitter can do away with those silly lists and instead offer color coded twibbons, allowing us to appropriately mark the status of followers based on their iStatus, eliminating Twitter drama and keeping Twitter expectations exactly where they should be *cough*verylow*cough*.

We would have to come up with a special twibbon color for @Jayman3768 's (a.k.a. Cynical Bastard) stripper followers since there really should be an iStripper designator ... I'm thinking pink might do nicely.


03 August 2010

"I saw a subliminal advertising executive, but only for a second."
~ Stephen Wright


I'm over at Lynn's place today!

Click the pic to find me today and every Tuesday ...


02 August 2010

After the Secret


So, how many of you saw this secret yesterday and thought, "What kind of mother doesn't miss her child?"

I closed comments for a reason - I wasn't ready to hear the things I thought I might hear. For goodness sakes! What kind of mother sends her kid away for 3 weeks and doesn't miss him? Me.

Parenthood is a strange relationship, made even more strange when a child requires "more than usual" attention and advocacy. That constant care, worry and emotional upheaval takes its toll. Having a break from that - knowing that your child is in an environment where those responsibilities belong to someone else for a short period of time - is a relief. A huge relief.

Of course there is always the possibility you'll get that call - the one from the folks that can quit should things become more than they care to handle. I can't make that call. There are no "life lines" in parenting.

Oh, but that's not what parenthood is supposed to be, is it? As a parent (especially a mother) your child(ren) are supposed to be the priority in your life, and let someone think - even for a second - that they are not, and all hell breaks loose. Judging is always easier than helping.

I'm fairly certain that I get more comments on my parenting posts than I do any other post. People feel an obligation - a calling if you will - to tell you what you're doing wrong. They must save the child(ren).

What? You let your kid have Rice Krispy Treats and Mountain Dew for breakfast? Don't you know how important nutrition is? You don't check the assignment notebook and provide a quiet, TV-free area for your kid to do homework? It will be your fault when they fail! You argue with the teachers, making "unreasonable" demands of their time? Who do you think you are??

Your child is away from home more than he is at home this summer and you don't miss him?? He deserves better than that!

Maybe ... or maybe I'm just human ... doing the best that I know how to do and hoping I don't screw up too bad.


01 August 2010

Sunday Secret