29 September 2010

If It's Not One Thing, It's Several


I watched TLC's Sister Wives this week. I'm not usually a fan of TLC's "over the top" shows - in fact I get stabby just hearing the names Kate Gosselin and Michelle Duggar - but Sister Wives? I've become a groupie.

I don't think polygamy is for me, but that stance has little to do with the institution (laws) of marriage and much to do with what I perceive to be the inequity of power in a polygamist relationship. I don't care if Kody Brown has 15 wives, I just wouldn't want to be one of them.

I do have a fascination with polyamory - the practice, desire, or acceptance of cultivating more than one intimate relationship at a time with the full knowledge and felt consent of everyone involved - consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy.

I know I have at least one reader who has been a part of this lifestyle (and is no longer), and several readers who are practicing swingers (a lifestyle I used to think was completely different than polyamory, but now realize shares some similarities). I believe the idea of loving more than one person at the same time is far more common than many think, but I also believe most put their "societal norm filter" on and quickly condemn those who do.

I know the idea that love doesn't have to be specific to your one, life--long partner disturbs some of you and I'm OK with your judgment opinion, but think about it for a minute.

As I watched Sister Wives, I was impressed with the sense of community the Brown's appear to have. The kids work together for the common good of the family, the wives work together for the common good of the family. Kody? Yeah ... that would be my sticking point with polygamy. There is that power shift to a male dominated family.

An ideal polyamorous relationship offers that same sense of community - that same cooperative environment - without the power shift. Yes, I did say ideal and I realize finding that ideal would be challenging, but ... but ... oh hell! Let me have my fantasy!

One of the things I find bothersome about Sister Wives is this concept that they must keep their polygamist lifestyle secret (don't get me started on the inconsistency of having a show on TLC and keeping the lifestyle secret). The kids live in a bubble - attending a community school with other children of polygamist families. They've learned not to talk with anyone outside of the polygamist community.

That is sad.

When are we, as a society, going to accept that love and commitment are not one-size-fits-all propositions? That people can (and do) love differently? That embracing differences is far more constructive that fighting or "tolerating" them?

Maybe the answer is to give all people the "special" legal rights that only traditional marriage provides - just do away with marriage entirely.

Somehow, I don't think moral anarchy would ensue.


27 September 2010

Be Real


I don't read a lot of mega blogs - blogs with thousands of readers that often tip the 500+ comments every single day. One of the reasons I stay away from them is that they intimidate me. I like to feel special - like if I comment someone will actually read my comment and see me as a person rather than another hit that will generate additional revenue on their blog.

This weekend I found myself on a mega blog. I saw this button and curiosity got the best of me. I clicked (you should too - after you finish reading my post).

The post discusses the secrets we keep - the image we struggle to maintain - and the benefit of being real. Although the entire post touched my heart, there was one section that hit me particularly hard:

"Perfection" is a woman who is so overwhelmed that she thinks about killing herself daily. "Perfection" makes it so that she never will because of the things people will think if she does. How could I make my suicide look like an accident? If I kill myself, I don't want anybody knowing that I ever had any problems. She never stops to look at why she wants to do it, because healing means admitting imperfection.

My "perfection" would read:

"Perfection" is a mother who is so overwhelmed that she thinks about killing herself daily. "Perfection" makes it so that she never will because of the things her son will think if she does. She wonders how she could make her suicide look like an accident. And if someone in her family would be willing and able to give her son all that he needs. She knows that people think she is so strong, yet she cries - alone - most nights.

That is my struggle - the one I've stayed away from sharing because there is a limit to my "realness" on this blog and in my life. The fear of judgment - of clearly showing that I am NOT strong - I am weak and selfish in my thinking - overwhelms me.

As Dan (Single Dad Laughing) states in his post:

The cure is so simple.

Be real.

Be real. Think about that. Be real. How many of you can say that you share your vulnerabilities as much as you share your "image"? Be honest with yourself.

I've bad mouthed readers Snugs and DoggyBloggy on more than one occasion. I think their comments are often vile and meant to take advantage of known vulnerabilities. But you know what? At least they are being real. They aren't blowing sunshine up my ass. I believe their motivations are less than admirable, but I know where they are coming from. They are real ... at least in their comments ...

That isn't true of all of my commenters, or in all of the blogs I read, and is certainly not true of many of the people in my "real" life.

Anyone want to spread "Real"? Leave a comment below sharing just how perfect you aren't (I've opened up the anonymous comment option for this post), or leave a comment over on Single Dad Laughing 's post. Let everyone know what you struggle with. Tell a sad or dark secret. Get vulnerable.

Be real.

Real is what makes us all human.


26 September 2010

Sunday Secret



24 September 2010

Friday Wrap-Up (Loose Ends Edition)


I missed my blogiversary! How the hell does that happen?? I mean, people pay attention to hose things (*NOTE* I'm leaving this typo here to irritate the shit out of Mike who enjoys sending me emails pointing out my spelling/grammatical errors. If I "wrote" like he does (pictures and links only) I suppose I'd make fewer errors) - making sure everyone knows how long they've been blogging and how many posts they've put out there - having contests to pad their reader numbers.

Me? Fuck! I just let it slide without even a mention ... until now ...

Since September 12th, 2007 (THREE YEARS), I've manged to put up 893 posts. That's a lot of driveling bullshit ... with a few HNT's thrown in!

There will be a blogiversary give-a-way, but this time I'm going to secure the goodies before having the drawing, 'cause we all remember what happened last year!

If your curious, [THIS] is where it all started.


The apartment?? Ahhhh ... when is anything ever easy?

I got my hair cut Friday during lunch. The plan was to turn in my apartment application after my hair cut.

Of course, I've got to talk to my stylist about the new place (I knew she'd have the dirt on the landlord) and she says, "You know, my dad has a condo in town that's been up for sale for quite some time. It's vacant and he might be willing to rent it out, rent with option to buy, or even offer owner financing on it. I could show it to you Sunday."

Ummm ... yes please!

It's PERFECT, and almost identical to the townhome I sold in Minnesota when Cam and I moved out here ... right down to the deck and the 2-car garage.

Of course, I then have to go to the local dive bar in Podunk to talk to my Stylist's dad about it because ... well, he owns the dive bar too and it's the most likely place to find him.

I tell him about my interest, and he tells me what he wants. We weren't exactly on the same sheet of music, but we were at least playing the same song.

There are a couple of problems (reasonable financing, availability to rent, realtor contract, etc.), but those will go away in about 5 months. I've decided to wait it out in the Podunk ghetto for the time being and see where we stand in 5 months.


I've neglected to publicly thank all of you who offered your prayers, thoughts and donations for Boo and her family. This is, in part, because I wanted to be able to give you an update. Now I can ... actually, Boo can.

Boo put together an amazing post detailing her Nightmare. You can read it [HERE]

She's also back to "regular" blogging, and although some of you might think that odd - that grief doesn't allow for trivial things like blogging - I will flat out tell you that you are wrong ... and she is proof!

You can read Boo's most recent blog entry [HERE]

Words cannot express the outpouring of love and support I felt from all of you. I tend to be a bit cynical on the internet - far more cautious than I might be in real life - and was so grateful that so many of you were not! In doing something for Boo, I was given a gift myself.

Y'all really are amazing!


22 September 2010

Corporal Punishment in Schools - or How a Creative Teacher Got in Trouble


*NOTE* The original post detailing this issue was pulled from the blog it was published on due to concerns regarding privacy (attention from a national news agency). I have permission from the blogger who posted it to re-post (and gently edit) it here.
My re-posting has been reviewed and approved by said blogger (whose husband *is* the teacher). Due to the unusual circumstances, I will not be linking to that blogger.


Dictionary.com defines corporal punishment as:

1. Law . physical punishment, as flogging, inflicted on the body of one convicted of a crime: formerly included the death penalty, sentencing to a term of years, etc. 2. physical punishment, as spanking, inflicted on a child by an adult in authority.

Monday, a teacher in a K-8 public school was called into the district's Legal Department for assigning a punishment to his students that is categorized as corporal punishment.

Have your attention?
Wonder what he did?
Have visions of spanking?

Nope! He made them sing, or recite a poem, to regain text books, musical instruments, notebooks, backpacks or other items that belonged in their locker, but were left behind in his classroom.

The non-PE teacher equivalent of running laps. Which, by the way, is also defined as corporal punishment.

This teacher has a huge classroom, a portion of it houses lockers for the middle school students. All 100 middle school students tromp in and out of his room between classes to access their lockers.

According to the teacher, there are days when you cannot even walk into his classroom because there are book bags, lunches, coats, sweatshirts, etc. all over the floor. You know how a teenager keeps their bedroom? Yeah ... that's what they were doing to his classroom.

Enter in creative discipline. The rule is simple. If you don't put your stuff in your locker, the teacher assumes it is lost and puts it in the lost and found pile. If it is a text book, binder, notebook or instrument, he puts it in his pile - and you have to earn it back.

The teacher used to assign essays, but switched it up to memorizing and reciting a poem or singing a song. Last year, his kids thought it was funny and named the teacher's pile "The Glee" pile.

Everyone has had stuff in the pile. If a kid was too overwhelmed by the idea of singing, the teacher would work out an alternative.

The teacher did have other options. He could have given detention, resulting in his loss of all of his before and after school planning, and lunch period, to supervise the detention. Instead, he decided his creative punishment was a better fit for the crime.

It was not a big deal. It got the student's attention and deterred them from doing it again.

Best of all, the parents were happy. They were not paying replace things like text books, band instruments and other high dollar items.

Until this year. Ten days into school, and a parent decides that rather than talking to the teacher, or the principal, he'd go straight to the legal department.

The teacher was officially told he could not use essay writing, poem memorization or singing to punish the kids ... or else he loses his job ...

The teacher has no recourse if kids leave their belongings all over his room, treating the classroom like it is their bedroom. He is expected to pick up after them. Nothing else.

The principal isn't happy either. The only option his middle school teachers have for punishment now is to send the kids to the office. This is far from ideal as the goal is to enable the teachers to solve minor discipline problems themselves. Now, in addition to everything else, the principal will be tasked with handing out punishments, or not punishing at all.

Anyone else bothered by this one?

Have we really become a society where making kids write an essay as punishment is the equivalent of spanking or caning or flogging?

Or has this gone too far?

*FUNNY FOOTNOTE* (I love this teacher)* The student whose parents raised a stink? She came to school Tuesday and told the other students that she got her parents to fix the problem. The students walk into the classroom ready to challenge the teacher on the rule.

The teacher apologized. "Admitted" that for the past three years, he has been administering an illegal punishment. That he met with the legal department who explained to him what he was doing did not follow district guidelines. The students are all smiles until he let them them know that now he is going to punish them within school guidelines. First offense for leaving your belongings outside of your locker is detention. Second offense is a longer detention. Third offense may include detention but could also be a suspension.

I'm thinking all of the students would rather be singing now!


21 September 2010

File Allocation Table? Or Just Plain FAT File?


I'm over at Lynn's place today!

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


20 September 2010

Are You Hungry?


According to Feeding America, one in six Americans will struggle with hunger each day - one in four of those are children. Most of you are familiar with my own struggles providing nutritious meals for Cam and I the first few months we moved out on our own. Yes, I could fill our bellies, but nutritional value was severely lacking.

Food banks, although a valuable resource for many, don't always work for the families who need them most. Here in the more rural part of the U.S., just getting to a food bank is impossible for many, requiring a drive of 20-30 miles with no access to public transportation. Food banks are open just once a month, sometimes for only a few hours and often distribute expired foods. Most food banks do not offer fresh fruits or vegetables and protein sources are few and far between.

September is Hunger Action Month across the the United States. Yes, the month is almost over, but there are still things you can do to help out.

Visit Feeding America's Hunger Action Month website. You'll find links there for GO LOCAL opportunities, how to SPREAD THE WORD and FAMILY ACTIVITIES that can help kids understand hunger.

Yesterday marked the beginning of Share our Strength's annual Great American Dine Out. From September 19-25, you can help connect at-risk children and their families with nutritious food, simply by dining out at your favorite restaurants. To find a local participating restaurant [CLICK HERE] (Due to high volume, the restaurant locator website is experiencing intermittent technical difficulties - please be patient).

Take the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP - formerly food stamps) Hunger challenge. Feeding Illinois is running this challenge - officially - this week. I will be participating the week of October 3-9 and blogging my experiences.

SNAP Hunger Challenge Rules
  • Spend no more than $4.50 per day in total, per person, for all meals including beverages.
  • Don't use food already on hand unless you deduct the value from your weekly amount. Salt and pepper don't count, but all other seasonings, cooking oils, condiments, snacks and drinks do.
  • Don't accept food from family, friends, coworkers and others.
  • Try to include fresh produce and healthy protein each day.
  • Keep track of expenses, food choices, etc. and share your experiences on your blog
We live in a country with plenty of food for all, and yet more than 49 million Americans frequently struggle to find enough nutritious food to feed themselves and their families.

It's time to change that.


19 September 2010

Sunday Secret


If you missed it live, you can listen to it on Jay and Matt's I'm With Stupid BTR show archives - "Yom Kippur Me Another One" (about 36 minutes in).

It was also addressed [HERE]

If I'm going to "atone" for this one, I need to put it out here, and so I am ...

And yes, I have been able to meet and visit with many male bloggers (married and single) without succumbing to "temptation". Although this was a terribly bad choice on my part, it was the exception - not the rule - don't get any silly ideas.


17 September 2010

Friday Wrap-Up


Hell of a week this week. I seem to be having a difficult time getting back into the swing of Cam's schedule and its impact on my drinking schedule. It's not like I don't have enough time to do things, I just don't feel like doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. I'm craving flexibility and spontaneity.

Yeah, I said that! Something is terribly perverted in the universe ...


Cam had a "Come to Jeebus" moment at school this week. When confronted with overwhelming emotions he did what he does best - attempted to bail. Unfortunately, school policy doesn't allow for escape so he went with his secondary coping mechanism - full on football mode.

When staff attempted to block him from leaving the building, he decided to see if his linebacker skills were in proper working order. Lacking a nose guard or tackle to help him out, 5 staff members took him down ... to the floor.

He was banged up pretty bad. I was devastated when I got the call from the school. And then I was reminded of why I pushed so hard for this placement.

Yes, there were consequences, but the biggest concern was why did his happen. What skills can we teach Cam that will help him cope with the sensory overload. It was a defining moment.


I'm putting in an application for a new (to me) apartment today. It's a 2-bedroom, similar in size to what Cam and I are in now, but is in a triplex (fewer neighbors), has a garage (I don't) and has a washer dryer hookup in the basement (no more Sunday morning trips to the laundromat)! Best part about it? It's $25 a month less than what I'm paying now.

Cam is not happy. Change is bad. Moving is really bad.

Did I mention this apartment is 4 blocks away from where we are now?


Are you feeling guilty for a year of sin? Have a craving for a bagel with cream cheese and lox? Tune in to I'm With Stupid Sunday morning, 11:00 AM EDT on Blog Talk Radio. Jay and Matt will be dishing up a little atonement with a side order of ridicule.

You might even hear a live Sunday Secret ... maybe.


16 September 2010

Don't Forget The Kids!


What is a family?

Dictionary.com lists 15 definitions for the noun form of the word, most of them tied to marriage and children. Kind of goofy if you ask me.

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law does a far better job of defining family to include:

1 : a group of individuals related by blood, marriage, or adoption
2 : a group of usually related individuals who live together under common household authority and esp. who have reciprocal duties to each other

It seems society just can't decide on a definition. We talk about it a lot - the importance of family - but it looks like we aren't always talking about the same thing when we say that.

Between 2003 and 2010, Indiana University sociologist Brian Powell conducted three surveys. There was a significant trend toward counting same-sex couples with children as family — from 54 percent of respondents in 2003 to 68 percent in 2010, and roughly one-third of survey respondents said they considered same-sex couples without children to be a family.

In the 2010 survey, 83 percent of those surveyed considered unmarried heterosexual couples with children as a family, yet when asked about unmarried straight couples without children, only 40 percent considered those couples a family.

There was one piece of data from this study that was a bit skewed by the media *gasp! Imagine that* :

In 2006, when asked if gay couples and pets count as family, 30 percent of survey respondents said pets count but not gay couples.

There was (fake/uninformed) outrage! How could people count their pets as family members but not gay couples? It must be homophobia, right??

Well, Since only 40 percent of respondents considered heterosexual couples without children as family (just 7 percent more than consider same-sex couples without children to be a family), it's pretty fair to deduce that about 30 percent of survey respondents believe pets count as family, but neither gay nor heterosexual couples without kids count as family.

Yeah ... but then we'd have to address the beastiality crowd rather than the homophobic crowd and that would just be ... well ... weird! The homophobes are much easier targets because people believe they exist. No one wants to believe that people will love (literally) their pets like humans ...

Whatever. Don't get all, "But pets are part of the family" on me. I understand you love them. I understand they are companions. But they are pets, not people. Moving on ...

The GREAT news is that the sexual orientation gap is closing when defining families. The bad news is that most people don't consider you a family unless you have children, which means ... well, not much now, does it?

Out of curiosity, how do you define a family?


If you want to read the entire story on this study you can find it [HERE]

A special thanks to @mrumblings for mentioning this on Twitter and to @greenshoes5 for tracking down the article for me!


15 September 2010

Random (And Sometimes Dirty) Dozen


It's time for one of those "I don't feel like exposing my flaws and insecurities - or thinking too hard - so I'm going to do a meme" posts.

Ehhh ... what can I say??

1. Do you do garage sales? If so, tell me about one great find. If not, tell me why not.

I do NOT do garage sales. Here's the deal ...

I am not a "shopper," I am a "buyer." I don't browse stores for hours. I find no pleasure in going to a mall. I don't walk into a store unless I have a specific purchase in mind and I know that store has it.

Garage sales make me crazy. They are seldom organized (all of one type of item in one place, clear pricing, etc.), garage sale customers seem to lose their "nice" and I'm not patient enough to sort through the junk to find a treasure.

Like I said, I'm not a "shopper."

2. Name the last thing you fixed.

The last thing I fixed was the charging cord for Cam's phone. We have chewing cats and they seem to love phone charging cords. Cam left his phone in a spot where the cord was laying on the floor and one of the cats went to town on it.

I got out the wire strippers and the electrical tape and saved the cord!

3. Name your A) Favorite item of makeup OR B) Favorite tool

I'm guessing that because I'm a woman I should be answering the make-up question however I hate make-up and wish the social norm would be sans makeup. Makeup is nothing more than false advertising.

So that leaves me with naming my favorite tool, the G-rated answer to that would be this:

I keep it in my car and it has proven quite useful on several occasions ... especially the bottle opener!

The R-rated answer? Two words - Turtle Frenzy.

4. Which room in your home needs organizing more than any other?

The rooms that I have "control" over are quite organized (there's a surprise) so that leaves the one room that I have absolutely no control over - Cam's bedroom. 14-year old boy. Need I say more?

5. Which room could use re-decorating?

Redecorating?? Ehhh ... probably the kitchen/dining room area. I don't have any pictures on the walls or anything - it's just very sterile apartment looking.

6. Share something unique about your town.

Prior to its now incorporated name, my village was known as "Henpeck."

7. If you could send a one-sentence message to your great-grandchild, what would it be?

Don't take life too seriously because it is far too short to fret over!

8. Do you Facebook?

I do Facebook ... kind of. I probably update my status once every week or two, but I play Bejeweled daily. I had good intentions with Facebook (to keep family in the loop) but I've just never gotten too into it. Far too much drama.

9. Describe your favorite shoes.

Really? People have favorite shoes? I buy what's on sale and what fits my size 11 feet. Sensible, practical and comfortable are my favorite adjectives for shoes.

10. Do you listen to more talk radio or more music radio? What kind of station is it?

I seldom listen to radio, even in the car. I prefer quiet reflection.

There is a station on at work all day. I hear it, but don't listen to it, and couldn't even tell you what genre of music they play.

11. How far would you travel for a really good (favorite) meal?

Hmmmm ...

A favorite meal prepared by a restaurant? I'd say 2 hours would be my max driving time.

A favorite meal prepared by a friend? I'll make it a 3-day weekend and drive 14+ hours!

12. If you were totally honest with yourself (and us) what should you probably be doing right now instead of blogging?

Working. Now I feel guilty - thanks a lot Random Dozen!

*hangs head in shame*


13 September 2010

Whom Do You Trust?


Karen over at Smiling Through It All had the opportunity to be interviewed by an NYU grad student working on a doctoral thesis about bloggers and the impact the blogging and social networking have on real life social skills (you can read more about her interview [HERE]).

Some of Karen's observations regarding her feelings towards bloggers fascinated me. She mentioned that one of the things she learned about herself is that she has a strong distrust of other bloggers - that she doesn't trust cyber-folk as much as she trusts people from the real world.

Karen asked her readers, "Are people more honest online or in the real world? Do you trust bloggers as much you trust people from your real life?"

Kind of a tricky set of questions for me as trust is a highly coveted, very tangible emotion for me.

I would say there is a lot of gray area here. I know that I have been honest in my blogging (sometimes painfully so), but I also haven't shared every detail of every event. Sometimes that is because I don't feel the detail is relevant, or I am embarrassed about the detail, or even that I am protecting the identity/privacy of the person I'm talking about.

Does that mean I can't be trusted? I don't think so. In fact it might mean that I can be trusted more.

How does this translate to other bloggers? Well, one of my "gifts" (some might call it a highly irritating quirk) is that I pay attention to the details. When I read blogs I gather information. It's a bonus if the blogger also participates in other social media like Twitter. I don't trust bloggers out of the box, but over time - assuming their actions (comments on other blogs, meetings in person, activity on Twitter) match their words (what hey blog about) I trust them every bit, if not more, than their real life counterparts.

Karen also confessed that she views blogging "as a media akin to cheesy reality TV - like The Hills, for example. There is 'truth' in the story line, but it is probably somewhat edited and sometimes even scripted. Basically, in the blogoshpere you only get as much as the other person is willing to share - which is rarely the whole picture. Sure, blogging is entertaining and fun and a great way to exchange ideas and meet new people. But it is also an easy way to live a double life or be the person you wish you were in reality."

Interesting perspective ...

Karen asked, "Do you see other bloggers creating a character for themselves or do you even admit to doing that yourself? Do you think blogging is entertainment or true honest human connection?"

Again, this isn't a yes or no question in my world. Some of the blogs I read are clearly character blogs. Some of them are out there trying to make a living from their writing. Some are just daily diaries of sorts. I feel confident that most of the bloggers I trust are indeed the people they portray themselves as.

What's odd about that statement is that there are bloggers out there that I trust that I don't like. I trust that they are being honest, I trust that they are who they say they are, but I don't like them. For me there is a HUGE difference between trusting and liking. I can trust you and not like you, and I can like you but not trust you. Go figure ...

Karen wrote, "In the real world you can't hide your flaws or quirks. You can't always craft your worlds to present only the you that you want to be. In the real world people can see the whole you and make their own judgments."

I vehemently disagree.

In the real world, people often judge on superficial criteria - height, weight, age, hair color, attractiveness, job status, work industry - the list goes on and on.

In blogging, those superficial criteria become secondary, or even tertiary. They don't matter as much as the content of the person. Unless you are an amazing writer (and honestly, very few bloggers are - I am certainly not), you can only fake content for a finite amount of time. Your true colors eventually come out. I've seen it happen again and again.

The bottom line? I find little difference in how I handle blogging relationships and how I handle my real life relationships. There are times when I hate blogging. There are times when I hate real life. People are people. They'll make you laugh. They'll make you cry. They'll piss you off. They'll inspire you.

I don't have a cyber life and a real life - I just have a life.


12 September 2010

Sunday Secret



10 September 2010

World Suicide Prevention Day


September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. In the United States alone, a person dies by suicide every 16 minutes.

My life has been touched by suicide far too many times. If you are not already familiar with it, you can read my personal story HERE. If you wonder how a "sane" person could ever consider suicide as an option, read Lynn's story (Real Live Lesbian) HERE.

Most of us are familiar with the immediate warning signs for suicide:
  • Someone threatening to hurt or kill him/herself, or talking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself
  • Someone looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
  • Someone talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person

We need to familiarize ourselves with the more subtle warning signs for suicide.

  • Hopelessness
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Feeling trapped - like there's no way out
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and society
  • Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Dramatic mood changes

If you, or someone you know, is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8225)

What can you do today? Visit Take 5 To Save Lives and get involved and become informed.


09 September 2010

Sage Advice


A few weeks back, in my I can See Through You post, I touched briefly on anonymous bloggers. There was one group of those bloggers that I left out (intentionally) because mentioning that group seems to get them all up in arms and their comments tend to drag the post off topic. Who is that group? The married folks who crave the attention of an affair without the "risk" of doing it in real life.

*DISCLAIMER* I was one of those people, and some might say I still am. I am not denying nor minimizing my own actions. If you are inclined to launch personal attacks on my morals, I'll just agree with you, so save your ammunition.

One of these bloggers - Southern Sage - was someone I "knew" from early on in his (and my) blogging forays. He was my first link to HNT. We had a cyber friendship that crossed "superficial" friendship boundaries. I knew he had a wife and two children, but it really didn't matter. My actions were "harmless" because I wasn't ever going to meet him, right?? Right???

Over time, that friendship fizzled. There wasn't any catastrophic event that occurred. No angry words. No ridiculous cyber drama. I still stopped by his "place" on occasion, and he stopped by mine. We just went in different directions with blogging and blogging relationships and moved on. I never really thought much about it again.

Then I heard through the grape vine that Sage had picked up and left the cyber world. Sure enough, a quick click on his blog brought up this screen:

He was gone, not only on Blogger, but on Twitter and Facebook as well. It was a pretty safe assumption that his anonymity had been compromised and he was scrambling to pick up the pieces of devastation he left behind.

That in itself is not unusual. My guess is it happens throughout the interwebs more often than many people would like to believe. The internet has a dark side - a secret world that many of us delve into where we can carry on an "affair" we'd never consider in real life as the risk is just too great. I understand it. I've been a part of it.

What bothered me were the (as Hubman so succinctly put it) "eulogies" to him. There were several women who blogged about what Sage meant to them. That he was "loyal, honest, trustworthy, caring, kind, confident, intelligent, charming and sexy as hell." Presumably these women knew the circumstances behind his departure - that his wife became aware of his on-line alter ego - and still they used words like "loyal," "honest," and "trustworthy"? How does that work? How can you be "loyal," "honest," and "trustworthy" when you are leading two very separate and distinct lives - keeping huge secrets from the one you've committed your life to?

*NOTE* I had every intention of linking to the blog posts that I came across - I don't like to use the passive-aggressive approach to blogging (unless it's a Sunday Secret) - however the bloggers involved apparently had second thoughts about their part in all of this. One of the bloggers removed her original post and one of the bloggers has now gone private.

What should have been (in my humble opinion - considering the circumstances) a quiet disappearance out of respect for Sage's wife, children and the situation he was clearly in, turned in to what can only be described as a selfish celebration - an adulation - of a man who severely compromised the integrity of his marriage. Really?

I have nothing against Sage. I would not wish this on anyone. I sincerely hope he and "The Bride" (as he called her) are somehow able to mend this tremendous breach in their marriage. As someone who has been on both sides of this issue once or twice in my life, I know their success will be the exception, but that it can be done. I wish them the best.

But really, is this someone we need to put up on a pedestal and glorify? He's a guy with an internet connection and a lot of time on his hands. A guy we may have loved, hated, or not even known. A guy who made some really bad choices and left a wake of destruction behind him.

(hijacked from Emmy)

It's a good reminder for all of us ... well, except Matt-Man, and maybe Jay, but the rest of us?? Yeah, we've got internet access. Big fucking deal ...


08 September 2010

Hoarders Whore


I have a few guilty pleasures in life, one of which is reality TV. Nooooo ... not reality TV like Survivor *shudders* reality TV like Lockup, Intervention, Obsessed, and Hoarders.

Give me a marathon of any one of these shows and I am happier than a redneck browsing the clearance rack at WalMart.

I've heard mutterings that some people cannot stomach these shows - they find the dysfunction so disgusting, so disturbing, that they are compelled to avoid these shows at any cost.

Then there are the "train wreck" folks - those who use the people in these shows as a gauge of their own worth and value. They find themselves saying things like "At least I'm not that bad" or "How could anyone ever let themselves get in that position."

The "train wreck" folks validate their own pitiful lives by belittling those they see as "less than" themselves.

I take a somewhat different view of these shows. I recognize the vulnerability - seeing the things people have in common with all of us rather than seeing them as their addiction, their crime, their mental illness.

When it comes right down to it, the people featured on these shows are no different than us. They want love. They want respect. They want validation. Yet in most cases, some event sends them over that proverbial line we are all so sure we would never cross.

I have a theory on this ...

Any one of us could find ourselves featured in one of these shows. That's right, even you, you and especially you. It would take little more than an unexpected trauma. A death. The loss of income. It might even be something most people would deem insignificant, but results in the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.

And deep down? We all know this, yet most of us refuse to admit it. We'd like to think we are better than those people that we would never ...

It's too bad we are so pompous.

Ignoring the reality of our own vulnerability, judging what we see rather than what we know, or even worse, belittling the people featured on these shows? That is disgusting and disturbing.


07 September 2010



There have been a few of them lately. Not momentous life events, but rather small things with significant meaning.

As of last Thursday, I made my final payment on an employee loan - THE employee loan - the one that I took out to pay for the deposit on the apartment Cam and I moved into 10 months ago.

The $25 per week deduction didn't have a huge impact on my finances, but it was something that reminded me I hadn't quite accomplished our move yet.

Last night, for the first time in two-ish years, I slept in a real bed.

I can't remember when it was that I started sleeping on the futon in the "guest" bedroom when I was still with husband (a year+ would be a good estimate), but when Cam and I moved out there was only one bed to be had, and it belonged to Cam.

Since moving to the apartment, my nights have been spent on the sofa or the futon. Not a big deal - I can sleep anywhere (good Army training) but I haven't had a really good night's sleep for quite some time.

Cam begged to have the futon put in his room. He wanted the option of having a "sofa" in his room when his friends stop by. Yesterday we made the move ... after I bribed him, telling him his room had to be clean in order to make the switch. It worked!

Sure, the bedding is of the WalMart, college dorm clearance variety, but it's a step up from the sleeping bag I've been using since Cam and I moved and boy, did I sleep well last night!

This afternoon I'll be dropping off my first "publicly" displayed photo. I stopped off at the photo kiosk at my local market (they use Kodak paper) and had an 8 x 10 print made of my Moment in Time photo. Another trip to WalMart (I was there THREE times this weekend) for a pre-matted frame and TA-DAA!!

I will be the first to admit that this past 10 months has seldom gone the way I hoped it would. I wanted dramatic, consistent change for the better. I got struggles, BIG struggles, and financial and emotional turmoil. What I thought would be a temporary move - 6 months tops - has turned in to what will likely be a permanent relocation.

There are times when I get really down on myself - when I cannot seem to acknowledge my success with a single thing - but that's because I'm looking for the big, dramatic change when in fact, it's been a lot of little changes that will one day put me EXACTLY where I want to be - me again!


05 September 2010

Sunday Secret



04 September 2010

Friday Wrap-Up (Saturday Edition)


It is always a busy time in accounting land at the end/beginning of the month, but this week felt like year end.

In addition to my "normal" chaos, there was a significant issue with my cash book account balancing to my cash general ledger account (for you non-accounting folks, this is similar to when your checkbook doesn't match what the bank says you have in your account) ... to the tune of about $1M.

Wednesday morning, the CFO and controller called me into a meeting to address the situation. With a computer linked to a big screen, and a white board the size of a semi truck, we dove in.

Now understand, I thought this was my fault, and I had let it go far too long (since the beginning of the year). I kept thinking I was fixing it and yet the discrepancy kept getting bigger and bigger. I prepared myself for the ass-chewing I knew I deserved. It was bad enough that I clearly had no idea what I was doing, but to neglect the issue for EIGHT MONTHS was quite irresponsible.

Come to find out, I was doing the right things. The controller - in an attempt to circumnavigate an ongoing problem with my AZ bookkeeper - made a change to the way the general ledger accounts were mapped ... and neglected to tell anyone.

Seven hours (and no lunch or bathroom breaks) later, it became clear that each time I made an entry through cash book, the money was going into the wrong general ledger account.

Ummmm ... yeah ...


Cam hates his new school ... I don't ...

I am confident that Cam is getting fair and equal treatment this year - that his perception of everyone picking on him is skewed. I continue to reinforce that he is responsible for his actions and his length of stay at the therapeutic day school. He can either cooperate, do what is needed, and move on, or he can dig in his heels and make his life extremely difficult (his current M.O.).

What is different this year is that the school and I are on the same page. They are trying to get him out of his therapeutic day school placement, but in this case, that action means Cam is being successful - not that he is failing - and that is a good thing.

I have no doubt we are in for a rough ride, but I have vowed to give myself credit for doing the right things (offering a place to study, help with homework, etc.) and allowing Cam the choice (and consequences) to succeed or fail.

I've got four years to help him make a positive difference in his life.


If you're not too hung-over, repenting your sins at church too busy on Sunday morning (11:00 AM EDT), tune in to Show #2 of "I'm With Stupid" - Jayman and Matt-Man's escapade into the world of Blog Talk Radio.

You never know what you might get ... sometimes there is even a live stream. Noooo ... not via webcam, but via Matt-Man's bathroom visits!


02 September 2010

Ivy League Preschools


I am somewhat baffled by the preschool anxiety some parents face. No, not the separation anxiety associated with sending your 4-year old for a few hours in a new environment, but the anxiety - let's call it an obsession - some parents have with sending their child to the best preschool.

There are preschool fairs, similar to the college fairs put on by high schools. Some parent groups develop preschool binders with information and parent reviews of local schools. The best preschools have months-long waiting lists for parents to just step inside to visit the preschool.

I may be a slacker mom, but I chose Cam's preschool similarly to the way I chose his daycare the previous four years.

Could I afford it? Price was first and foremost. The list gets quite short when you're not willing to take out educational loans for preschool.

Was it safe? And by safe I don't mean were there cameras set up every 5 feet so that I could spy on the staff from my computer at work, I mean was the facility clean and the equipment in good condition and age appropriate?

Was it convenient? I wasn't about to add 30 minutes to my commute to insure a "proper" Ivy League preschool education.

And guess what? Cam learned to count, to read, to write his name and to get along with others.

These Ivy-League-obsessed parents who begin a mindless academic death march in preschool so that they can say, with a sense of superiority, that their little snowflake attends The Harvard Preschool of Kindergarten Prep Academy irritate me. I don't care what preschool your child goes to, do they say please and thank you? Do they help little Johnny out when he's clearly struggling? Do they share their toys??

I don't know ... I've never seen a college application that requested preschool transcripts ...


01 September 2010

What? Me Worry


Life is funny sometimes, giving you what you need to hear when you need to hear it.

Just last week I was talking about worry - how much I worry - the ridiculous life changing things I worry about.

Then down from the cyber heavens an NPR article, 5 Worries Parents Should Drop And 5 They Shouldn't, lands in my lap. Considering it's been quite some time since anything landed in my lap, I got a little excited.

According to the article, most parents are worrying about all the wrong things.

Based on surveys Christie Barnes, mother of four and author of The Paranoid Parents Guide, collected, the top five worries of parents are, in order:

1. Kidnapping
2. School snipers
3. Terrorists
4. Dangerous strangers
5. Drugs

But how do children really get hurt or killed?

1. Car accidents
2. Homicide (usually committed by a person who knows the child, not a stranger)
3. Abuse
4. Suicide
5. Drowning

Barnes insists that it would be easier on parents if, "every news story came with a little warning at the bottom that said, 'Even though this is very tragic, this is 1 in 10 million, 1 in a million or 1 in 20'. "

Damn media! You mean they sensationalize things??

This unnecessary worrying, Barnes argues, is detrimental to parents, causing health issues and negatively impacting parent relationships with other adults. Not only that but focusing on rare dangers distracts parents from the dangers that matter. *gasp*

Now, I do take issue with one of the items that didn't make the real list - drugs (and alcohol). I think it's likely that the survey data was from parents of the under 10 crowd ... because we know I would never worry about some psycho picking up my 14-year old son, in a van, on the first day of school and taking him to parts unknown ... but I do have concerns about drugs and alcohol.

What does Barnes suggest. She says that according to her research, making kids wear protective gear and buckle up in the car cuts kids' chances of death by 90 percent and their chances of serious injury by 78 percent.

Hmmmm ... I think I'll go out and stock up on duct tape and bubble wrap so that I can focus my worries on homicide and suicide ...