31 October 2010

Sunday Secret



29 October 2010

Friday Wrap-Up (Brief Edition)


  • I never thought I'd say this, but I am looking forward to my co-worker Norm returning to work on Monday. OK, maybe that's not entirely true, but I am looking forward to having only my job responsibilities come Monday.

  • My incompetent Arizona bookkeeper slipped up big time this week. In an attempt to prove she had done something that she didn't do, she "manufactured" an email. She may have gotten away with it, except when she edited the date in the forwarded email, she neglected to change the day. Her email "proof" she claimed was sent on Monday, October 25th said it was sent on WEDNESDAY, October 25th. And yes, she still has a job.

  • Snugs stopped by and left a comment on my Fears post that asked, "Wouldn't it be really funny if your husband has his own blog and does all sorts of posts about you?? He could call it, 'The other side of the crises'." Although her comment was off topic (again) and dripping in snark, I'd love it if he had a blog with posts about me. Communication was always a challenge in our relationship and I think understanding how he sees things would be extremely valuable. Probably not the response snugs was hoping to poke out of me.

  • Halloween. ICK! I hate it. I hate all of the dressing up, mask wearing, face painting, scare the shit out of you "fun". This has very little to do with the actual "holiday" and far more to do with my quirks. I'm trying to decide if I should buy candy or just close the curtains and turn off the porch light. I'm leaning towards the latter.

28 October 2010

Bruised Forehead



Just one of the many ways one can proudly display a bruise
on the forehead ... just not the fun way.

Looking forward to visiting unconsciousness this evening,
with a little help from a friendly Grey Goose.

It's been one hell of a week ...


27 October 2010



Since the coming out, husband has been a bit more communicative than he has been the past year. Unfortunately, much of that communication has been his lashing out at me for things unrelated to the coming out, but I suppose that is to be expected. It's irritating as hell ... but??

Anyway, the other day he sends me an email with the subject line Good info - very accurate I think that contained a link to an article titled 5 Things Men Fear Most About Aging.

Hmmmm ... interesting. Is this the way men communicate their fears? Forwarding a link to an article? Am I supposed to read it and reassure him that he's not old, or just take in the information and stroke his ego when necessary?? I'm confused.

The list was a little surprising to me. I guess it shouldn't be when I think about the ways men tend to (generally) define success, but a few things caught me off guard.

Men's Aging Fear #5: Losing your mind (or your wife losing hers)

One has to wonder if the fear of the wife losing her mind might be a little stronger - in fact, I'm sure some men would argue that is a given, not a fear. That said, this one surprised me.

The fear of Alzheimer's (or mild cognitive impairment - MCI) has never crossed my mind. Maybe that is a bad sign?

Men's Aging Fear #4: Losing wheels (and independence)

The article states, "From his first souped-up junker to his badge-of-success sports car (or midlife-crisis convertible), what a man drives reflects his very identity." Really?

I understand the fear of losing the freedom and independence that driving affords, but I never considered the strong (apparently) identity with the vehicle a man drives.

Men's Aging Fear #3: Retirement/irrelevance

This was one that, at first, confused me. I look forward to retirement - to choosing which activities get my attention. Fearing retirement seemed plain goofy.

But when I reflect on the strong societal expectation that men will take care of others financially - that a man's value is directly measured by income potential - it makes a little more sense.

Men's Aging Fear #2: Weakness

I see this as the equivalent to women's fear of no longer being physically attractive. For men is it strength and vigor, for women it's a good figure and a wrinkle free face.

Men's Aging Fear #1: Impotence

This one I expected. All of those Cialis bathtub commercials and the inclusion of the phrase "erectile dysfunction" in prime time TV commercials does little more than prey on this fear.

Fortunately for men, this issue can be overcome if they can manage to overcome the fear of having "the talk" with their doctor.

Men? What do you think? Is the list accurate? Did they leave anything off?

Women? Did anything on the list surprise you?


26 October 2010

Is It That Important?


Ever wonder what will happen to your facebook account when you die (or fake your death due to the love octagon you got up in on twitter)?

I'm talking about it over at Lynn's place today!

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


25 October 2010

Finding the Gray


In Friday's post I mentioned that Saturday I would be attending a conference on treatment strategies for children and adolescents on the autism spectrum. I was quite excited about the conference - finding information on relevant (to Cam) topics like this has proven difficult in the past.

Rather than bore you with the irrelevant (to you) details of the conference, I thought I'd give you a view of the conference from my perspective.

I headed out to Naperville (about an hour drive from Podunk) early Saturday morning. As y'all know, this kind of excursion has the ability to cause me great anxiety, but since I attended an event at this location about 9 months ago, I'm fairly comfortable ... until I miss my exit ...

GAHHHH! There is a reason I build plenty of extra travel time into any trip. Panic ensues as I watch the exit go by. I consider my options. Map?? No ... just the Google map directions I printed out before I left. I could stop on the shoulder and back up to the exit. Probably not a good idea. CRAP!

I decide to take the next exit (3 miles down the road) and hope that I can get back on the tollway going the opposite direction (here in Illinois, just because you can get off the tollway at a certain point doesn't mean you can get back on at that same point). If all else fails, I can do the one-day subscription to VZ Navigator on my phone. Paying the $2.99 is better than having to stop and ask a stranger for directions.

Ahhhh ... crisis averted. I can get back on the tollway going the opposite direction. Now I can make my way back to my exit and still have plenty of time.

I park at one of the far edges of the lot. It's much easier to find my car at the end of the day if I park at the edge of a parking lot (preferably the left side when exiting the building) than if I do one of those "find the closest spot" moves.

I head to the building, remembering the last time I was here. I wandered for about 15 minutes trying to find the registration desk , finally asking a security guard for directions, only to learn I was standing about 20 feet from it. This time I head straight there.

I pick up my conference materials and am extremely excited to learn I've scored a highlighter and a container of Post-It flags. No ... seriously! I love office supplies. I actually browse office supply catalogs learning the names of all of the different items.

The actual presentation starts at 9:00AM - it's 8:15AM. There is a continental breakfast being served prior to the start of the conference, but first things first. I must go find my seat in the auditorium. Not just any seat. Nope! I need the same seat I sat in the last time I attended a conference in this auditorium. Not one near it, but THE SAME SEAT.

Thinking to myself, "Please God ... please God ... PLEASE GOD ... let me have gotten here early enough that no one is sitting in my seat.

They aren't. The auditorium is empty. Whew! I find my seat and put my conference materials on the seat to mark my territory. No one will dare move my things and take my seat ... unless they were me. I would do that to someone else, but only if their things were in my seat.

I grab a bagel and some coffee and try to find a place to eat it where no one will bother me. Table? No, someone will sit down and expect me to do the small talk thing. Bench up against the wall? Better option, but still the potential for forced social chit-chat. Ahhh ... the windows have a wide ledge. I'll go stand by one, use the ledge for a table and gaze out the window with my back to everyone. That should do the trick.

It's about 10 minutes until the presentation will begin. Must get into the auditorium NOW ... before it's full and people actually look at me while I'm walking to my seat. People looking at me - or me thinking people might be looking at me - makes me extremely uncomfortable. Invisible is my preference ... kind of ...

The first session will explore How Individuals on the Spectrum Think and Process the World. Cool! I enjoy learning more about how Cam's brain works. Who am I trying to kid? I like LEARNING. Brains are a fascinating topic though.

Dr. Tim Wahlberg tells the group that in order to understand the brain of someone on the autism spectrum, we need a clear picture of how our own brains work. He throws out phrases like "social comparison." What?? This makes no sense! How can you be talking about how our brains works if your idea of how I think is so skewed. You call yourself an expert? I'm a little irritated that I spent $40 on this.

DAMN! I wish they'd turn off that fan. I'm missing parts of what Dr. Wahlberg is saying because that fan is all that I can hear. And why are those women behind me talking? Don't they know it's impossible to concentrate on what is going on in front of me when they are being so disruptive??

Maybe if I fidget with this pen I'll be able to concentrate a little more. I always get irritating glances when I click my ball point pens, but the rhythmic sound and feel of the process helps me concentrate. I'll just do it quietly.

Thank goodness! First break. Time to find a bathroom and sit in the stall for a few minutes to get away from all of these people. LONG line at the women's restroom ... of course. I bet there is another bathroom upstairs and no one will want to walk up there. Let me sneak to the stairs so that no one else goes up there. Ahhh! Success! And quiet!

A few minutes in the stall. Then a few minutes at the sink. The soap is slippery goodness between my hands, and the warmth (all the way to hot) and weight of the water makes me smile.

OK. Enough. If I don't head back into the auditorium I'll be in that awkward position again where everyone might be looking at me as I find my seat. Can't deal with that.

Why are all of those people talking to Dr. Wahlberg? Don't they know the guy is selling snake oil?? He may know a lot about the autism spectrum, but he is clueless when it comes to the way most people think. And why are they having him sign their books? Really? Do they think that is impressive? Flattering? Makes them special?? Odd ...

OK, session two is about to start - Strategies and Interventions for Behavior - let's hope this session is a little more informative. I'd hate to think I paid $40, drove all this way and got up at 6:00AM to hear more of this crap.

This is starting to make more sense. Understanding the brain of someone on the autism spectrum is much easier than understand the "normal" brain.

Wait! Why is everyone laughing when Dr. Wahlberg gives example of how kids on the spectrum think? This is the first time his explanation of thinking has made any sense. It feels like these people are laughing at me.

SHIT! FUCK! This conference isn't for me ... it's about me! Oh hell! Now what?? How am I supposed to get anything out of this? EGADS!

I spent most of that second session fretting over the epiphany that this conference wasn't really going to help me. In fact, it had just made it even more clear why I have such a high level of frustration when it comes to dealing with the school. Of course they cannot see the logic behind my thinking. Of course they don't see why what they are doing is wrong. THEY DON'T THINK LIKE ME!!

I have very little recollection of anything said in that second session. I was fretting over the fact that the reason I understand what Cam needs is because I need those same things. My thoughts started hyper-focusing on how I was ever going to be successful at advocating for Cam when everyone around me thought we were both nuts.

Before I realized it 90 minutes had passed and I had heard NOTHING except the thoughts in my own head.

"Boxed lunches are out the door and to your right."

"Please fill out your name tag and wear it the rest of the day."

"There are tables set up in the lunchroom for you to sit at."

Ummmm ... no! Let me sit in the auditorium until it clears out. I'll get a lunch when there isn't any line. I will not wear a name tag. That's just stupid. No one cares what my name is anyway and they don't really want to talk to me. I will not sit in that noisy room with all of those strangers talking about stuff I really have no interest in.

I waited in the empty auditorium for about 5 minutes, reading the handouts and looking at the copy of Finding the Gray, hoping no one would bother me. It worked. Went out and picked up a boxed lunch and found a quiet corner to sit in. Ahhh ... reprieve from the craziness. One more session to get through.

I did get through that last session and made it home relatively unscathed, armed with the knowledge that most people don't think like I do.

... and I don't like that one bit!


24 October 2010

Sunday Secret



22 October 2010

Friday Wrap-Up (GAHHHH! Edition)


... and ... it's Friday! WooHoo!!


My cubical mate Norm, most famous for his "Good morning [insert name], and how are you on this wonderful [current season] day?" - spoken to every coworker each and every day - is on vacation for two weeks. He and his "sweetie" are on a 2-week cruise to ... oh hell ... I don't remember where they went even though he's been telling me of their plans - multiple times a day - for about 6 months (no exaggeration).

Anyway, it's been nice and quite in the accounting department. I didn't realize just how LOUD he is until I experienced how quiet it is without him in the office. The only down side is that I've had to pick up his work load in his absence.

Crunching numbers, although it sounds like you'd do it with a 50 pound sledge hammer, is rarely physical, however it is mentally exhausting. I am just worn out this week and as such, the blog has been quiet.

One more week of quiet and overwhelming mental exhaustion and life as I know it will be back to NORM-al.


I'm attending a Treatment Strategies for Children and Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum conference at Northern Illinois University all day Saturday. It is being presented by Tim Wahlberg, Ph.D who has published extensively on the subjects of autism and neurological impairments.

The conference will be focusing on strategies and interventions for behavior, social skill development, problem solving and improving flexibility - all issues Cam struggles with.

What?? You think I might benefit from behavior strategies as well?? I would have to agree with you on that.

The only down side? Attending the conference requires I get up at 6AM on Saturday morning, and the on the road by 7AM.

That means early to bed Friday night.


Sunday night I'm working with the logistics team at church for a high school student ministries event ... because I don't get enough of the crazies on Wednesday nights.

Actually, I need to find a way to bow out of this weekly obligation gracefully. Although I enjoy being there for the kids (you'd be amazed to learn how many upper-middle class, suburban parents "discard" their kids at church Wednesday nights) I'm struggling with the organized religion side of things.

I could always "accidentally" leave my blog up on one of the computers we use for checking in the kids. That would probably do the trick!


My friend Gina posted her own 1 in 4 story today. Go over there and read it. Really! I'll wait ...

Are you back? I continue to be amazed at how similar the domestic violence stories are. Names change. Places change. The story stays the same.

I'm glad she decided to share her story!


19 October 2010

Purple, not Pink


October is traditionally a very pink month. Breast cancer awareness takes center stage and it's easy to overlook that October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 women, and 1 in 10 men, will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

I am one of the 25% of women who have experienced domestic violence in my lifetime.

It was this time last year that I came to accept that I had put myself - and my son - in an abusive relationship (you can read the longer story [HERE]).

I wanted to think that it wasn't a pattern. I wanted to think I was just a bad person and deserved exactly what I was getting. I wanted to think that if I just tried harder I would be worthy of love. I wanted to think that somehow this was under my control - that I could fix it - that I could be lovable.

Thinking that way was easier than believing someone who claimed to love me would hurt me with such methodical intent ... again ...

The first time it happened it was my father, a functional alcoholic, working in construction to support my mom and me by day, and turning into a violent drunk at night.

No one and nothing was spared. Holes were punched in walls. The dog was kicked and beaten. My mom was hit. Objects were thrown randomly and with great force. Furniture was broken. A loaded shotgun was held to my head.

I was usually spared his physical violence, but not his words ...

I was told I was fat, lazy, worthless - that I was an embarrassment to my father and to my family. I was grounded for bringing home an A- on a straight A report card because I wasn't working up to my potential. I wanted nothing more than to be good enough to be loved but was constantly reminded that I didn't deserve the love I so craved.

When my mother had no one else she could lash out at, she took her turn too. In public, and from the time I was 9, I had to call her by her first name so that people wouldn't know the fat, ugly girl was her daughter. She used to tell me if I'd just lose weight - if I'd just do better in school - if I'd just [fill in the blank] better, my dad would stop drinking and our family would be happy.

I still wrestle with the bouts of insomnia that have plagued me since childhood. Nothing says interrupted sleep quite like forcing yourself to stay awake until midnight to make sure your father makes it home alive from the bar, and then pretending to sleep through that same man tearing down your house around you.

Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t know ethnicity, income level, religion or gender.

I do believe my mother did everything she knew how to do to keep me safe. It was a different time. Women were not easily able to support themselves. Divorce was relatively unheard of. She tried desperately to fix my father.

It never worked. It never does. Loving someone isn’t enough to stop their violence.

My life was one woven with lie after lie. Smiling family photos, mirrors and a large plaque with the words of Desiderata covered holes punched into walls. Broken furniture was hidden in the garage and taken to the dump under a tarp. Both my mother and I became very adept at putting the house back together each morning. Day after day I was forced to act like we had a normal, happy family. The price I would pay if I let something slip was steep.

I'm not sharing this story because I want sympathy. I don't deserve sympathy. I put my son in much the same place that my mom put me. I shoulder a great deal of guilt for those years and the struggles he now faces because of my choice to do so.

It's been 40+ years since my first memories of my drunken, violent father, yet I still don't believe I deserve better. Logically, I know I do, but I don't believe it in my heart. I don't know that I ever will.

Some of you give me far too much credit. I didn't get myself out of an abusive relationship last year, I got my son out because I know, and believe, that he deserves better.

I hope he believes that too.


The National Domestic Violence Hotline
1.800.799.SAFE (7233)



18 October 2010

Pearls Anyone?


Remember this little Snarky Pearl of Wisdom?? It was number 1 on my list of 10:

There is no such thing as anonymity in life -
not in the "real" world and
not in the "cyber" world.
You might get away with your shit for a while,

but not forever. Being sneaky will always catch up with you.

"A while" met "not forever" yesterday ...

I receive a phone call from husband. He asked if I could come over and cut the cat's nails (a normal request) but he sounded odd. I knew immediately something was off. I asked if he was OK. He said it depended on my answers to a few questions he needed to ask me - "we needed to talk"

A million scenarios ran through my head. I was concerned, but somewhat calm knowing no matter what it was, I had a home to go back to.

He placed a box in front of me. It was a box I received as the winner of a blog drawing. It had been sent to the house - HIS house - OUR house.

He asked me what it was. I told him it was a prize package I won over 2 years ago in a drawing from someone I met through blogging.

He asked specifically about the card - a passage that read:

Of course if the chocolate does melt you can just smear it all over you for a HNT post. Ha! My brain always goes in just one direction.

There wasn't hesitation. I told the story. I admitted to looking for the attention on-line that I wasn't getting at home. I admitted to giving up on the marriage in the last year we were still living in the same home.

In a strange twist, husband's concern was not really the content of the card once he realized this was not someone I had actual physical contact with. No, his concern was the fact that I had a package sent to OUR home by someone I had never met. Not only did this "stranger" have my real name, but he had my (our) home address.

He was right. Although the choice to give this particular blogger my full name and address was well thought out and quite safe, husband did not know that. I had - in essence - invited a stranger to come in through the front door of our home.

He asked me what I was thinking. I told him I wasn't thinking about anyone other than myself, and really hadn't been for the last year of the marriage. I apologized.

After some discussion, it became clear that both of us had been doing our best to hurt the other in the last year or so of the marriage. He knew my Achilles Heel. I knew his. We had both become angry, hurtful, spiteful, ugly people.

It was a good conversation. I'm not sure where things stand at this point, but I know that one of my greatest secrets is now "out there." There is immense relief in that. Letting that secret be known put me in line with the person I want to be more like. It was liberating.

No, the blog isn't going anywhere and it's not going private. I don't know if he will choose to seek it out and read it, or if he was more concerned with my lack of respect for his privacy. I believe it was the latter, but I know he may also read (and ogle) every last thing I've posted. Hiding the blog now would be little more than a futile attempt to lessen who I am, and I'm done with that.

Blogging, in and of itself, was not the primary topic of the conversation - my lack of respect for the things important to him was.

He was right. I didn't respect him. I didn't care. And it felt so good to finally admit that to the person who needed to hear it.


17 October 2010

Sunday Secret



15 October 2010

I Don't Suck


Some of you have already heard this via twitter and tumblr, but ...

It's my blog and this is one of the coolest things that has happened to me this past year. I'm proud, and not likely for the reason you think, but we'll get to that little tidbit in a second ...

One of the photos that I took while participating in the August 7th, Global Particle Physics Photowalk (which I wrote about briefly at the end of [THIS] post), and that I submitted for the local/global photo competition, was one of 15 honorable mentions awarded by the Fermilab photowalk judges.

My photo, the 14 others receiving honorable mentions, and the 3 Fermilab winners will be featured in a gallery showing at Fermilab in February and March.

*EDIT* For those of you who asked, I have no idea what this is! It was two sheets of metal with these glass thingies that carried light to the top sheet of metal. People were taking photos of the top of it but I thought the side was far more interesting.

So, why am I proud? Well, yeah ... I think it's pretty awesome that, out of 750+ photos submitted at the local level, the judges thought mine was one of the top 18, but better than that?

I came oh-so-close to backing out of this opportunity at the last minute. It was full of things that can (and often do) trigger debilitating anxiety - like running away, screaming and crying, then hiding under a table in the fetal position for 3 hours kind of anxiety. I didn't know if I was going to be able to make it into the building, let alone actually be able to take pictures.

Add to that my embarrassment of walking into a photo shoot where I knew I would be the only "photographer" who was proudly sporting a point-and-shoot camera (and I was), I had no doubt this was little more than a grandiose failure in the making.

That feeling of impending doom was magnified when we sat down for our orientation and it became clear there were only two seating sections - "Team Nikon" and "Team Canon" - and I was carrying a Sony Cyber-shot. But still, I trudged on, scoping out the locations of all tables in case I needed to crawl under one at the last minute.

We got on a bus and headed to our first location. I took my photos. I stood outside - alone - for 15 minutes afterward to recharge. I got back on the bus and headed to the next location. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Four more times. I was emotionally exhausted when I got back into my car to head home 6 hours later.

I downloaded my photos and decided there was no way I was going to submit anything and embarrass myself even further, but then I remembered that I didn't have to see any of the judges. It's not like I'd know that they laughed, mocked and belittled me. If I could figure out how to upload the photos to the server, I'd at least make them sift through 15 more photos (each participant was limited to submitting 15 photos).

A couple of weeks ago, Interactions.org announced the 3 finalists from Fermilab, along with the 3 finalists from DESY, TRIUMF, CERN (all in Switzerland) and KEK (in Japan). Those 15 photos would be competing for the global awards.

I was not one of them, which is a good thing 'cause I'd have likely had an immediate coronary, and my will is not up to date.

Yesterday, when Interactions.org announced the global and peoples choice winners, they also included a flicker link to the top photographs from each of the local competitions.

Wanting to grasp all opportunities to learn more about photography, I clicked on the link to see what winning photos looked like - what the judges were looking for. To say I was a little surprised to see my photo there would be quite the understatement.

Guess what? I don't suck! Well, I didn't suck that day, although had I thought it would have helped me in the competition, I might have. KIDDING!

I may come across as strong and confident on this blog, but I doubt myself, my abilities, and my dreams - multiple times - every single day. That often leads to my giving up before I ever start. I was very close to that point on August 7th.

It looks like trying, even when you are certain you will fail, is sometimes rewarding!

Who knew?


13 October 2010

When I Was A Kid ...


I've written about helicopter parents in the past. At the time I thought (hoped and prayed) it was yet another pendulum swing ... way too far to one side. Unfortunately, it's starting to look like helicopter parenting is the new traditional parenting.

There was a Twitter discussion last week initiated (I think) by @TheNextMartha (you are following her on twitter even if she does think Halloween is the best holiday ever, right??). She asked if anyone thought it was odd (my word, I don't remember hers, and I've been scorned for saving twitter screen shots) for a mom to still be making lunches for her high school student. Based on her responses, it seems mothers got a bit defensive.

Look, I'll be the first to admit that navigating the tween/teen years is akin to walking across a bed of fire sprinkled with glass shards. Not only is the heat immense, but there will be blood and it will leave a mark.

It's not easy to allow your kids to make mistakes, mostly because when they do (and they will, many of them), it reflects on your parenting. It's embarrassing and humiliating when your kid decides TP-ing the high school for homecoming is a good idea, even after the district-wide announcement that it will result in school and criminal consequences, and you get that call from the local Po-Po telling you they have Susie in a holding cell ... just ask my co-worker.

The problem is the flip side - not allowing them to make mistakes because you make all of their decisions for them - sets them up for failure as an adult.

Yes, school should be a teen's "job", but what skills are we teaching "almost grown up" Susie when we make her lunch, do her laundry, make sure she has nothing to distract her from her studies and let her walk out of the house at midnight with 12 rolls of toilet paper claiming she's making a food bank donation?

Guess what? When Susie leaves home, life will distract her and she will have to make decisions. Hopefully she's had the opportunity to make some bad ones (with real life consequences) while still within the "safety net" of home. Take that away from Susie and you aren't doing your job as a parent.

See, Susie won't have the luxury of mom cooking dinner for her every night, of opening the refrigerator and finding food without ever stepping into a grocery store, of clean, folded clothes magically appearing in her closet. She'll have to pay bills, set an alarm clock to get to work on time and know how to use a washer and dryer. These are skills and they need to be taught to - not done for - our kids.

Sure, you can defend your actions with "Empty Nest Logic" - you won't have Susie in your life forever, you only have a few years left before she heads off to college and you want to make her happy while she's still living in your house, but that is quite self-serving.

Not to worry. If you keep coddling Susie, she'll never leave home. She won't be able to, unless you drive around town finding boxes for her stuff, pack it up for her, load it into the moving van, go grocery shopping for her, open up a checking account for her insuring you have access to her on-line bill pay, call her in the morning to make sure she's gotten out of bed and pick up her laundry every week.


12 October 2010

Is Tolerance Our Best?


I'm over at Lynn's place today!

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


11 October 2010



I don't know that I've ever sat down and blogged about why I blog, but recent comments and events indicate it might be time.

Now, there will be a handful of you who claim I am lying - who feel you can "see through me" - who are convinced you know me better than I know myself.

Pompous assholes ... every last one of you.

... and there goes my vow against name-calling ...

I blog for many reasons, but there are three primary reasons I blog.

I blog for validation/attention

Let's get the ugly one out of the way. I blog for the comments - the interaction with the reader. Of course that means that I occasionally have to deal with this kind of crap (marked as SPAM when posted to my Do Something post):

fifty cents a day - for fifty cents a day (paypal) I might shut up - give me fifty cents a day and you and your wrecked train can cheer and wreck all over the place and I wont come back - but dont miss a payment - if not I am gonna keep on coming here for free - the the toilet that just wont flush! THIS IS REAL.

Posted by doggybloggy to Amid Life's Crises at October 7, 2010 9:26 PM


ALL of your readers? isnt that a stretch to call these four or five people ALL? cute kinda in a train wreck sort of way - and if you do jump off a bridge is is really MY fault?

Posted by doggybloggy to Amid Life's Crises at October 8, 2010 8:23 AM


delete all of my comments not just the recent ones...

Posted by doggybloggy to Amid Life's Crises at October 8, 2010 9:11 AM


we are getting gone stop closer to you shutting this train wreck down or going private ---I SAID - DELETE ALL MY COMMENTS NOT JUST THE RECENT ONES -

Posted by doggybloggy to Amid Life's Crises at October 8, 2010 9:46 AM
Yeah ... this shit does not elicit discussion, but there will always be "haters", especially if you are a blogger who puts it out there, including unpopular opinions.

Blogging for attention/validation means I may lose FOURTEEN blog followers when I go on a "Piss the Readers Off" week blogging binge. Why yes! Yes I did!

Fortunately, 99.5267984% of my commenters are logical, intelligent, funny, caring people, and having the opportunity to interact with all of you is the primary reason I blog.

I blog to clear my head

It's therapeutic and a hell of a lot cheaper than my $30 co-pay for mental health services.

I grew up in a home that required I keep secrets. There was constant pressure to keep up the appearance of the family. I was taught to stuff all things that could make the family "look bad", all of the negative feelings, suck it up, be tough, put a smile on my face, and never let anyone know the turmoil in my own head and heart.

Fuck that.

Secrets are destructive. In my life, "privacy" has been an excuse for continued wrong-doing. Sure, I occasionally embarrass myself with what I say here and I make myself vulnerable to people who define their own value by how much better they can feel about themselves because they would "never do that," but at least I'm not pretending to be something I'm not.

I process life events through words. I need to talk it out. Sometimes I need to talk both sides out and I come across as hypocritical, and sometimes? I'm just hypocritical ... but at least I can see that.

I don't have a relationship in my life that allows this kind of interaction. Not my parents. Not a BFF (some day, when I grow up, I want a BFF). Not a spouse. No siblings. I've managed to isolate myself quite well. Y'all are my sounding board.

I blog to change my mind

What?? How can that be??

It's true! I've been known to post an opinion on this blog that isn't really my opinion, or that maybe I'm a bit wishy-washy on. I want to hear both (or more) sides of the argument so I throw it out here and see where y'all go with it.

There have been times when I was so certain I was right, but opening my mind - and my blog - has allowed me to see a side of things I hadn't considered.

As opinionated as I am (and I am), I am also quite reasonable and responsive to logic ... usually ...

Why do you blog? Why do you comment on other blogs?


10 October 2010

Sunday Secret



08 October 2010

Friday Wrap-Up


I can't think of a better way to end a week filled with (some might say self-induced) blog drama than to reflect on what I've learned about myself and others:

  • People (generally, including me) are far more likely to criticize the negative than they are to praise the positive. I don't know why that is, but I don't like it and I will continue to work on not being one of "those" people.
  • There really is such a thing as constructive criticism, but two key factors need to be present for it to get through - it needs to come from someone you respect and it needs to focus on the behavior, not the person.
  • I don't write as well as I'd like to think I do. My intended message was muddled, and sometimes lost, in my posts on Monday and on Wednesday. I was very clear in what I thought I was saying, but based on comments, many readers were not.
  • We all need to use the unfollow and unsubscribe buttons more freely.

That "Mark as SPAM" option blogger now has for comments? It seems to work, at least initially. I'm not sure what happens once a commenter is marked as SPAM, but I'm hoping future comments will automatically go to the SPAM comments tab. We'll see.

I like having options ...


Although social media does have a "dark side" (just like life) it can be a lot of fun too. Yesterday/this morning there was a conversation on twitter that made me chuckle. It involved two "normal" people (@jpryan06 and myself) and two "famous" people (If you watch Morning Joe on MSNBC).

I continue to be amazed at how social media allows "conversations" between people who would never have that opportunity in any other venue.


06 October 2010

Do Something!


Chooooo! Chooooo!

When I write things on this blog, I usually have an idea of where they'll go when the comments start flowing. There aren't often many surprises, but that wasn't the case Monday.

Let's talk briefly about Monday, then LET IT GO because this post is not intended to rehash my bad behavior, nor the content of Monday's post, but rather some of the comments on Monday's post ...

I was PISSED! I felt "wronged" (I have since had to humble myself a bit) and I was tired of taking the "higher" road. And by "higher" road I mean that the entire situation had sunk to the gutter - the "higher" road was pretty damn low.

I don't regret writing the post and I don't regret opening up the comments, even though they didn't go AT ALL where I thought they would go. Why no regrets? Because I am a little more self-aware than I was Monday, because of that post.

Try to follow me here, this is going to seem disjointed (and probably is), but ... *shrugs*

There has been a lot of attention on the suicide of Tyler Clementi as of late, but the focus has been on the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back (the hidden camera and distribution of the live stream video on a social network) and his sexual orientation, rather than what I believe actually killed him.

What do I believe killed Tyler? People just like snugs, DoggyBloggy and micky-t along with people who chose to do nothing.

It wasn't that single social media event that killed Tyler. It was the ongoing and constant berating, ostracizing and exclusion of Tyler in a "socially acceptable" (i.e. via social media) way that killed him.

Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei face charges for invasion of privacy (don't get me started on the failing of our laws in keeping up with technology) but every single person who watched that live stream and laughed or mocked Tyler, and every single person on the Rutger's Campus who knew what was going on but did nothing, are equally as guilty in Tyler's death.

What I find most disturbing about this story is that had Tyler not died by suicide, this wouldn't have been a story at all. Most people would have considered it just another instance of "harmless" social media jabs because we all know that in social media (facebook, twitter, blogs, comments on news stories, etc.) this behavior has become expected.

Really? Berating people is harmless and has become expected?? Think about that for a minute ...

Be honest. You've done it. I've certainly done it.

I'm not saying you should heap artificial praise anyone - we've seen where the "everyone is a winner" mentality has gotten us - but you don't need to be an ass just for the sake of being an ass, and at the expense of others. Conflict can be constructive.

For example, I received an email from Jay on Monday regarding my post. It was one of the most supportive emails I have ever received. It said things like ...

"I think [your post] was ridiculous, childish and low."

and ...

"Seriously, I used to be entertained by you guys but now it's getting old and kinda boring. And stupid."

and finally ...

"Basically, I'm rather disappointed in that blog post. I think it was beneath you."

You might read those lines and think I am being sarcastic when I say it was one of the most supportive emails I have ever received - you'd be wrong.

See? Jay didn't blow sunshine up my ass. He didn't take sides. He didn't berate me. But he did tell it like he saw it. He called me out. He held me accountable.

Jay wasn't trying to embarrass, humiliate or "take me down a notch" like snugs, DoggyBloggy and micky-t were. No, Jay was reminding me that I am a better person than that post indicated. Jay was supportive. Jay did something constructive.

How many times do we see "wrongs" and claim we are taking the high road by not addressing them? How many times do we say to ourselves, "That's too big of a problem for me to do anything about" and walk away? How many times do we do nothing because we are afraid of being wrong or making someone mad at us because we've taken sides?

Do something people! Grow a pair of fucking BALLS and take a stand! Be respectful, but hold people accountable for their unacceptable actions like Jay did for me.

Doing nothing is every bit as wrong as what snugs, DoggyBloggy and micky-t did and continue to do. Doing nothing indicates you see nothing wrong.

We are ALL better than that.


05 October 2010

Villain or Hero


I'm over at Lynn's place today!

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


04 October 2010

Covert Abuse


Some of you are going to be uncomfortable with this post, not because it has anything to do with you directly, but because you know the person I'm going to address - Kim (i.e. Kimmeh, Kimmikins, Rhekins).

You might feel like you need to take sides. I'd prefer you don't. In fact, I'm not even opening comments on this post so that no one can take sides - at least not here.

*NOTE* I received an email that stated:

"I would say that not allowing comments was a bad move. It looks like you didn't want anyone to point out that some of your "facts" might have been a bit one-sided. Or maybe someone would say the pics didn't look all that similar and that it didn't seem like a big deal."

Although not my intent, I can see how it might seem that way. As such, I've opened the comments. I will NOT respond to any of your comments as I believe there is fault shared between both Kim and I in this debacle and I don't want to attempt to "justify" my part in the shared bad behavior.

What's important is for me to lay out the facts that have been missing from the back and forth, passive aggressive banter between us. I'm not interested in making accusations, spinning the truth without giving reference when it's available, or name calling. If you feel the need to support Kim, you can do that on her blog.

And now, the rest of the story ...

I pissed off fellow blogger Kim many months ago. What's odd is I don't even remember what the original falling out was all about (it was that trivial in my mind at the time), but I'm certain she does - she's been making me "pay" for whatever my misdeed was for quite some time now.

Why aren't some of you aware of what's been going on? Sadly, covert abuse is her expertise. Sure, she seems nice, and I have no doubt she can be nice. She was extremely nice to me at one time ... until it became apparent that I don't play by her rules.

Kim is also one smart cookie (seriously). She knows the ins and outs of social media well - what shows up in her follower's time lines and what doesn't. Seldom does she slip up.

Kim is the person I spoke of in [THIS] blog rant. I've tried to address this situation with her directly, but she's been a bit slippery, ignoring several of my past attempts at email communication.

It seems she has no faults that she's willing to admit to publicly. It is everyone around her who has faults and they must be punished for those faults. People who have "wronged" Kim must be humiliated. I can only presume that is so she can feel better about herself.

I'm willing to ignore a lot of bullshit, but I'm not willing to allow Kim's half-truths to go unchecked any longer.

Things between Kim and I recently came to a head when I saw this photo on her Project 365 blog last week.

The following twitter exchange took place between me and two other two others (Kim was not one of them).

This is my photo that I felt had been copied and/or was the "inspiration" for her photo.

Could I have handled my own frustration in a more constructive way? Ummm ... yeah ... probably! Do I have regrets that I didn't? Nope, and I'll show you why ...

A few days later Kim posted this entry to her blog.

Let's skip the obvious - she doesn't really hate to get all passive aggressive - if she did she'd have written a blog post like the one I'm writing (and she likely will). She could have chosen to address this in a different manner - confronted me directly, in public or in private. But this passive aggressive post gave her the opportunity to spin her story to her advantage. If you read the comments you'll see it was a success!

The facts (or lack there of) are far more interesting to me.

She compares a microphone photo we both took as an example of how unreasonable I'm being. Here is her photo.

... and mine ...

But she didn't bother with the story behind the photos. When you hear it you'll understand why.

Are they the same microphone? Yes! This is the microphone used by Annie of the Annie & Burl Live Blog Talk Radio show. Kim took her photo of the mic long before I did. She is often in the studio when the Annie & Burl Live show airs.

I had a one-time opportunity to partake in one of their shows over the summer and took a photo of the identical mic - an iconic image of the radio show, if you will. I'd argue you'd be hard pressed to tell that is the same microphone. Why? Because I went out of my way to adjust my composition knowing I was taking a photo of something she had already photographed.

Next claim, I was passive-aggressive on twitter.

Yes I was, although I'm still trying to figure out how she discovered that since she insists she doesn't "stalk" my tweets like I do hers. But here's what got me:

"In fact I think her words implied that I lifted the picture off her blog and put it as mine."

You know, if you're going to make such harsh accusations, you really need to present facts. In this case the facts are out there in a public forum, easy to grab just like I did. There's no excuse for saying "I think" when you can know with just a few clicks on your computer, unless the facts don't support your accusations (which seems to be the case here).

Let's assume for a moment that Kim didn't read my tweets. That is possible, and due to the way one of the tweets in that exchange was formatted, I'm fairly certain it showed up in Kim's Twitter timeline.

But how would Kim know who or what I was talking about unless she was familiar with my photo (she does view my P365 blog) and saw the similarities as well? I didn't mention her name. Didn't even mention the content of the photo. Remember? This was a passive aggressive twitter exchange. Hmmmm ...

There is also the possibility that Kim did, in fact, read that entire twitter exchange (and what is printed above is the public exchange in it's entirety). But how could that be if she wrote in her blog post that I "implied that [she] lifted the picture off [my] blog and put it as [hers]"?

Well, her blog post wouldn't have had quite the same impact had she mentioned that I clarified that was not the case, would it?

I plainly stated in my response that the photo was NOT my photo posted on another blog, but rather one "almost identical to mine" - and looking at the two photos (Kim did NOT provide both photos on her blog post - again one has to wonder why), even she would be hard pressed to claim the photos weren't "almost identical" - composition, cropping and subject matter are the same.

One of her next lines in the post is even more telling.

I do not like being bullied, I do not like being accused of things and I want it to stop.

So, what did I do? I let it go. I didn't even comment on her post. I decide to (cautiously) deem it an odd coincidence and move forward. Let's be realistic, I cannot claim to know what inspired Kim's photo. She says I'm full of shit (passive aggressively of course) so? OK *shrugs*

She wants it to stop? Cool! I made a conscientious choice to no longer aggravate the situation (that hasn't always been the case). I wanted this to stop months ago, yet I was still contributing to the problem.

I figured if I gave it my best effort, Kim would finally give up on directing her passive aggressive attack towards me. Why would someone claiming she's reacting to my "bullying" need to continue with hers if there was no provocation? Right?


Just days later this Twitter exchange occurs.

Ummm ... yeah ... she obviously doesn't want this to stop, otherwise she wouldn't be poking it with a stick on Twitter.

In true passive aggressive form, when I stated that I didn't understand the inconsistencies between her words and actions (she wants it to stop, but she's going to keep poking it with a stick on Twitter) she deflects.

See, this can't be about a flaw she has. Noooo ... it's about me! I'm stalking her tweets. It's my fault! Of course it is ...

I'm the bully! Of course I am ...

At this point I'm thinking, yet again, that she's gotten it all out of her system. She's done her thing - placing blame elsewhere - in a public forum where we have many mutual friends. I've been punished. I've received my public flogging - TWICE. All should be well ... or not ...

Two days later, this Twitter exchange between Kim and yet another of her followers.

Passive aggressive people ignore problems, see things through their own skewed sense of reality and, if forced to deal with the problems will completely withdraw (i.e the follow, unfollow, block, go private twitter response).

Passive aggressive people deny evidence of wrong doing, distort what everyone knows to be real so that their "altered" situations fit their own agenda, and minimize or lie so that their version of what is real seems more logical.

Kim is a master.

If I didn't know as much about passive aggressive behavior as I do, I'd be thinking something was terribly wrong with me. Unfortunately for Kim, I am all too familiar with this behavior - from others and within myself. It doesn't work on me, or for me, and that appears to frustrate the hell out of Kim. She has not let it go. She continues to go to great lengths to insure I continue to "pay".

I have many flaws, but rampant passive aggressive behavior is not one of them - thank goodness - it isn't attractive nor endearing.

Bottom line? When your tweets read like these (pulled directly from Kim's public twitter feed in the last week or so) ...

... it becomes pretty clear who you really are. Kim's own words speak far louder than any of my words ever could.

*CLARIFICATION* The above referenced tweets were NOT directed towards me

She won't let it go. I've wasted enough time trying to make this right and she has wasted far too much time trying to make me wrong, but I'm willing to bet that won't stop her from continuing on with her efforts.

Personally? I'm done. I've made changes to my Twitter account and Blogger account to insure I won't even be "tempted" to see what she is saying/doing. If she chooses to continue her passive aggressive attacks towards me, I'll be none the wiser. I cannot think of a better gift to myself!

The good news? I've learned there are just some people I will never like no matter how many "friends" we have in common, and pretending to is just plain silly.

Fuck it ...


03 October 2010

Sunday Secret



01 October 2010

Friday Wrap-Up


WooHoo?? It's October?? How the hell did that happen?

Rough couple of weeks coming up at work. Quarter end and my butt is on the line. I've got a HUGE project that I've put off for ... ummm ... 9 months? Now it's crunch time. I've procrastinated myself into a corner - something I do well.

Ehhh ... it's OK. I work better under pressure. Yep! That's my story!


Got a couple of posts in the hopper. Looks like next week will be "Piss off your Readers" week at Amid Life's Crises. I still have a few days with no posting ideas.

Anyone feeling the need to be a martyr should email me!


Keep your fingers crossed, it looks like Cam is moving up a "sheet level" at school beginning next week.

I've mentioned before that the Therapeutic Day School (TDS) works on a point system. Points are earned for desirable performance (they never take away points - students start at 0 each day).

There are 3 sheet levels - white,yellow and blue. White is the lowest sheet level and indicates you receive no additional privileges. Privileges at the TDS are things like being able to walk from class to class unsupervised, being able to go to the restroom without an escort, and pizza for lunch on Fridays.

Yes, the TDS is extremely structured. It's quite similar to boot camp. Activities students take for granted (being able to walk to class unsupervised) are snagged away and have to be earned back. It's no joke.

I almost hate to type this, but I think Cam is finally settling in a bit - finding his place - understanding that his bad behavior will not be rewarded at the TDS (for Cam, being sent to the office, was a reward) - and moving in the right direction.

Sometimes progress comes in small doses, but should be celebrated none-the-less.


I had planned on doing the Take the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP - formerly food stamps) Hunger challenge next week, but it is going to have to wait. Quite frankly, trying to feed Cam and I three meals a day for $9 per day is going to require some planning - some planning I haven't yet made a priority.

I'll get there though.


If you don't have Surviving the World in your reader, what the hell is wrong with you?? I absolutely adore this guy and his thinking process.

One of his "comics" this week made me think of Matt-Man and ... well ... I couldn't ignore the fact that I have been accused of being AWESMUG as well ...