Friday, December 24, 2010

Holiday Spirit lost...

I usually have LOTS and LOTS of Holiday Spirit. My H.S. comes not from the Christmas celebration of Jesus, because you already know I think that religion is hokum and bunk.

When I was  young and still a believer, my Mom and Dad did OK making the holiday season fun. Post divorce, my Mom had little to no spirit, and really I think she still doesn't. Generally speaking, from the age of 16 if I did not go get a tree, there was not going to be a tree. My little brothers deserved better than that, no matter how my parents relationship went. Mom would grump her way through the decorating process, until good spirit was unavoidable. Every year it became  more and more difficult to get her into the spirit. When I was out and married and the boys were not home to do the Christmas stuff, her bff and I would often -- separately or together -- go decorate for Mom. This made her mad because she felt that she had to pick up after. I had no problem with helping take it down if she wanted, but she only asked me to do it once.

With my kids, I wanted it to be a big production and make them feel special and important and loved. So, from the early days of my motherhood, I made it so. It has become quite the production! The other day, I told a neighbor who was here that Christmas is not a holiday in my house... It is a disease! It just keeps spreading and spreading. The thing is that decorating makes it feel warmer and there is so much too look at and it makes people smile. What could be better than making people smile and feel good?

Until this year, I can think of only one year when I had a really bad Christmas. That was 1997 and it is not a time I choose to talk about with anyone for any reason. It needs to stay in the past.

This year has been a rough year. We have had so many kicks in the teeth and it feels like we have little to be positive about.

The state of IL changed the rules relating to paying state taxes when you work out of state and it took them nearly 10 months to give us our refund, even though there was no way we could have done anything about the way the employer collected the taxes for the past tax year. Better yet, the change was not reflected in the Turbo-Tax state edition updates when we filed in mid February never knowing that a nightmare awaited us! They had the money the whole time, they ignored ALL the multi-state tax return information included with our submission and waited 4 months to tell us we needed to make amends in 10 days or else, including telling us they intended to charge us interest! Once we proved to them, in less than the 10 days we were given, that they had made an error, they still held our money for another 5+ months. After all the hassle and waiting after they screwed up, we got pennies in interest for our troubles and the long delay.

You already know we had the ridiculous nightmare of a property dispute that dragged on for months and months and THOUSANDS of dollars just to get our land returned to us from an unscrupulous neighbor.

We had friends who turned out not to be friends if we were not there to babysit their kids or feed their families. Friends who said they would do things but never did and other friends who only made half-hearted attempts to do what was promised, yet caused more problems by doing so.

My oldest's Bio-Dad once again dropped the ball and hurt her tremendously -- shocking I know. She went off to college and that was hard to deal with, though that has smoothed out after surviving the first semester.

Tuesday night, the whole family went up to get haircuts. All the kids went first and we sent them home with KC, because we were going to run errands after we had ours. Minutes after they left, KC called to say the they had been hit by a truck. So, we abandoned the salon and raced down the few blocks to check on what was happening. Apparently a UPS driver in a Budget Rental box truck turned onto the merge lane from the side street, merged into the right lane and then proceeded to merge into our Trailblazer which was in the left lane. All I can say is that it amazes me that the glass held and E, who was riding shot-gun was not hurt. T and C were in the back and also unhurt. KC was surprisingly collected and impressed me throughout the whole ordeal. As it turns out the accident was the least of our problems!

The police officer on scene designated the other driver at fault, which was evident by both the glass in KC's lane from the truck's mirror shattering and the fact that the impact is between the front and rear doors. Said officer collected all the information and gave us paperwork. Unfortunately, he neglected to give us the other driver's information as required by IL law! Attempts to get the police dept to get us the information have gone unanswered! Our insurance company told us that they only advocate for their clients if we file a claim through them and fork out the $500 deductible! When the other driver's insurance contacted us they flat out refused to tow the car to the shop. They refused a rental car while the car is being fixed and told me I would have to incur all the expenses and then apply to be reimbursed! HELLO??? That is totally defeating the purpose of having the insurance companies! I should not have to pay the fees up front! They already admitted liability! They should have towed my car to the shop of my choice and processed a rental for me immediately!! Instead I was told that applying for a reimbursement does not mean I will get it! What the fuck kind of shit is that!!?? I mean seriously? I have a bunch of kids, it's days before Christmas, their client wrecked my fucking car AND I am being given the run-around? Oh can I tell you that I am soooo pissed!!!!!!! This morning we had to file through our insurance in order to get the situation dealt with and now it's going to cost us $500 -- just great! Our insurance gives us a rental car, but if we need a bigger car to fit the size of our family of 6 then we have to pay the extra! That just ticked me off no end, because I should at least be entitled to a vehicle that is the same as the one I drive every day. So far the claims adjuster has not bothered to call here, so now late in the afternoon I still have no rental car because I cannot get one until they process the paperwork and then clear it!

This is NOT a nice way to go into Christmas! My Holiday Spirit is in the shit-can and if Santa comes or not I could care less. The whole process has left me raw and numb and without any confidence in the system. We pay the insurance company thousands of dollars every year, we've never had a claim with them at all and when we really needed them, they threw us under the fucking bus! State Farm is definitely NOT going to keep us as a client. As my husband said, what happened to their motto "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there"? Any insurance company that only advocates for you if you file a claim is not worthy of my business. This has NEVER been the case in all the years dealing with other insurance companies in the past.

Bah friggin' humbug!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Yet another deranged terrorist act...

What a crying shame that these people cannot seem to think for themselves enough to rationalize the reality of their actions. All those "virgins" waiting in heaven is a ridiculous reason for these radical/extremist men to die! After all they cannot be ETERNALLY VIRGINS -- it defies the definition! They'll plow through those virgins in no time and THEN WHAT? What of their worldly wives? Children? Wouldn't it be amazing if one of these idiots could come back afterwards and tell the rest that there is NOT the payment in heaven they expect. Then maybe all this would dramatically subside... BUT that is NOT realistic thinking and sadly we are now in a world controlled by fear-mongers and apparently insatiably horny men!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

American Lion

I for got to mention when I started reading this book, after all the times I said I was going to... HAHA! Anyway, I have just the epilogue left and then I will be done. I must say that Andrew Jackson was a walking talking contradiction in MANY ways. A strong-willed jack-ass borderline bully and a kind-hearted caring man all wrapped up in an American President. I think I will be looking for further reading on this very intriguing man of our history.

On another book note, I found out that a movie is in the works for Team of Rivals. How freakin' cool is that???? I cannot WAIT!

More on Pres. A. J. soon. Got a party tomorrow and endless pre-holiday chores to accomplish.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Old Recipe Books - Basic Home Cooking and Canning Recipes

Awesome site! I love it!

Old Recipe Books - Basic Home Cooking and Canning Recipes

The Holidays are coming!! ... The Holidays are coming!!

The Holidays are coming!! Are you ready? I am --- NOT, but I can finally say -- almost. Especially now that my annoying 18 year old (Love you baby! ;-) has finally come to 'round some sensible thinking! You see, just like my brother #1 00used to (and probably still does...), she has the name brand bug up her butt! The name of the brand in question, THIS TIME, is UGG's. AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Ugg's are kinda ugly and probably very warm, which I think is their purpose. Ugg's are also VERY EXPENSIVE, even on sale! These days, we live on a budget and things we buy have to make sense within that guideline. The holiday guideline is $100 per kid, and we don't count shipping and tax when applicable, so they don't lose out from that. Stepping out of the guideline is a big deal and generally needs to be for a good reason. So, when K asked for $140 boots and $100 clogs, I LAUGHED and said NO WAY! This made for an unhappy teenager to be sure!

We have just come to a compromise... She said she would be happy to just have the boots, and I said I was NOT HAPPY to pay $140 for boots even if she did not get clogs. SO... We have settled on a generic version of the ones she liked, which happened to be on Holiday sale for 50% off their regular price of $50! Thank you J.C. Penney's!! Score for me and I think for her as well. WHY you ask? Well -- with savings like that, we were able to find similar clogs of a name brand other than Ugg's, on sale for $37! Thank you Amazon.com !! So, for less than 1 pair of Ugg's clogs, she has 2 pair of warm fuzzy footwear AND $38 left on her Holiday budget for a few other goodies to boot. I have Old Navy coupons, so maybe she can score some more!

I am usually done shopping by Thanksgiving, totally decorated within a week after, have started baking and finished Christmas cards by the second week after. This leaves me time to wrap and label and make sure everything is ready for the Clause man's visit. This year has gone to HELL-in-a-HAND-BASKET! I had no real lists to speak of until two days ago! I have not felt the decorating spirit, because my partner in decorating has gone off to college and is not here to help and make it fun! We tried to take pix of the kids for the Christmas cards while she was here for Thanksgiving break, but they aren't quite right...SO they are not ready and hence the cards aren't either! I guess I will pre-write, stamp and address them all so when K gets home from school next week we can try taking the kids pix again. Then I will use my awesome CVS buy 50 get 25 free digital prints coupon to get them cheap and fast!

The baking has to start soon... Luckily K found out she will be done with finals and be home on Tuesday the 14th -- 2 days earlier than we expected. SOOOOO  I will soon have my baking buddy back and we can commence to arguing about what to use in the 7 layer cookies this year! LOL!

I am almost done decorating -- just one tree to go downstairs. By tomorrow, my shopping will be complete. According to Amazon.com, most if not all, my orders will arrive by the 17th. Wrapping can be done while kids are at school and I suppose in the end I will be all caught up...

The other big hitch in the season this year? Open House! Yep, we decided to invite the neighbors and the  gals from Wineax Wednesday's over for a party on the 18th. I need to get inspired! I have been combing the internet for some ideas and I now have a few. I love Krista's Kitchen food blog for ideas a lot, so when she recently posted Homemade Eggnog, I got excited to try it! Then I found a neat little web page called Finger Food Recipes which has a TON of great ideas and an entire section for holidays -- so, the Christmas party is looking better and better now!


SO... How's YOUR Holiday Prep coming along???

Friday, December 3, 2010

Adult or not?

Recently my 18 year old brought up a discussion she had in class about whether being banned from alcohol at the age of adulthood is relevant to the fact of adulthood. Strangely her position was that the two are not related. I disagree...

I do not believe she is old enough to be responsible in the consumption of alcohol. Neither do I believe that, if she wanted to be in the military, she would be any more mature than she is considered with alcohol. Either situation could put a young person in a position to kill, whether by accident or by duty does not matter. If 18 year olds are allowed to be adults only in certain circumstances then they are not truly adults. This means, to me, that the age of majority ought to be  22 -- that also gets kids through 4 years of college.

Consider these points:
1. We pay health insurance fees and are responsible for the medical bills of this child as our Dependant.
2. On our tax return, she is a Dependant as she is NOT self supporting in any way.
3. She does not drive unless she has insurance through us.
4. We are responsible if, for some reason, she is unable to pay the Federal college loans she will be accruing over the next 4 years of college. Without a co-signer, she has no qualification for the loans at all!
5. She cannot rent a car, even if she was fully independent of us, because the industry does not consider her an adult until 25.
6. Most insurance companies don't want to insure them without a parent until they have a number of years of experience behind the wheel... Otherwise they price them out of being able to even afford the insurance -- which likely causes many to go without! My personal experience was about age 22 they decided I was OK to insure on my own at reasonable rates.

All these parental responsibilities and yet without her consent, we are not entitled to know her medical conditions, even though to go to the Doctor, she needs OUR CARD AND OUR MONEY to receive and pay for said medical attention. We are not entitled to know of her college grades even though we are responsible for getting her to and from and maintaining her general life while she is at school and have hung ourselves out there in order to help pay for her college education.

There are so many contradictions in the standards for what constitutes adulthood. They say now that the brain does not mature until the mid 20's so why not adjust the standard to meet the known facts of maturity and adulthood?

"We cannot ban our way to safety for America's youth."

I think we are getting out of control here. I mean we are supposed to live in a free country. We are supposed to make our own decisions and then be responsible for the consequences of such. Obviously there are laws in place that are meant to protect the greater good, and many of them make sense. One such law would be against driving while intoxicated. That makes sense. If you get behind the wheel drunk you do not just have the potential to harm yourself -- you have the potential to harm countless others. Therefore, the greater good needs recourse against the drunken driver.

Four Loko Bans: New Laws Mix Alcohol, Caffeine and Hypocrisy - DailyFinance

Banning beverages and other consumables is a dicey bit of business. We saw how well the whole Prohibition thing went way back in the 1920's to early 30's, RIGHT??? Instead of banning, why not educate better and allow us the option to choose -- right or wrong -- what we like. The fact remains that, like an addict to any other thing, a person who wants these things will find a way. The drink is not responsible for what happens, the person drinking it is. Fast food is not responsible for the obesity problem in our country. The people who choose to eat it and do not exercise self control are. If you are going to blame fast food, then you must also blame the school cafeteria. Most, if not all offer no better food than that of the fast food industry. Just ask The Naked Chef, Jamie Oliver! If you watched his program last year about the "fattest" city in America, you know what I am talking about!

All I know is that I cannot and will not put up with being told every little nit-picky detail of my life, right down to what I consume, is to be interfered with by the powers that be! If they are going to ban drinks like this one then they also need to ban cigarettes, all alcoholic beverages, cell phone usage and so on and so on... After all, cigarettes are killers, RIGHT? We know for a fact that they are deadly and cause all manner of health issues and health costs. Drunks are another health care problem with their own costs, in addition to those caused when drunks become deadly behind the wheel. Cell phones have cause all manner of accidents and caused any number of deaths, so why is it not banned while driving? Next maybe they will outlaw obesity because health care costs too much for that as well, but how will they enforce it? How about we just ban everything but veggies and water?

Civil liberties folks, we have them for a reason and we fought hard with Britain to get out from under oppression, yet it appears we are now regressing into the kind of control that we wished to escape!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Do the Cupid Shuffle

YouTube - Cupid - Cupid Shuffle

Today Deb posted this on FB, and I found that although I have heard the song plenty prior to today, I could not help but get into the groove... a whole bunch of times! I totally have "white girl syndrome" LOL -- BUT I will totally jam all by myself -- cuz WHO CARES? Right? It is just you and the music --- life is good! So, GO AND MOVE! Have fun and remember the paparazzi AIN'T lookin' at you or me so just get down on it! WOOT WOOT!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Obama freezing federal worker pay...

Can you say FUCK THIS SHIT!!!??? Cuz I can!

Citing deficit, Obama freezing federal worker pay | St. Louis News, Weather, Sports | KMOV.com | St. Louis Weather, News and More | National News

My husband is a 25+ year Federal employee! The projected/proposed Cost of Living pay increases have been reduced/suppressed by Congress every year for YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!! The Clinton Admin. made every effort to equalize the pay of Fed. staff to the private sector, but Congress always finds a reason NOT to actually give the raises that would have done this, yet they always get their pay raises and fancy benefits. Why people believe that there is pay parity between the average Federal employee and his private sector equal is beyond me! By and large that is just NOT TRUE!

People who have had their unemployment benefits extended repeatedly, but are bitching that the Fed. Employees are paid and do nothing??? That is horse-shit and maybe JUST maybe -- they need to get off their fucking lazy asses and go find a job...even if they have to deliver pizza or serve at McD's etc... They could easily be considered to be MOOCHING money off the Fed. rather than making the real effort to do what they need  to do. Often in this economy, it is no different than the complaints made about welfare abuse.

I know people are all suffering and the reality is we are also. My husband works hard and brings home a decent paycheck. The agency he works at does not pay their staff under the Federal step/grade system. Raises have been almost non-existent since they switched to the pay-banding system, about 10 years ago. We have suffered through this for years and have come to realize that the piddly 1.7 1.9% COL is all we can expect to get. To take that away too is a gross error on the part of this administration and is a slap in the face of the people who are doing the every day grind for the Government.

There have got to be bigger and better ways to affect the improvement of our economy than hurting even more people. Across the board the entire Federal workforce that qualifies ought to be offered early retirement. There are thousands of programs that can or need to be cut out or reduced in favor of the economy. There are numerous places around the world that we have aided for years and years... These places either need to step up and take care of themselves or another country that has the ability needs to step in to fill our shoes. We should NOT be hand-holding others when we are in dire straits!

I am a stay at home Mom and have been since 1996. The reality is that we made a choice and that choice was for the greater good of our family. We have gone without and made sacrifices plenty over these many years in order to give our kids the upbringing that we feel they should have. This year my youngest child went to all day school and I could have gone out and found a job... BUT we believe that because we are used to the economic climate that we have lived within for so long, the benefit of any job which I might qualify for would be better saved for someone else who needs it far more than I do. DO NOT misunderstand me -- we are NOT wealthy by any means. We have a kid in college, a mortgage and all the associated bills that go with it. We go without many things when the times call for us to do so.

We have suffered right along with the rest of our country in this economy and in all honesty, I think that the  people who are taking pot-shots at the Federal workforce need to shut the fuck up and clean up in their own houses before attacking ours. The reality is we need every little tiny pay increase we get, because like ALL families, we have bills and needs and rely on that little tinny bit to help. 

Fox News Headline on President Obama Kids' Book Ignites Sitting Bull Controversy

Are people really so naive that they have forgotten that the true Americans in this country are the INDIANS?? Hello? We STOLE their land, forced them to move and have treated them with less respect than many animals! Sitting Bull was an amazing person and he did what he needed to protect his people!

Fox News Headline on President Obama Kids' Book Ignites Sitting Bull Controversy

Americans need to come back down to earth AND reality!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Marriage

As of today, I have been married to the most amazing man for 14 years. We have been together for 17.5 all told. I could not have asked for a better guy to spend my life with and look forward to many many more years with him!

LOVE YA MATT!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Better out than in....?

My 10 year old E is a sweet and sensitive girl, who wears her emotions on the surface. That is not to say that she cannot be a big pain in the ass, cuz trust me... SHE CAN BE! On Friday after school I suggested she call a friend. She called her newest pal, but she was unavailable. Another friend was on vacation. I suggested she call her friend who lives in the front section of our subdivision. These 2 have been besties since they met a couple years back. I was surprised by her response...

She told me that M is not her friend anymore, that M is mean to her, has called her names and along with another once-but-no-longer-friend even tried to get her in trouble in the bus line Friday afternoon. I am shocked because M has always been a real sweetie and she and E have been super close. Occasionally they have issues, but that is just normal shit. Of course I also know there are two sides to every story, but given the company M was keeping, I tend to believe E.

I am going to go out on a limb and say I think this current problem is my fault. I cannot think of any other reason, than that which I am going to write out below, for the problems between M and E.

I will start from the VERY beginning of M and E's friendship. They met in class a few years back and soon began to hang out at recess etc... One day she and her Mom came around to collect on a pledge my Hubster had made to donate to the Diabetes Walk M was doing. You see M and her Dad both have Type 1 diabetes. My Hubster had mentioned something about this, but I was unaware that the kid he pledged to was E's friend. I met M and her Mom, S, and we all chatted and figured out that they lived near us and that was great news for E -- now they could play out of school too! We also found out that they were also transplants to the area and we were all experiencing some very similar difficulties with acceptance in the area. We were both home Moms and seemed to have some stuff in common.

M's Dad, J, called me one day not too long after this and asked if he and S could come over that evening cuz they needed to talk to me about something. I had NO IDEA what they had on their minds and was a little worried that something had happened between E and M, but E said things were great so I just waited. What they needed was help.

S's Grandma had taken ill back home and she needed to go help her Mom. They needed to know if their kids could come here in the morning for the bus and after school until J got off work while S was out of town. Being the kind of person I am, I said OF COURSE! No problem. I got a crash course in diabetes and how to take care of M, and off went S. During this time, J and I got buddy buddy talking a bit after school every day. He's a nice guy, if a bit rough around his Jersey Boy edges. I forget how long S was gone, but sadly her Grandma passed away and she came home to her family and started moving on with life. If she had no luck at all she would have been better off, cuz the next thing I know I was being asked to repeat my help because S's Mom had taken ill and S was the one her Mom chose to be her caregiver if needed. Of course I helped... I could not imagine how S was feeling and she must have been dazed and horrified to boot.

Helping out meant often feeding the kids snacks and doing homework with them and refereeing the inevitable squabbles between 3 of my 4 and the additional 2. Occasionally I had them on the weekend so that J could work overtime. It was essentially a madhouse/zoo. I was exhausted, but generally in a good way. They are good kids and I love them. During this time, their oldest, JM and my oldest KC had made friends -- turned out they were in the same grade. Eventually, S's poor Mom passed away and she was naturally devastated and I think it was harder on her than she admits to herself. So, she came home and a few times had to go back for various issues. Always my door was open.

They were plenty grateful and I was happy to help. We all seemed to be getting on great and friendships were flourishing....so it seemed. There were a few periods where we had no idea why E's calls went unanswered and unreturned. Stopping by, there never seemed to be anyone home and then one day all was back to normal. One such time, E and M were apparently misunderstanding each other because of the aforementioned once-but-no-longer-friend, Jen. Once the parents talked, it turned out that both girls assumed the other was not their friend because of seating issues on the bus, and back to normal we went. These unexplained periods occurred frequently enough that I wondered if it was just a weird cycle or if I needed to try harder or what. It is worth noting that I was always the one to approach them to sort out whatever needed sorting, which always turned out to be the girls not communicating well.

We shared some birthday celebrations, S and I shared many a margarita bucket in summers, not to mention wine and Smirnoff Ice too. It was really nice feeling like I had a girlfriend here finally. My oldest was being a pain in the ass teenager, so was hers. We commiserated, swapped stories and gabbed on the phone etc... Sometimes it felt like work trying to be friends, but I figured maybe that was part of the process.

One of the funniest moments we had was a couple summers back. KC was in a foul mood and ignored S when she came over. KC was sitting poolside with her feet in the water. S decided that being ignored was not cool and she went and tossed KC in the pool. That broke the ice and all had a good laugh! I think it was not the last time someone was tossed in either. Fast forward to this past summer... and why I believe  there is a problem between E and M.

S came by to pick up M one day and we were sitting on the deck watching the kids swimming. Her oldest, JM showed up. KC happened  to be home which was rare enough this past summer, so I told JM he ought to go find her and toss her in the pool. At first he was not going to, but I guess he decided he might not get another chance for a long time, so he went with it. Well on the way to the pool, KC grabbed onto the deck rail and held on for dear life. I got up and went to undo her fingers and got the silly idea that I should just knock both the kids into the pool. So, I did. Little did I know that he had his cell in his pocket. Of course it got wet and would not work. Right away I said I would replace it -- even though they had that same afternoon talked about the fact that he would do anything to get a new phone, despite the fact that he had only about 2 months to go for a new one anyway. All I said to them on the matter was to bring me  the bill and I would pay it back to them after our legal wrangle (see my Grown up Bullies post) was concluded. That had begun as something that should have been a couple hundred bucks to sort out but had run into several thousand dollars and we had no idea when it was going to end.

Next thing I know, S tells me the bill is about $200! I about shit a brick and asked why, since she said they used her upgrade for her line to do his. She said that was the best they could find for the phone that worked with his data plan. OK fine. A few days later, J was over and he started talking about the phone thing and I kind of had the feeling that what he was saying was a bit different than S, but I did not think much on it, because they had both said he had been the one to deal with the phone company for the whole thing. It may have been that she did not have all the info when she had talked to me days before. KC and JM talked at the park one day and he told her I did not have to pay for the phone. It thought that was nice, but no one had actually told me that, so I did not feel off the hook by any stretch. Again, I was the cause and was perfectly willing to pay for the phone. Eventually S brought a copy of the receipt and I put it with my bills to pay. Given that she brought the receipt after JM told KC I did not have to pay for the phone, I assumed that I was not off the hook and was still planning to pay it. Upon looking at it I realized that there was a fairly hefty FedEx charge on the bill, which I have  to say I was not feeling obligated to pay, though I never said a word about that to anyone. Some days later, JM picked up M from playing one evening and about an hour later he showed back up unannounced and with no explanation he asked for the receipt back. I happened to notice something that I had not previously noticed, which was that the number on the bill was S's and not Josh's. I asked about it since it popped in my mind. He said he thought probably because hers was the primary line on the account. Seemed a good enough answer to me.

That night I got a snarky e-mail from S telling me that if I had questions I should ask her or J, not JM. (Mind you he is 18!) I said I had no questions and asked if there was a problem? Next e-mail, and the last communication I have ever had from her, she said did not want me to think she was cheating me or something and not to worry about paying for the phone.

FYI: Our legal issues have not quite been totally resolved, so we are still paying the lawyer bills. That said, I still have every intention of paying for the phone. If they choose not to accept the money, great. If they take it then they are entitled to it. I am not the person to walk away from responsibility.


M has played over here with E only a handful of times since then and each time her Dad or brother came to drop off or pick up. Nothing has ever been said but I could tell that E was getting the shove off when the silence started up again. Suddenly M is unavailable and I am apparently to blame. I mean really what other explanation could there be?

I will put this out there:
Had the situation been reversed, I would have said right off the bat that I did not expect them to pay for the phone. I think if it had been intentional, maybe I would have, but had they done for me as much as I had done for them, I just would never have expected them to pay up. I don't do things for people with the expectation that they do something for me in return, but I do believe that doing stuff for people should count somehow. I kind of felt like I was left hanging for no good reason and that maybe all this was a way of ending things. After all, during the summer before the pool incident, J told me I had been replaced by another woman who apparently shares my name -- funny that, huh? That hurt a little, but I was not so naive that I did not see it coming. I just figured our friendship was taking on a new shape. I mean up to the pool/phone thing things seemed really smooth and I enjoyed hanging out on my deck yakkin with Steph a lot this summer. It had felt like things were maybe not perfect, but back on track.

I gotta say I must really suck at this whole friendship thing. Hubster says I have high expectations, because I tend to think that people should treat me as well as I treat them. He also says that I should not lower my expectations, because why shouldn't I expect to be treated decently? I am of two minds about this now and do not know what to do anymore. Do I sacrifice principle just to have any friend I can get, no matter what? Do I keep on going this way and knowing that the friendships I have had for more than 25 years back home will hold up to the test, so there must be equally good people here in IL that I can find? I am far from perfect and admit it freely and often. I surely say stupid shit and make mistakes and if I fuck up I try my damndest to make it right. That said I cannot make right what I know nothing of, so unless S bothers to tell me what the fuck I did that was so awful, I guess I am done. I am not about to go around to people and beg for their friendship. What kind of low life would that make me? I guess I have to believe that the 2 way street has to be the answer. All one way or very lopsided is not friendship-- at least not in my book. Meanwhile, I am not only bummed that I have apparently lost yet another supposed* friend, but I also find that I feel sick to my stomach that maybe whatever I did had cost E her friendship with M.

*Yes, S was part of the Cleansing of the Facebook Palette, so this is not new to me. The part where E is being hurt by M is new and that is why I was frustrated enough to blog it today.

Editor's Note:
Some minor edits have been made to this post.

Friday, November 5, 2010

RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network | RAINN: The nation's largest anti-sexual assault organization.One of “America’s 100 Best Charities" —Worth magazine

Last night I watched a most powerful and moving episode of Private Practice about rape. It hurt inside in a place I did not even realize I had to see. If you or someone you know needs help, please don't wait. Get the help you need. Protect yourself and those you love! All the information you need can be found here:

RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network | RAINN: The nation's largest anti-sexual assault organization.One of “America’s 100 Best Charities" —Worth magazine

Be strong and love yourself enough -- PLEASE!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

giving and receiving

We all give gifts. We all receive gifts. We all inevitably get things we often don't want and occasionally things we do.

In this house, we buy for our kids. The kids are not to buy for us. We want them to save for things they truly want or need AND COLLEGE. We are truly satisfied with a handmade card, drawing etc... I have things like this displayed year round and they are a nice chronicle of their talents as they age. When I had my daughter K, it was agreed with my Mom and Brothers, as well as some other friends and family, that they would adopt the practice of just buying for her and as I had other kids, them too. (Yes, this practice is also done in the reverse for us as the givers.) My brothers and I rarely swapped gifts, unless there was an element of trick playing on each other. It was just not necessary. When we were younger we did the requisite handmade stuff and when we got older we often pooled our resources to get parents a little something nice. The key thing is, it helps with the holiday budget and therefore gives me more to work with for my kids

Maybe I am just different, but to me gifts should only be for your kids, no matter their age. I prefer kids get stuff. It is much more satisfying and fun to watch a kid open a gift than an adult. I hate getting gifts to be truthful. I hate when I have to pretend to like something. Worse than that is knowing that when the gift is not really something I want or like, it makes me feel that the giver really does not know me or care to. Sometimes I feel like others ideas of what they think I should need/have/like are being foisted upon me. That really irks me.

My Hubster and I do not swap gifts. If we know we want/need something and it coincides with a birthday or holiday, we might get it and wrap it for the coming event. We sometimes get silly things for fun but they are inexpensive and meant for the sole purpose of giving and receiving a giggle. For me, the gift of having a Hubster who loves me and treats me well is more than I have a right to ask for. 

I have asked many people repeatedly over the years to refrain from buying me things, but for some reason they just don't listen. In my mind, it is a matter of respect. If you do not honor my preference, you do not respect my feelings on the matter - which extrapolates out to not having respect for me. I have also told people that they are to keep gifts to my kids to a certain dollar limit. It is a matter of balance and helps keep things sane, yet here again many people do not feel compelled to honor that either. I have been caught in unbalanced gift spending wars before and it really SUCKS!

An incident from a few years back:
My 1/2 brother is 16 years younger and my 1/2 sister is 20 years younger than I am. We never lived in the same home -- or town for that matter -- and honestly, we do not really know each other. Except for a couple family gatherings each year, we've spent nearly no time together. Imagine my surprise when my Dad told me (via e-mail I think it was) that he and his wife thought that I should be giving their kids gifts for birthdays holidays and that my sister in particular was bothered by the fact that I did not. I mean really, how selfish does that sound to you, and can I just tell you I was PISSED?? He even used the leverage that they gave me, Hubster and our kids gifts. I basically said that if they did not want to give me and/or Hubster gifts that was fine. If they were going to qualify ANY of the gifts they were giving, then we could put an end to that right away. I was dumbfounded. I finally wrote my dad and re-laid out the ground rules that we had been working within for years. After all how much was enough for my youngest brother? for my sister? What could I expect to get from her? from my brother? I mean to do things the way they wanted would not only have cost me significantly more, unless I gave my own kids less, but also would have cost them more. I mean really... who was going to ultimately pay for the gifts he/she were going to give me in return? DUH!!! At the next holiday I played their game and gave brother and sister a gift card each. I got nothing from either of them-- not even an thank you note, no additional monies were spent by their parents on me and I got my usual gift check and jar of delicious imported English Orange Marmalade from them. So that was the end of that! I never brought it up again and neither did they -- I guess I made my point!

One cause of this rant is that someone that has been told to stop doing so gave me some gifts, yet again. Gifts that I am not really interested in and one of which I already own. Better still, I cannot return them or exchange them, so the money spent is totally wasted, unless you are the happy retailer. Another cause is that someone has taken liberties with an on-going inside joke between my Hubster and me, by using the topic of our joke as a gift giving opportunity. Who does that? I do not even know how to approach that, and now our joke is not funny anymore, so it is no longer a joke inside or out.

Monday, October 25, 2010

pieces of me

When I was a kid, I had a not so ideal life. There were plenty of good things, but there were enough unpleasant things to shape who I became as a child of a belt strap and a divorce, among other things. I was a kid who generally wished not to care and tried with all her might to prove that to the world. To put it bluntly, I was a Bitch with a nasty fucking (shocking I know!) mouth that rarely used editing and cared little for whom it may hurt. In my eyes, the biggest parts of my world cared very little about me unless I caused them direct embarrassment. I had friends who actually placed bets on whether I would make it past the age of 18! I wonder if anyone bet in  my favor, they could be rich! PAHAHAHA! I smoked too many cigarettes, drank more than my fair share of alcohol and slept at all the wrong times of the day. Through all of this I never got into doing drugs! I pride myself on that because the means and opportunity were most assuredly right there in the suburbs of late 1980's DC.

Circumstances caused me to be a bit more thoughtful -- for a short while. After all, a pregnant 16 year old is quite a bundle of joy without the additional bad attitude, so some of it was closeted in favor of what I thought was to be my future as a mother and girl-friend (I never had any inkling of marriage to J. At no time in our 4 year relationship can I recall either of us even bringing it up. That speaks volumes!)  Well into the pregnancy, after any option for abortion had passed by, we quite rudely disclosed our situation to our parents. To say no one was thrilled, would be an understatement. After all, my Parents had done the procreating teens thing already and were embroiled in an ugly divorce. There were 3 kids at Mom's house and a new one at Dad's -- YES my parents were still married and NO my Mom was not the mother. Why on earth would they be happy about it? J's parents were together, but their marriage was hanging by a thread as well and so they were really not thrilled to be grandparents. His Mom, B, at least felt enough sympathy for us to be willing to help us to follow through on and make work the decision we had made.

One day J's father told him words to the effect that he really didn't have to go through with this -- I was close enough to hear. That one conversation was enough to alter my future FOREVER! In the blink of an eye, J no longer wanted to be a Dad and from that moment forward, I was stuck. The only person who really stood in my corner through it was his Mom. She and I evaluated everything from all angles, including the possibility of her leaving her husband to help me raise the baby. After getting nowhere with my own dysfunctional family, I was left with the fact that B and I did not have enough resources between us to do it. At that stage we were faced with adoption. I was already so attached and an agency adoption had been thrown at me by my own Mom early on. That was unappealing on so very many levels! B had many clients, all of whom knew what was going on and once word got around there was a baby up for grabs, someone came forward to nominate a pair of parents from several states away.

Several states away... that was the only part of the whole thing that spoke to me. After all, I did not want to have to look at every baby out there and wonder. Would you? So, I went with them. Not to say I did not give due diligence to things. I quizzed them, I insisted upon meeting them and demanded from the lawyer a copy of the home evaluation report from the adoption agency they had registered with in their home state to read through. I was looking for every little thing I could to nix this thing. In the end there was no crumb big enough and they were damned nice people to boot. And so it went that we had a beautiful baby girl and I got a mere 3 days with her.

I spent the next few years in a haze of unedited anger, unrestrained attitude, severe resentment, many more poor choices and alternately loving and hating J. Most people, including J, did not even want to talk about the baby. It was almost as if the situation did not exist if it was not brought up. Only B would talk to me. Only B remembered her birthday to me and with me every year. My family was too messed up with divorce, new sibs and my daily bullshit. To say that they had enough on their plates and chose to deal with what they could would be accurate and fair. Admittedly, my Mom was almost always the one on the receiving end of my greatness. I would go so far as to say maybe she was not entirely equipped to deal with me and was already living in her own HELL.

At some point or other I got a real job and started to be a bit more human. I still made poor choices, just fewer of them. Not enough fewer to keep from getting knocked up again though. At 21 I found myself in the strange place of being an adult, out on my own, with a job and a decent income for my age, beholden to no one for my well thought out choice to have this baby. D was in no way useful in our situation. We had already broken off our relationship and he was embroiled in a divorce that was turning uglier by the day and already had another girlfriend. I gave him a choice very early on. 1) He could be a parent to his kid including support and all that goes with parenting. 2) He could walk away and never look back -- ever. Again you'll notice the topic of marriage is absent. There was no chance after the end of our relationship that I would ever consider it. D was given plenty of time to think on it and told very clearly that whatever his decision he'd better be 100% sure, because once I heard it I would hold him to it for life.

He came to me on Christmas day and told me he was in it for the long haul and even asked me if I wanted to try the relationship again, which eventually became a moot point when I found he still had a girlfriend! After attending a couple of my Dr. appointments, he stopped taking my calls, coming over and avoided me at work. I knew pretty quickly that he had changed his tune. I however did not. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and we started our life without him. The first business day following her birth, I set in motion the means to get child support payments from D. Boy oh boy was he mad! He thought I was trying to do him some damage or go behind his back or I really don't know what all... But I told him, you made a promise and I told you whatever that promise was I would hold you to it. I had to wonder if that was one of only a very few times anyone had ever held him to his word...

D did not make things easy. He fought it the whole way and then in the middle of it all, he knocked up his girlfriend and got married to her. All I could say was better her than me! In the end I got child support until K turned 18 in spite of him. He got another shitty marriage, another divorce and even more child support payments! 3 different women, 4 kids and all getting support!! Can you say JUST DESSERTS??? HAHA! In all those years, he saw K 2 times. Once at 4 days and once at 4 months, when he made her suffer through a DNA test. A 4 month old does not have a lot to give and the Dr. sat with tears streaming down his face, poking her every finger, toe and available area to get hopefully enough to do the test with. For that D will always be one of the biggest fucking assholes I ever met! Don't get me wrong, I understand the need for DNA testing, but the kid looked just like him and his other 2 kids. PLUS, he knew damned good and well it was his baby. This was yet another delay tactic.

Needless to say, my adventures in being a total fuck-up were pretty much over and I had to make some serious growing up strides. I believe that, all in all, I did pretty well. I was down on men -- as far as I was concerned they could all suck eggs! As with much else in life, when you least expect it something good comes along: enter my knight in shining armor, the love of  my life and now husband to the scene. What a man, what a man, what a man! And that my friends is a story for a new installment on another day!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

reading material

I have been totally derailed in my Historical reading of late! I still want to read Andrew Jackson, but the reading material I was into leading up to its turn in the pile was pretty intense. The Team of Rivals was such a heavy book and then I was caught up in the fascinating tales of Historical discoveries in Israel and that too was heavy in altogether different ways.

I have been reading some of my fluff fiction for a less intense occupation of my time, until last night. I began The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and I think it may be more than I was expecting. Only 2 chapters in and I am hooked. I like the writing style, I like that the author writes about places that I am unfamiliar with to any great extent, which means I'll get to look up stuff!

I was completely taken aback by a lone page in the front of the book, so I have pasted the text here:

Biography

Stieg Larsson, who lived in Sweden, was the editor in chief of the magazine Expo and a leading expert on antidemocratic right-wing extremist and Nazi organizations. He died in 2004, shortly after delivering the manuscripts for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

How very sad that this man died so young and was not able to enjoy the successes of his works!

So, for a bit, I am onto the trilogy by Stieg Larsson and look forward to them all. Andrew Jackson is not going anywhere, just delayed again! In looking for the links to place here, I have also learned there is a movie of the first book. Might just have to check it out too!

Anyway, with good books and good wine you cannot go wrong, no matter the topic or genre. CHEERS!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

thoughts about "facebook friends"

Facebook friends are clearly no longer what they set out to be. What they have become is more based around the FB games than actually making connections with people you knew or share acquaintance with. The requirement of the games that you have so many "friends" makes it another ball-game altogether. I personally think it is a dumb practice even while I am guilty of participating in it, because there are some FB games I happen to enjoy. I have not quite 200 "friends" but the reality is, only about 25% of them are people I have known or met or will ever meet based on other friends and family.

People put a lot of stock in whether or not you unfriend them or not. Some people even would have us believe that they have no idea why someone unfriended them. I was unfriended by someone with whom I have almost 25 years of history and a child we gave up for adoption. The reality is I got pissed off and we sparred, which is typical of our history and he got to the unfriend button moments before I did. That was juvenile and regardless of who was right (me) or wrong (him), I knew EXACTLY why it happened. If you get unfriended by someone that you are personally acquainted with, you know what has been happening in your relationship with that person. That leaves you with a few issues...

1) To say that you don't know why you were unfriended, if indeed you really don't know, is equivalent to saying that the relationship, whatever its nature, was not important enough to you to notice that you have hurt or upset that person. To me, that means you need to be honest, with yourself, enough to admit that maybe you did not give 100% to the relationship AND do not play DUMB about it.

2) To say that you don't know why you were unfriended and then not confront it if it is upsetting or bothering you, whether you know why or not, is again saying that the value is not there for you.

3) If you are unfriended and you take the time to evaluate the relationship the decision is in your hands to choose either making amends because you realize you made a mistake. Otherwise you decide that you were not invested enough to begin with and let it go, which means you don't get to complain about being unfriended, because you have the means to fix it and choose not to.

4) If you are unfriended and you DO NOT choose to evaluate the relationship, that is your prerogative, but again you place no value on it and therefore have forfeited your right to bothered by it. With only one exception: you were ufriended out of spite by someone. That puts things in another realm altogether.

As you all know from prior posts, I unfreinded people, but they were people who had hurt me in a way that made me feel it was time to do so. It is not something I did lightly and certainly could not have been unexpected, if those people took the time to see what and where our relationships truly were. So far, not a one of these people has taken time to make amends. It interests me that they do not take the time to look for and find the things that -- if they really knew me -- would have caused this. Besides, as I also said in prior posts, I did bring things up and they were not given credence, which is insulting in and of itself.

Somehow or other, we will all have to come to the realization that most people do things for a reason. Facebook is not life and the things that we do and say there should not hold the value that they do. Sadly there is no change on the horizon that I can see... Until then, choose your friendships wisely and pay attention to the friendships you value.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Family hell

I was quite surprised yesterday, because my brother #2 sent me a birthday card this year. This is the first communication I have had from him in over 4 years, aside from being in the same room when our Grandmother passed away.

What follows is the story of why:

My brother #1 got my daughter, K, an I-pod, the biggest most expensive model at the time, for X-mas in 2005, against my preference. Then he and she opened it and set it up without me knowing until afterwards. We had long had attitude issues with her before, but we were really having some more behavioral issues with K at the time. She had been through a lot in 2004, having had cancer, going through all that went with that -- on top of pre-teen angst, rejoining her peers and getting back to a normal life -- it was hard on her. We cut her plenty of slack, but she did not give the same back to us. So Middle School was not a fun time. Additionally we had decided to move to STL due to Hubster's job and she was PISSED! We understood that, but honestly, as a parent -- we knew we had to remain in charge or all hell would break loose!

Needless to say the I-pod was K's dream gift and she lived by it. She also lost the privilege -- repeatedly due to her attitude, mistreatment of her younger sibs and generally shitty behavior. We went on a house hunting trip over spring break and she was given the I-pod to use during the car ride, because we knew that 17 hours each way was a long time and we felt our sanity would be better off if she had the ability to zone out rather than bother us. She did really well during the trip and we returned the I-Pod after the trip with the admonishment that if she went back to the dark side, she would lose the thing for good. After all, how many times can you take away something before it no longer has an impact? We had long ago learned that this kid could wait us out and we knew that a real threat to her keeping the new toy had to be on record.

Given the history, you can guess that K wasted no time becoming a brat again, so we took it and because she had a habit of searching the house for things she had lost to punishment, we locked the I-Pod in the glove box of the car. We also brought it in the house regularly to charge it, until we bought a car charger and then Hubster would let it charge while commuting. It was used occasionally so that it wold not perish from lack of use. I had heard that it could happen and we did not want to take any chances with that. From the beginning, our true plan was to return it to her, BUT not until we were actually en route to our new life in STL. If we gave K any inkling that she was ever getting it back, we would not have gotten the attitude adjustment we wanted/needed from her. We all were having a hard time with the coming changes in our lives and we were not about to have her making it any worse than it had to be. As a parent you learn the tricks that work with your kid and you adjust accordingly to their age and their behavior patterns. That is LIFE! My mom did so with me as well. She was my mortal enemy until I became a parent myself. I actually realized just how big of a shit I had been and I honestly and wholeheartedly apologized to her for it. She deserved it, because I really had made her life hell. Not to say she was not a pain in my ass as well, cuz she was BIG TIME. (Maybe that'll make good story here one day...:-)

Somehow or other #1 became aware that we had taken the I-Pod away, yet again, and that we had told her it was for good this time. K swore she did not say anything, but I think she had to have said something. She knew how to play on their adoration for her like a pro... Mother's Day weekend we all went to Mom's to help with the big spring yard work and have a nice family gathering. I found that #1 had an opinion on the I-Pod matter, but he chose to bring it up in front of my daughter, so my Hubster being the king of one liners that he is, cracked wise and essentially thanked him for the gift. Hubster and I know our kids and we also know that my brothers had a special soft spot for our daughter. If we had told either of them our true intentions, they would most likely have let the cat out of the bag. So, we just held our ground and went with the story that came of the wisecrack. As far as we're concerned we are the parents and we really did not owe any explanation to them. So long as we knew what the situation was that was the important part.

Well needless to say, #1did not like our response, but he never said anything further to me about it. It turns out he had a discussion with our Mom and #2. Somehow she was either asked or decided herself to address the case of the stolen I-Pod. Unfortunately she chose the absolute wrong venue and manner to do so. K had invited her to come over for her birthday, our youngest's 1st birthday & Hubster's belated Father's Day dinner. She came over, she played with the kids, she had a great dinner, she drank wine, she laughed, she sang Happy Birthday and had cake. During presents, K was given a gift card to buy I-Tunes...from there Mom's inner dragon was released and all hell broke loose. This woman I call Mom began to demand the I-Pod be given to her and soon began screaming at us about being horrible parents and all the while our 4 children are sitting there dumbstruck that Grandma has gone round the bend. What happened next was totally awesome and I still giggle thinking of it. My husband, who was holding the baby in one arm, grabbed her by the elbow and steered her to the front door, snagging her purse along the way and deposited her on the front porch and calmly told her to "GET THE FUCK OFF MY PROPERTY" and went inside. I was dumb enough to try to talk to her, but as long as she was yelling in front of all my neighbors I was never going to succeed. Hubster reappeared sans baby and hauled me inside and slammed the door. All I could say after we went inside was "You said FUCK to my mother!" It was AWESOME!

If you know me then you know I was royally PISSED OFF. Mom presented herself as chief representative of the family in her attack and I promptly called #1 up and chewed him out. He got pissed rather than bothering to hear my defense, and we started exchanging barbs. Next I called #2 and it went down the same way. The following day there were e-mails, which digressed with each one. Accusations, snarky remarks and low blows of all manner were flying. Admittedly I was about as nasty as I could be. I had been accosted in my own house, in front of my children, by someone who ought to have known better and who did not take the time to talk to me and get the low-down, mother to mother OR mother to daughter for that matter. Rather my Mom chose to believe the worst about us and NEVER tried to discuss it privately. So a month after the Mother's Day weekend I was blind-sided by this BS and here I was trying to pack my house, my home was on the market but not selling and I was stressed to the max. I reacted badly, but they had accused me of STEALING from my kid and of being lowest scum of the earth. Later I found out that #1 had taken this story to other friends of his without ever trying to get the facts from me and of course all these people had to agree with them that Hubster and I were awful.

The thing is, their excuse was that while they believed the statement that they did not "get it" because they had no kids was untrue, they figured that they could never talk to me because that was what I always said to them. Mind you they did not bother to try beyond the inappropriate attempt in front of K. So, eventually I sent my Mom and brothers an e-mail telling them the day of departure had been set and that if they wanted to say good-bye to the kids before we moved, they could come on the following Sunday at a designated time to do so. This time frame was set because that was the only time we had that was NOT full of other people coming and going -- Movers, Realtors and house hunters etc... Mom was the only one to bother responding and actually stated that she did not know if she was available or not. So, until she actually arrived at the allotted time, we had no idea she had decided to come. She's damned lucky she came, because if she had chosen not to I am fairly certain she'd never have seen them again. Two can play these games ya know?

I went home a few times and never saw a hair of either of my brothers. #1 got married, moved to NC, made a baby, bought a house, had a beautiful son and I was never the wiser. #2 and his wife tried to buy a farm and got out-bid and I was in the dark. My own Mom kept important family milestones secret from me and that cut deep. If not for my Dad, I would never have known anything at all. From the time we left MD, I have sent change of address information twice and Christmas cards with pix of the kids every year. I was not afforded the same courtesies. My Mom spent the first 2 years telling me to "fix" this family rift and yet I did not then and really do not now see how I am A) responsible for fixing it and B) able to do so 800 miles away from home. I finally told her that she would not be welcomed again in my life if she did not back off of me. Her nagging dominated damned near EVERY FUCKING CONVERSATION we had for the better part of 2 years. The reality is, the boys don't want this fixed. As much as I was hurt by what was done and later what was said, they too were hurt by the things I said as well. I sent a letter to each of them once, trying to share my side of the story that they never bothered to get and I apologized for reacting poorly. Though, I really cannot say I entirely regret saying the things I did. After all, these things were milling around our atmosphere already and eventually they would have come out, maybe just not that way exactly.

Ever since I told my Mom to back off she has grudgingly let it alone. I know she is unhappy and she has made some comments here and there, but thankfully no nagging. I really did not want to have to put on my hard-ass outfit again. I was home visiting when my Grandma died. #2 and I were at the home with Dad and other family when she passed away. Other than holding my hand while we shared some stories in the room, he spoke not at all  to me and in fact chose to talk on the phone every time we left her room. We 6 flew home for her funeral a month later when Arlington had fit her into their schedule. Neither the boys or their wives spoke to me at all. K approached them and they turned their backs to her. At his house afterwards, Dad tried to hand me #1's baby to meet and #1 took him away and disappeared for a bit. Eventually I got to hold him but not for long. So, no efforts were made to make amends and worse yet, they ignored my kids. My daughter E asked me why her Uncles would not even talk to her and asked me if they still loved her. It's bad enough that we have issues as grown-ups but the effects on my kids by their attitude was sucky. The funeral venue was not a time to stick it to my kids, no matter what the issues were!

I have to wonder why there is a birthday card after all these years of totally ignoring my existence. I mean I appreciate it truly, especially since I seem to be out of sight out of mind for a lot of people ever since we moved away, any acknowledgement is precious. I sent #2 a brief e-mail in which I thanked him for the card and told him it was a pleasant surprise. Whether or not he got it is unknown and whether or not there is anything behind this I don't know. While I would most definitely love to have my family whole again, I am not really holding my breath.Who would after 4.5 years? These people have missed my youngest kid's every achievement after age 11 months. She does not even know who they are. I have to point to a picture of them and explain who they are to her every so often just so she knows they exist.


Editor's Note:
Some minor edits have been made to this post.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Using your 5 year old?

Can I just say that the person about whom I wrote yesterday actually told her 5 year old that I did not like her any more and that was naturally repeated to my 5 year old at school today. We have now stooped below high school antics to elementary school? WOW! All I can say is that I NEVER said I did not like this person AND I sure as shit never told my 5 year old something  that would cause a problem between the children at school! Not liking someone and un-friending someone on FB because they no longer behave in a way that suggests they are still a true friend are two different things. I like her just fine as a person I happen to know. Beyond that there is nothing right  now and I do not foresee any change in the past behavior thus I do not foresee any change in the "friendship" status. She has the ball in her court and in using her 5 year old to make commentary to mine is low, she has shown what things mean to her, which I read as nothing.

I told my 5 year old that I never said that I did not like her friend's mom and do not know why he would say such a thing to her. Further I told her that if he says more things like that to her, maybe she should tell him it is mean to say things like that. After all she told me she thought he was just being mean after she told me what was said to her.

UGH... Does juvenile behavior really only end when you die????

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another "friend" has noticed they were cleansed from my FB...

Today is my 40th birthday and I had a lovely day with my Hubster. We went wandering around the antique district of St. Louis and had lunch in an Irish Pub. Numerous folks left me FB messages wishing me well. My little kids made cards, my big kid and my parents all called me on the phone AND Matt gave me a wonderful surprise gift! Then I got a text from someone who was cleansed. Apparently she "struggled" over whether to contact me with birthday wishes, but ultimately decided to do so via text, because I was "on her mind" today.

Am I supposed to feel privileged...? I mean, I have talked about the issues since early September and I cleaned out FB on 9/27/2010. Who knows when she noticed it, but if it has been a while, she sure as shit did not feel compelled to contact me. This person told me early in our friendship that she wanted to keep things real in our friendship, particularly because we have such different views about religion and that was a big concern for me. I shared very personal things about that topic because I trusted that she was committed to the friendship. This same person has repeatedly let me down in favor of the needs? wants? desires? of others, sooo what? I am supposed to suck it up and take being dropped in favor of others... repeatedly?? I think not... I mean after all I am 40 fucking years old and I already told this person a long time ago that I do not play High School games. High School is over and has been since I was 16. I do not care about the drama and stupidity of it all in this age. Being dropped, let down, having my kid who just wanted to play a little after school be hurt for no apparent reason...  it adds up to NOT being real in my book. I did try to talk about it a couple times, but the guilt trip of all the "good" she did for someone else was done with all the practice of a veteran Catholic mother, who has never been Catholic and never grew up using and being abused with & by Catholic guilt. It is truly difficult to fight the "goodness" of what she had to do that was so much more important than me. So, after the last time my kid had her feelings hurt once again, that was the last straw and I gave up. Maybe that is a cop-out, but I don't think so. After all... if this "friendship" was so important to her she would have LISTENED rather than talking over me when I tried to express my feelings back then AND she would have noticed and taken action immediately when I cleansed my FB account.

This person has made no effort to see what the deal is -- but makes contact on my birthday?? Why, on a day that is already goofy enough by default, would she choose to not only text me to say Happy Birthday, BUT that is was a struggle to do so? If I was that important, it would be NO struggle.

I replied and mentioned that I wasn't sure why she struggled with it but thanks for thinking of me. So, it was then that I learned that she struggled because she did not want to send a message and upset me, but since I was on her mind she went ahead anyway. I guess now she can tell herself she did the right thing with a clear conscious, but realistically -- today was not the day to tell me she struggled with it. I would not have ever taken the chance that I would hurt someone, upset them or whatever on a day that is personal and meaningful. That she struggled at all was hurtful, in addition to the already blatant lack of real friendship.

Whatever... Not my problem. You know how you treat people and ultimately you know deep down whether you gave them the true friendship you promised or if you fell short -- everyone does if they take the time to think about it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cash for Keys

The other day I say a news bite about lenders paying the residents of foreclosed homes to LEAVE the property AND not to trash it. I could not find the story on the web-site for my local news so I searched about it and found the links below.

I realize that losing your home FOR ANY REASON has go to be a heartbreaking experience for anyone. These financial times of hardship are not going away anytime soon. It took years to get here and it will take years to clean up the fall-out. So, I am full of sympathy for anyone who has ever experienced this awful thing that can destroy lives so quickly.

That said, regardless of the reason why one lost their home, they have no right to take it out on the bank by destroying the property and making it unsaleable. In doing so they are committing a crime, which I believe they should be held accountable for both via additional penalty on their credit AND legally by some form of jail time or community service. People are misdirecting their anger and then they are being allowed to get away with it to a large degree, because I believe they are getting too much sympathy. It seems that banks are coming to them and paying them (somewhere between $1000 and $5000) to leave the home they no longer have any legal right to reside in.

Folks can I just say that this has to be the DUMBEST FUCKING IDEA I have heard in a while??? I mean really! These people have no right to be there. Why are the banks no physically evicting them right away. Once they have totally lost right o ownership, the banks should have every right to remove these people, all their crap AND change the locks WITHOUT PAYING them. These people have already gone beyond reason and stayed where they should not be why are they being molly-coddled? If you do not hold people accountable, they certainly are not going to do so. If they destroy the property, ARREST them and charge them.

Foreclosure does not happen overnight. The process takes much longer than it ought to and gives the homeowner who has defaulted feel a false sense of entitlement to the property. They do not have to swallow their defeat like adults, rather they are treated like children who cannot do for themselves and must be handheld.

CUT THE CRAP! Streamline the process so that these folks have no choice but to face the situation right away and make arrangements. Do not allow them to get away with breaking the law.

At the same time, the rules for rental tenant eviction also need to be addressed. How on earth is it right that a renter has more rights than a property owner??? All these things add up to making the people who have lost their right to stake a claim feel they are justified in their anger. Sure be angry, but be proactive with respect to your future and set an admirable example to your kid. Make the best of a bad situation, not the worst and certainly do not make a bad situation worse by doing something to cause you to be less than a decent member of society.


YouTube - Cash for Keys: "Cash for Keys"

It is long past time for people to stand up and accept responsibility for themselves! We can never truly expect to prevail over this hardship our country is suffering of the current cycle is not broken.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Someone does not understand my recent FB cleansing

As you know, I recently "cleansed" my FB account of a few folks who no longer seemed to be a good fit. So far, only one person has noticed or maybe only one person has let me know that they noticed. I am not surprised by this and in fact, given that there has been no communication from my one respondent in months, I was surprised it was noticed at all. I was more surprised to learn that this individual had been reading my blog, as I was unaware that they even knew of it. I have thought about the message I received for several days and decided that I would comment here on the topic, as it follows up on the original blog post. Some things apply to the one respondent, while others apply to the group as a whole.



Friendship is a 2 way street. In my opinion, if one party does most of the "work", it becomes very much a 1 way street. It appears to me that as long as I am AVAILABLE to help others, I am VERY POPULAR and a GREAT FRIEND. When I am not available, I have been the recipient of the attitude that I have somehow let them down. I grew tired of always being the "go to person" with what feels like very little to show for my efforts. I've never asked for payment or reimbursement or much of anything for that matter. The very few times I needed something I felt as though I was imposing on them and that they were unhappy with me asking. When I called in a marker for some BIG help, and you know I REALLY needed it because I nearly NEVER ask for help, I was told: NO PROBLEM, whatever we can do, we owe you... What I got? An afternoon interrupted by many things and subdivided by their other commitments. Long story short? It was more trouble and less got done than if they had come when they could actually help and be truly there. Immediately following that one day, there were any number of reasons why they were unable to help and they always said they felt bad. That is all well and good, but I never really got the help I needed and subsequently things were VERY tough for me, but my family and I prevailed in the long run. (I am by no means saying that I do not appreciate what help I got, just that the help made more work not less, which defeated the purpose.)

I am a very understanding person and I put up with a lot. I am also very short on patience once I reach my limit for being used/taken advantage of/taken for granted. So, when I start to be unavailable or say no... there is a damned good reason for it.

I am also not prone to tell someone else how to deal with their kids, unless asked OR I see a true danger that should be addressed. Some family members once did that to me and I had a very strong reaction to it, because it was 100% unfounded, the approach was sideways via another relative and that relative was EXTREMELY hostile to boot. So, because I got pissed off about being verbally assaulted/wrongly attacked and got my hackles up during which I pointed out that these same people were not without their own flaws and furthermore had no kids of their own to base their judgments upon, these family members now choose not to have me, my husband and my children in their life. No apology for a false accusation or how it was made for that matter and I am to blame -- at least that is how I understand things. BECAUSE OF THIS VERY THING, I do not take lightly the act of making a true concern known and my "friends" know it. So, when I did such a thing in a non-confrontational manner and, in fact tried to use some humor to lighten it up, I was first told they knew it was wrong but easier than arguing with the kid and that they thought I was just kidding, later I was told they thought it was just one of those thing you hear about but don't have to bother heeding the warning about it and still later that I did not know what I was talking about. So I took  the unusual approach of sending visible proof that my concerns were valid, and while they claim that those things made them see what I really meant and how they were  never going to do that particular thing again, by this point they had called my integrity into question. That does not sit well with me.

I am not the smartest person in the world. There is much I do not know and much I should know more about. I try not to misrepresent myself to people as anything more than someone who does their level best to get through every day -- easy or tough -- and hopefully learn something new along the way. When someone tells me they value my input or opinion on something, I take that as a complement. When that same statement is made with a qualifier, it loses its appeal. When that qualifier is made several times in the same circumstances, it becomes suspect. One wonders if there really is any value placed on the input/opinions requested. Not to mention the feeling that you are being toyed with, which is altogether annoying.

If anyone thinks for one minute that these feeling came out of the blue, I am surprised. I attempted several times/ways to address these and some other things too, but I always felt I was getting the blow-off, not being heard -- quite likely intentionally -- or felt like I was somehow out of line. That just stopped being something that I could ignore as the instances grew in number over the course of friendship.

Being supportive and available because of friendship is a good thing. Being used for and abusing ones generosity is wrong and it really sucks to be the recipient of it. It calls into question the very basis of a friendship and really makes the balance totally out of whack. This behavior? phenomenon? whatever you want to call it has happened to me a multitude of times by people here in this new place we call home. I did not really have any issues with this stuff in my old home and life.

A mention was made about attempts to contact me -- which were in spring. In all honesty, I was already disgruntled then, but had not the time nor the energy to give to the situation and when I finally did, there had been such a long lapse in communication that I gathered that my point was made and that I had my answer to the question of friendship and its value, hence my decision to cleanse FB.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Judge Considers Verdict in Jesus Forgery Case

This could be very exciting! I personally think that there is no forgery, they absolutely NEED to do the DNA comparison to prove it was from the Talpiot Tomb AND if it matches, the collector should graciously hand it over and face the consequences of receiving stolen goods after the Israeli Antiquities laws were enacted.

Judge Considers Verdict in Jesus Forgery Case

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Colbert sparks debate about 'expert' celebrities | St. Louis News, Weather, Sports | KMOV.com | St. Louis Weather, News and More | Entertainment News


OK, so generally I find Stephen Colbert to be a frickin' hoot... BUT I watched his testimony and I was not only unimpressed, BUT I also did not really find it humorous. I realize that even in Congress we need some humor. That they asked?/allowed? him to show up and speak is a testimony to that. So, really what was his purpose? I thought that whatever he was going to say would have had me, not only in stitches as usual, but more curious about the topic he was speaking on.

Now there is a lot of publicity for him and others who were there, BUT really what was the actual effect? Did his appearance truly give us anything beneficial beyond media fodder? I cannot say for sure that I believe it did... I suppose we shall see.


Since this article names a bunch of celebrity people specifically, I will put my opinions about a few of them here:

With respect to the fact that there are celebrities waxing poetic about political stuff... I think that guys like Stephen Colbert (and John Stewart) are definitely humorists first, BUT they are also getting some people interested in what is happening when they might otherwise not be.

Then you have Angelina Jolie who is a media hussy, but pretends not to be. She thrives on the attention she gets and she has gone out of her way plenty to get attention. That does not make her a realistic source for political information and I would be hard pressed to think she was making a statement on any topic for any other reason than the attention she would get, especially if she has a movie coming out. Sadly, people whore after her, though she is hardly a role model or a hero, BUT I cannot really see reasonably smart people making political choices based on her opinions.

Elmo? He is a screeching annoying puppet and thousands of children adore him. But they do not vote yet and their parents should be educating them and teaching them to make choices and helping them grow into the political views they will eventually follow. That is NOT to say that their parents get to TELL THEM what to think/believe/choose. Sesame Street goes far to advocate for better education for our children and as a SHOW itself, the powers that be ought to be lobbying for better educational material and what-not, BUT leave Elmo and friends at home.

Bono? Well, he is first an entertainer and second a media hussy as well. BUT, he also seems to put himself out there and to be proactive in his causes. That said, I heard today that his charitable organization was audited and fell FAAAAAAAR sort of actually getting the money to where he is promising it. That is criminal! They need to OVERHAUL how they do what they do and streamline it so that the MAJORITY of your donations are used to accomplish what is promised. That pissed me off and really made me think again about the motives this guy has. After all as I said already, he is an entertainer and a media hussy. You don't get your band to be in the news ALL the time and sellout masses of concerts at masses of profit to yourself AND donations to your charity without being that way. Therefore your motives become suspect.

I guess that's enough on that topic... The problem with this is that it could go on and on and on... Ya know?

Monday, September 27, 2010

In Review: Stuff and Things: Sammy The Sperm

I love this blog, and this post was a HOOT!! ENJOY!!

In Review: Stuff and Things: Sammy The Sperm

More evidence that this country is going down the crapper!

'Sister Wives' Brings A Real-Life 'Big Love' Family To TLC - ABC News

I will say first that I do not have cable/satellite so I DID NOT watch this show. That said, I read a couple stories about it and can I just ask... WHAT THE FUCK? (That is twice today, in case you are counting...) So, this disgusting man and his morally challenged life is being given, not only attention but, airtime? For what may I ask? I mean these people need COUNSELING and INTERVENTION! These women are NUTS to put up with this crap and worse that they allow it for themselves and then their daughters tells me they cannot be playing with full decks! These people are supposedly Christians? Tell me why on earth this shit is allowed to be called religious? This is nothing less than a penis' excuse to fuck multiple holes at whim, without consequences. It is not much different than my previous post about that ridiculous company that will help you cheat in your marriage!

I SERIOUSLY HOPE that TLC comes back from the dark side. It is programming like this and that utterly ridiculous Jon and Kate plus 8 that has ruined that channel for me. I used to love their programming and now it is beyond comprehension what the powers that be at TLC are thinking. This and all the other shit offered on the rest of the pay tv channels is not worth the money they ask for. That is why we dumped our DirecTV and that is why there is little chance we will ever go back. Mind you, we are far from prissy, you may have noticed that I have a potty mouth. I just think that there is a limit to the stupidity and I reached it!

Things that make you say: WHAT THE FUCK????

Today on Facebook, I saw this ad for a "married" dating service. Can you believe this SHIT? I mean thee is actually a company that will HELP you cheat on your spouse? WHY? This has to be one of the most offensive things I have seen in a while... That is just SICK SICK SICK SICK SICK!!! I am out of words... Pretty much speechless -- if you can believe that!


http://www.marriedsecrets.com/

Cleansing of the Facebook Palette

Did you know that cutting coupons from the Sunday paper could lead to a major Facebook cleansing? WELL, neither did I! Until today, that is.

I sat here cutting coupons and thinking how this effort is largely wasted energy on my part, because now the coupons require the purchase of so many of one thing... Fact is, I don't usually need 2 or 3 of something so saving $0.25 or $0.50 seems lost in the grand scheme, because I should not have to spend 2-3+ times more than I need to get one thing on a coupon... SO, sitting here realizing how much energy I was putting into something that was most likely going to turn out to be a waste of energy led my mind into a wandering meandering exploration of other things that I might be wasting energy on.

WELL, let me tell you... it's like I had an epiphany or something! I realized that I am often hurt and that I allow myself to be hurt by keeping the hope of something better in certain friendships going. However, after being hurt numerous times, one does start  to realize that there is a limit. Recently I had come to realize I was at that limit with a few people. Some of these people are guilty of just the hurt, while others are guilty of not only hurting BUT exploiting or attempting to exploit my willingness to be available and even my loneliness so far from home.

The door has been slammed shut on being available to help certain  people out or awaiting some sort of equality in a supposed friendship, is it any wonder after getting burned for it repeatedly? After coming to that conclusion a week or 2 ago, I realized today that I was still giving these folks my time and energy, because I was still seeing their lives and such play out via Facebook AND paying attention to their details. Often this would lead me to feel something, be it sadness, anger or frustration.

Today that has ended. I have never claimed to be perfect or the most wonderful person in the world and there is no doubt that I have made my share of mistakes and major fuck-ups. BUT I do claim the right to not be hurt anymore, so I UN-friended the people who make me most miserable in their treatment of me. I have yet to do that to a couple relations that deserve it, but their time may be coming soon too...

I feel a little empowered and slightly more in control of things. I hope that this euphoria will last! If it doesn't I will work with it. I also hope that the fall-out, if any, does not damage my Hubster who remains FB friends and friendly with these folks.

So I have no more to say on this except that it was a long time coming and  I feel good!