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:


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