Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Nails on a Chalkboard

Just in the last 5 minutes that I've been logged on and reading a couple of articles on the net, I've wanted to claw my own eyes out twice because of things people wanting to sound "expert" have written. These fall under the heading Don't Use Unless You Want to Sound Like a Pretentious Git (and Have an Editor Kill You With a Blue Pencil):
  • Talking about selling a house at a "high price point" -- I will kill you unless you stop after "price." Get the point?
  • Advising a job applicant to include a skill summary so that the reader knows immediately their "value proposition." Dear heavens, who invented that pointless, jargony phrase? They are at the top of my list of people to visit with eggs tonight.
OK, that's all for now. I'm going to have a lie-down. After I brush the bad taste out of my mouth.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Saturday Evening News

Got together with one of my former coworkers today for lunch and had a great chat about the antics at the old place and various children we know and love. Misery shared and laughed at is misery negated, almost.

When I came home 2 hours later, the rest of the family was almost exactly as I'd left them, except The Man (TM) had switched which Web comic he was looking at. So I booted him out to run some errands and spent the next couple hours carving pumpkins with the kids. All 3 of them. Turned out nice.

We were going to work on Halloween costumes, too, but the boys couldn't decide (simultaneously) whether they really wanted to be a train (which I think would be fun and an easy and cheap costume for all 3), so we let it go for the moment. If nothing else, we have 3 pirate hats, some swords, and other miscellany lying around. I get to take all 3 of them trick-or-treating on Tuesday and hope our house doesn't get egged because no one will be home to hand out candy for a while. So I can't be everywhere at once.

Which reminds me, today, TM was talking to Punkin Boy about what a big boy he's getting to be-- "so big and strong" sort of thing. Punkin Boy vehemently denied this. "I'm not strong," he said. "Is Daddy strong?" TM asked. No, Punkin Boy answered, Mama is strong. As I lay curled up in a ball of pain on my bed, I whispered with tears in my eyes, "Thanks, baby. You just made it all worthwhile."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Halloween Fun

Dudes. My dad sent this link to a fun little site for kids and anyone else with a lot of time on their hands. The boys have been carving pumpkin faces all day. This weekend we'll be doing it for real, and I've actually gotten some ideas. Check it out.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Pyrrhic Victory, with Pumpkins and Pizza

After weeks of (virtual) yelling, screaming, name-calling, hair-pulling, and outright threats (mostly one-sided), #1 Son's birthday weekend is ours (as specified anyway in the court document governing parental visitation), and the entirety of Mother's Day weekend belongs to Mommy Dearest. Which is fine. The split weekends are a hassle and really ought to be easily dealt with. By rational people. I'm sure this conflict will come back to bite us someday, since The Man stuck to the legal document as always and consequently Miss Thing didn't immediately get everything she demanded. Proof positive that he is evil and she is mistreated, of course. And then there was her "Why don't you just give me what I want instead of prolonging this conflict, which is hurting our son?!" This was after she threatened to kidnap the boy instead of abiding by the visitation doc. Because Mommy is always right.

But I'm not bitter. What I am is thrilled that we get to have a whole weekend to celebrate with our boy. I am making him a cake that I hope will look like a Moglin (at his request), and we'll be visiting the local pumpkin patch in the afternoon and eating homemade pizza for dinner. His little brothers are just as excited as he is; it should be fun. And it won't be interrupted by invaders from Hell. I'm so happy.

But at the back of my mind, I worry. These conflicts do bother #1 Son, and he doesn't know or care who's in the right, he just doesn't like confrontation. At some point this week, The Man asked which way he'd like to deal with the conflict, and he said basically "Give Mommy her way." I'm not sure whether that's because he really wanted to spend his birthday with her (hey, it would make up for a few years ago when she was supposed to take him for the birthday and never showed up) or whether he just can't stand her screaming. Doesn't matter, I suppose.

We were reading Matthew 5 (the Sermon on the Mount) tonight for family scripture study, and the latter half of the chapter really hit home. You know, the part about turning the other cheek and loving your enemies. "Agree with your adversary quickly" lest she take you to court and tell all sorts of slanderous lies about you and make your life way worse than it was before. Totally there. ("Good idea, O Lord." "Course it's a good idea!") Yeah.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Everyone's a Critic

I happened across this travel article on CNN.com today and was browsing through it 'cause boy, I need a vacation. It's all about beach resorts, and just looking at the pictures (instead of the snow on the ground outside) was very relaxing. As I reached the end of the "Pacific Coast" section, a comment caught my eye. It was about the Turtle Bay Resort (which was a Hilton when I spent my wedding night there). In the very first sentence, the writer says, "Turtle Bay Resort may underwhelm you as you enter the... uninspired grounds." I'm sorry, things may have changed since I was there last, but HUH? Take a look at the photos and see whether you're inspired or underwhelmed. I fully plan to be inspired as I go to bed now and reflect on the memories of eating guava cake for breakfast on the lanai with my sweetheart as I watched the waves break and felt the soft ocean breeze. I didn't pay any $900 a night, either. Who writes this stuff?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Semi-Random Jots

Several things today. I was going to post yesterday when we got the first snowfall of the season. Which was, of course, right after one of the warmest few days since August. It's supposed to be back up to 60 tomorrow. This is just typical. What's weird is that it didn't snow in September this year.

Second, I've got my appeal to Social Security nearly finished. I was trying to work on it earlier while getting the kids ready for bed because the SS servers go down at night. But that's sort of like trying to juggle two pitbulls and a chainsaw. They'd never accept that I'm disabled if they knew about that...

Which reminds me, it's miraculous that Punkin Boy is even in bed by now. He's been sleeping until 9-ish every morning lately, which is great, but then he's been staying up till 11 or midnight, and that I can't handle. For one thing, I never get anything done. I was doing so well on finishing my novel, and then this started and all I've been able to do is sit with this 40-pound "baby chick" on my lap (this is his self-label) and read him the same book over and over. It is not a very good book. I guess I shouldn't complain at all. It's taken him 3 years to develop an affection for me; he was best friends with his daddy from the womb, but he only recently acknowledged my existence. So I ought to be grateful.

As for the other kids, dangit all but I want to compare them. I want to be so proud of my Pirate Boy, who uses terms like "syllabification" and "commutative property" in casual conversation and, when he runs out of homework, writes up quizzes and gives lectures about the material he's been learning in school. #1 Son calls him "The Brain" already.

This is the same #1 Son who doesn't bother doing his homework. He tells us every night that he's done with it, and we say, "Do you understand the consequences to you if you are lying?" and he says yes, and then we get yet another note from a teacher saying, "Your child's grade in my class has slipped to C- or below..." Today, it was from a teacher with whom he has several subjects, explaining why he is doing poorly in history, spelling/vocabulary, and reading. Reading, for heaven's sake! His best subject! This is the "make or break" subject for this grade, and he doesn't bother to do the work. What the heck is up with this?

The teachers are always so professional in their wording. Words like "distracted" and "disorganized" come up a lot. The one from the science teacher was pretty interesting-- "#1 Son was unhappy with a critical comment, began crying and hid under his desk." Oh come on. He's turning 12 this week and is acting like a 6-year-old. Except that Pirate Boy never does that. What the heck?

And before you start worrying too much, dear readers, I don't make these comparisons or comments (most of them) out loud. This blog is the place where I can get my worries out and maybe hear some advice (if any of you have any to share) about what on earth to do to help this kid whose DNA is half damaged and who has a lot of stress to deal with. (Yes, I do secretly exult over the superiority of my genetics. All other things being equal, my kid ROCKS!) We give him rules, have standards, love him, give him space, rein him in, expect his best, even threaten when necessary. (Currently, he must raise all his grades to a C or better before Christmas break, or he will be removed from the school he's in. This threat made him cry. We'll see if it motivates him to actually do the work.) What do we do next?

Friday, October 13, 2006

All in the Family

Or maybe I should title this one "It's All About Me." As a spinoff of the trend of Googling oneself (and don't say you've never done it), I recently tried to "Wiki" myself-- that is, input my name into the Wikipedia search box to see what comes up. My name produces 17 hits, the first of which is Killer Klowns from Outer Space. (Second is Angie Dickinson, which is of course, not my name or anything like it. What the heck?)

This started because I discovered that my cousin has a Wikipedia entry. No, not Donovan, the cousin I usually brag about, but one I've been a lot closer to. Last I heard, Ryan was a ska promoter in Phoenix, but apparently he's moved up in the art scene in the past few years. It's his birthday this weekend and I was thinking of him, so I decided to finally dig up the New Times article his dad mentioned. Turns out he's got a much bigger Wiki entry than Donovan. Hmmm. On the other hand, Donovan's got an IMDB entry. Yes, there's some Wiki envy here.

You get the feeling I come from kind of an accomplished family. No joke. My little sisters form the backup group for a folk singer whose name is not on the tip of my tongue so I can't link to him. I'm not completely incompetent myself; the first Google hit you get when searching on my name is in fact a reference to me. As are 3 of the next 10 hits. Not too bad. Donovan became the host of a super-popular TV show at age 24. I really can't touch that. Then there's Ryan. In the last few years, he's become a punk/thrash frontman, a talk-show host, a comedian, a performance artist, and half a dozen other things. And just a few months ago, he put on a new suit, said goodbye to the scene, and headed off to be a missionary in Oregon. He was 19 years old.

Dudes. I am running so behind.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I Love My Social Worker

(How sick is it that I even have a social worker? Argh! But fortunately, it's not turning out to be such a bad thing after all. Geez. )

Yes, Darci the S.W. came by today. First, she came by while I was at my writers group (which happened to be in Cheyenne this morning--brrr!) and left her card. That was pretty cool, I thought. If she really thought she'd catch us at something, she wouldn't warn us like that. So I came in and fed Punkin Boy ('cause yes, I do that) and had some lunch too. Then I straightened up a bit.

While I was finishing up the dishes, Darci came by again. She looked apologetic. "Let me guess," I said. "You got another crazy phone call." Apparently. Claiming we don't feed any of our kids anything, even banana bread. She explained that she had to investigate and had talked to the kids yesterday. They seemed fine, she said (thank you very much), and asked if it would be too much trouble for me to let her look in my kitchen at the food I claim to have. Oh sure, come on in.

Sorry for the mess, I said, I've been working. (Yay, I had another project, but yech, the state of my house!) This time, she said it wasn't so bad, so I felt better. I explained about the church welfare system and mentioned that I had multiple cuts of meat in the freezer and fresh veggies and fruits in the fridge. "Mind if I look?" Darci said. Nah, go ahead. She seemed really impressed and amazed. But she believed me. That felt good, like my sanity had been restored.

We talked for a while about the situation and how sometimes #1 Son likes to exaggerate slightly to set his "mommy" off on one of her rampages. He thinks it's funny (*Jack*), and it would be if it didn't affect our family like it does. She is quite amazingly insane and wants no truck with reality if it means agreeing with me or The Man (TM). (She's still going on about how he's trying to steal her time with her baby, when in reality it's her threatening to kidnap him when he's supposed to be here with his father. Sheesh.)

So anyway, Darci and I had a very nice chat. We talked about how skinny #1 Son is and how skinny his dad was when he was younger. How he eats more than I do, and I certainly don't weigh 75 pounds. Dang fast metabolism. How sweet Pirate Boy is and how he loves to talk about his pirate crew to anyone who'll listen. And how healthy all the boys seem to be and how she'll just be closing out this incident and making a note in case of future psycho phone calls.

YES! I love my social worker.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


After all the psychosis surrounding our kids' eating habits lately, I've been a little more, let's face it, self-conscious about the dinners I serve and so on. So last night, as we sat around the dinner table eating big plates of spaghetti florentine, I joked to #1 Son, "So, are you getting fed lately?" It was only half a joke, really, but he laughed. Today I had a lavish dinner including a glazed ham and baked potatoes with the works, on the table ready to eat by 5:30, which was when I expected The Man (TM) and the older kids to walk in the door from school. TM has to leave again by 6:30, so I try to serve the meals so as to have as much relaxation and "family" time as possible on our hurried days.

Well, by 6:00, when TM hadn't shown up, I had started to get worried and Punkin Boy had started to get really hungry. I decided to put the meat and potatoes on TM's plate and pour the milk, so he'd be all ready to eat when he walked in. A few minutes later, I gave in and served Punkin too. And then I seriously started praying. At 6:15, the garage door opened and our missing boys arrived, #1 Son sporting a splint on his right hand. Oh good. There was very little time for explanation, but I gathered that the finger that we had thought yesterday was only jammed actually has a fracture, and the missing time was spent in the urgent care clinic. TM got the X-rays on a CD-ROM, which was kind of a relief because at least we had evidence that it wasn't any worse.

I was already formulating an email to Hell when someone brought up the subject of dinner (yes, here it is, still somewhat warm, miraculously) and how someone still thinks they don't eat. And TM asked, "Did CPS stop by today?" Ummmm, no. Should they? Apparently, they said they might. When did they say this? Oh, when they were giving our kids the third degree in the vice principal's office today after receiving yet another call from "a concerned citizen." Saying things to our kids like, "Tell the truth; we know you're not getting any food at home." Dear heavens.

Dorothy has dealt with this crud before, so she knows how awful it can be. I'm glad I'm not the only one this stuff happens to. Fortunately, our kids know the difference between "We get food" and "We don't get food" and they stuck to their guns, according to their accounts. Geez. How do you fight this garbage? We've already shown a social worker the inside of our pantry. We've explained that we get our food for free from our church welfare system, wonderful thing that it is, and we will continue to do so until we get back on our feet financially. As amazing as it may sound, it's true. And having obtained as much food as we want (because yes, that's how it works), why would we refuse to feed it to our children? Only a lunatic could believe that.

Monday, October 09, 2006

It's Not Really Funny

It's finally happening. #1 Son is starting to question his mother's sanity. He came to me a couple days ago and asked, "Why does my mom think all these weird things are true, when everybody tells her they're not?" Good question, kid. Not that I can answer it for him. My best strategy in this case is a sort of Socratic approach. But mostly I keep quiet and let him talk. "I tell her I eat a lot, and she thinks I'm starving!" I know. Sigh. "And remember when she thought I had a concussion?" Yes. Sigh.

He eventually decides that she just isn't understanding what's being said to her, and that maybe he shouldn't make things so complex when he talks to her. "I'll use very small words," he says with a grin.

OK, now I've gotta go stick my face under a pillow and LAUGH.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Thursday 13: Big Screen Edition

Thirteen of SCONE's Favorite Movies
(in no particular order after #1)
  1. Pirates of the Caribbean (Curse of the Black Pearl)
  2. The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy by Peter Jackson

What are your favorites?

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Why are people so crazy? I'd just really like to know. Like f'r'instance the board of our homeowners' ("community") association (also abbreviated Comm'y Ass.), which functions like the headquarters of the SS for our small, impoverished neighborhood-- putting the fear of Hitler into the masses. You get marginally comfortable for a while, then you get a summons (i.e., a threat) for a crime you're pretty sure you didn't commit and don't think is really a crime anyway.

We got one today. It says that we must restore our yard to lush green health in the next week or face a severe penalty. Sorry, could you repeat that? You want us to replace our grass in mid-October for why? And how do you propose we do this? Not your problem, I see. Gah!

And then there's the usual psycho up to her antics again. Dear heavens, I wish she'd get the natural consequences of her actions, just once. At the very least, being that stupid and/or crazy ought to be severely painful. She ought to feel like I do all the time. Gah.

[Updated about an hour later: I should give an example besides what The Man blogged about in that link, for those who don't feel like clicking. She calls up to yell at The Man because they haven't reached an agreement on changing visitation for this month or something. Any excuse really. Then she talks to #1 Son, who didn't do his homework this weekend because, well, she had to take him to a hockey game. And a football game. He came home sounding like Janis Joplin, with no homework done. So tonight she yells at him about it because gee, it wasn't her fault, scheduling his every waking hour of visitation with fun-fun-fun stuff because otherwise he might not like her or something. So she asks if he's done with his homework for tonight. He says no. He also says (looking for a way to distract her?) that his dad had threatened that he wouldn't get dinner if he didn't do his homework as soon as he got home tonight. Well, he did go straight in and do it, and he did get dinner. He got seconds. But Miss Thing springs to the conclusion that we're starving her baby! Haven't we been over this before? So the yelling continues. And so on.

Did I mention that it's because of this psycho person that we can't get out of this psycho "community"? Gah.]

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Joey O. has arrived in good condition (at a whopping 10 pounds) and didn't kill anybody in the process. Congratulations to Kory O. and the whole family.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Thank You Very Much

Science has now proven what many of us parents already knew to be true about kids and their viewing habits as related to academic performance. (And after all, that's where my priorities lie, not indulging their desires to vegetate, much as I sympathize.) Check out the story on CNN.com.

To recap:
  1. No TV on school nights.
  2. No TV in your room.
  3. No R-rated movies, period.

Cool. Thanks.