"I want, I want, I want ... but that's crazy"

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ah, the joys of motherhood

Gin took a header down the stairs tonight and is nursing a black eye now. To make matters worse, she has no lens in the other eye due to an injury she sustained during a playtime accident when she was five. So she's wandering around with an ice pack on her "good" eye and is pretty much unable to see at all. We're just trying to keep it from swelling shut, or she won't be able to go to school tomorrow, since she can't see out the other one. I've been saying for five years now that she's bound and determined to blind herself completely.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lesson learned

Munch is traumatized. Actually, she's devastated.

She's an animal lover, and tonight, a cute little kitten was hovering around our front porch. Naturally, she scooped him up and sneaked him into our newly cleaned storage room with a can of cat food. She kindly left the light on for him, so of course, I opened the door to turn the light off and found the little thing. Big, mean mommy picked up the kitten - and the food - and put them both out on the porch.

Well, Munch waited about four seconds - as soon as Mommy was distracted going through school papers - and opened the door for him to come in again. But Mommy came down the stairs and caught her. So she slammed the door - on the kitten's foot. Fortunately, he wasn't any further through the doorway, because she slammed it hard. He was hurt, but it's not a serious injury. Munch broke down in tears listening to the poor, little thing wailing in pain and watching him limp around, and I made it clear to her how much more serious it could have been. She's crushed, but it made an impact that I want her to remember. I told her that I don't make rules to be mean - that I was doing what was best for the kitten and that he belongs to someone else. Gin checked up on the kitten a little later and confirmed that he's fine. He was running around the yard and not limping anymore. He's still hanging out on the porch, because he's got his food out there.

Trust me. If his foot had been broken, I would have brought him in and taken him to be treated. I'm an animal lover too. And it might have seemed harsh, but Munch has learned an important lesson. She's learned that animals are not toys. They are real living beings, and they can be hurt.

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My day off

It was my day off today. (I get one every two weeks.)

I picked up Book, and he and I had lunch with the girls at Nana's house. Our usual Saturday routine. While there, the routine definitely got a twist when my stepdad went into an insulin reaction (he's diabetic). He broke out in a sweat and started convulsing. Mom gave him his emergency Glucagon shot, and we waited it out, sponging him down and keeping him on his side where he'd fallen on the living room floor. She has little sympathy for him anymore, and I can't say I blame her. He drinks - a lot. And last night he was drinking again. He's had a kidney transplant already - a gift from his son, my stepbrother. But he doesn't take care of himself. He's on a boatload of medications because of the diabetes and the transplant, and yet he goes on drinking. He takes his meds on top of the drinking, then doesn't eat anything before going to bed. Then he wakes up and his blood sugar has bottomed out. She's seen it too many times, and I have been around for a few. I understand her frustration.

After the crisis had passed (we kept Book, Gin and Munch playing in the backyard and out of the way), Nana and I tackled cleaning out my car. The kids had quite a disaster going in there, so it was a major job getting done.

Then the kids and I headed home, where I started up the laundry. Nana came over to help me tackle the next big chore at home - cleaning out the storage room. It took us about five hours, but we got it all cleared out. All the old boxes from we moved in, old baby clothes, books upon books upon books, a craft project or two, countless cords and wires to unidentified electronics, computer monitors and printers, vacuum cleaner attachments (I actually have them ALL - I was stunned), various photo albums I'd totally forgotten, a stack of Duran Duran record albums (who's got a turntable these days?), some old college mementos.... It was crazy. After we'd pulled it all out, it seemed impossible that it all could have fit into that little room. But it's all cleared out now. The challenge now is going to be keeping it that way.

Just once I'd like one of my rare precious days off to actually be a day OFF.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Pay attention, people. Do the work. This is important.

I watched the presidential debate tonight, but I'm not going to offer any analysis or boil it down for you. I think that's a mistake. I don't think you should listen to my views on it. I don't think you should read the news stories about the debate, filled with individual quotes selected by someone else. I don't think you should watch the soundbites on the cable news shows and hear the spin from both sides' pundits. I think every American of voting age with any interest in who will become the leader of this great nation should sit down and WATCH these debates themselves - in their entirety - and pay attention. Cut through the spin, cut out the interpretations, and really listen. Pay attention. Make your own decisions and draw your own conclusions. Be fully informed and do the work for yourself. Don't count on someone else to spoon-feed their views to you. Use your head. This is important.

There's a vice-presidential debate coming up next Thursday, Oct. 2. Watch it, and pay attention. There are two other presidential debates set for Oct. 7 and Oct. 15. Watch those too. Sit down and watch. And listen. Pay attention, and make up your own mind. Don't let someone else do it for you.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

They listened! (and I was right!)

We had the first meeting at work yesterday for the newly established Web Board, which consists of me (the webmaster for our three newspapers), the Internet Project Sales Manager, the Internet editor for one of the papers and my home paper's editor. The committee was established to guide content on the sites but also to provide some kind of oversight for the forum, in which the IPSM has been far overstepping his authority and making unilateral decisions that were not only proving unpopular among our users but also stepping on their constitutional rights. This is the issue that has had me pretty irate over the past couple of weeks.

Anyway, as I was virtually ignored in my protests, I was determined to express no opinion and just be a drone when it came to the forums. Naturally, I was totally unable to do that, as it turned out. I'm too passionate about such things to just bite my tongue. I can't help myself. So, I made some suggestions. The rest of the board agreed. They were implemented immediately. And already, just one day later, a quick look at the board shows it's taking off like gangbusters! I'm so proud of myself! For once, they listened, and I was proven unequivocally correct.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No time

Time. There seems to be so little of it. And as the days grow shorter, it seems my days are growing shorter, too. How is it that the time between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. - when the girls need to get all of their things done for school and chores and baths and dinner - is getting shorter? Every day, it seems to be later when things get done. The girls are to be in bed by 9, but we can't seem to get finished until 9:30 or 10 or even later. Where does the time go? How does it go so quickly? There's always so much to do. We can't spend any time relaxing. Every evening is a constant whirlwind of activity. I can't get anything done at all because I'm overseeing their work. And I'm doing it all alone. Tomorrow's going to be worse. I have an afternoon meeting at work, so I'll be home even later. I'll be lucky if I get the girls to bed by 11.

Slight lift

Depression is such a hard thing to deal with, especially when there is little to no support around. The only choice to try to make it through is to seize upon whatever little joys can be found and relish them. For that reason, I won't apologize or feel embarrassed that I was able to find such an emotional lift from my passion/obsession today. I watched a replay of Sunday's Chelsea v. Man U match, which happened to be the one I tried to watch online Sunday, but the streams were all down. It was an exciting match, and I smiled and cheered throughout the whole match. It ended 1-1, which works well for me, as I haven't yet officially decided between the two teams (although, I have to admit, I really think I'm leaning toward Man U - sorry G, but I promise I'll still back Inter Milano).

Tomorrow's employee appreciation day at the office. We get to wear jeans without paying a buck for the privilege, and the bosses are providing lunch. We also get to play a few games at lunch time. I was delighted to get an e-mail from one of the girls in graphics inviting me to be her partner in the cornhole game. She, incidentally, was the same one who sent me the birthday e-mail yesterday. It's no wonder I was happier over there than I am back in the editorial department.

It seems the slight lift in my spirits has brought back my appetite. Considering I've eaten next to nothing the past few days, I'm going to seize upon the opportunity now to eat something before it passes again.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Make it stop

I spent a long, miserable birthday in the office today. My mother called and invited me to lunch, likely because she knew no one there would be offering. With an office full of signs posted with the September birthdays, no one said a thing to me. One person did send an e-mail to me. I was ridiculously grateful for that one acknowledgment. The two birthdays last week - the only other two birthdays in the office this month - got balloons and streamers. I knew that wouldn't happen. I've been there six years this month. Longer than about 90 percent of the staff.

If you want to make friends, be one. Isn't that what they say? I'm kind and generous and loyal and loving and helpful. I don't know what more I can do. I've spent immeasurable amounts of time being there for other people whenever they've needed someone. I've listened. I've comforted. I've never been too busy to help. But no one is there for me.

All I could think about today was the fact that I don't matter to anyone outside my own immediate family. I have no one. I got more kind words for my birthday in my comments on this blog than I did in my real life. I got lots of good wishes on my Facebook wall from my imaginary friends. But in my real life, I have no friends, no relationship and no life. I am so tired of being miserable and alone. I have spent most of this day in tears - alone. I wake up in the morning just hoping that this will be the day that it ends, wishing that an explosive aneurysm will just take me out, just make this stop.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My birthday weekend

My birthday is tomorrow. I'll be 36 years old, and I haven't much to show for it, aside from my kids. They're my success story, and the only one I've got.

I spent my birthday weekend as follows:
Saturday - work --> pick up my son Book from his dad's (my first husband) --> lunch with the kids at Nana's --> take the girls to their dad's (my second husband) --> clean house for nine hourse, including a full work-over of the kitchen, downstairs bathroom and living room, plus steam-cleaning the carpet
Sunday --> work --> take Book home --> pick up the girls --> lunch --> grocery shopping --> back home for more work --> get the girls ready for school --> crochet half a scarf --> more work writing my column.

Fun, huh?

The scarf is my first crochet project in more than five years. My son Pooh's ex-girlfriend has a brother who is mentally disabled, and I'm making it for him. He called me out of the blue a couple of weeks ago and asked me to make him a scarf or afghan because he'd overheard Pooh talking with his sister about how I used to make afghans. I'd given it up because my wrists (all of my joints, really) are in pretty bad shape, and I just couldn't do it anymore. I'd been thinking about it since his phone call though, and I figured I could manage a scarf for him. After all, it was the first time anyone had actually asked me to make something, and I didn't want to disappoint him. I hope to be able to finish up tomorrow.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Malaise

It was a largely uneventful day. I sent off a brief e-mail to the publisher of the newspaper group for which I work expressing my displeasure at a recent policy decision, and later, I chatted for a bit with a new acquaintance from Sudan. I chatted briefly with Z as well.

I seem to be suffering a malaise today. I haven't eaten all day, aside from a little snacking here and there. I have no appetite. I've slept very little the past two nights. My thoughts are in disarray, and my heart is no better. I feel as though nothing is solid. Nothing is secure. It's a struggle even to hold onto hope anymore sometimes.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I might as well have a rubber stamp made

I was working with Munch on her schoolwork tonight, and I saw that her "show to parent and return to school" folder was filled with reading test reports that I had already signed. I was a bit confused by this, so I dug a little further through the folder and found a note that said in addition to my signature, I was required to write an encouraging comment along with my signature. Now, maybe it's just me, but when my daughter brings me her papers, I go through all of them with her, and I give her praise and encouragement and hugs in person. I find it a bit offensive that the teacher requires that I write "good job!" or "well done!" or "keep up the good work!" on her results forms. My signature verifies that I have seen the results. The hours of drills and flashcards show my active involvement. And my personal praise and hugs show my love and support. So why should I be forced to write some empty sticker slogan on her papers? How meaningful is that? I understand that the teacher writes these little words of praise alongside the grade because generally they're not heaping praise on each individual child in the class. At least they never did when I was in school. Of course, when I was in school, the teachers weren't telling my mother how to parent me.

Munch's teachers always tell me how she's the happiest child they've ever seen. "She's always smiling," they say. Doesn't that indicate to them that I'm doing my job with her? I've never before heard of a teacher requiring such a thing - and Munch has three older siblings.

I'm sorry, but the way I see it, it's the teacher's job to teach my child the curriculum, but it's my job to raise my child. And it's certainly not the job of a 24-year-old childless elementary school educator to tell me how I should be doing it. If a child is showing signs of emotional neglect or lack of encouragement or lack of educational support at home, I could see calling in a parent for a conference and making some suggestions. Or even offering the suggestions via note sent home for any child. But requiring this kind of inanity doesn't make any sense to me at all.

Any other moms have an opinion on this?

In limbo

I'm sort of in limbo with the recent work drama. After dropping the dime on a coworker (henceforth known as Schmuck) for some serious ethical breaches, he was confronted with the evidence I provided by the publisher, my editor and his own direct supervisor. Fortunately, the publisher did not bring my name into the matter. Instead, he told Schmuck that the IT department had found the proof of his misdeeds. My editor did not fill me in on the details of the discussion, but he did tell me that a "decision" was to be made on it today (Wednesday). I left the office before I heard anything further on it, so I'll probably have to wait until Friday to find out what happened. At least I won't be subjected to harassment by Schmuck, regardless of the decision, because he has no idea (or at least the publisher told him otherwise) that I was the one who turned him in.

So anyway, part of the reason I left without finding out (other than the fact that my work was really finished for the day anyway) was so that I could run home to feed my obsession. Yep. It was Manchester United vs. Villareal. My friend D was AT the game, and I was terribly jealous. We'd talked earlier, and I asked him if Ronaldo would be returning to play yet. He replied that he was probably waiting for his hair to grow out. Hehe. He doesn't like Ronaldo either, although D is a HUGE Man U fan. During the same conversation, D predicted a 0-0 final score. Well, Ronaldo was put in late in the second half of the match, so I couldn't resist sending a text to D. He replied that he would run naked out onto the pitch and take him out if I'd like. Hehe! D is quite nearly crazy enough to do it! (Of course, he didn't, but that would have been great on the highlight reel, wouldn't it?) Oh......and the final score was 0-0.

Z and I finally got to chat again for a little while tonight. I think I chatted with him a couple of days ago briefly, but it seems longer. We haven't talked nearly as often since he returned from his holiday. We've both been busy, and he's been having some serious computer issues. The dreaded blue screen of death - often every few minutes. Bad sign, clearly.

I got to debut another pair of shoes today. :) Metallic pink Michael Antonio stilettos. I've had them for months now, but this is the first I've worn them out. They were noticed and admired. Three of my coworkers offered their compliments. I'm such a famous shoe hound in the office that they've started watching. :) Hehe. I love it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Pisces


(for more of my work, see my Art Therapy album)

Little bit o' this and that

Am I officially an addict for watching two European football matches at the same time? While watching Chelsea - Bordeaux on TV, I was watching Liverpool - Marseilles online. I cheered the return of Michael Ballack to the pitch, who's been out with injury for the past couple of weeks. Ballack's one of my favorite footie crushes. And I'd like to add that I loooooove the tradition of swapping shirts at the end. Woohoo! Footballers are easily the hottest men on the planet. Truly. (Of course, I wouldn't want to get involved with one.....those boys have baaaaaad reputations.....) I talked to D tonight a bit, and he said he's going to the Manchester United game tomorrow. Yep. I'm jealous.

I made meatballs for dinner. Not a big deal other than the fact that they were a smashing success with all the kids. Munch took a bite and said, "Mom, you should be a chef!" I can make them almost anything now, and they're always willing to try it. Munch occasionally is a little reticent about trying something new, but Gin will always pop up and say, "You KNOW everything Mom makes is great." Gotta love it. Of course, my kids have more refined palates than most kids their age, because I make a point of introducing them to lots of new and interesting foods. I probably have the only 7 and 10 year old Midwestern white girls who would rather eat sushi than any other food in the world. Gin's almost gotten to the point that she can identify various herbs and spices I use in my cooking. Just the basic ones, of course. She'll take a bite and say, "Is that basil?"

On the work front, I sent an e-mail to my editor asking the status of the current "situation." (It was a work-at-home day today.) He said the coworker in question was in a panic because he's being threatened with lawsuits for his unethical activities (btw, they've also threatened them against the company because he was acting as their representative - see? I was right. What he has been doing is wrong.) He said the coworker met with the publisher for two hours this morning, and he (my editor) was to meet with him this afternoon. He said he'd already presented the summary of my concerns to the publisher by e-mail and intended to discuss them. He said he'll fill me in tomorrow when I come into the office. I noticed - by means of the special access I have to his activities online - that he's already started trying to cover his tracks. He might know by now - or will soon enough - that it's too late. I took the precaution of printing out the evidence, because I knew he would remove it all from the system if questions started coming up. I know he's not going to get what he SHOULD - and I know I'll be in for retribution. But I don't care. This matters. This is important. I guess now I just wait and see what the decision-makers decide.

And on a side note, has there suddenly been a huge influx of Entrecarders, or had I just missed a hidden corner somewhere? I thought I'd seen most of the blogs in the Entrecard network, but suddenly I'm coming across lots and lots of blogs I've never seen before. Most of them are pretty great, by the way. If you drop from a set list, you might want to go exploring and see some of the new ones.

Time to find costumes again

Halloween is coming! Where has the time gone?

The kids have already been harassing me about what costume they'll wear this year. Sometimes we cook something up at home, and sometimes we buy something at the store. Of course, homemade costumes are time-consuming, and that's something I have precious little of lately. And the ones at the store, well, what can I say? The selection is usually pretty lousy, and whatever you buy, there will be 37 others walking around in the same thing, because we're all shopping at the same stores. Add to that the fact that they're usually low-quality and horrendously overpriced, and the store option isn't really all that great of an option either.

I had a brainstorm a couple of weeks ago on what my costume will be for our dress-up day at work (it's brilliant! I'll post pics or at least tell you about it ... if I manage to pull it off), and Gin actually asked if she can just cut a couple of holes in a sheet and go as a ghost. Well, I've got no objection there. Saves me some hassle. She usually likes to be as nasty and evil looking as she can possibly manage. I expect the "ghost" will end up with stab wounds or something.

Now, Munch, on the other hand, is the type who wants to be pretty or cute for Halloween. For two years in a row, she wore the same pink and blue bird costume, not because she had to, but because she loved it so much - and so she could go to the doors and say, "Trick or Tweet." (She also wore it several times during the year between the two Halloweens.) Last year she was a fairy princess, and she's thinking about doing it again this year. But I suggested we look around and get some ideas first.

Well, I'm in love with online shopping, and I want something for her that won't be worn by 37 other people this year, so I'm shopping halloween costume stores online this year. And I found a GREAT one! It's called Halloween Adventure, and I've got to say.... IT ROCKS!!! They've got a HUGE selection of costumes - for kids, teens and adults - and their prices are sooooo much better than most of the costume shops I've found on the Internet.

Seriously, this site has everything you need for a wicked cool costume. Check it out! Now, I've got some shopping to do.....

Monday, September 15, 2008

Me and my uncompromising ethics...

It's very possible that I made my own life a living hell today. I blew the whistle on a coworker. It was a question of journalistic ethics and Constitutional freedoms, and even though I have now opened myself up to some serious retribution, I couldn't keep my mouth shut on it. I am unbending when it comes to journalistic ethics and standards. Call me an idealist - it wouldn't be the first time.

I'm going to take a nap now. Righteous indignance can be sooooo taxing.

***

Update: I just got a phone call on my cell - an hour after close of business - from the coworker in question. And he just sent me a PM on our message board. Oh hell, I think I'm about to get hit with a whole lot of harassment. Oh look, there's my phone again. It's him again. I'm not answering.....

Surrender Dorothy


We had near hurricane force winds today - up to 70 mph. We've got power out all over the area. I got lucky. Mine only blipped out for a few seconds. My parents' was out longer. Just a few minutes drive south of here, thousands have lost power. Trees are down. Power lines are down. Roofs are peeled. Hurricane Ike has struck ... Ohio.

The winds started early this morning, but they really picked up as we were driving Book back home. We passed by cornfield that so reminded me of a scene from "Twister" that I called out, "Cow!" Then I looked around the car and realized that none of the three children riding with me had ever seen "Twister," so I just looked moderately confused as far as they were concerned.

When we got home, the wind was whipping so hard against the house and debris was flying everywhere - I felt like I was in the Wizard of Oz. A broomstick did fly by and get stuck in a bush in the backyard. Dorothy surrenders.

***

How pathetic will I look if I admit.......the following.......??
A station on my cable service has started showing old episodes of "Bewitched" and "I Dream of Jeannie".....and I'm REALLY excited about it!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fey plays Palin on SNL's opener


I tried to watch SNL last night, so I could see the much-hyped season premiere hosted by Michael Phelps and the much-rumored return of Tina Fey to play Sarah Palin. I missed the first five minutes, so apparently I missed the Fey/Palin part, and I struggled through another twenty or thirty minutes, but most of SNL is just sooooo inane that I couldn't bear it. (Although, I did enjoy the Jar Glove skit. I've often noted how those mini-infomercials take a simple household task and make it look like a ridiculously complicated feat of physical and intellectual and emotional strength.)
Anyway, I checked out YouTube for the Fey/Palin skit, and although there were approximately 8 billion of them posted, they had all been disabled for copyright infringement. For better quality and legal viewing that won't be disabled, see the clip above embedded legally from the nbc.com Web site.

Wrapping up the day

Have you ever just started wandering around the Internet because you're bored and ended up in some completely outrageous (relatively speaking :) ) place? I didn't have to work all day, and as my night comes to a close, I just found myself doing that very thing. I didn't realize it until I found myself reading - word by word - an article on how to use a rough cut mower. I stopped about halfway through and thought, "Why the hell am I reading this?" I also took an online Italian lesson. It taught me enough to remind me that I've forgotten just about everything from those two Italian classes I took in college. I read all kinds of political news, which led to political blogs, which led to political satire videos, which led to me spending a half hour or so watching old clips from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I love it though. Google and Wikipedia can lead you down some crazy paths! I even found the last page of the Internet once - after reading about a molasses flood and a disappearing lake, browsing a shopping site that included an Impaling Unicorn toy with interchangeable horns and victims, a site featuring funny English translations, approximately 840 quadrillion blogs, and quite a few more - it takes a while to get to the last page. Hehe.

I exchanged a couple of messages tonight with G. He's "proud" of me for watching Inter Milano. Hehehe. I think he was a little drunk. He was at a "crazy party" at the time.

It felt a little weird not working today. I kept feeling as if there was something I should be doing. There are things on my to-do list - and I got a few of them done - but there was nothing that HAD to be done today, and there's much that COULDN'T be done today. I don't think it would have felt so awkward if I had been somewhere else. Since I spend half my time working at the office and half my time working at home, spending a day at home doesn't even feel like a day off anymore. I need a complete change of surroundings. Of course, I've reached my annual fall finance crunch - which only worsens as the year wends to a close. So my change of scenery will have to wait until the spring thaw, most likely.

Time for bed now. I suppose it wasn't a bad day. And it had some highlights. (see previous post too) I think I'll go to bed with a smile. And I don't have to set my alarm. Woohoo!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday - nevermind

I didn't have to get up for work this morning (FINALLY!) - so naturally, I woke up anyway. I looked at the clock and saw it was 7:45 a.m., and I panicked. I suddenly thought it was Thursday, and the girls were going to be late for school. So I went in and woke them. Gin said, "What? What day is it?" Then it hit me. "Saturday - nevermind."

Of course, by that time I was up, so I checked out the hurricane update on cable news, then I went online to watch soccer. (I feel so compelled to say "football." I fear it would make me appear a bit pretentious. Like that last sentence.... Maybe I should anyway....) I watched Man U lose to Liverpool, then I went on my usual Saturday of picking up Book and having lunch with the kids at Nana's.

Back home, I found Man City playing Chelsea, so I watched that one, too. Good way to spend a day off. I even caught part of the Inter Milano game, so of course, I had to watch what little I could on the unreliable web stream. After all, G asked me to support his team, and as I don't have one of my own, it's the least I can do. D's team is Man United, so I have to back them too (except Ronaldo - I can't stand him. Didn't play today. Good.)

The only problem with my soccer - screw it - football fixation is that I only watch the European teams, so the games are on too early! I want to kick back and watch a game in the afternoon or evening - not at 6 or 7 a.m. And of course, I can see a few games on my cable network, but they're few and far between. One station replays an English Premier League game from the previous day every Tuesday, so if I want to watch it and enjoy it, I have to make sure that I don't spoil it by seeing the score or a highlight video.

It's early evening now, so all the games I'd want to see are over. I think it's time to crack the whip over the kids and work on some chores around the house.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Video chat online for free

Just in case you haven't been spending enough time online, there's a new site called Online Chat City that offers an Online Chat Room for video chatting!

There's no need to download anything - you chat right in your browser window. Membership is 100 percent free for life. Users create their own profile and avatar, and can let people know as much or as little about themselves as they choose.

The site's still brand new, so there aren't many people signed up right now, but gather up your friends and sign up together. Then you can video chat with all your friends all over the world for free - and without downloading anything!

* This post is sponsored by Online Chat City

Early awakening

I was awakened at 6:30 a.m. by a phone call from Z. I answered and was promptly serenaded with "Happy Birthday." But it's not my birthday, which I told him. "But it's the 16th. Isn't it the 16th?" Two problems: today is not the 16th, and my birthday is not on the 16th. Today is the 12th and my birthday is the 22nd.
"No, my birthday is the 22nd."
"Since when?"
(Huh?) *Chuckle* "Umm, since I was born."
By....definition.....

Oh well...I had to be up early anyway. Gin needed to be at school early because it was her morning to man the school store. And Munch had to get up early because she sneaked off to bed last night without finishing her homework. She still didn't get it finished this morning either.

It was a day in the office today, but it wasn't too bad. It went quickly anyway. I don't overhear any of the interesting stuff anymore, because I've moved back over to the editorial side and away from the chatting ad girls. That's a relief ... but I miss my girls in graphics. I got a call from one today on a ridiculous headline - it's the type of thing we would have just called out and said, "Hey, did you see this?" I'll miss that. I'll have to start making detours when I trek to the other side of the building to make my coffee.

I'm officially off work for the next 51 hours. I think I'll take a nap...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I won't forget


It wasn't the very first thought on my mind when I awoke this morning, but it came back to me very quickly.

I was sitting at my desk at work (my former job) when my husband (at the time) called me up. I'm a little surprised that he even thought to call me. News of ANY significance has never had much of any significance for him. But he did call. He told me, "Two planes just hit the World Trade Center." It was just after the second one hit. No one in the office had heard a thing at that point. There was no radio or television in the office, and no one there made a habit of surfing the Internet, so the news story had not yet filtered in. I walked down to my boss's cubicle and told him, "My husband just called and said two planes just hit the World Trade Center." He asked if it was small planes or something. I said that I didn't know - all I knew was that planes had hit the buildings. I was scheduled to fly to New York City for a stamp show for work just three weeks later.

After I mentioned it to my boss, I went out to my car to turn on the radio and hear the reports and get a general idea of what was going on. When I got out, I heard the radio from the dock turned up so everyone working there could hear it. Word was beginning to get around. Conversation was hushed. It was worse than we could have imagined. And then it just kept getting worse.

We all kept working, but EVERYONE started surfing the Internet for news. Web sites were clogged with traffic, and getting news web sites to load was a challenge. Then we started seeing the images. We couldn't believe it. No one could believe it was happening.

Then word came in. There's another plane. It's hit the Pentagon. Oh my god. New York City...then Washington, D.C. The iconic towers....then the center of our military administration. More images continued to come in. We all kept working, but we all kept watching too. We weren't talking to each other. We were all just transfixed. What was going on? What more was coming? This doesn't happen here. This is America.

We learned of yet another plane and that it crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Was this part of it too? It was too much of a coincidence. Was there more coming?

A short time later, the second tower that was hit came crumbling to the ground. It was unbelievable. And then the other one fell. We'd heard the reports. More than 50,000 people worked in those buildings. That was four times the entire population of our small city. The numbers were almost unimaginable. How many had died? How many had escaped? How many were trapped - buried alive and injured and terrified? How many would die later from their injuries or from illness caused by the toxic cloud that covered the city after the collapse?

The skies over the entire country were shut down. All we wanted to do was get home to our families and our televisions to SEE for ourselves. We were all looking at the skies when we came out of the office. There were no planes. Then there was one off in the distance - it was a military plane. It had to be. We'd been told that all others had been grounded. It was an almost surreal sight - that solitary military plane in the air where we'd normally see all kinds of air traffic coming to and from the Dayton International Airport. DIA was shut down. These planes were from Wright Patt AFB. We'd been attacked, and nothing was ever going to be the same.

About three weeks later, I made my planned trip to New York City. I'd been given the option of canceling it, but I had to go. All I knew was that I HAD to go. I attended the first two days of the stamp show - I was staying in a hotel in midtown, and the show was held a convention center a couple of blocks away. On the third day, I was watching the news in my hotel room as I gathered up my things to check out and prepared for the third day of the show. I checked out my schedule and saw I'd be going straight from the show to the airport for my afternoon flight. I made a decision. I was not going to attend the show that day. I had to go down there and see it for myself.

I left my bags at the front desk and hailed a cab. "Tribeca," I told the driver. "Where?" he asked. "Anywhere," I replied. He knew why I was going. He told me that he had worked in one of the towers. He had missed that day of work to take his son to the doctor.

I remember more than anything the smell as I stepped out of the cab in Lower Manhattan. The rubble was still burning. I began to wander toward the direction of the site. Everywhere the poles and walls - every surface, it seemed - was covered with pictures of the missing. The faces were young and old, male and female, all colors and walks of life. Everything was covered with a thick layer of soft white dust. I remember being surprised at that. Somehow, I had expected it to have been blown or swept or washed away. And the sky was different. The hollow space in the skyline where the towers once stood was chillingly empty. I'd been to New York City before. I remembered how the towers had once filled the sky. Now, they were gone. They just....gone. And all the faces on the walls and lampposts and in the store windows - they were all gone.

I wandered around the neighborhood for a while, just absorbing it all. A lot of the shops were closed, but vendors lined the streets everywhere. I'd seen how business had been so awful - naturally - for the little shops in Lower Manhattan since the attack. I made little purchases as I went along, less because I wanted the items and more because I wanted to support them.

I finally decided to head to the site itself. The debris became more apparent block by block as I neared the site. As I approached the corner a block from the barricades, I dug into my camera bag and retrieved an empty film canister. I scooped up some of the gray-white dust that was filling a planter on the sidewalk - the same dust that covered everything here. Walls were cracked. There were pits and marks and scars from flying debris on all the nearby buildings.

I turned the corner and saw. I saw for the first time, in person, the image that I'd been seeing for three weeks on my TV screen. I saw those massive, mangled steel skeletons protruding from that gaping wound in the ground the smoke still seeping out as if it had opened the entrance to hell. I could blink and see afterimages in my mind of what the view from that spot used to be.

Police stood at the intersections along the barricade, stopping passersby from taking photographs. (This was before the viewing platform was constructed.) I held up my camera and snapped several photos whenever the standing officer's attention was diverted. I never did develop the photos. I still have the film around here somewhere, but I doubt it's any good any more. I'm still not sure I could do it. I see those images still clearly enough without the photos.

I continued to walk the perimeter. At one point, there was a stack of twisted I-beams that had been pulled from the site, just sitting there at the street corner. They were so massive. It was mind-boggling to imagine the forces required to twist them into the condition I saw them in that day. I placed my hand on a beam and stood for a moment before going on.

I walked on toward Battery Park and remembered my previous visit to the city. I'd stopped to look at the towers here once. I went on further and came to the subway entrance from which I had emerged to see the Twin Towers in person for the first time a just few years earlier.

America is a land of hope, of freedom, of opportunity - this wasn't supposed to happen here. Things like this happened in other places. Not here. I'll never forget that smell in the air in Lower Manhattan. I'll never forget that feeling of violation. I'll never forget that emptiness in the sky.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sorting out the history

If you caught my little bio post earlier, you might recall that I have a somewhat disheveled family tree. My father was married 10 times.
I have very little in the way of records, and I've been trying to track down some siblings and other family members.
I've posted on genealogy boards, to no avail, but now I've found another site that might help. This site offers searches of Marriage License Records nationwide by state, county, city or zip code for specific names. I have at least nine to look for....
I'd better opt for the one-year access option rather than just the single report. He crossed a few states as well. And after I track down his wives, I can start looking for their kids. I still haven't quite figured out how to find the ones from women he DIDN'T marry. Hmmm....fourteen kids. I don't think any two were from the same mother...... I've got my work cut out for me.

*This post sponsored by nationwidemarriagerecords.org

More of the same

(I don't know what's going on with my comments. Whenever I try to reply, my computer freezes up on me. Hmm...... Anyway, THANKS to everyone who's commented recently! I'll keep trying....)

We had a meeting at work today to figure out the new schedules for the switch from an afternoon to an evening paper. It turns out they want me to stay on the same schedule I'm working now - start between 8 and 9, and in the office Monday/Wednesday/Friday. They figure if we update the sites too early, it will undercut our attempt to increase single-copy sales with the morning publication. Also, I think they realized that if I'm posting the papers in the middle of the night, I'll NEVER be in the office - and they couldn't dare ask me to be. Ah well, I suppose I'm no better and no worse off this way. Maybe a little better...toggling the hours means fewer annoying coworkers are around during the day. :) I tend to work better independently, I think. Or I'm just a hermit.

Organize your school days

All of the kids were shuffled off to school this year, loaded down with so many new supplies on their first day that I feared for the seams of their backpacks - and their poor little legs and backs. And of the 350 or so individual items required for the start of school, everything has to be labeled with their names.

I remember my own school days, so it's probably a good idea. It seems I've got my kids a lot more organized than I ever was.

The first day usually went fairly smoothly, with everything laid out well in advance, checked off the list one by one, accompanied by the cutest little outfit I could talk my mother into buying for back to school - still crisp and new, carefully preserved for its debut on the first day of school. Unlike my kids, I'd never cheat and wear my new school clothes before school started.

Back then, everything was labeled with a big, black permanent marker or one of those hard, plastic labels that never stuck (or if they did, got so bent up that they quickly became unreadable), but today's kids are much more slick. Who wants their name scrawled across the front of their notebook when they can have a neat, custom-printed label in colors and fonts?

Labelmakers back when I was growing up used these hard plastic strips with letter wheels, and you turned the wheel and squeezed the trigger to make a white letter on the colored strip. These things seemed so cool at the time, but they had a lot of problems. The strips were rigid and failed to stick on anything flexible. If they were bent or twisted, they were ruined. And one click off while you were making one meant starting all over again, click by click by click.

Today's labelmakers are a huge leap ahead of what we had back then. They're much more efficient to use, and they've got so many more uses. With Dymo's latest labelmakers you can color-code (there's metallic too!), vary fonts, add symbols, even print to iron-on labels for clothes or magnetic labels to make custom magnets!

Check out these color labels and their great back-to-school tips for how to use labels to make your kids' school days more organized.

Star Wars question

I've never seen Star Wars. Any of them (except for parts of Episode 1, or whatever that prequel was called). People say this makes me weird.
Anyway, I was flipping through the channels this afternoon, and I came across The Empire Strikes Back (which says it's Star Wars 5, but wasn't it the second one? whatever....). I felt somehow obligated to stop and watch it - probably because people keep saying I'm weird. Well, I got through about 20 mins. or so when I finally HAD to change the channel. I don't get it. I thought it was one of the dumbest things I'd ever seen. It was as if it was a parody of itself.
I don't consider myself a big fan of sci-fi, even though Stargate SG-1 and Star Trek:TNG are former favorites of mine, and I've been known to watch shows such as ST:Voyager, Quantum Leap, Eureka, SG Atlantis and Doctor Who - religiously. I never liked Enterprise or the original Star Trek , except City on the Edge of Forever, but everyone likes that one. Yes - I still don't really consider myself a sci-fi fan.
So my point is.....(yes, there is one!!) can anyone explain to me the greatness of the Star Wars series? What's the appeal? Come to think of it, if anyone can explain BSG to me, that would be cool too...and Farscape...
Ah, nevermind. I'm not a sci-fan anyway.... What do I care?

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Luca Toni


One word: yummy!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Obama on O'Relly - part 3

More search fun

Wow...it's been more than two months since I've posted on my favorite searches to find my blog. Where does the time go?

Anyway - still waaaaaaay up at the top is the variety of searches for Lifetime's Flying Tigress. Clearly, interest in the campaign is dropping off lately, because even though I still come up at the top of the searches, there aren't nearly so many anymore. Oh well, it was a heck of a run while it lasted. :)

A few that caught my eye this time around are....

- *word flood* (three searches on this one)
- *seitaridis girlfriend* (this one got two searches - I AM going to have to start doing my footie crush of the day again.....still waiting to catch Luca Toni playing again....even with my streaming online video, I haven't caught a game....)
- *watch secret pleasures* (eleven total searches in all variations - obviously, they were disappointed when they arrived here....)
- *wet demin* (two searches...hmm....)
- *"sell this house" jamaican couple tanya memme* (nothing here on that one...)
- *"stepped on a frog"* (I looked this one up myself....my blog entry refers to ACTUALLY stepping on a frog....)
- *"ain't no sense arguing with the wind"*
- *alphabet soup boston artist* (???)
- *cheese whisperer* (hehe....can't believe someone searched that....)
- *favorite txt alert* (I believe mine was the word "tesoro")
- *how 2 dried a human body from wet* (man...I don't even WANT to know what this person was thinking....)
- *mens secret pleasure what they want from a woman* (this person obviously found NO help here
- *rowing budweiser poster*
- *miss american pie - the nerds* (wha?)
- *shameless preteens boys* (ummmm.....ick)
- *telephone number for donna brazile* (I don't have it, but let me know if you get it)
- *seitaridis shower* (I don't have this either, but SEND LARGE PHOTOS if you have any luck :) - Luca Toni too!!!)

Registered child molesters online

When I was working as a reporter - before I moved to the online side of the news biz - one of my jobs was to maintain the current list of sex offenders in our county. As a mom, I recognized quickly the value of being able to readily identify people in our area who might be a threat to my children.

You can find out easily online where the registered child molesters are living near you. For example, click here to find Texas Child Molesters. Regarding of where you reside, start your search here, where you can search by state or ZIP code. There is a one-time access fee for reports and an additional fee if you would like automatic notification when a sex offender registers in your area.

* This post is sponsored by registeredchildmolesterlist.org

What's the big deal about Ohio?

Do you ever wonder why it is you hear about Ohio so much every four years? (Especially noting that it remains almost completely unnoticed at any other time)
I live in Ohio - or as it has become known in the press "the battleground state of Ohio." We've been getting so much attention around here that BOTH presidential candidates are here in my state today trying to sway the maximum possible number of voters to their side.
Ohio is known as the "Mother of Presidents," because seven men who would go on to become president were born here in Ohio - including three in a row, a feat matched only by Virginia (the third through fifth presidents). Presidents Grant, Hayes and Garfield were born in Ohio and served consecutively. Presidents Benjamin Harrison, McKinley, Taft and Harding also were born in Ohio.
Another reason, though, that Ohio could be called the mother of presidents is that, traditionally, "as Ohio goes, so goes the nation." Ohio's results have correctly predicted the winner of the last 11 presidential elections. And other than 1960, Ohio has called every election since 1856. No Republican has ever won the White House without taking Ohio.
One of the main reasons that Ohio is such a "swing state" is its distribution of population. It is truly a microcosm of nearly the entire nation. There are major urban centers in Ohio - primarily Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus. There are also heavy industrial areas, including Akron, Youngstown, Toledo and Cleveland. We've even got a major military base here, in Dayton - Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (home of the world famous Dayton Peace Accords and named, in part, for the inventors of the airplane, native sons Orville and Wilbur Wright). But geographically, the vast majority of the state consists of rural areas - that means agriculture as well as manufacturing. The urban centers nearly always go Democratic. The real battleground in Ohio is in the industrial and rural areas. That makes it a county-by-county fight for candidates, and we've got 88 counties. Our 20 electoral votes are much-coveted and hard-earned.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Obama on O'Reilly - part two

Obama on O'Reilly - part 1

Michelle rocks on Ellen

Great interview with Michelle Obama today on Ellen.
Part one:

Part two:

Restless

My weekend was anything but restful. I was working almost constantly, it seemed, and the kids were in rare form in the level of chaos they were creating. I've got a lot on my mind, too. As busy as I've been, my mind has been preoccupied elsewhere. It's a pointless place to dwell, but I can't seem escape it.

I even managed to squeeze in watching a soccer game this weekend, and portions of a few others. I might have to start picking a footie crush of the day again - hehe! I haven't seen Luca Toni since Euro Cup. Mmmmm..... I'm looking forward to that.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

European questions

I had a chat with my Italian friend F on Facebook today. He wanted to ask me some "European questions," as he called them. What he meant by that was, questions that all Europeans have about things they just do NOT understand about Americans. I know there are quite a few, so I was intrigued enough to open the floor to questions, and I set myself forth as the American ambassador.

His first question was about Sarah Palin. He wondered if she would really help McCain's campaign, because in Europe, "she is a nightmare," he said. He pointed to her hardcore conservative views and her strong religious overtones. This is anathema to the Europeans. I had to explain to him how she could appeal to some people, and he did understand, but there is something uniquely American in that appeal that I'm sure escapes nearly everyone else in the world. Most of the rest of the world, I'm sure, sees only the policies, but we have a tendency in this country to vote with our hearts, and Palin has a personal story and a personality that appeals to many, even those who can't stand her politics. That said, I also think she's easily as scary as Cheney...even with the lipstick.

We touched on economics and a little more on the war. In all, it was the kind of conversation I've missed for a long time. I was impressed with his intelligence. We'd never really talked all that much before. And he was apparently impressed with mine, stating that he loved me, but feared that I would disappoint him. I found that to be a curious statement. We've never been particularly close - in fact, I think I've only talked to him a couple of times, and that was months ago - so I think his translation might have been a bit off. Or something.

Politics seems to have everyone interested again. I spoke on Facebook a couple of days ago with a fellow, M, in Australia with I also have not spoken in quite a while. He, too, wanted to know what I thought of Palin. We talked politics then too. It really DOES appear that the whole rest of the world is solidly behind Obama. Odd we're so evenly split in the U.S., isn't it? I guess I'm beginning to understand the "European questions."

Saturday, September 6, 2008

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Memories

I was talking with Pooh tonight about things that trigger certain memories for us - things that you always associate with one particular thing, regardless of how often we experience it.

This trigger for this conversation was pineapple-orange juice. I'd pointed out that we had some, and I couldn't help spilling out that pineapple-orange juice always makes me think of the few childhood moments I had with my dad. On the rare occasions that he came to visit me when I was very young, we always stopped off at the local YMCA (it wasn't a slick fitness center like those of today - at that time it was some rooms upstairs with bunks, and downstairs was a basketball court, diner-style cafeteria and lockers around the walls). Dad used to stay there when he came through town, as the other railroad men did. Anyway, they had little cans of Bluebird pineapple-orange juice in the machines, and I always drank that when I was with him. So that's a memory.

Another big one for me is the smell of cherry pipe tobacco. I don't run into it very often anymore. When's the last time you saw anyone smoking a pipe? But my grandpa - my dad's stepdad - always smoked a pipe with cherry tobacco. I absolutely adored that man. He had a collection of ducks and duck decoys everywhere - very tastefully arranged on mahogany shelves. So cherry tobacco, ducks, and rich, warm mahogany tones are my memory of my grandpa.

Of course, I have a hundred or more different songs that do that to me. No matter how many times I hear them, they will always take me to one particular memory. Some good, some bad, some romantic, some random, some traumatic - but the recall when the songs come on is intense and startlingly complete.

These little things so often overlooked at the time the memory is made become a lifelong link to a long lost moment in time. Isn't it amazing how the mind works?

Oh! This just got good again....

Sarah Palin. Like her or not, the sister is FIERCE! Man, I was getting bored with this interminable presidential race, but it just got interesting again. I'm sure I am not alone in noting that this will probably be the first time in HISTORY that anyone will be remotely interested in the vice-presidential debate! Biden vs. Palin. Oh man! It's gonna be good! Biden is good and he's experienced, but this lady rocks! Regardless of politics, I like this chick.

"Her speech was dripping in sarcasm," said Donna Brazile. Yeah, but you know what? So does mine. Women are good at that because men are clueless enough to miss it. It's entertaining for us. And we know the bright people can pick up on the real meaning behind our words. And we really don't give a damn what the morons think anyway. (She made me cringe a couple of times though. I wouldn't want to go up against her!)

And apparently she was totally out of the blue after all. I found this blog post dated Aug. 6. I haven't listened to Glenn Beck in a long time, so I missed his mention of her. She sure slipped under the radar for most people though. What fun! What intrigue! Woohoo!

Politics is such a great spectator sport - my favorite in fact. (Although soccer's become a close second....) It's cool to see it waking up again. It got so very DULL there for a while... In fact, I obviously fell asleep and lost all track of it for a while. Used to be, they couldn't sneak up on me like this. Oh well, good to keep me on my toes. I was becoming far too complacent again...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A day off

I had to take a vacation day to get it, but it was a day off today. I took a bubble bath. Ate ice cream. Read a book. Made a fantastic dinner (slow-roasted Pan-Asian barbecue pork, roasted garlic and onion potatoes, and sweet corn with butter ginger sauce.) Debugged the desktop. Mostly did a lot of nothing and felt good about it.

G sent a message today that he's off to yet another exotic locale - this time a stunning Greek beach. And he was kind enough to send a link to the exact location. So I know exactly what to be bitterly jealous of. Grr... It worked. I'm completely jealous.

Office tomorrow. Who knows what that will bring? Gin starts swimming lessons this week too. Oh my exciting life. I'd better start doing things so I have something to write about. Nah. I just really need to get a break from my regular life for a while. I need just a *little* time away - really. One little escape....

Drop luv

Many thanks to my top droppers!
1. On The Bricks
2 . Kool Kustoms
3. 1 Blog and 2 Sides
4 . Cyber Camote
5. Everything Has A Reason