Psalm 23:4 - Pit Bull Translation

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:
for I am the baddest dog in the valley"

Monday, August 16, 2010

Death of a Laptop

(Taps playing in the background)..........

My laptop finally succumbed to years of use and abuse. I didn't get the dreaded blue screen; it can't even get that far. I don't know what to do. It's very old, should I replace it (like I have money for that HA HA)? Should I repair it? Are you kidding, they'd laugh at me it's so old. It might not even be worth the money to find out exactly what's wrong.

Fortunately I knew it was going and two days before it dropped dead I backed up the hard drive. That is how I know there is a G-d and he loves me. Because anyone who knows me, knows that only a miracle could override by ability to procrastinate and get that done.

I need advice. All I use the thing for is blogging, email/Internet and downloading photo's from my camera, which I then transfer to CD when I get enough to fill a CD, then delete. I also use it to copy CD's and DVD's.

What should I do?

RIP Rusty's Laptop, you served me well and I'll miss you.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Yes, there are good people out there.

The last week has been a difficult one. A couple of things happened that really rocked me. One I've completely put behind me and after the second one occurred it really highlighted how insignificant the first one really was. I know it's mean to do this but I can't talk about either one of them yet. For now you'll just have to know that it was a crappy week.

I usually work on Saturday nights but yesterday I switched shifts with another EMT so he could pick up another shift at another squad. So I worked during the day yesterday and was home last night. This morning I woke up, rested, at about 9 AM. I was ready to spend the day with the family and was looking forward to it. At 9:15 AM my cell phone rang and ruined all my plans. It was my boss. She asked me if I was planning to come to work today. At that very moment I remembered that I was supposed to be at work at 7 AM. Apparently they didn't notice I wasn't there until 9 AM (just kidding). My boss, being ever so empathetic told me to get my ass to work. She told me to shower when I got there. Of course I said sure, knowing that there is no way I am stepping foot in the showers at the squad. I told myself as I jumped in the shower that by the time I gathered all the necessary items to shower there I'd be done my shower. While I'm in the shower my husband asks what he can do to help me. I asked him to pack my breakfast. I didn't know what to tell him about lunch. So I get to work and we get a call right away. Then on the way back we were going to stop at the grocery store and as we were pulling into the parking lot we were dispatched to that very grocery store for a seizure patient. So I didn't get my lunch but we got there pretty quick to help him.

On the way back from the hospital we stop at a convenience store. I go in and get my food and I go to check out and my debit card is declined. I am surprised and don't really know what to do. All I have is the debit card, no cash, no other cards and me not eating a meal is very bad indeed. The clerk is kind but there isn't anything she can do. I go over to the ATM to check my balance and it tells me I have $2.00 in my checking account. That's it, it's over, no food for me. Dejected I walk back over to the clerk to tell her I don't have the money and to put the stuff back. As I'm walking over the gentleman who was standing behind me in line asks me if I have the money for my lunch. I told him I was embarrassed to say that I didn't. Bless his kind heart he offered to pay for my food. One of the tenants of OA is learning to accept help when you need it. I told him that my meal was expensive. You can find an abstinent meal at a convenience store but you're going to pay for it. He said it didn't matter, that he wanted to buy my meal. He told me he wanted to help me since I help others (don't forget I was in uniform). I was touched by his generosity and accepted his offer of help.

I need to remember that there are more good people than bad out there. His kindness meant more to me than he could ever know. Skipping meals can trigger cravings which could be a disaster. With his simple offer he may have prevented me making a bad decision. What could have really been the icing on the cake for this crappy week turned into a bright spot.

Thank you Mr. Elderly Gentleman. I hope you never need my services but I'll be there if you do.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pa Motor Vehicle Code: Chapter 33 Subchapter B 3325

§ 3325. Duty of driver on approach of emergency vehicle.


(a) General rule.--Upon the immediate approach of an emergency vehicle making use of an audible signal and visual signals meeting the requirements and standards set forth in regulations adopted by the department, the driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersection and shall stop and remain in that position until the emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer or an appropriately attired person authorized to direct, control or regulate traffic. On one-way roadways a driver may comply by driving to the edge or curb which is nearest to the lane in which he is traveling.

I remember reading this (which was copied directly from PA Title 75 (that's the vehicle code folks)) when I took my written test to get my permit many moons ago. You would be surprised at how many people just do not know what to do when they see or hear an emergency vehicle approaching. Some people pull to the left, some try to out run you, some pull to the right but don't stop. That seems like it might work just fine, unless I need to make a right turn. Some times people just panic and slam on their brakes and stop in the middle of the roadway. They're my favorites.

Pull to the right and stop. Six words. Of course, lawyers and legislators expanded that to an entire paragraph but that sums it up.

I have no idea what the other 49 states have written in their vehicle codes. But probably without fail it would amount to pull to the right and stop. It's so simple it's hard to believe.


Well it does help if your music isn't turned up so loud you can't hear the sirens blaring. Or that you're so engrossed in your phone conversation that you don't notice the flashing red lights. But I'll save that rant for another post.

Hope this public service announcement clears up any confusion on what to do if you see or hear an emergency vehicle approaching.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

100 Days

As of midnight last night I have completed 100 days of abstinence. No flour, no sugar, no alcohol, no compulsive eating and no binge foods. As of August 1st I have lost 36 lbs.

I can now wear clothes that haven't fit me in two years, maybe more. I can now grocery shop without anxiety.

I still have trouble making meals for my family that I can not eat. The Engineer is working hard at being patient.

I still go to at least three meetings a week. I talk to my sponsor almost every day. I diligently work the steps.

The first thirty days were hard. The next sixty flew by. The last ten have been difficult.

For every door I slam close on my disease it works diligently to find another way in. It is relentless. It looks for any opportunity to trip me up.

I pray daily for the serenity to accept the things I can not change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Before program these words meant nothing to me. Now they mean everything.

My Higher Power is my only defense. Self-will avails me nothing.

One day at a time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Comic Sans - Love it or Hate it ?

I admit it, I love comic sans. I'm going to make a bumper sticker that says just that. Oh, wait a minute, I forgot, I don't do bumper stickers. Okay, how about a magnet. "Don't hate me because I heart Comic Sans."

I know it is vilified by font elitists everywhere. I don't care. Now, of course, I know it doesn't belong in certain places, resumes and business letters come to mind. But if I want to type all my personal email in comic sans I'm going to and if you don't like it there's this key with "delete" written on it that I'm sure is fully functional on your keyboard.

Tough crap...font elitists, grammar police and food snobs everywhere can pound sand for all I care. I'm continuing to hold my head high as I sprinkle Jane's Crazy Mixed Up Salt on my food, use run on sentences, dangle my participles and send emails using comic sans.

Woe, you ask, how the heck did the grammar police and food snobs get sucked into my rant on font elitists. It just popped into my head so I let it run right out my fingers. It's why I have a blog in the first place. Have a great day!

Monday, August 9, 2010

It Started with a Blood Test: cont...

Before reading this post go back and read this one or it will make no sense. Unless of course you have an incredible memory for useless information, then you can just read on.

It took forever for the secondary test results to come back. They said 60 days and it was even longer than that. I can't imagine what the patient and his family were feeling during that time. I may never know. The good news is the results came back positive. I am a match. The bad news is the patients "situation" has changed and he is no longer a candidate for a bone marrow transplant. Now this could mean several things. The worst news would be that he died waiting. Or his condition could have worsened to the point that he wouldn't survive the necessary assault on his current bone marrow to prepare him for a transplant. The best news would be that he has gone into spontaneous remission and no longer needs a transplant. I don't know, and probably will never know what happened. I try to remain hopeful that he experienced a positive outcome but the cynical black cloud I carry around keeps me from accepting that possibility.

The consolation prize in all this is that my secondary test results are now on file. The next time I am a preliminary match there will be no waiting period to find out if I am a true match. Maybe someone else will benefit.

I pray that my brother in bone marrow has had a significant recovery and he should know that if that should ever change it will be my honor to share the gift of life with him.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Book Review: Food Addiction: The Body Knows

Book Review-Food Addiction: The Body Knows by Kay Sheppard

Hope your not expecting something literary. Because you're not going to get it.

One word description: Helpful

I finished this book a couple of months ago. It was a short easy read. It is not OA approved literature. I just wanted to make that clear. But my sponsor recommended it early on to help me build a food plan. It gives a clear description of food addiction and the long term effects. I didn't identify with it the way I do with the Big Book but the information was clearly stated. It offers several variations of food plans depending on your needs.

One chapter towards the end of the book discusses relapse. I found this chapter immensely helpful. Relapse doesn't occur with the first bite. There are clear warning signals prior to picking up the food. The author lists them clearly but some of her suggestions and questions to ask yourself to avoid the relapse I felt were pretty lame and didn't really address the issues. If I recognized myself in that chapter I would immediately put it down and turn to the Big Book. When it comes to solution that's where the answers lay (or is it lie, this grammar rule will torment me till the day I die).

The book was a tremendous help for setting up a food plan and the chapter on relapse was worth the price of the book. I bought this book at the suggestion of my sponsor and would recommend it as a small part of someones library on food addiction.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Felicity

Today I rushed three tired kids out of bed and dragged them to an OA meeting. Before we left I made them take showers and eat breakfast. That's because after the meeting we were invited to a fellows house for lunch and a swim. And since my kids are typical they are not concerned with body odor or dirty fingernails. I on the other hand prefer not to smell them and I'm sure I am not the only adult who feels that way. I got the usual complaints: "I'm just going to swim anyway, I just took a shower (yeah, three days ago), nobody cares what I smell like (that's what you think) and many other combinations there of.

After the meeting we pile in the car and off we go. On the way, there is the usual chorus of complaints involving hunger and distance travelled. All of which I ignored like a pro.

We are the first to arrive. Which I found odd since we were the last to leave the meeting but what the heck it gives my kids first shot at the food that was kindly laid out for our dining pleasure. I brought my food but her fruit looked much nicer than mine so I ate that instead. A delicious combination of strawberries, blackberries and blueberries. But, once again I digress.

Anyway, getting slowly closer to the actual point.....

I had a really nice time. I ate my food and just relaxed and enjoyed the conversation. The kids swam and played with the other kids. The daughter of the host had just returned from a trip to Israel and spent over an hour with my girls showing them pictures and sharing stories of her adventure. After a few hours we packed up and headed home.

Here it comes folks, the moment you've been waiting for: The actual point of this....

On the way home this very strange sensation came over me. At first I didn't recognize it. After a few minutes I realized what I was feeling was just plain, simple joy. Nothing more, nothing less. A pleasant afternoon with friends and fellows. The sounds of kids playing. An abstinent meal. This is the direction that my life is heading. The feeling didn't last long. The continuing banter of the kids erupted into a debate over who poked who first and swept the feeling away but it was there, if only for a short time.

Another layer peeled away today. A ray of sunshine made it through, if only for a brief time. One day at a time. Today was a beautiful day.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Why have you forsaken me? blog proverb......

I must admit, for a while I forgot all about blogging. Not only has mine been neglected to the point that it might even be considered abandoned, I wasn't even following along on my favorites. How could this of happened? From a daily blogger to falling off a cliff some where? From someone who had something to say about everything to someone who had nothing to say at all?

It's not like there hasn't been anything happening. My journey in OA continues. My oldest and youngest celebrated birthdays. We finished up a very difficult school year. We added a guinea pig to our pack. We lost two of our chickens to heat stroke. Our broody little girl, Oreo, successfully hatched two chicks. Our flock of chickens continue to use our front walk as a potty station. We had a great party on the 4th of July. Our pool is finally completed and getting an almost daily workout. The neighbors little white fluffy dog continues to torment and harass Mickey. My mother in law visited for almost two weeks. The Scientist has a new obsession. She also completed an almost three month experiment that had three chickens living in our garage. How another kids love of team sports was spoiled by over zealous parents. Camping trips and migraines. There is never a dull moment.

All of this makes for great material. Okay, maybe "great" is a little strong, but I hope it is at least somewhat interesting to someone somewhere. So I hope to share some of these stories with you. Maybe even come up with something else to ramble on about.

What I really want is to start writing again. Mindless stuff, informative stuff (well at least my from my point of view anyway), about my dogs, kids and family. Maybe even a book review or news flash now and again.

Thank you for your patience and since you're reading this for checking in.

I'm going to start blogging again, one day at a time.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

RIP Nibbles

Nibbles
2004-2010
Nibbles crossed to the Rainbow Bridge this afternoon. He was the sweetest guinea pig who went along with just about anything. Even Molly picking him up and carrying him in her mouth one day didn't ruffle his fur. He stood his ground against a nosy cat. But would lay on his back for a belly rub whenever you wanted. The stems of dandelions were his favorite treat. He never even minded getting a bath and having his nails clipped. An old soft toothbrush made the perfect brush. Obviously spoiled, he would only eat carrots if they were peeled. If you were eating an apple and didn't want the rest he would be more than happy to take it off your hands. We will miss him.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Are you a compulsive overeater?

I've continued to be very busy on my healing path. Someone recently asked me how I knew I was a compulsive overeater. I told her there were a bunch of questions I found online at www.overeatersanonymous.org site. Since it took me two weeks to get up the courage to check the site once I heard about OA I figured I post the 15 questions here.

Do you eat when you’re not hungry?
Do you go on eating binges for no apparent reason?
Do you have feelings of guilt and remorse after overeating?
Do you give too much time and thought to food?
Do you look forward with pleasure and anticipation to the time when you can eat alone?
Do you plan these secret binges ahead of time?
Do you eat sensibly before others and make up for it alone?
Is your weight affecting the way you live your life?
Have you tried to diet for a week (or longer), only to fall short of your goal?
Do you resent others telling you to “use a little willpower” to stop overeating?
Despite evidence to the contrary, have you continued to assert that you can diet “on your own” whenever you wish?
Do you crave to eat at a definite time, day or night, other than mealtime?
Do you eat to escape from worries or trouble?
Have you ever been treated for obesity or a food-related condition?
Does your eating behavior make you or others unhappy?

If you answered yes to more than three of these questions you may be a compulsive overeater.

I can tell you it is changing my life and I'm not even talking about weight loss. Because it doesn't take long to realize that it's not about the food.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Touch of Writers Block

The words haven't flowed lately. At least here. I have to write daily logs and answer specific questions for my sponsor every day. I also have to journal my feelings and thoughts. All this has been a major writing commitment and doesn't leave much left in the creative writing juice jar. I will say though by writing it out it does seem to make things so much clearer.

I just dozed off with my fingers on the keyboard and pressed "d" for an unknown period of time. There were rows and rows of them. That means I need to go to bed. Still haven't caught up on my sleep from the weekend yet.

Tomorrow is a new day......

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Out of Sorts

One of the toughest things to do since joining OA is to go grocery shopping. I go with my list in hand, like I always have, but just walking past all the foods I love (a sick love, but love none the less) increases my anxiety with each step. Handing the job over to The Engineer has crossed my mind, but (isn't there always a but) he has a tendency to freelance and not stick completely to the list. That could cause a real problem for me. I'm not ready to have my binge foods just laying around the house, whispering to me, begging me to eat them.

I usually call my sponsor or someone on my team before I go inside for a little pep talk. Tonight no one answered their phone. I know I could call home or a friend but some things just need to be dealt with by someone who's been there.

I have been home for two hours and am still dealing with the residual anxiety. I really just want to go to bed but I can't sleep with this on my mind. I had a very busy weekend, and really need the rest.

The good news is my food supply is restocked. Lots of fruit and fresh veggies. Now if I can keep the vultures away I might actually get to eat some of it.

I'm also feeling some anxiety because one of my team is having a difficult time right now. Signs of relapse are creeping into their way of living. It scares me. There by the grace of G-d go I. We're going to have a heart to heart tomorrow.

The bond I have developed with people from OA in such a short time has been amazing. The level of trust within the fellowship is like nothing I've ever experienced before.

Tomorrow I will have been abstinent for 14 days, two weeks, even I can't believe it. I haven't felt this good since I can't remember when. They told me that my abstinence would become precious to me. I didn't understand. Now I do, I want to protect it and nurture it at all costs. It is the first step in my new life.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Baseball Boy's Practice

Guest Blogger: Baseball Boy

Baseball Boy plays baseball for two years. He was the catcher and he batted two times. He ran to second base the first time he batted. No outs for him. The second time he ran to first base.

When he was catching he got hit with the ball five times. The one time he got hit with a fast ball. The second time he got hit on the toe. The pitcher was one of the coaches. The coach put down a glove and he said, "If you step back from the ball you will run a lap." And it was hard for Baseball Boy not to step back. Baseball Boy was afraid that he would get hit with the ball. When he finally stepped forward he hit it far. One was a pop up and one was a grounder.

The Scientist and The Vet were on another field practicing with a softball. They caught some and then practiced running bases and then chased geese. A pond was right behind the field and the coach said, "If you hit the ball behind us and it goes into the water you get a bonus."

After the practice we had to pick up all the equipment and then the coach gave us a Popsicle. Then we went home.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Tough Assignment

"Stay out of your head, it's a dangerous place."

That was a text I received around lunchtime today reminding me that I think too much. It came from a member of my team. I analyze and dissect trying to get to the bottom of any problem I come across. The problem is that when it comes to eating my mind is a very screwed up place indeed. So I'm trying to figure out a calculus problem with a broken calculator. I need to knock it off and accept help from people who have been living abstinent for years. They already have it figured out, why try to reinvent the wheel. My head knows they got it figured out and by following their path I too will find peace. So at least when it comes to food I have to stop thinking and start doing.

Accept help: It is one of my biggest defects. Asking for help is akin to admitting I couldn't handle it myself.

By questioning and not doing I am continuing to bog myself down in the details. It's all laid out. One day at a time, one step at a time. I'm fretting about steps I'm nowhere near. I am my own worst enemy.

One day at a time. Give myself a break. Progress not perfection.

Thinking is not a tool. Here is the list of tools I have to help me.

A Plan of Eating
Sponsorship
Meetings
Telephone
Writing
Literature
Anonymity
Service

As you might have guessed this has been a problem for me. I'm working on it, one day at a time.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Outside my comfort zone


See that hand, the one with the dirt under the nails and all over the fingers. That's my hand. I had Baseball Boy take a picture of it because this was a once in a lifetime event. I wanted it recorded so in the future I have evidence that this happened. Especially once my mind erases it from my memory.

The Engineer, at my request, tore out all this old overgrown landscaping along the edge of our driveway and around the mailbox. I just wanted grass and a simple group of flowers around the mailbox. So yesterday he's got it all ready. But as usual our timing sucks and he had to stop to take Baseball Boy to a baseball game. It's little league so they kinda make up some of the rules as they go, like how many innings they are going to play. The Engineer had hoped to get home before dark and spread the seed/fertilizer and plant the little flowering plants (I think they're petunias). Well the coaches decided to play until it got to dark so that plan went out the window.
No biggie, he's got an hour or so after work today to take care of it.

This morning the phone rings and The Engineer is not a happy man. He just found out that rain is moving in and all his fluffy perfectly raked out topsoil will all pack down if it rains. This will make it difficult to start grass from seed and his flowers will not have soft soil to lay out its roots. So he calls knowing that he is up against someone who cringes at the feel of dirt under her fingernails. Who hates to sit on the ground and dig and refuses to wear gardening gloves because all they do is grind the dirt into your skin. He makes his plea and is met with whining. But he was well prepared this time with his defense and I was forced to concede. He almost blew it though. See I've never spread grass seed. As far as I'm concerned you stick your hand in the bag grab a handful and throw it. Who knew there was an art to this? I was not interested in a seed spreading lesson on the phone when I'm already unhappy with this job ahead of me. He took the hint and accepted that he was going to have to get what he gets.

I planted the flowers. Put the mulchy stuff all around them and threw seed and fertilizer willy nilly. I couldn't find the darn little garden shovel and had to use one of my spoons but that's why we have a dishwasher.

I gave the flowers a little water and wished them well. The Engineer will fuss over them and the new grass that will grow and in a month it will be a clean and beautiful area instead of the overgrown pit it was.

All day I waited for the dreaded rain to start; and it did, exactly one hour after The Engineer got home from work.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mother's Day-Not

Mother's Day is a tough one for me. My Mom was a tough one to please on Mother's Day, let's just leave it at that. Now she's been gone for several years and I miss her. I still work every year on Mother's Day as an act of avoidance. It doesn't matter anymore but I still grab that shift every time.

The kids have learned that doing more than making me a card and giving me a hug just stresses me out. It's amazing how no matter how much I try to do the opposite I wind up being the same. She wanted things her way; ex. an unattainable ass kissing: And I want things my way; ex. minimalist all the way.

I am comfortable with the way Mother's Day is celebrated around here. While I'm at work (enjoying turning over the responsibilities of parenthood for 14 hours) they make me cards and usually clean up. When I get in I get giant hugs and "Happy Mother's Day's. Dinner is already made, not a big deal, just a simple dinner, we eat together and talk about our day.

For me many of the holidays are ways we should be living our life. Respecting our parents, grandparents, the earth, appreciating our veterans and employees. Don't wait until Arbor Day to plant a tree. Fly your American Flag every day, not just Flag Day and the 4th of July. Unless a holiday celebrates a specific event I'm inclined to ignore it on that day and try to live it everyday.

So instead of kissing my butt on one day and being completely disrespectful for the rest of the year let's make an effort everyday to be kind and respectful to the people around you and the earth we live on. This is my hope for Mother's Day.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Page Update

You may or may not have noticed the Live Feed widget I had added to the page. At first I thought it would be fun to see where everyone was coming from. It was, but (there is always a but) then I started to wonder if it would bother people to have it there. It was starting to make me feel weird because I came up on it too. Because I post pictures of my kids and dogs (the most often stolen breed, I might add) I don't want our names or town posted, yet there it was for everyone to see.

So it's down and it's going to stay down. All the lurkers will be anonymous again. I don't have anything running in the background so you can all surf around without me knowing. I hope I didn't scare anyone off.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Step One

We admitted that we were powerless over food --- that our lives have become unmanageable.

Unmanageable: Unable to control.
Powerless: Lacking strength; helpless.

Two big words right there. Staring me in the face.

Powerless over food? Until recently I just thought I had no willpower, and was a failure with no self control. I thought the constant eating and sneaking food to satisfy cravings was my own weakness. There was no one to blame but myself. Nothing more, nothing less. The self loathing, disgust and feelings of failure haunted me any time I stopped for fast food or donuts (with the excuse that I wanted coffee), ate when I was already full, piled my plate high and ate bowl after bowl of ice cream after everyone had gone to bed. I'd drop the kids off for a class and head to the nearest food joint to get my "fix." I also would eat when I was happy, sad, tired, angry, the list goes on and on. It's like I was eating over my emotions. Some foods, pizza, soft pretzels, ice cream, pasta, white bread I couldn't stop once I started. These have now been identified as my binge foods or trigger foods. When I ate them I physically craved them for days on end sometimes longer. Powerless over food, you bet, it was like it was whispering to me.

Unmanageable, that's a tough pill to swallow. Who wants to admit defeat. That they have lost control of their lives. That getting out of bed had become a supreme effort. That cooking and cleaning seemed like an overwhelming task. That I kept missing appointments and forgetting obligations. That on more days than I care to admit my kids fended for themselves. That as hard as getting up had become, falling asleep was just as difficult.

I'm working towards completing Step One. If you can't accept Step One nothing else will work. I am powerless over food, it controls me and even though I never woke up from a sugar crash, my poor diet (even a seemingly healthy diet isn't; when you freelance crap food) was finally catching up with my ability to function. Stuffed and overfed I'd sit on the couch, unable and unwilling to move. The physical demands of my job were beginning to wear me down. When you are carrying around 110 lbs of extra weight even walking the dogs was becoming a burden.

Tonight I complete day three of abstinence. I am eating only three meals a day and am not eating my binge foods or any white flour. I'm still working on my food plan. My sponsor is a no nonsense type of woman. I have hope, it's a small amount but it's more than I've had in a very long time.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Who Am I?

I Defend WITH HONOR.

I Play TO WIN.

I Am Loyal TO A FAULT.

I Have A Heart MADE OF GOLD.

I Don't Know The Meaning OF GIVING UP.

I Am The Epitome Of STRENGTH, LOVE, AND COURAGE.

I Am THE AMERICAN PIT BULL TERRIER

by Faith Sylvester

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Feeding Frenzy

Last night I went grocery shopping. Today a swarm of locusts my children proceeded to eat the following:

3 lbs of Red Delicious Apples
2 pints of strawberries
2 1/2 lbs of red seedless grapes
2 bananas
1/2 bag of baby carrots
6 sticks of string cheese
1 lb of bacon
3 bagels
1/2 lb of American cheese
3 bowls of various cereals

Then proceeded to complain they were hungry and there was nothing to eat. Did I mention that all this was consumed prior to 4 PM? None of the above stopped any of them from cleaning their plates at dinner time.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Personal Discovery

Over the last few weeks as I explore myself and my habits with my sponsor I have learned a lot about myself. Some stuff I've always known. Some stuff I've known but blocked with denial and other stuff have been completely new to me. I am only beginning this journey.

I've always known I like to have things my own way. But it's one thing to know it in your head and know it in your heart.

Today something happened that might of opened up my heart to it, at least a little bit. Baseball Boy has had a wart on his knee for a while. We tried freezing it with over the counter products but all it did was respond by growing bigger.

Last week we finally admitted defeat and I called the doctor to make an appointment to have it removed. The appointment was this morning. Last Friday afternoon while sliding into second base the wart tore right off. I wasn't there, The Engineer was at the game with him, but reports were that he was okay until other parents started freaking out. In case you didn't know warts bleed a lot. They got the bleeding controlled and he stayed to cheer his team on for the rest of the game but for him the game was over.

This morning at the doctors office the nurse tells us it's better to cut it off then freeze it. They will numb his knee cut it out and then freeze the root. Most of it was torn off anyway and it made sense.

The doctor comes in and she's on a mission. This one didn't waste any time with small talk. Baseball Boy is being brave until she turns around with a syringe, clear liquid dripping from the end of the needle. She wasted no time in going for the knee with the needle. Baseball Boy reaches over and grabs onto me. She takes his leg and just gives him the shot. There are some tears but no hysterical crying. After the knee is numb (which is almost instantaneous) she gets a flexible razor and shaves that thing down. Before I know it she's spraying the spot with the freezing stuff (that's the technical term ;-) ). Explains what to expect and we're done. Both the nurse and the doctor tell Baseball Boy how great he did and leave.

Baseball Boy is fine. I on the other hand am ready to freak out. Not from the blood or the procedure. But because all that happened so fast. They had explained what they were going to do, no surprises there. But when Baseball Boy reached over and grabbed onto me I wanted to stop. Right there and calm him down. When she didn't I felt powerless.

I couldn't wait to get out of the office. I felt like I was about to freak out. I had no control in there, the resulting feelings overwhelmed me. Normally if something like that happens I would bee line it for food. Now I know I can't do that. I have to face the feelings not cover them over.

We get in the car and I ask Baseball Boy how he is. I'm expecting him to be as freaked out as I am. His response surprised me. He said that it wasn't too bad. That he liked the doctor. I asked him why he grabbed me when she came at him with the needle. I thought it was because he wanted her to stop but he told me he just needed to hold all of me and not just my hand. Stopping her would have made it worse for him not better. Stopping her would have only made it better for me because I thought I had to stop her for him. He didn't need that. I needed to control the situation not let Baseball Boy and her control the situation.

I know as his parent it is my job to protect him. But I'm always preaching how you have to let them protect themselves with your guidance. I didn't let him do that, I did what I needed, yeah I thought it was what he needed but I didn't listen to him. He didn't say stop or try to get away after she grabbed his leg. He just rolled to the side and grabbed me.

So I learned a lot today. Baseball Boy applied what I had already taught him. I am proud of him for that. I am proud of myself for seeing that it wasn't about me having to control the situation to make it okay for him, even if it took me time to figure it out. It still took me a while to relax over my lack of control in the doctors office. I'm not totally over it yet. But I see it and that's the first step.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

His name was Jack.

This afternoon I'm at a friends house when I met him. The deep brown eyes, the soft blond hair. A smile that could melt your heart.

When I saw him I couldn't resist, I know I'm committed, I know I have responsibilities and by bringing him into my life I could destroy it all.

But I couldn't stop myself. Willpower? I had none. A new love had entered and I closed my heart to those I left behind.

I was feeling overwhelmed and went for a walk. He followed me and before I knew it we were strolling side by side. Connected in a way I hadn't expected.

He had a family. He apparently didn't care, for he followed me where ever I went. It wasn't long, he had me in his grasp. Soft, warm kisses spread across my face. I was swept away.

Time flew by and I had to go home. A final hug and soft kiss would have to hold until next time. Thoughts of Jack, so warm and strong stayed with me all the way home.

I entered the house carefully, afraid that they would see it in my eyes. Or smell his scent on me.

Only a moment passed after I walked in, it was obvious. His anger was controlled but his disappointment was deep and shone in his eyes. I tried to walk around him but he wouldn't let me pass. He flung himself at me and buried his head on my shoulder knocking me to the ground. Taking huge breaths in, there was no denying the betrayal.

The scent seared into his brain he knew one day he would meet the one who had stolen my heart. He walked away, his head hanging low and went to his crate to come to terms with his pain. Malka tried to comfort him, recognizing the scent of puppy on her mother's clothes but Mickey feared his life would never be the same.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Incredible Edible Egg


I wanted to share this with everyone. Both eggs were laid by our chickens. Both are full sized normal laying chickens. Okay, end of disclaimer.
Isn't that egg on the left huge. Holy mackerel you should have seen the size of the egg. We probably should have taken a picture of the egg before we cracked it open next to one of our regular eggs. It was even bigger than a jumbo store bought egg. When I first saw it all I could think about was the poor chicken laid that without an epidural. I expected to see two yolks (an uncommon but not unheard of event).
Moments after this picture was taken it was slid into a sizzling frying pan. Ten minutes later it made it's last journey in a recognizable state.
It was delicious.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Attitude of Gratiude

You are appreciated. I just wanted you to know.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What's Next?

First it started with tobacco. It was slow and insidious. Creeping up on us, you know, for our own good. Starting with warning labels and no smoking sections in restaurants it has now evolved into banning smoking even in the great outdoors.

Helmet laws followed. I was even almost sucked into that one. After all I don't want my taxes paying for someone to be hooked to life support because he didn't wear his helmet. But guess what? Since PA has rescinded its helmet law fatal motorcycle accidents have gone down. Guess they decided to be more careful now that they aren't wearing helmets. It also helped that motorcyclists in PA have been advertising "Watch for Motorcycles" all over the place. Makes you think.

Next it was seat belt laws. You must wear your seat belt for your own protection. We must save you from yourself.

Then laws banning trans fat in restaurants; then in whole cities. What about labeling foods and letting the buying pubic decide? Okay, I get your point. Not everyone wants to think, they want to be led. Well the way I see it, that is great, they'll just do it without thinking and the Mother Nature's rule of survival of the fittest will prevail. Doesn't sound like such a bad idea to me.

Somewhere in there fast food became the evil empire out to destroy us.

Now it's salt. They are trying to get processed food companies to lower the amount of sodium they put in their food. Do they think that will stop people from just adding it back at their table? Are they going to start taxing salt like they do cigarettes. Testing people for sodium content levels in their blood and denying them work because of it. If you don't believe that can happen check out the part of this post that deals with a company trying to do just that to smokers.

Who are these people who are so desperately trying to save us from ourselves? Doctors who can't wait for us to come to them, so they track us down and tell us what to do? When we don't listen to their satisfaction do they get the FDA all hyped up? If that doesn't work they use the media to put pressure on lawmakers to do something about it.

Thomas Jefferson put it quite simply in 1776: "Laws provide against injury from others, but not from ourselves."

At least that's the way it's supposed to be.

Not Goodbye

About two and a half years ago I signed Baseball Boy up for a young boys book club. It was hosted by a new member of our homeschooling community. I'm always a little nervous meeting someone for the first time. Especially in the homeschooling community. Like I've mentioned in the past I'm a little different and often a contradiction of sorts. I may of met her previously but I can't even remember what I had for breakfast so I'm not sure how accurate that information is. I do know that this was the first time I had gone to her home. It was about a 1/2 hour ride to her house but she had three boys and if there is something Baseball Boy could use, it's a little more "Y" chromosome in his life.

We arrived a little early (probably the last time I ever arrived early to her house). She invited us in and was immediately concerned that we would be afraid of her dog. See, she has the same problem I do. People are afraid of my dogs because they are "pit bulls". People are afraid of her dog, Bruto, because he is big, furry and has penetrating bright blue eyes. I assured her that we weren't afraid of dogs and she warned us that sometimes he humps. Not to long after Baseball Boy was his first victim. Fortunately, since we are dog people he knew what to do. He needed a little help though since Bruto weighed more than he did. The Teacher was pretty upset by it and told me how her neighbors are terrified of him since he did the same thing to one of their kids not to long after they had moved there. I offered her some advice on stopping him from doing that. I think she might of taken it since I never really saw him do it again.

That day Baseball Boy and her boys played long and hard. Even The Vet and Scientist were having a great time. The Teacher ran a great book club and the next thing we knew everyone had left. I was helping her clean up (or at least I'd like to think I was, remember I have CRS disease) and the conversation flowed. They had recently moved to the area and she started the book club as a way to meet area families. We had many things in common. Big scary dogs, a love of reading and a good cup of coffee, boys the same age and most importantly a belief that kids learn more from doing and that bubble wrap should only be used for packaging. Our differences were facinating too. She ran 5K races for a warm up, I like a good walk but you won't catch me running anywhere, anytime. She had lived all over the country and I still live within 50 miles of where I was born. I get nervous and quiet in groups of people and she makes conversation easily with anyone.

Over the last couple of years as our friendship grew we both became more dependant on each other for help. See, she doesn't have any family around here and my parents are both gone and The Engineer's Mom lives in another state. So many of the families in our homeschool groups have immediate family to help out at the drop of the hat. We don't have that and on more than one occasasion we filled that role for one another. My daughter's loved to play the role of the daughters she never had. She was always there if I needed to vent and both of our husbands were cut from the same Type A cloth, which as you can imagine, gave us many a topic of conversation.

Not to long after we met I found out that they are a military family and in a few years they would be moving again. Figures, I meet a homeschooler that I really like, and has boys to boot and she's only in this area for a short time. There was a time when I thought about keeping our friendship at a distance. I knew having them eventually move would be difficult for me but especially difficult for the kids. But you know what? It's not often that I find someone I really feel comfortable with. Someone who homeschools, too. Besides if they stay on the east coast we can stop for a visit on our many travels. So hey, in for a penny, in for a pound as they say.

The last couple of years flew by. The list of things we did together is long. Our friendship grew and we came to depend on each other.

It's been worth all the tears I've shed over her leaving. Sure we'll still have the phone and email. They're heading to the west coast for two years, maybe four. That's the reality of military life. Our family will miss them. I'll miss her. I remind myself that they'll be back to the east coast and who knows maybe Baseball Boy and I will get on a plane and head west.

So it's not goodbye but until next time.....

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Malka's Health-update

Yesterday I slid a dish under Malka as she squatted and retrieved a sample of golden liquid. I also got the over the shoulder look of disgust from her to which I have become accustomed.

This morning a call from our vet confirmed our fears. She continues to have a +3 protein reading. Her kidneys are failing. She is still asymptomatic so all news isn't bad but her kidney issue will not resolve itself. She also shows signs of having stones in her bladder so plenty of additional fluids will help the kidneys and dissolve the stone(s). There is no sign of infection or crystals and her PH and specific gravity are normal. All good signs.

There is the option of prescription diet but I gotta tell you after reading the ingredients there is no way. It is loaded with crap protein and fillers. And they have the nerve to charge an arm and a leg for it. I intend to do some research. There has to be some quality low protein foods out there. The vet also recommends adding additional carbs to her diet since it is a way to get her the extra calories her body will need to process protein without adding any additional load to her kidneys.

She still spry and can run Mickey into the ground. She can still do two miles on the bike barely breaking a pant. Squirrels and rabbits still fear for their lives in our yard. She is an American Pit Bull Terrier and true to her breeding she doesn't know the meaning of giving up.

She's not giving up and neither am I. We'll make some changes in her diet. Keep her fluid intake high and continue to make sure she gets plenty of exercise.

Right now she's right where she belongs, curled up on the sofa, sleeping. Oblivious to her condition. It's my job to keep her that way for as long as possible.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Big Book

If you notice under the book I'm reading right now I put, "I'll get back to you on that." That's not totally honest. OA has a lot of literature to help on your journey. I got the one book that they told me is the core of everything. They said that if you only read one thing this should be it. You can't beat that for a recommendation. So I bought the book. It's called "Alcoholics Anonymous". They said that whenever you read the words alcoholic think food addict or compulsive eater but the rest remains the same. The guilt, controlling factors, health repercussions and many others, it doesn't matter, addiction follows the same path no matter what your poison.

So that's what I'm reading. When I'm done reading it, I'll probably read it again, then again. It's that kind of book. It will probably become a part of my life so it won't be listed but it will be there.

This is the fourth addition to the book. It was first printed in 1939. The forwards from each addition is listed in the beginning of this book. The only real changes have been updated stories that reflect the people of that generation.

It's an incredible read and a must for anyone suffering with a life controlling issue. But it's obvious that the book is only a small piece of the puzzle. I have so much more to learn. To do. To get a handle on this beast that controls me. I can't believe I just typed that sentence. Admit that I have no control? Accept that no matter how much I try I can't help myself? Step 1: Admit you have no control. That sentence might just be the first step of my first step.

It's referred to as "The Big Book" by the people of OA. It's a fitting name.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Book Review- Kids and Power Struggles

Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles Winning for a Lifetime by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

Hope you're not expecting something literary. Because you're not going to get it.

I didn't finish the book. Too much on my plate and no time to read. I got about half way through it. I think the problem isn't with the book, it's with me. I'm just not in the mood for educational reading. If I have time to read I want to escape into a story right now. So I'm going to put it down. In the future I'll return and finish it. It wasn't a difficult read, overly wordy or condescending to parents or kids.

What I read had some very interesting ideas for dealing with the melt downs that occur with children. Some of the stuff I read was common sense, like taking a hungry kid into a grocery store is asking for trouble. Well yeah, me going into a grocery store hungry is asking for trouble.

But it did go on to say that when children melt down there is a reason behind it. That meltdowns and the sister to meltdowns, the temper tantrum, are not done by children to make us miserable or because we suck as parents. And to solve the problem of ongoing meltdowns you need to identify the triggers. It gave several examples to help you get to the bottom of the problem.

The last chapter I read talked about older kids and how they start to rebel. It gave an interesting example of how a woman wanted to ride her son's new bike. He got very upset and started yelling at her that he didn't want her riding his bike, that it was his, blah, blah, blah. I think we can all get the picture of the selfish teenager in our head. When the mother spoke to her son about why he didn't want her riding the bike instead of just writing him off as self absorbed teenager she found that he didn't mind her riding the bike but didn't want kids at school seeing her riding his bike. So he's not a selfish brat he just didn't want to get teased by the kids at school. I'm sure when I get back to the book it will go into further detail about this very trying time in the parent/child relationship.

There is a section of the book that talks about the author's workshops with parents who are having struggles with their children. The parents speak about what issues they were having and how some of them got to the bottom of it and how others were still trying to make the connection.

I definitely see the value in this book. If you have on and off again problems along these lines maybe a trip to the library would be in order for this one. If you have kids that seem to be one long line of meltdowns and power struggles this book would definitely be worth the purchase price.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'm off today!

I only get one a year and today is the day. It's take your child to work day. All three kids were up at 5AM and left for work with The Engineer at 6AM. After work they will all go out to dinner together and won't be home until about 7:30 or so.

When they get home they will all collapse with exhaustion and for a period of time will appreciate how hard their father works.

I don't know who came up with the idea of Take Your Child to Work Day (I think it started as take your daughter to work but the politically correct police fixed that) but I'd like to shake their hand. Not just for my day off but because it gives kids a chance to see that parents aren't just hanging out to collect a paycheck.

My husband's employer is terrific when it comes to this day. They have a whole program set up so the kids really get to see how things work there, not just spend the day looking over their Dad's shoulder at something they don't understand. Of course that is built into the day too but when they come home they really have gotten to see how it all works and comes together.

I love Take Your Child to Work Day!

People Suck?

Years of working in emergency services have left me jaded and cynical. Or maybe I'm just not very forgiving. Could be I've been let down one to many times by people who I thought I should be able to depend on. Probably all of the above and some other things I can't think of right now.

I've had to deal with leaches, stupidity and self centered bigoted pigs through the course of my career. Family members who hurt you and friends who were really only interested in what they would get from the friendship. Through my work at the vet's office and my interest in dog rescue I have seen some pretty horrible offenses brought upon man's best friend.

I've learned to peel those people from my daily life. I no longer allow them to affect my day to day living. I think it's one of the reasons why I feel so close with my dogs. They accept me for who I am. They forgive me for my shortcomings. Really forgive, not say they forgive then toss it back at me at a later date. I look at them and their shoddy beginnings and say if they can shake it off and look ahead then so shall I.

I can't avoid these types of people through my day to day job. After all, I'm paid to help them no matter how ridiculously stupid their request or how big of a sponge on the community as a whole they are. It's hard to remember that not all people are like that.

I have a few close friendships that I cherish. I have a few close family members that I know will be there for me and I for them. I've tended to take a pretty negative look at the rest of the world. I try not to but I'm not very successful.

I hear ya, "okay, okay, so what's the point?"

Today I went to my second OA meeting. When I looked around the room I saw people who I would consider to be from all walks. But when they talked they all have the same core issues. And every one of them was courteous, listened and encouraging to those around them. I have no idea what these people are like outside but in that room they all wanted what was best for everyone there and a little help for themselves. During that period of time nobody sucked.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm Rustys Mom

I'm Rusty's Mom and I eat way too much. That was my introduction. Yesterday after some more delay/denial I went back on the Overeaters Anonymous site and found a local meeting. They had a contact person. Before I could think about it I called the number. She invited me to a meeting last night. I came up with many excuses not to go, then made myself go anyway. They talked about being autonomous and the importance of anonymity. Anonymity I get. I sorta get autonomous, I think I need to hear more about that to really understand.

I didn't know what to expect but the only thing that surprised me was the number of people there and the high percentage of normal weight people.

They were very nice and I can see this is gonna be a major commitment. I'm afraid. Afraid of failing, of letting people down, of staying fat.

They gave me a booklet to read and one of the paragraphs talks of taking one day at a time. I think I'll start there.

The woman who did the newcomer introductions (there were two of us) said to find a sponsor as soon as possible. I have a list of names and phone numbers they gave me. I haven't called anyone yet. I will. I can't do it alone. My family doesn't really understand, to them it's all about eat less, move more. It's not that for me. I haven't figured out what it is, but I know it's not that simple.

I can't honestly answer whether it's okay that they don't understand. I'm going to take it one day at a time and find out. Taking it one day at a time sounds easy, that just tells me it's going to be hard.

I carry my weight well. I tell myself that, and others tell me that. When they hear how much I weigh they are surprised. I'm active too, so that's a good cover. But as I've gotten older it's not so easy to carry this weight anymore. And since I've returned to the martial arts it's handicap is even more obvious.

Just for today I'm going to accept that I can't do this on my own.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It started with a blood test.

Ten years ago or so I filled out paperwork to become a bone marrow donor and gave a sample of blood. Someone I knew, knew someone who needed a transplant and no one on the current list was a match so they were going around getting people to sign up in the hopes of finding a match. If I remember correctly no match was ever found and the person passed away.

About six months or so ago I was cleaning out my wallet and found my card for the National Bone Marrow Donor program. I figured I better give them a call and change my information since I had moved.

As fate would have it about an hour ago the phone rang and The Vet answered and said hey Mom the Red Cross wants to talk to you. Since I'm a regular blood donor I figured they were looking to see if I could schedule a donation.

It was Jay from the National Bone Marrow Registry. He was very happy to find me. He said that a 62 year old man was a preliminary match. He has a rare fancy form of leukemia (he didn't really say exactly that, I just can't remember the exact name). He wanted to know if I was still willing to be a donor if additional testing proved I was a match. He explained the two possible procedures to me. I said, of course.

He then went on the ask me all the usual questions. If you've ever given blood you know what they are. Have you ever taken illegal drugs by needle? Have you visited or lived in Africa since 1977? Have you ever had sex with a man who has had sex with a man since 1977? Have you ever had sex with anyone who has ever done any of the above? There were 20 questions, I don't remember most of them but they all related to illegal drug use, travel and sex. I'm boring, I said no to all of them. I haven't even gotten a tattoo. My boring life is good news for some 62 year old man somewhere.

Next Monday I'm scheduled for another blood test to see if we match at the next level. I'm a little nervous about donating marrow. But I figure it would be a small price to pay to give someone a gift of life.

Say a few prayers, keep your fingers crossed or what ever, that I am a match and am eligible to donate.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Randomness

We had a few weeks of beautiful warm spring weather. The other day a thunderstorm rolled through and dropped the temperature and it's been chilly ever since. I want my warm days back. I want to open my windows again and put my jacket back in the closet. Yes, I'd like some cheese with my whine.

Houdini escaped again! The little brat slipped under the fence in an area we are repairing after all the lawn damage from pool installation. Fortunately The Engineer was in the yard working and saw her visiting the neighbor across the street. I'm getting a complex.

Nibbles is old. Most guinea pigs owned by kids live to be about two. People who are really into cavies report they live from five to seven years. Nibbles is six. He lived the first year and a half of his life being ignored by a kid who wanted him then didn't. The kids parents took care of him until they got tired of it and then he came to live with us. When we got him he had an eye and sinus infection. He had cedar litter in his cage his whole life. Cedar litter is very bad for guinea pigs. We treated the infection but his eye and nose often have a discharge that are left over from the long term infection. If you have a guinea pig, please don't use cedar litter. Anyway, he's been losing weight and slowing down for a few months now. The vet thinks it's kidney failure. A change in diet slowed it down but there is no turning back once the kidneys start to go. The last few days he just hasn't been himself. His eye and nose are worse than ever and he is hardly eating. I got him kale, which is his favorite veggie, and he hardly touched it. So tonight it's back to the vet. She thinks he's coming to the end. She gave me some medicine to help his appetite and make him comfortable. It's just a matter of time. Say a little prayer for the Nibinator.

The son of a blogger I've read for a few years died last week. I've never met her but she's pretty open on her blog about herself and her family. I can't imagine out living one of my children. I feel weird because I don't know them at all yet I can't stop thinking about them and feeling bad for them. I'm not cold hearted but lets face it I've dealt with my share of death over the years and it doesn't usually weigh on me.

We added three chickens to our family today. The Scientist is doing a study for 4H and needed three chickens of the same breed and age in the prime of their laying years. Of course, it figures, our chickens don't fit that bill so we had to buy three chickens. Who knew it would be so difficult to find someone willing to sell three chickens of the same age and breed. Man, it took her over a month and countless phone calls by The Scientist to finally find them. In fact, it was her mentor at 4H who asked a favor of a friend to help her out. So right now three chickens are living in cages in my garage. After a few days they should be settled in enough to start her study. I'm sure you'll be hearing more about this in the future. Three chickens living in your garage has got to provide some good future blog fodder.

I got my fourth stripe in karate last week. That means that in the next few weeks I'll be taking my belt test. Finally.

I'm still sore from the seminar last weekend. I'm getting old.

Two of our chickens chased Mickey across the yard again today. They do not appreciate when he plays chicken bowling (picture a group of eight chickens standing around pecking the ground and doing what ever it is chickens do and Mickey runs through them and makes them all run off squawking). He got away unscathed this time, he wasn't so lucky last time.

The Scientist said to me today. "You're a pretty good mom. We're good kids and we're happy, I guess that means you're doing a good job raising us." I wanted to put that in writing so the next time she has a melt down and slams her bedroom door screaming she hates me I can refer back to it.

I met this guy who lost over a hundred pounds. Being overweight myself and nosy I asked him how he did it. He said he joined Overeaters Anonymous. So after putting it off for a couple of weeks I checked out their website. They had this little test. Answer these ten questions to see if you're addicted to food. I answered 7 out of 10 yes. So I figured, see I only agreed with seven out of ten, that's not too bad. Then I read the results part. It said, "If you answer yes to three or more you have a problem with food addiction." Damn....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Why do I do this to myself?

What you ask? Let see there are so many things that I seem to do over and over. Procrastinate, over schedule myself, volunteer myself to help someone (when I can barely keep up with my own obligations), digress, open mouth insert foot, not checking the calender and give up sleep in an effort to do it all, just to name a few.

Any and all of these things contribute to the over whelming stress I feel sometimes. So what sent me over the edge this time?

We had a karate seminar this weekend. Friday night and all day Saturday. We had been looking forward to it for months. Does it ever fail that several other things were going on this weekend that we wanted to do. We had to turn them down. We were bummed but there was no way we weren't going to this seminar.

Late last week Baseball Boys' religious school teacher sends out an email saying they will be studying Shavuot this Sunday and they will have a little party to go along with it and could every one send in something. Fruit, vegi's, milk, paper plates, the list was pretty typical. Also on the list was a cake shaped like the Ten Commandment Tablets or a Torah. Shavuot celebrates Moses bringing of the Ten Commandments down from Mt. Sinai. So I have this crazy busy weekend with the seminar. It starts Friday from 5PM to 11PM and resumes on Saturday from 9AM to 5PM. Some pretty great stuff was covered. It was mentally and physically exhausting. So you would think that since I had so much going on I would pick something like the paper plates or milk to bring in. Stuff I usually have around the house so I wouldn't even have to make an extra stop somewhere to get it. Oh and I forgot to mention I still have to work Saturday night. I'm going in a few hours late but it's an all-nighter. In case you haven't figured it out yet I said I'd bring the cake. Why would I do that? I don't have time to bake a cake and make it look like the Ten Commandment Tablets or the Torah. I usually cook/bake from scratch. It's healthier, cheaper and it tastes better, a great combination. So anyway, come Thursday night I panic when I realize I have to make this cake for 8 AM Sunday morning.

So Friday we spend the whole day at a science program at a local library (it wasn't worth the time or money, it sucked). On the way home I stop at a local grocery store to pick up cake mix and fake frosting. I just can't deal with anything more than that. Guess what? I left my purse at home and have no way to pay for it. So I just went home dejected and frustrated with myself.

We get home and get ready for the seminar. Afterward, everyone is invited by our karate instructors to a local Italian Restaurant for a spaghetti dinner. By the time we get home it's almost midnight and we are beat. Up early on Saturday and back to the karate studio. I have one hour after I drop off The Engineer and the kids to get my hiney to a grocery store and redo my trip from the day before only this time with money.

We're at the studio all day. As soon as it's over I rush home. Instead of taking an hour nap and a shower before I go to work like a sensible person would do, I bake two 13"x9" cakes, one chocolate and one butter cake. I wash my face, brush my teeth, brush my hair and pull it up into a pony tail, swallow three ibuprofen, throw my uniform on and I'm out the door.
'
While driving to work I pray to the EMS gods for a peaceful night. My prayers are answered and my partner makes sure I am up and functioning when we log off at 6AM. On the way home I stop and get some chocolate liquorice and a bag of M&M's for back up in case I can't get the liquorice to form Hebrew letters.

I'm feeling good. I have one hour to frost and decorate this cake. I take my two cakes and set them next to each other and cut the tops to give each one an arch. I frost away and use the liquorice to outline the two tablets. I slice the liquorice in half lengthwise (they were pretty thick pieces) and cut them up to make the first six letters of the Hebrew alef-bet. We laid out the sections to form the letters. It was fun even if The Engineer was standing next to me the whole time watching the clock.

I ran over my time limit by 10 minutes, of course. Maybe one day I'll finish something on time. Today is not that day. Off they go to religious school. I sit down on the sofa and immediately fall asleep.

Baseball Boy comes home with an empty cake plate and a dirty knife. The cake was a hit. The kids loved the letters and apparently the cake itself passed muster too. There was only a small piece left and one of the kids took it home.

So at least it was a success. Wonder what I'll do to myself next?

Friday, April 16, 2010

One step closer....

The concrete guy finished the work around the pool today. All the fill dirt has been spread around and rough graded and as soon as we get a stretch of dry weather top soil will follow. We have an order in for sod to go directly around the pool and we'll seed the rest.

May 1st is the big day. The day The Engineer has waited for 21 years to come. The pool installers will be returning to clean it up and fire up the works.

The water will be cold but that's not going to stop him or the kids from jumping in. I'll be watching from the sidelines. I love to swim but I'll give it a little more time to warm up, thank you.

For me the final step will be teaching a couple of blocks of muscle how to swim. I don't care if they go in the pool or not but Mickey and Malka are going to need to know how to swim and climb out if they fall in.

I'm not worried about the kids they are all good swimmers but the dogs, now that keeps me up at night. If they don't catch on quick I'll have to invest in life jackets for them until they get the hang of it.

When I was a kid my cousin had a big in ground pool with a diving board. They taught their dog how to jump off the board and catch balls mid-air. Malka isn't going to go for that, she's above that type of silliness. But oh Mickey boy....that is right up that crazy boys alley.

I can't wait.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Malka's Secret

Last night she didn't come when I called her. She added a few more gray hairs to my head and gave my cardiovascular system a workout. It's so not like her I knew there had to be a reason. She can tell me all the stories she wants but I know she can hear me calling her down there, especially at night when sound really carries. She ignored me until hit with the light. She knew she was busted and started running my way like it was the first time she heard me call. Yea right, do you think I fell off the turnip truck yesterday, my dear?

This afternoon I took a stroll down the the edge of the property to see if I could find what had her so fascinated that she didn't come when I called her the first time. I was mostly concerned that the fence had been damaged in some way or she was digging. Or maybe someone threw something into the yard that caught her interest. All of our immediate neighbors like the dogs and comment about how nice and well behaved they are. But you know as well as I do that all it takes is one nasty horrible person to throw something over the fence to hurt them "because they are pit bulls."

So I wasn't really sure what I was looking for as I walked the fence line. From what I could see everything looked okay. The fence was intact and there were no obvious holes. But as I got to the bottom I could see it. The object that my dear Malka had rejected me for just the night before.

Apparently not all the bunnies got the message that this was not a hare friendly yard. Or maybe this one felt a feast of chicken feed the kids had dropped in the yard was worth the risk. Either way it didn't end well for this cottontail. I just hope it was quick for the poor guy. Even the squirrels are not safe. Malka will climb trees to try to get them. It seems though that the squirrels have a better communication system because they have vacated the yard completely.

Rusty used to chase squirrels and quite a few bunnies lost their life on his watch. Field mice and moles were his favorite and I don't mean that in a good way for them. But we had an invisible fence when we had Rusty. So many of these animals could escape because they could cross the line but he had to stop.

No such luck for trespassers in this yard. They run smack into a fence. There are a few small places where they can get in and out but not many. So between that and Malka and Mickey's incredible speed this is just a bad, bad place for rodents to roam.

I hope for their sake the message finally gets around.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My heart can't take much more of this......

First some fucking idiot obviously visually impaired person pulls out in front of a large fully loaded dump truck.

Then my children melt down in a screaming ball of flames.

And the final blow to my already suffering cardiac system comes from my always dependable girl Malka. I put them out while I do a final check of my email. Mickey goes and does his usual race around the yard to make sure no squirrels and/or bunnies have invaded while he was inside, does his business and comes back in. Malka also does her nightly patrol but she likes to stay out a little longer so she normally doesn't come back right away. So I'm in here goofing off on the computer and Mickey is curled up on the sofa, snoring. All of a sudden I realize that it's been a while and no Malka. I wasn't to concerned, she doesn't always bark to come back in, sometimes she'll just sit on the porch and wait for you to realize she's still outside. So I check the back door, no Malka. I call her and she doesn't come. No biggie she's probably by the front door and she can't hear me. So I head to the front door, flip on the light, but no Malka. Heart rate increases slightly. I call her and there is no response. She always comes, heart rate increases. I go get shoes on and find a flashlight (miracle of all miracles the batteries actually work). I'm really nervous now because I half expected to find her standing at the front door when I return. I'm hoping the brat took her time strolling back after I called her. I open the door and am crestfallen at the empty front porch. I call her again, no response. The last time this happened she was across the road at the neighboring farmhouse. So I walk out in to the yard and pan the light around. I see two shiny eyes way down at the very bottom edge of our property. I call to the shiny eyes and they start running my way. You never, ever get mad at a dog that you have called to come. You can't even pretend to be happy and be mad because they can read you like an open book. So I do my best "so nice of you to come sweetie" impression, when really I wanted to grab her and yell at her not to scare me like that. She's curled up next to me now, snoring, oblivious to the years she shaved off my life.

I can't take this kinda stress anymore.

Monday, April 12, 2010

You're the Worst Mom Ever!

SLAM

That would be from The Scientist. Ah, the preteen hormonal period of a child’s life.

The Vet was mad because they are not going out to play until they locate three overdue library books. Her response to me calling her over to tell her the names of the books was "What!" For her nasty response she was slapped on the arm. I can not remember the last time I slapped one of the kids. I don't really believe hitting or slapping solves anything. But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Lately someone has taken my three usually well mannered kids and replaced them with three mouthy, rude, name calling whippersnappers.

Today the final straw occurred with the nasty "what." I slapped her bare arm without even thinking. I believe all the so called child specialists will tell you that if you do decide to use physical punishment you shouldn't use it in anger. Oh well, I've always been a rule bender anyway.

I also think since "child specialists" have started spouting their rhetoric more kids are screwed up than ever. But, that's going to have to be another post.

That slap created a tirade by The Scientist screaming that hitting your kids is illegal and she's going to call the cops. I told her to get me the phone and I'd save her the trouble. By her passionate response you would have thought that I had hit her or beaten her on numerous occasions. I believe the only time I have ever laid a hand her was when I pulled her arm to teach her how much it hurt the dog to have his tail repeatedly pulled by her when she was a toddler. Everything else we tried to get her to stop had failed and quite frankly the dog was getting pretty fed up with it and I was afraid he would take matters into his own paws or worse yet teeth. After that she no longer pulled the dogs tail.

The other two jumped on The Scientist’s band wagon and before I know it all three kids are screaming at me and then at each other. This is going down hill fast. There is no way I'm going to be able to talk rationally with these three so I send them off to their rooms to calm down. That's where the post title comes in. I will not speak to them or get sucked into their arguments if they can not speak rationally and respectfully.

After about 10 minutes The Vet comes out and apologized for speaking to me so disrespectfully. Not long after Baseball Boy joins her. The Scientist is the last to come out, but she is more concerned that I will cancel our trip on Wednesday to a local science museum. Hey, whatever, at least the screaming is over.

So we talk about what happened. They get down to looking for the books, which started this whole thing, and within ten minutes all three missing books are sitting on the coffee table and everyone is off to play.

I think I'm the only one who realizes how much easier it would have been for them to just look for the books in the first place.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Yom Hashoah

Today is Holocaust Rememberance Day. This date was chosen because it coinsides with the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. Tonight we will be at a local JCC (Jewish Community Center) commemorating this day. It is the first year we will be taking our kids. They know about the Holocaust and have studied age appropriate material on the subject. It scares them. Heck, it scares me. For the first time tonight I will meet Holocaust survivors. I want them to meet my children, to know that their struggle was not in vain. That the next generation carries on the traditions and they will learn about what happened and make sure that they teach it to their children. This young generation will be the last to meet these people. It is up to them to make sure that the horrors of this time are never forgotten. And even more important to understand it so it never is allowed to happen again.

Never again will Jews be marched from their homes without a fight. Never again will we quietly and blindly follow what were obviously lies that lead to the death of so many. Jews will never again give in with hopes of pacifying the oppressor.

Never again.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tweet

I just yelled at all three kids to stay in bed. Would you look at the time!

I almost had a heart attack and I wasn't even involved!

This afternoon we're driving home from one of our adventures and I'm waiting to make a left turn across a four lane highway. There is a left hand turn arrow so I'm actually waiting for it to turn green. I was going northbound and they have a green light and they are moving right along. 50-55 miles an hour easily. Cross traffic can make a right on red legally but doing it during the day when there is a lot of traffic is ill advised.

So I'm in the zone waiting for my light to turn and I hear the blast of an air horn. Right as I look over a fully loaded dump truck has locked up his brakes and is started to slide sideways and tip to the side. The reason for this is a small four door car made a turn on red and pulled out right in front of the truck. There is a car to the left of the dump truck and he is trying to move over to give the sliding truck room. There really isn't much room to move because of a concrete barrier that divides the highway. It was an incredible sight. My heart rate doubled and I was far enough away even if the truck flipped I was safe.

Smoke from the brakes and tires is billowing from underneath the truck. This is gonna be bad. The truck is tipping to the right while sliding left into the innocent car. The car that pulled out has no where to go and somehow this truck driver is threading his huge truck between these two cars. It will be a miracle if one or both of these little cars doesn't wind up crushed beneath this truck. Either way it's going to be very bad if either one of them even makes contact.

That fast it was over. The offending car quickly pulled into the first driveway it could after nearly causing the catastrophe. The truck driver some how kept control of the truck and straightened it out. The car on the left managed to get by before it was crushed against the concrete divider. The truck pulled right over onto the shoulder of the road and stopped. As the smoke cleared I could see he had put on his hazard lights. Just as my light turned green he had started to pull back out onto the road.

I wanted to go see if he was alright but he had already pulled away. I wasn't involved and I'm still having chest pains over the whole thing. I was witness to a combination of incredible driving, some good luck and what can only be described as a gift from above. Because there is no reason in the world why everyone should have been able to drive away from that intact.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

In the News

So many things are going on right now.

A local town had been having problems with people not controlling their dogs. The town council tried to get a state representative to introduce a bill allowing them to pass local laws regarding specific breeds. Right now it is illegal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to do that. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed. Many people worked hard to make sure that real facts were studied and not just feel good information passing as facts. After all his investigating the representative found that local laws on the books, when enforced, would take care of the problems they were having. Bummer for a local councilwoman from that town who will now have to walk her two wiener dogs on a leash. Much to the pleasure of some locals who had been charged by those wieners in the past.

Also, in our area. A large local hospital network has announced that it will no longer hire people who smoke. Current employees will be grandfathered. They will be testing for nicotine along with illegal drugs. I don't smoke, just so you know. What's next? Sorry you're BMI is too high you can't do this or that. You dye your hair, no job for you. Cigarettes are not illegal. They are a personal choice. Should the hospital be allowed to ban smoking on their grounds? Sure it's their property. Last time I checked we still have a constitution that allows us personal rights. One of those rights is to slowly kill yourself with tobacco, alcohol, or food. It's your choice as long as you don't take anyone with you.

After the bombing in two of Russia's train stations recently Russia said it's not gonna take any crap from Islamic extremists. When Russia says it's not going to take any crap from someone or a group, you don't want to be a part of that group or even appear to be part of that group. During WWII Germans were terrified of being sent to the Russian front. Russia couldn't be bothered taking care of prisoners. So all prisoners we questioned and killed. Kept down on their prison camp overhead.

Some people are still complaining about Vice President Biden dropping the F-bomb during what he thought was a private moment with the President. Give me a break people. It wasn't directed towards you. It was said in a private conversation. Are we trying to control private conversations now too? If you don't like it don't listen to it. It wasn't intended for your ears anyway. The media should have just ignored it. They couldn't resist the possible rating coup over their latest media fueled so called scandal. What a waste of electrons, trees and ink over that whole dog pile.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Passion vs. Competition

I read this post today on The Pioneer Woman. Go read it or you will have no idea what the heck I'm talking about. It's titled "Giovanni".

Thanks for coming back. It's easy to get sucked into her blog and never come out again.

Passion is a very strong feeling or a great love or enthusiasm, but you knew that already.
Competition is all about winning or being the best, but you knew that too.

Giovanni is passionate about soccer. His passion has an entire town excited about the sport. I'm sure he's competitive, passionate people usually are to a certain degree. But their competition is usually with themselves, to be the best they can be at what they love.

I believe that passion inspires people. Competition causes animosity, someone has to win, ergo, someone has to lose. In this day and age people rarely learn from losing. They get angry or they make excuses as to why they lost.

When someone is passionate about something it's about sharing it with others, not winning or losing.

You'll notice that Giovanni yells while coaching. But amazingly it inspires the girls to play harder. It doesn't upset them or make them feel bad. It's all about the passion. If he was just worried about winning or losing it their reactions would be different. Kids all over town wouldn't be signing up to play soccer. They wouldn't be focused on what he's saying or giving it their all.

Often I have people tell me you have to be competitive to get any where in this society today. I disagree. For one thing, I'm not competitive and I'm quite happy where I'm at in my life. But even more, competition is all about beating the next person to where you want to be. I don't think you need to do that to be successful. You need to be passionate about what you are doing. How many of you are passionate about anything in your life? If you're passionate you get where you want to go without having to drag others down to do it. And the rewards are so much sweeter. It brings you joy and it isn't a burden.

This doesn't just apply to individuals, it applies to society as a whole. Americans slid from being passionate to competitive. By crossing that line it has changed from the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few to every man for himself.

There have been flashes of passion showing up here and there recently and I'm hoping that other people are infected and start to inspire others.

When you find what you are passionate about you're life becomes full. Passion gives you purpose. So I want my kids to find something that they are passionate about. When they do their life will open up in front of them.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Not a decent photo to be found....

Taking pictures of the kids and dogs is something I have always loved doing. Since we invested in a nice digital camera it's even better. No one would ever mistake me for being a photographer but at least I could get my subjects in the photo most of the time. Even if more than a few times there were trees growing out of their heads. As a photographer friend pointed out to me on more than on occasion.

It's a bummer to have a dog that is terrified of the camera but I still manage to sneak a few photos of her when she's not paying attention. I'd love to get some close ups but all pictures of her have to be stealth so that's not an option. When I'm done explaining you'll know why a telephoto lens isn't an option for me.

When the kids were younger it was a pain in the butt to get a picture with all three of them looking sensible. Someone was always making a face or poking someone or just not interested in getting their picture taken. I have one picture of our entire family that looks great but I had to put The Vet in her spot and give her the Evil Mommy Eye to get her to stay just the few moments till the picture could be snapped. It's the last family picture I have that is decent.

You would think as they got older and more accustomed to following directions it would become easier. Well, as anyone with kids knows solving one set of issues just opens up and makes room for newer, more involved issues to emerge.

So I think I've finally hit the golden age of photography. They are old enough to follow directions but not too old to think they look "too terrible" for the pictures to be taken.

But as usual there is a kink in the plan. And it's all about me. I have essential tremors. Essential tremors are due to abnormal communication between certain areas of the brain, including the cerebellum, thalamus and brain stem. There are three types, one is hereditary (the most common), one is neurological issue and one is related to Parkinson's. I have the hereditary type. My father had it and I drew the short straw in our family and now it's mine. I've been symptomatic since I was a kid. Some people don't show symptoms until their older, not me, short straw again.

For years I have been able to control the tremors. They are really only obvious when I'm overtired, very hungry or under a lot of stress. I also got a little bonus with my right hand which jerks every now and then. It's a little embarrassing when it happens especially if I'm holding a drink. Sometimes if I'm holding something it drops out of my hand, it's annoying but it rarely interferes with my day to day life. The Engineer finally got used to me dropping silverware unexpectedly. It used to make him jump, now he barely notices.

It can affect your hands/arms, your legs and your head and voice. Until recently I only had tremors in my hands/arms. Recently my legs have been giving me problems. If I am sitting for a long period they start to ache. Probably because they are forced to stay still when I'm sitting and the muscles get tired (they still move even if the legs are forced to remain still). I'm lucky that so far my head and voice do not seem to be affected. If I am tired it is hard for me to write. And I only use coffee mugs and heavy glasses to drink from. I can't hold a paper cup or light weight cup still anymore. Today I was at a friends house and was drinking a cup of tea from a mug. I had my spoon in it. The spoon kept clinking against the side of the cup. I guess my hands were shaking even though I couldn't really see it.

One of the biggest problems that has recently started is my inability to hold the camera still enough to take a clear picture. Our camera even has image stabilization and I no longer can take a clear picture on some days. Telephoto lens? Forget it, I haven't been able to keep still enough to take a clear picture with one of those for years.

Over the years I've developed coping mechanisms to help control the tremors and lead a pretty normal life. Most people don't even know I have them unless they are around me when my blood sugar drops or I am very tired. Sometimes I forget about them, because these habits have become so second nature.

So now I see my handwriting getting worse. I used to be able to write a decent amount before my writing deteriorated. Now after a few sentences it's starts to show. I've switched almost completely over to printing since I can last longer that way. Fortunately typing is still pretty easy for me, as long as I'm not over tired.

I'm going to be looking for a lightweight, portable easy to use tripod for my camera. It isn't the perfect solution but it's better than nothing. I may never get another picture of Malka again. If the evil black box grows legs she is not going to hang around to find out what happens next.

So far it looks like The Scientist may have drawn the short straw. There is a 50/50 chance of it showing up in the other two but so far I don't see any signs.

I guess it's time to start researching ways to control them beyond what I've been doing all these years.

Monday, April 5, 2010

What is the attraction?

I don't get it. Why is everyone hooked on facebook? People I work with call it facecrack. Can someone please explain what's so exciting? I'd say it's for people with no life but Just Me has a life, a busy one, so help me please?

Twitter. I'm just not getting that either. It's probably because nobody really cares what I'm doing moment to moment. I'm not even that interested in it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Rabbi Returns

A letter from the synagogue came in the mail the other day. It was from our Rabbi. It's the first communication directly from him since the brouhaha began.

He's returning on March 31st. In his letter he stated he will be holding a special Shabbat Service of Healing on April 16th. He also is offering a sincere apology to those he hurt or offended and hopes that he can be forgiven. He also hopes those people will come to that service so that we can start to heal our congregation as a whole.

I can tell you this is a synagogue with a congregation split. It's not down the middle but there is a strong division between the two sides. There will always be those who can not forgive. I am hoping that those remain the minority during this time of healing. It's easy for me to say since I don't even know what offenses have occured but I feel that since the Board of Trustees have decided he should stay and he wants to stay that every effort should be made to make repairs.

The Engineer and I intend to meet with the Rabbi and get to know him personally. Since this all began not to long after we joined we never got the opportunity to really form our own opinion of him. We've worked hard at staying out of the politics of it all. Now we wish to get to know him and make our own decisions. We intend to support him as he tries to find a common ground so this wound can heal. Injuries like this will leave a scar but we hope that it doesn't result in a disability.

We've made a few friends there and have started to feel comfortable. We intend to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Fortunately, we are not alone.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Open Mouth Insert Foot....

You know I never know when to shut up. Along with the malfunctioning filter that runs between my brain and my mouth, I often get myself in trouble. Okay, trouble might be too strong of a word, but I can definitely annoy some people.

Two things today showed that there have been no improvements for me in these areas. First, today was our monthly Afternoon with the Arts. It's a home school thing we do where the kids get to each show off something they did or can do. Like artwork, poetry and playing a musical instrument. They have to do it in front of an audience. Then afterward we have high tea for the kids, with finger food, and do a quick etiquette lesson. You know the whole shebang, cloth napkins, real china tea cups, place cards and practicing making small talk. Okay, I know, I know, I digressed. Eventually you'll get used to it. So anyway, who shows up today but the Girl Scout Leader who I previously had issue with. She has been avoiding me since our little to-do. I walk in the door and she's standing right there. She looks like a deer trapped in a snare, she wants to run but can't without being a total ass. So instead of saying a quick hi and letting her escape I make small talk. Forcing her to stay and talk to me for a few moments. It is probably the worst 3 minutes of her day and I thoroughly enjoyed it. After I let her go she was very careful to avoid me the rest of the afternoon. I knew I accomplished what I set out to do. Oh, the small things that bring me joy.

The other thing didn't bring me joy, in fact it bummed me out. I'm not sure what to do with this one. While on the road today we called IT Guy to wish him a happy birthday. After the traditional singing of Happy Birthday on speaker phone by the kids I take the phone. During the conversation I apologize for backing out of having him and his family over for our Passover Seder that I canceled due to an unexpected marathon shift at work. He said no problem and then tells me he doesn't even think we need to invite him over for it since they don't understand or contribute to the seder and they are not raising their kids Jewish. I let him know that he's stuck doing these things since he's the only local family I have. We have cousins out of state who sometimes make it but they can't always. Besides the whole reason for the seder is to tell the story and to learn. Every time I go to or have a seder I learn something new. So he agrees and sees my point. But could I stop there, no I couldn't. I had to open my mouth and continue on. I said I wanted them to be familiar with our traditions, especially his kids so they would understand their cousins religion. Especially since we are practicing Jews. It's hard enough when strangers have no clue about your religion or traditions but to have family members in the same boat is somehow worse. I could hear it in his voice. His discomfort level went up a couple of notches. Even though I have assured him numerous times that how he raises his kids is their decision and not a concern of mine I still get the feeling that he is not comfortable even talking about their choices. I know it's a sensitive issue for him so why don't I quit while I'm ahead. I don't know, maybe it's leftover Jewish Mother Guilt or something but I wish I could get it through his head that I just want them to join us and be a part of it because it's important to my family and we want them to share it with us and nothing more.

Two sides of the same coin. Will I ever learn to control it?