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"

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Better Late than Never

Today we celebrated Hanukkah. Yep, I know Hanukkah was last month but last month we were all sick. Swine flu sick, high fevers, coughing, a little vomit, and some bronchitis as icing on the cake.

We like to have family and friends over one night during Hanukkah and it just wasn't happening last month. We were all pretty disappointed, we look forward to getting together. So I got this idea that we could just wait till everyone is healthy and just do it then. So finally everyone is feeling good. I called my brother and we align the calenders. As usual our schedules are a jumbled nightmare. The Engineer and my brother work Monday through Friday. My sister in law and I work weekends. Getting a day when we are all off together doesn't happen often so when we checked and realized that the only day for the next three weeks was 5 days away we just went for it. As you may remember from this post I haven't really kept up with the housework. So needless to say having 5 days to get everything ready was going to be a challenge. I knew The Engineer was going to be in a panic over it too. So I did what any self respecting wife would do. I didn't tell him until 2 days before.

After that therapeutic post I did feel better and was able to get a little more focus. So the house did get some attention and was it wasn't as bad. There still was plenty of work to do. The Engineer in his typical fashion (and I'm not complaining) got to work. I went around putting miscellaneous things away while he tackled mountains of laundry, dusting, vacuuming and the bathrooms. He even helped the kids get their rooms to a point that it was safe to enter.

So yesterday was spent cooking and cleaning. Well, until I went to work. But this morning when I got home from work everything looked wonderful. The Engineer had worked his magic.

We had to be at the synagogue this morning and didn't get home until 1PM, everyone is coming at 3PM. Yikes!

I baked a pie (pecan, every ones favorite) and slapped together a chocolate cake. The Vet had given me a cake pan in the shape of a menorah for Hanukkah, the cake turned out really cool.

So everyone shows up and as usual I totally blow my time I'd like to have dinner. I wanted to eat by 4PM but as usual I totally misjudge how long it takes to make latkes. So friends and family chip in and we get it done. As usual Just Me saves my hiney helping me cook and get everything together. She even helped my daughter make the icing for the cake and then frosted it. It was one of my favorite holiday dinners, brisket, latkes, steamed broccoli, asparagus and a nice big salad, thank you Doc (that's my sister in law).

It was a wonderful night, you can't beat it, family, friends, food, good conversation and lots of kids having a great time. And since I finally have a kitchen that is big enough to support cooking and conversation I didn't miss a thing.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Early homeschooling conversation

The Scientist has her head buried in an encylopedia......

Me: Will you put that encylopedia down and do your schoolwork!!!!

My homeschooling friends laughed because it's such a common attitude for new homeschoolers. My public school friends made comments like: Well just because she's homeschooled doesn't mean she can do whatever she wants.

The longer I homeschool the more I realize how little it is about "school" and how much it is about learning.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Reluctant Girl Scout

Not a Girl Scout, in fact, not even a girl. With two sisters out of commision, in the hottest cookie selling time and having your Mom as cookie mom, Baseball Boy has had to step out of his comfort zone to help out.

Loading cases of cookies in and out of the van. Running back and forth between the van and houses to deliver cookies that The Scientist has sold. Giving The Vet the information and money so she can track it from the comfort from her seat in the van. Walking up and down the road in front of our house to flag down potential customers who might want to stop and purchase cookies at the end of our driveway from his awaiting sisters.

Helping me separate the cases out to fill each of the orders for the girls in the troop. Once again loading them in the van. Writing the girls names on the cases so we know who gets what.

I'd just like to thank Baseball Boy for all his hard work. His sisters have already thanked him numerous times but I just wanted to say it too. There should be a badge that could be given to the hardest working non girl scout that helps to get those cookies sold. If there was I'd definetly say he has earned it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Stitches- outta there

This morning I took The Vet's stitches out of her knee. Yep, you read that right, I took them out. She doesn't want anyone but me taking them out. I took them out the last time she needed stitches too. It looks like it healed nice and clean. She still has a sore spot on the side of her knee that I don't like. I'm going to give it a week, if it's not feeling fine by then she's going to the doctor, whether she likes it or not.

Don't worry about what the doctor will think when he finds out I took the stitches out. He's used to me.

It's a Tough Life

I've had people tell me they want to come back in their next life as one of our dogs. I don't know, they seem to have a pretty tough life.......

Look at this, barely a moments peace.....

Always having to wait patiently for attention........

Yep, seems like a pretty tough life to me.....

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Busted :-(

So last night I'm on my way to work. I'm not running late for a change but I'm cruising down the expressway anyway. Okay, really cruising, like easily 80 mph cruising. I confess, I am a closet speed demon. I love to drive fast. I'm comfortable at 80 mph, doesn't even feel like I'm going that fast.

When I have the kids or the fur kids in the car I drive at the speed limit. If I creep up above it Baseball Boy feels free to inform me of the violation.

So I'm rounding a curve and there it is, cleverly hidden, a State Police cruiser and I'm staring down the barrel of a radar gun. I glance down at the speedometer but it's just habit, I know I'm well over the limit. Reflex causes me to hit the brakes but really what's the point, I'm past the point of no return. I watch in my rear view mirror as I round another curve and I see the car start to pull out, damn.

I slow down to 70 mph, can't be a hypocrite and actually go to the speed limit can I? I see him off in the distance he's behind a bunch of traffic. He flips his lights on and they scatter like mice. There's no one between the pack and me. I move over to the right lane in anticipation, he comes up behind me and flashes his lights a few times. I pull right over.

My habit has gotten me pulled over a few times in my life. It's been a while though, so long in fact this is the first time since I've added new magnets to the back of my van. Magnets like "I Love My Pit Bull", "Ask Me About Pit Bulls" and my favorite, "When it comes to Pit Bulls the Beast is often at the other end of the leash". Maybe my magnets are making him nervous because it's sure taking him a long time to get out of his car. I see him back there on the radio, I'm sure his dispatcher has a full description of my vehicle and is checking my information for any sort of nefarious deed. He finally gets out of his car and walks very cautiously to the back and looks in then I see him release his gun from the holster and his hand is firmly attached to the grip. I can see his face clearly and he is uptight, jeez am I wanted for something I don't know about. But I'm saddened and slightly amused to know that it's probably because of my magnets that he is so cautious. Hey, I'd rather have cops safe than sorry so I'm not offended in any way. So he finally works his way up to just before my window, he leans forward and glances in the van. I smile and hit the button to roll down my window, I'm careful to put my hands back on the steering wheel. As soon as the window is down I say, "Don't worry about the pit bulls, they're just my pets and they're home, probably sleeping on the couch." His face visibly relaxes. I'm not sure if it's because there are no dogs in the car or because he's face to face with a pudgy, middle aged, suburban house wife. I offer him my license, registration and insurance card and tell him I know I was speeding. He asks me where I'm going. I tell him work and he tells me to have a nice night and be careful. I tell him the same and he walks back to his car. I drive away and before I know it I'm back up to 80 mph. I should be ashamed of myself, but I'm not.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Random Musings....ADHD cont....

This is in response to the comment that Just Me left to my last post.

I don't take vitamins anymore but you know what maybe I should. I didn't even think that this could be left over from being sick. I'm almost positive we've all had swine flu. I'm not going to bother being tested for it but we fit the symptoms to a tee. Maybe I just can't seem to shake the tail end of it. I haven't been eating well either since I'm not planning meals well either.

I felt a little better after I typed this, it's the cheapest therapy I've ever had.

I usually get a little "winter blues" in February, just because I've had enough of the winter but this is feeling so much crappier and earlier than in the past I didn't really accredit it to that either. Being stuck in the house day after day, week after week is enough to make me a little crazy too.

Last night I laid a lot of what's been going around in my head on The Engineer, that helped.

Okay, now don't laugh, but I have been really feeling bad for Conan O'Brien for what happened to him on The Tonight Show. I didn't think he was great, some nights he was funny and some nights he missed it but he got screwed. I watched his last show last night and he was so gracious, after he used up a bunch of NBC jokes. :-) The last five minutes (before an awesome rendition of Free Bird with Will Farrell that cracked me up) were very heart felt and not the typical Hollywood response. I felt like he will be back and will be just fine, probably even better than if he would have stayed on The Tonight Show. Which made me happy. He's a very gracious man, made me feel even better about liking him as a comic. I don't think I could have handled it as well as he did.

Monday the kids start a theater class. They've done it before and they love it. The Scientist is finally feeling better. The Vet's stitches come out Tuesday and we will be able to tell at that point if there is any damage to her knee beyond the gash, like cartilage issues. I'm going to go out today and buy a bottle of vitamins and start taking them.

I put in a request for snow. Six to eight inches (although I'll take more). G-d's pretty busy but maybe if he's got a moment he could pass that message on to Mother Nature. :-)

When I look out the window right now our chickens are walking around the front yard. Happy, healthy and just enjoying the sunshine (and all the bugs and worms to eat). I haven't taken a tick off a dog or kid since we got them. Flapping their wings, fluffing their tails and preening their feathers. When we got them I really didn't want them. Just something else to take care of, yeah I know it's the kids responsibility but anyone with kids knows that it's lip service, even if your lucky enough that they do care for them you still have to be the one to follow up on that to make sure it's happening and that can be a slippery slope into non stop nagging. Not that I haven't threatened to give the birds away and sell the coop a couple of times. I hope it doesn't happen because those silly birds have really grown on me. They are relaxing to watch wander around the yard, or making dirt nests under the evergreens. Or taking their powder showers, which really helps keep them clean but makes them look like dusty messes. And their eggs, oh my. I was never really an egg fan. Thought the whites were gross. Rarely ate them and then only the yolk. The fresh eggs from these chickens are out of this world. They are rich and flavorful. The whites are tender. I love them and they are lower in fat and cholesterol than factory farmed eggs.

I need to start taking some pictures to post. I think it makes blogs so much more interesting with pictures.

This started out at a reply to a comment but as usual I had so much to say I just made a post out of it. Thanks for listening.

Friday, January 22, 2010

I feel like I have ADHD

The last month has been a tough one around here. Everyone has been sick. The Vet got hurt. Money was very tight over the holidays and still is. I was out of work for a month. The house is a mess and I have no great driven desire to clean it up. This makes The Engineer crazy. He was raised in a house that was spotless. I was raised in a house that was a mess, not a pigsty, but definitely messy and dust was only wiped away when it was thick enough for pictures. Therefore it is easy for me to ignore the mess, not so for The Engineer. I see it in his face when he walks in the door after work and looks hopefully into the family room. Only to be disappointed day after day. I love when the house is neat and clean. It makes me happy and it makes The Engineer happy. So why is it that the house is a mess day after day, you ask? Well that is a great question. I've been asking myself that too. I could use all the usual excuses, they sound good too. I'm homeschooling three kids at three different grade levels. I have a kid who's knee is messed up and she can't walk. I have another who keeps spiking a 104 degree fever. I have one healthy kid who is overwhelmed trying to keep up with his chores and his sisters, even with my help. Some of these include caring for 2 dogs, 1 cat, a guinea pig, and the chickens. The yard is a mess and every time you go out your shoes are muddy. I had hoped for a snow pack by now but no such luck. The dogs have to be walked to go to the bathroom because there is so much mud. And for icing on the cake there's this little Cookie Mom thing.

But you know what? Those are not the reasons. The real reason is I can't seem to pay attention to anything for more than two minutes lately. The Engineer did all the laundry last weekend. The only problem is he hates putting it away. So there are baskets of clean/folded laundry all over the place. I should be grateful but it's just another thing distracting me. I walk by something and want to take care of it but I'm distracted by something else I see that needs to be done. The computer whispers to me to come play, and I give in. Or my book sends me a message that I haven't spent as much time as usual reading so I pick it up. It's just me hiding so I don't have to face the mess.

It's not just in the house though. Last night I didn't go to karate because I didn't feel like getting up. What's that all about? I love karate so why all of a sudden I don't feel like going. Tonight I went and was so distracted I had a hard time paying attention. Not me at all.

Another thing is I like to make dinner. I hate to figure out what to have for dinner so I make a list every two weeks and shop for the list then each night I just have to look at the list to see what to make. No stress, no brainer. Well for the last month not only have I not had a dinner menu list, any shopping I've done has been willy nilly so I have to figure out what to make with what we have on hand.

I've been like this since I was sick. My brain feels like a fog has moved in. Even at work my partner has asked me if I'm all right. I'm just not myself. I have all these things running through my head and I can't seem to stop it and just pick something to get started. Every time I want to do something I come up with a story I tell myself and the next thing I know the day has gone by and nothing gets done.

I need to make it stop but I don't know how. Then The Engineer comes home and tells me how upset he has been about the earthquake in Haiti. Then I feel even more pathetic because I have avoided as much of the news about that as I can. I don't think I can handle one more thing bringing me down. Then I feel guilty for feeling crappy about this bullshit stuff when people in Haiti are suffering with real problems. Bet they'd love to have a messy house to come home to and a fridge full of stuff to stare at while trying to figure out what to make for dinner. And a kid who's biggest problem is stitches and another with a fever, both of which have been treated in a timely manner by top notch medical personnel and both have medicine readily available. Money tight, ha, they're so poor they'd laugh at me for even thinking that.

I'm not liking myself very much right now.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Crap, I have to agree with Phyllis Schlafly, sort of

Phyllis Schlafly drives me crazy. I still read her column. Because I'm always looking for that elusive discussion. I am forced to read nationally syndicated columnists whether I agree with them on not then form my own version of a debate in my head. I don't watch the TV or radio analysts because they wind up yelling at people and cutting them off midstream because they have to get their commercials aired. Most of the time they are going for sensationalism.

But I digress...

Don't get me wrong, I don't totally agree with her column today. It was about why public school education is such a failure in this country. I liked the last sentence of the last paragraph. "They could do this inexpensively with my "First Reader" and if the schools refuse, this book is the perfect tool for parents to teach their own children." Just a thought here. Don't we pay a ridiculous amount of school taxes to get our kids educated so now I have to buy a book and do it myself. What's wrong with that? Oh yeah, silly me, I homeschool, I pay all these taxes and then turn around buy my own curriculum and teach them myself anyway.

I don't even totally agree with the last sentence. No one "tool" works for every kid. That's one of many reasons why I think our public school system is such a mess.

Anyway I'm digressing again...

If you're not familiar with Mrs. Schlafly let me fill you in. She is a conservative anti feminist. All women should be home raising their children while their husbands work to care for them. Which I find strange since she wouldn't even have a job if the feminists wouldn't have made openings in journalism for her, but whatever. She blames many of today's ills on the welfare system. Which I will agree is a wreck. She blames the failure of our public school systems on the lack of fathers in the home. She blames the lack of fathers in the home on the welfare system. She blames the welfare system on politicians who created it to garner votes from the poor. I'm not that naive that I don't believe that politicians would sell their own mothers if they felt it would win an election for them or get them what they want so I'm going to agree with her on that one.

I do agree with her that not having a father in the home or in the kids life makes it that much more difficult for that kid to succeed. I also agree that welfare made it profitable to have kids without the father being responsible.

Really though, who is the one laying down and spreading their legs with these dead beat men? Who has deluded themselves into believing that they will win their prince charming by trapping them with a pregnancy? How many young girls are looking for "love" and have a baby to fill that need? Who is ultimately responsible for all these fatherless children. Mostly I think it's the mothers fault. With the birth control available today there is very little excuse for an unwanted pregnancy (not that it doesn't happen but it should be the exception not the rule). Then once that baby is conceived it's both parents responsibility. Hey, nobody stuck a gun to the head of that boy and told him to fuck her (and there is birth control for men too).

Blaming the government for fatherless children is like blaming the gun for shooting someone. Ultimately it's the responsibility of the people involved. Taking responsibility for ones own actions seems to have gotten lost some where along the lines. Welfare was designed to help people get by until they could get back on their feet. Not as a permanent way to live your life. Welfare reform in the 1990's tried to fix that but the politicians watered that down enough that it wasn't as effective as it could have been.

You might call me a feminist. If believing that as a woman I have just as much right to make decisions about my life as the next guy, then I'm a feminist. If I believe I should get paid the same to do the same job, hey stamp me feminist. It gets a little fuzzy though because I do believe strongly that if you have children (whether you a man or a woman) that they are an extension of yourself and you must care for them and raise them until they are old enough to care for themselves. It's amazing how many people give lip service to that statement. I don't think when you have children that you should work 12-14 hour days and leave your kids in the care of someone not related to you. I'm not saying you should quit your job and stay home and be a Mommy and have no other identity. I'm saying you and the father should work together to create a schedule that you are raising your children not someone else. I don't think that leaving your kid with a sitter a couple days a week is letting someone else raise them. But the people who drop their kids off at 7AM and pick them up at 6PM five days a week are really missing out. If you don't want to do that, that's okay, don't have kids. Kids require a huge adjustment in your life, if you're not willing to make that adjustment don't have them. Yeah, sure your Mom and Dad will lay it on thick about how they would love to have grandchildren, blah, blah, blah but part of growing up and making mature decisions is knowing your limits. So we are right back to the people who have children without giving it a moments thought to what it will mean to their life.

So Phyllis, let's get to the root of the problem here. Welfare didn't cause people to have kids and not care what happens to them. People had kids and didn't care what happened to them. People let greed lead (hey, I'm a poet and didn't know it HA HA). Politicians used their power to sway people into voting for them, but they didn't go into the booth and pull the lever, punch the chad, or touch the screen for them. It's hard because today it boils down to the almighty dollar and you don't know who to believe. News outlets spout their own agenda. Very few agencies report the news, they talk about what will increase ratings. Middle East issues are boring (until someone tries to crash one of our planes) and get by passed for the latest media made scandal yet what is going on over there right now will have repercussions for years to come. Europe is becoming an expanded sector of the Middle East and they are letting it happen. Don't want to hurt their feelings now, do we?

Wow, I'm way off topic. I'll save that for another day.

It should be noted that I really don't have a good understanding of politics, I'm trying to learn but it's seems very convoluted. I'm more into common sense and saying what you mean and meaning what you say. I would make a terrible politician.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bring your unsaved friends

Like most homeschoolers I belong to several homeschooling groups. Three of them are "inclusive" and one is for Jewish homeschoolers.

You know when you hear the word inclusive you think that all will be invited. For the most part this is true. But what reality has shown me over the last four years (holy time frame Batman, has it been that long?) is that inclusive also means they get to throw their opinion in your face without regard for your opinion or feelings. We have one group in particular that I have enjoyed being a member of and have made several friends. There were several active members that decided that inclusive wasn't good enough for them and started their own "Christian Homeschoolers" group. They are no longer active in the original group and stick almost exclusively to their group.

Recently an email went around our inclusive group advertising a class that would teach why evolution was bunk and why creation was the true beginnings of humanity. I am not offended by these types of emails. I feel free to use my delete key. But (there does seem to be a lot of but's lately), the last sentence of this email said, "Bring your unsaved friends." Now that offended me, big time. I tried to hit delete, I really did, but my cursor swerved and the next thing I knew I was feverishly typing a reply.

I was not the only one who couldn't bring themselves to just hit delete and a firestorm ensued. The person who originally sent the email said she was just forwarding it from someone else. Several people tried to justify the comment by saying that no offense was intended. I can handle that, but when a whole group of people tell you that they were offended why would they still insist that it is okay to use the term unsaved. Maybe originally you didn't mean it as hurtful but after being told by a certain sect of Christain's that I am doomed and destined to go to hell because I haven't been saved, well I have to tell you, after that it gets offensive. Most of them never did understand our feelings on the subject and eventually the moderators of the group told everyone to drop it. I did, but it left a bad taste in my mouth.

If I said something and it offended that many people I would apologize and make an effort not to say it again. All we were asking for was the same courtesy.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Trolling for Input

I just started this blog not long ago. Though as some friends can attest I've been beating this around for a long time. The one thing I decided to make it was real. I'd try really hard not to smudge the truth, no matter how ugly it seems. So far that's been easy, wait till I get to the fun stuff. The other part is I'm not going to mess with is the comments unless they are obviously SPAM. I love comments. Of course it's an ego pat to know someone is reading but mostly I love hearing other peoples opinions. It makes for a great start to a conversation, an art that has really been lost over the last decade or two. Plus, it might help give me ideas for future things to write about, helping alleviate my greatest fear which is running out of things to say. I love to talk, I'm practicing my listening skills, which sadly are not as good as I'd like but I'm working on them. I can be stubborn when it comes to my opinion. So by commenting you help me sometimes see things from another point of view. So I promise that unless you're a spammer or you attack someone personally you're comments will go untouched and will be appreciated.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Injuries Plague Girl Scouts

byline: Rusty's Mom

Anywhere, USA. In what seems like one plague after another the Girl Scout Cookie program was dealt another blow yesterday when The Vet was injured while going door to door selling cookies. While walking down a driveway, after ringing a neighbors doorbell, she tripped and fell. She sustained minor injures to both hands and left knee. Her right knee was seriously injured in the fall. Initial reports of a possible knee fracture were found to be false but several stitches were needed to repair a 2 inch gash in her knee. The homeowner was not home at the time. Several witnesses reported her to be running but confirmation on that report was unavailable at press time. If this was the case that would be in direct violation of Girl Scout rules. No running, hopping, skipping, jumping or other joyful expressions are permitted when moving from one house to the next while conducting council approved fundraisers. Studies show that injuries are becoming such a concern that the century old organization is contemplating banning door to door sales. An undisclosed source, who was not authorized to comment, stated that the safety of the girls is a top priority and several measures are being considered at this time to prevent future injuries.
Some suggestions being considered are only allowing girls to be carried from house to house by their parents to prevent the possibility of tripping or falling while walking. Also being considered is that all girls must wear elbow, knee and wrist pads along with a CPSC approved helmet while selling cookies. Bubble wrap manufacturers are working to get OSHA approval for a new product designed to protect arms, legs and hineys from injury during a fall, if that happens they plan to present their product to the Girl and Boy Scouts of America for use during their fundraising campaigns.
In a related story Nomex recently received approval for a new fire resistant suit to protect Camp Fire Girls while roasting wienies and marshmallows. The Camp Fire Girls organization is pleased that the girls will once again be able to have camp fires available on a limited basis. Other concerns need to be addressed before full access to camp fires can be approved.
The Vet is recovering at home and is expected to make a full recovery. There is no word on how this will affect her future cookie sales.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Reason #104 why we homeschool

When I read a post like this, then follow up by reading the article that it refers to it just gives me even more confidence in our decision to homeschool.

Everyone in my class but me

The Vet said, "Everyone in my class has a cell phone but me." The Scientist quickly pointed out that she also was the only one in her class without a cell phone. The Vet is 10 years old and The Scientist is 11 years old.

I've heard this before but after the new year they started up again on their crusade to get their own cell phone. It went something like this:

S & V: Mom, everyone in our class (@Hebrew School) has a cell phone and we think we should have one too.

Me: Well if everyone jumps off a cliff are you going to jump too?

S & V: (with eyes rolling) Mom we need our own cell phone. Remember that time you were late picking us up from religious school? It was so embarrassing, we had to ask to borrow someones phone so we could call you.

Me: That's not a reason. You should have just waited until I got there. You didn't need to call.

S: Remember when I was in kindergarten you fell asleep on the couch. You were 10 minutes late picking me up from school. If you wouldn't of woken up who knows how long I would of had to wait.

Me: It's not like your teacher would have just left you out at the curb till I came and there are lots of phones in the school to use.

S & V: But what if we have to make a phone call? It's not that much money to add a line on. We checked on line and it's only $9.99 a month.

Me: We have the house phone and I have a cell phone that you are welcome to use when you need to make a call. Then I really put a nail in it by telling them that if they were going somewhere without me and I felt it was necessary for them to have a phone they would use mine.

At this point desperation was setting in. They couldn't think of a good reason and they knew it. Finally they just asked how old they would have to be to get a cell phone. When I told them 16 years old and they'd have to pay for it themselves they were speechless. That almost never happens, it made my day.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sometimes it's really hard

Warning: Graphic description of traffic accident victim

Two years ago this week a 22 year old died in a senseless traffic accident. He made all the mistakes that a typical kid his age would make, only he didn't get to live to laugh about it later. He wasn't wearing a seat belt, he had been drinking and he was speeding. A combination that too many times rips apart the lives of people who care about you.

I was working that night. I don't remember if it had been busy or what we were doing when our pagers went off. Just that after midnight on a Saturday night getting dispatched to a motor vehicle accident isn't that unusual. It was a cold and damp night. While we were en route we were told that it was a one vehicle accident and to use caution due to wires being down at the scene.

We saw the debris field long before we got on scene. It was spread across four lanes of traffic and wires were down across two of the lanes. As we pulled up we could see someone laying in the center of the road and could hear a woman screaming. A young woman was leaning over the figure in the street and about 20 feet away we could see what was left of a dark colored two door car.

Another ambulance had been dispatched with us and pulled up right behind us. We both approached the patients in the street. The other crew took the female, who told us there was no one else involved and our crew stayed to work the obviously young man dying in the street. It was bad, in fact we didn't even think he was alive. The metallic smell of blood was strong and a wide river of it was running down the road from his head. Gray matter (what we call the brain) was visible and his scalp was almost completely separated from his skull. He had no discernible pulse and he was breathing about 5 times a minute, what is known as agonal respiration's or literally your last breath. He had obviously been thrown from the vehicle and had additional injures that were consistent with having the vehicle strike him during the roll over.

When you have a patient like this, who appears DOA, protocol requires you to attach your EKG monitor for verification of asystole (flat line or no electrical cardiac activity), contact medical command and make a death pronouncement on scene.

Even when faced with injuries this severe we know that the human body is an amazing machine and we've seen people survive so much worse. Until we have confirmation we treat everyone as if they are alive. While I provide artificial respiration my partner wastes no time attaching the monitor. We are both left momentarily stunned to see that he had cardiac activity. His heart is still beating, he's alive. Collar, back board and on the litter we are moving fast.

Most people have heard of the golden hour. We have the golden 10 minutes. That's how long we have to assess, package, begin treatment and get en route to the hospital for a trauma victim.

Loaded in the ambulance one of the fireman sticks his head in the back asking us if we need a hand, are you kidding, get your butt in here. He takes over breathing for the kid while my partner gets ready to intubate him (put a tube in his throat to keep his airway open). I am cutting off his clothes so we can fully assess all his injuries. Take a set of initial vitals, we are almost ready to go. The tubes in and the medic is putting in the first of two IV's.

Just as I'm ready to get up front to drive a cop sticks his head in the back of the ambulance and tosses the kids wallet at me. I toss the wallet on the bench seat and the cop says, "Hey, this is John Smith" (obviously not his real name folks) Everyone but the medic pauses. Not only is this kid a member of the local fire company and a good friend of the fireman keeping him breathing but I have known his mother for 20 years.

Almost as an exclamation point on the moment explosions break out and bright blue and green flashes light up the sky. Transformers are blowing all around us. We are out of there.

At the trauma center things move even faster. If you've never witnessed a trauma team in action it's truly amazing. Fifteen people each with a job and everyone working at once to save a life. I'm still in the trauma room and my cell phone rings, I give it a quick glance and it's his mother. I'm sure the hospital has called her by now so it's not coincidence that she's calling, but the hospital doesn't give much information out over the phone. I can't answer this. But how can I ignore it. I take the easy way out and hand my phone to his fireman friend. I hear him struggling to talk to her. It is one of the most painful conversations I have ever heard.

Twenty four hours later this young man was taken off life support. It is a decision I can never imagine having to make. He had signed his organ donor status on his drivers license so now many lives have been saved or improved by his death.

I have worked in emergency services for 30 years. Many times people thank me for the job we do and many wonder out loud how we can do it. It's only after calls like this that I agree with them.

Can we handle the truth?

I'm sure everyone has heard about this: The recently released book "Game Change" reports that Sen. Harry Reid said,
"America would vote for Barack Obama because he was a "light-skinned" African-American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."
I know I'm a little late jumping in with this. It was harped on ad nauseum by the media until the earthquake. But I wanted to bring it up as a perfect example of how the politically correct (as long as it suits their needs) make this into a so called "scandal". Read the quote, tell me, honestly, is there anything in it that is not the truth. In fact, I would applaud Senator Reid for his honesty if he didn't immediately wimp out and beg forgiveness when the PC crowd got their panties in an uproar. Then the sides divided, with the left poo pooing it and the right screaming double standard and the media fanning the flames with their only concern being their ratings.

Are we as a nation stupid? Do we think for ourselves? Are people that afraid to speak the truth, then stand behind what they say afterwards?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Baseball Boy: Hey, you're cutting up my pepper.

The Vet: No, it's mine, here's yours.

Baseball Boy: Hey, you're cutting out the brain. I want to cut out the brain.

The Vet: You mean membrane.

Baseball Boy: Leave the brain alone.

The Vet: It's called the membrane, not brain.

Baseball Boy (screaming at this point): You're cutting up my pepper. I want to cut it up, it's mine. Leave the brain alone!

The Vet: Nevermind, cut out your own brain.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Germaphobe said I tried to kill her

One night a week I go to my favorite job. Working as a vet tech in a small doctors office is a dream job. I'd starve to death if I had to live off the money I make but the satisfaction more than makes up for it. Of course with my pack it sure helps with the discounted vet bills but I really do it because I love the animals. I've worked there for 14 years or so and I still leave every time feeling satisfied and proud of the work I do. Just another area of my life that I am blessed.

For many years I worked by myself as the only tech (on the night I worked). It was just the vet and me. I've worked Monday nights almost from the time I started. It is the busiest night of the week. The animals coming in are usually sick and it's the first chance that the owners have had to bring them in because of the weekend. About 8 years ago they hired someone else to work on Monday nights with me. It was getting busier and harder for me to work with the vet and still answer the phone, collect money, and do all the receptionist stuff. When she first started working she seemed pretty normal. She was smart, articulate and on the ball. It was a pleasure to work with her. She was into cats the way I am into dogs. It just made working there even nicer. I'm not sure when it started to happen. The first signs went unnoticed. She started taking care of feral cats at a state prison not to far from here. I didn't give it much thought, a lot of cat lovers feed feral cat colonies and trap, neuter and release them once trust is established so there isn't so many homeless cats. Then she started talking about this inmate she met. The next thing I know she throws her husband out and divorces him. Jeez, you never know what's going on in someones marriage but that really seemed to come out of the blue. More and more I hear about this inmate, oh man gross me out she's falling in love with this attempted cop killing freak. I listen to her stories of how sad it is for the prisoners, blah blah blah, give me a fucking break, this is a state penitentiary, these guys didn't get caught with a little weed or write some bad checks these are the scum of society, big time thieves, murderers, rapists and all kind of human dreg. One night I come in and shes crying because her freak got denied parole, again. Around this time she's diagnosed with some rare liver disease. Then she gets fired from her full time job. She loses her health insurance. She starts getting paranoid that everyone is out to get her. The vet is contemplating firing her because she's getting so odd, but she still does her job and now that they cut her hours back to one night a week it's hard to find someone willing to work just one night a week for minimum wage who's willing to clean up dog pee in the waiting room. Plus I think the vet is just a softy and feels sorry for her. She's also becoming a germaphobe. At first I understood. After all she does suffer from the liver problem and the last thing she needs is to get sick. I don't make a habit of going to work if I have a cold or am sick because the vet doesn't need to get sick either. Up until recently it was a one vet office, if she's sick there's no one to take her place. Now the Germaphobe is getting worse, if I sneeze she freaks out on me. Jeepers it was just a snoot full of cat hair, chill out.

Two weeks ago I wasn't feeling well. I was coughing and my chest hurt. Every year I get bronchitis, so I figure here we go again. It wasn't bad and bronchitis isn't contagious so off to work I go. I know the coughing is going to send the germaphobe into a hand washing frenzy so I stay out of the office area and stick to the exam rooms and surgery areas. I saw her once from about five feet away. The color drained from her face and she yelled at me to stay away. She doesn't believe that some things are just not contagious. Yes, the original cold I had was but that's long gone, I'm just left with this miserable cough.

But it figures that I would get sick, really sick. Oh, I had broncitis all right but it was deep and it was bad. While my immune system was busy fighting that Baseball Boy shares a really nasty cold with me. Gotta love those walking, talking petri dishes. I'm down for the count. High fever, can't complete a sentence I'm so short of breath. Coughing so hard my whole body aches. I have to sleep in a chair because I can't lay flat. Didn't move out of that chair for almost a week. The Engineer and the kids are totally holding down the fort without me. Obviously, I don't go to work at the squad or the vet's.

So tonight I'm back to work at the vet's office. I'm still coughing and a little tired but other than that I'm feeling pretty good. The vet is happy to see me. I was worried she might have gotten sick since we work so closely together but she assures me she has been fine. As soon as the Germaphobe says hi I knew I was in for it. Her voice is hoarse and I hear her cough. Oh, sorry gotta get back to the exam rooms, got a full house.

We had a busy night and I avoided her all night long. She's in the back doing some filing and I'm sitting up front finishing up some paperwork. She comes out and immediately lays it on. First she starts describing all these medical maladies she has, half of which I've never heard of. Then she goes on to tell me how she just can't get sick because she lives alone, and doesn't have medical insurance and she has 21 cats to take care of and she lives alone, and doesn't have medical insurance and has 21 cats to take care of and no one to help her. No, I didn't repeat myself, she did. And that she can die from coughing from one of these medical maladies she has and that I made her sick and she doesn't have the luxury of going to the doctor or hospital since she lives alone, doesn't have medical insurance, has 21 cats, no one to help her, and oh yea did I mention I had a colonoscopy scheduled that I had to cancel and now I have to redo the bloodwork and if I die they will put my 21 cats to sleep because no one will take care of them. Then she gets even more pissed as she tells me how inconsiderate I am coming to work sick before since she has no one to take care of her like I do. Blah, blah, blah.

Sidebar: Did I mention that the freak eventually got parolled, she married him, he stole all her money and dumped her? She's alone because she divorced her perfectly nice, if not a little boring, husband for this scum bag. All her friends tried to warn her about him but she wouldn't listen. Then when he dumped her she got mad at everyone because no one was surprised that he did this. That's why she's alone. It makes it hard for me to feel sorry for her.

She said it was bad enough I tried to kill her but to put the lives of her 21 cats in jeopardy, she just couldn't believe I would do such a thing. She also wanted me to know she would die, alone, in her home because of me.

I mentioned to her that she spends her entire night working here dealing with people coming in and handling money and that I didn't touch anything in the office that night and didn't come within five feet of her. That just pissed her off more. Can't wait to see what she's like next week.

Oh, and just for fun I asked her if she was too sick to work last week. She said she felt horrible and was terribly sick but she came in to work anyway. Guess she doesn't worry about getting the vet or the vet tech that worked for me sick as much as she worries about someone getting her sick. Bitch. Oh, and I should mention, she's does have health insurance. It's just not the awesome health insurance she had when she was married to the nice guy.

Sorry 'bout that

My last post sounded like it was written by a 2nd grader.....

Note to self: Do not publish blogs that have been written on less than 2 hours sleep.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cookie Saga..The Good...The Bad and the hungry

I've had the cookies for 27 hours now. Last night I picked them up. My scheduled time was 5:10 PM. I was ready to do battle to get my cookies. I was scheduled for Lane 1. Being assigned a lane just upped my anxiety about the pickup. I was given a list of things to be aware of for the pickup. Don't be late (for me that's a tough one); have your car ready so they can just put the boxes in; make sure none of the boxes are damaged; make sure you get the correct number of boxes; if you miss your spot you have to wait on the side until they can get back to you; not good when you have to leave for work 1/2 hour after pickup; have your T7 form ready. I show up 5 mins. early. My car is ready to go, thank you Engineer. Paperwork at the ready I pull up and am the only one there for pickup, so much for lane anxiety. I get out of my car and the paperwork guy (couldn't miss him, he was the one with the clipboards and pens) says, "Troop number?". I answer and the next thing I know I'm swarmed by eight men with boxes of cookies (doesn't that sound wonderful when it's written like that). I want to check the boxes so I make them only put the cookies in one type at a time. Considering that it was about 11 degrees out they were pretty amicable and cooperative. Within five minutes the car is loaded, papers are signed and I'm on my way. Holy crap that was quick.

I head to work, my car full of cookies. The other cookie mom is going to meet me at work and we are going to get the cases repacked so when we start giving them out I can just hand them the cases and they sign and go. Fortunately I work in EMS. So I have the type of job where I sit around waiting for something bad to happen to someone. Some people say EMS stands for Earn Money Sleeping. If you have a quiet night that pretty much sums it up. Of course many nights I walk in the door, we take our first run and go all night long. Last night the EMS gods were kind and we were able to get all our cookies arraigned the way we wanted them and packed back in the car for delivery before we had our first run. One of the moms showed up to pick up her share of cookies and said the "Q" word before she left... Very bad, never, ever say "I hope you have a "quiet" night." We never say the "Q" word, even if you don't believe in that silly stuff you just don't do it.

So this morning I meet a couple of parents in the parking lot of a large store so they can pick up their cookies. We joke about making a "deal" in the parking lot and wonder what the security cameras are picking up. It goes smooth as glass, well except for my pen freezing, and I'm on my way home.

The Engineer helps me bring all the boxes in and my dining room has a new job. A couple of parents show up to pick up their cookies. Cauldron mom wants more than her allotted cookies so I give her more, she whines about not having as many Thin Mints as she wanted, oh well life's a bitch. I remind her to make sure to get her reorder info in so she can have as many Thin Mints as her heart desires and she's on her way.

Later I take a nap (there was only about an hour of earn money sleeping and I was tired) and woke up with a craving for Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies. I could hear them whispering in my ear. I hope this is just a passing phase since I haven't had them in a year. If not this is going to be a long three months. Sadly there is an entire case of those suckers just sitting there whispering my name. I hear them now.....

Friday, January 8, 2010

Birth of a Cookie Mom Czar

Because I have sucker written on my forehead I said I'd be part of a cookie team for my girls' Girl Scout Troop. The troop leader first asked if anyone would help, then begged, then laid on the guilt, then just threatened all the moms until two of us finally gave in "for our girls" and said we'd do it. Anybody that knows me knows it just pisses me off to have my Jewish mother guilt activated. So maybe they don't know what they've gotten themselves into by letting me be in charge of passing out the cookies. I have no idea how this is going to play out. I'm trying to keep that glass half full. Of course in the group of Girl Scout Mom's we have the two troop leaders, one who has an infant and one who is having a nervous breakdown over family issues. We have a mom who at first refused to have anything to do with the cookies because they contain trans fat and will kill us all, but gave in to her daughter after she begged to be allowed to sell them, we have the mom who stirs the cauldron of excrement, and the two moms who are like first graders giggling. I was grateful for the one and only sensible mom. Fortunately, the other half of this cookie team is someone I like. Somehow the two moms with the biggest homeschooling kid load wound up with this thankless job.

So today we have a safety meeting, it's mandatory if you want to sell cookies. The powers to be at GS HQ take this stuff very seriously. I'm not sure whether to be in awe of this GS cookie machine or terrified of it. So we split the group up. Mom's in one room, girls in the other. I take the Mom's (thank g-d, the thought of facing those excited pack of GS's sent shivers up my spine). All is going along well. I explained the rules, answered questions, gave them the rundown on how the cookie pickup will work. The two 1st grade moms are irritating me but I'm controlling my annoyance. The next thing I know we're done and the kids from the other room explode in and it's over. Or so I thought.

After the meeting the other cookie mom and I get together to go over the cookie pickup which is rapidly approaching. Both of us are a little nervous since we're new to this game and the one leader who said she'd help hasn't done the one thing we asked her to do. But after sitting down and making one of those lists I love we were feeling much more sure of ourselves. I head home feeling like we have this under control. We decided I'd send an email to the group just going over what we talked about just in case there were any questions. We only have one mom (other than my partner in cookie crime) who ever sold cookies before and she's always got her cauldron on her hip.

I log on getting ready to send my follow up email. And there it is; Subj: Questions!!!! It's from one of the 1st graders. My annoyance level immediately goes up a notch. I read her email, and the two responses, one from one of the leaders trying to answer her question and the other from cauldron mom doing what she does best. Of course her questions had been answered very clearly in the meeting. And on top of that, as usual her emails take on a condescending tone. After reading it a couple of times I realize that her pissy attitude is directed at her daughter, who she is apparently at war with over the cookie rules, not at us, which it first appeared to be. I called my cookie partner and dumped it in her lap. We talked it over and came up with a response which hopefully will answer her questions without escalating her attitude. The urge to respond with sarcasm was strong but being the mature adults we are (sound of throat clearing), did not stoop to her level. Of course all bets are off when it comes to blog fodder, but isn't that one of the points of having a blog. :-)

Homeschoolers who give the rest of us a bad name.

Hot Topic Alert: This may piss you off so proceed at your own risk.

The local library used to run a reading group for early readers. It was set up for homeschoolers. The librarian would read a short children's story then they'd talk about it and do a craft. I wanted Baseball Boy to go but since his only experience with reading in a group setting came in kindergarten he wasn't exactly excited about going. But I got it stuck in my head that he was going whether he liked it or not. So I signed him up and dragged him to the library. He begged me to sit in with him. The deal was I'd sit in the back for as long as he needed me but he had to pay attention to the librarian, not keep looking at me. So the librarian reads the story. I forget which one it was but it was a typical kid story. Totally secular. So then she moves on to the Q&A part. There is this little girl and little boy sitting right up front. Every question she asks they are waving frantically. Each time they are called on they answer the question by saying "Jesus would do this" or "Jesus made this happen", on and on with everything relating back to Jesus. Even when another kid would answer they would just burst out with their Jesus account. Baseball Boy was beside himself. He's never even heard of this guy Jesus, except maybe in passing and now these kids are totally interjecting him into the story. The librarian is trying to steer the questioning back to center but it was futile. Finally, she gave up and just redirected the kids to the tables to do the craft. When it was over Baseball Ball wanted to stay to talk to the librarian. I gotta tell you, I was a little nervous about it. I had been unnerved by the whole experience and really just wanted to get out of there. So Baseball Boy patiently waits for everyone to leave and asks the librarian if there was a part of the story that he missed because he listened to the whole thing and doesn't remember Jesus being talked about. The librarian, who probably felt like she was crossing a minefield, just told him that "No, there was nobody named Jesus in the story but the two kids probably knew a story that reminded them of this one with him." He was okay with that but we talked about it several times throughout the day and he never really got comfortable with what had happened. He didn't want to go back and I didn't make him. I get very tired of people who raise their children to believe that their way is the only way. It's not the American way. It breeds hate and ignorance. Sure we all want to believe that we've got all the answers but the truth is we don't really know, whether you want to hear it or not it's the truth. When I was 10 years old my best friends mother (a devout Catholic) asked me if I was afraid of going to Hell because I didn't believe Jesus was our messiah. I said I didn't believe that would happen because G-d wouldn't send his children to hell. She said, "What if your wrong." Well I guess I'm going to hell then, what do you want me to say. Of course she was drunk at the time, not uncommon for her, but it taught me a valuable lesson in ignorance. Nobody won't know until you're dead. I don't worry about when I'm dead. I worry about what's happening now, trying to be the best person I can be now.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

How did a city girl wind up with chickens?

Several years ago we went to the local Grange Fair. We would hear over and over how much fun the kids would have if we went. I don't really enjoy fairs, pumpkin patches, carnivals and stuff like that. Too many people, I always spend too much money, the rides make me sick and could they think of any more ways to make a hayride uncomfortable. I guess I'm just a stick in the mud, it's just not my idea of fun. I just thought of the one thing I like about fairs. Funnel cake, I love funnel cake. Of course, by the time the kids take most of mine I don't even get to really enjoy it. Anyway back to my point.
Since 4H does their yearly show at the Grange Fair we were expecting to see a lot of farm animals. The girls were interested in the cavy's (guinea pigs) because they have one and thought it would be fun to check out all the different breeds. So we wandered through the sheep, steers, cows, and pigs, lots of pigs. Finally we came to the cavys and rabbits. The kids were there forever. I went and found a bench and got out a book while they looked, asked questions, petted, brushed, oohed and aahed over all the furry creatures. Finally, I hear my name being called and they are ready to move on. I finish my paragraph and walk back over. We turned the corner and there they were. All lined up in cages, clucking, throwing wood shavings, cock a doodle dooing, flapping wings and generally making a lot of noise.

That was the beginning. Cavies and bunnies forgotten they were all about the fowl. The Scientist's latest obsession was born. Of course the 4H people were happy to answer all their questions. I was ready to break out the book again but I didn't want to walk away. These people were amazingly into these birds and their enthusiasm was contagious.
The kids wanted to go out that night and get chickens. Whoa Nelly.... We live in a very prissy area. The people where we live are all about keeping up with the Jones' and how perfect you can make your yard. They already have to live with the German Shepard/Lab mix who loves to charge the property line so people wet their pants and a Pit Bull. Chickens might just send them over the edge. So we added that to our list of things we'll do "after we move".
I just figured by then the interest would wane...... you know you'd think I'd learn by now.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

They think I'm a rotten parent...oh well they're mine to screw up if I want

My kids love going to the park. They can spend an entire afternoon at a playground. I love it. I find myself a nice spot to sit and pull out a good book. Out of the corner of my eye I see what their up to but usually it doesn't take long from me to get lost in my book. The kids are all over the playground. Climbing all over everything. When they were younger the rule was if you can't climb up it without help you're to small to be climbing on it. They knew when we were at the playground they were on their own. I'm not one of those parents who follows their kids around on the playground helping them do it. I didn't push them on the swing they learned to swing their feet. I didn't help them up the ladder for the slide, if they couldn't climb up they shouldn't be up there. But it didn't take long for my kids to notice all the other parents tagging along behind their kids. To put it bluntly, this pissed them off. Why don't you lift us up? Why won't you push us? My answer remained the same. This is a playground for kids, if you aren't big enough to do it by yourself you shouldn't be on it. Unfortunately, in this instance anyway, I also taught my kids that if they need help and Mom and Dad aren't around, ex. we got separated in a store or something, they should chose someone to help them, a woman with small children usually being their safest bet. If someone comes up to them and offers help to avoid them. It's always better to pick someone that to let someone pick you. So the Three Musketeers decided to put that advice to good use and played the poor me card. "Ma'am can you push me on the swing?" Of course, this causes the woman to look around and see who the horrible parent is who left their kid to play in the playground by themselves, horrors of all horrors. Sometimes my kid would point to me and I would wave with a smile. Needless to say many parents didn't agree with my attitude and I got a lot of nasty looks. I also let them climb things by themselves. A few times they got up to far and needed rescue but I took my time getting there and amazingly they often got down on their own before I arrived. I wanted my kids to learn their limits, even if they got some bumps and bruises along the way. What I ended up with is kids who know how to ask someone for help if they need it and know what it feels like to trust your feelings when you talk to an adult. Not a bad trade off. Even if half the parents in the playground think I suck as a parent.

The Scientist

Behind my back I've heard them whisper, "What does she have to worry about? Her kid is gifted!"

I've had this said too many times, to my face and behind by back. What most people don't understand is that being gifted isn't all it's cut out to be and being parents of a gifted kid is no walk in the park. Perceptions of gifted kids range from every kid is gifted to there is no such thing as gifted and they are only like that because they have parents that push them. There are lots of parents who push their kids, just look around, they're over scheduled, afraid of making mistakes, they play a different sport each season, sometimes more than one, play a musical instrument, or two, they don't have a minute to themselves. They are involved in tons of after school activities, they eat dinner in the car more often than not. By the end of middle school they are burned out and miserable. It doesn't matter whether or not they are gifted.

I read a list one time that gave a bunch of questions and in the end you had a pretty good idea if your kid was gifted or just really smart. I haven't found it again but it hit the nail right on the head. Only one of the questions had to do with traditional learning. Everything else involved how the child reacted to different circumstances.

Gifted is more than about how "smart" someone is or what their IQ is. If it was just about that it would be easy to be gifted and to be the parent of a gifted kid. They would just suck up information around them and then go on to cure cancer or solve global issues. But being gifted involves sensitivities to things, a greater understanding of things that they are not really emotionally mature enough to process, they take everything to heart and get extremely upset from things that most kids would just let roll off their shoulders. They have well developed sense of right and wrong and can become very upset by issues of global problems, famine, pollution, war and starving children. They see a problem and can't understand why it has to be that way. They feel these things and become weighted down by them. Intense sensitivity can cause gifted children to take criticism, or even general anger, very personally. Many times the weight of this causes many highly gifted children to suffer a form of depression called existential depression.

They often are misdiagnosed as ADHD, LD or Asperger's (a mild form of Autism). They often appear distracted but are just more aware of what's around them and their brain can process faster so they already have it and have moved on but you think they aren't paying attention. When The Scientist was in public school they felt she had Aspergers because she couldn't relate with other students. The school counselor related a story of her studying a patch of ice in the school yard during recess and becoming "overly" upset when other students broke the ice. The school authorities felt she should spend her time trying to interact with the other kids instead of looking at ice. She said there were interesting things in the ice and she was trying to figure out what they were. She also had a hard time talking to other kids because they didn't understand a lot of the words she used and thought her jokes were weird. This caused her a lot of distress and to withdraw from kids. To this day she prefers the company of adults to her peers.

Asynchronous Development: In gifted children their emotion, intellectual and physical development is out of sync. Imagine you have a 4 year old that reads like an 8 year old is physically like a 5 year old but emotionally is about 3 years old. This causes challenges in every aspect of their life, and as a parent you often feel like your slipping back and forth in time. One minute you're being drained of every piece of information you may possibly know about the rotation of the earth and with their intense questioning starting to wonder when it will possibly end. Then a moment later you're dealing with a temper tantrum of epic proportions over them not getting chocolate sprinkles on their ice cream because you only had rainbow available.

Raising a gifted child or children is an adventure. It's juggling between not pushing them into what you think they should be doing and worrying about the ever present problem of underachievement that is so prevelent with highly gifted kids.

Pulling The Scientist out of school and homeschooling her was suggested by a very caring psychologist who felt she would never be able to find her way if she stayed in school. I spent the next couple of months trying to prove him wrong. It didn't work. Homeschooling hasn't solved everything but it's so much better. Right now we are struggling with some of the issues I mentioned above, but even though sometimes we feel very alone I know we are not, I just have to remember to reach out.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

93 % vs. .00004716 %

.00004716 % : Number of humans killed by pit bulls over a one year period.

93%: Number of pit bulls in shelters killed by humans over a one year period.

Who should be afraid of whom?

Monday, January 4, 2010

We're Weird, thank you very much.

We're weird. I'm weird, my kids are weird, my husband thinks we're normal and everyone else is weird. I like being weird, wouldn't change a thing. Raised my kids to be weird and intend to keep raising them to be weird. It saddens me because we are not the norm. Do you know why we are weird? Because we believe you should take responsibiltiy for your own actions. That your family is the most important thing. Children should treat adults with respect. Manners and grammar count. Because G-d will be there for you, if you let him. Because those who die with the most toys don't win. The most important thing you have is your word and your name, take care of both because once they're gone it's almost impossible to get them back. Because when we wanted to adopt a dog and found one we really liked at the SPCA we didn't walk away because she was a pit bull, we took her home. We homeschool, not for religious reasons, or because I think the public school system is a great government plot to take over our children or because they can't educate my kids. We homeschool for reasons which you'll get to know about the more you follow along on this journey. I don't like to beat around the bush, just get to the point. I love a good discussion, hard to find anymore. Can't be bothered keeping up with the Jones, don't even like the Jones most of the time. Comfort over fashion any day. If you tell me I can have both, I'd agree but I'm still only going to wear it if I like it not just because everyone else does, then I'm going to wear it until it's worn out. I drive a van with 150,000 miles on it because it's paid off and I'll run it into the ground, just like the last one. The Engineer's car, a Saturn, is at 280,000 miles and still going (knock on wood). I don't have time for people who kiss butt to get what they want or the ones being kissed giving them what they want. Politics, oy, don't even get me started. Reality TV, oxymoron. Give me a book over TV any time. Newpaper over TV News. I used to love sports, still love the sport but the players, what a spoiled bunch of overpaid, self-centered curs, my apologies to the one player who doesn't fit that description. I'm sure someone does... I hope... anyone..... please.....

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Yom Kippur Promise

Last September, on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement for Jews) we are supposed to be finishing up atoning for our mistakes thoughout the past year. There are steps we should have taken up to this day to make sure this is possible. There are three steps that need to be completed to be forgiven: 1: the person who you have wronged must forgive you, 2: you must self examine why you made this mistake to begin with so it doesn't happen again, and 3: You must never do it again. If all three of these are fulfilled you will be forgiven for the errors you have made.

This year the Rabbi caught me off guard. As we entered the sanctuary we were handed a piece of paper and a pencil. On the paper was written: Who have you forgiven? Uh oh, nobody asked me for forgiveness. I didn't know there was going to be a test. Especially when I'm hungry and thirsty. I had a hard time paying attention for the rest of the service trying to think of who I wanted to forgive. By the end I had decided to forgive Michael Vick. As an animal lover and pit bull owner I've had a really hard time with this one. I haven't watched an Eagles game since they signed him. I said I'd forgive and I'm working on it. It's been harder than I thought. A question that most people probably just gave a moments thought has stayed on my mind.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Paper vs. The Computer

Do you remember when computers became available to the general public and you didn't need to build an addition on your home to have one? How it was touted that we would soon be a paperless society?

Well I don't know about you but I have a long file of computer printouts that need to be saved in case of some computer failure wipes out my life. I can't keep track of my passwords. When I need to make a new one their requirements are so rigid that my account is so secure I can't even get into it.

Now you can get a phone that is a handheld computer, text calls now outnumber phone calls, you can take pictures, watch tv and a whole list of things that I don't even know about. My phone takes pictures (lousy ones no less) and that's it. I like it that way.

I'm a paper person. I write lists. It's the only way I can keep track of things. If it's not written on the calender, it doesn't exist. I make lists of what meals we will be eating in the next two weeks, then make my grocery list from that list. I know I could have a PDA in my phone and keep my life tracked in there. But then I have to get my phone out, sign in, and look. In my mind that's a waste of time. Plus, I know me, I won't just look at the calender. I'll check my email, read my favorite blogs, read an interesting article that caught my eye and all of a sudden an hour has gone by. Right now I can look at the calender in the morning to see whats going on for the day. Yeah, I know when someone wants to set something up you have to talk to me at home so I can check the calender but if your really can't call me later just leave a message on my answering machine and I'll check when I'm home and let you know.

I love to read. There is nothing like holding a book in your hand and travelling through the story. So everyone says "you need a Kindle". Nope sorry, I love the paper. I don't have to worry about charging it, dropping it and spilling my coffee on it. If I lose my bookmark I just fold the corner down. (I heard that groan from the anti corner folding crowd). Check out this link on more of why I'm just a go to the library or local bookstore kinda girl. Hope I did that right, it's my first link.

So call me old fashioned. I'm not a techno phobe, I'm just not interested. I like it simple, and that's hard to accomplish today. I've found I waste a lot of time with all these time savers.

Oh, and many years ago my computer geek husband wrote me a simple program to keep track of all my phone numbers and addresses. I only used it reluctantly because, well, he wrote it for me and I didn't want to hurt his feelings. But I found it was great, he wrote it exactly for what I wanted. I still use it, even though he wants to "upgrade" it and add all these fancy bells and whistles. No thanks, it works, nothing needs upgrading as far as I'm concerned. The whole thing fits on two floppy disks (remember them) as a back up. Now I have to waste a cd for back up since my floppy drive died. I still have my paper address book because if my laptop isn't on I don't want to bother starting it up to look up a number. Did I mention my laptop is ancient?

As far as I'm concerned the best invention ever was the post it note.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

As server's overload with new year wishes and public displays of New Year resolutions I'd just like every one to know that you won't see a single resolution here.

In 2010:

Take one day at a time. Remember the glass is half full. No matter how bad things seem to be going, someone has it worse than you. Hug your kids, spouses, parents, friends, your pets and if you think you have none of the above give yourself an extra big hug.

Be Safe. Someone is depending on you.