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"

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 Since PA has rescinded its helmet law fatal motorcycle accidents have gone down.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?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy Birthday IT Guy!

Late on March 31, 1964 my Mom went into labor with her second child. At the time we lived in a small town. One where everyone knows everybody. And the local doctor has delivered just about everyone in town and accepts chickens for payment (well maybe not really but you get the idea).

I was first born. We lived in the suburbs at the time and I was born in a big fancy teaching hospital. All the latest and greatest equipment. My Mom went into labor, they knocked her out and when she woke up they handed her a baby. Ta Da! Just like that.

So my Mom is taken into a labor room in this tiny little town hospital. As was customary at the time, my poor Dad was banished to the waiting room. A nurse turns to my Mom and sweetly says, "This is your second, so you know what to do honey." and walks out the door. The way my father tells it; not to long after that he hears my mother yell at the nurse that she is a sadistic bitch. That prompts my father to go see what's happening, after all there wasn't this much fuss the first time around. They don't want to let him in but he isn't going to be denied. He arrives just in time for the doctor to say to the nurse, "give her more gas, there's another one."

That very simple statement was the first inkling they had that my parents were about to be proud parents of two babies, not just one, as they had anticipated. Ten minutes after IT Guy was born, baby number two made his way into the world. Both boys were healthy 8 pounders. It was the talk of the town!

Meanwhile, the clock had ticked past midnight and this surprise actually came early in the morning on April 1st. After day break my Dad, a well known practical joker, called his family who lives in another state to tell them how they are proud parents of two healthy baby boys.

My fathers' brother answers the phone. When he is told how his sister in law just gave birth to twins he becomes annoyed with his forever joking brother, tells him that isn't something he should joke about and slams the phone down. After my parents stop laughing they call them back to assure them that this isn't an April Fool joke and they really do have two new nephews. My father and his brother got many a laugh over the years repeating this story.

Happy Birthday IT Guy! Really, it's not April Fool's........