Saturday, February 28, 2009

#9 way to change the world

This is for my friend, Kristin.

I know I don't REALLY have the power to take ownership of a day like this, but I hope you - and the universe - will forgive me for the taking the liberty of stealing away March 9th and asking if you'll consider engaging in a little random kindness that day.

March 9th, for those who don't know, is our son Thomas' birthday. This year would be his fourth.

In his obituary we asked if people would consider doing something good in his memory - no matter how small - because we thought he'd like that. A lot.

Every year since, we've asked people to keep up the wonderful and much appreciated good work by finding ways to make the world a little nicer, a little sweeter, and a little happier on his birthday.

Ripples into eternity, as they say.

It's impossible for your contribution to be too small. If all you do is make someone smile, that's enough. That's all we could ever ask for, in memory of our boy.

If you want to venture back here on the 9th and tell us what you did, we'd absolutely love to hear about it! If you want your act to be a secret, that's fine too.

As always, thank you so, so much.

We still remain in grateful awe of the unending circle of love and support.


Join the Facebook group.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Frugal Friday

Rite Aid Saturday night (last week's sale)
1 gallon 2% milk
15ct Claritin
2 Colgate toothbrushes
2 80ct Excedrin express gel
1 Pampers
----------------------
$23.96 out of pocket
$32.18 sale and coupon savings

Super Kmart Triple/Double coupon
1 Rubbermaid lunch container
1 Loreal kissable lip
1 Crest pro health rinse
2 Crest Whitening Expressions toothpaste
1 Gillette Fusion Power refill cartridges
1 Theraflu warming chest congestion
1 Maalox liquid
1 30 ct. Ludens
1 Johnsons Baby Powder
1 Lysol wipes
1 Pampers Jumbo
1 Chinet dessert plates
1 Clorox any surface spray
1 cheerios snack mix
1 Ocean spray cran-grape
1 Nestle break and bake cookies
1 Dole frozen peach slices
2 Freschetta frozen pizzas
1 Pedigree breath busters
1 Hershey's extra dark bar
1 donut
----------------------
Spent 51.79 out of pocket ($15 of which was those darn razor refills)
Saved $48.96!
Would have saved $5 more, if I'd had the brains to use a $5/$50 printable.

CVS
1 bag Lindt chocolates
1 Dayquil
1 Nyquil
2 Post Grape Nuts Trail Mix cereal
----------------------
Spent $9.27 out of pocket
Saved $15.08
Received $5 ECB

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

All done

Two years, four months...but it's done!

And because Sam is always wanting to snuggle with me under my afghans, we decided it was a good idea to make this one really big so Jackson and Anderson could snuggle comfortably with mommy.

I will try to get it sent out this week, Steph. I hope you like it.

Worry worry worry...then worry some more

Sam's teacher says he is really smart...and then she brings down the hammer...

loud non-stop talking
can't stay focused to finish work
disrupts other students


Sam has apparently had his desk moved out into the hall (on occasion...not a permanent relocation) so that he would shut up. But even then, he can't keep his mouth shut and he finds someone at the end of the hall to loudly jibber-jabber with across the distance. Yes, he is that kid. At least, that's what I would call him. That kid.

But even with this newest revelation at parent-teacher conferences last night, the teacher still didn't want to send home behavior reports because Sam "is possibly the smartest kid in the class" and she "has some students who have much worse behavior problems."

So...I'm gathering he's bad...just not that bad. Not bad enough.

And this idiotic determination that his bad behavior doesn't rise to the level of actionable just because he's smart...well...it leaves me unable to focuse my anger on him where it should be as a parent. Instead, a hefty serving of what-the-hell-has-been-going-on anger is reserved for this teacher. Other than the brief notation on his quarterly report cards, I have never received any communication from her about my son's behavior. I honestly did not know he had to be moved into the hall...ever. I was totally unaware that he has been disrupting other students. Six months this has gone on (and you can bet your sweet ass that Sam has never said there was a problem)!

I have a couple major issues (and a dozen or so ancillary minor concerns that I won't bother you with here). What are the kids like that the teacher does consider that bad? And regarding my child...how about we stop the bad behavior now so that he doesn't get to that bad? Does this teacher even understand the role she plays in setting up my son for the rest of his educational career? For example, she seemed shocked that we would request behavior reports. I'm shocked that she is shocked. How is it acceptable, on any level, to allow this to continue for six months before you discuss it with the parents? This is completely unacceptable behavior...and it is being addressed in a completely unacceptable manner.

There seems to be a complete failure of the communication system here and while I generally try to blame myself for my child's poor behavior outside of our home, I can't help but think this one isn't our fault. With paper and pencil, email, telephone and texting available, surely the teacher could have given me a heads up at some point? Or hey...here's an idea...she could even mention it when I'm at the school...every day! I don't think it's a totally crazy suggestion, do you?

And now I'm left feeling like I need to do something to clean up this mess. But I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. If the teacher can't keep control of the classroom...can't implement immediate rewards and punishments to reinforce good behavior...what am I going to do? "Remember when you were talking in class six hours ago? Now you can't play Playstation because of that." Seriously? How is that going to work? I mean, this is what we'll do and I hope I'm wrong...but I am fairly certain it's only going to serve to make us miserable at home without having any effect whatsoever on his performance IN school.

***today's update***
Sam completed all school work. Some papers were completed in hallway.

@&$^#%!

He's now been sitting at the dining room table for two-and-a-half hours completing four worksheet pages (three he didn't get done yesterday and one from last week). And one of those he only has to color. *sigh* I just want to cry.

***edited to add***
This was funny too...I waited for Sam in the gym the way I have been trained to do...for ten minutes. When he didn't show, I walked to his classroom door where I found him dressed and ready to go, but waiting for the teacher. She approached me with the above handwritten note about Sam's performance and said, "I promised your husband a daily form, but I can't seem to find it. I must have stuck it in a folder after the conference last night but I just don't know where." I'm beginning to suspect she has trouble keeping track of a lot of things.

Welcome to the world Baby Rosie!

Congratulations to Laura and the entire family on the safe arrival of Baby Rosemary!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Remembering Nicholas

In loving memory of Julie's sweet baby boy, Nicholas, on his fourth birthday.


photo credit

Monday, February 23, 2009

Big news!

The MOM Project has officially applied for 501(c)(3) status! Signed, sealed, and dropped in the mail to the Internal Revenue Service!

That means if YOU make a donation (and you're a US taxpayer) YOU can take a tax deduction for a contribution to an honest-to-goodness nonprofit! How's that for awesome?!?!

It was a long road, but we finally did it! Yay us!

A link to the donation page can now be found on my sidebar (thanks for reminding me M!).

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Do you refrigerate your rum?

It has been quite a day.

I got up early to go to an Animal Protective League meeting of the Board of Directors (of which I am now an official member...I guess that makes me a director). One member was voted off for failing to participate in any meetings since June (he was, no surprise, not in attendance). Another member (who was in attendance) was voted off for, shall we say, unprofessional conduct. Can you say awkward? (From the moment I was first approached about being on the Board, I got a bad feeling from this woman. But I figured it was just my social weirdness at play. Guess not.)

Before I went home, I swung by the bank and then, after a false start during which I realized I only have proof of insurance that expired LAST May, I went to the BMV.

The BMV is the entrance to hell. I'm sure of it.

I stood in line, presented my paperwork to renew my plates, and was told my driver's license expired on my birthday. Great. They don't take debit cards and the checkbook was at home (hence, the initial swing by the bank). I renewed my plates and left hurriedly to swing by the bank again. Returning to the BMV, I (again) stood in line...all the while contemplating the fact that my expired license was issued February 5, 2005.

Before.

I looked so happy.

I remember that morning before work. It was cold and bright...snow turning to slush...not unlike today.

It seems so long ago.

But I still remember all the little details...the way it felt...the way I felt.

As if that little trip down memory lane wasn't fun enough for one day...I (again) approached the counter, presented my paperwork, and paid my cash, only to hear another BMV worker proclaim from the end of the counter, "Don't take any more licenses...I can't get this printer to work." I waited another ten minutes for that worker's futile attempts to repair said printer. No such luck. My transaction was voided and I was given my 2005 license back.

I felt like crying.

But I didn't.

I'm not sure what that says.

I got home and loaded up my family to go pick up an antique sewing machine I got for free on Freecycle. Except my brain got things all confused and I drove to town A...the next town over...when the sewing machine was in my town all along. I only realized my mistake while driving around looking for an address we couldn't find.

Yes...I know.

After getting the sewing machine, which was right near where baseball signups were, we headed home to get the checkbook and forms required for...you guessed it...baseball signups.

Decided to get lunch and then go out to the store (we were completely out of dog food and faced a potential doggy riot if we didn't get some). Lunch from Subway carryout. LOST on the DVR. Baby Myles fell asleep. Hay that wasn't supposed to be delivered until tomorrow...was delivered today. Decided to run to the store. Snow. Went to the store anyway. Bought rum (having to show that damn license) and ice cream. Tried to achieve the perfect slacker trifecta by stopping for pizza for dinner...but the pizza place was closed (at 9pm...can you imagine?).

It's almost 10pm now and we haven't had dinner yet. Armageddon is on the TV and I'm on my second serving of rum (and am enjoying the rather warm fuzzy feeling).

But I still feel like crying.

So tell me...do you refrigerate your rum?

#8 way to change the world

The Center for Grieving Children, Teens & Families, Philadelphia, PA.

The Center provides a safe and caring place where children, teens and their families grieving a death can find the support to heal and grow through grief.

In addition, the Center provides educational and training programs to professionals and others who work with children and teens.


For all my crafty readers...

Quilts, afghans, prayer shawls or lapghans can be sent to:
Angels Embrace
Peggy Wicker
2408 Hamilton Ave
Roslyn, PA 19001

Blankets need to be at least 45" square or a little larger...any type is okay. For older children and teens, a good size would be throw size of 50"x60".

If you would like your "cuddleghan" donated in memory of someone special, please let Peggy know and she will attach that information to your blanket before sending it to the grief center.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Miscellaneous thoughts

--------------------------------
Nobody in my house listens to me unless I scream. I don't want to scream. *sigh*
--------------------------------
I had several client messes to clean up and have been buried under the paperwork required for issuing subpoenas. I'm not entirely sure I like being an attorney this week.
--------------------------------
Public school Valentine's party means exchanging valentines with everyone in the class.

Valentine from a girl in Sam's class...

"I'm glad God made us friends!
Happy Valentine's Day!
The Lord loves us very much. PSALM 117:2 ICB
"

Yeah...that's what I thought too.
--------------------------------
Recovery.gov

Say what you will about politics...this is an unprecedented attempt to actually inform the public about the activities of their government. We not only have the RIGHT to know, but our government is actually trying to be proactive and PROVIDE the information. Sure, it's not perfect...but I am impressed at the attempt to move into the new age of information and leave behind the age of "that's the way we've always done it."
--------------------------------
Pet peeve #9562856 = Co-counsel who feel the need to "correct" my work when, in actuality, they are doing nothing more than switching a few words around on the page. It's just rude.
--------------------------------
Myles is 15 months old today.
--------------------------------
Saw this on Facebook and it made me giggle...

The idea is to Google your name followed by the word "needs" with the entire phrase in quotes - e.g. "Keith needs." Post the first 10 you find (that are non-redundant).

According to the Oracle at Google, here are the things that I need:

1. Catherine needs to put her everyday chair in the car when she drives, she still prefers a rigid chair to a folding chair.
2. Catherine needs a sanctuary, periodic retreat from the world.
3. Catherine needs to go shopping.
4. Catherine Need Your Help!
5. Catherine Needs a Man.
6. Catherine.needs.no.explanations.
7. Catherine needs to go home.
8. In order to study manners, the character without manners (Catherine) needs both good models and bad.
9. Catherine needs to be wary of becoming too intellectual and airy, too removed from the personal side of life.
10. Catherine needs little introduction.

Other than #1 (which I don't get at all) and possibly #5 (on an average day...though today #5 is negotiable), I think this is pretty accurate.
--------------------------------
This is how unusual (and I think, pretty) my mom's first name is. When I search for it on Twitter I only get TWO results (neither of which are her).
--------------------------------
We got our federal and state income tax refund and used it to pay some bills that were due. We also were able to get Sam's birthday gift. His birthday isn't until May. I KNOW he's going to love it. I have to find the strength to avoid the temptation to give it to him early.

And yes, I know I just got rid of a bunch of toys...but things have been much better since then. He's actually enjoying some toys I think he forgot he had (now that there is room to play with them without endangering his physical safety). And I know, from experience, that he will take care of this particular new toy once he gets it (it's in line with other toys of the similar persuasion that he has taken excellent care of).

In saying this, I realize that I never got MY birthday present. I will have to correct that oversight today, I think.
--------------------------------
Busy weekend planned. I think I'm getting an antique Singer sewing machine for free off Freecycle. I'm so excited!

Just a bit more to do on the granny square afghan I'm doing for a friend. Ends weaved in on all those darn squares. Just trimming out the entire afghan with a row or two of edge stitching (photos will be shared as soon as the edging is done). ALMOST done. Two years isn't bad...is it?
--------------------------------
The MOM Project officially filed for nonprofit status with the IRS today! YAY! This means that from now on I will pester you all to donate directly through the organization's paypal site...and you can write it off as a charitable contribution too! Double YAY!
--------------------------------
I've offended a friend who I communicate with mostly online. I was sarcastic and made jokes at her expense. It was rude and I am sorry I did it.
--------------------------------
Speaking of friends...I'm having a Pampered Chef party next Friday and hope to have at least a few friends to the house for it. So far there are five or six who are a definite yes. Yay! But that leads me to my next worry...the menu (because after my social phobias have been resolved I must address my food obsessions)...

The "featured" dish is a apple dessert with hot cocoa to drink. I was thinking of having a couple different cocoas (one sugar free variety for those who can't have sugar). I also have a Tastefully Simple Butterscotch Brickle cheeseball I'll serve with graham crackers. Do I want to serve a "main dish?" I was thinking maybe chili in the crockpot...and some sort of crusty bread to go with. Help!
--------------------------------

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Viral marketing

(I love that term "viral marketing." It's so weird...yet seems somehow appropriate for this.)

Tertia has written a book that is now available on Amazon.

Meet, marry and make a baby: That's how it's supposed to go, right? What happens when you start trying for a family ... and trying, and trying some more? How far do you go to achieve your dream of having children? So Close is the heart wrenching, exhilarating, devastatingly funny story of Tertia Albertyn's battle with infertility. Tertia wanted a baby so badly she went through nine IVFs. Most people give up after the third. I don't think I am being brave at all. I am just too terrified NOT to try again. In her worst nightmare she could never have imagined that making a baby would take her four years, each treatment bringing her and her husband Marko closer and closer to creating their family. During Tertia's journey everything that can go wrong does go wrong. Until, finally, everything goes just right. Tertia is as hilarious as she is irrepressible, as approachable as she is knowledgeable. If you are struggling with infertility, have triumphed over infertility or have felt empathy with someone who is going through this experience, you will find a friend in Tertia.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I want to blog

I want to blog but I'm currently buried under piles of laundry, dishes, and work-related crap. Send help. Please.

***I'm so desperate I'm crying uncle and letting the baby play with the dirty shoes. It makes him happy and I have to say "no" a lot less...a win-win.***

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Nobody sent me a valentine.
I spent the morning doing dishes and straightening up the house.
My son went off to his uncle's for a sleepover with video games and pizza without so much as a "bye."
I had a very late lunch with Steve and Myles (that included pecan pie...yum) and resisted the urge to spend money unnecessarily on myself, though I did buy a couple small gifts for my brothers fiancee and their baby girl due in April.
I spent the evening sorting through toys destined for Goodwill.
I'm having a very late dinner (of boneless garlic chicken wings) and watching DVRed episodes of LOST with Steve.
I almost wish I was born during this time...

#7 way to change the world

Good Cause Greetings

Good Cause Greetings is proud to support nonprofit organizations throughout the world through the sale of our unique line of holiday greeting cards. The purchase of Good Cause Greetings helps end hunger, provide housing, medical care and education for world citizens and improve the environment for people and animals worldwide. Click on a charity logo to be linked to the collection of cards supporting that particular organization.

Good Cause Greetings works to support charitable and nonprofit organizations that meet high standards set by the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance (www.give.org) or the requirements for 501c(3) nonprofit status.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Miscellaneous thoughts

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At first I thought I had mysteriously come down with a weird case of eczema (never had it before in my life). But now I think I am allergic to my aluminum crochet hooks and yarn needles. When I spend a lot of time with either of these tools on my latest project, my hand breaks out in an extremely itchy rash wherever the hook/needle rests. I got a similar rash from a ring with an unknown metal content. I don't know...maybe it is just a weird case of eczema.
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A couple years ago we bought a used car. We have spent the last two years replacing almost every part in it. Does that mean we now have a new car?
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My colleague had her baby on Wednesday...weighed 6 pounds 12 ounces, 19 ½ inches. Mother and daughter are doing fine. It's now Friday and we still have not seen pictures.

A colleague in the criminal prosecution division also had a baby. Actually, his significant other had his baby. Bailey Paige was born on February 2, 2009 at 11:52 p.m. She weighed in at 7 lbs. 1.6 ounces and was 20 ½ inches long. And while we didn't even know (a) there was a significant other or (b) she was pregnant, they all stopped by the office the other day and I have already had the chance to HOLD that beautiful baby girl. I can't believe Myles was ever that little.
-------------------------------------------
I will have pictures of crochet projects soon. I promise. Even if you're not...I'm so excited!
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My cousin emailed me after reading what I blogged about Grandma's mug on my birthday.

As my parents (aunt N and uncle L) and Aunt P were going through the house last fall, they continued to find more and more mugs, especially in the closets upstairs. The mugs in the cabinet - not enough close to half of all that there really were in the house. They even found a box where all the mugs were carefully wrapped for storage in newspapers...from 1992!! I never knew how many there really were. (neither did I)

Also, a lot of the little paper tags were added more recently (you were lucky to find one with the actual Christmas tag in it). I'm not sure when it started, but Grandma made a list of all the mugs and dishes etc in the house over the last few years when she could still remember them. My mom (aunt N) typed up the list a couple years ago - well over 500 mugs with notes on when they got, who/where it was from, and what it looked like (enough to identify it). Mom (aunt N) has been printing off the little tags as they went through all the boxes. I liked going through the antique dishes (in the cabinets between the living room areas) - some were from Great-Great-Grandma F, others still had the $2 garage sale tag on them. It was fun.

In case you're wondering what might be happening to the "unclaimed" mugs (there's probably 100 or so of them still in my parents basement) and other random items - mom's planning a garage sale this spring. Dad (uncle L) keeps saying that anyone who comes in gets a free mug ... make a purchase - you get two! Should be interesting.


Anybody want a mug???
-------------------------------------------
Whatever else you can say about the state of Ohio...they refund your tax money FAST. I just filed on Saturday and the money was deposited today! Woo Hoo!
-------------------------------------------
When people say they are frightened of what government has become (or is becoming), I wish they would have to spend a day dealing with what I have to deal with...or what my criminal prosecution colleagues have to deal with...or what ANY public servant has to deal with on a daily basis. Then maybe they might change their tune. Maybe. I just wish everyone would know...we are trying our best to work with what you give us to make our communities better...and we are not your enemy.
-------------------------------------------
This is disappointing.
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The Congressional Budget Office has reviewed the conference agreement for H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, as posted on the Web site of the House Committee on Rules. We have enclosed two tables with this letter: one that summarizes the estimated budgetary impacts of the legislation and another, more detailed table that shows the budgetary effects by title. Combining both spending and revenue effects, CBO estimates that enacting the conference agreement for H.R. 1 would increase federal budget deficits by $185 billion over the remaining
months of fiscal year 2009, by $399 billion in 2010, by $134 billion in 2011, and by $787 billion over the 2009-2019 period.


It took us years to get in this mess (I'd guess about eight)...so I'm not expecting a perfect solution in the first month of a new administration...but I have a hard time believing this is the best we can do. My sister is a tax accountant...maybe we ought to let her give it a try. What do ya think sis?
-------------------------------------------
To those people who say they WANTED to read the economic stimulus bill but were unable to because the online version was too difficult to download...I call bull$#@!. But I'm cynical like that. :o)
-------------------------------------------

Frugal Friday


Out of pocket $6.34
($2 of which was for the Valentine's suckers for Sam's class)
Total savings $27.80

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Not so fast

I THOUGHT I could do something good for someone else. I THOUGHT I was strong enough emotionally to handle something as simple as giving blood. I mean, really, what's the big deal?

But when the nurse tested my blood and declared my iron level too low to make a donation...well...all the old familiar feelings of look-how-much-of-a-failure-my-body-is just came bubbling out. One drop of blood and I'm again lying prone at the bottom of the well of grief and self-pity.

Also on this fine rainy day when my body fails me again, I receive not one, but TWO job application rejections. As if the universe thought I could use an extra kick in the head...the ole one-two punch. I'm trying not to take it all personally, but for the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, enough already.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Much better

So I read back over yesterday's post and laughed and laughed. I was feeling a bit whiney...did you notice that? But in the light of a new day, it's really quite funny when Murphy kicks your butt on the day after your birthday. Speaking of my birthday...it was lovely. Thank you for the well wishes.

The birthday recap:

Saturday night we took baby stuff to my brother's house and then went out to dinner at Red Robin (love the birthday coupon for a free burger!).

Sunday morning I got to sleep late and then went to lunch with my mom at Panera...then shopping at JoAnn's and the Baby Depot at Burlington Coat Factory (my brother's little girl is going to be SO spoiled).

When we got back to my parent's house, I dug up some old photos from their collections (school, attorney swearing in, baby shower...some big moments that I seemed to lack photos of myself). Things I noticed: (1)I have never had any fashion sense; (2)The lack of fashion sense extends to my choices in eyeglasses; (3)I have worn almost every hairstyle under the sun at one time or another...and not very many of them looked good on me; (3)I'm a dork and always feel the need to make weird faces/gestures when my photo is being taken; (4)Growing up, my sister and brother were just as geeky as I was (sorry Becks...it's true).

At my parent's house, I also got to sort through a box of momentos from my paternal grandmother's house. She has Alzheimer's and lives in a nursing home now, so her house was cleaned out and sold.

As long as I can remember, she had this mug collection. She would buy mugs whenever she travelled (where the heck IS Wall Drug?) or whenever there was a big event (I remember the Prince Charles/Lady Diana set). She was also given mugs as gifts...from her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She proudly displayed them all in a huge glass-front cabinet that rattled if you walked past it with too heavy feet.

What I didn't know until Sunday is that Grandma kept little bits of paper in each and every mug to remind her when, where, or who they came from. There was the Purde University mini mug, bought as a souvenir when my father graduated college. There was the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame mug given as a gift from a young couple in love who never imagined where life would take them. And there was the Santa mug.

In fifth grade I spent my Santa Shoppe money to buy Grandma that Santa mug. Nothing special. In fact, it's kind of ugly and there are a zillion reasons she probably didn't want or need that Santa mug...but she carefully tore the gift tag off the package, slipped it into the Santa mug, and proudly displayed it in her mug collection. "To: Grandma Henry From: Cathy B______" in my red gradeschool hand printing. She kept that ugly mug and that little scrap of paper all these years. And I didn't know...until Sunday...on my 37th birthday.



Also in the box was a handmade teddy bear for Myles...the second to last teddy bear Grandma made to ever be given to a great grandchild (the last will be for my brother's baby girl when she is born in April)...and an afghan she made that still smells like it should be hanging on the back of her living room sofa.

It felt like I was getting my very last birthday presents from Grandma...and so I cried.

But then I got to go home and share my treasures with my boys...and eat steak and the chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and funfetti they had made together (for me)
...and snuggle on the sofa under Grandma's afghan to watch television together...and put them to bed and kiss them goodnight...and check my email to find birthday wishes from friends around the world (thank you so much, Holley, for thinking of Alex and Travis)...and have a glass of wine and crochet my own afghan for a friend...

...and I smiled.

Monday, February 09, 2009

What a headache

I went to bed last night joking how I'd had such a nice birthday I didn't want to go to work in the morning. Enter migraine headache. So, I didn't go to work...but it wasn't exactly how I'd wanted it.

And then I dragged myself to work for an hour this afternoon with Sam in tow, to be told the clerk's office wouldn't accept my subpoenas because they have decided I should have used a different form. Despite the MANY times they've accepted handwritten crap from pro se defendants on spiral notebook paper...as formal filings...MY form isn't correct and they won't accept it.

Not to mention the entire time I was trying to sort out the whole mess, Sam could not stop talking. Seriously, could.not.stop.talking. But when we loaded up in the van to go home...not.one.single.word.all.the.way.home.

And now he has handed me a folder of 17 unfinished worksheets (some unSTARTED even). His immediate (guilty) statement? "I wasn't talking!"

When asked what he was doing instead of his classwork he said, "I was just trying to think of the answers."

Yeah...I know. Things are SO not good with Sam and school...and I feel as though I'm losing the battle. He's now sitting at the dining room table behind me working on ALL the worksheets his classmates presumably finished IN class. But he's not going without a fight.

Draw a picture...he draws a blue square to go with a story about washing laundry...

"A blue square? What is that supposed to be?"

"It's a blue shirt."

"Uh, it doesn't look like a shirt, it looks like a blue square."

"It's folded!"

(me suppressing laughter and his quick thinking and creativity)

"Nice try...that's just lazy...draw something that looks like something to do with the story...not just a blue square."

And then there's the cat who is eating my plants...who opened the aluminum foil and ate my banana bread...who won't stay off my kitchen counters (and is, in fact, at this very moment, licking the spoon that I used to stir the spaghetti sauce for dinner).

Drinking is bad for headaches, right?

At least the baby finally stopped screaming. He has an ear infection and is on antibiotics that make him miserable. He, in turn, makes us miserable.

Fun times.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

#6 way to change the world


Valentine's Day Flowers from OrganicBouquet.com

We've chosen to take the high road in everything we do, from our relationships with our partner artisans and growers to our adherence to rigorous U.S. and international sustainability standards. We obtain our products from companies who provide safe and just working conditions and a livable wage, and partner with artisans and farmers who re-invest in their communities and take pride in their craftsmanship. And in an effort to create online connections and community, we share their stories. All our products are produced without animal testing or cruelty and are either vegetarian or vegan. We're a member of CO-OP America, the premier green business network in the United States.

Our responsible commerce includes:

* Contributing a portion of our proceeds to charitable organizations dedicated to supporting social and environmental causes. To date, we have donated more than $250,000 to our charitable partners.
* Meeting the highest social and environmental product standards set forth by the following certifying agencies: USDA certified Organic, Veriflora certified sustainable, Demeter certified Biodynamic, Fair Trade, Smart Certified, and Green-e.
* Employing eco-friendly practices whenever possible, by using recycled, recyclable, tree-free, biodegradable, compostable, post-consumer, wild-crafted, and/or all-natural materials, printing with vegetable-based inks, and using carbon offsets, renewable or efficient energy, and minimal toxic chemicals.

At Organic Bouquet, you'll enjoy eco-luxury at eco-nomical prices. We want our environmentally and socially responsible products to be affordable for everyone. That's another way we're making a difference.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Cleaning house, birthday style

The crap is outta here!

Seriously, stuff is leaving my house at record pace this week...and I couldn't be happier!

Too many toys...adios!

Baby stuff...to my brother and his fiancee...baby girl due in April (I thought I'd be sad about that stuff...but strangely I am not).

Care packages out to soldiers in Iraq (they had been collecting dust on my table since before Christmas).

Secret pal package out to my secret pal.

There is room to move in my house again! I can even see the top of my dining room table! Yay!

La la la la la la la la (doing my happy dance)!

And while at Target this evening to get a windshield wiper for my minivan...I happened through the housewares department and found a universal pan lid! I've been searching for one of those for the past YEAR! And it was only $10!

Things are good tonight...even if tomorrow I will have 37 year old cleavage.

Are there enough exclamation points in this post? Yes, I've been drinking. Never drink and blog!...or blog and drink (as I tried to type the first time)!

Wine is good. Birthday wine is even better. Happy birthday to meeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!

Math practice

I like to share when I find good online sites to help kids Sam's age learn. Today we found this math worksheet generator. He love it...and so do I...it saves us both a lot of work. lol!

Friday, February 06, 2009

He thought he'd call my bluff

Little did my six-year-old son know I had reached my absolute limit and I could turn into SuperBitch so easily (I honestly think I've been fighting my natural tendencies with him for way too long).

I said, "If you don't clean this up, I'm going to give these toys away to someone else who will take care of them and appreciate them."

And when he replied, "I don't care, give them away," I lost it. Really really lost it.

I threw everything that would fit into four trash bags. The bigger toys got carried downstairs to the staging area for re-homing.

And then I sat in the middle of the newly unearthed bedroom floor and cried.

What happened to my beautiful baby boy? my sweet and kind angel? It seems he's gone from happy little boy to sullen teenager in the blink of an eye. And he's only SIX!

I know a lot of this is my fault (yes, I still assign blame when things go horribly wrong). We overindulged him for several years as a way to mend our own broken hearts. Making him happy was as close to FEELING happy as we could get during those dark months. I think we were also trying to make it up to him...as if we could compensate him for all our broken promises with a million hot wheels.

But it now seems he just didn't care...about any of it. Not the meaning behind the gifts...not the gifts themselves. It's probably expecting too much of him to think he would understand what it means to us...what we hoped it would mean to him. All I know is that I fear for what our lives are going to be like as he matures...and the thought of adolescence is absolutely terrifying to me at this moment.

Anybody know any little boys who need/want some toys? You name it, it's probably in here somewhere.

Thank you Secret Pal!

I received an "incoming" message from my Secret Pal yesterday...and then a package arrived on my doorstep! And I have to say that I loved loved loved it! A copy of the Amsterdam coat I've been eyeing...with enough yarn to actually make it! I laughed and laughed at the note included, explaining why two skeins of the yarn were wound into balls (overeager two year olds and yarn...I feel for ya). The candy is missing from this picture because...well...it didn't last long enough to take a picture of (I LOVE Cadbury).
And look! My very own birthday cupcake! I love it!

Frugal Friday

Out of pocket: $1.76

This week showed me how bad our budget will be in the upcoming months. But with a little creative stockpiling during sales, I think we'll slide through until May (when we'll have an "extra" pay period to give us a little breathing room).

Miscellaneous thoughts

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Much has been made of tax errors made by Tom Daschle and Tim Geithner.

I have to carefully analyze what I think on these because one of my biggest clients is the county Health Department. I didn't know I needed a plumbing inspection after my home renovation. We all make mistakes that maybe we shouldn't. Now...if you want to make hay out of the potential conflicts Daschle would bring to the job, I'm with you on that.
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The link for this story is feds_padding_payrolls. I think that sums up the public's view of those of us who work in public service. But I just wish someone would take a moment and not spew such ill-though crap (and call it journalism).

I know a lot of private companies are "shedding jobs," but I have to wonder if that is because they don't have the money or if that is because they just want the money they do have to go to their CEOs and shareholders. See...where I work...if I get laid off it's because there is NO money...not because the money has been re-routed to someone who wants a European vacation this year. Further, if the guy at Microsoft Corp., Pfizer, Caterpillar, or Home Depot, is laid off, those companies are going to continue on without a problem. If I get laid off, that means YOU, the public, will have no service from this office (I'm one of two overworked attorneys in this particular division of this office...there is no way my colleague can pick up my workload plus her own).

Does the public really not see/comprehend the difference?

Padding the payroll? Not even close.
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Octuplets: I have seen such anger and hatred directed at this woman and her family during the past week or so that it makes me very sad. I wish them well in life.
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Michael Phelps is an idiot.
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Kudos to Pedigree for their dog adoption ad during the Super Bowl!
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You had a bit of a scare when baby wouldn't move for the Non-Stress Test (NST). And you still think the NST's are a waste of time?

"Better safe than sorry."

I actually said it.

And I didn't immediately regret it.

But I wanted to hit her in the face when she replied, "I KNOW...but..."

I wanted to scream.

I wanted...I WANT...her to understand that the unthinkable CAN happen! You're not immune just because they think they are. If your doctor thinks you need NST's, then you probably should shut the hell up and have the damn NST's.

And I want her to shut the hell up and realize that I can not bear to hear her whine about THIS. She needs to find someone else to whine to about THIS. Of all the things I can handle, almost four years later, THIS is not one of them.

Please.
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I'm realizing I'm still not nearly as "back to normal" as I thought I was.
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House, episode 44, Forever - should come with a warning for the deadbabymama viewers. It's the next day and I still can't shake it.

Fine! Go on in there and tell her that every day is a blessing! "So you killed your baby! Shake it off, think positive! At least you're alive!"... Hmm. Kinda hard to sell when you don't believe it, huh? And you never believed it. You just wanted all that crap you went through to mean something, well it didn't mean anything, it never does! Welcome back.

Here's my advice...avoid this episode.
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Sam and I have fun listening in on CB conversations we can hear on his Go Diego Go walkie talkies. Would it be shameful of me to ask for walkie talkies for my birthday? Not the cheap toy ones...but the ones you can get at Radio Shack for a few bucks.
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$1 can provide clean drinking water to a child for 40 days...or 40 children for one day.

I have volunteered for UNICEF's Tap Project. I was very excited to find a full volunteer packet on my doorstep Wednesday afternoon...very professional and polished thanks to Turner Broadcasting's sponsorship. I can't wait to see what, if anything, I can do with this.

I've also committed to volunteering for Friends of WomenSafe, Inc. They are strictly a fundraising organization for the benefit of WomenSafe, the emergency shelter and support services provider for domestic violence victims in Northeast Ohio. I have previously done some fundraising for a couple different local organizations, but had to leave those positions for various reasons. I am very excited to get back into it.

And keep your fingers crossed...it looks like I just might be the newest member of the Board of Directors of my county's Animal Protective League. It is a challenge I am ready to take on.
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Country music is wholly inappropriate for family listening these days.

Artist: Joey And Rory
Song: Cheater Cheater

I won't even type the lyrics here, I'm that disgusted.
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Monday, February 02, 2009

If you pray

Please say a prayer for Rachel.

If you don't pray, please hold her close in your thoughts...send her love...positive thoughts...whatever you have in you to share.

I am a realist who believes in miracles. So I hope for the best and yet steel myself for the worst.

Thank you Newsweek

Web exclusive dated January 31, 2009: Family Portraits, by Claudia Kalb

From the magazine issue dated Feb 9, 2009: A Vast and Sudden Sadness, by Claudia Kalb

Sunday, February 01, 2009

#5 way to change the world

Founded in 1987, United Animal Nations focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and into care through a variety of programs, including emergency animal sheltering and disaster relief services, financial assistance for urgent veterinary care and humane education.
They have four main programs...all of which are amazingly effective for a mainly volunteer organization.

Premarin Awareness Campaign-Educates women about hormone drugs made from pregnant mares' urine (PMU) and helps people adopt the mares and foals cast off from this industry who might otherwise be at risk for slaughter.
Emergency Animal Rescue Service-Shelters and cares for animals displaced by natural disasters and other crises, such as criminal seizures and hoarding cases, in the United States and Canada.
LifeLine Grants-Provides funding to Good Samaritans, animal rescuers, non-proft organizations and pet owners to help them care for animals in life-threatening situations.
Humane Education-Fosters compassion and empathy for animals and empowers people to make choices that improve animal lives.
Both of our mares are premarin rescues, so this organization holds a very special place in my heart.

At some point, Steve and I hope to get involved with the EARS program. We just have to wait for a training session to make it back to our neck of the woods.