Monday, December 13, 2010

Movies - Legion

I just watched the movie Legion on Netflix. I had such a strong reaction to the film, I felt compelled to write a review. I've never done that before, so I took some time to read some of the other reviews first. Lesson learned...many people are stupid and I should NOT read the reviews on Netflix. They are pretty much useless.

I swear, if I had been in the same room as some of these mouth-breathers, I would have a sore arm from smacking them repeatedly in the back of the head. I feel sorry for film makers. They have to pander to the masses. They are the people with disposable income, I guess. I get it. But try and slip a deeper message into your film and you get a crapload of stupidity from those same mouth-breathers. The masses don't like it when you get too deep or preachy. "More action! Kill more stuff! It ain't an angel if it don't got wings! Why her? Why her baby? I'm so confused! The story makes no sense! Wah! God would never kill a baby!" Gah! Go sign up for a world religions course at your local community college, people, and get a clue.

God would never kill a baby? Really? Did you miss the part in the bible with the flood? What did you think happened? All the babies floated like rubber ducks for 40 days and nights? How about God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son as a symbol of his faith? Yes, I know. I am just pandering to the "bible is literal fact" crowd. I am firmly in the Bible is full of parables meant to teach through example and NOT literal fact crowd. Just trying to make a point.

Old Testament God was a wrathful God and not above doing some serious smiting. I do like the New Testament God better. The loving and forgiving God is much nicer. But then you take a read through Revelations and you see that old wrathful God is still in the mix. He may have promised to never send another flood, but there is more than one way to give the earth a clean sweep.

But I digress. I often do that. Back to the movie... while the action was cool, it was not the point of the film. Dennis Quaid did a good job portraying a man beaten down by life and poor choices. I don't know why so many people were knocking his acting in this. I thought all the actors did a great job. There was a mood and darkness to the film. Almost no sign of hope, until nearly the end. They did a nice job of leaving me hanging and wanting to see more of the story. I'd be happy to see a Legion 2.

This movie is not for zealots who think God is only loving and forgiving. It speaks more to the disenfranchised among us. Those force-fed faith as kids only to grow up and see the way the world REALLY works and where organized religion is failing us.

No, I haven't lost my faith in God. Just my faith in men who claim to be believers, but don't DO as they SAY. Words and professions of faith are meaningless if you go to church on Sunday but put people down, pass judgement on others and wait for someone ELSE to fix the ills of the world the rest of the week.

So I say watch the movie and look for the deeper messages. The action bits keep things interesting, but the beauty of the film is in the character interactions. Seeing the flaws we all have and how we can fail, epically, to overcome them, or how we can rise above them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Where is the love?

Last week, Tyler jumped into the van and settled into his seat with a sigh of frustration. I asked him, "What's up, bud?"  He vented about three of his friends. The gist I got was their lack of interest in trading Pokemon and the boys kinda poking fun that Tyler was still interested in his old DS games. He was quick to clarify that he still has friends who loved to play the same video games as him and that he has NO INTEREST in playing the games these boys play.

"What games do they play, sweetie?" I had a feeling I already knew the answer...probably something on another game system that Ty doesn't have and wants. His response shocked and then horrified me. "They play Halo and Call of Duty and junk like that, Mom."  What?!  I asked if he was sure about that and Tyler was adamant. That is all they talk about.

I was quiet for a moment as I digested this new information. "Mom? Are you mad? I know you don't like those games because they have guns...right?" I had to pull the van over because, suddenly, I was crying so hard I couldn't see where I was going. All I could say to Tyler was, "That's horrible!! Those boys are only 8 years old! What are their parents thinking?!" Ty gave me a pat on the arm and shrugged.

I was eager to blog about my thoughts when I got home that day, but I decided to sit on it for a bit. Just in case I was having one of my hyper-emotional days. But it's been over a week and I am crying as I type this, so nope. Not hyper-emotional. Still horrified.

To clarify, I am NOT against first person shooter games - if you are 14 or older! You need at least a scrap of emotional maturity to handle the graphic violence in those games! My gosh, Tyler has nightmares at the drop of a hat. After being exposed to the horrors in those kinds of games, I can only imagine the damage it would inflict.

8 years old, people. Those boys can't even SPELL Post Traumatic Stress Disorder...so they certainly shouldn't be suffering from it. Am I silly? Crazy? Does everyone but me allow their 8 year olds to play Halo and Call of Duty? Ugh.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Oh Wendy's...shame on you!

I took a few moments today to send an email to Wendy's corporate about our local franchise.

I am disabled and my husband or I pick up food from this location several times a week. For the last month I have been enjoying the new salads. This location has been rather notorious for messing up our orders in the past (adding wrong things to the burgers, forgetting parts of our order) so we have gotten into the habit of carefully checking the bags before we leave for our 10+ minute drive home. We, and perhaps they, are still getting used to checking for all the items supposed to be included with the new salads.

I can understand occasionally forgetting to give us the little bag of nuts, the salad dressing, the croutons, etc. Sadly, it is not OCCASIONALLY with this restaurant location. They consistently leave out something. Yesterday they didn't add the bleu cheese crumbles to my salad. That is a main ingredient IN the salad bowl and not something we would routinely check for. We were all too tired to drive back to the restaurant, yet again, to get the problem corrected. If there were another Wendy's located closer to us, we would stop going to this particular location all together.

I have a very strong loyalty to the Wendy's brand. I adored Dave Thomas, am adopted, as are my two children. Dave was a great man. I love Wendy's and usually cringe when my boys ask me if we can go to Burger King instead. But I can't blame them. They are tired of the mistakes and all the times we have to turn around and go back to have them fixed.

Honestly, I am starting to think the "mistakes" with the salads are deliberate. The salads are expensive and I imagine the condiments/ingredients that go into them are also. A franchise could save a great deal of money if they consistently "forgot" to give nuts, dressing, and other things to the patrons. I don't like being scammed. I'm sure Wendy's corporate doesn't want their loyal customers to be scammed either. So I wanted to make someone aware of what has been happening at this location so that the workers can be better trained OR the manager reprimanded for shady business practices.



By the way, I do LOVE the new salads. Keep up the good work, Wendy's.

So, yeah. My local Wendy's has royally pissed me off lately. I honestly think all these "mistakes" are a scam. I think the employees have been instructed to leave items out of the orders. It must earn the franchise owner a bundle from the cost savings. I mean, it's not like it's the same brainless employee every time. They can't ALL be that clueless.

At the same time, I really do love the new salads. I've lost 10 lbs in a month. I gave up regular soda, french fries, burgers...I eat a lot of salad. 

It must be rubbing off on the kids. The other night I made a healthy lasagna and low fat Caesar salad. Both boys actually ATE SALAD. They were upset when I ran out and they couldn't have more. I started checking for hidden cameras. Seriously. Tyler doesn't eat veggies. I can occasionally get him to eat some celery stix. But that is IT. He eats a fair amount of fresh fruit, so I don't sweat it much. Plus he gets his veggies in chewable gummy bear vitamin form too. He gets fish oil (Omega-3s and DHA) and calcium that way too. Thank the powers for tasty chewy supplements.

Shh! Don't tell him his nightly "treat" is good for him! He thinks he is getting away with something because we make him brush his teeth as soon as he is done chewing. Yep. I am aware of the bad rap gummy vitamins get and the rumor they cause tooth decay. So we are careful. But I know there is NO WAY that kid would eat fish. Ever. And trying to get him to drink milk is an exercise in futility. Plus I love how the boys fight to be the first ones to get their portion of vitamins each night. It amuses me. "Mom, can I have my gummies now?" "Noooo! I want to be first!" "Too bad! I asked first!" "Youngest goes first!" "No way!" "You got to be first last night!" "No I didn't!"

Heh heh heh. Wow. I really took a hard right turn on this entry, didn't I. But I digress...Local Wendy's? You suck! Wendy's restaurants, as a whole? Love you! Now... bring back the fresh fruit bowl! Those were awesome!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Post number 667...

I almost fell out of my chair when I saw my dashboard a second ago. My last post was 666. My brain flashed back to The Omen movies and I got a little wiggy. LOL

I just made this comment on FaceBook to my friend Heather - When I was shopping for costumes for the boys, I asked Tyler his opinion about a few choices. He saw a Harry Potter costume and told me "Sorry Mom, I don't want to be Harry for Halloween. Too bad it doesn't come in your size, huh." LOL He is SO right. I told him if they made a Hermione costume in my size, I would so get it.

See, we spent a good part of the last month of Summer on into September and now this month reading the Harry Potter series. We are up to book 4 currently. When you spend extra time in bed with health troubles, nothing makes ME feel better than reading with my boys.

Tyler likes Harry and his adventures at Hogwarts, but he hasn't taken to the books as strongly as I did when I first read them. Heck, I went to a midnight release party at Barnes and Noble. That was a once in a lifetime experience (J.K.R! Write some more Potter world books! Honestly!)

However, all the reading together DID have another desired effect. Tyler has fallen in love with the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series. When he isn't watching cartoons or playing video games, he is READING. Voluntarily! For FUN! I know, right?! Crazy good stuff. He just bought the Do-It-Yourself book at the school book fair and is filling it out, on his own. It's full of interview questions, like prompts or ideas for blog entries. I may have to mine from it!

Don't mind the Amazon links. Just experimenting with the new widgets here. I don't get enough traffic to ever make them really worth while, but they do look cool.

Next topic...

Today, as we were rushing to get to school on time, Ty paused at the back of the van. The van was covered in a thick layer of morning dew and Tyler saw an opportunity to make his mark. He wrote, "Tyler Was Here" in the mist. I could see it the right way around when I looked through the rear view mirror to back up out of the driveway. It made me laugh. Not an easy thing to do at 8 in the morning. Where did he even come up with that idea??? I'll have to ask him when he gets home from his haircut.

Max has his first school field trip next week. Pumpkin picking! He's been dying to do just that. I want to follow the bus with my camera in hand and capture every moment like I did for Tyler's first field trip (apple picking). But I know which farm they are headed to and it is NOT handicapped friendly. I'm tempted to just give Max my Flip camera so he can make movies of his adventure. Maybe I will... I can put my email address on it with the label maker just in case he drops or forgets it. I could get lucky. He is pretty responsible.

I missed the boys' apple picking adventure last weekend. Broken toe on top of everything else going on. But John was there to take some photos. Come to think of it...where is the camera he took? I want to see the photos! LOL Enough babble for now.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

¿Qué?

I composed a couple of brilliant blog entries in my head, in bed last night. Let's see what my sleep addled brain can spit out now that I've had another 2 hours of sleep and sorta remember what I was going to talk about.

First, I thought about adding a new blog feature - Becky's Thought of the Day. I would try and post every day with things that were foremost on my mind, crazy or not. That is dangerous, I know. I'm still thinking about it.  My 4am thought of the day was seriously funny. I wish I could remember what it was now.

The next thing foremost on my mind is the events of the past week. Mainly the vehicle factory recall that took my 10 year old Ford Windstar away from me. For those who aren't up to date on current events here (you need to Friend me on FaceBook!), we took my minivan in to have its rear axle, the reason for the recall, checked for cracks. If found, the dealership would replace it and provide us with a $30 a day allowance to rent a car. The repairs were estimated to take a month. My poor minivan had 4 cracks in the rear axle.

So! I needed a rental car and poor mom-mobile was left at the local Ford dealership. John figured he could get a better rate on a rental than Ford was willing to offer - they have a direct bill deal with Enterprise - and got me a great rate (less than the $30 a day) for a "full sized" car from Enterprise. What did I get? A Ford Focus.

Since when is a Focus considered a "full sized" car!?  As I practically sat on the ground in the tiny cockpit and tried to drive Max to preschool, I thought, "Maybe I can cope with this for a month..." 

Just for some more background; I've been struggling with some health issues and limited mobility (intense back pain, leg muscle weakness, knee and hip pain) and have needed to use an assisted mobility device. It's sorta like a walker with wheels, but it's very heavy. My doctor took pity on me and while I am going through all kinds of tests, he helped me acquire a handicapped parking placard/permit.

If you saw the designated parking spot at the preschool, you would probably be as outraged as I am. It is nowhere near the front door of the school, it's on a slope and a badly degraded area of pavement. There is a side entrance to the school, behind a hard to open chain link fence/gate, but the door is always kept locked. They left a wireless doorbell button sitting unattached and balanced on the doorknob for my use. Sadly, the two times I've tried to use it, no one answers.

John warned me that the trunk on the rental Focus was hard to open and wouldn't stay open unless you pushed it ALL the way up.  What he didn't realize is the trunk is broken on the rental car. The lid won't stay up because the hydraulics are shot. The lid just falls down at random.  I was struggling to lift my rolley (our nickname for it) out of the jacked up trunk when the lid shifted with the breeze, startled me and made me almost lose my balance and I dropped rolley on my foot. I was wearing Teva walking sandals and heard a sickening crunch as my walker landed on my little toe.

So one broken and nearly unusable trunk and one broken toe later, Hubby agreed with me that the tiny Focus was NOT going to work. Yes, there are loads more problems beyond the rental car, but we aren't prepared to take on the State to get the parking issue fixed...yet.  But we did take a ride down to Enterprise yesterday to see what else they had to offer.  I sat in a Chrysler Town and Country minivan, a Ford Ranger truck with an extended cab, a Kia SUV... I rather liked the truck. It was very high and roomy! The seats were quite plush. But the kids hated it. I said NO to riding in the open flatbed in the rear. Moms and child safety restraint laws can be such a drag to 4 and 8 year olds. *insert wry wink*

We all voted for the Town & Country minivan. It's way more per week than that full sized Focus, sadly, but I am LOVING this van. John wasn't entirely happy with how the vote went, but after driving the van home and Tyler to school today, I am really pleased.  I hadn't really noticed the gradual decline of our old minivan.  The shocks, the brakes, the steering, the acceleration, the handling, the comfort, the power sliding side doors and rear hatch on the new van had me nearly in tears of joy. Or maybe I was ready to cry because it was too early in the morning and I'd been writing this blog entry in my head since 4am. But seriously... that van is AWESOME!

The husband reluctantly conceded that our old van is, well, OLD and probably due to be replaced. Add to that the new fear of sudden rear axle failure (yes, they are repairing that, but...) and how many other things that just suck on the old van, I think a new minivan is in our future.  I've sold Tyler on the idea (no more booster seat and a rear entertainment package got him on my side) but Max is still reluctant. Max is very attached to the old van. It's the only car that has been around for as long as he can remember. John's company gives him a new fleet car ever couple of years and Max was a wreck when Dad had to turn in the slick black Impala that was his last car before his current Taurus.

Here is a question. Why is a "premium" car like a Taurus from Enterprise more expensive per week than a minivan? I'm not complaining! I like the van MUCH better than the cramped interior of the new Taurus. It just seems odd. Probably has to do with popularity, I would guess.

After I make dinner, I will get back to my online minivan shopping. So far the new Toyota Sienna is leading the pack with my choices. It's pretty slick looking! But I have a feeling all those options would cost a fortune. Something we don't have. I feel bad for my hubby. He told me weeks ago when he got the notice about the factory recall that getting a new car/van was out of the question. It's just not in the budget. Now, we're going to "make" it work. Wish us luck! And send warm skylight and dual rear entertainment system vibes!

Friday, October 01, 2010

...on bullying

I've talking about my experiences with bullying and bullies in the past on this blog (pardon the wonky formatting on that old entry - it was imported from my old AOL blog and things got so messed up.) I was so sad when I saw this Ellen video. She chose to focus on gay rights, which makes sense. But having read more about this tragedy, I think there are a number of issues at play.

The one I choose to focus on is the teasing/bullying aspect. How his own roommate could be so ugly and mean... His name was Tyler and he played the violin. Feeling it. Deep hurt and sadness for his friends and family. I am intimately familiar with the long term damage a suicide can do to the ones left behind. Also intimately familiar with the desire to die rather than face another day with people who treat you with hate.

More thoughts later. Way past time for bed.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

First Day of School

Tyler started 3rd grade today and came home melting from the heat with complaints that his new math book "weighs 2 tons!"  He has already proclaimed that "school stinks" so... so much for being excited to see his friends and reactivating his summer fried brain synapses. I do have high hopes for tomorrow, however.

Tomorrow is Max's first day of school. It's hard for me to believe it, but my baby is starting pre-school.  Tyler objected to my attempt to take the annual first day of school photo on the front steps, so I'll try that again tomorrow morning with both boys. I keep trying to prevent Ty from infecting Max with his negative attitude toward school. No luck. I asked Max if he was excited about starting school (for probably the 50th time) and he just said (with a mischievous grin), "No. I hate school."   *sigh*  He sure does love his new Thomas the Train lunch box and Disney Cars backpack, however.

Max has reminded me several times today about what he wants packed in his new lunch box for tomorrow. Thank goodness he has a broader palate than his big brother. Figuring out what to pack for Tyler is an exercise in total hair-tearing frustration. I convinced Ty to take apple slices today along with his usual selection of junky bags of Cheetos, pretzels, fruit snacks and juice pouches. What is the one thing he doesn't eat? The apples. [Update: Tyler just told me "Great lunch today Mom. Thanks!" LOL and *sigh*]

What does Max want to take for lunch?  A turkey sandwich, baby carrots, apple slices, yogurt smoothie, non-fat pudding and a baggy of goldfish.  He is nearly doing cartwheels over the thought of opening his new lunch box and chowing down. Bless him!

Please send us some good vibes and wishes of luck for tomorrow. My guts are in knots! I hope Max will be ok and not too nervous. Please let him get excited and happy. I hate to see my baby be scared and cry. :(

Now to decide what to do this long weekend. We had plans to hit Cape Cod with the grandparents, but hurricane Earl has decided to plow right through there. Thank goodness the hotel didn't charge us any penalties for late cancellation. Go away Earl!!! Ya bother me!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

...on being disabled

Bad news from the doctor yesterday. I hate rehashing my medical history every time I sit down with him. I've been seeing him for 8 years now. I know he has a LOT of patients, but I wish he would just read my file and refresh his memory before he sits down with me.

"Have you had any major surgeries?" Yes! Remember? I had half my reproductive system ripped out in my early-thirties followed by a couple surgeries to try and repair the mess that remained. The surgeon was more concerned with saving my life and not about cleaning out all the lesions and scar tissue from endometriosis. So the pain and diseased tissue still remains.

"Any accidents or trauma?" Yes! I was rear-ended by a drunk driver in my early twenties that gave me a life-time of back problems that have worsened over time. Add in the inward curvature of my spine and weight in front pulling my spine even further out of alignment plus the catastrophic slip and fall accident I had on Valentine's Day 2 years ago and you have my current circumstances. I can't stand for longer than 1 minute without extreme pain and I can't walk further than 10 feet without needing to sit down. You approve of my need for a handicapped parking placard? Swell. Thanks for that.

You want me to see a cardiologist? Why? My heart and lungs sound fine. My blood pressure is a little elevated? Well DUH! You just got me crying and hyperventilating over my health-history rehash. Not to mention the long-ass walk from the parking lot, to the elevators, and to your office which is the furthest away from the waiting room through a maze of hallways.

So I come away with scripts for blood pressure meds, something to help with swelling in my feet and lower legs, potassium to replace what the other meds strip away...and no mention of help for my pain levels or physical therapy. Again. Why do I go through this every year or two?

This time you want me to come back in 4 weeks to go over blood work results, what ever the cardiologist has to say and to see if the meds are "helping". *sigh* I'll try again to get help for my REAL problem. Maybe the direct approach, since my tears, cries of pain whenever you press on the bad areas of my back and other hints that I need help with pain management are being ignored.

I am NOT some drug-seeking loser addict. I've only been on something stronger than over-the-counter Tylenol 3 times in my life. After my abdominal surgery, when I had my wisdom teeth removed, and the 5 pills your associate was kind enough to give me for my pain after my fall.

I think when a person's quality of life is in the crapper because of chronic pain, something needs to be done. I do appreciate the recommendation of a bariatric surgeon. Best in the area, you say? Awesome. Too bad he doesn't take my insurance any more. The alternative? Your referral person said "I think this guy still does that kind of surgery sometimes...I'll check and get back to you."  Oh. How warm and fuzzy I feel. Do you honestly think I'm going to trust my digestive tract to some hack?

I guess I'll go and get all those x-rays you ordered now, Doc. Funny thing...didn't I just have a conversation with my mother about her bulging disks and how they didn't show up on x-ray? Only an MRI showed the damage. Peachy. I am probably going to get irradiated yet again for no good reason. Throw in a mammogram just for fun? Ok, sure. Why not. I have to stand up for that, right? For a long time, if I recall.

I wish I knew how to just demand what I need. I keep trusting that my doctor knows best. That he will help me once he knows all the facts. So why am I sitting here dreading my trip to the DMV to get that placard that I desperately need? I'll have to STAND in a line. I don't know if there is anywhere to sit or if I'll be able to stay in that line before the need to sit down forces me to give up my place.

Every day is a new challenge - and my family wonders why I never want to leave the house. I don't want to worry my kids, so I hide the pain. They know there are a lot of days when "mommy isn't feeling good" and it makes me sad. I think about the life I want to have and how, if this pain would go away, maybe I could get some exercise and lose weight with out needing surgery to do it. So simple. Why am I the only one who sees it?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Books are Dead?

Last night I finished reading the last of the paper bound books I had waiting in a pile on my nightstand. I told myself that once I'd read every bound book I owned, that I would never again buy another. The last paperback I will ever read? Extras by Scott Westerfeld. (Great book series, by the way.)

Don't panic. I can't give up reading. I would go insane! I am buying a Kindle from Amazon! I've been researching these digital book readers for about a month now and the Kindle is the best fit for me. I'll have instant access to almost any book I want, the ability to make the type larger once my eyes go (I hear this is inevitable), save a few trees, and give my poor arthritic hands a rest from having to hold these gigantic hardcover volumes I've bought so often in the past.

The irony? In the last book series I read (Scott Westerfeld's Uglies) paper books are things you see in a museum display or special collection at the library. Everyone uses special view screens to do their reading. Heh.

I know writers who are convinced that bound books will never completely die...but as they make these reader devices better and better, I see paperbacks becoming a rarity. I can get a new release seconds after it goes on sale. No waiting for shipping or wasting gas on a trip to a bookstore. I can get a new book in the middle of the night to combat insomnia. No trees need to die. Plus the Kindle editions are way cheaper than buying a first edition hardcover book.

So I had this brilliant idea on how to pay for my Kindle (and maybe send the boys to summer camp next year too.) I read a blurb in the AARP magazine about a couple websites that would buy back your gently used books. Since I have more books than the local public library, this sounded like a gold mine! I checked out cash4books.net and sellbackyourbooks.com to see what kind of prices they would offer me. I had a tall stack of hardcover and paperbacks that I knew I would never re-read and were just gathering dust on my bookshelf.

It took 10 minutes to enter all the ISBNs. The result? Zilch. Nada. No sale. I read the fine print and discovered they don't buy any books published before 2007 (say what?) and even then not every book is in demand. I was miffed! It felt like a knock on my taste. I have an awesome book collection! Any geek would drool.

I moved on to check out Amazon resellers and Ebay. I checked just one book from the stack (a first edition hard cover.) Amazon had over 100 people trying to sell the same book. Ebay had even more. That was a total buzz kill! So it looks like me and my piles of dust collectors won't soon be parted. I feel like each volume has an expiration date. How long before the stacks are all obsolete and considered worthless?

*groan*

I spent soooo much money on these books. There has to be someone out there who wants them. Any ideas, gentle readers?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Leave a message! *beep*

My mother has been complaining about our answering machine message for months now. Personally, I think it's adorable! Then again, they are my boys doing all the talking. I don't find Max hard to understand. I think him yelling LEAVE A MESSAGE at the end is clear as day. ;) That is the most important part, right?

My mother's latest argument is "No one has their kids record their answering machine message. It's not proper!"  *snort*  No one has ever accused me of being proper, right? But seriously, I have a bit of a problem with her conclusions in this case.  How many people with school age kids does she know? And how many of them does she call regularly?

So here is my very unscientific poll. Do you currently or have you ever allowed your kids to record your outgoing answering machine message?

While I wait and see if anyone responds, I do plan to record a new message. Well, the boys will be doing all the talking. They are older and wiser. Tyler no longer talks like he has a mouth full of marbles (even if he still talks at the speed of light) and Max has lost a lot of his toddler lisp. He still has trouble with his S sounds and is a little Elmer Fuddy with R's, but it's cute on a 3 and a half year old!

Sorry Nana, when I call my friends I smile when their machine has a message recorded by their kids. It's so much cuter and I find myself more eager to actually speak at the beep. Computer generated messages make me wince (unless they have a British accent.) An adult voice reciting the number I called with an abrupt order to leave a message makes me want to shake my head and hang up.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Brutal Truth

I found out some things about my bio-mom a couple weeks ago that rocked my world.  My first instinct after breaking down for an hour was to come here and spew all my thoughts, rage, emotional bile, and insanity. Somewhere in the upheaval the cool voice of reason talked me down. I've burned myself in the past when I've come here and shared everything that was going on in my head. Now I check myself. Those emotion fueled rants made for compelling reading, but they also tended to piss off family member who didn't understand where I was coming from or how loony PMDD can make me at times.

So here I am, having spent a considerable amount of time stewing over things and feeling like I have an even better and more unvarnished view of where she came from.  I understand now.  It hurts like hell, but I understand. I wasn't part of one of those story book dramas where the young girl was forced to give up a child she loved and wanted to keep, but for whatever reason, was not allowed to.

Nope. I wasn't wanted. Given the era, where she lived, the families involved...she had no choices. She was forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, was sent quietly out of town to deliver, and then tried her best to just forget the whole mess and move on with life. I try to see myself in her shoes and it just horrifies me.

I am sympathetic. Really I am. But at the same time, I am glad abortion wasn't legal. I wouldn't be here. No dancing around the truth. I would simply not exist.

I wonder how my unique viewpoint would sit with her rabidly pro-choice daughter. How would her view of the world shift if she knew about me. Why her mother raised her with such liberal and feminist ideals. Yes, mom was a child of the 60s and a bit of a hippy, but she has NO IDEA how far down the rabbit hole really goes.

Well, little sis - you and I will never see eye to eye on the whole pro-life/pro-choice debate for obvious reasons. But it would be cool to argue with you. I have a feeling, however, that you and I will never get the chance. I think mom is afraid of what your reaction, in particular, will be to finding out about my existence. Little bro, on the other hand, would probably just take the info in stride. Sis and I are too much alike. Sensitive and deeply emotional with a tendency toward depression and an epic ability to take things too personally. Must be genetic.

Just know this, we have a lot more in common than mom thinks. Don't judge me just because I was raised by uber conservative Catholic Republicans. My personal viewpoints and politics may as well be from another planet when compared to my parental units. I am my own person. A "non-conformist" as my mother always calls me. Hey, Tarzan was raised by apes and he turned out ok. KWIM?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer of 77

I have a basket of trinkets on my dresser in the bedroom under a stack of mismatched socks waiting for their sole mates to return to them. Heh. Is it wrong to chuckle at my own puns? I was digging for a match today and pulled out a braided yarn necklace I made when I was 13.  That put my mental way-back machine on overdrive.  Who taught me how to braid?  It certainly wasn't my mother.

It came to me in a flash...Pam Launder. Suddenly I was transported back to the summer of 1977. Pam's family bought one of the few contemporary split-level homes on my street. Her dad had been transferred by his work to the east coast from California. I remember being impressed by that fact. That and the fact that Pam was so much cooler than all the other kids on the street. She dressed like one of the beach kids from Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. She also wore thin braids, one on each side of her face, that she would sometimes decorate with a feather or beads on the ends. Just like a real California "hippy". Like my Dad always said...California was full of hippies and liberals. (Feel free to roll your eyes. I just did too.)

While most of the girl cliques on the street shunned Pam at first, I welcomed her. It was exciting to have someone new to hang out with and escape from the constant in-fighting and gossip from the other neighborhood girls. Pam was more like me. She was used to moving around a lot and having to make all new friends, start over in a new house and at a new school, and just get comfortable when you would be uprooted and have to do it all again.

Pam and I shared a love for music that none of the other girls did. I remember sitting in her room (or mine) and playing our Shaun Cassidy records over and over... He was soooo dreamy. I was jealous that she was allowed to hang up the free poster than came inside the album. I wasn't allowed to hang anything on my bedroom walls. Mother said it might damage the wallpaper. (Yes, I am rolling my eyes again.) But I did get away with hanging him (and later The Dukes of Hazzard) on the back of my bedroom door. 

Pam was the one who totally busted me for secretly kissing my poster of Shaun. I denied it! But she pointed out my lip prints on the glossy paper. She was also the one who taught me how to braid my hair. I tried her look a few times, but my dad picked on me and called me Pocahontas, so I gave it up.

I even remember having lunch at Pam's house one time. Her mom asked me if I liked tuna salad. I loved tuna! Or so I thought. Pam's mom used Miracle Whip and pickle relish in her version of tuna salad. Ick! Who does that?!  Everyone knows the proper way to make tuna salad is with Hellmans, diced green pepper and celery. Right? That's how MY mom made it. I remember running home and telling my mom all about the horrors of Mrs. Launder's tuna. I didn't realize until years and years later why that news seemed to make my mom really happy. Moms like it when their kids praise their cooking skills, FYI.

Then, after only a year or so, Pam's dad was transferred again and she was gone. We did the pen pal thing for a while, but lost touch as kids are prone to do at that age.

So! Pam Launder! If you remember spending a short time on Cot Hill Rd in Bedford MA in the late 70s, drop me a note. I enjoyed being your friend and remember you fondly. Plus I can give you credit for the long braid rat tail I sported in the late 80s. Amiee Mann gave me the hair-style idea, but I wouldn't have been able to pull it off without your braiding lessons.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dusting off the Cobwebs

I figure I better write something (anything) before I forget how. These days, when ever I get the sudden urge to write here, the timing just doesn't work.

Right now I am watching Netflix battle with my internet connection and other computer users in the house. I am competing for bandwidth not only with my neighbors along the chain, but also with my own family. Every single last one of them is a bandwidth hog! Look at this:

Aren't they cute?! The boys each have
their own computer, side by side. Here they are playing ToonTown together. I get mixed emotions watching this scene. Pride, a little teary, relief that they aren't fighting, giddy with a touch of depression that they are both growing up so fast. It makes me dizzy!

Tonight I have one boy watching Thomas the Train on Netflix, the other playing some new online game, the hubby running multiple sessions of Second Life and me...waiting not so patiently for my Netflix movie selection to rebuffer because my "internet connection has slowed". *sigh*  So, yes, add in a touch of frustration to my emotional mix. Get off my net, you resource hogs! I love you, but can't you all just go play on the Wii or something? Ha ha!

But seriously, I am proud of my boys and their growing computer skills and ability to cooperate.  Plus, my movie is back on. Yay!  Back to watching "Cashback". The only thing saving this movie from being boring is the British accents. Funny how a nice accent can spice things up a bit.

Monday, February 08, 2010

I'm alive!

Since Max was hospitalized last summer, there really hasn't been much to write home about. The days began to run together in a bland parade of routine occasionally broken by a birthday or holiday. Those events were chronicled in pictures and posted in the usual places, but I didn't have the energy to write about anything.

Anything important or funny was reported on the spur as a blurb on FaceBook and I left it at that. But yesterday and today marked a major milestone for Max so I couldn't let the occasion slip by without note.

I've made 3 serious attempts to initiate potty training with Max and each time we discussed how the process worked, watched Elmo's video about all things potty related, played with Potty Time Elmo, and read all the potty bedtime stories in my arsenal - and all 3 times I was met with serious resistance. He just was NOT interested in trying anything but his trusty diaper. I decided this time around I was not going to press the issued at all. I would wait patiently until Max showed he was ready.

Two days ago Max rediscovered Elmo and his potty. He spent the afternoon helping Elmo drink from his sippy cup then race to the potty when he needed to "go". After a long day of potty play, I suggested one of the potty story books at bedtime. Max listened intently and asked a few questions about Henry and his potty.



Yesterday evening, Max followed his Dad into the bathroom (as he often does). Next thing I knew, John was shouting that Max had peed in the potty. Squeee! I was so excited I cried.

Today was Pee-Fest 2010. All day Max has been running to the bathroom. A lot. Once Tyler got home from school, big brother became the pee-fest master of ceremonies and followed Max to the bathroom to supervise and give advice. "Drink more water! Then you can pee MORE!" Yes, thanks Ty. It wasn't long before Tyler was shouting that Max had peed, standing up, into the big potty. Minutes later Ty was asking me where the potty seat for the big toilet was located. Max was ready to sit and try pooping.

I was nearly hyperventilating. Was it possible he was going to learn how to do it all in ONE DAY?!

Yep.

He perched on his new throne and did his thing. I was summoned to the bathroom again with shouts of "He did it!" "Look at all that poop!" "Wow, it's huge!" "Wait! Don't run away naked! You need to WIPE! Max! Come back!"

I'm so proud.

So now Max is parading around the house proudly sporting his new race car pull ups and trying to remember to keep them dry. We'll see how the next few days go. It's all a matter of coming to terms with using the potty all the time. Not just when it's fun.