Thursday, December 29, 2011

Holiday Hell aka No Good Deed...

Ok, gotta get this off my chest. Hopefully you guys will throw me a bone and share a holiday from hell story from your past or present so I don't feel so crappy. LOL

My ex-father-in-law is a narcissistic control freak. I've talked about him before and about my issues with him. Both of his children have fled the state and want nothing to do with him. My ex-hubby's inability to deal with him played a part in my decision to divorce.

As the mother of his two oldest grandchildren, I've basically inherited the irascible bastard. After my divorce from his son and over the years, we've hammered out a civil relationship based on---"you follow my rules or you don't get to spend time with my kids".

It's not malice on my part. I recognize the need for my kids to having loving familial relationships. But I also know why Ex-FIL's kids want nothing to do with him. He was an autocratic, abusive bully.

Having f*cked up with his own children, I have to admit that "R", as I'll call him, has worked hard to stay on my good side and has worked hard to be a good grandfather over the years. We've come to have a mutual and tentative respect for each other and our roles in the boys' lives.

Now he is in his 70's, lives alone in an assisted living place, where he scares the crap out of the other residents by bullying them into joining him in his self-styled regimen of diet and exercise. LOL He gets around ok, it's just that he's had some financial and medical setbacks over the past few years.

And he's starting to lose what mind he has left. You know what I mean---some older people get to a point where they just don't care about good manners or they revert back to being the same asshole they were before they started "mellowing".

This year for the first time, he's started trying to march Hubby and I around like we were his actual children, not people who put up with him for the sake of the grandchildren.

Against everybody else's better judgement, I invited R for Christmas dinner. I mean the guy has NOBODY. He's chased his own kids away, and has few friends. I just knew that I couldn't stand the guilt I'd feel thinking that he would be alone for the holidays. And hey---it's good for the kids to spend a little time with him, as tough as it can be (R is the kind of person who has to be the center of attention and monopolizes every conversation to make it revolve around himself, his life, his opinions).

I said, "We'll have dinner and festivities from 2 to 4, so that will give you time to drive home while it's still light" (it's about an hour and a half drive).

Christmas Day dawned early and bright. Got up early, put the stockings under the tree, made breakfast. All the kids (including Kitty) were here, as well as a friend who has been staying as a houseguest. Had a lovely time opening gifts.

Then it hit me. I hurt. I hurt everywhere. From my scalp (which felt like it was on fire) down to my toes. My back ached, my hips ached, my legs ached. I was exhausted and could barely move.

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a few years ago. It's been very mild so far and treatable with aspirin or advil. I guess this was my first big "attack". I was down for the count.

Went to bed and woke up a couple of hours later. If possible, I felt worse. My friend said, "You know things are bad when even your eyelashes hurt". Luckily I had prepared the entire Christmas dinner in advance and all it needed was to be heated in the oven. Hubby to the rescue!

As usual, Ex-FIL called to say he would be late, never taking into account that he would upset plans other people made for the rest of the day. Hubby tried to head him off at the pass, saying that I was ill and that we should get together another time. But no, that would be too easy. R was "on his way" and nothing would stop him.

I woke up long enough to chat with him (and apologize for my state) for about 15 or 20 minutes before collapsing back into bed. The kids were kind of freaking out---mom sick? Oh no! The world is ending!

Slept through most of the rest of it, so it was relayed to me by the survivors.

After the meal and visiting, he Just Wouldn't Leave. Even though the Aspiring Adult had plans with his friends and Kitty and Big Kid had to go see her parents, R's car was blocking them in the driveway and he Just Wouldn't Leave. Finally, after ignoring hints and their obvious desperation, Hubby asked him to move his car (it was around 5pm at this time). He moved his car, parked it back in the driveway and parked his ass back on the couch.

Some time later he mentioned that since he was already down here, he thought he'd spend the night and go see some of his friends in the morning. Sorry Dude, no room at the inn. I mean really, where did he think we would put him? Our houseguest is sleeping in Little Guy's room, and Little Guy, Big Kid and Kitty were bunked out in sleeping bags up in the loft.

So he "instructed" my hubby to find him a motel in the area. He was willing to pay $35 a night.

Was he freaking serious? Really? On Christmas? Up here in a mountain town? Even in the off-season, you can't get a room up here for $35 a night.

Hubby, with infinite patience I might add, called up the locals. No go. So R called down to the city (about a half an hour away) and found himself a room. Told them to expect him around 8 or 9pm. Oy.

Around 7, I stumbled out of our room. I heard R's voice and thought I was hallucinating. I turned around and went back to bed.

A little later, just after Hubby had packed up the remains of Christmas dinner and cleaned the kitchen, R says to him. "Since all of the restaurants are probably closed, how about making me a meal to take with me?"

As it turned out, Hubby and Houseguest spent hours entertaining my ex-FIL long after the kids had bailed and left the reservation. Of course that meant listening to the incessant monologue about his life, his interests, his political opinions. He even went out to his car and brought in a bag of jewelry (that was his hobby before he retired) to show our houseguest every piece "because she was so interested" (she wasn't). And then tried to sell her some because he's hard up for cash.

I've apologized over and over for abandoning them to what is essentially, a problem person that I have inherited. They've been very kind about it, but it was a very stressful day. I slept for a day and a night, and felt 100% better afterwards.

The worst part is that next year I'll feel all guilty because he's alone and invite him again, because I always forget THERE'S A REASON HE'S ALL ALONE!!

Grrr.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Synchronicity

Well, I actually had a Holiday from Hell story, but I'm trying to be upbeat and positive. LOL

Maybe I'll share it later in the week if any of you have similar stories to tell.

As many of you guys know, I'm adopted and that after a long search and journey, I finally found my birth family about 10 years ago. My birth father didn't want to acknowledge a relationship, which I respect, but I've developed a close, loving and lasting relationship with my birth mother and her side of the family.

Many people who grow up within their intact biological families take their shared traits and experiences in stride as being part of a tribe. Is it nature or nurture? Really can't tell.

Parents who adopted from my generation were told that we were little "blank slates" ready to be imprinted with whatever they could "nurture" into us. "Nature" had no value in the psychology of the 60's.

Fast forward a number of years. Many adoptees and birthparents who've reunited have reported eerie happenings of similarity and parallels in our lives.

We call it synchronicity.

As an example, one adoptee I know moved to Arizona because her husband was transferred in his job. She had never lived there, didn't know anybody, or have any friends there, so she volunteered at a terminal cancer ward in a local hospital to bring books and visit with patients there. They were there for about a year.

A few years later after they had moved away and when she had a successful search, she found that her birth father was one of the terminal patients she was ministering to.

How freaky is that?

So here is my synchronicity story.

My birthmom's birthday is around Christmas, so I always send her two presents together. One is her favorite perfume, the other is totally random.

One year I was looking at designer purses online. Since I can't afford the REALLY expensive shit (Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade, etc), I was looking hard at some lesser designers. One designer I really liked, but I rethought it, because buying somebody a purse is as personal as buying underwear. I passed, and bought her something a little more neutral.

What did she send ME for Xmas? The purse I was loving and thinking of sending to HER!

Another year I sent her a zippy red patent leather tote that I thought she would be stylin' in. Turns out she bought the very same tote for a good friend of hers for Xmas.

The year I was diagnosed with heart failure and lost 100 lbs of water, my skin was really loose and dry. In early December I searched around to find SOMETHING that might help me retain some elasticity and decided to splurge on some Clinique Watertherapy (out of the blue. Normally I buy something cheap like Jergens or Vaseline Intensive Care).

What did she send me for Xmas? A basket of Clinique Watertherapy!

So this year, birth mother made a move farther up the east coast where it gets cold, cold, cold. I sent the same favorite foof, and thought I'd send her something to reflect her new climes. A cashmere scarf and gloves.

What did she send ME?

A fantastically gorgeous scarf and gloves. LOL

We had a huge laugh over it. It was another WTF moment.

I talked to my Mom about it today (my adoptive mom). She was one of the parents that the adoption agency told that "nature" was irrelevant and that I was a little blank slate she could imprint herself on. We had another laugh over it all.

She thought she "broke" me because I ended up so quirky.

Mom's so relieved to know that it's all genetic and not her fault.

Snarf.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

'Twas the Week Before Christmas




‘Twas the week before Christmas, and in the Attila house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung on the mantel above,
The guys hope Mom will fill them with love.
(Or better yet, cash)

My offspring were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of I-phones danced in their heads.
Hubby in skivvies and I in my sweats,
Were dreaming of all our holiday debts.

When out of the phone there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
I ran to answer, it was 4 in the morn
Who could it be? It was my first born.

"Are you ok?” I breathlessly said.
"I threw up" he cried, "and I pooped in the bed!”
His voice was filled with such angst and doom;
I convinced him to nix the emergency room.

"It sounds like a bout of the stomach flu.
You will feel better if you follow these rules.
Nothing to eat or drink, just a little water,
and call me later if you start feeling hotter.”

In 24 hours he was a new man,
But then Kitty was puking it up in the can.
We heard on the news of the flu going round
It was another day ‘til she could keep any food down.

The next day my youngest called from his job.
"Mom I’ve got a really big prob.
I’ve been hurling and crapping all morning long,
They won’t send me home and that’s just plain wrong!”

A day after that the kid passed the buck.
Little Guy was awash in a ton of upchuck.
He was so sick; he didn’t fight,
Spent the day in bed sipping broth and flat Sprite.

Two days later I thought we were out of the woods.
Then I woke up and didn’t feel so good.
In fact, I felt sick as a dog;
Was it the flu or the shits from too much egg nog?

Now we’re all better, but stomachs are tender.
If we receive fruit cake, it’s “Return to Sender”.
Christmas dinner is here in our little venue,
So I asked the boys what to leave off the menu.

No eggnog, no pickles, no pumpkin pie,
No bean salad or coleslaw for any one of the guys.
No seafood, corn or even glazed carrots,
And a list of still more; they won’t even dare it.

Christmas dinner in our house will be a bland affair,
But I can serve mashed potatoes with a definite flair.
I wish for the Holidays that your bowels stay tight.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Love from the Attila Family!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

More Angels

Just got done with our final Holiday Show, and I have to say it completely wiped us out!! Although the weather was really crappy and snowy, there was a decent turn-out, and as for volume---I think we did as good or better than most of the vendors there!

My hubby was a saint. Because parking was limited and far away, he came every hour or so, and picked one of us up and dropped one of us off. That way we always had two people at the booth, but was able to have a breather---work two hours and take one off.

When it was my turn, I had peeled off a big chunk of money from "the wad" (as we called it), plus a check someone wrote us. I didn't want to carry around an excess of big bills, so I asked him to take it home and put it someplace safe.

That night, when we got home, we couldn't find it. And he couldn't remember what he did with it. It was a very very busy day for all of us, and we were all exhausted. He tore the house apart, tore his vehicle apart, etc etc etc. I figured it would show up somewhere, and I was too tired to be worried.

The next day I told a lady at a neighboring booth about it, and she gathered a bunch of vendors together and made everybody put their hands up and call on Saint Anthony---the Saint of finding lost things. Then she firmly stated that it would come back to us.

It was very funny and sweet, and I was touched that the other vendors joined in. There is a lot of camraderie with this group of people.

This lady was a hoot. She was manning a fundraiser booth and she took some of our ornaments and looped them around her ears like earrings and went out in the crowd trying to goad people to our booth. She didn't just do that for us, but for other vendors as well. I think she did wonders for our sales.

Little Guy jumped in with the sales too. He shook hands with passersby and introduced himself (and didn't even ask to see their socks!). He saw quite a few friends that he hadn't seen in awhile and had a wonderful time.

When we got home, again exhausted, Hubby still hadn't been able to find the money. We did pretty well without it, but it really was a bit of a blow. He was beating himself up about it, and I finally said, "PLEASE PLEASE STOP!! If it shows up, it shows up, if it doesn't, it doesn't. I'm feeling worse about YOU feeling bad than about the money!!"

On Monday, I sent the Aspiring Adult to the bank to deposit all the checks we had received. About an hour later, the bank called. I thought it was a problem with one of the checks (one lady had almost walked away without signing hers and I wondered if I had missed one).

"Is this Attila the Mom?" the teller asked. I said, why yes it is.

"There's a man here who just brought in a large sum of cash and a check with your name on it. He's been trying to locate you. Could you tell me about this money?"

I did and did it eagerly! LOL

Turns out this guy found the wad in the snow at the shopping center. Apparently it fell out of Hubby's pocket when he went to pick up sodas and stuff.

And he saved it for two days and went to the bank where the check was from to try to trace me through the person who wrote the check. The teller JUST HAPPENED to be the person who processed my deposit a short time earlier and recognized my name.

How freaking neat is that?

I asked her to give him some of the money as a reward, but he refused it. But she DID happen to note his name and where he worked.

I'm gonna send the guy a gift basket.

Now doesn't that sort of restore some of your faith in humanity?

It does for me. :-)

There's 4 days left to win an ornament and a $50 dollar Visa gift card over at The Fifty Factor. Drop on by!

ATM

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Angels Among Us

They really DO exist! Joanna Jenkins from The Fifty Factor is hosting a giveaway of one of our ornaments plus a $50.00 Visa Gift Card.

Drop on by and register with her. Remember that we ship worldwide, so this giveaway is open to everybody!

xo

ATM

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Bling For Everyone!

Hi all,

We had such a darned time working with the shopping cart on our website that we just don't have enough MORE time to mess with it because we're gearing up for our busy season.

Soooo...we've moved our inventory to Ruby Plaza, where their shopping carts are working just fine!



Check back often because we'll be adding new inventory frequently during the next two weeks.

Also, if you're interested in a custom team-color ornament such as we have listed for your favorite sports fan, we'll be taking orders up until November 30th.




Go take a look and let me know what you think!











HighlandRosesDesign



xoxo

ATM

Friday, November 04, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy!!

I'm so sorry I haven't been around to visit you all or posting. I'm exhausted, but ecstatic.

As my long-time blog friends know, a few years ago I started a collaborative craft studio for adults who have developmental disabilities or mental illnesses (and for family caregivers).

It started out as an informal endeavor for art therapy in my dining room, and expanded to an actual business.

First we sold our Christmas creations online, and last year we sold in three venues plus from our website.

This year it's expanded to 8--yes---8 venues, not including on the web! Our ornaments are going to be at one craft show, our town's Home and Garden Tour Boutique, a fine arts gallery up in the big city, 3 gift shops (one is an internationally famous institution that I'm not allowed to name) and a couple of local organizations.

Woohoo!

I'll probably be hawking our stuff a time or two in the next month. Please bear with me. I don't ever try to sell crap or advertisements on my blog for any reason. Our website hasn't been yet been updated, but it will be in the next couple of weeks. We've been so inundated with real-time orders for our ornaments that this has fallen a bit on the wayside.

I've been asked a few times in the last year by a couple of organizations to talk to them about my non-profit project.

I've had to decline, simply because we're not a non-profit.

Why does everybody seem to think that if you employ people who have disabilities, you have to be a non-profit? Sheesh! Why can't we be capitalists too?

We accept no grants or government funding.

The philosophy behind this project?

There is dignity in producing something useful or beautiful. There is dignity in being able to produce something that is lovely and saleable on its own without having to be subsidized because of a perceived disabled condition.

I'll let you guys know when our website has been updated.

Hopefully you'll find something beautiful there that you just have to have this holiday season!

xoxox

ATM

Friday, October 07, 2011

Date Night

My husband is a saint. I've told you guys over the years how fantastic he is and it's true. Except for one day of the year. Then he's a raging bonehead.

7 or 8 years ago, we put in a pool in our backyard. There is no rec center or YMCA in our town, and for several summers we had to drive the boys down from the mountains into the city so that they could get swimming lessons. One year we decided to forgo our yearly vacation and use the money to put in an outside heated pool instead.

It's been really great for everybody. Except for "pool closing day", which is usually in September.

I dread it.

My mostly easy-going and sweet hubby turns into another person. To close the pool for the winter, we have to drain it by half, put in a bunch of big blow up balls (to keep the remaining water from freezing over), tie down a couple of big heavy-duty tarps and then have the pool company come and disconnect the gas heater.

The first year I helped. But after he started screaming and cussing up a blue moon, I told him that I would never help again. Since then, he's gone through all the boys as helpers---whoever is there and available---and each year, the asshat comes out.

He has an idea of how everything will work in his head. He doesn't articulate it well to whoever is helping. So he gets frustrated and all kinds of foul language flies out of his butt.

Since the weather has been so great, he didn't close the pool until yesterday. And the minion available for "helping" was the Aspiring Adult.

Little Guy was away last night, so I scheduled it as "date night". It's been ages since Hubby and I have had a night alone together and I made reservations at a local steak house a week ago. The fact that the Aspiring Adult had the day off from work was sudden and coincidental, so Hubby planned to have him help close the pool.

Gah.

Yes, the day went as usual. The Aspiring Adult put up with his shit and they got the pool closed.

When the Aspiring Adult found out that we had plans to go out to dinner (without him) he got a little whiny. According to him, old people don't need time alone, since it's inconceivable that in our decrepitude we'd have any romantic feelings (oh! the horror!) left. We never take HIM out to dinner (uh---the last time we all went out we treated not only him, but his girlfriend as well). But since he was the designated "pool helper" this year, I compromised and agreed to bring him home a steak dinner.

At the restaurant, Mr. Grumpy was still---well grumpy. I wasn't planning on spending two hours without kids with THAT, so extreme measures had to be taken.

While the waiter (young college guy) was taking our drink order, Hubby was looking at the menu. "What's the soup of the day?" he asked.

The waiter went into a rambling description of the chef's specialty, Brussels Sprouts Bisque.

"Hmm, sounds good."

NO! I blurted out. If you eat that, you'll be farting all night long! The waiter's jaw dropped.

Hubby started snickering. "You're right. Guess I better pass." The waiter scurried off to get our drinks. When he came back, we were ready to order.

My beloved ordered the crab dip.

I ordered the Brussels Sprouts Bisque.

The waiter raised his eyebrows, and said, "er, Ma'am, aren't you worried about the-er-unfortunate side effects?"

Of course not, I responded breezily. My farts I can stand. His, on the other hand, are dreadful.

Then Hubby and I burst out laughing. By the end of the meal, when we shared a heavenly Banana's Foster, my saint was back.

Oh golly, we're such juveniles! Good thing the Aspiring Adult wasn't there. He'd be so embarrassed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Poop

Geez Louise! This past week the stomach flu hit half the family, one right after another. First Kitty, then Hubby, then Little Guy, then Big Kid. Only the Aspiring Adult and I escaped (knock on wood).

On the good side, the Aspiring Adult passed his CNA certification exams. Woohoo!

More later...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Come Together...

Ok. Well this is awkward. But I'd like to hear some experiences, just as--uh--maybe a poll---if you will, from some of my friends in blogland.

Men, this will prolly be more awkward for you, so feel free to run, run like hell.

When I was a teen and early 20ish person, my reading taste ran to the historical romantic bodice rippers (I still think that Jennifer Wilde's Angel in Scarlet is the best romance novel ever written. The fact that the author turned out to be an aging man with a bad comb-over really freaked me out for a lot of years).

Later my taste turned to horror (Steven King, Anne Rice, etc), and ultimately to mystery/thrillers.

While my friend KL was here, I turned her on to some of my fave authors (Beverly Connor, Charlene Harris, Elizabeth George and Martha Grimes). We went to the library and borrowed a buttload of books.

Anyhoo, I picked up a few old romance favorites for nostalgia's sake, just because...and then sampled what those authors had written since then, and then tried a few more. I like Amanda Quick, except that she tends to pick a sexual phrase and beat it to death within each particular book. I mean how many times can a man's kiss be "drugging"? Gah.

Now that I'm older, and have been around the block a time or two, I'm viewing these books with a different eye. Instead of thinking that this stuff is the ultimate in romantic relationships, I'm thinking, "who in the hell are you kidding?"

I remember my first time with sex as being awkward, painful and a bit messy. Yes I was certainly aroused and interested to begin with, but did it turn out to be explosively satisfying?

No.

I wondered what the big freaking deal was.

I've read 10 books in a row, and in each one, the hero has (after the brief, painful thrust) brought his lover to the heights of ecstasy. Has this actually happened to anyone?

In my case at the time I was wondering "oh geez am I bleeding all over the place?" and "Oh God, I feel like I'm going to fart!" Actually having an orgasm wasn't even in the ballpark. I just didn't want to embarrass myself.

I've been married twice, and had a few boyfriends in between. Sex has never been a problem in my long-term relationships. It's mostly been fun, freaky and fabulous.

But never, ever have we reached "the moment" at the same time.

In my 20's it made me feel inadequate when I read those books. I thought that "two hearts that beat as one" means you should be able to time yourselves and work together to--uh--share the moment.

I'd just like to read ONE book where the heroine turns to her lover after he's limp and lifeless and says, "I'm not done yet. Can you get the fireworks out of your eyes and come over here and help finish me off?"

LOL

So what's been YOUR experience? C'mon, don't be shy!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

People are Weird

Do you ever read comments about a book or a movie or a show and think, "WTF? Are we talking about the same book, movie, show? That is so NOT what I took away from it?" Then you spend a bit of time being boggled about how people view things differently?

I've written before about my unwholesome addiction to the "Real Housewives" franchise. I didn't watch the Miami series, but did catch the Beverly Hills one last year, because I was a big Kim Richards fan as a kid and was having a "Where are they now?" moment. Oy vey. Wasn't planning on watching it again.

One of the Housewives was going through marital issues and had separated from her husband this past year during filming of the new season. About a week ago, he committed suicide, around a month before the new season will air. I clicked on the link to the story and was stupid enough to read the comments.

One that really caught my eye said something like, "OMG!! She was such a bad wife!! She freaked out because he bought their daughter a really CUTE puppy for her birthday!"

Gah. What I saw was a guy who was rarely at home (in person and in mind), mention to his wife something about buying their daughter a puppy for her birthday, and she said no. Because he wasn't going to be around to help train it, feed it, walk it, and she was feeling overwhelmed and didn't want all the extra crap on her plate. So what did he do? Buy the kid a puppy and present it to her at her huge birthday party, making the mom look like an ogre if she said no.

Turns out the kid was allergic to the dog, and mom not only had to deal with all the puppy issues, but take the kid to an allergist frequently to make them compatible. It wasn't working, so mom had to deal with the heartbreak with the kid over giving the dog away.

Bad bad wife. :::sigh:::

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lost My Marbles

My good friend KL came and stayed with us for June and July. She's decided to give our little burg a chance and is moving up here to the mountains in the beginning of September. Little Guy is ecstatic, because she's more like an aunt then a friend, and you know him, he's all about family.

While she was here, I related a story about how when the boys were little, Big Kid was always looking for a chance to tattle on Little Guy. The problem was that Little Guy NEVER did anything (other than the annoyance of just existing as a younger sibling) that needed to be tattled on. He cleaned up after himself, never got into other people's stuff, didn't start fights, etc.

Poor Big Kid had to live with the frustration. But that didn't stop him.

He'd whine, "Mooooooom!! Little Guy--he's--he's DOING!" LOL

That whole story came to mind after seeing the Home Depot commercial where they use the slogan "More Saving. More Doing."

So for the whole 2 months that KL was here, every time we heard the word, one of us would race to shout "DOING"!! no matter where we were in the house. Then hubby and the kids started "doing" it.

Yeah, I know. We're easily amused. For some reason, the memory tickled our collective funny bone.

Anyway, I usually shop at 6am when the grocery stores open. I like it because it's quiet, there's nobody there, and I don't have to get annoyed by the freaking car carts filled with a dozen kids that block the aisles. It's like having the store to myself.

A couple of weeks ago I was in the store bright and early. I'd only had a half a cup of coffee (don't like having to use public bathrooms) and was a little groggy. While I was looking distractedly for a coupon in my binder (I KNOW it's in there!) I heard a couple of other shoppers in the next aisle.

"What are you doing?" she asked her companion.

"DOING!!" I shouted before I could stop myself.

Gak.

Then I ran away. Real fast.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Road Trip

Just got back from our "vacay". LOL

Since Little Guy couldn't go visit his bio-dad in California this year (b-dad didn't have any vacation time or money to fly Little Guy out there), we decided to try to give our boy a mini-vacay instead. We've footed the bill for the last 5 years to fly our guy out to see his b-dad, and this year it was his turn. His wife already has her hands full with their three young sons, and we (bio-dad and I) didn't feel it was worth it to fly Little Guy out there (on our dime again) if they couldn't spend any quality time together.

WE weren't planning any substantial getaways, simply because Hubby is working 2 jobs and just doesn't have the time. I asked Little Guy what would be an acceptable substitute that he would be satisfied with.

He decided that he would LOVE to:

Go to the big city and see his grandparents, go to the amusement park, and see a friend that we haven't seen in several years.

So last month I insisted that Hubby reschedule anything he had going this particular weekend (NOT TAKING NO FOR AN ANSWER!). I got my oldest brother to take Little Guy to the amusement park for the day (he's the only one who can stomach the rides), and we spent the rest of the weekend driving between restaurants meeting up with people and sleeping in strange beds. Urgh.

Little Guy had a fantastic time.

Me? The highlight of the entire weekend was when we were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for 3 hours and my two guys were singing the chorus of "It's Raining Men" in the car.

Too cute. I laughed my ass off.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Ads that Annoy

Some ads on TV are touching, or tickle your funny bone. I LOVE the State Farm Mayhem ads, starring the guy that used to be on Rescue Me. Since the Aspiring Adult wrecked out 4 cars in a year by weird and stupid stuff, that's our new nickname for him---Mayhem.

The Foundation for a Better Life ads are inspiring. They're always good for a warm fuzzy.

But Geezus Pete, aren't there ads that just annoy the shit out of you? I am SO freaking glad that most of the programs we're interested in watching we can tape on DVR and watch the next day and fast forward over the increasingly long and inane ads.

These are a couple of my most hated:

The Excedrin ad where the guy says, "I didn't just WASH the deck, I POWER WASHED IT!" (cue scene where plates and napkins are drenched and flying through the air). What kind of fool "power" washes a deck AFTER it has been completely decorated for an event and all the place-settings are out on the tables?

And then there is the Angel Soft ad where the guy steps out of the bathroom and says, "Honey can you throw me a roll of toilet paper?" She has the multi-pack roll on the kitchen counter, throws it to him down the hall, and it shaves off the hair on the side of his head because it's so "rough".

Then supposedly days (or weeks) later, lame Hubby steps out of the bathroom with part of his hair grown back and says, "Honey, can you throw me a roll of toilet paper?" and the roll she throws at him blows up in his face like an exploding feather pillow because it's too "soft".

Who in the hell stores their toilet paper on the kitchen counter? Wouldn't a normal person store it in or near the bathroom? Like under the sink or something where it would be easy to get to? Urk

Which ads annoy you?


Friday, July 22, 2011

Silly Boy

Little Guy is getting ready to go to camp.

We are so very fortunate to live within 5 miles of a fantastic camp for people who have developmental disabilities. He's been going every summer for about 7 or 8 years now. Most of the campers come from way away (like different states), and many of us have tried to reserve the same week every year so that our adult kids can meet up with old friends.

This year, Little Guy has decided that he is capable enough to do his own packing, and we strongly encourage any and every act of independence! Armed with a sharpie, he set to work. He took the communal shampoo from the bathroom, his dad's deodorant, his brother's special body wash, and wrote his name on all of it. Then he tried to make off with my hairbrush.

I pointed out that we had new and unused items (not the hairbrush) in the big bathroom closet to help himself to, instead of raiding other people's stuff.

"I'm only going to be gone a week, Mom!"

Then I pointed out that we have a camp list and offered it to him. "I don't need a list!!"

Well, actually, you do. If you show up without stuff you need, they might send you home! Upon check-in, the counselors go through every item with us to make sure everything is accounted for and labeled.

So reluctantly, he took the list.

About 5 minutes later, he came back into the room, with the list in his hand.

"Uh Mom?"

What?

"Do I need a fishing license?"

No. You don't actually fish, you always boat instead. Unless you'd like to try fishing this year?

"No". And he left the room.

5 minutes later he came back.

"Uh Mom?"

What?

"Do I have to get a bra?"

Head smack time! LOL I didn't notice that the list was unisex. At least we got the bra out of the way before he got to the feminine hygiene products! I can only imagine what the counselor would think if Little Guy pulled out a box of my tampons at check-in!

:-)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Need Some Brain Power

Sorry I haven't been around that much lately. Our Studio participated in a big "Christmas in July" show at the beginning of the month and spent much of June (when I wasn't taking goof balls for the pain in my butt) preparing for it.

Now we're in the midst of revamping our website and came across a revolting development...

This past year we've been creating dozens and dozens of new and fabulous ornaments, but we've run out of the brain power to name them! Gah!! We've used Christmas Carol names, and goodie names, but frankly, coming up with this stuff doesn't seem to be the forte of anybody in our group.

We're on terminal brain fart.

I know it really isn't the time of year to be thinking about this stuff, but if anybody could give us some ideas...we'd like to get the site finished before the season starts. LOL

They can be short, long, serious, silly, whatever. You come up with them, we'll find an ornament to fit them!

Smooches in advance!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rantipants

Ok, haven't put my rantipants on for awhile. But since my heinie already hurts, now is as good a time as any.

Does anybody really give a shit what Bristol Palin thinks?

I've been seeing headlines for the last couple of days touting her new book. Stuff like, "Bristol Disses the McCains" and "How Bristol Lost Her Virginity".

Gah.

Not that I think Levi Johnston (the father of her child) is any less of an opportunistic douchebag, but she comes as close as she can to branding him a rapist without targeting herself for a lawsuit. And of course, her staying in a relationship with him for the next few years just proves that she is a victim. Feh.

Her story is as old and used up as time. Who DOESN'T know a highschool princess who got knocked up by a townie? What makes it newsworthy, other than the fact that her mother is famous? Seriously.

Thinking that the world is interested in how she lost her virginity makes her a ho in more ways than one, IMO.

What do YOU think?

P.S. I just LURVE Vicodin!

Monday, June 20, 2011

PITA

Sorry I've been away----I took some time off to wrap up the end of the school year and to psych myself up for some oral surgery I was dreading. It turned out to be practically a breeze---the only painkiller I needed to take afterwards was the low-dose aspirin I take every night for my heart. Then a couple of days later I hurt myself. Badly.

Remember that old song we learned as kids---"Dem Bones"?

"With the hip bone connected
to the back bone,
and the back bone connected
to the neck bone,
and the neck bone connected
to the head bone...blah blah blah"

It's a lie. A big fat lie.

Every single part of your body is connected to one thing. Your ass bone.

I mean it. And I know this for a fact, because yes, I hurt my ass.

Not going to get into the nitty gritty of what and how, but for the record, no, it wasn't hemorrhoids, and no, I didn't fall while hanging curtains nekkid and land on a potato that just HAPPENED to be sitting there (the excuse some guy told an ER when they had to pry a potato out of his rectum---no kidding!). If you were thinking that, well shame on you!

That said, when you hurt your heinie it is excruciating to:

Bend over
Sit down
Lay down
Get up
Sit for any length of time
Stand still
Walk
Take the stairs
Sneeze
Cough
Fart
Use the facilities
Reach behind you to scratch your back
Reach your hands up to brush your hair on the back of your head

The only time it DOESN'T hurt is when I'm laying in a hot bathtub of water with my knees up to take the pressure off that area (every part of my body is all pruny from doing that 6-8 times a day---except for my knees, that is), or when I'm laying in bed in ONE position with a heating pad.

But then again, it hurts like the dickens to get in and out of the tub and bed, so it almost makes it not worth it. Almost.

Extra-strength Advil wasn't cutting the pain even slightly, so a couple of days ago I broke down and accepted some Vicodin hubby had left over from when he got his wisdom teeth out last year.

Ahhhh, a tiny bit of relief! I don't like walking into walls, though.

So I'm going to take a few more days off to let this pain in my ass heal. Then Big Kid will take over from there. LOL

Be good! Use sunscreen!

ATM

Monday, May 23, 2011

At Last!

After filing a second claim over a year ago (the first one is still in appeals), and supporting Big Kid in a separate household (he hasn't been able to live with us because of the altitude) as well as paying for all of his continuing medical expenses....

Today his claim was finally approved by Social Security.

I'm waiting for it to be 4 o'clock somewhere so I can have a big freaking martini.

Oh wait, it's 4 now!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Judy 101

You guys know how much I love Judge Judy. Yes, she's bitchy, brassy and sometimes even benevolent. As a connoisseur of Judge shows (big fan of People's Court and Judge Joe Brown), I like how she's straight to the point, and doesn't try to be a buddy to anybody.

That said, I have a confession. When the guys were in high school, I had a standing date with them to be home at 4pm to watch it with me. If they didn't have school activities or work, I insisted on it. LOL

Even now that they are all out of high school, if there is a show I find particularly relevant to any of them, I make them watch it before I:

1) cook anything for them or 2) give them money.

Then we discuss it to make sure they get the point.

I doubt that I could talk any universities into doing a class on Judge Judy, although some of them have inane and useless courses on things like Madonna's Impact on Pop Culture or The Effect the Beatles had on Rock and Roll. By then you think these students are almost fully cooked (although you see a bunch of college-aged doofuses on there).

I think you have to get to them sooner. Before they become college-aged doofuses. By then it might be too late.

If only we could get high schools---maybe the Civics classes or English classes---to offer extra credit points for a special project. That way, if they're falling behind, they could get some extra points towards a better grade.

My idea? Watch 20-30 episodes of Judge Judy bitch-slapping people around, and write an essay answering some specific questions. That way, they'll have a basic grasp on some legal and common sense issues.

Such as:

Don't lend money to friends or family members. Or boyfriends who don't have jobs, or have fathered any children out of wedlock, even with you. Or girlfriends who are 10 or more years younger than you. Or girlfriends who are really hot and you're not.

If you're stupid enough to do the above, get the repayment terms in writing before you hand over the moolah. Otherwise, they'll claim it as a "gift".

Don't co-sign a loan for a car or anything else. For anyone, including your children. If you can't afford to give them the money, too bad for them.

Don't put anybody on your cell phone plan.

Don't sign a lease with somebody you don't know REALLY WELL.

If you want to have a dangerous type of dog you are responsible for everything that dog does (or any dog for that matter, but you wouldn't believe the Asshats who claim their dog is gentle after it ripped somebody's face off).

Don't let anybody else drive your car. Evah!! If you are drunk, take a cab.

Don't put somebody else's utilities/cable/etc in your name. There's a reason why they can't get it in THEIR name!

Hide your car keys. Adventurous teenagers and crappy roommates abound!

Don't try to give your friend a tattoo or a piercing, especially if he/she is a minor.

Throwing your friend in a pool as a joke isn't funny if they have a 300 dollar cell phone in their pocket. Or Iphone, Ipad, Iwhatever.

Same with tackling someone unexpectedly, jumping on them from behind, or throwing a ball in their face.

Getting drunk and vomiting, peeing or defecating anywhere in the structure (including stairwells and decks) that you rented for spring break is going to cost you your security deposit if you don't thoroughly clean up after yourself and your friends.

If you get a settlement for an injury, inherit a sum, or get a grant, don't "loan" any of it to anybody for any reason. They are leeches who smell opportunity. Some people feel entitled to another's "windfall".

Having a party in your dorm room is going to cost if somebody spills a drink on your roommate's laptop. Your party, your fault.

When you try to collect monies owed, be prepared for friends or family members to try to make you out to be the bad guy. They will say you are "money hungry". Notice that the people who say that are trying to screw you out of money THEY owe you. Happens every time. That's why you shouldn't loan money to friends or family members.

Did I leave anything out?

What do YOU think?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Awkward Neighbor Stories....

I just read an article about Awkward Neighbor Stories, and it had me in stitches!

Here's my story:

Shortly after we moved to our home up here in the mountains (about 14 years ago), our neighbor---who was a kind of creepy middle-aged single guy---made an offhand comment to me.

"You really need to get some curtains for your bathroom. I can see you when you're getting out of the shower."

Gak! I got curtains right away.

We live in a mountain development that has a minimum of 2 acres per lot. The houses aren't right next to each other---if one is built at the top of one lot, the next one is built at the bottom. There are a lot of mature pine trees on the lots as well.

But faced with that kind of confrontation, I didn't know what to think. Yes, it was awkward. VERY awkward!

A few years later, he moved, and we've had several different neighbors since then. A couple of years ago, a good friend of ours bought the house next door.

Last summer, they invited us over for an afternoon-into-night BBQ. We'd never actually been there for any appreciable time.

Anyhoo, I was telling friend's wife about creepy former neighbor, and she said, "we can't see into your house AT ALL!" So we went on a quest. We looked out of every window they had that was facing our house, and at different vantage points on their property.

The only way you could see into MY bathroom is if it was dark and you were at least 70 feet onto OUR property.

How revolting is that?

What's YOUR awkward neighbor story? Dish! Dish!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Thank You!

Thanks guys for stepping up to the "plate" LOL and giving me all these great ideas! I've been cooking my heinie off!

Love you!

ATM

Thursday, May 05, 2011

With a Little Help From my Friends...

A couple of months ago, a good friend of mine was plagued with some shoulder and upper back pain. She's always been disgustingly healthy, so she put off going to the doctor.

Good thing she didn't put it off any longer.

She has a cancerous tumor the size of a baseball in her lung.

Right now, she's on a 7-week regimen of chemo and radiation. Meaning she rides down into the city 5 times a week to get a treatment of one or the other or both.

And she continues to work a full-time job. Gah.

Her employers are more than willing to give her all the time off that she needs. Her job and insurance wouldn't be affected, but she says that if she doesn't work, she'd just sit at home and dwell on her illness. A week into her regimen, her hair started falling out, so last Saturday she went and had it shaved. What a woman!

Although her friends and family have all signed up to be designated drivers down into the city, I'm working on a little something else.

It's important that she keep her weight up, but after going to the city for treatment and then working, she's too tired to cook a lot of the time. Frozen crap is boring and not tempting to the tastebuds. A diet of fast food isn't terribly healthy.

Plus, she doesn't eat meat. Not for any ideology---she just doesn't like it. She does however, eat eggs, cheese and fish.

I've decided to stock up her freezer with some yummy comfort foods she can just pop in the oven or microwave. I've already made several vegetable and cheese quiches, but I'm looking for something different, some variety.

Guess I could look up recipes on the web, but I don't want to make her a guinea pig. LOL

So I'm turning to you guys.

Do you have any tried and true recipes you cook for your family that she might like?

I'm looking for:

rice/pilaf/vegetable dishes (I already have a kick-ass Spanish rice recipe)
a different kind of mac and cheese recipe (not out of a box)
pasta recipes
potato recipes (I'd really like a scalloped or au gratin potato recipe that isn't the usual)
Soups/stews

And if you could send up a thought for healing, I'd truly appreciate it.

xo

ATM

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Blogging Against Disabilism---The Road to Hell....

Good intentions are always better than bad ones. But as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with them.

My middle son has autism and some cognitive delays. He's been fully included in school since the first grade, with a para-educator. I've written a lot about him over the years, most especially about the fact that he has a passion for food and people and Disney Princesses. And his ever-present foot phobia. ;-)

Little Guy is a wonderful cook. He pores over cookbooks, and creates his own recipes and culinary masterpieces in our kitchen. He needs a bit of supervision with the stove, oven and chef's knives (Hubby used to own a resteraunt and we have a very sharp jumbo professional set), mostly because he hasn't had any formal training. As a protective mom, I don't want to find a finger in a casserole or have the house burn down.



A few of his creations over the years have been fantastically crappy, but he continues to have a lot of willing guinea pigs here. LOL

Most of his creations are marvelous. And his plate presentation is innovative and superb.

He is now 21, and has started in a pilot culinary school program for people who have disabilities that is down the mountain in the big city. There are 2 teachers to 4 students---and it's an extraordinary curriculum. While he was waiting for it to start and before they offered him a place as a student, however, he took a weekly adult baking course at the facility last fall semester and it almost tanked his chances of getting into the main program.

As the term was drawing to a close, the instructor spoke with both my son's transitions leader and his DVR caseworker, and expressed concerns that this might not be the right program or career path for him.

The alleged problem(s)?

Number one---Little Guy didn't like taking things out of the oven. He seemed fearful of getting burned.

Number two---Every time he wiped the counters during clean-up, he insisted on getting a clean dry towel from storage instead of using the one he just used 20 minutes ago.

Frankly, I was a little annoyed.

Well no, I guess that's an understatement. I was a LOT annoyed. I talked with his instructor quite a few times during the semester and she never said a word about her concerns to me. Or apparently to my son. He didn't have a clue.

So our transitions leader had a sit down with her and this is how it shook out:

The instructor never said anything to Little Guy because she was afraid of hurting his feelings. I guess she just assumed that the issues should resolve themselves on their own, because she never even addressed him about his resistance to these tasks. But her worry about his feelings almost cost him an opportunity to pursue training in the one true career he has a passion (and talent) for.

I sat the kid down and had a conversation with him.

"XXXX said that you seemed to be afraid to take things out of the oven. You take things out of the oven here all the time. Is there something different that's worrying you?"

Turns out that the class uses oven mitts he's not comfortable with because he has really big hands and they're tight. At home he has his own "Ove-Gloves" (an As Seen On TV product) that are a bit stretchy and fit comfortably. So I called the instructor and asked if it would be an issue if he brought his own oven mitts to class. Problem solved.

I asked him about the second problem, the one about having to use brand-new towels when cleaning up after himself instead of using the one he started with. This was a little more complicated. It seems that when we drummed the "germ" thing (the necessity to constantly wash his hands) into him last year when his older brother almost died from H1N1, it kind of morphed into the knowledge base he already had from Brawny commercials and home ec classes.



Used rags are more germy than paper towels. Germs are REALLY bad.

I explained to him that in a commercial kitchen environment, the pace has to be fast and that it's ok to use a towel you used 20 minutes ago. If there's debris on it, shake it out in the trash and rinse it out well in the sink. Only if it's really filthy would it be ok to go get a new one (I certainly wouldn't want my food to be prepared on a space that was wiped with a filthy rag). Problem solved.

In my opinion, the instructor must have been new to teaching students who have different learning styles although the school said not. You'd think that as soon as the issues started cropping up, she'd say something to me as an involved and engaged parent. Who but those closest to Little Guy would be in the best position to give communication tips? If I had known weeks earlier, we could have resolved it and he could have been performing at his best potential, instead of possibly writing him out of the program due to her perception of what his feelings might be.

Does he throw tantrums? Is he emotionally fragile? No to both. So WTF?

My son is there to learn. You are there to teach him. You're not going to hurt his feelings by correcting him, that is part of your function as a teacher, and if I had known about this earlier I could have reassured you about it. As a "seasoned" educator to people who have learning differences, why didn't you know that there's more than one way to skin a cat (culinary pun unintended)?

After complaining to a friend of mine who is in the business of finding job placements for young people who have disabilities, he confessed an alarming trend that he has been battling.

He goes regularly to observe the clients he places, just in case they need a little extra job-coaching to be good employees. In several of the placements, he's noticed that the staff treat his client not as a fellow-employee, but more like a younger sibling.

Meaning, if the job isn't done right, they let it slide instead of insisting that he or she complete the tasks that they are being paid for. And they talk to them in "baby" voices.

He questioned the employers and as it turns out that they---like Little Guy's previous instructor---are afraid of seeming to "be mean" and "hurting feelings".

Gah.

Like I said the intentions are good, but it's disabilism at it's finest (or worst).

Not insisting that an employee (or student) perform to his or her potential is bad in the long term, because it won't help them to grow or learn to be employable in the future. If you are kind and respectful in your tone and your terms (Basic Civility 101), correcting doesn't have to involve hurting feelings.

Why not treat all with equal courtesy?



_____________________________________



Today is the 5th annual Blogging Against Disabilism Day. I'm so proud to be able to be a part of it.



Please take some time to click on the picture below, visit some of the participating blogs and give your support.



Best to all,



ATM

Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

Blogging Against Disabilism May 1st

Don't forget that Sunday is Blogging Against Disabilism Day! Join us!
Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dear Mom...

Dear Mom,

Ever since we moved into the same mobile home park as Kitty's family, I'm still having the same problem. Her mom, dad and sister come and go as they please more than once a day and they still never knock. They just walk in. I know you said I should keep the doors locked but Kitty gave them all keys in case we lose ours, so if I lock the door they use the keys. Kitty doesn't want to tell them to stop because they all walk in and out of each other's places all the time. She says that's what family does. I tried to talk to her sister about how much it bothered me but she said that as long as Kitty lives here, she can walk in whenever she wants. I don't want to say anything to her mom and dad because they don't like me because we're living together anyway. Any advice?

Luv you

BK

Dear Son,

You're just going to have to face the fact that her parents are never going to love you. They barely tolerated her first husband, and you're the guy defiling their daughter by living in sin. That she is 25 years older than you apparently doesn't enter into the equation. Frankly, I think I'M the one who should be pissed off. ;-)

That said, I think there's only one solution. Since neither of you are willing to confront them or take away the keys, I think you should revert back to childhood and embrace your previous predisposition towards nudism. Remember all those years I had to chase you around the house with your underwear flapping in my hand like a flag of surrender?

If they walk into YOUR home uninvited, they can hardly act shocked or offended to find you with your junk on display. If they have the further bad manners to insist that you put clothes on, simply say "If you had called first or been invited, I certainly would have made the time to put some pants on."

If by the third time encountering you the way God made you they haven't gotten the point, then they're all completely perverted individuals and you should demand your keys back. I'll buy you some of those magnetic box thingys and you can place them in strategic places on the underside of the mobile home in case you guys misplace your keys.

And my dear boy, if you ever confuse their bad manners with normal behavior and walk into MY house without knocking, I'll shove my foot so far up your butt that my toes will be being playing tootsie with your tonsils.

Love you back!

Mom
___________________________________________

Dang, solving his problem was so easy!! I should solve EVERYBODY'S problems!!!

Who's next? LOL

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On Second Thought...

Prolly not the greatest idea to give my ex an ass-kicking on the internet. ;-)

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Young Love

Little Guy and I drove up to Mom's house a couple of weeks ago to get away from it all here. Also to help her go through more crap from her basement, now that she has an incentive to make more space (her new hubby also has a house full of crap so they're commuting between the two homes instead of living in one).

We spent a day going through a couple of trunks that were filled with items and memorabilia from my first step-dad's family (they were married for 24 years and he passed away about 5 years ago). She had originally gone through it and parceled out things that may have historical or emotional value to what's left of his family (they had no children together), such as photos, yearbooks, family heirlooms, etc. The rest was vague not family items that remained unclaimed.

She had a hard time going through it again and letting things go. I think she needed me to be there to share in the memory of Pops while we decided what to keep, what to throw away and what to sell. And believe me, there were a TON of things that needed to go into the burn pile. He saved receipts for EVERYTHING! as a full-time Presbyterian minister and part-time John Deere mechanic. 50-some odd years worth. He not only kept every notebook full of his repair schedule, but every receipt ever paid to his little church for weddings, funerals, etc.

We also found the bewildered and awkward letter his dad wrote to him while he was away at Aero-Cal learning to be an airplane mechanic--wondering why he hadn't been writing regularly (and telling what prices were going for eggs from the farm). They were worried that he was living the wild life out there in the big bad hedonistic California. And we found the corresponding letter Pops wrote to him explaining that he felt he had been called by God to become a minister and would like to go to seminary. Mom and I had a good cry over them.

Later my older brother and his girlfriend came to dinner. I had brought a cooler filled with an Asian feast I had cooked in advance---just had to steam, boil and broil a few things.

Afterwards, we were away from the old folks having a smoke on the porch. My brother and his girlfriend said an unkind and snotty thing about Poppa G (what I call Mom's new hubby). It really ticked me off.

Okay, I get that my brothers are unhappy that Mom got remarried, especially since she had proclaimed that she wasn't going to do it again, and dumped several early beaus who kept wanting to get hitched. She and Poppa G had been seeing each other for a couple of years and he isn't a guy preying on a widow to financially take care of him or medically take care of him. He's comfortable financially and very active. When I was there he took me aside and showed me the plans for a cruise he's booked through Scotland's rivers to take my mom through the birthplaces of her ancestors. Very sweet.

Before their marriage they both drew up a very comprehensive pre-nup that spells out in detail that they pay their own bills, medical and otherwise. They both have assets and children. There is nothing that my brothers have to worry about, although I don't see any problem with my mom spending her money as she wants, considering that she's spent a hell of a lot bailing both of them out during the years.

They both complain that Poppa G is cold and curt to them. Maybe so. He's been nothing but kind and warm and courteous to me and my family. It may be because he's very protective of my mom, and sees that everything I do is to help make her life more comfortable, not add a burden to it, whereas my brothers pop into her life when they need something, mostly money.

Really, I don't know what they expect. I live 2 hours away and talk to her at least 3 times a week. They live 5-10 minutes away and are too busy to see her other than every month or so. Did they expect her to live out the rest of her life alone in that big house without companionship? I don't get it.

So the second night we were there, I took them to a Mexican restaurant as the designated driver in my shiny new red Cadillac. They were having a hard time getting strapped in, mostly because Poppa G was trying to fit his seat belt into the middle seat holder which is inexplicably a different shape.

"I can't get it in!" he bellowed.

My mom unstrapped herself. "Let me help you find it!"

"You say that all the time!" he snarked back.

She turned red and said, "oh shit".

I laughed so hard I nearly plotzed myself. Then I threatened to make them get out if they couldn't behave themselves. They both had a couple of beers at dinner and the hilarity continued.

Over those few days, I heard my mom, the retired Methodist minister say "shit" more than I've ever heard in my life. Poppa G confessed to me that the day he fell in love with my prim, correct Momsy was the day she inadvertently farted and blurted out, "oh shit!".

Like mother like daughter. Wow, we finally have something in common! LOL

Today we had a funny little chat where she told me a story about how they heard a joke the other day that sent them into gales of laughter.

They were standing and hanging on to each other in support when Poppa G said, "Oh no. I think I peed a little."

Mom said, "Oh shit. So did I!"

I'm so very grateful that she has found someone to love and laugh (and pee pants) with in the twilight years of her life.

Everyone should be so blessed.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Asshat of the Week

I haven't done an Asshat for awhile---not because there weren't plenty of them, but because maybe there's just a kinder, gentler me.

Ok no. That would be lying. For the last year I've just been drifting in sort of a cloud of ennui. I think that what my good friend Kim Ayres said in my last comments section about getting a protective emotional layer stripped off when facing a tragedy holds true.

I avoid engaging in stuff that pisses me off, because I already have enough scary emotions to deal with.

Life goes on though, and I need to get over it.

So this week's Asshat goes to AOL commenters.

I have AOL, and now, after 13 years, I pretty much loathe it. BUT I have a lot saved on here. I don't want to lose any data, and I don't want to spend the time changing it over to something else.

Please don't comment on all the better things I could have. I've researched it, and just don't want to go through the hassle.

I click on the links on the welcome page if something catches my fancy. Many articles are inane and totally tork me off with the piss-poor writing and content. Some are interesting. What is consistent is the incredible ignorance and hatefulness of the number of AOL users who bother to comment on articles.

In practically every article, some nincompoop has to make it about race. Or immigration. Or Obama (If the article is about Scarlett Johannson's bikini wax the comments run to how it's the President's fault the rainforest is shrinking). Or their so illiturate thet u cayunt unnerstan wa thar talkin bout. And then there's the large percentage who don't read for comprehension.

Holy crap. It's scary to think these people can vote.

Last night I read an article about Baby Jessica McClure turning 25 and coming into the trust fund that was established by well-wishers when she was stuck in that little drainage hole. She's a married mom of two now.

Her parents were very young poor people when it happened. Over the years, AS her parents, they could have made all kinds of demands on the trust---we need a bigger, better secluded home (mansion) to keep us from the media---we need fancy cars to tote her around in, etc, etc.

Think of Michael Jackson and all of HIS hangers-on and their demands. Or any of those child stars (Gary Coleman, Patty Duke come to mind) whose parents' spent their children's earnings/assets on themselves.

But Jessica's parents didn't do that. The principal of her trust---800K---is pretty much intact.

So now that she is getting it, here is the gist of some of the AOL comments: She doesn't deserve it because she married someone of Mexican descent. "How dare she have some money to put in her little brown babies' college funds!" Gah!

Her parents are trash. How dare they profit from this. (WTF?? How did they profit from this?)".

Yes, Jessica got a windfall from people who were touched by her plight when she was a baby girl. Yes, it's easy to be envious of the whole thing.

But these comments are ugly. And stupid. It makes you wonder where in the hell these people come from.

So this week's Asshat goes to those ignorant, racist AOL users.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Humble

When Big Kid got so sick a little over a year ago, I really had the smug knocked out of me in dozens of different ways. I confidently thought that I could handle most any hits that came our way, as long as I could put on my killer bunny slippers and kick butt.

Pre-H1N1, I used to watch the news and tragedies across the world in a somewhat detached manner. I would send up a prayer to the ether for the victims and their families because yes! what a horrible tragedy!, but would feel kind of superior watching 3rd World mothers wail, tear at their hair and faces and rend their clothes at the death of their children. That's not really the American Way, or maybe not the Anglo-Protestant Way. We're civilized and have better control of ourselves.

Stupid, superior Me.

That whole month when Big Kid hung between life and death on life support, minute to minute, I finally got it. The primal urge to rail against the helplessness, the hopelessness. The physical need to tear at myself, to let loose, to howl, to scream out my fear and grief.

Of course, if I had done that at his bedside, I would have probably been sedated and introduced to a nice soft hotel room with a sportcoat that ties in the back for my own protection. Because that's the way it is in our culture.

It was a very humbling experience.

Since then, this past year, I've tried to be more understanding of people's circumstances, to be less judgmental. I'm still very raw, and cry at the drop of a hat. Lost and found Doggy on the news? That's a crying. The tragedy in Japan? That's a daily crying. Geico commercial? That's a crying too. I've cried at real and stupid stuff more in the last year than I have in my previous 44 years. I guess having doctors tell you that your child is dying and they can't do anything more for him will do that to you.

But I guess I'm not done with being taught humble lessons.

Little Guy, who has Autism, has had a pretty crappy year. I talked a little about how his Fall Semester at our local high school was a bust, and how his and a few other transitional students' rights had been violated under IDEA. I was able to secure an extra semester(he ages out of the system next month) to make up for the lack of services, but I'm not going to get into it here. If anyone wants a private run-down, feel free to email me.

Last week, he came home with a flyer that advertised a "social" for adults who have disabilities down in the city. We live in the mountains, and there isn't any such activities here. Since Hubby was going to be out of town, and Little Guy really wanted to go, I made arrangements with Big Kid and Kitty (his girlfriend) to take them out to dinner while Little Guy attended this shin-dig.

This event is held monthly at the city's Senior Center (had no idea!). The place was packed. Tons of young people his age (the event is for 16 and older). I got Little Guy checked in, made sure of a place and time to meet (he didn't want his old mom hanging around) and went off to dinner.

I came back a half hour before the party was scheduled to end. There were a lot of parents/caregivers etc sitting around the foyer, which was very large. I came in, sat down and waited. Little Guy breezed through, we chatted a minute, and he went back into the event room to mingle and dance.

This incredibly gorgeous and well-groomed man stopped by and asked me how it was going. I looked around. Was he talking to me? Frumpy me? I said fine, how are you? Laughed. Said I was waiting for my son. Assumed he was a parent, a sibling, a caregiver waiting for someone too.

He sat down next to me and introduced himself. I told him who I was and said "it's nice to meet you".

He said, "this week is my birthday, I'm going to be 45". I congratulated him (while thinking it was a little weird to tell a complete stranger that). Looked at his ring finger to see if maybe there was another half to this Adonis. No ring (and no, I didn't forget there was a ring on MY finger!).

He went on, "Last year I was 44 and the year before that I was 43. Can you names things that they have at a birthday party?" So for the next 15 minutes we came up with everything we could think of (ponies, clowns, pirates, cake, presents) that could possibly be appropriate at a party. Then Little Guy found me and told me he was ready to go home. I shook hands with the gentleman and told him again how nice it was to meet him. "Will you be here next month?" he asked hopefully. I said I just might.

All the way home I mentally kicked myself. I like to pride myself on being a fairly astute person, but I guess I still let my assumptions lead the way. Humble pie.

Little Guy had a fabulous time. He didn't ask anybody to dance, but danced with himself to the songs he liked. Since Hot Cutie (his girlfriend) wasn't there, he didn't want to be a "scumbag" and dance with anybody else. I explained that since Hot Cutie doesn't like these kind of activities, and doesn't like dancing (and he does), I didn't think it would be a bad thing to dance with other people "as friends". He pondered it a minute or two and decided that "next time" he'd ask some of the girls who were sitting on the sidelines. LOL

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happiness Is...

Ok, my last two posts were kind of bummers.

I've been kind of thinking on a theme about blessings, good things, happiness.

Remember when Charles Schultz did the whole riff on "Happiness is a Warm Puppy?"

Well....

This is it for me:

Happiness is when I do my great big morning stretch and nothing hurts or is stiff.

Happiness is when I get up and there is no emergency late night calls on my answering machine.

Happiness is when I wake up and Hubby is holding my hand.

Happiness is racing into the bathroom (still taking diuretics) and finding that somebody else put a new roll of toilet paper on the hanger (doesn't happen too often in THIS house).


Happiness is when I step on something sort of round in my slippers and find out it's a magic marker and not one of the Little Sh*t's turds.

What about you?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Don't Know Whether to be Pissed or Proud

The other day was a day from hell. I don't know how to feel about it.

Spent the morning running errands. The the Aspiring Adult (forgot to tell you guys that he's back home with us, but that's another story for another time. Let's just say he learned his lesson, is attending school and doing really great and working as well), needed me to pick him up after he dropped off his car for an alignment.

Ran to the store and the post office (selling all that crap for my mom on ebay--this time my dad's postcard collection). The Aspiring Adult had been sick for about a week, and finally manned up and got a doctor's appointment for the afternoon, which he needed a ride for.

Little Guy came home after culinary school about noon. Since I needed to run more errands in the afternoon, he had a choice---come and help, or stay home. He's been so responsible that for the last 6 months or so we've been able to leave him at home alone for an hour or two. When he comes and helps, he asks for a treat, so we agreed on a Creamslush from Sonic.

Took the Aspiring Adult to the doctor and dropped him off. Our agreement was that after his appointment, he'd run across the street to the store, get his prescription and call me when he was done to be picked up.

I waited. And waited. Tried calling the AA on his cell, but just got voicemail.

Since I had other errands to run, I figured I'd try to call him later from my cell. Little Guy and I were off.

First off, Little Guy got agitated because I hadn't turned the clocks in my car forward for daylight savings time. I explained that I didn't know how to do it, that I needed his dad to do it, and that I'd ask him as soon as he got home. It just wasn't enough. Little Guy kept going on and on about it. I finally said, "Please! I don't want to talk about this anymore! I'm stressed out and I need to concentrate on driving!"

Arrrggghhh. He got all bent out of shape about it. Not just the hairy eyeball, but kicks to the floorboard of the car and big huge sighs.

We went back to the post office to mail more stuff, and Little Guy was all stompy and rude to the postal workers, who he's really on friendly terms with. We went to the dry cleaners and he refused to get out of the car. So I ran in and out. We ran by Sonic, got the creamslush, and FINALLY got a hold of the Aspiring Adult. It had been 3 hours since I had dropped him off at the doctor's.

Well duh. While waiting for his prescription, he ran into some old friends and they were now at Starbucks. So "sorry", he didn't know that I had other things to do other than to wait on his call. Grrr. He'd get a ride home by himself. He wasn't aware that I had a life beyond his immediate needs, so he didn't think it mattered what he did.

Drove back to our little burg's shopping center, ran in to the liquor store to pick up a bottle of wine we'd ordered for a gift and that was being held for us. I was in there for maybe 4 minutes.

Came back to the car, and Little Guy was gone.

He was gone. Totally gone. My heart just about stopped.

The creamslush was sitting on the seat, practically full.

I looked around the parking lot (which is large), and there was no sign of him. I called for him. No answer.

For the next 20 minutes I drove around, asked people if they'd seen him.

Of course, I said, "have you seen my child?" or "have you seen my son?"

I ran in and out of the various shops.

They all got concerned (my child) until I described him. He's almost 21 years old and an adult.

My big fear was that he might have seen someone he knew and went off with them, because he thinks everybody who knows him is a friend, and unfortunately, there are some people who don't wish him well. He wouldn't have taken off with a stranger. He's NEVER wandered off before. EVER.

My other fear was that he was so annoyed with me about the clock thing that he might have tried to walk home by himself up the highway.

I was about to call 911, when I saw him up by where I had left my car originally. He was looking around. I jumped out of where I was and yelled at him across the parking lot. It had been 30 minutes since I had discovered him gone.

So, the end game is that he had to go to the bathroom. He knew there was one in the grocery store across the parking lot from where we were. He decided to be capable and took off on his own.

I cried all the way home. I just couldn't help myself. The crying really freaked him out, but the situation really freaked ME out!

When hubby came home, we sat down and had a talk with him about it.

One one hand, I'm really proud that he recognized his need and found out how to take care of it on his own. On the other, he really scared the crap outta me.

Gah. I don't know if he was able to benefit from the teaching moment or if my immediate hysterical reactions of "I thought somebody took you!!" has colored it all.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Getting Older Bites

I like corn, but corn doesn't seem to like me any more.

Yes, I said corn. Not porn. We still get a little giggle out of that. The word, I mean.

Neither do oranges.

Or salsa.

Now they all bite back.

Anything you used to be able to enjoy giving you heck now?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Things We Do For Love

aka No Good Deed Yadda Yadda Yadda

If you guys remember a couple of years ago my mom was trying to sort through and get rid of a bunch of crap and collections my step-dad (her late husband who passed away 4-5 years ago) had amassed over 75-plus years that were stuffed in her basement.

Bless her heart. She's spent the last few years trying to find good homes for some of this stuff. Since they didn't have any children together, she made sure that all his family heirlooms went to the obscure relatives on both sides of his surviving family however far and wide they might be.

There were over 2000 books---mostly theological (he was a Presbyterian Minister) that she called seminaries all over the country to try to donate them to, but since a lot of gone digital, it was hard going. They did take his yearbooks for their collections though. :-)

One of his collections was over 700 78-records. A friend from her church had a nephew or somebody who was an "expert" appraiser of that venue. He looked over the collection, told her that they weren't worth more than 10 cents a piece and offered her like 100 bucks for it all.

I said no, let me take a look, brought about 30 heavy boxes home. Sold most of it for 11 thousand dollars on Ebay. Feh, That mofo better cross the street when he sees me coming. But now that little endeavor has made me the "go to" gal for finding value in crap that family and senior friends have stashed in their attics.

Since she has remarried, she's agreed to try to get rid of more stuff from her basement. The biggest problem is that she just won't THROW ANYTHING AWAY! So I haul a trunkfull of stuff two hours home and throw it away here.

Several months ago, she gave me a box of shag-carpet toilet covers from the 70's. Seriously. The elastic was completely destroyed, making them unusable (as if the colors wouldn't make you run screaming from the room). This last time (her recent wedding) I took away with me a buttload of 70's Xmas centerpieces made of plastic pine needles.

I also came away with several drawers full of expired film (she was dithering about them, no sentimental value, didn't know if she should throw them away or not so I just dumped them in a bag and loaded them into my car). She also gave me some albums and boxes of vintage postcards my step-dad collected.

So being a "get to it" kind of person, I dutifully listed a bunch of this stuff on ebay. Amazingly enough, the expired film got snatched up right away (who'd have figured?) and there was a lot of lively bidding. I mentioned it to her---astounded that there was actually a market for this stuff---and what did she say?

"Maybe we should keep some of it to help sell the camera equipment!"

Whaaaa?

I explained to her that once somebody started bidding on items, you couldn't just pull them off auction unless you discovered some major flaw that you hadn't disclosed or the item was destroyed. Once you have bids, you have a contract.

Postcards aren't nearly as bad as 78's, at least in the storage/haulage department. But you still have to scan each one and edit it. Doing a couple of hundred can eat up a few afternoons. Many of the cards, although vintage, simply aren't collectible. A few garnered a lot of attention and bidding. Like a fool, I chatted with her about it instead of waiting until it was all over.

"Maybe we should keep those if they're valuable", she said.

Face Palm!! Arrggghhh!!

Next up? Pop's stamp collection. From what I've heard from my brother, there are about 60,000 of them.

Oy.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Whimsical Wishes


I wish I was eccentric and graceful enough to wear a sari.


What is YOUR Whimsical Wish (talking about whimsy, not world peace)?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Joy and Sorrow

Hubby's sister passed away peacefully last week in hospice. He flew out and just got back today. I stayed behind because I had to travel to my mother's wedding yesterday on Valentine's day and just got back today myself.

Took Little Guy with me.

Since somebody had to take care of the dogs and the house, Big Kid, Kitty and the Aspiring Adult all stayed here together to keep an eye on things and each other. ((sigh)) At least they didn't burn the house down. More on that another time.

We arrived on Sunday, and Mom was a basket case. LOL She's anal retentive on a good day and this just about blew her sockets. She had to go over every detail again and again and my job was to assist her and keep her calm.

I helped her get ready on the big day---and surprise! At 78, my mom had gotten her ears pierced! I had to put her earrings in because she was so nervous her hands were shaking.

It was a lovely service---just Beau, Mom, their kids and grandkids. It was held in the chapel of the church we've gone to since we were children. I was the matron of honor and Beau's son was the best man.

Both of my brothers walked Mom down the aisle---that's when I started bawling. ;-) She looked so beautiful!

Beau lost it during the vows part. He was so emotional and sobbed a bit. Which of course set off his son and daughters. Not a dry eye in the house! When my mom was saying her vows, "I promise to love, honor and cherish" Beau jumped in with, "What happened to obey?" LOL

At the end, after they were pronounced man and wife (and kissed), Beau's son and I helped them down from the dais, one on each side (didn't want anybody to break a hip).

The pastor introduced them with their married name to the congregation, and before anybody could start clapping, Little Guy jumped up from the front row, shouted "Group Hug!!" and almost knocked them down! snarf

It really was a very very special day.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Many Thanks, and This and That

Thank you all for all your suggestions! After looking at tons of boobs, I found the perfect peignoir set! Can't tell you how much I appreciate it!
________________________________

We just found out a few days ago that one of Hubby's sisters is dying. She had breast cancer some years ago, and thought she had beat it. In December she had a hernia operation, and they found that she had cancer throughout her body. Apparently the chemo wasn't successful this time and she's going into hospice. We had no idea, as she is a very private person. He's devastated as are we all. :-( With all the snowstorms and cold, as well as personal obligations, we're trying to juggle to get him a flight down to the south.

__________________________________

I haven't written about this or anything else, simply because of number 1) the stress has just exhausted me, and number 2) there might have been legal ramifications if I wrote about it prematurely.

Little Guy and several other students who have disabilities had their rights under the law seriously violated this last semester at school. When it was brought to the administration's attention, the head of disability services shit-canned the offending teacher, but offered one remedy, and one remedy only to make up for it. Take it or leave it.

I decided to leave it, because I didn't feel that it would be beneficial to Little Guy, and I thought she was being pretty freaking high-handed about the whole thing.

So I went over her head.

We had a meeting with her and the superintendent on Friday, armed to the teeth with the case we were planning on presenting in a lawsuit. It didn't come to that, because the superintendent could see the long-term issues and couldn't see why what we asked for (an additional semester of transition services for what our son had lost) wasn't offered by his employee.

There was a positive outcome. Woohoo. I'm still tired, though. LOL