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!


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)

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



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".


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,


Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2011