Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hints for Marriage and Relationships in the New Year

No one wants to start the New Year on a bad note. If you are in a relationship or married you definitely want things to be happy and go smoothly. So here's a few hints for those in relationships for the New Year that correlate with our new techie lifestyles:

1. Put down the computer! - How much time do you spend on the computer? Play games? Watch movies? Blog? Chat? Get on facebook and myspace? Take time away from the computer and spend some time EVERY DAY with your partner. Even if you just snuggle on the couch and hold each other while a bad rerun is playing it's better than keeping your hands on the keyboard and chit chatting with them. Take an hour or thirty minutes and give each other attention. Having a computer in the bedroom is just as bad as having a television in the bedroom. It's better to read a book and snuggle than it is to hold a large piece of plastic in your lap and read. That large piece of plastic makes it harder for your partner to get near you.

2. Don't air your dirty laundry on sites! - Okay, it's addicting and fun, but seriously. You don't have to air all your dirty laundry about your spouse online. Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter are not the best places to talk crap about people. Once there the words never go away but are forever available for the world to see in cyberspace... even after kisses and forgiveness has been done.

3. Quit hooking up with people on websites! - Online chatting and dating are becoming real problems. It takes us back to number 1 too. Why are you spending time flirting and having online sex talks with people when you have a real person right there in your home? Hello? Maybe this is one reason you are having problems, genius. And you think you're being sneaky? Think again. Did you know that around 25% of divorces today have named facebook as a reason for being divorced? You will be found out. So, instead of spending time having pretend sex with a person online, try the real thing with a real person that lives with you. Actually talking to them and having relations with them might fix some of your problems.

4. Make a date night at least once per month! - Yes, I do realize that things get busy, but with all the new time you are making by putting down the computer and actually looking at the life you have around you you can make time to actually take out your siggie. (*siggie = significant other) It's great to reconnect and help develop some of that waning romance. Take turns picking out the date and don't be afraid to be creative and try new things.

5. Go to bed at the same time! - Don't let your partner go to bed before or after you do. Make it a routine to go to bed together. Spend a few minutes sharing ideas for the new days or just sharing thoughts. You might be surprised to see what happens. It could be the very thing you need to revamp that sex life.

6. Don't lie to each other! - Even if it's little white lies it ain't good, Bucko. You can skim the truth but eventually it's going to come out. If you don't share what's wrong they can't help and vice versa. Part of being in a relationship is being able to share. If you have a crush on someone bring it out in the open and maybe it won't be such a problem because holding it in only romanticizes it. Bringing it out in the open may actually help you get over it.

7. Don't blow off the handle! - Especially if he/she is sharing with you. If they do have a secret crush and they are bringing it to your attention it means they trust you to be able to handle it. Take things in stride. Remember, once you lose your temper you've lost the argument. You can't have a conversation if you're yelling and anger only causes hurtful things to be said. Take some time to calm down and then discuss things. Be aware, be patient, and try to see the other person's point of view.

We'll stop at lucky number seven. Hope you all find that your love is grand in the coming year!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Surviving Thanksgiving

I truly must be a survivor. After going to Turkey and living through numerous taxi cab rides(in Turkey there are no speed limit signs, no one sees lane lines, stop light are not laws but merely recommendations, and traffic police are there only to collect money if they actually care about how you are driving, catching some kind of bug that my oldest daughter so kindly shared with me (thank you Sesame Street for "It's Nice to Share" idea that it gave to all my children growing up), and having five extra boys in the house and three extra girls in the house for our Thanksgiving holiday I realize I can survive almost anything. Even 2012.

My perplexity comes from our now 17 year old daughter whom decided that she didn't like having extra people in the house at all. She didn't even like having her paternal grandparents here. "It's not like they care at all about me," she said. My concern was that she spouted off with her grandfather standing directly in front of us.

Honestly I can understand how young boys might get on her nerves, not that they paid her much attention. They were loud and energetic, but that's how boys are supposed to be. However, I can't understand her disdain over her grandparents and her aunt. She was a bit miffed by the fact that her uncle couldn't remember her name, but hey, he's a guy. He's lucky to remember his own name at times, I'm sure.

I think what it boiled down to is that she wasn't the center of attention. She felt the boys were more important than she was. She also didn't like the fact that her grandmother brought up her natural mother and was talking about her. She hasn't acknowledged her in several years now and doesn't show signs of forgiving her for past transgressions yet. It's a very hard issue to come to terms with. I know several women that have "mother" problems that they never have gotten over.

I think it's tough being a teenage girl. You have all those hormones running rampant and no where to release them. You feel like you're lonely all the time even when people are in the house. No matter what you say you are misunderstood. You have to constantly watch what you wear and what you say. Boys, on the other hand, can pretty much wear whatever they want. If they don't shower and jump out of bed crumpled it's still cool. If a girl tries that they get snickered at all through the day and rumors start running rampant.

But after saving the cockatoo and giving him therapy after new boys came in and thought he was carnival shooting toy, the smaller dogs and the cat were relieved and came out of hiding, and finding dishes and food in very clever hiding places things are getting back to normal... or as normal as it ever gets here.

Honestly, I do miss Turkey. It was wonderful there. I miss the people, mostly. But I love being home with my family and friends. I enjoy being in a place where I can drive to the store at a reasonable speed and where I can mostly count on people stopping for a red light.

Now that the turkey has been downed, two birthdays are almost out of the way, and the kids are back to the school grind we can get ready for Christmas. (sigh) But at least we'll have most of our family together, and for me that's the bestest part of the holidays.

***Note: The picture is of our favorite taxi driver whom we fondly call Benjamin. His name is actually Ebu Bakir which I mistakenly heard as "Abel Baker." I told him he looked like a Benjamin and he said, "Okay. I'll be Benjamin." He's totally awesome... :) and can drive better than most race car drivers I've seen.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Mystic Hotel in Istanbul

When trying to plan our trip to Istanbul we knew we would need to find a place to stay. We used all the common search and seizure sites for the best price. One of the main things we found were that it was much pricier to book a room from inside Turkey then from the US. We solved this problem by giving credit card information to Brian, in the states, and having him book the room. We found a lovely hotel online called the Mystic Hotel. It was complete with internet service, breakfast, and the promise of "charming hotel with a mystic atmosphere." The pictures looked lovely. It was in the Sultanahment district which is the old town. The streets are narrow and built like a maze. Many of the homes are abandoned or falling down, more than likely from an earthquake from several years ago.

The first obstacle was finding the place. After 2.5 hours and six taxi cab drivers later (the taxi drivers were just used to ask directions as we had rented a car) we still had not found the motel. We called the motel to receive help with directions. They were as much help as the taxi cab drivers. Luckily we had Yelda, our lovely Turkish friend, to speak for us. It didn't help. It became an adventure and we seriously wondered if the hotel perhaps either 1. didn't exist or 2. seriously was mystic and changed locations on a regular basis.

We finally found the place and remarkably across the way was a cut out perfect for parking. Our first experience here was being yelled at by a man that insisted it was an "otopark" and we had to pay him money to park. There were no signs indicating such, but the nice man in the hotel said that we should pay him.

We have found that there are many places in Istanbul where they insist we pay for parking even though they do not look like parking spots. Such as yesterday parking on the sidewalk for 5 tyl while we went to visit a bazaar. Later we found another parking spot where Ilkon, Yelda's boyfriend, said they only charge tourists and they really do not have the right to charge for parking.

In the case of the hotel, however, we believe, in our own pollyanna way, the man is looking out for our car and making sure that the tires still stay on the car.

Inside the hotel we had to give him our passports, which I found odd, and then pay him for our room. Upstairs we were placed in the Zuluf room, which means sideburns in Turkish. There were four beds, two twins and a double, a wardrobe, one small lamp, a 12 inch television, two electrical outlets, and the theme is purple. I say it has a purple theme because according to the brochure each room has a theme.

When we went down for breakfast yesterday we had a table with cucumbers, hard boiled eggs, cheese (some of which had mold), Turkish yogurt, apples, olives, oranges, salami, and bread. You also had a choice of cay (tea) or something that reminded us of Tang.

While at breakfast I informed the owner that we had run out of toilet paper. He said that when they came to service the room they would give us more. That literally meant that we had to leave the hotel in order to get more toilet paper. This did not bode well with Aidan who had to use the facilities before we left. He then had his first experience with a bidet and a towel. (We also found that the soap canister did not pump, they do not provide any type of wash cloths, soap, shampoo, or lotions. We have resorted to pouring the soap out of the container.)

Aidan also has indicated that a bidet is not an adequate substitute for toilet paper. I hope to never find out.

Upon our return to the room at 11:30 in the evening we found that they also do not clean the room, make the beds, or provide new towels. They simply put in extra toilet paper.

This hotel is supposedly three stars. The brochure is photoshopped and the building does not look like indicated. It is very difficult to find and no one here actually knows where it is. The gentleman that owns it is very friendly and helpful, but his wife or the woman that runs it with him, does not seem overly thrilled to have us here. There are seriously steep hills going to and from the hotel. The building across the way is empty. The building next door has crumbled. There are trucks that go up and down the streets that have speakers yelling about different things they sell such as apples, oranges, or blankets.

I have to say that the hotel does not deserve 3 stars. It's more like a 1 star hotel in the States. You have to police your own room. On the plus side the man that owns the hotel is very nice, speaks English, and is extremely helpful. The extra blankets smell musty and haven't been washed for quiet a while. The shower is extremely hot and has great pressure, but the water kind of backs up the drain.

All in all it's a place to lay our heads at night. All is good.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Turkish Way is a Turkish Delight

Some people thought when I was going to Turkey that it was a bit unfortunate going overseas and not going to some more popular places such as Italy, France, or the United Kingdom. I think it's been the best possible choice for me. I have found a world of wonders here, but the most amazing part of the entire place has been the people.

As in any place you travel in the US there are some people that are on the streets and beg, but that is such a small minority of what you will find. Here the people are all very helpful and kindhearted. One young man told me, "Turkish people have big hearts." I've found what he said to be very true.

My Turkish is non-existent. Honestly I thought that since I was here to visit my son I wouldn't need to speak it so much. After all, I was only going to be here for two weeks. Since I've arrived I've spent a lot of time trying to learn more words and communicate with them better. Not because I feel it is important for me to learn another language (I already speak semi-fluent French, some Italian, and a little Korean), but because I want to show some very deserved respect to some very wonderful people.

People here go out of their way to make you feel welcome and wanted. They put up with you mispronouncing their language and strive to help you be better understood. Not once have I had someone say, "You're in Turkey, speak Turkish!" as some rude Americans have done in our country. They understand that I am here for a short time and seem to be pleased that I have attempted to master some of their even smaller sayings.

Wednesday I experienced the Hamam, a traditional Turkish bath. It was unlike anything I have encountered in the states. This bath in Izmir is over 200 years old and still practices a unique cleansing tradition. It is almost entirely made of marble inside. You run hot water in small sink and dowse yourself to get your skin soft. Another woman comes and lays you down and scrubs you with a harsh mitt to remove all your old and dead skin. By the time you are finished you have nice pink rosy skin and you feel soft all over.

Here you have to let go of any inhibitions you might have. The room is steamy and water drips from the high marble ceiling with round glass windows to let in natural light. In the center of the room is a huge marble slab where the lay the bodies down as the women turn you from one side to another and scrub every inch of you. Not once did my washer become frustrated with my inability to comprehend what she was saying to me. She simply pushed, did sign language, and nodded.

I thought to myself, "In the US the woman would have thought I was an idiot and would have mumbled obscenities." Here she sang and smiled.

Before leaving the US many people told me that I would love the Turkish food. "Turkish food," they said, "is some of the very best." I have found that the thing better than the food are the people. They love their country, they love life, and they help one another. I think many lessons can be learned from their culture and it's an experience I will not soon forget.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Driving Drunk? Call and report yourself. It works!

Eau Claire's Mary Strey not only knows how to go out and have a good time, she also knows her limits and sets a precedent for those people that may have had a little too much to drink.

If we had more considerate and honest drunks like Mary maybe we would have considerably less grieving families.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ingrid Michaelson in Madison

It was a semi-family trip to see the remarkable Ingrid Michaelson in Madison at the Barrymore theater Saturday night. The show was sold out and the lines waiting for seating went far down the street. Fortunately is was unseasonably warm for Wisconsin.

The girls behind us were from Appleton and had come to see her last year in November. They were full of youthful exhuberance as many friends made their way to see the show, a few who managed to cut in line with them to take advantage of the "it's who you know" policy. The couple in front of us were from South Dakota. He surprised his woman with a 10.5 hour car trip to see Ingrid for her birthday. It was terribly romantic.

The doors opened for seating slightly later than they should have, but people piled in graciously and willingly had their hands stamped to waltz into the theater in order to find seats. We managed to get 2nd row seats with a great view of the stage. That lasted until the show actually started and people swarmed to the front floors blocking all view so they could be closer to the artists performing. The view then became filled with a mass of people who could have cared less if anyone else could see. Some were rather rude pushing their way through to find a square inch to park themselves for the duration of the show. It became clear that the midsection would have been the most preferable seating, but we found out too late.

The first act was Matthew Perryman Jones who looked hot in his blue jeans, beard, and long hair. My husband, Brian, was not impressed with his good looks and he spouted off, "All his songs sound the same and the boy needs a shave." To which I replied, "I think he's sexy." But I must say that he didn't do much to entertain us except sing and say a few quips to let us know he was live and not lip syncing.

The crowd went wild when Ingrid took the stage. She dressed simply in a purple flow top and black jeans. She wore her signature black glasses and smiled at the audience. She was born to perform. She proved that not only is she a talented singer/songwriter, but she is engaging and charming. She knew how to make people laugh and feel welcome. Her form is tiny but her essence is huge.

The band was very good and versatile. Allie Moss is traveling with her on this tour and did a wonderful job with her vocals and acoustic guitar playing. At first it seemed as if the two female guitarists were at odds, but it must have just been the initial stage fright. The first time Allie smiled her face lit up and you could see she was very attractive. She should spend more time smiling. All in all I give the band an A+. They worked well together and were very professional.

During the performance I only had my foot stepped upon 3 times. The same woman managed to keep shinning her cell phone in my eyes. I was happy when she left and was cautious when she reappeared. Do you say anything in a situation like this? Was it an accident or did she just ignore me? She asked if I minded if she sat on the seat armrest. I said, "Sure, but could you be careful, please, to not step on my foot again?" She had no idea she had done so and was mortified. After seeing her boots I can see why she didn't know she had made the slight faux pas. She ended up being a very nice person. I'm sure most people there were. She even bought me a beer because she lost the bet on how old I was. It does pay to look younger. (Thank you, AVON.)

So, here are some hints for those of you that might join us next year:

1. If you don't want to stand up for 3 or 4 hours, remember to sit mid section or in the balcony.
2. Wear sensible shoes.
3. Visit the ATM before going because the theater only takes cash and checks.

If you do get the chance check out Ingrid Michaelson's music and don't miss a show if she comes near you. I know you won't be disappointed.

(picture compliments of Brian Dunbar)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sweat Lodge Deaths were Unspiritual

I was horrified when I heard of the deaths of the people in the Arizona sweat lodge. My husband was equally horrified because he knew that it was one practice I have been enjoying with some new and wonderful Native friends in the Dells. The people I practice with are very spiritual and the process is ritualistic from the heating of the stones to the entrance into the lodge. The entire process if filled with love and honoring of the Spirit that they call upon for the well-being and health of those entering and their families and friends.

My experiences have been life altering and beautiful. I gained an understanding of the true essence of the people I shared the experience with and learned a new way of healing and sharing. They had specific rules and guidelines from what you were allowed to wear to what you did once inside. The event cannot occur without certain Holy people present.

This life altering event cost me absolutely nothing but gained me world of new spiritual awakening.

The people in Arizona were not as fortunate in their experience as I. They paid $9695-a-person for a "Spiritual Warrior" retreat. This retreat left people scarred and three people dead. There is nothing spiritual in any of these things.

It is heart rendering that someone profits on stealing a sacred ritual and turning into a money making opportunity. I find it to be a disgrace for him to shame the Native American community and focus his opportunistic endeavors on their spiritual success and turn it into a question as to whether these practices are "safe."

Native Americans are not looking to profit from their spiritual activity. They are looking to help friends and family with a centuries old practice that has rules and guidelines. It is one of the practices they have kept through their generations of hardship in surviving the progression of being overthrown by greedy land developers and cheated out of their properties by over eager settlers relocating for whatever reasons in the 1800's.

James Arthur Ray was not looking to instill a new spiritual awakening in the people he converted, he was looking to make a profit with his charismatic presence. He spoke of being on top and how many material possessions he had and how he had to regain them after his loss.

Ray's lessons for spirituality come with a high price tag. His "Practical Mysticism" classes cost a whooping $5,295. What I find mystifying is that anyone believes that the only people that can help you become spiritually adept are the ones that make you pay so much for it. The price tag doesn't indicate a man wanting to help others as much as someone wanting to line his own pockets.

Spirituality is free, you just have to open yourself up to the possibility. Some of us may not be nearly as rich monetarily but we are rich in so many other areas of our lives. Money does not make you successful, it just give you the appearance of being so.

And not allowing people to leave when they felt too much pressure was negligent. Not allowing someone to help that had the proper training was criminal.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Stay at the Rosemont Hotel O'Hare in Chicago

Sometimes when you travel you get lucky and find a diamond in the rough. Other times you just find the rough without the sparkle. Which did I find this time?

My daughter, Sarah, my youngest, Cian, and I took a trip yesterday to Chicago. In spite of the GPS's attempt to keep me from reaching our destination I prevailed. There seriously are times I believe that the woman in the GPS is trying to kill me. I need to remember to check and make sure she hasn't used the satellite systems to change the beneficiary on my insurance policy.

After a quick, but tasty, bypass to the White Castle for hamburgers we made it past the $2.50 tolls on roads that needed more work then the free ones we road upon in Wisconsin, we found the Rosemont. It's not the easiest place to get into, I must say. They have a lot of barriers up around the hotel, mostly to keep you from easily checking in or parking. However, if you want to make life easier for $28 you can have a valet park your car for you. Opting out of this you can drive around to park and pay only $18. Nice huh? Not really.

So, when you are finally able to park pray you haven't decided to bring too many bags for your stay. Why? Because you have anywhere from a block to a half a block walk to the lobby. At the check out the girl behind the counter, despite your previous preference when you booked your reservation and ignoring the fact that there are 3 of you in your party, will ask you if you would like a king bed room. When I told her that I had specified a double she replied with, "Well, I'm not allowed to presume." Okay. I didn't think that specifying my preference in advance and actually taking a few seconds to look at it was presuming, but maybe I learned something.

The hotel did have some nice amenities, such as the decor in the room. The rooms are spacious and well decorated. However, there is no complimentary coffee and the ice bucket is actually more like a glass bowl without a lid. They also do not believe in top sheets on the bed.

The hotel promotes wi fi, but in actuality it's available only as a "hot spot" which means you have to pay for it via Tmobile for another $8. There is also no free breakfast or donuts. They do have a menu available and you can purchase a cup of coffee for $8 a pot or $4 a cup. Stick with the water is my advice.

The beds are comfy in spite of the lack of top sheet. Not too hard, not too soft. But don't get too comfy. Even on Saturday the maids decide that a good time to bring out the vacuum and bang it against the wall to make sure no dust bunnies are hiding in the baseboards. If that doesn't wake you up don't be surprised if the maid doesn't knock on your door at 8:15 to make sure you don't want to go ahead and check out and have your room cleaned. Check out is supposed to be noon. But hey, you may want an early start, right?

If you call to ask the front desk if they really want you to leave or if they are just trying to get voted as the "Most Annoying Hotel," they will respond with "If you didn't want the maid to knock on your door, why didn't you put up the 'Do Not Disturb' sign?" Wow. Maybe because they never told me this was necessary at the Hilton or the Holiday Inn. Shame on them. I responded with, "Would that have kept them from vacuuming and hitting the walls at 7:30?"

It's not all bad, honestly. They do have a nice LG large screen tv complete with cable. They have a swimming pool and a sauna, but no hot tub. They also have plenty of running hot water.

All in all I would have to say that it's not likely I'll stay here again, despite the cute decor.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What's Your Leisure Suit Test

I took it and got the "Sexy Siren." I don't know about that, but I do like to sit around in my pj's or something easy to take off so I'm all nice and comfy.

Your result for What's Your Leisure Suit? Test...

The Sexy Siren

40% Lingerie

Honestly you don't mind that naughty tossled look. You go for the sex appeal factor in your life and fun times. You like being a bit naughty and unpredictable, don't you?

Your leisure time activities probably include reading fashion magazines, celebrity gossip, dramas, reading romance novels, and shopping. Of course you like to spend some of your free time in the sack with someone that can appreciate your talents.

Who can blame you?

Take What's Your Leisure Suit? Test at HelloQuizzy

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My Favorite Imo

I absolutely love learning about different cultures. One of the main reasons could be because of my background. My biological mother came here from Italy and passed away when I was 9. I still miss her. My father remarried when I was 10 to my present mother, whom is Korean, and one of the most remarkable women anyone could ever know.

Needless to say my background was fraught with difficulties and complications that could fill a novel. Most people would swear I had to be lying. However, it is what it is and it made me who I am. Though I would never wish what I lived through on anyone else difficulties made me stronger.

This morning I was thinking about my Imo Moon Ja. When I was a young girl I thought she was one of the most beautiful people I had ever met. She had the kindest soul and the most upbeat spirit. Yet often times she was sad.

In Seoul she had been a professor of Korean at the university. In the US she was nothing more than another person coming to the US trying to fit in. I remember her crying one night saying that people in the US treated her as if she were stupid because she wasn't proficient in English. They felt that because she couldn't express herself in English that she had to be ignorant and treated her that way. She was not happy. I know that Imo Moon Ja was far from stupid. She had a world of knowledge tucked away in her brain. In reality it was those that couldn't see or understand the intelligence that was there that were lacking in brain power.

Imo used to spend a lot of time with me. She would teach me Korean words and gave me a Korean name. She was very energetic and loving. I knew that when she married my Uncle P.D., who was also Korean as well as a very gifted artist, that they would have wonderfully brilliant children. I was right. They had three, two girls and a boy.

I was sad when they all moved to Seattle. I would truly miss her. Uncle P.D. had created beautiful works of art and had a showing in the Corcoran Gallery of Art in DC. He was well read and was headed for greatness. His talent is what inspired me to start painting.

Sadly not long after they left Uncle PD passed away. Imo Moon Ja did not take it well. It was like part of her soul had been ripped away. She came back to stay with us for a while. I wanted so much to take away her pain, but no one could. I remember laying with her sometimes trying to comfort her. She had literally lost a part of herself. I think her saving grace was having her children. But life for her from then on was going to be turbulent and hard. She persevered.

Her ability to overcome every obstacle she came across is what has inspired me in my own life. Because of Imo Moon Ja I know that regardless of what happens we can make it in life. Even when the worst possible thing might happen you can move on.

Imo Moon Ja never remarried, but she devoted everything she had into raising her children. I think it's paid off. They are all gifted, charming, and successful. Each one has her heart of gold. They all love her completely and understand her little idiosyncrasies.

Imo Moon Ja was a major factor in how I grew up and how I saw the world.

So, Imo, kamsahamnida. Saranghae.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mom Can't Watch Neighbors Kids in MI? Seriously, people.

As a mother finding out that a parent who was helping out some neighbor moms by making sure their children got onto the bus safely was threatened with jail time floored me. They had to be kidding, right? But no, they weren't.

She was doing this as a good parent to ensure that kids were safe. She took no money, but her reward was another neighbor complaining that for less than an hour this woman was watching children without a license. It's insane. What is up with this tattle-telling neighbor and what kind of archaic law do they have on the books.

According to the law:

A home can qualify as a child care operation if one to seven minor children -- all unrelated to the caregivers -- receive care and supervision there for less than 24 hours a day and for more than four weeks in a year.

In my humble opinion, the neighbor complaining must not have kids. It could even be a pedophile wanting to make sure they have easier access to the kids. Regardless, for the state to try and threaten a woman doing an act of kindness is ridiculous.

The law, which is so poorly written and which should have never been allowed on the books to begin with, could prohibit parents from having sleep overs or even having kids playing with each other in private homes. Parents would not be able to have friends watch their children for a night out.

I'm not the only one that found this situation bizarre, MI State Rep. Brian Calley, , said "agency officials, in his view, were interpreting a 36-year-old statute regulating day care centers more broadly than necessary." When trying to help out the parent in question he was told that this was a "legal matter." The state of Michigan has officially decided that the law and the proposed punishment of the mother was over the top. They are planning on working on amending the law.

I say, leave the parents alone here. I would be grateful to have someone that would look out for the safety of my children if I had to work. Them threatening a woman for keeping children safe is ludicrous.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Okay, it's no secret that I love AVON and know about a million ways to save money using the products. I also love ideas for cleaning that are good for the house and not harsh on the skin. Last week I sold bubble bath to one of my customers and she was thinking about some soaking and alone time in the bath. She bought the apple pie scent and it was remarkably nice smelling. I have to say, I love bubble baths but never seem to stop to enjoy them.

Then one of my Facebook friends listed a site that had 25 uses for AVON bubble bath. I was intrigued and started looking around a bit and found I might have been the odd man out here. I haven't been using the product to it's fullest extent. I've broken it down a bit here and combined some. What's great is you aren't using harsh chemicals in your house. Great news for those of us that stay at home and have found out that regular cleaning products make us more likely to have cancer.

Here are some uses that I never thought of:

1. Dish soap. I buy dish soap at the grocery store and it costs me over $2.50 for 16 oz. However, I buy the cheapo stuff. I noticed that it is not so great on the hands. Unlike Marge, soaking my hands in dish soap doesn't do anything for them except dry them out. Maybe it's the dish soap or maybe it's the anti-bacterial stuff they put in it. I dunno. A bottle of AVON bubble bath costs about 2 for $10. That's five bucks each for 8 ounces more than what I've been buying. But the AVON is dermatologist tested and is easy on the hands and smells nice. AVON also cuts grease. I can use it in my bath as well, but using dish soap in the bath isn't such a grand idea. Not good for the womanly parts, you know.

2. Cleaning glass. Now a bottle of Windex about the same size costs about the same. Again, Windex is good for only one thing. I am not about to put some in my bath and it doesn't smell as nice. Plus, you use a lot more of the Windex then you do of the bubble bath that you mix together. So, again, AVON wins in my book. Keep some in a spray bottle from the dollar store and use it for general cleaning. It works!

3. Wood cupboards, no wax floors, venetian blinds, etc. The lists I found went on and on about what a super cleaner this stuff is. I have wood floors and finding a decent wood cleaner is not easy. I can't believe I had the solution in my hands the entire time and overlooked it. Wood cleaners are not cheap, believe me. Plus they don't last long, especially when almost your entire house has wooden floors. Then the cabinets? Wow. I seriously was needing something the cut the grease on the cabinets. Dish soap wasn't good and it wasn't good for the wood. Another problem solved.

4. Jewelry cleaner. This is great for cleaning both expensive and costume jewelry. I have cleaners that I bought in small bottle for over $10 each at a show. The guy was proving to me how great this cleaner was...and it did work. Unfortunately I have now found that a little dash of AVON bubble bath and water works just as well and isn't nearly as costly. What was I thinking?

5. Spot Remover. Seriously? Yep, seriously. Not only will putting it straight on your clothes for tough grease stains like butter but it will clean your upholstery spots too. Just put it on without water. For clothes, wash the clothes and let the bubble bath do the work. For the furniture put it on with a damp cloth (damp is just that, not soaked with water) and then sponge it off (again without water.) Water can stain your furniture but the bubble bath won't. Now how cool is that?

6. Scenting the house. My husband has gotten into putting water on the stove and then warming the water with orange peel in it. It's cool. Sometimes you can even add a bit of cinnamon. It's great when you actually have left over orange peel; however, leaving orange peel sitting around in your kitchen waiting for an opportunity is not so nice. Now I've found I can have different scents that work the same way, and I can even use it with some water in my potpourri burner? Super.

7. Car Wash. Nothing for the car is cheap. I also know that one time when I was little I decided to wash my Daddy's car with Ajax. That is NOT a good idea, and I'm speaking from my personal experience here. It takes the paint right off the car. Daddy was not too happy. But again, this bubble bath will clean the car and make it look spiffy. Cuts the grease that is on the cars too. Awesome, right?

8. Laundry detergent. Now this is just too cool for me. I have a son with eczema and laundry soap is so harsh. I buy Dreft, but that gets to be really expensive. This stuff is good for your delicate clothes, but also for your delicate skin. You don't need nearly as much in your was as you do the regular laundry soap. Oh, and guess what? You won't need fabric softener. Cha ching!

9. Pet Shampoo. It is gentle enough for your pets, plus if you add a bit of Skin So Soft bath oil it will keep flies, mosquitoes, and fleas off your pets. SSS is a great bug guard. You can even mix it in your own bath during the summer before going outside to work in the yard.

10. Plant leaves. As you figured out this stuff is good for all your cleaning needs. It also cleans plant leaves and makes them shine without hurting the plant. Totally awesome.

You want to know something else cool? You soak in it in the tub, relax, soothe your aching muscles from all the hard work you do, and when you're done you won't have a bathtub ring. I'm not sure what my kids do to make the horrid rings they have in the tub, but those days are over, baby.

So, if you want to order AVON bubble bath for yourself just click here. You can also read reviews by other people. Gotta love it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Strange Creature found in Panama

Pictures of Three-toed sloth, a three-toed sloth hand, and a three-toed sloth skull.
These to compare with the strange body found in Panama by four teenage boys.

Okay. There are a bunch of teenagers hanging around in Panama when some foreign looking beast comes out of a cave and starts ambling toward you. What do you do? Run? Evidently not until you throw rocks and sticks at it to kill it. Sad.

Granted the thing is weird looking, but it has no teeth. I also don't notice any eyes that are open here. The boys were probably pretty safe, considering.

The video, in Spanish, comes from, and depicts further footage and views of the creature that aren't seen on many other websites. According to their sources they also leave open the possibility that it could be a hoax.

So how would this be a hoax? I'm inclined to believe the boys are telling the truth, but I'm not ruling out that this "creature" is an innocent baby whose parents, for some reason, were forced to live in a new habitat. As humans take over the world animals are going to have to become more resourceful to survive. The claws on this creature immediately reminded me of a three-toed sloth. After looking at it a bit more other aspects of it's body reminded me of a sloth as well.

Yes, I know that sloths have fur. However, if this creature had been living in the darkness of the cave why would it need fur? Or perhaps, being a fetus as scientists have proclaimed, or as one scientist has thought it could possibly be a fetus from some type of sloth. Of course not many agree with him.

So, let me play the Devil's advocate here. At the top of this blog is an image of the three toed sloth, a skull, and his hands. You can see distinct similarities between this and the creature.

IMHO: We should refrain from killing something just on the basis that it looks weird or strange. The creature here obviously wasn't after the boys to eat them, as he has no teeth. If the creature were still alive then perhaps we could have learned more about it's needs and where it came from. Secondly, if it were an alien it is possible that the creature did not die from being stoned but because it wasn't able to exist in our environment. However, this is quite far fetched and I'm not in the least inclined to believe it.

It is my instinct that this is some kind of sloth that emerged from the cave and away from it's mother. It is even possible that the mother died in child birth, which is why the creature was wandering alone. We may never know.

Still, my teenage son says that it was really dumb to kill it. He indicated that the boys could have just run away and brought people back.

Kudos to him. I always knew he was smart.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On a Few News Stories of the Week

There have been some odd things going on this week. Of course I have an opinion. Here is my take on a few things:

Kanye taking the mic from Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech: Stupid. He proved that consumption of alcohol kills brain cells. He better quit because I don't believe he can afford to lose many more.

Wilson on calling out Obama during his speech and congress "admonishing" him for his outburst. First off saying someone is lying is not the same thing as calling him a liar. A liar is someone that consistently doesn't tell the truth as opposed to someone that might be mistaken in his assumption. Wilson was rude, bottom line. However, this country is based on freedoms. He should be free to express his ideas and opinions. Personally I think it is refreshing to see someone in congress not asleep and actually paying attention.

On Serena Williams and her outburst. Please, forgive the girl for being upset and human. She was evidently having a bad day. The "outburst" she had was one of the most polite outbursts I've seen. She immediately apologized. Besides, the call on her foot fall was obviously bogus. She had a right to be a bit upset. I'm sure in the future she'll handle it differently.

On everyone that is claiming Wilson's outburst was due to racism. Get over yourself. Seriously, why is it that people bring up racism when a white politician says something against Obama? Did we forget that Obama is half white or that it is America and over half of out country is created of different races, religions, and ideas. The only way to stop racism is to ignore colors of people and just accept people as all being just that - people. We are prolonging our agony.

Today I tweeted a question that I would seriously love an answer to: When did the land of the free and the home of the brave become the field of sheep led by dogs and hunted by wolves?

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Big Brother 11 Downfall

This photo depicts Big Brother 11 characters Natalie, Jesse, and Chima.

I have been a fan of Big Brother from the beginning. It's a CBS reality show that has very little to do with actual reality. No one that is going to be locked in a house together in real life would have prizes raining down on their heads. The only reality there is the conniving and back-stabbing that people do in real life, or perhaps the making of a new friendship or quick hook-up.

Every season has a favorite house mate. Sometimes the favorites are fun and charismatic, and sometimes they are just super hot people that make us tune in because we like looking at them. This season Jeff was our eye candy. He was also the person that mostly kept his word. The only time he went back on it was when he became confused and worried that he was being lied to. Not a good thing to do - seconding guessing oneself. But he was human. His other faux pas was that he smoked. Despite his bad habits of cussing, smoking, and bending he had most of the audience mesmerized with his chivalry toward his beautiful and sweet housemate, Jordan. Now Jeff has been evicted from the house and many loyal viewers have quit watching. Why? I can only answer for myself.

Viewers prayed for a divine intervention for Jeff to stay in the house. Many were hoping that Pandora's Box had hope left for him. It didn't happen. Jeff received the first standing ovation of the audience as he departed, and he departed with a smile that could melt a woman's heart and reminded us why we loved this guy so much.

Well, the honest reason I've quit watching this season is because I became a bit disgusted with the reason Jeff went home. Natalie, a 24 year old young woman, set her sights on the prize and has ridden the coattails of other contestants the entire way through the game. She has no redeeming qualities that I can find. She is not charismatic, she is not cute or pretty, and she is not, by a long shot, concerned with hygiene. The entire game she has depended on other people to pull her through, and they haven't disappointed her. Her claim to fame is that she can lie and she does it with ease and no conscious. "Lie and then never admit to lying," she told one of her house mates. It's all fine in order to get your way.

This season had more people that the audience hated then any other season, all aligned with Natalie. The season's antagonists were Jesse, the egomaniac who even wears shirts with his own image; Chima, the shrew who insisted she have her way and ultimately was asked to leave; Ronnie, the rat, who had no redeeming qualities to anyone except Jesse, Chima, and Natalie. Ronnie was the perfect friend for Natalie because he also had very little use for the truth. Most of the audience cheered and threw parties when he left the house.

I hate to see people that are so despicable prosper. I've seen too many people that have been able to lie and cheat and steal in order to get their way. I always wait for Karma to kick in and take over, but sometimes it just never seems to happen. So, for my part I can't watch this game any longer this season because of it.

I, personally, do not believe that we should promote bad behavior to others and reward people for it. There should be consequences for our actions. It's what I teach my children. It is ultimately the reason I'm done with this season of the show.

I don't expect people to follow my lead, but I do expect people to understand my decision.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Disciplining Your Kids - I'll Do It Myself, Thank You.

I remember shopping one day when my now adult daughter was very little. We were in line and she tried to stand up in the cart. I told her to sit down. The woman behind me proceeded to tell me that I didn't deserve to have children. Children, in her opinion, shouldn't be doing something wrong to start with to need disciplining in public. At that time it stung. I was a young mother and I had problems having children to begin with. I was never certain if I would ever be able to have children. Was I doing something wrong? No. I have wonderful children. My older ones are successful and happy. My younger ones are intelligent and well mannered. What else could a parent want?

Today a man in Georgia was arraigned with felony charges because he believed that he could discipline a two year old more effectively then the mother of the child. The child in question was crying and screaming in Wal-Mart. The man told the mother, "If you don't shut the baby up, I will shut her up for you." The mother went to the next aisle, but the man came and slapped the child across the face four times. At that point he said, "See, I told you I'd shut her up."

One of the other patrons stopped the man and held him while security came and the police were called. At this point the man apologized to the mother for striking her child.

We all have seen the weepy, crying, and fit throwing child at the store. I didn't have problems with my children screaming because they couldn't have something at the store, but I did have times when, as babies, they would cry. Babies cry for various reasons - needing a change, being hungry, being tired, or just being grumpy or feeling poorly. It is something all parents have to deal with at some time. No one is immune to the sound of children crying unless they are deaf.

It would have been best if the man, evidently grumpy himself, had just left the store to contain himself and his anger. Wal-Mart, after all, is a family store. He had no right to strike a child, especially one that had no connection to him.

When we see crying children at the store my boys and I usually try smiling and talking to them. Most of the time the child stops. I've found that most small children do not enjoy the shopping experience for long periods of time. Even if you gave them a credit card they'd more than likely drool over it, gum it, and then throw it down. Shopping for babies is not usually stimulating. But parents have the right to shop, to take their children shopping, and to deal with behavior problems in their own way.

So, to the culprit in question, Mr. Roger Stephens of Georgia, get over your bad self. Take some time in jail and make a few license plates. Maybe when you get out you'll have learned the lesson of tolerance.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Glofish for the boy - The Super Cool Danio

We have been redoing one of the upstairs bedroom for our 9 yr old. He's been sharing a room with his brother since he was a wee little guy and they've become best friends. So, while out one day I found the cutest little orange fish tank. Orange, up until about six months ago, was his favorite color. It's bright and cheery and he absolutely loves fish. I thought it would be the perfect accent to his new room and he'd have new critters to share his room with.

So out yesterday with a friend to see her mud skipper, an amphibious creature with bulgy eyes that moves faster than a speeding bullet, I saw these bright orange and yellow fish. The literally glowed. They were tiny and quite energetic. Perfect for his tank. So I bought three of them for $18 (I read that they sell for $18 each in Taiwan.) A bit expensive, but the man told me that these were the only patented fish available. Science has created a fish that glows and was bred to "detect pollution by selectively fluorescing in the presence of environmental toxins." Cool, huh? However, knowing this I'm afraid the fish will be going crazy in his room. With everything that he forgets to put away and clean they will be very busy little guys indeed.

Just being in our kitchen they haven't stopped swimming. It took a great deal of patience and half my cell phone battery just to get the picture I put on here.

They come in glowing pink, yellow, and green. I bought two yellow and a pink, but I think I'd like to find a green one to join their ranks.

Another interesting thing is that the pink one have the dna of a coral and the yellow and green ones have been genetically modified with jellyfish DNA. Science sure can be cool.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Watching as they grow... Even the Youngest grow older

I sit and listen with a smile as the boys play.
It wasn't that long ago that I held them close and
nursed them upon my breast.
Not yesterday, but before.
My memories are not dimmed by their growth away from
Mommy's arms.
Inside I know that the nurturing I gave them lies inside
their hearts and will be with them forever.
It will help them to become father's, husband's, lovers.
They will understand the meaning of touch, kiss, and comfort.
It is not sad that they grow further away from me,
but I wonder how the gradual increase in their independence
happened without my seeing it come.
Time does create a difference in life, but I shall always
hear the whisper of "Mommy" in my mind and feel it in my heart.
I am not losing a child - I am creating young men that will
direct the future of our world...
right after they finish killing zombies on the latest video game.

Monday, August 17, 2009

One Talented but Sick Kitty

I've seen and heard a lot of strange things in my time, it's true. Keith R. Griffin says that he has been wrongfully arrested for child pornography. He's even put the finger, or paw, on the right culprit. Yep, it was his cat. Evidently while Keith was working his kitty was busy surfing the internet and downloading illegal material. One has to wonder if the cat stole the poor guys credit card for some of the material.

Friday, August 14, 2009

My Husband's Dream

We all dream. A woman, when she's married, hopes that her husband has sweet dreams about her. Maybe romantic (not so likely, our version of romance differs from the male species, usually) or even sexual (which is much more likely, with little details except for the actual act itself.)

I believe that for the most part we want our men to share their dreams with us. This morning I got my wish. He woke and told me he had a dream. Cool. What was it? He went to a Bordello. Uh oh. Sexual dreaming? Well, that's okay. But no. He went their with wooden stakes to kill vampires that used the Bordello as a headquarters. Nice. No sex, just blood.

Funny thing is I believe I know where this particular dream stems from. We are in Wal-Mart and we buy wooden stakes for yard sale signs to help out a friend. He doesn't think practical, he thinks weapon (which for him is practical.)

"We can use these to kill vampires," he says.

I didn't know we had a vampire problem in Neenah, Wisconsin, but hey.

"Aren't they a little long?" I ask.

"No," he replies. "It helps us out so we don't get too close." Practical.

So as we leave Wal-Mart I stop in front of the bench with three teenage girls.

"So, do you think these are strong enough to kill vampires?" I ask him.

We, of course, get strange looks from the girls before they look curiously at each other.

"Sure," he says smiling knowing exactly what I'm doing.

As we leave the Wal-Mart he looks at me and says, "That's only one of the reasons I love you."

I'm sure another is that I wouldn't get upset about him dreaming about a Bordello of Blood.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Khadir, Son of Iraqi Policman, Shows Great Bravery and Strength

As a parent the most horrific thing that could happen to me would be for something to happen to my children. Abdul Qadar found was horrified when he found his 6 year old son had been captured by Al Qaeda operatives and was told that they would kill the boy if his father didn't help them free Al Qaeda prisoners. His father, grieving, stood firm knowing that his child was being sacrificed in order to keep other murderers and terrorists off the street. It is a decision we hope we never have to make.

Despite living with terrorists and being tortured for two years Khadi survived. He was brutalized by people that say they are doing God's work, but I find it very difficult to believe any religion has a god that would condone driving a nail through the leg of a child or pulling out all his teeth with pliers. These people, in the name of their holy war, broke both arms on this courageous young man. Of course he is not the only child they have done this to, but Khadir was rescued and lives to tell about the horrific life these people made him live for two years.

It was the Iraqi police that took a chance with their own lives to follow a lead to save captured and abused children. Risking that they were falling into a trap they took a chance because saving the lives of innocents was worth more then their own lives. That is the type of character that Iraqi's are made from. Iraqi people are not all Al Qaeda, many are victims just like Khadir. Their Koran and religion believe that
God is merciful
. Al Qaeda does not show mercy, they show cruelty and hatred.

Khadir shows a spirit that should help to inspire people. He is a survivor that never gave up hope. His attitude is still one of love and he is grateful for the love of his family and those that work to help protect his people from further abuse by others that use terrorism and intimidation to gain power.

I pray that I never have to make the decisions that Khadir and his family had to make, but if I ever do I pray that I have the same amount of courage.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Man Literally Glued from Cheating on Spouse

"FOND DU LAC (AP) The eastern Wisconsin man who was the victim in a bizarre plot to punish him for disloyalty in a lover's quadrangle is in jail.

Fond du Lac Police Capt. Steven Klein said Wednesday the 36-year-old man was arrested Tuesday on allegations of child abuse, theft, unlawful phone use and harassment with a death threat in a domestic abuse investigation.

The Fond du Lac County district attorney's office says no charges have been filed.

A criminal complaint says four women, including the man's wife, were charged in Calumet County last week with being party to false imprisonment after the man was tied up and his penis was glued to his stomach at a Stockbridge motel. One of the women was also charged with fourth-degree sexual assault.

Authorities say three of the women were romantically involved with the man."

The women are from Neenah, Menasha, and his wife from Kaukauna. You would think that the guy would have his hands full with one feisty wife, but no, he had to be greedy and press his luck. Now he knows the wonder of super glue.

Currently the women are out on $200 cash bail. He better be careful. After all, he now knows the true feel of a woman scorned.

Mom Drags Kid Through Store on Leash

Okay. So you're having a bad day. The kid is crying and not cooperating. What do you do? You pick the child up, carry him through the store or you leave the store with your child and come back later when the situation is better. Most people know that children throw fits or become uncooperative. Most people are understanding, especially other parents.


Children are not puppies or animals. They are small human beings that are learning how to treat other human beings by the way we treat them.

In this case the mother was arrested. In my humble opinion, she should be forced to take anger management and parenting classes.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Mother Kills 8 On NY Hwy

Being a parent is not an easy task. We actually and literally hold lives in our hands. I imagine that when this woman took on the responsibility of motherhood she took it on with love and commitment. After all her friends and family speak of her fondly and as a good mother. So what would have happened that would have made her drink, do drugs, and drive with children in the car? In the minivan with her were her two children, ages 5 and 2, and also her three nieces ages 7, 8, and 9. Four of the five children were killed. Because of her actions and decision to drive in this condition many lives are changed forever. One mother and father no longer has their three children, lost a niece, and a sister. The woman drove the wrong way on a highway for two miles. She had enough sense left to call and tell her brother she wasn't feeling well. He told her to pull over and wait. She kept going.

Diane Schuler was drunk on vodka and high on marijuana when she drove the wrong way onto a New York highway and slammed into an SUV, authorities said Tuesday. Schuler, 36, and seven other people were killed, including her 2-year-old daughter, Erin. Son Bryan, 5, was the sole survivor. Schuler's husband, Daniel, shown in this family photo, was not in the minivan.

We don't know what possessed this woman to make the actions she did. The fact of the matter is that an adult has the right to make their own decisions - good or bad, but the decisions we make when they involve minors need to be the best possible ones. Past good parenting does not excuse present bad parenting. Wrong decisions may even take away our ability to parent at all.

My heart goes out to the parents of the lost children, but especially to the little boy who lost his mother and little sister. His childhood is changed forever.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cheating Husbands and Appropriate Punishments

If found an article on AOL news where a New York Woman thought an appropriate punishment for her husband was pouring boiling water on his crotch while he was sleeping.

Emmanuel "Ojo" Ojofeitmi, 67, was hospitalized with second- and third-degree burns over 30 percent of his body, the New York Post reported Tuesday.
"I was in bed, I was fast asleep … She came into the bedroom and poured hot water all over me," Ojofeitmi told the Post.
"I didn't know what had happened. By the time I woke up, the skin was falling off," the Nigerian immigrant said.

Her lawyer says that the husband has a history of abusing his wife, which includes the mental anguish a woman suffers from when her husband is cheating. But this woman has put up with 21 years of abuse and lived with him raising four children. Evidently something snapped and she just couldn't take it any longer.

I'm not condoning doing such physical harm to anyone because they have wronged you, but I do believe that making a marriage work is very hard work. I've heard it said over and over again "once a cheater always a cheater." This makes it sound like people can never change. I don't believe that.

I do believe that we have to assume our responsibilities for what we have done - wrong or right. If a husband or wife is cheating then they have to assume the consequences for their actions. If they honestly feel that they can't stop they owe it to the spouse to tell them so. The other party has the right to determine if they can honestly live with that type of a relationship or not.

Of course some people may do it for the mere thrill of cheating and not getting caught. If that's the case don't be surprised if your spouse turns around and does something drastic. Remember Lorena Bobbit?

Friday, July 24, 2009

RI Allows 16 Yr Olds to Be Strippers

One of the most important thing that we can do as adults, parents, teachers, politicians, and as a country is to make sure that we make the best decisions for our children. Last time I looked a person was a child until the age of 18. At 18 they can vote, but they can't drink until they are 21. Why? Because when you become an adult you can see that you were pretty darn stupid as a teenager and your decisions, even though they felt right at the time, weren't always the best. Thus most teenagers live in a soap operaesque world. Almost everything is "life or death."

In Rhode Island a 16 year old can strip, as long as she is home by 11:30 on a school night. At least they have her education in mind here.

However, a 16 year old may not: operate a power saw or pump gas. Lord knows that pumping gas is a lot more dangerous then taking off your clothes for horny old men who've had too much to drink.

Great message you send to the kids there, RI.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

8 yr Old Girl Gang Raped and Disowned by her family

Being raped is a horrible experience for anyone. An 8 year old girl in Phoenix was raped by four other children, ages 9, 10, 12, and 14. All the children involved, including the victim are from Liberia, Africa.

Not only did this poor little girl suffer rape from these boys who lured her into a storage shed with promises of bubble gum, but she suffered further heartbreak when her family disowned her for shaming them with her actions of being raped by the boys. It was a neighbor in the apartment complex that called the police to report the crime when she saw the little girl crying and running from the storage shed wearing only her panties.

The boys said they were justified in raping the child because she had taunted them and was calling them names.

I do not even pretend to understand the customs of other countries, but this is shocking to me not only because all involved, except for the girl's parents, are minor's. I know there are countries where children carry guns and shoot each other. I know there are countries where children are sent out of their homes and forced to fend for themselves because their families cannot afford to feed them. I realize that this is not a completely friendly and perfect world. However, Liberia was based on the US system of justice. Freed slaves settled in Liberia so they would have real and total freedom. The country is about 40% Christian based with some indigenous traditional ideas and practices.

The fact remains that even though this girl's family is from Liberia they have chosen to move to the U.S. It is not a common practice for US citizens to throw out their children because they have been victims of sexual crimes. It is common for most of us to support and love our children and help them through these difficult times.

If you choose to leave your country and live here you should be willing to support the ideals of this country. You cannot throw out your child like a piece of garbage and bury your head in the sand. You should not condone your child to commit heinous crimes and support them when they are luring, beating, and molesting another innocent child.

If you can't do this, go back to your own country and live.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Boys Will Be Boys

My children are not perfect. No child is perfect. My boys play, run, and can be very loud. They can also bring me flowers, give great hugs, and do nice things for you just to show that they love you. My boys pick up sticks, play swords, and sometimes pretend to shoot guns at aliens. They also pick up trash, do chores, and strive to be good students in school. My boys do not disrespect adults, make a habit of lying, or terrorize small animals. They do make mistakes, sometimes need to be chastised, and are reprimanded.

When the neighbor lady came over to complain that my older son was "terrorizing" his little brother I had trouble understanding that. She said that he was holding him down and covering his mouth and not letting him up to scream for help. She also said he then proceeded to "undermine her authority" and deny what she had seen with her own two eyes. When the little guy came in I asked and he denied that his brother had done any of these things. She listened still intent that some kind of punishment was mandated for the older one. Surely I didn't want him to grow up to be a tyrant.

The other neighbor who was outside was shocked. She said that nothing like that had happened. They boys had been playing a bit rough, yes. But they were laughing and having a good time. She had just told them they only had about 20 minutes left to play and perhaps they should come inside to finish their time. (She too has had run ins with this other neighbor.) She said that my older one was trying to explain to the busybody neighbor about them just playing, but she was refusing to listen. Busybody then insisted that she could call social services on him, how would he like that? He said he believed there was a misunderstanding. Busybody then insisted that they go inside and speak to me regarding his behavior.

Busybody came into the house and told me her story. I was unhappy with my son and doubted that he did nothing. I couldn't understand why someone would go to so much trouble to tell on a child if nothing had actually happened. I told him to get his brother because I was insisting that he must be fibbing to me since Busybody was so insistent. Little brother comes in and confirms Big Brother's story. He has no idea why the Busybody would be so upset.

Busybody then tells me that she can call social services on my children. She also says that I need to get rid of my cockatoo because the neighbors are complaining. I ask her if these are the same neighbors that come over to see the bird and ask about him? She says, "I know you home school your children, but perhaps you should find a better way to teach them." She also says, "Don't get used to keeping that bird because you won't have him much longer. Something will be done."

By this point I've had enough. I ask her, "Did you just come into my home to threaten me? I don't appreciate that at all." I then asked my husband to show her out, please. She goes to leave asking what she's done. On the way out she asks my husband if I'm on my period. "No," he says. "You just over stepped your bounds." To which she replies, "I don't think I did anything wrong."

My other neighbor says that this woman watches our children out the window all the time. She leaves treasures for them to find, but sometimes she comes outside to chastise them for playing.

In my humble opinion:

1. You do not threaten a child.
2. You do not undermine the authority of a parent.
3. You do not threaten a neighbor, you speak to them regarding your concern.
4. Children play and can be loud. If you live somewhere that has children and you have problems with this move into an adult only neighborhood or apartment.
5. If you have so much time on your hands that you spend hours looking out your window to find something to complain about you have too much time on your hands. Get a hobby.
6. If you go into someone's home displaying this kind of behavior you're very lucky that all they said to you is that perhaps you should leave. I'm sure there is a lot more that could have been said. Consider yourself lucky.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Teenagers and Authority

I know that teenagers aren't supposed to like authority or being told no. I realize that when most kids get to preteen age they think that they have already grown into adulthood and know more than the parents. Evidently in the world of youth after you pass the age of 25 you become ignorant.

Such is the case with my 16 year old daughter who has her very first boy toy. They have been dating and seeing each other. She was shocked when I knew she had hickey's by the mere deduction that all of a sudden in July she was wearing ribbons and scarves around her neck. How did I know?

I realize that they will be making out. I realize that they want to spend as much time together as possible. I realize that they will be tempted to do other things that I would rather not think about right now.

I also realize that no matter how many times she asks I will not think it's okay for her to spend the night at his house. So give it up.

She thought that by calling me after the concert and waking me up I'd be prime to change my mind. Wasn't happening. Then she thought arguing would change my mind. Nope. What it did get her was four days of restriction for not respecting me in the first place.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Life and Our Expectations

There are so many things that I still want to do in life. It seems that I don't have enough time for a lot of it, but how much time do I actually waste? I don't think I want to look at the answer to that question. But if I'm spending that time being me, is the time really wasted? I don't know if I want to answer that one either.

A young mother last night said the same thing, just about. She said, "I'm almost thirty and I see time slipping away. There are so many things I still want to do and I don't feel I'm living up to my potential." She has four small children, a sick husband, and a full time job. Amazing. I find her inspiring that she can manage all that she does and still make time for friends. But in her perspective she feels that she isn't doing enough and isn't doing all that she wants to do.

On the other hand I know people that sit around and complain about not having enough in life. They complain about their jobs, the way their life is going, how their children treat them, their disatisfaction with their relationships, and so on. When you tell them to make changes they just don't want to or say they can't. But, honestly, everyone can make changes. It's that they don't want to. A lot of people fear change. They like knowing what is going to happen even if what is happening is bad, because at least they they feel as if they have some control.

I don't desire to be a super star. I do desire to be the best that I can be. If I feel as if I'm accomplished in my small part of the world I've done something. I've become someone. It's not the measure of everyone else in the world that matters, it's the measure we give ourselves.

My children think I'm wonderful. My husband likes being with me and supports me in everything I do. My family adores me and they tell me every day. I've done something right here, and that says a lot.

So what if we struggle to pay the bills or if we can't afford to go on a European Cruise? We have something here that some people don't and no matter how much time and effort they put into being successful and popular and rich they won't be able to buy it. Success isn't measured by how much money you have - it's measured by how much happiness you have in your life.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Nuclear Family

Every day I watch as my boys play with their father and am so grateful that they all love each other so much. It's a wonderful and amazing thing, even when they get a little carried away and you have to start moving expensive things to keep them from becoming victims of masculine horseplay.

Looking at the boys and their father no one would guess that one of them was not his biological child. Nothing he says or does shows a difference between the boys. I don't believe in my heart that he actually thinks of one as his step-son, but honestly loves him just as much as if he shared his DNA. In our family we believe that heart plays a much more important role than blood because heart is what you need in order to make a family successful.

I love my husband, not just because he has this remarkable way of giving all of us the love and support that we need, but because he loves fully and honestly. When someone says that his boys look just like him he smiles with great pride. He's amazing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Girly Contest

I follow Girlgetstrong on Twitter. She has a very interesting approach on a very real and important project: allowing women to feel empowered, especially those that have been used and abused.

I entered a contest they are having to win an ipod touch. Here is my entry:

Sensei is sensibly sexy.

Now, I'm sure being sexy is sensible, especially if you are doing it for yourself and not for someone else. The mistake that many people make is doing something to look better for others when we really need to be doing it for ourselves. Our self image is the most important thing, which is why many people fail when trying because they are so hard on themselves. We usually are not nearly as stringent on others.

It's great to try things and use things to help us reach our goals, but we need to do one thing first. We need to make sure that our reasons for doing weight loss are sound and self-induced not society induced. Then, when you start if you feel yourself fail ask yourself: "Is this cupcake worth as much to me as being healthy and thinner?" If the answer is yes, then eat it. If the answer is no, put it down and celebrate the essence of you.

So, how will I promote this? You'll find this on my blog... :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bruce Willis in W Magazine Shows He's Still Hot

I was listening to a news show this morning on CNN where they were talking about Bruce Willis and his new wife in a strange photo shoot on W Magazine that comes out in July. According to the "experts" in the celebrity field they were ashamed for Mr. Willis in his new role. During the show I was thinking more along the lines of, "Wow. He's over fifty and still hot."

Personally, I applaud Bruce Willis and his wife for going out there and showing that they have charisma together. I think it's great that Bruce is able to show off how buff a man over 50 can be. I also think that it's no one's place to feel ashamed for anyone else. If you don't like it, don't look at it. Also, don't assume just because you find the shoot absurd or wrong that the rest of us automatically agree with you.

I'm glad to see Bruce out there doing something and being happy. If he wants to do a totally nude shoot, I'm sure it will sell magazines because there are a lot of us out there that appreciate the body and creativity of a modern male, or female, regardless of their age.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

What Do You Hear?

Does the willow sleep or does it just weep
as the moon shines across the black night?

Do you see the tears or can you feel the fears
as it reaches for the stars in the sky?

Many hear the whispers, the secrets it tells
to weary drifters that trek across the land.

Do their tales they share fall upon caring ears
Or just float upon the wind?

By Pasty Dunbar - June 7, 2009

It is said that if you listen closely the willow tree has tales to tell. It will help those searching for for answers as they travel upon life's road.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Using Police Cars for Taxi Cabs?

According to the Sheboygan Press, a 48 year old Plymouth, WI woman not only called them to ask for a ride to her ex-husband's house, but she also demonstrated to them why it was imperative for her to go there. According to this not so sober woman her ex's girlfriend was in need of a serious pounding. Since she had been drinking she wanted them to provide her with safe transportation so that she could give the other woman a beating. Police declined. Go figure. They did, however, provide her with some temporary accomondations. She also had spent some time in the early hours of the morning making 14 telephone calls to the household where her ex and his girlfriend reside. According to Sheboygan police this is considered harassment. She's just lucky she didn't get nailed for calling 911 for taxi cab emergency service.

Granted the weather here hasn't been as warm as we like, but liquor to warm up your bones evidently turns your brain into mush. My advice to Doreen L. DeTroye, aka Stupid Drunk Woman, is to find another way to get over her ex. Liquor makes you stupid.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Susan Boyle is Lovely

Susan Boyle, despite the snickers she received upon her tryout on "Britain's Got Talent," is a lovely woman. Not just because when she opens her mouth to sing is sounds as if she was touched by an angel, but because she has held herself up remarkably well despite the negative press this woman unjustly receives.

This last week she was blasted in tabloids over using cuss words at them because she was tired of being provoked. It was nothing like the tirade of Christian Bale on a member of his movie crew, or even like many other meltdowns by stars that have been in the press. Susan, at this time, has become an overnight sensation. She has been hounded by press and fans. Her quiet life in Scotland will never be the same. To say she has stepped out of her comfort zone is and extreme understatement. It's more like she has moved from Kansas to the Emerald City being hounded by the Wicked Witch and her cronies.

What I find inspiring about Susan is that she perseveres all the negative attention. It has to hurt to have every hair scrutinized by the media and to listen to such unflattering accounts. I admire her spirit as she tramples through. She has been called everything from homely to courageous. Most people are simply fascinated by her.

In my opinion, I think that the attitude of the media and the tabloids are despicable. I understand that they want to make headlines and gather readers to support their careers, but how they do it is underhanded and truth has never been a strong point in their motivation. Susan has withstood more than an average Joe could have put up with. That she hasn't lost her mind shows what stamina this woman actually has.

I'm sure she was encouraged to try out for the show by family and friends. I'm very happy that she desired to share her gift with others and bring a few minutes of joy into home, but also to prove to herself that she really is talented. It's something that many of us sit back in the safety of our lives and wonder because no one likes failure.

If I could say anything at all to Susan I would tell her to hang in there. I think she is an amazing woman with a lot of spunk. She shouldn't conform to what everyone else thinks of as trendy or beautiful, just be herself. At some point a person has to realize that we shouldn't be led around by the media and their concept. We are not sheep and they the shepherd. Stand up for yourself, think for yourself, and be yourself.