Saturday, December 31, 2011

Farewell 2011

Last post of the year. And what a challenging year it has been. Not just for me but for many others as well. My son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, which sucked and continues to suck but we are dealing with it. There's been disappointments, frustrations and sadness. But not all of 2011 was bad.

My best friend came out to surprise me for my birthday and we had an amazing time. I re-formatted my blog and became more serious about posting and writing. There's been more family togetherness, which sometimes made me want to curl up in a corner and eat my hair. Mmm Herbal Essence, tasty.

I think 2012 will be awesome. Despite what the Mayan Chicken Littles say. I don't usually like to make resolutions but I do set some personal goals to achieve throughout the year. So hopefully I'll be thinner with some stories and a book published. And then the world will end. Be just my luck.

Have a happy, healthy New Year and be safe wherever you plan to celebrate.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Traditions

When we lived in New Jersey, it was traditional to ring in the New Year with Dick Clark and watch the ball drop in Times Square. We also laughed at all the silly people freezing their butts off while we sat all warm at home but I digress. Whether we hosted a party, went to a party or spent a quiet NYE at home, we did so while watching the festivities in the City.

Now that we live in Las Vegas our new tradition for ringing the new year is to watch the fireworks over the hotels on the Strip. Last year we sat in a heated car until the last minute, got out to watch the display, wish each other a Happy Happy and ran back in the car. It was unusually freezing cold!

Aside from how you spend the evening, there are also certain traditions/superstitions that are practiced to ensure good luck, good fortune, happiness and more in the new year. One year we celebrated NYE with another couple we were good friends with. The husband brought over a pot of lentil soup and insisted that when the clock struck midnight we each eat a spoonful of the soup. Doing this was supposed to bring us good fortune in the coming year. The soup was good, the fortune so-so.

My great-grandmother was full of these rituals. She believed that you should have all your laundry done and your house clean before the midnight hour or else the new year would find you always washing clothes in a filthy house. She also believed that you should pay off all necessary debts or else you would be continually broke and owing other people.That's easier said than done these days. She had food traditions, too. Eating red cabbage meant good luck. However, cabbage leaves some people gassy, which means bad luck for the others around them.

Anyway, here's a short list of New Year's traditions from around the world. Extra commentary by me is in blue at the end.

At midnight, it's customary to eat 12 grapes, one at each stroke of the clock. Each one signifies good luck for one month of the coming year. Unless you choke on grape # 3.

The Finnish predict their fortunes for the coming year by casting molten tin into a container of water and interpreting the shape the metal takes after it hardens. A heart or ring shape means a wedding, a ship signifies travel, a pig means lots of good food. Or that you've made a pig of yourself in the last year.

Round shapes which represent coins, symbolize prosperity. There are heaps of round fruits on dining tables. Some folks eat precisely a dozen fruits at midnight. Polka dots are also thought to bring good luck. So dressing in a polka dot dress should get you lucky! 

Unmarried women play games to predict who will get hitched in the new year. In one game, a pile of corn is put in front of each woman and a rooster is let loose. Whatever pile he approaches first shows which woman will be the first to marry. This is worse than standing to catch the bride's bouquet.

People stand on chairs and jump off them at the same time at midnight to banish evil spirits and bring good luck. Unless you fall off the chair or go through the floor, then the evil spirits have the last laugh.

Central & South America
Folks wear special underwear in places like Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela. Red means love; yellow means money. Brown means dirty.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas Eve. All is calm right now. But later, it will be busy and loud and tons of fun. There will be food and laughing and music and presents. We celebrate Christmas Eve and since my son still believes in Santa Claus there will be presents for him to open Christmas morning.

But for now, tonight is the big deal. Me, Husband and Little Man will gather with my parents, my brother and our uncle. I cannot wait. I still look forward to Christmas Eve like a little kid. I love to watch people open the gifts from us. My son has taken over the duty of passing out the gifts and reading the names off the tags. Once the gifts are opened we sit and have dessert. I provide the baked cookies and my mom usually has some sort of cake or pie. Then there's more talking and laughing and fun.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas wherever, however and with whomever you spend it.Whether it's a grand affair or a small intimate gathering, have yourself a merry little Christmas.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Judy Garland

Friday, December 16, 2011

Here's to not getting the shaft this Christmas

There are a few presents under my tree. I had to wrap them and place them there because of Cousin Eddie. I'll explain. One of my family's favorite Christmas movies is "Christmas Vacation." If you haven't seen it then this post will make no sense to you. If you have seen the movie, carry on.

Well, Little Man bought a few token gifts for family at his school's Holiday Boutique. A few days later he put them in their little gift bags and placed them under the tree. Then everyday he would check to see if any more presents were there. My dad (in jest) referenced the Chevy Chase holiday movie and said "Maybe we're all getting the shaft this Christmas." Little Man asked him what that meant and my dad explained.

Excerpt from the movie:
Clark: "And if you believe in him, and you believe in your mom, and you believe in your... your dad, and if you've been good all year round, Santa Clause is going to bring you something."
Ruby Sue: "Sometimes I think all that Santa crap's just bull. If he was so real, how come we didn't get squat last year? We didn't do nothing wrong, and we still got the shaft."

Little Man seemed a bit concerned and said "I was very good this year. I hope I don't get the shaft." Then my mom told me my dad felt bad and that I should hurry up and put some things under the tree to reassure Little Man that he was getting presents for Christmas.

Thanks, dad.

And thanks, Cousin Eddie, for not getting a job (in 7 years!) and buying your kids Christmas presents so that they wouldn't get the shaft, thereby making it possible for my dad to tell my kid about your Christmas fail and making me wrap presents and put them under my tree earlier than usual.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Frosty, the Miser Brothers, Kris Kringle and other Christmas 'toons

So, in reality I'm an 8-year old girl living in an adult woman's body because I love love love watching the Christmas cartoons each year on television. "Frosty the Snowman" - Happy Birthday! "The Year Without A Santa Claus" has me singing the Snow Miser and Heat Miser songs. And I still get a little choked up when Kris marries Miss Jessica on "Santa Claus is Coming to Town".

I've been watching these each year since I was a little children. Now, I enjoy them even more with my son. It's so cool to sit with him and watch something that I grew up with and see his reactions. He also sings along with the Miser brothers and he thinks the Burger Meister Meister Burger is a poop.

We also watch the newer animated Christmas specials like "The Polar Express". He asked me if I would get on the train and I told him - Absolutely! But I would want to toot the horn and steer. Please hold the women-as-bad-drivers jokes.

I am a big Peanuts fan and I'm proud to say my kid is, too so it goes without saying that our favorite Christmas show is "A Charlie Brown Christmas." We get up and dance with Snoopy and the gang and laugh when Snoopy kisses Lucy. Spending time watching these holiday shows with him makes Christmas even more special.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I've got a store!

I am now hawking my wares on Ok, so far there's just one tee shirt with a creepy black widow spider on it, but! I designed it myself. Go here and buy buy buy! My store is called Desert Sinsation. More cool stuff coming.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas humor

Take time to laugh amid all the hustle & bustle and craziness of the season.

A Sign of the Times
As a little girl climbed onto Santa's lap, Santa asked the usual, "And what would you like for Christmas?"
The child stared at him open mouthed and horrified for a minute, then gasped: "Didn't you get my E-mail?"

20 Ways To Confuse Santa Claus:

1. Instead of milk and cookies, leave him a salad, and a note explaining that you think he could stand to lose a few pounds.
2. While he's in the house, go find his sleigh and write him a speeding ticket.
3. Leave him a note, explaining that you've gone away for the holidays. Ask if he would mind watering your plants.
4. While he's in the house, replace all his reindeer with exact replicas. Then wait and see what happens when he tries to get them to fly.
5. Keep an angry bull in your living room. If you think a bull goes crazy when he sees a little red cape, wait until he sees that big, red Santa suit!
6. Build an army of mean-looking snowmen on the roof, holding signs that say "We hate Christmas," and "Go away Santa."
7. Leave a note by the telephone, telling Santa that Mrs. Claus called and wanted to remind him to pick up some milk and a loaf of bread on his way home.
8. Throw a surprise party for Santa when he comes down the chimney. Refuse to let him leave until the strippers arrive.
9. While he's in the house, find the sleigh and sit in it. As soon as he comes back and sees you, tell him that he shouldn't have missed that last payment, and take off.
10. Leave a plate filled with cookies and a glass of milk out, with a note that says, "For The Tooth Fairy. :)" Leave another plate out with half a stale cookie and a few drops of skim milk in a dirty glass with a note that says, "For Santa. :("
11. Take everything out of your house as if it's just been robbed. When Santa arrives, show up dressed like a policeman and say, "Well, well. They always return to the scene of the crime."
12. Leave out a copy of your Christmas list with last-minute changes and corrections.
13. While he's in the house, cover the top of the chimney with barbed wire.
14. Leave lots of hunting trophies and guns out where Santa's sure to see them. Go outside, yell, "Ooh! Look! A deer! And he's got a red nose!" and fire a gun.
15. Leave Santa a note, explaining that you've moved. Include a map with unclear and hard-to-read directions to your new house.
16. Set a bear trap at the bottom of the chimney. Wait for Santa to get caught in it, and then explain that you're sorry, but from a distance, he looked like a bear.
17. Leave out a Santa suit, with a dry-cleaning bill.
18. Paint "hoof-prints" all over your face and clothes. While he's in the house, go out on the roof. When he comes back up, act like you've been "trampled." Threaten to sue.
19. Instead of ornaments, decorate your tree with Easter eggs.
20. Dress up like the Easter Bunny. Wait for Santa to come and then say, "This neighborhood ain't big enough for the both of us."

Dear Santa,

I left milk and cookies for you under the tree, and I left carrots for your reindeer outside the backdoor.
Love, Susan

Dear Susan,

Milk gives me the shits and carrots make the deer fart in my face. You want to be a kiss-ass? Leave me a glass of Chivas Regal and some Toblerone.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Burnt dinner rolls and other Thanksgiving traditions

As far as popular traditions go, we don't say grace before the meal or share what we're most thankful for and we certainly won't line up outside a store waiting for Black Friday sales. Our holiday tradition involves a foodie mishap. Every. Year.

Every Thanksgiving my family gathers for a delicious meal. The turkey is moist, the gravy is lumpless, the potatoes are mashed. But somehow, no matter what, the dinner rolls suffer. We follow the directions, we set a timer, we check them half-way through. They still get burnt. My uncle calls it Cajun-style. We laugh about it and my mom says it's tradition to serve burned dinner rolls. I've done it. Mom has done. Sometimes it's just the bottoms. One year, sadly, they were inedible.

In the past I was able to blame my stove because it cooked unevenly. Then we got a new stove and there went my excuse. Mom usually gets distracted and then - suddenly!- remembers the rolls in the oven. I tried scraping the burnt bits off the bottoms once. I think I finally got fed up and just cut the burnt part off and we served bottomless buns.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Got nothing better to do?

Someone sent me this in an email. If you're a professional time-waster, like me, this will provide hours of entertainment. Make sure you have your sound turned on so you can hear the Boing!

door stopper fun

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Am I the only one bored with all the inane statuses people are posting on Facebook? Things like "Joe Has-no-life is at Target shopping." Really? Well, while you're there, pick me up a few things, Joe, so I don't have to go out later and post the same lame status. There are those who choose to post every time they do something or who use Facebook as their own personal check list. "Going grocery shopping." An hour later I get to read that they are now done grocery shopping and have begun to clean the house. Unless you did both in a clown suit or, naked...Nobody Cares!!

Some people feel a need to post based on every emotion they feel. "I'm pissed." "I'm so happy." "I'm so sad." This prompts other "friends" to reply with sympathy or questions asking "why?" Now, I understand if someone writes something because they need encouragement or want to share some joyous news. But, really, must every stinkin' thing good, bad or otherwise be documented? Did you win the lottery and are you giving me a share? Did you find the body of Jimmy Hoffa in your yard? Because I really could care less that you're tired and going to sleep.

I'd be really impressed to read that someone swallowed a whistle and now every time they fart, their butthole whistles Dixie. That would be a great status update.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The tale of the turkey thief

Every year the Little Man's school sponsors a fun contest for Thanksgiving called, "Hide the turkey". The object is to disguise a picture of a turkey, thus "saving" it from being eaten as the main course on Thanksgiving.  You get to use whatever materials you want to hide your turkey's identity.

Two years ago we disguised  the turkey as a dog, using cotton balls that we colored brown to be his fur and we glued floppy ears, paws and a snout made from construction paper onto him. Lastly, we wrote "Woof" by his mouth. My son received third place for his entry. (Yay!) Last year we colored the turkey red and drew a large M on his body to make him look like an M & M. So far, all very cute. This year we went a different route.

The Little Man decided that he wanted to "save" the turkey by disguising him as a robber. We made a black mask out of construction paper that covered his eyes. My Husband cut out a Nerf gun from some store's flyer and we affixed that to the turkey's hand. Little Man colored the rest of him black because that's what robbers usually wear. We were all pretty proud of this family effort. He handed in his entry this past Tuesday. I'm hoping I don't get a call from the school saying our turkey is too violent.  Or, maybe they'll ask me to come in and show me his turkey with questionable looks.

School: (all concerned) We wanted you to see what your son did for the Hide the Turkey contest.
Me: Um, I know. His dad and I helped him.

I can imagine the rest of the meeting going downhill from there. Maybe we should have stuck to the original idea of a Ninja turkey holding a Hatori Hanzo sword? 


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

In my day...

Halloween is over. We took the little ninja out for tricks 'n treats. He had a lot of fun and so did me and the husband. It was nice to see so many other houses in the neighborhood decked out in creepywear. However, what's up with the attitude of some kids?

In my day it was customary to say "Trick or Treat" when one happened upon a house. Of course we did this with no shoes on, in the freezing snow, up hill.... But seriously. It's just three words. For free candy! I don't get that whole standing there holding your bag open thing while saying NOTHING.

Maybe I should just be grateful the kids uttered a "Thank you" when given the candy. But still. It's not like I want them to juggle chainsaws or pull a rabbit out of their butt. (If that's your thing then good on you but I don't wanna know).

And then there's that attempt to upgrade your candy. These kids come up and eyeball my candy bowl and instead of taking what I want to give them they ask for something better. "Do you have any Twix bars?"Or, "Can I have the Nestle bar instead?" Whatever happened to that old Kindergarten phrase that even my 8-year old understands: You get what you get and you don't get upset. Hey you punk ass who's barely dressed up and just has on a hockey mask (how unoriginal) or a little bit of scary makeup, be glad I'm not giving you a Charleston Chew I found buried somewhere in the back of my cabinet circa 1998. Better yet, be glad I don't toss a rock in your bag, Charlie Brown.

Some kids should just sit in the pumpkin patch and wait for the Great Pumpkin.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Vicious Malware almost ate my computer

Last night I was really tired and planned to go to bed early, or earlier than I normally do. However, I thought one stop over at Pinterest wouldn't be a big deal. So off I went looking and laughing and pinning when I came upon something I thought particularly witty and clever. I clicked to the linked site hoping for more witty and cleverness but instead a big scary Malware monster attacked my little 'puter.

Suddenly there were scary little pop-up windows declaring that my system had a "Delayed Write Failed Error 32". Another scary looking window said I needed to do a restore and a system scan and sacrifice a goat while burning a ritual candle in the name of the Computer Gods.

I immediately closed all the windows and they Kept Coming Back!!! I logged off. I re-booted. I watched my files just Poof! disappear. Then I did what any other normal person in such a situation would do. I panicked. Fingernails got chewed. Hair was pulled and also chewed. The husband was yelled at even though he was quietly minding his own business playing a game on X-box.

I ran my super-duper virus protection program in its limited capacity because I haven't yet updated it. Yet!  I will! I am! I also said a little prayer to God to please take a moment or two out of his busy schedule to save my computer and not have all my files be lost into the Great Unknown.

At this point it's almost 3 am and my perfect little plan of going to bed at a reasonable hour has been blown to bits. I decided to go to sleep and hope that maybe when I wake up this will all have been some ridiculous nightmare or maybe an episode of  Scare Tactics.

After a light, uneasy sleep of 4 hours I get up and get the Little Man off to school. And then I boot up my PC, fingers crossed the whole time. And....nothing. It wasn't a nightmare and Tracy Morgan didn't jump out of the closet to assure me that my husband set me up for a good fright.

I did some online research and after finding a free down-loadable scanner through Microsoft  that removes these pesky programs and finding out how to bring my file and folder babies out of "hiding" I am happy to report that all is well with my Dell laptop.

Lessons Learned:

Always update your virus protection software! (a little PSA from me to you)
Always backup your files! (another PSA)
Never click a link you are unsure of. (duh!)
Scare Tactics is funny.
Scary malware is not!
Go to bed when you plan to and get off the dang computer!

Hey! Come check out Lovelinks. Read some cool blogs, leave a comment or two or three and then come back Thursday and vote for your fave.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

He has a kid's room; I had a disaster area.

The little man has his own room at my parents' house for when he visits or sleeps over. There's a bed, nightstand and possibly a floor. It's hard to tell with all the action figures waging war in various ships and battlegrounds. Little green army guys are fighting alongside members of G.I. Joe. Transformers are joined in battle with Bakugan. There are tanks, boats, helicopters and other transports as well.

Anyway, some out of town relatives are coming to visit and will most likely be coming to see their new house. I suggested to little man that we "straighten out" his room to make it presentable for company. More than likely this will include me trying to figure out which faction goes into what tote box.

Me: Is this guy from G.I. Joe?
Little Man: No Mom, he belongs to Halo.

How silly of me to not know the difference. At least I can identify the Star Wars characters. Yay!

I told my mom of our intention to clean up his room and she replied in true grandmother-type fashion.

My mom: Oh that's not necessary. It's a child's room. It's supposed to have toys all over.

I stared blankly, blinked a couple times, and did a cartoon-like head shake. Did I hear correctly? Where was this woman when I was eight-years old? My room was called a disaster area if I had toys all over. And I HAD to clean it up. So. Not. Fair.

I'm still going to make little man make his room look presentable, if only to just get under his and mom's skins a little. Hey, if I had to do it, so does he! So there!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Little Halloweenie

I've always liked Halloween. Not just the dressing up and getting candy - which rocks by the way- but the decorating too.  The husband lives for this holiday and we have several totes worth of gruesome Addams Family style decorations to show for it. You won't find any happy little pumpkins and scarecrows on our front lawn. I'm talking body parts coming out of the ground. His Halloween decorating was legendary back when he still lived at home with his mother. The neighbors loved it, kids came from all over and a handful were too afraid to venture to the front door for candy. After he moved out and we got married, kids still asked his mom on Halloween where the scary guy and his house went.

These days it's our house that looks like something out of a Stephen King horror story. Skeletal remains, got 'em. Cauldrons? We have three. Bats? Yep. Heads without bodies and bodies without heads, cemetery gates, fog machines. It's all there. I think the parents and kids enjoy the effort put into the decorating when they're out trick or treating on Halloween.

I have a love/hate relationship with all things macabre. I'm not a fan of haunted houses because somehow I always get picked on and I don't enjoy most scary movies. However, I take part in decorating and I do enjoy Mike Myers walking around with a butcher knife trying to slash Jamie Lee Curtis to bits. I'm odd like that.

Sadly, our Little Man isn't as enamored with the gross and disturbing side of the holiday. This all goes back to an ill-fated and premature trip with the Husband's mother to a haunted house when he was 3. That's a story for another day and yeah...still not happy about that. Anyway, he likes helping his dad with decorating but some of the stuff in our creepy cache freaks him out. When he's out trick-or-treating, he'll even bypass houses decorated like ours because he's skeered. The irony is not lost on the Husband. We're hoping he grows out of this.

Hey! Come check out Lovelinks. There are other cool blogs to read and on Thursday you can vote for your favorite!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hello Fall!

Fall has officially come to the Vegas Valley. Granted our trees are not a multi-colored hue but the weather has turned cooler. Like significantly cooler. It seems like we went from 90+ degrees, which we call "Groundhog Summer" to 50 & 60 degrees in a matter of days. I don't like it. I actually have to wear pants. No, I haven't become a nudist or anything, I mean long pants instead of the shorts I've been in since May.

Yeah okay, Fall can be nice. Different wardrobe, boots, Led Zeppelin. That last one makes sense only to me and my best friend who have always equated Autumn with Led Zep music. Don't ask. Having lived on the East Coast for most of my life I'm used to sudden temp changes so this should come as no surprise to me. Doesn't mean I have to like it. The weather people are calling for warmer temperatures in the coming days. This makes me happy. I've gotten used to being warm and sunny while other parts of the country are cold and miserable. I know, that's mean. But still, that's the price you pay for red, orange and golden leaves and all that Autumn fall foliage everyone loves. I prefer my green palm trees.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Increase the Peace

It breaks my heart to read in the news that another child committed suicide due to excessive bullying. Parents, teachers and other school officials need to actively get involved if they see or hear of a student being bullied. We need to communicate and give the victims support and understanding. And it needs to be taken seriously.

I was bullied in school and so was my husband. But back in those days we dealt with it ourselves. We either kept quiet or fought back against the bully. However, it seems that bullying has gotten worse through the years and gone beyond name-calling.

My son was bullied in kindergarten when we lived in NJ. Yes, kindergarten. The bully would take his things, pushed him in the stairwell and would take his lunch. When the husband and I found out we asked for a meeting with his teacher. The teacher knew immediately why we were there. She told me steps had been taken to separate the Little Man and the bully in the classroom and during lunch. We also told the Little Man to speak up against the bully. The taunting ended. At least for my son.

The bully however, probably still has victims because his father is a loudmouth jerkface so his son thinks that behavior is acceptable. I hope that little boy gets help.

I still routinely ask my son if someone at school is picking on him. He knows that he can talk to anyone in his family or a teacher if there is a problem. I also told him to speak up on behalf of another victim if he sees them getting bullied.

We need to watch our behavior because it directly influences our children. We need to speak up for those who can't. We need to increase the peace.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Help! I can't stop pinning!

I have a new addiction. It's called, Pinterest. When I'm not reading, writing, taking care of my son, being a wife, surfing the net, or watching TV, I'm on this site. At first I started out with one board on which to place pins called, Stuff that speaks to me. I'd post places I wanted to visit someday, quotes I liked, foods and drinks I wanted to try.

Then I started a second board called Notable Quotables, and I post quotes, sayings and witty, sarcastic comments on that one. Some of these are sentimental or thought-provoking and others are damn funny.

I now have 3 boards. My third one is called Delish dishes and it features all the yummy foods and drinks I want to try and/or make. These often make me drool but I catch myself before a line of spittle falls onto my keyboard thus making it sticky and possibly short-circuiting the thing. It could happen.

Everyday I go through and see what other people have "pinned" and then "repin" what I like onto one of my boards. And before it sounds like I'm totally goofing off here let me just say that I have learned a few things from this site. So it's been an educational time-waster. I also get to add my own description, thus utilizing my creativity, even if it's only one word like, "Yum!" to describe cream cheese filled brownies.

Maybe one day I'll get bored and stop pinning and move on to my next obsession. Until then, I'm thinking of starting another board dedicated to holiday decorating. Or maybe one just for those places I want to visit. Wait, that would be TWO new boards!!! Yay!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reading: The Preferred Method of Torture For Moms Everywhere

I love to read and always have ever since I was little. In Elementary School my parents enrolled me in a 'Book of the Month' Club. When a new book arrived I sat down and immediately started to read. Even now when I get a new book I sit down and start reading as soon as I get home. I can lose myself and hours at a time with a good read.

Since I am a lover of books, it stands to reason that my son would follow in my footsteps.  I sit on the sofa reading my novel and he sits next to me with his book. Every once in a while we glance at one another and smile. It's a beautiful moment between us.

Cue's homework time and my son has to read for 10 minutes. In a row. He makes a face and whines. I insist.  And it's on, the reading tug-of-war.

Little Man: Do I have to?
Me: Yes, it's part of your homework.
Little Man: Can I do it later?
Me: No.

He sets a timer because he wants it to be an exact 10 minutes and not a moment longer.We take a book and go sit down. He starts to read in a half-assed, I'm-only-doing-this-because-you're-making-me way. After a couple of sentences we enter the bargaining phase.

Little Man: How about if we take turns? You read a paragraph and I read a paragraph?
Me: No.
Little Man: How about if I read a page and you read a page?
Me: No. You have to do all the reading.

More eye-rolling and frustrated sighs. He reads some more and before long the timer goes off. Ding! It doesn't matter if we're in mid-sentence, the minute the timer sounds it signals the end of this torture session.

I'm not sure where this distaste for books came from. When he was a baby I would read to him before bedtime. Like all other babies and toddlers, he loved Goodnight Moon and other nursery rhymes. Now I try to find books that fit his interests. Still, nothing. He'd rather play with the Jedi heroes than read about them.

My mom says that most boys don't like to read. It's a "quiet activity" and they like to do things. I think we're just opposites. I read and write well. He's good at math. My math leaves a lot to be desired. If he were the parent and I were the child and doing math problems was the homework assignment, I'm sure I would be the one whining and bargaining my way through it. In fact, I'm pretty sure I did just that at his age.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Dealing with Diabetes

I don't always like to be so serious. I'd much rather laugh and joke around and poke fun at people. But I thought writing about this might help me to deal. So, please bear with me as I get a little deep and do away with the humor for this post.

My son has diabetes, Type 1, formerly known as Juvenile Diabetes. The name may have changed but the disease is the same. What this means is that Christopher’s pancreas doesn’t work and his body can’t make insulin on its own. He was diagnosed at the end of June, just as Summer was getting into full swing. In the blink of an eye he went from being a healthy 7-year old boy who has never been seriously sick, aside from having colds and the usual pre-school runny nose, to having an auto-immune disease. He has never missed a day of school and I have the Academic Achievement certificates to prove that. I’m hoping diabetes won’t keep him from earning more Perfect Attendance certificates.

I remember when the doctor called to give me the news. She told me the blood test results had come back and Chris tested positive for diabetes. After that the conversation became like white noise to me because my mind kept repeating one word…diabetes. What started out as a possible bladder or urinary infection had turned into the worst-case scenario. I called my husband at work and told him to come home, that we needed to take Chris to the hospital. Then I went and hugged my son and told him the news. He said nothing at first but then it was like something clicked and he realized what was happening was bad. He cried while I held him and tried to be reassuring. Afterward he seemed better, almost unaffected by the news. It’s amazing how children have that ability to bounce back. I wish I could have that. When I told my parents, I cried a bit with my mom. Then I pulled myself together.

We all went to the hospital where I filled out forms and answered questions and tried to keep my son’s spirits up. The staff was friendly and kind to us. I held Chris’s hand as they inserted the IV into his arm and I spent the night in the hospital with him. I barely slept between the comings and goings of the nurses and worrying about my kid not to mention dealing with his diagnosis. Over the next two days we were educated on how to manage this disease. There were books and pamphlets to read and of course we had to learn how to check his blood glucose levels and how to administer his insulin shots. I took notes, paid attention and began my role as my son’s caregiver. I was on autopilot.

That night I went home to get some sleep and left Chris and his dad to spend the night in the hospital. Once at home, I allowed myself to fall apart. I cried. I raged. I wanted to know how and why this had happened. I still do.

The next day we were able to take him home along with our newly learned instructions for keeping him healthy and a backpack filled with supplies and literature. I was happy to have him home and determined to get back to some sense of normalcy. But normal is gone. It’s been replaced by needles, meters, test strips and carb counting. Before each meal Chris has to prick a fingertip and test his blood. Then he can eat. After his meal he gets an insulin injection.

I’m horrible at math. In school I barely passed. Yet, here I am, running numbers according to formulas for the sake of my son’s health. It’s ironic. It’s ridiculous. It’s necessary. I add up all the carbs he eats during a meal and divide that by the insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio (pre-determined by the doctor), which gives me A. I then take his blood glucose number and follow the formula, which gives me B. A + B = C and C is the amount of insulin he needs. I have a calculator next to his diabetes supplies.

This goes on every day. I watch as he pricks his little fingers to draw blood for testing. I pierce his smooth skin with a needle to give him his insulin. He counts to 3 and I insert. Most of the time it’s over and done. Sometimes he winces and sometimes he tells me it hurts. Each time it rips my heart apart and I find myself cursing silently that he must go through this. If he had to get diabetes why couldn’t he have Type 2 and just take medication? No, he has to endure needles, and pin pricks, and test strips, and if his numbers run too high he has to pee on another test strip. In the rawest of terms, this disease sucks.

In the beginning following his diagnosis, I bounced between two emotions: sadness and anger. I was sad that my son has this horrible disease and will have it for the rest of his life. And I was angry for the same reasons. I still carry them inside me and have yet to make peace with it all.

Chris has come to accept it. He understands what he has and what he must do to maintain his health but he doesn’t let it hinder him. As long as he can keep riding his bike, playing baseball, swimming and playing his video games, he’s happy. Of course there are times when he hates diabetes and doesn’t want to prick his finger and I understand that. It’s an inconvenience. But then I tell him that unfortunately, he has to do this. We’ve always tried to teach him about choices and this disease is in direct conflict with that.  

It’s especially hard when he tells me it’s unfair and he wishes he didn’t have diabetes. At those times I hug him and tell him I agree. He has the right to feel however he wants because this is his disease and his life. And while I try to put a positive spin on it and keep the smiles coming, I hide my true emotions, which make me want to lash out at someone or something. I want to hold someone accountable. I want someone to blame. I want to hit someone hard and transfer my anger and frustration onto them. But, I can’t.

I joined a support group at my local chapter of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which meets once a month. It helps to go there and share my feelings. I’ve met other parents who have gone through or are going through the same as me. I learn new information about the disease and bring home new reading material. It helps to keep me focused on what’s really important: my son’s health.

Our next goal is to get Chris on an insulin pump, which will do away with the injections he gets. It should make life easier and more comfortable for him. Ultimately we hope for a cure. Chris is optimistic that they will find one in his lifetime. I pray they do.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Funny Email Stuff

Someone sent me this in an email. Sarcasm, I love it! If any of these offend you, don't blame me. I didn't write them, I'm just the messenger.

 Dear Noah,
We could have sworn you said the ark wasn't leaving till 5.

Dear Twilight fans,
Please realize that because vampires are dead and have no blood
pumping through them, they can never get an erection. Enjoy
fantasizing about that.

Dear Icebergs,
Sorry to hear about the global warming. Karma's a bitch.
The Titanic

Dear America ,
You produced Miley Cyrus. Bieber is your punishment.

Dear Yahoo,
I've never heard anyone say, "I don't know, let's Yahoo! it..."
Just saying...

Dear 2010,
So I hear the best rapper is white and the president is black? WTF

Dear girls who have been dumped,
There are plenty of fish in the sea... Just kidding! They're all

Dear Skin-Colored Band Aids,
Please make one for every skin color.
Black people

Dear Scissors,
I feel your one wants to run with me either.
Sarah Palin

Dear Customers,
Yes, we ARE making fun of you in Vietnamese.
Nail Salon Ladies

Dear Ugly People,
You're welcome.

Dear World,
Please stop freaking out about 2012. Our calendars end there
because some Spanish d-bags invaded our country and we got a little
busy, ok?
The Mayans

Dear White People,
Don't you just hate immigrants?
Native Americans

Dear iPhone,
Please stop spell checking all of my rude words into nice words.
You piece of shut.
Every iPhone User

Dear Trash,
At least you get picked up...
The Girls of Jersey Shore

Dear Man,
It's cute, but can you pick up peanuts with it?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I'm Not Laughing At You

Laughing and cracking jokes is one of my defense mechanisms. It may be inappropriate and rude but I can't help it, that's how I cope sometimes when things are a bit rough or uncomfortable. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I crack up at funerals (well, there was that one time but I couldn't help it, and in my defense, the husband and my mom were also holding in hysterics). But I'm getting off track here.

Regarding the recent floods in the northeast and the subsequent rain that NY and NJ have been getting the last couple of days, a recent weather report said the Susquehanna River would be rising and causing floods and evacuations.

I turned to my dad and asked, "What river?" with a slight grin on my face. He knew where I was going with this and said, "Susquehanna." Then we launched into the Abbott & Costello bit about the Susquehanna Hat Company and laughed.

So I was thinking, am I the only one who thought this during that report? Just like, whenever I hear about the goings-on in Libya, I immediately think about that scene in Back To the Future where the van of Libyans come after Doc Brown and he yells, "The Libyans!".

In both cases, I feel bad for the innocents involved but I can't help how my mind works and the comedy it produces, even in the face of bad stuff happening in the world.

Abbott & Costello Bit

The Libyans!

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

Today is Labor Day. For those lucky enough to be employed, especially in this horrible economy, we celebrate you. Hopefully you have the day off to enjoy as you choose whether you barbecue, go swimming or just do nothing. I have plans to just hang out and relax with the Little Man.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What's In A Name?

My son has a famous classmate. Ok, not really, but the boy does have a famous name. I won't mention it here (in the interest of his privacy) but apparently he was named after a famous Hollywood Western movie star. No, not John Wayne. Not Clint Eastwood, either. Just give up because I'm not telling. Unless you offer money. Or Kit Kat bars. Then I might consider spilling the beans.

Anyway, whenever there was a school awards ceremony he would no doubt get an award. The teacher would say, "For Whatever Academic Achievement " followed by his name and my mom and me always giggled. Not a lot of people got the joke. You had to be a fan of old spaghetti westerns or at least growing up in that time period to get it.

So, two weeks ago we were in my son's classroom, attending his third grade orientation. I walked around the desks and read the name place cards to see if I recognized any of Little Man's school mates, and there it was...the Western Movie Star. I giggled. I quietly called my mom over to show her. She smiled and giggled. Then, the Western Movie Star looked up at us like who are these weirdos and why are they standing at my desk and giggling?

I hope we didn't give him a complex. That he didn't go home that day and say, "Mom I like my teacher and the kids are cool but at orientation these two women came over to my desk and giggled."

Listen Western Movie Star, I know how you feel. I, too, was named after someone famous. Worse yet, my name and subsequent nickname were both immortalized in song in a famous movie. If I had a nickel every time someone broke into song when I introduced myself I'd have the mother crap load of nickels. So, I'm sorry if we made you feel uncomfortable that day. But, I can't promise that I won't still giggle when I hear your name.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to School

My son went back to school this past Monday. And for the first time since he started Pre-School, I was apprehensive. You see, at the start of Summer he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. So in addition to all the "back to school" items I had to purchase and prepare I also had to get a Diabetes kit together to keep at school. Can we say, "Hassle"? There are times when this friggin disease pisses me off so you can see that I am still struggling to fully make peace with it. Anyway, for the whole summer my husband and I have been his sole care-takers when it comes to testing his blood glucose and giving him insulin shots. Now, I have to turn part of that over to school personnel. Someone else has to be responsible for the Little Man's health. His teacher (who so far seems very sweet and understanding) has to keep an eye on him during class lest his sugar levels get too low. A nurse has to administer his shots. He, himself, has to be responsible for telling someone when he starts to feel as he calls it "shaky".

Well, after a few small bumps in the road, all is going well, so far. I take it one day at a time. I'll bear the burden of frustration and worry because I want him to enjoy school and learn and have fun. He has bigger things to deal with like learning cursive writing and picking teams for dodgeball.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Happy Birthday To You!

Eight years ago, today, I was exhausted, sore, messy and a new mother. Today I am Mama to an 8-year old little rascal who makes me laugh harder than I ever thought possible, brings tears of joy to my face and fills my heart with love to overflowing.

It's hard to believe he's 8. Sometimes he acts like he's 20 and sometimes he acts like he's...well, 8. That's my excuse when he farts in public and announces it while laughing. "He's 8." Of course, my husband does the same thing, but he's an eight-year old at heart.

To celebrate his 8th birthday we took him and his best friend to Adventuredome Theme Park, located inside Circus Circus hotel & casino. They had a great time. They rode the Frog Hopper, which is a children's version of the Sling Shot, about 20 times; sometimes 5 times in a row. I captured the fun on camera while Dad supervised them and went on a couple of rides with them. All in all it was a great day. And big props to me for conceiving this idea for birthday fun. Not that I'm tooting my own horn or anything. Ok, maybe just a little.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shake, Rattle & Roll

I miss all the good stuff since I moved away. A 5.8 earthquake hit D.C. today and was felt up and down the East Coast as far as Albany, NY and down to the Carolinas, even as far as Detroit. People panicked. Buildings were evacuated. It must have been a crazy scene. Me, I would have loved it. But that's because I'm not normal and because I experienced one in the Earthquake Capital of California many years ago when I was on vacation with a good friend. Nothing makes you feel more alive than watching your belongings shake and feeling the floor move on its own. I am glad that no one was seriously injured today and no major damage was done.

Monday, August 22, 2011

New Name, New Look

Welcome to the blog formerly known as "Independent Babbling". I'm going to try and be a better blogger. So to commemorate this I revamped the look and changed the name. My goal is to write something or post on here every day. I'm also trying to take my writing more seriously, too by writing an article or story a day (or days, or week) for publication.

Hopefully I can do a better job at keeping this blog current than I have in the past. And hopefully some of my stuff can actually get published.

Of course I may grow bored or tired or restless with this name and layout and might change it again in the future. Until then I am "SINsationally Me" with the pretty colored borders.