Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Smarty Pants

We've always known that Thomas was a smarty pants. When he first started talking, he said "ki-hee" (kitty), "cup", "ball", and then..... "hydrau-kiss" (hydraulics).

Yes. His fourth word was hydraulics- and he knew what they were too. He could point them out to you on ANY contstruction truck, and tell you what they did for that truck. Smarty pants.

When it was time for him to start Kindergarten, we weren't sure whether or not to send him- he turned 5 two days before school started. But he was big for his age, and, like I said before.... a smarty pants. So we sent him. It's been a struggle, and I will say that I wish we had waited another year. He's always gotten good grades, but it takes a LOT of work to get him to focus and learn.

Starting in Kindergarten, the kids take standardized achievement tests on an annual basis, but they don't really "count" until third grade. Thomas is now in third grade. He started this school year at a new school with new ways of teaching everything from basic math to reading comprehension. I didn't realize there were so many ways to add 4 plus 4. The answer is always 8, but they get there in a LOT of round-about ways.

The standardized tests are given twice a year- in the fall and in the spring. The fall test is only for reading, but the spring test is reading and math. If they don't pass, they don't go on to 4th grade. Thomas has been struggling to learn the new techniques utilized by this school. He's been in reading intervention all year, even though he passed the fall reading achievement test with flying colors- 426 out of a possible 520. We were SO proud of the little dude!

Since he passed in the fall, we didn't place any more emphasis on his reading to help him increase his score in the spring... but he did. We just got the results back, and he scored a 442 out of 520, putting him in the highest category of achievement in the state- "Advanced". The school average was 423, the district average was 420, and the state average was 415. My baby scored a 442- nearly 7% above the state average.

But wait... what about the math? Remember- there wasn't a math component in the fall. Out of a possible 520, Thomas got a.... *drumroll*..... 502!!!!!!!!!!!!
The school average was 434, the district average was 419, and the state average was 418. Thomas scored 84 point over the state average- a whopping 17%. HOLY CRAP! I am stunned. We've had him tested before for intellegence and learning disabilities, because his IQ is genius level, but he's underperforming in school based upon that IQ. His grades in school are still below his abilities, but his achievement tests show he IS picking up the concepts and applying them correctly. OUT-FRIKKIN-STANDING!

We still haven't determined where Thomas will go to school next year- my new house is in a different district. I would LOVE for Thomas to go to school in my district because their overall achievement scores are better than his current district- on a school AND district level. No matter where he goes next year, I hope we can continue to improve upon his daily performance in the classroom to ensure his success on next year's tests.


Monday, May 29, 2006


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They come from every corner of our country,
The cities, the mountains an' the farms.
Modern-day minutemen and wiomen,
Like our heroes from the past,
Whenever we need them, all we have to do we ask.
They're Christian, they're Muslim and they're Jews:
They're red, white and blue.

Sacrificin' their family and their friends,
For their country and the freedom they defend.
Ah, givin' everything they've got,
Some have had to give it all.
The black man, the white man and the Sioux:
The middle-class, the poor and the well-to-do:
They're red, white and blue.

And when their duty calls them to stand guard and patrol,
They represent, with honor, the values we uphold.
They are the proud Americans; tested, tried and true:
They're red, white and blue.

Those lyrics are from Rockie Lynne's "Red, White and Blue". I had the pleasure of seeing him perform in person last night at the Taste of Cincinnati. Rockie served as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne, so he "gets it". He recently performed at the Pentagon during the annual "America Supports You" concert which also featured Gary Sinese's Lt. Dan Band. Last night he repeatedly asked for cheers for our troops "regardless of if you support the war or not- we're in a unique time in which it doesn't matter if you support he war or not- we must, and will, support our troops." (I'm paraphrasing from memory- I don't know exactly what he said, word for word, but it was very emotional)

On this Memorial Day, I know that you will all enjoy the freedoms earned for us by the blood, sweat and tears of our forefathers. Just remember that: All Gave Some.... Some Gave All.

CNN is running a special series highlighting our soldiers and their return to "normal" post-deployment. It's excellent- something I don't normally say about CNN and their anti-war slant. Maj. Gen. John Shepperd, USAF (Ret) and Vietnam Veteran, is now a CNN correspondent, and had this to say about today's war:
But the warriors, our kids, will come home silently, having done their duty. They won't talk much, not to you, not to me, but they will talk to each other for years and they will understand the true cost of war to them, their bodies, their families, their psyches -- not necessarily damaged, but changed -- and to a nation that is also changed. A nation that has thankfully learned to distinguish between the war and the warrior. Welcome home, soldiers, and well done.

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Well done, my good and faithful servant. Well done.
*Thank You For Giving All*

Friday, May 26, 2006

Amo los Estados Unidos!

Yeah... me too, amigo.
The Senate passed their version of the Immigration Bill yesterday. If you've read my site before, you know my position on the illegals. GTFO! (translation: Get The Fark Out!) If you're here illegally, you don't belong; you haven't earned your citizenship; you haven't earned your welfare benefits (like a free American education and health care). YOU DON'T HAVE ANY RIGHT TO BE HERE. Get the picture, friend?

The House passed a similar bill back in December. I understand the desire of Congress to change immigration laws, but there I have issues with these bills. Some points I agree with... others, I don't.

The House bill authorizes the establishment of a 700-mile long fence along the US/Mexico border. The Senate version includes a fence about half that length, 370 miles, plus endorses the President's idea of sending National Guard units to protect the border. Mexico's President, Vincente Fox, opposes the fence idea- all the more reason to build it, I say. I like the idea of a fence, and I support the National Guard patrolling the border.

The Senate bill also denies citizenship to any immigrant convicted of either a felony or three misdemeanors, and fines employers who hire illegals. I fully support this. If you're a criminal, I REALLY want you outta here. I don't want to pay for your time in prison, and I don't want our country exposed to your illegal entrance OR your illegal acts while here.

The illegals claim to come here for three main reasons: education, medical care, and jobs. If we start fining, and jailing, employers who hire illegals, they won't be as eager to hire the cheap labor. If there is no work here for illegals, they won't be any better off here than they are in their own country, so why risk the illegal entry? Both versions contain provisions for fining employers, with the penalty ranging from $500 to $50,000, and the Senate version also includes possible jail time. I REALLY like this idea. Right now there is no deterrent against hiring illegals.

Guest workers

The Senate bill includes a guest-worker program which would allow workers up to a 6 year temporary work visa. Honestly, I'm not sure how this compares to our current system. I know we allow work visas, but I'm not sure what the provisions are. The House version doesn't contain any new provisions for guest workers.

The Senate bill breaks up the estimated 12 million illegal workers into three groups, based upon how long you've been here. Under 2 years: let me escort you to the border, jefe. 2-5 years: return to your point of entry and apply for the guest worker program. 5 or more years: Welcome to America! You can "earn" your citizenship after being here for 6 years, as long as you learn English and pay back taxes and penalties.

I don't know about you, but this SUCKS ASS to me. How in the HELL are they going to prove they were here for a certain amount of time, if it's illegal for them to be here in the first place? Chances are they've been getting paid cash under the table, so they have no tax forms to prove "residency". I doubt many of them can produce utility bills either- I know that once I look at a bill, verify its accuracy and pay it, I get rid of it.

How many illegals will voluntarily go to the immigration office and say "I'm from Mexico, and I've been in the United States for less than two years- when does the next bus leave?" Yeah. RIGHT.

Here's my idea: I don't give a flyin' flip how long you've been here- you committed a crime as soon as you crossed the border. If you want to be here legally, APPLY FOR A WORK VISA, LEARN THE LANGUAGE, AND PAY YOUR BACK TAXES, WITH PENALTIES! Let them ALL go back to their point of entry, apply for a visa, and prove they can hablo ingles before granting any sort of temporary work visa. Then, if you want citizenship, EARN IT, SUCKER! Take the classes, take the test. If you pass, WELCOME TO AMERICA! If you don't, try again- or else GTFO and don't let the door hit you on the ass as you leave.


The Senate bill declares English the national common and unifying language of the United States. I 100% whole-heartedly support this. If I moved to Germany, I would expect to have to learn German. If I moved to (heaven forbid) France, I would expect to have to learn French. Why in the world people come here expecting to spoken to in their native language is beyond me. I am sick and tired of going to American businesses, American hospitals, and American schools- and being given the "option" of being helped by a spanish-speaking employee. That is SUCH bullshit.


Most of the points I agree with, but I disagree strongly with quite a few of the major points. Two HUGE issues weren't addressed at all- education and medical care. These two issues are a major drain on our nation's resources. Tax dollars of legal citizens are going to pay for education and medical care for people who shouldn't be here. That is just INSANE. In order to register your child for school, or to get any medical care, you should be able to prove your legal residence first. I don't care if you're here on a temporary visa or not- as long as you are here legally- fine- take advantage of all the United States has to offer. But if you are here illegally- we, the rest of law abiding residents, shouldn't have to pay a dime for your welfare. Not addressing education or health care is a HUGE gap in both plans.

Look, the bottom line for me is that if you want to become an American, BE AN AMERICAN. Learn the language. Get a job and pay your taxes. Get your piece of the American Apple Pie and play baseball- I really don't care. Just do it legally, as most of our ancestors have done throughout the past 200 years. And if you can't follow those rules, GTFO!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Jesse McFake

I'm sure you've all read about Jesse Macbeth's pathetic attempts to pass himself off as an Army Ranger. Matt and crew are offering up some reasons he may have impersonated a Ranger. My personal favs:
Easier to lie to girls about being a ranger...you shoulda seen the reaction I got when I told everyone I was Spiderman. ~TheMan

It gave him a lot more attention than when he lied about being a Yellowstone Park Ranger who wantonly killed over 200 squirrels. ~FrankJ

No, no, I meant POWER Ranger. ~Jim Treacher

Let's hope his fate is similar (yet stiffer) to Matthew Phillip's sentence of 6 months probation for wearing a uniform without authorization. Considering the allegations of murder, I'm hoping for a little time in Leavenworth. Jesse didn't just put on the uniform, he disgraced it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


It's not pretty.
It's also private, and not up for public discussion.

*that is all*

Monday, May 22, 2006

Search Me.

No... really. Search Me.
Sort of.
It always amazes me what kind of searches people enter in Google or Yahoo and end up directed here.
Aliyah's jungle booty (um. ok.)

big brother bathnight (sure hope Big Brother isn't watching me on bath night- I'd hate to be responsible for his blindness)

assignment of nanophysics (You! Over there in the back row! Your assignment tonight is to figure out why AFSister is getting hits on searches involving nanophysics!)

can a bird whistle through its pecker (depends on which pecker you're talking about)

boob malfunctions (must be those new bionic ones with the automatic lift gate)

dog shit make hydrangeas grow (still yet to be proven)

help my virgin sister (sorry- I can only help virgin brothers, and I'm not interested in those either)

how to flirt with a guy at t.g.i. friday's (perhaps your virgin sister could use this lesson)

how does tesco prepare for disaster (with silver-bells and cockle-shells, and pretty maids all in a row. Hey... if you're gonna prepare for a disaster, you might as well enjoy it, right Tesco?)

kitten pitchers (phew. thank GOD I didn't get a hit for 'kitten catchers' or 'kitten outfielders', because I don't know anything about those positions)

mascara wand accident photos (BE CAREFUL, OR I'LL POKE YOUR EYE OUT WITH A MASCARA WAND! Come back and fight, you ninny! It's only a flesh wound!)

playing-with-his-penis (darn monkey... next thing you know I'll be getting hits for the masturbating bear)

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday... the day before Monday

(that's my Big-Time Professional Moto-Cross Announcer voice, in case you were wondering)

By the time I got to the house on Sunday, Ry was covered in red paint and swearing off any good deeds for a while, lol. Poor guy. After spending the better part of Saturday on the house (and Thomas's baseball game- they're undefeated you know! WHOO HOO! GO BOMBERS!), I was ready to do something fun with the boys. Besides, my vertigo was really preventing me from doing much else around the house. I finished spreading the mulch (NO SNAKE! YAY!), and sprayed Round-Up on the weed jungle otherwise known as un-attended flower beds lining the driveway. Then.. it was off to an afternoon at the zoo with Kevin. (Thomas decided to go fishing with his Dad).

Kevin LOVES animals, and he LOVES the zoo. So do I. We saw polar bears, gorillas, the giraffe, elephants, all sorts of cats, monkeys and lemurs, wolves, otters, goats, and a whole host of others I'm forgetting. Taking the boys to the zoo has always been one of my favorite things to do. I just love it, and being with my little comedian always makes things even more interesting.

When he was 3 and Thomas was 6, we took the boys to the Indianapolis Zoo with a friend of mine and her family. The polar bear was Kevin's favorite animal at the time, so when we finally found them, he was transfixed. The exhibit features an area where you can partially observe them swimming- like an aquarium with water about 3 feet deep above ground level. This polar bear swam right up to the glass and was nose-to-nose with Kevin, then pushed off and swam on his back for a bit. Flipped, and swam back up to the glass, nose-to-nose with Kevin. This went on for several minutes, much to our delight. About a dozen people started gathering around, watching the bear swim.

People kept saying things like "OH! Here he comes again! Look- he's right up against the glass! He's right in front of that little boy! Just look at how BIG he is!" After a few minutes, Kevin said "It's not a boy polar bear- it's a girl" (because he noticed everyone kept saying "he" instead of "she"). Everyone looked at me with this "HUH?" look on their faces, so I had to ask.

Yes, I HAD TO ASK. "Kevin... how do you know it's a GIRL polar bear?"

To which he replied "Because SHE's always on HER BACK, Mommy."

Oh. MY. GOD.... Did he just say that? Oh yes he did.... just look at the faces on the people around us as they slowly, purple-faced, backed away from Kevin. OH. MY. GOD... where in the HELL did he get that?

Several months later, my Dad thinks he figured it out. This happened when Kevin was very much into sexes- which one's the mommy animal and which one is the daddy animal. Dad thinks he remembers Kevin asking him "which one is the mommy?" one day (over and over again) while they were watching a nature show. Dad simply answered "I don't know- the one on it's back"... and that was it for Kevin. From there on out, all animals on their backs were the mommy's.

So, there we were yesterday, looking at the giraffe. It was feeding time, and the giraffe was hanging out by the zookeeper's gate. It would walk around in a little circle, but end up next to the gate everytime. We had a very good view of the giraffe, even though it wasn't close up. This one Mommy kept saying "Here she comes again- maybe she'll come all the way over here this time". Kevin spoke up and said "It's not a girl giraffe... it's a boy"


I didn't have to stop myself from asking that question though. He answered it all by himself.
"Do you see his belly? Do you see that 'fing' hanging offa his belly? Whenever you see one of those 'fings hanging from their belly- it's a boy."

Oi. Well, I couldn't correct him- he was right. It was a boy, and it did, indeed, have one of "those things" hanging off of his belly. I'm just glad he didn't notice this monkey's *ahem* when we were at their exhibit. Fortunately, he was more interested in laughing at the monkey's mowhawk and handlebar mustache.

Catching up- Thursday through Saturday

This weekend was a blur!
I'll have more pictures to post tomorrow, but for now you'll just have to make do with the commentary.

The cavalRY arrived Thursday evening! Ry got in just in time to meet the boys and I for dinner at Subway. What a sweetheart! OMG... He's just as nice, honest, humble, thoughtful, and compassionate in person as he is in comments. BPPV is kicking my ass when it comes to working on my new house, so when Ry offered to come down to help, I took him up on it. I've been trying to be so independent, but there are some things I just can't do right now without feeling like I'm going to pass out or without the room spinning around me. Looking up is a HUGE problem, so painting is difficult. Try standing two feet in front of a wall and painting it while looking straight ahead or down slightly, but never up. It's impossible. Ry to the rescue!

He took my white kitchen and turned it into a red kitchen in one weekend. The color is a little more intense than I thought it would be, but I really, really like it. I'v always wanted a red kitchen, and now I have one! While he painted, I worked in the yard putting mulch down and mowing. It's a BIG yard. About 1/2 acre. I also started rebuilding the flowerbed retaining walls (they're on a slope and falling down- they just weren't put in correctly when they were first built). Only one snake. Heh.

*me* AAAAIIIIIIIIIHHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!! SNAKE! (jumps back 3 feet, VERY quickly)


*Kevin* COOL! A snake! Where is it? What kind? How big was it, Mommy?

*me* I DON'T KNOW! IT'S GONE... OH MAN... It's just a garter snake, but it SCARED ME! It's about 14 inches long, and as big around as my finger. YUCK!!! I HATE SNAKES!


*me* NO! NO! That's ok... I really don't want it found again, honey. (cautiously looks around for killer garter snake lurking in the grass, ready to leap out and attack me at a moment's notice)

So... I went back to rebuilding the wall, without the help of the snake. OI! I knew it wouldn't hurt me or anything, but it surprised me in a not-very-good way. Of course, looking back on it I'm pretty sure it was a pit viper or something. 8 feet long, flared neck, and spitting venom. I swear. Honest. And just wait until I tell you about the fish I caught yesterday... whoooo boy!

Friday, May 19, 2006

I know where milk comes from!

heard in the car last night:

"Mommy- I know how you get milk from a cow!", Kevin announces.

"You do? How, Kevin?", I said.

"By squeezing their teeth!", he says proudly, while pulling on his front teeth.

I, knowing that he most likely heard that you milk the cow's TEATS, could NOT control the laughter. OMG.... It was SO funny. I did correct the little guy, telling him that milk comes from the cow's teats, not their teeth. Unfortunately for Kevin, this little conversation took place in the car- with his brother sitting next to him.

Thomas took off on it, and kept laughing. I was trying to stop- I really was. Poor Kevin was getting SO upset. He kept telling Thomas to stop laughing at him, and then said "If you don't stop, I'm gonna punch you in the teeth!"
Now Thomas is a very literal kid. He doesn't have the quick wit that Kevin has, but last night... he was on a roll.
He very quickly replied, "Whatcha gonna do Kevin- try to get MILK out of them?"

OMG.... I busted out laughing. I could NOT help it! TEARS... streaming down my face laughing. That kid just KILLS me!

Too close to home

When I pulled up my blog this morning to check for new comments, I saw there was a new one under my latest post. It's from my sister-in-law, Leann.

Thought you should know- The former Brookville police officer, Ron Zimmerman, killed in Afghanistan while training Afghani police- my cousin.


I haven't talked to Leann yet- she's at work, and I don't know the number. But thanks to the internet, I've been able to find out a few details. Ron was a DynCorp contractor training the Afghanistan police recruits. He was actually killed a week ago, in the same wave of attacks that killed the female Canadian soldier, Capt. Nichola Goddard. Ron was killed in a suicide bomber attack in Herat, near the Iranian border. He had been there for less than 2 months. He leaves behind a wife and three children, aged 9, 12 and 15.

I'll post more once I talk to Leann and find out more.

Godspeed, Ron.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I am not a Rush Limbaugh fan

I'm really not. He's brash, offensive, skirts the law, and just plain ticks me off.
However... he had a story earlier this week that I find rather interesting.
Did you know that Columbia has more violent deaths per 100,000 people than Iraq? So do pre-Katrina New Orleans, all of South Africa, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Atlanta, Jamaica, and Venezuela. The violent death rate in Iraq is 26/100,000, as compared to Columbia's 62/100,000 rate. At 46/100,000, our nation's capital, Washington D.C. nearly doubles Iraq's rate.
If these statistics are true, you are just as safe in Ramadi or Fallujah as you are browsing The Mall in DC,looking at national monuments such as the WWII Memorial and The Wall.

Michael Yon has an interesting article up about the Green Gator Phenomena. If asked, most people would say that gaters are green, when in fact they are either black or grey, depending on whether they are wet or dry. They've even asked people looking at real gaters what color they are, and they'll tell you "Green". We have been so conditioned to believe that alligators are green, that we can look at one, which is obviously black, and tell you straight up that it's green.

Now that's what I call "drinking the Kool-Aid".

We are doing the same thing when it comes to analysing the violent death rate in Iraq versus our own cities. I don't mean to say that Iraq is my next vacation destination, but I am saying that we need to do a little self-examination about getting all pissy about our guys dying at war. I am NOT belittling their deaths- I hope you realize that. But I when I listen to the news at night and hear about all of the men and women dying in Iraq, we need to put this into perspective. According the to study Rush references, our Soldiers have a better chance of dying in our nation's capital than they do in Iraq's capital.

Perhaps when we shout "Bring 'em home safe!", we should make sure they have a safe place to come home to, eh?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Do NOT let my boys see this....

Because if they do, they will want one!
Hell, I want one....

Transformers! Robots in Disguise!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Last night was Kevin's only Parent-Teacher Conference of the year. He's in Pre-K this year and doing quite well. He has mastered all of the skills necessary to get him enrolled in Kindergarten- no problem.

Except maybe Geography.

When making Mother's Day necklaces last week, Mrs. Mary put a "big, honkin' bead" on the end of each child's filament string, so that the rest of the beads wouldn't fall off. Some of the kids started to string these "big, honkin' beads" instead of the pretty little ones. She told the kids to use the smaller, prettier beads instead of the "big, honkin' beads", because "we wouldn't want your Mom's to look like gypsies."
Kevin piped up and said "I know where gypsies are from!"

Unable to control herself, Mrs. Mary said, "You do? Where are they from, Kevin?"

Without skipping a beat, he said "They're from Michigan. They live in the trees up there."

Who knew?

(Of course, this is the same child who, upon learning the neighbors were going to move, asked them "where are you going to take your house", as if the whole house was moving instead of just the people. I think I need a whole post devoted to Kevinisms.)

Monday, May 15, 2006


Yesterday, the kids and I went to the Appalachian Festival here in town. I'm not a fan of bluegrass music, but my parents said they had lots of things to see and do other than listen to twangy hillbilly music.

It was pretty cool. They had colonial artisans doing things like rope-making, carpentry, basketweaving, carving, pioneer children's games, and a few blacksmith shops. At one of the carpentry shops, a woman caught my eye. Not because of her beauty, or unusual dress, but because of her skin. She had been horribly burned. Her head looked like a big white balloon with holes where her eyes, nose, mouth and ears belonged. At first I thought it might be Sharon Everett, who survived a horrifying car fire. But looking at her picture, I know it couldn't be her- the lady at the festival had more severe burns. (And if you followed the link, you'll see a picture of Sharon Everett in 2004, 4 years after the fire, and a picture of the car she was pulled from).

Burns are devastating, as any burn patient will tell you. They are extremely painful, and often disfiguring. I've known several burn patients, and I can tell you it's not something you ever want to go through.

I tried like hell to keep Kevin from staring and making a comment. He started to say something and point, so I pulled him aside. I'm sure she saw him, but there wasn't much I could do about it by then. I told him that she had been badly burned- so bad it burned off her facial features. I told him she knew she looked different, and he didn't need to point that out. He asked why. I told him that staring and pointing out differences is hurtful, and would probably make her feel embarrassed. Again, he said why. I tried to tell him that she's probably stared at a lot and doesn't like to go out in public for that reason. Frustrated, he again said "Why? Mommy, why would she be embarrassed? She's just a person."

I about cried.
I was so proud of him.

My baby wasn't asking "why" because he was probing into her life, making fun of her looks, or recoiling in horror. My baby was honestly asking why she would be embarrassed over something as "little" as burn scars. To him, it made no difference what she looked like; he just wanted to talk to her. He's played with amputee children before, and it didn't phase him. So has Thomas. Last year Thomas had a girl in his class who was blind in one eye. The blind eye was light blue and had no pupil. At first, Thomas was a little afraid of her. We told him not to be, that she was just a child with a different eye than his. He listened (for once), and they became friends.

They say that children aren't born prejudice- it's taught. I've always tried to make sure my kids treated everyone equally, regardless of skin color or perceived disability. I think it's working, and that makes me really, really happy.

Woozy Kitty

I went to PT this morning to have the Epley procedure done to try to rid me of my BPPV. After a half hour of manipulating my head into the positions that bother me the most, they told me I would have to come back again on Wednesday to try again. The three attempts today didn't cure me, so they'll try again in a few days. In the meantime, I was left with these instructions:
1. Don't drive following your first procedure (oops... didn't know about that before I got there, so they made me sit around for a while to make sure I was ok to drive. Sudden head movements could send me into a spin today, so they didn't want me driving when that happens.)

2. Sleep sitting up for 2 days. (been there, been doing that for 3 weeks. No problem)

3. Limit head movement severely, as if wearing a neck brace. (bummer. Now instead of looking like a swaggering drunk, I look like a stiff swaggering drunk)

4. Don't do any of the things that trigger your dizziness, like reaching over your head, getting up quickly, laying down flat, twisting your head too far in one direction, or resting my head on my left side. (great. So much for doing any painting this week)

It's been over an hour since she was done manipulating my head, and I'm still feeling woozy and light-headed... and that's after eating breakfast and having a Coke. Icky feeling. Very medicine-headish and still just as dizzy as I was yesterday (maybe more so).

Hopefully I have better results Wednesday.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

M is for the.....

M is for the Many Women in my life who qualify as "Mom". Some have fleshy children, some have furry children, and some just act like children at heart. All have influenced me, and I'm grateful for it.

O is for the Other People in my life who aren't Mothers at all. They're the Fathers. And like the Mothers, some have fleshy children, some have furry ones, and some just act like children at heart. It has been my experience that finding such compassionate, caring, and "motherly" qualities in men is a real treat. I hope you all have Other People in your life like I do.

M is for the Many Miracles in our lives that make us Mothers and Fathers. I thank God every day for my babies and the children of those I love. Yesterday my brother, Mom, Kevin and I drove 3 hours- ONE WAY- for my cousin's baby's first birthday. Yep. 3 hours. Each way. Because we knew how important family is, and how important it is to celebrate those Little Miracles called "babies". Happy birthday, Aiden. You are a much-loved child.

M is for the Memories of my life. From early childhood memories with my family all the way up to this morning, when I was awakened by bounding children, happy to greet me simply because I'm their Mom. No other reason. I wasn't doing anything special- I was just sleeping. But seeing their smiling faces, hearing the enthusiasm in their voices as they shouted "HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, MOMMY! OPEN MY PRESENT FIRST!", was priceless. Kevin made the cutest handprint picture and beaded necklace at school. Thomas went shopping with Bryan yesterday, and shocked the hell out of me. They bought me my own digital camera. We're getting divorced, as you all know, so I wasn't expecting anything at all. Previous Mother's Days brought cards, and that's about it. So such an extravagant gift in the middle of a divorce was just flabbergasting. He also made my breakfast and I got to sleep in a little- all extremely unexpected and very, very appreciated. And now that I have a new camera, I'll be able to capture all of those moments, making lasting memories to look back upon for years to come. Thank you so much.

Y is for the.. well, the Yelling. It's not all bad, like this morning when the boys were so happy they were yelling-loud. Or when I'm at Thomas's baseball games and he gets a great hit, makes a great catch, or makes a play. All good yells. Yeah, I do the "GET YOUR SHOES ON!" yells too, but I'm trying not to do that as much. I don't like my "angry voice" anymore than the kids do. I'd much rather spend my time with the excited yells and squeals associated with the happy moments.

What a word.
It's something you earn over time. I hope I earn that name.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Boy, the media really ticks me off.

Who says our President doesn't have a sense of humor?


Muy Caliente!

Rocks in my head

My Mama always told me if I didn't pay attention in school, I'd grow up with rocks in my head instead of brains.
I shoulda listened to my Mama.

But hey- at least now I know why I've been dizzy for the past three weeks! BPPV is an inner ear disorder in which otoconia, or "ear rocks", small crystals of calcium carbonate, break loose in the ear canals. Symptoms include dizziness, lightheadedness, imbalance, and nausea- all of which have been my contast companion for the past few weeks. At first I thought I had an ear infection, because I had a lot of pain and pressure on the left side of my head, but my initial doctor's appointment ruled that out. The MRI ruled out tumors, and audiology ruled out any hearing loss. Now I know that I have a calcium carbonate crystal free-floating around in the canals of my left ear.

Today, the ENT had me turn my head to the right and slowly lay down on my back with my eyes open. Not too bad- walls were a little jiggly, but that's it. Then he had me repeat it on my left side.


HOLY SMOLY! I could not believe how dizzy that made me! I wasn't able to do it- I felt like the table was falling out from underneath me, and I was blacking out. I grabbed out for something- ANYTHING- to pull me back to Earth. The poor doctor- he kept trying to reassure me and get me to open my eyes, but I just couldn't do it. He had to sit me back up almost as soon as he started to lay me down. I swear, that has got to be the closest thing to free falling or zero gravity I have ever, and ever want, to feel. I was NOT cut out to become an astronaut or sky diver. No way... not this girl. I like my feet FIRMLY planted on the Earth.

Next step: Physical therapy for an Epley canalith repositioning procedure in which I will have to go back down into the offending position and let them move my head to get the crystal to move out of my ear canal. *Shudder* I am NOT looking forward to it, but hey.. after 3 weeks of this crapola, I'm very happy to know that the end is near.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sugar Plum Jihad

OMG... I am laughing my ass off at this video re-posted by Rotti.

Dance... Dance.. wherever you may be... I am the lord of the dance, said he...

Monday, May 08, 2006

I declare a do-over!

Wouldn't it be nice if we could do that with life? Some days just BEG for a do-over. Yesterday was one of those days. Why, you ask. Well... grab a Coke and I'll tell you. Just be careful you don't spit it out on your keyboard because I'm not buying you a new one, m-kay? I have to give you some background first, so I'm starting with last Saturday.

You probably know by now that I FINALLY closed on my new house a few weeks ago. I've been spending every "free" moment over there getting it ready to move into. I have no idea when I'll be moving in, but dammit, I want to be ready when that day comes. The wallpaper in the rooms MUST GO, says I, so... a-stripping we went. It was a family affair, with the boys and my Mom doing a lot of the stripping. I went to work on the yucky tile backsplash behind the stove area. Brown tile is NOT my thing. Crow bar and hammer in hand, I went at it. Bit by bit, they came off. They came off with the drywall paper attached, but I was ok with that since I'm just going to replace the tile. But then, *IT* happened. A piece of tile came off with the drywall attached. ARGGHHH! I had just put a hole in my new wall. "FUCK" was the only thing my mind could say right then. I stared at the tile, and I stared at the wall, and then I kept going. The drywall behind the center of the tile was crumbling- it was a mess. My 2" hole turned into a 4" x 12" hole. "FUCK", again, was the only thing my mind could say.

Then it said "DAD!!!!!!!!!" because my Dad is pretty good with home improvements. He came over last weekend and replaced the drywall for me. Thanks Dad! He also put together the new lawn mower, which I had planned on using this past week. I pulled into the driveway last Monday night, opened the garage door, and just about fell over due to the strong smell of gasoline. *grumph* The mower has a leak, and it leaked an entire tank onto my garage floor. I filled it back up, and tried to run the mower. After a few passes, it stopped. DOA. "FUCK", again, came to mind. I never did get the sucker started again. I pushed it back into the garage, and pulled it out again yesterday morning. The gas tank had again emptied itself onto the garage floor, so I decided to take it back. But first, I had to go pee. (TMI, whatever) I clogged the toilet. While going #1. In a virtually empty house, with no plunger. "FUCK", I say to you. Fortunately, the previous owners left a toilet bowl cleaning brush (EWWWWW), so I got it un-clogged.

I was NOT thrilled with the idea of a leaking lawn mower in the back of the van, but, determined to be an independent woman, I loaded the mower into the van by myself and took off for Lowes. They happily exchanged it. Kewl! That was pretty easy. Next stop: Sears. Why? You might ask. Because the refridgerator I bought was "dropped off the truck" last weekend (I missed the delivery truck by 15 minutes last Saturday, dang it!). They couldn't order a new one because it's been upgraded to the new model, so I was told to go to ANY Sears store to pick out a new one.

ANY is capitalized for a reason. Upon arriving at my local Sears Appliance and Hardware store, I picked out a new fridge and then found a salesman to ring it up. Julie was the unlucky salesman of the day. Unlucky because she told me she wouldn't help me because I had to go back to the original store I bought it from. 45 minutes away. (I happened to be there one day, found what I liked, and bought it, thinking "why not? They're a national chain- why should I have to buy from the one closest to my house?" I now know the error of my ways.) I was NOT cordial. The tiger in me pushed to the forefront and took over. You know- the one with "don't mess with this PMS dizzy bitch" tattooed on her forehead.

"WHAT? That is NOT what customer service told me. Besides- how can I "return" an item I don't have, and never took possession of? I have NOTHING to give you to return! (I'm getting pissed. Losing my cool. It's been a "day", and this was the proverbial tip of the iceberg) Why can't you do this? Do I look like I'm dressed for shopping today? (I went out wearing my painting clothes) I am NOT in the mood for this right now."

"I can't help you because I don't want my store to take a hit for the return, and because Sears Appliance and Hardware is the step-child of the mall stores- we are not connected in any way."

"NOT CONNECTED? Doesn't the sign say "SEARS" on the front door? You just don't WANT to help me." (now I'm REALLY pissed, because I've realized she doesn't want to help me because it will be inconvenient for her to do so)

"Ma'am (drop 10 points for "ma'am"ing me), please don't yell at me. And please leave my store."

"Oh, don't worry.. I am leaving- but NOT until I talk to your manager"

"I AM the manager. The acting manager. The store manager is out of town."

"Then I hope YOUR manager knows what level of service you are giving customers in his absence!"

"Sorry Ma'am (drop 10 more points for "ma'am"ing me), but you'll have to go back to Tri-County."

"SORRY? You're SORRY? (by now I've noticed my voice echoes nicely in this store) I CHOSE Sears to buy my appliances from time and time again because of the level of service and quality of products... and THIS is how I am rewarded? Your delivery crew DROPS MY REFRIDGERATOR OFF OF THE TRUCK, it's been discontinued, so I can't get another one, and you are going to insist that I go all the way to Tri-County to pick out a new one? What kind of service is THAT!" (by now the 5 other customers in the store are well aware of my situation, having peered around the corner of the aisles to listen to the raving lunatic woman in the front of the store)

"Ma'am (dammit! She did it AGAIN!), PLEASE LEAVE THE STORE."

"I AM leaving, and I hope that EVERYONE knows how piss-poor Sears handles broken merchandise and returns!"

As I turn to exit the store, I suddenly realize that a few male employees are standing behind me, ready to assist me to my car. Ooops.
I cry.

I admit it...
I cried.

I had HAD it. A leaking lawn mower, vertigo acting up really bad, clogged toilet, holes in my drywall, wallpaper stuck to the drywall (read: the drywall paper was coming off with the wallpaper), walls that were papered over really crappy spackling jobs (read: drywall not finished), a smashed fridge, and now this. I was DONE.


I called customer service to make sure they knew that I could NOT go to any store, but had to go to the original store... and they again said "No- you can go anywhere". I asked them to call the Milford store and explain the situation, which they did. They came back on the line and told me that Jim would be happy to help me, should I chose to come back.

I had since decided that I didn't want that store to get my sale, so I went to the mall store closest to me. I asked for the manager. I explained what happened to the first refridgerator. He said "You have to go back to the store you bought it from."

I. Frikkin. Lost. It.

You have GOT to be kidding me, right? RIGHT!!! Well, sort of. Once he figured out that I really didn't have anything to return, that the delivery people had already processed the "return", and that all I needed to do was pick out a new model (duh), they were happy to help. The saleslady showed me the model that was replacing the one I had originally picked out. It was $50.00 more than the first one, so I told her I would take that one, IF she would sell it to me for $50.00 less. "No" was the answer. I couldn't believe it. The delivery guys drop my refridgerator off of the truck, and they won't even give me $50.00 off of the new one?

I left.

Meanwhile...back at the house, another tragedy was playing itself out, unbeknownst to me.
My parents were there. Sort of. My parents came over while I was gone. Dad was going to check out the broken lawnmower, mow the lawn, and do some electrical work. He was NOT pleased. I wasn't there, and neither was the lawnmower. So he took off in the car to go find me. Only Mom was there when I got back, so she filled me in. Of course, I had no idea they were coming over at all on Sunday, but that didn't matter. Psychic daughter should have known better.

When Dad finally got back, he was still madder than hell, and I wanted to be anywhere but near him for a few hours. If he was outside.. I was in. If he was inside... I was out. He did the electrical work in the kitchen while I weeded and pruned trees. I spackled, sanded, and cleaned in the kitchen while he mowed the lawn. I finally left at 8pm, went back to Sears (Jim told me I could come to "Friends and Family Night" after 6pm and I'd get an extra 10% off of my purchase), bought the damn fridge, and went home to get goodnight kisses from the boys.

What a fucking day.
I call Do-Over.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Goodbye, Hanoi. Hello, Dayton.

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The Hanoi Taxi, flying over the Air Force Museum in December, 2005.
The last C-141 in service, nicknamed the Hanoi Taxi in honor of the 500 American POW's who came home on her, was retired in Dayton, Ohio today. The take-off, touch & go, and landing will be her last. My brother was assigned as the Crew Chief for this plane, and although he did the pre-flight checks, he was not able to fly on her last flight.

Standing in the chilly field this morning, trying to manipulate a 5 year old, a video camera and the 35mm still wasn't very successful- we'll see what kind of images I captured later today. Needless to say, I was *not* the AV Geek in school for a reason. *sigh*

The fly-overs and landing were emotional, knowing that it truly was the last time a C-141 will EVER fly, and the pilot brought her down with perfection. The landing was so smooth, it didn't hardly make a screech or puff of smoke. This simple landing, however, will be forever etched in my memory. Not because of its dramatic presence in the air, but because of the history.
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Final approach
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...almost down
(And unfortunately, that's the last picture I have that isn't blurry as hell. My Dad got some shots, so hopefully once he gets his film developed I'll have more to show you. For some reason, the cd I got with my pictures turned out really crappy- the real pictures look MUCH better.)

While in the museum today, we saw TONS (and I do mean TONS) of military aircraft. Some were USAF; many were not. We saw Bockscar, the bomber that dropped "Little Boy", but weren't able to get out to Restoration to see the "Memphis Belle", which won't be on public display for 9 more years. This museum may be on an Air Force base, but it is not limited to Air Force planes. I wish I could have had more time to explore, but I only had a couple of hours. I REALLY wish I could have spent more time in the new POW exhibit. Unfortunately, my next trip there won't give me the same experience, because the museum was host to a Viet Nam POW reunion today. Those who had "been there-done that" were really there. Now THAT was an experience.

When the Hanoi Taxi is on display at air shows, they play a video about the Freedom Flights. The POW display includes this video, 3 cells, and a display board. I was lifting Kevin up so that he could see inside the tiny 3 by 5 cell, when I overheard an older man peering into the next cell say "Yep. That's pretty much how I remember it. Cold, cramped, and tapping morse code between the walls."

Holy Shit.

This man, and the one he was talking to, really were There. I was suddenly quiet in their presence. I wanted to say "thank you" and "welcome home". Instead, I said "It was really like that? So... you were really there?" They just looked at me, holding my small child in my arms, and said "Yes. It really was like that, and yes, we were really there."

Holy Shit.

He looked at the display board next, pointing to the picture of a guy on one of the Freedom Flights and said "That's Conners. Yep. I think that's Conners", and the other guy agreed. They said something more about how that picture was from the second Freedom Flight, and neither of them was on it. Neither knew what tail number they flew home on, and they didn't care until much later in life. All they knew was that a USAF Freedom Bird was taking them HOME. Looking at the pictures, and seeing those men standing there gave me chills.

Over at the tv, my parents and sister-in-law had another unique experience. This guy spoke up and said, "Here I come. Yeah. That's me!". Then his name appeared on the bottom of the screen, which verified that he was in fact the young, gaunt man on the tv. He's older now, and bald, as he pointed out when he removed his Viet Nam Veteran ballcap and rubbed his shiny scalp. My Dad is a Viet Nam Veteran, yet standing there in the presence of this man, I could tell he was in awe.

I'm sorry I got tongue-tied around those men. I'm REALLY sorry I couldn't have stayed around and listened to their stories. I'm so grateful for their service and sacrifice, yet I just didn't know how to express my gratitude when I had the chance. I hate it when I get stupid like that. If I had to do it all over again, I would have stuck out my hand to shake theirs, said thank you, and welcome to Dayton. It's a little late for me to welcome them home, but I wanted to so bad. I wanted them to know that MY generation will not fall prey to the protestor mentality of THEIR generation. My generation will never forget the sacrifice of our soldiers, both past and present, and we will NOT dishonor them with jeers and general nastiness. I, for one, will NOT let that happen again.

I will post pictures and links later, but for now, I just wanted to make sure I got my thoughts about seeing this group of survivors on paper. (ok... pix are up) They outlived the war. And now, they've outlived their Freedom Bird.
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Thanks guys.
Welcome home.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Being American

Sitting at the table doesn't make you a diner, unless you eat some of what's on that plate. Being here in America doesn't make you an American. Being born here in America doesn't make you an American.
~Malcolm X

I'd like to add to that quote (by someone, I might add, I'm really not a fan of): In order to become American, you must participate in your community, exercise your right to vote, defend your country's honor, and, above all, honor the Constitution.

The whole immigration issue has me thinking about what it is to truly be an American, and this quote by Malcolm X is a good start. Just because I was born in America doesn't really, truly, make me an American. If you recall, just about every "American" started out as something else. As for me, I'm very German and Polish, and who knows what else. But do I go around waving the German flag, or put it above the Stars and Stripes? NO WAY. I am an AMERICAN. President Roosevelt had some thoughts on this too, waaaaaay back in 1907:
"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

If YOU want to be an AMERICAN... YAY! Good for you- we will welcome you with open arms... as long as you do it LEGALLY. Come here ILlegally, and we'll kick your sorry ass back to wherever you started. That includes babies whose mothers sneaked over the border just to have their babies "born" Americans. Fuck that. Your babies ARE NOT American. You want them to be Americans? EARN IT. Come here legally, take the classes, pass the test, take the oath, and become integrated into our society. Learn the language, for Pete's sake.

I'm not saying "forget your heritage"... but I am saying that if you want to become an American, BE AN AMERICAN. LEGALLY.

OH! My Virgin Ears!

Well, considering that I *am* a Virgo (born 9/14/67), this came out kinda kewl.

You Should Be A Virgo

What's good about you: you have a quiet determination and aren't swayed by emotions

What's bad about you: you are an insane perfectionist and easily find faults in others

In love: you are obsessed with making your partner happy

In friendship, you're: helpful and giving - eager to be a true friend

Your ideal job: poet, flight attendant, or natural healer

Your sense of fashion: casual, upscale, revealing, conservative - you look good in all of it

You like to pig out on: a well prepared five course meal

Monday, May 01, 2006

Kitty Mojo

Have you ever Google'd your own name? I have, not expecting anything to come up because my name is so frikkin' weird. It's a nickname, for Pete's sake, which my parents used as my given name. Of course, it's better than the full name of the person I was named after. I could have been given "Dorthelea" instead, and I'd probably be wearing a blue gingham dress with braids in my hair right now. *click click click* There's no place like home... There's no place like home....

I Google'd Dbie, and this came up: Direct Boundary Integral Equation.
It's a magnetic thing. And if any of you understand it, more power to ya. I'll just sit here in the corner humming "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".