There's no place like

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Please stop using good songs for commercials. Are 'The Who' really that badly in need of money? Peter Gabriel? Can't you use up the one hit wonders before you start in on the classics?

I had one last entry in the Smoky Mountains facts contest. Maxs' Mind Warp reports: according to the East Tennessee History Book of Blountville TN. Jr. High School, there are absolutely no poisonous water snakes of any kind native to Tennessee! However in reality, when considering the migration of different species of animals and reptiles it can't be ruled out their need to adapt due to accidental relocation by violent storms, and the narrowing of their natural habitat by humans. So..., YES there are poisonous snakes within the state boundries here and there, (mostly southern Tenessee), and NO they're not "native" to the state. Also........., According to scientists, the Great Smoky Mountains, the Appalachain Mountains, and the Caskil Mountains were originally part of a series of huge glaciers..., broken apart after the Ice Age, leaving the many mountains and lakes we see today. There's also a theory to explain why all the natural rock beds (regardless of type or mountain range) in the Eastern United States within those same general areas are all at a severe slante. As the ice of large underground lakes melted to a liquid before the ice melted above, the weight of the towering ice caused a series of massive kraters to form as the roof of the underground caverns collapsed. This natural occurance over time caused many of the well known caverns, such as Lurray Caverns, The Lost Sea, Cudjo Caverns, Bristol Caverns, Dixie Caverns, etc., etc. I'm not saying I necessarily believe all of them were created in such a fashion, but it does seem to make sense. With his name added to the scraps of paper, Amy pulled out one and handed it to me before dumping the others all over the floor. Despite the tiny number of entries, she made a pretty good mess. The winner of a copy of "Scavenger Hike Adventures in the Great Smoky Mountains" is Countertop. I guess he can use it as a guide to create D.C. scavenger hunts. Maybe 5 points for helping a tourist take a picture and 10 bonus points for making it through a security checkpoint without being strip searched. You'll have to send him your suggestions. Congratulations Countertop. I'll have a new contest in the spring that is less regional in nature and prize. Let me know if you have any ideas.

My life is not the carefully manipulated plots that Christoff wrote for Truman. I live in Roger Rabbit's ToonTown. When I drive the car with the broken fuel line around town I can practically see the long Wiley Coyote fuse racing to catch up with the car. When I get the tree half-way lit and a fuse blows I can hear the laugh track. When I hear Doug's broken muffler Jeep three blocks away I see the cartoon smoke trail. Some days it's hard to see the humor because there's a giant anvil on top of me but I'm sure this will be funny in retrospect. I wouldn't mind enjoying the joke instead of being the object of the joke once in a while.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Sarah asked me to mail a letter but I'm a bad Mommy, so I read it instead. Dear Santa, I have been very good this year. I baby-sit my sister all the time and I do all my homework. There are 2 really special things I want this year and I know they're hard to get: a cell phone & a boyfriend. Sincerely, Sarah age 11 P.S. About the boyfriend: I am in middle school, so I know that I am old enough for a boyfriend to go to the dances with. Isn't that sad? I wouldn't go through the teen years again for anything. If I could, I'd bribe some middle schooler into dancing one dance with her next week.

Thanks to everyone in Tommy's fan club's help, we have his Christmas present! You guys are the best! Noah had to have some dental work today and when I returned him to school his mouth was still bleeding (Von Willebrands). I would like to have brought him home to let him heal but quite honestly I'm afraid to let my children stay home. Last week we got a note from the school system complaining about Tommy's constant early dismissals. The note explained that Tommy owed many hours that would have to be made up before and after school hours. It also made a vague threat that if this early dismissal continued we would be called before the Knox County Juvenile Court judge who handles truancy cases. Tommy has all those early dismissals because the school called me to come pick him up! So, when they call again this week do I refuse to pick him up and risk them having him taken to Juvenile Court because he is out of control?

Sunday, November 28, 2004

I need your help. I ignored something when it was on the store shelves last week because I didn't have the money and now it is gone from not just the store shelves, but the online stores. If anyone knows where I can order a Nintendo DS that will arrive before Christmas, PLEASE let me know. Tommy likes eating, sleeping and playing games so we don't have a lot of ideas for something fun for his gift. This is something that can stay with him even if he ends up going away for a while. I will be watching my e-mail closely so I can act quickly if anyone finds a store that promises Christmas delivery. Thank you for your help!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Remember when the only cartoons were on Saturday mornings and they were the best shows in the world? Do you remember Captain Kangaroo? Bozo? Electric Company? Posted by Hello

Once upon a time there was a mother. The mother was very distressed about the laundry pile that grew bigger no matter how hard she tried to make it smaller. The added stress of constant dirty dishes and general household disarray compounded by parenting, holiday decorating, crafting and shopping on a shoestring made the once semi-intelligent, college educated mother completely unable to think of a short story to tell in her blog. So the mother typed some pointless drivel and set out to run her errands, hopeful that something, somewhere would trigger a memory worth blogging.

Friday, November 26, 2004

The night before Thanksgiving my mother stayed up late cooking. Thanksgiving morning she got up early to finish the cooking and then she and my father took Noah to pick up my grandmother from the nursing home. Every time she plans on taking her mother out for something, a melodrama ensues that usually ends with my grandmother in the hospital. People with Alzheimers are similar to people with Autism in their need for routines. So, my grandmother is sitting and ready to go when my mother instructs Noah to go hug his great-grandmother. Noah is the sweetest little boy in the world, but the only thing Noah likes less than visiting his great-grandmother is having to hug her. As he stepped toward her and she stood up to hug him, she lost her balance and fell over backwards. Blood gushed everywhere as head wounds usually do but this was even better because of the blood thinners that my grandmother takes regularly. Noah recoiled in horror, my mother went into hysteria mode and an ambulance was summoned. My mother spent the day at the hospital while my grandmother got 7 stitches and dozens of tests to make sure nothing else was injured. My mother ate her Thanksgiving dinner more than 24 hours after she started cooking it and Noah will probably never hug anyone again.

Wednesday a tree fell down and blocked off our cove. I called Tommy's bus driver and told him it would be okay to let Tommy walk home from the cove entrance. Apparently I wasn't specific enough. The bus driver stopped and said "You're on your own." Tommy hopped off the bus and immediately crawled under the tree with utility lines wrapped around its' fallen branches. "I didn't touch the tree." Next time I'll have to tell the driver to remind Tommy to walk around the tree.

Yams are good but onions are nasty. Posted by Hello

Thursday, November 25, 2004

I am thankful for my husband and children. I am thankful to have a home for my family and food for everyone to eat. I am thankful for my pets. I am thankful for the family and friends who accept us for who we are. I am thankful for the good health of my family. I am thankful for the thousands of amazing little things that happen every day. I am thankful for the wonderful people whose faces I'll never see that share their lives with me and listen to my stories with a giggle, a frown and the occasional lecture. My life may be far from perfect, but I recognize how beautiful it really is.

"You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant Walk right in it's around the back Just a half a mile from the railroad track You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant"

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Tree chopped up and thrown in annoyed neighbors' yards by utility company. Now we're off to fight the crowds in search of some food. Wish us luck. I still say that we should skip the turkey and eat lobster instead. Wouldn't that be more authentic?

Well, I was going out to fight the crowds for groceries but a tree just fell and blocked the way in and out of our cove. Is this a sign not to feed my family?

It's a four-day weekend that includes Thanksgiving and the cupboards are bare! Commence hysteria, teeth gnashing and wailing now. No, right after I touch up Amy's toenail polish. "Paint toes NOW!"

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

More facts about the Great Smoky Mountains from Newsrack Blog: The park is estimated to contain 100,000 species; less than 10% are known. From Lost: Around 1900, logging concerns discovered the Smoky Mountains. During the next 30 years, they clearcut 67% of the future Park. Logging brought employment and hard currency to the mountaineers, but destroyed the environment. In the early 1920s the Park movement began. In Cades Cove, more than half the residents accepted the cash offered for their land while the others fought the Park movement. John W. Oliver, great-grandson of Cades Cove's first settler, led the effort and his spirited fight against Tennessee's state government ended in the State's Supreme Court. A compromise allowed the Cove people to remain in their homes with a life-time lease, only one family still remains in the Cove. And from Doug: Greenbrier has a trail that you can hike up to a ravine and see one of the old steam engines used during logging of the Smokies. The engine jumped track and went into the ravine and was unrecoverable. Note - I think that the last resident is gone now.

I'm still thinking about National Family Week. I want to mention some of the bloggers who are affected by the Autistic Spectrum in their family. Some are adults and others are children but all are making their journey without a map or a guide. I am still searching out these bloggers so that I can learn from others' experiences and wisdom. Please leave me a note about AS blogs that I need to add to my list. My mentors and peers: Arcite's Day Greener Pastures Lost's World Marc's Blog Mom with Attitude Moody Mama Partisan Shots Stories of my Family Wampum

Tommy got sent home from school early AGAIN yesterday. Every time we have a meeting I tell the school Tommy loves watching the History Channel, cooking, science experiments, building and pretty much anything hands-on. Why does he still get a pile of worksheets assigned every day? Even though I know that Tommy's doctor is looking for a long-term care facility, I am once again thinking about keeping him at home for a while. He's not going to earn a high school diploma sitting in that CDC room all day anyway. He'll get a "Special Ed Certificate" which just means he attended school. It's all very frustrating.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Q - Why didn't you get dressed today Cathy? A - Because there was a spider in the bathtub.

In honor of National Family Week I want to mention some blogs about amazing families. These blogs should NEVER be called "just another Mom blog" because they are written by strong women who are raising incredible families. This is by no means an all inclusive list so please leave me a note about family blogs that I need to add to my list. Everyone should drop by the following and congratulate them for their perserverence, talents and sense of humor: kristyk It's a Wilson Thing Ramblings of a SAHM Rasita Catawamous

Sunday, November 21, 2004

About five years ago I had to take Tommy to another city for a medical test. The test began at 7 a.m. and required that he stay awake the entire night before. Tommy can't stay awake if he takes his meds, so sans medication, Tommy and I checked into a hotel near the hospital. As the night wore on, Tommy got louder and more active. His impulse control was completely gone and by 3 in the morning, management asked us to leave. Exhausted and desperate to keep Tommy awake, but calm, I tried driving around talking to him. If I had kept this up I would have actually fallen asleep at the wheel so we searched for a place to go. A 24-hour Krispy Kreme rescued me. Tommy watched them make donuts, asked the employees a million questions, clogged the toilets and flooded the bathroom floors but we made it through the night. We checked in and the nurse frowned when she saw Tommy. "He seems too well rested, you were to keep him awake all night." I insisted that neither of us had slept a wink and the tests proceeded. The tests showed nothing wrong but that wasn't the best part. The best part was that I carried a sleeping Tommy to the car, drove the 3 hour trip home and went to bed for 6 hours of sleep before Tommy woke up.

Discounting all the babysitting I did as a teen, my first job was at a movie theater in a popular mall (image of Fast Times at Ridgemont High). When the movie Pale Rider was released, the studio decided it would be a good idea if they sent free passes to preachers since the main character is a preacher. Anyone who has ever actually seen this movie knows that it has nada to do with religion. There were preachers leaving the theater within the first 10 minutes and by the halfway point the theater was empty. They didn't just leave. They complained and griped and demanded refunds for their refreshments. Return of the Jedi posters were originally released saying "Revenge of the Jedi". When the actual movie was released, it was delivered to theaters at or after midnight so that theaters couldn't have early screenings. Of course, everyone who worked at the theater stayed late and we watched a 2 a.m. screening.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Sarah recently complained about Tommy's insistence on playing a song over and over (Blue) and I had to laugh and tell her to learn to cope. As a child, my younger brother's room was right beneath mine. In an effort to annoy me, he would put a 45 on (that's sort of like a CD single Internet children) and play the same song over and over for hours on end. His song of choice was Billy Joel's "Only the Good Die Young". Brothers annoy sisters. Some things never change.

Friday, November 19, 2004

A few years ago I was on my way to the hospital to give birth to baby number four. I had been having contractions the entire day and was quite uncomfortable. It was near midnight but Doug asked if we could stop at the gas station/store for some snacks. I gave him the eyeball. We didn't stop and we are still very happily married.

A million years ago I checked into the hospital to have my second child induced since she wasn't coming on her own. I had been there less than than 20 minutes when the doctor broke my water and raced out the door saying "I'll see you tonight." The door hadn't even closed when my now ex-husband said "Well, you're just going to be lying around doing nothing all day, so I've got something scheduled." I looked at him amazed and had to ask repeatedly before he finally admitted he had scheduled 18 holes of golf for the day. He left for the entire day and I labored, got an epidural and generally felt lousy all alone in that LDR room. Did I mention that he is now my ex?

A reminder and a question before I step into storytelling mode for the weekend. First, don't forget that I am collecting little known facts, interesting information and anything else that makes the Great Smoky Mountains such a wonderful place. For every fact you send, you'll get one entry in the contest. Thanksgiving weekend I'll randomly pick one name and that person will get a copy of the book "Scavenger Hike Adventures in the Great Smoky Mountains". For example: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the only major national park that has no admission fee. Many people lived here before it became a park and it was written into the charter that it will always be free to come into the park. And my question: Fresh cranberries, canned berries or the jello-like cranberry flavored stuff?

Uh-oh, Molly has eaten the hands and feet off of Amy's Dora doll.

There are some wonderful blog designs out there. I've been wanting a new one for ages but here I am still using this pink thing. I am soooo overwhelmed by life right now. I need a reality tv crew to come in and get my life back on track.

It's Friday already? Thanksgiving is next week? Christmas is HOW far away? Aaaargh!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

LOST - This is such a fun show to watch. Michael has a good description of this week's episode. As usual, the episode ended with even more questions to ponder. I think the purgatory storyline no longer holds water. Are the whispered voices imaginary or evidence that the island is some sort of observatory? Which of the scientists was ill, the man she killed or Danielle? Is it the same illness that is taking over Locke? Is Danielle's son alive? Danielle knows more about the creatures on the island and clarified that there are no monsters. How long before they go searching for her for more information and island maps? I'm still waiting to hear about how the scientists were using the black and white stones. Was it for voting on decisions? Are the writers making this up as they go (x-files) or do they have all the mysteries figured out?

One of my favorite bloggers, Lost sent in these facts: 1. Five forest types can be found in the Great Smoky Mountains. 2. Together there are more than 130 species of trees, and 4,000 other plant species. 3. They represent all the major forest types along eastern North America. 4. As elevation increases within the park, it gets wetter and the temperature goes down. Each 1,000 feet of elevation gained is the equivalent of moving 250 miles north. 5. It is so wet in places that part of the park is considered rainforest. 6. All five types can be seen at once from Campbell Overlook, two miles south of the Sugarlands Visitor Center on Newfound Gap Road. The tree variety makes fall a multicolor treat in East Tennessee.

A blogger with good taste in music, Countertop has sent in some interesting facts about the Smoky Mountains. 1. Sequoyah, a Cherokee Indian, is the only known person in history to single-handedly develop and perfect an alphabet 2. Trade, Tennessee is by far the oldest town in the state and has held Pow Wows since at least the 1700s 3. More civil war battles were fought in Tennessee than any other state but Virginia. 4. The first (and best) civil war battlefield park is Chicamagua-Chattanooga in both Tennessee and Georgia. 5. In the late 1700s the counties in the Western Smokey's secceed from North Carolina and form a new state - Franklin - before eventually returning to North Carolina and then become part of the Tennessee Region North Carolina gave the U.S. 6. Kingston, TN was the state capitol for one day. 7. UT is the 28th oldest college in the country, but more importantly, it was the first non-sectarian college founded in the country. 8. Tennessee has an official state flower, an official state cultivated flower, and an official state wildflower - Pursuant to a resolution of the state assembly, Tennessee schoolchildren voted on the passion flower as the stateflower. Some years later (in an effort to appease commercial horticulture) the legislature named the Iris the state flower, but never rescinded the Passion flower. TO clear the confusion, the legislature adopted a designation for both the state wildflower and cultivated flower - and made them the passion and iris, respectivly, and then also made the passion the sole state flower again. Good stuff Countertop, but I'm still confused about the whole state flower thing.

How many black bears are in the Great Smoky Mountains? 1500-2000 How many black bears are in the Rocky Mountains? 27 I have a prize that needs a contest. For the next week, send me your little known facts, interesting information and anything else that makes the Great Smoky Mountains such a wonderful place. For every fact you send, you'll get one entry in the contest. Thanksgiving weekend I'll randomly pick one name and that person will get a copy of the book "Scavenger Hike Adventures in the Great Smoky Mountains". I would love to hear from lots of the Rocky Top Brigade members, but if just my 2-3 regular readers enter, you'll have pretty good odds of winning! No, I'm not collecting information for a book, just appreciating the beauty and wonder of the National Park that is my backyard.

Sarah has declared that tomorrow is "Official Spongebob Day". Everyone should talk and dress like their favorite Spongebob character. Friends are exchanging Spongebob gifts and (of course) they are all going to see the movie. Her tickets have already been Fandangoed and she is going to wear the Spongebob shirt she made in art club. She has a Pez dispenser for her best friend. How are you celebrating Spongebob Day?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Since there are no blogger jammies in the online stores in time for Christmas shopping, maybe "Life is Good" jammy bottoms are the perfect gift for the blogger on your Christmas list. Isn't life good when the children are safe in their beds and you are blogging in your jammies?

Not content with a steady stream of "What's this?", "What's that?" and "Why do you do that?", Tommy likes to add in commentary. "That's stupid." In addition to the constant barrage of questions, his hands are moving faster than Doc Octopus trying to touch and grab everything in sight so that he can hold things up as he quizzes their purpose in life. Throw in a hunger complaint every few minutes and a never ending pattern of finger flaps, eye rolls and wrist twists and you have a picture of what Tommy is like most of the time these days. He makes me tired. Too tired to appreciate all the good things in my life. Tommy has become the main topic of thought and conversation in our household. I need to blog more about the other things in our world.

The phone rings after less than an hour of the school day and my heart sinks when I see the caller ID. "This is Tommy's VP." "Uh-oh. What happened?" "I don't think suspension encouraged Tommy to change his behavior any. Instead of bumping into the girls, today he is grabbing their bottoms to get their attention." "Oh that's so rude, I am so sorry." "I think that the teachers, the school officers and I are going to stay by his side for a while." "Umm, ok." That sounds kinda stigmatizing and embarrassing. "Maybe you could explain to him that girls don't like their bottoms being grabbed." "Yes sir, we'll talk about this." Is it only Wednesday?

Bad News - I still haven't sold Noah's old furniture and I need that money to pay for paint so he's not moved into a tiny 'pink' room. Good News - Tommy is back at school today. Bad News - I've already had a phone call from Tommy's VP. Good News - I got a phone call from the eye Dr. and Tommy is going to take the spot of a child who is too sick to make his appt today. Bad News - I have a major migraine. Good News - LOST is on tonight.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Except for some really nice pictures from this morning that I can't put in the blog since we have no scanner, today hasn't been an improvement over yesterday. Tommy and Doug are at each others' throats. I don't see the point in sending Tommy back to school tomorrow as angry and unhappy as he is right now. Tommy's glasses have broken for the zillionth time (we were told last time that they couldn't repair them again), so I have to see how quickly we can get him in for an eye exam before we invest in frames and lenses. I wonder if he should wear plastic basketball goggles or something to withstand the abuse he inflicts on glasses. Update - January 19th is the next available with the only pediatric eye specialist in town. Regular eye doctors can't cope with Autistic children. Looks like we'll be using that lovely "taped glasses" look for a while.

Today will be a better day. Posted by Hello

Monday, November 15, 2004

We need to ditch all three of our semi-functional cars in exchange for one safe, reliable form of transportation. We can't keep driving the car with broken fuel line but it is going to cost more to repair than the blue book value of the car. That particular car has been a source of problems ever since it was 'given' to us by Doug's parents. Gifts may not cost the recipient money but they frequently have heavy emotional price tags. "It was in perfect condition when we gave it to you." Tommy's therapist thinks it's time to look for a long-term hospitalization program. This would involve putting Tommy in a facility several states away which would virtually eliminate visitation. I am feeling pretty hopeless about it all right now. Today has been depressing and tomorrow is going to be umm, frightening? scary? I don't know how to describe it but I'll have a lot to say when I find the words.

I have to Tommy has to make a model of the "Trojan Horse" before Thursday. Paper mache won't work. Clay won't work. Google searches don't give me any ideas. Why can't we just do another leaf collection? I've We've done that project so many times I we have it perfected. Tommy is suspended from school until Wednesday ("We can suspend him without due-cause 10 times.") so I could really use a good idea to keep him from sleeping all day for the next two days.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

The clock on my computer slowly loses time so, the longer I sit Blog surfing, the less time I've actually wasted.

Since I stopped the story-telling weekend early, I get to talk about the wonderful book that I have in my hands. It's called "Scavenger Hike Adventures" and is full of clues to help find interesting pieces of history along the trails in the Smoky Mountains. It is a very clever teaching tool disguised as a game. I am extra excited because I won a copy of the book for every Girl Scout in my troop at a leader training yesterday. I can't wait to take the girls to the mountains and have some fun! Oh, but wait. Before I won the prize I was so excited about this book that I bought one copy. I wonder if I should have some sort of Rocky Top Brigade contest for the book? Any ideas? Update - Still waiting for a good contest idea. I really do think anyone who visits the Smokies would enjoy this book. Yes, the authors are going to do a similar book about the Rocky Mountains in 2 years.

I think that telling Martin stories was a bad idea. Most of the stories fall into two categories. Category one is the family and funeral stories which are pretty boring. Category two is the first time away from my protective Southern Baptist parents' home stories that I'm just not going to tell. So, I'll finish my story weekend with a little anecdote about the family cemetary in Martin. The family cemetary was once deep in the country but subdivisions are rapidly closing in the large, tree shaded hill that overlooks the countryside. The cemetary will be full someday and as is the nature of cemetaries, eventually the people who remember will be gone and the land will sit undisturbed except for some local who mows it to keep snakes off his property. I hope that in the future, someone doing research or etchings of tombstones takes the extra time to venture to the very back of the property. If they do, they will find several horses and dogs that must have been very loved to gain the honor of the family cemetary. They're easy to find if you know they are there are look for the headstones four times the size of all the yellow-fever victims.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

About nine years ago, my father's extended family gathered together for a huge family reunion in Martin. Family that hadn't seen each other for years and longer were going to be there for a weekend of food and fun. I had the brilliant idea that our family make nametags. Not with our names though. My father's nametag bore his first and last name. The other nametags said things like, "Bill's Wife", "Bill's Daughter" and "Bill's grandson". We wore those nametags all weekend, everywhere we went. Being a VERY small town, we probably saw every single resident of Martin at some point during the visit. Sunday morning at breakfast my mother said in that casual, innocent way which my mind twists and takes as an insult, "Did you know the children have chickenpox?" I was shocked to see the little spots that had sprung up all over Tommy and Sarah. We quickly loaded up and headed home while my parents went to warn the other parents about their exposure to chickenpox. I can only imagine how quickly word spread among family and townspeople. "You know those crazy people who wore nametags all weekend? Guess what their children had?"

Friday, November 12, 2004

I remember a girl I knew at UT-Martin who was beautiful all the way through to her soul with a genuine kindness and compassion that is rare in this world. One November Friday I wanted her to come home with me to Memphis for the weekend but as the day wore on I got tired of trying to find her (everyone didn't carry cell phones back then) because I loathed driving that two-lane highway from Martin to I-40 (small town speed traps). I went home alone. When I arrived in Martin on Sunday afternoon, my roommate told me that the girl had been killed by a drunk driver going to her own home late that Friday night. The accident was so violent that her mother couldn't even identify her own daughter's body. It was one of the worst funerals I've ever attended, with her mother collapsing and her large, very religious family questioning their very foundations. So, on rainy Friday nights, right before Thanksgiving, I think about her and wonder if things could have turned out differently if I had been a better person.

I think I'll tell UT-Martin stories this weekend. I'll start with one about someone who was one of my favorite people. KC was a genius who should have gotten a PHD in Philosophy instead of his Master's in Music Education. He worked his way through school by working at Hardees, which was one of the only fast food restaurants in Martin way back then. KC's lifestyle was not a secret, but it still made me almost fall over the first time I went by his house to pick him up for something (a crowd of us were going to have a bonfire out in the very rural country). KC grew and manufactured his own supplies in his bedroom that was inside his parents' house! When KC was at work, he went up on the roof of the restaurant to smoke under the guise of cleaning. One day, he smoked too much and fell off the roof. He promptly filed a workmen's comp claim and ended up with a 5 figure check. Instead of using the money for rehab or medications (he had whatever he needed already), he bought large, expensive remote control vehicles, took off the outside and drove around the wheels, motor and wires. It would entertain him for hours (duh). In spite of all this, he did get his Master's degree in Music Ed and when I went back to Martin for a family reunion I looked him up. He was the band director at a high school in nowheresville, TN and STILL maintained the same lifestyle. "You hafta be high to listen to the same pep rally cr*p music day in and day out." I always think about KC whenever a teacher gets arrested for doing something stupid and people are stunned and appalled that a teacher would behave in such a way. Teachers aren't saints guys, they are clowns just like the rest of us.

Ongoing LOST discussion - Big Orange Michael said it all. This episode was a wonderful treat that waited until the end to twist things around and make you re-think your theories. In the beginning I fretted over watching Smallville and LOST, but I am totally hooked on LOST. This is a very clever, well-written show. I can't wait for the next episode.

Our weekends are usually packed with activities. This weekend is no exception, BUT tonight is free and Doug wanted to eat out while I wanted to take the family to the movies. Tommy decided to do something obnoxious at school and get suspended for two days, so I guess we have to stay home and play mean parents all weekend. Since it's the weekend, it's time to tell old stories but the ones stuck in my head aren't very funny. I'll have to think. Hmmmm. . .

On rainy days like today I consider being one of those crazy people who make their dogs wear clothes. I wonder if Molly would wear boots? Posted by Hello

Thursday, November 11, 2004

I heard this on the car radio today. Just thinking about my grandfather on Veteran's Day.

Long whine - Our schools have a ridiculous absence, late and early checkout policy that has parents calling the pede and begging for notes even when the pede won't see your child. Three times without a note and the parents get summoned before a local judge who awards the parents with detention. The biggest problem with this policy is that frequently your child is just too sick to go to school but not sick enough to bother the pede. The pede office has countered this assault on their time by putting in a screening process which means you must FIRST explain to the front office why your child must be seen before they will grant you the honor of an appointment. Skip ahead to today. I called the pede and told them what lab work I needed before they would give me an appointment. I checked Tommy out early and took him to the pede, mentally flogging myself not to forget the doctor's note for school. After waiting 30 minutes past my appointment time, the doctor looked at the chart and said "I can't do this. You'll have to take him to Children's Hospital (they won't do bloodwork for any other doctor even if it's a psychiatrist who CAN'T do bloodwork). Get your co-pay back from the front desk." I waited at the front desk while the staff ate cookies given to them by a drug rep until they glanced my way and said "You need something else?" I handed them the note from the doctor saying that I needed my co-pay refunded and as they did so I asked for a school note. "We don't give school notes if you don't pay your co-pay." What?!? I had barely started my lecture about why they were wrong when someone else in the office walked over and gave me a school note along with a scowl. Argh!

I don't know how I ever managed to use the bathroom before I had Amy cheering for me. "Yay! Mommy go pee-pee. Yay, Mommy!"

Amy has decided that nap time is the right time to spill and destroy all of Sarah's things, so we have to put a rush on moving the two girls into the big bedroom and Noah into the small room. I have an ad running in the paper to try and sell Noah's furniture because it won't fit in the small room. Now we have to find a way to make Noah's new room cool enough to compensate for getting a room more than 50% smaller AND having to get rid of his 'cool' furniture.

Today Tommy has his regular EKG and bloodwork to make sure his medications aren't damaging anything. Without meds, he never sleeps, has no impulse control and is basically in a constantly dysfunctional manic state. With meds, we might be hurting his organ functioning, he has massive weight gain problems and behavior swings as he routinely develops an immunity to his meds.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Halloween 2004 - The Girl Scouts were ready. Posted by Hello

Halloween 2004 - Amy wanted "can-nee". Posted by Hello

Halloween 2004 - Tommy and Noah wanted the jumping balloon more than the candy. Posted by Hello

While making the carpool rounds this morning, Doug learned that the father of three young girls was "picked up by INS" yesterday to be deported. How does that work exactly? Do they call and say pack your bags? Do people get to take anything with them? Can they bring money? Do they go straight to the airport or get locked up someplace? What happens when they get off the plane? They have no home or job so where do they go? What happens to the family he left behind? Does he have any chance to ever come back?

I'm having a love affair with a ratty, old blue blanket. It has bare spots and holes, but when I fold it in half and slide in between the two halves, it is the softest, most comfortable thing in the world. I like to wiggle my toes and feel the texture of the synthetic fiber surrounding my feet. Our sofa has two large cushions and if I fold the blanket and spread it on the sofa, my head rests against the arm and my backside fits right in the groove where the two cushions meet, cradling me in warmth and blanket softness. If you call the house, Doug will answer the phone. Ask him if Cathy is busy and he'll tell you through gritted teeth, "No she's still stretched out on the couch in that blue blanket doing nothing."

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Think anyone would miss me if I disappeared for a day or two?

Tommy is in a surly mood today. He hates to get up in the morning (what teen doesn't) but he hates having his routine messed with even more. Saying "hurry Tommy" doesn't make him move any faster. If the house has a strong aroma of coffee or anything else, he "can't breathe". Apparently the smell completely fills his nostrils (imagine me rolling my eyes at the ridiculousness of this). His rules and routines sometimes drive the rest of us batty. I love cartoons and subscribe to two online toon services. Yesterday I added several new strips and weeded out a few that just don't ring my bell. I added one that immediately caused some deja vu. You'll have to skip around a bit to see all the related strips because the characters, like most of us, have more than one thing going on in their lives. I don't know where they plan to take the storyline, because the artist doesn't seem to have an official website, but it should be interesting to see how they laugh without crying or making fun.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Guess why I hate the idea of Doug climbing the roof and inspecting our chimney? Ever hear the one about Doug tying himself to a tree so he could top the tree off with his chainsaw? The ladder is in a twisted heap in our backyard. Posted by Hello

The temperature is predicted to drop to 33 degrees tonight. Our heat has died. Don't you think we should take four children, two dogs, one cat and half a dozen fish to a hotel? It doesn't sound like much fun when I see it written down but neither does trying to sleep in frozen tundra.

Once upon a time I had a job that included regular paychecks instead of smiles and hugs. One of the duties with this real job was putting together a public awareness event in May to celebrate Children's Mental Health Week. The event was theoretically planned and handled by a committee made up of other people who worked in social service jobs in Knoxville. In reality, about three people do all the work while a half a dozen other people complain and criticize. Last year I got talked into coordinating the event because my old boss knows I care about the event and hate watching it flounder under people who really don't care. Every year I say I'll never do it again yet here I sit pondering if I should do it again. Sigh.

This weekend Sarah informed me that she needs to go lingerie shopping and get some new bras. This is the child who used to refuse to walk in Victoria's Secret with me. Group dating and bras so far this month, what's next?

Sunday, November 07, 2004

A short story - When Doug and I were dating I spilled a giant coffee all over one of his keyboards and completely ruined it. He smiled and said it was okay but I still believe he cried as soon as I left. Posted by Hello

Twice a year Dollywood has Deaf Awareness Days during which all the rides, performances and restaurants have interpreters available. Instead of real interpreters (that would cost money), they use college students who are learning ASL. I worked 4 Deaf Awareness Days and had several different assignments in the park. The worst assignment is the glass blower. Your back is to him but you see enough peripherally to feel like a hot metal bar is going to swing by your head at any moment. When the glass blower realized I was flinching frequently, he actually started waving the bar toward me in a lunging motion to make me duck. Then he started talking about and to the interpreter (me) which made the assignment really complicated. Still, that wasn't my worst moment at Dollywood. The worst moment was when I worked in a restaurant and had to point a big, tough looking man toward the salad bar. He grinned from ear to ear and asked me if they really keep the marijuana on the salad bar. I was embarrassed and apologetic for signing 'straw' so sloppy but he just walked away giggling.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

My great-grandmother was a strong, self-sufficient woman who neither wore pants nor uttered a curse word her 90+ years. She also had a fondness for snuff that I found nasty. She lived in a log cabin in Middle Tennessee. As her children got older they added planks to the sides so that you couldn't see the logs and a door to the front hallway that was originally an open hallway separating the sleeping and living halves of the cabin. Over time, water, electricity, phone and a bathroom were added although the electricity and water were rarely used. The weekend before Christmas her eight children, their spouses, and their children all gathered for a monster feast. While it was common to see fried chicken bought from the Piggly Wiggly and other easy foods at the Memorial Day family potluck dinner gathering near the river, the Christmas gathering required hours of serious preparation and cooking that had all the women in the kitchen and the men huddled together elsewhere. As productive and chatty as the women were, the men were stoic and relatively silent. Children were sent out to play and those that lingered were encouraged into the woods with the promise of long-lost Civil War relics and Indian arrowheads. I searched for years until one day I found a broken crock among other interesting bits of debris. I dragged my mother to the site of my great archeological find only to be informed that I had found some of my great-grandmother's long-buried trash, unearthed by raccoons. I don't think I searched the woods again after that disappointment.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Since I don't drink I'm making myself a chocolate-eating game. Every time one of the items below happens this weekend, I'll have to leave the room and steal a bite of the children's Halloween chocolates. With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, you can change the items to make the game work for you. I get to eat a bite of chocolate every time: 1. Someone crinkles their nose and sneers their lip up so that I can see the gums of their teeth. 2. Someone tells a marching band anecdote. 3. Someone tells Doug he should get a real job like Home Depot or Sears. 4. Someone criticizes our house. 5. Tommy talks inappropriately in front of visitors. 6. Amy strips naked. 7. Noah has an accident. 8. Sarah asks me to take her to the mall. 9. Doug talks about adding a wing onto the housegiving up sleep. 10. Molly pees on the floor. I was going to add every time someone puts a marching band DVD in the player, but the only working DVD player is downstairs and NOBODY is going downstairs except me to eat candy.

My in-laws are coming, the house isn't sterilized and they just sent me an email saying they'll be eating brunch at our house on Sunday! Aaaargh!!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

"Mooooom, there's this guy that my friend sorta likes and they want to go see a movie but her Mom says they hafta bring friends along, soooo, can I like, you know, go to the movies with my friend and the guy she likes?" Eeeeeeeek!

Ongoing LOST discussion - As much as I hate the "purgatory" storyline idea, the people on the island all seem to have some unfinished business. Has the mysterious monster been around since Locke came face to face with it? I believe Locke whacked Sayid with the board. Locke has found a place where he is useful and he has no desire to be rescued. Doug thinks Locke either died or became possessed by the monster. I have said since the beginning that Locke would form one tribe and Jack would form another. Whatever became of the woman who insisted her husband is still alive? The rumor from the very beginning was that someone on the beach was not actually on the plane. Who?

It's finally starting to look and feel like fall here. The ground is covered with leaves, the squirrels are in panic mode and it almost feels too crisp for shorts. Friday night the temperature is predicted to drop near 30 and Noah has a soccer game. I wonder if I can see the field from the warmth of my car. The real question is if the mosquitos will finally go away until spring. If we didn't have company coming to complain about our house this would be a great weekend to visit the dog park and make Christmas lists.

Mr. & Mrs. Felix Unger My in-laws and a narcisstic teen Doug's sister are coming to visit this weekend and the house is a disaster. There will be much panic, hysteria and general freaking out until the visitors have left.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

My beloved glass pig whom I have tossed pocket change into for 20 years has a large crack and must be replaced. This pig has rescued me many times in the past 20 years. I never ceased to be amazed at the amount of money it accumulated. It was there whenever someone lost a tooth and it was there when someone needed specific coins for school (100 pennies for the 100th day party) or scouts (dimes for Thinking Day). It was a strong and sturdy piggy bank that survived far beyond the cork nose that my dog ate the day I brought the glass pig home. I am going to search the house and garage for a new coin container but I can't imagine it having the same place in our lives that the glass pig has had. Goodbye glass pig filled with shiny coins. You will be missed.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

My angry and unhappy post - Voters in my state just don't have the same priorities or concerns that I have. Next election I am going to place a large cash bet on all the candidates I don't like. For example, one female candidate for Senate has won by a landslide. I attended IDEA hearings with several political officials, including this female politician. She believes that children with disabilities should have the same disciplinary consequences as their mainstream peers. This means punishing children who are not able to control their actions. If an Autistic child is very upset and you try to put them in a basket hold, they may very well bite you. Anyone who understands Autistic children knows this is the Autistic child's only way of saying they are upset and in distress. To call this an assault and expel the child is denying the child an appropriate educational environment yet this Senator will push bills through to change the services which children with disabilities receive. Knoxville's blackmail tax won and the result of that will economically punish the working poor and have little effect on the wealthy. The presidential election has been argued endlessly already. All I will say is that President Bush is not an intelligent man and the fact that so many will vote for him makes me seriously question the intelligence of Americans. Go ahead and get angry with me now.

Molly got microchipped at the vet today. I told my mother and she asked me why we don't microchip babies when they are born. I told her that sounded horribly Orwellian even though I know it's not a new idea. I wouldn't be opposed to some type of LoJack device that you implant in teens so parents can track their movements.

The real news story today - Tommy and Sarah are cooperating and being nice to each other. Further updates later.

Will there be rioting in the streets tomorrow? Posted by Hello

Monday night we all went to watch Noah's soccer game. They were missing several players, so the coach was desperately moving players around to try and find a good position for each one. He put Noah in the goalie spot and we groaned in fear. Why would he put someone who spent the first half of the game wiggling his loose tooth in a position that demands you pay attention and act quickly? The ball was in the middle of the field when my father pondered out loud, "Where did Noah go? The goal is empty." We looked toward the goal and saw a small person a few feet behind the goal, standing in a bush. Noah was taking a potty break in the middle of the game!

Monday, November 01, 2004

Tomorrow is the day when most of us vote. When you go into the voting booth, you go alone because it should be YOUR choice and YOUR decisions. Your parents, spouses, children, ministers and everyone else can not make this choice for you. Don't vote for 'whoever someone else won't vote for'. Take the time to read about each of the people and issues that will be on your ballot and vote for YOURSELF. Please don't be confused by any of the last minute tricks that the different campaigns have pulled from their hats to try and manipulate your choice. Don't listen to people who say your candidate doesn't stand a chance. Look at what candidates have done and said and make an informed and educated decision that is truly your decision. Please, think for yourself.


In the house:

Me - the Mom
Doug - the Dad
Tommy - age 15
Sarah - age 12
Noah - age 9
Amy - age 3
Evan - 8 months old
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Mom's Stuff:

100 Things About Me
My Kids Are Pigs
My Husband's Crap
Pottery Barn Registry
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It runs in the Family:

Seldom & Never
Serendipitous Reflections
The Ramblings of CarMom
The Stomock's Retchings

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