There's no place like

Thursday, September 30, 2004

A musical interlude to go along with the evening's debate: "Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build the big bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks You fasten the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins"

So guns are something people love or hate and fear discussing either way. Wonder what I'll talk about tomorrow? I've already done religion and the school system is an ongoing source of discussion but what would be a fun topic for Friday?

Guns - I begin with a disclaimer that I have lived almost my entire life in the South and really don't know enough about lifestyles in the rest of America. I believe with all my heart that I and my household are the only people in my entire family who are not armed. Not just armed, but heavily armed. My parents have their own guns as well as those handed down from their parents and their parents before them. Most of the females in my family carry delicate little weapons of death in their purses. Many of the cars owned by my extended family have a gun tucked away so that the driver can quickly access it. I have no guns and although I am intelligent enough not to say that I will never have a gun, I can say that right now I hate the idea of living with guns. My father likes to pull a gun or two out and show them to the children as he cleans them. He lectures them about safety and responsibility the entire time. Against my specific wishes ("I don't want you to do that Dad"), my father bought a BB gun for the children to have target practice when they are at his house. Ted Nugent would be very proud of my father. I think that it just makes guns seem desirable while my father proclaims that it takes away the novelty of a gun. At some point I will allow them to go to a shooting range and fire a rifle. I want them to feel how long that ache stays in your shoulder after you have pulled the trigger. I want them to see how easy it is not to reach your intended target. When the topic of guns comes up I ALWAYS say that guns are intended for killing. They are not for protection or safety or whatever cute little expression people use to justify them. Guns are for killing and in one second of thoughtlessness or anger people do things that they can never take back. Guns are like suicide, permanent solutions to temporary problems.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

A student took a gun to Tommy's school today. I know it happens a lot more than I'd like to know and that usually nothing happens. This time something did happen. It happened over spitting kool-aid. All I can think about is how Tommy carelessly annoying the wrong student could have devastating results. Tommy doesn't think before he acts. He just does whatever pops in his head. Tommy is a danger to himself. These are the times when I want to lock the doors and hide. Update: today's newspaper coverage

Sometimes I feel like this. . . Posted by Hello

. . . but I know I should feel like this instead. Posted by Hello

Is Helen getting ready for a show? I know Florida is tired of all the attention they've been getting lately.

Apparently five days without clean laundry is this family's limit. Although Sarah could go another week without clean clothes, the rest of us need clean things, especially Tommy and I who are completely out of long pants/jeans to wear. I'm going to visit the nearby laundromat and learn how Amy acts in a laundromat. Should be fun, not.

I'll be very happy when Doug gets over this nervous breakdown so I can have my funny, sweet, thoughtful, happy husband back.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The local newspaper is collecting stories from WWII veterans, Hollywood is cranking out spiffy war movies and the history channel keeps showing programs about war. I know what they're doing and I know why they're doing it. That doesn't make it any less creepy. Still, it all makes me think about my grandfather. My grandfather isn't around anymore so he won't be available for an interview. You couldn't have gotten an interview from him when he was alive anyway. Although a career Navy man who lied about his age to join at the start of World War II, he told almost nothing about his work, his experiences or his feelings. It must have meant something or he wouldn't have stayed in the military until his retirement. I know that after he died my mother found a box full of medals and old uniform buttons. I know from his records that he spent most of his life on enormous ships working in the medical department. From that I can imagine that his stories were just too cold and cruel to repeat. I can only tell one story about his war experiences because it is the only one he ever told me. My grandmother was showing some demitasse spoons to me and explained that they came from Hitler's home. I looked at her sort of funny and my grandfather piped up and told the story, with absolutely no details or elaboration so I apologize for the absurdity of it. There was no fighting, only massive looting when all the men took turns leaving the ship to explore what they knew was a historical site. My grandfather (who was a very practical man) grabbed all of the silverware before they were rushed back to the ship. On the long journey back to California the looting continued until all that my grandfather held were a set of delicate silver demitasse spoons. My mother has the spoons now. She has no plans for them. It's not the sort of thing that you put on display. It would be wrong to casually auction them off on Ebay. So, they are wrapped in cloth and stored in an old shoebox waiting to be pulled out and shown to the next generation of grandchildren. That is our family's war story. What is YOUR family's story?

Amy is addicted to Lazy Town. It just doesn't do anything for me (too much spandex) but I still try to sound excited. "What is Robbie Rotten doing now?" Amy has also decided: naked is better than dressed, "O" is the best letter and must be pointed out as often as possible, getting dirty is fun up to a point and then it's "gross", naps are no fun, outside is better than inside, siblings make the best friends, babies are cool, bouncing is wonderful and pooting is funny. She also likes tents and won't agree to Mommy putting away the little tent that has taken over our living room.

Monday, September 27, 2004

The field over soccer practice was unbelievably beautiful tonight. The sky went from dark and ominous to a bright technicolor double rainbow that was perfect from end to end. Posted by Hello

Hey techies (you know who you are), is there anything like Plato available for high schoolers to use from home?

I kept Tommy home today in the hopes that a calm, stress-free day will help him pull himself together. He is so angry, unhappy and difficult right now. I don't dare ask him to do anything for fear of another screaming, crying meltdown (his and mine). I added some new links to my blogroll. There are so many good blogs out there that the blog naysayers just can't accurately know the future of the blogosphere. Blogs are therapeutic. They bring people together, help them to cope and remind us all of how very similar people all over the globe truly are. Yes, there are angry, disillusioned bloggers, but those of us who are telling our stories and sharing in others' stories are basically happy, struggling human beings who are just reaching out and embracing each other in a way that we never knew existed before we found blogs. Don't give up, keep blogging. Every word means something to someone.

FYI - The blogger spell-check feature doesn't recognize the word 'blog'. Funny!

Sunday, September 26, 2004

I finished my first book of the week. Tommy, Sarah and Noah have started their books. I tried (unsuccessfully) talking one bookstore into putting up a banned books display. What are YOU doing? Posted by Hello

I should have just stayed in the bed today.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

The guy who made green ketchup is there too. Posted by Hello

Hmmmm. . .  Posted by Hello

We aren't Jewish so I guess it's okay that we didn't follow the rules last night. We're not following the rules today either. Hmmm, maybe we should at least try to start fresh and let go of any resentments and grudges that are haunting us. I'll start by not being bugged that nobody blogs on the weekends.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Your Hippie Chick Name is: Magnolia

I actually got out of the house for something fun today! I took Sarah and her best friend who are like identical twins in every way as well as Tommy and Sarah's friend's brother to the movies. The two boys are opposite sides of the same coin so Doug and I agreed that an adult needed to supervise and I got to be the adult! Inspired by Kristyk, we went to see "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" which I still think is a terrible movie title. I want to be careful what I say about the movie since I'm hoping Doug and Noah will go see it soon. The movie is sort of a cross between Metropolis (if you haven't seen it, go see it) and Star Wars (minus the Freudian undertones) set in the 40's. I don't know if the children appreciated the atmospheric sepia colorization but I liked it and all four children (don't tell Sarah or Tommy I called them children, they prefer 'preteen and teen') gave the movie two thumbs up. I enjoyed it much more than the last movie I watched with Jude Law. It was the perfect movie to watch on "National Comic Book Day".

I gave all our "ex" stuff to Goodwill and the trashcan. From not that.

Evil no-carbers are now trying to brainwash my children. Have you ever eaten out with a no-carber? They can really ruin a yummy meal with their preaching and eating habits. Life is too short not to enjoy the wonderful food choices out there. Leave my twinkies alone!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

this is an audio post - click to play

For Half-Naked Thursday, the ONLY time you'll ever see my pasty, chunky legs. Posted by Hello

WHAT is wrong with my sidebar?? Never mind, Doug found my broken code. He's really good with his hands.

Another Commercial Break - East Tennessee bloggers, please buy a Knoxville Area Coupon Book for just $10? $7.50 of each book sold stays at the school and since we are spending about 15 years at each school we are zoned for I feel sorta obliged to participate. The children feel even more incentive with the coupons and trinkets offered based on how many books they sell. I will hand deliver the coupon books to your place of work. One trip to Home Depot (10% off total purchase up to $100 discount), Schaad's, AC Moore (10% off total puchase) or Birkenstocks would pay for the book. Three of the neighborhood children have knocked on my door asking me to buy the books and when I tell them that I have three children who attend three different schools selling them, they just look at me blank faced and say "But won't you buy one from me?"

TV Talk - "Scrubs" is one of the smartest but least appreciated shows on television. Why did it get moved to a filler time slot this season? "Smallville" always ends their season with something that makes me grimace but starts back up with something that makes me want more. I am so glad they didn't kill Chloe. I think she would make a great villain. I admit that I'm stumped on Lana's connection to Clark's past. Did I miss a clue somewhere? I was unimpressed by Margot Kidder's appearance but of course I felt teary when she talked about "loving him in another life".

Mommy gets surly when she's cleaning but she's really happy when it's done. Posted by Hello

I would like to do a lot of throwing away and freecycling this weekend but Doug gets very upset when I even try to discuss his stuff. I'm going to get into trouble for writing this blog entry so it may disappear quickly. This was a picture of his office area almost a year ago and it looks very much the same. Tim, that isn't a window blocked by the dead monitors on the back wall not seen in this picture, it's a double-sliding glass door that is completely blocked by stuff like dead monitors. The only difference in the garage is that it's big piles of stuff instead of just papers. Doug hasn't had any free time to sort through the stuff for more than three years and he's busier now than ever. He never gets a good night's sleep and he tortures himself over the way things like cleaning his office and the garage fall so low on the priority scale that they never get done. He needs to pass the job to me and trust that whatever I get rid of isn't needed or can be replaced. I really believe he'd be calmer and happier if I got the downstairs organized. If he won't let me attack the downstairs I'm going to switch Noah and the girls' bedrooms (it involves painting) myself this weekend.

Oh, the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear And it shows them pearly white Tonight the three boys will be 'sleeping with the sharks'. Ya know when that shark bites, with his teeth, babe Scarlet billows start to spread I don't think they'll do much sleeping.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Evil no-carbers are trying to take away my twinkies. For the love of cultural literacy, don't take away this life-saving food.

It's a beautiful fall day and Amy is in a wonderfully playful mood so let's spend two three #@*! hours arguing with Tommy's teachers and administration while convincing Amy to play quietly. Yep, that should ruin everyone's mood quite completely. Result: The school believes Tommy is deliberately not cooperating with them and they are going to repeat every test and evaluation to try and get him diagnosed ODD instead of Aspergers so they can stop trying to help him. I am ticked big-time.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Read one today!

I need to pick a book off the banned books list and get started reading it so that I can actually get it finished before Banned Books Week (September 25th - October 2nd). I'll give it away after I read it so others can be perverted by the author's dangerous thoughts and ideas. I will also be giving Sarah and Tommy banned books to read. Sarah will get a Judy Blume book. Tommy has already read many of the books on this list so I'm not sure what to give him yet. What are YOU doing for banned books week?

Saturday Doug and I took 7 pre-teen girls to a pre-game sorority activity. The other adult who sometimes helps the troop refused to participate because of the inappropriateness of mixing pre-teens with college students and the horrible traffic on campus. We parked a few feet from the event and paid no parking fee. The Girl Scouts were given sorority t-shirts and the sorority sisters introduced themselves as though they were peers. They were polite and funny and allowed girls who feel stuck between childhood and adolescence to feel important and useful. One of our concerns was how the girls would handle being around older teens and adults who were drinking alcohol. Although we knew that a LOT of people were drinking, the UT fans and students were discrete and we didn't see any erratic behavior with two exceptions. The first incident was when we took the girls to the restroom. We had to choose between entering the fraternity houses to use the restroom and walking to another campus building. Memories of fraternity bathrooms and the open bars made it easy to choose walking to Stokely. A female college student was in the bathroom umm, trying to remove the alcohol and other contents of her stomach while her friends tried to get her stable enough to return to her dorm room. Not a great scene, but it could have been worse. The second incident was a male college student who imho was acting more intoxicated than he truly was and wearing a Florida t-shirt. He offered a 13-year-old Girl Scout a beer. The sorority sisters quickly intervened but this young man should have had to call his parents and the girl's parents and explain why he offered alcohol to a child. I can only hope it wasn't this guy.

Amy's favorite part of the fair. Posted by Hello

Noah's favorite part of the fair. Posted by Hello

Sarah's favorite part of the fair. Posted by Hello

Tommy's favorite part of the fair. Posted by Hello

Monday, September 20, 2004

You know you live in Knoxville when. . . You have a weekly "all Vol" load of orange clothes to wash.

The Girl Scouts with Smokey at 'War of the Wings'. Posted by Hello

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Ahoy bloggin' mateys! We be headin' out fer another raid 'o the town. The bloggin' 'll commence agin aft. Sing a shanty and ave some fun on the account. Fair winds! Arrrrr! from Pirate Ann Marie the Pale

Kristal is an amazing mother who really needs some help right now. Not for herself, but for her children. Please help her keep those children in her loving arms.

Friday, September 17, 2004

I'm bored. I'm bored and I don't feel like cleaning. I'm bored and I don't feel like cleaning and nobody is blogging. I'm bored and I don't feel like cleaning and nobody is blogging and nobody laughed at my broom story. Wake up out there! We made it through the hurricane okay. Tomorrow is the "War of the Wings" in Fraternity Park before the UT/Florida game and anybody who goes will get to watch me mother henning Girl Scouts, frizzy hair and all. With all this moisture in the air you will actually see my hair frizz before your very eyes. Scary, huh?

Bad behavior - Yesterday an elderly woman somewhere in Knoxville looked out front and saw the trash collectors emptying her can into their truck. She ran out front to check on them, didn't see her broom and began screaming at them. Not just screaming, but screaming a specific racial slur. The men ignored her and continued with their work. Elderly woman ran in the house and alerted her husband about the broom theft. This must have been elderly woman's primary mode of transportation because she and elderly husband hopped in their car and drove down the street to scream more of the racial slur at the trash collectors. The men were now understandably upset so they proceeded to have their truck do its' compact the trash maneuver. They then shouted to the elderly couple "I guess we crushed your broom" and drove off while elderly couple stood in the street with their mouths hanging open. Elderly couple regained their composure enough to call and chew out several people at the trash collection offices. Then they filed a complaint with the mayor. The mayor's office called to report the complaint and were told that the broom would be replaced. This morning elderly woman called the mayor's office to report that she had found her broom. The mayor's office called the trash collection offices to report that the complaint had been withdrawn. No apologies were given to any of the victims of verbal abuse. This sad story is completely true. Screaming about injustice is easy. How about apologizing for mistakes and praising for good deeds?

It could be worse. Posted by Hello

Knoxville's forecast for today. Posted by Hello

Time for another sing-a-long: "Oo, I hear laughter in the rain Walking hand in hand with the one I love Oo, how I love the rainy days And the happy way I feel inside" Or: "Here comes the rain again Falling on my head like a memory Falling on my head like a new emotion" School is cancelled today because of flash flooding. So far everything is calm.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

What HE said!

Call DCS on me - I told Tommy that if I had talked to my parents the way he talks to me they would have slapped my face. He told me he would report me for child abuse if I "put a finger on him". I'm thinking I should slap him the next time he screams "you can't make me" or grins and disobeys me and let DCS take him away. I don't think they'd hold him for more than 48 hours before they figured out his mouth is punishable. I could certainly use a break from his attitude. Go ahead and report me for even joking about this. I'm a baaaaad Mommy. Did I mention that his school has sent him home twice this week because they are tired of his attitude and his ugly mouth?

Go ahead, blog it. Posted by Hello

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised. All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry. In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor. Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune. Its noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression. Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification. He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to. Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have." Thanks Julie!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Time for a sing-a-long to prepare for the next several days' weather: Raindrops keep fallin' on my head And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed Nothin' seems to fit Those raindrops are fallin' on my head, they keep fallin'

I have my cell phone set to receive breaking news messages. Solar probes crashing, war updates, major weather stories (not the constant hurricane coming but we don't know where stuff) and the like are actually good to stay aware of when I'm out and about (aka away from the computer). Why do they interrupt me with things like "Martha Stewart eager to serve jail sentence". Celebrity stories are gossip, not news. Knoxville News Sentinel has the worst breaking news service out there. Their idea of breaking news is whatever headline is on their front page and anyone who has ever read their paper knows it is full of things that don't really qualify as news. Raiding the local pirate radio station is news, stories about eating cicadas and fluffy feel-good pieces are not breaking news.

Cliff Notes version of the past week - Thursday was a day of dog poo. Friday Noah went to the hematologist for bloodwork and more waiting. Friday night bonfire for 12 children created mess but much fun was had by all, especially Tommy and Becca's brother. Saturday swimming and pizza with the Girl Scouts was fun. Sunday the children were tired and cranky. Monday Doug started a contract job in Oak Ridge. Tommy got in trouble at school and I had to go pick him up. Doug told the teacher she was letting Tommy manipulate her and she got angry. Noah played too hard with a friend and had a big nosebleed. I went to a Girl Scout leader meeting while Doug took the children to Noah's open house. Today I pick Sarah up after Art Club and take everyone to Tommy's horse lesson. Now we watch the weather and try to guess what it'll be like Saturday for "War of the Wings".

We have the first and third set of Futurama DVDs and I still like to watch it every night during Adult Swim. The inside jokes about previous episodes, the trekkie humor and all the jokes that the political correctness police had hissies about just made it funnier.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Flood in the bedroom closet caused by broken air conditioner in the garage that we have paid to have worked on but still have problems with. We knew that we needed a new air conditioner sooner than later, I'm just glad this is happening in the fall so we have the winter to save up. The most impressive thing was how calm Doug remained. Only one small blow-up because I wasn't cleaning up correctly. I'm disappointed because that was where I kept my "stash". Whenever I see a treasure on a clearance rack I stash it away for the next birthday or holiday. The books are ruined as well as the Playmobile box, but it wasn't a tragedy. We really need to Freecycle and trash a LOT of stuff from the garage so that Doug can get in there and work. Of course, then we have to find the time for him to actually do all of this. My head hurts. Today was a hard day (Doug and Tommy's teacher had a tiff and I anticipate fallout) and tomorrow is going to be harder.

Every year when Girl Scouts sell their fall products (candy and nuts) and spring cookies, they also collect for community groups. No, they don't collect money. They encourage people to buy one extra product and donate that product. Yes, I know it's a way to sell more products, but it's also a way to do a community service. As if it isn't hard enough to try selling these products, it is also hard to choose where to donate the products. I have heard "If we don't have enough for everyone, we don't want any." and "We don't give away anything without nutritional value." and several reasons that I'm not going to publish. So, I'm trying to develop a list of groups, agencies, etc. that WILL accept donated food products (ok, they are snacks not food). I am aware of the zillion group homes and non-profits in town and don't really want to spend a week on the phone explaining this question. If you know of a group that you are certain would like to be on the list of interested recipients, please let me know.

Food - Just as animal cookies are inedible after their extremities have all been eaten, bananas are toxic if there is any evidence of the *fuzzy string stuff that sometimes lingers after pulling the peel down. "Ewww, goss Mommy." No amount of coaxing can convince Amy to eat it after seeing that stuff. Since Amy will usually try any new food at least once, I can't really complain. I CAN complain about Sarah, who only eats foods that are white or yellow unless they are 90% sugar. I can also complain about Noah because he refuses to eat cheese or any foods that have touched another food. I can't complain about Tommy's food variety because he really will eat anything at all but I can complain about the fact that he eats a full plate in under a minute and then complains loudly about hunger. I'm sure Doug would complain about my neurotic avoidance of any food containing onions (blech). He doesn't complain when I eat the red fruit slices first, the orange slices second and then give him the remaining yellow and green pieces. No, I'm not talking about real fruit slices. I'm talking about the candy that tastes like the inside of a jelly bean coated in sugar crystals. Yummy! *Note - I was going to use the correct terminology and sound intelligent but after reading about songs, bike seats and drugs I gave up.

Monday, September 13, 2004

I have a great idea! Let's get a puppy and housebreak the puppy at the same time we are potty-training a stubborn 2-year-old. Posted by Hello

Strengthening The Good: The Brent Woodall Foundation For Exceptional Children Tracy Woodall was five weeks pregnant on 9.11.01, when she and her unborn child sent Brent, a stock trader, off to work at Bruyette and Woods on the 89th floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center. Tracy was among the thousands of loved ones who had the bittersweet experience of receiving a phone call from WTC that September morning, as Brent called to let her know all was well in his tower. This was to change, however, when the second plane hit. Tracy finally reached Brent on the 87th floor of the South Tower, where he had reached a locked door. Brent--6-foot-5, handsome, a college athlete at Berkeley and former minor league pitcher for the Cubs--assured his wife of 31 that everything would be all right. And like so many people that bright clear day, that call was the last time Tracy heard her husband's voice. On April 22nd 2002, Tracy gave birth to Pierce Ashley Woodall. Not long before 9/11, Tracy and Brent had started talking about launching a foundation that would provide free care-giving education to families of children with autism. For the less familiar, autism is a neurological disorder that appears during the first three years of life. Estimates are that it occurs in approximately 2 to 6 in 1,000 individuals, and typical characteristics include problems with social relationships and emotional communication. Tracy Woodall understood that a sound response to evil is to strengthen that which is good. And with that resolve to create good from evil, the Brent Woodall Foundation for Exceptional Children was born. The foundation aims to help the youngest children suffering from autism, but with an intelligent twist: in addition to working directly with autistic children, the foundation also trains the parents of foundation children in how to better care for their children once the foundation counselors have left. How you can help: First and foremost, you can help by raising awareness. Visit the Foundation online and send the link to anyone and everyone. Tracy's is a wonderful and inspiring story, and the Foundation can benefit just from having people know of its existence. They also need help with events and volunteers, and you can learn how to get involved with both here. The foundation is not yet able to accept donations online, so as many did with Hurricane Charley, you may donate via the Strengthen The Good PayPal account ... the button is over in the right-hand column. They will write a single check to the fund for all donations made via PayPal over the next three weeks, in addition to any revenues from their Google ads over the same period of time. I suggest donating to the foundation directly via a check sent to this address: Brent Woodall Foundation for Exceptional Children 106 Denton Tap Road STE 210-PMB 333 Coppell, TX 75019

Doug will be spending the next 3 weeks working on a project in Oak Ridge. I miss him already. Who will IM me all day or let me run errands while Amy naps? I miss our evenings the most. He has gotten so busy and stressed that we haven't sat together and talked after the children are tucked in for weeks. Posted by Hello

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Genuine I like this week's Strengthen the Good charity so much that I'm going to choose my 5 new blogs from their membership list. My first addition is The Truth Laid Bear because I want some of those jammies! Everyone reading this needs those jammies. Secondly, I added Solonor's Ink Well who grabbed me with news about 'Hitchhikers' and 'LOTR'. My third and fourth new additions are Shutterblog and Piece of Magpie because I love their pictures! My fifth addition is, not that who has an offer for anyone who finds grammar errors in his blog. This week's bonus blog is This Blog is Full of Crap who has a coffee mug contest every month. Look in his left had column. Everyone who took last week off can peek at my Walkabout from last week.

Don't tell anyone because it would ruin my reputation but, I accidently watched a little bit of football last night. Doug was snoring and I couldn't sleep so I was flipping the channels and stopped at a football game that only had about 30 seconds left in the game. I thought the news would come on in a few minutes so I left it there. Then I watched some teenager playing for the winning team lose possession of the ball or something, drop to the field and cry. In just those few seconds left his team lost the game. That was just the saddest thing to watch. I hope some cheerleader held him all night because I felt really bad to watch someone's football career dreams crash and burn.

Tommy has weekly counseling and horse therapy and monthly psychiatrist plus regular detentions and Special Olympics. Sarah has student council (meetings & activities), art club, Girl Scouts, church choir and friends she wants to do things with regularly. Noah has Boy Scouts, church choir and wants to add karate to his schedule. Add in studying, school meetings, assignments & activities, doctor appointments, emergency room trips and extended family visits and needs. I have Scout leader meetings and activities, support group, reading, writing and blogging. Doug has scout leader meetings and activities, juggling performances and computer maintenance jobs. He also has home, car & computer repair and maintenance. Don't forget holidays, birthdays, shopping, laundry, cooking and cleaning. I need a maid, chauffeur and chef. Doug needs an electrician, carpenter, plumber, mechanic and general laborers. I'd settle for a laptop and Doug would settle for a huge pile of cash. Well, we'd really enjoy the maid and general laborers too.Posted by Hello

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Three years ago today I was running late for work because I had a broken toe and sore back from a fall down the stairs. As I was finally about to leave Doug called me from work and told me about the first plane. I asked him a hundred questions that he couldn’t answer and sat down in front of the television. I didn’t get up again for hours. After the second plane Doug came home and we watched together. I spent the next 24 hours trying to get in touch with my brother who lives in DC or his wife who works as a Russian languages translator for Colin Powell. The phone lines were so tied up that nothing was getting through. I tried talking Doug into checking the children out of school but he convinced me to keep their day normal. If I had known the teachers were showing it in all the classrooms (including my then Kindergartener), I would have gone to get them. I don’t need to say the emotions I felt because everyone felt them. The most striking thing for me over the next few days was the silence. For all of 9/11 – 12 the roads were vacant. Nobody went anywhere. Helicopters and planes didn’t hum overhead, people didn’t work or play outside, everyone stayed inside, watched television, wept and prayed. When the planes began to fly again the noise was jarring and unnatural. Although I only glance sideways at most planes, the sound of the military jets doing their sonic boom fly-by as they circle the nearby nuclear power plant still makes me cringe. I know a lot of people in other countries feel that it was America’s turn for terrorism. They are wrong. No one anywhere deserves violence. Americans have always had homegrown terrorists but this was so different. I am angry that the government is using our fears to control us. I hope that someday I will be able to remember this as the day that Amy was conceived. "Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, September 10, 2004

We're having a bonfire in the backyard tonight and we have tripled the usual number of children we're feeding. I understand getting excited about s'mores, but are hot dogs cooked on the fire really that exciting?

Fit fit fits. You will perish of fits. Repeat this to yourself: "Things can work out even if I don't get my way. Things can work out even...." What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die? brought to you by Quizilla Borrowed from L.

I heard Popcorn on the music station today and it made me think of Dick Williams' Magicland. Then I heard Joe Walsh which made me think of Prince Mongo 's pizza place and then I realized I needed to stop daydreaming and do the dishes.

I have to head downtown for an appointment today and as I drive past Cherokee Country Club I'll look to see if the Smith/Coughlin House mysteriously burned down (it works for the Fort Sanders slumlords) or accidently got bulldozed during the night (they can afford the fines). I may disagree with what they want to do and why they want to do it but I think it's their bad decision to make. We should let them make more parking spaces for their Hummers. The natural consequences are the lessons they are teaching tehir children. After their graves have been moved repeatedly because 'it's wasteful to use valuable for land for the dead' they can look down (or up) and see their ancestors forget them and everything else old and worthless.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Half-Naked Thursday - That's Doug's hand pulling at my shirt. Since I've breastfed in public nearly everywhere and my children have exposed me multiple times, I now believe that EVERYONE has seen my breasts. Posted by Hello

Inspired by Very Mom, I will attempt to explain why yesterday my Southern Baptist Mother said "Hee-hee-hee, I'm sorry you had a hee-hee shitty day. Hee-hee-hee." We are playing a game with Molly that involves walking her first thing in the morning when you are still too sleepy to know what is happening. If she doesn't go, she gets put in the crate and can only come out to go back outside. The game continues until she does what dogs are supposed to do outside. Yesterday we ran out of time and had to leave for Tommy's M-team (which you already know was a lousy meeting). Molly is confined to the crate whenever we aren't home since she gets into enough mischief while we are there. You can probably imagine the punchline to this part of the story. But wait, there's more. My parents have gone to visit my brother in D.C. (I am sooo jealous) for a week so we are keeping their Corgi. Apparently my father didn't walk her before he brought her to our house. The deal was that he would bring the Corgi (Crystal) and watch Amy while we went to the meeting. My father decided it would be fun to take Amy to play on Burger King's indoor playground. He got home before we did so we were very confused why we arrived home to see my Father and Amy playing ball in the pouring rain. He handed us Amy waved and drove away like a race car driver. When we opened the door and saw what Crystal had done and walked all over the living room followed by what Molly had done and stomped in, we almost fell over from the smell. So, while Amy chanted "Ewww, Molly pooped" over and over, we cleaned and scrubbed and muttered ugly words. My mother called many hours later to check on her dog and I told her the story. I'm glad she thought it was funny.

Aren't scarecrows supposed to be easy to make? Don't farmers toss one up in just a couple of minutes? Next year I'm going to do this completely different but it's too late to make changes now. I know farming is hard work but I thought this would be easy. My bad.

KAPPA DELTA SORORITY HOSTS THE SPICIEST TAILGATE, “WAR OF THE WINGS,” FOR EAST TENNESSEE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL Hungry? Join Kappa Delta Sorority at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville on Saturday, Sept. 18 at their 12th annual tailgating event, “War of the Wings” (WOW). Savor all-you-can-eat hot wings donated by local restaurants, fraternities, and businesses around Knoxville. Tickets are $5 before the event and $6 at the door. All proceeds benefit the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. WOW will “kick off” at 4:30 p.m.—before the UT vs. Florida game—on “Fiji Island,” which is located on Fraternity Park Drive at Volunteer Blvd. Look for the big tent! Kappa Delta is a nationally recognized Panhellenic sorority and has been on the University of Tennessee campus since 1925. The sisters of Kappa Delta help to raise thousands of dollars every year for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. “This is a great way for the sisters to give back to the community, and anyone can participate,” said Rachael Patterson, WOW director. Kappa Delta’s War of the Wings is a tradition that keeps on kickin’! Let me know if you want tickets. The members of this sorority help my Girl Scout troop all year and they are really thoughtful, caring young women.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Two of our children working TOGETHER? I must be seeing things. Posted by Hello

I would go anywhere in the world for a teacher who can help my teenage son with Asperger's find a way to control his behavior and be able to function in this world. I'll work as an indentured servant, sell a kidney and give you my bone marrow to help pay for his education.

We had another m-team at Tommy's school today. It was one of the most depressing meetings I've ever attended. School has been open for three weeks now and Tommy has been doing almost no work. Every day I ask each of the children how their day went, if they have homework or projects and if they have papers to show me. Every night I clean out their backpacks and set their bags, clothes and equipment out for the morning rush. Tommy has been adamant that he gets his work finished at school, that he does great and that they have been doing lots of review. Today I was told that Tommy is failing everything. All of the staff complained about Tommy's annoying and obnoxious behavior. They came as close to saying "We don't want him here" as the law would allow. They did ask several times if he wouldn't be happier going back to middle school. He didn't do any better there and there is nothing wrong with Tommy's intelligence that warrants suddenly failing him and having him repeat eighth grade. Tommy has been kicked out of group therapy and church. He has zero friends despite his earnest desire to have just one. I wonder if he would be happier running around with the troubled teens even though he'd always be the patsy for their schemes. At least he'd have someone. Don't scold me for saying that because it's not an option. Nobody wants to be his friend. Maybe I would save him heartbreak and frustration if I just let him spend his days and nights reading and playing video games for the rest of his life. It would make him happy and nobody would be "bothered" by his noises, endless chatting about subjects that most people have no interest in and his ignorance of social behaviors. I wouldn't feel any worse than I do now after answering the Vice Principal's "He's going to annoy the wrong kid and get beat up. We can't always protect him" with "I know he's going to get punched eventually." I feel like the worst parent ever.

So far, no flooding. We are neither financially nor emotionally stable enough for a natural disaster right now. Doug is very busy doing computer repair and maintenance all over town. It keeps him too busy to do any home repair or renovation so we continue living in a house that looks like, well, imagine if the house in "The Money Pit" had been a middle income 3-bedroom home instead of a mansion. Now imagine living with the house completely gutted and in the process of being rebuilt. But, imagine that no progress happens for months and months on end. Imagine the frustration when you beg and plead with family and friends for help, not money, but elbow grease - "you hold this up while I nail it in" help and having everyone laugh and criticize your efforts. Doug has done some remarkable renovation over here. He took an ugly red room and made it a beautiful pale pink with a complete closet renovation. A tiny room that didn't even have a closet has been turned into an outer space fantasy with a very nice sized closet. The upstairs bath is no longer a pepto bismol nightmare, but is a dreamy blue rubber duck shrine. Yes, the tub still needs replacing, but everything else in the room is new from the foundation wood to the sink and cabinet. The upstairs interior has been almost completely replaced, from the drywall to the light fixtures. Yet, projects that are just too overwhelming, like the exterior of the house, the grounds and the disaster-area of a basement have sat unchanged for three years. The mountains of stuff in rubbermaid buckets stacked all over the basement make me complain and gripe like a horrible fishwife. So, Doug gets depressed and frustrated and overwhelmed by it all. I suppose I could try hiring the illegal immigrants who sit in the parking lot of a home improvement store every morning waiting to be picked up for day labor jobs in exchange for cash. What Doug needs right now (besides help) is encouragement and a boost to his self esteem. I love you Doug. You have done so much for us and we don't do enough for you. Please be proud of your accomplishments and stop regreting how your time is spent. "I have no regrets because I know I did my best -- all I could do." Midori Ito

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Frances is going to make things muddy here for a few days. I'm holding my breath that our basement stays dry. Posted by Hello

Monday, September 06, 2004

The weekends are sooo quiet in the blogosphere. Posted by Hello


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
Blogroll Me!

It runs in the Family:

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

Blogs I'm reading:


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