Giving Thanks

The Spin Cycle assignment for this week is to write about what we are thankful for. I have a lot to be thankful for this year. But, I am bending the rules and writing about the girls and why I am thankful for them. I am not sure if they will ever read it but, I feel that it needs to be said. Because, for them, I know it is not said nearly enough.

The Mother Hen –

I am thankful for your hugs and smiles. I am thankful when you yell at me when I don’t eat lunch and for making me seat down to eat, just so that you are sure I won’t leave me plate to get cold. I am thankful for your strength because you carry so much when you are not with Bear and I. I am thankful for your laughter and for when you get excited and talk way too fast. I am thankful for our little jokes and that you always roll your eyes and smile when I say, “For serial.” (Sorry, kiddo, that one will never get old.) I am thankful that you come up behind me and give me a hug, and even though your arms wrap almost completely around me, you are so gentle.

The Show –

I am thankful to you for always trying to make us laugh. I am thankful for your ability to compromise and try to keep the peace. I am thankful for your extremely long fuse. And thankful that you can get angry and stand up for yourself. I am thankful that you can’t lie to us, because it hurts too much. I am thankful for your quiet wisdom that you show very few people. I am thankful that your charm will always get you out of more trouble than into it. I am thankful that you have a quick wit and that you use it to your advantage as much as possible.

The Tyrant –

I am thankful for your strong will, because I know you will not be taken advantage of. I am thankful for your generosity and your fierce loyalty. I am thankful that you demand what you want and work extremely hard to get it. I am thankful that you know it is okay to be angry and have learned to control that anger. I am thankful that you still love to play and laugh. I am thankful that jokes never get old to you, no matter how many times your sisters ask you to stop. I am thankful for your warm little hands that fit so well in mine. You always try to warm up my cold hands with yours.

I am thankful for all these things and so much more. I could spend weeks writing about all the things that make you three wonderful people. I try to tell you all of it as much as I can every day. Love to my beautiful girls, today and every day.

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Love and Hate

Posted On November 21, 2008

Filed under family, life, self

Comments Dropped 9 responses

So that other shoe, it finally dropped…  Tonight I am writing from a bad place.  I am writing from a negative place.  But, it has to be said and it has to be asked.  I am so weary from battle.  I have been fighting against hate.  I have been using the only weapon in my arsenal that I think would be effective.  I have been fighting with love.   But, I am just not sure if it is enough.  It feels like I fight to neutral ground and then the battle starts over and I am on the losing end.

So, blogosphere, can you fight hate with love?  And is it enough?  I am just not sure that it will ever be enough.  The battle is worth fighting and I will continue to fight it until my last breath, but am I doomed to failure? I know it is just a funk and I know it will pass, but sometimes I just feel like I can’t win and that maybe I should stop trying to fight it so hard.

Cell Phone for Your Kid?

Posted On November 20, 2008

Filed under life

Comments Dropped 4 responses

If you are hesitant about getting you kid a cell phone, read this. It is about a man who was hit by a stray bullet but escaped injury because the bullet hit his cell phone.  If that won’t work for you, or you are worried about your teenage daughter, consider buying them one of these.  In case they ever have to drive alone at night.

Gun Phone

Gun Phone

Where the heck is that other shoe anyway?

Posted On November 18, 2008

Filed under family, life, self, The Tribe

Comments Dropped 5 responses

Things finally seem to be working out. Things seem to finally be going my way. And they also seem to be going The Tribe’s way too. It finally feels like things are going well for us. It has me wondering, when is that other shoe going to drop? But then I tell myself, “Stop being paranoid, just because things are going good, doesn’t mean the other shoe will drop silly.” But the pragmatist in my brain won’t let it sit, “where is that other shoe? What corner is it lurking behind.” And the positive, hopeful part of my brain says, “Give it a rest! Just be happy for a while!” And this argument continues until I am more stressed out that I would be if things were going completely and totally wrong. I used to be a very positive person and when things were going well, I would just roll with it. Experience and my own poor judgment have led me down this road and try as I might I can’t seem to quite make it back to where I was before I started on this path.

We are getting ready to go out of town for Thanksgiving. There are always concerns about what I can and can’t eat, so we try to pack food for me. But, The Tribe as a whole has a lot of luggage. This year though, we are borrowing a roof top luggage carrier. That takes that worry off the table. I won a gas gift card out of the no where and Bear had some left over gas gift cards from his birthday. So, we won’t have to worry about gas either. We also stay in his brother’s cabin, called The Red Barn and we stay for free. With that taken care of, all we really need to worry about is food for me and stuff to do in the car. I was thinking of taking along our pipe cleaners and I was thinking that a few coloring books and stuff should keep us busy. Mad-libs go over great with the tribe, so I will be hitting the dollar store for them as well. Beside actually packing, we are in great shape and the trip shouldn’t break the bank. We should even have more room on this trip because we will be taking my new Saturn Vue instead of cramming everyone into a Ford Focus like a clown car. Though I did like my Focus. I really needed a new car. Things feel into place nicely for that too. I can’t believe how much as been going my way.

I think that is why I have started to feel edgy lately. Like I keep looking for that other shoe. I feel like if I let my guard down for one moment, that show will drop out of no where to lay me flat.

Favoritism

Posted On November 17, 2008

Filed under life, self, The Spin Cycle

Comments Dropped 8 responses

This weeks spin cycle assignment is to go through our archives and find our favorite post.  Then repost it for the world to see.  I decided to repost this one because I feel it helps explains why I write.  It is my third ever post.   So, I don’t think I had quite found my voice again yet, but it is in there lurking about in the shadows.
Second Chances

For many years, I wrote daily. I wrote stories, poems, books and anything else you can write. I use to have multiple notebooks and journals laying about. They were unfinished works or my writer’s journals with ideas and random thoughts. I can’t remember when I stopped writing. It was somewhere in between college, bills, failed relationships and new jobs. I can’t even remember if I meant to start again. Instead of trying to remember when it all fell apart, I will write about the time I almost gave up for good.

In high school, it was my dream to one day be a journalist. I was editor of the school paper in my senior year. I had some of the most read articles and my name in print all of the time. So, when the assignment for interviewing the new teacher at our school came up, I was the most obvious choice for reporters.

I set the day for the interview and had all of my questions ready. I wanted to know what she did before she was a teacher and how she decided to become a high school teacher. As it turns out, even though she looked quite young, she did a lot before she went back to school for a teaching degree. She served in the Air Force and worked in several law offices as a paralegal. At the end of the interview, she said “Please don’t include the stuff before I went back to college, I don’t want everyone to know how old I am.” Though the request seemed a little unreasonable to me, I honored it and wrote my article about everything she did from college and beyond. I turned in what I thought was a well written and respectful article.

My journalism teacher knew that there was more to the story than what I wrote. She demanded to know why I left out all of the details about the new teacher’s past. When I stated that it was because she asked me too, she gave me a choice. Rewrite the article or get a failing grade on the assignment and someone else would take my notes and write the article. I was terrified of failing an assignment. Up until this point, I had always gotten A’s in any writing class I took. So, I re-wrote the article. I still regret doing it.

Two days later, the paper came out. The new teacher stopped me in the hall way. She was in tears, “Why did you include all of that stuff I asked you not too?” I stammered, “My teacher said that if I didn’t, she would give me a bad grade.” We never spoke after that day. I stopped writing for a while after that. I took easy jobs, like the sports score board and general announcements. Finally, my journalist teacher asked me why I stopped writing the top stories. I told her, “I feel terrible about what I did to the new teacher and I don’t want my words to hurt anyone.” She looked at me disappointed, “I guess you aren’t cut out to be a journalist after all.” I smiled, “No, I guess not.” I started writing again after that but mostly about world news, things that didn’t really matter to many teenagers.

I continued to write stories and creative works well into college. Until now, I never even tried writting about my favorite topic: real life. But this blog is my second chance. Its my second chance to write about things that matter and to make a small difference, if only in my own life. I still vow to never hurt anyone with my written word. But, this is my chance to do it right.

Something to do

“I’m bored!! Can we do something today?” The Show declares in an exasperated voice. I bite back the snark, because I know what she means. But, I do have to fight the urge to say, “There is plenty to do, how about doing some of your chores? Or maybe some homework?” I know this will get me no where. I also know that when she says, “Can we do something?” It usually means “Can we go somewhere and spend money?” I really think this is a universal kid thing. But as we are saving money for the upcoming holidays, we don’t want to run out and spend, spend, spend. While I am trying to compose a response, The Tyrant pokes her head up from playing a video game. “Yeah, can we please do something?!” she cries. Please keep in mind, that they all have their own laptops, they share a desktop PC and have a TV and XBOX to share.

I know the response that I am going to get before I even say the words, but I have to now. It is like they have collectively issued a challenge. So, I grinned and replied, “Yeah, we can do something. How about you guys go and clean your room?” There was a collective sigh and some disgruntled mumbling. “Fine, I would rather be bored!” the Show grumbles. The Mother Hen just grinned at me, she knew how messy their room had become. I admit it, I was stalling them for time. I really had nothing plan for the day. Bear had been sick all week and the Tyrant was under the weather as well. I didn’t want to take everyone outside in the cold and take a chance on making everyone ill.

I had an errand to run so, while I was out, I hit the arts & crafts section at Wal-mart. And there is was, something to do. They had the staple of all arts and craft projects. Pipe-cleaners! They also sold these little kits of pipe cleaners that showed you how to make specific animals. The one that caught my eye had a tiger in it. (The Tyrant loves tigers.) So, I spent my $5 and bought the kit and some extra pipe cleaners. When I brought my prize home, I thought for sure that it would get scoffed at. But, to my pleasant surprise, they all seemed very excited about it. After the initial frustration, we had a really good time. Pipe cleaner animals are a lot harder to create then they look, even if you have directions!

Pipe Cleaner Jungle

Pipe Cleaner Jungle

I know the picture is very blurry, but I took it with my camera phone.

Snow

Posted On November 10, 2008

Filed under frustration, funny quotes, life, rant, self

Comments Dropped 7 responses

It snowed last night, for the first time this season in my little corner of Southeast Michigan. The ground is still to warm for it to stick but it was a beautiful site and I am so happy to see it. At least I was, until I drove to work this morning. It was still snowing and the roads were a little slick. There were a ton of accidents and roads were being closed because of them. It makes me wonder about people though. I wonder how many people got in their cars this morning, looked at the falling snow and immediately panicked.

“Dear God, someone save us! White fluffy doom is falling from the sky! EVERYBODY PANIC!! The apocalypse is nigh! WHITE DEATH IS COMING FOR US! Civilization as we know it is going to END!”

Or did they think something even more dangerous….

“I have my gigantic 4 wheel drive gas guzzling SUV. The White Death can’t hurt me! Get out of the way or get run over Ugos! I have 5 minutes to get to work and 180 mph is just not fast enough for me!”

Or my personal favorite, the self appointed traffic regulators….

“Gee, if I don’t drive only 5 miles per hour all of those citizen behind me will drive way too fast and could possibly get hurt. I better take up two lanes just to make sure everyone is safe!”

Keeping Your Children Safe Online: Part 2

Posted On November 8, 2008

Filed under family, life, parenting, Uncategorized

Comments Dropped 2 responses

(as promised so long ago)

1. Content filtering with Google – There are several things that you can do for content filtering.  The first is the easiest and probably something that is overlooked.  Google Preferences allows you to filter your searches.  The best way to avoid any accidental viewing of explicit images is to turn on Moderate Safe search.  If you have young children, it make be wise to turn on Strict Filtering.  This prevents explicit images and language.  For more information, click here.  This is an easy way to prevent explicit images and language from popping up on an innocent search.  However, searching for explicit things will by pass this filtering in most cases.  But, it works great and best of all it is free.

2. Content filtering and Parental Controls with OpenDNS – OpenDNS for home networks provides a lot of protection and customization.  First, you can enable parental controls that will block all explicit traffic at the router.  So, it won’t even allow you to bring the explicit image or language to your PC.  It also has Phishing protection and typo correction.  Typing www.dinsey.com into your web browser will automatically take you to www.disney.com.  We all know how on-line predators and smut producers like to take common web sites and mix up the letters a little bit so that when you type it incorrectly, you are redirected to their site.  With OpenDNS this happens a lot less.  The service is free but the downside is that you really should have a router and it takes a little work to set up.  It works with just a PC but they recommend using a router.  You can pick one up for around $25-$50.  If you are using wireless internet access, remember to set up the security.  I recommend WPA2.  (if there is a strong request for more info, I will post more details.)

3. Parental Controls with your ISP – Most internet service providers (ISPs) have free or low cost parental control add-ons for their service.  If it is free, I say go for it.  Your ISP will even help you to set it up.  If the cost is more than $5 a month, I wouldn’t recommend it.  There are so many free services out that and most of the time, they are rated better than the ones that cost a ton.

4. Content filtering with Internet Explorer Content Advisor – In Internet Explorer, at the top, select Tools and then Internet Options.  Then click on the Content Tab.  Click on Enable under Content Advisor and set your preferences.  There are four categories and each can be set individually.

I hope that you guys found this information helpful.  Please post questions in the comments section or send me an e-mail and I will do my best to answer anything that comes in.

The Un-Patriot

Posted On November 4, 2008

Filed under frustration, life, The Spin Cycle

Comments Dropped 7 responses

Am I the only one out there in the blogosphere that is glad that the voting is finally over?  I mean, I love this country and I feel honored that we can vote.  But, the constant media bombardment has finally made me crack!  The news is on all day at work and I have seriously heard the same exact speeches over and over again.  I had to start listening to my iPod all the time just to get my sanity back.  I seriously starting having crazy dreams about the same words being said over and over.   I would dream about being trapped in my house with zombie’s pounding at my door.  I would call 911 for help and I would get is McCain-Palin or Obama-Biden speeches as a response on the phone.

Aside from my nightmares of recurring speeches haunting me for the rest of my days…  Which would be very short lived if I was in fact being surrounded by a horde of brain hungry zombies.  Every time that I vote, I think back to my high school days.  In my sophomore year, I decided to run for student council.  I ran for class treasure, un-opposed.  I managed to lose that election.  That is how much of a dork I was, and quite possibly still am.  I lost an election against no one.  My lovely and thoughtful classmates wrote in another person because they didn’t want me to win.  Maybe it is because I write about zombie nightmares?

Or maybe, just maybe it was my campaign symbol.

Check out the awesomeness!

Check out the awesomeness!

(P.S. – You have no idea how incredible hard that was to draw in Microsoft Paint!!!!)

Attack of the Face Suckers!

Posted On November 3, 2008

Filed under Bear, funny quotes, life

Comments Dropped 5 responses

A few weekends ago, Bear and I took a Saturday to ourselves and went to a friend’s wedding reception.  Under normal circumstances we would have taken the girls along with us.  But the invitation specifically said, no children.  I was a little better (okay, a lot bitter) about this at first but I realized that angry or not I couldn’t change the way they felt.  Since he is a pretty good friend and he explained why he didn’t want kids there, I got over it.  I won’t out him or the reason, but I thought it was a pretty good one.

The reception was a two hour drive away.  So, we decided to get a hotel and spend the night out.  We had a great night out with a few friends.  We went out to dinner before hand (see: food allergies) with a couple of friends.  After dinner, we made our way to the reception.  The week prior, there was a lot of drama about who was going to sit where.  Mostly, Bear’s co-workers didn’t want to sit outside of their clics and they wanted us to sit with them.  The couple that went to dinner with us didn’t know anyone else. Bear and I were going to sit with them, no matter what else happened.  All week, Bear had to deal with political posturing and high schoolish drama.  We didn’t end up sitting with any of his co-workers.  I personally was really glad because we all left high school a number of years ago.  The last thing I was going to worry about on this particular night was whether or not I got to sit at “the cool kids” table.  For some reason, missing the girls was more important than if the head cheerleader thought my dress and shoes were cool.

We sat at a table with another computer nerd freind of ours and had very few problems.  We talked about dorky movies, nerdy games, computers and kids.  We had such a great time, we even talked about when we would get together again.  The DJ totally sucked, the hall nearly emptied after dinner and our friend that was getting married looked exhausted but I do not think our night could have gone much better.  Aside from the whole me elbowing the guy that was trying to pour beer on Bear’s head.

When we finally made it back to our room, both of us were exhausted.  While he was changing into flannel pants, I stacked up the pillows and made the bed.  I had brought my own pillow from home, so I gave him three of the hotel pillows. “Wow, you must really love me!  Three pillows, that’s so awesome!” he said, right before he flopped down on the bed.  As his head hit the pillows, they collapsed onto his face.  He was drowning in a sea of linen.  The pillows attacked him like the face suckers from Alien.  “Dammit, woman!  I knew you hated me!” his muffled cry came out between mouthfuls of cotton and down.  I leaned over and clicked off the light.  “Goodnight, dear.  Maybe next time you won’t tease me for bringing my own blanket and pillows!”