Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

So it's the eve of Christmas Eve... and for real this time....   Merry Christmas to anyone who happens to read this!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Well it has been about a month since my last post. What can I say? I've been busy with my weight loss blog, work, Abby, life... the holidays etc. We did Thanksgiving with my dad but just barely. We had lunch together at a restaurant and then went home. I was sick that week. We've all had colds etc. Seem to be doing a bit better as we head into the Christmas stretch, but the tensions are high due to some issues at daycare/preschool. I won't go into that yet. We'll see what happens in the coming week I think.

Anyway we're hanging in there. Haven't done much reading, except kids' books of course. Always reading those. Sold some Dean's Beans as a fundraiser for Abby's school and that was interesting to be involved on that level. Work is busy but they aren't paying me more money really. I'm still at the bottom of the department and rather fed up about it, but stuck. I keep pushing on the union but they really aren't helping me at all.

Oh well....
Santa Claus with a little girlImage via Wikipedia

Happy Holidays everyone!
Christmas in the post-War United StatesImage via Wikipedia
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Emotional Blackmail

I'm not done with it yet, but I've been slowly working my way through a book about "Emotional Blackmail" by Susan Forward. This isn't a new book I guess. There seems to be a lot about it on the internet already.

I found this other website that talks about getting out of the FOG. Susan says that victims of blackmail are in a FOG of Fear, Obligation, and Guilt. I can relate to that.

There is another book report here

and then there is this little summary-

Like I said I haven't finished the book yet, but a lot of it is common sense stuff. It just helps hearing someone else say it. It helps to put labels on things. Instead of just saying someone is "crazy", I can give it labels and that helps me take action. Sometimes that action might just be stalling for more time, or no action at all. I've already learned that not jumping the minute she tells me to jump will sometimes change the situation.

I think I'm about ready to tell her we won't be seeing her for Thanksgiving too. There is a lot of guilt that goes with that decision, but I think it's the right one. I just have to wait for the right time to tell her. I know it won't be easy.

Meanwhile back to the book... I'm wading through it, trying to absorb it. I feel like I need to read some of it again. This isn't something that I just want to read and forget. I want it to sink in so I'm taking my time.

Definitely recommendable if you have a toxic person in your life.

Film frame of Anny Ondra from the British movi...Image via Wikipedia

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

weight loss

Just a quick update. The scales were good to me on Friday. I lost over 3 pounds, so I am down almost 20 pounds. Yay! Not off to a great start this week though and the weather forecast isn't looking good for walking so not expecting the same kind of results next time. Oh well. Still, I'll take it.  :-)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Little pieces of me are slipping away

I'm losing weight slowly. Last week I actually gained a little, but overall I'm down. I'll step on the scale tomorrow morning and see how this week has gone. Roughly speaking I'm down 15 pounds since August.

Another little piece of me that slipped away so to speak was my paternal grandmother. She passed away a few weeks ago. I posted about it in other places, and I am okay. This time I felt like I got it right. I visited her bedside, I knew she couldn't talk to me, I said my goodbyes, and I let her go in peace. When my maternal grandmother passed away last year I kept begging for a little more time. I didn't do that with this grandmother. I was coached by my dad, and I knew what to expect and what to do. I wish I'd had that support a year ago. But anyway... moving on...

My mother is up to her usual. I have been keeping notes elsewhere and it seems that every month she starts up with me again. Coincidentally this falls on around the 25th of the month. Check your calendar and you will see that Thanksgiving is on the 25th this year. Nice! My wonderful, loving, and supportive husband is helping me set some boundaries. We'll see what happens. It would be easier if I wasn't also worried about what things look like through the eyes of a 4 year old, but we will do our best to do what is right for all of us.

And that's all I've got for the moment. Little pieces of me.... here and there... it's dark out and not quite time to leave work yet. Time change in a couple of days. Slowly, slowly into winter we slip..... though the calendar tells us it's still fall.
This photograph wasn't very difficult. The par...Image via Wikipedia

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

LGBT Rights

If you don't know by now, I am pro-gay rights. If you don't like that, leave now. Don't bother harassing me with flames, just go read something else.

The Stonewall Center at UMass Amherst is currently celebrating it's 25th anniversary. They have a number of events going on and if I was still childless and single I'd probably go check out more of them. Amy Ray from the Indigo Girls has a concert coming up and tickets are only $25 I think. Wow!

Amy Ray, American singerImage via Wikipedia

I'd love to go, but it's not going to happen. What did happen was I stumbled across an event at the university library where a panel of speakers each gave a short speech with their ideas of how the last 25 years had gone, but none of them could limit themselves to 25 years. Most went back to the 70s when their college days were blooming. Here's a list of who they were:

October 20: Local History
-Bambi Gauthier, local LGBT community archivist
-Pat Griffin, Professor Emerita of Social Justice Education, University of Massachusetts
-Mary McClintock, Advisory Board member, Valley Women's History Collaborative
-Bet Power, Director of the Sexual Minorities Archives and Founder of the East Coast FTM Group
-Allen Young, author of Out of the Closets: Voices of Gay Liberation
UMass at Amherst, W.E.B. Dubois Library at nightImage via Wikipedia

And I didn't know it until after the event, since the speakers didn't
introduce themselves, but Bambi is a guy. Bet is ... well look at what Bet founded and figure it out yourself. Bet spoke first and then Bambi, and then Pat, Mary, and finally Allen.

I wasn't planning on staying, but I stood near the back and didn't leave until they were done talking. It was fun to hear "North Star" mentioned. I hadn't thought about the North Star in a long time. Someone also mentioned a memory of lesbian women not being allowed to have long hair. A bar fight broke out because a woman had a pony-tail and that was taboo at the time. I can't remember when she said this happened, maybe early 80s. I know the North Star was late 80s-early 90s.

However what none of them touched upon was the subject of LGBTs as parents. I was disappointed by this. Gay marriage has been hot politically for a few years now, but how come no one is talking about LGBTs as parents? I tried to ask the panel for their histories on this, but none of them were parents. One man in the audience, who might have been the moderator, tried to answer my inquiry with a comment about how a lot of gay men are being sperm donors for lesbian couples, but that wasn't really where I was going with my inquiry.

In the early 90s the gay/lesbian community was debating within itself whether or not it should/could include bisexuals. (They hadn't gotten as far as the Transgenders yet.) The panelists remember this, and some of them were in the rooms where this was debated and decided. I've never been a member of the lesbian community but I remember this time too. I supported the bisexuals who wanted to be included, but of course since I wasn't a member of the in-crowd all I did was watch from the outside and see how it played out. It was during this same time that I first heard about and met women who identified themselves as "lesbian moms". It would be a few more years before I heard about or met gay fathers. I remember knowing a guy who had a father who was either a cross-dresser or a transgender (I forget which). What was really great about that was my friend was very accepting of his dad/mom. So I wanted to hear more about things from this perspective and I was disappointed. I think someone should cover this angle at a future event. I think there is a history to be told and I think there are a lot of perspectives to be covered- kids who were with heterosexual parents where a parent came out of the closet, and kids who were raised in families where the parents were out of the closet all along have different stories to tell. Parents who themselves had to come out, fight for custody (or give up on getting it), and then get on with their new lives. Also there are the  parents who lost a spouse because the spouse came out. Let us not forget the parents who have gay children. That really needs to be addressed right now. With all the teens killing themselves lately, acceptance has to begin at home. And then even if you accept your gay child, how can you help them to cope with the homophobia all around? I guess this isn't all strictly college-level material. Maybe that's why they didn't cover it yesterday.

Stepping off my soapbox now...

Upcoming events include discussions about politics, religion, transgender rights, and music. For a complete list of what is happening check out

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is anybody out there?

It's been two weeks since I last posted here. We've had a busy time at home with living life and all of that. Today is one of those days when I feel like folding up this blog because I'm not sure if anyone actually reads what I write anyway. I haven't had a chance to actually read a book in a while so I don't have any good book reports to post. I may have lost 10 pounds but that's not really huge news or anything. I really haven't had time to write or see anybody. Just been busy with fall fairs, apple picking, playing with the kid, the husband's birthday, and all those things we generically call "Life".

I hope your life is going well if you are reading this. And please, leave a comment and say "HI" sometime. Maybe it will motivate me to write more often.

Busy-Bee-RockersImage via Wikipedia
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Friday, September 10, 2010

a little bit of a lot of things

Coming up this weekend is the Franklin County Fair. I'd forgotten how EXPENSIVE this event is. I just checked ticket prices and so forth, and holy... $9 just to get in. I guess my budget has gotten tighter over the years or something. I don't remember it being so high.

This will be my 3rd fair this year, and probably the last "fair" for the season. There are one or two fall festivals I plan to hit. Ashfield is a MUST of course.

All week I've been holding Grandma A. close to my heart. It was a year ago on a Friday (9/11) that we laid her body in the cemetary. A nervous pallbearer I was, talking when I shouldn't have, wearing shoes that were a little too big, and I it rained. Fitting weather for a funeral I think. Sigh.

Our lives go on even as we remember those who are no longer with us, and sometimes it's hard living with those left behind. My mother and I are of course barely speaking. I wonder how she is doing, but I have to keep her at arm's length or further or I know she will try to destroy me.

I've lost a couple of pounds this week, maybe. Got the scale working finally, and I'm starting to track myself. It's been harder than I thought it would be to get myself down to the calories I need to be to lose the weight. I suppose the first 10 pounds will be the easiest, and the last 10 pounds will be the hardest, and then there are all the pounds in between. Wish me luck! With Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas I know it won't be easy.
Pumpkin cupcake filled with pecan pie filling ...Image via Wikipedia

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First attempt at Sunday School = Fail

On Sunday morning my daughter and I ventured to a nearby town to check out their church and Sunday School. I had been in contact with the minister and Sunday School teacher ahead of time so I knew that attendance was low and there wouldn't be any real "curriculum" going on this time. Still I wanted to check it out. I grew up in Sunday School and I think the education is worthwhile even if I don't always agree with what is said there.

However finding a church that "fits" is a process, and it's not over yet. I've got another church in mind to check out next week. We'll see how that goes. And if I don't like that then there are more.
Former Moravian Sunday schoolImage via Wikipedia
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Friday, September 3, 2010

Losing weight

My husband has been losing weight all year. He's doing really well at it I think. I've been procrastinating on it. All year I've been saying "I'll start soon...."

I finally gave myself a start date of "when summer is over", and that evolved into September 1st. I found a website that is free, and I guess I like it. I'm using it to track what I eat, and I should be using it to track my exercise. Although honestly I haven't done much exericise during the week.

I have a goal of how many pounds I want to lose by my birthday. I want to lose the weight that I've gained in the past 7 years. Haha. Can I lose 7 years of weight gain in 6 months? I don't know. We'll see I guess.

In the process I've set up another blog so that I don't bore you all here with my weight loss stories. If anyone wants the link, I'll give it to you, but I know there are a lot of weight loss blogs out there and most of them are better than mine will be.

We've got Labor Day weekend coming up, and on another front... the one year anniversary of my grandmother's passing. I've got  a lot of stuff going on in my head at the moment, but I'm trying to KEEP it there instead of letting it all spill out. A lot of it isn't very good.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One Minute Writer prompt- Family

"Write about someone you know/knew who was not related to you, but was like a family member."
That's the prompt from One Minute Writer today.

Family. Like Family

Martha was like family to me. I met her when I was 11. My mother and step-father split up and it was April vacation. It snowed. We moved from a nice house in the country to a “project”. I didn’t call it a project then, but that’s what it was. A housing development on the outskirts of town for people with no money. Martha and her family lived a few doors away. There were 3 boys under the age of 5, Martha, and her husband Bob. Sometimes they ate french fries for dinner. I babysat the boys. My brother wasn’t even 2 yet, and Martha’s middle son was the same age.

Years go by. Now I’m 15. I can’t live with my mother anymore, and my father has just beaten me up. I turn to Martha. Myself and another friend of mine take refuge in her attic. In exchange for babysitting and some rent money her family puts a roof over my head.

Martha has found religion. I find it too, and carry my bottle of holy water around with me at high school. We go to church together and I babysit the kids on the weekends. My friend is too busy with her boyfriend so eventually I end up doing her turns too.

I write letters to Martha and I send them to “My mother, my sister, my friend”.

She’s still out there somewhere. She’s divorced and remarried, and a grandmother too.
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More on Burning Man 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's not too late to go to Burning Man!!

Burning Man starts on Monday, August 30th this year. Oh how I would love to be there.

A few thousand people on bikes filterImage via Wikipedia
Burning Man 2008Image by foxgrrl via Flickr

Burning Man 2008Image by foxgrrl via Flickr
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skipping over an Elizabeth Berg book

Range of Motion: A NovelI was going to read "Range of Motion" by Elizabeth Berg next. I have it already checked out of the library. However I started reading it this morning and right away I was thinking "Hmm... this could be a real waste of time".  I skipped over to Amazon and read some of the reviews this afternoon, and even the the favorable ones were not that favorable. Elizabeth Berg is a good author but this is not one of her best books. So I think it's going in the "book return" slot today. I've got other books waiting to be read.
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Monday, August 23, 2010

Home again.. sort of

Well of course the bathroom work took longer than we anticipated. The hotel told us if we stayed until Saturday morning we'd get a weekly rate which would be cheaper than if we left on Friday morning, so we stayed until Saturday. This allowed the kid to sleep late on Saturday morning.

When we got home Saturday morning the child did not want to cooperate with us so ultimately I wasn't much help in getting things done. We finally had to call a friend for help, much to my frustration. We got the toilet in, but then the tub surround work was in the way so the bathroom wasn't really usable for most of the day. I ended up taking the kid to the lake for lunch and then after the surround was done and the silicone was stinking up the house, we went up to the Heath Fair.

The fair was fun, and we got to see my dad. Also got to hear some tunes by the Lonesome Brothers, support the local school, and some other vendors. Yummy apples from one of the local orchards too.

On Sunday we realized the toilet was leaking so off to Home Depot in Hadley for a new potty. Stopped at Target for some accessories, like a new shower curtain and rugs, and a mirror. Hurray!
HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 11:  Customers wait in lin...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Late Sunday night Aaron finally got the tub and shower functional and we all took our first showers this morning. It's nice to have a solid floor in there. It's the first time since we've lived in the house that we've had a solid floor under the tub and in the bathroom.
 One Roll LUAU Flamingo 2-Ply Toilet Paper

We've still got some cosmetic stuff to do and some cleaning, but it's all functional at least. :-)
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

the two writing books

I seem to have a couple of free minutes so I will tell you that one of the books that I quickly read through was
"Writing toward home : tales and lessons to find your way" by Georgia Heard. The other book was "Breathing in, Breathing Out: Keeping a Writer's Notebook" by Ralph Fletcher. I got them both from a local library.

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Just a quick update

I did read 2 books over the past week, but I read them quickly and I'm not going to bother to post about them here. They were both books about writing.
HALLATROW, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 12:  Seco...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

On the home front we tore out our bathtub on Friday, and my husband spent the weekend tearing the bathroom apart. Meanwhile we checked into the local Econolodge and the child and I enjoyed the pool and pretended to be tourists somewhat. We also rented hubby a nice new truck for the weekend, a beautiful Chevy Silverado with only 4000 miles on it. Home Depot we love you! Tax-free weekends we love you too.

CHICAGO - FEBRUARY 24:  Shopping carts sit out...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Unfortunately the bathroom wasn't put back together again by Monday morning. We
checked out of the hotel, returned the truck (so sad to see it go), and I sent the kid off to school and the husband off to his day job. After a visit to the house to confirm that it really wasn't safe for a 4-year old I fired up the old hotel list and found the cheapest deal I could for us. This time it's the Red Roof Inn.

As we did over the weekend, hubby will mostly be at the house (so don't even think about breaking in) while daughter and I are mostly at the hotel. Having only 1 vehicle now though means we'll be more creative in our juggling. Hoping we get home by Friday night, maybe sooner.

I do have a list of fairs and old home days to keep Abby busy on Saturday if need be.
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Love" by Toni Morrison

I checked out "Love" by Toni Morrison from our university library a while ago. It seems to get pretty good reviews. Within the last few days I finally picked it up and started to read it. At first I didn't understand what I was reading. Something about a woman's legs. Then I got into a little more and finally decided that I just didn't care. I wasn't bonding with these characters and I felt like I was mostly wasting my time. So I put the book down and brought it back. Most people like this book. Seems like only a very few on Amazon don't like it. I guess I'm in the don't like it pile. I'll pick up something else out of my book pile soon.
We're All Normal And We Want Our Freedom: Trib...Image via Wikipedia
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Monday, August 9, 2010

It's been 7 years

Today is our wedding anniversary. 7 years ago in Look Park with a Justice of Peace and some close family and friends we said our vows. A night at the Lachis Hotel in Brattleboro, VT followed, and then we went back to work for a week before leaving on our honeymoon to drive to Nevada, visit Vegas, Reno, and Burning Man. Seems like it wasn't so long ago. Happy anniversary honey, even if you probably won't see this.

I love you.
The event is named after its Saturday night ri...Image via Wikipedia
Burningman 0041Image via Wikipedia

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

2 more books by Elizabeth Berg

Just finished reading two more books by Elizabeth Berg. "Art of Mending" and "We are all Welcome Here" sat in my backpack for weeks, and then as the due date for returning them to the library neared, I sped through them in a few days. Both good books, and I really feel like I am identifying with something that is going to help me with my own writing. It's not direct, but it's coming. My novel is going to be a slow process, but she is definitely giving me some inspiration.

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Library games for kids

Steacie Science and Engineering Library at Yor...Image via Wikipedia
We had a game called "Arthur goes to the library" that my father gave us. We played it a few times, and it's like a Concentration game. However, honestly every time we play it my daughter doesn't follow the rules of the game, and usually we quit before the game is officially over.
Arthur Goes to the Library Game by Marc Brown
Now I have just seen a new game called "Little Librarian"

Honestly, it doesn't look anything like the way the library I work in functions. Maybe it would be fun for an older kid to play, like a 6-10 year old, but as much as I love library stuff, I am not running to the websites to buy this.

Libraries are a lot more computerized now. So this cute little game really doesn't reflect the modern times. Maybe if it came with a computer I'd be more interested.  :-)


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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Silly Bandz, Ballerina Barbie, and Dora the Explorer

Ah, it's been a fun few days in our house. Last week the kid got introduced to Silly Bandz. Some of her friends had already had them, but it wasn't until she was given one shaped like a music note that the NEED for them suddenly manifested. Silly BandzImage via Wikipedia

She could not brush her teeth, could not go to bed, could not go to school the next morning because she lacked Silly Bandz. My husband and I were not too thrilled with the invasion of this fad into our house, however by Friday night we had bought her a pack. On Sunday the quest was continued and a trip Walmart to find some cheap imitation ones was successful.
A typical Wal-Mart discount department store i...Image via Wikipedia

Fortunately or unfortunately the bracelets were also located next to the Barbie aisle. There were some very nice Barbie's on display. The Wedding Day Barbie or Bride Barbie or whatever, seems to be on the Christmas list. It's about $45 in case you are wondering. For immediate gratification, the purchase of a Ballerina Barbie was allowed (about $5). This might seem like we were spoiling her just a bit, but I figured $5 was cheaper than $45.

We were also still aglow with the fact that the child seems to be overcoming her fear of cats. On Friday night and again on Saturday afternoon she made friends with cats at other people's houses. Just a few weeks ago she was running in fear of the creatures. So we indulged a little.

Since we cut our satellite tv off, our tv viewing has come from dvds and whatever is left on the living room dvr. The bedroom dvr had to be returned to the company. So with a Netflix subscription and a library card, we've been doing the best we can. I certainly can't go out and BUY new dvds every week.
Image representing Netflix as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

I thought the husband and I had agreed that with the removal of regular tv viewing, we'd be making some modifications in what was "banned" from the house. I thought we'd agreed that Dora and Diego would no longer be banned, but the ban on Spongebob Squarepants would continue. My husband has no memory of this. So on the Netflix list I put a "Dora the Explorer" dvd, and it came last night. So last night our daughter saw  her first episode of Dora. She's pretty scared of Swiper so far, but she did seem to be getting the hang of the audience participation parts, and I'm hoping that some of the Spanish will sink in. I can tell my husband is still not sold that she should be watching the show though, and I'm not sure how this experiment will turn out.
From left to right: Swiper (in background), Do...Image via Wikipedia

Before I go, I will mention that I am trying out Zemanta for the first time. I think I like it. I've been using the Amazon Associates links for a while,but this is the first time I've used Zemanta. Very cool! I like how easy it is to use. I didn't put in any of the "related articles" but I did make use of some of the images from the media gallery, and I did add the in-text links. Hope you like how it "improves" the blog.

Oh, and as a side note, the craze with the silly bracelets is already diminishing. After bringing them to school yesterday and trading some away, they went to school today in her purse. I suspect they will stay there. She wasn't even wearing any on her wrist this morning. I think we spent $10 total on the ones we got, maybe a little less.

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