Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cover me with a rock

David is home. He left Afghanistan a few weeks ago and he is now passed out on the living room floor after taking the red eye flight from California to Florida. He just finished his second seven month deployment to the middle east. I look at his young face and wonder about the things he has seen with eyes that I wish could stay innocent to the horrendous things in this world. I avoid the news during deployments. I just don't want to know. I usually don't ask him questions about what he experienced over there. Today, I causally asked. I learned he lost three members of his group. I could see the wall come up to hide the pain. I quickly changed the subject. I want to crawl back under my rock. I try not to think of the mothers that don't have their sons returning home to give hugs and raid the refrigerator and sleep on the floor. I don't want to think about it because at this very moment, I have another son enroute to the same horrendous place this one just returned from. I want to stay under my rock.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How I can make my millions

I had to write a paper for my Human Relations class. The assignment was:

Technological changes have resulted in the publishing industry falling on hard times. Fewer people are reading newspapers since they can get the same information faster (and perhaps cheaper) from TV and the Internet. Students are getting more content information in their courses from the Web, and sales of standard textbooks are declining. Overall, the publishing industry needs to change, but to what? And how?

The VP for Marketing and the VP for Technology are called into a meeting with the president of Prentice Publishing and his Senior VP for Finance. They ask that the two VP’s meet with them again next week to present their independent views of how the company should change to meet these challenges and how this change can be brought about.

What should the VP’s report to the president? Play the role of either the VP for Marketing or the VP for Technology and advise the president fully of what should be done and how to effectively bring this change about. Defend your views from the scientific viewpoint. Post your response on the Discussion Board and then read and reply to posts that oppose the view you have taken.

My response is a stroke of genius. I think I'm on to something here.

As the world moves into its “green” phase advocates are urging people to go paperless. This is especially true in the publishing industry. As VP for Marketing, I propose that we form an alliance with the manufacturers of bathroom paper. It is urgent that we reform our perceptions of reading material. The bathroom is one area that will not go paperless. We will market disposable bathroom readers. Books should be printed on toilet paper. Americans alone use 433 million miles of toilet paper annually. ( As we all know, there can be some considerable downtime during an average trip to the bathroom. Using the telephone seems contra-indicated given the circumstances, and watching television or a movie can come off as a bit too self-indulgent. This would appear to leave reading as the most viable time-killing option for long-term bathroom occupants”. ( According to a survey on bathroom habits 29% of people read in the bathroom whenever possible and 42% say they sometimes read while using the facilities. This means that almost 71% of people read in the bathroom. ( And 100% of homes use toilet paper. (I used common sense on that statistic. If all homes don’t, I’m not going there) Most homes now have two or more bathrooms. This would mean at least two books per household at a time. We could market different reading levels and even series. Families could have holders and name cards for each individual so someone didn’t use your book and lose your place. There could even be picture “books” for toddlers that are potty training. There could be a guest roll with short stories so they could finish reading before they left. They could tear it off at the beginning of the next story so the next guest could enjoy it. This would be a win-win situation. You can’t wipe with a laptop.

Who should I contact first?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Stress, Dieting, JW, and laptops

Today is day one of my I seriously want to lose weight diet. I found it in a Woman's World magazine that I picked up at the Wally world register the other day. I never buy magazines but this one was cheap and it called out to me. In it is an easy summer detox plan. Basically, it is the very similar to what Bou did earlier this year (I'll find the link later.) or not. ). It cuts out all processed foods. This should be fun. My hubby will be back in six weeks, maybe and this is a good time to diet as I won't have him to tempt me. I'll post more on the diet later.

When my hubby left so did the laptop that lived in the living room. I miss them both. Still debating on which one I miss the most though. Just kidding. I will have to rearrange a little and put my slow ass computer in the living room. This chair in the kitchen isn't fun.


I keep a little note on my bedroom mirror which list on one side "101 ways to praise a child" and the other side is "101 ways to cope with stress". I've had this for years. I'm not sure when or where I picked it up but it helps to keep me grounded. I don't read it every day but for some reason today it called my name. I took it down and was reading and soaking in the suggestions. When I took the dogs for a walk this morning, I picked up the growing pile of literature the Jehovah Witnesses leave on my front porch. One of the pamphlets is entitled "Relief from Stress How?" I think it's a sign. So, here are a couple of suggestions from each:

The mental Health place says I should:

Get up 15 minutes earlier.
Avoid tight fitting clothes.
Avoid relying on chemical aids.

Well, I did get up 15 minutes earlier this morning just by luck not plan or purpose. The diet should check off the tight fitting clothes issue and hit the chemical aids at the same time. Because as soon as I'm finished with finals next week, the coffee is stopping.

JW, tell me:

Don't expect perfection of yourself or others - Ecclesiastes 7:16
Get regular exercise - 1 Timothy 4:8
Get sufficient relaxation and sleep - Ecclesiastes 4:6

I'll have to dust off my Bible and look up those versus.

Have a great day. I'm off to work.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Improvising for 24 years

Happy Birthday to my Improviser. Wow, I can hardly believe you are 24. It just seems like yesterday that you were running me ragged and making my hair turn gray. You were always the inquisitive one. You took everything apart to see how it was made. You even showed me how to put it back together. You told me I was "doing it a different way". I had to hide the tools from you. A four year old with a screwdriver is a dangerous thing. But, I didn't want to discourage you either. You were my cook. You loved cooking and still do. There were several occasions when you "cooked" by yourself. Oh, the stories if I had a blog and camera back then. There was the time I woke up from your nap to find you "cooking" in the living room. I don't think I ever got the chocolate syrup stains out of the carpet. Or the time I woke up because I rolled on a cold package of ham in my bed. It was 3 or 4 am and again you were "cooking". I found you sitting in the kitchen by the light of the refrigerator. There was a bowl between your stretched out legs and a dozen and a half eggs shells beside you. I forget what all ingredients you used but you were making a cake you told me. You never slept much as a child. I would find you up watching TV at 4 am. You definitely kept me on my toes. There was nothing you couldn't or wouldn't do for yourself. You were constantly surprising me.

I am in awe of your intelligence and ingenuity. There was the time you rigged up a contraption so you didn't have to get out of bed to turn off the lights. You took off the training wheels on your bike and just started riding. You didn't need any assistance. I've watched you through the years and I hope you realize how amazing I think you are.

I love you and I am so proud of the young man you have become. I miss seeing you daily and watching you grow. Happy Birthday.

Friday, May 14, 2010

My Robotics class started last night. I am going to love this class. It is all hands on. I have the same teacher for the majority of my classes. Normally, he just reads the book or a powerpoint presentation to us and it is very boring. But, not tonight. He handed out the syllabus told us to Read Chapter One and then gave us handouts on the Robot we are going to be programing. The Robot isn't the latest and greatest but it will suffice for general purposes.

After class was dismissed and the spoiled generation left, three of us older folks ganged up on the teacher and begged him to let us write a quick program. The instigator of this expedition is a guy that was in one of my previous classes. I love being around him. He has such enthusiasm and it just spreads to everyone in his vicinity. My good fortune is he is already a computer programmer. I will have a great advantage having him as my lab partner. Always, he is very encouraging. I guess that comes from being a father of six. The man has patience. Anyway, he I and one other older guy set up the Robotic arm, created a position table and then wrote the code to operate it. We just did a three position move but it was exciting. We had a near miss on the first go around. Our position offset was too low and we barely missed taking out the conveyor belt. We all gasped and laughed. We edited the program and all went well the second go around.

I will look forward to Thursdays for the next 11 weeks.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Essay Question

I'm filling out scholarship forms and as part of the process I have to submit an essay. It has to include the following:

  • Please indicate why you feel a college education is important.
  • Describe your career and educational goals related to your program of study and how you plan to reach them. Also include what, if anything is impeding those goals (i.e. financial burden).
  • Please describe why you are deserving of a scholarship and how it is important to attaining your goals.
  • List any previous activities related to your major (i.e. related volunteer work, freelance work, or participation in related student organizations). Please also describe your work experience.

First off, I hate essays. I hate trying to write what I think people want to hear and that is what they are asking. Plus, it is pressure. I stress doing things like this. The good side is that I am not sitting in a classroom with a clock ticking away. I can't do that. I freak. I panic. I hit meltdown mode.

I read a book recently that suggested if you have difficulty writing start by writing down all your thoughts. All excuses, fears, everything. Just write what comes to mind. Also, don't edit as your writing. Save that for later. I know those suggestions work because my best writings come when I do exactly that. The difficult part is getting in that zone. Everything has to be perfect. Especially my head. That's no easy task.

I started this essay several days ago. I deleted numerous beginnings. I just couldn't get into it. So, I will try to take each part first and then later pull it together into some type of comprehensible rambling. I don't anticipate getting any scholarship but it doesn't hurt to try. The reason I don't feel I will get one is that most of the scholarships are based on ethnics believe it or not. I thought that was discrimination. But, it you are a black female with children, chaching, you are cashing in. I saw ones for Asians, women, Hispanics, and gays too. I did not see a single scholarship for a Caucasian male. They are screwed. Anyways, I'm rambling and avoiding the task at hand.

This is a work in progress. Please feel free to give suggestions for the essay. I appreciate any and all help.

1. Please indicate why you feel a college education is important. (Because I don't want to be a poor, ignorant redneck and do manual labor for the rest of my life. And if you don't have a degree that is what is going to happen. No one promotes someone who isn't educated. That is my truthful answer. But I don't think that is what a review committee is looking for so I'll try to come up with a politically correct beauty contestant answer. Damn, I hate writing what people want to hear when it's just a bullshit answer. I'm a tell it like it is kind of person.)

Knowledge is the only thing in this world that you can acquire and no one can take from you. It is a key that opens doors that otherwise would be forever locked. A college degree indicates to others your dedication to education. It shows that you are not afraid of goals and challenges. It is the end result of hard work and focus.

2. Describe your career and educational goals related to your program of study and how you plan to reach them. Also include what, if anything is impeding those goals (i.e. financial burden).

***I'll pick up here later.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Comings and Goings

Lately my house has had a revolving door. First, my step son was here for a week. He lives in South Florida and was up here for spring break. Bless his heart, he spent most of his time studying for the ACT. He will be graduating from high school and June and then heading straight to Orlando to attend UCF.

Daredevil came home the day Dusty left. In fact, we just swapped kids out at the airport. His visit was bittersweet. He will be leaving for Afghanistan in a few days. There will be a knot in the pit of my stomach for the next seven months. It was a great visit. I love when he sits next to me and puts his head on my shoulder. I live for those moments and will cherish them forever.

He left on a Sunday and then Chowhound arrived the next Wednesday. He is here for a couple more weeks. His next assignment is in Japan.

My children are getting scattered around the world. In a few weeks, Improviser will be the only one still on US soil. He is on a deployment status and can't come home on leave. He may be deployed by the end of the year.

I am proud of my boys but I miss them terribly.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Just Do it

I've been skimming through this book called, "Do it! Let's Get Off Our Buts". I say skimming because I just open it at random and read a section. I do my reading in the bathroom so sometimes a paragraph is all I get to read and other times I manage several pages. You know the drill. I don't have to spell it out.

Anyways, this book has been very interesting. One of the things it says to do is quit rationalizing. But, I'm good at it. I can make a case for everything I do. I can even convince myself it's true. It also says we must move out of our comfort zone. But, But, But...wait. I spent my whole life making my comfort zone perfect. There's a lazy boy and a big screen tv, plenty to eat and drink and no stress. I like it. Yes, that is me rationalizing. The truth is I have come out of my comfort zone quite a bit in my life. In fact, recently, I was way out of it. The engineering drawing class I was taking took me so far out that my inner child took over and poof, it was melt down time. My poor husband saw me in my rarest form. I was slamming my books closed declaring I was out of my mind to think I could do something like this. I got to the point of tears everytime I got near the class room. I couldn't even ask the teacher for help. I didn't think he would understand why a middle aged woman was crying over homework assignment. Geez. It was a rough couple of weeks. I managed to suck it up enough to call a wonderful friend who talked me through it like I was one of her kids. It was the hand I needed to get over the wall. Once, I hurdled over that obstacle, it clicked. My comfort and confidence came back. I had fun doing the final projects and I am proud of my work.

The comfort zone knows us intimately and hits us at our weakest point. It wouldn't dream of using an excuse we could see through. It uses the reasons we find reasonable, the rationales we find rational (the rational lies), the realizations we find most real (real lies). It takes our greatest aspirations and turns them into excuses for not bothering to aspire.
Damn comfort zone. I hate being uncomfortable but I hate being stagnate even worse. The road less traveled always brings adventure.

I once complained to my father that I didn't seem to be able to do things the same way other people did. Dad's advice? "Margo don't be a sheep. People hate sheep. They eat sheep. (Margo Kaufman)

I'll remember that quote the next time I hear, "You're doing it backwards!" That is the phrase I hear most often. I hear it at work all the time. My grandmother even said those same words when she was attempting to teach me to knit. My engineering drawing teacher shook his head as he uttered those words. He said, "Technically, it's correct but it's a mirror image. I don't know how you did it but it's completely backwards."

I'm convinced I'm right and the rest of the population are just brainwashed.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I hate homework time

She's one of those kids that you hate to try to teach. Emotions take over and the meltdown begins. She can't think. She can't "see" what your trying to get at. The tears well up behind her eyes. Jaws are taunt. Teeth grinding. The book goes hurling across the room. The pencil gouges deep holes in the paper as she transfers frustration. Walls are up trying to contain the rage. Nothing can penetrate. No reasoning. No comforting. Nothing.

Yeah. She is me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It doesn't make sense

I'm still trying to wrap my head around a senseless violent act that occurred in my little town. Someone I know was murdered. It was in the middle of the day and some punk 17 year old kid stabbed her to death in her own front yard. She lives right across the street from the Middle/High school my boys attended. They are friends with her daughter. This young girl is now trying to understand why. We are all trying to understand why. Marilyn didn't have much. Nothing that was worth stealing and definitely not worth murdering someone over. The details are still sketchy. One of the coaches from the high school witnessed her struggling with a young kid. The coach alerted the school resource officer and they went to help Marilyn. The kid took off running. It took three blocks but the officer caught him. Life Flight landed at the high school, which was immediately put on lock down. Marilyn died on the way to the hospital. The speculation is that the kid was trying to steal her car. I don't know if he was a student or if he is telling the truth to the cops. He has been arrested. He received cuts to his hand during the incident. I hope it gets infected and he has to suffer.

This is just so stupid. I am sick and tired of all the violence in this world. Why can't people just get along and help one another? What ever happened to following the Golden Rule? Why is this 23 year old girl having to help make funeral arrangements for her mother? Children are supposed to bury their parents but not at this young age.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Donate Life

Bou did a PSA recently about organ donation. My MIL brought home a info card on organ donation from the DMV. There is an online registry now. You can register and have your wishes printed out with your registry number and even e-mail your loved ones with your wishes and information. The site Under their terms and conditions it states,

"This registration will serve as a document of gift as outlined in the Florida Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. A document of gift, not revoked by the donor before death, is irreversible and does not require the consent of any other person."

This is a great way to make your wishes known.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The dog speaks better Spanish than I do

I'm learning a language through the Rosetta Stone Program. The program is really good. It is interactive and teaches pronunciation, recognition, spelling, and grammar. I am working on learning Latin American Spanish. I'm in Lesson 2 so I'm not really expecting perfection at this point. But, come on. The program needs to give me a break on my accent. Apparently, a southern accent doesn't work well with the pronunciation. It displays a picture and the words describing it and then it says the words. I then have to repeat it and it will "ding" and go green if I get it right. I don't see that very often. More often than not, I get the "buzz" and the gray microphone sign. I have to repeat it until I get it right. It's not going so good. I'm comprehending the language and am able to listen to what it says and pick the correct picture from a choice of four. That part is going good. But as for speaking it, if someone who was native to the language heard me, I'm sure they would be rolling on the floor. Hell, for that matter, everyone who heard me regardless of their language would be rolling. I suck. I was trying to do this over the holidays when the boys were home. Chowhound and I were in the living room and of course the TV was on and the dogs were hanging out. It was not an idea environment to be using a microphone built into the laptop. All of the background noises were being picked up. At one point, I was repeating and repeating the words to no avail. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Then all of a sudden the dog started barking and "ding" he got it right. Damn it I didn't know my dog knew Spanish and can speak it better than me. He's giving me speech lessons now.