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27 09 2009

It’s been an odd couple of weeks since my last post.  It hurts my brain just to think about it!

1.  Shaun and I went to my high school reunion.  In school, we used to say that no one would show up to our reunion because our class lacked school spirit.  Seriously, the student council didn’t give a rat’s ass and neither did anyone else.  It was 1999 and we were all facing going into college or into the work force with little to no money.

There were maybe 50 people at the reunion and I did see a friend who I’ve known since kindergarten.  We didn’t talk much in high school and I think I found out why.  She made a passing comment while we were catching up that stuck with me.  “Of course you’re doing well, you’ve always been perfect.”

I wonder how many people actually know that’s not true.  I screw up as much as anyone, I just don’t tend to dwell on it or get caught in the downward spiral of screwing up.  I’m not even an eternal optimist – I’m definitely not one of those smiley, cheerful people.  It’s food for thought.

2.  Sick kiddos.  Actually, only one was sick.  The other was faking it.  A had a fever and just laid down and stared at the TV.  Her school has had about 50 different viruses going through it, so we thought it was strep at first.  It wasn’t so it may have been a UTI (just a very small amount of bacteria was in her urine) or it could have just been one of those flu bugs.  She’s all better and back to her goofy, normal self.

3.  Ramping up for the “anniversary effect” of the PTSD.  A goes through the anniversary effect during October.  It seems like every time she had to move foster homes, it was right around Halloween.  That stuck with her.  Last year was TERRIBLE so hopefully this year we’ll be prepared for whatever comes.  I’m already stocking up on aromatherapy stuff and reinforcing the fact that she never has to go anywhere again.  She’s home.  She’s already started to panic a bit so we adjusted her morning medications and that seems to have helped.  We’ve also briefed the school and we’re keeping on them about her mental state – it took a while to get them to take us seriously but now it seems like everyone is on board.

With LJ, we’ve just seen more sexual acting out.  He retreats to this fantasy world inside his head and doesn’t seem to realize what he’s doing.  It’s not regression – it’s more like he’s living in a fairy tale.

He’s been talking a lot about “grandmas.”  His favorite kind of pie is the type grandmas make.  Grandmas make sweaters.  Grandmas take care of you and give you cookies.  Grandmas have white hair, wrinkles, and glasses.  Yesterday, I finally got fed up with it (in Goodwill of all places) and told him that he got his grandmas and they weren’t going to change.  Neither grandma has white hair, neither one knows how to make a scrap of clothing, and one of them couldn’t bake a pie if her life depended on it. In reality, there’s no such thing as a “perfect grandma.”

I grew up without grandparents being an active part of my life.  Neither set approved of my parents’ marriage and we most often just made it on our own.  He did spend a lot of time with his bio-grandparents before he came into state care, so I don’t want to ruin those memories but he’s taking them a little too far.  I don’t want him to get older and see them and realize how bad it was for  him.  They loved him – they just don’t have the skills to take care of themselves, much less a child!

We went through this a month or so after he moved in with regards to his bio father.  It got to the point that I had to sit down with him and ask if he wanted to know the truth of the matter or just continue to believe what he did of his dad.  He said he wanted the truth, so I told him.   I may have to enlist my dad to explain it to him.  My dad’s childhood is very similar to LJ’s and they have this great bond.  I think he’d take the truth better from Dad than from one of us.

4.  Sick mommies.  It’s been odd – very odd.  My grandma was sick for a bit, then my great-grandma passed away almost a week ago.  Then grandma went down to FL to bury g-gma next to g-gpa and she got back yesterday.  My sister has been sick and my mom was for a little bit but recovered very quickly.  Then a couple of days ago I started having a fever and today my throat feels like I swallowed some hot sauce.  I must have gotten that strep that was going around.  *sigh*  So, tomorrow I’ll go to the doctor and get more antibiotics.  I’ve only been off the antibiotics from the surgery for a week!

5.  Flooding.  Lots of it.  We live northeast of Atlanta and thankfully in the foothills of the Appalachians so our land is soggy and puddly, but we didn’t get any water inside the house.  Thank God!  Even 5 miles away houses were destroyed and the traffic accidents have been terrible.  We went to an antique store yesterday – it’s about 7 miles from our house – and on the way home saw two accidents happen. My heart goes out to everyone that lost their homes, cars, and in some cases, families.

6.  Big internet sales!  Since we’ve been home bound from the sick babies and the flood, I’ve been on the internet a TON.  We’ve sold a couple of pipes, sent some lace to Japan, mailed  out 6 books on bookmooch, and I’ve started uploading a ton of stuff to flickr.  I’m working on a pipe resource, so hopefully I’ll have that available soon.  I also want to get some pipe related merchandise up in the Etsy shop, but I’m missing my computer parts.  I’m spending time with a hard drive clock today.

7.  Got LOTS of fabric.  I love Goodwill.  Seriously.  I got a ton of fabric for an average of 30 cents a yard and I also got some bed sheets and pillowcases that I can use.  I found some gorgeous blue eyelet cotton that I was SUPER excited about.  Got some corduroy, some raincoat material, a ton of cotton, and some linen.  It’s going to be fun!

This has been a long, long post lacking in cohesiveness, so I’m going to end it here.  Hopefully I can pick this blogging habit back up so I don’t end up with 300 things going on at once.  Good times!

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Caution: busy day ahead

21 07 2009

I can’t believe we’re less than 3 weeks away from school starting.  May and June were crazy months and thank goodness we’ve been able to have a quiet July.  My goal in July was to bore the crap out of the kids so that they’d be excited to go back to school.  I don’t think it’s worked yet… they seem happy to sleep in until 9 am, hang out in pj’s, and watch PBS.

I found out yesterday that the charter school Alyssa will be going to did get their pre-K charter.  I called up and they had lost Ethan’s paperwork (not surprising since his name dramatically changed with the adoption) but they did go ahead and put him on the waiting list.  It would be the best possible thing for him to be able to go to pre-K there.  Otherwise, I’m going to homeschool him during pre-K.  He’s one of those kids that does not do well in a normal school environment.  He’s not quite ADHD like LJ is but if there are other kids around who are not focused, then he won’t settle.  His brain works a lot like mine – he absorbs info, files it away as irrelevant at the moment, gets bored, then creates trouble.  So, I’ll file his paperwork with them today so that hopefully he’ll get in soon.

For Alyssa to get admission, I had to register her under her old name during the last school year.  There are only a certain number of spots available and it’s further broken down by the child’s primary language.  It’s a dual-immersion English/Spanish school and they also teach Mandarin Chinese.  Hopefully it will challenge her enough to keep her out of trouble.  Pre-K for her was like a lesson in futility.  She already knew EVERYTHING they were teaching the other kids (she’s on a 1st grade level) and decided that meant everyone else was stupid and she was therefore in charge.  With some kids, they do that and get this air of bravado and adults think “he’s going through that arrogant stage.”  With her, she really does believe that we’re all here to serve her and suggesting otherwise  does not compute.  Of course, she is smart and beautiful which means people DO line up to give her things.  She had talked her teachers into giving her 3 lunches a day, THREE!, letting her roll around in the dirt during recess, taunting other children, and basically acting like we will not let her act at home.  It’s all ok with them because she’s cute and smart and gives you those big green puppy dog eyes.  All this does is reinforce the thought that she’s a superior being stuck in a smaller body.  Or something.

There’s a reason my kids act like civilized human beings.  I don’t fall for the BS and I have no fear of saying no.  I don’t use fear or intimidation to keep them in line, they just know the expectations and they know I’m not going to back off of them.  This does mean we talk a lot about the meaning of words like upset, disappointed, unhappy, discussion, responsibility, and who is in charge.  We can actually eat a meal in a sit-down restaurant with the kids.

LJ will be going to the school across the street from us.  He didn’t get accepted into the charter school, and that’s probably for the best.  He didn’t walk or talk until he was 5 and he’s still behind in language and social skills.  Because he was non-verbal, his test scores showed that he was mentally retarded and he was held back a grade and stuck in special ed.  There’s nothing wrong with that because he did need to learn the basics but he has made so many strides since then that you’d never guess he wasn’t always “normal.”  He was in a regular class last year and recieved speech therapy and social skills therapy several times a week.  This year, he’ll still receive services, but they’ll be integrated into the class so he doesn’t get singled out or pulled away from class.

I really hope he gets a young, active teacher this year.  Last year we had all sorts of trouble with his teacher.  He needs someone interactive – not someone who hovers and scowls.  Doing that puts him on defense and he retreats into his fantasy world.  Then everyone who wants to play ball during recess is stealing his stuff and every time someone bumps into him in line means they’re deliberately trying to knock him down and get him into trouble.  This causes meltdowns and tantrums.  Then he’s scared to go back to class because he knows that’s not a “good reaction” so he does stuff to get sent out of class.  Things like picking his nose until it bled so he could go to the nurse’s.  Making himself throw up.  Stomping on another kid’s foot.

When we figured out what was happening, we started playing games at home during homework.  When learning was a happy thing and he felt safe doing it he immediately started getting better.  He was making 30’s and 40’s before we started and after he was getting 90’s and 100’s.  Still, we couldn’t convince the teacher that he’s not a bad kid – he’s a scared kid.  She didn’t see anything wrong with her methods and would tell me “I have 20 kids in that classroom!”  20?  Really?  That’s all… huh.  That’s a TINY class.

Anyways, I have to register all three for school today since their names, birth certificates, and social security numbers have all changed. So I need to get them all ready to go while I fill out the paperwork here.  Thank God that it’s all online and all I have to do is print it out.

I also need to run to the post office.  We made a sale on Etsy!  Yay!  I also had a book mooched on BookMooch, so I need to send it out.  After all that, we’ll be back home and do lunch, then they get naptime and I get to list some more lace on Etsy.  If I get a chance, I need to go out in the garage and get a coat of primer on the keys.  Shaun’s going to do the metallic paint for me since he’s got a steadier hand and has more experience with oil-based enamels than I do. I also need to clean the bird cage, our bathroom, and my workstation.

The kids are up and the boys are already in trouble, so it sounds like time for breakfast!  Have a happy Tuesday, everyone!





Procrastinating

28 06 2009

Procrastinating

or

Suddenly, I have 9000 other things to do

Last Sunday, my dad sent me home with a very simple request and two digital picture frames.  My job: to load them with pictures.  Simple, right?

This puts a project I have been avoiding since I left ATC in the forefront of my “things I do other than parenting.”  See, I was like the first person in the family to have a digital camera.  I actually have three on my desk at this very moment.  I have not been so lucky with computers – it seems like I get all the pics burned to disc or moved to a portable drive right before something really freaky happens to the computer.  It never kills the PC outright – it just turns everything in the memory banks into gobbledy-gook.

Fast forward through 7 or so different computers, and I have all the photos on a portable 500G MyBook, backed up onto another drive.  It’s just every folder has a name like “laptop photos” and is 7G big.  It’s a filing nightmare – and now that people actually want to see those photos – it’s a photo editing nightmare.

My project is to organize these photos, delete the duplicates, and then optimize each image.  I also have scanned photos I need to separate, file, and optimize.  My excuse for the scanned photos is that my scanner doesn’t like talking to my home network and will only work if you send it a request from the computer – instead of hitting the “scan” button on the scanner.

Last Sunday, my dad sent me home with a simple request.

This Sunday, I still have not gotten the frames out of the back of my car.  I’ve added some lace to a glasses case, then removed it because the glue looked funny behind the mesh part of the lace.  I’ve painted a paintbrush hot pink.  I’ve reorganized the shelves that hold my BookMooch inventory.  I’ve read Catherine Coulter’s new novel Knock Out.  I’ve played about 1000 levels of Bookworm on Shockwave.com. I’ve watched Season 3 and Season 4 of House twice each.  I’ve dreamed about my next tattoo and changed the blog settings on this blog.  I’ve thought about doing freelance analyst work.  Am I at 9000 yet?

I did download the photos off the Nikon camera, so hey, not a total loss!  I really like Nikon’s transfer software – it creates subfolders by date, so that if you haven’t downloaded in a month, it separates Easter from LJ’s birthday party.  It’s nifty stuff.

Now, I’m going to take a nap.  All this not doing what I’m supposed to is making me sleepy.





When life is uneventful

6 05 2009

I find that I have problems when life gets slow and boring.  I think I have too much time to think about everything that happened during the most recent crisis.  I have always been guilty of over-analyzing and now that I don’t work, it’s gotten even worse.  I by no means am asking for more crises to come this way.  Boring can be perfectly fine for a while.

It’s mostly that I don’t know what to do with my thoughts.  The announcements for the adoption have been sent out.  The birds are cuddling contentedly in their coconut bowl.  The kids are almost out of school for the summer.  House and Cuddy are finally doing the wild thing.  Once the thunderstorms stop, I can reconnect my servers for the home network.  HP stopped including envelopes so you could mail back your used printer cartridges and now I have a row of them that need to be dropped off at a recycling center.   My friends and family are all leading happy, chaos free lives.  (That only means I don’t get calls at 3 am from sobbing grown-ups.) Mocha M&Ms don’t taste as good as they look.  None of the books I want right now are on Bookmooch.

It’s all very nice.

It’s all very scary.





My Millennial is showing

11 01 2007

This morning, I immersed myself into an interesting argument on LibraryThing here.  I’m finding myself getting into more than I can handle, but dammit, why hasn’t this been done yet?  They’re waiting for a Millennial to come along and do it – that’s what.

 If you don’t want to read the whole thread, here’s what is going on:

Last week, there was a misleading article on several major news sites about a library system throwing away books that were considered “classics” by most academics in order to make room for pop fic.  It did not mention that these books weren’t going to be tossed, and, by the way, they had over 370 copies of To Kill a Mockingbird and yes, some of those needed to be on their way out.

From there, the conversation morphed into someone stating an experience they had where several boxes of books that had not even been displayed for a library sale were (quoting the librarian) “on the way to the landfill.”  The poor soul packed as many of these books into her car as possible while on a roadtrip and brought them home.

Other members started mentioning that she too would have to toss books once she ran out of room.  (Sounds like me, huh?) She said that there are plenty of charities and thrift stores that will take them and immediately got pounced upon for being “naive” and “sad” because most thrift stores were past capacity for books.  One person even compared tossing books to burying pets under the sod!

Me, I know that this is a bunch of malarkey and I have a strong suspicion that these naysayers have not begun the creative ideas of where to distribute books.  I had an idea to create a blog or website listing the booksellers, charities, and thrift stores across the nation who were looking for certain types of books and directing people towards buying and donating there. 

Also, I’d like to see the page include links to the bookswapping sites and a list of creative ideas of what to do with books in the meantime. 

 It’s the Millennial in me doing this… this odd compulsion to see a problem, own a problem, fix a problem.  I’m already working full time, managing Going Pro!, and trying to find time to invest in my own hobbies.  Now, I may be adding this site onto my already busy schedule.  I don’t see it taking up a lot of time but getting people to cooperate with the initiative may take a while.  I need people from each of the 50 states and possibly even across seas for this to be successful. 

 Am I completely out of my mind or is this a tool that may not suck?





Score!

30 12 2006

I just got off of work.  I decided to whore myself for a couple of hours, but it turned in to only an hour before I got too headachy to go on.  So, now I’m here, updating my lovely new blog.  I really do love this thing.

My wonderful husband and I spent the day at two bookstores.  Well, one thrift store with a huge room of books and one used book store.  I ended up with well over 200 books, most of them ones that I needed to complete my collections of Sweet Valley High & offshoots and Baby-sitter’s Club.  I am collecting these because I read them as a kid and it bugs me that I don’t own them.  I want to be able to reread any book I’ve read in the past at any time and I don’t have that with these books so I’m rebuilding. 

 Not only did I majorly score in that area, I was able to plug my fave sites (BookMooch, Bookins, Writing.com, & LibraryThing) to about 5 people today.  It’s nice to be able to talk to people about books and find out who they are online.  I even exchanged cards with one lady who sells books on Amazon and may have several SV and BSC I may be interested in.  I need to look her store up online and see if she has any inventory that I’d like. 

 Well, off to reshelve books and log ISBNs into LibraryThing!  Joy! 😀





Straight to the Heart

29 12 2006

I had not thought we would get to the heart of this blog so soon! I thought that since it was the middle of winter and I was not being confronted with yard sales and boxes of books in people’s garages and driveways that I was safe from this anger and dismay at people who just toss books.

Although, on a side note, I’ve decided that calling them tossers is quite accurate in British terminology. Apparently the term has changed to be synonymous with the word “wanker” and any self-respecting Brit would be happy to show you what that means with graphic hand gestures. Well, all the Brits I know, that is.

Back on topic – I was surfing blogs today and someone mentioned throwing away books! Throwing away books!!! That’s bad enough to make me use exclamation points in triplicate!!! I think I need a xanax.

By all that is holy, man! (In this case, woman!) Don’t throw it away! Don’t get discouraged if a used book store won’t take it! There are lists of things you can do with books that you don’t think are worthy to live in your home. I have this odd brain glitch where I cannot get rid of a book I have read or want to read. If it is not a book I want to read or keep, I have a list of creative things I do to find them loving homes. Until then, I clean them, store them vertically – on shelves – and look for more poor, neglected books. Call it a life mission, if you will.

I know, I know. Some of you readers are thinking “this woman doesn’t know what she’s saying. One day she’ll have too many books and start weeding them out.”

I say in return, “Bosh and nonsense!” Currently, 1500 books live happily in my home. Nearly 200 of them are being fostered until they are adopted out either through BookMooch or Bookins. I have plenty more room for more volumes, and in fact, my Christmas present from my husband this year is a set of built in bookshelves that will span the length of an entire wall in my guest bedroom. Being it will only be 9″ deep, I won’t lose a lot of floor space, and I’ll have tons more room to take in biblio-refugees.

Here are the only ways a book should ever be thrown away:

It is infected with the black plague – otherwise known as mold. This is irreversable and mournful, but it has to be done. Moldy books cannot be allowed to infect other books and normally they are too water damaged to be readable anyways.

Severe water damage. Water and books don’t mix, friends. Please don’t let your books be drowned because severe damage cannot be undone and some inks will not hold up. I lost one of my favorite books because I left it in the bathroom floor and our shower curtain leaked and drenched it. I’ve also rescued books where people tried to save water damaged books and only created hiding places for the black mold because the book wasn’t allowed to dry completely before being stored.

The book has been read so much that all the pages fall out and scatter around your feet when you pick it up. To this, I say, good for you for loving a book that much! Then, if you can part with it, you can toss it and buy a new copy. Me, I’ve only had this happen once but since I’m a bit on the insane side, I sat in the floor and put all the pages back in order, put the cover back on the book with a rubber band around it and put it back on the shelf. Then I bought a new copy for reading. That book is Moonspun Magic.

There are other reasons due to damage and misuse, and sometimes the book is outdated and no one – and that means you’ve looked and really no one – really wants it, that it’s ok to throw it out. Just know that it saddens me, friends. There are alternatives to tossing books. Remember: Creativity is a blessing!