It’s in my coffee

25 11 2010

This morning I woke up not thankful at all.  I knew the Thanksgiving post needed to be written and while I sat on the toilet, I thought “I’m thankful for the normal things – life, family, toilet paper.  This holiday sucks!”

Thanksgiving is just a remembrance of one race taking advantage of another, peace treaties that end in bloody warfare, and gluttony “in honor of a new world.”  What it means more personally is stress, money trouble with the impending “holiday season” to give that budgetary shit storm some extra spice, feeling left out of one group or another for absolutely NOTHING of my own fault*, and needing pharmaceuticals just to survive smiling at people who dislike me for hours on end.

Yeah, I woke up this morning in bitch mode.

Then Coffee came into my life and the funk started to lift. Every sip I take I find something else that I’m thankful for.  I may be able to write this post!

I’m thankful for our children.  A few years ago, I was sitting in a room at the adoption agency crying because our placement fell through and I didn’t think I could survive another holiday season knowing that I was not yet a mom.  It was the week before Thanksgiving.  We had already bought Christmas presents for the girls that would have been our daughters.  Their rooms were ready.  Their clothes were in the closet.  We were waiting on one court hearing to happen THAT WEEK before they moved in to stay.

It didn’t happen and I was devastated.  The agency didn’t think we would get another shot with that particular placement so I told them I didn’t care if it was a foster placement – I just wanted kids in my house for the holidays.  (Up to that point we were straight adoptive parents.)  Three days later we got the call about A & E needing a placement.  I went to the family party that year with two babies.  8 months later, LJ came to us and now they’ve been legally and forever ours for over a year.

I am thankful for my animal masters.  For the birds singing to me when it’s time to get out of bed.  For the clean, animal scent I get when I bury my nose into Spooks’ tummy.  For how he has developed a habit for needing to be with me at all times.  For Ernie being a much needed comic even though he doesn’t really smell like a clean animal – he always smells like tuna even when he hasn’t had any for a week.  For Abbie who thinks she’s a person, Cali who loves the kids, and Nola with her big ass nose and her inability to be sad.

I am thankful that even though Shaun got laid off, the company didn’t screw him in the severance package.  We may not end up moving to the trailer park because of that.  There’s still a ton of stress associated with it (which is why I haven’t written in a while… how do you be honest and open about something so volatile?) but it could be worse.  I’m thankful that it’s not worse.

I am thankful for a warped sense of humor. The ability to laugh at things forms a tight bond.  It’s a stronger relationship than liking a sport or sharing a hobby.  We laugh at fucked up things and share an esoteric knowledge base.  Anyone who understands why I want a tramp stamp of the number 42 is a good person to know.  Anyone who knows why I fart in your general direction can be my friend.

I am thankful that my head is so small that I can wear kids’ glasses. Most vision insurance plans cover kids’ glasses 100% and adult glasses at a discount.  Last year I got hot pink Guess glasses.  This year I got some black Candie’s that make me look like a sexy librarian.  Also in the small head gift, I can wear kids’ hats that are cheaper and more adorable than the adult selection.

I am thankful for 50% off Halloween candy on the 1st of November.  However, my body doesn’t quite agree with me on that point.

I am thankful that Sprint gave me a new phone when mine died a premature death for the cost of repairing it.  $35 is much better than having to pay full price or having to switch back to my Blackberry.

I am thankful for the Internet.  Every single part of it – including the over-the-top seriousness of some sites and the absolute idiocy of others.  I love that I can pick and choose the sites I visit (because there’s always a choice) and be a part of the hivemind.  It doesn’t matter if I contribute or if I simply read the stuff in my RSS.  The internet goes on without me and when I feel able to, I take part.

I am thankful that Shaun is a good cook.  He also does the dishes and laundry, which makes me a damn lucky woman.

OK, that’s enough sweetness and sap for right now.   I’m halfway through this coffee and I need to do my motherly duties like pick out the kids’ clothes for the visit to the in-laws and make sure the cameras are ready to go.

*my parent’s families didn’t approve of each other while I was growing up.  I’m the spawn of the one they like (their genetic relation) and the one they don’t have anything in common with.  Now that the parents have been married for 31 years and the rest of them HAVEN’T, all I can say is “haters gonna hate.”  I’ve been excluded from other groups for various reasons that ARE my fault.  Those don’t bother me nearly as much.


maximum redundancy

16 09 2010

Maximum redundancy is a good thing.  Not only in data storage but in parenting… which is weird.

I say a lot that kids need to be more like computers.  Computers may speak a foreign language, but it’s easier to learn and it doesn’t care if you’re having a particularly crappy day.  Computers act in predictable methods depending on input.  Good data in, good data out.

Kids are more like “good data in, good data in, good data in, GOOD DATA IN, GOOD FREAKING DATA GOES IN, DAMMIT GOOD DATA FROM MULTIPLE USERS ALREADY!!!”

The odds of good data out and bad data out are 50/50.

User error has very little to do with what the kids end up doing.

Then, this week, my main server got a virus and reminded me that computers are more like children than I thought.  It wasn’t a regular ole get caught in the strainer virus – it infected the virus software itself.  Now every time I load or try and connect to a virus or mal-ware scanner it kicks itself of the internet.  Everything works FINE until a virus software runs.

The original software to get eaten was Avira.  Fail.  The virus even latched on to the uninstall exe.  Next was AVG.  Fail.  Windows security.  Fail.

I had 1.5 TB in that machine and now all are being quarantined in a cardboard box until I figure out what this shit did.  I pulled all the essential data off onto flash sticks and those went into the cardboard box too.

The moral of the story is that it’s OK to be OCD when it comes to your computer stuff.  You’re the only one who cares that you have 50 flash sticks with different info (and the same info) on each one.

Next I’m going to update everything onto another set of flash sticks and put them all in my fire safe with my birth certificate and marriage license.

If that wasn’t enough geekery, read on.

Why flash memory?

CDs and DVDs don’t hold as much information and the burn process (and surface) are easy to SNAFU.

Portable hard drives have a disc inside that can be shaken and broken.  (Try it.  It’s possible no matter what the geeks at the Apple store say.)  I have a flash stick on my keychain that has 800 ebooks on it.  It’s pretty hard to kill.

Flash on a USB 2.0 is universally compatible with all OSs and most machines.  It also plugs into quite a few car stereo systems, most video game machines, TVs, WD TVs, your mom…

Small amounts of data on separate but redundant sticks reduces the chance of a bad file killing all the other files on the memory.  If it does happen, the data is still safe elsewhere.

Flash is relatively inexpensive.  Target has some toys with flash memory inside that are $15 for 4G.  They’re also skateboards.

Skateboards with flash drives.

The world is a better place for that.

As for the kids… all I can do is keep on repeating!

like a tap on the shoulder

30 07 2010

When I first started the change from Effexor to Savella, I bought several books – one of them being The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner.  There was also a David Baldacci book in that stack and he gets top billing EVERY time so it wasn’t until I was well into withdrawal – whoops – discontinuation syndrome that I picked up The Neighbor.

I started reading the first chapter and it scared me so badly I sat it back down.

Then, all this drama of the past few weeks happened.  Me and the meds.  LJ and the recurrence of the PTSD.  Trying my best to help with my sister’s wedding next week.  Chickpea and PTSD.  E being a 5 yo boy with too much energy and not enough people to torture.

Two days ago I had nothing to read in the bath (and I desperately needed a bath) except for the book that scared me.  I thought I could handle it and I put on my brave face.


Then I started reading and I found in Jason Jones the man I’m worried LJ will grow up to be.  Scared.  Scarred.  Able to love, but not able to connect sexually with the woman he loves.   Driven with need to pull back the privacy and pain he lost as a child.

I also found part of myself in Jason.  The hours online, needing to make things right.  The research.  Reading hand written notes from court cases.

See, this is how I found LJ.  A&E were separated from him around foster home #4 or 5 and he went to a group home (read: orphanage) and they went to an agency foster home.  Years passed.  Files were misplaced.  Siblings who remembered someone else being with them weren’t documented any longer.

A&E came to our home 3 days after we found out that the placement we were hoping for (we were adoptive parents with a foster care license) wasn’t going to work out.  They weren’t available for adoption – yet – but they’d been in care for so long that in case they did become available the agency wanted them to not have to move again.

Shaun and I said yes without meeting them and only seeing a file.  That Friday, they walked in to the agency, and their foster mom gave me the most precious gift she could have: her records from their time in care.  The file we had wasn’t correct in a lot of ways – their ages were wrong, names were missing, and it didn’t mention siblings.

Turns out there are 7 children that the state knows about.  The 3 oldest are with a biological father, then a middle child from another father, then A&E, then a baby who went to another home.  What happened to the missing middle child?  He would be about 7 years old from my estimation.

It took weeks for me to find his name handwritten on an old case file.  About a month to find out where he was.  Several months to convince our agency and DFCS that bringing him back to his siblings was a good idea.  I wrote a letter to the governor.  I testified in court.  I spelled my full name in front of the bio parents at the TPR hearing.

We found experienced therapists and got a new psychiatric evaluation done.  He had been classified as mentally handicapped, PDD-NOS, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and some other bullshit.  (His IQ is in the 120s and since he’s been with us he no longer qualifies as a delayed/disabled child at his school.  The current diagnosis is PTSD due to severe neglect and abuse and ODD with delays in social skills.)

I used every trick I knew to get information and I used it all.

It was because once I started looking I found I couldn’t stop.

I just finished The Neighbor and I like to read acknowledgement pages.

God tapped me on the shoulder.

I stared in shock.

Ms. Gardner had interviewed and thanked two people from the very county we adopted from.  The county where that group home is.  Two names I haven’t seen before.

I haven’t yet been able to bring justice to their doors for what happened to MY son but now I have a few more places to look and a few more emails to send.  If nothing else, maybe I can find some more files that will help with his therapy.

Tonight, I’ve left a comment on Lisa Gardner’s facebook page.

Tomorrow, I’ll start following the leads that dropped into my lap.

This is what I do.

the saggy pants debate

15 04 2010

I figured I’d take part in the saggy pants debate being I live in the land of crunk.  Everyone’s heard the strange topics on culture, race, maturity, independence, fashion, blah blah blah blah blah. Scenester, hipster, gangsta, whatever… pants sagging is EVERYWHERE.

I am also a citizen of the internet.

And on the internet we have a few rules (other than the 40 or so posted ones – I’ll list them as a footnote.)

In internet-land, if you fail hard enough, you win.

Immaturity is encouraged.

Everything is more awesome when a girl does it.

In my own personal addition, I’d like to point out that if guys had cooler drawers, the sagging may be that much more awesome.    Let me demonstrate with a couple of pictures:

In this picture, we see that girls do it better.  Girls have more awesome undie options.  And while totally immature, I wouldn’t mind my dad seeing it at all.

(It also demonstrates that I got my ass gene from my dad, but that’s another post.)

In the close-up, another point is made.  Wearing an elastic band around the broad part of your ass isn’t that comfortable.  This is also my FAVE pair of pants and I don’t need my XL ass gene stretching out the waist, so after this demonstration, I pulled my pants back up.

My vote?  Pull your pants up unless you have totally awesome boyshorts on.  Then, take pictures, and THEN pull your pants up.

For the curious, here’s the rest of the rules of the internet:

if I had a uterus, it would be bleeding right now

18 03 2010

Dear all my friends and readers,

The doctor did not take my ovaries when I had the magical surgery of life.  Therefore, I still have all the girly hormones that God gave me and BECAUSE the doctor did free the right one from a shit-load of endometrial fibers I actually have more than I did before.

That means that on a normal day I would ignore your trollish behavior (because I love trolls) and I’d even laugh instead of calling you a punk ass fuck nugget.  On a normal day, you wouldn’t even land on my radar for leaving me negative feedback on BookMooch.  BookMooch, if you didn’t notice is  a site where I give away my books FOR FREE and pay for shipping TO YOU so that later I can get the good karma to have another lovely BMer send a book to me at no cost to me.

The main reason I send books to other countries is because here in the Bible Belt of the USA we have a literal shit-load of self-help books based on the Bible.  (insert normal disclaimer about how if you call me a bad Christian, I’ll roll my eyes.)  In countries and states that are not here, they don’t have such a surplus.  If you want the 30 lb copy of Billy Graham’s biography and you’re in Zimbabwe, I’ll consider sending it to you.  Not that I have to explain my motives to you.  If I did, I’m sure they’d have a blank for me to fill in on my profile.

That’s why my page says “ask if not in my country.”  That’s all it says.  If I decide that it’s a good idea for me, the person who lives in my body, I’ll respond “yes, please do!”  If I decide to ignore you, go look for another copy of the mass market paperback.  You could even go onto Amazon and BUY one.  OMG, the possibilities of the internet are astounding!

But if you get pissed off that you were IGNORED ON THE INTERNET!!!!! ZOMG!!!! and you pick the time of month where I’m having a hormone overload, then all bets are off honey.

We’re not on eBay and I don’t owe you shit.

AND THEN do not in the same negative review (which you had to fraudulently mooch a book from me to cancel and leave the review) mention that you like my blog.  You raggedy mother fucker.  Are you serious?  Have you met any human beings during your time on earth?  Do you think anyone would say “hey thanks!” if you stumbled into them while drunk, pissed on them, then said “nice shirt”?

I’m very much glad you read my blog.  I really needed something to rant about today while I’m busy not bleeding.  This way I can smile at the random idiot in line to pick up the kids from school.  I can be pleasant to the UPS man.

Normally, I wouldn’t even think about supporting your arrogant view of your e-penis but today I really needed someone to cuss at.  So thank you, troll.  Please, stop by and get morally outraged.  I’ll be hormonal all week and I need you, you self-deluded camwhore!  You’re saving humanity one asshat comment at a time!

make it work

17 03 2010

I’m toying with the idea of going back to work full time and letting Shaun do a stint as stay at home Dad.  Or at least hire a nanny or something.

When I say toying with, that’s what I really mean.  I know that with the heart problem and the migraines, that I need a very flexible environment and I also know that I can do the best for our home and children by being here.

I just REALLY miss working.  Not only is it 10,000 times easier than this SAHM deal, I miss figuring out problems.  I’m one of those people who has a knack for making abnormal things fix what needs to be done.  I like instruction manuals because if you read them with a critical eye you can find the ways to… adapt it to your purpose.  There, that’s a nice way to say “open door.”  If there isn’t a manual, that’s ok too.  I’ll figure out how to break it into its parts given enough time.

Tim Gunn would say I make it work.

I just hacked a mop.  I’ve been painting my Circa discs with nail polish.  Later today I’m going to turn a computer desk into a table for my sewing machine.

I even scheduled laundry days for everyone and color coded the hampers (they’re really rubber bins from the garden department at walmart) to match their water bottles and their toy boxes.  They also match their junior Circa journals.  (Which the therapists promptly copied and started using for other kids they treat.)  And yes, when the kids are on a scorecard/reward system – those will match their colors too.

I miss feeling like I’ve done something worthwhile at the end of the day.  Well, on some days.  Other days I came home feeling like I was the captain of the good ship WTF.

Ok – I miss being able to say “I can provide a service that you aren’t going to find anywhere else.”

xkcd today says that the average internet user SAYS they have an IQ of 147 and has a 9″ penis. I may not have a penis, but my IQ is a bit higher than that.

I used to say “if you can teach it, I can learn it.”  Now I’m more likely to say “if you can build it, I can break it.”  Then again, I also say “if you need a better mousetrap, you may as well just start naming the mice and congratulate them on their upward evolution.”  You can either make the problem work for you or you can buy a cat.  I’m a big fan of making problems turn into assets.  “That’s not a defect, it’s an unexpected application!”

Then I get a call from the teacher saying that my child is screaming that if the teacher doesn’t make it so that she isn’t in trouble, then she’s going to make life living hell for everyone.  I can hear her screaming in the background at the top of her lungs.  And it’s good I’m only 5 minutes away from the school because I know how to fix her, too.

This is the part where people laugh and say “a good smack would fix her!” But no, my daughter is not an Apple nor does she suffer from chip creep.

I know how to make it work because her IQ is a little lower than mine but still higher than 90% of the people in her school.  I don’t talk to her like a child and I don’t dumb it down.  If she can manipulate you or out-think you, you’ve already lost the game.  I’m probably the only parent you’ll ever see saying to a 6 year old kid “I don’t appreciate you trying to manipulate your teachers.  You can’t change the past but you can stop making it worse.  Your part on the team is to take care of yourself and keep your brain turned on.  If it’s not smart – don’t do it.”

She has the mental capacity of a child twice her age.  I get pissed off when someone talks down to me and I don’t expect her reaction to be any different.  (And yes, we’re both Capricorns.)  It’s best that she learns objective and logical reasoning skills now.

OK – off the tangent.

Another problem I foresee with going back to work is that I don’t have a degree.  I have several certificates from several colleges.  I have some co-op experience at a different school.  I have a year of actual college down but I got REALLY bored with it.

I was one of those kids who was hired directly out of high school into a dotcom because of my “special” skills.  Financially, it was the right decision because I was smart enough to put a little in real estate and made some well-timed stock sales.  It’s enough to make it where we’re able to live off of one income as long as we’re frugal. It just meant that I turned down a scholarship (and it’s accompanying student loans) to take the road less traveled.

Not having a degree wasn’t a problem with my resume as long as I stayed with that company because I could bank on my reputation alone.  Now that I’m looking at jobs equivalent to what I did for that company, they require a BS or a BA.  Only one listing I saw said “or equivalent work experience.”  Now, if the company does their own hiring, it won’t matter but if they’re using a recruiter or head-hunter I’d be hard pressed to get an interview.

THEN, once I did do the initial interview, I’d probably decide that the company didn’t fit my “niche.”  I’ve tested the waters and applied to a few places since quitting and here’s how one of my interviews went:

Nice Lady: I need to be sure you know <name of certain retail book keeping software.>

Me:  I haven’t used that particular one before, but I do have extensive experience designing and reporting with many of the more complicated financial systems.  <I named a few that I’m sure she’d never heard of.>

NL:  But you’ll need to know how to enter the data from our invoices into this program.  You really need to be experienced.

Me:  By the time we speak again, I’ll have learned enough about it to make it do exactly what you need it to do.  I just have a knack for software.

NL:  I see that on your resume you have experience coordinating teams and schedules.

Me: I do.  I’ve coordinated a team of 34 people and designed reporting systems on several hundred team members that were hand delivered to all levels of management.

NL:  You will, if you get this job, need to greet people as they walk in and also handle the schedules for myself and my husband.  You’ll also keep the files orderly and handle invoices and incoming phone calls.

Me:  Ma’am, your ad said that you were looking for a coordinator and manager with experience in financial systems.  Isn’t that correct?

NL:  Yes…

Me:  It sounds to me that you’re looking for a receptionist.  If you need someone to create reporting systems or work out a specific problem then I’m your girl.  However, if you’re looking for someone to smile at customers and do basic data entry, you probably need a different applicant.

NL:  Um… ok… thank you for your honesty.

Me:  You’re welcome.

This was all over the phone, thank goodness.  I doubt she could have looked at me and been as polite.  All my tattoos cover up and I clean up very well, but I’ve been told that I’m rather intimidating when I’m talking.

I’m the secret agent girl. 😉  I walk in to a meeting, looking young and well-dressed, carrying my signature bomber jacket Circa and a few documents disguised as simple files.  I get mentally written off as a girl who got hired to do grunt work and be an art piece for the male and lesbian contingent.  Then I wait for a lull in the conversation of “power players” and I say something outrageous.  All eyes turn to me and I open the file to my supporting document and prove to everyone that I’m right and I am going to get what I want.

Smart managers know how to use that to their benefit.

Not so smart managers are either enlightened or pissed off.

Neither matters.

Because THAT is what makes work worth going to for me.  I’m not looking for money or acclaim or to climb the corporate ladder.  I could give less than a damn about a vertical promotion.  I love solving problems in interesting ways, making them work, and convincing people to support the solution.  My thrill is in creating harmony where there was none and in turning data into a language people can understand.

Dear Shirt.Woot

25 02 2010

Dear Shirt.Woot,

I am writing today to let you know of a disturbing occurrence.  Basement Cat highly approves of your packaging.  This may or may not mean your package is evil.  It may just mean that Basement Cat has a fetish for plastic.

Basement Cat has also informed me that if I call him that one more time, I’m likely to suffer the same fate as the bag (ripped apart and drooled on.)  He prefers his government name of Spooks.  He tolerates Spooky, Pookers, Pookie, and You Little Fucker.  The last person who called him Kitty was ignored.

Here is photographic evidence that the Cat Who Prefers Not To Be Called Basement Cat approves of your shipping material:



Official Cat Servant