Monday, September 29, 2008

$10 a week

On Sunday Joshua and I slept in a bit (8:30) and went to the local Farmer's Market. I have enjoyed doing this since forever and it's something my kids both love and have been doing since birth.

In recent years I've been noticing something... People around the country having a higher value for seasonal, locally grown foods. It makes good sense. They're much fresher and therefore healthier, less packaged and usually less expensive too.

At one point I looked into a community farm share (organic), but it proved too costly, so I stuck with my pattern of enjoying farm markets when I could.

I love the freshness. So many of the mass-produced, grocery store marketed, trucked in from California or who-knows-where fruits and vegetables have lost their flavor. My friends shared some home-grown tomatoes two weeks ago. I ate one right off the vine and it struck me once again just how bland, mealy and pink grocery store tomatoes had become. Yuck.

Having two busy adults and a very social high school senior at home, it's difficult to find evenings when we're home to cook meals. I realized I don't want to pile too much fresh food in the fridge at one time. So for lots of reasons the weekly farm market appears to be a better and better option.

Then I saw this: “Consumers who buy locally not only get a great product, but if every state household spent just $10 per week on Michigan-produced food, they would generate $37 million each week for our economy.” ~ MDA Director Don Koivisto

Full article here.

Granted it's $10 at a time, but $37 million to our local economy, and I get the sweetest corn, the freshest apples, the reddest tomatoes... It's a win-win deal.

This time Joshua and I walked away from the farmers market with: yellow beans, red potatoes, prune plums, macintosh apples, sourdough bread, raspberries, corn and fresh canned hot pickles.

We had no shopping list. Just got what appealed to us. But I found myself craving recipes to utilize this bountiful harvest to its fullest potential. I didn't find any locally crafted cheeses, and there was only one free range meat vendor who froze and shipped their products direct to you. (That was expensive) So now I'm looking for more complete alternatives to our small and not-year-round city market.

I'm open to suggestions! Please share if you have any.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Doodle on over there

I'm up early on a Saturday to take J to a Police Explorers event for which he is oversleeping. It's his problem, but now of course... I'm up!

Fresh java in hand, I blog surf a bit and page to page, I end up here. Organized doodles is a wonderful little blog written/drawn by Rick. He's an incredible "doodle" artist, and I encourage you to take alook for yourself.

Meanwhile... I scrolled down...

Not much makes me spit coffee out my nose.


OMGosh! LoL Thanks Rick!
Now I gotta clean the computer screen...

Friday, September 26, 2008

We Deserve It!

This idea sounds just crazy enough to possibly work, so naturally it won't be given serious consideration. How great is our bureaucracy!!

Hi Pals,

I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.

Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a "We Deserve It" dividend.

To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+.

Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..

So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billion that equals $425,000.00.

My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It Dividend.

Of course, it would NOT be tax free.

So let's assume a tax rate of 30%.

Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes.

That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam.

But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket.

A husband and wife has $595,000.00.

What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?

Pay off your mortgage - housing crisis solved.

Repay college loans - what a great boost to new grads

Put away money for college - it'll be there

Save in a bank - create money to loan to entrepreneurs.

Buy a new car - create jobs

Invest in the market - capital drives growth

Pay for your parent's medical insurance - health care improves

Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean - or else!

Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.

If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it... instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 ( 'vote buy' ) economic incentive that is being proposed by one of our candidates for President.

If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult U. S. Citizen 18+!

As for AIG - liquidate it.

Sell off its parts.

Let American General go back to being American General.

Sell off the real estate.

Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.

Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't.

Sure it's a crazy idea that can 'never work', but can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!

How do you spell Economic Boom?

I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion "We Deserve It" dividend more than I do, the geniuses at AIG, or in Washington DC.

And remember, The Birk plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.

Ahhh...I feel so much better getting that off my chest.

Kindest personal regards,


T. J. Birkenmeier, A Creative Guy & Citizen of the Republic

PS: Feel free to pass this along to your pals, as it's either good for a laugh or a tear or a very sobering thought on how to best use $85 Billion!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Driving home this evening I was listening to CBC radio 2. I heard some of the concert celebrating the 100th birthday of British Columbia with Canadian artists Sarah McLaughlin and Shawn Hlookoff.

Yes, Sarah gave a marvelous performance, ending with one of my favorite songs: Ice Cream, but it was Shawn Hlookoff that intrigued me. Though he didn't play it at the concert, they made significant mention of his song "Soldier". I had to come home and find it.

It was worth the effort. This young man has a message worth hearing and a beautiful clear voice with which to express it. (For those of us who are military parents: this one gets a *tissue alert*.)

Same song, different video.

Nifty Kitchen Trick!

You know the drill... turn off the playlist and then watch the video.

This is Brilliant!

And here's how he did it:

Cover the eggs with water and boil on low for about 12 minutes.
Cool the eggs by placing them in cold water with 1 teaspoon of baking soda and ice. The baking soda raises the pH level and reduces adherence. If you choose not to use baking soda, be sure to move the eggs into cold water with plenty of ice immediately after boiling.
Crack the top of the egg and remove a small piece.
Crack the bottom (wide end) of the egg and remove a small piece.
Hold the egg in your hand and blow vigorously into the narrow end of the egg, which will expel it out the wide end.

Doesn’t get much easier than that.

Just be ready to catch it when it comes out!

V Bits, J Bits, Me Bits

Yesterday as I drove home from work I noticed yet another reason that my job, which I love, must have come to me through Divine Intervention (and boy oh boy, did I need an "intervention"!).

Halfway down the highway on which I work and the expressway I take home, I called V. I'd looked at the shops around here before, just checking the place out, when there on my left was a store I hadn't seen before. The store we joke is V's all time favorite: The Jerky Outlet! Can I get a big yee-haw?!

She giggled but was delighted. I made a mental note to stop in and get a bunch to send to her. But there you have it. If that wasn't a 'sign' that I was meant to be here, I'm not sure what is.

And another V thought... Upon seeing this video I decided that SHE must have been the person firing. Watch. You'll get a laugh out of it. The note at the bottom cracked me up. Something about 'needing to weigh more than the weapon you're firing'. And yes, it's my wee-bitty girl who maintains the MMIII, LOL!

V is doing amazingly well overall. She's tired from not spending her evenings and weekends relaxing and catching up on sleep, but that's something she'll learn in time. She's STILL fighting with Verizon, believe it or not. And, as we spoke she was waiting for her MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) class to begin, so she's spending her time in healthy ways and I am so happy for her. I told her yet again how proud I am of her choice and how she's carried it through to make it one incredible reality.

J's turn! Joshua's been sick with a bad cold all week.
He came home early from school one day and slept the whole day away, waking only to cough, sneeze and blow his nose half off his face. Poor baby. He's quite a bit better now in comparison, but he's still not healthy.

Tonight I will forego my monthly singing group in order to attend the Police Explorer's annual family bbq and training tower rappelling! J's been looking forward to this since he joined Police Explorers last year. I often hear about the three story training tower and how much he can't wait for them to push him out that window! Today I get to stand safely on the ground and watch. :)

And last, me bits! I've been working more than usual recently as things have gotten very busy for me. I spent most of Tuesday at a meeting in Lansing, then drove back to the east side for a double meeting (one for new volunteers and ~back to back~ the Board Meeting). I ended up meeting three new volunteers and, as planned, did a presentation for the Board. Aftre that I went to dinner with a co-worker. It was one long and successful day. Whew!

Yesterday, after having a late breakfast with a friend, I worked from noon to 8pm. Even though that was only an 8 hour day, leaving at a late hour made it feel like 12. I'm looking forward to a more regular day today, and then a relaxing evening. You'd relax if they were tossing your kid out a third story window ~ right?!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


While surfing the web in the wee hours of the morning (why does "wee hours" always make me think of "time to go potty"?!) I found this video ~ that I immediately sent on to V.

I needed to show the world too. The kitty looks a lot like Mooch when he first came to us, and to this day "the pounce & chomp factor" are identical.

Here ya go!

Can't Sleep, Clowns Will Eat Me

I've blog-surfed, made raisin toast, had some quiet thoughts, e-mailed V a funny video about a kitty, printed my directions and map to Lansing for my meeting tomorrow (today)... and I just resorted to going out to the garage and taking trash out of my car for lack of anything else quiet to do.

Still, I can't wind down enough to be sleepy tonight. Frustration ensues.

Monday, September 22, 2008

13 to 1

While we have our collective oh so intelligent (but fashionable) "dare to compare" hats on...

I ran across this article too.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Twisted Jammies

I read an article this morning that got my jammies in a Sunday morning twist. The basics of the news regards new coffee products that are soon going to be marketed to consumers. Ok fine.

Now, mind you, this news comes from the makers of Folgers, Maxwell House and others: Proctor & Gamble.

First off, the whole world knows that they use "ultra-cheap", inferior Robusta coffee beans, vs Arabica. Second, they pay substandard wages for the picking of those beans. (These are NOT fair trade coffees, people. Have a cup [of something better] and wake up.)

The article says that Proctor & Gamble has divised a new step to the roasting process, called "pre-drying". Basically, they're trying to pull palatable taste from the same inferior beans.

Tell me that the extra step that will slow production from lesser quality tree to diner coffee cup isn't going to cause a price increase too. Right? ha.

You [P&G] want to pre-dry your coffee beans thinking they might not be the same thin bodied, cardboard tasting, slave wage encouraging, bitter brew, repackage/label it, and market it to the new generation of coffee drinkers (at what will undoubtedly be a higher price than what you have on the shelves now)? Have fun. I won't be buying it, but g'head.

What got my jammies in a twist was this quote from the article:

"consumers looking to save cash turn to their daily coffee beverage so often that saving $4 a day has a name: The Starbuck's Factor, or The Latte Factor"

What the heck?!

I have no idea what a pound of Maxwell House costs these days. The last time it was purchased or made in my house was when we sat shiva (a tradition of mourning) at the passing of my mother-in-law, nearly 7 years ago. But let's compare apples to apples and cup to cup.

Looking at the coffee itself... Quoting the same article: "Robusta beans thrive at lower altitudes and produce far more beans per plant, and have twice the caffeinne of Arabica beans: but their flavor, according to connoisseurs, is extremely inadequate."

Looking at the companies themselves... Caribou Coffee, Starbucks and others have spent millions of dollars in establishing fairtrade agreements with coffee plantation owners, raising awareness of the fairtrade issue, and bringing consumers that product. Fairtrade comes with fair cost. In my opinion, a more balanced world economy is worth it. Proctor & Gamble advertise no such ethic on their website or packaging.

Starbucks is routinely named one of the best employers in the US. They stimulate both the world and the local economies.

As for the comparison of a cup of generic home brew vs the $4/day made-to-order figure: That's not a case that can be made.

Compare apples to apples, home brewing to home brewing.

In my coffee maker 4 oz. (1/2 C.) of grounds yields 12 cups of coffee. That's 4 pots, or 48 cups, to the 16 oz. pound. At $10 per pound ~ last I did the math (just now) ~ it costs less than 42 cents a serving to have a pretty large, roughly 16 oz. mug, of $10/lb. coffee at home.

People pay for convenience, for location, for time-savings, for the training, roasting, brewing and concocting in which the big coffee houses specialize.

It's more a statement of affluence (or frivolity, depending on how jealous you are) that some choose to have their coffee made to order. They choose to pay a portion of their salary to have someone making an honest wage make them a cup of coffee they'll actually enjoy in a time-effective manner. Problem is?

Yep, they could have gotten up that morning early enough to brew it themselves. It would have been less expensive. That's their choice to make.

If someone wants to save more than $4 a day? Bring a sack lunch to work. Problem solved.

If you can afford it, buy the Mercedes. If not, don't. If you have access to fruit trees and canning equipment, make jam. If you don't, pay a company that farms thousands of acres, buys the sugar and pays the people to make, transport and market it. I don't see an article bashing Knotts Berry Farm for $3/jar jam. And don't get me started on gourmet marmalades!

You pay more for convenience and quality when and if you can. It's US economics 101.

You can buy a couple potatoes and some oil cheaper than you can buy a bag of chips, but it's not fair to say that the price of a potato compares to the convenience of buying those peeled, sliced, fried, seasoned, packaged bags of chips.

And now, I'm getting out of my twisted jammies and heading for a good cuppa joe in the sunshine. If enjoying your day means splurging on something you enjoy and can afford, so be it.

As for me and my house, we will serve whatever .42/mug GOOD coffee we choose!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Big news at the end...

Demolition on S's house is done, thanks to a huge team of Coasties who came last week, with the exception of the roof (next weekend). Woo hoo demolition!

My gift to S and her family is to paint one room. (The demo work was a gift to me - I had so much fun!) The contractor gave me the color room he liked the least, DQ's room, which is going to be the same blue as a box from Tiffany & Co.. I like it!

I'll probably head over there after work today to test for lead and do some scraping of chipped paint (I promise to be careful). That way I know if I need to prime it in order to seal the walls and if the trim work (already white) needs repainting to make it safe too.

The real patching and painting work will be done on Monday as my weekend's already stuffed full. Good thing that I'm working part time and have some flexibility in setting my own schedule. One Tiffany blue room, coming up!

Talked to V at length a couple of times this week. Other than being dogged by allergies she's doing very well. Her weekends are stuffed full too (shhh, mom thinks they're over-stuffed).

And now for the big news... Joshua came home from school on Tuesday announcing that he's been named Stage Manager for this year's High School musical: Anything Goes. Yay Joshua! I am so proud of you! We went to my gf's ice cream shop that night to celebrate.

He may be disorganized and typical as teenage boys go, but I just marvel at the progress he's made over the past few years.

Yep, my text message tag line still says - Proud - and duly so.

Off I go - TGIF!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dear V & Destruction Detail

Dear Avivah,

I miss you. It's been a long weekend with no word from you. And... The world is still looking at our toes. What's up?
Big smushy hugs to ya!


It's been a good weekend here. Yesterday was filled with more work on S's house. This time Joshua came with me. Nothing like destruction to get a teenage boy motivated, eh? He had fun. That's my boy!

This wasn't the "crush, kill, destroy" type that we did on Saturday, but he worked hard at pulling up tack strips from the living room hardwood floor, taking down draperies and the painted board to which they were attached. He did a great job of not scratching the wood floors around the edges while S and I pulled up every single staple with a pliers from at least two types of padding and one nasty old layer of carpet. Painstaking.

Oh! And S and I both got our first work badges of honor. She nicked her toe and I have a blister. Bring on the purple heart, we're officially workin'. LoL

The living room looks terrific (no boasting or bias there, eh?) and now it's pretty much ready for a look-see from the contractor. He'll tell us what we do next. I'm not sure if buffing and polyurethane-ing the floor or painting the walls - or something else - is the next step.

Given the work that needs to be done in other areas (gutting the bath, digging for a sump pump in the basement, taking off awnings and gutters and re-roofing...), I wouldn't be surprised if we just had to let it sit until the other things are done. Ah well... I'm in! This is fun!

And of course, it gives me fuel for my own creative juices on my house too. Eventually... some day... At least I now know that I am capable of doing the demo work. Don't kid yourself ~ with a bunch of help from my friends!

I'm off for a painful stop at the gas station and then to work. Checking my work e-mail last night it looks like my day will be very full. Love it!

Ciao for now,

Saturday, September 13, 2008


A rare moment of advertising genius.

My Odd Idea of Fun

Last night's choice as promised:

My gf, S and I went to the Magic Bag Theatre in Ferndale, MI to see the band Gaelic Storm!

They started late but we had a great time. The band was in good voice and great humor, as always. Fun Times! Because they went on late it made for a late night, but even that turned out ok...

This morning's plans with were with the same awesome gf! How conveeeeenient, eh? LOL

Today was demolition day for her new house so she just pushed the plans back an hour so we got some sleep first! I don't sleep all that much, and I ended up driving J to his morning committment with the Troy Police Explorers, but the thought was wonderful. Plus ~ I actually managed to take a short nap on Friday afternoon, so I was good to go!

This morning, with tremendous help from R & M, we ripped out the built in cabinets (that had multitudinous layers of paint and billions of nails anchoring them to the walls), tile counter top, cast iron sink, and 1/8" ply and linomeum flooring from the whole kitchen. You should see the sparks fly when S wields a tile smashing hammer! Woo Hoo! In fact, there's pics and video of our mayhem here!

S and R took out all the home's carpet and padding, and then dove into ripping out the bathroom linoleum and later ~ all the carpet tack strips.

Under the carpeting was beautiful, salvagable hardwood floors. Under the 1/8" ply and sheet linoleum was... two more layers of linoleum tile! We cracked up. The thought is to try to leave the two layers of tile nice and flat, and replace the old ply with new and new linoleum. Voila! New floor... soon.

I'm exhausted, but I had a WONDERFUL time demolishing the kitchen! S ~ Give me a task-list, I may be back for more tomorrow!

It's exciting to see and be a part of this 1948 pretty-much-neglected house turning into a happy healthy home for her and her family. And I am SO BLESSED to have a friend who allows me to use a hammer and crow bar to "Crush! Kill! Destroy!". Dang, that felt GOOD!

What did YOU do for fun this weekend??

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sharing Music

I've said before that I'm a musicaholic.

For anyone who enjoys the music here, I invite you to listen to my Pandora Radio Station(s).

This is the one I'm listening to now, titled "Mellow-Groove Radio". I'm pretty sure you can reach my other stations through that page.

I have four stations there on Pandora. Mellow-Groove, my club, The Deep MidWinter and Quiet Celt ~ with a possible fifth to come, LoL.

It's Musically Delicious!
~ L


9/11 isn't only a day of remembering and reliving for me. It's a day that changed so much in my life.

  • It bonded me to my kids even more deeply than before.
  • It strained V in a way that she may always be trying to understand.
  • Chemotherapy brought all the underlying minor learning issues J had into abundant fruition and changed his academic structure permanently.
  • Socially and academically it made Middle School a nightmare.
  • Every time he coughs my heart stops in fear. It's worse if he's ever not hungry or if he's very tired.
  • I rub his shoulders because I love him, but sometimes it's just to check the lymph glands on the left side.
  • I can't help but notice the little scar the catheter left in the center of his broadening chest.
  • I've lived through his post illness depression, though it nearly did me in.
  • I mourn the time before I knew about neutropenic fevers, doxirubicin and other chemo drugs, painful neupogen injections, mouth sores, 60% chances and so much more.
  • I know that his remission is stable, he's made it past the 5 year mark and we can say that he's CURED now... and still that 40% haunts me, even in moments of celebration.
  • Will he think the right choice was made for him?
  • When it comes to be time for V to consider becoming a mother, will she think about the possibility that she will have to walk a similar path? Does that worry her?
  • What about J when he's ready to think about becoming a father? I can't imagine.
  • I hug both my kids as much as possible.

To those of you with whom I spoke on the phone or in person yesterday, please understand that my quiet demeanor was no reflection on you. It was me, watching the clock, seeing the television, comparing every minute to each one 7 years ago.

Today the air is wet and fresh and cool. The house will keep me busy all day (I'm off today) and there are two different offers on the table for the evening. I'll let you know which one I chose tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hell Day

Today is the 7th anniversary of Joshua being diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He was 9 years old. I allow myself this one day every year to stop everything I can and be 'in the moment' with my memories and emotions. This year I had to work. Though that's a blessing, it was also a very tough thing to do. I'm glad to be home now.

Read on if you choose.

Monday, September 11, 2001
Hell Day

Morning: J and I are in the department of Nuclear Medicine's waiting area at the hospital watching some airplane hit a building in New York. Awful, but I can't focus on that now. His name is soon called.

Holding Joshua's hand while he lays very still. This is our second time here so we know the routine. The scans are done 48 & 72 hrs after the nuclear agent is injected (through the broviac catheter that was placed in his vena cava, during the same surgery in which they took his right clavicular lymph gland for analysis three days before.) A huge machine moves silently around him.

I'm talking to J (endless prattle really, he's not supposed to move) and simultaneously watching a screen light up with glowing spots I can't interpret in roughly the shape of my child, while John the nuclear med tech has his computer on for news of the towers.

I'm in a different world from John, but both of us are in our own state of shock. I don't understand his. Never will.

10:30ish comes and we're done. Securely wrapping the catheter to J's chest, I take him back home. School isn't an option until we know what's wrong. It makes Avivah angry and J misses his friends. My family has rallied around us but my friends don't know yet. He wants his peers and the normalcy he knew a few days ago. Can I ever sympathize.

We spend a quiet couple of hours together. His dad comes home from work early.

2 p.m. Our appointment time for the discovery/diagnosis meeting with the pedatric oncologist. J is at home with family and V is still at school. Tim and I are called in and are shown a seat in a meeting room. Soon we're joined by Dr. J, a nurse and social worker. Everyone is introduced and files are opened. I'm wide-eyed at the formality.

Cutting to the chase, Dr. J tells us that we have a sick little boy. He has Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Nodular Sclerosis. Neither T nor I really know what that means, although as usual I've done some reading. Nothing can prepare you for those words to come out of a Drs' mouth when discussing your child. "It's a type of cancer of the blood" he adds. Dr. J stopped talking and looked through the papers in the file in front of him again... T and I sat, numb.

It seems that the results from the morning's nuclear med test isn't in yet and must be retreived via phone to get a full diagnosis (i.e. to 'stage' the lymphoma's growth). Dr. J places the call still sitting across the polished table from us.

In the course of the phone call we learn that it is Stage 2 (not so horrible in the scheme of things). "Oh, no", says the oncologist, "Past the diaphragm? Yes, Stage 3." (not so good). "Ohhh", he says again, "Past the pelvis? I see", he says... "Stage 4" (the worst, furthest progressed you can have). And there we had our staging. Stage 4. Shit.

During this whole thing the nurse kept trying to give us an average prognosis (I think this was supposed to help us feel - better?)... well, at stage 2 was an 80% chance of being cancer-free in 5 years. Stage 3 was 70%. Stage 4? 60%. We didn't feel better.

Dr. J was off the phone and going back to his papers. He had a notebook with him that outlined the different protocols for this type of cancer and he proceeded to tell us his recommended protocol for our son. It was so incredibly hard to focus on the fact that we're making choices for and discussing my baby and his life. In that moment all of our lives seemed to hang in the balance.

The rest of the meeting was spent discussing every step of the protocol and each chemo concoction to be used. The nurse gave us some general ideas of what to expect, like when he'd lose his hair, how long appointments might take, how to pack for the hospital... The social worker talked at us about some practical things. School was a big issue. Financial issues, support, organizations that could help, phone numbers galore, what entrances to use in the hospital to get to pediatrics quickly...

Hospital, right. When? No time to waste. Today. This very afternoon. Decisions made, papers signed, books given to us to track every moment of our lives for as long as we needed to, and we were off to the house to tell our precious son and waiting family everything we'd just learned. That was a blur.

I never allowed that moment to envelop me. I cried, yes, but there were things to be done and a fight to be fought and a child - my child's very life was the prize that we would win... if we won. I packed his favorite things and we were off to the battlefield before 5pm.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

And the Beat Goes On

I know the blog's been 'all things related' recently, but the beat goes on at work and at home.

Almost two weeks ago I put out the news (off-blog) that someone I know through work, a low-income single mom with two young children, was told by her employer that she needed to "up" her wardrobe to business casual (at the least) or she would lose her job. In this case, the woman was struggling to put food on the table and gas in her car, let alone spending money on herself for clothes! Add to that the fact that this woman works for a "christian organization" who never should have approached her this way - without a solution or loving care to help - in the first place, and it was unbelievable.

AF Moms and Dads and local friends of mine to the rescue!

For the first time in a long time this woman will have a choice of appropriate things to wear to work. Yes, her employer should be ashamed, but I'll bet they've never seen her walk taller! Thank you.

If you ever order Avon, please comment here or e-mail me directly and I'll send you a special sale flyer. An AF Mom I know has a friend who is running an Avon fundraiser with all profits going to this same young woman and her family.

Business casual sweaters and heavier clothes will also be welcomed as the cooler temps hit here in MI. If you want to help, please comment/e-mail me. I'm happy to give you the information.

V called last week and said she got her PRP (personal responsibility papers?). The girl is clear to be "in the field" and she's just delighted. Last I heard they were teaching her how to drive a bobcat and she was having a blast at it. Evidently this is how they have to 'shovel' the snow. Oy!

Joshua is back to school for his Senior year. Last evening we went out for coffee with a friend of mine who is a college advisor. It was great to have the time to ask questions and hear him share his ideas with her. Looks like this is going to be an exciting time for him.

Work for me is great. I survived my first event just fine even though it was a little outside my comfort zone... a cocktail reception for the CEO. Yikes. I'm thankful we don't do formal all that often - whew! Next up is presenting at a Board meeting. That will be fun and is right up my alley.

I'm off for what's shaping up to be a glorious day. Hope you make it a great one too.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Bloody *ell !

A Brit speaks his mind... Truly! I'm gobsmacked!

And I wish there was a link to embed this video, but there isn't so you'll have to click here.


Third time is a charm

Yesterday's time to stop and think was good, and prematurely halted when it cleared up and ended up being just gorgeous here! I had to get out and do stuff.

Joshua BBQ'd chicken for lunch just because. He's worked really hard this summer to be a good BBQ cook. It was delish! Awesome kid too, but he really hates it when I try to take a bite outta him.

I made plans to go clothes shopping with my friend V (before my discount expires) so we met at a store between our 2 homes. I found a nice pair of slacks and she found a couple of tops. We went out for a soda. Just before we parted I toyed with the idea of going to Bed Bath and Beyond to see if they had an over-the-door hook for my closet (mine broke, oops) but decided that I wasn't enthused about it, so I said goodbye and went home.

Almost home, I call J. Oh heck, "Do you want to come to the Bed Bath and Beyond near us with me?" Yeah, he did. Cool. While there he found the bedding set we'd been searching for for his room! One problem - they didn't have a twin size, and wanted to charge us $8 for shipping because they didn't have it! Oh heck no. Tell me where it is and we'll go get it. Guess where? Yep - the previous BB&B. Drat. Out we went and all is well ~ Plus he got a carpet and a pencil cup. Lucky kid.

We went from there to grocery shopping. Then of course there was no room in my car for more! LoL

Home again, I find a screen name I know and love. Avivah, is on the computer in Minot! We chitter chatter. Verizon is still a problem and we discuss that. She sent me some great pics from her trip to the Minot Zoo. Great convo and lots of virtual hugs and smooches are traded. Gosh, I adore that girl.

My BFF chimes in from across town and asks if I can come look at shelf and paint chips for a project he's considering. Sure! Where does he live? a mile S of the BB&B on the other side of town. Yep, that's 3!

Oh my poor gas tank. $! Guess that means I should get my tail in gear and earn a little more. This whole having weekends off thing is still novel ~ and exhausting too. LOL It's a good kind of exhausting. :)

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Yesterday was beautiful and I went out midday to enjoy the sunshine.
Today is rainy and I'll probably stay in and enjoy the productivity.
There's something to enjoy and for which to be thankful in every day.

In catching up on a few days of e-mail I realize how much I am thankful for the rights of free speech and assembly for those who choose to use them properly, and how those rights appear to be endangered.

Though they chose not to post a comment here, there are several who sent me e-mails saying:
  • ALL people who were victims of police brutality in Denver and St. Paul deserved it.
  • That, even after being shown reports from several news sources, they were convinced that those sources had ulterior motives and were not reliable.
  • ALL protestors must have been members of radical groups that forced police to take drastic actions.
  • Americans shouldn't exercise their right to lawfully assemble or to speak out against war. Literally: Those who would assemble and speak out should "stay home".

As the two major candidates express their homogenized platforms, effectively lulling the masses into a factless, statisticless, glazed-over stupor, the population that demands government accountability, focus on international trade imbalances, cessation from unjust war, solutions to joblessness and alternative energy here in the United States, is furious and frustrated, and, even while expressing that in a lawful and permitted manner, is silenced by force.

I agree that those who caused damage, broke demonstration area lines, and blocked delegate busses from reaching the convention, all provoked police action. If that was their goal they certainly achieved it. In spades.

Still, I am proud that groups like "Funk the War" and "Military Families Speak Out", among others, stood up and spoke out in law abiding ways. I hold a strong belief in non-violence and peaceful demonstration. Citizens here have a right to be heard.

What is unfortunate is that peaceful groups got treated the same way as destructive groups. Of course, so did innocent observers, journalists, bikers and select St. Paul "hippie" residents in their own homes.

Today I am thankful that the conventions are over, that the police state has abated for now, and that both police and protestor have time to evaluate the actions and reactions that led to such horrific scenes.

Now is the time to "stay home", all of us. Reflect on what you've heard and what you've seen. Set aside the grand-standing and pomp. Push to fill in the facts on those hole-filled platforms. Think about your willingness to live with what is being proposed. Take in what each candidate's idea of leadership means to you.

And, if you are ever moved to take a stand against your government and legally, peacefully, demonstrate or verbalize your feelings, think about how you may be treated, and what that says of our "inalienable rights" of speech and assembly.

Today, in Michigan, I am thankful for the quiet, cleansing, rainy day.

Friday, September 5, 2008


It may not speak from my belief system, but the message touched me and applies everywhere. Start wherever you are right now.

Listen... hear the oppression, the brutality, the injustices.


As you listen and are moved, act.

Blessed Be.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

More about yesterday

This is the update I received on the situation with the people I know who were arrested during a peaceful protest in St. Paul (video).

These people are NOT those who were 'acting out'. They were not destructive, or foul mouthed, nor were they resistant to the unjust arrests.

Jason was tased seven times on the street, while completely unresisting. We just heard from him. He's still pulling copper out of his hip from the taser gun, has a long, deep laceration in his leg that is still untreated, was beaten up badly and has a black eye, a hurt mouth and many lacerations, but says he's doing great.

Elliot, a nineteen year old who came to our camp, was badly beaten when the cops knocked him off his bicycle. They stepped on his chest, and he was coughing blood all night but received no medical treatment. The guards were calling him "Princess" and making homophobic remarks.

We heard from Jason that last night, Elliot was making noises to protest not receiving any food for more than twelve hours. Twelve officers entered his cell. Screams were heard for over five minutes. He was tasered three times, maced, and beaten, then removed and the men were told he was being taken to a restraint chair. We have heard, now, that he is being released and are trying to confirm this.

Riyanna is still in jail. When last we heard, she was okay and with the other women.

Many others have been arrested and are being badly treated and denied medical care, so please include them all in your prayers and energy. I'll keep you updated. love, S

As furious as I am?
Here are some numbers for you to take action.
St. Paul Mayor, Chris Coleman: 651.266.8510
Ramsey County Sherriff, Bob Fletcher: 651.266.8500
Complaint number, Ramsey County jail: 651.266.8989

They are all flooded with calls but I eventually got through. Other than seeing the horrifying arrest on video, we, the people, are not considered witnesses to contend their innocence or the unjustified arrests. Rather than that, I told them that Jason, Riyanna and Elliot, and undoubtedly others at the Ramsey County jail and holding facility, are being held without appropriate medical treatment or food and are being treated in ways that are inhumane and cruel.

I pray those words are helpful. What words will you use?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


This is government's idea of security at the RNC/DNC, each with an infusion of $50 million in federal funds to burn and having completely unchecked power.

If you don't see it, and hear the words "He's not resisting", turn it up, watch it again. Judge for yourself... as he is tazed mercilessly.

If you don't think the words "barbaric" and "uncalled for", watch the video again and again until the horror sinks in and unfolds before you.

These are people, one being tazed and another being arrested, that I know, though we have never met in person. They are well known within my community, and personally known by people I love and respect. What they did to deserve this treatment is something unconscionable, they stood up, peacefully.

The RNC is not alone in this. The DNC had its own events, though there were fewer. This is a press conference after some of the police intimidation and violence happened in a permitted park area.

Yes, there were protesters at both conventions that were violent. Some believe that you have to cause chaos for people to take note. They broke windows, slashed tires...

These are not those people.

These were peaceful protests by people without weapons. People who believe that we all, you and me and everyone, have the inalienable right to gather and speak our minds in this country.

The police have terrified a 5 year old girl, putting a gun to her mother's chest right in front of her, committed illegal search and seizure, beat an innocent bicyclist until he vomited blood, arrested a whole family as they confiscated their environmental education bus, and so much more. All because of peaceful protests, some against our government, many of them against the war in Iraq.

Lest you think this is a personal appeal, try some others. Sadly, there's plenty of them.

Say a prayer, generate some energy, light a candle, do whatever it is that you are moved to do as an American, as a compassionate human, to bring healing to these terrible scenes.

Stop the fear and severe reactions brought about by peaceful protests. Allow people to have their voice without such dreadful repercussions.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

2 Scoops!

Scoop #1: A friend of Sharon's - and therefore a friend of mine - Jon Ostrower, SCOOPED the Democratic VeeP pick (Joe Biden, for those of you living in a hole) on his B2B blog before it was announced! Yes, the facts were verified. Jon scooped it first.

Scoop #2: A new Ice Cream shop is open for business in Allen Park, Michigan, called the AP Daily Scoop! It is owned and operated by my friend and all 'round awesome woman, Sheila, and her business partner Bonnie! Read about it here and here ... and then git'cher tail over to Allen Park, MI for some ice cream!

So for today - That's the SCOOP!

Monday, September 1, 2008

"You don't know what you've got til it's gone....

they pave paradise and put up a parking lot."

Or in my case: You work on the weekends (Sundays in particular) for 30 years of your life as a teacher. Then you work random times and days through the weekends as a retail sales associate.

I was rarely confronted with an issue that had me resenting my Sunday classes. I didn't know what I was missing 'cause I never really missed it (except annually on Mother's Day). I had a fine parking lot and I didn't know any better.

In retail I knew right away that I wanted the flexibility to be home when my kids were home. Much of that meant weekend days/evenings, but I could only ask for so many of those off. It was really tough some days, to confess to the kids that I had to work - almost always smack in the middle of the time they wanted to do something with me.

Of course it was a good lesson for them to see and learn. Work is a neccessity, not a convenience, and you just have to roll with the punches and do your job. But I was beginning to remember paradise and to resent the parking lot.

Since getting my new job I have my weekends OFF. Wow, what a difference. NOW I know what I've been missing! The concrete has broken, fresh rain water is getting to those neglected roots, and the flowers are growing towards the beckoning call of sunshine.

Last weekend I went out on Saturday night and had fun. This weekend I went to the Detroit Grand Prix with Joshua all day Saturday and went out yet again with friends on Sun/Mon. Just came home this evening.

Dare I say it? I feel positively... human!