Monday, February 26, 2007


It's Monday and that means that it is time for another S.O.B. of the week. Unfortunately, some quick research yields too many results to pick just one. Our first candidates: David and Liz Carroll from Ohio; The former copping a plea and the latter found guilty of murdering their three-year old foster son. Tied with them would be the agency responsible for monitoring the foster home environment. That poor helpless baby should have had at least one person on his side,you know? It sickens me. In a similar vein, Lisa and Tim Holland of Lansing Michigan who are both going to jail for the murder of their seven year old adopted son. How can people with that much evil inside them be approved as adoptive parents in the first place?

Reading articles like this nauseates me almost enough to be a perfect weight loss plan.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Love Myself Thursday

I found this blog by accident today and I know just how she feels.

I didn't last too long on the old South Beach because, frankly, a world in which Cheerios and bananas won't work for breakfast and neither will an English muffin with peanut butter just isn't a world I want to live in. But I'm okay. I will not beat myself up or call myself a failure. I switched to Weight Watchers online and so far - so good. I want to drop 70 or 80 pounds and I will. Just not on the beach.

More later.

Peace and blessings.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Where to begin...

SOB of the Week

It pains me to say this but I must bestow this week's award on Senator John McCain. Back when he had a pair, I said I would have worked tirelessly to get him elected. Yes, I'd have been a passenger on the Straight Talk Express. Now it would appear he's catering to the far-right-fundamentalist crowd and calling for Roe V. Wade to be overturned. As an adoptive mother, you'd think I'd support this, but my view is that abortion is a personal decision that legislation has no place intervening in. Overturning Roe v. Wade will serve no purpose other than to increase the number of illegal abortions. A woman and her partner should always have the right to choose. Proactive contraception should be the first choice, in my opinion, but things happen and people should be legally allowed to pursue safe options given the circumstances. What's next? The right says no birth control and we ban that too? No tubals, no vasectomies and no prescription or non-prescription contraceptives? It does seem like hyperbole, but unless people stand up and say "No!" anything is possible, isn't it?

I am deeply saddened at McCain's turn of heart. He was pro-choice and spoke from his heart in 2000 and that is why I loved him as a candidate. Now I don't know where to turn.

Monday Update
last week I did reasonably well on the five a day goal until we headed out of town on Friday afternoon. I need some suggestions on how to eat healthy while on the road - especially when staying with friends/ relatives that don't shop the same way. I did buy my own fruit on Saturday, but it was a tough weekend. Today I am back on the wagon (the 5 a day wagon) and starting Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet. Wish me luck!

Notes on a Road Trip

In Three-Part Harmony: "One hundred bottles of beer on the wall, 100 bottles of beer..."

The Khan: "SHUT UP!!"

Less than ten seconds to aggravation. Too easy.

In other news:

I got a camera phone. I hope to incorporate weirdness caught on film in this blog in the future. Stay tuned.

That's the weekend. De-lurk or else!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Love Thursday?

Tal's blog says that it's Love Thursday. So today, if I adopt the tradition, I'm to blog about love in some fashion. I don't think I'll adopt the tradition.

I'm still looking for evidence supporting the claim that Australia is the greatest country in the world. A Google search leads me to a picture of the Great Barrier Reef, a can of Foster's and some wallabies. Surely there's more than that?

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I Am Being Haunted by the Hotel Gods...

A poorly kept secret about yours truly is that, if I had ten million dollars, sort of like the old farmer joke, I'd probably keep running the hotel until it was gone. My long-term, long-time goal in life is to be an innkeeper.

If I could build one, I've got the design in my mind. It'd be L-shaped with our living quarters on the short end of the L and about 60 - 80 guest rooms /suites on the other end. Where the long side and the short side of the L come together would be the full-service restaurant, meeting/ banquet space, fitness, pool/spa and business center on two floors. I believe you need to be full-service so you can hopefully profit from multiple revenue streams. The decor would be classy, yet comfortable. Not too woodsy - I find that puts me off - and not too fussy either. The idea is to make each guest feel like they are at a place they wish was their home. In a perfect world, the lodge (Inn?) would be on about 100 acres so that we could also feature a traditional Russian banya on top of the standard amenities. The banya, as in Russia would be in a separate building and offer a full, Russian style banya experience.

A banya, so you know, is essentially a sauna. But the banya building itself features a lounge area where you can enjoy tea or water between sessions in the sauna and the pool. The banya I was in also had a second floor lounge featuring pool and other table games. The experience, then, is to shower, sit in the sauna until you've worked up a good sweat and then jump into a small pool roughly the width of a lap and a half or two laps in an Olympic sized pool and maybe 20 feet long. Then you return to the sauna and repeat. If you wish, you can take a break with some wonderful tea and a light snack. Personally, I recommend sweetening your tea with one of the fruit jellies or jams available. It is a wonderful, relaxing experience. The best part is that kids aren't there! Sorry. I guess you could have 'family time' and non-family time in the banya, but its use in my dream Inn would be by reservation only to assure comfort and privacy. I don't want your kids in my sauna and you don't really want mine in yours - know what I mean?

Having the acreage would not only allow for future expansion into individual guest cabins, it also provides for some outdoor activities as well. The prime location would have some lake frontage for walking the beach, fishing or just enjoying the view. 100 acres (or more!) would allow hiking and biking trails as well. I also think a location with four seasons would be beneficial to attract year-round business for recreation. The central portion would feature a large, stone fireplace and a cozy place to curl up with a book and/ or a drink of some kind - be it wine or tea (suit yourself!) - and unwind. I love kids, but this inn probably would not attract a whole lot of "family" business and that is fine. Kids can be hard on a hotel. Ask anyone who's hosted a baseball or hockey team for a weekend tournament. Families are great but the management and staff of my hotel would have a 'zero-tolerance' policy for improperly supervised children. Too much liability exposure for me. I think I would attract more business than I would alienate with this approach. Back in my hotel days, I comped a lot of rooms because of "some people's kids" and it really hurts. Trust me. It wasn't the fault of the hotel itself and you still lost revenue. That means that you have to make it your issue and monitor behavior more closely.

That being said, there is a website I found about 18 months ago called Now, mind you, it is a great site to visit if you are shopping for a hotel or even wishful thinking. However, the problem is that despite the fact that I don't remember setting up a search on the site, I am now getting several e-mails each week calling my attention to new listings like this one. I think it is a conspiracy.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Support a great cause for free

I think everyone knows someone who's life has been touched by lymphoma, leukemia or other blood-related cancers. For me the list is getting too long. My sister sent me this link to a site that rewards you for doing online surveys by donating money to the Lymphoma Research Foundation for each survey you complete. You can select the number of surveys you're willing to complete each month based on the profile you complete during the registration process.

Everyone wants to make a difference. This is one small way that costs you nothing but time. Thanks for checking it out.

Monday, February 12, 2007

SOB of the Week

Here we have something that makes you go "Hmmmmmm"

This guy abused his role as the spiritual leader of this church and sold the whole thing to buy himself "a brand-new black BMW and a laptop - exploits he later chronicled in a cheeky, almost gleeful blog about his double life as a sinner." All I can say is "What the Fuck?"

The trust that is placed in the station of minister / leader of the church in any faith is immense. To violate that trust is an unfathomable transgression against a multitude of victims. I mean, at the very least, you would expect a religious leader to be familiar with a few verses in Exodus known as the Ten Commandments, one of which is "Thou Shalt Not Steal". What is really sickening is that this guy only did six months and now wants a book deal!



What a weekend! We put the period on the birthdays last month with the official party for the friends on Sunday afternoon. I, of course, thought it would be brilliant to have a build-your-own-pizza party. The results were mixed but the kids had a good time and that's what matters, right?

This being Monday, I introduce you to my new habit. I am going to try to accomplish my seven in '07 which includes losing a big chunk of weight. To make it stick, I'm taking it slow at first. Each week, I will try to break a bad habit or add a good one. This week, my goal is "5 a day" that means five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Wish me Luck!

Friday, February 9, 2007

AAAHHHHH!!!! That FEELS good!

You know, I get asked all the time what it is like parenting older kids, even adults, vs. younger kids. The Khan and the Senator being four and nine with numbers 1 through 4 being 22, 19, 19 and 17 respectively. I have to say, first off, that all kids are different regardless of age and you must parent them all differently. #1, for example, is very high-strung and sensitive. Back in the day, you only had to look like she was in trouble and she'd cry. For #2, nothing was "fair". He pushed the limits more and got in more trouble - having come into my world late in the game compared to #3 and #4 - than the others did. Finally, however, he came around to my system and is now doing well. #3 and #4 are too much like me. The good part, is you can reason with them most of the time. The bad part is that they can be a real pain in the ass.

What is "my system" you ask? It's pretty simple really. My mother told me once that she figured her job as a parent was to work herself out of a job. It made sense to me so I tried to do things the same way. From the outset, #3 and #4 knew that their top priority was to go to school and work hard at it. Well, for #3 work hard might be relative but I digress. They knew that homework had to be done and grades needed to be at or above a certain level or it wouldn't go well with them. I don't mean demanding A's, by the way (although we have friends who think that we do). I mean that they had to work hard and do their best. If they worked hard and did their best and earned a "C" that would be okay. Not working hard and earning a "B" would not be okay. Does it make sense? This philosophy evolves through getting to know your kids. For example, by the time #3 was in sixth or seventh grade, I knew that if he had anything lower than a straight "B" the odds were that he hadn't turned in all his assignments for the class. On several occasions, this meant he'd get grounded for C's on his report card. The first time this happened, I was persona non grata for the duration, but he came to understand that I wasn't kidding. By high school, this was no longer an issue. I think he's better for it even if his statistics professor this semester wouldn't recognize him.

#4, conversely, either learned from her brother's trials or just was born with a work gene that came out of nowhere. Her dad is a huge slacker and I, like #3, believe that a B will do if it is easier than earning an A (well, I did in high school but by the end of my Bachelor's I'd gotten over it). She pushes herself almost too hard. She's goal-oriented and very focused on the outcome she expects. Sometimes I am in awe of her drive and her vision. All four are smart, two of them have always believed it, one is learning and the other is finally starting to believe. The Navy has been good for #2 because it is showing him what he's capable of and allowing him to show what he knows. #1 is looking beyond her current position at the store that gives me a headache and wondering what else there is. I do think she's figuring it out.

The rest of my "system" basically is giving them responsibility as they are able to handle it and using the old standard cause and effect approach. If "A" then "B" or if Not "C" then Not "D". For example, if you do not clean your room, you cannot play video games. If you do the dishes, you can use the car. Simple really. The most important thing is to help them develop judgement and critical thinking skills and to use them. The greatest gift you can give your kids is common sense. Take my word for it. And let them be themselves. Don't make them what you want them to be, rather let them become who they will. Hopefully, your careful guidance will point them along a path you can be proud of.

The Senator and the Khan have been such a welcome addition to this family. I won't say, however, that it has been a breeze. It is very different to parent a 13 year old vs. a 5 year old vs. an infant and #4 was 13 when the boys came home with us. You have to parent those ages differently and, yes, you get out of practice. Parenting an infant is very easy. Their needs are simple and, despite what other parenting bloggers would have you believe, parenting them is uncomplicated. Common sense, for us at least, does the trick. Change them when they're wet, feed them when they're hungry and love them all the time. They, by virtue of their own cuteness, get all the attention they need in a reasonably functional household. Especially in ours with five adoring older siblings along with their parents.

A five year old is a different story. The Senator is bright, funny and compassionate but he had never had parents before he had us. Having parents, believe it or not, takes some getting used to. The older siblings and little brother were no big deal for him. In his mind he had a family of 12 siblings in his orphanage group. The challenge was being loving and firm and finding the right balance between wanting to give him everything he'd missed in the last five years and not overwhelming him with the possiblities. I think, for the most part, we did okay with that. He's a video game junkie but no more so than other kids his age now. The hard part is when he gets in more trouble than normal and he still - after all these years - thinks we'll send him back. Can you imagine? I would not want to imagine life without the Senator in it.

The good and bad part of bringing older and younger kids together is the closeness that results. The older kids unanimously adore their little brothers. In fact, I think that they all get along better because of the younger two. The four of them are baptismal sponsors to the younger two and they all feel a sense of responsibility for them. Sometimes, it almost seems like the little boys have four extra parents. But the extra parents are the "cool" parents that give them brownies for breakfast (well, #1 and #3 anyway, #2 and #4 would never - they're almost as mean as the Sarge and I) and let them play Nintendo all day.

The bonds between them are so cool. #4 and the Senator get along very well. She is a bossy older sister, but that's okay with the Senator because she usually says "Yes" to Nintendo. #3 and The Khan have an idol worship type of thing happening. Because of #3's sheer size - especially compared to the Khan's - the Khan thinks his "Big Buddy" can do anything. When the Senator had a problem on the bus about a month and a half ago, the Khan thought the solution was "My Big Buddy ride you bus!" Not to worry, I don't condone physical violence of that nature. I taught the Senator some joint locks, control holds and maybe just wee bit of self defense ("let them hit first and then do this" - that's how I roll). The Senator, being mostly a pacifist, thought I was nuts. And conversely, when it comes to the Khan, #3 says that "On a cuteness scale from 1 to 1000, that kid is about ten million!"

I am really blessed to know all six of these people and have a chance to watch them grow and become really great adults. The playdough philosophy still stands, but I think it worked so far. I haven't had to squish any of the older ones and start over in quite awhile. It must mean we shaped them pretty well after their last squishing.

I do have one bit of advice for you though. When children are closer together - like the Senator and the Khan, it is better to hold one out of school until they are both ready to start. It is okay to start a 10 and a five year old together. Doing so will avoid exposing your toddler to the things that happen in the typical elementary school. Trust me. When my four year old passes gas, rather than the "Excuse Me" that we taught him at home (or blaming his brother, mother, father or the nearest pet for it - like #3 taught him) he smiles broadly and exclaims "AAAAHHH! That FEELS good!

Thursday, February 8, 2007


"Mom you should get a job at my school."

"As what? I didn't go to college to be a teacher, you know."

"Maybe you could be a janitor or something?"

"And clean up poop all day?"


Getting Started

I'm going to move my blog here from MSN. Stay tuned. Thanks!