I am a work at home mom with 7 kids, one of which has PDD-Nos (autism). Need I say more...
An Empty Nest, Temporary Insanity and the Origami Stroller
I've been experiencing empty nest syndrome, even though 3 of the 7 kids still live at home.  It doesn't help that he is begging me to have another.  I hate the morning sickness, the complications and most of all labor!  I still have nightmares.  Not to mention, I gained weight with the last one-which never happened before.  Writing about baby products is another event that is not helping my situation.  When I see stuff like this power folding stroller appropriately named the Origami Stroller, I start to play with the idea of having another one.  I'm not getting any younger and neither is he.  He has a son that is about to turn 30 soon.  WT?!

It's been over a year that I have been playing with the idea.  I thought that perhaps becoming a foster parent would be a better solution.  I mean, who wants to wake up for feedings at dawn.  Not me!  I mean, I would if I had to.  I keep telling myself one of the kids might get married in 10 years and give me a grandchild. That doesn't really make me feel better.  That's a long time and it's just an estimate.  My kids are too involved in school and their careers to even date.  

I'm experiencing temporary insanity.  It's the only explanation...

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Affordable scrubs

Guest post written by my buddy Angelo Cooper

Two of my daughters are nurses at our local children’s hospital. So every day they have to wear scrubs to work. They have always complained about not being able to find cute and affordable scrubs that are soft to the touch. Most of the ones that they have purchased in the past have been the stiff scratchy ones that still feel the same even after they have been washed numerous times in fabric softener. Since I know how to sew, I decided that I would try to make them some scrubs for their birthdays out of some softer material. The pattern certainly was not difficult. So I made the scrubs and gave them to them, and they absolutely loved them. Their friends noticed them and wanted some too. The word spread, and now I have a small scrub business that is actually doing very well. I set up the business’s internet through T1 Orange. And I have a crew of seamstresses that work for me out of a small warehouse nearby. Whoever thought that a business could grow out of a complaint?

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The Tire Flew Off!
Two weeks ago, my son was on his was to work at 11:15am.  He was to start work at 12pm.  A few minutes after he left, he called me.  I was a little worried.  Why a call so soon after he left?

"Mom, my tire flew off."  he tells me.

"What?!  What do you mean, your tire flew off?  I exclaimed.

"I was driving and got to the part of town when you do 35mph.  I slowed down and all of a sudden my car made a sound and the front fell forward on one side.  Then I heard metal grinding.  I pulled over in front of the garage, where I got out and saw that my tire was missing."  he explains.

"Thank God no one was harmed.  Stay there, I'm on my way.  I'll call AAA when I get there."  I told him.

The mechanic from the garage can't believe it.  Apparently, the threads on the lug nuts came off and the whole tire flew off.  We couldn't find the tire, but later that day a homeowner said it landed on his porch and damaged his bannister.  

Monetary damages:  $200.00 for the homeowner
                                $46.00  to replace the tire with the spare

The money is irrelevant.  

I am grateful God kept my son and all surrounding people from harm. 


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Storage Wars

The article written by Alonso Kramer.

I love to watch “Storage Wars”. I can’t believe how much the pickers bid on the storage units. Sometimes they find a winner, but sometimes they really lose. I was watching an episode the other day when I was searching TEXAS electricity providers on-line. There was a new character on the show. He showed up wearing expensive brown cowboy boots and a matching brown suit. All of the other pickers were not happy that he was there and insisted that he was just going to drive the price up for each unit. He ended up running the bidding up on one storage unit. When he got it out and really started digging. Good thing he was wearing gloves because the unit was so nasty. There were even bed bugs in the unit! He was adding up the total and hit a jewel in the back of the unit. He found an original Nintendo gaming system. He sold the thing for two thousand dollars. That one find in a mix of nastiest doubled his money! If you haven’t seen it yet, you should start watching it!

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The Simpsons Monorail Episode
Tags: musings

Contribution by Elmo Farmer

The Simpsons monorail episode is one of the best in the series. Where some people may say that the Simpsons is going down hill, most everyone can agree that in the show's heyday it was one of the best programs around. The show can still be seen in syndication on www.cabletelevision.net. If you get the chance this early episode is one of the best ones hands down.

The monorail episode was written by former Simpsons writer Conan O'brien. He later went on to achieve fame as a late night talk show host, but contributed to this show more so than any other writer in their earlier seasons, such as the 4th season in particular. On of the best things about this episode is that is was able to feature the late Phil Hartman, and is a showcase to his talent as a voice actor.

This episode is essentially about a scam artist who tried to grift the town out of a large amount of money they have received by building a monorail. He has a catchy tune and convinces the townspeople with great ease, and Homer is chosen to be the driver of the fundamentally flawed vehicle. It has some of the best sarcastic and one liner jokes of the series and is worth checking out to any Simpsons fan.

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Guest post from: Constance Rodgers

I had no idea where to begin looking when I decided I wanted to go to art school. Basically, I decided my room or in the park with my wireless from Clear-internet.com looking up different lists of art schools, and exactly what their specialties were. The hard part was, I didn't even really know what I wanted to study yet! Was it going to be art history, or how about culture and design? I had always loved sculpture and watercolors, but could it really make a living in these fields? I spent so much time online I felt like I was never going to get to school, but I stumbled across that perfect University and quickly applied. Only three weeks later, I heard back that I had been accepted and I was overjoyed! I'm now in my first semester at school and I love studying art all day long. I still haven't declared an official major, but I'm really starting to narrow it down which is encouraging to say the least! One day I'll make a decision!

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Autism Awareness Products
Wow, it's been some time.  Here I am thinking about getting the word out about my friend's cafepress store on Autism Awareness Products and I sign in to see the last time I updated this site was in 2007.  Could it really have been that long?  Apparently, yes it has been.

First, I wanted to get the word out about my friend Desiree's cafepress store.  She is a great mom to a beautiful autistic son.  She is raising her son on her own (divorced).  After searching on the net for products that would alert others to her child's special needs, she was disappointed.  She couldn't find any products.  Being the entrepreneur that she is, she decided to design her own creations.  What a great idea, don't you think? 

If you like her products or know someone that might, please take the time to share the site by email, Twitter, Facebook or any other social media site you use.

Thanks for reading this and I'll be back to update this blog soon..

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Actions That Come Back to Haunt

 Have you ever found someone's secret and been shocked?


These past couple of days, I have been rememberng some really unbelievable situations I've been in. 


Many years ago, I was dating a guy.  I had just come out of a relationship that lasted close to 4 years.  He had been trying to meet me for some time.  (He knew my sister.)  He was about 7 years older than me.  (Yeah, you would think he was mature...)  I was still vulnerable.  Perhaps this is why things happened the way they did..  I was very busy.  I was in college full time, worked full time in a bank as a supervisor, worked part time at The Gap and worked occasionally on some print, commercials and extra work.  I was also involved in a singing group and we met regualrly for vocal training and choreography. 


He was in the music industry.  He spent many hours in the studio, at performances with his artists, promotional gigs and more.  We started spending a lot of time together, just hanging out.  He quickly vowed to make me fall in love with him.  I found that to be an arrogant goal.  This is what really made the bond. During the time we were hanging out, his best friend died.  Now I don't remember if he was murdered or died in the line of duty.  I believe he was a detective.  I was there for him during his mourning.  As many of you know, when you help someone through a traumatic experience...it brings one closer.  I believe this is we fell in love. 


I'm sure you're wondering where I'm going with this. 


His friend's wake was unusual.  I was by his side, along with his buddies.  I brought my friend with me for support.  We were both hungry, since we had left work and gone straight to the funeral home.  As we walked out, we saw a girl that I had attended high school with.  She gave me a strange look.  I wasn't friendly with her at HS, so I kept walking out.  As she entered, there were hushes and whispers followed by glances in our (my best friend and I) direction. 


Months later, things started going down hill.  He was erratic.  He would call at weird hours.  He couldn't recover from his friend's loss.  I knew something was wrong.  I couldn't pinpoint it.  There was one event that made me uncomfortable.  There was one particular weekend weeks before, that I couldn't find him.  He wasn't at any of the clubs or at his apartment.  He hadn't answered his pager, car phone, business phone or home phone.  After that weekend, I never had that problem again.  When I confronted him, he said he was going through stuff.  Since he was dealing with his friend's death, it kind of made sense.  Or did it?  It still bothered me.  It just didn't feel right.


The next change was even more bizarre.  He was becoming possessive and jealous.  I was beginning to feel suffocated.  I couldn't figure him out. 


Secrets.  Somtimes when you get involved in a situation, it is with one intention.  The problem is that there may be unresolved issues, dark secrets or past actions that can snowball into an avalanche of problems.  Deal with the issues.  Don't try to have your cake and eat it too.  It will backfire.


During a beautiful day, I was walking through the spring garden close to my home.  I bumped into his "friend".  He had always made it clear that he wanted to date me, but I ignored his advances.  Perhaps his intentions were malicious in some people's eyes.  Til this day, I'm thankful for his honesty. 


"I think you need to know, where he was that weekend."


I braced myself.  I didn't know what I was going to hear, but with an introduction like that..it knew it was going to be big.


"You couldn't find him, because he was getting married."




I would have never guessed.


Why was that the farthest thing from my mind?  Here's why:

1.  He had his own apartment.

2.  I had met his close friends. (He didn't have family here.  He was raised by his grandmother, she had passed away.)

3.  I often accompanied him to his work related activities.

4.  I had his home number, business number, pager and car phone number with access at any time (except for that weekend).


Shocked, I didn't say anything.  When he called me, he asked if I would marry him.  He claimed to have bought me a ring.  I ended our relationship.  What followed was a stalker's story.  Now, I doubt that his friend had told him he confessed to me.  He would have beat his but.  I didn't want to discuss the details.  He lied and that's all there was to it. 


Years later, I bumped into him.  He wanted to explain the situation.  I let him, but it didn't make anything ok.  Long story short, he was sleeping with a girl.  She got pregnant and her father made them have a shot gun wedding.  They were divorced shortly after and she doesn't let him see their daughter.  That's horrible for the child, she's actually about 17/18 now. 


The part I hate the most about this part of my life is that I was dating a married man...  Had I known about his relationship, I wouldn't have given him the time of day.  Why would someone do something like this to a human being?  His bad choices effected many lives.


Before you do something that you know is wrong, think about the repercussions.  Your actions effect more lives than just YOURS.


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Do You Eat Weird Combinations of Food?

Sometimes you pick up habits from people in your life.  You end up spending a lot of time with the people that you work with and it's inevitable that you pick up some of their idiosyncracies when it comes to eating.


When I lived and worked in the Bronx, I was surrounded by many cultures.  We were exposed to all kinds of food and traditions.  What was the outcome?  How many people do you know that eat matzo with mayo, butter or even caked with peanut butter? 


Here are some crazy combinations I've come across:

1.  I had a friend and her parents were from Cuba.  They used to put a large cube of CHEESE in their coffee.  They said it was common place in their country.

2.  My high school sweetheart used to put mustard inside his knish.

3.  One time I had a coworker place an order at the deli.  I told her to order a chicken cutlet sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mustard on a hero.  IF they didn't have chicken cutlet, I would want a tuna fish sandwich on a roll.  She bought me a tuna fish sadnwich on a hero with mustard.  It was soo good, I still order that mistake!

4.  My cousins put ketchup on their white rice.  Eeeeww.

5.  When I was little I LOVED mayo.  I used to hate to eat, so my mom gave me whatever I would eat when I asked for it.  I asked to have my mashed potatoes with mayo, so she gave it to me.  I still eat them like that.  My ex-husband makes fun of my kids because they like it too.

6.  I had a supervisor that used to put Planter's Salted Peanuts in his PEPSI.  He said it was common in the South, where he grew up.  Anyone care to confirm that?


Got any funny combinations you want to share?

What is Page Rank?

For those of you that didn't understand my last post, here is the explanation.  Page Rank is a way that Google's Search Engine determines the authority of a website or blog.  On of the methods used by Google to determine the page rank of a site was to factor in the amount of links that a site/blog had pointing to it.  This is just a part of Google's secret algorithm.


With the evolution of the internet, companies discovered advertising on popular blogs like Dooce, Boing Boing, Engadget and TechCrunch was less expensive than traditional methods and the traffic was more targeted.  Companies started emerging with the sole purpose of selling ad space on blogs in the forms of banners, text links and reviews.  Not only did this create a sudden craze for backlinks (to increase page rank and make some money as a blogger).   It created a need for more bloggers with good content to spend these major advertising dollars.  It also created schemes and techniques to game the system.  Some bloggers like JohnChow ran contests on their blog in return for links, faves on Technorati and RSS subscribers.  Others like DoshDosh particpated in Technorati trains and still others offered free links for a review with a particular keyword text link.  Another way to lure advertising dollars was to remove "no follow" tags from sites.  This would cause google bots to follow any links in the comments or post.  What's the poblem with that?  This "adulterated" the "perfect" Google Algorithm.  Search results no longer brought up the best information for your query, it brought up the most popular blogger's post or the company that spent the most money on a "get paid to blog" site.  Google believes paid blogging and tex link ad companies were deliberately "selling" page rank by disguising it as a review, a link or a simple plug. 


Not only was Google not producing their "perfect search results", they were losing out on advertising dollars.  So what did they decide to do?  Punish bloggers.  How? 


Step One in Google's Plan to Control the Internet

First Matt Cutts posted an entry on his blog that asked bloggers to report aother bloggers they thought were getting paid for links.  (For those of you that don't know who Matt Cutts is...he is the poster boy for Google.)  The funny part is that anyone can accuse their competition.  It's like a witch hunt on the internet.


Step Two in Google's Plan

Companies that pay for reviews like ReviewMe.com or for text links like Tex-Link_ads.com base their advertising dollars on three things. 

1.  Google Page Rank

2.  Alexa Ranking

3.  Technorati links (or favorites)

By taking away a blogger's or webmaster's page rank, they greatly effected their earnings.  For A-list bloggers like JohnChow, ProBlogger and others...it was not a big blow.  Their page views, comments, RSS subscribers and popularity on the net still get them top billing.  For less popular bloggers, it had devastating results.  Many single moms, disabled and reitred individuals were writing reviews to supplement their income.  The worst part is that Google started to penalize bloggers that hadn't even participated in compensated advertising. 


Step Three

What made so many individuals angry is that Google continued to advertise these companies that paid for links and reviews.  Many of the advertising companies still had their page rank, while bloggers were losing theirs.  Bloggers were calling Google hypocrites.  What did Google do?  For a short period of time, Google pulled ads from companies like TextLinkAds and LinkWorth.  It didn't last long.  I'm sure they are some of the biggest advertisers they have.  It didn't make for good business.  I googled several of the text link advertising companies while writing this post.  Google is taking their advertising dollars once again. 


The Google Ewar is a little more involved than this.  I just wanted to give a short explanation of what is going on. 


Now that you understand what I'm talking about, if you want to see your page rank...download the Google toolbar and make sure you have the page rank tool displayed.  It will tell you your page rank in the blogosphere.  The perfect score is 10 which you will see every time you visit www.google.com.  The A-listers have 6 pr and above.  By the way, even The WashingtonPost and Forbes lost their page rank in the first wave of penalties.  Some of the blogger's page rank was restored within days while others are still being penailzed. 


Welcome to the business side of blogging....





Has Anyone Lost Their Page Rank?

Has anyone heard about the buzz surrounding A-List bloggers losing their page rank due to their business dealings with textlinkads, payperpost and other advertisers?  Some people lost their page rank completely, while others were penalized a point or two.  Google isn't playing....


Has anyone else had google search their blog every day? 


Just wondering?  I lost the page rank on four of my blogs.  I'm not too upset because I still have other ways to generate income, but knowing one entity has so much control over the internet is a little scary. 


So, has Google's e-war effected you?  How so?

Talked to the Teacher: Theory Confirmed.

Yup, she was intimidated by him.  According to my daughter and another child in the class...he didn't talk back.  He did say..."You don't want my mother to come here..."  She verified that exactly how he said it. 


This is what she said:

"The classroom was out of control."  (Yup, that's The Diva's major complaint.  She yells and tries to intimidate the kids that she chooses.)   "I couldn't take attendance because it was so chaotic."  Now, why would a teacher admit to this incompetence?  I did agree attendance is important in a time of bomb threats and school shootings.  Hey, I'm reasonable.


Anyway, she told me she couldn't get them to settle down.  She stated he was staring at her and someone said something inappropriate ...mind you while she was staring at him.  She said she couldn't say it was him...but she told him to leave anyway.  So, I asked..."So you pinpointed him...could it be because you are afraid of him?"   "So, you threw him out because you were scared of him staring at you....."  Yes and no.  Proceeded by "What are you trying to say?"  Are you trying to say something?"


 Question: "Do you usually throw kids out of the class?" 


"No.  I talk to them in the back room, but I had to gain control of the class."


"By throwing my son out of class?" 


"Yes. The class was still disorderly, but I was trying to gain control.  I had to show them."


"By throwing my son out of class?"


"He has charisma.  He is well liked.  With teens, they egg each other on."


She used my son to try to gain control of a class she can't control. 


Long story short yes...but then she said...Are you accusing me of racism?


She adds:

"I just want to let you know...I didn't write him up.  But after talking to you...I think I should have."


Perception is reality. 


I'm definitely living in the wrong place.  I swear I'm living in the twilight zone.


Perception is reality?!?!?


Ok.  How did it end.  I tell her a little about the racism I've encountered.  She told me she would have never done that....


She told me my son was well behaved and she NEVER had a problem with him in the past.  She told me, "she really dont know him that well.  She didn't teach a class...it was study hall.  Regardless, she never had a problem with him before."  He was well behaved, but in this particular day she decided to exert her authority and use my son as an example. 


Ok.  Yeah. 


Next. She asked where I live.  I tell her.  She tells me she lives in so and so town.  I tell her "Oh, that's great.  That town is so integrated.  " 


Her next words:


"Oh yes, we have all kinds.  A nice mixture.  Between you and me, my husband and I always say all the poor whites live in my town and all the Blacks own the houses."  This was preceeded by giggle- giggle.


Nah...she's not racist. 


What say you?

Your Perception is Your Reality

What happens when perception is reality, but it's distorted? 


I've lived in a neighborhood where I'm a minority.  My school district had less than 5.9% Hispanics in 2004.  Blacks, Native Americans and Middle Easterners were even less.  So, I've been battling racism since I moved here.


I've been pulled over so many times, I lost count.  Why?  Well, because they can.  Have I gotten tickets...no.  I make sure I cover all the bases.  I don't give them ammunition. 


My sons are dark skinned.  My daughters are fair.  My son's have gone through hell from both students and staff.  My son has been physically assaulted.  Were the kids that were guilty brought to justice?  Nope.  Not even detention.  This has been happening since kindergarten.  Is there anything I can do?  No.  They say that they are being fair.  How?  Especially when my son didn't fight back.  One time in the Middle School, a boy wrapped a chain around his hand and punched my son in the middle of his chest.  The nurse was so alarmed, she called me at home.  She told me she was directed not to call me, but he was really hurt.  What happened?  He got an asthma attack.  I took him to his doctor and the ER.  Did the boy get any disciplinary action?  Nope.


Now he's in the high school.  He is 5"10" and 200 lbs.  He is shy and currently has 90 and above in all his classes.  He got thrown out of class yesterday.  He asked her why.  She said..."you were looking at me".


On Monday, I went to see the assistant principal.  Why?  He addressed my son disrespectfully, screamed at me on the phone and proceeded to do the same to Little One's father.  He actually pushed his chair back, got up and started shouting at him, pointing his finger at his face.  I feared for our safety.  No wonder my son was afraid.  The principal passed by the office and kept going.  Someone told him we were in there.  He came in and said:


"I thought he was in here with students, someone told me that there were parents...so I decided to see what was going on...."


My jaw dropped!  Can you agree with me?  If he passed by and heard him yelling irrationally and it didn't phase him...it's safe to say this is the assistant principal's normal behavior.  We couldn't get a word in edge wise.  He told us he was finished with the conversation and we could leave.  Guess what?!?!  The principal told us...he didn't see anything wrong with the asst. principal's  behavior.  He said that it was our perception!  We were being treated in a rude and unprofessional manner and he stood up for him. 


Yesterday, my son was thrown out of class by the teacher.  He asked why.  She said..."I don't like the way you were looking at me."  That was why she sent him to the principal's office.  My daughter couldn't believe what she witnessed.  She told me he wasn't being disrespectful or anything.  It leads me to believe that she is afraid of him... because he is a large Hispanic male.  He told her he didn't want problems.  He told her I had been there already and that she wouldn't want me to go again...since I had such a bad experience.  She said.." Tell your mother she is welcome anytime." 


I called at 9:19 am and left her a very pleasant message in a Snow White tone of voice.  She still hasn't called back.  It's 11:38am.  I don't think she's going to call.  She's probably scared of me too...


I'm tired of the racism in this district.  Let me break it down...$1800.00 mortgage-$900.00 goes to escrow for school and property taxes.  I have the right to be heard and feel safe even if it wasn't costing us $900.00.  Everyone should be treated fairly.  We all breathe the same air and bleed the same blood.  Why should someone's distorted perception of reality dictate how some students and parents are treated?


I'm still waiting for a call.  I think I'm just going to show up wth my ex-mother-in-law.  She's a school social worker for another district.  I don't feel safe entering the school alone.  Mondays' visit taught me one thing.  Justice in this school is not blind.  It's about the color of your skin.  Being a parent doesn't mean I'll be treated with respect.  I'm the wrong skin tone... 









More of the Same

I've been so busy with life, I haven't updated here in some time.  I miss this site, people are so warm and friendly here. 


What has been going on?  More of the same and a few new things too!


The Little One (#7 and autistic) is progressing nicely.  His vocabulary is increasing rapidly.  He's still behind, but he surprises us every day with new words.  He's also getting more and more active.  I spent Tuesday evening at the ER..again.


The Comedian is at the top of his classes.  A big change from last year.  His new found interest in school?  He wants to go to college to study computer programming.  Can't wait for that...


The Diva has a new found interest for taaaaaaaaaaadaaaaaaaa:

global warming.  She has been a vegetarian since January.  She's starting an eco-freindly club in school.  It's all in the works.  She's currently involved with  clubs that have her attending meetings with the local politicians.  She's doing some great networking for college.


The Entrepreneur is getting taller and his voice changed.  No more babies for here.  The Little One already lost both of his bottom teeth,  I cried....


The Chatterbox wants to start a band with her siblings.  She's into rock music now...


The Princess is happy with her school placement.  Her teacher is great, so far. 


Sleepy Dwarf is in CT in the Navy.  He's currently in the Naval Academy.  He loves it and that's great.


That's pretty much it.  During all of this growth, the fridge broke, the minivan repairs were grossly underestimated and I got hit with the senior ring and baseball registration fees-unexpectedly.  Some things never change...


Looking for old friend here
- Anyone know what happen to Momma Hester or Chitownfreak?
Hello from Kansas
- Hello! I got an email that Mindsay was going to be relauched. …
- I was looking through the list of templates that you can choose and I saw that there is one…
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