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re: Homegrown Democrat (karma: 1)
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6819, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:31 PM
Edited by Christine (207347) on 2012-11-21 22:41:30 spent, not spend
Somehow my real life keeps getting in the way of my diary. At the moment I'm taking a break from Thanksgiving dinner preparations so it seems like a good time to catch up.

So much to cover; Sandy the Super Storm, Halloween, the elections, the "still a work in progress" Christmas show, and several other topics I may not get to. To hit all the "big ones", let's start with Hurricane Sandy.

We had a few days notice that the North East would be hit hard by this collection of weather phenomena and we all prepared for the worst as well as we were able. Winter storms that knock out power for days at a time are not too unusual here, so we kind of know the drill; locate the emergency flashlights, radios, candles, water,charge all the cell phones and other electronics, buy batteries and batten down the hatches. When this kind of stuff happens in the winter, the temperature outside offers an alternative to indoor food storage for perishables, and it is always possible to melt a bucket of snow for water to flush toilets and such, but hurricanes present different problems. We all prepared for this as if we were going to war. And we waited.

While we waited, my dear friend called from Biloxi. God bless her. During hurricane Catrina, she lost both her dance studios and her home. So many of her students, friends, and family lost everything and yet she still managed to move forward, help everyone who was in greater need, and keep on dancing. She was calling to tell me she had us in her prayers, she offered some good advice based on her experiences back in 2005, and honestly released me from any anxiety about what was to come. I still get a bit teary eyed when I think of her kindness and sincerity. Pollyanna is not at all surprised that people like her still exist. When I hung up the phone, I bottled some more water, and continued to wait.

The winds were pretty fierce. A few big tree limbs came down in the yard, but luckily missed our cars and the decks. One tree fell away from the house. If it had gone the other way, it would have gone through the roof, but we were lucky. We lost electricity around 9PM, and because we were all tired from lugging water and carrying ice chests, propane tanks, gas cans, and bottled water, reading by candle light for an hour and going to bed early wasn't so terrible. In fact, it was kind of like camping! Actually, it was like camping in a Yankee Candle store. Every room smelled great! Having time to prepare gave me an opportunity to gather all the jar candles I've been given as gifts, or bought from kids selling stuff for fundraisers, and it was great being able to do it while we still had power. Knowing ahead of time that school was cancelled made it easier to notify families at the studio that we would be closed until November 1st (All Saints Day...)

When we woke up the next morning, we ate some of our "provisions" and ventured out to check the damage. It was like something from the Bible. Somehow, the angel of death and destruction had passed over our little tiny piece of the world. We were surrounded by downed power lines, flooded basements, and other assorted "after the storm" landscapes, yet we managed to be relatively unscathed. Thank you God!

We had power the next day. Most of the people in our town were without power for 8 or 9 days including my kids who live in town. My grandchildren live at the end of our road and came over several times a day to eat, bathe, or charge their Kindles, and my adult children arrived a few at a time to do laundry or work on their computers because their offices were without power. We were so blessed to be able to be command central. Most of them lost several hundred dollars worth of food, but no one went hungry. No one got hurt or sick, and eventually the power came back. The schools were closed for an entire week, so it was a nice time off to enjoy the grandchildren without the pressure of time schedules. I opened my studio on Thursday even though school was still closed, and although attendance was low, the kids who came to our "All Saints... D A N C E!", had a great time. They were getting pretty bored at home without power.

My oldest daughter and a friend of hers initiated a grassroots relief effort and managed to accomplish some amazing things. pahomepage.com . . .
This is an item from the evening news from early November, but they continued to do this and more for weeks. (Still are, as a matter of fact.) It is just tragic to see the tremendous loss in so many places. They've taken truck loads of the most needed items to Staten Island,NY, Long Island (Mineola,NY, I think) Toms River, NJ, Union Beach,NJ, someplace on one of the Brooklyn peninsulas, (sorry, I forget which one) and Rockaway (NY, not NJ). One of the local businesses saw the report on the news, and donated 144 new brooms. The response reminded me of 9/11/2001... people in this part of the country, especially New Yorkers, have a reputation for being kind of hard. NO SO! Just when I think I can't be any more impressed by random acts of kindness, something else takes my breath away.
Image hotlink - 'http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/21660_10151538518371729_388970390_n.jpg'

Needless to say, Pollyanna isn't surprised about this either.

For the first time in ...well....EVER.... we had not a single trick or treater. The devastation from the storm was so severe, the township cancelled it for October 31 and rescheduled it for Saturday. At that point, no one cared about begging for candy. We send ours to the shelters when no one came to the door. There's always next year.

Election day arrived before power was fully restored. I was stunned to see how short the lines were. All the poll workers were friendly and helpful, everyone was mannerly and well behaved while standing in line... again, post 9/11. I guess sometimes it takes a disaster to make people realize what really matters. I spent the day fearing the short lines were a sign that people with limited means were not making it out to vote. My daughter came home from college to cast her first ever ballot ever for President of the United States, and I hoped she would be able to remember that the first time she voted, her guy won. The outcome of the election was a surprise and a great relief.

And, although the title of this diary might indicate a passion for politics,I am going to end this entry now, and talk about the election another time. Right now, I have to return to the kitchen and turn chaos into a Norman Rockwell painting. Pollyanna is hopeful.

Keep On Dancing*
re: Homegrown Democrat (karma: 1)
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6819, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:55 AM
Edited by Christine (207347) on 2012-11-28 11:24:45 typo
Edited by Christine (207347) on 2012-11-28 11:29:45 too many dark words... this post needs a dark picture!
Pollyanna may have been hopeful, and after the fact, I do agree that there are a number of things to be "glad" about, after all it was "Thanksgiving Day", however, after almost a week to reflect on the holiday, I think I might just cancel about 93% of Christmas.

When my fifth child was an infant a good friend commented, "I feel so sorry for you when these beautiful babies all grow up. All Those Personalities ! Diane the prophet. Without going into too many details and dredging up the dark side of the Santa Land Diaries (my last failed diary)this is proving to be the reality. In fairness to all, this has been an extraordinarily challenging year. However, today I am carrying about 75 pounds of food to the trash can, which represents about a week's salary and at least 4 days of my life, two of them with very little sleep, and the bad feelings far outnumber the good.

Predictable? Sadly, despite my greatest efforts and optimistic faith in the power of love, YES! My much loved and greatly missed daughter in law has been on total life support since June of last year. Her parents, who shared the Thanksgiving celebration with us many times, have gone completely grief induced CRAZY and launched a legal attack on my son (her husband) and an in town social (gossip)attack on one of my daughters and another son for helping their brother through these difficult times. Another of my sons is engaged to her sister, and they have enlisted him to "their side", as they put it, (and aside... I thought we were all on the same side...the side of the DIL and her family...which is her husband and children!) which drives a tremendous wedge between the brothers and sisters. Another son was best friends with DIL's brother since they were children and his recent wedding was completely overshadowed by the rancor involving the slashes made to the guest list. The mother in law and father in law continue to place the most unfair and unreasonable demands on our mutual grandchildren. For example, on Thanksgiving, instead of having dinner with their healthy parent, and the rest of their extended family, they were forced to spend from 3PM until 9PM with their mother (who can't eat, talk, move, or even blow a kiss or blink...)while the grandparents drink and bad mouth all of us, leaving the children so confused and ill at ease it almost moves me to violence. Their only cousin is just 2-1/2 years old and had to wait until after 9 o'clock at night to "play" with his cousins he so adores. His usual bedtime is 7PM. The poor baby was so tired. But if he was going to celebrate with his family, this was the only way.

Unfortunately, there is just no more money to throw at lawyers,(we're edging on $50,000.00, so far) so we were all bullied (again) by the grieving in-laws. Aside, we are all grieving too. We love our DIL, we loved the life we all worked so hard to build together. Believe it or not, it isn't that easy to manage holidays for 19 people at the same time, but because it was important to us, we figured it all out and made it work wonderfully for years. Now...train wreck. Me miss her, we miss the children and the normalcy we work hard to maintain. To rub just a little more rock salt into the open wounds, I was just informed that they have to be with their mother for all of Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, but my son can pick them up at the grandparents' after Noon on Christmas Day. That should be just enough time to pile them into the car and drive them to upstate New York to make their traditional visit to their great grandparents (ages 81, 83, and 85),put in their time, and drive home to bed. They also have to be at their mother's side for two required hours the next day. If it isn't hard enough to lose your mother when your age is still in single digits, all this? Ugh.

Every one of my seven children are hurt and insulted in their own ways about all of this. Because we are a (relatively) civilized people, rather than duke it out over the issues, most of them made an appearance on Thanksgiving and hemorrhaged blood from their mouths from biting their tongues in the presence of the others. They may be well mannered, but they all hold strong and differing opinions on all of this. Thus, the overflowing trash bins. I can't see that repeating this again on Christmas is going to be good for anyone.

So..... after I scraped the pecan pie into the trash, and packaged at least 15 pounds of turkey into zip lock bags to go to the soup kitchen, I called the adult children and tore into a long suppressed rant. I am cancelling Christmas. There will be no Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning here. We usually all go to mass together on Christmas Eve and spend the rest of the evening getting ready for Santa. Traditionally, everyone arrives in their PJ's first thing in the morning. My oldest daughter brings breakfast and we have an old fashioned Christmas, the kind they all grew up with, until lunch time, when we all pile in cars and drive two and a half hours to celebrate with the rest of the extended family. I see no point in feeding into the hypocrisy of exchanging gifts and biting our tongues some more. I told them all that if any of them have already purchased Christmas gifts for me or my husband please return them or give them to charity. If not...please don't. Santa Clause is NOT coming to town this year. Instead of attending mass on Christmas Eve, we will be doing 10:00 on Christmas morning. All are welcome to join us, or not.

When the 3 grandchildren are released from their obligations I will have a different kind of Christmas luncheon at the house and there will be gifts for them under the tree. Not a big pile, not in concert with everyone else, as has been the tradition. Their 2-1/2 year old cousin can have time to play with them before the trek upstate. The adults, including my own children, can sit and watch,and seethe in resentment if they choose, or can appreciate the fact that they didn't spend a ton of time and money on trying to capture the war torn ghost of Christmas past. There isn't anything worse than having to choose, purchase, and wrap, a gift for a brother or sister you are fighting with. Multiply this by 12 (my children and their spouses or significant others) and imagine the reality of it all. I am sick with grief over this, but I refuse to participate in or enable this kind of dysfunction. My gift to my family will be honesty and a good life lesson... play well with others or you won't be invited to play next time. If they continue to let our own family be defined by the insanity of reacting to the outside forces of my DIL's alcoholic parents, they will reap what they sow. Or they can just meet us upstate at their grandparent's home.

I know this might sound mean, but I love them all too much to usher them into an adult life of hypocrisy and disappointment. If our holiday traditions are going to be sullied by the fickle finger of fate, I don't have to pay for it. This is my gift to my husband.
Image hotlink - 'http://dancenet.s3.amazonaws.com/images/i602/647143.170santa_land_diary.png'

I said there were things to be happy about as well. Yes. The grandchildren did come for left overs all weekend. They live just down the road (the dirt road) and ride their bikes over several times a day. The intimacy of ordering up only their favorites, sweet potatoes with extra marshmallows, ham fried in butter,fruit salad, make your own ice cream sundaes with homemade whipped cream (not used on the 3 homemade pies, two of which went un-eaten)and having my undivided attention was probably the best memory of the holiday. Lemonade from lemons. I shouldn't complain about any of this. All in all, my life is full, rich, and extremely blessed.

Christmas may be different this year, and there may be anger and resentment over my decision to change things so much, but right now my own anger and resentment have reached a toxic level and I refuse to live with these kinds of feelings. I'll keep everyone informed, and who knows, a miracle may happen and I may change my mind.

Onward....

The annual Christmas show is going to be great. I know it sounds immodest, and even improbable given the fact that most of the dancers are little and inexperienced, but I wrote the show around their abilities, following just enough ballet history and tradition to make it literary, and have been tap dancing my old feet to death. After a bit of studio drama (isn't there always some?)we had two, two hour rehearsals at the studio and by 2 o'clock on Monday it was looking good.

I'll write about this next time. As I recall, this is a DANCE site, not a Blog for the Mentally Ill (me)so I'll get myself back in line and

Keep On Dancing*
re: Homegrown Democrat (karma: 2)
By Sumayah Comments: 6879, member since Wed Nov 12, 2008
On Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:41 AM
Edited by Sumayah (204191) on 2012-11-28 11:43:43
Christine wrote:

this is a DANCE site, not a Blog for the Mentally Ill (me)so I'll get myself back in line and

Keep On Dancing*


I don't believe that for one minute. We dance because we're broken. Dance is our therapy. It is what drives us to keep on keeping on. It fixes us, mends us, heals us, challenges us, drives us to tears. We're all mentally ill. That's why we keep diaries. Read any of the diaries and find one single diary that doesn't have its share of ups and downs. We feel safe here, protected, and I know I feel like I can say things that I would never, ever admit in person. It's a dumping ground where I can sort out my life and make heads or tails of things. Because we're all in bits and pieces, scraps, we understand and can relate. We have dance as our common denominator and because we're all walking in with part of soul missing, we sympathize. If this is where you release the negativity building up and it allows you to dance and heal, then by all means. And don't forget, there is beauty in being broken - possibilities. Just because we once were this, now we can glue ourselves back together and be something new entirely. And sometimes what we make is better than what we had. <3 I know I'm talking in circles, but don't apologize. Writing it out, dancing it out, it's a part of us - the good and the bad.
re: Homegrown Democrat (karma: 2)
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6819, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Tue Dec 04, 2012 04:02 PM
^A plaque for my dear Sumayah, whose wise words always comfort me in the crazier moments.
Image hotlink - 'http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/378820_533515813328165_646762213_n.png'

The world is upside down again.

The Christmas show should be wonderful. And it will be if by some odd change a miracle happens. Right now I need to vent...write...work it all out in my head....but there is so much brick and mortar work to be done, I'm going to skip the diary, and see if I can hunt up a pick up truck to borrow.

Ah.... the irony.

MY HUSBAND runs a very successful trucking company! No time now to rant, rave, or burn down any buildings.... although now that my creative little fingers have typed this sentence for me to read, this is a solution I haven't considered!

Onward...

As soon as I finish the important writing I have waiting for me, I'll be back to write here.

Have a great day, my friends.

Keep On Dancing*
re: Homegrown Democrat (karma: 1)
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6819, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Tue Dec 11, 2012 08:31 PM
I spent most of yesterday cleaning out my car. It is just amazing how much crap I can stuff into a little BMW. Somehow, we are missing a few buttons and a bow tie from the Gingerbread Men costumes, but all in all, not bad.

I never did get the pick up truck. "The best laid plans of mice and men", and "all that jazz". Years ago, we did a recital we called, Road Trip . The school we used had a heavy black curtain and we weren't allowed to pin anything to it. I got my hands on some 4'x8' building materials (like sheet rock, but lightweight foam)and used them as a "Driving off into the sunset" type background. We attached them to folded lunch tables, and rolled them out in front of the back curtain, dressing the wheels in black felt to blend into the black backdrop. They were perfect for the theme. In fact, they worked so well, the next year I superimposed a "cityscape" on top of it via black spray paint and lots of blue tape, which when pealed off revealed the pink, white, blue, purple, and yellow lines from the desert-scape, and it was stunning. (yes... s t u n n i n g). My plan for this year, was to take five of the remaining "desert paint" panels and put a larger than life Candy Land game on top of it. I collected a ton of card weight, primary colored "blocks", cut them at appropriate angles, and hoped to finish up the details with, what else? more spray paint! It was a great plan.

Unfortunately, the plan depended on being able to move these building supplies from the storage trailer (about 1 mile from my house)to either my studio or my basement, so I could complete this task which I estimated would take about 6 hours. Now.... as some of you may know, one way I manage my particular brand of mental illness is to work out "formulas" to make the real world work in my fantasy world, and one such formula is this: "Every task you undertake, no matter how large or small, will take twice as long as you expect plus 20 minutes." If you apply this rule to this particular task, I needed 12 hours and twenty minutes to make this happen. Not impossible, in fact, rather reasonable. IF I HAD THE backdrops . The other part of the plan, was to attach three large panels of mylar on another set of panels to be placed in from of this Candy Land, so that for the first part of the play, the set would be the dance studio. Also, easy. Place the five Candy Land panels against the back wall, place the three "mirrored" panels in front of them, and when the scene goes from INT DANCE CENTER to EXT CANDY LAND, all we had to do was slide the three front panels off stage, which was supposed to go dark as Arabian concluded.

The night before dress rehearsal, it was clear all the promises about trucks, help, etc, were in fact, more empty promises, and rather than dwell on this reality, I dug out some light weight white banner fabric, glued the blocks to it, added some two foot lolly pops, a rainbow, and some candy canes it it, and tacked it to the black back wall of the stage, which has no back curtain. I thought it looked sad and pathetic, but others thought it was cute. The day of the show I hung two solid red lengths of wrapping paper to either side of the board with two big mylar tablecloths in the middle to attempt to create the look of a mirrored wall, the plan being that when the stage went dark, the paper and table cloths could be pulled down quickly (they were attached with a ton of duct tape...the miracle of modern life)and when the sleeping dancers "woke", instead of being in their dance studio, they were in Candy Land.

I was blessed to have a few volunteers who came early on show day, and honestly, without them I would have been screwed. I was already making my peace with the fact that Candy Land would just have to be the backdrop, and maybe we could just bring down the last row of lights for the first part of the show, when this family of helpers showed up.

As it happened, the stage never did go to complete darkness (just one missed light cue can make such a difference!) and two of us, dressed in black, did have to reach out and pull down the "Studio Wall" without the cover of darkness.Arggggggghhhh I may be the only one who felt this was a failure, but I already had much grander plans and this was just one more ridiculous rock in my shoe. However, the show ran from beginning to end with only one moment of me having to go onstage and move the littles back to their "spots", clearly marked with duct tape, so they wouldn't fall off the end of the stage. I regretted this too. Then again, if just one kid had gone off the front of the stage into the audience, it would have been much worse than me guiding them back to their spots. I'm still not sure I did the right thing, but it's over, so it doesn't matter now. Also, no one fell off the stage.

After all this complaining, I should say this: I am very proud of this show. All of my dancers are little,under 10, except for 3 teenagers and three adults. Using the basic skeleton of The Nutcracker,following a Party Scene (the dancers arrive at the Dance Center for a pajama party)seven little girls fall asleep and "Visions of Sugar Plums dance in their heads". My beginner pointe dancer did The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy ,followed by a lyrical dancer doing Arabian with silver scarves to cover the sleeping girls with magic. When they awoke, it was to a distant call from a Chocolate Chip cookie, calling them to Candy Land. Like The Nutcracker, they go off to the land of sweets and one by one, groups of "Treats" came to dance. We had Gingerbread Men, Rainbows and Lollipops, (and aside, I still can't believe Marvin Hamlish wrote this song!) Mandarin Orange Slices(danced to Chinese), Cotton Candy (Sugar, Sugar), and Hot Chocolate. The ending was quick and painless and followed by Hot Chocolate, Christmas Cookies, candy platters, and juice.

Thank G*d it's over. And I mean that in the very best way.

Time to go to work. I'll write more later.

Keep On Dancing*
re: Homegrown Democrat
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6819, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Wed Dec 12, 2012 08:19 PM
^This is a typographical mess. My apologies to any readers.

Christmas is just around the corner, isn't it? Ah... that explains why I don't have time to write, or edit.

I'm actually excited about the DDN Secret Santa. I just love the way everyone puts time and thought into their "gift giving". The warm wishes combined with the penny wise economic factor make it a great holiday tradition. I hope lots of members sign up this year. It's always fun to share these posts, and I might add...they are great opportunities for me to dump all my karma every day, which, is also a nice DDN tradition several members have embraced, "The Twelve Days of Christmas karma".

Off to work....

Keep On Dancing*
re: Homegrown Democrat
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6819, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Fri Dec 28, 2012 05:20 AM
My... I can't believe it's been so long since I wrote here. 'Tis the season. I foolishly thought I'd have more time once the Christmas show was over, but...duh...Christmas!

I opened the studio today for the first time since Saturday and it was good to dance. I almost cancelled because only two kids could make it and we had a bunch of snow, but I'm glad I didn't. I have my old people at the senior center tomorrow morning and that will force me to brave the snow covered roads and wind and get out early. I am determined to push myself for the next several months and not let winter get the best of me. Pollyanna reminds me that if I push through winter by dancing hard enough to keep warm, I'll be looking good come recital time. THIS is why Pollyanna is my very best, most admired, imaginary friend. Who else is going to tell someone my age that they are going to look even BETTER half a year from now? And...I believe her!

The twelve days of Christmas are underway. I think I might be in the middle of a Christmas package disaster, but I'm not sure. I finally started packing up a few little remembrances for friends afar (I never get to this before Christmas...too many family responsibilities)and had to rush to get them to the post office because of the snow storm. Some packages only have to travel a day or two, but some are farther away so I packed them first. One of the items were small tins of Bourbon Balls. I usually let them mellow for a few days, but I figured they could do this en route. Well, this morning I went to the "master tin" to pack up the next collection of parcels, and the bourbon balls are too wet.... must have been too liberal with the Jack...and are beige instead of powdered sugar white. The solution to this is easy...roll them in more 10X sugar...but the ones that are already in the mail? Well, the people on the other end are going to open them and say, "What the???? Is this an episode of hoarder? Is this a tin of litter box remains?" It is a most unattractive sight. Then again, perhaps the ones I packed didn't fare as poorly as those in the master tin.

I may send off some better ones, but I'm not sure. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Off to bed. Sweet dreams, DDN.

Keep On Dancing*
re: Homegrown Democrat (karma: 1)
By toroandbruinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 3627, member since Fri Oct 10, 2008
On Sun Dec 30, 2012 04:41 AM
Christine wrote:

...but the ones that are already in the mail? Well, the people on the other end are going to open them and say, "What the???? Is this an episode of hoarder? Is this a tin of litter box remains?" It is a most unattractive sight.
Doesn't matter. They'll still TASTE great which is what counts.
re: Homegrown Democrat
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6819, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Sun Dec 30, 2012 06:18 AM
^Actually, they do taste great. I've been afraid to mail out any more until they hold their "snow covered" look, but they are doing well. This kind of restores my faith in hard liquor! I hope to mail out more goodies on Monday, and hopefully when they arrive at the end of the week they should be stable.

I can't remember the last time I was so eager to see the year end. I know it sounds silly, as the worst parts of 2012 will follow us into 2013, but 13 has always been one of my very favorite numbers. Hard to argue with that logic.

We had almost a foot of snow today. I got my car stuck at the end of the road on the way home, but other than that, it was uneventful. No power outage, no falling trees, no frozen pipes. Regardless, I still hate winter. The kids are excited about skiing tomorrow, so I guess there is a bright side. Other years the snow started flying in October, so I guess I should be happy that we only have to worry about maybe another 10 or 12 weeks of this...not too bad, I guess.

Only two kids came to class today. They are both nice, sweet, little girls so it was a pleasure, but I hope everyone's New Year resolutions include better attendance at dance class. I know the holidays are full, but it seems there is always something. I am thinking about printing out a list of suggested "Resolutions for Dancers, 2013" but I'm afraid it might irritate some of the parents. Hum....cowardly... this is no country for old women.

Many more thoughts floating around my addled head but I must go to bed. Sleep is the best medicine I know.

Keep On Dancing*
re: Homegrown Democrat (karma: 1)
By PogMoGilliesmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3157, member since Tue Apr 24, 2007
On Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:18 AM
There is nothing wrong with printing out New Year's Resolutions to being a better dancer. Stick better attendance at class under daily stretching, keeping an extra pair of tights handy, and visualizing your dances as mental practice, and then it won't be viewed as super judgemental.

Hope your Christmas was nice, and I hope the nasty weather holds off!
re: Homegrown Democrat
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6819, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Mon Jan 28, 2013 06:32 AM
A few comments about Democracy.

Very messy business.

It is no secret to anyone who reads these pages that I tend to favor the ideals of the Democratic Party. It is also no secret to any adult with a brain, that even like minded individuals do not agree on everything and that ideals seldom reflect reality. Yet, we try. Well, I need to believe in the effort, all though lately, I'm not so sure.

I was so relieved that the last presidential election went as it did, I thought I'd give myself an emotional break from politics. For a moment, I actually believed the election would be the end of the nastiness and after the reality of the outcome, the powers that be would suck it up and find a way to fix at least some of what is broken with the system. The election was in the wake of terrible loss following the hurricane and it seemed that "an equal opportunity destroyer" like a natural disaster would be an easy place for legislators to find common ground. After taking far too long, the "aide" legislation that was recently passed contains so much pork I'm surprised those who crafted this don't have trichinosis. I've heard it said that "politics is like sausage. If you like it, don't watch it being made." How naive am I that I didn't take that sentence more literally? Pork is an essential ingredient in most sausage. Yuck!

In my heart of hearts, I want to believe in the good of all people, but the current political climate is so impolite (seems like a small word, but is it?)and the gridlock is so entrenched, I wonder how many of those in government sleep at night. If the refusal to act quickly and effectively on the hurricane weren't enough to disgust me, the gun control debate in the wake of the tragic killings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, and the odd increase of gun sales as the debate drones on and on, leaves me wondering just what the hell these so called representatives think they are supposed to be doing in Washington. Limiting access to assault weapons is not the same as repealing the Second Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. And rather than do something...even a few baby steps,both sides continue to rant and rant and do nothing. Aside, and I've already revealed my personal leanings on politics, how sad is it that the most stubborn and hostile members of congress seem to be part of the "Anti-Government" confederacy (of dunces!)They hate government involvement in just about everything: banking, education,health care, guns,...you name it...yet, they ran for and were elected to GOVERNMENT offices. I'm so confused.

So, while one side stubbornly refuses to let the other side do anything, and the other side spends the better part of most days pointing this out, and not accomplishing anything useful, productive, or necessary, people still live in destroyed coast line homes without heat or running water, and no one can afford the increased costs of their health insurance, especially in the crap economy. And let's pretend we don't know how many other innocent people have been killed with guns since Sandy Hook. I'm even more confused.

It's enough to make me give up sausage all together.

Ah... the best part of politics? Well...I'm still working on it.

Perhaps intense passion about an area of life most of us can not control wears us down emotionally so we don't become as emotional about things that really matter and we can't control either. It's a thought.

I thought I'd write more tonight, but I'm just too sleepy.

Good night good people. I'll see you in my dreams.

Keep On Dancing*
re: Homegrown Democrat (karma: 1)
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6819, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Sat Feb 02, 2013 07:14 AM
I should be sleeping, but it is difficult. So many thoughts haunting my mind. I am forcing myself to focus on one day at a time and not worry about things I can't change or control, but some days are easier than others.

I spent another long day at a medical center. The up side of this is that I am so appreciative of the doctors and other professionals and even the clerical staff at this particular facility, I try to overlook the fact that I drove 180 miles today, and the last two hours, which should have only taken 45 minutes, were in a snow storm. It is February, after all. I almost fell asleep at the wheel 4 times, which was very scary. Just too many miles this week.

On another subject, it looks like one of the wishes I'm working on is set to go. The little boy is just precious. He is going to go to Disney with his family in April, which should be a perfect time, I hope. One wish is stuck in limbo. The young lady wants to meet a celebrity who has never done a wish. She is 16, and I fear if the celebrity doesn't get back to the wish people soon she is going to loose interest in this. Yet another wish is stalled because the mom can't seem to get the paperwork together properly. This is the most frustrating wish I've ever worked.

The up side of this particular frustration, is that the other wish granter working on this with me is new to the process and anxious to learn everything. This is just the wish for that! We've been at this since before Christmas, and my heart is just aching for the child. The other wish granter suggested that we go back to the kid's house and sit down with her ourselves and help her do the paperwork. He is a really nice man, a retired cop, compassionate, but nobody's fool. After clearing it with the main office we're going back to the drawing board next Saturday to get this in line. The child wants a shopping spree and I think this is the perfect wish for this child. I'm hoping to get a few special things lined up and if I'm successful, this could be the start of a total make over for this particular young lady. Fingers crossed.

My husband unearthed an old video we took while in Hawaii 16 years ago. We spent a few hours watching it and by the time it was over we both had tears in our eyes. The kids grew up so fast. I miss them so much. I am so glad we were able to watch this rather boring tape and re-live some of those ordinary moments. Ordinary precious moments.

I have to get my recital program written. More songs and ideas than dancers, which makes it difficult. I am usually pretty good at this. Actually, I'm usually very good at this. I need to remind myself of this fact because my brain is just so cluttered at the moment I kind of feel like I'm not good at anything. Sleep would help.

The last time I slept a real night's sleep was a week ago Wednesday. On Thursday morning a family member called, having just received some tough test results. It's been one piece of bad news after another since then, thus the sleepless nights. No wonder I almost fell asleep driving home tonight.

When I get home from the studio tomorrow I think I'd love to take a nap. Such ambitious plans...

And on that note...I'm going to practice napping now.

Good night all...Sweet Dreams

Keep On Dancing*
re: Homegrown Democrat (karma: 1)
By PogMoGilliesmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3157, member since Tue Apr 24, 2007
On Sat Feb 02, 2013 02:29 PM
I'm sorry your day was so long, and involved driving so much in snow. I love snow, but I much prefer it when I can watch it drift or blow or pile up from safe at home.

Good luck with your recital ideas. Sometimes it's best to let the brainstorm happen, write out every idea you have and then cherry pick the best for your recital.
re: Homegrown Democrat
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6819, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Fri Feb 08, 2013 08:21 PM
Edited by Christine (207347) on 2013-02-08 20:49:44 let's see if I can clean this up a bit
Some good news. The recital program is coming together slowly. My mind is so cluttered I'm totally off the mark. Usually, I have 10 extra numbers ready to go, but this just isn't happening. There is a low grade panic taking hold of me over this, but I keep pushing forward and hope I'll pull a rabbit out of my hat sooner than later.

I've been avoiding writing too much here about my current distractions because I hesitate to violate the privacy of my family but some of it is almost old news now, so perhaps this is the time.

My youngest daughter had a good semester at college. When her grades arrived right before Christmas she'd earned a 3.2 GPA to her great delight. It may not seem like a big deal, but the fact that she finished three semesters living on campus at a very nice 4 year college was something many people did not believe possible given her many physical challenges and the "abbreviated" education she had until late in her high school career. She worked very hard. She made friends and never missed a single class except for doctor's appointments. When this semester started, she felt things were really falling into place. Great professors, interesting classes, a great suite mate, and she even had some classes with her new friends, which made the work a little easier and much more fun.

Over Christmas vacation, she made plans to volunteer at the Give Kids the World Village in Florida over spring break, with two very good family friends. When her police clearances and "work" schedule came through she was as happy as I've ever seen her.

Two weeks ago, she called to say her sinus infection didn't seem to be getting better although she was on antibiotics. Additionally, her vision was getting blurry. I suggested she call her eye doctor, which she did, and he said it might be caused by the antibiotics, but if it got worse, or if it did not improve in a day or two, to come into the office. The next day she called to say it was worse. By the time we got to the doctor's office, she was nearly blind.

The details are best saved for another time. The good news, after much ado she had surgery and five WONDERFUL doctors worked hard for three days before the surgery and then almost five hours in the operating room to re-attach her retina in her good eye. (She is already almost blind in her other eye, part of her long medical struggle over the years.) We are told, it will be impossible to predict how much vision will return to her good eye, but that in six weeks, if things stay stable, and all goes well, they will be guardedly optimistic.

She had to sleep sitting up straight for nine days, return to the hospital 75 miles away daily, and navigate her life virtually blind. Weary is an understatement. Although she is recovering, she had to withdraw from college. We moved her stuff out of her room this past week, and I'm ashamed to say, I was so depressed afterward, I came home from the studio the evening of the move and took to my bed so she couldn't see me cry.

I feel like a jerk feeling this way. In theory this is just a minor setback. Assuming all goes well, she heals, and is able to re-apply to school, she will be back on track in the fall. I want to be optimistic and find something wonderful to believe in concerning all this, but I too am weary. Needless to say, the trip to Florida in the spring is not looking good.


Two days before all of this started with my daughter, one of my sons was diagnosed with oral cancer. He is having surgery to re-sect his tongue early on Monday morning, and is expected to be discharged three days later. The prognosis for a cure is very good. Right now he is in pain, anxious and fearful, but hopeful. My heart is breaking for him. If I could take this for him, I would. This is not an option.

I spent the last several days making food for him to freeze and eat as he is able. Soup, pudding, other stuff. His girlfriend is at his side. Unfortunately, that too is a complex and difficult situation best left for another time.

Either one of these situations would be enough to make a person depressed and worried. Unfortunately, these are only the tip of the iceberg.

It is interesting and revealing that when my daughter in law became ill three years ago we did everything we were capable of to offer aid and comfort to her parents while we dealt with our own loss, our son's loss, and the many demands of this very sad state of affairs. When they "lost themselves" in their grief a year ago and launched the destructive series of events that has fractured my family of origin, and deeply damaged our grandchildren, I still forced myself to forgive them and take every opportunity to be kind and behave civilly, although they continue to be spiteful and hateful. You would think that people who have gone through what they have might be moved to take this opportunity to be better people and at least drop a note in the mail.

Not so.

There is much more to this aspect of the story, but I just don't have the stomach to write it down.

So.... other than that....business as usual.

We are in the middle of a huge snow storm, which threatens to put the brakes on the wish we hoped to have moving forward after a meeting tomorrow. Unfortunately, the meeting was arranged at the library, which is already closed because of the storm. I'm still trying to find a way to get this done so we can push this wish forward. I guess this is something to think about to keep my mind from running in dizzying circles about everything else.

So...as always, I'll take my own cliched advice, and

Keep On Dancing*
re: Homegrown Democrat (karma: 1)
By Sumayah Comments: 6879, member since Wed Nov 12, 2008
On Sat Feb 09, 2013 03:35 AM
(((HUGS)))

I wish I could offer more than a virtual hug, but know that you and your family are definitely in my thoughts. Much, much love!
re: Homegrown Democrat (karma: 1)
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6819, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Mon Feb 11, 2013 05:30 AM
This past week was so difficult I have to brace myself for the next one, as the challenges will be many. My son has his cancer surgery tomorrow,my daughter is still recovering and navigating with out vision, and winter isn't nearly over, regardless of the hopeful report on Groundhog Day. I hate winter.

Despite a foot of snow, I went to the studio yesterday morning to have usual Saturday morning class. Only two kids showed up, but it was a good class. Once I was out of the house, the snow didn't seem so bad but it was discouraging to brave it all for only two kids. Then again, they were appreciative and so were their parents.

To my great surprise, the library was opened after all. The other wish volunteer wanted to cancel as he had almost 2 feet of snow where he lives and had to travel over an hour to get to the meeting, but the family of the wish child was insistent so we pushed through it and kept the appointment. I brought two plates of cookies, one for the library staff and one for our meeting, and went to work hammering out the details of the stalled paperwork. I want to be happier and more excited about this than I actually feel.

The child wants a shopping spree. This is a great wish for a child this age and the possibilities are many. We usually do a "wish enhancement", something outside the usual wish guidelines, to make the wish even more special and personal. It can be something as simple as a tee shirt or as personal as a "make over" at a local salon. In this case, I was prepared to go to two local salons and see if they would donate a hair cut or wash and blow dry, and a manicure. Both the places I had in mind have been very generous before, so I planned to split the request to lighten the burden. As it turned out, while working with the child we learned she hates fussing with her hair, doesn't care about having her nails done, and when we suggested a facial and a make up consult, she snorted. So..... I guess we'll keep thinking about what might "enhance" this wish, but it isn't going to be easy.

She listed some clothes, shoes, and boots, she hopes to buy, but since her last interview has decided that she doesn't want books or magazines, a kindle or a nook, a personal shopper at Victoria's Secret to fit her properly for foundation garments, yoga pants, or anything else. When I suggested a nice "dress outfit", like something you could wear to a play, a funeral, a job or college interview, or to dinner at a nice restaurant she made a face. A nice spring jacket? Raincoat? Prom dress? How about a skirt? Nope...."we're not allowed to wear skirts to school". I know this isn't true, but she seems to believe it.

I usually try to be understanding with all the wish kids. They are sick. No one is at their best when they don't feel well. Their lives have been abnormal for so long, it is not unusual for them to have delays in age appropriate social skills, and often they can be a bit spoiled. Parents often feel so bad for their kids they let things like good manners slide. This kid required every bit of understanding I could muster. After rolling her eyes at the many websites we presented to her, and dismissing good suggestions, she started complaining, "When are we going to get out of here? I'm sick of this."

I'm already dreading the spree itself. And I hate feeling like this. I want every wish to be exciting and wonderful for these kids. I work very hard to go the extra mile on everything and delight in making every wish more wonderful than the child could have imagined. Frankly, this kid isn't making it easy. I can already tell this is kind of going to be one of those situations where we feel our time was wasted and the generosity of all the wonderful people who support this organization is just not appreciated.

Sadly, I had another wish like this in September. The child, one of four kids, wanted to go to Disney. This is a great wish for "a little" and the Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee is fabulous. I could write pages and pages about this alone. I went crazy with little gifts and goodie bags for all the kids to make the anticipation joyful. From the start, the mother complained about everything before they even left. After the wish, the same thing. When we went to do the follow up, she criticized everything. Too much walking, didn't like the flight times, wished they had more time...not fair....! I finally said, "Was there anything you liked? Something we can write in our report that was pleasing, so we can be sure to do it again for other families?" Wah, wah, wah. And the other wish granter was a neighbor of hers and even took care of their dog while they were away! Unbelievable.

I'm starting to wonder if I'm too old to be an effective member of society. It would seem my world view is completely different than that of many other members.

I've been forcing myself to keep focused on the present, celebrate all that is good and life affirming, and not give into depression or doubt. I was doing pretty well until the communion reflection hymn this morning at mass. As soon as the intro bars were played, I started crying. I don't know where it came from (well, maybe...)the only tender mercy was that they only did a few verses, not the whole song, and not the one with the really dramatic music. I composed myself, and Pollyanna reminded me that perhaps there was something good tucked inside of this meltdown, and at her suggestion, I found one.

We are doing a performance at an fundraising event at a Catholic school a few weeks from now and although I couldn't really use this particular piece for my studio, for a Catholic School it would be perfect. Lord of the Dance (lyrics set to the Shakers' Tune). After mass, I asked the music minister if he had it on cd. He directed me to the Sunday School director, and while I was asking her another church member offered to burn it for me. Her kids were in my classes years ago and bless her, she has always been very vocal about her appreciation of the job I did with her kids over many years.

She took the time to go downstairs, get the cd, bring it home to her house over 10 miles away, burn me a copy of the song I was looking for, and delivered it to my house just a few hours later. I live on a long, snowy road, on the way to nowhere, completely in the other direction of her home. She didn't even get out of her van. She called to one of my sons who was outside playing in the snow with the grandchildren and asked him to give it to me, then left with an apology about intruding on our family on a Sunday.

I am so touched. More than I can ever begin to express. It seems like such a little thing, and she had no way of knowing how the hymn had affected me earlier, yet here she was reaching out with such kindness and at great cost to herself.

So... as I fight my own depression about my children's health, my addled SO brain that needs to be sharper, and my growing bitterness about the wish families, I am so humbled and grateful for this woman, Andrea, and am again reminded that one good person can outnumber 10 rotten ones, if you just take the time to notice and appreciate them.

So, the angels are still making their presence known, and I am thankful. I pray that they will be with my son tomorrow when he has his surgery and that I somehow manage to be a better mother, a better dance teacher, and a better person, as I face the new week.

Keep On Dancing*
re: Homegrown Democrat (karma: 1)
By Tansey Comments: 2367, member since Fri Mar 27, 2009
On Mon Feb 11, 2013 04:42 PM
Your son and your daughter will be in my prayers, as will you. I hope they both get the best of outcomes. No one person should have to bear as much as you do. And you do it with such grace, and still manage to focus on others. Hugs.
re: Homegrown Democrat
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6819, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Tue Feb 19, 2013 07:25 PM
A brief update.

My son's surgery went well. The first 24 hours were nightmarish but once he was discharged and able to sleep in his own bed he felt much better. He has an appointment in Philly tomorrow morning at 8 AM and I hope to meet him there. It is a 2-/12 hour drive for me and for him (he lives west of Philly, I am north) and we are in the middle of yet another snow storm, but I am hopeful. This is one of those times when I am unashamed of my shallow love for my car. God Bless German Engineering! We hope the biopsy results will be in as well as the CT scan of the surrounding lymph nodes. If he requires more surgery, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. For now...he is feeling better and more importantly, very hopeful, so life in good.

My daughter actually went to see her college friends on Ash Wednesday. They attended the "apartment lottery" for next year after mass and to her great delight they got an apartment in the building they wanted. So, we are optimistic about her return to school in the fall. I am still disappointed in the decision to withdraw this semester for many reasons, but what's done is done. Perhaps I'll win the lottery and the financial worries about this will subside. (*note to self** If you want to win the lottery, start buying tickets!*)So far, so good, on the eye. Her vision is still blurry but the eye exams are down to once a week instead of every day and the doctors are cautiously optimistic. So...more good news.

The studio is still kind of up and down. Last week I had a class with 12 kids, "middles", and I was about to split the class. Then, we had two rehearsals this weekend, one on Saturday afternoon, and one early Monday afternoon because the kids had off from school, and only 3 kids from this group attended. No calls, no excuses, just no shows. I just don't know what to do about the studio.

I love it. I love kids. I love teaching. Dancing is the secret to what remains of my own mental health. Yet, the stress and the constant disappointment make me want to assign an old Beatles song to myself as my "Theme Song."


Only two families have paid their recital fees which were due in 3 equal payments in December, January, and February. This puts me under the gun for costume orders and I am torn between being fair to the families who do everything they agreed to and the others who seem to believe rules are options, they are the "customers" and "the customer is always right".

My dear friend Karen called me to ask me to take her to Dublin for Easter. This is a "bucket list" request. She has been fighting breast cancer on and off for 15 years, and right before Christmas it re-occured in her lung. I want to say, "Yes, of course." I will regret it if I put her off and she isn't able to do it later, but honestly, I am just do damn tired all I want to plan is a nap and a good long cry.

"Shut Up Christine!" Pollyanna is fed up with my whining, and who could blame her? I'm sick of me, too.

So, at her suggestion, I am going to jump in the shower, give thanks for indoor plumbing, lots of hot water, and a bucket full of expensive hair care products. In most parts of the world, only royalty live like this.

For the rest of the day I will think of myself as, "Princess Christine", and put all my fears and disappointments behind me.

Sounds like a plan.

Keep On Dancing*
re: Homegrown Democrat
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6819, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Wed Feb 20, 2013 08:08 PM
I did a paper on Resilience a while back. As I recall, trust and cooperation were the two most critical factors necessary to achieve this goal.

Unfortunately, these seem in short supply today.

I'm off to dance. Will write more later.

Keep On Dancing*
re: Homegrown Democrat (karma: 1)
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6819, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Tue Feb 26, 2013 01:31 AM
The biopsy results were not what we'd hoped. My son is scheduled for two more surgeries on March 4th. I suppose Pollyanna can't always be right.

My daughter got a call a few minutes ago from one of the eye doctors she saw today and he wants her to come back tomorrow morning and see another doctor. They fear ...well... let's hope for the best. Luckily, I got gas on the way home from the studio tonight so I'll be all set to go first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, the grandkids called asking if they could come over early in the morning because dad has to go to work early because he has to leave early to take them to their doctor's appointment, so, it looks like my husband will have to put them on the bus. I hate missing the chance to see them off. When it rains, it pours, I suppose.

Studio news: We did a benefit for a local school this weekend and it was good. We tweeked the Christmas show to make it less seasonal, but we left in the Nutcracker numbers and the other Land of Sweets stuff, and added a different opening number and finale. It was really nice. I am just so proud of my dancers. It is so uplifting to see them progressing. It's been almost three months since the Christmas show and they really looked good. Best of all... they are all really, REALLY nice kids. So kind and supportive of each other. Polite, respectful...their parents should be very proud of them.

Now... full steam ahead on the June recital. For a while there was concern that the venue we usually use wouldn't be available but now it looks like we'll be able to do the same weekend we always do. Hooray!

I have to call the Give Kids the World Village and tell them we won't be able to make it in March, as we originally hoped. I am so disappointed and I hate to let them down. We had 4 volunteers scheduled for twice a day for a whole week. I feel like a jerk letting them down, but I'm sure they'll understand. Cancer is kind of non-negotiable. ARRRRRRGGGHHHHHH.

Hopefully, by the time spring comes everything will be wonderful and calm and we can follow through on this and feel better about everything. Fingers crossed.

Hope everyone else is happy and healthy.

Keep On Dancing*
re: Homegrown Democrat (karma: 1)
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6819, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Thu Feb 28, 2013 05:54 AM
Well, it turns out my daughter has "just a small hole" in the repair to her retina so there is fluid leaking. We are lucky the doctor who spotted it was so diligent. After seeing her on Monday, he didn't like the pictures and called after dinner to have her come in on Tuesday to see another specialist. It turned out she needed another procedure, had it checked again today which required something else, and has to go back tomorrow to have to looked at again. If it is still leaking, she'll have to have a minor surgery..."just a little suture". She has to sleep sitting up, which is exhausting. I hate to say this, but I too am exhausted.

I've been reading a book about an author whose work I love. Somehow, it got by me that he killed himself a few years ago (2008), at the age of 46. I know this because I read the book jacket but I don't know anything else about it. With so much time spend in hospital waiting room the last few weeks, I've been reading the book a little bit at a time and am ready to finish it. However, now that I know it has to have a sad ending, I'm stalling. I only have about another ten pages but I just don't want to face the end. How stupid is this?

I looked him up on Wiki en.wikipedia.org . . . and I see his last unfinished novel was published and nominated for a Pulitzer in 2012 (no award was given that year)which I suppose is a kind of happy ending, although still tragic. I suspect I'm taking this harder than I should.... misplaced grief, perhaps? Again, how stupid is this?

I've read several of his short stories but I think I'm going to read,Infinite Jest as soon as I finish the biography. It is at least 1000 pages, so it should keep me busy for a while. According to the biography, Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story , his original hope was that the reader should read it twice. I'll be back with a report...probably in a month!

I'm off to bed. I hope tomorrow brings a change of luck for my daughter's eye.


Keep On Dancing*
re: Homegrown Democrat (karma: 1)
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6819, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:32 PM
Edited by Christine (207347) on 2013-03-08 22:34:16 typo
Edited by Christine (207347) on 2013-03-08 22:35:40 another typo
Edited by Christine (207347) on 2013-03-08 22:40:08 again....go clean the kitchen and stop typing!
A few updates.

First, and least important, I found Infinite Jest, at the library and after working at it for a week, I'm on page 50. More than 1000 to go, but I am making progress. Not an easy read...yet...but I'm hopeful. I can usually read a book a day when I'm sitting at a hospital bedside but these latest experiences have been anything but usual.

Next, my daughter's eye is on the mend...again...and the check up on Thursday was good. Have to go back on Tuesday, which is a break. Last week she had to be there four days in a row, some of them long, loooong days.

My son is home from the hospital...with three drains in his neck. He looks like a walking Halloween costume but he is glad to be home where he can get some sleep. His girlfriend is taking good care of him and he is very grateful for her attention. We'll have the biopsy results on the latest flesh rendering on Thursday. He can't eat much of anything and talking is difficult but at least he is getting some rest, which was impossible in the hospital. I made a pot of split pea soup to send to him tomorrow. I wish I could do more.

... I don't have a good reason for this ellipse but since the last several paragraphs seem to be littered with them I thought I'd keep it going...but I digress.

Now...some local news.

Several years ago, one of my teenage children was offered a BJ (can I say that on DDN, or do I need to say "oral sex"?)by A TEACHER, who was also an employee at the Boy Scout camp, where he approached many a young boy. At the time, I told two other mothers whose sons were also students or campers with this man, and both of them essentially called me a liar. "I don't believe that. My son and his friends just chipped in to buy him a $400. guitar because his got stolen at school. They just love him. I just don't believe it." also, "That's bull 'chips', his mother is a lovely woman." "OH COME ON!!! He does so much for the community. He doesn't even have kids of his own and he volunteers with the scouts and coaches little league. How could you believe someone so nice would do that?"

Yesterday's newspaper printed this article, which apparently appeared online the day before www.poconorecord.com . . .

I've heard at least 8 other accusations over the years and every accuser was treated the same way we were..."I DON'T BELIEVE IT"...blah, blah.... and no one ever asked the obvious questions.

1) Wouldn't it make sense that a child molester would enamor himself to students as a matter of "grooming technique"?

2) Why would anyone risk this kind of social shunning by warning others about this risk if it weren't true?

3) Why would a 40 year old single man spend all his time with other people's children, and never make any attempt at his own adult relationships or have a family of his own?

4) While pretending to be attracted to several available women his age or younger why didn't he ever ask them out,and why are the only women he ever socialized with older recently divorced or widowed women with boys of a certain age and why does he spend so much time at their homes, yet never seem interested in a relationship with them, only their sons? And why was he so hostile about gay men, to the point of "ratting them out" to the Boy Scouts, who have a ban on homosexual leaders? (aside...boo hiss....) and now, some of the community "defenders" are crying, "Just because you're gay doesn't make you a child molester", but he's charged with molesting an underage child!

I am trying to look at the up side of this. At least he finally got caught and charged. However, why did it take 15 years? And how many other children were "romanced" by this man?

The world's gone crazy. And I am beginning to think I must be the craziest of all it's citizens as I am so sickened by this I can't sleep. And honestly, I am so exhausted by the health issues of my own family, I should be able to sleep while I'm dancing.

So, on that note, I'm off to clean the kitchen and take another crack at, Infinite Jest , which oddly enough, is starting to sound like a great title for the story of my own life.

Keep On Dancing*
re: Homegrown Democrat
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6819, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:42 AM
Edited by Christine (207347) on 2013-03-09 12:11:29
A new day dawns!

A quote for the day: "Believe in yourself and there will come a day when others will have no choice but to believe with you."
Oscar Wilde


This morning's class was extremely productive. We did half of two recital dances and even though only half the class showed up, I am sure this particular class is going to do just fine. I finally choose the last few costumes and although they too are a compromise, I can live with them. This is going to be the smallest recital I've ever done but I refuse to be discouraged. In an odd way, the many limitations will make it easier to structure. Three and a half months is just the right amount of time to make it great.

Rather than lament all the things we can't change in our little corner of the world (I've noticed I am not the only DDN member working through difficult times) I think it is time for another DDN party. The obvious choice....St. Patrick's Day!

I'm going to go clean my bedroom and when I'm done, I'll be back to start the plans. I hope others will join in. I think we could all use the distraction from the real world.

Hugs to all

Keep On Dancing*

ps I decided to skip the bedroom and tried to post a party invitation. I must have lost my mind along the way because although I know I've done this before, I just can't make it work....arrgh......it looke like I might have to clean after all!
Image hotlink - 'http://sp.life123.com/bm.pix/st-patricks-day-party-ideas.s600x600.jpg'
re: Homegrown Democrat
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6819, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Fri Mar 15, 2013 03:17 PM
Lots of great news to share.

First, my daughter's eye exam on Tuesday revealed that so far the last retina repair is holding. I was so stressed about the appointment I couldn't sleep the night before so at 4AM I gave up and baked a ton of banana bread. I brought two small loaves to her doctor, who told us he was recovering from food poisoning! I'm so glad it happened before I brought the goodies...I would hate to be blamed for such a thing.

The next piece of wonderful news...

My biopsies on the lymph nodes removed from my son 10 days ago was 100% NEGATIVE! He's still in a fair amount of pain, but they removed the three ugly drains from his neck and the 15 big staples along the incision so I expect he'll be on the mend quickly.

We were all pretty nervous waiting in the exam room and after the nurse left she came back to say he was running late but to just "hang tight", he'd be with us eventually. After the last experience in this room, when we learned the cancer cells were 3X deeper than expected, the atmosphere was heavy, to say the very least. When the doctor finally arrived we were all pale and jittery. As we watched him read the pathology reports we could actually see his eyes smiling when he got to the part that said of 60 nodes examined ZERO contained cancer cells. I wanted to burst into one of his favorite childhood songs, but managed to control myself, although I did mention it

I want to send Bob Dorough a thank you note for writing this song so I could have the perfect song in my heart all the way home.

And the last piece of news, although minor...

I just pealed 4 dozen eggs for deviled eggs and didn't loose a single one. The last time I did them it was like pealing golf balls, which is exactly how they looked three hours later when I finally finished. This time I bought the eggs a week early and selected the ones with the oldest date, although March 26 is still a week away. It really does make a difference. I remember learning that the older the egg, the greater the space between the shell and the membrane. I hope I don't forget this simple rule. The shells slipped off and left smooth eggs below.

The funny thing about this is I'm not especially fond of eggs. I like quiche, but usually the other flavors mute the egg flavor. Last year, when it was my grandson's turn to bring in snack for CCD after school during Lent, I asked him if he'd like me to make homemade pretzels, which are a somewhat traditional Lenten thing in my family. Flour, water, salt...kind of like fasting. He said, "I think Devil Dogs would be better." Every time I hear the gospel about Jesus being tempted by the devil while fasting in the desert, I think of this and wonder if the temptation wasn't actually to turn stones into bread but rather cream filled snack cakes. This year, we were asked to sign up after mass for food donations for pasta buffets on Friday evenings in Lent (no meat)and deviled eggs were on the list. My grandson immediately signed us up. He was so excited when he saw the list, he wrote our name in before he finished reading the choices. He thought deviled eggs were devil dogs. Only two letters off...Close!

So, on that note, I'm off to finish them. And given the way I feel about eggs, I won't be tempted to keep any of them for dinner.

Keep On Dancing*
re: Homegrown Democrat (karma: 1)
By Nyssasisticmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3643, member since Sat Sep 20, 2003
On Sat Mar 16, 2013 02:08 AM
I'm so glad to hear about your daughter's eyes and son's good news! What relief you must be feeling.

I think shelling eggs is an art. Congrats on perfecting it ;)
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