Monday, August 25, 2008


I am offering the "I am a Dumbass Award" to whoever made the choice to cut the crossing guard that crosses kids walking to school in my neighborhood. We live in a neighborhood which is located right off one of the busiest roads in the city. With the exception of the school zone it 45 miles per hour for the most part. The school zone also ends about 750 feet before the intersection in question! Trust me - people cross the school bar and then gun their gas guzzling SUVS baby!

Granted the kids walk the bike path - but still - there needs to be some one to help them cross the side street which dead ends into the main road. Not to mention that it is just another set of eyes and ears along the way. For what I pay in taxes and given the fact that my baby is walking to school - I want a crossing guard. (Please note I walk with her - but still......there are other kiddos going it solo and I want the guard for them!)

Furthermore the crossing guard helps to maintain the overall traffic flow in and out of the neighborhood and on the main road - which if traffic backs up when someone wants to make a left into the neighborhood - can be a huge headache.

It is absurd that the Distract, the School Board or management or whoever for a second thinks it is ok to cancel the guard and in the same month - agree to pay the superintendent's housing costs.

Wait I have a bright idea - The superintendent can earn his extra pay by BEING the crossing guard. Now that is a great way to kill 2 birds with one stone.

*** BTW after I wrote this - my neighbor called to informed me that the principal served as the guard after I crossed today and has assured everyone a crossing guard will be hired and ready to serve by Tuesday of next week. I still say the superintendent should have to do it and earn his EXTRA and totally unneeded pay! Maybe freezing his nuts off this winter will thaw his brain and he refrain for asking for money he is not entitled to... (or the school board could rotate thru as crossing guards - they agreed to pay him the money... mmm the short list of free crossing guard candidates is growing as I think...)

The Sex Lives of Canibals - A Book Review

My book club selected this as our summer reading book. I was not sold on the title and in general I am not a fan of the memoir exactly. It is a genre that to me authors either hit a home run or well they foul out rather quickly. I would say this book is triple - not exactly a home run but very close.

For starters it is a very thought provoking book and it certainly shows the perils of Western consumer culture. It made me totally love the fact that someone perfected indoor plumbing and city sanitation a bit over 100 years ago.

The author and his wife travel to some obscure chain of coral at toles in the South Pacific for his wife's job with a NGO.

I also like the way the author thinks. He thinks like me - his random tangents and his run away brain. I have one of those also. I spend a huge amount of time thinking about the strangest things.

Best of all - he wrote this book for those of us on the go-go-go. He had a summary of each chapter at the beginning of each chapter. Most of the chapters are little snippets - more so than connect thoughts linked by any sort of plot - so one can skip around. Which I did with reckless abandon and well I failed to keep track and then ended up trying to reread it from start to finish - to be prepared fro the book club meeting!

The perfect book for travel and commuting I think!

Simply the best cookies

These cookies are simply the best. They little, light and best of all crunchy. As is my complaint of late here on the Edge is they are a bit too sweet. If they cut the sugar a tiny bit these cookies would be perfect.

The irony is that my Whole Foods does not carry these cookies, but the Kroger by E's preschool does! The downside is I cannot stock up on these becasue I have zero will power where they are concerned and will eat them all in one setting if I do not pace myself.

It must be the crunch factor!

Bike Train

This is for I HATE TOAST! This is the train. I think it is a great solution to my desire to ride my bike more places - with two kids. Make one of the little people pull her own weight! We rode it to the school this morning for the first day of school and well I know my neighbors think I am fruit loops and I DO NOT CARE. There is no reason baring extremely cold temperatures and a monsoon that we should drive to the school! It is less than a quarter of a mile away.

My train is environmentally friendly and heart healthy! Not to mention both my kiddos love it!

Friday, August 22, 2008

So worth waiting for...

My new office space rocks. We have a finished attic and it has been for 5 years H and I's office space, my sewing and craft area and random dumping ground. It has no closet space nor storage space - it was one large room! H and I filled it with random bits of cast off furniture and boxes and piles and more piles. Every so often we would get on a freaky cleaning binge and try to create some order - but with no where to actually store anything or put it away, it was a pointless struggle.

Ah - enter California Closets. I actually called 3 such companies and they won my business with their down to earth sales rep and their quality yet affordable product. Today the guys were here for a long long time - but I am so happy with their efforts. I have a corner desk unit, L has her very own craft desk, I have a craft/sewing desk and H has built in book shelfs and a cabinet!

We are missing three drawers for L's craft station which will come next week, but all in all it is beautiful and I am going to thoughtfully move my stuff back and restock.

We are selling the hodgepodge of furniture and on the other side of the room, we plan to create a nice reading nook and sitting area, an adult space. It is exciting, after 5 years we bit the bullet and now have a space that is bright, inviting and hopefully organized!

Monday, August 18, 2008

One must work...

very hard sometimes to get what is due them... I had my court date in smalls claims court. I did elect to sue my former client who skipped out and did not pay me. She failed to show up and well so did the magistrate. I guess he had bigger fish to fry - but I get my default judgment! Well half of it. The clerk of courts did not process the mail correctly so I will have to go back to get my judgment against the editor personally. Yipee. Either way I am not sure I have enough info about her or her banking to actually collect - but I will have the judgment - so it gives me some options.

Some random observations:

* getting the judgment does not actually get me anything. It gets me a piece of paper that I can take to the 3rd floor clerks office to get yet more paper - that I have to fill out and pay to have served or mailed or looked at. Then maybe I will get someone's attention. What I get is more work and still no pay!

* I was way way over dressed for my court appearance. I thought it was something serious - so I dressed in a nice summer black pants suit, a lovely tuxedo red blouse. - and for those interested in my shoes - I wore black platform sandals - they did not exactly match the outfit and I have some better shoes for the outfit - but they make me feel fierce and well I wanted put my best foot forward - not that it mattered! No one but me really showed up for today's little party. Next time maybe I will go for the gangsta chic that seemed to be the dress code of the day today. Maybe low hanging jean shorts and boxer brief peak a boos! Or wait - the white tub top minus a bra and a skirt so short as to show off the young ladies who-haw!

There was a time when one dressed up for events such as this! It is a matter of respect and well self respect I would humbly submit!

* When I arrived in the waiting area - there were at three dozen people there. Then at 12:45 pm - a woman called out that any one there to get their driving privileges reinstated - to follow her - everyone but me got up and followed her. May I say never in my life have I longed for more public transit options. Seriously 3 dozen people... some of whom I can see why driving might not be such a good idea.

At a minimum it highlights the need for more drivers ed and more frequent refresher courses I think. H has to do flight training every 6 months and there is way less traffic in the air than on our streets and freeways.

* I will go to court again and see this thru becasue it is the right thing to do. She owes me money for work I did and I cannot believe that the court screwed it up - by not following their own protocols - but I will carry on - I might get lucky and get my money before my kids go to college.

I need to try and do some more investigation to find out more about her... I am just not sure how. The phone number I have is dead. The email is dead and well her business filings with the State leave a bit to be desired.

No more funds...

Last month, the school board agreed to pay the superintendent an additional $1,800 a month for rent and utilities until his house in Chagrin Falls is sold. When Axner took over the position a year ago, he moved into an apartment in Dublin and his family stayed in Chagrin Falls so his son could complete his senior year. He spent weekdays here and tried to get home most weekends.

He put his home up for sale five months ago but it has not sold, board president Gwen Callender said. Axner moved his family into a rented home in Dublin two weeks ago and hopes to buy a house here once his Chagrin Falls home sells.

Kalson said everybody is "tightening their belts" in today's economy and she has a problem with the additional compensation. While she appreciates the $5.5-million in budget cuts Axner and district treasurer Steve Osborne found and the board approved, they included the elimination of elementary school library aides.

The $21,600 the board will pay Axner over the next year would pay for one aide, she told the board.

That is misleading, Callender said, because once the house sells the additional compensation stops.

After hearing from Kalson the board stands behind its decision, Callender said.

Nothing in Axner's contract required him to move here or move his family here, she said. The board recently gave Axner a near perfect evaluation, despite his commutes to see his family, "and we expect him to be even more effective as a leader now that he's moved them here É

"We will now have him down here full-time É which is a huge benefit for us," she said. The board plans to revisit the additional compensation issue next May if the house still has not sold.

(Read the full article here!)

Then a mere few weeks later the school board decides to discuss and vote to put a levy and bond issue on the November ballot. (full story here!)

Then I read the lengths some school distracts are going to to save money. (story here)


Are you kidding me? The superintendent should have to pay his own living costs. I can see making the deal to let his child finish his senior year of high school - but it was HIS choice to take a new job and WHO I ask is going to foot the cost of living increases all of us face. Groceries are more expensive, gas prices thru the roof, goods are costing more thanks to a weak dollar!

Why should I have to pay the superintendent's housing costs and pay for his 3% wage increase. Excuse me - but times are tough and he should have to eat it in his pocket book like everyone else. H is a pilot and I betcha when contract talks come around - the company will be looking for concessions again.

I plan to vote no on the levy - becasue I just do not think that the board has the best interests of the community at heart and I think it takes alot of nerve to come to us - asking for yet more money when they are willing to just give in and pay the superintendent more money. I am sorry his house has not sold - but that is a fact of life - sometimes things just do not work out as planned. If his contract stipulated that he had to move to Dublin - they maybe - but it does not - so he made this choice of his own free will and it should be on his own dime!

I moved here for good schools and they are great schools - but I also expect the school board to make solid business decisions and coming to voters asking for money in a down economic climate is irresponsible and unreasonable. Giving the superintendent a 3% raise and a cushy housing allowance when the rest of us are counting our pennies and tightening our belts is JUST WRONG.

While I do not want to see the students in this distract using old and out dated materials and not having enough enrichment activities - I think that some belt tightening would not hurt. Beside the levy and bond issue are all for the building of more classrooms and improvements to existing buildings. While this might impact the students down the road and I am sure the distract may at some point grow - growth in the next 5 years is not horribly likely with the downturn in the economy and the tightening of credit in the area of home mortgages.

I question the boards projections and I question their judgment asking us for these funds - becasue one thing is for sure - if funds are available they will spend it - as evidenced by their misguided decision to give the superintendent more money when in fact he does not deserve more money on top of his 3% raise. We should all be that lucky.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Heaven in a Pint

I think I am in love! Ice Cream, which seems to agree with me and which tastes very much like ice cream should. Goat's Milk. A local ice cream shop had some goat's milk ice cream which I tried and liked very much. Theirs was a bit tangier.

LaLoo's is perfect and creamy and sweet and just perfect with berries. I will admit that I miss cold and creamy things. I can stand my new eating regimen most of the time, but of late I have been craving smooth and creamy and sweet and something - anything to eat with my berries.

I tried making a panacotta type thing with Rice Milk. Um yeah - not so much. I think sometimes I just crave certain things and the alternative sometimes falls short.

I have tried their chocolate and well it was ok. This round I tried the vanilla snowflake and well - I am in love. It is absolutely perfect. I will admit to eating the pint in less than the 4 servings - but seriously - it has been years since I have had ice cream (aside from my taste test of the locally produced goat's milk ice cream.) I have been craving something and wow - I discovered this gem in the freezer case at Whole Foods.

If I were to have one wish - it would be that they tone down the sugar just a tad. As afore mentioned - when eats nothing sweetened with corn syrup - well most things taste uber sweet. This is just on the ok side of being too sweet.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"If only or could" or...

"better yet I could do it better than X." I heard this sort of sentiment routinely while working at Firm X during the tech boom. Everyone including the stray cat thought they could out fox Wall Street. If they could just get access to after hours trading, if they could just get access to more money to plow into tech stocks. If they could watch more CNBC.

Everyone fancied themselves as an investment whiz. Until the bubble burst and all these "daytraders" these tech geniuses lost the entire balance in their E*trade account if not their house. It did not matter if you were a well educated neurosurgeon or a hard working middle level manager or a factory worker - the market won and won big time.

Today I was reading the Wall Street Journal from this past weekend. There is an interesting article about "distressed debt" (Vulture Investors Won't Have It Easy.) I was shaking my head. First of all "distressed debt" is NOT an investment it is a gamble. It is speculation. It is not a vehicle for funding retirement.

I would submit that most of us do not have the excess capital nor the know how to play in this areana - nor should we.

Part of the problem with Wall Street is we as a society have lost focus. We are all about quick bucks and fast profits. There is no Investment anymore. No forethought. No thinking about what is best for everyone - and not just the the executive committee & shareholders (the largest ones anyway.)

The best way to be prepared for the future is to plan. To have a plan and stick to it. I am not saying park it all and let it ride - but I am saying that the time invested should be on careful forethought and careful planning. Chasing the next quick dollar sign is a race that I will gladly lose.

Just like with ingredients on the food label - if I cannot pronounce it - I will not eat it. With my investment decisions - if I cannot wrap my head around it - I will not buy it!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Artistic realization

This is a combo recap of two seperate conversations I have had with L in the last say 7 days.

L: I see pictures in my head

ME: I do too. Isn't it amazing?

L: Yes and then I draw them.

ME: I write about them

So tonight....

L: I dream about art all the time, picture and crafts and colors.

ME: Well I do too and sometimes I daydream about them also.

L: I dream about them all the time and then I see myself drawing them or painting them or making them. It is so cool. You know?

ME: Yes I write them instead. I use words to draw the pictures.

L: Well maybe when I learn to write I can do that. (Long pause) Hey momma, when are you going to learn how to draw?

She was serious too. I cannot draw worth spit. Good thing I seem to be able to write.

What I love about these exchanges is that she sees herself as a creative being. She is very much in touch with that part of herself. I need to keep her focused on that. At 6 she is realizing her artistic potential and she sees that the thoughts in her head do come out on the paper in front of her. Fully realizing her artistic gift is a huge blessing. It took me 33 years to realize mine.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

It is honorable to be honest...

Honesty. I think that is the key. It is honorable to be honest and it is honorable to be a person of your word. This is a "family" value which many in positions of power seem to struggle with. CEOs of investment banks lying to the board or shareholders. Politicos lying about affairs. Husbands and wives lying to each other.

In our culture, while what Edwards is presumed to have done (what my father did) and what countless men and women do every day - cheat - is marginally acceptable. Acceptable in the finger pointing, vilifying way - but accepted and discussed in the public forums. I am sure their will be echoes of "that bastard - he cheated on his wife during her battle with cancer....." or the occasional "way to go John, she was hot..." or something in between.

When one holds or wishes to hold a position of power - the truth always seems to come out. From what I have read his wife, Elizabeth seemed to have known prior to the headlines on Friday. (Well that is small consolation - but at least she knew prior. It sounds like they have had some time to attempt to heal.)

I am sadden because his behavior is a betrayal of his covenant to his wife, it shows lack of judgment and character. That he out right lied about it is an issue for someone seeking public office. To be fair - I do not think he is a bad person because he has SEX with someone other than his wife - it is the deceit and the lying that I take issue with. How they choose to structure their relationship, rebuild or otherwise is a PRIVATE matter.

For me it is not that John had sex with someone else - it is that he lied to so many people (mainly his wife - but then to the American people) in the process. Sex is not love and love is not sex and SEX is really not the issue here - regardless of what so many people will think - the real issue is being honest.

Transparency is very important. I agree that candidates and public officials and even celebritants should be afforded some measure of privacy. That said though when one puts themselves in the public eye or is asking us to charge them with a very big duty - like becoming president - it is important that they be honest, trustworthy and honorable. Note I did not say perfect. Mistakes happen and there is always that chance for a lapse in judgment, but then that is when true strength and honor shine - when one takes responsibility for one's actions.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hopeful realism

We had no trouble finding the doctors office and we got checked in, went to wait and they took us right away. Answered like a million questions from the nurse and then saw Dr. Rand his research fellow Dr. G. We spoke with him for a long time. (like over an hour...)

He took a history and then looked at film, took the CDroms - and was going to get her OR slides and all that jazz.

We have three basic choices and he views his role as educated adviser. He can offer his opinion and guidance but mom is in the drivers seat. Only she can say what she is willing and able to endure.

The bottom line is the conventional treatment is not working. Her scans indicate that there is uptake of the Radiative Iodine - but that it is not having its intended effect. It should shrink or stop the tumor from growing. So it is absorbing the chemical - but the chemical is not having the intending consequence. The tumor is also taking up the glucose or sugar injected during the PET scan - which means the tumor is active and growing. Not a good sign. The Iodine should stop or slow the metabolic activity at the cellular level.

So we have three basic choices. We can do nothing (this one is hands down not recommended because the other two have a reasonable good success rate.)

Option A - Do an inpatient and concentrated dose of radioactive iodine. They can target the tumors metabolically better. This has some major possible side effects and could damage her bone marrow or lungs. There are ways to mitigate those side affects but they also limit the effectiveness of the treatment. This is the general next step - but since Mom has already had a reasonably large dose of Radioactive Iodine, his feeling is we may want to save this until we really need it - and since it has been marginally ineffective before is it really the next step? He will know more once he has a chance to really study her file.

Option B - Test out and enter a trail of some Chemo - in pill form. They have some great new stuff on the market and just shy of coming to market drugs - which are exciting and seem to be effective - many of them have been approved for Kidney cancer but seem to have the same desired effected or at least desirable effect in thyroid cancer. The general feeling is these will slow the growth of the tumors for a unspecified period of time - then for reasons not yet known, somehow the tumor mutates and the treatment ceases to work. This tends to happen quickly.

The bonus is she does have a form of thyroid cancer(follicular) which is treatable. There is an extremely aggressive form - to which there is very little to be done. So while there is a form of thyroid cancer which moves like a speeding bullet train - Mom's is more like honey on a a fall day, slow moving.

He did explain that while there are treatments there is no cure. That we have made it him means we have past the point of cure. That it has spread post thyriodectomy means we are seeking an extension of quality and quantity of life. For many patients it can be 5-10-15 years before the treatment ceases to be effective. In others less than 5. In some cases even more than that. Each year brings new advances and new treatments. That is hard to hear - but then he says the interesting thing about thyroid cancer - more than just about any other one - is that for every patient it is different.

So he is going to get with his team and review her films and history - take a look at the blood work and then we can get back together again!

She has a rare disease and and happens to live in a city with one of the only research centers for it. That is a blessing. While there is no magic bullet - it is nice to know that her disease can be studied and her experiences can lead them to new discoveries.

Overall I am impressed with his knowledge and his willingness to be candid and frank. He is clearly smart and I think the chain yanking and teeth pulling was so worth it to get into see him. He is out of network for Mom's insurance and it was a circus getting approval for this office visit.

Mom will be with us for a while I think and I know she is motivated within reason to keep on keeping on! It is a blessing that she will be moving closer - so that we can spend the time together. I also think if I can help her with the small stuff she can manage.

Overall it was a positive day - but I am very tired nonetheless. It is draining trying to keep up with the medical speak and the office hopping. Mom was tired too.

So that was us as we left the hospital complex. Hopeful, realistic and tired!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The will is strong and the body is....

The other day my friend was lamenting her lack of running mojo! I have the mojo but sadly not the body to go with it. I ran yesterday but it was a push to get the 2 miles. My right hip is troubling me and well I am stiff in places I have not been stiff in for a really long time.

I really want to do the half marathon again. My brain wants to and my heart is on board - but my body seems to be saying - "wait a minute there girls, I am not sure I am game." My mind tells my body to push through it and go and my body responds by making it hurt just a bit more.

I know I have to listen to my body. If I have learned nothing in the last year and half it is to listen intently to what my body says. Cuz if I do not, my body has a nasty way of jumping me when my back is turned, ignoring it, and I have to say - my body wins - always.

This is not to say that I am not still working out and doing well - on the contrary. I am biking with the kids, running in the gym and doing the elliptical machine. All no problem! But when it comes to running for more than 2-3 miles, my body is slamming on the breaks.

This happened last year, but earlier in my training - so I am not sure what to make of this. Other than I am going to keep stretching and hope that we get past that - because I so want to run the half marathon again this year. Somehow it will just not be the same - standing at the finishing line watching my friend J finish it!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Proof that my stomach has turned

I am pushing two years of the special eating plan and I now have proof that not eating certain foods does something to a person. It makes one squeamish about foods that many people consider indulgences. Diet cheat foods.

What got me you say? Pizza, nachos, ice cream - nope. Store bought cake with the gooey, kid pleasing icing! (Please note: I did not eat the food - which turned my stomach - merely looking at it was enough.)

For L's birthday party I got a cake from the grocery - 24 cupcakes to be exact so that I would not have to cut the cake. Well the holes and crevices between the cup cakes was filled with icing. It was enough to have iced about 6 more cupcakes.

As I put the remainder of the cake away, it oozed all over my hands and it was sticky and smelled so sweet. It literally turned my stomach. Almost all the kids had licked it off the cakes and enjoyed every sweet gooey bit.

Me, I know it has to contain something that I should not have and well - it literally made me feel ill. Proof that the clean eating has changed my stomach - for the better & forever! Looking at it made me feel funny - I can only imagine what would have happened had I actually ate it!

Can I have an apple, please?