Category Archives: Anxiety

Inglish iz uh Stoopid Langwij

stupidenglish02On Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:00 to 2:00, a handful of moms at our local elementary school volunteer to help some of the 1st graders who are struggling with sight words. For those of you who have been reading English for a while (probably most of you unless Siri’s dictating all your messages) and who are unfamiliar with the term sight words, it means those words that you can’t really sound out but have to memorize. Most readers don’t often stop to think that of should sound like off instead of uv, that is ends with a z sound instead of a snake hiss, and said is pronounced sed instead of some strange double-syllabled word that takes hapless non-readers a good 30 seconds to try and sound out.

English is a stupid language.Tomb Comb Bomb

Three of the 1st grade sight words are though, thought and through. I still have no idea how to explain to these frustrated 6-year olds that ough from each of these words makes the long O, short O and double O sounds respectively. And while I’m trying, it would certainly not be the time to go off on a tangent and explain to them that respectively does not mean polite.

My 16-year old Emily (she calls herself Djaq and pronounces is Jack I’ll explain more in a future blog) just performed in her high school’s production of “The 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee.” She played Olive, an elementary school student whose only friend is her dictionary, which she reads voraciously while on the toilet. Olive muses that if you take the W from answer, the H from ghost, the second A from aardvark, and the T from listen, you get…

spellingbee… Emily/Djaq/Olive silently mouths the word:

“What.”

English is a stupid language.

Emily/Djaq recently recounted an example that she learned from her eclectic 3rd grade teacher Mr. Schultz (quoting from George Bernard Shaw). If you take the GH from laugh, the O from women, and the TI from initiate, you get the word ghoti. However, it is pronounced fish. No kidding.ghoti

English is a stupid language.

If a word starts with a C, it is pronounced K or S. Why? Why did the English connoisseurs even invent a C if it doesn’t have its own sound? Why does G make either the G or J sound when there already is a J? Why is there an X when it actually blends KS, yet it is pronounced Z in nearly every English word with the exception of x-ray?  Why did they invent a Q when it really is just a K blended with a long U? And to make it even more inconvenient, there’s almost always a U piggybacking on Q like a lazy parasite.

stupidenglish04We teach these baffled children that an E at the end of a word is silent and it makes the previous vowel long (as in my son Jake’s name). Like all the other rules of English, this one sounds stupid too, but at least it seems like a somewhat consistent rule. That is, until they get to middle school and based on the silent E rule, they try to pronounce their new vocabulary words epitome and calliope. Oops. Not just an E at the end, but a really long E.

English is a stupid language.

images-1I took two years of Spanish in high school and all the English pronunciation rules I learned during my previous 10 years of education were thrown out the window. Yet once I learned that J makes the H sound and the vowels A, E, I, O and U are pronounced short O, long A, long E, long O, and double O, I found that Spanish doesn’t often break its own pronunciation rules. Jose will not and never will be pronounced Joe’s (unless you meet him in art school). Instead, it’s hose-ay, which written as a pronunciation looks as gringo as Doris Day.

english-diacriticsI think the easiest and smartest solution to the English language dilemma would be to throw out the spelling of all traditional English words and instead spell them with the same pronunciation key used in the dictionary. Of course adding all these long and short vowel sounds, CH, SH and the hard and soft TH, not to mention the accents and the syllable breaks, would make the English alphabet a little bit bigger. Everyone will have to grow their fingernails and file them to a sharp point in order to use the teeny tiny keys on their Smartphones to type:

ˈIŋ-glish iz uh ˈstü-pəd ˈlaŋ-gwij.

Then there’s the schwa (ə), which would probably be the most popular letter in the English language. It sounds like uh, and it is also the most widely used sound these 1st graders make when they’re trying to sound out a word:

“Uhhhhhhhh…”

UhhhDictionary.com calls ə “the mid-central, neutral vowel sound… of a in alone and sofa, e in system, i in easily, o in gallop, u in circus.”

Speaking of circus, you have your full meal of English language funkiness with C sounding like K, C sounding like S, an actual S, a schwa (ə), and even one of those funky colon on its side things whenever an R takes a vowel hostage. Here’s how Dictionary.com, Merriam-Webster, American Heritage, Oxford, Collins, and MacMillan each show their pronunciations of circus:

Dictionary.com

Merriam-Webster

American HeritageOxford

Collins

Macmillan

Yes, English is a very very stupid language.

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Filed under Anxiety, Humor, Kids, Public Education, Volunteering

My New Year’s Resolution this Year: No More Resolutions!

No New Year's ResolutionsThere is one topic of conversation today that dominates all others: New Year’s resolutions.

Correction. For this year only, everyone’s talking about surviving the Fiscal Cliff. However, a close second is the aforementioned New Year’s resolutions.

This year I’m boycotting.

Every year on January 1st I vow to eat healthier and to exercise more. It’s one of those blood oath vows that I am 100% certain will stick. My goal is to lose 20 lbs., which is stupidly unrealistic because in order to maintain 110 lbs., I would have to live on a diet of diluted vegetable broth and run a half marathon on a daily basis. Frankly, I could care less how much I weigh as long as I lose this jiggly abdomen I’ve acquired this year and have arms strong enough to paint a ceiling without taking a break every five minutes.

I’m not going to call it a resolution. But I’m definitely doing more planks and eating less popcorn.

I also think I’m going to get more organized. It actually is a necessity because the clutter is clogging up the good stuff I can’t find. I keep meaning to make the transition from paper Day Planner to Google Calendar so the rest of the family can see what I’ve planned for them without having to decipher my chicken scratch.

Every year I hope that the coming year will be the one that gets us out of debt. This year I’m more realistic. Short of winning lotto, that’s not going to happen anytime soon. I just plan to keep what I’m doing – paying my bills on time, juggling balance transfer deals, and only buying what I absolutely need. There are a lot of folks who are too poor to even accomplish that goal, so I absolutely feel like one of the fortunate ones. Of course I still wouldn’t turn down that lotto win.

Maybe I’ll eat healthier, exercise more, get organized, and pay off some debt in 2013, but I’m not going to make a deal with the devil to do it. If I fail, I’m not going to kick myself, single-handedly devour an entire Boston cream pie, toss out my Thighmaster, haphazardly throw the contents of my entire garage into a rent-a-dumpster or run through the mall like a banshee throwing my Visa card at everything in sight.

It’s the resolution relapse that bites you in the butt every time.

When exploring a list of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, I realize that there’s a bunch that I already do. I’ve never smoked, I already quit drinking, I tell my kids and husband everyday that I love them, I volunteer, I recycle, and I already went back to school. I’d like to learn more Spanish than “¿dónde está el baño?and “con queso por favor,” but if I don’t master the language this year, I can at least practice rolling my “R’s.”

Many people put travel among their list of New Year’s resolutions. I don’t, because it would cancel out the previous paying-off-debt goal.

Some aim for a better job. I actually like my job, and my boss pays me well, but I could use some extra hours in the off-season. I can aim for that, but I’m not going to call it a resolution. It’s more like making some phone calls to see if there’s any freelance work to be had.

Wait. I already do that.

Another typical resolution is to learn something new.  If I had the time, I’d do that more often, but I figure that I’ll have plenty of time for that in the old folks’ home.

A resolution that’s popping up more these days is vowing to manage stress. I could use a little more of that one, but since my bad bout of shingles last year, I’ve really been trying to get enough sleep and not get freaked out by the things I can’t control. So I guess I’ve been sticking to that last year’s resolution. Done.

Here’s what I really want to do in 2013:

I want to write more Facebook comments.

I want to accept that other parents won’t become more courteous drivers just because I roll my eyes at them when they double park at school pick up.

I want to watch more Jon Stewart.

I want to quit obsessing over gas prices.

I want to take a bath one day.

I want to find a better hiding place to store my son’s coloring pages than the recycling bin.

I want to dye my hair before my roots are an inch long.

I want to beat my kids in a game of Apples to Apples.

I don’t want any of my blogs to be stinkers.

Sometimes I just want to do nothing.

I’m hoping to do all these things in 2013. I’m just not going to call them resolutions.

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Filed under Anxiety, Career, Debt, Family, Financial Insecurity, Holidays, Humor, Husband, Illness, Kids, Parenting

What’s the Statute of Limitations on Mailing Christmas Cards?

2012 Christmas CardSome say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If that is the case, then Christmas cards officially drive me insane.

Every year I swear that I’m starting the process early enough to finally get those cards in the mail well before Christmas, and yet here I am again this year, dragging my big bag of stamped cards to the post office the day after Christmas and glancing sheepishly at the postal workers who thought their busy season had ended. As everyone knows, the last thing you ever want to do is piss off a postal worker.

For years we hired my friend Laura Wagner to take family photos (follow her link if you want a great photographer). If I were a smart gal, the moment I finished a photo session, I would book another session with her for the following year, much like I schedule a dentist appointment for 6 months after I’m packing up my complimentary toothbrush and dental floss. Instead, my family’s entire December gets completely booked, and we don’t have a common two hours of daylight to get everyone together with the goal of taking a family photo.

My friend and neighbor Gina has a good camera, so one weeknight in mid-December we asked her 16-year old son Jet to come by to take a few shots and give us the memory card. Unfortunately, I didn’t investigate the shot before he left. The framing was much too wide and seemed to warrant the caption: “Cathy’s cramped living room and a few indiscernible heads in the far left corner.” My daughter Emily was perched in the back and her head was about a ½ inch tall, while Spike, our Australian shepherd was in the foreground and looked big enough to sit on the entire family in one squat. Even if I did want the photo, for some reason my computer kept seeing the shots as an unrecognizable format and refused to download them.

For round 2, I dragged over a piece of furniture and used it as a tripod as I set the timer on my camera. I should mention that my family was not happy that there was a round 2. The prospect of unblinkingly grinning for yet another round of red eye flashes was not something that would force a natural smile. Tom had a death lock hold on the two big dogs, while Mary’s little dog Bella kept squirming from her grip and chasing me to the camera. Emily was obviously not smiling and getting more and more upset each time I told her so. Jake was making goofy faces, and Mary kept whining for the whole ordeal to be over. After about a half dozen shots that were all stinkers, I went into Crazy Mom Mode and shouted, “I don’t ask for a lot, but this was important to me, dammit!!!”

I stomped off to the bedroom, fantasizing about leaving my family forever and moving to a small Midwest town to live an anonymous child-free life, where no one would know me or expect a Christmas photo from my seemingly happy family whose guts I now hated – and vice versa.

A couple minutes later, Tom knocked on the door and told me that everyone was ready to take the picture. I was pretty embarrassed about my behavior. I would like to say “needless to say,” but obviously it wasn’t needless to say. I apologized for throwing a tantrum like a 4-year old and started round 3 as I proceeded to take the best family photo I could with my standard consumer Nikon camera.

Not one shot was worth mass-producing. Heads were turned, human faces were buried by dog snouts, and I realized that Emily’s lipstick was too red. I would have been willing to use a bad photo as a blooper, but there weren’t any with everyone in the shot. We were all completely burnt out from the ordeal of taking a family photo, so we decided to take another photo the next time we could get everyone together and in a good mood.

Two nights later we tried again.

The shot still sucked. Sure, everyone was framed well, and they were all smiling, and their eyes were open and they were looking at the camera, but it’s still a standard consumer camera in less than ideal lighting, while my friend Laura Wagner has years of practice and training and big bucks spent on great cameras and lighting equipment. Also, the red eye worked on Spike’s blue eyes, but Jasmine’s (our German shepherd) brown eyes were glowing green like some kind of horror film. I tried to smudge it out with the iPhoto touch up tool, but then she just looked freaky in a different way.

All the flaws of the photo were made more apparent blown up in a 6” x 8” card, so I created a Costco photo montage where it was shrunk down to a 1-3/4” x 3” shot along side photos of Emily shooting a bow and arrow, Mary with her new little dog, Jake with his Student of the Month certificate, the kids at a Dodger game, Tom and Jake in their Cub Scout uniforms, and me with Jake at his school’s Rockin’ for Colfax concert – a great photo taken by Colfax’s premiere photographer Grettel Cortes (follow her link for her fabulous photographic abilities).

So why did it take until December 27th to get the cards in the mail? A combination of whittling down my 2000+ word first draft letter, and addressing and stamping a boatload of cards.

Thankfully they are now all in the mail. It’s a very good thing I ordered the “Happy Holidays” cards rather than the “Merry Christmas.”

If there’s any lesson to be learned, I will give Laura or Grettel a call in January and book them for sometime before December 2013.

Either that, or just scrap the “Happy Holidays” theme and wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day. Hopefully I can get those cards in the mail before mid February.

IMG_3130

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Mary Had a Little Dog ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥

My husband Tom is a huge animal lover. In his early 20’s he worked for a veterinarian tending to beloved sick and wounded pets, and later he was employed at the Wildlife Way Station caring for wild animals that had been abandoned in the city. He tells a very funny story about how he survived the low pay by eating Monkey Chow.  Maybe one day he’ll write about it in his blog Middle Age Metal Head.

Like Indiana Jones, he’s not terribly fond of snakes, but with the exception of his lukewarm enthusiasm for that not-warm reptile, Tom loves all God’s creatures except for one: little dogs. He really hates them.

His disdain for these small fluffy balls of joy came into conflict with the desire of my daughter Mary who’s been pining for a little dog for years. We currently have two dogs – a German Shepherd named Jasmine, and an Australian Shepherd called Spike. They weigh in at 65 and 55 lbs. respectively, and although they’re nowhere near the size of Great Danes or St. Bernards, they are sizeable dogs that could scare away any home invasion.

Although I was raised with mid-sized mutts, my siblings and their kids today are primarily adopting purebred miniatures. And unlike the dogs of our childhood who were secluded to the yard, the house, or the foot of our bed, these doggies accompany their masters everywhere. My niece Kattie is planning to have her Mini Yorkshire Toby serve as the ring bearer at her wedding. Just like in the G/PG movies, my sister Tammie used to sneak her Maltese around in her purse wherever she went, except for at home when Lacey would live in her cleavage. Lacey passed away recently, which was very sad. I know my sister loves me more than almost anything in the world, but I feel fairly certain that she cried over Lacey much longer than she’ll ever cry over my death.

Mary loves to go to her Aunt Tammie’s house. My sister has a huge yard with several dogs of all sizes and even though three of her four kids are grown and have moved out of the house, Tammie’s constantly babysitting their basset hounds or boxers. It’s always so heartbreaking if one of them has puppies. Mary begs and pleads to take one home, but Tom has been insistent. He calls them “rat dogs,” and says that the whole collection of toy dogs at Tammie’s house wouldn’t weigh as much as one of our dogs. I’m not sure why that matters, but it seems to really irk him.

But Mary has been persistent. This week she turned 12, and she has been begging for a small dog for her birthday. Tom started to cave a little and suggested that she start feeding, watering and walking our dogs and cleaning up the poop in the yard. He thought Mary might whine a bit, but she didn’t. She scooped up those stinky piles with gusto. Tom reluctantly agreed to a home invasion from a little rat dog.

Mary started looking online at the pet adoption sites, studying the little orphan’s names and preferences (Captain likes to catch balls; Tiny enjoys having her tummy rubbed), and of course breeds (Chihuahuas and Poodles not allowed – a hard limit for Tom). Tom originally demanded that the dog must be at least 20 lbs., which to Mary and me seemed like a medium-sized dog. I figured that any dog that could fit into Pampers Cruisers Diapers would definitely not be classified as “little.” But we wore him down, and Mary searched for pups that were Pampers Size 1 and 2.

Every day she asked if she could go after school and find her new dog, but I was swamped with work and kept postponing it. I finally told her when she was off school for Veteran’s Day that Tom would take her. She couldn’t have been more excited had it been her own birthday. Unfortunately, it turned out that the shelters were closed for the holiday and she wouldn’t be getting one after all. She came home and cried, which meant that she was really, REALLY heartbroken because it takes a lot to make that girl cry.

I told her we’d go the week of Thanksgiving while she was off school, and she couldn’t wait for the day. She had her eye on a Terrier named Samantha at the Burbank Animal Shelter. I bought her a dog bed from Costco, and we drove over to see if Samantha could possibly be the pup that would be her new best friend.

However, the shelter had some stipulations. We had to come back with the whole family to see how Samantha got along with everyone – a nearly impossible task since everyone always has something going on, and the shelter closes each day at 5:00. We were also to bring Spike and Jasmine along to see what they thought of her, probably to make sure they wouldn’t immediately swallow the little dog whole. If it was a good fit for everyone, then we had to schedule an appointment for the next week to get her spayed. After that, we might be able to take her home.

It was truly amazing the number of hoops we were going to have to jump through to adopt a dog that was already on death row.

The next day was Mary’s actual 12th birthday. I still had too much work to take a break, but Mary really, really, REALLY wanted a little dog, so I shoe horned a couple of hours by bending the laws of time – a superpower I try not to overuse. I called the Van Nuys Animal Shelter to find out if they had the same rules as Burbank.

“So even if we find a dog we like, we can’t take it home until we can get the whole family here, right?”

There was a pause on the other line. “No. Why do you need the whole family?”

“But do you still need us to bring our dogs there?” I asked.

Another pause. Then very slowly: “We don’t want your dogs here.”

An hour later, we were taking home Bella, an adorable 1-year old terrier mix weighing in at a dainty 8 lbs. Because her shots were up to date and she had already been spayed, the dog was ready to roll.

Despite himself, I think Tom really likes her. He’s nicknamed Bella “Little Turd,” and she even comes when he calls her. Bella holds her own with our big dogs, and if you ask Mary how she likes her new dog, her voice turns sweet as honey. “I love her,” she swoons. Which has inspired me to write this little ditty:

Mary had a little dog.

Its cheeks were white as snow.

And everywhere that Mary went.

The dog was sure to go.

Obviously, we’re now working on potty training.

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For “Giving Tuesday,” Can I Give Back All My Free Address Labels?

Black Friday – the biggest shopping day of the year for the brick & mortar establishments – is followed three days later by Cyber Monday – the most popular online shopping day. And since you already have your credit cards out and are floating on that high that only comes from the combination of spending a lot of money and getting a really great deal, some brilliant philanthropists (and of course some savvy marketers) came up with today’s Giving Tuesday. They figure that we have one day for giving thanks and two for getting deals, so why not balance it out and create another day for giving back? And by “giving back,” they don’t mean the return line at Wal-Mart after you’ve developed buyer’s remorse.

I think Giving Tuesday is a great idea and I hope it catches on like wildfire. Especially for those people who don’t really think about charities until the end of the year tax write-off, I think it’s a wonderful way to initiate the recognition of worthy charities and hopefully start instilling a desire to help those in need, without expecting a fancy meal and a door prize in return.

Even though I completely encourage Giving Tuesday, today won’t necessarily be a special day for me. I try to be a giver year-round, not just on some new cyber-Hallmark holiday akin to Secretary’s Day. My kids will probably joke that I like to give them crap (although they wouldn’t actually the word “crap” or I’d really give them crap), but I wouldn’t hesitate a second to donate a kidney, a lung, or even half a brain if I could spare it. I enjoy volunteering my time in the community, and I even get a kick out of donating blood. And I don’t do it for the free carbs and a sticker.

I’ve never had a garage sale. I prefer to donate my gently-used items to charities, although one organization that I’ll just call Charity-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named came to pick up my bags of goods one day and instead left a note that said “Landfills are expensive.” Apparently the jacket good enough for me to wear the day before was unfit for a homeless person living in a box on a freeway offramp.

Ever since I started making enough money to eat something more extravagant than air-popped popcorn and off-brand macaroni and cheese, I’ve been giving to charities. Whether it was a Girl Scout selling over-priced cookies outside the market, a friend participating in a walk, jog, run or jump-a-thon, or some tear-jerker infomercial, my checkbook was always out. In the early 1990’s I was doing quite well financially and probably donated to 40 different charities annually. I’d send $25 to anything that came in the mail and more if the request was solicited by a friend.

But for the past few years we have been in financial dire straits, and I now have to be more choosey about charities.

The problem is, like pesky gum on your shoe that you just can’t scrape off, I seem to be in these charity databases for life. To them I’m still a potential donor left over from previous flush years, and I still might have sympathy and disposable income left to burn.

They don’t just send a form letter. What really irks me are the gilt-ridden gifts I don’t need or ask for that are smuggled along with the letter. I receive glossy photos of a malnourished child in Africa, a sad-eyed pup that’s about to be euthanized, or baby seals stuck in muck. They send calendars filled with 12 months of those plighted children, puppies, and baby seals. I get incredibly cheap-looking Christmas or greeting cards that I just pass on to some other charity. And if I had a dime for every time I got a dime from the March of Dimes… wait! I do have a lot of dimes!

Even though they may be attempting to stretch that donated dollar as tightly as possible by paying bargain basement prices on these presents, I’m concerned that they might be manufacturing these gifts in 3rd World Countries with the same horrible conditions they’re hoping to wipe out from the lives of plighted children, puppies, and baby seals.

But the most prevalent gifts are the ubiquitous address labels. I have probably received a billion of them in a variety of “Miss,” “Ms.” and “Mrs.,” “Cathy” or “Catherine,” and even some with the married names I never took.

Even though I didn’t ask for them, I’ll keep the labels and these days I probably won’t end up donating to their charity. I used to feel guilty about it, but it’s not like anyone else has any use for them. I can’t fill up a donation box of “Cathy Flynn – Valley Village, CA” labels for Charity-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and hope that Mr. Homeless Man in a Box can find them constructive, with the exception of using them to tape up leaky holes in his habitat.

I like to use the labels for as my contact information on charity raffle tickets rather than handwrite the same lines 100 times. The money may not be going to the optimistic organization that printed and mailed those address labels, but at least it’s still going to a good cause.

Two weeks ago I donated about 20 bags of clothing to the Superstorm Sandy victims, and then gave literally a truckload of household items to our local public middle school during their Goodwill drive. We have a monthly credit card payment to our public elementary school as well as my local public radio station since I’d be a complete thief to listen to NPR as often as I do without paying something for it. And since I don’t really know today how I’m going to pay for those credit card charges next month, I’m praying that even if I’m a contributor this year, it won’t tip me over the financial cliff so far that I’ll be one of those charity recipients next year.

I guess the bright side is – if we lose the house I won’t need to worry about what to do with all those return address labels. I doubt those charities will be able to find me at my new home next door to the Homeless Guy in a Box.

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Filed under Anxiety, Debt, Financial Insecurity, Fundraising, Humor, Public Schools, Volunteering

No More Trick Or (Candy-Free) Treats

When you’re a kid, it’s all about the candy. It’s Sweetarts for Valentine’s Day, chocolate bunnies and jelly beans for Easter, candy canes for Christmas, and goody bags and sweets-filled piñatas at birthday parties… all inevitably followed by the dreaded tummy ache and crossed fingers during the next dentist checkup.

And then there’s the Granddaddy Candy Holiday of them all: Halloween.

People who grow up outside the boundaries of the Land of Good & Plenty must think it an odd custom for Americans to ring the doorbell of a neighbor they’ve never met while their little precious dons a tiara or a muscle-laden costume (or a tiara and a muscle-laden costume if they live in West Hollywood) who hurls an opened pillowcase into the resident’s face and yells “Trick or Treat?” The neighbor repays this intrusion by plopping a piece of machine-wrapped candy into the overflowing bag, then the little tyke trots off to beg at the doors of the rest of the neighborhood.

When I was a kid, elderly neighbors used to hand out pennies or apples. We were told not to eat the apples, just in case that kindly octogenarian was really a mass murderer who snuck razor blades into the core. Forget that no kid would actually choose to eat the apple. With the choice of a piece of fruit or a Baby Ruth Bar, is there ever a dilemma? Also, you’d think the FBI could track down the homes of such sinister culprits, even without the use of fingerprinting or the more modern DNA test.

But the cold hard fact is – kids don’t want apples or pennies. They want the candy.

So why is it that for the past 13 years we have not offered such cavity contributors?

On August 12, 1999, my daughter Emily went to the pediatrician’s office for her 3-year checkup and instead was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This is not the same diabetes you rampantly hear about on the airwaves where you are kept in check if you just eat right, exercise and take a pill, nor part of the epidemic among lower-income children who eat the majority of their meals under the Golden Arches. Roughly ten percent of all diabetics are type 1 (insulin-dependant), rather than type 2 (adult onset).  Most people are unaware that they are two completely different diseases, and at least for the type 1’s, it is contracted through absolutely no fault of their own.

Any food Emily eats with carbohydrates requires an insulin injection. Without the shot, in a matter of days Emily would be dead.

I don’t mean to be a downer. It’s just the truth.

It was hard on me and Emily’s dad, and of course even harder on Emily. So after two and a half months of counting carbs and turning our little toddler into a human pincushion, we were faced with the horrors of Halloween.

We decided to ix-nay the andy-kay and instead purchased our Halloween treats from the biggest overseas cheap trinket organization of them all – Oriental Trading Company. You don’t just buy one or two items from this website. The objects are often ordered by the gross, which means 144, which in of itself is mighty gross.

We purchased every cheesy Halloween novelty they offered – stickers, pencils, temporary tattoos, spider rings, squishy pumpkins, glow-in-the-dark balls, bendable skeletons, plastic vampire teeth, sticky eyeballs, skull keychains, rubber fingers, orange slinkies, bubbles in black mini bottles, gooey worms, spinning tops with witches and black cats, and monster finger puppets.

We bought a ton of these toys. Well, maybe not literally a ton, but certainly dozens of gross which weighed tens of pounds. For Halloween 1999 we handed those cheap toys out in lieu of candy, and for the most part, the kids didn’t seem to mind. Then unlike the leftover candy assortment that’s usually just eaten and transformed into resentful gross tonnage that becomes fodder for New Year’s resolutions, we just boxed up the leftover toys until the next Halloween.

And the next.

And the next.

Today, a week after Halloween 2012, I’m packing up our holiday decorations and this is all that’s left of that original 1999 Halloween toy collection.

Oh, Oriental Trading Company – you have served us much longer than Nestle’s, Hershey’s, and anything the Dollar Tree could have offered. We had no diabetic comas, no rotten teeth, and we have not contributed to the carbon footprint of our planet.

Forget the last one. I meant carb, not carbon.

And unlike Nestle’s or Hershey’s, nothing expired. As for the Dollar Tree candy – that would outlast the Apocalypse. There’s nothing natural in that stuff, so there’s no ingredients that could ever expire.

Even with the terrors of Halloween, that’s kinda scary… isn’t it?

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Very VERY Busy Mom is Too TOO Busy to Write a Blog

2 lazy to upload a real image

im 2 busy 2 rite rite now & 2 tired 2 coreect typos. I want 2 take a nap & change the name of my blog to Very VERY Slacker Mom.

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