Tag Archives: blog

Delay of Game

I first thought about starting a blog website 10 years ago.  But I didn’t.  And now I’m kicking myself for waiting so long.  I’m so far behind in the race now, I don’t know how to ever catch up.

Ten years ago I had a community email distribution list.  I loved it.  I shared all kinds of information from concerts to playgroups, charity fundraisers to neighborhood crime, summer camps to missing pets.  You know, community stuff.

I loved writing the emails and I loved feeling like I was bringing the community together, even in just a small way.  The distribution list started as just my neighborhood and as it grew to surrounding cities and towns, my ideas grew.  My game plan grew.  I wanted to bring people together in a big way.

But my doubts and insecurities also grew.  It’s one thing to send out informal emails.  When you keep expectations low and simple, you don’t have far to fall if things don’t go as you want.  When you tell everyone your grandiose ideas, you set yourself up for not just a possible fall, but a possible FAIL.

When I joined Facebook, my distribution list eventually went away.  As more and more of the people on my email list were also on my FB friend list, I turned my focus to Facebook.  And then as I realized there was a group or a page for pretty much everything anyone could ever want to know, my need to share information seemed to fade away too.

Yes, the list went away.  But my ideas didn’t.  I still felt the need to create some kind of global “community.”  Some way for people to connect.  Some way for people to help each other.  But I didn’t know how.  I didn’t know where to start.  I didn’t know what to do.  So I didn’t.  For ten whole years, I didn’t.

But I wanted to.  I even had a name for it.  “Momopoly: The Real Game Of Life.”  It would include Community Chest, an online community to share information.  Chance for those in need of one.  Reading Railroad for an online book club.  Get Out Of Jail Free for a place to vent and talk about your struggles without judgement.  The list went on…

Unfortunately, I waited so long that when I finally decided to start my blog…the name Momopoly had already been used.  Twice.  Of course it had.  What did I expect by waiting 10 years without doing anything about my idea while millions of others were jumping on the blogging train?

It’s one of those times you wish you could turn back the clock.  Have a do-over.  Give me a Mulligan please!!   Why did I wait so long?  By this point, there probably aren’t ANY original ideas left.

However, I did manage to find a blog name that hadn’t been used.  And Momopolize began.  Not my first choice, but it will work.  It is close enough to Momopoly that I still could potentially use the “Real Game Of Life”  concept.  We’ll see.

And the more I try to learn about the blogging rules, the more I realize writing is actually a small part of it.  Getting followers is as much work as trying to be a first round draft pick.  And without droves of followers, even the best ideas are futile.

So where do I go from here with Momopolize?  Will I keep it simple and safe?  Or try to bring my ideas into play?  I don’t know.  But I will stay in the game.  Even if I joined the team 10 years too late.

Photo: flickr.com

Priceless Paper

From a distance, the yellowed, typewriter written, tattered papers appear to be nothing impressive .  But the information contained on those papers is what makes them amongst my most cherished possessions.  It is the only window I have into an unknown part of my life.  The only knowledge about my biological past.  My adoption papers.

The sketchy information does not even come close to telling the entire picture about the beginning of my life, but it’s enough for me to read between the lines to create a story in my mind.  Enough to take the blank slate and provide some understanding of the circumstances surrounding my birth and what makes me the person I am.

The first page of the paperwork contains details about my biological parents.  The brief description – only a few lines total – is the most valuable information to me.  I can peruse the traits and see glimpses of myself in the presentment, especially in the features and personality of my biological father.  “Green eyes, dark brown naturally curly hair, dark complexion” could readily describe me.  I like to think I also am somewhat “outgoing, happy-go-lucky and have a good sense of humor” which is how my biological father’s personality is portrayed.

My biological mother is also described as having brown hair but with brown eyes, and no curls.  From reading her description, however, I know where I got my left-handedness.  Drawing is listed as an interest.  Perhaps that is where my son, Jake, got his love of art.  Her personality is depicted as “moody, quiet and lazy.”  I choose to envision that she was understandably moody because of the turmoil she was feeling over giving me up for adoption.  She was uncharacteristically quiet.  Pensive, wistfully wondering what “could have been” under different circumstances.  She was not lazy, just weary.  Fatigued and distressed about the toll pregnancy was taking on her body – and soul – for a baby she was not going to raise.

“Completed high school” is listed as the education for both, with the addition of “anticipates furthering her education” for my biological mother.  From this, I deduced that the pregnancy occurred during their senior year of high school and I was born the October after they graduated.  In another area of the paperwork, it states that pre-natal care began in mid-June.  I concluded that the pregnancy was concealed from her classmates, and most likely her parents, until after graduation to reduce the embarrassment of her predicament.  I wonder if either did go on to attend college after the adoption.

Some of the other tidbits of information tend to cause more questions than answers.  The papers state that I wasn’t given baby formula for the first time until three days after birth.  What happened during those first days of my life?  Was I still with my biological mother during that time?  What other explanation could there be for the delay in receiving formula?  My adoption wasn’t finalized until the end of January, more than three months after I was born.  I believe I was in a foster home during this time.  Was I living at a private residence or a group home?  Who were the kind people who took care of me?  What were they like?

Most of the remaining information is mundane medical records and daily routines.  But to me it is precious.  I don’t have anyone with whom to discuss those first three months.  No one to tell me how often I ate,  how I reacted to bath time, that I made a “coo” sound when I laughed.  These type-written words are all I have.

Will I meet my biological mother and father one day?  Perhaps.  There are so many questions that these papers can never answer.  Maybe one day I will try to fill in the gaps left by the words that are not written. But for now, when I feel overwhelmed by all the unknown, I will pull out the worn, aged papers and look for a clue I may have previously missed.  A clue to my biological past.  A clue to my adoption story.

______________________________________________

You may have noticed I only reference the parents who created me as my biological mother and father.  Not Mother and Father.  Not Mom and Dad.  I will always be grateful to the people described on those pages for making the difficult decision to give me to someone who could provide a better life for me.  But my adoptive parents were, and always will be my Mom and Dad.

______________________________________________

I’m so excited that this post was featured on the Freshly Pressed page.  Thanks WordPress for the recognition!  http://wordpress.com/#!/fresh/

Blogging For Idiots

Text conversation after I discovered Jim’s accidental post on my blog (see “Publish = Blog Entry, Not Comment” for the story).
Me:  You have made me laugh for the past hour.  You MUST read my new blog entry.  It is an explanation of “my” blog entry from this morning.
Jim: OK, but I have that look of horror on my face again.
Me: You should. Let’s just say I found your “comment.”  And so did the rest of the blogging world.  Go to momopolize.com to read it…NOT wordpress.com.
Jim (after reading blog): Does that make me a blogger?
Me:  Sure.  You are now a blogger.
Jim: Yeah!  Maybe I’ll get that book deal.  Blogging for idiots.

__________________________________________

Sorry, Jim.  Looks like it’s not in the cards for you.  Maybe “Commenting for Idiots?”

(photo from nulledtemplates.com)

Publish = Blog Entry, Not Comment

Important warning to all bloggers:  One must be sure to log out of WordPress on husband’s computer when finished.  Or one may find a new mysterious blog entry next time one logs on.

My husband, Jim, finally decided to read Momopolize.  “Gee honey, it only took you 3 weeks.  Thanks.”  Oops.  I forgot, I promised to play nice.  I meant “Gee honey, you took the time to read 3 weeks of blogs in one day.  Thanks!!”  After reading, he decided to post a complimentary comment about my new blog.  Only he didn’t post a comment.  He put his comment as a new blog post.  And PUBLISHED it.  For the world to see.  So for everyone who viewed the new blog entry from earlier today titled “I hope no…”, now you have an explanation.  I’m sure you’ve been wracking your brain all day trying to figure out the mystery.

At least now I know I’m not the most technologically challenged person in the family.

This was Jim’s “comment” blog entry seen ’round the world.

“I hope no one sees how long I’ve been reading this. I never realized how much I miss of my own family. What an interesting time from 2:30pm to 6:00pm each week day. I know I don’t say it enough, but thank you for all you do! Love you.”

I hope this dispels any rumors that I am narcissistic for posting my immense appreciation and love for myself.

Honey, repeat this 3 times:  Don’t click “add new post.”  Ever.  Thanks for the kind comment though.  I really do appreciate it.  And for giving me my laugh for the day.  And material.  Lots of material for my blog.  Writing my blog is easy.  I simply regurgitate the antics of my family!

I’m not really a writer. I just play one in real life.

Brother, can you spare a dime? Or quarter?

  • Me: “So did you and Greg decide to switch chores?”
  • Eric: “No.”
  • Me: “But I’ve seen Greg feeding the pets a lot recently”
  • Eric: “I know.  I give him a quarter to do it.”
  • Me: “But we pay you more than a quarter.”
  • Eric: “I know.”
  • Me: “So you pay him PART of what we pay you, and he does it??”
  • Eric: “Not exactly.  I usually find a quarter he left lying around and just give him the same one again.”

(7/30/12)

Welcome, Day of Sweet Repose

Yes, officially it may be Labor Day.  A day intended to celebrate work and also the symbolic end of summer.  However, for me today is a day to recover from the first week of school, and to mourn the end of summer.

The first week of school is really tough.  Adjusting to rising early, making a good impression on the new teachers, getting all the homework done.  No, not the kids.  ME!

The horrid beeping of the dreaded alarm aside, the first week is full of assignments for the parents.  This early in the year, I’m still trying to give the illusion that I have it all together.  By the end of the year, it is unquestionably apparent that I do not, but I start out each year using slight of hand tricks to cover the truth.

Monday started out well.  I got all 4 of the dreaded “first day packets” filled out.  It even seemed less time consuming this year.  Maybe after 12 years, I’m finally getting it.  I even filled out the “describe your child” sheet for Eric, which I find extremely difficult.  “Five adjectives that best describe your child.”  OK Miss Teacher, do you want me to describe my child or really describe my child?

Abrasive, Combative, Volatile, Obnoxious and Selfish.  No, that’s is how his brothers would describe him.

Argumentative, Whiny, Defiant, Forgetful, Lazy.  No, that’s only when asked to do chores.

Brilliant, Enchanting, Enthusiastic, Responsible, Dazzling.  No, too kiss up.

Kind, Bright, Funny, Happy, Stubborn.  Simple, with a negative thrown in for a reality check.  Bingo.

Truthfully, I don’t remember which adjectives I ended up using.  I know stubborn stayed.  The rest were probably barely legible because I changed my mind so much I almost erased right through the paper.  Immediately I put the paperwork in the kids’ backpacks to be returned the next day.  Put one in the win column.

Eric came home Tuesday with all the papers still in his folder, exactly where I had proudly placed them.  Are you kidding me??  “Teacher, teacher, I did my homework.  I did it all.  I did my best.  But…my dog ate it?  Well, my kid ate it.  Or forgot to turn it in.  Something like that.”  Come on Eric.  Let me look good past the SECOND day of school!

One of my other homework tasks for Eric’s class is to sign his agenda every day.         Simple enough.  Illegible initials in the signature box.  Check.  On Thursday I notice – in bid red letters – a note from the teacher.  A note that was written on TUESDAY.  In addition to not turning in my homework, he didn’t turn in his time capsule.  Apparently I’m not JUST supposed to sign the agenda.  I’m supposed to actually READ it first.  Maybe the teacher needs to add flashing lights and sirens next time.

In the backpack the time capsule went, to be turned in first thing Friday.

Sigh.  First homework assignment 3 days late.

Friday afternoon I notice an envelope on the couch.  That looks similar to that troublesome time capsule envelope.  No way.  Are you kidding me??  No, really.  Someone must be messing with me.

Sigh.  First homework assignment 4 days late.

If it actually gets there tomorrow.

Trying to keep the illusion going this year is going to require some smoke and mirrors. And maybe a rabbit. 

Karma’s only a b**** when you are

We refer to Karma a lot in our house.  Usually in a bad way.

“You called your brother stupid and then forgot to study for a test?  Karma.”

“You left your skateboard propped against the wall after I told you not to and it fell on your toe?  Karma.”

This past week, I had spent a lot of time being a really nice person.  Really nice.  Yes, I’m patting myself on the back.  I enjoy fostering kittens but it has been overwhelming recently and has required more effort than normal.  Adoption events, meeting a rescue transport last minute because a group of kittens was scheduled to be euthanized, and, more recently, many vet visits because the poor little baby kittens are ill.  The past few days I have had to hand feed kitten milk “formula” every few hours with a syringe.  Also last week I agreed to spend many hours doing a strenuous task at work that everyone else (who knew better) didn’t want to do.  Today, as I’m on hold with the rescue’s vet (which is about 45 minutes away) trying to schedule yet another appointment (because, despite all my effort, the kittens weren’t improving), all I could think was “when it rains, it pours!”  I was already having a little pity party for myself because I had to be late for a picnic in order to make a trip home just to pick up a kitten (not one of the sick ones).  I begrudgingly agreed to deliver him to his adopter during the time I should have been at the picnic because it was the only time she was available, even though it wasn’t convenient for me.

When loading up the kitten for his adoption meeting, Jimmy went down into the basement and informed us that there was a funny noise.  Jim went to investigate and realized a pipe had burst.  It had JUST burst.  The wall was wet but it hadn’t even made it to the carpeted floor yet.  Jim turned off the water and averted disaster.

“You kindly missed part of your picnic to help a rescued foster kitten find his forever home and then your basement didn’t flood?  Karma.”

Shortly after we arrived to the picnic, it started raining.  Yep, when it rains, it pours.  But better that the pouring was outside at a picnic instead of in our basement.  Thanks Karma.

I had to leave the picnic early to make it to the vet appointment, but that’s ok.  I’ll just expect another visit from Karma.

_______________________________________________________________

(The two itty-bitty-under-a-pound-in-weight kittens had to stay at the vet overnight because they are so ill.  Poor, sweet little guys.  I’m waiting to get an update on them any moment now.  Hey Karma, I will take that next visit now!!)

“We hit bullying hard”

At a school orientation meeting a couple of years ago, during the guidance counselor’s spiel to the parents about the wonderment of middle school, she proclaimed “we hit bullying hard in 6th grade.”  At the time, I was the only one who chuckled out loud at the irony of that statement.  Later in the year though, the erroneousness of the same statement wasn’t funny.

Unbeknownst to me, my own son spent the second half of his 6th grade school year being bullied by a group of classmates.  I like to think I’m pretty involved in my kids’ lives (too involved if you ask them), but had NO clue.  None.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.  Looking back, maybe I should have given more thought to the fact that he stayed home a lot and didn’t do much with his friends during that time.  But as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20.  I just thought he was being a typical tween that gets moody.  It never once crossed my mind that he was being bullied.  I bought into the false perception that kids who are big for their age don’t get bullied.  I was guilty of stereotyping the victim of a bully as a scrawny, small child.  Never considered it could be a 5’8″ eleven year old.

The bullying was mostly verbal, with occasional shoving.  The saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me” is just wrong.  Very wrong.  Words hurt just as much as punches. It wasn’t until the school year was almost over that I received the “come pick me up NOW” text that started the conversation during which I discovered what was wrong.

He said he hadn’t told me sooner because he was afraid I’d go to the guidance counselor.  He didn’t want to be labeled a snitch which would make the situation worse.  I finally was able to drag out a bit of vague information, after promising not to go stomping into the school, demanding punishment for the bullies. It was one of those parenting moments where I truly did not know what to do.  I did not want to betray his trust, but was devastated that he had been silently suffering for months.

Since there were only a few days of school left, I bit my tongue.  I’m surprised I didn’t bite it right off, considering I was also clenching  my teeth in anger.  Fortunately, summer break seemed to heal all (most) wounds (some may never be healed) and the bullying stopped in 7th grade.  As far as I know.  I don’t have the illusion anymore that I know exactly what is happening in my kids’ lives.

On Monday, a horrific incident happened in Maryland.  A 15 year old took a gun to school and shot another student.  As is often the case in situations like this, the boy was bullied.  And as is almost always the case, the student that is fighting for his life was a random target – in this case a special needs student who greeted everyone with a smile – completely uninvolved in the situation.  A lot of people are very quick to judge when something terrible happens.  The parents should have raised the shooter better.  The school should have intervened.  Peers should have seen warning signs.  Bullying is to blame.

I feel a lot of things about this shooting but judgement isn’t one of them.  I feel incredible sadness, and intense fear.  Heartbreak for the victim, his family and everyone involved, including the family of the shooter.  Anxiety that I have two teenagers – plus 2 that will be teenagers before I turn around- and the realization that something like this could happen anywhere, at any time.  But not judgement.  I don’t personally know anyone involved.  Even if I did, I still couldn’t judge.  No one – let me repeat, NO ONE – knows everything about this situation.  So no one can really pass judgement.  You can argue about how the teen dressed or what he posted on Facebook or the parents’ past or how he got the gun or even that he was bullied.  And those may all be valid points .  But the fact remains that the reason this teen decided to take a gun to school and open fire may never be known.  There are many other teens that have a bad family life, that have guns in their home, that don’t dress “the norm,” that post gloomy thoughts.  And, yes, very many that are bullied.  Probably more than we know.  Because they are afraid to tell.  But those other bully victims don’t decide to turn to violence against others like this one did.  There is some part of the story that is missing.  Something beyond the headlines that made the teen make the devastating choice he did.  Something we may never know without getting inside his head.

Don’t point fingers.  But keep that sadness and fear.  Use those emotions for good.  Pray for the victim and his loved ones when you feel sad.  Come up with ideas of how to prevent this in the future when you feel afraid.  Instead of condemning and placing blame, praise those that were heroes in this situation.  The faculty and counselor that got the gun away most likely prevented this from being a worse tragedy than it was.  But it is still a tragedy.  An awful, horrible tragedy.  An unexplainable, unblamable tragedy.

Bullying is an inexcusable act.  It is unacceptable that we live in a world where tweens, teens and even adults live with the feelingof knots  in their stomach because of another person intimidating them.  Even if it isn’t the sole cause for what this teen did, bullying did probably contribute to his downward spiral that ultimately led to his desperate act.  We all need to continue to “hit bullying hard” until it ends.  Completely.  Forever.

______________________________________________

God bless and heal you Daniel Borowy.  May you soon be back at school greeting your classmates with waves and high fives.

Daniel’s friends are making a plea to his favorite singer, Lady Gaga, to come visit him.  Send her a Twitter or Facebook message to help with their cause.  I truly hope that wish comes true.

Punctua-moticon

Gone are the days of the terms “semi-colon,” “colon,” “left parentheses,” and “right parentheses.”
Greg was playing around in Microsoft Word and referred to them as “wink,” “shift eyes,” “shift frown,” and “shift smile.”
😉    🙁    🙂

(From 1/8/12)

Time-out, please!

When toddlers are told to take a nap, they cry.

When children are told to go to their room for a time-out, they cry.

When teenagers are grounded, they cry (well, actually they scream and yell).

When adults realize they never have time to nap, sit in their room or stay home and do nothing…they cry.

“I just took a little nap. I stole it from an infant.
” 
―    Jarod Kintz