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Archive for the ‘Abuse of Fellow Humans’ Category

The boys love working at the County Park, thank you Governor Daniels. And, I love the boys working at the Park also. They take lunches, they carpool with a neighbor and they come home at 5:00, eat dinner and go to bed. I like knowing where my boys are in the evening. “Being in town”, “Going to a friends” and then me asking what friend, what number and are his parents home does not happen. My boys are home, exhausted and sleeping; safe from stalkers

I say this because EMT has his own personal stalker. It seems to be a family tradition.

Gaffer has had at least two personal stalkers. There was the girl at Natrona County High School in Wyoming, who would run down the hall and jump on his back unexpectedly. She was waiting at every corner he turned. By the third week of school he had other students shaking his hand and saying, “Glad it is you, this year. I had my turn last year.” She literally stalked him all year, but it was the one in Brown County who scared us. We were warned, by a person who shall remain anonymous, that she seriously needed help. To this day, four years later, he has to periodically change his email address, because she finds it.

Now, EMT has his own personal stalker and she is even MORE scary. One day, he says to me, when he first met her, that he was glad I liked her because she was “going to be around a lot.” What neither he nor I realized, is she had every intention of moving in. A week and a half later, which was about five days after I realized she had not left and the third time she told him she was leaving the next morning, I took things in my own hands and told her to be sure and not forget her children’s toys when she left that day and sort of, “It’s been nice knowing you.” She was shocked and things went downhill.

She did move out and I was shocked at the amount of stuff she had brought over, and how she got it all in without me knowing. I swear she must have left the house barefoot and come back with three pair of shoes on. She tried the, “my mother kicked me out” gambit to arose my sympathy. And, I only felt slightly cruel and heartless, when I printed out the list of homeless shelters. Her mother has this girl’s three children, by the way, so there were no children on the street.

Before we got rid of her, fingers crossed, for good, she had actually drugged EMT one night, we didn’t figure that out until too late to do a blood test to prove it. We were just preparing a protection order when we found out she had left the state as she is wanted by the police. They won’t tell us why, but we hope she stays out of state.

I do think that maybe they should put “Welcome to Brown County, home of the stalkers” on the Tourism Brochures. Maybe we can rename the high school girl’s teams, the “The Stalkers.”

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I began reading Helen, of Margaret and Helen, during the elections. This 80 something year old lady is just a hoot. Her logic is infallable and she is not afraid to speak her mind. Today’s post was a lot about American’s thinking about exactly who they are and who the other guy is. Margaret and Helen

My belief is that someone, at some point, drew this huge line in the sand.  They drew it under Texas and above Mexico and, there but for an accident of my birth, I could have been a person born on the south side of the line.  Being born on the north side does not make me better or brighter.  It does not give me the absolute right to have a job and feed my family (as millions of people are beginning to find out in this economy).  And, it sure as heck does not mean that a man should have to sneak a foot over the border to get a job to feed his family.  His family has as much right to eat as I do.

If we could just pull up all these imaginary lines and realize that we are all one big world, with my agriculture depending on your climage change and your rain forest depending on my pollution, we maybe, just maybe, could start working together to feed ALLLLLL the people on this earth.

And, I know, my potential editors and agents, that I may be alienating you with this blog.  I am sorry, if I am, but I presume we might not work well together anyway, if that is a problem. 

Now, I have a sister who is a self-avowed “Bigot and proud of it.” Since she proudly proclaims this, I do not think she will be upset by my post today. I “think” she will laugh.

But, Helen’s blog just reminded me of my sister. She grew up in Illinois and she hated African Americans. She moved to Wisconsin and she hated Native Americans. Now, she lives in Arizona and she hates Mexicans. Why is it that no one has says “Mexican Americans” ?

Her husband is a Hungarian American. And, that is another one no one says. This sister of mine, who so hates anyone not like her, married a 1st generation Hungarian. Okay, his skin is white, but his accent is not. I am not sure about his brain yet. I have a lot of thoughts on that. Most of them she knows already, and I can’t use that kind of language here.

But, my point is.  There is always going to be someone different than you and you need to look at all the things that makes us alike.  We breathe air, we bleed, we get sick, we die.  We all need clean air, health care, food, and shelter and we all better start working together to get it in a non-destructive way or none of us will have it.

Love you, Sis.

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I just love Crazy Aunt Purl, although I am a little miffed lately because she has had to cut off comments and sometimes there is  something I just want to tell her or comment to her and I can’t and that is why, like Crazy Aunt Purl, I would like to stab someone repeatedly with a fork.  In my case, and I would not doubt she would like to also, the idiot who was stalking/harassing her.

I mean, I do not think that was the reason Crazy Aunt Purl wanted to stab someone repeatedly with a fork, but it would be a reason for me.

Scroll down to April 15, 2009, on Crazy Aunt Purl and read “Just another day in the neighborhood.”  I have lived in semi-rural neighborhoods, small city neighborhoods and rural neighborhoods, but I have never lived in a big city neighborhood. 

I have always thought that city living would be fun to do for a year or two though.  You know, get rid of the car and the insurance and the repairs, grab a bus when you want to go anywhere, spend Saturdays at a museum, Sundays at the park, just walk to the neighborhood night spot and listen to some jazz or blues.

I have however, lived in apartments where I could hear the next door man beating up his wife (yes, I called the police.  I do that kind of thing.), or I had to go next door and  hold the new baby because the 17 year old nervous mother had no idea what to do to calm him.  

Now, our neighbors are dogs and that is not a commentary on their personality.  It is their non-human companions I am talking about.  We rarely hear from the neighbors themselves, it is their dogs that we have to deal with.  No one seems to keep their pets in their yards and dogs wander all over.  They all travel through our yard.  This includes the two Chihuahua’s across the street to the two St. Bernard’s two doors down the road from us, who own their very own pet, a 9 pound dog that hangs with them.  And, they leave piles for our Irritating little Chihuahua to smell. I mean, if you came across a pile of poop as big as you are, well—–. 

In her city neighborhood, Crazy Aunt Purl has a loud mother with children who suffer from a rare form of selective deafness (probably from all that loud talking), and neighbors who cannot seem to learn to shut their car alarm off when they open their door. 

In my semi-rural neighborhood, I have automobile owners who think it is cool to hang Confederate flags on their car, wear shirts riped out on the side so everyone can verify they have armpit hair and blast out “Watermelon Crawl’ from their mammoth woofers.  Then there is the family whose young child screamed for two years straight.  I do not believe that child learned to talk until she was five.

But, the worse are those who have dogs who bark all night.  I mean, literally all night long.  Some live like a mile away and I have no idea how they sleep through it, but once in  a while I have a neighbor who shoots dogs.  No, it is not me.  But, you can only be sleep deprived for so long.  Last night the barking was coming from three directions.  I felt like I was in a 101 Dalmatian movie with a dog telegraph going on for an emergency.

By the way:  Crazy Aunt Purl  has a book out and it is hilarious.

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We have taken on a roll that many adults now hold, and that is grandparents who become parents to their grandchildren, as well as taking care of their own parent.  It is one thing to raise a child from birth, or a young age, and it is another thing to take on a teenager.  I mean, come on guys, the world is WAY different now than it was when I was a teen. 

 

The deal with these guys is their previous upbringing, or lack thereof.  There was a big focus on being obedient and saying “Yes, Sir” and “No, Ma’am.”   While, we feel it is more important to have respect and give respect than it is to say meaningless words that you are beat for, if you do not say them. 

 

The boys did have varying degrees of influence from us.  They were with us, for their first: nine years, six years, and three years respectively.  The youngest does not remember living with us at all.  The oldest made a fluid transition to our home.  He did not make a fluid transition to school.  He once did a whole semester of homework, without ever turning it in to the teacher.  This is something only a homeschooled boy would do; or an idiot.  And, he is not an idiot.  We found out about it because we had four teachers tell us, at his first public school conference, that he was a genius.  I could only look down at the F’s across the page and ask “Why this, then?”  Not turning in homework will make even a genius fail. 

 

What worries me is the lack of “love of knowledge and education.”   It was more important in their stepfather’s home, to fear than to love.  Fear Stepfather’s belt and retribution, fear (for girls) of not wearing prairie dresses and head coverings.  Fear of the word “Foolishness.”  That last one is because it means the “rod of correction” is going to beat it out of you when your grandparent’s leave. 

 

These three are safe now and have varying degrees of success.  They do not know how to judge people, as their past experiences consisted only in friends like themselves.  Which consisted of other ultra conservative Christian home schooled children who are protected from the world out there by paranoid parents.  So, we are now locking our doors and covering our windows so the Bi-Polar ex-girlfriend of EMT will leave us alone, perhaps proving that it is not so bad to be paranoid.  But, it is not a good way to live.  He trusts everyone and is friends to everyone, even someone who is in need of commitment (even her mother says so at this point). 

 

I do not understand why these parents, who isolate their children from modern society, do not realize that their children must go out and live in the world we all live in and if you do not provide a child with the tools to recognize and understand that world, that they will have a hard time getting along in it.

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As you all know (What?  You don’t?  Well, you should.)  I just love Margaret and Helen.  Their “Tell it like it is, with humor.” blog got me through the election.  And, when my life here at home gets a bit tough, like getting a $1,200 power bill or, like yesterday, when I opened the one piece of mail, late at night (Tell, me why I even bother?) and that mail was from the Indiana Department of Revenue.

 

 

When I opened my studio I got a tax idea and somehow, thought I needed to have a Taxpayer TID number for paying employees.  I do not have employees.  The studio is so piled up with junk right now that an employee couldn’t get through IF I had one, which I don’t.

 

 

So, this year when I sent in my multitude of forms, which I never quite have understood, I decided that enough was enough.  I had already closed the studio to public view, taken down my sign, pulled my rack cards from town and alerted my Township Tax accessor that I was not working right now so I was “sort-of” closing the studio.

 

 

Okay, I can see where the “sort-of” confused them.  But, I unequivocally put in there that I had no employees, I had no State and County taxes withheld on my non-existent employees and I really want them to stop sending me the forms which confuse the %$@$ out of me.  Husband said they are drawn up by lawyers who are wanting to get the work when you cannot understand the forms. 

 

 

So, last night, I get this envelope informing me that I now owe $5,410.00 plus $541.00 in Penalty and $90.27 in interest for the taxes on employees I do not have. 

 

 

You know, this mail thing started with a $500 DirecTv bill and has gone up steadily ever since and I really need to learn not to open mail except during business hours because I do not get enough sleep already and having it run through my head all night, what kind of fight I am going to have in the morning, is not helping.

 

 

The man on the phone this morning was very nice.  I told him I want to keep my Sales Tax ID and my checking account because I have dreams of working again and he said to fill out this form BC-100, have it notarized and send it in.

 

 

“Okay, then what do I do about this $6,041.27 bill?”

 

 

“Oh, just write a letter of protest and tell them you do not have employees.” 

 

 

“But, where did they get that figure from?  Why charge me?”

 

 

“That was just because you did not send the right form in.”

 

 

That sound you hear is me banging my head against my desk. 

 

 

There again, I see little bored people, in cubicles, saying, “Hey, Mildred, wanna have some fun?”

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Sorry for the long absence. It snowed. The car has been stuck in the drive for six days. I threw up for ten hours one night and have been nauseous since. My mother had four nurses coming to her home.

Wait, you say. What was that last one? “my mother had four nurses coming to her home this week.” What does that have to do with not blogging, you ask.

Apparently, my life’s fun radar, goes totally off when my mother has to have nurses coming to her apartment. It has something to do with the first phone call, when she said: “I just had the absolute worse day of my whole life.”

A child of an elderly parent automatically assumes: she broke her hip, her best friend died, a man broke in and stole her valuable jewelry (which includes $5.00 rings you get when you order from the back flap of an envelope), she was evicted from her apartment, I don’t know but all kinds of things flashed through my brain and none of those things included, “A nurse came to my apartment and checked my pills.”

Apparently, THAT is what gives my mother the worse day of her life. Never mind the depression era she lived through, breast cancer she survived, the car accident that put her in back pain for the rest of her life, the tremor that does not allow her to handwrite legibly, a nurse came and checked her pills! The nerve!

The doctor thought it was a good idea, after mom got out of the hospital and the rehab/nursing center to have nurses visit her. I concurred. She would have a physical therapist, an occupational therapist and a nurse to oversee her new medications and take her protime level, at home, without her going out in the snow. My mother, after doing physical rehab in the facility, walked down the hallway of her apartment, without stopping to rest or panting. She also got into my car without help. She was stronger and more stable than she had been in three years.

But, do you know, that this week four nurses came out and each on separate days. It’s insulting, I tell you, and she will have none of it. Now, I wish some physical therapist would come out to my house to oversee my exercises. My left shoulder just does not feel like it is aligned right when I do my weights. I could use someone who knows what they are doing to watch me and correct me.

YEAHHH! See how I threw that in, just nonchalant like. I am doing my weights again. Mind you, I am at two pounds on some, but that will build up. Week one down!

Anyway, to sum up, anyone who wishes to report us, the doctor and me, for senior abuse, should call and do so as the torture of having nurses and therapists out to her apartment will last for two more weeks.

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I have a character, in the Young Adult Fantasy Novel that I am writing, which I have to find the perfect name for.   He is kind of a wimpy (but in an honest way) kid who has seen hard times.  He is mainly just uncoordinated and scared of life. 

 

Every once in a while I do a search for names and today I came across  Name Nerds! features.  This is a list of names that people have found to be, well, just plain wrong.  I have not gone to it but there is apparently a list of favorite names on the site too and the site is quick to say that it is all just a personal taste issue, so do not be offended. 

 

I am Sheryl.  My mother, and thus assorted relatives call me Sherry.  Since I was a teen, I have hated Sherry.  I think it may have something to do with boys singing out, “Sherrr err Sherr err err ey, Ba-aa-by.” to me in the hallway at school.  Yes, I was a teen when that song came out. 

 

I can thank my father, however, for saving me from being “Dixie,” as he refused to name his new daughter after a major Highway.  I have a dear friend named Dixie and that would be very strange.  We could do a duet, ‘Dixie and Dixie sing at the Roxie.’

 

Now, I dislike the name Sherry, for me, because it does not seem like a name for a woman; gosh, how do I put this?  Frankly, I think I am still in my prime.  So, I’ll be darn if I say, “A woman past her prime.”  I also refuse to be an “older woman.”  I am the new forty?? 

 

 

I had a friend, from Pennsylvania, who just could not pronounce Sheryl.  It always came out, “Sherrrrr, ol.”  Then, there is the matter of a dozen spellings.  But, I still like my name: Sheryl Adair VanVleck.  Everytime I have to spell that last name, I wonder why I like it.  It’s just who I am.

 

 In school there was one other Sheryl, and I think she used the “C” spelling: Cheryl.  Now, in Brown County, the art center of Indiana, I have met more Cheryl’s, Cherry’s, Sheryl’s and Sherry’s, than I have met in the whole rest of my life.  Perhaps it is an artistic name?  You know,  a name that causes you to be an artist. 

 

 There is a theory that what you name a child will affect who they become.  On the list, I found today, is Caleb, as a wimpy name.  (My DISCLAIMER: I will discuss grandchildren here, who I dearly love, no matter what their parents saddled them with.)  The child, who is the biggest wimp I have ever known, is named Caleb.

As a five year old boy, we were all out camping and he was just standing in front of us and started to scream and scream and scream.  He was backing away from us with terror on his face from one of nature’s horrors.  Even his mother was laughing hysterically when Caleb landed sitting in an open ice chest.  But, then, that fly that was on his chest was pretty scary.

   

 By the time “Micah” came along, we were used to son-in-law’s strange name choices, but Micah is a mineral, not a child. 

 

There was also the birth of this beautiful, delicate baby girl and the father who insisted on naming her “Sariah.”  Immediately, my mother said, “Why would you want to name a child after a skin disease?” 

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There was a time when:

 

My mother was dating a young man with Mexican heritage and her mother and his mother had such a fit, that they had to stop dating.

 

I remember having a huge crush on an African American boy in high school and having my mother tell me that, while she had no objection to me dating him, my father would possibly disown me.

 

I remember dating a boy with Mexican heritage and, my father about disowned me when he found out.

 

I remember race riots in my high school in the sixties and trying to comfort my lab partner, who was African American.  I asked her what was wrong, the first morning, before I knew what was going on.  She was sitting at our table, head down, crying.  She said that she was afraid whites would hate her for what was going on.  A day later, I was struck a vicious blow, while I was in line in the cafeteria.  I did not hate my lab partner.  However, I wasn’t too fond of the girl who hit me.

 

I know this day will not stop all bigotry.  I know too many people who judge others by the color of their skin, but today, anything seems possible. 

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CBS News Sunday Morning is a microcosm of our world.  That hour, on Sunday morning, has become one of my favorite hours of the week.  Pajama clad, usually cup of tea in hand, I curl up under a blanket on the couch and know, that somehow nothing will disturb this hour.  The boys sleep on and the phone does not ring.  It’s magic!

 

Charles Osgood has replaced Charles Kurault but the show is every bit as good as it was then.  First is an overview of the week’s news, then follows: art, current political events, best and worst jobs, a bit of Hollywood with Glenn Close, commentary (It’s always good to hear someone else’s opinion), elephant polo (Where else can you hear about elephant polo?), and nature.

 

Today was a segment on “guilt” that included a clip of the master of guilt, “Woody Allen.”  Guilt is brought to us right in the beginning; literally, of the Bible.  Guilt even activates a portion of the brain, so perhaps we are hard-wired to experience guilt.  I grew up in the First Christian church and guilt was ever present in my youth.  My mother once walked out of a mall store with an unpaid for keychain on her finger.  She walked the full length of the mall to return it.   I would not pick up a penny if it was lying on the driveway of someone else’s property, even when I was three.  I do not think that is a bad thing.  But, guilt at feeling pride in oneself is one of the quickest downfalls of man/woman.  We all need to feel we are worthy; for a happy life and to accomplish small and great things. 

 

Not feeling worthy can lead to suicide, acceptance of a poor condition in your life, and being treated poorly by others.  J.K. Rowling said that it took her thirty-five years to stop going for the bad boy, and it worries her when women/girls say they like Lucius or Draco Malfoy.  AOL Chat (See second question down on left.)  In my opinion, if you have enough sense of self-worth, you are attracted to good characters, like Lupin.  When you are attracted to a Malfoy, you are asking to be abused. You apparently, do not feel worthy of the best. 

 

Sunday Morning Almanac, 1964, was the first finding of cigarette smoking and lung cancer and other associated diseases.  Having had an aunt, a long time smoker, who died of lung cancer not long ago and knowing that it makes me breathless to be on the company of a smoker, I have to agree.  For what that is worth.

 

The art segment covered trains.  My love of trains is of the model variety, although I loved my morning commute when it was on a train.  I remember the Christmas morning my brother received a model train.  I woke up to the whistle and, oh how I wanted that train.  I saw a design once for a very small gauge train in a coffee table.  I always meant to make that.  This segment featured artist’s representations of train and train travel.  And, the art section of Sunday Morning is one of my favorites.

 

They covered George Walker Bush, as President; 9/11, the Iraq War, Katrina and the economic crisis.  My mother always says that no matter who gets in, they will do their best.   I rather think that must be modified with them doing, what is right, in their own interests, not necessarily in the best interests of the country.

 

Brides and weddings were covered next.  I know something about weddings, having attended two this year and photographing the one.  These couples worked at keeping the costs down while having their own original weddings.  When I see that someone has spent twenty thousand dollars on a wedding, I wonder why they do not put that money down on a house, when I hear of a six hundred thousand dollar wedding, I wonder how many homeless people could be housed, how many hungry children could be fed, for that one, wedding?  The last wedding I attended, that cost twenty thousand dollars, saw a divorce not too many years later. I doubt the bride spends too many hours looking at those wedding photos.

 

We were told that houses are being built smaller.  I hope that means we are going to be less wasteful in the future.  We only have one earth and we have to learn to take care of it.

 

And, it is nice to see that international frivolity can bring us all together, when the New York blue team played elephant polo in India and won silver.  What’s life without a laugh and friends, and elephants?

 

Finally, they ended with nature, as they always do.  This time it was in the snowy mountains of southern Colorado, with squirrels and trees, snow and running water.  Is there any better way to start the week?

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choir-santa-stark-behind-big-bird

Last night was the High School Choir Christmas concert.  Beside the joy of the whole school seeing our esteemed Principal, Mr. Stark, as Big Bird, we have a fantastic new choir director.  The choir has never sounded so professional.  And, she is not requiring the purchase of $300 dresses, made in some country where the workers get three cents an hour and wherein none of the girls looked good in them, because they never fit right and are poorly styled. 

 

But, that is digressing before I have even gotten to my point, which is a new high for me. 

My point is: 

 

We arrived earlier than usual to drop off cookies for their fund-raiser sale and I was watching the two boys, who are left in our home, in this high school environment.  I had to share some thoughts with you. 

 

Back, oh so long ago, August of 2005, two additional boys came to join their older brother who was already living with us.  He came to live with us as a freshman.  These boys had lived with us when they were young (with their mother) and we had visited their home and they ours, several times a month in all the years since, until they moved to Kentucky.  As the years past, with their new step-father, we had watched two normally bubbly, joking, happy children grow into solemn, quiet, reserved, older-than-their-years adults. 

 

The last few years, the talk in the car after leaving their home ran along the lines of.

Mom said.  “I think she hates him.  She acts like she hates him.  Something is wrong.”

I replied.  “I think something is wrong too, mom.  Neither one of them smiles, but I don’t know what to do about it.  I’ve asked them what’s wrong.  They don’t say.  And, last time I said anything to her she wouldn’t let me see them for three months, so what can I do?”

 

This conversation was repeated every single visit for two years or more.  Way too long. 

 

Then, we took them.  We bit the bullet and took them.  We lost visitation with the rest of the children, who were fathered by the step-father, to save two.  We saved one from threatened suicide and we are now seeing two boys, who still battle the demons from their past, but are bubbly, happy, normal high school kids.  (And their past is so horrible you would not imagine.)

 

I had to smile, sitting there watching these boys joke and skid down the hallway.  They are so happy to be around other kids their age.  It has taken them time to get used to things like the fact that not all youth are what they seem nor are they like the other homeschooled children they met in their past life. 

 

These boys, who at 13 and 16, were working full time plus adult jobs and paying for their own clothing and rent, and still having half or more of their possessions burned in a burn barrel by their stepfather, not to speak of beatings and closets and food, withheld and forced fed and being home educated or more appropriately, not home educated.

 

These boys are now sliding down the hall, sitting on the floor with friends and talking, joking with girls, helping out at school with bleachers, etc, getting a drink from the machine (instead of paying fees at home) and just being kids. 

 

Which is what all kids should have the right to be. 

 

 They are living in the world that is the one they will be living in as adults.  They need to learn how to deal with it while they are young.  Besides,

The smile on their face makes the whole thing worth it.  Trust me on that!

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