Thursday, May 29, 2008


I love the movie Ghostbusters. I was a junior in high school and it was the fun summer movie of 1984. It has some of my all time favorite movie lines in it. If I could pick a character to play in the movie, I would have been Dr. Peter Venkman. A smart alec that tosses around zingers...

Once, when I was about 7, I slept over at a friend's house and I swear to this day, I heard a ghost. There were only three of us in the house at the time and my friend's grandmother had died there a few months before. My friend and his older sister told me they had a ghost, but I didn't believe them. The house was old and it was the kind of house where you could always hear where everyone was when they moved. We went to bed, and in the attic above us, we heard something being slowly dragged across the floor. It completely freaked me out. I know, I was young and probably very easily fooled, but at the time I was terrified, and I have never forgotten that night.

As I have aged, I have become much more skeptical. I want real scientific evidence about anything that is out of the ordinary. Aliens, ghosts, and cryptozoological specimens all interest me, but I can't help wondering about the motives of people involved in extraordinary claims and can not provide any real evidence.

On the other side of that, I believe it is terribly important to have an open mind at all times. I know there are things we don't understand and maybe never will. I like life being mysterious and full of surprises.

However, the combination ideas can leave me confused.

A couple of weeks ago I went camping with my son. We did many of the normal boy scout camping things, one of which was to take a hike. The difference between me and the other hikers was that I was carrying a GPS that I was playing with, a digital camera, and my cell phone that does a little of everything (like post a continuous stream of Twitter updates). As we were walking along a small lake I decided to quickly whip out my camera and take a photo. This is always hard when the group keeps moving and yells for you to keep up, but it is even more difficult when you are juggling three different breakable electronic gadgets while stumbling along a path.

So at this one spot I felt moved to take a picture. I could barely make out the picture in the viewfinder because of the light, and I thought I better take a couple of more if my camera could hurry up and do its job. This is the first shot-

Here is a larger version. Flickr Photo. If you look at the largest view you can clearly see two fuzzy, translucent circles. The larger of the two circles looks like it is glowing.

This is the second picture in the series. Same spot just seconds later.

And a larger version of the second picture. Flickr Photo.

This is the third picture. Same spot.

And a larger version of the third picture. Flickr Photo.

All three pictures were taken in less than 1 minute on auto setting, by an HP Photosmart R927 camera. I have taken tens of thousands of digital pictures (most of them terrible shots- I am not a professional photographer) and I have never taken a picture with the effect seen in picture number one.
I do have Photoshop, and I do know how to use it, but these pictures have not been altered. I didn't even download them until a week after the trip was over.

So, what are the two glowing things in the first picture? The Ghost Hunters might say they were orbs. Skeptics would say it was just a messed up picture. What do you think?

All I really wanted was a picture of bigfoot.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

When a Four Year Old Decorates...

Before you have children you often picture what a wonderful thing it will be to have them. The children will be perfect and somehow you never imagine any of the work involved. No parent-to-be ever thinks that they will be changing diapers 8 times a day on a light day. Oh yes, I changed diapers- lots of them.

Things have changed since the diaper days. There is still much that must be done to keep up around the house, and now the kids can even help. While it is really nice to get the little people involved, sometimes it is best to get them out of the way for a few minutes of peace and quiet while the dishes get finished.

A few weeks ago we had one of those peaceful cleaning moments at the house. The kids, all three of them, were sent into the front yard to entertain themselves. I am not a big fan of dishes, but it can often be much quicker and easier if the kids are outside. Then I don't need to turn around every five seconds and answer a hypothetical question about burping cows solving all our energy needs, or settle a dispute that can easily erupt into name calling and foot stomping.

After a few minutes of blissful scrubbing and stacking dishes into the dishwasher, Savannah, my middle child and informer of all wrongdoings by her brothers, sticks her head in the front door and says, "Sammy is picking up a dead frog."

Of course, my answer as a superior parent was, "Tell him to stop it." That seemed to satisfy her, and she left. I was happy it wasn't anything serious and I didn't have to stop what I was doing.

Peace settled back in for a total of 2 and a half minutes before Savannah shouted through the open door, "Dad, Sammy won't put the dead frog down."

The entire time I am debating with myself, "Is this something I need to worry about?" As long as he is not eating the frog, I think I am ok. I say very forcefully to Savannah, "Tell him that I said he needs to put down the dead frog- right this minute." I am thinking that the authoritative command of my voice will transfer to my daughter and she can pull off giving these instructions to her 4 year old brother so I don't need to go out and deal with the dead frog issue.

Now I move on to some other constructive activity, like clearing the counter top or something equally exciting. Dealing with frog boy is looking like more fun, but I know that I am due an update on the Kermit situation anytime, and the whole production is beginning to amuse me. I am trying to think of witty comebacks to whatever the next exchange will be, but you can not be prepared for everything.

Savannah comes back in and before she can say anything I ask her, "Did Sammy put the frog down?"

"Yes, but he put it in a tree." she says. I have no idea what that means, and now I am annoyed because I didn't think of anything good to say in return to that statement.

I said, "What? Alright, well he is not carrying it anymore. Tell your brothers they have 5 more minutes out front then it will be time to come in." I hate it when I take the time to think up good one-liners that I can't even use. I thought for sure I would get a couple of more times to say something creative during the croaked frog exchange.

And then I forgot all about the frog. The next morning I came out of the house, locked the front door, and came down the front steps. I look up and there is the frog. Flat as a pancake, and sitting on this miniature little evergreen tree that we have in our front yard like a warped Christmas tree ornament at Ozzy Osbourne's house. I had to laugh. It was gross, but very funny.

A new plan materialized, I needed to see how long it would take my wife, Amy, to notice, and I needed to take a picture as soon as I got home. Amy said nothing about the frog on the way to work or after we got home. I was able to get a couple of photos of the frog and then I waited.

Boy was I mad when she asked me, "Did you see the frog?" Now I am starting to get upset. Can't I have any fun at all with the dead frog? Amy is not upset, maybe a little grossed out, but mostly just amused. Maybe I can get my Mother-In- Law to come over and look at it. I refuse to take the frog off the tree and Amy doesn't care. So the frog stays up.

A week goes by with the frog in the tree. I have just come to accept the frog as if it is a part of the yard and don't even think about him anymore. Then one day, the neighborhood walking group comes looking for Amy. A couple of the Moms get together and walk their dogs around the block. Amy had called them on her cell phone from the minivan and they showed up at the house early to meet her.

We make the obligatory small talk while we wait for Amy, and I am just thankful that I put shorts on and was not running around the house in my boxers when they showed up. Nina, one of the neighborhood moms, says, "Nice frog!" Total gross-out by both of the Moms! Payoff. Finally, flat frog earned his rent. I got a couple of, "Ewwws" and a, "Nasty!" Plus, I was able to tell the Sammy story. I was finally happy.

But it goes without saying that every good thing must come to an end. Flat Kermit was no different. We had some good windy storms roll through town and Kermie went with them. It will all be ok, Sammy will be happy to decorate something else with the next flat frog he finds. I just hope he keeps it outside.

Flat Kermit, as Sammy intended for him to be seen.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Most Horrible Word in the World

My son knows the "Mother" of all bad words. Calvin is 9 years old and knows the F-bomb. I know this because when a fellow boy scout asked him if he knew any curse words he jumped right in with the spelling. He didn't say it, he spelled f_ _ _. At a camp out breakfast in front of the other boy scouts, and their parents!

All the other parents turned away, refusing to meet my eye. Their public shunning was a way of saying, "You are a potty mouth man! It is your fault my child can now spell THE bad word."

In the silence of the morning I screamed, "Where did you learn that word? I don't say it! Your mother doesn't say it! Where did you hear that!?" I had to say that loudly so that everyone would know that the filthy word that slimed its way from my son's mouth in the form of four offensively joined letters, could not have come from me.

As amazingly unbelievable as that my seem, I am proud to say that it is true. I was able to master the technique of suppressing the urge to utter words from the naughty list early in my career as a kindergarten teacher. I can turn it off just like it was a light switch. My wife has this ability, too. We do not watch offensive programming when the children are around, and avoid any situation in which our children would encounter questionable language.

The funny thing is that by the time I was in fifth grade, I was a heavy user of vulgarity. I wallowed in the creative use of the f-word. Adjective, noun, verb, adverb and interjection. I would have contests with my friends to see how many times the word could be used in one sentence. Times were different then. I had limited adult supervision, and a father who had an extremely short temper and was an artistic master in the use of curse words. Good times...

Deep inside of me was a teenaged version of myself laughing hysterically at the predicament I found myself in now. I loudly tried to convince the world that I had done everything possible to keep my oldest child from obtaining this, the most secret of all words. The Ultimate Bad Word. So, again I demanded from him, "Where did you hear that word?"

I can tell from his reaction that he really has no idea of the potential extreme trouble he is in. His expression slowly changes from a smile to a frown as he sees my face contort with rage. Then he says, "I heard it from Savannah." He blames his 6 year old sister!

Unbelievable! I can't even speak now. Jumbled up sounds come out of me. I am not able to form a complete word. There is no way this is possible. Not my little angel... There is simply no way that filth has spread to my beautiful little princess.

I manage to calm myself and give him the, "We will talk about this later," line that is designed to instill fear in every child, but what it really means is that I have no clue as to what to do, or say, and I need the extra time to make a plan.

Almost as soon as we hit the car on the drive out of the camp grounds I am back to the subject. The poor kid is losing it and starting to cry. I don't want that. I want him to learn from the experience, not be crushed by it. So I told him that I understand what it is like to be a kid and say things that shouldn't be said. I told him about the time that I was 7 and screamed A-hole at the teenager on the basketball court and was dragged to the car by my highly embarrassed parents who were watching a tennis match nearby. I missed Walt Disney World on TV that night and didn't even understand what I had said. Life is unfair when you are a kid.

My son started to cheer up, especially when I told him about the time in second grade when I was sure I could roar exactly like a lion. So I did- in the middle of class. The worst part was that I was positive that I had done this only in my head. Was I surprised when the teacher yanked me out of my seat for a pow-wow!

As he relaxed we were able to talk again and I discovered some important information. He heard the terrible word on YouTube! He had been watching some movies about Sonic the Hedgehog. I thought that I was monitoring him more closely than that. As soon as I realized that he was wandering away from the areas that I selected as safe for him, I banned him from using it. But I was too late, the damage was done.

He also did not know what the F- word meant. So, I was forced to allow the memory of my innocent little baby to slip away, and wedge the image of a growing young man into its place. This was very painful for me. I did my best without visual aids to describe the human body and how things fit together in the way that nature had intended for the continuation of the species. This was not the way I had planned the experience to be. I also did not plan to be so uncomfortable about it. Where was the giggling teenage version of me now?

I guess the best thing about this incident was that we agreed on a hand signal that would let my son know he needed to stop talking immediately or he would run the risk of super trouble. The zip your lip now signal. I explained to him that there are many times that he might say something that was wrong for some reason that I would not be able to explain beforehand. This signal will hopefully allow us to avoid a embarrassing situation for the grown ups and keep him off restriction.

My little boy is growing up. You can't protect children from the ugliness of the world forever. It just has a way of seeping in and staining us all. I did my best to build a wall and hide my son behind it, but that wasn't enough.

YouTube! Gosh Darn it! I should have known better...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Time to grow up!

Growing up is hard, but after 41 years I think it is time that I try. I don't know why it has taken me so long to realize that I am an outcast in the adult world because of my avoidance of this basic evolutionary demand, but the time to face facts is now.

I must purchase a suit. Yes, a jacket and pants made of the same material. Not one of those cool t-shirts with the suit silk-screened on. A real dress up suit, like a businessman or something. The problem is that I have two family weddings and a rehearsal dinner to attend in the month of June and I must look presentable. It seems to be some sort of behavioral expectation of men my age. I could probably get away with doing what I always do, but I think it is time that switch up and try on a new costume. A disguise of adulthood.

It is sad really. I mean my last suit was purchased for me when I was 21 (meaning my parents bought it for me in the hopes of giving me a magical suit that would transport me out of their house. It worked!). I used my one and only suit for maybe 5 or 6 occasions, including the all important 1st, and only, real job interview I ever had. It made an appearance at a funeral or two and a couple of weddings. Since then it has been gathering dust in my closet.

I would still wear the suit except that my proportions have changed a little since the suit was purchased. I used to work out a lot in college. At one time I could bench 300 pounds (it was probably less than that, but that is the inflated number that has wedged its way into my memory). Now my weight hasn't changed dramatically, but the suit won't fit. I haven't tried it on, but I just know it won't fit. Kind of like when you look at a kid's tricycle and think, "I really shouldn't put my butt on that thing."

Since then, I have worn only hand-me-down sport jackets and casual pants to all adult functions. The jackets came from my father-in-law's collection after he passed away. Death clothes. It is depressing wearing the stuff. My wife gets misty whenever I wear them, but if I give them away it would break her heart. So in my closet they have stayed, and every once in a while they come out for some special event.

I also have a mega collection of ties from the 80's. If you know of anyone who collects such things, let me know and I will happy to split the profit! Before you ask, I have no super thin ties. Just professional power type ties. My father's discards, I could not wear all of his other clothes. He was a tall man and I am height-challenged. Did I mention he has passed away also?

The issue is not that I don't like to look good. I just don't normally go places where I need to dress up, and I have no desire to impress others. I have three young children and they tend to make me stained, wrinkled and messy looking before I get to the door no matter what I wear. Ironing? Really, what is the point when you might have to rumble with a 4 year old before leaving the house?

Is it any wonder that I prefer wearing the same things I did when I was 16? Baggy jeans and tshirts. Shorts are great, and I really like my 10 year old Tevas. For some reason I have it in my head that I am not dressed comfortably unless I am wearing clothes that I can wear while doing the splits. Never mind that I could never do the splits without rupturing vital man parts in the first place.

Maybe I just don't care what I look like, I mean, I still wear t-shirts that have to be 10 years old. The fabric is so thin and soft, it almost feels like I am wearing nothing. That could be because of the holes.

I need to forget all of my desires for wearing comfortable clothes, and for only 3 days in the next few weeks, look like an adult with a wardrobe. I must wear a suit. I am not happy about this need to dress up, mostly because I really don't like to shop for clothes for myself. You have try things on! I really don't like trying clothes on.

I am hoping that someday a genius will create a laser scanner, like at airport security, that you can walk though and it will instantaneously be able to take all of your body measurements at once. After getting a scan, a computer will be able to pick out clothes that you would like based on color and design selections. Sounds almost like heaven.

I am pleased that I may finally be able to move away from the “Death Clothes Collection,” but growing up, even if it is only on the outside, doesn't seem to be as much fun as I thought that it would be when I was a kid.

Maybe I will get to wear this suit 7 times before it will not fit me anymore. Hopefully, each time will be for happy occasions. I wonder what my rose colored memory glasses will focus on in 20 more years. I will probably remember how awesomely fit I was as a 41 year old man...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sometimes you are just going to step in it...

Life is funny. I don't consider myself to be a deep person, but I do think about things. I don't always do this in a normal way. My best thoughts happen in places like the shower, when I cut the grass, or like last week, when I run with my dog.

I started running for many reasons; it is good for me, it feels great (when I am done!), my dog Kona loves it, and it is better than slowly becoming a lump of human flesh that must be peeled from the sofa. Kona is probably the reason that I don't give up on it. I feel guilty when I don't run and she looks at me like she doesn't understand what she has done to be treated so terribly.

Last week I took Kona for a run, just like always, and things were great. I was running at a good pace, and Kona was focused on the run. It was just about sunrise. The sky was a wonderful light blue and the birds were making a glorious racket. It was very peaceful.

And then it happened. I am usually very aware of my surroundings. I like to say that it is due the intense martial arts training I went through when I was younger, but the truth is probably more like I keep my eyes down and look were I am going. In any case, I was not paying attention, and on the downward heel strike of my right foot I felt the unmistakable squishiness of dog pile.

It was too late. I stepped in it good but I just needed to keep on running. When I finished the run I found a sharp stick and sat down on the curb to clean up. Running shoes have deep groves, and at 5:50 in the morning I worked hard to dig out all of the offending excrement, while cursing my complete unawareness of my environment. My "Unagi" had failed me.

I should say that the dog pile I had run through was not my dog's special delivery, but some unknown canine assailant. My dog would never take care of business off of my property. I don't know why, but she is only happy going potty in my yard. I know some people with similar habits but she is the only dog that I have known to behave in such a way. As I cleaned the shoe I cursed the wretched beast who befouled my cool running shoes.

I promised myself that I would be more vigilant in the future and never make that mistake again. Promises are easy to make.

The next day we began our run and I carefully scanned the area ahead. Three quarters of the way through and I was feeling confident. It is important to note that I use a 6 foot leash, so Kona and I travel pretty close together. Kona was a little distracted, but I wasn't worried, until in mid stride she hunched up and assumed the position. Not only did I almost step in it, I almost tripped over her at the same time. Now, not only am I afraid that I will be spontaneously pooped upon, but I am really worried about landing on my face. Luckily my ninja like reflexes kicked in and I was able to spin and step safely away. To the untrained eye, it may have appeared to have been an awkward stumble with arms and legs flying around randomly, but it is my memory, and have the distinct impression of grace and agility in my moment of avoidance.

This is when I achieved my stunning moment of clarity and everything came together for me. I realized a few important things;

No matter how hard you try to avoid a mess, sometimes you can not miss it. And things can be worse than you anticipated. This is not to say that you shouldn't prepare for problems, but you should listen to the birds and enjoy them while you can.

Reality is not always the way we perceive it. The dog I cursed could very well have been my own spasmodic pooper.

Sometimes things just happen. Accept it and move on. Being upset over dog poop is ridiculous.

Learn to forgive. Forgive yourself for your shortcomings and forgive others for theirs. The world is imperfect. Don't dwell on the bad things and look to assign blame. Is that really going to help get the puppy present out of your shoe?

Remembering all of these things now is easy. But the next time I get upset with myself, or anyone else, that will be my true test.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Testing and Tornadoes

Normally, I never look at SPAM that other teachers send me. My job is to help keep SPAM to a minimum. I am supposed to tell teachers that just because something is amusing or uplifting to them, the school division frowns upon it, and therefore it is bad. I take my job very seriously, right before I decide to ignore it. Yesterday, curiosity got the better of me and I had to look at the harmless non essential email contact in my inbox, and I am glad I did. The SPAM that was being passed around combined two things that the school system works very hard to make sure is perfect. Severe weather safety and state test taking measures.

The procedures for tornado drills are practiced every year by staff members and students. Everyone practices finding some place safe from the flying glass from windows and crouches down low covering their heads. All of this is done for a good reason. To protect everyone from the very real danger that nature poses to schools (the linked article happened very close to my school system just last week).

The security procedures (about halfway down the agreement) for the Virginia standards of learning (SOL) test rivals that of the toughest airport security. Scratch paper is handed out with tests and must be returned with each test when the test is finished, and shredded. Tests are locked up tight until right before testing begins, and only one person in the building is allowed to have the key. There must be a person in the classroom who simply watches the teacher giving the test. Students requiring bathroom breaks must be escorted to the bathroom and back to the classroom in total silence. Any test irregularities must be reported to the building administrator who in turn must notify his or her contact within the school division, who must then notify the state, who will then determine if the uncovered poster, without any SOL test questions on it, voids the entire set of tests...

Combined, these two procedures come together in a very funny way that really doesn't seem to be that far from what could be expected. The exception is that this email really shows what everyone has suspected to be the state’s major concern in schools. It took me to number three to realize that I was not reading something official. In my defense it was early and my coffee had not kicked in yet. I tried to track down where this came from but I had no success. It is just like SPAM to be difficult to track down...

Severe Weather Testing Protocols

1. Should a severe weather situation occur during testing, please remain calm. To display any kind of anxiety would be a testing irregularity and must be reported.

2. Please do not look out the window to watch for approaching tornadoes. You must monitor the students at all times. To do otherwise would be a testing irregularity and must be reported.

3. Should students notice an approaching tornado and begin to cry, please make every effort to protect their testing materials from the flow of tears and sinus drainage.

4. Should a flying object come through your window during testing, please make every effort to ensure that it does not land on a testing booklet or an answer sheet. Please make sure to soften the landing of the flying object so that it will not disturb the students while testing.

5. Should shards of glass from a broken window come flying into the room, have the students use their bodies to shield their testing materials so that they will not be damaged. Have plenty of gauze on hand to ensure that no one accidentally bleeds on the answer documents. Damaged answer sheets will not scan properly.

6. Should gale force winds ensue, please have students stuff their test booklets and answer sheets into their shirts, being very careful not to bend them because bent answer documents will not scan properly.

7. If students gets sucked into the vortex of the funnel cloud, please make sure they mark at least one answer before departing and of course make sure they leave their answer sheets and test booklets behind. You will have to account for those.

8. Should a funnel cloud pick you up and take you flying over the rainbow, you will still be required to account for all of your testing materials when you land so please take extra precautions. Remember, once you have checked them out, they should never leave your hands.

9. When rescue workers arrive to dig you out of the rubble, please make sure that they do not, at any time, look at or handle the testing materials. Once you have been treated for your injuries, you will still be responsible for checking your materials back in. Search dogs will not be allowed to sift through the rubble for lost tests unless of course they have been through standardized test training.

Monday, May 5, 2008

This I believe...

This I believe, that every child, every person, should be respected. Human beings have a need to be valued, and this should never be overlooked. Teachers involved in the struggle to instruct a class of children can not forget that they are working with people.

The state standards of learning are the focus of every classroom in Virginia as schools finalize preparations for the annual end of year test. Before we begin, can we please all agree that the facts and test taking strategies are not nearly as important as the student's sense of worth?

Teachers use every trick in the book to get students to memorize important facts from previously released tests. Bribery is a favorite technique. Friday as I walked the halls at the end of the day, I saw a small number of students lining up. This group consisted of LD students coming from their 5th grade inclusion class. One little guy, an ESL member of the group, was very upset. While his face scrunched up in muted rage, his classmate joyfully recalled the fact that he got 3 pieces of candy and angry boy did not. Seems he didn't get any candy since he didn't get any SOL questions right.

I don't know all of the details of the SOL quiz game, but I felt this boy had been treated poorly. Classroom rewards have been a teaching weapon since long before I was a student. For this one miserable little boy, it failed. He did not leave school feeling successful. Is this wrong? Perhaps he didn't know answers that he should have known. Forgetting the fact that there is a language barrier for him, and that he is learning disabled, is this ok to do to a child, any child? I don't think so.

Every child should feel respected. This I believe.

I must thank Cathy Nelson for tagging me for this meme. I hope that I have participated correctly, but I am afraid that since I have not developed many relationships with other bloggers, or the relationships are in the beginning stages, I am not sure who to tag in return. So, I would like to send out an enormous group tag to education bloggers in Virginia, especially Virginia Beach, and ask that they continue this meme.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

No Pants Day, One Day Early

Wow. I had no idea that anyone would read anything I wrote. For all of those people who agreed, or disagreed with me, thanks for responding. I started off trying to respond to each individual comment, but gave up around 11:30 pm last night. I was beginning to get defensive and feeling a little overwhelmed. I am not concerned about the world knowing or responding to me. Fame and fortune are not my in my present or my future. I accepted that a long time ago.

Tomorrow is No Pants Day, and since I would get fired or thrown in jail for celebrating this holiday at work, I thought I would metaphorically drop my pants and let the world see me for who I am. Plus it seemed like a good idea in light of people trying to upset me by saying unkind things. I don't think they have enough ammunition. You have to remember that I have been put down, called names, and made fun of for years!

Here are some of my faults;
I am not a tall person, and what is worse, I lied on my driver's license application. 5' 10" - Yeah right!
My wife, Amy, says that I have ugly, long toed feet.
Amy has suggested that I begin taking Beano as a dietary supplement.
I am carrying around more weight than I want to admit. Again, driver's license discrepancy!
I have had a continuous bad hair day for the last month or so.
While I am sharing about my hair, it is receding, as my friend Mark loves to point out. I don't know where it is going, but I hope it has fun there.
I was born a White Trash baby. I am still trying to overcome that upbringing. I did get rid of the broken down car in the driveway.
I am messy. You could tell that just by looking at my blog, I am sure. I don't think I even responded to people correctly.
I love the Redskins. That ought to get someone's attention.
Bathroom humor cracks me up.
I can barely dress myself in a presentable manner. I wish they had adult Geranimals.
After wearing braces as a child, my teeth now have strange gaps and are relocating to new places.
I am not a smart person. This is a good one. My step-father used to love to point this out to me. He was right.
I like Star Trek.
I am a bad speller.
While math may be the language of the universe, I am not a native speaker.

I can't think of anything else right now, although I am sure there is more, but if you can help me with this list, feel free to share. Friends know me best. Others may need some help, but that is what the list is for!

I would like to say one final thing about all this Special Message commentary. Say whatever you want, but keep it clean. That is a rule I have for my blog so I would like for everyone else to behave similarly. Never talk about my Mama or my family. If you can live with these two rules I will leave up what you say. If I can say what I want here, I have no problems allowing anyone else their two cents worth. I do believe in freedom of speech. If you wish to say something mean, go ahead, but remember, you get bonus points for creativity!

I will be happy to speak with anyone at any time in a pleasant manner, but I don't think that I am going to reply to any further comments to the Special Message post. Good ones or critical ones (I said that to be fair to everyone). If you want me to read what you say, don’t worry, I read it all.

But it is time to move on!