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Spectral Spectacles

Wednesday, March 28, 2007
written by Java Junkie

So I've been busting my hump for a few days now trying to re-learn CSS enough to be able to code a fluid three column SS with a header from scratch. I don't know why it has to be from scratch, there are so many others out there that have already done the work and are more than happy to share it I know. I think it's just so I can prove to myself that I CAN. But given my short term memory problems, I am having the toughest time remembering enough of what I've read in time to script even a line or two. I may be making it more difficult by trying to incorporate old code into a new format so tomorrow I may just scrap it all, start from scratch, and put what I want where I want after I'm done with it all. Hey, wake up! I'm almost to my point!

My point is that I've been sort of consumed by this for the last two days, taking only VERY occasional breaks to visit a blog here and there to let my brain rest. Email has gone unanswered, private messages, shout outs and replies on forums like Maya's Mom and flickr remain unread, the baby was only sat on the potty chair three times today, etc.

As I sat in the living room TRYING to get some studying done from the laptop in between the turns Parker and Holly were taking running up and jumping on the keyboard, it occurred to me (while having to clean Holly slobber off of them) that I haven't posted a pic of my new glasses yet. So here ya go.. I know they're not terribly good pictures, but I'm too engrossed to comb my hair today, and I'm certainly not going to take a pic with my hair in the pony tail it currently is in and let you all see my huge elfin magic ears COMPLETELY hair naked.

I know there's a bit of ghosting on this one (thus the name of this post) and the angle makes my nose enormous but when you're trying to hold the camera for yourself and NOT turn on the overhead florescent or use a flash that would totally wash me out, it's not so easy to remain perfectly still.

And I know this one cuts off my chin AND shows the elf ears a bit, BUT you're not going to look at that are you? Nooo - you're looking at what a pretty shade of blue the arms are and the velvety shade of wine of the rims, aren't you? :)

Anyway, off to a "hot date" with Monkey to watch Casino Royale in bed while eating popcorn and folding laundry, woot!

And I'd like to thank Holly for my shiney new Redneck of the Year award!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007
written by Java Junkie

No matter how much I tried to run from it, no matter how many guys from NY I dated, no matter long I lived in the most "metropolitan" part of my home state, my dog has now qualified me as a certified MI Redneck.

How might you ask?

take a look at the pic below and see what you notice:

notice anything? Well I mean besides the fact that the inside window is horridly dirty and the outside one relatively clean (I'll explain that later.) Yes, you notice the obvious mud caked paw prints all over the metal frame... Notice anything else? Like they're mysteriously lacking from the lower window section? As is any glare from either the porch light or the camera flash?

Yes, my dog ripped out my screen and knocked out the storm window to my screen door frantically jumping and pawing at my door to get in because - get this - there was a black milk crate and a small garden spade in my garden. Yes, my evil going-to-take-over-the-world landlord/twinplex neighbor left them near our garden for a short bit as she was obviously trying to undo some of the extreme craziness the previous mad-gardener home owner left in our garden - er I mean set her plan in motion to take over the world by first eliminating all golden retrievers with her black plastic death ray and it's power component cleverly disguised as garden tools. And this, just one day after Monkey declared that this dog had "no fear factor" because he could run the hand vac for three seconds in the same room as her without her wetting my carpet.

I had to coax her off the 2x3 foot cement slab "porch" just to pee, which she did with her entire body shaking... I then closed the back door to use the little girl's room myself and before porcelain hit flesh I heard the *BANG*BANG*BANGing of her literally JUMPING and pawing at the door trying to get back inside away from the evil death ray. I opened the door and had a Plexiglas storm window come falling towards me.. Somehow, in rare pre-first coffee reflexes I grabbed it about a half an inch from my tow with ninja-like agility.

The funniest thing of all is that while I've always LOVED Golden Retrievers, and I adore Holly, I now realize that I love Golden Retrievers in the MOVIES.. You know, the ones that viciously growl and protect their beloved family against the mildly mentally challenged burglars trying to get to the kid that overheard them talking about the bank heist they were planning at the local diner while he waited for his waitress mom to give him money to see the matinee at the local movie theater. Instead I got something akin to the female dog version of Richard Simmons with endless amounts of energy that can be both exhausting and downright friggen ANNOYING at times. Picture his reaction to a burglar and you've pretty much nailed Holly down. Oh and more hair than a grizzly den in the spring. You know, those movie dogs never shed a single hair.

So there you have it folks. While I might eat, and even MAKE, sushi, know which wines to serve with which meats, and only listen to country music when I'm going to hear my dad play, I am now officially a redneck from MI.

Borrowing it from our children... The best $10 I ever spent.

Monday, March 26, 2007
written by Java Junkie

One of my favorite quotes I've heard lately is "We don't inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children." It's Native American, though I'm not sure which tribe or if it can even be traced back to it's very origin. Regardless, it's something that really struck a chord in me.

Last night an event much awaited in our home occurred. It was the premier of The Discovery Channel's mini-series called Planet Earth and we bought the high-def channels from our local cable company for one month specifically to watch it. After the first 5 minutes of the first show in the series, I was confident I had never spent $10 on a better luxury. The show was inCREDIBLE.

The first three out of eleven episodes played last night but we only watched the first as we had other things that needed our attention. We TIVO'd the other two. But as we were curling up to watch a few minutes of something before drifting off to sleep, we flipped it on The Discovery Channel and happened across a later showing of one of the other two we hadn't seen yet and while I was dog tired I was also GLUED to the TV for over an hour. I finally had to pull myself away from it with promises that I wouldn't miss anything because of our TIVO'd episodes. And I can NOT imagine that show in non high-def. What a disservice you would be doing to yourself. It was a truly amazing experience.

One of the coolest things about the show is that they take about the last 10 minutes of it to explain to you the innovative cameras and techniques they used to get particular shots in the program. Many of the things you watch have never been filmed before or even seen by many of the scientists in the field simply because the technology wasn't available until now. For the first episode they show you how they get a ground eye close-up of wild African dogs from a helicopter that's over a kilometer away!

I'm sure I've gone on about it enough by now to give you the picture. Lou was very hospitable when he humored me the four times in the first 15 minutes of the show that I would come knock on his door and say "You've got to come see this!" Until before he knew it he was sucked into the show too. He had purposely set off to his bedroom because he didn't "feel like watching TV" right then but before he realized it, he was just as sucked in an amazed as both Monkey and I were.

My only real regret is that we can't keep the TIVO'd versions forever. Programs in high def take up a LOT of disc space and as I said, there are 11 in the series total. We can't burn them onto our own DVD's either, even though we own a DVDR. You can order the set on DVD's on Discovery Channel's web site but only Blu-ray DVD's can store enough data for high def so that won't be high def, but I'm still probably going to get it. Please, if you do have high def available to you do NOT miss this series. You WILL be astounded.

My First Real Love

Friday, March 23, 2007
written by Java Junkie

My first real love, you may be surprised to hear, was NOT Monkey. How funny that I comment every day on how very much alike Monkey and my first real love. It was love at first sight. The kind of forever and ever and never end love that feels like you got hit by a mack truck of warmth and happiness and joy and peace and purpose. Within a minute of seeing my first real true love I began to sing to him what would forever be "our song." And today my first real love, my true love, my heart, my savior, my purpose turns 15. And it doesn't make me feel the least bit old.

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of when I first met my love, and very very very few of our first 2 1/2 years together. That's because his father refused to give them to me and I am absolutely certain that now they have been destroyed, lost forever only to exist in my memory. I have been forced to scouring relatives pictures for a snapshot here and there at some holiday or family event. And the first digital picture I have was of him holding his brand new baby brother over 2 years ago. So the best thing to do, instead of talking about who he was is telling you about who he has become.

I couldn't be more proud of my eldest son, Lou, if I tried. Well that is, unless, he did his homework like he was suppose to. THEN I would not only be proud of HIM but I'd probably be one of those blissfully obnoxious parents parents with a bumper sticker about how my kid was on the honor roll. No matter HOW much it embarrassed him. He is smart, but you know every parent says that about their kid. No one's actually going to say "the rock in the garden gives my kid a run for his money" but we all know those kids are out there, however UN-politically correct it may be to say. But I have proof. I have the IQ test that showed him a mere 5 points below genius on the "average person" scale that was given to him by the behavioral health department of the Henry Ford Clinic in Detroit. And lemme tell ya folks, this kid proves it over and over. But he's not just quick, there are things about his intelligence that CONTINUE to amaze his teachers, year after year. He's the most socially and politically aware kid that ANY of them have met. Trust me, they ALL bring this up every chance they get at how amazed they are about his ability to have an intelligence, informed, rational political discussion.

My Son is in his school's GSA club. GSA you ask? It stands for the Gay-Straight Alliance. And I couldn't be more proud. In a day when social judgement seems to be at it's highest, my son is helping to design T-Shirts that say "The highest result of education is tolerance - Helen Keller" and using school colors so that kids can wear them into the school pep rallies. Oh, and just in case you're wondering, he's straight. And just in case you wonder further, it matters not to me, as long as he's happy, healthy, responsible and caring. Which he is.

My first love is an artist, both in skill and at heart. He plays the guitar, writes poetry, and sketches. His preferred style is Manga, which is a specific style of Anime, and he's really good. Most importantly he's willing to listen to suggestions and constructive criticism, which is really important for those who want to improve where they start from. You should ALWAYS want to improve where you start from. That's how humans grow.

And while he is an artist and plays the guitar, it is the ELECTRIC guitar. He is a rocker. He loves The Ramones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, ACDC, Primus and Nirvana. He wants his eyebrow pierced and purple hair - both of which we have promised to let him do if he gets good grades this year. He'd like his lip pierced but those are too easily infected for a first piercing, so maybe, MAYBE if he gets good grades his sophomore year. He tries to be moody but smiles way too much, he tries to be dark, but loves way too much.

He LOVES his younger brother with a ferocity and a devotion very rarely seen among siblings. Many a time do we playfully argue about who gets to snuggle "the baby." And he's definately teaching him not to be afraid of heights, spinning around, being thrown about, and suddenly dropped onto a bed or couch. While it makes me cringe, it also makes me beam with pride and happiness from the depths of my heart and soul.

I could go on - for he's whitty and charming and sensitive and caring. He can be more agrivating than I had ever thought possible and out of no where touch your heart so deeply with a kindness you forget he ever was a "typical teenager" who thought he knew it all. He's one of two people who truly know and understand me and while he would probably be embarassed if I broke out into one of my "dances" in front of his friends, I have no doubt he'd stand up to them should they ever chastise me for it. So I will simply say that lastly, because I'm his mother, I have to brag about how drop dead gorgeous he is. He has the most BEAUTIFL eyes and combined with his whit, his intelligence, and his compassion and he literally had 3 girls BESIDES his girlfriend ask him out to the "Turn about" dance (in my time we called it Sadie Hawkins.) And the boy KNOWS how to wear a suit. He went to his homecoming with the shirt unbottoned, white cuffs pulled out of his charcoal jacket, and a black t-shirt underneath and looked like the cover model for GQ magazine. Unfortunately we had lost the battery charger for my camera and couldn't snap pictures. But here's what my baby's face looks like up close.

I'm not going to proof read this because every time I even go back one paragraph I well up and reading becomes almost impossible. So I hope there are no errors. Believe me that there's not when I say:

Happy Birthday baby, I so love you.

Put THEIR Money Where YOUR Mouth Is - B(.)(.)BS!

Thursday, March 22, 2007
written by Java Junkie

Clever post title is it not? And believe it or not that's EXACTLY what this post is about!

As a tribute the good news my sister-in-law got today about the abnormality in her mammogram her doctor's office called her about 3 days ago, I wanted to take a minute to write about a woman that has no connection to my sister-in-law what-so-ever except that she knows me. This woman, Janis, has enabled me to take up the pink ribbon cause in what seems to be the only way possible for me. Chatting.

You see, I must admit than I am much geekier than many of you know. Most of my "friends" are little animated pixels, with real people controlling them from another computer, that join me in a digital world full of fantasy, bloodshed, death, and well... home decor. I am talking about the world of MMORPG's - or Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Games. Think of Dungeons and Dragons computer game style and you've sort of got it but in MMO's there can be up to 2,000 or in some games even 3,000 people playing at any given part of the day. I met my dear friend Janis through the most recent one I've been playing, Everquest II. She and I have been emailing each other back and forth about our real lives because we haven't been able to play together for a little over a week now. And oddly I clicked on the link on the bottom of her email today that said "i'm making a difference. Make every IM count for the cause of your choice. Join now!" . I say "oddly" because I NEVER click the links at the bottom of emails. I just sort of ignore them much like I do commercials when I TIVO American Idol. And well if you don't click that link let me explain.. MSN's instant messenger system is now enticing people to use their instant messaging service over the instant messaging services put out by their competitors by donating a portion of the advertising revenue to the cause of your choice. My cause? Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Honestly it's a cause that I've been verbally supporting for over a decade now. My mother use to champion Breast Cancer Awareness Month for the Veteran's of Foreign Wars Women's League in her area. I remember every year her giving me a ribbon pin. I wish now that I would have kept them. I never thought then that breast cancer would hit so close to home or I would have done a hell of a lot more than just wear a pin to humor my mother.

Not only has my sister-in-law had a recent scare with an abnormal mammogram, but my Aunt on my mother's side is a survivor of breast cancer and the Christmas before my mother passed away she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. That gives me anywhere from a 20% to 36% chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer sometime in my life time just from those two things alone. Add into that several other factors that I won't bore you with and it's actually even higher.

Let me post now, however, that by while saying "I never thought then that breast cancer would hit so close to home or I would have done a hell of a lot more than just wear a pin to humor my mother." may SOUND narcissistic, it's not. I was just so terribly naive. With an annual diagnosis rate of roughly 180 THOUSAND women, breast cancer hits close to EVERYONE'S home. Your mother, your sister, your grandmother, your aunt, your friend. Chances are someone you know has had or will have to battle this demon. Help fight it. Chat away, use MSN's Instant Messenger today.

Oh and one more time for my breast cancer free Sister-in-Law - CONGRATS ON YOUR B(.)(.)BS!

Back in the Saddle Again!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007
written by Java Junkie

I'm ready. Ready to start blogging again. Ready to wake up and see the world every day again. Ready to be sociable again... And it feels damned good. Before I continue, to catch you up, if there even IS a "you" anymore out there (i.e. someone actually reading this) - this is a paste from a post that I started to write 9 days ago but never finished..


I'm fairly sure no one reads this anymore. I'm hoping soon I can change that but not immediately. You see, I kept waiting until there was something good to write about. Something funny or beautiful that wasn't overshadowed by grief and pain and worry. And just as I get to that place something happens and the world spins and down the whole house of cards comes crashing again. Balance has been THAT delicate. Since I last wrote I've suffered from yet another stroke for which I was hospitalized for 4 days while they drew blood vial after blood vial, specialist after specialist trying to get to the reason. So far only one possible cause has been found - one that my cardiologist and GP both think is a good possible cause but one that my neurologist does not. The rheumatologist was on the fence about. A test called a trans-esophogeal echo-cardiogram, in which while under a mild sedative they stick an ultrasound camera down your throat which is roughly the height of a screw driver handle and about one and half again the width of one until it is resting behind your heart, showed that I have a hole between the two upper chambers of my heart and when there is pressure (as in when you hold back a sneeze or when women bare down for push

***End Paste***

From there it would have gone on to say that I had also learned that my dad has another tumor, this one being behind his eye, that they are unable to remove or biopsy.. Why? Because his MRSA infection is so bad it's no longer responding at all to antibiotics - antibiotics that they had to take him off of anyway because he was taking such large quantities (all prescribed) that they were becoming toxic. About 10 minutes after learning this information my dad then dropped an even bigger bombshell on me. He is moving to Australia on April 18th. He already has the ticket, living quarters (a girlfriend lol) and a job lined up for him. His reasoning is "I've always wanted to go and if I don't go now I won't be healthy enough to go in the future." -- To me, however, he said "I'm dying and I want to die someplace nice and warm and beautiful and I don't want your Grandma and Grandpa to see another one of their children pass away before them." I don't blame him for the last at ALL really if he DOES feel that way (let me stress he's never said so) - at least the part about my grandparents because my grandparents lost their daughter, my dad's sister, to cancer when she was just 27 years old. However the selfish part of me wants to shake him and scream "don't you want to spend what time you have left with your family?? Family is what makes life warm and beautiful and WORTH LIVING." However, I'm trying to beat that part of me into submission with reason and understanding and compassion.

Since finding this out I've also found out my parents are getting divorced. Yes I know they've been separated for something like 4 years, and yes I know they're much happier apart than together. Yes I know they've each been dating other people, and yes I know that they will always love me regardless of how they feel about each other. And yes, yes I know that they're just too different in terms of relationships to ever really work things out. I know all of this. Here *tapping my temple*... Getting the rest of me to know it is a little more challenging. Home just doesn't feel like home without them together and this last weekend I even found out that my (step) mom is going to get remarried soon after the divorce is final, and then she'll be selling her house and moving in with her new husband (to-be) Bob. So not only does home not feel like home but home will no longer exist. Even though my dad and mom only got married something like 15 years ago, it was the closest feeling to "home" I've ever had. Probably because growing up we moved roughly once a year. So now I don't have a "home" anymore. Or at least I won't very soon.

I like Bob. I met him for the first time this last weekend and he's funny and sweet. You merely mention that you want something and he's off and running asking if there are any parameters ("do you want mustard or mayo on it?") - AND he's happily and EASILY retired. To put it in my mom's words - "He makes more from his retirement fund than I do working full time." And she's worked for the state for nearly 30 years so she's not exactly what I'd call scraping by either. In fact she said they'll be "wintering" in Florida and every winter they will pay for tickets and accomodations for us for 2 weeks to come see them. How can I think THAT'S bad, right? I don't. But, to be honest, way deep down inside I'd rather have my home. BUT I'm done with all of that. I'm done with crying and feeling sorry for myself and I'm done with freaking out and shutting down. I've had a year of it - "The year from hell" and as they say, "I've had all I can take and I can't take no more." I'm not a crier. Not by nature. I'm not going to even attempt to say I'm not emotional because I am but generally in the past I've gotten pissed instead of sad. I get angry when I feel hurt. But this last year I've done more crying, and more shutting down than I ever knew was possible for me. And believe me, I'm NOT going to tempt fate in THAT department again by saying it has been the worst that it could be... No no no, not going to do that and tempt fate to say "Oh yeah? You think so, huh?" BUT - I'm feeling more like myself every day. I'm feeling stronger because I've made it through these things and more. I'm feeling like it's ok to cry sometimes because it lets what you're afraid of out and I'm feeling like because I've learned this there are now times that I can genuinely smile; genuinely laugh. Genuinely be happy.

Genuinely feel like I can stand up, dust myself off, and climb back into the saddle again.

It it wasn't so much fun I'd ask you to stop the world so I could get off

Thursday, December 21, 2006
written by Java Junkie

Life has been crazy around here. Crazy but very good. Exhausting but very good. Chaotic but very good.

Today, as I drink my second cup of coffee before 10:00 (laced with hot cocoa no less) so as to fuel me enough just to make it until Parker's nap time I cannot help but feel joy and happiness. No my Christmas shopping isn't done, yes our Christmas tree tipped over and broke some of my favorite )and brand new) bulbs because the cats had thought we had bought them a new scratching post, and in case you were just wondering, yes there's a mountain of laundry to do because this time of year causes flares that dwarf most of my other flares but I am so content that it really doesn't much seem to matter. I just wish it would snow so that Parker would have an actual use for the moon duck boots and snow pants that still have their tags on them. I also wish I could find our battery charger for our camera (hrmm, maybe I should look under the laundry ;) )

This time of year really is very warm and wonderful to me and I have no one but my mother and nothing but our squalid upbringing to thank for it. I only remember a few presents I ever got for Christmas as a kid - more for their sentimental reasons than because they were a coveted new spinning, sparkling toy - but there is an endless string of other Christmas memories that I cherish. So in honor of my mother, I now share with you a few of those I hold most dear.

Jingle Bells

Along with the countless number of other Christmas songs we'd sing in the car, Jingle Bells was also played by our rotating Christmas tree stand. I still remember it's

*EDIT* wow I don't even remember this let alone saving it as a draft! Man I must have been tired more to come soon though! :) I promise!