Monday Morning Open Thread

I've yakked enough. Your turn.

This is an Open Thread.

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    We've run out of juice at chez MT (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 10:15:44 AM EST
    I don't know another group of people who gather together out there more full of know how and good ideas so here I come.  Our son has had three surgeries this year and we just returned home Saturday from the third.  He and I spent a week in San Antonio so they could expand his titanium rib rods that control his scoliosis and the other surgeries this year were another rib expansion and a talectomy on both of his feet.  He is still learning how to walk again on plantar feet, but the tenderness is mostly gone.  The family is emotionally burnt crisp and Joshua is emotionally burned out most of all.  San Antonio is usually such an uplifting place to hang and tend to most of this stuff but with the foot surgery on top of everything it just didn't happen this go around.  A couple of new video games......and nothing took off there either.  No sparkle in his eye.  We watched HellBoy 2 last night and that was only fun until it was over.  He's having a hard time focusing on his school work, he's very frayed and worn within.  Anybody been through anything like this having any ideas please throw them up here.  Don't be shy!  At this point almost all ideas will be considered.  I'm pretty fried too but "sitting back and taking it easy" is starting to feel like a depression breeding ground for all three of us.

    My niece... (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by kdog on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 10:35:49 AM EST
    who was born with CDH, and ended up with scoliosis as well, she has surgeries every 4 months or so to lengthen the rods as she grows.  She's 4 years old and really seems to bounce back pretty quickly, maybe 2-3 days after the surgery she is climbing the walls.  But for those 2-3 days she is pretty banged up...we usually have board and card game marathons with her.  She loves to play the card game "War", and as long as you bottom deal yourself to make sure she wins every War she's as happy a camper as can be expected:)

    Don't know if this helps Tracy...but I think board and card games keep 'em a little more mentally occupied than movies and video games.  I know the heartache I feel being helpless to take the little one's pain away, I can't imagine what it is like for a mother.  Hang in there!


    It helps, believe me (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 11:18:25 AM EST
    when you are fried it is hard to catagorize your options and board games is one I had not visited yet and he really does love them and having us all play together.  Don't know why I didn't consider a new board game.  Just didn't

    I can empathize, though (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by scribe on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 10:41:53 AM EST
    the source of the issues which allow me to do so is different.

    1.  Stop what you are doing, especially the stuff that starts down the road to the depression-spiral.  You know what those things  and those thoughts are.

    2.  Put on your coat, go outside, and take a nice, long walk.  I'm talking about two hours or so.  Push your pace a little - don't maunder along.  Put the troubles out of your mind.  They will still be there when you return.  Concentrate, instead, on looking at and really seeing the scenery as you go past.  Ask yourself questions about things like love, beauty, loyalty, family, etc.  As to each of those topics, the questions should include one about "what does it mean to me" and another about "how can I express it better".

    3.  Once you've aired yourself out and returned to the house, making a big pot of soup from scratch is a good way to (a) get dinner made and (b) manifest answering "how can I express it better".  If your walk carries you past the supermarket, you can purchase the ingredients there and use carrying the added weight on the way back to further airing yourself out.  I'd suggest avoiding a crock pot, because using one allows you to avoid involvement with the act of cooking.  You want to be involved with what you are doing.

    4.  Do the walk every day.  You won't go through a whole pot of soup every day, but you will need the airing out.

    Walk around the lake.......duh (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 11:21:21 AM EST
    See, I'm too cooked to process well.  I still have one of his old wagons and I can get him into that and off we can go.

    Well, make sure you also (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by scribe on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 11:56:35 AM EST
    report back on your progress.

    Sunlight (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 03:56:44 PM EST
    and outdoor activity of some kind, preferably fairly strenuous, preferably leading to some kind of accomplishment.  You need, I think, to make sure you get to do some uncomplicated things that actually accomplish something you can see.

    IOW, gardening or yard work of some kind.  If not those, take a trash bag on your walk around the lake or wherever and pick up trash.

    In the depths of Vermont mid-winter, I go out and split firewood for an hour or so and end up feeling absurdly energized and pleased with myself for the stack of splits and kindling I've made, even if I had to fight to get myself to go do it.

    The effect doesn't last forever, but getting that regular boost really does help.  There are studies that show unequivocally that elderly people who get regular exercise are much sharper mentally than those who don't, and I can't help but think it has a lot to do with mood.

    I once had a handyman who was a psychotherapist.  In his off-hours, he did handyman work for hire.  He said it didn't just take his mind off his other work, but more importantly the regular completion of small projects he could see and feel and that made his customers' lives a little better made it possible for him to keep going with the often frustrating task of trying to help people's wounded psyches.

    And by all means, if you're not getting a regular couple hours of sunshine on you a day at least, take some Vit. D supplements.  I promise you it will help.

    And if your mood is better, you can better think of good ways to help your kid and he'll also pick up on your mood, I think.


    Yup, outdoors and sunlight (none / 0) (#42)
    by nycstray on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 04:34:53 PM EST
    great mood enhancers along with accomplishments. I think that's why I like cooking. Simple, rewarding, uncomplicated and great rewards (usually!). My winter blues pretty much went away with the addition of a Dalmatian to my life. Winter weather doesn't stop their need for a brisk few miles a day! Usually mid-day as it's the warmest and sunniest. I also like walking with my camera and music. Along with enjoying taking pictures, it's a nice feeling to wander aimlessly for awhile and the knowledge that nobody can find me, lol!~

    Great advice, Scribe (none / 0) (#37)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 03:39:27 PM EST
    I don't have any suggestions (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by lilburro on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:01:31 PM EST
    unfortunately...but my heart goes out to your family and keep your heads up!  

    Hey positive energy always helps (none / 0) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 02:12:59 PM EST
    My thoughts are with you as well (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by ruffian on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:43:03 PM EST
    I have never been in that situation, but I will try to think of something helpful.  Any dogs handy? Wish I could bring my big old golden over to be his companion.

    All my best to you and your family.


    Yeah, we have puppies right now (none / 0) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 01:50:22 PM EST
    they are my first serious gsd conformation litter.   First time match between mom and dad so I really don't know what to expect yet but if I have anything showable I think I'm going to name after lefty bloggers :).  They are about three weeks old and they like to snuggle so he takes one at a time in his lap with him while he is doing homework.  I guess it's just going to take some time.  Just went to check on him at school and give him an Ibuprofen for the back incisions

    It's the holiday (ugh!) season (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Fabian on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:49:04 PM EST
    maybe a trip to the mall to look at all the holiday decorations?  Toss in lunch at a favorite cheap eats.

    (the (ugh!) is for how the retailers rush to put out Christmas stuff makes me feel.  The retail calendar here starts Christmas a week before Halloween.)


    This sort of thing usually livens him (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 02:00:15 PM EST
    He loves to explore like I do, loves anything new or artistic, and San Antonio is really terrific for doing that.  On Thursday night while pushing him around in a wheel chair downtown he spiritually tired quickly though and wanted to go back to the hotel.  We usually stay at the Gunter because they give the military an excellent room rate and we don't have to pay much out of pocket. The staff made him a collage of photos of all of them that know him and they wrote things to him on the matting.  They are such a kind and wonderful staff there, I was so fried I didn't know what to say to them other than mumble a thank you.  I know he will always keep the collage though.  He is already a very sentimental person at eight and they are all part of his journey now.  The bellman Patrick babysits and plays Wii with him when we have to have prescriptions filled after the surgery.

    How about switching his mind (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by nycstray on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:55:37 PM EST
    to the upcoming holidays. Maybe some easy craft projects for decorating. Menu planning (cookie/pie baking, cider making, cupcake decorating)? Any hay rides by you? Or a trip to a farm market to get food for the feast?

    I've been thinking about this now (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 02:05:52 PM EST
    and combining it with walking the lake.  We can gather cones to glitter and gild.  He likes to makes things.  Also, Alabama has all these beautiful berry shrubs that seem to grow wild around the lake.  Things like beauty berry (had to look it up after moving here because it is such a pretty shrub) and there's lots of holly too.  We can go on a quest gathering berried branches for a door wreath.  Was searching through some Buddhist things that suggested visiting with nature to get that healing.

    Nature has always been good for my soul (none / 0) (#43)
    by nycstray on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 04:54:24 PM EST
    Heh, haven't thought of cone art in years  :)  You're lucky you live somewhere where you can go holly and berry branch collecting. Sounds beautiful there.

    Have you thought about maybe incorporating more traditional Indian into your Thanksgiving this year? I wish I wasn't so brain dead today, but I remember decorating with the colorful corn and gourds etc. as a kid. I loved the colors. At our last CSA pickup this year, we got popcorn still on the cob. It was dried in it's hull for popping. I was looking around and noticed some of the farms had the colorful popcorn. You could do things that are steeped in the past like "real" popcorn, maybe some new dishes that reflect back just to create a world different from today. An escape/adventure/imagination type of thing with advance prep work to build excitement :) It's fun for adults too as long as they let their inner child out  ;)


    Comics and comic books (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Manuel on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 01:44:16 PM EST
    They have gotten me through many a rough stretch of poor health including a near four month hospital stay.  Some favorites include "Calvin and Hobbes" and "The Far Side".  Comics don't require as much effort as a book but let you control the pace unlike TV or movies. Getting collections from the public library would allow you to experiment with different series.

    Best of luck


    THAT (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by lilburro on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 02:01:36 PM EST
    is a great idea!  I was reading Calvin and Hobbes with my mom the other day (we read them together when I was growing up) and they're still hilarious.  Bill Waterson is a great storyteller and perfect for kids.  

    And then there are the things (none / 0) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 02:09:37 PM EST
    that are not "my style" that upon reading I know are his style.  He loves Superheros, really likes Ironman right now.  Thank you for this idea, whatever I find in this department will be very unexpected from me and might actually be able to surprise the little dude too!!!!

    I loved superheroes as a kid (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Manuel on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 02:49:48 PM EST
    I can still recite the Green Lantern oath in both English and Spanish.  And I thought Mr. Mxyzptlk was hilarious.  Later on, as an adult, I got into the darker superhero tales of Frank Miller and  Alan Moore's Watchmen (looking forward to the movie).

    My first day at DC (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by nycstray on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 04:57:34 PM EST
    I was presented with a GL ring from one of the editors . . . also a ton of CatWoman, as she was my obvious alter ;)

    I recommend PS 238 (none / 0) (#35)
    by Fabian on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 03:01:45 PM EST
    It's an elementary school for super powered kids.  Super secret, naturally!

    Tyler is most often used as the main character.  His parents are possibly the most powerful superheroes on earth, but Tyler turned out as normal as can be.  This didn't keep his parents from pressuring the school into accepting as a student though.  So now very normal, very vulnerable Tyler goes to school with everything from continually battling super geniuses to ultra patriotic types.  He interacts with "normal" kids including one conspiracy nut who has an uncanny knack to spot the "aliens" among us.

    The author's wife is grade school teacher, so the kids really act like kids (lots of enthusiasm, judgment not so much) and the teachers have to deal with everything from parents to miscreants to The Government.  Yeah, this is a federal facility so that means any incident can attract a special investigator.  oh, joy.

    And the principal has a secret....

    Look for the trade paperback collections in your library or comic book store.


    Oh how cute and fitting in a way (none / 0) (#46)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 11:53:06 AM EST
    Thank you!!!

    Sending happy thoughts your way, MT. (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 02:01:18 PM EST
    Oy (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by squeaky on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 02:23:56 PM EST
    Sounds tough but I am certain that your boy will get beyond his pain and limitations, and flourish, that is if he has 10% of your spirit.

    For you I would recommend physical outlet. Great if you could thrash about, cry, scream and exhaust yourself physically. Wrestling, vigorous sports etc would be good, imo.

    That will help big time to replenish your juices and give your heart and mind a rest.

    My heart goes out to you. Thank you for keeping us in the loop.


    I started walking yesterday (none / 0) (#47)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 11:57:36 AM EST
    It felt really good and the lake is a two mile loop so I'm going to double it while Josh is at school.  Spoke at length with his teacher yesterday, he got a really really great teacher this year.  She sensed his inner tiredness yesterday too so he is on a little traffic pattern with her right now as well.  We offered him this morning the option of taking a mental health day off from school but for him it works the opposite, he needs the energy of his friends around him now and he said so with different words.  They take turns pushing his wheelchair around and the girls take him over at recess and he isn't complaining about that much.

    The bluebook format was created by the devil (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by andgarden on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 10:21:03 AM EST
    See you all later.

    This is the book (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by eric on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 10:33:21 AM EST
    that saved me in law school.

    It is sad that there needs to be a book that explains how to another book.


    Layoffs (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by CST on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 11:02:46 AM EST
    Have started.  I made it alive through the first round.  But the "young engineers" section of the office feels awefully empty today since my two fallen comrades are gone.  We are a small company, so that was 50% of our young engineers.

    Good luck dodging the ax CST.... (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by kdog on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:15:18 PM EST
    what an awful time of year for layoffs.

    I know it is no consolation, but you're certainly not the only one.


    Thanks (none / 0) (#16)
    by CST on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:27:37 PM EST
    I am probably safe for now, if only because they need SOMEONE left to do the dirty work.

    I thought it was a bit ironic that they fired the relatively cheap employees first.  One just got married and his wife is in school full time and looking for a part-time job but not working yet.  The other has a young kid at home and was dependant on this job for a Visa.

    That's life I guess...


    Yep... (none / 0) (#18)
    by kdog on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:38:35 PM EST
    way of the world, way of the world.

    I have a simple motto..."came here looking for a job, leave here looking for a job."  And there is always another job, maybe not the one you want or enjoy, but one that will keep your belly full.


    Good luck (none / 0) (#20)
    by TheRealFrank on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:46:41 PM EST
    I'll be ducking a round of layoffs myself. Fortunately I'm in an area that is currently considered "strategically important", so my chances are good.

    Obama - 60 Minutes - + & - (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by lentinel on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 11:23:14 AM EST
    I was watching Obama on "60 Minutes".

    On domestic policy he sounds serious and focused.
    I felt hopeful that there could be a solution.

    A very good thing was that he said that he would close Gitmo.
    He also said that he would stop the practice of torture.

    Then, however, he said that he would do whatever to "stamp out Al Qaeda" - and do whatever to "capture or kill Bin Laden".
    This kind of talk makes me think that we're going nowhere, and fast. Coupled with his Bush-like talk of shipping soldiers from Iraq to Afghanistan makes me feel anything but hopeful.

    Wonder if there is anyone (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Fabian on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 01:02:51 PM EST
    who feels the way that I do, that the problems are regional ones that are best solved by the regional powers and that while the United States can offer some help, our armed forces will never be part of the ultimate solution.

    Our strength internationally is intelligence not military might.  Government's role is to rule.  Military attacks and defends.  We need to get our military out of their government.

    We need to change our military role to a third party strategic role, neither on one side or the other, but on our own side.  We need to strike strategically - find and remove Osama bin Laden - but never to occupy.

    Then there's the whole economy thing...
    We are leaving, it's just a matter of when and how.  I do look forward to the military report in 2009.


    FYI (none / 0) (#13)
    by txpublicdefender on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:04:48 PM EST
    There's a thread dedicated to this topic with lots of discussion.

    I think (none / 0) (#17)
    by OldCity on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:34:29 PM EST
    that he can pursue OBM and still refuse to torture.  The man is responsible for untold deaths in this world.  I don't think there's a left or right spin on the fact that he deserves punishment.  

    One way or the other, Obama needs a satisfactory, but pragmatic end to both wars.  That means that he cannot leave either country, Iraq or Afghanistan, in severe disarray.  Achievable?  Who knows?  But he needs to change the way both wars are being prosecuted in order to bring them to a close.  

    I've written forever that I think that Obam, more than anything, is a pragmatist.  I'm positive that he's going to make the doctrinaire left insane.  I consider myself quite left of center and I fully expect that issues I believe need redress simply aren't going to get it, mostly because the political will doesn't exist.  

    There's miles of difference between constituional issues, on which he's got fairly static views and political issues.  He's going to concern himself with the possible.  But, his "possibles" are going to be one hell of a lot better than Bush's "absolutes".


    I may be (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by lentinel on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 03:37:04 PM EST
    old-fashioned, but when I see the soon-to-be president of the USA talking about killing somebody, I shake my head in dismay.

    And - just between us - do you believe that if Bin Laden were to be killed that it would do anything to stop the movement that our belligerence continues to provoke?


    No (none / 0) (#39)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 04:00:18 PM EST
    But he absolutely has to be caught and dealt with some way or the other.  He cannot be allowed to escape forever.

    I appreciate the sentiment, but... (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 04:15:39 PM EST
    Bush's remark about getting Osama bin Laden "dead or alive" was the prelude to the Iraq quagmire. It was one of the few remarks that Bush recently said he regretted.

    I'm concerned that Obama's rhetoric about killing Osama will become the prelude to the Afghanistan quagmire.

    Killing Osama, outright, would turn him into a martyr; and thus a potent, long-term recruiting tool for Al Qaeda. Like all martyrs, he may be more powerful dead than alive.


    So (none / 0) (#41)
    by lentinel on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 04:29:33 PM EST
    let some commandos infiltrate his network - turn a disgruntled member of his organization.

    Does it have to be an announced priority of our foreign policy?

    No talk of negotiations with Iran.
    No talk of trying to come to terms with the Russians' understandable anger over the Bush missile shield in Poland.

    Just talk of killing.

    It just sounds dumb.


    UBL etc. (none / 0) (#45)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 05:07:30 PM EST
    "let some commandos infiltrate his network - turn a disgruntled member of his organization."

    Oh, man, I know you're not this naive.  You think half the government hasn't been knocking itself out to try to do this for the past 7 years?  Do you know anything at all about UBL's organization and the people who are almost certainly harboring and protecting him?

    "Does it have to be an announced priority of our foreign policy?"

    Yes, actually, it does.  The bad guys out there who might be inclined to help him out, especially other governments, need to be reminded regularly that we haven't forgotten.

    "Just talk of killing.  It just sounds dumb."

    I agree.  I'd far rather have him just say he intends to "get" him and leave it at that with no details.  Let the rest of the world ponder what that might mean.

    As for Iran, and the Russia/Poland business, both of those are more complicated diplomatically, and Obama really has no business at this point undercutting the lame quacker in the White House on significant points of foreign policy at this point.  He does the right thing, IMHO -- and I'm not inclined to approve of much about him -- by being quiet on those things for another couple months until he's in charge.


    A useful list (none / 0) (#6)
    by scribe on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 10:56:51 AM EST
    of people being considered for jobs in the Obama admin.

    One thing is clear: Obama really really (none / 0) (#14)
    by CaptainAmerica08 on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:08:58 PM EST
    REALLY likes Kathleen Sebelius. I said during the VP hunt she was a top 2 choice and it looks like I was right for a change. She's guaranteed a position and she deserves it. I mainain she would have been the VP if she could give a good rousing speech. Big fan of hers.

    BTD - this will get your dander up (none / 0) (#34)
    by scribe on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 02:50:36 PM EST
    a whole site - with snazzy videos backgrounded by some nice alternative/thrash/metal - devoted to high schools playing that foul A-11 offense.


    Gnash teeth.