25 February 2007

Voacbulary Throw Down - A Story

Okay, as promised here is the first installment of the challenge using all the words a high school graduate should know.
The theme kind of crept up on me and wasn't intentional. Once started, however, I ran with it.

This is using words starting with A through J. I need to take a break or my head is going to explode.

If you have comments or entries, please feel free to post for our enjoyment.

And so we begin...

Abjure: Katie was forced to abjure under the scrutiny of the press; renouncing her former belief that the earth was created by aliens from another planet when she suddenly realized just how ridiculous that sounded.

Abrogate: In light of her epiphany, she abrogated her marriage immediately; as her husband refused to acknowledge the insanity of his beliefs.
(used word # 20 already! Ha! Take that, word nerds!)

Abstemious: Katie was relieved that she now didn't have to be so abstemious. She could binge on burgers and fries now that her skeletal BFF and former husband were no longer pressuring her to conform to the Hollywood standard of beauty.

Acumen: She was amazed at the return of her acumen upon separating from her husband and his beliefs.
Suddenly, she was once again clear-headed and intelligent.

Antebellum: Her spirit of independence bolstered her during the antebellum period before the divorce proceedings. She knew her husband, nor the organiation would let her go easily.

Auspicious: As her former husband was more auspicious than herself, she knew that the divorce proceedings would be long, expensive, and arduous. In addition, he had the organizations financial backing

Belie: The "organization" to which her husband belonged belied the actual beliefs; leading people to believe they were a healthy and uplifting group.

Bellicose: In fact, they were quite bellicose in spouting their beliefs, often shouting down critics and skeptics.

Bowdlerize: Katie was often surprised how the organization bowdlerized their beliefs, sanitizing them so the public wouldn't be offended or questioning.

Chicanery: It was certainly a form of chicanery, likening them to a traveling witch doctor of old.

Chromosome: Certainly, it was ridiculous that the organization felt that their members possessed an extra chromosome that empowered them.

Churlish: Leaders often would become churlish if followers dared questioning the belief.

Circumlocution & Circumnavigate: They would often use circumlocution to confuse and befuddle the members, circumnavigating the issues of the ridiculousness of their history and allowing them to convince the members of their power.
(Two for one, baby!)

Deciduous: No matter their clever manipulations, there was still a degree of deciduousness among members. Sometimes, members would still escape from the organization as Katie had.

Deleterious: Once out of the fold, former members, such as Katie, realized the deleteriousness of the organization and are amazed that they ever fell under the organization's spell.

Diffident: However, the organization often targeted the diffident, as their low esteem made them easy targets.

Enervate: The constant barrage of information would often enervate the new members; making them easier still to manipulate.

Enfranchise: Once convinced, members would often enfranchise their friends and family, trying like Amway salesmen to bring them into the fold.

Epiphany: They would often brag about their epiphanies, in attempt to draw more members thus elevating themselves in the organization.
(note: I used this word twice)

Equinox: The equinox was celebrated as the new beginning for the organization.

Euro: The organization used the Euro for currency as it was untraceable to a specific country or place.

Evanescent: Rational thought seemed evanescent to friends and families of the followers. They couldn't believe their loved ones would believe such absurdity.

Expurgate: The organization often would expurgate their beliefs when publishing them to the media, in effort to minimize the scrutiny of the press.

Facetious & Fatuous: No matter how they tried, the media was still often facetious in their writings of the fatuous organization. No amount of editing could make their history and beliefs sound rational and intelligent; no matter how many celebrities professed to believe.

Feckless & Fiduciary: Again, the organization often focused on the feckless in order to bolster their own fiduciary gain. The easily transformed often willingly gave of their cash and possessions, a requirement of the organization.

Filibuster: Once strengthened, Katie would often wage a filibuster with the press, expounding the danger of the organization's tactics and control.

Gamete & Hemoglobin:: In desperation, the organization would threaten to inject a gamete into wavering members bodies, rendering them weak and ill, in punishment for their skepticism. Katie had her hemoglobin levels tested in fear that she had been injected with the threatened gamete without her knowledge.

Gauche: Some members fell for this tactic as they were gauche and inept.

Gerrymander & Hegemony:: The organization often used Hollywood to gerrymander their beliefs and bolster political strength. This tactic often resulted in hegemony, the spread of the belief and influence among the moneyed circles of stardom.

Homogeneous & Hubris: The organization often mocked the homogenous view of other religions, citing a narrow point of view. Their hubris sometimes worked against them; offending people instead of drawing them into the organization.

Hypotenuse: The use of a hypotenuse in a triangle was often used to explain the organizations chain of command, much like a pyramid scheme.
(by the way, word nerds, I had to go ONLINE to look this word up. I haven't had geometry since high school for goodness sake.)

Impeach & Incognito: The president avoided an impeachment of his presidency and administration by making an incognito donation to the organization. Thus bolstering the organization's influence and power.

Incontrovertible: The incontrovertible truth bounced off the organization as if it were protected by an invisible shield.

Inculcate & Infrastructure & Interpolate: Regular classes were conducted for members in order to inculcate information, much like the brainwashing scenes in the movie Manchurian Candidate. These classes were conducted in order to preserve the infrastructure of the system. They also would interpolate their beliefs into daily conversation and all media observed and shared by members.

Irony & Jejune: The irony being that the more they spread the word, the more attention was paid to the ridiculousness of their claims. They became jejune, likened to a science fiction chapter book on a sixth grade reading list.

Tune it later, children, for the final chapters K through Z of the Vocabulary Challenge...

24 February 2007

Word Nerds

I am a walking dictionary, ask anyone. I can't do long division or name ANYTHING off the periodic table but need to spell "acquaintance" and I'm your girl. We all have our strengths and weaknesses.
So imagine the blow to my ego when I saw this online yesterday:


100 Words That All High School Graduates — And Their Parents — Should Know The editors of the American Heritage® dictionaries have compiled a list of 100 words they recommend every high school graduate should know."

The words we suggest," says senior editor Steven Kleinedler, "are not meant to be exhaustive but are a benchmark against which graduates and their parents can measure themselves. If you are able to use these words correctly, you are likely to have a superior command of the language."

It appears to be the Readers Digest Word Challenge gone horribly wrong. My friend K replied that she IS a COLLEGE graduate and the list was difficult. C'mon, high school graduates? They do realize that they're referring to the generation that has horrible spelling, nonexistent grammar, and the WORST penmenship ever, thanks to computers and cellphone texting.

I am not embarrassed to admit that I confidently don't know 24 of those words. Of the remainder of the 76, I am sure that there is some that I *think* I know what they mean but might be wrong. I consider myself a pretty smart human being but this list seems just a little too difficult! As I read through it, there were a few words that I had at least three punchlines for but no actual normal day-to-day USE for.

I would define "a superior command of the language" a bit excessive in the day of txting, IMHO. (for those technically challenged, I said "...texting, in my humble opinon."

And oh, it "isn't meant to be exhaustive." However, I must disagree, I'm very tired of thinking about it.

I like to think that this is simply the American Heritage Word Nerds issuing a press release to impress us with their verbiage acumen. Sorry word nerds, I'm onto you. (and notice how I can throw big, complicated words around willy-nilly too?)

So, for my own personal pleasure and ego I am going to write a sentence using each of these words reminiscent of sixth grade. ( used another big word, did you catch it?) Stay tuned in for future posts.

The following is the entire list of 100 words for your perusal: (see? another big word I slipped in there. You're not so cool, word nerds.)

laissez faire

14 February 2007

Sing with me now

Being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until today to buy the Mad Genius his Valentine day card. But, if not for said procrastination I would have never experienced the wonder that is Hallmark's singing cards. OH. MY. GOD. They are the best greeting cards ever.

They're fairly simple cards. Nothing too flashy but what makes them fun is when you open them a song plays or someone is talking. Now, it's the actual songs not the tinny musicbox version. The Mad Genius, being the Genius, opened the card to see how it worked. Sure enough, there's a little unit in there, complete with speaker.

My brother-in-law's birthday is on Friday. I bought him a 40 Year Old Virgin card. It pictures the waxing scene and features Steve Carrell exclaiming in pain. If you've seen the movie, I have to tell you that it's unfortunately the G-rated version. If they had the actual r-rated version, it would be awesome!

They're relatively inexpensive too. Only $4.95 each. That's only $1 more than a regular card!
I think I'm going to make a list of the next six months worth of birthdays & celebrations and get cards for everyone!

So, run! run now to the closest Hallmark store! Hurry!

Recess is over

Well friends, it's time for me to be a grown-up again. I know, it's surprising but true. I have a job. Although the Mad Genius says that I can hardly call it a job when it's only four hours a day. Yep, I said it: four hours a day.
AND...I get to decide when I want to work during the day. Sweet!

I start my first day at *yawn* *stretch* 10:00 a.m. I just don't know if I'm going to keep up the pace.

It's a fairly brainless job, a receptionist/office manager for an actuary...a pension/retirement agency. In fact, I was questioned why I wanted such a mundane job. It's easy...

I don't want to work. Not in the welfare, sit on my ass and watch Jerry Springer kind of way but in the I'm doing this for the cash and the cash only kind of way. As I write that, I realize that it sounds a little whorish. Well, I have been referring to myself as a bookwhore so I guess that works out.

I'll let you know how it goes. My luck I will love it and wish the days were longer. Oh wait, um, No that's probably not going to happen. (:-D

12 February 2007

Book Whore Part Deux

As previously mentioned, I am a book whore. The politically correct phrase is bibliophile, which is a lovely word in and of itself. But I like book whore. I scored eleven books from Value Village the other day. *satisfied sigh* I won't need a fix for, oh, at least a month.

In March's O Magazine, there is a little section titled "Book Junkies, Rejoice!" I had to share the sites they listed. They just sound like fun!

www.shelfari.com It's a MySpace kind of site and you can build a virtual bookshelf to post and browse others. If you see a book you're interested in, it links to Amazon.

www.booksense.com It's a "clearinghouse of independent bookstores. Key in your Zip code to find book stores in your area". This could be a good tool for searching for specific books and authors. Also, it helps support the mom & pop stores, a good thing. (although I do love Barnes & Noble. shhh. don't tell anyone)

www.booksfree.com It's like NetFlix for books. Paperbacks...ugh, my personal bain but we can't have everything. Starts at $8.50 monthly which makes "booksfree" untrue but whatever. I like the premise.

Yeah, the internet was going to be the death of books. They underestimated us book whores. (:-D Oh, bibliophiles, sorry. hahahha.

Passing Notes

In the beginning of the Internet, the media talked about how it was going isolate people because people would no longer have a reason to leave their homes, use the telephone, etc. I think the exact opposite has occurred. It has opened so many more doors to communication: message boards, blogs, and websites. I believe that we are a better-informed and connected society than ever before. News is shared, unfiltered in the blink of an eye; communication across miles & miles is instant. The media says that even the upcoming presidential campaigns will have to be waged like never before because of the power of the Internet.

In addition, the Internet has dramatically changed friendships. For the good, I am sure. I can sum up my point in one simple question: How do you most communicate with your friends? Let me guess: Email? IM'ing? Texting? Doesn't matter which, actually. It is a safe bet that it is electronically based. Gone are the days of hours on the telephone or long chats over coffee. We are too busy now. Or our priorities have changed. Or both.

For me personally, it is for the good. For example, I have connected again with a nearly lifelong friend, whom we allowed a lousy boy get between us. I have kept a friendship that stretches across the US. It helps me keep in touch with friends I would otherwise never hear from, even if it is only a silly pass-along.

There is even an email pass-along that essentially states don't be offended if you only get stupid jokes or sappy poems from me as it's all I have to offer at that moment but it is an opportunity to communicate that I'm thinking of you all the same.

When major drama strikes, all it takes is one minute to send out an email and there is instant support from all corners of the earth. My point being we stopped being pen pals in the sixth grade, when most of us discovered the telephone. Now, the Internet has allowed us to continue being pen pals as adults. As one of my oldest friends said one day: email is the grown-up equivalent of passing notes in class. And leave it to the Gen-X'ers to develop the technology.

I have two e-friends that I communicate with sporadically. I have never met them, probably never will but it's fun. There is fun in a little anonymity. I can see why Internet personal ads would be fun. You can be whoever you want to be and be as mysterious as you want to be. I mean this, of course, in a fun way and not in a stalker kind of way.

I also keep in better touch with my brothers. There is a good age gap between us and the Internet has helped bridge that gap a little. As we are a non-communicative family, the Internet has been a godsend. If not for email, we would see each other four times a year and sadly, that is not an exaggeration.

For me, being a night owl, it is easier to sit down at 11:00 p.m. when normal people are sleeping and shoot off an email. Or I am at home during the day and most people are not. It is easier to sit at my keyboard than to try to catch people on the telephone.

Cell phones are awesome. I stand by my previous proclamation that I think they are the best inventions ever. However, they have this thing called "Minutes" and if you use too many of them, it is really fargin expensive. As I sporadically call my friends, the risk of using too many minutes is a high one. Thus, the Internet is a beautiful thing.
And who has time for long, drawn-out telephone conversations anymore? We are constantly busy…even me who is gainfully unemployed. I, who has no job, am busy. Juggling a telephone will trying to drive, do errands, fold laundry is just too much hassle. Not when my faithful computer is waiting patiently for me at any time.

The Mad Genius is addicted to his laptop. It used to be mine, but not so much anymore. Ten years ago, when I bought my first computer, he was uninterested and unsure why I would lay out almost $2000 for a computer. Fast-forward ten years and now he is nearly as proficient with it as I am. He uses it to communicate, research, and play. I asked him not too long ago if he thought he would ever have imagined himself being proficient with a computer and he laughed. He would have never predicted it.

He has a telephone addiction; he is constantly on the telephone with friends, family, vendors, customers, and work. Now, it is not unusual for me to find him on the cell phone and the laptop at the same time. His circle of friends and acquaintances has considerably broadened. He now has friends throughout the US and Canada. He has never met them but he talks to them regularly. This probably wouldn't have happened if not for the Internet.

As the husband of my BFF K says ""If only we had access to some sort of global information network...." when they are trying to remember something. The Internet is perfectly lovely for research nerds such as me. In a blink of an eye, I can ask questions and have immediate answers. In my tiny little corner of the world, I can connect with anyone, anywhere in a matter of minutes.

My overall point being is the Internet is probably the best innovation ever. I think it may even bump the cell phone out of first place. We are a better informed, educated, and connected society because of the Internet. Communication has changed, and for the better in my humble opinion.

Now, excuse me, I have emails to write in between writing chapters of my novel and talking to the Mad Genius on the cell…

08 February 2007

Oprah…the infomercial…

What is up with Oprah these days? First off, let me say that I do admire her. I think she has done some pretty fabulous things in this world. However, I do think she has lost the grasp of what it is like to a regular person.

Recently, it seems as if she has taken to wanting to make the regular people into a version of herself. Not in a demi-god kind of way but she wants everyone to be as successful as she is. She seems to think it is easy to achieve success. It's as if she's the Manchurian Candidate that has forgotten how she has gotten where she is.

Last week she had this guy that wrote "The Seat of the Soul." Essentially, he talked about "What's wrong with you that makes you make the choices you make." He talked a lot about intention. Some of it was interesting and some of it was hooey.

Today, she has guests on that are talking of "The Secret" which apparently has been The Thing to do lately. Funny, this is the first I have heard about it. Essentially, it is the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have done to you…with a mixture of the threefold rule…what you put out into the universe, you will receive threefold.

I appreciate her wanting to improve our lives but it is starting to seem a little cult-ish. If she announced tomorrow that she is a member of Scientology, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised.

So, did God appoint Oprah to save us all? Did I miss the message? I've been sleeping in lately. I wonder what that says about my intention?

Dear Abby

I recently received the following inquiry in my emails:

Everyone is always offering advice on everything. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? What is the worst (and why)?

Hmmm. Must think…

Advice is a tricky thing. The key to it is to wait for it to be requested. Unrequested advice is usually just one person imposing their belief on another. (in my humble opinion)
And asking for advice is kind of a ruse. When someone asks for your advice, it seems they are often just looking for someone to agree with them, not necessarily your view on the topic. We are all guilty of giving and asking for advice. I have tried to rephrase it as simply "I need help. Tell me what you think."

Nevertheless, I had to think about the original question…what was the best piece of advice I have received. I think there is two and they are kind of intertwined…

"Follow your Gut." Loosely translated as "Follow your first impulse." Or "Never second guess." I have found that the more I can just follow my own instincts: the better my life is.
"Patience" is the other piece of advice. Just wait and "this too shall pass."

The worst piece of advice I ever received was "There is no right or wrong. There's just what you feel." Huh? What? It is kind of a "follow your gut" but it is also kind of ethereal. I suppose to an abstract kind of person, this makes sense. But to me, who often sees in Black & White, it wasn't helpful at all.

AND by the way, the person that gave me said advice is the same person that sat in jail for 18 months for heinous crimes. Guess she followed her own advice. Yeah, that didn't so much work out for her. Thank God Above that I didn't take her advice.

So, what is your best piece of advice?

Potty Mouth

I haven't worked with children in nearly a year. I KNOW! I have been gainfully unemployed for nearly a YEAR. Go me! Watch me go absolutely no where!


Having worked with children for about 14 years, I still have a child's vocabulary though. I don't think it is something I can control. It is kind of like having an accent. You can be aware of it, but not necessarily have control over it.

What made me think of this today is when I was talking to the Barista…I'm from Washington State, we ALL have baristas…and I called her "Sweetie". Inappropriate, perhaps but it's a habit.

When you are around little ones, their names morph into other things. They rhyme, (Bode-Ode-Odie-Oh) they get re-emphasized (EES-Ah-BELLA), they get exaggerated (ZAAAAACCCCKKKYYYY!). Or they get completely forgotten…"Hey Jacob, Jonathon, Jeremy, Justin…YOU!"

When I really noticed this is when I referred to the Mad Genius as Honey in public. I didn't even realize that I did it until he walked over and said, "Hey, I know! Let's not call me Honey while yelling across the store, kay?" Which, of course, made me laugh and now it's "Honey, Baby, Sweetie." Yes, I am evil.

During the Mad Genius's Christmas party, he left for a moment during the gift exchange game. Of course, it became his turn. When his friend asked where he was, I replied "He went downstairs to go potty." I didn't think anything of it until she said "Wait, did you just say he went potty?" *groan*

Another example is I will sometimes slip and say "Dark time" instead of night or when the Mad Genius was going to Vegas Baby, we jokingly counted "How many sleeps" until he left.

I have always considered getting a tattoo but could never decide what I would get. I think I should just get printed somewhere on my body "I used to work with children." Maybe on my hand, I could just hold it up when I say something stupid. (Like Jesse James, he has "Pay Up Sucka" on his palm. I love that.)

Anyone who is a parent that is reading this is probably nodding in agreement. I just want to say, "You're not alone."

A duck walks into a bar...

Often, in the getting to know you email pass-alongs, there is a question of What is Your Favorite Sound? I have never had a satisfying answer to that. Leading an unusual lifestyle...get your mind out of the gutter...my responses have been the sounds of the racetrack or fireworks.

Now, I have finally come up with a satisfying answer. It is a duck. Now, it is not the normal quack, quack, quack that you hear. There is a sound that the mallard makes that makes me laugh right out loud every single time. It is as if he has just been told the Best Joke Ever. If a duck can guffaw, it sounds just like that.

Our neighbor has become Dr. Dolittle. She has llamas, peacocks (not a sound I like to hear, they sound like a woman shrieking) and now ducks. If you spend any time outside, you will usually hear the cacophony of the animals. But the one that stands out is the duck. It is probably reminiscent of my childhood as well, being a lake kid. Ducks were often pets when I was younger.

There is just an instant mental image I get at the sound: A group of ducks telling jokes while playing poker and drinking beer. Oh wait, isn't that what dogs do?

...and he orders a drink. When the drink arrives, he tells the bartender: "Just put it on my bill."

Quack, quack, quack.

05 February 2007

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

This is my new favorite show. I have a lot of favorite shows, wildly varied but this is my new favorite. It's smart, it's funny, it doesn't pander. And, of course, it's flagging in the ratings. I have a theory why, of course I do. Have you met me?

It's been an underlying storyline in Studio 60 so perhaps it's where I've formulated this theory. Nevertheless. Reality television has spoiled us. This is a witty, clever show that one needs to actually watch. I think that people don't have, or don't want to have, time for shows that make you think or challenge.(with the exception of the beloved LOST, which is back on Wednesday. Yahoo!) I think, much like our cuisine, we've become fast-food television watchers. We want only what we can watch while we eat dinner, surf the internet and fold laundry.

Anyway, it has some fabulous actors, smart writing, and it's set in a Saturday Night Live-ish Studio. What more can you ask for? I would say, although critics mostly disagree, their sketches are better than the current SNL.
(Dateline: To Catch A Predator - Santa Edition. Nicholas Cage as a Marriage Counselor to mention my two favorites) It's an inside view of how television is put together, which in a media obsessed culture, I would think people would find interesting.

AND, in my humble opinion, it's so much BETTER than 30-Rock, which is just STUPID and I'm distressingly disappointed in Tina Fey. She so chose the wrong show. She's smarter than 30-Rock.

So, set your TIVO's, your DVR's or VCR's or just WATCH it. I promise, you won't be disapponted. 10:00 p.m. NBC. Go now, set your machines to record. I'll wait...

Home Sweet Home

My BFF "K" emailed me in a panic the other day. Her mother-in-law is making noises about moving closer to her and hinting none to gently about moving in with her. This has caused panic, fear, palpable terror. Just the mere notion of living with our mothers or mothers-in-law brings anxiety. I know that I carry that same anxiety, having just experienced my mother in a high-stress situation and encountering a whole new version of my mother.
Curious, I inquired to my two other BFF's "C" and "D" the same situation. Each of their responses was the same: a shudder of fear. Hmmm. A quandary.

If one were to listen to the media, mostly the retail chains during the holiday season, everyone comes from a loving, highly functional family that happily gathers around the table during holidays and celebrations.
However, in my nearly-40 years, I have discovered the opposite. It is a myth, the happy family. Most families have their own form of dysfunction. Some of us are a Level 10 and some of us are a Level 5. The determination of the Dysfunction Level is dependant upon the member of the family you're asking; it's fluid.
My mother-in-law was raised in a level 10 home. To ask her, however, she would probably rate it at a 5. That was her experience and how she coped. From an outside view, I would rate it a level 15. Different perspectives, different coping skills.

I was raised in a level, oh let's say, 8 home: alcoholism, verbal abuse, etc. I have a feeling that, if asked, one brother would rate it lower and one brother would rate it higher. Each rating is true, to that individual. (Playing to my theory that there are three sides to every story: Yours, Theirs, and What Actually Happened)
Nevertheless, back to my original point: Our parents are aging and we are going to have to deal with it at one point. In a perfect world, everyone would live under one roof happily ever after. However, this is not a perfect world. Because of this fact, what is the next step? We didn't live happily under the same roof the first go-around.
Or, worse perhaps, it's an in-law that is truly unbearable.

Obligation hangs over our heads, swinging back and forth like the guillotine in an obstacle course. One wants our parents to remain independent forever. Unrealistic. One would want to be kind enough, mature enough, to welcome them into our homes. This is a realism that perhaps is attainable, perhaps not. One would hesitate, even balk, at placing a parent in an assisted living center...as nursing homes are now called. *We* wouldn't want to be there, yet for most of us: it is a foregone conclusion. This may be our parents next-to-final destination.
In some cultures, aging parents are a non-issue. It just *IS* They take care of their elders, no question. You don't have to like it, it just is.

Maybe that's where we hit a stumbling block...us being the Gen-X or even further: Americans...we're an independent group, fiercely so. This may be where we balk: it is a choice. Many cultures don't ever have a time that a parent isn't present, no matter what stage of life they are in. Americans pride themselves on being independent. They pride themselves on being able to make their lives better than those of their parents. With this pride, comes a downfall; there will be a time that someone will be dependent upon us and we may be unequipped to cope with it.

I guess it comes down to what is best for everyone involved. For instance, there is not a chance in the world that my father could ever live with us. There would be 1st Degree Murder charges within 30 days. My mother, well, it would depend. Heavily medicated...me or my mother, either way...it could work. Is it my dream? No, not really. Will it be my reality? Perhaps. Is it my responsibility? lt feels so.

On the flip-side, my in-laws are moving here in about one month. They are living on our property, not in our house. In a perfect world, this will be their last home. Hopefully, this is where they will pass. We are lucky enough to have the wherewithal to provide this for them. Many don't have this capability. This has been the perfect solution for everyone involved: independence yet proximity. This, I would wish for everyone.

Having experienced the assisted living world recently, I can say it wasn't that bad. Of course, I can say that from the comfort and distance of my own home. It was not the nursing home of old. They had a dining room, a rec room, a large screen television and cable. Field trips and activities were available. It was kind of like camp. Your experience is what you put into it, I suppose. My dad, being a sociable person, made friends and seemed to mostly have a good time there. I don't think I would have qualms placing him in assisted living. My mom, however, is not wired the same. I don't think she would endure it as well as my father. Again, it is such an individual choice.

There's that choice word again. Choice, perhaps we won't have a choice. *shudder* They'll have to live with us, what then? Prozac, lithium, Stolli. These are only a few options that I can think of.

Another factor is that people are living longer. This is creating an entire new set of circumstances. My grandparents passed in their 60's. They had no sooner retired and they died -as did their parents. My parents didn't have to make this decision. Our parents are living longer and now so will we, all going well. We do have to cope with the decision. However, we don't have a template - an example - of how to do this. Perhaps that is the crux of the problem. There are just so many variables.

Maybe it is just my friends and I that shudder at the thought of living with their parents. Or maybe not. Maybe we are just honest enough to admit our own reluctance. Reluctant or not, we're going to cope. I'll let you know how it goes.

Where are your parents living? Hmmm. Think about it. Scary, isn't it?