Thursday, January 10, 2008

It's Not Safe

Meredith Emerson's murder and the possible other murders committed by this monster, Gary Michael Hilton, have really shaken me. I guess it's the idea that a serial killer was walking around within a few miles of my home, sometimes living in a park I've taken my children to, and mutilating and disposing of bodies in an area I used to go hiking in when I was the same age as the girl he murdered. It's really put me on edge and made me realize that I need to become more aware of my surroundings.

Last year there was a mugger or armed robber who targeted moms with small kids who would have to be put into car seats. He would wait in the parking lot until he saw the women putting the kids in the car and then approach them from behind, put a gun to the back of their heads and rob them, threatening to either kill them or their kids. Again, in the area where we live. He robbed one woman in the Whole Foods parking lot at the store I used to frequent once a week. Oh, yeah. He did this in broad daylight. He was eventually caught and arrested, but that made me start paying more attention to who was around when I had the kids with me.

But this just brings the issue of safety to the forefront of my mind again.

This article appeared in the AJC today and has some good tips. There is also information at the end of the article about free self-defense classes for women which are being sponsored by local radio station Q100.

The only bit of advice I have to add to the tips offered by the article is something a former cop told me once. He said never let an attacker get you in the car. If someone tries to carjack you, or push you into a car (yours or theirs) let them kill you on the spot before you get in the car. He said either way, you'll end up dead, but at least if they kill you on the spot your family will have you to bury and maybe someone will see or hear it happen.He said that very few people who get abducted are ever found at all. I always have that in my mind as horrible as it is. And I don't even know if it's true, but it sure sounds plausible.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Learning to Fly

The moral of today's story, folks, is don't get too big for your britches. I was so pleased with myself last night for cleaning my kitchen and shining my sink as the FlyLady recommends. I had Brendan's lunch packed and his breakfast all laid out and ready to go. His backpack was packed and ready. I was so full of my newfound excitement over being organized that I decided to get my automatic coffeemaker all set up and ready to make my coffee and have it waiting for me when I awoke. I was thinking, Wow, I am off to one excellent start on this efficiency thing! Look at me!

So, where did I go wrong? I know that's what you're asking yourself. Right?

In my being so pleased with myself, I managed to forget to put water in the coffeemaker. So, when I awoke, I got to have the wind taken out of my sails a little. Still, I had a pretty good start to the morning. Because I had most everything done that needed to be done before Brendan gets up for school, I had time for prayer and meditation and to blog a little.

It's going to be a great day!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Oh Mercy

If anyone came in my house at the moment, I'm really not sure what they'd think. I'm not sure what I think...

I'm halfway through taking down our interior decorations, but there are boxes, rolls of wrapping paper, and used gift bags all over the foyer. In my living room where I am right now, Brendan is pumping a tire pump pretending to put air in my exercise ball while Beckett walks around him in a circle repeatedly while holding a plastic Peter Rabbit bowl. Going by the quizzical look on his face, Beckett seems to be trying to figure out what the heck his brother is doing.

Me? I just finished taking down the outdoor decorations, cleaning and repairing the gutter on the front of the house, and placing all the exterior decorations in their proper places (wreaths hung on hooks in the garage; lights, garland, and hangers in a plastic bin, labeled and in the attic.). I also put all my fall decorations (a witch, some berry garland, and some autumnal wreaths) in their own bin and put that in the attic as well.

Before this unusual sibling ritual began, I thought I'd take a break and check my e-mail, then get right back to work. But this was too funny and bizarre not to mention.

Now that they've performed their dance of brotherly fascination, Brendan has decided to start taking his favorite decorations of the tree and this has caught baby brother's attention, too. I think it's time to intervene....

Monday, January 7, 2008


Hey, my animal-loving friends. Here's your chance to do a kind deed for an animal today. A friend who volunteers at Atlanta Pet Rescue, a no-kill shelter, sent me the following information. If you would be so kind as to participate, I know I would appreciate it, as would all the sweet, adorable dogs and cats waiting at APR until they find loving families.


Circuit City is holding a contest for the next Firedog, the mascot of their customer support service. For every vote each dog receives, the animal shelter of that dog's owner's choosing will receive $1. The shelter of the winning dog will receive $50,000.

Please vote for Toby. Toby's shelter is the Atlanta Pet Rescue, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill animal shelter that could really use 50 grand.

To vote for Toby:

Go to
enter your email address and click Submit
check your email for the confirmation link
Click the link
That's it. If you really want to help, use every email address you have. But remember, you have to click the link in the confirmation email for your vote to be submitted. And if you want to help some more, forward this email to everyone you know.

Something to Look Forward To

Okay. So I've done most of the items on the Messies Flight Plan for Fledglings. I haven't eaten yet, but I've knocked out the other basics on the list. I'm about to get up and start laundry and then make breakfast for myself and the boys.

I've also discovered another tool that I'll be using in my fight against chaos. It's the BusyBodyBook Personal and Family Organizer. It's designed by a mom – Joan Goldner – for other moms. I spoke with Joan via e-mail and she's sending me one to try out and report back on. In the meantime, I have downloaded January's weekly grids (the book offers much more than just a calendar system, but I'll save those details until I have the book in hand). I am going to use those to plan my week and hopefully, like that, become instantly more efficient just by having a written compilation of all I want and need to accomplish.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Happy House

For too long I have been unorganized and stressed out. My goal for the new year is to undo old habits of procrastination and indecision and get myself, my home, and my life organized and functioning smoothly.

I'm looking at using the Messies Anonymous six-week plan. I've already actually done a few of the things suggested (I cleaned and organized my pantry today; last week I cleaned and organized Brendan's closet and added storage in his room.) and am planning to start my new way of life by creating and sticking to daily schedules.

It's really scary for me to think about trying to make a major life change like this. I am chronically disorganized. I know, however, how much easier life would be if I could change. And I really want to change. I need to change before one of my children gets lost in my house.

Wish me luck.

And if you have any tips on time management, household scheduling, sticking to routines, or just getting things done, please feel free to pass them along.

I Can't Get My Head Around It

I want to be a good Catholic and leave all judgment up to God, to believe in my heart that the death penalty is wrong. But then, I hear a story like this one, about a girl just going about her life, doing something she loved, and not bothering anyone, who gets murdered by some low-life creep and it all goes out the window.

I don't know why this story hits so close to home with me. I guess it's a case of there but for the grace of God... I was never an avid hiker, but when I was this girl's age, I certainly went hiking alone, without even a dog, on portions of the Appalachian Trail and had fantasies of hiking the whole thing some day. I never gave a second thought to the safety of it. I never told anyone where I'd be either. I just went and got a room at a state park lodge and went hiking, just to be alone in nature and clear my head. It never occurred to me that some random creep could be out there on the trails, waiting to murder someone. And I'm sure it never occurred to Meredith either. Why would it? Why would any of us think there's another human out there wishing to do us harm? We shouldn't have to think that way.

Of course, I think our society might be more violent now than it was 12 or 13 years ago with less respect for life or other people generally. I often think we're in our decline as a culture and society, but then I start freaking out and can't let myself go there. I worry too much about what this world will be like when my children are grown. It's just too overwhelming sometimes.

I feel awful for Meredith's poor family. And I just can't get my head around why this creep would have to murder her. But in my heart I can't make myself find any reason why he should get to live – even in prison – when he so readily took this poor girl's life.