Category Archives: I’m Baffled (And Because I Love The Word Baffled)

My Absence, Pictures Of My Kids, And How The Internet Can Ruin Your Life

Anyone who knows me well, knows my struggles.

Okay. To be honest, you’d have to know me really, really, REALLY well because I’m not one to shout my struggles from the top of the internet waves. But, suffice it to say, I’m struggling and making some progress.



Not quite as quickly as I’d like but we’re on an upward swing instead of a downward spiral. So that’s a good thing.

Because of my struggles, I don’t have the focus and patience to write as much as I used to. But I do peek in here from time to time and when I do, I enjoy catching up with you all. And watch my stats slowly decline because as you all know, the less you write, the less people check in with your writing.

One day, about two months ago, eager to write, with so much to say, I sat down at my computer and logged on.

Only to find a comment, a very creepy comment, about a picture of one of my kids.

My brain turned to mush. If I had anything to say before I sat down, it had evaporated. If I had any focus or attention span….POOF! Gone.

I quickly deleted the comment (which never reached my blog, thank God, because it had to be “approved” by me first) and then scrolled back, over 6 1/2 years of blog posts, and systematically deleted just about every single picture I had ever posted of my kids.

Now, I have hundreds of posts that make no sense at all because the post was crafted around a funny picture — at least, a picture I thought to be funny. Not provocative. Or sexual in any way.

But apparently, I was wrong.

I know there are creeps out there. I watch Law & Order: SVU. I read the headlines. I just never thought that a completely innocuous picture could be construed in such a creepy way.

This picture deleting task took me about four days of what felt like every free moment in front of my computer. Between track and swim practice, making dinner, and doing laundry, I pretty much sat at my computer and deleted pictures.


There are many of you out there who never, ever, ever post pictures of your kids. There are many of you out there who post pictures all of the time. Then, there are those of you, like me, who post pictures when the story warrants.

There are pictures of kids playing. Or eating. Or shot only from the back. But a picture is a picture and I’m here to tell you, as innocent as you feel your picture might be, some weirdo out there is going to find a way to get all excited about it.


Last night, channel surfing, I discovered a show on the SyFy network called The Internet Ruined My Life. Compelling stories about people, like you and me, who posted something online and social media ran with it in a direction that was never in a gazillion years intended.

A speculative tweet about a popular TV show. A picture, taken in public, turned into a bully-worthy meme. An erroneous emoji.

An emoji!?!?! (She thought it was the crying emoji and she had put the laughing emoji with tears by mistake.)

All of these things invited death threats. Pleas asking the victim to kill themselves. And did I mention death threats?

Some victims were actually hunted down and the threats of violence became real.


I’m not so naive as to think that the world is a completely safe and happy place. But when in the world did it become okay to threaten the life of another human being because she guessed right on a plot twist for a TV show, happened to be in public when his picture was snapped or mistakenly used the wrong emoji? (I kid you not. A misplaced emoji turned this poor girl’s life upside down.)

The laws protecting all of us need to catch up with this rapidly changing use and misuse of technology. And frankly, I’m confused. I have no idea what is safe or unsafe anymore. On my Disney blog I have plenty of pictures, that I have taken, with innocent and every day poses, of people in public. All perfectly legal. But all possible fodder for the sick and twisted mind.

I don’t take huge risks in my life but I don’t live in fear, either. I lock my doors at night. I am savvy to phone calls trying to extract personal information. I guard my pins and passwords. I (now) am reluctant to post pictures of my kids. I avoid traps of identity thieves.

But, I’ve always lived my life, with relative piece of mind, that the odds of horrific things happening to me are pretty slim.

And so far, I’ve been right.

But, it seems, that narrow, slim chance is getting wider and wider with every keystroke.









Filed under Blogging, I'm Baffled (And Because I Love The Word Baffled), Observations

And Reason #173 Why “Auntie Jen” Shouldn’t Have Children

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, THIS pops up in my news feed…..

“A jury has ruled against a New York woman who sued her nephew for hugging her too hard on his eighth birthday.”

I’m sorry. But with that kind of lead-in, I just had to click and read.

Apparently, with undue glee, the sweet,  “very loving” (<—her words!) 8-year-old boy ran towards her and leapt into her arms, saying “Auntie Jen, I love you!” The force knocked her down and she broke her wrist. She didn’t complain to him at the time because, as she told the jury, “It was his birthday and I didn’t want to upset him.”

So, Jennifer Connell upset him later with a $127, 000 lawsuit. She wants him accountable for his actions. Besides, now the 54-year-old has a hard time juggling her hors d’oeuvre plate when she attends parties due to her injury. (I’m not kidding. That’s what she told the jury. I can’t make this stuff up.) 

Hence, my disgust and confusion.

How in the world did this woman find an attorney that would take this case?

How in the world did anyone, crazy aunt or money-grubbing attorney, think they were going to get $127,000 from an 8-year-old boy?

How in the world did this ever, ever in a million years, get to a jury and waste the good taxpayers time and money?

Thank you, dear jury, for delivering the only verdict possible.

Thank you, Auntie Jen, for never having children. You’ve already squashed the loving exuberance of a sweet child in one fell swoop. We don’t need to squash any other children.

And to the poor, sweet, very loving boy (who is now 12-years-old — yes, it took four years for this debacle to end) may you find love and kindness in your other relatives.

And may you never have to hug Auntie Jen ever again.



Filed under I'm Baffled (And Because I Love The Word Baffled), In the News, Soapbox

I’ve Actually Heard The Excuse ‘The Dog Ate My Homework’ But This One Takes The Cake. And Coming From A Teacher.

My daughter is attending one of our higher institutions for learning. It is a university with accolades galore. A good school. A recognizable name.

So, when she told me this story about one of her professors, I was a bit baffled.

She and her classmates had taken their last test before final exams a few days ago. The professor was handing back their tests and reminding them that they needed to study for the final from all of their previous exams.

“Oh,” she continued, “and I have to apologize. But my cat peed on your tests.”



“Was she serious?” I asked.

“Oh yeah,” my daughter replied.

So, it smells. To high heaven. Of cat pee.

“I just feel sorry for the guy whose test was on the top of the pile,” my daughter said.

Okay. First of all, I’d be mortified, as a teacher, to hand back tests or papers that had been soiled in any way. Cat pee, being one of the most mortifying.

Secondly, why hand them back at all? Or, better yet, photo copy the tests and hand back the photo copies so that your student’s backpacks, cars and dorm rooms don’t have to smell like your cat’s urine.

Just a thought. Or two.

Nope. I’m still sitting here, shaking my head.

Simply baffled.


Filed under I'm Baffled (And Because I Love The Word Baffled)

If You Can’t Speak Correctly (Especially To Defend Your Case Against A School) Don’t Speak At All

If you’re going to speak to the press to defend your case?


For the love of God and your former English teachers.

Use proper grammar.

An Ohio mother, defending her 5 year-old’s right to sport a mohawk haircut, articulated (and I use that term with tongue in cheek), “They seen his hair like it was. All the little kids were going over and feeling on it and everything.”


Poor little Maddox Brangelina, sporting a mohawk-do.


I chose to use a pic of Maddox Brangelina to protect the little 5 year old kindergartener’s innocence. Poor Maddox lost his right to privacy once his famous parents started parading him around. Awww, shoot. What am I saying? That little 5 year old Ohioan lost his right once his mother started defending his haircut in the press, complete with personal photo. 

“They seen his hair like it was.”

Yes. I’m sure they “seen it.” It’s right there, on top of his sweet, little head. I have no issues with mohawks. But apparently, the school has a policy against distracting attire. And they deem this hairstyle distracting.

Wait. You confirmed that.

“All the little kids were going over and feeling on it and everything.”

Never mind the incorrect grammar. What about your defense?

Lady, you might want to carefully consider your choice of words the next time you want to defend your God given right.

And maybe hire a lawyer to do the talking for you.

(Kudos to Lylah M. Alphonse, senior editor at Yahoo! Shine for quoting this mother verbatim. It made my day and a blog post!)


Filed under I'm Baffled (And Because I Love The Word Baffled), Soapbox

The Weather Channel. Or The Guys Who Cry Wolf. Weekly.

The Weather Channel is responsible for my anxiety and I’m ticked.

The Storm of the Century of the Week.

I can’t take it anymore. And it’s only January.

I live in the part of the country where snowfall is occasional. Once or twice a year. Ice storms are more probable. When the weather calls for rain during freezing temps everyone is set into a panic. Hence, the picture I posted a few years ago:


They sent us into a panic last week. They did it again last night. And this time, they closed schools for today.

Don’t get me wrong. I am enjoying this impromptu “snow” day with my kids. Games, cookie baking and even out to lunch with friends. Because as it stands, we’ve yet to see any of the Storm of the Century of the Week.

What I don’t enjoy are the stern-faced-alarming-voiced-weatherpeople breaking into my favorite television program showing us the latest radar map with predictions that rarely come true. I’m learning that weather is unpredictable and man cannot control the outcome no matter how hard our meteorologists try.

Oh sure, they’d love to see us covered in ice, trucks swirling off the roads into ditches, icicles dripping off trees and power lines. It all makes for great television. It’s what they live for.

What they really need to do is swallow a chill pill and take the wait and see approach.

But instead, it’s another Storm of the Century of the Week.

Which is named, Winter Storm Khan.

Yes. You heard right. They are now naming winter storms.

Hurricanes, I get. Even tropical storms.

But snow? We’re going to start naming a bunch of snowflakes and ice?

What’s next? Naming every bout of rainfall and thunderstorm that we have?

Hurricanes are devastating and cruel. They wreck havoc like no other. And I admit, so can snow and ice storms. But typically, not in the same way. With a hurricane comes devastating flooding, water damage that takes months to fix. The vast majority of areas that are attacked by snow storms like Khan are prepared. They have snow plows and salt trucks, snow tires and hot chocolate aplenty.

So what’s up with naming a little snow storm? Are meteorologists that bored with their jobs? Do they feel put out when the main newscasters steal their thunder, reporting on the storm before their paltry little 5 minutes at the end of the news hour? Or is The Weather Channel striving to be relevant by pumping up a storm and it’s potential for damage?

Pretty soon, we’re going to be calling The Weather Channel the guys who cry wolf. Weekly.

And when we need to race to the store to clear the shelves of milk and bread?

We won’t be listening.

On a side note, I must admit, Khan is an awfully great name for a snow storm. But won’t they be sorry when this storm passes and they wasted “Khan” when they could have saved it for when Storm Nemo comes along?

Poor Nemo. That cute little guy doesn’t look menacing at all. 



Filed under I'm Baffled (And Because I Love The Word Baffled), Ponderings

Charles Darwin For Congress! If I Had Lived In That District He Would Have Had My Vote.

Charles Darwin is alive and well in the state of Georgia.

That is, if by “alive and well” you mean “in theory.”

Rep. Paul Broun decried evolution, the Big Bang theory and other scientific discoveries as “lies straight from the pit of hell!” Granted, his audience was a church group. But in the age of Twitter and YouTube you need to be a little more careful about what you say in public.

Republican Representative Paul Broun was running unopposed in the 10th Congressional District in Georgia. But I knew nothing of the man since I don’t live in his district. (And the fact that I’m not very political, which is a nice way of saying I’m too self-absorbed to follow politics.)

I educated myself on the man this morning. Here is what I learned:

He is a nut.

I was going to list his crazy voting record, his fourth marriage, his feeling that Obama is a Marxist dictator. You can read about it all here. Suffice it to say, he’s crazy.

And he was re-elected. And is representing Americans in our government.

It’s a sad, sad day, indeed.

While watching the election returns (TV muted) I saw the results flash on the screen, Paul Broun 57% and Charles Darwin 0%. I thought, poor Charles Darwin. Named after a famous British naturalist and he still can’t get a vote. And then I thought, how horrible that his lack of popularity has to be broadcast so blatantly. But then I saw Obama gaining ground on Romney and I was distracted again.

I forgot about it until this morning.

An article on an online news magazine got my attention. Jim Leebens-Mack, a professor at the University of Georgia, started a Facebook campaign “Darwin for Congress” as a response to Broun’s ridiculous church-evolution rant. As a result, Charles Darwin received almost 4,000 votes. Not enough to beat Broun’s 209,000 (scary) votes, but an admirable showing, all the same. Especially since Darwin would have to be a party to Congress from the grave. Or the great beyond. (I embrace all theories of the life in the hereafter.)

Even more amusing are the other write-in candidates that peppered the ballots: Big Bird, Anyone but Broun, Anyone else, and Bill Nye The Science Guy.

Apparently, these voters were just as upset but unaware of Charles Darwin’s bid for election.

Too bad.

Maybe Charles would have had a chance.


Filed under Because I'm Curious, I'm Baffled (And Because I Love The Word Baffled), In the News, Politics

Convicted Felon Receives $104 Million Reward. Wuuuhhhh?

A former Swiss banker ratted out his buddies and  received $104 million from the IRS for providing them with valuable information regarding widespread tax evasion.  Getting $104 million from the IRS was enough to get my attention. But then I read that this whistle blower had just served 2 1/2 years in prison for his own participation in the case.

“The IRS today sent 104 million messages to whistleblowers around the world,” claimed the man’s lawyers.


They didn’t send 104 million messages. They sent 104 million dollar bills into a convicted felon’s pocket.

It would be one thing if an innocent man came forward and reported a crime and the IRS wanted to reward his bravery.

A man who, on his own volition, decided to do the right thing.

But this was a reward, more money than many see in a lifetime, to a man who actually participated in the crime.

This news flash is now item #83 on my list, “Things That Baffle Me.”


Filed under I'm Baffled (And Because I Love The Word Baffled)

Another One Of Those “Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time” Ideas

You all know about my Pinterest obsession. I love the sharing, the great ideas. The things I pin make me feel all Martha Stewart-y, without the legal drama and notoriety, of course. And most of my pins, okay almost all of my pins, just sit there. Pinned. Looking pretty. Never to be tackled or tried. Just filling up my boards. Making me look all productive. And crafty. And smart.

Just want you all to know.

The intention is there.

The pins that baffle me are the ones using chalkboard paint as a decorative highlight in your home.

Remember these?

Forget the math. (I have.) If you were a teacher way back when, your hands and clothes would be covered in chalk dust at the end of the day.

If you were a student and had to go up to the board  to show off your math skills or bang a couple of these:

…you were also covered in chalk dust.

So why do the pins keep popping up using chalkboard paint in your home? Does anyone actually think this…

or this…

…is truly a great idea? That your home and bed sheets will always look this pristine after using chalk inside your home?  Near your head where you sleep? Or inside your pantry for your shopping list, dusting your cereal and crackers and canned goods in a fine mist? Or an entire wall in your child’s bedroom? Can you imagine what the baseboard is going to look like after a month?

I can.

And it isn’t pretty.

Maybe I’m a little too OCD for my own good, but chalkboard paint, inside a home, is a bad idea.

It’s the kind of idea that sounds good. At the time.

But trust me.

It is much better suited as a pretty, little picture on your Pinterest board.


Filed under I'm Baffled (And Because I Love The Word Baffled), Lessons Learned