Jul 31, 2012

Spray On Battery

A team of mechanical engineers has published a paper demonstrating its latest invention — spray-on rechargeable batteries that could be combined with solar cells to create self-sufficient, energy conversion-storage devices.
By breaking down the different components of a battery - the electrodes, separator, electrolyte and current collectors - and rendering them into liquid form, we could revolutionize the way we power our devices.
Lithium-ion batteries are made by tightly rolling up the various battery components in layers before encasing them in rectangular or cylindrical packaging. The engineers, from Rice University in Texas, devised their own unique version of a multilayer battery by painting these individual battery components (two current collectors, a cathode, an anode and a polymer separator) on to select surfaces in layers. These layers included paints made from lithium cobalt oxide (a positive electrode), lithium titanium oxide (a negative electrode) and conductive single-walled nanotubes (a current collector). The special polymer paint blend helped achieve superior conductivity by forming the micro-porous layer required in a lithium battery.
The final paints were layered on to glass, stainless steel, glazed ceramic tiles and flexible polymer sheets — the resulting “batteries” worked just as well as the regular version. The team even picked out a choice ceramic mug, spray-painted the word “rice” in capital letters using a stencil, and demonstrated its efficiency as a battery.
Even more complex battery structures could be created, the paper added, using different nozzle fixtures on the spray cans.
The main drawback of the ingenious system is that lithium-ion batteries need oxygen-free, dry conditions to be created since they are made using toxic, flammable and corrosive materials.

Jul 30, 2012

This Day

"Nothing is worth more than this day."

- Johann van Goethe

Jul 28, 2012

Flat Ruthie - Safe & Sound

Flat Ruthie safely made the trip from Omaha, NE to South Bend, IN.

Here she is on the deck of Nutwood Junction, the recent rains have made it lush and green.


Oscar Pistorius is a sprinter, sure, but he's also basically a professional world's-firster. Last year he became the world's first amputee to run in the World Championships, and Pistorius, whose legs were both amputated below the knee at less than a year old, will become the first amputee to run in the Olympic Games this summer in London. (He'll also be competing in the Paralympic Games--another world's first.)

Pistorius will be competing for his native South Africa in both the 400m sprint and the 4x400m relay, after a grueling qualification year in which his times hovered right around the 45.3-second mark, the qualifying line.

Jul 26, 2012

Stretch Goals

Free Inspirational WallpapersHealthy organizations need both stretch and success to stay alive and vibrant, just like a well-balanced diet includes food that is both tasty and healthy. The key to integrating the two is to carve quick wins out of long-term goals — so that each small success is a building block towards achieving a broader challenge.

Regardless of context, there are two keys to the effective use of short-term stretch goals. 

1. The first is to make sure that the immediate goals are part of a larger, more ambitious effort so that whatever is achieved and learned is a building block, not an end-in-itself. In other words, extremely ambitious stretch goals need to be deconstructed into lots of short-term stretch goals, sometimes with multiple cycles.

2. Second, intentionally design the short-term stretch goals in ways that force innovation, collaboration, and learning — so it's not just a matter of working harder for a short period of time. In this way, each short-term success builds capability and knowledge for the next and the next.

Let's not dismiss stretch goals as demotivating or dangerous. If you tackle them by carving out short-term challenges, and learn as you go, they can be a powerful way to accelerate progress.


Jul 25, 2012

Life Lost...

"Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by day, in all the thousand small, uncaring way."

- Stephen Vincent Benet 

Jul 24, 2012

Know It!

"The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself."

- Thales 

Jul 23, 2012

An Avoidable Tragedy?

APTOPIX Colorado Shooting.JPEG-0c7d3_slider.jpgI have been around guns most of my life, as a teenager shooting in competition for a youth group I was in, my step-father was a policeman, and Beth's Dad was an avid gun owner - loving to target shoot and rid his place of unwanted varmints.

Here at Nutwood, we would never dream of using anything more powerful than a BB gun against our malicious critters, preferring to shoot using a shutter rather than a bullet, but we do have a few rifles (one the target .22 rifle I used in competition and others from Beth's Dad) and hand guns.

Over the last several days, it has been tragic and traumatic to watch the images of the victims from Aurora Colorado on the news.  The shooter was able to buy multiple guns over a short period of time, and to order more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition over the internet.  One of the guns was a semi-automatic rifle.  That is where I draw the line, there is not reason to have a semi-automatic rifle with a clip that holds a hundred rounds except to use in war for maximum damage.  Would you use one while hunting - I cannot imagine.

This was only reinforced today as we were having our morning beverages (coffee for me, snapple for Beth) and perusing the newspaper.  The property adjacent to us is an abandoned slaughter-house and now used for a civil engineering/construction company.  On the weekends, one individual takes target practice, and I purposely counted this morning and there was one stretch of over 30 rapid fires shots.  To what end???

The United States is one of the most violent and high murder rate countries in the world.  I think we could stand to do without semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity clips.  I am a supporter of the Second Amendment, but also believe that some form of regulation is warranted.  Why not start with re-instituting the ban on assault weapons.

To sign the petition that Beth created, please follow this link: Assualt Rifle Ban

Jul 21, 2012


"All our dreams can come true - if we have the courage to pursue them."

- Walt Disney

Jul 20, 2012

Office Power

Swedish Designer Eddi Törnberg has designed the best human-powered work station we've seen yet because unlike other concepts that require you to do things like ride a bike while you're working, it doesn't require a person to do anything more than sit and work. The project, called "Unplugged," powers the various gadgets we use to work -- laptops, lamps, etc --through our small constant movements and body heat.

The desk chair is equipped with a metal seat that gets hot as a person emits body heat, but the underside stays cools through a pattern of metal fins. Electricity is produced through the Seebeck Effect where an electric charge is created when a material is hot or warm on one side, but cool on the other.

The other energy-harvesting part of this set up is a rug that lies under the desk that is outfitted with piezoelectric crystals that generate electricity when pressure is applied to them. Each random shuffle, stomp, and rolling back and forth of the chair is a source of electricity.

The final part of Unplugged is plant-powered rather than human-powered. A potted plant provides electrcity through a process similar to a potato battery.
Unplugged is definitely more of a concept than a working product, but if this set-up were put to use, it could generate a nice chunk, though probably not all, of the energy needed to get through the workday.

Jul 19, 2012


"The name we give to something
shapes our attitude toward it."
- Katherine Paterson 

Jul 18, 2012

High Performance

Consistently building high performance teams is a challenging and complex undertaking.

There are four key guiding thoughts that can materially improve your odds of success:

1. Hire Highly Effective Team Members. The time to think about building a highly-effective team is when you recruit people into the organization in the first place. Look for the 4 C's: competence, character (do what you say you are going to do), courage (of your convictions), and collaboration. This is the foundation for creating a high-performance environment.

2. Focus on Inspiring Trust. Trust is the one thing that changes everything. If you promote a high-trust environment where you have capable people who do what they say they are going to do, anything is possible.

3. Encourage Candor. A spirit of candor is essential to advancing the agenda. It is important that the team acknowledges mistakes and celebrates progress in a timely way. The path forward for every team is always forged around a series of course corrections based on what is working and what is not working. Candid and timely conversation is essential to shaping that path forward.

4. Be Clear About Expectations. The greater the clarity of the mission, the greater the odds of success. Individual team members and the teams themselves simply must know what is expected of them, in as granular a way as is practical, in order to meet or exceed those expectations.


Jul 17, 2012


"Enthusiasm is the most important thing in life."

- Tennessee Williams

Jul 16, 2012


Already demolishing the standing world record more than twice over, a massive human-powered quadrotor designed by students at the University of Maryland is poised to make aviation history today. The Gamera II helicopter is shooting for the Sikorsky Prize, one of aviation’s last great challenges, by hovering for one full minute under human power only. Their first attempt lasted 35 seconds!

Last year, UMD students set a new record for a human-powered hover that lasted 11.4 seconds. This year’s design is 30 percent lighter and is projected to hover for at least 60 seconds, which is one of the Sikorsky Prize requirements. The aircraft also has to stay within a small area and reach 9.8 feet (3 meters) in altitude.

Jul 14, 2012

NYC & ESB going Green

One year after the large-scale retrofitting project was completed, the Empire State Building has surpassed expectations and saved $2.4 million in energy costs. The building saved an estimated 4,000 metric tons of carbon, the equivalent carbon offset of a 750-acre pine forest.

The series of efficiency measures were accomplished through a partnership of the Clinton Climate Initiative, the building owners and a group of organizations including the Rocky Mountain Institute. According to the press release, here are some of the retrofit details:

"The retrofit project focused on eight innovative improvement measures addressing core building infrastructure, common spaces and tenant suites. Improvement measures performed by Johnson Controls and Jones Lang LaSalle included the refurbishment of all 6500 windows, a chiller plant retrofit, new building controls, and a web-based tenant energy management system. The project partners developed a detailed engineering design and Johnson Controls guaranteed the energy savings through a $20 million performance contract.  With performance contracting, savings in energy consumption from facility upgrades pay for the project over the term of the contract. If the savings are not realized, Johnson Controls pays the difference between the value of the measured and verified consumption and the guaranteed consumption under the contract.“

While the core efficiency improvements are finished, there is still more work to be done and more positive environmental impacts to be seen. New tenants are set to build out high-performance workspaces and once all spaces are upgraded, the building will save $4.4 million a year, a 38 percent reduction of energy use that will cut carbon emissions by 105,000 metric tons over the next 15 years.

This type of model is incredibly important. According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, buildings are responsible for 40 percent of energy consumed in the U.S. In large cities like New York, commercial buildings make up 75 percent of energy used, meaning retrofit projects can have an even bigger impact. 


Jul 13, 2012

Happiness :o)

"There is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness."

- Lady Marguerite Blessington 

Jul 12, 2012

Trust & Respect

What’s your reputation? 

Credibility, knowledge and expertise really do count. When it comes to your reputation, clients and customers want to know three things: 

One, that you know your stuff; 

Two, that you’ve done it before and can do it again; and,

Three, that you know your stuff. 

Does the company clearly communicate its goals and direction? 

Does top management exhibit genuine concern for employees’ well-being?

Do employees feel their work is valued? A Gallup poll says almost 50% of employees are not engaged in their work. Taking the time to make sure everyone knows the work they do is important can result in a big payoff: engaged employees and satisfied clients. 

What’s your reputation? Credibility, knowledge and expertise really do count. When it comes to your reputation, clients and customers want to know three things: One, that you know your stuff; two, that you’ve done it before and can do it again; and three, that you know your stuff. 

Do employees have clear accountability? This one starts at the top. Make sure everyone understands his or her level of accountability and responsibility. If you’re wondering exactly how important trust and respect are to your business, remember Enron.

Nuff said.

Jul 11, 2012

Wind Turbine Robo-inspect

Inspecting wind turbine blades is a dangerous and expensive part of operating a wind farm. But now it may be possible to have robots do the dangerous climbing work, and allow the inspector to stay safely on the ground.

Turbine blades need to be regularly inspected as part of its regular maintenance. Inspection helps identify blades that need repair or replacement, before further damage occurs.

The robots for this task have been developed in partnership between International Climbing Machines and GE. The first tests of the robot were successfully carried out at a wind farm in Texas. In addition to the high-definition cameras the robots currently carry, GE is exploring the use of microwave scanners that could give inspectors an ability to "see inside" the blade and gather more information than a conventional visual inspection.

Jul 10, 2012


"Simplicity and naturalness are the truest marks of distinction."
- W. Somerset Maugham

Jul 9, 2012

Rock, Paper, Scissors

So much for best two out of three. A robotic hand developed by engineers at the University of Tokyo will take you at rock-paper-scissors three out of three times.

Then it will do it again, for as long as you car to challenge. Thus far, it hasn’t lost a game.

There’s no algorithmic wizardry or predictive computation here. The robot’s edge is purely visual. Super-fast motion sensing technology can “see” and evaluate what hand gesture a human is making in just one millisecond. One millisecond after that it makes its play--conveniently and 100 percent of the time the play that trumps whatever the human throws down. It all happens so fast as to be imperceptible to the human eye. Add it to the list of things robots simply do better.

Jul 6, 2012

Critical Thinking!

think.JPGMore than 20% of U.S. undergraduates are business majors, nearly double the next most common major, social sciences and history.

The proportion has held relatively steady for the past 30 years, but now faculty members, school administrators and corporate recruiters are questioning the value of a business degree at the undergraduate level.

The biggest complaint: The undergraduate degrees focus too much on the nuts and bolts of finance and accounting and don't develop enough critical thinking and problem-solving skills through long essays, in-class debates and other hallmarks of liberal-arts courses.

Companies say they need flexible thinkers with innovative ideas and a broad knowledge base derived from exposure to multiple disciplines. And while most recruiters don't outright avoid business majors, companies in consulting, technology and even finance say they're looking for candidates with a broader academic background.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Jul 5, 2012


"Simplicity is an exact medium 
between too little and too much."

- Sir Joshua Reynolds

Jul 3, 2012


"Life without a friend is death without a witness"
- Spanish proverb

Jul 2, 2012

The "F" Word!

In Silicon Valley, there's an "F word" that entrepreneurs say in polite company all the time: failure.

FAILUREFor every high-tech business success, there are countless failures in this California cradle of Internet startups. Here failure is accepted, or even welcomed, as a guide for future success.

In fact, failure is dissected in San Francisco at FailCon, an annual one-day conference where tech entrepreneurs and investors spill their guts and share lessons learned.

On the importance of fearing failure (Joe Kraus, Google Ventures): "In my mind, the ones who have no fear of failure are merely the dreamers, and the dreamers don't build great companies. The people that thread the line between vision and being able to execute and having this healthy fear of failing that drives them — not paralyzes them, but drives them — to be more persistent, to work harder than the next person, that's a magic formula."

Jul 1, 2012

Sunday Silliness - Nepotism :o)

Nepotism Demotivator


Not a story we have shared with many people, and it has been a very negative journey. But we have gone through the negativity tunnel and emerged to the other side (for the record, I have been married to Beth for longer than my ex, just say'n). If you read the entry below (made by my best friend and always Wife #1, and approved by me), the dead beat dad has paid more than a quarter of a million dollars, and for the last 4+ years has had zero contact with his children.  Am I bitter, absolutely, and I will never forgive my "ex" for what she has done.  My only hope is that some day that my kids will have enough curiosity to seek me out and discuss...  

Okay, a slight exaggeration. But I’m going to do something now that you rarely see me doing on these pages: I’m going to air a little dirty laundry. I’m not going to make a habit of it, but this has been a long time coming, and it will be a relief to write about it publicly and be done with it. I won’t use any names, only relationships, I won’t provide any links or addresses, and I will try to be as general as possible. This isn’t a vendetta; it’s merely getting something off of my chest that has been burdening me—and us—for about five years now. Sit back and relax, because this is going to be a long entry.

Some of you have noticed the countdown clock on the upper right of this blog. (It has served its purpose, so I’ll be removing it soon.) I titled it “free of negativity.” This was the date which signalled the end of our financial commitment to Ken’s kids from his previous marriage, but it signified much more than that. I want to make it very clear that any strife and discord was never about paying support. NEVER. Ken never missed a payment, even shortly after the divorce when he was in pretty dire financial straits. More on that in a moment.

Only a handful of you know about any of this, and I don’t believe any of you know the full extent of it. It was assumed that I told anyone and everyone in the blogosphere about all of this, in detail, but that is simply not true. I never sicced anyone on Ken’s ex or asked them to leave comments on her blog, and I believe the one and only comment Ken ever left on her blog was to tell her to stop harassing us on our OWN blogs. We had several nasty comments from her, her mother, and her sister. (Remember the epic Anonymous battle about my being pro-choice? That was the sister.)

As far as we can tell, her anger with us started in the spring of 2007. Up until then, over a period of six years, we had all maintained a decent relationship based upon the best interests of the two kids. I listened and sympathized and tried to be supportive when she was going through a divorce (the third one), and this was not a pretense. Ken was fine with this, but merely cautioned me to “be careful,” because there is a history of intense friendships and equally intense blow-ups and break-ups. He was so right. The point of no return seemed to be when our friends Kim and Steve decided to come out from California to spend a week with us. Kim and Steve were close friends with Ken and his ex when they lived in California, and after a brief hiatus in the friendship, Ken resumed it shortly after we met; we’ve since continued and expanded our friendship. Despite the miles between us, we truly enjoy their company and try to see them as often as possible, even spending a vacation with them every couple of years.

Tabloid Inside StoryAnyway, the friendship between Kim and Steve and the ex ended quite a few years ago. Although they didn’t go into a lot of detail, there were several incidents that made them decide to pull away from the friendship. When she called Kim and Steve, she began hanging up if Kim answered; she told Steve he was her “soulmate,” and at one point called him and told him she was in the tub drinking wine. (Steve said, “The only woman I want calling me naked from a tub is my wife!”) She eventually sent them a long email about her gripes about the friendship and against Kim (and then blamed it on her third husband, who she said hacked her account...but that doesn’t explain why she then called and apologized for sending the email, saying that she did not mean to send it). When she found out that Kim and Steve were coming to visit, she said that she didn’t want the kids seeing them (they are the kids’ godparents, by the way). I spent an hour on the phone with her as she cried about the loss of the friendship and about how much she’d love to see them. I asked if she wanted me to mention it to Kim and Steve, and she said, “Yes,” and that although she didn’t want the kids coming here for the weekend to see them, she would be okay if they were to drive over and meet at the halfway point (which was our arrangement to pick up the kids at that time). She went on to say that she’s changed, and that if she were the person she is now, her and Ken would still be married.

Well, I was a little taken aback by that, as you can imagine! But I discussed it with Ken, we agreed that we would present Kim and Steve with her wishes, but would say that it was entirely up to them. We would not be upset with them one way or another, whatever they decided, and if they wanted to reconnect with her, we were cool with that. They discussed it, and told us that they had decided to not renew the friendship. I believe their remarks were something to the effect of “The fact that she is trying to use the kids to blackmail us into seeing her tells us that she hasn’t changed at all.” That they decided not to contact her seemed to upset her very much, and things really started to go downhill at that point. Another thing that seemed to upset her was that that summer, we took the kids on a two-week vacation: a week in Florida followed by a week on a cruise, something we’d all been saving up for for several years (we’d asked the kids to save, too, and they contributed $250 to the cause, using the money we gave them for doing chores). I know...it’s pretty awful of us to subject the kids to something like that!

Tabloid Top SecretThat fall, we got a court notice from her that she was looking to increase the child support. We had no problem with that; although the amount Ken had been paying up until then was commensurate with his salary right after the divorce, his salary had gone up since then. Then we got a second notice that she was filing a motion to get almost $150,000 in back support, and if Ken didn’t pay it, he could be thrown in jail for up to six months.

THAT we had a problem with! I’ll talk some specifics here. The divorce decree stated that Ken would pay $3200 per month for family maintenance, which would terminate upon her remarriage. That happened two months after the divorce was final, and Ken and the ex made a mutual agreement that he would pay $1600 per month going forward (which he did faithfully). She was saying that he unilaterally agreed to drop the payments to $1600, so she was entitled to get the rest of that in a lump payment as back child support. The judge considered this for all of five seconds and said, “Nope.” The ex’s lawyer tried to argue, but the judge again said, “NO.” The child support was increased to an amount in line with Ken’s salary at the time, and again, we had no problem with that. The problem we had was that she would try to get money that she was not entitled to under the decree, and that she would actually attempt to put Ken in jail if she didn’t get it. Seriously??

As I wrote, Ken never missed a payment, and the $1600 was in line with his salary at the time. He also paid many additional expenses, including new glasses, new clothes, fees for extracurricular activities and field trips, and we took them on vacation every other year, with additional small vacations close to home in the off years. Ken was portrayed as a “deadbeat dad,” but I beg to differ. He was about as far from a deadbeat dad as a dad can be!

I was told that in my writings here in which I alluded to various aspects of this, although again with no specifics, I was being “mean and unfair.” Let’s talk about “mean and unfair” for a moment, okay? Just as Ken and I have been writing our blogs for several years now, the ex and her fourth husband also had blogs. We’ve also gotten emails and seen a few other snippets of information here and there. Here is a sampling:

  • As I mentioned above, Ken was called a deadbeat dad and accused of abandoning them all. He was the one who left, but he wasn’t the one who filed for divorce. He never missed a child support payment, and he paid at least $1600 per month and eventually $2100 per month. There was also a percentage of bonuses paid, often to the tune of $6000 per year. He paid additional costs for other expenses before the increase in child support, and that was not insignificant. We have been accused of “hiding money,” but if we have a hidden bank account, I’d sure like to know about it! Financial disclosure statements shows that only a few hundred dollars of the child support was going directly to the kids. The rest was going towards bills.
  • It was said that the kids’ toys had to be sold in order to put food on the table. We heard otherwise...that they were sold to finance a trip to England to meet up with an online “friend.” And if you can’t put food on the table when you’re getting $3200 per month, you’re doing something wrong.
  • The ex has written that we are both compulsive liars and that we have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Never mind the fact that several years ago, I took the MMPI (a comprehensive psychological evaluation test) when I was going through some counseling, and I have no such thing. The psychologist told me, “Other than a slight tendency towards addiction [no surprise there...I smoked for 20+ years], you’re perfectly fine.” I also dated a guy in Indianapolis for five years who was diagnosed with NPD, and believe me...Ken is NOTHING like him! Ken works in nuclear, and so he had to take the MMPI, as well. He also got nothing saying that he has NPD. So let’s just put that silliness to bed, shall we?
  • We have been called “scumbags” and told to “go feed the squirrels, asshole.”
  • Because I have never had children, I have been called selfish and barren. Yes, barren. What is this, Old Testament times? Although I have never talked about why I didn’t have children (it was mostly just a matter of timing), it’s astonishing to be called a “barren wife.”
  • I have also been called a “Stepford Wife,” but then accused of influencing Ken like some sort of Jezebel.
  • We got numerous emails from the ex threatening legal action. Everything from “if you don’t send your tax return within 7 days, I’m contacting my lawyer” to threatening a “slander” lawsuit (I think the word she wanted was “libel”) for what we wrote on our blogs.
  • Ken has received emails signed “Wifey No. 1” and telling me to “stay my place” and stay out of it. Sorry, but if you file a motion to get $150,000 from me and my husband, and if you don’t get it, you want him to go to jail, I AM INVOLVED.
  • I have been called Ken’s “whore wife,” a malicious bitch, and a passive-aggressive cunt. Ken has been called an asshole and a fuckhead. 
  • It was suggested that when the kids were present, I walked around here in short shorts and no underwear. That’s just damned creepy. My “minimal mammary glands” were also mentioned, as in they were “hanging out of” my shirt. Not sure how minimal mammary glands can do that, but whatever.
  • It was said that we really didn’t want the kids “fucking up” our lives.
  • My profession (and all of my friends who share it) was dismissed as my being a “bench chemist.” I don’t even know what the hell a “bench chemist” IS, but that is an insult to all of us who have worked hard in the laboratory to provide quality results to every patient. I did three years of college courses in what was essentially a pre-med program, followed by a full 12-month internship in all areas of the clinical laboratory, including yes, Chemistry, Hematology, Blood Bank, Immunology, several other areas, and what I would eventually focus on, Microbiology. I take pride in what I learned throughout my career, and I take pride in the fact that I did my best to care for every patient. “Bench chemist,” my ass.
  • It has been said that all I care about is “books, beer, and football.” Yes. Everyone who reads this knows that I care nothing about anything more than those three things.
  • We were accused of forcing the kids to do housework and yard work. Any tasks we asked of them were not strenuous, and were a chance for them to earn some money while they were here. We eventually stopped asking and we never forced them to do anything.
  • We were accused of “abandoning” them and never wanting to come to any of their events or football games or competitions. After the cruise, both Ken and I sent numerous emails to try and keep in touch. I would have to send reminders for Ken’s birthday and for Father’s Day. Ken called often and usually had to leave a message; the calls were never returned. On occasion, he would talk to the ex and ask for the kids. She’d say, “They’re not here” and would hang up. He sent many emails asking about when he could come down for a game, and would get “We’ve got an away game this week, and I don’t know my schedule beyond that.” When in Columbus on a business trip, he tried to get over to see them, and was told “They have previous commitments and won’t be able to see you.” One of the last times he went to see them, one kid decided that they didn’t want to see him...but now we get “You never came to see me.” We have evidence of the ex signing on and posting as both kids, so we wonder if they got all of those emails, or if they were deleted and they never saw them.
  • Ken got angry letters from both kids saying that they didn’t want him in their lives.
  • We were told that the kids decided to change their emails, and we were never provided with new email addresses in order to contact them. However, on the ONE occasion when we DID check their email accounts (which were on our main AOL account), as we were deleting them for lack of use, we saw emails from the ex to the kids stating that they were no longer to use those email accounts, and that new ones were being provided for them.
  • When discussing things with the ex in the driveway of their home, she tried to pick a fight with Ken, and when he decided to not listen to it and drove off, she stood in the driveway, flipped him the double bird, and yelled, “Fuck you, Ken! Just fuck you!” Stay classy!
  • It seems that she contacted my ex-husband...the one I divorced over 20 years ago. To find out what? That in my twenties I was a party girl? I wonder if he told her about how he slept with someone else a month after we got married, when he went to Texas for officer’s training school, while I stayed with my parents? I’m guessing that Mr. Born-Again didn’t mention that part!
  • The ex called my parents “pseudo grandparents” and wrote that they should not contact the children anymore, that she didn’t know them and didn’t want them disturbing her home. When I attempted contact with the kids to let them know that my Dad had died, she wrote that the kids don’t care, that my Dad didn’t love them or care anything about them. That was probably one of the more vile things she ever wrote, and it was completely untrue. My entire family took them in as their own, and I have a very kind, loving, and generous family.

I guess that’s enough. You get the idea. It has been five years of incredible nastiness, a vile litany of hatred and bitterness. But I’m the “mean and unfair” one. I have heard from fellow bloggers and friends that she contacted them and sent long emails full of rants against me. One friend said that he had to quit reading her because she was nothing but bitter and boring.

Oddly enough, she seems to hate ME more than she hates Ken. The only thing we can figure is that there was some sort of hope there that they would eventually reconcile, and as long as I’m around, that won’t happen. Well, I’m guessing that even if I were out of the equation, that wouldn’t happen!

Tabloid ExposedThere is certainly one thing that we both regret: not pursuing visitation more aggressively when all of this started going down. We had gone down to one visit per month instead of two, then the decision was made by the ex to stop meeting us halfway. This meant a 10-hour round trip on Friday evening and Sunday. We did this a couple of times, which was a two-night hotel stay and spending the day with the kids on Saturday, mid-morning to early evening. That was it. Based on their school activities, on the level of conflict they seemed to be experiencing about all of this, and on the total cutoff of communication, Ken made the decision to step back and let them do their high school thing without conflict. I supported him on that. It was a mistake on both our parts, because it allowed the propaganda machine to kick in. If we had forced the issue and gone back to court, I believe things might have worked out differently. The decisions made were primarily about trying to remove conflict and stress from the kids’ lives. We are both sorry that the anger we’re seeing was the result of that decision. That being said, phones work both ways, as do emails. After several months of a complete cutoff of communication, you kind of get the message that someone doesn’t want to talk to you...at least that’s the conclusion we came to!

They are both adults now, and if they ever decide to make contact again, our address, our phone number, and our email addresses are the same. Those never changed. We’ve always been here, and have always been open to communication. Even if they don’t want any communication with me, that doesn’t mean that they can’t contact their Dad. We would both welcome that.

However, if I never have to deal with that particular ex again, I will be eternally grateful. I have never experienced such an angry and nasty personality, or anyone who was so willing to let her anger and bitterness get in the way of her own kids’ well-being. Situations were distorted and history was revised; Ken and I have both been portrayed as some sort of monsters. It’s astonishing to see yourself painted as a manipulative, controlling woman, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. On other occasions, KEN was the one portrayed as manipulative and controlling. So I guess we’re manipulating and controlling each other...? It makes no sense.

So that is our tale. There may be further developments in the future, but I hope it doesn’t involve any interaction with this person. It’s been a rough and stressful few years as we’ve tried to deal with some of this stuff. I’m happy to say that we never turned on each other because of it, which was some advice that my Dad gave us. “Don’t let this come between you.” I never forgot that, and we never let it happen. Now we can move ahead with our plans, as we get closer to being retired together. Good advice, Dad, and I’m proud that we took it to heart.

Thank you for reading and letting me get this off of my chest.

Now...onto the next adventure!