TLCs (Scattered) Thoughts

Location: Gilbert, AZ

I am a writer, a photographer, and a Dork Chop FO-tog. I can be found on FB at and also on Flickr at Mostly I capture what I see from my perspective.

Monday, December 27, 2010

January 2011...Normal life as we knew last!!

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January 2011 - normal life as we knew it returns...thank GOD!!

Families familiar with autism understand the sigh of relief at the turning of the calendar page from December to January. 

Bliss... A month with no fanfare, no outrageous scheduling requirements, no late nights, no unplanned visitors, no out of the ordinary trips to the mall, no strange customs, no strange decorations hogging the living room corner...serving as a constant reminder that all is not on an even keel. 

So with relief we can see January waiting for us...calmly.  Like the beacon that kept us hanging on throughout the temper tantrums and the forced cheerfulness, January awaits.  Just like we knew it would. 


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Help me!! I'm addicted to apps!!

I can't help myself. I'm addicted to the shopping process. I have a few app shoppers designed to watch the price of apps you want, and when the price changes, a notification is sent.

I have saved some serious money on art apps I've acquired.

So, with the money I was able to save, I started to shop for more art apps.

Then I started to shop for handwriting notes app.

**Let me just say that the writepad for iPad is THE best handwriting app, followed closely by notes plus. The writepad really does "learn" your handwriting in a short period of time. Creepy and cool at the very same time!!!**

Then, I started to watch to see when brand new art apps popped up for sale. Sometimes brand new apps are a great bargain. So I watch the "what's new" list - constantly!!

Ooop, gotta go...just got the good news that one of the apps on my wish list is on sale!!!

This constantly changing app store reminds me of playing the game "whack-a-mole" - except instead of whacking the little pop up creatures, I am constantly monitoring apps-waiting for good apps to pop up.

Haven't slept in days...

Don't have time to floss...

Saved a bunch of money on apps-some I haven't opened after having them a few weeks.

It occurred to me just now that I am an app hoarder. At least litters and litters of kittens, bugs, children, spouses, half eaten jars of peanut butter, etc. won't be found in my mess of apps.

I suspect my compulsive app behavior will not land me an episode of "Hoarders". I have never seen a whole episode because I find the show disgusting.

My brilliant sister says she watches the show when she is feeling insecure about her housekeeping abilities.

Ooop, another one!!


Tracy Lynn Cook
Posted by Petey, the well fed iPad.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

#Blended families and #holiday breaks...Stress? oooh yeeaahh! #gilbertnews #xmnr #families

Parenting is hard. Being a stepparent is a different kind of "hard". Awkward visitations, strange holiday custody arrangements, ex-spouses...stress?!? What stress?!?

There is peace and cheer to be found. Sometimes adult beverages are involved, sometimes not...

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Blended families, holiday stress, and the flexability needed for peace and cheer

For many people, the holidays represent peace, family harmony, long standing traditions, and a fun-filled month.  It's supposed to be a Hallmark ad.  Except what if your family is a blended family, complete with children from prior marriages?  Are there Hallmark cards that include ex-spouses, part-time children, and sometimes awkward visitation?  Flexability is a MUST when building traditions around such strange activities.  


Tracy Lynn Cook is a writer in Gilbert, Arizona.  To read more, please visit her blog at, or browse by topic:

National Environmental News

Special Needs Kids

Environmental Health
Headline News
Health and Happiness
National Education Headlines
Gilbert Elections 2010 Examiner

National Military Education **NEW TOPIC!!

Tracy can be found on Facebook (Tracy Lynn Cook) and on Twitter @TLCsThoughts.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

#Education headline: University studies #LGBT and #Bullying #gilbertnews #xmnr

Anything that makes a kid different makes them attractive to kids who needs to pick on others to feel better about themselves. As the littlest kid in my class who wore bloomers under her dresses, and who was a chronic daydreamer, I can assure this is a fact. What can be done about it? That has been the subject of many, many studies. Will a magic answer ever appear from one of these studies? Stay tuned...

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Education Headline: University studies LGBT and bullying

It goes without saying, kids who are different get picked on.  The short kid, the distracted kid, the chubby kid - these kids know what bullying feels like. 

A University of Illinois at Chicago researcher has received a $730,000 grant from the Ford Foundation for a four-year study of adolescents' reasoning about bullying due to gender and sexuality, and about bullying as a means of social control.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Announcement: Would the ADULTS report to your government offices please? Your country is waiting #gilbertnews

Oh my heavens! How on earth are we supposed to raise our kids to believe in the politics of America? How are we supposed to give rational explanations of what our elected officials are doing right now? They are acting like a bunch of preschoolers! SHEESH!!

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Announcement: Would the ADULTS report to your government offices please?

If one were to make an analogy using children, the first handful of sand flew after the House Democrats blocked the tax deal.  Republicans said "Oh yeah?!?  Well then YOU can't have the Dream Act OR Don't Ask Don't Tell!", thereby throwing the second handful of sand.
Here's hoping they are not chasing each other through the halls of congress with their fingers crossed, thereby avoiding either Republican or Democrat "cooties", and the dreaded cootie "givebacks". 
Crossed fingers are the way to avoid cootie "givebacks"...just in case you haven't had to avoid any dreaded cootie infestations lately, and have forgotten the importance of the crossed fingers in proper cootie infestation prevention. 

#Homeopathy alternative treatment

Brain tumor homeopathic treatment might be a tad "out there", but vitamin treatments to help with depression can be helpful. Interesting to read that people open to homeopathic treatment tend to be well educated.

I don't know about the well educated part, but I am a believer in homeopathic therapies. ;)

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Homeopathy alternative treatment - brain tumor to depression

Many people with incurable brain tumors use alternative treatment therapies, such as taking vitamins and homeopathy, in addition to their conventional treatments, according to a study published in the December 14, 2010, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.


Friday, December 10, 2010

#GI-Bill information for #troops returning home #SaluteTroops #xmnr

The history behind the GI Bill is quite interesting indeed.

(Can you say **stimulus package**?!?) Funny how history really does repeat itself. ;)

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GI Bill basic information

One of the popular benefits of serving in the Military is the benefit known as the GI Bill. 

The GI Bill is an education assistance program for the soldier, so that when he/she returns from serving his/her country, the opportunity for a college education is waiting. 

The idea behind the GI Bill when it was signed into law by Franklin D. Roosevelt was what would be known today as a "stimulus package".  Roosevelt didn't want to see soldiers returning home from war battling each other for jobs, with many winding up unemployed.

While anyone today would be clobbered for even mumbling the word "Stimulus Package", that remains what the GI Bill stands for.  It is not only a way to maintain an educated American workforce, it also is a way for the United States Government to say "Thanks for your service".  


Thursday, December 9, 2010

#Education fees triple in #UK - angry students riot catching Prince Charles in the middle #xmnr #education

A tough day for students, but a necessary move for national debt? Ought the US be paying attention? (I think so!)

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Fees triple-UK students protest, Prince Charles, Camilla caught in riot

Today was a bad day for young people and families in the UK, as the British parliment approved a tuition hike plan that could raise tuition fees in England by to up to £9,000 ($14,159.70)per year.  The move angered protesters sparking violent protests in Westminster, where Prince Charles and Camilla found themselves in the middle of student riots


#hate group targets #Elizabeth Edwards #Gilbertnews #politics

Sad. This woman does not deserve this. Her KIDS don't deserve this. I cannot imagine how much more difficult the presence of these hateful despicable people will make an already sorrow filled day.

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Funeral for Elizabeth Edwards targeted by hateful radical protesters

 Members of the Westboro Baptist Church known for its radical stance against a myriad of issues including homosexuality and the war in Iraq, said Thursday it will picket Elizabeth Edwards' funeral in Raleigh, North Carolina.

One Gilbert resident is heartsick for the children of Elizabeth Edwards.  It is bad enough they have lost their mom.  Because of these heartless people, they will lose the opportunity to have a respectful burial for her.  

Shame on them.

#Political News - #Democrats defy #Obama in interesting twist #xmnr #Gilbertnews #politics

Thank you House Democrats!

The way I see it, any plan that makes Jon Kyl and Karl Rove happy CAN'T be good for the middle class American.

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Political News: tax cuts blocked by Democrat opposition-House of Representatives

In breaking political news, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in the House of Representatives agreed that President Barack Obama's tax deal should not come up for a vote in that chamber.  

This is an interesting turn of events indeed!  


Dopamine, learning, compulsive behavior...oh my! #xmnr #science #chemistry

More great research on brain chemistry. Maybe one of these days, MY brain chemistry will be stable! ;)

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Link - dopamine, learning, brain chemistry and compulsive behavior

What is the link between dopamine, brain chemistry and learning?  What is the link between dopamine, brain chemistry and compulsive behavior?  Anyone raising a child with depression, ADD, ADHD, or OCD may be interested in this latest research on brain chemistry. 


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

#Genetic information and risk reduction surgery...would you? #xmnr, #cancer, #science

This is a sticky question. Would I have surgery on "healthy parts", if they were still healthy...but at high risk for cancer?

Would YOU?

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Genetic information-women with high risk cancer gene, factors in risk reduction

A new medical journal publication sheds light on the choices women make when they have been identified as having a genetically high risk for developing breast and/or ovarian cancer, specifically regarding choices in risk reduction surgery options. 

So, ladies, what would you do?  Would you have preventative surgery?  One Gilbert woman says she probably would, but that conclusion was not her "knee jerk" reaction.  Her first reaction was to question why would surgery be required if cancer is not present.  Then, one need only to turn on any news channel and hear the stories about the death of Elizabeth Edwards and the two young kids she left behind.

One could say "perspective" is the name of the game.  


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

#TSA screening for people with #disabilities. Hang on to your Hoo Hoo's! #gilbertnews

The TSA needs to get a grip on it's policies - not it's passengers. No one needs to see my Hoo Hoo's to ensure safety on a plane. Checks and balances, and for heavens' sake - check the damn "No Fly" list. The current "Hoo Hoo" checks are wrong. Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!

If I were to have a ticket to Florida, I would show my Hoo Hoo's to whom ever was required to see them, but I would be grumpy about it, and would like at least a card or flowers, or chocolates...something in return...

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Unfair TSA treatment: people with disability require additional screening

In a recent article "TSA: Pat-Downs A Must For Some With Disabilities", a newsletter sent by, people with a disability were given advance notice:  you may require additional screening.  Is this unfair treatment for a population with it's fair share of struggles when traveling? 

If anyone has metal screws, plates, limbs...maybe you have an iron lung or two...the scanner would not be an option for you.  That is just in case you wanted someone in a room somewhere else to see your Hoo Hoo's. 

**Do the service dogs have to have their Hoo Hoo's in the scanner?  I suppose as long as no one came toward my dog with a thermometer and a tube of Vaseline, she really wouldn't care.** 


Monday, December 6, 2010

#Autistic boy and family settle lawsuit. Teacher and classmates voted him out of survivor but worse

This teacher is back in the classroom. What do YOU think? I think she should be working in a different profession. I don't think she should still be allowed to manage a classroom of children.

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Autistic Filorida boy, family accept settlement for being "voted out" of class

You may or may not remember this story from Florida.  Last year an autistic boy in Florida was "voted out" of class when the teacher and the boys' classmates found him to be too annoying.  What?  Yes, the teacher asked the class to vote as to whether they thought 5 year old Alex should be "allowed" to stay in their classroom. 

What does this teacher have to offer her students?  What she did to Alex is  inexcusable, and what it taught his classmates is NOT the lesson they should have learned.  This teacher should not be teaching anyone's children!


American Space Program...outsourced to Europe? #science #gilbertnews #examiner

This is a sad story...kindof...The American Space program has been a shining accomplishment for a long time. But the American stranglehold on astronaut training is no longer the reality. Ok, it IS sad!

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Americans in space: education program for astronauts in Europe. New Trend?

A new class of astronauts graduated from the European Space Agency (ESA), a basic training program in Cologne, Germany. In the past, training for astronauts took place primarily in the United States or Russia.

Is this the beginning of the USA losing our prestige in the space industry?

While Americans have begun to recognize education in the United States is lagging behind other countries, the time it will take to "recover", if we are even able to do so, may bring some stunning realities.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

#Political News: #John McCain opposes ban on #gay service members

I am more than happy to let Republicans lead the way - IF they had solutions. The only actions I see them taking are to block whatever Obama wants to do. Now that the mid-term elections put them back in business, shouldn't they start to play nice with the other kids?!?

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Political News 2010: gay service members don't have John McCain's support

It may be premature to end the U.S. military's ban on gays, Senator John McCain warned on Thursday, signaling a likely effort by Republicans to block action on President Barack Obama's push to repeal the law.

Is John McCain feeling more secure about his position after the 2010 election?  Is he feeling like he and his fellow Republicans can more effectively block any and all decisions made by President Obama? 

Or, will these actions backfire on the Republican party as with greater numbers they shoulder greater accountability? 


#Science is needed in #water conservation efforts #Arizona #environment

For people who don't "believe" in climate change...don't worry about water. Rational sane people should worry! Not only about the water supply, but about those who don't "believe" in science.

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Scientific approach to urban water supply - Arizona should pay attention

University of Adelaide water engineering researchers have developed a model to estimate potential urban water supply shortfalls under a range of climate change scenarios.

Gilbert, Arizona will be facing these same issues - as our entire state has been in drought conditions for an extended period of time.  Perhaps rather than saving Gilbert residents from the wicked temptations of evil in store liquor samples, our town council could take a break from moral issues to deal with more pressing ones?


Gilbert residents saved from themselves by Mayor - Whew! Almost had alcohol samples! #Gilbert #news

Whew! That was close. In Gilbert, Arizona the Mayor has saved the citizens from their drunken selves. No in-store liquor samples will be allowed in order to preserve the "family atmosphere". If you want drugs or alcohol in public, you're going to have to go to the local high school like everyone else does.

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Gilbert, Arizona: "no free alcohol"-citizens saved from themselves by mayor

Thanks to Mayor John Lewis and two other town council members, there will be no free alcohol sampling at Gilbert grocery stores - for now.  The alcoholics roaming the city in search of free liquor have been saved from themselves. 

How nice. 


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Protecting the #ecosystem=disease prevention #science #news #biodiversity #health

The saying "Don't mess with Mother Nature" has been around for a long time. Scientists have discovered more evidence validating that statement, proving once again, that nature knows what it is doing. Does that mean I can't annihilate the spiders I despise? I certainly hope not - but it probably does... (damn!!)

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Environmental Health News: How the ecosystem protects against infectious disease

Protecting biodiversity is more than an act of environmental preservation; it can be a matter of self-preservation, according to a study that shows healthy biodiversity in intact ecosystems helps ward off infectious disease.


OTC meds need better instructions #Study #news #JAMA

Don't we long for the days of the spoon? A dose was a spoonful of CC's, or Ml's...just a spoon! Can we go back to that please?!?

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Study: dosing instructions need changes to ensure safe use of OTC medicine

Dosing instructions on boxes and bottles of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for children in the United States are confusing and hard for parents to understand and follow, according to a study in the December 1 issue of JAMA


#Depression is #genetic - your DNA says so... #science #news

This is GREAT news for depressed people. Not that they will cheer up because of this news alone... :) Treatment options might get better as they understand the disorder better. That would perk up depressed people...eventually...

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Depressed people may have gene duplication - study finds chromosome 5

A large genetic study of people with major depression has found that a duplicated region of DNA on chromosome 5 predisposes people to the disorder. The gene involved plays an important role in the development of nerve cells, adding to evidence that disruptions in neurotransmission networks form a biological basis for depression.