12.20.2006

A Post for Muller

Life's been keeping me busy. It's almost Christmas and my brain is still stuck somewhere back around November 3rd.

Seriously.

But, since I promised Muller a picture here's a quick post.


Zombie Morning: Pre makeup or hair "biggening." Just sleepy nearsighted me.



Full on Zombie: You can't see my Bride of Frankenstein forehead beehive, or my yellow/green decayed fake teeth, but trust me. They were there. As were ornate Mexican silver earrings that were severely tarnished to an almost black. Damn I do good rotting flesh!

I was an awesome Zombie! I still can't believe I got beat out by a friggin' clown.

Sigh.

10.26.2006

So sue me. Not.

First, I have a public service announcement which apparently a LOT of the public needs to hear:
You cannot sue someone simply because you were inconvenienced.

Did everyone hear that?

I do not care what you saw on Law and Order, what you read in a John Grisham novel, or what the Republicans want you to believe. You cannot do it.

If you could, I would have sued Walgreen’s, the public school system, my paperboy and the cable company – and that is just so far this morning!

Second, Tort Reform is NOT a good thing people! Frivolous lawsuits simply do not occur to the degree some would like you to believe. In fact, many so called frivolous lawsuits are actually myths created by the media.

And I swear, if any one of you cites the McDonald’s coffee lady as the uber example of how out-of-hand it has all become, I will….well, let us just say you will probably want to sue me for what I will do to you.

Currently running in my city there is a campaign commercial for a Republican Candidate for Senator. In this commercial his outspoken supporter states that the Democratic opponent is *gasp* a Trial Lawyer! Not only that, but a large portion of his campaign funds were contributed by *outraged face* other Trial Lawyers!

Wow. Okay, so why is this an issue? It seems that Attorneys have always been a politically minded group of people. It is a profession which generally produces a nice income for its peeps, so they certainly have the means to make donations. I wonder what other professions might have the same means….Oh yeah….

DOCTORS! Yes, they too make large campaign donations. In fact, the very Doctor, come Senator speaking in the commercial was backed largely by those of his own profession.

This is an issue now because the republicans would like you to believe that without tort reform we will become a crazed mess of frivolous lawsuits and all the doctors will flee our land to seek elsewhere a happy doctor nirvana where they never get sued.

Uh…folks? They are not going anywhere ‘k? They are not going anywhere there is socialized medicine, and they are not going anywhere the public cannot afford them, so guess what? They are gonna suck it up and stay right where they are because really, they have a pretty good gig here in America.

And we must keep holding them responsible. That is what this whole tort reform mess is about. It is not about stupid shit; it is about when a doctor makes a mistake that could have been prevented. It is about when a company knowingly markets an unsafe product.

Yes, people are human and errors occur – no attorney with a decent reputation would sue over an unforeseeable error. But when said error occurs just because someone was being lazy, or negligent, or cocky…well…….

Fact: It is not easy to win a medical malpractice, or a products liability case.

Fact: It costs a ton of money to pursue these cases. So much so, that even a mid sized firm could be bankrupted by the costs of pursuing a losing case.

In 2005, Victor Schwartz, General Counsel of the American Tort Reform Association, acknowledged that “it is very rare that frivolous suits are brought against doctors. They are too expensive to bring.”

Hello? Read that again, just to make sure it sinks in.

According to the U.S. Government’s National Practitioner Databank’s most recent annual report, that the nationwide median award in malpractice cases is $170,000. This is a far cry from the millions the republicans would have you believe are awarded on an almost daily basis.

So, the next time you want to call me and discuss suing your landlord because the air conditioning went out in the middle of the night and he did not rush over at 3am with a new system for you (not in any way what “reasonable” means) or you want to sue Toyota because the bulb in your vanity light popped and it scared you (“I almost” means nothing. Move along and be glad you did not actually wreck.) Or you want to sue your neighbor because he keeps talking to the other neighbors about your drug addiction, your eight bratty kids and your suicide attempt (You told him about the drug addiction, your kids are brats and the ambulance woke everyone up at 5 am) well, do not call me because I will simply tell you to take it up with your parents because apparently they raised you with the mistaken impression that life was fair and always nice.

And no, you cannot sue them for it.

Zombie: Trial Run

Never send a shop-a-holic to the mall to pick up one single $5 item. It will take hours. They will spend lots of your money. You will be left amusing their baby for hours.

At least this is what happened to me last night.

Little Dog wanted to go to the game store in the mall. Since I generally eschew the mall in favour of my neighborhood free-standing
Gap (which has everything I could possibly need) he asked Bojo to take him.

It seemed like a great plan, since she was coming over for pizza anyway. I even agreed to let Furry stay with me while they ran by the mall and then picked up the pizza. I also asked Bojo if she would pop into the Halloween store and pick up a bottle of
Zombie Rot for me.

To make a long story short, they returned 4 hours later. Four hours during which I fed, bathed, played with, sang to and endlessly rocked Furry. Now, even though Furry is currently the sweetest toddler in the world, it is still exhausting to watch him. I mean, he requires constant supervision, lest he fall down the stairs in my three level home or put
The Most Patient Cat in the World in the toilet or something.

Oh, and my bottle of Zombie Rot? In addition to her bags and bags of clothing she squeezed in a mini shopping spree to the Halloween store. I got four tins of grease paint – including clown red (?), a bottle of fake blood, a bottle of fake flesh, and some green and dirty-looking prosthetic monster teeth.

What the fuck?

Here’s the deal: For the first time EVER in my life, I am dressing up for Halloween. I’m doing this largely because the firm, for some reason, decided to host a huge Halloween party on the 31st. Okay, so
Zombies are fairly easy to do, and they’re cool, right? So I figured I could do a creepy Zombie face and be done with it.

Well, Bojo brought me the makings of a movie quality zombie. I am not kidding! I did a practice run last night and freaked my own self out. I had rotting flesh, blue lips, and bloody congealed wounds (Let’s say just say I was a newly-dead zombie, whose blood hadn’t completely run out.) The only problem is my hair.

See, I have red hair – not exotic flaming red; beautiful deep burnt burgundy, but just average
Danny Bonaduce-red hair. I’ve considered dying it brighter red for the occasion – just for the contrast with uber pail skin. I’ve also considered spraying it black with that fake stuff. I just don’t know!

I never realized the headaches I had avoided by never dressing up for Halloween. This crap is kind of addictive. I mean, I sort of want to go back to the Halloween store and see what else I can find to enhance my character. But there’s only one problem.

The Halloween store is in the mall and I am not committed enough to my character to embrace method acting and actually join the Zombie-like mall crawling masses.

::Shudder::

Now that is scary.

10.19.2006

Gratitude: Live it. Learn it. Feel it.

Well, I just completed another nine hours towards my latest degree pursuit! Woo hoo! It’s my birthday! It’s my birthday!

No, really. It is my birthday, or at least it was a couple of days ago.

My 42nd passed without much ado. Little Dog got me the old school Pac Man game for Gameboy, so I spent my birthday night trying to play it. Turns out, I suck. I am an embarrassment to my game genius son, who has been the go-to guy for video gaming strategy since he was about 7.

In other news, I finally had my follow up mammogram. I had to put a funky zipper looking sticker on the scar from the last surgery, but alas, no nipple BBs. (Holla Muller!) Best part? I remain cancer free!

My sister is also cancer free! Not that there was ever any doubt in anyone’s mind. My dear hypochondriac sis had convinced herself, in her own mind, that she did, indeed have cancer. Why, you ask? Simply because the tech made an innocuous comment about an odd spot on her x-ray. You absolutely positively cannot do this with my sis. No amount of rational talk could convince her that this did not mean cancer. Finally, after a week of anxious phone calls and hysteria, probably after she already had the casket ordered and the lid open and ready, she went back to the doc, who told her (Duh!) the spot was nothing but an anomaly.

It got me to thinking, though. I just do not worry about death too much. I mean, it would suck and all, but then really, how would I know? I would be dead. I will not waste my time living with a fear of dying. Anyway, you know the old saying: Tell God you have a plan, and he laughs!

It is true. I had a plan once. I was gonna go to law school. I got all my crazy partying behind me, embraced undergrad studies, and then, in what was basically my senior year, I found out I was pregnant.

So, I made another plan. I was gonna do the “right thing” and marry RB; be the “perfect” wife and mother, and live happily ever after. God really threw his head back at that one. He probably even turned to the angel beside him and said, “Is she for real?”

It took me almost a decade to give up on that plan. Not that I didn’t try to make it work. But when your get up each day dreading what your life has become; when you are ill more than you are well; when you have no respect for the person you see the most; when you’ve forgotten what true love feels like, and when you feel like you really have become one of Eliot’s
Hollow Men

… it’s time to reassess.

So I finally decided to just enjoy life without any ultimate plan. These days I pretty much do and pursue what I want.

I do not even plan ahead for dinner, lest the gods start snickering.

But it’s been really cool. I find myself accomplishing more and more because I allow my self to pursue my passions. I travel when I want, see who I want and walk away when I need to. I’m not longer caught up in the societal “shoulds” of our world. Do not get me wrong: Goals are great. But when we become so caught up in the pursuit of the goal that we cannot be mindful in the moment….well, that’s not what I want my life to be about.

I cannot say it enough people: It is all about gratitude for the life that we have.

10.10.2006

Dateline: 10-10-06 Finals Week

Can I just tell you a few of the things I would rather be doing than writing the three final papers I have due?

First: I'd rather be uploading all my CDs to
itunes and burning incredible mixes.

Second: I'd rather be harassing Little Dog some more to continue the theme I started on the drive home from school today where I kept playing Dolly Parton's "Love is Like a Butterfly" repeatedly AND SINGING ALONG in my very best loud Karaoke voice. But since I've caught him twice already humming the chorus I think my work for the night is done there.

Heh heh.

I'd also rather be editing a stack of poems that has been sitting on my desk since school started.


I'd really rather be laying on the couch daydreaming my current ongoing fantasy in which Brendan Fraser plays my beloved husband.

Come on, You know you have to admit he was cute in Blast From the Past. Then, he really brought the cool in his role as Jordan's brother on Scrubs.

(FWIW in the above mentioned fantasy we live in a fabulous house on the strand; Little Dog has grown his hair out and morphed into a cooler, smarter, drug-free Spicoli type, and we have a new baby daughter named Sophie. But I digress....)

My point is that even though almost everything I'd rather be doing is creative I still cannot focus enough to "create" these final papers. It's not even that they will be that hard. Hell, two of them will be fairly easy. I've known for 8 weeks now that these papers would be due on the 15th and yet I have not written a single word.

Okay, now compare that to the fact that I only found last Friday out that I need to provide the music for this year's Christmas party and I've already sketched out a complete play list.

I simply don't work well in academia unless under deadline. AND THAT SUCKS!

Every morning I leave the house with the intention of coming home after work and sitting right down at the computer to do school work.

Then, every night I come home and I am so tired that I just want to take a shower and crawl into bed.

But I don't.

Instead, I putz around doing mindless chores, then I return e-mails, then I cook dinner, then I spend "quality time" with Little Dog via video games or Scrubs re-runs. Then I have to call Furry and listen to his latest new words, which makes me miss him and Bojo so I invite them over and then when they leave I have to de-stick-ify every surface in the house because Furry is the stickiest baby I've ever known. Then I sit down on the couch with a glass of wine and I think about how wonderful my life in my 40's really is...

Then it hits me:

I STILL HAVE TO WRITE THOSE FUCKING PAPERS!

Argh!

And I even know, from experience, that I will feel an obscene amount of pride when I complete them, and an even more extreme sense of relief at having another week's reprieve from academia.

And yet, here I sit, writing about not writing.

*sigh*

Oops, gotta go! Scrubs is on!

10.03.2006

Jimmy Choo Who?

My feelings for designer shoes run pretty close to my feelings for Hummers. That is, why on earth does anyone want to spend that kind of money on an item that's primary purpose is it's functionality? Shoes are nothing more than protection for your feet - warm in winter, off the burning pavement in summer. That, and protecting you soles from being impaled by sharp objects is the entire job of your footwear.

Oh, but "looking good is their job too!" you say?

All I can say is that for a girl, I am pretty guy-ish about my footwear. I don't wear cheaply made shoes and I don't wear uncomfortable shoes. That pretty much sums up my shoe criteria. Oh yeah, I also don't like much colour in my footwear. Pretty much, a good pair of black and a decent pair of brown can complete my shoe wardrobe requirements. Throw in a cool pair of kicks for spontaneous sports-like activity (should I ever decide to indulge in such a thing) and a fantastic pair of riding boots and I am set for any situation.

I once wore nothing (on my feet) but a pair of
Birkenstocks - for an entire year. Wool socks in the winter and red toes in the summer. Yes, I even wore them with a really pretty slip dress to my father-in-law's wedding. No, I am not ashamed.

I know I will never be a shoe slave. I also know I will never be a lipstick wearer.

That though, I would sometimes really like to be. The act of putting on lipstick is sensual to perform and also to watch. Rubbing the lips with a semi-soft phallic shaped piece of wax ...It has its erotic aspects. I love how women put on their lipstick and end the process by pressing their lips together and then gaze smugly into the mirror.

I, however, after applying said stain to my lips, look in the mirror and I hear the the soundtrack to "Joker Fish" from the old Batman TV series. You know, the one where the Joker poisons all of Gotham's water and the fish end up with grotesquely huge red clown-like lips. Then in a brilliant marketing ploy he promotes the ghastly "laughing fish" via commercials where Harley Quinn sings:

They're finny and funny
and oh so delish,
They're joyful and jolly -
Joe - ker fish!



The point is, I feel comical. Painted. Clownish. Advertised.

And what, exactly is it that I am marketing? My luscious full lips smack in the middle of my unpainted face? My horrifically pale skin by comparison? The contrasting (read: clashing) shade of my red hair?

Last Christmas Bojo had a product called "
Lip Venom" on her wish list. I asked her what the hell this was and she said, "It's to make my lips look like freakin Angelina Jolie's!"

While I did not believe this to be any noble aspiration, I did find her excitement at the prospect hilarious. I bought her this gift solely for the entertainment value. That Christmas we sat around amidst the torn wrapping paper and strewn bows and forcibly applied this wickedly named product (Venom? C'mon) liberally to the lips of the entire family and then spent an hilarious hour doing our best Jolie impersonations for the camera.

It was worth every penny. Especially for the following memory it invoked.

1976: My family was at the state fair. My mom bit into a fluffy pink cloud of cotton candy and was stung on the lips by a bee.

This is how we all learned that some people (mom included)are, indeed,
allergic to bee stings and swell up in complete disproportion to the size of the offending bee.

Who knew my mom was such a trend setter ahead of her time?

If only we had taken pictures of that!

9.20.2006

Studying with Johnny

When it comes to schoolwork I have always been a major procrastinator, but last week I did something I have never before done. I asked for extensions on three papers.

Now this bothers me a lot because now I am not only procrastinating, but I'm procrastinating with a deficit. So I cleared last night's schedule and planned on catching up.

Here's how the night went:
6:18
Arrive home from work.

6:31
Little Dog specifically requests homemade potato soup for dinner. Tell him I have mucho school work to do and suggest that he make himself nachos or a sandwich. He reminds me that is what he has done for the past two days and ups his soup request to fajitas. I glance at his skinny torso and mother guilt sets in, so I give in before he ups the ante to an actual meat and potatoes meal.

6:35
Peel potatoes and dice onions in the kitchen while listening to NPR.

6:50
Put the potatoes on to boil and head upstairs to take a shower, pausing first to load the dryer and start the washer. Open mail while the shower heats up.

7:15
Check potatoes. Head to the computer and find Little Dog on line. Demand that he get off and stay off for the remainder of the night. Get distracted by a phone call.

7:34
Finish soup and serve. Bask in the gratitude of Little Dog, who declares that even though I used too much onion and not enough bacon it is the best meal he's has all week. Eat and feel guilty.

8:12
Load dishwasher, take two more calls and finally sit down at the computer. 8 e-mails from work. Ack! Answer these and then log on to class website to remind self of what paper I am writing. Oh yeah, the Comparing the Rise of Christianity and Buddhism Subsequent to the Rise of the Roman Empire... er, ... or something.

8:41
Get up and take two Advil. Little Dog turns off the TV and retreats to his room so I can work without the distraction of Japanese animae in the background. Pop in Johnny Cash’s latest CD. Johnny cash singing about impending death and love is a good soundtrack to think by.

8:46
Google Johnny Cash because I can't remember how long it has been since he died. While on-line read a couple of friends' blog updates and check TWoP.

9:56
Force myself to get back to schoolwork.

10:08
Bojo calls for sympathy because she is sick.

10:21
Drink an entire can of Pepsi before returning to desk

10: 31
Have the carcass of my paper completed - just need to fatten it up. Reward myself with a break and a cigarette on the balcony.

10:45
Answer phone call from West Coast friend. Have brief discussion of Bacchus. Make tentative plans to visit in spring.

11:28
Return to desk to flesh out paper. Briefly consider withdrawing from the class. Entertain serious self doubts.

11:30
Receive IM from EagleFan11 asking me if I am up working on the math project. Realize Little Dog must not have logged off and therefore I am working under his profile. Briefly consider sending wacky message back to EagleFan11, but instead simply type "mom wrkg on LD's putr." Receive no more IMs. Feel unpopular.

11:35
Find an on-line article I need to print for reference. Article does not print. Crawl under desk to check printer connections. Run trouble shooting wizard which takes me off in various tangents, but doesn't solve the problem. Reboot computer. Still no printing. Completely abandon the idea of using that reference. Take paper in an entirely new direction.

12:45
Paper is done. Run spell check and then re-read. Realize I left out one of the major points of the paper.

1:17
Decide paper is finally acceptable. Tell self that a "C" is still a passing grade. Justify poor work on one assignment with my overall 4 point average. Realize this will jeopardize said four point. Ponder the dilemma before me.

1:21
Turn paper in via on-line drop box

1:45
Lay my exhausted self down in my bed.

1:48
Remember that I didn't go back and underline the book titles on my works cited page.

1:49
Resign myself to failure and pass out.

9.15.2006

I don’t need therapy, I need money

Apparently if you have enough money you are allowed to be batshit crazy. (Like this! )

You can be a proponent for the drinking of blood and then get appointed as a UN ambassador – which then gives you a kind of “Gold Card” status when shopping for cute foreign babies.

You can jump on The Oprah’s couch and shoot lasers out of your hands. You can claim parentage to the
toupee wearing Asian adopted baby of a fellow actor and even give it a dumbshit name

You can also creep around in Spiderman masks and cover your kids with blankets – hell, you can even name them "Blanket" and dangle them from balconies.

You can host your own television show, go to jail for committing a felony and still be America’s idea of a
perfect hostess

But if you want to divorce a man who is addicted to coke and whoring around and who smacked you when you pointed out this was not good behaviour…well, then you need mandatory counseling to end the marriage.

If you choose not to continue a pregnancy when you’re 17 and have no means of support and no desire to become a parent...then you need counseling.

If you are 25 and you know you never want to have children so you ask for surgery to prevent this…you need counseling.

Is this fucked up or what?

9.13.2006

Fluff and Banality - I Embrace You

I recently ran into an friend from college. We had engaged in many hearty political debates back in the days of Sysops and bulletin boards. I was always the go-to girl when it came to interpreting the current polls. He asked about my net presence these days and I directed him to this site. A few days later I got an e-mail from him in which he accused me of losing my mind - literally. He says my mind is gone.

He accused me of contributing nothing but "fluff" and "musings on banality."

Uh.. Okay, I have not held myself out as a political expert since the 2000 election. Why?

I. Got. Busy.

Yes, that is right, busy. The more mobile and social Little Dog became the less time I had. And let me tell you people: Being politically informed takes A LOT of time.

I no longer have the time to be outraged. Or even to be idealistic. I barely have time to keep the laundry done - much less keep up a laundry list of activities on The Hill.

I no longer have any idea what bills are in the house or senate at any given time - much less who wrote or sponsored them. I barely keep track of who's running for what any more. Hell, I've got too many schedules and PIN numbers and Dr's. appointments and flight itineraries to remember. There is only so much room in my brain. I have even had to forget a whole lot of pop culture trivia and obscure song lyrics just to make room for my current academic pursuits.

Okay, so not really, but my point remains the same: Life got in the way of my political pursuits.

And, if I am being completely honest, I have become disenchanted. I think in some ways the whole 2000 fiasco broke me. I still think we have not had a decent Democratic candidate since Gore, and I do not see one on the horizon. Many of my friends and colleagues are hoping for a very special announcement from Hillary. I, however, hope to hell not. I think it would be a terrible waste of opportunity - both hers and the party's. This country is NOT yet ready to elect a woman to the highest office in our land - especially not on the heels of this stupid war.
I kind of like the idea of a Obama/Clinton ticket, but I think both egos are too big to support each other.

So what does that leave? Nothing I am excited about.

And that is probably the real reason I have gone soft. American politics no longer excite me or inspire any passion.

So, my dear friend who still makes the time to care, I will look you up when I'm ready to jump back in. Until then, please continue to inspire those students whom you teach every day. Remind them to never trust statistics and to not pander to the polls. Bigger persons than them have been guilty of doing both and it has cost us our country.

And lastly, my friend, if you are ever in my neighborhood you should stop in. I will be happy to pick up our debate on health care reform right where we left off. I will just be folding laundry while we have it.

9.05.2006

School Days, School Days... yeah, ME!

What was I thinking going back to school? Was being a single mom with a full time job and a part time business not enough? Am I a masochist? I really have given up on the whole law school idea. I have accepted that, it 42, it is a little late for a law career. So what? Do I need a Master’s degree? Was my claim to fame as an English major not good enough for me?

Apparently not, because after over a decade out of the classroom I have enrolled in 15 hours this semester.

This all started when one of our summer clerks asked me what my degree was in. After I explained that my Major was English Literature, my Minor was Sociology and that I also pursued a certificate in “Women’s Studies” it hit me. I had majored in “hippie.”

Yup, not a marketable tool in the whole mix there, but I was great at organizing a protest and I can write a kick ass letter.

Do npt get me wrong. I am proud of my background in literature and I worked hard in that program. I just recognize the marketplace worth of an English degree. I spent far too many years being passionate about learning and pursuing higher education without any degree goal. My paychecks reflect the value of that pursuit.

So, I decided to go back to school and further pursue my studies, this time towards a degree that might actually pay off in more ways than owning a well rounded library.
This time my goal is to earn the right to put the letters after my name.

Does that make me a bad person?

I think not. I mean, I’m perfectly capable of doing the work in my current program. My background in English did train me to write clear and concise papers demonstrating that I interacted with the assigned text. I am great at rote memorization too. I test well enough.

So maybe I am not passionate this time and I will not get to write fantastically long papers dissecting a piece of ancient literature and making a case for its symbolism.

I can always do that in my free time.

It is not rocket science by any stretch. It is just school.

And until now I did not realize how much I had missed it.

Just Stuff

So I am becoming obsessed with the traffic cams appearing on top of stop lights all over my city. Really obsessed. They actually kind of freak me out. I keep expecting to find wads of pink tickets in my mailbox. See, I have this habit of running lights. Because of these cameras, I have become aware of how often I do this. Now, each time I have to wonder, “Was that appropriate? Did it change after I entered the intersection? Did I get by with it?!” It is the not knowing that kills me

I am also becoming obsessed with the Tom Cruise baby theories being floated around. I have no real vested interest in the parentage of baby Suri, but I am riveted nonetheless. I just love it when a good conspiracy theory is presented. And you have to agree, Tom Cruise is one freaky mo' fo'.

Mail. People, it is an incredible thing to place a piece of paper in an envelope, write few words on the front and have it magically be PHYSICALLY delivered into the hands if its intended recipient. This magic, however, does not work if you are too stupid to write recipient’s name on the envelope. My firm employs 101 attorneys and at least as many support staff. So, sending us a letter addressed to “Attorney” is like sending a letter to the zoo addressed to “Animal.” Gads people, I never send anything anywhere without the name of my intended recipient being clearly stated. If it is relevant legal information I am sending to my own Attorney, whose firm only employs 6 attorneys, I still address it to him by full name. Sometimes I throw in the Esq.at the end because, hey, he's earned it.

But no, here we receive stacks of mail each and every day with incomplete addresses. Sometimes people send us original documents – like birth certificates or deeds. Sometimes people even go to the trouble of writing out the firm’s whole name – all six names spelled out with “A Professional Corporation” at the end. Some will do this and then add “Attorneys at Law.” Some do both and then add the name of the building we are housed in. What the fuck? You can address it to the building by name, but not the attorney?!

Perhaps my favourite is when someone sends cash or check and they fold it up in a piece of paper so it does not show through the envelope (lest those pesky mail thieves identify its content and go wild.) They take those precautions, but then address it only to “Law Firm.” The best part is when they then write "CONFIDENTIAL" in big bold letters. Argh.

What else can I rant about?

SUVs still piss me off. There is not a single new television show I am anxious to see. The cost of text books is astronomical and something should be done about it. Muller has not returned my calls and I am getting concerned. I feel guilty for postponing my mammogram for another month because I just do not have time right now. (I know Dr. Cobble, I do not have time for cancer either.) I finally met someone who made me feel really ignorant – I mean “Paris Hilton stupid” in comparison to them. Thankfully that does not happen very often, but it has left me smitten and intrigued. RB is being a complete ass – yet again.

And…it looks like our time is up, so I guess we will have to continue this next session.


My parting advice? Don’t forget to change your oil!

8.26.2006

Little Dog's Expecting a Call


"Mom, I need a cell phone?"

"Do you have a thriving medical practice I am unaware of?"

"What are you talking about? No."

"Well, I just wondered if you "needed" this cell phone because your patients were complaining they couldn't reach you."

"Mom," eye roll, "Be serious."

"I am being quite serious. You're thirteen. Why on earth do you "need" a cell phone?"

"What if you need to get a hold of me?"

"Considering that 50% of the time you are WITH ME, 25% of the time you are in school and the other 25% of the time you are asleep I don't foresee a problem."

"But what if I am at a friend's and they don't have a phone?"

"You have friends in third world countries?!"

"Mom! You're not being fair!"

"You're right. I'm sorry."

"So you're gonna get me a cell phone?"

"No, I'm sorry to have raised you with the mistaken impression that life is fair."

"But all my friends have cell phones!"

"Great, so if I need to reach you then I'll call one of them."

"Argh!'

"Hee!"

I won this round!

8.10.2006

What are Words Worth?

Words are worth exactly the thought and the sentiment put into them.

I’m not sure if it is because I was an English Major or because etymology is my hobby or even because I think the art of rhetoric is fascinating. I am just not hung up on the individual words themselves. I generally say exactly what I mean and mean exactly what I say. It’s all about context.

This is why Chris Rock can call Kanye West a "niggah" but George Bush can't.

This is also why I have never had a problem with Little Dog using words which many (or most) consider to be inappropriate. He can say shit, damn, piss, and even fuck. I truly do not care. I do, however, care about words and phrases like: “Shut up!” or “Hate” or “Retarded.”

I mean, words can hurt, and the damage can extend further than to just the person you are saying them to. Using certain words can perpetuate stereotypes; dissuade compassion and even waste energy. Have you ever though of the energy it takes to “hate?”

Yup. Hate is a mighty strong word. In fact, I canot think of anyone, or even any thing I truly hate. When little dog first uttered “I hate this!’ I stopped him in his tracks and made him think hard about whether or not “this” (whatever it was) was really worth that kind of intense emotion. He agreed it probably was not and the word is not a part of his regular vocabulary today.

I may be a lot of things, but I am not a hypocrite. I would never tell my child he could not use a word he not only learned from me, but hears me use on a daily basis. I am, however, a realist, and I know I am not going to erase curse words from my vocabulary any time in the near future. “Fuck” has little literal meaning to me. I use it more as a punctuation term. I think it has replaced the frequent valley girl-esque use of “like.”

Therefore, the day Little Dog uttered his first curse word does not stand out in my mind as an event. I do chuckle at memories of him, at two years old, referring to his father as “Dammit Daddy” because he heard me utter the phrase so many times.

I also remember the day his kindergarten teacher pulled me aside at pickup time to deliver what, judging by her expression, looked to be some very sobering news.

“Little Dog said a ‘bad’ word today.” Miss Kirk told me in a whispered voice. “He said,” and here she lowered her voice to a barely audible whisper, “Ass.”

“And…” I thought, but out loud I said, “In what context did he say it?”

She looked at me as if I were crazy.

But I had a point. If he had told a classmate, in anger, that he was “gonna kick your ass!” that would be a problem to me. Likewise, if he had objectified someone by telling them they had a “fat ass” or even a “nice ass” I would have a problem.

“We were doing puzzles and his group was racing against another group and he said, ‘we’re gonna kick ass!’ ” Again, she lowered her voice to a whisper to say the offending word.

Okay, so my kid was overzealous in his puzzle working confidence. BFD. I did what any parent would do in the same circumstance.

I sold my kid out.

I think I said something like, “I am so sorry, I don’t know where he picked that up. I will definitely have a talk with him tonight.”

I mean, really, what was I going to say? She was obviously appalled and offended. I was not ready to become the outcast mommy who has no morals and pack that baggage in my son’s childhood experience. I had no choice.

Little Dog cried on the way home. He told me the whole story of how his beloved Miss Kirk was mad at him. He was truly worried she would not like him any more. I very calmly explained that, while we did not find those words to be offensive, other people often did. So, we decided it would probably be a good idea if he did not use certain words anywhere but at home. It was like how daddy wore his boxers around the house, but not in front of anyone but us. Some things, you just should not do/show/say to the world. I made sure Little Dog did not feel as if he had done something wrong – but rather, that he had accidentally done something inappropriate.

When RB got home I told him about the incident. “Where the fuck did he learn that shit?” RB mockingly asked.

He reiterated my lesson to Little Dog, who decided he wanted to call Miss Kirk and apologise before he went to bed.

I dialed the number as he anxiously held the phone. When she answered he said, “Miss Kirk? This is Little Dog. I wanted to say I am sorry that I offended you. I will not ever use that word around you again.”

Hee!

Notice how he never actually apologised for saying “ass,” but only for offending her? I think he instinctively knew the whole “say what you mean/mean what you say thing!”

When he hung up we asked him if he felt better.

He told us that he felt “Damned good” about the whole thing and that he “Sure as hell would not talk that shit in class again.”

Ha!

Not really, but you know, I am pretty sure that is probably what he was
thinking.

8.01.2006

Picket me this?


Dear Candidates,

If part of your active campaigning involves strategically placing your yard signs every three feet along the median/embankment/easement etc... Please remember to collect said yard signs after the vote is over. Because, even if you won this time, I guarantee I will never ever give you my vote again, should you choose to run, if you leave that crap out there for someone else to clean up.

Sincerely,

A Tree Hugger


Gads! These signs are everywhere! Huge groupings of them! I kind of want to start collecting them all and then dump them in the yards or office lobbies of said candidate.

True annoyance here.

Also, note to any protesters out there: Please make your cause (and any alternatives) clearly obvious. Otherwise, you are just out there illustrating an exercise in futility.

I take protesting seriously. I think in this day and age it is a lost art. I also think it should be reclaimed as a viable means of opining. Too many people think they can sign and circulate an on-line petition and thus be “Activists.” Newsflash: Activism is about putting yourself out there for your cause and taking risks.

On-line petitions do neither. (Plus, it's really super hard to validate the results.)

The other day a group of people in my city decided to protest the war. About 25 Protesters showed up at the appropriate downtown corner adjacent to city hall. Their signs were large and colourful.

So far so good right? Well, yes, but that was the extent of it.

See, their signs said things like, "WAR IS BAD" and "STOP KILLING CHILDREN."

Uh, Okay. I’m pretty sure the general public is in agreement on both those points.

I like to talk to protesters, and this group had actually managed to get my attention, so I approached them.

"What are you protesting?"

"The WAR!"

"Oh, yes, I see. But what exactly should we be doing to end it? Or, what alternative are you proposing?"

"What?"

Okay, error number one: Do not have un-informed protesters. Every single person on a picket line or holding a sign at a demonstration should fully understand the group's cause, and the basic facts upon which their conclusions were founded.

Error number two: Offer an alternative to what you are protesting, or a focus of your demonstration. We can all agree that war is a horrific thing. So what do you want me to do about it? Is there a particular candidate you want me to vote for or against? A particular bill? A specific atrocity that has happened which the general public is not being made aware of? Tell me something I don't already know!

The Pro Life group puts on a good protest. I, personally, do not agree with their cause, but their efforts are commendable for the following reasons: They go to where the action is and they go with a mission. They hope to literally stop abortion, one fetus at a time, by championing their cause directly to women entering the clinic. They hope to stop the practice of abortion by protesting outside the offices of those doctors who perform them, thus embarrassing and bringing attention to the docs and also to the women frequenting the practice. They show up in full force all over Capital Hill (and the media) any time a bill concerning abortion is in action. They have the lingo down (always a "baby" never a "fetus") and their statistics straight. (Note I said "their" statistics, because in truth statistics do lie.)


As I said, I do not agree with their opinions, but I do respect their abilities.

On the opposite end of the spectrum we have the group of divorced dads who gathered (last year) outside the courthouse to protest what they believed to be the unfair bias against dads having custody of the children. About 6 or 8 of them showed up and some of them had made signs. It was kind of a hot day, so within 30 minutes a few of them sat down in the shade. The others were simply standing on the sidewalk talking to each other. No one was holding his sign up. There were no women or children participating. Basically, a huge waste of time and, in fact, a very real demonstration of exactly why men do not they get custody: Because they lose interest quickly, become distracted easily and quit when it gets difficult.

Bad protest example number 2: A group of people lined up along 21st street (a medium traffic area) holding signs which clearly stated "Stop Big Oil" and "Take Back Control" and some general "Big Oil is Bad" red-circle-with-slash signage. Okay, fine. I had the opportunity to read many of the signs as I sat at a stop light, but not one of them told me how I could stop big oil, or who I should vote for or even why big oil is so bad.

So, another waste of time.

I'm all for a reviving the lost art of protesting. Tell me about a candlelight vigil and I'll Take Back the Night right along with you! Million Mom March? Sign me up! Gay Pride Parade? Sure! I'll wave to my friends in their cool convertibles and maybe even get my face painted in rainbow stripes.

But then you have to join me in my picket line in front of City Hall where I am holding a bonfire of all the freakin' election signage I have picked up. And I will be sure to point out how many and exactly who of our newly elected officials left this shit all over the city.

7.14.2006

Count your blessings. DO IT!

I do not know what is up with me lately. I have been riding the emotional roller coaster like a fat bearded guy on a Harley.

Or something.

Maybe I am just sick of people.

Like the guy who bought his 16 year old daughter a Hummer because he wanted her to be safe when she drives.

What the fuck?! That is like buying her a shotgun so she will be "safe" about sex. If the little brat cannot be trusted in a car then DO NOT LET HER DRIVE. For gawd's sake do not put her on the road in what amounts to a weapon so she can hone her driving skills around nice innocent people in sensible cars.

And while I am on the subject: If you are bitching about high gas prices and you drive an SUV... SHUT THE FUCK UP! You chose to drive that gas guzzling unnecessary monstrosity and I have no sympathy

Also, lose the attitudes people. In the grand scheme of things we have such a short time here on earth why waste it in an endless pursuit of newer/bigger/better/more?

I like my life, for the most part. I mean, could do with a bit more money because I like to pay my own way as much as the next guy, but over all I am pretty satisfied.

I have a great kid, a beautiful home and a couple of very personable cats. My friends have been my friends for decades and my job lets me wear Birkenstocks and wet hair when it is really hot. I do not need a husband (or even a boyfriend) but a familiar lover and a hotel room makes for a nice occasional diversion. My mechanic is funny AND honest...and so is my Attorney! My neighbors water my garden when I forget to and though my family sometimes makes me crazy I know almost any one of them would take a bullet for me.

My car starts every morning. I have high speed internet. I possess the requisite number of legs and arms and all my physical senses work properly. I have loved and I have been loved. I own an awesome library and an immense CD collection. I laugh frequently.

AND...I've been to Graceland.

All in all that is a pretty damned good life.

A friend of mine used to have an inside joke that when someone was whining to her she would interrupt to say, "I'm sorry, but do you have the tattoo?" This was reference to Auschwitz and the people who were numbered and tattooed like cattle, then sentenced to death solely because of their heritage. She felt that unless you had actually survived some of the true atrocities in this world then you really should shut up about the trivial.

(She also felt a good haircut could solve a myriad of life's problems, but hey.)

Not even on my worst day have I ever been physically tortured or condemned because of my race or religion. I have never had to steal to feed my family, nor have I ever been forced out of my home. I have never had to shudder in hiding or listen to bombs. I have never been beaten and raped just because I went for a jog. I have never had to sit in fear and wonder if my child would come home. I have never had to go into hiding because of something I wrote. I have never had my entire life scrutinized by my enemies and published on the front page of newspapers.

And neither have YOU.

We are all doing better than a whole lot of people in this world.

So, again, I say, Shut the hell up and celebrate your good life.

That is, unless you actually have the
tattoo.

7.09.2006

Elvis is Everywhere!


I like Elvis as much as the next guy - maybe even more. I think he was handsome, had a beautiful voice and some rockin' moves. I agree that he was a legend.

People, let me tell you, there are some
die hard Elvis fans out there. Enough of them to create a multi billion dollar industry of kitsch - the Mecca of which lies at 3765 Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis, Tennessee.

It all begins at the ticket office, which is located in a huge plaza across from Graceland Mansion, which is just down the street from
The Heartbreak Hotel, which is just around the corner from the Graceland RV Park, which is behind the Graceland Outlet Store, which is down the street from the Lisa Marie... You get the picture.

At first glance, after hopping off the
Sun Studios shuttle, the line didn't seem that long. And it wasn't, except for the fact that the line we were looking at was the line to get into the building to get to the line for the ticket counter. After 30 minutes in line to buy tickets we were told our "tour" would be leaving in approximately 2 hours.

2 hours until we could get on the shuttle which would take us ACROSS THE STREET.

Walking across ourselves was not an option. I checked.

Okay, so it was suggested that we visit the Graceland Gift Shop (conveniently located near the tour departure gate.)

Several dollars and a couple of large shopping bags later we were done shopping. We still had an hour and a half to wait.

So we headed down the mall (It really is an
outdoor mall!) to eat at the Rockabilly Diner. Do you even have to ask if peanut butter and banana sandwiches were on the menu? (I didn't. They were.) By the time we got our cheeseburgers and commemorative Elvis big gulp plastic cups Furry had staged a revolt worthy of calling in The National Guard.

This is when I learned the following things: Straws and plastic spoons do not entertain toddlers for long. The ketchup and mustard bottles at Rockabilly's Diner are made of glass. Mustard will travel at great velocity and long distance when spewing from a shattered bottle. It doesn't matter how cute your toddler is, people will still hate him if he interrupts their Elvis experience.

But I digress.

Okay, so after lunch we learn that there will be even further delay, as tours are now running another hour behind.

By this time Furry was sick of his stroller and completely disenchanted with the Elvis experience. He was also sweating buckets of sticky southern baby sweat. He began to scream and to do that back-arching-arm-flailing thing that toddlers do when they are upset and want the world to know.

Bojo called a cab. I later learned that it costs $50 and a healthy dose of self esteem to beg a cabbie to take you and your screaming demon child back to your hotel. Bojo said the cab driver actually appeared afraid of Furry.

But back to Little Dog and I, who are now standing in the sweltering heat watching a live Elvis trivia contest take place at the
Sirius RadioElvis stage. We are fanning ourselves with Graceland fliers and believing that $3 for a single 12 ounce bottle of water is not as ridiculous as it first appeared to be.

We walked up the mall. We walked down the mall. We visited the Sincerely Elvis gift shop. We saw the Lisa Marie. We met a nice couple from New York who said yes, they hoped it was worth it too.

And then they called our tour!

We stood in yet another line and eventually a gal came to look at our tickets. Another gal came and searched my purse. (If I'd had a weapon I would have shot myself 2 lines ago.) Then the wait began again.

I'll swear I celebrated a couple of birthdays in that line.

Finally we get handed headsets and the line starts moving bit by bit. Right before we boarded the bus another gal grabbed each of us by the arm and pushed us towards a mural of the Graceland gates. Before I could form the words "What the HELL?" she said "Photoopportunitynoobligationthankyou!" and I realised a flashbulb had gone off.

Little Dog and I stumbled blindly onto the shuttle van and wedged our selves intimately close to strangers. (The lady next to me had on a very pretty bra. The man in front of me shaved his neck...but only to his collar line.)

Okay, so five minutes later we are at heaven's gate...or at least at Graceland's front door.

"Standonthebricksidewalkuntilyouarecalledtothestepspleasenopictures
nowyou'llhaveplentyoftimeforthatlaternoflashphotographyinside"

Did these people ever pause for breath? I went ahead and snapped a few pictures of the porch and entryway just because I'm a rebel like that.

Once inside my very first thought was, "GRACELAND IS AIR CONDITIONED! Thank you Jeezus!"

Okay, so we toured the house. I can only say that it was a very beautiful home. I didn't find the decor to be cheesy at all considering when it was last decorated. Actually, I found it to be very subdued for a man of Elvis' wealth and reputed lifestyle.

Meditation Garden was actually a very peaceful place. In fact, during the whole tour, there was a certain reverence in evidence. People lowered their voices, if they even spoke at all.

The grounds were my favourite part and I snapped some awesome pictures of the details of the barns and the swing set.

We didn't spend a lot of time in the display case areas, as we'd seen our share of Elvis memorabilia in every other museum in Memphis.

We were the first two on the next shuttle back across the street!

Immediately after we debarked our headsets were confiscated and we were directed to the kiosk to claim our "no obligation" photos where $20 bought us an 8x10 and four wallets of Little Dog and I in front of the Graceland Gates with "What the fuck?" looks on our faces.

Best. Souvenir. Ever.

So, in many ways this pilgrimage to Graceland was exactly what I expected, but it was also somewhat sad. I think it is a tragedy that a man who became a legend has had his name so grossly prostituted.

Never again will we have a star of this magnitude. Now, everyone gets their 15 minutes and people become
famous just for being famous.
If Elvis were alive today I think he'd lock the Graceland gates up tight, cancel all this mansion tour hoopla, shake his head and then climb into his fur bed for a long nap.
That's exactly what I did when I got back to the hotel.

7.08.2006

Can I BE Cool in a Minivan?!


There had always been a part of me that felt like something was missing.

I mean, I was 42 years old and I had NEVER been to
Graceland.

That is practically un-American!

So, with that in mind, Furry's mom, Bojo, and I decided to take the kids to Memphis.

ROADTRIIIIIP!!!!!

2 hip mammas trekkin' to the Rockabilly holy land with their boys...SQUEEE! My adrenaline was flowing just thinking about it. We would spend the entire fourth of July weekend (4 days) in the city that birthed rock-n-roll.

I planned the itinerary and Bojo was in charge of the hotel and car.

On the morning we were to leave she pulled up in a rented minivan.

Uh...

If you know me at all you know I am not a minivan kind of gal. I knew a convertible was out of the question and I had immediately nixed the idea of an SUV (Grrrr....) I even took her seriously when she suggested an RV (Graceland RV park? Helloooo!) But no, she got a minivan.


I was going to make my rock-n-roll pilgrimage in a minivan?! Could I be any more uncool?

Let me just tell you that the biggest car I have ever driven was my little Nissan. I learned to drive in a Corvette. My first car was a VW.

Get the picture?

I felt like a freakin' trucker when I climbed into that thing. I could see into the laps of the people in the cars beside me. I wondered if I needed some sort of different class of license to drive it.

But, we loaded it up and buckled in.

Furry was thrilled with his built in car seat. Not only did it allow him to sit in the seat like a Big Boy right by the window, but, more importantly, it gave him a seat right next to Little Dog! We handed him a freshly filled sippy cup and he was content the whole way there.

This child was made for road trips!

I had burned plenty of cds to put us in the mood so the four of us seat danced all the way.

I must admit I learned to love that minivan. It was an incredibly smooth ride and amazingly FAAAAAAST! I have to admit I did 90 most of the way there. Not always on purpose either. I just drove like I always do, but apparently a new minivan will haul ass with little effort.

We made it in under 6 hours despite the fact Google told us it would take 7.

While we were there I welcomed the sight of our silver monster. It was easy to find on crowded parking lots; convenient to change a baby's diaper in and remarkably easy to maneuver on the crowded streets of downtown Memphis.

The stereo was even loud enough to drown out the screams of a cranky baby on the way back.

Heh heh.

While I will not (EVER) be purchasing such a vehicle, I must admit I will definitely consider renting one for the next road trip.

Next road trip......Mmmmmmmmmmm.......

7.07.2006

Bucky


Sunday I worked all day in the yard and was hosing everything down when a beautiful banded pigeon waddled up to assess my work. He seemed quite friendly and not at all afraid. Eventually I had him eating birdseed from my hand and posing while I did an impromptu pigeon photo shoot.

The sun went down and I scattered some birdseed, soaked everything with water and went to bed.

The next morning as I pulled out of the garage I noticed the pigeon strutting around the garden. Some of the mulch was scattered, indicating he had bedded down there the night before.

He was still there when I got home from work.

At this point I was concerned about this little pigeon I had come to think of as Bucky. The bands indicated he belonged to someone who surely must be missing him. So, the next day at work I contacted a friend who works for a local aviation research facility. From her I was referred to a Falconer at the center who referred me to the State Wildlife Association who referred me to the area Game Warden who, to this day, has never called me back.

Along the way I had found out it was probably a racing pigeon, so I got online and googled the appropriate terms until I found the website for the
American Racing Pigeon Union. A very friendly woman answered the phone and when I told her the numbers on Bucky’s bands she was able to determine he was from a Missouri “loft.” She gave me the number to their local chapter, but it had been disconnected. I called my new friend at the ARPU who told me she had no other number.

That’s where things got crazy.

Apparently these pigeon racing people take their sport very seriously. When I commented on how much prettier this little guy was than the New York Pigeons it was explained that the birds are carefully trained, bathed, medicated against diseases and fed special grains. I expressed concern that he may be wounded because I hadn’t seen him fly up into a tree yet. “Oh he’d better NOT fly up in a tree,” she said, as if I had suggested he fly into an open flame. “If he has been trained well he knows to stay out of the trees!”

Who knew?

So, anyway, I asked this pigeon lady to give me the number of a local pigeon racing group. “Why?” she asked incredulously.

“Uh…so I can call them and maybe they will come help the pigeon at my house.”

“But he’s not from here. He belongs to a group in Missouri.”

“Yes, but I can’t get a hold of that group, so maybe someone here can help.”

“Well, no one is going to come get him if he’s not their bird.”

“No one will help him?! Isn’t his owner probably looking for him?”

“Oh I’m sure the owner is looking for him, but since he is from Missouri no group here is going to take him.”

“But you don’t have good number for any of the Missouri groups.”

“No, and they really should keep their information up to date with us.”

“Well, they didn’t, and now I’ve got a pigeon in my garden that needs to get home.”

“Well, good luck with that. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.”

You have got to be kidding me. Had this lady not been listening?

“I need to find someone to COME GET HIM!”

“Well, I guess you could take hi…..

“NO! I cannot take him anywhere. I cannot pick him up. I mean he’s nice and all, but birds kinda freak me out when they start with the wing flapping stuff. I just need someone who knows more about this than me to come and help him. I don’t care if they keep him or if they send him home. I just don’t want him to be in my garden because it is NOT SAFE for a possibly injured and definitely lost bird.
Please, just give me the number for a LOCAL RACING GROUP!”

“Like I said, they will not do anything. “

Aaaargh!!!!!!

I got of the phone with Nancy-no-help and went back to Google.

I found tons of sites about racing pigeons. Most of them were in England and Scotland.

I finally found a web site for

  • 6.29.2006

    My space is NOT on MYSpace

    I can not stand it anymore. I simply MUST rant about MySpace.

    If you are a fan of that site you might want to just skip this.

    I am freaking sick of MySpace.

    All the young Runners and Clerks at the firm have a MySpace account. Many of Little Dog's friends have one. Lots of otherwise sane and mature people have one.

    "It's a great networking tool!" (I can assure you that no corporation is going to recruit a major executive based on his or her MySpace profile.)

    "It's a great way to meet people!" (So is showering and actually going out into the world.)

    "I have a lot of 'friends' on MySpace!" (No, you do not. Friends are made through shared experiences, not via glitter messages.)

    People, let me tell you. They LIE on MySpace. Never has it been so easy to lie to so many people. Photoshop allows you to be thinner or blonder or to have a bigger chest. The keyboard allows one to endow themselves with any virtue; any job title; any geographic location. The blog option allows you to create and to claim any number of experiences.

    My friends? I know what they really look like. I know where they work because I have been there to pick them up for lunch. I know how they are doing because I call them.

    I have nothing against the Internet. In fact, I think it is one of the most incredible resources available today. By virtue of this very blog I maintain my own net presence.

    BUT...

    I do not need to check my profile views for validation. And if you are reading this right now you are most likely already my friend and just checking in to see what has inspired me to write.

    My 16 year old nephew has a MySpace and my sister has never seen it. (I looked and he is a good boy sis.)

    I have friends who expressly forbid their 13 year old daughter to have one. She did it anyway, and because they are involved parents they quickly found out. Rather than remove the page they had her make one last entry while they supervised. In it, she stated that she had set up the site against her parents wishes and that, by doing so, she had exhibited to them the very immaturity that led them to the decision in the first place. Therefore, she would not be posting any more. Oh, and they also had her go ahead and add a message to her friends explaining that she would not be available for phone calls or visits because she was currently grounded indefinitely.

    Heh heh. I say kudos to them for holding her accountable.

    Bojo took her laptop on vacation solely to be able to check (and post to) her MySpace account. I cannot imagine doing this myself.

    For me, a vacation is to get away from the obligations. If you are in a new place for limited time, why waste precious time in front of a monitor? If you are making memories why not enjoy them...savour them..experience them - rather than condense them into daily blog updates.

    And speaking of wasting time...

    I can live a very happy and fulfilled life without daily glitter greetings...or stupid pictures...or seeing extremely large dicks or boobs. And I do quite well without bad grammar and spelling errors thankyouverymuch.

    I am who I am. I am in no hurry to be older or more powerful or popular. I do not wish to be younger or more beautiful or more glorified.

    And if I ever do? Then I will get a MySpace.

    6.21.2006

    Save the Children! Collect the Whole Set!

    Why on earth have we let children become fashion accessories?!

    Angelina’s c-section scar is probably not even all scabbed over and already she is talking about how “they” are trying to decide what race and nationality “their” next child will be. (By “they” I guess she means Brad Pitt and the other kids, though I disagree that minors should have a full vote in their parents’ decision to reproduce.)

    Give me a freaking break.

    Oh sure, she is
    Miss United Nations now and all about the children. Whatever. Newsflash Angelina: Babies are neither puppets, nor dolls, and they most certainly shouldn’t be shopped for. I do not care how loving you are or how much money you have or how politically correct you profess to be. You still should NOT be allowed to purchase children.

    This is exactly what she is doing. Show me any average American single woman who would be approved to adopt an infant in 2001; then again in 2005; then, after giving birth in 2006, be approved yet again for an international adoption. You cannot. It would not happen for anyone else. But for Angelina it is the same as shopping for an Oscar gown. She does not have to go out and actually “shop.” Many vie for her business and will bring information and product to her home (or hotel room, whichever the case may be.) And when she does choose one? Fame and fortune to the designer who created it. She may even order one in every colour!

    Wait. Am I talking about dresses or babies? And when discussing Angelina is there really any difference?

    No sense in such a beautiful human as her having to sully themselves with normalcy huh? When Maddox turned out to be such a great accessory and hot topic for photos and interviews it only made sense to double the PR with Zahara.

    Then, biology stepped in and like a brilliant merger between Bell and AT&T the Pitt-Jolie offspring was produced. Angels sang, woodland creatures gathered and photographers got rich. The public was rewarded with a new
    Messiah – both literally and figuratively.

    So why stop now?! That has to be the question on Angelina’s enormous lips! When she was into her “Goth” blood-drinking-Billy-Bob-tattoo phase she amassed tats at much the same rate. Therefore, we KNOW she throws herself wholeheartedly into her passions.

    But what happens when the novelty wears off? When Mad and Z and all the rest are too big to carry, and therefore not such photo opportunities any more. When they are in their teens and
    ”not” looking like everyone else at school (or even in their own family) begins to be a problem. What happens when they want to know their culture and their history and their roots and they really do not want to have to schedule it around shooting schedules and visitation with dad and in between trips to all the other freaking countries mom decided to traffic children from What happens then?!

    Remember people, she is not the paragon of traditional family values. She does not speak to her own father, nor is she married to her daughter’s father. She and Brad had procreated before the ink was even dry on his divorce decree. She, herself, is twice divorced, thus demonstrating a pretty serious disregard for the whole commitment thang.

    She is merely a single rich American woman without a steady job.

    Angelina is high on her own PR right now. Her acting skills are not that good, so she never quite achieved the high level of fame her recent
    human trafficking has brought her. And one thing we, as Americans know, is that if one is good and two is better we must buy a dozen!

    Angelina believes in saving the children. In fact, She wants to collect the whole set.

    6.01.2006

    Grilled Cheese

    I have been missing my mom a lot lately. She was always able to make everything better. All I ever had to do was call and tell her I needed her and she would be right there. Usually, her first solution to any ailment, be it the fever or flu; grief or exhaustion; was to “go lay down.”

    What was great about this was that while you slept she whipped your daily life back into shape. She did the dishes. She folded the laundry. (The woman could fold anything you gave her into a perfect 10 X 10 square - even fitted sheets!) She would do the dishes, clean out your fridge and organize your pantry - all before bathing and feeding the kids.

    Then, most importantly, she made you grilled cheese sandwiches.


    Yup. Good old fashioned grilled cheese. White bread and American cheese. Perfectly grilled to a nice even tan. To this day I have never eaten a grilled cheese that came even close to comparing to my mom’s.

    I think it was really all about just letting someone else be in charge for a while. I was only able to rest so well because I knew she was on the job. And believe me, nothing bad was gonna happen on her watch. Even if it did, she would have it all fixed before I woke up. She was just like that.

    I could have shown up on my mom’s doorstep in the middle of the night and said, “I just killed a man,” and my mom would have shaken her head in only brief disappointment before she responded, “ Dammit! Let me get dressed and I’ll be right out to help you hide the body. If you must kill people I wish you’d at least do it at a reasonable hour.” Then she would grouse a bit as she gathered the appropriate tools for hiding a body.

    Yeah, that is another thing. My mom always had the right tool for any job.  She had things in the garage that I never learned the purpose for.

    She died almost 5 years ago and I still miss her like crazy. Lately I have had times where I have really needed one of those damned sandwiches. My laundry never gets folded, the dishes have water spots and my fridge currently has a pizza box balanced precariously on top of the milk carton, which is kind of stuck to the shelf with some sort of goo resembling spilled yogurt.

    Is it any surprise that my life started falling apart proportionally to my mom’s mental health? As her Alzheimer’s progressed I spent much energy railing against the unfairness of it all and driving her to and from doctor’s appointments. What little energy I had left was used up trying to just hold myself together. RB moved out the same week my mom was admitted to the nursing home. I do not even remember which happened first.

    All I know is that was the most difficult year of my life. I was defending my ability to parent my child while also saying goodbye to my mom. At one point RB even claimed that the time I was spending at the nursing home was subjecting my son to neglect. Meanwhile, mom had declined into an almost comatose state and my family kept hinting that I needed to be by her side more. In between all of this I was looking for my first job in almost a decade, visiting potential daycares and shuttling my kid to regular therapy appointments. I was also negotiating mom’s health care options, managing her accounts and feeding her cat. I was involved in two civil lawsuits in addition to the divorce. I was, quite simply, just barely holding it together.

    That is the state I was in one Sunday afternoon when I went to the nursing home. Apparently the usual entourage of family members had scattered for lunch. It was once again just me and my mom. I found myself tearfully telling her how scared and how tired I was. The more I talked the more emotion came out. Of course she could not respond, but I knew what she would have said.

    “You need to go lay down.” She would have said.

    So I did.

    I lowered the side rail to her hospital bed and climbed in. I curled up next to her with my head on her chest and for the next two hours we both let someone else be in charge. I drifted off comforted by her smell, by the smooth feel of her now paper thin skin and by the sound of her heartbeat against my ear.

    When I woke up I did feel better.

    Mom died two days later, but her final act, though one borne of her very inactivity, had been to give me one last rest on her watch. I consider that to have been an incredible and precious gift.