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!

Having limitations on your lifestyle is NOT the same as being poor.