Sunday, December 16, 2012


The bad guys got guns, so the good guys got guns.
The bad guys got bigger guns, so the good guys got bigger guns.

They lived in fear and arrogance and prayed to a mythical god for answers because knowing there was a plan would make sense of the senseless.

And they sorted everyone into victims and perpetrators because it was easier than looking in the mirror and stating the only plausible explanation:


I think in terms of us and them instead of brothers and sisters. I think I am more important than my fellow man. As long as I value myself, my people, and my things above everyone else's, there will be no peace."

They all armed themselves and invited their own destruction instead of loving each other so that all would thrive.

They were a foolish lot and the earth sighed in relief when they were all gone.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Happy New Month Eve!

No more moustaches, no more blog alarms, no more pretending pumpkin pie has no calories...November's coming to an end. And with her, the end of NaBloPoMo 2013. I came, I posted, I have a list of blogs that I didn't have time to write this month.

Will I ever?

Perhaps a book...

Blog Posts I Never Wrote. Make people pay for something they probably didn't want to read in the first place. Brilliant!

As always, thanks to the four of you for your unwavering support. And as your payment, I leave you with this...

A little Sally Field Camel Toe! :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Burger Night

Norfolk's a small town once you tap into the social grid. We like to bill ourselves as a city and we do have a small city vibe with arts and entertainment and a technology undercurrent. Many who see her true potential as untapped wring their hands and wonder how to keep the vibrant artistic and/or educated youngsters or how to attract more, but some of us think she may be just a-ok as she stands. These things have a way of working themselves out. I wouldn't want Norfolk to get too popular. Then I might have to wait in longer lines to do the things I enjoy. :)

But I digress...

One of the things I love about Norfolk -- and one of the things that makes going to the grocery store unshowered and disheveled so darn inconvenient -- is that once you tap into the grid, you're likely to run into friends everywhere.

Sure enough, Girlfriend and I met another couple for dinner at a relatively-new fancy shmancy restaurant that happens to have discounted burgers on Thursday nights. Delicious burgers at that! And we weren't there too long before two of our friends walked in, followed by two others. Granted, I was wondering why I hadn't been invited, but that's beside the point. ;) How great to be able to see some missed friends and check in and throw some hugs around! I may run the risk of running into people at Harris Teeter when I'm looking my worst, but it's worth it to always see a friendly face when I stray from home.

Norfolk, you're gonna be ok. Keep striving to be better and we'll keep showing up.

Damn, those were some great burgers! I can't wait to go back. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Do do do do do do do dooo do do do do

The highlights of the last 24 hours have included maniacal high-pitched dog barking, dog vomit, dog licking, a clogged toilet, a rear-ending (of the vehicle sort) with a little whiplash, a malfunctioning parking garage pass, and some court testimony. I'm sore and a little worn out -- physically and emotionally.

And then...

The soothing strains of Vince Guaraldi's "A Charlie Brown Christmas."


Everything's going to be OK.

But what a slew of emotions this TV special brings about. I remember watching it at my paternal grandparents' house. Which means it was probably shown on Sunday nights in the 70s. We were often there on Sunday nights. Much to my grandfather, Charlie's, chagrin. He'd scoot his rocking chair up thisclose to the TV and cup his right ear so he could hear "60 Minutes" while everyone else in the room tried to speak quietly or not at all. Having since suffered the frustration of people talking through one's program, I now have a better understanding of his position -- both literal and figurative.

I'm guessing he watched Charlie Brown with us as well. He loved Charlie Brown and had some of the original comic collections from the 50s. I loved flipping through them.

Group dance scene is on. :)

Am I the only one who feels guilty about religion when I see this? Such conflict. It was all so much easier when so many of us dutifully went to church and believed the stories... Linus' speech still gets me square in the heart and soul, but...

I'm not sure where Christianity fits into the fabric of my life anymore. But since I was raised by a village of Catholics and Lutherans, it's still in the tapestry -- even if the tapestry's up on a wall, as a family heirloom.

Too many thoughts. And I want to shut this thing off and watch the show. So, until tomorrow...

"...and on Earth peace, goodwill toward men."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Yeah, yeah, yeah

And so it's happened. I have to blog, I want to go to bed on time (in 14 minutes!), and I have NO IDEAS. I've been surfing the net and facebook for much of the evening to see if something catches my eye, to no avail... And for much of this time, there's been an undercurrent of one small white dog obsessively

(it'd be great if I got paid by the word)
licking the couch and a blanket and her foot and nearly any other surface she comes across.

My brain exploded about 2 hours ago.

She really is sweet and cute. Approximately 2% of any given day. She began this day at about 4:50am, barking loudly in the same frequency as nails on a chalkboard. Brain was severed at that point. I had recovered from the barking by about 5:20, when I got out of bed, only to discover my dog ralphing as I was about to get into the shower.

Why do they hate us?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Happy New Year!

After a week of pimento cheese, crackers, smoked gouda, crackers, brie, crackers, turkey, dressing, Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce, homemade breads, chocolate pavé, multiple bottles of red wine, and so much pumpkin pie that I eventually convinced myself it was a vegetable in order to live with myself, I went for my lunchtime run today.


When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one person to dissolve the fat bands which have connected them with butter, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separation of one's mouth and fork, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that she should declare the causes which impel her to the separation.

I'm doughy, tired, and out of shape.

And I'm thinking I should get a jump on my New Year's Resolutions as a result. Herewith, my list of 2013 Resolutions (upon which additions may be made in the future):

1. Get more sleep.
2. Eat better.
3. Run more.

Soooooo simple. Except that means I should be in bed by 9pm. Rather, asleep by 9pm. Someone break the news to Rachel Maddow. One of her viewers has to go sleepy-time instead of watching her show. And it all starts there for me. If I get an appropriate amount of sleep, I'll feel more compelled to run and will make better food choices.

So really, this is all Rachel's fault. And Obama's. But the election's over, so the daily political commentary isn't as dire and/or funny.

Now if I can just get someone to hide my phone so I don't stay up past my bedtime playing Words with Friends.

Wish me luck!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Toto, You Don't Smell Like Vomit Anymore!

I spent the better part of today doing laundry, knitting, and preparing myself mentally for re-entry into My Normal Life after a few days out of town. So if you're looking for something interesting, keep walking. :)

We arrived home late yesterday from our Thanksgiving trip to three breathing dogs, which was our primary goal. Our teenaged dog-sitter and her friend were gone, replaced by evidence of a Category 1 teenager tornado and an all-consuming odor of sour dog vomit -- whose source we could not locate. Thus began a few chaotic hours of sniffing, searching, scrubbing, vacuuming, and mopping.

And yet, 24 hours later, trace amounts of sour dog vomit smell persisted. It seemed to be localized to the little brown dog, but since she isn't one to throw up, we're still not entirely sure what happened. The larger spotted dog has been known to toss some yellow bile on occasion, but to my knowledge has never tossed it directly on the brown dog nor has the brown dog rolled around in it.

Brown dog just got a bath and the smell is finally gone.

A nanny-cam has been added to my list for Santa.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

What Dorothy Said

Even though I had a fantastic Thanksgiving in the mountains with my girlfriend and her family, there's no place like home.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Leftover Blog

Peas Steve Schmidt beer Santa Dad Daddy Mom Moo Girlfriend Lavallette the a an by amongst Bodhi kickball hair surgery Norfolk So anyhoo running pumpkin.


Some leftover words from old blogs. Because I'm out of town and not really in a position to spend a lot of time on this. Remember, it's NaBloPoMo -- it doesn't have to to be good, it just has to be posted. ;)

Hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving leftovers!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Socks

I'm thankful for a wonderful day, in a beautiful locale, with kind people who welcomed me into their home and fed me an enormous amount of delicious food.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to spend time with one of My Person's most important people -- her grandmother -- and to have watched them bake together.

I'm thankful for my mom, who no matter how far away, always seems to be on at least one page with me at all times.

I'm thankful for good friends -- ones I see frequently, ones I see infrequently, and the ones I only see online.

I'm thankful for health and happiness and employment and money to cover my needs.

And I'm especially thankful for My Person. For who she is. That she lets me love her and for her love of me. And for the SmartWool "Thanksgiving Socks" that she gave me last year and that with the ones I gave her last Christmas, we formed a tradition.

I'm thankful for the past, thankful for the present, and thankful for the prospect of a future.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I could probably start an entirely separate blog on the topic of Lavallette, NJ. But I'm out of town for Thanksgiving and not ready to broach the topic just yet. But as a teaser and because I'm so full of thankfulness right now...

My beloved childhood vacation bungalow is set for demolition. And lo and behold, so is her motherly 'big house' in front. Not because of Sandy, but because of neglect and a recent property sale. I'll have to come to terms with the demolition of this special house, built in 1920, but in the meantime...

Thanks to Facebook I was connected with a woman who knows the new owners. And in my sadness over what is to come I had a moment of panicked clarity and asked for the house number on the big house. I was assuming it didn't mean much, if anything, to the new owners and suspected if it was just going to wind up in a pile of rubble that I should follow the advice of Randy Pausch and just ask for what I wanted.

Sure enough, they said, "Yes."

And now, even though the residents of Lavallette are dealing with far more important things, the plans are in place for the transfer of a very special house number to my mother, and if she will relinquish it, to me.

Happy Thanksgiving, indeed.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

In Living Color

One of the things I've done for as long as I can remember is try to visualize the subjects of black and white photographs in color, almost always to no avail. I've spent most of my life thinking of the people as old souls, particularly the children.  I assumed their lives were probably marked with more hardships and suffering than mine, hence their serious look.

Well, that may be true, but take a look at these kids. They look pretty contemporary and fresh-faced, don't they?


American Life: Rare Color Photographs During WWII

Monday, November 19, 2012

For the Love of Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce

My girlfriend is in the kitchen making "cranberry sauce" and a strong citrus wave of orange has overtaken the living room. I've put cranberry sauce in quotation marks because as we all know there is only one Cranberry Sauce and it is jellied, canned, and magnificent:

Look! It even comes with evenly spaced ribs for accurate slicing. What is not to love?! It's tangy, it's cold, it's often REALLY cold, having been forgotten in the refrigerator until the Thanksgiving plates are full... But when it's remembered or frantically fetched, it is an integral part of Turkey Day.

Those of us who are life-long fans have had some adversity with which to contend.

-- And it was here I was going to tell you how long it's been since we could open both ends of the Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce can and gently push the cranberry sauce through the can until gravity took hold and sspphhluuuck the beautiful burgundy gelatinous mold would be deposited onto a serving dish -- only I can't find anything about it online. In fact, at least one person thinks that's the way it's still done!


About 5 years ago, maybe, a horrific change occurred. For whatever reason, Ocean Spray decided to create a permanent rounded seal on one end of the can, making it impossible for us to open it and gently push the tube onto a plate. Now we have to open one end and ever-so-gently slide a knife along the outside of the jelly in order to break the seal with the can. Then we turn it over and offer a bit of pre-Thanksgiving prayer. And we are thankful when that tart wonderfulness emerges from the can, but she's always got a nick or two, no matter how delicate you've been in your extraction efforts. The shame. She deserves better.

But once she's out, the party on your plate commences!

Once served, I personally like to cut my individual slice into a checkerboard pattern and eat each little piece separately. I believe Cranberry Sauce was the first thing I was allowed to cut with a butter knife. The independence! So exciting.

The leftover Cranberry Sauce is an integral party of my favorite Thanksgiving meal -- leftover turkey sandwiches. Mine are constructed thusly:

Two slices of rye bread. Add Hellman's mayonnaise to each. Cover one slice with a relatively thin layer of turkey pieces. No slices; too thick. Add a layer of refrigerated stuffing (STUFFING. Oh, that's a whole topic for another day). Then add two thin slices of Cranberry Sauce and the other slice of bread. Gently smush the whole thing together, allowing the Cranberry Sauce to create a much needed seal between the bread and stuffing (Yes, I know it's essentially a bread sandwich -- don't judge me!) so that the stuffing does not fall out of the sandwich during the inhalation process. Repeat as often as necessary or until resources are exhausted.

Fresh cranberries are fine. And I enjoy them -- I guess. But this Yankee wants her Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce. We're going out of town this year and my wonderfully thoughtful girlfriend warned our hostess (her mother) that I'd be bringing my Cranberry Sauce. I'm pretty sure we still have an extra can from last Thanksgiving in the fridge. Can't keep fresh cranberry sauce for a year or two. Nope!

Long live Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce! To the jellied revolution!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Just Add Cool Whip

I'm not really a big pie person, but I love a pumpkin pie.  Both of those are probably because pumpkin pies are the only ones I remember my maternal grandmother and mother making.  Although, as I type this, I have a vague memory of my grandmother also making apple pies on occasion.  I'll have to check with my mom...

My maternal grandmother, Grace, was my buddy.  She was beautiful and classy and annoyed her snarkier daughter and granddaughter by often saying, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."  Maybe it was her attempt to just silence us completely, I don't know.

So I very rarely heard Grace say a negative word.  But there were always a couple reserved for her pumpkin pies.  They were beautiful and delicious and always wound up looking like this:

And Grace would tsk and cluck and mutter that the pie was ruined and she couldn't believe it split and they never used to split and she didn't know what she could do differently and on and on. And we would tell her that they split every time and they were supposed to and nothing was different and they were beautiful and would be delicious and no one cared.

I miss those pumpkin pies in their 70s' glazed ceramic pie plates...

So how fortunate am I that I awakened this morning to my girlfriend whipping a pumpkin pie together? When it came out of the oven, it looked like this:

That separation is from the Knife Test and not from any splitting. And I thought, "Oh hell, Grace is sputtering right now!" I told my girlfriend about Grace and her pies and was relieved as the pie cooled and eventually split. That's the "After" picture at the top of this post.

See, Grace? They always split. <3

Saturday, November 17, 2012

T-bird Parade, Norfolk Style

It's no Macy's, but where else can you see Humpty Dumpty limbo under a traffic light?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Reverent about My Irreverence

You should know that my reservation in Hell was made long, long ago. That being said, this may get me upgraded, or downgraded as it were...

This is how a story was eked out to me on NPR very early this morning. I wasn't paying complete attention, but heard the gist of it.

"A flatbed truck was hit by a freight train yesterday in Texas.

The truck was operating as a float in a parade.

The float was carrying 20 Wounded Warriors when it was hit."

See? It sounds sick as I'm writing it, but I'm just twisted enough that I had to suppress an inappropriate grin as I realized what had happened.

I'm sorry for everyone involved, but COME ON.


[Before everyone starts yelling at me, I've supported Wounded Warriors and the USO over the years, so I'm not COMPLETELY callous. Just situationally, apparently.]

Thursday, November 15, 2012

No Such Thing as Free Fudge

I'm not sure if I've got one of those faces people feel they can open up to, if I'm often in the wrong place at the wrong time, or if I attract people who will just talk to whoever they come upon (I may in fact BE one of those people, so that answer seems like poetic justice).

For example, a woman -- only a few sentences into our strangerly exchange -- once exclaimed, "After the fifth time I'd been raped, I said, NO MORE.  I'm not going through this ever again!"

Yes, that really happened.

Today's Captain Overshare Award goes to our traveling contract IT guy.  He's an older man, very nice, and often contaminated with some sort of virus or bacteria.  As such, it's always best to wipe down one's phone, computer, desk, and chair arm rests with a disinfecting wipe after his visit.

He had occasion to visit my cube today while I was at lunch.  I thought he was gone when I got back until he busted me wiping down every exposed surface area on and around my desk...

I'm hoping he thought it was just because I knew he was sick.

He spotted a tin of Spam Lite ("Crazy Tasty!") that I won during a Beer Mile a few years back and we got to chatting.  It went something like this:

"I won that during a goofy race my friend organized.  I had to drink a beer, run a 1/4 mile; drink a beer, run a 1/4 mile; drink a beer, run a 1/4 mile; drink a beer, run a 1/4 mile."

"I don't drink beer.  (Pats large stomach).  This is all food.  My wife's a wonderful cook.  So was my mother.  My mother made the best fudge.  Do you like fudge?"

"I do!"  (I'm still feeling guilty about his seeing me wiping down my cube, so I'm being extra friendly.  Or just friendly.  It's not how I usually roll at work.  Or many places.  And soon you'll see why.)

"Then come with me!"  He scurries off two cubes away to the other computer he's trying to save and starts digging through his medium-sized Igloo cooler.

"Oh!  I don't actually NEED any fudge, what with the holidays coming..."

Yeah.  Forget it.  I had to eat the fudge in front of him.  And yes, it was delicious, but this guy is almost a complete stranger.  But I didn't want to be rude.  Like writing about him without his knowledge...

And from there, things got a little crazy.  I pretty much just nodded and smiled from this point on:

My mother didn't give her fudge recipe to my brother Blank's wife or my other brother Blank's wife, she only gave it to my wife.  My wife sits by the stove and stirs it, but if she has to go to the bathroom, I come over and stir it.  My wife has to wear one of those CPAP machines at night and I only get about 4 hours of sleep because I have to keep getting up to go to the bathroom since I had prostate cancer a few years back.  The tumor was the size of a softball and they said there were 3 things they could do: they could introduce the seed, but based on the size of it, they'd have to put so many in there that it would be dangerous; they could cut it out; or they could try radiation.  When I had the radiation, Number 1 felt like burning and Number 2 felt like razor blades!  When they went in to sample it beforehand, they used one of those things to examine me that they use on you when you get examined (gestures to his crotch area and then a little towards mine).  The first time I had the sampling done I wanted to scream in pain and that was only 4 samples.  The second time they said they were going to have to do it about 30 times and I thought, "Oh, no!"  I don't know what the second doctor did differently, but it didn't hurt at all.  He numbed it and then got right in there while the first doctor numbed it and waited a few minutes, so maybe that was it.  [Here we went through a thorough breakdown of his health insurance and out-of-pocket expenses.]  I had to get 4 hormone injections and they cost me $700 each!  My doctor's finger was about THIS BIG (shows me his raised forearm, bent at the elbow).

It was here that I was finally able to walk away.  There was A LOT more filler information, but the above includes the highlights.  I thought one of my coworkers was in the cubicle I was leaning against and when I asked her about it later, she just started laughing.  Yes, she heard the whole thing. And said that she hunkered down in her cube so he couldn't see her and suck her into the conversation!

Again, he's a really nice guy and he has to keep fixing these godforsaken computers we were issued last year and the fudge WAS delicious, but YOWZA.

You'll be happy to know that Number 1 no longer burns.  I have no idea about Number 2.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Happy Thanksgi--

"Then," said the Pilgrim mothers, "let us have a great Thanksgiving party, and invite the friendly Indians, and all rejoice together."

So they had the first Thanksgiving party, and a grand one it was! Four men went out shooting one whole day, and brought back so many wild ducks and geese and great wild turkeys that there was enough for almost a week. There was deer meat also, of course, for there were plenty of fine deer in the forest. Then the Pilgrim mothers made the corn and wheat into bread and cakes, and they had fish and clams from the sea besides.

The friendly Indians all came with their chief Massasoit. Every one came that was invited, and more, I dare say, for there were ninety of them altogether.  They brought five deer with them, that they gave to the Pilgrims."*

Then three of the Pilgrim mothers and four of the Pilgrim fathers excused themselves and headed for their Thanksgiving shift at Target.


My girlfriend mentors three little boys who are being raised by their relatives who have a difficult time making ends meet.  Girlfriend purchases what she can for them, but she doesn't have much disposable income herself.  So there are lots of discussions about the difference between Wants and Needs.  And the boys, all under the age of twelve, completely understand the difference between the two.  Perhaps they can give a master class on the concept to the folks who spent approximately $52 billion on Black Friday last year.  

Last time I checked, Target, Walmart, and Best Buy weren't running specials on oxygen tanks, ventilators, apartments, or food for Black Friday.  And what are we calling the sales on Thanksgiving?  Is it Brown Thursday in keeping with the color of a roasted turkey? has occurred to me that maybe some of the employees required to work on Thanksgiving are actually looking forward to an escape.  "Hey, I'd love to clear the table and do the dishes, but my shift starts in a few minutes."  If that's true, well then, good on them.  Their secret is safe and since it's not likely shoppers will stop trampling each other to obtain that 362-inch must-have TV or whatever gaming system Obese Johnny needs this Christmas, there's a Nativity Scene's chance in a Federal Building that these stores will stop encroaching on Thanksgiving.  

So maybe skip the turkey this year, Target employee.  That tryptophan placebo effect is gonna make you mighty sleepy during your shift!  

*From The First Thanksgiving by Nora Smith

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Shiver Me......Lipids

Had to venture out into the cold windy rain one too many times today and as I shivered on The Tide after waiting outside for about 10 freezing minutes, a potential tweet occurred to me.

Because I think in potential tweets now.

I'm not proud.

Said tweet was along the lines of, "Wasn't able to run today, but my shivering has burned X calories per minute!  I shiver faster than I run, so..."

I was kinda kidding, but decided to look it up.  The first site returned on my internet search belongs to an organization whose founder has amazing athletic abilities -- some would say unnatural -- and so I'm sure the integrity of the information is sound.

According to, shivering is "NEAT," or "Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis."

What's this, you say??  Non-exercise?  Tell me more...

"NEAT refers to ways to burn calories without exercising. When you get cold, your muscles involuntarily tense and then relax to warm your body. When shivering, you can burn up to 400 calories per hour, according to the website That's Fit."

Oh good, they got the information elsewhere.  ;)  

400 calories per hour?!  Thanks to the 40-degree air being pumped into my cubicle on a daily basis and the drop in outdoor temps, I should be a skeleton by spring.  Sexy!  

According to my calculations, I actively burned approximately 60 calories earlier today, totally wiping out the 5 chocolate chip, peanut butter chip, oatmeal cookies I ate yesterday.  

And guess what?  There are a bunch of other non-exercise activity thermogenesis activities that are non-exercise.  Hell, just typing that nonsense must have burned a quarter-cal, dontcha think?

According to "A Few Unique Ways to Burn Extra Calories -- NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis)" b

If you search online, you can find some mini-steppers that can power your computer as well.  Throw in some cymbals, a horn, chalk, and a British accent and you too can be Bert from Mary Poppins!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Elmo's Got Laryngitis!

Hmm...Am I being lulled into a false sense of security?  I'm on the iPad tonight and yet here I am seemingly composing a blog.  I'm sure you're just thrilled with this almost daily update on my abilities to publish my blog on various devices.  If things start working well consistently, I'll move on to a daily report of my bowel movements in order to hold your interest...

Speaking of...

Just kidding.  ;)

So how 'bout that Elmo?  Hee hee hee hee that tickles.


Is nothing sacred?  I am trying desperately to calm my crazy ass down post-election and then this happens.  I was JUST saying to my girlfriend the other day (think we were discussing the Petraeus resignation) that one of the reasons I like Obama is that I believe he's a genuinely good man.  I believe that he is in love with his wife, treats her as a full partner, respects her -- and would never cheat on her.

Please, for the love of Big Bird, can he be the one guy that doesn't let everyone down?

Speaking of...

Poor Elmo.  His voice gets accused of having an affair with an underage young man and Elmo has to sit in a box during his voice's leave of absence.

Disclaimer: I blasted Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno, and Penn State all over Facebook and Twitter and would be doing the same about Kevin Clash (the voice o' Elmo) if the situation were similar.  But I believe him when he says his accuser was of legal age when they hooked up.  Which is 17-years-old in New York.

I know, right?  It still seems a little........  Maybe it's because Mr. Clash was 45 at the time.  Maybe it's because he's around children all the time.  Maybe it's because he spends his days with his hand up a puppet's ass.

I don't know.  But legally, it doesn't sound like he did anything wrong.  Here, read this story:

Voice of Elmo Denies Sex w/Underage Boy

And just so we're alllll clear on the matter.  So those of you who have a hankerin' for a young hunk of cheese will know when to keep your distance, herewith the Ages of Consent in Lotsa Places, even though the Wikipedia titles just says "North America."

Have fun! 

Ages of Consent

Sunday, November 11, 2012

17th Try's the Charm?

While there wasn't a Blogger app in the ol' App Store for the iPad, I found this little nugget for my iPhone. Is this the NaBloPoMo cure I've been looking for??

Let's see what one of the reviewers has to say:

Well, I've uploaded a picture of the review, but I don't know where it is within the blog post. lol! This may explain this app's 2.5 out of 5 stars average after 933 reviews... I'm going to have to publish this thing to see where the picture is. Fantastic. Why is it so damn hard to be recreationally entertaining/creative online in 2012?! I could do more on MySpace five years ago than I can do now on two spiffy Apple products...

That's my technology pep talk for the day. As you were. ;)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

We Most Certainly Will NOT Be Making Lemonade!

I'm sorry (somewhat) that I've seemed so political lately and maybe I'll wind down now that the election's over, but I doubt it. I think I've been political (read: outspoken) most of my life. And in keeping with that, I'd like to state for the record how much I love lemons.

Yes, lemons. Lemon anything makes me happy. And lemons -- not limes! -- in many a Corona Light and her mini-me, Coronita, has made me a happy girl over the years. I don't know if it was due to preference or personal citrus stock, but when Todd Johnston (NPHS Class of 1984 and a major 1983 crush of mine) gave me my first Corona many years later, it was with a lemon. I loved it and never switched.

It's caused me to do the same ridiculous gesture at Mexican restaurants for 20 years:

May I have a Corona Light with lemon please? 
(server nods enthusiastically, albeit blankly)
With a LEMON, not a lime. 

It's here that I add my gesture for good measure. As I'm saying LEMON slowly and clearly, I hold up my thumb and forefinger to form a C as if I'm holding a lemon wedge and not a lime wedge.

The lime wedge C would be much smaller, silly. 

And then when my Corona Light arrives with a lime, we go through my personal Talking Charades once again. Then I usually get a little bowl with many lemon wedges which make me happy because one just can't have enough lemons. 

I've wanted a lemon tree for a bunch of years now. Preferably in a giant terra cotta pot on the stone patio of my Tuscan villa, but I digress. I've wanted a lemon tree and learned in the last few years that they can actually grow successfully where I live. And so, my girlfriend got me a lemon tree last year for my birthday. We asked the nursery worker if it would actually grow lemons and he scoffed at us. "Put it in a pot and watch them grow!"

Sure enough. They began to grow. My birthday is in May and we had the tree outside all summer. Dark green fruit began to spring up all over and get bigger and bigger and bigger and...


I was beginning to have my doubts. We moved her inside to a sun porch about a month or so ago and noticed a slight nearly-imperceptible change taking place a few weeks ago. Without further ado, may I introduce........My first lemon!! 

Isn't she beautiful? Girlfriend keeps asking me what I'd like to make with the lemon and I keep telling her I'm going to shellack it and keep it forever. How could I possibly eat her?! It's taken her nearly six months to get here. Maybe we'll eat the next one. But not this one. I can't bear the thought of plunging a knife into her. My girlfriend is clearly a barbarian.

Friday, November 9, 2012

100% Genuine

This is what President Barack Obama says to his supporters when he doesn't know he's being recorded:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Declaration of Non-Dependence

Tonight's a two-fer, my friends!

Firstly, if ever the country was going to adopt a Mission Statement (I mean, besides that ol' rag, the Constitution), I recommend the following, from last night's Rachel Maddow Show:

Ohio really did go to President Obama last night. And he really did win. And he really was born in Hawaii. And he really is legitimately President of the United States. Again. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month. And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy. And the polls were not skewed to oversample Democrats. And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad. Nate Silver was doing math. And climate change is real. And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes. And evolution is a thing! And Benghazi was an attack ON us, it was not a scandal BY us. And nobody is taking away anyone's guns. And taxes have not gone up. And the deficit is dropping, actually. And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. And the moon landing was real. And FEMA is not building concentration camps. And UN election observers are not taking over Texas. And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as Communism.

Listen. Last night was a good night for liberals and for Democrats for very obvious reasons. But it was also, possibly, a good night for this country as a whole. Because in this country we have a two party system, in government. And the idea is supposed to be that the two sides both come up with ways to confront and fix the real problems facing our country. They both propose possible solutions to our real problems. And we debate between those possible solutions. And by the process of debate, we pick the best idea. That competition between good ideas, from both sides, about real problems in the real country should result in our country having better choices, better options, than if only one side is really working on the hard stuff. And if the Republican party, and the conservative movement, and the conservative media is stuck in a vacuum sealed, door locked, spin cycle of telling each other what makes them feel good, and denying the factual, lived truth of the world, then we are all deprived, as a nation, of the constructive debate between competing, feasible ideas about real

Last night the Republicans got shellacked. And they had no idea it was coming. And we saw them, in real time, in real humiliating time, not believe it even as it was happening to them. And unless they're going to secede, they're going to have to pop the factual bubble they have been so happy living inside, if they do not want to get shellacked again. And that will be a painful process for them, I'm sure, but it will be good for the whole country - left, right, and center. You guys, we're counting on you. Wake up.

There's real problems in the world. There are real knowable facts in the world. Let's accept those and talk about how we might approach our problems differently. Let's move on from there. If the Republican party, and the conservative movement, and conservative media are forced to do that by the humiliation they were dealt last night, we will all be better off as a nation. And in that spirit...congratulations everybody.

I believe in Rachel's hope for our nation wholeheartedly, but I don't think the majority of Republicans are ready just yet.  Bringing me to the second portion of tonight's post...

I've heard the following assessment repeatedly over the last 48 hours from the Republican talking heads.  And even worse, from females in addition to the usual suspects:  "We have developed a welfare culture where almost half of us are doing nothing but getting government handouts."

Yes, by all means, dismiss everyone who voted for President Obama's reelection as being on the dole.  Of all my friends, coworkers, and family members who voted for President Obama, I can tell you that none of us is on welfare.  Nor are any of us looking to be on welfare or hoping to live -- extravagantly, of course -- on government handouts.  But damned if that isn't what they keep telling each other. 

Here's a mindblowing suggestion for all of you Republicans -- who aren't actually reading this blog.  ;)

If you don't want people to depend on welfare, educate them as children so that they have a better chance at succeeding as adults.

Educate people so that they may choose -- or invent! -- careers that have a demand and purpose in our world.

Educate people so that they are more likely to value their lives and their bodies and take better care of themselves. 

Educate people so that they are less likely to have unexpected and unwanted pregnancies.

Educate people so that they can care for their children better and stop the cycle of poverty and abuse.

Educate people so that they can make better decisions for themselves and can become involved in their communities and government.

Educate people so that they are not afraid of change and can adapt to new technologies and realities of our CONSTANTLY CHANGING WORLD.

Educate people so that they don't fear those who are different than they.

Educate people so that they have the confidence to be their best selves and be productive members of society.

EDUCATE PEOPLE.  Elementary, middle, and high schools should be training grounds for successful American citizens. 

Ah, but you don't really want any of that, do you?  You'd rather sit there and complain about all of the people you have no desire to help.  You want them weak and poor and baby factories that are so distracted by their desperate need to survive that they don't notice you are exploiting them, your country, and your environment for your own disgustingly selfish agenda. 

You are only interested in dominating those you deem less than yourselves. 

But you've made a horrible miscalculation.  Perhaps if many of you actually believed in evolution, you'd understand something called Natural Selection.  Survival of the fittest.  Change, adapt, evolve.  The times, they are a-changin'.  They have been all along.  And instead of investing in the betterment of your fellow man, you've done nothing but try to keep us in our place.  A place dictated by you. 

Well guess what, my old white friends?  Your days are numbered.  And you had better pray to your God -- the real God, not the one you misinterpret to suit your needs -- that those you oppressed don't treat you as you treated them. 

You do not deserve a shred of decency from this soon-to-be former minority.  But you'll get it.  Because you are rapidly becoming the past and we are not looking back.  We are moving forward.  This is America.  It is in fact a melting pot.  And if you don't like that, you are welcome to leave. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Whenever I Call You Friend


I've taken strides to use the word correctly.  When I began playing kickball and suddenly had a couple hundred acquaintances, I'd find myself making the distinction when talking to others.  "A friend of mine...well, actually, an acquantance of mine..." as if giving the friend designation to an acquaintance would somehow dilute the true friend's stature in my head, heart, and life. 
And it does. 
I have a couple coworkers who are friends and I sometimes stammer over their title when talking about them.  "My coworker...well, she's really my coworker-slash-friend..." sometimes trips off my tongue.  On good days, I settle on "A coworker who's a friend of mine," because I think it matters.  I have coworkers who are not friends and coworkers who are.  For whatever reason, that stratification matters to me.
Then along came Facebook to muck everything up with their new word, "Friend." 
Oh, the Friend Requests came rolling in and went rolling out. 
I know him!  I know her!  I haven't seen him since we graduated 20 years ago!  That girl lived down the street from my grandparents when I was 5!  Didn't we just meet 10 minutes ago?!
Hello!  How are you?  Where do you live now?  Are you married?  Kids? 
These scintillating questions and many more could be answered via the Facebook Friendship.
But a funny thing happened with time. 
Some of us started pruning our Friends list.  Out of concern for my professional life, I started limiting the access of coworkers to my personal life on Facebook.  I didn't limit the access of my friends; just my acquaintances.
Per Merriam-Webster, an acquaintance is a person whom one knows but who is not a particularly close friend.
As I pruned my Friends list, I decided they had to fall into one of three categories in order to stay:
1.  We have to be friends in real life;
2.  We have to interact on Facebook occasionally; or
3.  I have to feel too guilty deleting you. 
That last one has kept many a person on my list. 
And then came the 2012 Presidential Election Season.
Hoooooo Nellie!
Legitimate rape
Binders of Women
Rape babies being gifts from God
As an outspoken Liberal lesbian woman, I had some fun during the last six months or so.  And I came to a very clear understanding of myself, the position of the Republican Party, and my willingness -- or lack thereof -- to have people who support the Republican Party as my Friends.  And ultimately, as my friends.
I made my position known to people over the last few days.  I had been Unfriending acquaintances all along based on some of their political posts.  But knowing some folks were keeping their feelings close to their chests, I made a declaration.  Basically, if you vote for Mitt Romney, go ahead and delete me. 
In my mind, we would always be acquaintances, but there was no need for us to be Friends and certainly not friends.  I would not let someone come into my home and deny me basic human rights, so why on earth would I allow these people access to my personal life online?  There is no "agree to disagree" on this issue and yes, I am intolerant of your intolerance.  Guess what?  I'm allowed to be.  As a member of several minority groups being oppressed by a majority, I get to be intolerant of your views.  I have no power over you.
Except this.
If you were my friend, you'd fight for me.  If you were my friend, you'd fight for everyone.  If you were my friend, there would be no issue so important that you would overlook the insanity that is the 2012 Republican Party Platform.  We just do not agree on some very basic concepts.
And so, you do not get to be my Friend or friend.  You are an acquaintance.  I will not be rude to you and will greet you should we run into each other in person.  But that's all I have for you. 
If you truly support the Republican Party, I don't know why you'd want to be friends with me in the first place. 
You see, the word friend means something to me.  And no matter what Facebook thinks, Friends are not necessarily friends. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I would like to go to sleep tonight, so for God's sake, do not pull a Truman-Dewey switch on me tonight!!!!!!  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Eve!

Isn't this exciting? In just 2, maybe 3, worst case scenario -- 6 weeks, we'll know who won the 2012 Presidential Election! Or who stole it, depending on which side of the Crazy Line you fall. Speaking of...for the 5 brain damaged* people who are still somehow undecided about this election, I present to you:

1. You believe women have a right to ultimately choose what to do with their own bodies.
2. You do not believe in forcing a teenaged girl with special needs who was raped by her grandfather to carry her grandfather's baby for 9 months and deliver said baby -- nor would you regard it as a "miracle from God."
3. You do not believe in tax breaks for corporations whose shareholders and CEOs siphon mass quantities of profit -- that are a result of those tax breaks -- from the corporations and into their pockets rather than letting the money "trickle down" to the workers.
4. You think the government should get out of the marriage business and leave it to the churches or that if the government insists on staying in the marriage business, it should change to civil unions and offer them up to any two consenting adults.
5. You believe the haves should help the have-nots.
6. You believe that your government has helped you along the way by providing you with teachers, law enforcement, emergency services, firefighters, infrastructure, safety regulations, etc.
7. You love the earth and its creatures and want to see them helped, preserved, and not exploited.
8. You believe education is important, in its many forms.
9. You believe if given the opportunity most people will excel and would like to see the initial playing field leveled.
10. You believe every United States citizen over the age of 18 has a right to vote and you would never limit someone's ability to do so.
11. You know that 6 - 4 = 2, no matter how you slice it. If you take from one place, you have to give to the other.
12. You don't lie to get what you want.
13. You think it's ridiculous that healthcare has become prohibitively expensive, with the insurance companies benefitting far more than the consumers.
14. You believe that one of the richest countries in the world must find a way to feed and clothe her citizens, preferably by giving them ways to become self-sufficient.
15. You are not threatened by people based on their color, gender, sexual orientation, or country of origin.
16. You are not threatened by intelligence and encourage it.
17. You do not impose your religious beliefs on others.
18. You are interested in the truth, no matter what it may be.
19. You believe in diplomacy, but recognize that force is sometimes needed.  You do not believe in blowing up the rest of the world.
20. You trust that sometimes the President knows more than you do about a given situation and you're ok letting him (her, one day) handle it without criticism -- at least for the first 72 hours.

And if you're an independent, please find someone closest to your beliefs who has a chance of winning. Otherwise you're going to skew this whole thing. ;)

 I have to go make my cookies for Obama Claus now!

*No offense to genuinely brain damaged people. If you had a month or a bracelet, I'm sure I'd throw some money your way.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Giddyup, High Horse

I'm finding myself less and less tolerant of ignorance and intolerance.  And I'm finding it easier and easier to select that "Unfriend" button on the ol' Facebook.  I'm not sure if this is bad or not.  And it doesn't necessarily mean that I don't want to be friends with you, it just means I can't bear to see your posts anymore.  Well, maybe it does mean that I just don't want to be friends with you anymore, because I do have that option of hiding your status updates but instead, I make a clean break.

I don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings by unfriending them, I just choose to remove that negativity from my orbit.

Two people got deleted today over their comments concerning the Sandy recovery response.  An old high school friend started ranting that we can send thousands of troops overseas at a moment's notice, so why does his brother still not have electricity...

Patience, not really an American virtue.

Another high school friend first bashed Obama for his "photo op" response and wanted to know why he wasn't doing more and then went on to agree with someone who said it's a good thing the Republicans fight for our gun rights so that we can arm ourselves and protect ourselves from looters after major disasters.

Oh.......where to start?

I'm not sure what part of this storm's destruction they're not understanding.  I am 100% confident that EVERYTHING that can possibly be done is being done.  Whole infrastructures need to be rebuilt in some places in order to return folks to normalcy.  I'm equally confident that President Obama is doing everything in his capacity to help his fellow Americans.  He cannot just snap his fingers and return everything back to Saturday, October 27th.  To think otherwise is utterly ridiculous.

I know people are getting impatient and I understand.  I lost power for a week after Hurricane Isabel and that was nothing compared to what most people are suffering following Sandy.  I know any change to my routine gets old quickly, so I can only guess how over this everyone is.  But being irrational, getting angry, and blaming the President isn't going to make anything happen any faster than it can.  Things take as long as they take.

I'm also enjoying the scoffing towards other countries for not rushing to our aid.  I'm not even sure they're not.  We may just not know of it yet.  But I can tell you that in many natural disasters, when Americans offer help, it's to countries that are far worse off than we are on a normal day.  Haiti was hurting before the earthquake ever hit.  The Haitians are not going to be able to funnel money to NY and NJ.  Not because they don't want to, but because they can't.  We as a country pride ourselves on helping others -- whether they be our fellow Americans or citizens of other countries.  Can we PLEASE have a little class and remember that we donate to others out of goodwill and not with the expectation that the gesture will be reciprocated?  And if you can't do that, then please, keep your damn money in the first place.  Help others because it's the right thing to do, not because you expect something in return.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sharrow Har

A-HA!  Victory is mine!!

Since I suspected this was some sort of weird Google-Apple fight, I checked to see if I could get Chrome for my iPad.  And because I only know thismuch about computers, I wrongfully assumed that I could not get Chrome for iPad.  Sure enough, there's an app for that.  And now my blog is working on my iPad, via Chrome.

So now what the heck are we going to talk about for the remaining 27 days of November?

Perhaps an investigation of Norfolk's new bike lanes, which seem likely to decrease the number of bicyclists in Norfolk:

Yes, that's one of the new "bike lanes," smack in the middle of a "car lane."  It seemed like some sort of trap to me.  Here, bikey bikey bikey....BAM! 

I did a quick google search.  ("Google" is rapidly becoming this month's inadvertent blog theme.)

Seems this isn't an accident -- or an accident waiting to happen -- at all. 

It's a "sharrow."  According to Bike Norfolk, a sharrow is a "shared-lane marking... [that] is placed in the center of a travel lane to indicate that a bicyclist may use the full lane. The name sharrow is a portmanteau of share and arrow."

Surprisingly and perhaps disappointingly, portmanteau is not a wine.

Something tells me it's going to take a minute or two for these symbols to catch on.  I have enough trouble surviving some of these streets on my Vespa, so I can only imagine what it's going to be like for a hairless, spandex shorts wearing man (or Danica) to just commandeer a full car lane in Norfolk.  I'm hoping these flattened bike images aren't soon joined by flattened bike and flattened human images, in chalk.

By the way, the victory I spoke of above was short lived.  I may have accessed my blog from my iPad, but I had to finish this bad boy up on the laptop again.  All because of the photo.  I won't go into it, but this teensy blog post took me about 2 hours, mostly due to the photo. 

Oh!  And trying to find a DONATE NOW widget to connect you fine folks to the American Red Cross.  My searching was futile, so I just added a link to the top right.  PLEASE donate if you can and then donate again in a few weeks.  The people of NJ and NY are suffering and will be for quite some time.  Any amount you can contribute will help and will be appreciated.

Thank you from a Jersey Girl.  :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sally Field Camel Toe (Subtitle: So I Googled)

Still can't write my blog on my iPad.  I suspect there's some sort of Google vs. Apple conspiracy going on.  Blogspot was aquired by Google at some point and now suddenly I can't use my Apple product to compose and publish on Blogspot... 

Similarly, I used to have a site meter on my blog that tracked the number of visitors and other information and it suddenly crapped out on September 24, around the same time people started asking the Internet Gods (in vain) what the Blogspot error code I am now receiving (bx-g90x6h) means.  Hmm...coincidence?

Probably.  :)

I emailed Site Meter, the host of my site meter (natch), about the problem and received an email saying my email had been received and would be handled post haste! 

And then several days went by.

And then a week or two went by.

And then I remembered to check Site Meter and saw that nothing had changed.  I responded to the customer service email and received one of those Mailer-Daemon bounce back emails. So I googled my problem (the irony!) and discovered that many people were posting a similar problem around the same time and that they had all received the same email I did, only to have no further action taken.

Wah wah...

I've since given up on Site Meter and shut it down.  Which I realize is like slamming a screen door when the main door is already closed...

Never fear, I can still track some information on my blog, thanks to some new features at Blogspot. 

For example, I now know that of the top ten search terms that deliver people to my blog, #4 is "Sally Field cameltoe" and #7 is "Sally Field camel toe."  You were wondering how we were going to get to this blog's title weren't you? 

I was perplexed all around.  Why are so many people searching "Sally Field camel toe"?  Why are even more people searching "Sally Field cameltoe"??  And when on earth did I blog about Sally Field's camel toe? 

So I googled "Sally Field camel toe." 

I first discovered that google actually searches "Sally Field cameltoe."  Is it one word?  I would never have suspected.  You'd think that camel toe would have a space between the two words, wouldn't you?  Kind of like a...camel toe? 

I then discovered that my lil' ol' blog shows up as the 7th search result.  Not bad.  The blog in question is here:

The Aging of Sally Field

Lemme know when you find the camel toe.  It took me a second.  The owner of the camel toe is always the last to know.

Thanks to my best friend, Lauren, for providing half of the two Top 10 popular search terms on my blog and may she and her family please get electricity soon!  I'll cover Sandy and the Jersey Shore at some point, but in the meantime, please donate to the American Red Cross if you can.  ANY amount will help!  Go here ---> American Red Cross and thanks! 


Thursday, November 1, 2012

No Shave NaBloPoMo!

Wow.  That just took far too much work.  Seems my blog doesn't like my iPad and wouldn't let me sign on.  So here I am on one of those old fashioned laptops.  I'm Amish Blogging tonight. 

Is it a bit of jealousy?  Does my blog know that one of the reasons I've neglected it so much is that my attention has wandered to my iPad?  The iPad that was obtained partially with the hope that I'd write more? 


So there she sits.  With her nifty bluetooth keyboard.  Just like a laptop...  Though useless for the next 30 days of NaBloPoMo.  Or is it 31?  Thirty days hath September, something something something.  That's all I know.


Yes, friends, it's November.  And as some of you know, NaBloPoMo is National Blog Posting Month, in which 25% of the nearly 83% of the human population who currently have a blog of some kind vow to post an entry every day for the month of November.  It doesn't sound that difficult, but you'd be surprised.  Clearly quality is not an issue as you've probably ascertained already, but still, just finding the time to bang on the ol' keys can be a problem.  I failed last year, but I don't even remember why.

Which is one of the reasons that this year I'm considering combining NaBloPoMo with No Shave November!  Whaddya think?  Can I grow out these mutton chops to their full potential?  End the month looking like I'm smuggling a member of ZZ Top in my pants?

Perhaps this would be a good time to point out that I'm female.

And in my forties.

So I've already begun the process of sprouting unacceptable quantities of hair in strange places. 

Seems win-win to me.  Perhaps a photo each day?  Maybe a comparison to hirsute women through time?  "Today I was all Frida Kahlo."  "I'm hoping for Gertrude Stein legs by the 10th..."

This NaBloPoMo is gonna be a BREEZE.  Right through my righteously fluffy upper thigh hair.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Do Better

If you don't want to be discriminated against, be WHITE.
If you don't want people to dictate your reproductive rights, be MALE.
If you don't want to be denied the benefits of marriage, be STRAIGHT.

What rights have you lost or been denied today?

Probably none. Either tell us, "Sucks for you!" or DO SOMETHING about it. Use your undeserved advantage to help those who are oppressed.

Can you imagine a world in which we're all just HUMAN?

No stratification based on gender or race or sexuality?

Is it really so hard to envision?

What are you afraid of?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Voldemort Drinking Game

I used to think it was coincidental. Seems every time I’m within earshot of Voldemort – which is quite the range considering her propensity to yell nearly every sentence – she brings up one or both of her sons. The ones I helped raise for a few years. The ones she never let me say goodbye to when we split. I was just *poof!* gone from their lives one day. I’ve gotten over it, truly, but I still think it’s a good indication of her selfishness.

Anyhoo, I was just using the copier and heard her arrive in the room. She started telling a FASCINATING story to one of our Admin Assistants that went something like this:

“I was at the school for most of the day Saturday because we had a band competition. B stayed there even later and he called me around 10 o’clock that night and said, ‘What’s for dinner?’ I said, ‘B….I hadn’t planned on making anything for dinner.’ I just figured he’d have some of the Chick-Fil-A sandwiches they had in the concession stand. He told me, ‘OK Mom, don’t worry about it.’

He drove home a little while later and he comes in with 20 burgers and a bunch of Chick-Fil-A sandwiches. He ate most of them by the next morning.”

The poor Admin Assistant threw in a few “Uh-huhs” along the way, but she’s not getting this time back. And now, neither are you.

But I’d like to take this opportunity to thank God, Buddha, the Heavens, the Universe, everything that is Holy, wise, kind, and so very much smarter than I for releasing me from what was surely the stupidest mistake of my life!


I may turn this into a drinking game. Every time she mentions her kids out of the blue in front of me, I shall have a drink later that evening in her honor. I will laugh, I will smile, and I will raise my glass high and be thankful for how wonderful my life is now and how I have somehow – inexplicably – landed the most amazing woman as my partner. <3

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bus Stop

On my short trip back to work from therapy on the light rail train, I was awakened from my daydream (read: Words With Friends move) to a one-sided obscenity-laced phone conversation.  The “tsks” and curses were broken up by the speaker reprimanding the train conductor for going too slow, not speeding up when the speaker thought she should, and potentially causing her to miss her bus.  I was already composing my 140-character tweet summary of her train tirade when she walked towards me.  I glanced at her and saw a mildly dirty polyester uniform, possibly cafeteria issued.  She approached the train door doing the dance of impatience and as the train slowed to a stop, she repeatedly pressed the automatic door opener in an effort to make it do the impossible – open faster.  She was still on the phone and as the door finally opened, she took off running for the bus stop.  The NET was just pulling away and she didn’t stop running, so I assumed that wasn’t the bus she needed.  I thought her reaction on the train was somewhat extreme until I remembered hearing that some buses only leave the area once a day.  If she missed her bus, it may very well have caused her a lot of stress and inconvenience.  While she was running, I saw that her legs were bowed inward.  I had long since stopped formulating my tweet.  My problems are nothing compared to the ones I imagine she has or has had.  I’m thankful for her reminder and I hope she catches her bus. 

Hypocrisy, Thy Name is Paul Ryan

"When I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life. I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself. That's what we do in this country. That's the American Dream. That's freedom, and I'll take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners."

So sayeth the misogynist with this record:

How Would a Vice President Paul Ryan Affect Women?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ya Can't Argue With That! Literally...

When all is said and done, I -- and I'd guess ALL of my friends -- support the right of someone to state his opinion. In fact, we encourage it. It helps us know where we stand. But "agree to disagree" will remain wholly unsatisfactory as long as the majority fights to suppress my minority. We will NOT go back into the closet. And these are the types of arguments we're dealing with. Since this one speaks for itself, I thought it best to let you view it directly:

And if you're curious, this is the link that was posted. I could no longer get to it this morning, so hopefully it's back up when you're reading!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Aunt Jo & Uncle Ken

So I had a bit of a kerfluffle with a couple family members yesterday that I may or may not elaborate on in the future. As it had already been an incredibly emotional day and as I was suffering from Week 6 of PMS (menopause, anyone?) I impulsively deleted this blog post. Thanks to the internet's creepy snapshotting of pages, I was able to track it down and republish. The comments are now part of the blog post because I was unable to replicate them... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Aunt Jo & Uncle Ken (originally published on February 27, 2012) You know you’re close to your family when your doctor asks if there have been any deaths in your family, you say your uncle just died and when she asks, “How?” you’re not entirely sure. I looked puzzled for a second and then said, “Old age? He was 92…” This seemed to satisfy the doctor, but I realized in that split second that I didn’t really know…and was embarrassed.

I don’t really consider myself actively estranged from my father’s side of the family, but there it is. My Uncle Ken, who passed away last weekend, was one of my paternal grandmother’s brothers. And while that man was in my life, or I in his, I adored him. He was smiles and tattoos and tobacco to me when I was growing up. And in the complicated environment that was my father’s family, smiles in my direction were not always plentiful. So his were doubly appreciated.

He was married to my Aunt Jo, a woman whose height I surpassed around the age of 7 but whose enthusiasm I may never match. I was greeted by her the same way every time: she’d clasp her hands in front of her chest and then throw them upwards (perhaps downwards for the first six years of my life) and proclaim, “AMY!” with more love and happiness than any child ever deserved. And then I’d be hugged within an inch of my life by Aunt Jo and Uncle Ken.

Pure joy.

As I got older and became privy to family gossip (some true; most exaggerated, I imagine) and fell victim to teenage angst (some reasonable; most exaggerated, I imagine) I began to look at my father’s family members differently. There was a divorce and loyalties and the foolish notion that time was endless and people could be taken for granted. The end result? I didn’t see my family much. But on the few occasions I saw Aunt Jo and Uncle Ken, they welcomed me the same way.

Their daughter, MaryBeth, was my favorite babysitter when I was a wee snot. I thought she was the greatest thing in the world. We reconnected around the time it became legal for me to drink and started going out on occasion. We even wound up on the same bowling team. Things were done and things were said and we haven’t spoken in about 20 years...

Aunt Jo passed away in relative secrecy in 1996 from cancer. She didn’t want anyone to know she was sick. I have to assume it’s because she wanted everyone to remember her as that ball of energetic happiness. And so, I never got to tell her how much she meant to me or say goodbye.

Surely, I would do a better job with Uncle Ken.

Alas, Uncle Ken moved in with MaryBeth about 13 years ago and I think I’ve seen him only once or twice since then. I’m sure it was at funerals.

I almost always saw Aunt Jo and Uncle Ken at my grandparents’ house. It seems there was something going on almost weekly. Someone’s birthday or milestone or rite of passage. Whatever it was, it called for a gathering backed by a cold cut platter and hard rolls. My great Aunt Rhoda and her husband, Kiel, and until she passed, my great grandmother, Gram, lived next door to my grandparents. So it was fairly easy to get everyone together – half the people lived next door to each other.

I think about those times and I want to apologize to my deceased father. I failed miserably at keeping up my side of the bargain. See, as best I can tell, you have to show up. You have to stay involved. I think a good number of the next generation has done that, but I haven’t. I had Christmas cards going for a spell, but so many of them to MaryBeth (and Uncle Ken) went unanswered that I finally stopped sending them.

I probably could have done more to see him. But to not try seemed less painful than being actively ignored or turned away. It’s all so awkward. As my grandmother once said – and I was blissfully too young to understand – “Sometimes it’s best to leave things alone.”

Maybe if I lived closer. I don’t know.

My mother has reconnected with my father’s sister and her “kids” (both adults, one with two kids of his own). They’re all getting together rather frequently now and include me at the holidays. And I typically have some form of anxiety attack when it comes time to see them. I don’t know who they are anymore. I’m not entirely sure how to hold my own weight conversationally. I feel like an outsider looking in. I know I put myself here, but it’s still a strange place to be. Especially when I remember what it was like at all those gatherings when I was young.

Maybe Aunt Jo and Uncle Ken just spoiled me. They should have warned me that very few people would welcome me with open arms and an exuberant, “AMY!” just for existing. As you get older, you’re going to have to offer something up – often times, children will do. Nope, don’t have those. I’m a bud-less branch on my family tree…

I received a last minute invitation for Uncle Ken’s 90th birthday party. Had I known earlier, I could have gone. I would have gone. But I didn’t.

And so, I never got to tell him how much he meant to me or say goodbye.

I’m glad Aunt Jo and Uncle Ken are reunited. As you can see, I think of them as a single unit. But I’m so very sorry I never got to thank them for loving me.

I’ve missed them both for years now. I always will.

Hopefully Uncle Ken will take my Dad fishing. I know he’d love that! <3

Posted by AJ at 4:48 PM


Bert said... AJ - I am sorry for your loss. Your story touched me (perhaps I will write back one day...I guess many of us have similar, complicated families). Be well.

(and I still need to find out what happens with Roth)

February 28, 2012 8:43 AM

AJ said... lol -- I realized when I came here to post the story that I hadn't written Part 2! Such a slacker...

February 28, 2012 9:18 AM

glo said... Aww! How sweet. I'm with Bert. Many of us have this kind of story, especially those of us with deceased parents. They are our link to the older generation. Once they are gone, it's hard to keep the relationship going. It feels like work and just seems easier to establish friendships with people our own age that we see more often. Hence, I'm commenting on your blog and not calling my family. And I came here looking for something about Woody!

March 10, 2012 7:23 AM

Adrienne said... I was looking for the bones that make up the cranial vault in a human and landed here. I figured since I was I may as well read a little and noticed that your story about your Aunt & Uncle could have been written by me if I had the talent or inclination to blog. So, thank you for sharing something that many of us struggle with. Nice to know I'm not alone in the limbo generation.

March 15, 2012 11:18 PM

AJ said... Thank you for commenting! I typically only hear from my friends. :) Inclination, yes. And time. But if you read more of my posts, you'll find it doesn't take talent. ;) There was a time I could have rattled off the bones of the cranial vault for you, but that was when I was pre-med, what seems like many lifetimes ago. :)

March 16, 2012 11:26 AM

Monday, April 16, 2012

You Are Here

I saw an elderly black man stumbling along a sidewalk early this morning. I couldn’t tell if he was drugged or demented, but he was loopy. He waved at the drivers of a car or three and I wasn’t sure if he was just wishing them a good morning or setting them up for some begging. But as he stumbled away, I wondered if he often thought of his childhood. If he looked back and had some happiness in his life when he was younger. And then I realized that it was probably very likely that he started out behind the 8 ball and he may never have had an easy day in his life.

I understand evolution and survival of the fittest. I know the goal is to produce healthy members who survive into adulthood and reproduce. There’s an actual biological imperative to it and it’s not just the obsession of Jewish mothers. But I have to wonder, if the animals had the ability to care for everyone, would they? How can we turn our backs on people who never asked to be here in the first place? You’re born, but you have no say in the matter. You’re just dropped off (out) and expected to fend for yourself. You’re expected to become a productive member of society, yet so many people have no idea what that looks like or how to get there. And a good percentage of our country thinks you should just rot as a result.

I don’t want to be taken advantage of by anyone either. I know there are people out there who are just working the system and are expecting us to take care of them. But there are far more people who genuinely need some help and could thrive if given the chance. How can we as a society turn our backs on them?

The folks who have been born into good fortune and want to keep it all for themselves should be ashamed. You don't have to share your time, your money, or your expertise, but you should.