Boudicca's Voice

Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Follow The Yellow Brick Road

It was going to be light blogging tonight, if any, but too much was in my head and I have to thank my faithful readers for reading me every day as I empty my brain on this computer. I thought this one was funny and had to pass it on.

I allow each of my boys to pick one sport and one school activity. It's a lot of work for me, but I think it will help them. Son#1 has Karate and band (trumpet). Son#2 has soccer and cub scouts. Son#3 has soccer. I figured he was too young to pick something else, so I left it alone.

Today he got in the car all excited because there was a Wizard of Oz play. I thought he wanted me to chaperone. NO. It is a play the school is putting on and they're having auditions on Friday. He wants to audition. Did I say he was 5? I didn't want to discourage it as he was so excited, but on his own he started to get concerned when I said yes.

"Do you think they would give me a girl's part?" he asked distressed.
"Most definitely not. You are a boy", I replied.
"Can I bring my own costume?", he asked.

His own costume? I told him no and he had a fit. He didn't want to wear one of their stupid costumes. He wanted to wear his own. What did he think this was, "The Hulk goes to Oz"? Or how about this line: "I'll get you my pretty and your little ninja friend too! muhahahaha!"

I guess they will make him a munchkin if he gets a part. At first I was excited for him, but now I think its going to be a pain in the butt and I don't want to fight him on this costume thing. It's not worth expending the energy. I guess I'll know Friday if we decide to carry through.

Seriously, what else could be but a munchkin?

Frances in West Palm Beach

You cannot find water on shelves. If your kids want Spaghetti Oh's for lunch, don't come down here searching for a can. It's gone. Frances may be 4 days out, but Palm Beach County is in full panic. We are prepared for lock down. People are starting to evacuate, although not in masses. That will start Thursday. I have a friend who will decide tomorrow if she'll buy plane tickets for her and her children to go to NY and stay with her parents. Where passivity may have been rule in the past, it is not a thought now.

In the kid's school today, I was there as they discussed their hurricane plan. My husband's business has their's in place. I finished the last of my supply shopping and hid it all in the garage from my kids. I've taken note of mongo sized work buckets in my garage that I can fill with water for flushing toilets and washing hands. (We're on well and pump. No electricity = no water.) I have plastic boxes for my wedding album and video, baby photos and albums, and family treasures.

On the radio this morning, the radio talking heads had a guy on from the hurricane center. It went something like this:

Radio people: So it looks like we might miss this one too! It looks like it's heading for Melbourne.

Hurricane guy: Noooooo. This hurricane will hit between the Keys and South Carolina.

Radio dopes: Oh but we saw the predictions....

Hurricane smart man: NOoooo. We do not want people to focus on the 'dot'. We don't know where this thing is going. It will hit between the Keys and South Carolina.

NOBODY I know is looking at the dot. If you go over to Gut Rumbles, half his commenters think it's going to nail them in Georgia. You talk to Tammi and she KNOWS she's taking a hit in Orlando. If you talk to me, I'm telling the whole lot of you are full of bunk because I'M the one about to get hammered. *grin* EVERYONE is taking this seriously... as we should.

Quote of the Day

From Bug today on the phone while discussing generators and where to get them, "Well, they may get more. We need to think about Lowes and Home Depot. Oh wait. I forgot, you hate Home Depot now." Yup. But it's NOT because the Flashlights and their lightbulbs and batteries belong in the lighting department, but due to an incident that happened today, that she heard me harp on.

I decided to call around for generators. I've realized we probably are just not going to have one, but if one comes available, I will purchase it. So I call Home Depot. I want you to keep in mind I am a VERY gracious person on the phone. I have excellent phone manners. This is our conversation:

Me: I apologize for bothering you, as I know you're so busy, but could you please tell me if you have any generators and if not, if you are expecting any more shipments?

HD unsatisfied employee who hates her job and all of humanity: No we got no generators and they din't tell me if we're getting mo. (There are no misspellings here. I wrote as I heard.)

I then decide to call Lowes which is 5 MINUTES away from HD. Conversation as follows:

Me: I apologize for bothering you, as I know you're so busy, but could you please tell me if you have any generators and if not, if you are expecting any more shipments?

Lowes: I am so sorry, but we are out. I do know we're getting another shipment, but they gave us no idea what time the shipment will be here. Could you call back tomorrow? We might have more information for you. Is there anything else I can help you with?

Guess where I am NEVER shopping again? N.E.V.E.R. HD has gotten its last dime from me.

Teresa of Technicalities has blogged on it. Laughing Wolf blogged on it TODAY. Tammi has talked how she teaches about it. Johnny Oh! talks about what its like to be on the other side. Customer Service.

I am a coureous customer. I waited tables through my freshman year in college and every summer thereafter until I graduated. I worked in retail selling clothes at Christmas as extra help. I know what its like to be against a rude customer. I find no excuse for boorish behaviour no matter how hungry you may be or how late you may be running. Rude is rude and inexcusable. When I was dating, I would stop dating a guy if he treated a waitress poorly.

On the flip side, I demand good customer service if the place of business wants my money. If they are good to me, I am incredibly loyal. I will remember everything about the establishment and recommend it to all my friends and shout it from the rooftops. If they treat me poorly, I will drive 30 minutes out of my way to do business with someone else.

I have story upon story of how I have ended up with my mechanics, doctors, bank, clothing stores, hair, nails, you name it... all of them were picked on reputation and customer service. All of them. Home Depot no more. I am a Lowes girl now.

Monday, August 30, 2004

On the First Day, God Created Light

We’ve decided we won’t evacuate. Frickin’ Frances is moving too fast. So we’re hunkering down and I’m getting us ready.

Home Depot sold $150,000 worth of generators. This.Morning. They’re sold out. Tomorrow I’m running to Lowes to see what they have going on.

I went to Home Depot to pick up two items. The first was workman’s gloves. I picked up a pair for me and my spouse. We need to protect our hands while hauling out the 12 tons of aluminum in my garage.

The second thing I needed was a tiny little flashlight bulb for his mega-man flashlight. I replaced the square battery last night and that didn’t solve the problem. So off I go in search of a tiny little light bulb, the size of a finger tip. Luckily, I kept the lightbulb in my pocket.

Now I want to know honestly if I am the only one who feels this way. When I think flashLIGHT I think LIGHTing department. Does anyone else see this association here? LIGHT? Off I go to the lighting section. I already feel self conscious because I’m the only woman in there. Everyone else in the morning hours are manly men looking for something they needed for some manly man project they are building. I don’t usually feel self conscious since I’ve spent most of my life around men, but for some reason, a couple odd looks made me feel like I had a “Kick Me” sign on my back or food on my face and I instantly no longer wanted to be there. I kept wondering if I looked stupid or lost. So now I have a look of determination that I know EXACTLY where I’m going and I WILL find this without asking for help.

Down the lighting aisles I go. Bright Lights all over. No flashlights. I see lightbulbs. A whole aisle of them. Somehow on that aisle, I spotted the ONLY lightbulb for flashlights… it was the wrong size. Finally after about 15 minutes, I realize I’m going to have to break up one of the many conversations going on amongst the employees and ask for help. The guy takes me to hardware. HARDWARE. Why in the hell are flashlights with hardware? They should be with LIGHTS because they CREATE LIGHT!

Right above the flashLIGHTS hang dozens of tiny little lightbulbs. On not one, NOT ONE, is there a listing on the package as to the voltage. I pull out my little lightbulb and in miniscule writing, fit for a mouse if they could write, it has the voltage, which I can barely read, and “Made in Hong Kong”, which jumped out. This gentleman and I are picking all the packages up, one by one, squinting our eyes, comparing numbers, until we could find the right voltage. What a pain in the neck.

The person who decided not to put the specs for the bulbs on the packaging should be shot. The person from Home Depot who designed their layout needs to rethink it. FlashLIGHTS belong in LIGHTing!!!! And that one little lonely flashLIGHT bulb sitting by itself in the LIGHTing department is in the CORRECT place and it should be joined by all it’s little flashLIGHT bulb friends!

How Do I Feel Tonight?

Karate opened with the Circle of Death tonight. Enough said.

Keeping it in Perspective

Teresa of Technicalities reminded me of this in her comment today under my irritation with high maintenance Moms post. She said about the book Cheaper by the Dozen,

“There is this tremendously funny scene where another mother is complaining that she just doesn't have the time to help out at some function, because she has 3 boys. The mother of 12 says - I have 6 boys and 6 girls... Needless to say, the other mother ended up helping.”

This reminded me. Did I tell y’all how I actually ended up Treasurer of our school? There is a Mom who works at the school. She runs our cafeteria and she’s very active with her kids. I LOVE this woman. She is just awesome. She has six kids. Her youngest is the same age as Son#1 and her eldest is out of college and has become a teacher. This woman lost her husband to an unexpected massive heart attack 4 years ago. Here she is with 6 kids and her husband dies. At the time, I think her kids ranged in age from 5-17. She got them all immediately into counseling and they’re doing great. She attends all their sporting events, helps out at the school, and works. She doesn’t date. As she said to me once, “Oh yeah, I’m not exactly a man magnet with 6 kids.”

So this lovely woman came up to me last year, being on the school board nominating committee, and asked me if I would take Treasurer. Now y’all have heard me gripe that being a mathematician in the engineering field DOES NOT equate to accounting. At. All. But what am I supposed to say to this woman? I’m staring at her and I think I can’t possibly say I have too many kids. She has 6. I can’t say I’m too busy. She does EVERYTHING for all her kids with no help from a spouse. I can’t say my degree isn’t in accounting… she has no degree. She’s winging her life with a degree from the world of hard knocks and I’m going to not take a little Treasurers job because “I don’t know bookkeeping”? So I said yes.

I joke with her about it now and we laugh.

Oh, and the latest with the Treasurer's job... I'm hanging in there. The software is starting to make logical sense.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

I Did SeaWorld with 3 Boys and Lived to Tell the Tale

SeaWorld in August. Four Words. “Hotter Than Three Hells.” Wow. There were so many highlights I don’t even know where to begin.

We dressed accordingly, cotton t-shirts and shorts, good shoes, hats and I had everyone screened with SPF 50 Bullfrog. We were set.

I think the first highlight was when the boys convinced me we really needed to sit in the Splash Zone for Shamu, the 7th row. It was the 11:30 showing. We were facing right into the sun. We were melting. I must’ve been suffering from heat stroke when I said yes. They inform us this is salt water at 52 deg. That’s COLD water. So we’re sitting there and I’m feeling sweat pouring down my face onto my shirt when I look down and realize… I’m wearing a tight white cotton t-shirt. I’m sitting in the soak zone. This has the potential to turn into a Wet T-Shirt contest of sorts. I spend the next 15 minutes trying to figure out which way to cross my arms for maximum chest coverage. I was loving life when they brought out this frickin’ 12, 000 pound killer whale to do the final soaking. The Gods of Shamu were shining upon me, however, and we did not get wet, much to the dismay of my three sweaty boys. Next time they want to sit in the first row. I think they’ll drown.

The next highlight was when I was coerced into taking them to this Journey to Atlantis ride which is like Splash Mountain at Disney, except you plunge twice. It was a 45 minute wait. We’d been waiting for 10 minutes when Son#3 looks at me, grabbing himself, as he does way too much, and says the immortal words, “Mom. I have to pee.” I looked at him and said, “No.” A look of complete horror crossed his face, eyes wide open and mouth agape he said, “You’re going to make me pee in my pants?!” and I replied, “No. You’re going to hold it.” And he did.

Twenty minutes into the wait, Son#2 informs me his stomach hurts badly. He is lactose intolerant, he had pizza for lunch and I forgot to give him his medicine. Now my feeling is of anger at myself for forgetting and horror at the thought of him hurling in this ride. The pain subsides. Usually it subsides with the passing of the foulest smelling paint peeling gas you have ever smelled, but the hundreds of people standing around us were spared, as was I. Thankfully.

Finally we get to the front when they tell us that I cannot sit with all my kids. Only two to a seat and an adult has to sit with both Sons 2 and 3 as they’re both too short to go with another kid. Now I’m the one that wants to vomit. As good fortune would have it, a woman and her husband, in their 50s with her Mom who was in her 70s come up next. The SeaWorld guy asked if one of them would sit with Son#2 and they were THRILLED to have a child experience this ride with them. They sat behind us and were the nicest people. I think they were mid-westerners. Just really down to earth and sweet. Just as we were starting the last ride to the tippy top, Son#2 leans over to his new companion, the Mom, and says, “I want to tell you. I’m a screamer.” They all laughed and sure enough, he screamed his bloody head off the whole way and we could not quit laughing. We had the best time. I think he made that ride for them too.

Next highlight was when I was convinced yet again that we should sit in a splash zone for the dolphin show. I thought, “Please? How wet can you get from a daggum dolphin?” Answer? Pretty damn wet. Luckily I had already practiced the arms crisscrossed over chest maneuver and somehow I stayed pretty dry. The same cannot be said for the boys. They were very happy.

But I think the true highlight was at the puffin/penguin tank and the Manatee exhibit. We are watching the puffins in this tank/simulated environment. There are probably about 30 people standing around. Son#3 yells, “Mom! I think that puffin tooted!” I’m ignoring him. I figure if I stand away and don’t make eye contact nobody will notice he’s mine. Even though he has my blue eyes. And even though he looks like a blonde hair blue eyed clone of my brown Italian Son#1, whose hand I’m holding. Not to be ignored, he yells, “Mom. Mom. Mom. Are you looking? Really he’s tooting! Look at all those bubbles.” Now all three boys are over there talking about it and people are kind of staring or maybe I’m just blanking out this whole thing as I kind of wanted to die. So I walk over and Son#3 is still carrying on, “See? See all those little bubbles? What do you think, Mom? Huh? What do you think?” I replied, “I think he’s kicking his feet and making bubbles” and I grabbed them up and we moved on. Who knows. He could have been passing gas, but I just had no desire to sit there analyzing puffin poop or gas or whatever it was, in front of 30 strangers.

Off we move to the Manatees/Gator exhibit. Why they MUST see gators I do not know. They see them sunning on the banks of our canals all the time. You would think they are a novelty. Hell, they serve gator tail in all our restaurants. I had just spent all this time explaining to them how their Daddy and I swam with Loggerhead turtles and Manatee when we used to scuba dive. (True stories.) So we’re watching these big globby fat mammals and one of them swims up to us and poops. There was no doubt. It was just gross. Poop is floating everywhere, breaking up, it’s nasty and fish are coming to eat it and I just want to vomit. But oh… not my sons. Son#3, “Mom! Did you see that?! That manatee pooped!” and on and on and on. It made their day. Not mine. I kept thinking, “I am never diving with Manatee again. I may not dive again. The ocean is their toilet.” Blech.

A good time was had by all. We left the park at 8 and I’ll tell you what… I was beat. I had gotten a double stroller figuring it would be easier to keep them close if two were in a stroller. So I pushed 100 lbs of stroller in that hot FL sun for just over 10 hours. Son#1 helped me the last few hours because I was just flat out dragging ass. (Actually, this is cool. He looked over and said, "Mom, I didn't realize how hard you've been working. Let me help." He's a good kid.) It was 2 ½ hours home and I got lost trying to find the turnpike as a lot of the signage is still gone from Charley. Orlando took a pretty big hit and it was disturbing to see the damage, even 2 weeks after the fact.

So I’d do it again. The boys had me in waves of going nuts type conniptions combined with a lot of laughter. I’d do it again. In a heartbeat. Skipping the Manatee Poop.

If You're HM, Don't Hang with Me... Please

I’m over high maintenance Moms.

Last week I got a call from Son#3’s soccer coach’s wife. She was going on and on about how tough it is to have three kids. I don’t know this woman. Finally I told her I understood as I had three. She inhaled and said, “Really? Well, I have a kicker for you. I have THREE BOYS!” Wha?? I laughed and said, “Yup. I do too.” Weirdo. Like having three boys is a curse. I met her on the soccer field, got one look at her and realized that I really don’t want to know her, so I stayed away. I met a Mom who had been in the Navy as a mechanic so I spoke to her, played with her two year old, or read my book. I don’t have time for high maintenance Moms.

I’m at a birthday party today with Son#3. A set of twins he knows was there with their Dad. One of the Moms said to another, “Has anyone seen Linda?” (the twins's Stay At Home Mom) and someone said, “Oh yeah. Boy, she’s tired. Really beat.” I got concerned and said, “Oh no! Is she OK?” to which the reply was, “Well you know she is driving the girls to school every day. She’s tired from being in her car.” I did the calculations and realized that she’s probably in her car 1 ½ hours a day. Sorry no sympathy from me. Not holding back I looked at the other Moms and said, “You’re kidding me right? Last year I was in my car FOUR HOURS a day. She needs to suck it up and move on.” Nobody said anything.

Sometimes I have no patience.

Tales of a Time with Tammi

The boys and I met Tammi for dinner on Friday night. I was so nervous. I just never know what in the hell is going to come out of their mouths. Sometimes they are so sweet and sometimes they just…. Aren’t.

When we went down to see her, I knew it was her immediately. What I noticed first when she stood is that she stands tall. I LOVE THAT! I have met so many tall women who evidently don’t like it, so they slouch. Not Tammi. It is awesome! She is as I pictured, tall and willowy and she has sparkly eyes that go with her laughter. She is quick to laugh and it is infectious.

We went to dinner and the boys were making me nervous. They would talk some, but were being goofy. Son#2 would only talk like Dori from Finding Nemo. Son#3 was having a fit because I wouldn’t order him a $20 steak and I made him settle for pizza. Son#1 was having a monster allergy attack which had started earlier in the morning but was gaining speed. Tammi just acted like this was normal and just kept talking to them until suddenly they acted like she was just a part of their lives. Next thing I know, there is some competition going on as to who can do the weirdest things with their bodies. It started with Tammi’s feet and moved up to my boys folding their ears into little boxes (Son#1 must have no cartilage in his ears), bending fingers, and doing odd things with their tongues. Then we moved on to what would hurt more… a true competition on who has been hurt the worst. I still think Tammi’s story of going into anaphylactic shock from a fire ant bite won, and sensing that, Son#3 starting telling stories of people he knew that got bitten by sharks (there is question as to the validity of the story) and then we moved onto hypothetical things like getting fingers cut off. It went like this, “Oh yeah? Well, Tammi, Tammi, Tammi, what do you think? Do you think it would hurt worse to have a sting ray sting you through your foot or have your finger cut off?”

She came back with us to the pool so she and I could actually talk while the boys swam and Son#3 was so comfortable with her, I found him running through the hotel room in his Spiderman underwear like she was family. He’s not that modest, although he did insist on actually putting on his bathing suit in the bathroom. She got to see all of them in full form and luckily I felt like it was one of their better sides. Whew.

Tammi is awesome with kids. I could have watched her interact with my boys for hours. She completely engages them and talks to them as people. She's the kind of person that you know if she were a neighbor and you got in a bind, you would trust your kids with her 100%.

I just truly had the best time talking to her. She is so damn funny and we talked so much taking so many tangents, when she left I was even more excited about our September dinner because there are SO MANY MORE things for us to continue on about.

And we both agreed wholeheartedly that we feel very blessed in our blog families and with the cool bloggers we’ve met in this way cool blogosphere. It was kind of a hero worship thing. We really enjoyed talking about the great things we’ve been seeing and reading on the blogosphere. It was a whole lotta fun!

I’m sorry to say we don’t have pix. I never thought about my camera for dinner. In September I’ll take my digital and we’ll see if we can find a waitress to snap a few shots. We’ll obviously have to be sitting as I am really comfortable being short and only wear flats so there is always a nice height differential!

Frickin' Frances

Pam posted, Tammi linked and posted on it and Bug has a picture of it. We’re taking this real serious down here. No kidding folks, we Floridians take this stuff pretty serious in general, but after just having seen Port Charlotte and Orlando take a beating, we’re really agitated now.

Bug and I have already been on the phone twice today talking about generators and evacuation. If this sucker turns out to be a Cat 5, we don’t want to be here. We’re already comparing hurricane shopping lists, I’m giving her tips on what to keep with small children and she’s giving tips on shopping for the right generator. We’re both talking about long term: how we evacuate if it’s a Cat 5, the problem is… if you want to get off this Peninsula before a hurricane, you have to evacuate 3 days in advance. I called my folks tonight and told them to be aware that come Friday or Saturday I’ll know whether we’re hunkering down or moving North. I’m making list after list and tomorrow is all about preparation.

Meanwhile, we have "issues" with hurricane shutters. I laugh as Bug is going through a similar situation, but unfortunately I have upped her on it as far as potential bad scenario. When you get your shutters, they label the shutters starting with one window and working around your house. Now if I had been smart, I would have taken a permanent black marker and marked every damn window to my house with the corresponding shutter number. But NOOOOO, I took the master schematic he gave me, with the numberings and I filed it. Somewhere. Unknown. Bug did the same thing. So now I don’t remember what window opening is #1. And I don’t remember whether he said he worked clockwise or counterclockwise around the house. Did I tell you that shutters are heavy? We live in Florida. That means we have A LOT of sliding glass doors. And transoms! I have 4 sets of sliders. Two to 4 is pretty standard on a Florida home. That’s a bunch of aluminum to be hauling around just to see what slider matches what opening.

OK, let’s move on to what makes my scenario a wee bit different. I had an addition put on. I have another schematic that came in the mail last week and I DO KNOW where that one is located. But I have a few more windows added and a few taken away and so now my closed system of windows is broken with a new loop of windows and I don’t know where they fit in my old number scheme and I am aware that some of the windows from my old schematic are now no longer there!

I think it’s going to take me a few hours to sort it out… but who in the hell wants to do that since that means I have to haul 20 tons of aluminum out of my garage, trying not to get crushed to death, laying them out on my lawn. I’m not doing that unless we’re bracing to take the hit. I’m not kidding. As much as it’s great to have in the back of my mind that we finally got it all sorted, I’m not doing it unless I HAVE TO.

I was buying flashlights this evening and as I was checking out the 18 year old bag boy said to the girl next to him, “I’m doing my hurricane shopping tonight.” I looked at him and said, “You don’t think I’m going camping do you?” to which his reply was, “No, M’am, I know EXACTLY what you’re doing. I’m doing the same tonight.” Now when a testosterone driven bullet proof boy of 18 tells you he’s hurricane shopping, you know we’re potentially in a world of hurt.

I’m ready for Hurricane season to be over. We’re not even mid-way through it yet. Bah!

Friday, August 27, 2004

Hide, Shamu, Hide!

Posting early today... I am off to SeaWorld with the boys. Their Dad is on travel, so I'm high taling it up to Orlando to see 'Shampoo' as one of them used to call it. I guess it made more sense as they were probably thinking 'what the heck is a Shamu?'

Tammi and I are hoping to hook up for dinner! We have cell numbers in hand, she's scoping out restaurants and I've already given the evil eye and good behaviour lecture to the boys. Yes, that is right, she is meeting Sons 1, 2 and 3. The Great Omnipotent One refers to them as 'the rolling ball of noise'. I'm being very religions right now! *grin*

I think this should be rather humorous as she is a tall willowy 6'2" and I'm a short tree shaped 5'2". I was thinking I didn't know what she looked like, but then I realized it didn't matter because with my rolling ball of noise, she'll have no problem spotting ME!

I am sure I'll have stories for you tomorrow night. More than anything right now I am bracing myself for what Orlando is going to look like. I know it has changed.

Carnival Up and Running

Beth at SWWBO has posted her new Carnival of the Recipes. Yikes! Can you get fat just looking at recipes?

I saw this one for Georgian Cheese Bread, which I figured was some cool Southern Bread, but when I clicked in it, he meant Georgian as in Soviet area Georgian. Kind of made me laugh. I'm hoping to get The Great Omnipotent One to think about trying this when we go home for Christmas. If I make it hear, I might eat the whole loaf.

Then as I'm looking at all these yummy sounding recipes and becoming hungrier and hungrier, I notice someone posted for Baklava! Yeah, see, recipes like those are bad for me to have. I LOVE Baklava and knowing how to make it is a bad bad thing. And to find out there was an award won with this recipe... that's my own personal recipe for disaster. On the flip side, he says it is time consuming... but that's never stopped me before. I make a Chocolate Ganache Bombe that takes literally hours. I will try this Baklava because... it is stuck in my head now!

Go take a look. There appears to be even more submitted than last time. Tasty!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Moving Towards the Light of Reality TV

I think I’ve found a reality show I might have to watch. It’s called, “Growing Up Gotti”. I know, I know, I can hear all of you yelling at your computer screen, “Bou! Stay away from the light!” But… I may not be able to help it. This chick has three (3) teenage boys and I just gotta see for myself the potential for how bad things can get.

Now this Gotti woman and I don’t appear to have anything in common OTHER than the boys thing. She’s divorced. I’m not. She’s tall, blonde, and big breasted. I am… not.any.of.those. She's part of the Gotti family. Thank the Good Lord with a snack prayer, that I am not. There is evidently this really scary Uncle Pete everyone is genuinely afraid of. We don’t have one of those… but they do have an uncle that’s a lawyer, does that count?

Upon thinking about it, however, we do have a few things in common. Both of us are organic in the breast tissue arena. Home grown and natural, The writer of the article referred to her home life as My Three Knuckleheads. Yeah, that fits my home life. And one of her boys really wanted a tattoo and got one against her wishes. Son#3 sometimes has more tattoos covering his body than NOT, even when I tell him NO MORE! Of course they’re the sticky kind, but hey, there’s nothing quite like a 5 year old taking off his shirt and seeing a big tattoo on his chest (takes up his ENTIRE chest) of a skull with a rose between his teeth.

So I just might have to watch this. If anything, it may just continue to hammer home how blessed I really am... something of which I am already very aware.

Help! They're Multiplying in my Pantry!!!

I was just talking to VW (that's Bug to Harvey) about this at breakfast yesterday. Have you ever looked in your pantry or cabinet and seen WAY too much of something? For instance, I have 4 jars of Prego Spaghetti Sauce, 3 bottles of Worcestershire sauce, 2 jars of Peanut Butter, and two bottles of ketchup. All unopened.

How does this happen? I am a listmaker. I go to Publix, with my list, by aisle. (I have the aisles memorized… a pox upon Publix management for moving the aisles around. I’m not recovering. I can’t find a damn thing.) But inevitably, I get there and as I’m passing the Ketchup to get to the Mayo I think, “Crap. Did I need more Ketchup? Didn’t we run out recently? I bet we’re on our last bottle.” So I pick it up, get home, unload the groceries, open the pantry and “Voila!” there sits yet ANOTHER bottle of ketchup because I had the same exact thought process some time the previous month when I went shopping.

Today VW and I were on the phone. I had just come back from shopping and was throwing together dinner when I noticed I was missing an ingredient I just KNEW that I had. As we’re talking, she’s laughing at me because she’s been there and I’m yelling, “I know it’s in here! I know I have a packet of brown gravy in here! I know I do!” Did I really? NO. I had to go back to Publix. Guess what will happen in 3 months? I’ll make this recipe and think, “Oh, I need brown gravy packets, I ran out last time.” Then I will buy 3 forgetting I bought 3 this time. Soon I’ll brown gravy packets shoved in every corner of my pantry. At least they’re easy to store. I can store them between all those jars of Prego.

Boudicca Draws Her Sword

I despise Kerry for bringing VietNam to the forefront again. I still view this as a very dark time in our recent history and for that jerk to run on that, makes me nauseated. VietNam as an issue has been boiling in our public consciousness for awhile. Bob Dole served honorably in WWII while Bill Clinton dodged VietNam. Bush did National Guard service during ‘Nam and Kerry is just a complete lying scumbag traitor loser on the situation. I actually may loathe him more than Clinton at this point. At least Clinton didn’t serve, get out, protest, call his fellow brothers and sisters murderers and baby killers, then turn around and try to make himself a hero and proud that he served in that same war he condemned. I’m over it folks. I’m really frickin’ over it.

I don’t want to hear from one person out there saying I don’t have a right because I wasn’t old enough. My father was over there. I remember the signing of the peace treaty, watching it on TV. I still have my Mother’s POW/MIA bracelet, it is now mine, and I keep it on my make up vanity and every damn morning when I wake up, I see it and think of Captain Clifton Cushman, silver medallist in the 400 hurdles in the 1960 Olympics, married man and father of one son, native of North Dakota, and USAF F105 pilot shot down in North Vietnam on 9-25-66. He is no longer listed as MIA, but I don’t care. Every day I think of that man and how HE served our country. EVERY DAY.

While my schoolmates were bringing toys and trinkets for show and tell in 4th grade, I was bringing in fliers regarding POW/MIAs in ‘Nam. I have friends who lost their fathers there. I know people my age whose fathers were POWs. My Father lost friends. My Mother’s friends lost husbands. I know about the black sedan. And I know stories of cold sweat nauseating fear of my Mother thinking my Father had been shot down. So don’t tell me I didn’t live VietNam, because I did.

It is a wound that we have tried and successfully started to heal and it is a wound that John Kerry has forcibly reopened. He is dividing this country again over it. People who believe he served honorably vs. people who KNOW he did not. And for that, I find him to be of the lowest most despicable form of human life.

So to my readers I say, “I am over VietNam being on the forefront because it hurt the first time and it hurts now.” To John Kerry I say, “A frickin’ big pox upon you and your ilk. May you rot.”

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

"U" is for Underwear... I mean Uniform

I’m blogging late tonight. I ended up in a one hour traffic jam on our way home from Karate that has thrown me behind and flat wore me out. Let’s see how this goes.

I was in the gym today doing my cardio with headsets on while watching TV reading lips when I saw a commercial for Playtex underwear. The skimpy stuff. I thought at first it was an ad for Women’s Olympic Volleyball uniforms.

I’m guessing most of you men saw the woman’s volleyball competition. Yet a different day I was in “Man’s Land” (remember, that’s what my sister and I call the free weight section of the gym) and the TV had on woman’s volleyball. At first I saw it and thought to myself, “Wow. Check out their bodies. Wish I had the genetics and motivation to look like that.” Genetics comes into play in multiple ways… one being the great height these svelte women had. They had legs up to their chins. They had six pack abs, nice muscle definition and I was in complete awe of how fit they were… when I realized that they kinda looked bony. Their shoulders were really bony. They were ALL muscles and bones. There was not much fat, which in one way is nice, but in another way… they were just really thin. So while I think most men had their eyes popping out of their heads, I feel certain that as much as my husband loves thin women, he would not find these women that attractive. I think the bony shoulders would be a turn off.

I know well enough not to ask that question. Is that loaded or what? “Dear, would you prefer to be with a woman that looks like THAT with bony shoulders or someone who looks like me?” or “Do you think SHE is attractive? Do you LIKE those bony shoulders?” Yeah caller, those are dumb questions. Men know when to lie. But I seriously think he would think they were too thin. Heh, or at least I want to think so.

Different Types of "Sinks"

I was over at Helen's at Every Day Stranger today and she has this hilarious post called "Tinkle Tinkle Little Star". She's becoming the Bathroom Anthropologist. Oh My Lord. It cracked me up. And of course... it reminded me of a story.

When Son#1 was fully potty trained, around age 3, I was the only one who took him into public restrooms. My husband deemed men's restrooms too dirty and that women's would be cleaner. I'm not sure how he came to that conclusion, but I figured he must be right, with the exception of filling station and fast food restrooms. Son#1 became a pee in public restroom phobe if HE deemed the restroom too dark or too dirty. The little boy doing the pee pee dance, swearing he had to go, would suddenly be able to hold it like a camel for hours upon hours. I knew there was no forcing the issue as soon as I heard the little voice say, "It sure is dark in here. I think it's creepy. It sure is dirty in here... (big pause) I don't have to go anymore."

Son#2 was born and we had finally ventured out for lunch, the four of us. Son#2 was only a few months old and Son#1 was probably 3 and a few months. He decided he had to use the restroom, so I sent him with his father. Off they went. He had NEVER been in a men's restroom.

He walked in and my spouse got the, "It sure is dark in here. I think it's creepy..." Somehow he convinced our little man he would be fine and took him in a stall. (Reflecting upon this I believe this too falls into Daddy is a hero category.) As they came out and were washing hands, a man had come in and was using the urinal. In his loudest 3 year old voice, Son#1 declared, "Daddy! Why is that man peeing in that sink?"

My husband comes back to the table rather embarrassed. I'm laughing. I said, "Did the guy laugh?" He replied, "NO!" I said, "Did he say anything at all? I mean, come on, it's a 3 year old, how funny is this?" and he replied, "Not funny. No, he did not say anything."

Well, after reading Helen's post, I guess I understand more now. Son#1 must have breached some sort of urinal etiquette. Too bad the guy peeing in the sink didn't fart.

This Week's Entry to Carnival of the Recipes

Steak with Garlic Blue Cheese Butter

Ingredients for Steak:
3 cloves of fresh garlic
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 boneless steaks (I used top loin strip steaks) 3/4 inch think (about 1 3/4 lb)

1) Crush garlic with garlic press into medium bowl. Stir in seasoned salt, pepper and soy sauce. Place steaks in marinade making sure they're coated on all sides and marinate for 10 minutes. Spray grill with cooking spray and preheat on medium high.

2)Grill steaks how you like them and throw away remaining marinade. Cut into portions and top with Garlic Blue Cheese Butter.

Ingredients for Garlic Blue Cheese Butter:
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp Montreal steak seasoning
1/2 cup butter, divided
1 (4-oz) container crumbled blue cheese (3/4 cup)
1/2 tsp dried thyme

1) Crush garlic into microwave safe bowl. Add onion powder, steak seasoning and 2 Tbsn of butter; microwave on HIGH 30 seconds until butter melts.

2) Stir and microwave 2 more minutes, stirring once. Let sit to cool, about 5 minutes.

3) Cut remaining butter into small pieces and add to garlic mixture with blue cheese and thyme. Mix until well-blended. Chill until ready to serve over steak . Is good spread on bread too.

I also call this recipe, "Check your Gall Bladder at the door." Yikes! It's very yummy, but the butter and the blue cheese... wow.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Cigars and Pink Champagne to Everyone!

I have a blogdaughter! Yahoo! That makes both Harvey and Grau, Blog Grandfathers. Feeling old, gentlemen? ;)

Introducing One Happy Dog Speaks, by my good friend VW. I've known VW for 18 years; we went to college together. Then we both migrated down to S. FL to work for the same company, she came first... because you know.. she IS older than I. *Grin* She had the forsight to see the big ship was sinking at our large company, so she bailed early and found a job with a better company, this one international. She's a highly regarded computer engineer. She and I have very similar personalities as in we take no prisoners, have had to work very hard on 'diplomacy skills', and have no patience for the incompetent. And we're both very short and very high strung. Oh and we both come from military families, she was USAF, me Navy. It's probably why we get along so well. And, yes, she has dirt on me, but none of it will ever be blogged!

Her blog is similar to mine in that it is a catharsis. It's a great outlet as she has done what I did... after she had her first child, she opted to stay home full time as a Mom. She now has two little boys 13 months part, the eldest having JUST turned two. Busy is not a strong enough word... and she also has this 140 lb dog that's as big as a small horse. And she owns a pony. And she loves horses. She uses her blog also to keep family and friends informed as to the ongoings of her life as she is also like me that nobody is in town. She's winging it like me.

On parenthood:

Why do I want my children to climb and be agile, though not necessarily at the same time? Because my Husband affectionately calls me ‘Danger Prone Daphne’ and for a good reason. A very recent example of this is when I tried to video tape my two sons sleeping a couple of days ago. I snuck very quietly over to the room with the camcorder, started through the door and WHACK. Hit the baby gate with my right leg and it smacked into the door/wall. That gate has been there over a year… I walk through that door 3 to 6 times a day… you get the idea. So do I yell at my #1 Son when I see him climbing stuff? Nope. Do I try to stay near in case he falls? Yep.

(I personally call this raising boys!)

On the technical world: Radio Waves and Power Grids

I always wonder what I am subjected myself and my children to in this world. Just recently I started thinking about all the wireless equipment we have now a days. Most people have cell phones and cordless phones… so we start getting the radio waves here. More and more people are getting wireless networks at home for the computers. So more radio waves. Then there is the monitors for babies that are ‘wireless’. And the list continues.

(Just yesterday while in the car dealership, my engineering friend of mine, who works for a major telecommunications company, and I were discussing this!)

VW, Welcome to the Blogosphere!

Random Fate Brings Up a Valid Point

Jack over at Random Fate had THIS the other day. I know I often say, “If you don’t vote, you aren’t allowed to bitch.” I firmly believe that. Even if you put in a protest vote, you should be there. It is your right and one that is taken too lightly here. Sure, I’m not pleased with either candidate. Hell, I’ve NEVER been pleased with either candidate, but I have never missed an election. And I have come to believe that The Great Omnipotent One is correct that all voting is important but what is REALLY important is who you elect to the Senate and House. THEY are your direct link to the shenanigans up in DC. Given that as a fact, then some things Jack states come directly into play. Being in this country, an American citizen, maybe there are more things than just voting that should give you the entitlement to bitch. As Jack says:

Before you write a rant or a complaint on your weblog, I suggest you ask yourself these questions:
Have I voted in every election in which I was eligible to vote?

Have I written my Senator, my Representative, and my President on issues that are important to me?

Have I educated myself on the issues facing the nation as a whole, the issues that affect my region, and issues that are important to me?

Have I taken action to make a positive change on issues that are important to me, not just complained about those (insert pejorative description here) on the (right or left) who don't agree with me but seem to be getting their way even though they're wrong?

He is right, whether you want to hear it or not. If what TGOO says is true, that in fact our direct representatives are the most important election, then we need to be contacting them. A LOT! We can’t sit by idly and let them vote how they want to vote. We frickin’ put them there, dammit! They should vote how we want them to vote and as voters, they need to know how we feel. We need to know how they vote on important issues and that means we need to stay EDUCATED on the issues facing the nation. We need to ensure that in the event a complete Moron ends up in the Big Seat, that we have the right representation to keep him/her in line. And if the jerkweed representative isn’t doing their job, isn’t holding OUR best interests up in DC, then he/she needs to be looking for a new job.

Go take a look at Jack’s post. I think he has made some valid points. It’s easy to point fingers at the other party. It’s harder to take action and try to truly fight back.

Proof That It Pays Off???

I have a saying, “How you treat you body now will be reflected in 10 years.” I firmly believe that barring genetics, and in some cases that can be managed, if you treat your body well, 10 years from now you will see it. If you abuse your body, in 10 years you will see it.

My folks are in their early 60s. Knock on wood, they are in great health. (Damn, I’m hesitant to put this in writing for fear of jinxing anything.) My parents look damn good and I won’t even put the horrible ‘for their age’ at the end of it. I hate it when people say, “Wow. You look great for having had 3 kids.” Really? Would I be considered looking like crap if I hadn’t had any?

They have always eaten well, moderation, and exercised. They have just always treated their bodies right. I know you’re wondering where I’m going with this, but both of them just had full physicals within the last year, the kind that people dread where doctors use God made portals for borescoping, and both checked out great. (The first time The Great Omnipotent One went in for a scope during the procedure he said to the doctor, “I thought I asked for a Bud Lite, not a Butt Light!”) Sure there is some blood pressure medication and a touch of arthritis, but overall, that’s about it. So far, genetics have been on our side.

Ten years ago TGOO was a runner. My Mom has always walked. They’ve always eaten high fiber diets and they’ve never been ‘fat’. Sure they’ve been through spells where they’ve wanted to lose 10 lbs, but it’s never gotten out of control. There has always been plenty of fresh fruit in the house and we switched to whole wheat bread and skim milk when I was a kid.

My Mom looks better than I do. I’m serious. She is trim and fit. And TGOO is the same. You see them together and they look like a fit couple. They’ve been taking care of themselves for years and I’m hoping we continue to see the dividends for their vigilance. I’m hoping it’s rubbed off on me and I can do the same. It sucks to watch your parents age; I’ve watched it happen to my husband’s parents. So far, to date, I feel like I’ve been spared that. I feel certain I can thank my folk’s for their hardwork. (Knock on Wood!)

Golf Joke

Courtesy of The Great Omnipotent One:

Two old friends were just about to tee off at the first hole of their local golf course when a guy carrying a golf bag called out to them, "Do you mind if I join you? My partner didn't turn up."
"Sure," they said, "You're welcome."
So they started playing and enjoyed the game and the company of the newcomer. Part way around the course, one of the friends asked the newcomer, "What do you do for a living?"
"I'm a hit man," was the reply.
"You're joking!" was the response.
"No, I'm not," he said, reaching into his golf bag, and pulling out a beautiful Martini sniper's rifle with a large telescopic sight.
"Here are my tools."
"That's a beautiful telescopic sight," said the other friend, "Can Itake a look? I think I might be able to see my house from here." So he picked up the rifle and looked through the sight in the direction of his house.
"Yeah, I can see my house all right. This sight is fantastic. I can see right in the window."
"Wow, I can see my wife in the bedroom. Ha Ha, I can see she's naked!! Wait a minute, that's my neighbor in there with her.......He's naked, too!!! The #####!"
He turned to the hit man, "How much do you charge for a hit?"
"I do a flat rate, for you, one thousand dollars every time I pull the trigger"
"Can you do two for me now?"
"Sure, what do you want?"
"First, shoot my wife, she's always been mouthy, so shoot her in the mouth. Then the neighbor, he's a friend of mine, and just a kid, so just shoot his dick off to teach him a lesson."
The hit man took the rifle and took aim, standing perfectly still for a few minutes.
"Are you going to do it or not?" said the friend impatiently.
"Just be patient," said the hit man calmly, "I think I can save you a grand here....."

Monday, August 23, 2004

In The Event That You Thought...

... that I was exaggerating what Son#3 is like, let me provide you with today’s interaction with his teacher as I did after school pick up. Keep in mind, this is the 2nd week of school.

Teacher: “I had to move Son#3’s desk today. He’s fooling around too much.”
Me, giving Son#3 the evil eye: “You did? He and I will have to have a talk tonight.” (As if that will do any good. Talking to a 5 year old is akin to talking a dog.)
Teacher: “You have a real live wire there. You saved the best for last didn’t you?”

Heh. From a parental standpoint, it is NEVER a good thing when a teacher calls your child a live wire. Of course I knew this before packing him off to school. Hell, I’d been warning her for two years! But in my heart, deep down inside, I was really hoping he would tone it down, keep his hands to himself, and just generally become… a different child.

Today he got in trouble with some kid named Joshua who I had been hearing all sorts of things about up until now and I had thought that perhaps Joshua would be the one that gets in trouble the most. Son#3 also got in trouble with Lisa, who we now call “the girl he kissed at the Lite Brite” and who I also found out, did not like being kissed. Of course, Son#3 being who he is, denied all and swore it was everyone else’s fault, he was innocent. As I’ve said in the past, Son#3 has the makings of a CEO or the President. So in my lecture I explained the mathematical term “common denominator” and how in this case, that would be him and upon his denial, I challenged him to prove me wrong.

Nine more months of school. I hope ‘live wire’ is the worst thing that happens.

It's MY Vehicle!!!

I was at my mechanic’s today getting some work done. I saw a good friend of mine, male, who was getting his oil changed in his wife’s van. (She’s also a good friend of mine.) When he came back to get the oil changed on HIS car, I was still sitting there, 4 hours later. He looked at me amazed that I was still there and then said, “There’s no way in hell my wife would sit here for 4 hours… she wouldn’t be caught dead with maintaining her car. I do all of it.” I was very taken back by this as his wife is a very respected mechanical engineer. (He’s an electrical engineer. Those kids don’t have a prayer. It’s just flat out in the genes.) She doesn’t cook either. That took me by surprise when I was at their home once and opened the fridge to find a peach and a bottle of Tab. They grab their kids and eat out or at her Mother’s house for dinner… every night.

My folks raised me to be very independent. I’m not knocking families where the man maintains the cars… not at all. Actually, that’s very common. There is the whole division of labor thing. For me, however, that has never set well with me. I completely take care of all maintenance on my car from oil changes, to tire rotations, to major checks such as the timing belt at 100K. My husband is a total motor head so if it’s something I doubt, I do consult him; otherwise, I do it all. I have a couple different mechanics that I use for different things and I’ve developed as good a relationship with them as my husband has. I have no qualms on how long something is going to take as long as they have my car ready by the time I have to get my kids from school; I just take a book to read. I did this when I was single and I have kept it up since we were married. Division of labor in this household for cars: he maintains his car, I maintain mine.

I don’t want to get out of that habit. If my car breaks down, I need a pre-established relationship with my mechanic in the event my spouse is at work. If I called either of my mechs, broken down, I feel certain they’d come get me if I was in trouble! My mechs talk to me with respect and knowledge. They never talk down to me. (Can you imagine someone doing that to my face? They would have a short life.) And God forbid, should anything ever happen to my spouse, I’d be enough of a mess trying to keep my life together without trying to figure out how to maintain a damn car… which BTW, is VERY important. Whatever. It works for us.

Venus vs. Mars

Well, this one was a new one on me. You know how girls play house? Evidently boys play different make believe games. This was from Son#2 (lover of all things female) and Son#3. This game entails Son#2 going to go pick up his “Hot Chick” and Son#3 picking out gifts to give her. The gift he selected for Son#2 was a tiny pewter angel Son#3 pilfered from a “Christian” Tea Shop I frequent when he was 3. Have you ever heard of a kid shoplifting a Christian item from a Christian store? Could I have been any more embarrassed when I took my sobbing son back to the store to have him make amends? (I made him work off the debt of $2.50, pay the store owners and look them in the eye while he confessed.) Thank God they really were Christian women and they were Moms and Grandmothers, plus it helps they know me. They laughed about it behind his back. I still don’t see humor in it. Perhaps another 20 years from now.

Anyway, I asked where they were going with this angel when I heard the exchange between them and realized they were playing some make believe game. I really didn’t want to know anymore, so I left.

Mexican Manicotti from Tammi

Tonight I made Blog Sister Tammi's Mexican Manicotti , from the Carnival of the Recipes, and it gets two thumbs up. As Beth said in her blog, it makes a lot of food, so keeping that in mind, I halved the recipe. (I had no idea refried beans comes in BIG cans. That’s the one you DON’T want.) I would recommend keeping in mind how many people are eating, how big a 9x13 is, and then cut it down accordingly. Refried beans are not expensive. I felt not an ounce of guilt throwing it out. Better to throw out half a can of beans than half a casserole!

My husband HATES Mexican food and I do make it a point of not cooking what he hates, but since he does happen to like Fajitas, for some reason I thought we might have chance. He really liked this and had me put it on the list of ‘make again’. (Turns out his issues with Mexican food is he hates the crunchy shells. This recipe takes care of that.)

The boys are not picky eaters, but they will definitely tell me if there is something they don’t care for. I have a rule in my house, you eat what I cook or you starve. On the flip side, I promise never to cook things that children habitually hate… things that are too strong for a child… like things really heavy in onions. I wasn’t sure how they would be with this as sometimes they think things are ‘too spicey’. (Mints are ‘too spicey’.) But all three of them loved it.

It’s a make again!

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Update on What We're Seeing and Hearing

Blogsister, Michele of Letters from NYC, Posted about all that you can do down here to help and was citing how the blogger community is helping. It reminded me that I have not posted recently on the outpouring of help that is occuring.

I walked into Publix yesteday and they are taking monetary donations and they have donated 20 full trailers of food. The Treasure Coast Foodbank was out taking donations on Thursday. The local radio stations are announcing anytime there is something being done... collections, volunteers, all of it. Every where you turn, there is coverage and there are ways to assist.

Progress is being made. I was reading where it normally takes a full day to get up 3 to 4 power poles, in some places 600 power poles fell off one feeder. (Excuse the terminology for those who know power.) So these linemen who have come from all over to help, are busting hump to rebuild an infrastructure that took 20-30 years to build... all within a few weeks. There aren't hotels for these workers for many many reasons. Linemen are sleeping in their trucks or driving 1 1/2 hours, one way, to get to where they need to be, after having slept in a facility.

Big articles in our paper have been about trailer parks , citing those that were leveled were the old ones that the new ones, with different building codes, far stricter, faired far better.

Mostly, though, I still think about these folks and the heat. Air Conditioning is what brought great growth in this State. Without it, it is miserable. I walked outside Friday and there was not a cloud in the sky. At 9AM, the heat made my skin instantly warm and within 2 minutes I could feel the tingley burn.

They're getting there... its just a long haul.

An AHA! Moment

In my comments on yesterdays FHP Post, commenter Peter, mentioned men’s fear of buying the wrong items their wives have sent them out for. Is this some innate fear that all men have? I think it must be and I am feeling better in knowing this.

I am a low maintenance woman. I can hear that resounding, “How low maintenance are you, Bou?” Well, I am so low maintenance that on Friday, I went shopping to my favorite clothing store because they were having a big ass sale, and I bought some sweaters I’ve been in love with, and then put them in my husband’s closet and said, “I bought my birthday gifts. Just make sure you include the boys in wrapping so they can take part."

I am so low maintenance that I am way way OK with the fact he never tells me he loves me. Most women would go ape shit over it. I’ve also learned to accept the fact he doesn’t ever compliment me. I do go nutso on that every now and then, but only when he forces me to go to some company cocktail party/event I don’t want to go to (which is ALL of them) and I’ve gotten all cleaned up FOR him. Then he frickin’ OWES me a compliment, whether I look good or not. He just knows the rules…. you don’t ever compliment means you are NEVER allowed to say anything derogatory. Don’t like the new shorts I bought? Tough shit. Positive feedback when I bought I pair you did like, while I was wearing them, goes a long way. It's very simple.

I’m a kick back, jeans and a t-shirt kinda gal, no shoes, and minimal make up. You treat me nice and are respectful, you will be rewarded 10 fold. I am low low maintenance.

House decorating? I don’t know anything about it. I have no artistic inclination and decorating a house does nothing for me. I don’t see color and shape and how they go together like others are capable of doing. I am so left brained, I walk with a list to the left. My husband is very artistic and he usually picks out most of the colors. The only thing I ask is if he picks out something I have objection to that he listens. Actually, it is a demand, not a request. He has leeway to do whatever he wants, so if I have input, he better frickin’ listen because that means that for once I actually care. Other than that, he can do as he pleases… because I very rarely have input. I am low low maintenance.

We’ve been moving things around since we built on the two new bedrooms for the boys. The antique twin beds in my guest bedroom that have been handed down from generation to generation, have now been split, with each of the younger boys getting one. I decided that I would get a queen size bed in the guestroom and as good luck would have it, our local department store was having a big mattress sale. He loves to shop; I hate it. So while I ran errands with the kids, we agreed what we wanted for a mattress and then I said, “While you’re there, get 100% cotton sheets in cream, plain no pattern. Here’s a pillow case from the twin sheets, just get something that is close to that color.” There is A LOT of color in that room and I’m just trying to get everything to blend. I refuse to spend the money redecorating that room.

Two hours later, he’s not back. I ring him on his cell and he says he is just now leaving.

“Was it really crowded,” I asked?
“No. I hope you like what I got,” he replied.
Me: “Are they cream?”
Him: “Yup”
Me: “Are they 100% cotton?”
Him: “Yes.”
Me: “Are they plain, no pattern?”
Him: “Yes.”
Me: “What is there that I won’t like? You’re making me nervous.”
Him, tentatively: “I don’t know. I just hope you like them.”

I am completely confused now. How easy was this? I sent him a pillow case for color. I was very specific with my parameters, yet he is afraid I will not like them?

He gets home and I have plain cream 100% cotton queen sized sheets, exactly what I asked for.

Him: “Is this OK?:
Me, puzzled: “I so don’t get this. This is exactly what I asked for. What part of this could I not like?”
Him: “Well, it has this little lace thing at the top of the bedsheet and I was afraid you’d hate it.”
Me: “Hunhead (my pet name for him), if I cared about the top of the bedsheet, I would have told you. As long as the sheets are plain, 100% cotton and cream, I don’t care.”

Needless to say, I spent the next week wondering what type of bitch I really am if he was so nervous about frickin’ sheets. Now I know… it is a man thing.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Gun

Over at Gut Rumbles, Acidman was talking about Martial Arts, the best way to take someone out, and wrestling probably being the best way since most fights end up on the ground. His son is a wrestler and has trained Tae Kwon Do and definitely has found that wrestling is more conducive for him.

So I’ve been mulling this around. I’m not disagreeing with him, actually. I just think there are some things that people need to understand about Martial Arts in general. Let me first state that a gun is the way. The Great Omnipotent One is always teasing me saying he doesn’t understand why I bother with Karate that he prefers a gun and he is correct. But carrying a gun with me 24/7 doesn’t give me a cardio work out, improve my agility and flexibility, or help me if I happen to be stuck without a gun, and it doesn’t burn off the raw anger I have on a daily basis.

Being a Shodan (1st deg) blackbelt in any Martial Arts means one thing… you have learned the basics to start real training. That is all. Of course there are exceptions. There are those that just quit testing and train as a Shodan forever and they are ones to seriously contend with, but in general, when someone is Shodan, it means they’ve worked really really hard, there’s been an awful lot of sweat, they are very motivated, and they have JUST started their journey as a Karate-ka (student of Karate).

My Sensei has told us over and over that just because we become a blackbelt does not mean we can automatically defend ourselves. Yes, we are better than we were without any prior training, but our real journey just begins upon making blackbelt. I will liken it to the art of painting. If you are to become a great painter, you must first learn about different paints, materials, mediums. When you learn how everything works and how it fits together, than you can pull your tools together and really start learning your art. It is the same in Karate. We spend years, literally, just learning basic blocking and striking techniques, how to use the power of our legs and torso, hip rotation, and stances. It can take 3-5 years to learn that just well enough to achieve blackbelt… which only means you are ready to start training Karate seriously, and not that you were not serious before, but now… the journey has really begun.

As you move up the ranks of blackbelt, things change, from what I can see. The training you have been receiving AND teaching for so many years has rendered much of what you do instinctive. Someone who is a Sandan (3rd) or Yondan (4th) is not someone I would mess with in a parking lot. In Shotokan Karate, one of the many goals is to NEVER let your opponent get you to the ground. We are not a grappling Martial Art. There are others like Jujitsu that do that and do it very well.

There are many things that come into play in Martial Arts that do not come into play in wrestling or boxing, both of which I am NOT knocking. (TGOO was a boxer.) In Martial Arts, however, considerable time is spent on how to assess and avoid situations. The goal is NOT to get in a fight, but to try to avert aggression.

Those of us who train in good dojo realize our limitations. I, being a small woman, have not a prayer against a man. I joke a lot that I can defend myself against small women, midgets, and children. All else, I’m completely hosed. I hope that in time, I will know enough instinctively that if I were to get myself in a bad situation, that I can do what needs to be done to escape. My Sensei tells us , we do not want to stick around and fight. That is not the goal. This is self defense… do what you got to do, then get the hell out and do it as best you can on the first strike.

I respect all forms of Martial Arts. They have formed their different ways for various reasons. Some are better in certain situations than others. Nothing is perfect. And I very much respect wrestlers and boxers. The people who train these sports are tremendous athletes who are very in tune with their bodies. They are able to defend themselves in bad situations because of the skills they have learned training. However, like Martial Arts… they are not perfect either. As Acidman says, a gun will win every time.

The Last Thing You Expected

Well, the women will think this is funny. The men... I bet not so much. *grin* I wrote this a couple months ago to some girlfriends. Before I started blogging, I used to just write weird stuff to family and friends... odd things I'd see or something my kids had done. Flash forward to a couple days ago when I sent this to a guy friend as a joke and he laughed and said I should blog it. So here it goes... a man's worst nightmare for a blog! Also, at the end, I have intentionally edited a word in case you are reading it at work. I don't want work sensors banning people from my blog. I tried to send this to my sister via e-mail a couple months ago and her work wouldn't let it pass through... I guess it came off as porn.

I don’t loathe going to the store to buy feminine hygiene products, but I don’t like it much so I save it until the last possible moment. Occasionally, I’m down to enough “items” to last me two hours when I decide I will make the trek. Sometimes I plan in advance, but that is only if I don’t have the boys. I haven’t the energy to explain to my boys what these items are used for and with my luck the questions WON’T occur while in the van, barreling down I-95 at 75 MPH, but rather while actually in Publix, with a crowd around, in their outside voices. Yes, they’ve seen these items in my bathroom drawer, but only when they were inquisitive and small. One time I was in the shower and came out to find Son#3 having unwrapped 20 tampons, and pulled the cotton out of the applicators. There was cotton, applicators, and paper wrappings strewn all over my floor. Another time Son#1 had taken off the adhesive tape protector from the back of a panty liner, and stuck the liner on his forehead as if it were some type of sweat band. Yes, these are memories we keep, but do not take pictures of.

When I actually venture out to buy the products, I quickly pick something and throw it in my cart. I never buy things with it that are indicative of PMS such as Advil or chocolate. I don’t know why, but I just have this aversion to everyone around me knowing I might be PMSing. I have my tried and true brands I prefer. I prefer the Playtex and not to get to graphic, but because it is a plastic applicator and as a young woman, it just psychologically seemed like it would be easier to ‘use’. I have not varied from it over the last 26 years, but although there have been other new Tampon brands out, for the most part how much can you change that product? Not much. You have three basic absorbencies: super, regular, or light. Three applicators: plastic, cardboard or self. I guess it’s kind of like bagging groceries: Do you want paper or plastic? Blech. I digress.

Of course over in the pad arena, things are constantly changing. Just from my glimpses, since we now know I don’t actually stand there and spend 30 minutes shopping and reading packages, I have seen we have quite an array of choices. We’ve gone from those thick horrible things I swear you could see through your pants in the 70’s, to ‘the darn things got wings!’. If I want to try something new, I randomly pick a new product, throw it in my basket, and keep walking, figuring it will more than likely do its job.

Recently, however, I did notice that Playtex did come out with something new. I had my trusty pink box in hand, about to throw it in my cart when out of the corner of my eye I found a ‘new’ pink box with bold print stating something like, “Now! New Applicator for more comfort!” I am getting these words wrong, I am sure, but trust me when I say, I believe I got the gist of it correct. Part of me thought I should just keep walking. I mean, please, I’ve had three kids, and not to get vulgar, but nothing is really all that uncomfortable anymore. Maybe if I was 20, but at 38 with having had three (3) 8-81/2 pound kids with heads so big we nicknamed them Bubble Head or HEED! (think Mike Meyer’s Movie, “I Married and Ax Murderer”), nothing like a tampon could be deemed uncomfortable at this stage in my life. However, the other part of me was curious. So I put my trusty tried and true pink box back on the shelf and got the NEW pink box and threw it in my cart.

Back at home, I take a good look at the box. God Forbid should I stand in the open aisle of Publix and over analyze the product in public. It says the applicator now conforms for better comfort. I open one up and the applicator is now cardboard. I’m OK with that, but what strikes me most is the shape. I’ve opened up one of the super absorbency ones, so granted, it is ‘larger’ than the other, but it now has this weird tapered end. Tampax has always had a blunt end. Playtex has always had a rounded end. This one is distinctly tapered, but not to a point. With its pink cardboard applicator, its super absorbency width, and its tapered end, it now looks just like a …. Pen-is! Oh My God! I thought I would die laughing. That must be what they mean to conforms to more natural comfort. I wonder if they had some Advisory Group of Women and could the conversation have gone something like this?

Playtex: What could we do to make our product better?

Advisory Group of Women: Make it more comfortable… not so ‘foreign’ feeling.

Playtex. And how might we achieve that.

Advisory Group of Women: Make it shaped like a pen-is, after all, that’s what really belongs there, right???

Hmm. Just wondering.

Friday, August 20, 2004

All Dieting Out The Door

She did it! Beth at She Who Will Be Obeyed started this Carnival of Recipes and tonight is her first post. She has recipes in her post as well as links to all the others. She even got an Instalanche. Congratulations to Beth and thank you, thank you, thank you. I may have many meals for this upcoming week from this Post.

Funny Linky Stuff

There are a lot of funny people in the blogosphere. Actually, just about everyone gets me laughing at times. There are a couple though, sometimes I just shake my head and say to myself, "Where in the hell do they come up with this stuff?" One of them this week has been Bill over at Bloviating Inanities. There are a couple posts... the first is his Sitzpinkler post. (Certain type of men who do certain things are Sitzpinklers... wimp.) Just go and click on "And Hilter wept". Funny stuff. Scary thing is that this article is true.

For some reason, his Open Letter to My Lovely Wife had me cracking up. This letter as to why they should get an iguana. The comments are a riot too. I love it when he asks for a cobra instead.

Then over at Blog Sistah Sally's of Whimsy Capricious, we have a couple posts on children knowing a bit TOO much about their parent's extracurricular activities... one Post with regard to the Easter Bunny and the other to Handcuffs! This of course reminds me of the time a very good male friend of mine, 1 of 5 boys in his family, informed me that if I owned a vibrator I best get rid of it because my boys WILL find it if I do. Can you imagine how much trouble Harvey would be in if he had kids?

Go Team Go... Even if We're NOT Informed!

It appears that my Blog Father, Harvey of Bad Example, has been asked to take turns with Right Wing Duck, as a sit in for Frank J. at IMAO while he goes on his tryst hiking trip to the Grand Canyon with Sarahk of Moutaineer Musings, also known as his T-Shirt babe. And do you think Harvey informed his blog children of his new side line??? NOOOOOO! Humpf! Sally of Whimsy Carpricious and I stumbled upon it as we were lurking over there as we do every day.

So here I am, knowing that Frank J is leaving, “Ho hum, read read read, what’s this? Frank says Harvey is sitting in for him? Must be a joke. Harvey never told US!” Sure enough, there’s a post from our one and only. I never comment over there because Frank gets 50 comments a post. I’ve seen it damn near if not over 100. Yeah, I’ll pass. But the big thing if you’ve not been over there is the first person who comments usually types “First!” You know you’re gonna get read if you’re the first. Chances are slim to none if you’re 61st. And the comments are half the fun over at Frank's. He's got some hilarious people that comment over there.

First shot I got 21st for Harvey. Second shot, I got 6th. I’m getting better. Of course, my goal is to be first. And if not me... I'm pulling for Sally. I must be in an Olympic frame of mind... gotta stick with the team! Go Team Bad Example! Be #1!!!!

School Week in Review

Son#2 almost got poked in the eye with a pencil. I happened to be in the clinic doing my new damn Treasurer duties when he came in to have it checked out. (You don’t think our old school has the room for the Treasurer do you? Pish Posh! NO! Last year’s Treasurer sat on the floor of the school office. I declined and said I would sit in the clinic as long as there were no barfing kids.) Anyway, I NEARLY barfed when he came in speaking of eye poking incident. The nurse had to handle it, but was more concerned I was going to lose it and pass out in her clinic. The only good thing is he crawled in my lap and let me smooch all over him, a real treat since it was the middle of the day and he doesn’t let me kiss him in public anymore. I’m allowed to run my nose through his hair on the top of his head. That’s it. Anyway, I sent him back to his class saying, “You tell Minnie if she gets near your eye again with a pencil, I’m calling her Mom or I’m coming after her. Do you hear? Tell her I’m serious!” Heh. Did I tell you he’s only in 2nd grade? Oh yeah, I feel big and powerful. I threatened a 2nd grade girl that probably weighs 35 pounds.

Son#3 informed me that the Hokey Pokey is ‘the stupidest dance they ever came up with’. I thought all kids loved the Hokey Pokey. Wrong. Then he informed me that he ‘haded to kiss Lisa today at the Lite Brite because she stuck her face up to his, but he didn’t get a time out.’ I can hear it now, 20 years from now at the dinner table at Thanksgiving, girlfriends with us, and someone saying, “So, where were you when you kissed your first girl?” and Son#3 saying, “Oh, that’s easy. At the Lite Brites at kindergarten.” We’ve had a talk about no more kissing, no matter if she actually pushes her face up against his lips.

And lastly, Son#1. I forgot to tell you in last night’s Post, that Man Teacher ended the video with the entire class standing and singing, “Take Me Home Country Roads” by John Denver. It was introduced by one of the kids as, “The most popular song when you were in 4th grade.” Hunh. That is assuming of course that we’re all the same age. Which we’re not. I looked it up, 1971. I was 6, 1st grade, so he was close. Anyway, the entire class is singing this song and you need to keep in mind, this is a S. Fl school, so there is no accent, there isn’t a Southern born and bred child in this class. When these kids got to the lyric,

“West Virginia, mountain momma”

EVERY SINGLE CHILD in that class developed the most southern twang you have ever heard in your life. I was so damn proud. Nearly brought tears to my eyes. Evidently they were imitating someone singing on the tape… must’ve been a John Denver twang I was hearin’. Funny stuff.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Repeat After Me: Boys Not Saints

Please tell me I have never claimed my boys are saints. If I have, that karma came back and bit me in the ass tonight. I swear I have a saying, “I am raising boys not saints.”

Tonight was the Parent/Teacher Open House. We go into the Parish Hall and the Principal introduces everyone on the board, including their new damn Treasurer, so anyone who didn’t know me before (98% of the school as I prefer to lay low) does now. We hear about all the big things in store this year, yada yada yada, then off we go to our kid’s classrooms to understand the new grade and meet the teacher. I have my Better Half do the younger kid’s classes while I do Son#1. Been there, done that with the other two, since I’m in charge of their education, assisting in studies etc., I need to make sure I know all the ropes for the new grade.

I know I posted earlier that Son#1 has who I will now call “Man Teacher”. I actually love Man Teacher. He’s a very good man and believes that the kids need to be exposed to other things in schooling besides just academic book work. So during the religious studies, instead of opening the Bible and making them learn chapter and verse, he takes them to Nursing Homes to interact with the elderly. We will do that 4 times this year. We’re also doing a type of exchange program with an immigrant school where our kids go there for an entire day, learning, playing, and breaking bread with them. Later on in the year, the kids come to our school and do the same thing. I need to make it clear that while I am sure our school is much nicer than the school they are visiting, my children do not go to some exclusive plush hoity toity Catholic School. It is very plain and old. But it is homey and we love it.

I’m excited about all this stuff Man Teacher is doing. He has older kids and he’s the basketball coach for is son’s High School B-Ball team. He’s really into kids. All the kids in the school love Man Teacher so I feel fortunate we have him.

Today, he brought a video camera to school and he videotaped all the kids doing their routine, walking into the classroom, sitting quietly at their desks, and doing the morning prayer. Then he took the camera and went to each child individually. As luck would have it, he started with Son#1. Keep in mind, everyone knows me now, although I probably only knew 10% of the parents before. I am sitting under the TV when Son#1 comes on the screen.

“Good morning, Son#1”, says Man Teacher.
“Good morning, Man Teacher”, replies Son#1
“What did you do this summer,” asks Man Teacher?
And Son#1 says, I kid you not, “Thank you Mom and Dad for taking me to Pensacola this summer and letting me set 3 foot fires. I love you!”
My eyes are big as saucers. I’m not breathing. I’m staring at the TV and every parent in that class is completely cracking up. Dad’s are patting me on the back. Moms are laughing and yelling, “Man Teacher! I don’t want my son sitting next to Son#1!”

And could it get worse? Oh yes it could. Because 5 minutes later, Man Teacher is taping Sweet Little Girl Classmate doing her schpiel to her parents telling them she loves them and how wonderful her summer was and in the background is Son#1’s desk. In the beginning, you see his face… a little, mainly his chest and body. Slooooowwwly his face gets closer and closer to his desk so it is in full view of the camera. Sweet Little Girl Classmate is now sharing her screen time with Son#1 in the background, grinning and wiggling his eyebrows, like something you would see at a professional sports event when the camera breaks into the stands. Oh and to make it just a little more pleasant, EVERY parent in the classroom notices and is breaking up through the whole thing. I am aghast and I’m laughing that nervous laugh, breathing in only, not exhaling, tears streaming down my face in a combination of laughter and horror as he continues to steal Sweet Little Girls Classmate's screen time.

Oh the shame of it all.

And for your information, the real story of the Pensacola trip goes like this. My boys have a magnifying glass and they go outside my home here in West Palm and fry ants. My folks have a big ass magnifying glass, I mean big, they don’t make them like this anymore. So whenever we get to my folk’s house, they wake up bright and early and yell, “Mom! We’re going outside to burn!” and off they go. I allow this because there are rules. First, other than ants, you burn nothing alive. You can only burn in the driveway or a sidewalk. And you must always have a cup of water with you. I did this stuff when I was a kid. This is what kids do.

Well they ran outside to burn and we’re checking on them, someone is always popping by a window to look. My Mom walks by a window and she sees flames! She runs outside and they have burned pine straw and leaves to nearly a 3 foot flame! And they’re fanning it!!! Keep in mind, they are no where near a lawn. They’re actually at the edge of the driveway on the cusp of the street of my folk’s cul de sac. My Mom goes running out there and they’re so excited and she looks down for their cup of water and there sits a teeny tiny little Dixie Cup. Thus ended their burning for the rest of the vacation. We are adding more parameters and precautions. They recall this as one of their fondest memories. They still talk about it. All.the.time.

Carnival of the Recipes: Mushroom Pork Tenderloin

Beth at SWWBO is having a Carnival of the Recipes. I’ve been telling my Mom that I was going to do a recipe blog once a week, but I’ve never gotten round to it. Now Beth has provided me the motivation. And Harvey, if you eat pork, this is easy. Even YOU could make it. So here is this week’s entry:

Mushroom Pork Tenderloin.

¼ Cup of Mayo
1(1 oz) packet of onion soup mix
3 cloves of fresh garlic
1 ½ lb pork tenderloin (may be two pieces)
1 (8 oz) pkg of portabella mushrooms, rinsed and sliced (I slice them ½” thick)
1 Tblsn quick setting flour (Wondra)
½ C milk (I use skim)

Combine in large bowl, mayo and dry soup mix. Crush garlic, using garlic press, into bowl. Mix well. Slice tenderloin diagonally into ½ inch slices.

Preheat large sauté pan on medium high 2-3 minutes (I use a skillet). Stir pork slices and sliced mushrooms into soup mixture. Wash hands. Place tenderloin, using tongs, in pan; add remaining soup mixture (I never have much at all). Cook 4-6 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned.

Stir in flour and cook 1-2 more minutes. Stir in milk; reduce heat to low. Cook 4-6 minutes until sauce thickens and internal temp of pork slices reaches 150deg F.

I have served with egg noodles or yellow saffron rice.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

When Role Models Succeed

I don’t know about y’all, but when I read someone’s blog, I get a feeling about what kind of person I think they are and over time, that ‘vision’ is continually molded as more details are added. I’ve been reading Harvey at Bad Example since May, I think. If you read his blog you get a feeling for is wit. You know he loves his wife tremedously. He has great affection and love for Blogless brother Tom. The more I read, the more I know, but seriously, over time I just felt like I ‘knew’ him, nothing could really change or alter my perception. Then he went and posted today’s Post on his Dad and it didn’t change how I felt about him, it wasn’t a rude awakening, but it rather enhanced what type of person I think he is. I'm not sure how to describe it. I hesitate to call it a 'respect' because I already respected him, but I guess that word must do.

Through his moving Post, The Footsteps I Follow, about his Dad, I feel like I have an idea more of how Harvey is with his wife, how he is capable of such devotion. This deep love and respect he has for ‘Beloved Wife’ came even more sharply into focus.

We mothers of boys often say amongst ourselves that the best way to teach a boy how to treat a woman when he becomes a man, is through his watching how his father treats his mother. Harvey’s post today exemplifies that. Read it if you have not. It’s wonderful.

Unsung Heroes

I was over at Blog Sis Tammi’s, Road Warrior Survival, and she has this excellent post on linemen. The men and women who keep our electricity going; show up and work long daggum hours to get us up and running after a disaster. I didn’t know how all that worked, their hours, where they’re housed, nothing. It really is a GREAT read, so take a look. They appear to be our unsung heroes.

I was talking to my Mom about it on the phone today and she was saying she had been summoned for jury duty not so long ago and during her long wait, she was sitting next to a man who was a lineman. You have to know my Mom, but my Mom is the most appreciative person you'll ever meet. She is extraordinarily kind. So she finds out what this man’s occupation is and she THANKS him for all his hard work and all he does in keeping us in power. From there he started telling her stories about how he goes out after a disaster to help people get up and running and people greet him and the crews with coke and cookies and all sorts of food. He said it makes him feel so good that these people are so appreciative!

So I am hoping that in all these bad areas that people really are being appreciative of the linemen and I know that next time I meet one, I too will say Thank You!

Put The Blame Where It Belongs.. All 478 Lbs of It!

Forget the drink alerts, this is a ‘you might vomit’ alert, so I suggest if you’re eating while reading this, move to a different Post. While reading the article I’m about to write about, I was eating breakfast and had to actually move on to another section of the paper for fear I would lose it. You’ve been warned.

This was first brought to my attention by Blog Sis Anathematized over at Cleanse the World; Rivers of Blood. I agreed it was nasty nasty. Then today, it appeared on the front page of our newspaper. A 4’8” 478lb, 39 year old woman, died last week in Stuart, which is about 25 minutes north of me. The emergency crew found her with labored breathing, on her couch and she had not moved from that couch in so long, the fibers of the couch had fused to the skin on her back. She was sitting in filth, feces, and urine. Her apartment was so disgusting, full of rotting food and bugs as well, that two days after she died, the stench still permeated from the house 90 feet away. She was so big, they could not fit her in the ambulance, besides not being able to move her from the couch due to the ‘fusion’, so they got her out onto a borrowed trailer pulled by a pick up.

So now, guess what? The government is looking to see who is responsible for this. Who can they press charges against? Who can they hold responsible? She had family and friends, but if you read the LONG DAMN article, you will find that most of her family were in and out of jail for drug possession. Great family, eh? Her ‘live in’ boyfriend was in and out of jail on drug charges and even got a DUI on his bike a couple years ago. Neighbors say he was the type to just hang in the front yard and drink beer. Do you think this guy maybe had a substance abuse problem?

Then of course there is the cousin that works for DCF (that’s our family services group) and they’ve been investigating her, wanting to pin it on her somehow, even though she hasn’t seen her cousin in FIVE YEARS! Luckily they found her innocent of misconduct.

OK, so this is my take. So Sad, Too Bad, She’s Dead. Her fault. Personal Responsibility and all that jazz. She was a 39 year old woman! Give me a fucking break! She had a high school diploma at no time was it indicated she was mentally deficient. She even adopted some kids at one point. Last I saw, they didn’t just let any Joe Shit the Ragman off the street adopt someone’s kids. Evidently someone saw this person to be a good woman. You can read the whole sordid tale of how it came to pass that she ended up growing herself to the couch, but the bottom line is, it’s NOBODY’S FAULT BUT HERS!

Her own sister said that she was a hardheaded woman and then said, “Why should we go to jail? She was a grown woman. She could make her own decisions.” Exactly.

So this is the scenario I have in my head. People visit in the beginning, offering to help. “No, No, No”, she says, “I am fine.” Complete martyr, I don’t need your help. This goes on for years and people finally quit asking. The stench starts to get bad because even if she was getting up to go to the bathroom in the beginning, with 400 lbs of fat, there is bad body odor. As time progresses, people stop coming by because it smells bad and hell, she’s not letting them help. They probably lost sympathy, because that is easy to do when you’re with someone who won’t let you help and won’t help themselves. She’s living with an addict, she’s surrounded by addicts, what else do you expect. Who I feel sorry for is the 14 year old daughter.

Let it go. She’s dead. Find a good home for her daughter and move on. She killed herself. End of Story.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


Today is August 17th and it’s my brother’s birthday. My kid brother, by 23 months. He comments here as Toluca Nole. He lives in LA where he is pursuing his dream of acting, while working in the industry. His job forces him to keep odd hours, so we don’t speak much by phone. We e-mail a lot though. I don’t know what I’d do without e-mail.

He and I are very close. (My whole family is close.) Growing up in a military family, moving from duty station to duty station, siblings are the only guarantee that you’ll have anyone to play with. There is great security in family.

He’s an extraordinarily creative person both acting and writing. He is an excellent writer, educated in thus, although that is not the trade he is plying now. I am thoroughly amazed at the things that pop into his head. Whereas I can only write what I perceive, he can both create works of fiction as well as write with regard to what goes on around him. He can change his voice into various accents, whether it be Scottish or Spanish or French. I can do one… American vernacular.

He is the traditionalist in our family, which we love to tease him about. My Mom doesn’t dare not serve cheese grits with ham on Christmas, because that is tradition! All it takes to become a tradition in our home is for something to have happened once and for everyone to have enjoyed it. Then it’s BAM!, instant tradition. Poor Mom. And my brother seems to have become the tradition policeman.

He loves my boys and they love him and when he sees them twice a year, the big thing is for him to play jokes on them while they’re sleeping. One time they woke up and he had toilet papered their bed. Another time they awoke to their beds full of raw egg noodles. They don’t quite get his sleeping habits as he usually gets in at 4AM and sleeps till Noon, prompting Son#2 to say one day, very seriously, “Mom, I don’t think Uncle is human, I think he is really an Owl.”

His first movie with a part came out a few months ago! We were so proud. He had one line and we all went to the theater on opening weekend to see it. The Great Omnipotent One timed his line at 3 seconds, and we all have his line memorized. “Hey, you can’t take that car! Its Mr. So and So’s!” His line is with a very famous actress and to me that made it even more cool. He was bummed his line was short, they had cut one of his scenes, but I couldn’t be more proud. People would say, “Was it a good movie?” and my reply has been, “Of course! My brother was in it!”

So Happy 37th Birthday, Little Bro! I love you.