Tuesday, 30 August 2005

Future Topics...

Some things that simply must come up in future postings:

George Chris
My kitties
The New York Renaissance Festival
Human Sexuality
Flexible Morality
Favourite Movies

And a multitude of other things. I also take requests!

Time For A GOOD RANT...

I need to rant. As it happens, a good friend of mine who has been keeping up with my blog has put in a request for a rant. So I thought about it but really, the day was mild, life has been sort of calm, nothing too distressing has been happening. So, nothing really came to mind. And then...

...I went to fill up my gas tank after work...






I went nuts.

I did not take it out on the gas attendant. Let's face it, he is making next to nothing to pump gas for a lot of really angry people. But I was flabberghasted. I was ready to jump out and pummel something - anything - because the high test gas was $3.09 a gallon! YIKES! I remember when I was 19 and first driving and having to scrape up $3.00 to put in my tank - however, at that time, the same $3.00 got me five gallons of gas! Now it wouldn't GET ME ONE LOUSY GALLON! And why the hell shouldn't I rant about that?

We watch the prices go up. When I was hiking my cookies up to Sussex County, I joked about how I was going to have to tell Corporate that I was going to telecommute because gas was almost - not quite, but almost - $2.00 a gallon. That to me was shocking. I had never seen it anywhere near that high. Now I would be bloody grateful if it got down to $2.50! Let me add that it was not a year ago that I was upset that prices were approaching $2.00 a gallon. It was January of this year.

What is it that does this? Middle Eastern oil? Well. We have Texas - what's the problem? I am not a politician (clearly this is the case - what politician would have a firm opinion about anything?), I don't understand the issues of the day and I don't understand why gasoline costs a mint. All I do know is that less than a year ago I was complaining that it cost me $18.50 to fill my tank and this morning it cost a whopping $39.00 to do so! What the hell!

George W. Bush wants to do something for his country? Great! Let's see some action, Georgie-boy. Let's see you do something about the numbers of us who are out of work. Let's see you do something about the cost of fossil fuels. My gas bill keeps rising. I live in an area where mass transit is in the stone age. I have noticed, however, that my income has not risen to reflect the hike in the cost of living that my fuel bill shows... hmmm.

Electric car, anyone?

Friday, 26 August 2005

Why Is It I Can't Have The One I Want?

Why is it that at another job I was on, there was an absolutely delicious supervisor, and he wasn't the one who showed an interest? Where is that fair? If this particular individual, with the most amazing blue eyes, had walked up to me and said, "My place, eight o'clock, bring yourself and a smile" I would not have hesitated! I would have shown up grinning like the cat that ate the canary... pardon me if I burp up a couple of yellow feathers... Oops. And I was being quite forgiving... he may not have met the height requirement. Men have to be at least 6 feet (2 metres) in height for me to be interested. Well. No. That person was married - as if that little detail stops anyone - but he never made so much as an inappropriate comment. Neither did I, even if mentally I was calculating how many seconds it would take me to remove the buttons on that white shirt... with my teeth... Well. As you can see, nothing happened.

If I ran into him now, he'd be a furiously blushing red after a few well-timed and scandalising comments on what I would do with him, given the freedom and option to do so.

There is someone I know from my EMT life who falls into that same category. Married, safe, attractive, and of course, the requisite blue eyes. He meets the height requirement and has a good body, too. Any interest? Well, a lot of ribald comments (gosh, wow, on a squad??) and good-natured joking, but nothing there either. No, it was the person shorter than me that waited about three minutes before coming right out to ask my marital status... my luck.

Two things make me weak in the knees - blue or green eyes - or very unusual or attractive eyes - and chins. Yes, a cleft chin will get me every time. There is a young 30s guy at the Renaissance Festival with the greatest chin and eyes and he is very tall and well! What is not to look at, grope, caress, enjoy? Eye candy is very important but him - yowza! I will get pictures this weekend. I'm sure I have other photos of him... there we go... at the top, there is my little eye candy man!
Somehow the man you want to have - and I'm not looking for anything permanent, I have that! - is somehow this thoroughly unattainable man. And every job, every single job I have ever had, has had one or another great temptation waltzing, strutting, walking with great confidence, whatever... prowling the office building you are in and completely distracting you from what ever it was you were working on.
USI... Well. I must say that there was really no one I was overwhelmingly attracted to there. There just weren't too many examples of "wow, you definitely turn on my pheromones!" working in there. How odd. I think during that time I was entirely too distracted my fellow EMT to concentrate on ANYthing!
Givaudan had a supervisor there that could have had me any way he wanted me. See paragraph 1.
Berlex really had nothing to offer for the three weeks I was there. A relief, really.
PNY had its Director of Security... heh, heh, heh... Oh, many evil, fun, sexual thoughts revolving around this poor unfortunate individual! I don't know if he knew I was attracted to him, but if he was clueless, well, less embarrassing for both of us. But I think he was just the hottest thing since... since... well, since right before coming to PNY!
And now I have it bad for my current [removed to protect the identity], and one of the local constabulary who assissts in our department. Oh. Joy. As if one hot guy isn't enough, there are TWO delicious Security types that just beckon me on toward them to do... risque things!

Time for dinner. I'm sure there will be more to say later.

Thursday, 25 August 2005

Death - Who Needs It? Part One

While I am delighted to be alive - and ever since my accident I appreciate it each and every day - I am not sure what benefit death brings. Certainly for the survivors it brings none. While the money (when there is some) may be nice, what price can you put on your parents? Grandparents? Best friends? Boss? Crewmate?Anyone?

You can't. I suppose, if your depth of feeling wasn't too much or it was negative, you could. My paternal grandmother: $1.98. My paternal grandfather: priceless. (Yes, I am distinctly making fun of that Visa or Mastercard ad.) But in truth, my grandmother was a vindictive, hateful, controlling woman who hit her son with knitting needles (no, not Ray; this is my biolagical father, Harry) and ruled the roost with a fist of iron. My grandfather was not all goodness and light - he was quite puscillanimous (look it up - you'll love it and the dictionary should always be your best friend), but he was a wonderful, sweet, intelligent man with nanny-goats (anecdotes) by the bucketload. He taught me the basics of farming, how to whistle (it's not his fault that I can't whistle like normal people), how to ride a tractor, and many, many other things. He died when I was 19, in 1987, and my grandmother... well, she lived quite a bit longer. In all honesty I have no idea if she died. I suspect as much - Pop-pop was 80 in 1987, so she would be somewhere around 97 - 100 years old now. I know bitterness keeps one going... but that long?

The first "big" death for me should have been my maternal grandmother in 1985. I was 17 when she died of pencreatic cancer. I was sad, but not distraught. We were not close. I really had hardly any relationship with her. My mother kept a distance from her and I was not a part of her life. I suspect when she talked about her grandchildren, I did not actually come up in conversation. That may be wrong and totally off base, but I have no reason to think it isn't.

HHHOOOONNNKKKKKK - the rig is back from it's call. Good old Bob - he always leans on the air horn for me. It's sweet, really.

Where was I? Oh, right. So that passed (no pun intended) basically unremarked. She lived to be 77, she died - and mostly with assistance. So much for the doctor who said she had six months. After two and half years, she had decided she'd had it. At her request, we speed up the process a bit. My mother has no regrets and why should she?

The first death that really, really hit hard was Pop-pop's and I missed it. Yes, my evil and heinous grandmother struck again. She may have had help from my biological father, but this was her. And no one else. I happened to go up to Pennsylvania on the spur of the moment to visit them after a two-year hiatus from any letters or phone calls. I went with my then-boyfriend, Joe Cataudella (he will have a posting all his own. I miss him, he was a great friend - and on that fateful day in Novermber or December of 1987 he really proved it!), and we went to 110 Rice Street in Trucksville. The Trebilcox' did not live there any longer and I went to the neighbours, George and Dorothy Pierce (they were wonderful people), who told me that ever since Jimmy died, Francis (my grandmother) lived in the apartments in Back Mountain. The devastation was... I can't describe it. I had had no idea - no clue - that my beloved Pop-pop was deceased. We went to the gravesite but there was no marker. He'd only died in July of that year, so nothing was there. It takes a year, I think, to get the marker.

So that was my indoctrination into losing a loved one. There is a lot more to that story, but there it is in a nutshell as relates to this posting.

The next big loss was when Steve Sudol died. Oh, gods, what a terrible time that was. It was 6 January 1996. We'd just gotten hammered with 38" of snow - QUITE unusual for New Jersey - and all was white and totally still. I remember that morning so well. It was Monday, nothing was moving. Luis and I lived on the other side of town and we had been out attempting to extricate our cars - a pointless effort with over a metre of snow. It was eerily quiet out, despite living so close to Route 80 - nothing was out, no planes, no cars, no animals. The only sound was the creaking of the snow-laden trees as they ponderously swung in the wind.

Not long after we'd come back inside, I guess somewhere around 09:00 or 10:00, the Phantom had called. He asked about the snow we'd gotten (not much different from him - he was in Little Falls at that time) and then asked, carefully, if Luis was around... an odd question, as where else could he be? So I told him of course Luis is around and that is when without any fanfare or preparation, he said, "Steven died."

I can not honestly remember what exactly happened after that. I am sure I cried, but did I wail? Throw things? I don't know. I do recall that Luis took the phone from me and held me and I guess Harry told him because the words were not coming from me. Steve was 44 years old and died from cancer. The three of us, Phantom, Steve and I did EVERYTHING together. It was awful. Once in a while I dream of him and having a conversation, even though he is dead and we both know it... I like that, though. It means that at least in my dreams, I recall his voice.

Well, it is late and I need to crash, so I will write anon about this - or later.

Tuesday, 23 August 2005

The Last Two Days

22 & 23 August 2005

I'm very happy to say that for the next three and a half weeks I will be employed, a nice assignment not too far from home and in my field. Life is too good! I feel great about it. It gives me hope and makes me feel that I am valuable. And every experience adds to my knowledge and marketability.

Yesterday I was up around 08:00, and showered and dressed around 09:30. My best friend The Phantom Who Knows All and Publishes (hereafter referred to as Phantom) showed up and we stopped to check on my very pregnant friend Quilt-Queen. She has been having some mild gestational hypertension and I have been checking her between once and twice a day to track her blood pressure. It is a little high, but holding steady. I know she's really struggling with it, but she is working hard to keep herself healthy for herself, the baby and our best friend, Flyboy.

After that, Phantom and I headed down to Seaside Heights, about 1.5 hours from here. I love - love more than anything - the ocean. I just cannot imagine living inland like in Ohio or any landlocked state. I could not do it. I told Luis that we will retire in Palm Springs, California - I love the desert - but it is only an hour away from the Pacific Ocean. An ocean is a neccesity for me!

We lucked out, too. We stopped at the Perkins to eat, got to the beach at 13:00, got our badges (an orange sticker that attaches securely to wrist or ankle), and checked the little info chalkboard - the water was 73 degrees Farenheit, with high tide at 10:03 and low time at 16:34. I love low tide, so our timing was excellent - just another three hours to low tide! We set up our chairs and towels and went right into the water. It does feel cold at first, but it really took little time to become accustomed to it. We ended up swimming in it for about an hour or so and then surfed in and sat in the shallows like when I was a little kid.

What I do recall with great chagrin as a little kid was ending up with the crotch of my ill-fitting swimsuit filled with sand. It looked funny - like there was something more in my suit, and felt about as appealing. I hated that. And the bottom of the suit always wore out fast than anything. Sitting in the shallows of the Atlantic yesterday I wondered if that would happen and I am pleased to admit that it did not. However, the force of the waves was such that I was unceremoniuosly tossed about even in six to ten inches of seawater and ended up scouring a fair amount of my hide off and some of the suit got rather rough... Still, it was entirely worth it.

We spent some time sitting in the chairs and chatting and then we took a walk to the boardwalk. The boardwalk is the tackiest of places. It mostly runs rampant with food (overpriced and undernourishing), clothing that would be in dubious taste at best and outright disgusting at worst) and games that one has little to no hope of winning. In between that there were the occasional body piercing palaces and psychics. There had been a wonderful shop with seashells that was a must-shop at place for me. However, somewhere in the last two years, it disappeared to be replaced by yet another dreadful clothing place.

We each got something to drink. I had some strange concoction called a lime something-or-other that was green shading to red and not something I would get again, but not so bad that it was not potable.

I did, however, find this very heavy, very gorgeous coral piece that is about 12" x 12" and white and weighs a good 6 or 7 pounds. I had to ask how much, and the kids running the place had no idea (it was not marked). They called the owner, who informed them that it was not marked, however, she would sell it for $24.99. SOLD! This is a piece of coral that could easily go for $200 and she wanted $25! Ha! I was absolutely delighted to take that off her hands!

We took it back to the car and then moved the car to a metered space closer to the beach. It is now 25 cents for 15 minutes - a little ridiculous, but there it is. We loaded it up with quarters and headed to the ocean to go for another hour-long swim. Then we headed back onto the boardwalk. We each had a soft ice cream and wandered about, looking at the various tacky items. One plce was selling a plethora of pipes and bongs, something I always find both amusing and distasteful. I am not a supporter of recreational drug use, really, and they are quite ugly for the most part. However, a lot of effort goes into the design of these things and some are well-decorated and designed. What amuses me is that they clearly have but one use and are legal to sell. It is not as though you see next to it a dime bag of marijuana to purchase with it. But what else is a bong for? You would not smoke normal tobacco through it!

The kid selling these really looked the part, though. Right down to the half-mast eyes.

After that we returned to the car, dumped in 3 more quarters and then went for a quick dip. Well, that was the plan. There is no such thing as a "quick dip" in the ocean, so we were in it for another hour, then a solid fifteen minutes packing up and when we returned to my car, there it was - a $35 parking ticket. Sigh. It is not due for payment until 20 September, so I will pay it in two weeks or so. The sad thing is that they got me 10 minutes after the time expired! But no regrets. The day was wonderful!

We stopped at a Wa-Was on the way home where they had Nantucket Nectars, a very favourite fruit juice maker. I bought three bottles and I am enjoying them thoroughly.

We left around 1800 and got to the house at 1940. Not bad at all! Phantom headed home right away and I took a shower. I had to. I peeled off my bathing suit to find half of the beach in it and my skin was an admixture of salt and sand. And my hair... it felt like plastic. It was disgusting! It was 20:30 when I went over to the Quilt-Queen (so named for the amazing quilts she makes) and checked her bp. We chatted a bit and then I stopped at the Rite Aid on my way home to get swimmer's ear stuff. I got in and then went out for a bit to hang out with the Chief (so named for being the chief of one of the squads I associate with).

I got in just after 22:00 and Luis and I watched the latest episode of "Monk" - we love that show - and then another show, but by 23:00 I was dead with exhaustion - all that swimming just took everything out of me. It was off to bed and I slept like the dead!

This morning I awoke at 08:00 and left to go to my parents' house at 08:40. The traffic was not bad. I got there at 09:05 and helped my father open his existing UI claim. He had gotten a three-week electrical job right in Wayne but the job ended on Friday, so he was only there a week and a half. He hated the boss on it anyway, but he is #107 on the list of guys on the bench awaiting work, so it may be another 6 to 8 weeks before he goes out. We shall see. Anyway, we went out for breakfast and then went to Costco, where I gave Ray half the cost of renewal and got a sack of paper towels (we were getting low) and the first two seasons of "Sex and the City" on DVD. We then returned home to unload Ray's stuff and then went to my house where he was supposed to hang up pictures. That never happened. Instead, we hung up two of my three Sky chairs, put in the two pot/pot lid organisers and put up the shower dispensers, one in each bathroom. We got a lot done. I guess next time he can put up the pictures.

At 14:45 I stopped at Quilt-Queen to check on her and she was a bit high but still holding fairly steady. She'll be stopping by tonight to get another reading between 21:00 and 22:00.

There will not be too much else happening today. I need to do some general straightening up and then I will get ready for work tomorrow. The rest of the week should fly by! Work through Friday; CPR renewal and on call on Thursday and then Ren this weekend.

More will follow soon!

Sunday, 21 August 2005

A Day in My Life

21 August 2005

I always think that my life is boring by comparison (comparison to whom I am not sure...) but it seems to be that I do more "living" than many people. This is sad for other people, unless they can truly say that they are contented. I may not be living in a way that others want to, but I am living - most of the time. I will admit to using some time unwisely but as long as I am happy with it, then it's all good.

Any way, this day has been a mix of really living and wasting some time. I suspect that the down time was needed, however, and so it was not truly a waste. In any event, here is today:

Some time after midnight, Rescue & Recovery got a call, but all I heard was "Standby, Car 69" and tones... no message. More brilliance thanks to the township vetoeing the new communications tower...

At 05:00 we had a call. It was routine, nothing special. I am surprised and very pleased with the crew I am a part of - even though they both worked today and had mentioned that they were unavailable at 05:00 to take calls, both came out to play on this one. Otherwise I'd've had to ask dispatch to blow out Car 65 to take it (I'm on Car 66).

I got back in at 0625, so it was pointless to try to sleep. I had to be over at the Rescue & Recovery building at 07:15 for a water drill.

Before you are wondering about this, I am an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) with one of two first aid squads in northern New Jersey. We do have formal names, but for this it will be Car 66 (one third of the town) and Car 65 (the other 2/3 of town). And then there is Car 69, the Rescue & Recovery squad. Some few enterprising souls will figure this out... dispatch is 480 (I'm not giving the total call sign). There is a paid day crew (Car 67) and then there are the 6 fire districts in town as well.

I am fully certified and I even drive the ambulance. (Those who know me will understand why the sentence is structured so.) It's extremely rewarding work. But when I was uncertified except for CPR, I took the first responder class - with almost ALL of Car 69's members. Thus I know them all very well. Except for the FNGs, whom I met today.

Anyway, the Chief of 69 asked me if I wanted to be a drowning victim for today and I said I would love to. I love to swim. At 5'4" and 181lbs I am a bit bulky and ungraceful on land but I love being in the water. And I am much more graceful in it. (I'd like to think so, anyway...) So I came along in a sundress over my bathing suit and brought a towel and we all trooped over to one of the many lakes in town. There was another member's 12-year-old son with me to play victim and he and I had a fun time.

We went over with the Chief's truck with a flatbed hitched to it and the small blow-up boat (seats two) and the larger blow-up boat on it. The larger boat is a rescue boat and has two wooden boards to serve as seats and another that allows one to attach the motor to it. It is a lot longer than one would think to look at it in the water - about 12 feet long. This allows about three rescuers and two patients.

We went out in a small blow-up boat and let the rescue guys come out and get us. We did a total of four rescues, and I gave input as to what needed improvement from the patient's and the EMT's viewpoint. It was a fun, educational and interesting process and definitely a fun day.

The first time, Kelly and Franco (I think) were the rescuers and I was away from the boat; the other victim (I suddenly have blanked on his name, I'm sorry to say) hung onto the raft. Poor kid, he was very nervous at first and did not want to be on his own or out of the boat - but he did very well. He had on a life-vest, same as me and he was a great victim. We also had Todd in full diving gear just a few feet away to provide any additional help if it was needed. I was about ten feet away and thrashed about and really did not make it easy. Just as they came up to me and got a hold of my vest, I allowed myself to go limp.

This did not make it too easy, as I am a good weight and it was not easy for them to try to wrest me onto the boat. Kelly opted to grab me by the vest - which ellicited all kinds of commentary from me - I hated that! Ignoring for the moment the friction burns that it gave my armpits (!), I was also put off (to say the least) about having the front cut off my windpipe. I am quite enamored of breathing and this was not conducive to doing so.

The second time it was Franco, Jack, and someone else. (I wish I could remember who...) Jack is a funny guy and we are always kidding around. This time, however, I got to see him in his work, doing his part as a rescuer, and I am impressed. He is a good, calming influence and communicates well and constantly with the victim/patient. He kept asking me if I was OK, was the boat going too fast or too slow, and was I feeling alright? He advised the others on what to do and how to hold me. This time they did not lift me onto the boat but had me hold on to the outside. This was a considerably better experience.

The third time all three FNGs came out in the boat to rescue us, although the boy remained at the dock and I swam out with the tall guy. I held onto the side again while "little" Brian talked to me and kept a good, solid grip on my arm without hurting me. He was great - excellent "bedside" - or should I say "lakeside" - manor. This went much more smoothly, although they did not communicate at all with each other nor were they confident in physically handling us but that comes with experience.

The last time I did not go as a victim but swam around (sans life jacket) the dock. The water was delightful and just deep enough for me to swim as well as stand. The only fly in the ointment was the bottom. It was a silty, sucking quagmire that would allow one to sink up to their ankles and felt terrible. I had on a pair of the neoprene booties and I found it extremely distasteful - in bare feet it would have been unbearable.

Instead of me, the kid and what's his name, the really tall guy that joined (I'm sorry, I am terrible with names!) went out to the deeper part of the lake. The boy as an easy rescue - he was alert and lightweight - but the other one was unconscious and injured and this was work - he had to be placed on a backboard and collared and brought in while maintaining C-spine precautions and inline stabilization. Not an easy task. They did do quite well with it, though.

At that point we all got out and cleaned up. It took Todd a little while to extricate himself from all the diving gear and the neoprene wetsuit - the suit is several pieces, a full ankle to shoulder piece, a separate pair of leggings and a "jacket" piece, plus gloves and booties. I needed Brian (poor hung-over Brian) to help pull off my booties and half of that bloody lake came out with my feet!

After that we returned to the main squadhouse and the guys put everything away or hung to dry. I changed into my sundress and we hung out in the crew room. I had run home to put on a bra (what can I say - gravity works) and collect some Alleve for one of the 69 guys who had a little too much "fun" at the Wetdown for Districts 1, 5, and 6 (I think that was it - definitely for 5 and 6). I have not seen someone so painfully hungover from a good time out than this one... (you know who you are!).

Luis came over while I was asleep in the crewroom. I had a good breakfast in the morning but ye gods, all that swimming and struggling and paddling in the lake for two full hours was a lot of expended energy and I was ravenously hungry to boot. I was out like a light... and then pizza arrived and we ate. Luis and I came home after and he went to City of Heroes (his choice of online gaming for the moment) and I went right to bed!

I woke up at 14:40, read, and then Luis joined me around 15:20 and we had a nice time, followed by a bit of napping and then I had a soak at 16:40 and here I am, third addition to my blog. Fast, aren't I?

The rest of today? Who knows... we will just have to wait and see what I do!

First Topic: 40-Year-Old Virgins

Okay, who comes up with this stuff? Sadly, while I am a supreme snob and normally am found nose deep in a novel (no romance, thank you), my monthly Discover and National Geographic magazines, I also can be found, with the most common of shoppers, buying the weekly rag, People. I suppose it really is not a rag. Certainly it is much, much higher on the intelligent reading list than things like "Enquirer" and "Sun Times", which is nothing I would ever stoop to. I also disavow any knowledge of Luis on those rare but embarrassing occasions that he browses them at the check-out stand in the food store. But People is not that low. It is not terribly high, either. What can I say? We all have our little idiosyncrasies. Here is one of mine.

At any rate, since People never prints my letters and I am one who likes to bludgeon others with my opinions, here it is... Baby's First Blog, to do so. Let the fun begin.

I certainly don't have any objection to others who wish to be over-20 virgins. That is a personal choice, much like religion. And like religion, it is something that others should not prosthyletise... it should remain their own personal, private decision and we, as friends or acquaintances, should rejoice (so to speak like Spock) in our differences. Great. To me, that is an odd thing. Cutting sex out of one's life is much like cutting out pizza or alcohol or something vital entirely - sure, too much and handled irresponsibly, it can be unhealthy, but in appropriate doses (?) and safely done it is WONDERFUL. I, for one, don't plan to go without!

And so that would have been it and I would have continued reading until I read Ms. Stephanie Huffman's comment of, "If I'm preventing AIDS and STDs and emotional turmoil, how does that make me odd?"

And my answer is: it doesn't make you odd. I have been sexually active since the day before I turned 18, and guess what - I have not done anything to pass along AIDS, STDs, get pregnant (there was one mishap with medication at age 19; since then, no issues) and never had so much as a tear shed because of it. I love sex. It is normal, healthy and human to engage in it. And I am not a swing-from-the-chandeliers sort of weirdo when it comes to it. I give a lot of credit to those who engage in what I would characterise as deviant sexual behaviour, but it is not all for me.

As for the STDs and AIDS and anything else that is transmitted via exchange of fluids, well, there are plenty of methods for avoiding all of that and more -- including asking someone and having up front and honest conversations. True, the days of indiscriminate sexual one-night flings are over for anyone who has some maturity, half of a brain and the urge to live a long healthy life, but there are plenty of other sexual adventures awaiting one if you wish.

I have to thank my parents enromously for what I consider to be very healthy and logical (Spock, again... too much Star Trek reading of late... still, there are worse examples than that of Vulcans) attitude about sex:

1. Normal people have sex fairly often.

2. Normal people don't hide that fact. (This does not mean that I go out of my way to make it known, but my parents never hid this fact. I was never privy to what they did nor was I given visuals, but they made it clear that they were going into the bedroom to be alone together and did not mask the moans and bed noises that eminated.)

3. Kids are going to try this stuff - preparation is preferrable to saying "we will throw you out/disown you/hang you if you do this".

4. If you are careful and responsible, sex is great.

5. (This is the BIGGIE!) Sex and love have zero connection. One is perfectly capable of happening without the other.

What is not to love about parents who really teach one about the facts of life? True, the idea that sex and love go hand in hand sounds great, but it is an utter falacy - and men know this. Women are much too susceptible to this misguided thinking and fall into the age-old trap of "this must be love if he is sleeping with me!". Don't bet on it. "I love you" sounds great if it is done sincerely and gets you laid, but it is an over-used tool. If we were all on the same page, it would not be so effective.

Don't misunderstand me. My parents made it abundantly clear that sex without love is normal and fun, but sex with love is magical. It is what creates songs. It is the stuff of music. I don't read romance novels - why? Well, my life is very full in the relationship department. I have Luis, whom I love and I have really great sex with. I have friends whom I love without any sex and that is also great. Sure, there are people I want to have sex with but Luis would not be open to that.

Sex is like anything... or, more specifically (to sound Rhihannsu) it is like the Element of Fire. Handle fire carefully and with boundaries and it will warm and feed you. Play with fire and it will burn you.

All About Me/Basic Tr'aislinge Blog Rules

Yes, that's me - Aislinge. The "traislinge" thing will be explained at a later date (everlasting love and thanks to "Smells" for that one) but it is not a put-down. The other person there is my husband, Luis, who will get (willingly and un-) a lot of mention.

I should explain that Luis and I have been together for nearly 16 years now (we consider our anniversary 22 March [1990]). We are not legally married. I am not religious and therefore not bound by any ecclasiastic reasons to be bound to anyone, however, the legal marriage is not there either. However, calling Luis my "boyfriend" is patently ridiculous and just a little tepid. We have been together longer than many married couples and have been to a few weddings that have since ended rather acrimoniously... so. You see where "boyfriend" simply doesn't work. He is not my "domestic partner" and he is not my "little friend" (a grndmother's description) and certainly not my "roommate". I suppose POSSSLQ works, but I believe the government has discontinued that term (it means Person of Opposite Sex Sharing Same Living Quarters and used to show up on some government form). And most don't know it. I like to say that we are living in sin... just to be difficult... you can decide how you feel about it.

My name is pronounced "ash-lin[g]" - it's a hard "g", like in "girl" or "gout", not soft, like in "gel". It's Gaelic and very typical of it - extra letters with no seeming purpose and missing letters.

I'm 37, born on 26 January, and I am 5'4" and approximately 181lbs - subject to change, of course, althought not usually for the remarkably better. I have gotten as high as 203 and as low as 170 (last August, thanks to a upper digestive illness that allowed me to keep nothing down - not a recommeded way to lose weight!). However, up until I was in my early 20s, I was my correct weight. I miss it and while I recall being thin and if I don't see a mirror I feel thin, I'm not. I'm not quite morbidly obese, but I'm most definitely Rubenesque... sounds nice, right? (I am fortunate that for the most part I am evenly distrubuted in my excess weight and so while I'm not slender, I'm not oddly shaped. Although I hate my upper arms - but those are from my paternal grandmother and likely they'd look flabby no matter what...)

I have a multitude of interests - I read voraciously, love my "Word-a-Day" e-mails, consider a well-rounded vocabulary a key neccesity, love almost all the sciences, write long, detailed letters to people in other places: currently Czech Republic, Germany, England, France, Malaysia, Dallas in Texas and Keene in New Hampshire. I love to write. (Maybe that is why a blog makes so much sense for me.) I regularly read science fiction, fiction, "The Complete Idiot's Guide To ..." and "... for Dummies" books, and always get Discover, National Geographic, and People magazines. I have not one but three atlases and one globe (that I desparately wish to upgrade - it still has Czechoslovakia on it, along with USSR). I have some many books that they are not just in our library (the downstairs bedroom) but also in my office, Luis' office and our dining room.

I collect: Sensa pens, writing paper, crystals, seashells, organising tools, CDs and DVDs. I also collect foriegn and old bank notes and coins. I love getting bank notes. Most have a very low value but they are just so wonderful. American money is dull as dirt, although nice to have - in my wallet...

I am a Human Resources Generalist by profession. I am a volunteer EMT by vocation (there is, to me, difference). I am also a wench at the New York Renaissance Festival, where I have been now for 19 years. It runs every weekend from the first weekend in August to the last weekend in September. It is a fun thing and I do enjoy it.

A few things will never come up in this blog: my professional life as regards current position (when I have one) and current work-related stories. That may change once I am no longer with that employer but even then it will only be in the extremely abstract. I will admit that in my line of work, I would most certainly become employee-non-grata if I were to discuss issues - being in Human Resources.

Another item that will not be discussed are details about people I deal with in the line of my volunteer EMT work. It is unethical and illegal and although I will freely discuss my personal feelings on the various things I encounter, no names, addresses, specific times or associative details of any patient will come up.

All friends will have made-up names to protect their anonymity. That's only fair. I probably will keep any friendship-related gripes out as well, just so that no one can say anything about a situation that they know is about THEM and see my personal feelings on it. No one likes that.

I suppose other rules will come up as I go, this being an all new experience. For now, we will start with those.