Thursday, 30 March 2006

In-laws/Outlaws - Is There a Difference?

There is not. Other than one is already outlawed and the other should be, there is truly no difference.

We live with my father-in-law. Well, no, that is not right (he might think so, but that's of little difference to me); he lives with us. It's a screaming injustice in life that he does so. I hate it. It's not as though we had a harmonious relationship before but Colombia was far enough away that the torturous visits were few and far between (and still too frequent at that). You may wonder how far far enough would be... Hmmm... Pluto? Maybe? Oh, how I would love that!

No, the relationship was never a good one. Living with him, however, has created such an antipathy that at this point, there is nothing he can do to make it OK. He is an albatross. He is a constant pain that never goes away - shit, he hardly leaves the house! He tries to get us to do his grocery shopping because the FBI has infiltrated our house, his car, our cars, my parents' cars, their house... the list is endless. And despite the rules, he touches the front door of the house. No matter how much I tell him not to, he does it and it PISSES ME OFF!

There is a control issue here. He wants to be in control but it is not his house. He pays a truly paltry rent (I was pushing for a higher amount, but Luis wouldn't do it, although even he paid the whole mortgage I'd still want him out. He just makes me crazy. I have years' worth of stories. All the bullshit with him wanting grandchildren; the crap he would pull by coming to the US unannounced and insisting that he was coming to stay for a week; the time he had eye surgery (originally it was a two-week visit that somehow turned into four weeks. I was really ready to tell him that fish and visitors stink in three days and his expiration date has long since expired. Well, after living with him since May 2002, it has really run out.

He'd love it if we put him in assisted living, but he does not need it. I would love it if we put him in an unassisted living facility... in Siberia. Still not far enough away, but maybe remote enough. I just truly hate having him here.

I do my best not to torture Luis with this. But it just gets worse. He is a total nut. People are poisoning him (do you think I could get that lucky?); people are watching him; the house is bugged; the enemies are everywhere. He disconnected the computer we got for him because it is "infected". The only thing that is infected is his brain.

Oh, yes. Years of being a blameless person has created this need for "them" (usually the FBI but really it can be anyone); why take any responsibilities in life for the mistakes you've made when you can have a scapegoat and be completely innocent. He wasn't meant to be divorced; his wife was subverted. He should have lots of money (and not be siphoning off of us) but they did this to him. Oh, the litany goes on. Nothing is ever his fault.

He finally realised that the grandchildren ship has sailed. This was not an easily learned lesson. Sometimes you can actually train him, but until I finally sat down and made it clear that this topic is not open to discussion with me, he would do crazy things like tell Luis in a letter that he would pay us $5,000 to have child. Even if I wanted children I wouldn't have them with him living here! He would be trying to turn them into political, religious fanatics.

He used to just show up in the New Jersey area and demand that we pick him up at the airport or train station. In May 2000 we went to Niagara Falls. I'd been sick for a few weeks and Luis got sick on the last couple days of our trip. We drove home the 6 plus hours to a very messy house (I'd been in the middle of switching all of the company's benefits and had been working really long hours to get it all done before leaving, so the house was not in any good condition) and we get in to find a message on the machine - Luis Sr saying that he is coming to stay. Luis got a hold of him and said not to come and he came to the house anyway! Why shouldn't I have been pissed?! I told Luis I wasn't cleaning the house for him and too bloody bad if it wasn't to his liking. Maybe it would encourage him to leave sooner. No such luck.

Years of this. Years. When does it end?!

The Wonders of Yoga!

Well, let me tell you how wonderful I feel!

I took yoga on Tuesday at the gym where I go (usually) with Tom and I loved it. As usual, it worked out the body and calmed the mind - I am completely bemused by that but I am not looking that gift horse in the mouth! It may not make sense but it works and works is okay by me. So that night I joined the gym, which makes it cheaper and easier to go to yoga - whether or not Tom and/or Alayna go.
That was some yoga class, too. The back muscles of my legs are still stiff! But, oh, the stretching and flexibility that I managed - I have not been able to do some of these things in years! It's amazing.

But today something interesting happened. A coworker came into my office at the tail-end of the day and yelled at me. This is a person I work closely with and I allowed it to happen once or twice but now this individual's run out of passes. No one should be treated in this fashion. I was quite irate when I left. No, that is too mild. I was enormously pissed off, an unusual state for me.

And so I drove home pissed off, fed the cats pissed off and then realised that this would not be workable. For one thing, I'm on call. It's a guaranteed fact that being pissed will really not make me the most effective EMT - I rely on my people skills in dealing with patients and with no patience (no pun intended) I would not be good. So I put in my new yoga DVD, worked out and a half hour I felt GREAT. Happy, relaxed, smiling, ready to face the world again! So this will be interesting...

I need to talk to this person and explain to him/her that this sort of thing is not acceptable - and s/he will be okay with that. But then I need to thank this individual - thanks to being so pissed off, I am back to doing yoga at home! Talk about a conundrum! Still. I'm rather appreciative! I needed to get back to it and just could never seem to do it. Maybe tomorrow I can do my yoga before I go in, see how that works!

Monday, 27 March 2006

A Word A Day - Parthian Shot

My eight-year-old daughter Ananya was about to do her homework, but her mind was elsewhere. She sharpened her pencils. She arranged the eraser, sharpener and ruler in a row. Then she collected the pencil shavings in a pile.

"Let's read the first problem," I suggested, but she began doodling. "Well, have you heard the story of the bird's eye?" I asked. Her ears perked up. I began...

Long ago in India, there lived a martial arts teacher named Drona. He ran an academy in the middle of the forest where he taught the art of archery. Students traveled for miles and miles to learn from him. A boy named Arjuna wanted to be the best archer in the world. So he decided to study at Drona's academy. He lived in the cottages for students.

Drona showed his students how to hold a bow and arrow. He told them to focus, "Look at where you want your arrow to go. Nowhere else." He told them to concentrate, "Think only of what you want your arrow to do. Nothing else."

Arjuna listened intently. He practiced and practiced and practiced. One night while Arjuna was eating his dinner, a gust of wind blew out the oil lamp. Arjuna continued eating.

"I can eat in the dark because I know where my mouth is," he said to himself, "I don't need to look at anything else."

He decided to practice archery in the dark. He re-lighted the lamp and used it as a target. He thought, "I know where my target is and I don't need to look at anything else."

He picked up his bow and arrows and began shooting. TWANG! TWANG! The sound of bow strings filled the air. When Drona heard the sound, he came out of his cottage. The sight of Arjuna practicing archery delighted him. He blessed Arjuna, saying "May your arrows never miss their targets."

Soon other students grew jealous of all the attention Arjuna was getting. "Why do you think Arjuna is the best among us all?" they asked the teacher. That evening Drona made an announcement.

"Tomorrow, there will be an archery competition to find out the best archer," Drona said. "When the sun climbs over the horizon, be ready with your bows and arrows."

The students polished their bows. They sharpened their arrows. Next morning they gathered in the yard. Glossy bows and pointed arrows gleamed in the sun. The wind was still but the students' hearts fluttered with excitement. Drona stepped out. In his hands was a bird made of clay. He laid it on a tree far from them.

"See that clay bird perched on the tree ahead of us? Aim at its eye," he said. Then he called the first student. The student plucked an arrow from the quiver, placed it on the bow, and pulled the string.
"What do you see ahead of you?" Drona asked.

"I see the sun, the clouds, the trees," the student replied as he released the string. The arrow shot forward and landed yards away from the tree.

The second student took his position. He plucked an arrow from his quiver, placed it on the bow, and pulled the string.

"What do you see ahead of you?" Drona asked.

“I see the tree, the branches, the leaves," the student replied as he released the string. The arrow shot forward and landed near the roots of the tree.

The next student came forward, plucked an arrow from his quiver, placed it on the bow, and pulled the string.

"What do you see ahead of you?" Drona asked.

"I see the bird, its legs, its wings," the student replied as he let the string go. The arrow shot forward and grazed the wings of the bird.

Finally it was Arjuna's turn. He plucked an arrow from his quiver, placed it on the bow, and pulled the string.

"What do you see ahead of you?" Drona asked.

"I see the eye of the bird," Arjuna replied.

"What else do you see, Arjuna?" Drona asked.

"Nothing. I only see the round black eye of the bird," Arjuna replied as he released the string. The arrow shot forward with a swoosh. It pierced the center of the eye of the clay bird.

"And that's the end of the story," I announced. Ananya thought for a few moments. "Hmmm.. I see. So I'm Arjuna, my pencil is the arrow, and the homework problem is the bird's eye?" she asked.

"Yes," I replied. "It's a story from Indian mythology."

She didn't even hear me. She was busy with her homework.

* * *

This week we'll see words related to archery many of which could be used metaphorically in unrelated contexts as well.

Parthian shot (PAR-thee-uhn shot) noun

A hostile remark made in departing.

[After the natives of Parthia, an ancient country in southwest Asia.]

Parthians were expert archers. Their specialty was firing arrows while in (or pretending to be in) retreat, which disrupted the enemy forces. The more descriptive term "parting shot" is a synonym.

-Anu Garg

“‘One other thing, Lestrade,’ [Sherlock Holmes] added, turning round at the door: ‘Rache’ is the German for 'revenge'; so don't lose your time looking for Miss Rachel.’ With which Parthian shot he walked away, leaving the two rivals open-mouthed behind him.”
- Arthur Conan Doyle; A Study In Scarlet; 1886.

Should I Circle the Word "Romance"?

"But, soft!
What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
It is my lady, O, it is my love! O, that she knew she were!
She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?
Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!
She speaks: O, speak again, bright angel! for thou art

As glorious to this night, being o'er my head
As is a winged messenger of heaven
Unto the white-upturned wondering eyes
Of mortals that fall back to gaze on him
When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds
And sails upon the bosom of the air."

-Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet

OK, who here doesn't find that romantic? Come on! If some wonderful man was standing under your balcony and uttered this (without sounding insincere or uninspired) can you honestly say that you would not swoon from the beauty of those words and hurl yourself over that balustrade as fast as possible to plant a big kiss on such devoted whisperings?

Bullshit!

Your legs couldn't get you down that trellis fast enough and you know it. To hear something of such unabashed emotion would be a delight beyond all possible imagining. Never doubt it! Luis' idea of a romantic afternoon is a movie with Bruce Willis in it. Put me in front of a roaring fire with hot cuppa and Shakespeare in Love and you could not ask for anything more romantic!

I love Luis but he really does not realise the importance of romance. He understands it to a point when it comes to putting the moves on me in bed (as though I would ever say, "no". Not likely!). He'll give me the half-lidded eyes and slow lingering kisses but you know that somewhere deep inside he is trying to gauge how much of this is really necessary before sliding into home... Not that I can blame him for that - the whole romancing thing is really quite boring to him for the most part and wholly unnecessary - after all, I'm a sure thing.

But it is nice to have it. Just once in a while. Fake it if you must but if you can successfully fake sincerity, do it - never doubt that the rewards will be worth it!

Saturday, 25 March 2006

Four Different Topics

Horny Goat Weed... Fact or Fiction?

I went to the Rite Aid on Tuesday to pick up my Ambien and an antibiotic (remember those sliced ankles? Oh, yes. I cut 'em up much worse than one would think...) and standing in line, bored, I was doing what I usually do... looking around, thinking, just taking in the sights. While standing there, looking at the panorama of vitamins, I spied a bottle that read "Horny Goat Weed"... hmmm. And what do you suppose that is? A natural approach to Viagra? If that worked, then there'd be no need for Viagra.

Right?

Not that this is necessarily the purpose of this particular, uh, weed. Maybe that is just the name and this case the name is misleading. Very often names are misleading... but who knows? Curious as I was (enough to note the name in my book to muse about it here) I never did inquire as to its use. For one thing, I have enough hormones to sustain several women for many years. I hardly need any assistance there. For another, I was expecting a battle once it was my turn to purchase my selection of needed pharmaceuticals, so it went right out of my head. But here I am, musing once more on the little oddities that make up life.

I won't discount holistic and natural approaches to medicine, but I will argue that chemicals, while much more of an unknown quotient, will almost always be more potent and immediate than their holistic counterparts. Although an interesting fact about Viagra (and this may no longer be accurate as this was true at least five or six years ago) is that insurance will only cover six pills for a 30-day period. Imagine that. You can only get some action six times a month... That isn't right. Most people I know average once a week to several times a week. Certainly we clock in a lot more action than six times in one month!

Ambien and Nighttime Eating/Sleep-something Behaviour

I just read an article in the latest People Magazine about people who were doing odd things in their sleep like eating and driving and "even having sex in their sleep". Odd that after the driving and other odd activities, sex during one's off hours was listed with the qualifier "even" - like this is such a strange thing. Before I took Ambien we had sex when I was deeply asleep - and apparently I enjoy it greatly then, too! Luis has always had the green light to take advantage of me anywhere, any time. So sometimes he'd be awake - in every sense - at 03h00 and use me to bring on sleep. I responded positively and had a wonderful time, but I would not recall it and just knew on waking when I was sleeping in the dreaded wet spot that inevitably ensues following such activity. And so what? Everyone was happy, so what care I if some sex occurs when I'm asleep?

No harm, no foul.

At any rate, returning to the subject of this section, I have never had any such reaction to Ambien. Sure, there is the sex thing but Luis always initiated that. Hoist up one leg and have a party, honey; again, no problem for me! But sleep-snacking, sleep-walking and absolutely sleep-driving have never been an issue. Good thing! That is not a safe drug for operating any kind of machinery. But as I read the article it turned out that the only people experiencing this kind of weirdness are also taking other drugs such as anti-depressants. Oh, well. Did you think that other drugs would necessarily play nice with this one? Not to denigrate anyone, but think this one through. No one knows how different drugs will interact with each other and the user. This is the nature of pharmaceuticals. And then people are shocked when strange things happen to them...

My Ankles and Antibiotics

Well, you may recall that now I have had two posts about shaving and what a nuisance it is to have to do this. This last thing has elevated shaving from nuisance to dangerous! Both ankles became infected and resulted in my trip to the doctor's office, which probably put my blood pressure through the roof (it took 45 mintues of intense calling on my cell phone to verify that my $&!#&~!! COBRA was paid for and current and that the doctor could see me without my having to shell out far more than my $20 co-pay). At any rate, the ankles were swollen like sausages, oozing puss and the worst angry red colour that I had to go - I was worried that they'd turn septic and then I'd really have a problem! So it was worth it to go... but how stupid do I seem? This patient is the 38-year-old idiot that hasn't mastered shaving enough to keep from slicing both ankles and getting infected. After 25 years of shaving, you would think I'd have a clue.

Apparently not.

However, I'm despairing no longer. My ankles, thanks to the Bacitracin, bandaging during the day, airing at night and taking the antibiotics are healing now and not looking so hideous. And the constant work to sell better equipment for the general vanity of women has allowed for break-though technology for shaving without nicking oneself (although I could not in all honesty call either injury a "nick" - it was really much more severe than that). So I invested my money into a $9.00 razor that takes refill blades and has a pivoting head with something around the blades that really does actually ensure a much higher degree of safety when operating the razor. It did an exceptionally good job on my legs, bikini area and arm pits and not a single drop of blood was shed the last time I shaved.

Spring is Springing But Winter Is Not Leaving!

Well, the crocuses are up and looking quite pretty. The daffodils are not far behind. However, it is still consistently in the low 40s, and there had been snow in the weekend forecast... yuck. Yes, I know. It's March, not May, so there is a high degree of likelihood of snow in some form before spring really kicks in (assuming it will, which is an enormous assumption. When's the last time we even had a spring?). Still, this winter has been rather endless and I would really love to see a spring of some kind! And I want to resume hiking.

At this time, it seems that I want to return to bed. My writing is less than inspired and it is 05h19 - much more a time to sleep than be awake. I'm sure something will strike a chord or hit a nerve at some point this weekend and then I will be the better writer for it!

Saturday, 18 March 2006

A Great Night Out for Car 69!

I really do enjoy going to these dinners, having a fun time with all those that I know, dancing, eating good food, just having a really great time. Those guys from 69 are really wacky - they gave a whole bunch of gag gifts - something we really never do - and some of them were really awful. It's tacky of course, but it's a lot of fun, and the guys mostly seemed to love it. Kelly gave me a couple of Kleenex with hands displaying the middle finger. I can't even imagine where one shops for this stuff! So here are some photos of all the fun we had!


These are the current officers being sworn in. Every one of these dinners has this - that's why they're called installation dinners. The installment of the new officers. Let's see if I can name them all (from left to right): Rich, Rick, Charlie (I think), Jack, Kelly, I can't see him, Franco, and Brian.

Todd Wolf and his wife. He is also my vet for my kitties and a very experienced diver. He's also an exceptionally nice person. Very knowledgeable. His wife is striking.

Don Bragg with me - he is one of my crewmates. When I was unemployed we rode quite a bit together - thoroughly enjoyable. He is one of the sweetest - genuinely sweetest - people I know. There is a gentleness about him and that makes him a really great EMT (he is technically a First Responder but trust me when I tell you he is really an EMT. He also loves words so I set him up with A Word A Day e-mails, which he is delighted to get.

This is one of the probational members - I think his name is Sherman, I'm not sure. He's just adorable, I think! He has a really cute face. He's very nice, but then, I really like all the guys on this squad. I went through First Responder training with most of them in the autumn of 2003.

This is John Walsh. Just before the photographer shot this, he made his trademark comment, "Outstanding!" He and I have been on calls together, twice, when we were both out of work and we couldn't get a back-up crew out (it happens during the day sometimes). He was an excellent help on those calls.

Me with Jack. I just have the biggest soft spot for him. I think he's really adorable, too!

Me with Brian Sisko. He is really looking great with his new haircut - I don't doubt he had heart failure when he went (his hair was quite a bit longer), but this is a good look for him.

Me with Bob from OEM (Office of Emergency Management). I really like him. He also told me the last time I saw him - ironically on my birthday, at the town meeting regarding the communications tower - that I have a great smile and that he loves that I'm always happy and smiling. I really enjoyed hearing that!

Kelly ran around all night "teabagging" people. Please don't ask me what this means, it's not really repeatable. Or else watch Howard Stern... It was pretty funny in photos, though. Here he is teabagging Rick.

Rich, looking a bit odd here. He really had quite a bit to drink... not unusual at these things. He really looks oh, so serious here, like he is doing something super-important. Too serious for a party!

Bea, Rich's wife, looking really funny here in the fireman's hat. She had a fun time.

Rich and another member of Car 69 singing "Sweet Home Alabama" - usually when it comes to karaoke, there is cringing everywhere, but these guys really did an incredible job of singing this!

Luis with me taking a break from the dance floor. We had a fun time, danced as we usually do to "Runaround Sue" and "Ponce de Replay", and had a good time talking to each other. He really is a lot of fun, and always is funny at these things. And he looks so yummy in his suit now! It's practically falling off of him, he's lost so much weight, but the change is wonderful!

Shaving - Danger Pay Required!

Some of you may recall that I had a post entitled "The Art of Shaving" posted on 15 January 2006. Well, this is more about that same painful topic - literally painful. I just got out of the shower, getting ready for tonight's festivities with Car 69, and now, instead of one gross suppurating wound on my left lateral posterior ankle from two weeks ago (that has gotten infected) I now also sport a bit of bright red blood trickling down my right ankle in the exact same place, from just ten minutes ago. Wonderful...

Those blasted ankles! You would think that the fatty flexibility of the upper thighs would be what gets on in trouble, but no, it is the skinny, bony ankles with that one vein running down the outer very bony portion that gets me all too often. Ouch.

So now I need to cover both up. The left side injury is really just too sensitive and disgusting to leave open - the wound is just awful and quite visible. It was a small cut originally and then the next shaving sojourn took a layer of skin off on top of that and I had to put something over it and it was on too tight, too long and now the whole thing is terribly infected.

The right one is just a cut but these are much like paper cuts - super sensitive and sting at the slightest provocation. So one hates these kinds of injuries. Big huge lacerations are not nearly so uncomfortable - you go into shock and suddenly don't feel a thing! But little tiny cuts are quite painful - annoyingly so and of course with real paper cuts on your fingers, every subsequent piece of paper you touch will find its way into that unprotected cut!

OUCH!

Dropping Shopping?!

Not shop? For a whole year?

Not a bloody chance!

Yes, a woman in New York stopped shopping for an entire year. She looked at her finances during Christmas of 2003 and as People magazine described it, she "plunked down $1,001 on holiday gifts, maxed out her Visa and was 'tapping the ATM like an Iraqi guerilla pulling crude from the pipeline,' [and] she decided to undergo an 'Xtreme trial of nonconsumption'--a year of purchasing only bare necessities". I should do that, I know I should. But... no. And gods know, I am a wild spender on those things that I really want, but not on dopey things like cosmetics or shoes. I am not a typical woman that way - I don't have the usual shopping addictions of make-up, clothes or shoes. I don't buy a ton of toiletries. I am not a major redecorator or anything like that.

My addictions are a little weird, although I do buy a lot of candles, something that typically is a poison for women shoppers (i.e. most women buy candles, not men - unless they are specifically looking to get laid, in which case men will buy a candle with the help of a platonic woman friend). The rest of my addictions are not typical of... well... anyone. I love shopping from Levengers for office organisers. I love buying Sensa pens (I have approximately 50 of them). I love buying writing paper. I love buying crystals and odd gemstones/rocks. I love books and CDs and DVDs and I also buy silver jewelry.

Granted that most of these things are... pricey. I do not buy just any old scented candles, I buy from three different stores mainly. I go to Yankee Candle Company, Illuminations or White Barn Candle Company. My Sensa pens are mostly purchased online through SkySailing.com (they are based in California and yet anytime I buy a pen from them it is here in two or three days. Not typical - and they are discounted at least by $15.00 if not more. Nothing in Levengers is cheap but oh, the quality! These are really good-quality products! All in dark cherry wood and some of them at work - which is what I really wanted some of them for anyway. Writing paper usually comes from Kate's Papery when I can afford it but I will find it all over and in places one would not expect - like the Rite Aid across the street. Books, CDs and DVDs usually come from Amazon, but I do occasionally get them elsewhere such as Barnes & Noble, Costco and small shops.

Almost all of my crystal collection comes from Ren (the New York Renaissance Festival) or other related places, although last year in October I managed to find a garnet - a ball (!) that is about 6cm across and is gorgeous - for just $40.00 at the Pumpkin Festival in Keene, NH. That was a find! Jewelry also typically comes from there. The most expensive piece I own is $600 - a ring made from white gold, diamonds bits and a garnet - that Luis bought me. Otherwise the most expensive piece I own is $125.00 that David made. I own mostly things he has made. I love his pieces! I refuse to own anything I have to insure and I had told Luis plainly that I do not ever wear gold (yuck), have zero interest in diamonds and insist on a silver band with a garnet or cubic zirconium for an engagement ring, should he wish to buy one. And he need not buy one. I consider the heart-shaped garnet ring my engagement ring anyway, which I got for Christmas in 1999. I don't care if we are "engaged" forever, since I will not spend money on a wedding.

This is where I am also decidedly atypical. You want to marry me? Fine. I can do that - I will even take the last name. I'm one of those crazy women who won't give up my name, so I told Luis I will become Aislínge Kellogg de Gómez, but not Aislínge Gómez. (That would drive my work crazy, I think, trying to get new business cards with all those accents, but then again, I might not change it professionally, only to keep the confusion to a minimum. No one can spell my name as it is. And then there is the wedding itself. I want no more than 20 - 25 guests, small, personal, no where near a religious ediface and done by a JP. No big to-do, no wasting money for something that has clearly lost the special meaning of [legally (?)] consumating a relationship and just turning it into a bigger party than the Jonses' had! I feel the bigger the wedding, the more exponential the chance of your marriage ending in a bitter and acrimonious divorce.

So there you go. Back to shopping, I am a different shopper than I used to be. Believe it or not, I buy less than I used to (although it is still well outside of my means and I need to really cut back a lot) and a lot less of things I won't use. Oh, gods, yes, I was the worst impulse shopper in the world! If it was immediately appealing but totally purposeless or unneeded I would buy it. And then it would sit, eventually be put away and then some time down the road, tossed - I am not a packrat, so I am brutal about keeping the clutter to a minimum and will, with little regret if any, throw out things that clearly fall into the heading of "unused and taking up space". That looks bad if it is something I have never used.

So now I don't do that. I use all of my Sensa pens, all of my candles, all of my writing paper (and I will often share it with pen friends if they are low on paper) and all of my CDs and DVDs. I would like to say I'll read all of my books... but at this rate, if I never bought another book (FAT CHANCE!) I'd have to live to be at least 120 years old with an acute mind and vision to read all that I have now. I read fast and well and love all of my books. but I have tons of books and never part with them. I might add that I do, in fact, read books over and also watch movies and shows over and over and so purchasing them is not the waste for me that it is for others. I also wear all or most of my jewelry and make gifts of pieces that I no longer wear but know without doubt that someone else likes. Or sell pieces at garage sales or Ren.

The only thing I buy that has no practical value are the crystals. No, I am not some kind of psychic or psychotic (take your pick) that gets "energy" from them. I don't use them to run my life, improve mine or someone else's health or anything like that. I just appreciate Nature in her amazing ability to make the most gorgeous things geologically speaking. I love all the crystals I have and most if not all are dotted around the house and I do pick them up and handle them and look at them sparkle in the sunlight and delight in their magical appearance.

So there you have it. I won't not shop for a year. Although, sadly, if I did have the willpower to do that I would likely save a good $15,000 just in doing that for one 12-month period and could really erase most if not all of my debt that way. I would pay off both credit cards in full, pay Luis back and erase a couple of other debts as well. I might ideally do it for two or three years and amass quite a savings... but for now, I will work on the much more realistic although almost unattainable goal of cutting back on my spending.

So istead I will work on earning Trump's salary!

Boycotting the City of Black Jack, Missouri

How disgusting is THIS?

I got my issue of People magazine in the mail yesterday and started reading it. In this issue, dated 27 March 2006, there is an article on page #93 entitled "Get Married or Move Out", about this rather rigid and uptight town called Black Jack, Missouri. Two different families, the Shelltrack-Lovings and the Hyde-Jarrells, could not either rent a home or get a permit to do so because they were told that they did not meet the definition of a family. If they'd just get married, it would be fine to move in.

Gasp! How appalling is that? What kind of nuts live in this gods-awful town to pass some sort of ordinance in 1998 that "allows no more than three 'unrelated' individuals to share a single residence". Oh, goodness. What the hell kind of place is that?!

So. Apparently the whole thing of freedom in the United States and the whole big deal about religion and state not mixing, is a total pack of lies (as I have long suspected anyway, as religion shows up all over the place in things that are state or government run and clearly the insane Christians get top billing - this is obvious. And where "decent" morals seem to have run over everything. I think we are missing the whole point of some of the most basic tenets of what should have been a great country to live in).

Luis and I are married. Not in the eyes of the law and not in the eyes of any religion, other than mine. (And you have seen what a devout follower of anything I am, because I make a lousy sheep... Yes, insulting as that sounds, I look at many religiously devout people as sheep, blindly following the dictates of some other human that scribed down what he thought was God speaking [what hubris that takes!] and somehow managed to actually get it accepted by heaps of other people!) Anyway, we have been living together for 16 years (this Wednesday, in fact, is our 16th anniversary), we share our bed with each other, we have a wonderful relationship and we are not legally bound in any way, which allows us to keep our finances totally separate (can you blame him? with the way I spend money? Me, neither!) and be very happy. I'm listed as his beneficiary on everything and he is listed as my beneficiary. We have been to a gazillion weddings together and seen many of them end in divorce. You'll notice ours is still going strong! Hmmm.

And this is a whole town saying no to potential taxpayers because these people aren't in a rush or are at all interested in getting married! They both have kids - one couple has three, the other has two - but they are not a family. This ordinance, by the way, has been created to safeguard communities from fraternities, group homes (?) and crack houses from routinely showing up in areas, which I certainly don't have an issue with prevention of those. I'm not actually sure of what a "group home" is unless they have a problem with Mormons, although I personally see no issue with polygamy if this is what makes people happy. I would have to say that in my mind, however, if one spouse gets to have multiple partners, so does the other... the Mormons seem to feel that only men should have the pleasure of a harem. I want a "hisem", too!

So there it is. I know that entirely too many people will rather violently disagree with me since we are oftentimes victims of the moral world we live in that seems to want to dictate every little detail in the way we live our lives. However, there are still many people who will agree with me and see exactly my point. And they are very likely religious (most people are) and still see that the Church cannot make all of the rules and that what the original religion intended is the right idea, not what man has imposed upon it.

As for the sheep, I say, "BBBBBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!"

Friday, 17 March 2006

Sometimes Life Gives You Lessons Wrapped in Ridiculous Packaging

Sometimes it does. Usually when you are feeling strong and cocky, it suddenly whips up some humbling event that will immediately come with feelings needing to be examined and some apologies to be made to yourself - or worse, others. And the ridiculous packaging? Take your pick...

In 2001, on 1 September at 20:22 (or so) I was involved in an MVC. I wrote the whole thing down at the time (well, the next day, I think), and here it is (there is a lot of detail in this, you may want a hot cup of something to drink while reading...):

"I left the Renaissance Festival at 1630 and I was low on gas. This is not an unknown thing of late – it seems like there are not enough hours in the day to get stuff done and also with the lousy float gas gage system, it seems that I really had no idea how low the gas was. I got 38.5 miles of the way home – just 1.25 miles short of the mark.

I was coming around the exit – Exit 40 off of Route 287 Southbound. The car stalled and despite repeated attempts it would not start again, enough for me to get it the 1/3 of a mile to the gas station. I was lucky and was over to the left side where cars that were taking the exit might see me better (there is a retaining wall to the right making it a blind exit); I also had my emergency lights flashing. I finally got out of the car and the first car to come around the corner was a green sedan with an older couple in it. I waved and they stopped. I explained that I’d stupidly run out of gas. They said that they would go to the gas station and get a couple of gallons and be back. That was at 1920. It was not quite twilight.

More than one car came around that exit corner fast enough that they had to swerve and slam on the breaks to avoid me. It made me nervous… especially the semi that came, although he approached it at a safe enough speed to avoid hitting me by quite a margin.

By 1955 it was apparent that they were not returning. I was waiting outside, standing against my car, still wearing my Ren clothes and feeling quite self-conscious about it. If you have seen the outfit you know why. I had on the jeweled belt, the money pouch, and the tail (how dopey that must have looked!) as well as the under shift and the black dress. I had not taken off the bodice as that is the belt for all this and the black dress is very long and diaphanous without something to keep it together. Anyway, some people really were great and slowed to ask if I needed help or to use their cell phone, but I had declined, thinking that help was on the way.

A police car came up behind me around 1958. I went to him and told him what had happened. He was polite but a little brusque and business-like, telling me he would radio in for a tow truck to bring gas. He put on his flashing lights (all 100 of them, it seemed) and I was told to wait in my car.
The policeman was busily working up a report. (I had seen him put on the interior light and back up a bit, write down my license plate number, then turn off the light and pull up to his former position.) I was sure he’d entered the tag number to run it through the system. Making sure I had no outstanding warrants and wasn’t a crazed criminal (although I can’t imagine what he was thinking seeing me in my wench garb…).

After 25 minutes I went over to his car with one of the free tickets I got and my camera and I explained to him that I worked at the Renaissance Faire and I wanted to give him a free ticket to next or the following Saturday there for all his help. He finally took it, after a little objecting. I asked to take his picture too and he was OK with that. Everyone thinks I am weird but I want to remember everything that happens in life – even the little things. As it turns out, I am glad I did this. I stood there, by his driver’s side door, giving him some information and asking about the tow truck – it had been a half hour since he’d arrived. It was around 2020 or 2025 when I looked up at the sound of an approaching vehicle. I kept a constant eye out on approaching traffic.

It all happened so fast – maybe 10, maybe 15 seconds.

It was fully dark then. First I heard the engine. (That sounds weird but by then I’d trained myself to keep an ear on cars approaching the exit – and then immediately look to gage how fast they are coming and if it is someone I know or the couple getting gas.) I could see by the height of the approaching headlights that this was an SUV and it was coming very fast. It had to be doing 50 to 60mph coming off the highway. The driver hit the brakes hard and I could hear the tires locking up on the pavement and skidding. It sounded like screaming against the macadam. It is always a jarring and nerve-wracking sound but this time it was positively deafening – I KNEW that the truck was heading for us – for ME. I had the hideous and instantaneous realisation that I was directly in the line of fire and ran. I remember the unbelievably strong instinct to run and then I was hoofing it across the grassy median, directly away from the police car. After this my memory became more like snapshots than a continuous flow of events. I heard a distant banging sound. I was about 15 feet away from the car. In my peripheral vision I could see the truck’s headlights coming up on me – directly. Then I was struck – pain in my left hip. I was thrown approximately 8 to 10 feet (I think) – pain in my left knee – and suddenly I was on the ground. I don’t recall the sensation of being airborne or impacting the ground but I had to have hit the ground from the front first judging from all the dirt and grass ground into my left knee and on my palms and elbows. I also don’t recall any sounds, no thud from the truck impacting against me or an additional feeling of being hit. Just the realisation of this whole bad thing happening. I did feel the impact against my hip, but nothing else.

I was lying mostly on my back on the right side more than flat. My vision blurred – golden brown streaks in it… I gasped and tried to make sound, tried to say something, anything… the gasping continued and for a second I was terrified that maybe I would lose sensation or die or go into arrest or I don’t know what! Maybe I’d stop breathing? I went though a hundred thoughts in the 90 or so seconds it took to catch my breath enough to speak. Was I going to die? Could I feel or move my toes, my buttocks, my hands? My hands were grasping at nothing in the air and it was weird, but I wanted to – needed to – touch something, anything, just to reaffirm that I was alive and feeling and going to be OK. I wondered if my ribs were broken or sprained. Did I break anything, was anything (like a femur) sticking out somewhere? As the miasma of lights and confusion cleared, I realised that my hip hurt in a deep muscular way and that my elbow and knee hurt – all on the left. My right hand had a small cut on the upper pinky, just below the knuckle – that hurt a bit too. But then the shock came on – the realisation that it was over and I had just been struck by a huge metal vehicle – and the pain in everything except my knee was gone (or extremely dulled). It was a frightening feeling. I was able to get my breath back eventually but it felt like a long time, lying there, gasping like a fish out of water and trying to get in a solid breath of air. It was work to get my lungs to expand that much after the impact.

The driver, a thin fit man somewhere in his early 20s, got out of his SUV. I couldn’t get a feel for his height as my perspective was “off” from lying on the ground. He was a basket case – he did not know what to do. I don’t know if he’d been alone or if someone else was in the vehicle with him. I was laying there with my hands up (the upper arms were at my sides but my elbows were bent and I was trying to breath and reach out or wave – I really don’t know). I was wondering in that panicky way where the policeman was. I had no idea what happened other than the SUV was at my feet about 8 or so feet away and that I had been aware of pain in my left hip and knee. The knee stung and hurt like mad but mostly topically so I was not terribly concerned. I could feel myself wanting to cry but not being able to. I began shaking violently, though, and not from the cool night air.

The SUV was blocking my view of the police car and my car – still sitting there out of gas with my driver’s side door open.

The policeman appeared after what seemed like an eternity but was really only 50 or 60 seconds after it happened. He saw I was on the ground, gasping, and came right over – he grabbed my hand, asked if I’d been struck and ran to call an ambulance. He was back after a few seconds (again, a lifetime went by in those few seconds) and he held onto my hand. He kept saying, “Talk to me, hon.” I talk a lot when I get nervous and I make jokes and try to add humour to things and keep things light when in bad situations (I can’t say if that is a gift or an annoyance…) so I kept up a fairly steady stream of chatter – mostly about what I felt so he would know. He told the driver of the SUV to get in front of his vehicle and STAY THERE. He was quite harsh with him – not abusive but stern. I think he asked if there was someone else with him. I did not hear the answer. The Parks policeman was GREAT – he held my hand and kept calling me “hon”. Normally I hate when strangers call me “honey” or “dear” but in this case it was not only acceptable it was needed. I needed someone to look out for me and he did, bending down and holding my hand and hovering protectively over me while making sure that the driver did not go anywhere.

There is something terribly reassuring about human contact.

He kept telling me to lie still but as I caught my breath it was impossible – I had the most incredible need to sit up – the bodice was too tight and I had to get it undone so I sat up weakly to untie it. I realised my glasses were not on my face – he found them after a few minutes. They would not sit properly on my face but they’d been thrown clear from me and considering the accident, the one earpiece being bent out was a small hassle.

I told him my camera was somewhere out on the grassy median and I wanted it. It was found about five to ten minutes later by another policeman who saw it about 15 – 20 feet from where I had landed. That camera is indestructible. They also found my keys, while I was in the ambulance, and got those to me.

My version of time is probably a little skewed here from the time of the actual accident to when I looked at my watch, laying in the ambulance.

By the time two minutes had elapsed, policemen from Parsippany and the local State Troopers were showing up. They asked me the same questions over and over – name, DOB, address, what happened. At least none of the people asked me all this more than once… I was sitting up but there was a lot of pain in my knee – it was mostly topical, so I realised that it must have been abraded from the ground and that only my hip had been struck by the SUV. I remember looking at the SUV from where I was sitting to see if I had dented it.

I also recall there being many cars – all with lights a-flashing – surrounding the grassy sward I was on. There were police cars with the red/yellow/orange lights and plain cars with blue lights and many, many lights and a lot of confusion – they all wore similar but different uniforms and some had regular clothes on and I remember remarking on the turn out – and I must have apologised to two or three policemen for dragging them away from whatever to do this and saying that this was more than necessary! Stupid me – I couldn’t shut up and I was still shuddering violently.

The one paramedic whom I spoke to in the ambulance had to ask me to untie the thing around my waist – oh, my god, the raccoon tail that is part of my Renaissance costume! I really wanted to wither away… how embarrassing! I found myself explaining to him (and anyone else I came in contact with) that this ridiculous outfit is my Renaissance clothing. Please excuse the clothing and me. (I wanted to sink into the ground!)

The paramedics where right behind the millions of police and took my blood pressure and asked me the same questions. I was finally collared with a huge neck brace thing (standard procedure in this kind of situation) and laid onto a backboard. The whole thing was quite uncomfortable. I was still shaking and now cold to boot. They got me all strapped onto the backboard and finally put me on a stretcher and into the ambulance. I was in the ambulance, looking at the ceiling. I could hear voices but I was lying supine and could not move – my head had the neck brace, which did not allow me to drop my chin to see anything. There were padded blocks on each side of my head and straps all over. Ankles, knees, hips, midsection, shoulders and head were all securely affixed to the gurney. There was a Y strap on (the Y being at the shoulders and then meeting over my sternum), and then all the additional straps. I heard the policeman who’d been there for it all. He asked if I was OK. I knew he was asking me because I recognised the voice and the “hon”. I kind of waved and said I was fine. I had overheard by then that he’d been hit too. I don’t know how much or how hard but he complained to someone of lower back and leg pain so the SUV must have done some damage. I felt really, really bad about that. If I had not run out of gas there and not forgotten my cell phone he’d have had a quiet night patrolling the parks of Morris County and I would not have been at the hospital.

He was in the same ambulance as I… it was reassuring. I heard him giving his information. He is 26 years old and his name is Greg Carson. I am going to write a letter to the police about him. The police and paramedics all asked me the usual questions (this was getting a little old by now). The paramedics also asked if I had allergies, what kind and any medical history… One policeman came in to get my license. Another asked where my registration was. Yet another came in and asked whom to contact. I knew Luis was home and gave them the information.

The wait in the ambulance was long. That was when I looked at my watch and it was 2051. The drive was not long. Once moving it was a very short time before we arrived at Morristown Memorial. I was unloaded from the ambulance and wheeled into the triage area. I was in a small room but laying that flat I could only see the ceiling. A nurse or medic came in with the standard questions. He asked where I was injured then poked around – when he probed my left hip I cried out. It was the same with my knee. I was in there about two minutes when Luis came in. I heard him coming in and was about to say hello when a voice said, “Hola, señora.” And Luis came into view. Oh, sweet Luis – I had an immediate reaction and started to cry – I don’t know why, as I had been fine up until that moment – and held my hand and immediately he was making jokes and getting me to laugh. He was wonderful. He took a picture of the nurse, me on the backboard, then me on the gurney untied (later) and then the policeman who came in to ask yet more questions. The nurse came in and looked me over and finally removed the strap over my forehead – I thanked him profusely. He told me not to move until the doctor came in to look at my neck and back. Luis kept telling me the same thing.

Luis was dragged away to answer questions to fill out my chart. He was asked for my birthday but as usual he could not think of it. The women at the front counter were appalled at that. I was amused, as I always am at his inability to recall my date of birth. He said, “February?” and they said no in scathing tones. He said he got the year right – 1968. He also had called my parents while out giving the triage admin people my information. My mother was beside herself and Ray wanted to drive right over. They’d called it an early night with John, Safia and Julia there and had each taken an Ambien (a sleeping pill) and so really were not in shape to drive. They told Luis they’d be there in 40 minutes.

The doctor finally came in; a tall thin lanky man, and he gingerly took the neck brace off and had me move my head then poked and prodded to discern if I had any pain. The nurse with him helped us to get that uncomfortable backboard out from under me. I was thrilled to be lying upon a soft surface again. The doctor did the poking/prodding routine and naturally he got the hip. I know that he is doing his job but the constant poking of the sore area was jarring and resulted in many sarcastic remarks by me. I have a high pain threshold but this was excruciating. Still, it still only hurt when prodded – the shock was still on. He ordered x-rays of those parts: the left hip and knee.

I was still shaking a lot there. I was wheeled into the x-ray section and then I was really shivering! The hallway was freezing cold. All of radiology was freezing cold! Getting onto the x-ray table was trying with my left side aching. It was a little uncomfortable. I also had to take off my jeweled belt (it is all metal) and the pouch with my money and such. While waiting there after the x-rays were taken I took off the ankle bells and jeweled boot anklet.

The two technicians put up with my chatting at them well. When I am nervous I ask a lot of questions and this was the state I was in from the time I caught my breath to when I was in the triage room after getting x-rayed and the shock was finally starting to wear off. Anyway, they took about four or five x-rays with each injured area – the hip and knee. Nothing was broken.

When I got onto the gurney again I was surprised to find one of my earrings sitting on the white bedding. I felt my ear and the second one was sitting loosely in my ear. The backings were missing on both! I don’t know what happened to them but I'm glad I didn't lose the earrings!

I went back to the room and Luis was along with me. I really had to go to the bathroom by then and they watched me hobble along to it. Standing up for the first time in over an hour was strange and a little disorienting. I hobbled – my left side was stiff and a little uncooperative. The skin on the left knee pulled and flexed with my walking and that did not feel good at all. I also became aware that I was wearing half of the grass and dirt from the median! Looking in the mirror was frightening. I had dirt smudges and grass ground in all over and there was dirt up into my hairline! I pulled the biking shorts down and looked at my left hip to see if there was any bruising. There was none but the skin was ballooning out and quite swollen from the impact! It was really gruesome. It was like a bag of liquid hanging from the lower hip closer to the buttock (not on the side but a little toward my backside) down to mid-thigh.

I staggered back to my gurney and no one was there… I got into bed and waited. At one point the nurse stuck his head in and asked if I had gone for my x-rays. I nodded. A few minutes later, there was Ray in the door. Ma appeared with Luis. A moment after that, John Bellamy came in. John had driven Ray and Ma to the hospital and there they were! Safia was back at the house with the baby. The doctor came in to report no broken bones and that I had the all clear to go upon being released by the nurse. He came in after a few minutes and gave me some paperwork to sign and look over. I also got some pain meds for the night and a prescription.

The nurse came in with water and gauze to clean my knee. The cold water he used to lavage the knee was excruciating. The rubbing of the gauze over the injury did not help. I was not yelling but I gasped and gripped Ray’s hand like I was going to die! The water was quite cold and that was shocking and then the rubbing of the gauze was just horrendously painful. I asked if there was glass in there – that was what it felt like when the gauze was rubbed over it. He tried using warm water to flush it out and I still wanted to scream. He recommended I find out when my last tetanus shot was and maybe get it again. Finally he gave up and instructed me to clean it out.

I was signed out and released and staggered out, clutching the dress, which was unfettered and billowing around me. I looked just awful. And I walked very slowly and deliberately and looked as though I was 80 years old. Ma, John and I waited in the vestibule, feeling a little cold while Ray and Luis went to get the vehicles. I got into the car with Luis and they got into the van and went home.

We left the hospital at 1120. What a long night. Once here I took some medication, a shower and did my best to clean out my knee cuts. They still hurt and this morning everything aches a lot."

It's very strange to read this now. For one thing, I wasn't an EMT then. I have been really great with patients involved in MVCs and it isn't hard to figure out why. I was there on the receiving end once. And I can recall that with vivid clarity. All I could see was the ceiling and it's nerve-wracking and uncomfortable. (That was Car 65 that got me - my accident occurred about 200 feet from their squadhouse.)

Sometimes I dream about it. Sometimes - not often anymore - I will be doing something and suddenly the vision of headlights coming toward me will pop into my head. I almost always need to be the driver... very few people are acceptable drivers to me. I used to be extremely jumpy in cars and it still happens now and again - but not as much as it used to. I drive an ambulance now - took me over two years to reach a point where I was even interested in trying it. For a long time, I would not consider commuting to work (ironically, although statistically correct, the accident was only about a mile from home - and yet commuting was an issue). I was definitely scarred much more psycologically than physically.

If I was wondering why I am so fond of the police, this is it. The Parsippany police and Officer Carson were wonderful. They were all very solicitous and caring and they were the highlight of this whole thing. Sure they aren't so wonderful with drunk drivers or negligent drivers, but I'm not terribly sympathetic to their plight either and why should anyone be?

I came away from this with permanent damage to my fifth cervical vertebrae (which seems to be mostly OK now after about three years of intensive chiropractic care), a misaligned hip, the swollen pouch there that will never go away, and a bit of scarring on my knee. I have a lot of back issues from this, though, and suffer from back spasms when I overdo it (usually riding or sometimes from extended periods sitting). But I am ALIVE and grateful to be so. Every day above ground is a good one. I suppose if I tour a cave I'll have to recant that statement! That's OK, I can live with that sort of underground.

It was a learning experience, as are most things in life. I wouldn't trade it in (that sounds strange, doesn't it?). This is a part of the whole, something else that makes me me. I learned my mortality that night. That yes, I really can be killed (quite easily, in fact). That running out of gas is much more dangerous than one would think. That if you have better car insurance rates, this is considered "frivilous" and can't sue (not that I could have anyway - the kid that hit me was totally broke, dumber than week old box of rocks and already a career criminal - and I was not inclined to try going after his parents - not their fault this idiot was out with a vehicle with no valid license, no registration, no insurance... he did not live at home).

However, this was very much wrapped in the most unbelievable wrapping!

Sunday, 12 March 2006

Will I Ever Have the Answers? No. Stop Thinking about the Answers? Never!

I received an Anonymous response to one of my postings, "More Thinking About Gender... from 19 Feb." I have a sneaking suspicion I know who it is. Either way, I like this person and what he/she had to say although I will never want a talk show host job. Ever. Public performing on that level is not my thing.

Anonymous wrote, "Stop trying, we'll never have the answers. There with in lies one of the mystery's of life. If you figured all that out, wouldn't life be rather boring after that? Or maybe you would become rich and famous, and then you could start doing your talk show tour?"

To you, Anonymous, I would say that you are right. I won't ever have most of the answers I seek. It would be the height of hubris to assume that someday I might. So instead I am realistic about this and realise immediately that this should not keep me up nights. And yes, life would indeed be heartlessly boring and meaningless once all the secrets of the universe and people are unraveled.

In this we agree.

However, to stop thinking about things, cogitating those unanswerable things entirely? Oh, no, not possible. I am positive of one thing: how little I know. I am also positive that each day I add a little more to that pool of knowledge that is mine. And I know that if people did NOT think on the unknowable, the impossible, man would not have made it to the moon. Never stop thinking as long as you go into it knowing that these answers are not readily made available to you and may never be!

Always think! It is as much living as anything else!

Saturday, 11 March 2006

Can't Wait!

Big party tonight! I'll tell all about it tomorrow! YAY!

Kids Say the Most Amazing Things!

Someone sent this to me and it was too funny to pass up!

Need a good laugh? A first grade teacher had twenty-five students in her class and she presented each child in her class the first half of a well known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. It's hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you. While reading these keep in mind that these are first graders, 6-year-olds, because the last one is classic!

1. Don't change horses until … they stop running.

2. Strike while the …bug is close.

3. It’s always darkest before … Daylight Saving Time.

4. Never underestimate the power of … termites.

5. You can lead a horse to water but … how?

6. Don't bite the hand that … looks dirty.

7. No news is … impossible.

8. A miss is as good as a … Mr.

9. You can't teach an old dog new … math.

10. If you lie down with dogs, you'll … stink in the morning.

11. Love all, trust … me.

12. The pen is mightier than the … pigs.

13. An idle mind is … the best way to relax.

14. Where there's smoke there's … pollution.

15. Happy the bride who … gets all the presents.

16. A penny saved is … not much.

17. Two's company, three's … the Musketeers.

18. Don't put off till tomorrow what … you put on to go to bed.

19. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry … and you have to blow your nose.

20. There are none so blind as … Stevie Wonder.

21. Children should be seen and not … spanked or grounded.

22. If at first you don't succeed … get new batteries.

23. You get out of something only what you … see in the picture on the box.

24. When the blind lead the blind … get out of the way.

And the WINNER and last one!

25. Better late than ......pregnant

I Passed the Test!

I completely remember my post of 6 March with perfect clarity. I guess I hadn't waited long enough. Somewhat reassuring. I also recall all of our Monday night meeting (The RNFAS Monthly meeting) but that was... miraculously short! I can't imagine how it happened, but the meeting was a whole 45 minutes! Wow.
Very happy!
(This doesn't mean the issue is fixed... but at least it is not as bad as I'd thought. Still, something to wean myself off of soon.)

Friday, 10 March 2006

Some Television Shows Should Not Be Missed!

There are a lot of them.

I understand and to some degree I envy people who tell me that they have no time for television viewing. By rights, we shouldn't. In the summer time I have a lot less time for watching the telly but in the winter... well... I love the telly. I do. It's got some really worthwhile viewing. After having mentioned many times about what a snob I am, it's only fair that I really go through the roster and genre of television viewing and really break it down.

Clearly I am a snob. That's OK, it doesn't bother me. I feel that some things people should be snobs about. I don't see the value in slapstick humour (I don't see the humour in it, either) or stupid TV. And yet, the air waves are loaded with just the worst shows! I consider, for example, almost all half-hour sitcoms to be a complete waste. There are exceptions... well. There is currently one exception - "Everybody Hates Chris". Yes, that is it for sitcoms for me. These days there is so little value to most sitcoms. First, there is the time factor. This is not Europe, where adverts are somewhat limited to allow for maximum viewing time. Most sitcoms are about 22 minutes long! That is one-quarter of your viewing time - poof, gone! Just like that. Then there is the material. It tends to be the lowest common denominator... i.e. the lowest brow, least intelligent material that any idiot can sit through and grasp. Two strikes. And they tend toward the crass. These shows are base, banal and just not worth wasting my time.

I used to watch a couple of sitcoms. "Two and a Half Men" did seem rather funny when it first came out but that ship sailed - not too long into its second season. The humour became less funny and more cruel and I never find practical jokes or cruelty funny. And then there was "Scrubs" - again, a great show at the outset. But they are no longer funny in a real-life intelligent way but just slapstick and stupidity.

I love to learn. This is a fact. I am not happy to not be learning something and discovering more details and new things. I love that. So sitcoms rarely hold any value as there is nothing to be learned from them any longer. On the other hand, one-hour shows, the dramas and such, now there is some valuable telly! I love all three CSI shows. Miami is a little weak but if they dumped David Caruso's character, they could really get up to a better level. CSI New York is quite good - excellent cast (they got rid of the one weak link and replaced her with a much better character) and a little more lighting. But my huge favourite will always be the original CSI. This cast is amazing - the coroners, the lab staff (especially Greg Saunders, who made it into the field) and all of the field staff. William Peterson does an excellent job playing the penultimate scientist who has an intensely private life and shares it with no one. He should have put the moves on Lady Heather - there is one character who would not try to change him or take over his life in that way that rightfully scares most men!

So all of those shows are great.

Boston Legal - I will admit that this was not a show I watched. I get sucked into it, though, and thoroughly enjoy it now! I usually dislike James Spader intensely, but in this role, he is despicable and likeable at the same time. Denny Crane, played extremely well by William Shatner (who knew he could act?!), is the most mercurial, nutty people on this show! It is really something else.

I love Bones. I must admit that I was afraid it was canned after February, but it is back and stronger than ever! Talk about amazing forensics!

I don't actually watch every single forensics or crime-busting telly show out there, although I do come close. I also watch Close to Home, Cold Case and the half-hour show COPS. I do NOT watch the World's Most Exciting Chase or any of those with little learning value. I don't watch NCIS, and I used but no longer watch Without a Trace... I don't know why, but it does not "suck" me in the way the CSIs do.

Outside of criminalist and forensic shows I do watch a lot of other things. Gilmore Girls is a favourite, although it is becoming a show that is less and less watchable to me. Unfortunately, it is suffering from the "how many pitfalls can our heroines survive" syndrome, a common disease of long-time shows. (Friends was once watchable until it came down with the sitcom version of that illness known as "we've run out of normal situational comedy so we will stoop to banal stupidity and base humour and cruelty".) While Luis still watches Scrubs, this is why I have moved on from it. I can't wade through the massive amounts of viewable garbage to get to the good part, which is at the end, and still makes that particular show worth while.

Just not for me...

Other shows... I am embarrassed to admit that I made it through most of the first season of Beauty and the Geek and a couple of the ones from this season. I am also embarrassed to admit to watching The Apprentice (clearly not the Martha Stewart one!). While never a fan of Trump, the show is rather interesting based on my profession and one thing that I delight in doing: people-watching. People fascinate me. And seeing all these "prefessionals" vying for the opportunity to work with Donald Trump... well. If you want to see the ugliest side of business come out, this is it. Quite frankly I would not hire the lot of them once all that back-stabbing ruthlessness came out. Especially this season with the emotionally unbalanced and socially inept Brent on the scene. He is extremely unsuited for office work.

Hmmmm. I have watched some Grey's Anatomy. It seems like a good show (it is certainly popular) but I'm not totally swayed to it yet. I suspect I will warm to it.

West Wing I have been watching since its inception and it is still wonderful but this May will be its last. That is sad. Quite frankly, I could not wish for a better more likeable and politically savvy guy than President Bartlet and would happily vote for him!

Shows you how politically savvy I am!

I taped and weeded through most of the Olympics. I even managed to stretch the lower-capacity ReplayTV to its limit with that one. I have about 20 hours left of Olympics. Other than that, we do not have any sporting events on our televisions at any time. Neither of us have any liking for televised (or live) sports.

One show that is brilliantly done and extremely enjoyable is Globe Trekker! This airs on Saturday early evening and is about 45 minutes long with (drum roll, please!) NO COMMERCIALS! I love no commercials! This is a PBS show that showcases some location of the world and a traveler goes there and walks you through it - the money, the food, the living conditions, the culture, the people, the music, everything. They give tips on what to miss and what not to miss in these places. They tell you what to be prepared for in each locale. It is a wonderfully educational show.

I did watch every "Weird US" episode, but it appears that they will not be back. That is sad. I still buy Weird NJ, and have been buying the various other Weird states that are out. I have Weird Pennsylvania and Weird New England and Weird US.

So let's see my weekly roster:

Sunday

  • COPS (x2)
  • Cold Case
  • Sopranos
  • CSI (rerun)

Monday

  • COPS (x2)
  • CSI: Miami

Tuesday

  • Boston Legal

Wednesday

  • Bones
  • Criminal Minds
  • CSI: New York

Thursday

  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Friday

  • Close to Home

Saturday

  • CSI (rerun)

That is the whole roster for me. We both used to watch "Ghost Whisperer" but found the lead actress to be too... annoying. Too "la la-la la la"... if that makes any sense. Yuck. So by general consesus we stopped watching it.

That's actually not too bad, really. Now, Luis is a totally different thing. He watches almost all the same stuff I do, but a whole bunch more. Shows that are so dumb it is beyond embarrassing that anyone would watch them. I only know the titles as they show up on the ReplayTV:

  • What I like About You
  • Still Standing
  • The King of Queens
  • Twins
  • Joey
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Will & Grace
  • Nip/Tuck (disgusting)
  • My Name Is Earl
  • Yes, Dear
  • The Office (also odious beyond imagining)
  • Courting Alex
  • Howard Stern (he's off now, thank the gods!)
  • Love, Inc.
  • Out of Practice

He does watch a lot of science fiction, which is at least intellectually stimulating. I may not watch it with him, but I'm not unhappy that he does watch it. The above list is all the most dismal viewing in existing. Nip/Tuck stands out - it's a one-hour drama - but it is disgusting and the lead character is despicable. Not something I want to watch! But he watches The 4400, Lost, Surface, Battlestar Galactica, John Doe, Farscape (when its on), Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Supernatural, Smallville (I used to watch that ages ago but again suffered from the "how many pitfalls can our hero survive" syndrome - i.e. the show is way too dark).

And that concludes my television viewing critiria!

Monday, 6 March 2006

A Test

I took my Ambien CR (that CR has to do with being time-released) at 19h30. It is now 20h27 hours. I am curious to see if I will have any recollection of this posting tomorrow or - more likely Thursday, when I will next have time to write. Which reminds me, I should see if I have yoga tomorrow... hmmm. I left them a message. Guess I will find out tomorrow. As I type this now, I feel clear, lucid, perfectly normal. And delighted that our monthly meeting only took 45 minutes to get through. That has to be a record of some kind!

Good night!

Remember "Just Thinking Aloud"?

I actually do, too.

However, I do NOT at all remember "More Thinking About Gender - From 19 Feb" (posted this past Sunday). Not even a little. I'm very happy with it. I seem to have been writing exceptionally well that night. But it was written after I took my Ambien and I recall absolutely NOTHING of writing it. Nothing. I am thinking that it is time to set up an appointment with my doctor and start the weening process, because I would like my brain back, thank you very much!

More distressing, when I read it I realised that I have no idea who made the comment about my original gender musings... How sad it that? I clearly knew who the perpetrator was when I wrote the posting! I am scaring myself. A lot!

I'm sure you are wondering what the possible benefits are to this. I take it so that I have a full night's sleep under my pillow for the next day. I only take Sunday through Wednesday nights. (I certainly cannot ride and take this - and I suffer for it on Friday). The thing is, I wake up feeling great - refreshed, awake, ready to go and I feel that way all day. I can function super-well and this is the value of a full night of sleep (for myself I need 8 full hours; back in 1991 I was sick, really sick, for several weeks, around four months. I had all sorts of weird symptoms and one of the lasting effects was needing 10 - 11 hours of sleep per night. It was crazy. In the last seven or eight years it has dropped back to a more normal 8 hours).

What started this was a profound lack of sleep due to Luis' mega-decibel snoring. I actually lost one job due to not being able to focus and get things done and then I became testy about it - not my normal MO. Turns out that the cause was lack of sleep and it did not take a brain surgeon to figure out why my sleep was poor. After exhausting all sorts of options, I asked my doctor for help on this.

Unfortunately I will have to wait until my next vacation to wean myself off of this - I don't want to not sleep for several work nights in a row if that is the price to be paid... that would not be worth it.

It's time for the RNFAS monthly meeting and I have to go. This is not actually what was upsetting me earlier... THAT is still upsetting and at some point I will talk about it (much as I do many things...) and then maybe I will be better able to wrap my mind around it. But this thing... with my memory... something else to be upset about.

Groan...

I LOVE Men!!

I love men!

It bears repeating. The look of them, the smell, the silkiness of their hair, the smooth firmness of their muscles... everything. Their eyes... oh, and the chin. Very important. Chins are key - men must have a good strong chin. I have no idea why that is a "thing". Give me a good, strong cleft! (There is a limit to how big a cleft there should be.)

My first lover had a wonderful chin! I loved that man's chin. He may not have liked it but I just had a thing for it. It was square but not huge, and went so well with his face. He also had the loveliest eyes. Also key. He had a lot of great qualities. The only issue we had was two virgins don't make a "right", if you know what I mean. Two bumbling idiots made our first couple of times... awkward (well, downright painful, really. Good thing the desire to try sex is usually stronger than the fear!).

But men, men are magic. What a terrible thing if we'd no men. I don't understand women who hate men. Has it occurred to these dopey broads that maybe their expectations are a wee too high? Why is it so many women feel it is OK to try to change their intended victims? If you did not want that man, why take him? Honestly. Not that there are not some things about Luis that could not use improvement. Certainly there are and no doubt there is a laundry list of things about me that he would love to change... and some things come onto the table for discussion. We do talk about those annoying things about each other. Some things do modify - maybe not change all the way, but at least enough to keep things strong. Some do not. I knew what I was getting before we leaped into living together. I knew he was a slob. I knew that he has a habit of exploding out of his clothing when he walks in the door. Living together has made us able to put up with a lot. Some things are simply not up for debate or change. I love Luis for Luis, so we find ways to work around the things that make the other crazy.

I have a hard time keeping my hands off of other men. I will freely admit that. Like how there is always someone that one works with that drives one crazy. How unfair is that? Part of me wants to be single again just to have the unmitigated freedom to sample the wares out there - and there are so, so many worth sampling!

But when you boil it down, I love men. They are just the best! Some famous men that I would never successfully keep my hands from: Antonio Banderas (admittedly his taste in women is abysmal. Yikes. But he is one hot property...), Adam Ant (very, very sexy especially when stripped to the waste and sweating - yow!), Bono (not so much now but I had it bad for him when I was younger. Now I think he is amazing all around and still sexy), William Peterson (great chin and - I think - a great brain!), ummm, who else? There was an African American guy (I think he was American... maybe not) on "Andromeda" who was just... well! Delicious! No other word for it. He was edible.

When I was 9 I had the biggest crush on John Scneider (Bo Duke) - rather embarrassing but he was really amazing. All that height and curly blonde hair (you'll notice that there are no blondes on the list - very few blondes attract me. Go figure. I don't know why that is.

But as a whole, I love men. Wonderful, sexy men.

Ostara - The Vernal Equinox

I found this and had to post it. This is not my favourite rite, but it is still good!

(c. March 21st)

Spring or the Vernal Equinox "Lady Day" or "Alban Eiler"
As Spring reaches its midpoint, night and day stand in perfect balance, with light on the increase. The young Sun God now celebrates a hierogamy (sacred marriage) with the young Maiden Goddess, who conceives. In nine months, she will again become the Great Mother. This is a time of great fertility, new growth, and newborn animals.

The next full moon (a time of increased births) is called the Ostara and is sacred to Eostre, the Saxon Lunar Goddess of fertility (from whence we get the word estrogen, whose two symbols were the egg and the rabbit.

The Christian religion adopted these symbols for Easter which is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. The theme of the conception of the Goddess was adapted as the Feast of the Annunciation, occurring on the alternative fixed calendar date of March 25th - "Old Lady Day", the earlier date of the equinox. Lady Day may also refer to other goddesses (such as Venus and Aphrodite), many of whom have festivals celebrated at this time.

Traditional Foods: Leafy green vegetables, Dairy foods, Nuts such as Pumpkin, Sunflower and Pine. Flower Dishes and Sprouts.

Herbs and Flowers: Daffodil, Jonquils, Woodruff, Violet, Gorse, Olive, Peony, Iris, Narcissus and all spring flowers.

Incense: Jasmine, Rose, Strawberry, Floral of any type.

Sacred Gemstone: Jasper

Special Activities: Planting seeds or starting a Magickal Herb Garden.

Taking a long walk in nature with no intent other than reflecting on the Magick of nature and our Great Mother and her bounty.

Sunday, 5 March 2006

More Psychoanalysis - I Asked For It!

Well, I did ask for it on Thursday. However, I felt that theories presented before me were erroneous and needed to be addressed.

This prompted a lot of the rambling down memory lane, which is never a truly enjoyable experience. Most of my younger middle school and up days do not make me feel nostalgic in some strange gooey way. I feel nostalgia is a word with a much deeper meaning, such as dragging your adult mind/body down a trail you've been on -- and hope never to see again. I still don't want to be "Smellogg" and "Ass-in-a-sling" or "Fugly" or any of the other "warm & fuzzy" nicknames that kids visit on each other. The Anonymous commenter (who clearly may have thought he was anonymous but is completely not) said this, "You seem to have left out of your blog that you BEGGED to be psychoanalyzed.... blah, blah, blah... then you wrote a three page blurb on why I was wrong?....interesting!"

He was not totally off the mark. I don't consider my issues to ones of abandonment. At the time that Harry Trebilcox was extricating himself from my mother's and grandmother's attempts to keep us a family, he ran, and who could blame him? He was being pushed and pulled to do something he did not wish to - spend time with me (this is my take on it, and may not be accurate from Harry's point of view. But I may never know...). But abandonment is not exactly the right word. When I was five or six we went on nature walks and on those we did well. Did I feel any affection for him? No, not by then. He had stopped drinking at that point and had what they called a dry drunk personality.
By the time I was beginning to realise that there was an issue of any kind, I had Ray as my father. Ray is everything that a kid wants in his or her father! He was always active, always wonderful. We always got along so very well. I used to sit on the lower counter in the apartment kitchen watching while he cooked! It was great. We would have the Beatles "Abbey Road" on, playing, "She's so HEAVYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!" What fun that always was! One time he wanted to show me how well centrifugal force worked. So Ray filled a cooking pot up with Brussel Sprouts, then swung him and down and around and upside-down and it was amazing - nothing fell out! The Ray put water in there and on the first loop-de-loop, the water came right out - SPLOOSH all over the kitchen floor - the sprouts did not move! We just stood there HOWLING with laughter.

Nothing has changed. Who is my father? I should say that it is quite evident that genetics do not a father make.

The would-be Freud also seems to think that my "flexible morality" is an issue and one needed some a. psychoanalysis and 2. something of a flaw that I may wish to fix.

My only downfall with men is that I love men. I love everything about men, the way they walk, talk, try to look nonchalant about everything, the list is endless. The muscular strength of their arms, the well-formed necks and my favourite places: strong chin, preferably with a small cleft in it, but definitely with a good squared off look to it. Nose should be some what aquiline but nothing too bulbous or round. A bridge is required. No unibrows! Yikes. Goatee is always a plus. Eyes should have a friendly open look to them. I love almond-y shaped eyes. Eye colour is very important - blue, green, grey, hazel, olive green are all acceptable colours.

I suspect that my erstwhile psychoanalyst is feeling that I am troubled by my flexible morality and that as a result I hold back from fully loving my husband. Not so. In the first place I love Luis completely and totally. My mind, my heart, all that I am, I am with him. I love him more fully and without reserve than most do. He satisfies the need for protector, lover, housemate, friend, child, warmth on the cold winter months, and coolness on the hottest days of the years. Our sex life is magical. (Especially now with his increased sex drive that a mere 40lb weight loss has returned!) He is catching up to my insufferable insatiable appetite!

I suppose it is hard to explain why I have my flexible morality when it comes to having excellent sex with my husband. I don't view my morality in this area as something deviant and abnormal. I rather view it as normal. Normal people should look beyond the confines of man-made marriage and see what happens. I am not complaining about sex with Luis. I just want to sample a few other men along the road of life! I'm going to encounter more anonymous' like this one.

I don't know that I have effectively broken done the whole "flexible" morality thing. There is it. Anonymous, you know I have high expectations of this and that you will have more questions are queries about this. Keep analysing! I'm quite enjoying it and I'm working some really old baggage out.

More Thinking About Gender... from 19 Feb.

Well, let's have your thoughts on my 2/19/2006 entitled "Thinking About Gender":

"Interesting sight.........here's a thought on your gender posting.........what is it about men and women, aside from the obvious physical things. That makes someone want to change from one gender to another? Are we really that different of creatures? I'm not attempting to answer this; just raising more questions. Are we really that different? Or is it a learned trait that we are different? Is somebody in our lives teaching us to act differently and talk differently and think differently? Couldn't most of this be psychological or sociological influences teaching us that were different (again besides the obvious physical) and there fore making us want to be somebody else? To change genders?

Just a thought................."

And those thoughts are what make doing this so worthwhile. I want other people to throw in their two-cents worth and argue the points with me!

So let's take a look at this not so anonymous poster - we'll call him Master of All He Surveys. Is it as easy as one day I was a perfectly normal 5-year-old boy who had no issues in life and then, suddenly, I knew I wanted to play with Barbie and hang out baking mud pies with the girls and I wanted to be a delicate little wallflower and somewhere between childhood and the onset of menarche, I realised I wanted a menstrual cycle and horomones that would raise the pitch and timbre of my voice; no body hair, please -and hey, wait, what's this thing hanging out?! AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Take it a step further. As a little girl, your parents dressed you in frillies and frocks and the most impractical terrible stuff for being outside clothes. My grandmother was a stupendously guilty person when it came to this. I was the tom-girl that wore dirt and mud and was perfectly content to play by myself. She was just aghast that I was happy this way. (Of course, this is the same woman that gave me all the Judy Bloom books I had - you know I did! - clearly she had no clue what she was handing me to read!) Still, my parents never worried that I was anything other than a female and that when the time was right, I'd get to a point where I just might own something other than dungarees and t-shirts. As it turns out, I did and so it was the healthy attitudes of my parents that also helped!

The influences of society certainly does impact the child a lot. What is cool, what is not, what is something only boys do and the things only girls do. Maybe if the schools taught that this is normal to sometimes feel confused or conflicted about gender, and here are some personality indicatior tests that might help with that issue.

As for men and women in general there are some surprisingly under-the-surface differences that would surprise anyone. Mathematical ability (always a more masculine function, it seems), the amazing ability to back up an enormous ambulance into a tiny little space! Or how men look at problems and how to solve them! There are key differences in the way women and men cogitate and approach solutions, and how we see different facets of it. I certainly hope those glorious differences won't go away!

Anything else you would like to add, O Master of all You Survey?

I don't have a definite answer to the questions posed. Maybe as time goes on, I will.