30 December 2006
Is the world a better place without Saddam in power? You bet. Even those who hold the most strident anti-American views can't really argue with that fact. The guy gassed the Kurds, and made life a living hell for most of the citizens of Iraq. So it is a good thing that he's not the ruler of any nation. But I think his execution might go down in history as an act carried out by one of the biggest puppet governments in the history of the world, rather than justice served.
I count myself among those who are really surprised by the super-quick carrying out of the death sentence. When the rumblings began in the news a few days ago, I was kind of shocked. In my ever so humble opinion, of course, this has a lot more to do with W trying to improve his tarnished poll numbers than anything else. How could it? The democrats are really busy announcing who is going to run for president in 2008, and all the feel-good press they're getting over that results in daily pounding of the president's popularity. Remember the hoopla over the "we can't find Osama" distractions?
History is written by the victors; so in twenty years time, I wonder what the history books in countries who opposed the war will say versus here in the US.
27 December 2006
I'm not anti-Bush; I'm pro-intelligence.
21 December 2006
19 December 2006
I am not one of those folks who dislikes saying "I told you so"; I love saying that. Locally, I had noted that our murder rate is up....the highest homicide rate here in my hometown was in the mid-nineties, and we're on par with that year for the homicide rate for 2006. Scary. But unmistakable, because every time there is another homicide, the local news goes ape-shit and points out that this is the xxx number murder in the city. And I've wondered if the city's inability to hire more cops has anything to do with the fact that the city's budget is being spent for things other than policing.
I intensely dislike the term, "Homeland Security", coined in the days after September 11th to describe the activities related to protecting the country from terrorism. All I can think every time I hear it is about Nazi Germany, and endless references to the Fatherland. I just can't get past that connection in my head, and therefore also I hear only mass paranoia in the voices of the administration when they talk about Homeland Security. Why on earth couldn't they have chosen another term? Something that says anti-terrorism more sanely than a term that conjures up visions of marching SS troopers? Oh, right, that's because we have a village in Texas that is missing its idiot as our president. I forgot for a sec.
Something else that is truly disturbing to me, and on a much lighter note, is the use of a song by The Soup Dragons, re-worked to sound more contemporary, in a Chase credit card commercial. This bothers my punk ideals. Rather a lot, actually. The song is "I'm Free" and I loved the whole album.
PS, this is my 101st post. Yay me!
18 December 2006
There's the Swede named Johan who really broke my heart, but here's what I remember about how and why we broke up: nothing. This happened in 1991, so that has a lot to do with why I don't remember, it has been 15 years ago. I think he stopped calling and I asked why and he totally just blew me off and I was crushed. I kept a pretty extensive journal at the time, but re-reading it kinda confirms that yeah, it just fell apart. There are a bunch of references in the journal over about a 2 month period about what an asshole I thought he was, but nothing about why it ended. Re-reading the journal was fun, though.
Then the Canadian named.....yeah, I'm not giving his name, I don't harbor any vague feelings of dislike to him in the same way that I still do, for heaven only knows what reason, towards Johan. Anyway. The Canadian boy; we broke up because we were both going home to our respective countries after spending a year in Sweden as exchange students. His hometown in Ontario and mine in Ohio aren't really that far apart, but for once, practicality and reason won out over hormones. Of all of the ex-s in my past (and there aren't really all that many) The Canadian Boy is the ONLY one who I wonder what he's up to and what he became when he grew up. Not because I want him back (hellllllooooo, happily married for 6 years now) but because I'm genuinely curious as to what he decided on as a career and what he is doing with his life. Most of my other ex-s, I know what they're doing or where they are. You'd think I'd Google The Canadian Boy to find out, and I have Googled him, but I've never found him and I've taken that as a sign that I really am not meant to know.
Finally, there was a fella with a very odd name, that according to him had some deep meaning to do with faerie, and he was a deep and dark mysterious writer. This is actually funny, now that I'm thinking back on it. He had written an unpublished vampire novel, it was about 1992 or 1993 and Anne Rice's "The Vampire Lestat" and goth culture were huge, huge, huge. So dark and mysterious writer guy made a big deal of "letting" you read his novel. He let me read it, and at the time, I thought it was awesome. Now, I think it is better than some of the dreck that I've read lately and if he'd made any effort whatsoever, he probably could have published it. But I digress. Dark and Mysterious writer man really swept me off my feet. He was older, gorgeous, and soooo intellectual. We spent hours sitting in Perkins, smoking, drinking coffee, and discussing everything under the sun. We were soooooooooo cool. Then, after about 3 months, he broke it off, telling me that I was destined to be alone for my whole life, and that when I was 45 and alone and bitter, he would laugh at my sad life. Isn't that evil and mean and now more than ten years later very funny? I was a mess for about a month, lost about 10 pounds and was a recluse from my friends that whole time. I managed to win him back for a brief week or two several months later, and then I broke it off because I began to realize what a fucking idiot he was. Last I heard....he was arrested for shoplifting a pack of batteries and was working construction in southern Ohio. Who is the bitter one? Who? Imagine my surprise, then, when I googled him just now to see if I could confirm or deny the fact that he spent some time in jail and I discovered that he's a grad student in Nebraska and has won a teaching award. Wonder if he's hitting on cute young co-eds, that was so his style once upon a time. His bio on the university's website does not mention his marital status, but I can't imagine anyone on this planet putting up with his insanity for long enough to live with him, let alone marry him. His bio is full of the pseudo-intellectual doublespeak he once accused me of writing in a college term paper. It doesn't translate well to the written word here, but I find this really funny. If I wasn't sure that he'd vindictively try to out my secret identity, I'd link his bio here to share a laugh with y'all.
To me, the only way to deal with heartbreak is to take time. And to laugh when you can. I'm hoping to be able to help the person in my life who is hurting. What's your best advice for dealing with heartbreak?
13 December 2006
- Get a tattoo. I am a big, big wimp when it comes to pain, and can't sit still for long so I don't think I'm the ideal candidate. I love tats, and love the stories connected to people's tats, (hence the obsessive watching of Inked and Miami Ink Hello Ami James, you're hot) but I don't think I would get one. I wanted one when I was 18, of a Grateful Dead dancing bear, and now, at 31, I'm thankful that I didn't.
- Rock climb without the appropriate gear. I'm terrified of heights. Yes, I would like to climb a mountain someday, but have ya ever seen those nuts who climb rock faces without any protective gear? Yikes.
- Attempt to make my living being a roofer. Same fear-of-heights problem.
- Telemarket. Ugh, what a miserable job.
- Drink mass quantities of tequila. Bad, bad things happen when you do.
- Volunteer for psychological experimentation. I've got enough going on in my own head without any help from any mind-fuckers.
- Go back to school to study mathematics. No, thanks. I had to take calculus twice to get my degree....couldn't pass the dumbed-down version that they teach business majors, so not high on my list of things to do. Higher mathematics are so not my thing.
- Work for any member of the Bush family or the present or any possible future Bush administration. (Yeah, I had to squeeze in a mention of W. I know.)
- Watch a Survivor marathon on TV. Actually, that goes for almost ANY contest-driven reality show. I don't get the fascination with The Bachelor, Fear Factor, The Amazing Race.....
- And finally....I'll probably never stop being a bitch. My Mama always said, "Don't let anybody walk all over you," and I don't. If that gets me tagged with the bitch appellation, that's OK with me.
12 December 2006
11 December 2006
- I had a flat tire on my car. The ever-so-helpful fella at the tire place informed me that it looks like someone put a knife to the tire's sidewall, so that's something to worry about, who dislikes me that much?
- The 'puter at work wasn't working right.
- An overdrawn bank account
- work is still sucking.
- I somehow managed to hurt my back while decorating my house for the holiday over the weekend. I have never in my life had back trouble, and now that I'm working out 6 days a week it decides that now's the time?
06 December 2006
Yes, ladies and gents, I had my session with my new trainer yesterday, and she's a lovely woman (who has 5 kids ranging in age from kindergarten to 21, yikes, that's gotta be with the crazy-making) and she told me that God loves me and that I am worth it. "I am an agnostic", I told her, with a perfectly straight face. She actually visibly twitched. Which is really funny in a very mean-spirited way, and reminds me all over again that I am indeed living in the midst of the USJ, the United States of Jeeeeeesus Land.
Friend J reminds me all the time that the freedom of religion that the US Constitution grants us is not freedom FROM religion. True, true. But I dislike having YOUR religion shoved down MY throat at every opportunity. If this woman twitched when I told her about my agnostic leanings, d'ya think her head would explode if I told her about my activism for abortion rights? I suppose all that begs the question that if I feel this way, why am I using the YMCA's facilities to tone up my fat ass? Honestly, because it is the nicest, newest, cleanest and best-run facility in my suburban hell. The locker rooms don't stink, there is a very nice sauna (which is VERY important to me), the cardio and weightlifting equipment is new, well-maintained, and the group exercise classes offered run the gamut from simple aerobics to Tai-Chi and Pilates. My other options are small facilities without nice saunas, Curves (shudder), or meat-markets where you can't spend 5 minutes on a treadmill without leisure-suit Larry coming on to you. One local gym actually has a bar in the gym. Not a juice bar, a real booze and do-you-come-here-often kind of bar. Nice. So yes, I continue to use the YMCA and then complain about the Christian contingent in the YMCA. I know, I know.
The trainer and I spent some time talking about my frustration about the fact that I've lost six fucking pounds since I started working out 6 days a week. She suggested some changes that I am going to implement, and she and I used all the resistance machines and figured out proper weight settings for me for each of them. What I wanted from the session was to have a program designed for me to follow that is going to get me some results, and hopefully that's what I got. She suggested upping my daily cardio from 30 to 45 minutes, gradually, and upping the resistance on the elliptical machine that I've been using. She also told me that the other cardio machines in the cardio studio don't bite, and that I should change up my regimen all the time to continue to get results. So I have to stop avoiding the steppers and try the rowing machines. I didn't this morning, but I will. I did up the time I did cardio to 35 minutes, so that's a start. She suggested a schedule for working each muscle group that I plan to follow, and showed me the right way to fill out the forms for tracking your progress. All that is good. She also claims that the weight will begin to fall, that I need to stick with it and I will see results. At the moment, I'm feeling like that is utter bullshit, but I am not going to walk away from it now. I'm at a crossroads when it comes to my health. I can give up, and be an overweight American for the rest of my life and in all likelihood be an insulin-dependent diabetic within the next 3 years, or I can get off my ass and get moving, be the sexy skinny thing I used to be. I was so inspired by watching my Swedish friends run the NYC marathon, and I want to be THAT girl again, the one that people whisper, "she's sooo pretty" when I come into a room, and that does not happen at my current weight. So I'm up off my ass and moving.
The religion thing really bugs me because I want to have freedom FROM religion, and living where I do, that's just not possible. I think about trying to explain the religion/politics connection to someone from another planet, and come up empty every time. The separation of church and state is a fantastic idea, but in reality, religion and politics are so tied together that there is no separating them here in the US. I want to make some broad sweeping statement here that all conservatives are religious nuts, but that simply isn't true. And some liberals have deep faith. The fact that organized religion permeates nearly every facet of our Judeo-Christian society is something that is simply inescapable. Annoying, but inescapable.
On to something else. I saw the most beautiful sunrise this morning. I tried so hard to look at that and let my spirit soar, but I've had tears in my eyes most of the day. The sister that's moving to St. Louis leaves tomorrow, and I'm both angry and sad about it. Angry because that is easier than being sad. Stupid, I know, but there it is. I'm having trouble breathing again, and this time it has nothing to do with my asthma. I'd rather feel nothing at all than feel this unruly sea of emotions that run the gamut from really pissed off to hysterical sobbing. Not that I think that's really a solution, but it is a thought.
05 December 2006
Now I feel like I have no time to finish everything that needs done for the upcoming Christmas holiday. Add to my insanity the fact that my family celebrates the holiday on Christmas Eve, as all good Scandinavians do, and that means that I have one less day than everyone else does to get ready. Or at least one less day than most Yankees, anyway. Here's the number of Christmas presents that are wrapped: 0. The number that are purchased: about 5. One sister, the niece and nephew, a girlfriend, and another girlfriend's kids. Number left to purchase: about 30. Cookies baked as of today: 0. Number left to bake: about 20 dozen. Decorations put up: 0. Decorations left to put up: thousands. I have two Christmas trees, innumerable knick-knacks and doo-dads, and hundreds of tree ornaments. The current plan is to do all of that on Friday, which I have taken off just in order to have some time to do these sorts of things. ARRRRGGH. Number of days left until Christmas: 20. Nineteen until Julafton. (Christmas Eve)
I've got almost nothing to say on the political front; the lame duck session of congress may or may not vote to give Washington, DC a congressional rep, in exchange for another rep in Utah. Utah, apparently, was annoyed that the missionaries were not counted in the last census, and feel that they are owed another congressional rep, and are willing to give DC one in exchange. The fact that Washington, DC does not have any representation in congress is, excuse the pun, REP-rehensible. When we were at Rocky Gap for the Thanksgiving holiday, I noted the DC license plates, which have the cute tag line "taxation without representation" which was maybe Patrick Henry's battle cry, "No taxation without representation" about the way the Brits taxed the colonists waaaay back when we were still "the colonies"
There just isn't too much going on politically that I feel like making waves about; the confirmation or not of Gates for Rummy's old job, the stepping down of UN Ambassador Michael Bolton (yay, he's an idiot), and the fact that Rummy stepped down all are interesting, but I'm not up to thinking about it.
Scary wrote a great post about World Aids Day a few days ago on Duck News, which is definitely worth a read. Go check it out.
30 November 2006
What I really want to talk about today is the progress that I'm making (or rather the lack thereof) with my sleep troubles, my weight loss, and the black hole of despair that I am threatening to fall into when my youngest sister moves away in a week, leaving me alone of my siblings here in Oh-hi-ia. One sister lives in Brooklyn, and the moving one is going to St. Louis. I'm not happy about it, to say the least. I'm happy FOR them, because they're both happy, but miserable for my own self, not because they live in big, bad cities and I don't (well, okay, that is part of it) but mostly because it is hard to have dinner with someone or blow off an afternoon's work to sit in a cafe with your sister when she lives more than 500 miles away.
They've both lived far, far away before; one in California for about a year, and the other has previously lived in NYC, also for about a year. It sucked. Big, hairy goat balls it sucked. I was still working for the big ol' bank, hating every moment of my job, living in a really crappy apartment, and the only bright spot in my life was my DH, who is great about telling me to just go visit them and stop bitching about it. His support is something I couldn't do without.
Anyway, I felt like I was falling into an giant pit that summer, that the world was randomly opening up and swallowing me whole for days at a time. Or that I was drowning, only periodically able to surface to gasp for breath. Yeah, my sisters and I are close. I don't think that either of them reads my blog, so I am not too worried about embarrassing either of them. When they live nearby, we do our grocery shopping together, we have dinner often, we sit in cafes and discuss all sorts of celebrity gossip, a favorite pastime. When they live far away, I talk to them only periodically, in far too short conversations that mostly revolve around who is going to come visit whom.
I'm trying really really hard to not focus on that, and instead focus on getting to the gym, hanging with my Martini Girls, write some fiction, and getting the things done that need done before Christmas. Let's not talk about that, it will make me feel all neurotic again, no, the presents aren't purchased, aren't wrapped, the house isn't decorated, (inside OR out) the baking isn't done, plans for New Year's Eve are not finalized.....arrrgh.
I've been going to the gym every single weekday, getting there when they open the doors at 05.30 in the morning, and spending at least 35 minutes doing cardio. I try to get some weightlifting in after that, but as I need to be at my office by 07.30 most days, that limits somewhat the things that I can do. I've been going to the gym every single week day for more than a month...somewhere, perhaps more like 6 weeks, and getting more exercise than I have in years and years and YEARS, and I've lost a grand total of 6 pounds. Yeah. Six lousy pounds. Man, that's really annoying. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I drink a TON of water every day, I'm working really hard to improve my eating habits, and trying to get the sleep that my body needs, and guess what? I've lost six fucking pounds. I've scheduled a session with a personal trainer at my gym next week to see if she can help me to design a program that is going to get me some results, but I only have plans of spending time with a trainer about once every six months. It is expensive. But I'm hopeful that she will be able to give me some insights.
In my 20s, I worked out with a male trainer, who was baaaaaaad news. Not because he was not good at what he did, but because he was hot and I was very tempted. He was married, and I got engaged not long after we started working out together, so both of us were not available, but I think he would have ignored his marriage vows in a second. Fortunately, I never let him know that I thought he was really cute. I ran into him about 2 years after I was married, in a grocery store, and he was with a woman who wasn't his wife. I stopped and said hello, and he told me in excruciating detail all about his divorce proceedings, which were in the middle stages. Yeah, I so knew that was gonna happen, he was such a flirt. I am really happy to have been assigned a female trainer by the gym this time.
Then the drugs part. I've been taking the Ambien almost every night, and getting about 6 solid hours of sleep. Rarely is that an uninterrupted six hours. Last night it was, but only because I didn't climb into bed much before 11 pm, which is really really late for me. I didn't take the Ambien with me over Thanksgiving weekend, when we visited Rocky Gap for the holiday, and I managed to sleep without it, but it wasn't "good" sleep. I do chalk that up to the fact that they assigned us a queen sized bed and we're used to a massive king more than the fact that I was trying to sleep without the drugs. I'm really worried about developing a dependency on the sleeping pills, but not worried enough to not take them on the nights when I have to work the next day. When I don't take them, I end up worrying all night long about things that I can't really fix or change at work.
I'm also a bit worried about all the meds Dr. Hottie prescribed for my asthma. I usually remember to take the Singulair pill every day, but using the Advair inhaler four times a day seems excessive to me and is difficult for me to remember to do. I don't know why. And while my attacks are down, way down, I credit the pill more than the inhaler with that success, because I am more consistent with the pill. One thing that all allergy meds have in common is the runny nose side effect. I despise that, but am willing to put up with it if it means fewer asthma attacks.
Mostly I'm not crazy about having 4 prescriptions to manage at 31 years old. While I have yet to use the rescue inhaler he prescribed for me, the fact remains that I have 3 scripts for allergy/asthma, and one for sleeping. It makes me sad that I need a pill to sleep. Last night, I read until shortly before 11 pm and wasn't sleepy at all until the meds kicked in. I wonder when I would have fallen asleep without help? What, short of quitting my job, and curling up in the fetal position, do I need to do to get back to a "normal" schedule?
What do you do to get a good nights' sleep?
21 November 2006
People driving on the freeway who hang out in the left lane with their left turn signal on. Where the hell are you going? Either turn off the turn signal, or get the hell off the highway.
Rudeness. In general. I don't like rude people. Someone who is nice to you, but is not nice to the waiter, is not a nice person.
Office politics. I don't work for that big ol' bank any longer because I had had it up to HERE with the office politics. I like politics when we're talking elected officials. I hate politics when we're talking about playing the game to get ahead at work. I'm not good at it, and I'm very suspicious of those who are.
Apathy. I have no patience with those who are apathetic about, well, anything, really. Pick a side. Helen Keller had a great quote about apathy; she said, "Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all -- the apathy of human beings." So true.
Bad grammar; I hold my parents responsible for this one. They took great pains to ensure that my sisters and I spoke proper (albiet American-accented) English. So as an adult, I now have a very difficult time not correcting other adults when they make miserable grammatical errors in everyday conversation. I'm a rotten speller, but dammit, I know proper comma usage!
And finally, the last one is a bit tough to define. People who have a sense of entitlement, "the world OWES me because (insert ridiculous reason here). Ties in to, but is not the same thing as, "it isn't MY fault" syndrome. Dude, when you make a mistake, own up to it.
14 November 2006
I was doing some catch-up reading last night, reading some blogs that I have not been able to check for a while (hello, Marianne, Scary, Misty, Julia) and laughing out loud at some of their entries. Which had me spinning off in another direction of thought.
Once upon a time, between the ages of 13 and maybe 20, whilst hanging with friends, I would laugh so hard my stomach would hurt. When my sister and I would spend time with friends who were brother and sister in a town maybe 45 minutes away from home, we’d often get the giggles so severely that we couldn’t stop. That rolling, belly laugh, gasping for breath seems so distant now. I had a bit of a taste of it when I was visiting my sister in New York two weeks ago, which made parting from her all that much more difficult. I’d forgotten, somehow, in the months that she’s lived in NYC how much fun she is, and how much I miss her on a daily basis. You push that sort of thing to the back of your mind so that you don’t dwell on it, you know.
Anyway, back to making me laugh. Everyone’s entries that I was reading had a cute turn of phrase, something too funny that made me laugh out loud and made my DH make faces at me as he was doing some serious reading of insurance policies. Scary used the phrase “chunder monkey”, which I’m not even sure what that means and it makes me laugh. (uh, yeah. Urban Dictionary says “someone who vomits a lot.” Shoulda known, with Scary.) And then there was Julia, suggesting that everyone who disagreed with her to, “eat my fuck.” Ha! And hahahahahaha! God, I thought that was funny.
Dooce has a tag “how to charm me” but this is more along the lines of “how to make me chuckle”. I think for simplicity’s sake, however, I’ll just tag it “funny”.
What makes you laugh?
13 November 2006
But signs of the holiday have been creeping up on me since then. Christmas commercials on the telly. Holiday decorations appearing on homes. Articles in the local rag newspaper about "holiday how-tos". And then today I crossed the border into Pennsylvania and went to IKEA in Pittsburgh, which is all decked out in the finest holiday beauty.
My mother and I went together, and I picked up some presents for the holiday. Had a good time, but I'm starting to feel that panic about not enough time to get everything done, and Thanksgiving is two weeks away, so that's really silly. I've got time. To bake, make the bath salts and hand lotion that I make for my girl-friends every year, purchase presents for everyone on my list, wrap all the presents, ARRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!! Someone lock me up before Christmas, please.
10 November 2006
I’ve of course been listening to NPR during the entire election season, and their barely disguised glee is funny, too. They do tend to the liberal end of the spectrum, probably why I’m such a fan. I spent another 6 or so hours in the car yesterday, and the 3 stations that I could pick up during the drive were what kept me sane. WCBE, WCPN, WKSU all helped me make it through what is possibly one of the most dull drives on earth, from northern Ohio to central Ohio and back again. Most of the leaves are down, and winter is soon upon us, so the scenery was nothin’ to look at either. In fact, it SNOWED part of the way. Eurgh.
The other great news I have to share is that I spent last weekend in NYC visiting my sister and watching the NYC marathon, which a few dear friends from Sweden ran; I posted some of the pics on Flickr. If you know me IRL, put a comment in the box if you’d like to see the pics and I’ll send you a link so you can see all the beautiful women all over NYC. Hjärtligt gratulearar till ni 3 som sprang! Ni vet vem ni är.
30 October 2006
I wrote to NPR and asked them if they would do a story about it, because I think it is illegal to ask for ID at the polls. Guess I will have to wait and see how it plays out in the courts.
Please remember to vote on November 7th. Here in Ohio, I'll be voting for pro-choice Ted Strickland and YES on Issues 1, 2, 3, and 5 and NO on Issue 4.
25 October 2006
Up next time: Ohio's new requirement that all voters have ID.
24 October 2006
I feel very conflicted over this. As an American, born and raised, even though I'm embarrassed by that fact that I am an American from time to time by the bad behavior of my president or for other reasons that I don't need to get into right now, the belief that people have the right to express themselves however they choose is blood-deep in me. From an extremely early age, I was taught that if you wish to dye your hair purple, or wear orange and green together, that is your right. Freedom of expression is one of our most dearly held ideas. (And next in line is the right to poke fun at badly dressed celebrities such as on Go Fug Yourself. I'm kidding. Kidding!)
Freedom of speech means that you must work as hard or harder to protect the speech that you dislike as the speech you like. So the right of one of my Islamic neighbors to wear the headscarf is something I must work to protect even if I disagree with it.
But I'm not sure I do disagree. All I really know about Islam has been taught to me by popular culture and media, and you'll forgive me for being very skeptical that the media in America is the most reliable of teachers when it comes to non-christian religions. So I think that I know that some forms of Islam repress women, and it would seem that the repression is at least partially expressed by the hijab.
No one, however, is suggesting that female Orthodox Jews stop covering their hair, or that any other culture be forced to "intergrate" into Italian society.
I need to read the Koran so that I can have a better understanding of the basic tennets of Islam. More people practice that faith than any other in the world...
23 October 2006
"Of course, I'm not wheezing", I told him. "I just spent an hour and a half sitting on my ass in your waiting room. Let me run up and down a flight of stairs or 3, or spend 20 minutes on your treadmill, or you light up a cigarette, and then listen to me breathe." He agreed that I might have a point. Plus, the time spent in the gym each morning results in a pretty debilitating asthma attack on the drive home. My asthma manifests itself in a deep, hacking, I-smoke-three-packs-a-day sounding cough. I can exhale all I want, but I can't take a breath. And only after I'm done coughing do I wheeze. Heavy artificial fragrances, from perfume to air freshner can set it off. And while cigarette smoke is bad, cigar smoke is much worse in terms of starting an attack. I quit smoking probably about a year before I was diagnosed with asthma.
Speaking of smoking, and off topic for a second, Ohio has an "issue" on the ballot this November to ban smoking in all public places, from bars to laundromats. Actually, there are two ballot inititives; Issue 4 is from the tobacco lobbyists, and will not really ban smoking in bars and restaurants because it is full of the loopholes and exceptions you would expect of the typical lobbyist written bill. Issue 5 is the smoking ban, and I'm urging everyone in this reddest of the red states to vote YES on Issue 5. Link to full text of all 5 Issues here, but you'll need Adobe to read it.
Anyway, back to the doctor's visit. He prescribed 3 meds for the allergy/asthma problem; Advair, which I am to take daily, Sigulair, which I am to also take daily, and will treat both the asthma and the allergies, and Xopenex, which is a new rescue inhaler. I have not had a rescue inhaler for a really long time, because I really dislike the side effect of a racing heart.
He also prescribed Ambien, as I asked, for my sleeping trouble. But he gave me a sample of Rozorem too, with the instructions to try the Rozorem first. I did, on Friday night and the jury's still out. I was reading Augusten Burrough's memoir, Dry, and between one breath and the next, literally, I felt the drug take hold. A dizzying sensation, and immediate hyper-drowsiness. (if that's even a word). But I finished the book before going to sleep at 11pm, and I was up at 3 (wow, 4 hours uninterupted) and again at 4.30, and again at 5. I didn't go to the gym, as I had gone twice on Thursday, and had a really tough time getting moving, getting started on Friday morning. Friday night I took it again, with pretty similar results. Quick falling asleep (bonus), and quick falling back asleep after I wake in the middle of the night. (Also a bonus). But it does not stop me from waking multiple times, and makes me feel groggy in the morning which is not the result I'm looking for. So I filled the Ambien prescription, and took that last night. Around 7 pm, which is in fact too early. 7 pm + 8 hours equals 3 am. I did fall right asleep, was up at around 9, midnight, and then 3, but managed to fall back asleep each time, even being jolted out of a sound sleep by the alarm at 5.30, which meant I was late for the gym.
On the upside: more sleep, definately. And with the Ambien, my butt's not dragging, I don't feel all groggy. On the downside: still searching for the elusive, perhaps mythical 8 hours of uninterupted sleep.
Soundtrack: Jewel Kilcher had a song on her first album about "Let's go back to sleep"
18 October 2006
(In an aside, I happen to buy into nuclear non-proliferation. I think you have to be crazy to want the whole world to have access to nukes.)
Previously in the Bush administration (or as I prefer to call it, the Evil Empire), she was the National Security Advisor. While I despise most of what she stands for, and the fact that she works for the most evil human being on the planet, I admire her.
She is one heck of a smart lady; earned her doctorate in 1981, and has been on the faculty of Stanford University since she earned her doctorate. Since President Idiot was (not by popular vote) elected at the end of 2000, I have said that he at least has the wits to surround himself with VERY smart people…I’m a big fan of Colin Powell, the first Secretary of State for the Idiot Administration. And like him or not (and I don’t), Dick Cheney’s a smart guy too.
I’ve heard Dr. Rice a couple of times on the BBC in the last couple of days. I’m getting out of bed earlier to go get to the gym as a positive start to my days and the Beeb is on my local NPR affiliate from 5 to 6 (IN THE MORNING, folks). I find it very interesting that the Beeb always refers to her as “Dr. Rice” and NPR always says “Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice”. I wonder if that is a cultural statement from the Beeb (purposefully not mentioning that she’s SoS) or if the whole name/title is just too long to say over and over. Perhaps since Britain’s equivalent office is Foreign Secretary, the obvious confusion that would ensue from a listening British public is simply eliminated by them saying Dr. Rice. I hope, with all my heart, that she’s able to bring most of Asia into consensus about North Korea, and that this isn’t the beginning of the end of days.
Have I mentioned how poorly I’ve been sleeping lately? I note above that I’m getting out of bed earlier, not waking up earlier. I sleep from about 10 pm until midnight or so, and then again until 3 am and that’s about it. As a child, I would ask my parents, “Can I go to bed now?” and I’m known in my family for sleeping 10-12 hours and more, up until my 20s. Now I count myself extremely fortunate if I get more than 7 hours total sleep. I have trouble falling asleep; DH falls asleep like turning off a light switch, bam, he’s out. I take forever to nod off. And I have trouble staying asleep. I’m up at least twice every night to pee (keee-rist is that annoying) and then heaven only knows what wakes me otherwise, but I wake on average 7 or 8 times in those scant 5-6 hours of sleep I get. I’ve tried a couple of things; first, natural remedies like Melatonin, which is supposedly the chemical secreted by your brain that regulates your sleep/wake cycle (it didn’t work for me). Then I tried lavender essential oil; baths, rubbing it on my temples, adding it to unscented laundry detergent and washing all my bed linens in it. DH despises the smell of lavender, so that’s out if I want to continue to sleep next to my husband. It didn’t solve the problem anyway, other than making me feel a bit more relaxed because I <3 lavender.
After my honeymoon six years ago, which was spent in Alaska, I did talk a doctor into writing a prescription of Ambien for me. Seven days worth. To help my body’s clock reset itself to the Eastern time zone, which is I think at least 5 hours ahead of Alaska. I was having trouble readjusting, unable to fall asleep until the wee small hours. It worked, and for about a year, I slept all right. But by 2002, I couldn’t sleep again. And I went back to over the counter stuff (Nytol, Sleepinal) but only when I had a few nights in a row of sleeplessness.
And then Lunesta (eszopiclone) was unleashed on the world. Here in the US, Lunesta’s marketing campaign is spearheaded by a very cute green luminescent butterfly, which drifts into bedroom windows, and brushes its wings over the faces of sleepless adults who immediately close their eyes and get a good night’s rest. I bought into the hype; the commercial talks about “if you have trouble turning off your restless mind” and I do, so I mentioned my sleeping trouble to my friend and family doctor, who is nearly as cute as McSteamy on Grey’s Anatomy. Dr. Hottie first suggested that I get tested for adult ADD, but I really don’t think that is my problem. And I argued against that by saying that the main problem is getting settled into a good night’s sleep and that I’d really like to try the Lunesta. So in 2005, he wrote me a prescription for it, and I took it.
It did help me get a few night’s rest, but then the effectiveness diminished over time. (About a week’s time, not months.) And the commercial mentions that “side effects may include unpleasant taste”, but that sure didn’t prepare me for the sensation, which is best described as the taste left in your mouth by a three day drinking bender, combined possibly with cat urine, coupled with the unfortunate fact that it can’t be brushed or rinsed away by toothpaste or mouthwash. No, it just has to go away on its own, and that takes a whole day to wear off. “The Taste” makes EVERYTHING you put into your mouth taste bad; water tastes like “the taste”, and it flavors everything else you eat with its unpleasantness.
So I quit taking Lunesta last year and tried a product made by Tylenol, called Simply Sleep. As OTC sleep aids go, it has no side effects for me, is inexpensive, and gets me about 4 solid hours of sleep, so that’s fine. But it isn’t the long-term solution that I’m hoping for, and I don’t know what is.
There is another new prescription sleep aid on the market called Rozerem, with another slick advertising campaign, (featurning Abe Lincoln, a chess board and a beaver) but my research shows it is just a hyped up version of Melatonin, which I don’t think is going to work for me. And I don’t want to buy into the marketing hype again, I’m hoping that I’m older and wiser now.
I’ve started working out every day in an effort to get a better night’s sleep. I need to lose weight, probably about 70 pounds, (and I’m being BRUTALLY honest there) but that isn’t my main motivation in getting to the gym. Getting a better night’s sleep is. It seems to be working thus far (a whole 4 days into it) and I’m getting at least 4 hours uninterrupted. Right now I’m only doing 30 minutes of cardio each day, which is tough and intense because I’m fat and asthmatic. I’m using the elliptical trainers, which force you to move both your legs AND your arms (I’ve earned a sore shoulder, but no other ill effects) and each day increasing the amount of time I spend in my target heart rate zone. (18.47 today!) After I’ve done that for a month or more, I plan to add strength training to the regimen, and I’m also actively seeking to add a Yoga class now. I used to take Yoga from a lady named Pam, and I loved it. But she moved to Florida (smart Pam!) and I’ve never found another yoga practitioner that I clicked with so well. The Y has one yoga class a week, on Saturday mornings at 8 am. I don’t think that’s going to work in my schedule, but I am going to give it a shot this week and see if I like the instructor. I don’t want to join another gym just for Yoga classes.
Do you have sleeping problems? What works for you? I’m going to visit my sista in New York City next month…should I try to take a Yoga class with Mimi? I think that would be really awesome, and I should have at least one full day when my sis is working and I have nothing but time on my hands. But is that too stalker? I read Mimi almost every day, and I think it might be way too weird. What do you think?
17 October 2006
I see the attraction that it held for my mum; cheap, quick, super-easy and with the addition of a green salad or another veggie, dinner was done. I would be willing to bet that you have all the ingredients in your pantry right now.
Chicken and Mice
2 cups rice
4 cups water
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 envelope Lipton’s Soup Mix , any flavor (I use Savory Herb & Garlic, but any of them would work. Just check the package directions to make sure you’re not supposed to mix with milk instead of water.)
Using a 9x13 casserole dish put the dry rice in the bottom. Mix the soup mix and water in a measuring cup. Place the chicken over the rice, and add soup mixture, pouring slowly and carefully. Cover with aluminum foil so the chicken does not dry out. Bake in a 350 oven for about 45 minutes, until the chicken registers 180 on a meat thermometer and the rice absorbs all of the water.
See? Easy. Quick. Cheap. It makes a ton of rice, but I like that because rice takes so long to make and I like to have leftover rice for other dinners. You could cut the rice down to 1 cup, and then the water should only be 2 cups. My mum would make this with 4-5 chicken breasts and about a cup and a half of rice. I made it for Sunday dinner for DH and I this week. He was in a meeting of our homeowners association when I put it in the oven, and when he came back, he opened the door and said, “What smells so good?”
DH is not a fan of onions, but I think this would be wonderful with the onion-flavored soup.
My other favorite quick chicken dinner recipe is something I’ve written about before; it is a crock-pot recipe. Ten minutes in the morning before you head out the door to work and when you get home, dinner is DONE. I love my crock-pot.
On the political front, I don’t have a lot to say today. The Foley scandal continues to unfold; don’t you LOVE his excuses for sending inappropriate messages to teenaged congressional pages? 1. I’m an alcoholic 2. I was abused as a child 3. I’m gay. A friend who is a recovering alcoholic told me that she finds his attempt to blame his behavior on his disease particularly offensive. Personally, I find it all offensive; he’s tossing excuses at the wall to see which one sticks. The fact that your sexual orientation is homo or hetero does not make you a pedophile; you’re a pedophile because you have something wrong with your brain circuitry. And scandals like this just confirm what red state-ers already think, that homosexuality automatically equals sexual predator. And that makes me angry, because it simply re-enforces that ignorant belief.
A complete change of gears now; it is fund drive time on all 3 public radio stations that I listen to. You know that you’re a complete public radio junkie when you continue to listen during the fund drives. I give to the station that I listen to online every day, which is a very unusual public radio station; they play “World Class Quality Rock” and I’ve heard more new music listening to them for about the past 4 years than I ever did listening to pop radio, which I can’t even do anymore because the commercials make me soooo nuts. I also give to the local NPR affiliate. NPR fund drives are kind of worse than the other station; I listen to NPR for news, and during fund drives they break into the news and interrupt the broadcast to beg for money. On the pop station, they do it where there would be commercial breaks on a regular station, so they’re not breaking in to your current favorite song to beg. But it does cut down on the amount of music they’re able to play.
I used to drive 500 miles a week for work when I worked for the big ol’ bank, and I listened to 2 NPR stations because the drive took me out of the range of one station and into another. You spend 6 hours a week in the car and then tell me that commercial radio is where it’s at. Here’s a hint: it isn’t. The commercial stations drove me so crazy during the 7 years that I made that drive. So nuts that I can no longer spend more that 10 minutes listening to them. DH alternates between top 40 and classic rock in his car, and it is hard to say which of the two stations irritates me more. Probably the top 40 station is the more annoying of the two, because it is heavy on the repetitive commercials and heavy bass. I often look over at him in the driver’s seat when we’re in his car and ask, “WTF are you LISTENING to?” because he /hates/ hip-hop and R&B and the top 40 crew plays A LOT of that.
If I wasn’t in my current field, I think I would like to work in radio. As an on-air personality, you understand, not ever in sales or administration. Here’s what I think my chances of doing that for a living are: zero. I don’t have a fantastic speaking voice; in fact, the sound of my own voice on tape gives me the heebie-jeebies. But I’d like to give it a shot. I’ve done TV interviews for work (so not fun) but I’ve never been in a radio studio, and I’d like to give that a shot. Could be fun, ya know?
Soundtrack for the day is Gnarls Barkley “Crazy”, from the St Elsewhere album
06 October 2006
So! What’s been happening? Well, I’m watching the Foley scandal unfold with barely suppressed glee. Heard Newt Gingrich on NPR on my way into work this morning talking about “liberals” forcing this into the news 5 weeks before the election, and Newt annoys me on so many levels, but honestly, Newt, could you not have complained without sounding like “Everyone’s out to get MEEEEEEE”? Barely suppressed glee, of course, because the Republicans could well end up losing some House or Senate seats over this whole mess, and that would be a SPLENDIFEROUS thing, people. Dan Savage has had some wonderful things to say about Foley, and you ought to check that out.
There’s Scary and Misty’s new project, Done a Poo which although tacky, gross, and possibly completely inappropriate is the funniest thing I’ve seen since the first time I caught “The Osbornes” on MTV. Maybe you have to be completely fucked up to appreciate it, but Misty’s photos of Dubya are priceless. (I think they’re both geniuses, myself.)
Then there is this lunatic, who thinks that the recent school shootings in America are due to (wait for it) THE HARRY POTTER BOOKS. Can you believe this? Ban HP, ladies and gents, and you’ll have the end of school shootings in the US. Right, cause we never had school shootings BEFORE Harry came along, and all the OTHER countries where Harry has been printed (notably ENGLAND) have sooooooo many school shootings due to the popularity of Harry Potter. To pull a quote from one of the HP books, “Load of old tosh.”
Which brings me to my Halloween costume. I love Halloween; it is possibly my favorite holiday. I have never stopped dressing up for Halloween. My sainted mother made many of my costumes growing up; a Native American Princess, a clown, a really cool pilgrim, and she helped me make over a costume purchased from the local theater’s production of Evita so I could go as a Flamenco dancer one year in my teens. I only stopped going Trick-or-Treating after my sophomore year of high school. In my defense, I do have a sister who is 9 years younger than me, and I took her with me. But I’ve been a witch for about the last 10 years, in the sense of the Wicked Witch of the West. And I’m tired of that witchy costume, so I’ve put together a fantastic HP-esqe costume. I’m a random Gryffindor student, not any one character in particular. At a local thrift store, I picked up a long sleeved white button-down shirt, a grey sweater vest, and a burgundy and white striped tie, which while not authentic WAS a dollar and fifty cents, so it will work just fine. From eBay I got two embroidered patches, one that says “Hogwarts” and one that says “Gryffindor” (no, I have not decided which patch will go where yet) and from Whimsic Alley, I got a FABULOUS cloak/robe/whatever you want to call it and a pin that says “Prefect”, because if I had been born a Brit or an Aussie, I would have been a prefect in school. I had to exchange the cloak for a smaller size (WHOPEEE, the extra-large was way too big) but the new smaller one will be here any day. And why, pray tell, am I gushing to the interweb about my Halloween costume? Of course, so that I can tell you that I’m throwing a Halloween party!!!
I’m getting a t-shirt for DH that says, “This is my fucking costume. You got a problem with it?” If you know him IRL then you will know that’s so perfect it isn’t even funny. We’re such opposites; I would dress up for a costume party any day of the year and he would do it on the 10th of never.
I haven’t determined the menu in its entirety yet, but I think I’m going to have candy, (can’t have a Halloween party without CANDY), pumpkin cookies, caramel apples with nuts, pumpkin mousse pie tarts (more about those in a minute), and I’m stymied about what else to have. Fall favorites round these parts tend to be apple dumplings (no, not for a party of 40+, I’m NOT making 40 apple dumplings), apple cider (yah, maybe, but only if I can find some way to booze it up, cause the cider I’m talking about is not hard cider, and my last party’s non-alcoholic punch was wasted on my boozy friends), pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pecan pie….and there’s nothing really of substance there. I would make some big pot of hot soup, but then there’s the problem of serving it in small quantities….
The pumpkin mousse pie tarts are something that I came up with all on my own, and I’m really excited to share this. In the interest of full disclosure, this is a recipe that started its life in my recipe book from a friend who had done Weight Watchers. But I don’t like the texture of the original recipe, and I messed with it until it became something not at all like the original. The recipe will make maybe 60 bite-sized tarts, or you could also put the filling into a 9 inch graham cracker crust and have a nice big pie instead. This tastes better and the texture is better too IF you make it a day ahead of time. Being low in sugar and low in fat, it is an excellent substitute for pumpkin pie, which is really actually quite bad for you.
Pumpkin Mousse Tarts
1 (3oz) box fat free sugar free pudding, vanilla
1 cup fat free milk
1 (8 oz) small tub fat free non-dairy whipped topping (such as Cool Whip)
1-1/2 cup pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling, just pureed pumpkin)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spices (or a like-sized combination of cinnamon, ginger, & allspice)
60 fillo dough shells (like these)
1 LARGE bowl
icing decorating bag or a large zip top bag
Whisk the pudding into the milk in large bowl until it thickens. Add spices, then pumpkin and mix well. Gently fold in the whipped topping until well blended. Fridge overnight or at least 8 hours.
Place star tip on icing bag. Fill icing bag with mousse and pipe into fillo shells. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Could be garnished with a dollop more whipped topping, but I don’t usually bother.
Eat lots of them. They’re mostly fat free and mostly sugar free too.
What’s been going on in YOUR world?
Soundtrack: Jonny Lang’s new CD, Turn Around
20 September 2006
Cheers on a Wednesday morn.
19 September 2006
What You Need to Believe to be a Republican
Just a quick 17 rules to bring you up to speed on what you need to believe
to be a Republican.
1. Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.
2. Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.
3. Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade
with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.
4. The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our
highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.
5. A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but
multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without
6. The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in
speeches, while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.
7. If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.
8. A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies,
then demand their cooperation and money.
9. Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing
health care to all Americans is socialism. HMOs and insurance companies have
the best interests of the public at heart.
10. Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but
creationism should be taught in schools.
11. A president lying about an extramarital affair is a impeachable
offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which
thousands die is solid defense policy.
12. Government should limit itself to the powers named in the
Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.
13. The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but
George Bush's driving record is none of our business.
14. Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a
conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for
15. Supporting "Executive Privilege" for every Republican ever born, who
will be born or who might be born (in perpetuity.)
16. What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but
what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.
17. Support for hunters who shoot their friends and blame them for wearing
orange vests similar to those worn by the quail.
Friends don't let friends vote Republican.
I've been as sick as can be over the past few days and haven't felt up to writing. Took some Oregano oil today and am hoping for the best. Some sort of horrible creeping crud is making the rounds...everyone I know has it.
Soundtrack for the day: When the World Ends, Dave Matthews.
06 September 2006
I heard an interview with Julie Powell, author of Julie and Julia : 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen, more than a year ago. Wow, I thought. A blogger who turned her blogging into a real live book. Cool. But it has taken me more than a year to get to the book. The cover is hopelessly cute; in an endearing, giggle-out-loud-in-the-bookstore kind of way. There’s a little whisk that has an egg character as its base; the egg is frowning. Anyone who has ever suffered a kitchen disaster can relate; no matter how much you whip the egg whites, they refuse to froth beautifully, and you’re left with a runny mess and a big frown on your face. (not that I would know. No. Really.)
I read the book in about 3 hours; I tend to get engrossed in things that I enjoy and have trouble putting them down. The premise of the project is really simple; crazy, perhaps, but simple. Cook your way through the entire massive volume of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1, in one year. There are things in that book that I would never ever eat. (Eggs in a beef aspic…yuk.) And things that I would never ever bother to make. (Julia Child’s French bread recipe apparently runs to some 17 pages. No thanks.) But I like the spirit of perseverance that Powell shows, making things that she wouldn’t eat either, and she does try them and finds out that she likes (some of) them. Her Julie/Julia project blog, which she hasn’t updated since the death of Julia Child in 2004, was apparently wildly popular. I am late come to the blog-osphere, so I didn’t follow her yearlong project, which really makes me sad. Most of the bloggers that I follow aren’t undertaking any such ambitious projects (helllllllloooooo, neither am I!!) and it is a great idea to “DO SOMETHING” other than blog randomly about whatever.
She’s a great writer; her voice is that of a friend gossiping happily in your ear while she’s cooking an amazing meal. She curses nearly as often as I do IRL so I think that’s funny too. She also shares my annoyance/complete lack of understanding when it comes to the fanatically religious, so that was another point in her favor. She has a new blog (here on blogger, will wonders never cease) where you can get a taste of her wit, style and spirit, http://juliapowell.blogspot.com. Which is a wonderful thing, because I have not yet heard enough of her voice. She narrates a few things that are linked to her page too, which is a real hoot, because I love her voice. And the narration of the marrow steak passage in the book is not to be missed.
I’m also making my way through George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, and not really enjoying it. Lately, I’ve been disappointed in almost everything I’ve picked up in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre. Is it possible that I’ve read everything interesting? In my short 31 years? I don’t think so; I just think that I’ve been picking up a lot of dreck lately. Martin writes with fiery passion, and manages to write well from a female perspective from time to time. I admire the characterization of the horrible Queen Cersei, even as I want to smack her. And the lush landscape, which isn’t overly described, is interesting. Not sure I understand the stuff about the seasons (summers which last a generation?) but well written. And yet, I’m annoyed with the whole series. Not enough of Arya and Sansa Stark, and I can’t believe (PLOT SPOILER ALERT) that he killed off Rob Stark, or Breinne, Maid of Tarth. After checking his website, I am surprised to learn that he was a writer on an 80s television series that I (as an 11-13 year-old child) really liked, Beauty and The Beast. I know, I know, I had ghastly taste. But I’m annoyed with the series for a few reasons; mostly because the latest installment isn’t out, but also because the characters refuse to do what I think they ought to be doing. Silly, no? I’ve not liked a lot of other stuff I’ve picked up lately, and can’t help but wonder if I’ve outgrown the genre. Lord, I hope not. I’d like to think that I can still escape to fantasy land with the best of them.
While IM-ing a young friend, I told her that I was annoyed with the fantasy genre because each book I pick up seems to have similar themes…there’s an unlikely hero, a maiden fair, a quest, some magic items such as a sword or two, and then they’re questing forever and ever, and the boy wins the girl in the end, they get married, and everyone lives happily ever after. My precocious 17-year old friend essentially said, yeah, so? And I complained that it seems as if no one in author land seems to have any original ideas; Beowulf reborn, and Greek mythologies told over and over. And she said, “There is no such thing as an original idea.” Yikes. I told her that she and I are both too young to be so cynical.
In the airport last week on my way home, I picked up Wicked, by Gregory Maguire . Through the first chapters, it is barely holding my attention. Too much background info…maybe. I’ll be on an airplane again this week (for a bit of a vaca this time) and instead of any of Martin’s super-heavy hardbacks from the library, I’ve got a trade size paperback of Wicked to schlep around. Thank goodness, the two installments of A Song of Ice and Fire that I had with me last week weighed a ton.
I’ve also made some ventures into the non-fiction world. I picked up a handful of things at a recent visit to Barnes & Noble. I got 21 Dirty Tricks which, gutter mind, is about politics in the world of business. I read it in about 30 minutes and it wasn’t what I was looking for. I avoid serious mentions of my work, but I was hoping to get some ideas about playing politics because I am not so good at that. And I also picked up The Girl's Guide to Being a Boss (Without Being a Bitch) because I am the boss, and I’d like to be a good one. Even a great one, maybe. Yes, I have a management degree; but even with that, there are many things that the good ol’ Uni doesn’t teach you. So I have high hopes for A girl’s guide. Guess we’ll see.
I have a funny story to tell about books. One book, in particular…one that I’m going to review for Growers and Grocers. The title is Eat Here; and at the moment, I can’t even remember right now where I heard about the book. I looked for it at my local library; then B&N, then Borders. No luck locally, so then in Chicago, at some bookstore down the street from my hotel. No luck there either. So I called a B&N closest to my hotel, found from the phone book. They didn’t have it; but they offered to order it and have it shipped. I could have it shipped to my house (no, I’m not giving you my credit card number from my cel phone in a hotel room, sorry) or they offered to send it to the local B&N here in Ohio, where I could pick it up. Sweet. Sounds so simple. I stopped in the local store yesterday and checked on the order. They didn’t have it and didn’t know when it would be in. Today, I get a phone call from the B&N in Chicago; they’ve got the book and will hold it for me for 2 weeks. About an hour later, I get a phone call from the B&N here in O-hi-ia and they’ve got the book and will hold it for 2 weeks. An embarrassment of an abundance of riches. So what’s a girl to do? Well, I’ll pick up the one in Chicago on Friday. The one here? If I like it enough, I’ll buy the second copy for a friend who has been instrumental in opening my eyes to the dismal state of food production in America.
I've been thinking about changing my blogger template; what do you think?
That’s all for today.
Soundtrack: Leaving On A Jet Plane (yes, again. Flying to Chicago again tomorrow.)
02 September 2006
I'm still trying to recover from the 3 days of nonstop classes and then the flight home...so jet-lagged.
On to events political, then. There's been so much happening that I wanted to comment on, but let's start with my friend Mischa's post about the drunkest cities in America, because it is way too funny to not comment about. (Linky direct to original story on MSNBC here) Our own Columbus, Ohio is on the list. That really shouldn't be any shock to anyone who has ever watched Ohio State play any football game at home. And besides OSU, there's a bunch of colleges in Columbus, and we alllll know that college students drink lots.
Then there was President Idiot in Salt Lake City this week....check out his moron-ness here.
Next, the bright boys at the Pentagon are telling the even brighter boys at Congress that Iraq is ripe for civil war. Wow, who'da thunk that? Funny, though, this link is from the Toronto Star.
Two quick other things then. Heard an interesting interview on NPR, and I'm going to get this book today. Ray Suarez has written a book about religion in America, called The Holy Vote. Sounds really interesting, and leads into my last thing.
While wandering around a local festival yesterday, I was struck at how many Christian T-Shirts I saw. Seems like a great reminder that I'm living in the reddest of the red states, and that the conservatives may yet take over the world. I think that everyone should be free to practice whatever religion they'd like, but I don't like having it pushed in my face; I don't like being "witnessed" to while I'm trying to enjoy deep-fried everything. And no, it wasn't a church festival. If it had been, I would say serves me right. But it wasn't.
Today's Soundtrack: Madonna's "Rain"
28 August 2006
Anyway, I'm on a pay-by-the-minute terminal...so check out these links while I'm away.
More later this week.
Soundtrack: Leavin' On a Jet Plane
20 August 2006
I *KNOW* that all who practice Islam are not terrorists. OK? I hate, hate, hate people like Tucker Carlson, who go on MSNBC and make statements like the following, "Not all Muslims are terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslim." Gimme a break Tucker. I also dislike making myself look like your average Yank, who doesn't know a damn thing about the world beyond her front door. An admonishment to THINK before I write was therefore in order, and was issued beautifully by Aunty Marianne in the comments of my last post. I kinda pulled an open mouth, insert foot, chew.
I'm typing on the laptop with dying batteries, so that's all I've got to say today.
11 August 2006
Please tell the world just exactly what it is that you hope to accomplish by murdering tens of thousands of innocent people. Really, is the thought process anything like this at all?
"Oh, well, you see, if we kill thousands, suddenly the light will go on for everyone else, and they'll stop being infidels and realize that Islam is the only true faith!"
Look, guys, don't you want intelligent thinkers rather than blindly believing zealots? Islamic followers accomplished so much in the middle Ages in Spain...and the mathematical thinkers of those centuries were all Muslim. I've visited the mosques in Spain and seen the things that were accomplished during a (relatively) peaceful period of coexistence with Christians. Can you not imagine a place and a time where we can all believe in our own faith without repercussions? Spend some time here. America can show you that peaceful coexistence. My best friend is Jewish. I’m Catholic. It works.
Or perhaps you think that there will be some disconnect here in America, that we'll suddenly stop producing Hollywood blockbusters that show too much skin, or that MTV will collapse, if only you kill enough innocent civilians.
I have a hot flash for y'all. I didn't vote for George W. Bush...in fact, most people I know didn't vote for that idiot. The whole country does NOT agree with Condee Rice and Donald Rumsfeld. The foreign policy that they write and take positions on are not ever going to be the opinion of all 248 million of us. And if your plan is to kill all 248 million, well, then, we've got one of the largest armies in the world to stop you.
One of the great things about this country is that I can have the opinion that the entire Bush administration is made up of card-carrying morons, and I can express that opinion as freely as I wish. I can bash the Catholic church if I choose to, I can change my religion if I decide that’s what I want to do. Personal freedom, personal choice. That’s what it is all about.
American since 1974
09 August 2006
I logged into the computer this morning to check my e-mails since I was away from the computer for about 36 hours and I had 17. When I worked for the bastard bank, that wouldn't have been very many, but these days it is quite a few and I was kinda suprised. And since most of them were work related, we're moving on.
In between Columbus and Mansfield, there just aren't that many radio options. Country, some more country, two Christian stations (shudder. shudder some more.), and not much else. 80 miles outside of Cleveland I was able to pick up WCPN, thank goodness.
I've been writing more at Well Fed and having a delightful time doing it. I did some research about Mad Cow Disease, organic labeling standards and fair trade coffee. The fair trade article won't appear until later this week, but check Growers and Grocers for the other articles. I'm learning so much!! I had no idea about food production in this country and am appalled about all kinds of things...
Although I can't talk about my work on this site, I am going to mention this briefly. I was at Camp Joy for a work retreat and had a fantastic time. It was hot, and I think I sweated about 11 pounds off. They do have air-conditioned cabins, thank goodness. What a wonderful place!
05 August 2006
03 August 2006
Went to see Dave Matthews Band last night at Blossom Music Center. It was a good show. They're all good shows; this one was a bit disorganized. The band spent quite a bit of time talking to each other, more than usual. Seemed a bit like maybe they hadn't decided on a set list before they took the stage. Maybe it was me; but I was there with a friend who I've seen more than 10 shows with, and she thought the same thing.
There aren't really any songs that the band has written that I DON'T like; but I do have a few particular favorites; Grey Street, Ants Marching, So Much to Say, Best of What's Around. They played Ants Marching (a rarity), Sleep to Dream Her (haven't heard that live for a few years) and Grey Street, plus a few others that I like; complete set list can be found here.
Am editorial note; I've been getting comment spam from the site in my e-mail, so I added a word verification doo-hickey. Please don't let that stop you from making a comment.
Soundtrack: DMB Live @ central park
27 July 2006
I'm quoting a conservative website here, but the salient points of the law are that it:
1. Establishes a national sex offender registry available on the Internet.
2. Requires convicted sex offenders to be entered into a national registry before they are released from prison and update the registration in person within three days of moving.
3. Offenders must verify their registry information every month in person. Failure to comply is a felony.
4. An offender who knowingly does not register and moves to a new state can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. If an offender who has not registered commits a violent crime, the offender can be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.
5. Establishes a sex offender tracking office in the Justice Department.
6. Some sex offenders may be required to wear tracking devices.
The thing is that this is the right thing to do, no matter which side of the aisle you’re sitting on. Ohio has a registry available online, and I searched it about 6 months ago and found that there are 13 registered sex offenders within a two mile radius of both my home AND my office (and one is on the south side of my hometown; the other is on the north side). This is a really scary thing, y’all. I don’t think that pedophilia is curable; “treatment” for those who terrorize, prey upon, and kill children is lethal injection.
Which makes me think that I’m not as much of a liberal as I’d like to think I am, but hey, this is real, honest emotion. The work that I do makes me react like an overprotective mama bear. And since we’re sliding into bad territory there, I’m on to the next thing. The info on this law being capitalized on by conservatives is yet another example of how Dems are missing the boat over and over and over. Anyway.
Check out my articles on Growers and Grocers tomorrow and Saturday; tomorrow’s is about a journey DH and I took to a winery far, far away, and Saturday’s is about your tax dollars at work in mad cow disease testing. It is a editorial and I’m pretty riled about the recent changes to testing standards, which is a bit odd b/c I don’t actually eat red meat. But many of the people I love do, and the danger of the human form of mad cow is real.
Larry King is over and Anderson Cooper is on. He's hot.
25 July 2006
I wrote about it for Growers and Grocers, it will post on Friday.
The West Coast is sweltering under record temps, and we're not exempt from it in the Midwest. Yesterday and today were lovely, but we have a heat advisory for tomorrow and I'm expecting much unpleasantness from the heat. I hate the heat. Have I mentioned that before? I think a time or two.
Anyway. I did some checking about the test that the radiologist wants me to have and it turns out that the overwhelming majority of women who have a ductogram end up having surgery to remove the milk duct or cyst that is causing the problem. I don’t wanna have surgery. Don’t have time to either, now that I think about it. And I’m fretting unnecessarily because until I consult with the surgeon, none of what I think or have read will definitely come to pass.
I don’t spend much time talking about television, (or ever watching it, really) but there are two summer replacement series that I want to touch on. Sci-Fi Channel’s Eureka! Is something my DH has gotten in to, and I like it against my better judgment. Then USA Network has Psych, which I don’t really like. I am a huge fan of Dule` Hill, I really liked his work on The West Wing, and so I really wanted to like it, but I just don’t.
This is a classic case of escapism, because I’m watching stupid television programs to avoid watching what’s going on in Iraq, Iran, and Lebanon. Happy Tuesday!
21 July 2006
I detest the heat. Yes, yes, sunny days are fine when the relative humidity is in the 40% range. After that, unless I'm at the lake or in a pool, 73 degrees and low humidity is fine fine fine with me.
I have a couple of things to talk about today and not much time, so enough bitching about the weather.
First on my list; tomorrow is my wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary to me and DH, married 6 years ago during (thank god) a very cool summer! I’m going completely off the grid for our anniversary weekend; no mobile telephone, no pager, and no computer. This will be the first time in 2 years that the pager has been off. I’m really excited about it.
Next, didja know that beer will kill slugs? Check out FitFare on Wednesday next week for my next article.
Which is really related to the third item on my list; I've agreed to write for Growers and Grocers, also a Well Fed site. My first piece there will post tomorrow. I’m very excited about this, because it is another area that fascinates me. US legislation about food production, and checking into locally grown produce….my first article is about organic labeling standards in the US and the next one will be about a locally produced wine. Yes, they DO grow grapes that make damn fine wine in Ohio. Who’da thunk it?
Next, I’ve had a dreadful scare. I had a mammogram this week and must go and consult a surgeon next week. Let me say this from the start: I do not have breast cancer. What I have is a miserable family history (breast, cervical, and uterine cancer abound) and a very cautious OB/GYN. All of which is fine until they tell you that you just need to have a little more invasive procedure done, just to be sure. And then the very helpful radiologist (who I’m sure is a perfectly nice woman, really) tells you just E-X-A-C-T-L-Y how they DO that procedure…..urgh. Details I’d rather not know, thanks all the same. Anytime needles are involved and I’m not sedated, it ain’t a pretty picture.
Finally, did everyone in America manage to MISS “W” aka President Idiot making an ass out of himself at the G-8? Good lord. Wake UP! How DID this man get re-elected? I don’t need to enumerate his faux pas here, but glo-reeee, did he ever make a bunch.
Oh, and one more thing. The last bit I want to mention is a piece that I heard on NPR yesterday. Please, if you are one of the small percentage of my fellow citizens who STILL support the Iraq war, give this a listen.