24 February 2006

quick random musings

I had to go to court for that speeding ticket last night. Now, if you know me IRL, you know that I'm rarely at a loss for words, even if they be catty words. But wow. Words kinda fail me about court. First of all, I thought that it was going to be just traffic court and it wasn't, so that was unpleasant surprise #1. There were people there who were accused of actual, real crimes, albeit misdemeanors, but still. Then, I am annoyed that it was supposed to start right at 5:30, and the judge didn’t enter the court room until 5:45. That’s really annoying. I run late all the time, for all kinds of things, most often for meeting up with my DH, but I expect things like COURT to start on time. They spent a whole lot of time talking about what your options are for pleading, guilty, no contest, not guilty, and the different types of bail. I was about the 15th person called, and maybe the 8th or so for a ticket. I started feeling better about what the fine might be after the very first person called for a ticket, because they got a $20 fine in addition to court costs, which I already knew were $65. So I plead no contest, told the judge how I’ve never had a ticket in my life (and hello, I am 31 years old!) and that I was embarrassed. He fined me $35, since it was a school zone, and I wrote a check for $100. I had expected a fine between $200-300, so I feel like I got off relatively easy. I completely forgot to ask; how many points will I end up with? So I have to call the court today to find out.

I’m running late this morning and need to get a shower and head out the door to work, so even though I’ve got lots more to say about a bunch of other things, I’ve got to run.

Here’s the tease, though…I’m going to write for a food blog! I’m very very excited about it.

23 February 2006

A few more minutes spent on hockey

Isn't it so fun to say, "I was RIGHT!"? I, at least, enjoy it a whole bunch. The men's US hockey team was knocked out of the medal competition, and the final match will be between 2 of the following 4 teams. Finland, Russia, the Czech Republic, and SWEDEN! WHHHOOO-HOOO!! So either Sweden/Finland or Russia/Czech Republic, and then the losers of the Finland/Russia and Czech/Sweden games will play each other for the bronze. I did say that I didn't have high expectations for the US mens's team. I have not been following the women's side at all, but out of curiosity I just checked and the US team won bronze, behind Sweden, who got the silver, and Canada, who got the gold.

This is a funny aside; almost every time I've turned the olympics on over the past couple of days, CURLING has been on. What a sport. :-) DH pointed out yesterday that almost no one on this side of the Atlantic understands that sport at all. I played it for one afternoon in Sweden, but that does NOT mean that I have a firm grasp on it.

Gotta run...

22 February 2006

Predictions: I HATE it that I'm right on this one...

Remember a few weeks ago when I suggested that we all breathe a sigh of relief because the Supreme Court had announced it was sidestepping the right to choose issue? I distinctly remember typing, "the Supreme Court sidestepped another Roe v. Wade case, for which we can all breathe a sigh of relief, but the thought occurs to me that eventually, they're going to stop sidestepping it, and step right into it." About a month ago, matter of fact. And I was right!! Yesterday, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear another so-called "partial birth" abortion case. Here's the link to the NPR story where I heard about this distressing turn of events. Once the issue is in front of the court, no amount of writing your senators or marches or protests will change what the high court will do. They aren't elected officials, so they're not dependent upon lobbyists or election cycles...which is why it is so important to have a balanced Court. Damn George Bush! And damn both justices that left. Sandra Day O'Connor, we still need you on that bench!!!! I know, the old Chief Justice didn't have a choice about dying, but honestly, the man couldn't have had worse timing. I was chatting to friend K yesterday and we were both trying to remember the words to the serenity prayer, you know, that they use over at AA? Says something along the lines of “dear God, please grant me the power to change the things I can, the grace to deal with the things I can’t change, and the wisdom to know the difference.” So I can’t change what the Supreme Court will or will not do, and I don’t think I have the power to change it all by myself, so I’m trying to stop losing sleep over it. Right. But I think that there ARE some things I can do, and one of them is to support NARAL. I surfed over there this morning and noticed a sidebar that said the United States gets a D- grade in the status of women’s rights. It says you can check YOUR state, so I looked up Ohio, and no surprise to me, Ohio has an F. I’ve said before that I often feel like the only pro-choice person that I know. But no shocker here, our governor the criminal is anti-choice, the Lt. Gov is anti-choice, and the Attorney General is anti-choice. Then we have this long list of laws that help to restrict a woman’s access to an abortion. I decided first out of curiosity and then out of desperation to check on states that I or anyone with a car could get to from here, and Pennsylvania also has a failing grade. Michigan got an F, so did Indiana. Kentucky also has an F. Much to my surprise, West Virginia got a B. I’ve always thought that folks there were more conservative than Ohioans, my bad. I cannot believe the amount of restrictions that states have placed on women’s rights. Mandatory waiting periods, parental or spousal notifications, biased counseling and restrictions for women who live below the poverty line are the NORM, rather than the exception. THAT is something I can do something about, and so can you. Write to your state legislators and let them know how draconian you think these restrictions are. Find a sympathetic ear in a liberal politician, and encourage her or him to roll back restrictions that make it harder for women to exercise freedom of choice. I do have to mention this just because, but don’t you think that if the issue involved male reproductive rights that we wouldn’t even be having this conversation?

Oh, and of course I had to check on some of my European counterparts, just because, and whaddya know, the Swedes allow abortions for any reason. Belgium appears to be pretty liberal on the issue too, and isn't it funny that I found this info on an anti-choice website? I'm NOT linking to them because I don't want to hear about what a baby-killing whore I am. Not today, anyway. Cheerio!

20 February 2006

More Cheney and then I'll stop, I promise.

I caught just a few minutes on Saturday of Left, Right and Center on NPR as I was frantically running errands in very heavy traffic on the coldest day of the year (here, anyway) to date.

I had a party Saturday night, and typical of me, I left the grocery-storing and other errand running I needed to do until that day. But with my ridiculously busy week last week, I didn’t have a second to do it before then. And I was determined to have some friends over, adding to the stress level of a crazy week but that’s life sometimes. It certainly was something to look forward to all week when things were nuts.

My local NPR affiliate plays a very diverse set of programs on the weekends, and just when I think I’ve got the schedule down, they move it around. Left, Right, and Center used to be aired on Sunday afternoons, and Justice Talking was early early Sunday morning, so I was a bit kerflummoxed when I turned on the radio at 3 on Saturday afternoon and heard Arianna Huffington’s very distinctive voice. They were of course discussing the Cheney shooting and said some of the same things I did last week; great minds, eh? I know she’s a conservative, but she’s anti-Bush and I really like her. And then Justice Talking was on right after that, so confusion was had by all. I wish I’d been able to hear all of Justice Talking, they were talking about the process of Supreme Court nominations and I am a junkie of all things Supreme Court.

I made wonderful food for the party and my favorite thing was a very twisted and very loose interpretation of English trifle that I came up with all by myself, which made me happy. Trifle purists may be a trifle put out, (oh, I entertain myself!) as there was no liqueur, but I’m not a purist. I bought two angel food cakes, and cut them into roughly 1-inch cubes. I would normally have baked them myself, but two things prevented this. One, time limitations and two, when my diet started on January 2, my sister came and cleaned out my kitchen cabinets and she tossed everything I’m not allowed to be eating, which included every single cake mix I had. Anyway, I zested a lemon and a blood orange that I was using in another recipe, and sprinkled the zest over the cubes of angel food cake, with a little bit reserved for garnish. Then I sliced fresh strawberries very thinly and completely covered the angel food cake bits with lots of strawberries. Finally, I topped it with fat free cool whip, and selected a pretty and large strawberry, and fanned it out by leaving the top intact and slicing vertical slashes in the body of the berry. A sprinkle of the remaining zest, and presto, a lovely dessert. I really like the texture of angel food cake as is, with no tampering, but if I did feel inclined to tamper, I might sprinkle some wonderfully flavored liqueur such as Frangelico over the angel food bits. Which might mollify the purists somewhat. But soggy angel food cake is bad.

I finally got some longed-for winter weather. It was sooo cold on Saturday…the temp went down to around 4 degrees Fahrenheit, which would be roughly –16 in the much more sensible Celsius scale. Why, oh, why, can’t the US use the metric system??? It makes so much SENSE!! Seriously, live with it for a while (why yes, I am completely suggesting that you live somewhere other than the US) and you’ll see. It makes such sense because it is a base 10 system. In standard measurements, there’s no sense. 12 inches = 1 foot, 3 feet = 1 yard; then there’s 4 tablespoons to ¼ cup, 2 cups to a pint, and 4 quarts to a gallon. In the metric system, 10 millimeters = 1 centimeter, 1000 centimeters=1 meter, 1000 meters = 1 kilometer…and if I remember right, a liter of water equals 1 kilogram in weight. Really, though, that's a rant for another day. But it all just WORKS…sigh.

Gotta run, kiddos…

15 February 2006

Dick Cheney

OK, yes, I said I'd have absolutely no time to blog this week, but I am making time for this....can you believe it? Dick Cheney uh, HELLO, shoots someone, and the White House and VP's office both stonewall reporters about the incident. Isn't anyone else sick unto death of this administration's tight fisted and lipped-ness when it comes to releasing information of any stripe or color?

I've never blogged about my total aversion to all things of the weaponly variety, but this just goes to prove what I've always said about guns. Play with them, and you will get shot.

When I first heard about this, my first reaction was to laugh...where I live in Oh-Hi-Ia is about an hour's drive from West Virginia, and every year during deer hunting season, usually someone in both Ohio and West Virginia are accidentally shot in hunting accidents, and someone usually dies. Which yes, is tragic, but also comic because hunters are supposed to wear little orange vests that make them highly visible, so theoretically, you should be able to tell the difference between your hunting buddy and the deer. So my personal perception had always been "Hunters=Idiots". Then I worked for someone at the big ol’ bank that was a hunter and a really smart guy, and he adjusted that perception for me. He hunted with a bow and arrow, and I gotta say that it takes some impressive skill to bring down a deer with a bow and arrow. Plus, bonus, rarely are other hunters shot by arrow. So now my perception is more like "automatic rifle hunters=idiots". But anyway. I was talking about the VP's hunting accident. He shot some high-powered Texas attorney with birdshot, which IS teeny-tiny, but still, I’m trying to understand how you “accidentally” shoot ANYONE. Isn’t the primary rule of gun safety to never ever point the gun at someone? If it isn’t, it sure oughta be. Well, maybe the second, after never ever peer down the barrel of a loaded gun. So I did think this was kinda comical until I learned that the VP’s hunting buddy is in an intensive care unit in a hospital, and as I work in healthcare, I can tell you that they DON’T put healthy, on their feet, gonna go back to work tomorrow types of people into the ICU. So not the comedy fest I was thinking. And then I hear Scott McClelland on NPR yesterday telling reporters that he wasn’t going to answer their questions about the incident, and here we are yet again with the administration stonewalling the American people. Did I mention that this is about the bazillionth time? So I went from ha-ha to royally pissed off in about 0.03 seconds. And then I feel guilty for laughing, cause it turns out that the TX atty has some of that birdshot lodged near his heart and they’ll have to do open heart surgery to remove it. A Washington DC doc that NPR interviewed yesterday said that it was likely that they just might leave it where it is, due to his age and other considerations, as in, hey, it might not be so smart to crack this guy’s chest. Cause open-heart surgery also not the comic fest you might be thinking it could be. Really.

So this happened over the weekend, and Cheney’s office makes its first statement on the matter on Tuesday. Am I the only one who thinks that is ludicrous? Eminem talks about Lynn Cheney in one of his songs, “Without Me”, where he mentions Dick’s heart problem, but I’m thinking that maybe Dick has a major communication problem.

Let’s talk about something else that won’t have my blood pressure through the roof. How about the Olympics? Well, there is fuel for my ire there too. Whenever the games are NOT held in this country, the television coverage of the games blows. Which makes me sound really ethnocentric, but that isn’t it. It is that I simply can’t stand it when many things are time-delayed for prime time, but worse than that is the heavy-handed editing that goes on. I have a friend in Italy that I’ve been chatting with about once a day since the games started and when he asks if I’ve seen this or that on the television coverage, I’m forced to tell him that they deleted it out, EVERY DAMN TIME.

This morning on MSNBC, they were showing the Sweden vs. Kazakhstan men’s hockey game, which made me happy, but they kept going to commercial, and Sweden would score while they were out on commercial. RRRRGGG. Then, they stopped that game, right near the end of the 2nd period, to bring the Canada vs. Italy game. RRRRGGG, again. No announcement, no explanation, just cut to the other game. Sloppy. This was fairly early, east coast time, and I had to turn it off to get ready for work, but I never did see who won the Sweden/Kazakhstan game. The announcers of the new game didn’t bother to update the score for the old game. Now I know that I am personally more concerned with Sweden than most Americans, I freely admit that. But 100% of the Swedish team is players from the NHL, so you’d think that some hockey fans would want to know how the players did…wouldn’t ya? I’m pretty sure that Canada trounced Italy, because the average age of the Team Italy players was around 35, and most of the Canadian players were younger and faster. And anybody who can tell me why the heck the Italian players were in blue rather than the colors of their flag wins a “you’re smarter than Lucy” certificate. A check of NBC's Olympics page (which loads super slow, thanks NBC) shows me that Sweden won (7-2, Heja Sverige!!), Canada won (also 7-2), and Finland won too (against Switzerland, 5-0, ouch for Switzerland). The Czech Republic trounced Germany, 4-1. Those 7-2 games are really high scoring hockey games, for any unfamiliar with the sport. The final gold medal game is widely expected to be Canada vs. Czech Republic, but I’d love to see it between Sweden and the Czechs.

The graphs that NBC has up to show the scores really couldn’t be more confusing. Russia vs. Slovakia, and Latvia vs. US are all later today. No hope whatsoever of being able to catch the Russian game on TV here, which is a shame, the Russians are good players. I don’t have high hopes really for the US team, most of the good hockey players in the States are Canadians, eh?

It was really fun to see the Team Sweden fans on TV at the arena in Italy. I forgot that they wear those Viking helmets with the horns and they paint their faces and wave flags and do normal fan sorts of things, but for the shy and introverted Swedes, that’s really being very flashy and nationalistic, which they aren’t into too much. Ohh, something else that irritated me was that the announcers kept referring to “the Swedish club” or “this club” rather than TEAM. It is a TEAM, people, TEAM.

Gotta go.

13 February 2006

It is a busy busy week, kiddos

Just when you think things are finally going to settle down....this will probably be my last post this week, unless several large chunks of free time suddenly materialize out of nowhere. I've got so much going on that I'm not sure I'll even have time for sleeping.

Work, work, work, work.....

On a weather note, though, we finally did get some more winter weather, but apparently I am fated to not ski this winter. We got some snow, but it is supposed to all melt by Wednesday, and then it will rain Thursday, Friday and Saturday, which just makes me blues-y. Rain in winter is no fun. Plus next weekend is the President's Day holiday, so skiing at any of the area resorts would probably be super crowded with kids and I wouldn't really enjoy it. Maybe I will take off a mid week day to just ski. I'd like that, if the weather would only co-operate.

I got the date for court for that g-d ticket, did I tell you that? Oh, that will be pricey....

10 February 2006

NOT a good day...

Ever have one of those days where you KNOW within about an hour that ya just shouldn't have gotten out of bed? I am having one today. First, not to be too graphic or gross, but I was due to start the day out with my annual OB/GYN exam, which if you aren't a girl, you're not going to be able to empathize. My friend A says that those are her most dreaded days....I have to agree. A GYN exam just ain't the most pleasant thing out there, let me tell ya. So as usual, I'm running late when I get pulled over by a friendly police officer who explains to me that I was traveling 42 mph in a 20 mph zone. More than double the speed limit. Ouch. I got a ticket, which I do really deserve. I'm not upset, particularly, about that. What upsets me is that the whole adventure is probably going to cost me about $250, and O-hi-ia has this system of "points" on your license, usually 2 for a moving violation, and at 12 you lose your license for I think a year. Since I was in a school zone (I know, I know, what WAS I thinking?) the points will probably be doubled, and the fine too. I called the court, because the nice officer said that since I have a clean record, I could mail in the fine, and the court says no, all offenders picked up in a school zone are MANDATORY automatic court appearances. Shit! This just keeps getting better….wait, that’s not the end. I get to the doctor's office about 15 minutes late, sign myself in, sit down, pull out my knitting, and knit contentedly for about 15 minutes when they call me back up to the window and inform me that my appointment is in fact for MARCH 10th, not February 10th. Feel free to fall out of your chair laughing at this point, because it is pretty funny. And no, they wouldn’t take me just because I was already there.

The crappy crappy crappy thing about the fine is that DH and I just decided a couple of days ago to head to Croatia in the summer of 2007 and began to save for it, and the fine is money that could have gone to a fantastic vacation but will instead go to Uncle State of Ohio. That combined with our HUGE federal tax liability just makes me one happy citizen.

From there, the day couldn’t really GET much worse, so I got myself a chocolate coffee from ny favorite chocolate shop and got to work. Work was pretty uneventful, thankfully, and now I’m heading to the bar where my sister works to get a drink. No, I won’t be driving this evening, we’ll leave that up to Mr. "I Don’t have any points on MY license, ha, ha, ha" otherwise known as DH.

06 February 2006

Thank GOD football's over!

I don't think I've ever mentioned how much I hate, despise and detest football. But I do. Despise it, that is. I can't even tell you how much. What a useless sport. In any other incarnation, linebackers would be fat, not athletes. I won’t even get started on the ridiculousness of the player’s salaries, because it will just make me mad and the goal of the week is to keep my blood pressure low. Way back in high school, I used to get annoyed with the money spent on our high school football team, cause they SUCKED ASS, and I used to ask the administration of the school the following question, which irritated them mightily. Please tell me which science lab or computer lab you've spent as much money on as that football field? Or as an alternative, which GIRL'S sport have you spent an equivalent amount? RRRGH, it made me so mad. Then at the Uni I attended, I found out that the money from every vending machine on campus (think about THOSE numbers for a sec) went to the football program. I stopped buying anything from them, of course. Damn football program didn't need my fifty cents for that candy bar that I didn't need in the first place.

I've gotta say, the school I attended in Sweden didn't have any of these issues. (Here she goes again, touting Sweden as utopia. It isn't, really, I know that, but some things that they do make so much sense.) In the Swedish school system, there are no athletics. Yes, there are gym classes, in fact I took 4 hours of GYMNASTICS a week as part of my course work, if you can believe it. (No, I wasn't this fat back then, I was in fantastic shape at 5'2" and 100 lbs even if I was flatter than a board, and no, I still couldn't get over the vault horse.) If you wanted to play soccer or baseball or basketball or volleyball, you joined a club. Yes, a club. Not located on school grounds, and the membership fees weren't out of reach for anyone, and pep rallies and taking a bye on a test because you had a game, and practice cutting into study time and all the other crap associated with being on your school's XXX team didn't ever even get into the front door of the school. I never missed it the year I was there, but that's probably mostly because I never met a team sport that I liked and wanted to play. I was a swimmer up until high school, and although there was a swim team I belonged to, it wasn't really about winning the meets for me. I was always more interested in how I did and if I placed. Was I self centered? Ah-huh. Yeah, but we've already previously established that 1. I'm a bitch and 2. I'm not ashamed of that fact.

So even though I hate the sport, did I watch the game yesterday? Yep. I went to friend Jen’s house, cause she had a party. I wanted to go, but that’s because I wanted to see and play with the babies, not because I had any interest whatsoever in the outcome of the game. I was in fact shushed a couple of times because I kept talking during important plays. Plus I don’t really understand the game all that well, so I always want to know why this and why that, and dedicated fans don’t understand how on earth I managed to grow up in America and don’t “get” the game. I really upset someone I used to work with at that big ol’ bank when he asked which team I was rooting for and I had to ask what sport the teams played. I told him that if the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NASCAR all closed up shop, I wouldn’t care one bit. He looked at me, aghast, and said, “But…but…the entire US economy would collapse without sports.” I disagree, heartily. The expression on his face was pretty priceless, so I counted the conversation as not a complete waste of time. :-)

I guess I really shouldn’t say that I “watched” yesterday’s game, because I talked through it while we were there, and we left the party before the game was over. Shortly after halftime, I told DH I was ready to head out. I was having a great time talking to some friends I haven't seen in a good long while, but I had a workout scheduled at 5.30 this morning (which I DID get up and do, thank you) and a big meeting today at work, so we left. Saying that DH really does not like the Steelers might be a vast understatement. He’s a Browns fan, and I think maybe he has been since he was about 8. So he didn’t mind that we left. He’s not pleased today that they won.

When I got to work today, the folks who are die-hards about the Steelers were annoying to me in their giddiness. I quote/paraphrase a bit from the Black Table here, “’WE’ didn’t win the Superbowl, the Steelers did. YOU sat on your ass and watched the game.” If it had been the Seahawks that won, they would have irritated me with their down in the mouth attitudes, so there is no winning with me if you’re a fan of almost any professional sport. What really irritates me though is the bandwagon-ing that goes on in the lead up to any big contest like the Superbowl, or the baseball pennant race, what’s-it-called, the World (not) Series. A sidebar rant here; how the hell can they call it the “World” Series when only 2 countries participate? Japan, Cuba, and plenty of other Caribbean countries all have HUGE baseball programs. But they don’t play in the World Series. Why not? Anyway, back to the bandwagon-ing. If you love a team, love the team. But don’t decide that you’re a fan of some team in the week leading up to the big game. Around here, there’s a whole lot of Johnny-Come-Latelys showing up as Steelers fans. Which couldn’t be more irritating. I’m not sure why it bugs me, Miss Non-Sports, but it does. Maybe because I allow things like that to get under my skin. I really hate that every meeting I’ve been in today has started out with a re-hashing of the salient points of the game. Scuse me ladies and gentlemen, aren’t we here to discuss something other than the game? You got the same e-mail that I did with the agenda for this meeting didn’t you? There was nothing in the agenda that said “discuss big dumb football game” was there? Just checking, cause maybe it was written in Steeler fan only invisible ink.

Then on every street corner and in all the stores, they’re selling Terrible Towels and other Steelers paraphernalia, from hats to t’s to sweats and other junk, and while I whole heartedly approve of the Yankee instinct to make a quick buck, I just know that most of the people buying the stuff never gave the Steelers a second thought until they went to the Superbowl. And they’ll never wear that stuff again until the next time the Steelers go to the Superbowl. Ya know? At least the Superbowl signifies the end of the pro football season for a while. Now we can all concentrate on what’s really important: hockey. :-) Happy Monday y’all!

03 February 2006

Isn't it funny how Muse strikes us?

I've been writing this post in my head for about 3 days now, so I'm hoping to avoid my usual 30 plus revisions. We'll see. I had been exchanging e-mails with Planet Mom, and she had mentioned that she was working on another blog post about her brother. All my e-mail chatting with her about losing a loved one has made me think about my cousin J, who died almost a year ago.

Mother's Day, 2005. She was 28. 28!!! It still makes me angry that she's gone. I've studied a ton of psychology...just kept taking the classes in college cause I thought they were really interesting and fun. It wasn't my major, but I did end up with a minor in it because I accrued something like oh, I don't even remember how many hours. I just took one psych class every quarter until my senior year, so probably something like 40 hours of coursework. Anyway, I liked Psych because I had great instructors, and one of the very first intro classes I took, they opened my eyes to the fact that Psychology is really the study of human brain development, not about figuring out crazy folks. So I took a class in grief; and I'm sure you've heard about the 5 stages of grief. Anger; how DARE this person die on me? Denial; they're not really dead, it can't be true. Sadness/Depression; I'm not sure how I'm going to go on without this person in my life. Bargaining; God, if you bring them back, I'll go to church every Sunday for the rest of my life. Acceptance; ‘nuff said. I haven't listed them in any particular order, because you don't really progress through them in a specified order. And what works for me in dealing with MY loss isn't necessarily going to work for you. When my buddy S's dad died a few years back, S told me that some days he felt all 5 stages in one day; other days he couldn't get past being really pissed off. I'm not still raging mad like I was that first horrible week, but I am angry. There's no reason why J died. She was healthy, no chronic illness, hadn't smoked for years, was a wonderful mommy to her 3 babies. She died in her sleep, probably without any pain, and slipped away from us in the space between one heartbeat and the next. It was a pulmonary embolism that killed her. One of my other cousins is a nurse who worked in cardiac intensive care for many years, and she said there was a test that doctors could have performed to find out about the blood clots that were hitting J's heart, but they don't run whatever test it is on perfectly healthy 28 year olds. Our family does have a history of heart disease, but that really isn't related to what happened to her. The part of me that wants to be all Zen about this says that when it is your time, it is your time. But on the other side, if her death WAS preventable, then DAMMIT, someone should have fucking prevented it. That’s a wee sample of my anger phase for ya there. I have a terrible potty mouth IRL, but I do my best to keep it off the site. Anyway.

I hadn’t been all that close with my cousin in the last few years, her, married with 1, then 2, then 3 babies and a full time job and me, married, and married to my career. I loved her no less for that lack of closeness, as we got older. We had been fairly close when we were younger. Our moms were both SAHMs when we were really young, so we spent a lot of time at each other’s houses. My sister was really close with her, and sweetie, if you read this, I’m trying to work out what I’m feeling and hope this causes you no more pain. One of the things that I really admired about J was her tendency to tell it like it was, and to not sugar coat anything. You were going to get the unvarnished truth from her whether you liked it or not. And if you didn’t like it, too f-ing bad, she really didn’t care much what YOU thought. I admire that independence.

The thing that makes me most angry about her death has to do with her three kids, who are pretty young. The oldest might remember her a little bit; the younger two won’t have any memory of her at all. And she was one very cool lady. They will know that from the stories that they hear as they grow up, but they won’t intimately know her wicked sense of humor, or what her laugh sounded like. They will probably never know how much J liked to harass my father, her uncle. She adored giving him a really bad time about property taxes and school levies, not to mention his-ahem-ultra conservative politics. We’ll not talk about my differences of opinion with my father today or probably any other day for that matter. . (Luv ya dad.)

What her death has taught me is something we all should not forget. We’re not on this earth for very long; no matter what the span of years that you are granted, from 10-90, it really isn’t that much. Cherish those you love. Tell them that you love them. Celebrate because it is Tuesday. Or Friday. Take every opportunity to gather those that you love around you. Use the good dishes. Drink that “special” bottle that you’re saving. Discard what isn’t working, be it relationships or where your kitchen trashcan is located. Take a deep breath and be glad that you’re alive. Even if it is raining.

The other thing I want to write about is so silly in comparison to the above that I’m tempted to wait another day to post it, but what the hell. My S-I-L got me Def Leppard's new anthology CD, Rock of Ages, for Christmas. I was a HUGE Def Leppard fan in the 1980s. My bedroom was wallpapered with pictures of the lead singer, Joe Elliott. Mmmm-mmmmm! He was hot. And am I ever stunned to find out that he's married these days. I always thought of all of those guys as sort of eternal peter pans. But pop-metal fell out of favor in the 1990s and I found new bands to love, and thanks to all the musicians that I ran around with in college, new genres of music too. And thank goodness for that, although now my collection of music makes me look crazy, since I listen to everything from Classical to Alt-Country. I do prefer to think of my music tastes as “eclectic”. :) What else can you say when you've got Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard next to Nickelcreek along with Ani DiFranco. Then there's DH's music collection, which is real heavy on Journey, Buffett, Rush, and Floyd. But I saw an ad last year around Thanksgiving that this new Leppard album was out, and when S-I-L asked what she could get me for Christmas, I suggested the CD. I’m so glad she got it for me. I’ve been listening to it in the car, and each song that comes on makes me smile. If I were to put together a soundtrack for my life from about 1984-1990, it would be mostly Def Leppard. How silly is this that I can’t remember my sister’s telephone number, but I know allllll the words to every song on both CDs. I'm trying hard to NOT think that might be a sign of age.

Have a great weekend.

01 February 2006

The New Dark Ages indeed.

I am not going to comment about the state of the union address b/c I did not bother to watch or listen to either Dubya or to the democratic rebuttal. I am SICK about the Alito confirmation, and although I didn't think that John Kerry stood a snowball's chance in hell to get a filibuster up and working, it was nice to see the effort. Wasn't he a silly to first call for democrats to oppose the nomination from a chi-chi ski resort in Switzerland? Makes ya really look like a man of the people, John. Way to go. I will be the first to say, “I TOLD YOU SO” when they manage to destroy a woman’s right to choose.

I do have a funny story to tell for the day, though. I stopped at a neighborhood post office this morning to fetch some of the new stamps…see my earlier posts for ire about the postal service…there was a guy in front of me in doctor’s gear, you know, stethoscope, lab coat, hospital ID, $300 shoes on his feet, and youngish, he was fighting with the postal employee about the costs associated with registered mail or getting a delivery confirmation. Dude, if it makes ya mad that your letter’s going to cost $2.40 to send out, don’t bitch at the lady behind the counter, she doesn’t set the damn rates. $2.40. Christ, that really is going to destroy your budget for the month, doctor-man. Plus the fact that in addition to the $300 shoes, he had on Hilfiger cords and an Armani E/X t-shirt on under his lab coat. I wanted to ask him how he dared to harass the postal lady, but didn’t want to get into a fight in the post office with some random third year medical student. But it might have been fun. As it was, I rolled my eyes at the lady behind the counter and she gave me one of those “I get that all the time” looks. I was very polite to her in hopes of balancing out the bad karma that the kid was giving out.

If I ran the postal service, I would axe about 3 million post offices. Seriously. I know, I suggested that you check my earlier posts about the US Postal system, but there’s a few things I haven’t said that I’d like to, so bear with me while I rant some more. Teeny-Tiny Diamond Ohio has a post office, for what earthly reason I’ve never been able to figure out. That’s just one little bitty place; there are hundreds more. Their mail has to be trucked in anyway, so you can’t tell me that they’re saving fuel expenses by having a local post office in some podunk town. The only way you MIGHT be able to successfully argue that to me is if they were all getting their mail dropped out of airplanes. Not to mention all those employees, electric and heating expenses, and the cute little mail trucks with the driver’s controls on the wrong side. In that history of the postal service that I read at USPS.com, I learned that the postal service didn’t always deliver to every home in the United States. I hadn’t known that, but it explains a few things. I think that there could be a trimming of their expenses, though, by having more processing stations than actual post offices. And having the mail carriers have longer routes from each processing facility. So you could theoretically have a mail carrier who would have a route that would start 100 miles away from the processing facility. How often do you actually mail a letter? Don’t you pay most of your bills online? Usually, when I buy stamps, because I DO write lots of letters, I buy them online and have them shipped to me. That does require a little bit of planning, but no more than remembering to defrost something for dinner or packing a lunch the night before. I just keep track of how many stamps I’m in possession of and buy more before I run out. OK, maybe the end of that particular rant for the moment.

It must be true that Microsoft’s going to take over the world. My family over in Sweden sent me a chat request through MSN Messenger, so it must be big there. I chatted with M for a short while today and it was really neat to talk to her, although not a new experience for me. AOL’s IM didn’t work through the firewall at my old bank, but Yahoo!’s messenger did, so I used to use that to chat to friends while on the clock. The bank eventually blocked access to it, but not before I’d managed to chat to someone on the opposite side of the floor for about 53 hours. He he hehe. It is such a good thing that I don’t work there anymore. Happy Wednesday, Y’All.