Friday, February 27, 2009

Are You Fucking Kidding Me Friday

Have you seen the story about the host of a British children’s show who was born with only part of one arm? Apparently, a group of parents are having a shit fit because they say this woman has no business being on the show. Their reason? She scares kids.


Now, I’ll admit, the first sight of someone with such a disability can be jarring. Our mind tells us that there should be two eyes, two ears, two arms, two legs,etc, and when one of those is missing, it’s a bit of a shock. But it is at this point that normal people think, Oh, she’s missing an arm, then they go back to reading their book, or walking the dog or cleaning the toilet or whatever. Unfortunately, it is also at this point that the fucking crazies come out.

Some of these parents comments have been brutal, but even the mild ones are disturbing to me. They refuse to allow their kids to watch the show. They worry about their kids getting nightmares. You know what gives me nightmares? Fucking Lazytown. I would rather watch the Miss Missing Limb Universe Pageant every single day than watch 10 minutes of that show. That is scary – not a sweet, smart, attractive woman who happens to have a disability.

I seriously hope that the BBC sticks to it’s guns about this woman, because the day we start giving in to the Different = Scary theory is a sad, sad day indeed. Whatever happened to teaching our kids about kindness and acceptance? Whatever happened to teaching them that people are different? Do we need to lock away our physically handicapped people for fear of scaring someone? I guess that mean we need to lock up the mentally challenged as well. And the fat people. And those with bad teeth. Bad dye job? I’m scared! Lock her up!


Make no mistake, this isn’t about scared kids, this is about scared adults. I saw one comment that asked, “How do you explain a missing arm to a child?” Ummm, how about this: “She was born looking different from you and me. And even though she looks different than we do she is a person just like us and there is nothing to be scared of. It like how you have light skin and your friend Thomas has brown skin. You look different, but it doesn’t matter.” There’s one option and there are only about a million more – pick one.

If you can’t handle explaining something as simple as a disability to your children, how in the blue fuck are you ever going to be able to deal with penises and vaginas and matters involving them? These parents scare me more than a whole army of one-armed women ever could.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Old Boxes of Crap Are Dangerous

In an effort to embarrass myself even more than I do on a regular basis, I have been on a quest to find old photos of myself. This new obsession driving me insane, because I have found a few, but the rest seem to be missing. I have a big plastic storage box of older photos here, but most of them are post-mr b. There are a few from my senior trip to Europe, and a few random odds and ends, but there seems to be a whole section of my life missing – namely jr high. And jr high, my friends, is a giant, bubbling spring or embarrassment. I'm talking knickers, headbands, (you’ve already seen photographic evidence of that one), neon, painters hats, ugly, ugly blouses, taffeta, tuxedos, and…

No, I can’t say it.

But I’m an oversharer and so I have to: femullet.

Why, oh why can’t I find this stuff? It’s not like there weren’t a lot of photos – I’m an only child with a shutterbug dad – there were thousands and I can’t find them. I’ve spent a little time looking at my parents’ house, but I may have to head back down there this weekend. I need those photos.

Tonight, though, I did find a few other treasures. Letters from an old boyfriend who left me brokenhearted (Who I coincidentally came across shortly afterward in someone’s friend list on facebook. I am now officially the creepy ex who friends you on FB. Pity me). Funny notes and letters from Hedge, referring to boyfriends I can’t even remember. A journal I wrote in on the Europe trip. Apparently all I did in Europe was drink and meet/kiss Italian boys. No really. London? Abbio. Innsbruck? Paolo. On the train to Paris? Alonzo. Paris? Fabio. Munich? Sandro (sigh). Venice? Davide (Captain of rugby team? Check. Serenaded me from outside my hotel window? Check. Proposed to me? Check. Siiiiighhhhh).

I also came across the strangest piece of mail I have ever gotten. It was a letter from an ex-boyfriend’s father. One Valentine’s Day – completely out of the blue - I got a card from a longtime on/off boyfriend’s dad. Inside was a 3 page letter which first made small talk, then moved on to the real meat – asking me to get in touch with his son again and try to be friends again. On one hand, it wasn’t all that weird, since I knew him forever and I was really close to the family. But on the other, I was kind of creeped out about it. Strangely, all these years later, reading it with the eyes of a mother, I sort of understood. While he didn’t come out and say it, I got the impression that he and his son were drifting apart – that his son was changing – maybe making some bad decisions, or at least ones that dad didn’t agree with. And he reached out to the only person he could think of who could maybe make a difference. Back then, I read creepy dad, now I read desperate dad. It made me kind of sad, because I never did get in touch with his son. He had a new girlfriend, I had moved on, it was just too weird. Maybe if he had been more direct, I would have done it. I really did care about this boy – he was one of those that leave a little piece with you forever. But I didn’t, because at 17 I just didn’t get it. Now, I do.

Anyway, I will keep looking for those horrible photos (and you will thank me if I find them). Otherwise, I will be stuck embarrassing myself with volumes of angsty, bad poetry that involves heartbreak, betrayal, and giving myself to someone. And really, no one wants that.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009


My office flooded over the weekend and is now totally disgusting. I had to go in yesterday to check out the damage. Luckily, most of my personal stuff was OK, and my computer still seems to be working. I was surprised, because there were splash marks on it and my monitor, but so far, so good. My space heater was destroyed, along with some sweaters I had in the office and there are tons of wet papers all over. But all in all, not too bad. The worst thing is that the ceiling tiles got soaked and fell down, which made a huge mess. And the office stinks to high heaven like nasty, wet ceiling tiles. I don't know if they have fiberglass or (god forbid) asbestos in them, but after breathing the air in there for about 30 minutes, my throat was scratchy and irritated and I had a headache. Awesome.

However, yesterday also brought some happy things. First off - the ladies that provide childcare for me each got a new puppy. And puppies are always a good thing. Plus, my cousin had her baby and we got to see him. The girl was thrilled to get to hold him:

And finally, my aunt bought the girl some art supplies at the dollar store:


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Friday, February 20, 2009


Dear Mayor Luke Ravenstahl,

You are so awesome! I mean, like, you have the best ideas and stuff! I totally think you are super cool and like young and hip and stuff. And like, I totally want to be just like you when I grow up. Because like, everyone knows that private jets are the way to go. I mean, who wants to sit in steerage where the, like, regular dirty people sit. Besides, you are like totally on top of things, making sure you always have the money to pay for it, right? So it's not like it's anyone's business.

Seriously, Lukey, you are SO COOL. And that time you snuck into the private golf thingy to meet Tiger Woods? OMG, I totally tried to do that at a Jack Wagner concert in 1984!!! Of course, I'm not the mayor, so they kicked me out, but still - we're like totally the same! We should SO be BFFs now!

I think we'd be like, awesome BFFs, too, because I totally blew off Memorial Day, too! I can SO understand being hungover and not wanting to deal with a bunch of old farts. I mean, like, God! And hello? Stanley Cup Finals or boring ceremony? Please.

And - oh my God, I love Toby Keith, too! And like, I totally don't get why people were so uptight about you borrowing a little old car to take to the concert. I would totally have done the same thing. And really - Pittsburgh is your homeland, right? And like, you totally had to be there because you're the mayor and you had to welcome Mr. Keith and make him feel secure, right? So, DUH - Homeland Security

And like, since when it is wrong to help out your friends? I mean, like, just because someone gave you campaign money doesn't mean you should stop doing little favors for them, right? God! What's the benefit of being mayor if not hookers and blow parties? And I can't wait to be just like you and have rich friends who will fly me places that I can lie about. So cool!

And dude! I totally understand how boooooooring meetings are. Ugh! That is like totally the downside of being mayor, so I'm like so glad that you sometimes blow them off to do other, fun stuff. I don't get what the big deal is. I would totally rather play golf (or maybe get a mani-pedi) than go to some dumb meeting about domestic violence. Like, duh - only the poor, ugly girls get beat, anyway, right? Like, hello? That's what you get to do when you are the boss!

And like, it's such a waste to spend money on thinks like...I don't know...hungry kids or like homeless people or battered women or whatever. That's what shelters are for, right? Duh! Anyway, since your latest idea like So! Totally! Rules! I decided to show the world that I am just like you! See:

But guess what? It totally didn't cost anyone $252,500. Isn't that great?

Totally Your Biggest Fan. Squee!

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Bad Word

Given the way I swear like a sailor, it might surprise you to find that there is one “bad word” that I really hate. A word that I feel should be expunged from the English language completely. A word that when directed at me, makes me want to punch the speaker in the face seventy-thousand times. That word?


I can damnshitassholedickheadmotherfucker with the best of them, but that one word makes steam come out my ears and sends me into fits of rage.

It’s a word that may have started off somewhat innocuously, but over the years, has turned into a word absolutely dripping in misogyny. Men have been trained for generations to use this word to immediately invalidate any concern or request that a woman has, and I for one am damned sick of it.

Because if it has been weeks, or months, or years since the storm door has been broken, the trim has gone unfinished or - God Help Me – the smoke alarms have not been working properly, it is very much not nagging. It is negligence. And yet, as soon as you hear a woman’s voice talking (Or asking. Or begging) about a project or job that needs to be done, that very special man thing kicks in and the VERY BAD WORD comes out and then the women, though completely correct and justified in her request or observation is now nothing more than irrational, nagging harpy, and mr. poor pitiful me can go back to his hockey game or guitar playing or magazine reading.

It’s time to stop accepting this word. The next person who uses it in my presence is in BIG TROUBLE.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009


I’m pissed off at yet another example of discrimination against a nursing mom.

Dear America, What The Fuck???

This is a teeny, tiny fraction of ads that are out there. Ads that we see every day. That our children see. Ads for products that rarely have anything to do with breasts. And yet there they are, everywhere. Oiled and pushed up and smooshed together and fairy-dusted and tanned and thrust into your face. And it’s all OK, apparently.

But let someone see a tiny sliver of a breast being used for the very thing they were created for, and hoo-boy! Instead of admiring looks and rich ad execs slapping each other on the back for their “genius”, we have insults and accusations and removals from property and threats of criminal charges. CRIMINAL CHARGES, people!

For this:

I am sick to death of people sexualizing and criminalizing it and turning something beautiful and natural into something dirty or gross.

People are having a fit because Salma Hayek nursed a baby that is not her own on a recent UNICEF trip to Africa. I don’t get the big damned deal. She was feeding a starving infant (STARVING INFANT) with the very substance that is best for him. I would have done it myself without a second thought.

Many, many years ago, my Nana (great-grandma) did the very same thing. A neighbor’s milk had dried up and her baby was not thriving. Just a couple short decades after slavery ended, my Nana took a tiny, hungry, African baby in her arms and did the one thing she could do. And my Nana was a beautiful woman. It wasn’t gross and it wasn’t sexual.

And yet, even all the way across the world, breasts are so sexualized that babies are starving over it. Because the men in Sierra Leone are forcing their wives to quit breastfeeding their babies because of social mores that say it’s wrong to have sex with a nursing women. Nothing keeps a woman down like declaring her unclean and rendering her helpless to save her own children’s lives.

Now, I realize that Sierra Leone is a far cry from the United States, both in distance and in culture. Here, no one says we’re not allowed to breastfeed our children. No, here, we just have to hide to do it so as not to offend anyone.

I don’t happen to have any breastfeeding photos, but if I did, you could be damned sure I’d post one. But I am so damned sick and tired of this shit that instead, I give you my big, baby-feeding-created, besaggified rack. Go ahead, America, GET OFFENDED:

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Can Count to Six

1 thing I am jealous of:

Friends who are going to Disney World soon. Disney World is my crack. And I nnneeeeeeeeeeed some soon. Sadly, I won’t be getting it. I was hoping for the every other year plan, which started with October 06 and 08. but we have been thinking that even thought October is the bestest time to go (great weather, lower crowds, Halloween party, Food and Wine Festival), it’s getting really hard to take the boy out of school for it. So we will now be going in the hellish, horrible summer, which is more crowed, hotter, and more expensive. And also harder to get mr b convinced it’s time. If I had it my way, if we have to go in summer, we’d go for two weeks instead of one (OK, if I had it my way, we’d go for two months)

2 things I am waiting for:

News that my brand new baby cousin is on the way. My cousin Lala is approximately 37 months pregnant right now and every time the phone rings, I think it’s time. It’s been almost five years since there’s been a new baby in the family and I can not wait to get my hands on the little pumpkin who, despite my constant harassment polite requests, they are not naming Gina. I don’t get it. I think he’d like the name.


3 things I am looking for:

A suitable replacement for my favorite and long since discontinued eye cream. I am death to products – makeup, hair products, food items – you name it. If I love something, it is almost guaranteed to be discontinued. And if not discontinued, then changed enough that it is not the same thing and may as well be discontinued (I’m looking at you sugared maple lipstick). And I can’t even begin to express my love for the former Mary Kay Triple Action Eye Enhancer. This was the best stuff, ever. I don’t know why they discontinued it, given that I am constantly talking to people who also loved it and lament its disappearance. There are a few tubes online, but considering that it had been years since they took it off the market, I’m not sure how safe, or at least, fresh it would be. But I might be willing to take a chance, since it was awesome. It brightened and sort of lifted the eyelids and made shadows and liners go on smoothly and stay on well. I have tried about a million new brands but never found anything as good. I have no idea what was in the stuff, but between the deep love I had for it and the fact that it is no longer on the market despite sales, I am guessing mercury, BPA, plutonium, and crack.

Dragon’s Song. Years ago, some clients gave mr b a small book that a friend of theirs had had published. It was an epic poem about Pittsburgh called Dragon’s Song. It talked about growing up in the city and how the mills looked like giant dragons. I loved it. And now I can’t find it. Since it was self-published, I can’t find it anywhere –even the Carnegie, and it’s pissing me off. I found an email for the author, but haven’t gotten a reply. On the off chance that any of you have it, let me know – I really want a copy.

Love in all the wrong places (OK, not really, but I needed one more thing here for this to work).

4 things making me happy:

Spending the day at the Carnegie Library with the girl on Saturday. Sure, we have a small library in my hometown, but it doesn’t thrill me the way the Carnegie does. I’m like a kid in a candy store in there. We spent hours reading in the children's section, reading and picking out books to take home with us (of those we took, best title: Skippyjon Jones, best book: The Library Lion, most giggles: The End). Then I did a mad dash & grab in the newer fiction (it really almost doesn’t matter what I grab – I’m happy to read it). I was in such a good mood, I even got a few books for mr b and the boy. Mr b got a couple books on blues music, and I reserved a dvd of Buddy Guy for him. The boy got a huge illustrated encyclopedia of Star Wars vehicles. Which I knew held love. Of course all the book-induced endorphins made me black out the part where he would spent he next three weeks excitedly telling me about each and every vehicle. At length. But still: books! Best part of the day? When I asked the children's librarian where the Cornelia Funke books were located (I need Inkspell now), and she asked me what grade/reading level I was looking for and I had to say, “’s for me.” Awesome.

The girl now sharing my love for bubble drinks (though not that milky sweet nastiness). Oh, black tapioca pearls, how I love you.

This study is ending today and I can go back to my normal working schedule.

The little wedgie move she does after finishing her “floor routine”:

5 things pissing me off:

Speaking of Cornelia Funke, I was all excited way back when I saw the trailer for Inkheart. And then I ran out and read the book, as I like to do. And when I read it, I discovered that almost nothing in the trailers is actually from the book. No Toto, no flying monkeys, no unicorns. What the fuck?

This bullshit. I can’t even put into words how I feel, other than What. The. Fuck?

The fact that , like every other year, we have been hearing the annual “Oh No, We’re running out of salt for the roads” song of whining, and yet on a 60 degree day, I was behind a truck spreading salt. What the fuck?

As much as I love Spice Island, I really hate those stupid takeout containers they use. The plastic lids get hot, then they pile them on top of each other, and then I end up with shattered plastic in my now inedible Kway Teow. I’m seriously craving it, but won’t bother again until I can eat in. What the fuck, Spice Island?

The fact that I just found out that Kindergarten registration is coming up. When did my baby get so old??? She’s a teeny, tiny baby! And her impending kindergarten is making me yearn for more babies. What the fuck?

6 things the dog has crapped on:

A preface: We got the dog when he was a few months old. We had recently lost our beloved Golden Retriever, and mr b came across an elderly woman who recently lost a dog and replaced him with a brand new, cute as a button black lab. Well, she soon realized that a new puppy was too much for her (and her remaining old dog) to take, so she gave him up for adoption. I wasn’t thrilled when mr b and the boy came home with him (surprise - we got a dog!), but I fell for him quickly. He is a sweet, friendly, loving dog, who is also a fantastic watch dog. And he points at squirrels and chickens. But he’s guilty. He’s guilty for everything he ever did, ever. He sounds like Cujo when someone is approaching, but a quivering, snarling, white hot ball of canine terror, he is not (Family Dog, anyone?) All you have to do is look at him with The Look and the ears go down, the eyelids start fluttering, the tail tucks under and Ferocious Watchdog becomes Sissy Wussy Dog. And what does Dog do when he’s nervous and guilty? He shits. He shits Big.

Twister: The boy had a friend over one weekend. When the friend’s dad came to pick him up, he brought along the friends’ sister and they hung out and played for a while and the adults visited. Pretty soon, the kids start playing Twister. The dog is nervous about games and shits on Twister.

Christmas: It’s Christmas morning. There is much squealing and yelling and wrapping paper being strewn about. Dog is nervous about the excitement and shits on Christmas. The living room is now a minefield as we pick through piles of paper while trying to locate/avoid the pile of shit.

Taxes. A few years back, we (by which I mean mr b) waited until the very last second to do out taxes. While we were dealing with the stress of taxes, I someone spilled beer into the keyboard and it died. So now we had added the added stress of running out to get a new keyboard to finish the taxes. We had papers everywhere, keyboards on the floor, and a general crazy mess. And apparently taxes make the dog nervous. Because he shit on them. And then he sent his post-poo celebration time barfing. Yes, he followed up the shit with a nice big pile of yack on my living room carpet. This is the life.

The driver’s seat. Mr b was picking up the boy from daycare and decided to take the dog along to surprise him. He stops at the ATM machine and gets back in the van. While he is out, Dog, nervous about being alone in the van, ignores the 3000 square feet of floor space in the giant van, and instead somehow balances himself and shits on the driver’s seat. Mr b does not notice as he gets in, and sits on the driver’s seat. Then he smells it. Then cranes his neck, looking all around the van trying to find the source of the smell. Then he realizes he can’t see it anywhere and it becomes clear. Then he contemplates dog murder.

The passenger seat. When I was 9 months pregnant, I was driving Dog to the groomer. This is already a trauma, since Dog is not a Car Dog. He is flailing about, falling down, hitting the dashboard and being a general pain in the ass. In the middle of a call to the office, I got the “who farted?” look. Apparently, Dog is nervous about automobile travel and shits on the passenger seat. Dog is suddenly in the backseat, crying softly. Being in my ninth month of a barfarific pregnancy (seriously, I lost 25+ lbs from the barfing), I contemplate barfing. I decided barfing is a fine idea and do so. While cleaning my car of dog shit and barf, I call mr b and tell him of my dog-murder plans.

On my cousins’ feet. I was 7 months pregnant (and in high-gagging mode). My two cousins came over to visit me one night. They pet and love Dog. When he walks away, all present get the “who farted?” look. Dog, nervous about the stock market, shits on said cousins’ feet. Cousins contemplate murder. I contemplate barfing.

I think this is why Lala refuses to name her baby (boy) Gina.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Crapentine's Day

I'm still swamped with a study running at work, so I am going to re-post my Crap-entine's Day post from last year. I'm not a big fan of the Valentiney stuff, can you tell?

Valentine’s Day has never been my thing. At least after I outgrew the school parties and homemade boxes and heart-shaped lollipops and chocolate covered marshmallow hearts (OK, I never actually outgrew the chocolate covered marshmallow hearts).

In high school, I always hated when V-day rolled around. If I had a boyfriend there was the worrying about what to get him, when in actuality I thought it was stupid but I didn’t want to be the loser who got something and didn’t give something in return. And really, I hated cheap candy and stupid plush hearts and teddy bears. If I didn’t have a boyfriend, it actually wasn’t so bad. My friends and I would send each other flowers or lollipops (red for I love you, pink for I like you and white for just friends – we always went with red) and we’d make fun of everyone else’s stupid plush hearts and teddy bears. Hedge and I will be doing this this week, in fact. Twenty-mrtngh years later.

And mr b and I never went all out for V-day either. In the beginning, we were too broke and now we just don’t give a crap. We’ll get a card and maybe a little chocolate treat, maybe a little thrown-together bouquet of flowers, but beyond that? Eh. I'll get the kids a little something (though this year, we are going candy-free - think trinkets and girly things for the girl and more of The Office on dvd for the boy).

I’ve talked about it before, but I am so sick to death of Hallmark and jewelry stores telling me how important it is. I really, really don’t give a shit if he went to Jared. So in case you were wondering, here’s a list of thing to NOT get me on Valentine’s Day, though the constant radio ads will tell you otherwise.

(Not that you were getting me anything for Valentine's Day anyway, but in case you have a SO who is like me, this might be helpful)

Vermont Teddy Bears
No. Seriously, no. I don’t care about a stuffed animal. I don’t care if it has a little outfit on and looks like me or is sitting at a computer or wearing a tie-dye or whatever. I simply do not need or want a fucking teddy bear. I’m 40. It’s just one more thing for me to dust and take up space in my too-small house. And besides, unless the little fucker is going to get up and clean the house for me, then 80 frajillion dollars is too damned much to spend on a stupid space-taking, dust-collecting stuffed toy. Now that I think of it, get me a maid service instead.

Ahhh, yes. The gift that says, “I’d like to get laid”. There is a local lingerie store that has radio ads every Valentine’s Day, with some stupid bitch telling the “gentlemen” how their “ladies” would love “something sensual” but are afraid to say so. Ummm, not really. Please - If I want lingerie, I am not afraid to say so. But I won't say so. You know why? Because if I want it, I’ll go buy it. If I want lingerie, I want something that will a) not embed itself in my ass, b) hold the hooters in place, c) actually be comfortable, and d) be made from fibers found in nature so as not to create a raging yeast infection. If you give me sexy lingerie, I will open it and my first thought will be, “Motherfucker, this is for YOU, not me. Next time get me a table saw, why don’t you??” And don’t be surprised if you get a 20-something pool boy from me next year.

Chocolates Body Paint
See “lingerie.” The only thing I will be doing with this is heating it up and pouring it over ice cream. Sorry.

Gold-Dipped Roses
I do not, I repeat NOT, need another crappy tchochke in my house. Please. Also, see “too much money” and “dust-collector”

Flowers in General
Don’t get me wrong - I love flowers. And roses are OK, though not my favorite. But on V-Day, those things are marked up like 15,000 percent. And they are FAR crappier then, too. Fuck that shit. It’s complete insanity to expect people to pay that much fucking money for flowers that will be dead shortly anyway. If you want to get me flowers, go to the local supermarket that sells them by the stem, pick out a bunch of different style, different color, mix and match blooms and I’ll love it all the more.

Heart-Boxed Chocolate
I love chocolate. Love it. But I don’t need the heart shaped box. You pay way more because of it and generally, I hate everything in there. I hate the creams and the nougats and the nuts. So get me some Dove hearts, some truffles, some Hershey’s kisses, or hell, some Raisinettes. I’ll love them.

Diamond Heart Jewelry
I am really not a big jewelry person in general, but I really, really hate the heart stuff. I don’t like heart shaped stones, I don’t like the cheesy heart rings and necklaces that come in a box with chocolates or a bear. Seriously, I just don’t care for it. And I really don’t need more jewelry. I already have more than I can wear (one ring on each hand and maybe a necklace or bracelet - and I’m too damned lazy to change every day). And don't even get me started on the blood diamonds. If you insist on getting me jewelry, go string some beads for me or buy me something artistic and handcrafted. Or something antique. Otherwise, save your money.

OK, champagne is fine, as long as you get several bottles and don’t expect it to lead to sex.

And now the dog would like you to know that he does not subscribe to my jaded views of Valentine's Day and the he is, in fact, a lover:

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Friday, February 6, 2009


You know that thing with family? The thing where you can say your mother/sister/brother/cousin is a bitch/a big fat loser/an asshole/stupid, but let anyone else say it and oh, HELL NO.

Well, I have that same thing when it comes to our school district or my small town. I get my hackles up when I hear an outsider make disparaging remarks. I defend the school vehemently. I get angry. The giant chip on my shoulder grows to enormous proportions. I guess it’s because, in a way, I feel like it’s not just the school or town that is being insulted, but me. I feel like, since I choose to live here, when people look down on it, they are really saying that I must be somehow lesser, as well. I know this, and still it pisses me of, since it’s not their damned business anyway.

But there are plenty of days that I have my own gripes about things, and hoo-boy – this is one of them. Of course, something always triggers a rant, and mine would be the letter I got last night, which is my first thing.

Thing the first:
I came home to a letter last night that stated that my son’s report card was being held because of overdue library fines. OK, I get it – you have to have some leverage to recoup those huge fines racked up by kids and parents who don’t give a shit (though presumable, if they don’t care about their fines, they might not care about the report card, either). Anyway, my problem here is that 1) he paid the fine weeks ago – as soon as he realized the book was late and returned it. And 2) The fine? Thirty cents. THIRTY CENTS! They paid 42 cents for a stamp, plus the cost of the envelope, the paper, and the time it took someone to create the letter and fine report, then held his report card for a thirty cent fine. WHICH WAS ALREADY PAID! And the icing on this one? Included in the letter was someone else’s library fine report. A kid with the same first name, though spelled completely differently, and a last name at the complete other end of the alphabet. Which makes me wonder about their filing system.

Thing the second:
Speaking of report cards, they were supposed to receive them on January 26th or 27th. And they got them on February 5th. What the fuck? I feel bad for the kids whose parents were waiting at the door on the 26th, looking for the report card and then nagging the poor kid ever since – are you sure you didn’t get it? Are you telling me the truth?

Thing the third:
I have already talked about this, but how can we forget that they make huge, HUGE mistakes in their attendance records, and then refer people to social services because of those mistakes. I love that. I still get letters from that agency, giving me “support” and shit. I know it’s a good program, but I do not need it. And thus feel a little, no a LOT, offended by the whole thing. And by law – even though they know it was a mistake – they have to continue to monitor my child’s attendance. It’s like I’m on probation or something. And he was recently sick and missed a day, and then missed part of a day for a dentist’s appointment. And even though I know it’s totally OK, I find myself feeling guiltier than that time Aunt Twin caught me all Michael Phelps-like on her back porch and cried. And that’s saying something, because when your sweet aunt cries about “the pot”, that’s guilt.

Thing the fourth:
The only thing that made me more furious than the whole social services thing was calling to talk to the principal to talk about it and being told (via her secretary) that it “wasn’t [her] job.” Which leads me to…

Thing the fifth:
The fact that the principal is never, EVER, available to speak with you. And never returns your calls. Because she is a big, old, nasty bitch.

Thing the sixth:
Their truancy calls –oh my god. Last week the boy was home sick and that night, I got an automated call that said, and I quote, “This is to notify you that your child was absent on Rhode Island slash slash yip Rhode Island. Please send an excuse.” I was so very tempted to send in my excuse all, “please excuse the boy for being absent on Rhode Island slash slash yip Rhode Island. He was home sick.” And then, when he was out for a dentist appointment on Thursday morning, I got, “This is to notify you that your child was absent on Rhode Island slash CH slash staffer Rhode Island. Please send an excuse.” What? The? Fuck? Is up with all the Rhode Island?? Although, Rapunzel go the best one. They once sent her a message saying that her son, FRACKLE FRACK was absent. Do I even need to tell you that her son is very much NOT named Frackle Frack?? I didn’t think so.

Thing the seventh:
Again with the calls. When there’s a delay or cancellation, they call and tell you via a recorded message Which is great. Especially when they call the night before. But not so much when they call at FIVE FUCKING A.M. Now, I am getting up at 5:15 anyway, but that extra 15 minutes is precious. And also – a lot of people don’t get up at the buttcrack, so I am sure they aren’t wild about it either. And really, this is western Pennsylvania – the radio and TV stations live to report school closings and delay. This is BIG NEWS in the PA winter. I am sure I will find out one way or another. Please don’t call me at five.

Thing the eighth:
Oh My God, those fucking PSSAs. I have ranted and raved about them for years now. And I hate them with a passion. PSSA stands for Pennsylvania System of School Assessment. It's a standardized test used "to measure a student's attainment of the academic standards while also determining the degree to which school programs enable students to attain proficiency of the standards". Which is just bullshitspeak for "used to determine which schools are getting more funding" Basically, what this means is good PSSA scores = more money for the school. And as we all know, if there's money involved, there's going to be bullshit. So the schools waste a whole lot of time teaching the kids to take this test, instead of actually teaching them stuff. This is a huge big issue for me and I think I’ll have to save it for its own entry or this one will go on forever. Thanks, Dumbya!

Thing the ninth:
Hedge just told me that the elementary school sent home a note saying that if the kids are going to bring in invitations to pass out, they have to be sent to the principal so she can review and approve them. Don’t get me wrong – I fully support the rule that of there isn’t one for everyone in the child’s class, then they can’t do it. That’s fine. But I think having the principal review and approve each invitation is a bit excessive. Or at least odd. Although I told Hedge that she should totally send one ion for approval for a strippers and blow party.

Thing the tenth:
Yesterday, they sent home order forms for the yearbooks, telling us how much they were and when to return them. The problem? We had a fundraiser a few months ago when we were told that if we sold a certain number of crappy items, we would receive a free yearbook. I wanted no parts of the fundraiser, because I’d rather just pay for the damned thing, but the boy was determined to earn it, and by god he did. He sold more than enough. So, say it with me now - What the Fuck?

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Thursday, February 5, 2009


Chris over at Coke on my Keyboard, is pretty fabulous. And not just because she recognizes the complete wonderful awesomeness of me, either. But she does, though, and she gave me this award:

In her entry, she listed five things that she’s into and passed on her award to five people she wanted to recognize. Technically, I should do the same, but I am going to break the rules. Big surprise, right? Since I think all of you are great, I’d rather recognize something else that's fabulous.

Every year in February, one of the radio stations that I listen to has a telethon for St. Jude’s Research Hospital. And every year, in the week leading up to it when they are advertising, I say, “This year, I will not be listening.” And then I forget and I get in the car on the first day and the sad stories start and by the time I get to work, I look like this:

Because those stories rip your heart out. Rip it out and then stomp it and chew it and put it in a wood chipper. And then they squeeze your lungs until you can breath, and then put them in a vice with your stomped, chewed heart until they both explode. And then you cry.

But that’s what childhood cancer is – it’s a stomping, chewing, shredding, vice-grip, dragon of a fucking bastard. But St. Jude’s Hospital is fighting that dragon. And more and more they are winning. But not enough. As long as any parent loses a child to cancer, it’s not enough. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare.

My grandma lost her firstborn before he turned three. That was almost 70 years ago and she still feels the pain. She still tears up when she talks about him. She still misses him every day. Two of my sisters-in-law lost children, and each of them are two people. The person they were before and the one they are after. No parent should ever have to go through that. No child should ever have top face their own mortality. No five year old should know words like myeloma or neurofibromatosis.

So every year in February, I listen to the beautiful, awful stories told by beautiful children and grateful (and anguished) parents and I cry and cry and cry some more. And I pray.

And then I pick up the phone and I become a Partner in Hope. I choose to do this type of donation, because I can donate more, but it comes out of my account monthly, so I don’t feel it. It’s a couple books, a few drinks with friends, some takeout lunches. If I can afford those, then I can afford this. I’ve done it every year I have been a mother.

So, I’m not trying to pressure anyone into anything – I am not affiliated with St. Jude’s in any way, and I don’t benefit from anyone’s donations (other than the benefit I receive as a member of the human race – saving children). But if you have thought about giving to a charity, or know someone suffering from cancer and feel frustrated because there’s nothing you can do, maybe this is an option for you. There are single donations, memorial donations, and honor donations as well as the Partners in Hope. Sometimes your company will match what you give, which is even better.

You can donate on the website, or call the current telethon that I am listening to at 1-866-209-HOPE.

Because if anyone is fabulous, it’s St. Jude’s.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I swear, this was supposed to be short.

My week so far:

Sunday: as I previously reported, I had a particularly busy day planned. I got up, baked a football shaped cake and let the kids decorate it. Then the girl and I got ready and headed off to the Byham to see High School Musical. She loved it, of course, though being five, she didn’t quite get that it wasn’t going to be the real Troy (and Gabriella, and Sharpay, etc, but really, it was all about Troy). Her pronouncement was that Troy was cute, but not as cute as the real Troy (I actually thought he was cuter, that girly boy Efron is not my type), Gabriella was pretty, but not as pretty as the real Gabriella, Sharpay was pretty, but, blah blah blah, etc). She thought Ryan was hilarious, though. And she was quite pleased to see that no one else had the good sense to dress in their HSM cheerleader costume (she loves the spotlight, that one).

The play was pretty good, though not as good as the movie, and we liked it. For our added enjoyment, they slipped in quite a few Steelers and Superbowl references, and the cast came out for their curtain calls wearing Steelers jerseys, so needless to say, the crowd went wild. Throw in the Gummi Bears and the fact that our subscription seats are pretty awesome, it was an all-around nice time.

Then, we walked to Palomino, where I met my parents. My dad took the girl and left my mom. We had a nice dinner and headed to the Benedum to see Jersey Boys. I have to say, I bought the tickets for my mom for Christmas because Frankie Valli is her thing. I mean, that place looked like the Class of ‘65 reunion. And though I knew I would enjoy it, I didn’t expect it to be as absolutely fantastic as it was. And that is coming from someone who had a transistor radio and an earbud in for the entire show. I’m all class. I was in line for the restroom during intermission and was lamenting Arizona’s impending score with the ladies in line (it was just before the half) and when James Harrison became magical, I was a screaming, jumping, cheering, crying ball of insanity, right there in the Benedum hallway. Luckily, most everyone there – like me – had bought their tickets without realizing that it would be Superbowl Sunday, so I suddenly was everyone’s best friend. People tagged along behind me and signaled me during the show to give them a thumbs up or down to let them know who was winning.

When we left the theater, it was 20-7, so most of the nail-biting happened on the way home. The game was officially won just as I pulled into the driveway, so I didn’t actually see any of it happen in real time, but it was worth it. I’m telling you – if you ever have a chance to see Jersey Boys (especially if you are as old as me and can remember some of this music), take it. It was well worth the money. It was funny, fast-paced, interesting, and the music was – at times – goose-bumpingly great. And they said “fuck” a lot, which made me feel right at home.

Monday: this day sucked balls. Work was insane – I worked about 11 hours and didn’t stop all day. Also – I had a medical test the next day which meant I couldn’t have caffeine all day. SUCK!!

Also – I could not care less about Michael Phelps and his bong. I mean, I think he was stupid – not so much for smoking pot, but for smoking pot when he has big endorsement opportunities. I feel the same way every time I hear about some professional athlete doing something stupid (I’m looking at you, Mr. Superbowl MVP). I mean, smoke it if you got it. but if you are a person with amazing opportunities and you do something to jeopardize your opportunities, I have a hard time not thinking you are a dumbass.

And yet, on the other hand I feel kind of bad for him. He’s a kid that has spent years working hard and training and doing little else and he was letting loose. BFD. (and obviously I have a pretty lax attitude about “the dope,” as my mother would call it). but beyond how I feel about him, I have to say, I am more irritated with a) The Richland County Sheriff and b) the media. And here’s why:

a) The Richland County Sheriff: Are you fucking kidding me? I mean, really? If you had caught the kid red-handed, of course – don’t give him special treatment (and this is setting aside my personal feelings about marijuana and the law), but based on a photo of him allegedly smoking alleged marijuana? I’m sorry, but this smacks of I Want Some Media Attention. Please.
b) The media: If you are truly as worried as you say you are about impressionable children seeing this photo and being damaged because of it? Then STOP FUCKING SHOWING IT SEVENTEEN THOUSAND TIMES AN HOUR!!!!!


Tuesday: I had to have a stress test. That’s right – cardiac stress test. I have been having some weird chest pains that my doctor believes is not cardiac-related, but I needed to be sure. I haven’t heard anything yet on the scans, but the treadmill part was fine, as far as no pain or arrhythmia (even though I felt like my calves were going to explode from walking approximately 60 MPH up an incline not unlike the Grand Canyon). I feel less nervous about it since they didn’t immediately throw me on a gurney screaming “clear!” and admit me, but I’ll feel better when my doctor calls and says I’m fine.

Also – the nuclear waste that they injected into me gave me a raging headache, so awesome. Also, when I was sitting in the waiting room, I was reading a magazine article about how to tell if your child is using meth and I read the signs:

Incessant talking
Increased energy
Low appetite
Blaming others
Sleep disturbances

And I thought, OH MY GOD, MY FIVE YEAR OLD IS ON METH!!!!!!!!!!!

Today: My finger hurts.

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