30 March 2008

Sunday Secret

As I was writing my dining room table post yesterday, I realized two things:

1. I keep things visible that remind me of my failures daily, and

2. My life is very much like my dining room - it looks put together and pristine on the outside, but the chaos lies just below the surface.

29 March 2008

What's On Your Table?

About 2 weeks ago - or is that 2.7 blogging years? - Anastasia over at Apathy Lounge posted a bit of a meme challenge. She asked her reader's to post a photo of their dining room table to offer a glimpse into their "real" life. Jay, the Cynical Bastard that he is, actually took on the challenge, and if Jay can do it, so can I! But, as you are about to see, if my dining room table speaks volumes about me, we are in BIG trouble! Let's start in the formal dining room, shall we?


What? You don't see anything on that table? That would be correct! Of course there are decorative items - my basket of balls, a table runner from Target, and if you look really close I'm sure you'll find some dust, but other than that, nadda! What's even a bit more sad is the fact that we've had this table for two years and there has NEVER been a meal served on it.

Next up, the table in the informal dining room.


This is actually where we eat all of our meals, almost every night. Yes, we are a "family dinner table" family. Of course, there isn't much to see here either - just some place mats from Target, salt and pepper grinders from Costco (I *heart* fresh ground pepper and sea salt), assorted trivets and napkins. Yes, this is how this table always looks - there was no cleaning prior to taking this photo!

I know you all are thinking I'm some freak of nature. I mean, everyone has a table full of daily activities, right?? Well, my secret is the desk in the kitchen. This is where "real" life accumulates!

The two stacks of paper on the left? Those are hubby's - much of which needs to be shredded (note the shredder under the desk) - but will likely continue to accumulate for another 3"-4". The red book under the stack of papers on the far left? A photo album that never found it's way home.

As you move to the center of the desk you'll see two cordless phones. One has speaker phone capability but a short battery life, so they both sit there. This is also where the quick charge for the rechargeable batteries stays.

The right half of the desk? Well, that's all mine. You'll see the local weekly paper waiting to be read, the Tuesday Morning circular left there to remind me to stop by next week, a copy of Railroad magazine (I've got to get that on the coffee table) and more stacks of paper waiting to be shredded. You'll also notice a stud finder on the far right - that is there waiting for me to use it to finish the bathroom update project - I need to hang a storage cabinet in the "water closet." Oh, and the photo cube - a $2 garage sale find which holds all the miscellaneous little junk that gets in the way. I've got chap stick, Dave & Buster's game cards, keys - all that kind of good stuff lives there.

You'll see that we also use under the desk for overflow. This is where the shredder stays. That white bag behind the shredder? A bag full of paperback books given to me by a friend about 5 months ago. I put the bag there and haven't moved it since. You'll also see my son's backpack and his oboe. This desk is right next to the door that goes out to the garage, so my son uses this space for the things that he needs to take to school each day. The red leather squashed bag on the far right? That would be the bag I bought for the commute downtown when I secured my "perfect" job - the one I was let go from back in November. I think I likely keep that bag there as a daily reminder of what I had and lost.

Maybe it's time to clean?

28 March 2008

Why HNT?

I've been doing a little thinking the past few days about HNT and why I do it, and I thought I'd bare a little more than my body and share a long, boring story little insight with all of you!

Yesterday, as I was making my HNT rounds, I came across several bloggers who were making public announcements regarding the fact that they were no longer participating in HNT. Their stories were varied - some felt whatever they were getting from HNT was no longer there for them, some were concerned about being "discovered" - my guess is that the reasons for not participating in HNT are just as numbered as the reasons for participating in HNT. As we all know, blogs are individuals, in every sense of the word. Our alter egos personalities ooze into what we write and what we write about. I suspect HNT is no different.

Seeing people leaving the ranks of HNT, seeing a recent influx of *new* HNT-ers on several of the blogs I regularly read, and reading a recent post written by the HNT master, Osbasso, (you can find his post [HERE]) got me thinking about why I did my first HNT and what I hope to get out of continuing with HNT.

In a single word, VALIDATION.

For me, it really is about validating the woman that I am. For those of you who are married with kids, you know that you become so-and-so's mom (or dad), or so-and-so's wife (or husband). It is the strangest thing and it hits without warning. Even having a career outside of the home doesn't seem to make one exempt from the process. Somehow - and almost instantaneously - we become the object of someone else’s possession.

In my life, this has been compounded by surrounding myself with people who talk about the virtues of others while never seldom expressing any admiration for my virtues, coupled with battling significant weight issues for 30+ years. It has landed me in a place where self-doubt and self-loathing of my physical appearance are commonplace.


I know, this is starting to sound like one of those pity-party posts, and before I lead you too far down that road, know that HNT - and all of you - have put me in a place where I can start to change that way of thinking. What you don't know about my weekly HNT post is that each and every week I have somewhat of a panic attack moment of perpetual deliberation prior to posting a pic. That damn little voice in my head asks, "Will it be offensive?", "Will the compliments I receive seem forced?", "Will people be thinking, 'That old woman needs to put some clothes on!'?" You'd think, after seven weeks of positive feedback, it would get easier, but it has been a terribly slow process.

HNT has been, and hopefully will continue to be, validation of my womanhood if you will. Validation that although a 20-year old body is quite a beautiful thing, a 43-year old body can be just as beautiful. Validation that sexy comes in all shapes, sizes and ages, and is far more about attitude than genetics. Validation that, at some level, we all deal with self-doubt. Validation that I am OK fabulous, just as I am, imperfections and all!

27 March 2008

25 March 2008

TMI Tuesday

TMI Tuesday

1. Stubble... good or bad? How often do you shave?

Good when rubbed some places *evil grin*, bad when it results in whisker burn where your co-workers can see it.

Shaving? Depends on the season. Winter weekly - summer daily.

2. If someone shoves you up against a wall while kissing you, your reaction is?

You better finish what you start.

3. Did you ever own a fake ID?

Never needed one.

4. Have you ever played a game which may require you or others to disrobe?

A long, long time ago I played spin-the-bottle. Now I play Half-Nekkid Thursday!

5. Have you ever had sex in the snow? Rain?

Unfortunately, my outside sex has been limited to the warm, dry days/nights, however I find thunderstorms a HUGE turn-on.

24 March 2008

Food or Punishment?

Have you heard the news? Today, the Vermont Supreme Court heard arguments in a class action suit brought by inmates who say the Nutraloaf they are being served is not food but punishment. The inmates believe anyone subjected to having to eat it should get a formal disciplinary process first.

So, what is Nutraloaf? Apparently, the recipes vary, but the one used in Vermont (a vegan recipe) includes a mixture of cubed whole wheat bread, nondairy cheese, raw carrots, spinach, seedless raisins, beans, vegetable oil, tomato paste, powdered milk and dehydrated potato flakes. It is a nutritionally balanced food served without utensils or trays. Many inmates say they'd rather go hungry than eat it.

Ummm ... yeah ... so how does an inmate in Vermont end up on a Nutraloaf diet? Let me tell you, it is reserved for the very special inmates. These inmates include those who throw feces, urine, trays and silverware at prison staff, or those who have attempted to make weapons out of trays and silverware. Once the inmate stops the unacceptable behavior, he is returned to a "normal" prison diet.

Here's a thought ... quit acting like animals and you will not be treated like one. Better yet, give your Nutraloaf to the people of North Korea who are given a ration of grains from their government and have to forage for fruits and vegetables to supplement the grains. What? That's cruel and unusual punishment? Maybe a little cruel and unusual punishment is what you need considering you find it acceptable to throw feces, urine, trays and silverware at prison staff - something that I think certainly qualifies as cruel and unusual.

Now, for all of you fans of the "not everyone in prison is guilty" school of thought, get a grip! This isn't about guilt or innocence, it's about acting like a minimally acceptable human being. Vermont, I say serve your Nutraloaf and be proud! If the inmates don't like it, maybe they'll work a little harder at staying out of prison next time!

23 March 2008

Sunday Secret


Although life has not always been fair to me, I still expect it to be. One of these days I'll quit setting myself up for disappointment.

21 March 2008

PFC #2 - Game Over




After what seems like an eternity of work and a far more emotional process than last time, I finally finished up the Picture Fiction Challenge, hosted by R.E.H. If you missed this one, be sure to join the fun next month!





************GAME OVER************


It’s been almost 90 days now. Well … 89 days, 13 hours, 24 minutes and 47 seconds, not that I am counting or anything. When I arrived on that "memorable" Tuesday night, I had no idea even where I was. I thought it was just another holiday family gathering until I saw them all sitting in that circle of folding chairs, staring at me like I had two heads. At that moment I wasn’t feeling the love, I was feeling like hunted prey, ambushed by the crack of a rifle being shot in the dead silence of the forest. Much of what happened next remains a blur, partially due to my alcohol saturated brain cells, and partially due to the speed and direction the information came from.

The first one to speak was my mother. She was crying before she even opened her mouth, her voice breaking as she attempted to form recognizable words. I didn’t hear the word fear, but I could hear the fear in her voice. I remember her reflections of my childhood, the Valentine’s Day dance at my Junior High School (the first time she knew that I was drunk), my frequent and lengthy suspensions from high school due to drug and alcohol use, broken relationships with family and the inability to keep a job for more than six months. It seemed like hours had passed before she finally stopped speaking and began just sobbing.

Next up was my father, his voice much stronger and stable than my mother’s was. I remember hearing the proverbial “Daddy’s Little Girl” saga, intertwined with memories very much like my mother’s. I began wondering to myself if instead of keeping a baby book he had kept a “drunk” book, filled with memories of the many things I had done wrong. I couldn't believe some of the things he remembered. Insignificant events that were long forgotten in my world. I remember thinking this was all so surreal - that no single person could keep track of such things for as long as he had. I was angry. How dare he judge me when it was he who had shown me the path to addiction.

One after another family members and people who claimed to be friends, took their turns spewing their venom, wrapping it up with nice, tidy, "I love you or I wouldn't be doing this" pink bows. The packaging may have looked good to them, but the gift was nothing more than justification to knock me down yet again. At some point, I shut down. I continued to look at each person who spoke, but I couldn't hear the words they were saying - they were completely drowned out by the self-loathing thoughts playing repeatedly in my head.

There was an "intervention professional" there as well. David. I remember wondering who the hell he was when I walked in the room. He seemed to know everyone, yet he had a face that that conveyed deception. I knew the minute I saw him that he was not to be trusted. He gave me that feeling I used to get any time I was near Uncle Reggie - the one that all of the little girls in the family were warned to stay away from. I would see much more of David over the next 89 days, 14 hours, 43 minutes and 13 seconds, and yes, I'm still counting.

I grab a handful of green M & M's from the Ziploc bag stashed in my carry-on luggage. These damn things have put 11 pounds on me the past three months, but they seem to be the only thing that even comes close to managing the cravings. David tells me my body is no longer toxic - that the drugs and alcohol are not physically ruling my impulses. He has no idea how wrong he is. Every time I put one of these M&M's in my mouth, I pretend that it is that shot of Jack Daniel's Single Barrel, or the line of crystal meth, that my body and mind still crave.

I've played the game here; in fact, I'd say that I've mastered the game. I've done the individual therapy, the group therapy, the family therapy. It was so funny the first weekend my parents came out here. Florida in March is much more pleasant than it is in Chicago. They were so proud of how far I had come, how much progress I had made. I was back to being the little girl they felt they had lost to alcohol and drugs. They stood on the beach for hours after that first meeting. I can only imagine what they talked about as I peeked at them through the shears covering my window, once again from the outside looking in. In those moments, they looked so happy they almost made me want to quit … almost …

89 days, 15 hours, 36 minutes and 24 seconds and I am finally walking out the door of what has been my prison, back to the life that brings me comfort - far more comfort than any of those people sitting in that intervention room could ever offer me. The life that allows me to escape from the painful realities of what life is and what life always will be. David may have won round one, but I won the fight. Fuck you David, and fuck the rest of you with your judgmental words of pity. Game over.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

A little explanation on the photos. I tool a few more liberties with interpretation this time

I saw the main character as a 30-something woman, determined, a high achiever and somewhat of a loner.

Green M&M's and a Starbuck's cup. I didn't use the Starbuck's cup, but managed to find a good (hopefully) place for the M&M's.

The tigers were a bit of a challenge and rather than think about them, I focused on what they mean to me. Hunting for prey, ready to pounce - hopefully those were actions you felt when reading the story.

A sunny beach, Florida to be exact. I even took the liberty of using the people in the photo in the story.

This one was about watching from afar, seeing oneself from the outside looking in, spying on others

20 March 2008

HNT - Hot Rod

What? Doesn't anyone else read Hot Rod while nekkid??




HNTbutton

18 March 2008

Minor Blog Changes

I decided it was time to do a little blog updating. I've had a few more visitors with the addition of HNT (imagine that) and want to blogroll where I can. If I've missed anyone and you'd like to be added to either the "standard" blogroll or the HNT blogroll, please let me know.

For those of you perverts loyal visitors who never read what I post, but like to look at the pictures come to read the articles, I've made it a bit easier for you. Just take a gander at the link box on the left hand side of the page titled "HNT Archive"!

TMI Tuesday

TMI Tuesday



1. In the midst of a hangover have you ever promised to "never drink again?" How long until you broke that vow?

What I usually say is, "I will never drink like that again!" Now, that usually means I sampled at least one drink form every alcohol category, so I eliminate at least one alcohol group the next time I decide to lose my mind - usually about 2 years later. Hey! I'm "old"!

2. What is the stupidest thing you have ever done while drinking (or not if it is really stupid) but thought it seemed like a good idea at the time?

Let's just say that in my youth mid to late 20's, while in the Army, I did a LOT of drinking, and I even remember some of the things I did while I was drinking. I did wake up one morning after a tequila blackout binge and found rug burns on my knees and a bruise the size of an apple on my forehead. How, you ask, did that happen? I have absolutely no memory of it but I'm sure it was a really good story.

3. On a scale of 1-10, where do you rate green beer?

Any beer that is light enough that it turns green when food coloring is added is EVIL!

4. Have you ever kissed someone you shouldn't have (drunk or sober)?

You weren't looking for a number here were you. I've done more stupid things while drinking than I care to count, and only a few when I was sober *wink*

5. What is the stupidest thing you have ever seen a drunk do (besides driving a car)?

I think starting a fight with someone who is sober ranks right up there. I've seen more drunk guys get PUMMELLED when they got stupid with someone who could actually stand upright without swaying.

Bonus (as in optional): How do you cure your hangover(s)?

I am an aspirin and LOTS of water before you pass out, then a "hair of the dog that bit you" fan. Actually, not even a "hair of the dog that bit you" exactly, but rather a shot of tequila with a Mountain Dew chaser! I swear! It's the best ... unless you have a buddy who works at the hospital who can hook you up with an IV in each arm.

16 March 2008

Weekly Events That Are Blog-Worthy

Every week I collect many stories that I want to blog about. Some times they are BIG issues, and sometimes they are just big issues in my world. This week there were several things that seemed deserving of a little blog time.

  • Geraldine Ferraro was is right when she said, “If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman of any color, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.” If this were NOT true, Americans would be voting for a Presidential Candidate rather than for "hope" and "change."
  • Researchers at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released study results that found at least one in FOUR teenage American girls has a sexually transmitted disease. It's quite disturbing to think that 25% of the female population has contracted a sexually transmitted disease before they can legally vote.
  • I am thrilled to see "Liberal Fascism," by Jonah Goldberg,"I Am America (And So Can You!)," by Stephen Colbert, "The Age of American Unreason," by Susan Jacoby and "An Inconvenient Book,"by Glenn Beck and Kevin Balfe on the New York Times Best Seller List. It gives me some faith in the people of this country.
  • Why was it O.K. to bring Mitt Romney's religious affiliation into the presidential race, but a sign of racism in America to bring Barack Obama's religious affiliation into the presidential race?
  • Next week the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a challenge to the Washington D.C. handgun ban, 32 years after it went into effect. The case is likely to produce the most important firearms ruling in generations and could undermine other gun control laws nationwide if the court takes an expansive view of the right to bear arms. It's about time.

Sunday Secret

I often think, based on our current results, that marriage counseling isn't going to make our marriage work, but rather bring to light the fact that we should have never gotten married.

13 March 2008

HNT - Foot Fetish?

Since I talked about sexual fetishes on Tuesday, and a few of you seemed to be drawn to feet, I'd thought I'd go for the foot fetish theme for HNT today.


The next one is in honor of DoggyBloggy who mentioned that the best place for panties is on the floor. I couldn't agree more!

12 March 2008

Women-Only?

I'm sure most of you have heard about Harvard's recent decision to offer "Women-Only" gym hours on campus to address the concerns of Muslim women who want to use the gym, but are uncomfortable wearing proper gym attire in the presence of men due to their religious beliefs.

Following is a part of the story from the Daily Free Press (a Harvard student newspaper).


Harvard University has moved to make Muslim women more comfortable in the gym by instituting women-only access times six hours a week to accommodate religious customs that make it difficult for some students to work out in the presence of men.

Men have not been allowed to enter the Quadrangle Recreational Athletic Center during certain times since Jan. 28, after members of the Harvard Islamic Society and the Harvard Women's Center petitioned the university for a more comfortable environment for women.

Harvard Islamic Society's Islamic Knowledge Committee officer Ola Aljawhary, a junior, said the women-only hours are being tested on a trial basis. The special gym hours will be analyzed over Spring Break to determine if they will continue, she said.

Aljawhary said that she does not believe that the women-only gym hours discriminate against men.

"These hours are necessary because there is a segment of the Harvard female population that is not found in gyms not because they don't want to work out, but because for them working out in a co-ed gym is uncomfortable, awkward or problematic in some way," she said.

Though the policy was in part initiated by the school's Islamic group, Aljawhary said women-only hours are not a case of "minority rights trumping majority preference" and said women of different faiths have showed interest in the hours.

"We live together in one community, it only makes sense for everyone to compromise slightly in order for everyone to live happily," she said. "This matter is simple: Can't we just display basic decency and show tolerance and inclusion for people not a part of the mainstream majority?"




Accommodating people based on religious beliefs is something colleges have done for years. Anyone who has taken a class in recent years has read the disclaimer on every college syllabus that states accommodations for classes/test will be made if there is a conflict with a religious holiday/celebration. This is no different, or is it?

What this policy does is discriminate against a segment of the population (men) in order to accommodate a very small (6 women) minority. Last I checked, tuition and fees were the same at Harvard for men and for women - shouldn't it be reasonable to assume that services should be the same for men and for women?

What if I am a member of the Christian Identity Movement and and using the gym with black people makes me feel "uncomfortable" or "awkward." Will the gym institute "White-only" gym hours? No? You say that would be discriminatory?

Since when is separate but equal in style again?

Just something to think about ...

11 March 2008

TMI Tuesday

These are pretty darn good today, and y'all know I like talking about sex almost as much as I like talking about politics ... or is it the other way around??



TMI Tuesday




1. Is sex hotter for you when it's forbidden? Or do you get wracked with guilt and it's not enjoyable?

Forbidden sex? What is forbidden between two consenting adults?

2. Are casual sexual encounters fulfilling to you? Do you need an emotional commitment from your partner for sex to be fulfilling?

Let's be honest here, there are times when there is nothing better than pure, raw sex for the sake of physical gratification. Sometimes the emotional component does nothing but complicate the physical enjoyment.

3. Do you think that with all of the online dating sites that cater to every fetish and desire and places like craigslist that it's more difficult to make a commitment and/or stay committed to your partner?

Hmmm ... interesting question ...

The internet has certainly created many more, easily accessible opportunities to betray a commitment, but betraying a commitment has little to do with opportunity. Commitment, or betraying a commitment, is an emotional decision, not a "crime" of opportunity.

4. Have you ever joined or participated in an online dating site? If not, would you ever consider it? What about a fetish site, such as alt.com?

I tried the on-line dating thing when I was a single mom with mixed results. I think it's easier for people to be dishonest using the cover of anonymity that dating sites offer, but I see it as being no different that dating in "real" life. We all try to put our best foot (fetish) forward, and some people choose to have that foot pedicured first, and some people just use an imaginary foot!

Speaking of feet ... fetish sites? Well, duh?! I might find something I haven't thought of before ... or not ...

5. What is the weirdest fetish you've heard of?

I learned long ago that what one person considers a fetish is nothing more than a normal desire to another person. Sure, there are some "fetishes" that don't "do" it for me (cross dressing comes to mind), but that doesn't make them weird. I have no doubt that some of the things that "do" it for me would be considered a fetish by many (What? You're looking for examples here?). I've also learned that you never know what you might like until you try it - sex is much better with an open mind.


10 March 2008

Comment On This Damn It!

I had a new visitor to my blog today! No, that in itself isn't really newsworthy (although it is unusual on any day other than Half-Nekkid Thursday), but something she said, "Wow! Can I just say wow! I love you blog and love your commentators. Where have you guys been all my life? :)" got my head swelling me thinking.

She's right! I do have the best commenters in the blogging world. In fact, if it weren't for all of you who regularly comment, this blog would be nothing more than an old lady's rambling diary a one sided, spewing of sometimes irrational thoughts. It is the interaction of the blogging, and your commenting, that make this a rewarding experience for me. The best part? Not everyone who reads and comments on my blog thinks like I do (some would say that is a blessing in itself) and because of that you all expand my views and my world.

So today I am presenting all of you with this award:


OK, it's not as creative as Matt-Man's C.O.W., or Doc's Peach, but it should still make y'all feel a little warm and fuzzy (or is that crunch and enlightened?). No, I don't expect anyone to post this on their blog as if it really meant something, but I do want each of you to know that if it weren't for some of your pissy liberal thought provoking comments, I'd have nothing to blog about!

Oh, and if you get a chance, go visit Scout's Honor over at the United States of Motherhood. Not only is she the one who reminded me just how lucky I am to have the best commenters, but she claims to be a Capitalist Republican Whore - I think I'm in love!


08 March 2008

Sunday Secret

I am fairly certain my step-daughter is struggling with the beginings of an eating disorder and I don't know how to help her - I've been struggling with my own for over 30 years.



~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I don't usually follow up my Sunday Secrets with a post, but since this one is a significant health issue, I wanted to say a couple of things.

First, I don't want anyone to worry - I am addressing this issue with professional help this time. I've battled it on my own for 30+ years and have not been successful in managing it. Recently, the reality of how it is negatively impacting my health became clear. Bulimia (as are other addictions) has become a trusted friend, and it is difficult for me to consider giving up the friendship. As odd as it might sound, I feel a great deal of comfort and control when I am with my eating disorder. The bottom line? I'd rather be dead than fat again, and that thinking must stop.

Second, I am posting this secret today because I know there are others out there who share my secret, or know someone who does. Eating disorders are usually thought to be a young woman's issue, but eating disorders have no gender, age or race boundaries. If you suspect someone has an eating disorder, please talk to them about it.

For more information on bulimia and other eating disorders please visit:

Something Fishy




07 March 2008

In Response to Unsigned

I wanted to take a moment and respond to an "epic" comment I received on one of my posts earlier in the week. Although the commenter goes by the name "unsigned," he/she is a frequent commenter on some of the other blogs I visit. "unsigned" raised some interesting arguments - ones that I felt were worthy of a response. I've not addressed all of the issues raised as I was working with some limited information (i.e. where it is that "unsigned" lives).

In my country income tax statistics prove that almost 90% of our citizens with a net worth in excess of one million dollars inherited all of their money.

Here in the U.S., the statistics are much different. In 1916, the wealthiest 1% of the population lived almost entirely on previously made wealth (only 20% of their income was generated from actual work). Today, about 60% of the money made by the wealthiest 1% of the population is generated from actual work.

In the 1950's the father would work while mom stayed at home and raised the kids. They had a house and a new car every three years. Try doing that on the pay from a factory job.

In 1973 (I couldn't find any earlier data), the median size of a single family home was 1525 square feet - in 2006 it was 2248 square feet. "Average" families in the 1950's owned one, moderately sized vehicle - today, "average" families own at least two vehicles, one of those is often an SUV or minivan. It's not unusual for there to be an additional vehicle in the home for every child of legal driving age. In the 1950's, there was one TV in the home - today there are an average of 2.24 TV's per U.S. home and 66% of all U.S. homes have more than 3 TV's. You are essentially comparing apples to oranges as what used to be the "standard" of living and what is the "standard" of living now are like night and day.

Try finding a factory job today. They're all in India or China.

I would contend that this is due, in large part, to the demands of the U.S. consumer. The competition for the consumer dollar is such that manufacturers must decrease their costs. Labor costs in the U.S. are extremely high (this actually refutes your minimum wage comment addressed later in this post) so jobs are moved to other countries.

The notion that wealthy people have "earned" what they have is false.

Although this may be your experience, the statistics in the U.S. prove otherwise.

My country also has socialized medicine. My country is a capitalist democracy and we never leave a person to die on the curb because they don't have health insurance.

The U.S. has many social programs in place that pay for, or assist in paying for, medical costs. Hospitals do not turn down patients requiring care if they cannot pay. I'm not sure where you got the vision that the U.S. is leaving people to die on curbs because they do not have health insurance. This simply isn't true.

We also don't get involved in wars and bombing people in other countries for the wrong reasons.

I am assuming you are referring to Iraq, but without knowing that for sure, I cannot respond to this accusation.

Socialism isn't bad. It's like salt. You just need a dash.

Socialism may not be bad for your country, but it is not what this country was founded on, nor is it what has made this country successful. Even if you don't care for our political stance, this country has done quite well for its citizens in quite a short period of time. People here are living better than they ever have. Capitalism is what makes this possible.

The decision to go to war is an expensive decision made by rich people. Poor people think harder about the decision to make war. They know they will be the ones fighting it while the rich folks are safe back home.

The decision to go to war is made by politicians, and yes, they often earn above the median income. They don't make this decision because they know they'll be safe at home, they make this decision because it is in the best interest of the country and, often times, for the world. The military in the U.S. is an all VOLUNTEER military - no one is forced/required to enlist, and not a day goes by that I am not grateful for each and every one of those volunteers.

Social programs don't hurt anyone.

I disagree - social programs reinforce the attitude that citizens cannot make it on their own. Social programs become a necessity rather than a temporary help in a difficult time.

Wealth does not trickle down.

Nor should it! People standing at the bottom of the hill waiting for the trickle need to climb up the hill and fill their own bucket.

Try to get a university education while working for an "American" minimum wage.

Relatively few Americans earn the federal minimum wage. In 2005, 1.9 million Americans reported earning $5.15 the Federal minimum wage) or less per hour (this includes workers who earn tips, but tips are not included in this hourly wage). This translates to 2.5 percent of all workers in the U.S. earning hourly wages and only 1.5 percent of ALL workers in the United States. In other words, MOST students in the U.S. are earning ABOVE minimum wage.

It's not impossible to move up but it sure is hard when you have no inherited wealth.

Well, of course it is! I guess I don't understand your point. Is bettering your life supposed to be easy? No challenge? This argument baffles me.

There aren't enough Mc Jobs to sustain your poor population.

Not true ... not at all. There are plenty of jobs to sustain the economy, but due, in part, to social programs currently in place, an illegal immigration problem that has yet to be addressed and the sense of entitlement many of our younger generation seem to have developed, many U.S. citizens refuse to start at the bottom and work their way up. They "deserve" more ... just ask them.

Social programs are a good way to get poor people to "fit in" to the system. Otherwise they get excluded from the system.

Social programs are a good way to keep poor people poor. Study after study shows that poor people on social programs STAY on social programs.

Let me share a personal example. I gave birth to my son as a single mother. My monthly income was $98 TOO MUCH for me to qualify for over $750/month in social program benefits. For a $0.57/hour pay decrease, I stood to make an additional $4.33/hour in social program benefits. Had I not been one who believed I needed to learn to live with the decisions I made in life, I'd have most certainly taken the "low" road.

I suggest that you go to a poor area in your town and talk to the people there about your view on money.

You know, I actually don't need to do that because I am an example of how one can come from moderate upbringings, loose it all, them climb back up and be successful. My views on money are based on not having any and working my ass off (without social programs) to be where I am today. Not wealthy in material things, but certainly not going without.

It's part of being an open minded person.

Wait ... do I hear the implication that because my views tend to lean in the conservative direction, I am not open minded? Hmmm ... dangerous assumption to make.

In my country the average person is healthier, living longer, making more money, better educated, has a better standard of living, and is in a better economy. When it comes to your economy...You're doing it wrong.

You know, if I *knew* what country you lived in, I'd be much better equipped to address your position, but you have neglected to share that information. It's unfortunate because I have no doubt that your country is not as peachy-keen as you might want us to believe. You've got a bit of an advantage in your argument - you know where I live!

Here's the deal. Does the U.S. have it all figured out? Not by any stretch of the imagination, but for a county that is 232 years old (a new country by comparison) we are doing a damn good job. Can we do better? Absolutely!

But do you know what the best part about living in the U.S. is? If I decide some other country is doing it better, I can leave! I can benefit one last time from all of the freedoms this great country offers me.

06 March 2008

"I Love My Mac" HNT

It's "I Love My Mac" theme week on HNT. Although I'm sure that if I had one, I would love it, but I don't, so I'm showing a little love to my iPod! It's still an "Apple" ... right??



"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."
~ Miss Piggy


HNTbutton

05 March 2008

What is it About Annonymity?

Does anyone else write posts then leave them sitting trying to decide if they are post-worthy or not? This was one of those posts and since I am uninspired by words on this HNT eve (I spent the better part of this morning trying to decide if I could actually post a photo of my ass derriere tomorrow), I thought I'd post one of my orphaned posts ...

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I got my first wac-a-doodle commenter. No surprise it was on my Which is Worse? post. Even less of a surprise, it was an anonymous commenter. Now, I probably shouldn't even acknowledge this commenter, but I'm such a politics whore I just can't stop myself. Besides, it gives me an opportunity to spew my venom express my conservative views.

I'm not going to post the entire comment - if you'd like to read the senseless ramblings other perspective you can find it [HERE]. RED text below is copied from the comment. There were some points I'd say are valid, and others that are just so completely wrong I couldn't let them go unchallenged.

In America, the richest 1% now hold 1/2 OF ALL UNITED STATES WEALTH.

So? Why is this a problem? For the most part they've worked hard to get that money. This really should motivate the rest of us to push ourselves harder so that we can earn more.

THE RICHEST 1% HAVE LITERALLY MADE WORLD PROSPERITY ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE.

Now there's an uplifting thought! Make people believe they can't better themselves and they'll be dependent on your help. You can spend billions of dollars on social programs to keep them believing they can't do it themselves. Here's reality - the average family's income rose by 35 percent (adjusted for inflation), and the income per person in the household was up 153 percent (adjusted for inflation) in just the last generation.

So when too much wealth accumulates at the top, the middle class slip further into debt and the lower class further into poverty.

Let's look at what really leads to poverty in America (from An Inconvenient Book by Glenn Beck):

  • About 2/3 of "poor" children reside in single-parent homes

  • 92 percent of children who live in families that make more than $75,000/year live with two parents; 80 percent of those who live in families that make less than $15,000/year do not.

  • Kids who do not live with two biological parents are more than five times as likely to be poor and twice as likely to drop out of high school and have behavioral problems.

This isn't about where the wealth accumulates, this is about what has happened to the American family.


The wealth does not ‘trickle down’ as we were told it would. It just accumulates at the top. Shrinking the middle class and expanding the lower class.

If you are looking for income equality, you best find yourself a home in a communist country. The only down side to that is that most communist leaders tend to kill millions of their own citizens.

If it weren’t for the OBSCENE distribution of wealth within our country, there never would have been such a market for sub-prime to begin with. Which by the way, was another trick whipped up by greedy bankers and executives.

Yes, the sub-prime fiasco was lead by greedy bankers, but guess what? They were catering to a market that was demanding loans. This was a high risk group that was more likely to default on their loans. Do I think this means we should bail out sub-prime lenders? Absolutely not, nor should we bail out those that ignored the terms of their loans. Learn to live with the decisions you make in life.
Sub-prime. Their idea. NAFTA. Their idea. Outsourcing. $200 cell phone bills. Their idea. $200 basketball shoes. Their idea. $30 late fees. Their idea. $30 NSF fees. Their idea.

It must be a warm fuzzy place that allows one to blame all of their personal woes on "them." Who was it that accepted sub-prime loans? Who is it that demands lower prices (NAFTA, outsourcing)? Who is it that racks up a $200 cell phone bill? Who is it that must have the latest and greatest in basketball shoes? Who is it that pays their bills late and overdraws their checking account?

Oh! That would be "us"!

Of course, the rich will throw a fit and call me a madman. Of course, their ignorant fans will do the same.

Since I'm not rich, I must be an ignorant fan, however something tells me I may not be the ignorant one in all of this.

Be one of the first to predict the worst economic and cultural crisis of all time and explain its cause. WE ARE IN BIG TROUBLE.

I actually do believe one of the worst economic crises may be looming on the horizon. I believe we are headed for a significant recession (at the least) and possibly another depression. What I don't believe is that this is due to those who are wealthy. This has to do with trying to artificially fix things (sub-prime bail-outs for example) rather than allowing the economy to self adjust. This has to do with our inability to live in a cash (rather than credit) society. This has to do with the loss of our country's moral compass.

Would things be tough for a few years if we just swallow our medicine now? Absolutely, but if we don't, this commenter is right on target - WE ARE IN BIG TROUBLE.

04 March 2008

Equal Bashing Time


The TMI Tuesday questions were a little lame this week, so I decided to post about every one's favorite topic - politics - instead!

Last week I spewed regarding Louis Farrakhan's endorsement of Barack Obama. How appropriate that Gloria Steinem is endorsing Hillary Clinton - now I can give Obama and Clinton equal time!

First, let me say that I do not like Gloria Steinem. I believe she has done more to hurt the women's movement that she has to help it. Like any other quality, feminism, when taken to the extreme, is radical and damaging. Steinem is no exception.

If Hillary was hoping Gloria's appearance at the Women for Hillary event in Texas was going to help her, she should have looked at Gloria's speech notes beforehand. If you haven't heard, Steinem decided to "call out" McCain and his experience as a POW.

Referring to his time in captivity, Steinem said with bewilderment, “I mean, hello? This is supposed to be a qualification to be president? I don’t think so.” You are kidding me, right? I would think that spending over five years "jailed" in a bamboo cage should show, at the very least, commitment and dedication to one's country. It also might just make him better qualified to be the Commander in Chief of the world's greatest military, not that it matters …

Steinem went on to say, “Suppose John McCain had been Joan McCain and Joan McCain had got captured, shot down and been a POW for eight years. [The media would ask], ‘What did you do wrong to get captured? What terrible things did you do while you were there as a captive for eight years?’” The audience laughed - LAUGHED!

My response to Steinem would have been, "How does being married to a former president serve as any qualification for being the next president?"

Of course, the Clinton campaign immediately disavowed Steinem's words and said they have the utmost respect for John McCain's military status.

03 March 2008

Raisinettes Anyone?

Way back when ... OK, a few weeks ago ... Odat (one of my "lurker" blogs) posted the results of her "What Classic Movie Are You?" quiz. I was quite curious what movie I'd end up being, but I was also kind of waiting to see how many of my "regular read" bloggers would do this little mini-meme. I hate looking like a lemming.

It's been over 2 weeks since Odat published hers and I haven't seen a single taker, so I thought I'd give it a ride, and what a ride it was. After completing the 45 question quiz (for those of you with ADD/ADHD moments there is a 9 question version), I find out that I am:





Hmmmm ... I was hoping for something a little more glamorous ... maybe 101 Dalmatians or Ernest Goes to Camp ...

02 March 2008

Sunday Secret


There are some secrets I'll never share - shame will keep me from it.

01 March 2008

Happy Birthday Boo-Bear!

9:01AM, twelve years ago, my life changed forever. It had been less than perfect circumstances.

The morning that I finally took the pregnancy test I kept looking at that little blue line thinking, "It can't be positive." I was 30 years old, not married and not in a committed relationship. I had just left the military a few months before and was still in the "evaluation" phase of my new, civilian job. That little blue line ... SHIT!

My parents were going to be extremely disappointed. Having their first grandchild should be a a cause for celebration, but I knew better. Not only would I be a single mother, but a single mother of a bi-racial child. My racist father would likely disown me.

How would I afford a baby? My income was just enough to take care of my daily needs, but adding a child to the financial responsibilities would be impossible. Daycare costs alone would be more than I was paying for rent. I couldn't breast feed forever and what about diapers?

And then the thoughts of responsibility came flooding through my brain. I could barely take care of myself most days - how was I going to manage to take care of someone else? Not just someone else, but someone who was completely and totally dependent upon me for his every need. I had no family living anywhere near, and no emotional support system in place.

For a brief moment, I considered that I didn't have to face any of this. I could effectively erase this moment of indiscretion. My future could look very much like it had before the blue line. I could have an abortion. Then just as quickly I realized that I couldn't have an abortion - it wasn't an option.

I put off telling my parents until I was four moths pregnant. I got the response I expected from them, but pretended it didn't matter.

I let my employer know. That discussion went much better. They gave me amazing support and let me know that my pregnancy would not negatively impact my recent employment. They even waved the 1 year waiting period for short-term disability payments so that I would be able to receive partial pay after giving birth.

Although I had never felt healthier, the pregnancy itself was not without complications. At my initial OB/GYN appointment they found a tumor on my uterus. At that time it was about the size of a tomato - it would eventually grow to the size of a cantaloupe, require exploratory surgery when I was six months pregnant, cause pre-term labor issues for the last two months of my pregnancy and necessitate a scheduled c-section delivery.

Yet at 9:01 AM on that Friday morning, as I lay in the cold operating room alone and afraid, the most amazing thing happened - I became the mom to a 9 lb.-12 oz., 23-1/2" long toddler baby boy.

These past twelve years have had some very bright moments and some very dark moments. My parents eventually came to their senses and are as proud as any other grandparents could be - maybe even more. Money was tight for many, many years. There were times when I lived on Ramen noodles for weeks, sometimes even months at a time so that I could afford the things my son needed. And you know what? I'd do it all over again even knowing what struggles we would both face.

As he starts his 13th year of life, many things are uncertain, but there is one thing I know beyond question - he made me a better person and I now have the opportunity, and overwhelming responsibility, to help him be the best person he can be.

Happy "Birth Day" to me!