31 July 2009

Friday Wrap-Up


Are you ready for another BADD post? Ha! That's what Friday Wrap-Ups are all about!

For the first time in my working life, I went to HR to report an issue with racism. I have a co-worker who, when she found out I didn't vote for Obama, started sending me anti-Obama emails - through the work email system.

Most of these emails are those idiotic "Where's his birth certificate" urban legend type emails. I usually delete them before even opening them - disagreeing with policy is one thing, but these emails are just plain silly and unfounded.

This coworker sent an email on Monday that I did open. The subject line eluded to local road closure information, I thought it might be legit. I will not reprint the email here, but I will tell you it was anti-Obama with clear RACIST tones. I sat - dumbfounded - for about 5 minutes before deciding I wouldn't just hit delete. I printed the email and walked into HR.

HR and I decided the best course of action was for me (because I was comfortable doing so) to "gently" confront the coworker - to tell her how the email made me feel - to request she stop sending me anything other than business emails through the work email system. HR now has a copy of the email and will address the issue formally if it happens again.

Sometimes you just have to wonder what - if anything - people are thinking.


I'll be making a stop at the office of the President of my company this morning. He has an open door policy and I'm going to find out just how "open" his door really is.

Like many employers, mine made some significant changes this year under the guise of the "bad economy" - annual raises were "postponed" - the cost of insurance benefits went up while coverage went down - and they've implemented a hiring freeze. Because I do the financials, I know where we stand financially, and I can tell you that these changes are preventive. Our profits are flat - no change from last year - but we are not seeing a decline in business or sales.

Every year, we have a company picnic. There are about 100 employees at my corporate location, the majority of whom really look forward to this time of great food and great company. It's one of the few perks any of us get in this family owned business.

I'm guessing you can see where this is going. No one had heard anything about the picnic (usually scheduled for the end of August) and rather than ask, they started gossiping about it. I decided to ask and received confirmation that there was NOT going to be a picnic. No explanation was given, and when I asked if they planned on making an announcement was told, "If we don't say anything people will just forget."

You know, I understand fiscal responsibility in these uncertain times. I get that. But in the last year, as employees, we've seen the cost of living go up, the cost of basic benefits go up and a wage freeze. We are working harder (because vacancies are not being filled) for a lot less money. And now you're going to take away our picnic? And insult us further by not having the gonads to even attempt to excuse the piss-poor management decision?

I'll be attending the coffee summit this morning - bringing my own because I have to pay $0.60 for crappy vending machine coffee if I don't. I'll let y'all know how it goes.


One last thing ...

Like many of you, I have a handful of commenters who are more comfortable emailing their comments than posting them to the blog. Sujomi - who has a Project 365 blog (you need to go visit her - daily. Her photography is AMAZING and she always includes a great little story behind the photo) - sent me an email yesterday that said, in part:

I'm trying to imagine the logistics of you taking this HNT. You pulling over to the side of the road, with your tripod and camera, quickly stripping and taking the shot, hoping you are back far enough in the rows and that the farmer won't catch you in his field! ;) LOL

I shared my story with her and decided it was funny enough to be blog worthy.

There is always more of a story behind attempting to get a shot than there is in the actual shot!

Husband stayed home sick yesterday. This puts a HUGE cramp in my HNT routine, but I had pretty much decided on the corn field theme, so figured I could probably pull that off.

I had to drop Cam off at football practice, which gave me the opportunity to steal a few minutes away from home without husband questioning it. Of course, I also had to sneak my camera and tripod out, which were in a bag sitting just 5' from where husband was sitting. Finding a corn field isn't an issue (*EDIT* Rage, I live about 60 miles outside of Chicago, but it might as well be 600 miles away as it is as much country as Chicago is city) - finding one where I could park the car and not raise suspicion? Well, different story.

It just so happens there is a small corn field just blocks away from the middle school where Cam practices. It borders the community baseball field and since baseball season is over, I thought it would be perfect.

However, I forgot this weekend was our local summer festival. They set up the carnival and all of the booths on the community baseball field.

So here I am, parking the car, and hoping no one drives by wondering what I'm doing, yet formulating a story just in case. I'm wearing yoga pants (thank goodness my legs were covered - corn is SCRATCHY) and a strappy tank (sans bra).

I was thinking I'd have little aisles between the rows of corn. You know, like in the movies? NOT! They plant those stalks so close together it isn't even funny. So I'm traipsing through the corn jungle, trying to get far enough in that no one sees me, yet not wanting to battle the stalks.

Just as I pull my top down to take the first nekkid shot, someone pulls on to the gravel road that leads to the baseball field - they are no more than 20' from where I'm standing. I have a moment of panic that subsides when they continue to drive by. Thinking I'm safe, I continue taking pics.

Then what happens? The guy TURNS AROUND and comes back - this time slowing down as he passes my car. CRAP! I hold really still and hope the corn is tall enough that he can't see my head - or my FUCHSIA top around my waist.

He either didn't see me, or didn't want to know what the hell I was doing on the edge of a cornfield with my top around my waist - I'm not sure which.

Yep! Always a funny story behind the HNT.


29 July 2009

HNT - Children of the Corn


“I know my corn plants intimately, and I find it a great pleasure to know them.”
~ Barbara McClintock

... and now they know me intimately too *CLICK*



It's BADD and I've Got It!


That's right, I've got a case of Blogger Attention Deficit Disorder - commonly known as BADD. BADD is far worse - and the polar opposite - of writer's block. It's not that I can't think of anything to write ... noooo ... in fact I've got 27.56 post ideas swimming in my head, I just can't seem to focus on any one of them long enough to actually generate a post.

Here's how it went last night ...

Got home from work at precisely 5:12PM. That means I've got 18 minutes to scream at Cam to hurry up and get ready for football practice decompress before heading back out for my evening routine. I check email, scream, "ARE YOU GETTING DRESSED?", make sure I haven't missed anything on Twitter, scream, "WE HAVE TO BE WALKING OUT THE DOOR IN 3 MINUTES!", close up the laptop when I hear Cam's bedroom door shut so that he's not waiting on me.

Drop Cam off at practice, navigating the hundreds mini-van's in the parking lot. SHIT! Cheerleaders are practicing tonight too. That means Cam will be at least 20 minutes late "finding" the car after practice. Head home - dinner to cook.

Check FaceBook. My "sister-in-law" had a scheduled c-section today. Must see if she's posted pictures of baby Logan yet. What?? Karen scored over 100K on Bejeweled? I like Bejeweled - I bet I can beat her. I'll just play a few rounds then work on my blog post. OK, maybe I'm not as good as I think I am, let me pick a blog post topic.

National Health Care? Nahhhh ... don't feel like having to actually write intelligent responses to the comments of all of the mom jean wearing President Obama supporters who tend to read my blog.

What else is in the post hopper. I can't believe I only scored 16,200 on Bejeweled. How embarrassing. Let me just play a few more rounds and see what I can do. **"She's a Brick House" blares from the cell phone** SHIT! Where's the friggin' pause on this game? **answers phone - it's husband** Husband is running late. I tell him it's leftovers for dinner tonight because I'm addicted to Bejeweled I'd like to have a night off from cooking. Get my first 25K badge. What was I going to post on again?

Oh! The "Cash for Clunkers" program - the one that seems to have similar qualifications as the Federal Mortgage Assistance program (i.e. you've made poor decisions so the Federal Government wants to reward you for them). That's a great post. I can go on a tirade about how the government seems focused on rewarding poor behavior, thus encouraging more people to do even less for themselves. Nahhh ... Matt-Man will jump on that one, encouraging my favorite troll, snugs, and then I'll have to explain blogger writing style and strike-throughs to her again.

What? Is that the garage door? SHIT! How did it get to be 8PM so quickly? I'm going to be late picking Cam up from practice and he's going to think I forgot about him. Must close laptop and head out. **waves at husband as I walk out the door**

Get to the practice field at 8:13. Sure enough, there's Cam talking to a group of cheerleaders. Oh! There's a post idea - the trials and tribulations of testosterone laden teens. Too bad I left the laptop at home. Ehhh - that's a little to mommy-blogger-ish anyway. Which reminds me, I was going to do a post on breaking the mommy-blogger stereotype. I contributed to that stereotype on Twitter last week during BlogHer. BlogHer? That was a post idea too! The many faces of bloggers at BlogHer (from the outside looking in). SHIT! I yell, "Cam! Could you please not beat up the car with your helmet?"

Ask Cam what he wants for dinner. Surprise! McDonald's ... again ...

Make the 7 mile trek to the truck stop where the nearest McDonald's resides. Chit chat about practice - what's going well - what isn't. Order a #1, LARGE, with Hi-C orange (that's a BigMac meal for you McD novices). Smell Cam's fries and wipe the drool from my mouth. Walk back into the house at 9:14. Sit on the sofa and open up the laptop. I bet I can fit in just a few more games of Bejeweled before I write this post. Ha! I hit the 50K badge! WooHoo! How did it get to be 10:48? I better head to bed.

**Wakes up and looks at the clock - wonders what woke me** SHIT! *cough*hack*cough*cough* FUCK! *cough*hack*cough*cough* Husband is coughing uncontrollably and punctuating his irritation with expletives. Great ... wonder how long this will go on. **Tries to go back to sleep** 3:27 FUCK! *cough*hack*cough*cough* SHIT! *cough*hack*cough*cough* Still going ...

Hear the alarm. 5:00. Must get up to write blog post. Make coffee. Check FaceBook for updates on Logan. What?? One of my other FaceBook friends beat my Bejeweled high score last night? Let me just play a few more rounds and see if I can do better. Ha! I got the 75K badge! That will show them! I wonder if husband is ever going to get in the shower? Head up to bedroom to see what the hold-up is. Husband is still in bed? Ask, "Are you going to work today?" Husband responds, "NO! I didn't get any sleep last night!" Think of some snarky comment about knowing the feeling but not having the option of staying home and getting paid, but just get in the shower instead.

Empty cat litter box - feed cats - check email again. Gahhh! I wonder if I can get a post written at work today? Nahhh ... that's pushing the boundaries a bit too far even for my comfort level ...

And that my dear readers is what BADD looks like. Not very pretty, is it?


28 July 2009

TMI Tuesday #197 - Nonsexual Edition


TMI Tuesday

It's been a while since I did one of these and this one looked like too much fun to pass up!

1. The three words that best describe you are:
  • Creative
  • Loyal (to a fault at times)
  • Domestic
2. The three words that best describe your life are:
  • Artificial
  • Impractical
  • Nonsensical
3. Your three guilty pleasures are (Really? I have to limit this to three?):
  • Coffee
  • PayDay Bar
  • Dirty Martini (vodka) with extra olives

4. The three places you would like to visit before you die are:
  • New Orleans (during Mardi Gras)
  • Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
  • Great Wall of China (from space)
5. The three things you would like to do before you die:
  • Drive Route 66 - from Chicago to Los Angeles - in a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
  • Live on a houseboat in Seattle - think one of [THESE]
  • Ride Amtrak’s Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle

Bonus (as in optional):If you were making Chris Milk's video "Last Day Dream" (below) what three to five flashes would be your life so far?

I thought about this one and just couldn't do it. I mean seriously, I'm 45 years old - my life flashing before my eyes would be a full-length feature film, not a 1 minute, 37 second blurb. Far too many life defining moments, but the video is worth a look-see if you are so inclined.

Last Day Dream [HD] from Chris Milk on Vimeo.


27 July 2009

Double Play or Double Standard?


Last week, Lynn over at Real Live Lesbian wrote a post titled Lesbian Drama With Straight Woman. In a nutshell, it briefly discussed the overly flirty behavior of one of their (lesbian) friends - who is in a committed relationship - with a straight (but curious) female.

All relationships - lesbian, gay, straight, polyamorous - face the same struggles. Jealousy and infidelity are not exclusive to "traditional," heterosexual relationships. It is my opinion (and one that has been debated in the past), that all of those participating in flirting/infidelity are equally responsible for the outcome. It makes me cringe when I read the justification, "Well, they are going to cheat on their spouse/partner with someone anyway, so it might as well be me."

In RLL's post, the "straight girl" didn't initiate the flirting (which eventually resulted in some rather sensual kissing on the back of the neck), but she certainly didn't discourage it. The girlfriend of the flirter wasn't aware of the kissing, but was aware of the general flirting and was (understandably) concerned about it. My curiosity in all of this lies with the "straight girl" and her apparent lack of concern with the fact that this was taking place in front of flirter's girlfriend - a situation she was well aware of.

Something tells me that if "straight girl" was being neck licked by a heterosexual man, with his girlfriend (or wife) within viewing distance, she would have, at the very least, acted offended by his advances and insured that he stop until they could get out of viewing distance.

Assuming that to be true, why was this situation any different? Society is far more accepting of physical intimacy between women (assuming they are the young, pretty kind of "lesbians"), does that somehow make infidelity between women more socially acceptable? Do we (generally) presume that a lesbian/gay committed relationship isn't as "serious" as a heterosexual marriage, therefor the infidelity isn't as serious? What do you think?


26 July 2009

Sunday Secret


The real reason I kept my eyes closed the last time we had sex? I was fantasizing about being with a woman. It was the only way I could climax.


25 July 2009

A Glimpse of the Real Man


There is no question regarding my distaste of our President's current and proposed political agenda, but one of the things that drives me absolutely nuts about him is his jellyfish-ness. Jellyfish-ness? Yep! No backbone, real squishy and squirmy, yet simply beautiful to watch. Obama spends more time trying to get everyone to like him than he does running the country. His speeches - brilliantly written and orated - never have much substance, but evoke emotions from the masses. It's like attending a Brian Tracy motivational conference - everyone returns to work excited and ready for change, 37 hours and 22 minutes later, they're sitting at their desk, trying to figure out how to surf porn without getting caught again.

I was thrilled - no, make that ecstatic - when at Wednesday night's press conference, after being asked about the Gates incident, Obama scolded the local police for "acting stupidly for arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home." Whew! He is capable of speaking spontaneously and having an opinion that isn't "bipartisan!" How wonderfully refreshing!

Do I agree with Obama's opinion? No - the more I learn the more I side with police. There will be some of you who want to interject race and racism into this, but you'd be wrong. This is about someone who is highly successful, attempting to justify his unreasonable reactions (sense of entitlement anyone?) and having that handy race card up his sleeve. We'd all be cheering if this happened to a privileged white woman ... say Paris Hilton. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that most would say the spoiled brat deserved it - but let it happen to a privileged black man and it's suddenly racism.

Anyway ... I'm rambling ... back to the point ...

I found it quite admirable that Obama grew a pair found the intestinal fortitude to say something controversial - to let words from his heart escape from his lips. I was actually starting to like respect him. I may not agree with his opinion, but hell yes! Speak your heart. Give me something of substance to chew on. Give me a President who cares less about his popularity and more about what is happening in this country. This isn't high school - we didn't elect a homecoming king - we elected a President.

Then it happened. Yeah ... yeah ... I can hear all of you communist bastards Obama supporters chiming in with ,"It takes a big man to admit when he was wrong." Pffftttt! It was nothing more than damage control. Right back to the wishy-washy, let's make everyone happy, bullshit. I was basking in the joy of hearing Obama, for the FIRST time, speak from his heart, and now he's doing the moonwalk right back to Wonderland.

Simmer down now, simmer down ...


24 July 2009

Friday Wrap-Up


Thanks to all of you who offered thoughts, advise, support and swift kicks in the ass this week. I know sometimes y'all think I'm so stuck in this quagmire I've created that I'm not listening to what you say, but the truth is I do my best to keep an open mind and take it all in. I am all too aware that often times a situation is far more clear when you're not influenced by the emotions of it all.


Cam and I had to make a trip to Dick's Sporting Goods this week to pick up the last few items he needed for football. Chin strap? Check! Spare mouth guard? Check! Cup? Oh crap! Really? You don't know where the one is that you used for baseball two years ago? Can I just say there is something terribly awkward about having to buy a cup for my my teenage son? I think it's the part where I had to ask him, "Does the 'teen' size fit you or do you need the 'adult' size?"


There were several questions on yesterday's HNT, so I decided to address them here. I don't know that I've ever come out and said, "Hey! Some of these pics are Gimped," but I've never (I hope) led any of you to believe that I never edit my pics either. Usually, there are only minor adjustments (color, contrast, cropping, etc.) but sometimes I get a creative hair up my ass urge and go hog wild.

Last week's HNT-Vacation? It was straight from the camera. No color adjustments, no filters, nada (both the screen shot and the click-through). It was all dumb luck in the settings on the camera and the setting up of the shot. Yesterday's HNT? It was a plethora (I love that word) of Gimp magic. There was painting, smudging, and several filters including sepia and lighting effects. In other words, it was 70% art project and 30% photography.

*CLICK* to see the original, unaltered photo

Sometimes I have a very clear idea of the emotion I want to capture in a photo, yet no earthly idea how to make it happen through the camera. When I'm stumped like that, I'll figure out how to get the central image (me) the way I want it to look through the photography, then I'll Gimp the periphery images into what I saw and felt in my mind and heart. Last step? Cross my fingers and hope that I am able to communicate those feelings to all of you. In other words ... I cheat!

And for the record, I pick the quote after the photo is ready to post, usually choosing an adjective that fits the feeling I was trying to capture in the photo as a key word in my quote search.



And...here we go!

1. No. Really. Having to replace the roll of toilet paper is not the end of the world.

2. Sitting here, listening to the sound of rain falling, I smile at the rhythmic music of Mother nature.

3. Fresh sushi with lots of wasabi and soy sauce tastes so good!

4. Sometimes, putting others first is nothing more than making an excuse to be a martyr.

5. Seeing your child, for the first time, is breathtaking, really.

6. Well, maybe there is some truth in those snide remarks.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to homemade fish tacos, tomorrow my plans include getting Cam to football practice early in the morning, then heading out on a nice, long bike ride and Sunday, I want to see if I can't get through some of the boxes in the basement that were packed seven years ago and have yet to be opened!


*EDIT* Ms Snarky Nice Bitch, I deleted your comment as I felt it was ... well ... not a comment on a post but a request for help that should have been sent via email. I *do* know who you are, and I attempted to respond to you via email, but neither of your your Wordpress blogs include your email address. Nothing personal!


22 July 2009

HNT - Monsters and Ghosts


“...Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us,
and sometimes, they win.”

~ Stephen King



I'm Tired


I'm in a mood. One of those moods where I just want to crawl into the comfort and solitude of a deep, dark hole for a few days, shutting everyone and everything out. I've been fighting this mood for quite some time - a few months maybe? I'm tired of putting on the happy face for everyone. I'm tired of lying and answering "fine" when asked how I am. I'm tired of thinking, and doing and feeling. I'd throw writing in there too, but right now? I think it's one of the few things in my life providing me anything even resembling sanity.

So, rather than writing some piece of crap opinion piece and pretending everything is just ducky, I thought I'd do a "stream of consciousness" meme (modified to just 10 ideas and stolen from [HERE]). One of those with open ended statements that allow you to just spew whatever nonsense first comes to mind. Maybe it will work as a mind cleanse ... *crosses fingers*

  1. I’ve come to realize that my job. . . is really nothing more than a job and that I am as important to my employer as his yellow highlighter is.
  2. I’ve come to realize that when I’m driving. . . I often end up so far in my head that I block out entire chunks of the drive. It scares me.
  3. I’ve come to realize that I need. . . a lot emotionally, although I do my best to hide that "flaw."
  4. I’ve come to realize that I have lost. . . all respect for myself.
  5. I’ve come to realize that I hate it when. . . I feel left out. And it happens more than I'd like to admit.
  6. I’ve come to realize that certain people. . . aren't intentionally mean, they are just oblivious to the impact of their actions and the power of their words. It's not personal.
  7. I’ve come to realize that life. . . isn't fair and never presents the circumstances you thought it would.
  8. I’ve come to realize that my friends. . . don't know me as well as I'd like them to because I'm afraid to show them the "real" me and lose them all.
  9. I’ve come to realize that maybe I should. . . just give up my dreams. It's far less painful to not have any dreams than it is to watch them shatter.
  10. I’ve come to realize that I’m totally terrified. . . of my own success - sabotaging any chance I have of seeing it come to fruition.

21 July 2009

Equal Opportunity Does NOT Mean Equal Outcome


Is anyone else using the new "Your Reading List" tool for Firefox? It's made my "I need to blog about this" list even longer, which is both a good and a bad thing. Anyway, this post isn't about browsers and tools, so I guess I should get to my point. What was my point again? Oh yes!

In late June, the Supreme Court ruled in the New Haven, CT firefighter's case (I posted about the case [HERE]). In short, the white and Hispanic firefighters believed they were unfairly denied promotions because of their race. The city of New Haven spent $100,000 on a test given to all firefighters competing for officer positions within the department. The city coded the test takers by race, and of the top 15 scorers, 14 were white and one was Hispanic. There were only 15 vacancies in the top ranks of the fire department meaning no blacks would be promoted. The city threw out the test and promoted no one.

The Court ruled that New Haven was wrong to scrap the promotion exam because no African-Americans and only one Hispanic firefighter were likely to be made lieutenants or captains. This was a 5-4 Supreme Court decision - Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas being the majority vote. Justice Anthony Kennedy said, "Fear of litigation alone cannot justify an employer's reliance on race to the detriment of individuals who passed the examinations and qualified for promotions."

The firefighter's attorney said the ruling was "a sign that individual achievement should not take a back seat to race or ethnicity. I think the importance of the decision is that cities cannot bow to politics and pressure and lobbying by special interest groups or act to achieve racial quotas." I couldn't agree more.

At some point, this country will realize that Title VII was about equal opportunities, not equal outcomes. I hope to see a day where no one will question whether a "non-white" individuals' achievements were the result of affirmative action, but rather will know the person was the most qualified for the position/promotion. Was the test used by the New Haven Fire Department discriminatory? Aren't all tests? This one - in particular - discriminated between those were intellectually competent for the promotion, and those who weren't, and that is a good thing. Throwing out the results because the outcome was not what was anticipated, or out of fear of litigation, does nothing more than reinforce the idea that "non-whites" are intellectually less than whites and need special consideration to make the cut. How does that promote equality?


20 July 2009

Show Me the Money


There is nothing better than when a commenter gives you the gift of a blog post. Buff, from Opinions and Rectums, left the following comment on my most recent Friday Wrap-Up post:

I read an article that stated divorces were down, because with the recession, people can't afford to divorce right now- and are staying together until an upturn in the economy...

Turns out this isn't just a trend, but an epidemic. In Chicago, for example, there was a 5% drop in divorce filings in the first three quarters of 2008 - and that was before the economy really went to shit took a significant downturn. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers ... wait ... really? There is an American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers? Anyway, they report that 37% of its membership has seen a drop in their divorce business. And a recent survey conducted by the Institute of Divorce Financial Analysts - another "Who knew?" group - found that 68% of its members "have seen clients who could not afford to get divorced because of recession-related financial problems."

We all know that financial woes are the biggest cause of marital spats. It's certainly been on husband and my Top 10 list. So, with the economy being what it is, you'd expect lots of husbands and wives to be at each others throats and contemplating divorce. However, this recession is so bad that people are putting off any decision that will cost a lot of money ... including divorce.

I know many of you find it distasteful to look at marriage in economic terms, but humor me for a minute and consider the economics of divorce. Not only are there attorney's fees to be paid, but the value of the two biggest assets of most marriages - the home and retirement plans - have diminished dramatically. It seems that many couples, faced with the prospect of halving their shrunken assets, are deciding to stick it out a while.

Sure, you may be looking forward to happier days of an economic recovery, but there are some of us out there who are waiting patiently to be able to afford to experience the "pain and suffering" of divorce.

Tell me what you think. If physical violence is not an issue, and emotional bullying can be kept to a minimum, does it make better sense to postpone divorce, or should the parties involved just suck it up, swallow their loss, and make it official?


18 July 2009

It's Not Just a Birthday


One of the highlights of my visit back home was the opportunity to reconnect with my step-brother and his family. My parents divorced when I was 16 and they both remarried after I left home. Because of this, even though my dad and step-mom were married for 10 years, my contact with my step-brother was minimal. In fact, the last time I saw him he was Cam's age.

On one of our last days in Washington, my dad, Cam and I drove north (just 25 miles short of the Canadian border) to visit my step-brother, his "wife" (they've been together for 5 years now, but have decided to skip the marriage thing) and their 3-year old daughter (they are expecting a son on July 28th). It was a trip that I had great deal of apprehension about, but it was a FABULOUS time! More on that later ...

Anyway ... while step-brother and I were catching up, he asked me how old I was. I told him I'd be 45 in less than a week, to which he responded (in his best, 32-year old snarkiness), "45? That's not an age, that's a SPEED LIMIT!"

He made me smile ... and remember that life sometimes gives you little gifts that that feel like dog shit when you first step in them look like weeds when you first see them, but upon closer inspection, blossom into beautiful circumstances and memories you could have only imagined.

Thanks "T", for being adult enough to ignore the problems our parents had and for welcoming Cam and me into your family! It is a very special gift you gave - one that I promise to cherish!


17 July 2009

Friday Wrap-Up


Boy, do I need a weekend! Returning to work Wednesday was brutal. I'm not usually whiny about these sorts of things - I just muddle through the muck (I'm a good muck muddler) but Wednesday was just ... just ... EEUUWW!


Things at home have been ... hmmmmm ... strained isn't really the word I'm looking for but it will have to do. There have been several discussions about what went wrong and what is next for us. Emotions are minimal - no yelling and screaming - just coming to terms with the fact that we both feel trapped by the bad financial decisions we made early in the relationship. I hate to admit defeat, but I don't see any hope for change (hmmm ... sounds like a political campaign slogan, doesn't it?). Our marriage lost the passion long ago - and neither of us is willing to do the work to get it back. It looks like we'll remain "roommates" until we can address the finances in a way that is minimally damaging for each of us, or until one of us get the gonads to walk away and start living life again.



And...here we go!

1. Pizza and beer (milk for the kids) make a quick and easy dinner.

2. Prayer Coach (James L. Nicodem) and Fearless Fourteen (Janet Evonovich) is are the book(s) I'm reading right now.

3. July brings back memories of many birthdays, including my 45th tomorrow.

4. The fact that he realized it was over was obvious.

5. They say if you tell your dreams to the ones you love, they'll help make them realities - "they" lied.

6. There is no need to continue to think it over.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to seeing step-daughter (it's been almost a month since I've seen her), tomorrow my plans include picking up Cam's football equipment and attending a BBQ hosted by one of husband's co-workers and Sunday, I want to breathe!


15 July 2009

HNT - "Vacation"


I've come to the realization that visiting family should in no way be confused with going on vacation. They are very different events. In fact, the only similarities are that whether one is visiting family, or going on vacation, when you finally return home, you must unpack ...

... and then you must do laundry *CLICK*



Routine and Comfort, Escape and Change


If I lived in a perfect world, I'd have today off - a day to overcome the jet lag - a day to unpack and do laundry - a day to recover from the past month of travel and "vacation." Unfortunately, bills need to be paid, money needs to be made and I need to keep my employer happy.

I've certainly missed the blogsphere and all of you! Although I've done fairly well keeping up with all of you, commenting on your posts (my favorite part of blogging) has been sporadic at best. I'm actually looking forward to getting back into my routine. There is great comfort in routine and sameness - sometimes too much ...

“I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives. Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change.”
~ Jim Rohn


14 July 2009

Back in the Sadlle Again ...


In about 5 hours, Cam and I will be headed back to Chicago. As was the case last year, I have such mixed feelings about where it is that I call home.

Families are such odd beasts. I, like so many other people, come from one that certainly has its share of dysfunction, but it is *my* family.

My mom and I are like oil and water at times (yes Buff, even though she is "hot") - she has always felt a need to compete with me - to be "better" than me at any cost. It has created a great deal of strain on our relationship.

My father, a now sober alcoholic, is opinionated, judgmental and a bigot. His love was often conditional when I was a child and his memories of the man and father he was are now clouded by the haze of alcohol and old age.

If my mom and dad were just people - not my parents - not Cam's grandparents - I'd have written them off long ago. Yet seeing them now - both in their late 60's - the reality of who they were - and who they are now - is one of great conflict.

When I was a child, they had all of the power, all of the control, they were bigger than life. Now? They are emotionally frail and physically alone. I don't look at them and think, "You got what you deserved," even though there is a side of me that sees they did, indeed, reap what they sowed. No ... when I look at them I wonder if they are getting enough of the "good stuff" now. I wonder who will take care of them when they can no longer take care of themselves. I wonder if I am giving them enough of myself - and of Cam - in their final years.

As is the case each time Cam and I come out here, there is a great deal of discussion surrounding us moving out here. It's tempting on so many levels. I see the benefits to Cam of family relationships - of having aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins who have so much love for him and offer him an emotionally rich environment. I get to feel included in a family - less invisible to the world. I think about what we are going "home" to. A place filled with a nice house, great jobs, financial "security" but nothing of real substance (this is not a dig at husband, but rather just a glimpse of what life is without extended family). I think about just how short life really is and what gifts I feel are most important to give my son.

I know that I need to find a balance, but each time I play out how that might happen, someone loses at my gain. As I get ready to head out this morning, my thoughts will once again turn towards solutions. How can I find that "sweet spot"?


13 July 2009

Nearing the End


Today we'll be having the grand finale of the trip - a HUGE family gathering at my aunt and uncle's house - we head back home on Tuesday. Overall, this has been a good trip. Cam has been able to spend quite a bit of one-on-one time with my dad. My mom and I have managed to keep from killing each other (although I've had to just walk away a few times) and I've gotten a refresher course on the good and bad sides of family time.

We head back tomorrow at 1PM, getting to Chicago at 9PM. Best part? I get to go back to work Wednesday morning - UGH!

Thought I'd share the vlog from the Montana excursion (again, with the Cindy Brady lisp) and a slide show of some of the highlights of our time in Spokane. I know ... I know ... most of you have no desire to spend 8 minutes with me don't have 8 minutes to spend watching videos ... I promise not to take it personally!




12 July 2009

Sunday Secret


I hope your attitude is a sign of Alzheimer's, and not a sign of the person you've become. It is much more "comforting" to think your actions and words are something you have no control over than it is to accept that you've always been acrimonious.


11 July 2009

Where's Waldo?


If you look real hard, you might find me in an unexpected place today. Real Live Lesbian (RLL, as we call her - far fewer key strokes) is away in Vegas and she left the front door to her house open. I guess that's what one calls southern hospitality!

I found Jay over there Thursday, then Skylers Dad showed up yesterday. I lost my party invitation, but I'm thinking today was the day I was supposed to show up. Do you think Jay and Skylers Dad will be upset if I'm early?

Anyway, I refuse to write two blog posts on the same day while on vacation, so if you want to read anything more than this, head over to RLL's place. There are comfy rocking chairs on the front porch, cold beer in the cooler and we're skinny dipping in the pool out back!


10 July 2009

Big Sky Friend


As was clear if you saw yesterday's HNT, I took a short road trip to Helena on Wednesday for my annual Osbasso visit. Although it was a quick 24 hours, it was great to see him again - he's one of the few people I know who can actually keep up with my beer drinking drink more beer than I can! OK ... OK ... I didn't visit just for the beer ... there was GREAT pizza too!

We started out at the Blackfoot River Brewing Company Tap Room. They have a three beer limit (it's a tasting room, not a pub) and it seemed those went down pretty darn quick!

*NOTE* I apologize for the picture quality - the $49 digital camera has its limits!

After 48 ounces of beer on an empty stomach, it was time for some food. Off to Howard's Pizza we went! There is something almost magical about their pizza ... I think it's in the grease ...

There was quite a downpour while we were in Howard's, but it resulted in this ...

More beer? Why, of course! Off to the Brewhouse Brew Pub & Grill we go.

After two (or was it three?) beers, a basket of chips, garlic fries and a shared piece of turtle cheesecake Os pooped out on me it was time to call it a night.

I was up a tad bit early Thursday morning (clearly not enough beer the night before) and enjoyed a Helena sunrise and a little bit of quiet time. Os had the wonderful idea of taking the Last Chance Tour Train through town. OK ... he called it "hokey," but I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and the company.

After the tour, it was time for more food. Seems like this vacation I am either eating or drinking ALL.THE.TIME! Off to the York Bar we go for lunch. Doesn't this look good?

Less than 24 hours later, it was time to head back to Spokane. Os had a meeting that required his attendance, and I had a family that guilted me into cutting a 2-night visit into just 1 night. That's OK ... I want to make sure I'm invited again next year and any more time abusing Os' hospitality might have hurt those chances *wink*


09 July 2009

HNT - Montana


Yesterday, I made the "quick" side trip to Montana to visit with Osbasso (more on that later) - traveled through some of the most beautiful country to get here - and couldn't resist an early morning sunrise HNT.

“A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?”
~ Kahlil Gibran

*CLICK to see the other "mountain" currently in Montana*


Unfortunately, I will probably not be able to make the full HNT rounds this week. Even at 44 (for another 10 days), there is just something wrong with surfing nekkidness with my mother sitting just 5 feet away *wink*


07 July 2009

Fast Women and Fast Cars


So ... it seems some of you seem to think my mother has phallic symbols scattered throughout her house. In fact, several of you commented on this lovely sculpture sitting by the sliding glass door. Being the wholesome, God fearing woman I am, it took me a while to figure out what the hell y'all were talking about ... then I saw it!

Thanks guys ... now I can't walk by this special piece of artwork without giggling ...

*CLICK* to purge your dirty minds!

Cam has always had a fascination with cars and driving, in fact, I'm fairly sure he learned his vehicle makes and models before he learned his alphabet. Now? He routinely kicks ass in masters all video games that involves driving, and go-karts? He thinks he's at Watkins Glen!

Yesterday, we took him to Wonderland USA for some track time. S-L-O-W karts, but reasonably priced. A good warm-up for the Nascarts (NOT reasonably priced) he'll be running later in the week.

I raced with him the first round as there weren't any other people out on the track. Although I finished ahead of him, it was only because he felt sorry for me and tried to make it a race.

Then he got some competition and I was just his camera person ...

We also caught up with my "favorite" cousin, her husband and kids (15 & 18) last night at the Chinese Buffet. Cam got a hold of my camera and took this (all click to BIG - if you dare) ...

... and this ...

... but he also took this great picture of my mom and I ...

Today we'll be hanging out with my cousin's family again - taking the kid's to Laser Quest - where I will joyfully show off my skills as a trained killer and take all three of the little buggers out! Me? Competitive? Nahhhh ...

My Dad comes into town this afternoon. Something tells me I'll have serious blog fodder within hours of his arrival.


06 July 2009

It Wouldn't Be Vacation Without a Vlog


Other than the fact that the microphone on the camera seems to give me an undeserved lisp *flashes back to Cindy Brady* it seems to be $50 well spent!

The first vacation vlog from Spokane ...


05 July 2009

Lessons from Airlines and What Did I Forget?


Well, we made it! And now a word to the major airlines ...

If you are going to charge me for every little thing that should be included in my airfare, at least give me a little something for free so that I don't feel like I just had sex without finishing off with an orgasm so taken advantage of.

United, you suck! Not only do you charge me $15 for a single piece of luggage for three fare paying seats, but when that piece of luggage weighed in at 51.8 lbs, you told me I could either leave something behind, or pay $50 for that extra 1.8 lbs of clothes. And you couldn't even give me an entire can of "free" soda, but rather filled my cup up with ice and gave me a splash of soda!

Delta, you at least make me feel like I'm getting a little something besides leg cramps from being stuffed in a seat made for oompa-loompas people who are no larger than 5'-8" and 120 lbs. Sure, I still have a 50 lb limit on my luggage (weighed before heading to the airport this time), but you gave me a choice between peanuts or cookies (for free) and you gave me something to watch while on the airplane.OK , it was Two and a Half Men laden with Delta commercials, but it kept me occupied. And your WiFi service? Although $9.95 is a bit steep for flights under 3 hours, it's no worse than the cost of a Venti, Skinny Vanilla Latte and a blueberry scone at Starbuck's for 2 hours of "free" internet.


When I'm traveling to a large city within the U.S., I'm not overly anal with my packing list. I mean, seriously, I can always get to a Target or WalMart to pick up whatever I've forgotten, right?? Well ... yes ... but sometimes the cost of forgetfulness is a bit exorbitant.

I remembered to bring my camera with me, but left the battery charger, with the battery still charging in it, at home. Who knew that the cost of a new battery and charger would rival the original cost of the camera?

Today's agenda includes a trip to Target to pick up one of these ...

... and one of theses ...

Saving myself about $50 on the cost of a replacement battery pack and charger for my "good" camera. Thank goodness I'll actually be able to post goofy pajama wearing vacation vlogs and my HNT capture the memories of this family vacation. *GRUMBLE*


04 July 2009

We're Leaving ... on a Jet Plane ...


By the time most of you read this, Cam and I will be well on our way to Spokane! I'm struggling right now with getting him out of bed - seems camp wore him out!

Not sure what my internet activity will look like the next 10 days - I'll check in when I can and those of you who follow me on Twitter will likely be bored to tears hear from me throughout the trip.

Have a safe holiday and play well with others ... or I'm sending you to your room!


03 July 2009

Friday Wrap-Up


What a week! I dropped Cam off for camp Saturday morning and relished in the idea that I would have a week of "un-parenting" time to focus on myself. Ha! My grandiose plans were slapped with a dose of reality when I walked into work on Monday and learned that I had some significant deadlines to meet by Thursday. The 10-hour work days kind of poo-pooed any ideas I might have had for the week.


Speaking of camp, I get to pick the little bugger up tonight at 6PM. Although I wasn't as bothered with him being gone as I thought I might be, I am quite thrilled to get to see him tonight. We'll have a whirlwind 12 hours though as Cam and I leave for eastern Washington at 7:40 AM tomorrow!


Things on the home front have been interesting this week. Husband seems to be making quite an effort, and I am attempting to be far more appreciative of the effort he is making. We actually have a "date" today - Jimmy John's for lunch and then the matinee showing of Public Enemies at [THIS] theater.

I'm trying to find balance between being cynical with husband's efforts (I've certainly seen this type of response before - without long-term results) and being open to the hope that maybe he "gets" it this time. It's quite the tightrope walk.


Why can't I seem to keep up with my blog reading these days? Seems like every time I open up Reader there are 30+ blogs waiting for me! I'm reading all of you, but I'm afraid my commenting has suffered the time crunch. I hate it when that happens!



And...here we go!

1. When I heard Michael Jackson died I was amazed at how people focused on only the parts of his life they felt were "good." I wonder if they do that with everyone they know, or just the famous people they "know."

2. Gin & tonic with a squeeze of lime is the best medicine.

3. It's late, but I cannot seem to stop watching the I Love Lucy marathon.

4. I try not to lump behaviors into always.

5. My eyes have seen you - Stand in your door - Meet me inside - Show me some more ...

6. Hope is the companion of power, and mother of success; for who so hopes strongly has within him the gift of miracles. ~Samuel Smiles.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to welcoming my Boo-Bear home, tomorrow my plans include getting on a plane and heading west, with a 90 minute layover in Salt Lake City, and Sunday, I want to do little more than recover from my travels - and wish Kimmehkins a very happy birthday!


01 July 2009

HNT - Patriot


My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!
~Thomas Jefferson



TMI Tuesday #193 (rebroadcast) ... and on Wednesday


TMI Tuesday

1. How many speeding tickets have you had? Accidents?

I've been driving for thirty a few years, so I've had ample opportunity to get more than my fair share of tickets, but only one of those was a speeding ticket and it was dismissed after attending traffic school (got to love California).

Also on the infractions list:
  • Running a stop sign. I had only been driving a few months when I got that one, and had it reduced when I appeared in court.
  • Running a stop sign in Tijuana Mexico. It was the first - and last time - I ever drove in Mexico. Fortunately the police are corrupt willing to work with Americans and $50 cash and a nice cleavage shot took care of it.
  • Seat belt infraction ... because Cam was not wearing his seat belt (this was just a few months ago). Cam paid the $25 fine and has now become quite anal about wearing his seat belt (I'd say that lesson was learned).
Accidents? I've never had one when driving, but I was a passenger in one where the car ended up resting on its side. There were some illegal substances involved in that one, but fortunately no one was hurt nor arrested.

2. Boxers, briefs or commando?

*gigglesnort* BOXERS! OK ... maybe not ...

If I'm dressed for work (skirt or dress with nylons) I don't wear anything but the nylons. If I'm wearing anything else I'm usually a thong girl!

3. Have you ever had sex in your office or your place of employment?

Thinking ...

Nope! Not that I can remember, and if I can't remember it didn't happen, right?

4. Do you or your so own a motorcycle? Do you ever ride one? Do you wear a helmet when you ride?

I used to own one and keep telling husband my next car will be a Harley. When I lived in San Diego, I owned this bike:

Oh how I miss that bike. I've been trying to find someone locally who will let me ride with them, although being a passenger isn't anywhere near as fun as being the first one with the wind in your face.

And a helmet? Always. I'm kind of attached to my brain - it's one of my better attributes.

5. Ever been skinny dipping?

Thinking ...

Does topless in a hot tub count?

Bonus: Ever been arrested? Turned someone in/had someone arrested?

Well, there was this one time ... after a few too many Kamikazes ...

DUI. *hangs head in shame* I certainly did and had to call my MOTHER to come pick me up from jail. She thought it was a prank call and hung up on me the first time I called (I was 25). The charges were dismissed when I went to court and the officer claimed he pulled me over for "swerving within my lane." The judge reminded him that as long as I was within the lane markers he had no cause to pull me over and dismissed the case. Bottom line? I shouldn't have been driving, and I'm glad I got pulled over.