Monday, December 22, 2014

My Uncle Carl...

Yesterday, I got an email from my beloved Aunt Gayle.  Gayle is married to my dad's brother and she is one of the nicest people I know besides Bill.  I can say with all honesty that my Aunt Gayle is one of my favorite people because she is truly a lovely person.  As a lovely person who lives in my Granny's old house, it often falls to her to tell the family about people who are sick and need prayers. I am not one who is big on prayers or religion in general, but when she asks for prayers, I usually oblige.  Yesterday, she asked for prayers for my Uncle Carl.

Last month, when Bill and I were in Virginia reuniting with my family, we saw my Uncle Carl and his wife, Betty.  Carl is one of my dad's brothers.   He and Betty have lived in Natural Bridge for most of their lives and raised their two children there.  Unfortunately, Carl and Betty are both ill.  Betty has Alzheimer's Disease and can no longer navigate the area where she's lived for decades.  Carl has a form of leukemia.  I am not sure which kind he has, but I'm guessing it's AML.  If I recall correctly, my grandmother, who was also Carl's mother, had the chronic form of leukemia for many years.  Unfortunately, I don't think Carl will be as lucky as she was.  He's been in the hospital for about 10 days with uncontrollable fevers.  Gayle writes that the last two round of chemotherapy have not been effective.  His body has started to make "immature cells".

Carl was basically himself when we saw him last month, other than being tired and needing to sit down.  He's a very demonstrative person who likes to hug a lot.  He sat between Bill and me and had a long chat, though he didn't talk too much about the cancer he's been dealing with, other than to say that he'd had a relapse.  He told me that he can't dance anymore and that's something he's always loved to do.  He said that Betty has lost her short term memory, so they often have the same conversations over and over again.  He said he's exhausted most of the time, too...  But he was in great spirits and seemed delighted to see Bill and me.

Although I did a lot of stressing before our reunion, I'm glad we were there, too.  I said it would probably be the last time I'd see some of the people in attendance.  In Carl's case, it sadly looks like I could be right.  Based on the wording of Gayle's email, I get the sense that things may be going south very soon, though Carl's doctors hope he can go home for Christmas.  They have to get his fevers under control first.

Me and Carl on the couch.  I wouldn't ordinarily share this photo of myself because it's not very flattering, but since it's of me and Carl, I figure I might as well.

Carl is the one who led the open mic at my dad's memorial.  He told the story about why my dad, whose name at birth was Charles, ended up going by the name "Bill" his whole life.  In storage back in Texas, I have a funny photo of Carl at my wedding.  He has a red rose between his teeth and looks maniacal.  I remember watching him dance at many family parties.  I remember his stories about what it was like to grow up my dad's brother.  Sadly, I think I might have heard his stories for the last time.

Anyway, we'll see what happens.  Another uncle, Ed, has organized a family blood drive in Carl's honor.  Carl is a good man.  I will send him my prayers.    

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Being a housewife is akin to being on welfare?

The other day, I read an interesting article on  It was about a woman who was being "bullied" by a woman at her child's bus stop.  This article, which was originally published in November 2013, was written by Jessica Stolzberg, a mom who has two kids who are now in school.  At the time her article was published, Stolzberg's kids were 8 and 11 years old.  Apparently, the other mom at the bus stop felt that because Stolzberg had kids in school, it was time for her to go back to work.  The other mom was herself a part time therapist who took dance classes six times a week.  However, the part time therapist felt it was her right to ask Stolzberg about how she spends her time, now that her kids aren't home all day.  Therapist mom even had the nerve to ask Stolzberg, "Can I ask what you do all day?"

Stolzberg handled the first question with class and aplomb, but the lady continued to make snarky comments throughout the school year.  Finally, when Stolzberg had had enough, confronted the lady, and was then treated to another comment about how perhaps she should seek therapy to find out why the therapist's comments upset her so much.  I don't think you'd need a therapist to answer that question.  It's because the therapist was being rude, insensitive, and, well, snarky.  If it were me, I think I would have told therapist lady that I spend my days lounging in black, crotchless, velvet pantaloons, masturbating to music by Grace Jones.  Then I would have smiled and winked at her.  Or, if I'd been in a pissy mood, I might have told her it was none of her goddamn business.  Clearly she's not busy enough with her own life if the way I spend my days is such a big concern to her.

I must admit that I could relate to Jessica Stolzberg somewhat, except I don't even have kids.  I am a SAHW.  And I'm sure that certain people actually do wonder what I do all day...  On the other hand, most people probably don't care because they have their own lives to worry about.  It used to really bother me that I didn't have a job outside the home.  It was an insult to my pride.  And when I first became a SAHW, it nearly drove me nuts not having anywhere to go all day or anyone to answer to.

As time went on, I became pretty good at filling the hours with meaningful activities.  I started to make music and write, which has even ended up earning me some money.  I daresay Jessica Stolzberg, though she doesn't work outside the home, is also a writer.  That's what she does all day, aside from tending to household chores that need doing and raising her kids.  Frankly, I think it makes perfect sense for parents to want to raise their kids, rather than put them in a child care facility.  But I understand that other people both want and need to work outside the home for a living.  That's okay, too.  Whatever's legal and gets you through life-- that's my motto.

Anyway, after I read the article, I made the mistake of reading the comments.  And someone wrote this...

I cannot even fathom why anyone would WANT to be a stay at home mom. Even if I had the opportunity to not work, i.e. if my husband made enough money to support the family, I would feel like a complete failure and a mooch not providing financially for myself and my kids. I'm pretty sure we don't live in the 1950s anymore so no one expects a mom to stay at home, so why would you? I have worked [outside the home] my kids' whole lives and they're perfectly fine. I've been there for them for their awards and events and conferences and everything in between. I come home and make dinner and clean and do laundry, but I work for a living and pay my own way. In my opinion SAHMs are no different than welfare moms. they just get their money from their husbands instead of the government. Go to college and get a job. Have some self respect.

Wow.  I mean, I guess I get that some people think that SAHMs or even worse, SAHWs, are "mooches" because they don't earn a steady paycheck from some corporation.  But are they really akin to "welfare moms"?  Aside from the fact that some people really do need welfare and are getting it through no fault of their own, what makes you think your choices should be everyone's choices?  There's no one "right" way to live.  And everyone is dealing with different circumstances.  Naturally, this commenter got a rebuttal...  Here's one of the better ones.

SAHM moms are no different from welfare moms???!!! You're not only offensive, but totally ignorant. How dare you presume to know everyone else's situation. If a family has enough income for one partner (male or female) to stay at home, good for them. My partner works ridiculous hours, but makes a decent wage, and appreciates the contributions I make to our family. I not only spend a ton of time helping out at my children's school (which they love), I also, whenever possible, take photos and videos for the Moms I know aren't able to attend many school events because of work. Thankfully, these women don't seem to share your opinions, just appreciate that those of us who are able to give their time to make a better school for all of our kids. And I respect the choices they make as well. Your choices are fine for you, not for many of us. The difference is, I don't draw idiotic conclusions based on people whose choices are different from mine.

And then the precious lady who compares SAHMs to welfare moms retorts with this...

can you please explain to me how SAHMs are any different than welfare moms, other than the fact they get their money from their husbands instead of the government? those things you've described doing; volunteering, etc., could be done by any parent who isn't at work during the day.

p.s. This is coming from a former single mom (who at one point had no choice to be on welfare) who worked hard to finish my degree and got a job so I could have the ability to provide for myself and my children.

Hmmph... well, aren't we a little self-righteous and holier than thou?  So the other commenter wrote this.  

That's very easy. My husband and I each contribute to making life better for our family. His work has a dollar amount attached, mine doesn't. I'm very happy to have a husband who sees my contribution just as important as his, if not more so. It was his idea for me to stay home just before the birth of our first child. I was reluctant, but didn't want to put our baby in day care - we made sacrifices in other areas to make it work financially.

I was raised by a single mom who worked her ass of to keep us off of welfare (doesn't work for everyone, and I respect that), so she had to miss a lot of things at school when we were going up. She tells me quite often how pleased she is that I'm able to be there for my kids more than she was able to be for us. She's thrilled to be a part of it, too, and I'm so grateful for every single sacrifice she made for us.

I worked hard to finish my degree, too, at one point holding down three part-time jobs as a full-time student. I did it all without any public assistance, or any help from my parents, something of which I'm very proud. I did it before I became a parent, which is no better or worse than your choices, just mine. Please don't assume that SAHM moms don't have a kick ass work ethic, my ambitions are just devoted in another direction right now. When the time is right, I'll get back to the profession in which I practiced for over a decade. I earned the right to make that choice, however you feel about it. And during the many years I was at work, perhaps some of my tax dollars helped make your goals more possible.

I get that many people prefer to work for a living.  Our society is very work oriented.  If you don't have a job, many people will think you're a loser.   Other people will think you have no identity.  Unfortunately, a lot of people don't have jobs because there aren't any available.  I haven't had a job outside the home in many years.  I wanted one for awhile, but then came to realize that due to the nature of Bill's work, it would be very difficult to do the work for which I was trained.  And I have absolutely no desire to work at a boring low level job for which I am way overqualified.  Moreover, there are other people out there who actually NEED those jobs.  At this point, we don't need the money.

And folks, I'll be very honest.  Getting up the crack of dawn, fighting traffic, sitting in meetings, working under fluorescent lighting in a cubicle while putting out fires, and dealing with annoying co-workers and bosses isn't all that much fun.  I've done it before and if I don't have to do it again, so much the better.  Maybe that makes me a loser in some peoples' eyes, but hell, we get by.  And there are advantages to our lifestyle, too...  as long as we can maintain it.  I know I wouldn't have gotten to see nearly as much of the world as I have if I hadn't been what some people would call a "dependapotamus"...  And because I write about those experiences, other people get to learn through me.  Besides, now that my blogs have made enough for a Google payment, I can't even say I'm not earning anything.

But anyway... I don't think of myself as akin to a welfare recipient, nor do I think that receiving welfare is necessarily something that people should automatically be ashamed of.  Sometimes people need help and a decent society should be prepared to give it to those who need it.  Being an able bodied person and on welfare for years on end is a different story, of course.  But I don't think that definition applies to most moms I know, whether they're working outside the home or not.

A good song about laziness...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Watching old episodes of ANTM...

I quit watching America's Next Top Model after the college edition.  I think that might have been Cycle 19.  Truth be told, I didn't watch all of the episodes of Cycle 19.  The show had become pretty much unwatchable by then.  When Tyra fired Miss J, Jay Manuel, and Nigel Barker and added the repulsive Kelly Cutrone to the line up, I decided enough was enough and pulled the plug.

Since I was without WiFi for half of this week, I needed to find ways to entertain myself.  I had a bunch of old episodes of ANTM on my computer.  Since those earlier cycles were kind of fun to watch, I've been revisiting them.  Man... I'm glad reality TV didn't exist when I was in my 20s.  The idea of spending several weeks in a house with a bunch of drama queens and engaging in silly challenges while listening to Tyra Banks is not all that appealing.  But then, Tyra Banks is my age, so I probably find her less impressive.  She's more of a peer than a role model.  I also find her unbearably narcissistic, but I guess narcissism is a necessary ingredient for the massive success she has managed to achieve.

I guess for me, what really makes this show interesting is that these women really think that being on ANTM will propel them into superstardom.  Some of the women who have been contestants have become actual models, but the vast majority of them go back into obscurity.  And yet, when they are eliminated, you often hear them say "You'll see me again someday" as they drag their suitcases off into the sunset.

Of course, there are always exceptions.  Probably the most successful ANTM alum yet is Analeigh Tipton, who ended up in movies.

A trailer from one of Analeigh's recent flicks...

Adrianne Curry, who infamously won the first cycle and then went on to piss off Tyra Banks by calling her out for not delivering on the prizes she was supposed to win, went on to be in a few reality shows and even married Christopher Knight, aka Peter Brady.  Of course, they ended up getting divorced.

Adrianne Curry keeping it classy on My Fair Brady...

Elyse Sewell was also on Cycle 1 and later wrote an entertaining blog about being a model in Asia.

Elyse Sewell went on to be a successful model in Hong Kong...

Cycle 10's Fatima Siad has gone on to be a model... and it seems appropriate, given how exotic and unusual she is.

And here's Fatima Siad, obviously still working as a model...

But for most of them, ANTM is not an endeavor that will lead to anything substantive in the entertainment industry.  When it comes down to it, ANTM is about drama and catfights.  I cringe whenever Tyra says the judges are "scared" about something.  That's just dumb.  They're modeling, not performing brain surgery.  Granted, I am no model and wouldn't want to be one.  What they're doing is learning how to sell things through pictures.  That's what modeling is mostly about.  

It also kills me when Tyra talks about "high fashion"... but then all the challenges are using Cover Girl makeup at Walmart.  There's nothing high fashion about Cover Girl or Walmart.  When she criticizes a model for being too "commercial", I can't help but think that's what modeling is really about.  Only a small percentage of models are couture-- those are the ones who are doing artistic photo shoots.  The rest of them are making money selling clothes for Eddie Bauer or Target.  There's nothing wrong with being commercial.  That's where the money and the work is.  Hell... Tyra was a model for Victoria's Secret.  What's high fashion about that?  ANTM is really just one big ad.

Anyway... back to Duolingo.  Got to practice my German.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Stephen Collins says "I'm not a pedophile"...

What is it with actors who play dads of big families on prime time TV?  There have been rumors circulating about Bill Cosby for years, though it's only been recently that so many women have come out and accused him of drugging and raping them.  And then there's Stephen Collins, who has openly admitted exposing himself to a teenager and causing a girl to "touch him inappropriately".  Collins, at least, is admitting what he did, while Cosby won't even address the accusations.

Stephen Collins infamously played Revered Eric Camden on the CW's 7th Heaven,  a show I love to hate.  On that show, he was father to seven kids and father figure to a bunch of other kids.  So far, no one from that show has accused him of "touching inappropriately" or exposing himself.  But it does remind one that actors aren't necessarily who they portray on TV.

On Yahoo! today, Katie Couric is shown asking the former RevCam if he's a pedophile.  Collins emphatically states that he doesn't fit the definition of a pedophile.  He claims that he is not attracted to children and committed those actions because he sought attention.  Okay then...

Actually, while the idea of someone being sexually attracted to children is repulsive to me, I don't necessarily think that every one who commits a sexual crime against children is definitely attracted to them.  Sometimes people just want to hurt other people.  I do think Mr. Collins has some "issues" though, regardless of the reason(s) why he did what he did to those girls.

The little bit of the interview between Couric and Collins is interesting.  I almost wish I were in the States so I could see it aired on 20/20 tonight.  Maybe I will be able to watch it on ABC's Web site.  Apparently, Collins' estranged wife thinks he has narcissistic personality disorder.  I'd like to hear more about that.  Of course, the fact that he's speaking to the media about this situation does make him seem somewhat less creep like.  On the other hand, I wasn't a big fan of Stephen Collins' work even before this stuff came out.

It'll be interesting to see what else comes out about this... and how it makes Collins look in the long run.


New modem in the house!

So I'm off the phone and on the 'net again.  This week, we've dealt with a string of inconveniences... the clog in the pipe, the dogs getting their teeth cleaned, and the modem dying on us.  But at least I'm over my cold and Bill isn't in Africa.

I suspect I'll be ready to write about something substantive in a little while.  For now, I'm going to enjoy using my computer again.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My modem died...

So I'm taking a forced hiatus until it gets fixed.  :(  Hopefully, that'll be soon.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ridiculous post #2...

Well, I'm about to ask for it, but I can't resist.  Today on Huffington Post, there's an interesting article by a woman calling herself Sloane Bradshaw.  The article is called "What One Scorned Wife Wants the Other Woman To Know".  Now, I have never actually been the "other woman", although my husband's former wife probably thinks of me that way.  I didn't meet Bill in person until he had been divorced for almost a year.  Prior to that, we were strictly Internet friends.  But as someone who came after a bitter ex wife, I wish to respond to Ms. Bradshaw's list of demands to the "other woman".  Click the link for the whole article.  My rebuttals will be in red... and they are a bit tongue in cheek.  In reality, I'm not this callous and bitchy.

1.  I'm still married to the guy. So keep your butt out of our business until we can finalize our divorce. And yes, that includes our child visitation schedule, thankyouverymuch.

Fair enough.  That goes both ways, though.  You don't get to have an opinion about our relationship, either, especially after the divorce, thankyouverymuch.  

2.  Don't insist on reading all the texts I send him. It's stalkery and sad.

I'll be happy to respect your privacy, especially if you confine your texts to actual business involving the dissolution of your marriage and your children.  Your writing bores me anyway.

3.  Stop thinking that I want this loser back. Cuz, nope.

If he's such a loser, why are you so upset about losing him?  Didn't I do you a favor by taking him off your hands?  I think you protest too much.  And don't tell me what to think.  You're not the boss of me.

4. Don't push to be part of his children's lives, and for God's sake, don't make his kids share their precious visitation time with you.

Okay.  That means you don't get to expect me to do anything for your kids.  Not my kids.  Not my problem.    

5.  I have kids, so, unfortunately, I'm going to have to meet you. When it's time, don't show up looking like some kind of model.

No, you don't have to meet me, since you've pretty much banned me from having anything to do with your kids.  Get down off the motherhood martyrdom cross.  And don't tell me how I should look.  I can't help it if my looks make you feel insecure.  That's your problem.  But thanks for saying I look like a model.  I try.

6.  Or worse, like Pennsatucky from Orange Is The New Black (shudder).

I'm sure I don't know who Pennsatucky is.  I'm too busy fucking your husband to watch TV. 

7.  Don't interrupt me when I'm talking to the man I'm still married to (who *newsflash* fathered my children) to interject your two cents. You are not part of our relationship.

You let "this loser" father your children.  Just remember that, Mother-Of-The-Year.  I hope you don't plan to denigrate your children's father in front of them.  They share his DNA, you know; and it will hurt their feelings to hear you talk shit about their father.  

8.  Don't expect me to consider your feelings or place them above my own or my children's. Not even for one minute. Or one second. You don't matter to me.

Okay.  I'll be sure to continue giving you no quarter, either.   It's only fair, right?  And if I don't matter to you, why are you writing me this list of demands?  Again, you protest too much.  

9.  You slept with my husband and broke up my family. The odds of me ever respecting you are slim to none, especially if you've done anything on this list. You are more than welcome to try to earn my respect.

I never made a promise to you.  Your husband is the one who broke a commitment.  If you don't want your family broken up, forgive him for cheating and don't get a divorce.  What makes you think I give a shit if you respect me?  

10.  But here's the best advice I can give to someone like you: Don't be the other woman. Seriously. Otherwise, you'll get exactly what that type of person deserves: my sh*tty husband. Congratulations.

I hope your next relationship is more fulfilling and you choose your next mate more wisely.  Remember, there are other fish in the sea.  Your ability to judge character accurately is obviously lacking, though, so maybe you'd better wait until the kids are grown.  Wouldn't want to expose them to another loser.

In all seriousness, I do have some empathy for this woman.  It's tough to be betrayed.  Bill experienced it when his ex wife cheated on him.  But then, he probably should have expected it because she also cheated with him.  He believed her when she told him she was separated and her first husband was an abusive bastard.  He made a mistake in getting involved with her while she was still legally married and, in fact, didn't repeat that mistake with me.  There was no carrying on with me until his marriage to the ex was over.  In fact, I even had a so-called "white wedding".

Sounds like Ms. Bradshaw may have similarly made a mistake.  And she may take some solace in realizing that the woman she's so pissed at will likely also be cheated on by her loser soon to be ex.

God knows I have vented plenty on my blog about our situation.  But this is a blog and that's kind of what blogs are for.  It surprises me that an outfit like Huffington Post would publish such an emotional piece written by someone who is still obviously pretty raw.  I notice many commenters are on the writer's side, but quite a few more think she's immature.  What's she's done is vent, which is definitely natural... but to do it for Huffington Post?  I dunno.  Although it is getting read and shared, so what do I know?

Well... now that I've gotten that snarkiness out of my system, I think I'll go check on the laundry.

Ohio kid refuses to do homework until school brings back Ten Commandments plaque...

Special thanks to my Facebook friend, Scooter, for posting about this...  Sometimes I need something really ridiculous to write about on my blog.  

Anthony Miller, a high school freshman at Harding High School in Marion, Ohio, is protesting.  He's on strike, don'tcha know.  What's got him upset?  A plaque that was gifted to the school from the class of 1953 was removed.  The plaque was a copy of the Ten Commandments and it hung for years in a stairway near the school's entrance.  The school's principal has said that the plaque is "gone for good" and that has Anthony and some other students upset.

What has Miller done to protest?  He's quit participating in class.  He goes to school because he has to by law, but he's not doing homework or participating in any activities.  Miller says he's doing it because the Ten Commandments are rules that everyone should follow.  Miller and the other students who are protesting have also passed around a petition.

Personally, I don't have a problem with the Ten Commandments.  I don't think they are offensive.  But then, I was raised Christian.  Not everyone was.  Moreover, a public school, as a government funded institution paid for by taxes that everyone contributes, should not be promoting a specific religious belief.  If you want religion promoted in your school, go to a private school.  As an American, you have that choice.

While I guess it's admirable that school officials are even talking to Miller and his peers about this situation, I have to wonder why it should matter to anyone that Miller has decided not to do his schoolwork.  Not doing his work or participating in school activities is only going to hurt him.  It's his grades and education that are going to suffer.  A few years from now, as Miller prepares for adulthood, will people care that he went on strike to save the Ten Commandments plaque?  My guess is that most of them won't.  This isn't a situation in which Miller's choice not to do his work inconveniences anyone.  In the long run, it's Miller who will suffer the consequences.

I guess I should be glad that Miller even cares enough to do something.  A lot of people don't care enough to get involved in issues that affect them.   But hell, if you're going to protest, do something that has some teeth.  Not doing your work or participating in high school activities isn't effective.  In fact, I'm surprised this is even news.