Friday, December 31, 2010

And the last day of 2010 is shaping up to be weird...

This morning, I had a very vivid dream.  I still remember a lot of it, so I'm going to write it down for future reference.

The dream starts in a busy restaurant that has several floors.  I'm there with my husband and we're eating really greasy cheeseburgers and fries on the second floor.  The place is crawling with college students, many of whom seemed familiar to me from my days as a student.  At one point, my husband gets up to do something and I'm sitting alone.  A young boy, maybe seven or eight years old, approaches and starts to harass me.  For some reason, I have a handful of granulated sugar that has been dyed dark green.  I throw it at him and yell at him to leave me alone.   Next thing I know, the boy's father, a very young looking guy, angrily threatens me with bodily harm for throwing green sugar at his son.  I get very angry and tell the guy I'm about to cry rape.  He immediately backs off, but everyone in the restaurant turns on me and becomes very hostile.

I get up to go to the bathroom, which is actually some kind of fru fru sorority looking bedroom with a toilet in it.  I go in there and take a big dump.  Then I leave and look for my husband, who was supposed to be on the restaurant's third floor.  He's not there.  I'm feeling pissed off and abandoned.

I leave the restaurant and find that almost everyone I bump into has turned against me.  I can't find my husband and my iPhone isn't working.  Suddenly, I find myself at this beautiful ornately decorated museum that's supposed to be a replica of George W. Bush's home.  It's really lovely, decorated in vivid greens and dark yellows, and looks very Mediterranean.  I want to stop and take pictures, but I'm too busy looking for my husband and trying to call him on the phone.

Suddenly, I'm standing in an area that is supposed to be like an oasis of the city.  If you're standing there, you know you're not far from the center.  Realizing this, I feel relieved and start heading for the college campus, where I bump into this very pretty sorority girl.  I have never been in a sorority, yet she seems to be acting as some kind of advocate for me.  We don't say much as someone approaches us with two slips of paper inviting us to some kind of "court", where I'll be tried for whatever it was I did to make everyone so hostile.  As I was waking up, I was deciding how to respond and, I think, leaning toward just leaving the area.

I told my husband about this dream as we were waking up.  It's the most vivid dream I've had in a long while.  Then I took the dogs out for a walk.  We found what appeared to be a decapitated squirrel in our driveway.  I didn't get too close because I didn't want the dogs to take it in their mouths.  I didn't know where it had been and I figured if they got ahold of it, I'd never get them to release it.  For all I know, some wacko left it there, laced with poison.

Then I sat down to my computer and found a snarky comment on a champagne review I wrote last summer.  The comment was supposedly from my husband's ex-wife, but it was too well-written to be by her and it was also under a topic that I highly doubt she'd read about.  The person wrote "one woman's trash is another woman's treasure, homewrecker."  Hmm... given the fact that I didn't meet my husband until a year after they divorced, I don't see how I could be called a homewrecker.  And even if I actually could be considered a homewrecker, that home in particular is one I'd be proud to wreck.

It's just odd that something like that would pop up on New Year's Eve after two other weird things happened.  I deleted the comment.  I didn't feel it had anything to do with the review, though it does make me wonder about people.  Did someone leave it there to be funny or hostile?  Did my innocuous comment make them feel bitter about their own situation?  All I know is that comment, whether it was meant as a joke or not, says a lot more about the person who left it than it does about me.

Anyway, we'll see what the rest of New Year's Eve 2010 has in store for me... this could turn out to be a day I blog more than once.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Weird things in my life at the end of 2010...

I originally posted this on Epinions, but I figure it belongs here, too...

I don't often feel the urge to write in Writer's Corner these days, but I've really had an odd week.  When you're a stay at home Army wife with no kids, odd weeks can be hard to come by.  Besides, I feel like writing, but don't quite have anything ready to review... so here goes.  

It's funny how things can change at the drop of a hat.  Last Monday, I was anticipating Christmas.  My husband was enjoying a fairly quiet week at work, finishing up the last tasks of 2010.  I was collecting stuff from FedEx, UPS, and the mailman, wrapping them up, and trying to shoo my beagle from unwrapping them before Christmas morning.  In one case, I failed and we exchanged one present to each other the week before the big day.


We knew we were going to be moving again in 2011, because the Army installation where my husband works is closing down.  But I wasn't quite prepared when dear spouse came home on Tuesday and told me that we were going to be moving in April... to North Carolina.  This is odd, not because we didn't, on some level, expect to move to Bragg, but because we currently live in a city by the same name in Georgia.  I also wasn't expecting to have to go in April.  I guess it's not a bad thing.  I prefer NC to DC... and maybe, just maybe, this will be the last time we have to move before my spouse retires.  But I ain't gonna bet on it.


The next weird thing that happened is that this week, my husband, who has consistently gotten excellent evaluations from his direct supervisors and recently made the DA select list to be promoted to Colonel, got some kind of *bs* evaluation letter from some board that obviously doesn't know him.  For some very strange reason, as of July 2010, this board had ranked my husband in the bottom third of all of the other people in his rank.  I wouldn't be mentioning this at all if I felt there were any merit whatsoever to this ranking.  All it proves to me is that there's at least one absolutely worthless level of the evaluation process for people in the military, especially since last year, the same board had placed dear spouse in the top tier.  That letter certainly makes the fact that we have had to move four times in the last four years--including overseas and back-- all the more embittering.  It really makes no sense at all, especially since the evaluation was done in July and he's just finding out about it December...  Merry Christmas, indeed.  Maybe it's a sign.


The next weird thing that happened has to do with Christmas.  I bought my husband a six quart Le Creuset stockpot to help him with his budding cooking skills.  When the box came from Cooking.com, it appeared to be very large for a stockpot.  But for some reason, I didn't open it to see what was inside.  I just wrapped it up and stuck it under the tree.  On Christmas morning, my husband unwrapped his gift and opened the box... and we found that instead of sending me one stockpot, Cooking.com sent me a case of stockpots.  Three of my friends will be the lucky recipients of the three surplus stockpots.


Then, on Christmas night, Georgia got snow.  Though I have lived abroad three times in places where a white Christmas would be expected, this year was, in fact, my very first white Christmas.  And it happened in Georgia, of all places!  The snow is an even bigger shock to me, given the fact that it was downright warm and humid just three days prior to the snow. 


And the final weird event of 2010 is that yesterday afternoon, my Aunt Nance died.  Nance was my dad's brother's wife.  She had been ill with Alzheimer's Disease and had grown frail and demented.  However, she was still living at home with her husband and one of her sons.  I saw her at Thanksgiving and she was wandering around the party, looking like she was having a pretty good time.  She stood next to me at one point and I commented that she was one of the very few people in the world I'm taller than.  She looked at me and said she was also skinnier than me, though "not by much".  Sadly, Nance had indeed grown very skinny at that point, but no one had bought her any smaller clothes.  They hung on her as if she were a hanger.  I had a feeling this might be the last time I'd see Nance alive, but I didn't guess she'd be leaving us in a matter of weeks.


When the phone rang yesterday at about 2:00pm, I could see it was another one of my aunts calling and I was surprised.  This particular aunt is more likely to email than pick up the phone.    Anyway, she told me that Aunt Nance had collapsed at home in her bathroom and was taken to a local hospital.  Her vital signs plunged in the early afternoon and she passed away at 1:00pm  Her death was not unexpected, but it was very sudden.  I found myself tasked with having to call my parents and sisters to give them the news.  My mom already knew about it, but my sisters were as surprised as I was.  I'm really going to miss my Aunt Nance.  She was definitely what you'd call a "character".  


I'm almost afraid to find out what kind of "WTF" moments the last week of 2010 has in store for me...  Maybe I'll end up pregnant... but that would be more like a miracle than a weird event

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Vasectomies and family politics...

I know it's two days before Christmas and I should probably be writing about the holiday season, but I've got something on my mind this morning.  Yesterday, I was on a messageboard for recovering Mormons and someone asked for thoughts about vasectomies.  It seems that she and her husband had recently fallen away from the LDS church and, having already had two children, no longer felt the need to have a huge family.  Her husband had grown up in a big family and didn't really want to have more children.  She, on the other hand, wasn't sure if she was "done" having kids.

The topic of vasectomies always hits me close to home.  My husband had a vasectomy when he was married to his ex wife.  He did so because she apparently had a lot of problems being pregnant... it was "hard" on her.  They had two daughters plus her son from another marriage.  They were poor and the military would do the surgery for free.  So even though he wasn't even 30 years old, my husband got snipped.  Just a few years later, they divorced and he married me, a woman in her 30s with no children.  My husband's ex wife, on the other hand, married a younger man and has since had two more kids.  So much for pregnancy being too "hard" on her.

I've always wanted to be a mother and had always assumed I would be.  But the man I fell in love with had surrendered to family politics and went under the knife.  When we got married, I knew my dreams of motherhood might never come true, especially since we started our marriage pretty poor.  Luckily, two years after we tied the knot, an Army doctor reversed my husband's vasectomy free of charge.  It was technically successful, but we still don't have kids.  At this point, I'm okay with that.  I'm getting too old for kids anyway.  Besides, beagles are easier to live with.

The topic of vasectomies and the relentless pressure some people put on men to have them is still one of my hot button issues.  In the wake of our experience, I've come to a few conclusions.  First off, I recognize that it's basically a harmless, painless procedure.  However, I also recognize that like any medical procedure, a vasectomy can pose risks.  In the thread I was reading about vasectomies, one man commented that his sex drive had changed noticeably for the worse after he'd gotten snipped.  A regular female poster on the board commented that the poster obviously didn't know what he was talking about.  In very simple terms, she described what the vasectomy procedure entails and said that obviously, his issues couldn't stem from having had a vasectomy.

At that point, I jumped in and said that I'd found a Web site  called Don't Fix It, created by a man who had undergone a vasectomy and regretted it.  I commented that I wasn't necessarily agreeing with the man who had created the Don't Fix It site and written an accompanying book, but I thought he presented a viewpoint worth considering.  I came back later to find that the poster had dismissed the man's experiences, claiming that he's ignorant about physiology and spreading lies about a perfectly "harmless" procedure.

Well... that comment pissed me right off.  Even if Mr. Don't Fix It is ignorant about physiology, he obviously had a vasectomy and regretted it.  Even if most men have vasectomies and never look back, that's not indicative of every man's experience.  And the men who have not had a good time of it after getting snipped deserve to be heard as much as the men who are satisfied with their results.  After doing a perfunctory search last night, I found more anecdotes written by men who had experienced physical problems and pain after having been snipped.  Is it the norm?  Probably not, but I think anyone who is considering having surgery, particularly an entirely elective one like a vasectomy, should do their homework and make sure they know about all the risks, even the highly unlikely ones.

Secondly, I think a lot of men have vasectomies because they feel pressured by family politics.  The woman decides she's done having kids.  She doesn't want to fool with birth control anymore.  It's cheaper and easier for the man to be sterilized than the woman, so naturally, he should be the one to "man up", as it were, and get himself fixed, right?  But hold on a minute.  A vasectomy is a surgical procedure carried out on a man's most private parts.  What woman wouldn't be offended if her spouse told her he expected her to have an elective procedure on her private parts?  I gather most women would be horrified if a man demanded that she get a tubal ligation.  And yet, a lot of women think nothing at all about demanding that her husband get snipped.  Some of them hold up the prospect of not having sexual intercourse as the "carrot" to get the man to comply.

I think the decision whether or not to have a vasectomy should be entirely the man's decision.  We women get very upset when a man dares to demand that a woman have an abortion.  What makes us think we have the right to demand something just as personal of our men?  It's the man's body and ultimately, the man has to live with the results.  He may be very happy with them or he may not.  But if things don't turn out okay and he felt coerced into having the procedure, don't think he won't feel some resentment for having been pressured.  Maybe you don't care about his feelings... but some other woman probably will.

Thirdly, it really annoys me when someone presumes to know how other people think or feel.  We all get one body and one mind.  Not even the world's most gifted physician can know what it feels like to be me.  And I have no earthly idea what it feels like to be someone else.  I only know my body, but I know it better than anyone else on the planet.  Likewise, a man who has had a vasectomy and experiences pain or a lowered sex drive would know better than anyone what that feels like for him.  Just because the vast majority of men don't have that experience, that doesn't invalidate the experience of the man who does.  I think that thought could apply to anyone in any situation.  I know how I feel when I eat chocolate or see the color blue.  My experience is valid, but so is that of the person sitting next to me.

The bottom line is that any man who is considering having an elective surgical procedure like a vasectomy should absolutely be the one who makes the final decision to do so.  And he should make that decision after learning the facts.  I know many men who have had a vasectomy and never regretted it.  I've also known several men who have had vasectomies and later had them reversed... and the reversal surgery is a lot more complicated and expensive than a vasectomy is, not to mention less successful.  And yes, there are also a few men out there who have had vasectomies and are pleased to be sterile, but now have to deal with pain and an altered sex drive.

Ladies, let your men be the ones who decide whether or not they get snipped.  You'd want him to give you the same courtesy.  

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hollyoaks...

It's one of my habits to spend a lot of time on YouTube when I'm an especially bored overeducated housewife.  The other day, I started watching a made for TV film called Kate's Secret, which was originally aired back in 1986.  I remember that film well.  It stars Meredith Baxter, Ed Asner, and Tracy Nelson, three actors who were still kind of well-known in the 1980s.  Actually, anyone from my generation would know Meredith Baxter because of the hit sitcom, Family Ties.  It's a film about bulimia and came out during a golden age for "movies of the week".  Young Summer Phoenix, sister of River, Joaquin, and the rest of the Phoenix clan, is also in Kate's Secret.

Bulimia and other eating disorders were not all that well studied in the 80s.  Like a lot of young people, I was fascinated by eating disorders... in my youthful stupidity, I actually hoped to develop one.  I flirted with them for years and engaged in some bad habits that could have messed me up for life.  But though I did a lot of meal skipping, exercising, and starving back in the day, my mind stayed rooted in reality and now I'm a real fatass who's pushing 40.

Anyway, after I was done watching Kate's Secret in all its bulimic glory, I started looking for other things to watch.  I noticed a bunch of YouTube videos entitled "Hannah's Story".  I clicked on one and suddenly found myself totally engrossed in a British soap opera called Hollyoaks.  I was kind of enchanted by the show, with its very passionate, young, attractive, and barely intelligible British actors (to an American, anyway) from the northern part of England.

The storyline I fell into was about Hannah Ashworth, a pretty blonde girl who starts hanging out with an anorexic model named Melissa.  I should mention that Hannah had already started developing her eating disorder before Melissa came along; Melissa just happened to notice that Hannah was engaging in disordered eating and offered to help her be less conspicuous.

I have to admit, I was pretty captivated by the story, although not as much as I would have been when I was a teenager.  Back in those days, I really was fascinated by anorexia nervosa.  Nowadays, I'm not nearly as interested as I once was, mainly because being a successful anorexic requires an attention to detail and level of discipline that can be incredibly difficult and boring.  But I do enjoy watching dramatizations involving anorexia, mainly on shows like Hollyoaks, the story is told in such a caring way... with caring parents, loving siblings, concerned friends, and a medical system that cares.  As a teenager, that all looks very appealing... but when you're an adult, you realize that it's never that simple.  You can end up with anorexia and no one will give a damn.

People tend to develop eating disorders because something isn't right in their lives.  There are all kinds of theories as to why people become eating disordered.  Some people think people get anorexia or bulimia because they crave control, yet lack it.  Some people believe eating disorders are caused by negative role models or abnormally thin people on television or in the movies.  Many people think eating disorders are a game people play to get attention from others.  Still others believe people become eating disordered because their parents failed them.

Personally, I think an awful lot of eating disorders get started because of loneliness.  What distressed me about watching Hollyoaks, as attractive and appealing is it is, is that there were so many comments left by young girls who admired Hannah and Melissa.  So many girls out there wished they had a friend like Melissa, teaching them how to have an eating disorder.  And having once been one of those girls, I think they do it because they don't feel cherished by someone.  They want someone to care... anyone at all.  When you start to develop an eating disorder, concern from another person can be like crack.  If someone notices you're not eating, you're losing weight, or you look sick, they show that they care about you in some way.  The trouble is, if a true eating disorder takes root, that concern is less of a comfort and more of an annoyance as the mind starts to become preoccupied with the relentless pursuit of being just a little bit thinner.

I haven't even touched on the eating disorders that make people get fat.  A person with binge eating disorder or compulsive overeating disorder may also be in serious trouble.  But we never see movies of the week about BED or COD because they're not as glamourous.  An emaciated waif of a woman with dry, stringy hair and a bitchy personality is a lot more interesting to watch than a large woman who compulsively binges on fast food.  Of course, there are probably more binge eaters out there than anorexics.

Anyway... I meant for this post to be kind of fun, but it took a bit of a serious turn.  After I was finished watching the Hollyoaks 2007 storyline about anorexia, I ended up watching more of it, mainly because I got a kick out of the actors' accents.  And I have to admit, I think a couple of the guys on that show are very cute, even though they're way too young for me.  *Sigh*  Where has the time gone?

  
Here's a link to right in the middle of Hannah's Story...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Proverbs 20:1...

So, today a good friend of mine who knew me when I was battling depression mentioned on Facebook that she picked a bad time to come off her meds.  Apparently, everybody and their brother are annoying her right now.  So I said that I find good wine a nice alternative to meds.


Next thing I know, some Bible thumper chimes in with "Proverbs 20:1 (I don't)."  I'm definitely no Bible scholar, but I had a feeling he was referring to my love of fermented grapes.  I looked it up (yes, I do own a Bible) and sure enough, Proverbs 20:1 states thusly... "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise."


I responded that I must not be very wise because I find wine very relaxing... and a hell of a lot less expensive than psychiatric medications.  Wine and other alcohols have valid uses to many people.  The trick is not to get drunk or, if you do get drunk, not to get in a fight.  Sometimes fights and other shit happen, even if you're stone cold sober.    


So kindly give me my wine and get the fuck out of my way.  


See?  I just dropped the f-bomb and I haven't had a drop to drink all morning.  




This stuff is particularly soothing to the soul... ^
                                                                          

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bed, TV, and red wine...

Yesterday, it was so cold and miserable outside that I decided to go back to bed at about 1:30pm and watch episodes of the old show Privileged that I had downloaded on iTunes and burned to DVDs.  Privileged was cancelled in 2009, despite the fact that it had a following.  I guess the folks on the CW felt it just wasn't working out.

I will admit, I don't usually go for fluffy comedy-dramas about spoiled teenaged girls, but there was something really appealing about that show.  In fact, I liked it so much that I read the book it was based upon, How To Teach Filthy Rich Girls by Zoey Dean.  Let's just say that the book is a bit racier than the show was, although the show was racy enough.

Anyway, I watched all day yesterday, drank lots of wine, ate cookies and chocolate, and basically acted like a hermit.  It was a delightful way to spend an afternoon.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Voice of Reason strikes again...

Remember this post?

Well, Ms. Overly Helpful took it upon herself to open her big trap again.  A couple of days ago, I posted this...  We had a few days of animated discussion, then the thread had pretty much died down.  We were moving on to new topics when the Voice of Reason chimes in with (paraphrased)

knotty, it's understandable that you see this situation through the eyes of your husband's second wife.  Not all women are like his ex wife.  Many women are disadvantaged in a divorce.  For those women, Balance Point is a valuable service.

Well... that comment pissed me right the fuck off.  It's insulting on so many different levels.  First of all, I have never met Ms. Overly Helpful in person, so it surprises me that she thinks she can read my mind.  How does she know my opinion is solely based on the fact that I'm my husband's second wife?  And even if my opinion was based on that fact (for the record, it isn't), so what?  Secondly, I am pushing 40 years old.  If I don't know by now that not all women are like my husband's ex wife, I must not deserve the three college degrees I've earned.  Thirdly, of course I understand that sometimes women are disadvantaged in a divorce.  And the last statement is Ms. Overly Helpful's opinion and she's entitled to it.  Is there some reason why I'm not entitled to my opinion, even if it's not a popular viewpoint?

I had an interesting reaction to Ms. Overly Helpful's comments.  At first, I was pissed.  I was about to post a scathing remark, but then stopped and reconsidered.  The last time an incident like this occurred, I got pissy and sarcastic and Ms. Overly Helpful chastised me, then accused me of insulting her.  So this time, I turned my response into a joke.

To her comment about Balance Point being a valuable service, I said "You're certainly entitled to your opinion."

To the rest of her comment, I said, "And not only do you express your opinions clearly, you also express mine!  Wow!  It's nice to know there's someone on this messageboard who knows me so well that she can explain how and why I form opinions.  That's quite an impressive skill. ;-)"

And then I added, "BTW, thank you for telling me that not all women are like my husband's ex wife.  I will sleep better tonight knowing that."

I haven't bothered to go back to the board to see if she's responded.  Actually, I'm beginning to think maybe it's time I found some other place to spend my time... or maybe I should just find something better to do than have online conversations with insecure, condescending twatbags who feel the need to one up people all the time.  If I wanted to be treated like that, I'd call one of my sisters.

Fuck her.  Next time I want any more shit out of her, I'll squeeze her head.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A continuation of "evening the playing field"...

So, the last time I blogged, I wrote about Stacey Napp, the attorney who has made divorce an even bigger business than it already is.  I posted about this subject on one of my many messageboards and ended up getting into an argument with another poster, who maintains that I should cheer on Stacey Napp for her genius business idea.  Actually, a lot of women on that board were admiring Stacey Napp for what she's doing to help the wealthy divorcees of Beverly Hills.  I continue to be the only holdout and said I thought that if Stacey Napp is only helping women divorcing guys in a certain income bracket, she's just as greedy as the allegedly sleazy guys she helps sue.

This is how our discussion went.  The quotes come from a fellow poster on our messageboard.





Quote:
There should be fairness & equity.


Exactly...

Which is why we shouldn't automatically assume this...
Quote:
The mother shouldn't get screwed & not have a means to provide for her kids.


It takes two people to make kids. Most of the time, two people made the decision to have kids, and usually, both parents decide whether or not one of them is going to be a stay at home parent. In most modern marriages, both partners have a choice as to whether or not they want to raise kids, have a career, or both. Granted, there are going to be some exceptions to that rule. But in every case, if two people make children and raise them together, then the children aren't just "hers"; they're "theirs".

If we believe there should be fairness and equity in a divorce proceeding, then a person's gender shouldn't automatically enter into the question of who deserves more help in a divorce case, nor should we always assume the mother is the more appropriate parent for children involved in a divorce. If women really want to be treated with fairness and equity, then we need to stop asking for special treatment based on gender. We can't have it both ways. And as long as women continue to view themselves as downtrodden and in need of special help (even if, in fact, that really is the case), we can never be on equal footing with men.

Judging by that article, Napp's business seems to perpetuate the idea that women always need more help than men do. I've seen firsthand that that's not always the case. She's obviously got a successful business model going and a lot of people probably respect her and think she's awesome for coming up with her idea. Good for her. But I don't have to approve of it or cheer her on.
Quote:
Why does making a living make her sleazy? If her tactics are not underhanded & deceitful, her motives don't really matter.


I never said the lawyer was sleazy for making a living. I said that if her motives for doing what she's doing are purely based on the pursuit of profit, she's not much better than the allegedly sleazy men she helps sue. The article makes Mrs. Pont's husband out to be an avaricious dirtbag who sought to screw over his soon-to-be ex wife and their kids. Conversely, Ms. Napp's company is portrayed as heroic for swooping in to save the underdog, Mrs. Pont, from her greedy husband and get her the money that is allegedly rightfully hers. But then the article says that so far, Ms. Napp only helps women who are divorcing guys in a certain income bracket. Why? Because helping women divorcing less wealthy men is not cost effective, even if those women might be even bigger underdogs who are even more in need of her services. If Ms. Napp is only going to help women divorcing men in a certain income bracket, let's not kid ourselves that she's really "rooting for the underdog" and wanting to "level the playing field". She just wants to make money, plain and simple. And that's certainly her right, but that doesn't necessarily make her more worthy of my respect.

So, is she an avenging angel, a shrewd businesswoman, or both? Seems to me that if she's only in business to make money and not to help people (both male and female) or effect change, then she's just as greedy as many of the men she helps her clients sue. To me, she's a very shrewd businesswoman, but not particularly deserving of my admiration except for the fact that she came up with a profitable idea. Moreover, if this article had been written about a man named Mr. Napp who had started a business to help a stay-at-home dad get hidden assets from his entrepreneurial soon-to-be ex wife, I'm sure a lot of people would be calling Napp a greedy dirtbag instead of admiring his business acumen... and they would be calling the stay-at-home dad a lazy bum.

I do, of course, understand that the only information I have is in this rather biased article and my perceptions could be entirely wrong.

I did go to Balance Point's Web site and it, at least, appears to be gender neutral.  Maybe I was just put off by the way that article was written and my beef is less with Stacey Napp and more with the person who wrote the article.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A lawyer seeks to "even the playing field" in divorce...

So yesterday, I read this article on Yahoo about a lawyer named Stacey Napp who started a business to help women who are divorcing wealthy men.  Napp's business seeks to aid people who can't afford to pay the astronomical costs of paying for lawyers, but want to split from their spouses.  According to the article, most of Napp's clients are women who have been stay at home moms while their husbands have made it big in the business world.

When I first read the article, I found myself turned off by what Napp is doing... even as the practical side of me understands that there are a lot of women who need her services.  Probably what turned me off the most is that she only helps a small percentage of the population-- women... the majority of whom are white and wealthy... and are hoping to stick it to their spouses.  Instead of forcing the women to pay their lawyers by the hour, Napp foots the money for their lawyers upfront and takes a percentage of their winnings... kind of like a personal injury lawyer would.  She doesn't reveal how much she takes, but offers that it's less than what many would expect.

Now... I'm all for equality and I agree that if a spouse helps launch a business, he or she should benefit from its success.  However, I cringe at the idea that women need "special help".  I have several reasons for feeling the way I do.  As a woman, I don't like to feel second class simply because I don't have a penis.  I think that women who bitch about a lack of equality do themselves a disservice when they ask for special treatment.  We can't achieve equality if we get special breaks and as long as we insist on being part of a special protected class, we will always be downtrodden.

According to the article, Napp's clients have all been women... the privileged spouses of wealthy men who are splitting up.  Naturally, women who stay at home to raise children are less likely to be able to afford good lawyers.  However, women tend to get more in divorce proceedings and they also tend to initiate them.  While I can understand why some women want to get their husbands where it hurts-- their wallets-- I also find it distasteful when women go after men in this way, especially in an age when a woman could choose to work if she really wanted to.

I also find it distasteful that Stacey Napp only works with women who are arguing over assets in the $2million to $15million range.  Granted, she's a shrewd businesswoman and it's not financially feasible to offer this kind of arrangement for smaller settlements, but it still seems icky to me.  It's all about the money and making a profit.  I guess I just hate to see the dissolution of marriage come down to just dollars and cents and arguing over who gets what.  Maybe that makes me an old softy.

It's easy to see now why so many people insist on pre-nuptial agreements or not getting married at all.  Divorce is ugly and it's a big, distasteful business.  I hope I never have to go through it, but if I do, at least I know I'll probably be too poor to warrant Stacey Napp's services.  

Saturday, December 4, 2010

White Wine in the Sun...

If you've been reading my blog, you may already know that my husband is an ExMormon.  For that reason, I often hang out on the Recovery From Mormonism Web site.  Even if I weren't the wife of an ExMo, I would probably enjoy that site, just because the stories there are fascinating and they're basically a bunch of really good people, many of whom are hurting because of bad experiences with religion.

In any case, last Christmas, someone on the RfM board posted a YouTube video of a performance by the brilliant British born Australian singer songwriter Tim Minchin...  The song, entitled "White Wine In The Sun", is basically a secular Christmas song.  The lyrics are poignant and Tim Minchin sings it with such heart.  I'm not quite an atheist, but this song touches me every time I hear it.  So I figured it makes sense to blog about it.  I think Tim Minchin is a star who deserves a lot more air time.



Today, as I was choking up, listening to this beautiful song about the importance of family and the good things about the holiday season, I looked to see if Tim Minchin had any other brilliant songs on offer.  Lo and behold, I found one.  This one, called "Not Perfect", is yet another insightful song about how we all struggle with the painful feelings of inadequacy.  Looking at Tim Minchin, I get the feeling that he must have gone through his share of hard times to be able to come up with such poignant music.  I think hard times can be a refining process for some people, not unlike putting a beautiful but rough stone through the process of cutting, polishing, and setting before it turns into something gorgeous and valuable.



Sometimes you have to go through tough times and painful circumstances to come out stronger and more extraordinary...  When I listen to Tim Minchin's music, I'm always reminded of that.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gimpy dog...

My dog MacGregor is about seven years old and has started to show his age.  A couple of months ago, I took him to the vet because it looked like he was limping a bit.  The vet did a simple test and decided to give him anti-inflammatory tablets.  The tablets worked a little, but by the next month, he still seemed gimpy.  I had another vet look at him and she said she thought maybe his problem was in his shoulder.  She gave me more anti-inflammatory tablets, which seemed to work...

We went away twice last month and both times when I've come back, the limp has been worse.  There could be any number of reasons why MacGregor is lame, but I still worry that it might be something really serious, like cancer.  We lost a dog to prostate cancer last year and it was so sad...  I hate to see MacGregor in pain, but I truly hope he's just getting old and creaky.