Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Aroooo!


This is my sweet beagle, Zane.  He loves to jump on my lap and snuggle.  Occasionally, he puts his head between my boobs and gazes at me with frank adoration.  Everyone should be able to enjoy the kind of love a dog can deliver.



This is MacGregor.  He's sort of the senior beagle right now.  Before we got Zane, we had a dog named Flea who was king of the roost.  MacGregor was kind of his sidekick.  But then Flea died and we got Zane, who is  a lot more egalitarian than Flea was.  So now MacGregor is more of a top dog around our house.  He's still pretty spry.  I think Zane keeps him on his toes.



This is Flea.  We had Flea from November 8, 2003 until November 18, 2009.  He was my baby...  Unfortunately, he contracted prostate cancer and had to be put down.  I miss him every day, even if he was a bit of a narcissist.  You'd never know it to look at this photo, but he was loaded with charisma and personality.  He was a very special dog.


And finally, we have CuCullain (CC).  We got him in May 2002 and lost him in October 2003 to a rare mycobacterial infection.  CC was one of the most interesting dogs I've ever known.  I'm pretty sure he was part husky-- look at the eyes and the thick coat.  He was also kind of a loner... friendly, but not especially fond of company.  I was devastated when he got sick.  There will never be another one like him.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Your religion might be bullshit if...

I'm not quite an atheist, but I did find this very irreverent video very funny.  It's not for people with delicate sensibilities, mind you...



Friday, August 26, 2011

Are migraines supposed to be sexy?



I just saw this commercial.  This actress seems affected as hell, flirting with the camera, and trying to make her migraine headache seem sexy.  It's a bit irritating... at least to me.

WTF?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gorgeous weather today...

Hard to believe a hurricane is on the way.  Harder to believe that just a couple of weeks ago, it was absolutely sweltering here.  I would be happy to enjoy many more weeks of this beautiful weather.  I still don't feel like mowing the lawn, but maybe it won't be quite so yucky if I do it today.

I definitely could use the exercise!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hurricane Irene is on the way...

I grew up in Virginia, so I am pretty well-versed in hurricanes.  Of course, hurricanes usually tend to hit North Carolina before they hit Virginia.  I found this to be the case when I was a student in South Carolina and would watch hurricanes make landfall to the north.  Looks like this time, I might very well be within striking distance of Hurricane Irene.

Should be interesting to see what happens, especially given the tornado that hit this area back in April.  Driving around the area, I can see plenty of evidence from that five minute storm that came through here in the spring.  The trees in the neighborhoods around our home are still sheared.  Pieces of metal and scrap are still lodged in tree trunks from when they were hurled through the air.  There are still plenty of boarded up, tarped homes.  I do hope that if this hurricane hits us, it doesn't do too much more damage.

On the other hand, there is something exciting about a good storm...  We'll see what happens.  Glad we didn't have plans to go to the beach this weekend!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Divorced dads don't have the right to start anew?




So last night, I was on my favorite forum and someone posted about how his marriage had recently broken up.  Though he had kids with his first wife, this person admitted to wanting to get remarried and have more kids with his next wife.  Some child of divorce came along and admonished him against getting remarried and having new kids.

This COD explained that s/he was a child of divorce and knew other people who were also children of divorce.  When mom and dad split up, dad became less interested in his first family.  This person explained that the father was at fault and sort of implied that divorced dads have no right to "start over" with a new wife.

Disclaimer here.  I am not a child of divorce, but I am a divorced man's second wife.  I have watched his kids from his first marriage treat him with utter contempt.  I have seen him try to maintain a relationship with his kids, only to be pushed aside in favor of their mom's latest husband.  I have witnessed my husband pouring his hard earned money into his ex-wife's household as if he owed her reparations for the fact their marriage broke up.  I have suffered the heartbreak of not being able to conceive naturally because my husband agreed to have a vasectomy at his first wife's behest, only to watch her have two more kids with her current husband.  That last part was pretty hurtful to me.  I have always wanted to be a mom, but I decided I wanted to be with my husband more than I wanted to have a child.

Why the hell shouldn't my husband start over with someone who appreciates him?  Why shouldn't my husband, as a divorced dad, be able to have a family with me if his first wife dumps him, especially if she gets his kids to reject him?  And why shouldn't I, as someone who never had children before, feel free to have kids with the man I love?  Especially when my husband's kids seem to hate his guts and refuse to have anything to do with him?  And even if the divorce had been amicable, why shouldn't a man have the right to try again after divorce?  Maybe he and his first wife weren't compatible.  That doesn't necessarily mean he can't and shouldn't find happiness with someone else.

I have never heard anyone tell a divorced woman that she shouldn't have kids with a subsequent husband.  In fact, most people I know think a woman who gets divorced deserves sympathy.  Why?  Because more often than not, mom has custody of the kids from her first marriage.  So they grow up with her.  Dad is much more likely to be marginalized when mom remarries.  So his kids are more likely to grow up thinking that he's got a better life with a new woman.  He's safer to hold in contempt because he's not there on a daily basis and moms too often encourage that attitude.  And his new wife... God help her!  Seems like no matter what, people tend to think a second wife/stepmom is a homewrecker, no matter what actually caused the divorce.

In my husband's case, the ex dumped him over Easter at my husband's dad's house.  Then when he agreed to sign the divorce papers, she claimed she never actually wanted to split up!  She was just hoping to force him to "rock bottom" and get him to agree to her terms.  What kind of a wife and mother screws around with the "D" word if they don't mean it?  Why would anyone joke about something so serious?  

Anyway, that COD made it clear that s/he thinks fathers have no right to happiness and should plan to be celibate if they get a divorce.  Having a baby with a new partner is wrong because it will hurt the feelings of the kids he had with his first wife.  They will feel "replaced"-- as if it's really possible for a parent to replace one of their children.  Well, adult kids of divorce, here's a news flash.  Relationships are a two way street.  If you don't have a good relationship with a parent and you're feeling like you've been replaced, maybe you should take an honest look at yourself.  Do you make an effort to stay involved in your parent's life?  Do you call or write?  When your parent calls or writes to you, do you respond?  Do you treat your parent the way you would want to be treated?

I'm not saying there aren't any parents out there who are jerks.  I know there are.  Children of divorce who truly have been rejected or ignored by a parent have my deepest sympathy.  But I also think that divorced people absolutely should have the right to start anew with someone else.

Children of divorce almost always grow up to be adults.  Perhaps those of them who feel that their parents have no right to start anew might want to consider that they themselves might someday be a parent in the very same situation.  And they will hope for empathy and understanding from their kid(s).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Barbies are akin to porn, part II

I got so worked up over the Barbie-pornography blog post that I posted it on Facebook.  I truly did wonder if it was satire at first, but then I realized that this blogger was serious.  One of my friends took me on, saying that she had also "banned" Barbies in her house because she didn't like the princess theme it champions.

I want to make it clear that it's not that I don't think parents should have the right to choose toys for their kids.  Certainly, they should.  My problem is that Barbie dolls were not an issue in this mom's house until her 7 year old son had a chat with his dad about "appropriate toys".  As my Facebook friend pointed out, 7 year olds tend to take things very literally.  So when the little boy saw the half naked Barbie doll, he immediately assumed it was inappropriate.  He took his concerns to his mother, who, instead of explaining to her son why naked dolls are different than naked people are, immediately started thinking about her son being sexually aroused by Barbie dolls.  

So what does she do?  She immediately bans the "pornographic" dolls from her house.  I wonder how her daughters felt when their mom suddenly took their toys away because of their brother?  I can just hear it now.  "Girls, I have to take these dolls (that I gave to you) away, because your brother might not be able to control himself if he sees them naked." Yeah, that won't breed resentment.

In the same vein, I think it does a disservice to children when we teach them that males have to be "protected" from the female gender.  A few years ago, I was watching the Duggar family on TV.  They were on an excursion and one of the daughters yelled "Nike!"  All of the boys obediently looked at their shoes.  Why?  Because a woman they considered "inappropriately dressed" walked by and they didn't want the boys to have impure, lustful thoughts.  The rationale is that males can't help having those thoughts and they can't control themselves.  So it's up to females to protect them from those thoughts and feelings.  

How insulting.  And really, how ridiculous that we can't teach little boys to control themselves so that when they become men, they are in control of their thoughts and actions.  What a convenient excuse that makes when a man rapes or otherwise abuses a woman.  Obviously, she asked for it because she was dressed inappropriately and didn't protect men from her sexy body.  They couldn't help themselves because she "made" them have lustful thoughts by not covering herself to their satisfaction.

I'm all for keeping things clean.  If I had a daughter, I would want her to dress modestly.  I would also want to be able to choose which toys are appropriate for my home.  But I don't think we should be celebrating moms who teach their sons that they can't control their impulses and need other people to protect them from lust.  


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Barbies are akin to porn.... Riiiigggghhhtt....

So this morning, I came across a blog post that got posted on KSL.com.  It was about a mom who decided to ban Barbies in her house because one of her young sons approached her with a half naked Barbie and told her he thought it was an inappropriate toy.  Mom suddenly realized that these half naked Barbies might give her sons impure thoughts.  So she took the dolls away and replaced them with more girlish versions.

Now, I will admit, I was a Barbie fan when I was a kid.  I played with them for hours with my best friend.  We'd build Barbie empires out of boxes and create our own little Barbie soap operas.  Sure, the toys had unrealistic bodies and wore revealing clothes, but we knew they were just toys.  They were fun to play with and came with fun accessories.  It never occurred to us that a male looking at these plastic, anatomically incorrect dolls would be led to sin by the sight of their plastic, naked bodies.

The other thing that struck me about this blog post is that this mom allows her second grader son to dictate what is and what is not appropriate in their home.  It's not for a child to make that determination.  It seems to me that Mom should have discussed this issue with Dad and they should have come to a mutual decision.  If Mom doesn't want Barbies in her house, that's cool.  But why let a seven year old boy make that decision for his sisters?

I just think it's too bad that sex is already part of these kids' lives.  Barbies are toys.  It should be up to parents to explain the difference to children without sexualizing everything.
 
My thoughts continue here...

  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A surprisingly good Wine.Woot purchase...

A couple of months ago, I was on Wine.Woot! and they were having a Woot! off.  That particular month, they had a bunch of wines from the Cosentino Winery that they needed to unload.   I was intrigued by the 2005 Oakville Estate Cabernet, so I bought it, along with another three pack from Cosentino.

It took over a month for the wine to get to me.  Once it did, I had to deal with a surly UPS guy (Wine.Woot! usually ships FedEx).  And then it turned out that they didn't send the Oakville Estate Cabernet.  Instead, they sent two more bottles of the cheaper wine I had already purchased.  Now, I liked the cheaper wine fine, but it wasn't what I'd ordered and there was a price difference.

So I complained to Wine.Woot.  They promised they would send me the right wine ASAP.  Weeks went by with no word from Cosentino or Wine.Woot!  But then last week, out of the blue, my surly UPS guy showed up with a small package from Cosentino Winery.  Inside, there were two bottles of the Oakville Estate Cabernet.  My spouse and I drank one the other day.  I wasn't even looking forward to it, considering the shipping SNAFU... but then when I took my first sip, magic danced on my tastebuds.  The Cosentino Estate Cabernet was absolutely delicious and complex... with smokey tannins and leathery essences.  It was a pure delight to drink it.  This wine was so much better than the 2005 Cosentino Napa Valley cabernet I bought.  I was shocked by how good it was.

There's one bottle left and I haven't seen more for sale on Cosentino's Web site.  Even though their shipping policies suck ass, I would totally buy more of this wine if I could find it.  This is one wine that was worth the wait!



Saturday, August 13, 2011

We're going to Scotland...

Travel has become a very important part of my life.  Since I can't be a mother and my career aspirations have sort of gone down the toilet, I'm making it my mission to see as much of the world as I can, while I still can.

My mom, who is tending my dad in his last years, reminded me the other day how short life is.  She and my dad have enjoyed a full life, full of kids, work, and travel.  But they are both now elderly and my dad is no longer in any shape to travel.  Travel was always one of my mom's passions and now she can't do it anymore because she has to look after my father.

I am still relatively young and healthy.  So is my husband.  Since his kids have disowned him, we have no responsibilities toward them or the grandchildren that will probably come soon.  I know some people would tell us we should be pining for them, waiting for them to show up and forgive their dad.  But he has a life and so do I.  He did not disown them; they disowned him.  So we're going to enjoy life and travel, which is something we both love to do.

This year, we're going to the southern Caribbean to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary.  Next year, we're going to Scotland.  I am excited about the Caribbean trip, but I find myself even more excited about the prospect of going to Scotland.  My people are mostly Scottish, with a smattering of English, German, and probably some Irish.  My husband's people are mostly Irish, with a smattering of Dutch and English.  We've both been all over Europe, but we haven't been to Scotland.  The opportunity to cruise on the Hebridean Princess arose and I jumped on it.

We're doing two back to back 5 day cruises all around the Inverclyde region of Scotland.  Our trip will be in November, which will probably mean the weather will suck and the sun will set in the mid afternoon.  Nevertheless, I look forward to bagpipers and haggis and lots of whisky.  I look forward to ten magical nights to celebrate ten magical years of marriage next year.  Our time together really has been pretty wonderful for the most part.

It's my goal to do a nice trip like this every year for as long as we're willing and able.  Life is short and the world is big and wonderful.  If I can't spend my life toiling away in a cubicle somewhere or wiping asses and noses, I might as well spend it exploring the world and enjoying all it has to offer... for as long as I can, anyway.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I want a Brostache...


I've been complaining a lot about commercials lately, so I thought I'd post one that I enjoy.  I don't know why, but this commercial cracks me up every time.  In fact, I thought it was so funny that I had to go to iTunes and download the Geico Brostache app.  I probably would have preferred the bubbly app, but I couldn't find it.

Enjoy!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Wolves in sheep's clothing...

Last night, my dear spouse was doing some creative Googling of his former stepson.  He found him listed on the Wedding Channel with his longtime girlfriend.  But when he went to click on the link for their page, it wasn't found.  I remember meeting the girlfriend a few years ago and it was pretty clear even then that she hoped to get married.  For all I know, she put up the page in a fit of wishful thinking.  Or maybe they are going to get married.  If so, I hope she knows what she's in for.  This is the same young man who used my husband for years and then tried to screw him over.  And he appears to be following closely in his mother's footsteps.

It's always best to be wary of wolves in sheep's clothing.  The people who are all just a little too nice and too plastique often end up being the ones who will screw you over.

I was talking to my husband this morning about this development he discovered.  I have a feeling that my husband's former wife and stepson hate me for a lot of reasons.  But the main reason I think they hate me is because I can see them clearly.  I never got the chance to develop much of a relationship with my husband's kids or ex-stepson, so I was never charmed by them.  I never grew to love them like everyone else in the family does.  I have only seen the hurtful things they've done; I have never seen their more endearing sides.

When things started to get really fishy, I did some checking and uncovered former stepson's ugly misdeeds.  After that, it became pretty clear to me what he was all about.  A lot of the things he said turned out to be half-truths.  A lot of the "impressive" things he did turned out to be creatively constructed in a way that made them look better than they really were.  Just like his mother, this young man aspires to be someone that deep down he's not...  a person with a character and an intellect worthy of respect.

He's usually able to snow people, at least at first.  He has a "nice personality"... or at least it seems that way.  But spend any time around him and you'll start to see another side of that personality... one that tries to "get over" on others who are willing to trust him.  He's a wolf in sheep's clothing and someone to avoid.  The book below was specifically written for people who have to deal with the likes of him.

Friday, August 5, 2011

AT&T Career Day commercial... How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways...



Have you seen this commercial?  I cringe every time it comes on.  A hapless cable guy has come to a school to talk about his career.  He starts talking about his job when a smartass little girl shuts him down by telling him how useless he is because his company doesn't bundle its services with cell phone service.

The poor guy stands there while the entire classroom turns on him, including the teacher.  He slinks away, embarrassed, as a fireman is called to talk about his career.

As a kid, I was often a smartass, but the adults in my life were quick to put me in my place when I was disrespectful to them.  This ad shows how too many of today's kids can be so rude to adults.  Instead of being corrected for their asshole behavior, this ad celebrates it by showing the kid one-upping the adult.  It's no wonder so many rude kids grow up to be uncivilized adults who have a massive sense of entitlement.

Even if AT&T offers a better product than the cable company does, it's not the cable guy's fault.  He's just trying to make a living.  There's no need to make that guy feel like a loser.  At least he has a job, which might be more than I can say for a lot of the kids in that classroom if our economy doesn't pick up soon.



Anyway, this ad doesn't make me want to do business with A&T... or be a teacher.  It does make me want to send those kids to charm school, though.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Jesus Loves Me But He Can't Stand You!



This is a little musical interlude that was shared with me by an old college friend.  I think it suits so many hypocritical people and their attitudes about God.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Catering to narcissism...

Lately, I've noticed a couple of ads on TV that cater to peoples' narcissistic tendencies.  The first ad is for MyLife.com.



See the attractive older woman sitting in front of her laptop, gloating about the five people who are "searching" for her?  I first found this site a couple of years ago, when I discovered my husband's ex wife using her 16 year old daughter's name.  I didn't join because it looked fishy and, frankly, I didn't want to have to pay for something I can get for free on Facebook.

And then today, I saw for the first time, an ad for Micro Plus, some kind of device that magnifies sounds. The ad showed people using the Micro Plus to be able to hear the doorbell when they were outside or pick up sounds that get drowned out by extraneous noise.  The end of the commercial was pretty funny, though, because it showed a woman walking past two ladies on loungers.  She was wearing the micro ear device and heard the two women talking about what a great body she had.

Wish I could find that ad on YouTube because it made my mouth drop open.  Frankly, I wouldn't want to wear a Micro Plus because I would hate to hear peoples' comments about my body.  But apparently, the people who made this ad think most people are so self-centered and narcissistic that other people would be commenting aloud about how sexy they are...

Sheesh!

A new Facebook group...

The people from my hometown just made a Facebook group which has just exploded in popularity.  I always hated that town when I was growing up in it because it was so rural and boring.  But now, I'm realizing I was lucky to come of age in such a tightknit place.  I graduated from high school over twenty years ago and I still remember a lot of the people I knew back then.  A lot of us have the same memories.  My sisters were never lucky enough to have that long history with one place.  Of course, they have expressed remorse that I grew up in such a redneck town.

It's amazing how your perspective can change so much after a couple of decades.