Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My complicated history with seatbelts...

Monday night, I found out that the husband of a woman I knew in high school died of massive injuries he sustained in a car accident this past Saturday afternoon.  The man was 46 years old and was driving an old SUV through the town where I grew up.  He had his teenaged daughter with him and they had stopped at a light.  Another man, someone who was in my high school class, was driving an old Chevy S-10 too fast and plowed into the man's SUV.  The first man and his daughter were both ejected.  All three had to be airlifted to a trauma hospital in Richmond, Virginia.

From the limited information I've gotten about this wreck, and from what I know about the community where they live, I can only surmise that the Dad and his daughter were not wearing seatbelts.  And I have a feeling that the man who hit them, whom I also knew in high school, probably wasn't wearing one either.

I always wear a seatbelt now, but I really hated them when I was growing up.  I remember being really upset when it became mandatory to wear seatbelts in my home state of Virginia.  The law took effect right after I turned 16.  It was a secondary law with a minimal fine, but I still resented being told to wear a seatbelt.  And it actually took a long time before the habit became second nature to me.

My parents were always dedicated seatbelt wearers.  My dad, having been in the Air Force, was trained to use all safety devices.  Oddly enough, they didn't always insist that I wear a seatbelt.  When they did insist, it was usually because they were mad at me.  Sometimes, my dad would go on a control freak tear and order me to wear one.  I would put it on, but would seethe with resentment because it was usually about him being a control freak, not actual concern for my safety.

For all his preaching about safety, my dad was very inconsistent about enforcement and sometimes would do dumb things like lie on the bench seat in his minivan while my mom drove.  He'd still buckle up, but he would wear the belt ambulance style, sideways around his abdomen.  These were the days of lap belts in the backseats, so it was possible to do that without too much trouble.  I guess it never occurred to him to sit properly, because in the event of a wreck, that sideways lap belt would probably end up paralyzing him.

Meanwhile, I would usually be happily bouncing along unbuckled.  I remember my dad had a pop top Volkswagen camper van, a hideous shade of bright orange.  There was a bar in the middle of the van, used to push the top up.  I would often swing on it monkey style while my dad drove.

These days, I do buckle up for many reasons.  First off, my husband insists on it.  He's in the Army and, like my dad, is trained to observe all safety precautions.  He tells me if I don't wear a seatbelt, he'll act like Pat Boone.  He even insists that I wear a seatbelt when I'm on an airplane and the seatbelt sign is off.  I think he's a little kinky, but appreciate the attention.

Another reason I wear a seatbelt is because if I don't, my car beeps at me incessantly.  These modern cars have become more nanny like in their insistence that people use the supplied seatbelts.  

A third reason I wear them is because I studied public health administration and I know that while many people think not wearing a seatbelt is a victimless crime, it does actually cost society money.  People who are seriously injured in car accidents usually require heavy duty medical care that costs a bundle.  Either they or their family have to pay for it themselves with their own money, or their insurance will pay for it.  But insurance costs money and is either provided from an employer or paid for by the individual.  And if you're seriously hurt, how can you go to work to get the insurance?  So that generally means taxpayers end up paying in the form of higher hospital bills and insurance premiums.

And finally, not wearing a seatbelt can turn you into a flying object that might hurt other living things.  I wouldn't want to be a flying object, even though in my Mini Cooper Convertible, there's not much room for me to fly anywhere.

Of course, good things can come from catastrophic injuries.  If a person is an organ donor and not expected to survive, some folks might end up getting a new lease on life through donated organs.  If the person survives, then medical personnel can learn by taking care of them.  In the past ten years or so, we've come a long way in the field of prosthetics, in part because so many veterans have lost limbs while at war.  While it's certainly shitty to lose a limb, we couldn't have the advanced technology we do in prosthetics if we didn't have people who required it.  But by and large, being seriously hurt in a car accident is not a good thing.

I feel so badly for my high school acquaintance and her daughter.  I am heartened, however, that there are so many good people from my hometown who are around to help them through the tragedy.  This woman's father was, for a long time, the football coach at the local high school.  He taught legions of ninth graders personal health by using a unique storytelling style.  I will never forget some of the hilarious tales this man used to teach me about the evils of smoking and drinking.  I will also never forget the stories he used to teach us about how adrenaline works...  He was a Vietnam vet and former NFL football player, so he had stories aplenty.

The old football coach's kids have apparently decided to stay in the town they grew up in, so they know lots of people.  They will get a lot of support.

In any case, if any good does come out of this situation, I hope that the young girl who lost her father now knows how important seatbelts can be in the event of an accident.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Brief MacGregor update...

The vet called and said his blood and urine tests were normal.  He did have a slightly abnormal value on his kidney function test, but that's consistent with the fact that he was on Rimadyl.  She said there was a little bacteria in the urine, but it was a free catch sample, so that's not too worrying either.

I'm guessing what we're dealing with is an injury.  I have noticed he's putting more weight on his paw today and seems to still have some feeling in it.  So hopefully, this is something he can eventually recover from.  I feel a little better now.

Weather report...

Alexis asked how the weather is where I am.  I'm pleased to report that Sandy didn't really affect my neck of the woods too much.  We've had a tiny bit of cold rain, cloudy skies, lots of wind, and unseasonably cold temperatures.  But other than that, the weather isn't too bad.  I've seen it much worse.  We didn't even lose power.

I was feeling a little blue yesterday for several reasons.  The weather was kind of bumming me out, but I'm also worried about MacGregor.  The vet thinks he's having disc problems, but I can't help but worry it's something more serious, like cancer.  Even though my head tells me that it's unlikely MacGregor would have cancer, especially given the fact that he's had issues with limping for some time now, I did lose my beloved Flea to prostate cancer.  It was a horrible thing for both of us to go through and it wasn't that long ago that we had to have him put down.  I'm really not ready to do it again.

Even as I type that, I realize it's unlikely MacGregor will need euthanasia anytime soon.  Even if he limps and knuckles for the rest of his life, that doesn't necessarily mean he's going to die.  It might just mean he'll need modifications to his lifestyle and environment.  But not knowing is worrying...

I also don't really like the vet who owns the practice where we've been taking the dogs.  I chose his practice because he offers Saturday hours and seemed experienced.  But I actually like the vet who works on Saturdays better than I like him.  I think he's too conservative.  So, depending on how this all goes, we might have to find a new vet.  I have to take MacGregor in on Friday.  The Saturday vet had said she wanted to see him... but it turns out she's not working Saturday, so unless she's taking Friday shifts, I'll probably end up seeing the guy who owns the practice.  My husband took MacGregor in on Saturday, so neither of us will know what all was said during that appointment.  MacGregor was originally supposed to just get a vaccine.

And of course, all of this comes up two weeks before we're due to leave the country for 18 days.  If it's not one thing, it's another.

Another thing that has me blue is that it's Thanksgiving season.  For most of my life, Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday because it meant a family reunion.  I have a pretty wonderful family, actually.  My dad had eight brothers and sisters and all but one of them had families.  So I have a lot of cousins...  not as many as Alexis has, but still plenty.  It was mostly fun to hang out with my cousins.  But now they're all having their own families and it's getting hard to keep track of everybody!  Even a couple of my cousins' kids are having kids.

Of course, we won't be at the annual shindig because we will be in Scotland.  But my aunt sends out a mass email asking for a headcount.  My relatives seem to all hit reply to all, which means I get emails from those who are planning to attend.  It kind of bums me out because there are some cliques in my family.

On my mom's side of the family, I only have one cousin.  She came to my wedding ten years ago and that was the last time I saw her.  She's a lot older than I am, so I don't know her that well.  But I do notice that she and I both inherited my maternal grandmother's blue eyes.  I never really knew my maternal grandmother because she died when I was very young.  I'm told I look a lot like her, though... except for my blondish hair (hers was dark).  I seem to have inherited her face.

Both of my parents grew up in the Shenandoah Valley area of Virginia, which is a very beautiful place.  Unfortunately, it's starting to be overtaken by Mormons, since a bunch of LDS businessmen bought Southern Seminary in Buena Vista, VA in an attempt to make a small BYU type school in the East.  Southern Virginia University has brought a lot of Mormons into the area and changed the culture somewhat.  My mom is a graduate of the former Southern Seminary and I actually contemplated going there myself because it had a wonderful horse program and I was really into horses as a teen.  But now it no longer exists... and that makes me sad.  What used to be a beautiful barn has been turned into an indoor basketball court.

I didn't mean to get on the Mormon theme today.  It seems like no matter what I do, it seems to invade.  Anyway, the sun is rising and I need some coffee.  Hoping today is a better day than yesterday was.  I just gave MacGregor his first dose of Prednisone, so we'll see how he does with it.

Monday, October 29, 2012

I've never spent time in a hospital...

At least not when I was old enough to remember it.  I think I did spend time in a hospital as a baby because I got pneumonia twice and had to be under an oxygen tent.  But other than that, I've managed to stay away from hospitalization.

There was one situation, though, in which I very nearly did end up hospitalized.  It was January 5, 1999; I was 26 years old and temporarily living with my parents.  I had an appointment with my psychologist.  There was an oddly swollen place on my cheek near my left eye.  After our session (he was treating me for depression), I promised I'd go see a doctor about my face.

By the time I got to the "doc in the box", the swelling was worsening.  The doctor diagnosed me with cellulitis.  I'd had cellulitis the previous spring on my abdomen that had gotten pretty nasty, but at that time, I didn't have health insurance.  I went to the ER and got IV antibiotics, then I was sent home. I was amazed by how quickly those IV antibiotics worked and was delighted that I didn't have to stay at the hospital.  But now the cellulitis was on my face...

The doctor didn't get too excited.  He ordered a shot of Rocephin, which a very nice nurse injected in my rump.  The doctor asked me to come back if the swelling got worse and sent me out with a prescription for some very potent antibiotics.

The next day, my face was noticeably more swollen.  I went back to the doctor and this time, he got pretty excited.  I sat on the examination table while he consulted with a surgeon at the local hospital.  He told me to go to the ER and meet this surgeon and to pack a bag, because I would probably be staying at least overnight.

I was freaked out and upset.  I don't like hospitals and don't really trust doctors.  But the doctor insisted that I needed to go to the ER.  I went and had a pre-admission interview with a nurse, but it turned out that the surgeon had sent an associate who informed me that he was a general surgeon and wasn't qualified to deal with my swollen face.  So I sat in the ER and waited for an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor, who showed up and said he didn't think my cellulitis was that bad.  He told me to go home, but to be sure to see him the following Monday.

The next day was Friday.  I was off work because it was January and business was slow at the restaurant where I was working at the time.  I was taking the heavy doses of antibiotics and decided to try to take a nap.  I took a Tylenol PM in an attempt to fall asleep.  Before I drifted off into Dreamland, my mom knocked on my bedroom door to tell me I had a phone call.

It was the first doctor on the line.  He was irate that the ENT at the ER had sent me home.  He was especially upset that the doctor hadn't even given me more Rocephin.  He confessed that he didn't like this particular doctor and tried not to refer patients to him.  Then he said he had arranged for me to see another doctor in a neighboring city.  He practically ordered me to get myself to this man's office with a packed bag.  By then, the left side of my face was misshapen and I was quite uncomfortable.  I looked scary, too.

But I wasn't feverish or otherwise "sick" and I was annoyed with this very insistent doctor who was kind of talking to me as if I were a child.  I complained that I was poor; but the doctor was adamant that I must see his colleague that afternoon.  So, with an irritated sigh, I agreed to go.  I managed to drive to the next city and somehow didn't fall asleep on the way.  The doctor took one look at me and recommended that I let him admit me for IV antibiotics.  I said I really didn't want to be in the hospital.  I wasn't sick; I just had a very swollen face.  And despite being insured, I was pretty broke!

This doctor turned out to be awesome.  He looked at his watch and said, "Meet me at the ER (at a different hospital) in 30 minutes."

I met him there and he gave me another shot of Rocephin, but not before a nurse at the triage desk told me I needed to be admitted.

I drove myself home with instructions to page the doctor the next day.  I did, and he asked me to come back to the ER for another exam.  I came back.  He tried once again to convince me to be admitted.  I declined.  He gave me another shot of Rocephin and I went home with instructions to call him the next day.

The next day was Sunday.  I was sitting in my bed when my face suddenly started draining the most disgusting, thick, foul smelling, brown pus.  Over the course of about 45 minutes, my face deflated; and as it deflated, I felt more and more relief and looked more normal.  I called the doctor and told him my face was draining.  He told me that he knew my butt was sore from the shots, so I could come see him the following afternoon.

When I went in to see this doctor, he was very happy to see how normal I looked.  He commented how nice my face looked with makeup on it.  He told me he would submit a bill to my insurance provider but not to worry if they didn't pay.

I must say, that doctor was probably the best one I've ever had.  He treated me with dignity and respect and didn't even charge me for those two ER visits.  The ENT doc who had sent me home, on the other hand, did charge me.

A couple of years later, when I thought I had sinus issues, I went back to see the nice ENT.  He sent me for a limited CAT scan and it turned out my sinuses were perfectly clean except for one little polyp.  He said he thought I might have asthma, a condition he was unqualified to treat... which I finally was formally diagnosed with two years later.

Now that I have Tricare insurance, I almost never go to the doctor.  I haven't taken prescription drugs in 8 years.  I have two master's degrees in health fields, and yet I am a terrible patient.  My husband doesn't like how stubborn I am-- the last time I saw a doctor was in 2010 and he had to drag me there by my hair.  But I have had cellulitis three times and it hurts.  If I ever get it again, I would probably swallow my pride and go.  Good thing I'm so damn healthy.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Zane cries over roasted chicken...

My dogs, Zane and MacGregor, have a small fan club on Facebook.  They are adorable hound dogs with loads of personality, so I have a few friends who always click when I upload videos of them.  Zane is usually pretty picky about food, which is weird because he's a beagle.  Beagles are usually notorious chow hounds.  But last night, we had roasted chicken for dinner...

Next thing I know, I'm hearing pitiful crying in the kitchen.  Zane was sitting there crying over the roasted chicken sitting on the counter.  One of my friends asked how we dared let him be alone with the chicken.  I said he wasn't a counter surfer.  Of all the beagles we've had-- four so far-- only one has surfed countertops.  He was a beagle/husky mix and pretty big, so it was easy for him to get at food.  He also had a hell of an appetite.  MacGregor is the only other beagle we've had who has been so into eating.  Zane and Flea, both purebreds, are/were very finicky eaters.

I imagine it must be torture for these dogs when we have something yummy for dinner.  I can't even fathom how the smell of food intoxicates hounds, who have such a strong ability to smell things...  Luckily, Zane was not inspired to knock the chicken off the counter.  He just cried over how good it smelled.

I wanted to post the video, but I had technical issues...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

As it turns out...

MacGregor doesn't have arthritis after all... or at least the arthritis isn't that significant.

I'm actually feeling a little shitty about this.  Two years ago, I noticed him leaning on his left side, so I took him to the vet.  The vet didn't see MacGregor limping-- guess he was too excited.  But he assumed he was arthritic and gave us Rimadyl to help control his pain.  So for two years, I've been giving him Rimadyl.

But then a couple of days ago, MacGregor started dragging his right front paw.  My husband took him in for a shot and told the vet about the worsened limp and "knuckling".  So our latest vet-- a nice lady who only works part time on Saturdays-- took x-rays, blood, and urine.  It turns out MacGregor has degenerative disc disease instead of arthritis.

So now he comes off the Rimadyl and starts up with Prednisone, muscle relaxants, and something else... Gonna have to look at the label again since I wasn't there to get the "bullet".  ETA: My husband says the third drug is to protect against stomach upset.  He needs to lose some weight, too.  Hopefully, his discs won't blow out, because that will mean surgery.  From what we can tell, he's otherwise healthy...

Poor thing.  I was feeling a bit grim earlier today, but the news could have been a lot worse.  I just wish we'd gotten x-rays sooner than we did.  I guess MacGregor just has the same problems my dad has... a little spinal stenosis.

In other disk news, it looks like my combination karaoke/DVD player has gone kaput.  Good thing Christmas is coming.

The gimpy one, MacGregor.

I should be ashamed to admit this...

But I actually kind of enjoy watching The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making The Team on CMT.  I got hooked on it back in 2007, when my husband was in Iraq.  One night, I was lying on our bed with our beagles, flipping through the channels.  I saw a few athletic looking women in that iconic blue and white uniform and ended up getting hooked.

As a child of the 70s and 80s, I well remember when the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders were the shit!  They were on The Love Boat, for God's sake.  I don't give a rip about football, but I do remember in the early 80s that the Cowboys were winning a lot and a lot of my male classmates were big fans.  And all the girls wanted to be Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and would try to dress up like them for Halloween.

I never had any desire to dress up like them, not even when I was in my prime.  But there's something guilty pleasurable about watching them getting put through their paces by Kelli Finglass and Judy Trammell.  Sure, sometimes there are boring episodes, but it's no worse than watching the Duggars.  In fact, it's better, since these women have no problem showing off their bodies.

A couple of years ago, I actually ordered an old book about the cheerleaders from Amazon.  The book was about Suzette, Stephanie, and Sheri Scholz, three Texas sisters who were members of the DCC back in the late 1970s and into the 80s.  The book was pretty crappy.  It was written in a very breathless, vapid, teenaged girl style.  As an educated housewife, the poor writing didn't appeal to me.  On the other hand, the side of me that loves a good tell all kind of ate it up.

Anyway, it's pretty funny to watch the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders' reality show.  The women are mostly gorgeous with perfect bodies, but they get lambasted the minute they put on an ounce.  They have to be nice and call Kelli and Judy "Ma'am".  And... they only get paid $150 per home game.  Although some of them are able to parlay their DCC experience into a showbiz career or marriage to a wealthy man, most of them seem to do this just for kicks... (yuk, yuk, yuk).

I'm sure whoever filmed these was getting more than kicks watching these women perform.

I don't care at all about football, but I do enjoy watching dance, even if it's basically a bunch of young women doing kick lines and sexy hips.  I probably would get more of a cultural benefit watching ballet, but Making The Team is always good for an hour of contrived fun.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Here comes Sandy... a post full of odds and ends

The East Coast is about to get hit with a big storm called Sandy.  I don't usually get too excited about these things, since they usually don't really affect me directly.  I grew up in the southeastern US and have had to deal with hurricanes for most of my life.  There's usually a big media hype and the storm strikes somewhere else.

Of course, on April 16, 2011, we had just moved to our present location and were almost flattened by a tornado.  There are still quite a few homes near us that are pretty badly messed up.  Drive down a road near our lane and you'll see twisted, broken trees, some of which have pieces of metal roofing embedded in them.  And we are in North Carolina, which usually gets hit with hurricanes because of the way the Outer Banks jut out.  So this weekend could be interesting...  I should probably think it's interesting just because the storm has the same name as my husband's stepmother, who is a nice lady, but a bit prone to using guilt trips to get what she wants.

We also have an appointment to take MacGregor to the vet tomorrow for a vaccine.  When Zane got the same shot in the spring, he ended up having an allergic reaction and my husband had to rush him to the emergency vet's for a Benadryl shot because he broke out in hives.  I doubt MacGregor will have that reaction because he's a mutt and seems to tolerate things better than Zane does.  Zane, who is a purebred beagle, throws up if he eats a lot of beef.  I'm actually a little concerned about MacGregor, though, because he's got a nasty case of arthritis in his right shoulder that seems to have gotten worse over the past couple of days.  He walks with a noticeable limp and though he's pretty cheerful and even chipper, I know he's in pain.

In other news, there's a guy on my Facebook who just loves to argue politics.  He's very conservative and thinks Romney is the shit, so that gets to be pretty annoying.  I don't enjoy arguing with most people.  It brings out my fight or flight response and this guy never concedes anything-- he just argues.  Talking to him is sometimes like repeatedly banging your head against a brick wall.

I have another Facebook friend whose husband is related to Ann Romney.  She and her husband are very gung ho pro Romney and they've been working on his campaign.  She's also LDS and posts a lot of political bullshit to my wall along with snarky comments.  I'm just glad she doesn't post a lot of gag worthy religious stuff.  She and I have butted heads when we used to hang out on a second wives/stepmom forum.  Like most Mormons, she doesn't appreciate anyone saying anything critical about her church and she claims that I'm "confused" and don't understand anything.  But other than that, she's pretty cool.  She does have a pretty decent sense of humor, anyway.

I really ought to ditch Facebook, but it's a fertile source of entertainment.
At about 5:00am, I took the dogs out and the sky was full of stars, but now it's all foggy and a little windy outside.  It's dark and depressing and I'm considering going back to bed.  I sit here and still can't believe my life.  I went to school for years in preparation for a career, but here I sit watching TV, writing, and hanging out with my dogs.  I thought I'd be a mother, yet fate intervened and made that a very unlikely possibility.

And finally, Marie Osmond has a new talk show that is highly irritating.  I tried to watch the first episode and couldn't take seeing her in her tight clothes and hearing her giggle.  I liked her better when she teamed up with Donny, but even then, I thought she was annoying.  I just had a funny thought... imagine a talk show featuring Marie Osmond, Kathie Lee Gifford, Elizabeth Hasselbeck and Rachael Ray!  That is truly the stuff of nightmares!  Marie and Kathie Lee could vie for singing segments and Rachael Ray could be all perky as she makes her 30 minute meals.  Elizabeth could provide more of a conservative viewpoint and Dr. Laura could pop by occasionally in a Dr. Phil-esque role.  I feel queasy just thinking about it.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Saved By The Bell... The College Years

I had never heard of the show Saved By The Bell when it was first running in the late 1980s, early 1990s.  The first time I watched an episode was when I was in college.  I had male friends who watched it because they thought Tiffani Thiessen, who played Kelly Kapowski, was "hot".  Against my better judgment, I actually got a little hooked on the show and would watch it on the shitty black and white portable a former roommate left behind when she moved out of our dorm room.

I remember one time, this former roommate actually told me she wanted the TV back, but she never came and got it.  I guess it eventually got thrown away after I got out of school.  Geez... I'm a little shocked how broke I was in college!

Anyway, I still watch Saved By The Bell in the afternoons.  I remember that Saved By The Bell... The College Years premiered during my senior year.  It was a primetime show and, oddly enough, I thought it was a lot better than the show that spawned it.  The storylines were slightly more realistic; the acting was better; the soundtrack was less cheesy; and Screech stopped wearing such obnoxious clothes.  Alas, Saved By The Bell... The College Years only lasted a season.

Ah well.  It's kind of fun to see the re-runs, because I was very young when they were still on.  The years have passed too quickly.

I do think the living arrangements on that show were pretty modern.  The suite was co-ed, which was something I never saw in four years of dorm life.  Maybe that's how it is today, but in 1993, having co-ed suites with huge dorm rooms was a very novel idea.  We were lucky if we got air conditioning!  My school had just provided dorm dwellers with phones (fancy $250 models) my freshman year.  Before that, you had to bring your own or use the pay phone.  And we had cable, though with one of those old fashioned cable boxes with plastic buttons on them.

My senior year of college, I had a cable box that looked like this...

because I had that shitty black and white portable TV that was not cable ready.  This was in 1993-94... Doesn't seem that long ago, but I guess it is.  Forget about remote control, too.  Your ass was getting out of the chair and turning the channel if you didn't like what was on.

Another reason it's fun to watch old Saved By The Bell reruns is because of the horrible wardrobe.  Even the college version of the show has some very dated 90s era duds on it.  I think 90s fashion was a little like 70s fashion... laughably bad and obvious, lots of ruffles, flannel, plaid, and bold colors.  Ick.

Slim Goodbody...

He's been around for 30 years and now has a different bodysuit, but kids who grew up in the 1970s and 80s remember him fondly from PBS...

It's Slim Goodbody, aka John Burstein!  That's a picture of him from my day.  Nowadays, he looks like this...

Since 1975, Slim Goodbody has been using songs, cartoons, and skits to teach kids about their bodies.  I admire his mission, but I have to admit he always kind of gave me the willies in that bodysuit.  However, I have to give him mad props for staying so fit all these years.  I guess when your livelihood truly depends on being svelte, it's very motivating... that, and I think he truly believes in how wonderful the body is.

He has a PBS show and there are quite a few entertaining clips on YouTube.  Here are a couple I dug up just for yuks...

I wasn't sure he was still around, but clearly he's still going strong.  So let's hear it for Slim Goodbody, the health promotion crusader who is really trying to be hero to growing kids!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

When I Grow Up, I Want to Be A Mother!!!


This song is from a well-known LDS children's album called Songs For The Mormon Child with songs by Janeen Jacobs Brady and the Brite Singers.  

Here's another song from that same album called "I'm A Mormon!"  Very disturbing video footage augments the music.  It's the stuff of nightmares.

I'd rather have a potty mouth than genital herpes...

Yesterday, I wrote on Facebook about a weird dream I had involving someone leaving a horse in my front yard with a note attached to it inviting me to adopt it.  My status update invited a number of comments, so I explained that I used to have a horse when I was growing up.  In fact, I spent a lot of time in the barn, shoveling manure, cleaning tack, and riding.  I showed most summer weekends and went on fox hunts in the wintertime.  It was a huge part of my young life.

Back in the day, I had quite a potty mouth.  Okay... so I still have a potty mouth.  I like to swear and happen to believe that there's nothing wrong with it as long as you do it appropriately.  I will admit that when I was a young lady, I didn't always swear appropriately.

I am Facebook friends with my old riding coach/teacher and she invited me to come visit the next time I'm in her neck of the woods.  She said she'd make my dreams come true for a few hours!  Then she added that having known me when I was a teen, she could vouch for the fact that I had a potty mouth.  Apparently, her daughters, who were then very young, used to repeat the things they heard me say in the barn.  I'm sure some of the things they said shocked and dismayed her, or at least led her to blush a bit.

I started thinking about it and realized that if the worst you could say about me is that I have a potty mouth, that's not such a bad thing.  After all, I graduated high school still a virgin.  In fact, I waited until marriage before I had sex for the first time... at age 30!  I might as well have grown up Mormon!  Except of course for my dirty mouth, which has earned me a lot of disapproving looks from my elders.  At this point in my life, though, I am an elder.  Or at least you could say I'm headed in that direction.  I'm definitely not a youngster anymore.

And, good news!  I don't have genital herpes!  If I had used cleaner language back then but messed around with too many boys, I might have ended up with a disease that I'd still have today.  Genital herpes is the gift that keeps on giving... it's kind of like luggage; you never get rid of it.  Or instead of herpes, I could have used my mouth for something besides swearing and ended up with something equally unsavory.  So there you have it...

You can get past the potty mouth syndrome, too.  I could learn not to cuss so much.  But I have a pretty good vocabulary and can choose to turn off my cursing if I want to.  Swearing is kind of fun, though, and sometimes you can get a lot of satisfaction out of a good "fuck you".  Just don't say it to the wrong person.

These are the thoughts that kept me out of the really good schools...    

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

And finally... a dearth of common sense...

Today has been a fertile day for my blog...  These two videos are scary.

Defending the faith... how annoying.

I wasn't planning to blog again today, but an issue has already come up prompting my need to vent.  A friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was upset that Ann Romney compared Mormon missionary service to military service.  As the wife of an ex-Mormon and a current Army officer, I had to agree with what my friend had to say about Mrs. Romney's ridiculous remarks.  Folks, there is just NO COMPARISON between a Mormon mission and military service.  I won't say the mission is necessarily easier than military service is-- just that they are two completely different things with entirely different agendas.

My husband did not serve a mission, but I have gotten to know quite a few people who have.  I know people in the church and out of it.  I have done lots and lots of reading about Mormonism, and not just anti-Mormon books and blogs.  I am pretty well versed about the faith, not because I set out to persecute church members, but because my husband's affiliation with it led me to study.  He was still active in the faith when we met.

I don't like Mormonism and I have some pretty good reasons not to like it.  They were not formed out of misinformation or prejudice or just because I thought Mormons were "weird".  Indeed, I used to be one of those people who were offended when I heard of Mormons being described as belonging to a cult.  But then I lost my ignorance and did some research and now I agree with those who think the religion is "culty", even if it's not an outright cult.  Even so, I think people should do whatever works for them and would never begrudge a person their faith or belief system, so long as they don't try to turn their beliefs into our laws and they don't try to force me to share their beliefs or shut me up when I express my opinions.

Anyway, in the discussion I was having with my friend, I wrote that I had read a lot of stories from people who had served Mormon missions, including a couple of truly excellent books written by former missionaries.  My friend thought that people had been unkind to the missionaries, but I responded that actually it was the church that had been unkind.  I didn't go too much into detail because the thread wasn't really about Mormon missions-- it was about Ann Romney comparing her sons' missions to military service, which is a completely ridiculous comparison.

Sure enough, someone told me I needed to do my "research".  Why?  Because I expressed a negative opinion about Mormonism that she didn't agree with.  And because I have a negative opinion about the church, I must be "confused" and can't possibly understand what it's all about.  Everything I know about Mormonism doesn't matter because it happens to be negative in nature.  If I said I thought the sun rose and shone on Joseph Smith, I bet she'd praise me for being so "smart".

This person doesn't know me from Adam and does not know that my husband's daughters shun him, in part, because he left the church.  They think I've done just a little reading about this church and made up my mind that way.  It's very insulting.  I did not come to my opinion about the LDS church overnight.  It took years of study and reading and hearing accounts from people involved with the church.  My opinions may be a lot of things, but they were not born out of ignorance or without deep consideration.

I do believe there are some wonderful people who are Mormons and I have compassion for missionaries because they have a hard life.  But I don't respect the church or the system that forces these young people to give up two years of their lives going door to door trying to bring innocent people into their faith, especially when they are not altogether honest about what will happen when the investigator stops getting just "milk" and is introduced to "meat".  Milk before meat is a big component of the missionary effort...  It involves leaving out the less tasteful aspects of the faith, even white washing it, because the investigator can't possibly understand it.  And then after they've decided to change their lives and perhaps cut out their family members who don't believe, or shun the ones who decide it's not for them, they are then perhaps exposed to the uglier aspects of the religion.

To be fair to the missionaries, I don't think that even they really know what their church teaches.  A lot of them have never been away from home before and they've been surrounded by people who think and act just like they do.  They are not allowed to read anything critical of the faith. They are discouraged from having discussions with people about the religion unless their sources come entirely from a church approved book or Web site.  If they were encouraged to think critically and make up their own minds instead of threatened about what might happen to them if they engaged in serious study that examines the pros and cons of their church, more of them might choose to leave.  In fact, I think the Internet has been terrible for many religions because it opens up a huge Pandora's Box of information that used to be much easier to hide.

It became pretty clear to me that my friend's Facebook friend who called me out and told me I needed to do more research-- and then actually said my research had been in "vain", apparently because it led to a negative opinion of the church-- was not really interested in respectfully discussing why I feel the way I do about the church.  She addressed me disrespectfully and then told me I was "wrong" without even really knowing anything about me.  So I told her that I had no intention of arguing with her and I left the thread.  It was the smartest and most respectful thing to do, especially since it was my friend's Facebook wall and the original thread wasn't about defending or lambasting Mormonism.  Maybe I was wrong to say what I did, if only because negative comments about the church always invite butt hurt commentary from church members who feel "persecuted", even though there's a prominent church member running for President right now who actually has a good chance of winning the election.

If Mitt wins, you bet your ass there will be more people investigating Mormonism and more embarrassing facts will be brought to light.  I hope all these persecuted church members can stand the heat of the epic shitstorm that is liable to start if Mitt actually becomes president.  Get used to the irreverent jokes about "magic underwear", racism, and polygamy.  And get used to people getting wise.  Something tells me the prophet will be busy with a lot of new revelations that will make some of the church's policies less embarrassing.... and church historians will be busy trying to do more whitewashing and burying of history.  But truth is a bit like the sun... it has a way of coming to light no matter how hard you try to cover it with clouds.      

Me on a buying spree...

My wedding anniversary is just around the corner.  In just about three weeks, my husband and I will celebrate ten years together.  We get along extremely well and always have, despite all the craziness with his ex wife and kids.  The truth is, aside from a few very dramatic events, Ex has pretty much left us in peace.

I think that's mainly because my husband eventually quit trying to demand a relationship with his daughters.  I really don't get how a guy can win when it comes to divorce.  If he backs away from his family and lets the new husband be "daddy", he's considered uninvolved and uncaring.  If he insists on having a relationship, he's lambasted for trying to force the issue when no one wants him around.  I think the man's role after a divorce is usually to just pay child support and STFU...  or at least that's what my husband's ex wife demanded of him.  She's pissed that he split up with her, even though she initiated the divorce.

Anyway... enough about dipshit Ex and her merry gang of twits.  I have a lot of contempt for them that I can barely bridle, even after ten years of marriage.  But other than that, my husband and I have had a very good union and we are planning to celebrate it in Scotland.  In one month, we'll be on a tiny ship cruising the Hebrides.

This particular trip requires that my husband and I dress nicely.  I bought a short sleeve blue silk dress a couple of months ago.  I was attracted to it, though there were other silk outfits I liked better.  The practical side of me won out, though, because the other outfits were much more expensive and we don't go out enough for me to justify pumping a lot of money into my formal wear wardrobe.  But then last night, it occurred to me how cold Scotland is liable to be in November.  I ended up buying a matching blue silk wide notched collar duster to go with my dress.

For his part, my husband was in need of new dress clothes.  He still needs to buy a suit at some point.  Twenty-eight years in the military has left him with no need for dress clothes, but he's eventually going to have to hang up his uniform and wear civilian clothes.  So we took advantage of a great deal going on at JoSABank's Web site and got him some dress shirts, ties, a pair of socks, and a reversible belt.

Then I heard a tremendous crash in the kitchen.  My husband had been trying to wash the wine glasses and one of them shattered.  He has a special knack for breaking my stemware.  Off I went to look for a replacement glass.  I was all set to order one from Replacements Ltd., when I realized that I could probably by a set of four for only a little bit more than what Replacements Ltd. was charging.  Indeed I did find a set of four selling for $39.95 with free shipping on  One glass from Replacements Ltd. would have cost $25.

Two days ago, my husband told me we needed a garment bag for our new finery.  He's planning to wear his dress blues Army uniform and I sure would prefer that my new dress doesn't get all rumpled.  So I went to and put the garment bag in my virtual cart, then asked my husband if there were any other bags he wanted while I was putting in an order.  He found a new carry on and I found what appeared to be a reasonably priced duffel.  All told, I spent about $500...  along with the $500 I spent back in July when I bought two other pieces for myself.

Luckily, I had some money tucked away, though I've spent more of it than I was hoping to.  Here's to ten more years... hopefully with even less drama and more spending.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Jerry Springer reminds me of why I'm glad I'm not hawt.

At about 4:00 yesterday, I was watching Jerry Springer.  Yesterday's episode featured the usual gang of skanks who are on Jerry Springer.  I don't even remember what the subject was.  Most Jerry Springer shows tend to be about the same thing anyway.  Someone's cheating on someone else for whatever reason.

Anyway, as I was watching that episode, I suddenly remembered a night back in the summer of 1999.  It was a Wednesday night and I was at a bar waiting for karaoke to start.  Some of my co-workers were also there-- at that time, I worked as a waitress at a nice restaurant.  I don't think I worked that night, though.  I was just hanging out in town, wanting to have a good time.  One of my friends was dancing to "Genie In A Bottle" by Christina Aguilera.  I'm not into women, but I'm guessing she must have looked fetching to a couple of the people in that bar because next thing I knew, I was being tapped on the shoulder.

I turned around and there was some guy standing there.  He asked me if my friend was "with anyone".  I remember being kind of taken aback by the question, especially since she wasn't really "with me".  We happened to be friends who happened to be at the bar at the same time.  I don't remember what I said to the guy.  I think I was just kind of shocked and a little insulted.

So yesterday, I remembered this incident and how it made me feel as a woman in my 20s.  As a woman at 40, it occurs to me that even though this guy thought my friend was "hawt", I was probably the luckier and less insulted one.  Every night, there are people out there just scoping out others, looking for a quick hook up.  The gentleman in that bar no doubt spotted my pretty, blonde, thin friend, gyrating to dance music and was enchanted by her appearance.  He knew nothing about her other than what she looked like and that attraction, most likely bolstered by alcohol, was enough to prompt him to ask me if she was "free".  As if I had any say over who she hooks up with or even give a shit...

I don't know if he ever even approached her.  If he did, I wonder how she felt about it.  She was admired by some skanky guy in a bar who probably wanted to take her home and fuck her.  And then afterwards... what?

I was never into casual sex.  To me, it's always been a big deal.  I like to go out and have a good time, but I don't like the idea of having sex with people I barely know.  And that, along with the fact that I'm not what most people would consider "hawt", is part of the reason I had such a boring lifestyle in my 20s.  I spent a lot of nights alone, even though I know that if I really wanted to, I could have hooked up.  Hooking up is not really that challenging; but neither is it all that satisfying, at least not to me.

Now that I'm 40, though, I don't regret my choices.  Not long after that unpleasant encounter at that bar, I met my husband.  By the time I was 30, we were married.  He treats me like a queen and I have no unpleasant reminders or memories of that night... except when I watch Jerry Springer, which I probably shouldn't do anymore.  God knows where that guy has been... or who he's been with.  And as "tempting" as it might have been to get with him briefly, it probably wasn't worth the risk (yes, I'm being sarcastic).             

A few years after that incident, my husband and I were at the Officer's Club and three "hawt" young women came in together.  They were obviously married, but their husbands were deployed.  They lived on post, within walking distance of the club.  The three of them sat down at a table and were very quickly joined by three older guys, one of whom asked "Can I interest you ladies in breakfast at the Waffle House?"

My husband and I traded disgusted looks.  A couple of hours later, those ladies left with their dates for the night.  They came in the club quite frequently, blatantly hooking up while their husbands were sweating in the desert.  Yeah... that's class.  I take a pretty dim view of military spouses (usually women) who screw around while their husbands are deployed.  I understand that it's lonely, boring, and frustrating to be left behind while your spouse is out fighting for God and country.  It's still shitty to cheat when your spouse is at war.  And it's shitty for spouses at war to cheat, too.  But if you're going to cheat, at least have the decency to be discreet about it.

As for me... it's probably time to turn off the fucking TV.

Friday, October 19, 2012

You're single... you're Christian!

Ever see those ads for  They always crack me up.  I'm sure there must be a market for Christian dating sites, though, because those ads are on all the time.  They always show smiling couples talking unconvincingly about finding "God's match" for them.

These ads actually surprise me.  I see at least two women who aren't really dressed "modestly".  By that I mean I can see their bare shoulders and thighs.  I would think a dating site for  Christians would more carefully present the people in their commercials.

And then I wonder what the people on are like.  I wonder how many patriarchal wackos are on there who want their wives to dress modestly and forego cutting their hair.  I wonder how many go on there looking for people to engage in Christian Domestic Discipline with them.  I wonder how many folks are just on there looking for a nice guy or nice girl and not something weird.


Here's a video by a very enthusiastic young woman who has good things to say about  Her review is about a minute and you probably won't need to drink any coffee after you see it, because she's very "up".  And like the folks on the ads, she doesn't seem to have any trouble baring her shoulders.

Anyway... it seems like a lot of people are looking for love on this Web site.  But I can't get past the "You're single! You're Christian!" tag line...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Oh sheet! Gosh ding it! Oh smudge!

Here's another brief post that I just had to get up before I forget the name of the product again...

I don't do my nails anymore.  I'm rarely around people other than my husband and the guys who bring me deliveries.  I mostly hang out with a couple of dogs who don't care what I look like as long as I feed them.  Still, I had to sit up and take notice when I saw the ad linked above...

It only runs for 17 seconds, but it's so stupid it sticks on the brain...

"Oh smudge!"

"Gosh ding it!"

"Oh sheet!"

Are viewers really to believe those are the expletives most women would use after messing up their nails?  This ad qualifies as so bad it's good, because I know there are people searching the Web for the name of the product and the ad.  Some people even apparently think it's funny.  Check out this comment from Yahoo! Answers...

I saw this commercial on TV not to long ago for the nail stickers, I'm not sure if they where Sally Hansen salon effects nails or not, but if not they where similar.
Anyway, I the commercial it was people who would smudge their nail polish an then say something instead of a cuss word (one person woke up and like at their nails and yelled "oh sheet" and stuff like that, I can't remember any more)


I want to show my friend it because I thought it was funny but am having trouble finding it. If you can find a link to it or anything that could help me I would really appreciate it
Thank you :)

I weep for the future!

The menstrual theme continues...

I don't know why, but one of my friends posted this on Facebook this morning and it seemed a perfect follow up to yesterday's "Growing Up and Liking It" post...

It seems a man named Richard Neill posted a snarky comment to the British feminine hygiene company Bodyform's Facebook page, claiming that their ads had "lied" about how wonderful periods are for women.  So in typical cheeky British fashion, CEO Caroline Williams posted a composed response to Richard, apologizing for their "lies".  The video really shows it all... and is a perfect epic response to clueless men who just don't get it!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Especially for Alexis... "Growing Up and Liking It"

So ladies...  do you remember the first time you learned about menstruation?  I sure do.

I was in the 4th grade and did not know anything at all about periods.  I remember finding my mom's maxi pads and tampons and playing with them.  I had no idea how they worked or what they were for; but I came up with plenty of creative uses for them when I played.  It was a big surprise when all the girls in my class were ushered into a room called "The Pit" at my elementary school.  The Pit has since been filled in and is now used as a regular classroom; but back in my day, it was like a miniature indoor amphitheater.  It was oval shaped with ugly brown carpeted steps that went all the way around that we could sit on.  A teacher could stand in the middle of the Pit and facilitate a chat.  We used it for music classes or watching films... or getting our class pictures taken.

I remember being surprised in the late 80s when I found out our high school, which was built in the mid 1970s, also had a "Pit", only it was more like an actual amphitheater and had ugly puke green carpeting instead.  The first time I ever saw it was when I was a high school junior and had signed up for a weekly class/discussion on sex.  I'm pretty sure I only signed up for it so I could get out of chemistry class.

Anyway, one day in 1981 (or '82... can't remember exactly when) all the girls were brought to The Pit to watch a film called "Growing Up and Liking It".  I remember the film looked like it was made in the early 70s.  It was all about puberty and how menstruation works.  They made it sound like it was sooo special.  We were all given little goodie boxes with samples of feminine hygiene products made by Personal Products.  Checking out the Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health Web site, I see that the accompanying booklet "Growing Up and Liking It" was revised many times.  My friends and I got the 1978 version.

I remember being so excited after watching that film and getting that box of goodies.  All my friends were excited, too.  I used to go to my best friend's house and we'd talk about how we'd feel when we were all grown up and past that rite of passage that every healthy woman deals with.

I was sure that my first period was just around the corner and once I got it, I'd be magically all grown up.  My mom got her first period when she was only ten years old and I already had boobs growing, so I was sure I'd be one of the first to go on the rag.  As it turned out, I didn't have my first period until I was almost exactly thirteen and a half years old.  It was New Year's Eve 1985.  And I didn't have another period until July 1986.  Unfortunately, I haven't missed a period since.

But I do remember how giddy we all were after learning about menstruation, even if now I think we were nuts and actually miss those innocent days.  I wasn't even grossed out about the prospect of bleeding from my privates every month.  I was blissfully unaware of how periods can make women feel.  I'm actually very lucky, though, because my periods are pretty low maintenance.  They rarely last more than four days and aren't painful.  I don't even really get PMS.  The worst I get is cramps and that icky feeling.  I have friends that have had to get hysterectomies because of their periods.

Seems like we had a couple more school talks over the years.  I guess they did them just to be sure that there weren't any Carrie moments at the school and we didn't have 17 year old girls freaking out because they'd never heard of menstruation.

And Alexis, there was indeed a PSA in the 70s about VD being for everybody...

ETA:  I stumbled across this on YouTube...  Even Disney got into the act of teaching young women about "the curse".

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why I don't want to shut down the Facebook group, "Fuck the Troops"...

I wasn't planning to blog again today, but something came up this morning that prompted another post. One of my Facebook friends, a fellow Army wife, sent me a request to join her "cause", "shut down "F**k the Troops" facebook page".

I'm sure it should be a no brainer that I would want to join this cause, right? Because I am the wife of a soldier and all...

But here's the thing. One thing that folks in the military are tasked to do is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. And the very first amendment to the Constitution is the right to free speech. That means that in this country, we have the right to freedom of expression, no matter how distasteful it might be.

Granted, Facebook is not necessarily a public place. I mean, it might as well be public, since so many people are members of it. But you can be banned if you continually post stuff that is offensive, abusive, or racist. In that sense, Facebook doesn't necessarily guarantee a person's right to freedom of speech or expression. That's their policy, though, so if they want to shut down that Facebook page condemning the troops, it's their call. I don't think it's up to me to start or support a cause that pressures Facebook to shut down a page, even if I personally find it disagreeable.

So while I understand why my Army wife friend wants this page kicked off Facebook, I don't want to join her cause to get it kicked off.  People have the right to their opinions and the right to express themselves.  The idiot who created that hateful group may not see how the troops make his or her life better, but I do.  Maybe someday, they'll get a clue.  But not everybody has to like, respect, or support the troops... that's one of the nice things about living in America.

Those old hygiene films...

I was inspired to write today's post by one of the comments I received today.  I grew up in the 1970s and 80s.  When I was in grade school, most people didn't own a VCR.  My parents didn't have one until 1987, when I was 15 years old.  In school, we watched filmstrips or films on the movie projector.  What a treat it was when you were asked to "turn" the filmstrip projector for the teacher!  I don't think I ever was, but I do remember a lot of kids being excited about it and eagerly volunteering for the job.

Anyway, some of those hygiene films were pretty hilarious.  I doubt today's kids ever get to see them, so I've decided to link to some YouTube videos for your fun and enjoyment...  This is what you missed out on by not growing up when I did, kids!

"How To Be Well-Groomed"

"What To Do On A Date"

"Exercise and Health"

"Joan Avoids A Cold"

"Rest and Health"

"Lunchroom Manners" (I do remember seeing this one)

And the ever popular... "Molly Grows Up"...  I learned a whole lot watching this one about how periods affect my life.  Too bad I'm heading for menopause.

They can't still be showing these films in school... In fact, I think the ones I actually saw as a kid were geared for younger kids.  But I have to admit I get a charge out of 1940s and 50s era propaganda!  What would we have done without it?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Come and knock on our door...

When I was growing up, I loved watching Three's Company on TV.   My older sister got me hooked on the show, even though it was probably inappropriate viewing for me at the time.  My sisters are all much older than I am, though, so they all influenced me inappropriately.  Three's Company is famously about a guy (John Ritter) living with two women (Joyce Dewitt and a series of blondes).  Ritter's character, Jack Tripper, has to pretend he's gay so the landlord will let him live there.  I'm sure back in the 70s and 80s, the idea of a guy living with two girls and not engaging in any hanky panky was very risque.  Nowadays, it just seems like a very quaint idea.

Anyway, over the weekend, I got a hair up my ass and decided to watch season six of Three's Company on DVD.  I happen to own it because I bought it on a whim when we were living in Germany and I was starved for something in English to watch on TV.  Season six is probably my favorite of all the seasons of Three's Company.   Yes, it's true that it was after Suzanne Somers had left the show... to be honest, she was never that much of a draw.  I always liked Priscilla Barnes better as the smart nurse, Terri, and season six was when she first showed up.  And Jenilee Harrison was still around, finishing out her contract, I guess.

My favorite episode of all time was also during season six.  I actually remember when "Up In The Air" aired for the first time in 1982.  I was in the fourth grade and enraptured by the story line, which involved Jack going to a party at a ritzy house with Janet (Joyce Dewitt).  Janet's upset because she was invited to bring a date when she thought the guy throwing the party, David (Barry Williams, aka Greg Brady), was her boyfriend.  So she convinces Jack to go, but there's one little snag.  They have to fly in a small aircraft to get to the house and Jack's afraid of flying.  So he takes tranquilizers...  and then mixes them with a drink.  The end results are hilarious!

The first time I saw this, I about pissed my pants I was laughing so hard.  Even thirty years later, it kills me.  I watched this episode the other night and just rolled.

I miss shows like this...  It's perfect for a Monday morning, isn't it?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sanda/Sandusky... Today's dream "theme mallet"...

Back in the 1990s, I was a big fan of the WB television show, 7th Heaven.  I didn't watch it because I liked the content so much.  I watched it because I enjoyed snarking on it.  I'm one of those people who enjoys bad TV.  That's why I got so hooked on America's Next Top Model.  Of course, it's jumped the shark so far that I quit watching it, even though Tyra Banks revamped it and all.

Anyway, aside from watching 7th Heaven and ANTM, I also enjoy reading Television Without Pity.  And it was on that Web site that I first heard of the term "theme mallet".  7th Heaven was infamous for the "theme mallet".  That is, every episode had some kind of PSA/theme in order to teach viewers a moralistic lesson.  The mallet was wielded by every major character and used to smack viewers upside the head repeatedly over the course of an hour of programming.  On 7th Heaven, you might get repeatedly struck with a theme mallet about the evils of drinking alcohol, smoking pot, or using ephedrine, for instance.  And it was always presented in a way that implied the show cared about you...

This morning, I had a very vivid dream that incorporated several different things loosely associated in my life.  It started with my husband and I living in a quaint house.  We had decided to invite friends over for dinner.  My husband and I are both good cooks and I'm currently reading Julie Powell's book about her year making every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  So I guess that's where the idea of making an elaborate dinner came from.

We were living in an area that looked a little like New England, but was apparently Scotland.  Next month, my husband and I are going to Scotland.  So I guess that's where that came from...  One of the places we will be visiting is Sanda Island.  Sanda is privately owned, but apparently in my dream, that's where we were living.  It was stormy and we lived near a body of water that had a bit of a surf.

We invited over a guy I knew in college.  He and his wife showed up, along with quite a few other people that weren't invited but were friends of my college friend.  My husband and I were trying to entertain and cook at the same time, but it wasn't going so well.  I was haphazardly trying to set the table while melting chocolate and basting poultry all at the same time.  It was a huge disaster.

Next thing I knew, I was out by the water and there were a couple of very friendly raccoons there.  They were almost human.  I tried to shoo them away, but they looked at me pleadingly with big, expressive eyes.  I did something that made them happy and they eventually toddled off.

Then I kept hearing the name "Sandusky".  I know Jerry Sandusky just got sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison, but I haven't really been following the case at all.  My husband mentioned it last night over dinner and I said I thought it was very sad that this man would spend the rest of his life in prison.  I mean, he belongs in prison, but it's a shame that he did things that landed him there.  I feel sorry for his family.

I woke up because my dog MacGregor was snoring.  I told him to be quiet and fell asleep again.  Then I seemed to pick up the same dream right where I left off.  I repeated it over and over again until it was time to get up.  I'm not sure what that particular "theme mallet" was all about, but when I opened my eyes, I felt like I had been repeatedly beaten about the head and shoulders with it.  So I decided I needed to write about it in my blog for my readers' enjoyment.  Dreams are weird, aren't they?  I guess I just had a lot on my mind.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Like/Don't like...

Well, I thought I was done with Ms. Overly Helpful, but apparently she was concerned or something.  She sent me an email asking me if I had really left our group of stepmothers and if I was "okay".  I responded that I had indeed left the group and was doing okay.  I just didn't want to ruin my weekend arguing about the prospect of choosing a healthcare provider with a bunch of women who don't even know me personally and won't be affected by my decision.  Okay... actually, I just said I didn't want to ruin the long weekend, and added that I wasn't really a stepmother anymore anyway and don't participate that much.

So she wrote back and said she was glad-- not that I had left the group, but that I'm "okay".  And then she thanked me for getting back to her.  Perhaps her concern for me is genuine, but I have a feeling that  email was more about guilt than anything else.

You know how it is.  Sometimes people just have personality clashes with others.  I'm sure Ms. Overly Helpful is a wonderful person, but she just irritates the snot out of me.  This has been going on for years and it doesn't seem to be getting any better.  Usually, I'm the one people fall away from.  I have a strong personality and tend to be very opinionated.  Or I say or do things that other people think are inappropriate.

I've come to realize that while you can be "well-liked" by a lot of people, not everyone is going to "like" you.  And likewise, you're not going to "like" everyone you run into.  Our culture puts a high premium on being nice and being "liked".  Hell, go on Facebook and you can "like" just about anything.  But there is no "don't like" button.  Why?  Because "don't like" is negative and hurts people's feelings.  But "don't like" is still perfectly valid.  And if you "don't like" something or someone, you can either try to learn to "like" them or you can simply move on.  I've been trying to "like" Ms. Overly Helpful for years now and have gotten nowhere.  I think it's best if we went our separate ways.   

Of course, Ms. Overly Helpful is not the only reason I made my decision to leave the stepmothers group.  The truth is, I stopped feeling like a true stepmother a long time ago.  It's been several years since my husband last had any contact with his kids.  And the one kid who was speaking to him up until 2009 was not really his kid and revealed himself to be only interested in money.  It's been a very hurtful, heartbreaking experience.  I want to move on and define myself in some other way.

One thing I have learned from my experience as a stepmother is that sometimes you can do all you can to be "liked" and it still just doesn't work out.  My husband's daughters met me once, spent less than 48 hours with me, and seemed to "like" me fine.  I could have spent more time with them had I chosen to spend the holidays with them and their mother in 2004...  I chose not to, because I figured spending that time with them would not really serve a purpose.  So I am not "liked" by my husband's kids, but then, they really don't even know me.  And to be honest, I "don't like" them either because I've seen how their hateful behavior has hurt people I love.

So there you have it.  I'm still the Overeducated Housewife, though... and now I have 36 days to go until I'm boarding a flight to Scotland.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The "Voice of Reason" strikes for the LAST time...

If you've been reading this blog, you might have read about my repeated encounters with an overly helpful woman I know online.  Sometimes I refer to her as "Ms. Overly Helpful".  Sometimes I call her the "Voice of Reason".  I used to have regular run ins with her at a messageboard we both frequented, but the messageboard has kind of gone defunct because of a database error that no one is able to fix.  Consequently, now a lot of people hang out in a private group on Facebook.  Until this morning, I was a member of that group.  I decided to leave it this morning.

Yesterday, I blogged about a situation I ran into when I discovered the primary care manager Tricare assigned to me had an online presence that made me feel uncomfortable.  I had already decided I wanted to change providers, but casually mentioned my decision in the private group.  I honestly didn't think my decision to switch healthcare providers was a subject that was up for debate.  But one of my friends had issues with my decision to change providers based on Internet photos.  She basically took me to task, asking how what this woman does in her private life affects the quality of medical care she delivers.

For the record, I agree on principle that professional folks have lives too and have the right to enjoy their off time in any way they please.  However, when it comes to me and medical care, I have special needs.  This morning, my dear husband was kind enough to listen to me as I explained in detail the traumatic incident I dealt with during my very first gyno exam back in 1995.  That was over 17 years ago, but it still hurts to think about it and talk about it.  I was in tears by the time I was finished telling him about it.  Ever since then, I've been very nervous around doctors, especially those who want to stick their fingers in my crotch.

Some of the women in that group had read my story before and knew I was traumatized by my first gynecological exam.  But they don't know me in real life and did not have the benefit of seeing me melt down in tears this morning as I talked about it.

In any case, as of last night, that thread was sort of dying down.  I thought it was going to blow over.  But then along comes the "Voice of Reason", who responded in her usual reproachful tone couched in niceties.  She wrote about how her daughter is young and likes to party but is an excellent healthcare professional.  She explained that she has to choose her provider based on whether or not she can walk to his or her office.  None of what she wrote really had that much to do with the issue at hand, other than to let me know that she doesn't think I should judge health care professionals based on their Internet photos.

I still wonder what the hell their point was.  I mean, were they just trying to get me to say I'm wrong?  I wonder if any of these women, when faced with Internet photos of a pediatrician doing keg stands or a lawyer participating in a wet t-shirt contest, would choose to turn a blind eye to that and hire them anyway?  To some people, maybe the healthcare or legal professional's extracurricular activities wouldn't matter as long as they were otherwise qualified for the job.  I certainly wouldn't begrudge them that.  But to other people, it would be an issue and they would choose to see another professional.  Hell, a lot of women won't see a perfectly qualified male OB-GYN simply because he is a man.  I don't really see how this is any different than that.  As one of my supporters put it, if someone is going to be examining your junk, you have every right to exact high standards.

In my case, the healthcare professional in question has never even met me.  I was just assigned to be her patient.  My choosing to see someone else is not going to affect her in any way.  She has no idea that we've been sitting around talking about her and her Internet photos.  She is blissfully unaware that the prospect of having to see her indirectly led to my having a crying jag in my kitchen this morning.  I'm just a name on a piece of paper to her.

And I guess, to these women in the Facebook group, I'm just a name and a photo who interacts.  They don't know me personally and can only assume that I'm just being unreasonable or irrational for being turned off by a healthcare provider's MySpace photos.  Even my husband, who can see in real life how my past trauma affects me today, can't really know exactly how I feel or why I feel that way.

Anyway, the whole thread degenerated when a couple more group members, who hadn't been participating in the thread until this morning, decided they needed to chime in and remind me of their right to express their opinions in whatever tone they please.  And then one of them basically told me I knew what I was getting into what I initially made my post.  Honestly, I didn't.  It never occurred to me that women who were supposedly "friends" would have such a big problem with the fact that I'm choosing to find another healthcare provider.  Seems to me that just my being uncomfortable with the provider should be reason enough to change.

So I decided to opt out of the group.  I'm all for people having and expressing opinions.  I just think there's a time for debate and a time for support.  I needed support and I got debate... then I got blamed for the debate.  So it's time for me to go it alone.

As for seeing the healthcare provider, I'm guessing I'm just going to put it off again.  Life is 100% fatal anyway.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

Privacy settings! Use them if you're a professional...

The other day, I was sitting at home minding my own business when I got an unexpected phone call from the Army post where my husband works. It was the medical people and they were calling to tell me that since I just turned 40, it's time for me to have a mammogram. I am also waaaaay overdue for a pap test. The caller gave me the name of my primary health care provider, whom I have never seen before and did not choose. In fact, my husband and I were under the impression that we were to choose a local provider since we don't live close to post, but apparently Tricare saw fit to assign me to someone.

A small aside-- When I was 22, I endured a very traumatic experience with the military health care provider who gave me my very first pap test and pelvic exam. Consequently, I pretty much never go to the doctor unless I'm about to die. And yes, I do know better... I have master's degrees in public health and social work. I just have a really hard time with trust issues, especially within the military health care system. My blood pressure shoots up the minute I walk in the door of military medical facilities. I did have a good experience with the physician's assistant who did my physical before my husband and I moved to Germany, but I still have some pretty serious anxiety issues. In fact, they were so big that the P.A. was convinced I have high blood pressure and made me wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitor for 24 hours to prove that I don't.

Anyway, even though I get very nervous about going to the doctor, I know that I probably should go and get checked out. And so, when the lady called the other day, I took down the name of the provider and the numbers for the breast care clinic and the provider's office. Then, out of curiosity, I searched for my provider's name on the Internet. It turns out she's quite a bit younger than I am and had posted pictures of herself on MySpace partying and carrying on. I'm all for having fun and don't really care that she drinks... but I have to say it made me uncomfortable to see that stuff posted in public for the world to see. I think I'm going to switch providers, even though I'm sure this woman is competent and professional.

One of my friends basically scolded me for being judgmental and not giving the P.A. a chance. She said she didn't see a correlation between what the P.A. does in her private life and how she performs on the job. Then she said she and her husband party with a couple of their medical care providers. Of course, I realize that lots of people drink and party and are perfectly responsible, respectable people. In fact, I enjoy drinking and partying myself. I'm not saying that professionals don't have a right to have a life. I'm just saying that it's prudent to keep certain things private. I understand that sometimes photos get tagged and all, but the pictures I saw were pretty obviously ones that she'd put up.

I feel that as the consumer, I should be allowed to choose a provider who makes me comfortable, especially since this person would be examining very private parts of my body and it's already pretty hard to get me to go to the doctor as it is. If I'm uncomfortable about someone from the get-go, I'm a lot less inclined to make that appointment.

In today's Internet age, people are going to do some Googling. It's a fact of life and perfectly legal. It may be prejudicial and discriminatory for me to choose another health care provider based on Internet pics, but this is my health we're talking about and I'm the one who has to live with the results of the health care delivery. The fact that I feel uncomfortable should be reason enough to choose another provider if it's possible to do so. While I understand that's it's not right to be overly judgmental, the fact is that everybody judges to some extent. Exercising good judgment is one way to stay out of trouble. And I don't think it's my job to give a health care provider I'm uncomfortable with "a chance" just because I don't want to be "judgmental" about what she does in her personal life. The fact is, when she posted those pictures on the Internet, her private life ceased to be private.

The military health care system being what it is, I'm sure that P.A. already has plenty of patients. Since we've never met, she'll never know the difference. And if she's worth a damn, she'd want me to be comfortable.

Anyway, just had to get that off my chest. Now to work up the courage to find someone else to squash my boobs and examine my hoo-ha.