Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cave dwellers among us...

All this chatter about Maria Kang has brought out multiple blog posts and news articles about the hot mom.  I have already blogged about her three times, so let me just state that this post is not about Maria Kang and her "smokin' hot" bod.  Instead, this post is about how many cave dwellers there are in our midst.

I really shouldn't read the comments that people post on news articles because they generally make me sad for humanity.  Whenever someone raises hell about body image and gets people all upset, there's a chorus of shitty comments from people who see it as their right to make shaming comments to people they think are too fat.  They often do this under the guise of wanting to encourage people to be "healthy".  However, I think the truth is, they don't give a shit about other peoples' health.  What they care about is being confronted by the sight of people they don't find attractive and wish would go away.

Our society seems to be full of narcissistic people who only seem to care about that which makes their crotches stir.  And so, when someone like Maria Kang becomes an Internet star, we get comments from these cave dweller types that range from "I'd tap that" to "The truth hurts, 'fatties'."  Why is it okay for people to make such superficial, shallow comments and judgments about other human beings?  And honestly, it makes me wonder how they ended up being so callous.

I mean, were their parents like this?  Who taught them it was acceptable to be so shitty?  I read another awful post about a blogger who wrote about five reasons why it pays to date a woman with an eating disorder…  My God, if the article itself, and the comments that came with it, and the article criticizing weren't enough to make me completely lose faith in other humans, I don't know what would be.

I think the next time anyone dares tell me they think I'm too heavy, I'm going to tell them I think they smell bad and their nose is ugly.  And I'm only telling them because I'm concerned about their health.
;-)

Check out these cave dwelling comments…  I didn't edit any of them.  Basically, all a lot of men care about is if you're fuckable and they want to "tap that".  They don't care about health.  They care about whether or not the women around them are pleasing to look at and make their crotches twitch.  These are just a few of the things people have to say about those they don't think are fuckable…  A few bring up health, but let's face it.  They don't give a damn about the health of the stranger next to them… it's about being offended by those who don't meet their "smokin' hot" standards.

Ask any guy. Who'd you rather date, an anorexic or an obese woman? You can encourage an anorexic and help her get over her issues. An obese woman? Far more challenging.


Bottom line? We dont care whaat your opinion is. Dont try to ban free speech. You females have already destroyed this country and guess what? We are taking it back. The fun is just starting. Now shut up and woman up!

No, you're not entitled to your useless opinion: there's no "free speech" right for the misogynist ones like you and for anyone else who expresses a discriminatory opinion. You sexist, homophobic, racist #$%$ just have to shut up: indeed, you better kill yourself, so we can free this planet from some oxygen thief.
There's some truth to it though-- the unattractive, insecure women are easy because they're desperate. Guys know this.


Those "women" actually care about their appearance which arrogant men such as myself appreciate.

Shes right...people in this country are just so damn lazy they dont wanna put the work in to look decent and when they see someone with the dicipline to maintain a healthy and sexy body they get jealous. Come on leave her alone she is seriously raising a real concern in this country

Dont worry ladies all my married friends who have fat wives all cheat... Do you think a successful man is going to sleep with a fat cow every night even though they had kids with that cow

People want to breed with fit people. Nobody wants to breed with a fat cull.

H.E.L.L. YEAH Maria Kang! Keep doing what you're doing. All the fat-a(s)(s) moms and dads out there are going to hate no matter what, it's easier for them to hate and make excuses than workout.

I am jealous of her husband.
He gets to spend every night with her.

We are normalizing fat piles! A fit woman posts a picture of the product of her hard work and she is "self absorbed". A fat chick posts a picture and she's "brave"! Fat people suck.

She is correct...fat people need to go.

face book banned a good looking mom for being healthy?yet i can be overrun with unwanted sex ads?i guess out of shape women CARRY A LOT OF WIEGHT around here

These "plus-sized" women are just overweight and should just exercise and diet. Stop buying into the marketing ploy that your obesity is OK. It's not about looks,it's about maintaining good health.

Hey fat ladies, she's hot and you're not. Stop complaining.

Fat people hate everything except cheeseburgers. 
These fat, lazy broads kill me. Bunch of haters! Lady Kang can mommy me anytime she wants. Enough with the fast food and bad excuses ladies. Get your #$%$ in shape. It's embarrassing!

Hit her in the fart box.

She is smoken hot i want to poke her in the popper 

I'm a drunk and I manage to work out every day so I don't look like those disgusting fatties. Rather be dead than fat or qveer.

People who are offended by this, are offended by themselves. Dont like yourself? Change, or learn to like yourself. Dont let what other people do make you be a negative, complaining little nancy, though. 
Fat people need to know that the way they're living isn't okay, ESPECIALLY with the fact that we share in healthcare costs now. I pay the same amount in insurance as a fat person when I never utilize the hospital to treat diabetes, heart problems, etc because I keep myself healthy? That's some #$%$' #$%$.  

Don't make the fatties feel bad.

Fat people need to quit eating so much and get out and exercise. And grow thicker skin, they are sooooo sensitive about their fatness.

We all know what beautiful is and fat is not beautiful.

People are beautiful...fat however is not beautiful.

I doubt most people, even fat people think that fat is beautiful. If you're fat, it's probably because you're eating too much #$%$ and exercising too little or not at all. It has been proven that exercise and good eating brings good health and slimmer body.


Our halls are officially decked...


We bought a new tree at Target yesterday.  We tried Costco first, but they only had two kinds of trees and they were too big and expensive.  Target had this one for $100… we got the last one.  It's a lot prettier than our $50 Roses tree is and much easier to put up.



Here's the little tree we got in Germany.  I got new garlands for it and new lights… 



After a couple of hours of decorating, Bill and I were ready for some Christmas cheer… in the form of a delightful dark beer sent to us from a friend in Georgia.


Arran decided to join in the fun.  He looooooves Bill.


Obviously, Bill is shopping for me.  He did this right after he broke one of our shot glasses.  One more excuse to shop at Novica.com.



Our hearth is pretty, too.  My mom knitted us stockings years ago.  It's funny, since we never hung stockings when I was growing up.  But she made us stockings and I always hang them at Christmas time.

Our trip out on Black Friday wasn't too obnoxious.  Costco was a bit bizarre, with its oversized carts and oversized people milling around.  For just two people in a household, Costco is a bit overwhelming.  But I can see us using it for buying furniture or certain things that can be purchased in bulk.  Costco also has services that are valuable.  We came home with some food… some of which will have to be frozen.

We went to Target because Costco didn't have any garlands.  They had a lot more fake trees, too.

Some of my relatives are posting photos from Thanksgiving.  It makes me a little sad that I missed the party, since there were fireworks and a bluegrass band was playing.  On the other hand, our holiday was just fine, if not a bit on the boring side.  



Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy black Friday!

I just posted a blog about what we did for Thanksgiving

As I mentioned before, historically, I have spent Thanksgiving with my family in Virginia.  Now that we're in Texas, it's not so easy to go "home".  But Bill's mom was with us and we had a really nice meal at the same French restaurant we visited on our anniversary.  Mother-in-law spent the night and just went home.  So now I'm sitting here, pondering going to Costco to break in our brand new membership.

We need to get Christmas lights and garlands… and perhaps a new tree.  We bought our tree from Roses' Discount Store in 2002.  We were broke then.  It cost $50.  Over the years, it's become harder to put together and take apart.  We have another smaller tree that we got in Germany because for some reason I forgot to pack our Christmas stuff.  The German tree was "pre-lit".  We had to remove the lights when we got back to the States, because they were on 220 voltage and had a European plug.

I don't generally make a habit of shopping on Black Friday.  I hate crowds.  In fact, I usually do most of my shopping online.  You would think having grown up the daughter of small business owners who made a living off retail sales, I'd appreciate this annual event.  I don't, though.

Back in 1994, I briefly worked retail.  I had two part-time jobs in Williamsburg, Virginia.  One was in a chocolate shop and the other was in a menswear store.  I liked my boss and co-workers in the chocolate shop.  I hated my boss and most of my co-workers in the menswear place, though I liked the people who shopped there.  Conversely, the people who got coffee and chocolates tended to be a lot more demanding.

Somehow, I had never heard of "Black Friday" before I worked these jobs.  I hoped to go to Granny's for Thanksgiving, not realizing that the day after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year.  I remember my boss at the menswear store got snippy with me.  She made a thinly veiled threat that I'd be fired if I didn't work.  I asked her point blank if that was really what she was saying.  She said it wasn't, but that people didn't want to work.  Now…  I realize now that I was naive about this thing… but if she had just calmly explained it to me, I would have understood.  Instead, she said I could come to her mom's for dinner on Thanksgiving.  Uh… it's not about the food.

I seem to remember going to Granny's that year, but I had to come back early and work Saturday.  It was very busy.  I'm glad I got to go to Granny's, though, since the following two years, I was in Armenia, working as a Peace Corps Volunteer.  I got strep throat one of those years.

When I got back from Armenia, I determined that I didn't want to work in retail ever again.  I ended up temping for awhile, then worked in a restaurant that was kind enough to close on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year's.  Since then, I've been blissfully protected from Black Friday.  I don't relish going out in the crowds today, but I figure we might as well get the trees up… even though Christmas has sort of lost its charm over the years.

This is a pretty good book about what it's like to work retail… (link is fixed for now)



Thursday, November 28, 2013

Grateful that I'm not a proctologist...

The money is great, but the hours stink!


George Carlin's "People I Can Do Without…"  One of them is a proctologist with "poor depth perception"…  I woke up this morning feeling a little silly.  There's nothing like a little George Carlin to make one laugh first thing in the morning.  I've been a fan since the early 80s.

Thanksgiving is historically my favorite holiday.  That's mostly because I have always loved visiting my Granny's house in Virginia.  It's in Natural Bridge, which is a beautiful area.  I have a large extended family who are mostly fun to be with… or at least they were when I was little.  As I got older, I started to see everyone more realistically.  It sort of took the magic out of our Thanksgiving reunions.

But I will say that Thanksgiving 2001 was pretty special.  It was that year that I invited Bill and his mom to Granny's and we realized we had fallen in love.  People in my family could easily see it and were not surprised when a couple of months later, I announced our engagement.  Twelve years later, we're still in love, though they don't know the whole story about how we came together.  I never told most of them because frankly, it's kind of an embarrassing and ridiculous story.

I actually met Bill around Thanksgiving 1999.  It was online, of course, and at the time I had no idea that I was meeting the man I would one day marry.  Given that we met in a chat room for a now defunct porn site, at the time I was especially sure we'd never meet.  I worried about my safety and I'm sure he worried about his.  We were both celibate, curious, horny and lonely.  In my case, I had just started grad school.  He had just separated from his ex wife and was back in the Army full time.  I guess one night, we were feeling kinky and went to the same place, then wandered into the chat room, where absolutely no one was chatting openly about sex.  It turned out that chatroom was full of mostly normal people with vivid imaginations.  They were mostly intelligent folks, though there were a few who were much more into it than we were.  I ran into one guy who asked me to quit grad school, move to Michigan, and join his "harem"… and then pay him rent for the privilege.  No thanks.

That site really only served as a conduit to our meeting… and it ended up being fortuitous that we met there, since it turns out we're very sexually compatible.  The same types of things interest us and we're both pretty contented with about the same level of sexual activity… which isn't too much, really.  One nice thing about meeting where we did is that the potentially embarrassing and complicated subjects of sex and "turn ons" are already on the table.  We went ugly early, so we never had to have any awkward conversations about sex.  We're lucky, because we were both very honest with each other and, while we were both curious about flavorful sex, we're both basically pretty vanilla people.  It didn't take long before we started chatting with each other on another platform, though our kinky friends were delighted when we announced our engagement.  You'd be surprised how many couples meet the way we did, though I don't know how successful they've been.

Over the years, we've had our share of drama… though not really with each other.  I can honestly say, I met the nicest guy in the most unlikely place, ever.  Would I do it again?  I don't know.  It's one of those situations that makes me wonder if this was just meant to be.  Would I have met Bill if I hadn't been messing around in a place where "nice people" shouldn't be hanging out?  And knowing what I now know about Mormonism, would I have even given Bill a chance?

Here's what's funny.  A lot of times, people say you should meet a life partner in church.  I guess that makes sense if you are religious.  It's probably easier and best if you marry someone who shares the same religious convictions you do.  When I met Bill, he was an active LDS convert who still went to church, wore the garments, and abstained from coffee, tea, and booze … but he was hanging out in a place where Mormons are definitely NOT supposed to hang out.  His ex found out and claimed he was a violent porn addict who "hates women".  I have now been married to Bill longer than she was and I can say that he is a very kind, gentle, loving person.  He was looking at porn because his marriage was dead… and his ex was playing Dungeons & Dragons with #3.  A healthy guy in his 30s in a miserable marriage was looking for release… and relief… and company.  Despite where we met, Bill never once made any romantic overtures to me while he was married, which is more than I can say about his ex, who shacked up with #3 in the house Bill paid for before their divorce, then robbed him of raising his daughters.

Ex and her husband are supposedly very religious.  So are my husband's two daughters.  Are they happy?  I don't know.  But I can say that despite all my bitching and complaining, I am basically very happy.  I am very grateful that I have Bill in my life.  I am very grateful that his ex wife decided he wasn't good enough for her and dumped him.  Her "trash" was definitely my treasure.  I guess I could say that I'm grateful to porn for bringing us together, though it probably wouldn't be wise to say that at the grace before Thanksgiving dinner.

I have read countless accounts of people who met in church.  A lot of the accounts I have read recently come from former Mormons, who were pressured to marry when they were very young and not ready to take on the commitments of marriage and family.  It turned out that in many cases, these people didn't know each other that well.  They hadn't had time to do much living on their own; hadn't finished college; hadn't learned how to be individuals and self-reliant.  They got married and started having a bunch of kids…  Sometimes, it worked out.  Many times, it didn't, and there was either a miserable marriage to contend with or a divorce.  Or… in some cases, murder.  The truth is, churchgoing people can be creeps, too.  And because they are in church instead of at home surfing on a porn site, their true natures may be masked somewhat.  You would be on your guard on a porn site.  Maybe you wouldn't be so guarded at church.  You'd be inclined to trust your brother or sister in religion, right?

If you are at church, you are dressed up, on your best behavior, and you give someone the chance to check you out in person.  If you are at home on your computer, you may be in a state of undress with unbrushed hair and unbrushed teeth.  But the person on the other side of the screen doesn't see you unless you turn on a web cam.  If there's something there, you can take time getting to know each other before you ever lay eyes on each other.  I chatted with Bill for about 18 months before I saw him in the flesh.  We talked about everything and found out that we liked each other's company.  Most people don't wait as long as we did to meet.  I'm glad we waited, though.  We really get along and our attraction to each other is not based on the physical, although it turned out that we liked each other physically, too.


I've never told my parents exactly where and how I met Bill…  but does it matter?  We have chemistry!

Anyway, this Thanksgiving, I am delighted that I'm not a proctologist.  I am, frankly, delighted that I'm not a social worker who is doing child welfare work.  And I am very grateful I was chatting in a chatroom on a porn site at around Thanksgiving 14 years ago…  That's where I met the one person in my life I am most thankful for.

Hope you all have a nice Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Maria Kang in the news AGAIN!

Remember a few weeks ago, when I posted about Maria Kang the fat shaming mom of three?  Well, she's back in the news again.  Apparently, she's been kicked off of Facebook.  This time, people were pissed at her because she posted a rant about the "unrelenting support" people who are "borderline obese" are getting from the public.

According to Kang, people who are overweight or obese should not feel proud of their bodies.  She saw an ad campaign for "curvy lingerie" and denounced it, claiming that the normal sized women who were modeling the underwear were encouraging obesity.  Uh… Maria, have a look around, please.  I don't think an ad campaign does anything to "encourage obesity".  We have a lot of heavy people in this country, but there are plenty of stick thin models who haven't been able to influence that many people.  And those who have been influenced by the super thin models often end up with eating disorders or depression because they can't attain or maintain that super thin look.

I see nothing wrong with promoting normalcy in body size.  A size 12 woman is not borderline obese.  It's a pretty normal size, actually.  And I would love to be a 12 again… it's been decades.  Yet I am very healthy.  I haven't taken prescription meds since 2004.  I have never been hospitalized, unless you count one time when I was a baby and had pneumonia.  I have never had surgery.  I don't have high blood pressure and, as far as I know, don't have diabetes, heart disease, or cancer.

You really can't equate thinness with health.  In fact, it's mostly impossible to accurately determine health in someone just by looking at them.  Sure, if they have sallow skin, yellowed eyes, a hacking cough, and are too weak to walk, you could say they are unhealthy.  But the vast majority of people don't fall into that group.  There are plenty of people who are unattractively obese by popular opinion.  But even those people, honestly, might be technically healthy.  It all depends on what your definition of "health" is.  At the same time, there are unhealthy thin people, too.

At this point, I think that Maria Kang probably ought to get herself a public relations advisor and perhaps a therapist.  She would do well to learn some empathy and diplomacy.  But, that being said, I don't think she necessarily needs to be kicked off of Facebook.  There's plenty of asshole behavior to go around on Facebook.  She's not that much worse than a lot of opinionated folks on Facebook are… and again, she has a right to her opinion.

Avoiding Thanksgiving drama...

A few months ago, my mom asked Bill and me to go to my parents' home in Virginia for Thanksgiving.  I swore off family holiday gatherings years ago for reasons I won't rehash in today's post.  Suffice to say that I find holidays stressful, especially when I'm forced to spend them with my family of origin.

When my mom asked me to come home for Thanksgiving, I felt kind of guilty and obligated.  I told her I'd think about it.  Then I went to look up plane fares from Texas and found that going home for Thanksgiving would be very expensive.  It's not that Bill and I couldn't do it… it's just that it would be a lot of money spent on a gathering that, at least in the past, hasn't historically gone well.

I spoke to my mom yesterday and she was in relatively good spirits.  I was relieved, since I never know how my mom is going to be when I call her.  Sometimes she's happy to hear from me and other times, she's rather bitchy and doesn't want to talk.  I can usually tell by the tone of her voice.  Anyway, we had a nice chat and she told me who was going to be in attendance for the holiday.

All three of my sisters will be there with their kids in tow.  One sister has an adult daughter and teen son, as well as an obnoxious husband who seems to enjoy watching dramas unfold.  I've heard him go into gossip mode and watched him pull Bill aside for a play by play of the action.  My niece is bringing her boyfriend.  God help him is all I can say.

Another sister is single, but is bringing a boyfriend who apparently caused her a lot of heartache in the past.  They are apparently on good terms now, but something tells me that in the stressful environment they are about to enter, that peace may not last long.  This particular sister has a bit of a hair trigger temper and is easily offended.  When's she's offended or upset, she has a tendency to say very cruel things and/or throw temper tantrums.

The third sister is one who, for many years, seemed to have a fantasy that our family could become close and loving.  She often tries to organize gatherings, but then when people get together, tries to tell them how to behave.  It was this sister who sparked a fight with me at the last gathering I attended in 2003.  She has a history of telling me that my feelings and perceptions are "wrong" or that I'm too sensitive.  I may be too sensitive, but I come by those sensitive feelings honestly.  And after growing up being told I have no right to express myself or be who I am, I have a hard time accepting that now that I'm an adult and have been through years of therapy.  This sister has a husband and one son that I haven't seen in years because they live in Minnesota.  My mom brought up the fact that the lad has mentioned his mystery aunt who hasn't seen him since he was a tot.

Adding to the mix is my mom's best friend, who the last time I saw her, insulted Bill at our dinner table.  I got really pissed because she shamed him in my parents' home and treated us like we were wayward guests instead of family members.  I defended him in a way that made her slink out of our house early.

Mom also told me that my dad's dementia has gotten worse and he may not be able to sit at the table.  He has to be fed now and this gathering may prove to be overwhelming for him.  As it is now, he's usually asleep by 6:15pm.

Add in the fact that I, too, have a big mouth and a bit of a temper.  I also like my wine.  I just think it would be a mistake to gather for this holiday… or most others that are very significant and come with high expectations.  Watch the idyllic ads on TV at this time of year.  We all want that heartwarming holiday where everyone gets along and there's peace on Earth.  It almost never unfolds that way.

Perhaps I should have been a dutiful daughter and subject myself to this potentially dramatic scenario… but in all truthfulness, it always takes me a long time to recover from family gatherings.  And the trip would have easily cost over $2000.  Meanwhile, my mother-in-law who lives near us said that she was laid off.  I don't know what her plans would have been for Thanksgiving.  She's an independent sort and has local friends, so I'm sure that she would have found something to do if we weren't taking her out to dinner.  But I think she's glad to spend the holiday with us.

We're going to the same French restaurant we went to for our anniversary.  It's staffed with people from France, who don't care one way or the other about Thanksgiving.  They'll make some money for their up and coming restaurant and I won't have shitloads of leftovers and clean up to do.  I see it as a win/win.  Moreover, we won't go into debt attending a holiday gathering that could easily blow up once people start drinking and talking to each other.  I've seen it happen time and again and don't want to do it anymore.

I have enough drama to attend to on Facebook...
       

I got accused of posting "hate speech"...

because I posted the following video in an exMormon group on Facebook…


I have posted Weird Wilbur's "Most Mormons are Jackoffs" video on my blog before.  It was the very first video I ever saw him do.  Someone had posted it on RfM and it garnered a lot of discussion.  I thought what Wilbur said, while neither particularly respectful nor gracefully stated, was largely based on truth.  Wilbur made this video several years ago after an exasperating visit with his now ex-wife's family, who are LDS.  It wasn't based on just one contact with them.  Wilbur's opinions formed after many observations and interactions.

I posted this in a secret exMormon group last night with the note that Joseph Smith was a flim flam man.  And frankly, in my opinion, he was.  What else would you call a man who sells a ridiculous story about golden plates with "reformed Egyptian" writing on them that he "translated" by looking at them with "seer stones" in a hat?  This same man went on to "marry" girls as young as 14 and the wives of other men.



Anyway, the first comment from a male member of the group was that Wilbur is an "asshat".  I responded that I don't think Wilbur is an asshat.  Then several other males piled on, calling it hate speech and saying that I "should have picked a 'better video'."

I was suddenly reminded of an awful interaction I had with an otherwise nice LDS couple I met while in the Peace Corps in Armenia.  They, too, were serving in the Peace Corps and had impressed me by being attractive, hard-working, and basically nice people.  I happened to mention to them that I had read the book Secret Ceremonies by the late Deborah Laake.  I didn't know it at the time, but that book was very controversial to Mormons.  The male half of the LDS couple basically shamed me for reading "trash" that was full of lies about their religion.  

At the time, I was shocked.  I hadn't meant to offend them.  Yes, I read the book, but at the time I didn't have negative opinions about Mormonism.  I didn't know enough about it to have negative opinions, despite having read Laake's personal account about her experiences growing up LDS.  I didn't say to them what I should have said… or really, should have asked.  And that was, "Have you read the book?  If not, how can you tell me it's full of lies?"  They hadn't read the book.  They wouldn't read it, because church officials had condemned it and they were told it was trash.  Then they shamed me for reading it, even though I am not LDS and didn't get the memo… and even if I had, I still have the right to my own thoughts and opinions.

Deborah Laake was an outstanding, award winning journalist.  Years after that encounter, I re-read the book with Bill, who is a former Mormon.  He confirmed to me that what Laake had written was true, though much of the book was full of uncomfortable aspects of Mormonism that church leaders would have rather kept under wraps and away from the wondering eyes of those who "can't understand" Mormonism.  Laake was invited to many talk shows and at every taping, a group of Mormons would show up and try to drown her out.  She later died by her own hand, because she had breast cancer that was resistant to treatment.  She chose to kill herself rather than wait for cancer to kill her.  Some may think she was crazy for making that choice.  Having never had cancer, I don't feel it's my place to judge.

Now, I have read Secret Ceremonies twice.  I reviewed it on Epinions and, I think, gave it a fair rating.  The truth is, Deborah Laake's book heavily emphasizes sex… and sexual problems that she had.  She blamed her issues on the LDS church.  Some of her issues probably were caused by religion.  Many of her problems probably weren't.  However, the book she wrote is not full of lies.

As for Wilbur's video, I will admit and agree that what he says and the way he says it may be hard for people to hear.  But at least his opinion is an informed one and isn't based on just one interaction.  The group of guys who accused me of posting "hate speech" based their opinions on one video Wilbur made after a frustrating encounter with Mormon in laws.  Wilbur later took the video down, but someone else reposted it.

A couple of years after Wilbur posted his "Mormons are jackoffs" video, he posted another one to Mormons because he needed help from the "families first" church.  At the time, his son and daughter-in-law were having troubles with CPS and Wilbur asked Mormon viewers, who supposedly support families, for help in fighting child protective services on behalf of his grandchildren.  The video he made was later taken down and, to my knowledge, is no longer posted anywhere.  I remember being dumbfounded that he was asking for this help from Mormons, since Wilbur does not live a Mormon friendly lifestyle.  He smokes, drinks, swears, flirts with women and doesn't attend church.  I imagine most devout Mormons, meeting him once, would never support him in his bid to "save" his grandchildren from CPS.  I bet most of them would base that opinion on just one encounter.  It wouldn't take the repeated run-ins Wilbur had with his former in-laws that prompted his frustrated "hate" video.

I got to know Wilbur after he posted that video and we've sort of become friends.  I most certainly do not agree with all of his opinions, especially pertaining to politics.  But I don't think he's guilty of posting "hate speech" when he says that "most Mormons are jackoffs".  If anything, Wilbur is guilty of negatively painting a large group of people with a broad brush, which is something that a lot of people do, especially when they are angry or frustrated.  I think if I were subjected to repeated visits from people in my own home, self-righteously lecturing me about my habits and repeatedly trying to invoke a church I'm not a member of, I'd come to a similar conclusion.  

What's more, I think it's somewhat hypocritical that several people in that group were so deeply offended by Wilbur's thoughts when members of that very same group recently made a game out of disrespecting the church… to the point of having sex in church parking lots and taking photos of themselves flipping off temples, then awarding each other "points" for doing so.  I don't remember people screaming about hatred and asshats when that was going on… but I guess since I've never been LDS, I'm held to a different standard.

*Sigh*…. well, at least it's Thanksgiving weekend and I'm not visiting my parents.  I'll have to post about that next.  



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A law against gardening...

For many reasons, I hate the idea of living in a place where there are draconian homeowner's associations.  I don't like subdivisions anyway, but I really chafe against the idea that some group of people can dictate what I can and can't do on my own property.

I just read an article on Yahoo! about people who planted vegetable gardens on their own property and then had to dig them up or face fines.  Generally, it was HOAs and city ordinances that dictated these rules.  In one case, a couple who relied on their garden to be able to eat, had to lose the garden or face fines of $50 a day.

I understand why some people love their HOAs.  I imagine if I gave a shit about my neighborhood looking all manicured and beautiful, I might love one too.  But if I'm going to own a piece of property, I don't see how I should have to deal with some local city putz telling me I can't plant a garden on my own land.

Since we moved to Texas, I have found that I miss the country life we enjoyed in Georgia and North Carolina.  I know that such rural communities exist in Texas.  If we stay here and decide to buy a home, I hope it will be in a place where my home is really mine and I can paint it whatever color I want  to and put a fucking pink flamingo in my yard if it pleases me (which it won't).

This bullshit about not being able to garden is just ludicrous, though… especially when we have so many Americans who are sick because of their diets.  Those who want to eat fresh food that they grow themselves ought to be encouraged and commended, not fined.  So much for freedom in America.

  

A review of The Price of Life by Nigel Brennan, Kellie Brennan, and Nicole Bonney...

Ordinarily, I would review this book on Epinions.com, but at the moment, there is no reviewable entry for The Price of Life  there.  So I will review it on my blog… and it will probably get more hits here anyway.

The Price of Life (2011) is a book that was written by Nigel Brennan, his sister, Nicole Bonney, and his sister-in-law, Kellie Brennan.  It's about Brennan's abduction in Somalia back in August 2008.  I recently read and reviewed Amanda Lindhout's book, A House In The Sky, which was her side of the same story.  Amanda Lindhout is Canadian and Nigel Brennan is Australian.

They were both photojournalists and originally met in Ethiopia in 2006 and had an affair while Nigel was still married to his English wife, Janie.  Nigel and Janie eventually divorced and Nigel took up with a Scottish woman named A.J., who worked as a chef off the west coast of Scotland.  Nigel was feeling restless, so when Amanda invited him to join her in Iraq, he gave it serious consideration.  But travel to Iraq proved to be too expensive and risky, so Nigel ended up passing on going to Iraq.

Some time later, Amanda asked Nigel if he'd like to visit Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia.  Nigel wasn't so worried about Kenya and Ethiopia, since those two countries had some semblance of a government. Somalia, on the other hand, was another story.  Nevertheless, somehow Nigel was eventually convinced that visiting Somalia was both doable and a good idea.  They basically falsified documents that identified them as members of the press who had been invited to the country to work with a larger news organization.

On their third day in Somalia, August 23, 2008, Amanda and Nigel were kidnapped by a group of teenaged insurgents who then demanded a ransom of $3 million.  Nigel's book, which was published two years before Amanda Lindhout's side of the story, is told from three different perspectives: Nigel's, his sister's, and his sister-in law's.

While this book is basically the same story as Amanda Lindhout's, I think I enjoyed it much more than I did her book.  I enjoyed the Aussie sense of humor that is prevalent in this book.  You'd think a book about being kidnapped and brutalized in Somalia would be short on comic relief, but I actually found Nigel and his sister and sister-in-law to be entertaining writers who use profanity and Aussie slang liberally.  It added a certain authenticity to the book and gave it an interesting flavor.

Nigel also didn't endure quite what Amanda Lindhout did.  He was not gang raped or tortured as she was, so I found his book less traumatizing to read… even though Nigel did hear Amanda being brutalized and does describe what that was like for him.  Nigel and Amanda were held for over 460 days, so there were many days when Nigel was just plain bored.  Meanwhile, his large, close knit family in Australia was going crazy, pining for his release as they frantically raised money to pay the ransom for Amanda and Nigel.

I did find Nigel's book interesting because it discusses communications between Amanda's family and his family.  Things were pretty tense because Nigel's family raised most of the money to pay the ransom.  Amanda was also heard tearfully asking her mother to use what money was collected to pay for only her release.  Nigel quite chivalrously recognizes that Amanda's ordeal was literally more painful than his was.

One thing I found interesting was Nigel's description of using the toilet, which he does a couple of times.  I guess it's natural, since he's a guy.  Anyway, I thought his account was more "real" and somewhat more entertaining, if you can call a book about being held hostage "entertaining".  I would give it five stars and recommend it over Amanda's book, though both are worth reading.  




Monday, November 25, 2013

"Mod Mode"

The other day, I got into a ridiculous exchange on a message board.  Someone on Epinions had asked a question about putting links in their reviews.  I put in my two cents and then later added a comment that was intended to be kind of funny.  And, in fact, it was kind of taken as funny by the recipient… until the moderator, a man in his 60s who has a tendency to act like a strict parent, went into "mod mode" and threatened to shut down the thread.

I understand that every online community has its "house rules".  I usually do my best to try to respect them.  Sometimes, though, I slip up and write something that gets taken more seriously than it really should be.  Mr. Mod Mode quoted my post when he made his stern little threat, so even if I had amended it, it would still be there for the world to see.

This happened on Friday.  I made one last, brief, and somewhat polite response, especially compared to what my first instinct was.  Then I backed out of the thread and avoided the message board page, which I figured was my best bet to avoid unnecessary drama.  I mean, when someone threatens to "shut down" a thread because of something you post, you kind of take it as a sign that maybe you should shut up and go away, right?

Well, today I got a comment on one of my more recent reviews… and the commenter invited me to revisit the thread, which I had no desire to do, since I have a suspicion that it's probably full of things that will make me want to get sucked back into the drama.  I think I'd rather go clean the lint out of my belly button and butt crack than read all the crap there.  I do not like to be talked to like I'm a child… especially by someone who doesn't know me personally.  It's one of my many quirks.

Fortunately, I do have a modicum of self-discipline, which sometimes comes out when I need it to.





  

Rainy weekend...

I just updated my list of exmo lit pt. 2.  I finished a book by a former BYU professor who was a convert and decided she'd rather be a biblical Christian.  I wasn't all that impressed with the book, but those who are into evangelical Christianity may like it.  There's a link to my Epinions review on the list.

I didn't want to read another book about hostages in Somalia, but then I read some gossip about Amanda Lindhout and decided I wanted to read the book her former boyfriend, Nigel Brennan, wrote about their ordeal.  So I started that last night.  So far, I think I like his book better, though I'm not very far into it yet.

I spent most of yesterday in bed because it was so cold and rainy in San Antonio and Aunt Flow is visiting.  I didn't feel like going out and wasn't into interacting with anyone.  It was a day for vegetating and drinking red wine.  I did manage to read while I watched Brady Bunch and Cosby Show reruns and I washed the sheets and wrote a review.  So I can't say yesterday was a total waste…

Bill is going to try to get a couple of weeks off in January, so we can take another trip.  This one will be a "hop", which means we will be at the mercy of the military to get us somewhere interesting.  Hops can be a lot of fun and very inexpensive.  They can also be very frustrating.  January is probably not the best time to go to Europe, which is why we are going to aim for the Azores.  Technically, the Azores are Portugal, but they are about 900 miles from the mainland.  We'll see what happens.  We could end up somewhere entirely different.  We both want to take a trip, though.

I watched The Wizard of Oz last night.  Apparently, there was also a music awards show on.  I never watch those shows or most talent shows because I find them kind of boring or annoying.  Someone on Facebook asked me if music award shows annoy me because I have perfect pitch and some of the performers were apparently off key.  I responded that I don't watch music award shows, but I do get annoyed by commercials that have singers or whistlers who are just slightly off pitch.  The latest Cracker Barrel commercial is one such ad to drive me nuts.


Maybe it's me, but it seems like whoever is whistling is not quite on key-- he's just slightly above the pitch.  It bugs me in a serious way…  *Sigh*  I really need to turn off the TV.

In other news, lots of friends are complaining about stores and restaurants being open on Thanksgiving.  I have to admit, I am going out to a restaurant on Thanksgiving.  However, the people who own the restaurant and are on its small staff are from France and wouldn't be celebrating Thanksgiving anyway, so there you go.  They were delighted when I made a reservation and I'm delighted we won't have tons of cooking, clean up, and leftovers.

Anyway, hopefully today won't suck.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ambition… and how it can lead to harm's way...

I just finished reading a book called A House In The Sky: A Memoir.  This book was written by Amanda Lindhout and, ghost writer, Sara Corbett.  It's about a young Canadian woman, Lindhout, who funded trips to exotic and dangerous countries with her earnings as a cocktail waitress.  Lindhout wanted to be a journalist, but lacked a university degree.  What she did have was drive and ambition… and either bravery or extreme foolishness drove her to go to some of the most dangerous countries in the world in search of a story and a career.

Lindhout went to Afghanistan, Iraq, and finally Somalia.  While in Iraq, Lindhout was abducted in Sadr City, but was released a few hours later when she paid a ransom.  In Somalia, she was not so lucky.  Lindhout had gone there with a former boyfriend, Nigel Brennan from Australia.  On their third day in the country, they and their driver and translators were abducted by teenaged insurgents.

Lindhout and Brennan were captives for 460 days.  During that time, they were beaten, starved, and chained.  Lindhout was repeatedly raped by one man and, on at least one occasion, was gang-raped by several men.  She was also tortured for several days and, one time about 100 days into her captivity, she was taken to a remote location, where a man with a serrated knife threatened to slit her throat.  She and her companion even "converted" to Islam in an effort to humanize themselves to their captors.

The captors were after money, of course.  They demanded $2.5 million at first, then $1.5 million.  Lindhout's and Brennan's families worked hard to raise the cash and finally, after over a year, were able to pay the ransom of approximately $600,000.  Lindhout, who had been struggling for credibility before her capture, suddenly got some street cred.  She launched a non-profit for Somali women and is now a sought after public speaker.

As I read this book and realized that the huge cash payment would basically go to fund terrorism, I couldn't help but think that Lindhout's ambition would ultimately put more people in danger.  As much empathy as I felt for her when I read her book, it occurred to me that paying ransom for people who voluntarily put themselves in harm's way is only going to fuel that industry.  On the other hand, I appreciate a sense of ambition and daring…  and I'm glad to know that Lindhout is trying to make good come from her ordeal.

I read her book last night and when I was finished, found it very hard to fall asleep.  And then once I did fade off to sleep, I had nightmares…  oddly, they had nothing to do with the violence and rape I read about in Lindhout's book.  They had more to do with frustration and dead ends.

You can click the above link to read my review of A House In The Sky on Epinions.  Here, I will just say that I'm glad my ambition was limited to just joining the Peace Corps, which could be dangerous enough.  I did know people were victims of violent crimes when I was abroad.  And I also know that Mormon missionaries also find themselves in trouble sometimes.

There's a risk in almost everything you do.  Of course, going to Somalia is a very risky endeavor under the best of circumstances.  It seems to me that Amanda Lindhout was blinded a bit by her ambition.  She is very lucky to be alive.  And now that she has that career she wanted so much, I wonder if what she went through was worth it.  She did come out of that experience with a hell of a story, but at what cost?  Was it worth the torture, gang-rapes, beatings, and physical and psychological damage she sustained?


      

A nice afternoon...

at a wine tasting at Max's Wine Dive

Feeling little pain right now...

Friday, November 22, 2013

I'm grateful for orgasms...

As it's November and the month of Thanksgiving, there have been a number of Facebook posts recently about gratitude.  Many people post something they are grateful for every day in November.  In the spirit of gratitude, I too have been posting things I am thankful for.  I try to keep my thanks upbeat and light-hearted, though.  I figure there are enough schmaltzy posts about being grateful for good health and happiness or a supportive family.  I like to give other things their due.

So I am grateful for odd things like clean underwear, modern plumbing, and Jagger's swagger.  And yesterday, I was grateful for orgasms.  I posted that thought and was amazed by how many "likes" it got.  Some people thought it was funny.  Some thought it was shocking.  Some people, who know me, thought it was typical.  But yes, a lot of people apparently appreciate the ability to have an orgasm.  And you know, it's something that many of us probably take for granted.  I'm aware that a lot of people thought my post on Facebook was funny, but when you think about it, the ability to have and enjoy an orgasm is really a much more serious subject than meets the eye.

Back in the late 1990s, I took Prozac for awhile.  It wasn't the best drug for me and pretty much killed my ability to have an orgasm, not that I had a sex life at the time.  I just remember that even when I was in the mood for a little self abuse, it took forever.  It was very frustrating.  I remember thinking of Kurt Vonnegut's short story, "Welcome To The Monkey House", a story about overpopulation and indecency and how people of the future were ordered to take a drug that took all pleasure out of sex.  In the story, a druggist had taken his family to the zoo and was appalled when they saw monkeys masturbating.  He came up with "ethical birth control",  a drug which didn't actually render anyone sterile, but just made sex unappealing.  Because the world was overpopulated, everyone was required to take the druggist's birth control pill.

The story was also about how people were encouraged to visit "ethical suicide parlors", where beautiful, tall, virginal women would help people voluntarily kill themselves as an effort to keep the world population of 17 billion people stable.  There was a group of rebels who refused to take the birth control and therefore were able to enjoy sex.  And indeed, they did enjoy it frequently.  One of the characters kidnaps a "suicide hostess" who is very much in favor of the laws.  The characters force the woman to allow the birth control to wear off… which, of course, gives her the ability to know what she had been missing.

I have always liked the story, but after taking Prozac, it became very profound to me.  It's been years since I read it, but I do remember Vonnegut describing what the ethical birth control did to people and how it made them feel… kind of numb in the sexual regions.  And that's how Prozac made me feel, too.

But at least I had the ability to stop taking the drug.  I eventually switched to Wellbutrin, which was a much better antidepressant for me.  My nether regions came back to life and my depression finally lifted.  I was able to make decisions.  Later that year, I met Bill online and the rest is history.  You might say Wellbutrin actually helped me finally get a sex life, though it took a few years.

I am very grateful not to have been raised in a belief system that thinks of sex as a dirty thing.  It's bad enough that we have a number of religions that discourage masturbation and subject members to humiliating interviews about their "habits" and refer to masturbation as "self abuse".  There are also belief systems that promote the idea that enjoying sex is a sin and that it should only be done for the purpose of procreation.

There are a number of religions that forbid members from admiring others, even to the point of forcing young men to look away when a pretty woman walks by or worse, forcing young women to wear shapeless garments that obscure their figures and veils that cover their hair and face.  This is all done in the name of avoiding lust or, heaven forbid, immorality caused by an orgasm.  An early episode of the fundamentalist Christian Duggar family's reality show featured someone shouting "Nike!" when a pretty but "inappropriately dressed" young woman walked by.  It was a code to get the boys to lower their eyes, lest they be "defrauded"-- that is, driven to lust by the tempting appearance of a beautiful woman.  Can't have those young men having boners, can we?  Not until their wedding nights to women who are hand-picked by daddy… and may or may not be all that attractive or interesting.

There are also a lot of women who, unfortunately, can't have orgasms because they have been subjected to female circumcision.  Female circumcision is a horrible misogynistic custom practiced in certain countries around the world.  It's considered a rite of passage in some places, perhaps even celebrated to some extent before a poor girl between the ages of birth and puberty is forcibly held down as her genitals are brutally mutilated by other women or even the local male barber, who may be a local health practitioner.  It involves removing part or all of the clitoris and sewing up the labia, which makes the eventual enjoyment of sex very difficult.  This procedure can be done with or without anesthesia.  It can cause significant health problems and gynecological difficulties.  It can also cause death.

Women who have had their clitorises amputated can't experience orgasms.  They may or may not know what they are missing, which seems like a small problem in the grand scheme of things.  Just the idea of trying to recover from such a brutal operation, as routine for them as having wisdom teeth extracted is for many Americans, is hard to fathom.  It really is food for thought if you happen to be lucky enough to be a woman living in a place where female genital mutilation is not common.

So yes, during this season of Thanksgiving, I am very grateful for orgasms… the ability to have them at will and for the sweet man who inspires me to have them.  Orgasms are one of life's most wonderful gifts.  May you enjoy your orgasms as much as I do mine…

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Where it hurts...



Ouch!

Poor Chi Chi Rodriguez got hit in the nuts while trying to do a trick with a golf ball.  Apparently, the golf ball didn't like being hit and hit the poor guy back.  While I'm sure it was painful to be hit where it hurts, I have to admit that this video made me laugh, mainly because of the way the crowd reacted when Rodriguez got nailed in the family jewels.


Suddenly, I was reminded of this classic clip from one of the best sitcoms of my childhood, WKRP in Cincinnati.  I wish they would put out DVDs of this show that aren't ruined by generic versions of the great songs they played back in the day…

Moving on, yesterday Alexis reminded me of an incident that occurred back in my college days.  I was a senior and lived alone in a dorm room during the fall semester.  I actually did have a roommate, but she was student teaching in her hometown, so she wasn't staying in the dorm.  One night, the fire alarm went off.  I was dead asleep and very annoyed at being roused in the wee hours of the morning.  It hadn't been the first or only time that semester and I was fed up.  The buildings at my college were mostly old and sometimes the alarms would go off for no reason or because of heavy rain.  So this one time, I decided not to go outside.

It was a dumb thing to do.  I waited and waited for them to turn off the fire alarm and it was taking longer than expected.  I started to worry a bit and wondered if I would get in trouble if I staggered outside.  I started hatching ideas about what to do if there was an actual fire.  In retrospect, I was an idiot, but they say your brain doesn't reach full capacity until you're about 25, right?  I was 21 at the time.

Anyway, the next morning, it was revealed that there was an actual fire in the building.  One of the bulletin boards on the second floor of our H shaped building had somehow caught on fire and the fire department actually did have to douse it.  The one time I decided to be a rebel and break the rules, there was a real fire.  I was never in any actual danger, since the fire was small and easily contained.  But I sure felt like a dumbass the next day when I found out there had been a real fire in my dorm and I had stayed inside.

Years later, when I went to grad school and lived on campus, I made sure to leave the building whenever the fire alarm went off.  And that happened pretty often, because people were forever burning their popcorn.  The fire alarm in that building was especially obnoxious.  It was a deafening buzz with a recorded announcement demanding that all residents leave the building via the stairs.  Since I lived on the eighth floor of a ten story building, it was a long way down.  Between the fire alarms and the train that passed about a hundred feet from the building and blasted its horn every damn day, it's a wonder I ever got any sleep.

  
  

I'm in trouble now!


This came in the mail today.  Not that I know from personal experience, but these types of envelopes typically come from banks or contain paychecks... 


Yes, it's another-- hopefully FINAL-- attempt to get me to purchase a worthless extended warranty…

No thanks!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Nannyism...


This photo, accompanied by a link to a blog by an obesity doctor, has been making the Facebook rounds lately... 

The above photo is of a note a Canadian mother got when her two kids went to school with a lunch that didn't fit the school's guidelines.  Though this happened in Canada, it's been happening all across the United States, too.  School systems are starting to be very demanding about what kids can and can't have for lunch.  Some school systems go as far as requiring kids to purchase lunch at school, rather than bring their own.

I realize I don't have kids and things have changed a lot since my day.  When I was growing up, there weren't as many fat kids.  I can't remember a single classmate having food allergies, while they seem to be very common today.  We also had physical education and recess for younger kids.  So I know times have changed and not necessarily for the better.  However, it does seem to me that dictating what kids eat for lunch and forcing "supplements" on them is a ridiculous idea.

The above example is especially ridiculous.  Ritz crackers?  Mom sent her kids with homemade food: roast beef, milk, potatoes, carrots, and an orange.  And all that was missing was a "grain", which the school provided in the form of…  Ritz crackers.  Not whole wheat bread.  Not even whole wheat crackers.  Fucking Ritz crackers!  Which they then proceeded to charge the parents ten Canadian dollars for!

The hefty fine is no doubt supposed to discourage parents from "needing" supplements when they forget to pack their kids' lunches properly, as the school officials deem necessary.  I remember lunch as one of the most fun times of the day.  How grim and potentially embarrassing it must be to have some teacher or aide policing what's in your lunch bag.

I'm all for kids eating well.  I think parents should try to send their kids to school with good food.  I wish that if school officials were going to have a policy that spells out what kids should eat for lunch, they would practice what they preach.  In one of the articles I linked above, a preschool child's lunch was deemed inadequate and the school forced her to trade in her mother's home packed lunch for chicken nuggets!

In the other article I linked, kids in Chicago were being forced to buy lunch.  They were later observed to be throwing away most of the food uneaten.  That means they were probably hungry in the afternoon.  In all honesty, when I was in school, I could not stomach school food.  Just the smell of it nauseated me.  By the time I was in high school, I quit eating lunch altogether… but that was because at the time, I was flirting with eating disorders and probably looking for attention, too.  I regret those days now.  They led to years of body image problems and a messed up metabolism.

Anyway, it's probably good that I am forgoing motherhood.

Moving on, I read yesterday about a creepy study being done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  In Fort Worth, Texas, drivers are being forcibly pulled over and asked to provide blood, saliva, and/or Breathalyzer data for a study.  This study is a federal project, which is going on in 30 cities across the country over three years.  The goal is to find out how many people are driving drunk or on drugs.  The claim is that the study is voluntary and anonymous, but the lady who was pulled over said that it didn't seem voluntary at all, even though people were given $10 for cheek swab samples and $50 for blood.  Supposedly, the contractors doing the study have passive alcohol sensors that can tell if a driver has been drinking, so the Breathalyzer test is unpaid.        

I understand the importance of surveys and research.  I also understand that informing people about this and not "forcing" them to stop will result in anyone drunk or on drugs to pass on by.  But there's something wrong with forcing people to participate in a "voluntary study" through intimidation.  Reading stuff like this really disturbs me.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cops are really crawling up peoples' asses these days...

I was kind of on a roll yesterday, finding things on the Internet to discuss.  Last night, just before Bill and I went to bed, I found a very disturbing video about a man in New Mexico named David Eckert.  It seems that Mr. Eckert was stopped on January 3, 2013 for failing to yield at a stop sign in southern New Mexico.  He got pulled over by the cops.

The cops' drug dog apparently alerted and one of the cops thought Eckert looked like he was clenching his butt cheeks.  So they arrested him and got a search warrant to do an anal cavity search.  He was taken to a local hospital, but the doctor on duty wisely declined to do the necessary procedure.  So the cops took him to Gila Regional Medical Center, where Eckert was given a cavity search, x-rays, three enemas, and a colonoscopy, none of which showed any evidence that he was hiding narcotics.

Then, to add insult to injury, he was billed for these illegal search procedures that he never consented to.  Naturally, he's gotten himself a lawyer and is suing.  I hope he wins.  I think he will, too, since the search warrant was not issued for the county where Eckert endured his humiliating ordeal and it had already expired by the time the doctors did their anal probing.



I actually stumbled across this news last night while reading up on a New Mexico woman who was stopped for speeding.  For some reason, she was not cooperative with the police and the traffic stop turned into cops firing three rounds into the back of her minivan, where her five kids aged 6-18 were sitting.



Why this woman wasn't cooperative, I will never know.  But I don't think it will bode well for the cops firing their weapons into the woman's minivan.  It's a bizarre situation all around.

And finally, this has nothing to do with the cops (yet anyway), but it is pretty damn funny…



He bought a house right next to his ex wife's and erected a giant middle finger statue.  Apparently, his ex wife was having an affair and her daughter posted crap on Twitter.  So, he's getting even with his art.  What he's doing is not illegal, although it wouldn't surprise me if his actions prompted legislation.  I mean, imagine what people living next door to certain politicians could do if they voted the wrong way…




In the mail today...

Just as I predicted, those fools at DA sent me another letter…


Gee, this makes me want to sign right up!


I turned over the letter and what did I see?


Sponsored by DirectBuy…  

I once had a hell of a job interview with United Consumers Club, which is what DirectBuy was in the old days.  I am, for sure, NOT INTERESTED.



Monday, November 18, 2013

Dear Abby today… yet another person being pressured to spend holidays with an ex

Just read today's Dear Abby.  Some poor lady's mother-in-law has decided to invite the lady's ex boyfriend and his wife over for Thanksgiving dinner.  Oddly enough, Abby did not offer the writer any advice.  She just empathizes with the writer and says mother-in-law was insensitive for inviting over the ex.

If you've read this blog, you know that I have been in this situation myself.  My husband's ex wife invited herself and her husband over to my father-in-law's and his wife's (stepmother-in-law's) house for Christmas nine years ago, then told Bill and me to attend and stay in a hotel.  I was expected to attend the "celebration" and put on a happy face.  I refused to go, and it was the very best decision I could have made.  In my situation, I was fortunate enough to have an understanding husband who did not accuse me of "overreacting", although the in laws were pissed for awhile.

What's bad about this scenario is that the writer's ex boyfriend is apparently an abusive and manipulative person.  People like that usually expect that everyone else will "play nice" in an effort not to stir up trouble.  Playing nice with abusive people is usually not a good idea, since they will invariably take advantage of the situation.

Holidays are supposed to be fun and relaxing.  If you are being asked to spend it with someone you can't stand, it's definitely not going to be fun and relaxing.  You have a right to enjoy your holidays.  Mother-in-law has the right to invite whomever she wants to into her home, but you are not obligated to  subject yourself to someone who is abusive.

If I were in Abby's letter writer's position, I would explain to mother-in-law that I planned to stay home on Thanksgiving.  I would wish her well and let her know that I would be happy to spend time with her when she isn't entertaining my ex.  Then I would stay home.  If it meant being alone on Thanksgiving, so be it.  If my husband wasn't willing to stand by me, I would give some serious thought to the health of the relationship.

In my situation, I did send Bill to the in laws' house.  He was there to see his kids.  I figured no one really wanted to see me anyway.  I caught a lot of shit from the in-laws for not going, and Bill's ex was upset that I wasn't there.  I suppose it wasn't because she wanted to be friends with me but because it exposed her plan for being really fucked up.  She was mad because I didn't do her bidding.  My not attending made it very clear that I have boundaries, though.  She needed to know that she doesn't control me.

Likewise, Abby's correspondent needs to be an adult and put her foot down.



Barring that, she could always do this...

Sunday was lovely… except for the religion pushers

After a nice southern breakfast of biscuits and gravy, Bill and I invited his mother over.  We needed to go to the store first.  I didn't bother to get dressed until after 11:00, around which time a few proselytizers knocked on the door.  For some reason they visit on Sundays, the day of rest.  It's annoying, because you feel like you need to hide from people knocking, though it's easy to do that in this house.


One of my friends posted this on my Facebook…

Although door to door religion pushers annoy me any day of the week, they are especially irritating on Sunday mornings.  Sunday is supposed to be peaceful.  I don't like being disturbed by pushers on Sunday, when we're just wanting to wake up and enjoy the day together.  I don't know where these church people come from.  I don't think they are JWs, because the pushers in our neighborhood tend to travel in groups and on Sunday.  I know they aren't LDS because the LDS folk wear badges.  My guess is that they are from the huge Maranathasa Bible church located very near our house.  I just read what they believe and it's definitely not the kind of place where I would want to worship.  It's way too conservative.



This is one way to handle them...


As is this…


This guy totally came up with a great way to handle door to door religion pushers…



Though this is short and sweet...

Once the religion pushers were out of the neighborhood, we went to the commissary and picked up some food.  Mother-in-law came over in the afternoon and we chatted for awhile.  She joined us for dinner and lots of wine.   

Zane and Arran were adorable.  They love Bill's mom, so when she came into the backyard where I was sitting with them, they ran over to her and started jumping all over her, tails wagging.  Zane was dancing barking joyfully, just like his predecessor Flea used to do when we picked him after boarding.  They started running and playing.  When it was time for her to go, they also barked.  Zane was all sad.  Those dogs just adore Bill's mom, and for good reason.  They know she's family.  


Perhaps I should invest in one of these signs...