Friday, December 26, 2008

Oh Yeah. I Have a Blog Over Here


I have learned something about myself over the last few months. I'm not as good at multi-tasking as I thought I was. I've had this blog sitting around for awhile. I meant to have it as a place to write non-sci/fi related posts but I never really used it that much. Or when I did I used it as a place to complain about my family. As my husband would say--that's not sexy.

In a way it's been a good thing that I haven't wanted to use this page in awhile. In many respects it's because I haven't had a lot of family drama to whine about-- and that's nothing but a good thing. My family hasn't all of a sudden turned normal, that would be too much to hope for don't you think? Mostly they went silent for awhile. We've slowly gotten back into communication, though it doesn't amount to much more than how are you doing? I'm doing fine... But in my world that can be a very relaxing thing-- and it has been.

I haven't given up the idea that I can write posts that are more personal without being depressing, but lately I've been putting those kinds of posts on my sci-fi blog because I've gotten too lazy to keep up more than one page.


But then I got a laptop computer for Christmas. It's pink people! And now I'm looking for excuses to hop on the computer and write something. I don't know if this will be a permanent state (maybe that isn't such a good thing if I intend to have a life).

But as I sit here, in my living room, rocking in the recliner while my husband channel surfs, I'm on my computer. Oh sure. It's no big deal. To you! But I have been chained to my computer desk forever! And now I can move around! Look at me, typing on my counter top! Oh look, I'm surfing the web in my bedroom! I'm typing and sitting in the recliner!

Very nice.

But does that mean I'm going to be using this blog more? I doubt it. I've decided that I don't really feel like separating my personal life from my other blogs anymore. I mean really. Who cares if I keep my personal stuff all neat and tidy and segregated? So I'm throwing caution into the wind and putting personal posts up on my other blog. What the heck. I'm going to live dangerously for awhile. And I hope to see the few of you who come here over on my other site. It'd be nice to see you now and then.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Etiquette and Awkward Situations

When I think of awkward situations I usually think of silence. You know how it is. You're at a dinner party and the subject of conversation strays into uncomfortable waters. We all know we're not supposed to talk about politics and religion in polite company, but somehow we can't help ourselves and before you know it someone has inserted their foot firmly in their mouth. Pained silence ensues.

I've been in a few situations like that. I've been the source of a few situations like that-- though thankfully not too often.

But what do you do when something really weird happens?

Public outbursts are really awkward in my opinion. I've seen a couple of strange ones at the grocery store. Usually it's a customer that has decided they've been slighted in some way. One time I saw a woman go ballistic because she thought someone cut in line. I stay away from those people.

But sometimes there are situations that you can't gracefully exit from. Here's my personal example. I was at the bookstore last week. I like to wander around the big corporate ones because when I'm done I like to get a chai tea and then sit in the coffee shop area and read a magazine. When I get a laptop I'm sure I'll hang out there even more-- just for the silence. But, let me tell you, it wasn't silent last week.

I did my usual wandering bit and that often involves walking down the aisle toward the coffee shop a couple of times. I noticed a guy sitting right on the aisle-- not because he was remarkable, he was just sort of in my line-of-sight. He was a normal looking guy, wearing a polo shirt and slacks; basic business casual. He had a pile of books and a laptop on his table and seemed to be studying something. No big deal.

So I go over to get my tea and I hear the guy start talking. At this point I assumed he was on the phone. It sounded like he was having a conversation with someone about work and a job interview he'd had recently. Normal, loud-voiced bad cell phone manners. I get my tea and go sit down. He's still talking pretty loudly and I look up to see what's-up; you know, maybe give him a little eye contact and let him know he's talking a little loudly. Then I notice I don't see a cell phone. That's odd. I look to see if he has an ear bud. Nope. Speaker phone? Uh uh.

Apparently he's carrying on a conversation, loudly, with an imaginary companion.

Then he gets up and heads over to the counter. He orders something and then starts telling the cashier his story-- loudly. Something about a job interview. He tells the room that he was the best qualified but that the interviewer didn't see it that way.

I can't imagine why.

As this is going on, another customer makes eye contact with me. A college-age guy was sitting behind our loud talker and starts mouthing to me I thought he was on the phone... I quietly laugh and nod, telling him I thought the same thing. My new acquaintance then picks up his stuff and comes over to sit by me before the bookstore whack-job comes back.

We kind of look at each other uncomfortably and confer over the other guy's behavior. Our conversation mostly consists of do you know what he's talking about? and he's not actually talking to anyone is he? I find out that my new companion isn't from the States and doesn't speak English with total fluency--so he's really baffled. I try to let him know that not all Americans are crazy.

The guy then comes back to his seat. He's facing me and my new friend, so we can't really continue our conversation. Mr. loud talker then resumes his conversation with his imaginary companion-- even louder than before. Everyone in the place is pretty uncomfortable by now.

This is when my danger signals start lighting up. This guy might be totally harmless- but then he might not. We may be seeing this guy unravel before our eyes. I don't know if the guy is schizophrenic or something like that-- though his well-put-together appearance makes mental illness seem less likely. He just seems like someone who has lost his grip and I don't really want to wait around and see what exactly that means.

I feel a slight obligation to the young man who has come to sit by me, but not enough to put myself in personal danger. We kind of trade a few looks, but we can't really talk. I can't concentrate on my magazine, and I'm pretty sure no one else can either. So I decide to bail. I take out my keys and show them to my buddy and he nods. He gets it. He even says, very quietly, good idea. So I take that as my cue and leave.

But I still felt like I should have done something more to make my new foreign acquaintance feel at ease. I'm not sure what I could have done, but I hated the feeling that I was leaving him in a lurch. Maybe he left right after me. I certainly hope so.

I can say for sure that nothing came of that whole bit of awkwardness. There was no news story that day about a rampage in a book store. Thank goodness. But I still think it was good thing that I left. I don't think wanting to be polite is a good enough reason not to heed your instincts in a strange situation. And odd incidents like that remind me that for all of our beliefs in a civilized society, there isn't much more than good manners keeping people from doing bodily harm to each other every day. I mean, think of how often you'd like to smack that rude co-worker, but you don't.

Oh sure, we make snarky comments about people we don't like, but not to their face. Because we're polite like that. And we usually don't carry on loud, one-side conversations in public because that's just weird and it really makes people uncomfortable.

But every now and then someone forgets the rules and the rest of us are left shuffling our feet and wondering what we should do. My rule of thumb? Run.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator

Okay, this is too funny to pass up. According to the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator my name is:

Speck Backfire Palin

That sounds about right....

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Conversation Overheard in the Backseat of my Car Today

4 year old son: Look Mommy, the sun is going down.

8 year old daughter: **eye roll** This sun isn't going down [thinking to herself this kid is an idiot] the planet is rotating...

4 year old son: **looking at sister like she's lost her mind** Look Mommy, the sun is going down.

Me [in front]: **giggling**

8 year old daughter: **exasperated** The sun doesn't go down [you know she wants to say dammit here. You just know it.] the planet rotates!

Me: **snorting**

4 year old son: Oh look, the moon is going up.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Ummmmm....

Gosh. Should I post about the family again? It gets old but sometimes I need to vent somewhere and this has been a good place for a sympathetic ear.

I haven't heard much from my family for last couple of months. My brother went back to school so he could teach in Thailand and as far as I know he's working. This is a good thing since he won't have to rely on handouts from my parents anymore. I don't know much more than that. I think he and my parents haven't been getting along real well since he's moving again to gain some space from them. At least I think that's what's going on.

So I get an email from my mom a few days ago. I guess she tried to send it a few times but she always sends the emails to the wrong email address (why I'm not in her contacts list I don't know) and she drops a few hints here and there that there is something going on. She says she's happy that my brother is working because that takes the financial stress off of them. (Hellooo, took $100k from him. You should still be giving him money).

And then she says that they won't be able to make it home this month after all....

WTF?

What does come "home" for a visit mean exactly? Was she still under the impression that she and dad were going to be staying with me?

Oh yeah. After I told her that my son and I might have Asperger's she decided that everything I had said to her before was a delusion brought on by my afflicted brain. Or so my brother told me.

So what did I do? I panicked. I freaked out because I didn't want my mom to think that I had an open door policy. I felt like I had to make things crystal clear so that there wouldn't be any future misunderstandings. So I sent her an email that was basically a here's the deal kind of thing. I basically said-- no more lies, I don't appreciate having a potential diagnosis used against me, and if you're going to send me back another nasty email because I'm sticking to my stance of you can't stay with me then don't bother to write.

I didn't cuss at her. It was reasonable. I thought.

Then I get an email from my brother saying why can't we all just get along? Yes, a loving guilt trip from my brother. The one who calls me at 1:00 in the morning to rant and rave about my parents. The one who pokes a stick at the hornets nest and then wonders why there's a bunch of angry insects buzzing around. The one who told me his wife doesn't speak to my mom anymore. Oh, and then he adds a happy little post script that says my mom is "shaking" she's so upset. If I had a dime for every time my brothers had her in the same state while growing up..... But I guess he learned to sling guilt with the best of them and think none of it will blow back on him.

*Sigh*

I sent a reply back to my brother that basically stated the same thing I said above. I told him that I didn't think it was fair that I only get little bits of information here and there and then I'm expected to draw a whole picture from that. I told him that I thought it was b.s. that I have been expected to be the dutiful daughter my whole life but when I finally decide enough is enough and stand my ground I'm made to feel guilty about it. Naturally I haven't heard back.

Thing is, my family has never been particularly loving. **I'm going to divulge a little bit of uncomfortable info here** I was molested by my oldest brother (not the one in Thailand) when I was a kid. I don't remember when it started, I'm guessing around 4 or 5 (I think I've repressed most of the memories, though I have always remembered a few specific instances) and I made him stop by the time I was 9. I never told my mom what happened when I was a kid. I'm sure you've all heard about the shame and embarrassment that goes with this kind of thing, and it's true. But when I was 27 I told my mom what happened because she had kicked my brother out of her house, with his two sons. I was worried about the kids and I wanted to do what I could to make sure that custody was transferred to their mother.

So what does my mom do with that info? She decides to tell everyone in the family what happened -- without my permission-- just to make sure they were good and angry at him and would take her side in the whole argument. Yep. That's my mom. Throws me under the bus no matter what. The subject was pretty much dropped after that. She got what she needed out of it so now we can move forward as if nothing happened.

Between that incident and the way she has turned the whole Asperger's thing against me, I think I'm pretty justified in not trusting my mom. I haven't had this discussion with my brother, but I don't expect him to be particularly sensitive to my feelings. No one in my family ever is. It's been pretty much a life of shit rolling down hill and I'm the one who catches it all.

I feel like I'm at a fork in the road. On one side is my family-- chaos, heartache and pain. The other side is no family-- peace.

How sad is that?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

If Sarah Palin Were a Democrat...

I can't tell you how disgusted I have been of the "coverage" of Sarah Palin over the last few days. I think I had the same reaction a lot of women had when McCain put Palin forward as his running mate in that I thought it might be a cynical ploy to get the Hillary Clinton vote. But then I stood back and realized that Sarah Palin is not Hillary Clinton and it wouldn't take long for people to start focusing on their political differences. What I didn't expect was that the so-called feminist movement is only behind women who have the "right" politics.

Like a lot of people I wanted to know about Sarah Palin. Cynical or not, by putting Palin on the Republican ticket McCain has put a woman in position to take on one of the most powerful offices in our country. It isn't the first time, as anyone who remembers Geraldine Ferraro can tell you. But this has been a very close race. Democrats would like to think that their very polished candidate is going to take the Presidency in a landslide. In most cases the Democrats would be almost guaranteed the office following on the heels of an 8-year Republican administration, but somehow middle America hasn't fully bought into the Obama hype. It may be because Obama said that people who "cling" to religion or guns are "bitter." It could be because his wife Michelle, a Princeton graduate who also has a law degree from Harvard, declared she wasn't proud of her country until her husband was running for President. Maybe I'm bitter, but I remember that statement. Or maybe the Democrats aren't running as strongly as they could because Hillary was such a strong contender that she took the shine off of Obama-- at least for awhile.

Yes, the Democrats have surged after Obama's speech as the convention. And no matter your political inclinations, you have to admit the man can give one heck of a speech. But McCain pulled the spotlight back to the Republicans by picking Sarah Palin as his running mate. After I got over my shock that he did pick a woman I began to think his pick was less cynical than I originally thought. She's no Hillary clone-- not even close. She isn't just conservative, she's staunchly so. I began to think there might be a chance that she would invigorate the conservative base. I began to read stories about her through the online media (Washington Post, New York Times etc.) to see what the general opinion was of her and began to realize something. Feminism only works if you're a Democrat.

I couldn't believe the comments I read about Sarah Palin. They weren't about her stance on abortion-- which I could understand. No, the comments were full of innuendo about the birth of her youngest child. The comments were about her looks and the fact that she had been in a beauty contest at some point in her young life. I read comments by women who referred to her as a bimbo or whore, or worse. I read comments by women who had nothing but scathing remarks for another woman who would dare to seek a career in politics while she had children to raise. Or worse, choose to have so many children. (Don't even get me started on the number of people out there who consider themselves superior by only choosing to have one or two kids but neglect them shamelessly--I saw this often as a teacher) Apparently only Democrat women are allowed to work, the rest of world needs to be home burping the baby.

Then we find out Sarah Palin's 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. *Sigh* As expected, the comments have only gotten uglier (though points to Obama by his classy--so far--handling of the information). Apparently if a pro-life woman has a teenage daughter that gets pregnant, her pro-life stance must be to blame. After all, we assume, she must not have talked to her daughter about s-e-x. I mean, a pro-choice Democrat woman who talks to her daughter about birth control never finds herself in the same position as Sarah Palin. The approximately 520,000 children born to teenage mothers each year must be a result of conservative values gone wrong. Right?

I have a daughter that I have already broached the subject of sex with. I also talk to her about drugs, smoking and alcohol. Does this guarantee that she won't smoke, drink, use drugs or get pregnant? Absolutely not. My mom didn't talk to me about any of those things and I never drank before I was 21, never smoked, never used drugs and didn't have my first child until I was 30. Could I attribute any of those things to my upbringing? I seriously doubt it. Look at the statistics. 4 kids in the family: 2 high school dropouts, 2 high school graduates: 1 college graduate: 2 had children out of wedlock , 2 did not: 3 had (have) serious issues with drugs and alcohol. No wonder my brother calls my mom every year just to tell her that he voted Republican and therefore cancelled out her vote. I'm tempted to do the same thing.

At the end of the day I could care less if people go after Sarah Palin on her politics. If you don't like her stance on abortion, I get it. If you are against domestic drilling for oil, say so and vote for Obama. If you are anti-gun, I'm happy for you. But if you go after Sarah Palin because she is a woman I am going to get pissed off-- more than I already am. Barak Obama has young children and no one assumes he needs to be home raising them. Why can't we make the same assumption about Sarah Palin? Something tells me that if she were elected Vice President, her husband would probably move to Washington D.C. with her and just maybe, take some time off to help raise the kids. Just a thought.

And if you are rabidly anti Sarah Palin, ask yourself this. If she were a Democrat and strongly pro-choice, would all the "feminists" be so hard on her? I seriously doubt it.

As a woman, this whole thing makes me fume.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Just Call me The Winner

I got an email from that horrible hosting site, Siteground, this morning. They're giving me a full refund.

Oh yeah.

I can be a pain in the tuckus when I want to be and I have been a royal pain to that company for the last three days.

Here's the deal. I've been having template issues. On both my fantasy/sci-fi sites I've had people complain that they can't read my posts because the template hasn't been loading. This has been an ongoing problem I've had with Blogger. Whenever they tweak their site, my blogs get all wonky, people get frustrated and stop visiting. I hate that. I'm not one of your funny bloggers, but I do try to write decent reviews and stuff like that. I put a fair amount of time into them since I have several publishers who have been kind enough to send me free books. I like to live up to the promises I make.

So anyway. I was looking at setting up a Wordpress site. I was hoping that if I set up a blog that has it's own host it wouldn't be in danger of being messed with by a company that it always trying to "improve" its product. But I know very little about setting up a domain and all that. I spent at least a day looking at hosting sites and realized I didn't want to pay over $100 to set up a site I might not want after a month or so. So I opted for a hosting site that didn't require me to pay at least 3 months in advance.

Turns out that wasn't as smart as I thought.

I found Siteground after cruising around and it seemed like a good offer. They showed a whole bunch of Wordpress templates that they offered and they would allow me to pay month to month. Sounded good. So, silly me, I signed up.

I took me less than an hour to realize that Siteground was totally unworkable. First, I couldn't find any Wordpress templates. They had some stupid thing called Sitebuilder that I couldn't even access. When I finally got a technician to help me out (by email, they don't do live technical assistance) I realized that the templates they had were awful. Mostly generic business stuff. So I went to cancel the account. Only when you cancel you have to click on a button that says you agree to certain fee's to cancel. Bullshit set-up fees. Not knowing what else to do, I went ahead and clicked on the cancel button knowing that I was going to dispute the fees since I never set anything up.

What followed was a bunch of back and forth between me and the company. They weren't going to return my payment no matter what. It was in the terms and agreements that I was to pay the fees and that was that.

Yeah right.

I told them that since they didn't offer what they promised (templates, bandwidth, service-- all a joke) that the terms and agreements were not valid. You can't hold me to an agreement when you don't hold up your end. They said nope, you gotta pay.

Oh no no no. I am a tenacious little bugger when I want to be. So I told them I was filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and then I told them when I did. I didn't know if it would do any good, but I felt better after filing a complaint.

This morning I got an email from a supervisor saying that while I should have to pay the fees, they were still going to give me a full refund.

I'm thinking the BBB got back to them fairly quickly.

But I feel vindicated.

It's a little thing. The fees weren't going to break me. But I'm a principle-of-the-thing kind of person. I think this company over-promises on its offers knowing that people will quit the service but end up stuck with the fees. I'm sure they make most of their money on the volume of fees they collect. I also suspect that most people don't complain because they don't think the small amount they're charged is worth the trouble. But I disagree. If I think someone is trying to pull one over on me, I get riled up.

But I feel good now. I honestly didn't think I was going to get any money back. When I complained to the BBB I saw about 11 other complaints against the company, 8 of which had not been resolved. I didn't think that was good odds. But who knows, maybe the company didn't want anymore scrutiny. If you could call it a company. I think it's a boiler-room set-up in an apartment somewhere. Seriously.

So now I'm in a good mood and I've set up a contest at my other blogs. Just click on the icons to the right of the page to check them out. I'm giving away some books and I'll send them anywhere in the world if you want them. I believe in karma, so if I give to you I will receive good karma back.

Oh oh oh. I just remembered a good karma moment. I left my wallet at a store last week. Stupid I know. But guess what? They called me and told me that a customer brought the wallet up to the counter. I went to get it, and it had everything in it. Not a thing missing.

Restores my faith in humanity.

I'm going to keep on giving away books.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Don't use Siteground! Ever!

I've been trying all day to get a Wordpress site set up and made the bad mistake of signing on to a service called Siteground. They suck! I can't figure out how to use it at all and there is no live technical assistance. I decided to cancel and they're going to stick it to me with $50 worth of fees even though I haven't even set up a site.

Don't use Siteground ever!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Old Template not Working

Gah! I'm so frustrated.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Hibernation

The Olympics are here.

I love them. I watch them all the time. I will be of no use to anyone for about the next two weeks.

Children? What children?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

There's no help for it. I'm a Junkie.

Yep, back on the diet cola.

I swear, it's like a drug. One swig and I'm hooked.

Okay, here's the rationalization part of the post. I had been doing really well off the diet cola, but I had gotten into a bad habit of substituting wine for the soda in the evenings. Not a good idea if you want to lose weight.

I am a big believer in taking a bath after the kids go to bed. Those Calgon ads were more accurate than they knew. And I like to do it up. I like to have the bubbles, a book and a drink. It used to be that I would take a soda in with me. Not romantic, but a cool drink and a hot bath are a nice combo. But after I stopped drinking soda I started bringing in a nice glass of wine. Nothing wrong with that right? And if I stopped at one glass that would probably be the case. But I always have to have one more when I get out-- you know, to wind down and all.

Those wine calories add up.

Sooooooo. I bought a litre of soda, just to have a bath time. And I hate to say it. But it's been a good thing for me. I've lost weight and probably two inches off my waist in the last two weeks. I must've been drinking more wine than I realized. Gosh, I'm a lush.

So here I am. Back on the soda, but off the wine.

But all may not be lost. I hear Diet Coke is going to start using Stevia instead of Splenda or Aspartame. That should be better, right? I hope so. I've actually had the Diet Coke with Stevia before when I was in Japan and it's tons better than what we have now.

I hope Diet Coke switches over. I'd like to feel a little less guilty.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sort of a good news, bad news, good news.. kind of thing

Let me start with the good news. I took my son to the neurologist this last week and the first thing he said to me was "your son is definitely not autistic."

I like this doctor.

I wasn't actually too worried that my son would be diagnosed autistic. Despite the fact that Asperger's is considered on the autism spectrum, there seems to be some controversy over whether or not it should be considered an autism-like disorder at all. So all I was really worried about was what the doctor saw as a long-term prognosis for my son-- which apparently is very good.

The doctor said my son is too young to really evaluate for Asperger's, and since I have a couple of traits my son probably will too. But-- and this is what really won me over-- the doctor said "there is too much right with this boy for me to be worried about him."

Sweeeeeeet!

All I have to do at this point is make sure my son gets speech therapy and take him back to the neurologist in 6 months to monitor his progress. The doctor said the diagnosis could change over time, but he didn't think it would get worse-- only better. Words a mom likes to hear.

Okay. The bad news. My nephew calls me a few days ago. That's a good thing. I didn't have his number and had been wanting to hear from him. He's a good kid. He's 16, mellow and seems to be on the right track. His brother on the other hand....

This is where I get a pissed off for a bit.

My other nephew is in jail. Now, as bad as that is, that's not what I'm pissed about. My jailbird nephew (son of my jailbird brother) is 19 years old and has been in and out of jail for the last year (3 times I've been told) and I didn't know any of this. I also didn't know that he dropped out of school his Sophomore year (almost 3 years ago).

How is this possible you ask?

Because my mom is a liar. A chronic, bald-faced liar.

My mom spun me a story awhile ago about my nephew being in juvenile hall. Oh, he was in juvie, but that's all I ever heard. To hear my mom tell it, my nephew went back to school and everything was hunky-dory. WTF?

I remember asking my mom over the last year if she had had my nephews over to visit before she left and she always said she was too busy or too tired or whatever. I asked many times about those boys and not once did the subject of jail come up. I think I would have remembered that.

Why? Why lie? I don't get it.

So I guess my nephew is following in the dubious footsteps of my brother. The one I haven't seen for over 10 years thanks to his meth habit. Oh man. I hate hearing this kind of stuff.

So I'm going to end this post on a happy note.

My new couch came today.

I talked my husband into a sectional couch that is just gorgeous. It's not super trendy, but it is micro-fiber so I don't have to worry about kids and pets. It's soooooo soft and cuddly. We ordered the fabric so it's not the cheap micro-fiber that's stiff. It's like a baby's butt. Is that a good description? I don't care. It's soft. And it has a corner with my name on it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My husband... kind of like Costanza

My husband is a great guy. I've mentioned him several times on my blog and I think we can all agree he got more than his money's worth when he married me. And not in a good way.

But like all people he has some strange quirks. That's okay. I think a big part of staying married is finding someone who's quirks you can live with.

So I'm watching "Resident Evil" the other night (yeah...I know) and my husband walks in during a scene in which Michelle Rodriguez is on the screen and asks "is that Denise Richards?"

Me: Blank stare.

Hubby: "What? Isn't that Denise Richards?"

Me: Looking at the TV screen to verify that the channel hasn't changed on it's own. Nope. Still Michelle Rodriguez on the screen. "What are you talking about?"

Hubby: Looks at TV again. "What? She looks like Denise Richards."

Me: "What planet are you from?"

I go through this kind of stuff a lot with my husband. There are times when I know we're wired differently and we will never see eye to eye on some things. However, he can't take all the blame--even on my own blog.

The thing is, I'm really literal. I mean really, really literal. I've mentioned before that I think I have Asperger's syndrome, and without belaboring the point too much, a super-literal mind is characteristic of the syndrome. Or maybe it's just me. I don't know.

Anyway, my husband is a goof-ball. Non-sequiturs are a big part of his everyday conversation. He likes "Seinfeld" to the point that he will insert quotes from the show into a conversation at will-- much to my confusion.

Just recently I was reading a book about Asperger's and trying to explain something to my husband about the syndrome when he suddenly pipes up "You're like George Costanza! You've got to do everything the opposite of the way you've been doing it your whole life!"

I literally started crying.

It took my husband about ten minutes to convince me that he was, in fact, kidding. He did not win any points for sensitivity that night.

And then it occurs to me that my husband is actually the one who could be compared to George Costanza. Throwing out an inappropriate comment is not that unusual for him. I threw a birthday party for him a few years ago and invited a ton of people. We were playing pool and hubby was playing a game with a female co-worker, Michelle, who has become friends with us over the years. Anyway, my husband missed a shot and ended up setting up Michelle perfectly for her next shot-- which she made with ease. Then hubby decides to pipe up and say, really loudly, "Oh sure, you always like my sloppy seconds" thinking that would be funny. Needless to say, every eye in the room looked at him in a slightly horrified fashion. My jaw dropped and just as I was about to whip out a can of whup ass on my husband, Michelle walks up to me, pats my arm and says, "don't worry, he knows not what he's saying..."

And you know what, she was right. He had no clue that "sloppy seconds" had a potentially offensive meaning, like this funny article I found, or that maybe it's not a good idea to say the phrase, loudly, in front of a lot of co-workers.

I think I've managed to rein him in a little though. I've tried, mightily, to get him to think before he speaks-- not an easy task. I haven't been embarrassed in front of a large crowd of people in months, so I think it's working.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The View Outside My Front Door

~I actually have this on my sci-fi blog too. The smoke is so overwhelming that it's all I can post about right now...

Okay, I have to do it. The smoke here has been crazy today. I tried to take some pictures while out driving, but it's hard to drive and take pictures-- and I don't recommend trying. So the picture here is the best I could do. I don't know if you can tell how hazy it is, but let me tell you this. It was about 2:30 in the afternoon when I took the picture and about 103 degrees. We have no clouds in the sky-- just smoke. It kind of looks like a cloudy winter day.

The other picture you see here is right off my front porch. I took it at about 7:30 in the evening. I was hoping to catch a really red sun today, but it wasn't as bright as it has been on other evenings. Normally though, you wouldn't be able to look directly at the sun, especially as it was just going down. But this shot is just as it looked from the naked eye.

I wish blogs came with smell-o-vision so you could smell the smoke too. It smells like I'm directly in the path of a campfire.

I promise. This will be my last smoke related post.

Just pray there are no floods or earthquakes in my future.

Friday, July 04, 2008

10 Year Meme

I'd say I'm sorry I haven't posted in awhile, but since I think only 4 or 5 people visit me here, it's probably not a big problem. I get it though. The family drama can get to be a bit much can't it?

But it has simmered down a bit. Thankfully. And in a weird way it leaves me at loose ends.

What on earth do I write about? I'm afraid I'm not that interesting without my dysfunctional family to gripe about. I did paint my toenails a very interesting shade of blue today though...

Fortunately Full Throttle Steve has saved me from the topic dilemma. He tagged me for a meme.

What were you doing ten years ago?

This is actually a very easy question to answer. Convenient timing too. I got married on July 18, 1998 and my 10 year anniversary is in two weeks. I was in the final stages of planning my wedding. The wedding had been a minor nightmare because my mom decided that my wedding needed to be an exact replica of my brother's. She had gotten into a weird competition with my brother over who made more money and who could spend it the most unwisely (see, I can fit family nonsense into any topic). Anyway, my mission, at the time, was to restrain my mom from turning my wedding into an out-of-control production and I have to say I think I did well. I wasn't really interested in having a big wedding, but we still ended up with 150 guests (many of whom I did not know) but it was very nice. Hot too. It was 108 degrees on my wedding day. Thank goodness we opted for an indoor wedding. Too bad the air-conditioning broke. We had a lot of sweaty guests. But they ended up happy since we had an open bar.

Five things on your to-do-list today.

Well, since it's the 4th of July, we're definitely going to light some fireworks. After that, I'm not sure...

Plan something yummy for dinner with a good dessert for a hot July holiday.

Maybe take the kids swimming (the gym pool is open part time today).

Fold the laundry. Which I %^$#*& hate.

Read.

What would you do if you were a billionaire?

First, do a happy dance.

After the obvious stuff, buy the dream house, car etc... I'd make sure my family, even my parents, were taken care of. Then, I'd try to think of what kind of Bill Gates' kind of charity thing I could do. Though I wouldn't plan on giving it all away.

What are three of your bad habits?

Oh boy, where to start?

I can be very cluttered. Thank goodness my hubby is a bit of a neat freak, he keeps me in line.

If I'm not motivated to so something it may not get done. I don't know if it's a lazy thing or a procrastination thing. I need momentum to get through the day sometimes. And lot of caffeine.

I stay up way too late.

What are some snacks you enjoy?

Brownies. Apples and peanut butter. Red peppers and ranch dressing.

What are the last five books you read?

Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

The Four Forges by Jenna Rhodes

Stray by Rachel Vincent

Before They are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

What are five jobs you've had?

Grade school teacher.

Cocktail Waitress.

Associate Producer (television)

Title clerk for auto wholesale company.

Advertising sales & freelance writer for small newspaper.

Where are five places you have lived?

We moved a lot when I was a kid, but mostly in California. Let's see, in Ca I have lived in Palm Dessert, Palm Springs, Corona Del Mar, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Fair Oaks, Granite Bay, Roseville and Rocklin.

Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Osaka, Japan.

Who am I going to tag?

No one. I think everyone who comes here has already done this meme.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Everything is just simmering

Well, the family stuff has died down a bit. Thank God! My parents are supposedly "starting fresh," whatever that means and I think they're going to be selling some stuff to be able to pay my brother back some more money.

Isn't is nice when your parents try to do the right thing once in a while?

But I haven't been too stressed about it all. Nosiree! I tried a different strategy over the last two weeks for dealing with my family.

Nothing at all.

Yep. I didn't do a damn thing. When my brother first called me, I felt like I had to do something. Right now! I always react that way when my brother ambushes me. I don't know if it's the late hour of his calls or the urgency in his voice. Either way, he always gets me worked up.

But my husband recommended that I not do anything right away this time. He said that it really wouldn't make any difference and just because my brother drops a bomb in my lap every couple of months, it really isn't my problem.

My husband is a wise man.

So I let it lie. And you know what? The world didn't fall apart. My family figured things out for themselves-- sort of, and I didn't have to pull my hair out worrying about it.

I could get used to this.

I haven't heard from my mom in a couple of weeks, even though I asked her about selling some stuff for my brother. But he knows about it, so I'm not going to fret.

I'm going to learn how to chill out. And when my mom, or my brother, decide to get me all worked up again, I'm going to remind myself that they are in Thailand-- and too far away for me to do anything that can affect their situation in the near future.

Remind me of this when I get freaked out next time.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Picking my child's friends

*Sigh*

I feel like a heel. But I don't really know what to do about it.

My eight year old daughter made a friend at school this year. A very very obnoxious friend.

This kid drives me up the wall. It started kind of slowly. She would walk home with us occasionally and one day she pipes up... So, how come you don't let your daughter have Bratz dolls? Just 'cause you don't like them!? My mom's nice and....

That's as far as she made it before I let her know that I wasn't going to change what toys I allowed in my house because some random 8-year-old objected to it.

It's been rapidly deteriorating ever since then.

Her mom invited my daughter to go on a play-date with them and I said okay. I met the mom and she seemed nice enough and they we're going to be close by. The mom did mention how glad her daughter was to make friends with my daughter since she'd had a hard time making friends since they'd moved to the area last year-- that was the first warning sign.

Anyway, we traded play-dates a couple of times until my daughter mentioned that while she was at her friend's house, the mom had been letting the girls play out front without any supervision.

What the hell? Did I miss something here? I don't remember being asked if I was okay with my daughter playing outside unsupervised. Maybe I'm over-protective. But my kid is only eight and not a big eight-year-old at that.

I found this out just before I was to take my daughter over to their house for another play-date. So, as nicely as I could, I told the dad when we arrived that I wasn't comfortable with my daughter playing in front of the house without an adult present. Just as I say that, their 12 year old daughter pipes up....oh, I was going to take the girls to the park today to play. Is that okay?

What!? Are you kidding me? You were going to send my daughter to the park, with only a 12-year-old to watch over her, without asking me first? Are you f***ing kidding me?

So, as angry as I was, I held it together and said that I preferred that my daughter be watched by an adult. Needless to say, I haven't let my daughter go over there since.

But this isn't going away quietly. This kid. This obnoxious child. She calls my house at least twice a day. They live right down the street (an argument for never letting your child play with neighborhood kids) and she shows up on my doorstep unannounced at all hours of the day and night. I've had to tell her not to call my house late at night and that we would prefer she not show up on the doorstep without calling first--especially after dark.

We tried to tell our daughter to try to make some other friends at school and not hang out with this kid exclusively. With those instructions, my daughter walks up to her at school one day and proclaims.. I can't be your friend anymore. Ouch! I said to make other friends, not rip the kid's heart out! Of course, that day we had this little girl on our doorstep, leaving notes and breaking my heart. Of course, once we realized what our daughter had done, we told not to be that harsh and we had to back-pedal a bit just to make sure our daughter didn't turn into some heartless wench. ((My daughter could care less if she plays with this kid. She's okay if they do get together, but not bothered at all if I say no))

But now it's summer and this kid won't leave us alone. I'm getting calls everyday and she keeps trying to get my daughter to come over to play-- when hell freezes over.

I don't know what the deal is with this kid's parents. I don't know why they let their daughter run all over the neighborhood they way they do. I don't know why they let her make us hostages in our home.

For the time being I'm pretty much not answering the phone. I know it's childish, but I keep hoping this kid will lose interest if no one gets back to her. I've tried to gently talk to the parents, but them seem kind of oblivious. You'd think they'd get the hint when we pretty much cut off all the play-dates, but they don't.

Somebody please make this child leave us alone.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Oh the karma is a bitch! ** Updated**

Okay. I am so sorry I keep posting family stuff here. I really am. But I kind of feel like this bit of family drama is more in the nature of gossip.

Is it wrong to gossip about one's mom?

My brother emailed me tonight and said mom and dad are fighting and that my dad told my mom he was done with her and she might as well find someone in the States to live with.

Oh snap.

The most amazing part is that I haven't heard from my mom. That's right. She hasn't come begging at my door.

I am in shock and awe.

Personally, I doubt my mom will leave my dad. A big part of the reason is because I'm not sure anyone here will take her and she has no money. Well, other than what she can take from my dad's social security-- and that isn't much.

I'm kind of on pins and needles waiting to hear from my brother. He'll probably call me next week. At two in the morning.

**Update**

I heard a little more from my brother last night. My mom apparently decided to tell my dad how she really feels and she let loose with a barrage of you're a loser and a prick and my life is ruined because of you. So then my dad asks her if she told me that she was the one who turned down the offer on the house?

Boy. My mom will walk a thousand miles to avoid responsibility for anything won't she? My dad has screwed up a lot but I suspect she's laid a lot as his feet that he isn't responsible for. I bet the main reason my brother is struggling financially is because my mom is the one who insists on staying in the hotel.

Oh well. Not my problem. She's not living with me. Knowing her she'll find a way to suck up to my dad and smooth things over. For her sake, she better.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Why does my family have to live in crazy town?

Every two months or so, my brother ambushes me with a phone call. It's usually at 1:00 in the morning or some equally heinous hour. I don't know why. He just thinks he can do that because I'm his sister. Unfortunately he's right. I'd hang up on pretty much anyone other than him.

((Quick aside: my son just ran by carrying his Transformer blanket singing the Transformer song "Transformers...more than meets the eye..." He's making a fort in the living room. Cutest thing I've ever seen.))

This is the brother who lives in Thailand. Up until recently I thought he was living with my parents but I guess they've decided to live in a hotel in a nearby town. Apparently my mom likes room service.

When my brother gets mad his phone calls are kind of hard to decipher. Also, there's the added difficulty that his phone calls from Thailand are made on a phone card that usually runs out after six minutes or so. So his conversation comes at me in machine gun like bursts. I mean, he goes! I only hear from him every couple of months so he tries to cram as much information he can and it's pretty overwhelming. Let me tell you.

It goes something like this.

"Theresa, OMGwheredoIstart?Youcan'tbelievehowbadmomanddadarebeing.TheyaresuchassholesThey'respendingallofthemoney.Ihadtohockmyweddingringandmom'sbraggingabouthavingroomservice.They'rethemostworthlesspeopleever!

After about two minutes my head is exploding.

I'm so glad my family is half a world away. Although in a perfect world, my brother would come back and my mom and dad would stay in Thailand.

That may be what happens next.

I don't know the whole story, but then I never do. I did get a fairly nasty email from my mom a few weeks ago after I told her that I thought it was b.s. that they didn't pay my brother back and I was a bit bothered by the fact that they paid to store a bunch of clothes she didn't need while leaving behind all the art projects my brothers and I had made as kids. (you know, the little ashtrays and flowerpots kids make in second grade to give to mom and dad? Though I doubt anyone makes ashtrays anymore) Anyway, she sent me back a bile filled note full of denial and guilt. Pretty much what I expected. So I sent her back a note saying that my son and I have Asperger's and I can't deal with any of her b.s. right now. Surprisingly she then sent me a very nice note full of motherly love. That really shocked me. More than the mean note. Until my brother tells me that now my mom is telling everyone that I'm mad at her because I'm autistic and I don't know what I'm saying. I'm too addled to know what's what.

Now that's the mom I know and love.

So, since my parents are in the process of well and truly screwing my brother I'm selling the few items my parents asked me to hold for them so I can send the money to my brother. Oddly, I feel guilty for doing this. I've never been one to go against my word and I feel weird in doing something that seems so blatantly "screw you." But if my brother has to hock his wedding ring to buy food and my mom is gloating that she doesn't have to clean up her room because she has room service, I guess I can sell a couple of things for my brother without guilt.

Man, my mom's email is going to be really bad now. Maybe she won't talk to me anymore. Now that's something to hope for.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Ebay Issues

I put some stuff up on Ebay over the last two weeks and I have come to realize that I am more obsessive compulsive than I had previously realized.

I cannot walk upstairs without turning on the computer to check my auction. I can't walk in the house without walking directly upstairs to turn on the computer to check the auction.

Right now it's a very good thing I don't have a laptop.

And I can't just look at the listing to see if the price has gone up. (Currently I am patting myself on the back because I have an actual-- no wait! 7 actual bids on my item. I'm on fire). I have to check the number of hits I have gotten. (93). and then I have to go to my "selling" page and see how many watchers I have. (14).

My auction ends tomorrow night so you know I will be sitting there, at the last minute, watching to see if there is a bidding war. It was rather exciting the last time. The two people who were competing over my last item didn't enter their last minute bids until there were only 14 seconds left to bid. That was a nail biter for sure.

I so need to get a life.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hope You Don't Mind If I Have a Private Moment...

This has been an interesting week. To say the least.

I mentioned, a couple of posts ago, that I have been potty training my son and that, at 4 1/2, he is a bit late in his training. I love my son, more than words can say, but I have not been blind to the fact that he hasn't been on the same track developmentally as most kids his age. I have brought it up, from time-to-time, with his pediatrician and was usually told that I was "over-comparing" him to other kids. I knew better than to accept that from the pediatrician, but I let it lie for awhile. I didn't want to deal with the elephant in the room that most parents don't want to deal with.

Autism.

This word carries so much weight these days. We hear about it a lot. We hear that the numbers are on the rise and we hear about celebrities like Jenny McCarthy that they too have kids with Autism.

God bless Jenny McCarthy. At first I denied that my son could have Autism because he seemed to function so much better than the stereotypical Autistic child. I remember watching "Rainman" and thinking the sort of idiot-savant that Dustin Hoffman played was what Autism was all about. That can't be my son I thought, my son hugs me, he tells me he loves me. He comes running to me when I come home from the store with a loud "Mom!" and a big hug. How could this child have Autism?

And then a funny thing happened. I started reading about it and I discovered a neurological disorder on the Autism spectrum called Asperger's Syndrome. And an even funnier thing happened. I realized that not only does my son have virtually all the criteria that would garner him a diagnosis as having Asperger's, I do as well.

I've always felt like a square-peg in a round-hole world, but I always found things to blame it on. I was adopted. I went to 11 different schools from kindergarten through 12 grade. Of course I was socially awkward. But the thing is, even in a safe environment, away from social situations that can leave me in a horrible state of anxiety, I'm still not what you might think of as normal. I look normal. I can pass for normal. I can hold a job and go to parent-teacher conferences relatively well. But if you and I were having a face to face conversation, I would have to force myself to look into your eyes. I do this because it's what I've come to believe is expected of me in social situations but I don't "get" why I should do it. My son is the same way.

When I go to a party with my husband I really get stressed out. I've never been able to read people very well. I tend to run on conversationally and have a one track mind that is staggering in it's focus. I cannot go-with-the-flow conversationally because my mind will stay on whatever track I started on and will not shift gears unless I make a conscious effort to do so. I tend to be blunt but think of myself as "honest." I don't mean to hurt other people's feelings but since I am not naturally tactful I do sometimes. I don't like to be touched (which drives my husband crazy) and can't stand loud noises of any kind. If I'm in a room full of people I will go into sensory overload and have to leave to spend time by myself. I usually stay up late every night just to be alone.

I could go on and on but I think I would bore you. The point of all this is that despite my personal diagnosis of Asperger's, I've managed to do okay. I have been with my husband for 13 years despite my social retardation. Most people would never, ever, dream that I suffer from a form of Autism. Thank goodness.

In a weird way I'm glad I have Asperger's. I would prefer that my son didn't have it, but since he does I think I am uniquely qualified to help him navigate through a world he won't understand. I can't give him enlightenment, but I can give him a few coping mechanisms. I would prefer that I didn't have this genetic mutation to pass on to my child (Asperger's generally runs in families and often the adult sufferer will be diagnosed at the same time as the child) but I can't help what has already happened.

The one thing that gives me hope is now I know why I am the way I am. I now know why I have a hard time relating to people and prefer the companionship I find among the blogging community. I don't need to read facial expressions here. All I have to do is read the words on a page and I can do that. I can also stand as an example to my son. I can say to him, I graduated college. I got married and had kids. I know how to love even if I don't know how to express it. I know what it is to be you, and you're going to be just fine.....

For more information on Asperger's Syndrome, THIS is an excellent place to start.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Six Unremarkable Things Meme


Avery tagged me with this meme, and it appears that for this meme I'm supposed to come up with 6 uninteresting facts about myself. There are rules to this meme, not all of which I am going to follow... but I'll list them here.

* Link the person who tagged you.
* Mention the rules in your blog.
* Tell about six unspectacular quirks
* Tag six bloggers by linking them. (I have fewer than six regulars on this particular blog and I'm sure most of them have already done this meme)
* Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger's blogs letting them know they've been tagged. (read comment on previous rule)

Frankly I could come up with so much more blandness.

But I will limit my list to the six that I am supposed to limit it to. You should be grateful.

1. I'm not a naturally tidy person. My house is usually pretty clean because between my husband and I we get the chores done-- but I hate doing it. I never rebelled as a kid and I think my messy room was the only form of rebellion I felt comfortable acting out on. I hope my kids are just like me.

2. I sneeze when I see bright light. I can walk out into the sunshine or just look into a light bulb--I'll sneeze every time. My kids both do this too.

3. I am profoundly without rhythm. I didn't know what an 8-count was until I was on drill team in high school. I never learned how to play any musical instruments so rhythm has been quite the mystery for me most of my life. If I'm a crowd of people who are clapping to the beat, I have to watch everyone else so I am not the person clapping between beats.

4. I am a dress-for-comfort person. I have learned over the course of my life that I will abandon style for comfort any day of the week. I think Crocs were sent by the hand of God (or Shiva, or whomever) just to sooth my feet. (Though I did buy the cute little pair above--in two colors-- so I wouldn't look like I had duck feet all the time) I try to mitigate this by making sure my hair and make-up are as nice as I can make them. But I only wear heels for really dressy occasions. I think the last was my wedding. I can, however, walk in heels. I always feel a little sorry for women who look like they're walking on their tip-toes while wearing heels. Or walking on glass. I feel their pain.

5. My toenails are currently painted purple.

6. I went to school in Japan and got a minor in the subject in college but don't speak the language at all anymore. While I was there I realized I would never want to live or work there so I never bothered to keep up my conversational Japanese. It hasn't been a problem either.

So that's it. I'm not tagging anyone specifically, but if you'd like to do the meme, consider yourself tagged.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Fame Bubble

Whenever I try to think of posts for my blog, I often muse on different fantasy & sci-fi topics. I'll often scan the news trying to find some sort of real-life story as a tie-in on my blog. Those are some of my favorites.

But I realized I have probably missed one of the most obvious fantasy tie-ins ever in my year-and-a-half of blogging.

The Fame Bubble.

That's right folks. If you haven't heard of The Fame Bubble, then you don't watch enough Kathy Griffin.

The Fame Bubble is a term that Kathy has given to the strange little fantasy world that celebrities live in. You know what I'm talking about. The world that somehow convinces celebrities that they can give their kids names like Apple or Banjo and somehow the fame they enjoy will insulate their children from all the insults any child of a lesser person would experience.

The Fame Bubble must be a happy place, don't you think?

Imagine for a minute if you got to live in The Fame Bubble............

You would never have to consort with the common rabble ever again. If you need new clothes, the store will shut down for you-- and probably give you most of your clothes for free! You want to to to Magic Mountain, they'll close the park for you so you never have to wait in line. (Just ask Mariah Carey) Never will you have to watch a movie that doesn't have a red carpet and an entourage-- at least as long as your Fame Bubble is big enough that is.

Having children in the Fame Bubble is a totally different experience than that of the rest of us plebes as well. Naturally every part of the pregnancy will be covered with appropriate reverence and if you're a first time mom, no problem; the doctors will be more than willing to schedule you a C-section so you don't have to go through any unnecessary pain, or messy labor. Of course, once your perfect child comes into the world, appropriately named Huckleberry or Credenza, he or she will be on the cover of every magazine on the planet-- scoring you no less than $6 million a picture.

Working in The Fame Bubble is something completely different too. I do hear from time to time that the hours are a bit long and that the hard working celebrities may have to lounge around in their opulently appointed trailers, while suffering through manicures and hair extensions, while waiting for their scenes to be shot. But I suppose the $20 million dollar paycheck does compensate one a little bit for that hard three months of work.

Normal rules of decency can be completely ignored in The Fame Bubble too. It is perfectly acceptable to flash one's privates in any venue and clothing may be see-through for most major events.

Getting into shape need not involve too much work either. Regular visits to the doctor for regular liposuction will keep those pesky love-handles at bay. And if the personal chefs, trainers and lap-bands don't do the job, air-brushing will be used liberally.

In The Fame Bubble, you are the center of the universe. People do hang on your every word. Whole legions will be devoted to the perfection that is you. You will have fan clubs and blogs that follow every significant event of your life. No one will fail to notice that new hair-do, I promise.

Maybe I'm being a little hard on those who live in The Fame Bubble though. I mean, the fame bubble does come with all the annoying paparazzi. I mean, who needs to deal with all those cameras while you're stumbling drunk down Sunset Blvd six days a week? Jeez, some people are so judgemental. And if one wants to have a tirade on a talk show and tell all the women in the world that they're evil for taking anti-depressants for postpartum depression, shouldn't one be able to do that without all the little people thinking they ought to have an opinion? I mean really, Scientology does have all the answers.

The Fame Bubble says so.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Do we really believe this guy?



You may have seen this video before. It's been on MTV for awhile and I noticed a lot of people are talking about it on the net. But I can't help it. I must know what you think.

If you haven't seen this, the video is of a man who claims to be straight, but does gay porn for a living. Don't worry, this video isn't graphic. It's from the MTV show "True Life."

I gotta say, I don't believe this guy can be straight. I don't care how much money he makes. There's no way a guy can have gay sex and not be attracted to men. Is there?

This guy (I think his name is Aaron) says he makes $5000 a shoot and does about 8 a month. That is a whole lot of money. But still... I wouldn't do it.

But is it a gay thing or is it a moral issue? I don't have anything against gay people-- that's not what I mean by moral issue. For me, having video of myself out there having sex would be the main problem-- I really don't need my kids ever seeing anything like that. But there is less of a stigma for women having gay sex isn't there? For the record, I have never been one to "experiment." I don't know when girl on girl action came into vogue, but I certainly never felt any desire to make out with a girl. I guess that's why I have a hard time believing this guy is straight.

I'm not attracted to women and frankly, no amount of money is going to change that. I'm not coming at it from a moral angle. Really it's just a matter of desire. I don't want to grope another woman and I don't want to be groped. No offense. But I prefer men.

So I'm baffled by a guy who claims to like women but will have sex with men for money. Isn't that a bit drastic? I know he wants to have a nice lifestyle and all, but my goodness. That's like selling your soul to the devil isn't it? Especially if he's being honest and he really truly isn't attracted to men. Suppose for a second that he is telling the truth. How does he turn off his normal instincts to complete the act? Drugs? Alcohol? Denial?

I really don't get it.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day



I'm taking it easy today. Hope you are too......

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Missed the Emergency Room... Barely

Thanks for the kind replies on my last post. I don't mean to keep venting about my parents, but man, they make me crazy.

My mom hasn't emailed me back either. No big surprise there.

So we just got back from Disneyland and mostly it was a good trip. Better for me than my husband. The poor guy got food poisoning. We don't know what caused it, but neither me nor the kids got sick so it was obviously something only my husband ate.

I hope I never get food poisoning. Let me tell you, it's ugly.

My husband started feeling sick on Monday morning, which was our first full day at the park. We had taken the kids to the Electric Light Parade on Sunday night (which they looooved) and while I took my son back to the hotel room to put him to bed my husband and my daughter went to see the Fantasmic Light Show. They got back to the room around 11:30 so my husband was pretty tired after driving all day and then staying up so late. On Monday morning he wasn't feeling too well, but assumed he was just tired.

We got to the park as it opened on Monday and headed over to the Finding Nemo ride. If you haven't been to Disneyland lately, be prepared to wait in a long line for Nemo. It doesn't have a fast pass and every kid wants to go on it, so at best, you'll wait 45 minutes. Poor hubby wasn't too sure if he was up to it but stuck it out and we made it through. After the ride I told him to go to the room and get some sleep and I'd meet him back there in a couple of hours. My kids were really tired too, so we didn't hit too many rides before they wanted to go back to the room and rest.

I thought for sure hubby would be rested and well by the time we got back but unfortunately that wasn't the case. He was lying on the bed, pale as can be and in too much pain to sleep.

At this point I wasn't really sure what to do. I wasn't sure how sick he was so the only thing I could think to do was take the kids to the pool so he could have a chance to rest some more and hopefully sleep. We went through this cycle all day. I'd take the kids out for an hour or two, hoping hubby was finally getting some rest, only to come back and see he was in worse condition. I won't go into the gory details, but his body was definitely purging something at this point. By the time evening rolled around, I was just trying to keep the kids away so they wouldn't be alarmed.

This is my worst nightmare when it comes to being away from home. My son had an ear infection that had me taking him to the Emergency Room about two weeks before we left. I kept telling my husband how lucky we were that it happened before our trip so we didn't end up in the hospital while on vacation. And now I was faced with a sick husband without knowing what was wrong and should I take him to the hospital. Monday night was a bit nervous for me and hubby but we decided to wait and see how he felt Tuesday morning. I had already decided that if he didn't feel any better Tuesday that I would take him to the ER.

Let me tell you, my husband is one heck of a strong guy. After a miserable, pain filled day, he was up Tuesday morning ready to take the kids to Disneyland. I couldn't believe it. If it had been me, I would probably have been down for a week. But not my guy. He was so funny too. He kept telling me he wasn't 100%. He'd give me a run-down during the day saying he was about 70% or so. By Wednesday he assured me he was feeling at least 80% of normal. He even drove home.

Luckily my kids didn't even really know anything was wrong. They knew Daddy wasn't feeling well but we managed to keep them out of the room while he was really sick so they didn't have a clue as to how bad it was. So they got a trip to Disneyland and they get to remember it as a happy one. Not one spent in the Emergency Room. Thank God.

I am in awe of my husband.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Wow, no matter how far away they are, they can still screw things up for me

So I get an email from my mom this morning.

Ugh.

I get about one email a month from my mom. Generally they don't say much. I've gotten more info about what's going on with her and my dad in Thailand from the one phone call I got from my brother. But this time she decided to ask me why I haven't sent pictures to her.

The last email she sent she asked me to send pictures, specifically of my house. No mention of the kids. Naturally, I was suspicious. I figure my dad wants to see pictures of the house so he can pick out their bedroom. So without saying anything I just didn't send any pictures over. I did that because the whole non-acknowledgement thing is my mom's strategy. Whenever I ask her something she doesn't want to answer, she just ignores the question. I thought, okay, I'll do the same thing and put her on the spot. If she wants to know what's up, she's going to have to ask. And she never does that.

But she finally did. A day before we leave for Disneyland. Great timing mom.

So I had to tell her what's what. I had to tell her the stuff I found out about after they left. I had to tell her that I was offended they paid for a storage unit to store her clothes but left behind the stuff my brothers and I made for her as kids. I had to tell her that I'm not letting them stay here if they come back to the states.

This sucks.

I hate being in the position of having to lay all this out. I hate having to send off that email and potentially leave without knowing what kind of a reaction she's going to have to it. I hate that I will probably be mulling over this during my trip to Disneyland. I want to enjoy myself and I don't need any more of their B.S.

Why do my parents have to be such shits?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I Think it Would be Easier to Change the Name of the Island

I swiped this link from Furiousball


Lesbos islanders dispute gay name


Campaigners on the Greek island of Lesbos are to go to court in an attempt to stop a gay rights organisation from using the term "lesbian".

The islanders say that if they are successful they may then start to fight the word lesbian internationally. The issue boils down to who has the right to call themselves Lesbians.
Is it gay women, or the 100,000 people living on Greece's third biggest island - plus another 250,000 expatriates who originate from Lesbos?

The man spearheading the case, publisher Dimitris Lambrou, claims that international dominance of the word in its sexual context violates the human rights of the islanders, and disgraces them around the world. He says it causes daily problems to the social life of Lesbos's inhabitants.

Injunction sought

In court papers, the plaintiffs allege that the Greek government is so embarrassed by the term Lesbian that it has been forced to rename the island after its capital, Mytilini. An early court date has now been set for judges to decide whether to grant an injunction against the Homosexual and Lesbian Community of Greece and to order it to change its name.

A spokeswoman for the group has described the case as a groundless violation of freedom of expression, and has pledged to fight it. The term lesbian originated from the poet Sappho, who was a native of Lesbos. Sappho expressed her love of other women in poetry written during the 7th Century BC. But according to Mr Lambrou, new historical research has discovered that Sappho had a family, and committed suicide for the love of a man.


Jeez. Some people are so sensitive.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Disneyland


Oh how I love Disneyland.

We're taking the kids next week and I am stupid excited. We haven't been in four years since we took our daughter there for her birthday and I think I'm more jazzed than the kids.

My son has never been so he doesn't have a point of reference. He's kind of excited but I don't think knows why. My daughter is kind of excited too, but she's torn between being happier over going to Disneyland or missing school. Understandable.

Disneyland is one of those memories for me that has never been sullied by anything unpleasant. Even arguing over who got the last E ticket (for those of you who remember those) can take the shine off the Magic Kingdom. I remember going on Space Mountain as a kid and being dazzled by the stars glowing in the darkness. That was my favorite ride for a long time. Now that I'm older I appreciate the Pirates of the Caribbean more. Who needs all the twists and turns of a roller coasted when you can watch the pirates chase the pirate wenches -- though now they've made it PC by having the wenches carrying platters of food so delicate minds won't think salacious thoughts.

Oh and the light parade. I used to love staying up late and watching the light parade. We're driving in Sunday and we're going to take the kids to see the parade once we get there. My daughter was a little scared of it the last time we went. I remember her being bothered by the snails that would drive around in circles. Hopefully she's forgotten that by now.

Sadly, my daughter isn't into the Princesses anymore. They're too babyish for her now. Fortunately she is replacing the Princess fixation with a healthy appreciation for Jack Sparrow and frankly, I can find no fault with that.

So here's looking forward to walking our legs to the bone, standing in lines and getting sunburned in the happiest place on Earth. I can't wait.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sunny template gone, but this is cool...

Just me. Messing around.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Oh this is sunny, isn't it?

I found some new blogger templates and I'm messing around, as you can see. I like this one. It's all sunny and perky.

Anyway. Don't be too surprised if the blog looks different each time you come here. I may switch to Wordpress if I can't find a template in Blogger I like. So I'll be experimenting a bit.

Change is good though. Right?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wow, is it time for my weekly post already?

My, how time flies.

I've had a pretty good week, though sometimes it's hard. I really hate using my blog as sort of a pity party, but I just can't help myself. So today I decided to start writing in a journal to kind of vent all the nonsense that's been building up in my head.

I wrote 28 pages today.

Aren't you glad I decided to inflict that on a journal rather than you?

I must say though, it's one of the best ideas I've had in a while. I used to do this when I was a teenager. High school is such an angst-ridden time anyway and whenever I had additional stress, the only way I knew how to express it was to write in a journal. I don't know why I haven't done this since then, but I think it's high time I rediscovered it.

But I feel good. I feel like I had a long talk with an understanding, non-judgemental and very patient girl friend, who just happens to be one hell of a good listener.

I'd forgotten how cathartic writing can be. I think anyone reading this understands what I mean. We're all bloggers right?

There is something fairly egotistical about blogging-- not that there's anything wrong with that. At least for me it is. I have humble expectations, but at the same time I like to think that what goes on in my head is relatable to someone. I'm not the funniest blogger by a long shot. But like a lot of people I lay my humanity out there, with all its warts and wrinkles, hoping to connect with someone who "gets" where I'm coming from.

I'm working on being less damaged and needy. I'd like to be able to have a conversation without laying my life story at someones feet hoping for commiseration. I don't feel like being that pathetic anymore.

But still, 28 pages in one day. I have a lot of junk rattling around in my head don't I?

But hey, tomorrow's another day. Maybe I'll only write 14.

Next step. Channeling all that writing energy into writing a friggin' book!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Last Minute Mom Stuff

I feel like this blog is my neglected child. I have two other blogs that focus on sci-fi and they take so much of my blogging time that I never seem to have the chance to use this personal blog. I suppose that's just as well, I have had a tendency to be too maudlin over the last few months and no one really wants to see that. Heck, when I read personal blogs, I prefer the funny stuff. I just wish I had better comic timing.

I'm yawning all over the place today. My daughter, who turns eight on Sunday, decides to remind me last night at 9:30pm that she needs cupcakes to take to school today. Doh! I should have remembered that myself but it slipped my mind. Well, almost. I thought of it last night before she reminded me but I thought, I can do it Monday, that's closer to her birthday anyway. But second graders don't think that way. The class celebration must be prior to, or on, the actual birthday. So, not wanting to be the mom who shafted her kid on her birthday I schlepped myself up to the store, got supplies, and was up to about midnight making cupcakes. Oh well, it's all for a good cause. She may not remember as she gets older that I made her cupcakes for school, but she sure as hell would remember if I didn't!

She's a good kid though. I would've probably been kicking myself if I hadn't done it.

Not to get maudlin again (sorry!) but my parents have been known to forget my birthday. Not too much when I was little, but that's kind of hard when you have an 8-year-old reminding you every other second that their birthday is 2 days and 6--- no 5 hours and 45 minutes away. But there was this time when I was 10....

I'm not entirely sure they forgot my birthday but I think they did. I didn't get any birthday presents that year. My mom and dad gave me a card saying that my dad was going to build me a swing-set for my birthday. Bwahahahahahahah! I knew right then and there I'd never see the swing-set. My dad is not exactly a master builder. He put up a fence once and forgot to put in a gate. It was funny. We had this massive yard and my dad built a fence around the downstairs sliding door so we'd have a place to let the dogs out. But you could only get in and out of the yard through the slider since he forgot the gate. But he was so proud of that fence. It wasn't straight, but he built it.

I never asked my parents about the swing-set. I knew my dad wouldn't build it, but I also knew that if I pestered him enough to actually try, I'd end up with something sure to break my neck, so I let the whole thing lie. But I still think they forgot the birthday and tried to come up with a last minute promise so I wouldn't think they forgot. Wouldn't be the last time.

I wonder if my brothers had this happen to them too? I've never asked them and I probably won't. Why bother bringing up something that will just end up in a bitter conversation? (I know.. I know... why do I do this?) But in a way I'd like to know I wasn't alone in being a little forgotten.

Okay, I gotta shake this off. I don't want to be a downer. It's just I think of this stuff when my kids birthday's roll around. I know women have looooong memories but I suspect we all do when we're kids. And I sure as heck don't want my children to remember that I forgot to think they're important on their birthdays. I would deserve to be smacked for that.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Damn! Those Catholics are Good at the Guilt

I wonder if I should title this "us" Catholics, after all, I was raised in the church, confessions at 7 years old and everything.

Is it a sin to confess to something you didn't do just so you wouldn't waste the priest's time?

I thought I got away from the church though. I lapsed myself out of going to church, saying confession, lighting candles, rosaries and crossing myself. And I don't miss any of it.

But my husband has been feeling the guilt.

We haven't baptized our kids. I don't mind so much because I really don't believe that splashing some water on my kid's heads is going to make a damn bit of difference on where my kids will go when they die. (hopefully many many many years after me) But it's wearing on my husband so out of respect for his feelings (fear) we'll be baptizing them.

The church is a pain about the whole thing though. We had planned on getting our daughter baptized right after birth but the local church wanted us, and anyone who would be the godparents, to jump through some serious hoops. I remember classes were involved. Needless to say it didn't get done because no one we knew (relatives included) could do all the stuff the church demanded.

We're in a new area now and we'll be looking into the Catholic church out here to see what their demands are. What a pain.

I'm pretty comfortable with stepping outside the church and baptizing my kids in a Christian church of pretty much any denomination just to get it done with, but I bet my husband is going to insist on doing it the Catholic way. In most cases this wouldn't be a problem since I usually do everything. But I've been dragging my feet on this one and my husband so hates to do anything himself, so the process has been seriously stalled.

Why am I doing this? I'm not precisely sure. I don't have any problem with baptizing my kids, I just don't really buy into the biblical version of how I should live my life. I already do so many things the bible doesn't approve of, what's one more? I don't believe gay people are bad or evil, so I'm already cherry picking my belief system and the bible doesn't like a lot of the cherries I pick.

Does this mean I don't believe in God? Not necessarily. I just don't believe in the biblical version of God any more than I believe in Zeus. I can't disprove God exists so I guess I'll leave the option on the table that he could exist and leave it at that. Mostly I prefer to live my life according to the Golden Rule. You remember that don't you? "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Good words and ones to live by IMHO. I try to be ethical. I return wallets if I find them-- unopened (have done this), try not to lie (this should be easy but sometimes the "does this make me look fat" question has no tactful answer) and generally try not to curse or cut people off in traffic-- but no one is perfect.

Anyway. No Catholic guilt for me. I leave that to my husband.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sad Day

One of my favorite people in the blog world has lost his father. If you get a chance, do me a favor and go by Furiousblog and say a kind word or two. He is one of the funniest, smartest and nicest people I have had a chance to "meet" online. I think once you see his blog and read his posts you'll agree.

My thoughts and prayers are with you Van.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Science and Fiction

I'm sorry for more stolen content from my sci-fi blog. But I though the one or two people who come to this blog might get a kick out of this post....

Dear Blog

When I started you about a year and half ago, I gave you a theme. I gave you a title and called you Fantasy and Sci-fi Lovin' and I've tried to stay true to you-- to the best of my ability.

But I had something of an epiphany today. At the gym.

Science fiction occurs in real life. Yep, it surely does. I know the "fiction" in the title would make it seem impossible, but I'm telling you, I see science and fiction together every single day I go to the gym.

Exhibit #1

Don't get me wrong. I totally admire the dedication it takes to get this physique. And maybe I'm a tad cynical, but I just don't see this body happening on a woman without some serious scientific intervention. Now, I don't know who this woman is, and I don't want to accuse her of using steroids if she hasn't in fact used them. But something tells me her voice is a tad husky.




Exhibit #2

This is another sort of science fiction I also see everyday at the gym. This woman is also apparently a famous female body builder, though I chose to focus on other....er....assets. I think it's safe to say that without the intervention of current medical advances, this woman's rather impressive rack wouldn't otherwise be possible-- not to mention gravity defying.







Exhibit #3

Oh jeez, I apologise for this. I really do. Some works of science fiction should remain a mystery. I promise, dear blog, to go back to my regular subjects tomorrow and leave the real world out of it. *shudder*


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Brave New Frontier?

Another post pilfered from my sci-fi blog....

I have to admit, I'm kind of flummoxed by this story I read today. A transgendered man is pregnant with a baby girl and due to give birth this July.

Wow.

This gets my attention for a lot of reasons. I'm not particularly judgemental about straight-gay issues. I pretty much figure I have no business worrying about someone else's sex life. I don't even particularly care that a woman might decide to become a man and then have a baby. Whatever floats your boat.

What does get my attention is the medical intervention required to make this possible and the question of whether we may be messing around with Mother Nature a bit too much. According to the article I read in the Times Online, Thomas Beatie (formerly known as Tracy Lagondino) underwent gender reassignment surgery that involved chest reconstruction and testosterone therapy, but chose to keep his(?) reproductive rights (in other words, all the internal female organs).

The mind boggles.

The article mentions that Beatie stopped taking testosterone therapy and was able to conceive through artificial insemination without the need for additional hormone therapy. There is some concern that the baby could be affected by the testosterone that has been injected into his system over the last ten years since his ovaries and eggs have been exposed to the abnormally high levels the whole time. At this point I admit, I have a hard time thinking of Beatie as a "he" since I'm writing about eggs and ovaries, but legally, he is a man.

As I sit here writing this I do wonder if I have the right to judge the decision Beatie has made. I'm a little uncomfortable that this story makes me squirm a little bit. I like to think I'm open minded and I do think it's very brave of Beatie to come forward and talk about his story. His is married and his wife is unable to have children, which prompted his extraordinary choice to conceive.

At the same time I wonder at the things we, as humans, decide to do sometimes. I know a woman who used a method called MicroSorting to ensure that her last child would be a girl. I'm amazed, and yet appalled that we have gotten to the point that we are now choosing the gender of our children. I know-- I shouldn't make that kind of a judgement. But jeez, how much of a control freak do you have to be to go through that much trouble to make sure your kid is the proper gender? All I'm saying is that I can't say that only choosing to keep the male child has worked all that well for the Chinese, so maybe we should leave some things up to nature (or God if you prefer) to decide.

At any rate, science is allowing human beings to take remarkable liberties with our reproductive choices and I'm not sure what I think about it. One the one hand, I have friends who have beautiful children they wouldn't have been able to have without In Vitro fertilization and I can rationalize that as a good use of science. But can I argue that they are more deserving of a child than Beatie? Mostly, I'd say no. But there may be issues with the health of the baby Beatie is expecting due to his previous hormone therapy and I must admit, that makes me a little less open minded about his decision to conceive.

That said, the baby is on its way and I hope for a healthy happy child.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

Oh the Humanity

I don't know about you, but I'm a believer in always learning as you get older. Not only should we strive to learn new things, but I think it's important to learn from our mistakes. That seems like common sense, right? Most people think that way don't they? Well, maybe Elliot Spitzer hasn't learned that lesson yet, but we should try at least, right?

My parents don't seem to think so.

Sometimes I wonder how they managed to keep a roof over our heads. I mean, I really really wonder.

My brother called me a few days ago. He made the token effort to say I ought to call my mom. I made the token effort to agree, for a second or so, but then I started thinking about the manner in which they left and my voice started getting higher and higher and my brother finally told me why he really called.

Even brothers need to vent.

First, you should know, my brother is the worlds most easygoing guy. He invented the word mellow. I mean, you'd have to be incredibly calm to lend someone $100k, not get it back, and then let them live with you. Me? I'd be in jail by now.

So once my brother calmed my tantrum down he started to tell me what it's like living with them on that side of the world.

Basically, nothing's changed.

My parents arranged to have their social security and my dad's disability checks sent over there and that's what everyone is living on. Fortunately the American dollar goes a long way in Thailand so they have more than enough. Of course the standard of living isn't like the U.S., but it's not bad. But my mom, who I remember as never being satisfied by anyplace we ever stayed at, is already wanting to move to a house on the beach. That's my mom. Even broke she wants the best of everything.

I guess the IRS also caught up with them. My dad hasn't paid taxes in years so the IRS has attached their money, but they're not really taking that much (especially considering how much they likely owe). There is a loophole though. The IRS can't take any money if you're making less that $20k -something a year-- I can't remember the exact number. So my parent's accountant is supposed to send a statement to the IRS showing my dad hasn't worked for the last few years. Of course my dad uses that as added justification as to why he can't work.

But get this, my parents are still spending all their money. My brother is going nuts. He's trying to keep them on a budget but they want to have everything and they're being insanely lazy. My mom was supposed to get her visa renewed but she didn't in time so now they're going to have to pay almost double-- which is just stupid since they had no reason not to get it done. They are the laziest people you can imagine. But the worst part is that they're withholding money from my brother. I am so disgusted by this. My dad is acting like he has the right to dole out the money on his whim even though he owes my brother more money than he could ever pay back. My sister-in-law and my mom went to the store to buy food and my mom was being super cheap about everything (she's only cheap when she's not spending on herself). So Yui (my sister-in-law) tells my brother and he asks my dad what's going on. Turns out my mom wants to go to Bangkok and spend the night in a hotel. So my dad tells her fine, don't spend money on food so they can splurge on a night out for themselves as the expense of my brother's family. Nice. These are the lovely people who raised me.

I'm sorry I keep belaboring this, but it's the story that never ends. Just when you think it can't get worse, it does.

There is a little bit of black comedy in this though. My mom and dad bought some sculptures about 15 years ago that I swear they thought were going to be their retirement. They had this 300lb marble angel that they told me they paid $10k for, but has a $30k appraisal. They also had a bronze sculpture that had an $18k appraisal. I kept harping on them for the last year to sell this stuff. They're broke and need the money, right? And I couldn't figure out why they just sat on this stuff. So when they left I told them I'd sell it and send the money to them. After talking to my brother I decided I would send the money to him though-- and I told him that on the phone. So the next day I got in touch with Bonhams and Butterfields in San Francisco. They're a very old, very prestigious auction house. I talked to a wonderful man with a very sophisticated British accent (my mother would have felt very chichi doing this) and he told me their stuff was basically worthless.

I'm sorry, but this is funny. My dad is one of those guys who thinks he can never be taken by anyone. Used car salesman, remember? If anyone pays $1000 too much on a car he'll give you hell and tell you that you "got your head ripped off." And laugh at you. Seriously. But the thing is, my dad is the biggest sucker for a good sales pitch. He's the guy who buy crap stock because some guy he met on the airplane said it was good. He buys stuff from people making calls from a boiler room.

The thing is, I always thought the appraisals on their stuff were suspect. They were written up by the same company that sold the items-- which has subsequently gone out of business. They misspelled words on the appraisal-- that should be a clue shouldn't it?

So my parents thought they had a 19th Century piece of art that turned out to have been made in Mexico about 30 years ago. They thought it would be worth more than $30k and I'll be lucky to get one thousand out of it. Yeah, that sounds about right. The other piece, the one that's supposed to be worth $18k is worth about $500.

I felt bad at first because I thought I wasn't going to be able to send my brother anything. But all may not be lost. My parents left 4 pieces of art by Peter Max (on the living room floor for anyone to take no less) that are signed and authenticated. Those might actually be worth something and my parents don't even know I have them. If I can get something for those that will go directly to my brother so he can recoup something out of this mess.

So my husband has more stories to tell at work and I have more material for my future therapy sessions.

Sorry for unloading again. But jeez, my parents are crazy. I wonder if they have alzheimer's.....