Friday, May 26, 2006

Friday. FINALLY!

Seems like I live for Fridays these days.

My father got picked up yesterday by the Bath PD, for violation of the order of protection. He's now in the county jail where he will likely remain until his sentencing hearing on June 6th.

And, since he violated that order of protection, all bets are off now where the plea deal is concerned. The DA will likely take that plea deal off the table and hit him hard with a sentencing recommendation of a period longer than the agreed upon 2 years. He has only himself to blame.

But, in the meantime, as his power of attorney, I'm left to clean up the messes he left behind. He has a vehicle for sale on eBay that I don't even know the location of at this particular point in time, let alone where the title or keys to the damned thing are. Another issue is the vehicle he sold on eBay last week -- has he delivered it and resolved that situation or are there any loose ends that still need to be tied up. I also have no idea how to get into his eBay account, nor where the funds for the first vehicle are (if he's even received them yet). His bank account information that he gave me doesn't seem to work, he has a motel room that the rent was due for on Tuesday, computer equipment from Rentway that the rent was due for on Tuesday as well that is in the motel room, 110 miles from where I live. I can't talk to him or get any of this information from him without visiting him, and of course, can't visit him until Monday between 5 and 6 PM. The good news is that his time in the county lock-up will count towards his time served. His sentencing date is/was June 6th so he'll have a whopping 10 days worth of credit on his time. And, instead of 2 years' incarceration, he could well be looking at a decade or more.

We lost our reservation at Letchworth State Park for camping over the long weekend. It was my brain fart that did it. I mistakenly reserved Sunday through Tuesday instead of Saturday through Monday, and couldn't change it to the correct dates because they're jam-packed full. It's the Annual Red, White & Blue Balloon Rally and Memorial Day weekend kicks off camping season around here.

So, we decided to cancel that reservation and reserve at Newtown Battlefield State Park further south/southeast. We specifically wanted a non-electric, "rough-it" site, and found the perfect place here. We'll tent camp, cook over wood (for the most part, but also have our portable camping stove), put up a temporary shelter (using a canopy) and just living in a similar fashion to Charles Ingalls. We're not taking any entertainment other than maybe a book, MAYBE my knitting, and a deck of cards. We've set aside a piece of luaun to set between a couple of pails we're taking, to use as a table. There's plenty of history to be had there, as well as fantastic hiking trails. This was the site of the climax of the Clinton-Sullivan Campaign in 1779. We're looking forward to getting away from all the responsibilities, family issues, and home-remodeling and just getting outside and doing what WE want. What WE like to do, without it being work of any kind (other than loading/unloading the camping shit from the vehicle, of course).

We split some wood a couple of nights ago, just to make some kindling. We'll take our own wood to burn, a tent, two tarps, the camp stove, cooler with food, camera, backpacks, changes of clothes, pots for cooking, eating utensils, and a coffee percolator (for the fire). Other than that, we're traveling pretty light -- as anyone should when they camp. Otherwise, it's not really camping, is it?

Oh, yeah. We are taking the digital camera. Hopefully we'll be able to upload them to the computer (assuming the "fix" I effected works) and post them here.

Have a great holiday weekend!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Mental Monday

We had a nice, quiet, relaxing weekend. Pretty much got nothing accomplished on our list of important things to do except for the sleeping in part. We were able to check that off our list. We putzed around Saturday and got the last of the painting done on the mouldings and knobs for the new bi-fold doors, and the doorbell casing. But, other than that and a shopping trip to BJ's, we pretty much just took it easy. We watched Jarhead and The Money Pit that we TiVo'd off PPV, some recorded CSI programming that we'd not gotten to see last week, and that about did us for the weekend. Hardly nothing accomplished, and damned proud of it!

Found some interesting questions that would make me really have to think before I answer, and decided they'd be good to post here. And, watch for the tag at the end.

If you could only repent for one thing when you die, what one thing would you choose?

Having lived more than 40 years of my life as a lie.

If you could talk to anyone in the world by phone, who would you choose?

Hillary Clinton. After having read her book, I found her to be a fascinating woman. I give her a lot of credit for brains and strength.

If the Ambassador from Venus requested you to visit Venus but wasn't able to guarantee your return to Earth, would you go?

Absolutely not. I love my life, and I love my family. Not being able to see them would take something away from me that could never be replaced.

What hobbies did you have 10 years ago that you no longer have?

Following the kids around to all their sporting events, being a team Mom, sitting in drizzling rain and snow and wind watching them play or perform. They're grown and gone now and, as much as I bitched about it back then, I really miss it now.

What are some of the things in your life that you feel you honestly deserve?

Happiness. Equality. Respect and dignity.

What is the best gift you've ever received?

My kids. My partner. Love. No material gift has ever compared.

When was the time when you had to search most deeply for your own inner strength?

There have been a lot of times in my life that I've had to search for that strength. Between the ages of 10-16 I had to search a lot for it. When I became a single parent I looked for it a lot. When my oldest daughter ran away I desperately searched for it. I searched deeply for it when I began the "transitional" relationship that finally caused me to begin to live my life with integrity and, when that relationship ended, I needed that strength to get through it and move on and know that there were good/better things for me in the future. Even now, with all that's going on with my family and father, I have had to search deeply for strength.

If you found a magic wand, what would you do first?

Look for an owner's manual to see how it works, and what it's "shelf life" is. If there was unlimited use, I'd probably first wave it over my house and make it *poof* sided, roof repaired, lawn treated, and interior clean, new and sparkling. If there was only one use, I'd wave it over the air and make the world one where everyone could live freely, without persecution or discrimination.

If you could say one thing to any religious leader (just one), what would you say to whom?

Pope Benedict -- I'd tell him to shut the fuck up about what other people are doing and fix what's broken in his own front yard.

Finish this sentence: "I never leave home without...."

...saying "I love you" to my family, and my cell phone in my hands.

What do you think life's greatest adventure is?

Living each day.

What two flavors of ice cream would you get on a double-dip cone?

Death by Chocolate and Chocolate Panda Paws.

What is the most difficult subject for you to talk about?

My relationship (or lack thereof) with my mother.

At what point in your life did you first experience total trust in someone or something?

With Kim. Unfortunately, that trust was totally misplaced. I trusted what she said, and it all turned out to be a scam.

Is there anyone you've ever known whom you've honestly felt morally superior to?

I don't know if I've ever felt morally superior to anyone, but I know I have judged others based on their behavior or looks, when I shouldn't have. I don't think anyone should feel morally superior to anyone.

How would you finish this sentence? "My destiny has always been _____________."

Lisa

What one thing always speaks deeply to you, to your spirit, no matter your mood or what else is going on in your life?

Music. Music has always spoken to me in ways that I cannot truly articulate. It doesn't need lyrics, necessarily, because often it's the melody, or a specific instrument or section of a musical piece that truly touches me.

What is the one experience in your life that has caused the most pain?

Being a parent. I've always said it was my greatest source of pain, but always my greatest source of joy as well.

Now, I tag Michelle, Michele, Jenn, Sandra, and Lisa.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Is it Friday Yet?

What'll They Think of Next?

How about a little online "Television on Demand" at Akimbo.com?

There are a lot of the cable channels that you get on your cable or satellite subscription -- Turner Classic Movies, DIY Network, Discovery Channel, etc. But unlike television where you have to watch whatever's on, you pick what's on. You select a program, pay $2.99 to watch it, and have access to it for 30 days.

I was chuckling thinking that, during the summer when it's so darned slow here, I could tune in to DIY Network and study up on woodworking or advanced knitting procedures.

My Aunt Wanda and Uncle Bob have programming on demand for their cable television subscription, and that's pretty cool, but to be able to have it on the computer at work opens a whole new problem for employers, wouldn't you think? Shit, some folks will never get anything done at work! LOL!


Finally, this weekend we'll put the last touches on that damned entryway that we started re-doing what seems like years ago.

Lisa has had a ball with her new table saw, and her new Dremel tool that I bought her for Christmas has really been a fun toy to have around, too. Let's not forget the air-nailer and compressor either. Without that, putting in the luaun and mouldings would have netted us at least one injured finger from hammering by hand. Let's just say that, like Lisa, I've become quite the fan of power tools. Any tools, really.

I found a coaster that's a watering can with birds on it, and decided that, for a buck-and-a-half, I could try to make it into a switchplate cover. It worked out nicely -- once I get the new ISB port installed on my computer (this weekend) I can upload the pictures of the complete rennovation. I think it looks great, and I can't help but grin every morning when I see it.

Lisa and I had a bit of a spat the other night. It happens so rarely that I think it affects both of us hugely. Neither of us slept very well night before last, and she was up at the first sound of the alarm at 6:00 yesterday morning -- fully 45 minutes to an hour earlier than we had to be.

I thought about it a lot yesterday -- about how fortunate we are that we have little to no conflict in our relationship. And, anyone that knows me knows that's really something. We have such good compatibility that we rarely conflict over much of anything. And, for what little disagreement there is, it's usually met with humor on both sides and put behind us quickly. Once upon a time, in another life and another marriage, a lot of screaming and yelling would have happened, followed by days of deafening silence and awkwardness. Sometimes the negative part of me asks "Is my relationship really that good, or have I actually grown since that previous life?" No need to Rubik's Cube it though, I suppose.

I was digging around in the closet for a long-sleeved t-shirt to wear today and came across one that I'd forgotten I had. It's for the Rock'n'Roll Marathon in San Diego, California. An old friend of mine walked in the San Diego Marathon in January 2000 -- I was there to provide moral support. That afternoon, she registered for the Rock'n'Roll Marathon that was scheduled for June of that year and, for some reason, they sent her two training packages and she gave me one.

Anyway, that's ancient history but it's sort of funny in an odd sort of way, too. I've taken to walking a lot these days, with daily goals and all sorts of anal tracking tools to monitor my weight and health. I really enjoyed one of the free programs at America on the Move where you can sign up for a walking program that helps you to track your goals and your accomplishments by mapping out one of several routes throughout the globe for you to "walk." If you think you've really got "the stuff" you can try Racewalk for good information on racewalking.

My ultimate dream is to take a long, long, long vacation and hike the Appalachian Trail, camping along the way, roughing it, using survival skills, and enjoying living like a pioneer. Until then we'll have to content ourselves with some of the local camping and hiking locations and communing with nature that way. We had to cancel our plans to camp this weekend as it's supposed to rain. And rain. And rain. And the temperature isn't supposed to even hit 60 degrees. So we'll stay home and putz around the house, finish up the entryway, and commune with nature in the backyard, in between rain showers. Maybe next weekend...

And, in between it all, I'm still fanatically riding my bicycle, like Miss Gulch from The Wizard of Oz around the neighborhood.

With all the walking and riding, you'd think the fat and weight would be melting right off me, wouldn't you? Not so -- went to the store and bought myself some new "fat pants" just two nights ago. Size 14. Me, who used to be a size 5 petite, who never weighed 100 lbs. without being pegnant. Well, maybe the ol' metabolism will kick in soon. And maybe pigs will fly, too.

I'm actually looking forward to this rainy weekend. I'm thinking a nap will be just the ticket. Eh?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

What Do "Yamin" Elliot's Gone?

Early on, I didn't give this guy his "props" (as Randy Jackson would say).

But as each week passed, Elliot grew and grew and grew until he reached, I believe, the top. For a diabetic who is deaf in one ear, and his Mom battling cancer, I think Elliot Yamin personifies the true meaning of American Idol. He seemed real. He seemed genuine. And he could sing. What did him in? My guess is his penchant for the bluesy types of songs that nobody knew.

But keep in mind that the margin of victory versus defeat was less than one percentage point. Elliot garnered 33.06% of the votes, the next highest got 33.26% and the highest was 33.68%. It was close. REAL close.

But, Elliot's still a winner because you can betchyer bippy Clive Davis already has a recording contract all set up for this talented young man.

And what about Katharine McPhee and Taylor Hicks? My prediction that Katharine would take a majority of Chris Daughtry's votes now that he's gone was most likely incorrect. It appears that she and Taylor may well have split those votes.

So who will Elliot's fans vote for now? Both remaining contestants are clearly fans of blues and jazz, so the genre won't define them. Taylor is the better performer, but Katharine is the better singer.

I'd like to see Katharin win but I guess I won't be disappointed if Taylor wins.



Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Soapbox

I was listening to the radio this morning, and they mentioned Richard Hatch, the first winner of Survivor, who will spend four years behind bars for tax evasion.

I got to thinking about this and decided that something's terribly, terribly wrong with our legal/justice system.

My father molested a 10 year old child, and will do two years in prison. Richard Hatch merely cheated on his taxes and will serve twice as long. My father's crime has a victim, Richard Hatch's doesn't (technically). Where's the justice here?

Prison is for rehabilitation -- or so they say. Richard Hatch was greedy and you can't rehabilitate greed. You also can't rehabilitate child predators, either, in my own humble opinion. But does sending Richard Hatch to jail serve justice?

No.

Take the money away from him -- every cent -- that he didn't pay taxes on. THAT is justice.

Our prisons are overcrowded, understaffed, and extremely dangerous places. Nonviolent criminals should not go to prison and be supported by the taxpayers. They should, instead, be doled out punishments for their crimes that will really teach them something. Don't want to pay taxes on last year's income? No problem, we'll just take last year's income from you and see if you get the message this year.

Don't want to pay your speeding tickets? No problem, not only will we take your license, but we'll take your car, too.

Don't want to pay your child support? No problem, we're going to do away with that "we only can garnish a certain percentage of your pay" bullshit and we'll just start paying your child support for you. Oh and, if you can't pay your bills while we collect the arrears as well, then you'll just have to get a second job. You won't be allowed to file bankruptcy while you are in arrears. Oh, and, while you're in arrears, there's a lien on your house, car, and any other assets you may have that could be converted into cash. No job to pay child support? No problem, we'll get you a job at your local McDonald's and garnish your pay. Get fired or quit that job? No problem, we'll make it so you have to ask permission to take a shit until you get your act squared away.

Don't house these fools on MY tax dollar. Make them understand that their behavior (or lack thereof) is unacceptable and there's a consequence to it, but don't send them away to summer camp and support them in a lifestyle BETTER than the one you've taken them out of.

In prison, I can get a free college education, cable television, better medical care than I can on the outside without any health insurance, and can learn a trade where I can make good money on the outside when I'm released. But, that poor schmuck that earns minimum wage and lives within the law? He'll never see college, cable television, health insurance, or vocational training.

And don't even kid yourself into thinking that going to prison automatically means that you're going to have to become someone's bitch. That's typically only in the maximum security facilities that are chock full of violent offenders who have no concept of humanity and respect for human life. Someone like Richard Hatch won't go there. He'll go someplace like Martha Stewart went where the first day there you're a "short timer" by lifer's standards, and nobody's going to make you sleep face down on your bunk with your shorts on backwards because they've got a LOT to lose if they aren't on their best behavior in the minimum security facility.

Soapbox away.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Have you ever been this tired?



LOL! I sure have! Recently, too!

We opted out of camping for the weekend, as it was SUPPOSED to rain and be chilly by early Saturday afternoon. So, we decided not to go at all. We went, instead, to where Lisa works, figuring we could get in a morning of weeding before the rains came. It turned out to be a gorgeous day, of course. We got home around 2:00 and got some much needed cleaning done around the house. I was pooped by the time we finished up dinner and cleaned up the kitchen and finally sat down to relax.

Sunday we went to my Aunt Wanda's and had brunch with some of the relatives. And, of course, it turned out to be another gorgeous day. We got home early, around 6:00 or so, but were exhausted from having been on the go the whole weekend.

We were going to go camping this coming weekend but, of course, they're calling for rain and cool temps. I told Lisa that, perhaps we should go anyway. It'd be our luck, though, that if we DID go, we'd get those flooding rains that they've had in New England for the past few days.

After yet another mechanical problem with his Blazer, I took Joe to the Toyota dealership last night, and had him at least look at new vehicles. We looked at a Highlander, an SUV. Joe's an SUV guy. He doesn't want a car, nor does he want a truck, he wants an SUV. The problem is, they're expensive to buy, and expensive to own. Joe has only put 30,000 miles on his Blazer in the past 34 months, but has put just over $2500 worth of repairs into it in those 3 years. And, when you consider that he doesn't even have 70,000 miles on the vehicle, that's pretty damned shitty. And Joe's pretty damned tired of the whole mess.

Anyway, we got to looking at the Highlander Hybrid, and after some time found that he could lease one for $309 per month -- only $50 a month more than he's paying on his auto loan. And, when you consider that oil changes are averaging $1,000 for the poor kid, he's saving another $100 per month or so in maintenance expenses. Then there's the gas savings. His Blazer only gets about 18 mpg, and this Hybrid is rated at city 31/highway 27 (note the figures are reversed from the usual ratings). Given that a lot of his driving is stop and go, even on the expressway, I think it's a practical solution. And, it gets better mileage than some of the sedans that the treehuggers are driving while they condemn SUV drivers.

Lisa got tired of the feelings of dizziness she's been having, and broke down and went to the doctor this morning. The doctor diagnosed Vertigo. My first reaction was, "Well, DUH!" But, as it turns out, there's more to vertigo than just feeling dizzy. There's a cause behind it. So, I'm married to a dizzy red-head. I think I'll start calling her Lucy...

American Idol prediction for this week. Three songs per contestant, one of their choosing, one chosen by the judges and one by Clive Davis. Katharine will really shine this week with good song selections, and Elliot will be in top form, but America will get tired of Taylor Hicks. Bottom two, Elliot and Taylor. Leaving this week, Taylor.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Friday -- FINALLY!

Gosh, I so look forward to the weekends these days, that I'm wishing 5/7 of my life away. I've decided to start looking around for another job. At least it'll give me some sense of choice in my professional life.

Took Lisa out for dinner at Red Lobster last night, filled us both up with crab legs. We had gone to the Antique and Craft Co-op looking for something to put over our entry door, now that the entryway has been re-done. We found a beautiful twig/dried flower arrangement, and picked up some barn stars to put in other places. I decided spur-of-the-moment that Red Lobster would be a good choice because we just needed something special for us. So, call it a date, whatever. We had a really nice time. I so love having her all to myself!

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we'll go to Lisa's place of employment in the early AM and get some maintenance done, then come home and try to get Joe's waterbed installed for him, and hopefully get the stairs painted, get some laundry done, and the rugs vacuumed. Sunday we'll go down to Bob and Wanda's and hang out with them for a bit, go out to dinner, and just relax.

I stole a meme from Sandra's Blog:

Do you act your age?

More and more, I think, but not out of choice. However, people are genuinely surprised to find that I'm 50 years old and have 4 grandchildren, so maybe I don't...

Born on what day of the week?

Saturday

Click here to see what day of the week you were born.

Chore you hate?

Emptying the dishwasher. Cleaning the litter box. Cleaning up hairballs.

Essential makeup item?

Hands, lips, tongue and the occasional vibrator. *VEG*

Favorite actor? I can't name one. It depends what mood you're in, doesn't it (stole this answer, in part, from Sandra)?

Serious actor: Tom Hanks
Comedy: Sandra Bullock
Eye Candy: Sarah Shahi
Best Voice: Denzel Washington
Dead but still fabulous: Jessica Tandy

Gold or silver?

Silver!

Hometown?

Bath, New York

Instruments you play?

Knitting needles (nobody said it had to be musical, right?)

Job title?

Word Processing Supervisor

Favorite type of food:

Italian

Food you find disgusting:

Liver and asparagus. Can't get past the *gag* texture.

Living arrangements?

Me, my partner (spouse) and 23 year old son, along with an eclectic collection of cats. Simba (5), Cedar (7), Tigga (17). We live in a predominantly "Kodak" neighborhood, in a "split contemporary ranch" house, that has three full bathrooms, 4 bedrooms, two living rooms, and a family-room sized utility room.

Need?

Lisa.
Major lottery winnings, so I can do what *I* want to do every day.
My computer.
Coffee in the morning, wine in the evening.
Sunshine and mild temperatures.
Normal.


Overnight hospital stays?

Three kids, a tubiligation, and cholecystectomy (gall bladder removed).

Phobias?

Anything covering my face, anything poking at my face or head.

Quote you like? When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take the step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen....There will be something solid for us to stand on or we will be taught to fly. -- Patrick Overton

Thursday, May 11, 2006

American I Don't Believe it?!

Chris Daughtry left American Idol last night. Am I upset? Nah, not really. Am I surprised? You betchyer hiney I am.

You could see by Katharine's reaction that she was pretty darned surprised, too. I mean, there she stood with Chris as a member of the bottom two and she just knew she was going home last night. I figured she would, too. Oh, don't get me wrong, this girl is HOT HOT HOT! and I believe she's full of talent, but I'm just surprised it turned out the way it did.

Chris not only seemed surprised, but almost pissed. And, based on Tuesday night's performances, I'd say that Katharine did have the worse performance of the four.

How does this happen?

Well, Lisa and I have talked about it over the years that we've been watching American Idol and have come up with the following explanations.

1. "He/She is so good that they don't need my vote, so I'll vote for who I want to stay longer until he/she wins."
2. Assumptions are made that he's so good, we don't need to vote for him. Remember the premature exit of Mandisa? I think that's what happened to her, too. Folks figured she was a given, and voted elsewhere for companinship for her.
3. They're not really as good as we think they are.
4. When Simon tells someone they suck, folks vote with a vengeance for that person, and the good folks lose votes.

I think Simon was stunned last night, too. He did, after all, predict that Taylor and Chris would be the two left standing.

So, who will it be now? Who will get Chris' votes?

Well, the top two last night were Elliot and Taylor.

Based on Tuesday night's performances, Elliot was flawless. And, I have to say that of all the contestants, he has consistently shown growth every single week. Oh, sure, he's not "pretty" like Ace or even Chris and Taylor, but there's something very likeable about him. And he has an incredible voice. His one downfall, however, is that he tends to stay in the blues/jazz genre, which suits his voice very well, but won't make him much of a "pop star" if he doesn't learn to perform and enjoy performing more contemporary music.

And, in the other corner, Taylor also tends to be a bluesy type of singer. I can't help but be reminded of Joe Cocker when I watch Taylor sing. This guy "feels" his music through and through, in every muscle, tendon, and cell in his body. He can't really dance for shit, but it's a singing competition so, who cares. My all-time favorite, Neil Diamond, just stands and sings and he's made a buck or two in his career. Taylor can, too.

Next week, the contestants will sing three songs. One of their own choosing, one chosen by the judges, and one chosen by none other than Clive Davis. Song selection will be critical and I expect that Taylor will turn in the most disappointing performances of the three. I only say this because I think that Taylor tends to be stuck in a specific model, Katharine will prove that she's got more than a great set of........lungs, and Elliot will rise to any challenge.

And, Tuesday night there was a special guest appearance by Morticia Adams. Or was that really Priscilla Presley? Straight, red hair that actually looked like a bad wig, a too-tight blazer/jacket of some sorts that buttoned high and to the left, accentuating what appeared to be a bulging belly, and lips painted so red she looked like she'd just kissed the side of a freshly painted barn. Some advice: Priscillia, lay off the Botox and collagen or, if you're going to work on making yourself look younger, work on your neck, hands, and body as well. You just can't have a young face and a body that belies all the money you've spent on your face. You're 61 years old, act your age. Oh, sure, Cher is the same age and looks TONS better, but some of that is genetics, and some of it is a constant focus. Cher may be 60, but only parts of her are. All of you is 61 -- that's the difference.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I Just Want to Run Away

Have you ever reached a point where you just want to run away? I'm there now.

Sunday marks 17 months since the news story first appeared about my lawsuit against my employer. It also marks 22 months since I first took action on the suit. The process is laboriously slow and there's a part of me that wishes I'd never started it. I realize that it has to be done and that it can well carve a new path for the GLBT community in New York State, but I'm tired of it.

With all of this stuff going on with my father, it's worn me out completely. My emotions are constantly in conflict where he is concerned, and where Le is concerned as well. I hate what my father did and he deserves to be punished for it. But, he's my father, too. Hate the sin, love the sinner. The only way to do that is to compartmentalize, and often those "compartments" overflow into each other.

He made me his designated health care proxy, and has given me power of attorney to conduct his financial and personal affairs while he's incarcerated. The other day, I got a copy of his will naming me as sole beneficiary. That made my heart feel heavy, for some reason.

I'm the only person in his family who is speaking to him nowadays. I chat with him on Yahoo! Messenger almost daily. And, while I try to keep conversations with him upbeat and positive, he often regresses to his bitterness about Le and his situation -- a situation of his own making, of course. He recently lamented that "...the only way I'll return to Bath from prison is in a body bag." I told him "I won't let that happen. I'll insist on the finest pine box they've got!" It was good for a chuckle for him (and Lord knows he needs some chuckles these days) but underneath the humor, we both know that he's merely trying to face reality, as am I.

I also didn't realize just how much the house rennovations would affect me mentally. I'm tired of the place looking like a wreck. I'm tired of waking up every Saturday morning with "Today I have to...." on my mind. The only thing left now is to paint the stairs. I primed them Sunday and may have to prime them a second time, but then once they're painted, that should finish up the entryway. While it's been a task, I sat this morning on the steps and looked around and thought about how good it looks and how much I love it. And how bad other things look now and how I/we should continue on into another room from the entryway because we've got more than enough ceiling paint and wall color paint to do the family room now, too.

In between all of our own rennovations, Mary decided that she wanted new sinks in each of her two bathrooms, and a new toilet in her master bathroom. And, of course, she wanted it done now, while we're in the middle of our own mess. And, of course, she wanted Lisa to help (read: do) with the installation of shut-off valves and the new fixtures, sinks and commode. So, our stuff comes to a halt while Lisa goes next door to do Mary's -- against my bitter protestations. "I want to get this shit done in our OWN house!"

I've been on Joe for about 6 weeks now to get his room cleaned up and cleared out so I can get his new(er) queen sized waterbed in there. I'm sick of looking at the damn thing in the family room so last night I told him that, if his room isn't ready to rock and roll by Saturday, *I* will clean it. He knows he doesn't want that because when I clean a kids' room, there's nothing left but the bed and the floor. I'm just sick of nagging him about it.

And, every day I see that goddam motorcycle sitting in the garage, reminding me that my son is hell-bent on killing himself at a high rate of speed.

Now that the nice weather has arrived, our part-time job kicks in, too. We do grounds maintenance where Lisa works. The money is good, but it's just one more thing I have to do right now that I really don't want to do.

I got sold down the river by the director of our department. He wanted a typist/receptionist in his electronic learning center, but couldn't get the new position funding. So, he convinced the VP that *I* didn't need to fill the vacant position in my department by showing him convoluted statistics, and got the funds diverted from my offices to his own. I now staff two offices with just three people. He told me he has put funding in my budget for a part-time hire at $9.25 an hour -- far below the going rate for our counterparts in industry who do the same jobs. I told him yesterday I'd rather work alone than have to hold someone's hand through each and every job, only to have them realize that they're getting way underpaid and leave, leaving me to have to hire and train another person.

I hate my job.

The past three mornings in a row, there have been "multiple car crashes" on the expressway on the way to work. This morning, there were three multi-car crashes. Two within a half-mile of each other. Traffic gets all fucked up and then there's always the arrogant prick who's time is clearly more valuable than everyone else's on the road, and he feels compelled to drive down the shoulder, slaloming in and out of traffic, cutting people off, and making you wish that he'd collide with a bridge abutment.

Last night, I hankered for something violent to watch on television. Violent! I think it was a manifestation of a subconscious desire to just punch someone out myself. And wouldn't you know, there were no Steven Segal, Bruce Willis, or Jean-Claude Van Damme programs on? I had to settle for American Idol and pretend that Simon's nasty and rude comments were punches.

I just want to run away. I want to go someplace where the weather is warm and dry. No television, no radio, no alarm clocks, no newspapers, no people, no traffic, no responsibilities. I want to go to a secluded beach and boogie-board all day long. Live like Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins did in The Blue Lagoon, collecting shells, fishing, making jewelry out of coral. Bathe in a fresh water spring.

Or to a mountain top where the air is thin and cool and we can camp and hike and go horseback riding. Maybe build a small house out of rough timber that we cut ourselves. Cook over an open fire, gaze up at the stars and moon at night. Farm, grow our own vegetables, have a milking cow.

Hell, even a convent sounds appealing today, and I'm still scared as hell of nuns!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Monday already?

Gosh I love being off work when the weather is beautiful in the spring!

I was out on Friday (as part of my campaign to take the first Friday of every month off to spend down my leave bank) and went down to visit my Aunt Wanda. The drive down was glorious, with a cloudless sky, mild temperatures (60s), the sun was brilliant and everything was in bloom -- the bright yellows of the wild forsythias, whites and pinks of the apple and cherry trees, daffodils and tulips in full bloom everywhere. It truly was a beautiful morning!

Wanda's step-sister (Kay Ann) and husband (Larry) were visiting from Utah and Wanda wanted me to meet them. When I got there, Wanda had a full house with not only her step-sister, but my Aunt Peggy was there, along with the Kay Ann's best friend from high school, Harriet.

We went to The 1812 Store and had a great time browsing all of the crafts and antiques and reproductions. I admired a clock that looked like an old train station clock. Might still have to go back for it, I don't know. We stopped for lunch at a little diner and just had the best time.

Afterward, we went back to Wanda's and sat on the front porch and shot the breeze. It was there that Harriet came to the realization that I wasn't what she originally thought. She asked "So, Lisa is your roommate?" I simply said "No, she's my partner," and Wanda said "They're legally married." You could see the lightbulb go on over Harriet's head. A few minutes later, she said "I don't get it, how does a woman satisfy another woman?" Well, that brought raucous laughter from everyone and I'm told that I blushed. Once my own laughter died down, I told her "Well, let me put it this way. A few summers ago I destroyed a finger and, while that was in a splint and healing from broken bones and stitches, Lisa told me to be careful not to bite my tongue or she'd be out of commission for the summer." More raucous laughter. Another light bulb over Harriet's head.

We really had a great time. It's great to have family so close by. A treat I've never had before.

Saturday and Sunday we putzed around the house a bit here and there. I got the stairs that lead upstairs primed, Lisa put some finishing touches on some mouldings and puttied some nail holes in our newly rennovated areas, I (re)potted some plants, and Lisa went around the yard cutting out all the dead stuff from the fall so new growth can push through. It was a tad chilly both days, but still cloudless and brilliant. Energizing.

Only two weeks of classes left, then a week of final exams, then the semester is finally over. That's when I'll start bringing my knitting to work because the work will virtually come to a screeching, grinding halt.

I found out last week that Terry (our director) sold me down the river as far as the empty position in my department. It turns out that HE got the funds for a new position in HIS department. No wonder he presented those bogus figures to our VP. This guy is a major micro-manager as well. For the past two years now, when it's time to submit our budgets for approval, he hasn't even let me see the materials -- he's just submitted my budget as HE sees fit, without asking me what I need. He has questioned every item I checked off on the Do-it-yourself configuration sheet for our new computers (we get 2 new ones every year). I finally rached a fracture point of sorts last week and sent him a list of supplies that we needed (paper clips, binder clips, post-its, etc.) and asked him to review the list and submit it for purchase, since he wants to be involved in everything I do. I had to chuckle when I got his reply email that started out with "...now that I've gotten past the sarcasm in your email..." Heck, there was no sarcasm in my email, just simple resignation to the fact that he wants to administer everything, even though I get paid to do just that. I'll just sit back and be an overpaid worker bee. But I also told him that if he wants to usurp my authority and my position, then he'll have to take complete accountability for the department as well. Fuck him.

Here's a challenge for all of you ladies out there. Woman Challenge 2006 begins on Mother's Day. All you need is a pedometer and the determination to get out there and do some walking. It's an 8 week challenge with some pretty cool supporting stuff at the web site. Come on! Get off your tookas and walk!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Tagged!


Jenn tagged me to reveal some things that folks don't know about me. Hmmmm...I'm one of those types that self-discloses most of my life's events, so I'll see what I can come up with.

1. I was a "fashion model" when I was 5. I modeled flower girl dresses.

2. I went to Catholic school.

3. I am still terrified of nuns.

4. I ran away from home 3 times. When I was 9, 12, and 13.

5. I sank the game-winning shot in an intramural basketball game against an undefeated team when I was a junior in high school.

6. I hooked most of my senior year and still don't know how I graduated.

7. I didn't get my driver's license until I was 22.

8. I have been to 37 of the 50 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. I've also been to Guam (US possession).

9. I am extremely proficient in Morse Code.

10. I spent a total of 24 years affiliated with military service. 16 years active, 8 years reserve. During the active duty time, I held a TOP SECRET security clearance.

11. I have a double crown on my head -- once thought to be a sign of distinction. I passed this
along to my son. Fortunately, he likes a spikey sort of hairdo because that's about all you can have if you have a double crown and short hair.

12. I shoplifted a lot when I was an adolescent -- mostly Twizzlers.

13. I was third in my graduating class in the Army, for technical training school.

14. I played semi-pro softball for two years.

15. I still occasionally smoke weed.

16. I think I might be getting to the point where I drink too much.

17. I once had an affair with a married woman.

18. My greatest attribute, in my opinion, is the gift of introspection. My greatest curse (aside from menopause) is the gift of introspection.

19. After I divorced my first husband, I joined the Mormon Church. I'm queer, I drink coffee every morning and wine every night, I smoked, I cuss, and sometimes don't take showers on Sunday. Guess there's no question as to my continued membership in the church, eh?

That should do it for now.

How about you, Scotty? Michelle? Michele? Rodger?

Laughter IS good medicine


A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs, jolted by every pebble in the road. ~ Henry Ward Beecher

As time goes by, this whole thing with my father has all but consumed my daily thoughts. I worry about Le and Vanessa, I worry about my father, I worry about my Aunt, and I worry about me, too.

Le has distanced herself from the family and has really distanced herself from me since she learned that I have power of attorney over my father's affairs now. I'm not sure she completely understands the concept of power of attorney, but I wonder if the word "power" unsettles her a bit. She won't take my calls, won't respond to my instant messages.

My father has sunk into a deep, dark depression. Although I try to chat with him a bit every day on instant messenger, and I know it helps that SOMEONE is talking to him, he starts each day off way down in that pit and I have to try to pull him back out of it.

I charged my aunt to call my father, to get off her chest what she's kept silent all these months for fear of what she'd say. I told her to get those things said NOW, so she can move past them and not have those angry, ugly words ringing in my father's head the day he goes away to prison. She'd never forgive herself if she let that happen.

Me? I still have such jumbled emotions about everything. I'm angry with my father, yet I feel something for him. Lisa says it's compassion -- maybe so. I'm angry with Le for shutting me out yet, I also realize that my anger is borne of fear that she's making decisions that are pure reaction to her anger and that she's not thinking about the long-term consequences of those decisions and how they'll affect not only her, but her daughter.

I cry a lot these days.

And so, I sat here at work yesterday, full of jumbled emotions. Lisa called, as she often does during the day, and it's always so good just to hear her voice. I was whining about the whole thing and, although I'm not sure how we got there, she encouraged me to soften things for my father by telling him that he'd be going to live for the next two years, in a gated community, like the kind people pay good money to live in. Plenty of security, lots of police patrols...

It took me nearly a half hour before the laughter died down.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Half-dose Monday

Today I went from the pill on the right to the pill on the left.

I'm nowhere near post-menopausal (although my FSH levels fall in the "post-menopausal range) but I really don't want to be on this medication long-term. I think it was just about a year ago (late May?) that I went on it and I think it's time to try and see how I do without it. While the doctor told me I could just stop taking it, I wanted a gradual taper down just to help me ease into it. My reasoning was that, if I go down to 10 mg. and begin to feel I'm in trouble again, then I can go back up to the 20 mg. without any problems. She agreed. I also didn't want to just go off the Prozac while the semester is winding down. This is one of our busiest times of year and is always stressful when I'm fully staffed -- being that I'm flying solo these days, I think staying on the Prozac is a good idea, at least until the semester ends and the faculty goes home for the summer.

I have a worker's compensation evaluation this week on Thursday. I had one last year in July or so and that Dr. recommended just 10 more visits for me. My own physician apparently convinced the workers comp board that I needed continued treatment. I fell on my tookas on March 1 last year -- HARD. My hip and back had excruciating pain for a long time and I still have days when my tailbone lets its presence be known, loudly. I'm beginning to think I'll never truly be back to "right" where this is concerned. I'm 50 years old -- and realistic enough to realize that my body isn't going to bounce back like it did just 10 years ago. I suppose that, at some point, I'll lose the worker's compensation and end up paying for treatment myself.

In the meantime, I've had to cut my visits down to just once a week, not because I'm doing better, but because gas is eating me alive. I used to live on the east side of the city about 15 years ago and a lot of my "specialists" are still out that way, even though I now live on the west side of the city. And the thing is, when you have a good professional relationship with someone, you stick to it. My chiropractor is fantastic and is so flexible that I can wake up one morning with a backache and just waltz into his office without an appointment, and be seen on a "first in, first out" basis. I don't need to call ahead for an appointment. I've also been going to the same hairdresser for 17 years -- a 32 mile trip one way. Fortunately, that's only once every four weeks but still, it's almost 3 gallons of gas. And, at today's prices, that's about $10. Mary gave us $20 for gas for the lawnmowers and two 5-gallon cans. Lisa told her "Keep dreaming!" That $20 filled one 5-gallon can and about a half gallon in the second. I told Lisa just this morning that the small investment it would take in buying locking gas caps could well end up saving us all a shitload of money, since our vehicles are parked in the driveway all the time. Saw the energy secretary last night briefly on television, and he claims that the high prices merely reflect "supply and demand." Yeah, right. That's why the major oil companies are posting BILLIONS of dollars in profits for the first quarter of 2006. They demand money, we supply it.


We mowed the lawns on Saturday. The grass had gotten so high so fast, and it was a tad wet, so it left rows of clippings. I raised the deck on the mower to it's highest point and went over the rows, and it disseminated the clippings nicely. I have to say, both lawns look like green velvet today. Some of the hostas are finally starting to poke through, and the Brunnera is just beautiful this year. Look at those lovely little blue "forget-me-not-like" flowers! The ostrich ferns have also poked through the ground, along with the phlox and day lilies. Our lilies are about 6" tall, and all but one of the rosebushes are lousy with new leaf growth. The Delphiniums have already reached about a foot in height, and one is already pushing up a spike. Spring sure came early this year.

I spoke with my father a couple of times over the weekend. I'm still so very torn about this whole thing. I'm the only one he knows who is speaking to him these days. He's alone, feeling abandoned, and very depressed. When I told Mary this, she nastily retorted "Well, he should have thought of that before." Yeah, yeah, yeah. She's right, but aren't we to hate the sin and love the sinner? I told Lisa that I feel bad, but can't exactly put a name to what I feel. She gave it a good name -- human compassion. Depending on where they send him, I'll make an effort to try to get to see him periodically, and I'll try to write to him frequently, so that he knows he's not completely alone. I've encouraged him to have a will drawn up. At first he said "Why? I don't have anything to leave." I told him that he'd have money in his checking account that will accrue each month that he's away, and he needs to say who should get that, in the event that he doesn't survive his incarceration. He has household stuff in storage in 3 different places. I told him that I didn't want to get in the middle of a pissing contest between two sisters who think that some family item belongs to them, or should go to them. I don't want to get in the middle of a pissing contest between my brother and his son over who should get the two vehicles my father owns. While it's not much, it's still stuff that needs to be designated to someone.

He asked me to be sure that he's buried at the VA Center Cemetary in Bath (0ne of the largest in the country). He was a Marine, back when I was born, and I suppose it's the one thing in his life that he's most proud of, when he did the right things (sort of) as an adult.

I called my Aunt Wanda Saturday, and told her that I was going to be a pain in her ass for a little while. She's been hedging on talking to him, fearful of what she might say. I told her to just get it out, spit out the poison, and she'll feel better, and more able to interact with him before his incarceration. She's still afraid of what she'll say, but I also promised her I'd be a real ass-ache to her until she does talk to him. If she lets him go to prison without making her peace with him, she'll never forgive herself. I've made my peace with him, and perhaps that's why I make a point to talk to him each day. We confront the issue frequently, we confront his future, and we chat about daily stuff (like the price of gas)as well.

Le continues to distance herself from the family, sadly. I think she views the guy she's seeing as some sort of prince on a white horse, but I don't think he's interested in what she wants from him. He's my age -- about 15 years her senior, and has already expressed no interest in children, as he's raised his own and doesn't want to raise any more. Le wants more kids, marriage, picket fence, etc. This guy just isn't going to be the one.

But, I could be wrong. That happened once, about 30 years ago.