Friday, September 29, 2006

Holy Matrimony, Batman!

Massachusetts Judge Allows Out-Of-State Lesbians to Marry!

BOSTON, Massachusetts (Reuters) -- A Rhode Island lesbian couple won approval from a judge to marry in Massachusetts, paving the way for the first legal wedding of a same-sex couple from outside the only U.S. state were gay marriage is allowed.

Massachusetts Supreme Court Justice Thomas E. Connolly ruled that the wedding of Wendy Becker and Mary Norton, of Providence, Rhode Island, could go forward because their home state has no laws specifically banning same-sex marriages.

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a 2008 Republican presidential hopeful, has sought to prevent out-of-state same-sex couples from marrying in Massachusetts.

Conservative Christian groups have expressed concern that such marriages would turn the liberal New England state into America's gay-marriage capital, a Las Vegas for same-sex weddings.

But gay-rights advocates have campaigned to allow the practice since Massachusetts' highest court ruled in 2003 that it was unconstitutional to ban gay marriage. That ruling cleared the way for America's first same-sex marriages in May the following year.

Since then, more than 8,000 gay couples have wed.

Friday's case was focused on a law passed in 1913 that bars out-of-state couples from marrying in Massachusetts if their own states fail to recognize the union.

"After a very long engagement, we are thrilled to be able to marry and provide our family with the legal protection and social recognition we deserve," said Becker, who has been with Norton for 19 years. They have two children.

Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly, whose office had opposed Becker and Norton's bid to marry, said the state would not appeal the judge's ruling, leaving it to Rhode Island to clarify its stance on gay marriage.

"This has always been about respecting the laws of other states," Reilly said in a statement. "Rhode Island is now free to address the Superior Court's decision as it sees fit."

A spokesman for Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri had no immediate comment.

Romney has been an outspoken critic of gay marriage, which is a hot-button issue with conservative voters in the United States.

Massachusetts lawmakers are due to vote in November -- after the state and national elections -- on whether to amend the constitution to ban gay marriage.

Methinks this is gonna open a whole new can-o-worms as far as the religious right is concerned. Right about now, they've gotta be poopin' their drawers!

Friday Funnies


Do you like irreverent humor? Give this a look-see...


Family Guy: Osama Bin Laden - video powered by Metacafe

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Did you hear about the blonde who never learned to water ski?
She couldn't find a lake with a slope. (badump bump)
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The corner shop baker was a true artist when it came to making birthday cakes. One customer asked him "Can you make a birthday cake for my wife? She's an optician." The baker agreed and produced a birthday cake in the perfect shape of a winking eye, complete with eyelashes.

His next customer said, "Can you make a birthday cake for my husband? He's a dentist." He agreed and produced a cake in the shape of an open mouth, including the teeth and tongue.

At that moment another customer began to leave his shop when the baker asked, "Can I help you?" The lady turned and said, "No, I don't think so. It's my husband birthday today, but he's a gynecologist."
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A student comes to a young professor's office hours. She glances down the hall, closes his door, and kneels pleadingly.

"I would do anything to pass this exam." She leans closer to him, flips back her hair, gazes meaningfully into his eyes. "I mean..." she whispers, "...I would do...anything."

He returns her gaze. "Anything?"

"Anything."

His voice softens. "Anything??"

"Absolutely anything."

His voice turns to a whisper. "Would you...study?"
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Brenda O'Malley is home making dinner, as usual, when Tim Finnegan arrives at her door, "Brenda, may I come in?" he asks. "I've somethin' to tell ya."

"Of course you can come in, you're always welcome, Tim. But where's my husband?"

"That's what I'm here to tell ya." There was an accident down at the Brewery."

"Oh no," cries Brenda. "Please don;t tell me..."

"I must, Brenda. Your husband Shamus is dead and gone. I'm sorry."

Finally she looked up at Tim. "How did it happen?"

"It was terrible, Brenda. He fell into a vat of beer and drowned."

"Oh my! You must tell me true, Tim. Did he at least go quickly?"

"Well, Brenda, no. Fact is, he got out three times to use the restroom."

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When the driver of a huge trailer lost control of his rig, he plowed into an empty tollbooth and smashed it into pieces! He climbed down from his truck to survey the wreckage and within a matter of minutes, a truck pulled up and discharged a crew of transportation workers. The men picked up each broken piece of the former tollbooth and spread some kind of creamy substance on it. Then they began fitting the pieces together. In less than an hour, they had the entire tollbooth reconstructed and looking good as new.

"Astonishing!" the truck driver said to the crew chief. "What was the white stuff you used to get all the pieces together?"

The crew chief said, "Oh, that was tollgate booth paste."
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Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Reflections

A long time ago -- probably six or seven years now, I started up an e-group entitled "Late Bloomers." I was still learning to live in my own skin, having recently embraced my sexuality and looking forward to the life ahead of me.

I belonged to the (now defunct)women.com message boards and invited women to my group if they showed any "interest" or "curiosity." I made some friends there, a couple of which I still correspond with.

One is now a lawyer down in Florida and we still chat from time to time over IM. The other, Leigh, lives in Texas and, I believe, works in the IT field in some way. She's also a "correspondent" with a new gay e-magazine.

This group was designed for women not unlike myself -- women who had lived for a long, long time trying to fit into some societal mode, denying who they were, and living miserable lives. A couple had contemplated suicide, some were still married and not willing to risk losing their children. We talked about our fears, our hopes and dreams, our feelings of guilt, and supported each other through a lot of turmoil.

I, too, was going through some stuff. I was having an affair with a married woman who played games with my head and my heart. Like Ennis DelMar in Brokeback Mountain, I wished I knew how to "quit" her because while my head said "RUN," my heart wouldn't give my feet purchase. It was a huge mistake in a lot of ways. But, in some ways, it taught me some things, too.

As time went on, the group as a whole seemed to grow as each individual member of that group grew. It has been a few years now since I let the group go. It didn't fail, however. Letting the group go was necessary because almost every single one of its members grew wings and learned to fly. I often wonder what became of our members. Have their lives changed? For the better? Worse? Have they found someone with whom they can share their lives?

Anyway, I sent out an email to folks regarding my lawsuit, asking for their input. This is the reply I got from Leigh:


I don't know if it will be righted in our lifetime.... look at the civil rights battles for blacks and for women.... but it will be righted one day, as those other issues have taught us. But the world evolves at it's own sluggish pace. When you feel despair in your battle - look behind you at what our sisters 100 or 200 years ago or even before went through. We do not disguise ourselves as spinsterly sisters or live in fear of our lives. We stand up and tell people exactly who we are. And each time we do, we strike a small mark on the canvas of time. And then there are the true heroes.... those of us who scream loudly from the rooftops and storm across the battlefields.

You are my hero, Pat. I am honored to have the chance to know you. I have seen you when you were at some pretty low points with all that Kim shit, but you picked yourself up by your bootstraps (and me, and a whole lot of other people too) and you kept us going.
And you made a difference. Equality will come, if not for you, then (at least in part) because of you. Someday people will argue case law based on Martinez VS some poor Christian right schmuck.

I've never before, nor do I now, look at myself as a "hero." Lisa insists that there may be something to the fact that people use that term a lot when they talk to me about our legal case. After all, we've put it out there for the world to examine under a microscope, she says.

I prefer to look at it as a responsibility to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. As citizens of this country, we have a responsibility to pay taxes, vote, peform jury duties, and comply with the laws of our land. On occasion, we're asked to defend our country.

As a member of the GLBT community, we also have similar responsibilities. If there is a wrong that we have the resources to help right, then it is our responsibility to use those resources, whether it be financial donations, rallies, or legal actions.

When Lisa and I made the decision to go with this lawsuit, it was with the idea that we couldn't just sit back and wait for someone to build a superhighway for us to travel. It was up to us to try to cut a path for others to follow and widen and improve upon until it became that superhighway.

I'm no hero. I'm just a schmuck trying to get by in this life by trying to make my life better and, in the process, maybe helping someone else out along the way.

But thanks for the sentiments, Leigh. I'm flattered, and honored to have you and others like you as my friend.

Monday, September 25, 2006

No snappy title here

Wouldn't it just figure?

I picked New England over Denver for last night's game and Denver handed New England a sound beating, shutting them out completely until the fourth quarter.

Amazingly enough, Jake Plummer finished the game with a passer rating over 100, bringing his overall rating up into the 60's now, moving UP 5 more notches overall, and SEVEN above Big Ben Roethlisberger, who is still sitting in the anemic (and benchable) 30s. He's just seemed terribly tentative since his surgery.

The Manning brothers enjoy mid 90s ratings and are together at the top of the list. However, most amazingly, David Carr leads the pack with a 113. I tell you, Gary Kubiak is a good coach and a GREAT offensive man and a PHENOMENAL QB coach. Maybe in the next year or two he can build himself a really talented team and show the world that the Houston Texans need not be laughed at any more.

Chris Simms' spleenectomy following the game yesterday was a real shocker, too. Makes you wonder how long he played with that ruptured spleen.

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Into knitting or crafts? Here's a 50% off code/coupon for Joann Fabrics, good for the next week.

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I read a news article this morning that indicates that the Rochester City Council sent a letter to the New York Legislature "...calling for an end to discrimination against same-sex couples" and urging them to pass legislation to legalize same-sex marriages.

This area of New York tends to lean more toward the conservative yet the entire City Council signed the letter without batting an eye. It is felt that, because this area tends to be very conservative, this letter might have more weight at the legislative level.

Democrat Elliot Spitzer, the current state AG (who issued an opinion in 2004 saying that marriages that originate outside the jurisdiction of NY should be recognized) is the overwhelming favorite for governor this year at election time and strongly supports same-sex marriages as well. While we could lost the battle in court, we could end up winning it through the legislature. We'll see...

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My ex, the putz, filed for bankruptcy a while back when he stopped paying child support. He listed me as a "debt" and forgot to tell the bankruptcy attorney that the "debt" was child support arrears. The money stopped coming in sometime around March and his arrears got up to $3500. When I got the paperwork from the bankruptcy attorney, I forwarded it to the Child Support Enforcement Unit that is handling my case. Guess what? I've gotten a check for $200 each of the past two weeks. I guess the bankruptcy attorney had to restructure the structured payments to include child support, rather than dismissing the "debt."

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I spent a quiet day yesterday watching football and knitting. I got quite a bit done, and am now just about a third of the way through the project (the "flag" blanket for my oldest grandson). Of course, Idgie was a tremendous help, helping feed the yarn to me, making sure the ends of my knitting needles were moving in a continuous motion, and test driving the "layability" of the blanket. It's so good to have help.

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I made a pot of KILLER chowdah yesterday. This time of year my crockpot comes out of the closet (literally) and stays out. I love crockpot cooking -- not only is the food fantastic coming out of it, but it's great to not have to come home and cook.

Yesterday I made a ham chowder, with mixed vegetables and pearl onions. Tonight I'm going to put together the fixings for a wonderful chicken stroganoff that I found in a great recipe book called Grandma's Casseroles. Believe me when I say that the recipes in this book are fantastic and very down-to-earth. One thing I hate about cook books is that most of the foods are too "exotic" for everyday down-to-earth, shoestring-budget types of folks like us. Grandma's is old-fashioned recipes with old-fashioned ingredients and down-home goodness.

And I wonder why I'm overweight...

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Well, it's Monday. Another day. Another dollar. Before taxes.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A wonderful weekend

So, we're sleeping like babies this morning when the doorbell rings. Lisa grouches "Who the hell is ringing our doorbell at 8:30 on a Sunday morning?" Groggily, I think Jehovah's Witnesses, door-to-door sales, or even Mary. Lisa says "I'm not getting up." I say "Me either."

The doorbell rings a second time, more insistently. I get up, put on my robe, go to the door, and there stands a sheriff's deputy. Being aware that Joe isn't home, my heart leaped into my throat and all I could say was "Please tell me that my son is okay."

The deputy assures me "Oh, sorry to scare you, sorry to wake you, it's not anything like that."

It turns out that my neighbor had the wheels stolen off his car, in his driveway, sometime during th enight. And, if you look at the upper right part of the picture, you'll see another black car with it's back-end toward the camera -- it also had it's wheels stolen. Both vehicles had chrome wheels. The deputy was merely checking to see if we'd noticed anything out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, we hadn't. I did tell the deputy about the man in the red pickup that my neighbor had at his place yesterday morning, looking at an antique car he had for sale. Not only were the wheels stolen, but the rocker panels were badly damaged during the process. My neighbors cars are his passion. He's furious and disgusted. Can't say as I blame him. The other "victims" are an elderly black couple that are just the sweetest, nicest folks you'd want to meet. We live in a nice, quiet neighborhood and it's hard to reconcile this sort of crime when you live in an almost crime-free neighborhood.

We went to the Naples Grape Festival yesterday. It alternately rained, drizzled, and cleared up all day long and, while the temps were only in the mid-70s, it was humid as well. My glasses kept fogging up.

I had a "chocolate dipped cheesecake on a stick." It was heaven on earth! We explored some of the arts and crafts and found an artisan who carries such unique products, we asked him for a business card and his take on wholesaling. Turns out he does wholesaling and, after he gets back to Florida in the next week or so, we'll contact him to plan a purchase from him for our online store.

After we got done touring the grounds, we drove to the south side of Naples and went to "Joseph's" market where we bought a blackberry pie that was still hot, and an assortment of red, white, and purple grapes.

We also went to the 1812 Country Store where I had a coupon for 40% of any one regular priced item. I ended up buying a Willow Tree figurine for my younger daughter for Christmas

For the most part, we were pretty underwhelmed with what we saw at the festival, but still managed to have a good time -- mostly because we were spending time together and we always enjoy that.

After the festival, we stopped in to say hello to my Aunt Wanda. We drank a bit of coffee, had some fun conversation, and took our leave. We arrived home at about 8:00, stiff and sore from walking around all day on concrete, then sitting in our damp clothes for the hour ride home. Bed was a welcome relief...

It's a gorgeous autumn day today. It's about 70 degrees and, while many of the trees still have their leaves, they are turning colors quickly and in the sunlight and the heavy breeze we have today, it's just beautiful. Our little windmill out in the front garden looks like the propeller on an airplane ready to take off.

Fall's arrival always makes me sad (another year has gone by, summer's end) but I still think that it's beauty helps take some of that sadness away.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Prattle

So, have you been watching Celebrity Duets?

Besides the fact that Lucy Lawless is HOT, HOT, HOT, she can sing, too! Off the show so far are Chris Jericho (yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus), Carly Patterson (an Olympic gold medalist), and Lea Thompson.

Tonight, two more will go and that will leave the final three for next week. My prediction is that tonight's farewells will be given by Hal Sparks and Cheech Marin.

Judged by successful composer David Foster, Marie Osmond and Little Richard, the show is a really lame attempt to imitate American Idol, however, it's like a train wreck -- you just can't NOT look!

The up side is that they've had a lot of big talent singing duets with these non-musical types. Michael Bolton, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Anita Pointer, Richard Marx, Dionne Warwick, Smokey Robinson, LeAnn Womack, James Ingram, Peter Frampton, and Kenny Loggins are just some of the stars that have made their appearances on this show. Leave it to Simon Cowell to remind us of the enormous talents of some of these folks that haven't seen the limelight in the past decade or so.

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And, while on the subject of the boob tube, LOGO began showing the series Queer as Folk last night, with two shows back to back each Thursday night at 10:00. However, with commercial interruption, bleeping of the "f" bomb, and complete cutting of the sex scenes, what's the point in even trying to watch it? In Episode 1, Brian picks up a young man named Justin. It's Justin's first ever sexual encounter and it's that encounter that begins the ongoing relationship with the two men. However, with Brian's tutelage cut out, the dynamics of the relationship are completely lost.

Big BOOOOO to LOGO. They just reminded me of one of the reasons why I don't tune to their channel to start with. What's the point in a "gay" network if it's going to be afraid to BE gay?

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Speaking of being afraid...

We met with my lawyer and the NY City members of the ACLU yesterday to discuss some strategy on how or even IF an appeal will be filed in our lawsuit for marriage equality. I sent this email out to some friends and acquaintences in the GLBT community regarding that meeting. Please feel free to comment openly.

Lisa and I met with Art and Sharon from the NYCLU (NYC) yesterday. This meeting was requested in part by Art and in part by Jeff (my lawyer) so that we could discuss the pros and cons of going forward with an appeal on our case.

As you know, Judge Galloway ruled against us, hiding behind the Hernandez decision and seemingly parroting that ruling. For your edification, I have attached a copy of the ruling if you’d like to read it. MartinezDecision.doc

Particularly noteworthy is the quote on page 6 of the ruling that says “As the defendants correctly note in their papers the legislative history accompanying the statute adding sexual orientation as a protected class clearly indicates that the Legislature expressly did not intend to create any right to marry. Furthermore, as recently held by the Court of Appeals, current New York policy does not authorize or recognize same-sex marriage. This policy is not on its face in violation of the Human Rights Law. “[T]he Domestic Relations Law is facially neutral; individuals who seek marriage licenses are not queried concerning their sexual orientation and are not precluded from marrying if they are not heterosexual. Regardless of sexual orientation, any person can marry a person of the opposite sex.” Id.
(Graffeo, J., concurring); see Hoy v Mercado, 266 AD2d 803, 804.”

Two things come to mind when I read this – first off, we weren’t asking for the right to marry, as we’d already been legally married in Canada. That said, Judge Galloway’s ruling seems to lean more toward the issue of being able to marry, rather than the issue of recognizing a legal marriage conducted outside the jurisdiction of NY State.

Secondly, he quotes a ruling that specifically says that under NY law, homosexuals are not discriminated against because they are free to marry a member of the opposite gender.

Continuing on that page and the next, Judge Galloway addresses the issue of comity (the recognition of legal acts performed in other jurisdictions). Under Federal Law, recognition of foreign marriages is not mandated and is written as a voluntary recognition of the legitimacy of those marriages. Typically those marriages are recognized unless they specifically violate US law (as in marriage to close relatives, etc.). Judge Galloway also quotes the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, specifically “[n]o State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial
proceeding of any other State, territory, possession or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.”

On its face value, DOMA only addresses states, territories and possessions, not other countries (that is, unless the Federal government sees Canada as a possession or territory of its own). Therefore, in my opinion, DOMA doesn’t apply here. And, even if it did, DOMA’s constitutionality has yet to be challenged in the Supreme Court of the US, as it clearly violates the Full Faith and Credit clause of the US constitution.

Judge Galloway also incorrectly states that same-sex marriages are not to be recognized, pursuant to the Hernandez ruling. The Hernandez ruling, in and of itself, only addresses the issue of allowing same-sex couples to marry under the state constitution, not the recognition of marriages entered into outside the jurisdiction of NY State. Only a dissenting judge addressed the issue of comity in recognizing relationships legitimized in other jurisdictions.

So, all that said, here’s the purpose behind this correspondence to you. I would like to hear your thoughts on pursuing an appeal of this decision based on the meeting I had yesterday with the NYC folks. Listed below are their thoughts on the “risks” of appealing the decision – I have added my own dissenting thoughts as well. I ask for your comments on the NYCLU concerns, as well as my own dissenting thoughts – your HONEST reply will be appreciated.

1. It could create “bad law.” Galloway’s ruling, while woefully ignorant and totally off base, doesn’t necessarily create law. It merely creates a ruling that MCC didn’t violate any laws in denying health care benefits to my spouse, based on my marital status. However, an appeals court ruling could set a precedent for the state in all further cases involving the recognition of same-sex marriages entered into in other jurisdictions (Massachusetts, Canada, etc.). The higher the court’s level, the more that court’s ruling is used by lower court judges that are unable/unwilling to “rock the boat” and rule based on law rather than public or personal opinion. This, I believe, creates a “Catch-22” type of situation because the Hernandez decision, as well as Judge Galloway’s ruling, also creates “bad law.”

2. An appeal could go forward with the “theme” that MCC did not provide me with the same compensation as it did a married heterosexual and that would violate NYS Human Rights laws. Benefits are part of any compensation package and the NYCLU folks believe that the case is stronger going at it from this angle.
My own feeling is that if we appeal in this manner, then it makes the case about money rather than basic civil rights. While it started out with wanting the health insurance benefits for Lisa because of financial considerations, it was never really about the money. As I told the NYC folks yesterday, that amount of money (roughly $1,400) is minutiae compared to the “big picture.”

3. The current political climate is such that this might not be a good time for an “all or nothing” approach. The recent filing of a suit against Alan Hevesi to stop the practice of recognizing same-sex relationships for the purposes of state retirement benefits illustrates the power behind private organizations that fund these sorts of suits. It is this very issue that makes me feel very strongly that we must press forward with an appeal precisely because of these well-funded organizations. The longer we sit back and wring our hands deciding what course to take, the more time we give these organizations to muddy the waters all over the country and, as they spread their cancer throughout the nation, more “bad law” is created.

I also strongly feel that Judge Galloway’s decision is based less on law and more on the current political climate in an election year. An appeal would not reach any court before this year’s elections in November and, therefore, would be less likely to be subject to perceived voter influence.

When Jeff pressed the NYCLU for a response on whether they were “with us” if we decided to pursue the appeal, Mr. Eisenberg responded that he would have to see our legal arguments, first. While he hasn’t presented one legal argument for NOT pursuing the appeal, presenting theory and some presumption only.

It should be noted that the local ACLU legal team believes that the appeal should go forward, even though the state folks do not.

I expressed to these people the thought that, while we currently have the “domestic partner” benefit, four years from now when that contract expires, there are no guarantees that the “domestic partner” benefit will continue to be offered. It is, therefore, imperative that we work toward forcing recognition of our marriages.

While ultimately this is “our” case (Lisa’s and mine), this case is about all of us in many ways. However, Lisa and I both strongly feel that this isn’t just about us. Rather, it’s about an entire community of people in and around Monroe County and New York State (as well as throughout the country). And, since it’s our (collective) case, we want to hear from all of you. We would like this decision to be made by all of us based on all of our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs regarding this case.


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Finally, we've decided selfish time is in order for the weekend. We're going to go down to Hemlock Lake and go to the 1812 Store (one of my favorite places) and then take the trip 20 miles east of there to go to the Naples Grape Festival. This is something I used to love to do back when the kids were still at home, but I was never really able to enjoy it because other than myself, nobody else was interested in the artsy-craftsy things on display. If there aren't any rides that go fast and far enough to make you puke, it's no fun, I guess.

Anyway, the selfish part is that we're not telling anyone we're going -- we're going alone. No Michelle and the kids. No Aunt Wanda. No Mary. Just Pat and Lisa enjoying time together -- something we've not been able to do all summer long.

Of course, we'll go tomorrow because Pat doesn't go anywhere on Sundays during football season, other than the north end of the couch, recliner up, knitting in hand.

Selfish bitch that I am...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Got memories?

I was downstairs reclaiming the room that will become our home office, and found this:

I figure it to be circa 1987, right about the time my XH and I split. My oldest daughter, on the right (my left in the picture) is now 30 with three girls of her own, the younger daughter on the left (my right in the picture) is now 27 with two boys of her own, and that handsome little man is now 23.

Good looking kids...

I was 45 lbs. lighter in those days.

I had not one gray hair on my head.

I didn't wear glasses.

Of course, I was 20 years younger...and about to set out on a journey not unlike the caterpillar.

I wrapped myself up in a cocoon for a dozen or so years, but then I emerged a butterfly.

Reminiscing, rambling and reading

I picked up Tigga's "cremains" yesterday. At the vet's office, they handed me a little decorative square tin container with "Tigga [last name]" inside a heart taped to it. I was surprised at how small the container was (3½"x3½") but also by how heavy it felt in my hand. I walked out the door with my jumbled emotions ready to spill over.

I got in the car, and set her on the seat next to me, and felt the tears well up in and the thickness in my throat rise to the surface. I put the car in gear and headed for the house, not quite a mile away. I couldn't fight off the vision of the last time I'd had Tigga in my vehicle, alone with me. She was in the kennel and I'd put my hand to the screen and she'd nudge up against it, loving on me, even as scared as she was. I began to think about how fast she'd gone downhill and about how we lost her, only a scant 3 days after her diagnosis. She had to have been in pain, but never showed any signs that anything was amiss until she'd stopped eating that week.

As I drove, I spoke "I'm sorry, Tig" and was overcome by sobs. I rarely sob, but I was heartbroken at the thought that we'd let her suffer and were too oblivious to know. I got home, and let loose and, for the first time since we lost her, I let myself finally grieve. I hadn't realized I'd not let myself do that, so that Lisa wouldn't be so upset. I stupidly thought I had to stay strong for her, because Tigga was HER cat for 10 years before they ever moved into my home.

I still miss Tigga something fierce. I find myself putting off getting out my knitting in the evenings, because Tigga's not there to "help." There's no chatty kitty greeting me in the morning when I come out of our room, nor is she there to greet me when I come home from work. I'm left to put my shoes on in the morning by myself, without a purring machine laying next to me insisting that I pet her as I put on my socks and shoes and tie the laces. It's amazing how much of our lives our pets are involved in. And it's those little things that make such a big difference.

I found a really nice "urn" to keep her in. The woman who sells them will engrave her name into it, just below the "Beloved Pet" inscription.

I love the fact that the kitty is laying down, sleeping -- that was the essence of Tigga in her life with us together in the past 6 years. And I love the angel wings. Tigga WAS an angel -- with her, it was always about YOU, not her. She gave and gave and gave, and only ever expected a scritch behind the ear or a stroke on her head in return.

Idgie sure helps take some of the sting out of losing Tigga, but she'll never replace her. But, she brings us smiles and laughter, as does Simba.

Simba seems to be relishing his role as "big brother." They play constantly and sometimes he's a bit too rough with her, making her cry. Yesterday morning, he had her sort of trapped under himself, with his front paws encircling her, and he was grooming her. She just lay there and took it. It was sweet.

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Bad news, good news...

Jake Plummer is no longer in last place for QB rating in the NFL. He's moved up two notches, ahead of Kerry Collins and Andrew Walter (R). That's the bad news. The good news is that he's only ONE TENTH OF A POINT behind Big Ben Roethlisberger.

It's nice to suck in such good company, isn't it?

The Manning brothers are in the top 5 for passing yards for the league, with big brother Peyton on pace for a 5,000 yard season (mathematically). They also are among the eight quarterbacks with passer ratings over 100. Of course, big brother Peyton leads in those stats, too. What's interesting is that they both have a "longest pass" of 37 yards and they've both completed 51 passes.

The really BIG surprise is that David Carr, the QB of one of the worse teams in the NFL, carries a current QB rating of just over 126. Clearly the performance of the team as a whole can't be pinned on the quarterback. Of course, it doesn't help that Houston's defense gives up almost 500 yards per game. Oh sure, they went up against Indie and Phillie in their first two games -- teams with quarterbacks that not only LIKE to throw the ball, but do it very well. And, given that 350 of the 486 yards per game that they give up is in PASSING yards, it would seem to me that maybe they should focus on pass defense in practice for the next few weeks. Just a thought.

And poor T.O. hurt is fingie. Let's hear a big, sentimental "AWWWW" for the little tyke. *Putz*

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Finally, I stole this from Melissa's blog.

A book I've read more than once? This is something I love to do. I've read so many books more than once, I couldn't count them. I always feel like I get something more out of a book, each time I read it. My all time favorites to read, over and over, are Roots (Alex Haley), The Stand (Stephen King), Strangers (Dean Koontz), and the timeless Heidi, (Johanna Spyri). I love a book that weaves numerous characters into the story, and brings them all together, either over time or through happenstance.

What book would I want on a desert Island? Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Defoe), so I could learn something about survival, I suppose.

A book that made me laugh? The Grass Is Always Greener over the Septic Tank (Erma Bombeck) Erma's views on weight loss and self-image are something that every woman should read.

A book that made me cry? Sophie's Choice (William Styron), True Crime (Andrew Klavan) When "Sophie" has to make her choice between her children, well, it just makes me sob, and sob, and sob. When Frank Beechum writes a farewell letter to his daughter, well, that made me sob, too.

A book I wish I'd written? Mommie Dearest (Christina Crawford) Christina Crawford articulates what many survivors of childhood abuse wished they could say.

A book I wish had never been written? Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care (original version) Parents of the 60s and 70s clearly only read PART of this book because they taught their children that everything about them was okay, even their actions (or lack thereof). This begat a generation of enabling parents whose kids don't know how to take accountability for themselves.

A book I'm currently reading? Quickbooks for Dummies (Stephen L. Nelson), Conservatives Without Conscience (John Dean).

A book I've meant to read? A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens) "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." Really, I've never read it.

A book that changed my life? The Psychology of Winning (Denis Waitley) Pick any Waitley book, and it made a difference in my life. Perhaps I read them at a time when I was most receptive to self-introspection and change. Be that as it may, it gave me a whole new way of looking at life, and how I react to it.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I QUIT!


Yup, that's right, eight years ago today, I quit smoking.

That's more than 58 THOUSAND cigarettes I have not smoked. And, at today's prices, that's roughly $150 per month I don't suck into my lungs.

I'm not one of those folks huddled in a doorway on a freezing winter afternoon, puffing away on a cigarette. I'm not one of those folks standing in the rain for a nictoine fix. I am a non-smoker.

I used Zyban to help me quit. Since then, I've read a lot of "testimonials" from folks who used Zyban who said that they still wanted a cigarette after taking Zyban. As if it was some sort of magic wand. Zyban never was marketed to make people quit smoking -- it was marketed to mask the withdrawal symptoms while in the process of quitting. I responded very well to Zyban. I was very energetic, my mood was way up, and I felt really, really good! The kids kept saying they were going to ask the doctor to keep me on it permanently. To this day, I would sing the loudest praises from the highest mountains for Zyban. It truly got me through that time.

Of course, I can't not give myself credit. You can't stop smoking unless you really WANT to, and you have to want to quit for the right reasons. You can't want to quit because you should, or because it's too expensive, or because the kids or your spouse rag you to quit. It has to be your terms, in your time, and for your own reasons.

I'm proud to say that I have not had any occasions where I have fallen off the wagon. That's not to say that I haven't been tempted a time or two but, in the end, I've stayed off them and feel that I am healthier for it.

The day I quit smoking, I weighed 138 lbs. Today I weigh 175 lbs. This is the drawback to smoking cessation and I know some folks that have actually gone back to smoking because of the weight gain. While I realize that my weight is not healthy, I still cannot comprehend the thinking that smoking is desirable over weight gain. While my weight is unhealthy, I'd still have to believe that I'm healthier than if I hadn't quit smoking. Weight is more easily controlled than a nicotine addiction.

Speaking for myself, and ONLY for myself, I know that my weight gain and current unhealthy weight status is due to laziness and lack of interest in doing anything about it.

So, I've decided that today I need to start working on that weight -- it's time to stop making excuses about quitting smoking, take some accountability, and literally get my ass (all of it) moving - again.

Wish me luck.....

Also, if you get a chance, check out the intellect test. I'm surprised I scored as high as I did -- I always figured I was a dumbass! LOL!








7/9 Intellect
You are 56% knowledgable and 84% intellectual.
Excellent! You have a powerful mind backed by a good amount of knowledge. Keep cracking books and nothing can stop you.







My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:













free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on knowledge





free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on intellect
Link: The Knowledge vs. Intellect Test written by rattytintinface on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Soapbox

I'm pissed, outraged, and ready to rant:

Trees ripped from memorial

Two freshly planted trees were uprooted sometime last weekend from the memorial garden of a city nonprofit organization that provides assistance to families coping with childhood cancer.

The Japanese maple trees were planted last week by volunteers and were stolen sometime between Saturday and noon on Sunday, said Marynell Noonan, executive director of the CURE Childhood Cancer Association, at 200 Westfall Road.

The trees were part of an expansion of the Julie Roberts Memorial Garden and were taken just before an annual remembrance service that was still held on Sunday.



In the first place, what kind of asshat steals someone's trees -- anyone's trees? But to rip out trees in a memorial built for childhood cancer is even more despicable.

I'm sure that some of you reading this heard the story of Alyssa Bruno, who suffered from a form of brain cancer, and whose teacher solicited mail for her for her birthday. Alyssa got more than 20,000 cards and letters and some gifts and was delighted with it. Sadly, she died on August 24th, just a few days after her sixth birthday.

Having just had this sort of tragedy in the community makes it exceptionally outrageous that someone would stoop so low.

In the event you're interested in a donation to replace the trees and the memorial, you can send your donations to Marynell Noonan, CURE Childhood Cancer Association, 200 Westfall Road, Rochester, NY 14623

This just makes my blood boil....

Monday, September 11, 2006

Monday, already?



It's been five years since 9/11 and, while it may be safer to fly, I'd have to say that our country has changed, and not for the better, in these five years. Simple freedoms are no longer simple and we face the "If you're not with us, you're against us" mentality of those who seem to have no problem at all with usurping those simple freedoms.

We didn't just lose family members, friends and co-workers, we lost the very essence of what this country stood for on that day. And, while new structures emerge from the ashes of what once stood tall and proud at Ground Zero, a darker, more sinister birth is taking place as well.

We find ourselves entrenched in a "war on terrorism" against everyone BUT the people responsible for the WTC attacks. Osama bin Laden remains at learge in a country OTHER THAN where we've lost the lives of 2,666 American servicemembers in this so-called war. We invaded a country that was not involved in the WTC attacks, have caused the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, have put on a show of just how badly we can treat prisoners, have encouraged thousands of sympathizers to join forces with al Qaeda and, for what?

I've heard the argument "to liberate the people of Iraq from oppression." OK, so when do we go into the Sudan? When do we de-throne Chimpy to liberate US from oppression? We can't clean up someone else's back yard when our own front yard is a wreck.

Moxie Grrrl has a graphic on her web site that contains the caption "I would rather someone was wrapped in the Constitution burning the flag than wrapped in the flag burning the Constitution." I echo those sentiments.

It is not only our right but our responsibility as citizens of this country to offer dissenting opinions, and to hold our government accountable for its actions. To sit back in silence is dangerous and offers a breeding ground for dictatorship and what we're supposedly fighting against over in the middle east.

Chimpy is supposed to give a speech at 9:00 tonight and supposedly has promised not to make it a political speech. No calls to action or crap like that. I'll believe that if/when I see/hear it. Although, frankly, I'd rather watch the football game than the George W. Bush comedy hour.

As Forrest Gump said, "That's all I have to say about that."

============ ====== ======

In week one of the NFL, Jake Plummer ended up dead last in quarterback rankings with an anemic 26.3. Seems that Denver really needed someone to install a handle on the ball yesterday, as they couldn't seem to hang onto it.

And, as I've said all along, all Charlie Batch needed was a good offense around him. Filling in for the now appendix-less Ben Roethlisberger, Charlie lead the NFL in quarterback ratings with a whopping 126.3, throwing three touchdown passes, no picks, and just generally getting the job done in an efficient manner. Daunte Culpepper, on the other hand, looks like he needs to settle into Miami's offense a bit better.

In the battle of the Manning brothers, little brother Eli out-generaled older brother Peyton, with a 88.7 QB rating compared to Peyton's 78.9. But, alas, QB ratings don't win games. Points win games and older brother Peyton's team scored more of them. It was a really good game, though.

Yeah, sure, Buffalo was ahead 17-7 going into the half but, as I told Joe, Buffalo's greatest skill is at blowing leads and losing games and, true to form, they lost by the safety scored against them. And the critics thought that Jim Kelly was a schmuck? Hey, he took them to the superbowl 4 years in a row. Sure, they didn't win, but they at least showed up. Life after Kelly hasn't been any better to Buffalo than life after Elway in Denver or life after Marino in Miami.

On the other hand, Green Bay may actually look better in their life after Favre years, given Favre's performance in the past couple of years. Shut out yesterday for the first time in his career, and only 170 passing yards for the whole game. This just goes to prove what I've said all along -- a quarterback is only as good as the receivers on the other end. And, when you've got great receivers, they make a quarterback look great. Look at Charlie Batch up in Detroit -- he had no decent receivers and had no running game (after the great one retired) and looked mediocre at best. Then look at his performance Thursday night with excellent receivers like Heath Miller, Hines Ward, and even Willie Parker.

Don't think I'll be staying up late to watch the San Diego/Oakland game tonight, as it doesn't even start until 10:15. Minnesota and Washington play tonight at 7:00 so we might actually get to see all of that game.

==========================

My Aunt Wanda verified this weekend that Le and Vanessa have "disappeared." Their trailer is empty, and the neighbor said that they'd been moving out for a couple of weeks. I think they're in Corning or Elmira and I'm pretty sure that Le will still be taking classes. Poor Vanessa, taken away from everyone that she knew, her friends, her family, neighbors, classmates.

I'm so angry with Le I could spit nails.

==========================


How rich are you? >>


I'm loaded.
It's official.
I'm the 183,530,435 richest person on earth!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Awwwwwwww.......

Simba just loves to sit and cuddle with Lisa and, since we've gotten the new baby, she loves to cuddle with Simba. So, you hafta see this.....




If you can't see the video, here are some stills:












How can you NOT just say "AWWWWW?"

Sunday...without the sun


It's pretty gray and gloomy out today. The forecast had called for sun and cool temperatures (high 60s) but all we've got thus far is the cool temperatures. With the very cool temperatures we've been having at night, the trees have begun to color in earnest. Time to think about winterizing again.
















I woke up this morning to find this. Yes, that's most of the soil from a plant that got knocked off the countertop last night. Now, given that I found Idgie laying IN one of the plants, nibbling on the greens, I'd have to say that it's a fair assumption that she's the culprit. Especially when the other cats have never bothered the plants. I told her she's damned lucky she's cute...

She and Simba were wound up like eight day clocks this morning. She'd chase him out of the bedroom, he'd chase her back in. He'd get up on the bed and swat at her while she buzzed by him. He's been a good big brother -- such a sweet love. They've brought a lot of smiles to us in the past week since we've had Idgie.

The vet, after examining her, seems to think that she's closer to 16 weeks than 10 weeks, because of the growth of new teeth. That probably explains why she's so lanky. I wish I could get her to stand still long enough to get a picture of her! LOL!

I haven't slept well the past couple of nights, partly because Lisa's been gone, partly because I've let the "kids" into our room, partly because my allergies have been bothering me, and partly because I can't seem to regulate my body temperature. I'm either too damned hot or too damned cold -- can't seem to get it in the middle. I was cold most of last night, where the night before I kept waking up sweating.

Joe and Taylor went out last night and celebrated Taylor's 21st birthday (which is officially today). He just got home about a half hour ago. Lately they've taken to spending the night together, either at our house or at her house. I think Taylor has mellowed a bit in the relationship and Joe really seems quite taken with her. I'm glad to see him with someone that he enjoys so much. They do a lot together, not just have sex. (Mom covering eyes, ears and screaming LALALALALA). They go to movies, dinner, pubs, concerts, and often just spend the evening in, watching a video or some program that they both like. They're good friends, and good companions. That's good.

The police caught "Bucky" Phillips. Here's what I don't get: The guy was in jail on a "minor parole violation" and was expected to be released within a week when he escaped. Why escape with such little time left? I don't get it. All I know is that I'm glad it's all over because a lot of people were victimized by this guy, directly or indirectly. First you have the families of the cops that he shot, one fatally. My heart goes out to those people. Then you have the people whose homes he broke into and cars he stole. Then you have the people that were ordered evacuated from their homes when it was suspected that he was in their area.

What I also don't get is some of his friends, prior to the shooting of the two cops in Chemung County, saying "It's not like anyone DIED." Give those people their signs....

Mary and I went to BJ's yesterday where I picked up a HP Photosmart 3210xi All-in-One printer/scanner/copier/fax for the new business. It's a sweet ride, I don't mind telling you. It's all color, all digital, and delivers an excellent quality document. I'm quite pleased with it, since we plan on doing our "catalog" ourselves initially. We're STILL waiting on the documentation for our merchant account so we can collect credit cards, and then we can open the online store. It's all set and ready to rock and roll, I just can't accept any PAYMENTS yet. We originally had a target start date of September 1st, but that's just not going to happen now, obviously.

Speaking of payments, Lisa got a check from the New York State Comptroller for just over $500 yesterday. What for, you ask? It was unclaimed funds. I check the sites frequently and have found $95 for myself, just under $600 for my brother, an unknown amount for my paternal grandmother, and now this for Lisa. Check the site and see if you have any money out there. And don't EVER pay anyone for this information -- it's free either at this site, or at each state's individual site (this site links you to those state sites). G'head! What are you waiting for? Happy Hunting!

Friday, September 08, 2006

They're BA-ACK!

And they're back with a vengeance.

Classes started this week and that means that the faculty is back. I can only shake my head in amazement during the first week of classes when I observe the faculty.

The copier room is right next door to my office. The Tuesday after Labor Day always starts with a huge, long line outside the copier room door, full of faculty members who need to make copies of syllabi for their 8:30 classes. They piss and moan to each other about how long someone in front of them is taking to get their copying done, and sometimes almost come to blows with each other.

Joe had an 8:30 literature class Tuesday morning. His professor got to class almost 20 minutes late, huffing and puffing when he came into the classroom bemoaning the fact that he'd had to wait in a long line to use the copier because someone in front of him was copying a 39 page course outline. One student asked the professor why he'd waited until that morning to make his copies. Dead silence was the response.

Exactly.

He wouldn't accept that sort of behavior from his students, so what makes it okay for him to wait until the 11th hour to prepare himself for class?

It would be one thing if he was the only one but, sadly, it's a phenomenon that occurs every single semester on the first day of classes. And, it's not just that day, either. During the course of the Labor Day holiday weekend, more than 15 cases of paper are used while the faculty comes in over that weekend to produce syllabi for the first day of class. I just don't get why they'd want that much stress to start off the semester.

I had one faculty member bring me her syllabi on THURSDAY afternoon, wanting all six of them produced, sent down for copy, and returned prior to the start of classes on Tuesday morning. I simply told her I'd left my magic wand at home and she'd have to make her own copies if she wanted them returned before Tuesday morning. I have a two-day turnaround, and Printing Services also has a two-day turnaround.

I once did a write-up of sorts about that copy room -- I'd read an article by a guy who thought that stupid people should wear signs, and my write-up was along those lines:


We recently had a thread on another list of mine about how stupid people should wear signs around their necks so you know what they are and don't get hurt, and so the expression has taken hold "Give that man/woman a sign." So, without further adieu, here are some of my honest-to-God-I-wouldn't-lie-about-this," give that person a sign" stories.

"The copier says 'lift cover and remove paper.' What should I do?" Give that woman a sign! "Well, I would suppose that you lift the cover up and take the paper out!"

"There's a problem with the paper in the copier." Give that woman a sign! "The problem is that you need to PUT PAPER IN IT!"

"My transparency didn't come out, so I ran some extra paper through the machine to force the transparency out. Now the machine won't run!" Give that man a sign! "Hold on, let me call the fire department to put out the fire you started when you used the thermographic transparency and it melted to the fuser and set the EXTRA paper that you fed through there on fire."

When the copier is BADLY out of whack, we turn it off and unplug it. I did this once when it had a "burning" smell, but within an hour heard the machine running (and smelled it smoking). When I went into the copy room to find out why, I was met with "There was nothing wrong with the machine. It was just unplugged. So, I took the out of order sign off it and turned it back on." Give that man a sign!

"Why won't that machine feed the individual pages through the top feeder like it's supposed to?" Give that woman a sign! "I suppose it's because they're still bound to the book?"

"I tried several times, but my original still comes out the same size." "You mean you want the text larger?" "No, it says it will enlarge it, and I want the paper and everything enlarged, but it still comes out the same size it went in." Give that woman a sign! "[Sigh!]"


Yes, they're THAT stupid! I've said for a long time now that stupid should hurt and, based on that, some of these folks should be in excruciating pain.

=======================

A local 19-year veteran of the sheriff's department was arrested for DWI last night after he collided with, and killed, a motorcyclist.

Nothing like serving the public trust, eh?

======================

As of about an hour ago, NY State Police seem to think they've got "Bucky" Phillips cornered. I hope they do because I'm sick of this idiot running around the state causing all of these headaches and grief for whomever crosses his path. Now, he's promised "suicide by cop" and, with that in mind, I think all the cops should be warned to just knee-cap the sucker, and not give him what he wants. But that's just my mean streak talking, I guess.

======================

Idgie has adjusted quite well and how has a bit more trust for us. We still can't approach her from a standing position (must look scary to that little munchkin) but if we get down on the floor with her, she comes to us, nuzzles us, and will lay right next to us. She's still very skiddish about being picked up, too, but tolerates it quite well.

At about 4:30 this morning she buzzed us. She was apparently playing with Simba and ran laps around our bed, with us in it, running over and around us. Damned lucky she's cute. Simba knew better, and stayed at the foot of the bed. If that lard-ass had buzzed us the way Idgie did, he'd have hurt us for sure. After all, he weighs 18½ lbs. Can you imagine THAT running over you while you're sound asleep!?! LOL!

=======================

Lisa's heading out for Pennsylvania this afternoon so she can attend a baby shower for her nephew's wife. It'll be Lisa's parents' first great-grandchild. I'm just not up for the trip -- my hips have been bothering me badly this week (probably from all the rain) and I just don't think I can handle a 4 hour automobile ride. She's really disappointed that I'm not going, but she's okay with it too, I think. I hope.

So I'll probably just lay low for the weekend. I'll mow the lawns tonight after work and tomorrow I'll get some of the furniture moved back to where it belongs now that we're done with the flooring and painting.

Sunday starts my 17 weeks of I-don't-go-anywhere-on-Sundays-because-of-footbal syndrome. I'll get out the knitting needles, oil up the recliner so it works effortlessly, and settle in for the season. Of course, I always have 4 televisions set up so I can see 4 different games (thanks to DirectTV's NFL Sunday Ticket). Yes...I'm a freak!

Speaking of football games, it seems that Lisa and I were the only ones in our weekly pool that thought that Pittsburgh could still pull off a win against Miami without Big Ben Roethlisberger (who had an emergency appendectomy this week). Joe was pissed when he heard the news because he has Roethlisberger on his fantasy team, and couldn't start him.

Sunday night's entertainment will pit the two Manning brothers against each other. Of course big brother Peyton will win the day, but little brother Eli isn't going to make it easy for him.

=======================

Oh Damn. Another faculty member needing instructions on how to push buttons on the copier...

*sigh*

Thursday, September 07, 2006

It's PAYDAY!

It's been a long, long time since I(we) have had a bank balance as low as it got last week -- it was down to $25. I always panic when it gets below $500 so you can imagine the stress of seeing that $25 balance. We spent just a little under $800 in vet bills for Tigga and still owe for the cremation. Then there was the adoption of little Idgie and her vet's visit yesterday to get her sutures removed. But, all the bills are paid!

I manage all the money in the household and I have to say that I do it very well. We live well within our means but still have the resources to meet unexpected emergencies, and to spend on ourselves once in a while.

I honestly don't get the folks who get so deep into debt that they file bankruptcy and then, after filing bankruptcy, they continue to piss away money on trips and extraneous bullshit items that they don't need.

My brother has his paycheck tagged in a major sort of way by the IRS, to the point where he brings home less than $700 per month from his primary job. He works part-time, and shares a house with his wife and her boyfriend. (Yes, you saw that right, his wife and her boyfriend.) After his first wife passed away two or three years ago, he lost their house (it was a multi-family) in foreclosure and had to put almost all of his crap in storage. He's now so far behind on his storage facility payments, he'll likely lose that stuff.

He can't afford to pay his bills, yet he has every technological toy one can have, along with such a vast array of video game platforms and games to go with them, you'd think he owned his own store. He owns several computers as well. And he's a tool junkie. When he sees a tool he doesn't have, he buys it. Not because he needs it, but because he thinks he should have it.

My ex filed bankruptcy. Yet he and his wife continue to take trips to Vegas while I'm unable to collect $3500 in arrears for child support. By law, I can't collect the arrears until he comes out of bankruptcy in 2-3 years. But he can still take those trips and buy extravagant gifts for his wife and our daughter who lives out in Colorado near him.

Some friends of mine filed bankruptcy and were in such a bad state of affairs, they couldn't make their payment on the trailer they bought -- and, of course, if they couldn't make the trailer payment they certainly weren't making the lot rental payment in the trailer court. Yet, at least once a month they traveled to Philadelphia to visit their son. Eventually they got evicted from the trailer court, and they lost the trailer not long after that.

An ex-girlfriend of mine pissed and moaned about how broke she was after she left her husband, and was talking about filing bankruptcy but turned around and bought a $500 ring and put it on her credit card. I don't know if she ever did file bankruptcy but it sure as hell seems irresponsible to me to be unable to pay your bills and then get yourself deeper into the shit buying an expensive item that you don't need.

I don't get it. Why would anyone bring this kind of stress on themselves? But then again, we live in a "me, gimmie, mine" society so I suppose that money management is a lost art, having been completely consumed by the sense of entitlement that so many people seem to have these days.

*-*-*-*-*-*

We're waiting on some paperwork on our business banking account so that we can get a merchant account which will allow us to accept credit cards, and then we're rolling on the business. We've already had some limited success on a cash basis with some of the health products and we're very excited about everything in general. These products have been received much better than we originally anticipated so it's hard not to get excited.

We also have to submit an application for a permit for "conditional use" of our house as a home office (otherwise the town can zap us a fine), but it won't be discussed by the zoning board until mid-October and the application isn't due until later this month. We've got it filled out and ready to submit, but can't make the process work any faster than it does. Hopefully the town won't zap us while we're operating until then. Heck, all we're doing is using a room in the house for a desk, computer, and limited inventory to mail out following online sales. It's not like we'll have customers coming to the house at all times of the day. But, we'll get the permit just the same, to make everything all nice and legal.

*-*-*-*-*-*

My daughter Michelle called me yesterday and told me that Vanessa (Le's daughter, not her own Vanessa) wasn't present on the first day of school. The two Vanessas have a class together and our Vanessa told us that when they called out the other Vanessa, she wasn't there. I always suspected that Le would move on without any word to anyone, and it looks like that might have happened. Not much we can do about that, I guess.

It's really too bad. Nobody has seen nor heard from Le since June 6 when my father was sentenced. It was like she just fell off the planet. But, I guess that's what she needed to do...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Meet Idgie!


Idgie is the little brown tabby in the middle. She's two months old and we adopted her from Lollypop Farm, the local animal shelter. Lollypop Farm is phenomenal -- it's a "no kill" facility that brings in people from all around the area, as well as out-of-state. I visited it twice last week and both times it was chock full of people. Check out the site, as it has wonderful information on pets and their care and training.

The adoption fee was $110 but included in that price is the worming, spaying, FELV testing, first series of shots, microchip implantation (for identifying the animal), a free month of pet health insurance, and a free month's worth of food. It's a great value!

Anyway, Idgie is a little piss-and-vinegar munchkin who is a tad skiddish but every bit a kitten. Yes, she looks similar to our beloved Tigga, but we chose the tabby because they are typically known for their sweet dispositions.

I suppose that, if you're a kitten, having an adult human stand next to you seems quite scary and when that happens, she tends to bolt. But, if we get down on our knees or sit on the floor, she comes to us and nuzzles and lets us love on her. The first night we couldn't really get anywhere near her -- she wanted nothing to do with us and spent the night under the nightstand in our bedroom. But since then, she's been exploring every inch of the house.

Cedar, as expected, wants nothing to do with her. Or us, for that matter. But like she did with Tigga, she'll eventually just ignore Idgie and they'll steer clear of each other.

Simba, on the other hand, has been wonderful with the little munchkin. Now, keep in mind that he's HUGE -- not just weight-wise, but in every aspect. His paws are huge (and they say that's an indicator of the size of the animal's frame), and he weighs 18½ lbs. We think there may be a bit of Maine Coon in him because of the way his fur is. So just believe me when I say he's HUGE.

At first he and the kitten sniffed at each other and while she arched her back a bit, he was somewhat inquisitive, but not overly so. He did, however, lay next to her hiding spot all night long that first night, as if to stand guard over her. We've had her for five days now and the two of them ram throughout the house, playing. He chases her downstairs, and she chases him back up the stairs. He thumps her pretty good on the head when she hides and pretends she's a "whack-a-mole" but his claws stay retracted. He's a good big brother.

Idgie has brought a lot of laughter and smiles back into our home. Lisa and I both tend to have moments when we get teary-eyed at the thought of the loss of Tigga, but little Idgie has taken some of the sting away. I told Lisa that maybe Tigga had to leave so that we could rescue this little one.

We have a new nightly routine now -- we go outside after dark and look for Tigga's star. We found this quote on the web, and took great comfort from it.

"Perhaps they are not stars in the sky but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy."

And, if that's the case, Tigga's happy and has lots of friends.