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Thursday, November 22, 2012


Lord, I have been busy, doing what I have no freaking CLUE. But, it seems, I haven't had the wherewithal to put pen to paper, or however one describer the act of self-analysis called blogging. As if anyone much does it anymore, like so much nowadays, blogging has fallen by the side of the road, much like me. I used to have a friend who spent a lot of time going though friends like that, I used to joke that we needed jackets.

I was watching the news, the big news is the USC/Notre Dame came coming up this Saturday night.
I don't talk too much about USC as my husband and his family used to announce, out loud and in front of me, that they believed Trojans eat their young. They all thought this was high comedy, just too hilarious for WORDS.

I WENT to SC. As did my step MIL who, while hardly on my list of people I want to show up for coffee this morning, didn't deserve crap like that either. I eventually stopped mentioning I'd even GONE to college and hoped my spelling ability would speak for itself. I stopped following sports because the hubster refers to football as, let me see, I don't quite remember it exactly, it was something like 11 grown men chasing an over inflated pig bladder around a field or something like that. He thinks THAT'S funny too.

I LIKED going to USC. My husband would assert, again publicly, that USC stand for the University of Spoiled Children and that a USC degree means you can extort and embezzle all over the world and I would sort of curl up and die, something that seems to have stuck with me lo these 30 years later. It took me 20 years to realize that actually Bruins (from cross town rival UCLA) do NOT talk to people like that, they respect the USC Film School we admire their theater department, they talk about the  extraordinary Annenberg School of Communication at USC and the groundbreaking school of gerontology and Trojans have no end of respect for the UCLA Medical
School and it's world class hospital. Bruins used to come to our fooball games and we used to go over to their basketball games and before the SC/UCLA football game they would put guards around the round little bear of a mascot that stands in their quad and we would wrap Tommy Trojan in protective hefty bags and keep a 24 hour guard around it and it was a good time, a really good time. And none of us could stand Stanford.

In short, we co-existed back then, and still do. If you want film, you try for USC. Theater: UCLA. Medicine is UCLA, Dentistry is USC. The students and alumni have always been on board with that. It's the people who didn't actually GO there that aren't. My FIL claimed to have graduated from UCLA, he had alumni license plates. I remember how he got them too, he went into the office waited until they got really busy, claimed to have graduated and needed a new alumni license plate frame, when they couldn't find his records he claimed to be late for a business meeting on campus and the flustered student worker, now very busy and with people lining up finally just gave him the damn things.

His obit skirted the issue a bit and stated that he attended UCLA after graduating from Los Angeles City College. I don't think he graduated from LACC but I did explain to my kids that I had no doubt he attended UCLA, I'm sure he went to a couple of basketball games at Pauley Pavillion over the years and, as we knew, he had gone to the alumni office.

What my FIL and the hubster never realized, or realized and didn't care about, is that the years of constant ridicule took their toll on me and, eventually, left a hole in me where that part of my identity and my general glee as summer gives way to autumn and college football gears up is gone. But this Thanksgiving morning the news talk here in the Los Angeles area has turned to football. UCLA upended USC last week, which happens occasionally although not often, and all eyes are on the long standing SC/Notre Dame game this Saturday. SC was ranked #1 at the beginning of the season and now, Notre Dame is in that position, SC is off the radar. And the newsman was talking about a column this morning in which the writer reminisced about the 1964 US/Notre Dame game and how the underdog Trojans upended the top ranked Irish in a HUGE upset.

I know. I was there. I was 10 and it was my first football game and I had to prove I knew the rules and the object of the game before my parents would take me and I did and they did. We sat at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on that autumn Saturday after Thanksgiving and I waved my Notre Dame pennant and remember Jack Snow and John Huarte tearing up the field and Notre Dame played the first half and USC played the second half and SC played a little longer and won the game.

Oh, how I remember those wonderful days, the days when I was what I was and not what I was expected to be, the day when I could watch football and play baseball and just be the hoyden I was as a young girl 48 years ago. And yes I remember where I was when I heard Kennedy had been shot, I was in Geography class.

FORTY EIGHT YEARS AGO?   Crap. I'm going back to bed.

Friday, August 31, 2012

School Days

So, like Billy Idol who liked dancing with himself (and the possibilities are rife with that) I am writing for myself. Okay, it's cheap therapy I suppose. So yes, it's been lo these many months now (and people who know me can vouch for the fact that I really talk like that. I say shit like "Lo," on occasion. We don't say things like "Lo" or "Prithee" often enough. There are perfectly good words, used rarely and only by those who quote Shakespeare on occasion. I quote Shakespeare on occasion. Only on occasion because I haven't committed a lot of Shakespeare to memory. I've learned just enough to make myself appear erudite without having to pay it off.

Doing this usually depends on who you're speaking to at the time. That is the key. The other day, I said "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow..." and just let it hang. I said this to a theater major. The fact that said theater major was now an accountant didn't matter, she could finish it and did while I gave the appearance of someone with a functioning brain, something I was beginning to despair of.

I went back to school ago, online. I want to get a Master's, I'm not sure exactly why because, for some reason, the explanation "Because I want one" seems to annoy people. It annoyed my father, who informed me just today that, at my age, it wasn't as if I could utilize such higher education to any career purpose. I countered by telling him it would look better in my obit if it said M.A. after my name instead of "Bitch on Wheels."

He was unimpressed.

Well, anyway, back to school. I had initially enrolled at Brandman, the on line division of Chapman, some sort of church run school. I have to fill in some blanks, I was last in college at a time with the slide rule was hip. This was my first inkling that maybe something was wrong. The adviser set up an education plan with me and my third semester what set aside for filling in my math requirements. The set me up with a statistics class.

Statistics? For an old on line lady who's last math teacher was Euclid. And I flunked. But, before that I had to take some state mandated English class which was a new requirement. And this is where I started to unravel. The first assignment was to post a brief introduction of ourselves on the message board that suffices for a classroom environment when one is an on line student. I posted a brief introduction. The teacher said it sucked.

I didn't take this well.

He said I had no voice as a writer and it would "behoove" me to learn how to write because I would never succeed in life without that skill. I pointed out that this chatty, fragmented train-of-thought style WAS my voice, particularly when the assignment is "Introduce yourself" and not "Discuss why Mitt Romney is not a twit. Please provide ample citations and outline your thesis." The teacher than told me I had no skills as a writer and it would, again, "behoove" me to learn to write properly. You know, like him. He said I couldn't spell or punctuate. I said "punctuate this" and then suggested he bite me. He then wished me a "blessed day."

We did not part well.

Now, ever since 1975 I have given many people the same advice when they were involved in something that they did not like. The advice, btw, comes from "A Chorus Line." A character is describing going to the High School of the Performing Arts and her teacher is a jerk who constantly berates her. She goes to Church and prays for guidance and, unlike most of us, she got it. As the song goes a voice came up from the bottom of her soul (and out through the top of her head) and said "This man is nothing, this course is nothing, if you want something, go find a better class."

I've told this story and given this advice for years and I decided to take it myself. I found a better class. I still have to take lame ass English, but I discovered that the lame ass English I was taking is NOT required lame ass English. My current lame ass English involved writing a paper over the course of eight weeks, using various multi media and getting peer pressure  reviews. It's okay. Not hard, except that the paper is to be a paper about a happy memory.

Well, okay, I can dig up a few. has to involve someone that I am then going to interview about said happy memory. And THAT'S the rub. I'm almost sixty. These people are dead.  I mean, who can't come up with a happy memory involving grandma? Me too. Now, talk to grandma about the circus. Sure, the median age of my classmates is 17.9. I'm freaking OLDER than their grandmother's.

I was going to make one up, including the person, but now I find out that photographs are involved. Well shit. NOW I have to find someone in the photo box and make up a life history for them, and then come up with a happy memory I had with them and then do some sort of interview. Kee-Ryst

It's not that I don't have said memories, I could probably call up one to use in case I ever need a Patronus. I was happy when my boys were born. Unfortunately neither one of them is much of a conversationalist on that particular memory. I thought of the time my dad sneaked me out of the house after I'd been grounded by my mother and took me to the circus. Now, to this day I remember the absolute wonder of all three rings going at once.AMAZING!  My father doesn't remember that. Seriously?

Maybe the time my fiancee dumped me for a guy? In the long run it worked out for the better, although I have no idea where he is now so there does the interview thing again.

Maybe the day I told my first English teacher to eat me? I have the emails, which might suffice as the interview portion of our program, no picture tough. For some reason I imagine he looks like the older, dissipated Richard Burton, because none of the 17 years olds in the class will recognize him.

So yeah, I'm soliciting happy, media friendly memories. Like the time crazy Uncle Clint started yelling at the furniture...

Oh, by the way, "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow..." is from The Scottish Play. Just thought I'd mention it.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Walt must be spinning like a lathe...

Yesterday was my birthday. It was also the hubster's birthday. We celebrate this like we celebrate all important days we share...our anniversary, Christmas, Thanksgiving...we ignored it. He doesn't speak to me and, in turn, I do not answer him. He never wished me a happy anything, sulked the entire time we were together and waited anxiously for me to give him a ride to someplace else, which I did, gladly. It was a business visit for him, but the business was interrupted with a birthday cake and much merriment. He told me to look on his Facebook page, as pictures and good wishes had been posted. He seems to have forgotten, however, that he "unfriended" me on Facebook, and told me so, because he didn't want his friends seeing me on his page.  Superficiality is not one of the nicer traits he got from his parents. BTW, I found the can opener. Don't ask.

This left me with a birthday and no one to care about it. I was casting about for free things to do. Okay, mostly I was looking for places where I would GET things for free. I remembered Disneyland used to let people in free on their birthdays so I went looking. I know, I was 99.9% sure that Disney would give away Jack Shit, but I looked anyway.

I found that Disney, aside from warmly giving people the aforementioned Jack Shit, has raised their ticket prices. Again. For the second time this year. If you want to take your three year old to Disneyland, and said 3 year old also wants to go across the Esplanade to see Lightening McQueen in Cars Land (built because both the movies sucked and Disney was looking for a way to squeeze as much money out of a franchise they're beating like a dead horse, with about as much success, but it's at California Adventure which is a waste of a good parking lot anyway) you will have to fork out $119. Yep, $119 for a three year old. It will cost you $119 to get your three year old into a place that is too big for him to toddle through, too hot for him to safely stay outside in for more than 20 minutes, too mature for him to go on the majority of the rides (sorry...attractions) and too expensive for him to eat anything except the cheerio-o's in the sandwich bag you smuggled through the gates in your pocket because Disneyland expressly forbids anyone from bringing in their own food for fear they'll lose that 7 bucks they charge for a freaking TURKEY LEG from a cart.

Now, if you really LIKE being ripped off by a rat in shorts, you can buy an annual pass. Oh, Passport. Other theme parks have passes, Disney is special, they have passports, which, I guess, are supposed to remind one that when one goes to a Disney "THEME" park, one is going to an exotic land where only DINKS and rich people live. 

Now, like an idiot, I Googled for information about Disney prices and such. Google is my friend, or so someone used to tell me, ad nauseum I might add. The problem with Internet searching, Google or no Google, is that your first two links will be paid ads and the next two pages will be crap that the bots find in blogs and on message boards which, while they feed the not inconsiderable ego of writers everywhere, offers little in the way of practical information like "How the hell much does it cost to get into freaking DISNEYLAND?" I discovered, finally, that it will cost you $649 to give your three year old a ticket good for a year.


Of course, that price includes parking, so it's justifiable.

In order to find this I ended up wandering through other websites and message boards. I came to the conclusion that people who populate these boards are mindless twits, largely bigoted against those who work hard and live from paycheck to paycheck and probably a lot of other people as well. I was, frankly, stunned at the arrogance and self-righteousness I was reading. Couples who have chosen to share their over privileged lives, not with children, the poor, the abused or the persecuted but with their cats, were opining with out and out disdain about the complete and utter fairness of what appeared to be a monumental price hike which is going to shut out those of more modest means by explaining that no one has a right to go to Disneyland, it's a gift given only to those of status who can afford it. If your three year old wants to visit Cars Land and you can't afford the price of a ticket please just shut the hell up because Disneyland is a place for the rich, powerful and gifted and you, obviously, don't qualify.

The fact that Disney peppers television, billboards, radio, movies, magazines, newspapers and toy stores with advertising designed to show your three year old that the only thing worthwhile in life is to dream of going to Disneyland and thus break their parents hearts when said parents are not well off enough to afford a $1200 dollar Saturday for their family of four (and God HELP you if you have to travel to get there) is certainly NOT Disney's way of extorting money from you because you can lock your kids up in a cage where no social interaction can possibly take place, or, perhaps, move to Lancaster PA, don black coats and hats and sell $1200 dollar quilts to unsuspecting tourists, thus removing the temptation known as a Disney ad. You can also get a cheaper pass which does not include parking (actually a good thing for that three year old you were considering putting behind the wheel) - or park entry on a whole lot of days one might be inclined to go to Disneyland. Days? Try weeks. But you CAN pay $469 for the pleasure of opening the Annual Passholder's special calendar on the interwebs and saying "nope, we can't use these today..." A bargain, no?

So far, my personal favorite is the comment made saying, in essence, that the price hike was a very good thing because this woman could afford the over $3000 a year it will now cost her family of five to renew their passes and, with all the people who will now be priced out of the place it will make their "experience" better.  Since it will be better she won't complain to Disneyland as much and that will make Disneyland happy because, apparently, Disneyland management spends most of it's valuable time, not crunching numbers to see how high the prices can go before their guest's balls fall off from the twisting, but reading her letters and working out ways to make her "experience" better.
It's a Win/Win.

I don't know about you, but frankly, I don't want my kids anywhere NEAR people like that. Hell, I don't want to be anywhere near people like that.'s my idea. Drive up to Los Angeles instead of Orange Country. Go to Griffith Park. Take the kids, take their friends. Take a picnic.  Take them to the Observatory and show them the universe. Take them to the carousel and let them grab for the brass ring. Take them to the Zoo - it's not the greatest Zoo ever but I remember once standing absolutely enchanted watching a small herd of giraffes run...heads gliding in slow motion, bodies galloping like they were in the home stretch of the Kentucky Derby. Take them to the Autry Cultural Center and show them the REAL Frontierland. Take them to "Travel Town" and let them climb through actual train cars and engines.  Go with them.

Next door to Travel Town is the Los Angeles Live Steamers. Here, on Sundays, you can immerse yourself in the actual Disney experience. Walt's scale live steamer barn, the one he kept on his property in an upscale L.A. neighborhood, is there, looking exactly as it did when Walt used it to house his own trains. Steamer enthusiasts run their trains on scale track here, through scale tunnels and up scale mountains and back again. They will let you ride for free, donations are appreciated.

Parking all over the park is free and you can have an entire Disney experience for less than 10 bucks a head if you like, including the hot dogs and potato salad. Not only that, the pretentious yuppies you don't want influencing your kids wouldn't be caught DEAD in a place that admits everyone.

Now that's a real Win/Win.

Friday, June 1, 2012

All the modern conveniences

About, oh, a million years ago, I decided no stop replacing the electric can openers every few years and buy an old fashioned Swing Away the next time I went to the market. It cost me $3.95. It went through the dishwasher (when I had one), thus eliminating that PITA of taking parts off the electric can opener and trying to scrape the crud off of them. It never broke, it never wore out and it took up absolutely NO counter space.

Four years ago, when we were forced to move (may the bastard who programmed the robo-signing machine at Wachovia burn for that thankyouverymuch) I took the can opener out of the drawer I kept it in, threw it in a box and transported it to my kitchen on the other side of town. Since then, it has resided in the drawer on the left hand side of the sink.

Now, I'm not exactly anal and, as of this minute, the dishes from dinner last night are still in the sink, the dishes from yesterday's lunch are still in the drainer. I know, I know...I'm not Martha Stewart. If I had a kitchen the size of hers I still wouldn't have enough counter space. I work until six, then I go home and start dinner. I finish cooking, yell at everyone to get their own damn food and usually end up taking my own plate to the bedroom so I don't have to watch yet another talent search based reality show featuring little talent but a lot of ego sitting at the judges table. I didn't name the show because it's ALL of them. You know it is.  I'm worried "Wipeout" isn't coming back too. It's summer, the days are longer and we should be watching "Wipeout."

Last night was taco night. It's getting warm here in the urban village and, for some reason, I equate warm weather with taco night. Yes, I'm a gourmet, I got the taco seasoning with the least sodium for the money and store brand shells. I got a rather zippy salsa ranch southwest chili tortilla salad type kit, because sorry, I'm a fair cook but I do NOT like having to start in the second I get home from work and I take shortcuts. Yeah, suck on THAT, Food Network.

My younger son didn't expect to be home until late, so I pretty much planned dinner for 3. He was delighted to find he wasn't needed for the rest of the rehearsal and so was home for dinner. I was delighted for him and glad to see him but also decided to stretch the taco/salad dinner to feed 4 instead of of the four being WELL over six feet tall. Okay, THREE of the four of us are over 6 feet tall but this one brushes 6'9". So I poked around and found an onion, a wrinkly green bell pepper a can of diced tomatoes and a can of diced Ortega chilies and started a pan of Spanish Rice. I actually WATCHED the onions and peppers and rice as I sauteed them and everything was picture perfect when I grabbed the can of tomatoes and reached for the can opener.

Which wasn't in its drawer. It wasn't in ANY of the drawers.  It wasn't in the cupboards, in wasn't in the fridge, in wasn't in the sink or the dish drainer or on the counters. It wasn't in the microwave. By this time my younger son had come out to help hunt. Eventually "Jeopardy!" went to a commercial break and the hubster inquired as to the commotion. "Where's the damn can opener?" I yelled.   He wandered out. "I left it on the counter after I opened a can of tuna earlier." Well, it's not on the counter now. It's not anywhere. "Did you look on the floor?" he asked. This was a serious question, not a joke. I can't fathom the workings of a mind that asks if the appliances, small though they may be, are on the floor. I also don't want to imagine what growing up in his house must have been like, considering the nonchalant way he asked me if I'd checked the floor. I was going to ask if he had considered putting the can opener AWAY when he was through opening the tuna fish instead of just leaving it on the counter but, after 34 years I have learned that there are some questions best left unasked.

Suffice it to say, the can opener wasn't on the floor. 

By now the water I had thrown in with the rice was starting to evaporate. Facing two cans and no opener, I got out the beer opener and proceeded to punch holes in the cans. While this drained the liquid from the can of tomatoes the fruit itself (yes, tomatoes are a FRUIT, DAMMIT!) remained stuck in the can, unable to make it through the smallish triangle shaped hole on the side of the can lid. I punched another one and another one and another one, methodically going around the outside of the can, until I had managed to free the lid from the sides of the can and dump the tomatoes into the simmering rice. I did the same with the can of roasted Ortega chili peppers.

I then started to hyperventilate at the thought of some rogue shard of aluminum peeling off the multi punctured lids and being eaten.I spent the rest of the evening watching my kids and husband in case some piece of metal suddenly burst out of their chests, sort of like the Alien did to John Hurt.

Well, no one exploded, the tacos were good, the Spanish rice would probably have been better if I had had a can of plain tomatoes in the pantry, or at least a can of tomatoes and chilies and onions instead of the can of Italian ones I had, thus making the Spanish rice sort of European rice...Ortega chilies and basil with a hint of oregano. It wasn't bad though.

As of this morning, the dishes are still in the sink and the can opener remains MIA.  We're stone broke or I would have gone and bought another can opener at the grocery store, thus assuring the old one would show up because as soon as you replace something that's been lost, it pops up. You KNOW it, I once had to do that with a pair of Joan Rivers earrings I got from QVC.

And I'm sitting here, avoiding work and looking for recipes to make tonight that do NOT involve opening any cans. I had a lot of good stuff planned for the week-end meals because, well, it's my birthday tomorrow and I ordered a George Foreman grill from one of those catalog outlets which foolishly gave me credit in exchange for an outrageously inflated shipping charge. The grill is supposed to arrive tomorrow and I've got all SORTS of ground turkey and pork chops and chicken breasts, all to be slapped on the grill and served with fresh salad and corn on the cob.

Except now I have to move things around and make turkey burgers without the benefit of a fat fighting grill because I can't open the can of baked beans I was going to serve with the pork chops tonight. 

My father is going to stop by tomorrow morning for coffee, he's on his way to his 60th class reunion which is being held in the town bordering the urban village at 11am. I'm guessing this is the reunion equivalent of the early bird special. Anyway, he will bring me a card and, with luck, a cash gift which I can then use to buy a new can opener. Since it's my birthday I'm going to go the extra buck and a half and get the kind you bolt to the wall. And this is what happens when one turns looks forward to a new can opener and laundry money.

Oh, and just for the record? America HAS no talent.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"...and all your hammy glory!"

If you open the dictionary, one of those hip type dictionaries that add crap like "refudiate", and look up "Attention Whore" you don't find any words. You find this:

I used to kind of like Donald Trump. Oh, don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have voted for him if he were running for recording secretary of the PTA. And he has the 2nd worse taste of anyone I know. I once saw an episode of "The Apprentice" in which he brought the winning team to his home for dinner. I never saw so much gold leaf in my life.  Tacky, really tacky.  Although I know someone who thinks the combination of lime green, orange and turquoise blue is the classiest thing she ever saw. Oh, and there's that acquaintance who spent so much time and money painting her interior a dusty purple and a eucalyptus green. She did this on alternating walls of the same rooms, so the place resembled a very large bruise.

Okay, so Trumps taste is the 3rd worst I know. Maybe.

Anyway, here's what I think. They guy made a lot of money. He GOT a lot of money and he made it more and then he went bankrupt and then he made a lot more money and he's got very likeable kids who went to Wharton and seem to be rational. Yeah, I sometimes watch "The Apprentice." I don't LIKE the guy but I don't really object to him like I object to, oh, say Dick Cheney.

It doesn't take a brain trust to notice though, that every time the spotlight shifts to someone, or something else, Donald Trump starts looking like the above picture (which is public domain, least according to Google) and screaming that the President isn't a citizen. This is bullshit, btw. The guy has been in office for FOUR years...and that's just the office he has now.  Considering how hated this man is, doesn't Trump think that, if there was a way to disqualify him from holding office they would have done it by now?

Apparently not.

Trump has decided that the long form birth certificate, which Obama released a year ago because Trump wouldn't shut the hell up, is a forgery because the State of Hawaii has nothing better to do than forge people's birth certificates. Personally, I was hoping that Obama would personally bring the document to Trump, neatly folded five times to make it easier to deliver.

This was because Trump said that the abstract was proof that the certificate didn't exist because if it was real, Hawaii would have issued the long form. This makes me question why, every time I need to replace a lost birth certificate for one of my kids, the State of California asks for about 20 bucks and gives me an abstract, not a "long form." They don't issue long forms, they issue abstracts. But Trump says that's not how it works, which has me wondering why I don't remember being in Kenya when my kids were born, this being the only possible explanation for my possession of the shorter (and cheaper) abstract. Those drugs must have been better than I remember.

So yesterday Wolf Blitzer did six rounds with Trump, apparently Blitzer thought he could do what no man has done before - make Trump think rationally. Trump, from what I can see, now thinks that back in 1961 baby Barack made known his socialist wishes to be President and make young Donald Trump pay taxes. Five day old Barack managed to hatch a conspiracy with his Kenyan grandmother by which Obama's family placed TWO birth notices in two different Hawaiian newspapers, delivered, I guess, by carrier pigeon. 

When my kids were born there were announcements in the newspapers too. I didn't place them, the hubster didn't place them and none of my non-existent African relatives placed them. The newspaper gets a list from the local hospitals and prints it. Trump is way to busy finding more stuff to gold plate to know that. He is absolutely, positively, 100% sure that parents place these announcements personally. Not only that, it's common knowledge that parents of foreign born children do this in order to guarantee those children citizenship because, as we all know, anyone can legally enter the United States, live a public life and serve in a high profile government job without being caught and deported because someone put their name in a newspaper somewhere. Happens every day.

The press is all over Trump, btw, he makes for good copy. Okay, he makes for readers and watchers. This is the air that Trump breathes - hasn't anyone noticed that he's always fairly quiet while "Celebrity Apprentice" is running and this shit always hits the fan after the live finale?  And why doesn't the press ask him the question that's sitting there like an elephant..."Did you ask to see John McCain and Sarah Palin's birth certificates?" McCain, after all, was born in the Panama Canal Zone, Sarah Palin in LaLa land. Why didn't Trump give a rat's ass about THAT?

Why IS it that Trump and the other six birthers left in the country (all of them in Arizona, I think) only want to see the black guy's proof of natural born citizenship?

And just WHY is it that every "birther" starts every freaking declarative sentence with "I'm not a "birther" but..."   Come on, but upfront about it, we all know "birther" is a euphamism for "bigot" and I'd probably have more respect for those who at least owned UP to it. Not much, but more. Just say you're afraid the black guy is, at any minute, going to don colorful robes and a dramatic headdress, hold one of the girls up in the air while we all gather round and sing "The Circle of Life,"  make you eat chick peas and yams and be done with it.

I also don't know why Obama wants to even BE on the ballot in Arizona, he's not going to win the state and its 11 electoral votes and no one gives a shit about Arizona anyway, it's the Australia of the U.S. It's a lot like a penal colony and every crackpot who's ever believed Rush Limbaugh owns property there. The place is run by Jan Brewer and Joe Arpaio, who the hell wants to be on THAT ballot?

Want to know what to do about Donald Trump? DON'T COVER HIM.  The guy can't live without a spotlight. Every time Wolf Blitzer tries to reason with him Trump flourishes even more. Don't send cameras. Don't send reporters. If you're stuck at a Romney fundraiser (like he needs to raise funds) and Trump is there, edit him out of the pictures, jeez, even I can use Photoshop. Four weeks without publicity and Trump's head will explode. With luck - in Arizona.

Can't wait to see what the comb over looks like after THAT.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Taking care of business

Yesterday, for Memorial Day, we made the slightly over an hour long trek to Riverside National Cemetery or Memorial Park or National Park and Public Restroom or whatever the hell they call it now to make it seem like there really aren't a lot of deceased people residing there.

It's actually a rather cool and interesting place. Very pretty. Lakes, fountains, and this fascinating area with the names of every Congressional Medal of Honor winner ever on the walls and a sort of pool in the middle and lots of pretty marble. It's fascinating, you should look it up on line.

I don't know if it's supposed to look like an oasis in the middle of the god forsaken inland empire but it does. They also do a LOT out there on Memorial Day and Veteran's Day, programs, bands, things like that.  We went yesterday for several reasons. A) I still had a full tank of gas. B) There are upwards of 7000 motorcyclists who ride from a Harley Davidson store in Riverside to the cemetery on Memorial Day and the hubster was a bit askance at the thought of sharing a Memorial Day visit to his father who resides at Riverside with 7000 men and women on hogs. I don't care so much about the choppers as the noise I imagine 7000 of them make. There must be a reason they call this "West Coast Thunder" and C) it's supposed to be hot today. Hot here is dreadful, hot in the inland empire defies description.

The last time we visited, my FILs headstone had been set but the area he was in was still a dirt plot. I railed about the stone, it was plain (of course), but contained nothing about the man. Now, granted, there's a lot better left unsaid, but, well, frankly, I think that, if one is going the extra mile to actually inter someone (as opposed to dropping the ashes off the side of a party boat) one might actually say something like "put a cross on it" or "it should say "Joe Blow, Beloved husband and father" or something like that. It doesn't HAVE to require a lot of thought, even a little makes it less utilitarian.

Well, a) the sod is in. The area has been filled and is now grass, which looks nice. I could opine at the rather disturbing and methodical rate at which Veteran's cemeteries fill up, at least this one, but if you don't know that my telling you won't change anything. But...the marker has been replaced with a more personalized one.

Rule #1. If you're going to actually ORDER a marker, make sure it has the right name on it. Granted, the error was minor, but it changed his middle name. If ones name is John, for example, make sure John's headstone doesn't say "Juan".  It's just common courtesy for Crissake!  This is something my mother taught me, btw. She didn't teach me much, but what she did has been invaluable. I watched her bury a few people. She would visit the cemetery frequently afterwards, some of it part of the grieving process but some of it was the acknowledgement that cemeteries are a business and, as such, one needs to make sure that the business you have entered in to with them is done correctly. Sod was checked, maintenance was checked and, when set, the headstone was checked. Let's face've PAID for this, and it's up to YOU to make sure it's been done the way you wanted it. The person you buried or interred or entombed sure can't do anything about it (yes, I used to work for a cemetery, I know all the proper terms, like "entombed").  Gird your loins, fill your tank and make sure it's RIGHT.

Rule #2. NEVER write "He was never better" on a grave marker.

I really shouldn't have to tell you that. I suppose, if these people could stand me, I could have told them that, but, as they're way to too good to speak to people like me that's not gonna happen. Aw, hell, even if they DID speak me me with any kindness or courtesy they wouldn't have paid attention anyway. My MIL and SIL think they're fucking Hemingway. That's being used as an adjective, btw, NOT a verb. Although, in my SILs case, maybe not, she has always been friendly in her own way.

Apparently, my FIL was known for answering "Never better" when asked how he was. Neither the hubster nor myself remember this, although perhaps, we never said "how are you?" and just said "Hi", it's hard to remember. I have no problems with some sort of catch phrase or another on a headstone, I've actually seen more than one that said "I told you I was sick." My own mother's says "Beloved mother and Granmere" because that's what my kids called her. No, not the "beloved mother" part, even I didn't call her that but it seemed better than putting "crazy bitch" on it. Not that I didn't love her, I did, but she was nuts. Personally, I have already requested that, under the usual hearts and flowers on MY marker, it say "Yahtzee!" but I digress...

If you're going to write "never better" as some sort of tribute, or memory, for GOD'S SAKE...put in in quotes. It's a phrase, not a declarative sentence.

I take no issue with the second half, although frankly, I think my MIL (and yes, this has her fingerprints all over it) was simply finding a way to fill in all the space. He did touch a lot of lives. Not all of them for the better (just ask his sisters), but it's a sentiment and I'm fine with that.  I doubt anyone touches EVERY life they cross for the better but that's for another day.

Thursday, May 17, 2012 you want to know a secret?

The cliche in marriage, one of the many, is that men complain that women nag.

I never really thought much about this, it's something that's been around for, probably centuries, I know Dagwood complained that Blondie nagged him. Nia Vardalos made a joke about wifely nagging in "My Big, Fat Greek Wedding" but then Nia Vardalos isn't exactly the most original of writers. But it makes my point.

My husband thinks I nag him. My husband thinks that every single thing I do, 24/7 is directed at him anyway. I am not allowed to have any emotions negative OR positive when he's around, because he has, for the last 30 years, been convinced that if I'm frustrated because I got shortchanged at the market I am NOT really mad at the market, I am "yelling at him." Because there's not ONE action I indulge in, including breathing, that doesn't revolve around HIM.

I'm not gonna lie, as the years have gone 'round and 'round I have become more and more miserable, more and more unhappy and it's all gone to my hips because eating is about the only thing I can do that he DOESN'T think revolves around HIM. I am a person of emotion, happy, sad, sometimes frustrated, sometimes angry. Sometimes I grieve. Sometimes I panic. The hubster thinks that each and every one of these is because of HIM, any sound, any movement revolves around him and thus offends him and gives him the right to tell me to stop being happy, or sad, or angry, or frustrated or scared because I'm happy, sad, angry or frustrated at HIM and it's harshing his zen. The other day we were telling my son about something we had seen, we were together at the time and, as the hubster was going on, I interjected something. He stopped speaking and glared at me in stony silence. One doesn't DARE add to the sacred storey teller. He's done this for YEARS, btw, he's done it in public, he did it on Easter Sunday when we were talking with my parents at the breakfast table. When the hubster has the floor, which is 100% of the time, one must NEVER attempt to join in. It's HIS floor. IF the conversation HAPPENS to wander off to something he wasn't present for, like, oh, say, ME, he then stops speaking and stares out into space, thus prompting my father to attempt to bring him back into the conversation and, when the ultimate argument ensues after my parents have left, the hubster will claim that he has nothing to offer because we weren't talking about HIM. I have spent 30 years pointing out that this is rude and 30 years pointing out that I have spent 30 years listening to HIS family's same old boring travel stories and asking questions and laughing at the same out freaking story about them squirting whipped cream at each other around the pool because if I stared out into space in sheer, agonized boredom he would mop the floor up with me, not to mention the same, tired old "you hate, loathe and despise my family" comment he's used for the last 30 years too. We differ on the rude thing too. His mother, who had many  wonderful qualities along with a few iffy ones, raised her four children with table manners. His father felt the same way. There's not one of them who doesn't eat with their left hands placed lovingly in their laps. They don't put their elbows on the table. That, however, is what their parents defined as good manners. They all interrupt when others are speaking. None of them think before they speak, they all manipulate, they lie and not one of them knows how to pronounce "I'm sorry." And they ALL are convinced they have good manners because they use the correct fork for their salad.

But I digress.

Back to the nagging:. I realized last night that the reason men think they're being nagged is because none of them LISTEN.  On Monday, I gave the hubster TWO and only TWO things that he needed to do this week. To this end I actually set out the requirements to accomplish one of the tasks. He needed to put a padlock on a storage door. I left the padlock with the key on the end table. And he needed to go to the bank and get some information. That's it. TWO things.

The padlock still sits on the end table and he went to the bank, took some money out of the ATM and came home.

Last night I pointed this out and he says I never told him any of this and I'm just a horrible human being who spends every waking minute figuring out ways to make HIM miserable. Seriously? Does he really think I spend every waking minute thinking about HIM? I can't even comprehend an ego like that.

The other night I borrowed his ATM card, because, well, quite frankly, I there's wasn't any money in left in MY bank. This paycheck to paycheck thing sucks. Anyway, when I got back from the store I said "Here's the card back," waved it at him and set it down on the end table. Next to the padlock. Last night, I asked him for the card. He had no idea where it was. I said "I left it right here on the end table, where the cat is now sleeping. Did you pick it up?" His response was to get my older son out of bed and ask him for the card. My son said "it's on the end table."  Well, THAT deteriorated rapidly and, right before I left I said "The cat probably knocked it off, I'll check the floor when I get back" and got a 90 second tirade on how I'm just a horrible, miserable person who, apparently, gave him his card back in a deliberate attempt to spew hatred and bile. When I got back, I checked the brown carpet around the table for the brown card and, well DAMN! There is was, right where the cat must have knocked it off. THAT news was met with "oh, did you say something?"

And WHY did we go thought this? BECAUSE HE DIDN'T LISTEN!   Why am I nagging him to death? Because I have to keep asking him to do the two errands and every time I ask him if they're done he says crap like "what padlock?" and "you never said I was supposed to go to the bank, you said YOU were going to do it."

Now, I have had a somewhat emotionally disturbing month. In the big picture, there's nothing that couldn't be worse. But, well, sometimes it gets to me. While I know it's not as bad as it might be and I'm grateful my problems aren't any bigger, it still has made me very, very sad about something, some plans I had have gone all awry, I couldn't get the answers I needed to make a decision, I made the wrong one and it resulted in my losing something I wanted very much. Not to mention the neighbor and my fat ass. Well, last night I came home from work, looked at the hubster stretched out on the love seat and walked directly to the kitchen to make the King's supper. I then ate dinner, put the dishes to soak and went to the bedroom where I watched "Jane Eyre" and saw no need to turn the light on.

The hubster has NO clue why I did this and has decided it's because I enjoy being mean to him. Why? Because when I told him what was going on, which MIGHT explain why I'm somewhat depressed, .HE DIDN'T LISTEN.  Not only that, he can not wrap his head around the fact that maybe, just MAYBE, I'm reacting to something that DOESN'T REVOLVE AROUND HIM.


And yes, that word means what I think it means.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day...

Yeah, I said it. Happy Mother's Day. I avoided adding the popular clarifier from the 90s...NOT! Instead, I made up the work "clarifier." Think that dictionary that put that stupid made up word of Sarah Palin in it's latest edition is going to pick up "clarified"? Yeah, think again. At least I MEAN something, I know what I made up and why, I didn't say "refudiate" because I'm too stupid to walk and chew gum at the same time,

So yeah, Mother's Day. Here. Again. Somewhere here is yet another 1/4 pound box of See's Molasses Chips. Every freaking Mother's Day, Birthday, Christmas and Arbor Day, there they are. Now, it's not that I don't LIKE See's Molasses Chips, I DO. Very much. It's the decided lack of imagination involved. Know how I know they're here, somewhere, btw? Because the hubster and older son weren't home yesterday when I got back from taking my younger son to work and stopping at two different stores to get the best buys on stuff I needed for dinner because the hubster requested gnocchi with pancetta and asparagus, which was okay because I HAD the asparagus and I did offer that as on option. Well, they weren't home, fine, no big. Except that, as we're running on the razor's edge of overdrawn this week (rent due) I checked the bank account to see where we stood after I had spent 20 bucks and saw the charge from See's Candies.


I cut my calorie intake to 1400 after that lame ass neighbor accosted me for being a fat ass on a public street and they buy CANDY? 

However, I have to say how much I LOVE the candy because it's the thought that counts. Not that they put any thought INTO it, but, as a mother, one has to do stuff like this.

Know what I want for Mother's Day?   TREAT ME NICE. That's all, that'll do just fine. I remember, many, many years ago, when the boys were no more than 6. I was spending a lot of time with my mother, who had a condo in San Diego. Well, we went down there for Mother's Day week-end with her. I was out in back, by the car early that Sunday afternoon, not sure why, maybe getting ready to leave for home or run an errand for my mom or something. Well, a young man who lived in the building next door called over to me "I just wanted to wish you a very happy Mother's Day!"

That was SO AWESOME! They guy took a scarce 2 seconds out of his day to say something nice to the woman he saw wrangling little boys off and on. Damn...I never forgot him. The hubster has spent the last 23 years announcing "You're not MY mother." Well, I wasn't THAT guys mother either. However, his mother raised him right.

So anyway, here we are. Again. I've had a lousy week and it's finally over. A word to the year? DON'T buy me candy. Be nice to me instead. Give me ONE freaking day when you don't argue with each other. Put your dinner on a plate instead of piling the entree in a soup bowl and horking it down. Tell me it was terrific, even if it was just okay, don't give me a dismissive "fine" when I ask if you liked it. Take more that 50 seconds to eat it...try TASTING it for once -- it was GOOD last night.

Clean the toilet for me. Change the roach traps instead of me. Take a walk to the local mini mart and pick up some cat food instead of looking at me at 11pm and saying "we're out of cat food" as you're on your way to bed. Let me sit in the damn love seat for a change instead of flopping down on it at noon and staying there until bedtime. Stop blaming ME for the broken side mirror on the car...the one that I came out of a market and found broken THREE years ago.  I DIDN'T BREAK IT!

When you see me going through papers looking for something and ask what I'm looking for and I say "my ticket" stop asking "What ticket?" You've been asking that for the last four days, IT'S THE SAME DAMN TICKET!

Switch to an Internet provider that actually gives Internet. you think I can't figure out why you keep your laptop 18 inches from the wireless router? Do a load of laundry. Pick up your shoes.  When the dishes are all done and put away don't make a peanut butter sandwich and throw the knife in the sink for ME to tend to...wash the damn thing yourself! Just ONCE I would like to get up in the morning and not find your drinking glass full of dried milk sitting on the floor next to your chair.
Ride along with me while I go to Santa Barbara and pretend you like it. Remember my favorite color is yellow. This stuff is all FREE, guys. 

In short...give me ONE day when you don't annoy me. That's what you get to do on Father's Day. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A beautiful day in the neighborhood...

Someone...please save me from my neighbor.

We live in the front of an older, run down building in the urban village. I've often thought that I would like to move, preferably to a place where, when the heater goes out it gets fixed instead of getting a cheery "well, lucky it hasn't been a cold winter" from the landlord, which is his subtle way of saying "yeah, so what?"

There are two buildings that mirror one another with a smallish courtyard between the two. We have little patches of lawn and some lawn chairs and sometimes people wheel their grills outside and cook when it gets hot. In theory it's a nice place. The street is full of such buildings, duplexes, triplexes and such, all built in the 40s and 50s, with big, airy rooms. There aren't any security codes, no glass doors which require one to be buzzed in.

I kind of long for a glass door with a security code sometimes. Those places are newer, the windows work, they have dishwashers. But then I think, okay, when my father stops by he won't remember the security code and if he punches the buzzer and whoever happens to be  home also  happens to be in the can, well, he'll just leave and that wound make me sad.

I was thinking about this a few weeks ago when a very large tree across the street finally gave way with a crack that sounded like a canon shot. It was raining and there we all were, hanging out our windows to see what the HELL had just happened.  I called the City who transferred me to the police department who showed up about 5 minutes later and, having ascertained that the tree was blocking the sidewalk, called the City Arborist. Yes, we have an arborist here in the urban village. The tree was cut up enough to clear the sidewalk, the owner of the building tried to get them to remove the entire thing for free and, an hour later, it was all over.  About an hour after that I wandered over to look at the damage...the tree had snapped right off it's roots, which remained in the lawn. There was a small group of us over there, chatting and wondering how long it would take the owner to remove the tree, or what was left of it.

This kind of thing occurs in neighborhoods, not in large condos, no matter how new and clean they are. So it's a trade off, definitely.

Well, the other day I was on my way home for lunch, carrying a full basket of organic produce. My neighbor, one I know only as the owner of the cute white dog threw herself in front of me and announced "I want to help you."

Uh, help me what?

"I'm going to take you out and teach you exercises and fix you."

DANDY.   Lady doesn't even know my name. I don't know hers. I do know her dog's name though, maybe that counts for something. So, after 15 minutes of heartfelt "I'm going to fix you" and I'm standing there going "uh huh" and juggling the basket of wilting greens I finally extricated myself from her tearful entreaties and beat it home.

Is it me, or was that seriously over the line? Sure, I'm out of shape, I KNOW that. I need to lose about 80 pounds, does she think I haven't NOTICED? Not only that, I have no CLUE who the hell she IS! Well, she sent me into a bona fide funk that's taken over a month to get rid of. My son and a bottle of Captain Morgan helped.

I have NO idea what was in her head. I doubt her intentions were malicious but come ON. I doubt she has any clue what kind of damage she did to me with that, my casual relationship with the neighborhood hasn't been the same. I think she got the message that I do NOT want to spend my week-ends exercising with her, it's not the exercise,'s the company. Not only that but the fact that I have stuff I need to DO on the week-ends, I'm glad she's able to afford that nice 2 bedroom in the back for herself and her dog on her dog and people trainers salary but I have a job I have to go to and, frankly, it's not especially rewarding which is why this woman's casual 15 minute plea during my lunch hour served to add to my resentment.

Well, now I'm finding that, when I come home for lunch, the courtyard between the buildings is not closed off with some sort of temporary gates so she can train her dog off leash. Because, apparently, she's the only person who comes and goes during the day. This would be less annoying if every one's front door didn't open off of the courtyard. I have a back door and am able to go around, but it's annoying nonetheless. It means I have to go in my kitchen and that depresses me, the last thing I need is to see how many dishes I didn't wash last night.

After three incidents, she cornered me this morning. I was on my way home to grab my car and do a work errand, I did NOT have time to stop and chat. Well, she accosted me about the gate, if I didn't like it she would not use it. "Frankly, I don't really care" I told her. It's a lie, I sort of DO care, but then, in my mind it's just another nail in her coffin, another indicator that she doesn't stop to think about anything but what she wants.  To her, I'm sure it's just another sincere effort at being nice. I didn't slow and she continued to walk with me until I got in my car door and put my keys in the ignition.

I stopped short of telling her to just leave me the HELL alone. I would like to but we didn't do stuff like that when I was growing up and I have a hard time doing stuff like that now. For some reason, I feel better giving a cold shoulder than an out and out "go away", don't ask me why because I have no clue. Now that I think about it, the body language is probably nastier than an up front Garbo but, for some weird reason I feel I've been more polite if I don't say "go away" outright.

So, for now, I guess I'll just keep using my kitchen door. I don't like it much, but, on the other hand, it will inspire me to keep my little back porch swept, put the snowman with the red Christmas bulb for a nose away, recycle the bags of empty plastic bottles that are littering the 4 x 5 foot landing that serves as my back porch and maybe do the dishes once in a while. So, I suppose, all things come to a righteous end. Maybe she did help me after all. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

It takes courage to raise children...

As it's now May, I've been thinking about Mother's Day, which, as most of us know, is coming up in a couple of weeks. Most years, I pick my own day. My family, well meaning thought 2/3rds of them may be, are busy, and broke, and then, of course, there's the annual "you're not MY mother" from the hubster. Yeah, whatever, dude...

My older son, who struggles with learning disabilities and a mother who should be doing more for him, is sweet and kind and well meaning and has lots of ideas, but no money. My younger does not struggle with autism but the rest of it is pretty much the same. I keep telling them..."hey...know what I really want for Mother's Day? I want someone else to do the laundry. Or maybe I can get up and find my kitchen looks like something out of House Beautiful. Clean the toilet for me. I really don't need the corsage and the prix fixe meal thing."

Now I've planned a couple of nice Mother's Days for myself, but it seems weird to plan one's own party. A few years ago I decided I wanted to go to Hearst Castle and tour the gardens. It was pretty awesome, I've got to say. Now, granted, I'm one of those people who has no qualms about driving four hours up and four hours back, which helps. I dunno, gardens seemed a sort of Mother's Dayish thing to do and it was lovely. I also used to stomp my little foot and demand a trip to Vegas. That used to be hella fun because Mother's Day wasn't a big "let's go to Vegas day" and the rates were cheap. Alas, that is no more...seems there are a lot of mother's who want three hours unmolested in front of a nickle slot machine.

Mother's Day falls smack in the middle of a six week funk for me. It starts with my mother's birthday at the end of April, chugs along to Mother's Day, meanders through my birthday and eventually comes to a halt on the 4th of July which is, unfortunately, the anniversary of my mother's death. She would, you know. She totally would do that.

We had a rather contentious relationship, which may have something to so with my still mixed up feelings. Well, anyway, I've been wondering what to do on Mother's Day this year and figured that I'll probably end up doing what we've been doing for the last few years, which is nothing. The boys will say "Happy Mother's Day" and "I'm really sorry I'm broke and can't get you anything" and the hubster won't even do that much. Sort of like my birthday, wedding anniversary and Christmas, but I digress...

It's with this looming large that I found myself thinking about someone I used to know and, as it turns out, wasted my time on. But this woman is now (I'm sure of it, I see no reason she might have changed) planning a large Mother's Day bash, as her house, in honor of her. Her husband and three sons will be given their marching orders, as will her mother and mother-in-law. I'll give her this, she's pretty up front with her "HEY! YOU! It's all about ME" attitude. If her mother wishes to have any sort of Mother's Day from her daughter, well, she can just hie her skinny ass to over there. Because this woman is firm in her belief that everything is all about her. She posts this regularly, btw. Someone over there on the message board from hell will ask about Mother's Day plans and she will, in an oh so perky manner, post several paragraphs saying how she used to get stuck doing things for her mother and mother in law until she finally pulled up her perky big girl panties and slammed her perky flat foot down and announced "NO. It's all for ME! You want me, you come here!" Here being somewhere just east of nowhere and slightly south of "who the hell would want to live HERE?"

I mentioned to her, once upon a time, that I used to feel kind of used and pulled apart and I would wonder when it would be MY turn. Well, 12 years ago my mother died and 8 years ago my mother in law died and it WAS my turn. And I said she should suck it up and act like a decent human being because one of these days she would find herself with no one to order to her little tract house.

She informed me none of that mattered, because it's her turn now.

Really?   Look up "selfish cow" in the dictionary, you'll find her picture.

I'd like to say I'll be thinking of her on Mother's Day, and feeling sorry for her. Because one of these days she's going to be as alone as it gets. While she's screaming at people demanding they come and honor HER and marching her unwilling kids into some backwoods desert department store choosing just the right sort of bath salts for them to give her, I'll be sleeping in. We're stone broke, there's wont be much of anything except the normal greetings and apologies for being broke. But it's okay.

Because my kids aren't under indictment. They're well liked, MORE than well liked. A few weeks ago when I woke up at 4am with a fever and chills they regularly came in with tea and water and aspirin and meatball subs and hugs. My older cheerfully walked down to the local mini mart when I said I really wanted some 7 UP.

They say "Please" and "Thank You." They're not in therapy and they have no behavioral problems. They're hard workers and are kind to strangers. They help their grandfather. They're funny and interesting and sometimes, when they decided to do something like go to an early, cheap movie they invite me along.

So maybe Mother's Day will sort of slide by. And I won't demand that I be treated like a Queen because, well, a) that's not the way I was raised, I'm not comfortable demanding. I prefer whining. ;)

I told my former friend once that I always resented taking the requisite flowers to the requisite mothers homes and I used to hope some day I would be the one sitting around, waiting for someone to remember me. Now, I still take the requisite flowers to the requisite mothers - except it's not as time consuming. A couple of calls to a couple of flower shops at the couple of cemeteries and I'm done. She didn't get it. She never will. More's the pity.

I dunno...maybe Mother's Day is overrated. On the whole, my kids treat me pretty well. They're forgetful and broke and too busy for words. But they make me proud of them. And that is probably the best Mother's Day gift I could ever hope for. Sure beats a command performance brunch anyway.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

In my Easter bonnet...

Well, Lent has come and gone and with it, Easter Sunday. Always an interesting day. As usual, my parents come for dinner.

Except this year we weren't having dinner, so they came for Brunch. You know what this means? It means I lose the four hours of frenzied cleaning that takes place in the morning before any guests show up (at least the announced ones). It means that, as I finally sit down in the living room to talk to said  guests I see big dust bunnies clinging to the unvacuumed drapes. It means sheer exhaustion for me, no matter HOW carefully I plan and no matter HOW long before said event I start bitching and yelling and crying to try and get that apartment full of "y" chromosomes to realize that we have GUESTS coming and please, for Crissake, will you start picking up your unread magazines and unfolded underwear so I don't have to do it and would you freaking mind doing it sometime PRIOR to my getting up that morning?

Like that's gonna happen.

As usual, every effing thing that was piled up on every flat surface in the dining and living rooms was simply swept off in armloads and thrown into our bedroom, where they continue to reside. The living and dining rooms are, if hardly a joy, at least roomier right now, the hubster immediately pulled off the oh so classy vinyl tablecloth with the colorful spring flowers and there it sits on the sideboard. Yeah, I know, I used vinyl. I didn't have anything especially springlike and, at least here, Easter Sunday dawned bright, sunny and 80 degrees.

My carefully crafted brunch went to hell quickly. I ended up spending the entirety of Saturday cleaning. The kitchen was gleaming, the carpets were scrubbed and I made about three different trips to the store, prices being what they are now. I took one of the kids to work at 10 and picked him up at the following 10. He was sick and working 12 hour days, he wasn't a lot of help and I understand that.

The hubster helped by sitting at his laptop all day the week prior to the holiday, attending several parties in the evening and then coming home tired and sleeping til 10 the next day.

Now, here was my plan. THEY would de-clutter the apt while I worked from 9 - 6 every day before Easter. As we were closed on Good Friday, I would do the heavy cleaning, go to the market and attend services at 7:30pm.

Saturday I would shuttle the kids, get my haircut, maybe take in a movie and, on Saturday evening I would put together my brunch, which consisted of brunchy things that went into casserole dishes and were shoved into the fridge the night before. Then on Sunday morning I would get up, put the ham in the oven, write down the times to put the other breakfast casseroles, go to 8:30 Mass, stop by the market on my way home and pick up the fruit platter I had ordered earlier in the week and arrive, most likely, at about the same time my father and step mother did...except I would be in my Easter best, toting a gourmet platter of exotic fruits.

Well, at 1am on Sunday morning I finally finished two crappy Easter baskets having dyed the eggs about 10pm. I thought to hell with this crap and collapsed in bed. I had been working and running errands for two solid days and the hubster was whining about my not sewing up a pocket in a jacket he wanted to wear to yet another party. My Sunday plan now consisted of getting up about 7, cleaning the bathroom, showering, wearing the cleanest of the dirty jeans, dashing to Mass and picking up the fruit plate. The Church I attend actually had a 5:30 sunrise Mass, I considered that and decided, well, if I was up, I would do that.

Sunday morning dawned sunny and bright. I rolled over and fell out of bed. Assuming this was a sign of some sort, I waddled to the kitchen, passing the hubster in his pajammies, sitting at his laptop with a cup of coffee. I fell into the kitchen, poured myself a cup and lurched back into the living room where I looked at the digital clock.


I was seized with religious fervor and began my Easter prayers by shouting "HOLY SHIT, they'll be here in  45 minutes".

I shoved the unglazed ham in the oven, grabbed a scrub brush and, while on my knees (another homage to Easter) scrubbing the bathroom floor I yelled in the general direction of the boys room "Get UP, get UP, the Easter bunny came and your grandfather is on his way!"

We shoved the vacuum cleaner and the carpet cleaner into the bedroom with everything else (including, inadvertently, the cat) and slammed the door closed on the mess. About 20 minutes after my father got there I had to send him and one of the boys to the store to pick up the forgotten fruit platter.  I ruined the first batch of Hollendaise but the second one worked out better and, frankly, if it hadn't I didn't really give a shit.  My father asked me when I had gone to Church. I said I was going to 5pm, which, be default, had become my new plan.

My father and I drove my younger son to work at 1pm and we then were all finally able to relax for the afternoon, dishes done. It was a very pleasant afternoon.  Very. Except that the hubster had said he would be at an event 20 miles away at 4:30. On EASTER? I said when he told me about it. "No worries" said he, "if I don't get there, no big deal, it's Easter Sunday and we have plans."

That was all well and good until about 3:30, when he started looking at his watch and glaring at me. Then he went and got his windbreaker and flamboyantly inspected it and laid it out on a chair in the living room. At 4:15 he rather ostentatiously announced "my, it's's SO late! I need to be in the valley in 15 minutes."

My parents too the subtle hint and left. The instant their car cleared the corner we were out because, of course, I had to drive him. He could have taken a bus an hour earlier which might have avoided all the glaring and throat clearing but this way he didn't have to look up the directions in any detail. Off we went. But first, we had to go to Staples for a very special type of spiral notebook. Staples was closed. It WAS Easter Sunday. Back on the freeway, all the time I'm trying to get him where he wanted to go and hoping the Church in the vicinity of the place we were going was also having a 5pm Mass. Normally this wouldn't be an issue but Catholic Churches have a tendency to close on holy days, 5pm Masses are a rarity.  But THEN we had to stop at a Target, so he could find...yep, a spiral notebook. We pulled in to the empty parking lot, the hubster was outraged. "They're CLOSED!" "'s EEEEEEEEEaster!" I replied.

He settled for the legal pad I had in the car and we spent about 15 minutes trying to find out way into the street we needed, it being one of those streets that dead ends every other block so one has to go around and come in the other way, only to find out that you're still a block away.

A 20 minute trip took an hour. It was 5:20 and I was just going to go home, but my conscience was acting up and I turned right, to check out the neighborhood Catholic Church. Lo and behold, they WERE having 5pm Mass and, even at 5:25, there were some stragglers pulling in to the parking lot so, deciding better late  than not at all, I pulled in with my older son.

The priest was a charter member of the slow talkers of America. He was just finishing the Gospel and proceeded to give us a 23 minute sermon on the history of Easter. We woke up about 5:45.  The cantor directed us to turn to hymn number 596, "Lord of the Dance."

I was sure I had heard him wrong. I turned to hymn 596 and there is was. "Lord of the Dance," a slow and dreary re hash of "Simple Gifts." Fr. Slow talker then announced we would use Eucharistic Prayer #1 and proceeded to give us some sort of history of Prayer #1. Pope Clement had something to so with it, don't ask me WHICH Pope Clement, or if there was more that ONE Pope Clement. I decided that Fr. Slow talker must be a convert. If he was born and raised a Catholic he would have known that Eucharistic Prayer #1 is not known by the name "Prayer #1" but "Oh no, the LONG one."

After Communion he announced that the Parish had an Easter gift for us. Now, for some reason, two men had come down from the altar carrying Trader Joe's shopping bags right after communion and I thought "Hot Damn...Two Buck Chuck for EVERYONE!" But no...the gift was that there would be no announcements. Fr. Slow spent 10 minutes telling us how nice it was that there would be no announcements.

He finally turned to the congregation and intoned "The Mass is ended. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Hallelujah!"

Truer words were had never been spoken, and I responded "Hallelujah!" like a Baptist. 

We staggered out at 6:35 and headed home. As I stretched out on the love seat, shoes up, feet off, a ham sandwich in one hand and the remote in the other and turned on "60 Minutes" I told my son "Never again."  "Not until my birthday" he responded.

He knows me WAY too well, that one.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

"What is it that we're living for?"

I was told recently that I say too much and it isn't interesting. Well, okay, maybe it's not, not everyone is interested in what I say, just like I'm not interested in everything someone says to me. The point was, I should just say whatever I feel compelled to say in six words or less, thus leaving room for the person I'm telling to story to room to drone on and on and on about the entire list of every single person that has said "hello" to him (or her) in a particular two hour period, what subway station they were standing in when someone said "hello" to them, the tone of the speakers voice, their sex, how wide their smile was and did the person who said "hello" acknowledge the people the person telling the infinite loop of a story to me was with.

So. that being said, don't start me on Dick Cheney's heart transplant.  I'm kind of surprised that the story is about his new heart though. I would think that the medical miracle of someone surviving 71 years without a heart would be the bigger headline.  Moving on...

It's two weeks to Easter and I should be spring cleaning. Instead I'm spending a rather cold and soon to be rainy week-end driving to school plays.  Interesting thing, that - I don't have kids in any of the schools on the agenda, I never had kids in them, so it's not an alumni solidarity thing.  

Last night we were at a production of "The Wizard of Oz" which was put on by a parochial school's Drama Club. My older son is on their play staff though, so there WAS a connection. My LORD...we were treated like royalty. My older son and I were given tickets, gratis, and sat in reserved seats in the third row. I was initially annoyed because no one in the audience would shut up once the show started, and it was a charming, and in may ways innovative show.

But I realized, about the time Dorothy wandered into Munchkin land, that this  was a SCHOOL production. The auditorium was filled with parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and brothers and sisters and cousins, each and every one of whom was more excited to see their loved one on that stage than the performer themselves was to BE on the stage. We clapped in time to "We're Off To See The Wizard," I stopped glaring at people with flash cameras and tuned out the families whispering to one another about their kid up there on the stage.

I thought back to those times I saw my own kids up there on the stage of a school auditorium and how I felt - much like that scene at the end of "The Music Man" where a bedraggled Prof. Hill finally conducts the worst version of "The Minuet In G" known to man and a parent jumps up and yells "THAT'S MY BOY!" It was kind of odd be have no dog in this fight but it was also really cool listening to those who did. My own connection was unseen, calling light and sound cues in the back and, I've got to say, it was really an eye opener for me to see him before the show, outside (looking for us, btw) dressed in black with a headset on, talking to three people at once and being, for all intents and purposes, a professional - and a man, not my kid. That's one big WOW, I've got to say.

The kids were marvelous. I enjoyed watching them surreptitiously kicking an extra ruby slipper off stage, passing it from one one foot to another until they got it to Glinda, who stepped forward slightly and covered the wayward shoe with her voluminous skirt and sending it to sights unseen with a mighty kick. The Wicked Witch's broom broke in two, she nonchalantly picket up both pieces and carried them with her until she melted most convincingly.   Dorothy asked for, and received the broom from the flying monkey who handed it to her with the line "of course you can have it. Here, take both pieces."

And, as Dorothy clicked her heels for the third time, the sound of a familiar ukelele riff started through the speakers, the characters on stage stood quietly while the Wizard came forward and starting singing "Over The Rainbow" to the chart that because so popular a few years ago - the Hawaiian one. And the entire cast silent, in small groups, came from all over the audience to join him on the stage and then joined in the song and we all picked up the rhythm and clapped along  and, for a crowd that was about 50% white we didn't do bad either. They came up with an end to get Dorothy back to Kansas without any pyrotechnics and give the Wizard a song of his own and it was innovative, sincere and absolutely delightful.

My son (among others) was called up on stage for recognition, thanks and the presentation of mementos. They call him the "gentle giant" (he's 6'9") and in all the crowd on the stage he managed to get the microphone to himself in order to thank his crew by name. I couldn't have been prouder and I momentarily wondered who in the hell had raised him to be so amazing. I decided there's a lot more luck than skill involved in raising kids.

So this afternoon we head out to the West Valley again, a high school out there is doing "Fiddler On the Roof." My son knows some kids in the cast, he works with them in a summer program. This is the same school that did such a bang up job on "Barnum!" last year and I expect this to be just as good.

Yesterday we noticed that the private high school down the street was doing "The Drowsy Chaperone" this week-end and we tried to get tickets for their last show tonight but, alas for us and good for them, it's sold out.  We don't know ANYBODY at that school, even peripherally.  We just thought it would be cool to go.

What a joy it is to see the arts still in some schools. School is a miserable experience, I never really understood reunions, who want's to relive THAT (and yes, I go to mine, God knows why I hope because I sure don't).  But put a kid in a plastic hat and stand him on a stage and he comes to life. I don't believe only nice kids join the drama club, I truly believe that the drama club (and the choirs and the art and pottery classes and the band and the orchestra and all the rest) MAKE them nice kids. it gives them focus and accomplishment and, damn it, we ALL need someone out there cheering for us. 

When it comes right down to it, we don't need Prozac. What we really need, is applause.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Things undone...

My father in law died last year. No, this isn't news, nor is the the self centered manner in which his family handled the incident news. Even if I hadn't railed on and on about it, well, it's been almost 8 months. now.

My husband's cousin came down though, from the Pacific Northwest. I thought he might because, even though there was a LOT of bad blood between my FIL and his sisters, his sisters would never consider not telling their children (the hubster's cousins) what was, or was not going on, nor would they encourage their kids to attend, or not attend. Basically, they're totally cool people and I've always adored them. They treat me nice.  They have a sense of family.

My FIL used to talk all the time about how important family is/was, and his wife did the same. It was pretty much lip service, neither of them meant a word of it and I have no idea why they went on about it. I'm guessing it's because they were Italian and felt it was expected, my FIL practiced business in a way that world normally result in jail time, the only reason he didn't end up in the slammer is because his sisters didn't prosecute. And for this, my step MIL calls them names. I dunno, maybe it's some sort of Sicilian thing, we're Irish. And some German-I come from a long line of beer drinkers, all of whom are spoiling for a fight.  I will give the devil his due though, my FIL WOULD invite people into his home, he showed up for every play and graduation he was invited to and was always a warm and friendly host to those he was even remotely related to (which included my parents) or those he thought might pick up the check. He might badmouth you after you left but I was okay with that, it's what families and a lot of friends do. Does anyone think that the car ride home from their place was filled with our conversation about the newest Apple products?

His sisters (the ones who didn't prosecute and probably should have) are warm, friendly people, their husbands are warm, friendly people and all of their children are warm, friendly people. So much so that, when the hubster's cousin found us after the Funeral Mass and I mentioned  that I'd be right back, I was going to walk out with my father,  he said "Your dad? I've never met him...I'd like to." Now there's no reason my husband's cousin would want to meet my father but that's the kind of people they are. Su familia is mi familia. I'm really comfortable with this because that's the way it worked in my family too. When someone brought new blood in it came with sisters and brothers and parents and all kinds of people attached. The more the merrier was our motto, especially if we were holding a pot-luck.

This morning we found out that the hubster's cousin...not the one who flew down, but his sister, had died in her sleep. She was WAY too young for this, 12 years younger than the hubster in fact. It was a shock and I wondered why, when this happened on Sunday, we were just finding out today, too late to make the 15 hour drive in time for tomorrow's funeral and too broke to get a flight.

Well, it seems, I WAS sent an email, on Monday. BUT it went to an old email address, one I never use anymore and seldom check because it's full of junk like Payless Shoe Source ads. The hubster wasn't on the email list and I have no clue why he was missed, because he was on the address list when the brief email with her obituary came in late yesterday. In times of loss and other things, sometimes things get dropped or missed. I understand.  

Now, wouldn't one think that, in the wake of news that is shocking to say the least, that my self centered, egotistical, manipulative SIL would have at least sent a freaking EMAIL to the hubster asking if anyone was going, were we sending flowers, etc?  Because, while she refuses to speak to ME because I had the temerity to tell her that she did a crappy thing when she posted my FILs interment on her FACEBOOK page and never bothered to notify the hubster, which is fine with me. The not speaking part, not the interment part. But she actually sent him a handwritten note a few months ago, we're guessing she wanted something, in which she mentioned that one of her daughters was presenting her with a granddaughter this coming April. My point is that a) she tried to establish some sort of contact with him and b) she hasn't "unfriended" HIM on Facebook, which is what she did to ME, as did both my nieces (no doubt on command from Her Royal Highness, the Princess of Entitlement).

Now, one COULD say that she was waiting for the hubster to do the same but well, she's NOT stupid, she knows better. Not only that, she can read (she can't spell but that's another problem). She knew, just as I did, that her brother was NOT addressed in the email. And anyway, what if he was? There was a death in the family for God's sake...this is the time you pick up the phone, or pull up the email address book.

I squinched some out of my paycheck and am sending flowers, and it just isn't enough but, well, I don't really know what else to do. IF I left NOW we would have to drive all night to make tomorrow morning's service and, well, yeah, not gonna happen because, believe me, I would have left yesterday and splurged on a Motel 6 last night had I knows.

There's no moral to this story. No one's going to change. My SIL will continue to be a selfish brat who considers her daughter's pregnancy a gift for HER instead of a joyous event in the life of someone else. I should have updated my email addresses and clean out that box more often. The cousin should have taken a second to read over the addresses of the people he wanted to contact. My SIL should have stopped being a petty bitch and acted like a member of a family for a change...there's not a fight in history that couldn't survive a cease fire (except, possibly, the Tet Offensive).

But a warm and lovely lady suddenly took her leave, for reasons unknown. Her 3 children, her brother, her cousins and friends and her parents remain behind. I so want to be there, to show then how much I care for them, but a string of little things was knotted with an act of pettiness and I'm left to order flowers over the Internet.

How sad it is that people spend so much time doing crap like ironing the ribbons they use on gift packages that they miss the value of the gift itself.  I was actually considering sending the woman an email, but I have no idea what to say..."So sorry to hear of the loss of your cousin. Shame we didn't know about it..." probably won't go over well...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"...cabbage with a college education."

It's no secret that I'm chafing at the neck and every other place with regards to the classes I'm taking this semester. I have spent no small amount of soul searching trying to determine if I'm old and set in my ways. Just because I've adopted the annoying habit of using the work "Dude" every now and then doesn't necessarily mean that I'm adaptable.

It's taken me three weeks to figure out what's wrong and to understand why I'm pushing back. A teacher on my Orientation to College class has us blogging about how to do research. Because using Google to find things on line isn't enough. You have to use Google advanced search, because, apparently, we're not capable of reading the list of items that come up and figuring out which one pertains to the subject and that the one that says "Find Leprechaun sex at" probably isn't going to help you much. One has to explain ones thought processes and the steps one took on ones research that led one to eliminate as a source for a definitive social analysis of Leprechaun sex.

The teacher demands proof of search paths, notes taken during the search and, my favorite, a description as to what, exactly, we expect to find as we continue researching our topic, a topic, btw, we were assigned to pull out of our asses. Pick a topic then do a research paper on it. I about the high cost of textbooks?

But that's when it hit me...'WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO FIND?"

Information isn't specific enough. Knowledge, in and of itself, is considered worthless, it no longer has value because of it's own worth. The journey is of no importance here as long as it takes you to one, and only one place. Let's face it, if I knew what I was going to find, I wouldn't bother going there. Unless it's something like the bathroom tissue aisle at the super market, in which case, knowing what's at the end of your path is, most likely, beneficial to the max.

No...this is something deeper. I call it tunnel vision. It's the way students are being educated today. Pick one thing and learn about it. Know what you will have when you're done. There is one road and only one road, it goes to your goal and no where else. You know how kids (and by kids I mean people under 40, no offense) are always excusing their ignorance to announcing "that was before my time"? As in "This 1942 Academy Award winning Best Picture set in North Africa was originally cast with Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan" and, after standing and drooling for 5 seconds Alex finally says "Casablanca" and someone says "oh, I wasn't born in 1942." Really? That's an acceptable excuse?

Contrary to popular rumor I was NOT in the crowd when Anne Boleyn was beheaded - but I've heard about it.  Actually, there wasn't much of a crowd at all, Anne was gifted a private execution. Some gift. Know why I know this? I read about it. I was curious about something about Anne Boleyn and came across that fact. I also came across the extremely creepy fact that executioners held the heads of beheaded people up to the crowd so that the executed could look upon their accusers because it takes somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 seconds for the brain to know it's missing everything else. Yeah, I know, it's gross. Just thought I'd share.

Last semester I did a paper about John Steinbeck. I LOVE Steinbeck, always have. Well, the class was a literature class and my idea for the paper would have leaned heavily on the Great Depression. Well, when I was starting to do the research, I asked for (and got) an appointment to spend a morning in the archives at the Steinbeck Center. I was unbelievably stoked. I took vacation and spent money we didn't have. I spent two days in Pacific Grove, where Steinbeck had lived before he discovered he'd rather live in New York. Actually he lived in Pacific Grove because he discovered he would rather live ANYPLACE except Salinas, which makes the Steinbeck Center's location smack in the middle of Salinas a textbook definition of irony.

Anyway, I spend hours with papers in the archives. I spend hours wandering around the streets of Monterey and Pacific Grove, passing places the man passed, the house he lived in, the house his friend Ed Ricketts lived in, walking Cannery Row and going into Salinas, not by the freeway, but by the small, old highway that had been used to link the peninsula to the Central Valley for a hundred years. I wondered how many people wander that area and never think of John Steinbeck and how many people sense his presence every day. I went to the cemetery and visited his grave.

And when I finally sat down to put the paper together, sans any outline but for the compass in my head, I found so many intersections on the road to the Depression. There were turns and side streets and, eventually, as I was writing, I came to a fork and, as many times as I tried to take the road that would lead to my initial destination I finally gave up and followed the one that kept tugging at me, and my paper. I abandoned the Grapes of Wrath (to a degree, one can't do Steinbeck and ignore the book) and went back, years earlier, to a younger Steinbeck and a series of newspapers articles that just seemed to get under my skin.

That paper was some of the hardest work I've even done, my family can attest to my being a raging bitch during the week I wrote it. It was also some of the most rewarding. My professor, apparently, thought so too, out of a possible 200 points I got 199. I typed "of" instead of "to" and didn't catch it, there were a few misplaced commas as well.

The point of all this is that, by insisting papers be mapped out in detail before they are written, by stifling writers voices in favor of a non distinct style, in judging the framework instead of the content, in ignoring the words in favor of the placement of the indentations, in expecting, no demanding that the journey and the destination be mapped out in detail and the path never strayed from, the experience is lost and we're producing graduates with no knowledge of anything except their own field. People are perfectly comfortable defending their ignorance with the airy "that was before my time" excuse.

Years ago, economics majors had to learn history, being an accountant was no excuse to not know that Wellington trounced Napoleon at Waterloo.  A degree in literature did not preclude understanding that an object in motion tends to remain in motion and social science majors read "Twelfth Night"  - but no longer. Our colleges and universities are all just glorified Trade and Tech School, requiring a map for graduation, one set in stone with no stopping by the side of the road to read the historical markers allowed. There are no changed in itinerary allowed, and travel at one's on time can get you an "F" in spite of worth at the end of the journey.

No longer is a student ALLOWED to work at their own pace, they must work at the pace mandated by the classroom, and turn in weekly proof of that pace. I knew, and still know, people who do their best work only when the deadline looms large. This is not acceptable now, adequate work done at a pre-determined pace is preferable by far to brilliant work done during an all nighter. Soon no one will know that poor Anne Boleyn was railroaded, or that she was beheaded by a specially imported French swordsman who distracted her by rustling the hay strewn over the platform.  They will only know how to write software.

One of my favorite quotes is from Plutarch: "The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be lighted." Sometimes "lighted" is translated to "kindled" or "ignited." That's the problem with Latin. But I like "lighted" it's the way I first heard it. Schools are now just  filling vessels. Cram stuff in, fill it up and move them out. Where is the room for imagination, excitement, individuality, creativity? No wonder higher education has become a chore - a backbreaking, tedious, exhausting chore.  No wonder we're becoming a country of dull, overworked people.

Education is taking the easy way out. And we are all poorer for it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Try a little tenderness

The hubster and I aren't speaking right now. It won't last long, he'll need something and act like every thing's just hunky dory. My mother used to do that. She would go off on something, stop speaking and two days later start up a conversation as if she had never acted like an ass and nothing had happened.

It's popular to say women marry their fathers but that's a crock. They marry their mothers. My father picks up after himself. He takes responsibility for himself and he willingly volunteers to help people when he can. He's got faults, Lord knows, he listens to Rush Limbaugh and that's not the half of it. But, on the whole, he's a fairly decent guy, except when he was divorcing my mother but, from what I gather, 98% of decent people turn into Bernie Madoff when they get divorced so, not that I forgot it but it's not unusual for the circumstances.

When my father retired, he had to downsize. He moved to the week-end place on the mountains, which he loved. He didn't have nearly as much room and he got rid of a LOT of stuff. When we lost the house, he told me that it was hard to downsize when he did it but he was glad now. He didn't get rid of anything really important to him and he discovered all the crap he had been keeping wasn't nearly as important as keeping a roof over his head, being able to have friends, being able to walk in and be clean and comfortable. And now he can't even remember what he got rid of because, in the long run, tangible things just aren't all that important. Reading the latest Ken Follet novel is great, and passing it on to someone else, or donating it to the local thrift store so someone ELSE can read it is also great.

My mother, on the other hand, had no idea what to do with the people who loved her so she treated us like crap. She used us, ignored us and manipulated us. I was her cook, her housekeeper, her chauffeur, her bookkeeper, her mechanic, her plumber and her business manager. She was a child who continually turned to me to make her decisions for her. "I never learned how to do this stuff, your father always did this, I can't learn now, I'm too old." She was 64 when she died, btw. She was too old to do her own grocery shopping but she didn't even qualify for freaking Medicare! She was a lousy housekeeper (but still better than my MIL and the hubster) and she had a garage full of boxes of carefully packed crap - my grandmother's slips.  Seriously...she had a box full of her mother's slips. She didn't even like her mother.

In many ways, I married her and I think that's why the hubster and my mother hated each others guts - and don't think they didn't. They were SO alike. The hubster was in Vegas when she died and told me he wasn't going to bother to come back a day early for her funeral, he had lunch reservations with some business friends that day and he and my mother didn't like each other anyway. I called his father who said "I'll take care of it." My FIL called me back about 10 minutes later and said "He'll be there." His father had called him in Vegas and told the hubster that he needed to shag his ass home for his MILs funeral, she was his sons' Grandmother and it was just the right thing to do. The hubster called me 10 minutes later and gave me his new flight number. He also maintains, to this day, that HE just thought it over and decided it was the right thing to do, which is bullshit. His father yelled at him. Whatever.

I have a VERY long fuse. But I have a fuse and, eventually, it reaches the gunpowder. And last night it did. I have been spending the last few months doing nothing but driving people all over the face of the freaking earth because no one else in my family has a drivers license. We have ONE car. It was the one the hubster drove until his license got suspended for not paying his speeding tickets and he decided that it would be easier to turn his license in and just get an I.D. than to take a bus downtown, wait in line at the courthouse and get a court date so he could work his problem out. But, of course, we had to keep THAT car and not mine, mine being, well, mine.

I have spent 18 months getting the car we still have straightened out. The registration hadn't been paid in three years, that took a while. The hubster seems to think that registering the car is an option and he apparently likes paying 100% penalties on it because it's his way of donating to the State.  Then there was insurance, it needed new tires and still needs to be aligned and tuned up. But now it's up and going. And so am I.

I pick people up and drop people off. The hubster has developed a habit of saying not to worry, he's going to take a bus and then sitting there staring at me while the bus went by 15 minutes earlier and saying "I thought you were going to give me a ride." And, as the buses in this area run every six hours or so, I end up giving him the damn ride so he won't be late to what is usually a party. For the last two weeks he has been on a project to move a dozen large boxes from the house of the person who has been storing them for him because the guy, unreasonably, told him to get that crap out of his place. A dozen large boxes of...wait for it...VHS tapes. Do you know anyone who even HAS a VHS player anymore? Me neither. But they're genre tapes and, of course, GOLD. We HAVE to move them. AGAIN. We've been moving them from place to place for THREE years now, because no one wants them. No one. He's convinced they should go to a museum. You the sci-fi museum and say "hey, I have 600 sci fi movies on VHS and I bet you want them real bad." Um, no. Said museum doesn't answer his email. He takes this as a reason to continue to lug these boxes around. I take this is an in "hell no, we don't want your old tapes."  No one wanted my grandmother's slips and no one wants VHS.

Every few days I get this "oh, I'm enlisting a friend to help, you don't need to do anything" and then tells me "We have to go to Joe's tonight for those boxes" because his friends don't call him back and offer to move those damn things either. So we go to Joe's and stuff boxes in the back of the car. We can't put as many in as might fit because they might touch the headliner and we can't have that. We have to then drive around with the boxes in the car and the back seats folded up and out of commission until I'm told to drive them  20 miles west and help carry them into the office of someone to babysit them, someone who, quite obviously doesn't WANT them in his office but does the hubster pick up on the message?

Then we do this all over again. Last night, we pick up MORE boxes. BUT I have to pick up the kids so we have to take boxes out so I can use the back seat again and we have no room to put them because, even though we can't pay the rent we have to maintain two full storage units because the hubster doesn't see downsizing as an option..Then we go back for the last boxes and do it again. And again. Hauling boxes 20 miles out and back.

Anyway, last night, it was 7:15 and I'm off work at six and hadn't been home yet. I drop off the hubster and leave to help a friend jump a car then then I have to go to the store and get something for dinner, go home, cook, do the dishes, give someone else a ride to the west valley and I tell him this and the hubster says "Okay. See you later."

NO! It is NOT "okay". It is NOT okay for me to work until six and then not get home until 8 and start cooking dinner because no one ever stops to think that maybe, just MAYBE, they're taking advantage of me. It is NOT okay that I'm living in a place where the carpet gets vacuumed only when I do it and I'm expected to spend my evenings doing it- and doing dishes and robbing Peter to pay Paul and trying to work in homework and worrying about the rent. It is NOT okay that I come home at lunch to find the sink full of dirty dishes and the hubster in his pajamas. It is NOT okay that I'm expected to rent extra storage for CRAP he hasn't looked at in over three years. It is NOT okay that the cupboards in the bedroom are filled to the brim with old magazines and newspapers that are still in their protective plastic mailing wrappers and have been that way since we MOVED! It is NOT okay that I have 1/3 of the closet because the hubster refuses to put his clothing on anything except wood hangars while mine stuff is crammed into three ween of slimline hangars. It is NOT okay that I come home to an unmade bed and five foot piles of dirty clothes all over and I'm expected to take it all to the laundromat after work. It is NOT okay that he spends the 2 hours  a day he's not playing games on his laptop flopped on the love seat watching yet another effing rerun of "CHOPPED". It is NOT okay to complain you need a haircut if I mention I need a haircut. It is NOT okay that the carpet is full of black spots where the cat pees and no one ever cleans it except me. It is NOT okay that we can't get to the windows to open them because of all the boxes piled up in front of them and it it NOT okay for me to keep hauling it to an unrewarding job while everyone else sits around waiting for something that is suitable for their skills. It is NOT okay that the vacuum and the carpet cleaner sit in the living room because the closet is full of shopping bags and souvenir t-shirts from conventions that were supposed to bring in work and brought in bills instead.

This attitude, btw, is what the hubster feels is irrational hostility on my part and thus the current lack of communication which, I know, will thaw the minute he needs something.

Does anyone ever do something just BECAUSE anymore?  Does anyone ever stop and say "hey, she's working 40 hours a week, wouldn't it be nice for her to come home and not smell the litter box?"  No, it's basically, wait as long as possible and don't do it until she finally loses her temper and does it herself and then complain about her losing her temper.

That song is right, you know. I do get tired wearing the same worn out clothes day in and day out. I get tired fighting with this mop of hair, it hasn't been cut in months. I get tired not being able to have a manicure every now and then. I'm tired of using the six year old glasses I'm still wearing.

We had our picture taken for a magazine last year. The stylist let us keep some clothes. The hubster, instead of being happy to have new clothes for free, bitched that she hadn't given him the shirt he really liked. So I found the shirt he really liked and bought it and gave it to him for Christmas. I finally shook it out and hung it up a few weeks ago, price tags still attached. 

And that's the way THAT goes...