Open Book.

Posted in WhatNot on July 30th, 2014 by Diva

There is a question I’ve been getting a lot lately. It comes from people who’ve known me for more than a decade but haven’t seen me in a few years. The words vary, but the sentiment is the same:

“Why aren’t you aging?”

Flattering, yes, but I was perplexed the first few times I was asked. Aren’t I aging? I mean, can feel it. My knees tell me when to expect cold, wet weather. My lower back has insisted on a standing desk for at least part of my day. My hands and fingers ache every morning until I get the muscles and fluids moving. It’s become impossible to keep my weight down, even with lower caloric intake and increased workouts, something a string of doctors has all said “just happens” past a certain age. (That’s a warning for those of you in your 30s – lose it now or it’s not going anywhere without drastic measures.)

My nightstand looks like a pharmacy: Ibuprofen, lotion, heel care pads, Sam-e, Vaseline, and three different kinds of antacids for each kind of heartburn I regularly get. No sex toys, no personal lubricant, just things that bring me relief of a totally different kind.

I have a pair of reading glasses in every room of the house, including the bathrooms. They’re not just for reading, but for putting glue on fake eyelashes and ensuring I’m not trying to brush my teeth with cortisone cream instead of toothpaste.

Did I mention the toothpaste is for sensitive teeth? Something my dentist says “just happens,” too. (Taking notes, kids?)

I used to get the hair on my head cut and colored every six to eight weeks, but now I do it every four to five. This is because color washes off grey faster than any other natural hair color. I really need to get it done every three weeks, but I haven’t reached the end of that rope quite yet. And while I want black hair up there, thanks to evolution’s joke – that is my oncoming menopause and the testosterone boost that comes with it – instead I pluck thick, black hairs out of my chin and cheeks every day. Every. Day. One of them is a distinctly grey hair on my upper lip.

And guess what, ladies? Nose clippers aren’t just for manscaping. Get yourself a magnifying mirror and behold the fur escaping your nostrils, as I did. It’s a hoot!

I’ve recently been to an ear/nose/throat specialist to clean impacted wax out of my ears. I’ve had a colonoscopy and a heart stress test. My eighth mammogram will be in the fall. I see a doctor at least once a month, sometimes more.

I even see the slow march of time in my elbows, but beyond the physical, I talk to myself in public places now. I wonder if a pack of bandages is too big or too small, I comment on the price difference between the brand name and the generic, and I cluck at an item I can’t believe exists – who needs a 12-volt crock pot for their car, anyway? – all aloud and to no one in particular.

I don’t expect an answer. I don’t even really know when it started, but now that it has, I notice other older folk doing it. Maybe those homeless people who mutter are just carrying on a long tradition of natural aging.

More than all this, though, I’ve started calling out the impolite. People who don’t hold open doors get a “Really?!” as easily as the kid who spits on the sidewalk in front of me. One day, probably soon, I know that one word will be followed by, “Were you raised to be so rude?” and I will probably be stabbed. Unless it’s a hipster, because they only use sharp words.

Oh, yeah, I forgot: Aging folk can’t stand the latest youthful zeitgeist. For me, that’s hipsters.

And remember how your parents or grandparents would get upset when you used something and didn’t put it back exactly where and how you found it? That’s really a thing. I used to find “a place for everything and everything in its place” a funny quirk, but now I realize it merely means I don’t have to remember where I left something. The memory … well, let’s just agree she ain’t what she used to be. I know because I used to be able to get all the way to the next room before forgetting what I was doing. Now it’s about 10 feet.

Mind you I’m not complaining about all the myriad ways I feel or act these days. It is what it is. I can’t turn back time any more than Cher could. I’m just explaining why, when faced with the “Why aren’t you aging?” query, I get a tad confused. Like with mental illness, not all of the symptoms are readily visible. And part of me wonders if it’s not just a little, eentsy-weentsy bit sexist to comment on a woman’s appearance, even if she is an old friend? I mean I sincerely appreciate not looking my age, but don’t think for a moment talking about it isn’t superficial, because that’s literally what it is. (Look at me, using literally correctly, unlike kids these days. Harrumph.)

We all know we should talk accomplishments, travel, health, work, personal interests, families, and other topics with women – scratch that, with all humans – and leave youth, beauty, and/or sex appeal alone. But my, we are a visibility-based species, aren’t we? Trust me, I’m just as guilty as anyone on this: “You look like you lost weight” and “You’re looking good these days” have been go-to comments to people I haven’t seen in awhile. I even told my niece she was very pretty a few times before I realized she needed to hear she’s smart and capable, too.

Listen, most older women, including me, have stopped worrying about this roll of fat or that one, whether our eyes are symmetrical, or if anyone sees that mole with the hair in it. You can’t stop aging, but you can age gracefully. That begins with removing the superficial and learning that all-important lesson moms have tried to instill since forever: It’s the inside that counts. Because she was right, it really is.

This particular book has hundreds of amazing chapters. It is a shit ton more than its dust jacket. Your book, too.

I’ll do my best to see beyond the cover if you will.

Story ain’t over yet.

Hypothetically Speaking.

Posted in SoForth on July 25th, 2014 by Diva

He knew from experience that true and obvious ideas, such as the ineffable wisdom and judgment of the Great God Om, seemed so obscure to many people that you actually had to kill them before they saw the error of their ways … ~ Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

For pondering:

Just for a moment, suppose Mexico, based on a religious text and teachings from their faith-based leaders, decided it’s necessary to wipe out Arizona and all the people of a different belief who live there. Some even believe Mexico has to annihilate both the state and the heathens / infidels / what-have-you to reach their own end times / rapture / what-have-you.

Brazil, who shares the faith and supports the Mexican cause, supplies Mexico with rockets and launchers. Mexico starts lobbing these willy-nilly into Arizona. The rockets aren’t great technology and they rarely, if ever, hit a populated area, BUT there are hundreds of them coming across the border every day for weeks.

Mexico has also dug tunnels across the border into Arizona solely for the purpose of gaining intelligence info, small terrorist attacks, and the occasional kidnapping of an Arizonan.

Arizona, for it’s part, saw all this coming – Mexico has been outspoken about it’s plans for decades, if not centuries – and has built a system that can take most of the rockets out. They have also amassed weapons from supporters, like California and Texas, which could wipe out Mexico in about a day, give or take.

Arizona, knowing that with a bigger army and vastly superior firepower comes greater responsibility, drops evacuation messages into certain areas of Mexico, warning residents they are about to be bombed from the air. These notes say that when a dummy missile lands nearby, there are 5 to 7 minutes to evacuate before a real missile lands.

Arizona keeps their word. Each dummy missile is followed by a live one. They bomb the hell out of areas from where the Mexican rockets were being fired.

Mexico moves their rocket-launching operations to schools and hospitals, using a variation on the old “You wouldn’t hit a guy with glasses!” trope. Arizona wouldn’t ever, in a million years, bomb a school or a hospital, right? WRONG. But instead of evacuating said schools or hospitals in 5 to 7 minutes when the dummy rocket lands, they stay in place … then complain to the international community about how Arizona is killing innocent children.

Arizona swats the gnats. Mexico keeps sending them. Arizona repeatedly warns Mexico that retaliation is imminent. Mexico seems surprised when a ground war starts.

You see the problem here? I mean besides this is all about whose religion is more right and deserving of a particular slice of land than the other?

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, and expecting a different result each time. What is happening between Israel and the Palestinians happens again and again: Hamas wants Israel and all Jews eradicated; they use what they have at hand to make that happen; Israel bombs the shit out of them; everyone retreats; repeat, ad infinitum.

I’m not pro-Israel. I’m not pro-Palestine. Both sides have their issues. What I don’t understand is why the Palestinians try the same strategy repeatedly, knowing full well what the end result will be. Further, Israel has been lobbying hard to have the full support of the rest of the world and one day, when they think they have all the allies they need, they are going to lose patience and bomb Hamas out of existence.

Trust me, if the Mexico / Arizona scenario ever happened, Mexico would be an empty crater … in one day, give or take.

Hit the “snooze” button on the Israel-Palestine situation enough times
and eventually the clock becomes a time-bomb. ~ Shira Tamir

Just Say No.

Posted in WhatNot on July 25th, 2014 by Diva

Atheism rises above creeds and puts Humanity upon one plane.
There can be no “chosen people” in the Atheist philosophy.
There are no bended knees in Atheism;
No supplications, no prayers;
No sacrificial redemptions;
No “divine” revelations;
No washing in the blood of the lamb;
No crusades, no massacres, no holy wars;
No heaven, no hell, no purgatory;
No silly rewards and no vindictive punishments;
No christs, and no saviors;
No devils, no ghosts and no gods.

Joseph Lewis, Atheism And Other Addresses

Trust in Me.

Posted in SoForth on July 23rd, 2014 by Diva

In the spring of 1975, my father received orders for the next stop in his military career: We were to go from upstate New York – a mostly rural area if not for the base – to Honolulu, Hawaii.

For those who wonder how I handled the culture shock of arriving in Albuquerque from Los Angeles in the late 80s, there’s your answer. No stranger to culture shock here, but that’s not what this story is about.

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but my mother was terrified of most of life – heights, spiders, telling her daughters what to expect when they each got their period, bridges, large crowds, blood – but she was most phobic about airplanes. When we were shipped from Central California to New York three years prior, she had insisted we drive it in the new family car (an early 70s Ford LTD Sedan – Google it for a hearty laugh at a car considered “safe for kids” back then). I was just 5 during that trip and thus recall precious little of it, but at 9 … well, 9 year olds remember. Even stuff you don’t want them to.

Maybe especially the stuff you don’t want them to.

There were several conversations, some hushed and some not-so, about how Mom was going to get to the Islands. At one point Dad told her she could row a boat for all he cared. WE WERE GOING and that was that.

What finally changed her mind about it, I think, was a phone call where her own mother told her she had to at least pretend to be strong for her kids (meaning me and my three siblings of course). Mom’s fears and phobias still made an impression on us, sure – I don’t kid myself about that – but they could have had much more impact if not for the strength she exhibited outwardly during that trek.

She still insisted, however, that we drive from New York to Los Angeles to visit our extended family before we left. So off we went, on a road trip to end all road trips, in the summer of 1975. But again, that’s not what this particular story is about.

This one is about trust and how to lose it in your 9 year old daughter.

***

I don’t know what military moving is like now, but in the 1970s, it seemed easy-peasy to a kid. Some moving company would show up, pack up all your belongings, put it on a truck, and it would be delivered at your destination after you arrived. All Dad had to do was tell the person assigned to show us around our new city what flight we were on and when.

We arrived in Hawaii much later than anticipated, but still in the early evening. We were met and loaded up into a big van by our assigned greeter and taken to a local, military-friendly (read: didn’t mind getting paid for the rooms on gubmint schedule, that is to say consistently late) hotel. We ended up in one room with two beds for all 6 of us, which was fine – kids are small – and were told to try to nap. Mom and Dad lay down with us for a bit, too, but one of us was 6 weeks old, in diapers, and on a two-hour feeding schedule.

So, after a short nap and after making the youngest comfortable and happy, my parents, in their infinite wisdom, opted to leave me in charge. They trusted me, they said. I was old enough and I knew how to make a warm bottle of formula and change a diaper. It was true, too; I’d been doing it since I was 6 or 7, when Mom had given birth to the penultimate kid. Besides, they were just going to pop down to the bar and be right back. Nothing to worry about.

Several hours later, after a diaper, a feeding, and watching the late shows on the small hotel television, the 3 year old suddenly vomited. All over the bedspread and onto the floor. The poor kid didn’t even wake up for it.

I had no clue what to do. There was no phone in the room (a regular occurrence for hotels in the 1970s). I couldn’t leave because I didn’t have a key and I was afraid I’d be locked out. I paced for a minute or so and then, resolutely, I propped the room door open with a shoe and took the elevator just a few floors down to the main lobby.

It was then I realized I had no idea where to find the bar.

Crap.

Put on my moccasins, here, Kemosabe: I am 9. My 6 year old, 3 year old, and newborn siblings are alone in a hotel room, one of them is very sick, and I don’t know where to find either of my parents.

As has been a consistency throughout my life, I didn’t panic. I’ve always been a thinker and a pragmatist. Let the emotion go, because it’s pointless, since it doesn’t help the situation. The only way to get out of it is to think about how to get out of it.

As I pondered my options, I paced back and forth between the front desk and the elevator, and a hotel employee took notice and asked if they could help me.

“Yes,” I said. “My parents said they would be down at the bar and my brother’s throwing up upstairs. I need to find them.”

My parents had rounded the corner as I said this, all smiles and (now I can see plainly and obviously) quite drunk, and as they approached my father clearly said, aloud and to me:

“You’re quite the little story-teller.”

Then, to the hotel employee:

“We’d never leave our kids alone in a hotel room.”

Aaaaand scene.

***

That event alone would be enough to make some kids distrust their parents, but in my case, the coffin nail came the very next day.

We were all down at the hotel pool. My parents were getting to know the official military greeter from the evening before and his wife over drinks. The newborn was sleeping on a lounge chair nearby. The rest of us kids were in the pool, less than 10 feet away.

The thankfully-not-vomiting-anymore 3 year old had been told to stay on the steps in the shallow end a dozen times but, as young ones do, wanted to follow the older kids. Hence the first time two of us swam away toward the deep end, I heard a splash and turned just in time to see the kid go under.

I yelled for help before swimming underwater back to the steps. I yelled for help when I came out of the water near the submerged and struggling toddler, who was just a tuft of hair visible above the water line when I got there. Then I calmly reached under, picked the coughing and gasping child up and out of the water, walked up the steps, and placed my load gently in front of the adults.

“Drowning,” I said.

Maybe it was my delivery, which was irritated, fearful, and a bit cold and collected for my age; maybe it was their guilt on not realizing what the yelling was about through the haze of liquor; maybe it was the sudden onset of embarrassment at such an example of bad parenting in front of new friends; whatever it was, it caused my mother to utter:

“That’s ridiculous. Look at him – he’s fine!”

***

Aging is a funny thing. First you spend time looking back on life and wonder if things would have been different if your parents had done A, or if choice B would have changed things, or even if C would have made a difference. Then you have that realization your parents were human and very, very fallible, so you probably would have arrived at A, B, or C eventually, if only by another, perhaps more circuitous route.

But now? It doesn’t matter. Not one iota. If my parents hadn’t essentially called me a liar to a hotel rep, if my sibling had actually drowned, that would all be part of me. I wouldn’t be here, as I am, without all my life experiences put together.

So why write about it at all?

My niece is 9. She will remember. Even stuff you don’t want her to.

Maybe especially the stuff you don’t want her to.

“I’m not upset that you lied to me,
I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Still Weird After All These Years.

Posted in WhatNot on July 18th, 2014 by Diva

I’ve been a fan of “Weird” Al Yankovic since way back in early 1980s, when I first heard My Bologna and Another One Rides the Bus on the Dr. Demento radio show.


Click here for the original song, My Sharona by the Knack


Click here for the original song, Another One Bites the Dust by Queen

I’ve lapsed listening here and there over the years, not because I don’t enjoy his work – I loved White & Nerdy though I’ve never heard the original rap by Chamillionaire all the way through – but because I haven’t kept up with the pop music that forms the basis of his parodies. Parody, like satire, only works if you’re familiar with the original.

Yankovic started releasing videos for tracks from his new album, Mandatory Fun, online this week and I have to say I’m really enjoying it thus far. Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard Pharrell’s ubiquitous earworm Happy and Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, but what I love about these first two tracks is the subject matter Yankovic tackles: Being selfishly impolite and screwing up the English language.

Basically, the etiquette-oriented, grammar-correct nerd in me rejoices.

He’s followed these up with Foil, a send-up of Royals by Lorde.

Until yesterday, I had never heard Fancy by Iggy Azalea. Now that I have I can say I haven’t missed much – I’ve had my fill of “be rich and beautiful like me” songs – but I do like Yankovic’s take on it.

Nearly every “Weird” Al album has a non-parody, original track and this morning we got The Sports Song (which for some odd reason won’t embed here, so you’ll have to click the link to see it), which pretty much sums up how I feel about sports. Sure, we go to a few hockey games every year and I did kinda get into the World Cup, it’s not the same as knowing player names, stats, history of teams, and so forth. Sports nerds are still nerds, of course, just a different kind. I doubt many die-hard Raiders or Heat fans can quote Monty Python, Twin Peaks, and obscure 1990s Comedy Central sketch shows.

That sounded way cooler in my head. Heh.

Anyway, this “release a video a day for eight days” is genius. It got my attention, though I highly doubt I’m the target demographic, and regardless of whether some people understand how such viral marketing works.

Getting the word out about a product is hard, but I think this plan is a winner. The album was at #1 on iTunes yesterday.

Take that, Varney.

Sports!

Insult to Head Injury.

Posted in WhatNot on July 16th, 2014 by Diva

I have three siblings, all younger than me. We are each almost exactly three years apart in age, so the youngest of us – for the purposes of the following exchange, I call him Brother 2 – is 39 this year where I am 48.

I received a text from my sister, the second in the line of us, last night. Below is the conversation that ensued. I don’t promise you’ll find it as hilarious as we do; I just wanted to save it here for posterity.

Perhaps to prep you, here is my first Tweet of the evening:


And my second:


I have joined up text messages where it made the story more easily read and made [editorial] notes where necessary.

Enjoy!

***

Sister: I’m in the ER @[local hospital]. Had a lil accident@work. Head got split open thanks to a dolly & a box of paper. Ya, long story… looks like I need stitches. Maybe a CT scan cause that shit hit me hard! Will call u when I can.

Me: Well, you wouldn’t be one of us if you didn’t occasionally trip up & need stitches. *LOL* Keep me posted…

Brother 2: Rest up and take care of yourself first… I’ll take the usual “no news is good news” [family name] approach. I’m sure the docs will say this, but if you develop ANY sort of headache/nausea from here on, get yourself back to the ER.

Sister: Will do everyone. Hate waiting in the waiting area. I’m 5th in line so hopefully I get in back there & get my stitches & ct scan soon. I’m cautious when it comes to head injuries. No Sonny Bono shit for me.

Brother 2: I was thinking Natasha Richardson myself, but same deal. :-)

Sister: That’s Liam Neilsens (sic) wife right? Was thinking about her too, just couldn’t think of her name. Bono died at the scene I think. She left & thought she was fine. Fuck that… I will make sure I’m good b4 I leave this place. No screwing around with blows to the head. That dolly hit me so hard & it happened so fast. Then came the blood… there was so much blood.

Me: So… buy yourself a ski helmet? They’re on sale here. *giggle* And head injuries bleed a LOT. That’s why Mom panicked so bad when Brother 2 fell onto the coffee table and split his.

Sister: I kept myself as calm as I could while 911 was on their way. Got myself to stop shaking… Just kept calm thoughts & didn’t look at all the blood running down my face.

Brother 2: I remember when Brother 1 stabbed me in the head and cut my scalp… that shit bled so heavily…

Me: Wait… Brother 1 stabbed you in the head?!

Brother 2: He was slicing something on the counter and I bent down to get something out of the dishwasher just as he lost control of the knife, which glanced my skull. Always cut toward yourselves, kids! *snerk*

Sister: I remember. Brother 2 bled a lot… twice. :-) I look like a mummy. I’ll take a selfie. Husband’s on his way back to be my advocate & push the staff to get me in back. When I stand I get woosie (sic) so… Told em no neck pain, but now my neck is hurting. Think I’ll mention that.

Me: I’ve never heard that story… and cut away from yourself indeed.

Sister: Haaa! I’m not too concerned w/laceration… more w/the blow. Think metal 2 wheel dolly popping fwd when 50#’s of paper dropped onto it. Ya.. like a metal pipe to the head. I still can’t believe it happened.

Brother 2: Wow. Congrats on the concussion, I guess. Have Husband kick some ass for you… how the hell are people getting priority over head trauma?

Me: I think Husband will have the staff there in line shortly. Sometimes having an asshole around comes in handy (yeah, I said it). And woozie is def concussion territory, be careful there.

Sister: Priority 123=Heart attack/strokes/severe car accidents. I was brought in by ambulance (no lites/sirens again damnit! [allusion to a previous emergency room visit]) They assessed me in back… I’m about to go tell them my pain levels at a solid 9 now. Brother 1’s not on this thread… I had text message going on with him b4 this happened. Tempted to fwd some of it to him. Especially the cutting Brother 2’s skull part.

(A moment passes, then)

Ya… I’m not feeling good right now. Afraid to stand up tho. Husband should be back soon. And he’d take [being called an asshole] as a compliment. [This] is a Catholic hospital. So u know what the waiting rms full of, right?

Me: Quit concentrating on your phone, prob making your head hurt.

Brother 2: Priests with their dicks stuck in choir boys?

Me: Guaranteed if you stand up and pass out you’ll get priority… LOL Brother 2

Sister: One word: Bored

Me: Pope says that’s only 2% of the clergy – so mathematically there would only be one in a full emergency room. At a Catholic hosp, anyway. Less at Cedars-Sainai (sic). I’m sick, by the way. Quarterly strep. Seeing a specialist bec 4x/year is a bit much.

Sister: Indeed! Thanks for the laughs. ;-) That sucks… Ya, too often. Let me know what happens.

(After awhile)

Sister, this time with photo of head bandage: How’s this? Please don’t post on “Hot or Not” :-) Paramedic did this.

Brother 2: ALLAH HU AKBAR! LOL

Me: It’s like the old-timey cartoon toothache wraps. Also note it looks a lot like a ski helmet… Just cracked my man up with Brother 2’s comment.

Sister: Might wanna pick [me up] a helmet. [Daugther’s] with me now. Asked if that was like Achmed the Dead Terrorist.

(A few moments then)

Sister: Praise Allah… I’m finally in back, waiting on ER doc o’the night.

Me: Yep, that kid is def one of us. Tell her SILENCE I KILL YOU. My man says he’ll be disappointed if you don’t say WHAT’S UP DOC (he immed thought of Bugs Bunny, too)

Sister: I will so do that! Thanks (my man)… it does look like a [circa] 1900’s toothache patient don’t it?

Me: I need to shower (just now feeling up to it, think laugher has something to do with it), but keep texting. Want to know what the doctor says.

Sister: Ok

(Finally my other brother joins in the conversation … and all the exclamation points are verbatim)

Brother 1: OMG you look like Joan Crawford in mommy dearest!!!!! Looks like her sleep guard apparel!!!!

Me: HAHAHAHA NO WIRE HANGERS

(Is this where I mention Brother 1 is gay?)

Sister: Love it! :-) Just wanna get the f outta here now… come on Doc. Lets move this along. This happened at 3pm. Was in the ER before 4… I’m hungry & cold… My wound is still bleeding & hair’s matted down…

Brother 1: I knew you’d know where to find the doctors and the drugs!!

Brother 1 sends pics of his partner’s birthday dinner, then: Oh ya sorry hope you feel better soon sis… Love ya now beat it… (Txt later cya)

Sister: Happy birthday Partner! Hope you’re having a wonderful birthday my dear

(This speaks to my family: my sister is seeping blood out of her head in an emergency room and still sends well wishes to a family member. Jeebus, we are a polite bunch. Then, quite awhile later)

Me: Doc say anything important?

Sister: That I did a very good job! Gash is approx 2-1/2” long, through to the skull… took 4 staples to close it. Gonna take a pic

Brother 2: Hopefully they didn’t go too deep and now you can’t do simple math. Quick, what’s 6 X 7?

Me: Holy crap, OUCH! Well, Mom always said if you’re gonna screw up, do it big.

Sister: ?

Sister: 42

Brother 1: OMG!!!! LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!

Me: What day is it and who’s the President? How many fingers am I holding up?

Sister: I’m Batman…

Brother 1: Omfg!!!!

Brother 1 (again): Sis, Sis???

Me: Man & I both are laughing our asses off here, but srsly, glad you’re ok.

Brother 1: LOGAO [yeah, I don’t get this one either]

Me: (from my man) two words: worker’s comp

Brother 1: Laughing our goddamn asses off! Sorry Sister love you but how in the fuck did you manage to tear your head open in the way you did??!!! I mean damn girl!

Brother 1 (again): Ooopp good one Sister 1 [that would be me]!

Brother 2: Word! Get some of that Gubment money!

Me: Don’t go directly back to work tomorrow. And avoid MRI machines and magnets.

Brother 1: Holy crap! Milk it, milk iiiiiiiittt!

Me: My man says to go to a piercing studio and see what they’d charge for head staples. Someone will see yours & think it’s intentional.

Brother 1: We are glad you’re okay, (remains to be seen). Hope I see you and the Niece out here for some r&r soon. Take care and hope it doesn’t hurt too bad. :-(

Sister: I could start a new fad

Brother 1: Sister 1 you’re fuckin sick!!! Love it!!!!

Sister: I’m outside waiting for Emily* to pick me up I got out of there before they tried to collect their $100 copay. I’ll explain how the accident happened later my cell phone battery is super low

(*This is where my sister’s phone corrected her husband’s name to Emily. We don’t know why, but it was hilarious.)

Me: That [one] was [from] my man, but I laughed, so we’re both going to hell.

Brother 1: It hurts! Laughing way too hard here!!!!

Sister (who was now on massive drugs and just noticed the auto-correct): Who the fuck is Emily????? Did anyone else catch that or was it just me?

Brother 1: Ya who is she? It’s just you….. NOT

Sister: Jesus… fucking voice text! My new tattoo/staple artist… Emily

Brother 1: Sister, they give you some black pills or dark orange?

Me: Sister can taste colors now.

Brother 1: Seriously?? (Sister 1). Ha!

Sister: I can taste the whole mother fucking rainbow right now

Me: You know us. We laugh at funerals. And head wounds.

Brother 1: Oooo skittles, I like those.

Brother 1 (again): Um, ya… We are all going to hell you know! I mean Brother 2 told me that when he caught me smoking weed years ago!

Brother 1 (again): Sorry Sister. Sleep well, and heal quick.

Me: Ok, your battery is low, I’ve got a cold, & my man’s got a 6am flight, but call if you need anything. Really. *hug*

Brother 1: Love ya. I’m out. I’ll fall tomorrow.

Brother 1 (again): *CALL

Me: And tell your daughter she can’t have head staples until she’s 21.

Brother 1: DAMIT GET WELL ALL!!!! Cya.

Me: :-)

Brother 1: Ouch! Omfg!!!! Love ya. I’m out. I’ll fall tomorrow. [He didn’t catch the typo the second time.]

Sister: Just for the record and shits and giggles later, I am saving this entire thread. Thank you all and I will talk to you all soon

Me: So am I. :-)

Brother 1: Okay! Sweet! ;-) Just for the record Sister 1 was the most brutal, well Brother 2 had some great comments, Brother 1 not so much! :-(

(quite a bit later)

Sister sends first photo of the staples: Ok… here ya go. Husband says it looks more like 2” to him. Right on the top of my head… couldn’t have done better if I tried.

Brother 1: Partner says use a ball peen hammer next time! Nice part though. Damn, you did a doosey (sic) there! Ouch. How are you feeling?

Sister (another, better photo): This ones better… Tired & got a headache. Other than that, peachy! Gonna lay down. Love to all…

Me: Yikes… and wrong direction for the mohawk I pictured in my head.

Brother 1: OMG! Brother 2’s [cut to the head] was better! No I’m sorry that has to hurt. Damn! Partner: what were you doing under the box to begin with?

Brother 2: Dayum… yeah, I think you earned yourself some vicodin-fueled sleep. Take it easy there, lumpy. I kid because I care. :-)

Me: What Brother 2 said. The caring part. :-)

Brother 1: OMFG Brother 2! Partner: “you cannot fit your skull in the paper tray of the copy machine!”

Me: Whew! Thank your Partner for me, cuz that was totally on my calendar for tomorrow. :-)

Brother 1: Partner: “no selfies using the copy machine!” Dude that’s not cool, we have cell phones for that now! Partner: “which part, stuffing her head in paper tray, or using copy machine for a selfie?” Not cool dudes.

Sister: I’ll explain exactly what happened after I pop my vicodins… maybe tomorrow. Emily’s calling me.

Me: Really, g’night. 4am will be here before I know…… zzzzzzz

Brother 1: Lmfuckingao

Me: Emily again?

Brother 1: I love you Sister…

Sister: Was gonna call [Aunt] today & wish her a happy hatch day right before it happened. It’s her fault.

Brother 2: Love you all, but the phone is going on mute. Driving to Seattle tomorrow.

Brother 1: At least my Partner took vacation or I’d be up at crack of dawn driving his ass to LAX/ONT! Good night. Love ya Sister!

Sister: When I did a voice text earlier you guys, I was trying to say Husband is picking me up but the voice text said Emily

Brother 2: G’night John Boy…

Brother 1: Dude go to sleep! And my Partner says “use the legal size tray next time, it’s larger!”

Me: Figured, because I can’t picture you with an Emily. Maybe a Sue or a Terry…

Sister: Night all….

Me: G’night.

Brother 1: Gud night.

***

For the record, she’s fine. Husband woke her up every two hours as prescribed for potential concussion. She said today the top of her head felt like it was on fire and she had a massive headache, but all is well.

Good thing. I don’t know what I’d do without any of those jerks.

Or 21st century text technology.

Nowhere Men.

Posted in WhatNot on July 16th, 2014 by Diva

Last fall, my man and I talked about the deadlines for the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, and decided the GOP was going to lose its battle against the legislation based on the implementation dates alone.

The calendar was genius, really. Mandates that helped poor and/or working families kicked in between the end of the Supreme Court case and the 2012 mid-terms, which meant some folks who really needed the help would have access to preemptive health care – physicals, regular screenings, and the like – for free. I noticed because the insurance co-pay for my mammograms and annual physical check-up stopped. It also meant college students could stay on their family plan to age 26, which helped keep the total of the average student loan lower.

The major deadline, which was at the end of March this year, was sandwiched perfectly between the 2012 mid-terms and the 2016 ones. This means Republicans don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of repealing the ACA, no matter how many votes they take, no matter how many states refuse to take federal money to expand Medicaid, and not even if they sue the Obama administration.

This is because the system is, perhaps surprisingly, actually working. Clicky these links for proof:

The Urban Institute, Commonwealth Fund, Gallup, and RAND all agree the number of uninsured in this country has fallen significantly.

The Kaiser Family Foundation reports 57% of those now on the plan were previously uninsured.

Hobby Lobby vs. women’s access to contraception notwithstanding, other lawsuits against the ACA are being tossed out for the frivolous stunts they are.

Then there’s the Schadenfreude moment for those of us who back Obamacare:

The Brookings Institute recently reported all those anti-ACA ads, mostly funded by the now infamous Koch Brothers, may have backfired, i.e., the ads succeeded in informing more people of the plan’s existence than the actual ACA ever did.

But this … this is the worst news for the GOP yet:

About 74% of Republican voters who have signed up for government healthcare like it.

Not only are people who would vote for another Democratic presidential candidate on the plan and liking it, people who wouldn’t vote for one are as well. I think it’s safe to say every time a GOP rep, pundit, or supporter says something rash, untrue, or stupid about the ACA, more and more people just don’t believe them.

The Obama administration knew this would happen. They planned the calendar that way. And it’s been nearly perfect on its own, but now add Latinos/Hispanics who are sick of the current immigration “debate” (in quotes because there isn’t one as far as the GOP is concerned), women who are fed up with a government who gave some employers control over what their female employees can and can’t do with their own bodies (the Hobby Lobby decision), and the rising support across the board for unpopular-among-conservative causes like gay marriage, and you’ve got yourself a nice big pot of FUCK YOU, GOP.

Unfortunately, they won’t see it until it’s too late, but that’s the way of the True Believer.

Evolve or die.

Do the Right Thing.

Posted in SoForth on June 27th, 2014 by Diva

When I make my periodic treks to New Mexico, I usually stop at a specific gas / fast food / convenience store complex in Trinidad, Colorado. It’s one that is close to the road, but I like it for the clean restrooms and all the usual amenities of a truck stop without the trucks. Plus the parking lot is huge, which is helpful for me, since I usually pack my own food and need a spot to easily make a sandwich or mix a salad.

On my return home this past trip, upon exiting the ladies room, I noticed a crisp $50 bill on the floor. There were but three people around at the time and none of them looked as if they’d lost anything as important as half a hundred bucks, so I picked it up and put it in my pocket.

I had no intention of keeping it. Unlike some folks, I don’t take what’s not mine, at least until I’ve ensured no one is going to claim it. I’ve been the person who misplaced cash that was going to be my rent, get me enough gas to get home, or otherwise provide the means to continue living, not just cash I had around for fun. And I’ve been lucky that each time it happened, a perfect stranger found it and gave it back to me.

So I approached the lone cashier and asked if anyone had reported missing money. I didn’t mention the amount so as to keep anyone with nefarious intent – including the kid behind the counter – from saying, “Oh, yeah, that’s mine.” Fifty bucks is quite a lot of money and only the true owner knows what amount they lost. No sense in making the search a free-for-all.

The cashier said no, so I told him I’d stick around to see if anyone reported it and went about my business. Lo and behold, not a minute later, a lovely young woman with a 3 year old girl in tow arrived at the register and asked for $60 on pump number …

… she had only pulled a $10 bill out of her pocket. I saw the panic cross her face. I really felt for her in that moment, having been there myself.

Before I could make my way to the cashier station, she was retracing her steps on the other side of the store, starting to get a bit frantic. As I rounded the corner, I said loudly, “Ma’am? Ma’am! Did you lose something?”

She turned to me, wide eyed, and all she could murmur was, “Fifty,” but of course that’s all I needed. I pulled the bill from my pocket and handed it to her.

She didn’t respond with gratitude – she never even said thank you – but I didn’t care. Still don’t. I did the right thing and I’ve been riding on the high it gave me for days now.

I LOVE paying it forward.

Love it.

It’s Really Like That.

Posted in WhatNot on June 18th, 2014 by Diva

Every town has a street like Colfax Avenue, but only Denver has the genuine article. But I don’t need to explain when Karl Christian Krumpholz has done it for all of us in a regular strip titled 30 Miles of Crazy.

This past weekend we picked up the bound anthology of the strip at Denver ComicCon.

30-MILES-Cover-V1-NEW
Image used without permission. Buy a copy so he’ll forgive me.

The stories told within these pages need little-to-no embellishment. Colfax is truly one-of-a-kind and the truth of its high weirdness is better than any fiction.

For example, just after we left the con we headed over to Lion’s Lair – a Colfax dive if there ever was one – for Kooky Kitsch, a weekly Saturday event where DJ Frank Bell plays weird and wild tracks. I adored it, but I love really esoteric music – the more obscure, the better.

There were a lot of drinkers of course, ourselves included. This made for quite a few “special” conversations, a ton of laughter, and quite a few “WTF?” moments, but this … this is what had me giggling the rest of the night:

Quarter Machine Dollar

That’s one of those “insert a quarter and some other quarters might fall” arcade machine with a dollar bill in it.

I don’t know who “they” were, but they were doin’ it wrong. Or maybe they did it right. It is Colfax after all.

Get the book – you’ll see.

Dooo eeet.

I Am the One Who Knocks.

Posted in SoForth on June 17th, 2014 by Diva

The absolute most polite thing you can do to keep religious, political, or charitable folks from knocking on your door is a NO SOLICITING sign, right?

We have an over-sized one on our door here at home. It is laminated for weather, with white letters on a black background, and placed strategically on a light brown door.

It’s not easy to miss, yet about once a week, someone still knocks. This drives me slightly nuts, as I’m usually busy doing something much more important than being polite to strangers on my doorstep.

But it occurred to me recently, after answering for another set of religious types, that maybe some people really don’t know what NO SOLICITING means. The term is a tad antiquated and our educational system isn’t quite the best, right? So ignorance is as valid a reason as people just choosing to be rude.

Either way, here’s a primer on the verb on the sign. The definition is from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, but I modified the examples for brevity and to apply them to the people who come to our door in particular.

***

SOLICIT (as in SOLICITING)

transitive verb
1 a : to make petition to : entreat; b : to approach with a request or plea
2 : to urge (as one’s cause) strongly
3 a : to entice or lure, especially into evil; b : to proposition (someone) especially as or in the character of a prostitute
4 : to try to obtain by usually urgent requests or pleas (intransitive verb)

intransitive verb
1: to make solicitation : importune
2 of a prostitute : to offer to have sexual relations with someone for money

Examples of SOLICIT
1. Soliciting donations for a religious, political, or charitable organization.
2. Soliciting funds for any other special interest group not mentioned in (1).
3. Soliciting new memberships in a religious, political, or charitable organization.
4. Soliciting new memberships in any other special interest group mentioned in (3).
5. Soliciting bids on a project.
6. Soliciting business for a company.
7. Soliciting opinion(s).
8. Soliciting customers (as in prostitution).

Origin of SOLICIT

Middle English, to disturb, promote, from Anglo-French solliciter, from Latin sollicitare to disturb, from sollicitus anxious, from sollus whole (from Oscan; akin to Greek holos whole) + citus, past participle of ciēre to move — more at safe, -kinesis

First Known Use: 15th Century

***

I am sorely tempted to add the following, print it all on one sheet, and start handing it to anyone who rings the doorbell …

Conclusion:

“No Soliciting” means “Do Not Disturb”

Please share this fact with others in your business or organization.

Thank you.

… but rude shouldn’t be met with rude. Rude should be met with, “I’m sorry, we’re not interested, there’s a sign on the door saying so.” Which is exactly what I currently do.

Cuz high road.

Always.