Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Religious Freedom and Baby Killing

Came across a story today in the Washington Post--a sad tale of a woman with a highly treatable form of leukemia refusing transfusions and dying, taking her almost 8 months-gestation fetus with her. The reason?

Can you guess?

That's right--Jehovah's Witness.

She was offered the opportunity to save this fetus via c-section, which would have made chemo possible for her.  For pregnant women who follow this course of treatment, there is an 83% remission rate.

She refused.  Because c-sections for women in her position also necessitate blood transfusions.

Think on this.  This woman was so deluded, so completely enthralled by mythology that she allowed herself and her child to die.  Her whole hoped-for future gone because she couldn't see past the ridiculous fairy tale she'd been hammered down with.

That's "freedom of religion" for you.  But the end result?

Dead baby-to-be.

Where is the screaming?  This happened in 2009, but it's just now getting attention.  Where is the outrage?  Where is the freaky "right-to-life" crowd?  I'll tell you where they are--they're hiding, because they have no answer here.  Because they believe their right to religious freedom entitles them to crawl into people's lives, their faces, and bully, insult, and threaten.  If they challenge HER religious right to kill that baby, they also challenge their own religious right to be overbearing douchebags who do all they can to legislate their ridiculous mythology.

And while we're at it, where is the "sentence the junkie whore to life in prison because she used drugs while pregnant" crowd?  Often the same crowd, yes, but sometimes not.  Where are they?  The folks so quick to hate and condemn and threaten women in the throes of addiction?  Why aren't they shouting?  I see a whole bunch of "Oh, what a sad thing" and "Gosh, what a terrible situation for her to be trapped in."  But I'm seeing a serious dearth of "crazy, stupid woman killed herself and and her baby" shouting.

So is it about LIFE, or is it about people toeing a particular line, regardless of whether or not that fetal form is preserved and brought to fruition?   My money is on the latter.  Because if "a life is a life," that applies to ALL, even the convicted killers, even the rapists, even the drug dealers, and even the hungry children of the aforementioned "junkie whores".

And yes--even the fetuses at eight months gestation who could easily have survived a c-section, had the woman carrying it not been a religious nutbag.

And before anyone gets wadded up, I am absolutely pro-choice.  My issue here is the sick hold religion has on people and the hypocritical way the "lifer" crowd is looking the other way rather than using their formidable collective whinging to decry the "murder" of this "baby" by its mother.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

They Don't Even Remember Who I Am

I'm writing this here because no one reads this blog.  No one reads it, and therefore I can throw this out into the world, feel like I've expressed myself, yet remained safely anonymous.
My son is well into his teen years.  All his life, I've been fat.  All his life, I've beaten myself up, struggling to NOT be fat, to lose enough weight to keep my appearance from negatively affecting his social life. You see, I had a grammar school friend with a super-fat mom. She wore shapeless, brightly-colored muu-muus and yelled a lot.  Woman hated me, but that's a different story.  I didn't care about her weight, except that I deeply pitied my friend because of the endless abuse she took from other kids about her mom. Any argument, any fight she found herself in could be ended with one sharp "at least my mom's not a whale!"
Kids love their moms.  Usually, anyway.  And I told myself I would do whatever it took to NOT land my son in that same place. I was not going to put him in a spot where he had to choose between his peer group and his fat mother.  I have agonized, starved, obsessed, and self-hated.  I have crawled deeper and deeper into a hole that keeps me well-separated from the world.  And I have taken to hiding upstairs when his friends are here so I don't embarrass him.  I've only met two of them, and one seemed completely put off by my size.  Kid wouldn't even look at me.  Eyes kept darting away as though I were something dangerous looking to leap at his face.  
I've always been very conscious of my size.  I was a "normal-sized" kid until around second grade, at which time my weight ballooned in a scary fashion.  I went from 48 lbs to 98 in one year.  My parents, rather than take me to, say, an endocrinologist, decided on ridicule and loathing as tools to reverse my expansion.  My mother wasn't so bad--she mostly just groused about my size when it came to clothes shopping (an endeavor I quickly learned to hate).  She'd hold up pretty, NORMAL girl clothes and lament my size.  My father, on the other hand, went nuts with the out-and-out attacks.  While my sister and I were not permitted to choose our serving sizes (food was doled out by mom), and we were admonished to finish everything on our plates (not finishing meant no dessert, and possibly a shouting at, a grounding, or a smacking), we were held accountable for our sizes at a very early age.  I remember being eight years old and my dad shouting "How about we stick a fork in that piggy paw and drop you off at the city dump?"  Followed by pig snorts.  I sometimes agonize over the thought that maybe I have, at some point, said something hurtful enough to my son that he will remember it always.  I hope not.
By the time I hit 10th grade, I was weighing in at 235 lbs.  I know, you're so horrified!  I weigh SO much more than that now!  The social pressure was devastating--boys either laughed or ignored, while girls either pitied or pointed.  Sure, I had some friends--some thin, some about my size, a couple heavier.  I think of the popularity hit my thinner friends took, hanging out with me, and I am forever grateful.  
Middle of tenth grade, it happened.   That triggering event, the catalyst.  My friend had gotten a beautiful black '69 Camaro.  Being, as it was, the coolest car on campus, some of that cool attached itself to me, and I found myself being treated pretty well by kids who normally would have blown me off or openly ridiculed me.  Then came the day.  It was first lunch, which meant the classes in the English wing adjacent to the back parking lot were still in session.  My friend and I were standing next to her car.  Beside it was another car; a black '68 Mustang belonging to one of the football stars, a young man named Jeff.  My friend and I were laughing, talking, and, as she lounged on her own car's hood, I leaned back against the fender of Jeff's Mustang.  It was only a minute or less before he exploded out the back doors of the English wing, shouting at me to get my "fat, ugly ass" off his car.
The laughter around me was uproarious.  And I was devastated.
I left school a few minutes later, walked home.  Sat on my mom's bed for a few hours, her .38 in my hand.  And I made a deal with myself.  I had six months to stop being fat.  If I failed, I would kill myself.  
I succeeded.  I began exercising obsessively--quitting school so I could dedicate hours a day.  I stopped eating.  Period, just stopped (and my periods?  They just stopped, too).  One day a week, I was allowed solid food (and two nights a week I was allowed four "lite" beers).  I started smoking in earnest, jumping from a smoke or two, not inhaled, each afternoon to almost two packs a day.  And the weight fell off me.  Never mind the bleeding gums, the thinning hair, the constant headache, dizziness, and trembling.  I lost 100 lbs in six months, and kept losing.  By the next Christmas, I weighed 103 lbs and my size 1 jeans were too loose.  I remember victory turning to disappointment when I realized that getting my pants in the kids' section meant pants with snaps instead of buttons.
Can you guess what happened when I went back to school?  The girls who'd despised me wanted to buddy up and the boys who'd cracked mean "sex with fat chicks" jokes were suddenly asking me out.  Many of them, I suspect, having no idea I was the same girl.  One of those boys?
Mustang Jeff.  I was hanging in the parking lot, dressed so fine, spiked heels and silk shirt, and here he came.  He leaned on my car, got in real close, and smiled.  And me?  I smiled right back, and said . . . 
"Get your fat, ugly ass off my car."
No, it wasn't my car, technically, but who cares?  At first he was hurt, and then realization hit.  And that was the best, let me tell you.
I continued to be wildly unhealthy for a couple of years, with no periods, a bout with Toxic Shock Syndrome, and a scary first marriage to an abusive ass that began when I was 18 and ended in blood and tears at 19.  My shot self-esteem set me up for that marriage.  Because I may have looked fabulous, but I never stopped feeling like it was an act.  Something I was putting over on folks.  That under the pretty clothes I was a bit jiggly and stretch-marked didn't help.
I actually kept myself under 130 for almost 8 years.  But then the weight started piling back on at a breathtaking rate (think 20+ lbs a month after starting new birth control pills), and the family doctor couldn't/wouldn't do any more than ridicule me for my tight pants and jury-rigged button/zipper. Thanks, Russ.  You were a gem.  A couple of years later, he pretended to not feel a lump in my breast because he thought I was my sister.  Told me he knew I was lying, just to cause my family grief.  Told me he wished I DID have a lump because the world would be a better place without me.  And then he figured out I was ME and not my sister.  THEN he wanted to "have another look at that lump."  
Anyway, back on topic:  the weight came back, and it's been a devastating battle since.  25 years I've been battling this.  I got all the way back down to 135 lbs in 1993.  Just in time to meet my husband.  Does he love me at more than twice that? Yes.  Would he have been at all interested in me at that weight in the beginning?  I can't answer that.  
 So, how do we get from there to the fat, sociophobic mommy who hides in her room?
A bunch of reasons, but I think I can best illustrate with following three events.  I'll put them down in order.
1) Walking through Target's garden section.  Must have been around 1999.  My infant son in the cart in front of me, and I'm shopping for a rosebush for my mother-in-law for Mother's Day.  Two teenage boys, about the age of my son and his friends today, start tailing me.  Snickering.  Whispering.  And then it starts--the loud pig snorting and "soooouuuueeee!"  I stopped, steeled myself, and turned around to look at them.  They burst into laughter and scurried away.  And I stood there, struggling not to cry.  Promising myself I would stop being fat, I would stop being ugly, I would stop being ME before my son was old enough to understand.
2)  Walking through Walmart.  A couple of years later.  By now, I've learned to avoid teenage boys.  Men are bad enough, but their eyes just tend to slide sideways and avoid me entirely, and I guess a refusal to engage or acknowledge is better than flat-out abuse.  As I'm limping along, pushing my cart, my four year old on board, three teenage girls breeze by.  The brand of laughter is unmistakable, And then one casts me a disdainful look and says to her friends, "If I ever look like that, fucking shoot me.  Promise!"  And then all three collapse into giggle fits.  And I'm left standing there, once again pleading with myself to find some way to stop being what I am before my boy is old enough to remember it.
3) The final straw, really.  The one where I cracked and completely lost my grip.  I was walking through the grocery store (you'd think I'd learn to avoid such places) when two men came my way.  I saw the look pass between them and knew, instantly.  At 25 feet out I understood what was coming, but there was nowhere for me to go.  They got within a few feet of me and the games began.  
"Oooh, there's one for you, Mike!"
"Dude, she'd crush me in my sleep!"
"You'd have to chew your arm off to get away from porky there!"
And I lost all cohesion.  Perhaps telling, I didn't have my son with me this time.  This was around 2003 or so, and my boy was off in another part of the store with his daddy.  And so, with tears springing from my eyes, fists clenched and body trembling, I went completely bonkers.  Asked them where on earth they got the idea that they were, in any way, prizes?  Did they OWN mirrors?  Food slopped down the front of this one's wife beater, tweaker complexion and rotting teeth, who the fuck was HE to start on ME?  At least my clothes were clean and I didn't STINK of meth and armpits.  And what about the other one?  With his beer belly and retreating hairline, with those protuberances above that belly that most would call bitch tits, how DARE he?  At least I HAD a family, I HAD a partner, I HAD a beautiful child still young enough to not see me through their lens.  I didn't have to hang about in grocery stores with my tweaker pal, abusing women who'd done nothing at all to earn it.  And I didn't stop.  One of them muttered "Sorry" and I exploded even further.  Sorry?
SORRY?  Oh, gosh, fuck your sorry, I give zero shits about you and your half-assed apology borne of embarrassment rather than remorse.  
I stalked these guys through the store, shouting, crying, never letting up.  I trailed them to the checkout where, rather than wait in line, they left their goods and fled the store.  And I stood there, gasping and sobbing, while people I didn't know came up and patted me on the shoulder, squeezed my hand, told me I'd done a fine thing. 
But it didn't feel fine.  And I didn't feel strengthened, vindicated, or in any other way improved by the experience.  I felt devastated.  Empty.  Utterly broken.
And I still do.
I lost a gaggle of weight again a couple of years ago.  Of course, each time I lose, I gain back even more, so the 180 pound loss still had me over 200.  And I'm now back over 300.  I don't know how much over because I just can't take it any more.  I've weaned myself off my heart meds (I have an arrhythmia, unrelated to my weight) because I can't take the shaming I get at the doctor's office.  I finally wrote to her, explained why I haven't been in and what's going on, and she told me I don't have to weigh.  So I have an appointment in two days.  And I'm so pitched about it, I fear I might keel over before I ever get in.  Because she's going to ride me about my weight, even if she doesn't weigh me.  Because there's this idea that fat people are, by nature, stupid, lazy, dull, and gluttonous.  I'm not lazy.  I'm not stupid.  Clearly, I eat more than my body will accept, but I don't eat more than my not-fat husband or my not-fat son.  To be talked down to and treated like I don't understand I'm fat?  Is devastating to me.  Believe me, I am aware of my size every day.  Not a day, not an HOUR goes by when I don't find myself nearly in tears (or just flat-out sobbing).  
And the title of this blog entry?  That's easy.  Those boys in Target, those girls in Walmart?  They'd tell you they're nice people.  They're kind people.  They almost certainly have no memory of me whatsoever.  The tweaker pals might remember me solely because I went on the offensive.  Same with Jeff of the Mustang.  But I don't want to be on the offensive, because that just tears me apart and leaves others feeling I deserve the abuse because look at what a rude, loud creature I am.  Because the only thing the world hates more than a fat woman is a fat woman who sticks up for herself.  

A little note for the "how can you give those people such power over you" crowd.  It's easy--I'm broken.  If you don't understand that about me, you don't know me at all.  They didn't just hurt me, they shattered me.  And it wasn't just them, it was my family suddenly inviting me to parties and showing me off to their friends once I was thin.  It was my mom expressing her disappointment when I regained.  It was my dad and his horrified intake of breath after, during a telephone argument over whether or not heavy folks should have to pay "fatty fares" on airlines, I told him how much I weigh.  It was my nephew finding an old wedding picture and saying, with such longing, "You used to be so beautiful.  What happened?"
I'm broken.  And I'm afraid that, at nearly 50, there is no fixing me.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ben Affleck, Bill Maher, Sam Harris, and just how crazy the fangirls can get.

So, straight up, a bit of coming clean:  I don't like Bill Maher.  Not since "Religulous," and the pissy way he he baits and misleads and sets folks up to be comedic foils.  The way he misrepresents doctrine in order to make it as ridiculous as possible.  There's no reason to do that--it's already ridiculous, there is no reason to twist it about for comedic effect.  I try to remind myself that he is, after all, just a comedian, so of course he's going to do that.  But for me?

It's personal.  Because *I* am also an atheist, and when this guy's sneering mouth utters that snarky anti-Arab (anti-GMO/anti-vaccine/anti-Muslim/anti-Palestinian/pro-Zionism/anti-woman/anti-breastfeeding) bullshit, and does so as a perceived representative of atheists, I get pissed.

I do have to give Bill credit.  Until I found myself in his sights, I thought he was funny.  I thought he was mean, sure, but in a GOOD way because his nastiness was dovetailing nicely with my ideas.  So thank you, Bill, for teaching me how it feels to have some half-informed stand-up comedian use snarkiness and condescension in the place of knowledge to tear at my ideas.

It was a lesson I likely needed.

As for Sam Harris, what a disappointing fount of prejudiced urp.  Thankfully, I don't do atheist heroes, so I wasn't so disappointed.  Hubby was pretty bummed, though.

Here, let me quote Sam, give you a taste:

"It is time we recognized—and obliged the Muslim world to recognize—that “Muslim extremism” is not extreme among Muslims.  Mainstream Islam itself represents an extremist rejection of intellectual honesty, gender equality, secular politics and genuine pluralism. The truth about Islam is as politically incorrect as it is terrifying: Islam is all fringe and no center. In Islam, we confront a civilization with an arrested history."

Because, it would seem, Muslims are fair game.  Like overweight women and atheists, they're one of the last "hey, have at" targets out there.  It was nice to see Ben Affleck go a bit nutty on Bill and Sam, taking them to task for their sweeping generalizations.  See, I'm particularly sensitive to that whole "big, broad brush" thing because, all too often, people look at Bill Maher, then judge ME as part of that broad atheist group.

All atheists are not Bill Maher (or Sam Harris, or Hitch, or Dawkins), and all Muslims are not ISIS. Thank you, Ben, for championing that simple, obvious point.

Now, on to the "fangirls" I mention in the title.  This would be the atheists who are so enamored of whichever "atheist heroes" that they embrace their positions without really examining them with an objective eye.  Not all atheists are like this, but there are some, and they are loud.  Loud, and ravening.  They leap like a pack and tear dissenters apart.  Logic and reason fly out the window in favor of a competitive race to outdo each other with snarky nicknames, personal attacks, unrestrained ridicule, and off-topic nitpicking.  You know, like Sam and Bill repeatedly arguing that "Islam isn't a race, and therefor we're not racists."

What?  That's your defense?  You can't deny the charges, so you'll do the semantics dance instead?

How intellectually dishonest of you.

Again, I don't do "atheist heroes."  Many atheists don't.  But I understand why those who do, do. Because there are SO many out there who condemn atheists.  Who say we're un-American, evil, awful, worse that rapists and child molesters.  And there are so few of us who are prominent and willing to "come out," to risk ourselves in the spotlight.  So when someone relatively intelligent and unafraid to be open and loud shows up, it's natural that some atheists would rally around him (I say him, because so many prominent atheists are also, unfortunately, misogynistic).  And sadly?

That makes for some crappy heroes sometimes.  Some are brilliant (and some, like Maher, are just comedians), but even the brilliant ones tend to have fatal flaws, be it Islamophobia (which includes an inability to differentiate between Islam and being Middle Eastern), Zionism (I know, right?), misogyny, or a cold, Ayn Rand-style social Darwinism (this is where some smug heathen will leap in and argue that Rand's dance was "objectivism," not social Darwinism)..

Now, I'm not arguing that atheist "stars" are any MORE messed up than the general public.  No, not at all--in fact, by virtue of their disbelief, I'd say they have one less flaw than the average person. What I'm saying is that they're just folks.  Sometimes incredibly intelligent folks, but not infallible by any stretch.  And yet, so often, crowds of adoring fans gather 'round to lend support for statements that maybe don't, on objective consideration, merit that sort of cheerleading.  And that cheerleading?

Is often of the mean, nit-picky, ugly variety I spoke of above.

So Mr. Affleck?  I know you don't remember me from the first Project Greenlight, but I remember you.  And boy, what a man you've grown to be.  I applaud your bravery here, and bravery is what it is, because it takes a lot of guts to go up against Maher's caustic sarcasm and Harris' plodding anti-Islam narrative.  So thank you.  I hope we hear more from you.  I hope they didn't scare you off.


And now, for those who might be thinking it:  I have zero use for Islam.  No more (or less) than for other religions.  I am by no means a champion of Islam--it's theism, I think it, like other theistic faiths, is inherently harmful.  I think it, like other theistic faiths, lends itself to oppression and intolerance.  My problem is when people hold it up as somehow MORE damaging or MORE scary than any other.  That's just not true.  What makes Islam SEEM more violent or more awful is simply Western intervention.  The Middle East was not a roiling puddle of violence and extremism before Western colonialism.  What makes for extreme Islamic groups is outside interference, military interventions, oppression, occupation, and invasion.  You'd think we'd have learned this by now--devastation, destitution, and oppression are what makes for fanatical responses.  If we would sink money, no strings, into their infrastructure, economy, and education instead of into invasion, devastation, occupation (by us and by our "special" allies), and overthrow, there'd be no "need" for religious zealotry and violent resistance.  

I know, I know--what if it didn't work?

That's easy--what we're doing now clearly isn't working; it's creating ever bigger and badder violent groups.  Worst thing that could happen is that being nice for a change wouldn't work, either.  

Friday, October 3, 2014

Dueling Obits

You know, doing what I do, I traffic in obituaries.  Between Find A Grave and handling the "who died" archive for my high school, I find myself looking at a lot of death notices and memorials each day.  Today, I came across a curious and distasteful phenomenon.  Something I've come across before.

Dueling obituaries.

It's more common that you'd think (hope), and I find it awful.  What are dueling obits?

Oh, that's when one part of the family hates the other part, and so they excise them from the obituary. The excises part of the family publishes their own obituary, often (but not always) excising the other family members.

For example, today A.B.'s family (likely his children) posted a long obituary for their deceased loved one.  A lot of information about his dead wife, his loving children, his amazing grandkids.  All by name.  What they left out was "the love of his life," his long-term, live-in significant other, who, apparently, they dislike enough to omit all mention of her many happy years with him.

And A.B.'s significant other?  Well, she published her own obit for A.B., one that mentions her, her daughter, and all of his grandchildren by name.  And his kids?  Mentioned, but not by name.

Of these two, clearly the children are the worse offenders, as they completely cut her out of his life.  But hers was a bit petty, too, only mentioning "sons and daughters" instead of by name.  Who started it? Probably the kids, but that's not my point.  My point is, what a crappy tribute to someone you loved.  Clearly, you caused him astounding grief with your childish behavior before he died, must you carry it over to his obituary so it's now glaringly obvious to the world?

This isn't the first--or even the 30th--time I've seen this.  Sometimes it's been family vs friends, often it's new wife vs kids from first marriage.  I know one woman (known her since I was a child) who, when her husband died, listed herself (she was the second wife), his siblings, her family, their PETS, and then, as a last, tag-on scrap, "he was also survived by children from a previous marriage."

BAM!  WHOA!  And worse?  She didn't even call those kids to let them know their father had died. I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking, "What a trashy, low-rent creature."  Actually, she's a wealthy woman, a prominent attorney.  And she carried a grudge over into her husband's obituary, leaving his children with that last, final jab as a lifetime reminder that she never could manage to get along with her step-children.

Do yourself a favor.  Do your family a favor.  Do your dead loved one's memory/legacy a favor and check your bickering and grudges at the door when it comes to writing up that obituary.  Unless your deceased family member was Josef Mengele in a housecoat (if that's the case, absolutely be honest if that's what works for you), the obit is the place for memorializing, not carrying on family feuds.  You may think you're getting in that final, grand smack, but what you're really doing is making yourself look like a creep of the first order.  And if you're doing it because you know THEY'RE going to do it?

Don't.  Be the better person.  What better revenge than coming across looking like the good guy?

Remember, Christmas is coming up and it doesn't cost anything extra to shop through me.  Even if you're not shopping now, please consider bookmarking the link for when you're looking to shop!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Laura Ramadel

Because sloppy, self-aggrandizing, entitled misogynists.  Use the googles if you're curious.

That's all.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hey, not dead yet!

So, we made the move.  It was rough.  The puffed up pile of "used car sales wouldn't have him" real estate agent said we'll get our entire deposit back.  Said we left the place better than we found it.  Which we did.

It's been 48 days, still no deposit.  This is the guy who, at the first "landlord is selling" get-together, insisted that state law requires a deposit be returned within TEN days.  Luckily, we knew he was lying even as it rolled off his tongue, so we're not too panicked yet.  Yeah, he said that to keep us from making any "we won't leave" noises.

What an asshole.

While the law seems to say we should have had the deposit back within 45 days, the renter protection laws here only speak to landlords with more than a certain number of properties (I believe it's five). We emailed the landlord last week, and he has--can you guess?  That's right, not answered.  Because that's what Scott does.  He doesn't answer.  For weeks.  My money is on this--he didn't keep the $1950 deposit set aside for refund.  He threw it in with his cash and is now near-bankrupt and doesn't have it.  The old place STILL hasn't sold.  Remember how they told us we couldn't stay until it sold because "houses in this neighborhood don't last a week in this market?"  Yeah, my ass.  I knew that was a lie then.  Not only is our old place still on the  market (it went on the market July 1st--you do the math), but remember how they tried to palm it off on us?  For "low 300s?"

The price has been reduced a number of times now.  They're now asking 249K.  In other words, they tried to rip us off for over fifty grand.

Next step is, I guess, to send a demand for our deposit via certified mail.  And then, I guess, small claims.  Which is incredibly scary because there is the chance that, even though we have the pristine walk-through in writing, even though the time period allowable for submitting deductions from the deposit is well gone by, we could wind up with a judge who decided he likes landlords more than he likes tenants.  We could wind up with a judge who is an old golfing buddy of Scott's.  He has a lot of them around here.

It is so unfair that he would do this to us.  By his own reckoning, we were "the best tenants ever."  By his agent's reckoning, we "left the place in better shape than it was at move-in."

Way to reinforce the "scuzzbucket slumlord/all landlords are thieves" stereotype, Scott.


So, other things have changed.  Pretty big changes.  Our boy, who has been homeschooled since day one, announced that he wanted to go to school.  Understand, this is an abrupt about-face--every time I've suggested it, even as recently as last spring, he's shut me down with pleas to not make him.  He sprung this on me a mere two weeks before the start of school, and made it clear how important it was to him.  At first, I demurred, and he became very despondent, saying he understood, it was a stupid idea.  Broke my heart.  Understand, I have NO experience with the public school system, other than my own 30+ years ago.  I scrambled, I hoop-jumped, and I got it done.

We decided on part-time, just a couple of classes.  That way, if it turns out it's horrid and he hates it, it's not a huge deal.  So it's a sort of "getting his feet wet" thing.  He's got Guitar Ensemble and French.  He seems to be enjoying it, and he's making friends.  He joined the Gamer's Club, Drama Club, and the Planning Committee.  Has get-togethers at a local burger joint and a sleep-over this weekend.  He gets to have his picture in the yearbook, and was even issued a laptop.

He's excited.  So are we.  I hope it turns out to be all that he wants.  

Silly as it will sound, the lack of yearbooks has always troubled me.  Hubby and I both have all our yearbooks, and I've always been sad that our boy wouldn't have that.  Now he will.


Haven't been to a doctor since January.  I'm having a terrible time with my weight, and I just can't bring myself to deal with the constant, devastating disapproval from doctors.  It's hit the point where I am just so humiliated and so completely overwhelmed with anxiety that not going is the only option I see.  I know how stupid that is, I do.  But I just can't.  Walk in, first thing they do is throw you on the scale and an eyebrow cocks just a little.  Stress so bad by the time they take the blood pressure that it feels like a full-blown anxiety attack is in the offing.  Doctor finally comes in, and the disapproval is palpable.  Is that disdain in her exotic eyes?  Doesn't matter, because it feels like it.  I'm almost in tears just typing this.  So I don't go.  


The new place, btw.  You know all those horrendous, petty, obstructionist, self-righteous nightmare stories you've ever heard about home owners associations?

Yeah.  First thing, first day, we ask the real estate agent if we can put in a gate so our dog doesn't run away.  Yeah, fenced yard, no gate.  He says we can't, HOA won't allow it.  Yet we've driven around and some folks have gates.  Some are nice matching gates, some are cheap, fake wrought iron that don't match at all, some are plastic baby gates, and some, like our next-door-neighbor's, are crappy white latticework leaned against the gate posts.  So we took two solid boards, put them together, painted them to match the fence, and attached magnets to lightly keep the thing in place without it actually being attached.  It took ONE day for a note to be taped to it, telling us that it's not approved, and giving us an application to the design board.  Problem is, the design board application requires permission of all neighbors/OWNERS whose properties adjoin OR who can SEE the "addition."   Yeah, not likely; these are all rentals, none of the OWNERS actually live here.  Plus, plans, photos, proposed paint colors, and cost/construction proposals must be submitted in advance.  

For a damned barrier to keep the dog in.

So we figured maybe it was too tall.  So we disassembled it, removed the magnets, and just leaned it like the folks next door with the cheap, ugly latticework.  We were taking it up when the dog came back in, but one evening we forgot.  By 7 am the next morning, another note, nastier, telling us that the "partial barrier is unapproved."  Again telling us we must submit an application.   And then another nasty note, telling us that we cannot have bird feeders in any form.  Which means I'm stuck for at least two years with no birds.  Bastards.   I cried while taking them down.

I was very upset, made my way to the website to read the HOA guidelines and there was no mention of bird feeders (though there was mention of bird baths, which was scary).  But then I dug deeper, and discovered we're not in that particular HOA--we're in a SUB-HOA specifically for Condos.  And it doesn't allow gates AT ALL.  Because our front yards are considered part of the "open area."  That's right--our front lawn is actually part of their open space.  No wonder they MOW it.  

So, in other words, their nosy-assed neighborhood narc is handing out design applications that will not be approved because we're in the Condo area.

Thanks, folks.


Here are some pics of the new place--it's not as nice as the old, but it's also not awful.  The carpet is a cheap Berber, which concerns me on the vacuuming front, and the master bedroom is a giant (19x19) loft-type set-up with no door.  The stairs are murder on my knees (four flights of 8 stairs a pop to get to the bedroom), and the kitchen is minuscule (we had to leave most of our cooking stuff packed because there's just no room).  But the blinds are nice, and the front yard is nice (even if we can't have a damned gate), and the stove is gas.  The tubs are slightly larger, and being two floors up keeps the TV from driving me nutty at night.  We don't know much about the neighbors (other than the chain-smokers across the way who throw loud parties and beat each other up), but those awful rat-children are no longer our neighbors, and that is everything.  I can let our boy walk to school or Hapkido without worrying that those kids are going to ambush him.

So, all in all, it works out slightly to the better.  And I will take that any day.

And finally?  If you're reading this and you see an Amazon.com shopping spree for Christmas in your future, please consider using my Amazon link, which is the search widget below.  This public school thing, with yearbooks, ensemble uniforms, daily lunches, etc., is pretty pricey.  Christmas is coming, and every bit helps, especially with the landlord tugging us about on the deposit.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Obama is the Worst President EVAH!

Today, some puddle of garbage came sliding across my Facebook feed.  It was from (get this) "RIGHT WING NEWS."

Oh, yeah, there's a source you can trust.  

It was being forwarded by one of the stupider people on my list.  She's got a kind soul and an empty head. The phrase "bless her heart" leaps to mind whenever she posts anything political.

Today, it was this:

It was all I could do to resist going point-by-point.  I DID resist, because people like this aren't looking for information, they're looking for inflammation.  Specifically, inflammation that allows them to continue hating the black guy. 

Yes, that is what it boils down to.  If that's not YOUR problem with him, understand that you're being manipulated and lied to by groups who DO feel that way. 


Move mostly set up.  Got the utilities arranged, the truck reserved, and (hopefully) the ID and car registration handled so we can get our parking decals.  We're cutting it super-close on that one.  Cross your fingers. Because if the licenses and registration doesn't show up in time, the HOA will have our car towed.

Moving used to be easier.


Found this, thought it was interesting: