Tuesday, January 29, 2013

In Time

Wow, Paypal is fast!  Money's already in the account, and camp registration and deposit paid.

So thank you, Epinions, and even more so, thank you Epinions for switching to Paypal for payouts!

Story came across my feed today, poor folks down in Alabama who've lost their dog.  He was IN THE BACK OF THEIR PICK-UP TRUCK FOR SEVENTY MILES OR SO, and somewhere along the line, he fell/jumped/was thrown out.  

Okay, right off, I feel awful for these folks.  Because doing something stupid doesn't make it hurt any less when it goes bad.  Yeah, they screwed up, you don't put unsecured pets in the open bed of a truck.  You just don't do that--the potential for injury is astounding.  We're supposed to be smarter than that now.  But, again, that doesn't mean they don't love their dog or that they "deserved" this.  I feel awful for them, and I hope their dog is found safe.  I also hope that they make a promise to themselves (and their dog) to never let him ride in the back of the truck again.  

And don't say "they like it!"  They like eating chocolate and drinking antifreeze, too, but we don't encourage it because it's not good for them.  Same here--it's dangerous.  

Anyway, the dog appears to be maybe a chow/shepherd mix.  I'm going to include the picture in hopes that the dog will be found.  He's been missing since December 24th, so I don't think his chances are good, but maybe someone found him alive and has been taking care of him?  Here's the ad that went with the pic:  

December 24, 2012: male dog went missing from the I-65 area between Prattville, AL and Pelham, AL. He was in the back of the truck when we left Prattville and found he was missing when we stopped in Pelham. We got on the interstate at the Clanton exit #205.  

If you've seen the dog, please contact the Facebook group "Animals  Lost & Found from the Tornadoes in Alabama on 4/27/11."  Yes, they've branched out a bit, they do really good work posting pictures of lost and found pets for folks to disseminated and hopefully find a match.

Another pisser just came racing across my feed--22 year old thinks it's a good idea to pose with his baby AND a gun, then post it to Facebook.  You know how I feel about guns, but they've charged the guy, and . . . I dunno.  My brain says, "Make sure the gun's legal, legally obtained, registered, etc., make sure they guy's not a nutjob, and then . . . drop it."  I'd like to see the dimwit in a parenting course, sure.  I'd also like to see the baby in something other than a horrid leopard-print jumper, but I don't get to make that call.  I guess what I'm saying is this--crap judgement, you're a moron, but I don't think you broke any laws.  

What Stupid Looks Like

And that's that, I think.  I owe that boy a back tickle, so I'm going to go give him that, then I'm going to take a nap.  Starting to think I'm not ever really going to feel better.  Later, I'll post about summer camp and the permissions I had to sign today!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Not in Time

But close.  For this month, Epinions came through, despite the wild action and flying threats.  Believe me, I know I've burned my way through any political capital I may have had,   So to Christal and Damon and all the others who worked weekends, even a holiday weekend, to try and get this hammered out, thank you.

Seriously.  Thank you.

And to the folks who rake in an astounding amount each month and are now seeing a hit?  I'm sorry, I hope there's a way to make it so your hit is less painful.  But I'm not going to apologize for being glad that some of us saw more.

Tacos, beans, and rice for dinner.  We measure everything out just so, and it's not too bad a meal, calories-wise.  A little oogy on the blood sugar, but not too bad.

Wrote a review of another hairbrush today.  One I like quite a bit, actually.  Would be great if you'd check it out:

Nexxus Volume Effexx Round Brush

And while you're at it, take a look at this one, too?  Because it's true--I really did win a 

FREE iPad!

I did.  I won a free iPad.  You should sign up to write reviews on Epinions and enter the contests.  Maybe you can win one, too!  Just remember, it's not like Amazon, a 60 word review isn't going to do it.  Just think of all the things YOU would want someone to tell you about a product and how well it does what it's supposed to do, and then write about it.  Read highly rated reviews to get a feel for it.  And no, I don't get paid if you sign up--there's nothing in it for me.  The money for most of us isn't fabulous, but it pays for a rental car on vacation each summer or foots the bill for our boy's birthday.  

We ordered some more candle making stuff last night.  Hoping we got the right wick, I think we did. We got five scents, wick tabs, some wick bars, and wick.  I think we should have gotten glue tabs, and I've got a site up with those, a site with reasonable shipping.  If the order comes through with no glitches, I'll post a link--I like giving a hand to someone who's working hard and doing it for a fair price.

For the folks asking if we're selling candles?  Not right now.  We seem to be burning them almost as fast as we're making them.  For a reason--I want to test different types of wicks and waxes and fragrances and dyes.  If we do ever sell them, I'd like to be able to sell them custom made--i.e., you tell me what size, what scent, and what kind of wax and color you want, and I make 'em that way.  It sounds like fun.  It sounds creative and interesting.  

Just plain paraffin candles, with cinnamon-clove for the orange and a woodsy cedar for the red.

The boys are at Hapkido right now.  Our son's belt test is this weekend, and it turns out he hasn't been paying a lick of attention to the Korean being spoken.  And now he needs to know it.  Oops.  Looks like it's crash course time.  

Sunday, January 27, 2013

First Candle-making Supply Buy

We bought five scents, some wick tabs, some zinc cored wick, and some little bow-tie doohickeys to hold up the wicks while the candles cool.  Our batch last night was red, with a nice, not-too-strong scent.  Just paraffin, but they burn nicely and not too hot or fast, with no going out.  When our new stuff comes, I'm looking forward to making some palm and beeswax candles.  Not sure if we should have gotten glue dots for keeping the wick tabs in place.  We'll find out.

Reviewed a hair brush on Epinions today.  Hey, I have the brush, why not review it.  In fact, I think I'm going to go through and review all my brushes.  And, of course, my fancy new keyboard.

Hubby hasn't been in the office for a long time--between three days sick a couple weeks ago, scheduled telework, and unscheduled telework due to weather conditions, he's been home.  They're predicting an ice storm between five and ten tomorrow morning, so we're hoping for another telework day.  It's actually smart to have folks work from home--they don't have to commute, they use their own internet, their own computer (yep, it wasn't provided us), their own electricity.  It keeps cars off the road, and saves the Feds any commute benefit.  Everyone wins!

Having pasta tonight.  Dreamfield's pasta (easier on the blood sugar, and yes, that is true for me--I've compared my blood sugar after Dreamfield's vs after regular pasta), Bistro Sensations sausages (they're markedly lower in calories and super-tasty), Wegman's parmesan and romano red sauce (2/3 of a cup), with julienned carrots with the pasta.  One of my favorite meals, and not disastrous.

Movie time.  Finishing up Order of the Phoenix.  Wish I could shake this cold and stop being so headache-y and exhausted.  Wish I could shake this down feeling.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Turns Out

There's a lot more to making candles than I used to think there was.  At least if I want them to burn nicely.  There are half a dozen different types of wicks I'm going to need for the different waxes I want to try.  We've been working just with paraffin right now, have made seven candles (three orange with a spicy/cinnamon/clove-type scent, four red with a woodsy/conifer kind of smell) just for practice, seeing how the wicking works and such.  We have some beeswax and some palm wax, too.  Looking to order more wicks and some nice scents.  Bergamot, sandalwood, patchouli, a cinnamon/nutmeg/clove/holiday-type, and one more, haven't decided yet.  We have green, blue, and red coloring, and can experiment with that.

What are we going to do with the candles?  I don't know.  Burn 'em, I guess?

Epinions still in flames.  Doesn't mean I won't keep writing.  Hope you read--that's what keeps me in wick money, you know.  It's a site I'm very fond of, and this will pass.  I've been writing there for 13 years.  In web years, that's like gold watch territory.

My boy is testing for his yellow belt next weekend.  Hapkido.  He had a purple belt in some martial-y art thing when he was younger, but it was a thing offered through the public schools as a self defense for kids program, not really serious.  This is a real school, and it means a lot to him.  He's excited, and so am I!  That the test costs 55 bucks.  Not so exciting.  Dang.

Anyway, it's late and it's time.  More tomorrow!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Three Cheers for Basal Cell Carcinoma!

The jolliest and most friendly of the skin cancers!

Yeah, I called the dermatologist today (since they didn't call me).  It's a "superficial" basal cell (who knew cancer could be superficial?  Positively trivial, it is!).  They gave me the choice  of using Aldara (a cream that super-charges your immune system to attack the cancer, leaving your skin in the area a disaster for a couple of months, but pretty effective AND pretty expensive, even after insurance) or having it excised (a lot cheaper, even more effective, but there's the whole ouchie-cutting/scar/infection thing). I think I've decided on the Aldara (for science's sake--I've always wondered how well it works), but no way we're dropping that cash right now.  I said, "So, if this is so minor a thing, can I wait a couple of months?"  She said yes, there was no rush.

No rush, babe--it's just cancer, but it's one of those silly, superficial ones.

My fear?  That I'm doing the "skin cancer sample pack" gig.  I've already done squamous cell and basal cell. Please, I'd just as soon skip the melanoma and Merkel cell.  Thanks anyway.

Lesson here's a simple one--don't sunbathe.  Don't hang out in tanning beds.  By the time you figure out that doing those things are stupid,  it's quite likely too late. So make sure your KIDS don't do those things.  Slather them in sunscreen.  Make them wear hats.  Slather and hat yourself, too, but know that, while preventing future damage is good, you can't undo the stupid of your teenage years.  You can't undo that horrendous sunburn your mom let you get when you were seven when she left you basting in a wading pool for four hours in the middle of summer.  Can't undo the damage done when you mistook cocoa butter for sunscreen when you were ten and practically burned off your nose (the same nose gone squamous 34 years later).  But you can keep it from  happening again.  And that's something.

Here's an amazing story on Huffpo (but it's been in a lot of places) about a truck driver whose left side shows the ravages of sun exposure, while his right, which was shaded, is smooth.  It's dramatic.

Going to put my new plantar fasciitis inserts in my new shoes.  I have a pair in my old Asics Gel-Kanbarras, but don't want to be pulling them from pair to pair.  My only complaint about these insoles (they're made by Profoot) is that they very fronts get sort of weak and lose their fit/form because they're so thin up front.  Doesn't detract from the function, though--these inserts have drastically improved my plantar fasciitis.


So putting these:

Into these:

Makes this: 

Feel a whole lot better.  Did for me, anyway.  I know nothing's a cure-all, but these inserts made a difference when nothing else was.  

Well, didn't mean for this to be a health segment.  Guess that's just where I am today.  No news on Epinions and the payout.  My money (har-de-har) is on the haves getting their money back and the rest of us being relegated back to the bottom of the heap, losing the nice (though modest) increase we thought we'd earned.  One of them actually posted that he doesn't care what anyone else earns, he only cares about his own earnings.  I believe, rephrased, that would be, "I got mine, screw all y'all."  Trying not to be too disappointed.  Sure was nice, for just a minute, to feel like maybe I wasn't bottom of the pile.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Stupid is as Stupid is as Stupid is

So the phone rings.  I had just finished posting to Facebook that the SLC International Airport is closed because of freezing rain and frozen runways.  Who's on the phone?

It's a friend!  She wants to chat!  As she drives down the road.  PHONE IN HAND, talking about the freezing rain!  I said, "You're hands-free, right?"  No, that's not a perfect solution, but it sure beats having only ONE hand on the wheel while you have the OTHER hand clasping a phone to your face.  She said, "No, no."  I said, "So you're driving in an ICESTORM on a SHEET of BLACK ICE while holding a phone to your head--is that right?"  She said yes, but it wasn't anything to worry about.  I said, "I will talk to you later--you can call me when you get HOME."

What the hell?

Trying to write a letter to my old town's newspaper.  The Sheriff in town has decided to hop on the "nullify any federal law that involves gun control" band wagon.  You know, the band wagon NONE of them hopped on when it was a president OTHER than our black democratic President suggesting regulation (you know, like it says in the Constitution).  None of these jerks were crying for armed resistance when it was Ronald Reagan pushing the Brady Bill.  Yeah.  Anyway, trying to submit a letter to the editor and finding myself thwarted by a "no more than 250 CHARACTERS" admonition.  250 characters?  I can barely give my name and address for that!  In a nutshell, I'm just trying to say this--it's obvious these people haven't read the executive orders, because if they had, they'd know there's no great gun grab in the works, just like there wasn't back with the Brady Bill and the last AR ban.  The Office of Sheriff in this particular case is an elected one.  I can't think of a better way to whip up the mob and rake in the votes.  Perhaps that's not the Sheriff's intent.  Maybe he's just dull.  Regardless, he seems pretty bothered by the local paper taking him to task.   Because, as we know, folks screaming about the Second Amendment often forget about the First.

Ain't that always the way?

It snowed last night.  Around an inch.  Which was enough to SHUT DOWN THE SCHOOLS and allow my husband to telework from home rather than commute in.  Amazing.  Here are some Charlie in the snow shots:

Continued drama on Epinions.  Meet the new boss.

Still no word on my baby-maybe skin cancer.  No news is almost never good news.

Cold getting better in some ways, but as the crap in my head loosens up, it becomes more liquid and I wind up hacking constantly because of the run down the back of my throat.  It's my least favorite part of a respiratory infection.  Makes me cough until my ribs hurt.

Did I post about the new keyboard?  The crappy, uber-cheap one with the dysfunctional shift key?  Took it back last night, dropped $80.00 (!!!) on a nicer one.  And holy cow, is it nicer!  The keys light up when your fingers get close, so no desperate hunt and peck with one-handed typing.  The set-up is correct this time (keys are where they should be), AND it's wireless.  But unlike the wireless ones with batteries needing replacing, this one also comes with a USB cord for recharging.  Says it'll need recharging every ten days or so, and can still be used WHILE plugged in.  I'm very happy with it.  Thrilled, in fact!  It's a Logitech K800, if you're in the market.  Here's what it looks like--remember, it lights up when your fingers get close!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Making Candles and Crappy Keyboards

Went to the craft store last night.  They don't have much of a selection, scents and wax-wise, but I did pick up a couple of pounds of palm wax, a couple of pounds of beeswax, some wick, and some color.  I'll order the scents online, I have a few sites to check, including some Heather suggested.  We made three "dregs" candles (candles made from the old wax of burned down candles around the house), and they turned out a pretty orange-ish and they smell nicely cinammon-y.  Hubby was a great help, and I love him.

Epinions appears to be blowing up.  Looks like my happy increase in pay is about to get yanked because some folks lost pay.  The way of the world, huh?  It's a great site, and I'm proud of the work I've put into it, but some folks sure can get spleeny when they feel like their boat's being rocked.  The really high-earners have taken to spouting "Les Mis" lyrics (LOL) and painting themselves the downtrodden masses rather than the aristocracy they really are.  Hope it works out in a way that doesn't toss me (and those like me) back into the slag pile.  It was nice, opening up my profile and seeing I wasn't being abused for once.  I'm not feeling optimistic, though.  For as strongly as I feel, fact is I have never mastered that entitled yell that gets things done (and undone), and even if I do pipe up, I'll likely just end any shot I have at doing better.  So I'll almost certainly come out on the losing end here either way.  What else is new?

Typing on a new keyboard--a Dynex, and boy, what a piece of garbage this thing is!  The shift key doesn't work more than maybe one out of ten tries, so it makes typing an adventure.  If that's the term you want to use.  Reviewed it on Epinions today.  It goes back to the store tonight.

Still sick. Boogery and headachy.  I suppose that, at some point, I should see a doc, but I'm holding out for news on the new skin cancer-ish spot.  Then I'll decide where I want my copays to go.  In the meantime, it's me and Nyquil, and we're getting along just fine.

Probably more later, after this awful keyboard is gone.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hatin' the Late Paycheck!

My husband's federal paycheck (for which he works hard, thank you very much) usually hits on Saturday mornings.  Pay runs on Thursday, it hits on Saturday.  Unless there's a federal holiday or a weather disaster (Rita and Katrina wreaked havoc on the pay schedule).  But for some reason beyond us, the check didn't hit on Saturday.  Now, see, here's the catch--it doesn't HAVE to hit on Saturday.  In fact, it's not considered late unless it doesn't hit by the following THURSDAY.  So here we are, with seventy bucks cash and two grocery shopping checks floating around out there, hoping the check hits on Tuesday.  If not?

Scary, sad stuff.  Now, understand, the check has never not come by the following work day (this time a Tuesday because of the holiday), so I'm not TOO worried, but still. I'd rather the thing hit on time.

Still sick.  Voice is better (not great, but better), but I'm still a fountain of phlegm.  Sleeping a LOT (probably the Emerald Death I've been swigging before sleep time), but still waking up glued shut and waiting for the mess to loosen up so I can chug it out.

Once things start moving, though, it comes out pretty smoothly.  That's something.

It's inauguration day.  A very happy/scary thing for me.  We are a country possessed of so many utter crazies that I always fear for our President.  Proud of him, though.  Proud of us, too, that we managed to keep Romney out and bring Obama back.  I'm planning to watch, and that will make it only the second I've watched live.

Going to finally make some candles--hubby got me a candle making kit, with some wax, oils, forms, and a thermometer and pitcher.  I used to make candles all the time, have long wanted to get back into it.  I'm looking forward to it.  Thinking maybe I should start a line of solidly un-mystical candles which have not been prayed over, blessed, infused with holy anything, or in any other way made woo-woo.  Hey, maybe they'd sell, right?

Was grumbling through our old home's local newspaper today, found an obit for Stan Liptrot.  He lived down the street from me for decades.  Really nice guy, great neighbor.  Made it to 90 years old.  Good job, Stan.  You deserved every one of those years, and likely should have had even more.  

Like I said, solidly good guy.  Missed him from the moment he moved away, and not just because of the slobs who moved in after him.  Missed him because he was a great guy to have in the neighborhood.

All sorts of changes going on at Epinions.  New ways of figuring IS, new layout for review lists, etc.  Everyone's crying like the sky is falling, a lot of folks complaining that their IS has crashed, but as someone whose IS has been abysmal for a decade, it's looking like it might just be a marked improvement for me.  Let's hope.  

Dreamed my Mom kept falling down, and every suggestion I gave my sister she shot down.  I was suggesting a rope or chain-type fence (think theater barriers) to act as a guide, or having the sidewalk and driveway repaved to fix the raised cracks and uneven spots, but my sister was having none of it.  Being 2,300 miles away, there wasn't anything I could really do.  Very frustrating.  

Rewatching Justified on Blu-ray because our boy has forgotten a lot of it.  I do love that show.  Haven't gotten to the wonderful, "Now, Arlo, use your words" line, but it's a favorite.  If you think Timothy Olyphant is amazing in Justified, just imagine what he could do in Stephen King's Dark Tower series as Roland.  Hubby is near bursting with frustration over that casting every time we see Olyphant striding purposefully down the blacktop.  He is so obviously Roland, yet it's going to Javier Bardem.  A good actor, certainly, but not Roland.  Not by a long shot.  

And that's all.  Happy Inauguration and hey, here's some Inauguration Day GOOD paneling!  That's right, there's actually some paneling out there I like!  This style I've seen called "Judge's Paneling," and, while I don't have the house to pull it off, I sure do like it in some other homes!

Oh, remind me tomorrow to write about my sister's ex-roommate's gay bathhouse/tubs business.  It's gonna be a rant.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Basal, Squamous, Actinic Keratosis, or What?

Okay, so I have a spot on my right arm.  On the other side from the weird, fleshy dent.  I don't really know how long it's been there--seems to me, it started as a small ingrown hair or something that I picked at.  It healed, but the redness never went away.  Then, a few months ago, it started flaking.  Not oozing or healing then reforming, but flaking.  Sometimes redder, sometimes paler, but always a little bit of flaky skin.

Understand, I am a mound of flaky skin--I have some freaky psoriasis-type thing on my scalp during the cold months, I have some red, angry, crusty stuff that forms around my nose in the winter (responds to Metrogel, so I'm going to assume it's rosacea).  But I've also had a squamous cell carcinoma on my face (right side of my nose, up near the eye).  So, after obsessing and gnashing my teeth for a few months, I bit the bullet and went to the dermatologist.

Not the same dermatologist as last time.  That woman came across as nothing more than a day spa diva who does a little half-assed dermatology on the side.  She just came across as . . . incompetent?  Inattentive?  Her whole office was full of nothing but adverts and displays for wrinkle creams, fat creams, massages, and mud baths.  Made me sad, because she was heavy, and very accepting of my weight--I felt comfortable allowing a full body check.  But she and her office staff . . . well, let's just say that, if I found out she'd been faking the medical degree, I wouldn't be surprised.  To be absolutely frank, she didn't come across as particularly well-educated.

So, they did a biopsy today.  The new, fascinatingly Ashkenazi-Armenian, dramatically more competent, intelligent, and "doctorly" seeming physician (yes, a physician, not a PAC like back in Utah) examined me, said she thought it was a basal, but couldn't be sure, so she was going to biopsy it and I'd have an answer in five days.  If it's basal or actinic keratosis, that's good.  We like that.  If it's squamous, we don't like that, but it's very small (somewhere between an eighth and a quarter of an inch across) and likely easily handled.  It doesn't look like anything Merkel or melanoma-ish.  Makes me sad, though--I'm tired of this, and I get the feeling I'm going to be paying for childhood sun exposure for the rest of my life.  Parents?

Put sunscreen on your kids.

On the bright side, they did manage to fit me in the day after I called.  That's super-helpful.  Cuts down on the paranoid waiting time.

I just squashed a "mosquito hawk" (you may know it as a Crane Fly)  Bugger's been in the house for weeks now.  Seriously, I didn't think they lived this long, but it's been around since before Christmas.  Hung out in the kitchen, up near the ceiling, so we left it alone.  But tonight it burst up from under/behind my monitor and right into my face.

Bye-bye, mosquito hawk.

Still sick.  Things are loosening up a bit, but that's not really such a good thing--that just gives me the hideous post-nasal drip throat itch that leaves me hacking.  Hate that.

Got Charlie some Dentastix "fresh" this time--he still loves them, but I don't notice any difference in his breath.  Speaking of Charlie, I think we have finally found a food mixture that he really, really likes--a mix of Castor and Pollux grain-free and Kirkland grain-free.  He doesn't just eat it because it's what there is, he seems to truly relish it.

I'm back on the Builder Bars.  Trying to get myself back into that groove.  The mint ones, of course--they satisfy the choco-candy bar craving.  If you haven't tried Builder Bars, you should--they taste a whole lot better than most of the energy/protein-type bars, and they're low glycemic, which means they don't spike my blood sugar.

I've come to like my new, big bottle of Boucheron eau de toilette.  See, I've been nursing along a very small bottle of the eau de parfum, and absolutely adored it.  Ordered the eau de toilette for Christmas and found the scent markedly different.  A high, soapy smell that really interfered with those opening notes.  Not sure what's happened, but either I've become accustomed to it or it's stopped doing that, because now I smell those opening notes.  And I'm in love again!

And that's it for now--off to Costco for stewed tomatoes, frozen strawberries, and other assorted sundries!  If the dog ever stops ringing the bell to go outside, that is.  

What Now?

So, my old/former friend.  The one I wrote about a few days ago.  "Margaret."  Her husband sent me a friend request on Facebook.

What on earth do I do with that?

I don't want to hurt this man.  I don't want to set him straight or in any way disabuse him of his ideas about his wife.  I don't want to grind it home that her "conversion to Christ" was just the last of MANY such "conversions," each coming as part of a plea for aid from this church or that.  I remember her flipping Mormon on numerous occasions to get the ward to help her with her rent or give her food from the Bishop's stores.  I remember her showing up at St. Joe's at ten o'clock at night, banging on the rectory door and begging for food.  I remember Fr. Kaiser and Fr. What-a-Waste clearing their own cupboards to feed her and her son.  For weeks, she went to St. Joe's, oh, so sincerely interested in becoming Catholic.

Until she didn't need the help anymore.

The "Meg" I knew was an atheist.  Flat out, straight up.  From the first day we talked of it in 1980--long before *I* was an atheist.  As recently as a year ago, she was posting online that she was an unbeliever.

I keep hearing that her medical problems really devastated her family, financially.  For her to, once again, "find Jesus" in order to garner help from a church?  Totally believable.

On a related note, I see her mother posted to the online memorial.  "Wish we'd spent more time together."  That makes me want to scream.  That woman did more than her share to make her daughter's life hell.  That woman taught her daughter to never trust, gave her none of the comfort and nurturing a mother should.  If "Margaret" didn't spend any time with her mother, it was to guard what shreds of psychological health she had left.  It was self-preservation.

You may wonder why I'm so "up" on what's going on in the wake of the death of a person I chose to put outside my world and keep at a distance twenty years ago?  The answer is simple--I help run a memorial page for our high school.  I'm the person who finds obits and death notices and posts them for alumni to see.

And because, of course, I knew her.  I knew her in a way almost no one else ever did.  I knew more about her than pretty much anyone on this earth (maybe even a little more than Lynda, and that's saying something).  And I didn't hate her.  People assume that I must have hated her in order to walk away.  Not at all.  I walked away to preserve myself, to protect myself, to finally put a stop to the constant chaos, drama, and flat-out freakiness. Doesn't mean I hated her.

In fact, a part of me loves her still.  And even more of me is sorry she's gone.  If she managed to somehow rise above that morass of mental illness and find true joy?  My heart rejoices at the idea.

But that doesn't help me on the husband front.  I accepted his request, sent him some old pics of his wife.  I've gone back and deleted the blog entry about his wife's death.  Like I said, I'm not looking for a scorched earth thing.  While it is hard to see so many who didn't know her well back in the bad ol' days sing her praises (it feels like a slap, somehow, though I'm not sure why), I'm not going to play the "posthumous slaughter" game.  After all, what earthly purpose would that possibly serve?  Even if I wanted to hurt her, she's gone, she's dead, she's beyond hurting.  So what good would hurting a bunch of people left behind do?

None.  No good at all.

What a sad mess.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Noo Shooz

Something happy and positive and not political or sad or rant-y--we all got new shoes!  Our boy got a killer pair of New Balance 956 shoes--size TEN!  Holy cow!  My "little boy" has feet like an elephant!  Just like his MOM, sadly!  I'm hoping the new shoes will help with those wowser callouses he's forming on the sides of his big toes.  I may introduce him to the concept of a callous file.  Not a "ped-egg" type thing, but more a pumice stone arrangement.


I got a pair of New Balance 481 All Terrain shoes--yes, they're men's shoes, but I usually go for men's shoes over women's.  I like the darker colors, plus, with my big feet it's easier to get a decent selection.  They're black with grey and orange, and I don't wear them.

I know, what am I doing?  I like to have one nice pair of trainers for doctor's appointments and the like.  Something that doesn't smell oogy.  My feet didn't used to smell bad, but these days they sort of do.  Hoping it's the age of the shoes, my feet look fine.  I cut out some Odor Eaters for the boy's shoes and my old shoes.  I suppose I should do the same for my new ones.

Hubby got some new dress shoes for work.  He'd gotten a pair he really loved, but they tore holes in all his dress socks, and, within months, began to fall apart.  The new ones are black and dressy, and he likes them. Sadly, they've already rubbed his heel half off.  Which is strange because he owns an identical pair in brown, same maker, same size, and they never did rub him.  Go figure, huh?

There's supposed to be a winter storm moving through, starting tomorrow and lasting into Friday.  Wouldn't it be amazing if we actually got some real snow?  Would make shopping tomorrow night an adventure, huh?  We're having pancakes tonight, after days of thinking about it.  I'm still sicker than sick (not the flu, just a stupid head/respiratory thing), and hubby isn't feeling so good, either.  He did clean up that kitchen for me, and I appreciate that more than I can say.  All I have to do is sweep and mop tomorrow.

I can do that.

Margaret's funeral is this weekend.  Obviously, I'm too far away, but poor Lynda is agonizing over whether or not to go.  No right answer there, I guess.

A Small Note Related to the Last

This came across my Facebook  wall today.  Bad enough that this sort of thing is being forwarded.  Worse?  That the world sees these freaks and thinks they represent Americans as a whole.  

A hole.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sandy Hook and Stupid People

So, this garbage comes skittering across my Facebook newsfeed yesterday.  A story about how Sandy Hook was staged by President Obama in order to inspire a gigantic gun grab by our government.  I'd hoped that the person posting it had done so to show just how stupid some Americans (and a few Irish, I'm told) can be.

Sadly, that wasn't the case.  In fact, it was a case of "Oh, my GOSH, has anyone researched this?  Is this TRUE?"

I went to school with the Cottle and Parker families.  I attended the same high school as little Emilie Parker's parents, and I attended at the same time as her aunts and uncles.  They are not actors.  They are not employees of the United States Government, pretending, for pay or otherwise, to be bereaved parents for the purpose of inspiring a gigantic gun grab by Obama and his evil henchmen.

Holy cow, seriously?  Is there anyone out there THAT crazy?  Anyone out there so stupid and out of touch that their first thought upon witnessing a slaughter like this is to say "It's a plot, it's a CONSPIRACY by that FASCIST COMMIE (the words are interchangeable in the nutjob crowd) to steal our guns!"

If you're that stupid, that crazy, you're EXACTLY who shouldn't have guns.  Seriously.

Be reasonable.  Be smart.  Understand that the Cottle and Parker families aren't sleepers, hanging out in Ogden, Utah for decades, blending in, pretending to be regular, decent folks.  They haven't been passing as "normal," waiting for the call from the evil feds to put on their mourning clothes and turn on the waterworks in their REAL avocation as super-secret actors and actresses in some grand, gun-grabbing production.

Are you familiar with the concept of Occam's Razor?  Sometimes called the Principle of Parsimony?  You might know it better as KISS, or "Keep It Simple, Stupid?"  In a nutshell, it tells us that, all things being equal, the simplest, least twisty explanation tends to be the correct one.  Which is more likely?  Which makes more sense?  That one deranged, screwed up kid who had access to weapons he never should have had access to went nuts and blasted apart a classroom, or that a great, complicated, covert plan has been in place for years, involving men and women pretending to be parents and families for the purpose of pulling one over on us all so that our President can take away our guns?

If you went with the latter, get thee to a shrink.  Quickly.

Here's a story from my old home's local newspaper.  That would be the newspaper published in the same town the Cottles and Parkers are from.  The town that's home to the high school we all attended:

Conspiracy theories claim Newtown shootings were a hoax

For goodness' sake.  Have a brain, huh?  I know most of you do, but if you buy into this crap, what's wrong with you?  The little girl wasn't magically alive again days later--that was her little sister!  The attack wasn't announced days in advance, that's just how the web organizes news stories after a few days!  Come on!

Come on.

Read this.  And then read this

And then cry.  Hurt for these people.  And stop trying to turn it into something crazy and idiotic that makes you mad instead of sad.  Stop trying to make it something fake so you don't have to deal with the reality of 20 little children blown to bits.  Stop clinging to lies and wild fantasies and face reality.  This wasn't a sham, it wasn't an act, it wasn't some grand conspiracy.

It was murder.  And your stupid, near-schizophrenic delusions may make you feel better, but they make the rest of us want to PUKE.

I was going to include a photo of sweet Emilie or handsome Noah, but that doesn't seem appropriate somehow.  If you're one of the conspiracy kooks, YOU should go find pictures of them.  And look.  Hard.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Teacher, Teacher

So, I read an article today in the Washington Post about Michelle Rhee and her ideas about education and kids.  This comes on the heels of watching a Frontline special about her last week.  I remember Michelle from a few years back, and all the uproar with her treatment of ineffectual teachers.  I remember liking the heck out of her then.

I still do.  She's not perfect, but she's smart and she's insightful and she's trying.

Living where I do, the idea that Ms. Rhee's policies have "sucked the joy out of the classroom" or somehow "unfairly burdened" teachers with the responsibility of learning strikes me as ludicrous butt-covering.  Many of the schools in the DC area have long been nothing more than holding pens, where some teachers have been observed sleeping through class, handing out printed out worksheets with no instruction or explanation, etc.  Many of these schools are violent, they're dirty, they're underfunded and under-supervised, and they're definitely NOT hotbeds of learning.  I've heard the "holding a teacher responsible for academic achievement is like holding a dentist responsible for cavities" argument, but that's a lousy analogy that only holds if the dentist has the kid in his office FIVE DAYS A WEEK, NINE MONTHS A YEAR, walking him through dental hygiene each day.  No, I'm not laying it all on teachers (they're a big part, but certainly not the ONLY part), but teachers need to be FIREABLE.  Teachers who are observed being slackers or otherwise ineffectual need to be counseled on how to improve their performance, and if they fail to make those changes, they need to find another line of work.  I feel strongly about this because I believe strongly in the power teachers wield.  We cannot have unassailable teachers--that serves children in NO way.  How could it?  How are students served by being "taught" by teachers who don't care?  Who make substandard effort?  Who don't put forth their best effort because they know they can't be fired?

In some cases, who are barely literate themselves?

I don't hate teachers.  In fact, I think teachers can be THE deciding factor in a child's success and achievement.  And, while I have known some crappy, cliquish, disdainful teachers who reject students based upon their popularity or faith (hello, Utah!), and I have had the occasional teacher who didn't really seem to know much about his subject (hey, Coach C.!), I have never had a teacher who was so lazy and so uninspired and unskilled that they couldn't do their job in most cases.  Plus, I've had a few real stand-outs, too.  That said, I wouldn't say I received an inspired or above-and-beyond education from most of my teachers.  I would, however, say that Utah did okay.  These days, Utah could do a lot better.

But DC?  Wow, what a cesspool.  What happened to classroom integration?  Have you SEEN Anacostia?  From where I'm sitting, it looks ALL black, ALL poor, and TOTALLY underfunded.  It is, to be blunt, a disaster, where kids can't possibly hope to learn.  Now, call me a socialist (go ahead, everyone else does), but I think that the schools in poorer areas need MORE funding than the schools in wealthier areas.  Why?  Because the kids in the "nice" neighborhoods already hit first grade knowing how to read.  They have homes full of attention and books and opportunities to explore and grow.  So they don't need all the bells and whistles at school because they've already got them at home.  No, I'm not saying they need crappy schools to "level the field," but rather that they don't need three or four times (or more) the per-student spending.  In fact, it should be flipped so it's the poorer neighborhoods who get that sort of funding.  After all, there are a lot more obstacles to be overcome living in Anacostia than in Spring Valley.

And we do want kids to overcome those obstacles.  Don't we?  Don't we want those poorer schools to turn out kids who can succeed?  Kids who can rise up and out of poverty and become healthy, happy, contributing members of society?  Don't we want that?

Because it sure as heck doesn't seem like it sometimes.  Especially when we're saying things like "You can't hold a teacher accountable for the education of his or her students."

What?  We can't?  Then what CAN we hold teachers accountable for?

Watch The Education of Michelle Rhee on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

And enough of that.

I'm sick.  Been that way for a few days.  Voice mostly gone, I sound like an adolescent boy being strangled. A LOT of snot, of the bloody, gluey variety.  Contrary to popular belief, snot isn't color coded for our convenience, so who knows what my deal is?  But it came on gradual, like your average head virus, and I'm not too concerned.  It didn't hit like the flu, so that's something.  Yes, I've been vaccinated, but this year they didn't match so well, so that may not be any guarantee.

When I started writing this, the boy had lost my Galaxy Tab, but hubby has since found it.  We really need to work with our boy on effectively searching for things.  At fourteen, he's still terrible for looking straight at things and not seeing them.  No, nothing wrong with his vision, it's perfect.  He's just inattentive.  Maybe we need to do more puzzles and optical illusion-type things.

And finally, because I know you've waited so long, here is that masterpiece of bad paneling, that Tenacious D of DISASTROUS DECORATING, the Big D (kindly provided by Leif over at Ugly House Photos:

Bonus points to anyone who can 1) explain the WHY of the shape here, and 2) tell me what the awful, squidgy-looking brown spots are supposed to represent?  Tuscan-style sponging?  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What a Hopeless Feeling

Had a really bad night last night.  So bad that I'm afraid writing about it will just bring it all back.  

I'm not usually given to fits of deep, dark depression or self-inflicted misery--there's enough on the outside to worry about without delving deep into my own self for hurt.  Last night, though?


I was sitting upstairs with my boy when, out of the blue, it hit me--I'm almost certainly never going to go do all those cool things in Europe and the Middle East I've always dreamed of doing.  I'm not going to see the Northern Lights in Norway.  I'm not going to ride a horse in the desert to see Petra and the Pyramids.  I'm not going to discover some amazing Viking hoard in England with my trusty metal detector.  I'm not going to climb to the top of the tower keep at Dolwyddelan.  Hell, unless I'm lucky, I'm not even going to see Niagara frozen or fireworks in fog or snow.

I'm pushing fifty, and the odds of me achieving any of my dreams are pretty slim.  I've always dreamed that someday, we'd have enough "disposable" cash to just do things like that, but you know what?  My mom thought that, too, and she's stuck on a fixed income without enough spare cash (or a reliable enough car) to even head to Wendover for a few nights of hot slot machine action.

I cried and cried.  And then I told myself that I need to suck it the heck up and work on what I can hope to achieve.  Like finding ways to make my boy happy, keep him healthy, give him fun things to do and see.  I can do that.  That's worthwhile.  And maybe, just maybe, he'll get to do those things that I'm almost certainly not going to.

Welcome to my world.  It's a pretty bleak place right now.  It's the first time I've ever felt utterly hopeless about the future.  I've never been that overwhelmed by the sense that it's too late to realistically expect dreams to come true.

Okay.  So, here's my world tour as it would go, were I ever to get that chance:

First, I want to take my boy and hubby and wander the English countryside, looking for the next big buried Viking hoard, something from Alfred's time, you know?

No, I don't want to keep it, I just want to touch it, to find it, to live that.  Then I'll be happy to hand it over to a museum.  Just like Dr. Jones, huh?

After that?  Well, maybe swing over to Ireland to see friends and research family (A big shout-out to the Wards, Collinses, and McManuses!), then back across and north to satisfy my husband's love of all things Scottish.  I can't forget Wales, though--Llywelyn Fawr captured my heart years ago, and it's a dream, visiting Dolwyddelan.


Notice the second, ruined structure?  Funny story.  The intact structure was built by Welsh Prince Llywelyn ap Iowerth, aka Llywelyn Fawr ("Fawr" meaning "the great").  That was constructed in around 1220, when Llywelen was almost fifty years old.  It was, no doubt, just a way of keeping the English (Norman) lords at bay (and maybe to keep a few disgruntled Welsh back, too).  The second structure?  The sad, crumbling away bit?  That was built, most sources say, after 1283 by Edward I (aka "Longshanks) after he killed Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (aka Llywelyn the Last) and seized Dolwyddelan from his brother Davydd ap Gruffudd (both being the grandsons of Llywelen Fawr).  After seizing Dolwyddelan, Edward fortified it by building the second tower.  Unlike the first, the second was definitely not built to last.  

And then?  Then I want to take my guys to Paris, where I had such a mostly-miserable time of things back in 1995.  Take them to Pere Lachaise to see the amazing graves, then to Sacre Coeur via the breathtaking stairs up Montmartre.
Pere Lachaise

Atop Montmartre

And Notre Dame, and Les Invalides, and the Louvre, and the Pantheon, and just a hot croque monsieur au jambon et au fromage.

From there, definitely north in hopes of seeing the Northern Lights (and just to enjoy beautiful Norway).  Tromsø is, they say, THE place to go for the Northern Lights, and here's a picture from there:  

That's the one least likely to happen, I think.  Because the Northern Lights aren't just hanging around up there, 24/7, waiting for you.  All the best planning, even having the financial wherewithal to hop on a plane the moment reports of a probable solar flare event come in, you could still wind up seeing nothing.  I once, when I was in college, saw the sky pink in Ogden, Utah.  Vaguely pink.  My then husband insisted it was somehow light from cars reflected off moisture in the air.  That night, the news reported it had been a rare lower-latitude aurora.  It wasn't much to see, but that may be the best I ever get.  

Sometimes, I think I'd like to turn south and east from there and hit some of the old Soviet Block countries.  And sometimes I think that, even today, things are maybe not particularly safe there.

Speaking of safety, the next leg of my dream is almost certainly not going to happen in my lifetime.  Not with the way my government keeps meddling in Middle Eastern affairs.  But I sure would love to take my boy through Jordan (for Petra), through Egypt (for Abu Simbel, the pyramids at Giza, the Valley of the Kings), and through Palestine.  Petra and Egypt?  I'd like to do those sites on horseback whenever possible.  There are also sites in Saudi that are much like Petra, but the fancy dancing you've got to do to get there is tough.  And expensive.

Petra, Jordan

Abu Simbel

Valley of the Kings

Are there other places I'd like to go, things I'd like to see or do?  You bet--I'd love to take the QE-2 from the States to England.  Maybe kick off the world tour that way.  I'd love to see the catacombs under Rome. I would so love to meet a manatee.  India, various African nations (Morocco!  Tunisia!), so many places appeal, so many I've dreamed about.

Oh, and I'd like to take Amtrak through the west in the winter, when the snow is thick and deep.  And I'd like to see Niagara falls in the winter.  Frozen, if possible, but even with just the amazing, limestone-cavern-like formations at the sides would be great.  And I think it's time for me to concentrate on those last two, because those are attainable.  Those can be achieved.  

Now, onto real life.

Found out night before last that my boy has been lying about his math work.  He's been, again and again, telling me that he's doing great, that today he did this or that, and I've been taking him at his word.

No more.

Turns out he's been lying.  He's been pretending to do his schoolwork but, instead, playing on his PS3 or the computer.  Video games.  I've been unhappy about the video games since day one (was solidly outvoted and out maneuvered on those), and now it stops.  New rule?  No video games (computer, PS3, phone, or otherwise) on weekdays.  Period.  not after school work's done, not after Dad gets home from work.  Just none on any day his father is scheduled to work.  No exceptions.  If he does as well this year as he did last year on the standardized tests, he can have the summer with loosened restrictions.  If he doesn't, school's going year-round.

I give him points for coming clean, and I give myself demerits for being foolish enough to trust a 14 year-old to work without constant parental "checking up."  Won't happen again.  And no, it's not that he can't do it, it's that he didn't want to, he'd rather play.

Heard back from the USPS about our tampered-with/stolen mail.  Their answer was so utterly unhelpful and so "butt-covering" that I can only laugh.  They're not interested in our mail being stolen, and they won't replace the lock on our mail box.  So much for "mail tampering is a huge, wowser federal crime!"  Sure, maybe it is, but the USPS doesn't seem to much care.  No wonder they're going under.

Now, here's something funny.  I've just spent a few hours looking at all these places I wish I could go and see, and instead of making me even more devastatingly sad, it's cheered me up.  How messed up is that?

Speaking of cheered up, looks like the atheist-hater's loud, cigarette-butt-flinging daughter and her stompy-stompy kids are moving out in a huff.  That works.  Good luck to you, and I mean that.  Think you could take the rats across the street with you?

Anyway, the wonderful, awful paneling so kindly offered me isn't going in today.  This is already a very picture-heavy entry, and I want it to really shine.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Don't Believe Everything You Read

So, I was cruising various news sites this morning when I came across a funny (ish) piece about yet another chunk of Wikipedia misinformation, this one in the form of an article made up out of whole cloth.  It's the story of a war that didn't happen, and the article has been in place for five years.  It took five years for someone to catch wise to the hoax.

The lesson there?  Don't get your information from Wikipedia.  It might be a good launching point, but don't ever let that be the foundation or "proof" upon which you base anything.

Speaking of internet hoaxes, there's one making the rounds again--the whole "Through a Rapist's Eyes" pile of trash (I won't post it--it's that awful).  It's spreading like wildfire because, once again, we have a bunch of folks who WANT to do good.  Sadly, spreading dangerous misinformation isn't "doing good."  It is, in fact, doing exactly the opposite.

In a nutshell:

Rapists do NOT seek out women with long hair.  Short hair will not protect you.

Rapists do not seek out women in particular types of clothing (and they don't carry scissors to cut through overall straps--grip!).  Dressing dowdy or wearing layers will not protect you.

Rapists are rarely the mask-wearing stranger lurking in the back seat of your car or in the grocery store parking lot (which doesn't mean you shouldn't be careful).  Instead, most rapists are KNOWN TO THEIR VICTIMS.  You have more to worry about from your DATE (or your sister's best friend, or your husband) than you do from some stranger stalking you.

Rapists are not a "one size fits all" phenomenon.  What will deter one will enrage another.

The majority of rapes do not occur in the morning hours (?).  In fact, according to The Department of Justice, most rapes occur between 6 pm and 6 am.  As you'd expect.

In fact, the only accurate part of this idiotic spam is this:  rapists thrive on seclusion.  The more alone, the more isolated a place, the more a rapist will like it.  His crime depends in large part upon his ability to keep his victim from being heard.  So the warnings to stay out of alleyways and stairwells and darkened streets are worthy of heeding.  Yes, you're more likely to be raped in a home (over two-thirds of rapes occur in homes), but it still pays to be where there are people and lights.  Still pays to lock your doors and windows, too.

Now, if you know me at all, you know how much I hate the whole "teaching the girls to dodge rape because we can't teach the boys to stop it" thing.  I spent a few years as a rape and domestic abuse counselor, and one of my duties was teaching "self-defense/rape-avoidance."  Again, even today, the entire idea pisses me off.  By teaching women to stay away from here or don't do that, we're conferring a sense of responsibility onto the potential victims rather than letting that blame rest where it should--entirely on the rapist, regardless of where the victim was, what she was doing, what she was wearing, etc.

I just found this piece, and I think it's worthy of a read.  And, of course, the obligatory Snopes article.

Back to the missing/tampered-with mail issue.  No word yet from the USPS, but the local police refused to take a report because it's a federal crime.  A terrible thought occurs.  We sent out 34 Christmas cards.  We got six in return.  Eight, if you count the two that showed up on January 2nd (11 days after being mailed), already opened, one cleared of its monetary contents.  Right before and after Christmas, we had a number of days with no mail--unusual for us.  Very unusual.  Plus, when we moved in, the real estate agent handed us the various keys and remarked, "Hmmm, only one mail key, I guess."

Here's my fear--the woman who lived here before?  The one the cops came looking for over and over?  Including once in a door-banging 2 am raid-style visit?  She moved back onto the street a few months back. Now lives across the street and four houses down.  What if she kept a key?

What if she kept a key?

What if that's why my Epinions checks keep not showing up?  What if she's snatching credit offers and the like out of the mail?

Please tell me I'm just being paranoid, huh?

Looking to take Charlie in for his annual vaccinations plus a heartworm test.  Personally, I don't agree that he needs a heartworm test--he's been on Heartgard since he was five months old, never missing a dose.  But the vet insists.  However, we won't be taking him to the vet for this--see, the vet wants $190 bucks for the vaccines plus heartworm test.  The local wellness clinic wants $75.  Kinda like the neutering thing last year.  The vet wanted $560 with microchip.  Local "Neuter Commuter" wanted $65 with microchip.  Amazing.  Yes, I get that the "Neuter Commuter" is subsidized by the ASPCA.  But I also get that, when we had Bodhi fixed back in 1996, it only cost $95 bucks at a regular vet.  Hard to believe the vet's costs have gone up by five-plus times.

Walgreens emailed me last night, said I had a script needing refilling, all I had to do was respond to the email.  I did, then got an email telling me there was a problem with the script and they were contacting my physician for renewal.  I crack open the medicine cabinet and can't find a script with that number.  I call them, and it's some script from over a year ago from the wildly personable and spectacularly inattentive urogynecologist who absolutely missed that mass, even when I told her exactly where it was, what it felt like, how big it was, etc.  So I told them to cancel the request.  I have no dealings with Dr. I up in Maryland any more.

On the paneling front, I found a gem, a pure-D miracle of awfulness, but I've dropped a line to the owner of the website to make sure it's okay for me to post it.  It's really amazing.  If I don't hear back in a day or so, I'll post it with a link-back to his page and, if he later objects, I'll remove it.  It's amazing, I'm excited to post it!  Until then, here's ME, in 1987, with my Mom's bad (but could be so much worse) upstairs paneling:

Note the mallard duck lamp.  

Yay!  The owner of the blog says I can display the picture!  Look for it tomorrow--it's an explosion of awfulness!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Steampunking Art

If you've read back through my stuff, you know that I have, for years now, been on the lookout for a vintage mourning locket that was my mother's.  It had been a gift to her from the wife of her father's (my grandfather's) business partner back in Hallstead, Pennsylvania.  It was a large (around two-plus inches long by over an inch wide) gold or pinchbeck (I don't know which) mourning locket with deep scrolling and a large, rectangular black stone--I believe obsidian, but maybe not, maybe onyx.  It was not jet, and it was almost certainly not glass.  I know those things.  The inside was missing the glass, and was an uneven, pale enamel blue.  The chain was incredibly muscular and substantial, a brilliantly heavy box-link chain that was obviously meant to be with the locket.  My mother gave it to me on my wedding day, and, as far as I can tell, the husband of that day stole it when we split up in Provo, Utah a year later.  It's been 28 years since I've seen that locket, and I'm still looking for it.  It means more to me than I can adequately explain.

What does that have to do with Steampunk?


You see, I know folks who are completely taken, captivated even, by the whole steampunk thing.  And hey, that's fine, have fun, it's harmless, it's creative, and if it takes your imagination to new heights, that's wonderful.

What isn't so wonderful is how some steampunk folks have taken to snapping up vintage jewelry and tearing it to bits for their own "reimagined" art.  This destroys me, it tears ME to bits.  I can imagine someone taking that amazing, beautiful locket for which I have searched years and tearing the stone off, replacing it with some dippy beetle made out of soldered coathanger and a Heineken bottle cap or some other such thing.  And it makes me almost crazy with preemptive grief.

I've heard the cry, "It's ART!" but I disagree.  It's "art" like me breaking into the Louvre with a can of spray paint and "reimagining"  Da Vinci's Virgin of the Rocks is art.  The locket itself is art.  To deface it would be vandalism.  If you want to pull apart jewelry and watches and recreate other, new, steampunk-y things, then please, please buy cheap, knock-off jewelry from Burlington Coat Factory and Walmart.  But please don't go to antique shops and vintage stores and snap up treasures for the purpose of defacing them!  If it's the "old" look you're after, it's no big deal to distress metals to make them look vintage.


And enough of that.  Been thinking about the whole "fiscal cliff" deal and how it doesn't really fix much on the sequestration front because all they did was kick the can down the road by a couple of months.  So we don't really even get to relax much.  We're just caught in the idiot waiting and worrying game again.  Or still.  Thanks, guys.

My son's Christmas card from his Aunt finally came yesterday.  Open and no money.  Yes, she actually put CASH in the card.  So now we're torn.  Do we tell her the card came opened with no cash, or do we just let it go and give him the cash out of our own pocket?  I don't know, but I can't help but feel just a tad pissed off here.  Who puts cash in a card these days?  Why would anyone do that?  My mom also sent a card, and it showed up the same day, also opened.  But she had included a check, not cash, and the check was still there.


Going shopping tonight.  Going to work very hard to keep it cheap AND to load up on fruits and veggies instead of crappy snacks.  It's time to rein this in before my blood sugar becomes a real issue again.

Speaking of real issues--going into week three without seeing any lice.  We're pretty sure we know who they're coming off of, and there's not really anything we can do.  It's another boy in Hapkido, really unkempt, seems mentally troubled, perhaps autistic?  Bad body odor, really greasy hair.  No, I don't believe any of those things give you lice--case in point, my kid with the clean hair and the fresh-smelling armpits.  But this boy has problems with being touched, and the only time we find lice on MY boy is after he's been paired for sparring with the boy I'm talking about.  And he is FOREVER scratching at his head.  I'm thinking he has a wowser infestation and won't let anyone in close enough to see or do anything about it.  So we'll just keep doing what we're doing--when my boy comes home, he rinses his hair, and then I thoroughly lice comb him and blow his hair out to fry the bastards.  I don't see another option that doesn't damage the studio owner (and he's a nice man) or cause that disturbed boy harm, and I'm not looking to have him thrown out or whatever.  So we lice comb.  Now that we're aware of the problem and the likely source, we should be able to stay on top of it.

And before anyone says anything about me being mean by saying I think the boy is likely autistic?  My boy stopped talking right after his first birthday.  And he stayed non-verbal for over a year.  At the same time, he began developing odd repetitive tics and took to screaming and hitting himself whenever anyone sang or whistled.  We spent years working with him to get him past the spectacular Asperger's gig he had going on.  And there are still issues, though most are so dramatically improved that the average person dealing with him doesn't notice.  So I'm not being mean, I absolutely sympathize with the boy and his parents.  So much so that I'll put up with my boy being exposed to lice up to three times a week.

And, finally?  Bad paneling!  Bad!

I really do think the lighter ones offend me the most.  Nothing like a little "blond" paneling to make my fingernails itch.