Sunday, March 31, 2013

And So This is Easter

And so this is Easter, huh?

Best Easter Bunny EVER courtesy
Awkward Family Photos

Really, the only point for us is a candy bar and an excuse to eat ham.  Except we don't have any ham.  We have a spare turkey hanging around in the freezer downstairs, but I think I'd rather have hot pastrami with melted provolone.  That's like ham, right?


Came across an amazing advert in my old local rag yesterday--a breathtakingly gaudy thing, calling folks to Easter Services at the "Old Catholic Church."  The building used to be Emmanuel Baptist--I remember that because the old joke always was, "Who is Emmanuel Baptist and why does he have a church?"  I visited the website, and find they refer to themselves as an "American Catholic Church."  A little more digging?

The Pastor/Reverend (not priest) is a gay  man who is married to his partner of 30 years.  A gay man who always, since childhood, wanted to be a priest.  A Catholic priest.

See, I copied their advert because the picture is so garish and the image of Christ so . . . I don't know, oddly expectant, with a strange bit of shyness or embarrassment?  Oh, and he looks like he's got a lip full of chaw.  Like a vaguely ashamed Buddy Christ with a tobacco problem, you know?  I was going to make fun of the picture, and, in fact, I AM doing that, but I'm also impressed that this gay preacher from Texas had the stones to found a "Catholic" church in the heart of Mormonville.  You know me, I don't think ANYPLACE needs MORE religion, but in a place already swimming in it, I do think it's nice to see something different, something a little more kind and accepting, move in.

Oh, here's the poster:


So, I wound up part of some Facebook group dedicated to my graduating class.  Had to go down my block list and remove half a dozen people I really think are crusty wounds just to make sense of the conversations.  There's one skeezy creature I WILL not unblock because she is incapable of being around anyone who doesn't share her teabagger ideas without sliding in with as many digs and dull-witted insults as she can.  Because she was very popular in school, she actually still has little groupies who follow her around and soak up her every bigoted word (and yes, she is astoundingly bigoted--of the "papers please/build a wall/armed civilian patrols/blame the Mexicans/our President is a MUSLIM/why should homosexuals get to be married when their leaders SUPPORT MURDERING BABIES" variety), meeting each sick political spray with sycophantic cries of "YEAH!" and "OH, MY GOD, I'LL PRAY FOR AMERICA!"  It makes me want to scream.

But instead, I keep her blocked.  She was the one that really broke me on the "give folks a chance--just because they were scuzzy morons in high school doesn't mean they haven't changed for the better" thing.  Turns out most of them are just the same as they ever were--like high school ended and they decided that was it, that was the end of learning, growing, developing, changing, etc.  The majority of people I went to high school with still write like . . . well, like below-average high school students.  A lot of their/there/they're mistakes, almost universal pluralization vs possessive issues, and a near-uniform inability to look at anything from a logical or scientific viewpoint.  A lot of woo and "natural news" and "water has memory" and "share this idiot meme and good things will happen, don't and your heart will be broken" sort of crap.  

It's depressing.  Even more depressing is the number of these people I thought were smart back in high school.  I thought they were a lot smarter than me.  Some, in fact, WERE, and some of those STILL ARE, but the majority?  Not really.  So either I was wrong about them then or they've all suffered serious brain injuries over the intervening years.  And before you get on me about the brain injury crack, I am the product of a wowser brain injury thanks to having my car wrapped around a tree at 60+ mph.  So blah.

I don't know how long I'll make it in that group.  Maybe I'll just hide notifications and pretend I'm there.


Speaking of that group, have you ever been momentarily stunned by a  name on your computer screen?  I was last night.  There's not a thing I can do about it, but I'm shaken just the same.

You see, back in junior high, there was a vicious rape.  It happened down in the girl's bathroom near the gym.  Three boys followed a girl into the bathroom and raped her.  I know about this because I was in the nurse's office, trying to nap off a migraine, when they brought the girl in.  I heard everything, the cops talking, the cops questioning the victim, the nurse and the cops discussing it, the principal weighing in.  I didn't know the girl, but I knew the boys.  All three of them.

They were tried as juveniles, did their juvenile stint, and by high school they were back among us.  Something that always left me nervous.  They were, after all, rapists. 

Well, one of them is in the above-mentioned group.  I saw his name and felt that immediate jolt.  I took a look at his profile page, and it's all "Jesus" this and "God" that.  And hey, maybe that keeps him in line.  But I sure am glad that group is virtual and not real.  


We went for a drive last night--looking at a house I'd found a lovely story about online.  Had you asked me to describe my dream house, it probably wouldn't be this, and yet you know what?  It's my dream house, absolutely.  Here's a real estate listing for it, and here are some photos I took.

 There were more--pictures of the horses, pictures of the stable, pictures of the solar panels, etc.

Yeah, solar panels.  This place is totally off the grid.  There's a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, eight stall stable with interior corridor, guest house, barn, run in shed, tenant house, etc.  Radiant heat, heated floors, lovely gardens, and over 17 acres with streams, bridges, beautiful trees, and varied wildlife.

And the asking price?  Around two-and-a-half mil.

That actually makes it markedly cheaper than some of the gigantic places around there.

I know, barring a lotto win (hard to do when you don't play the lotto), nothing like this is ever going to come our way.  But wow.  What a lovely place.  Not too palatial, not too grand, not snobby and grotesque in its opulence.  But real.  Seems a like a place real people could live real lives.

It didn't occur until late last night that we had just gone traipsing all over these people's property.  No, we didn't get out of the car and snoop about, but we did traverse little side roads and check out the stables, barn, guest house, etc.  In our 2009 Sonata, I'm sure no one mistook us for potential buyers, A gentleman who clearly works there did come over on his four-runner and ask if we needed help, and we blithely smiled, said we were good, and thanked him.  He nodded and moved on.  That was when I had the first, "Um,  maybe that was code for 'get lost?'" thought, but it wasn't until we got home that I really realized that we were being rather . . . oogy.  Ill-mannered.  To my credit, I'm pretty sure the home is unoccupied, and we did just follow the Sotheby's signs to the site.

I swear, I used to be classier.


The arm is still unhappy when I use it or twist it, and it still looks like it's going to be a pretty solidly disfiguring scar--all pulled and puckered.  Not at all what I was expecting, but certainly too late to do anything about it now.  I've got a gang of pictures, but I'll wait until the stitches come out to post a series.  No pictures of the actual cutting--I didn't think anyone would appreciate that.


So, Happy Easter--or if, like me, you don't list that way, Happy Rene Descartes' Birthday!  And if that doesn't do it for you?  Happy Passover!  And if THAT's not your gig, either?  Well, just have a beautiful day, huh?  Be happy, it's spring!

Do not reprint without permission. © KAQ

Friday, March 29, 2013

Gay Baby Feet Abortion . . . AND ENGLAND!

So, this garbage came across my Facebook feed today, drew from me an immediate and strong response.

The garbage:

"If most of my Facebook friends are going to support people who are gay by posting the red equal sign, I am going to post two feet, the feet represent the millions who never get to breathe the air of this world, who never feel love let alone get married, those who never have the chance to have children or go to school or do anything many gays are afforded the privilege to do. They are never given this chance because a human decides that their life is unimportant because of a defect or being an inopportune time for the person who conceived them. This is for the millions of children aborted yearly. Talk about rights being denied."

And my Response:

No need to consider the rights of women who are told that they must bear children against their will, their bodies used and their lives torn to bits because a bunch of people seem to think it's their right to impose their faith on others, though.  Right? Even if we accept that a fetus is "a human life" (and I don't--it's a human life like an acorn is an oak tree or an egg is a chicken), since when do we force one human being to support another human being, against their will, using their own body? What next? Blood "donation" squads grabbing you off the street and forcing you to give blood because someone needs it? How about organs ala Monty Python? Seriously, you don't need that WHOLE liver, you don't need BOTH kidneys, so FORK OVER because someone else NEEDS it to survive! What, that's not okay? That's wrong? The government shouldn't be allowed to require you to use your body against your will to sustain someone else? Hmmm. Maybe you're not so "pro-life" after all. Maybe you're just "pro-fetus." Or, taken at its most basic, most obvious, maybe you're just "anti-woman." Or "pro-slavery."

Okay, the crappy "gays have a lot more rights than ABORTED FETUSES" stuff aside (I know, it's hard to push aside, practically need a bulldozer it's such a weighty pile of manure), and the sickening "I'm going to hop on this bandwagon both to push my agenda AND to lessen the impact of the original movement" thing notwithstanding, what the hell, you know?  I seriously question the stability and psychological wellness of people who spend their days crying over aborted embryos and fetuses when there are real, live PEOPLE all around us who are suffering.  Who need our help.  There are tens of thousands of REAL children in our foster care system who will never know a loving family.  And you want to boob about the imaginary lives non-people might have had, had they actually developed normally in the womb and become humans? 

You need to grow up.  I mean, I support your right to FEEL that way, but your right to enforce your religion or wonky idea of what is and isn't a "person" ends when it forces women to carry unwanted pregnancies.  And shut the heck up with that idiotic "if you want to play, you have to pay/if you didn't want to get pregnant, you shouldn't have had sex" garbage!  One, that is totally woman-hating--proposing that women who are sexually active somehow "deserve" the punishment of carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term.  Two, that's like telling your wife that, if she hadn't wanted her daughter to die in a car accident, she shouldn't have bought a car.  Or telling your neighbor, "Hey, if you didn't want that lightning bolt to blast apart your home, you shouldn't have built a house."  It's disingenuous vomit, and you know it.  

And speaking of vomit?  "What if Einstein's mother had gotten an abortion?"  Goodness.  And what if Hitler's mother had gotten an abortion?  What if a runaway milk cart had taken out Abraham Lincoln or a shark had meandered miles upstream to take a chunk out of Mark Twain?  What if, what if, what if?  It's a stupid question, and it doesn't mean anything.  

Sorry, sidetracked a little there.  Fact is, I support your right to FEEL however, and also support your right to then LIVE as you BELIEVE, i.e., don't ever terminate a pregnancy.  But that's where it ends.  Just as MY being pro-choice shouldn't result in YOUR being forced to terminate a pregnancy, the reverse is also true--just  because YOU don't think abortion is okay doesn't mean *I* should be forced to carry a pregnancy to term.  

*** A small note for the small number of slow, cowardly folk whose courageous defense of "the unborn" goes exactly so far as leaving anonymous comments on a blog?  ANONYMOUS!  There's not enough laughter in the world, so thank you for bringing some my way.  


Alright, enough of that.

Our boy's oral surgeon appointment went . . . disconcertingly.  Scarily.  The only spot we've been so worried about?  No change, doctor says he's not worried.  But the new spot near the lower right wisdom tooth?  It's not new--it's on last year's x-rays, too, but it's markedly larger this year.  He wants to take a "watch and wait" approach because, again, it's down near that nerve canal.  There's another spot up near the wisdom tooth in the left maxilla.  It's small.  

What a mess.  Not sure how I feel about waiting another full year before having it checked again.  Seems . . . stupid.

Here are the x-rays for comparison:

Oh, there's also another spot, can't see it well with the scans, between the left mandibular bicuspids.  It's got that "radiolucent with a radiopaque halo" gig going on.  Whatever it is, you can see how the teeth have angled/grown around it.  He says he's not worried.  I'm worried.  I'm thinking I'm worried enough to wait six months, then seek out a second opinion.  

Just to see.


Since I'm on a roll, let's talk about marriage equality.  Or, rather, let's talk about some of the memes going around promoting marriage equality.  Here's one in particular:

Okay, straight up, flat out--who cares?  I mean, I get the sentiment, but who cares?  Whether you embrace the particular mythology or no, religion has no place in our government.  So who CARES if Jesus or whomever did or didn't wax whatever on whichever subject?  Doesn't matter.  What does matter?

That homosexuals are.  That's really it, the central thing--they ARE.  And therefore, they should be entitled the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.  

And I KNOW that's not in the Bible.


I saw a really, REALLY horrid wallpaper-carpet combo yesterday--let me go find it!

Ta Daaaaaaa!

Oh, and I nearly forgot--I just wanted to say I LOVE ENGLAND!  I do, you know?  I love England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales.  Just love the living daylights out of them.  And yes, I absolutely recognize the differences, issues, and histories of each.  So, while I love England, I also think maybe she needs a bit of a serious dressing down for being such a bully for so long (good thing the U.S. stepped up to accept the "World Bully" mantle, huh?).  I adore Llewelyn Fawr, Robert the Bruce, and Brian Boru.  Oh, and Simon de Montfort.  That would be Simon de Montfort, the 6th Earl of Leicester and 1st Earl of Chester, not the other Simons de Montfort who came before.  What a guy, huh?  Sure, flawed as all get-out, but what a guy.

Mostly, I'm just pandering here.  It's not that I don't love the "British Isles."  Oh, I do--so much so that we have, more than once, tried to figure out how to move there in the long term.  But I'm writing this for a baser reason--I want more readers from that part of the world.  I would love to make that "leap across the pond."

So, was that butt-kissy enough?  Will you give me a read?  Come on, you know you want to!

Do not reprint without permission. © KAQ

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I know, it's SO lame when people do this

But I'm going to post pictures of food because I'm hungry and I want to.  To my credit, this is ALL food that's actually been IN this house and/or in my belly!

Cardamom Tea with Ma'amoul Cookies

Hamburger Dogs--NO, I didn't eat them, they were hubby's

Fabulous Peach Shakes in Utah

Philly Steak with Provolone, Onions, Mushrooms, with Corn and a Brussel Sprout on the side. That's a hollowed out roll, low fat beef, pan seared (instead of oil fried) onions and mushrooms, and low fat provolone.  Oh, and no butter or salt on the corn.

Low cal/carb bread, with broiled chicken, Cabot's low-fat cheddar, and 1.5 slices of bacon. The potatoes are my boy's, and that second, deformed ear of corn sprouted up in our back yard from the bird feed.  Kinda tough kernels, easy to see the difference between feed corn and people corn.  

Grown in our garden maters 
Christmas Sugar Cookies

Homemade Pecan (which I don't like) and personal pumpkin pies (the smaller the pie, the less we eat!).

Ketchup at National Harbor

Funnel Cake Fries at Ketchup.  Talk about a once a year food!

Egg Nog and Brownie with Chambord and Blackberries.  Too Rich.

Much wonderfully tasty produce, all consumed quickly and merrily!

Heidelberg Bakery in Arlington 
Homemade Peanut Butter Cookies
Across the street from Pat's King of Steaks.  Pat's, not Geno's.
Pat's King of Steaks--a "Provi Wit."

Wegmans Bakery

Julienned carrots for pasta

Iced Mochaccino from Mayorga at National Harbor. Mayorga's totally displaced Starbucks for us. Better, and we feel better about corporate.  

Christmas Dinner--the orange stuff is roasted butternut and sweet potato

Thanksgiving Crackers
Thanksgiving Cheese

Farmer's Market Cinnamon Bread

Muscadine Grapes


Homemade parmesan cheese crisps (these aren't a lot of calories)

Our Boy's Homemade Birthday Cheesecake

Our Boy's Birthday Cheesecake

Farmer's Market Cinnamon Apple Bread with Irish Butter

Farmer's Market handmade chocolates

For fajitas, tuna sandwiches, and the occasional cheese melt

Maccoun Apple


Star Fruit

Weight Watchers 100 calorie fudge bars 

Dreamfield's pasta with julienned carrots and squash, low-fat chicken sausage,
and homemade cheese crisps. Or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

And that's all.  That was strangely cathartic.  Like maybe I'm okay with just a sandwich tonight with lots of veggies.  And I have to say, to my credit, that that's 2 years worth of "goodies," not all downed in a decadent month of gluttony.

Hope I didn't bore you to death.  Promise not to do another Calorie Collage for at least a year!

Do not reprint without permission. © KAQ

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Everybody Else's Woo is Fair Game, but Hands Off Mine!

Ohhh, this came across my wall today, and GOODNESS, the firestorm!

Why a firestorm?  Because, sometimes, even folks who embrace skepticism and research-based evidence have their own little bit of woo hanging out inside, and they don't like to see THEIR woo lumped in with everyone ELSE'S woo.  So I'm seeing posts like, "Of COURSE Scientology is total bollocks, but what do you MEAN the qi and body energy are BS?  Ask any TIBETAN MONK . . ."

Tibetan Monk. Yeah, exactly where I'm going to turn for evidence-based, valid, reliable research.

Shhhh.  Shhhhh.  It's okay.  Back slowly away from the internet meme and take a deep, cleansing, breath.  Take your ka and your qi and go home if you don't like this game--hurry, before my skepticism sullies your aura.

Remember how I talked about the movie KumarĂ©, about how there are people who seem absolutely compelled to believe in woo?  They ping-pong from one deeply "spiritual" thing to the next, embracing everything from magical runes to fairy circles, insisting that certain stones can heal, certain vibrations can cure, and the world is full of colors and spirits and wooooooo!


Here's where it gets personal for me.  See, I tried.  I ran the gamut, from tarot cards and Ouija boards to calling quarters and wearing certain stones. I grew up Christian, tried Hindu (or actually the dippy, New Age, Western attempt at feel-good neo-Hindu), Buddhist, various "goddess-y" bits of paganism, etc.  Because I felt like . . . like I was supposed to?  People always ask, "But you believe in SOMETHING, right?"  It took me years to realize that there's no reason to believe in something.  That being able to flash your believer card to fit into some club isn't good or right or admirable.  Being proud of embracing this mythology or that?

I don't get it.  I don't get where the pride comes from.  I get believing--death's a scary thing, it's comforting to believe that this isn't it.  It IS it, but I get seeking the comfort.

I don't get making believe you believe.  I don't understand people who know better, but roll with it anyway.  Either they're deluding themselves or they're lying.  Neither of those is particularly healthy.

But what really floors me is the over-the-top PRIDE, the pushing woo like it's something admirable.  "I believe in talking animals and auras and baking soda cancer cures and magic stones and invisible beings and . . ."

And the hilarious part?  These same people will roll their eyes at OTHER PEOPLE'S WOO.  A Christian might laugh at a Mormon, a Mormon might scoff at a Scientologist, a Scientologist might ridicule a Wiccan, etc.

An atheist might laugh at 98% of the woo, then become righteously irate when someone downs his qi.

Hey, guys?  Embrace what you will, enjoy it, but until you understand what science is and offer up your woo for in depth, rigorous examination by the scientific community?  Shut up about how much better YOUR woo is than anyone else's.  Because from out here, it all looks the same.

And in case anyone's wondering?  Yeah, I have experienced things I can't explain. But I refuse to argue from ignorance, I will not say, "I can't explain this right now, so it must be some big, super-powerful, invisible being!"  No.  I stop at "I can't explain this right now."  Tossing it into the realm of super-duper-deity or ghosties?  That's terrifically unenlightened.  As a species, we did that for millenia, and it did not serve our best interests.  It quelled query, it oppressed thinking, and it held us up in myriad ways.  Whatever I've experienced that defied explanation?  Science will get to it eventually.  If we let it.


Doctors appointments tomorrow.  I actually bought my own hospital/exam gown.  Last time I was at the gynecologist's (the only time for this office), they had no gowns, only these tiny, TINY little paper drapes, just barely big enough to cover from low down on the breasts to upper thigh.  I felt absolutely vulnerable and COLD and embarrassed.  I've seen paper drapes before, but this one was half the size they normally are.  Gynecology is rough enough on us, don't make us sit there clutching oversize napkins to our chests.  Plus, places that DO have gowns usually have small gowns.  Yeah, I can get them on and cover up, but they're tight in the arms and uncomfortable.  So I have my own.  I strongly recommend making that purchase if you're bigger or if your doc doesn't believe in gowns.  

Speaking of doctors, I'm getting nervous.  I jumped through a lot of hassle-y hoops to get my gynecology appointment at 9 am and my dermatology at 11 am.  Got a call yesterday confirming my 11 am (although it's been changed to 11:05, which is fine).  Got a call today confirming my 2 pm dermatology for day AFTER tomorrow?  Just got off the phone, cancelling that while stressing that TOMORROW'S appointment is still a goer.  But I've heard nothing from the gynecology office.  And her office staff tends toward the . . . dull.  Easily confused.  I'm scared to call and confirm for fear they'll screw up and cancel it instead (yes, I've had that happen at other places).  


*****Update***** I called, confirmed.  Woman seemed very shocked that I have an appointment tomorrow, but the appointment IS there and she did seem to grasp that I was calling to CONFIRM, not cancel.  Cross those lucky fingers, speaking of woo ;-)


Armus was put down yesterday.  Very sad, she was a good, good dog.  The guilt at having left her may never abate.  Yes, I know that we had no choice, but she didn't know that.  I hope she didn't hang around, just waiting for her people to come home.


Do not reprint without permission. © KAQ