Monday, January 31, 2005

Tsunami Mommy

I rushed out the door at precisely 3:29:59pm and raced to my kids' school. Once home I ushered them into the house and threw a bag of fruit snacks in after them. I closed the door and sat at my computer. 90 minutes later and an ethics assignment behind me, I reversed the procedure. Grab various and assorted children...throw into car...throw in fruit

At precisely 6:29:59 we arrived at the 6:30 Tsunami Aid concert at my campus. Various and assorted children threw fruit snacks away in favor of various and assorted processed foods and cold pizza. It's okay - all proceeds go to the Tsunami recovery efforts, so I can rest assured no preservatives will actually have the nerve to do any damage, what with such a noble cause and all.

At precisely 6:31:01 my various and assorted children begin to beg for t-shirts, ball caps, more hot dogs and popcorn, another t-shirt, a CD... but, (repeat after me) it's okay because it's all for the Tsunami victims.

At precisely 7:14:22 I am nearing poverty. I'm also thirsty as hell, and I have a headache because I thought I'd do my homework while listening to really awful local rock bands...playing really loudly in a gymnasium - the ideal situation, accoustically speaking. I begin to root around in my purse for any remaining quarters. It is at precisely this moment that my son asks me for a dollar.

The Boy: Mom, I need a dollar.

The Mom: You're kidding, right? What else is left to buy? How are we going to get it home? Where are you going to put it?

The Boy: I'm not kidding. I haven't bought a raffle ticket. It will ride in my pocket on the way home, and go under my pillow when I get to my room.

The Mom: I don't like the raffle. Go buy another hot dog.

The Son: I will puke if I eat another hot dog. I like the raffle. I need a dollar.

The Mom: *seriously sick of negotiations - not with said children, but with the concept of deltas and land barriers* You realize whoever wins that raffle gets 50% of the money raised tonight? Doesn't that seem wrong?

The Son: The dollar? Please?

*Cue the sidebar* Now really... I dropped the better part of a day's pay at this fund raiser. I'm not at all thrilled with the idea of them raising more money so they can give half of it away. Now I'm really broke, and I still don't have my diet coke, and I still have my headache.

The Son: Hold this for me.

The Mom: It's supposed to fit in your pocket.

The Son: I don't want to lose it. I just know I'm going to win. You know why? Because when I win, I'm going to take my 50% and give it right back to the tsunami victims.

The Mom: *no words... just awe.*

Various and assorted beverages: $32.00
Various and assorted souveniers: $52.00
Having your flesh and blood do something so unbelievable you shudder with pride? Priceless.

Damned RIGHT that little man is gonna win.... even if Mommy has to tell a little white lie ;)


I have to give a big THANKS to all the witty and wonderful people who have vistited me today! I would love to share my comments to each and every comment, but that might take forever. Instead, I'll be heading your way to give back the "comment love." See you all at your blog-homes soon!

Cruising over from Michele's Place?

Welcome! I've got a fresh pot of coffee brewing and the cinnamon rolls are just about ready to come out of the oven. Brush some cat hair off one of the chairs and stay awhile. If you hear screaming, it's perfectly normal for a Monday morning at my house.

Me: *spilling first cup of coffee this morning as I trip over the cat to make my way to my bleeding, possibly decapicated eldest child* Honey???????????????
Daughter: *emerging from bedroom, lacking in the decapitiation and gore department* Where are my Professor Zim shoe laces?
Me: Where did you leave them?
Daughter: *rolls eyes the way only a teenager can* I HATE when you say that, Mom!!!!!
Me: Yeah, and I hate spilling coffee all over my BeBe pajamas. You'll find them where you left them. Do you need a hug?
Daugher: No, you're wet.

Also, my house is slightly haunted by a ghost who refused to do my dishes or my laundry. I'm trying to trade up to a hard working poltergeist, but it's a delicate negotiation. Apparantly there are TOO many teenage hormones in my house.

I will visit you all very soon, and just for you...JUST for today, I will not go "dark."

Stay awhile, and come back soon!

Sunday, January 30, 2005

What's the Right Answer?????

My Son: Mom, will you buy me a new deck? (sk8ter jargon)
Me: *not looking up from book* No.
Son: Okay, thank you. *hollers across house* See, I TOLD you!
Daughter: So?
Me: *now looking up from book* What?
Son: Sis said that Phillip and Chris were lucky because their parents buy them anything they ask for and that if we asked for a new deck you would just yell at us. So I proved her wrong. *Kisses my cheek* Thanks, mom.
Daughter: Whatever.

So, was that the right answer?

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Hell No, I Won't Show

I had coffee with some gals of mine this afternoon; one is a visual artist, one is a jewelry designer, and one is, well, me (yes, I am my own gal.) We drank our soy lattes and discussed our upcoming show. There will be fine wine, exotic cheese, soft music, and good conversation. Patty will show her art, Pat will showcase her Spring line, and I will... what? What the HELL am I supposed to do? I'm all over the place, folks. I write songs, I used to sing them but I don't anymore, I take pictures, I write free-style prose... so what am I supposed to "show?" I know... I could dress all in black and do a little poet's corner...sure, that's gonna impress the hell out of people.

After coffee ended I dropped my "sure-thing-guys-I'm-right-there-with-you" face and moped to the back of the bookstore to get some marketing ideas. I didn't get them. Then Patty called and invited me over for drinks. THAT, my friends, IS something I can do well, so I gladly accepted her invitation.

Out on her back porch we talked about art and what makes us artists...what inspires us... what it takes to BE one. I tried out my theory on the soul of an artist, and you know what? Patty got it. When I told her that our "funks" are the very things that allow us to tap into life and make something unique and moving out of it, she understood. Actually, she came out of her seat and emphatically cried, "Yes!" So we sat in silence, experiencing our "funk" and our fears... reflected on the great artists that drank themselves to death, or cut off their ear... and I remarked that quite possibly the things that hold us back are the things that hold us down to this realm; our family...our children... and Patty said, "But what if they stop holding us down... what if a moment comes where our artistic propensity for madness overcomes our familial obligations."

What if?

All I know is we have a show coming up, and I have nothing to show.

Friday, January 28, 2005

That's IT...that's IT!!!!! (3rd letter in 1 week)

Okay - all joking aside, I'm seriously fired up. Consequently, I have issued my modest proposal to my community.

"Three letters to the editor in one week equating abortion with the supposed demise of the Social Security system is too much of a coincidence. The first time I read it, I thought, “Well, that’s new.” The second time I heaved a sigh and chalked it up to a new radio-host-initiated talking point. I’m still calling it like I see it, as far as the origin of this connection goes, but upon reading the third letter by CHARLES E. LANGBEIN JR published on 1/28/05, I think its time to call it out loud. Mr. Langbein, you say that we should be looking at, “…factual data, not political hype,” and I could not agree more. Factually speaking, I believe the current system is said to be in danger of collapsing in seventy-five years, correct? Pray tell then, how can the 40 million aborted “potential tax payers” (talk about compassionate conservatism) be responsible for something that won’t occur for another seventy-five years? I’m suggest, Sir, that you are propagating the kind of political hype you say we should not be looking at.

But I’ll admit I could be wrong. If the claim that abortion has contributed to a possible collapse in retirement benefits is true, then it seems to me that we should all get out there right now and start making some babies…lots of them. But let’s not stop there…let’s ALL run, not walk, to the nearest attorney/adoption agency and begin filling out papers. And let’s specify that we will adopt babies of all races and physically ability. Finally, let’s demand that our president bring our soldiers home immediately so no more tax payers are killed. Once home, they can begin producing 1.2 potential tax payers per family unit. If we agree to this, then seventy-five years from now we won’t have a thing to worry about except property values and gated communities.

Perhaps your radio host didn’t help you think this talking point through, did he?"

You think they'll publish this one too? Note to self: run all errands after dark, and buy a good disguise - pronto

Thursday, January 27, 2005

A Writer's Soul

You know what sucks about tapping into the soul of an artist? You also tap into the sins of the world, and you feel the weight in ways that bring you to your knees. I'm grateful for this knowledge. It's taken me (almost) 36 years to obtain it, but now I know why there are days when I fall into near-despair for no particular reason. Today is one of those days. No, don't cry for me Argentina. It is in my nature to observe the find the miracle among the mundane. I'm thankful I understand this now. Countless times across the span of my life I have asked myself, while alone and listless, "What is wrong?" This question caused me to search the furthest corners of myself in order to obtain an answer. This searching caused me an intense amount of frustration. "Is it this?" "Maybe it's that!" In the end, no answer brought me closure. Now I know. I'm cursed with a writer's soul.

Another writer told me that when she experiences injustice and grief, she consoles herself by allowing the fullness of the pain to envelope her. We weren't discussing writing at the time, but as I reflect on that conversation, I realize why her writing moves me.

It's a pleasantly painful curse.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

So...Is This Rush Limbaugh's New Talking Point?

I have a vice. I'll call it a vice because it's something I do to myself on a daily basis which produces a mind-numbing headache and a full-on body rash. I read the Letters to the Editor in my local newspaper during my lunch break. Yes, I know that I live in Florida and I should go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather during my 1/2hr hiatus from hell... but I don't. I minimize all my various work-related programs, belly up to a plastic container full of mediocre sushi and read the various voices of my community. A few days ago I read a letter that made my skin crawl, and I resisted the urge to fire off one of my infamous smart-ass responses. Today I read another letter that I would like to share with you. The author's closing statement reiterates the aforementioned babble:

The High Court's Wages

It's time to bash the administration for attempting to mess around with Social Security. We, as Republicans, Democrats or independents take turns blaming each other for the mess we are in. I offer a different perspective for consideration.

When it was first created, there were a large number of wage earners per beneficiary of the system. Today that ratio is down to three or less to one. The obvious answer that will make all happy is to have more wage earners, right? Thank the Supreme Court for our predicament. We have aborted 40 million wage earners since their decision. Have a happy day.

So what's a girl to do? I'm thinking (off the top of my head) something along the lines of...

By George, I think you're on to something! 40 million wage earners are dead dead dead. You know, we should really stop being so selfish! I'm right behind you on this one - in fact, I'm willing to go one step further to secure my future. To date, over 1400 American soldiers have died in Iraq. Add to that number the 1.2 children that several of those younger men and women might have produced (we all know good, God fearing, patriotic men and women would never abort their children) and we are looking at possibly 1680 wage earners that have selfishly sacrificed their lives and screwed me out of my retirement. Then there's all those injured soldiers... like 300,000 of them. I'll bet they won't be reproducing anytime soon. Now we're up to almost 400,000 wage earners in just under two years. If this thing goes on any longer, I'll never be able to buy my condo in Florida and learn to play canasta. I say we tell those men and women to get their asses home RIGHT now and start making me some babies.

By the way, do you think maybe that 151 billion dollars this war has cost would have helped with Social Security? Damn that, I mean Bin Laden, er...Sadaam (it's so hard to tell, what with them all looking the same to me and stuff.) I dunno... but I'm not going to worry about that right now. I need to focus on all those dead babies. People need to stop making dead babies. I'll adopt them all if they stop killing them... well, at least the white ones anyhow... and the healthy ones... not the ones that are deformed or stupid...

Oh, tell Rush I said "Hi!" and tell him I'm praying for his addiction.

Yeah... maybe I'll just leave it at that.

Ode to Him Who Brings Me Coffee

My Kind of Christians

"You are sponge-worthy, Bob." Posted by Hello

Next, my daily dose of "Oh that is SO great!" comes from the United Church of Christ: UCC WELCOMES SPONGEBOB I urge you to check out that link, as well as the photolog of SpongeBob's journey to salvation.

Yeah Yeah, I Got Sumptin' to Say

First, my daily dose of "Oh for the LOVE of God..." comes from my gmail inbox:

"Dear (No, I didn't delete my name... it was left blank... so credible...)

I am Mrs Martha Haafken from Austria. I am married to Dr.Franklyn Peter Haafken who worked with ChevronTexaco Oil in South African for twenty five years, before he died in Banda Aceh coastal region of Indonesia when we both went for holidays in Indonesia before the tsunami earthquake in Asia. He died immediately from the wave of the flood due to the tsunami earthquake. We were married for twenty-seven years without a child. He died during tsunami earthquake in Indonesia . Before his death we were both born again christians.Since his dead, I am enable to speak and walk due to many complications which I have during the flood and his dead. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of (8.6 Million) (Eight Million six hundred thousand dollars)with a security company here in Europe. Presently, this money is still with the security company and the management just wrote me as the beneficiary to come forward to receive the money or rather issue a letter of authorisation to somebody to receive it on my behalf if I can not come over. Presently, I'm with my laptop in an hospital where I have been undergoing treatment for my legs which got broken during the flooding and other complications. I have since lost my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I will needs to stay some more times in the hospital due to so many complications. . It is my last wish to see that this money is invested the proceed at the end of every year distributed among charity organisation, tsunami victims, I want a person that is God fearing that will use this money to fund churches,orphanages and widows propagating the word of God and to ensure that the house of God is maintained, that is the reason why I contacted you, since I have the believe that you will use the money for those purposes. The Bible made us to understand that Blessed is the hand that giveth.I took this decision because I know that there are alot of poor people suffering from different kind of diseases and nobody never come to their aid. With God all things are possible. As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of my attorney and also of the security company where the money was deposited. I will also issue you a letter of authority that will prove you as the new beneficiary of this funds.You are to help me invest this funds into real estate and stocks, and in any landed properties in your country.You will be entitled to 10% of every profit you make in each year. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein. You can contact me with my email address
Hoping to hearing from you soon. waiting for your reply,
Yours in Christ,

You know - these Nigerian money e-mails use to be funny... this is funny. I mean... the tsunami? So low...

And then there's my daily dose of, "Wow... I'm humbled" that comes from you guys who have dropped me a private e-mail just to check up on me and see if I'm alright. I'm blessed... just blessed to "know" you.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

This is God - by Phil Vassar

I came across this song yesterday - Why is it that the most powerful voices in Christianity can't speak this more clearly? If a little ol' Nashville songwriter can get it right, why can't they?

Hey, this is God
Can I please have your attention
There's a need for intervention
Man, I'm disappointed in what I'm seeing
Yeah, this is God
You fight each other in my name
Treat life like it's a foolish game
I'd say you've got the wrong idea

Oh, all I'm asking for is love
Well I've seen you hurt yourselves enough
Oh, I've been waiting on a change in you

Yeah, this is God
I've given everything to you
But look at what you do
to the world that I created
This is God
What's with this attitude and hate
You grow more ignorant with age
You had it made, now look at all you've wasted

Oh, all I'm asking for is love
Oh, I've seen you hurt yourselves enough
Oh, I've been waiting on a change in you, yeah

I know your every thought, your heart and soul and every move
There are so many consequences to the things you do

All I'm asking for is love
Haven't you hurt yourselves enough
Oh, I've been waiting on a change in you
A change in you, oh
This is God

There ARE no excuses

I haven't posted much lately - I haven't done much lately. I've been locked into autopilot and though I sort of had this nagging, "You're not writing" voice in the back of my head, I answered it by saying, "There's nothing to write about yet." But guess what I learned today? There are no excuses. Take this blog for instance: A Series of Inconsequential Events. This is one of the blogs I check on a fairly regular basis because she's a teacher, and I'm going to be a teacher, and she keeps the reality in check. I click on her blog today and she has a fabulous entry about bathing her dog. BATHING HER DOG! It's funny - it's good stuff. I'm reading it, and that stupid voice in my head says, "See, there ARE no excuses." Then I head on over to another blog in my blogroll, Woulda Coulda Shoulda and I find a very entertaining diatribe on snow, and the glory of being RIGHT. Now the voice in my head is getting a big head and taunting me... and I'm going to try to be a bit more diligent about the only New Year Resolution that makes sense... write, dammit... just write.

*Donny Osmond covers "Right Here Waiting for You" and I like it... insanity, thy name is sobriety.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

It's Time to Buy the House

This is going to be an on-going subject... I'm not sure how long it will take because frankly, it's not up to me - or rather, not up to the controlling part of me that determines when things get completed.

Tuesday night/Wednesday morning I had a dream. I dreamed of a house. I've been dreaming of this house all my life. When I was little I was always a guest in this house. My dream house has a grand staircase that takes my breath away. When you enter the house you are facing the staircase and it takes you to the second level of the home. The second level is circular, and each room on the second level is amazing. As a child I would climb the staircase and explore each bedroom. Some were victorian, others were gothic... some had a girly theme, others were filled with books. I loved these rooms, but feared the next level. Once or twice I climbed the dark narrow stairwell that led to the third floor. The rooms were dark and dusty. No one lived here on the third floor - no one but spirits... unsettling, harmful spirits.

In my most recent dream, the house was for sale and I was buying it. The carpet on the stairs was faded and torn, and the house was in need of love and attention. I was there with my step-father (who died ten years ago) and an associate of his (who I don't know at all.) My husband and my children were with me as we began to tour the home in anticipation of making an offer. For the first time I explored the first level. There is a massive library to the left of the staircase and a living area to the right. As the house is circular, the kitchen is in the back. There was a basement door off the kitchen - I never knew the house had a basement. I step out into the backyard for the first time and I'm amazed. There is a fantasy garden with ponds and fountains - it's a bit overgrown, but it has such potential. The old lady remarks, "Don't get used to it - I've already sold the backyard and Mr. B is coming to take it away. Mr. B is a business associate of mine in real life, but in a very peripheral sense. I'm not happy. I tell the old lady that I'm not buying the house without a backyard unless she knocks 10k off the price. I hear my step-father say to his associate, "Has Robin hired someone to do an assessment of this property?" I feel his disapproval and counter it by telling my kids it's time to go up to the second floor and pick out their bedrooms. I'm so excited to do this - I know they will find the perfect room. There's always a perfect room in this house. We climb the grand staircase and I throw open the first door. Inside is a blonde-haired woman sitting on the toilet! She's dressed in some kind of performance outfit - like something you would wear in a dance recital. I close the door quickly and look around the second floor. Coming from each of the rooms is the identical woman readying herself in the the same costume... fixing her hat off one room, finishing up her zipper off another, and I think to myself, "Great. They've rented out the home for a recital." And then I wake up.

As I usually do, I rehearsed the telling of the dream on my way to work. In my mind I'm telling my husband about it, and I practice this conversation. I imagine him asking, "Did you buy the house?" and I respond out-loud, "No. I was waiting for my dad to say it was okay."

That was it. I knew in that moment that this dream had significance... that in fact this house of my dreams had significance. I shared it with a co-worker later that afternoon... not just any co-worker, but a co-worker with the gift of seeing.

Me: So, I'm thinking I need to get to the bottom of this dream. I need to finish the walk-through and buy this house.
PJ: You need to go into the basement.
Me: I didn't even know the house had a basement until last night.
PJ: You are the house, you know that don't you?
Me: Yes - I see that now. I've always been the house, but I've always been a guest in the house... I'm almost 36yrs old and it's time I stopped being a guest in my own flesh.
PJ: Go to the basement first. Start there. You never knew you had a basement because the basement is the foundation - your childhood. Everything is built upon that. You can't explore the house unless you do it from the foundation up.

In analyzing the beginnings of my walk-through I found out so much about my house.

The exterior - I have no idea what the outside of this home actually looks like. Why? The outside is not important. It's what's inside that's always mattered.

The second floor - the rooms of theme and fantasy. I always loved them as a child, but I'm not meant to explore them as an adult. I never knew who I was, growing up. My oldest friends have always called me a chameleon... said I adapted to my surroundings so easily.. too easily. I could be a punk rocker one day and a prom queen wannabe the next. Each room with its theme was simply a facade. These women coming from each room were dressing for a show... each room was a showcase, and none of them were me.

The following floors - This room has many floors, but I don't know how many because I never went beyond the scary one. Why was I so scared of it? Maybe it was too far into my future, and I wasn't ever meant to see into the future me.

The backyard - I never knew there was a backyard because there never was. The backyard is what is OUTSIDE of "the house." Right now it's my job. The description of the garden fits perfectly. My job has amazing potential, but it's been neglected (not by me, but rather those powers that be in charge of the department.) The interesting thing is that Mr. B has been elevated to a position where he can tear it up and rebuild it. More interesting is the old woman telling me not to get attached to the garden because it's not going to be there when I buy the house.

The next night I turned in. Before I drifted off to sleep, I tried to will myself to dream of the house. I walked inside and sort of stood there not knowing what to do. Finally I sat myself down at the kitchen table with a cup of tea. I felt silly, imagining myself there in the hopes that I would dream of the house again, and proceed with my walk-through. As sleep approached I heard a voice saying, "You need to clear the house first." So dutifully I imagined myself calling each of the persons inside to the kitchen. I called my dad first and said, "Daddy, I need you and your associate to leave for awhile. I need to do this walk-through by myself. I will call for you when I'm ready to sign the papers." Then I called my step-daughter and husband to the room. "Alyss, I need you to go with your daddy for awhile." and to my husband I said, "I'm doing this for us, baby. I need you to let me do it alone though." Then I called my two kids to the room. "This is so hard for me to say to you guys, but I need you to go with your step-dad for awhile. I want you with me, but I need to do this stuff alone. Please don't be mad, but I need you to trust me." After the house was cleared I walked to the basement door. I had hoped that I would fall asleep and start dreaming of the journey to the foundation. I was jolted into full consciousness when I realized I had no idea what to look for down there. The last thing I remember before falling asleep was me asking outloud for a guide - not my dad or my kids or my husband - but a real guide to walk me through, explain to me what I will see, and hold me if I cry or scream.

So it's time to buy the house. This is the beginning of the journey. I don't get to choose when I'll discover me... but I will share it with you as my guide allows me to experience it.

Things I Wish I Didn't Know

Cue teenage daughter entering room after a night out with friends... said child grabs lighter and flicks.

Me: Firebug!
Cady: Hm... it's not a crack lighter.
Me: What?!?!?!
Cady: A crack lighter - it's not a crack lighter.
Me: Explain how you know this "crack lighter" criteria...
Cady: The flame doesn't go way high... it's not a crack lighter.
Me: You can adjust the flame for height
Cady: Just an expression, Mom.

My daughter knows about crack... her vocabulary includes the phrase, "crack lighter." I wish I didn't know this.

I Need To Get This Checked

Last night my husband and I had one of those rare "kid free" evenings - with three kids, it's very rare that they all go out to enjoy their own lives at the exact same time, but that's what happened last night. As we contemplated what to do with our brief respite, we decided that the effort it would take to become hotties and hit the town was less appealing that the actual field trip. So we settled in at our respective desks and spent the evening playing games and listening to music. Now here's where it gets so weird... while browsing through new projects on MusicMatch I found myself zoning in on one that threw me into fits of laughter.

Me: Oh my God... Donny Osmond has a new project!
Mike: *shoot shoot bang bang kill kill*
Me: I'm playing it.
Mike: *terrorists win* Shit.

So I cue up Donny and get ready to be amused. I was amused. In fact, after about the first few bars of the first song on his project, I picked my jaw up off my keyboard and mumbled...

Me: Um... this is kind of, um... well, it's not really bad...
Mike: Are we listening to Donny Osmond?
Me: Yeah... and it's not really too, you know...
Mike: You like it.
Me: Shit.
Mike: You know, it's really not that bad... he's pretty good.

This is the moment when both of us much make a quick wrinkle check and admit to ourselves that we are officially old fuckers.

Mike: This would make a good blog entry for you. "Donny Osmond Rocks - or - Why I Need to Get Back On My Medication."
Me: Yeah... shut up, I can't hear him singing.

So listen... no one told me Donny Osmond could actually sing! He's got a great forward tone, excellent control of his instrument, and grits it up a bit like George Michael when necessary. As any of my non-virtual friends will tell you, I'm VERY critical of vocalists (present company included) thanks to my year-long training with a Nashville vocal coach. I can't find anything negative to say about Donny... so, I need to get this checked, right? Therapy?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Black Thursday

I've been so tired... physically and emotionally. Today was so hard. This event was so wrong. I invested so much in the process... I can assure you, I was not "celebrating democracy" today.

I don't have the words to express my feelings right now... I'm just... tired.

Didn't we try though? We really tried, didn't we?

Let me finish my mourning (or as the fundies call it, my "liberal whining") and I'll be back in better spirits - maybe tomorrow.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

I've Got a Lover-ly Bunch of Coconuts

I've written about my son a bit recently. I've bragged about his passion for writing, and as pantergirl over at The Dog's Breakfast remarked, his committment to exercising his vocabulary. What I haven't told you about my son is that he suffers from what I like to call an apocalyptic personality disorder. Maybe it's my fault for raising him in a fundamentalist environment for the first six years of his life, but the damage is done now - no turning back. For T-man, there is a cataclysmic event on the horizon every day. When Hollywood turns out their latest, "OH-MY-GOD-WE'RE-ALL-GONNA-DIE" flick, I leap for the remote before my son tunes in to the preview. One hint of impending doom and he hyperfocuses for days... two hours in a theater with will result in sleepless nights and endless questions. I know when you all heard about the tsunami your first thoughts were shock and despair. I'm sorry to say, but my first thoughts were, "Oh my GOD I hope Ty doesn't hear about this." So that's the background for my little narrative.

Mike (my husband) and I were enjoying an after-dinner smoke last night, when my son walks into the office.

My Son: I think I have cancer.
Me: You don't have cancer.
My Son: Yes, I think I have cancer. (raises pantleg to his knees)
Me: You DON'T have cancer.
My Son: I have cancer because my teacher said that when you get a bruise and it's oddly shaped and it doesn't hurt when you hit it (demonstrates) then it's cancer.
Me: You fell off your skateboard and it hit your shin yesterday. Skateboarding does not cause cancer. You don't have cancer.
My Son: I do have cancer. See? (demonstrates again) Okay, that one kind of hurt.
Me: Tyler, you don't get cancer from skateboarding.
My Son: You can get cancer from eating bad food.
Me. Sigh... you don't have cancer.
My Son: You can get cancer from second-hand smoke (raises eyebrows the way Officer D.A.R.E. taught him to do every time I light a cigarette, regardless of the fact that my only smoking area is my office, and my office is in the feckin' garage off the house.)
Me: Leukemia is a type of cancer that manifests itself in bruises. One of the first signs of leukemia for some is the sudden appearance of unexplanable bruises on different body areas. You cannot get leukemia from second-hand smoke.
My Son: How do you get leukemia?
Me: It is considered a genetic defect, for the most part.
My Son: Can you catch it from someone else?
Me: No. Leukemia is not a communicable disease.
My Son: What is a communicable disease?
Me: It's a disease you can catch from someone else who has the disease.
My Husband: Like Leprosy.
Me: (glares at husband... HARD AND MEAN)
My Son: What's leprosy?
My Husband: It's a disease that makes your fingers rot until they fall off your hand. Then your nose rots and it falls off your face... then your ears go next, and before you know it, you're just a stump. THEN you die.
My Son: Oh my GOD! There's this kid in my class and he only has four fingers and I think he has leprosy! Can I catch it?
My Son: (now addressing only my husband) How do you get leprosy?
My Husband: From touching yourself.
Me: (hissing at husband) I swear to God if you don't stop...
My Son: (interrupting) Oh my God? Are you serious?
My Son: Um, why would I ask... what?
Me: Never mind, honey. Look, you can't get leprosy. It's an innactive disease, like the Black Plague.
My Son: What's the Black Plague?
Me: (under my breath) fuck
My Husband: The Black Plague...
Me: (interrupting my husband) You are NOT helping! (to my son) It's another dead disease, honey. People caught it and they died and then we figured out what caused it and made it go away.
My Son: Can you catch anything from playing with yourself?
Me: Only guilt, sweetie... only guilt.
My Son: Huh?
Me: Nevermind, baby. Um, Mommy needs to go in the house and fold some clothes now.
My Son: Okay... I'll go WITH you!
Me: Okay... OR, you could sit here in my chair and ask your step-dad what else happens when you play with yourself.
My Son: (gleefully sitting) Okay!

So my house is filled with lunatics... but what a lover-ly bunch of nuts they are.

So Much to Say... So Late to Start

Coming up... here we go...........

It's been a particularly busy day, but not a bad one. I've got a funny story to tell, a plug for my next homework assignment, and a new blog to introduce you to.

I know Condi spent the day propping up the President. I am not going to comment beyond that because frankly, I just can't stomach it. Like I said, it's been a good day. I really don't need to dirty my beautiful mind with such things.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Raising Dominick

I've been thinking a lot about my nephew Dom today - or rather, a conversation I had with him at precisely 12:02am, Jan. 1. Shivering in the South Carolina night air, I drug a puff from my cigarette and drew the attention of my 24yr old nephew who came outside to share with me the New Year's Spirit (having absorbed quite a bit of "spirits" himself.) Dom began to share the trials and tribulations of being an artist. We've always coddled Dom - he's our "special" boy. He was in and then out and then in a performing arts high school, then in and out of community college, then in and out of the military service. Dom lasted a few weeks in bootcamp before writing home that he didn't want to kill people, he wanted to write. Then Dom went out to Cally to become a screen writer, or an actor - whichever. Dom came home and joined a band next, then quit the band to go back to Cally to be a songwriter (the later of which made me want to strangle him for no other reason than sheer jealousy.) Then Dom watched "Seinfeld" and decided to become a comedian, so he treated us to a myriad of practice material via his weekly updates. The best of his weekly updates happened when he decided to run against Arnold for governor of Cally. Having lost, Dom came home again.

Dom lives with his dad and attends community college, and he's very active in theater. In fact, Dom won some big ol' award and will be traveling to Orlando next month to compete with 49 other big ol' award winners for the big ol' national award and a hefty scholarship to boot. Yes, it finally looks like Dom is settling in. Maybe soon we can all stop raising Dominick.

But Dominick is homesick - he misses his bandmates, he misses writing songs, and he misses the stage. Dom is thinking about quitting school and moving back to Orlando to reunite and return to the spotlight. Never mind that Dom is finally getting the recognition he craves... never mind that for the first time, Dom is finally really DOING something... Dom isn't happy.

At precisely 12:02am, Dominick reveals to me his longings - He says that I don't understand what it's like to stand on a stage and see hundreds of people singing along with a song I wrote. SLAP! I looked him in the eye (and that was quite a task, given the amount of alcohol he had consumed) and let him know that I understand very well how that feels - I did it for six years. I then proceeded to take my turn at raising Dominick. I gave him the wisdom of my extra 12 years on this earth. I told him I had my turn at stardom and fame, and I cashed it in for happiness, contentment, and reality. I told Dom it's OKAY to say, "look, I'm not going there, so I need to find somewhere else to go." But today I'm thinking about Dominick, and I'm thinking I might very well have done a great disservice to our "special boy."

Dominick has the curse - you know what I'm talking about. Dominick looks in the mirror every day and says, "I'm BETTER than this." Dominick is not just talented, he KNOWS he's talented. He KNOWS he's special - he KNOWS he's a cut above the rest. For all his reaching and dreaming, there is one granule of truth; the boy has real talent. The boy knows, and I suspect has always known, that he was put on this earth with an extra dash of the "it" factor. Who was I to tell Dominick that it's better to stop dreaming, than to keep making mistakes? There are acceptable regrets in life, but you don't have to start collecting them when you're only 24yrs old - especially when you're 24yrs old and you have "it."

No one wants to keep raising Dominick. Everyone wants Dominick to settle down and start growing up... to actually finish something he's started. I respect his dad's advise to stay put; I think it's the right thing for our little dreamer. I just wish I knew of a way to help raise Dominick without killing him in the process.

Unintended Consequences - Are you Happy Now?

New Amendment Used In Defense Against Domestic Violence Charges

The tenets of ethical thought require one to analyze their beliefs by extending them to the fullest of situational conflicts. It's interesting that "defending the sanctity of marriage" has mutated into attorneys who can now contribute to the abuse of women (the powerless, voiceless women) and proliferating in this most egregious evil.

Part of me says to the attorney, "Yeah Man! Take it down!!!!" Part of me says, "Dude, this is sooooooooooo wrong." Another part of me says, "Well, shit."

Monday, Monday (na na, na na na na...)

Yes it's a lovely Monday morning... and the afternoon is creeping up on me, dogging at my ass to do something productive. I keep telling Mr. Afternoon that it is my day off work, that I have been woefully ill, and that I deserve to search the blogoshpere for entertainment. Mr. Afternoon is not buying it - he reminds me that were I at work, I would be sooooo very productive, and then Mr. Afternoon and I have a good laugh and refill our coffee mugs.

I spent the better part of the wee hours combing the Internet for blog stuff and happened upon some really interesting things. You'll see I have a new pet on my sidebar - I stole him from my lovely friend at The Dog's Breakfast. That makes us co-mommies... except when he stays with her, he notes he has far more visitors than at my place. Well... she is really cute, this panthergrl. Speaking of co-mommies, if you want to laugh (and you know you do) please go check out this post from a sitcom writer in LA.

I am still angry at Blog Explosion. They do not like Funky Bug's place. They say I have pop-ups, which I thought I removed, then they said my content is objectionable, which of COURSE it is. Until they accept me fully for who I am (too much therapy coming through here) I am not putting their little banner back up. Blog Clicker on the other hand is fabulous - sort of. It certainly has increased my traffic, but not my readership. Certainly, 30sec on my homepage is not enough time to blow coffee out your nostrils and type the phrase, "What are you, some kind of ass?"

Here's something worthwhile that I did discover while roaming the net - Michele's Place. If you want to increase your traffic, go for the aforementioned communities. BUT if you really want to find some good blogs to waste time at, while getting a few honest readers over to yours, this is the blog you want to utilize.

Oh, and I have a political rant, thanks to my visit to my pal Lorraine's blog. So this soldier, he does his time, and he comes home, only to get re-deployed. But this soldier, Benderman, he sees things in Iraq that he's not happy about. Take this, for instance:
It's difficult for him to pinpoint exactly when it happened. Maybe, he said, it was when Iraqi children repeatedly climbed onto a wall and threw pebbles at his unit, and his commanding officer ordered the troops in the area to shoot them if they climbed back on the wall."
Fair enough... ain't gonna shoot no kids. So he tried to file for conscientious objector status, only to get railroaded by everyone all the way down the line to the chaplain, who tells him he is ashamed of him. So yep, I'm a bit more than ranty - I'm sad. You know, it's one thing to drive around with a yellow magnet on your car that says, "I support the troops" and another thing entirely to DO so. Support the ones who do what they must - whether they must go, or they must risk jail time to say, "Been there, done that, can't do it again." Supporting the troops and supporting the war are TWO DIFFERENT THINGS, people! So the rest of the article is in Salon, and I encourage you to go read it. It's OKAY to tell people the truth about the situation in Iraq... there still aren't any children throwing flowers...

Sunday, January 16, 2005

It is your solemn duty as my readership to...

gently inform me (i.e. "you dumb fuck) when I have put some novel shit on my blog that creates a venue for POPUPS! I have Mozilla... the popup blocker extraordinair... I had NO clue I had popups.

/hangs head in embarrassement
//deletes HTML for TagBoard
///humbly asks for advice on which tagboards are popup free

Now that I've bored you...

Bug's Blogs is a list of my daily must-reads. I suggest you shoot over there pronto and seriously contemplate their musings. These are my kinds of folk... witty, sarcastic, caustic, socially responsible, domestically violated, THINKERS and WRITERS. Go on... you know you want to!

Why I Love...

Stregoneria - Socially responsible, thought-provoking posts... writing finesse... sick of the same stuff I am

If You Went Crazy I Wouldn't Call You Superman - She's the real deal... she THINKS like me... she SEARCHES like me... she's HONEST (like me wants to be, but isn't always)

The President's Blog - Satire... or IS it?

Liberty Lost - He's smarter than me... he's says everything I want to say when I grow up.

Men of the Mourn - Reading this blog is like glimpsing into the past and future at the same time. This is a twelve-year old blogging his books. One day, he will be great. Watch in awe as he exercises his vocabulary and peek gently into the mind of a child with an apocalyptic complex.

The Once Exciting Now Boring Life of Me - My best friend's blog about being a gay man in a small Baptist town in a very red state.

Funky Gets an A - shameless plug for you, the reader to help me, the writer, get an 'A' in Ethics.

Bella Snow - she's angry, she's funny, she's political, she's normal... reading her blog is like getting daily e-mails from your wittiest friends.

The Dog's Breakfast - She's Italian... which means she's sexy and witty and politically incorrect. I love this gal!

Introducing: Funky Gets an A

It's my new, temporary blog which will most likely be deleted upon successful completion of Ethics 101. If you're feeling it, click on the link in my sidebar. I'll be posting the "ethical question of the week" as given to me by my professor, and also my thoughts or initial responses.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read the question, read my thoughts, and then enter into thoughtful discourse about the matter (via the "comments" link, of course.) The purpose of ethics is to ask ourselves the tough questions, formulate our opinions, and then see if they stand up to various challenges or disagreements.

It's easy for Funky to state her opinion. Let's see if it stands up to reason. Socrates believed the answers were found in the questions, and the questions were found in the answers. Let's play with that a bit, shall we?

Funky's Political Rant for the Day

Sure, I know I don't post a political rant every day, but it takes a few days to recover from the previous one. Here's the topic of my rant - or the source from which it stems today:


"W": I firmly believe that a free Iraq will be a major defeat for the Salafist movement and the extremist movement, those who want to use terror as a weapon to impose their will on millions of people throughout the world.
Funky: Hmmm... those who want to use terror as a weapon to impose their will... you mean like color-coded terror schemes? or maybe you mean telling people SS is going bankrupt so you can push your privatization scheme? Physician W, heal thyself!
The Post Questions Bush:
The Post: In Iraq, there's been a steady stream of surprises. We weren't welcomed as liberators, as Vice President Cheney had talked about. We haven't found the weapons of mass destruction as predicted. The postwar process hasn't gone as well as some had hoped. Why hasn't anyone been held accountable, either through firings or demotions, for what some people see as mistakes or misjudgments?
"W": Well, we had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 election.
Funky: You smug son-of-a-Bush! Enough with your fucking "mandate." You won, we get that. But you barely snuck through the election and 49% of us still want you held accountable. We the people don't consider an election a viable alternative to accountability. Golly gee... let's let the Iraqi people vote to hold you accountable to... that sure would be an interesting extension of your theory.
The Post: Why do you think [Osama] bin Laden has not been caught?
W: Because he's hiding.
Funky: No SHIT? He's hiding? I'll be damned.
...we've got to continue to do a better job of explaining what America is all about; that in our country you're free to worship as you see fit...
Funky: Oh my holy... you did NOT just say that?!?! Worship as you see fit, as long as we see fit to fall in line with your 51% accountability focus group?

The following is a blow-by-blow: It needs no commenting from Funky, for it speaks for itself:

The Post: Will you talk to Senate Democrats about your privatization plan?

THE PRESIDENT: You mean, the personal savings accounts?

The Post: Yes, exactly. Scott has been --

THE PRESIDENT: We don't want to be editorializing, at least in the questions.

The Post: You used partial privatization yourself last year, sir.


The Post: Yes, three times in one sentence. We had to figure this out, because we're in an argument with the RNC [Republican National Committee] about how we should actually word this. [Post staff writer] Mike Allen, the industrious Mike Allen, found it.

THE PRESIDENT: Allen did what now?

The Post: You used partial privatization.

THE PRESIDENT: I did, personally?

The Post: Right.


The Post: To describe it.

THE PRESIDENT: When, when was it?

The Post: Mike said it was right around the election.


The Post: It was right around the election. We'll send it over.

THE PRESIDENT: I'm surprised. Maybe I did. It's amazing what happens when you're tired. Anyway, your question was? I'm sorry for interrupting.

At this point, Funky has read enough... if you're brave, click the link and read for yourself. Once again, I must go be ill now.

Bug Juice 1/16/04

I've decided to put the daily dose of juice in my sidebar. Any comments will be on my TagBoard.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

"Men of the Lost Mourn" has been updated!

This isn't a shameless plug (well, on second thought maybe it is) for my son's blog. I've said before that I love his inspired-to-write nature. Most kids get thumb cramps from video games, but my son gets hand cramps from writing. He's a normal kid in that he doesn't like to do homework, hates to clean his room, and stays out until dusk skateboarding with his friends. It's what he does AFTER dusk that gets me...he heats up his dinner (since he never makes it home in time to eat with the rest of us) then grabs his journal and starts working on his stories while the rest of watch re-runs of CSI. He's written volumes of works - some are short stories, some are becoming novels of epic proportions. I helped him set up his blog in the hopes that he would find typing an inspiration ("here's Mommy's laptop, go for it") and also in the hopes that he would meet with encouragement in the cyber world. He won't let me sign on as an editor, so you'll have to overlook the grammatical portions of his twelve-year old writing, but if you get a chance, please shoot over there (it's in my sidebar) and give him props.

Bug Juice 1/15/05

"Nothing can bring you peace but yourself." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is a hard glass of bug juice to swallow (for me, anyhow.) I want peace on earth, I want peace in my home, I want peace in my relationships... peace peace peace... but I realize that peace is a state of being within myself, not a measure of compatibility with the universe. If I want peace, I have to make it here in my soul - only then can I hope to infect the world with it.

Things I'm Addicted to

Nicotine - I'm still tackling this virus/germ thing and here's how bad I really feel: I have run out of cigarettes and I don't feel like running out for more. I could have SWORN I had one more pack. Psych=Suck

Creating Web Traffic - you'll notice at the bottom of the page there are two more banners. Both these lovely little communities lure you in with the promise of increasing your readership... what they REALLY do is put you in a partially comatose state where you smoke all your cigarettes and mindlessly, obsessively click on blogs for the better part of the day.

Zuma - It's this game on PopCaps... evil game with a frog and some balls... I've been addicted for almost a year now. It's very sad.

Re-runs of "Charmed" on Spike - Someone explain to me how Prue really died. I missed that episode while I was out having a life.

Comments - I'm addicted to comments. Post your addictions, and I'll eagerly run to your site and increase your traffic. If I really like your site, I may even sidebar it... you never know!

Friday, January 14, 2005

The Downside of Being an Attention Whore

So yeah, I deleted some comments today. I can do it - it's my blog. Apparantly I ruffled someone's feathers, and I suppose I could just let it go... laugh it off... chalk it up... whatever... but that's the downside of being an attention whore... occassionally you get a rotten tomato thrown at you from some anonymous person in the audience.

So why do we blog? It's cathartic for one... it's nice to sit down and say something, even on days where there is nothing to say. Typing is easier than handwriting, and journaling is pretty good for the soul. It's fine if you don't like my blog, "Anonymous" but for goodness sakes, have the balls to post your real name...

As they say in show biz... there's no such thing as "bad" attention. I guess if you feel frustrated with my opinions you maybe shouldn't waste your time reading my blog. After all... I'm sure you have better things to do than boost my traffic.

/just gave an attention whore his fifteen minutes of fame... now he can run giggling to his one friend and say, "boy oh boy I got her to write a whole post JUST FOR ME.

OH MY HOLY!!!!!!!!!!

Bush Admits "Misgivings"

Um... misgivings? SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO not good enough! Here's more Bush-it spewing from the mouth of the man who still cannot admit his mistakes. It seems "bring it on" was a mistake in the way people interpreted it... but not a MISTAKE IN THAT THEY DID BRING IT ON AND WHILE BUSH IS SPENDING 40MIL. ON HIS PARTY OUR BOYS ARE DYING FROM HAVING IT "BROUGHT"... and "Dead or Alive" was a mistake in the way people interpreted it... not a mistake in that he's um... NOT FUCKING DEAD AND VERY MUCH ALIVE!!!! Of course, 40mill isn't too much to spend on a party... after all, it's a celebration of "democracy"... WHAT THE FUCK????

I wanted to wake up, and I'm awake... but dammit... what a crock of shit! It never ceases to amaze me how absolutely arrogant this man is.

Physician, Heal Thyself

I am in a FUNK today! I've been battling a cold for almost a week now, but it's sort of one of those battles that you fight valiently, knowing all the while that you will eventually lay down your sword and say, "Oh just get it OVER with already!" I'm going to assume that is the root of my inability to feel inspired, or have anything unique to say.

Should I blog when I'm boring? Why not. It's free.

So it's raining - but not a peaceful, happy rain... more like a torrential downpour. That's not really helping, but I can't sit around all day and wait for inspiration to bring me a chocolate chip cookie and a glass of milk. I know where creativity lives... it's everywhere. I just need to go find it... and no, I don't mean that I have to find something wonderful to inspire a great work of art... I just need to wake up my spirit so my smile isn't quite so phoney. I'll be back once I've healed myself...promise.

Bug Juice - January 14

Don't ever forget these things:
The nature of the world
My nature.
How I relate to the world.
What proportion of it I make up.
That you are a part of nature, and no one can prevent you
from speaking and acting in harmony with it, always.
- Marcus Aurelius

IF I believed my beliefs should become mandates (which I surely don't) I would have this printed on the back of every dollar bill, every McDonald's sack, every milk carton... everywhere.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

I Call Your Jesus Fish, and Raise You One Darwin Fish with a Side of "WOOT"

Ga. Evolution Stickers Ordered Removed

No, it's not as bad as it sounds. It seems that a Cobb Co. school decided to place stickers on their science books letting their students know that "evolution is a theory, not a fact." Well boo-yah the courts ordered those stickers removed because they appear to "endorse" Christianity.

So if you're keeping score...

No Free Golf for Gays
No Free Pass for Creationism

Bug Juice - 01/13/05

Where do your steps lead you? The good things which you love are all from God, but they are good and sweet only as long as they are used to do his will. They will rightly turn bitter if God is spurned and the things that come from him are wrongly loved. St. Augustine

Personal Reflection: I don't doubt the Coalition of the Religious Right believes they are gifted with knowledge... I don't doubt they feel a calling to use their faith to influence "the lost." I do sincerely doubt they are doing His will... I doubt it because I have received a different knowledge that feels just as real to me... I doubt it because all their "goodness" has rightly turned to "bitterness." They've forgotten "God" is not spelled GOP. My steps lead to to compassion, not coercion. Where are your steps leading you today?

Holy Jeebus, They Published It (Follow up on "I Ate My Own Kind"

Well, they MOSTLY published it... they left out the part about the original author sending me his personal copy of the Declaration of Independence wrapped around the drugs he smokes daily... but nonetheless, they published it.

My Letter to the Editor

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Damn those crazy kids!

Atlanta Golf Club Sparks Battle Over Gay Rights

Damn those crazy gay kids... what more do they want? After we shot them down, they still keep fighting. Now... NOW they want their partners to be able to GOLF for FREE! Oh the shame and inhumanity...

Some lovely snippets from the article:

"Druid Hills treats unmarried same sex couples and unmarried heterosexual couples equally," said Bondurant..." Right... except that GEORGIA BANNED GAY MARRIAGE AND SAME-SEX UNIONS!!! If same sex couples HAVE to be "unmarried" by state law, then how on earth can you call this equal treatment!!!!!!!!!!

"Earl Ehrhart, a powerful Republican legislator in Georgia, has promised to push a bill that, if passed, would forbid the state or any local government from penalizing private social groups for engaging in what he describes as lawful expression.
'What these militant homosexuals are seeking is special rights, not equal rights,' Ehrhart wrote in a recent editorial in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the city's largest newspaper."

Yes, they are pushing a scary agenda... the right to much more militant can you possibly get?

I must go be ill now.

Bug Juice

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer."

Rainer Maria Rilke

In response, all I can say is, do not let the unanswered questions frustrate you. If life is a mystery, why would we expect everything to have an answer?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Bug Juice

"I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any."
Mahatma Gandhi

Hi-Ho Hi-Ho It's Off to Class I Go

On today's menu:

Appetizer - 1hr of Earth Science
Main Course - Ethics and Philosophy
Dessert - Coffee from the student union for the drive home

Let's hope Earth Science doesn't bore me to sleep, or Ethics doesn't keep me up all night. For those of you who stumbled into the Funky Bug Cafe, and for those of you here by personal invitation, please come back around often. I may need some help solving ethical dilemmas, or at the very least, the humor to care about the asthenosphere.

Speaking of humor... I had to quickly memorize the six levels of learning according to Bloom's Taxonomy. I devised myself a little acronymn for:
Knowledge/ Kerry
Comprehension/ Can't
Application/ Accept
Analysis/ America's
Synthesis/ Social
Evaluation/ Evils

Say it loud, say it proud: Robin can't get past the election. Sigh.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Contemplating Passivism

Today's Bug Juice (as all Bug Juice quotes) is my daily dose of healing elixir that I choose to share with the world. I've decided that as much as I love the peaceful philosophy, I'm not sure I really want to be a passivist. Yesterday was just too much for me... Evangelists blaming the tsunami on Muslims, Mississippi libraries trying to ban John Stewart's book... executives from the Rathergate mess being fired left and right... the death of a trusted mentor... it was all too much. Remember the old adage about the squeeky wheel? What good does passivism DO? Sure, it's far easier to sit back and say, "I'm peacefully opposed to this measure" but all that gets you is a pat on the back from the other passivists around you (a soft, non-bruising pat.)

Problem is, I'm angry! How can I be an angry passivist? I don't believe my anger gives me the right to tell others that they are wrong. I do it - I'll admit - but I don't believe anger is a license to action.

How do I deal with the Coalition of the Righteous? Do I take them on, one by one as my friend Scotty suggests, or do I join forces with others and try have a hand in something of global importance?

I love to blog when I think I've got all the answers, but it's much harder to blog when I'm sure I have none of them.

Bug Juice

My new feature... daily sustenance for Funky Bugs. Here's your bug juice. As always, drink it slowly to ensure complete digestion.

Ambition means tying your well-being to what other people say or do.
Self-indulgence meants tying it to the things that happen to you.
Sanity means tying it to your own actions.
-Marcus Aurelius

There's a Cockroach in my Coffee Pot

Monday... there are few knowns to Monday:

Known: I will oversleep
Known: I will be late for work
Known: I will make my coffee and Monday will get better

It's good to know what you know - it's safe and warm and fuzzy and comfortable.

This morning I got to work and there was a cockroach in the coffee pot. If it were a caterpillar, it would have been a cute baby caterpillar. It was not. It was a newly spawned creature of mass disgustion. There is nothing you can do when there is a cockroach in your coffee pot. You have to drive to 7-11 and buy your coffee until you can santize the decanter in the cafeteria dishwasher. I am disgusted.

How can something so safe and warm and fuzzy and comfortable suddenly disgust you? I'm sad to say, it's happened twice this morning... and both instances involved disgusting creatures invading and contaminating wonderful things.

Some feminist I am...

Brad and Jen... why am I so bummed? Men like him make women idealize their mates above and beyond what is realistic... women like her make women starve themselves thin and spend hundreds of dollars changing their hair from week to week, JUST to keep up...

But still... *sniff*

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Let's embark together on a little research project, shall we?


Behind me my husband is indulging in an online shoot-em-up type game of which I have no desire to know the name. While I'm trying to study Earth Science, I hear these voices... this game allows the players to speak with one another while they shoot terrorists. Frequently I hear "This is so gay." "You are so gay." "It would be gay to blah blah blah."

Feeling frustrated I could not surpress the urge to state that I abhor individuals who have exchanged the word "bad" for "gay." Further, I self-righteously exclamed that I refuse to allow my children to use the word "gay" in any other manner except it's original definition.

So yeah, I should have counted to three before summing up my argument. The original definition of "gay" was "happy" not homosexual. So here's where the research comes to play.

"Gay" was "Happy" and then "Gay" became a term for homosexuality. Who did that? Did the gay community adopt that word, or did the rest of society thrust it upon them as some twisted ironic contradiction of the way we make them REALLY feel? Remember, homosexuality, until recently, was deemed a personality disorder by the APA. So surely we wouldn't assume being gay was being happy. I rather think now that "gay" being used for "bad" is at least a truer reflection of how ignorant, insecure people REALLY think.

I'm too old for this shiznit

Did I even spell "shiznit" right? If not, I'm even too old to use hip terms in the place of the standardized curses.

When did I turn old? Seriously! I'm not talking about the gray hairs that settle into my mane while I sleep. I'm used to grooming before the mirror at 6am with a tweezer and a mission. I'm not talking about my left knee which creaks and strains when asked to do too much. I'm definitely not referring to my lack of verve or desire for excitement. All those things I accept (well, maybe not the permanance of the gray yet) and do not consider to be signs of aging. What I want to know is, at what point did I become "old" to the rest of the world?

So three blondes and a brunette walk into a bar (guess which one I am) for a girls night out. As I belly up to order my elixir, it occurs to me how very young and very tight are all these other ladies in the club this evening. Then it occurs to me that they aren't giving me the standardized "eye of competition" we women have come to know so well. They are in fact smiling at me. HUH? Women don't smile at other women in a club... they look them over, once up, once down, then check to see if said women as B.Y.O.B (bring your own boyfriend.) That's what I remember, back in my younger days. But tonight, I am not sized up... instead, I am given a free pass, and it's BECAUSE I'M AN OLD FARKER!!!!! Do you KNOW how condescending that feels? These tight bodied, naturally mane-d females could have just as well approached me with a pat on the head for all the difference it would have made.

So, you'd think I had a bad time, right? Absolutely NOT! I had a great time. My manta is always, "I don't get out much" and I know that sounds untrue, given that my husband and I travel extensively, but it IS true in the sense that I (me, Robin) don't get out (of my shell) much anymore (as opposed to the days of yore.) So given that dynamic, it was a fabulous time. I made some new friends, got to see PC again, and danced danced danced. Then, as in the days of old, I finished my evening with a drive through Krystal and munched on slippery sliders as I drove home. Burrowing under the covers at 3am is something I've not done in years, and this morning I am paying the piper - exhausted, smelling like smoke, and talking with a rasp due to excessive laughing. I will admit the nightlife made me miss my Stephen immensely. Some of the best times I had were the "breaks from writing" we used to take. Can't come up with an original thought? Head to the mexican restaurant for chips and margaritas. Can't get the tune right? Head to the piano bar for martinis and sing-a-longs. Can't find inspiration for a new work? Head to Atlanta for Gospel night. Oh those were fabulous times. It's good to be back in the saddle again. I forgot how lovely those breaks from routine are. So I thank you, Stephen, for the life lessons, and I thank you PC for bringing the lessons back to life.

"His kindness rottened..."

That's a quote from Tyler K in his Men of the Mourn blog. I just re-read it, and I marvelled anew at some of his unique descriptives. Then I felt sad...this place we live, America...all the fighting...all the bickering...all the hatred and bigotry and ignorance and fear...

Please God, don't let my kindess rot.

"Inspiration - Table for Two"

On a creativity note: PC and I had a conversation last night regarding her art work. She is, as I have mentioned before, a phenominal artist. Her works are outstanding in every sense - technically and spiritually. She paints from her soul, and her soul is deep and insightful. Yet PC has a longing to earn monetary rewards for her work, as well she should and could. In her longing, she has considered seeking out the answer to the question "what do normal people want to hang in their homes?" I told her I felt she should continue painting from her soul, but she flatly reminded me that she and I aren't normal. So what do you think of this quandry? Should PC find some lovely landscapes to paint? Should she depict sailboats or wildlife in the hopes that Average Joe and the Mrs. will hang her work in their living room? Or, should PC continue to create existencial, esoteric works of art and wait for someone who is "not normal" to discover her unique insight? I feel quite certain that there is a middle ground. Some of the greatest artists of all times have sought that middle ground - the place where vision and talent meet marketability and appeal - while others threw caution to the wind and painted what their spirits led them to paint.

I'm not a painter, I'm a writer (I guess, at least that is where my passions often lead me) so I'm not entirely sure what the right recommendation for PC would be. But I do believe that if we create for the purpose of financial rewards, we will undoubtably grow jaded with each rejection. At the core of this conversation I took one jewel of truth away just for me; it matters not that my songs were rejected, only that I created something personal and true. The songs on my project that were written to "fill the ten" are not my favorites. The songs that inspired the project are. When I listen to those original four, my spirit soars because I FEEL inside what I felt when I wrote them. So if I've stopped writing because success failed me, I have lost more than royalties - I've lost a piece of myself so very vital to the wholeness of Robin. Since I crossed the line between vision and marketability, I lost the vision and desire completely. Bottom line: is striving for success worth losing a piece of ourselves?

If you write, sing, dance, paint, capture, interpret...create, do it with no thoughts of reward from the outside. If you temper your creativity with the criticisms and rejections of others, you will never know how much you could have produced. Scotty, write your book! It doesn't matter if anyone reads it, publishes it, learns from it, cries over it, or buys it for another at Christmas. If you have a story to tell, tell it as your spirit guides you. In your words there may be magic nuggets of truth that will keep your spirit alive once you are gone... or better yet, revive your spirit as you create, and years later as you re-read. Sheri, you need to keep writing as God guides your pen, and continue singing as God guides your instrument. The greatests gifts we give ourselves is the communion with our creative souls. Michael, get the camera back out and capture the beauty in the world. You are free when you shoot... you transcend work and responsibility and become your purest self when you are reproducing the natural beauty on film and matte. Stranger to my blog - do what you do. You wouldn't be here reading if you weren't searching for something to light your spirit on fire.

There are dozens of Brittany Spears on the radio today, and dozens more waiting and hoping to be discovered for their ability to replecate the popular sound. They will never go down in history like Jim Morrison, Stevie Wonder, and one day John Mayer. Do you want fame and fortune, or do you have something unique that beats at the walls of your flesh crying, "LET ME OUT!" If you fall into the first catagory, then you don't deserve to seek the greatness you think is so important. I want a new generation of ARTISTS to rise up and say, "I don't care if you like me. I care if I like myself. Here's what I have to offer. Take it or leave it, it's unique and it's purely me."

Your muse is whispering over your shoulder right now. Are you listening? When you're done reading my blog, will you heed her suggestions, or just go play another game of solitaire?

Friday, January 07, 2005

A Walk I Remember - A "Fairy" Tale

Years ago I was this sexually repressed, overweight, Bapticostal nightmare. I lived for three things: my kiddos, my church music, and my Little Debbie's snackcakes. There were a few bright spots sprinkled among this trifecta, and one of them was my daily (lengthy) communications with my best friend, Scotty (for more on him, I recommend you click on any of the recent comments, click on his profile from there, and then do-not-pass-go-but-go-directly-to-his-website.)

So I would do the morning Mom thing and once my kids were merrily doing their daily Kid thing, I would settle into this small room painted yellow and littered with hundreds of Beanie Babies (which I collected passionately due to the aforementioned sexual repression.) I would do the dial-up and spend the afternoon e-mailing my Scotty. Sometimes it was church music stuff, and lots of times it digressed to some weird-assed bickering that we only later admitted had more to do with some misguided crush-like stuff we had for each other, and less to do with anything of global importance.) So in those years of e-mailing, we learned to rely on such minute details of each others' lives as what we had for lunch, what our spouse wore to work, and what shoes go best with black dress-clothes (wow... that should have been a sign, eh?)

Years later, lives later, Scotty and I are in different places...literally and figuratively. We both divorced our respective spouses, and NO you homophobic CCC ass-clowns, NOT for each other. I found my soul mate and moved to Florida, and before leaving I introduced Scotty to my old high-school crush, and the two of them are life partners in my old hometown.

The point? Well, as of late it's been a bit of the old... we blog as if we are talking to the world about our random thoughts and meaningless opinions, but in actuality, it's much like the days of old. I'm walking where I remember, though not as fat, not really in church, and most definitely steering clear of the snackcakes. Still... I may not know what he had for lunch today, but we're locking back in again... only difference is, we're publishing it because we are both attention whores.

I love ya, Scotty!

So other than that, it was not a terribly interesting day for me. I worked, I fought off the urge to verbally take down several of my co-workers, and then I left. I stopped at the store and picked up a micromeal and six bottles of wine, and then I settled in to watch the tele. Have you ever seen Serendipity with John Cusak (world's hottest hunk?) Truly a good movie... fate and destiny and true love... I got it... And at the end, when they reunite, my husband returns from a four day business trip. Serendipity indeed.

Well so, not political or social... but fun nonetheless.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

I ate my own kind today

I am soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo (emphasis on the "o") freakin' tired of fighting the good fight! What exactly IS the good fight, pray tell? "I'm right and you're wrong... no YOU'RE wrong... NO, YOU are..." Aren't we all maybe just a little right and a little wrong? (Donny and Marie, anyone?)

So here's what I'm talking about - Christians. Can't live with 'em, can't not be one. Seriously. I love Jesus bigtime, but I can't STAND His fanclub! They make me look bad. I can't tell my friends at work, "I'll pray for you" because they will think I voted for GWB. What exactly does "faith" and "religion" have to do with each other anyhow? You're right... someone got my panties in a bunch. This dude, he writes this letter to the editor in my local paper... some sanctimonious babble revolving around a small town scandal. Short story long (darnit... cue the flashback.....):

So the local Baptist church wants to put out a Nativity. No harm in a few shepherds made of straw and a crepe baby Jesus, right? Well, sort of NOT right. See, they wanted to put it on the lawn of the county courthouse. Well, the courthouse says, "Um, sorry, no" so the Baptist church tucks their tale and just as any good man of God would do, they climbed a fence in the middle of the night and erected the thing on the courthouse lawn anyhow! And blah blah blah and battle battle battle and letters upon letters to the editor ensue...

Flash forward and the issue comes down NOT to separation of church and state, but whether or not there IS a separation of church and state. Did you know there are factions among us that consider themselves either "separationists" or "anti-separationists?" Seriously! So this jackball writes and says that NOWHERE in the Constitution do the words "separation of church and state appear." In fact, he adds, no one even used that phrase until 1946. He finished by pointing out that the Declaration of Independance states we are "a nation under God" and we'd better get used to it.

Where to start, where to start? Being the smartass that I am, I immediately fired off a response. I told him that he is correct: "separation of church and state" does NOT appear anywhere in the Constitution; nor will he find "Bill of Rights," "fair trial" or "religious liberty." Then I schooled him on a Mr. Thomas Jefferson (of the FOUNDING FRICKIN' FATHERS) who coined the metaphore "separation of church and state" as a way to illustrate the FIRST AMENDMENT in his Dansbury Letter in the early 1800's (note to self: send history professor flowers.) I finished by challenging him find the words "nation under God" in the Declaration of Independance, and if he finds it, to send me the copy of his own personal interpretated version of said document, wrapped around his own brand of DRUGS he must be smoking on a daily basis.

Wanna bet that one gets published? I don't THINK so.

So yeah... I ate my own kind again today. You know, I'm just so tired of all the infighting... it makes the baby Jesus cry!

And THEN (and theeeeeeeeeeeeeeen) I read my friend's blog today and find out he was sexually harrassed by some ignorant red-neck bigot in a public establishment. So my friend, he's minding his P's and Q's when all of a sudden Joe Dirt starts LOUDLY lecturing his preschooler charges on how BAD gays are, and how GAYS shouldn't be allowed to eat in public restaurants. My friend, self-proclaimed fairy, turned the other cheek (no pun intended) and chalked it up to small-town stupidity. But DAMNIT it makes me mad. Raise your children in the way they should go, Nascar Dad, and when they are old they will not only NOT stray from it, but they maybe won't have such horrific therapist bills and emotional deficits! Since when did God advocate hatred? I just can't recall anything about "teach thy children to hate and fear Mine." *raises eyes to ceiling, sees rainbow "PACE" (Italian for "peace") flag and sighs in despair*

Someone PLEASE tell me... are we going foward, moving backward, or just repeated the same mistakes of the past?

/jaded and frustrated

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Now THIS is a writer!

My son, my fabulous child...

I remember being this idealistic little kid (step with me back in time, allow me this indulgence) growing up in a world too small to contain my greatness. Right up until twelve years of age I was absolutely certain that my talents would shine so brightly that my parents would have no choice but to send me to New York where I would sail through the audition process at the School of Performing Arts. I would study voice by day, and stroll Central Park on the weekends with my artistic classmates. Upon graduation I would land a plumb role in a Broadway musical and by twenty-five I would achieve international fame. I think when I started my freshman year at Bloomington High School North I tasted not reality, but realignment. So I wouldn't study in NYC, but I WOULD be discovered somehow, somewhere, by someone. Maybe they would hear my voice at King's Island being played over the speakers at some recording booth for tourists. Perhaps by chance some big producer would be walking in front of me at the College Mall, catch a snippet of an idle tune escaping me, and offer me a contract on the spot. Later, at 25 years of age, I truly believed I would still be discovered. If ONLY I could get SOMEONE to just HEAR me... I sang in church, I sang outside of church, I attended seminars and wormed my way to the front of the crowd so my voice would rise above the others. At 29 a southern gospel big-wig DID hear me sing. He pulled my music minister aside and remarked that I had talent. At 30 this same man pulled me aside again and whispered in my ear, "Now here is a singer." That same week a producer selected me to showcase a collection of songs for a small audience of 300 folks with dreams just like mine. At 33 I recorded a project. I turn 36 in a few weeks, and that project marked the end of my dreams, not the beginnning. It was not fruition, it was death. With each passing day my talents were thrown out to producers, writers, and recording artists. Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Christ Church, and even Juice Newton passed. I accepted defeat, but inside me is that small child who still likes to think that once upon a time she was someone remarkable.

Flash forward to this evening... I see in my son (all of eleven years of age) something of myself, not as a singer, but as a writer. I remember being his age and thinking how sad it must be for my parents to have to live vicariously through me (not that they did, but I assumed as much.) My mother and father must have had some talent, some gift, that passed them by. They would revel in my success while smiling through the pain of their own lost opportunity. I was a big thinker. My son, my beautiful boy IS a writer. He IS what I thought I was at eleven, and I am what I assumed my parents were when I was their little savant. My son has believed himself to be a creative writer since his second grade teacher told him he was a good story teller. This year he bloomed. He has been writing like a madman. Most kids play video games until their thumbs hurt. My son writes until his hand cramps. This evening I helped him set up a blog and he whipped out his first "published work." Please check it out at and encourage his efforts. Grammar and spelling and punctuation are of little concern when the soul is spilling forth its glory. He simply amazes me, and I realize that IF my parents were what I assumed them to be, then I should NOT have felt sorry for them in the least bit. Since I am now my parents I can clearly see that there is no greater feeling that knowing your children are destined for greatness. So I didn't study in NYC, and the closest to the stage I got was peeking in the backdoor of Broadway theater. I was heard, I was acknowledged, I was rejected. 12 is gone, 25 is gone, and 33 feels like a lifetime ago. But I look forward to 44. That's when my daughter will graduate from Berkley and start her career in forensic anthropology. Sometime before that decade comes to a close, my son will publish his first book. By the time I trade in the homestead for Winnibago, my children will achieve all that I thought I was meant to be. I'm honored that I was chosen to pass on my gifts to those who were destined to reap their benefits.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Obligatory 101 Things About Me

1. I'm Sicilian on my father's side, German on my mother's.
2. I get my sense of humor from my father.
3. I don't know my father at all.
4. He bolted before I was born.
5. I lost my virginity at 17 because I was afraid of breaking my Chastity Pledge.
6. It would be another 17 years before I actually made love.
7. I was raised in Indiana by my mother and step-father.
8. I'm an Army brat.
9. I would have been a brat even if my mother hadn't rebounded with a military man.
10. I have a sister.
11. She's always been a size 3.
12. I've always been a size "plump."
13. I secretly hate my sister.
14. I broke her Shawn Cassidy album against the wall because she stole my grape Bubbliscious.
15. I married my first husband when I was 21.
16. 21 year old girls are not good decision makers.
17. I divorced my first husband at 32.
18. I married my current husband at 34.
19. 34 year old women are very good decision makers.
20. My current husband is half Italian, have Irish.
21. He doesn't drink like an Irish-man.
22. He loves like an Italian.
23. I have three kids: two from my first marriage, one I inherited with my second marriage.
24. My son is 13 and wants to be a writer.
25. When he's not writing, he's trying to kill himself with a skateboard and a hand rail.
26. My daughters are both 14.
27. I take a lot of tranquilizers.
28. I take them in the form of alcoholic beverages.
29. Because of that, I'm immune to the "teenage eye-roll of deaht."
30. My daughters are brilliant.
31. I dropped out of college when I was 19 so I could spend more time with my boyfriend.
32. I9 year old girls are also not good decision makers.
33. I returned to college when I was 34.
34. I have a 4.0
35. It's community college.
36. #34 + #35 doesn't mean I'm dumb.
37. My IQ is 140.
38. I dont' think it was that high when I married my first husband.
39. I'm studying to be a teacher.
40. I don't know what I'm going to teach.
41. I don't know what else to study.
42. I'm very ambiguous about my future.
43. I didn't see NYC until I was 32 years old.
44. I wish I'd never left.
45. I love everything about NYC.
46. Except the hotdog vendors in Times Square.
47. I flashed a pervert on Bourbon St. for beads.
48. He threw down a string of beads in the shape of apples that say, "#1 Teacher."
49. I consider that an omen.
50. I don't know if it's a good omen.
51. I believe in ghosts.
52. I think my mother-in-law haunts my house.
53. I don't think she likes me.
54. My oldest daughter thinks our house in haunted by a cow.
55. I dont' know if commenting on #52 in conjunction with #54 would be very wise.
56. My husband doesn't believe in ghosts.
57. He did see Aileen Wuornos hitchhiking in Florida on the night she was executed.
58. Over the course of my life I've lost the same 50lbs.
59. I keep finding them.
60. I'm currently trying to lose them again.
61. I hate to exercise.
62. I love cheese.
63. I've been to Italy.
64. I wish I were in Italy right now.
65. Or New York.
66. But not Indiana.
67. I live in Florida now.
68. It never snows here.
69. I hate snow.
70. I have a Shi Tzu named Winnie.
71. She can lick her own self.
72. She's doing it right now.
73. It's the most disgusting sound I've ever heard.
74. I have a yellow tabby cat named Jackson Hole.
75. Jackson Hole is a restaurant in NYC.
76. They make the best hamburgers on earth.
77. I recently had Jackson declawed and neutered.
78. He is not forgiving.
79. The roof of my Mustang is proof of #77 and that back claws count.
80. I type 132wpm.
81. I learned to type fast by IMing.
82. I used to write for a publisher in Nashville.
83. He bought all my songs.
84. I've never seen a penny.
85. He used to pitch my songs to Faith Hill.
87. Now he just watches Oprah.
88. In 1999, I won the Southern Gospel Association's Female Vocalist Award.
89. I don't sing anymore.
90. I take pictures.
91. My husband takes better pictures.
92. I shoot a Nikon.
93. He shoots a Hassleblad.
94. I have camera envy.
95. I have a full-time job that is unimportant.
96. I think I could have been a lesbian, but women annoy me.
97. Most of my friends are gay men.
98. The act exactly like women.
99. I don't know why they don't annoy me.
100. One day I'm going to quit smoking cigarettes.
101. But never cigars.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Seriously - don't you think we can look at it this way? I tried to be a cynic and adopt a Phooey stance on New Year Resolutions, but that's no fun! I think I've even said in the past that I refuse to make them because change comes from within and is not dictated nor influenced by the calendar. Well, phooey on that. It sounds pretty good, but change is very often dictated and influenced by things outside the realm of our psychie... in fact I am beginning to believe our psychie is deeply rooted in subconcious thought, and therefor breeds new beginnings at the slightest of hints. Anyway, that simply means that I've decided to make some New Year Resolutions for 2005. They are not mind-shatteringly novel, and in fact are fairly trite in conception, but they make me feel so much better.

1. My home will no longer be a refuse heap. I have years of clutter and memorabilia stacked to the four corners of each room. There are fifty-two weeks in a year, and only 11 rooms in my house. Surely (don't call me Shirley) I can weed out the old and make room for, well, humans to dwell within.
2. This year, I will finally move in to the home I've lived in since 2002. I've hesitated to make any major changes in Mike's home since I moved in because I felt as though he would view my attempts at decor-renovation as an insult to the existing structure. But honestly, the ex had a decorating style that is simply not to my liking (nor is the ex, ipso facto...) Again, there are 52 weeks in this year, but I've already committed 11 of them, leaving 41 weekends for painting and decorating. If I give each room two full weekends, I've still got 19 weekends left for slothful habits.
3. Diet-schmiet. They truly don't work. They are routines, and I'm not really good at routines. They are rules, and I'm a rebel in that I use the tag "rebel" as an excuse NOT to follow rules. However, I am going to take it easy on my digestive system, and do good things for my heart. I'm not going to commit to a diet and exercise regime, but I am going to take a good look at the things I'm NOT doing to make myself a healthier person.
4. Finish my AA. This will of course come naturally. I have the spring, two summer sessions and the fall session to finish up, and I'm right in line to do so. I would love to finish with my 4.0, but finishing well is not nearly as important as finishing this century... I know, that's NOT a healthy outlook, but at 35 (I guess 36 soon) I'll just take my cake without the icing if that's what is needed to move forward.
5. Make a concerted effort to also focus on my writing, and try to get the finished product out there. Those of you in the industry know what I mean. Songs don't sell themselves. They need a little nudge from their creator once in awhile.

I think five is pretty good... probably six more than I can actually handle, but it makes for a cheery morning to think about how Dec. 31st 2005 will feel like.