Thursday, June 29, 2006


Doug's uncle passed away earlier this week and the family is gathering in Western Pennsylvania. This was a very unexpected and unanticipated death, and it comes as a complete and total shock. I often dread phone calls from my mom or Doug's mom, because the days of "oh this interesting thing is happening" have passed and the "your grandmother isn't doing very well" are upon us.

Doug decided it would be better if he went by himself to this gathering. I just saw him off, and I'm kind of sad -- I'll miss him.

But I'm also kind of sad because I feel that I'm excluded from participating under the auspices of puppies and children and money.

That is probably not the case in any way, shape or form. But I have truly never felt a part of Doug's extended family, and it is moments like this that kind of make me ponder the relationships.

Part of me not going is because our kids really don't know John, or his son Andy, and I think that they'd be in the way and not able to participate in the process the way that mourning is expected. Geoff especially. Geoff would perceive a trip to Beaver Valley as a vacation, not two days and nights of wake and funeral, and then family discussions about What To Do Now. I volunteered Jess to go, but I don't even know if Doug asked her if she wanted to.

So he'll be home on Monday. And our long holiday weekend looks like it will finally be filled with sun, but I'll be a single parent cleaning up after puppy poop for four days (five really) instead of going to Maine to go camping and watching fireworks as a family.

Kind of a grey, gloomy morning here. And I'm incredibly sad. I liked John a lot. He was never all up in my business but genuinely cared when he'd ask "how are things?" when we'd visit. I could always count on a Christmas card from him with a picture of him and his son Andy with some big humongous fish they'd caught earlier in the summer.

I think I'm most sad for Andy right now. He's only 23, and there is still a whole series of life experience ahead of him that he isn't going to have his dad to turn to and share with. He's always had his dad. His parents split up when he was very small. And his whole life has been his dad. And John's whole life was Andy.

John was an exceptionally good dad to him from what I could see, and Andy was never a hellion messed-up kid from a "broken" home. His home worked just fine.

And now home is a house that Andy can't bear to walk into.

Please pray for Andy. He can use the spirit of support from all angles.

face fight 7Anyway. Things are going alright over here. The puppy is doing well, Jack is settling right into the big brother mode.

As evidenced by the love fest happening in this photo.

They're just playing -- if you don't know dogs this looks like a throw-down battle, but Jack is really gentle with her, and she kicks his ass. This morning we were outside and she ran up behind him and bit his tail and started pulling. That, my friends, is a no-fear dog. No Fear at all. She's giving us a hard time with the pee situation. She came to us house-trained but so doesn't seem to be remembering what to do. Either that or (especially Jess and Doug) we aren't taking her out often enough. I got up with her at 5 am and it is now 8 and she's been out about 10 times. Only producing something three times. I may get a second crate to keep downstairs so I can put her in it for 15 minutes before taking her out to kind of reinforce the "pee after you get out of the box" philosophy.

Jess' play rehearsals are going well. She's supposed to be there until 2pm but because she's in the chorus and doesn't have a principal role, she has been getting a ride home at noon when they break for lunch. I think today is the first day they are all required to stay until 2, and then next week on Wednesday and Thursday it will be long days for all, including a full dress rehearsal. I am impressed with the fact that they are taking a bunch of kids and having them put on a full-fledged musical with 10 days of practice and learning. I am looking forward to what they present (In case I forgot to mention, they're doing "The Wiz").

Geoff is enjoying camp and is already tan and blonde. Lucky!

The other day our washing machine broke. It still works, but it is leaking water from the bottom... and Doug and I decided we'd just go get a new one. So last night we hit the store and bought a really nice washer and dryer set, it'll be delivered next Saturday so we have to make do with what we've got for a week. I can handle that. Good thing the basement is already wet from all the rain. Our dehumidifier is working triple time.

So in the period of time I've had this journal, this is the second washing machine I've purchased. I shouldn't have left the last one behind. It was perfect and I loved it. LOVED it.


Double Meh.

I'm off to work -- gotta shuttle the kids to their respective locations and make sure Jess remembers to pack a lunch today.

Be calm, Be brave. It'll be okay...

So if you remember in my last entry I said that I kind of felt left out of the family process here with Doug's uncle's death, and it kind of made me sad. Well.

Doug called at about 11am while I was at work and he said "What did I just do? I left without you. I left without my kids. I am leaving you out of the situation, and I don't think that will be a good thing. I need you with me. I need Jess there to help with my niece and nephew. I need Geoff there to just be Geoff. Please come down."

You've got to be kidding me buddy.

So yeah. He asked me to pack up the kids and bring them to the burgh, and it suddenly occurred to me how many flaming hoops I'd need to jump through, not to mention the at least twelve hour drive I'd face tomorrow morning.

"Uh. Okay." I responded.

I told my boss I wouldn't be in on Friday. I made myself a massage appointment and went down for a half hour to decompress before my head exploded. And I began to put together the list of things I'd have to do.

I made arrangements to board Jack and the puppy, and they told me they can't kennel her because she hasn't got her vaccinations in line yet. She was scheduled to have her shots and check up on Saturday morning at 8:30. She would have to have a three day waiting period for those before she could be kept there.


Knowing I wouldn't be able to kennel her, I went to Petsmart and got a small kennel to travel with, carpet cleaning spray for the inevitable puppy training accident we'd face, and I made a hotel reservation for tomorrow in Beaver. At a hotel that welcomes pets.

I realized that a 12 hour drive on the Friday of a holiday weekend, a long holiday weekend for some, with a 10 week old puppy in the truck would be interesting, to say the least. I realized that just about once and hour we'd have to stop and let her out of her spanking new kennel to do her thing... But you know what, we could do it. All we'd need was someone to watch her during the funeral, and I emailed my sister in law to ask if she had a neighbor who'd take her for a few hours. Piece of cake.

Carrie called me a little while ago, and offered to take her -- so now we'll travel without the pup. That is a huge relief. Thank you Carr -- I love you beyond imagine.

I realized that the guinea pig would be alone for four days, and that isn't cool, so I called a neighbor and gave her a house key so she could come check on him and feed him. He'll do fine on his own. The AC will be on in the room where he is, and life is good.

Then I realized that we had nothing appropriate to wear to a summer funeral. So we went on a spree. Geoff had outgrown his clothing from the last one, so he needed a new shirt and dress pants. I can't find his tie. But whatever. If anyone says anything I'll be all "oh you DIDN'T!" and launch based upon all the crazy crud I just had to wade through to get to this point.

Jess has clothes already because she's all about black. I had nothing -- so we scored a nice pair of black pants and a blouse for me and a nice pair of sandals.

We went to Barnes and Noble and spent a ton and a half on new books because we're all about the Spree tonight.

Then we went out to dinner at Pizzaria Uno, and gorged on 'za and wings.

And we came home relaxed and happy. Jess is doing dishes and I just discovered that Jack has puked his guts out in my bed all over the clean laundry.


So I have a lot to do in the next couple of hours. I need to be on the road at 8, dropping Jack at the kennel and Puppy at Carrie's. It is going to be a long, long day tomorrow.

But my husband is right. We're family, and it wouldn't be a good showing for him to be there solo. So. We go. I just wish we were flying instead of driving.

With that, dear friends, keep us in your prayers as we travel afar. Much love to all.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

She's Puppylicious!

Puppy 062406 6 space alienOkay, so yeah - puppy update. Wow. She's puppylicious I tell ya. She had a decent Friday night with one pee accident in the house and about 5 minutes of yelping in the kennel when we all went to bed. Saturday is a blur of puppy chasing, face fights, tennis balls, more pee accidents and a poop accident (seriously, dogs? When we take you out and you're outside for a half hour, pee and poop outside okay? Gah). I took some cute pictures, she really is cute, and we argued about what she should be named.

We've narrowed it down to Brodie, but Geoff hates it and insists that she be Gertie. So it is three against one here in the house and life is difficult because of it. "If I were adopted would people try and change MY name? No. They'd let me be Geoff." Don't count on it, bub. I bet they'd change it to Harry PainInTheButtski. Guaranteed.

While you're sitting there wondering where the name Brodie comes from, here's how it shakes down. James Brodie is the name of a male character on Homicide: Life On The Streets. Brodie is the A/V filmographer/tech in the Baltimore City Police Department. Yesterday we were watching a H:LOTS marathon and Munch gets mad at Brodie and yells "Thanks a lot, Brodie!" and the way he said it rang true for Doug as he was wiping up puppy piddle. So he yelled 'Thanks a lot, Brodie!' and we all laughed.

Then it dawned on us that over the next few days/weeks/whatever, we may be yelling that a lot at her.

So ... Brodie sticks for the three of us. Now we have to convince Geoff.

Doug initially liked Chan so that when we're outside we can yell "Jackie! Chan! Come inside and get a cookie!" or something like that, and it would be funny. Jo caught it and suggested Sprat as a name so we could yell "Jack! Sprat!"

I wonder if there is a Jack Brodie out there in the world? I should google and find out, right?

Side Note: J.H. Brodie is how his name is credited in a lot of things, and he is played by Max Perlich. Perlich was the "star" of a video by Luscious Jackson, and is friends with the Beastie Boys. He's also been in seen recently in "My Name Is Earl," as Paul, the guy who should have won the lottery scratch ticket but Earl stole his purchase money from him and ended up Karma's Bitch.

Greta is another name that has come up as a suggestion... not sure if C would be sad if named my dog after the one she just had put down. C? Your thoughts/feelings?

The puppy and Jack are getting along well. There is a puppy wrestling match taking place under me right now. She likes to get under a chair and fight with him... so if we're out in the yard she gets under the lawn furniture and then fights Jack. They are grunting and groaning and tails are waving and there is stomping and chomping and it is quite the scene. And now that I'm on the computer it is time for a good fight up here. I can't wait to get pictures of this dog on dog action.

She fetches well, she eats well, she pees outside okay, and boy she is indeed cute. She got me up at 5am today and I couldn't hate her as much as I wanted to. She has been pretty much non-stop since then. Puppy on crank. Jess put her in her kennel in order to go get a shower while we were at home despot and the pup cried and cried... but then took a nap. I hope she sleeps really well tonight.

Speaking of home despot, we went and dropped 500 bucks there today between getting some shelving, a few fans, another AC for downstairs, and a bunch of assorted odds and ends.

The thing we really needed we totally scored on. We were without a bathroom mirror -- the one that was here went with the previous owner when he moved... it was a beautiful mirror from Bombay Company which was black and then hand-detailed in gold and maroon by him. As he put it, he'd leave it but there was too much sweat-equity in it, so he had to have it. It was quite alright -- I would have taken it too if it were me.

We had a limited space requirement (no more than 22" wide) and I kept running into medicine chests that fit the width but no nice mirrors. We can't recess a chest into the wall, so it would have to have been sticking out too far if we just hung it onto the wall and that's stupid. We found a medicine chest that wasn't too deep, and would have worked in the spot, but wouldn't you know it, the display model was the only one there.

While the associate dude was checking to see if there was one out back, we stumbled across a really nice flat mirror, framed in black wood, with a nice Shaker-style look to it. I loved it. And it fit the space perfectly. So we took it instead of the floor model of the medicine chest. I'm so glad we did, and am thinking of going back and getting the matching chest to go up over the toilet on the wall.

Alright... this is quickly becoming a very boring entry. I'll shut up now and go back to chasing a puppy around the house. More later.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Maybe We'll Name Her Fluffernutter

"And you may ask yourself 'My God! What have I done?!'"
-Talking Heads

Long time readers know that we lost our dog Kinger back in the fall in an accident. He was hit by a car, at the ripe old age of who knows what. He was a good dog. One cannot replace a lost pet with another one... it takes a lot of time, a lot of thought. A lot of consideration. So, after a lot of time, a lot of thought, a lot of consideration, we came to this week. We met with a puppy adoption agency and they introduced a little 11 week old mutt to our dog Jack. Jack loved her. And tonight when I got home from work, we adopted her. And here she is:


She is an 11 week old something mix. One set of paperwork says Boxer cross, another says Border Collie cross. She looks a LOT like Aaron and Michelle's dog Gonzo, but without the Dalmatian spots that he had. She's cute, she fears no Jackdog, Jackdog likes her, and Rick Harris said in his comment on the picture I took earlier this week "You're smitten -- admit it." And he is right. I was smitten from the moment.

Part of me thinks "why do I do these things to myself, I'm not even done unpacking." Another part of me says "it's about time. Jack has been really pining and lonely, and this is just the thing. Just the thing."

Right now my children are downstairs playing with her, wearing her out. She came to us named Gertie, but we're not grooving on the name. I'd like to name her Enid after the Barenaked Ladies song (of COURSE I do. Duh) but not Jane, because I do not need:

Jessie, Geoff, Jack and Jane.

That's just plain stupid, y'all.

And Doug jokingly suggested Jill so we'd have Jack and Jill, but that's just retarded. Jess and I like the name Quinn. Doug said he likes Chan but we all said "um, no." Gordon came up, based on the Steven Page is Having a Baby song, but the guinea pig got that name and too many Gordons isn't healthy. Nobody liked Fluffernutter as a name, even though I know Trace is eating one right this very second and says, with her mouth glued shut "mughff! yefff!"

Your suggestions are welcome. More pictures forthcoming -- once the light is better and we can get her out and playing.

Again, the forecast is for more rain than imaginable. I'm really pissed. I wonder if it is our fault because there are things we need to finish here that we have yet to finish, and God is telling us to stay home and make with the finishing. I'd like to take this dog, whatever her name is, hiking the way we took Jack. The very first geocaching trip we went on was with Jack, the weekend after we got him. No finer way to initiate a dog member of the family.

I am searching the June archives for the photo of Jack when we thought he was a she (heh) on the first geocaching day of June 25, 2002! It is hard to believe that I have been geocaching that long and only have 450 caches to show for my effort when others got over 500 in their first year. Oh well. More astounding is the fact that my first journal entry was June 15, 2001 and I let that date slide in the notings.

Oh well.

There's been a lot going on.

Anyway -- there are other things I want to write about but they can wait. It is getting late, the dogs just went out and "Gertie/Enid/Fluffernutter" just pooped so we're very proud of her. It's hard being 11 weeks old.

I'm gonna get ready for bed and post this. Goodnight all.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Guster Cruise!

Last night Doug and I were some of a very lucky few who were able to go on a little 90 minute harbor cruise with the band Guster.

For those non-local folk, Guster grew out of Tufts University in the very early 90s, slowly building popularity through Boston and the Northeast. Guster is now a huge national act (in my opinion). I'm a big fan, and really enjoy them a lot. Adam Gardner did a little side project last year called the LeeVees and they opened for Barenaked Ladies on the holiday tour. Hanukkah music never rocked so hard and loud and fun. Mazel Tov!

guster me and ryanI'm pictured here looking fat and windblown, wishing I had a hat on to keep my hair from doing that thing across my forehead, with Ryan Miller, Guster's lead singer and water bottle waver.

The booze cruise was a lot of fun -- it was at least 90 in Boston during the day yesterday, so getting out on the harbor and cruising around was a welcome and breezy relief.

The band played everything I wanted to hear except for Fa-Fa. They played my favorite song, Careful, which was awesome. And, they played a few great cuts from the new CD "Ganging up on the Sun" which I bought and gave to Jess because she could not be with me. They even sang the National Anthem (in English, heh) in harmony. I do believe they are singing it at Fenway, and needed the rehearsal time. The audience sang along in harmony too. It was really fun and campy and I loved it.

There are a few good shots on flickr, not just of Guster but of the beautiful harbor, ships and skyline of Boston. The full set is located here if you'd like to go view them.

I wanted to take a million pictures but didn't want to annoy the band. There were maybe 60 people on board the ship, and the Guster made themselves really available for chatting before and after the music. They were just really friendly and kind, and I think the fans reciprocated by not being all crazy. I get the impression that the vast majority of fans of some bands just want the opportunity to chat with the people, not to hug and glom on them and gush and ass kiss for hours. I wanted to talk with them longer, but there were people glomming in, so I let it go. I wanted to know what they thought about heading onto the cruise with BNL in January of next year, because I hear they are signed up to go with.

Of course, even though I love Guster it all boils down to Barenaked Ladies.

It was a simply gorgeous night. I was psyched to have the opportunity to go.

Today is the last day of school for the kids. Finally. Jess should be home by 11:30, Geoff by 12:15. Jess wants to go to a party at her friend's house after school and I think Geoff has cub scouts at 2 in the form of an end-of-year pool party. It has been brutally hot the past couple of days, and I will gladly let him go.

So I'm taking the morning off and will be home waiting for them. The dog needs some shots, the truck needs an oil change, so it'll be a good time for me to get some things taken care of. I may even clean the bathroom. Who knows. Then I'm going to go to the office and work for a few hours... I can't afford to lose a full day of work so I'll go down and pound out the rest of the week's programming. I will bring the Guster CD with me.

Right then. That's the update for right now. Have a good day!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

All I gots to say is ...

Michael and Jon throw a wicked good party. Hells Yeah.

menu congratulationsI don't think I've been hung over for an incredibly long time. Probably since one of the New Years Eve parties with Aaron and Michelle a couple years back. I'm just now slowly climbing out of my funk, thanks to some good strong coffee, lots of water and vitamins, and a quiet cool morning on the couch watching Spongebob with my son.

So last night we went to Michael and Jon's wedding. It was a very small, beautiful, sweet and loving ceremony. After the ceremony we retired to a nice room for the reception. The staff at Grill 23 kept my wine glass very full all night. Those bastards! I'm paying for it now. Voof. Michael's brother and Jon's friend Jocelyn were drop-dead, crazy-assed funny and my sides are killing me from laughing. After about elevendy bottles of wine at our table, we realized that we were the Silly Table. The Silly Loud Table. Or, as Doug and I refer to it "Table 10."

Every wedding has a Table 10. The name comes from my cousin Deb's wedding back in 1987. All of their college friends got Silly Loud and took to the dance floor with the table number on the metal stick thingie waving over their heads yelling "Table 10 Rules!" and such.

So whenever we go to a wedding, we're always on the lookout for Table 10. I don't think we've ever been Table 10 though. Jocelyn told us that she is always Table 10, so I guess if we hadn't been with her we may not have gotten so silly, I may not have had so much wine, and my sides wouldn't hurt so hard from laughing. Oy.

I had a rip-roaring good time, and we are honored to have been invited to such an intimate gathering. I know they have a million billion good friends they could have invited, and to have been asked to witness, support and participate means more to me than I could have ever imagined.

For those interested, there is a flickr set for you to go view. Enjoy.

Thanks guys.

So I'm sitting at work on Friday and my cell rings. It is 92.5 The River, letting me know that I won two tickets to go on a booze cruise tomorrow night with Guster.

Yeah. I freaked out. I'm pretty psyched.

Friday was also the Fishing Derby for Cub Scouts. It was a near catastrophe for us, and once again we are in debt to Mr. Kayla's Dad for helping us out. He was there with Jake, and par for the course we ended up standing by him. He brought two rods with him, and we ended up using one when Geoff ran out of line.

See, Geoff had been practicing casting in the yard on Thursday when he got tangled in the trees. He wasted a good amount of line, but I thought there was plenty there for him to have for the actual fishing portion of things. Seriously, how much line do you actually need? There is a million miles of line on a reel.

I guess I misjudged the amount of line he wasted because Doug cast out for him (waded out to thigh-high water again this year because of the height of the water level due to the rain) and the line was ... gone.

We were toast. Doug was bullshit, Geoff devastated. So Mr. Kayla's Dad gave us one of his rods.

I think I owe him a million favors or a Best Buy gift card so he can treat himself to media toys of his choice.

Geoff wasn't catching anything. Last year I bought shiners and worms, and the shiners were working out great so I thought I'd just do the same this year. The fish in the pond turned their noses up at the shiners, and so we finally resorted to the worms.

unhappy fisherboyBy the time we switched, Geoff was pretty frustrated with the process. Between getting yelled at for wasting his line, needing to borrow a pole from someone, and no fish biting, he was down in the mouth.

No amount of coaxing and support from Doug or me would make him feel better about fishing. He was DONE fishing forever. You all know how Geoff gets (especially if you know him well) when he gets into these places. He perseverates on the topic, he is immovable in opinion, he is a rock of stubborn anger.

The derby is sponsored by our insurance agent, Jim Andrews. Jim is an older guy, very passionate about fishing and a very kind, gentle man. He heard Geoff being upset and came over to talk to him and try and cheer him up.

look right thereHe took Geoff out into the water with him and gave him his sunglasses. He told Geoff they were special fish-spying sunglasses, and had Geoff really look at the water to know where to cast. Geoff bought it, hook, line and sinker to use an appropriate phrase to the occasion. He said he could see the fish with the sunglasses, and Jim had him cast out again.

Geoff caught one. With five minutes left to go in the derby. It's the kind of thing that you wouldn't have believed if you weren't just standing there watching. It was a fish tale. For sure. There was a lot of joy all around. Jake and Thane were cheering him on, Mr. Kayla's dad was psyched. Doug and I were amazed. How awesome is that. Jim went to get the measuring board while Geoff reeled in.

Jim took the fish off the line and had Geoff hold the board. We saw it was about 8 and a half inches, and that was a pretty darn good size because Jake had been hitting fish at about 7 inches.

And then, before I could take a picture of Geoff and Jim with the fish, there was this slow motion jumble of action -- and Jim dropped the fish.

Geoff, Jim and I all reached for it, but with two quick flops that sucker got away. Geoff was angry and said it didn't count, but Jim said it did because he is the judge and he decides what counts and what doesn't. So he had Geoff hold up the measuring board and he pointed to the length for me...

And I got a picture of the one that got away. How's that for a fish story.

the one that got away was this big

Happy Father's Day to all you pops out there. Especially to Peter who is celebrating his first with little wee Catherine. Make sure you scroll down to the shot where he has on his "I'm blogging this" t-shirt on, and baby has on her "Daddy's blogging this" onesie on. Heh. Nice. And to Germany France (ha!), who is celebrating his first father's day this year, seeing as the boy will be 1 in July.

And on this Father's Day I can't help but be sad again and think of Steve and Ginger. It's been a year since they lost Gracie, and it feels like just yesterday. He'll always be the big daddy in my mind though. I hope he gets the chance again. I hope that the hurt I feel (which is tiny compared to theirs) will lessen, but the memory will always remain. I wish him a healing day. A day where something good comes around to him and he's able to cherish that.

I know that people just don't know what to do or say on holidays like this when someone has lost their child. So all I can say is that I love you guys... and always will. And by remembering that you were dad and mom I hope it honors her. That's all I can say.

Well, as I just went to upload this I discovered our server is down so I'll try again later. If anything exciting happens, I'll be sure to blog it. Like my husband told Jocelyn yesterday my blogging is a disease.

Jerk. (heh).

Happy Father's Day, Douglas!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Ben and an 8th grade graduation

Geoff has been a saint the past couple of days. He wore his Roethlisberger Jersey to school today even though it stank and needed a good washing. I asked him to change into his Steelers T-shirt and he said "no. I need to show that I'm with Ben and I hope he gets better from his accident..." he said this with his hand over his heart and a totally serious facial expression.

I understood completely.

"Well then buddy, that's alright by me," I said. "Just go put on some deodorant."

Yesterday was Jess' 8th grade graduation. Linda, correct me if I'm wrong but I sure the heck don't remember HAVING a GRADUATION ceremony for 8th or 9th grade, whatever year I was last in Junior High (in Jess' case, Middle School). But they do around here and I have to say I commend our district because they give out five honorable mentions per class and three actual MEDALS. Serious, honest to gravy medals. Bronze, Silver and Gold. Like it is the freaking Olympics of Academia.

One girl walked away with just about every gold medal. The team leader for Jess' team, the social studies teacher, cracked to her as she left the stage "If you need a wheelbarrow or something... a hand carrying all that... just let me know and I'll arrange it. Okay?"

No one laughed. I guess she is the one who will either carry this super academic stardom all the way through high school or something horrid will happen in the tenth grade that will send her spiraling downward into mediocrity.

Jess got Honorable Mention in German and History. Which surprised me because I thought she was in the top three of her class in both subjects. She got a Bronze medal in Theatre Arts. Shocked the heck out of me because she beat the one person I was sure would win the gold...

"Were you surprised you beat out E to get a medal?" I asked her.

"No, I was surprised I got Bronze."

There's confidence for you people. She never ceases to amaze me. The medal in theatre was the only thing that mattered to her... the fact she got honorable mention in the other subjects was meaningless. Theatre is the girl's life. And she wants to win. So she'll keep gunning for it, and God bless her endeavors.

A medal. Jebus. That's just mindblowing. I'm rather proud of her. Rather.

I've been looking on Craigslist for a bureau for Geoff. I'm noticing a lot of people are getting rid of IKEA stuff left and right. For all the hot-ticketness of IKEA, I'm wondering why it is unloaded so much. Do people outgrow IKEA? Is it just ... crappy?

I ponder these things...

Speaking of ponderings, I would like all the American Readers who are all crazy about Hugh Laurie on House to realize that back in 2002 I was all about Hugh Laurie.

I saw him first. Back the hell off. He's mine. If you follow the link, go down to the bottom of the page for my gushing adorations of Mr. Laurie.

I'm going to a wedding on Saturday. A GAY WEDDING! Oh yes. And I'm so looking forward to it. Because I love the two involved.

I know there is a great deal of controversy around weddings of the gay persuasion, but I really don't give a darn. I do have a problem with the semantics of using the term "wedding" and "marriage," because that is traditionally defined as man and woman. I wish another word for the exact same thing existed. I'm not a wordsmith skilled enough to create something. I wish I could.

But keep this in mind... if I have a problem with it for man and man or woman and woman, I would also have to start objecting to the overuse of the term in MARKETING.

A Rich Marriage of Style and Comfort. A Marriage of modern and traditional architecture!

NO! Away with you blasphemers and threat to the institution! How dare you use the term MARRIAGE for CONCEPTS!!

Seriously. Wedding, marriage, whatever it is called, to me it is love. It is commitment, and it is legal and binding and there are benefits that are due to life partners who are by the bedside at age 80 as someone is fading into the dark. It is only fair.

And I'm okay with that. If you're not, I understand. You're not invited. I bet.

Personally, I think Brittany Spears is more of a threat to the institution of marriage than M and J are. Or any other gay couple. She's a skanky ho. Yes, I said it. Skanky assed ho. And her behavior is more of a threat to the institution than a binding partnership between two individuals like M&J will ever be.

Stuff it.

Ahem, off the soap box.

As for this event, the gay wedding, it will be my first. I hope I look fabulous. Can't go to a gay wedding unfabulous now, can you? No.

And I'm sure the reader is rolling his eyes right now. If he's not too busy being married to his work and how busy his schedule is! Oh yeah! Misuse of the term! You betcha!


I grilled swordfish for dinner tonight. Grilling season is here, and whenever it does not pour down rain on my sorry lame ass (and even when it does!) I'll be out grilling.

While I was out grilling, the neighbor business owner came over to say hi. She's a chiropractor and has a massage therapist on staff. She had a problem with a stalker sending out a very nasty letter to neighborhood residents a few years back, long time readers may recall... the Red Letter saying that she gives blow jobs after 7pm. Remember that? If you don't, I am looking for the entry so I can link to it and refresh your memory.

She's a really nice and wonderful person. I didn't bring the fact up that I'd received one of those letters but I'm dying to know the backstory and what ever became of her stalker.

We talked about the yard and the boy and the girl and her hours and I told her I'll be visiting for the massage therapy one of these days... She was really nice and very welcoming. "I hear you moved here from just down the street..." she says. So already someone has filled her in.

Not much else. I'm surprised that my Ben entry from yesterday didn't garner more comments. I thought it would be a real talking points kind of entry for all my readers to rally'round. Speaking of which, my hits have gone from an average of 40 per day to over 60. I'm wondering why. So if you're new here (Trace, you've already left a comment... thanks!) do leave me a note in the comments box there on the left.

Monday, June 12, 2006

On Ben Roethlisberger

Y'all know I love me some football. Longtime readers know that at the Way Out Inn we love the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots. We just love football. We'll watch teams that we don't even like play, just because it is football. We'll watch NFL Films recapping the 2002-2003 season with dramatic music and voice over. We went to Canton Ohio on pilgrimage last summer. We. Love. Football.

We bleed black and gold for the Steelers. We have a Tom Brady bobble head doll. We love a lot of AFC teams. Brett Favre can suck and lose all the time and I'll still love and admire him for trying harder than anyone I've ever witnessed.

In my house, it's a hard day on the schedule when the Steelers and the Pats play one another. Either way, I know my favorite team will win but I'll still weep in my heart a little bit for the loser.

I know ole Nance out in the 'burgh area is rolling her eyes and is all barfing over the porch rail (through the screen, mind you. Through the screen!) but I do love Ben Roethlisberger. The patron saint of black and gold town. The Super Bowl winning QB of Super Bowl XL. The pride of the 'burgh. My son's favorite player. MY favorite player.

Today, Dude was riding his motorcycle and crash-assed all over a car, with his face. Dude FACE SLAMMED a moving vehicle, at high speeds, sans helmet. Dude is in serious condition in the hospital, because that's a battle you cannot win without a helmet.

I, for one, love the boy as if he were my own son. But I would bitch slap him into the middle of next month if I could.

Wear a FUCKING HELMET dumb ass. And every other one of you dumb farts who ride without one -- will you please, for chrissake, wear a damn helmet. Ben gets NO sympathy from me for doing something as stupid and wrong as riding without a helmet and crashing.

Well yes he does, because I'm all over here crying and sick to my stomach and whatnot because he could have permanent damage to his head and he could have a career ending situation if things turn out for the worst.

My husband works with people who are in nursing homes for the rest of their stupid assed lives because they did something so dumb as to not wear a helmet while hurtling at high speeds through traffic.

I don't hate motorcycles. I think they are cool. I love them. I'd ride one if I weren't such a fat ass and if I didn't look like a huge oompa loompa on one... But I think anyone who rides one without a helmet, without boots, without pants, without a coat is ... an asshat. Complete and total. End of conversation.

Don't play me this song over and over about freedom and choice and you are more aware of your surroundings without the helmet.

Don't call people who wear protective gear "pussies" at gas stations when you're fueling up because they don't take the risk of "living" life to its fullest and they've got on a helmet and Kevlar.

And Ben -- you asshat -- you wear a helmet on the football field. Tedi Bruschi can't hit as hard as a mini-van. Why wouldn't you take the same precautions to protect your head off the field as you do on the field?

Oh my God this makes me froth at the mouth like a crazed lunatic.

I'm not a doctor but I know a couple little facts about the human anatomy. You have a very squishy little spongey thing inside your skull, called a brain. It runs your entire body, but it is really fickle and doesn't work good when it is hurt. So there are a couple of little things surrounding this soft squishy bit of your body that is in charge of everything.

You have a thin membrane that keeps the soft squishy bits cushioned and safe. There is some liquid, some other stuff all mixed in there. It is very very thin doesn't react well to being jarred and banged around. So outside that layer there is another layer.

This outer layer, called your skull, is not made of titanium. It is made of bone, which is kind of tough, but still can be damaged rather easily. When it gets smashed really really hard by say a 16 ton weight dropping from the ceiling or when the body flies headfirst at high speed into another object, the outer layer breaks into tiny bits. And then physics sends tiny bits of debris all up into that thin membrane and that spongey grey gooey crap, causing all kinds of permanent damage.

Then you end up in a skilled nursing facility being fed by a Haitian Nurse while she is screaming in Creole to the guy in the hallway that he ain't her baby daddy.

I've heard several horror stories from Aaron when he worked as a first responder down in New London/Groton about motorcycle accidents. Realizing that he was walking through someone's brains after they were killed and spread thin all over I-95 really shook him to the core. Just hearing him tell the story shakes me to the core. The guy wasn't wearing a helmet. At 35 miles an hour he would have been killed. They estimated he was doing well over 100 based on the "residue" trail he left behind.

Helmets make a difference and protect the little vessel of your skull with its precious cargo of your brain. One is not a pussy if one wears a protective covering over that sensitive area. One is not a pussy when one wears a coat, pants and boots while riding down the highway.

I think if you're going to call someone a pussy for dressing protectively, they need to say "I'd rather be a pussy with my skin and muscles not shredded like pulled pork on the asphalt, and my brains not scrambled like the eggs I had for breakfast. You obviously have made a different choice. God be with you."

Anytime I see people riding down the road in wife beater T-shirts, Old Navy baggyass cargo pants and FLIP FLOPS I want to lose my mind, pull them over, and start screaming at them. Then I want to beat them bloody about the head and shoulders with a golf club.

Until they realize that the thrashing I'm giving them hurts about .0058% of what it would hurt if they turned into road sandpaper in a wipeout.

The skull bashing I'd give them wouldn't feel anything like what it would feel to meet a Toyota Highlander crossing the double yellow line into your pathway. When you go through the windscreen and into the DVD player running Boobah for the kids in the back seat.

But I can't.

Because I am a huge proponent of choice. All kinds of choice.

Because I believe this I also believe that Bad Choices have Bad Consequences. And Bad Consequences sometimes have to be lived with, like it or not.

But squirrel, please -- when it happens I don't want you all up in my grill crying because your boyfriend lost his leg when he miscalculated a turn at 90 miles an hour in shorts and flip flops.

Bad Choice equals Bad Consequence. Live with it.

I choose to wear my seatbelt daily, even when driving around the corner. Because I've seen people propelled from their vehicles to their death. My mother chooses not to wear her seat belt. And she gripes when I won't put the car into reverse when she's sitting in my passenger's seat.

I value her brains. And her body. And while she can make all kinds of bad choices in her own vehicle, she will abide by my rules while I'm driving.

I make my son wear a bike helmet when riding in the neighborhood, not because I don't trust in his ability but I don't trust the f'tard high school kids who cut down our street while yakkin away on the cell phone and not being on the right side of the road.

I'm hoping my insistence will help Geoff make good choices when he is older. If he chooses differently, like Ole Ben there, I'll lecture him, cajole him, maybe beat him about the head and shoulders with a golf club. But when he's old enough to make his own bad choices I have to honor them. And maybe live without him because of them.

I value his brains. And his life.

Ben Roethlisberger obviously doesn't value his brains enough to want to protect them out on a bike. That's his bad decision, and one he has to live with now. Thank God the only person he has physically hurt is himself (emotionally, I'm sure the old lady driving the other car isn't doing well and I feel intensely bad for her).

Ben, my darling, my love, my son's hero, my fantasy football QB... I hope the hell you learned a personal lesson today, and will make better choices with your skull, your brains, and your life when you ride your bike.

Continuing to ride without a helmet in the future, if you have a future riding a bike, will drive me mental and I may have to come down there and yell at you.


Until then, I pray for your healing and recovery. I pray for the lady you crashed into. I pray for the people who are being fed by the Haitian CNAs at local hospitals. I pray for anyone who needs guidance in making better choices with life.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Jess' Birthday and Blue Man Group

So today is Jess' 14th birthday. Hard to imagine that my little tiny baby would grow to be a 6 ft tall blonde drama diva. Fourteen years is a long time... but a blink of an eye in the greater scheme of things.

Happy birthday Jess.

For her birthday, she didn't want a party, she didn't want anything. I couldn't get a direct answer out of her for what to do to celebrate. And 14 is the kind of age where if a parent does nothing, the kid will bemoan it for centuries "When I turned fourteen you didn't get me anything!!!"

And we'd end up on Jerry Springer or something.

Well, I decided at the last minute I'd get tickets for Blue Man Group. Most of you reading this are familiar with them in some way, shape or form. But in essence they are a theatre/music/percussion ensemble that does all kinds of insane, wacky, thought provoking art. A lot of the music they create is with giant drums and PVC piping and ... paint.

We live north of Boston, and they've been there in the city for a bazillion years and we've never ever gone to a BMG show. I've long wanted to. And figured this would be a good time to do it. Tickets were available, so I bought four. We managed to keep it a secret and it was driving her nuts. Geoff kept it a secret too for a whole day.

We all got in the car yesterday to go and he yelled out "Okay! Let's go see Blue Man Group!"

A collective CRASH could be heard as my head and Doug's head exploded immediately. D'oh. He let it out of the bag. We wanted her to be surprised when we got to the city and walked up to the door of the theatre. But he blew it.

"Dad told me I could tell her when we were going in the car!" he yelled as I told him that I couldn't believe he let it slip.

"I told you that you could tell her when we GOT there." said Doug.

Doug and I both sighed, and Jessica's silence spoke volumes.

I asked her if she was excited to go see Blue Man, and she grunted. "I wanted to see Wicked."

"Well, Wicked isn't in Boston right now. They've been gone a month. Blue Man is, and it's cool, and I thought you'd like it."

More silence.

Doug was more than a little annoyed with her as well. Exasperatedly, he then turns to her and says "after the show, we are going to go walk around Chinatown and go get something to eat and..."

"But I don't want to walk around Chinatown."

"What do you want to do?" I ask.

"I don't know."

"I can't believe I even left the house today." Doug sighed. The two kids immediately start sniping at each other. Geoff insists there is no such thing as Chinatown because that is in China. Jess starts telling him to "shut up!" and punches him.

Doug let them both have it. They rode in silence to the city, and when we got there I told Jess that my feelings were hurt that I made an effort to do something fun for her freaking birthday and that she was a complete ingrate. I was a breath short of calling her a total bitch... but I held back.

I could not believe her shitty 'tude. I know I'm raising this kid better, but this is the second time in six months that she has expressed her dissatisfaction with a gift someone gives her instead of being gracious in disappointment.

Is this part of being 14? That you lose social graces and become a complete jackass ingrate jerkbag?

Please, Lord, say it ain't so.

It is the one piece of the Jess puzzle that makes me so angry. She has great manners. She is kind, she is generous. But if you give her something that she doesn't like or didn't expect, she'll let you know it sucks. And she will do it in front of everyone. She did it at Christmas time to Kay's mom when she gave her a pair of fleece pj pants with the Happy Bunny on them. She hates that Happy Bunny, which is an entry in and of itself (I really should write about that) ... and she literally flipped out when she opened the box.

And Mrs. the Kayla dressed her down in front of everyone...

All she had to do was just kindly say "Oh, thank you!" and then later pull Mrs. the Kayla aside and say "You know, best friend's mom who didn't have to give me a Christmas gift, I'm really not into this item. I appreciate that you thought of me, it really means a lot. I'm wondering if you'd be offended if I exchanged it for something else. Thank you so much for taking the time and giving me a gift, though. It really is awesome..."

I know Mrs. the Kayla would have said "oh, sorry hon... I thought all the girls like The Happy Bunny... but I've got a gift receipt right here. Give it to mom and she can take you to the store and exchange it."

Well -- back to Blue Man. We walk to the theatre in silence. I didn't tell the lady at the Will Call booth that Jess' birthday was today. I could have. I know they send little messages up on the lcd ticker with things like that before the show starts and the audience reads them out loud and it's funny.

To be honest, I just didn't want to do another friggin' fun or nice thing for her. Screw it. We got to our seats and no one was happy. Geoff was still angry about China town (stupid Nonverbal learning disorder that makes him perseverate on stupid issues shut the hell up) and Jess didn't want to wrap the paper around her head like everyone else in the audience. She just sat there like a log.

The show started and it was fun, awesome, exciting. It made me laugh a lot, and it was nice to hear Doug laughing because I was sure that he was not going to enjoy himself.

We both looked over at Jess and she had a big smile on her face. So the Blue Men were reaching her with their weirdness. Hey bitch, even if you didn't want to see us, we're still gonna show you we kick ASS! TAKE THAT! Ha!!

The big out-of-control finale comes, and she is laughing her ass off, streamers flying everywhere, strobe lights flashing, blue lights causing Geoff's shirt to glow like a fire. It was lots of fun, and at the end she had a big grin on her face.

"So, did you like it?" I asked.

"Yeah, that was awesome."

Geoff went on and on about how he wants to see it again and again and again. We went to leave and I asked what we were going to do for lunch.

"I want to go walk around Chinatown" she says.

So we did.

And we ended up at Jumbo Seafood after window shopping and enjoying the lack of pouring down rain. We ate a huge lunch/dinner that was not to be believed, and it was a great time in the end.

I just wish my daughter would react better and be more gracious at times.

Wicked is coming back to Boston in September, and I may or may not take her. Depending on how the 'tude grows and changes over the summer. I don't want to take her in NYC because each time I look for tickets they are like 300 bucks and there is no way in freaking hell I'm paying 300 dollars to watch a play. No. Way. End. Of. Conversation.

Unless BNL star in it, of course. Even then, I'd have to really really REALLY think about it.

What's on the agenda for the actual birthday? Well, the sun is shining for a change. It is cold, windy, and we have stuff to unpack still. I'm chipping away, bag by bag, box by box. Still haven't found my keys.

What the heck?!

So I should get back at it. I'm finding that I'm hitting a kind of wall where I'm sick of everything and don't feel like doing more. So I have to push myself and get things done.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Again with the Dixie Chicks...

Because you cannot get enough of my deep thoughts, especially on pop country lyrics.

A few years back, the girls released a song called "Goodbye Earl." The song is about Wanda and Mary Anne, BFF in a small town somewhere. They were friends for millions of years, and then after graduation Mary Anne leaves town to find fortune and fame, while Wanda goes and marries this dirtbag named Earl. Earl immediately starts beating on her. Wanda eventually has had enough. She files for divorce and a restraining order, and Earl beats the crap out of her and lands her in intensive care.

It was after this hellacious beating that they come to the conclusion that 'Earl had to die.'

So they kill him.

They plot, they plan, and they jack his black-eyed peas full of poison. And he croaks. No one figures out who did it, the cops look high and low for ole Earl... and the battered Wanda and Mary Anne live happily ever after, dancing on Earl's grave.

Now. Earl was indeed a disgusting piece of trash. But I do not believe that murdering Earl is the RIGHT thing to do.

Don't get me wrong -- I am not a proponent of wife beating. I think anyone who subjects another to that kind of torture is a sick piece of trash and needs to be taken care of. But not by the victim.

I am more of a proponent of not murdering someone who is doing you wrong. Earl may have been a douche, but I don't think "Earl had to die."

Earl needed to get arrested, put in jail, and made to pay for his crimes. But again, I realize fully that I'm a naive fool who believes in the justice system and doing things through the right channels. I know for a fact that thousands of women try the right channels, and they end up abused or dead.

But committing murder, in my opinion, isn't the path to righteousness in the end.

And the long and the short of it is ... I don't like the song or what it talks about. I don't think it is funny or cute or entertaining. I think it is creepy and Wanda and Mary Anne are just as guilty of wrong as Earl ever was.


Do I get a steamroller out and run over all their CDs? No. They wrote a song, told a story, it has an ending that kind of makes me sick to my stomach, but I don't go apeshit and threaten their lives.

I change the channel if it comes on.

On top of that, friends -- it's a fictional tale. It's like the whole Dan Quayle Murphy Brown crap about single mothers a few years back. These authors wrote a fictional tale that may be based in the reality of modern life, but they don't deserve me getting all insane about their lyrics and their opinions. There is no getting crazy and demanding CMT not play the video or protesting or going to my congressman.

Free Freaking Speech. I disagree with what they say. But they have a right to say, think, do, live, sing whatever they want.

People got all on either side of the metaphorical fence with this song. I remember reading that it was hailed a victory for battered women, that finally someone had written a song where the underdog had stood up and kicked ass. Hmmmm. Janie Got a Gun by Aerosmith came first, I believe. And there have been dozens of songs about people rising up and taking no more from the bootheel of oppression all through history. The Dixie Chicks didn't break new ground. They had a video with Dennis Franz and that chick with the crazy eyes from Ally McBeal and Natalie wore a little tiny red bandana shirt. Remmeber when those were popular?

Other people kind of got crazy on the opposite side saying that the song advocates violence and murder and is wrong (kind of like my stance here) but they were over the top about it and demanded CMT take the video off and were worried that women would start killing people left and right because they'd had enough.

Nothing of the sort happened on a wide-spread scale.

I don't think this song or any other media drives battered women to start poisoning their abuser's black-eyed peas. As for being a piece of media that is "inciting" people to action this isn't like yelling "Fire" in a theatre.

And if by chance some women were to poison their abusers and roll them in a tarp, I don't think it will be because they took the sage advice of Emily, Natalie and Marty. I think it will be because they feel they've reached the end of their individual rope.

I honestly do not believe that people do things because they heard it in a song. If you're inclined to do it, you'll do it Not because Judas Priest, Barenaked Ladies, Dixie Chicks or Yo Yo Ma told you to do it.

Get it? I hope so.

Anyway -- that's been on my mind since I last posted. And I just felt the need to get it out. You're finally relieved that she's stopped talking about the move and boxes and unpacking... aren't you?