Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Everything falls apart

So, Pants and I attended the funeral of a 33-year old father. He was found dead on his couch Thursday night by his wife. We don't really know what happened yet.

This young man was the younger brother of the best man at our wedding. A man who grew in the very house we now own, whose parents lived here when he was born. A man with a daughter the same age as Kitten.

It's different. Every death is different. One would think that I would be able to empathize because my brother died suddenly, young. But this is different. My brother was a different personality, a different life, a different death, a different family. This family we are watching, they are falling apart.

My brother and his girlfriend were solely responsible for their deaths. They drank, they drove, they chose not to wear seatbelts. They put a young, inexperienced driver behind the wheel in the dark on an unfamiliar road, driving an 80s muscle car. If you take any one of those things out of the equation, they live. If you take the same variables and run the night over, they live. Most catastrophic events are built on a string of circumstances, a perfect storm, where any one piece removed would stop or lessen the consequences.

But this man, the man we honored and mourned today, his death is a mystery. He complained of chest pains the day of his death, and his wife wonders why she didn't make him go to the hospital. It is suggested that perhaps his soak in the hot tub might have triggered an episode in an already damaged heart, and his parents think they killed him because they bought him the hot tub. Until this family knows what happened, and probably after that, they will continue to think they somehow should have been able to save his life.

And so they turn on each other, their faith, and themselves. One stops talking. One looks 20 years older. One cannot return to the church after the internment. One is found sobbing in bed, begging for his son back. They beg for some reason. Some truth in why this could happen.

And the ultimate truth is that there is no truth. People say things like, "he's in a better place," or "it was his time," or "God has plans for him." These things are designed to keep you from oozing your grief all over them because we are all so damned uncomfortable with raw grief, an emotion so painful it's difficult to watch. These words are uttered to try to make you get better in a hurry so you can stop freaking the rest of us out, already.

And above all, these words are designed to distance the teller from death. If it was his time, perhaps it isn't mine. If God had a plan, I'm sure my part in it is here, sitting comfortable with my family. The masses grasp for a reason for death so they can avoid that thing for themselves. Everyone is desperate to know why this man died so they can ensure it doesn't happen to them. And no one wants to hear there is nothing you can do to change any of it.

I didn't really know you, sir, and I'm not sure we would have enjoyed each other's company. But I am sorry for your loss because I have seen the pain on the faces of your family and your wife. I have seen the untroubled face of your daughter, who won't remember this day but will always wonder who her father was and why she has to grow up without him.

But I thank you for reminding me again that life is short, that I must hold my children enough today to last forever, and that I must again pull myself up, put on my big girl panties, and get on with it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A day in the life

Kitten: No more myoogits (music). I don't like this one.
Syl: Why? I like it. What's wrong with it?
K: I... I don't like it.
S: Does it make you sad?
K: Yeah. It makes the trees cry.

K: Meimei, look, a school bus!
M: (in perfectly clear words) That's awesome!

Kitten licks the inside of her arm, elbow to fingertips, at the dinner table. Syl busts out laughing.
Pants: Kitten, what are you doing? Don't do that, it's gross.
Kitten does it again. Syl stifles another giggle.
S: Daddy asked you not to do that honey.
K does it again.
S: Kitten, we don't lick ourselves like that at the table. You're not an animal.
Syl must then turn away and cover her face. But Kitten does stop the licking.

Kitten and Meimei slide backward down the stairs on their stomachs. Over and over.
"Momma, I slinky!"
Thanks, Nana and Papa.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What to do?

So, I was all writing this post in my head about my awesome hair and how only one person actually noticed something looked somehow brighter and that he never would have guessed it was dyed because the color was so layered, which was totally the best thing anyone could ever have said about my dye job, and he initially asked if I had been off somewhere sunny. I'll try to post pics when I'm not so morally outraged.

So I checked my email. After this summer's family reunion, I get all this quasi-political scare spam from one of my relatives, which is all very religious at it's core and appears to equate Democrats with Satan and Republicans with Jesus. I have managed to ignore most of it until today.

And maybe it's that I still am off my meds and that I have a cold and haven't slept and I am trying so hard to hold my shit together and that I fail miserably about 14 times a day. Maybe if this came on a different day, I wouldn't be so damn pissed off.

So today's email is supposedly a forwarded message from some missionaries in Kenya, Barack Obama's "home." They are claiming to be able to shed some light "first hand" on Obama's personal beliefs and those of his "family."

Here for your consumption, some gems from the email, along with my thoughts:
  • Obama's "family," which they briefly mention being his "tribe," is behind the recent uprising following the Kenyan Presidential Elections. Obama was born in America to an American mother and a Kenyan father. He spent most of his childhood in America, raised by his white mother in Ohio until they moved to Jakarta, India, with his new stepfather. He rarely saw his father before his death in a car crash.
    Hundreds of thousands have been displaced by the unrest and many untold are dead. Violence did erupt when the election results were announced. According to the linked report from Reuters UK, the death toll was standing at about 100, although many resulted from local police shooting looters.
  • Obama has personally given money to his cousin Raila Odinga, the leader of the group responsible for the unrest, whom they slanderously describe as "a socialist trained in East Germany." Although Odinga once claimed to be a cousin to Obama, he is merely from the same tribe as Obama's father. Conversely, Obama has been positively identified as a distant cousin to Dick Cheney. Odinga did report hearing from Senator Obama during the unrest after the election, during which he expressed his concern, and he also said that Obama told him he would be calling President Kibaki as well. As far as Odinga being a socialist trained in East Germany, he did attend school in Liepzig and Magdeburg, both of which are located in the former East Germany (which hasn't existed since I was in high school). And political scientists agree his politics are not Socialist, they are Populist.
  • Their proof that Odinga could only mean trouble is that he has been trying to bring Kenya down for years and was thrown in jail by the current president for trying to "subvert the country." Let us not forget that Nelson Mandela was also jailed for trying to "subvert the country." So have many bhuddists been jailed, many human rights workers, and many Christian missionaries.
  • These missionaries are sure that Obama will lose and then claim the election is rigged, just like they tried to claim in Kenya. Oh, and then he will possibly start a race war. The UK denounced the elections in Kenya as rigged and members of Kenya's own electoral committee questioned the results. Questioning the election on both sides appears to be appropriate, as some areas showed up to vote with OVER 100% of the populace. It is clear that the elections were rigged, although it is unclear on who should have prevailed. Should the presidency be decided based on who cheated less, or who got their cheating overlooked? Oddly, the US did not join the UK in denouncing the elections, but simply congratulated the declared winner with no regard to the questions of accuracy.
  • The next claim is that - GASP! - the liberal media is trying to hide the fact that Obama is a MUSLIM and a RACIST and that all Muslims are set on jihad. (They should know, they have been missionaries in a Muslim country for 20 years.) Most scholars agree that 99% of Muslims believe in peace and loathe the actions that have been taken in their name. Oh, and my friends at Snopes.com have struck down the notion that Senator Obama is Muslim. Not that there would be anything wrong with it if he were, but if you're going to slander someone, at least paint them with the right brush. I doubt Senator Obama has been masquerading in the Church of Christ for 30 years just to be able to claim he is a Christian now.
  • Here's the clincher - his name is Barack Hussein Muhammed Obama and he will insist on being sworn in on the Koran. The swearing in on the Koran was a mistaken reference to MN Congressman Keith Ellison, who is Muslim and was sworn into the MN House of Representatives with the Koran. Hussein and Muhammed are very common names in much of the world, especially Africa, although I cannot find a reference to Senator Obama having a middle name of Muhammed. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
  • Final thoughts - "We are still fighting for our nation to withstand the same kind of assault that every nation, including America, is fighting - takeover from the outside to fit the new world order." I can't even tell you what this is referencing. Muslims taking over the world to create a new world order? I beg to differ, as Islam is quite a bit older than Christianity. And who is trying to take over America?
So, since they are cramming this crap down my throat, is it appropriate to respond and tell them just how wrong they are?

Oh, and to seal the deal, PolitiFact.com has posted this exact email as a scam to slander Obama. They have researched many of the claims with the originators of the email, who are actually missionaries in Africa (12 years, not 20), and found the claims to be fraudulent and inflamatory (there might be a mention to "pants on fire"). They have posted links to their research.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More Random Thoughts

I broke down and got the Lamisil for my raging fungal infection. Again, however, twice daily washing my feet, drying thoroughly, and applying the cream is like asking me to stand on my head every third day and recite the full Catholic Apostle's Creed and "Terence, This is Stupid Stuff" entirely from memory. And then changing to every other day if Tuesday's date is a prime number.

I feel I need to weigh in on Miley Cyrus as a parent of children who watch Hannah Montana. I feel for the girl... up to a point.
  • The Vanity Fair shoot? I wouldn't even have seen the photos if some scaredy-moms hadn't made such a big stink. My kids don't really follow Annie Liebowitz, so we were pretty safe until the photos showed up EVERYWHERE so we could see just how awful they were. And yeah, not really awful at all.
  • Nude pictures of herself showed up on the internet. Did she text them to someone or something? Don't know, don't care. Stupid 15-year-old thing to do, end of story. If she wasn't famous, no one would have ever cared besides her parents.
  • Posting a video on You Tube of herself and a friend making fun of other Disney Stars. Yeah, that was pretty dumb. Can you tell the "Disney family" stance is starting to wear on her? We're starting to move into unacceptable territory - we discourage "mean" teasing in this house.
  • Announcing she was done after the season when her contract has an option for a fourth. Way to tip your hand, toots. I know you started this at 13 and you're much older and wiser now at 15, but hey, your parents signed a contract. And you got famous. Famous enough to shed the Hannah Montana persona and be successful as yourself. So show a little gratitude and finish out your legal obligations.
  • Misbehaving on set to try to get fired - Ok, I was mostly with you until now. I'm pretty sure it's not just a rumor, judging by your recent statements, and I think you and your dad are being bad sports. You will certainly lose my business - this is exactly what I don't want my kids to be. Suck it up and fulfill your promises. No one respects a quitter.
So Bill Clinton proved on the Daily Show last night why he is the greatest president of our time. Talking about how it wasn't a matter of how much love he and Hilary showed to Obama, it was a matter of comparing 2 candidates and deciding which was better for the majority of the American people. If we weren't married, and he were at least 30 years younger, I would so jump that guy.

Well, off to color my hair. Scared to death that I will completely ruin it and have to be embarrassed for the next 6 months. Or go Mia Farrow again. Wish me luck.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Random Thoughts

Doing killer toy business these days. Also considering an Open House next month to show off the new toys. I have 3 shows booked for October, another in November already, and I hope to be getting the lead from my sponsor for a 4th show in October.

Have a killer case of athlete's foot. My feet are burning so bad that I now have a huge sore where I scratched a little too hard. Why oh why can't they make a cream that works in just a day or two. Depressed people can't keep going on that stuff for 2 weeks. Don't you people feel my pain?

My meds have run out and I can't get more until I go back to the doctor. Which means I have to take time off. Time I don't really have. Bummer, dude. I guess I'll have to make time.

Once again, so much to do at work it's a bit crazy. I'm the only one not training, so I get to do, um, everything else. Had to work from home today so I could attend the funeral of an employee's mother. But I looked fabulous. Really.

Watched Worst Week this evening. Man does that show look like it's going to get old. I was a bit tired of the gag by the end of the 30 minutes. Took the TiVo season pass off that one.

And, uh, so tired of the election and campaigning and attack ads already. Thank the sweet ginger pickles for DVR so I can zip past the commercials.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


So. much.

Work is crazy and I'm about 3 years behind what I need to have done. I think I'm going to have to work this weekend. Gah.

Didn't mail out my show product today. Have to get up at 6 or so tomorrow so I can get to the Post Office, mail it out, then get back to the P&R and get on the bus. To get to work before training tomorrow. And then have to print the materials for my hostess packets so I can mail those out by Saturday. Just in time for my next show. 'S getting busy, the fall show season. Sweet ginger pickles.

House is icky. Have fruit flies. We're trying to get through laundry, but it's slow going. Hoping the dryer heating element isn't going faulty. Secretly hoping it is and we have to buy a new set. Secretly also hoping to win lottery.

Must go. Bed. Chelsea Lately started with skit, which just bodes ill for the episode. Plus, no one really funny on tonight. Boo.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Not fired yet

Kitten: We go this way?
Pants: Isn't it amazing how she knows this whole neighborhood? She could probably direct someone to our house. (Stops the car at stop sign.) Which way now?
K: That way (wrong way).
P: Okay, you just want to go that way because there are kids playing. (Stops at next side road where we normally turn.) Which way should we go now?
K: That way (straight).
P: Ok. That's a new one. We're going this way?
K: Yeah. We go this way and we, we, we, then we go to McDonald's.
P: (turning to me) If she actually directs me on how to get to McDonald's, you are so completely fired as a parent.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Boo yah

Best new stand on the farmer's market? The pickle guy. Sweet ginger. I didn't realize bread and butter pickles could be a religious experience, but I think I just heard the good news.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Small world

So yeah, after 2 weeks, we figured out today that AKJ's uncle is in my training class at work.

It's Greg. And it came up in kind of a weird, roundabout way. I write up these little scenarios based on live accounts for the trainees and they call each other and role play for practice. Clearly, Joe Schmoe can't be the customer every time, so I cull material from my life. So Jim/Jen Brooks was one of the callers.

So your uncle says, my niece is a Jen Brooks. And I come back with the joke that there's a million of them, one of my friends is Jen and she always had trouble until she got married, in fact, that was one of the determiners for changing her name. She called the clinic and gave her first and last name, they asked her middle name (and I gave your middle name), and there were still enough that they had to ask what street she lived on. So your uncle says, "And what street did she live on?" I didn't know, but we both started to get the idea that we might be talking about the same person. He mentioned his niece had a 2-year-old daughter, I gave him your married name, and we figured it out. But it came up in such a roundabout way, it was so weird. We never would have guessed it.

If I had money

My new bedroom:
Ikea Malm King bed and headboard with pullouts (in black-brown):

With this (and some additional ivory, tan, bronze, and black pillows, tastefully arranged):

My new fall wardrobe: (and as long as we're dreaming, that chick's body too)

And the purse from the other day, of course.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

And so it begins

My husband and I agree that the National Conventions, both RNC and DNC, are more like theater than politics. Scripted, rehearsed, staged. Theater. They are more about pumping up the party and introducing people than they are about issues, stances, or specifics.

So yeah, we watched the RNC and Palin's and McCain's speeches, as apparently everyone else did - the ratings for Palin's speech were higher than the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. She was such an unknown, such a wild card, that we all wanted to check her out. And she spoke well, I will be the first to give her that.

But it's one thing to deliver a written speech and quite another to face the nation during debates, live visits, and meet and greets where all of the candidates will have to speak off the cuff. They will have to be knowledgeable about issues and be prepared to back up their positions when challenged. In fact, they'll actually have to take a stand on issues, not just spit out sound bites.

And that goes for both parties. I'm tough on the Republicans, but Democrats do the same thing. Most politicians do. If it can't be played in a 20-second clip on the news, it apparently is not worth uttering.

Here is my wish - that someone would actually list out the stances of each candidate, complete with pros and cons, without judgment or favor. Tell me clearly that when McCain says he is "for education", he means he supports school vouchers, and what the pros and cons are of the program. When Obama says he is "for education," what does that mean? More money? Smaller class sizes? French fries for lunch? JUST TELL ME.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Random Thoughts

So here I am, watching the RNC and Gov. Palin. I can't believe she just used her 4-month old son with Down Syndrome as a way to curry votes. Yack. They say she is the first VP nom in a long time, however, who can field-dress a moose.

Bought some jammies for winter. Mmmm, soft cotton sweatpants jammies.

Egad, did she just compare herself to Harry Truman?

I saw a purse today that I really liked, but oof, it was $150. But it was in a gorgeous chocolate brown and the leather was like butter.

I think I'm going to start counting the buzz words - power broker (bad), hockey mom (good), reformer (good), lobbyists (bad), energy independence (good)...