Feb 26, 2007

A few funnies

Once upon a time, a Sultan was blessed with the birth of a son afteryears of hoping. The boy immediately became the apple of his father's eye.

Just before his son's sixth birthday, the Sultan said to him, "Son, I love you very much. Your birthday is coming soon. What would you like?"

His son replied, "Daddy, I would like to have my own airplane."

His father bought him American Airlines.

Just before his son's seventh birthday, the Sultan said, "Son, you are my pride and joy. Ask what you want for your birthday. Whatever it is, it's yours."

His son replied, "Daddy, I would like a boat."

His father bought him the Princess Cruise Line.

Just before his son's eighth birthday, the Sultan said, "Son, you bring so much happiness into my life! . Anything you want, I shall get foryou.."

His son replied, "Daddy, I would like to be able to watch cartoons."

His father bought him Disney Studios.

Just before his son's ninth birthday, the Sultan said, "Son, you are my life. Your birthday is coming soon. Ask what you wish, I will get it for you."

His son, who had grown to love Disney, replied, "Daddy, I would like a Mickey Mouse outfit and a Goofy outfit."

His father bought him the Republican Party and Fox news.
* * * * * * * * * *
Get the accent right

An American is walking down the street in London on a windy day.

A woman is walking down the street toward him when suddenly the wind blows her dress up, revealing her crotch. Astonishingly, she is not wearing panties.

The American, trying to sound as English as possible, says to her, "A bit 'airy, isn't it?"

The woman scowls and replies angrily, "What did you expect, feathers?"


After a tourist had been served in the Las Vegas cocktail lounge, he beckoned the waitress back and said, "Miss, would y'all give me a piece of ass?"

She looked him over, smiled and said, "Sure, why not? It's pretty slow here right now, so let's go!"

When the pair returned half an hour later, the man sat down at the same table and the waitress asked, "Will there be anything else?"

"Yes," replied the tourist.

"Where ah come from in Arkansas, we lack our bourbon 'n watuh cold, so ah still need a piece uh ass for mah drink."

Feb 24, 2007

My previous post about my experience with domestic violence seemed to bring views that this happened to me, and was out of my control. I have to disagree with that. We choose what we do. I chose to stay with this man after the first physical attack because I thought I could help him. Of course, looking back, I see that to be a huge mistake. You cannot change another person, no matter how hard you try. That is a fact.

When I say I am taking responsibility for my part, I am talking about the cycle of violence. This just means that we are attracted to what we know. If we have seen violence in some form or another as a child, we are drawn to that because this is what we know, and we have become accustomed to this way of life. While my ex-husband was not physically violent, he was emotionally and mentally abusive, to the point where he would go months without talking to me, over some imagined slight, or statement I had made. This made me want to be a better, more understanding wife. Of course, when I started therapy, I learned a lot. I didn't have to take it. I could let him be silent and live my own life, ignoring his passive-aggressive behaviour. And even with that knowledge, I entered into another relationship that was not only mentally abusive but physically abusive. Why? Because in some primal part of me, it was what I knew, and therefore comfortable with. This is the knowledge that empowers people who suffer from abuse. The circle of violence. Witnessing violence as child, expecting violence as an adult, and seeking out that which will meet those expectations.

Abusers and their victims are drawn to each other by some unspoken signal. They know each other, from the first encounter. The abuser looks for the one with low self esteem, ready to please, perhaps in dire need of attention and approval. The victim looks for the person who strikes them as in control, will protect them, and challenges them to live up to their expectations. The key is breaking the cycle. And the only way to do that is through knowledge. It is a painful process. It means acknowledging that the childhood you thought you lived was not really what it seemed. In my case the abuser was my mother. And I loved her, and still do. She did the best she could with the tools she was given, as she was a victim of abuse.

My abuser had been sexually molested since the age of six by a family member. This is what he expected of women, that they were not to be trusted. When he told his mother and father about the abuse, he was blamed, and beaten. When my mother threatened me, or slapped me, for no apparent reason, I accepted it as the norm. This is where the cycle begins.

I knew enough as I grew older to be a mother that was the opposite of my own. I was accused of being too lenient, too giving, making my children mama's boys. But seeing them as adults, and knowing that at least 75% of their choices were made using their own judgements, I feel I did my best. Well, that's not entirely true. I feel I could have done much, much more for my sons, and that will never change.

But breaking the cycle is the most important thing. Realizing that what we see growing up is not always the right way to go about living. This, to me, is the only way to explain the escalation of domestic violence. In many states they now offer parenting classes for the parents of children who are at risk, given the parents history. Many people having children really have no concept of the words nurturing or understanding. They just know what they saw. What's the solution? Having every school age child take a course in family dynamics? Not a bad idea, if you could keep the religious aspect of it out of the process. By this I mean, the phrases that a lot of people use to validate their decisions, ie: spare the rod, spoil the child, or honor your mother and father as thy days will be long upon the earth, (my mom's favorite, albeit, father was optional).

When my sons were about six and seven, the big thing was to teach your children how to seek help in a threatening situation, scream, yell, kick, run, look for a phone, dial 911, do whatever is necessary to protect yourself. I always told them that this was a way to protect themselves from anyone seeking to harm them, even me. Even the people you have been told to respect. If it scares you or makes you feel uncomfortable, or weird, then act on those feelings. Maybe I carried it too far, but given my history, I felt it necessary. And, we have to allow our children to express their anger. No matter how hard it is to listen to, or even understand, we cannot deny them self-expression. And we cannot punish them for doing so. My sons have told me they hated me, and my response was that no one said they had to love me 24/7. Each time, they were stunned. Here they had said what they considered the worst possible thing, and it didn't phase me. I understood, or seemed to. And acknowledged their feelings at that time. This is breaking the cycle. This is reacting in a way that you were not taught as a child. This is breaking new ground, and it is amazingly uplifting.

However, learning to not expect the worst for yourself is even more difficult. I often talked with abused women, even when I was being abused, telling them to get the hell out. But it took this realization of the cycle of violence as it applied to me, of what I expected for myself, to truly understand. I have learned warning signs, and how to recognize that whoever might appeal to me, I must first step back and take an honest look at myself and that person, and make my decision. Do I really like the way he treats me or other people, or is it just familiar? How many couples have you heard say, it was like we had known each other forever? That is the root of domestic violence. Feeling as though you have known that person forever, and coming from a background where you saw some form of abuse everyday.

Free from dirt, stain, or impurities; unsoiled.

Free from foreign matter or pollution; unadulterated: clean air; clean drinking water.
Not infected: a clean wound.

Producing relatively little pollution: a clean fuel; a cleaner, more efficient engine.

Producing relatively little radioactive fallout or contamination: a clean nuclear bomb.

Having no imperfections or blemishes; regular or even: a clean edge; a smooth, clean joint.
Not ornate or intricate; spare: “the clean lines and exquisite proportions of early modernism” (Judith Thurman).

Sharply defined; clear-cut: a clean outline against the sky.

Free from clumsiness; deft; adroit: a clean throw.

Devoid of restrictions or encumbrances: a clean bill of health.

Thorough; complete: a clean getaway.

Having few alterations or corrections; legible: clean manuscript.
Blank: a clean page.

Morally pure; virtuous: led a clean life.

Having no marks of discredit or offense: a clean voting record.

Fit for all readers, listeners, or audiences; not ribald or obscene: a clean joke.

Honest or fair: a clean fighter; a clean competition.

Ok, everyone had a hissy-fit when Joe Biden referred to Barrack Obama as "clean". Since we are primarily a nation that doesn't read, many assumed he was speaking of clean as be free of drugs of addictions, or not dirty. I like this guy. He's straight-forward, has good ideas, and a proven track record.

My biggest beef with Hillary is that she moved from Arkansaw to New York in order to run for the Senate. She wanted more prestige, I guess, and didn't want to represent what many believe to be a backwards state. That speaks volumnes to me about her basic character. Plus, she seems to take offense at every little jab someone makes at her. If she's going to seriously persue a run for the presidency, she better get used to it. I just don't trust her. Even if it would be fantastic to have a woman in the white house, let's not jump at the first candidate that comes along. Many say she knows politics, but what kind of politics? She's no Eleanor Rosevelt, or Betty Ford, who actually worked in the trenches and were open about their struggles. Her politics are based on putting on a happy face and pretending nothing is wrong. And we want her for our leader? I don't.

Barrack Obama is a force to be reckoned with. However, his lack of experience bothers me. Yes, I would love to see a black president, and his religious beliefs are his, and should be respected. But what does he really know about the ins and outs of the Washington Political machine? His freshness and idealism could very well be his downfall. Anyone can speak the words we want to hear, (except George Bush, for some reason)but do they have the where-with-all to back it up? Experience, forsight, and a legitimate working plan is what we should look for.

Feb 23, 2007

In the summer of 1996, both of my sons were about to graduate. I had been separated from my husband for about a year, and was working at a little Mom and Pop grocery store. I didn't make much money, but we got by.

A man started coming in and flirting with me. I was vulnerable, we might say, and the attention he paid me made me feel attractive again. One night he told me he had a good job, was a good guy, and would like to go out with me. I thought, what the hell, why not? He was very attractive, muscular, and seemed happy. I guess what struck me the most was his honesty.

We started going out, and before I knew it, he had moved in with me. This was something I swore I would never do. Move another man into my house while my children lived at home with me. But I did.

At first everyday was a honeymoon. He treated me like I was made out of glass, and introduced me to his family and friends. I was so in love. We talked about everything, which is something my ex and I did rarely.

However, one day he came home and asked who had been there that day. I said no one. I worked 2 to 10, and spent the morning at home. He said he knew someone had been there because he saw the tire tracks. This seemed weird at the time, and I kept insisting that no one had been there. He seemed to let it go. He sat down to eat, and after a few minutes, he took his plate, and threw his food out of the front door. I was flabbergasted. I asked him why he did that. He started about the tire tracks again, and I said, look, I don't want to fight, so I left and walked down the lane. At that time I lived out in a rural area with a few houses scattered about. While I was walking, a truck stopped and asked me where so and so lived. I told them, then returned to the house.

He jumped me as soon as I got in the door. He accused me of meeting another man when the truck stopped. I explained what happened and he insisted it was another man. I walked to the bedroom, saying I wasn't going to discuss it anymore. The next thing I knew, I was laying on the floor, and he was standing over top of me, screaming his head off. I was so shocked, I couldn't believe what had happened. He grabbed me and threw me against the wall, banging my head over and over again, and said he would kill me. Admit it, he said. Just admit your cheating on me. Even though I was terrified, I told him, I wasn't, and he could kill me, but I wasn't going to lie. Suddenly the rage left him. He apologized over and over, and for some god-forsaken reason, I forgave him.

This scenario would happen many times during our relationship. First it was just me he threatened, then it was my sons. We went to a local club one night, and he became jealous again. In the parking lot, he pushed me down. I screamed for someone to help, but amazingly everyone just walked by. He pushed me in the car, took my head and banged it against the windshield hard enough that it almost shattered. I opened the door and started to jump out, but he kept his hold on me. I just knew that I would probably die that night. When we got home, it got worse. At one point he held a butcher knife to my throat, screaming he was going to kill me, and then himself. When I looked into his eyes, it was like looking at a stranger. It seems a part of me was standing by, just watching all of this, curiously detached. I begged him to listen to me, and then I begged him to please, don't do this to my children. And suddenly, he put down the knife and walked to the back of the house.

I was out of the door in a flash. I ran through the fields into the woods. The dog and cat ran with me. I spent the night in the woods, with the dog and cat, absolutely terrified. I saw him get in the car and leave several times. But I was too afraid of him coming back to run to the house and phone the police. In the morning, while he was off somewhere, probably looking for me, I sneaked up to house and called the sheriff's department. I remember the deputy telling me to stay where I was until he got there. I was shaking so hard I could hardly talk, but I told him, I would not stay in the house, but watch for him from the woods. The dog and cat stayed with me, and he got home first, and my car hood was bent so bad you couldn't open it. I saw him throw dishes and food out of the door, and the deputy drove up.

I ran up to him, and he asked me if there were any weapons in the house, and told me to come with him. Standing behind him, the whole while my boyfriend shouting he was going to kill me, I collected a few clothes and left. I asked the deputy why he didn't arrest him. I had bruises on my arms, my neck, my face. He said it was because he didn't see it happen. I didn't care. I was finally out.

When I got to the sheriff's office, the deputies there seemed to be expecting me. A few social workers showed up, and wanted me to go to a shelter. I didn't know what to do. I was just so relieved, and felt safe for the first time in a long while. I said I would call my oldest son and let him know what was going on. My youngest had gone to Phoenix after graduation to attend school. My son's girlfriend came and got me, and said there is no way you're going to a shelter.

I still have nightmares about it. Not so bad now, but many nights I have woken up sweating and crying. I haven't recounted half of the things that happened here, but these were the worst.

Then like a miracle, my brother called and said if there was anyway I could come home and help out with my father. It was a God send. It meant I would be leaving my oldest son alone but he had his own family now, and I didn't want to be a burden. He had suspected something was going on, but it wasn't until much later that I told him.

After moving in with my dad, I joined a domestic violence support group. I couldn't understand why I had stayed so long in such a dangerous situation. I had made up my mind shortly before I got out that I could and would kill him if I had to. I learned that for some odd reason, I had been a target because I was vulnerable. His biggest desire was to control me. He kept me isolated, by driving my friends off, making me so nervous that I would not speak to anyone when I went out. And that I was drawn to him, because of abuse I suffered as a child. We look for what we know. I learned that I wanted the dream, the dream of a loving relationship so bad, that I was willing to tolerate his behavior, thinking if I just did this right, or that right, he would wake up, and miraculously change. I learned a lot about my own weaknesses, and how to watch and keep myself from going down the same path again. I also learned that I was full of rage, and I had to talk about it. Talk to someone about it, to receive the validation that this happened to me.

It took a lot of talking to keep my sons from hunting him down when they learned the truth. But, I told them it was my situation, I got myself into it, and got myself out of it, and retribution, though it would have been nice, was not the answer. He lives in the area I live in now, but I take care not to go to the town where he lives. I really don't know how I would act if I saw him again.

I suppose my purpose in writing this is just to acknowledge that many women, from every walk of life, from every economic background, can find themselves in a similar situation. And the thing that keeps them from leaving the most is fear. Fear for themselves and fear for the families. And shame. The shame comes from not wanting anyone to know, because for some odd reason, you blame yourself. And until a woman realizes she has to get out, she won't, no matter how much you try to convince her otherwise. We feel with more love, more understanding, we can change them, we can make it all right. I have learned the hard way that you never really know anyone. That everyone can have a darker side, and you don't know how dark it is until you know them for some time.

I doubt I will ever live with another man again. I have issues with trust, and safety, and now with the knowledge that the worst possible things can and do happen. But, if writing this helps anyone else then it is worth it.

One of my favorite movies is "What's love got to do with it" which chronicles the life of Tina Turner. To me, it is a movie of triumph, and the strength of the human spirit. It is a very accurate portrait of how bad domestic violence can get. But seeing her survive, and come out on the other side, free and new, is always an inspiration to me.

Feb 20, 2007

Oh, joy, joy, another opportunity for wealth has come my way via email!!

New Era Foundation18 Sprintex Road,
Tema,Accra Ghana.

I am Reverend .James Wright a director of the above mentioned foundation.Iam writing you in regard to a good friend of mine and founder of theNew Era Foundation,Mr Jim is a USA citizen who was the managingdirector of an investment firm here in Ghana.

Any relation to Mr. Bill? He fell on hard times, too. Like every week. I know. I saw the whole thing on SNL.

Unfortunately my friend Mr Jim died in 2000,He established thesefoundation to help less privileged minority people in our society whichit was doing before the unfortunate death of its founder.However i have contacted you because of an account which my late friendheld in a bank in London,this account held the sum of US$10Million ($10 million dollars only).I was notified by the bank that theAccount has remained dormant since his death and no next of kin hascome forward to claim these funds and they will freeze and declare the funds unclaimed .I did notify the relevant embassy to these regards but they wrote meinforming me that Late Mr Jim had no living relation or next of kin whocould come forward to claim these funds.

Sounds like an orphan to me.

That is why i am contacting younow since you are with the same last name and is eligibleto claim the funds as next of kin according to the banks regulations.The New Era Foundation has been suffering from a severe lack of fundssince the death of Mr Jim and as such have not be able to carry out ouractivities as stated by our founder ,I ask for your assistance andcooperation to help claim this funds from the bank as you are aforeigner with the same last name and is eligible to claim the funds asnext of kin so that the funds will be repatriated before it is frozenby the bank.It was because of these urgency that i had to contact you and thefoundation here in Ghana is in a financial mess as even the over 165minority children in our orphanage can't boast now of the better lifethey sort to find in our care since the death of their benefactor.

Look at that! Me and Mr. Jim had the same last name. Damn, I better check my family history, hell we might have been related. However, I kind of believe the foundation was a financial mess from the get-go.

There will be no difficulty in you claiming these funds since you areeligible and could easily stand as next of kin and the bank will pay inthe money into your nominated bank account when we conclude the claim.Once these money is transfered to you 40% will be for your assistance550% will be for the New Era foundation here in Ghana,while 5% will befor reconciliation of any expenses made during the course of thetransaction.

Ok, let's break this down one more time. We're working with 100%, right? So, I get 5%, and then 40%, which should leave 55% for these knotheads. But, 550% + 45% = 595%. Something seems a little off here, doesn't it? Or is it just me? I never was a math wizard.

I require your urgent response to my request as we do not have muchtime to begin the process of claim before the bank freezes theaccount.Get back to me You know how confidential this is ,I hope you keep it intact.I lookforward to hearing from you soon.

Well, I kept it intact, but confidential, well, it was too good not to share!

Respected Yours Till Then

Well, I guess I won't have to respect him anymore.

Reverend.James Wright

Ahh, look at that! He even gave me a link to Yahoo instant messenger. Wonder what his screen name is? But its for Australia! I thought he was from Ghana. Oh, well. My mistake.

Send instant messages to your online friends

Have these guys ever heard of spell check?

I'm sorry, but this was too funny not to share.
I have been feeling out of sorts lately. Probably because of the dates. I always feel bad now between the 15th and the 21st. Its a personal thing. However, today it is actually warm here. Well, let's say its above 40 degrees. When I lived in this state before we had warm winters. Maybe the coldest it ever got was 40 degrees in the winter. Now, it has been in the 20's and 30's. Global warming? Yeah, I think so. The summers here are usually 90 degrees plus. The energy companies are so happy they are probably pissing with joy.

The job is ok. I think I might have intimidated my little co-worker. We were trying to do a shift change, and she kept running her mouth, and I kept saying, I'm doing the shift change, which means hitting a lot of buttons, and making customers wait a few minutes. But she kept running her mouth, and then became angry, and I said well maybe you shouldn't talk so much. Oh, faux pas!! I had to get out of there. I keep telling myself this is just a job, this is just a few extra bucks a month, that's all it is. And that is all it is. Every time I find myself thinking I should be a manager, or trainer, or field consultant, I mentally slap myself.

I think my oldest son has an ulcer. And with my constant nagging he has agreed to see a doctor. (Another fall-out from the war in Iraq!) Yes, I believe this. Being the older brother, who watched out for his younger brother all of his life, took care of me when I needed it most, and has shouldered many burdens since the age of 15, yes, I believe his health has been affected by this tragedy. He says he dreams of his brother every night. So, he puts off sleeping until he is exhausted. We have spent many a night in philosophical conversation. I worry about him so much. He came to me the other day telling me about the Peter Pan fiasco, and was concerned because as he put it, "Mama, you ate the shit out of that stuff!" I told him my insides were so fucked up, no bacteria could find a foot-hold in there. "Come on boys, let's get the hell out of here, everything's already a mess!"

I'm off today, and have no plans, as I do not make plans anymore. Don't know why, I just don't. It seems obscene somehow. Actually leaving the house and going to work has been a major accomplishment for me. I told my little co-worker about my youngest son, and she told me she was in the ROTC. She's 4'11". After I told her about my son, she said that she would probably be in the air force and not on the ground. I just looked at her. I get that reaction a lot. My brother told me that it is because they don't know what to say. I think it's because they don't give a shit. So, I usually don't speak of it, even though there are times I want to scream it. I usually tell people when they ask if I have any children. I have two, I always say, but....And most people seem to ignore what I've said. It doesn't hurt me for me, but for him. I still thank all of the service men I see in uniform for there service, and they seem to be surprised and pleased. That is an obsession. But, it is the least I can do.

The very, very least.

PS: I have decorated my blog with a little bit of this and that, mostly that, which is what I feel strongly about. And I changed my profile picture. Will probably change it again. Until next time.

Feb 19, 2007

Will someone tell me what the hell a non-binding recommendation is? It sounds like a high-fa looted way to cover your ass. While kudos's go to congress for reprimanding, or whatever they call it, Bush's plan to increase the troops, it is non-binding, which in essence, means nanny nanny boo boo.

Its hard to think of Bush these days without also thinking of a ball bat, and an iron pipe. Is there nothing that will pierce his grandiose thoughts about the middle east? Now his drawers are in an uproar over Iran. Seems I remember a time when Iraq and Iran were at each other's throats. And for some odd reason, seems I was backing Iraq, as Iran had held the US embassy hostage for a long, long time.

Why don't we get the hell out of the middle east? It is a senseless waste of time, effort, money, and not to mention our greatest assets, the troops that are dying daily because of this whole mess?

I really think Bush is going to be remembered in history as one of the worst presidents this country has ever had. I would much prefer he get blow-jobs from every intern in the white house than continue our involvement in Iraq, and what soon will probably be Iran. Why don't we just annex the whole damn area as a United States territory? Looks to me that's what were trying to do anyway. Then we can send a bunch of missionaries over there to convert the infidel to good ole southern Baptists.

Its like a black cloud that hangs over the whole nation. Bush's smog.

Feb 13, 2007

Future inspired this post for me. Its about my father. The quiet man, the man with the sky blue eyes, and from the my earliest memories,the salt and pepper hair. He was the man with calloused hands, from working the gardens in summer, swinging a mowing scythe, and fixing whatever needed fixing. He worked away from home, two weeks and more at a time. But when he came home, he bought candy, and food, and a wonderful sense of sanity and security.

He told me once that he first used a team of mules to plow the fields when he was 8. His father was away, and it had to be done. He recalled how his mother helped with the reigns and he plowed his first field. I remember as a young girl watching him plow our fields the same way. To say he worked hard all of his life doesn't even describe it. At 18 he went to work in the coal mines. There he contacted yellow fever, and was sent back home. He fought with death for weeks, and at one time they covered his head with a sheet, giving him up for dead. His father, strong, outspoken, don't so no to me!, man that he was, grabbed his boy up, sat him by the fire, and wrapped him in blankets. The doctor was sent for, and my father lived. This occured circa 1926. My father said it took a long time to get his strength back. But he did, at least to the point where he worked.

He came from a large family, nine children, and twins who died at birth. Its odd that in the latter days of his life, the two surviving members of his family was the oldest and the youngest. Looking back, I don't know how he did it all. He grew an abundant garden every year, and managed the best he could to keep food on the table. If we needed a new room, he built it himself.

In the summers he would take us swimming, at the swimming hole in the Coal River, teaching me to swim, and, in the process also teaching me about the beauty of a river bank, watching the water flowing, hearing the sounds of birds, and seeing the large red flowers that bloomed in the shadows.

He taught the rich pungent smell of fresh plowed earth, and the cool feel of it in my hands. He taught me the sweet juicy taste of an ear of corn fresh from the stalk, and about the snakes and tarpans that lurked in the garden. He never killed snakes. Not even the copperheads that drifted around our farm. "Just leave them alone, and they will leave you alone."

Watching him read "Grit" magazine, inspired me to read it myself, leading me to explore other reading material, and discovering new worlds and adventures that captivated me.

He taught me patience, by the way he doggedly pushed himself, no matter how bad the odds, no matter how bad he felt, knowing he couldn't quit. He showed me when to fight and when to let it go through his constant arguments with my mother. After one such horrible argument, when I was about five, he walked out into the backyard, and I followed him. I looked up at him, feeling the unjustice of the words he had listened to, and grabbed his hand, looking up and saying nothing, but knowing we were united in our sorrow.

As he aged, I came home to live with him, now alone in the house, retired, fiercely independent, but with failing sight and an increasingly bad heart. He was 89. At first he would allow me to do only certain things. Then he let me do the dishes. The cooking was his department. His dog, JoJo, the evil beagle from hell, tolerated me, and watched me closely, as his master was his life. He had an assortment of cats, that one by one, became house cats, and piled on top of him every night, keeping him warm, comforting him. He still grew his garden, and even when he had to put down his walking stick, and use a cane, he would maneuver himself up a tree, to prune branches.

For him to not be working was not an option. It was what he knew. He told me stories of how he and his father would hitch up the mules and wagons and go to town to sell produce. Of how he and his brothers made moonshine whiskey in various parts of the surrounding hills. He told me about his grandmother Sarah, from England, who witnessed the civil war first-hand. He talked of the depression, and how precious a dollar was.

As his health failed, and he was able to do less and less, something of his spirit began to die. His last Christmas, I asked him, "So, Daddy, what do you want for Christmas this year?" He said, "I want a new white shirt and tie." I said, "What? You going to go out dancing?" He said, "No, but I figure it would go good with my suit to be buried in." He smiled as he said this, but I had no reply. He saw it coming, and so did I. It hurt, knowing he was accepting the fact that he was ready to move on. He was fond of saying, "Anything after seventy-five, is borrowed time." I guess he believed his borrowed time was drawing short. But that is what I bought him. He opened that gift and was pleased. At 91, he had watched all of his friends and acquaintances pass on. No matter how many times I told him otherwise, he felt himself a burden. And the September after that Christmas he died. Many people came to see him. He was the last of a dying breed. Everyone knew his name, as the man who would help you if he could, as a man who stood by his word, as a man who helped raise half of the men who there to see him.

With his dying, our family, my brothers and sisters and I, had lost the glue that held us together. The old family homestead is gone, the house he built, where I was raised, has been torn down. And it saddens me. There is nothing to go back to. After the funeral, at his grave site, beside my mother, I always changed the flowers, for the different seasons, and whenever I felt like it. They had to be the biggest and finest arrangements around. They lay, my mother and father, between two dogwood trees. Lately they were joined by my oldest sister, my best friend, and the loneliness that brings at times is overwhelming.

A few days after the funeral for my father, I had dreams. He would be outside my window, talking to me through the screen, trying so hard to tell me something, but I could never understand. Now, I think I know what he was trying to tell me. He was telling me to be strong, and survive for what would lay ahead.

And perhaps that is his strongest legacy to me, to all of his children. No matter what, don't give up. Meet adversity with acceptance, and know that all things die. Every year his garden died, to be tilled over, and reborn in the spring. And like his garden, I feel he has been reborn.

Feb 11, 2007

I watched a biography of Anna Nichole Smith last night on A&E. Or the biography channel. It was late, so I don't remember. But I had no idea she had died! See how much TV news I watch. And it really made me sad. Say what you will about good ole Anna, she was truly a one of kind person.

She kept reminding me of Marilyn Monroe. Beautiful, confused, and haunted by God knows what. However, Marilyn had talent, and always wanted to become more of an accepted actress. Anna, I believe, just wanted to have fun, and money. In a way, I can understand that. Coming from the backwoods of nowhere, there's not much to do sometimes but dream. And it takes a lot of guts to follow that dream with the determination she showed. I wonder if she was a victim of the people who controlled her career.

One thing I do find kind of strange is how much emphasis is placed on being invited to the playboy mansion. I just don't get it. Hugh Hefner must be at least 100 years old by now, and I just don't see the esteem and recognition you would recieve by being admitted into the golden gates of whatever goes on in there.

And I find it somewhat sad that the only claim to fame that some women may have is being a playboy centerfold. Not that I find it degrading, but making that the greatest achievement you would ever attain is akin to basing your whole life on being the Prom Queen.

Anywho, farewell, Anna Nichole. I hope where ever you are, you find what you were looking for.

Feb 10, 2007

"Well, I think if you say you're going to do something and don't do it, that's trustworthiness." --George w. Bush 08/30/2000 in a CNN online chat

Here's a man that evidently honors his word. Or perhaps this quote comes from his limited vocabulary.

"The only way we can win is to leave before the job is done." --George W. Bush, Greeley, Colo., Nov. 4, 2006

Ok, so let's apply that to Iraq.

"I like to tell people when the final history is written on Iraq, it will look like just a comma because there is -- my point is, there's a strong will for democracy." --George W. Bush, interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Sept. 24, 2006

I can't even begin to figure this one out!

"You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." --George W. Bush, interview with CBS News' Katie Couric, Sept. 6, 2006

You think? We've been trying to explain this to you, George. Will you just sit down and listen for a change? Dammit!!

"I've reminded the prime minister-the American people, Mr. Prime Minister, over the past months that it was not always a given that the United States and America would have a close relationship." George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., June 29, 2006

So who are we? Americans? United Stateians? Why can't we all just get along?!?

"If the Iranians were to have a nuclear weapon they could proliferate." --George W. Bush, Washington D.C., March 21, 2006

Which means a bunch more of those Iranians! Damn, I'd like to see that nuclear weapon!

"And there is distrust in Washington. I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I'm sorry it's the case, and I'll work hard to try to elevate it." --George W. Bush, interview on National Public Radio, Jan. 29, 2007

Of that I have no doubt.

You can't make this stuff up. You just can't.

Feb 9, 2007

I was just over at Queen Anne's Revenge, (sorry, my linking ability is nil), and got the idea about this post from her.

When I stayed with my dad, being what some would call a primary care-giver, but I called a privilege, we had a horrible time with raccoons. Every night they came up to back porch and ate the cat's food out side. We lived out in the boonies, and these rascals were everywhere.

Sometimes, they would bring the whole family. Roscoe, my cat, loved to look out the window and hiss at them. When three baby raccoons climbed up and looked in the kitchen window, I thought he was going to have a stroke.

I tried everything I could think of to run them off. When I saw them on the porch I opened the door, and of course they took a dive under the porch. I would stand there, cussing, and see little raccoon eyes peeking at me from the other side of the porch. One time, when the whole family came to visit, they all jumped under the porch, having one of those family squabbles, and my cat ran out the door, and jumped under the porch with them. Shit, I thought, there goes one good cat.

Evidently, he was just acting as a mediator, because he emerged from underneath the porch, unscathed. Once I took a bottle of canned air to clean the computer with and sprayed one in the face, which he did not like. Then, turning around, catching him looking at me from the other side, I sprayed him again. Every so often, however, I would see a poor bedraggled female, ravenous and desperate, and put some food out for her. I know, I know, stupid idea. But, having been a mother, I knew how she felt.

I finally got fed up and called the Department of Wildlife, or some such shit. I told him about my raccoon problem. He told me blah, blah, blah, don't put any food out, don't get near them, and, no, spreading human hair around the porch wouldn't deter them. I said, "Well, can't you come out and relocate them to their natural habitat?" (Watching too much National Geographic I guess) He paused, and said, "Ma'am, um, they are in their natural habitat." I looked around at the open fields and wooded hills, and said, "Oh!" Felt right foolish about then.

I do think Raccoons are beautiful animals, and we actually trapped one, after catching most of our cats first. He was huge and just sat in the cage and looked at me, like, "What's up with this? I thought we had an understanding." So, for whatever reason, I let him go. Off he ran, straight up a tree, where he watched me, trying to decide whether I was friend or foe. He didn't come down until I went back in the house, so I guess I fell into the foe category.

I do know that you don't ever want to get too close to them. They are not pets. They will tear you to pieces if they so desire. Just ask any self-respecting hound dog, he'll tell you. They never went away, so I just started setting big bowls of cat food away from the house, and we finally lived in peace and harmony. Actually, I kind of miss the little buggers. Especially the babies. The cutest things you ever saw.

Feb 6, 2007

"Am Lady Peggy Morrison, suffering from cancerous ailment. I am a widow my husband Sir Richard Morrison an Englishman who is dead. My husband was into private practice all his life before his death. My husband and I made a vow to uplift the down-trodden and the less-privileged individuals as he had passion for people who can not help themselves due to physical disability or financial predicament. I can adduce this to the fact that he needed a Child from this relationship, which never came.When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of 20 Million (twenty Million Great Britain Pounds Sterling which were derived from his vast estates and investment in capital market with his bank here in UK. Presently, this money is still with the Bank.Recently, my Doctor told me that I have limited days to live due to the cancerous problems I am suffering from. I have decided to donate this fund to you and want you t I took this decision because I do not have any child that will inherit this money. please assure me that you will act just as I have stated herein. Hope to hear from you thanks. contact my"

And she picked me! ME! Oh the kindness of strangers, oh the loveliness of those more fortunate than me! I got this email from Lady Peggy, and jumped for joy! I mean I am sorry the old crone is on her last legs and all, but give me the money, baby!

The only problem is she told me to act as she has 'stated herein'. (And all this time I thought that was a bird!) Oh, wait that's heron. My bad. I am just wondering how she wants me to act? Grave and sad? Joyous and happy? Humble and grateful? Wonder if I fly over there she'll serve me tea and those little cakes and shit? Oh, well. I guess I will never know. I must pass on this most generous offer. How can I take advantage of this dying old lady, knowing full well she is probably delusional with all the chemo drugs floating around in her poor failing body? That would be a sin. That would almost be akin to scamming someone, or trying to con them out of their money. Hell, I am not a politician, I can't do that shit to someone!

Wonder how come she doesn't live in Nigeria with all the other rich folks? Oh, well, that's a discussion for another day, I guess. Hey, but you guys cross your fingers! She just might pick your name out of a hat!!

Feb 3, 2007

I'm so tired

I'm so sore

I won't do it for a nickle anymore

15 cents is now my price

For 25, I'll do it twice

You want a shoe shine?

That is just a little silly I remember from jr. high. I am tired and sore. It frustrates me that I'm not capable of doing all the stuff I used to do when I was 30. Last night, at work, I took instruction from an 18 year old girl, who bailed on me at 8:00 pm, as she was sick and had to go party with her boyfriend. She called the manager and got the ok. So here I am, second day on the new and improved cash register, and its megamillion lottery night.
I have determined that I hate the lottery. It should be the one that Shirley Jackson wrote about, and only applied to members of congress. I hate hot dogs, and Nacho's, and big bites, big cheeseburger bits, and the other god-awful looking crap that rotates on the grill. Don't eat that stuff, ever! When I worked for this establishment before, if something on the grill looked "overdone" we tossed it. Not today. That sucker stays on there until it is sold. It might have been sitting there all day. So just keep that in mind.

I do not play the lottery. I have never heard of megamillions. I agree with Jeff Foxworthy. The lottery is the redneck solution to a retirement account. In this state, gambling is illegal. Well, what the hell do they think the lottery is? You pay a certain amount of money to play numbers. Seems this used to be called a numbers racket.
I only had two mean customers. One young man could not pump his gas on pump three, which was prepaid and turned on. He came in the store, did his little dance of joy, and I told him I could give him his money back, or restart the pump. He voiced his opinion, to the glee of the ten customers in line, and ran out the door. When I checked on him, he was pumping his gas. Another lady, handing over about 4 lottery cards, waited while I ran them through the machine, and when I collected her money, I placed her tickets on the counter. Her hands were in her purse. She looked at me, and said, "Put them in my hand." I said ok. She looked at me like I had committed a crime. My main goal was to get the people waited on, so they could get the hell out, but I guess she considered this an opportunity to make a statement.

What I discovered from all of this, is I don't care. If people want to get a rise out of me, they will be mistaken. I have reached the point in my life where stupid comments just don't bother me anymore. I just say ok, and they seem to deflate just a little. I have also decided that I am not going to kill myself for this job. Meaning, it is just a job, not a career. Oh, you can make it a career, for sure. A lot of managers in high traffic areas can pull in six figures a year, due to the sales and the percentage they get.

All in all I think I did ok. No one shot me, no one threatened me, I got out of the store alive, and even did a shift change, in the wrong order, but I did it.

The frosting on the cake came when I got home. My son and his friend, who lives with us, and seems to be unable to find satisfactory employment, gave me until 12:00 am to get home, and then called the store. The young lady who answered the phone told them, "You mean the older lady with the short hair? I think she just left." Oh, rude awakening!! And here I thought no one noticed I was past my prime. Actually, I laughed my head off when I heard it. If you act tough, teens are afraid of old ladies. All in all, I would have enjoyed it, if my back wasn't notifying my legs the whole time that, hey, remember that spinal thing going on? Let me remind you.

On a different note, my son's fiance moved out, left all of her stuff, wouldn't return any of his calls, and is now coming today to collect her belongings. I can see the good times coming. I kept telling him this was passive agressive behavior, but it didn't make a difference until he finally talked to her, and she said it was all irrelavent. I have lived with this kind of person, for about 19 years, as a matter of fact, and it sucks. After about 15, I decided I wasn't playing the guessing game anymore. "I'm mad but you'll have to guess what it's about." I finally said, after a year of therapy, fuck this, and went on about my life. I taught myself not to care, and that was the beginning of the end. I paid for my divorce. I got nothing from the said divorce, but my freedom and my kids. There was no child support, or alimony, or any of that other shit. My sons and I experienced the other side of the coin. Instead of, "Mom, there's this girl at school who pays for things with food stamps!" I said don't judge them, because there but the grace of God, go you!" After the divorce, it was, "Mom, when do you get the food stamps?"

In a way, I am glad they experienced the other side. I think it showed them that you have to work for what you want. That not everyone lives on $60,000 a year. That judging people because of their income is stupid. As they grew older, they were able to relate to all kinds of people, and accept them for who they were, and not where they came from. Which is a good thing.

So, adopting my oldest son's favorite saying, "If your gonna act tough, you gotta be tough", I will continue with my new job. No matter how much my back complains, or whatever happens, damn it all, I will do it. I am a very stubborn person.