Friday, March 31, 2006

You'd think somewhere he would have learned to spell

Here's another unsolicted email I just got through Friendster. It's amazing I found someone as good as Friendster Guy on there. It gives one hope. This kind of takes it away again.

"Friday, March 31, 2006 7:36:00 PM
Subject: hello dear
Hi Dear,How are you doing, your health, business,personal life and everyother thing around you? Hope great. I must tell youthat i'm so much happy reading from you. Well it'smy first day onthis site, and through my search i just didn't fine aperfect womanjust for me but you. That's why i showed interest.You know i thoughtthis could be away of meeting new people may bethat special personas well.According to your profile, I love every thing aboutyou, and willlike to have something with you. I'm XXXXX By name, i'mAn Free Land International journalist by profession.I'm fromNEW YORK USA. I lost my folks 11years agoand before then i've been inthe journalism business. I school at VirginiaWesleyan College (VA),after then i was transferred to the Valley City StateUniversity (ND)where i study Mass Communication.And incase uwonna get to know me better u can email me inmy yahoo mail which is --xxxx--- take care and stay blessed. but befor i leave imost confes to u that "For my eyes have beenmistaken, for this to be true, an Angel so low, anAngel so bright, for it's as if God himself, hasstolen two stars from the night sky, And hid themwithin your eyes, so one day you shall see, thebeauty within, the Angel I see, but above all, youhave became, the Angel i see."

Good grief. The picture that comes with it is of a pretty attractive, muscular, topless African American man. He's less frightening (at least in the Deliverance sort of way) than some of the other men who have "communicated" with me. (Like the married guy who was loooking for "friends with benefits") Except I've never heard of a "Free Land Journalist" before. You think he writes for a Real Estate firm?

In other news, a heretofore forgotten about bill has dropped the amount of money I have in my checking account until next Friday to $23.76. Looks like I'm going to have to tap into savings a little. It's better than putting stuff on the credit card though.

Conundrum: Feminist or Seductress?

What's a feminist to do when on the one hand she is annoyed with the patriarchal society that glorifies fake boobs and violence against women and on the other hand is fascinated by the idea of working at Hooters?

Am I buying into the masculine ideas about what a woman should be - sexy, subservient, an object of desire, or am I wanting to be a woman - sexy, powerful, an object of desire?

It's a chicken and an egg problem. Which came first? Men's need for women to be a certain way in order to be attractive, or women's need to be a certain way in order to be happy with herself? What if in order to be happy with yourself you have to buy into feminine norms? What if you honest to goodness like feminine norms? Should you be chastized by the feminist movement for falling for what society calls for or should you be celebrated for doing what you like, even if that means high heels, lipstick and little orange shorts?

What's a modern day women to do if all she wants is to be oggled by a stranger every so often?

I was running yesterday and two guys in a car almost gave themselves whiplash checking me out. And I wasn't even in what I'd consider "cute" mode. They drove on. I guess one of the main issues is the difference between innocent oggling/appreciation for the female form (mine in particular) versus that car turning around and chatting me up. It's a fine line and I'm sure it's crossed over and over at Hooters. The fantasy of being a Hooter Girl versus the reality of it. The perpetuation of a myth that it's ok to oggle, because after all, these girls are letting me see them in these I can joke a little... and then harass...and then touch...and then control...

I think I need to bust out my Steinem expose on the Playboy Club and refresh my memory a little.


This is my niece.

She is fabulous.

If you're having a bad day, just think about this little diva and you'll feel better.

My sister is so going to kill me for posting a picture of her child on the internet. But she's kind of incognito in her diva/Fancy Nancy outfit so I think it's ok.

But how could I not post this? Look at that pose, the shoes, the bag, the boa, the jewelry, the fake tattoo, the tiara, the sassitude! That's my little niece all right.

If only we could all exude this much self confidence. Believe me, this child has this attitude 24/7. Her parents are in for a rough time when she hits her teens, that's for sure.

Public Service Announcement: Spring Ahead

In case you are as clueless as I am and didn't notice that this was coming up, don't forget to set your clocks ahead when you go to bed Saturday night so you'll wake up at the right time on Sunday morning.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I need a hit

It's only day two of my "challenge" not to spend the $116* I have in my checking account. So far so good. I have managed not to spend a single dime despite having several cravings for iced mochas. It's that time of the month and it's suddenly springtime. Resisting an iced mocha is darn near impossible. I tried to get Friendster Guy to join me for an afternoon walk to get one since he is off today but he had to get a haircut. Then I went into a mini-funk because I want to see him but can't until Saturday unless he decides to come have lunch with me tomorrow (not so subtle hint to Friendster Guy! I don't know how often he's reading but just in case...) So between DMS**, springtime and a mini-funk I'd say I should be slated for sainthood, or at least knighthood, for not purchasing the iced mocha I so desperately desire.

Oh, and just so you know, this isn't about caffeine. I always get decaf.

* The number went up from $110 because I actually went into Quicken and did the math instead of guestimating. Whoo hoo! Six whole bucks! That's almost two iced mochas. Almost.

**DMS = During menstral syndrome, as opposed to Pre.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Reality TV that gives people an actual dose of reality

You know what I think would make a good reality show? Having really rich people have to live at the poverty level and see how well they do. It would be eye opening to say the least. And I think the rich people should be chosen from fields where they can make a difference with what they learned, for example politicians. Throw a couple Senators in the ghetto and see what happens.

Happiness is ...

I could have been teaching a course at Harvard. Here are Six Tips for Happiness from a Harvard professor teaching a course on Positive Psychology. (Thanks Emily Troutman for the link.)

Six Tips for Happiness
Advice from Tal Ben-Shahar.
1. Give yourself permission to be human. When we accept emotions -- such as fear, sadness, or anxiety -- as natural, we are more likely to overcome them. Rejecting our emotions, positive or negative, leads to frustration and unhappiness.
2. Happiness lies at the intersection between pleasure and meaning. Whether at work or at home, the goal is to engage in activities that are both personally significant and enjoyable. When this is not feasible, make sure you have happiness boosters, moments throughout the week that provide you with both pleasure and meaning.
3. Keep in mind that happiness is mostly dependent on our state of mind, not on our status or the state of our bank account. Barring extreme circumstances, our level of well being is determined by what we choose to focus on (the full or the empty part of the glass) and by our interpretation of external events. For example, do we view failure as catastrophic, or do we see it as a learning opportunity?
4. Simplify! We are, generally, too busy, trying to squeeze in more and more activities into less and less time. Quantity influences quality, and we compromise on our happiness by trying to do too much.
5. Remember the mind-body connection. What we do -- or don't do -- with our bodies influences our mind. Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy eating habits lead to both physical and mental health.
6. Express gratitude, whenever possible. We too often take our lives for granted. Learn to appreciate and savor the wonderful things in life, from people to food, from nature to a smile.

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure that's all stuff I've been doing for the last few weeks. Go out and be happy. I may have to have a "happiness booster"momentarily. A happiness booster in this case being an iced mocha latte I can't afford.


Keep It Simple Sassy!

In case you haven't noticed, I've been simplifying my life. I've been getting rid of possessions left and right, I'm spending less, eating everything that's been sitting in the pantry, and just got rid of cable. I'm also letting my subscription to Time lapse. I am now down to one magazine, Real Simple, and I only have 3 issues of that left before I let that lapse too.

I don't like looking around my house and seeing something that reminds me of all the things I have to do. Magazines I'm supposed to find time to read, items to clean, food to feel guilty about because it is not being eaten, tasks that need to be done. I'm at my most stressed when I glance around my apartment and see everything I'm supposed to be doing but am not.

Taking away my TV will be good for that. Instead of spending an inordinate amount of time being "entertained" I can do the things I need to do. Or read. Or watch a video I specifically chose on Netflix, not some sitcom that chose me while I flipped around hoping something good would come on (which usually doesn't happen).

Tonight, in addition to continuing the clean sweep of my files, I think I will clean off my dining room table and make that the spot where I eat my meals instead of leaning precariously over the coffee table. It's not even in a different room. I think it's time I start sitting up for meals, not leaning over.

This is fun. I'm doing things I've been thinking about doing for a long time but never had the impetus or hootzpah to do it. I recommend doing whatever you've had on your list.

Kill Your TV

I did it. I called my cable company and canceled my subscription. I sat looking at my bill for a couple of minutes before I made the call wondering whether I should or not. In a way it's like cutting myself off from the world - except the world I was experiencing was reality TV and sitcoms. I think I'll spend a little more time in my own reality. I'll have to find new ways to get my news - NPR, the newspaper - but I'm sure I'll be ok. Anyway, it's better not to hear all the negative anyway.

I almost balked again when I finally got to a human customer service rep. My conversation with "Wendy" went as follows.

Me: I'd like to turn off my cable.

Wendy: (Surprised) Are you sure? What about the News? You want the local News don't you?

Me: No, that's OK.

Wendy: But why? Are you switching providers?

Me: No. I just don't need it anymore.

Wendy: It's only $17 a month. (Wendy sounded like she was panicking at this point) Would it help if I threw in a month for free?

Me: No, thank you.

Wendy: (Now resigned to the inevitable) When would you like it shut off?

At the beginning of the conversation I had heart palpitations like I was going into withdrawal or something. No! Don't take away my News! Why are you doing this to yourself?! It is only $17 a month... But then as Wendy kept talking it felt more like I was leaving a cult. I broke away! I have killed my TV! Now I can give away the crappy TV/VCR combo I have been lugging around since college.

Moral of the story: Don't let Wendy convince you you need cable. But if you'd like a free month of it, call and threaten to cancel your subscription.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


I got married in a science building. It was where we met and spent most of our time. Believe me, it was much nicer than you are picturing. It had a 3 story atrium with a skylight and nice balconies and such. Anyway, it certainly wasn't a church.

My X lived with my ex-grandmother-in-law for many years growing up and, despite being a very big figure in my X's life, she did not go to our wedding. I was cleaning out my drawers and found a note from her from before the wedding explaining why. I find it very sad. I have no problem with people having faith and convictions but whatever happened to compassion? She wrote:

"I cannot be a witness at your wedding. It is hard for me to believe that you have turned your back on your Catholic Faith. Truly you have broken my heart. 'What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul.' What a sad road you have chosen - never to be able to receive Holy Communion again. 'Unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood you shall not have life in you....Your mother, grandfather and I did our very best to take care of you physically, mentally, and spiritually - you lacked nothing...My love for you has not changed - I will pray for you every day for as long as I live."

I can't say that when we received that note I felt very good about it. She made no mention of me specifically (I think she knew better than that) but you can imagine how hurtful that letter was. My X acted like he didn't care but I knew he did. How could he not? At least she pulled it out in the end. She wasn't disowning or disavowing him, just his marriage to me. It sure does pull on the heart strings a little doesn't it?

She and I had a fine relationship while I was married. I just let her talk, which she was very good at doing, and I'd smiled and nod throughout the "conversation." Go along to get along. I don't think she was bothered by the divorce. After all, we were never really married in her eyes so except for the whole living in sin thing, my X is in the clear. Bring on the Rapture!

Anyway, that letter is now in the trash. It's ancient history and not something I need to dwell on. You know what else I put in the trash? My marriage license and related paperwork. The only twinge of regret or concern I felt was not knowing whether I'll need those documents to prove something random in court or to the IRS or something someday. I don't know what that would be but you never know. I'm not going to worry because I'm sure I can get copies from wherever the hell we got them in the first place. If I didn't need them at the divorce I don't think I'll need them anywhere else.

Other than that logistical concern, no feelings. It's over. It's been over for a long time. I am still discovering the wounds and soft spots left over from the relationship but they are healing. Poor Friendster Guy gets the brunt of it when we stumbles across a scar or two but he's patient and let's me struggle with my demons when they rear their ugly head. And he seems to understand they aren't about him. But there are sensitivities I have and situations I will not let myself repeat. I'm being very clear about what I need and how he can work with me to provide for those needs. I think he's taking it all in stride. I hope so. He may be very similar to my X in many superficial ways (name, home state, religion, only child) but I am learning from the past. History will not repeat itself.

A Challenge...of sorts

According to my calculations, I have approximately $110 in my checking account (not including what I need to set aside for rent on the 1st) to last me until April 7th when I am paid again. Luckily, all my beginning of the month bills have been paid already. Also luckily, I have money in savings so I'm not really destitute but I'd prefer not to tap into that pool. Once you do it's easier to do it again. The same thing goes for credit cards.

When I first started writing this post it was going to be about how challenging it was going to be to live on $110 for a week and a half. Now I'm wondering how I thought that could be a challenge. I mean really. It sounds almost absurd that I can't go 10 days without spending $110. What am I doing in the next 10 days that requires that much money? Let's see. From Wednesday to Saturday there is nothing I need to spend any money on. I have no dinner plans and no travel plans. Sunday I will be going out to eat with some girlfriends, probably for both lunch and dinner since we're taking a road trip. I'm not planning on getting all extravagant so that's what? about $40 since I don't drink. I bet I can get that down to closer to $30 or even $25. Chipping in for gas is probably another $10. Then, I am taking a road trip on Monday so I'll have to put gas in my car - about $23. And I'll have to pay for at least one meal ($15) and tolls ($1.50).

That adds up to $80-90, depending on the cost of meals and gas, leaving me with about $20 - 30 for groceries for the rest of the week. You know, it's probably about time that I actually ate what was in my pantry and freezer. In a way, eating what I already have is an extention of my goal to get rid of one possession a day (it's going well by the way). That will be the challenge - making meals I want to eat out of what I already have. I may have to supplement with some fresh veggies, eggs and milk but other than that, I should be good to go!

This isn't a challenge, it's an opportunity.

Domestic Bliss

Whatever happened to domestic issues? I'm not talking household chores here people, I'm talking about political issues dealing with what is going on here in the United States. All we ever hear about anymore is Iraq and immigration. And maybe a murder or two. What about the people here who live in poverty with no utilities and are surrounded by violence on a daily basis? What about our education system? What the heck is going on here that we aren't addressing with billions of dollars in aid?

In 2001 we had so much promise and the goodwill of the world. And we (I use the term we VERY loosely) went out and screwed it up by invading some country that had nothing to do with the problems we were actually facing.

Our borders are fake. They are lines on a map that don't show up if you're walking or driving over them. We're all human. We're all afraid. We all want the best for our families. Am I better off than I was 4 years ago? Honestly, I am. Is the world? No way.

I really do think the world would be a better place if women ran it. Despite PMS, we're much more level headed and more importantly, willing to compromise. We're also able to ask for help. And we know when someone is full of shit when they say "Honey, don't hire a professional. I can fix the garbage disposal (democracy in the middle east)."

Monday, March 27, 2006

I'm on a roll today

How can I not be, I've got so much fodder. Over at Overheard in New York they have posted the following conversation that was heard in Police Plaza, New York, NY.

Cop #1: When I'm fucking a cunt, I like to hurt it. You like to hurt a cunt when you're fucking it?
Cop #2: Yeah. What do I give a fuck? It ain't my cunt.

And this is what the fuck the ladies are all talking about. How in the world can women expect to get help from the cops if these are the cops they are going to? I'm not busting on cops in general because my brother-in-law is one and is not an asshole like these two. But yeah, I'd feel really comfortable having these guys take my statement after I've been assaulted or raped.

***Sassy Pants throws up hands in disgust***

Kill your TV

I didn't notice how it happened exactly but I've pretty much cut out TV. I watch about 10 minutes of the news while I'm eating breakfast and maybe I'll throw on That 70's Show while eating dinner but other than that, nothing is on so I don't watch it. This wasn't always my philosophy. I'd have it on just for noise. Now I'm starting to listen to NPR. (I am not turning into my mother, I'm turning into my father.)

It helps that I cut back to basic basic cable so I only have about 20 channels to choose from in the first place and 10 of those are crap (QVC is not my cup of tea). If I could pick just 10 channels a la carte I'd most likely watch a lot more. I'd get the 3 networks (NBC, ABC, CBS), Bravo, HGTV, Discovery, TLC, PBS and some other channels I don't know about yet.

I have been renting TV shows from Netflix. I'm in the first season of Northern Exposure. I loved that show. I totally wanted to be Maggie. I'm so disappointed when I see her all girlie and selling eyedrops. A fallen hero. Sigh...

Lacrosse players beat and rape stripper

This case has all the makings of a movie of the week - a top ranked sports team, strippers, racial epithets, and an almost fatal gang rape.

On some horrifying level I am relieved that the victim was beaten and almost strangled because, the thing is, the prosecutors will have more luck with that part of the situation than with the rape itself. Because, as the defense will point out, the victim is a stripper. "You know what that means..." wink wink nudge nudge to the jury.

I was having a conversation with Friendster Guy just the other night and I mentioned some statistics about women being abused, raped and assaulted. He mentioned that a large portion of the people in his line of work are also assaulted in some way. It's true, and I'm not about to start comparing miseries or say this horrific experience is worse then that horrific experience, but the thing is that someone going into that line of work knows this is the case and has the law very much on their side. You assault a public servant in the line of duty and you are in deep doodoo. Women, on the other hand, did not choose to be women. Simply by virtue of their XX chromosomes they are destined to become a statistic. And that is very sad.

Read this post from Den of the Biting Beaver. It's very moving and frightening. And shows just how screwed up the laws are. Regulations win over compassion. I don't know how she did it, but I'm very glad she got away.

Sassy Pant's Seven

Update on my goals:

Diet: I'm trying a new breakfast today to see how full I'll stay until lunch thereby stopping me from prowling the office for snacks. There are Girl Scout Cookies on every corner thwarting my attempts at being "good." So this morning I had oatmeal and a hard boiled egg. We'll see how it goes.

Discardia: I bought a new desk at Staples. Currently my desk is a board across two cheapo Walmart filing cabinets, one drawer of which has lost it's face so it can't hold files. Supposedly it is being delivered Tuesday. I then get to put it together. Whoo hoo. But I'm taking this opportunity to clean out my files. I started yesterday and made some progress. I definitely have a lot of stuff I don't need anymore.

Thesis: I managed to finish transcribing two interviews this weekend. Only four more to go. Unfortunately they are long. And then I probably have to record another 3 or 4 before I'm done that part. The next step is taking all the words and making them coherent enough to tell a story. Good luck to me.

Work: I should be leaving to go there momentarily. I'll figure out what I'm going to focus on when I get there. I have lots of conflicting priorities and none of them have to do with one another.

Finances: I have no money. But I have a hell of a credit score. And I'm saving $400 a month between my retirement and savings. Also, I just opened a new credit card that has 0% Financing for 15 months on purchases and 3.9% on balance transfers. I intend to move my other credit card balance at 7.9% over to it and then pay off my car with it to save on interest. I was going to be done paying off my car in 15 months anyway so that works out well.

Vacation: I'm going to Nova Scotia with Friendster Guy. It should be interesting since we just spent our first full day together Saturday. Four or five days will be a new experience. We had a great time Saturday and did very domesticy things. We went to a home show, an open house to check out a property for his parents, and drove around looking at land. He's thinking about buying some. Then we hung out at his place. I read while he finished up some paperwork. It was very comfortable and nice.

Fitness: I ran outside yesterday and nearly died. My lungs aren't used to cold and my body isn't used to going uphill. I felt ok on the way back. It takes me about a mile to warm up. I think I went about 2 miles. It was more than I've done on a Sunday in a long time.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

News Flash

This just in : My thesis is not going to write itself.

Shocking, I know.

Off to transcribe interviews!

Extra Credit

I'm a firm believer that everyone should know where there money goes and what their credit is, especially the single ladies. Sure, a rich, gainfully employed man may come along and sweep you off your feet someday but eventually you'll realize he's an idiot and not want to spend time with him and discover you've gotten used to the life of luxury and are so screwed. Do not stay with a man because he makes you feel financially secure. That's stupid. Figure out how to make yourself financially secure. Here's a few pieces of advice from Sassy Pants Inc. FYI, Sassy Pants Inc. is not in anyway a professional financial advisor. Or, for that matter, an actual "Inc." This is just me, Sassy Pants, telling you what I've done and how it worked for me. Go out there and be proactive.

Get your free Annual Credit Report. This brings you to a clearinghouse of sorts. You will have to type in about as much information as you would if you were ordering something on-line, maybe less. Then you get to a menu of 3 credit report companies - Equifax, Experian and Transunion. I'm writing this as I'm going through the process and I just hit the back button and my session expired, along with all the info I had typed. Grrr...Let's try this again. OK, when it asks you which company you want the report from you are allowed to select all of them. If you go forward, do not click "Back", use the link that says "Return to" toward the top.

Transunion - 1) You'll have to create a username and password and choose a very stupid "secret" question to use in case you forget your password and such. They are stupid questions because it's "what's your favorite (choose 1) show, game, movie, food, etc"... I am so going to forget what my favorite was at this moment when they ask me later. FYI: I have 30 days to access my free information.
2) I chose not to receive monthly newsletter and other crap.
3) You have to prove you are you by providing more information - an account number or past addresses. I could provide my car loan account but then it asked me for one of three accounts I no longer have - a car loan I paid off in 2002, my mortgage account, and my Xs truck. Thank goodness I keep paperwork. I found my mortgage account. Obviously this means I have things in my credit report that I don't have in "real life" anymore.
4) It then asks if you want to order your credit score as well for $5.95. That's the score lenders use to give you more credit. It is not free. Dang it. I'm going for it though. It pays to be informed. And...holy shit, the highest credit score you can have is 925. Mine's 860! I'm in the 95th percentile. That's like an A+. And for this overachiever that is very validating. Ok, SO worth the $5.95. Why do I have such a good score? I've never paid anything late, I have or have had lots of debts and loans (mortgage, student loans, cars) but some have been paid off. Pretty much you have to prove to the gods of crediting that you are responsible with money, spend just enough to let them know you are spending but not enough to make them nervous that you aren't going to be able to pay it back. Transunion says "Pay bills on time, lower balances and use credit wisely to improve your score over time." Pretty simple - in theory.

Here are some things that affect your score according to TransUnion.

1.Installment account balances too high in proportion to credit limits: Consumers having high balances on these accounts in relation to the credit limits are more likely of future delinquency. [Sassy Pants Translation - Just because you have a credit limit of $10,000 doesn't mean you should fill up the card. It looks better if you have $2000 worth of debt, but $8000 you are not using.]
2. Too few satisfactory accounts: Consumers with few accounts in good standing are more likely of future delinquency. [Sassy Pants Translation - One credit card and not loans is not enough to base your credit score on. It makes sense in a way. If you took a class and all the teacher had to base your grade on was one quiz the teacher wouldn't really know if you were a good student or got lucky. Of course if you have bad credit, how are you supposed to get more accounts to improve your bad credit?]
3. Too many inquiries:Excessive inquiries on the credit report have a negative impact on your credit score. Limiting the number of credit applications you complete may improve your credit score. [Sassy Pants Translation - This one is kind of annoying given #2. They want you to have more things to base your score on but they punish you if you apply for too many things. Remember that the next time you're in a store and they ask you if you'd like to apply for a card. In some cases it can be good, but if you've already signed up for 3 other cards while walking through the mall, watch out.]

Experian - They ask you for the last 4 digits of your social security number and again some account information. They don't ask for numbers, it's more like a multiple choice test. Pick the accounts you actually have out of the list they provide. They then give you your report and a report number you can use to log in with in the future to see your report. This is good because I am out of computer paper so once I get some I can look at it again and print it out. Click on "Print credit report" to see the most detailed view, even if you don't want to print it yet. Experian also charges $5.95 for your credit report.

Equifax - The first screen already had my info typed in for me. They have the same multiple choice account "test" as Experian does to prove you are who you say you are. They charge $7.95 for the credit score. They offer you the choice of coming back to visit your report for the next 30 days or not. You have to create a user account if you do. At least these guys ask a better "secret" question like birthplace or spouse's middle name. Things that don't change. Duh!

I can't recommend one report over another. They are all slightly different in format. I don't have the time or inclination yet to see if they have the same information. No wait, one difference I do notice is under "Inquiries," i.e. who has inquired about your score. This varies because the companies doing the inquiring can choose any of these 3 credit companies to query, just like you can. If you'd like to be environmentally friendly while being fiscally responsible, Transunion's report uses the least paper for my information, 9 pages. Equifax is 28 pages long and Experian is in the middle with 15 pages.

Experian seems to know the most about me non-creditwise, like my addresses for the last 10 years - some that I had forgotten. Equifax even has my Verizon account which is not something that is debt, it's just my monthly phone bill - not even my cell phone which because it is a contract is kind of like debt/credit.

I hope this was helpful. I'm a little drained. And I killed a bunch of trees printing out all my reports (I found more paper). But, I only have to do this once a year. And now I'm done. That's enough for my Finance goal today. Now on to Fitness. I think I'll take a run. If I don't take a nap first.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Coincidence? or Karma?

Friendster Guy: "So, you want to go to Nova Scotia."

Me: "Yes. You must have been reading my blog."

FG: "No, a guy at work was mentioning it and says it's nice."

Me: "So. Wait. You weren't stating that I want to go to Nova Scotia? You were actually asking me to go to Nova Scotia with you?"

FG: "Yes."

Me: "Without knowing that I already wanted to go there?"

FG: "Yes"

Me: "Then yes!"

FG: "So it's settled. We're going to Nova Scotia."

It's settled. We're going to Nova Scotia.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Making Eye Babies

Colleges often have a lot of rules the students need to follow. After all, a bunch of 18-21 year olds can't really be expected to self-govern on their own, at least not 24/7, no matter how vehement they are that they can do just that. (I was 18-21 once myself so I know it's annoying to hear that. I don't mean all 18-21 year olds individually, I mean when they all get together in one place.) Then there are Christian Colleges which have more rules, often based on biblical teachings and moral dictates. Further down the spectrum is Bob Jones University* which considers the Christian colleges just too darn liberal so they piles on a bunch of morally based codes of behavior. Not to be outdone by the crazy liberal heathens at Bob Jones, Pensacola Christian College goes hog wild with the rules and moral imperatives and makes the Taliban look almost liberal.

An article in the March 24th edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education explains some of the rules and regulations the students must adhere to or else they will be punished or expelled.

I won't share the whole article but here are some choice blurbs:

"Of Pensacola's many rules, those dealing with male-female relationships are the most talked about. There are restrictions on when and where men and women may speak to each other. Some elevators and stairwells may be used only by women; others may be used only by men. Socializing on particular benches is forbidden. If a man and a woman are walking to class, they may chat; if they stop en route, though, they may be in trouble. Generally men and women caught interacting in any "unchaperoned area" — which is most of the campus — could be subject to severe penalties.

Those rules extend beyond the campus. A man and a woman cannot go to an off-campus restaurant together without a chaperon (usually a faculty member). Even running into members of the opposite sex off campus can lead to punishment. One student told of how a group of men and a group of women from the college happened to meet at a McDonald's last spring. Both groups were returning from the beach (they had gone to separate beaches; men and women are not allowed to be at the beach together). The administration found out, and all 15 students were expelled."

My favorite part however is the making of "eye babies."
"Even couples who are not talking or touching can be reprimanded. Sabrina Poirier, a student at Pensacola who withdrew in 1997, was disciplined for what is known on the campus as "optical intercourse" — staring too intently into the eyes of a member of the opposite sex. This is also referred to as "making eye babies." While the rule does not appear in written form, most students interviewed for this article were familiar with the concept."

Sweet lord almighty, if I had an actual eye baby for every time I've had optical intercourse I could take over a small, poorly armed, country. Needless to say, Friendster Guy and I have been having optical intercourse as often as possible since I read the article. Pensacola Christian College may be on to something, it actually does lead to some less than Christian behavior.

There are 5,000 students at this unaccredited institution. Who are these kids? Who are these faculty members?! When can I apply?

Of note, tuition is only $6,000 a year because the college's costs are subsidized by a Christian text book company, A Beka, owned by the founder of the college.
"Many of Pensacola's students work for A Beka, operating binding equipment, packing books into boxes, loading those boxes onto forklifts. Some students complain about the working conditions; others say it's a good deal. For women, A Beka is usually the only employment option because they are not allowed to hold
off-campus jobs. Or leave the campus alone, for that matter."
For awhile I was actually applauding the college on some level because it seemed as if the rules were being applied quite evenly to both males and females. However, being stuck on campus - even if I might get the opportunity to drive a forklift (yeah right, I'm sure they let the women do that) - is certainly not my cup of tea. Needless to say, but I'm going to say it anyway, I will not be going to PCC. And if I hear of anyone I know thinking about it for themselves or their children I will organize an intervention.

* May I be totally Beavis and Butthead and point out that the net address for Bob Jones is BJU. I want a T-Shirt.

Goal juggling

My goals of Diet and Work are plotting against each other. I am bribing myself to get work done by promising that I can walk up to the little grocery store cafe and get myself a mocha latte if I finish a couple of projects. Right now, Work seem to be the harder of my goals to deal with so whatever works.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Parade of junk

I had uploaded some of my pics of the things I discarded to Flickr but then I reached my monthly "upload limit" and would have had to pay to upload more. I already use Snapfish to store my photos for free so I don't need to be paying to store more in another place. So yes, my cheapness has hampered your viewing of my crap. Here are a few choice photos to stop you from rioting. Easter decor and Christmas decor given to me, a book on exercise from the 70s/early 80s, and my humungous jacket that was warm as heck but was like wearing half a sleeping bag.

If you are looking around your place thinking about getting rid of stuff, do it! Think WWSPD? (What would Sassy Pants do?) I'll tell you what she'd do. She'd take that crocheted tea cozy and bring it post-haste to the Goodwill, Salvation Army, or thrift store of your choice. Here are a couple of links for you Upper Valley Locals.

Stuff in general - The Greater Upper Valley Solid Waste Management District. You can find handy links to where to bring stuff - books, clothes, furniture etc...under Reuse.

Books - bring them to the Hanover or Lebanon Coop for the 5 Colleges Book Fair. You can always replenish your supply at the actual book fair.

Computer stuff - Wincycle in Windsor, VT

Local thrift stores - LISTEN

That should get you started!

Things that make you go hmmm....

1) I really like it when someone is able to make me see a different side of an issue, especially a side I hadn't even realized was there. For instance, I'm not exactly a big fan of Paris Hilton, but this post made me think. When I take part in bashing another female - even a vacuous, useless, please stop wasting my oxygen - female, what kind of message is that sending? Sure, I don't want my niece to grow up to be Paris but I also don't want her growing up thinking that if she does the exact same thing that a male "celebrity" does she'll be called a slut and villified by the masses. To be a truly good feminist, I have to practice what I preach and not make the misogynists' arguement for them.

2) I am now an age that I can remember my mother being. I was 6 when she was my age so I've got some memories. I can't imagine having her life. She had two kids at that point, 4 and 6. N and I had a conversation over dinner tonight about what we'd do if right this moment we became pregnant. We both were pretty clearly in the abortion camp. I tried to think about what would happen if I was in a serious, committed relationship. If it was serious it would mean we'd already discussed the fact that I do not want to have kids and he'd concurred. I wouldn't want to get into a serious relationship with someone who wants them. That would just be stupid. But faced with an actual pregnancy in that situation what would I do? First I'd be pissed. As I was talking to N, I thought the answer would depend on my partners response. But then I realized, no it wouldn't. Just the thought of my partner suggesting we keep it raised my hackles. The word I kept coming up with was resentment. I would resent the hell out of my partner if I was put in a position where he said, "Let's go for it." No! Let's not "go for it." A baby should be a happy thing and even if accidental shouldn't be something to resent. But I would. Not the baby itself but everything that had to do with it - birth control, society for making me and everyone else think this a natural step, genetics for making me a girl, my partner, the thought that I should be happy about such a joyous occasion. I'd be a bitter little troll and that ain't good. On the upside, I heard back from my insurance company and they cover Essure.

3) I put up my "sexual totem" today - a nude sketch of me from when I posed last year. It's in my bedroom near my full legth mirror. Everytime I look at it I'm supposed to be reminded of sex and that I am a sexual creature, a "bad girl" if you will. We'll see how it goes.

Blog Update

I've added a bunch of blogs to my blog roll. Most have some sort of feminist bent but I also thought it would be interesting to see what bloggers are doing on the other side of the world in the country we are currently sending down the road to so there are two blogs from Iraq as well.

Speaking of the rest of the world I'd like to say a big howdy doo to Nigeria, Bukina Faso, Sudan, Egypt, South Africa, Columbia, Nicaragua and Hong Kong all of which have recently popped up on my little mappy thing.

As for my 7 goals (see right), I keep plugging away. On the Clutter/Discardia front I took out a ton of crappy little useless (and might I say ugly) Christmas and Easter decorations from where they were stored and they will be on the next truckload to the thrift store. I also managed to bring a load of books and VHS tapes (The Star Wars Trilogy, Willow, Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally) to the drop off spot for the 5 Colleges Book Sale. I had already replaced all the VHS tapes with DVDs so it wasn't hard to say goodbye to my favorite movies.

By the way it's getting lonely out here in the blogosphere without anyone posting comments (Thanks NPapaya). I guess I need to find a controversial topic to talk about and see if I can get the comment juices flowing. Mayhaps you are bored with my inspirational story of declutterfication? I've lost, like, 100 pounds worth of stuff! It's the best diet ever! How is that not inspirational?

Oh, here's something I can mention. I had a moment of sheer and utter disregard for my fitness goals last night. I was standing in Boot Camp class about to do sprints when I entered some serious inner turmoil telling myself to just leave. It was like that little devil was sitting on my shoulder saying "You don't have to do this. You don't like this class anyway. Who needs it? That girl next to you doesn't. Look how fit she is. You could go to the gym every day until the Rapture and you won't look like that. Just leave. You're never going to be thin anyway so just give up." And I almost did. Then, I glimpsed myself in the mirror and realized I did need to be there, and also I realized that the class wasn't feeling all that hard. As soon as I realized how fit I was and how fast I was going I did a 360 and stayed for the whole thing. I also ended up partnered with the really fit girl. There's nothing like being able to keep up with a former soccer/rugby player in her early 20s with visible back muscles to make you feel ok about yourself. Plus she was really nice. I could tell she had been on sports teams though because she clapped and kept saying things like "good job" and "keep it up!" after each rep of some of the exercises.

I was never on a sports team. At least not in high school or college. I am now on a coed softball team but we're mostly in it for the beer afterward and for the excuse to hang out outside for a couple of hours once or twice a week. We certainly don't train. Our first practice is usually our first game. It's a good time. My X is on the team as well. We'll probably get along more now than when we were together.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Excess(ive) baggage

You know what's funny? Now that I'm trying to get rid of one item every day I'm finding a ton of stuff to get rid of. I'm going to have surplus items that I can use as rain checks on days when I can't find something to get rid of. I might get the entire year done this month. Three hundred and sixty five things. That's a lot of junk, aka really great items that may be happier living at someone else's place. I've been taking pictures of the items. I'll probably start a Flickr account and post them so you can see the oodles of crap I was hoarding.

What sort of crap are you holding on to? And don't tell me everything you own is utilized and useful. You probably have more than you want to admit. I do.

The next time you're in a book store check out this book called Material World. It's pictures of people from around the world sitting outside of their home with all their possessions surrounding them. It's fascinating how one family can live with a cooking fire and a pot while another has rooms and rooms full of things that probably mean nothing to them and are never used, or worse, never had a use at all. Speaking of useless items, I'm going to email my Mom right now and remind her that I'd prefer not to get any niknaks from Christmas Tree shops for Easter this year. I don't even celebrate the holiday so I certainly don't need another ceramic or resin bunny rabbit. For the record, the one I already have is on the chopping block to be donated. Bah bye bunny wabbit, bah bye.

Today: Fitness - did 10 laps of the pool, will teach abs class, do 20 minutes of cardio and attend Boot Camp class. Diet - I managed to leave the grocery store at lunch today without a whoopie pie. That took a hell of a lot of will power. You have no idea. Work - I WILL finish the draft of the policy manual today and send it to others to proof and look over. I WILL!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Man Archive

Here's the list of guys I went on dates with during my dating frenzy. I include it here for posterity. If you have no idea what I'm talking about please visit my archives from October through about February. It's a good time.

1) CA Dream Boy - Good friends
2) Friendster Guy – My boyfriend (giggle giggle)
3) Buff Gym Guy - 2ish dates, friends, moved to LA
4) K - 1 date, no further contact
5) Glider Guy - 1 date, no further contact
6) High School Guy - Numerous dates and phone conversations. He can't commit and I can't not commit so we've decided to stick to friendship. He's my buddy now.
7) Math Teacher Guy - 3 dates and counting. Sent him an email saying I thought he was great but I found someone else.
8) British Musician - 1/2 "date", no call
9) First Impression Guy - he owes me more than one but I'm not going to take him up on it. Dissing me for pot is SO not cool.
10) You're Beautiful Guy - 1 lunch date, haven’t contacted him since.
11) Picture Taker Guy - 1 conversation at a party, 1 date, has girlfriend.

Spring resolutions

Now that I've got my relationship status on an even keel, I feel the need to get a few more of the things going on in my life in order. They are:

1) Finances
2) Thesis
3) Vacation
4) Fitness/Physique
5) My stuff/clutter
6) Work
7) Diet

Here's the thing, now that I'm on my own, no one else can do this for me. Of course no one could really do most of them for me in the first place but now everything is up to me. And that's surprisingly freeing. Why? Because every success or failure is up to me. I don't have to do anything for anyone else. And I know myself well enough that if I put my mind to something I will accomplish it. And I also know that if I all of a sudden could care less about one of those things I'm not disappointing someone else if I say screw it. [Side note: In a way, I think that's why I don't want kids. I don't want someone else around that I have to think about 24/7. My brain gets too stressed by that thought.]

So, what about these 6 things? I've now put them in the side bar in lieu of the list of the men I went on dates with. That's old news. I'll create a post later to archive that information.

1) Finances - I'm working to pay off my debt while also saving as much as I can. First the credit cards, then my car, then my student loans. I have an appointment to meet with a Financial Advisor in the Fall so things are moving forward on this front.
2) Thesis - I would like to be done this by June. I don't want to have to think about it anymore.
3) Vacation - Perhaps a weekend with my gal pals in Boston and a camping trip to Nova Scotia around my birthday. Because of #1 I have to keep it cheap.
4) Fitness/Physique - I'm in the best shape of my life. Well, maybe not the best "shape", but I am definitely more fit than I've ever been. My "shape" is still decidedly apple. I just measured and my waist at my belly button is 35"! And that isn't even the thickest part of my tummy. Somehow I've only gained 1 pound yet acquired an extra inch in about a month. I blame the birth control. Anyway, my new goal is to have a flat tummy by my birthday in August. I want to look like this. I already have the hair so it's not outside the realm of possibility. And she's got muscles, not scary sticky outty clavicles so I think she's a good role model.
5) My stuff/clutter - getting rid of one thing a day. Can't get much more specific than that.
6) Work - I have a lot of random projects I am working on and I'd really like to move things forward and maybe get a thing or two finished before my boss comes back from maternity leave. My new strategy is to think "If I were to leave in two weeks, what would I like to have accomplished?" It's been working this week. It's forced me to get a jump on some projects.
7) Diet - I don't mean go on a diet. What I mean here is to eat more of the foods that are healthy for me and less of those that aren't. I'd like to cut down on sugars a lot. I don't think they are making me feel good and they certainly aren't helping my waistline.

Since I post to this blog almost daily it makes sense for me to keep track of my progress here. From time to time therefore you will see little notes at the bottom of my posts with things relating to these 7 goals that I'd like to keep track of. Here's the first one.

Today: Fitness - swam 12 laps and ran 4.3 miles! My longest run ever. I tricked myself by forcing myself to run for 10 songs on my iPod instead of for a certain amount of time or distance. Thesis - I spent an hour transcribing an interview and will be doing one more half hour momentarily. I will reward myself by allowing myself to watch TV. Clutter - I got rid of a shirt today and pulled things out of a closet that I need to sell. Work - I finally started rewriting the policy manual I have been putting off for months and almost finished it. Diet - I probably didn't need the iced mocha. But I did walk to get it and I didn't get the whipped cream. Baby steps.

Don't drink the water

There have been a rash of pregnancies in my office of late. This is probably not surprising given that I work with over 100 women. Another co-worker just dropped in and announced the good news. That makes two currently pregnant and two that just had babies last month.

I don't know how to react to pregnancy. It's a bandwagon I can't seem to jump on. I offer my sincere congratulations but at the same time I'm sitting there thinking "What's wrong with you? What could possibly possess you to subject yourself to all that comes with childbearing and rearing?"

I have plenty of care giving instincts but I just can't muster being maternal. I like kids well enough. I think they are interesting and amusing in small doses. And kids love me. I'm like a magnet for rugrats. But it's the same thing as when a person with cat allergies is a magnet for cats, even the ones that never come out from under the bed. They sense that you don't want them around and come anyway.

I also can only goo goo and ga ga over pictures of new babies so much. I happen to be near a wall of baby pictures because one of the high level execs had a baby last month and her admin asst is like a doting aunt posting pictures with wild abandon. People stop by all day and I can hear them oohing and aahing and talking abotu babies and whether the baby looks like the mom or the dad.

I think I've just decided to look into whether my insurance covers Essure.

Don't be a dumb ass

Someone found this site by Googling "How to get in a girl's pants" so I thought I'd give them a few pointers.

1) Be a human being.
2) Acknowledge that she is a human being
3) Treat her the way you'd want some guy to treat your mom/sister/daughter
4) Stop wanting to get in her pants and start wanting to find out what's in her head.

It's pretty simple.

P.S. Mom - if you happen to have found this site you better tell me.

P.P.S. On the Discardia front, I now have a pile by my door of things I need to bring to a thrift store. It includes a humungous winter coat I can't believe I used to wear, a VCR, a bunch of books (to go to the 5 colleges book sale - donations now accepted at the Lebanon Coop for you Upper Valley locals), VHS tapes, and some random stuff. I threw out an old pair of sneakers. Today I have not yet determined what possession to remove from my life. It may be an article of clothing. Or I may look into selling some Lord of the Rings paraphenalia on EBay. Just because someday it might be worth something doesn't mean it needs to take up my karmic space now. The hardest thing about getting rid of your possessions is figuring out the best place for them to go and then actually bringing them there.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Practicing Discardia

I have a bumper sticker on my car that says "The best things in life aren't things." My friend J pointed out the irony of that sticker to me as he and several other of my friends toiled to move me into my second floor apartment last October. Before I moved I had purged a lot of stuff. Or what I considered a lot of stuff. But I still had way more than necessary. I still have way more than necessary.

I have a profile on 43 Things. It's a site where you make a list of 43 things you want to do in your life, from giving up smoking to flying in a hot air balloon to visiting all 50 states. It just so happens that no less than 5 of my 43 Things have something to do with having less stuff or enjoying what I have, not what I don't. I recently came across someone who had "get rid of one possession every day" and I found the idea fascinating. Could I do that? My first thought was no way. I need everything I have. But then I started to think of the things I have floating around the house that are in various states of disrepair or that don't fit me anymore.

Then I began picturing the contents of my drawers and closets. I am very organized so even though I have a lot of stuff I know exactly where all of it is. And there is stuff I know I can get rid of easily. Many that I can pawn off on my X and he can deal with it. After that it would get harder. Maybe.

What you don't yet know about me is that for a time I was a professional organizer. I had an actual client or two whose house I went to and I went through their things Clean Sweep style.
What I know as a "professional" is that the hardest part about getting rid of your things is starting, and then realizing that it feels better to let it go of it than to cling to it irrationally. Easier said than done of course. The psychology of getting rid of things is quite fascinating.

It just so happens that Discardia starts tomorrow (see the link's sidebar), not coincidentally on the first day of spring. Discardia is the holiday of letting go. Because it is spring I am currently in the mood for letting go of physical things, although you can let go of whatever your little heart desires - guilt, stress, painful memories, obligations, etc.

Because of Discardia falling so conveniently on the day after I started thinking about getting rid of a few things, I am going to start getting rid of one possession a day. Maybe I'll list the items here if I remember. What I'm going to do right now is turn on some music and scan my rooms for the first wave of stuff. Nothing like a large purge to get the Discardia juices flowing!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Why becoming an ex-pat sounds good sometimes.

Just in case the rest of the states fall to ignorance and stupidity the way South Dakota has, here's a description of how to perform an abortion. The actual post you can probably skim but the comments are fascinating.

In case you don't get all the way through the 200 plus comments to mine, I said that I appreciated the inclusion of the removal of the fetal body parts in the description. It's good to hear about that from a pro-choice source rather than from the grim reaper pacing back and forth in front of Planned Parenthood (When I lived in Texas I literally had to drive by him everyday. Yeeha!) Knowing that a somewhat formed pre-human (what does one call the fetus if one does not consider it fully human but also wants to be respectful. So much gray people. So much gray.) is being destroyed is why I am pro-CHOICE, not pro-abortion. If there were some way to stop pregnancy before it started (don't get me started on the morning after pill controversy or RU-486) and we didn't need abortions anymore no one in their right mind would be advocating for them. I think that is often what the most adamant pro-lifers don't get. I don't want to have to have an abortion and I'd have to think long and hard before I did, but if that is my last resort, that is my last resort. And don't give me adoption bullshit either. I happen to be white so maybe I could find a nice home for my child. But not everyone is white. Or middle class. Or healthy. Or had consensual sex.

So much gray.

Friday, March 17, 2006

I'm green but it ain't from the luck of the Irish

I'm an atheist. Biting Beaver reminds me why.

Also, I'm sick. Still. Or again. I woke up at 3am with my innards fighting an epic battle for intestinal domination. Nothing was leaving my body but the alien inside sure as hell was trying to. Then, when I finally got up at 6 I had no hot water - a consistent problem my landlord is trying to fix. I had to go to the gym for a hot shower because the idea of just doing a tepid head rinse was really unappealing. Now I am polishing off the liter of ginger ale I bought this morning and hoping that the toast and rolls I have allowed myself to eat for lunch will not counteract my efforts to purge my system of this scourge. Luckily, the purging process isn't too out of control and is going in the direction things are supposed to. If you get my meaning.

In other, more positive news, Friendster Guy and I had a great date last night. While waiting for our table to be ready we wandered around a building that has 40 artist studios. The halls are essentially an art gallery. And the building itself was saved from ruin and converted from industrial ghetto to artsy fartsy industrial chic. It's pretty cool. Around every corner is something new to discover. And dinner was awesome. (Except when it woke me up at 3am - through no fault of it's own mind you. Just a victim of bacterial circumstance or something.) And the conversation is getting ever more easy. And our quirks and ticks are starting to come out. And neither of us has run screaming from the room. And it's all good. Hopefully I'll feel better for a Saint Patrick's Day party tonight where I will meet some of Friendster Guy's friends for the first time.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Electronic exhibitionism

Blogging is an interesting hobby. At least I consider it a hobby, a hobby mixed with therapy.

I have several friends who have blogs. Their blogs are fascinating not just for their content, but for their look into how a person's brain works.

I took a class last spring in Oral History. The professors drilled into our heads the following: Medium, Message, and Massage. The Medium for all blogs is a website with entries, simple enough. The Message varies dramatically and is what makes reading them so interesting. One look at the blog roll I have at the right will show you just how varied the Message found in the blogosphere can be.

What I find currently interesting is the Massage. In Oral History Massage is how you change and mold what is recorded by your tape recorder into something that makes sense in the written word. It isn't as easy as it sounds. You aren't changing what is said necessarily, but HOW it is said. Reading the blogs of people I know shows me not only what they think, but how they think it. Their personalities, or at least the aspect of their personalities that they are presenting, are evident. Some people think very clearly and state things in the simplest of terms. I'd consider my blog one of these. I don't need (want) to play with words to get my point across. Some people are writing their blogs specifically to play with words. It's a writer's dream. An infinite blank page and a potential audience of millions. Or at least a few trusted souls.

Others have a specific topic, and although the option to digress is there and they often do go off topic, their blogs return to the subject at hand, or as defined in the "About this blog" section.

I personally find the more personal blogs the most interesting. That's not surprising given the very personal and sometimes surprisingly intimate nature of my blog. But that's where the therapeutic nature of my blog comes in.

Why do I blog? I never kept a journal. I discovered through a series of non-fiction writing courses that writing about myself is not only kind of fun, but I learned a lot about myself, and let go of some inner demons (some I didn't even know I had). The thing is, without the deadline of a class or the feedback from my peers I wouldn't write. Blogging gives a person just enough sense of an audience and just enough feedback via comments that it compels me to write.

Blogging is certainly not a modest hobby. The public nature precludes modesty. Honestly, I want the attention. It's validating and soothes the ego when someone posts a comment. So far I haven't attracted any negative attention or I might feel differently.

Blogging is infinitely fascinating on more levels than a monitor and a keyboard might suggest. The language, the sociology, the community, the interaction. Fascinating.

Note: My lovely and talented friend Jen M. has posted what I consider a very brave post about pedophilia. It's also a smart one. Just because you think you know where the danger is, doesn't mean it's the only danger. Don't look over your shoulder so much you forget to look in front of you. Or vice versa.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A lament

Why oh why is it so hard to conveniently prevent pregnancy in this day and age? I mean, all I want to do is have a little fun without worrying that I'm going to have to commit to something smaller and more obnoxious than I am for the next 18 years.

I know there are women out there who really want children and my heart goes out to them. Good luck to you. But for those of us who don't, or don't want to right now, it's quite a pain in the rear end. Women have to either ingest hormones for temporary prevention or choose a permanent solution, which often means either you (or your partner if he's willing) going under the knife. [Side note - I feel a little bad about my X. He went under the knife but our timing was such that by the time we were allowed to take things out for a spin, we were living in different apartments and had signed divorce papers. Oops. Luckily I know he didn't have the procedure specifically for me.]

Can't there be a middle ground? Something permanently temporary? I guess the Nuvaring is helpful in that regard. You ignore it for 3 weeks. The problem is, it's giving me migraines. Once a month I'm getting nausea, auras, etc... and I'm not so sure about the whole "it'll make your skin clear up". I think it's gotten worse. Hormones are not a fun way to go for many women.

I don't want kids. I don't. But there's this little voice inside my head that says "what if you hit 39 or so and you are a whole new person and for some unknown reason you decide you want to procreate?" Am I the same person I was at 19? No. Did I want kids then? No. Do I want kids now? No. Will I want kids in another 10 years? With 98% surety I can say no. But what about that 2%? Will that 2% of me want to throttle the me from the past that went for a tubal ligation or Essure? Am I willing to take that risk?

On the other hand, do I want to spend the next 15-20 years on some sort of hormonal birth control? Hell no. I don't even think they recommend that.

I've gone the condom route. It's not exactly ideal. And it's one of the least effective birth control methods. There's nothing like having to deal with opening wrappers and coitus interuptus only to worry about have a bouncing bundle of joy anyway.

I betcha if men all of a sudden had to have the babies all methods of birth control would be free, money would be thrown at research, and abortion would be legal as all get out. Does anyone know of any scifi books that tell such a story?

What's a woman to do?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Too good to be true

I'm still in a good mood but I'm home now because I have some sort of stomach thing. I feel nauseous and have little pains in my tummy. Fun, you bet!

I'm going to go lie on the couch now and read the Chronicles of Narnia - The Silver Chair. Only a book or two left to go in the series.

Oh, and Friendster Guy took a gander at The Good Girls Guide to Bad Girl Sex. Of course the first page he sees is describing anal beads! Good grief! I'm still on Chapter 1 where the author is saying to look in the mirror and declare that you are a bad girl. I'm definitely not that kind of "bad girl." But we did get a laugh out of it.

Picture this, Massachusetts, 1996ish

I need you to pretend to be 17 again. Remember the embarassment? The self-doubt? Remember your first time? You may have to pick a different age but I really want you to feel this story because I find it absolutely horrifying. This is the story of someone close to me.

This woman, or maybe I should say girl being that she was 17 at the time, and her then boyfriend consummated their relationship on Grounghogs day. It was her first time. Most likely his as well.

Sometime soon afterward, she was walking through the halls of her high school as you do when you are 17. One of her male teachers came up to her and said, "So, Groundhogs day huh?"

Can you even imagine? I mean can you? Really? The hole that I'd will to open up in the earth would never have been big enough to contain my shame. The rods with which I'd want to torture that man would never be hot enough or sharp enough to express my anger.


WTF? And don't forget her boyfriend for sharing the information.

So far so good

I'm in a good mood today. You know why? Because Friendster Guy and I have gotten to that comfort level where he can clip his toenails (only one, he had a hangnail) and I can sleep in my bite guard (uber sexy FYI) and we're both ok with that. It may not sound like much, or very appetizing, but I like it.

Also, I just got my weekly site visit summary and it appears that Big Girl Underoos may have helped a few lost souls out there. From the summary I can see how people found the site. Most searches are nasty and involve sexual acts. However, this week someone wandered here while asking "Does Nuvaring get in the way?" And she was directed to my post saying nope, it doesn't! Then, someone else looked for "inability to show intimacy". I hope knowing that they aren't the only one helped in some way. It's like my own private little public service announcement. Sassy Pants - helping one e-person at a time.

I hope you all are having a lovely Tuesday.

Monday, March 13, 2006

I went all the way to Canada to see dildos eh.

So my mom and I were in Toronto this weekend. Well, mostly just Saturday because we drove there so Friday and Sunday were each about 8 hours in the car stopping along US Route 90 at various intervals to pee and get snacks at our nation's best invention - the Rest Area. I don't really think they are the best invention but sometimes, when you really gotta pee and are craving some Dunkin' Donuts coffee, they are like an oasis on the horizon. Except I wasn't craving Dunkin' Donuts coffee until I saw the signs announcing its presence in 15...6...2 miles!!! "Dear lord Mom, we HAVE to stop and get some Dunkin' Donuts coffee!"

Besides gorging ourselves on roadside fast food we also stopped at Niagara Falls. Neither of us had been there before, which is why we endured being coated in frozen mist. It was hella cold. See! Brrrrr! I have no idea why anyone would want to Honeymoon there, even in the best of weather. Driving through the town of Niagara was depressing. And then the Canadian side is all Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Cafe, Casino, never see the light of day and see the same things you can see in any mildly touristy place anywhere in the world placeish. I have no desire to return there. Even though you're at this beautiful natural wonder it's still tacky. It's too bad. It would be much better if you had to hike in. THAT would be awesome.

While wandering Toronto my Mom and I went into a Condom Shack. There is nothing quite as uncomfortable as being in a store with dildos AND your Mom. Unless of course you are there with your Dad. That would be worse. We didn't stay long. And then we both exclaimed how cool we were for going in, especially for going in as a mother-daughter duo. And you know what? We are cool.

We also went up in the CN Tower. Here's our feet standing on the glass floor. See the tiny little cars and semi-trucks? Standing on glass looking 100 plus floors down is not the most comfortable of feelings. Especially when little kids join you on your square and commence to jump up and down. Yeah, that's not funny. Luckily, few parents thought it was either.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Right message, wrong image

I'm back and going to bed. But in case you don't have anything else to do this evening, here's a follow-up on Teri Hatcher's Vanity Fair article about being molested. As you can see, the cover pretty much plays into feminine stereotypes and negates the message. It's great that she can embrace her sexuality despite having been sexually abused, but doesn't the subject warrant a little less sex appeal?

Lord of the Rings was awesome by the way. Swing by Toronto and see it. It was like the movies, cirque du soleil, and the Lion King all rolled into one.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Imported puntang...poontang (sp?)

I know the first thing I think about when I hear "World Cup" and "Germany" is prostitution on a grand scale. Well, it wasn't the first thing I thought about until now. Also see I Blame The Patriarchy's mention.

This post is going to have to tide you over for a few days. I'm off to Toronto with my Mom. We're going to see (don't laugh) the Lord of the Rings - the musical. Unfortunately, the links I am trying to find so you can be educated on this particular show are broken. Hmmm... When last I saw the ads it looked very Cirque du soleil. I'll let you know.

Talk amongst yourselves.

Role Model

You know who I want to be when I grow up? Dame Judy Dench. She's funny, elegant, beautiful and you just know she's not going to take shit from anyone. Including James Bond.

Plus we have the same haircut.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The State of the Union: Sex Education

I've been scouring the internet trying to figure out what the requirements are for sex education nowadays. Turns out, there are a whole lot of kids growing up ignorant. And given the fact that I am overly educated in this area and still don't know what the hell I'm doing, that's a scary fact. Go here for a brief rundown of the states and what they require. Only 22 states (and DC) mandate sex education. 21 states (not necessarily the ones that mandate sex ed) must stress abstinence. Only 13 states must cover, but not stress, contraceptives. 37 states and DC mandate STD/HIV education. How can you have STD/HIV education and not have sex education? I imagine the following:

"Now kiddies, there are diseases out there that we can't tell you how you can get but God is watching you so be good. If you get one it means you are a bad person and God has punished you."

I'm a firm believer that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Do legislators, ministers, or whoever, not get that educating someone about sex makes them much more likely to make the right kinds of decisions? Do you give a 15 year old a gun and not teach them how to use it safely? Does teaching that kid gun safety make him more likely to become a killer? No, as a matter of fact, it's probably the opposite. He's more likely to treat the gun with respect and not accidentally shoot someone. Is the same not true for kids and sexuality? Once the mystery is gone so is some of the allure.

I think I may have found a cause I need to put more time and effort into.

Way to go Lois Lane!

Teri Hatcher, of Desperate Housewives, reveals in Vanity Fair that she had been sexually abused by an uncle when she was a little kid. Read more here.

Thanks for speaking out Teri!

Also of note, today is International Women's Day, a "celebration of the economic, social, cultural and political achievements for women."

Go out and celebrate!

Sex Ed refresher courses

When I was a kid I learned way more than the average kid about the mechanics of sex. When my mother was pregnant for my sister the doctor asked me where the baby was fully expecting me to say "In Mommy's tummy." Imagine his surprise when I said, "In Mommy's uterus." I was two. Precocious little git.

Then I had and loved the book Where Did I Come From? when I was about 4 or 5. I have pictures of me reading it. If you have kids I highly recommend it. It's probably harder for the parents to read it than for the kids to hear it.

From the time I was 10, or maybe even younger, my Mom would borrow The Miracle of Life from the library. You can watch the updated version at that link. The interior footage (i.e. inside the body) is the same but from the small portion I just watched, they've made it a lot John Lithgow narrates.

In 6th grade I got the official sex education class in school. Coed. Giggles. Embarrassment. No one asked any questions of course. This was 1987-88. AIDS was an issue. Pregnancy was an issue.

Everyone taught us the what, but we never really got the how. How do you talk to your partner about STDs? How do you get tested? I'm almost 30 and I still don't really know the answer to those questions. Being married so young (21) all I had to worry about was pregnancy. Now I have to relearn everything I didn't have to practice in my 20s. I feel like I'm still in the larval stage of both the physical and psychological consequences of sex. And I knew the word uterus at age 2! What happened in the interim?

They should have sex ed every year in school and part of it should involve role play. Not THAT kind of role play you sick pervert ; ), but role playing the conversations you should have. The first time you've ever spoken to someone about STDs shouldn't be while rolling around on a couch. I don't know about you, but I'm not exactly articulate at that moment. I can imagine it would be embarassing as all hell to have to talk to a classmate about the number of partners they've had (they could make it up or have a sheet to answer from) but is it any less embarassing to do it in real life? In real life you can die from that embarassment. Why not get it out of your system before it has more dire consequences than getting red in the face and getting teased by classmates?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Women lie and then pay for it

I was listening to a radio program the other night - probably John Tesh (there isn't a lot to listen to up here in Clear Stationville) and he, or some other DJ, was talking about what women lie about. Apparently, we lie about weight, age, height, and how much we exercise. I am 5'2", weigh 135 pounds (on a good day), I'm 29, and I exercise a lot. Granted, none of that is really anything to be ashamed of - depending on who I'm talking to. But I can honestly say I've never lied about any of those things, not even to get into a bar.

I'm wondering about another number women lie about. You know the number I'm talking about. Your number. As in how many people you have slept with. I've been thinking about this number a little bit given all my thoughts on sex lately. I don't think my number is too high or too low. It works for me. What concerns me more is the numbers of the people who constitute my number. As we all know (or should), we sleep with everyone that person has ever slept with. So you take your number, think about your numbers' number, and then you get a bigger number. Each "generation" exponentially increases the number of people you've slept with. And that's scary.

It's sad and terrifying that something so natural can be so dangerous. I mean, you can die from sex. DIE. And I'm not talking from embarassment.

For your edification (and to be truthful, mine) here is a list of questions from you should ask your partner before you have sex with them.

Are you having sex with anyone else?

How many sexual partners have you had?

Have you ever had an STD?

Have you ever had a sexual partner who had HIV or another STD?

How long has it been since you've been tested for HIV and other STDs?

How many sexual partners have you had since then?

Have you ever had genital ulcers or warts?

Do you have any STD symptoms — ulcers, warts, vaginal or penile discharge?

Do you know how to tell if you are infected with an STD?

Do you prefer getting tested for HIV and other STDs, and then having a monogamous relationship, or using condoms each time we have sex?

Have I asked anyone these questions? Sadly, not really. Am I concerned? Only a little. I always used condoms with my partners. However, Friendster Guy and I should probably address these questions more directly than we have. I'm not telling you my number because I have not yet told him. Plus, it's not really any of your business. There's a difference between lying and pleading the 5th.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Guys and Dolls

I love my guy friends. (Hi guys!) Four of my male friends read this blog with regularity (that I know of, there may be more). Two often post and two sometimes send me emails responding to something I've written - usually to my most honest and raw posts. My last post got 3 of the 4 to comment in some way. Mostly with helpful encouragement and "hell yeah I'd be turned on if you told me what to do and I'd also appreciate the guidance." Good to know guys. Thanks!

I find it interesting that I haven't gotten any responses from the ladies. I know you are out there. I have been reading the Good Girl/Bad Girl book and it turns out that the author feels that about 60% of women feel the way I do on some level. They have a secret vixen hidden inside but don't know how to let her out. I actually took steps to let her out yesterday and it worked. TMI moment - I initiated a "practice session" and was actually able to verbalize a few instructions. Friendster Guy is now reading the blog so he knew how uncomfortable I was. But just knowing he knew my issue(s) made me more comfortable. So I put on those big girl underoos and dealt with it.

One thing the book says to do is to purchase and display a sexual totem in your space - something that reminds you of your sexuality. She doesn't mean one of those African carvings with large phalluses, unless of course that works for you. The author has a statue of a woman stretching. I knew instantly what I needed to do. I put down the book and went right over to the frame shop to get the sketch of me when I posed nude framed. So in about two weeks I'll be hanging that picture in my bedroom right by the full length mirror so that I will see it every day. Well, everyday that I wake up at my house that is.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Ignorance is bliss

Sometimes I wish I was stupid. To be oblivious would be so peaceful. Unfortunately, I am not (usually) an idiot. In fact, I think too much. WAY too much. I'm trapped in my own head. And it's becoming a problem. Especially in, shall we say, sexual matters.

I am incapable of speaking about sex. Sure I can joke around with my gal pals or speak clinically about the parts, but when it comes to saying "I want this" or "let's do that" I have a sheer and utter block between my brain/body and my mouth. I am an articulate, confident woman with no fear about speaking in public. I even looked into being a sex ed teacher once. And yet I can't ask for what I want, or even state "that feels good." What the fuck is my problem? Seriously!? WTF?

Why in the world do I have this particular issue? It makes no sense. I would love to be a brazen hussy. I mean it. I'd love to be able to walk into the room and say to Friendster Guy - "You! Come here and pleasure me. Here's how..." The likelihood of that happening in my current mental state is very, very low. However, I'm sure he'd be happy to oblige. Actually, that's the problem, I am NOT sure he or any other male would be turned on by that. Logically, I have no doubt that would be most guys' fantasy. But insecurity does not work logically. My greatest fear is that I'd say that and be rejected. Sadly, my past experience plays this out. Fucking baggage.

The problem with insecurity is that no matter how palpable it feels, it really and truly is all in ones own head. This is why I wish I was stupid, so I could escape my own head. Technically, I should be able to think the insecurity away. Or unthink it away. It's like worry or fear. There is nothing to it but at the same time it can be paralyzing.

I mentioned awhile ago that I purchased the book A Good Girl's Guide to Bad Girl Sex. I'm moving it to the top of my pile of things to read. I need help. If I learn anything good I'll let you know.

See, another problem is the whole "good girl" thing. I've always been a good girl, to the point of being Stepford-like. I was a Stepford daughter. Much to the chagrin of my younger, more crazy, sister, I never got in trouble. And it's not that I didn't get caught, I just never did anything wrong or even mildly dangerous. I was also a Stepford student. I was in all honors and AP classes and I graduated 6th out of 600 in high school. You can't get much more good student than that. Now I'm even a goddamn Stepford ex-wife. I've never been "bad". Or when I was it never felt good, for one reason or another. Again, I was stuck in my fucking head.

I'm going to work at getting unstuck. In the part of my head that I'm hoping to tap into I'm a voluptuous, sexy, sassy, sex fiend who knows what she wants and isn't afraid to get it. If Friendster Guy is willing to be patient and cognizant of my insecurity issues, he could be in for an interesting run. After all, practice makes perfect.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Not so scientific survey

In honor of April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month and inspired by recent things I have encountered on the web, I have created this decidedly unscientific survey for you to pass around. The deadline for completing it is March 31st, 2006. I will post the results April 6th - A Day to End Sexual Violence.

Go here to fill it out. Pass it on.

Complaints Department

There is only one thing in my life that I can complain about at the moment and that is the sheer and utter lack of hot water in my apartment when I want to take a shower. Thank goodness I can take one at the gym. Today I had to kneel on the floor of my tub and rinse my hair in tepid water. Fun you bet.

Of course, if that's the only thing I have to complain about I really can't say I have a bad life.

Switching gears, here is a DVD I really want to find and watch. It's called Searching for Angela Shelton. Watch the trailer. It's fascinating.

"In the documentary Searching for Angela Shelton, filmmaker Angela Shelton journeys across the United States meeting other Angela Sheltons in an effort to survey women in America. She discovers that 24 out of the 40 Angela Sheltons she spoke to had been raped, beaten or molested. (now 28 out of 40)"

"As Angela started interviewing other Angela Sheltons she found that 70% had been victims of rape, childhood sexual assault and/or domestic violence. This surprising journey also led Angela to confront her own abusive past and her pedophile father on Father’s Day."

You know something, I just don't get it. I really don't. I don't get how (some)men are unable to think with their head or hearts instead of their cock or their fists. I really don't get it. Is testosterone that all consuming? Even when I am in the throws of the worst PMS I can still manage to be civil to my co-workers. Can men not self-regulate? I just don't get it. I shake my head in sadness.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sorry folks

Didn't mean to leave you hanging there on the whole "Did her head explode or not?!" front. Suffice it to say that my head did not explode when Friendster Guy and X met last night. Nor did anyone have any really uncomfortable moments. My X, in a rather alarming change of attitude and personality, was super duper social. As in, he got to the bar before me, figured out who was in my group, introduced himself and proceded to have a great conversation while waiting for Friendster Guy and I. This from the man who won't call for pizza because he doesn't want to speak to another human. Honestly, I was kind of proud of him. He told me that without me he's had to force himself to be social. Good for him.

Friendster Guy was quiet but it had nothing to do with the presence of X. We talked afterward and he said it was fun and he didn't feel weird at all. The weirdest part was when I had to introduce the two of them to people and then it sank in that I was sitting between my X and my new boyfriend. there was a lot of head scratching.

I called High School Guy while we were there and told him not to come since there weren't a lot of people there and we decided to leave before he was going to get there anyway. He's the least of my worries.

There is something to be said for sex with other people before marriage

I'm feeling very inexperienced. Don't get me wrong, I've done most of the deeds. However, my repertoire is limited in scope and variety. What exactly am I trying to say here without being too graphic...I feel like I'm 17 (or whatever age you can imagine a person being sexually active. For the record I was more like 20) and I've had sex but I still don't know exactly what I'm doing or what it's all about. And I'm this poor 17 year old and I'm talking to my girlfriends and they're like, "What? You never did/felt that? Girlfriend, you're behind the times." Only it's not the acts themselves I'm talking about, it's the comfort level within them, the sensualness, the intimacy.

I have had sex. I have made love. But I have not had this kind of sex or this kind of making love. The fact that I am squeemish about the phrase "making love" means that my sexual development is behind. I'm like freaking Beavis and Butthead. Heh heh, heh heh, she said "making love". Like it makes me nervous for some reason (can you say insecurity and fear of rejection?) There, that's it. My sexual development is stilted. And it's because, well, because I was with someone for a long time who was also behind a little. And instead of growing together, we stayed the same, and then ultimately grew apart. I'm just now discovering what all the fuss is about. That sounds awful but it's pretty much true. What I am discovering is that sex is funny, sex is connection, sex should make you feel attractive, it should be comfortable, it is sensual, it involves all the senses. With the right person it can make you feel completely vulnerable but absolutely safe at the same time.

Here's a quote:

"Sex is emotion in motion." ~Mae West

I might have started out in the remedial class, but I'm quickly moving up to Honors.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Moment of Zen

I'm playing with Blogger. I have yet to use any images. Here's one I took in San Diego at the Mission San Diego.

Random Musings

Here's a very cool quote I saw on a blog and am stealing to post here.

"Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say, and say it hot." - D. H. Lawrence (1885 - 1930)

It came from Tiffany, aka the Exciting Coquette. Go visit Tiffany would you? I don't know her from Adam but somehow she found my blog and took the time to post a comment or two and I appreciate that sort of thing. So Hi Tiffany in Iowa. Happy blogging.

In other news, whoever packed my lunch mistook me for a rabbit. Oh right, that would be me. I have a container of raw string beans, a container of raw baby carrots, an apple, and a salad that also has string beans and apple in it, and craisins. I feel very healthy and all but I also feel very much in need of a hamburger. Or at least some sort of non-vegetable or fruit. Cheese or bread would be nice.

The filing project is coming along nicely thanks for asking. And I did get my groove on in my office. I put on Accuradio's Flock of 80s channel and the first song that came on was Salt-N-Pepa's Push It. That's right, I could feel the music pumpin' hard. They told me to push it so I did. You don't mess with Salt-n-Pepa. That song was followed closely by Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer and Kool & the Gang's Celebration. It was like a junior high flashback and certainly made the time go faster. I only have a couple more files to purge before I start putting stuff back in the cabinet. Can I just say, for the love of god people, if there are already 5 copies of something in 5 folders you don't need six more copies of it in as many more folders. This is what happens when a project is shuffled from office to office to office with no one taking real responsibility for it before it moves again. That crazy chain of 'ignore it and it'll go away" stops right here people. I'm breaking the chain!

Watch out for shrapnel!

My Hope-oscopes for today are a little off:

LOVE "Your charm and your intelligence are formidable [Well duh!]. Make sure you're not subtly using them to intimidate your honey into a decision that they're not quite ready to make. Let them get there on their own."

I don't think there are any decision currently on the table so whatever.

CAREER "It doesn't really matter what you're doing throughout the day, as you will doubtless enjoy your work. You've got a knack for squeezing fun out of any situation, and right now it's supercharged."

Um, my goal for the day is to clean out a filing cabinet. It ain't exactly Mardi Gras. Maybe I'll have to put on some music and rock out in my office.

By the way, today is the day Friendster Guy and X (and maybe High School Guy) all meet and my head explodes. Nothing about that in my horoscope.

I talked to Friendster Guy last night to check in on his comfort level with this crazy endeavor. He's definitely nervous and/or uncomfortable but he's willing to give it a shot. You gotta give him bonus points for that. He's such a good guy. Technically, if he is going to stay with me (which I hope he will) this was bound to happen sooner or later. It's a small town for one thing and for another my X has been adopted as a friend of my family. I'm ok with that but it can't be an easy thing for someone who hasn't even met my family to realize their spot as my significant other was 1) already filled at one time, and 2) not 100% empty in the eyes of my family. My family members aren't doing this to be mean. On the contrary, it's because they are so nice and accepting. They really like X and can't help keeping him around. It will slowly fade as he doesn't go to all the events and then eventually leaves the area. But for the next year or so, any serious boyfriends I have are going to have to be at events with my family and potentially my X. It's better they meet now at a bar with lots of other people than at my sister's birthday party.

I asked Friendster Guy how I should introduce him tonight.
"That's up to you." he said.
"Then I'm going to introduce you as my boyfriend."
"Whatever makes you happy." he replied.
He said it nicely but it sounded like a bit of a cop out so I said, "It's not about what makes me happy. It's about what makes sense and sounds like the right thing. Does boyfriend sound like the right definition."
"That sounds about right."
"Good. That's gonna make it a heck of a lot easier tonight when I introduce you two to everyone."
If you recall, Friendster Guy and X have the same first name. Now at least I can say this is my boyfriend "Joe" and this is my friend/ex-husband "Joe". Thank god High School Guy has a different name.