Friday, June 30, 2006

Finito!

Today is my last day in my current job! Hurray! Huzzah! I feel like I should be less happy but oh well.

Today is also the last day of June, the last day before people lose their vacation time because of the new fiscal year, so there is no one here.

I have a few more things I need to do to make the transition easier for the person taking on one of my biggest and continuing projects. Then I will go through files, pack up my stuff, and say Sayonara! Although it isn't really goodbye because technically I'm still part of the department I am currently in but I'm leaving the building so I won't be a constant presence.

Huzzah!

This will probably be the last post for at least a week as Friendster Guy and I are heading out on vacation into the unknown. The unknown being our ability to stay with and tolerate each other 24 hours a day for 7 days. I'm excited but ready to face any challenges inherent in such a test. At least it's not a road trip. And our cabin has multiple rooms so we can get private time. Friendster Guy needs his private time more than I do so I'll have to keep that in mind. Wish us luck!

Have a great holiday!

- Sassy

Thursday, June 29, 2006

War! Houh! Whaat is it good for?! Absolutely nothing!

You know what I don't get? I don't get how in real life, like the life you and I are living right now, we are not allowed, and even expressly punished, if we hurt or kill someone we disagree with in some way. For instance, I'm not about to go get my uzi and blow away someone at the grocery store because they got the last box of Devil Dogs (Gosh I love those things.) I'm not even going to do that if some idiot crashes into my car and maims or kills me or my passengers, even if it's totally their fault.

And yet, when it comes to war, you're absolutely allowed to do that.

It doesn't make sense to me that the whole goal of war is to kill more of the other side and that means you win. There HAS to be another way to go about reconcilling our differences. Like talking. Hey, novel idea I know. Or even maybe a game of skill. Like chess. Or even football. Why do people actually have to die in order for one side to win or get their point across? Is deciding on an outcome with a game of cards any more crazy than dropping a bomb on a country? Is the winner of a soccer match any more worthy or right than a country that just happens to have enough money to arm themselves to the teeth?

These are things I think about when I'm driving to work in the morning. I tell you, if women ruled the world...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Alive and trying not to panic

Dear readers, I am alive.

I am incredibly busy trying to get every aspect of my job finished or at least downloaded into someone else's head before my last day this Friday. This is the problem with my current position - no one, and I mean NO ONE, else knows what on earth I do. Luckily, my projects are independent and I can pawn them off onto several people instead of one poor shmuck who already has their own job to do.

I'm doing very well at not running screaming from my office in a panicked frenzy. But it's there right beneath the surface. I am quite proud of myself for controlling it and not letting it bubble up. If I can maintain this much self-control and calmness (even feigned) in my next job I will be AOK.

In addition, I am packing for my vacation with Friendster Guy.

I so need this vacation.

You may not hear from me for awhile. Either my head exploded or I went away to relax. Let's hope the latter. I think I'll make it.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Black Like Me

Liz over at Granny Gets A Vibrator is immersing herself in Black culture for the month. I think this is an amazing endeavor simply because it's so simple. African Americans are constantly immersed in White culture. You have to work hard to do the opposite. If I had the time I'd think about doing it. Maybe sometime after my thesis is written. Of course Liz's located where there actually is Black culture. I don't think I'm stretching when I say that the Upper Valley is pretty devoid of any ethnic culture on a large scale. There are the Asian folks who run the Asian restaurants. Then there are the adopted children with white parents. And as for Black culture, it's hard even to find a hairstylist who knows what to do. They have literally had to import someone on a part time basis. Most of the African Americans in the area are students of some kind, and the ones that live here permanently are assumed to be transients as well, even when they've lived here for decades.

Anyway, I'm curious to see what Liz learns. She's already written several posts about the experience.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

There is a tilt-a-whirl in my front yard!

Ok, so it's across the street. But still. When was the last time you could hear the screams of adolescents from your apartment?

Don't answer that.













The tilt-o-whirl and other well lit rides at the local fair. Picture taken this evening from my front yard.

Today was a long day. It started out in Manchester, NH with my niece and my mother. We left Manchester at 8:30am for the two hour drive to Story Land. We got there and proceded to go on every ride in the park. Luckily, it never rained after we got off the highway. I say luckily because for some reason the weather this spring/summer thinks this area is Seattle or the wet part of Texas or something. It's rained everyday since April. And we've been recently getting huge thunderstorms. Very cool, but very inconvenient. So anyway, it didn't rain on our Story Land trip so we were happy. And it stayed nice and cool. It was perfect.

We didn't leave until they made the first announcement that they were going to be closing the park. By the time we got a few more rides in and finally left it was 5:30pm. And we had to drive another two hours back to Manchester. My niece conked out promptly after we left the parking lot. We stopped at McDonald's to make sure my niece didn't sleep too much before bed and didn't eat too late. We didn't get to Manchester until 8:30pm. And then I had to drive the hour and 20 minutes back to my house.

Where I encountered the tilt-a-whirl.

While I was gone the Carnies apparently took over the field across the street and set-up an entire fair complete with fried dough, those long slides you slide down on burlap, and country music.

And then fireworks! I got home just in time to see these. Pretty cool huh? I took this while standing in my front yard. Standing in my FRONT YARD. If it wasn't for the darn tree I could have watched them from my living room. Or heck, from a comfortable perch on the commode. That's convenience.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Pregnant? Scared? How about some antiabortion intimidation?

"Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) has introduced the Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women's Services Act (H.R. 5052) which would enforce truth-in-advertising standards for reproductive centers. " In other words, those ""Pregnant? Scared? We Can Help." so called "clinics" would have to let you know up front that they are anti-abortion centers.

Go here to tell your Representative to support this bill.

Via Feministing.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

MacGyver commercial

Maybe you've all seen this already but being without TV I saw it for the first time a few nights ago. I LOVE this.

I loved Macgyver - for his brains and his hunkiness. (If you hadn't figured it out yet I have a thing for nerds. Friendster Guy has MacGyver tendencies and they are A-OK with me. Plus he's pretty hunky himself.) Having nerd tendences myself, I was the only girl in the "MacGyver Club" in junior high. We did things like launch rockets and egg drops. Not the soup, the thing where you make something to hold an egg and then drop it off the roof hoping the egg doesn't break.

Did you know that one of the reasons Richard Dean Anderson got the role of MacGyver was because he was sitting in the waiting room for the audition with his glasses on, reading. Classic Macgyver. Hmm...I should add that to my Netflix.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Busy, busy, busy

Shell has a well written comment on my last post re: over-eating and under-exercising. You should go check it out. (And Shell, no worries on monopolizing! Type away!)

I haven't been as prolific here recently as I tend to be. I've been busy, busy, busy. Between dog/house/child sitting for a couple of friends, a wedding, my niece's first dance recital (TOO CUTE!!! You just wanna squeeze her to death. Note: I am not advocating killing small children.) and softball I haven't had time to even go to my apartment. I am in desperate need of clean clothes. But they will have to wait until tomorrow because my evening is already booked.

Oh, and I've also been busy because I have been trying desperately to tie up loose ends before I start my NEW JOB! That's right, I haven't blogged about it but I applied for and have now accepted a new job at my current place of employment. I am getting a promotion, a significant raise (whoohoo!) and I will be moving from the corporate business park where my department is now located to campus where I will be tuned into the rhythm and pulse of the school year and hopefully be inspired to work on my thesis. To those of you I work with to whom this move comes as a surprise, I apologize. I didn't want to get anyone's hopes up but my own. Also, until the announcement comes out, please keep it to yourself. The announcement should come out today so hopefully your head won't burst from secret keeping.

I'm excited. But I have so much to do until then. I have only 8 more days in my current position to clean everything up and leave it for the next person or persons. I have a feeling my tasks will be divied up and scattered to the wind for awhile. So, I may not be blogging as much for a bit. I also have a feeling that in my new position I won't really be able to um, spend as much time on-line. We'll see how it goes. I will be getting a laptop out of the deal so you never know. At least now I'll be able to "work" at Friendster Guys house if need be.

Signing off for today so I don't have a nervous breakdown thinking about all the things I should be doing. Wish me luck.

Thank goodness I have a vacation the first week of July. Phew.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Just a spoonful of sugar

I was trolling the internet for information on High Fructose Corn Syrup in order to scare, educate, or inspire myself enough to want to avoid products with it in them when I came across this site: Obesity Myths. This is a dangerous website because it tells people what they want to hear - obesity isn't that bad and you should eat what you want. Digging not even that deeply - it was just a matter of clicking on the "About Us" link - I discovered that this website is brought to us by the Center for Consumer Freedom, "a nonprofit coalition of restaurants, food companies, and consumers working together to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices.

The growing cabal of "food cops," health care enforcers, militant activists, meddling bureaucrats, and violent radicals who think they know "what's best for you" are pushing against our basic freedoms. We're here to push back.

Consumer freedom is the right of adults and parents to choose what they eat, drink, and how they enjoy themselves. Defending enjoyment is what we're all about!"

By their own admission they are promoters of an "if it feels good, do it!" mentality.

Kind of like the tobacco industry.

I'm all for getting both sides of an issue but when a very fancy looking website essentially forgives you your trespasses and thinks you should continue them because "We believe that only you know what's best for you." I get a little concerned. When you're depressed about being overweight or unhealthy it is very easy to latch onto anything that says it's ok and gives you the easy way out. Blame the doctors! Blame the World Health Organization! You're not eating poorly, you just think you are because of their "arbitrary" guidelines. Heck, you're not even actually overweight. And if you are you're in good company.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. By the way, there is a teaspoon of sugar in a tablespoon of ketchup. Yikes.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Happiness is...

I missed that my last post was my 300th! Holy Moses.

In celebration, here's a list of 100 plus free(ish) things that make me happy. Feel free to add more in the comments. I'd love to collect 1000!

1) sleeping in my own bed after a trip
2) lazy Saturdays
3) Having organized closets
4) meeting new people
5) reconnecting with people I already know
6) trying new things
7) making people smile
8) making people laugh
9) inside jokes
10) being with my 3.5 year old niece.
11) unsolicited hugs from my niece
12) connecting with a child
13) playing hookie from work for an hour
14) my flowers actually growing
15) getting things done before the deadline
16) getting compliments from an ex-boyfriend who is an ex because he gave me the opposite of compliments while we were going out.
17) Mangos
18) seeing grown men act like kids (not adolescents) – i.e. getting all excited about something from their youth
19) Browsing in stores with artistic tchotchkies
20) Mocha lattes (ok, not quite free but whatever)
21) Catching a ground ball and tagging someone out
22) Socializing with friends
23) green living things after a long winter
24) changing the page on my calendar
25) Beating my time in a 5K
26) Flirting
27) Parents doing stuff with their kids
28) Lying in the grass
29) romantic comedies
30) seeing someone I haven’t seen in a long time
31) Harry Potter books and movies
32) Lord of the Rings books and movies
33) Billy Boyd
34) beer time after softball games
35) whoopie pies
36) laughter
37) getting comments on my blog
38) discovering new muscles
39) Fantasizing
40) seeing new places
41) Crossing something off my to do list.
42) My favorite song on the radio
43) Being able to roll down the windows in my car
44) bumping into someone unexpectedly
45) Getting RSVPs
46) Discovering that I am not an idiot, it was the data that was screwed up.
47) good hair days
48) finding pants that fit
49) getting to the cash register and finding out something is on sale.
50) funny blogs about life
51) singing showtunes at the top of my lungs
52) Having different friends to vent to about different things
53) Puppies
54) Irish accents
55) Any accents
56) Blogging
57) Maple trees
58) getting out of a speeding ticket
59) a fresh box of crayons
60) the ocean
61) Kids wearing costumes when its not Halloween
62) Doing something I’ve never done before
63) Getting an email from someone unexpectedly.
64) Talking like peers with my boss, and her boss.
65) Empty sketchpads waiting to be filled.
66) getting my hair washed by a professional
67) discovering courage I didn’t know I had
68) Crisp autumn air
69) unexpected hugs
70) Finding my favorite song on the radio
71) Dancing with wild abandon
72) Waking up naturally with no plans to get out of bed
73) Hearing that my niece wore big girl panties for the first time. Care Bear panties if you must know.
74) Beads
75) Finding out something I never knew about someone that amazes me and makes me respect or admire them even more for their strength, humor, persistence or what have you.
76) Mastering a new skill - like bunting.
77) Hearing a compliment I wasn't necessarily supposed to hear
78) Discovering that I can run further and further each time I try
79) Seeing the moon when it's super big
80) Fireflies
81) S'mores
82) Warm towels fresh out of the drier
83) Feety pajamas
84) Hearing frogs in the springtime
85) Snuggling
86) Fitting perfectly in someone's arms
87) Secret personal codes between myself and another person
88) Saying what I mean
89) Honesty - even if it may hurt for a minute, it makes things better in the long run.
90) Consideration
91) Romance
92) Humor
93) Dipping my feet in the water
94) Canonballing into the water
95) Swimming underwater
96) Serendipity
97) Coincidence
98) Sunsets
99) chocolate
100) Halloween
101) Listening to rain on a roof
102) Finishing the dishes, laundry or whatever other chore needs to be done
103) Seeing deer or other wild animals in my neighborhood
104) Bubbles
105) Being able to walk to a seasonal ice cream window. And bakery/cafe, and pizza place. Not to mention the post office, bank, and grocery store.
106) Sex with someone I feel comfortable with (I can't believe I didn't put this on the list until 106!)
107) Finding money
108) Paying off my credit cards
109) rewriting my to do list and realizing that it is shorter
110) Finishing projects

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Balance Transfer: The Art of Owing Money

Inspired partly by this article sent to me by Dr. Nik, I'd like to talk to you today about consumerism and credit.

I have a friend who is doing everything right. He's got money in the bank. He has no credit card debt. He paid for his car in cash. He doesn't have any student loans. Summing up: he has no debt, a good amount of savings, and spends money wisely. And yet, he is probably going to have a hard time using that savings as a down payment for a house because he has no credit. He doesn't have bad credit, he just has nothing that the "they" in "They didn't approve my mortgage loan" can look to and say, "He's an ok credit risk. Let's make him pay interest for the next 30 years."

On the other hand you have me. I have great credit. Superb credit. (I've always been an overachiever.) This is due mainly because I have debt, but I manage it well. I always make payments on time and I also continue to get more and different debt. I have proved to the "they" that I can handle money. Or at least handle owing it. Sadly, I am probably more likely than my friend above to get a mortgage loan despite the fact that I have no downpayment, and with student loans, a car that isn't paid for, and virtually no savings I am almost $20K in the hole. And "they'd" be happy to make that $220K.

What's wrong with this picture?

Although I am not, and never really have been, a shopper or gross consumer of goods, I have purchased a lot of things. I have lived the American Dream - Use plastic and they will come. "They" in this case being credit card offers. We as a nation are encouraged on a daily basis to buy, buy, buy. And not only that, to buy what we can't afford. Don't like your little ranch house? How about a McMansion? Got too much debt on a high rate credit card? Here, use this check to put it on this other credit card. By the way, we won't remind you when we raise your rates. Just keep paying the minimum and we'll keep raising your limit to keep pace with your spending.

And then there is my friend. He pays for the things he can afford when he can afford them. There are very few people like him. But doesn't that seem like the right thing to do? The common sense way to go if you can do it? The thing that would make loan officers happy? And yet, it is not. He'll probably go now to see if he can get preapproved for a mortgage and be told he doesn't have enough credit history. He'll have to go out, get a credit card, and buy something he doesn't really need simply to prove that he can handle the money he already knows how to handle better than the rest of us.

It defies logic. But then logic doesn't come with a 17.9% APR.

Vocab word of the day: Limerence

I found a post at Some Girl through my friend Jennifer talking about said Jennifer's limerence. I had never heard that term before. The best definition I could find (besides as described by Some Girl) is the "emotional excitement of being in love". I think the slang term would be Smitten. Glowing. Head over heels. Over the moon. Etc. Etc. Etc.

It's comforting on some level to know that the reason you are acting all crazy has been defined. Granted there are several psychological issues that have been defined that I would not like to find myself acting out. Psychopathic being one of them. Delusional being another.

Bruce Lee said "Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable."*

I like this analogy. (Have I mentioned I like analogies? I believe I have. I really like analogies.) Limerence, then, is that early flame. The energy that makes you stop eating (Although not in my case. Very little gets me to stop eating. Including stomach bugs. But I digress...) and want to spend every waking moment with the other person. Because being part of that flame is addictive. This is a dangerous time in a relationship I think. For one, you can cut yourself off from others you know. Which I think is perfectly ok for a time. Embrace your happiness. We don't get to burn brightly very often.

Another danger is that this is the time when the flame can flicker and go out unless there is more fuel behind it, or it is stoked somehow. Something has to be underneath in order for the coals to catch and continue. Lighter fluid only makes the flame flare up. It doesn't necessarily keep it burning. If you, or the other person, aren't ready to tend that fire it will go out.

I'm happy by my fire. I'm poking at it with a stick now and then, hoping to keep it lit and not accidentally put it out. Luckily, I'm fairly certain someone is on the other side poking back.

Burn baby burn. But slowly.

* I totally stole this quote out of the mouth of Chris Stevens, KBHR radio host, Northern Exposure.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Wanna feel my biceps?

Relationships are hard.

For one, to make them work you actually have to talk to another human being. And what's more, they have to respond.

And there are all sorts of emotions and baggage to wade through in that conversation - sadness, anger, defensiveness, fear, paranoia.

In my marriage, I didn't have a lot of conversations. I may have mentioned previously that I used to consider myself a non-cryer. I never cried. I'd like to amend that statement. I was a cryer who never faced anything that would make her cry. If I was upset I would bottle it up. I wouldn't discuss it with my X because that would lead to tears and tears were a sign of weakness. Or so I thought.

Well, no more. Poor Friendster Guy gets the new Sassy Pants. The woman who has shed more tears in the last 6 months than in the last six years. But it's a good thing. Obviously my avoidance of confronting issues head on did not exactly lead to a happy and long lasting marriage.

I've learned something from that experience. Tears are not a sign of weakness, they are a sign of strength. Of courage. Of a willingness not to let things keep moving forward as is, and to face problems head on, before they become status quo or lead to indifference. The conversations may not be comfortable, but they are worth it. It's like fixing a cavity. There's a dull ache before hand when something is wrong, a brief moment of pain and discomfort while you do what you need to do to fix it, but afterward, you're as good as new. Maybe even better.

And if tears count for anything, I'm one strong woman.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Redneck BBQ













What's frightening is that I don't think there is anything wrong with this. Except maybe the plastic.

Totally useless self-test. Enjoy!

I stole this from an email a friend sent me. It started with a whole bunch of blather about this being Dr. Phil's test. I could care less. In fact, I wanted to dismiss it simply for that reason. And yet, I took it. It's only 10 questions after all. And it turned out to be pretty on the nose. I've put the results list in the comments so it won't ruin the surprise.

"This is a real test given by the Human Relations Dept. at many of the major corporations today. It helps them get better insight concerning their employees and prospective employees. It's only 10 simple questions, so grab a pencil and paper, keeping track of your letter answers to each question.

1. When do you feel your best?
a) in the morning
b) during the afternoon &and early evening
c) late at night

2. You usually walk...
a) fairly fast, with long steps
b) fairly fast, with little steps
c) less fast head up, looking the world in the face
d) less fast, head down
e) very slowly

3. When talking to people you..
a) stand with your arms folded
b) have your hands clasped
c) have one or both your hands on your hips
d) touch or push the person to whom you are talking
e) play with your ear, touch your chin, or smooth your hair

4. When relaxing, you sit with..
a) your knees bent with your legs neatly side by side
b) your legs crossed
c) your legs stretched out or straight
d) one leg curled under you

5. When something really amuses you, you react with...
a) big appreciated laugh
b) a laugh, but not a loud one
c) a quiet chuckle
d) a sheepish smile

6. When you go to a party or social gathering you...
a) make a loud entrance so everyone notices you
b) make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know
c) make the quietest entrance, trying to stay unnoticed

7. You're working very hard, concentrating hard, and you're interrupted......
a) welcome the break
b) feel extremely irritated
c) vary between these two extremes

8. Which of the following colors do you like most?
a) red or orange
b) black
c) yellow or light blue
d) green
e) dark blue or purple
f) white
g) brown or gray

9. When you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep you are..
a) stretched out on your back
b) stretched out face down on your stomach
c) on your side, slightly curled
d) with your head on one arm
e) with your head under the covers

10. You often dream that you are...
a) falling
b) fighting or struggling
c) searching for something or somebody
d) flying or floating
e) you usually have dreamless sleep
f) your dreams are always pleasant

POINTS:
1. (a) 2 (b) 4 (c) 6
2. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 7 (d) 2 (e) 1
3. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 5 (d) 7 (e) 6
4. (a) 4 (b) 6 (c) 2 (d) 1
5. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 2
6. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 2
7. (a) 6 (b) 2 (c) 4
8. (a) 6 (b) 7 (c) 5 (d) 4 (e) 3 (f) 2 (g) 1
9. (a) 7 (b) 6 (c) 4 (d) 2 (e) 1
10. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 6 (f) 1

Now add up the total number of points.

Monday, June 12, 2006

This sounds just about right

Thanks Naked under my Lab Coat for the link.

Credit and comments

I paid off my credit cards this weekend! Whoop!

In other news, check out the comment section of my last post. I pretty much wrote another post responding to some comments there.

Friday, June 09, 2006

"If we can't get them out, we'll breed them out" - Braveheart

Former Evangelical preacher Lee Salisbury writes an article about the extremes to which woman are forced to be incubators, calling the U.S. a "Pro-Life Police State". A woman was jailed and charged with first degree murder after she delayed having a C-section which doctors say would have probably saved one of the twins if she had had it sooner. As Salisbury writes, "No court has ever ruled that one person can be forcibly operated on for the benefit of another. The law cannot demand that you give up your kidney or bone marrow or even blood to save another life. Nor does it charge you with murder if you refuse. Yet, only a pregnant woman loses the right to question doctor’s recommendation."

Taking it a step further, could we get fined or jailed for not taking our folic acid? Will people be performing citizens arrests if they see a pregnant lady eating a deli sandwich? Where will it stop? If we're all incubators will we be forced into pregnancy? Especially those women with the "right" genes (white) and pedigree (rich, educated). And will others be forced to turn off thier incubators because they are not deemed appropriate?

It all seems far fetched but it's a slippery slope. We already have people protesting a vaccine that could prevent a cancer that kills about 4,800 women in the US a year simply because they think it will encourage sex. I don't know about you, but just because I have a vaccine against tetanus doesn't mean I'm going to stab myself with a rusty nail. Or start hanging out in small pox infested areas of the world. I don't even know what vaccinations I have. Getting a shot when I'm 2 or 6 or even 16 is not going to make me more likely to have sex. There's a heck of a lot of other things that I can still catch, like a baby. Which brings me back to my original train of thought.

I do not want to have a child. I do not want to be pregnant. As I have written recently, there are people who think that if I'm having sex I should be playing Russian roulette. "You play, you pay." They are also saying I have no recourse in ridding myself of the pregnancy once it occurs. Finally, they are saying that once I am forced to carry the child to term it's still not my decision as to what happens to my own body. "It doesn't matter if you will die carrying this child to term. You should have thought of that before you had sex."

Good lord. This all just makes me sad. Especially since I have so many more resources than other women do. I live in a liberal area where the pharmacist encouraged me to contact my insurance company to protest when the birth control I wanted wasn't covered. There are no grim reapers walking back and forth in front of my local Planned Parenthood like there were when I lived in Texas. And I have a close family who would rally around me and probably spoil the unwanted bundle of joy to death. But most women are not in my situation.

And it makes me even more sad when I realize that it is all falling on the women's shoulders despite the fact that it takes two to tango. What is the appropriate punishment for the men who were their "partners in crime?" A hidden scarlet letter? Bullshit. I think that the father should be held as accountable. But that won't happen.

I could go on but I'm going to stop now because I'm getting depressed. I leave you with this -

What the fuck are these people thinking?! Aaaggghh!!!


Thanks Media Girl for the heads up on the article.

The Universe is conspiring against me

The same day, no, the same MORNING, that I decide to try Splenda in my tea instead of real sugar my office goes ahead and starts to stock Sugar in the Raw. I love that stuff! How's a girl supposed to get ahead I ask you? How?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Common Sense 101

Ok dear readers, I know you are pretty much on the same side of the fence with me on these issues - or at least I haven't heard from you if you aren't - so this is preaching to the choir. But preach I must because sometimes the choir needs a reason to shout Alleluiah! Amen!

Brothers and sisters I called you here today to talk about cause and effect. That's right, I said cause and effect. Every child learns early in life that if you do something wrong, you get in trouble for it. This is not a foreign concept. Ask any three year old; they know that if they don't stop doing what they are doing by the time Mom or Dad counts to three something is going to happen. They still may not listen but they get the idea. (Now, men don't officially learn this until they are around 21 or so. This is a scientific fact. It has to do with brain chemistry. But for the sake of argument we are going to assume everyone is on the same page.) So, cause and effect: you do one thing, something happens as a result. Not a hard concept to grasp...

Unless of course you are a conservative Christian and you're talking about education, sex, birth control, and abortion.

If you understand the concept of cause and effect you're probably already nodding your head saying, "I know exactly where you are going Sassy Pants. Amen sister!" But in case you don't, I'm going to spell out a few things here in if/then statements that I'm 100% sure are directly related to each other. "Directly related" meaning pretty much the same thing as cause and effect - if you do one thing, another predictable thing happens.

Ok choir, sing with me!

IF there is no sex education (and I do not consider "abstinence only" education as sex education)
THEN there will be a subsequent rise in unwanted pregnancies, especially among the young, and also a rise in STDs, some of which are potentially fatal.

Ignorance = Babies and disease


IF there is limited or no access to birth control or emergency contraception because of crazy pharmacists and their personal agendas, or if there is no information on birth control because of abstinence only education,
THEN there will be a rise in unwanted pregnancies.

No prevention = Babies


IF there are more unwanted pregnancies
THEN there will be more abortions. It's a simple case of supply and demand.

More unwanted/unexpected babies = more abortion.


IF you teach children (who will have sex whether they sign a document saying they will remain "pure" or not) all the facts about sex - the logistics, the consequences, the emotional issues -
THEN they will be informed enough to make the right decision. Hell, I got so much sex ed I didn't have sex for the first time until I was 20. And I brought pamphlets. Well, not to the actual event but I did discuss birth control with him before hand.

More education = better decisions = less babies, less disease, less abortions.


If you are anti-abortion you should be so pro-sex education it's not even funny. Except it isn't funny because that is not the case. Do I need to bring a flip chart somewhere? Send a PowerPoint to Congress? Can you think of something witty I can put on a T-shirt? Can I get an Amen? Now go out and preach the gospel of cause and effect.


P.S. Here's an attempt at cause and effect that doesn't quite make it. IF you endorse same sex marriage, THEN you are endorsing masturbation.

A positive outcome: I don't know any red-blooded American man (or woman for that matter) who would be against something that is pro-masturbation, do you? Wankers unite! (Thanks Josh)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I wonder what they do about AZT?



Tomorrow is the 41st anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, "which established constitutional privacy protection for married couples' use of contraception. The case paved the way for Supreme Court decisions extending the right to use contraception to unmarried women in 1972, and expanding privacy rights to encompass abortion in 1973. More recently, the court relied on Griswold in deciding Lawrence v. Texas, which protects the right to consensual homosexual sex."

Feministing posts links to NARAL information on how to make sure conservative pharmacists don't get to do an end run around the law.

Here's a link to the pdf of the above image. Given that my father is a pharmacist the imagery is particularly icky; however, he would never dream of preventing any woman from getting their birth control. After all, he's the one who told me I could sow my wild oats, just not plant any seeds. Um, yeah, thanks Dad.

Politics Poll

Apparently today is about surveys. This one I got via Not My Spot. I fall right smack dab onto Hillary Clinton's face on their home page. Wait, that doesn't sound so good. My little "You" circle covered her face when I got the results (They don't include that graphic in the html you can copy and paste into your blog). The circle covered her face so much that I couldn't tell who it was until I went back to the original picture.

You are a

Social Liberal
(73% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(21% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Strong Democrat




Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Geekoliciousness

I don't know if I hide this well or not in my adulthood, but the below description is spot on. Only replace computer lab with band room.

Brainy Kid

In high school, you were acing AP classes or hanging out in the computer lab.

You may have been a bit of a geek back then, but now you're a total success!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

What the world needs now is love, sweet love.

Is it just me or is the whole gay marriage amendment broohaha a way to scapegoat homosexuals for all the supposed ills we are experiencing in the U.S.?

Maybe I'm stretching (God, I hope I'm stretching) but didn't Germany do this in the 30s? "Hey, your life sucks. Let's blame the Jews and make their lives harder." How much different is that from our conservative Christian President ignoring all the real issues and blaming the homosexuals for the destruction of family values and the institution of marriage? It's a fine line that people are walking. What comes next in the wake of conservative Christian priviledge?

I'm 100% certain that homosexuals did not lead to my divorce. (Unless of course my X turns out to be gay and then alleluia!) My friends' and parents' divorces did not lead to my divorce. My friends' and family's marriages did not make my domestic bliss any more or less blissful. Pretty much, one has nothing to do with the other. With one exception - seeing happy couples, of any ilk, makes me happy. George wants to mess with my happiness damn it.

What would really happen to the institution of marriage if homosexuals were allowed to get married? I mean really? Except for the chicken dance being banned from all venues and there being a heck of a lot of tasteful and fabulous receptions not much would change. A bridezilla is a bridezilla whether they're named Christina or Christopher.

What's wrong with more commitment and love in the world? Nothing, you stupid conservative asshats. Get a life and stop messing with everyone else's.

Signs of the apocolypse

Not only is today 6/6/06 (Ah! Satan! We're all doomed!) but it is Sylvester Stallone's 60th birthday. If that doesn't mean the end of the world is coming I think this does - according to Internet Movie Database not only is there a new Rocky coming out in 2006 but there is a new Rambo coming out in 2007!

I can see it now...

Rocky, now suffering from several syndromes and issues brought on by getting punched in the head innumerable times, fights his way through the new Medicare prescription drug packages.

Rambo returns to Vietnam to open up a swank gambling casino for retired vets who want to relive the good times they keep experiencing via traumatic flashbacks. Rambo says, "Hey, if they're coming back in their minds anyway, they might as well come back for real and drop some cash."

Maybe this is a flaw of my upbringing but despite having grown up in the 70s-80s I have never seen any of those movies. I don't know if I need to start now. Happy Hell Day!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Will wonders never cease

I ran and finished a half-marathon yesterday! Yeah! Go me! Huzzah! In 2 hours, nineteen minutes and 13 seconds.

Today, I can hardly walk. Yesterday I could hardly walk either but I had to because I had a softball game. Ugh. Today I am wearing my flatest, most arch supporting (i.e. ugly) shoes, I am taking actual ibuprofen (I oddly eschew medication of all kinds so this is a big step for me), and I'm preparing to sit on my arse for most of the day. Friendster Guy and I already have a long movie picked out and as soon as I am done teaching my abs class (God help me) I am going over to his house and we're going to snuggle on the couch. Alleluiah! 5 o'clock can't get here soon enough.

The race up to mile 9 wasn't too bad, except my knee started hurting around mile 2 which sucked because I was hoping to get to at least mile 5 before the pain started. When I hit mile nine I made a mental note, "This is now my longest run ever." and celebrated the fact that I only had 4 miles to go.

But those 4 miles were a doozy. I'm pretty sure I hit a rip in the time space continuum that didn't transport me to another dimension but made each mile twice as long as the last. I swear to you the last mile was at least 16 miles long.

A note to spectators, do not, I repeat, do not tell runners that there's only a mile left unless you have actually measured the number of feet from your doorstep to the finish line. I heard "only a mile left" three times over the span of half a mile. After 12 miles, half a mile means a whole hell of a lot. And "You're almost there!" is very nice but also very relative. Very, very relative. And way too vague. I needed to know how many more steps I had to take because I only had so many left in me. False hope is almost worse than no hope at all.

I only stopped to walk once and it hurt more to walk so I just kept running. I saw one of Friendster Guy's bosses/friends toward the very end and that boosted me for a few feet. And he was there at the finish cheering me on. He was working the medic's tent so he offered me a gatorade. Everyone else got water. That gatorade was like manna from heaven. Then he texted messaged Friendster Guy saying, "Asshole your girlfriend just ran this race and you weren't here to see it." I really didn't mind that Friendster Guy wasn't there. He was working and I had plenty of friends in the race and cheering on the course. I could have used someone to carry me to my car but I made it.

Despite everything, I think I would do it again. I may even see if there is one later in the summer or fall. I have to figure out how to make sure my knees don't get permanently damaged but other than that - muscularly, cardiovascularly, energywise - I felt great.


P.S. I think this is what's wrong with my knee - Iliotibial Band Syndrome. I found it on Cool Runnings. Then I looked for it on-line and I got this link as the first one on Google. The crazy thing is, I work with the guy who created this website! Small freaking world! I think I'll go downstairs and pick his brain.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Leisurely fighting The Man, or, in this case, ignorant parents

Now that summer reading season is upon us I thought I'd mix my love of reading with my penchant for subtle, private protest by sharing a list of the 100 most frequently challenged (i.e. people tried to ban them) books from 1990-2000, courtesy of the American Library Association.

According to the ALA:

Between 1990 and 2000, of the 6,364 challenges reported to or recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom (see The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books):
1,607 were challenges to “sexually explicit” material (up 161 since 1999); 1,427 to material considered to use “offensive language”; (up 165 since 1999) 1,256 to material considered “unsuited to age group”; (up 89 since 1999) 842 to material with an “occult theme or promoting the occult or Satanism,”; (up 69 since 1999) 737 to
material considered to be “violent”; (up 107 since 1999) 515 to material with a homosexual theme or “promoting homosexuality,” (up 18 since 1999) and 419 to material “promoting a religious viewpoint.” (up 22 since 1999)

Other reasons for challenges included “nudity” (317 challenges, up 20 since 1999), “racism” (267 challenges, up 22 since 1999), “sex education” (224 challenges, up 7 since 1999), and “anti-family” (202 challenges, up 9 since 1999).


I've read the ones in blue. [I've now updated this post to illuminate my readers recommended readings in red.]

Who knew Judy Bloom was such a rebel? And "Where's Waldo?" WTF?

Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling [Stupid Muggles]
Forever by Judy Blume
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Giver by Lois Lowry
It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Sex by Madonna
Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
The Goats by Brock Cole Kaffir
Boy by Mark Mathabane
Blubber by Judy Blume
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
Final Exit by Derek Humphry
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George [I shocked the heck out of my 5th grade teacher by reading this in one night. She only assigned about 20 pages.]
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
Deenie by Judy Blume
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice) [I don't want to read it but I don't think others should be banned from doing so. ]
Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
Cujo by Stephen King
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
Fade by Robert Cormier
Guess What? by Mem Fox
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Native Son by Richard Wright
Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Jack by A.M. Homes
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle [I love this book! It's about Sex Ed]
Carrie by Stephen King
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
Family Secrets by Norma Klein
Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
The Dead Zone by Stephen King
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
Private Parts by Howard Stern
Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett Running
Loose by Chris Crutcher
Sex Education by Jenny Davis
The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

It looks like I have some reading to do. What about you?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Numbers Game

hilllady posted a comment regarding my weight loss goal a post or so back. She said...
"Would it upset you if I point out that you look mahvelous, dahling? Seriously: thinner, healthier, happier than I've ever seen you. What's the obsession with a little arrow on a scale?"

First, if anyone is upset when someone tells them they look "mahvelous" they should probably have their head examined and their self-esteem plumped up a little. So thanks HillLady. As a matter of fact I feel "mahvelous" as well. And I am thinner, healthier and happier than I've been in a long time.

However.

The bad answer to the question, "What's the obsession with a little arrow on a scale?" would be: That's what we do, isn't it? Obsess about the number on the scale?

The true answer is that it is less about the number than about the body shape that seems to come with the number. Every morning I can tell if I've gained or lost a pound simply by running my hand over my stomach. This morning I knew I'd come down a little and by George, when I stepped on the scale I was half a pound down from yesterday (which was still a pound and a half up from a week ago when I thought I was on my way to my cinco en Mayo.).

The number on the scale means very little to me in the grand scheme of things. If I weighed 50 pounds more but looked like I lost five I'd be perfectly fine with that. However, a number is easier to blog about and also gives me a specific goal. I do the same thing when I'm exercising. If I don't have a goal, like a distance or a time or a race coming up, I'm a total slacker at the gym. I need something more than an amorphous "I'd like to be fit" goal in order to be motivated. So, whether I like it or not, a weight goal has to be a number at this point.

All my life I've been slightly overweight. Sometimes more than slightly. Six years ago I hit my highest weight. Since then I've slowly, about every six months to a year, lost two pounds. Then I plateau and rest on that weight for awhile. I wobble back and forth like a seesaw on the fulcrum of this number. I stayed at 140 for a while and tipped toward 142, then back to 138. Back and forth, back and forth. Then suddenly, often without even trying, the fulcrum point changes. It was 138 for awhile. Now it's at 136 and it has been there for 2 years. On the one hand that's great. I am able to maintain. However, I know I am capable of moving that fulcrum to 134, or even 132. And it's annoying that my will power is so crappy that I can't.

If you're keeping count, I think this is reason number 3 as to why I want to lose weight: I am tired of being the abs class instructor with a belly. I am an apple. When I gain weight it goes straight to my tummy. When I lose weight it unfortunately comes off every other part first. I have awesome legs and a killer ass (if I do say so myself). I'm beginning to appreciate my shoulders and even my arms. But my gd abs! You can't choose where you want the fat to come off. I'm the poster child for this. I teach an abs class twice a week. I do more crunches and holds and twists than most personal trainers. If I don't have a tiny waist from that, no one can. Therefore, the fat has to come off everywhere before I get to expose the six pack. And therefore I need to pay attention to what I eat and the number on the scale.

Finally, it comes down to health. Apples tend to be more prone to heart disease and diabetes. Given that my paternal grandfather died of a heart attack and my maternal grandmother had a quadruple bypass I'd say these things already run in my family. I also have type I and type II diabetes on both sides of my family; three grandparents, and my father. The only grandparent without diabetes was the one who died of a heart attack before he turned 55. The more fat you carry around your belly, the greater your risk.

If paying attention to the scale will get me to eat more healthily then so be it. I'm tired of buying clothes to hide my stomach. I'm distressed that the pants I bought only a month ago are now tight. I'm annoyed that I can't seem to get myself to eat reasonably enough to lose a couple pounds. I need to tell the world of my goals so that I will be held accountable. I've got the exercise thing down pat. Now I need to focus on the food intake.

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. At five pounds that's what? Eighty pounds of cure!


Food intake:
Breakfast: Total yogurt flake cereal, skim milk
Snack: Apple
Lunch: Greek salad with chicken, pita chips, hummus.
Snack: Apple
Dinner: TBD