Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Lazy Iguana & ...

First, let me highly recommend the Lazy Iguana's recent trilogy. It's a lot of reading to do, but he makes excellent points.

I would like to caution you: try to avoid the instant knee-jerk reaction you may have when he lays society's ills at the doorstep of capitalism. I went to business college and I really frowned at that part, but as a Christian I must admit he's entirely correct! "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil..." - I Tim. 6:10 . We grew up in a society where God and country are seen as almost intertwined. However, we must remember that they aren't. And country doesn't equal capitalism, either. And no, Lazy Iguana isn't a commie. He's just honest.

My Ex / My Past

I don't blog much about my ex because (frankly) I don't think much about him. As The Other Half says, if you don't like someone or something, don't let them take up rentspace in your head!

And I can't really say I dislike him. More than anything else, I just feel sorry for him. But I avoid him because I know that he can be poisonous. It's kind of like the sad, lonely poison dart frog in the cage. Maybe he needs to be cuddled too! But I'm not the one volunteering to do it.

I won't vomit up the whole distasteful saga of my ex and I. It's not worth your time or mine. But the final upshot is that after many years of divorce, he still obsesses about me. And no, it's not flattering. He's married to a woman that I've grown to like. I wish he would just pour more of his energies into being a good husband and father.

However, the other day he went on an obsessive rant about me once again. My son (SaurKid) tells me this happens periodically. This time, he did a search on the web and came up with all sorts of things on the web about me, and then attempted to use them to discredit me with SaurKid (basically he thinks SaurKid worships me too much and that he needs to have a reality check).

He told SaurKid not to tell me and SaurKid (to his credit) told me immediately. You see, we have a rule that there are no secrets between the households unless it's a petty one (like "Mom shaves only up to her knees but doesn't want anyone to know" Er... not that I do).

The ex was pointing to different web pages and trying to argue with my son about whatever was said. Every time the ex found something new, he'd call SaurKid over to tear it apart.

So, I called my ex and asked him if there was anything he wanted to ask me. "Uh no, why do you ask?" he said. "Because SaurKid tells me that you're trying to find any and everything you can about me on the web, and that you're attempting to belittle me with the info you've found," I said in a calm voice.

Hoo boy. That's all it took and he unleashed. Yup, here he was trying his best to teach our son core values and hard work, and SaurKid (supposedly) sees a mom who's just lucked into success. He wanted to make sure that SaurKid understood that not everyone had it so easy, or took shortcuts!

Oh brother. What I didn't bother arguing with him about (but I will tell you) is that there were many years of famine before the feast. The divorce was a bitter one. He closed the bank accounts and credit cards and then filed for divorce. I was destitute and couldn't even afford an attorney. So, he got everything and anything he wanted. Then he married my best friend that he'd been having an affair with.

Because we both had come from Christian Fundamentalist backgrounds, and I was too proud to argue much for my good name, he successfully smeared me in the eyes of many fundies. In fact, many of them believed that he hadn't had an affair with my best friend and they'd just happened to get married a short time after the divorce!

SaurKid went to a fundie Christian school, and years later I found notes from my ex in the records, instructing them that he was never to be released to me because I was a floozy, and he provided a picture illustrating his claim (I was *gasp* wearing a t-shirt that was knotted in the front and showed my belly button). I never followed up on that with the school because I felt that I was above it and by then it was water over the dam.

I was rejected by the only community I'd ever known. But it was a good thing, because it forced me to truly re-examine what I'd been blindly living. I discovered that legalism is just as vile now as when the Pharisees and Saducees existed.

Meanwhile, I was struggling to make ends meet, living in a one bedroom apartment in a poor area of town, and often literally wondering where my next meal would come from while my ex and his wife took my son on jaunts to Disney World, trips to the Grand Canyan and other wonderful places. I would swallow hard and be excited for my child and do my best to never show him my burdens.

I was too proud to borrow or beg for money, but I worked hard and struggled for at least 3 years before I hit it "big". And my ex, who never has been able to hold down a job for long, hasn't had one in years. So have we each earned our just rewards? I'd like to think so.

But I don't wish my ex any ill and I never will. I hope his life and marriage continues to improve. Because I came to realize long ago that it does me no good to wish ill on others, and it won't be any good for SaurKid, either.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Bush Waffles on Illegal Immigration

After 6 years of being pro-illegal immigration, Bush has finally felt the pressure. Yesterday, in a speech in Arizona, he caved. He spoke of how 'wrong' illegal immigration is, and his plans to 'toughen' the laws. But did anyone notice that he also slipped in the little idea that he will legally allow all current illegal aliens to get work permits to work here? Ah, but they won't be permanent, he hastens to add.

Look, we're still sanctioning illegal immigrants, then! For a supposedly Christian president, Bush continues to do his best to thwart the laws of the land and throw the average blue-collar American worker under the bus. Send jobs overseas! Legalize illegal immigrants so that businesses will continue to make their profits at the expense of the American worker!

I sometimes blush to admit that I'm a Republican. But I'm a good old-fashioned Reagan Republican, not one of these measley, two-faced whining neo-cons.

Bush is a sell-out, and he makes me sick. He sells out to all the interests that aren't representative of the American public: Big Oil, illegal immigrants, China... When will it all stop? In two more years! (as Zen Buddhist points out, who is looking over my shoulder as I type my daily rant).

P.S. Please stop by and say hi to Zen Buddhist (my assistant). She's started her own blog (titled 'Zen & Now') and you can find it in my links to the right. NOTE: We don't and won't always agree. In fact, I guarantee it! But that makes it more fun, doesn't it? ;o)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Saur's Recommended Jewelry

OK, by now everyone is saying "Pearls are kinda creepy, and diamonds are out, so what is Saur suggesting?"

I still like pearls. Oysters are equivalent to insects to me, so I'm not overly concerned about them (as inhumane as that sounds). But if you have decided pearls are out, I can certainly understand why.

I'd like to recommend you frequent your local craft and bead shows. Lampwork beads are very hot (I adore them) and can be absolutely spectacular. And almost any other stones are equally acceptable. (By the way, click on any of these pictures to see a larger version, if you'd like to see a close-up)

I design jewelry but I don't have many pictures of my pieces because I sell or give them away before I think to take a picture of them. But most of you can't or don't want to make the pieces yourselves (you are probably much more sensible than *I* am) so I will divide this up into a couple categories. If I could take you to a large bead and jewelry expo, this is what you might see:

Kits For Necklaces
Cynthia Rutledge (not for beginners)
Floral Slider Kits (not for beginners)
Kits by Mavis
Festoonery (most definately not for beginners, but you must see some of these kits! The dragonfly necklace is spectacular!)

Art Beads
Terri Caspary Schmidt (this woman is probably one of the best art glass artists that exist. I've read her profile and have seen her work)
Venetian Bead Shop (beautiful Murano glass beads)
Lampwork Glass Beads on Ebay
Stone Age Hardware (lovely variety of gemstone beads. These people made a fun site with a great selection!)
Anne Choi (Stunning handmade silver beads and jewelry)
The Bead Shop (top quality gemstone beads. Just don't buy any diamonds!)

Completed Pieces Ready for Gift Giving
Fire Goddess (I'm a regular client of this woman's. There's not much to select on this site, but what I highly recommend is at the bottom of her home page. The 'Jewelry Wand' allows you to switch out different art beads, in different combinations, to create and recreate a stunning pendant that matches any outfit. You really need to see this demonstrated, but it is worth contacting her about it. These sell like hotcakes!)
Abednego Beads by Lisa Walsh (Amazing lampwork beads as well as beautiful pieces ready to be wrapped and set under the tree or given as a Channukah gift)

Saur's Top Artistic Picks
Beyond Beads These are artistic masterpieces. Check out Laura Mears' porcelain sculpture faces.
Lands Arts Quite simply the best art glass beads you've ever seen, and a variety of pieces that are ready to be given as gifts. Considering that these are museum-quality, the prices are very reasonable. This amazing frog and the turtle above are just some of their pieces.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Diamonds Are a Girl's Worst Enemy

Please bear with me and read this all the way through. I know it's long, but it's so very, very important.

Don’t get me wrong! I’m not some self-righteous hippie type that only wears hemp jewelry. I blush to admit how addicted I am to jewels of all sorts. But I do not own a single diamond and never will.

My first and only diamond was the engagement ring my ex-husband gave me while I was still in high school (in the 1980s). I was too young then to have much of a social conscience, and no one had any reasons not to buy or accept one then. I later sold it, and I now know so much that I will say that I probably should have thrown it away.

When I started going to college, I had a professor who announced to us that diamonds were actually relatively worthless. He told us that contrary to popular belief, they weren’t rare at all! Instead, when a new diamond mine is discovered, DeBeers moves in and buys it and promptly shuts it down. In fact, diamonds were so common around their original diamond mines in Africa that DeBeers had to pave over a vast area around the mines where the diamonds just lay about on the ground in order to prevent anyone from simply picking them up!

I have since researched it and found that everything the prof said was true. Diamonds are actually so common that if their market was a free market, they would end up even cheaper than cubic zirconias! This is a little ‘secret’ known to people in the trade, and one that the diamond merchants devoutly hope you won’t discover. That was when I decided I would never buy or allow someone to give me another diamond as long as I lived. But another little secret of theirs isn’t as harmless.

Have you ever heard of the term “Blood Diamonds or the “nicer” term: “Conflict Diamonds”? DeBeers and the other diamond merchants have done their best to rephrase the bombastic “Blood Diamonds” because it sounds so…er…violent. But for that very reason, we should never use any term except the most accurate one: Blood Diamonds.

How do you know if your diamond is a Blood Diamond? You don’t. What exactly are they? They are diamonds that have been acquired through a terrible exploitation of fellow human beings all over the world. As one article about them says, “Diamonds are a Warlord’s Best Friend.”

How bad can it be, you ask. Very, very bad.

There are terrorists that wage regular wars to take over diamond mines in Africa and exploit the villagers who live near by. Children are conscripted into the terrorists’ organizations and force-fed drugs to lower their inhibitions so that they can either fight, maim, torture and kill with little conscience or be used as sexual prostitutes. Others are forced to mine until they are worn to death or are killed when they’ve outlived their usefulness. Shallow graves abound where thousands of people have been killed and buried.

Perhaps even worse are the victims who live. They are sometimes maimed, tortured, raped and/or mutilated just to send a message: don’t mess with us! There are people, including children, who have one or both hands cut off and are sent off wandering in the wilderness as a cautionary tale. If they’re…lucky?…they survive the ordeal.

Still other children are victims in India and China where they are working off a family debt by shaping and polishing these diamonds. The child labor alone is inhumane. Many of these children are shackled and work non-stop, with breaks for food and sleep. When they grow old enough they are released if another child from their family is exchanged to replace them. Most families will never work off their ‘debts’.

There is no way to easily track these diamonds. They are bought up by the diamond merchants and, until recently, no one asked where they came from. Yup, those diamonds in your ears or the diamond on your finger may be there because some child lost his limbs or his life to provide it to you. This is no exaggeration.

The good news is that perhaps only 15% of the diamonds on the market are the Blood Diamonds which support and encourage terrorists worldwide. The bad news is that there’s simply no way of knowing which diamond is which. Even the few groups that attempt to provide certification asserting that your diamond is not a Blood Diamond cannot be completely positive that what they say is true. Additionally, certificates can be (and are) forged.

I own an assortment of beautiful solid-gold CZ and moissanite baubles. And each sports a flawless gem which captivates all who see it, at a fraction of the price of a diamond and no cost to my conscience. If a diamond is forever, so are the atrocities that will continue as long as we buy into the falsehood that a diamond represents love and security. Instead, diamonds represent an unnecessary expense for an artificially inflated piece of colorless stone.

Please rethink that diamond you are purchasing this Christmas. If you are determined to spend thousands of dollars on something that is truly only worth hundreds (if that!) then buy a CZ or a moissanite piece and donate the difference to stop the atrocities that are happening anywhere that diamonds are mined. Only then will your money be well spent.

For more information on Blood Diamonds and to read detailed reports of the atrocities, go to:
1. 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Diamond
2. A report by Amnesty International
3. This crime library
4. This expose of DeBeers
5. Blood Diamonds Still Sold by U.S. Retailers
6. Dying for a Diamond? Unfortunately thousands of children are too.
7. This article discusses how diamonds actually lose value and how it's almost impossible to re-sell them at a fraction of their purchase price. It also discusses the DeBeers strategy to psychologically cause women to buy into diamonds are a girl's best friend. This one is a must read.

And there is much more if you simply want to research it all on Google.


And now for something completely different! Consider this the first of Saur’s Holiday Shopping Tips for You and Your Loved Ones.

I love jewelry. If ever a girl loved jewelry, it would be me. I particularly love pearls, though I cannot give you any rational reasons why. Pearls are actually something that any self-respecting vegetarian should eschew and although I’m not a vegetarian any more, I do feel a twinge of guilt about this. Why? Well, let’s have a look at a passage on cultured pearls:

“Saltwater oysters are nucleated by opening the shell a mere 2-3 centimeters and making a minute incision to the gonad – the oyster's reproductive organ. The mother of pearl nucleus is inserted into this incision which is then followed with a very small piece of mantle tissue from a donor oyster. The mantle tissue is placed between the mother of pearl bead and the gonad with the side containing epithelial cells facing the nucleus. These epithelial cells are the catalyst of the pearl-sac. The pearl sac grows around the nucleus and begins to deposit nacre. This nacre layering is the beauty of the pearl.”

Now, would you call that humane? Heck, no! Right now, all the male readers have crossed their legs at the mention of what is done to the gonads. And think about how you have to destroy the oyster to get the pearl! Talk about adding insult to injury! Of course, you can’t really beat a great cup of oyster stew. Right? Wrong. Pearl-producing oysters aren't edible.

And get this:

“Saltwater oysters will only produce 1-2 pearls per typical nucleation. Akoya oysters can be nucleated with up to 5 beads, but the use of only 2 is most common. The Akoya oyster dies at harvest. South Sea and Tahitian oysters accept only one nucleus at a time, but as they do not die at harvest they may be nucleated several times.”

Can you imagine having beads crammed in your gonads repeatedly? Me either, and I don’t have any! And an oyster’s gonads can’t possibly be as big as a human’s!

OK, enough about gonads. Let’s talk about Conch Pearls (you really should read this little editorial about them after you finish this). Up until last night, I had never heard of these. And I thought I knew every stone out there! I mean, short of being a gemologist, I’m highly knowledgeable about gems and jewelry, but this was a new one to me.

Here's a picture of a strand of Conch pearls, which are basically conch kidney stones and not true pearls. Melo Melo Pearls are similar, but come from another type of marine snail. They’re all so extremely rare that small ones are listed on Ebay for thousands of dollars (look it up and you’ll see!) However, after reading the above article I would have to say they’re not worth it. Most of them look like beads of peach-colored coral and there is no way that I would spend thousands and thousands of dollars on, say, a ring only to have people look at it, squint their eyes, and say “Hey! That’s an awful purty coral ring you have there.”

“Ah no,” you would say. “Here, take this jeweler’s loupe and look at the faint flame striations that are present in the bead!” Nope… pass. Just gimme an old-fashioned, inhumane, whopper of a pearl ring.

If you’d like to know all there is to know about pearls, go to, which is where I excerpted the quotes above. You can also read about Famous Pearls which were incredible finds. To see some gorgeous photos of some other famous pearls go here.

Just wait till I tell you about diamonds.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Kitten's Wedding

The bride was beautiful, the groom was beaming, and as she began her portion of the vows she choked up with emotion. The moms cried, the dads slapped each other on the back, and as the bride and groom were presented as man and wife, everyone clapped and cheered.

The reception was full of fun, tons of food and laughter, and dancing. If you've never been to a latino wedding, do your best to wrangle an invitation somehow. The dancing would make any Hollywood dance movie look like a third-rate production.

Everyone could dance beautifully, and it was wonderful to see all three generations on the dance floor. No coreographer could do it justice.

I tried to dance a tiny bit, but when you've just had your neck fused, it's rather awkward to say the least. ;o) Happily, my scar is now almost unnoticeable but it probably left a lot of people wondering why Ozma's best friend looked so stiff (Ozma is Kitten's mother).

To top it all off, Kitten's best friend (Shoop) sang a horrible country song ("I'm an Indian Outlaw") and sounded just as ghastly as the original country singer that sang it. How do I know? He sang along with the actual music, egged on by the DJ and the crowd. Most of us never listen to country music, so I really wasn't up on it but it was completely hysterical. They say he's even funnier when he's drunk, but thankfully we didn't have to see that.

It was the most unusual and yet the most wonderful Thanksgiving I've ever had. I will never forget it.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Today is the most unusual Thanksgiving Day I'll have. As most of you know, I'm marrying a couple today. It's going to be a largish wedding (80 guests) but not as large as some.

We had our rehearsal last night, and afterwards we went out for a bite to eat (as is traditional). What isn't traditional is where we went; an informal local seafood house that has great grouper sandwiches and other foods.

Since grouper is out of season I ordered the fried green tomatoes (a southern delicacy which is incredibly delicious) and split a grouper substitute (sheepshead) sandwich with Ozma. We all had a wonderful time visiting and discussing last minute details, but due to my recent surgery I was the first to leave. I didn't want to tax myself too much before the big day.

I will give you all the details of the wedding tomorrow.

May this Thanksgiving be the best yet, and may you all be blessed today and do your best to ignore obnoxious Great Aunt Mabel. May her cigar smoke and caustic comments only remind you how thankful you are that you don't have to deal with her for the other 364 days of the year.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Molester Gets Plea Bargain

I never in a million years thought the prosecution would cave in, but it did. Debra LaFave, a pretty child molester, is basically a free woman. Oh sure, she gets three years of house arrest. Whoopteedoo.

While she sits around eating chocolate bonbons and watching the soaps, one can only hope she gets fat. I think that would be a slightly more fitting punishment. In fact, I would actually be willing to put together the funds it would take to provide her with a lifetime supply of her favorite fattening foods.

If I had been the judge, I would've ordered the following: "Ms. LaFave, while you're sitting around at home, you are court ordered to gain 10 pounds a month for a total of 360 additional pounds by the end of your sentence. That may defeat your future attempts at claiming you're much too pretty to go to jail. By the way, every month that you fail to do this, you will spend a month in a small cell with a woman named Bertha."

But this is no laughing matter. A young boy was repeatedly seduced and molested by a sexual predator. If it had been a young girl and an older man, no compromise would have been available. Can you imagine the public outcry if a handsome older man had seduced a young 13 or 14 year old girl and had repeated sex with her in vehicles and hotel rooms? We wouldn't care if he looked like a young Tom Selleck!

But because her festering soul resides in an attractive package, and few people can see under the skin, she has won the sweetest deal any molester has won yet.

Congratulations, Ms. LaFave. May your body rot to match your soul.

One additional frightening thought: She once told her (then) husband that she chose to molest the boy because her husband didn't want to have children right away. This woman wants to have children??? The judge should order an immediate hysterectomy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

How To Fix the Oil Crisis

Every time I hear a conservative talk show host talk about how oil companies are entitled to make any profits they wish, it makes me want to vomit. NOTE: Not all talk show hosts say this. Michael Savage (my favorite) is quick to condemn these greedy b*stards.

But we all know that the talk show hosts who are pro-oil are in the pocket of the Republican Party (i.e. George Bush) who is assuredly in the pocket of Big Oil. I am a Republican, and I am very ashamed of these neo-cons who posess the ethics of Ghengis Khan. Well, actually Ghengis was probably more ethical.

I've heard it argued (by men that might otherwise be considered intelligent) that Big Oil is entitled to reap as much profit as possible! After all, this is America! Home of The American Dream! The only problem is that Big Oil is not American.

Does that mean that non-Americans are not entitled to do business in America and make a profit? Of course not! But it does mean that they need to come second in our loyalties, despite the fact that the House of Saud is very cozy with the Bush family (Bush Sr. is a consultant for them).

I actually heard a conservative talk show host tell a caller that if it costs too much in gas to go to work every day, he needs to sell his home and move closer to where he works. And no, he wasn't kidding!

This is out of control. Sure gas prices are dropping now, because Americans are getting very vocal about how they feel they are being raked over the coals by Big Oil. It's in Big Oil's best interest to pacify the Hottentots. You can only screw someone so much before they begin to protest a little too loudly for comfort.

I am extremely pro-environment. But I am also a realist. We don't have any immediate easy answers. Not everyone owns or can afford a hybrid or electric car. And almost everyone needs to drive. And no, Mr. Talk Show Host, not everyone can afford to move and create communities around their place of business. As we all know, there is no guaranteed employment in this country. Imagine how many times in a lifetime we might have to move!

So, it is time to start drilling in Alaska. It is time to set up drilling off the coast (out of sight from the shore). We are facing some tough decisions but these are now the only choices we have. We must take a deep breath and face them. It is time for America to make it's own destiny once again. Right now, we are at the mercy of others. That is not where America should be.

Monday, November 21, 2005

What is Respecting the Dead?

The Other Half's best friend (and our next door neighbor) is about 20 years older than we are. He ("Dan") is old enough to be our father, I suppose, though we never see him like that.

Yesterday Dan found out that his brother-in-law died unexpectedly of a heart attack. He was very close to this man and it caused him to ruminate about life, and death. Dan said as he grows older he has to deal with more of his loved ones dying. It's a harsh reality-check, and one that people in our age group don't have to deal with (much).

Dan mentioned how (when he was a little boy) an uncle had died and the family had a massive 'going away' party. They prepared the body and put it 'on view'. There were many visitors, and the corpse was set up on the family's front porch. Older, more important relatives were given his bedroom and he had to sleep on the floor in the family room, on the other side of the wall where the corpse lay. It still gives him the shivers.

Thousands (and even hundreds) of years ago, if you reached 40 you were way past your prime. Horrifically, the women had it harder than the men. Lots of women died in or after childbirth *shudder*. Many others died of other gynecological complications such as sexually transmitted diseases or something as simple as a urinary track infection. These were excruciatingly painful ways to go.

Yet it's amazing to see how many people made it past that age. Here are some famous people and their ages when they died (Note: These people were of the privileged class, and so they had access to better foods and shelter) :

Christopher Columbus: 56
Nathaniel Hawthorne: 60
Betsy Ross: 84
Louis XIV: 77
Aristotle: 62
William Butler Yeats: 75
Mark Twain: 75
Mary Cassat (painter): 86

Still, there was a very high mortality rate prior to the discovery of penicillin. Because of that, people tended to view children in a calloused way (you had to remain somewhat removed from the children, because the chance that they would survive to become adults was slim). People also viewed death as more common-place than we do now, because it was so common-place.

And yet, our forefathers (and mothers!) treated their dead with respect. They were washed, dressed, and sometimes laid out for viewing and extended morning before they were buried. Afterwards, graves were carefully attended by the individual families whose loved ones were buried there. It was common to see families regularly attending graves, leaving flowers and mementos. Even bodies that were unclaimed were given a common (though inexpensive) burial. Cremation was considered to be an abomination (only the heathens cremated their dead).

Now cremation is seen as commonplace, and unclaimed bodies are donated to science or even exhibits such as the Bodies Exhibit. Death, though less common, is also treated with less respect.

I come from a very strong scientific background, so I don't take offense at any of this. I just find the change in our societal burial customs to be fascinating.

In your view, what do you consider to be 'respecting the dead'? Should we continue to demand it or is the body simply a shell which is discarded easily?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

People Who Misuse God

Here's an interesting thought for you on a Sunday (i.e. Church Day): No one has ever been completely certain what is meant in the scriptures when God says "Thou shalt not use the name of your God in vain."

Does that mean using his name in a swear? Does that mean inappropriately using his name? Does it mean his formal name or his nickname (God)?

I have always believed that it was inappropriately using his true name(s), and there has to be malicious intent as well. But, I could be wrong. Again, theologians remain in continual conflict about this.

Some people (and religions) put an additional hedge around God's nickname so that they don't even come close to crossing the line. They'll spell it G-d or point upwards and say something like "You know, The Big Guy." But then these additional euphemisms come to represent God as well, and we're back where we started.

One thing I was recently pondering was how inappropriate people are when they credit God for surviving or winning something at the expense of others.

For instance, I think of the aftermath from 9/11 and how the survivors were telling everyone within listening range that "God was with them" as the victims' relatives combed hopelessly through the rubble for just a token of their loved ones. So, if God was with you he wanted the others to die? Is that what you're saying? He wasn't with them? If I had been within shouting distance, and had heard such a moronic assertion, there is no one that could have held me back from whupping them then and there.

Or what about the morons who get a touchdown and thank God for it. What, God hates the other team? Or is it that you just have such a better relationship with God that you and God are homies?

I know that the average American is rock-solid stupid. And I know that only roughly 2% of the population has a genius IQ. But doesn't anyone think anymore? People do so much harm with their mouths. They harm others, and they also harm the image of God - even if it's inadvertently.

There's your Sunday Sermon. Now go out and enjoy the last bit of sunshine.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Poetry Day!

OK, the last story I did two weeks ago died a premature death. So, I'm thinking the idea is fizzling out. So today (and perhaps tomorrow if it takes on a life of its own) let's do a group poem!

Just remember, keep the 'bad' language to a minimum, as there are kids that read this particular post. Please pick up where the last person left off.

Ode to an Autumnal Day

The morn breaks sullen and gray,
Yet by noon that will fade away...

Friday, November 18, 2005

Who or What is Mr. Right?

I guess to thoroughly understand this particular post, you need to thoroughly understand me. Which is highly unlikely in this format, sadly. But most of you have a pretty good picture by now. For those of you who don't, a quick picture: 30something, been in many relationships, has a child, very active, bores easily. Know me, know my flaws: but I'll leave you guessing here. ;o)

When I was impossibly young (18) and married for the first (and only) time I used to believe we would grow old together. However, this doesn't mean that I ever thought he was Mr. Right. Irregardless, it lasted 12 years and I was thrust into the dating world.

At first, I enjoyed dating almost every guy who asked me out (NOTE: That is date - not sleep with. Some people don't understand that you can do one and not the other). This meant that I had a ton of dates and I had a ball! But it took it's toll. There were times that I fell asleep at my keyboard at work! So I cut back somewhat. However, over the years I can say that I've seen a pretty good representation of the male of the species. It ain't pretty.

It's been many years since I was divorced. At first, I was anxious to get married and settle down again, because I was so afraid of being on my own. Now, I have almost the opposite fear: I don't wish to be dependant on anyone else unless he is truly dependable. And there aren't many men that are truly dependable. They don't make 'em like Dad, anymore. Well, at least not many of them are (I'll make some exceptions here, because Eddo comes to mind).

No, this isn't a lonely hearts call - far from it. I don't need any additional complications! But you see, I remain in a constant questioning state: Is the current guy Mr. Right, or just Mr. Right Now?

Some people say that there are many options out there, and that there is no Mr. Right, just an assortment of Mr. Betters or Mr. Worses.

Over the years I've heard different 'measurements' that would prove if someone was Mr. or Ms. Right. Are you with Mr. or Ms. Right? How did you know that he or she was The One? And are you being completely truthful with yourself (and me) or simply justifying your choice? Or do you think that he/she is simply one of many conceivable matches?

Is it right to expect that your Chosen One should connect to you on all levels? How little should someone settle for?

Talk to me!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

My (Minor?) Relapse...and More

So, I went to the neighbors' home for dinner two nights ago. On the way back, across the thick lawn in the dark, I stepped into a tiny depression and misstepped ever so slightly. I heard a slight crack in my neck, but figured it wasn't anything serious.

The next day, I was a little more sore than usual. When the nurse called to check up on me, and I casually mentioned it, she was alarmed. The upshot is; I have yet another doctor's appointment today to make sure I haven't dislodged anything.

Argh!!! You'd think that medical science has come far enough to make sure I'm bolted together well enough to insure against a slight misstep! This workaholic is frustrated beyond belief. Hopefully it's nothing.

POST DOCTOR VISIT: It is nothing. The doc says I am healing just fine. *Whew*!!!

But Wait! There's More!

This week of downtime has allowed me to do more reading than I normally have. I have rediscovered the Alfred Hitchcock compilations of scary, short stories. The adult ones can be a little chilling, but the kids ones are perfectly fear-free. I highly recommend that you get your hands on some of these books. But don't drive up the price too far before I get my complete set.

The Only Disadvantage: It really enhances your dreams if you're forced to be on pain pills. John Carpenter couldn't craft a movie so scary. :P One morning I woke up after dreaming I was a zombie, and still had the aftertaste of dead, dried flesh. Mmm, tastes like chicken! That's when you get up quickly, brush your teeth, and go humming through the house, hoping that no one looks any more tempting than usual...

World News and Events: So far Godless Mom, Polanco, and Mallory have got it covered. When I'm back in shape, I'll start rantin' and ravin' again. ;o)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Game, Set, I Win! (and...I Am Marrying Someone!)

After I wrote about the two colleagues who were trying to strike while I was recuperating, one admitted that he was wrong. I called the owner of the company that the other one works for, and told him exactly what his employee was up to. The owner apologized profusely and told me the deal was mine. How sincere was he? Who knows. But getting these guys to back down is the majority of the battle.

My recovery still continues, though slower than I'd like it to. I get relapses (pain and weakness) when I ignore my body and try to get more done that it would like. But overall, I feel positive and am looking ahead to a better neck!

I Am Marrying Someone

Just before I went into surgery, Ozma called me to let me know that her 19 year old daughter (Kitten) was just engaged. We were happy that she chose an excellent guy, but of course we would prefer that they get married in several years when they'll be more mature. However, parents and adults can never demand such a thing. You just hope for it.

Because Kit's fiance is in the military and about to be stationed overseas, they have chosen to get married on Thanksgiving Day. Being as I'm an ordained minister, I have been asked to officiate. We all have mixed feelings: A Wedding - YAY! At Least They're Getting Married - YAY! But They're So Young - URK!

Monday, November 14, 2005

I'm Back (and Furious!)

I'd like to share my experience with you, but make it as short and sweet as possible. Take this as a cautionary tale that will encourage you to leave the hospital as soon as you are able.

Incidentally, today is the first day that I'm somewhat mobile with almost the same pain level as I had prior to the surgery. That's still a lot of pain, but it's pain I'm used to, you see, so I can handle it so far.

Wednesday (the day of my surgery) the ETA changed a couple times. They finally wheeled me in for surgery around noon. But then I had an attack of nerves and insisted on speaking with the doctor just one more time to make sure this was really what had to be done. This delayed the process even more, which my loved ones weren't aware of. So, they paced nervously about for hours and a surgery that was supposed to take 1 1/2 hours stretched into 3.

I was finally released and came to in great discomfort. I guess that's pretty obvious, huh? After all, they'd sliced open the front half of my neck, removed two shattered bones, and replaced them with cadaver bones. The doctor told us later that it was a good thing that he went in when he did, because two of my major nerves were severely impacted and there was a great deal of debris and shattered bone that was only going to make my symptoms worsen with time.

Anyway, after the surgery I was sent to the tender care of the nursing staff at Morton Plant Hospital.

It was almost impossible to reach a button to page a nurse, with the stiffness and soreness I experienced. So, I was dependant upon their checking on me on a regular basis. As one nurse told me later, they had to deal with 12 patients at a time, instead of their usual 8. I, apparently, got in the way.

First I accidentally spilled my gingerale as I was turning to get more comfortable in my hard-as-a-rock hospital bed. For the next 24 hours, the nursing staff noted and ignored the sugary wet liquid which had spilled all over the bed tray and the floor underneath it. They would put drinks and medications on the tray, and even a food tray there, completely ignoring the sludge underneath.

Around 3 AM Thursday morning, I woke up in extreme pain and managed to page the nurse's station. I told them I was in great pain, and they said someone would be with me shortly. When you're in that sort of pain, every minute feels like an hour. I waited 15 minutes and paged the nurse again. They told me someone was on the way. 15 minutes later, an aid happened to be passing by and heard me crying hysterically. They finally got around to me, then.

The medication they gave me for pain nauseated me. I asked them repeatedly to call the doctor for another alternative prescription but they never did. Instead, they continued to give me an added medication to supposedly stop the nausea. It worked most of the time, but I ended up vomiting twice. Now that feels really good when you've just had your neck ripped open.

I was always cold. Visitors marvelled at how blue I was all the time. Because I didn't have the strength or chutzpah to ask for the nurses (The Person Who Holds the Needles Holds The Reigns) I was continually neglected and only had three thin blankets at the most. One nurse mentioned casually that my room was always the coldest or hottest in the whole place. I longed for it to be the hottest!

Knowing my body very well, I told them that I didn't need all the strong painkillers. Instead, a benadryl and an anti-spasmodic (for muscles) would take care of not only the pain, but would also help the healing process. They pooh poohed my comments and told me that they knew best (why call the doctor and disturb him?)

My throat began swelling shut, and I saw a tracheotomy in my future if I didn't get out of there.

So, less than 24 hours after my surgery, I called my friend and assistant (Zen Buddhist) and asked her to come get me. She was in a panic, and didn't want to. I insisted. She reluctantly retrieved me and brought me home, where I was able to take benadryl and an anti-spasmodic and get some rest in a warm bed. I slept for 6 hours straight, and found that I was getting well when I woke up.

The moral of the story is: Never stay in the hospital unless you don't have a home to go to.
And, nurses are the last resort. See if you have a neighborhood witchdoctor first. You'll stand a better chance of recovering.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

CS Lewis, Hillsdale College, & My Surgery

Today the subjects are not related, but all are of interest, so please bear with me!

C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors of all time, because he was able to succinctly explain Christianity, ethics, and morality to the common man in a palatable and interesting way. Yes, I'm a Christian (please understand that I'm an imperfect one, of course!) and I've always adored his way of presenting my faith in an intelligent, rational manner. Even if you're a dyed-in-the-wool atheist, C.S. Lewis is still worth reading; which makes him exceedingly unusual.

There's an excellent discussion of Lewis and an application of his beliefs to modern issues in the October issue of Imprimis. Of course it's controversial, but you guys thrive on controversy! It's not long, and I highly recommend it. Which leads me to...

Hillsdale College

Hillsdale College is an unusual and exceptional private college (only 1200 students) and the publisher of Imprimis. I first learned of it in the late 80s when the press announced that this quirky little college in Michigan actually was refusing federal funds! This was unheard of back then!

Hillsdale's reasoning: if you accept federal funds, you accept federal authority when it comes to education. They didn't want to be under the thumb of the government. So, they chose to create their own student loan program for their students and they are able to teach what they want, how they want to. Note: they are accredited. This is the college that I would choose to attend if I were about to go into college again.

My Surgery

I am going into surgery on Wednesday. I don't know what time yet (the hospital calls only the night before to let you know when they're going to take you!) This is serious surgery, as you know, and I will be out of BlogLand for at least Wednesday and Thursday. Please keep me in your prayers.

In the meantime, I have a list of some of my favorite posts (the ones which define my core beliefs) here.

If you'd like an update on how I'm doing, Michelle will be posting an update in this particular post.

Thank you, and God bless.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Scene From a Restaurant

We were at breakfast with the kids at Lenny's the other weekend. This place has the best breakfasts you've ever had (and Barbara: it's even kosher)! I grew up with the owner, and never imagined he'd take over after his father died, but it's extremely lucrative. They are constantly packed, with people willing to wait, and it's a big restaurant!

So as we're sitting there, a family at a table nearby was eating lunch (it was brunch time - where anything goes). The baby at the end of the table somehow managed to get a bowl of hot soup, and spilled it all over himself. My boyfriend, afraid that the baby was going to be scalded, jumped up and motioned the owner over. The owner rushed in, and between the mom and himself, got the tyke's outfit off in a jiffy (he was fine).

"So that's all you have to do to get your pants taken off in here!" said my boyfriend loudly (I can't take him anywhere, it appears).

"Shhh!" I hissed at him. "This is a family restaurant!" and I jerked my thumb at the table next to us complete with kids of their own (let alone ours). "Oops!" he said, realizing what he'd just done.

But instead of being offended, everyone was laughing. "Where d'ya guys originally come from?" asked the grandmother "next door".

"Here," we answered in unison.

"No, I mean originally," she said. Now that's funny, because we moved down when I was still less than a year old, so I've always thought of myself as a native. However, my parents were from New York so I was raised by New Yorkers. My boyfriend moved from another northern metropolis when he was in elementary school. So, we told her all this and she nodded.

"Yup," she said. "We're from New York too. I could tell in an instant that you guys were from up north."

Florida is a melting pot. I consider myself a native, and my brothers definately are natives (they were born after me). But New Yorker or not, my usually proper mother would've been scandalized. Either that, or she would've been laughing just as hard as they were. Mom is a cipher. You can't always tell...

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Piercing the Darkness

It's Saturday and you know what that means! Yup! It's time for the weekend story. As always, please pick up where the last person left off, and be cautious in the language that you choose to use (as kids often read this particular post).

Today, in the spirit of Conan (read the books by the originator: Robert E. Howard - who was incredibly talented), The Hobbit, and other great fantasy tales, let's write one ourselves!

Piercing the Darkness

Pierce paused for a moment. The night was dark, with a faint glow from the two moons above. He had been quietly pacing through the forest for a couple hours now (it was best to move at night and remain unobserved). The sun had set when he started out, and the moons were just beginning to rise.

The reason he had stopped momentarily was due to the crick in his back. He irritably reached up and grasped a handful of fur. The fur hissed angrily. "Look," said Pierce, "I know you hate moving about on your own, but you are simply getting too big for me to carry all the time."

He pulled something off his back which was about the size of a cat. Seen in the moonlight,the color was hardly discernible. But viewed in the daylight, the fur was a motley mixture of greens and browns (perhaps to help camouflage its ancestors in the woods).

Disengaged, the creature sat for a moment on the forest floor, then looked up and said in a squeaky, plaintive tone "But I don't wanna walk." It stood up to the height of a small monkey (and indeed it resembled one closely except for the third arm) and stretched. "What Pierce got to eat?" it asked, yawning.

"Nothing right now,"Pierce answered irritably. "We still have a ways to go before we can take a break. Now let's get going, Mnemu!"

Mnemu shrugged and, saying nothing more, climbed a tree and began hopping from tree to tree as Pierce continued walking, following a faint path...

Friday, November 04, 2005

All About Me (well, at least a LOT about me...)

I must really apologize to each of you. I'm not neglecting your blogs, and I'm very interested in you and what you have to say, or I wouldn't bother posting in your blog to begin with. If you look halfway down this post, you'll find some interesting reading!

But, here's what's on my plate these last couple days (and it's why I'm not as responsive as I'd like to be):

1. Neck Pain: My surgery (I have two disks being fused in my neck) happens next Wednesday. I will probably be out of BlogLand for at least 2 days. It's a serious procedure where they make you sign a living will, but the mortality rate is very low(?!) It seems they can't make up their minds!

They go in through the front of the throat, and remove the cracked disks (or their remnants) and replace them with cadaver bone which will eventually 'fuse' together. Mmmm, yummy! If I start to have multiple personalities, we'll know that they're coming from Great Aunt Mabel.

2. I am a workaholic. There are some days that I get distracted and breathe again, but they're few and far between. Right now, I have too many pans in the fire, and in addition I need to train my assistant in depth.

Also, I have to get my house in order so that I don't go insane looking around me while I'm in bed for several days. Of course, I can hope that I'll be sleeping during that time, but other people will have to be here and there's no sense giving them heart failure.

Incidentally, I think it is also time to come clean with my living arrangements, as a friend has euphemistically termed it. I refer rarely to my immediate family: I am a single, divorced female who has been living with the same guy for 6 years (my choice, not his, I should add - he wishes to get married). Many people who know us believe that we ARE married.

I have a son, he has a daughter. That's why I speak more of my son (and am obviously closer to him).

When and if anyone can ever convince me that marriage is any different than living together, I'll get married. But I have examined it backwards and forwards, and see no reason that I need the government's blessing. I don't wish to disappoint my parents, but in my mind there are more powerful reasons to not get married at this time. If I ever choose to share those with you, I will. For now, I remain reticent.

BUT, there are many of you that are just getting to know me. At this point, I would like to recommend re-runs. Hey, the networks do it all the time! Here are some posts that will let you see exactly who I am (NOTE: They are posts that span from May - October of 2005):

Kid's Issues

Solution to Kids Out of Control
Survival of the Fittest
Disciplining Kids
Hysterically Funny or Awkwardly Painful
Discrimination at KFC
The Verbal Abuser


Racism & Reverse Racism
Racism in America
The Lingerie Customers From Hell


The Perfect Man
Gay Marriage
My Incredible Father
Pranking the Parents
Pranking the Parents Part Deux
Mixing Lunch
How Dumb Was She?
Family Ties (That Bind and Gag!)

The Business World

Rotten Bosses
Business vs. Employees
Customers From Hell
Sexual Discrimination on the Golf Course
The Biker Babe

Political & National Issues

Florida's New "Kill Bill Law"
I Nominate Tom Cruise as Moron of the Year
China's Continued Ban on Free Speech
Americans: Get a Life!
Missionaries & Proselytizing
Illegal Immigrants & Child Sex Abuse
Increased Funding for Africa
Aids Funding for Africa
America Losing Key Jobs
President Bush
Lurid War Photos Exchanged for Porn
Tampa's Corrupt Government
Doctors: Just What Did Their Transcripts Read?
Prison Reform Needed

Me & My Interests

The Thrill of the Hunt
Heavy Metal
The Drama Teacher
Apartment Living Nightmares
Candles: Their History & Usage
How to Make Candles at Home
Pottery Purgatory
The Weeki Wachee Mermaids (& Video)
Saur's Top 10 Reasons Why Heavy Metal is Better Than Rap
727 (Alternative Music / Heavy Metal)

Please don't comment on these past posts and expect me to see the comments. However, feel free to comment on them in this post if you wish! Have a wonderful Friday!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Those Annoying Family Friends Who Sell PartyLite

I have friends that revolve in a whirwind of sales parties: PartyLite, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, Weekenders, Tupperware. They feel this obligation to go if a close friend or family member has invited them. Besides, they just had their own nutritional supplement party and everyone else had to come!

I have a couple close friends and otherwise I'm relatively anti-social. It serves me well. You see, I have very little time, and only wish to spend it with people who are truly extraordinary like Michelle, Ozma, and my assistant: Zen Buddhist. I have other friends who could be closer if we could ever coordinate our schedules! Parties don't usually fit into that scheme though I admit I've made exceptions.

Don't get me wrong! These few friends are more important to me than they probably know. They are alternatively my grounding force, my sanity, my breath of fresh air, my ministering spirits. Even more importantly to me, they are all interesting and intelligent and I don't feel like I'm ever wasting time with them.

But Ozma, being Mexican, has a large extended family and I am part of it. They are immensely sweet people who dote on me, so I am forced to waste more time doing useless socializing than I ever would (I was probably a hermit in a former life).

I was invited to more parties than most people see in a lifetime, and narrowly escaped them all, until Ozma pointed out one day that I was always missing her parties. Busted! I guess she didn't buy the last excuse, when I told her that the house was under siege by velociraptors.

So, I had to attend and buy my way out of the parties. You feel bad for the hostess! She needs those hostess gifts!

I hate those parties. There's always the obligatory party games; you feel like you're at a bridal shower! Then everyone gets serious and the products come out. If you buy something small, you feel stingy. But if you buy something massive that you will probably never use, you have just spent half of your home's mortgage for that month. So, the pressure is always on at the end of the party: are you buying the tealight, or the 75 pound stand-up candle at the bargain price of $362.75?

I had thought I had narrowly escaped the most recent spate of parties, until Ozma's dad called me. "I know you're going in for surgery," he said. "I have found a product I believe in so much that I am now selling it! I just know it will help you! You might not even need surgery! It's called OPC-3, and it's only $60 a bottle!"

Groan. I'm trying to look on the bright side, however. At least he's not throwing a party!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Female Molesters

Now, before I get any angry teachers commenting on this, let me state that many of my friends and family are teachers. Most teachers are marvellous individuals who are teachers because they feel they wanted to enrich childrens' lives. That, and they are intrepid warriors who have the patience of saints. If the US Government appointed only teachers as ambassadors, we'd probably have world peace!

However, there are always the people who get into professions dealing with children because they want access to the kids for less noble purposes. These professions include youth group and boy scout leaders, priests and pastors, and teachers (among other child-oriented professions I can't think of right now).

Authority figures have the ability to manipulate children, if they choose to, and the spate of child molestation cases proves it. Almost everyone (except perverts) finds child molestation abhorrent - the product of a sick mind. But sadly, there is a difference in the way a molester is perceived if she is female.

We have yet another molestation case in the Tampa Bay area involving a female teacher. In the past it has sickened me to hear radio show hosts talk repeatedly about how "hot" the molester was ("wink, wink, nudge, nudge") as if being an attractive female ameliorates the atrocity. They also say repeatedly, "Oh be honest. Wasn't this your dearest dream when you were a kid?" Hell no, it wasn't!

But even if a kid does have fantasies like that, does it make it right to take advantage of that? After all, some kids have fantasies about killing their teachers, too. Would it be OK if they were encouraged to do it?!

This current teacher was a phys ed coach, who ended up seducing a female student. Will this cause even more lascivious comments or will it be condemned because it's a lesbian relationship? Either choice would be the wrong way to handle it. If a child is molested, it's a tragedy. It doesn't matter if it's a same-sex or opposite sex molestation. It is something that no society should tolerate or excuse, under any circumstances. And those fools who are on the radio need to use their last operating brain cells to re-evaluate their terrible reactions.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Gorilla

OK, yeah, I admit it: I'm a Bloom County addict. I was reminded of all those archived cartoons when I saw a comment in another blog. So, I went to and enrolled. There is just so much that Bloom County still has to offer us, 25 years after it's inception. So, I think I'll be using these toons to illustrate my blog for a while. You can always click on the toon to read it better, by the way.


This is a post about The Other Half. I don't speak of him much, for various reasons. That doesn't mean he's not very interesting (as you will see). We happen to be semi-famous people that would rather remain obscure. Some people would never have heard of us, others would. The reason I write this blog is to reach out to like-minded people. I can't do that, and write honestly, if I don't remain relatively anonymous.

The Other Half is a very handsome guy. Sometimes breathless females will pull me aside and tell me he looks a lot like Mel Gibson. That is when I need to evaluate the situation and decide whether or not to tell them about The Gorilla. Kidding! I actually could never do that to him. At least not yet.

Anyway, what attracted me to him was not his looks. It is that he is very weird. I mean, there are plenty of adjectives that can be used to describe people like us: eccentric, interesting, amusing, etc. However, when you boil it all down it comes to weird.

I think the first time I realized I was madly in love with him was when I saw him do The Gorilla. He does an excellent gorilla imitation. I mean, Abbot and Costello would be envious. The really weird thing is that he does it in public sometimes. That is when I hope that no one who knows us is anywhere nearby.

He'll see a situation ripe for The Gorilla, and it's all over. For instance, a little old lady walking by and badgering her husband may end up stalked through the mall by The Gorilla. He'll sneak behind them, hunched over and hopping about, pretending to pick out lice, until they turn around. Then, he's just another shopper. One hopes his famous colleagues never catch a glimpse of this.

But The Other Half is a Sleep Walker / Talker (think Opus!) and finally took The Gorilla to another level a couple months ago.

I was sound asleep one night, when I was suddenly awakened by The Other Half looming over me, doing The Gorilla. It was complete with noise (you know: irritated monkey hoots) as he jumped about.

"What are you doing?" I asked, sleepily.

"I need a banana," he answered (silly me!). He then climbed out of bed, and wandered down the hall into the kitchen. I heard the refrigerator door open and close, and soon he came padding back, still hooting softly. He lept back onto the bed again.

"Honey," I repeated more strongly now, "What are you doing?"

"I went looking for a banana, but there aren't any," he said in a wounded tone of voice. Then he rolled over and went back to sleep.

The next morning when we woke up, he rolled over and said "You know, hon, I had the strangest dream...!"

"Dream?" I said, slightly annoyed, "It's a good thing you didn't trample me! And next time you go looking for bananas, you might remember we don't keep them in the fridge!" There's no reasoning with gorillas, though.

I am loyal to a point, but the story was too golden to keep entirely silent about. My closest friends know this one. I had to tell! Wouldn't you?