"I want, I want, I want ... but that's crazy"

Friday, November 28, 2008

Flashback Friday - Pictures of You

Flashback Friday brings Pictures of You by The Cure, as performed live at Wembley Stadium in 1991

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Random Rant - Glade Commercials

I hate the current commercial campaign for Glade air freshening products. Every time I watch, I cringe. This woman lies to her friends and family to make herself seem more wealthy, important, sophisticated, cultured, whatever. But she's a pretentious phony liar. She's sitting in her bathtub - but claims she's at the spa. She invites her pals over for yoga and claims the scent in the air is some exotic aromatherapy. She dumps a box of hard gingerbread cookies onto a plate and tries to pass off some canned fragrance as real cooking. I see that all the friends think this stuff smells great. And clearly the lying society wannabe thinks the stuff smells good. But what kind of ad campaign has the person using your products ashamed to admit she's using your products? And who are these friends who just laugh it off every time this woman lies to their faces? Is the humiliation funny enough that they don't mind she's a complete fake?

Don't disturb the peace

The girls are out of school today - the first day of Thanksgiving break. My mother was unavailable so I had to work from home today, rather than go into the office as I usually do on Wednesdays.
It was all working out fairly well, at first. I got up and made my coffee. Munch popped her head into the room a few minutes later, but I told her she didn't have school so she could go on back to bed. Which she did, for a few minutes. Gin was still sleeping, so Munch went downstairs and made herself a bowl of cereal then entertained herself quietly for a while. When Gin got up later, she went downstairs and got a bowl of cereal, then headed back up to her room to read a book.
So the house was quiet. Gin was reading. Munch was eating, again. Mom was getting to work undisturbed - while also running downstairs periodically to work on the brine for tomorrow's turkey.
Then what did I do? I took the quiet and decided to spoil it. I suggested to Gin that she might want to get one of her chores started, so she could have it out of the way and go back to reading after. She begrudgingly obliged. Gin was grumpy, so she groused at Munch. Munch is ... well, Munch ..... so she took advantage and decided to aggravate Gin some more. Next thing I know, I'm trying to work but being distracted by banging and shouting coming from downstairs. I put my two cents in. Silence .... for about 15 secs. Then banging and shouting from upstairs. I put my two cents in. Oh...I think I hear more banging and shouting from downstairs again.
Everything was quiet. I screwed it up. Moral of the story: the chores can wait. Don't disturb the peace.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The secret meanings of flowers

It's almost universal that the giving of flowers is one of the most romantic gestures a partner can make. The most romantic gesture of all is putting real thought into those flowers - not just the aesthetic arrangement, but the secret messages those flowers convey. 
Back in the 1800s, men and women used flowers to send  secret messages to each other. Since the propriety of the day would not allow lovers to express their feelings verbally, the Victorians developed an intricate language of feelings and emotions using flowers. 

If you want to say - Use these flowers

I am thinking about you - Asters
I love your innocence - Baby's Breath
I'll be faithful to you - Bird of Paradise (given to a man from a woman)
I send you luck - Bells of Ireland
I long for you - pink Camellia
You're adorable - white Camellia
I'll never forget you - pink Carnation
My heart aches for you - red Carnation
Wish I could be with you - striped Carnation
I'm disappointed - yellow Carnation
I seek the truth - white Chrysanthemum
You're the only one - Daffodil
I'm loyal to you - Daisy
I remember our good times - Forget-me-not
I'm anticipating our next meeting - Forsythia
You're my secret love - Gardenia
I'm sincere - Gladioli
My love will never fade - Globe Amaranth
Love at first sight - Gloxinia
I'm consumed by love - Hibiscus
I'm bonded to you in love - Honeysuckle
I'm feeling jealous - yellow Hyacinth
I give you a promise in love - Iris
I return your affection - Jonquil
I'm walking on air - yellow Lily
You've made my life complete - Lily of the Valley
Eternal love - Orange blossom
You are a beautiful woman - Orchid
Here's to a happy life - Peony
Our souls are united - Phlox
I can't live without you - Primrose
I desire you - coral Rose
I'm enchanted with you - lavender Rose
I'm fascinated with you - orange Rose
You give me perfect happiness - pink Rose
I am worthy of you - white Rose
I feel strong when you're around - Snapdragon
Elope with me - Spider Flower
I'm declaring my love - red Tulip
There's sunshine in your smile - yellow Tulip
Caught at last - Venus Flytrap
I vow my faithfulness - blue Violet
Let's take a chance on happiness - white Violet
My affection will last forever - magenta Zinnia

Friday, November 21, 2008

Flashback Friday - The Promise

Here's another of my '80s favorites for Flashback Friday: The Promise by When in Rome.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sick house

I don't know if it's a blessing or a curse. Everyone in the house now has officially been sick. (That's the curse.) But no two were sick at the same time. (That might be a blessing.)
Last Friday night, Gin came into my room and said she had a stomachache. Not two minutes later, I hear retching sounds coming from the bathroom. I called Book's dad and told him I would not be picking Book up for our usual Saturday visit because Gin was sick. It was a good thing I did, too. Gin spent half the night hanging over a bucket in her bed, and even though she didn't feel sick Saturday, whenever she tried to eat anything, it came right back up. By afternoon, she was actually getting angry about it. By Sunday morning, she was perfectly fine again.
Sunday night, you guessed it, Munch said, "I have a stomachache." Replay Gin's scenario, except Munch got a day off school for it.
A few days passed, and we thought it was over, then Pooh got it too. His lasted a day longer than the girls' did. You know how boys are when they're sick.
Anyway, I don't have what they had, but for three days now, I've been fighting a cold of my own. *Groan*

Dean Koontz Answers Questions in Special Video Blog on BN.com

With more than 375 million copies of his books sold and 11 thrillers reaching # 1 on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list, Dean Koontz is known for his middle-of-the-night-sneak-up-behind-you literary surprises. But what you didn’t know is that he is quite the comedian!

Koontz is currently promoting his new book Your Heart Belongs To Me in a special video blog at Barnes & Noble.com. Readers and fans have posted questions online, and Koontz is answering more than a dozen of them in a series of videos that began this week.

Koontz says, “The questions are lively and direct, and my answers are mostly true, though occasionally evasive and deceptive.”

A new video will be posted every weekday through November 26th, the day after Your Heart Belongs to Me is released.

The videos can be seen here, and in the Fiction Book Club.

Girl power: Eri Yoshida

A sixteen-year-old girl has just become the first female in professional Japanese baseball's all-male league. You go girl!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Flashback Friday - Solsbury Hill

I've been waxing nostalgic lately, so I've decided to institute a new feature I'm calling Flashback Friday. I'm a child of the '80s, so I'll be offering each Friday a song, video, news item or some other '80s memory.
This week, it's one of the best songs ever - Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hope --> disappointment

Gin was sick all weekend, and it hit Munch last night too. So Gin went off to school today feeling better, but Munch spent the day in bed. It did mean that I didn't have to go into the office. A sick kid means work at home for me, while for anyone else it would actually be a day off. But at least I got to stay home. And I did not volunteer to trade it for tomorrow in the office, so I'll be home then too.
No footie on tomorrow though, I see. Great. I'm depressed, and I don't even have anything to look forward to. There's good proof to my theory: hope is the quickest road to disappointment. I dared hope that I'd have a footie match to cheer me up tomorrow, and I don't even have that.
Yes, I am depressed today. I'm 36, twice-divorced with four kids in a crappy job that keeps getting crappier. I'm alone, but even if I had someone I could really love who really loved me back, how awful would it be of me to inflict me and my life on that person? It seems like the cruelest thing I could do to someone I love. But I'm getting ahead of myself anyway. It would be easier if we could choose whom we love with our heads, rather than letting our hearts do the choosing. The heart is always so cruel about it. It only seems to want the ones who could never work for us, or don't want us back, or seem too good to be true and turns out they are, or take some sort of twisted pleasure in giving mixed messages because they know they've got us wrapped around their little fingers. Not that I'm thinking of any one (or ones) in particular. But then again, it's as bad for anyone knowing me. As I said, I wouldn't want to inflict me on anyone I care about.
Did I mention the insomnia has returned as well? I forgot to get any sleeping pills over the weekend. Maybe I should have a couple of shots of rum before bed tonight.

Friday, November 7, 2008

As promised, my rant against the gay marriage bans

I haven't taken the time to outline this post, so it will probably start to wander all over the place. Consider yourself warned. But here's my rant on California's Prop 8 and the two other gay marriage bans that were enacted by the voters on Tuesday.

Let's go over the standard arguments against gay marriage, and I'll address them one by one. (Thanks to the jackasses at nogaymarriage.com for making this easier.) Maybe it'll help keep this a little more organized, but I still don't promise not to stray a bit.

* God says it's bad, according to the Book, anyway. We have no business legalizing behavior prohibited by God.
Alright, I'm going to get the God argument out of the way right now. We're not talking about church doctrine, we're talking about law - as in man's law. The church doesn't apply on a legal issue. Each church has the right to decide whether or not they will bless the union of a same-sex couple or a heterosexual couple, but under law, marriage is a contract. Religion has nothing to do with it. Atheists are allowed to get married, and the church won't sanction it, but the state will. As the state should. Under law, marriage is a contract. If you have religious objections to gay marriage, that's your right, but you - or the government - can't force any other part of your doctrine on the rest of the population - thanks to our already constitutionally protected right to freedom of religion. No church or religious entity of any kind has to sanction a marriage in order for it to be legal. I got married the first time in front of a judge, not a minister. God wasn't mentioned in the vows or anything I signed. When it comes to law, sorry folks, God has nothing to do with it.

* Legally sanctioned gay marriages destroy the institution of marriage and are a threat to traditional families. More specifically, it's "devastating to children."
Ok. Tell me, HOW exactly it is a threat? Will heterosexual couples stop getting married if gay couples are allowed to marry? I think not. It's completely ridiculous. So this is sanctioning non-traditional families. Well, mixed race families are non-traditional. Mixed-religion families are non-traditional. Families with adopted children or foster children are non-traditional. Hell, marrying outside the clan is a break with tradition, and if you look at the history of royal families, marrying outside YOUR OWN BLOODLINE was a violation of tradition. Traditional marriages, depending on your culture and tradition, included having herds of mistresses, often living within the same household. Traditional marriages were arranged by the parents, with no right of the children to choose their own mate. Tradition sent pre-pubescent girls into wedlock with men old enough to be their own grandfathers. Times change. Don't even try to make the argument that "tradition" is the gold standard for determining what is right. Slavery was a tradition once, too, in this country. In many places, it still is. Does that make it right? Does anyone really believe that there's any validity to the "we do it this way because this is the way we've always done it; therefore, it is the right way to do it." We wouldn't get very far if we thought that way about everything. And as for destroying the institution of marriage, gays are trying to be a PART of the institution of marriage. They're showing the ultimate form of respect for the institution of marriage. What do the anti-gay marriage people think this is? Some kind of segregated country club? And as far as being devastating to children, it's been well-established that children of gay couples are no more likely to be socially deviant in any way than children of opposite-sex couples. In fact, children raised by two committed parents statistically are better off, regardless of the sexes of the parents. Besides, I might remind you that marriage is not biologically required by homosexual or heterosexual couples to bear children. I know lots of lesbians who've given birth to children. Usually in the "old-fashioned" way, too. If mommy lives with another woman, she's still mommy. And the other woman might well be mommy, too. Why can't they get married and legally establish the commitment they've made to each other? As it stands now, if the biological mommy dies, the non-biological one has no legal right to keep the child she might well have raised since birth. Taking both parents away is somehow BETTER for the child?

* Legally sanctioned gay marriage will lead to polygamy and other vile practices such as marriage to children or animals. This is the so-called "slippery slope" argument.
This is my favorite. I'll say again marriage is a contract. By its nature and definition, it is an EXCLUSIVE contract. Remember that "forsaking all others" bit in the usual vows? That's what it's about. The contract legally binds two consenting adults to each other to the exclusion of others. So the idea that legally sanctioning gay marriage will open the door to polygamy is, like the rest of the arguments, a complete load of crap. There goes the part about marrying children or animals, too. Under any contract law, contracts cannot be entered into by a minor (without a parental co-signator) or by an animal. Enough said. On top of that, states already have in place protections regarding the age of parental consent for marriage. All the states. So this supposed door has already been closed.

* I'm pulling this one directly from the site, because it's such crap you need to see it in its entirety. "An even greater objective of the homosexual movement is to end the state's compelling interest in marital relationships altogether. After marriages have been redefined, divorces will be obtained instantly, will not involve a court, and will take on the status of a driver's license or a hunting permit. With the family out of the way, all rights and privileges of marriage will accrue to gay and lesbian partners without the legal entanglements and commitments heretofore associated with it."
Damn, I've got to say, "paranoid much?" There's a homosexual movement? So they've got recruiters out there or something trying to "turn" your children like it's some kind of cult. Give it up! Gay marriage means these people WANT to commit exclusively to one person for the rest of their lives. How on earth does this equate to a desire to make divorces as easy to obtain as a hunting permit or driver's license. Besides, MARRIAGE is already easier to get than a driver's license for most people. There's no test involved. Divorce, however, is not easy. That first marriage of mine in front of the judge, we got it in two days by signing a couple of papers and filling out an application. And the marriage lasted five months. Yes, it was a mistake, but it was ours to make, and it was perfectly legal. The divorce? That took 22 months. Nothing in legalizing gay marriage can possibly relate to making divorce easier. The marriages and the divorces should be equally as easy or difficult to get as they are right now for anyone else. Just EQUAL. "With the family out of the way, all rights and privileges of marriage will accrue to gay and lesbian partners without the legal entanglements and commitments heretofore associated with it." How is that, when precisely what they're asking for is to be able to have EXACTLY THE SAME legal entanglements and commitments as heterosexual couples?

* Every school will be required to teach that this "perversion is the moral equivalent of traditional marriage."
I don't think anything about any kind of marriage has been taught in most schools since maybe the early 1970s or so. I mean, they don't have time to teach music and art because there are all these tests they're required to prepare kids for. Schools don't teach morality.

* Courts will not be able to favor a "traditional family" over a household with two parents of the same sex in adoption or foster family child placement.
So what? Children need to be raised in a healthy, loving family. There are thousands of heterosexual married couples involved in drugs, violence and all kinds of other criminal behavior. Each couple should be evaluated on its own merits, and frankly, they need to be evaluated a lot more closely. There are children who need good homes that could be provided to them by a loving homosexual couples. Those parents will dress them for school, help them with homework, make them dinner, drive them to soccer games - just like any good parents do. Preference should not be given to a couple with lesser qualifications just because they're of two different sexes.

* It would be excessively draining on the Social Security system because of the millions of new dependents entitled to survivor benefits.
Umm, so you shouldn't be able to collect Social Security benefits because you're gay? Umm, do gay people not work and pay into the system just like everyone else? And let's talk about the children again. If a parent dies, the children are entitled to Social Security benefits, which, by the way, are calculated based solely on that person's lifetime income and payments into the system. So, if Tommy has two mommies and one of the mommies dies, he shouldn't get that benefit? Yeah, that's really protecting his interests, isn't it?

* This one's not from the site, but from a comment I read while going through all the post-Prop 8 passage news. The purpose of marriage is to sustain and propagate the species. Gay couples can't have kids. As I recall, the fellow said something along the lines of "why should they get all the rights and benefits associated with marriage while WE do all the work."
Alright, stupid. So does this mean that heterosexual couples who cannot or choose not to have children should not be allowed to get married either?

The supporters of Prop 8 in California and the other abominations in Arizona and Florida are arguing that the majority has spoken, and gay couples will just have to live with it. One of the primary purposes of government is to protect the minority from the majority. These propositions never should have been presented to the voters in the first place. It's just allowing the morality of the majority to be imposed upon the minority. It's sanctioning discrimination. If the abolition of slavery was put to a vote in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia in the 1860s, it would have failed. Would that have made it right?

Munch concerns

Munch had her second swim lesson this evening. She came home from school and immediately asked if she could change into her swimsuit. I told her that she could, but it was probably a mistake, because then she started asking every 20 minutes if it was time to go yet. Two hours later, yes, Munch, it's time to go. "Okay! I'll be waiting in the car!" She's so excited.
After swim lesson - and picking up our Thursday night pizza - I had to race to get the girls back home to drop them off so I could go to a parent/teacher conference for Munch at school. They schedule these things for 10-minute sessions. I was there for 40 minutes. Surprise, surprise - Munch is flighty, disorganized and unfocused. I know this. Every parent/teacher conference I've had has been the same. In fact, I've already gotten at least five phone calls from her teacher about her work habits this year alone. Funny thing is, we just got her report card, and it was four A's and a B, plus three Satisfactory marks with only one Needs Improvement. Any other school would think that was more than good enough, but our school is very "high involvement." It's a good thing, really, that the teachers are so concerned for their students, but REALLY. Well, I guess if we can get her focused, she'll be a little phenom.
I came home to cold pizza, but at least the kids saved me a slice. It was all I got to eat today.

All day today I'd planned a post on the Prop 8 passage in California and the other two gay marriage bans that passed on Tuesday, but it's getting too late tonight. I'll get to it tomorrow. I've been reading news stories and blog entries - as well as thousands of comments on them - and I've got a hell of a lot to say on that one myself. Stay tuned.

Save a small fortune on prescription eyeglasses

I think it's safe to say that we're all hoping somehow, some way, this economic nightmare we're facing is going to turn around soon. Remember the "It's morning in America" message that Ronald Reagan offered when we were seeing double-digit inflation, double-digit interest rates and double-digit unemployment numbers of the late 1970s? I was only 8 years old when Reagan took office, but I remember the factories closing down in my town, and my mother being forced to take a job as a dishwasher in a restaurant just to keep me fed and a roof over my head.
Things slowly began to turn around. New businesses came into town, and my hometown - which was fast becoming a ghost town - recovered and even grew.
Those businesses are now laying off workers, cutting back shifts, and we're all back to tightening our belts after the salad days.
Every expense is getting to be too much, so we're all getting a lot more creative in how we save money. Some of them are complicated and time-consuming, but some of them can be pretty simple.
Take prescription eyeglasses, for example. How much did you pay for that last pair? $100? $150? More? Fortunately, there's an alternative for beautiful, fashionable prescription eyeglasses that will save you a small fortune. Would you believe me if I told you that you can get great new prescription glasses - that's complete eyeglasses, including the lenses and frame - for just $8? That's not a typo. Really. Eight dollars. To steal a phrase I heard somewhere recently, YES YOU CAN!
ZenniOptical has cut out the middleman by manufacturing its own lenses and super cute frames, and sells them directly to the consumer. They don't buy big, fancy ad campaigns and pass the cost on to the consumer. They rely on the buzz created by offering a quality product at previously unheard of amazing low prices. And it's worked. I'm telling everyone I know who wears glasses about ZenniOptical, and if you wear prescription eyeglasses, I'm telling you too. Before you head out to buy another pair of glasses, take a minute to check out ZenniOptical for yourself. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A breath

May I pause to take a breath, please? Today, I finally could, and it was wonderful. Just to stop and breathe.
Lately, I've been so busy, waking up every morning with a long list of things that must be done and not enough time to do them. The last two were the worst, I won't get into Monday, but the insomnia set back in Monday night. I watched the hours tick away all night, until finally at 4 a.m. I gave up on the attempt and just took a shower. Afterward, I spread a towel over my pillow and managed to squeeze in about an hour and a half of sleep.
I had to wake up early Tuesday morning so I could get the papers' homepage news up before I had to run to a meeting at the girls' school. After that I had to drive in to the store (it's in another town - we only have a little tiny market here). I came back home to find that Pooh had just arrived home from work, so we went over to the church hall to vote - it was his first time. :) He's a bit of a political junkie too.
Fortunately, there was no line at the polling place. In fact, there was only one other person there voting when we arrived. So we signed in, cast our ballots, then back home so I could get back to working - and watching two football matches. I so love the sport. It's an art form. And the "artists" are works of art themselves. Could it possibly be any better?
But anyway, I finished up my work and started watching the election coverage. Just then, my friend F popped up online to say hello. He knows I'm a political junkie - and he is too - so we chatted as we waited for the polls to start closing. He's in Switzerland, so it was getting pretty late for him, but he hung in with me until after 9 p.m. my time. Then Z called, also knowing I'd be watching election results coming in. He was watching, too, from England. I guess the whole world really was watching this one. It wasn't exactly suspenseful, though. There was little doubt as to which way this one was going. We were all just waiting to watch it happen.
When the results came in I was back to working again. Up until 2 a.m. Then back into the office Wednesday morning.
And here I am up too late again after having 6 hours of sleep total in two nights. To bed right this minute.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Party to attend

My friend L at work had a party yesterday for her husband's 40th birthday, and she invited me and the kids to join in the festivities. I took along Gin, Munch and Book, hoping that Book would be able to manage with the crowd. It was my first party since all those graduation parties back in May and June. Those weren't a lot of fun for me, since they came immediately following my break-up and I was kind of a mess. (Ok, if anyone remembers back that far, clearly, I was a lot more than "kind of" a mess.....)
First thing when we arrived at L's, Book decided to take a seat in the kiddie pool sitting on the front porch for the apple bobbing. "It looked like a chair," he told me, so we did the best we could drying the back of his jeans with a hair dryer.
Once all the kids arrived, they started into the apple bobbing in the kiddie pool. I had to laugh at Munch as she critically assessed the pool and stated, "There needs to be more water." It didn't matter that it was cold out or that most of the kids playing were very little ones who certainly shouldn't be sticking their faces into a big tub of water with their hands behind their backs. Though I tried explaining this to her, she still felt that, if not the rules, then at least the spirit of the game was violated if the apples were not in deeper water. She's 7 years old, folks, but don't ever ask me to explain how her mind works. I don't think I'll ever understand it. Anyway....
After that, L brought the kids in to decorate mini pumpkins and gourds and color some Halloween pictures. That kept them all well-occupied for a pretty impressive amount of time, until they all decided they'd like to get into a mass boxing match with the birthday balloons. It was a surprisingly controlled chaos. Eventually they started to wind down, and they started watching a movie together. The funny thing was, when the kids left the art table for the movie, about a third of the adults decided to take over the art table and color some pictures themselves. It was just such a classic picture to see all of them hunched over their big bat and pumpkin and haunted house printables with their crayons and markers and colored pencils. Hehe.
Gin ate four bowls of chili and a bowl of chowder and a giant slice of chocolate and red velvet cake. How that tiny, skinny little child can pack so much away, I'll never know. Munch was more into the coloring than eating (yes - she likes art THAT much), so she just had a small bowl of the chowder and some cake. * Munch's passions are, in order: 1) chocolate; 2) drawing; 3) many other foods; 4) TV; 5) all other foods; 6) anything else. She's lucky she's got skinny genes, or she'd be as round as she is tall by now.
We left the party about 9:30 pm, when Book decided he'd had enough. He doesn't do well in noisy environments. It's overstimulating for him, so parties and such gatherings generally don't last long. Actually, he lasted a lot longer than I expected.
It was about a 45-minute drive home, and by the time we got there, the kids were pretty much done. They came right in and got ready for bed. I wasn't far behind. I must be getting old. Still, it was nice to get out and be around different people again. It's been too long, and I've become too much of a hermit lately.

Top droppers

My top droppers for October:
Communique by Ivanhoe
WindMill on the hill
Hong Kong, iPod and Joomla
New Dilemma

Thanks for reading!