Dear New Alliance Bank;

To begin, I'd like to congratulate you on acquiring the Savings Bank of Manchester.

I was a faithful SBM customer for many years. One of the things I really loved about SBM, aside from their fine customer service, friendly and accurate tellers, and no-fee checking, was that every SBM branch had a clock on the outside of the building. I'm unable to wear a watch because of some sort of freak of electromagnetics - any watch I wear just stops working after a few weeks, from the cheapest digital to the most expensive Swiss manufacturing - so I loved that every time I passed an SBM branch (a not infrequent occurance), I could check the time.

Now, I know that you want people in this town to have the name "New Alliance Bank" branded into their brains, but did you have to cover up every single clock with a banner that says "New Alliance Bank"? Because now, every time I see or hear the name "New Alliance Bank", I think to myself "those are the fuckers who took time away from me."

Even my neighbors who can wear watches are unhappy about losing the clocks. I've heard people complaining about this without any prompting from me. Please, New Alliance Bank, give us our clocks back!




20 True Things About Me

1. The movie "Groundhog Day" moved me to tears.
2. I hate cleaning more than almost anything else - I once threw out a sinkful of dishes because I couldn't stand the thought of washing them.
3. I am ashamed now that I was so wasteful.
4. Approximately 1200 people (not counting medical professionals and relatives) have seen me completely naked.
5. I appear briefly in the Duran Duran concert movie "Sing Blue Silver".
6. My first job (other than babysitting) was as a meat wrapper in the grocery store.
7. I've been fired from 2 jobs.
8. I have never eaten a peanut butter & jelly (eww) sandwich.
9. I am extremely competitive, and I feel very pissed off when I don't win at card or board games.
10. I have learned how to be a good sport on the outside, even if I'm still a sore loser on the inside.
11. The only time I ever skipped school was in 8th grade, when I was reading what I then thought was the best book ever written "The World According to Garp", and I didn't want to put it down so I just went to homeroom and then slipped out to go read in the woods behind the school.
12. I met John Irving, the author of "Garp", and I was so excited and gushed so much that he couldn't understand a word I said.
13. I will always have a soft spot for Adam Sandler, because I met him once on a college campus, and he was so kind and sweet to Sweetness that I feel compelled to defend him and his movies.
14. The first time I got drunk in my life was 3 weeks ago, at my high school friend's wedding reception.
15. I keep a list of songs that I want to have played at my funeral.
16. "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC is on that list.
17. I love tattoo magazines even though I don't have any tattoos and I don't plan to get any tattoos.
18. In 16 years of driving, I've never gotten a ticket.
19. I have a job interview tomorrow and I have no idea what I'm going to wear.
20. I have freckles on 65% of my body.



We have a tough week this week - last night Sweetness and I had choir practice, tonight Sweetness had a school chorus concert (they are incredible, better than many professional choirs), tomorrow Monkey has a softball game, Thursday S & I have choir practice again, and Friday she has an orchestra concert. Saturday my in-laws are going to descend on my house to celebrate all the May birthdays in our family, and Sunday we have church. That means I have only Memorial Day with nothing scheduled, so I offer my thanks again to all those veterans who gave their lives for this great nation, because without their sacrifice, it would be just another workday under some fascist dictator or greedy monarch. Thanks!

Anyway, because we're so busy this week, I took my lunch hour today to do some grocery shopping. I had a quick drive to the store, but on my way back to work, I was behind a car being driven by a man with white hair and a hat. There were 4 white haired people in this car, and they were driving approximately 8 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone. I thought to myself "retired people should stay off the roads between 12-1, when those of us who have to work are out and about trying to do things we don't have enough time in our week to do", and then I was ashamed of myself for thinking like that. And then, the white haired person in the passenger seat tossed a fast food bag out the window. So I passed those littering motherfuckers and yelled at them to get off the road. Justified anger - it feels good.


Final Solution

Ezra at Pandagon wrote a pretty good post about the Iraqi wedding bombing. It reminded me of a conversation I once had with my right-wing brother-in-law.

A little history, first. My BIL absolutely despised me when he first met me. My husband's whole family was pretty skeptical to be honest (can you imagine? they were skeptical of this 19 year old pregnant chick who wanted to marry their 27 year old son/brother!), but BIL was the most overtly hostile of the bunch. I hated him, too. But over the years, I got to know him better, and he got to know me better, and now I would say that we are pretty fond of one another.

This conversation occurred when we Bush announced the war on terror. My BIL and I, who are nearly always at odds with each other when discussing politics, both agreed that there is only one way to stop terror, and even that is only a temporary measure - genocide. Kill everyone who stands against you. Everyone who is not on your side needs to be dead. Of course memories are long and span generations, and eventually, a new group of people who hate America will come along and use the same tactics again, because what other kind of tactics can a small, poor nation use against a wealthy powerful one? Even my BIL thought that would be wrong. It would change what America is, what America stands for. Maybe the torture and the murder of children at a wedding aren't as bad as what Stalin or Hitler or Pol Pot did, but it certainly doesn't make us any better.



If Bush had friends, I'm sure they wouldn't let him bike drunk.


I never said I was consistent

I just noticed that two consecutive posts of mine offer 2 very different opinions on eye patches. In my "Hip Tip" post, I admire eye patches, but in the "Carnivals" post, I express disdain for or perhaps fear of those who wear eye patches. Well, I never said I was consistent, but for the record: my admiration is for pirate style eye-patches. My fear is when I see someone who clearly got their eye patch because their cornea was scratched by a broken bottle in a bar fight. Either that or they have a severe lazy eye that probably should have been corrected years ago.

Pirates = Arrgh! (Yay!)
Carnies = Scary!

ETA: I also seem to have a lot of disagreement with myself over the phrase "eye patch", which I have written as "eye-patch", "eyepatch" and "eye patch". I'm guessing that the hyphen is the appropriate form, but I am far too lazy to find out by myself. I have heard that there are some people on the internet who are very particular about grammar. If you happen to be one and you've stopped in to read my blog, feel free to correct me.

Added to blogroll

There is a voice inside my head that keeps me amused all day long, and that voice sounds just like Finslippy. For some reason, when I try to transcribe that funny voice, it just comes out like me. So go read Finslippy, because as her tagline says, it's better to be Finslippy than to not be Finslippy.

Carnivals look better from a distance

Monkey had a great time at the carnival on Saturday evening. She did multiple backflips on the Eurojump, screamed with delight on the Tilt-A-Whirl, had a blast slamming into people on the Bumper Cars, and waved faithfully with each turn of the carousel.

Loki and I enjoyed watching her have so much fun, but we couldn't help but notice the puke under the bench, and the carnies who seemed to be universally missing a finger or wearing an eyepatch, all with a cigarette either dangling from their lip or tucked above their ear. We made a cycle through, letting Monkey and Sweetness go on the rides they wanted to go on, playing a couple of midway games (Monkey won a stuffed tiger; thankfully, no one won a live goldfish), buying one disgusting carnival food item apiece (fried dough for Sweetness, cotton candy for Monkey), and then heading home. When we got to our car, we turned back to look at the carnival. Yep, definitely looks better from a distance.


A Hip Tip for potential Orthopods

I went to my new orthopedist today. We discussed my "very sad, very sick" hip joint, as he called it, and while he wasn't quite as fast as previous orthopods to suggest we better yank that thing out of there and put in something shiny and new, a total hip replacement is in my not too distant future.

He also asked my permission to use my X-rays in the board tests he will be conducting in July. He said if the potential orthopods don't at least consider the pros and cons of fusion, they will fail. (The pros: no more pain; the cons: no movement, same lurching walk, no flexibility).

Oh, and if I would like to help stave off the operation for a little longer, I should get a cane! I always wanted to have some sort of affectation to make me stand apart from others - an eye patch, or a monocle, maybe a fashionable hat or a posh accent. Now I feel justified in buying a cool cane that will really help define me as the elegant and sexy woman I truly am. Of course, I'll probably be best served by the decidedly unsexy orthopedic cane.



Sweetness is going to the junior prom with her boyfriend in a couple of weeks. I missed both of my proms for a variety of reasons: A) no one asked me; B) the popular music of the late 80's was not good - Paula Abdul, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and lots of miscellaneous crappy dance music - I was a purist and I could not subject my precious ears to that kind of filth; C) I was deeply submerged in teen angst and the prom just seemed like something a tragic figure such as myself should avoid; D) I was grunge before that word existed, and as a low maintenance kind of woman, the thought of prettying myself up for a prom was alien to me.

Sweetness is not at all angsty, she has no music standards*, she loves prettying herself up, and of course, she has a boyfriend who asked her to the prom. We've already taken care of the gown (Sweetness and one of her best friends made her dress), the shoes, and the jewelry (a gift from her boyfriend), and now I'm told we must make a hair, manicure and pedicure appointment, and we must make them 2 weeks ago, because there are no appointments available now.

Yes, that's right - I could not find a single hairdresser within the Greater Hartford region who has an opening. This leaves me with the terrifying option of doing it myself. I only recently learned how to make a braid. When Monkey requests pigtails, it usually looks like they were made by an intoxicated person who is missing some fingers. I have one good hair trick, and that is a bun held in place with 2 pencils. I don't think Sweetness will want that for the prom. Still, I'm a firm believer that I can learn how to do anything, so I started practicing last night. I told Sweetness her head is mine for the next two weeks, and I'm going to practice making her hair beautiful every night until the prom.

*I shouldn't say *no* standards, but she is blissfully unaware of any music that exists outside the realm of original cast recordings of various musicals, themes from her favorite movies, oldies, and classical recordings, particularly anything played by Yo-Yo Ma (Sweetness is a cellist). And she doesn't care passionately about the music she does like. She gets this from Loki, who is a recovering Styx {shudder} fan.


Anything you can do, I can do better

American in Iraq beheaded in retaliation for the torture of Iraqi detainees.


70% to 90%

Kevin Drum has some screen shots of a report that says between 70% to 90% of the prisoners in Abu Ghraib are innocent of any wrongdoing.

I'm sure this won't make a difference to the evil bastards who are trying to justify torture.


The Road Not Traveled

I spent some time on Saturday with my old high school friend B. - she was in town because another high school friend of ours was getting married.

My relationship with B. was probably the most important relationship I had in high school. She was confrontational and rebellious, she was effortlessly brilliant in school, she drank, smoke, did drugs, and had lots of sex, with boys and girls. She was everything I wasn't, and I was in love with her.

Her mother was the first person I ever met who I thought of as evil. She told B. repeatedly that she was worthless. She was occasionally physically abusive. But worst of all was the simple fact that she just didn't care what happened to B. My mother welcomed B. when she first met her, but when she saw how B.s mother treated B., my mom told me she didn't want me to hang around with B. anymore. I didn't listen to my mom. B. and I did cut back on the time we spent together, but I would occasionally sneak out of the house to go to the movies or a show with her.

Much of the time, when B. and I hung around together, we were like pretty much any other pair of best friends. We listened to music, we talked about boys, we did each other's hair (although not in braids - she would Dippity-do and Aqua-Net my mohawk and I would help her dye her hair purple.) When she was with me, there was no smoking, or drinking, or drugs, although she did occasionally dump me in favor of a sexual liasion. But there were other times when she would drag me along on her ill-advised and often illegal adventures - shoplifting, lots of drinking, and I'm fairly certain that sometimes she was exchanging sexual favors for money and/or drugs. I never did any of these things, but I was there and I never stopped her.

I'm sure I was so attracted to her because of our differences, because the areas where I was most terrified were the same areas where she was absolutely fearless. She was always full of bravado, and I was a meek little mouse who followed her around.

One day, midway through our senior year, I wrote her a letter confessing to her how much I loved her. She told me she loved me too. But I was still too afraid to do anything about it. For the next 4 months, every minute we spent together was charged with sexual possibility, but my fear held me back. Not only was I afraid of the possibility of being a dyke (which I feared because an out and proud lesbian classmate got beat up on a daily basis), there was also the pragmatic concern about sexually transmitted diseases - she had been sexually active with probably well over 100 people by that time.

One day, shortly after we graduated but before she went away to college, we met, secretly, of course, in the parking lot of the school. I had decided that tonight was the night, I was just going to jump in with both feet, and I was going to make love to this woman I had ached for all year. I kissed B., and it was wonderful, sweet and soft and gentle, and terribly exciting. And then I looked at her and saw the pain and self-loathing under the bravado, and changed my mind about jumping in, said good-bye and walked home.

I have had occasion to wonder "what if" about that decision over the years. And when B. showed up at my front door, I realized that saying good-bye to B. was the right thing to do. I will probably never stop second guessing my choices, but this time I know I made the right decision.


Woke up this morning

at 6:30am to a newly seven year old Monkey singing "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" at the top of her lungs while she played "guitar" on a badminton racquet.

Seven years ago today, at this very moment, I was in labor, having back to back contractions - which means my contractions lasted for 2 minutes with a 30 second break in between. For those of you who have not or cannot give birth, contractions feel kind of like someone took a really bad cramp, poured gasoline on it and set it on fire. I got to feel the full effect of the contractions because I'm more afraid of having a needle poked into my spine than I am of pain.

We brought home a baby that refused to sleep, nursed constantly, and would not let anyone but me hold her without making a big stink. She also wouldn't gain weight, even though she was always eating. When she was a year old, she only weighed 14 lbs. To this day, though she looks like your average 6/7 year old kid, when you pick her up, she feels like she's hollow.

She makes life more interesting every day, sometimes in the Chinese curse kind of way, but mostly in good and funny ways.

I love you, Monkey - happy birthday!


Red Hot

This Saturday was softball opening day, and it couldn't have been more beautiful. High 70's and sunny, with a beautiful breeze. I can't tell who won the game because the rules at Rookie level are mysterious, but my baby hit the ball both times she got to bat, so she was happy.

When I got home from the game, though, I discovered that just because it's only in the 70's, that doesn't mean I'm exempt from sunburn. I look like a nicely boiled lobster. I actually felt ill for most of the rest of the day because of the sunburn.

Sunday did not get off to an auspicious start. It was dreary and raining, and at church, we sang like 15 songs that all had lyrics that came directly from the 23rd psalm. There was a guest minister who seemed to have a philosphy of "why say it in 10 words when you can say it in 450 words, with several analogies just in case you didn't catch the point the 5th time through". We were there for an extra hour.

But all was well when we got home, because Loki took the girls to visit their grandma (well, their substitute grandma since his mother is 3000 miles away - grandma Joan is the mother of Loki's college roommate who passed away 3 years ago). So it was me, the dog, the cats, and the DVD of Freaks & Geeks.

I never watched that show when it was on, because at the time I was working 60 or 70 hours a week. I would work from 7-4, go home to make dinner and tuck Monkey and Sweetness into bed, and then go back to work until 10 or 11, so I didn't watch much TV. But my sister was a huge fan, and when the DVD came out she bought it right away, and then she raved about it, so I borrowed her DVD and settled in for a day of laundry folding and TV watching.

I watched almost the whole series in one day, and I think I have a crush on Seth Rogan. It was a good show, it avoided a lot of cliches, and the kids all seemed real - except maybe James Franco, who looked like he was about 45. Still, the characters were well written and three dimensional. I think its human nature to categorize people - the jocks, the geeks, the burnouts, etc., but in reality, people are always more complicated.

When I was a senior in high school, we had a new student who had bleached blonde hair, and wore a ton of makeup and trendy clothes, and she acted like an airhead, and on top of that, her name was Echo! My friends and I used to mock her all the time. But later that year, Echo and I were both cast in the school musical (Pippin), and we got to be friends, and I found out that she had all kinds of pain of her own that she was dealing with - and she had better coping skills than me, because she was happy, where I was miserable most of the time.