Sunday, September 07, 2014

Changes

My son Andy came down for the day Friday. He's been having car trouble and the mechanics of Fairfax were trying to charge him nearly a thousand dollars for the work. Our mechanic here in Podunksburg charged five hundred and fifty dollars for the same thing.

So he was hanging around the house while they sorted out his car problems. We had a blast, went to lunch, dropped off a donation at the children's mental health facility I last worked at and laughed ourselves silly over the opening of the first ever traffic circle in this small southern town.

I'd been laughing and saying that the day of the traffic circle opening I was going to bring a lawn chair plus a thermos filled with refreshing adult beverages and sit in the parking lot of the McDonalds just to watch the driver confusion when confronted with this circle. "Big Ben, Parliament, guys!" straight out of "National Lampoon's European Vacation"

But I was busy with Andy, so we had to confine our traffic circle giggling to when we had to travel through it several times to run errands.

Huge signs before the circle read "Yield to traffic in the circle" What did most of the people driving in the circle do? Stop and let other cars in at each entrance to the circle. Slowed it down considerably.

Seems to be running smoothly now, but that first day there was a great deal of confusion. Just like there is for any change in life.

I changed the layout of my blog because of the changes I've been going through internally for quite some time now. I no longer believe that the Bible is the literal word of God. I also stopped keeping any sorts of secrets some time ago, what you see is what you get. Don't like what you're reading? Too bad. Leave. I'm not writing for an audience, I write to deal with the things going on inside of me. It's cheaper than therapy and I'm not forced to sit on that uncomfortable couch. My life is an open book, including my thoughts on the doings of others. Too many years I've repressed my thoughts.

If I was writing here to please others I'd write up comedic takes on life on inoffensive subjects daily. Life is messy, nasty, gross, weird and not so perfect. At least mine is. This blog reflects that.

Also, I have a hard time sitting through things at church like committee meetings, planning sessions, pot lucks, etc, and most especially sermons. I think I've heard enough sermons to last a lifetime, but mostly I've concluded I'm sick to death of hearing someone else's take on scriptures. My bullshit tolerance has ended. Which is why I'm now only involved in one thing at church, instead of being a five percenter.

Mostly I'm sick of others trying to stuff me in a box of their own expectations. That's over too.

As a result I fired my pulmonologist of the last 9 months for being very unhelpful by telling me I shouldn't feel frustrated by the lack of improvement in my lung problems. It's not her place to insist I control my feelings to line up with what she thinks I should feel. In the past 9 months she has only had two useful suggestions a) join the research projects at Johns Hopkins and b) join a chronic illness support group. That's it.

In the past I'd keep my mouth shut, my feelings to myself and play nice. That's ended. I own my feelings even when they piss off others.

Right now I'm in the middle of writing up a new comment policy to post on any Duggar-related posting at No Longer Quivering. I hate it, because telling others, strange others, how to behave is something I'd just rather not do. But a high percentage of commenters on the Duggar postings that scream out they are Christian either use obscenities or go right into personal insults to other commenters. 99% of them never make it through the comments to be posted. I police that.

Look for more changes than just the layout.

For the sake of clarity: When I am ranting about friends/foes/family here I do not use real names or even complete circumstances because I feel the need to vent but not to do any genuine harm to them in real life.

Friday, September 05, 2014

What Was It?

I've calmed down a great deal over the ruckus over my eldest daughter's chosen lifestyle. I still haven't spoken to her about it, but I will eventually. It's her life. But she cannot flaunt it like that and not expect me to say something about it.

But I have to admit I've been willingly distracted by the decline and death of Joan Rivers this week.

First, a confession. I'm not a huge Joan Rivers fan. She has said some funny and wise things occasionally, but her humor wasn't my cup of tea. With Robin Williams there seemed to be genuine love and sweetness behind most of his humor. With Joan Rivers, not so much, her humor was more grounded in putting others down. I cringed every single time I heard her use her husband Edgar as the butt of her jokes. Recent statements about Michelle Obama and her lack of any compassion for Palestinian women and children combined with her status as a Republican didn't help my opinion of her.

That's not to say I didn't sometimes enjoy her. I liked her on "Celebrity Apprentice" and she appeared very nice and low key on an episode of "Celebrity Ghost Stories". Her autobiography "Enter Talking" was a fascinating book.

Mostly I felt sorry for her, even when she was saying horrid things about others. No one that has chopped up and surgically changed their face that much could possibly have been a happy person satisfied with their life. Other comics would joke about her plastic surgery, saying things like if she had a face lift one more time she'd have a beard.

I don't know why we as women tend to be our own harshest critics, never accepting ourselves as 'good enough', suffering through dieting, hair torturing, over exercise, a constant hunt for the 'right' clothes, slathering ourselves with makeup and sometimes plastic surgery. I wish, oh how I wish, Joan would have been able to accept the her in the mirror. When you look at early photos of her you see that sharp long face with angular planes, eyes that looked so different, a bigger nose, a different lipline. I thought she was beautiful with her natural face before all the surgery. By the time she died there wasn't much left of that original perfectly fine face.

How could one love oneself and inflict such severe surgery on yourself? Is it possible?

Today I read that the state of New York is investigating the clinic, Yorkville Endoscopy, because of what happened to Joan Rivers. Good. Very good. Why?

When the news came out that she'd stopped breathing during minor surgery and had to be rushed to a hospital I sighed and thought she'd had another cosmetic procedure. I'd always figured her frequent cosmetic surgeries would be her undoing and ultimately lead to her death.

But once it came out that she was having vocal cord surgery at a clinic that does mostly endoscopies it suddenly started to make sense. Here's what I'm thinking will eventually come out in the media based upon the years I worked at a big clinic and the fact that I see a vocal cord doctor on a very regular basis.

She had a surgery that should have been performed by an ENT who specializes in vocal cords at a legitimate hospital where there would have been a crash cart right in the OR. So why didn't she? I suspect she did go to an ENT/Vocal Cord specialist who likely told her because of her age and the fact that the procedure was elective, not necessary, that he would not do it. Too many risks.

There are some great ENT/Vocal Cord doctors here on the East Coast, she could have taken her pick. I feel fairly certain she was rejected because of the risks involved.

What do you do when you're famous and wealthy and doctors A, B, and C say that they won't do it? You find someone who will, someone only interested in your pocketbook who has no qualms about doing something other doctors will not.

An endoscopy is a very different thing than vocal cord surgery. You know what they use to put you under for an endoscopy? Propofol, the same drug Michael Jackson paid another doctor willing to do what you should not do to administer to him, that lead to his death by respiratory and cardiac arrest. The same two things that killed Joan Rivers.

The autopsy was inconclusive as to cause of death, so... I'm thinking that once this investigation is done we're going to find that Joan Rivers died at the hands of doctors/clinic that wasn't really the right place to have that type of surgery, that she'd been advised against it by other doctors and that the improper usage of Propofol played a part in her initial medical crisis.

I hope I'm wrong, as I know this would just add to her daughter's pain. Only time and investigation will tell.

At some point doctors are going to have to start saying 'no' to their famous patients when they are asked to do something not medically ethical. I'd like to see those physicians and facilities that enable celebrities to do things that they shouldn't pay the price for what they've done. Not just financial. They should be barred from the practice of medicine or just not allowed to profit wildly from it. This isn't medicine, it's greed and madness.

Rest in peace, Joan. May you find happiness you lacked here on the other side.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Why I Avoid "Christian" Businesses or What is Screwed up About a Home-Based Economy

As I have stated at NLQ and here, years ago I had a business making worship flags, the large banners that hang in churches, silk altar cloths, you name it. If it was something a sacristan would handle in the church, it was something I made.

When I first started making these things it seemed a perfect culmination of my years of sewing mixed with my college art commingled with my continuing artistic journey. It seemed like the natural outgrowth of my years doing art as a sideline, starting with the many fancy, fantastical and elaborate Mardi Gras costumes I churned out for customers starting back in my college days for extra money, right to the early days at my old church, when I made rather complex traditional style quilts to sell through the quilt shop in Williamsburg.

During those first months at our old church I was recovering from a spectacular bout of depression in the wake of the flood of July 1995. Jim and I owned and operated for over five years a small country store in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, a mere mile or so from the hiking trails of the Shenandoah National Park. We'd done pretty well financially with the store and Jim had recently taken on a full time job with the federal government, leaving me to pull the 90 hours that the store was open between myself and a few part time employees.

In late July it rained and wouldn't stop, rain coming down at something like an inch an hour for a long stretch till the mountains could contain no more and water, mud, houses and beasts rolled off the mountains and ripped through the valley our store stood in. I'd just gotten a delivery of horse feed and mulch from the local farmers coop and managed to sand bag the doors with the feed and mulch, meaning that tho the water rushed around the building at 18 inches deep we only had six inches inside the store.

We were never able to recover from the flood at the store and we sold the place a few months later after both Laura and I suffered through bouts of illness. First her with ITP and meningitis and later I suffered from PSTD and the onset of fibromyalgia. We joined our old church in the middle of these crisis's.

One of the things that the ladies kept trying to pound in my head during those early days, besides telling me that I should use "To Train Up A Child" to discipline my very ill child, was that if I was going to be a good Christian submissive wife I was going to have to not work outside of the home. Which was foreign to me, I'd always had some sort of job outside of the home, even if it was part time, and mostly tried to work at a time when Jim could take care of the kids so that they didn't have to go to daycare.

This was the first time I'd heard of the family economy. I did this for a year or two, did the quilting, to make some money while I was incapacitated by the fibro. But eventually I did go back to working outside of the home, to the disappointment and derision of the ladies of the church. I just kept telling myself that they didn't know any better, none of them had college educations and it seemed like a waste of my own education to not work.

But like any good cult, eventually the messages being replayed over and over again went into my head and I started seeking a way to do the home-based economy thing, find something I could do. When I started making flags it seemed like the perfect answer, most of what I made was either an air-brushed design, or something like a 9 foot long half round lame flag with an inset of glittery chiffon or a special shaped, painted, stoned, flag that was one of the kind. One of the most popular ones I sold was a half round flag with a flaming sword appliqued into place and bejeweled and stoned with a hand-worked sword hilt on the flag handle.

What I'm trying to say is that the flags were one of a kind, hand made, designs I'd come up with, more like art work than anything mass produced. I charged accordingly, because, none of those things I'm talking about are quick and easy. Sometimes I'd have close to sixty dollars in materials alone in the flags.

At first I sold quite a few, and I'd get contacted frequently to make something special, or perhaps an entire set of flags just for a church. Did so well and had enough orders that I quit my job as a systems admin at an insurance company. Home-based economy, honoring God, etc.

And I wasn't the only one. One family at church the hubby farmed and tuned pianos on the side while the wife did his books. The pastor's wife sold Pampered Chef products, others did Mary Kay, Tupperware, or other sales from their home. One lady made cheese, another one bought and sold vintage things online, another did bookkeeping out of her home. Many of the men farmed or mowed grass, landscaped, were roofers or were carpenters. Lots of businesses run out of the home.

This was odd for me because I'd mostly worked either in corporate America or for government agencies in social work, all frowned upon by our church. With the flags and large banners I ran into a snag after a few months, a snag I've seen played out again and again and again in the Christian home economies in many different divisions.

It would go something like this. I'd be at a teaching conference, or someone would see my now-defunct website and start asking questions about one of the items. Most of the time this was about the half round 9 foot long flags with a half round center of glitter bedecked chiffon, not an easy item to make, but one that I'd managed to come up with a nearly fool proof method to make. I had my own pattern I'd made, and my own special technique for appliqueing in the center, while cutting away the solid lame in the center. It wasn't easy, but it was my way to do it that worked every time.

The problem with this particular highly-coveted flag is that you needed a minimum of 5 yards of very expensive materials. It was usually about sixty dollars for fabric in that particular one. The ones that contacted me proclaiming what Good Christians (tm) they were also were the very ones that demanded either a) a big discount or b) to know exactly how I made that flag so they could make their own. Why? Because the $90 I was charging was thought to be too much for this item that took lots of expensive fabric and the expertise to make.

Many times I'd give in with a sigh, sketch out how to make one if I was at a conference, or explain via email. Usually what happened is that the person would get so far into the project, screw it up and then demand I fix their mess. For free. Most of the time when I looked at what they'd done I'd have to point out that they'd mangled the delicate fabric so badly that they'd have to start from scratch again. Would have been way cheaper just to buy from me in the first place

Eventually I'd sell the pattern, but people would still balk at spending ten bucks for a pattern and demand I explain for free.

And the people who were whining and demanding were also screaming out what Good Christians (tm) they were so I owed it to them because I was a Christian.

I got to see that Good Christian (tm) dynamic at work in just about every place, public secular business or Christian business, people saying that since they were doing the work of the God they deserved a discount or freebie, who would not let up until they got their way. Vyckie Garrison and I have had discussions about the Good Christian discount whine.

To add insult to grievous injury every single freakin' time I'd come up with a new design, something I'd sketched out, made the pattern for and then made the sample and posted it on my website within a week I'd see a badly executed copy made from discount fabric of my original design up on Ebay for a cheaper price. To me that is what separates true artists from the artisans. Artists do it because it's inside of them, artisans are just looking to make a buck.

Not one of my flags, but one of the quilts I've made just to give you an idea of my mad sewing skillz and the way I put together colors and textures. Not my original pattern.

Even as sales were decent after awhile I got most burned out by the attitudes of entitlement, the begging, whining, demanding a discount and the general intellectual thievery. I stopped making flags for anyone but myself, or when someone who's seen one of mine and is willing to pay without whining. Just readied a big box of flags going on a missions trip to Cuba next month.

I am proud to say that there are some of my worship flags on every continent of the world, with the exception of Antarctica. Japan, Romania, Germany, Australia, Russia, Poland, the Bahamas and all over the USA. That is something I am proud of.

This is a air brushed flag I did make, it's five feet by 2 /1/2 feet gold lame. Not my original design. This was a custom order with the design from a photograph of a painting someone else did that the customer was requesting. Still one of my favorite simple rectangular flags.

One thing I started to notice during my years at good old Creek Church, the tendency of the Creekers and other Good Christians (tm) to take advantage of people, press every advantage and try to drum up business by means fair and foul. Example, just about everyone that sucked up to the Pastor's wife bought Pampered Chef merchandise and many ladies at the church signed up to sell beneath her every single time she started putting the pressure to people over being Good Christians (tm) helping out each other.

It was as if none of them thought hard work and conviction was enough, they had to press every advantage and try to game the system each and every time. Some of them still are, hence Mrs. 5 by 5 fleecing two different sets of the elderly she did the books for out of over 20K. Today I saw her with another new senior citizen that has a small business and I'm going to see if I can talk to her newest employer's relatives before she steals from this women.

I had originally intended to go on and on with stories of the complete fubared nature of most of the home-based economies that I got the chance to observe, but I'm running out of steam here. What got me started was that this morning I got a series of comments from another flag-maker that was upset that I'd used one of her photos in an old post I made discussing why I no longer made worship flags for the general public. A couple of months ago she requested I take down the photo I used, citing that I'd violated her copyright, even though her photos weren't marked as copyrighted or watermarked, and I meant no disrespect to her. The reason I used the photo is it was the only one even remotely close to some of the hand dyed and painted silk flags I'd made. I have almost no photos of my flags left as they were all on my old computer.

Long story short. I took down the photo from this blog and considered the issue closed. Too bad, because the photo was very pretty. Today she showed up again, still upset and still claiming I was linked to her photo or had the photo or something that I just didn't get. 

She behaved with typical Fundigelical whining and I exploded on her in a furious volley of obscene words. I've removed the flag post all together and purged that silly photo out of Blogspot photo archive I didn't even know existed til this morning. She's still sending me comments/demands, none of which I'm going to allow through to the blog here. I honored her request when she first made it.

Here's what I learned in the last twenty years plus years dealing with Fundigelicals and their businesses/home based economies.

1) If they can take some small advantage of you, then they will. If you call them on it they will claim it's their right as Christians to be entitled to more or they outright deny they've done it.
2) They believe if they can whine, beat you down, demand, threaten or haggle long enough you will give in to their sense of entitlement and give out something for free or deep discount. Why? Because Christian! Because Bible!
3) If you happen to not totally agree with their flavor of True Believer then they might refuse to serve you and/or jack up the charges.
4) They act like they have some sort of moral superiority over you all the while behaving badly.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Eating Pancakes and Riding The Boob-Mangler 3000

Last Thursday I spent the day with my BFF Joanie. Friday was her birthday and she wanted to go out to IHOP to eat.

I love IHOP, but IHOP doesn't love me. After eating there I always stagger out feeling like I just consumed a ten pound brick of solid lard studded with Xanax. After eating there I am completely incapable of rational thought or action, wanting just to lay down without having to employ my brain or body. Someone suggested it was a blood sugar reaction, but I'm not entirely sure it is considering I have the same reaction there even if I eat, like this time, a hefty chunk of protein too.

When I gave Joanie her gift I was surprised when she burst into tears. I'd wrapped the package with some gift wrap I had leftover from another birthday and did up a pretty bow with left over ribbon. She told me her tears was because no one had taken the time and care to do up a pretty package for her since she was a child.

I was pretty surprised at that because I always assumed that most folks wrap their presents and take some care to make sure it doesn't look like a crackhead wrapped it. It wasn't some super special effort on my part. I guess you just never know what will touch someone.
\

Joanie in my living room with her present

I had fun putting this gift together. Months before I'd spotted a huge wineglass at a animal rescue fundraiser and ended up buying it. I filled it with bottles of bath oil, bath salts, lotions and a couple of packets of frozen drink mix. A relaxation package on a budget.

Was so glad to be away from the house on Thursday since that's the usual day Jim works from home. The problem with him working from home is the fact that he curses and carries on when his computer acts up or he has other problems with technology, like dealing with the CMS platform he uses for work. I get to hear him say "Goddammit" so many times in a day that I fear that at any moment a bolt of lightning is going to pierce the ceiling and fry my beloved into a crispy critter. 

He's been in a quite a bad mood for a few days so I spent most of the weekend quilting behind closed doors, while he chewed the scenery, cursed and rode his motorcycle. One of the challenges of being married is not being impacted by someone else's foul mood. Particularly when the mood is due to something you personally consider not worth getting worked up about. 

But not for much longer, last night was his first fantasy football draft of the season. This weekend brings a few more. I'm about to be a fantasy football widow until after the Superbowl. This is why I get the majority of the quilting I do done during football season.

Which would be good because this has been a sort of raw nerves week of trying to catch our accountant in the office, having an anonymous neighbor leave a nasty note on your front door about another neighbor that you are in no way shape or form connected with just because you sit on the HOA board, dealing with Jim's mother being in and out of the hospital again, dealing with my mother having issues again, finishing up clearing out the storage room and today's awful chore - riding the Boob-Mangler 3000, a.k.a the dreaded mammogram!

It's been awhile since I've had one and last time was awful. I don't know if getting your teat run through the mangler on an old-fashioned washing machine would have hurt worse or not. I was left with bruises for weeks. Not to mention last year when I had an ultrasound of my gall bladder and liver, after the test I had big purple bruises on my torso.

But this time it wasn't so bad. I made sure to scream out that I had Von Willebrands and had been bruised up badly the last few times and they handled me far more gently than usual. I'm sore but it's not too bad.

Now if the rest of my week could go so gently I'd be grateful.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Antics of Former Church Members

Hard to believe this is still a thing in modern society
One of the few advantages of living in a small Southern town is when members of your former church do stupid things you get to hear about it in nauseating detail ad nauseum.

One of my friends from the old church I'm still friends with, Leanna, who was also harassed by those at Possum Creek till she left along with others. Last week she shot me an IM asking me to pray for her. She's my age and she's not worked outside of the home in a very long time. She was getting ready to work for a mutual acquaintance that had a small printing company and Leanna wanted prayer that she'd be able to work full time again and handle her house and animals without having any more problems with her arthritis and other physical ailments.

Leanna has prayed for my various ailments that make it hard for me to work full time outside of the home for a couple of years now. We still regularly pray together. Plus we're able to be real with each other. I was telling her today that I was so done with sermons, completely over hearing anyone else's interpretation of the Bible. I'll read and form my own opinions, thank you very much!

Leanna was feeling very inadequate going into this job and she ended up only working a total of four hours. Why? Because Mrs. 5 by 5, the former church secretary (I sometimes refer to her as Mrs. Bz Body) who's office was gossip central at the Creek, also was working for this printing company along with another Creek gossip queen. They'd been ground central in getting Leanna out of the church, gossiping, cursing her out, slandering her, you name it, till Leanna and the other half of the church left. Then the tables turned on Mrs. 5 by 5 and she was given the same treatment, her and her family driven from the Creek.

Turns out as soon as Mrs. 5 by 5 and her pal heard that Leanna was coming on board to take over all the admin duties and data entry starting that morning that both Mrs. 5 by 5 and her minion left, quitting without giving any reason. I know it was because they hate Leanna.

Mr. Peter, the owner of the printing company found out after they left that Mrs. 5 by 5, her son and her pal, had been stealing from him once he tried to get into the books to start training Leanna. Because now he was short handed in the printing room and Leanna's husband is going into a slow time in his job Mr Peter asked if Leanna's husband wanted to come to work to help out with the printer jobs. Mr. Peter called in his retired wife, Miss Nancy to help he and Leanna go through the books and receipts to see if they could make sense of it.

By the end of the four hours Mr. Peter ended up sending Leanna home because he was going to have to bring in the accountant to see what was happening. Mr. Peter told Leanna that he'd call her in a few days to let her know when she and her husband could show up for work.

Turns out the thievery was so bad and the books so bungled that now Mr. Peter and Miss Nancy are going to have to work for at least six months with taking no pay in order to get the business back on stable financial ground. He cannot afford to pay Leanna to work for him. So she's out of a job, courtesy of Mrs. 5 by 5.

The whole time that Leanna is relating this tale she's begging me not to hold it against Mrs. 5 by 5 or be bitter at all towards that woman. Besides, she said, Mr. Peter is not going to have her prosecuted, in fact, he's forgiven her.

I have to say it. Mr. Peter is a fool! Mrs. 5 by 5 has a long reputation of workplace shenanigans and gossiping. She should be prosecuted! She's just about killed his business!

What he needs most is a good forensic accountant to sort all of this out and expose what she's done this time.

None of this changes my initial impression of the lady. My inner warning bells started going off just about the time she joined the church and morphed into super control freak mode.

My own history with Mrs. 5 by 5 goes way back to when she first joined out old church and she started campaigning to be the church secretary. She also took on the responsibility of organizing the high school senior honors banquet and all sorts of other thankless volunteer tasks.

The first time I ran afoul of her was when Jim and I had taken our turn providing the post-church refreshments. After everyone left we scrubbed up and left platters and other church dishes drying on the drain board only to get an angry phone call from Mrs. 5 on Wednesday night demanding we come back down to church and 'clean up our mess' right now!!!!

We got to the church and yes, there were a lot of dirty dishes and plates, but I pointed out to Mrs. 5 that we'd not used those things and that all the stuff we did use was still drying. Mrs. 5 started screaming at me, all insults and demands and I walked off lest I say something to her that I would regret.

Weeks later she came to me to say how sorry she was. Turns out there was a teen meeting on Tuesday night and all the dirty dishes and food grime was left from that. But in my mind the damage was already done since she's loudly shared with many people that she thought I'd not cleaned up after refreshments and she made no move to spread the word that some other group had done it. After that I always had to deal with random church goers reminding me to make sure I cleared up after refreshments and not do what I'd done before, which I hadn't done.

One thing she did that I did have fun sitting back and watching the consequences of was that she tried to enroll her daughter Mini-5 in the local Jr. Junior League. She wanted Mini-5 to be a debutante here in this small Southern town.

The funny of it was that Junior League here doesn't work at all like it does on Long Island, New York, where she's from. I heard through the grapevine that she made numerous attempts to join and didn't realize there wasn't one lady who is a part of that organization that was going to allow her entry. She doesn't have the correct pedigree, isn't part of the right social class, and as obnoxious as she is I could see that the local Old Guard would freeze her out for being in their view, a loud uncouth Yankee without manners.

The guardians of the Old South can be brutal.

They were to her, not actually banning her but making Mini and her so uncomfortable that they finally got the hint. She was upset and moaned about it quite a lot. It didn't help when she found out that Laura had been asked to join without me having to do or say a thing. I said no, because while proper manners are a good thing Laura already knew what fork to use and how to handle social situations without being part of the Cotillion.

Laura had no desire to do it, but one of her friends mother was the head of the local organization. That was the reason behind the invite, that and the fact that I'd been a member years ago. I absolutely hated it, but my mother forced me to go. In my day there was way too much snobbery and social class exclusionary hi-jinks going on. It was a giant drag in my mind. I hated wearing that stupid crinoline to learn how to waltz (which I understand they don't do any longer). I hated the over the top manners. I hated the tea dances. I hated the small talk. I just wanted to stay home and read or listen to music. To introverted me it was torture. Actually, no, I would have welcomed physical torture over Junior League shenanigans.

I'm glad Leanna shared with me what happened, because it means I must really avoid going to the local Starbucks now. Mini-5 has been bugging me to hire her to clean my house and do some painting of trim and I've waffled on it, saying maybe. The reason I haven't wanted to hire the girl, even if I like her, is that I don't want the mom anywhere near me or knowing anything about my family or me. If Mini starts pestering me I'm going to have to tell her I cannot hire her because of her loathsome mother.

This is why the unity of the body and forgiving someone that has wronged you doesn't mean you have to be in close fellowship with them. You're not called to martyr yourself for people that will hurt you again if they could. Forgive from a distance if you must, but do not allow these folks access into your life again.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Heck Of A Shitty Week

....  or women who poop their pants and the depressed men who love them on the next all new Maury show...

Haven't had the heart to post since the shocking news came out on Monday about the suicide of Robin Williams. I wasn't a huge fan of all of his movies, but there was just something about that guy that made you feel better knowing he was in this world.

I loved his turn on my old ex favorite television show "Homicide: Life on the Street". He played a grieving husband and father who's wife was gunned down right in front of him by a local thug. It was the first time I'd seen him play a dramatic part and it was impressive. It took him in my eyes from a one note guy, a comedian, to someone with depth and range, a whole canvas of different colors.

Hearing through the week the ignorant views of various folks in the world of Evangelical Christianity on suicide and depression put me on edge all week. It's a world I know way too much about considering Jim had bouts of major depression before it was discovered his depression was all because of a set of tumors on his parathyroid glands. Stones, bones, groans with psych overtones is how they teach it in medical school.

One day soon I'm going to sit down and detail all the different unhelpful nouthetics, criticisms, platitudes and judgement we dealt with in those years and how they made everything about the situation so much worse. But not today. I have too much on my plate to do that.

This week I've been dealing with doing a slight remodel/redecorate of my bedroom, dealing with some small plumbing issues and canning the massive amount of produce from the garden.

The fun part of all that was finding things like this photo of me from one of the Mardi Gras carnival balls dressed up as an angel fish to take part in the dance entertainment at the krewe ball. If that beehive hair do didn't cause it's own massive hole in the ozone layer I'd be surprised. The hair don't was the way my mother wore her hair in 1970 when this picture was taken and for every big event she'd drag my reluctant ass down to the hairdressers and have my long hair teased and tormented into this dreadful shape. I hated it then, I hate it now.

I took dance lessons for many years and this photo is, sadly enough, one of the few I have of my dance kid years. I tease my mother about my dance years, asking her why she didn't scream, yell and curse at the other mothers and the dance studio owner, telling her she was clearly 'not' a proper dance mom, like the ones shown on "Dance Moms" and then we both laugh.

This week has made me go into my 'dealing with stress' mode. Whenever I'm agitated I've always found that throwing myself into weeding, turning the soil, getting good and tired and dirty is better than any therapy or drug for me. And oh boy, have there been some stressers besides the death of Robin Williams. Yesterday was all sorts of crazy.

Jim has a cousin who's a member of the John Birch Society that makes the Tea Party people seem rational, loving and sane. He's recently decided to try and force me to see things his way on Facebook. He comments on many things I post in a hectoring, put-down, 'woman obey me' sort of way. It's been highly triggering because it's very much like the things that were done and said to me back when I first left my old church. Every single time he comments on something of mine I find myself grinding my teeth and sometimes deleting his comments. Last night he went into a crazy mode and I ended up telling him off and then unfriending/blocking him. I hated doing that to a relative, but... I do not tolerate abusive in the name of Christ any longer from anyone.

And while that was going on someone I worked with twenty five years ago started sending me very flirty private messages. I knew when I worked with him that he had a crush on me and that he was a dirty, low-down, cheating dog of a man. He's newly married and trying to score with me on the side. I haven't replied to any of his messages and yesterday evening I just went ahead and blocked him too.

These things didn't make what happened yesterday any more fun. My colitis is back, in the worst way. After I'd picked a five gallon bucket of grapes and did some major scrubbing of our deck and gazebo I decided to make a run to the local McDonalds for one of their frozen yogurt cones. Picture this, if you will, I'm sitting in the drivers seat of my older old lady big sedan, Grandma's Bitchin' Buick Burnout, dressed in a cute sundress and sandals, hair nice, slight makeup, pretty sandals, waiting to pay in the drivethru line.... when suddenly I shart myself! So I'm sitting there, in what feels like a full diaper, trying to keep a straight face while I'm paying the kid I know in the drivethru cash stand and pulling up to the pickup window fervently praying that the smell isn't seeping out to smack these kids in the face. I drove home, almost wrecking twice, thinking how horrible it would be if I did or I got pulled over because it would be obvious to everyone.. when I got home I did something I almost never do, pulled the car into the garage, furiously punching the button on the garage door remote to lower the garage door completely before I jumped out screaming, throwing aside my froyo to run into the laundry room from the garage to strip my clothes off and put them into the washer to soak and running down the hall to the downstairs bath.

One shower later and scrubbing the seat of the car both of these guys decided to mess with me, not knowing I was already pretty messed up.

Remember all those commercials for Colitis meds where the guy is keeping track of where the restrooms are? That's my life.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Evangelical Good Christian Men Are So Fragile They Cannot Handle Pushback Of Any Kind?

Homemade Mojito Jelly from mint in the garden

Over at NLQ in the past few weeks it seems like many of the pieces I'm publishing have to do with not asking for your needs to be met, not disagreeing with your husband's financial decisions or anything else or they will cease to love you or fall victim to the devil.

I really don't get that. Especially when it comes to spending money, major and minor purchases. Debi Pearl has stated in her book "Created To Be His Help Meet" that you should never ever under any circumstance voice an opinion on the spending of family funds. According to her the question below is one no wife should ever ask her husband....
1. Do you feel comfortable spending that much money buying that ____?He begins to doubt his ability to make wise decisions.
What? Are all the males she knows so emotionally delicate that the mere act of asking a simple question destroys their ability to make decisions?

And from the same book a question from a reader and Debi's response. First the question:
 Last week my husband went to buy a new stove that we badly needed. He picked out a top-of-the-line stove and was willing to spend too much money in order to have the best. He called and asked me to go look at it and let him know what I thought. I shared my deep concern that it was simply too expensive. We do have the money, but I saw no need to buy the best, when the next scale down would do just as well. He called and told me that he had canceled the order and bought the one I recommended. We both felt better with what I picked out. Should I have kept my mouth shut? I didn’t tell him NOT to get it. I just thought it unwise to spend money unnecessarily. Do wives have to submit in everything? For example, what color to point the walls or what kind of furniture to have? Are we to be just mindless robots?
And now Debi's answer:
Your husband’s choice of stoves is a statement that he is trying to express his great appreciation of you and to please and delight you. Your countermanding his choice, even if it were a better choice, speaks to him about how little you value him, more than it does about how you value the dollar.
This speaks more to the fractured and sick relationship Debi and Michael Pearl have, not to the day to day realities of living in a partnership with another human being. In healthy marriages there are discussions, moments of disagreement and compromise, not slavish bowing down to another while burying your resentments and later taking out your frustrations on others who don't deserve it. Debi takes out her frustrations that come from bowing to the petty unwise tin-plated dictator of her husband on all her readers. Her advice is like toxic waste and will destroy everything it touches.

I thought about her advice this weekend when Jim and I went to do our monthly Costco run together. Before we got to Costco Jim wanted to stop at Best Buy to look at a few things. When we got there he decided he wanted the auto stereo guys to take a look at the ancient stereo in my car. It could not be fixed and they quoted him a price of about $200 dollars to replace it with an upgraded model.

Jim wanted to immediately replace my stereo but I told him first of all I'm not that concerned with having a working CD player in my car since I listen to the local classical music radio station in the car and would likely would still spend 90% of my time listening to the same station even if I had a working CD player. Plus I didn't think spending $200 dollars right now was a wise decision since we're just now recovering from the tight financial circumstances of paying two children's way through college. Last month was the first month that my entire paycheck didn't go to pay living expenses for our daughter. I'd rather use that $200 towards getting our new dishwasher installed by the plumber. I did tell him that when a birthday or Christmas rolled around and he was stuck not knowing what to get me that the stereo might be a good gift.

I know he really wants it in my car. He mentioned it a couple of times on our trip. I'm indifferent. I'd just as soon listen to WETA on my radio.

I didn't say no, I just pointed out that it wasn't a very wise use of funds right now. According to Debi Pearl I was all disrespectful and rebellious. Nope, I was practical. Just like I'm practical and thrifty when I grow the big garden and can every summer or this week when I took care of three small plumbing situations that would have cost around $150 each to get an plumber out to fix.

Jim is usually much more tight with a buck than I am, so this offering to spend some dollars to put in a new stereo system was a big thing. But he did realize that I have our combined financial health in mind. That's healthy, that's not disrespecting your husband.