Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Day After

Yesterday was a sucky day and not just because my kitty Mary decided moments after I put my good heavy winter quilt on the bed and changed the bed linens to puke right on it all. I spent the day like many others, glued to the media coverage of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.  Such young children!

Really, something so horrifying to the imagination that you just cannot wrap your mind around it. Most of the mass shootings have occurred at high schools and the occasional college. Not that any school being the target is ever right but you just do not picture an elementary school filled with kindergarteners and first graders to be the prime target in a shooting. Moody teens, yes, drama galore without adding in weapons.

Knowing that twenty two children in China were stabbed by an assailant for no known reason yesterday leads me to wonder what's going on in our society that people crack and attack randomly. Why? Is the stress and pressure too much for some?

At least those twenty two are going to live according to the news reports I saw this morning. The same cannot be said of the twenty kids that were shot yesterday. They are laying in a morgue.

As a mother my heart goes out to the families affected and as a mother I have to ask why the assault rifle ban was allowed to lapse? No one not military has any reason to possess one.

I know what you're thinking, that I'm just another clueless liberal spouting crap about gun control. Nope, I've always been for gun control, after living in Europe for some years, where handguns are banned but you can still own a hunting rifle. Death by gun is very rare in Europe compared especially to here. I don't want to take guns away from everyone, just assault weapons and handguns.

Keep hearing people harping on the Second Amendment. I cannot imagine that the founding fathers had in mind for citizens to own such powerful weapons. The way it reads I can well see that they were thinking that everyone that wants to own a hunting rifle can,,, just not this mess. I don't think ICM missles and flame throwers were quite what they had in mind.

It could escalate like it did in this very funny movie starring the Wayans Brothers..





But to be serious again, where does it stop? What weapons are enough?

Yesterday I had another in a series of disturbing phone calls with a close relative in which she said this shooting was all the fault of the liberals for not allowing teachers to carry guns in the school. I didn't bother arguing with her and pointing out that the guns that had killed the teachers and children had come from the home of a teacher. Adding more guns to the equation is not going to solve anything, merely leave a trail of bodies, even more bodies.

As tragic and horrible as the shooting is I think it's time in this country that we open a dialogue about violence and how to keep dangerous assault weapons out of the hands of those with no real use for them. Keeping those things in your home is just a recipe for disaster.

My uncle was a big NRA supporter and used to mock most of us in the family for not having guns around. Oh, how he bragged at every family gathering how his kids had been trained to shoot, how the guns were always locked up and how they were as safe as can be at his house because any intruder would have his ass riddled with bullets.

You know what happened next? Cousin #1 took one of Daddy's high powered semi automatic guns out of the supposedly locked gun cabinet, put it to the back of Cousin #2's head and blew his head off. This happened one January afternoon in that roughly 90 minute time span between arriving back home from middle school and the parents coming home from work. The most dangerous time of the day for kids alone.

The locked gun cabinet didn't stop what happened. The lock on the gun didn't stop it either. Even with so-called safety protections we still ended up burying my middle school aged cousin after his brother killed him with a gun that was supposedly out of his reach. Where there's a will, there's a way for a kid to get around the safety features.

Cousin #1 didn't just ruin his brother's life, he ruined his own. Since the shooting when he was 12 he's struggled with alcohol, drugs and mental health issues. He's been in and out of facilities and every attempt he makes to lead a 'normal' life has failed him.  Plus his parents and other siblings have never been the same. That one action of his has taken down the lives of just about his entire family circle.

Kids and guns never mix.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Real REAL Life?

Since the presidential elections I keep seeing Mitt Romney popping up in photos acting like *gasp!* a normal person! I'm sure you've seen those photos too, Mitt picking up an entire Thanksgiving meal from Boston Market, gassing up his vehicle, shopping at Costo, etc..

Most of my liberal friends are determined that all these photos add up to some sort of 'Hey I'm Just Like You!" posturing and fakery.

But why? What good would it do now? Not a bit of good. If he'd have shown glimpses of the real Mitt Romney, the guy that comes out of Costo with paper plates, toilet paper and paper towels just like every other one of us poor schlubs out here it might have helped him win more votes.

I didn't vote for Mitt, he made me very nervous over many things, mostly that I couldn't tell exactly what it was he believed in. I suspect many of the people that voted for the other side might have voted for Mitt had he just let his barriers down and showed that paper plate toting, hugging his wife while she heated up the dinner from Boston Market or just once been spotted doing some every man activity.

This is a big part of the problem in politics in my mind. You cannot tell who or what your politician is. There is no commonality between the candidates and their supporters. Which is really stupid because above all, if the president or the guy who rides on the back of the garbage truck and everyone in between should feel comfortable enough to be who they are instead of some jumped up polished creation of someone else's idea of what they should be.

Authentic people, not masks. 

Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Christmas Letter

Okay, I'm going to rant and rant loudly today.

Why? I just received my annual Christmas letter from my Maw in Law. Every year it's the same thing, loads of praise for my husband's brother, the yuppie with issues against his sibling.  Praises for the brother, bragging on what my sister-in-law does, even if the brother is now married to a different woman. Scant one line mention of my husband. No mention of me or our kids.

I don't care so much about not being mentioned but I have always resented the fact that Maw-in-law brags and brays about the brother in these letters, paragraphs worth, while Jim is rarely mentioned. Jim, sweet guy with a big heart that helps so many people and works hard while taking pride in what he does. I guess normality is just not glamorous compared to us.

We rarely rate more than a simple mention while entire chapters are written about the brother in law the VP and loads about Mrs. Brother in law. I guess it's not very exciting that Jim and I are merely working with the nose to the grindstone, busy with work, family, church and living a regular folks kind of life when the brother is jetting off overseas with his job and the Mrs. is busy building a new home for them and selling their other homes. We can't compete with that.

The particularly sad part of all of this is that Jim put his life on hold for over a month to take care of his mother, set up her financials so that she didn't have to worry and took care of many other things once it became obvious that Maw-in-law was never returning to her tidy apartment in the retirement villa. He did a lot for her once she became ill but all Maw-in-law could say in her letter was how won-der-ful she's been cared for by the brother and new wife.

It was very stressful on Jim and he struggled to do the right things for his mother. Shortly before my husband came home his brother swooped in and moved the Maw-in-law to his town to a nursing home there and his wife has been in charge of the Maw-in-law.

His new wife I've only met a grand total of once, two Christmases ago. The main impression I came away with was that she was so busy in the family trying to make everyone like her, like life is a popularity contest. My inner warning whistle went off when I met her. I can't explain it but...

This is just the topper of booking airline tickets to go to the city they all live in. Jim told me we could stay in one of the brother's three homes. Jim emails them with the dates we'll be down to see them and the Maw-in-Law and asks if it's okay to stay with them only to be given a huge pile of excuses as to why we cannot stay with them. So we're renting a hotel to stay in for the week and Jim is pissed.

I had a sneaking suspicion that something like this might go down because of the fact that Maw-in-law was back in the hospital in September and diagnosed with terminal cancer, given six months to live. Brother made stink about how we didn't come down to help them take care of Maw-in-law. Jim didn't have any sick days left to go down for another month

Jim's brother has always looked down upon us and once told me that he resented the ridiculous amount of attention his parents focused on Jim because Jim had some medical issues as a kid. Brother complains that Jim robbed him of a childhood.

Thought perhaps as that it's obvious that the Maw-in-law is dying that.the brother would be able to bond some with my husband and we'd all pull together in the end. Stupid petty old family history! Gonna make Christmas a bitch, a big old bitch I'd rather not experience.

I can tell it's going to be awfully hard to bite my lip and not tell them all to go to hell.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Authoritative Marriage?

A couple of days ago I posted something by Debi Pearl of No Greater Joy ministries at No Longer Quivering in our new feature Quoting Quiverful. I was a fundigelical for many years and would have tried to believe and implement what that Debi Pearl quote says but now I've walked away from that whole controlling abusive mindset.

“…first know that a husband has authority to tell his wife what to wear, where to go, whom to talk to, how to spend her time, when to speak or not to, even if he is unreasonable and insensitive.”
Just reading that small quote from Pearl's book "Created To Be His Help Mate" makes me want to hurl things and dirty language her way. I know my marriage could never work that way. Hell, we really tried to do that but it just makes both Jim and I uncomfortable.

Some men, Jim included, don't function well when they have to lord it over their spouse and make all the decisions. Example? My yesterday.

Yesterday morning I had to trade cars with Jim and drop his off at the mechanics shop. One of the mechanics at the shop took a look at the car last week and said the noise we both kept hearing was a bearing that needed replacing.

But when I drove the car there I noticed the noise was louder and located in the engine compartment. When I reached the car repair place I told the mechanic that would be working on it that there was engine noise too and that I wanted it checked out as well.

Later the shop called to tell me that the noise was not the bearings and that the bearings did not need replacement. What was wrong was that the serpentine belt  was worn out and making noise. The compressor for the air conditioning was loose too. After the belt replacement and compressor being tightened down there was no more noise. They also asked me if I wanted them to do an oil replacement because of the mileage on the oil tag on the window and the fact that the oil in the engine looked darker than normal. Sure, I told them to go ahead and do it all.

So if I'm following Debi Pearl's words I don't dare venture an opinion or approve any of the work because this is a man's territory. But I think it's a more healthy opinion when both the husband and wife work together and trust each other enough to know if the other partner makes a decision on something they are dealing with it's one for the good of their life together. We both have different and the same roles in our live together, sometimes it's him making the decision to get the oil changed, sometimes it's my call.

I often wonder how those types of ladies, the submitting making no real decisions types, would survive as a widow or single woman? Is it okay to make your own decisions if there's not some man standing over you telling you want to do?

It must be like being thrown into the middle of the ocean with only a puny set of Floaties to help you. Overwhelmingly scary.

You might be submissive to your husband but it is pure foolishness not to know how to do things like change your own car tire or balance the check book or understand how your insurance policy works. Just knowing how to budget the household income and having some oversight of the monthly bills is useful. When husbands control everything to the extent in that Debi Pearl quote it reduces men to the plantation oversee and everyone else a cotton picker with no understanding of anything beyond pulling the white fluffiness that is cotton from a cracked brown cotton bole.

Reduces a woman to the level of a child. How on earth can you be a "help mate" when you have no knowledge of many things. Help Mate suggests to me a type of egalitarianism, partners working side by side in trust and love together. 


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Hurlarrific!

The new medicine isn't going so well. I took the first dose yesterday afternoon and by five pm three things had happened. 1 - I could not stop shaking, 2 - my heart rate sped up to ridiculous speeds, and 3 - I started feeling like I was a bare edge of hurling.

After sleeping on it I'm still on the bare edge of hurling but am not shaking or having a racing heart. I just didn't sleep more than two hours last night so I am feeling very odd today.

Andy got several pizzas from my favorite joint and I've had to run upstairs to hide from the smell.

So much for this switcheroo of medication. Back to the drawing board.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Suppressed

I started early today with the best of intentions to get a pile of things done but my day refused to cooperate, taking a hard left turn into chaos. Everything that could go wrong or slow me down did. Finally I just gave up and did laundry all day. When in doubt, iron those jeans out.

Patheos was busy switching NLQ over onto a new server or some other upgrade and I was completely unable to get in and update until mid afternoon, which threw my day all out of wack. So I worked on a new project I'm going to be unveiling soon involving the attire of Muslim women and how they are perceived and treated in the good old US of A. Started the laundry between coding bouts.

But the day didn't devolve into suckage until I went for my Xolair injections to my pulmo. The office was jammed crammed pack with the wheezing & sneezing. I have had a cold followed by a sinus infection while my allergies went into high gear for weeks upon weeks now. I should buy stock in Kleenex because I run through so many tissues to blow my drippy nose that I probably affect their bottom line.

Complained to my doc about my constant allergies now and he switched my meds around. Switched out some of the simpler allergy meds I'd been using in conjunction with the other prescriptions for a leukotrinine suppressor. So I'm on a leukotrinine suppressor, a Mast cell suppressor, a IgE suppressor, a proton pump suppressor. I'm feeling pretty suppressed at this moment.

By the time I waited at the doctors, dropped off my prescription, picked up my prescription, picked up a gallon of milk, went to the cable company and came home over three hours had passed and all passed in our tiny little town you can traverse the length of in ten minutes. Late afternoon, entire day shot with the exception of all the nice clean laundry.

But the warning labels on the new drug I'm taking worried me and I started having second thoughts about switching meds regimen. It's never reassuring when you read that seizures, sleep walking, sleep sex, sleep eating, aggression and hostility can all be side effects of the new med. I finally screwed up my courage, swallowed the first pill with one eye on the long warnings list. Only side effects so far are is that once it kicked in I got horribly nauseated and could not stop shaking but finally even those abated. I hate that the FDA uses most of us as unpaid guinea pigs on these drugs they push through approval so quickly.

Sometimes I wish I was still a stoner and wonder if smoking pot might ease my allergies. This new drug isn't working as well as I hoped it might. Nose still dripping like a faucet but I still feel a bit queasy.

Wish I still believed that God would heal all your ills if you just believed enough and got the right people to lay on hands and pray for you. Might be easier than being a walking science experiment.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Christmas Improvisations

Put up the outside Christmas lights this afternoon. Which was something of a challenge.

Back in the fall Jim took down the huge ligustrum bushes that had completely engulfed the front flower beds no matter how often he or I trimmed them. Jim had only meant to trim them but ended up cutting them level with the ground. I don't know if they'll try to come back or not in the spring but I've already planted one bed with all spring bulbs and have enough Mexican zinnia seeds to plant in both beds from our zinnias this year.

There was just one or two problems with cutting down those bushes. Every single year since we moved in I would cover those bushes with oodles of strings of colored lights for Christmas. Jim used to tease me that when I wired up the bushes and plugged it in the axillary breakers at the nearby nuclear power plant must have switched on, just like when Clark W. Griswold turned on his lights in 'Christmas Vacation'.



It's not quite like this at our house but Jim acts as though it is when they all get plugged in!

It's more like this picture I took in the dead of night after a record snowfall in early December three years ago.

I love this shot of my house at midnight during a very heavy snowfall.

That strange glow was coming from my bushes in front of my neat little Cape Cod house during a heavy snowfall that was over a foot at that point. So much snow had fallen that the lights on the left hand bushes were almost completely covered. The lights on the right survived unscathed due to the tree.

But I did finally figure out a way to use our outdoor lights without bushes. Got out all the tomato cages I could rustle up from the garden, turned them upside down and wrapped them with lights. Not as impressive as our six foot tall electrified bushes but still cute.

It was a bummer to discover that fully three quarters of the lights we had were dead. It worked out that I had exactly enough of different lights to do up the tomato cages as trees.