Friday, July 30, 2010

An excellent blog for men who have abusive wives or exes...

I discovered Shrink4Men yesterday when my husband told me about one of his co-workers, who is apparently married to an abusive woman.  I don't want to get too much into the guy's problems except to say that my husband has been his sounding board for awhile now and the problem seems to be getting worse. 

Last night, as he was telling me about his colleague's issues with his wife, my husband teared up and admitted that witnessing this mess reminded him of his own days as an abused spouse.  His first wife was very emotionally abusive, to the point of being cruel. 

We don't often talk about men who are abused by their spouses.  That's because it's embarrassing and our society seems to support the belief that if a wife abuses her husband, he somehow deserves it.  And women who are abusive take advantage of that belief.  The worst ones cry crocodile tears and manipulate other people to their sides, further isolating their husbands. 

There's a lot I could write about this issue... and someday, I probably will.  For now, I just want to offer my readers the chance to discover this very helpful blog.  If you know a man in an abusive relationship, please pass this link along...

http://shrink4men.wordpress.com/ 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Novica.com... my favorite cash drain

A few years ago, my dear spouse surprised me with an anniversary gift purchased from Novica.com.  Knowing I love the color blue, he bought me a lapiz lazuli bracelet that was made by an artisan in the Andes.  The bracelet came in a little velvet pouch and was wrapped beautifully.  The artisan had included a post card with a thank you note.

Years later, I've gotten on a Novica kick again.  It started when I was looking for clothes for the cruise we took in April.  I found a beautiful modal dress made in Bali and Java, as well as a top from Thailand and a skirt from India.  Unfortunately, the skirt never got to me because it was backordered and the artisan couldn't restock in time.  But I did love the other things I got, which always came to me wrapped like a present.  So far, I've purchased items from each of the regions represented by Novica.  Yesterday, I got two sculptures made in Ghana-- one of a horse's head and the other of an elephant's head.  They are beautifully made and really add a lot to our decor.

A couple of months ago, I got some gorgeously made hand blown martini glasses from Mexico that I use for margaritas.  I loved them so much that I bought tequila glasses and a sangria pitcher from the same artisan.  I also bought a pearl necklace from Brazil.

Novica is run by National Geographic.  Maybe for that reason, the pictures on the Web site are so inviting and enchanting.  It's definitely hard to resist buying stuff.  Luckily, everything I've bought from Novica has pleased me greatly and is very high quality.

I know I should be shopping in America, but Novica sure makes it easy for me to support artisans abroad.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Insight

Last night, while stressing over the doctor's appointment I attended this morning, my husband and I were chatting about why I hate visiting the doctor.  A lot of times, the doctors I end up seeing are women and they act in a condescending way.  Like most people, I don't like being talked down to.  I find it offensive and disrespectful when someone talks to me like I'm an idiot. And it seems that a lot of the women doctors I've seen have a tendency to talk to me like I'm an idiot, hence my reluctance to see them.

But my dear spouse was getting tired of hearing me complain about the pain in my back.  I'm sure he was also worried.  So he made me appointment and vowed to make me attend.  While I was chattering about my nerves, he was listening and he suddenly made a very insightful comment.

He said, "It seems to me that you often have problems with women who don't take you seriously."

His comment hit me like a thunderbolt.  Mentally, I reflected back on the people who have really rubbed me the wrong way over the years...  my older sisters, a few relatives, a couple of bosses, doctors, my old riding coach, some co-workers and acquaintences... The vast majority of these people have been women!  Sure, there have been men who have gotten under my skin, too, but most of the people who annoy me the most are women who are very pushy, opinionated, and patronizing.  Some of them may not even realize they're condescending.

I get along fine with most men.  I even have male dogs and, when I had a horse, I rode a gelding.  I have some female friends, too.  But the ones I stay friends with tend to be laid back and low key.

Maybe this is not earth shattering news to those who know me, but I never made the connection between pushy women and my level of irritation before.  Kudos to my insightful spouse for figuring that out.

  

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Self-absorbed celebrity tell alls... they all suffer from a bad daddy

It's summertime, and that means a bunch of celebrities are coming out with their life stories.  This summer, I've already read four such books.  Last night, I finished Belinda Carlisle's book Lips Unsealed.  I came away from it feeling a little pissy, mainly because Belinda Carlisle, just like Todd Bridges whose book I also read, plays the blame game. 

Both Bridges and Carlisle grew up in California.  Both had absentee or abusive fathers.  Both became stars.  Both also became hooked on drugs and alcohol, while putting out a cute, appealing image to the masses.  Both are remarkably immature for their ages... or at least that's how it seems to me after reading their books.

At some point in every person's life, they have to become responsible for their own problems.  It seems to me that this is a concept that doesn't regularly get conveyed to celebrities.  Now that I think of it, today's the day yet another self-absorbed Hollywood star is set to go to jail for substance abuse problems.  Lindsay Lohan is due to begin her jail sentence today.  She's yet another person who suffers from a bad daddy.

I guess if there's a lesson to be learned from this, it's that people should be more selective as to who they choose to fuck.  Children clearly need both parents to be involved in their lives.  Or, if they only have one parent, that parent needs to be focused on things other than how their ex did them wrong. 

I did like Belinda Carlisle's book enough to recommend it.  I didn't like Todd Bridges' book much, but it'll sell because Gary Coleman, a guy who suffered from bad mommy and daddy, died just after it was published. 

Yesterday, I read an article about how training doesn't help people get jobs.  I think about all the people out there who worked hard for their careers and have now lost them because of the recession.  And yet, we have people in California who are total fuck ups living the high life because they happen to be celebrities.  For many of them, it's like a prerequisite to being famous is being an addict of some sort.  Seems terribly unfair.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Julienne Irwin vs Christina and Ali...

This morning, as I was reflecting on the performances by Christina & Ali from this year's America's Got Talent, it occurred to me that I'd heard their latest song "God Bless The Broken Road" before...  My mind flashed back to the summer of 2007, when a pretty 14 year old girl from Bel Air, MD named Julienne Irwin sang it...



And now sung in 2010 by Christina and Ali...



I think Julienne wins.

Mel Gibson is completely nuts...

I'm just now getting around to listening to Mel Gibson's rantings...  He sounds a lot like a couple of less famous people I know.  He's obviously an alcoholic... his rantings are very familiar to me because I've been around alcoholics myself.  Those who can't take alcohol get turned into instant assholes once they've been sipping.  I've got to hand it to Oksana Grigorieva.  She was admirably calm as he was going off on her like a lunatic.  And she was smart to record him.  Those priceless recordings are powerful pieces of evidence.

It's such a shame that such a talented, successful man is so out of control.  But it also seems like Hollywood is full of people like that... talented, beautiful, wealthy people who have completely lost their ability to be rational and coherent and think they're above the law. 

That being said... Mel's rant reminds me a little of my father's rants, before he became demented from years of alcohol abuse and old age.  My dad never swore like Mel does, but it was the same level of anger and craziness.  It was very scary to watch, particularly when I was a small child.  When I got older, I became able to defend myself more.  But as a little kid, he was terrifying when he was like that.  Thankfully, it didn't happen that often.  He's still around and married to my mother.  I don't know how she was able to deal with it for so long.

I don't know if Oksana actually did anything to get Mel to this point.  It's possible that she "played" him.  But whether she played him or not, he's clearly not a well man.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cystic fibrosis sisters on America's Got Talent...

Even though we don't get TV out here in the woods, I do admit to watching a little TV.  I just do it online the day after the show airs.  I've been watching America's Got Talent, a show that was a guilty pleasure back in 2007 when my dear spouse was away on an extended business related trip and I was spending a lot of time alone.  In 2007, David Hasselhof was a judge.  Now, Howie Mandel is a judge, along with Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne.  I actually like Howie.  He's funny and instigates a lot of shenanigans.

Anyway, one of the acts that has made it to the semi-finals is the sister duo Christina and Ali.  They are 13 and 20 years old and hail from Idaho.  That fact, along with their very wholesome appearance, immediately made me wonder if they were Mormons.  Guess what... they are.  I found an article about them on the Mormon Times.  Google it.

When these two young ladies auditioned, they mentioned that they were two of four children born with the genetic disease cystic fibrosis in their family.  Knowing what I know about CF-- the devastation it causes and how kids born to parents who carry the gene have just a one in four chance of being unaffected by the gene-- I had to wonder what the hell their parents were thinking.  It seems like an extremely selfish and ignorant thing to do, when there are a lot of other ways for people to become parents.  Now that I know a little more about their background, I understand more as to why their parents chose to have four kids, knowing what their genetic odds were.  I don't agree with it, but this is still America.

Now... first off, while I do think these two girls have singing talent, they clearly lack training.  The younger one can belt, but she's not able to stay on pitch.  The older one seems better able to stay on pitch, but she doesn't seem to have much power behind her voice.  That may be because of the CF or because she's nervous.  In any case, I do think they made it to the semi-finals for reasons other than their talent.  They're attractive.  They have a sob story.  And they very likely have a whole legion of church voters behind them...

I wish these two girls luck.  It must suck to have CF.  Indeed, on last night's show, the sisters revealed that they had already lost a sibling last year.  I'm assuming their sister died of CF.  They said their performance was inspired by their sister's death.  How bittersweet it must be to know that they will likely have the same fate.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another trip in the works...

I badly need a change of scenery, so dearest spouse and I will be headed for Miami for Labor Day.  Neither of us has ever been before, plane tickets were dirt cheap, and we can visit the Keys while we're there.  Hopefully, there won't be any big hurricanes while we're visiting.  I look forward to sitting on the beach and drinking mojitos.  Maybe we'll eat some Cuban food and pick up a little color. Since we're both very white people, I imagine the one color we'll pick up the most is bright red.

It's amazing that I've seen so much of Europe and haven't explored a whole lot of my own country.  On the other hand, so much of America looks the same... lots of boring architecture, strip malls, and gas stations.  It doesn't even compare to older civilizations. 

Oh well... what America lacks in sophistication, it makes up for with colorful people.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Irony on the 13th season of Dallas...

So I've been watching old Dallas episodes again.  Season 13 has actually been very interesting and ironic, given what's been going on in the Gulf of Mexico.  The season, which aired in the fall of '89 around the time of the Exxon Valdez Alaskan oil spill, is all about how J.R. Ewing is responsible for an enormous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  On the episode I last watched, some people ruined the Ewing's swimming pool by dumping barrels of crude oil into it.  The show goes into how the spill is a public relations nightmare and how it's destroying the environment...  I wonder if the show's writers had a crystal ball...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hubby's birthday...

It doesn't seem like it's hubby's birthday because we did most of our celebrating several days ago.  But today, he's 46 years old.  In many ways, though, he seems younger to me than he was when I met him.

Last night, my husband came home and cooked a wonderful meal of grilled scallops and shrimp.  He made a delicious spinach salad with bits of applewood smoked bacon.  To top it all off, there was a fantastic rice mix with wheatberries.  When I met my husband, he was a good but very limited cook.  Now he's trying all kinds of new things in the kitchen and really enjoying himself.  He's learning that he can do things he was always discouraged from doing before.

I'm very proud and happy to be a part of my husband's better life.  I know the next forty years will be the best. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Our waterfall and pond died...

Our house has a little manmade pond and waterfall outside.  I think the people that own this house had fish in it at one time, but don't anymore.  I know some frogs live in it and it serves as a pretty garden spot.  The gentle water sounds also make the place a little more peaceful.

Yesterday, I noticed I couldn't hear the sound of rushing water.  Usually, that means I just need to unplug the waterfall, reset the outlet, and plug it back in.  But when we tried doing that yesterday, the waterfall still didn't turn on.  We started hunting for some electric boxes to see if there was a circuit breaker that needed to be thrown.  My dear spouse opened one box to be confronted by a big nest of paper wasps.

Maybe the pump has died... Maybe one too many wasps got into the wiring.  Maybe we're just unlucky, but the pond and waterfall are definitely dead right now.  This is a bad thing, because the water is stagnant and stinks and makes for a fabulous place for mosquitoes to breed.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July...

I was considering writing something opinionated and obnoxious this morning, but then it occurred to me that it's the 4th of July and I might as well wish everyone a good holiday.  Of course, some people celebrated it last night...

Last night, hubby and I celebrated his birthday, even though it's not officially his birthday until July 7th.  We went out to Craft Atlanta, a fantastic restaurant that is one of several founded by Chef Tom Colicchhio, star of Top Chef.  I'd like to say that I follow that show.  There was a time when I did, but since we don't have cable, I don't watch it anymore.

Anyway, we went there and enjoyed the most fantastic meal... Fresh, high quality ingredients, amazing, attentive service, a nice ambiance... It wasn't a cheap meal by any stretch of the imagination, but it was worth every penny.  I even convinced my dear spouse to order the $61 rib-eye steak, which was dry aged, large enough for two people, and unlike anything I've ever tasted before.  Thankfully, we had leftovers, including the marvelous roasted duck I ordered.

When we were finished eating, I was sighing about how delicious the meal was and how it was likely one of the best I've ever had.  Craft Atlanta is definitely one restaurant that lives up to the hype in a big way.


Worth every penny...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July already, huh?

It's hard to believe how quickly a year passes as you get older.  It's already July 1st and I'm sitting here, thinking about where our next home will be.  Hubby says his office is being relocated next year and it's possible we will also relocate.  Okay, it's not just possible... it's probable.  So I'm just sitting here thinking about packing up this house that we've only lived in for about nine months...

Not long ago, I remember complaining that we never got to move.  Now that we've moved three or four times in as many years, I guess I can quit complaining. 

I like where we live now.  It's very pretty and private, with lots of wildlife and trees...  Of course, I spend most of my time alone, except for the company of my two dogs and all my Internet friends.  When I was younger, I spent a lot of time talking to people in person. Now that I'm an old hag and an overeducated housewife, I spend a lot of time talking to people in the virtual world.

Makes me wonder what will be all the rage when I'm an old woman who no longer knows how to use the Internet...  Shoot, pretty soon, the Internet may be obsolete.