Monday, September 30, 2013

Sometimes divorce is like a dental crown...

Before anyone worries, no Bill and I are not getting a divorce.  I just wanted to post about a thought I had this morning with a friend of mine who is on her second marriage.  She told me she had endured 20 years with her ex husband.  They have five kids together.  My friend had put up with many years with this man and they tolerated each other; but it wasn't quite a good fit.

As she was typing this to me, I was suddenly reminded of the very first dental crown I ever got back in 2006.  The corner of my back right molar had fallen off.  My dentist told me I was in need of a crown to save the tooth.

The process of getting this crown was a real ordeal.  I didn't have to have a root canal, but I remember being in the chair for a long time with a prop in my mouth and a dental dam covering my lower teeth.  I came back a few weeks later to get the new crown put on.  I had driven over 100 miles because I had decided to have my teen-hood dentist do the work.  I was looking forward to getting the crown done and over with.  When she put it on me, it didn't fit properly.  She tried to shape my tooth more so it would fit, but it was hopeless.  A new one had to be made and I had to come back three weeks later.

When I finally got my new gold crown after six weeks of waiting, the fit was adequate.  But it was never quite perfect.  I had a lot of issues with debris irritating my gums.  I would scrub the area clean with an end tuft toothbrush, only to have my gums get swollen and painful again.

Finally, after five years, another dentist told me there was decay under my expensive gold crown.  I would need to have it redone.  I hesitated.  Getting the crown had been a major pain in the ass and cost me a lot of money.  But the dentist told me if something wasn't done, the tooth would get worse.  So I let her remove the crown, clean up the decay, and replace the gold.  Lo and behold, when she was finished, I found that my new crown fit much better than the other one had... It was as if it were my own tooth.  I don't have any issues with that tooth anymore.  And to think I had suffered with an adequate crown for five years when I could have had a crown that fit much better.

As I related this story to my friend, she caught my drift.  She had put up with her ex husband for twenty years.  The marriage had been adequate enough, but there was decaying chemistry.  They weren't a good fit.  Consequently, they irritated each other in much the same way my crown had irritated my gum.

My friend got a divorce, then married her second husband.  He's a much better fit.  They are much more compatible.  There's nothing rotten about their relationship.  They fit and are comfortable and functional.  Like the drilling, novocaine, and expense turned out to be worthwhile in my case, the divorce was worthwhile in hers.  Both situations can be painful and expensive, but in the long run, they can save something important... like your sanity or your tooth.  And that will make you better able to deal with everything else life throws at you.

I said I wanted to be more introspective today, right?  And I'm trying to feel better about all the dental work I'm dealing with now.

Last night was epic...

And I already blogged about it on my travel blog, so if you want the juicy details of what we ate and the show we saw, I suggest you read it there.  There are many pictures.

On this blog, I want to be a little more introspective.  Bill and I just enjoyed yet another wonderful weekend together doing things that, in his prior life, would have been considered sinful.  Last week, we joined a wine club.  This week, we saw the Book of Mormon Musical, which is full of filthy language, extreme sexual situations, and irreverent humor.  In other words, it was right up my alley.

An ex Mormon friend on Facebook, whom I have never met in person but would love to know offline, made a comment about how many church members are warned against leaving the religion because doom will befall them.  Her experience, she noted, has been totally different.  She left the church and got a great new job in a new state many miles from Utah.  She makes a lot more money, too.

She writes:

Another non-faith promoting experience: When we were on our way out, our good friends had us over for dinner/home teaching. So, the lesson was on tithing. The story went something like: we were out of a job for MONTHS, went through all our savings, relied on the church to feed the kids, etc. Meanwhile I'm thinking, we don't pay a dime in tithing, both have good jobs, I just got offered a job at a 25% pay increase, and have I mentioned that my paycheck goes even farther when I'm not giving 10% of my hard-earned money to some rich bastards?

My husband's experience was similar.  When I met him, he was a TBM who had just left his ex wife.  He was struggling to pay his bills, which included exorbitant child support, alimony, a house payment, and tithing.  He was scraping by on $600 a month, though he admitted he was happy to be away from his ex, who kept him in a constant state of anxiety and regularly verbally abused and criticized him.  Part of his bad time as a Mormon had to do with her and the fact that she is toxic and cruel.  Part of it had to do with Mormonism, which is all about trying to be perfect and avoiding the mere appearance of evil at all costs.

The LDS brand of fun is clean and... frankly somewhat juvenile at times.  Board games can be fun, don't get me wrong, and everyone loves a nice glass of fruit punch with a side of Rice Krispee treats, but once many people get to a certain age, they seek fun that's a little more adult.  You certainly don't have to drink liquor or watch R rated movies to have fun; but when you are an adult, it's good to be able to make those choices for yourself without interference from a third party such as a church.      

In any case, we had a wonderful time last night having the kind of fun that we could never have had when Bill was a tithe paying Mormon.  For one thing, we would not have been able to afford last night.  For another, it involved drinking wine and seeing a musical fraught with sin.  And yes, some might say that we could have done other things with our time and money last night.  But we really did have a lot of fun and it was a bonding experience.  And we made the decision to do it without worrying about looking evil or bumping into someone who might tattle to the bishop on us.

It was a good time... and I feel blessed that we were able to have it together.    I don't think we're destined for Outer Darkness, either.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ask Alexyss...

Alexis, this is the YouTube video I wrote of on your blog... Brace yourself.  It's really nasty!



Actually, I laughed really hard the first time I saw this video.  But it's really graphic and gross.

If you go on YouTube, you can find this lady's videos all over the place.  They are about sex and her name is the same as yours, though she has changed the spelling.  I generally can't get through these videos in one sitting, but this one in particular is a classic.

At the very least, I hope it does inspire males to wash their genitalia more thoroughly so they'll be more pleasant during sexual activities.
  

Happened to stumble across BYU TV tonight...

And I have to say, I ran across a VERY disturbing message offered by some relief society leader.  This woman got up, said she wanted to relate a story that had "touched her heart", and then proceeded to tell everyone about a farmer who had a troublesome ewe who was always running off and leading other sheep astray.

The farmer was happy to give the ewe to another, supposedly wiser, farmer.  The second farmer took the ewe to his farm, staked her out in a paddock, and left her there to teach her to stay put.  After time, the ewe stopped trying to escape because she finally accepted that she was tied up and had thus become submissive and compliant.  When the farmer finally untied her, she had to be coaxed to move around because she didn't know she was untied.  This story was actually offered as an uplifting anecdote for the women who had gathered together for this nonsense.  Granted, it was probably meant more as a metaphorical anecdote about dealing with "wayward children" and many churches do refer to followers as a flock.  But these were adult women listening to this story, not children... Of course, maybe many of the leaders think of the women as children.

Frankly, I found the story disturbing on many levels.  First off, when you think of "sheep", what comes to mind?  When I think of sheep, I think of livestock that are used as an example of creatures that are subject to group think.  When you think of people who don't think for themselves, you think of sheep, right?

Secondly, what happens to most sheep?  They get sheared if they're lucky.  If they're not, they get slaughtered or sacrificed.  Either way, they're used for some higher being and often end up giving their very lives in the process.  They are herded by men or dogs and forced to stay in line and do what they're told.

Thirdly, the farmer basically takes a free-spirited, independent minded, intelligent creature and forces her to obey by restraining her.  This is not something that most people would think of as a loving action.  I mean, what was the farmer going to do with the sheep once he had taught her not to try to run away?  He would be using her somehow... kind of the same way the church uses its members to clean the toilets in the meeting houses.

While I am not LDS and know nothing about what the typical Mormon woman's experience is, I will say that I have run into quite a few ex LDS women.  And a lot of them say they left the church because they found it very stifling, intrusive, and restrictive... perhaps not unlike being "staked down" by a farmer who seeks to exploit them somehow at some point.

Of course, the woman presented this story as if the farmer was wise and kindly... but the reality is, most farmers are very much realists as to the way they use their livestock.  Animals are there for their livelihood.  They are not pampered pets.  Even a dog or a cat living on a farm likely has a job to do.  In much the same way, I have observed that the church apparently views its members similarly... as tools to be used for its growth.  The leaders may be portrayed as benevolent and wise, but the truth is, the leaders need workers who will follow them without question, pay tithes... and do all the dirty work and make sacrifices for the leaders' benefit and that of the church's.  And the "good sheep" don't try to escape.  But then they are rewarded by losing their wool or their lives for the good of the "benevolent farmer".

The fact that the woman used sheep to illustrate her "point" is all the more ironic to me.  Has she never heard of people engaged in group think as "sheep"?  I guess not.  Indeed, I'm certain that many of the women were nodding and sighing at the "wisdom" conveyed in this woman's talk, not even thinking about the potentially sinister connotations of her little anecdote.  You know, maybe it's not such a good thing that BYU TV is so freely offered on television systems viewed by non members...

I had to turn the channel after I saw the sheep talk, but it was time for dinner anyway-- my husband prepared it, by the way.  ;-)  But I was so fired up, I started going off about the dipshit military spouses who think I ought to be grateful for being referred to as a dependent...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Ended up watching TBN last night...

It was after we watched Making The Team on CMT.  There was some Christian singer dude on there who looked like he was wearing a pleather jacket.  I was surprised when they said he'd won a Grammy.  I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to it until Scott Hamilton, the 1984 men's gold medalist in figure skating at the winter Olympics, came on.

Apparently, Scott Hamilton is now a devoted Christian.  He sure has been through a lot.  He battled cancer and was flat broke after his Olympic victory.  He was skating in the Ice Capades, which fired him because he was male and the new owners wanted more female skaters.  Hamilton then made a funny quip about sex discrimination at work.

I have to admit, his interview was interesting and kind of inspiring... though the host appeared to be bored by it.  Later, there was a guy on there who had been a news anchor in Hampton/Newport News, Virginia and ended up on the streets, living out of his car for awhile.  Now he works for Fox News.  He got and sang a song about helping the homeless.

Around that time, I decided to take a one minute skinny dipping break.  Then Bill was about to pass out, because he usually turns into a pumpkin after about 9:00.  He has a hard time staying awake past that hour because he has trouble sleeping and then works all week.

Anyway, I have to admit, though the host of that show was pretty lame, it was interesting to listen to Scott Hamilton.  He's one Christian I can admire for a lot of reasons.  Too bad the host didn't seem to be that into the interview.


This clip wasn't from TBN, but it is Scott Hamilton talking about his faith.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Two more days...

In two days, we're going downtown to see The Book of Mormon Musical at the Majestic Theater.  It's the last performance in San Antonio.  Hopefully, it will be as awesome as I expect it will be.  And hopefully, my new temporary crown will give me no issues.

I need to find us a place to have dinner on Sunday evening, before the show starts.  My new dentist was asking where we'll be dining.  I think now that I've managed to get some chores done, I'll start shopping for a restaurant.

I'm glad it's Friday.  The week has flown by, maybe because I've spent so much of it in the dentist's chair.    

My third temporary crown...

So I went back to the dentist's office today and explained, in a nice way, that the lady who made my temporary crown yesterday seemed a bit rushed.  The crown didn't cover the whole tooth and while it wasn't really sensitive or painful, I feared the shoddy crown might not be good for the month we're waiting for my permanent crown.  What's more, the temporary crown was a little too long on the inside and had an edge that my tongue kept catching on.

The dental assistant removed my temporary crown and then the dentist, who I think is pretty awesome, came in and personally made me a new temporary crown that is just perfect.  I told her that yesterday's assistant was very nice, but she seemed to be in a big rush.  I knew it was close to lunch time and actually heard her stomach rumble (though I didn't mention this).  I had been in the chair for a couple of hours and I'm sure she just wanted to send me on my way.  I can't blame her for that.  But I have to say, the difference in quality between the crown she made and the one the dentist made is remarkable.

The dentist then asked me what I thought of 50 Shades of Grey.  In all honesty, I haven't read that book yet... and kind of wasn't planning to.  The dentist says the writing is abysmal.  LOL... maybe I should read it after all, so I can post a scathing review!  Truly, one of the best kinky novels I've ever read was 9 1/2 Weeks by Elizabeth MacNeill.  I bought my copy of that book in St. Polten, Austria, and it helped me pass several boring hours.   It was later turned into a horrible movie starring Mickey Rourke.  I recently read his ex wife's memoir, which paints Rourke as a bastard to the extreme.  But besides being a bastard, Mickey Rourke sucked in 9 1/2 Weeks, and not in a good way.

Anyway, because I had to come back, they're giving me $50 off my next crown.  That's a nice thing.  I wasn't expecting that at all.

Yesterday, as I was waiting for the dentist, a kid who had apparently just had dental surgery was there with his parents.  His parents appeared to be divorced.  Mom was outside with her phone while dad was inside, dealing with the dental office staff.  They appeared to be a mismatched couple.  Mom was kind of short and dumpy, while dad was tall, irritable, and appeared to be some kind of medical professional.  The boy was very loopy and came into the office wearing what appeared to be a woman's sweater.  He had stickers on his bare chest where they had put monitors.  I could see that he had a catheter from where he'd had an IV, too...  He was a nice kid.  Came up to me and told me why he hadn't been allowed to eat since midnight the night before.  I just agreed with him.  His father looked annoyed while mom couldn't be bothered.  Poor kid.  I hope he's doing okay today.

I feel confident that I won't need to go back to the dentist before my new crown is all ready for me.  This one was built to last.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A review of Beyond Breathing, by Margarete Cassalina...

Here's another book review, because Epinions is still screwy.  This book, like the one I reviewed a few days ago, is about a family dealing with cystic fibrosis.  Margarete Cassalina, author of Beyond Breathing (2009), did not have the happiest childhood.  Her mother was emotionally unavailable to her.  When Cassalina became a mother herself, she was determined to be all the things to her kids that her mother wasn't to her.

Sadly, both Maragete and her husband, Marc, are carriers of the gene that causes cystic fibrosis.  Both her son, Eric, and daughter, Jena, were afflicted with CF.  Jena's case was more severe than her brother's was.  She died on December 4, 2006, at the age of 13, while awaiting a double lung transplant.

Margarete Cassalina pulls no punches when she writes about her own demons.  She admits to being "fat" and chronically unsuccessful on diets.  She also admits to drinking too much and being depressed occasionally.  I found these revelations somewhat interesting because they would certainly present challenges for a parent taking care of two kids with cystic fibrosis.  What really came through to me in this book that Cassalina has an indescribable love for her daughter and Jena's presence inspired and uplifted her.

Cassalina has a very expressive writing style.  She writes as if she's sitting next to you, telling you about her experiences.  I think I would have preferred more detail about Jena's and Eric's experiences with CF.  This book is really more about Cassalina's experiences as a mother of a child with CF than it is about the child's experiences with CF.  For that reason, I think it will probably appeal most to someone who is parenting a child with cystic fibrosis.  She doesn't write very much about her son, Eric, which made me wonder how he was coping with the disease.  I would think that as difficult as cystic fibrosis is, having two kids with it would be especially challenging.  Curiously, Cassalina seems to have little to say about it.  Still, this book is mostly beautifully written and shows how much Cassalina loves and misses her daughter and how it has taken time for her to recover from the loss.

Beyond Breathing is a mother's moving tribute to her daughter, who died far too young.  Margarete Cassalina and her husband, both extremely active in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, are donating 65% of the proceeds from the sale of this book back to the foundation.   I recommend it and, if I were posting this review on Epinions, would probably give it four stars.




The aftermath of dental work...

I slept in this morning and didn't get up until about 8:00 am.  That's unusual for me.  My jaw is a little sore.  I think it's from the shots I got yesterday when I had my tooth worked on.  I really hope it goes away soon.  I don't think I can deal with more dental dramas.

The dentist looked at my other tooth on the other side of my mouth.  Sure enough, it too is cracked.  I have to have it crowned at some point after I get the permanent crown next month.  This is a real pain in the ass, not to mention expensive.

I drank a lot of wine last night in an attempt to deaden the discomfort.  Wine is an unusually effective anesthetic when I have dental pain.  Fortunately, I've never had really horrible dental pain because I always go in and get things fixed before it really starts hurting.  I'm not really hurting today... just sore and achy.

I'm going to go in to the dentist office today and have them look at my temporary because I notice it doesn't cover the whole tooth.  The inside of the temporary rubs against my tongue.  I mentioned to the business manager at the dentist office that the lady who made the temp seemed to be in a hurry.

Anyway, while I was enjoying the wine, I ran across a funny film I used to see on HBO Short Takes all the time back in the early 80s...



S.S. Wilson, the guy who made this film as a project at the University of Southern California in the mid 1970s went on to be a big time horror movie and science fiction screenwriter.  He is best known for Tremors.  I know this film gave many kids nightmares back in the day.

I'm going to write another book review today... then I'll probably go back to bed.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

There went my crown...

Last night, I made the mistake of eating something that was harder than it should have been.  Before I knew it, my temporary crown had shattered.  Now I have to call the dentist again and get another temporary crown made.  While I'm at it, I'll have the dentist take a look at the tooth on the other side of my mouth that is feeling a little suspicious.  It doesn't hurt, really... just feels a little off.  Like maybe if I don't do something about it, it'll soon have problems.

I actually had a little crying jag this morning, though.  The last couple of months have been kind of hard for several different reasons.   The drama with my teeth is sort of the straw that broke the camel's back.  Adjusting to a new place is difficult... and this place is different than most of the other places we've been.

I can't call the dentist until 9:00am, so I guess I'll do some chores.  I'd rather be in bed, but Bill got the dogs up and they went outside and started barking.  I hate it when they do that because now we're in a neighborhood with a bunch of people around and I'm always afraid they'll piss someone off.




It's funny when people don't recognize satire when they see it...

Someone on RfM posted a link to this article today.  It's about the city of St. George, Utah, banning porn and punishing offenders with 30 days in jail for their first offense.  Now, I don't know much about Utah, but I do know that St. George is a very conservative city... and this particular article, while just a little snarky, was kind of believable.

I figured out it was satire when I checked out the writers, some of whom were obviously not serious folk...  While I had never run across this particular Web site before, I realized that it was kind of like The Onion.  Now, The Onion is very much satire and most people know it.  But The National Report is not so well known... and if you click on the article I linked, you will see that many people took this article very seriously.

I have to admit that it's hilarious to read the responses to this article, some of which were very impassioned.  You got some folks in there screaming about how they won't be giving up their porn.  You got others in there writing about how porn ruins lives and decays society.  And you got people saying, "Get your facts straight!" to each other...

Frankly, when someone says, "Get your facts straight" to me, I quit listening.  I don't respond well to that shit.  There's usually a reason someone writes or says something that seems way off base.  When you tell someone to "get their facts straight", you run the risk of someone schooling you if it turns out that their facts are more correct than yours are.  Some of the people yelling about facts are not as well educated as they think they are.

In any case, it made for very interesting and entertaining reading this afternoon.  I gotta admit, the satire is well done because it's entirely believable.  In fact, it was so believable that the St. George, Utah Web site issued a statement assuring people that it was just a joke.  Tee hee hee!






Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Beauty pageants and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders...

Last night, I watched the two most recent episodes of Making the Team: The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.  It's a totally cheesy show, but I've been hooked on it for years.  One of the best loved cheerleaders from the past few years, Courtney Cook, left the team rather abruptly.  Being nosey, I decided to look around online to see if I could find out the dirt.  In the process of searching, I ran across some discussion on (now defunct) TelevisionWithoutPity about Kelli Finglass and Judy Trammell, the director and choreographer of the DCC.  Back in the 80s, though, they were themselves cheerleaders...



Someone linked the above clip.  The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders were guests on the 1987 Miss Teen USA pageant.  Indeed, Kelli and Judy actually performed at this pageant.  You have to watch carefully to see them, but they are definitely there.  Kelli is in the front while Judy is to the far right.  As I was watching, it occurred to me that I actually saw this pageant when it originally aired.  I remember the candidate who was Miss Virginia Teen USA, because she did a stupid salute during the opening dance number.



Here, Tracy Scoggins says, "We're gonna watch a young girl's come true."  Yep, that's what she said.  Love all the monokinis in this segment.  They were big in 1987.



They get cut down to ten semi-finalists.  At the beginning, the DCC does a very cheesy dance number to introduce the segment.  Ick.  Check out the acid washed jeans!  Kelli and Judy are dancing in this clip, too.





It's interview time... This oughta be good.  Miss California comes off as a dipshit.  Miss Mississippi looks like she has gum issues, though she is pretty charming.



Here's the stupid swimsuit competition.  Love how they announce the girls' weights as if they're sides of beef being auctioned off.  Then they get scores!



The emcee is a big dork.  The orchestra is playing a ridiculous version of "Uptown Girl".  I miss Billy Joel, especially when it turns into a medley.  I wonder if this group is responsible for Muzak.  The dresses are frumpy as hell.



Top five...  I have to wonder if these women have seen this and feel bad about the scores so publicly displayed.  Miss North Dakota had a tough time of it.  It looks like the picture challenge was a bit of a flop.  Some of them must not remember what they were doing back in the day.  Miss Teen USA 1986 seems to have the personality of Cool Whip.



And here she is...

Yes, back in the 80s, pageants were a bigger deal and actually ran for a couple of hours.  These women are about my age... Wonder what they're doing now?  We sure had big hair back then and it looks like a lot of these women were using too much Sun In.  On another note, I wish the DCC were still wearing those shorts instead of the diapers they wear now.  Their dancing on this program is dated, but at least their shorts cover their asses.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Ask a Slave...

Gotta say, I love this new series on YouTube.  I knew some guys who were historical interpreters in Colonial Williamsburg and you would not believe the dumb questions they get.













Meet Lizzie Mae... She's hilarious!  And this is surprisingly educational, too...

I used to live near Mount Vernon.  Now I wish we'd visited when we lived up in northern Virginia.  

Yesterday was glorious!

I posted about what we did yesterday on my travel blog.  Bill has a friend whose wife is an artist and works for Novica.com.  She was showing her art at the Hill Country Art Festival being held at a winery.  We had nothing better to do, so we decided to go out to Comfort, Texas and check out her art and maybe taste some wines.  First, we went to the commissary and picked up some groceries.  I've taken to using coupons that come in the free weekly paper we get.  So far, we've saved about $15 by using coupons, which I put in our savings account.  It's not much, but you gotta start somewhere, right?

The weather was absolutely perfect.  I was able to put the top down on the MINI and we drove out to Hill Country, which is really beautiful, especially when compared to where we're living.  We tasted wine at the Singing Water Winery, which is very military friendly, then moved on to Bending Branch Winery.

While we were sitting at the counter, tasting wines and listening to music by Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, and Glen Campbell (what I could remember anyway), I could tell Bill was having a really good time.  We tasted one really lovely and special wine put out by the winery in honor of the owners' daughter and granddaughter named Chloe.

I looked over at Bill and he was getting emotional.  I asked him what was up and he said he was just having such a good time and it meant so much to him that he could enjoy a Sunday at a winery, listening to music, and being with someone who supports him in the things he enjoys doing.  He said his life had been unbalanced and it had taken him about 40 years to start enjoying himself.  There's more to life than work.  Bill said, "I never would have done something like this if it weren't for you."  He wouldn't have bothered exploring wineries by himself and he definitely wouldn't have done it with Ex.  Even in their pre-LDS years, Ex didn't have an appreciation for such things.

One thing I've come to realize is that a successful marriage has to be a partnership with both people working for a common goal.  It's not one person is a slave for the other person.  You have to share the load and you have to do things together that are mutually fun.  You have to enjoy being together.

We don't have kids, so that simplifies our lives a lot.

After we got home from our wine tastings, I took a very short dip in the pool.  The weather was perfect yesterday, but that made the pool a bit on the cold side.  I got wet, then sat out on the patio with Bill and played with Zane and Arran.  We had a nice dinner and conversation, then went to bed.  At about 2:30 this morning, I woke up to pee and poor Bill was on the edge of the mattress because the dogs had hogged the middle of the bed.

I woke him up and said, "You're about to fall off the bed."  He thanked me and squirmed his way back over.  This morning, as he handed me a cup of coffee, he thanked me for not letting him fall out of bed!

Looks like the weather today will also be perfect.  Maybe I'll cut the grass so Bill doesn't have to do it.

This past weekend was great.  I hope we can do it again.







        

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Seeing cousins...

Most of my family lives in Virginia or North Carolina or Georgia.  I do, however, have a cousin who lives in Lockhart, Texas, which is maybe an hour from where Bill and I live.  They had a birthday party yesterday and we were able to attend.

This particular cousin is my Uncle Ed's son, Andy.  Ed had four sons while my dad had four daughters.  One sibling had three daughters and a son; another had two sons; and the other three each had a son and a daughter.  So there were exactly eleven grandsons and eleven granddaughters.  I've lost count of how many great grandkids there are, especially since some of them are starting to have their own kids.

Andy's two eldest kids are daughters and both of them are pregnant.  They will be having their babies within weeks of each other sometime around December.  I didn't know them very well when they were growing up because they lived far from Virginia and it was expensive for them to visit.  And, of course, we never visited Texas.  Also, they were Jehovah's Witnesses at that time and didn't celebrate holidays... or so that was what my late Aunt Nance told me when I asked how they were doing.  Andy and his family were JWs... and eventually left the faith.  I don't know the whole story about that, though I did hear from an uncle that it was because a pedophile was promoted to leadership and they objected.

Anyway, Andy's wife's birthday is this week, so they threw her a great party in their big yard in Lockhart, Texas.  I wish we had brought Zane and Arran with us.  There were lots of dogs around and I think they would have enjoyed hanging out.  Andy cooked ribs on his big grill and there was lots of beer and margaritas...

A couple of weeks from now, they will have another party for one of the moms to be... we'll be there with bells on.  Probably the funniest moment last night was when Andy's daughter introduced me to her friends as her dad's cousin.  I laughed and said, "I'm YOUR cousin too, you know!"  It gets confusing, though, when the genealogy starts to get really extended.

Last night was a good reminder that my family can be a lot of fun, even as it's also very stressful to be around a lot of them for long periods of time.  My dad's side of the family is full of strong personalities with even stronger opinions.  But deep down, they are really good people with a good sense of fun.  I look forward to getting to know Andy and his family better, now that we live in Texas.


There was a pinata and these shots of pineapple Malibu rum fell out, as well as Aleve and candy...

Today, we'll probably visit a local winery because a friend of ours is displaying her art at a show the winery is hosting.  It should be fun and the weather has finally broken.  We have lots of sun, but not quite so much heat.  Maybe we'll find some wine, too.




Saturday, September 21, 2013

They say laughter is the best medicine...



I don't watch Ellen myself, but maybe I should...  This clip is hysterical!

Gladys is a woman after my own heart!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Now the tooth on the other side of my mouth is bothering me...

It's the second to the last molar on the last side...  I woke up with it bothering me.  It's kind of a dull ache, nothing really horrible but enough to be annoying.  I just spent two fucking hours in the dentist's chair two days ago and now another tooth is giving me angst?

So much for all those good checkups I had in North Carolina.  I move to Texas and all hell breaks loose in my mouth!  I have a feeling this molar might have the same problem the other one did.  Only instead of it being "sensitive", it just aches a bit.  It would be nice if it was just empathy pains, but I have a bad feeling...

At least San Antonio has a lot of good dentists, including a couple that are open on the weekends.  For now, I think I'll just drink some wine.

A review of Roy E. Ice's Julie: The Courage To Breathe...

As I mentioned in my last post, Epinions.com is going through some major changes right now that is going to make posting reviews, especially of self-published books, a big challenge.  I like to review every book I read and I have found that the self-published books are often pretty good.  They deserve to be reviewed.  Hell, I find myself buying them as often or more often than books that have been vetted by big publishers.

So anyway, I just finished Roy E. Ice's self-published book, Julie: The Courage to Breathe.  This book, available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle editions, was published in March of 2013.  I picked it up in June, when I had apparently gone on a tear buying books about cystic fibrosis.  Though I don't personally know anyone with CF, I have done some reading about this devastating genetic disease.  A lot of advances have been made in the past decade or so in understanding and treating cystic fibrosis.  Still, it remains a deadly, demanding disease that often kills people when they are very young.

Roy Ice explains that he met his wife, Julie, when they were teenagers.  He fell in love with her, even though she had an annoying cough that she couldn't seem to get rid of and seemed to get pneumonia very easily.  She thought she had asthma.  So did her doctors, even though when she was as young as five years old, she showed signs and symptoms of cystic fibrosis.

Though Roy and Julie had met when they were in high school, it took a few more years before they dated.  Ice married Julie when they still young adults.  He'd done a stint in the military and served in Desert Storm/Desert Shield, then came home to Kentucky.  Julie still had that irritating cough that would erupt at the most inopportune times.  Roy would encourage Julie to stifle it because it often embarrassed him.

One day, about eight months into their marriage, Julie got very sick.  Roy took his wife to the hospital, where a doctor tried to diagnose her yet again with pneumonia.  Roy doubted that was the case and demanded that a pulmonologist examine Julie, much to the dismay of the internist who had incorrectly assumed that Julie had pneumonia once again.  The lung specialist suspected cystic fibrosis and tested her.  At age 23, Julie had tested positive for CF.  At the time, most CF patients were dead before their 29th birthdays.

In a folksy, plainspoken way, with a generous smattering of humor, Ice writes about what it was like to find out his beloved wife had a deadly genetic disease.  Cystic fibrosis is a very difficult disease to live with, though Julie's case must have been relatively mild up until she got so sick at age 23.  Roy had to learn how to pound on his wife's tiny body to shake loose the thick mucous that forms in CF patients.  He also had to learn how to be a good advocate for his wife, standing up to doctors and even leaving against medical advice when they didn't seem interested in helping her.

When Julie was 41 years old, her body began to wear out.  She needed a lung transplant.  The fact that she had made it to 41 was, in and of itself, a miracle.  But if she didn't get new lungs, she would die.  Ice explains how he and Julie ended up at the University of Kentucky in Lexington and Julie spent about three months waiting for her new lungs.  Interestingly enough, Julie's doctors passed over a number of lungs before Julie finally got them at around Christmas time in 2011.  Apparently, a lot of organ donors in Kentucky are smokers.

My thoughts

For a self-published book, I think Julie: The Courage To Breathe is pretty damn good.  Ice has an engaging writing style and his love for his wife is plainly evident.  However, I would be lying if I said this book, as good as it is, is five star worthy.  If I were basing my rating on the love story alone, it would rate five stars.  But Ice's book has a number of typos and editing glitches that weaken it somewhat.  At one point, he references that Julie is in the hospital on December 14, 2012, which wasn't even a year ago.  But then a couple of pages later, the date is December 18, 2011.  Obviously, 2012 was a typo that whoever was editing didn't catch.

I read the Kindle version of this book.  At the end, Ice includes a few photos of Julie, whose weight, by the time of her transplant, had dwindled down to 61 pounds.  He mentions this fact several times, though it's hard to really see what that means until you see a color photo of Julie post transplant, still looking really gaunt, but managing to smile.  There's another photo of her hooked up to a bunch of machines, but you don't really get a sense of her physical frailty because she is surrounded by tubes and machines.  There's what appears to be another photo in my version of the book, but apparently it didn't post properly; instead, there's a tell-tale white box with a red X in it.

Also, Ice doesn't give a whole lot of insight into what CF is and what it does to the body.  His story is long on anecdotes, but a bit short on facts.  I had read Frank Deford's Alex: The Life of A Child and Anabel and Isabel Stenzel's book, The Power of Two, which is about twins with cystic fibrosis.  Those two books were more informative about what CF is, so I already knew about that.  Ice doesn't include as much information about the actual disease, so those who know nothing about CF probably won't learn much about it by reading this book.

I would love to see this book get reprinted after it's been read by a good editor who can clean up the typos and glitches.  It's a story well worth reading.  I was moved by Ice's obvious love for his wife and his willingness to see her through such a devastating disease.  Moreover, Roy and Julie just seem like a really nice couple.  They appear to be people I'd like to know.  All proceeds from this book will be donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which is no doubt a very worthy cause.

Anyway, if I were posting this on Epinions, I'd give it a solid four stars.  If the editing glitches were cleaned up, I'd give it five.  I had a hard time putting this book down once I got started.  You can read a news article about Julie and Roy Ice here.  You can read about Julie's "Dream Team" here.    

I hope you enjoyed reading this review.  If Epinions doesn't clean up its act soon, I may start putting all my book reviews here... or maybe start yet another blog...









  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wine free...

I had a nice southern comfort meal of biscuits and gravy last night for dinner.  My cooking skills are eroding because Bill does a lot of the cooking these days.  I probably ought to get on the stick and start making dinner again.  I used to be a great cook.  Anyway, though I was hungry when I started eating, I filled up fast and ended up with leftovers.

My tongue hurt last night and my jaw was sore from where I got the injection.  I was lucky, though, because I found a blog that was full of horror stories from people who ended up with nerve damage after dental work...  Apparently, every time you get dental work done that requires anesthesia, you run the risk of nerve damage if the shot isn't given just right.  For some people, this damage can last for years.  Nerves heal very slowly.

Thankfully, I didn't walk away with any of the problems people have written about on that blog.  I am feeling mostly normal today.  My tongue is a little sore and there's some residual dull pain around the area where the work was done.  I took about 600 milligrams of Advil and two extra strength Tylenol as I watched the finale of America's Got Talent.  I distinctly remember when the pain meds kicked in and suddenly, I wasn't hurting so much...  Not that my pain was really that bad.  I'm just a wimp.

I thought about drinking wine last night.  That's what I often do to distract myself from dental annoyances.  But I decided not to because I didn't feel like drinking.  On the nights I feel that way, I try to oblige myself.  Besides, since I loaded up on Tylenol in the wake of my crown and filling procedures, I figured my liver could use a break.  

After the AGT finale, I got into reading a book written by the husband of a woman with cystic fibrosis. I think it was self-published, but it's actually not bad.  Epinions has done away with "suggest-a-product", so if I review it, I'll have to do it here...

Hell, maybe I'll start yet another blog for book reviews by self-publishing authors.  I read enough books of that ilk.  I might as well, since Epinions seems to be imploding.

Bill comes home tomorrow.  I look forward to seeing him.  I always miss him when he's gone.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Crown is all done...

I like my new dentist.  She really took her time getting the tooth just right and fixing the temporary crown so it's perfect.  She also fixed my ugly baby tooth with the big chip in it.  Now it doesn't rub anymore.  She even offered to have me go to the local dental lab and choose the color of my new crown.  I told her it was no big deal, since the tooth is far back anyway and I would have been just as happy with a gold crown there.

It was two hours in the dentist's chair and it wasn't a lot of fun... I was nervous when I went in.  But I managed to lie still and now it's over.  I don't really want to drink a lot of wine tonight, but if my gums hurt, I might be persuaded.

Today got off to a crappy start.  The first thing I was confronted with was an erroneous bill for $500 from our property managers, who claim we didn't pay the pet fees for Zane and Arran.  I was pissed that they sent me the email, since I asked them last month to direct all correspondence to Bill.  He handles the bills.  I was also pissed because we did pay the pet fees and have proof.  I sent them a terse email asking them to direct their shit to Bill, who then told them to take it up with the property managers we thought we were signing up with.

Then the cuckoo clock stopped working properly.  It's no big deal, except that we paid $300 for it.  I think it just needs the chain pulled down a bit, but I can't be bothered right now.

I'll have my new crown in October.  With any luck, there won't be any issues until then.




Jessa Duggar has a "boyfriend"...

I actually found out about this yesterday when I read the massive Duggar thread on TelevisionWithoutPity.com (unfortunately TWP is now defunct).  Jessa is JimBoob's and Michelle Duggar's third daughter and fifth eldest kid.  Their eldest, Josh, is married at age 25 and has three kids.  I imagine he got married five years ago because he was wanting to have sex... plus maybe JimBoob figured letting Josh get married would make for some less snoozeworthy 19 Kids and Counting episodes.  

When I first heard about the Duggars, maybe nine or so years ago, I had no ill feelings toward them.  While I personally think it's nutty to have so many kids, I don't think people should be telling each other how many children they should have.  They seemed like a nice enough family.  But then when they ended up on TV, there were all these programs devoted to the status of Michelle Duggar's uterus...

And then, as we started seeing fewer handmade jumpers on the girls and more store bought clothes... and Michelle's voice became more and more babyish, the family seemed to be more like a franchise.  Several Duggar "kids" are now full fledged adults and still sleep in dormitory style rooms with their much younger siblings.  I have to wonder how many of them would love to strike out on their own and do something for and by themselves.  Maybe they love their lifestyle, but it seems to me like it would be quite oppressive.

So anyway, I read about Jessa's "boyfriend" Ben Seewald and how they basically trade scripture and sermon recommendations and JimBob lets them "side hug" each other.  Come on... there's got to be more to the typical fundie relationship than religious stuff.  Hell, Jessa's 20 years old!  I know they're religious and all, but she's an adult.  

I quit watching The Duggars some time ago.  I lost interest and was frankly a little disgusted after the whole 20th child race.  I do still read about them on TelevisionWithoutPity, though, because the comments there are usually pretty hysterical.  It's not hard to keep up with what's going on with this mega family, what with all their Today show appearances and People.com articles.

I'm dying for one of those kids to break free and write a book.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bill is off to Miami...

I hate it when he goes TDY.  I miss him when he's gone, even though this time it's only for three nights.  What makes things worse is the crown preparation I have to endure tomorrow.  I'm actually looking forward to it because once it's done, my teeth might stop annoying me.  Or maybe not.

The first time I got a crown, it never did fit perfectly and I put up with it for five years before it was replaced because the margins allowed decay to formulate.  On the other hand, the idea of my tooth falling apart suddenly gives me the heebie jeebies... so does the idea of enduring an excruciating toothache in the wee hours of the morning on a weekend.  So I'm going to get this fixed before it becomes an emergency.

What's worse is that I fear the tooth in the same position on the other side of my mouth might also need a crown very soon.  It's started bugging me, too.  In any case, I don't think it'll be long before the dentist wants to cover it with a cap.  When you hit your 40s, if you have a bunch of fillings like I do, they start to fall apart.  I think back to my mom, being very fatigued with the job of motherhood by the time I came along, not really paying much attention to taking care of my teeth...  I remember being a little kid and not brushing for a long time because I didn't realize why it was necessary and my mom never checked.  I rue those days now.  Oh well.  Things could be worse.  At least now, we have the ability to pay for the dental work.  We didn't really the last time I got crowned.

So tomorrow, I guess I'll wash the sheets so they'll be nice and crisp when I get home from the dentist.  I'll probably want to go to bed early doped up with lots of Advil PM and Tylenol.

Now, on to another subject.  The other day, Dr. Tara Palmatier, aka the Shrink4Men, posted on Facebook an article written by the popular blogger Single Dad Laughing, Dan.  A couple of years ago, Dan wrote a post called "Real Dads Don't Leave".  Dr. Tara linked it and invited a bunch of her readers to revisit it, even though it was written in 2011.  Dan's article, while full of truisms about so-called "deadbeat dads" who opt out of their kids' lives, was not empathetic to people like Bill, whose ex-wife used their kids to punish him.  There are lots of people out there in that situation and many of them took Dan to task, inflaming his article anew.

Apparently, Dan then thought better of his position against Dads who "leave" and posted an article toward mothers who push their children's fathers out the door.  In all honesty, while I appreciated Dan's attempt to address people who "push daddy out the door", I don't think he really gets it.  The article is basically a bunch of rhetorical questions posed to "mom", who bitches about her ex abandoning her.  The article presupposes that mom is overprotective and thinks dad is incompetent.  That might be true for a lot of moms out there.  It wasn't true for Bill's ex.  She had no problems letting him deal with the kids when they were married.  Granted, I wasn't there when Bill saw his kids daily, but I have talked to people who were there at that time.  Bill was a hands on dad.  When the relationship fell apart, that's when he became "incompetent" and "dangerous".  Dan didn't really address women like my husband's ex, who just plain uses her kids as weapons and tools to keep other adults in line.

I made the mistake of reading some of the comments, many of which were written by bitter women who took issue with Dan's holding them accountable on any level, even though I didn't think he came down as hard on them as he could have.  I understand that a lot of people are hurt when a relationship fails.  I'm just tired of the sexism surrounding this issue and people automatically assuming the man is always at fault.  Maybe it's the same way a lot of women feel when people automatically blame them for being victims of rape.  I also get tired of holier than thou women claiming that they're automatically good parents simply because they gave birth.  If it were true that only women who give birth can be decent parents, the adoption industry would be in serious trouble.  Simply owning a functioning uterus does not make someone a good parent.  Pregnancy and childbirth are no doubt life changing experiences, but they, in and of themselves, don't magically give someone parenting skills.  I think a lot of good parenting comes from common sense, compassion, and unselfishness, as well as healthy doses of courage, maturity, and being willing to discipline with fairness.            

I probably should stop reading about this stuff, since Bill's kids are adults.  We've managed to stay happily married for almost eleven years, which is longer than his first marriage lasted.  We still love each other and have managed to recover from the worst of ex's attempts to destroy Bill.  It took many long, hard years, though... and at the end of it, I'm sitting here looking at Bill and just feeling sad that he had to lose his daughters the way he did.  But life isn't fair and it's really now up to them to protect themselves.

Perhaps it would be better to focus on today's Epinion, which I wrote about Melissa Mohr's book about  the history of swearing...  The comments on that review ought to be a lot tamer.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Miss America wins out over The Big Lebowski...

Bill loves the film, The Big Lebowski.  I've tried to watch it twice and it failed to grab my attention both times.  I don't know why I don't like it.  I generally enjoy funny movies, even if they are full of profanity.  Toward the end of the film, I found myself getting fatigued hearing the word "fuck" over and over again.  I changed the channel and caught the end of the Miss America pageant.

I see it's moved back to September in Atlantic City.  While I guess I'm glad to see tradition revisited, it does seem odd that Miss America 2013 only got to serve for eight months.  I wonder if it's because it looks like she might have gained some weight.  The new Miss America is gorgeous, even though there have been all sorts of racist tweets about her.  I see I blogged about Miss America 2013 and commented that the pageant was a Vegas show.  I only caught about 20 minutes of the show last night, so I don't know if moving it back to Atlantic City made it less Vegas.

There was a time when I thought beauty pageants were fascinating.  I liked watching beautiful women parading around in elegant evening gowns, watching their corny talent competitions, and hearing them answer tough questions.  Now that I'm older, I guess I'm less impressed...


Cullen Johnson, first runner up to Miss America 1995, went to college with me...

I used to really love the Miss Universe pageant.  I liked watching all the women from different countries, especially if they needed an interpreter.  Now that Donald Trump has changed everything, it's pretty much unwatchable.  

I don't know what was up with me and The Big Lebowski, though.  Why don't I like it?  Maybe if I watch it a third time, that will be the charm and I'll enjoy it as much as Bill does.  I guess even people like me can get irritated by foul language...   



Sunday, September 15, 2013

Things Bill does now that he never did when he was LDS...

I noticed that I got linked in Main Street Plaza, a community for anyone interested in Mormonism.  Actually, I get linked there fairly often and I always appreciate the folks who take the time to visit my blog after reading there.  Anyway, this morning, when I noticed the extra hits coming in, I started thinking about all the ways Bill's life has changed since he gave up Mormonism.

Granted, Bill was a convert, so before he was a Mormon, he had a somewhat average lifestyle.  He drank coffee and booze and chose his own undergarments.  But, for whatever reason, he felt Mormonism could enhance his life...  or maybe that's what he told himself as his ex wife decided for him that their family would be Mormon.  So in 1997, he joined the church with his ex wife, two daughters, and ex stepson (who at that point was still "son" to my husband).  They were all sealed to each other for time and eternity.  In three years, my husband and his ex wife would split up.  But Bill continued to stay officially LDS so his kids wouldn't hate him.  He finally resigned in 2006, which is when things really fell to shit between him and his daughters.

Curiously, the following year was when things started to turn around for Bill in a good way.  In 2007, his finances improved.  And he started having fun... once he was done with his deployment to Iraq, that is.  Here are some things Bill has done that he never would have done as a Mormon...

* Visited a beer spa...

* Joined Peetniks...

* Went skinny dipping...

* Whisky tastings!

* Went underwear shopping... (funny story about this follows below)

* Watched a whole shitload of R rated movies...

* Learned to love red wine...

* Bought tickets to see The Book of Mormon Musical...



* Learned how to become more outspoken and critical...

* Learned that he could live without his TBM daughters.

* Sang "Detachable Penis" in a bar.



As soon as I started playing this, Bill showed up with a silly smile on his face...

* Learned how to brew beer...





* Became a gourmand...



* Learned to love Saint Obnoxious t-shirts...



* Saved and invested money...

* Recovered his credit rating...

* Watched lots of South Park...

* Had a relaxing evening...

* Sex without shame...

* Professional massages...

* Learned to swear properly...

* Read and wrote risqué stories... ;-)

* Bought art from a madman...


* Slept in on Sunday...

* Traveled...

The list goes on and on...  You'll notice I mention things like brewing beer, travel, and good food.  The fact is, as an ex Mormon, Bill has a lot more disposable income.  But more than that, he no longer cares if someone from church catches him doing things that appear to be "evil".  I will never forget when we were at Chodovar Brewery in the Czech Republic, sitting in pewter tubs adjacent to each other.  There we sat in beer as we sipped freshly brewed suds.  He looked at me and said, "I never would have done this if it weren't for you..."  Not only would the beer spa have been against his religion, but he would have been too embarrassed and ashamed.  On that same trip, Bill got his very first massage from a woman not his wife.  It was very liberating.

Now, for the underwear story... When we first got married, we were pretty broke.  Bill had purchased some cheap knit boxer shorts from K-Mart.  I was sitting on our bed when he walked into the room.  The boxers he was wearing were not quite large enough to cover him.  I turned around and was just about eye level with his penis, which was poking out of the hole in the front of the boxers.  I gasped and blushed in surprise and covered my eyes, then said "For God's sake, cover yourself!"

He blushed.  I wasn't used to seeing a naked man and wasn't expecting to see that...  Oddly enough, his ex wife declared me "unsuitable" and a "bad influence" for not being Mormon.  Apparently, I'm not moral, even though the sight of my husband's penis was a shock to me when we first got married.

I then declared that we were going underwear shopping.  The first thing he was going to do was purchase some decent boxer shorts that he liked and that fit him properly.  It was stark contrast to his ex wife's style, which was to tell him he should be spending all his money on his family or the church instead of his own basic needs.  She would have begrudged him even purchasing decent underwear... because as a Mormon, he should be wearing church approved skivvies anyway.

I later told my Granny the underwear story.  She was in her late 90s at the time and thought it was hysterical.  She was the mother of nine, so I'm sure such a sight would not have made her blush.

In any case, Bill is having some much deserved fun.  Some people might say that Bill gave up pleasures of the next life for pleasures in this one...  Somehow, I feel like if there is a next life, the same admonishment might come into play.  Some higher evolved being would tell Bill not to enjoy life now because it will ruin the "next life".  Is there something beyond this life?  I don't know.  Bill "knows" more than I do, since he has had a near death experience.  Was it just his brain protecting him?  I don't know.  But it changed who he is and made him more spiritual, despite all he's been through.  It has helped keep him from becoming bitter and angry.

It sure has been fun watching him enjoy living and helping him discover new things.  

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Alexis...

If you want to read about Bill's near death experience, check out this link...

http://d-503-thoughtcriminal.blogspot.com

Skinny dipping!

Last night, I was feeling a little naughty.  The dogs were outside and Bill was trying to get them to do their business before it was time to come in for the night.

I was enchanted by the moon... in fact, I was so enchanted, I decided to share my own moon.  I went to the pool and, still dressed in a light cotton muumuu (I never thought of it as a muumuu, but that's what my mother-in-law calls it), stepped into the pool.  The water was cool, but refreshing.  Bill took one look at me and said, "I'm going to go get you a towel!"

By the time he was back with two towels, I was in the pool buck nekkid!  Next thing I knew, Bill had joined me!  It was his first time swimming in the nude and I must say, it was quite liberating and FUN!  As we were swimming around in the pool, I commented to Bill that this wasn't something he would have done in his past life.  He agreed.  

Though some of my more zaftig friends refer to skinny dipping as "chunky dunking", I refuse to go there.  In the water, under the moon, and in each other's arms, we were both sexy.  I won't sully that reality by referring to our naked moonlight swim as "chunky dunking".  As a side note, I think we'll need a pool from now on.

Though the water was a little cold at first, it soon felt like bath water.  We're going to have to do that again soon, before Texas gets chilly.

We both slept like babies.  There's nothing like a nighttime swim under the moon and stars to relax a person... along with a little Advil PM.

I love corrupting Bill.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday the 13th...

I've never been very superstitious.  I guess it's that nasty practical streak I inherited from my mother.  Still, it's Friday the 13th and my tooth is protesting a little.  It doesn't hurt... it's just telling me to pay attention to it and is just enough to be noticeable and annoying.  Hopefully, it won't ruin my weekend.

The AT&T U-verse guy just left.  He was very helpful.  Signed us up for HD service and fixed our two TVs that went out of commission after we lost the signal the other day.  He gave us a new box for one TV and a new access point, which he also repositioned.

I don't watch the other TVs very much, but sometimes I want to... like the other day, Bill wanted to go to bed and I wanted to catch the end of America's Got Talent.  Why I watch that show, I'll never know...  Actually, this year it's been pretty good.  At least this year they didn't do the stupid YouTube competition like they did for a couple of years.  

I'm sitting here watching Jerry Springer... man, what a freak show.  It's not something I like to watch every day, because the people on it are so obnoxious.  Every once in awhile, it's hilarious, though.  The comments at the end of the show are priceless, even though they are often hurtful.  I admire Jerry Springer because he doesn't take himself or his show very seriously.  I liked Jerry when he hosted America's Got Talent, too, though Nick Cannon also does a good job.

I have a feeling I'll be wanting some soft food today.  *Sigh*  I guess I'm lucky, though, because I have access to a dentist and the money to pay for treatment.  Could be worse.

I need to stop watching so much trash TV.

 




Thursday, September 12, 2013

Crown me...

I went to the dentist yesterday because one of my molars has been a little sensitive the past few days.  There's no pain, but when I drink ice water and sometimes when I eat something sweet, it feels a little weird.  The dentist probed around in my mouth and said the second to the last molar on the left lower side has a crack in it.  The crack ends at my gum line.  She says eventually it will break off.  So I'm going in next week for a crown preparation.  Hopefully, I won't need a root canal.

She also plans to refill my other baby tooth and fix the chip I've had for over eighteen years.  I am a little nervous about that.

I talked to my mom last night and she said she had an abscess once that was really painful.  The dentist had kept prescribing Tylenol 3 for her, but it wasn't helping.  She finally had to have a drain put in and was told that if she had let it go for much longer, she could have died.

At least I'm not in any pain... and if it turns out I don't have to have a root canal, these two procedures will be less expensive than the last crown I got.  

New shoes...


My favorite shoes died on my birthday... I bought new ones because the lady who used to be my accompanist and is now a piano professor at my alma mater has a shoe obsession.  I bought the above shoes to replace my old ones...  Not bad for 41.  Could be worse...



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11... sometimes bad things can lead to good things...

Well, it's been twelve years since that fateful day in 2001... I wrote about what I was doing that day last year.  Last year's post is kind of gushy and emotional.  It was a personally tragic day for many Americans and a terrifying day for all Americans.  The world has changed so much since 9/11/01 and not so much for the better.  America really lost her innocence when those terrorists carried out their horrible plans to attack.

And yet, for me, 9/11/01 marks the day things changed for me, too.  On that day, Bill and I were still mostly Internet buddies.  We actually met online on what many would consider an adult site.  The site no longer exists today, but for a long while, it was an interesting place to meet people.  We "met" in November 1999, when we were both lonely.  The site had a chat room and that was where we bumped into each other.  Oddly enough, despite the adult nature of the site, very few people were chatting about nasty things.  Mostly, it was just intelligent people talking amongst each other.  The nasty stuff usually went on in private.

I had found the site right after I bought my very first computer.  I was in graduate school, ridiculously inexperienced in sexual matters, and curious.  Bill had just rejoined the military and separated from his ex wife.   He was lonely and sad.  I remember Bill was in the "room" the first or second time I visited.  We hit it off right away.  I remember after I had chatted with him for a few months, he sent me a long email explaining about his now ex wife and kids.  He was sure I would hate him.

I remember writing back and telling him that though I was shocked by these revelations-- I had no idea he was married-- it was none of my business.  Our chats were never sexual in nature and had been entirely platonic, though I did feel a few sparks.  I never thought I would actually meet him, though.  The Internet was still very new to me and I sure wasn't thinking I'd want to meet some guy I met on a porn site.

A few months later, Bill's ex served him with divorce papers (over Easter, no less!).  About a month before his divorce, he had to come to Columbia, South Carolina on business.  Columbia is where I was studying for the two master's degrees that have made me overeducated.  I was to be out of town the one day he was visiting.  I was actually happy I wouldn't be around because I still wasn't comfortable meeting Bill.  In retrospect, it was a good thing we didn't meet in 2000.  It would have been hard to go back to chatting after that.

A year later, Bill was divorced.  We were still chatting.  He had to come back to South Carolina on business.  That time, I agreed to meet him.  I remember opening the door to my apartment and there he stood, dressed nicely.  He gave me a warm hug.  I remember thinking that hug was very comforting... and comfortable.  Over the course of a few days, we had a few dates.  We got along very well and everything was very polite and innocent, despite where we met.

A couple of months later, Bill was transferred to the Pentagon from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  He got there just in time for 9/11.  I'm not going to rehash what happened on that day here, since I already did that last year.  Suffice to say, Bill was in the building on 9/11, in the wedge that got hit.  He was in one of the inner rings, thank God; had 9/11 happened a few weeks earlier, he might very well have died or been hurt.  His office was originally in the area that was hit.  I didn't know where Bill was all day and didn't know if he had survived.

I remember being very relieved when I got an instant message from him at around 9:00pm, letting me know that he had survived the attack.  After 9/11, Bill and I decided we needed to tell more people about our relationship... and a few months after that, we were engaged.

9/11/01 changed everything.  It changed lives forever and indelibly left a mark on the United States and its citizens.  For me, personally, it was the start of some good things.  It seems odd to say that now, as I watch on television, people with tears in their eyes and listening to "Taps".

Sometimes bad things really can be followed by blessings.        





Bill Miller's Brisket...

Lawfrog, you were right...  Very tasty stuff!

I didn't get any photos of our feast, but I did get a few shots of the pretty Texas rainbow...






Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chatting with U-verse...

This morning, I suddenly lost Internet and TV.  I tried the ol' unplug the router solution.  It didn't work. So I fired up our trusty hotspot and went to AT&T's support system.  I accessed their chat function and the first person I chatted with was "Vicky".  She thanked me for every thing I did in a way that was very impersonal.  I got green lights on everything except the broadband connection, which indicated that something else was wrong.  After a few minutes with Vicky, it was determined that I needed help from a live person.  She set up an appointment with me.

A few minutes later, I got all green lights on the router.  I went back to the U-verse chat and then got someone named "Natarajan".  Natarajan's responses and questions were eerily like Vicky's.  It was like I was talking to a machine.  Fortunately, Natarajan was able to help with resolve the issues and I was up and running an hour after the crisis began.  But it seemed like the two people were the same.  A friend tells me they are reading from scripts... which is why it was weird when one of them asked me how my day was going.  It would be going better if I weren't having Internet issues.

Another thing that's cropped up is I noticed one of my baby teeth is sensitive.  I was drinking ice water and I noticed it was not liking the cold.  I was eating a room temperature banana and the same thing happened.  It's not painful, just a little sensitive.

Later, I drank a cold Pepsi and that didn't seem to bother me.  But now I'm all paranoid and can't relax, because I dread potentially expensive and painful dental treatment. Hopefully, I just brushed too hard.  I did just get a new toothbrush.

I figure one day, those baby teeth will come out and I'll need implants.  Not looking forward to that at all...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Yet another swearing post...

So earlier today, I posted about swearing and how some people take it too seriously for my tastes.  Then today, a friend of mine alerted me to this video...



A 17 year old girl called 911 because her dad had an accident and needed medical attention.  Unfortunately, the young lady was very stressed out and frazzled and she ended up swearing.  The 911 operator, a police officer, then instead of helping the scared caller, berates her for swearing and hangs up on her.  She calls him back and he continues to berate her.  She later ends up in handcuffs, charged with disorderly conduct!

It was a ridiculous scenario and the cop definitely screwed up.  Although I can't say I've ever had a similar situation with a 911 operator, I can say that Bill and I had dealings with a similarly uncooperative local government official.

On November 16, 2002, we got married at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia.  I have had many relatives attend VMI or work there.  I have many relatives who live or have lived in the area. It's always been "home" to me, though it's never been officially home.  We decided to get married there because it was a neutral place and I have many fond memories of the area.

Well, as it turns out, after our ceremony, our officiant mailed the marriage license to the local court clerk's office.  In Virginia, you have five days to get your license to the county clerk's office, or it doesn't count... or something like that (it's been almost 11 years and by now, the law might have changed).  We waited a few days to get the official license in the mail and it never came.  So Bill called the court clerk and they said they didn't have our marriage license.  Aware of the law and realizing that we couldn't get a  military ID for me until we had the official document, Bill called the clerk back.  He got the same story.

When he asked what we were supposed to do, the clerk became belligerent and said he didn't control the mail.  He added that even if our license arrived the next day, he wouldn't honor it because the deadline had passed.  And he also said he didn't want to hear from Bill again.

We went to our local clerk, wondering if we could just redo the ceremony in Fredericksburg, which was where we were living at the time, and get our license that way. Our local official said no, because we were already married (?)... although technically, our marriage wasn't valid, because we had no official license.  So we were too married to be re-married, but not married enough to get a military ID for me.  WTF?

Bill called the officiant who had married us, who said he'd fax the paperwork to the county clerk.  But by this point, Bill was not confident the county clerk in Lexington was going to help us.  The clerk's attitude had revealed that he was a very uncooperative and, perhaps, burned out soul.  Moreover, the holidays were coming and Bill wanted the matter resolved before people started taking time off for Thanksgiving.  At that time, Bill did a lot of work with government officials, so he found out who the clerk's boss was and contacted him...  He laid it on thick, explaining that he was in the Army and a 9/11 survivor (both true) and that he could be deployed at any time.

Next thing we knew, we had our license.  The guy had also written a nasty letter about how Bill (sweet, lovable, polite Bill) had harassed him and how, at that point, he had lost all interest in helping us.  It seemed lost on this man that it was his job to help us.  But he wanted to tell us and his boss and our local representative about his principles.  All he had to do was help us fix our marriage license issue and then we would have quit calling him-- forever and ever, amen!  Instead, he decided to be a jerk and forced Bill to call the next guy up.  I don't know what else he expected us to do.  I mean, we had to get the issue straightened out somehow.

Fortunately for him, the clerk didn't speak to me on the phone.  At that point, he might have understood what "abusive" really sounds like.  I know government work must suck, but it's your job to help people... and if someone is all stressed out calling 911, helping them should be your first priority, not lecturing them on their use of the f bomb.  It sounds like the cop in that above news story needs a permanent vacation.  And the guy who was supposed to help us probably needed to find work in the private sector.

Spicy sentence enhancers...

This morning, I woke up at about 6:00am.  As is my habit, I checked my favorite sites on my iPad while I struggled to shake the sleep out of my brain.  I stopped by RfM, where someone had written a post about "learning how to swear" as an exMormon.  The author of the post on RfM admitted that swearing was weird for him and, in fact, he missed hanging around Mormons because they don't tend to use filthy language.  Swear words make the poster uncomfortable, probably because he has been thoroughly trained to think of them as "bad".  

Having never been a Mormon myself and having married an exMormon convert, I must admit learning to swear was never a problem for me.  I've been swearing for most of my life, sometimes at terribly inappropriate times and even less appropriate places.




It's not because I wasn't taught better.  Though my mother has never been above a few random epithets, my dad, despite his almost 22 years in the Air Force, has always been someone with a relatively clean mouth.  His mother, my much beloved Granny, also kept her language clean.  My dad's father, known as Pappy, apparently had no issues with swearing.  I never really knew Pappy; he died when I was two years old.  But I have heard the stories... I think my dad resolved not to cuss because he and his father did not get along and he didn't want to be like him.  Unfortunately, my dad did inherit an ugly problem from his father, the propensity to drink to excess and then turn into an asshole.  My father's frequent asshole behavior was stressful for me when I was growing up.  Perhaps that, and the fact that I enjoy shocking people, is one reason why I have such a potty mouth sometimes.

Even when he just thought it sounded like I was going to cuss, my dad would knock me upside the head and scold me for my use of "bad language".  I can't say that made me respect him more.  In fact, it generally made my urge to cuss even stronger.  How else was I going to process my anger at the fact that someone bigger, stronger, and at least at that time, in control of me, had the "right" to strike me?  I figured a little swearing was better than the alternative.

As I grew up, I remember many people chastising me for my language.  My father would often accuse me of laziness when he would hear me use off color language.  He had that opinion, along with a propensity toward spankings, in common with Pat Boone, who wrote in his book, 'Twixt Twelve and Twenty,

“Bad language is a dead giveaway that the user is covering up ignorance (he doesn’t know what he’s talking about) or is pretty lazy (he knows, but he won’t take the trouble to say it). Or, worst of all, that he thinks it’s smart!”

Also on swearing—“We’ll assume ladies never develop the above mentioned habit—I hope—I hope!!”



Guess to Pat Boone, I'm not much of a lady...     

Ironically, I recently read Pat Boone's daughter's book, Heaven Hears, which is about her son, Ryan Corbin's, accident that led to a traumatic brain injury.  After falling through a skylight in 2001, Ryan Corbin suffered catastrophic injuries.  He was not expected to live.  His mother, Lindy Boone Michaelis, explains that she was taught not to swear and never has.  However, when her son started to come out of his coma, he used a lot of filthy language that before his accident, he never would have allowed past his lips.  Lindy wisely realizes that it's a blessing that her son is able to speak.  Yes, it was hard for her to get used to hearing her son use foul language, but she understands that at least he can still communicate.  Many people thought he would have died a long time ago.  In the grand scheme of things, Ryan Corbin's new penchant for swearing is not a big deal at all.  In fact, it's kind of a miracle.

Anyway, as I got older, I continued to use language that some didn't appreciate, especially when I worked at a church camp.  On the other hand, there were other people who didn't mind my more colorful epithets and even found them funny.  Most of these folks have turned out to be valued friends.  The ones who would dump me over a few four letter words were probably never friends to start with.

When I was confronted about my language by well-meaning friends and family, I was often told that people who use filthy language are lazy and uneducated.  I have never found that to be true, though.  Yes, it's true that one often hears gutter language in places where learning is not high on the list of priorities.  I can't say that necessarily has anything to do with a person's intelligence, though.  If you are in a place where there isn't a lot of sunshine and rainbows, why wouldn't you use language that reflects that reality?

My hero, George Carlin, had a lot to say about so-called swear words.  Indeed, Carlin was a big time cusser.  He was no dummy, though.  In fact, he often made excellent sense, which is why so many people enjoyed his comedy.




George Carlin swears a lot in this... but makes a lot of sense.

As Carlin says in the above clip, "they're only words".  They are a manmade creation and their offensiveness is highly subjective.  Why should we be afraid of them?  In England, if I say the word "fag", no one will bat an eye.  In America, I might be accused of hate speech.  In America, I can use the word "bloody" and no one will care.  In England, the word bloody is an epithet, that in some circles, might raise a few eyebrows.  If we're speaking the same language, why should saying these two words have such different effects on two different groups of people?  Because the local populace has somehow decided the words are "offensive" because they convey something unpleasant.  But life is not always pleasant.  Using "clean" language all the time will not change that reality.  Words are neutral.  Context is what you should be paying attention to, not "bad words".

Deciding to only use "clean" language and looking down on people whose language does not meet your standards can be a big mistake.  When you decide someone is bad company because they swear more than you think is acceptable, you could be missing out on knowing a good person.  Personally, I take a dim view of people who feel they have the right to tell other people what kind of language to use.  The only exception I would make to this rule is when children are involved.  But that's only because children do need to be taught when it's appropriate to swear and when it's not.  In our society, it's not appropriate (in most situations) to swear during a job interview or in church, for instance.

On the other hand, it's also not appropriate to teach children that certain words are "bad", especially if it turns the kid into a language cop who chastises adults for their use of so-called spicy sentence enhancers.  All words have their place in language.  They are like colors on a palette, adding detail and character to language... making it interesting and enhancing what is being said.  I think of some of the great writers who have contributed literature that contains objectionable language.  How many times have people tried to ban books by Mark Twain or Kurt Vonnegut or J.D. Salinger because of the "language" they used?  What a loss it would be if people couldn't read those books.  Kurt Vonnegut helped me survive high school.  Pat Conroy, who also uses salty language, helped me survive young adulthood.  I've always gotten tremendous comfort from his books, despite his liberal use of "bad words".

Yesterday, someone visited my Dungeon Of The Past blog and posted this video...



Okay... well, I admit this song kind of annoyed me a bit... maybe I'm getting old.  There is such a thing as overkill.  Spicy sentence enhancers are supposed to be spicy.  But if you overload something with them, they become overpowering to the point of being boring.  I don't really find the words themselves, at least as they are used in this song, that offensive.  They're just words, after all.  Some people like this song.  I like the video for sure, especially when the little girl looks shocked as she covers her ears.

I remember one time when my dear husband accidentally offended my dad.  Bill is a very polite man.  He is a southern gentleman who always thinks of others before he thinks of himself.  However, he is not immune to using swear words sometimes.  One time, I used the expression "charlie foxtrot" in front of my dad.  Now, since my dad is a military man and has no doubt heard all kinds of profanity-- or so we thought-- we figured he knew what that was a euphemism for.  But he didn't know, so Bill leaned over and said, "Sir, it means 'cluster fuck'."  My dad's jaw dropped and his face turned red.  You would have thought Bill had called my grandmother a filthy name.  My dad was shocked.  Bill wasn't trying to offend him, though.   He was helpfully explaining to my dad what "charlie foxtrot" means and was very surprised that he didn't already know.  We still laugh about that today, especially since I am my dad's daughter and I have always had a mouth like a sailor.  You'd think I would have broken him in.



Anyway, I don't think people who swear are necessarily wrong to swear.  I don't think swearing is a sign of laziness or a lack of intellect.  People curse for all kinds of reasons.  But if the worst you can say about someone is that they have a potty mouth, they're probably still decent folks who are worth knowing.  And sometimes, a good hearty "fuck you" hurled at someone who deserves it can be very liberating.  Indeed, some people could really use a means of blowing off steam.  I once read a comment in a book about famously uptight singing duo, The Carpenters, that if Karen Carpenter had only learned to vent a bit, even if it was with the f-word, she might still be alive today.  Hell, sometimes a well-placed swear word can help you avoid uncomfortable situations... maybe even for the rest of your life.



Think these guys will be coming back?

It's true that language can sometimes be hurtful and demeaning, but it's smart to look at the context of what people are actually communicating before getting upset.  That takes a lot more effort than just banning certain words for being potentially objectionable.  It's a lot easier to tell someone not to use the word "fuck" than actually exploring whether or not the word has been used in a way that is truly offensive.  It's easy to get bent out of shape over the fact that a person says a word that is considered "bad".  It's harder to get upset if you realize the way the word was used is not really offensive and, in fact, might even be funny.  But doing that requires thinking, which is more than a lot of people are willing to take the time to do.

I am currently reading a book about swearing by Melissa Mohr called Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing.  When I have finished reading this book, I am sure I will have even more to write on this subject.