18.2.12

Stars (and EMT's and Friends) Fell

Things happen in threes.  It's a fact of nature.  There's no denying it.  Death is the most conspicuous for occurring in threes.  Whenever a celebrity dies right after another celebrity, everyone asks who'll be next?

In a span of a few days, there were three deaths in my life.  One I had never met but everyone knew.  One I had seen in person and quite a lot of people knew.  One I had really known but not very many people knew.

Chronologically, the first to go was the pop star who EMT's found unresponsive in her hotel bathroom and pronounced her dead at the scene.  Next was the EMT who died in the line of duty responding to a car fire.  He fell from the interstate bridge to a creek twenty or thirty feet below.  The last was my sister-in-law's gentleman friend who EMT's tried to revive on his bedroom floor even though he was gone before they arrived.

Practically everyone knows the details of the pop star's death and funeral.  She was eulogized by a movie star better than most clergy could ever preach.  The brotherhood that is the fire department in American and parts of Canada as well as citizens in my city know about the EMT's death and the bagpipers who laid him to rest.  Few know about J's death and the tornado warnings in my home state during his funeral. 

Few know that my sister-in-law stopped by her house to pick up something during work and caught J on the bed.  She chided him for napping during the day before realizing that he wasn't asleep.  I can't imagine the hysteria she felt.  He brought so much love and happiness to her life.  My mother-in-law even liked him.

Come Monday, people will gather at the water cooler and dissect whether red sashes on black robes will become the new standard in Black churches.  Some people will announce that they want a wake at an Irish bar following their funerals.  A few of us will note that a good man, who didn't inspire as much outpouring of grief or support as some people, will be missing from our holiday table this year.

[Title taken from this.]

17.1.12

Ghost in the Laptop

Thanks to all the feedback from my last post.  For everyone who commented, even those who commented and didn't want their comments posted, I really appreciate everything that was said. 

Why am I creating a new blog post instead of saying this in a comment?

Because, for some asinine reason unknown to me, the comment field will not load on my Blogger account.  So, instead there's a whole new post just to say thanks.  And to Dash, Yes, it makes sense, and No, it's not weird coming from you.

[Title taken from this or this. The latter was probably taken from the former.]

15.1.12

Why Tebow Is Bad for Christianity

Tim Tebow is probably the most famous current half-rate quarterback in the NFL.  He's not famous for his prowess on the field.  He ended the season with a 46.5% completion for 1,719 passing yards, and 12 touchdowns in 14 games.  Denver finished with an 8-8 record.  Compare that to another 8-8 record quarterback with a 78.2% completion for 3,474 passing yards, and 26 TD's.  Mike Sanchez and the Jets didn't make the playoffs.

What's Tebow famous for?  His religion and his devotion to passive proselytizing with his John 3:16 strips under his eyes and his prayerful kneeling after impressive plays.  So why is he so bad for Christianity, as the title of this blog claims?

As Carter Turner, a religious studies professor, points out in a recent article, his actions are bringing the very nature of God into question.  Tebow prays to God for a first-down, or a touchdown, or a victory.  God rewards Tebow's devotion by granting his prayer.  God intervenes in the lives of the devout and prayerful and worthy.  But what happened against the Patriots?  Did God decide that Tebow hadn't genuflected enough?  Did God decide that Tom Brady, with his illegitimate son and his almost-illegitimate second son, was more worthy of the victory?

And what of people who pray ceaselessly every day that their child or parent or husband with cancer be healed?  What of the farmers in Texas who prayed for rain last summer?  Did God ignore their prayers because they weren't devout enough?  Which is why Tebow is bad for Christianity.

For people observing this, it calls upon the nature of God.  Some people will say that God had other plans and not to question the working of God.  Then why pray?  If God has plans that we are not privy to, that sounds a lot like predestination.  God has preordained that something will happen so it does.  Like Tebow's connection for a touchdown.  Or the Holocaust.  Or 9-11.  See where this leads.  Just what has God preordained?  But if God answers prayer requests for touchdowns and football victories, why didn't God answer the prayers of the students at Virginia Tech praying for their lives?

In the very public nature of Tebow's religiosity, he leads people not to finding salvation through Christ but to questioning the existence and nature of God.  Is God the Great Clockmaker of the Deists?  Or is God the Intervener of the Evangelicals?  Does God answer prayers?  How does God decide whose prayers to answer?

And whose God answers prayers?  The God of Tebow who lets two of his teams lose championship games?  What about the God, Allah, of Muhammad Ali who allowed only five losses in his career?

People are wondering whether God is helping Tebow.  They want to know for certain whether God answers prayers and intervenes in our daily lives.  Because in today's world of economic recession, climate extremes, and the general limits and frailties of human existence, there ain't a whole lot certainty.

[The opinions expressed in this article are the sole views of the author and do not necessarily express the views of the blog audience. Should anyone feel moved to leave a comment, please keep your comments on topic and do not attack the author.  And before leaving any comment, read about No True Scotsman before posting.]

Dream Weaver

It was the best of nights; it was the worst of nights.  Saving the best for last, let's delve into what makes a bad night.

It begins by watching a psychological thriller with Deirdre who had her wisdom teeth removed the day before.  She propped herself up on the love seat in front of the fireplace and filled her iPad screen with the movie.  Sitting in the chair next to her, it was hard not to watch and soon the plot pulled me in.  Afterwards, the scenes kept replaying in my mind waiting for the fire to die down and for Deirdre, now tucked into her bed, to drift off to sleep.

Finally getting to sleep myself, it didn't take long for the images and plot twists to wake me.  After a bad dream, a person tries to think of something, anything, else.  Alas, my mind raced to the financial paperwork waiting for me on my desk at work. 

Time ticked by at an unknown speed.  But it felt like eons before sleep came again. 

Jackpot!  Karma can be a bitch sometimes but not then.  She doted on me with such a wonderful dreamscape. 

Dazzling city lights, skyscrapers, uptown-quality street scenes.  Like a modern-day, post-Woody Allen, opening to "Manhattan".  Less of the naval gazing vibe and more of the astonishment vibe.  A party in a modern, glass-walled penthouse restaurant.  Delicious food.  Direct phone line and immediate access to clothing stores and hair stylists.  Mixing and mingling with the swells.  Talking trade secrets with the chef.  But time to leave the party for another restaurant in a sanitized ethnic part of town.

The car was a white convertible, waiting at the front door.  Mr. Gaelic slid into the driver's seat as I sat next to him in the passenger seat.  My hand rubbed his thigh as we pulled away.  No more than a half block and it started to rain.  He quickly pushed the button to close the roof and the rain lightly fell on the canvas top and covered the windshield.  As the light turned green, we started through the intersection to new adventures and another restaurant with another party. 

But, alas...  I awoke before we had made it another full block. 

Even though the exhaustion of originally not sleeping well still lingered, the contentment remained.  Who knows where dreams come from?  But however this one was produced for me, whatever my thoughts and actions were the night before, the nighttime visions were enough to replace the earlier nightmare with serenity and gratification.

[Title taken from this.]

6.1.12

No Words

Two constants in life are death and taxes.  As any semi-regular reader of my blogs knows, death has struck many times over the years, everyone from my father to my priest's wife.  But when death strikes and you can't comfort the grieved, you're at a loss.

Wednesday at work, the flu infected me to a degree that even my co-workers could see the progression over a few short hours.  One scurried around the office with Clorox wipes disinfecting every surface I had touched during the day.  Another insisted that I go home.  NOW!

It was upon checking my cellphone for urgent office email on Thursday morning that my friend's email stunned me.  Her niece committed suicide on Wednesday night.  The girl shot herself.  Her father found her.

The time stamp on my friend's email was 2:34 a.m.  She had wanted to come over for a shoulder of support.  The problem is that she is also the primary caretaker of her elderly parents who suffer from dementia (her dad) and a gaging reflex that requires a feeding tube for nutrition (her dad) to pneumonia (her mom) because of a stroke (her mom).  The last thing she needed was to take my flu germs back to her parents just when both of them were out of the hospital.

So she wrote a lengthy email containing her pain and anguish and despair.  And I was at a loss for words.

Of the two teenage suicides from my circle of friends, they were both gunshots.  There are some sights that can't be unseen.  Death, especially a tragic, traumatic, bloody death, is one of them.  One that no father should ever have to see.

2.1.12

The Only Thinking Girl in America

"Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants as long as it is black." ~ Henry Ford.

If only it was that easy!  Now a trip to the grocery store leaves me mentally exhausted.  There is whole milk, 2%, 1%, skim, organic, grass-fed, soy, almond, goat, unpasteurized.  The cereal aisle alone takes twenty minutes alone sometimes just to find the three different brands and flavors that my family eats.  It would be so much easier if there was only the equivalent of a black car in the cereal aisle.  "Any customer can have whatever cereal he wants as long as it is corn flakes."  Just think of the time that would save!

When Finola asked me what I thought of the SOPA legislation, I realized that even though I work on Capitol Hill I don't know enough about it to have formed an opinion on it one way or the other.  Finola informed me that it would hurt smaller artists and some websites.  Playing devil's advocate, my rebuttal was about intellectual property and copyrights.  I knew enough to know that the recording industry and the motion pictures association support SOPA.  It took Finola's reminder that SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act for me to know what S-O-P-A means.

It would be so easy to just accept what people told me rather than learning about both sides of the issue.  It's more than just having an inquisitive spirit.  It's also having the ability to reason for myself.  It's the time and effort to seek out as much knowledge on issues as I can before making a decision.  There would be more time available for important decisions if there weren't so many other decision distractions.

I still don't know enough about to SOPA to have a fully formed opinion.  And I'm not ready to adopt one position over another just because someone says I should.  Not even if that someone is Mr. Gaelic.  My independence is one of the things that attracted him to me in the first place.  But that's a blog for another time.

What really depresses me is that I don't see that quest for information and knowledge very often in today's society.  Or at least the level that I would expect from a first-world country.  Am I the only thinking girl in America?

[Title taken from this.]

17.12.11

The hall runner, the front and back indoor mats, and the bathroom rug have been pressed into service between the rugs on any exposed wooden floor.  Baby came home from the hospital and can't walk well on slick surfaces.  Chairs block the doorways to the kitchen, having long ago outgrown the need for baby gates.  She is limited to only leashed potty breaks outside.  No walks, no jumping, and NO licking of the incision site. 

The never-ending yapping of the neighbors' dog reverberates in one ear.  The drone of a television show insults the other.  Vehicular traffic is constant.  Baby tries to sleep but whimpers and whines for lack of a comfortable position.

If she were healthy, she would be heading to the farm for the day.  It may be just as well that she must stay in the city.  Someone needs to stay to apply ice packs periodically, assist with potty breaks, stretch her legs muscles.  Mostly, she is my excuse to spend the afternoon napping rather than scraping up floor tile and aiding Mr. Gaelic by holding facia boards in place under the eaves while he nails the fresh wood to the outside of the cabin.  For a rare weekend, we will be at our suburban home rather than our country home.

Every weekend since Thanksgiving, we've been working on fixing up the cabin which had been neglected for the better part of 15 years.  Combined with the end-of-the-year flurry of activity at both Mr. G's and my jobs, exhaustion has set in.  Thanks in large part to Wednesday's unscheduled adventures.

Part of me wants the escape to the quiet and dark of our hidden valley.  Part of me wants the comfort of my familiar bed.  Once the cabin has been refurbished, I won't have to choose.  By then, Baby should be able to jump into the back of the truck.  And the only noise that will interrupt our silence will be the neighbor's cows who have wandered up to the devil's rope separating our land from his.

14.12.11

(Excuse My French but) FML

Original plans for today:  Go to court to contest a traffic ticket where the officer gave me a ticket for running a yellow light that changed as I was halfway under it.

Actual events for today:  Alarm goes off.  "What time is it?"  "6:30."  "Okay . . . crap!  I was supposed to meet C at 7:00!"

Skip shower. Pull hair into a bun.  Dress and run out of the house with Mr. Gaelic to drop him off at the subway.  Tap the ears to make sure the earrings are there which reminds Mr. G to check for his phone, billfold, belt.  "Forgot the belt!  Let me out here and I'll take the bus."

Arrive at meeting place.  No C.  "Didn't she call last week to cancel?  I can't remember.  I think she did."  Get back in car and drive home.

Log onto office computer from home and check email.  Deirdre calls and needs me to bring her literature binder to school by 11:00.  Find binder in her room and place it next to my purse.  Okay, traffic court is at 9:30.  "I should take it before court."

Look out window at Baby, next-door-neighbor's dog, and dog from around the corner playing in yard.  Baby is a 140-pound, eight-year-old Great Pyrenees.  Go to front door to say hello to neighbor from around the corner.  "Baby is limping?  Did you know she's limping?"  "I just saw her and she was fine."  Sure enough, Baby is barely able to walk.

Call the vet to get an appointment as soon as possible.  "We have 10:30 and 11:15."  "Uh, I have a 9:30 meeting and I'm not sure when I'll be out.  Do you have anything later?"  "1:00."  "I'll take it."

The clock says 8:50.  Not enough time to get to the high school and back to the courthouse by 9:30.  But she needs the binder by 11:00.  And, oh dear!  Deirdre is driving the truck today.  Baby can't ride in the car.  There's not enough room for her.  And the gas gauge says 11 miles to empty.

Drive to the courthouse and find two-hour on-street parking.  Walk into anteroom and realize I'm the only Anglo there.  How many other cases will be called before mine?  How many will need interpreters?  No time for this! 

Find the cashier's window and pay the fine.  There goes my clean driving record!  And it was yellow when I when through it! 

On way to car, see friend from church whom I haven't seen in months.  Talk briefly.  Once in car again realize Deirdre's binder is still on the kitchen counter.  Lack of breakfast is catching up with me.  Need coffee!

Call Mr. G for moral support.  He offers to help me get Baby to the vet.  Stop by house to shower, fix hair, change clothes, and retrieve binder.  Drive to high school to leave binder.  Gas gauge down to 3 miles to empty.  Pull into gas station and, while filling up, watch verbal fight between female driver trying to pull to pump and male cabbie blocking the lane.  Station manager intervenes.  "Please don't let me get caught as an eye-witness to an assault."  No time for that.

Swing by Mickey D's for drive-thru latte.  The Starbucks across the parking lot requires getting out of car and standing in long line.  No time for that.  Mr. G calls to say he'll be at home subway station in 15 minutes.  Stop by house to check office emails.  Back in car to pick up Mr. G.  On way to high school with Mr. G's truck keys, boss calls for explanation of what meetings were moved and canceled on today's calendar.  He doesn't follow my explanation and hangs up.  Mr. G repeats back to me what he heard and it's exactly right.

Deposit Mr. G next to truck.  He offers to stop at Mickey D's for lunch.  "May I have a sweet tea as well?"  Back at house, type email to boss with minute detail of which meetings were moved and canceled.  Mr. G arrives, takes his burger upstairs to eat as he changes clothes.  Wolf down my burger standing over kitchen sink.

Together, lift Baby into back of truck.  Mr. G helps me get her inside the vet's office then steps out for conference call on his cell.  Vet tells me that she tore the left ACL.  She tore the right ACL two years ago.  As he tells me this, both of us sitting in the floor with Baby, he looks like he's about to cry.  Reading his mind, ponder whether the high cost of the surgery offsets Baby's age for such a gentle giant of a dog.  Immediately ask about surgery rather than any other option.

Mr. G helps me get Baby into truck again.  At home, Baby refuses our help and attempts to jump out of back of truck.  In jumping, she knocks the tailgate open against the side of my head.  Fall into car parked behind us, then to curb.  Mr. G doesn't know who to help first, Baby or me.  Give Baby pain medicine.  She whimpers as she sleeps.  Want to cuddle her but she needs rest.

Decide to work from home rest of day as does Mr. G.  At some point temperature drops.  Mr. G builds fire.  Heat up leftover spaghetti.  Wonder if had lunch.  Don't remember.  Then see cup from Mickey D's.

Want to send text to Finola saying, "FML."  Will recount story and she'll understand.

12.12.11

Have I Got a Story for You!

He didn't seem interested in what the tourguide had to say.  The earphones covered his ears, but whether the volume was up is another story.  In his hands was his iPhone, thumbs tapping away at a game on the screen.  He didn't hear the gentleman approach him.  He didn't know anyone was talking to him until the gentleman touched his arm.

"Hi, I'm Congressman X.  How would you like to join me and my staff on a Dome Tour?"

The boy backed away, probably only hearing "Hi, I'm Congressman X..." before thinking he was in trouble for doing something he wasn't supposed to.  The boy found his mother in the crowd of tourists and quickly accepted the offer to climb to the top of the Capitol dome with seven other people he had never met. 

It's the equivalent of 18 stories.  Most of the tour is on old cast iron staircases.  The first stop is on the windowed balcony just above the frieze.  After a quick stop to look at the frieze up close and the Civil War graffiti scratched on one of the windows, the stairs lead inside the dome to the balcony just below the Apotheosis of Washington.  Everyone is warned not to drop anything over the railing.

From the Apotheosis, it's a quick climb to the top of the dome.  The door opens to a small walk just below the statue of Freedom.  It's a beautiful 360 degree view.  Magnificent on a clear day.  Much better in the spring or fall than the summer or winter.

Standing outside at the top of the dome, the boy says that it is his first trip to the nation's capitol.  What a story he'll have to tell his friends when he returns home!

All because there was an extra space available on the Dome Tour and the congressman didn't want it to go unfilled.

9.12.11

Torn

How does one go about putting together an intervention? 

Last year at this time at a Christmas party, two friends and I were talking near the food table.  One remarked that she needed to find the bar, that it had been a long week, and that she needed a drink.  I cheerfully told them that I didn't drink.  [However, after rejoining the paid workforce, my tee toting days quickly came to an end.]

A few days later, one of the women called me up for a coffee date.  She peppered me with questions about why I stopped drinking.  No, I didn't have a problem with alcohol.  My doctor said my thyroid medicine would work better if I didn't drink.  That was two years ago.  [Well, three at this point.]  In our conversation, my friend told me that she was concerned about our other friend whom she strongly suspected had a drinking problem.

After running into the second friend at a local Mexican restaurant, that assumption rings true.  My friend's sentences seemed off.  Her eyes looked dilated.  And there were two shot glasses on the table, one empty, one full.  Her dining companion was her 20-year-old daughter.  Unless she's buying shots for her underage daughter, my suspicion is that she does in fact have a drinking problem.

Should I invite her for coffee and tell her that I'm worried about her?  Should my first friend and I talk to her together?  Should I talk to her daughter whom I watched grow up and who is a close friend of my daughter?

My timidity stems from a prior intervention that several female friends and I tried with another friend whose husband was physically abusing her.  We tried to convince her to leave him.  Instead she left us.  They eventually divorced but the rifts between the female friends still exist.

Is speaking up the best option?

[Title taken from this.]

7.12.11

Stolen Goods

This was lifted off some woman waiting to be read in the Facebook feed.  Enjoy!

15 Things White Girls Do on Facebook

1. Take pictures of their feet.

2. Express their extreme annoyance at this work day today and hint that it deserves a much needed alcoholic beverage at the end of it. WINK WINK.

3. Thank their hubby for being the best hubby in the world while their hubby is sitting right next to them.

4. Complain about bad service at restaurants. “Never eating at Applebee’s AGAIN!”

5. Express their extreme excitement to see their best friends tonight, Britney, Whitney, and Sarah!!! Love YOU GIRLS!!

6. Take pictures wearing a lot of makeup and looking really preppy while simultaneously making a “hard” facial expression and holding up what they consider to be a gangster sign. Potential caption: ‘Straight thuggin.’

7. Take pictures of undeserving food. "I effing love oatmeal!!! Mmmmmmm."

8. Make their status the song lyrics of any Kings of Leon Song.

9. Take a picture of someone they deem inferior to themselves in some way with the question: Really?

10. Write angry letters to companies (Dear EZ PARK, I hate you!), unorganized groups of people (Dear slutty freshmen who think that leggings can be worn as pants..), and non-entities (Dear unseasonably cold weather, WTF?!)

11. Subtly yell at no one in particular while being very specific. “Wow, it’s hard to believe that you think you know someone and then they turn around and STAB YOU IN THE BACK. Will never make that mistake again. EVER.”

12. Document exceedingly mundane activities for the day. “Getting my oil changed today. Then getting much needed groceries. Then it’s off to the post office to mail some bills. Then stopping by the gyno. Will probably need some gas by the end, so I may stop at the gas station. But I might be tired so I’ll probably just get it in the morning on my way to pick up a prescription. But if I’m not very tired I’ll probably just get the gas on the way home. Again, unless I am tired.”

13. Express their distaste for facebook on facebook and threaten to leave facebook to their facebook friends.

14. Ask seemingly rhetorical questions. “It’s cool to do a bunch of meth and babysit 20 six year olds, right?”

15. Write a status in another language. Parce que, Je suis tres intelligente!!

5.12.11

I Have My Mother's Eyes

Recently Deirdre pulled out the photo albums in search of a baby picture for the high school yearbook.  Deirdre is a senior this year and needs a "before" shot to go with her senior portrait.  It's amazing how much they change.  And how much they were always the same.

Out came the older albums from when Yours Truly was a baby.  It's funny.  Deirdre remarked that my baby pictures look like a mix of Finola and Maeve.  On the next page, she claims that she's looking at herself in my baby picture.

Maybe that's why I have a difficult time remembering which our my babies' picture I'm looking at without checking the date.  The females' looks in my family are strikingly similar.  My children look like me.  I look like my mother.  My mother looked like her mother.  If there were an extant picture of my great grandmother, she would probably look just like the rest of us.

A distant cousin sent me a photo he found in his mother's things.  His note was short, "Guess who this is in the picture."  I wrote back, "I know that's my grandfather.  But based on the date, my mother wouldn't be old enough."  He answered, "It's your grandmother."  Once when at my maternal aunt's house, she was showing photos from some event.  I swear the woman in the picture was my mother.  Except that she had red hair.  My mother was the one with brown hair.  My aunt has red hair. 

There are photos of my parents in my living room.  First-time visitors always want to know at what Old Timey Photo Shop we had them taken.  Now even my husband is beginning to look like my father at a younger age.  There is truth to the old wives' tale that the longer people live together the more they resemble each other.  And apparently their in-laws in Mr. Gaelic's case.

[Title taken from this.]

30.11.11

Everybody Wants Love

What is it about Southern Gothic?  The characters are all tortured souls.  It is my belief that most Southern authors are tortured souls as well.  And that an author can't write well about a place until he leaves it.  It's like unrequited love.  There's some nagging itch of a feeling that must be put on paper or a memory stick.  That need to write.

I had a need to write.  I had several stories that I longed to tell.  Coming of age tales, stories of love and loss, yarns of deceit and redemption.  For a while, I couldn't go a day without writing.  Hours would disappear as if mere seconds as the words flowed onto the pages.  But then something happened.

My muse, that itch to write, vanished overnight.  She had been my constant for several years.  But suddenly she was gone.  And the strange thing is that I don't miss her. 

Her leaving coincided with the culmination of a class that Mr. Gaelic and I took.  Oddly enough, it was only in learning how to truly communicate everything we needed and wanted of each other that I no longer needed an expressive outlet. 

Mr. Gaelic might not appreciate my candor, but we spent almost a year with a coach doing individual and joint homework assignments in learning why and how we react to each other based on our life experiences.  The homework and classwork was emotionally difficult at times.  But in learning how to express ourselves in a manner that the other was receptive to, we learned that we had never really opened up to each other.  Twenty years of marriage and we finally learned how to talk to each other so that the other person actually heard, not only with their ears but with their heart, what we had to say.

When you know without a shadow of a doubt that you are heard by the person you love more than life itself, finding a replacement muse is moot. 

[Title taken from this.]

20.11.11

Sharing Trade Secrets

Comedy is funny because it has a kernel of truth in it.  So when a friend posted a joke recently, it wasn't just funny.  It was hilarious.  Because it's so true. 

It's about things women say.  Through the years and different relationships, I have used the examples listed.  In fact, most women have used and probably still use them.  So guys, word of warning.  Read this joke and know that it's funny because it hits the bull's eye of truth.


And another warning... When a woman answers "How are you?" with "Fine", it's actually an acronym for "Fucked-up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional".  And it usually means, "Stay the fuck away!"

Troglodytes Among Us

Mr. Gaelic is a techno-geek.  For example, one night recently he sat at the library desk with the desktop computer, his laptop, his iPad, and his iPhone uploading several albums from the home CD collection to the cloud.  Not satisfied when the album cover was omitted from the upload, he found sites to copy a picture of the cover to download. 

I, on the other hand, am not an early adopter.  It took me years before relinquishing an old cell phone for a smart phone.  Music for me comes most often from the radio or CDs.  There is no sense of urgency in having the latest and greatest since it gives them time to work out the bugs and come down in cost. 

It reminds me of a friend who passed away a couple of years ago.  His children are my children's ages but he never wanted to be on any social media websites.  He always said that he could be relevant without Facebook. 

Are we relevant without social media, without our blogs, without constant connection, without instant gratification?  Can we still be relevant in an ever-increasing technologically driven world?

[Title very loosely based on this.]

19.11.11

Disney for Adults

Ye nevah cawll.  Ye nevah wryte.  Whot?  Ye don' luve ye muddah?

Two things that Southern mothers and New York Jewish mothers have in common are the guilt trip and the good food.  Sometimes at the same time.

Lawdy mehcy, chil'.  Ya gotta eat yawr collah' greens or yaw're gonna disappeah until dey ain't nuttin' lef' o' ya but da clothes ya wearin' righ' now.

As an aside, that reminds me of when I read the Uncle Remus books by Joel Chandler Harris.  One can only read them if one knows the real Southern dialect.  Sort of like reading A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.  It flows much better if one knows a true New Orleans accent.  But I digress.

No, I didn't disappear off the face of the earth.  Mr. Gaelic's annual conference was in Orlando.  Piggyback on a Disney World visit and Mrs. Gaelic is out of this world.  What better way to see Tomorrowland than without kids in tow!  We could smile at all the beautiful babies we wanted to and then quickly find another table away from the screaming brats.

You know all those guides with suggested touring plans for each of the Disney parks?  Don't use them.  We tried using one the first two days and realized that we would have more fun if we didn't try to do and see everything.  Just be and enjoy.  Sheer bliss.  Do you know how refreshing it is to have Fastpasses in hand to both Soarin' and Test Track and decide that you'd rather go back to the hotel and take a nice long bath?

And a word to the wise... Just because the resort bar has signature drinks on the menu doesn't mean that you have to try one.  Save your money and your taste buds.  Stick with what you know.  Some of those signatures are ghastly!

10.11.11

Into Each Drive Some Rain Must Fall?

Is this just a phenomena in my town?  Or do people everywhere not know how to drive in the rain and the dark at the same time?

It took me 45 minutes to go 14 blocks.  Fourteen!  My house is a mere six miles from my office.  The commute was an hour and fifteen minutes. 

During Snowmageddon, some people sat in their cars on the roads until the wee hours of the night.  On 9-11 (yes, THE 9-11), Mr. Gaelic arrived home six hours after leaving his office.  Which is also six miles from home.  Granted, those were two extraordinary traffic events.

But still!  It's just a little rain, people!  And darkness happens every single day!  That's what wipers and headlights are for.  There were no fender benders on the drive home.  My guess is it was just volume and people driving at much slower speeds.  I shouldn't complain.  On the bright side, I made it home safe and sound.

[Title taken from this.]

9.11.11

Thanks Be to God!

There was no lunch.  No food.  Only a cup of coffee.  All because of wanting some kind of religious grounding and centering in my workaday life. 

There is a group near my office that has a short chapel service every Wednesday.  The group is part of one of the mainline Protestant denominations.  In their office building is a small chapel complete with Bibles and hymnals.  Why did it take me this long to find such a respite?

After the 30 minute service, one of the staff members whom I had exchanged emails with about the service took me on a tour of the office building, introduced me to other staffers, got me a cup of coffee in their break room, and talked with me for over an hour in their library.  He is an ordained minister with an extremely similar upbringing as mine.  I could have talked to him all afternoon had it not been for the daily fires that I deal with in my office.

Just walking into the chapel and sitting in the stillness and quiet was enough to wash away any burden from my shoulders.  The words of the prayers were reminiscent enough of my Episcopal parish to soothe my soul.  The only dissonance was a hymn that I know by heart but the music was completely foreign.  Oh well, I can deal with that.

Skipping food for lunch instead to be nourished and nurtured was well worth it.  My body my not be able to live by coffee alone; but my soul can flourish with bread and wine.  Go in peace to love and serve the lord.  [Title and last sentence explained here.]

8.11.11

Us vs. Them

The gloves are coming off.  My political stance has always been moderate for the most part.  My votes have swung both ways.  But after voting today, the realization hit me that Republicans are ruining our political system.

The local clerk of the court was elected many years ago.  He has never had opposition.  The clerk's position is actually one that isn't a political position.  On the ballot, there is never a D or an R or an I or anything after his name.  This year he has an opponent.  Who is a Republican and vocal about the fact that he's a Republican.  And vocal about the fact that the current clerk does a fine job.  And vocal about the fact that the reason he's running is to take the position over to the Republican side.  Even though it's a non-political position.

A friend of mine who ran for city council a few years ago on the Republican ticket (yes, I voted for him) told me that he sees no reason to vote for the challenger.  My friend doesn't like the challenger's tactics of running his campaign.  The challenger has done a full-court press to oust the current clerk.  Who the challenger admits is doing a fine job.

I cut the party plenty of slack, wanting to believe that it really was the Grand Old Party of Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower.  Watching this local election, it's down right impossible to call it grand. 

Do you vote for the best person for the position or do you vote for their party affiliation?  The local Republican party let me down.  They don't want me to vote for the best person; they want me to vote for the Republican.  They're not synonymous.  The best person is the best person.  Sometimes that person is a Democrat.  Sometimes that person is a Republican. 

From now on, it'll be harder for me to look at any Republican candidate without wondering, if there were no R after your name, would your followers still be your followers? 

[Title taken from this.]

7.11.11

A Wuss in Chic Clothing

If ever there was a day when this gal needed some Shania Twain, it was today.  My horrid habit of eating the ice from my drinks caused a filling to crack.  The dentist said it was in need of a crown.  My first crown.  No one told me exactly what to expect.

The appointment was just after the dentist's office opened.  The idea was to go straight from there to my office.  My nice pashmina protected my arms and shoulders from the chill in his office while the heating ramped up. 

Barely after reclining in the chair, he stuck a huge needle in my gum.  "Little sting."  Little sting, my ass.  Those needles weren't that big before.  When did they get so big? 

But the anesthesia worked.  My lip and tongue tingled until they felt as large as a lemon.  By that time, the tingling had subsided and there was no feeling.  That's when the worst of the whole procedure began. 

It's that smell.  Like burning flesh.  Like hair caught in a candle.  And it doesn't stop.  Because he just keeps on and on and on until my tooth is ready for the temporary crown.

Woah, woah, woah.  Temporary?  You mean I have to come back for more?  Heaven help me.

And THEN... the anesthesia wears off.  Can someone just hit me over the head with a bat and knock me out until morning?  Somehow, miraculously, the end of the workday arrived. 

On the drive home, the day was cooling into evening.  But, hey!  If I can stand the pain in my mouth, I sure as hell can stand a little chill.  The convertible top went down, the seat heater went on, and the pashmina wrapped around my head and shoulders to keep my hair from tangling in the wind.  Throw on some shades and I'm ready for my closeup, dahling.

6.11.11

Girl Sprouts

In my sister's 1955 Girl Scout handbook are nine proficiency badges listed under Agriculture -- Animal Raiser, Beekeeper, Dairying, Farmer, Fruit Raiser, Home Gardener, Landscaper, Poultry Raiser, and Truck Gardener.  With the rise of backyard chicken coops, knowing how to candle an egg is regaining importance.  But knowing the difference, in females, between a calf, a heifer, and a cow, and the quantity and type of feed for each?  Not so much.  I haven't seen many backyard Bessie's.

As in the general society, Girl Scouts are returning to the land.  One of the new badges is Locavore.  Girls will become knowledgeable on everything from the business of food to what’s in season in their area.  Eating local and in season tends to be cheaper and better for the environment.  If the produce is trucked in from a farm three counties away rather than a country in the other hemisphere, you'll save money because you won't be paying for all the various modes of transportation between farm and table.  Less transportation means less pollution.  It's a win-win.  Even better would be just walking out your back door and harvesting your own turnips.  But back to the Girl Scouts...

To earn the Locavore badge, five steps are required:

1. Explore the benefits and challenges of going local
2. Find your local food sources
3. Cook a simple dish showcasing local ingredients
4. Make a recipe with local ingredients
5. Try a local cooking challenge.

Each of the steps includes specific challenges such as interviewing chefs who specialize in locally grown foods, taking a favorite recipe and making it local, or, for the local cooking challenge, preparing a three-course meal based on local ingredients.

The Girl Scouts are returning to our roots.  Think it's easy?  I challenge YOU to the five badge requirements.  I'll participate as well and report back with my progress.  Can YOU earn the Girl Scouts Locavore badge?

5.11.11

Seven Ways to Leave Your Lover

Some people are better at breaking people's hearts than others.  Kim Kardashian comes to mind; she of 72 days.  Or Britney Spears; she of 55 hours.  But even people still stuck in dating mode sometimes do a piss-poor job of ending things.  The best approach is to just tell the other person. 

If you live in New York City, Zagat's has come up with a list of the best places to break the news. 

"BierHaus: One cardinal rule for restaurant/bar break-ups is to choose a place where you will never return in case things get ugly (and they will). Luckily, one evening at this Bavarian-style hall is enough to last twelve lifetimes (even sans a runny-nosed dining partner). It’s so loud that no one around you will be able to hear you say things like, “It’s not you; it’s me,” and “You have horrible taste in pants.” Live polka music versions of classics like Total Eclipse of the Heart mean there’s no danger you’ll be staying a second longer than necessary. Plus you can order your beer in a two liter boot, and no one can get that mad at someone drinking out of a plastic shoe.



"Go here: If you don’t care whether your ex never speaks to you again (712 Third Ave.; 212-867-2337).


"California Pizza Kitchen: This immense chainlet is as un-New York as you can get, which is good if you want to avoid memories of your first kiss on the Highline, first Valentine’s Day at One If By Land, Two if by Sea and first fight at Gristedes. Other pluses include well-spaced out tables that will prevent strangers from silently judging, teenaged servers who will be too terrified by the ugly crying to ask whether you need another apple martini and bright lighting that will ensure you don’t rethink your decision.


"Go here: If you’re afraid you might wimp out and need the soundtrack of shrieking children to strengthen your resolve. And if you love a good BBQ chicken pie (440 Park Avenue South; 212-685-6700).


"Jekyll & Hyde: Unless up till this point your relationship has existed in Second Life only, odds are the second you propose this place, your soon-to-be ex is going to know something is up. But if you’re expecting over-the-top hysterics, dining among animatronics and freaky servers who say creepy things might be your safest bet. Good luck to you.


"Go here: If you foresee danger and want to make absolutely certain you won’t know a single person inside (1409 Avenue of the Americas; 212-541-9505).


"Beauty and Essex: Though this trendy LES hotspot might seem a curious choice – it’s filled with people who aren’t miserable, its menu is geared toward sharing and it’s not exactly wallet-friendly – it still has a lot going for it: the dark lighting means potential break downs won’t be on full display, you can soften a difficult conversation with a variety of delicious cocktails and the civilized environs may keep things, well, civilized. Plus, the ladies room has free champagne, which is good whether you’re the dumper or dumpee.


"Go here: If you’re a multitasker and want to meet someone new the same night (146 Essex St.; 212-614-0146).


"Tortilla Flats: Avoiding romantic places is another break-up rule. Enter this Village cantina with its kitschy interior, bachelorette parties galore (caution: this is bad idea when breaking up with a fiancĂ©) and premade vat of margaritas. Sensitive choice it isn’t, but between the hula hoop contests, sauced clientele and chimichangas, there’s no way a serious conversation can survive.


"Go here: If you have a mortal fear of other people’s tears or if you can really rock a hula hoop after emotional distress (767 Washington St.; 212-243-1053).


"Balthazar: When your emotions are running more red-hot than blue and you want to break up in spectacular fashion, head to this always-crowded SoHo brasserie where throwing a martini in your ex’s face and storming out is guaranteed an audience. For maximum embarrassment, stage your performance before the check comes so your ex has to stay there and pay the bill.


"Go here: If you are mad and want revenge, Sex and the City-style (80 Spring St.; 212-965-1785).


"Starbucks: For a simple, no-frills solution, we suggest firing up your laptop, ordering your favorite coffee drink and sending an email. No muss, no fuss.


"Go here: If you met online and have been on less than seven dates. Or, you are a spineless robot coward. Note to spineless robots, don't think you can plug yourself in and sit at that table all day. People are waiting!"

[Title taken from this.]

3.11.11

Hoooww-Deeee!

My sartorial peeves are about to become rants.  If you're not ready for it, move to the back row [F*ck the back row! Yay Back Row!] and let someone else read it.

People, women mostly, who are so proudly brand conscious drive me up the wall.  One sees all these Coach bags with the C's on them, or the Tory Burch flats.  You know the ones.  Little ballet flats with a big brass circle on the toe with two T's top to top in the circle. 

A good 60% of my purses are Coach.  But here's my dirty little secret.  I despise conspicuous consumption so much that I never ever buy a Coach bag with the C's and the first thing I do even before the clerk has finished ringing up the sale is to remove the little leather or brass Coach-embossed tag from the strap.

But today's encounter topped them all.  While waiting to genuflect at the altar of the caffeine addicted, the sleeve of a woman's coat caught my eye.  There on the cuff of the left sleeve was the label -- Calvin Klein.  Seriously?  Did she just forget to cut it off?  Or does she think that it's supposed to be there?  Like those seams that hold jacket pockets together.  Or the stitch on the pleat of a skirt. 

For goodness sake, who is so proud of wearing So-and-So that they want to emblazon the designer's name all over themselves?  If you're going to advertise for the company, at least make them pay you for your service.  Stop and think.  If no one knew who designed or produced what you wear, would you still wear it?

Enough for now.  I better step off my soapbox before I launch into a diatribe about men wearing the wrong size suits. 

[Title taken from this.]

30.10.11

Go Along, Get Along?

During my college days, my long-term boyfriend was the grandson of a Nazi soldier.  His grandfather was just a regular German who fought for his country.  In fact, many Germans sat idly by while their leaders tried to spread their ideals to other countries. 

A couple of weeks ago my blog post bordered on alarmist.  A friend had voiced a prophecy some years back that now seems to be coming true.  This was no ordinary prophecy.  She warned of a growing movement that could overtake us without our resistance.  She warned of economic woes, a growing divide between economic classes, and a rigidity that could mean intolerance towards some groups.

There have been several disturbing articles recently that bolster her prognostication.  Imagine a country full of people who are proud patriots, nationalists, true believers in the absolute military power of the country.  It's not so bad when it's us.  But imagine if that country were Spain under a present-day Franco or Italy ruled by a present-day Mussolini.  Remember during the '30s all the swastika-emblazoned flags that lined the streets of Berlin.  Now imagine a fiscally-sound Germany who bails out weaker economies insisting that countries pay fealty to their German saviors.

Imagine if it were us instead of the Germans.  Would we sit idly by like the good German people of the 1930s did?  Would you leave the country?  Would you focus your energy on reclaiming your country?  Would you live a quiet, consenting civilian life?  Or join the military and climb to the top of the ranks?  Would you go along with the people in authority?  Would you throw your moral reservations to the wayside and join the army?  Would you put a belief in your chosen political party ahead of the country?  Would you be proud of your country and your heritage to the point of wanting the country to look exactly like what you think it should look like?

Have we already met the enemy?  Is he us?

[Take the Would-I-Be-a-Nazi test and tell me what you would have been.  Me?  I scored as an Expat.]

26.10.11

It's Eleven O'Clock Somewhere

Yesterday's work day was thirteen and a half hours long, not including drive time.  Is it any wonder when eight o'clock in the evening rolls around that I'm studying the inside of my eyelids?  Surely there's got to be a way to stay awake for the late news without using toothpicks to prop open my eyes.

[Title taken from this.]

24.10.11

Blog Tweet, Blog Tweet

How can one have an old whiplash injury and never remember when or how it could have happened?

[Title taken from this.]

16.10.11

Santa Anna, Santayana, Santana and Shakespeare

Only researchers, employees, and a few tourists read the quote.  Yet it is one that practically everyone knows.  "What is past is prologue."1  It is inscribed in marble beneath a statue of a woman with an open book on her lap.  At the researchers' and employees' entrance to the National Archives.  Want to see the Founding Documents?  Enter on the opposite side of the building.

That quote echoes through my mind regularly, the intervals between moments spent dwelling on it ever decreasing.  All because of something a friend pontificated several years ago.  What she said did not, at the time, make me shake in my boots.  But the shaking began a couple of years ago and is now bordering on worry.

It turns out my friend is a prophet.  The reason for the worry is another prophecy from the early 1800s.  "If we [Mexicans] are not successful, our grandchildren and their grandchildren will beg for crumbs from the Americans!"2

The History of the World, Part 2 seems to me to be repeating the history of the world from a time just beyond living memory.  A time that only a handful of people alive today were part of.  And then, only as children feeling the effects.

Remember the '20s not only for their Roaring but also for their restriction; the '30s for their meager times; and the '40s for the results of the previous two decades.  Why?  "Those who don't remember the past are doomed to repeat it."3

Yes, this post is purposefully vague.  My hope is that my friend really isn't a prophet, but just a hack pulpiteer.  My prayer is for her to be wrong.  And to avoid anxiety or, worse, hysteria (mostly on my part), I refrain from passing along her prophecy.

It's time for something other than prophecies.  It's time for some preachifying.  Which brings us to the last quote for today.  "The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace."4

If we all live by those words, perhaps we would never repeat our own mistakes.

1. William Shakespeare
2. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna
3. George Santayana
4. Carlos Santana

13.10.11

A Church, A Courtroom and Then Hypocracy

I need to fill you in on the EMT's pink shirts.  It turns out that, yes, they are supporting breast cancer.  They're not quite as brave as Marshall Moneymaker.  But they're showing their support.

And in other news... I'm on a pet peeve tear.  Consistency!  Why aren't people consistent?  Being inconsistent can come across as hypocritical in some cases.

An acquaintance of mine is very gung-ho in wanting everyone to follow what the Bible says.  She wants to make sure that gays and lesbians are never allowed to form civil unions.  Because "the Bible doesn't approve of gays and lesbians."  Now, this is the same person who divorced her husband under a no-fault divorce law. 

Growing up in a very conservative Southern Baptist household, we weren't supposed to dance, play cards, or drink.  My divorced grandfather lived with us because he already had a wife, according to his Biblical interpretations.  He never remarried and I never met my biological grandmother until after my grandfather died.  Because she had remarried and was considered an adulteress.

This is the same community that my acquaintance grew up in.  She was schooled in this same Biblical tradition.  Yet she doesn't see that in her own life she doesn't practice what she preaches. 

When are people going to be consistent?  If you're pro-life, then be pro-life until death.  No assisted suicide even for someone with an excruciatingly painful terminal disease and no death penalty.  If you're pro-choice, then let people decide whether they want to end their lives with the help of a family member, friend or doctor and realize that the state can end a life as well.

If you're going to quote the Bible about other people's marital statuses, then let your marital status be a shining example.  Something about "let he among you without sin be the first to condemn" keeps running through my mind.  Now where did that come from?

[Title taken from this.]

9.10.11

Curious Gaelic

If curiosity killed the cat, then I'm in over my head.  Following a successful reconciliation at church today, changing into casual clothes to cook was necessary.  While sitting in the bedroom fastening my shoes, something bright pink outside the window caught the corner of my eye.

Turning to have a better look, there were two EMT's from the firehouse working on their ambulance.  Both sported a pink that does not readily occur in nature.  Except on maybe some hybrid azaleas or cone flowers.  However, the man getting out of the EMT Supervisor truck wore the usual navy of the department.

Hmm... Is it the Race for the Cure weekend?  Is it the Komen 3-Day weekend?  Are they imitating the Pink Fireman?  Hmm... Curious minds want to know.  Guess I should go knock on their door and ask.  I'll let you know what they say.

[Title taken from this.]

5.10.11

Drops of Jupiter's Moons

Whenever a gift is used, even if months goes by between uses, makes the giver feel good.  Like we scored a hit.  That's the case with Maeve's telescope. 

It was a Christmas present a few years ago.  Looking at the moon through its lens is like practically being on the surface.  All the craters and deserts are right there, big enough to touch.

After supper, she announced that she was going outside to look at the moon.  A few minutes later she asked if I would like to see the moon.  I followed her out and looked at the rough surface of the half moon.  Maeve also had the binoculars around her neck to look at the moon while other people used the telescope.

When my turn came for the binoculars, the stars were my targets.  Alas!  My hands aren't steady enough to hold the binoculars still to view the stars very well.  Until I noticed that Jupiter was rising in the east.

Bracing the binoculars against the brick wall, the moons of Jupiter were visible.  No telescope necessary.  It's the coolest thing to see the moons of Jupiter in the night sky.  Maybe when it's a bit colder outside, Mr. Gaelic will join us with his warming devices -- a heavy fleece blanket, two fingers of single malt, and a Fonseca.

[Title taken from this.]

4.10.11

As Scarce as Hen's Teeth

Spending 14 years as a full-time mother spoils a person.  No boss to answer to, no office politics, self-determined schedules.  Ah, what a life!

My duck feathers are losing their oils.  It's getting harder for things to roll off my back. I've noticed that my jaw is clenched tightly during the day and doesn't completely relax while at home.  Perhaps some football player can help me pick out a mouth guard to protect my teeth.

Who knew a duck had teeth?

3.10.11

I Love My Pet

Left to my own proclivity, my neighbors would know me as the modern-day St. Francis, although it would be Frances instead of Francis. That's putting a nice spin on being the crazy lady who takes in all the stray cats.

There's a site on Facebook which a friend of a friend of a friend suggested - Pets on Death Row. It lists the shelter where the animal is, gives the phone number, and tells the time tomorrow morning that the pictured animal will be euthanized. Why on earth did I sign up for such a depressing site?

There are enough homeless pets, especially now when the economy makes feeding and caring for pets a luxury some people can't afford. If you're a pet owner, please spay and neuter your pets. If you're not a pet owner, there are some adorable animals out there just waiting for a home.

[Title taken from this.]

2.10.11

You'll Never Work Alone

"I'm not joining today."

"But why, my child? I've prepared the feast just for you."

"I have anger issues that I haven't finished dealing with."

"I know. I know everything about you. You even admitted your anger a few minutes ago. But I forgive you. All I ask is that you forgive."

"But she hurt Deirdre with that letter she sent. She blamed Deirdre for her bad decisions and didn't accept any responsibility for her actions."

"I know. I know Deirdre's pain. You're like the lioness protecting her cubs. I chose a good mother for Deirdre. Perhaps it's yourself you need to forgive. Now come to my table."

"I thought that if I partake when you and I aren't in communion that the bread and wine can do more harm than good."

"That's an intriguing thought."
.
.
.

"Well?"

"Well what?"

"Aren't you supposed to tell me what to do?"

"You already know."
.
.
.

"I'll come to the table but not partake."

"Go on."

"Today."

"And?"

"I'll come to your feast next week."

"Is that all?"

"Who are you? The Wizard of Oz and I'm Dorothy? And 'if I ever go looking for my heart's desire, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with!'"

"Hahaha. But you didn't finish."

"I know. My work as a mother isn't finished. It will continue. Your task for me is to raise Deirdre with an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works."

"Yes. I chose Deirdre's mother very well.  See you next week?"

"See you next week."
.
.
.

"One other thing."

"Don't worry. I'll be beside you tomorrow too."

"Even if I don't remember to talk to you?"

"Even when you refuse to talk to me. You'll never work alone. Because I love you."

[Title taken from this.]

1.10.11

President, er Captain, er General Washington Presents

George Washington was giving a talk behind the Governor's Palace at Williamsburg and opened the floor, um ground, for questions.  One man tried to get the general to agree to Second Amendment gun rights.  The general reminded the man that currently, in General Washington's present day, he, the general, had no idea what the Second Amendment was because the date was 1780.

But the general didn't let the man off the hook that easily.

As he pointed out, all men between the ages of 16 and 60 were required to serve in the militia.  Also, due to inadequate supplies, men were required to bring their own muskets from home as part of their militia duty.  These were muzzle-loaded muskets.  Rifling, which increases the accuracy of bullets, did not become widespread until the 19th century.  And pistols were flint-locks, used almost exclusively by the wealthiest in duels to settle gentlemanly arguments, and also lacked accuracy thereby almost guaranteeing survival of both parties to a duel.  (Just don't tell Alexander Hamilton that.)

The man questioning General Washington walked away in disgust at not being vindicated.

What would the Second Amendment arguments look like today if we still had to live with the conditions in the late 18th century?  All men from 11th grade to almost-retirement would serve in the militia, not just the 1% of today's men and women.  A hunter would have to be very skilled to down anything.  And only hedge-fund managers and corporate CEO's could afford a pistol. 

You want to know my question of the general?  "Did Mrs. Washington accompany you on every campaign as she did during the winter in Valley Forge?"  Heads turned and eyebrows furrowed, their thoughts written on their faces, Martha Washington was at Valley Forge!?!?

The general looked at me, "Yes, she did.  As did many women who accompanied their husbands."

We shared a knowing smile.  It pays to know history.

[Title taken very loosely from this.]

28.9.11

Home for Work I Go

Working from home can be either really good or really bad.  Bad, as in the days that you don't shower and pad around the house in sweats and bunny slippers with a cup of coffee so old it could get up and walk.  Good, as in today!

The excuse was valid.  The television ordered for the office wouldn't be delivered without a signature.  It came to my house because it's easier for a delivery to be made here then drive whatever was ordered into the garage rather than have to deal with the extra security checks the police make delivery folks go through.

In working from home, I saved over an hour in commute time and plowed through more work in one day than in a usual week.  There were no distractions of office mates coming by my desk to talk, no phones to answer, no people stopping by the office to drop off mail or meet with the leg [pronounced ledge - short for legislative] staff.  And to top it off, there even was time for a mani-pedi after I was caught up.  If I could work from home one day every week, I'd be the happiest girl on the face of the earth.

If I pitch it to the chief of staff in terms of better productivity, do you think he'd go for it?  Maybe on the weeks they're in recess?  It's worth a shot.

[Title taken from this.]

27.9.11

Separated at Birth

Has anyone else noticed this?




And what does it say about our values?
[Title taken from this.]

26.9.11

The Gaelic Dating Game

"Pick a number between one and six then read your email," I text Mr. Gaelic.

"Four," he texts back.

Our date this weekend will be an early morning outing to watch the planes land while drinking coffee and reading to each other.  He then gets to pick six books and I pick the number.

"Five," is my reply text.

We'll be reading Without Feathers by Woody Allen.  Maybe there will be a cold snap by this weekend and we'll have to cuddle under a blanket on the hood of the car and drink our coffees from an old glass vacuum aluminum Thermos bottle.

What are your "date night" plans this weekend?  (Doesn't everyone have date night once a week?)

[Title taken from this.]

25.9.11

Fortune $500 Added Benefits

Mr. Gaelic gets paid $5 to walk the dog for 30 minutes.  Actually, there doesn't have to be a dog in the picture.  Or anything else except some form of exercise for 30 minutes and his office will pay him $5. 

They also give him $35 for going to his annual physical, $25 for going to the dentist.  But it's not paid in cash.  It's paid in gift cards.  Yet there's a cap of $240 a year that he can earn.

He then can use the gift cards at a number of approved vendors from Amazon to Zappos.com.  All part of his company's encouragement of their employees to be healthy.  His well-being reward.

What about the rest of us?  We exercise and eat healthy and visit our doctors and dentists.  Why can't our companies pay us in Best Buy gift cards? 

One of the vendors is a national grocery chain that sells mostly organic foods.  So, let me see if I have this right.  You work for a Fortune 500 company.  They pay you to be healthy.  Then you can use your rewards to buy organic food to be even healthier.  Because you are healthier, you miss fewer days from work.  Increased productivity all for as little as $240 worth of gift cards a year for being healthy.

Don't let it be forgotten that exercising also leads to fewer stress-related diseases and less depression.  Aha!  Happier worker bees!  Happy.  Healthy.  Productive.

Where's the justice?  How can the rest of us get such added benefits?

17.9.11

Just the Jokes, Ma'am

How do you know there's an elephant in your refrigerator?

Elephant footprints in your butter.

How do you know there are two elephants in your refrigerator?

Two sets of footprints.

How do you put a giraffe in your refrigerator?

Take out the elephants and put the giraffe in.

How do you get four elephants in a compact car?

Two in front and two in the rear.

How do you know there are four elephants in your refrigerator?

There's a compact car parked out front and a giraffe standing in your kitchen.

[Now back to your regular daily life.]

15.9.11

One Tequila, Two Tequlia, Three Tequila, Coffee!

God, I love the United States Air Force!  So the guys in the liaison office aren't quite as handsome as the Navy guys (oh, those blue eyes).  But man!  Can they make a killer margarita!

The Air Force birthday is September 18th.  So the liaison office had their birthday celebration today.  Having spent over 30 minutes in the back office trading war stories with the Air Force scheduler and one of the Colonels, the birthday cake and most of the food was all gone.  Nothing else but beer, wine, sodas, water, and made-on-the-spot margaritas.  Hey, after the week I've had, one goes straight for the tequila.  That's when I noticed the chocolate Pentagon.

In chatting up the Air Force bartender, we ended up with a friendly wager of whether the chocolate Pentagon was solid chocolate or hollow.

"Solid," said I.

"Nah, it's hollow.  Just use a fork to break it up," he replied.

"No, it's solid."

"Uh-uh, hollow."

"Coffee?"

"You're on!"

Guess what!  It broke apart the minute the fork went in.  That Air Force major is getting a free coffee next week.

13.9.11

Really?

Overheard at my office...

"Schools are failing our children. My granddaughter takes civics at high school. She came home and said that our country is a democracy. I told her, 'No, it's not. It's a republic.' She kept insisting that it's a democracy because that's what she's been taught at school. Can you believe what they're teaching our kids these days?"

The person saying this is running for public office. And people wonder why our democratically elected government is dysfunctional.

[Title taken from this.]

12.9.11

Let's Go Cupcake Crazy

Who hasn't heard of the cupcake craze?  Stores that sell cupcakes exclusively.  TV shows about cupcake contests.  Now, there are even eggs specifically designed for baking into cupcakes.

All in a bright pink box.  Pepto-Bismol pink.  No.  Barbie pink.  Advertising the perfect sized eggs in rags like Cosmo and selling them at your local Sainsbury. 

And the woman in the ad?  She looks like she just finished a shoot for an adult movie rather than baked cupcakes.  Did someone photoshop a cupcake over a dildo in her hand?

She looks very Stepford-esque.  Isn't that every man's secret fantasy?  A woman with perfectly coifed hair, killer figure, prim dress, offering him fresh baked goods and a stiff drink when he walks in the door after a long day at the office before strapping on her knee-pads in the bedroom to help him "relax".

Where's my Stepford Husband?

[Title taken from this.]

11.9.11

Dream Catcher

Do you listen to your dreams?  What do they tell you about yourself and your life?  Inquiring minds want to know.

[Here is a dream catcher.]

10.9.11

Where's My Empty Lap?

Goooooood Evening, blog buddies!  My Pollyanna is showing.  Mostly because the stitches were removed from my back.  The results came back.  The spot that the doctor cut out was benign.

Let the earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, zombie apocalypse come.  I'm here and I'm cleared.  Get used to it!  I'm here to stay. 

[Title taken from this.]

9.9.11

Fear Not!

Everyone else is doing it.  Might as well jump on the bandwagon.  Remembrances of, thoughts about, lives changed by 9/11.

To begin, a friend and former co-worker was in a meeting at the Pentagon that fateful morning.  My firefighter neighbors confirmed that he probably didn't know what was happening and that he didn't suffer.

My city has received renewed threats on this anniversary.  The police and other security officials near my office have stepped up their presence.  A current co-worker doesn't want to be within 200 miles of here this weekend.  Not being able to decamp to our home state, she has promised her mother not to leave her apartment at all this weekend.

Yet, I'm not afraid. 

Fear won't prevent me from going to the mall, or the grocery store, or the pub to watch football.  I am more terrified of driving on the interstate in a deluge of a rainstorm than I am of being targetted by a terrorist.  I'm more fearful of dying of cancer than of dying at the hands of some vengeful zealot hellbent on driving a figuative stake through our collective capitalist hearts.

They didn't do their job.  If they were successful terrorists, they would have filled me with terror.  They didn't.  They didn't defeat me.  Like a child who tells the monster under the bed that he is no longer afraid of it because it's not real, I have told the monster in the fertilizer-and-fuel-oil-packed rental truck that I am not afraid of him.  He may kill my body, but never my spirit.

Because I am not afraid.

[Title taken from this.]

8.9.11

I'm Just Here for the Pizza

Actual email:

"The United States Navy's Office of Legislative Affairs cordially invites you to a Pizza Brief from 1200-1300 on Day, Month Date in Room XXX.  Join us as S.M.I., Assistant Director, National Security Directorate, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) provides information on NCIS.  To ensure we order enough pizza, please send me a short e-mail RSVP if you think you will attend."

Yes, the real NCIS!  As if they have to entice me there with free pizza.  They had me with blue eyes.

[Title taken from this.]