Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Holiday from Hell: A Charlie Brown Tree, A Three Legged Cat, and A Towed Car

I wrote this article for Yahoo! News.  I didn't realized it was published until just now (It was published November 23.  Duh!) and I wanted to share this.  It is a compilation of three years of Christmases:

Christmas my Junior year in College

Christmas at my first apartment in Ghetto-dale

Christmas in FL after I returned from VA, pregnant with Kiddo

 I laughed the whole time I was writing, so I hope you'll do the same. 

PS-If you need another holiday article, because it is still Christmas (the second day to be exact--I want my two turtledoves!), check out my Complete Holiday Playlist .

Saturday, December 25, 2010

It's All Because of You

Merry Christmas from the Diatribest and the Kiddo
To all my readers,
THANK YOU so much for the wonderful gift you have given me this year.  When I started writing back in August, I never, EVER imagined that I would have people from all over the world stopping by to read my rantings and musings.  Each day I log in, I find that new countries have added themselves to the map.  (Hello Croatia!  Hello Belgium!)  I was so hesitant to write for so long because I didn't believe that I had anything worthwhile to contribute.  Thank you for giving me that boost of confidence that I've needed for a long time. 

It's because of your continual readership that has inspired me to work on a short novel and to begin working again on expanding my college thesis.  I haven't touched it in 7 years for I believed that I was too unintelligent to undertake a scholarly piece because I was never able to further my education like many of my college classmates have.  I'm not bluffing when I say, without you I couldn't do this. 

The Kiddo and I are doing well and look forward to the new year with anticipation.  Hopefully it will bring me gainful employment and continued good health for my son.  I couldn't be happier.

As always I remain black beans and ricely yours,
The Diatribest

One Ring To Bind Them All

The best Christmas gift I have ever received: a (too small) ring picked out by the Kiddo. He's be telling me for two weeks that I will love it and he didn't spoil the surprise. He told me this morning as I opened it, he knew I would love it and gave me the biggest, most exuberant hug ever. I am so blessed!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Scenes from the Diatribest Household

The Kiddo reciting his litany to (a very rude) Santa

Our (very dead) Christmas tree

My favorite ornament--Baby Kiddo four years ago
The Baby Diatribest's first Christmas
Wooden Creche that I've had since I was 5.  It still has the 3.99 price tag from Woolworths.

Painting ornaments

An impromptu photo shoot

A nice hot toddy to cap off the end of the day

Pint-Sized Viking Fury

Thank you Uncle Ed!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

From Russia With Love

So what's up with you Russian readers?  How did you find this link (of which I am VERY glad you did!)?  What's your opinion of this blog?  Interesting, stupid Capitalist? Crazy Westerner?  Very Funny, Charming Writer (I hope!)

I studied a lot of Russian history while I was back in college and I must say that I am thoroughly enchanted/terrified with your country.  (Reading about the KGB scared me silly.  But then again, I guess you could say that we Americans with waterboarding are just as scary.)  The rich vastness is amazing!

I'm very interested in you.  Send me a comment, drop a line, introduce yourself.  And by all means, pass this link along to your friends.  Maybe we could open up some lines of communication. 

And since it's been so Arctic cold down here (at least in my wimpy opinion), I'll raise a shot of Vodka in your honor next time I want a nip of something to warm me up. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside

I've been so busy with this seasonal job that I haven't had the energy to write much. So much so I missed a deadline for one of my Yahoo! freelance pieces, which was really annoying, but helped me prepare for the next assignment. I'm usually in the warehouse making boxes or packing fruit from 8-6, six days a week. The packing house hasn't been warmer than 42 degrees most days, but I am still so grateful for the work. Besides, the pickers in the groves have it much harder. We're working with a sense of urgency because we are in danger of a sever freeze. If it drops to 22 like it's been forecasted, the fruit will die and that will be the second year running the the season has been closed after 2 months rather than the full six months. My hope is that the Lord and Mother Nature will spare us. If not, there will be another sixty people applying for unemployment.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

WikiLinks: Gossip Girl Meets The Tattler

Dear Julian Assange,

You.  Are.  An.  Asshole. 

I am not against exposing corruption, but please change your forum.  Using the Internet as your bathroom wall has got to stop.  In my opinion you are less of a whistle blowing vigilante crime fighter than you are a flat out bitchy gossip.  Your latest round of news, if that's what you call it, exposes political figures personal opinions outside of the bargining chambers.

Seriously?  Grow up!  I feel like I am listening to a bathroom break at a highschool:

"OMG!  Did you see Becky's shirt?"
"I know!  Total slut."
"Trying to get back at Brandon for dumping her at prom."
"Whatever.  By the way, did you know that Prince Andrew 'cockliy' at a 2008 brunch with British and Canadian businessmen in the country's capital, Bishkek, leading a debate that 'verged on the rude."
"Really, who gives a shit?  Why did you even bring it up?  It was prob his time of the month."

 To me, you are nothing but a shit-pot stirrer.  Like a gossip, you hide in the shadows, too afraid to speak up.  I think you are a "L, 7, Weenie!"  If you really stand behind what you say, then show your face.  Stop moving around, moving from house to house like the rat you are.  If you have something useful to say, grow a pair, and man up.  

Pictured: A D-Bag  Not Pictured: Rat Tail

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Welcome to McDonald's--Would You Care for an Un-Happy Meal?

(A possible conversation if more San Francisco idiots get their way.)

Perky Teenage Worker: "Welcome to McDonald's!  How can I help you today?

Tired Parent: "One chicken nugget Happy Meal with a Sprite for a little boy."

PTW: "I'm sorry, we no longer serve Happy Meals here."

TP: "Wait. What? Why?"

PTW: "Due to a new law enacted by the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco, it has been decided that you, the parent, are too stupid to regulate your child's nutritional needs."

TP: "Excuse me???"

PTW: "As you may not be aware, as you are a stupid parent, childhood obesity is on the rise.  In an effort to combat obesity, the government felt it was necessary to step in and do all the thinking for you.  Rather than the parent teaching the child to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, fats, and sugars in moderation and to turn off the idiot box, I mean, TV/DVD/computer/game player, the government would like to seize power, I mean, help you make easier decisions.  In an effort to remove fat and add fun into food, it is necessary for the consumer to be herded in the correct direction, much like a cow."

TP: "WHAT did you just call me?"

PTW: "The government is afraid that if a child is offered a toy with a Happy Meal, you the parent will never consider that you have the option of telling the child that there are other things in life to eat.  They certainly can't expect you to offer your child a toy with a plate of spinach.  You can't be expected to exercise good judgment about nutritional needs.  That's why the government is working to stay one step ahead of the consumer.  Like taking all the yummy taste from Oreo cookies.  You may have noticed that your child's morning bowl of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs* has eight grams of fiber in every serving.  It's part of a balanced breakfast."

TP: "Are you seriously trying to sell me on the idea that the cereal I let my kid eat on Saturday mornings while he rots his brains with cartoons is nutritious?  The deal is, if he gets to eat that on Saturdays, I get to sleep until 9.  It's junk food!  I let him eat it ONCE A WEEK!"

PTW: "Well, just to be on the safe side, the government would like to assume you're an idiot.  Now, what can I do for you today?"

TP: "Give me directions to the nearest Chic-Fil-A.  They have great milkshakes."

*Hat Trick Points if you picked up the reference to Calvin and Hobbes, by the great comic genius Bill Waterson:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

If You Speak English, Thank a Veteran

To the men and women who serve and have served, I thank you. 

It is because of your sacrifice that I can
  • practice freedom of religion
  • speak freely to a man that is not my immediate relative without fear of death
  • voice my opinion on politics
  • go shopping without having to be searched for explosives
  • reach millions of people across the globe with a click of the mouse
  • pursue my dreams
  • raise my son
I'm sure you don't hear these words enough, but thank you for fighting to defend the liberties that I can so easily take for granted.

And for you men and women serving overseas, next time I complain about not sleeping well, I'll try to remember that I sleep in a soft bed, in a temperature controlled climate, not worrying about artillery fire.

With many prayers for your safety,
The Diatribist and the Kiddo   

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

As the Biblical Saying Goes....

"Ask and you shall receive," well I finally got!  As I was writing last night, fretting about making ends meet for the rest of the month and on, a seasonal job opened up!  So while I have the opportunity to write for Associated Content, I will be able to continue to pay the bills, namely my rent!  My dream is that someday my writings will be a steady source of income but until then, I'll be spending my winter days helping the Kumquat Growers and my winter nights/weekends writing.  

I've been told that I'll lose 20 lbs with all the hard labor I'll be doing, but I said that if I can lose 50 lbs (almost bringing me back down to my college weight/targeted BMI) then I'll marry whoever is responsible for that. 


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine--Out of the depths I cry to thee, O Lord --Part II

Update: Well, I made the deadline, but I'm not so sure of the content.   It's definitely not my strongest piece by far and given another day I could have put more effort into the crappy topic of  "five inspirational bible quotes."  I had to compress some time-lines to make the article flow, because no one really wants to hear about how I drank away five years of my life.  Or maybe they do, but that's not the appropriate forum.  Anyways, here's hoping that Associated Content will publish this:

Until I was 18 I assumed that my bed time prayers, church attendance on Sundays, and the 'Religion Award' in 8th grade meant that I had a great faith life.  I was viewing my faith life like a recipe.  Add one cup of prayer followed by two heaping handfuls of good deeds, mix, bake in the oven for 85 years.  End result is every-lasting reward. 

Right?  Oh, I could not have been more wrong.

At 18, in college many states away from home I went through a series of events that shook me to the very core of my beliefs.  Things that occurred severely altered my faith in humankind and God for that matter, and I didn't think that I could continue living with the pain that I was in.  Daily, I contemplated death.  If I couldn't face the person that I had become, why would God want to face me? 

As much as I didn't want to face God, He chose to pursue me.  One afternoon, after contemplating another way to end my life, I tripped on a stack of books on the floor.  One happened to be my Bible.  Here's the thing, for growing up in the church and being reminded to say my prayers, I couldn't tell you much about the Bible except for Genesis was at the beginning, Revelation was at the end, King David was a little boy who wrote the Psalms, and Luke has the prettiest description of the Nativity.  (I think my knowledge about the Nativity has something to do with watching Charlie Brown Christmas for years, rather than paying attention in church). 

I happened to open up to the Book of Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."  Those few words changed my life.  I did not understand why He had allowed me to live, when there were times that I could have died, that He chose to sustain me.  I wept for I realized that God had known about me before I came into being, that He had a plan for my life.  I knew that even amid the pain I was in, uncertain of what the future would hold for me, God was holding onto me, that He would reveal His plan for me in His time.  Whenever I grow frighten of what the future may hold, of the tasks that lie before me, I reflect on Jeremiah's words and I find my peace again.

When I am troubled, my first instinct is to bottle up the fears inside of me.  I believe that no one is interested in my problems and that it is better that I deal with things by myself.  But when I discovered King David's opening verse in  Psalm 130 "Out of the depths I cry to thee, O Lord!  Lord, hear my voice!  Let thy ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications!" I realized that as King David could recognize his neediness and feared that the Lord may not be listening to his pleas, I too could follow his lead.  As King David was open about his anxieties, I should confide in the Lord when troubles assault me.

Another verse that I turn to when worries pile up is in the Gospel of Luke 11: 9-13 "And I tell you, Ask and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.  What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him scorpion?  If you then who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"  This verse inspires me to recall that fear is useless.  There is an abundance of love that the Lord has for me.  Just as I work hard to provide the best for my child because I love him, the Father who is all good will provide the best for me. 

With unemployment rising, the stock market plummeting and the national deficit mounting it is easy to get caught up in the hysteria that we will be reliving the Great Depression of the 1920's.  When I am tempted join the despair, I reflect on Matthew 6: 25-33 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. . . . Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin. . . .your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,  and all these things shall be yours as well."   The Lord is aware of our daily needs and knows that many of the economic problems that are afflicting our lives is largely out of our hands.  We need to pray that He will take care of us and have faith that He will care for us, as He cares for even the flowers that grow on the earth.   

When I become aware of my own shortcoming and sinfulness, I reflect on Luke 15: 32 "It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found,"  the parable of the Prodigal Son.  God's love for us is so great that when we return to Him after being parted though evil deeds, He welcomes us back with open arms.  God isn't waiting in anger to rebuke us for our sins but rather rejoices that His child has returned. 

Now that I am farther removed from the child I was at 18, I know that my spiritual journey is still so young.  I know that my faith will increase each day that I ask the Lord for His help.  He has sustained me though many trials thus far and as I grow older and my needs and desires change, I know that I will always find guidance in the Scriptures. 

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine--Out of the depths I cry to thee, O Lord

I've been rather put out the last few days and not very interested in writing.  The threat of another head cold, coupled with the rapidly dwindling money supply, along with another thwarted job attempt has left me severely out of sorts.  I struggle with the decisions that I may have to make.  If I can't afford my rent, where do I go?  Any family I have do not possess the room to handle two more people and I don't have any acquaintances in this area to lend me space. 

I detest feeling sorry for myself and giving up, so today rather than playing the lottery in hopes that blind luck will win me the jackpot of 123 million (and counting), I've picked up several writing assignments from the virtual desk of Associated Content.  I've submitted three today, and snatched up a fourth assignment, noticing that the deadline was under 24 hours, but not caring because at 4PM, I rationalized that I had until 3PM the next day.  And then tonight at 8:30, just as I was planning on calling it a night and popping in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo  (Note: DO NOT watch this movie/read the book if you are not prepared to deal with violence towards women/children.  This series written by the late Stieg Larsson serve as a research tool for a novel that I am working on.)

As I prepared to log out of my account, I decided to double check the time stamp for the deadline of the fourth assignment. 

Ummmm, that would be midnight.


Two hours from now. 


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wedding Bells at Barrington Hill Farm!

Photo by Tina Sargeant Photography

I do some work for the owner of Barrington Hill Farm, and she is opening up the horse farm as a venue for weddings.  Seriously beautiful!  On the off chance that I may walk down the aisle one day, I'd love to have the reception there.

She needs help getting the word out about the place, so if you can follow the link over to the blog 100 layer cake and leave a comment, like "How pretty!" "If I lived in the area, I'd do an event there!" because the more hits she can get on the blog and site, the more traffic gets to the site, the higher her ranking will go on the search engines when people search for outdoor wedding venues in FL.

I really appreciate the help (cuz she makes it possible for me to stay home and write for the most part.  FYI, I submitted my first article to Associated Content, the online newsfeed for Yahoo.  I'll know in a few more days if it gets published.)

And to my readers across the globe in Russia, Germany, Brazil, Australia, and even Pakistan, thanks for checking in on me!  It really brightens my day when I can check my stats and see that I am reaching people far away from the sunny climes of Florida.  You (along with my US/Canada readers, I won't forget you!) really keep me invigorated to write. 

Writing has been my life-long passion, but I've never had the guts to do it before.  Thanks for boosting my spirits and giving me the confidence that I actually have some writing chops!  I love you!!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Election 2010- Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Dear Florida,
Thank you for returning to your common sense.  I guess a two year headache of crappy political decisions has made you realize what many of us already knew: big government sucks eggs.

Now, to you newly elected: DON'T LET US DOWN!  We voted you in here for a reason, namely CHANGE/FIX this mess.  You have a big task ahead, but let's see you put your money where your mouth has been this past campaigning year. 
Gov. Rick Scott

Sen. Marco Rubio. (Thanks for the help Charlie Crist!)

Attn General Pam Bondi

District 61 Rep. Will Weathford
Good luck folks and God bless.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Night Fury aka Toothless the Dragon
Momma! It's just me! I'm not a REAL dragon!
Beauty and the Beast
Happy Halloween from the Diatribist and the Kiddo!

How to Throw a Blogger Under the Internet Bus: Editor's Edition

The more I think about Maura Kelly and her tactless, tasteless post, the more angry I become, but not at Ms. Kelly.  Rather the person who are the subject of my ire is the editor who suggested that Ms. Kelly, a self-proclaimed recovering anorexic, write a piece on weight.  Ms. Kelly presents her slanted viewpoint, which said editor approves and publishes for millions of people to read.  On top of that, when all hell breaks loose from every corner of the globe, the EIC Joanna Coles goes on record to state "Maura Kelly is a very provocative blogger.”  “She was an anorexic herself and this is a subject she feels very strongly about.”
(Note to Joanna Coles: When you think that dating advice and looking for first time love is provocative, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.) 

So, let me see if I got this right.  The editor suggested (and the EIC approved) an assignment on overweight people showing affection to an admitted anorexic, one who states in her blog profile that "though she's in her thirties, she's never been in love before - and has started to wonder if she ever will be."  Asking a weight-phobic, inexperienced 'lover' to write about 'fatties' is about as intelligent as asking a member of AA to cover the local wine fest.  Would you tell the one-legged kid to hop through a mine field as a sweeper?  No, because it's stupid, unfair, and sets up the perfect recipe for disaster. 

The way I see it, there are three ways of looking at this editorial job, and none are flattering in any light.  Either Maura Kelly's editor (and Joanna Coles) are:
  • unintelligent/not the sharpest knives in the drawer,
  • ignorant, like-minded bigots or
  • opportunist media whores    
 Let's break this down using some old-fashioned logic, shall we?

First off, I think to say that the editors are unintelligent would be a fallacy.  Joanna Coles is the editor in chief at Marie Clare and she didn't get there overnight.  My guess is that it took years of back-breaking labor, many late nights at the office, and at times, a stunted social life.  As for the editor directly over Maura Kelly, I can assume that she has operated under the same format as Ms. Coles in order to gain the position she is in now.  So clearly, neither editor is lacking in grey matter. 

Second, to say that the editors are like-minded 'fattie' haters would be difficult to pinpoint.  As neither editor has been cited for making inflammatory remarks and we are unaware of their private thoughts, it is not fair to brand either editor as a bigot.  However, if we were to go on the premise that actions speak louder than words, by approving Maura Kelly's piece for publication, they were de facto mirroring her sentiments.  This blogger, willing to err on the side of caution and not throw stones out of spite, will not brand the editors as hate-mongers.

Third, where I draw my conclusion, is that Joanna Coles and the un-named editor are opportunistic media whores.  Since Maura's post hit the web, there has been over several thousand hits to the website.   An admitted anorexic freelance writer is given a suggested topic.  She in turn brings her fears, predispositions, and insecurities into the picture.  Her article is then approved by not only her immediate editor, but by proxy the EIC, and her name is now mud on the bathroom wall of the Internet. That's okay, because bad publicity is better than no publicity at all, right?  Ad revenue must be up by 150%. 

While both editors have well established careers and will not suffer much from this fallout, it appears that Maura Kelly's budding career may come to a crashing halt.  I pity her for the daily struggles she must make with each bite of food she puts in her mouth, but do I excuse her terrible remarks?  No, not in the least.  She is responsible for her own prejudices.  But the editors who allowed that piece to be published, I hold them entirely responsible.  Just as a parent is there to lookout for the good of their child and correct that child's ill behaviors, the editor is there to look over the author's work to make sure there are no spelling errors, sentence structure and content are sound, and thoughts flow evenly.  (Note to editor, don't rely on spell check.  It's heroin, not heroine.  I know I make my mistakes when I blog, but I don't have a paid editor to catch my misspells.)

When these women editors passed on a piece of work that was rife with hate and condescending advice, they not only did a great injustice to all the people targeted by that work, they possibly put the nail in the coffin of a writer's career.  

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

If You've Ever Felt Fat. . . With Absolutely No Apologies to Maura Kelly or Marie Claire's EIC Joanna Coles

Dear tactless Maura Kelly and her questionable editor Joanna Coles

Ladies, have either of you ever woken up in the morning and felt like it was going to be one of your fat days?  You know instinctively that none of your clothes will look right on you, you assume everyone at work will see the cellulite on your legs, and your raging PMS hormone-addled body is screaming for chocolate, salt, or a combination of the two.  (French fries dunked in a chocolate shake?  Why, yes I will!)  So when I came across this drivel, I'm sorry, this blog post which masquerades as a piece of freelance writing worthy of monetary compensation Should Fatties Get a Room? (Even on TV?), I am happy to say that I could care less about your ignorant, C minus creative arts class assessment on fat/big boned/obese people.  (And really, if you took out the word "Fatties" out of the title and inserted a different age/social/religious/ethnic group, for example, Welfare Recipients, Blacks, Mormons, Hasidic Jews, there would be one hell of a lawsuit and boycott on your hands.)

It's taken me almost 30 years to realize and understand what the ever witty Jen Lancaster says in her book Such a Pretty Fat, "I'm tired of books where a self-loathing heroine is teased to the point where she starves herself skinny in hopes of a fabulous new life.  And I hate the message that women can't possibly be happy until we all fit into our skinny jeans.  I don't find these stories uplifting: they make me want to hug these women and take them out for fizzy champagne drinks and cheesecakes and explain to them that until they figure out their insides, their outsides don't matter.(Emphasis mine)

See, my body type tends to be more like this:
She is so gorgeous!
What's not to like?

                         Instead of THIS:

I've seen healthier legs on a stork!
I want to scream, "Eat a damn sandwich!"
And I'm not going to apologize for my curves, I'm gonna embrace them!  Do you know how much women pay for a set of D-D-D in hopes of raising their self-esteem and garnering more looks from the male population?  I got these babies for free!  Should I apologize to you because my thighs touch when I stand up or that "Baby Got Back" by Sir-Mix-A-Lot celebrates women like me and not you?  Are you that unhappy in your love/emotional/physical life that you find it revolting to see an overweight person in love and enjoying life?  Do you somehow feel better knowing that the thousands of people who don't have this gift of understanding and security that I have so lately received are going to cry into their pints of ice cream while they mentally scourge themselves for being viewed as disgusting?

And while you think that your half-assed attempt of an apology (I'm sorry your feelings got hurt for what I said, even though what I said is right, and I'm actually a victim too) is going to cut it, don't count on it.  We live in a day and age where cell phones post videos directly to YouTube, blog posts can go viral in a matter of hours, and talking heads love to comment on 'controversial' topics (Joanna's words, not mine).  This isn't going to be swept under the rug that easily.  My mother said that when you say a word in anger, once it's out there, you can't take it back.  The damage has already been done.  So Ms. Kelly let this be a lesson to you, never trust an editor who goads you into writing on a topic that you have no real clue about, and understand when you piss off one friend, you've lost one friend.  When you piss off a large (pun intended) contingent on the internet, you're screwed.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dinning on Dimes

The economy is in the crapper, unemployment is still high (Fl alone is 12% last time I checked), and gas is 2.75 at best, but an unemployed writer can still swing $4 meals at Steak 'n Shake.
Their Black and Blue Steakburger was AWESOME!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Puddle of Mud

I am stuck right now in the doldrums.  Writer's block keeps pounding at my mental door and I am quite cranky about this.  I have several posts that are partially written, but yet I can't find the cohesive link I need to complete any of these trains of thoughts.  Instead of mind-blowing insights and fresh repartee, my brain is tossing about random musings on the most inane things.  For example, if you were to plum the depths of my cerebral cortex you would find these various trains of thought violently derailing themselves:
---If aliens are advanced creatures of higher intelligence why would they travel light years just to probe our buttocks?  Couldn't they stay on their planet and make a plastic model?
---If comedian Dane Cook were no longer allowed to make jokes about genitals, would he still be considered funny?
---Did the advertising executives who created the ad campaign for Head-On finish last in their class? 
Do they really think by shouting "HEAD-ON!  APPLY DIRECTLY TO THE FOREHEAD!" seven times in 20 seconds will encourage me to run to the nearest grocery store?
---How much wood could a woodchuck chuck?

See, not the ideas of a great Nobel thinker right now.  But tomorrow that may change for I will be at the Festival of Reading.  Maybe I'll get some new perspective on the things I have been trying to flesh out.  Or maybe I'll come up with a series of new things to ponder.  Either way, I need a nap.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Silent Seven (three had to leave early)

The team calls it a day. Good witness guys!

My Future as a Graphic Designer

That's my shirt. Designed it myself, (although there's not too much creative effort behind it). I stole the idea from a failed t-shirt campaign by Planned Parenthood.

Small Blessings

Was just approached by a woman who said that 65 years ago she WAS NOT aborted by her biological mother and was adopted. She thanked us for our witness.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Time to Consult the Oxford-English Dictonary

Just so we're on the same page when you read/discuss/praise/criticize/love/hate this post, I've linked the following words from the Oxford-English On-Line Dictionary.  That way if you the reader and I the blogger decided to debate/discuss the following diatribe we won't have to quibble on word definition such as Bill Clinton once did:  
PRO: from Latin pro, favoring, supporting. 

CHOICE: Middle English: from Old French chois, from choisir 'choose', of Germanic origin and related to choose; an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities

LIBERAL: Middle English: via Old French from Latin liberalis, from liber 'free (man)'; open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values

ABORT/ABORTION mid 16th century: from Latin aboriri 'miscarry', from ab- 'away, from' + oriri 'be born'; bring to a premature end because of a problem or fault; the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy

LIFE: Old English līf, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch lijf, German Leib 'body', also to live; the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death

Okay, everyone clear on the definitions?  Then let's proceed.

I was recently Facebook'd by my younger sister to attend the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity 2010 which she had participated in the year prior.  (Originally when I had heard that she was going to be silent for an entire day, I found that intriguing and impossible, for of all my siblings she is the MOST chatty.  She's the typical teenager in the LOL, OMG, J/K slang speakeasy way but with a bit more focused moral compass).

So when I looked at the invite I smiled and acknowledged her dedication but mentally I was thinking of a way out of actually committing.  While we would be standing out on the busy street corner of our one horse town for just under two hours, I didn't want to deal with the hassle of finding care for the Kiddo because as good as he can be, there is no way in Heaven that he would sit/stand still for 2 hrs much less 10 minutes.  Plus I didn't want to run the chance of being seen by my former colleagues--"Look at her.  No job and standing on the corner like a homeless person.  Is that red tape?  What a whack-job.  Maybe we should give her $10."  Truthfully, the thing is I didn't want to spend two hours with red tape on my mouth handing out pamphlets.  The way I saw it was that I had done my duty all ready;  I put in my time and effort into the pro-life movement as a child and younger adult.

As a teenager, I went to the FL House and Senate encouraging the veto of the partial birth abortion bill.  In college I assisted in running the prayer group that prayed outside a Planned Parenthood Abortion Mill in DC, did some sidewalk counseling, worked for a pro-life organization after graduation, and attended several freezing cold pro-life marches along the DC streets.  And I made the biggest pro-life altering choice when I unexpectedly discovered that I was seven weeks pregnant.  I could have never informed the father, never told anyone except my roommate and two then-friends, and taken care of the problem like I was encouraged to do by the two then-friends.  But I didn't (obviously).  

As I clicked the link to politely decline attending I was directed to the official Facebook page, where I spent several minutes scanning the contents of the comments section.  Rather than just respond yea or nay to the invite, some people decided to express their dissenting viewpoints and I came across these lovely gems: [Note: I have not revealed the names from these FB postings, I have merely cut and pasted individuals words] 
  •  Said one young man whom I would like to nominate for outstanding citizen of the year, "For every abortion you prevent, I will cause ten more."  "I don't have to force people. I will just kick pregnant teenagers in the belly. :)"  Sounds like he would be a wonderful case study in abnormal psychology and the prefect character for an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.
  • Vapid girl number 1 says:  "i believe this was on my birthday last year. i'm pro choice. and rather ticked off that my friend wouldnt talk to me on my birthday."[Sic]  Glad to find someone who's slightly more shallow than Paris Hilton on a good day.
  • Girl number 2 chimes in with her idiotic brand of reasoning: "I happen to be in favor of abortion, I wish more people would have them, there'd be less crime. Don't balk, it's a proven correlation."  Ummm....This is not Newton's Third Law of Motion to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Your logic is so flawed I don't know where to begin. 
  • But my favorite line was the tired refrain: "Don't like abortion?  That's fine, don't get one."  Let's try this line of reasoning for everything!  Don't like rape?  Don't get raped!  Don't like being sick?  Don't get sick!  Don't like peanut butter and jelly?  Just eat ham and cheese!
YEA FOR ALL OF YOU!  Instead of engaging in what could be a dialogue between two parties of opposing viewpoints, your vitriol statements confirms my assumption that those who call themselves pro-choice/liberal (see definitions above) are not accommodating for the choice of others, but wish for everyone to be in lock step with their ideas.  

Here's the thing, this event is for a group (hopefully many thousands) of people to silently witness to the world their beliefs.  Did you get that?  SILENTLYThat's it.  There won't be any marching.  No chanting, yelling, singing, or verbal prayer.  All the people are choosing to be quiet.  They will be quiet for one day, to show to the world that they are being silent for the sake of the silent child growing in the womb which may not have the choice to live. 

If a pro-choice/liberal is all for the freedom to make differing choices, why do they get so upset when someone chooses different from their choice?

I'll see you on the sidewalk Tuesday, little sis.  Thanks for the reminder that my choice to be pro-life needs to be witnessed to this one horse town and I need to shut up for a few hours to remind myself of the child that I chose five years ago.

This post is dedicated to KMG and JTP, two of my many favorite peoples.  Life would be very empty without either of you!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Adventures in BabySitting--Extreme Home Makeover Edition

The Garage Door Formerly Known as White
My suggestion to the children to play outside was greeted with so much enthusiasm that I should have been a little suspicious.  Do you think Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will removed broom-smashed berries?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A (Wo)Man for All Seasons

Things you don't see in FL-the changing of the leaves during fall. While I envy my friends for the fall symphony of colors, I'll be their envy when the cold fingers of winter are wrapped around their throats.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cinderella Strikes Again

See the chandelier? In my friend's brand new house? All clean and shiney? Did I mention that I burned down my dorm room in college? So when I flipped the switch to see the new bulbs illuminate said chandelier. . . and the damn thing started SMOKING. . . I had to appreciate the irony.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Armed and Dangerous

Open Season on Deer--The Kiddo Leans the Finer Points of a Crossbow

Future NRA member---Supporting the Right to Bear Arms Since 1791 and Simultaneously Pissing Off Liberals

Friday, September 24, 2010

Schrödinger's Cat---My Feelings on Absent Men

I've been lax about writing these past several days because I have been very busy working alongside my dearest friend packing up her house, preparing endless snacks for the plethora of children running around the house, cleaning those dirty dishes produced by the plethora, and staying up late to talk, laugh, and watch super handsome David Boreanaz on Bones.  (Also, staying up until 1:30 AM five days running kinda screws up my ability to write coherently; I'm not complaining for I am too busy laughing).  But for right now, my friend is out on a date with her husband, all the kids are asleep, and I have silence to re-read my pondering.  And today's pondering has led me to ask: why is it more socially acceptable for a man to abandon his family?

When a woman abandons her children for a life free from child rearing responsibility we tend to think that her actions are reprehensible and question if she is of sound mind.  For example, Margaret Sanger (a topic of my college dissertation; I won't bother to footnote right now.  If wish to question this assertion, message me and I'll be happy to furnish proof) abandoned her children to further the birth control movement.  What sort of woman could be away from her four year old daughter as she lay dying from pneumonia?  It seems that a woman would have to be crazy to turn her back on the fruit of her womb.

Yet the flip side of the coin reveals we are quicker to dismiss the man's shortcomings.  "He couldn't handle the pressures/He wasn't ready for the challenges/He wasn't able to grow-up/He wasn't prepared."  Why is it that when a man abandons his children we do not question his mental acuity.  Why does not the world react with the same sort of disgust?
This hot topic issue came up today for I found myself in the neighborhood of my son's biological father; I was flash-flooded with memories from five years back. The last time I saw him I was 20 wks pregnant and he had promised to attend the 'guess your baby's gender' sonogram. Using your powers of deduction you can conclude he never showed up.

That was a horribly painful time in my life, but I have made peace with the loss of that relationship and moved on.  My Kid is the greatest joy of my folly and I can't imagine life without him.  I understand intellectually and rationally speaking that the path the Kid and I are on together is a far better journey than what may have been if his biological stayed around.  In retrospect I can see how the biological father and I were not suited for a relationship, even though we had been wonderful friends.  So why am I still angry after these years have passed?

I don't believe that I am angry at being left to raise a child on my own; I had the decision to abort, adopt out or become a single mother.  I knew that raising a child alone would/is a massive responsibility.  I think that I am more angered by the fact that one look at my ring-less left hand and the child on my hip, one can conclude that I am a single mother.  But no one will ever look at him and wonder if he has a child.

Like Schrödinger's Cat I am both alive and dead, happy and sad, angry and peaceful.  Next time I'm out driving around up here, I'll make sure to avoid those old roads.  And when I get back to FL, the Kid and I will cut new paths in the Florida sand.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"If you stare at me for a long time you'll get the hebie-jebbies." Where does he come up with this?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Now Boarding....Wanna Be Faux-Celebs

Apparently Lady Gaga's doppelganger was traveling through Chicago too. Note the lovely fringed boots and the non-existent shorts . Blah!