No More Empty Fortune Cookies!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Why do I bother watching WSMV News?

Seriously. I usually end up mouth agape, chin on the floor, yelling at the tv almost as loudly as I do during the presidential debates or a state of the union address when a Republican is in office. Tonight it was over child safety seats and the lack of adequate use of them in Tennessee. Our local Channel 4 News anchor, Demetria Kalodimos ,followed up the story with what I can only assume was her feeble attempt at showing empathy for the offenders by saying " some of those seats can be really difficult to figure out how to use though" ...What? Did I just hear that? Really? I'm sorry, but if you can't determine how to use the damned car seat, you don' t need to be raising a child! They come with friggin' instructions, and a diagram! Now if she wanted to empathize with the non-compliant parents, then discuss the expense of car seats. Even that isn't a good excuse. Honestly, if you can't afford a car seat, you sure don't need to have kids. But I realize people find themselves in situations that they can't change after the fact. I can fully sympathize with the parent who can't afford the often astronomical prices stores charge for car seats. I checked it out, they seem to range from $59.99 - 199.99 for the average car seat. That's a lot of money. That's a whole lotta money for someone who may be working a minimum wage job. But then, choices we make in life, be they about family, employment, what have you, are ours to make. Once we make those choices, it is up to us to do the best we can with them. Now as a parent working a minimum wage job, if you can't afford a car seat, the best thing you can do for your child is to have someone you trust to stay at home with them while you go out. You will eventually need a car seat for Dr.'s appointments and necessities like that, so now it's time to re-evaluate your situation. I used to know someone who just buckled in their 4 year old to the back seat no car seat, just the seat belt. Saying, " I can't afford those things!" Yet every couple of days she was buying a case of beer and two cartons of cigarettes a week, one for each her and the hubby. In one weeks time that family's beer and cigarettes would have paid for a car seat for the kid. I bought them one one weekend when I babysat and refused to transport a child illegally and unsafely. Maybe the story the news should have focused on would have been the cost of car seats and how low income families can find affordable ones rather than how difficult they can be to figure out how to use. And it may have been worth mentioning that the United Way has a program to help low income families obtain child safety seats, they can be reached by dialing 211. Thanks WSMV for thorough and accurate investigative journalism, as always.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wood and Metal

So I've decided to give the Weekly Word Challenge a try. If you don't know about it, go visit Tink's page to get in on the fun.

This week's words are Wood and Metal:

Bamboo is wood.

this one is both!

I found this wooden rainbow! OOOhhh.....

both my easel and my pallet are wood

I get a really nice attitude adjustment from this metal---->

creepy barbed wire crucifixes that I found at the flea counts as metal, right?

so that's it. My first weekly word challenge. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Where's my "Flair"?

I HEART the flea market.
There's cool old stuff. There's weird new stuff. It's a great place to people watch, to shop for bargains, and to just get out of the house and support some independent economy rather than corporate. It's also a great place to find artifacts of our history. I saw some frighteningly racist trinkets, dolls, signs, and posters. I also saw some amazingly cool pro-feminism posters. I found a sweeeeeeeet photo of Marylin Monroe looking fabulous while weightlifting... I really wanted that but couldn't see spending what they wanted for it.
I find lots of inspiration at the flea market. There's always books to be discovered. Yesterday's discovery was a sweet vintage all female erotic photography book. It had some really interesting old photos. I love really old photography. I didn't buy it and I truly wish I would have, but the seller was asking more than my budget for the day allowed and a friend who was with me grabbed it up instead, so as we decided, it stays in the family.
I was determined to get me some desk "flair" in the form of a bamboo plant, and had I bought the book I would have been sacrificing my flair. I do want my flair! I do, I do! The bamboo plant lady usually has a ton of cool bamboo in cool little planters all set up and ready to go, but yesterday she only had a tiny selection ready, none of which appealed to me. I told her what I was looking for and she hooked me up. This was better, I got to pick out my bamboo stalks, my charm, my vase, everything was custom which makes it all the better flair for my new desk.
I love my new desk by the way. It's big and roomy and in front of a window. I get to look out over Brentwood, which is nice because there's Green Hills's rolling hills in the background and the buildings that I do see are pretty and maintained, unlike the warehouse/industrial type buildings my last place of employment was built around. We aren't in the middle of the ghetto either so there's a huge difference from the last one. I don't see graffiti everywhere and hear cars bumping their bass all day followed by sirens which are usually preceded and sometimes followed by gunshots. I'm in a whole new world, and I'm loving it.
Best of all, I don't share my desk with anyone; It's mine all mine. My cubicle is huge, its like 2 of the cubicles I used to work in plus some. I have tons of storage space and tons of space period. I hate feeling claustrophobic in a teeny tiny cramped cubicle and this one is so nice and big I don't have that feeling at all. YAY.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I'm Easy

"Dragonfly" oil on wood, by Angela Schleicher

I'm cooooooooooold. I miss seeing the dragonflies and bumblebees buzzing about in circular patterns only they can follow. I miss the dandelions growing amok in my yard chocking off the grass from proper growth.
I sometimes miss the perpetual mild weather of California, but it's a trade off'. The ground there has a tendency to open up and swallow buildings like a 3 day starved cow at the trough.
Why can't it just be 70 degrees and sunshiny year round without catastrophic seismic activity? That's not asking for too much. Is it? If it's not 70 and sunny, there needs to be at least 1 ft of snow on the ground and ample salt and plows for the streets. But cold without snow is like sex without an orgasm - anticlimactic. So, 70/sunshine or snow in the yard but not in the street...That's my perfect world. See, I'm easy to please - no matter what my wife may tell you.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

You Can Do It!

oil on canvas, by Angela Schleicher
(another example of my mermaid obsession)

This mermaid spoke to me from the canvas. She told me to stop what I was doing. She told me to re-evaluate my life and my career ( or lack of one) and to find the path that I wanted. She told me that it didn't have to be so dull and monotonous and that it could include magenta hair if that's what I so desired.
I listened to her. I polished up my resume. I enrolled in school. I found my new job and I am so happy for having done so. My new company is awesome. I couldn't have imagined finding a place so wonderful even before I finish school. The work that I do now is interesting rather than frustrating and the people that I do have contact with are happy and have intelligent conversations with me rather than the berating, belittling ass-chewing that I used to endure working in customer service. Wow. Had I of realized that this actually was a feasible option sooner, I would have demanded this for myself years ago. I really need to work on my self esteem and recognizing when it is deficient much sooner. Breaking the cycle of poor self esteem and depression can seem insurmountable, but I can attest to the fact that it most certainly can be done. All you need is willpower, love and support, and a touch of motivation, and some encouraging words even if you have to say them to yourself.
Thats it for my corny motivation go have a nice day!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Today's Post is Closed Captioned...

So I had my first day at my new job today, YAY!!! I think it'll be cool.
I'll fill you in more about that as I get to know more about it.
What I'm deeply concerned about at this moment in time is the misinformation being communicated to all of the deaf people watching and reading closed captioning! I am astonished at the poor editing job being done there. Astonished and appalled! I watched the closed captioning incorrectly translate " ...with aging our bodies become less able to absorb calcium..." to "...our bodies become more able to absorb..." Now all the deaf people watching that commercial may be misled into thinking that they can stop drinking milk as they get older. The other day it said blue when the person actually said red, and I keep seeing that it actually misses whole sentences! I don't really know why we still have the closed captioning on. Wifey-poo did it while watching Telemundo and decided to keep it on, why I don't know. Personally, it's quite distracting to me, obviously. I can't really remember what happened on the L Word or Big Brother or Survivor for that matter. I just keep focusing on all the typos and left out sentences, wondering what the deaf people think that conversation is really about and do they have anyone telling them that the closed captioning is lying to them. It just seems unfair. Wifey-poo said I should chill because deaf people can read lips but what about the voice overs that get screwed up? Why am I so concerned? Because I'm probably going to loose my hearing one day and be dependent on closed captioning and when that day comes, I want there to be accuracy in my captions! And if I demand it for me in the very, very, very distant future (like probably a week before I die) then we can certainly demand it for the ones who are dependent on it today!
Then again, maybe that therapist was right after all... maybe I do have O.C.D. and am just obsessing over this for no reason.
Pfffft! Naah! What was I thinking?!

not a good picture of my picture but here it is... in all it's awkwardness..

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Her Epiphany

So the wife is still sick, flu season is in full swing. She tends to have wonderfully vivid dreams when she's sick, guess it's the NyQuil. Our conversation went like this:
her: " I dreamed we had a dome top skylight ceiling"
me: "Oh, yeah? Cool!"
her: " ...yeah, it was here in the living room. I looked up and there it was, huge and beautiful and I was like, Oh yeah, we have that...I always forget about that"
me: "So what in our lives are we overlooking that should be obvious?"
her: heavy sigh followed by " My potential."

And there we have it.

Pobrecita... te quiero mucho, no importa qué!

Friday, February 15, 2008

One small step

I just
read this from the ACLU website
NEW YORK – In a unanimous decision, a New York appellate court today ruled that marriages of same-sex couples entered into outside of New York must be recognized. The case, filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union, is the first appellate court decision in the state and the first known decision in the country to hold that a valid same-sex marriage must be recognized here." This is a monumental moment for my community! " Unanimous decision"... That makes me smile. This means that without contest, the New York appellate court agrees that a marriage such as mine and Macey's is equally worthy of the same rights and protections as my mom and dad's. As it stands today, here in Tennessee, our marriage is not even worth the paper that the license is printed on. We flew all the way to Canada, we went to Niagara Falls City Hall and got a license and then we went to a chapel and had our wedding by an ordained minister. Just like thousands of heterosexual couples do every year. Unlike them, our marriage meant nothing to the state or to the federal government once we crossed the border back into the USA. We can't file taxes jointly. Macey can't add me to her insurance policy. We can't even join the YMCA or adopt a kid as a couple. I am going uninsured until my coverage kicks in with the new job. This can be devastating with a chronic, sometimes debilitating, potentially life threatening condition like mine. It certainly is risky. Without the assistance of insurance, my anti-seizure medicine alone can cost close to $300.00 a month for just one prescription. I thought ahead and filled my Rx before my old insurance expired. Luckily my new insurance will go into effect before I need another refill. But if I have a grand mal and hurt myself or go into status epilepticus before I am insured again, the trip to the ER could be devastating to my savings account. Sure, much needed legislation to stop the drug companies from raping us over our meds would be a huge step in the right direction, along with ensuring that every American has access to affordable health care... but that takes us into another realm of injustices. Right now I just want to bask in the glory and consider moving to New York where they will recognize and honor the commitment that my wife and I have made and afford us the same rights as our married heterosexual neighbors.
Now, if we can get this implemented on a federal level...


Have I told you how wonderful my baby is? Well she is. She bought me tickets to see Ani Difranco at the Ryman! Anyone who knows me knows how much I love and idolize Ani. I love her politics, her lyrics, her art and her poetry. She is hands down my favorite modern day artist. Macey is not such a big Ani fan, being more of a hard rocker less of a folk rocker than I am, so I really appreciate her willingness to step outside of her musical comfort zone.
Poor baby, though, she's terribly sick. She stayed home from work today, only the third time I can recall in three years that she has missed work. Once was when we went to a funeral, once was when we were up all night at the 24 hr emergency vet with one of our babies, and now this. She is a tough girl and pretty resilient, but this flu has really taken a toll on her. I hope it's over soon so I can properly thank her. And, Ani.. I'll see you in March!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!
I'll be busy all day so I won't get a chance to be on... I hope you all have love and happiness today and everyday!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Rebel Yell

I have hand-me-down tupperware. A friend gave it to me back in the day when I certainly needed it and could not afford even the Dollar General Store kind. It was given to her and she passed it on to me. It was much appreciated then and still is today. The tupperware however does have labels on it from someone else's admirable ability to be so organized.
There's a huge container marked "flour", one marked "coffee", a smaller one marked "sugar" there's even one marked "marshmallows"!! I've kept it empty until I get some marshmallows to put in it, yum. I mean, who doesn't like a marshmallow every now and then?

All in all I respect anyone who can adhere to such labels, there is a degree of commitment that must be commended. I on the other hand find it fun to put sugar in the "coffee" container and rice in the "flour" one. I have to confess that I do have Rice Chex in the "cereal" container, but only because it's the perfect size. Today I had to giggle a bit when I realized that I have celery in the "baking mix" container. Not for the nonconformist aspect. I've adapted to myself being an anti-establishment poster child. No, what made me giggle like a school girl was that someone actually at some point put baking mix into a tupperware container rather than keeping it in the box that it comes in. Does baking mix need to be kept in tupperware? And if so, what did they do with the recipes on the back of the box that tell you how to use that baking mix? Organizational skills, being something that I lack, can be a funny thing. I admire them, I wish I had more of them, yet when they are placed in my face, labels and containers ready for storage, what do I do? I rebel!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Evangelicals are Coming! The Evangelicals are Coming!

The Jerry Falwells of America are headed to the polls, and into my neighborhood. And honestly, that scares the holy shit out of me. This is why. In 2004 1 in 4 voters identified themselves as evangelical. In the Republican and Democratic primaries, thus far we have 1 in 3 identifying as evangelical. Furthermore, this year’s exit polls neglected to properly identify 160,000 white evangelical Democratic voters in Missouri and 182,000 white evangelical Democratic voters in Tennessee. That’s a LOT of evangelicals. That’s a lot of intolerance and hate being taught to children by these people. Now, I read these polls that also say that the evangelicals are less concerned about gay marriage and abortion than the economy and the war, but I am like Pavlov's dog; well trained to react to this sector of the nation. I grew up with them. I've lived with them in my home. I've been raised by them. I was subject to the hypocrisy and double speak and denial of truth at a very early age. I was sent to church every morning before school. They didn't have to attend, but it was good for the kids. I witnessed, at the ripe age of 9, the politics involved in church scandals. It's not pretty, believe me. My old school denies that I ever attended their institution, but I have report cards and yearbooks that show that I was there. To them, it's easier to deny the existence of a whole person rather than to admit to a foul done under their watch. What kind of integrity does that teach?
Now they want to build a Bible Park? Yup, you read that right. BIBLE PARK. Let that marinate a minute.
Bible Park developers say that it's nothing crazy and even said and I quote here " It's not Six Flags Over Jesus" - Amon Bar-Tur, Managing Director of sponsor Safe Harbor Holding, LLC. Noooo....nothing as campy as that. Bible Park will simply sport biblical musicals - Broadway style and Broadway sized, a "Bible Fly-Through Ride”, complete with IMAX screens and mid air suspended seats, for what you may ask? For a better view of the Holy Lands, of course! And let's not forget the "Colonial Williamsburg-like re-enactments of ancient life" that's something to see! The Civil War re-enactors will have some competition on their hands. The Crusades will be played out in my backyard while witch hunts ensue and people with leprosy hobble down the streets. Fun for the whole family.
I wonder if they will have a Horus ride.

Horus is the sun god of Egypt. Here's the skinny on him, in case you don't know. Horus is essentially of the sun. Ancient Egyptians didn't follow the stars; they personified them, giving them elaborate and intricate myths involving their movements in the solar system. The sun has life sustaining and life giving qualities and therefore was seen as the creator or god. Literally, "God's Sun”, that's Horus. He was also called the light of the world, the savior of humankind... Egyptian priests were called "Son-chin" which translates to "priests of the sun" [Bryant, Jacob: Analysis of Ancient Mythology, 1979 p.34-35 and Acharya S: Suns of God, 2004 p.75-76]
Horus had an enemy, Set, his uncle who was known by many names some of which include Seth, Typhon, Sut, Sata, and Apep.
Horus was born to Isis on December 25th. His birth was accompanied by a star in the east, which in turn, three kings followed to locate and adorn the new-born savior. At the age of 12, he was a prodigal child teacher, and at the age of 30 he was baptized by a figure known as Anup and thus began his ministry. Horus had 12 disciples (literally the 12 constellations, the houses of the zodiac) he traveled about with, performing miracles such as healing the sick and walking on water. Horus was known by many gestural names such as The Truth, The Light, God's Anointed Son, The Good Shepherd, The Lamb of God, and many others. Betrayed by Typhon, Horus was then crucified, buried for 3 days, and big surprise, resurrected... Now, why is it that Jesus, Horus, Attis of Phyrigia, Krishna of India, Dionysus of Greece and many, many, many other "saviors" from across the globe all seem to share the same general story?
Well, study the stars like the early Egyptians did and you find that Sirius , aside from being great satellite radio, is the brightest star in the night sky, which, on December 24th, aligns with the 3 brightest stars in Orion's Belt. These 3 stars are known today by the same name they have always been known by: The Three Kings. Together the Three Kings and Sirius all point to the place of the sunrise on December 25th. Hence, the Three Kings "follow" the star in the east, to locate the sunrise.
Interestingly, winter solstice, when the days become colder and shorter, something cool happens in relation to the whole story...From the perspective of northern hemisphere, the sun appears to move south and get smaller. Coupled with the dying crops, the time of the shrinking sun and shorter, colder days was seen by the ancients as the death of the sun.
On December 22 the sun appears to stop moving south, it hangs in the same position for 3 days during which time the sun is in the area of the Southern Cross, or Crux, constellation. Then, finally on the 25th, the Sun moves 1 degree north, bringing with it a promise of longer days, warmth to come, spring and new crops: salvation.

Now, tell me that Bible Park will accurately depict the origins of their entire belief system, complete with Horus, Isis, Sirius, and Set musicals and I may just show up there.
But I'm terrified that it will most likely be more like this

and that's an America that scares me.

Monday, February 11, 2008

an amazing video

I saw this video over at Pandagon's and on Air America Radio's Home Page and had to share it...


Ok, so as I've said before, we're trying to be healthier around my house. Since I've been out of work I've had the time to experiment with some recipes and I've come up with something that I dare say is my favorite thing to do with tofu. Now I know a lot of people hear the word tofu and gag or run or just say " what?" but honestly, it's one of my favorite foods to cook with. It's versatile, healthy, filling, and easy to acclimate to. Even miss picky pants the meat and potatoes mid-western gal I married who originally had every reaction previously mentioned has come around and (shhhhh! you didn't hear it from me) even admitted to liking my tofu burgers.
Today I experimented in making tofu chicken patties and I must say, I am very proud of the outcome. No exact recipe, I kinda pieced together many different recipes and suggestions that I found and this is what I came up with in my best recipe format:

Tofu "Chicken" Patties
Mash tofu with in the mixing bowl with hands or potato masher until crumbly.

Add all ingredients except oil and some of the bread crumbs.

Let the mixture sit in bowl, covered, for a couple of hours in the fridge(the longer it sits the more it absorbs the flavors) The mixture should be firm and you should be able to form patties easily without it being slimy or too gooey.

If it is, add more flour until it is the right texture. Roll the patties in remaining bread crumbs.

Heat olive oil over med heat and fry until golden brown on each side (about 5 min) let stand for a few min(5-10) to let the flavors set in and patties to firm up. * Alternate cooking method, pictured here, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle your favorite seasoning over each patty,
and cook on George Foreman Grill 6 - 9 min. until golden brown.

goes great with wine...
Can be eaten as is or on buns.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


As the cold dark winter
of your life crept in
I was left to ponder
all the memories that we've shared
and how I would fare in the days to come.
You nestled your head against my chest
and let out a sigh-
I knew it was not discontent
nor resignation,
Simply relief
to be in the warmth,
the shelter
the company
of one you love,
and who loves you-
And what better place
to spend the final night of your life?

Angela Schleicher © 2/9/2008 for Max

Friday, February 8, 2008

back to work I go!

YAY! I got a job. Not just a job, but the one that I really wanted. It's a great company with perfect hours. I'm very happy, it's absolutely perfect and it's 5 minutes away from the wife's work which means our morning and afternoon commutes will be a piece of cake. And best part of all... no more cab rides for me! They get really expensive here. I can just ride in with my hunny-bunches. I really couldn't have asked for a more suitable position in a more suitable location with more suitable hours or pay. I have until the 19th before I start, so I'm calling this my vacation.
Hooray for patience and my wife allowing me to hold out until a good one came along.'s time to go celebrate!

Gandhi had it right...

Now I realize that the writers are still on strike, and I applaud them for standing up for what they believe in. Honestly. I fully agree with anyone exercising their right to dissent. I believe it is an integral part of what makes a democracy work. I have happily exercised my right to gather and protest on many fine occasions. I have the newspaper clippings to prove it. I remember once, I was 16...maybe 17, it was during Desert Storm...some friends and I went downtown to protest. We got the bright idea that we should all lay down on the side of Broadway with signs that looked like grave markers saying " we're dead" you know, to represent the innocent lives lost to war. It was one of those electrifying moments. I felt like no one could stop me or us. I felt like we COULD make a difference. We could STOP the war. We could stop ALL war! Unfortunately the news cameras came out that night as well as the Tennessean (our local newspaper) and my mug was all over a couple of local channels as well as in the paper. Did I mention that I had lied to my father and said I was going to the mall with my friends because the night before, as I marched across Broadway with a banner..." No Blood for Oil!" chanting " Hey, Bush, whaddaya say? How many kids have died today?" the camera caught me at just the perfect angel to be recognized, you know, full face forward looking right into the lens.
Anyways, yes, I believe in doing what you believe in at all costs. I was grounded for a month over that one. No sweat.
All of this to say, I am not getting on the writers here, this rant is directed at the ladies and gents in the offices, behind desks, deciding what to show on the networks right now. Until our beloved writers bring back our Heroes and The Office and whatever else it is that we watch...can we please get something with SOME substance on there? I mean, lets call it an experiment. There's some really great shows that could be rerun right now that would bring our attention to some issues that need to be addressed badly. Why can't we get 30 Days rerun? That was an awesome show. I bet not nearly enough people saw that, and I'd watch every single episode again. It's like that mommy swap show, but without the screaming kids. In case you aren't familiar with it, it's by Morgan Spurlock, you know, that guy that did Super size Me the McDonalds documentary where he ate nothing but their menu for 30 days and then his doctors told him that his liver was suffering and that he was doing real damage to his organs. Yeah, that guy. So the premise of his show was a mini-documentary where he followed people that he immersed into a totally different lifestyle from their norm for guessed it, 30 days. He had a homophobic straight guy roommate with a gay guy, he had a Christian live with a Muslim, and he and his girlfriend lived on minimum wage. During the show Morgan eloquently defines the socio-political issues surrounding each unique 30 day experiment and tactfully interjects witty and poignant observations. Now THAT was reality TV.
I just can't help but feel like we are reaching a zenith, we are building up our critical mass. I beleive it is up to us as a society to use every tool at our disposal to alleviate the issues facing us. One such tool being that flickering box in almost every living room across this country. Instead of us depending on it to entertain, arouse, and excite us, lets use it to actually educate and enlighten us! Can't we show Sicko on a Friday night? I know lots of conservative people who would not dare to go to the theater to see it, refusing to give Michael Moore one cent from their wallets. Thats fine, again, standing up for what they believe in. But if it were played on lets say NBC or CBS at the Friday night primetime slot...well, that same conservative would probably watch it, just to see... And in doing so they will learn a lot about the American Health Care System and it's failures. Maybe they'll get motivated to write some letters. If not we could follow it up by showing West 47th Street. That was an award winning documentary from a few years back that dealt with the issues of mental illness and homelessness. It discussed how the two are intertwined. Maybe we could be so bold as to run Wal Mart-The High Cost of Low Price... let people out there who may not realize it already what their beloved Wal Mart is doing to our economy. I preach to Macey all the time about the evils of Wal Mart, yet just the other day she looked at me with that pouty face, lip out past her nose and said " I reeeeealy want to go to Wal Mart" in that child-like, whiny-you never let me have
ANY fun- voice. Sigh. My work here is not yet done.
Our politicians are always asking us if we're ready for a change, I hear us saying we want a change, yet we don't enact those changes.
To everything there is a season, and now is the season for change. We've spent the past countless seasons in a nonchalant, aloof and apathetic state. This can't continue. Maybe now is the season for motivation, self examination and enlightened change. I start at home by renting quality informative dvd's , check out netflix's top 10 list of "Every American Should See" . Then I find ways to enact those changes in my life that I want to see. Yes, Gandhi did have it right, you must be the change you want to see in the world. What we are shown on TV is a reflection of what we demand as consumers. Lets demand something better, can we?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Bone Marrow Babies?

The wife and I have talked some about having a family. We're trying to get ourselves ready for it. We quit smoking last year, started eating healthier, stopped the weekly trip to Sonic, and even started taking walks. I just want to be a good example to my child. We've talked about how two women such as us would go about becoming mommies. We've talked about what we want...ideally. I watch her when she watches John and Kate Plus 8, her eyes all a glimmer. My wife wants to be a mommy. I used to think, naively, that when I was ready, I'd just adopt. That looks less and less of an option with my epilepsy and inability to drive; most agencies look unkindly on such things. Then there's Macey's grand plan... The Turkey Baster... yup, she's Gung-ho for that one. Every time we go to the grocery store she says “do we need this? eh?eh? if you know what I mean..." while deviously holding up the first turkey baster she spots. Hold on there, Padre! I'm not quite sold on the idea of some stranger's sperm going in there. Come on, I am a lesbian. I've done well to ensure that manly parts stay out of my body! Besides, it's just plain weird, you know? What if the sperm bank mixes up the sperm? What if I pay for 140 IQ-nuclear physicist-card carrying Mensa member sperm but instead I get 80 IQ-Wal-Mart door greeter- sperm. It could happen! I'm just saying...
Part of what attracts people to each other, at least for me, is looking at the other person and thinking " yeah, I want my children to have that characteristic". I want my kids to have Macey's sense of humor, her ability to find comedy in the most mundane situations. They should get her reasoning skills and her aptitude for Jeopardy, move over Alex Trebek, here's our kid! I want them to get her decisiveness and tenacity... some may call it stubbornness, but hey, whatever works ;) I want them to get my zest for life, sense of adventure, overall positive outlook, and empathy. We both bring artistic natures and a thirst for knowledge to the table and hopefully those genes will be the dominate ones...It's always this nice kind of fairy tale we have with each other about what a love child of ours would end up being. But then last week I read about scientist who have taken bone marrow cells and made them turn into sperm...Theoretically, Macey's bone marrow could be used to grow sperm which could then be used in that turkey baster she's dying to buy! This is still in developmental stages and it seems that there are a few years to go yet before it becomes an accessible option.
Now patience has never been one of my virtues. I want what I want when I want it, but this? This is the kind of thing that's worth the wait, as long as it's not toooo far off.
Can you see it? One day, my wife and I will marvel at the tiny little miracle and say “look at what we created!" We'll speculate on whose eyes or lips or nose she (or he) has, we'll say "Oh no, hunny, she got that from you." You know just like in our dreams.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I miss Grandma at Christmas ...

She was the one reason that everyone came together and endured each other's differences and dammit, whether we admitted it or not, we enjoyed it. It's kind of nice to come together with the people that you usually don't see eye to eye with. Share some laughter, food, gifts. Remind each other that no matter the differences, we are still a family and we will always be there to look out for each other. Grandma didn't care that you fought with your brother last month and still haven't talked; she just wanted you to be there. Grandma was a uniter. She could find common ground between the deer hunter(my dad) and the card carrying PETA member(me in my early 20's) and she often did. Grandma was ultimately a socialist with her radical ideas like instead of one person cooking the whole Christmas Dinner, let’s all bring a dish, that way everyone contributes and no one gets too wore-out from cooking all day. Revolutionary. She was amazing. When someone was out of work, it was Grandma who suggested that we put a lower spending limit on the gift exchange, just until the economy picked up...always looking out for those who did not or would not speak up for themselves.
As we embark on this Super Tuesday I am reminded of Grandma and that feeling of unity that she spread. I don't know how the nominations will turn out, but I sure hope that the rest of America is like me, missing that feeling of connectedness to the rest of our family, no matter the differences, and looking for that Grandma to unite us. We've had enough division, don't you think?

Monday, February 4, 2008

teach your children well

We got a new road here in the neighborhood. It's a nice little bypass that enables us to avoid school zones and traffic and shave about 15 minutes off of the morning commute. The road was delayed in opening, apparently due to a once nearly extinct purple coneflower that only grows in this little region of the state. But all was saved and provisions were made to preserve the poor little purple flower. Harmony was achieved.
Ours is a rapidly growing neighborhood, with more and more foreclosed homes going up for auction than you can shake an " AUCTION" sign at. We have watched sadly for the past two years as home after home has received that ominous sign in the front yard, telling all the world, or all of La Vergne rather, what fate befell that homeowner. Last summer we counted 18+ homes for sale on one street alone.
Our once quiet and cozy neighborhood has changed. We started noticing that the kids that were hanging out on the side of the road were not just kids; "just kids" don't typically show gang signs when cars pass, do they? Graffiti started to appear here and there. The old familiar sound of police sirens ebbed back into my life. It wasn't such a difficult thing for me to acclimate to, I lived the several years prior to my life with Macey in South Nashville. Even lived in Woodbine for a short period. I know all about the sound of sirens all day and all night. Macey didn't sleep at all the first time she stayed over at my apartment, she jumped up startled and said " What's that??!" I sleepily raised my head, listened, nodded and said, " Oh, nothing, just the police helicopter, you'll see a spotlight in a minute, they go over every night. Go back to sleep."
That's why, when I moved into the suburbs, into a home - into a neighborhood where we knew the neighbors and they knew us, I thought we were safe. I felt I had stepped out of the crime ridden area that had engulfed South Nashville.
Last summer our house along with several others in the neighborhood and even someone's car got spray painted by some punk ass teenage pricks. It wasn't gang related, just bored little pricks with a can of spray paint and too much time on their hands. Unfortunately it meant that in the middle of the 108 degree summer days, Macey and I were out back painting the back side of our house to cover up the vulgar racial slurs that the little pricks thought funny to post there.
Last week I heard a report on the news that there was gang graffiti sprayed on some houses in our neighborhood. Now that's scary. And just awful. And then Saturday as Macey, Sunny-dog and I rode up to the store to pick up some stuff to make Super Bowl snacks we decided to take the new road and there... on the brand new road that just opened up 3 weeks ago, gang tags! Sprayed on the bridge overpassing the delicate little purple-cornflower wetlands.
My neighborhood is steadily declining. Although we are in the fastest growing neighborhood in Tennessee and some speculate the Southeast region, there are more foreclosed homes now than new homes, from what I can tell. Are the foreclosures fueling the gang activity? Is the gang member influx driving the high foreclosure rate? (gang members don't make reliable mortgage payers, I wouldn't imagine.) Is it a chicken or the egg situation? Or can we look at it more closely? Our friend who works at the Sheriff's Department, upon finding out we lived in La Vergne, said immediately to us, " You DO have a gun in your house don't you?" She went on to tell us how FEMA was, in her opinion responsible for the decline of the area. She said that they placed over 10,000 Katrina evacuees in our neighborhood. When FEMA money ran out, they couldn't keep up the mortgage and subsequently became one of the many, many homes we see with the sad little AUCTION! sign in the front yard. I don't blame it all on FEMA. Some personal accountability comes into play here too. One has to take the new home given them and find employment to sustain that home. Of course this economy has been a tough one to find and sustain gainful employment in, I agree. There are many factors, it seems driving the problems that I see in my neighborhood. The undeniable systemic failure to appropriately handle the aftermath of Katrina's devastation was tragic, but is not the only contributory factor here.
I think that the gangs are a sign of the times and that they would be here regardless of Katrina evacuees being placed here. I think that they got pushed out of South Nashville and made their way here. I think that the import of Katrina victims fuels the gang problem, sure. If you take a duck out of the pond and place him in a lake, he's still a duck. But I think that the Bush-economy, the predatory lenders who kicked these people while they were already way, way down, unruly, undisciplined, misguided and undereducated children, and absent parents play a bigger role in this problem. Until we take personal accountability for our own well being, for our children, for our communities... we will continue to see the writing on the walls and fences, and bridges...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Little Beauties? or Tiny Tragedies?

Last night VH1 ran a documentary called Little Beauties: Ultimate Kiddie Queen Showdown. Macey is quite the channel surfer and landed there somehow. I was literally nauseated by what I saw. I am not in the dark about these pageants, I have family members who participated in the mess. I have never understood and have chosen to do what my good catholic upbringing taught me to do with things that made me uncomfortable...ignore it and it will go away.
I was forced to watch last night due to my unwillingness to wrestle the remote away from the wife. Actually it was more of the train wreck syndrome. Awful as it was, I couldn't turn away. I just could not fathom how a mother could or why she would put her daughter in that situation.
I think that these mothers must have been pageant girls and just don't know any other way? That's no excuse. It's like the abuse cycle. At some point someone has to stand up and say " this stops here, my children will not endure it"
Anyways, I wrote about what I saw on tv... you can see it at my
Poetry Blog..

Little Pageant Queens

I saw little girls on the TV last night
all dressed up like whores.
Mommies pimping them shamelessly;
Daddies funding it proudly.
I saw little girls who were overindulged and undereducated
and Mommies who were vicarious onlookers,
Or impudent facilitators
of a crime against girls, women, society.
I saw little girls on the TV last night
wearing more makeup than clothes.
I saw children act like livestock at the local 4-H
And it made me sad.

Angela Schleicher © 2008

Friday, February 1, 2008

Faith vs Proof

Before I ramble on about what I read today that got me all riled up, let me just say that the place that I was supposed to interview with called me this morning and rescheduled for next week. It seems the interviewer was out sick today. So the Great Job Hunt of 2008 continues...

Now on to what got my goat.
In an article I read today in my local newspaper, Joseph Stalin is quoted as having said "Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything."
Eerily, it seems that the State of Tennessee Election Commission may have agreed with Mr. Stalin.
According to a Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations report, all Tennessee counties could have had access to systems with paper ballots by 2006 if the Elections Commission had only certified the paper audits for use. That being said, why then do only 2 now count with me ... one...two of Tennessee's 95 counties have a paper trail? Kudos to Hamilton and Pickett counties. Voters in Chattanooga and Byrdstown can rest assured that their votes will not be digitally altered by a politically biased virus. I live in Nashville. The state capital, the epicenter of progress for this rural, backwoods-country state. Or so I thought. I have to use touch screen ballots. They're completely paperless, completely insecure. A report by Princeton University's School of Engineering found that a virus could easily be uploaded to machines like the ones we use here in Tennessee.

After the voting is complete and after the virus has altered the results to the desired outcome, the virus then eliminates all traces of itself. Spotless. Untraceable. Efficient and easy.
If it's true that the path of least resistance is what makes the river crooked, well, lets just say the river has met some long overdue resistance.
The Voter Confidence Act Study Committee approved 2 pieces of legislation last week:
1. THB1256 - this bill mandates that all paperless voting machines be replaced - the estimated cost is a controversial $25 million
2. THB1282 - this one states that all new voting machines purchased must have paper ballots.
These bills are now with the subcommittee for reconsideration. Apparently the major opposition is due to the $25 million price tag and an an expectation of trust or faith if you will, that there will not be tampering with our votes.
I say blind faith is great - for religion and religious folks- but as for me and my government and more specifically the electoral processes that establish my government, I require hard tangible evidence. Maybe I'm just asking for too much.

new voting machines ... $25 million
ensuring all votes are accurately counted ... priceless