No More Empty Fortune Cookies!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Places to go and things to do

What one thing could you absolutely not live without? I don't mean sex or chocolate...I mean senses or physical abilities.
Could you cope without your sight?
How about losing your hearing?
What if you could never walk again?

Lets up the ante. What is your absolute favorite thing to do? Now, take away a sense or physical ability that would result in the loss of your ability to do your favorite thing. Say, for example, you're a dancer, and now you can no longer walk. Never. What now? What comes next?
Claude Monet became blind half way through his The Water Lilies series, but he finished them up, even without the gift of sight.
Julie Andrews lost her glorious singing voice, and now writes books, she simply found a new outlet for her voice to be heard.
How would you cope with such life altering changes?

What if your doctor told you, "Go everywhere that you ever wanted to see, and do it now, your time is short."
Where's the first place your passport would get stamped?

Me? I want to see everything...I want to see Carmel, California again. It's so lovely there. I want to go to Germany, Aruba, and I really want to go to Hawaii! I'd love to visit New Zealand, and the Netherlands, and Glacier Bay National Park...
I want to paint in Mew Mexico's Painted Desert, and I want to watch the sun rise over Key West just one more time.
I want to see the lights on Broadway! And, oh, there only about a million places in between...I know I can never fit it all in before time and money runs out, but those are the places and things I want to see. Then, once that the day arrives, I'll just figure out a new way to paint those images that are in my mind, yearning to reach a canvas. After-all, The Water Lilies were painted by a blind man...

Monday, November 1, 2010

American Dream or American Nightmare?

I'm appalled.
My mom called me Saturday to tell me that after working for the same company for 45 years, my dad's company shut down.

Dad is 63 years old. He was trying to hang in there for two more years so he could retire on Social Security. Since the company has been going downhill, they knew that all of their retirement benefits had already been lost. At 63 years old, after 45 years of dedicated service, my father is without a job, without pay for his past 5 weeks of work, without his health insurance, too young yet to draw Social Security benefits, and plagued with a laundry list of health problems, including disc and spine injuries that have required multiple surgeries and chronic pain treatment for the last 30 years or so, and he has some serious chronic heart problems, too. He applied for TennCare, our state run health care, and was denied. He was told that enrollment is closed at this time. I guess that's what happens when Americans demand cut backs to all those "socialist programs".

My father has worked for 30 years, while being in unimaginable pain every single day. My father didn't roll over and give up when he broke his back. He sucked it up, picked himself up by the bootstraps, and carried on. He did it for his family, for his own sense of self worth, for his future, and for his company. It is absolutely sickening to think about how he is being treated now.

You know, I think back to my childhood, and my memories are of my dad working for that company, traveling all over the place to teach employees at this factory or that one how to operate this machine he built for them. I remember him coming home from work, blue prints in hand, and heading straight back to his office, to continue to work on his projects, even at home. He put in his time. He dedicated his life to them, and this is how he is repaid.

This is not the American Dream that my dad told me about when I was a kid. This is not the American Dream that makes this country great. And this certainly is not the way we should be treating good, hardworking Americans.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Did I ever tell you about Sakti?

I don't like to talk about it all that often, but I want to today.
My friend and coworker's father died in the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.
I watched the events unfold in my living room, as I imagine a lot of us did, while I drank my morning coffee and wiped the sleep from my eyes.
I remember sitting there at work later in the day, eyes glued to the TV instead of the medication cart, holding Linda's hand and saying, "It's gonna be OK," knowing, that awful, deep inside your gut kind of knowing, that it definitely was NOT going to be OK.
And it wasn't.

We had another coworker there that day, sitting on the other side of Linda, holding her hand... She was from Bali. She was a Muslim. I never met anyone from Bali before, and for some reason it surprised me that she was Muslim. I guess I just never thought about those things.

And we weren't thinking about them that day, either. Sakti sat there with Linda, holding her hand, crying, praying...asking Allah to bring Linda's father to her safely. We all watched helplessly while Linda tried and tried again to call her father's cell phone, home phone, office...all to no avail. It was a horrible day for everyone, and I can only imagine what it must have been like for Linda.

I can't possibly imagine what the years since have been like for either Linda or Satki...

Sakti stays in my mind today. Of all my coworkers, she was the one who always reached out to anyone who suffered with the most genuine, sincere, and heartfelt empathy. She was the one who never spoke harsh words about anyone else, or at least if she did, we never heard them. She was the one who never complained about how much work there was to be done. She just did it. And she was the one who never engaged in any of the numerous debates that occurred within those walls, she simply walked into another room and prayed. Sakti left an impression on me. I always respected and admired her for her gentle spirit, her caring nature, and her ability to maintain composure. She asked me once, weeks or months maybe before the 9/11 attacks, if I too prayed to Allah, and I told her I prayed to no god. She smiled and said to me,
"That's OK, Allah knows you have love in your heart."
And for her, that was enough. She accepted me and my lack of religion as is...and we forged a friendship that was based on mutual respect and trust. I know a few "Christians" who could learn a thing or two about the Golden Rule and loving thy neighbor from Sakti.

I don't know what ever happened to my Balinese friend, but wherever she is, I hope that she is happy, healthy, and not suffering the effects of the viscous Islamophobia that has plagued this country in the time between then and now. She never judge me, or anyone else, and I hope she is being returned the same courtesy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I write
because my brushes have dried,
and I paint
because my pen has no ink...
I learn
because what they taught me were lies,
and I swim
so that I don't sink.
I recoil
because I know the pain of a burn
and I love
because it feels better than hate.
I guess it's been my life lesson to learn
how to master the path of my fate.

Angela J. Schleicher © 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Gay doesn’t Gray?

I've heard that "black don't crack," but did you know that gay doesn't gray? Well, according to The Family Research Council, that's the case. I wish someone would tell my increasingly numerous silvery locks that tidbit. Tony Perkins, of TFRC, posits that since the gay "movement is only a few decades old," there are no elderly homosexuals running around. He says this is because the people who are of the 80+ age range grew up without acceptance of homosexuality, they would not have identified with this lifestyle. Yep, that's what he says. Read it. But if acceptance of homosexuality was the determining factor, I never would have come out, nor would I be happily married today to the Wifester, so I don't see how this theory can possibly hold any validity. Not to mention the fact that it hinges on the idea that homosexuality is only a "few decades old." Really? I mean, come on. That bible those people like to thump in our faces and quote hateful, intolerant propaganda regarding homosexuality from is just a little bit more than a few decades old, so there goes that line of bull shit that TFRC is spoon feeding their sheeple.

It seems to me that a group whose name invokes the term "research" in its title would see to it that they, oh, I don't know, actually did some RESEARCH before making such spurious claims, but that's just me. While they are at it, they can fact check their other statement, "In reality, HHS has no idea how many LGBT seniors exist. No one does!" While that may be partially accurate, because true enough some people will still not identify themselves as gay/lesbian on a census and other questionnaires out of fear of discrimination from people like these tools at the Family Research Council, a great number are actually quite happy to identify themselves as gay/lesbian or in a committed relationship with a partner of the same sex. As a matter of fact, there are enough gay and lesbian elderly people that we now have gay/lesbian nursing homes available. The fact is, we're here, we're queer, and a great many of our population is elderly, get used to it.

The tragedy is not "unnecessary spending," as Tony Perkins and TFRC would have you believe, but quite the opposite. In fact, gay and lesbian specific health issues are one of the least studied, least focused on issues in the health care world. Lesbians have an increased risk for cervical cancer, one of the most deadly. Why? Because we often forgo pap smears just because we are not sexually active with men, or because often we are intimidated to tell a physician that we are lesbians, and face possible discrimination and judgment. Sure, AIDS gets a lot of attention now, but what people like this idiot neglect when they make statements like, "…given the risks of homosexual conduct, these people are less likely to live long enough to become senior citizens!" is that according to the CDC, researchers found that poverty was the most important demographic factor associated with HIV infection in inner-city heterosexuals. The lower the socioeconomic status, the higher the number of HIV cases. People whose household income was less than $10,000  per year are seven times more likely to have HIV than those whose household incomes were greater than $50,000 per year. And guess what? Marketing research has found that gays have about a 15% higher income than their similarly situated heterosexual friends and neighbors. Just sayin'. So, yes, while gay men still are the largest population of HIV/AIDS infected individuals, the fastest growing population is the inner city poor.

Tony Perkins and TFRC would rather see elderly people suffer in silence when a partner of 50+ years passes away. Unable to collect Social Security, unable to cover each other with health insurance, unable in many cases, just to find grief counseling that can help them with their specific situation.

I sure wish gay didn't gray, at least in regards to hair…but in reality, gay is gray, and it's here to stay.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Free Government Money!"

The good news is that the house next door finally has people living it it again. So does the one across the street. There are now only two houses left on the cul-de-sac that are empty. That is, as Martha Stewart says, a good thing.
The house next door is a blended family, with a total of three children, one of them is only there part time, and one on the way. They are nice people. Their kids are cute. The first few times my doorbell rang, to be followed by, "Can Sally come out and play?" I thought it was endearing. I smiled and thought, "How sweet."
Then it became a daily event.
Not only did it become a daily event, but multiple times a day. And not only that, but I have become trapped in my own house, looking out through the peep hole to make sure my porch is not kid-laden before I embark on the task of getting an attention/concentration challenged puppy to go potty, much less with 3 small children vying for her attention and affections. Its not just the three of them, either. Kids come with friends, you know. They bring every other kid from the neighborhood with them to knock on my door, ask if Sally can play, ask if they can play in my house, and if they can watch my TV...I don't even watch my TV during the day.
After trying, unsuccessfully, to explain to children (who are too young to get anywhere near the concept of an at home office) that I have work to do during the daytime, and that when I am finished with my work I will be happy to bring Sally and Sunny outside to play, The Wifester suggested buying a toy box full of little goodies for them to pick from.
Her idea, which sounded so good in theory, was to tell them that they could choose a toy from the box as long as they promised to let me finish up my work and not ring the doorbell any more. Bribery. It always worked on me at that age.
We ordered this from Oriental Trading Co.

I thought it would do the trick...I mean, it's not a Wii or anything like that, but come on...I'm just that fat lady next door with the big yellow dogs. I don't have to hand out top quality toys, right?
I was wrong.
After the children began the incessant ringing of the doorbell yesterday, I went to the door and told them that I really needed them to stop ringing it like that. I don't mean it was a ring and 5 minutes later another ring.
Oh, no, no, no! This was
ding-dong! ding-dong!ding-dong! ding-dong!ding-dong! ding-dong!ding-dong! ding-dong!ding-dong! ding-dong!ding-dong! ding-dong!ding-dong! ding-dong!ding-dong! ding-dong!ding-dong! ding-dong!ding-dong! ding-dong!

accompanied by

knock!knock!knock! knock!knock!knock! knock!knock!knock! knock!knock!knock! knock!knock!knock! knock!knock!knock! knock!knock!knock! knock!knock!knock! knock!knock!knock! knock!knock!knock! knock!knock!knock!
Again, I explained that I was working...and as I tried to explain that I was working, one of the little monsters angels said to me, "What kind of work can you do from your house, anyways?"
I tried to put it in terms children of this age range can understand, so I simply said, "Well, I write letters for doctors, and I also have my own business baking dog treats like the ones I gave you for your dog."
To which this child replied, "You don't get free government money? I thought people who stay at home get free government money."

Ahhhh...out of the mouths of babes!

So after a good little chuckle, I told the kids they could pick out a toy from the box, but they needed to let me finish my work. Everyone agreed to these terms. Toys were selected. I was deemed the coolest neighbor on the street. Peace and quiet was returned to my abode...for a full 20 minutes and then

ding-dong! ding-dong!ding-dong! ding-dong!ding-dong! ding-dong!ding-dong! ding-dong!ding-dong! ding-dong!ding-dong! ding-dong!ding-dong! ding-dong!ding-dong! ding-dong!ding-dong! ding-dong!ding-dong! ding-dong!

I returned to the door to find the gang of pip-squeaks there, as though it could be anyone else.

"My toy broke. Can I pick out another one?"

With a sigh, I agreed and brought out the treasure chest, with another lecture on doorbell etiquette and another stern warning about my need to work...
Digging through the toy box, the boy seemed indecisive and keept hesitating. The girl told her brother, "Just pick anything, it doesn't matter. They're all cheap anyways, so they're gonna break."
Then looking to me, she says, "Hey, why are they so cheap, anyways?"

Maybe if I had some of that free government money, I could afford to buy better bribery-toys for the little monsters darlings.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bring it ON!!

I know, I know...but I can't help it- Big Brother is my television weakness. It's the train wreck I just can't stop gawking at. I effin' LOVE Big Brother! And it's almost time for the new season!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

BP to America: You Can't Handle the TRUTH!

It seems that BP is withholding information and photos from the public. Is that really any surprise to anyone? What I want to know is why there aren't hundreds or thousands of weekend journalists, bloggers, activists and photographers gathering in unison to converge on the shores with laptops, cameras, cell phones in hand, demanding to show the full picture to the public. Maybe there is a there? someone please let me know. The first amendment to our constitution guarantees the right to a free press, and it seems to me that no one is really demanding that they be allowed to exercise that right.

"Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost” - Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The News

The only home that our species has ever known

is being poisoned, pillaged and mauled in the name of Almighty Capitalism…

I watch helplessly on the sidelines, day after day

While plumes of insidious, thick muck makes its way

through once viable waters and drifts ashore

Bringing with it dead fish…

…dead turtles…

…dead birds…

My heart feels as heavy as the oil is thick

and there is still not end in sight.

I cry for the lives lost

The lives changed

The past that can never be recovered.

I wonder how we move forward from this tragedy

I wonder how we prevent a recurrence…

My simplistic ruminating serves no purpose to anyone

Except maybe to remind me that I need to stop watching the news.


Angela J. Schleicher ©2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

In case you haven't seen

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

what you didn't see

Make them PAY

Seize BP Petition button

According to Seize's web site:

"This was a manufactured disaster. It was neither an “Act of God” nor Nature that caused this devastation, but rather the unmitigated greed of Big Oil’s most powerful executives in their reckless search for ever-greater profits.

Under BP’s CEO Tony Hayward’s aggressive leadership, BP made a record $5.6 billion in pure profits just in the first three months of 2010. BP made $163 billion in profits from 2001-09. It has a long history of safety violations and slap-on-the-wrist fines.

The government of the United States must seize BP and freeze its assets, and place those funds in trust to begin providing immediate relief to the working people throughout the Gulf states whose jobs, communities, homes and businesses are being harmed or destroyed by the criminally negligent actions of the CEO, Board of Directors and senior management of BP."

Monday, May 24, 2010

Brown Dog Foundation Helps Four Legged Flood Victims

We've all heard about all of the wonderful groups, organizations, and individuals that are out there helping people who were affected by the devastating flooding earlier this month, but did you know that there is a group that is helping pet owners who were affected? The Brown Dog Foundation, founded, chaired, and owned by Carol Smock, a Nashville resident, is that saving grace for families who may have lost pet food, prescription medications, heartworm preventative, or may have incurred vet bills for injuries sustained during the flooding.

I met Carol last year when Sunny Dog Snacks provided Brown Dog Foundation with free treats to supply in the gift bags at her annual dinner for her donors and recipients. Carol and I shared a cup of coffee and talked a while about how we each came to our respective places with Brown Dog Foundation and Sunny Dog Snacks. I enjoyed Carol's sincere, complete and total dedication to helping those in need, both furry and non. And I admired her drive to take her dream and turn it into such a saving grace for so many people and their four legged friends. If you've ever faced sudden, life saving medical intervention for a pet at a financially tight time in your life, you will understand just how much of a relief the Brown Dog Foundation can be, both for you and for your pet.

If you or someone you know have/has pets and were affected by the flooding, and are in need of assistance, please, contact Brown Dog Foundation today.

Press Release for Brown Dog:

Nashville, Tennessee (May 2, 2010) – As tens of thousands in Middle Tennessee are displaced during this sudden flooding and tornado disaster, Brown Dog Foundation is stepping up to the request to provide assistance to families directly affected by the disaster and whose pet is injured as a result. The Disaster Relief Program offers up to $300/pet for stabilization of injuries sustained during the disaster and/or treatment of illness caused by exposure to contaminants. The Program also replaces prescription medications lost in the disaster. Thanks to a gift made by Schering-Plough/Intervet, we can also provide a 3-month supply of Tri-Heart, a Heartworm Preventative, (via the owner’s Veterinarian) at no cost to the pet owner. In some cases, we may also be able to provide a 3-month supply of Flea/Tick Preventative.

During recognized disasters, the organization waives the normal guideline requirements. Families are only asked to provide proof that they have been affected by the disaster (a statement from Red Cross or FEMA will suffice) and prove that the pet belongs to them. To date, the organization has funded two cases with several more in process.

In one situation, the dog’s owner lost her job due to the flooding disaster and the dog is diabetic, requiring prescription dog food to keep him healthy. We have helped the owner purchase a 3-month supply of food. The second dog was swept away by flood waters and injured in the process. She required a specialty surgical repair of her hips and back legs. The family had exhausted all of their savings account to repair their home damaged by flood water.

Because Brown Dog Foundation operates solely by donations of the general public, we are also encouraging cash contributions – 100% of these funds will be directed to aid in this disaster only. Donations are accepted online or by mailing a check to Brown Dog Foundation, c/o McPherson Management, 900 19th Avenue South, Ste 204, Nashville, TN 37212. Please write “Disaster Relief” in the memo line.

Brown Dog Foundation, 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in October, 2006, offers assistance to families in temporary financial crisis an alternative to euthanizing their family pet when life-saving treatment or life-sustaining medication is necessary. Brown Dog Foundation, Inc. serves the entire state of TN, with a sizable concentration of assistance occurring in Middle Tennessee communities. The organization helps families who have experienced an unexpected catastrophe (job loss, unexpected and major medical bills, etc.) at the same time that their pet requires life-saving treatment or life-sustaining medications. The goal is to help these families, who don’t qualify for public or government assistance in any other aspect of their lives the ability to use their limited resources to focus on what they need to do to get their life back together. Brown Dog Foundation pays 75% of the cost of the veterinary care or medication needed and the family pays 25%.

Founded by Nashvillian Carol A. Smock and six other women, the organization was started from nothing and has grown into a thriving community program. With more than 1000 donors and an average of 50 volunteers, the organization spends its time raising money so when a family needs help, they can respond immediately. “We’ve helped 85 families across the country, sixty-five of which live in Tennessee, with the cost of prescription medications, acute and chronic treatments and surgeries– anything that ensures the pet will enjoy a good quality of life. In each circumstance, we’ve given the family the peace of mind they need to focus on what’s most important in their life – getting through their crisis,” explains Smock. “We love to help dogs and cats, but the true reward comes when we get a call from the family telling us that their lives and finances are back on track because of the generosity of our donors!”

The current National Board of Directors are Carol A. Smock, Board Chair; Brian Dablow, Secretary; and Laura Hawes. The Tennessee Board members include: Darlene Tyner-Hunt/Old Hickory; Lissa Kelley/Nashville; Dr. Mike Hatcher/Smyrna; Dr. Lisa Chassy-Skelley/Knoxville; and Laura Richards/Antioch. Board Advisors are Dr. Trey Calfee, DVM/Nashville Veterinary Specialists, Donna Finney, and Victoria Heil. For more information, visit the website at

– END –

You can also find Brown Dog on Facebook.

Some flood victims to receive help from Brown Dog:

Photo courtesy of Brown Dog Foundation
This is PD - the first flood victim we assisted. His momma lost her job due to the floods and PD is... diabetic. Luckily, he doesn't need insulin, but he does require expensive diabetic dog food. We have helped them purchase a 3-month supply! Thank you Supporters!!!!

Photo courtesy of Brown Dog Foundation
Daisy was swept away by the raging flood water and needs surgery to repair her hips and back legs. We could not have helped Daisy without the donations from all of you. On behalf of Daisy and her family, THANK YOU!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

If THAT's what you call porn...

Ever since that time that One Million Moms stole the Wifester's photography to use for their Boycott Home Depot campaign and then lied and dragged their feet about removing it, I've been a subscriber to their newsletter so that I can keep abreast of them and their deceitful, malicious ways.
Just as I suspected, it's one ridiculous campaign after another, from boycotts against The Family Guy and Three and a Half Men to the usual complaints about homosexuality on shows like Modern Family.
I just let it roll off my back like water off a duck, I mean, I expect this from OMM. But this one made me laugh. I mean it made me laugh so hard that my french vanilla latte shot through my nose and sprayed my keyboard. And my monitor.

Let me set it up first. This is the text of the newsletter:
"Next time you stop by Bath & Body works to purchase soap, you will get much more than you bargained for and not in a good way. This is not somewhere you would want to walk by or visit with your children, your teen son or your husband. To be bombarded with a poster of a nude woman pictured with her privates meticulously covered while you are shopping is not okay!

Malls, where teens hang out and families go for an innocent outing, have retailers whose window displays poison our children with 10-foot posters that are nothing but soft p*rn. In particular, Bath & Body Works has a new ad campaign with a naked woman with certain areas covered up by her hands and legs."
Notice how they had to use an asterisk in the word porn! tee-hee! Ok, so I had to check it out. I mean, if there's naked women, SOFT PORN, none the less, I have to check it out! That goes without saying, right?
I mosey on over to Bath & Body Works' web site, because the newsletter goes on to say that the web site displays the same ad as the stores. This is what I found

Seriously? This is what they are calling soft porn?? If this is soft porn, they really need to watch some daytime soap operas and see what they think of that. No, better yet, watch Survivor when those girls are competing in the challenges...A LOT more body is shown than what we see here, guaranteed!
This just makes me laugh. I feel truly sorry for anyone who goes through life not being able to say (or type) the complete word porn, without censoring it, who can't look at this ad without being offended by it, and who finds it necessary to demand that the rest of society live as miserable as they are.
You know what? I'm terrified of spiders. Hate them with a passion. But I realize that my fear of spiders is mine and mine alone to carry. I don't demand that you or anyone else be afraid of spiders. I am happy for anyone who is not as fearful of them as I am because I know that they are living a much more full life by not being hindered with a crippling, unjustified fear. Now, I still don't like spiders, so I avoid them. I keep those I love away from them as much as I possibly can, but I will not be going out and campaign to rid the world of spiders. I'm just saying...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Do you have your Lightning 100 Vol. 1?

Make donation to flood relief, receive 19 songs great from local talent!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Nashville and New Orleans, in Jon Stewart's words

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Nashville Flooding
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Overwhelmed and Grateful

"Who is Susie ______" I asked the Wifester, not accusingly, just questioning as I must with my terrible memory and all...
"I don't know, hunny." She said. "Maybe one of your blog readers?"
Oh, do I still have them?
Apparently I do. And Susie ______ is one of them, if not the one and only. I had received an email asking how the Wifester and I were doing through the flooding.
Now how about that?
After a little bit of back and forth with the emails Susie did disclose that she followed my blog and just wanted to check in on us. Wow. How friggin' neighborly is that? That's why I love Tennessee.
Then I start getting the messages from my old high school friend who is now in New Orleans.
"Do you need anything? Can we send anything? What can I DO???"
After assuring her we are OK here, she went on to say that after Katrina, and all the help and support she saw coming her way, she just could not stand to sit by and do nothing.
My heart swells with the outpouring of love, compassion and support coming from our friends and family, even if the national news media isn't showing the depth of our issue, here. Word of mouth travels fast in the world of Twitter and Facebook...and word has gotten around.
The Wifester and I are some of the few lucky ones. We live on higher ground and have had no damage, thankfully.
Friends have not fared so well. My friend who hooked me up with the art show that I recently had my art in...he and his wife's house is covered in water, up to the second floor. Second floor, folks!
A high school classmate has been missing since Saturday...
It's a mess here. A big mess. I know this is the Volunteer State. I grew up hearing the stories of how Tennesseans volunteer to help more than any other state, and now it is time for us to turn that spirit of giving on ourselves and help our neighbors.
How can you helps us? Spread the word. The national news is doing a very poor job of showing the severity of the situation here. Hands on Nashville sums it up nicely:

In case folks don't grasp the severity of what's going on. Temporary shelters are at capacity, missing people are unaccounted for, many homes are under water, we're in a water conservation emergency, much of Nashville's economic base is threatened by flood damage, etc, etc.

In other words, we're going to need help.

Go to (Hands On Nashville) to become a volunteer or to make a donation go to and give at The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to ensure that your money goes directly to flood relief efforts. Despite what we've been told about Text to REDCROSS, that money just goes to the Red Cross, who then can use it anywhere in the world that they feel it is most needed. Which ordinarily is fine, but right now, when we need it, we need to make sure we are giving to the channels that will siphon the money to the proper, local agencies.

Thank You, Mr. Olbermann!

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Friday, April 23, 2010

Layne Bryant's Too Hot for TV Ad

Lane Bryant claims ABC rejected this ad based on the size of the models. ABC says this ad was too racy for prime time, meanwhile a Victoria’s Secret ad ran at an even earlier time slot. This one was pushed back and required extensive edits. Too sexy for prime time? You be the judge.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Oh Canada!

It was three years ago that the wifester went from being my girlfriend, my best friend, my partner, and my soul mate to also being my wifester. I've never been more sure of any decision I've ever made in my life. Meeting the wifester was like coming home. Suddenly, everything fell into place and all was right with the world. That's how I knew she was my one. It wasn't hard, it wasn't awkward. It wasn't strange. It was just natural... talking with her, laughing with her, learning with her... and instead of slowly getting less and less interesting, it just became more and more exciting. I kept waiting for the new to wear off. I kept waiting for her to shift from that infatuation with me to the usual exasperation, but it never happened. I kept waiting for my attention to shift to something shiny and brand new, but it never did. She stayed and stays shiny and brand new in my eyes. I don't look for the other shoe to fall anymore. I am comfortable and happy with my relationship with my wifester. We're like two peas in a pod, and I like us that way. Oh sure, we fuss over the thermostat and who has to take the puppy potty this time, but when it comes right down to it, there's no one else I'd rather stand beside, and no one else I'd rather have by my side. I love you, my wifester! Going on forever!

And since we got hitched in Canada, we always sing Oh Canada on our anniversary :D Thank you Canada for recognizing our love as a valid, equal union that deserves to be commemorated.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Two Cents, for What it's Worth...(and that ain't much)

tap...tap...tap...Is this thing on?

Wow, I may have forgotten how to do this. Let's see how this goes, and forgive me, my blogging has been insufficient to keep me in practice these days, so I apologize ahead of time, but I just can't keep my mouth shut a moment longer about something.

I'm sure you've heard about this woman from Shelbyville, Tennessee who adopted the little boy from Russia and then decided she couldn't care for him anymore and sent him packing...on a flight to Moscow... alone, with a letter surrendering him and explaining that in her opinion at least, he suffers from severe psychological challenges. The letter actually says:

"This child is mentally unstable. He is violent and has severe psychopathic issues," the letter said. "I was lied to and misled by the Russian Orphanage workers and director regarding his mental stability and other issues.""After giving my best to this child, I am sorry to say that for the safety of my family, friends, and myself, I no longer wish to parent this child."

All of that may very well be true, but that doesn't give you the right to ship this kid, unaccompanied, on a flight to another country to meet some man at an airport! Her excuse is that she is a single parent, and does not have the time or resources to care for a special needs child. Then she went further to say that he had become physically violent and threatened violence against her and her family. Still, I say to her, You chose to adopt. You took on the responsibility of raising this child as though he were your own. That means you are supposed to treat him as though you yourself gave birth to him, and not ANY differently. If this were a child you gave birth to, and then a year or two or three down the line you began to notice that your child wasn't developing normally, and eventually that child began to show signs of severe psychological or developmental disabilities, as a single parent what would you do then? There's no where to ship that child back to. But there ARE agencies, physicians, psychologists and counselors in place specifically for foreign adoptees and the adopted children who may be psychologically damaged. These cases can very often have very, very rewarding and effective outcomes, when handled properly.
What really bothers me about this is that this woman is a nurse! She is a graduate of Vanderbilt's Nursing program, one of the top nursing programs in the country, which tells me that this woman is well educated, intelligent, and presumably well informed or at least fully capable of informing herself properly. As a former nurse, it stirs something inside me to hear of someone in the nursing profession showing so little compassion and empathy. I tried to think of it from her side and think about what if she really did get one of "those kids" that we read about...Still, though. I go back to the fact that she did not utilize the resources at hand to help this child, to protect her family and to ensure that she was doing all she could do as a mother to provide the very best option for a child desperately in need. Further, it infuriates me that her single, despicable and heinous act could adversely affect the outcome of so many potentially wonderful parents who are currently in the process of adopting children from Russia. I wouldn't blame them one bit either, what with the investigating sheriff referring to the child as "it" repeatedly in interviews.
Hey, Sheriff Boyce, that 'it' is a little boy, and his name is Justin!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Who Said Pasta Has to Come From a Box?

I told you that Sally Sue is a puppy school delinquent, right?
In her first three weeks of school she missed two classes, so yesterday we made up one of them. It was pretty fun to have the one on one time with the trainer, and Sally really loved all of the personalized attention.
It was a little bit somber, though, as we found out that one of Sally's classmates suffered a horrible accident last week, and passed away. Poor little Bailey. She was a real trooper, too. She was the tiniest little puppy in the class, still fitting in the palm of her "momma's" hand, yet she was always willing to get right in there with all the "big dogs" like Sally Sue and Care Bear and Bristol. Little ole' Bailey didn't let her tiny size get in the way of her doing anything.
My heart goes out to Bailey's family.
The day made a 180 degree turn though.
Last night was a real hoot and a half!
At the last minute we ended up with plans for friends to come over and I decided to try out a new pasta recipe I found, given the willing guinea pigs for my culinary experiments.
Wine was consumed. Laughter was shared. Stories were told.
And, the Wifester and I met a new friend. *waves at ya!*
It's always a good time when we gather with these folks, and last night was no exception.
It's good to have good friends, the kind of friends who you know well and know you well. The kind of friends you can laugh with, cry with, and even bitch and complain with when need be.
Sometimes the Wifester and I can get so caught up in our own routines that we forget to make time in our lives to nurture those friendships with outside people. We need to remember to do that more.
Oh, and the pasta? Primo! I mean, you know you aren't getting away from this blog without a recipe after I tell you how I cooked something new, right?

So here's the low down on my Home Made Seafood Ravioli

First, for the pasta. Now, honestly, I thought making the pasta itself would be a lot more difficult than it proved to be. Once again, I have to give props to my Kitchen Aid! Still the
Best. Present. EVER.
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
5 eggs
1 tsp. olive oil
a splash of water (just enough to make the dough soft and pliable)

I simply dumped all of this into my mixer bowl, turned it on and let it mix for for a couple of minutes with the mixing attachment, then switched out for the dough attachment and left it to kneed for 10 minutes. Then let it sit for about 20 minutes which allows the proteins in the dough to relax and makes rolling much easier. Rest the dough covered under the mixing bowl so it doesn't dry out too much.
The dough is a little moist, and for the ravioli, this works perfectly.

While the dough is sitting, you can make your filling. I chose crab, lobster, mushrooms, spinach, ricotta cheese, garlic and onion. Mostly because it is still Lent, and though I don't adhere to the rules, my guests do. Next time, though, I think I'll try these with my home made Italian sausage and red sauce, YUM!
I sauteed my onions until almost translucent, added the garlic, seasoned with Creole seasoning, but you can really experiment here and use whatever you like. Then I added the mushrooms and my diced crab meat, lobster and cooked chopped spinach. Let this cook for about 5-10 minutes, just until the seafood is done, then add the ricotta cheese. Let it incorporate well and then pour it into a nice big bowl and carry it to the area where you are working with your dough.
I rolled the dough out to about 1/8 inch thick and used a small juice glass to cut little circles, and set them aside. When they are all cut out and ready, drop a spoon full of the crab meat mixture into the center of a pasta circle, place another pasta circle on top, smash the edges together all the way around making sure to completely seal it. If you need to, you can dip your fingers in water to help seal the edges. Place each completed ravioli on a tray or towel to dry. When finished filling all the raviolis, you can boil them in water, or as I did, in chicken stock. I like boiling pasta in chicken stock. It gives it a nice light hint of flavor. Try it sometime!
raw, stuffed ravioli, waiting to be boiled

You'll know when they are done, they'll pop up to the top! Fish the floating ones out and set them aside. I placed them in a casserole dish and poured Alfredo sauce over them, one layer at a time as they came out of the chicken stock. Then I topped the whole thing off with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Let me tell you, I may never buy Bertoli's again!

Sorry, we were all just too busy eating them up to get any photos of the raviolis after they boiled and had the sauce on them...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Easy Cheese Danish

Don't you just love cheese danishes? I do.
They are probably one of my favorite dessert items ever. I was looking for something easy and yummy to make for a dessert recently and I found in my fridge some cream cheese, blueberries, and a couple of cans of crescent rolls. The light bulb went off.
Let me walk you through these steps, because I assure you, if you love sweet, creamy, fluffy, cheese danishes, you'll want to make these!
First, put your 8 oz pkg of cream cheese (softened) in the mixer and add a splash of vanilla and about a cup of powdered sugar, then let that blend until creamy and smooth. Next, take one can of crescent rolls, divide it, keeping two rolls attached to each other, dip them in melted butter, and smooth them out in the bottom of a greased casserole dish, repeat with the next two and so on until the bottom of the dish is lined. Smash the edges together a little. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top. Spread the cream cheese mixture over these rolls. Now you can be creative, add whatever fruit you want. I had blueberries so I dumped them on top and spread them out. Strawberries or blackberries would be yum, too! Now repeat the crescent roll process with your second can of rolls, tucking the edges down to meet the edges of the bottom layer. Pour melted butter over the top - don't be stingy! Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top and bake this at 350 for about 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden and flaky. Once cools off a bit, you can place it in the fridge and it really firms up nicely! Here's mine, after being refrigerated, and after the Wifester and I tested it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


There's another empty house on our street. For such a small cul-de-sack, the occupied home to empty home ratio is precariously teetering in unfavorable ways these days.
I would just shrug my shoulders and say meh, but I want our house to sell. I like to try to look at the positive aspect of all things, and so far, the best positive aspect I can find is that at least there won't be 4 or 5 cars parked in the yard of that house (as was always the case before they vacated it) when people come to look at this house. On the down side I am not seeing any for sale sign, no for rent sign. No sign of anyone doing any renovations before placing that house on the market. Nada.

From all I can tell, that house has been, much like so many others, simply abandoned.

I'm not really sure which is better, a neglected, abandoned yard or one with 5 cars parked all akimbo across it.
I worry for my community, seeing so many empty houses.
I worry for my future. I worry.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Feminist Anonymous?

Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes, circa 1970
Photograph by Dan Wynn.

I got a text from Lilley asking if I'd like to go with her to a Women's History Month lecture at her school.
The speaker would be Gloria Steinem.

Are you kidding me? Would I like to go? That's like asking if a puppy wants a treat or if a bee wants some honey!

I often talk about the overt, obvious ways that I witnessed repression and misogyny in my own home growing up. I'll always remember my father telling my mother who to vote for, and my mother obeying, even when it seemed to be contrary to her own wishes.
It seems to be in life that the negatives, such as that, stand out in our minds much more vividly than the positives. At least for me they do. I wonder what that's all about.

But with the mention of a lecture by Gloria Steinem, my memory raced back to my MS magazines. I remember my mom sitting down with me when I asked for a subscription to one of the glamor magazines, I don't really remember which one now, but she sat down with me and said she would be happy to get me a subscription, but she would rather I get a magazine with some substance. We looked over a few choices and with a little bit of urging from my mom, I ended up with a subscription to MS.
I can remember reading through those magazines and trying to resolve the discrepancy of a mother who simultaneously denied herself her own voice in the voting booth and gave her daughter such a powerful tool to add to an already growing arsenal. My mother instilled in me, at a very early age, the importance of my femininity. She showed me that even though she seemed to play by my father's rules, I could make my own. When I said I wanted to play soccer on that boy's team, she signed me up. When I said I wanted to ride the dirt bike, she bought me a helmet. And later, when I said I wanted to write, she taught me to type. It didn't matter to my mom one way or the other. She had been in the Army, she had played filed hockey, she had coached softball. My mom was one tough cookie.

I suppose my mom would probably cringe today to know that it was her idea for that subscription for MS magazine that greatly influenced me to be who I am now. But that's OK, because as much as it makes her cringe, it fills my heart with gratitude.

Last night, I was able to bring that with me and listen to one of my all time heroes talk about topics that stir my passions. I was moved listening to Gloria's speech, read by stand in's, because Gloria, although present, was suffering a terrible case of laryngitis. I was a bit sad that I didn't get to hear her speech in her voice, and wondered how the inflection would have varied had she have given it, or what ad-lib there might have been...But all in all, it was an enlightening, delightful, and thought provoking speech. Gloria was present, and she did participate in a Q&A after. That was the highlight, at least for me.

She discussed everything from health care to domestic violence. She discussed the isms: racism, genderism, classism. And how we created them, so we can defeat them.
I loved how she explained her conflict with topics such as abortion, stating that every child deserves a chance to be born and live a life, but at the same time, every woman has a right to decide what happens within her own body, and how it really is such a personal issue. I connect so deeply with her message of changing society to fit people, rather then changing people to fit society, and I just loved her analogy that we are like flowers, some of us are daises, and some are petunias and some are lilies. We're all flowers, just different kinds. But society tries to make the lilies and petunias look and act like daises instead of simply appreciating them for just what they are.

I thought about what question I would ask Mrs. Steinem, if given the mic, and all I could think was, how on earth did she motivate and maintain momentum with so many people for so many years? I mean, I tried to get a marriage equality rally together and sent out thousands of fliers, emails, phone calls, twitters, you name it and all that showed up was the Wifester, myself, one reporter and a couple of guys who drove by and said they would be back with their signs, but never came. And then she answered my question without even being asked. She said these movements started with small groups of women who gathered to talk. Talks turned to what was wrong, then turned to what should be changed, then to how it could be changed. She suggests that groups, small groups so that every voice can be heard, groups no larger than about 20 people - should be gathering to discuss topics of equality and rights. She suggested, and I loved, that there should be a network, not much unlike AA, in which people could know that no matter where they traveled, they could look up the network and find a meeting of other people with similar ideas.

Feminists Anonymous. I love it!

Gloria Steinem exemplifies a lifetime spent in service to us, to mankind. Not just "us" the women, but us, the human race. She has fought for the rights of African Americans when it was physically dangerous to do so. She has fought for the rights of gays and lesbians, from demanding more focus on AIDS treatment, to the right to serve in our military to the right to marry and adopt children. She stands up for the battered woman who has lost her voice. She fights for the children who have no one else to fight for them.

She teaches us to question, to think, and to act.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to listen to one of my personal heroes, and I will cherish the memory, utilize the knowledge gained and remember her words for the rest of my life.

Thank you Lilley!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Engaged volunteers needed for LGBT marriage research

Christina Reitz-Krueger, a Doctoral Student asked me to post this message:

I am looking for volunteers for a study of attitudes towards marriage and parenthood among engaged couples. The study consists of a 25-30 minute online survey. To qualify for the study, you must be 20-35 years old, live in the U.S., and plan to marry or have a commitment ceremony within the next 365 days. You and your romantic partner must not have children, and this must be the first marriage for both of you.

You can:

-Help a doctoral candidate;

-Increase the pool of scientific knowledge;

-Support research on marriage and families; and

-Spend some time thinking about your relationship!

I am working with Dr. Charlotte J. Patterson, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia. This study has been approved by the University of Virginia Institutional Review Board #2009025800.

If you and/or your romantic partner are interested in participating or want further information, please email me at I will send you a link that you can use to access the study.


Cristina Reitz-Krueger

Doctoral Student

University of Virginia

(434) 243-8558

Monday, February 8, 2010

Don't Mess With my Puppy!

image from

We took Sally to her second Puppy School class on Saturday, and much like the first class, she was the loudest, most boisterous pup there.

On the flip side, she was also the only pup there that already knows sit, lay down, shake and watch me. Granted, this was our second go at this class because we had to restart the classes; We attended her first class and then missed the next two, making Sally a puppy school delinquent right from the start. But, she is also the only pup in class that reliably, vocally signals when she has to go potty. So take that, you other puppy-parents!

We got lots of those looks from the other puppy-parents each time Sally yelped or whined from boredom and I suppose it resonated somewhere deep within my psyche, because that night I had a dream that we were at puppy school, and all the puppy-parents were pointing at Sally and making fun of her. In my dream they were calling her names and laughing...following her around and harassing her. Not that much unlike a certain football player I can remember from my own high school experience: following me around the hallways "mooooing" and making barnyard animal sounds at me, calling me a cow and a big fat pig...It was horrible and I was pissed! I just wanted to protect Miss. Sally Sue from their cruelty. I knew she was smarter than their little cowardly pups, all nestled up in their parent's laps, afraid to set paws on the floor. Not my Sally Sue! She was raring to go and willing to learn whatever the trainer threw at her.

I don't know if my dream is any indication that Sally will be as much trouble for us as I was for my parents (God, I hope not), or if it means that I identified with her scenario, or if I've simply been using Facebook a bit too much lately and finding all these people from high school has resurfaced some memories that I thought were long since buried, but either way, I know that my protective instinct kicked into high gear, and I triple dog dare anybody to stand in the way of my pup and me now!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Little Debbie's Got Nuthin' on ME!

You know those Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies...the ones that you got in your lunch box when you were a kid. The ones that were all chewy and gooey and full of white, fluffy, sweet-creamy goodness.

Yeah! That's the ones.
I effin' love those things. I mean I could probably eat the whole damned box of them if I was left alone with them and a carton of milk. But the thing is, Little Debbie also makes all sorts of peanut butter yummies, which means with the Wifester's peanut/tree nut allergy it's just too dangerous to try to eat these and hope they didn't come into contact with the equipment that also processed the peanut butter bars, or fudge brownies, or any other potentially life threatening delectable.
For a couple of years I have simply reminisced about the good old days of lapping the cream from between those two soft, chewy cookies. Smushing the middle to get even distribution of the white, fluffy heaven throughout each and every last bite...

And then something amazing happened:
My sister in law gave me a Kitchen Aid mixer!
Best. Present. Ever!
Armed with that I've been experimenting with all sorts of goodies.
I have finally mastered a superb pizza dough and have vowed never again to order from any of these lame-ass "pizza" places around here. Sorry Pizza Hut, Papa John's, and Domino's, but that is NOT pizza.
I even made a few loaves of bread, and one of them actually turned out pretty darned good!
But the best, the most amazing thing... The thing that has me blogging instead of studying has been the Oatmeal Cream Pies, Little Debbie style that I whipped up the other day.
I can't keep my hands out of them!

If you have fond memories of Oatmeal Cream Pies, try this recipe, you won't be sorry! I think these are even better, and they don't have that preservative-filled, chemical taste. Oh, there's a few recipes floating around out there, but I did my usual thing and found a few that were good, combined them, tested and tried and here we go:

For the Cookies:

2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar ( I used light, but I think dark would be good too)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup molasses ( I didn't have molasses, so I used maple syrup)
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour (I even used whole wheat, and they were FABULOUS)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups quick oats

For the Cream Filling:

2 tsp. hot water
1/4 tsp. salt
7 oz. marshmallow cream
1/2 cup shortening (hey, I said they were good, not good for you)
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

First, heat your oven to 350 degrees. Then, in a large bowl you want to cream your butter, sugars and molasses. Add the vanilla and eggs. Next, add flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon mixing well. Add the oats to the mixture. Now you drop the batter by tablespoon fulls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Be sure to give them each plenty of room to expand, otherwise you'll end up with misshapen cookies. They're still good, but not so pretty. Bake these puppies at 350 for about 10 -12 minutes. You want them to still look moist, and be just starting to brown around the edges. Be sure you don't over cook them, or you'll end up with little crispy wafers.
While those cook, dissolve your salt for the cream filling in a bowl with the hot water. Add the rest of the ingredients for the filling and mix until very fluffy.

When your cookies are cool enough to lift from the sheet without breaking, assemble by adding a dab of cream filling on the bottom of one cookie then placing another cookie on top.

Go ahead...go make em right now!