No More Empty Fortune Cookies!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Positively in a Negative Mood

I try to keep a positive attitude. Really, I do. I know I come here to bitch and moan, but that's where I do my bitching and moaning, mostly. I try to keep it out of my real life interactions and out of my present state of mind. I come here, dump off all that negativity, and go back to my world of happiness...most of the time.
The last several weeks have been increasingly difficult for me. I still suffer from the loss of The Sunny Dog. And I still ache for the constant and uncontrollable loss of my sight. And I miss having meaningful, gainful employment. What I do brings in a little cash here and there, but not the steady, sure paycheck I got when I was workin' for tha man.
I miss the financial freedom I once enjoyed. I mean, we were never rich, but we had savings, and spending cash, and the ability to shop on a whim. Those days are gone, and they are gone because I lost that good paying job and tried to go into business for myself. They are gone because The Wifester lost her good paying job and has taken one at half her previous pay while she continues to look for something better. It's been a year and a half now, and she still can't seem to find any better than what she now has. And that also sucks. We hear so much about how the market needs skilled workers. Educated workers. What you don't hear about is how they don't want to pay the skilled, educated workers a fair wage for those skilled jobs. Not just anyone can assist a physician with tests, blood work, assessments, and triage. Not just anyone can administer shots and meds and give correct and accurate instructions to patients on the doctor's behalf. But they want to pay menial labor wages for such skilled, educated, and experienced people as The Wifester.
It's insane.
I guess I'm just in a sour mood today. I have to fill out this stupid dog license renewal for the state of Ohio and let them know that The Sunny Dog is gone. I could have done without the renewal notice in the mail this week. Couldn't the vet have just notified them for us? Shouldn't they? I mean, she was with him in surgery when she passed. He had her collar with the tags. As a common courtesy, if nothing else, the vets should take that upon themselves so we don't have to deal with it like this. It just serves as yet another reminder that such a major and special part of my life is missing. Gone, never to be recovered.
Bleh! I hate this feeling.
I hate talking about this feeling.
I hate hating this feeling.
And I miss my companion. Sunny wasn't just my dog. She was a constant, loyal, loving and sweet friend. She has been by my side 24/7 for the last three years since I've worked from home. I think that makes it harder. I'm glad I was able to spend her last years spending so much time with her, she loved it, but I think that makes her absence all the more difficult on me.
I'll be OK. I know that. I just need to fill out this stupid paperwork for the state and get on about my day.
I guess I just needed to come her and take a load off.

Monday, November 19, 2012

To Drive or Not To Drive

The Wifester and I were talking yesterday about driving and whether or not I missed it, and to what degree did I miss it, and whether or not she would miss it if she could no longer drive. She says she wouldn't miss a thing about driving, and that if she didn't have car-sickness she would never drive again and be absolutely fine with being passenger. But as it is, her car-sickness is lessened significantly by her driving rather than riding. C'est la vie, Wifester. Besides, I guess it's probably a good thing one of us can still drive.

I tend to first think, HELLS YEAH I miss driving. But upon deeper inspection of the idea, I actually find that no, I don't miss all that much about the experience. Sometimes I miss the freedom that being able to drive gave me, but the driving itself? Not so much. I recall that I seemed to be hitting lots of garbage cans, light posts, and other random side-of-the road items. I had way too many to count near death experiences while trying to drive. I would check my mirrors, look over my shoulder, and then begin to merge over on the interstate only to be greeted with honking horns and a few explicit words being flung in my direction accompanied by a middle finger...I nearly sideswiped many a car, truck, bus, semi, you name it. If it was on the road, I have either hit it, run over it, or barely missed hitting it or running it over. I'm honestly quite surprised I survived my driving years. Sure, it was a long, painful adjustment to letting go of driving. And I continued to drive long after I was told not to. And I still sometimes get the idea that yes, yes I could still drive if I wanted to! But honestly, I know I don't see enough to do it safely.
So I just don't.

And living here, where I have such easy access to just about anything I want within walking distance makes it super nice. I can walk to coffee shops, bars, an array of restaurants from fast food to the chicest of the chic vegetarian/vegan digs in the greater Cleveland area. I can walk to drug stores, grocery stores, parks, hair salons, art galleries, and even ice cream shops. That makes giving up the keys so much easier. Of course, I still have to battle my own laziness and tell myself, "You CAN walk down there, you know!"
Eh, just knowing I can walk there if I need to really helps keep that helpless, dependent on others feeling at bay. Even if I do wait for the Wifester to give me a ride when the weather is either too hot, too cold, rainy or snowy.

How about you? Do you have anything that prevents you from driving? Do you miss it, or just the idea of it? And if you are still able to drive, how much do you think you would or would not miss it? How would you adapt to giving up your keys?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Couple Donates Wedding to Save Pets


Yesterday my friend Carol, over at Brown Dog Foundation, emailed me about something fantastic that happened for Brown Dog and I just had to share it. 
I've told you about Brown Dog Foundation before, but in case you missed it or forgot or whatever, let me remind you about this wonderful organization. Brown Dog Foundation is a not for profit that offers assistance to families who are in a temporary financial crisis and who need help providing life-saving treatment or medications for their pet. To date, Brown Dog has provided over $250,000 to save the lives of 204 family pets. 
That said, this beautiful couple, Cynthia Cereceres and Adam Bickell got married on October 13th. 



Instead of bringing wedding gifts, they asked friends and family to donate to Brown Dog Foundation. How wonderful is that? 
Brown Dog is run off of donations from kind and generous people like Cynthia and Adam. Every dollar they receive is paramount in the quest to help save the life of a beloved family pet. Won't you consider helping Brown Dog? Even if you can't afford to donate money or time, you can share this story and help spread the word to others. If you would like to donate to Brown Dog, go to http://www.browndogfoundation.org/# and click on the Donate link at the top of the page. To see other ways you can help Brown Dog, click on "Support Us". 
Brown Dog Foundation is also on Facebook and Twitter and you can catch up with them at their Blog, too. 



Here's the press release on the story: 

LOCAL COUPLE DONATES WEDDING TO SAVE FAMILY PETS

Brentwood/Nashville, Tennessee (October 15, 2012) –  Saturday, October 13th the marriage of Cynthia Cereceres and Adam Bickell enjoyed the gorgeous setting of Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory.  And, instead of bringing gifts for the happy couple, their 115 friends and family donated generously to Nashville-based charity, Brown Dog Foundation.  Every four hours Brown Dog Foundation receives a request from a family facing the agonizing decision of unnecessarily euthanizing their family pet because they lack the cash or credit line to cover the cost of veterinary care.  This equates to more than 2,400 requests for assistance each year.  While the Foundation continues to assist one family each week, their efforts only scratch the surface of this massive need. 

Since late 2011, the Foundation has received several phone calls from “Brides to Be” offering to request their friends and families donate to the Foundation rather than bring wedding gifts.  “As women choose to get married later in life, the need for traditional wedding gifts is diminished.  Asking friends and family to support a cause near and dear to their heart gives them a way to turn their wedding night memory into a lifetime gift for someone in need,” explains Carol Smock, Founder of Brown Dog Foundation. 

This was exactly the case for Cynthia Cereceres and Adam Bickell of Nashville.  Adam became aware of Brown Dog Foundation in 2009, when a team of runners raised $20,000 for the Foundation by participating in the 30th Anniversary Dublin Ireland Marathon.  He had just begun dating Cynthia at that time and shared his experience in learning about the Foundation.  Cynthia felt an immediate connection. 

A few years later, the couple became engaged and adopted their first dog together from the Nashville Humane Association, a pug they named BrooklynBrooklyn was named in honor of a trip the couple took to New York City just before finding him.  Very quickly Brooklyn took over their lives…  catering to his every need and desire!  Cynthia and Adam are blessed with the financial stability of providing for all medical needs Brooklyn may experience, but they also know that the “bottom can fall out” for just about anyone unexpectedly. 

Cynthia and Adam contacted Brown Dog Foundation in November to tell them of their desire to dedicate their wedding to the Foundation.  In December, the couple attended the “Holiday Howler” event presented by Show Dog – Universal and featuring up and coming country artist, JT Hodges.  The Foundation’s photographer, Katie Sutherland, had donated a Wedding Photo Package to the event as a silent auction item.  The couple purchased the package, further solidifying their devotion to the organization and its mission.

Over the past six years, Brown Dog Foundation has allocated more than $250,000 (60% of overall revenues) to save the lives of 204 family pets from across the nation.  The total need nationwide exceeds 4 million dollars each year.  The expectation is that the need will grow as the Foundation builds its brand and presence.  Brown Dog Foundation operates solely by donations of the general public. 

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 country, with a sizable concentration of assistance occurring in Middle and East Tennessee communities.  The organization helps families who are working class or higher income, but 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 give 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 on track.  The family pays at least 25% of the cost of the veterinary care or medication needed, the veterinary clinic usually discounts 10-25% and the Foundation pays the balance.   

Founded by Carol A. Smock and six other women, the organization was started from nothing and has grown into a thriving community program.  With an average of 30 volunteers each year, the organization spends its time raising money so when a family needs help, they can respond.  Currently, the Foundation is providing assistance to one family each week.  “All total we’ve helped more than 205 families across the country, 150 of whom 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 Board of Directors are Carol A. Smock, Board Chair; Kelly Hunt, Secretary; and Dallon Christensen, Treasurer.  Donations are accepted online or by mailing a check to Brown Dog Foundation, 3715 Brighton Road, Nashville, TN 37205.  For more information, visit the website at www.browndogfoundation.org.


Friday, September 21, 2012

So Much Love

You may or may not already know this, but our precious Sunny Dog passed away this week. We are terribly saddened and totally devastated.

We didn't know she was so sick, see, Sunny was always a lady. She never complained, she never fussed. She was just a go with the flow kind of girl.

We knew she was getting older and slowing down. Her old joints were arthritic, it seemed. We could see the cataracts in her eyes, we knew she was having trouble seeing. But all in all she seemed pretty healthy, age considered. She ate well, drank well, and went potty regularly. Until Monday, that is. On Monday she didn't want to go out to potty when I called her. I really had to coax her out. And she didn't eat much even though it had extra special, yummy bits added in to entice her. And I really realized she wasn't feeling well when she didn't run to the back door with Sally Sue when The Wifester pulled into the driveway after work.
She's just resting up, I thought.
On Wednesday we knew we had to get her to the vet.
The x-ray seemed to show a mass that appeared where her spleen should have been. The danger of a tumor in the spleen is that you will bleed to death from it. With her blood loss, this fit together well and made perfect sense. The vet assured us that he sees spleen tumors in older labs quite frequently. And removes them quite frequently, as well. We were told that 85% of the time they turn out to be benign and the dog lives on for the duration of its life, and bounces back from surgery just fine. 15% of the time it is cancer, and the dogs life is only momentarily saved by the surgery.
Doing nothing at this moment was a death sentence, though. Slowly dying from internal bleeding is horrific, we didn't want to let that happen to her.
We decided we had to give our Sunny the best possible chance to survive. Even if that meant risking surgery.
We spent quite a bit of time with her, there in the vet's office in a private room. The staff was really nice about letting us spend our time with her before she went into surgery. I'm ever so grateful for that time, now.
We doted on her, loved on her, told her what was happening, and asked her to be strong. We reassured her that we would be there for her.
We didn't expect it would be our last moments with her. But it was.
Sunny didn't make it through surgery. Her heart was too weak, she had lost too much blood, and the tumor that appeared to be her spleen was actually all throughout her chest. Her heart, her lungs, and her liver were just encased with it. Sunny passed under anesthesia, and I take some comfort in that. She saved us from having to make that decision later. That was her style. All she ever wanted to do was to make life easier for us.


Sunny brought The Wifester and I together, you know. She really did.
We met online, but at first I didn't respond to the Wifester's requests for chats and emails. She kept requesting, and I kept ignoring them. I saw a profile name of Sunndogg and thought, huh, who is this chick calling herself a dog? Does she mean she's like one of those party chicks who has slept with everyone in town? I really didn't want to deal with that. Then finally she changed her picture to one of her and the Sunny dog. They were standing by a lighthouse with Lake Erie in the background. That's when I saw this happy, sweet face. And a beautiful, sweet dog next to her. They both were smiling so genuinely, and I knew immediately that Sunndogg was full of love. And so was her dog. That is when I responded to her request to chat, and that is when we began getting to know each other.
Sunny was just 5 years old then. The Wifester had adopted her from a shelter when she was only 12 weeks old. They were a bonded pair.
Sunny won my heart from that photo, but she really won me over the very first time I met her. She came right up to me, tail wagging, and sniffed me over, then kissed me. We were buds from that moment on. Sure, we had the obligatory test of wills and boundaries. I remember one evening, early on, when Sunny stole my steak right off my dinner plate!
And another time when she grabbed my sandwich right out of my hand. And that was so uncharacteristic of her, but she was testing me. And probably telling me, "Hey, lady, I've been here a lot longer than you. I'm top dog here."
But we came to an agreement that we both loved her momma and that we could share all the good things in life. With that, Sunny dog cozied right up to me, and to Max, my kitty.
Years later, Sunny comforted me when Max fell ill with cancer, and eventually had to be put down.
I think she knew how hard that was for us to do and this time, she decided she would do the hard part for us.

Sunny inspired us to live our lives with love, peace and acceptance. She exemplified a life of loyalty, love, and peace. Sunny inspired my art, and my business, Sunny Dog Snacks.
Sunny inspired and wooed everyone who ever met her. She taught Sally Sue a few lessons, too.



We are terribly sad to be without our Sunny dog, but we are grateful for the years we had with her. We know that we are better people for having known her, and that we are special because we get to keep remembering her and all the love that she brought to this world.
And so much love that was.
The Wifester said to me last night, "Just think about all of that love that has been released back into the universe."
You can't begin to know how much love that soul carried. No one can, not even us, and we lived with it every day. Sunny is now part of the cosmos, and her love is radiating back down on us all. This world is a better place now, having Sunny's love to spread around. And isn't that exactly what this world needs now, as the song says? Love, sweet love.





Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls, a How-To



Mmmmmmm! Cinnamon rolls, get in my belly!


I tweeted this picture of this gooey, yummy, cinnamoney goodness the other day, but now I'm gonna tell you how to make a batch for yourself. Because really, don't we all deserve to know how to make these things happen whenever we so choose? 

This recipe yields a huge return, so I like to divide it and let it do double time, half of it becomes biscuits and the other half becomes cinnamon rolls. 

Cast of Characters in this splendidly delicious play:

Rolls/Biscuits

1 (¼-ounce) packet active dry yeast2 tablespoons lukewarm water 5 cups Southern soft-wheat self-rising flour*  ¼ cup sugar1/2 cup brown sugarcinnamon as much or as little as you want
1 stick melted butter, divided into half...mmmmm butter1 teaspoon kosher salt½ teaspoon baking soda1 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups buttermilk


Icing

2 TBSP milk

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 of melted butter from previous


* Martha White or Lilly White are the top choices 



First, dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a small cup or dish. Set that aside until it becomes nice and foamy. 
Stir together the flour, salt, baking soda, and white sugar in a large bowl. Cut shortening into the mixture until the pieces are smallish, but not quite all incorporated and mealy. Add the buttermilk to the dissolved yeast. Stir the buttermilk/yeast mixture into the flour mixture just until a dough forms.

At this point, I divide this dough in half. This way you can make biscuits with half and rolls with the other half. It's that easy. Just roll out this half of the dough on a well floured surface to about 1 inch thick, and then cut with a biscuit cutter or a round glass. Gather up the excess dough and repeat. Place these sides touching on a well greased sheet or in a well greased cast iron skillet, and set aside in a warm place to rise for at least 2-3 hours. Once they have risen and doubled in size, brush melted butter over the tops and bake in a preheated oven at 425 for 15 - 20 minutes. These are the closest thing to The Loveless Cafe's biscuits I've ever sunk my teeth into. And if you've ever had The Loveless Cafe's biscuits, you'll be thanking me for this recipe in .2 seconds. 




With the other half of the dough, you have options-you can refrigerate this dough for up to 5 days, and it will actually taste better after being refrigerated a day or two. If you want to carry on now with your cinnamon rolls, by all means, do! 

Roll out the dough on a well floured surface, to about 1/2 inch thick. I try to get it nice and rectangular, but that's just me. Liberally brush one of the two halfs the melted butter over the surface then sprinkle heavily with cinnamon. I really pour it on. I also like to add some nutmeg and a dash or four of allspice and sometimes a bit of ginger. Put what you like. Then dump your brown sugar all over it.  I like to leave clumps of brown sugar, thumb size or smaller. They melt with the butter into such nice, gooey yumminess...
Now drizzle more melted butter over the top of the sugar. I could eat this just as is. But we really want to see the magic happen with these. Now start at one end of your rectangle and roll the dough into a log. Don't worry about being too tight, but don't let it get too crazy loose either. Once it's all rolled up with the cinnamon, butter, sugar mix inside, take a knife and slice this log into 1½ in. thick rolls. Lay these, sides touching in a well greased pie dish or again, in a cast iron skillet. I love baking biscuits and cinnamon rolls in cast iron. I love the almost crunchy outside with the soft, fluffy inside. 
Now drizzle more butter over the tops of these. Can you ever get too much butter? Well, my gallbladder says yes, but I say NO! Hell NO!
Now, set these aside in a warm location to rise for a couple of hours. Once they rise, preheat your oven to 425, and bake these puppies for 15 minutes, or until golden and fluffy. 

Now to make your icing-
Mix 1 cup powdered sugar with the remainder of the melted butter. Add a splash of vanilla and a couple of teaspoons of milk. Add more powdered sugar for thicker icing, add more milk for thinner icing. Adjust it to your desire. 
Drizzle this over the tops of these rolls and enjoy! 







Monday, September 10, 2012

Science vs. Religion


I had a discussion over the weekend with someone who told me they felt that religion and science were the same in that they both utilize a, "I believe it, so it is true" philosophy. I argued that in science, the scientific method is used to empirically test a hypothesis before it can be proclaimed to be fact, proven to be wrong, or determined to be a theory that still requires more testing. That in science, all possible alternative solutions must be exhausted before proclaiming an answer to be truth, whereas in religion, the only proof needed to prove any assertion is simply, "it's in the bible" or it's in whatever religious text that person holds as truth. I was shut down. "No" she insisted, "Science does the same thing." And this argument was presented not by a person who is defending their religious convictions, but by a person who claims to be an atheist, with no religious affiliation whatsoever. A person who I hold dear to my heart and who's intelligence is, in fact, rather high. So the usual explanations of religiosity or lack of ability to understand complexities don't suffice when attempting to understand how this person arrives at this idea of religion and science using the same methods to explain their truths.

In my mind, the truth is that science in fact does require rigorous testing and examination before a theory can be called a fact, and when it is determined that something that was once held to be known as fact is later determined to have a different explanation, science corrects itself and admits the error and states the new evidence that grants proof to a new answer. Religion refuses to acknowledge any possible answer or explanation that is not presented in religious text. In fact, many religions dictate that followers should not seek answers outside of the religious text, that to do so is an affront to the supreme deity of that text's choice, while science begs us to seek all possible answers and to test them over and over again to gain a better, more complete understanding.

Maybe I'm wrong. I'm not a religious scholar, nor am I a scientist. I'm willing to seek alternative theories.
What are your thoughts? Are religion and science intrinsically the same? Why or why not?


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Good Golly, Miss. Tamale!

I have had a love affair with tamales for as long as I can remember. In fact, I recall the moment I first realized that they were one of my true joys in life.
I must have been around 6 years old, and my mom's sisters, my tias, were in town to visit us. When those women get together, there's lots of cooking going on. Tamales, enchiladas, burritos, menudo, mole, posole...you name it. But the staples were always tamales and enchiladas. I thought that I may not like the tamale, and my mom told me to try a sweet one instead of the chili one. It had cinnamon, raisins, dates and brown sugar. I was swept off my feet.
So I ventured to take a nibble off of the "chili" one.
It melted in my mouth like butter.
Like butter, I say!
I knew then and there that the tamale was a very special food item, to be cherished and respected at all times.
I try tamales in restaurants, only to be mostly disappointed virtually every time. I hate to encounter those awful, pre-fab., frozen things that they try to pass off as tamales. And forget about those canned kind.
That is NOT a tamale!
Much like mushrooms, tamales should never come from a can. Do we have that straight? Good.
Well, if you know one thing about tamales, it's that they are extremely labor intensive and time consuming to make. If you didn't know that about tamales, you do now.
Though they are well worth the effort, one doesn't always have that kind of time on their hands to dedicate to the preparation of a meal.
I have enjoyed those tamale pie recipes, you know, the ones using Jiffy cornbread...but they lack that authenticity of true, homemade tamales like my tias, my mom, and my grandmother used to make.
I decided it would probably work to use traditional Masa Harina instead of the cornbread, and decided to give it a go, after googling "how to make tamale pie with masa harina". I love how you can find answers to anything on google. It is the most under recognize and unappreciated tools of modern time. But that's for another post.
I found a blogger talking about pretty much precisely my predicament at Please, Don't Pass the Salt. Though she was discussing doing this the low-sodium way, it didn't matter. I just needed confirmation that I could steam the masa in a casserole dish and achieve what I was looking for. And confirmation is exactly what I found. So onward I pressed with my experiment.
I did all the prep as I usually would. Braise the meat with all those yummy chilis and onion and garlic, slowly cooking it to that falling apart stage, about 2 hours.

I prepared my Masa Harina, adding a dash or three of chili powder, some cumin, and chicken broth, for added flavor. Instead of making it exactly as needed for true tamales, I added a bit more broth to make it just a little bit looser, and easier to spread over a casserole dish. I found a casserole dish that fits perfectly inside of my new electric roaster/slow cooker/steamer (Thank YOU Grandma Laverne! *that's The Wifester's grandma), and I spread a thin coat of EVOO over the bottom of the casserole dish. Spread a layer of prepared Masa, then a layer of the braised meat, along with a good helping of chili sauce and a sprinkle of cheese. Then another layer of Masa. I added water to the roaster/slow cooker/steamer, and set the roasting rack inside it, placed my casserole dish on top of that rack, covered my casserole dish tightly with aluminum foil and then the lid for the roaster/slow cooker/steamer, and set it to steam.  After about 45-50 minutes, the masa had indeed steamed and was nice and firm. I topped with a drizzle of chili sauce, ok, more than a drizzle, a light slather is more like it, and topped it with some more shredded cheese. Covered that baby back up, and VIOLA! 15 minutes later, I had this:


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Maxwell House

I had a dream about Max last night. He was head butting me and purring and waving his tail around so that it tickled my nose. It's crazy how much I still miss that kitty, and I don't even realize it until I dream about him or stumble across some old photo with him...
My kitty was my little man. He was awesome, and he was loved.

13 years he was in my life. That's still the longest relationship I've ever had, though The Wifester and I are closing in on that. 
R.I.P. Maxwell House.  Momma loves you!


Friday, July 27, 2012

We've Got 99 Problems, and the Chic is One

So this whole Chic-fil-A thing has me thinking.
I mean, I keep hearing people say they don't understand why we would be surprised by how they feel about gays and gay marriage, after all, they are a religious company. Well, I know plenty of religious people and Christian based companies that don't support Chic-fil-A's views and don't donate to such hate-filled groups like Chic-fil-A does. And I don't know of anyone who is "surprised" by any of this. In fact, those of us in the politically active segment of the gay community have been boycotting Chic-fil-A for years. YEARS!
Funny how only now, in an election year, do our actions get noticed by the mainstream.
Funny how only now does Chic-fil-A come out and admit to their donations those groups.
Funny how only now do our straight allies voice their opinions and take a stand along side of us.
We've been telling you and anyone else who would listen for half a second about Chic-fil-A and their endorsement of hatred in our country. We've been asking for years to stop contributing to their profits which get spent on donating to groups who want to repeal our right to marry in the few states that we've gained that right, and prevent us from being able to marry in the rest of the states. They have actively worked to restrict the rights of an entire segment of the population based solely on their very skewed belief system that says that we are less than, not good enough, and abominations.
I am even more perplexed at my fellow GLBT people who say things like, "I'm not gonna stop eating Chic-fil-A. What's the point? Just because I don't support their beliefs doesn't mean I have to stop eating there. My $5 isn't going to make any difference to them." or "But I like their food." It would be one thing if the company simply said, "We believe gays/lesbians don't deserve the same rights as the rest of us." They certainly have the right to that belief, and I wouldn't feel so passionately about not contributing to their profits. But the fact is that they donate money, lots and lots and lots of money to groups and organizations that fight against the gay rights movement. And to put it all into perspective, your $5 combined with every GLBT and true GLBT supporter's $5 actually WILL make a difference in the pocket book of the Chic-fil-A's owners. But more importantly, because hurting their bottom line is not the point, every $5 you spend at Chic-fil-A is another $5 going toward contributions to those political groups, groups with strong affiliations to our law-makers none the less, who are actively working toward restricting your rights. So the point is that by eating at Chic-fil-A you are actively donating to groups who seek to oppress you. It's like buying the gun, the shovel, the plastic tarp, and the rope and handing it over to your murderer.
And if you are not GLBT, but you have friends and/or family who is GLBT and you believe that they should have the right to marry the person they love, the right to adopt and raise children who so desperately need a family to love them, you believe they have the right not to be fired from their jobs just because they are GLBT, then you are being hypocritical by continuing to patronize Chic-fil-A.
So you may SAY you support your GLBT friends/family, but in actuality, you are actively donating to the movement to criminalize, marginalize, and revoke and suppress the basic human rights of the very people you claim to support.
If this is the case, please STOP saying you support us. Because you don't.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Of Spasmodic Gallbladders and Potential Kidney Stones

I'm finally feeling back to (almost) normal. If we can call me normal in any respect...
Sunday evening it all started. The pain, the nausea, the chills. I thought I was having another gallbladder attack. It starts with this dull ache across my upper back, just under my shoulder blades.  That dull ache gets stronger and stronger over the course of a couple of hours. Then I get nauseated and develop a terrible, hot, radiating pain under my right rib cage. That one happens in waves and goes on for several hours. I vomit, and vomit, and vomit some more. The pain waxes and wanes for hours on end. Sometimes it stops pretty abruptly after I puke. Sometimes it seem to intensify. Sunday night it intensified. I ran out of the muscle relaxers (Dicyclomine) that the E.R. gave me when they told me they thought it was my gallbladder being spasmodic. Figures I'd have spazoid innards. So I dug through the medicine cabinet and found some Phenergan that I had left over from something a few years ago. Yep, the date on the prescription bottle was 2005. I was like the honey badger at that point, I didn't give a shit. I took it and hoped against hope that it would help the nausea and if nothing else, let me sleep. And sleep I did. I still felt that awful pain in my sleep, but I slept.
The pill the ER doctor had given me was much more effective, it actually helped the pain, and it helped within 15 or 20 minutes. But alas, without insurance I can't afford another $2,000 trip to the E.R. just to be sent home with $50 pills because they can't do surgery on me since I don't have 20K cash and I don't have insurance. And without insurance I can't get a regular doctor to see me because when they run a credit check to see if I'll be able to pay their bill, it comes back negative since I've had financial struggles over the last few years...You know, the same issues I've dealt with in the past when I've tried to see doctors, like for my eyes and my seizures...
So I endure these episodes and try to hold on until either November of 2013 when I am finally eligible for MediCare under Disability rules, or 2014 when ObamaCare kicks in and I can shop for insurance on the private market.
Either way, I have a long ways to go before I can seek treatment for this mysterious issue.
Well, back to Sunday night's episode. It lasted on into Monday morning, when I felt like I had been hit by a semi truck. Oh I slept, but I hurt, too. Then all day Monday I battled this recurring pain, this dull back ache. This general feeling of unease. When I'd stand up to stretch my back, I'd get really dizzy. When I'd sit up it felt like I was being sawed in half. When I laid down I couldn't find a comfortable spot. I was miserable. I shook. I trembled. I'll admit it, I even cried.
The Wifester offered to take me to the ER when she arrived home from work, but knowing we'd be there all night and she had to get up and go to work the next morning and knowing we can't afford the bill, and knowing all that stuff, I declined. Late Monday night, early Tuesday morning something strange happened. I really had to pee again, and when I did there was some blood in my urine. But immediately after that the pain was gone. Poof. Just gone. The next few times I went, there was less and less blood, and by mid day Tuesday, it was all gone. I still had an ache running across my belly. But more like a muscle achyness vs. the general achyness of the night prior. I was extremely exhausted, and still feeling like I'd been hit by  truck, but that pain, dizziness, and nausea was finally gone. Except for a splitting headache, but I think that may have been due to not eating in over 24 hours and not drinking much and not having any caffeine. The Wifester and I simultaneously had the idea that maybe, just maybe this wasn't a gallbladder attack, but rather a kidney stone passing. We remembered the urine with some blood happening at the ER, too. And a month or so ago when the same thing happened here at home, though the pain lasted less than two days that time. Is it possible that I'm having kidney stones? I suppose. They didn't find any gallstones when they X-rayed me in the ER, so they guessed that it was just my gallbladder having spasms and suggested I find a primary care doctor to follow up with. Well, I've already explained why I haven't done that.
So I wonder, if I am having kidney stone episodes, and I'm enduring them without medical intervention, how long can that go on? Am I doing terrible damage to my ureters and urinary tract? And is that further damage going to complicate things once I finally do have insurance and seek treatment? Seems like it is usually cheaper to catch things and fix them early, rather than waiting until they go on and on and cause more damage. Eh, what else can I do but hold on until those magical dates when the rules of the powers that be kick in and say I am fortunate enough to have health care. I guess we'll find out then what damage has been done. Until then, I am crossing my fingers, toes, an every other part I can muster in hopes that I never have to feel that horrible pain ever again. Now where's that ginormous jug of water? I need to rehydrate.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Introducing Silly Sally Sue

It's done! It's DONE!
My children's book is finally done and ready for sale :)
This is more of a first years type book, probably more for children under 6.
book cover photo

You can buy a paperback copy directly from my store, or you can go through Amazon.com and buy it in either paperback or in ebook format.
If any of you do happen to buy a copy, do me another big favor and leave feedback and rate it for me, please. That helps me a lot!




Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Of Puppies and Children

It's done! It's done! And it's with the printers now. I'll let you know when it is available for purchase. If you have small children, my little book will be a great bedtime, nap time, or anytime story for them. Especially for kids who love pups, and what kid doesn't love a puppy? I mean, really?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Blind Girl Walking!

So, I decided to go for a walk today. It is significantly cooler out there after last night's rain, and I wanted to take full advantage of the milder temps while they lasted. One thing always strikes me as I walk with my cane. People stare at me a lot. They stop and stare at me as I walk around the trash can in my path well before my cane has tapped it. They stop and stare at me watching the Walk and Don't Walk signs on the street corners. They stop and look at me as they talk in hushed tones to their children.
I don't mind it most days, but sometimes I just want to yell, "You know, I CAN see you!"
I don't think they do know. Or they do know I can see some things and they wonder why I'm using a blind cane.

Here's the thing. While you're out on a walk, you are looking ahead and this is what you see:

Hell, if I'm walking along side of you, you can probably see me, too, can't you? Even when your eyes are focused straight ahead at that cabin door?

Well, while I'm walking right along side of you, this is what I see:


Now, admittedly, the bright lights and flashing, pulsating lights can be quite entertaining at times, they are pretty much constant, and can also be really distracting. 
And notice, I can't see any of that path leading up to the door. I can see the door and some of the cabin, but not much else. And in my eyes, I can barely even tell if it is day or night lighting. In the shade, or even partial shade it may as well be midnight to me. 

I tell you this so that next time you are out and you see a person with a blind cane please try to understand that there are so many levels of blindness, and that lot of times, us "blind" people actually can see you gawking at us. And if you see me tap, tap, tapping my way along the sidewalk, don't wonder why I can see but use the stick. 
Just be glad I'm not behind the wheel of a car!





Friday, June 29, 2012

ObamaCare. Yes We DID!



Yesterday the much debated, vehemently opposed, Affordable Care Act (you know, ObamaCare) was approved in full by the United States Supreme Court.
Historic.
Yet another moment in Obama's presidency that I find myself with mouth agape, smiling, and saying, "This is an historic moment".
I noticed right away that my facebook news feed was blowing up with all of the comments in favor of and in opposition of ObamaCare.
It strikes me how many of my church going, bible-thumping, "Christian" friends are so extraordinarily opposed to it. It baffles me. I mean, I understand some people do not feel like the US needs to be a nation that helps their sick and poor. Some people truly and honestly feel that the world is better off being on an every-man-for-himself kind of mindset, and though I disagree, I respect their right to that belief. Where I get baffled is in how the vast majority of the people I know with that every-man-for-himself mindset readily call themselves "Christians", and claim to walk the walk and talk the talk of the bible. Now, I'm no bible scholar, but I did read it beginning to end several times, and the thing is, repeatedly throughout the book I found it to say that we should heal the sick, feed the hungry, shelter the poor. In Matthew, 10:8, when talking about healing the sick it even says to do so "...freely you have received, freely you shall give." That's a pretty big difference from the views and opinions I see these people expressing over ObamaCare.

The Wifester and I, being non-Christian and altogether non-religious, though we are pretty poor ourselves always make room in our budget to donate to local homeless shelters, pick up an angel from the angel tree at Christmas, and provide what we can to food banks. Honestly, there were times we gave when we would have qualified to be receiving donations from those places, but we do this because we feel that it is incumbent upon us each to help another person who is in a worse situation than ourselves. There is always someone you can help, no matter what your current circumstances are. Sometimes help is in the form of a kind word, a listening ear, or even just a smile. 
Now, don't get me wrong, I do know plenty of liberals who are devout Christians. They actually do represent what I interpreted Christianity to be based on the bibles I read and studied. But they are overshadowed by these louder, angrier,  groups who claim to have moral authority over everyone with their (in my opinion) misguided views and opinions. These who claim to follow the bible, but feel that if you can't afford your cancer treatment too bad for you, you'll just have to go without.
It's just another example of the hypocrisy I see in modern, organized religion. 

The Dali Lama said, "My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness."
I like that.
Kindness, there's so many ways to exhibit it. Throwing a cancer patient off of your health care plan because they have accrued too many bills for chemotherapy and radiation treatment is certainly not an act of kindness.
Denying health care coverage to a person because they once had a major illness is not an act of kindness.

I guess the core beliefs of those who oppose ObamaCare are starkly different from those who support it, and that's OK. That's why America is America. We can disagree, we can form our own opinions, we can even change our minds when and if we want to.
We'll have to see how this all plays out, but I have a feeling that this country is finally shaping up to be what I always felt a good, decent country ought to be. The kind of place that takes care of its people. The kind of place where we all pitch in what we can to help the next person. The kind of place where we all want to individually succeed, but we also want to see each other rise up and overcome as well.
Brotherhood.
Sisterhood.
 Love.



Monday, June 25, 2012

Nooks and Crannies

I'm busy getting my scrub-a-dub-dub on today. Somehow, sometime after losing my job I turned into  a real house-cleaning freak. I mean, I'm not like totally OCD on it. I can stop and leave some things half-assed when I want to, but I really do enjoy the scrubbing and scouring of nooks and crannies. I guess it gives me purpose when I have these days of not a lot of work to do on web sites and not much to do in the yard. Plus, I totally LOVE the smell of a freshly cleaned house combined with the sounds of the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer all running at the same time. It gives me a weird comfy-cozy feeling.
What is your happy space when you've got nothing else to do? What makes you feel happy and content and useful?

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Book in the Oven?

Did you know I'm cooking up a book? I am.

Well, just a children's book, to be honest, so it's not like I'm plugging away at chapter after chapter. I'm just plugging away at illustrations and graphics. I'm having fun with it, though, and am considering a second edition, if I can ever finish up this one.

I'll let you know more about it the closer it gets to finished. Meanwhile, here's a tiny little glimpse -

Now, is that some cuteness, or what?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Love is All You Need

Dear Life,
Really? I mean, REALLY?
OK, OK, so you've been pretty good to me in a lot of ways that many others are not fortunate enough to enjoy. I have The Wifester, who loves me to the ends of the earth. I couldn't ask for a better soul mate. I have wonderful and loving family via The Wifester. I have a roof over my head and food in my belly, and I have two wonderful and beautiful fur-babies who think I rope the moon. To them, I am the world. For those things, I wholeheartedly say, "Thank You!"
But really, Life? My sight?
That was uncalled for.
And my virginity before I was even old enough to know what it was?
Harsh.
My family. Oh geez, Life, you sure outdid yourself there. I mean, Kudos for your effort, malicious and unscrupulous though it may sometimes be.
And don't get me started on my cotton ball textured hair.
That was just plain rude.
I don't know what I ever did to you to deserve all that you threw my way. I mean, I have always been a pretty glass half full kind of gal. I have often told others to buck up and hang in there,
 "Life is pretty darn good", I'd say.  
Even when I didn't fully believe in you, I pretended to. I gave you the benefit of the doubt. I gave you rave reviews and showed others how to keep faith in you, even when you were busy beating me down. 
So what gives, Life? 
No matter. I will keep on keeping on, just as I have always done, and looking at you through my rose colored glasses. I chose to think you have better things in store for me, and I am here to tell you, YOU BETTER. 
I'll continue to find all the ways I can to enjoy you to your fullest. Even if you keep throwing me those curve balls. 
Bring it on, Life. I can take it. Because for all your twists and turns, in the end, I still got the better deal. 
I got The Wifester. 
I got The Pupsters. 
And I got love. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

I Want A Little Cookie

I know I was supposed to be writing a series of posts in the Dear____ genre, but I am going to deviate from that prescribed venue today. I can do that. In fact, I think we all should deviate from our normal or preset routines ever-so-often. I like to mix it up.

I guess I'm just not feeling the "Dear_____" vibe today because I got to spend time holding my sweet little four week old nephew this morning. 
Time holding a baby is always priceless. But it always makes me think about my own chance of ever experiencing motherhood. 
I have serious doubts about that ever happening now. Not that I don't want it to, but I just don't see it happening. Adoption is so expensive, and much more difficult for same sex couples,  not to mention my low vision status, and our less than desirable credit. 
We have thought about artificial insemination, and would definitely consider that route, but there are health risks involved for women our ages in carrying a baby as well as risks for the baby, too. Sometimes I think maybe we were just not destined to be moms. 
But I hate that thought.
Sometimes I think we'll get our chance one day. One day... 
I hold my nephews and I long for my own little, tiny soul to look after, to nurture, to love. I know The Wifester does, too. I see it in her eyes when she holds her nephews. When she sees mothers with their children. She wants to be a mom desperately. And she would make such a wonderful mom! Kids love her. LOVE her. And she's so good with them. It's one of the things that I love the most about her. She has some of the most nurturing, tender, maternal instincts I've ever seen in a person. Any kid would be lucky to have her for a mom, and I would feel so honored to have the chance to raise a child with her. 
I really don't know if that day will ever come to fruition for us, and my logical mind tells myself not to waste time with false hopes for things that most likely will never happen. But I do have to admit that a teeny, tiny little part of me holds on to that hope and wraps it around me like a warm winter's blanket. 
Only time will tell if we'll ever get to be moms, ourselves. Until then, at least we do get to be aunts.   

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dear Siblings






Dear Siblings,

I know it can be difficult, but try, try with all you have to be each other's best friend. Be each other's guardian and protector. Be each other's advocate. Sometimes we don't know what a special bond we have with our siblings until that bond is broken. Sometimes it becomes broken beyond repair, and that is a sad fate for two people who grew up under the same roof, suffered the same punishments, went on the same vacations, and survived childhood together.
I see some siblings who have a friendship, a bond that nothing could ever fracture. That's what it's all about, I think. I envy those relationships.
Please, do yourself and your brothers and sisters a favor, be nice. Just be nice to each other. You don't have to like everything they do, and they don't have to like everything you do. You can disagree without hating. You can even think they are complete idiots. But be nice. Love them for who they are, and they'll love you for who you are, and in the end, you'll each have lifelong friends, confidants. Someone who you can tell anything to, someone who can see through you and knows the real, true you. Someone who remembers that time you got grounded for whatever stupid thing it was that you did that one time, and can remind you of it when you need to be brought back down to earth. And don't we all need that kind of grounding sometimes?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dear Parents of Bentley, Tristan, Annalise, and Ethel

It should come as no surprise, but I'm bored blogging again. Maybe not bored, but definitely uninspired. But this time instead of walking away from it and leaving this place to wither and die unattended, I have opted to force myself to write by selecting a 15 day challenge.
Each day I will write a "Dear____" letter.
Today's letter is Dear Parents. Here we go-

Dear Parents,

Please, for the love of all that is good and right in this world, please, I beg of you, enough already with the stupid ass names you give these poor souls. And please, please STOP overindulging your children. Stop telling them they are absolutely perfect in every single way. They aren't. Stop granting them the world on a silver platter. They will never know what it means to work for and appreciate something, anything. And by all means, PLEASE stop telling them they can be or do anything. They can't. I'm sorry, but little Skylar will never grow up to be the P.O.T.U.S. It won't happen. Not because Skylar is an imbecile, we've had plenty of imbecile presidents, but first and foremost because you opted to name him Skylar. Then you went on to fill Skylar's little head with ideas of grandeur. You made him think the world revolved around his over-inflated head. So now when Skylar grows up with you telling him that he can be an astrophysicist or a neurosurgeon, but then life slaps him across the face for having such an idiotic name, well, he won't quite know how to handle the rejection. That's when Skylar goes from potential future P.O.T.U.S. to being just another douche bag waiting in the parking lot for the bar to open on a Tuesday afternoon.
And another thing, Parents: Your child is not exceptional or "gifted" just because they know their alphabet. Maybe if they know the alphabet in 3 languages by the age of 4 you can start to wonder if they are "special", but get over yourself. Most likely, statistically speaking, your child is average. There's nothing wrong with average. Embrace it and accept it. Otherwise you will have a lifetime of letdowns and disappointments while you expect great and unprecedented accomplishments from your absolutely mediocre offspring. It's not fair to you or to poor little Skylar, Tristan, Annabell, or Bentley...Oh! Let's not forget that whole class of ugly on purpose names, Ethel, Gertrude, Omar...Yeah, like naming your daughter Hazel will translate into her growing up with chapter books lining her bookshelf and horseback riding for sport, and taking transatlantic cruises upon graduation from an ivy league school instead of being a texting, bubble gum popping, boy crazy, community college party girl. I mean, some things you just can't change by giving a pretentiously absurd name.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Awake


Awake.
The morning sun beams brightly through the open window,
And I listen for the chirp-chirp song of the ones gifted with flight.
Their joy is infectious.
I spring into the day,
Hopeful that their song will carry me through,
Joyfully past any obstacles that may arise.
Awake.
Another night survived. Another day to live.
Another chance at this thing called life.
And I, for one, am happy
To be Awake.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Intersection of Intent

My mother in law's latest novel, Intersection of Intent, is now available on Amazon.com! For a low, low $3.99 you can read a fun and exciting who done it mystery. No Kindle? No problem! You can download free software that allows you to read Kindle books on your pc, mac, blackberry, android, etc. 


Get your copy here

Friday, June 8, 2012

Ode to Cleveland

It's been a year now since The Wifester and I made the move from Nashville to Cleveland. I can hardly believe it's been that long. In so many ways I feel like I just got here and am still exploring and getting to know my new city.
When we told people we were moving to Cleveland, I heard a lot of, "Why CLEVELAND??" With a rather disdainful emphasis on the word "Cleveland", as though it were a diseased, decayed, vagrant abyss of despair on the other end of the universe.

But it's not!

OK, so yeah, there are areas with boarded up houses, vacant buildings, high crime rates.
Yeah, so Nashville had all of that.
So did Sacramento.
So did Chicago.
So did Dallas.
You get the idea. Every large/ish city has its problems. And the down economy has taken its toll everywhere.

I don't want to stay with that topic. We could talk for hours upon hours and never finish talking about the depressed economy in any region of the United States. What I want to talk to you about is how much of a hidden gem Cleveland really is.

1. There's the MetroParks. This park system completely surrounds Cleveland, so no matter if you live on the richest side of town or the poorest, you are always within just a few minutes of The Cleveland MetroParks with wooded walking and bicycling trails, picnic areas, nature centers, play areas for the kids...This is the most wonderful city park system I have ever seen in my life. Every city should have its own "Emerald Necklace".

And one of the best things is that this park system is so expansive, so massive that even on holidays, when everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE is at the park, it's never so overcrowded that you can't find a quiet, cozy spot with a nice picnic table and some grills. Usually there's even one along side a nice rolling river.  And besides the MetroParks system, there's a million little small parks dispersed around each little area. Within a five mile radius of my house there are 11 parks I have counted, not including the MetroParks. Some of them are small, with only a couple of basket ball courts and a few benches, while others are pretty large with walking trails, picnic areas, and lake views. Like Lakewood Park. I love this park.

There's even a very nice public pool here, if you don't mind swimming with total strangers who may or may not be carrying communicable diseases. But hey, that's your own choice to make.

2.  The Free Stamp. If you don't know about the Free Stamp, let me tell you the tale.

This is one fine piece of public art. Danish artists, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen created this 50 foot tall statement that sits downtown, next to City Hall. See, these guys were kind of badass in that "I'll make my statement no matter if I am up against Big Oil!" kind of way. The story goes that the stamp was originally commissioned in 1982 by the Standard Oil Company. They wanted it to sit in front of their to be built corporate headquarters building on Public Square (which is now the BP Tower). They wanted it to sit with the "Free" stamp facing downward, hidden from view, apparently as a reference to the Civil War era Soldier's and Sailors Monument next door. But before the piece found its home, Standard Oil was acquired by the British Petroleum Company (BP) who didn't appreciate the piece. They said it was "inappropriate". "Free Stamp" sat in storage in Indiana for years before BP finally donated it to the city of Cleveland. The city consulted with the artists, who ultimately chose this location as the home for Free Stamp because they wanted it to be a symbol of freedom and free speech. At this point, the artist modified the stamp so that it would rest on it's side and showing the "FREE" lettering, symbolizing how the piece was "flung across town" from the BP Tower to where it now rests. And I for one love it and all that it stands for.


3.  Festivals. During the Spring through Fall months, you can't go a week without reading about, hearing about, or stumbling upon some sort of festival here. You never have to travel more than 10 miles to find a wonderful festival to celebrate some ethnicity or another, some culture or heritage, some culinary treat or fruit bearing tree, some kind of wooly-worm, or even Duct Tape, as this is the home of that wonderful invention, ya know. And if you know me, you know I love me some festivals! There's always great food, interesting music, and friendly people willing to sell you their hand crafted goods. 


4.  World class health care. The Cleveland Clinic was ranked as the fourth best hospital in America for complex and demanding situations according to the 2011-12 U.S. News & World Report America's Best Hospitals report, and it has ranked number one for cardiac care for 16 years in a row. At this national level, they also rank #2 in Gastroenterology, Urology, and Nephrology. They rank #3 in Pulmonology and Rheumatology. #4 in Gynecology and Orthopedics. #5 in Diabetes/Endocrinology. #6 in Neurology and Neurosurgery. #7 in Geriatrics, #8 in Ear, Nose, Throat, #9 in Cancer treatment, #11 in Ophthalmology with the acclaimed Cole Eye Institute of Cleveland Clinic. They are #17 Psychiatry and #19 in Rehabilitation. Did we leave anything out? No matter what ails you, you are within reach of some of the very best of the best medical care available in this country. Remember that lady with the face that got eaten off by the chimpanzee? The Cleveland Clinic did her face transplant. And they have a phenomenal, radical idea that they are here to actually treat people, insurance or not. They will work with you on a sliding scale kind of system to ensure you can afford access to health care, even without insurance. 




5.  The people here are awesome. And I do mean AWESOME. You always hear about "Southern Hospitality" but truly, its these people up here that really and truly do give personification to that old idea of being kind to strangers and treating guests like family. I have had more random, polite conversations with absolute strangers standing in line at the market or walking down the street since I've been here than I ever did back in Nashville. Maybe the 70 degree temps here make for more pleasant attitudes than the 90+ degree temps back home did. I'm sure there's more small talk in the winter in Nashville than in Cleveland, I mean, cold here is quite cold. But at least there's an end to it and with that comes this beautiful, wonderful spring with flowers abloom and birds a singing...And people everywhere stopping you and saying, "It's a beautiful day, eh?" I love that. 




This post could get unbearably long if I were to keep on talking about all the fine things Cleveland has to offer. I haven't even touched on the lower cost of living, the tremendously good public schools, the great way the city and surrounding suburbs are laid out, the zoo, the museum of art, the museum of natural history, the botanical gardens, the perogies, the symphony, the new casino, Playhouse Square, the West Side Market...


I could go on and on and on. And if I don't stop myself right now, I will. If you don't believe me that Cleveland really is a super fantastic place to call home then just give me a shout next time you're in town. I'll take you around and show you my Cleveland. Because believe it or not, Drew Carey was right, Cleveland Rocks!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Of Utmost Insignificance

Here's 8 random facts you may or may not know about me. 

1.  I have cold feet. Not the toes are icy and always need some socks kind of cold feet, but the second guess any decision I make and feel an overwhelming need to back out and run far, far away kind of cold feet. It's almost debilitating.

2.  I hate, no I loathe egocentric, pompous people. I don't care how much money you make, I don't care what you paid for that house, that car, that ring...I really don't give a flying fuck what you think about anything when everything that comes from your mouth is vile, despicable, virulent garbage. Please, don't spread your disease.

3.  My first love was writing, and then I learned how much fun it is to paint. But long before I ever picked up a paint brush, I was scribbling down little stories and poems, and writing every little fact I could recall about my day in a tiny, little purple diary that my grandmother gave me. I wish I still had that diary, and that consuming need to write. 

4.  I once sang in a talent show. Well, I wouldn't call it singing, more like whispering softly into a microphone, and trying to keep up with the song as the lyrics got further and further away from me. Observers at the show would later describe me and my 6th grade talent show side kick as something of "deer in headlights"...

5.  I never drank coffee until I entered rehab. It's true. I got turned on to the second biggest addiction of my life while kicking the harder stuff. In rehab, there was coffee aplenty, not so much vodka or Xanax... so every time I wanted a pill or a line, or a shot- I poured myself a cup of coffee instead. The warmth soothed me, and the caffeine must have had a calming effect on my withdrawal symptoms, or maybe it was just a situation transference- but I definitely swapped my addiction over to coffee at that point. I don't mind much being addicted to coffee. No one ever sold their heirloom jewelry to buy a quad venti latte. 

6.  I failed my driver's test. Twice. In fact, I never actually passed the test. A few weeks after I failed the second time, I received a letter in the mail from the DMV saying it was time for me to renew my license. I carried it down there, had my picture taken, and was issued a driver's license. I don't know how that happened. Or if it ever should have happened, but I was driving, and I was glad of it. Both failures had to do with my peripheral vision, or lack thereof. I never realized it then, but in retrospect I see now how my side vision was terrible, even at 16 and 17 years old. I'm thankful that I was granted about 10 years of driving before I gave it up at 28 years old. Wow, I can't believe I've been not driving for over 10 years now. Trust me, you are much safer with me off the streets. 

7.  Before the Sunny Dog and Sally Sue, I was a declared and true cat-person. I always loved the cat's independent nature, and liked how when a cat chooses you to love, you truly know they chose you, and no one else. You feel special. Like you passed the test, you did well on the interview and got the job. With dogs, you know they love you, but you also know they would love any random stranger as long as they handed them treats and doled out a few belly rubs. 

8.  I don't have a lot of follow through. I tend to start a million projects, and never complete a single one. I stopped this post at 8 facts, when the original idea was to do 15, because I can't follow through with anything. Even blog posts of the utmost insignificance. I have 5 paintings right now that are at various stages of doneness, none of which are likely ever to be carried through to completion. What can I say? I'm a slacker. 

And that has it, folks. There's my post about the random things that comprise this Fortune Cookie, not that you cared to know, or asked, or are any better for knowing...


Monday, June 4, 2012

Does This Tent Make Me Look Fat?

I'm gonna bitch and moan about something that's really been getting under my skin lately.
I know, what's new?
Well, at least I know I haven't bitched and moaned about this particular topic yet, not here anyways.
My gripe is with fat clothes.

Or more specifically, fat clothes makers.
See, when I look for clothes that are age appropriate, at least a little bit cute, and somewhat affordable I always come up empty handed. I mean, I can find two, but never all three of the criteria.

I just don't understand why plus size clothing needs to come in either hoochie-mama or moo-moo styles, and not much in between.

I love a certain store-who-is-not-to-be-named-but-we-all-know-them's clothes. They are cute and affordable, but then they are so cheaply made that they always seem to fall apart in the wash. Not to mention that they must use the thinnest, see-thoughest materials known to mankind.
I've never had a shirt from that store-that-shall-not-be-named that didn't need a camisole or tank top underneath, which is frustrating when you are trying to dress cool for summer.
Plus, they make everything sleeveless or uber tiny sleeved. When you need plus size clothes, you definitely don't need to be showing off your upper arms.
Just saying.

At the other end of the spectrum, I always find that a certain other store-that-shall-not-be-named tends to have thicker materials, but they make the sleeves so flipping loose and wide that I end up needing to either tailor them or wear a tank or camisole underneath to keep my side-boobs from showing.

I sure don't want my side boobs showing!
And the same size from this store, which fits me perfectly, will look like someone is trying to stuff 20 lbs of potatoes into a 5 lb. sack from the other store.
And don't get me started on how I find something it is lovely, absolutely wonderful in every way, so I go back and grab one of each color they have, only to find out that the black one was obviously four sizes larger than the red which is three sizes smaller than the green...

I mean, the simple solution would be for me to lose some damned weight and not have to worry about fat clothes being inappropriate or too short, or making me look like Maude...But since I've been trying to do just that ever since before I even hit puberty, the chances are pretty slim that I'll ever get down to a size that doesn't need to be concerned about showing upper arms or mid-drifts.

Sigh.