No More Empty Fortune Cookies!

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.
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.

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?
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


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.
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! 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.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Bed Space: A Rare Commodity

I went to bed with three, maybe four poems running through my head. I awoke with nothing.
I knew I should have gotten my sleepy butt up and out of the bed and written them down as soon as they started playing themselves on continuous loop in my brain. I just knew it. But warm, cozy blankets, an uber snugly puppy, and the need to secure and maintain my precious, limited space in that bed overruled any desire to create prose.

Rare, precious space in the bed. How many married or domestically partnered couples have that worry, I wonder. Probably all. I like to imagine that in a perfect situation there is abundant bed space for all involved. No one has to wake the other up saying, "Hey! Your elbow is poking my kidney!" or "Your knee is killing my hip!"
No one has to push a 70 lb. puppy off of their legs in the middle of the night because they are afraid the lack of circulation is going to cause a blood clot and kill them in their sleep.
In a perfect world, no one snores either.

In my bed, a queen size bed no less, there is exactly approximately what seems like only 1 sq. ft. of space for me to crawl into once The Wifester and Sally Sue have sprawled out. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I'm simply stating the facts, as they are.

Bed space. It is rare and precious. I wouldn't trade space in that bed for a barrel of oil. For a 5 carat diamond. Or even for a magic unicorn!
Maybe I would for a private concert by Ani Difranco, but only if she promised to sing more of her older songs.