Saturday, April 23, 2005

Steeped in Warmth

I found the above on a blog written by someone who left a comment here. Tea. A topic to which I can relate.

I'm a tea drinker who slums. I have the temerity to like Lipton and Celestial Seasonings. I believe that people who really take their tea seriously will protest that Herbal Tea is not technically tea at all. It makes me feel sad -- like Sleepy Time and Red Zinger are the redheaded step-children. Orphans. Unwanted. Unloved. (I will never become so much of a snob to turn my back on them though -- I will adopt you!)

The thing is, whether these drinks are all technically tea or not, they all tend to have something healthy about them -- usually loaded with more anti-oxidants than even fruits and veggies. It's funny how many natural things are just that -- good for you naturally.

I know there's a cliche of Brits all having a bracing cup of tea whenever something goes "amiss," but there's truth there for me. A hot cup of tea is soothing, like a hug, like being wrapped in quilts on a winter's night -- like the concept of home.

While I never liked the taste of tea as a child, my grandmother made me drink it whenever I was sick. Tea with lemon and honey. The lemon cuts through the "yuck" and the honey soothes the throat. Somewhere along the line I came to believe that the tea was there to soothe the soul.

Is there a better feeling than feeling the heat of the tea seeping through the mug and warming your hands? (Okay, maybe so -- but I'm talking while clothed!) And then you sip the tea and feel the warmth spread. It's simple, and inexpensive, and all the more wonderful for it's simplicity and availibility.

This is a shout-out to all the tea drinkers! What's your favorite type? How do you like to drink it? Is there a ritual? A special cup or mug? (My current favorite is rooibus.)

First Impressions

Am I The only person who wonders about the top blog entry and what assumptions people will make? I'm not neurotic about it -- okay, slightly -- but I do give it thought.

I wonder how far people scroll down before deciding they don't care for a blog. I might be too impatient -- sometimes the template is enough for me to move on. I know I don't have to love the first entry as long as I enjoy the style.

When I have a writing entry first I wonder if people will consider it purely a writing blog. Will they move on based on that? And if they like that it appears to be a writing blog, will they be disappointed to see I ramble on about many, many, many things?

If the latest entry is somewhat political - I don't feel like I delve too deeply into the topic - I wonder if disagreement there sours them on reading the rest. As long as someone isn't rabid, I can read almost any political view and still like ther person.

When there is a pet picture entry at the top, I hope people will not write off the blog as one of "those" blogs -- the kind where someone with 3 or less brain cells to rub together obsesses over their Muffins and Fluffys. (That sounds more off-color than I meant.) Hey, I love pet blogs, but I'm not really normal...

Oh, when I get all pop culture-y (American Idol or Buffy) I wonder if people will pre-judge that. For the record, Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy is a genius - deal with it!

I suppose I know I can't be all things to all people; I'm merely hoping people will stick around enough to know me. I could have multiple blogs for each sub-category, but if I have to live with the chaos of my mind - so should you. (Not really, just kidding...oh, no, don't click to the next blo...)

Friday, April 22, 2005

You Buffy Loving, (Dust) Bunny Huggin', Nature Freak...

I've had many people wander through my house in recent months (apparently potential buyers enjoying seeing the inside of the home.) I cannot help but wonder what impressions people walk away with after traipsing through a strangers home.

I'm thinking people know:

1. I love animals by the pets, pet food, pet accessories, books on animals, Michigan Humane Society Products...

2. I drink lots and lots of tea. (There are about 15 stacked boxes of Celestial Seasonings and refrigerator magnets which used to be inside the boexes.)

3. My husband used to be into Nascar and now wants to build a computer. (Posters and magazines.)

4. I don't dust as much as I should. (The dust would indicate this.)

5. My favorite show is Buffy. (DVDs, Books, Soundtrack to the musical episode...)

6. We (occasionally) work out. (Weights, elliptical.)

7. I used to collect Boyd's Bears. - what was I thinking? - (Boxed up Boyds)and still collect glass collies (curio cabinet.) I bet they don't know I have dog ashes in the box in the curio though.

8. I enjoy nature. (The music I listen to... hiking boots...)

9. I like to read and want to be a writer. (Books: Fiction, true crime, anthologies, short stories, erotica, and books on writing/finding publishers.)

What would people know about you - and what you value - by doing a walk-through?

Nurturing Nature

He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Comin' home to a place he'd never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door

I wonder from where I got my love of nature. I was raised in Detroit and the suburbs. While Detroit was bleak, many people love their hometowns. While the suburbs are bland - and the nature scripted and called parks - shouldn't there be an attachment there?

I've always loved the thought of wilderness, and been saddened at the idea it could disappear because other people don't share my sentiments. I don't think you can legislate caring, and other than a few safeguards, I'm not suggesting that anyone should try to do so.

Growing up, I always wanted to live in Northern Minnesota, and close to lakes and forests. It was the thought which lulled me to sleep at night as a child, and it was the dream that kept me going as an adult. (I'd smile at the thought that MY kids would probably want nothing more than to escape to a big city.)

I cannot imagine not having something stir deep inside me when close to the earth. Concrete has never really inspired me to do anything, other than escape! I don't know if my reaction is some primal need or a quirk of MY nature.

I know not everyone feels this way; some people find camping, hiking, or even being far from a Walmart to be torture. I just know that you want me to be content, sit me on a dock - I'll be the weird chick lying on my belly, and staring into the depths as the sun and waves make patterns on the rocks.

Now he walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes
His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake

It's my believe that every child should be exposed to nature - just as they should be exposed to art - so they can have the opportunity to know if their spirits can soar with eagles. We want our children not to put too much value on objects or money, yet we yell at them for losing their book bags, and give them nothing else to value in place of personal possessions.

I am the eagle, I live in high country
In rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky
I am the hawk and there's blood on my feathers
But time is still turning they soon will be dry
And all of those who see me, all who believe in me
Share in the freedom I feel when I fly

Come dance with the west wind and touch on the mountain tops
Sail over the canyons and up to the stars
And reach for the heavens and hope for the future
And all that we can be and not what we are

I cannot help but wonder, if we would need to have an Earth Day if more people had the opportunity to walk in the wilderness, rather than viewing it on the Discovery Channel.

(Excerpts from Rocky Mountain High and The Eagle and The Hawk - lyrics by John Denver and Mike Taylor.)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Recycling is Good For The Environment - Not For News or Entertainment!

1. There's probably enough legitimate news to justify a couple 24 hour networks AND several hours on network TV and local affiliates. Most people don't want to think that hard though - so what we get is the all the networks doing the most easily understood news, or debating the 2-3 stories of the day.

And then most of these networks pad the "news" with entertainment stories. Is Brit Porky or Preggie? Is Demi Preggie or Menopausal? Is Jessica Preggie - Or Will She Become Preggie To Save Her Marriage?

2. Celeb gossip can be fun - just not fun enough to justify countless identical entertainment shows. There are only so many A and B list celebrities, and only so many movie premieres. As a result, all the shows have the same sets, remarkably identical hosts, and the exact same stories. (Stories that were already covered on the nightly news.)

All The Fashionable Dogs Wear Tags.

Riley is modeling his various tags: Name tag, microchip tag, licensed therapy dog tag, rabies tag...

This Cage Is A Pig Sty! Where is the Maid to Right My Bowl?

This is Sheridan. She recently lost her roommate/life partner, Vermillon. They made a cute couple, although their union remained unsanctioned by the laws of the land.
Marriage is love.

Coming Soon To A Pharmacy Near You.

Susan walked into Liberty Drugs to pick up a few items. Rubbers. Perfume. Candy Bar. In and out and plenty of time to get ready for her date.

She placed them in front of cashier, an older woman. The cashier looked at the items and frowned.

"Ma'am, I'm sorry I cannot ring up the c-o-n-d-o-m-s."

"Excuse me?"

"Birth control is unnatural. God said to be fruitful and multiply.”

“But… what about stds – sexually transmitted diseases?”

The cashier,
whose nametag proclaimed, “Hi! My Name is Debbie! How May I Serve You?” looked horrified.

“Oh, okay, if you could just ring up the rest of the stuff.”

re you sure you want to buy My Sin? Are you sure you wouldn’t prefer Heaven Scent?”

“Pretty sure, yeah.”

“See, Hon, I have to ask What Would Jesus Do. I don’t think he would sell these items to you; I can’t see it being part of His Plan. Have you considered abstinence?”

“Only after a couple really
heinous blind dates.After one really bad date -- the guy had a combover and green teeth -- I considered being a nun, but, well - why are we having this discussion again?”

Debbie picked up the phone and her voice echoed through the store. “Assistance to the front counter. Assistance… someone will be here to ring you up in just a few minutes.”


“Ringing you up violates my religious freedom,” Debbie said, making the sign of the cross and walking away.

A few minutes later a younger woman appeared. (Hi-My-Name-Is-Tawni-!-How-May-I-Serve-You?)

“Hi. I would like to purchase these items. Will it violate anything to sell me rubbers and perfume?”

“Violate? Noooo. That’s totally my favorite perfume! You should get the ribbed condoms though. Heee heeee, Trojan Maaaaan!”

“No, these are fine.” At last.

“Hot night, huh?”

“Yeah, I guess, could you just ring me up? I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m in a hurry.”

“Sure. I can ring up everything except the candy bar.”

“What’s wrong with the candy bar?”

“You can ask that with the skyrocketing obesity rates? AND it’s got partially hydrogenated oils! And it’s a Snickers – I’m sooooo allergic to peanuts.”

You don’t have to eat it! It’s a candy bar – you’re not selling me a loaded gun!”

“That’s like in really super poor taste with all the kids that get shot and stuff each year. You’re not in the E.R.A, are you?”

“The NRA?”

“I wouldn’t know. I don’t go around shooting things!”

Susan’d had enough. “Screw this – and screw you! I’m leaving!”

The last words she heard as she left were, “Fine! Have a nice day! The cow that died to make your purse sure won’t! People like you have noooo respect for the rights of others!”

The End.

(This has been Random Silliness Theater.)

Trusting Joy

I've changed a lot in the last couple years.

Two years ago at this time I was a super-fit optimist. Two years ago I believed that God (or some higher power) held me in the palm of his hand. People would look at me and shake their heads at how on the go I was... and you couldn't tell me I wasn't cute!

I mean, I'm not a total physical wreck now but the days of hard physical labor, choosing to jump rope on breaks, taking dogs at the shelter for walks in spare moments durimg the day, bike riding and walking my own dogs in the evening, and the elliptical on rainy days - those days are a memory.

What changed? I lost faith in myself and lost the belief that there was a safety net. I had a dream that I wanted more than anything and I could reach out and touch the tip of this dream - and then I stumbled.

I had my dream house picked out - it was not a mansion, but it was where I wanted it to be, and I had a notebook with careful notes of just how I would decorate it. I knew that all my hard work, my dreaming, my faith - all of this was being repaid. This was the reward. It seemed so right that it had to be meant to be. I didn't believe that God would allow me to have a dream, get me right to the edge of that dream, and then have it all be taken from me.

Then there were the setbacks. And the dream was put on hold. The house fell through and my faith left me -- I changed. Not instantly, but just a little more each passing day until I didn't recognize myself.

My husband made promises I couldn't believe. He meant well, but I trusted no one and nothing. It was a good thing - because those promises were broken. I remember sobbing in my therapists office because my husband told me it would be another 8 months before the move would happen. That was 20 months ago.

And not to sound like a religious freak, but I prayed every day. All I wanted was a sign that I was heard. I wanted a sign that my prayers were not just me talking to nobody. At first I thought that I only wanted to believe if it was real -- I didn't want to delude myself. At some point that changed -- I thought, if it's a delusion, okay, just make it not hurt anymore. I will force myself to believe. Couldn't do it. I still can't.

So now quite possibly our house is sold, and we can move, and ... I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. I don't want to be a sucker. I don't want to slip on the banana peel with a stupid grin on my face, I don't want the pie to hit me in my face out of no where.

So instead of being happy I'm scared, depressed, angry ... everything but happy. As each step goes right I'm more filled with trepidation because the stakes are higher. If two years ago I would be standing in the center of a house which I believed to be mine, in the town I most wanted to live in, close to the relative I loved the most, and have the carpet ripped out from under me, then why should I believe any of it now?

The best way I can explain it is with another story. I had a dog named Paddington -- a sheltie -- and he died. A few weeks later I took another one of my dogs to the shelter to be seen at the clinic. Someone thought it would be really funny to tell me Rottweilers had attacked my dog. It wasn't funny, because it was too soon after Paddington had died and I was too raw -- and most importantly, when you suffer a loss it's a reminder that we are all vulnerable, so you believe for a while that bad things are waiting to happen. In the moment he told me my dog was attacked I believed it because my grief was there to tell me that my loved ones were not safe.

In the normal couse of things you bounce back - you rely on your spouse, friends, a belief in God; after the disappointment, I never got back to that place of trust. I got stuck in a place of inertia and depression. I love my husband, but I don't trust his promises at all. My friends cannot make this right. And God, as much as I hate it, is still an enigma to me -- I'm not ready to let go of my belief, but it sure is tough to hang on some days.

But the thing is: I sure miss the me I used to be, and I sure mourn the last couple years that I can never relive, and I sure do want to believe in something or someone. And it makes me angry beyond words that I can't take joy in what could be a happy time in my life. I'm so sick of my first reaction to good news being, "Don't get your hopes up!" I want to get my hopes up! I want to be happy! I want to be calling everyone I know and telling them the house sold! I want to call my grandmother and tell her I'll be seeing her soon! I want to think we are going to find a place to rent there, and find an affordable house in short order. It's just not the easy anymore.

I want my life back. I want my joy back. I want my trust back. I just plain want ME back.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

"Nice Ass!" Would Be an Understatement.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

We Can Work It Out.

Rather ironic that they went on to have one of the worst break-ups in history, with battles and bitterness lasting on until Lennon's death.


Try to see it my way,
Do I have to keep on talking till I can't go on?
While you see it your way,
Run the risk of knowing that our love may soon be gone.
We can work it out,
We can work it out.
Think of what you're saying.
You can get it wrong and still you think that it's alright.
Think of what I'm saying,
We can work it out and get it straight, or say good night.
We can work it out,
We can work it out.
Life is very short, and there's no time
For fussing and fighting, my friend.
I have always thought that it's a crime,
So I will ask you once again.
Try to see it my way,
Only time will tell if I am right or I am wrong.
While you see it your way
There's a chance that we may fall apart before too long.
We can work it out,We can work it out.
Life is very short, and there's no time
For fussing and fighting, my friend.I have always thought that it's a crime,
So I will ask you once again.
Try to see it my way,
Only time will tell if I am right or I am wrong.
While you see it your way
There's a chance that we may fall apart before too long.
We can work it out,
We can work it out.

I'm very into song lyrics, more than any other aspect of a song, I pay attention to the words.

Mama Needs a New Pair of Stilettos!

My grandmother is one CrazyAnnoying woman - and I love her lots.

Like many elderly people she spends much time at her local casino - Fortune Bay, as it's called. She believes that if she loudly talks about the machines being rigged one of the many secret microphones will pick up her words, and someone will hit the "win" button on the machine she's playing. Crazy, sure, but she does seem to win a fair amount.

Several years ago she dragged me to the casino and insisted I play a machine 'cause she sensed it was going to hit. I informed her she was nuts, proclaimed my adulthood, and told her if she didn't get off my ass I would have a temper tantrum. I then wandered off to lose money.

I eventually wandered back - despondent, war-torn, bereft of money, well-acquainted with the ATM... and sat down at the machine next to her which she'd been saving for me. Saving how? Don't know, but there might have been actually snarling involved. I told her I was just sitting there and that I was broke. She dropped a $20 in the machine and insisted I play it - yeah, it hit. (Pissed me right the hell off!)

Blog explosion is my kind of gambling! (Although I cannot figure out how to link it to get more surf points) Sure, I rarely win more than a couple bonus credits, but no visits to the ATM either. And every time I click the number it could lead me to the big 100 pay-out!

Although the loudly proclaiming it's rigged does not seem to help at all - and it startles my dogs.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Hearing Voices.

I found a really terrific blog today by a woman named Diana: I really enjoyed spending time there, and for any women interested in writing, it's definitely time well-spent. (I suppose some men might enjoy it also - not trying to be sexist.)

I enjoy blogs where people write in a way that I never could. When they write really well, it can be somewhat depressing to know I could never "sound" like them, but it's encouraging to know that individuality does come through in the words we choose.

My writing style does not have as much depth as I would like, and there always seems to be a flippant tone. I think it's because I was raised to use humor as a coping skill and when my mother was at her most pissed she could be pretty damned funny. I have to acknowledge that I write the way I sound - fast, flippant, flirty, (somewhat) funny. I have the personality of a teenager on a sugar high.

I do want to try for something deeper. Unfortunately this means getting in touch with my feelings and understanding that humor can be a mask for pain, an avoidance mechanism, a way to avoid deeper truths... (I think my choice of the word "unfortunately" says it all.)

At the same time, I don't want to toss the baby out with the bathwater - I realize that wanting to sound too much like someone else steals my voice. And why write unless I want to be heard?

Did They Have The Damned Gateway Cow Assemble my Laptop?

Here's my deal. I've had the laptop for a couple months and my keyboard has now completely disintegrated. In the last couple days I've lost the Page-Up, the 5,and (today) the "D." The repair guys says Gateway won't let him purchase the keyboard. (Tomorrow we will contact Gateway.)

This is the laptop that they'd promised by a certain date. They only changed the promised delivery date the evening before - and then they added a couple weeks. A couple weeks. We got it a few days before the second promised date by bitching and complaining a lot.

Meanwhile, our desktop - also a Gateway - needs a new hard drive. It's about a year and 1/2 old. Support has been UN(Supportive, that is!)

3 guesses what's the last company we will ever purchase a computer from again - and the first 2 don't count. If anyone else wants to add their nightmare stories - especially as they relate to Gateway, please feel free.

Gateway: You apparently don't know me. I'm a bitch typing on a flipping $20 keyboard I had to purchase because your product fell apart. I'm also a bitch with internet access and a blog. You don't know the computer repairman either. He's the guy that looked at the keyboard and proclaimed it a piece of crap. HIM, I like - you, not so much!

Studies have shown that people with a happy experience with a company tell a few people. People with a bad experience tell approximately 13 people. I'm an overachiever!

And if I end up having to send this (the laptop)in to you, and you mess with my daisy stickers,you are really going to get it! (Had to throw humor in there somewhere.)

Hmmm, maybe I should just put "Gateway makes crappy computers - ask me why" in my sigs.


Quickest weight loss in my life was after giving up pop. (AKA "soda" to people not from my neck of the woods.) Yep, the weight dropped off.

I grew up on Diet Pop - my mother was a TAB addict. Does anyone actually remember TAB? Acquired tastes. If you are used to diet, the real stuff tastes weird, and if you are used to the real stuff, the diet variety tastes artificial.

When I did drink it, I had no preference. My husband prefers Coke and Mountain Dew. I'm currently addicted to ice tea and Red Bull. (Not together.) I loooooove my ice tea maker!

In the abstract I've always had a sentimental attachment to Coke. Maybe it's the Coke Santa or the fact I've traditionally preferred their ads, but they really do seem to symbolize America! (I once read a friend's advertising textbook and it was interesting to see a listing of all their slogans, including claiming to be the perfect drink for prohibition.) Although I'm pretty annoyed by the current commercial with the limes.

Hey, Coke does seem to attract the best urban legends:

If anyone uses Coke currently - or had used Coke in the past - as a spermicide, let me know how that's working for you! (That is, if you can tear yourself away from the baby.)

Fool me once...

There was a time in my childhood where I was obsessed with Lite-Brite. (I still love pretty lights! Is this a chicken or the egg type thing?) Anyhow, I would wake up in the morning to find more of my picture done than I recalled having completed. My mother denied knowledge and I knew it wasn't my grandmother - this meant either I was sleep Lite-Briting or she was lying.

Hey, maybe SHE was the one Making Pictures With Light - er Lite - in HER sleep, since she would sleep eat often. "I dreamt I ate chili." Ahem. One time she ate a whole pizza in her sleep, that for some unfathomable reason, my grandmother was holding for a neighbor. I got the blame...but I digress.

Fast forward, er, unspecified years to a brunette woman wanting a little chocolate-y goodness as she blogs. She knows she has a whole un-opened bar on top of the fridge. Or does she? There is a bar on the fridge alright, a bar that has squares missing. Hubby denies knowledge. (OH God, what if I'm sleep eating? What if it's genetic? Nah, hubby lies!)

BTW, got a Lite-Brite a couple years ago - they are made differently. Not in a good way. It's no fun unless you can hear the peg pierce the paper and feel the little pop. (I don't even want to know what that says about me.)

Sunday, April 17, 2005

You Aren’t The Boss of Me. (Oh, Wait…)

Sherry at The Michigan Humane Society. I would have to say Sherry was my favorite boss - which makes very little sense on the surface. Sherry was one of those people with very little patience and a style that could be casually condescending - and very intimidating.

Maybe that’s the point; when all those qualities were directed at someone else – like an animal abuser – it became a thing of beauty. A friend of mine saw an Animal Cops where Sherry laid done the law with someone who’d neglected their dog. (“Wow, she’s tough, I like her.”) Then I had to point out that her demeanor with employees could be similar. (“Yeah, try calling in sick.”) A little too similar. But yes, she could scare the crap out of most anyone.

She once stood down this Mr T. look alike. (He might have been rabid.) He's yelling at her about getting his Rottweiler back - muscles tensing, spittle flying, eyes blazing - and she's telling him he needs to leave. And this is after hours with very little staff to come to her assistance. If anything ever scared her I never saw it. I never saw her panic either, and in a busy animal shelter, there was always a good reason to panic.

If there was one phrase associated with her it was, “Does that make sense to you?” It usually was not rhetorical, but actually demanded an affirmative. And if the answer was affirmative, and yet the meeting was about something you did wrong, then why was it that you hadn’t done the logical thing?

Just as the only right answer to that question was, “Yes Sherry, perfect sense!” there were other questions with clear expectations. I wanted to refuse a guy once and she didn’t agree. “Better in a home or better in the cooler, Nicolette?” I answered her honestly, “This time its better in the cooler, but I’m just opting for a less crappy home.” She was pissed, and I was right.

She missed pretty little, but the things she did miss were due to the sound of her heels clicking impatiently as she walked done the hall. They were like an aural red carpet. “All hail the queen, long live the queen!”

One time she made me so angry that I began to cry. She’d also warned me that, if I discussed the matter, I’d be fired. Of course, I’m crying and everyone wants to know why. Someone guessing the source of my upset told me to just imagine her tits on fire. It helped.

I remember going in for the job interview and thinking it would be a breeze, having been a volunteer for two years, but she stared me down for a few. “I see you like Shelties.” … “Yes.” … We have a Sheltie puppy with a broken leg, you should foster it.”… “Oh, okay.” And no offer of a job right then. And the puppy had mange, although it hadn’t shown up yet. I ended up having to treat my dogs, and if I had asked for reimbursement she would have said, “That’s crazy, you knew you were taking a risk taking him home, you want the shelter to give you a discount at the clinic for a risk you willingly took? Does that make sense to you?”

Sherry left about, hmmm, a year before I did. The shelter was not the same because, all differences aside, nobody could do what she did. I’ve had bosses who were a lot easier to work for, but I didn’t miss any of them nearly as much when they left.

I should give her a call.

Fiending for Kittens

I miss kittens and puppies. In my years working at the Michigan Humane Society (Whoo hoo ... Animal Cops: Detroit)it was a daily part of my life. You would think I'd had my fill. I don't want to bring more animals into my house (for fostering) while it's up for sale, because, well, the regular crew is hard enough to corral, but I SWEAR I'm about 2 weeks from calling up and asking them to send my a mom cat and babies!

Why not puppies? Even more work and I definitely don't need the stink right now! I do miss the puppy breath though!

I will try to make do with the blogger kitten at the bottom of the page. (And my 8 real life pets.)
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Marriage is love.
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