Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Yes, I Would Love Some Cheese with my Whine!

Trying to think of something to blog every day is the pits, so I think that little experiment has come to an end.  But coming up with something at least once a week is doable because there are so many idiots in the world to make fun of (including yours truly).

A woman at the office went into a stall in the ladies' restroom today with an e-reader in one hand and a munchie and drink in the other.  I kid you not.  And this is one of the women who I know for a fact doesn't wash her hands when she's finished.  So she leaves the restroom with potty giblets on her hands, her e-reader, and her coffee cup.  Even worse, she touches doorknobs and doors and who knows what else with those turdy hands.  I'm not a germ-a-phobe, although another woman in the restroom told me that I wash my hands more thoroughly than anyone else she has ever seen.  It's just that I have two autoimmune disorders which means that my immunity is compromised to some degree.  Dr. Dracula and Dr. OhMyAchyBody always remind me about washing my hands well and often.  So I tend to get a little perturbed when people use the facilities and leave without washing up.  Besides, it's just nasty to do that.

Have you seen the photos of folks out on the beaches in North Carolina and New Jersey?  No, I promise, I'm not making fun of Superstorm Sandy and the unfortunate people who are having to live through it.  I'm ridiculing the stupid idiots who go stand on the beach just to see the waves and feel the wind.  Like it's a balmy day with 3 foot waves and a 10 MPH wind!!  How dumb can people be?  And don't even get me started on the weather reporters who get out in the mess and are blown off their feet and their coats are ripped from their bodies and microphone are flying everywhere.  I know you're supposed to do what your boss tells you, but I'm pretty sure that risking my life is not in my job contract.

Of course, the anti-gay crazies have crawled out of the woodwork.  Remember when Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson blamed gays for the terrorist attack on 9/11/2001?  They also blamed the ACLU, feminists, abortionists, and People for the American Way.  Not that we all actually took part in the terrorist acts.  It was that our immoral behaviors invited the attack to happen.  Let's also not forget the Rev. Fred Phelps and the congregation at the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas.  They're the jerks who picket military funerals with signs such as "God Hates Fags", "God Loves Breast Cancer", "Pray for More Dead Cops", and my personal favorite, "You Will Eat Your Babies".  WTF?!  So now we have Rev. John McTernan blaming President Obama and the gays for Hurricane Sandy.  He also blames God for both the heat wave and drought this year plus the hurricane.  I tell ya, Rev, I'd be really careful about pointing the finger at God.

Can I get some more cheese, please?  And maybe another glass of whine?

Let's see now, who's left?  Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.  Oh, dear God, no.  People get mighty testy if you say something bad about their candidate.  I don't want a bunch of angry folks putting mean comments on my blog, so I'm not going to say that Mitt Romney flops more than a fish on the beach and Paul Ryan needs to be slapped upside the head for his views on women's rights.  I'm not going to say that if those two are elected, women can kiss their birth control benefits goodbye and their right to decide what happens with their bodies will go right out the window.  And I'm not going to say that if it were Republican men having the babies, abortion and birth control would be sacraments.  And I'm not going to say that if they win the election and coverage for birth control is wiped out, you can bet your butt that Viagra will still be subsidized.  Nope, not me, no way.

Well, will you look at that?  The whine's all gone!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fasten Your Seatbelts, It's Going to be a Bumpy Ride

Now we get down to business.....

The hardest part of writing is that the truth must be told.  You have to write your truth and you can't worry about whom it hurts or who gets angry at you.  If you don't, it can drive you crazy.  Suppressing what you really need to say and share is worse than lying to yourself.  It makes you stomach hurt and it feels like your brain is going to burst from trying to hold it all in.  There are things I've never told my family about because I didn't want to make them sad or make them worry.  It's not easy being a writer, especially one who writes about life in all its amazing and bloody glory.  Want to hear a haunting song about how Superman really felt about his life?  The first time I heard this song and read the lyrics, I was shaken at how much it felt like me, and God knows I'm no superhero.

Like Superman, I'm only trying to find the better part of me.  Like Superman, I spent a good chunk of my life being someone I wasn't and trying to please everyone but me.  And what I got from that was 16 years in cognitive therapy for PTSD, depression, and self-mutilation.  I'm well enough now that between the daily medication and the tools I learned for recognizing when the depression is hitting me and being able to contain it, I only see my therapist for the occasional tune-up or when something major happens that I need help understanding.  At some point--in 5 days or 5 years--I will need to write about this.  I will need to write my truth.

I've been painfully aware of my mortality ever since my sister died 5 years ago.  Parents are supposed to die before their children.  That's the natural order of things.  But Judy died first.  Mom died 10 months later.  Dad followed 6 months ago.  I'm the oldest in my immediate family now and I figure that I'll be the next to go.  I'll be 60 next year.  Every day I read obituaries in the newspaper of people who have died in their 50s and 60s.  I know that the end could come at anytime.  I'm not obsessing about it, but I would like to have enough time left to do something, however little, that will make this world (or my small portion of it) better than it was before I left.  Even if I could write a book or a poem or an essay--or a blog post-- that would only make life a bit simpler or easier for just one person, I would die at peace.

So I'll be writing my truth here.  I'll try not to step on other folks' truths.  I'll do my best not to hurt anyone, but I can't promise not to make you sad.  Sometimes we'll laugh, sometimes we'll cry, but at all times we'll have our seatbelts fastened and make it through just fine.

It's my life.  Welcome to it.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Let's Just Keep Laughing

Oh my, I do have some very serious topics, but I think I'd rather keep laughing.  So whom shall we pick on today?  Well, that question is just too easy!

Hey, Donald Trump, is that a wig on your head or did some squirrel crawl up there and die?  What an idiot!  He blathers on and on all week about this big deal announcement of his and how it's going to change the election and all this other nonsense.  And what did it end up being?  A $5 million dollar bribe for Obama to offer up his college records and passport.  God help me, first The Donald went after Obama's birth certificate and now this.  What's next?  Dental records?  Fingerprints?  Give it a rest, Donnie, and go home.  I hope Rosie O'Donnell falls madly in love with you and stalks you until the day you die.  Whenever I see/hear a man as self-centered, self-promoting, loud, and belligerent as he is, I always figure it's to compensate for the abnormally small size of his manhood.  Proportions, you know.

Speaking of the election, this one has just about been the death of me.  I had to unfriend someone on Facebook because she was so obnoxious about the whole thing.  She posted a list about the Top 10 differences between conservatives and liberals that was just downright mean.  Of course, she's so right-wing that she's completely off the planet.  I'm about middle-of-the-road but I lean more toward the liberal side.  Her list was very unkind to liberals and the blatant lies on there didn't go over well with me either.  So I asked her if that's what she thought of me and got no answer.  Not one word.  That told me all I needed to know and off my Friends list she went.  I must say that I'm much calmer these days now that her vicious crap isn't showing up all over my FB wall.

And someone stole our Obama campaign sign right out of our front lawn!!  What has gotten into people?  I've thought about praying for all of us to become nicer to each other, but don't you think God has way more important things to do than to yell at the kids?  We're lucky we all don't get a cosmic slap up side of the head.

Before my blood pressure goes up any higher.....I took the day off work today to enjoy the 80 degree, sunny weather.  What a gorgeous day.  Made it over to Sharon Woods for a little bit and had a few strides by the lake and the ducks.  People were out boating and fishing.  Before that, Ginger and I went to see the movie "Argo."  I have one word for this movie: GO!!!  See this movie!  It's amazingly well done.  Great acting, great directing, it's based on true U.S. history, and it's just a darn good movie.

Well, I need to be getting off here to get to sleep because we're getting up early tomorrow morning and going out for breakfast.  And that means BACON!!!  Yeah, baby!  Bacon, bacon, BACON!!!  I love me some BACON!!!  Did I mention that I really like bacon?  Since we have two cats that I adore more than life itself, I've tried to be vegetarian because how can I love these kitties so much and still eat their relatives?  But I couldn't do it.  I just love meat, especially pork, and especially BACON!!!  So it's "night-ers" for me.  Sweet dreams everyone.  Come back tomorrow and I'll try to do better.  Love ya!  Mean it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Girl Can Dream, Can't She?

Well, based on the badness of the thoughts I'm having, Jesus has surely been drinking gin out of the cat dish all day long.  Mercy!  Can these Republican candidates be any more stupid than they already are?  First, we had Todd Akin and his insipid "legitimate rape" theory.  Now senate candidate Richard Mourdock gives us this gem: "I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something God intended to happen."  I could tell these two idiots a thing or two about rape and what it does to a woman, and the biggest one is that God never, ever, EVER would intend that to happen to anyone.  All day I've been wanting God to send down Archangel Michael to handle the situation with Mourdock.  Can you imagine?

Archangel:  "Okay, Mr. Mourdock, you can hand over your balls now."

Mourdock:  "What??!!  Who in the &%#!!! are you?"

The Archangel spreads his wings and pulls a personal size flamethrower from his pocket.

Archangel:  "Look.  We can do this peacefully or I can torch 'em."

Mourdock:  "But...but...but...I need my balls!  I'm running for the Senate!

Archangel:  "Not anymore."

Then the smell of barbecue fills the air.

And that is why Jesus is not only drinking gin from the cat dish, but is also filling out forms in triplicate on why God should revoke my card-carrying-Christian license.

I'm not so heartless and unforgiving that I want to see Mourdock and Akin dead.  I just want them to suffer a little.  You know what I mean.  Penis scurvy, a bodacious case of herpes, genital warts, erectile dysfunction, and just for the fun of it, let them be turned into women.  Not just any women.  DEMOCRAT women!!!

(Full Disclosure:  The idea of Jesus and the cat dish comes from the wonderful, wildly talented writer, Anne Lamott, who wrote:  "I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish."  She also wrote:  "You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."  In my next life, I'm going to be Anne Lamott!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New York, New York!

We haven't done a count in a while, so let's get to it.  We are now up to 104 tubes of blood that have been sucked out of my body.  We still don't know what the disease is, only that it's an autoimmune disorder.  I've had x-rays on both hands and feet.  I thought I was getting rid of Dr. Dracula, but I was wrong.  I think that covers it!

Got some serious, heavy stuff on my mind today, but screw that.  I'm not writing too somber posts in a row.  So let's talk about my trip to New York with Ginger in June last year!  As you may recall, I had promised to post about that but then went off to Neverland and disappeared from the blog world for about 15 months.

So the first thing you need to know before we start is that I have IBS.  Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  My bowel is far beyond irritable.  It is truly pissed off and then some.  But anyway, for those of you who don't have IBS, let me sum it up in just a few sentences.  You never know if it's going to be diarrhea or constipation.  An attack can last an hour, a day, what feels like years, and it always attacks at the most inconvenient time.  For me, it's often during vacation.  When we went to Italy, we went from Florence to Venice by train.  I spent 99% of the ride in one of the two train car bathrooms.  I emptied the first one of toilet paper and came close to using it all up in the second one, too.  Not to mention that I'm short.  I had to jump up onto the toilet seat and then had to do my business with my feet dangling, not touching the ground.  In the meantime, the train is bumping along the track, I'm bumping all over the place, and....well, you get the picture.  But that's another story.  On to New York.......

We arrived in beautiful New York City in early afternoon on a Tuesday.  We rode a shuttle in from the airport that dropped us off at the Port Authority which was near our hotel.  I was in heaven.  I saw the CUNY School of Journalism, The New York Times building, just all of these great institutions of writing.  We crossed over to 40th Street (where our hotel was located) and I asked Ginger what the address number was.  She said "236".  It sounded good to me.  I remembered those numbers being in the address.  We were sure.  We were confident.  We were going to bed down at.....

......the porn shop and massage parlor!

You can just imagine our surprise.  I briefly - very briefly - considered shopping for a few girl toys and lingerie.  NOT!  I was tired.  Ginger was tired.  We did the smart thing and checked our papers.  The hotel was at 326, not 236.  So off we trudged in the other direction, and then it was even better.  Our hotel was right next door to the Parole Office!  I had to laugh.  Between the porn shop, the peep show, the massage parlor, and the parole office, I was about to bust a gut.

Just when I thought I had seen it all, we learned why parking isn't a problem in New York City.  They just stack the cars!

So we go up to our lovely room (really, it was a very nice room with a fabulous view including the Empire State Building) and get settled in.  I'm feeling fine.  We have a scrumptious dinner at the hotel dining room and then go out for a walk.  I'm still feeling fine.  We come back to the room, put our jammies on, and dig in for an evening's rest, some reading, a little TV.  And then it starts.  The first trip to the bathroom.  After about 20 minutes, I come out and inform Ginger that I've dropped an alien, a few of his closest friends, and all of their mixed cocktails into the toilet bowl, now known as "the cesspool".  I barely get sat back down and I'm off to the john again.  After another 15 minutes, I come out and announce that I've now shot out the mother ship and the aliens have all drowned.  It goes on like this for a couple of hours and a little longer.  By the time I'm finished, the aliens, their cousins by marriage, and half of their planet have been deposited into the depths of the New York City sewer district.  We're supposed to hit up the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island the next day, and I'm wondering how I'm going to stay out of the bathroom long enough to get there.

But miracle of miracles, I get up the next morning and I feel like I can make it.  We have breakfast at the hotel.  I'm very careful and eat just a plain bagel with cream cheese.  We head across town for the ferry and I'm still hanging in there.  We take the ferry to Liberty Island and I'm STILL holding on.

Then she comes into my view.  Seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time was an awesome, moving experience for me, made even more so by the trip to Ellis Island.  To see what people had to suffer and endure getting to this country and after they arrived put a hurt on my heart and a lump in my throat.

Lady Liberty........

My fluffy self in front of the Ellis Island museum (just picture me being 32 pounds lighter now).....

The lobby at the Ellis Island museum.....

The great hall at the Ellis Island museum.....

Back in the day, this hall would be overflowing with people arriving at our country.  There are more rooms and exhibits showing the processes and examinations they had to go through.  At the other end of this hall is a huge staircase divided into sections by handrails.  Which section you were in as you headed down the stairs was important.  People in one section were admitted to our country.  People in another section were denied admittance and sent back to wherever they came from.  Families were split up.  Friends were separated.  I can't imagine the heartache that flowed down those stairs.

We spent the biggest portion of the day at Liberty Island and Ellis Island.  Then we had dinner and back to our hotel to rest.  The rest was mostly for me.  I don't have a lot of energy, so we schedule things for the morning and early afternoon when my energy level is highest.  Then I take the evening to rest and recuperate.  That evening, I'm happy to say, was uneventful as far as the bathroom was concerned, as was the rest of our trip! :-)

Ginger and I are art museum junkies, so the next two days were spent at the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The Guggenheim Museum building is a fabulous work of architecture.  It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and it's a spiral!  No kidding!

Inside, the floor winds up and around, and there are doorways to rooms full of art along the way.

The dome inside at the top of the building is pretty cool, too.  This is an off-center shot that also shows the spirals.

It's too bad that I'm old and can't remember which pieces of art we saw in which museum, but we did see some great things, including this fabulous painting ("Cat and Bird") by Paul Klee.....

and this one by Jackson Pollock (Ginger is standing by it to show how large it is - imagine her 20 pounds lighter now).....

and one of my very best favorites, "The Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh.

There was great outdoor sculpture, too, and then the touristy spots that everyone who goes to New York City simply must see.

Time Square.....

The ball that drops every New Year's Eve.....

and Radio City Music Hall.....

But what I liked most were the musical instruments that we saw in one of the museums.  There was Ringo Starr's gold snare drum that he received from the Ludwig Drum Company.  (All of us band geeks know about Ludwig!)

I really liked the clarinets and bassoons.

But my favorite was this magnificent organ.

It was a great trip and a good time was had by all.  Four whirlwind days later, we were on our way back home.  We caught a small plane back home to Cincinnati.  Our seats were way in the back of the plane by the bathroom.....and the toilet just happened to be all stopped up, and the stench filled the plane, especially our row.  And I didn't do it!  :-)

Monday, October 22, 2012

An Apology to Lisa, Steve, Terri, and Greg (and other assorted items)

So, it's been a while, huh?  I could go into why I haven't posted in so long, but there's something way more important to write here tonight.

Yesterday Ginger and I saw the play "Brighton Beach Memoirs" at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.  This play was written by Neil Simon around 30 years ago and was made into a movie starring Jonathan Silverman.  I won't go into what it's all about but at one point in the play, the two middle-aged sisters are arguing and dragging up all of the slights and insults they've given to and received from each other their whole lives.  Repressed anger and thoughts are evil things.  One sister is the pretty one, the one everyone takes care of.  In the play, her husband has died at age 36 and she and her two daughters must live with her sister and family.  It turns out that she resents always needing a handout and, on the other end of the spectrum, people just assuming that she even needs or wants a handout.  The other sister isn't ugly, but she's not pretty either and has always been the beast of burden in the family, continually taking care of everyone, starting with her sister and including her own family of her husband and two sons.  She resents always being the worker bee, the wind beneath everyone else's wings.  Resentment has built up on both sides and it comes out swinging hard and often during the sisters' argument.

As I watched, I had what Oprah calls an "AHA!" moment.  Lisa, Steve, Terri, and Greg are my much younger sisters and brothers.  There are 6 of us siblings total but Judy, the oldest, wasn't with the younger four during their growing up years.  She married and was far away from Kentucky when Lisa was 7 and Greg was only 6 months old.  I am the second oldest in the family (now the oldest since Judy passed away in 2007, how I miss her!) and Lisa is number 3.  She was born when I was 10-1/2 years old.  Greg is the youngest and was born when I was 17-1/2 and away at college.  As of this moment, I am 59, Lisa is 48, Steve is 47, Terri is 44 (soon to be 45 on Halloween), and Greg is 41.

When Judy and I were growing up, our parents didn't have a lot.  But we always had a roof over our heads, food in our stomachs, and clothes on our backs.  There wasn't much money for extras.  We didn't get the high school jackets, or go to movies and restaurants with our friends on the weekends, or the latest fashions.  We wore hand-me-downs.  We got a new outfit, new underwear, and new shoes at the beginning of the school year, and another new outfit for Easter.  In other words, we lived like most everyone our parents knew was living at the time.  Our family was considered poor, but Judy and I didn't truly know it then.  We lived in our own house, we had food, we had clothes, we had parents who loved us.  I got to go to band camp every summer, on band trips, and Mom and Dad made sure that I had the best clarinets for marching and concert bands.  Judy was supported the same in her interests.  I should have wondered back then how my parents could afford it.  Now I'm older and I often recall how Dad worked 2 and 3 jobs until the day he retired and Mom didn't get new clothes and things for the house very often.  Dad never had a new car.  What I didn't realize then, I surely realized after I grew up and was on my own.

When I did grow up and knew grown-up things, I vowed to myself that my younger sisters and brothers would have it better.  I made sure they went to movies and they had their high school jackets and extra spending money for band trips and academic competitions and whatever else they were doing.  I made sure that they got to wherever they needed to be and that Mom and I would be at their football games and band contests and school plays (Dad worked nights, usually 7 nights a week).  Each generation wants more and better for the next.  Mom and Dad wanted me and Judy to have more and better than they had.  I (and Judy, too) wanted Lisa, Steve, Terri, and Greg to have more and better than we had.  But I think I may have taken it a little too far, and this is where the apology comes in.  So here goes.....

Lisa, Steve, Terri, and Greg -- I'm not exactly sure when I started believing that the weight of the world was on my shoulders and it was up to me to take care of everyone and fix everything.  My hunch is that it began when Judy got the rheumatic fever in the 4th grade and was bedfast for over a year.  I was so scared for her and I was going to do anything I could to take care of her, Mom, and Dad.  I've been that way ever since and a lot of times, I know that I've been overbearing with it, not just to you four, but to my friends and other family, too.  But this is just for you all......If, at any time, I ever made you feel like you had to be taken care of, that you couldn't take care of yourselves, I'm sorry.  If I was bossy, arrogant, non-feeling, steering you toward what I thought was best instead of what you really wanted to do, I'm sorry.  I know I come across as judge, jury, and executioner (can I get an "amen", Steve?) and I'm absolutely positive that I've given each one of you the "Debby knows best" attitude at one time or another.  I'm sorry.  If I ever made you feel that you don't know what's best for yourself, I'm sorry.  In my defense, I can only say that I've always been the caretaker.  That's been my role.  When Mom was sick off and on so many years to one degree or another, I had to be "Mom" and take up the slack until she got back in the saddle again.  I had to look out for you all and now I've spent decades just taking care of people.  I realize now that I've done it whether or not the person needed or wanted it, and that's not right.  I'm sorry.  So let me just say that I'm so proud of each one of you.  You grew up smart and strong.  You married people who are true partners.  You've raised and are raising wonderful children whom I'm very proud to call my nieces and nephews.  You're all in good careers.  You have your own homes in great neighborhoods.  Your children have gone or are going to college and have succeeded in so many ways.  And some of your children are still in elementary school, but have already risen to be the cream of the crop.  If I were any prouder of you four and if I loved you any more, I would split into a million pieces because my body just couldn't hold it all.  It has taken me a long time to learn this, but you are all grown adults and you can take good care of yourselves.  You don't need me to worry and hover over you anymore.  It may have been needed when you were younger, but I have learned at last that you are all fine, wonderful adults with good heads on your shoulders.  I can stop the caretaking now.  You don't need it and you haven't for a long, long time.  So.....I quit.  I'm now just your sister who loves you and who will offer advice IF YOU ASK.  You all are doing just fine without me the caretaker.  Now we can enjoy each other as the fabulous adults and siblings that we all are. :-)

Now here is where "the other assorted items" come in......I need to work on my writing.  There are poems to be written that are calling my name and a book that is festering somewhere down in the nether regions of my heart.  I've been in a frame of mind that says I've written the one really magnificent piece in my life and I'll never write anything near as good again.  That's suicide for a writer.  It gives writer's block the fertilizer it needs to grow into mammoth proportions and causes paralysis in the creative mind.  The only way to fix it is to write.  That's hard to do when you're killing yourself unwritten word by unwritten word.  But I'm going to do it anyway.  I will write a blog post every day.  It may only be a paragraph of 3 sentences, but I will write it even if it's only instructions for how to mop a floor.  It may be funny, it may be sad, it may be more boring than my diet, but I will write.

See you all here tomorrow, same time, same place.  Thanks for waiting for me.