Monday, August 30, 2004

Life, or something like it.

It looks like Curt’s attempt at a comeback as a professional painter is doomed to failure*. His tendonitis/ carpal tunnel-prone hands just can’t take it anymore. After another night being woken up with numb appendages he conceded defeat this morning. I shall miss him coming home in his cute little painter’s overalls , cooler in hand. I shall also miss the regular paycheck. I shall not miss all the painting tools/gear in the backseat of his car; or the nightly ritual of icing his screwed-up knee and donning of the wrist braces. When he was painting I missed our picnic lunches. Today he brought bologna sandwiches. We dined overlooking the river below my office and discussed options.

1. Have surgery to fix the bad hands. Then go back to painting at least until the baby comes along. This will allow us to save some $$ for when I’m off on maternity leave, and Curt will stay at home and take care of the bambino.
2. Open own home-based business. Like buying a letter folding/ envelope stuffing machine and doing mailers for small businesses.
3. Go back to work for a shitty sub-prime mortgage company. Easier on the hands, but soul-killing.
4. Go to nursing school. This was Curt’s original career choice - but that was 16 years ago or thereabouts. Even though he just completed his BS in Business in 2002, his original prereqs were taken back 15 years ago. So far the nursing schools I’m looking at require certain prereqs (like anatomy) to have been taken in the last 5 years. So he’d about have to start from scratch. 3 years at a minimum. So soon after he took time off to finish his B.S. However, there’s such a shortage of nurses right now that there’s a shitload of financial assistance available.
5. Look for other corporate type job.

Or maybe some combination of the above. Most important thing – don’t lose my job in the meantime. Oh, and did I forget to mention some silly oxygen sensor thingamabob went kaput in Curt’s car last week, requiring repair? Note – it doesn’t look like anything with the actual mechanics of the car are kaput…. Just the stupid computer chips that are needed to *monitor* the mechanics. Kind of ironic, don’t you think? Thankfully, we have a friend who is a mechanic who can probably fix for the cost of the part. Argh!!! Trying not to panic. Really. But that’s at least $100 less than we have to get us through the next year. OK – happy joy joy thoughts. Deep breaths. It’ll be OK, won’t it?

*I just went back through my archives and realized I hadn't mentioned this. Shortly after not getting the salaried position he was hoping for Curt responded to a couple of "painters wanted" ads in the paper, and hooked up with a pretty decent contractor. He was, thanks to Curt's 8+ years of experience painting way back when (and lack of a drug habit &/ criminal record), willing to give him some time (and slack) to get into better physical shape and prove himself. The plan was to "get paid to get in shape"; pay off our outstanding medical bills and get some $$ set aside for when I go on maternity leave. And he liked it. Money was decent, but no office politics and no stress - just do your job and go home.

Friday, August 27, 2004


More bad news for Rummy. Appears the FBI is investigating a potential Israeli spy in his office that may have influenced US policy on Iraq and Iran. Great. First we were pawns of the Iraqi exiles & Iranians, via Chalabi and now we're being duped by the Israeli's. Glad to see all of this intelligence reorganization is paying off.

Friday Fun

Remember the old Penguin toss? Now there are 4 more levels!!! Just click on 'Play Online'.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

I know I was planning to stay away from politics for awhile. I promise to stay away from the SBV4T/ 527 groups firestorm, anyway. So more Americans both sunk into poverty in 2003 and were/became uninsured in 2003. The Shrub administration, of course takes no responsibility and blames it on certain individuals in the Senate. I’m very curious to know which individual senators those might be. Somehow, you know they’re going to make it out to be Kerry and Edwards’ fault. Just like they tried to blame the rise in oil prices earlier this month on K & E not supporting their legislation to drill for oil in the Alaskan wildlife refuge. Remember that? .

I’m trying to wrap my head around the logic here. We have a Republican President. The Republicans control the House. The Republicans control the Senate. Yet two Democratic senators (who happen to be running against said President) alone have the power to block legislation proposed by that Republican President. Damn – if they’re so powerful they can block Shrub’s agenda with those odds, what’s the point of running for the White House at all? It is, apparently a powerless position (not unlike the governorship of Texas… but I digress).

Apparently, we’ve all had it wrong all these years. Because by Bushian logic, bills with the fewest votes in their favor become law. I can see where he might think that. Lacking basic knowledge of the constitution such as he does, and his only direct experience at the national level being a presidential campaign where he was elected by the minority of votes. It's an easy mistake to make.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

I kind of gave Curt hell earlier this summer when he got a wild hair up his ass and decided to put in a "water feature" in place of the ugly cypress tree we cut down on the corner of the house. Primarily because his idea of a "water feature" was burying an old white 5 gallon bucket in the ground, throwing in a handful of feeder goldfish and a couple of expensive plants. Specifically, a water hyacinth and a hibiscus. Then the hyacinth went ape-shit and mostly disguised the bucket, and out of the blue, today gave us this incredible bloom. And the hibiscus should be blooming itself anyday now. So honey, I take back everything I said about your bucket. But someday I do want it replaced by a *real* waterfall/ pool there, OK? Posted by Hello

An Ode to Rain

Dare I hope the end of this hot sweaty summer is in sight? It’s looking that way! On Saturday my fevered rain dances finally paid off with a blissful fall weather pattern of wet and windy storms taking up residence over the Pacific NW. Just in case I haven’t mentioned it before, let me make it clear. I hate summer. Hate the sun. Hate the weeks upon weeks of 85+ degree temperatures. But mostly, I hate the drive home in my sweltering non-air-conditioned car. Due to some freak moment of insanity, I bought a car (in midwinter) that not only has no a/c; it doesn’t even have power windows or door locks. So I end up not only driving around all season with all 4 windows rolled down ½ way, but since its such a huge pain in the ass to go around manually rolling up/down 4 windows every single freaking time I get in/out of the car, I leave it parked with them rolled down as well (and the doors unlocked, because really, what’s the point of locking when the windows are all down?) . This lazy-ass method of vehicular heat management has its drawbacks, however.

First, the cats* have discovered how cozy it is in the back window of the car and climb in at night, coating my cheap cloth upholstery with cat-hair that is impossible to vacuum up. Secondly, at the beginning of summer the interior generally acquires a heavy dusting of pollen on the dash and other assorted vinyl surfaces. And thirdly, on those rare, surprising summer thunderstorms that too briefly interrupt the baking 85+ degree days, the interior of said vehicle gets soaked. Leaving me to brave the stupefying stop & go rush hour traffic in a hot, humid, sneeze-inducing haze. So yeah, I hate summer. Fall can never get here fast enough.

So now you’ll understand why the last 4 days have been bliss. We got rain. Brief bouts of torrential monsoon-like showers interspersed with our more typical cozy, heart-warming drizzle that just seems to wrap the green hills up in a misty blanket and make you happy to stay indoors. Or go jogging. You can tell the hard-core Oregonians** when it starts to rain. They jog in it. Garden in it. Clean their cars in it (with biodegradable soap, naturally. Saves the rinse step). Rain is our best friend. It's sacred absolution by Mother Nature herself. And as corny as it sounds, when we hardcore Oregonians don't get it on a regular basis, our souls begin to shrivel up and dry out. So I'm praying it sticks around for awhile.

*Freaking fair-weather cats!!. I’ve seen then more in the last 4 days than in the last 4 weeks combined. I swear Ozz has got a built in barometer – as soon as the pressure drops and rainclouds appear on the horizon the living room, heretofore seen as some sort of gulag/torturous confinement cell that is invariably met with piteous howls of indignation (aimed at the walls) suddenly becomes a 5 star spa and resort/ emergency shelter.

**Western Oregonians that is. There's an Eastern variant that's damned near an entirely different species. Not better/worse, mind you. Just different.

***Yes, I too stole the asterisk postscript thing from Mimi Smartypants. So sue me.

Are we done yet?

Every once and awhile someone comes along and perfectly captures your feelings on a subject. So I'm letting them say it. From Pandagon. Snip:

Enough. Fucking enough. I am so goddamn tired of talking about the Swiftvets. This last week has been the Dean scream or Dole fall for our body politic -- it has shone light on everything corrosive, everything vile, everything that turns off Americans not just from voting but from civic participation. It has ripped our veneer of idealism and high-mindedness and exposed many of us as bottom-feeding predators whose primary political instinct is to dash towards the blood, skirting and evading the actual hurdles and obstacles holding back our society.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Walking 10 miles through 12' of snow dodging cougars to get to school & stuff....

I typically got as tired of all the “when I was a kid, we didn’t *have* video games or T.V.! We played “Kick the Can” or stickball in the empty lot to have fun… when we weren’t milking the cows at 4 a.m. or bailing hay; that is!” commentary by my elders while a child as anyone else. But they do have a point. I was maybe 8 or 9 when Atari first came out, and perhaps 11 or 12 when we got cable TV. But still. We were nowhere near dependent on those things for entertainment. We built forts and tree houses and created entire riversystems in the gravel driveway. We made mud pies. We played “pretend” a lot. My best friend’s circular driveway made a kick-ass McDonald’s drive-thru on our bikes. That’s when I could be torn away from a book, that is. And when Mt. St. Helens blew and covered everything in 3 inches of ash, that was pretty damned exciting.

So I don’t know that I have a lot of sympathy for these kids. Sure, it’s traumatic to have your whole house ripped away and your world turned upside down. But once the initial shock wears off, doesn’t it kind of sound like FUN, too?? There are all kinds of other kids in the same boat to play pretend with. Incredible stories of survival to swap. Fascinating (and likely dangerous) things to investigate – like damaged trees, debris piles and homeless critters (hopefully not of the crocodillian kind). Nevermind the time-honored tradition of using kids as spies/runners during times of crisis: “Have the Red Cross supplies gotten here yet? Could you please get a bottle of water for Mrs. Anderson? What’s going on over there? Could you go find your Dad and tell him we need to meet the insurance guy at 3:00?” Maybe it's just the rubber-necker in me, but when I was in Hawaii when Hurricane Ineiki blew through, I was actually pretty disappointed in veered away from my location on Maui and hit Kauai instead.

Aside from being in a warzone, living through a hurricane is about as intense, reality wise as you can get. And these kids are “bored” with it? And we’re supposed to pity them for that? I feel for these kids, I truly do. But let’s get some perspective here. They *will* get their electricity back. They *will* get their playstations and TV’s replaced. They will have basic plumbing and sanitary water again in a mater of weeks (if not days). Compare that to their peers in the poorest regions of the rest of the Caribbean/ Gulf who regularly face hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, flooding and mudslides who are damned lucky to get any of that, let alone a freaking playstation!

My kid is going to hate me. My mom used to say "clean your plate - don't you know there are starving children in China who would KILL to have dried meatloaf and brussel sprouts for dinner?" I know - I'm going to be worse. Ten times worse. Because when it comese to knowing how shitty 90% of humanity has it on this spinning little pile of dirt, expecially in comparison to we priveleged 10%, I am the all-knowing oracle. This child will not be able to whine about a single thing in their life without my having 20 different and very specific examples of kids elsewhere around the world who currently have it worse. You don't like broccoli? Kids in Afghanistan are eating grass to survive. Throwing a tantrum over not getting the coolest super-expensive toy du-jour? There are hundreds of thousands of kids in Bangladesh who just had their entire village wiped out in a flood. Their idea of fun right now is poking holes in bloated, stinky dead cow carcasses with a stick. Poor kid. He/She won't stand a chance. Which is sad. Because everyone should have the right to complain about their lot in life, shouldn't they? No matter how unfounded those complaints are in comparison?

Note to self: Try to save the detailed commentary on the atrocities of African genocide until they're at least 12. OK? Kids should dream of puppies. Warm, fuzzy, cute, face-licking puppies. And kittens. Not machete-welding madmen breaking in the door. You should be thankful the chances of your child having to endure any of this shittiness is about nil, and let them enjoy their priveleged world. Not fill their head with nightmares about what their life could have been like if they'd been born somewhere else. Because at the same time, there are orphans in the Third World filling each other's heads with dreams about the same thing. And it's the life of my kid that they're imagining: playstations and expensive tennis shoes and all. Bored in the face of hurricanes, safe in the knowledge that very little, including Mother Nature at her worst - can hurt them. My stories about their lives may bring my child gratitude and appreciation, but their stories about our lives brings them hope. And I don't know which is more important in the grand scheme of things.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

I didn't even know he was in town

Heh. Ex VP Al Gore got a speeding ticket today on the Oregon Coast. I thought it interesting he didn't have any secret service with him. But I don't blame him at all. It's damned hard not to speed on that highway, especially when there's no traffic. Back in my leadfoot days I made it from Portland to Seaside in 45 minutes in my mom's Acura Integra. Not one of my smarter moves, but in my defense it was about 5 a.m. and I was responding to a family emergency.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


I must say, I love Fareed Zakaria (international editor of Newsweek). He always has the most fascinating insight into Middle Eastern politics, and is one of the few big media pundits I actually respect. Anyway. Check out his commentary today about how the issue of "nuance" in context of this whole "real men don't wage "sensitive" wars" factors into this week's Kerry bashing by Bush/Cheney. snips:

The more intelligent question is (given what we knew at the time): Was toppling Hussein's regime a worthwhile objective? Bush's answer is yes; Howard Dean's is no. Kerry's answer is that it was a worthwhile objective but was disastrously executed. For this "nuance" Kerry has been attacked from both the right and the left. But it happens to be the most defensible position on the subject...

Bush's position is that if Kerry agrees with him that Hussein was a problem, then Kerry agrees with his Iraq policy. Doing something about Iraq meant doing what Bush did. But is that true? Did the United States have to go to war before the weapons inspectors had finished their job? Did it have to junk the U.N. process? Did it have to invade with insufficient troops to provide order and stability in Iraq? Did it have to occupy a foreign country with no cover of legitimacy from the world community? Did it have to ignore the State Department's postwar planning? Did it have to pack the Iraqi Governing Council with unpopular exiles, disband the army and engage in radical de-Baathification? Did it have to spend a fraction of the money allocated for Iraqi reconstruction -- and have that be mired in charges of corruption and favoritism? Was all this an inevitable consequence of dealing with the problem
of Saddam Hussein?

He then poins out an intriguing truism (illustrated in a book called "Execution", by Larry Bossidy, former chief executive of Honeywell) . In the business world, "it's widely understood that having a good objective means nothing if you implement it badly". But in order to create a culture that ferments good execution on big ideas, you have to encourage robust dialogue through frank, open-minded discussion of reality, where key underlying assumptions are challenged. As Zakaria puts it, "Say this in the business world and it is considered wisdom. But say it as a politician and it is derided as "nuance" or "sophistication." Perhaps that's why Washington works as poorly as it does. "

Obviously, this is one of the little bits of corporate "wisdom" Shrub never quite picked up while running several businesses into the ground. I'd expect more from Cheney, though.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Funny, I don't *remember* b eing abducted and impregnated by aliens....

Nanu, Nanu!! You can't see his little feetsies, but they're there. Pretty scary, huh? I am Skeletor... master of the universe!!! Posted by Hello

Friday, August 13, 2004

Daddy's exciting adventure

So everything went just ducky at the doctor's yesterday. They did do an ultrasound to reassure me about the spotting, and confirmed I have a little alien doing the backstroke inside me. You think I'm kidding! I'll see if I can post the picture this weekend - the critter really and truly looks like the title character of W. Shreiber's book, Communion. I'm now debating alien nicknames for the bugger. Mork? Pax? Marvin? Little heart beating furiously at 175. 2 little tiny hands, 2 little tiny feet, and maybe, just *maybe* a 5th sort of appendage that might be a litte peetie. They should be able to tell for certain the next time around. Curt was beside himself the whole visit - it was pretty adorable. He'd never, been to an ob/gyn office before.

In the waiting room:

Him: (while making funny faces at the slobbery toddler across the way) You sure you want me to be here? You know what the site of pregnant women does to me...
Me: Don't be a perv. Grab a magazine.

In the exam room:

Him: What are those things, car wash mitts?
Me: Yep, I think so. They keep your feet warm and comfy. Standard equipment on most gyno exam tables.
Him: So do you like your doctor?
Me: Yeah, she seems nice. Good eye contact, very gentle and calming.
Him: I noticed she has small hands.
Me: That's a big plus, too - trust me!

In the ultrasound room:
Him: (re: the heart rate) "175! 175! Look, it's so cute!!!
Me: "Cute? It's just a big blob on the screen.."
Him: "No! You can see the mouth, and the heart, and the fingers and everything! It's cute!"

His excitement was barely muted by the doc saying we shouldn't engage in certain, err... romantic activities for 2 weeks just in case. On the way home, we stopped to celebrate at our favorite old 50's era hangout, Mike's Drive-in for burgers, tatertots and a rootbeer shake. mmmmm.

So I'm obviously not going to attend the John Kerry rally downtown today. Even though I'm so close. I'm bummed.... but I've already taken off two afternoons this week for personal reasons and just can't justify taking more off to attend a political rally. I worry enough about my boss thinking I waste too much time arguing politics with my coworkers, I can't give them any additional fuel. But it looks like my local news station might air it live on their website (I'm tuning in right now to his stop in Eugene. He's really plugging his alternative energy plans - smart for Eugene). So I won't miss it entirely. He'll be back before November and maybe I'll get to see him then.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Off to see the doctor...

2 hours to go until my first neonatal exam with the new OB. I've arm-twisted Curt into coming with me. In his defense, it wasn't that hard: what was said, then (what was thought)

Me: so would you like to come? (I hope you’re excited about the pregnancy and will want to be fully involved)
Him: Well, do I *need* to be there? (sounds boring)
Me: You don't *need* to be at any of my appointments. (asshole) But I'd like you to be. (I'm scared shitless and need some support. I don't like feeling like I'm the only one going through this. Maybe if you hear from the doctor that it’s normal to be totally exhausted during the 1st trimester you won’t complain about my sleeping all the time and not doing more around the house). They might do an ultrasound. (Can't admit insecurity. Bribery might work)
Him: Might, huh? Well I don't know if it's worth taking time off work for a "might". (seeing the ultrasound would be cool. But I'll be tired. Still sounds like a drag. Why do I have to go?)
Me: I purposefully scheduled it late in the day so you won't miss much. It's worth it to me. I would really like you to share this. (voluntarily, that is)
Him: If you want me to be there, just say so. (just tell me what to do)
Me: Fine. You're coming. (so much for free will. If he wants dictatorbitch I can do that)

Damned hormones. But I am still nervous. Pregnancy "symptoms" have dropped off the last 3 days. Not really any nausea, I've had tons of energy - even the boobs aren't hurting as much. Could just be the looming advent of the 2nd trimester, but I've also had some regular spotting all week. So sue me - I'm a bit desperate for reassurance that everything is still OK. If they don't do an ultrasound I might revolt.

Want strings with that?

Over at Respectful of Otters, Rivka’s got an excellent summary of how our brilliant administration once again takes a great idea (in this case, Federal funds to reimburse hospitals for expenses incurred by illegal immigrants) and turns it bad. In fact, wholly ineffective. So they get credit for doing something "good" while hamstringing it in the process, so it turns out to be an empty promise.

Now, I can understand the government wanting to make sure they’re *only* paying for illegal immigrants (and not those evil uninsured American citizens… ‘cuz, you know… *that* would be a travesty!), but you’d think they’d at least take steps to reassure the patients that any information they provide re: their immigration status will remain off-limits to any deportation investigation/ proceedings.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

You couldn't pay me to live in Florida

Two storms, one a hurricane and one well on it's way to becoming one have got Florida in the crosshairs this week. One will likely hit the panhandle Thursday and the other will probably hit the rest of the state Friday. I'm done bitching about our 2 weeks of 90+ degree, blue sky and white puffy cloud weather now.

You know, if Kerry could come up with a plan to help offset the astronomical home insurance premiums (if they're even available) in the Sunshine State he'd take it in a landslide.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Bush turns blind eye to women suffering from Fistula

More real stories about the impact of Bush's continued blockage of all $34 million congressionally-approved funding to the U.N. Population Fund on actual women in Africa.

This time, Women's ENews documents how an estimated two million women are currently suffering from an easily cured condition called fistula. It's a rather unpleasant condition caused by prolonged and difficult labor that causes chronic, uncontrollable urinary and stool leakage. Not surprisingly, women who develop this condition are ostracized by their families and communites. The sad thing is, a simple 15 minute surgical procedure can fix it.

As you may recall, this is the third year the Bush administration has blocked these critical funds due to their claim that the fund supports forced abortions and sterilizations; an allegation the fund strongly denies.

It was just a matter of time before Ashcroft started targetting felines...

Everybody *knows* they're the familiars of heathen feminists who are in league with the terrorists to destroy our American way of life!

Via a poster at an online board I participate in: Cat in Cockpit Forces Emergency Landing. Spoof here: Al-Qaeda Cat Forces Plane To Return To Airport

Monday, August 09, 2004

Lullabye, and goodnight....

I have discovered Al Queda’s latest plot – Tempur-Pedic Memory Foam Beds. It’s an insidious plot – quite diabolical, really. Once every American has one they’ll never want to leave their bed. We’ll be sitting ducks for any attack they might dream up (though they’ll have to switch from commercial to residential targets); it will kill the economy (nobody will want to go to work) and will deal a devestating blow to the pharmceutical industry (no more demand for Rx pain killers to treat chronic back pain).

Count me in as one of the first victims. We were prompted by one especially miserable night on my 12 yr old Beautyrest, which for the first 10 years or so was a dream to sleep on. In the last 2 years, however it’s gone rapidly downhill. It now resembles a jungle torture pit with the center hollowed out, lined with painful rogue springs that poke and prod *just* as you’re drifitng off to sleep. The thought of spending the next 6 months on this bed of torture as my prego body gets more and more unweildy and uncomfortable was just too much to bear. Thankfully my dear husband agreed – he attributes a great many of his recent aches & pains & numb appendages to the bed and has been championing its replacement for quite awhile. When he abandoned the bed for the couch at 4:15 am Saturday morning due to insomnia and found me already in residence for the same reason, we finally agreed to bite the bullet, no matter the expense.

The first place we went to test the Tempur-Pedics Sat. afternoon couldn’t get one delivered to us for at least a week. So right at the stroke of closing we trundled into one of their competitor’s and made the salesman’s day. Our new 10” Tempur-Pedic was delivered bright and early Sunday morning!!! Around noon we laid down for a little nap. At 3:00 we woke up, drool-soaked pillows and all. I woke up this morning totally refreshed and with more energy that I’ve had in weeks. Some of that might be due to the nearing end of my 1st trimester but I think the bed has a great deal more to do with it. Fucking terrorists and their foam beds, anyway! Forgedabout Iraq, our *real* enemy are those damned Swedes!!!

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Wiping tear from eye....

A new 'Bushism': We're gonna get us

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we,” Bush said. “They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”

This guy is truly his own worse enemy. He just makes it so damned easy!! If we don't win in November we really won't have anybody to blame but ourselves.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Successful Channeling

So some of my ideas are channeling through to the rest of the country. Specifically, my advice to vote by mail in those precincts where the evil Diebold machines are being used or where they face a higher threat of terrorism. But if you’re going to vote by mail, please take care to make sure your vote is not invalidated by spilled coffee, use of whiteout, etc.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

WMD's found... in Korea!

Look, they finally found some WMD's!!! I know, I know - we already knew they've got nukes. But we didn't think they had any that could actually reach us. As a resident of the West Coast, this, I'm worried about. 4 yr old intelligence about financial centers on the East Coast being targeted? Not so much.

Update: Wonder of wonders, guess where the North Korean's got the sub-based missile launching technology to begin with? Yep, our old pal Rev. Sun Myung Moon, self-proclaimed Messiah, unifier/organizer of the religious right and major financier of the GOP. Via Atrios. (Also: Excellent 1992 Frontline special)

Monday, August 02, 2004

Our humungous hibiscus!!! These are about 8 inches in diameter! Posted by Hello

here I thought it was the raccoons sneaking in my car window at night. Nope, just Jack! Posted by Hello

One pissed off Cleo cat after being treated for ear mites.  Posted by Hello