Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Form letters

I know people are busy. Especially this time of year. But there should be some point where the mindless envelope-stuffing should end and human oversight kick in.

I just opened two separate letters from the veterinary center where Muzzy and Harley were put to sleep. Each contained a paper ornament (for us to label/decorate) and a letter inviting us to the tree-lighting ceremony they will be having, remembering the pets who passed on in 2006. Each was addressed exactly the same way. Each said exactly the same thing, except that the name of the pet was different. Each was signed by the same person. So NO ONE thought to check, at any point in the chain of command/custody, to see if multiple pets passed away for one owner? This isn't the biggest clinic in the land, by any stretch. And even if it was, that's no excuse.

Any good feelings I might have had regarding their desire/willingness to acknowledge and commemorate the animals who left us this year were totally obliterated by having to deal with the double gut-punch they dealt me by not taking the freaking time to manage their mail better. It was bad enough getting the one for Harley, but minutes (and several pieces of mail) later having to deal with it again for Muzzy? Lots of people have multiple pets, and it is hardly rare that they lose more than one in the same year. Why even bother doing something like this, if they (the clinic) can't take the time to consider this issue? It's not right. It's not right. It's not right.

They should know and do better.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Former Glory

There it is. My hair. Well, 12 inches of it anyway. Soon to be mailed off to Locks of Love, hopefully to make someone else very happy.

And - shock of shocks - I *love* my new haircut! It's a chin-length bob, nice and swingy and slightly longer in the front - just enough for a ponytail. It was cute the day I got it when the hairdresser blew it out, but when I washed it and let it air-dry (my usual "style") yesterday, it actually looked even better!

I'm kicking myself because years ago, when my hair was its current length, it looked terrible. I mean terrible! I used a blow-dryer, curling irons, hair gel, hair spray, mousse, and anything else I could think of to get it to do what I wanted. And it never did. Who freaking knew that if I would have just washed it and left it alone, it would have been perfect???

So, to my hair: I apologize for bad-mouthing you all these years. To everyone else: go crazy and let your hair do what it wants for a day - you might be pleasantly surprised!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Apparently I missed it, but ol' Dubya actually did something right. On October 6th, he signed into law the PETS Act, which will (hopefully) help prevent animal-related tragedies like we saw in the aftermath of a certain unfortunately-named hurricane. A good summary of the act can be found here:

http://tinyurl.com/ylk3kv (HSUS link)

Not that I thought there was any danger of him *not* signing it (Lord knows he's not famous for his vetoes), but having it done is a huge relief for me. I'll be the first to admit that I am way too emotionally affected by things beyond my control, and what I saw last year (the few times I got caught up and didn't change the channel in time) really did a number on me.

Anyone who knows me knows that I feel a great deal of responsibility towards the animals who live with me. Granted, there is also insane love and almost slavelike devotion to them, but responsibility is key. They did not choose a life of captivity, and they did not choose a life with me. I choose (I truly see every day as a choice, hence the present tense) both of these things for them, and thereby force them into a life of utter dependence on me. This is a fact. And the same is true for anyone who keeps a pet, whether they want to look at it this way or not. Regardless, the upshot is that in doing so, we take on the responsibility to ensure that they are healthy and safe and happy.

Where I'm going with all that is this: the PETS Act - while wonderful and (in my opinion) necessary - is not enough. I beg of anyone reading who has an animal dependent to be sure that you have an emergency plan in place for him or her. They cannot fend for themselves after a life of captivity, and in the event of an emergency they cannot free themselves from their cages/crates and/or your house. You can google (or whatever search engine you prefer) to find lots of help - the term "pets emergency" works beautifully. If you don't feel like searching, here's a decent link:


Even if you don't have an emergency plan for yourself, please put one together for your critters. I'm asking because they can't.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Monday, September 04, 2006

About time?

I don't wish people dead. Really. But anyone who has spent much time talking with me probably won't be surprised at my stance here.

Steve Irwin is dead. My heart goes out to his children. I feel sympathy for his wife. But I am not sorry that he is gone. Especially considering the manner/circumstances in which he purportedly passed.

I have maintained for years now that this man lacked the fundamental respect necessary for relating to animals. Wild animals, in particular. He may have loved animals (I'm not sure one way or another on that). Certainly he educated people about them, and developed some good methods for dealing with them in captivity. But I have been predicting (hoping? such an awful thing to consider, but probably true if I'm honest with myself) that his lack of respect for animals in their own habitat would get him killed, and apparently that it the case.

Anyone who has watched any show of his on tv is familiar with his exclamation of, "Crikey!" But many people ignored or didn't consider the way he treated the wild animals his show often featured. Don't get me wrong - I am all for relocating animals (such as the crocs he often dealt with) rather than killing or capturing them. But plunging into the brush, grabbing unsuspecting denizens, pulling them away from home and family, and putting them on camera unwilling and unprepared? Disgraceful. Deplorable. Despicable. No living individual deserves that kind of treatment. And he did it on a regular basis. And there is no forgetting the infamous baby incident. If such shenanigans don't demonstrate a basic lack of respect for the other (non-human) animal involved in the scenario, I don't know what does.

I always thought it would be a snake or croc or poisonous insect that did him in, but I was obviously mistaken. All the standby medical assistance and antivenom caches in the world won't guard against a stingray barb to the chest.

The lesson here: all our human abilities to plan and prepare and reason are not enough to protect us from the world. Nothing is. And fucking with the other inhabitants of said world, even in the name of education and science, is a stupid undertaking if you don't properly respect their sovereign rights as individuals that may or may not act in predictable ways.

Goodbye, Steve. May your passing be a lesson to the current bunch of imitators you have spawned on Animal Planet and God knows where else.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


I've avoided my blog for almost 2 months now, not wanting to post but knowing I had to. On the 1st of July, we had to have Harley and Muzzy put to sleep, and I'm still torn up. I feel like pieces of myself have been torn out. The holes are starting to heal, but they're still somewhat raw and tender, and I feel them every day.

I've lost other pets before (cats, and another ferret a few years ago) and I can attest to the fact that it hurts the same, if not worse. Ferrets have as much personality and spirit as any cat or dog, but we don't get to have them in our lives as long. It's a cruel thing, really, and we had already decided when we lost Tetsuo (their brother) that we wouldn't get any more because it hurts so much to lose them, but remembering that pain hasn't helped with this. I don't think it ever does.

Harley was our first "official" pet as a couple, and he was one of the coolest animals I've ever known. We called him The Anti-Ferret because he was very calm and cuddly, which most fuzzies are not. He was the Alpha male, and made sure the rest of them knew it, even in his last months with us. He liked to just hang out, and loved to have a beer with his people pals. And if you've never seen a tipsy ferret, you don't know what you're missing!

Muzzy was our little princess – we didn't mean or intend to ever get any female ferrets, but I fell in love with her and had to have her. I didn't check her sex when I got her, and we actually didn't notice for a few weeks that she wasn't a boy! We were both smitten, and it didn't occur to us to look. She was feisty from the start (hence her name – I named her after a monster in a Spanish language video I saw in high school), but so small and pretty.

Harley hadn't been well for months. We knew that it was time to let him go, but we were putting it off. Hoping he would have some more good days and at least be ok till Chris isn't traveling so much. But he'd been steadily declining, and hadn't had a good day in longer than we could remember. Or maybe we were hoping deep down he would decide on his own that it was time to leave. Stupid, if that was the case – although he was sweet and cuddly in ways most ferrets are not, his tenacity was classic ferret. He always was a fighter, and lived (in good health) more than a year longer than the vet predicted several years before, when he had several tumors and an adrenal gland removed. Muzzy had been having problems with her hind legs that we attributed to arthritis, though in hindsight I can see that it may well have been the beginnings of insulinoma, but she seemed to be in good spirits and not experiencing anything too serious.

When we went to let them out that afternoon, Muzzy was having violent prolonged seizures that wouldn't stop. We knew from dealing with Harley that it was insulinoma, so we got sugar-water and food into her, but it didn't do any good. Harley was in bad shape too – he had made even more of a mess in his cage than usual, and he was covered in poop and could barely move. So we took them to the vet.

Muzzy did have insulinoma and her blood sugar was 30, which is very bad (ferrets should have levels like people: <100, but not by that much). They couldn't get her seizures to stop either, even with more oral sugar (and we had given her a LOT) and rectal valium. They said they could try keeping her overnight on IV dextrose, but with her blood sugar being so low and having been seizing for so long, I knew there was no way she hadn't suffered brain damage, and (of course) they couldn't guarantee that doing that would do any good.

Chris and I already had an idea what we would have to do, from Muzzy's lack of response to what we did for her at home. And we already knew it wasn't fair or right for us to keep Harley with us like we were. So we decided to send them over the rainbow bridge together, and we sat with them while the vet did it. It was the worst, hardest decision we've ever had to make. Obviously, I don't know exactly how a parent feels, but it felt like we were losing our children. Harley was our first baby, and Muzzy was our first little girl. I'm still having a hard time wrapping my brain around it.

I've never had to put one of my pets to sleep before, and it's just awful. Everyone always says it's the best and kindest thing to do, and I know in my head that it is, but I always assumed that it would feel like the right thing to do, too. And it doesn't. Especially not in the moment, and for the first few weeks afterwards. I felt like I had killed my babies, that there must have been some other option I just didn't see or consider. The whole time we were in the vet's office, I just wanted to snatch them up and run back out to the car with them and drive away, and even now a small part of me wishes I had. But I know that doing so wouldn't have helped them, they still would have been sick and suffering. I know it's all my own selfishness, wanting them back, but I felt like I had done something terrible (and a small part of me still does), and I wasn't prepared for that.

I don't know if I'm overly sensitive, or if people just don't talk about these things even in this day and age, when most of us recognize the importance of our non-human companions in our lives, but this hit me hard. I'm still somewhat in withdrawal mode, saving most of my emotional energy for my family. And I have to say that my family has really been helpful with this. Having my niece and nephew local, in particular, has been a blessing. I can't not be happy around those two! But every time I let the ferrets out, I feel that loss. The other ferrets did too, at first. Maybe they still do. It makes me sad to see Kaneda moving into the Alpha position, acting like he's in charge, though I'm happy he's in such good health and spirits.

Ok, I don't really know how to end this. I wish I had some nice summary or something, but I don't. I just needed to share this, share them, so I could stop beating myself up for putting them off. Thanks for reading.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Not tagged, but running anyway!

So. My favorite online perv posted this list of 20 questions (which she had been tagged with) and invited others to snag it and answer them too. And since I've been woefully lazy about my blog, I figure this is as close to a sign as I'm gonna get that I need to get off my virtual ass and get to blogging. The questions, and my answers:

1) Do you remember playing 45s?
Yes – those Disney read-along records that came with a little book! "You will know that it's time to turn the page when you hear Tinkerbell ring her chime, like this: d-dl-i-ding!" My favorite was a record for the cartoon version of Lord of the Rings – I hated Gollum, so I played the clip of him falling into Mount Doom over and over again. I thought it was hilarious, and fitting – he deserved it! This was, of course, before I grew up and read the books and gained a little empathy for him. I still think he deserved it, though.

2) What is the worst band you ever liked?
I'm gonna have to say Milli Vanilli, since they barely even qualified as a band. Worse, I saw them at the Delaware State Fair.

3) Have you ever done the macarena?
No. I'm not coordinated enough. I can *barely* manage the Electric Slide.

4) Are there books/magazines are currently in your bathroom? (if yes, what?)

5) Have you ever done one of those embarrassing group dances at weddings?
Certainly! I refused to have any at my own wedding, but I've participated in Chicken Dances in the past.

6) Coffee or tea?
Yes! With a LOT of sugar in them.

7) Whip or no whip?
Whipped cream? Never. I hate the stuff. And if you've ever considered using it for "adult play", ask Ruthie for her Whipped Cream Lecture. As for "other" interpretations, I'm not into pain and neither is Chris (as far as I know…)

8) Did you ever have an imaginary friend and if so, what was he/she/it named?
No, but my sister and I invented a ghost named George who we said haunted the closet in the bedroom we shared in the farmhouse we lived in when we were very little. I don't even remember where the notion came from. Maybe he was real and we just thought we made him up?

9) Do you know how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver?
Yes. My sister and I practice it regularly, often without warning. Of course, we also play such games as Full Contact Walking and Full Contact Chair Sitting.

10) Do you still celebrate your birthday? A day all about me?
Hell yes! It helps being a Valentine baby (and female), of course – the day itself calls for demanding and self-indulgence.

11) Do you or have you ever cross dressed? (women in overalls and men in kilts don’t count)
This is a kinda tricky question for me. I see cross-dressing as dressing *as* the opposite sex, which I have never done. But many of my sweaters are mens' sweaters because for some reason clothing manufacturers want women to wear hideous colors like pastels, and reserve the good colors (jewel- and autumn-toned greens, reds, blues, and browns) for men. Also, I have broad shoulders for a chick, so said sweaters often fit me better anyway. And when I'm at the weight I prefer, my hips are still broad enough and of a certain shape where mens' pants look better on me than those supposedly designed for women. So I own many clothes intended for men (which some might perceive as cross-dressing), but I don't wear them to look like a man.

*Side note*: my brother and his son wore kilts to my sister's wedding in Vegas a few weeks ago. No particular reason why or anything. My brother just likes kilts, I guess. And Liam was beyond adorable in his! Strangers left and right were coo-ing and going gaga over him in his little black watch plaid kilt.

12) What is the worst food you ever ate?
Oh God, this was recent – tofu shirataki noodles! I love tofu, and I love noodles, and I heard good things about these so I bought some. I should have known there would be a problem when I read the instructions that had me rinse and boil them a bit to dispel their "natural odor" (which was pure icky fish). Then I tried to pull one out to try it before putting the sauce on them, and it stre-e-e-e-tched like a worm does when a robin tries to pull it from the ground. Failed warning from the Universe #2. I was even more nervous at this point, but determined to give them a fair shake. So I put it in my mouth and chewed and gave it an open-palate-and-nose taste and nearly vomited. Literally, and totally involuntarily. The taste was an almost indescribable fishy awfulness that I can't fathom NOT making people want to hurl, and it was freakishly *chewy*. Like I imagine uncooked brains would be chewy. I spat it out and rinsed my mouth out, and ran into the living room and sat shuddering on the sofa. I eventually gathered the courage to go back and dump the remainder down the drain – I have no idea how the garbage disposal managed them, but it did. I'm still pissed at those damn noodles, because I *really* wanted to like them!

13) How old were you when you had your first real kiss?
Thirteen, a goodbye kiss at the beach with a boy named Randy I had just met a day or two before.

14) Have you had your 15 minutes of fame?
No, and I hope I never do! Hermits are exempt from this, right?

15) What is the longest you ever went without sleep for?
More than 24 hours, less than 72. I can't remember a specific occasion, but I pulled a number of these in college.

16) If your hair could be any color, what would it be?
I like it exactly how it is, colored just like a penny. Usually brown, but out in the sun it shines copper and almost gold sometimes.

17) What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
I refuse to choose just one, since mood is all. Especially with ice cream! My top 3 are Breyers Coffee, Breyers Mint Chocolate Chip, and Dove Unconditional Chocolate.

18) Wax, bleach, pluck, or shave?
Pluck and shave. Someday I hope to add "laser" to this list.

19) If you were a super hero, what would your power be?
Telepathy. I don't trust people, and being able to read their minds would make everything easier for me! Besides – a superhero who can prevent the villains from ever striking is better than one who cleans up their messes, right?

20) What is your favorite smell?
Seriously – who writes these things? And how am I supposed to choose just one? Again, I refuse. I'll generalize and say that I love the smell of good foods cooking (spaghetti sauce and bread come to mind). Also baby anythings – baby humans smell wonderful, as do baby cats, dogs, ferrets, squirrels, and birds. I'm sure it's an evolutionary thing. There are the amazing smells in nature – the ocean, the forest, night breezes, grass and other vegetation when one lies face-down in them, the scent on the wind bringing a thunderstorm, the smell of impending snow, that first crisp autumn night… The smell of a pet who has grown up and grown old in your presence. I still remember the smells of my cat Cleo, who was with me from age 7 to adulthood. The unique individual smells of loved ones. Maybe my obsession with scent is a side-effect of my terrible eyesight, but smell is as important to me as any other sense. Can anyone choose their one favorite "thing to look at"? I doubt it :~P

If you're reading this and like the questions, then go ahead and tag yourself!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Stupid things make me cry

Like changing a 4 to a 2.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Removing myself

So a little while back I joined a yahoo group (yes, I do this ALL the time - not sure why but I seem to love joining yahoo groups) for INTJs. I was interested in seeing what my fellow Masterminds were up to, what they liked thinking about and discussing, since I know very few INTJs. In fact, the only other ones I've ever met are fellow frag board members. Wonder what Kiersey would have to say about perfume addiction...

Anyway, I joined a while ago, and just recently decided to change my messages to "individual emails" to see what was up. I even participated in a number of discussions. I love to argue, especially with people who are intelligent and can express themselves logically and clearly. I figured if I could do so in any forum, that would be the one! Maybe I idealized the "type" too much, because just as there are instigators everywhere, I ran into a few there.

As I said, I love to argue. But this is provided that the other person/people are actually making rational points. Instead, I'm dealing with button-pushers who want to invoke an emotional response and undermine me that way, rather than address my statements. WTF? Emotionalism, sweeping generalizations, and name-calling have no place in a debate, as far as I'm concerned. If people can't their points rationally and logically, I really have no use for them.

So, as I often do with groups (and people) I no longer take pleasure in associating with, I'm distancing myself. This is usually followed by removal, though not always. But really - why waste my time and emotional energy in a situation that brings me nothing but irritation? There are a few people there who really have interesting things to say, so I may stick around, but the bad apples really have spoiled the barrel for me.

I'm often curious about how many other people respond similarly to this sort of situation. I can be a little too generous in dealing with others and giving them the benefit of the doubt, but once someone crosses the line with me that's pretty much it. I've cut a number of people off in my life, and I honestly have no regrets about it. Well, that's not quite accurate - I have no regrets about cutting them off, but I do have regrets about engaging with them in the first place. I know I'm supposed to be "intuitive" and "judging" as an INTJ, but when my intuition leads me astray and I judge someone incorrectly as being worthy of my time/emotion/trust, it really aggravates me.

So I remove myself.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


I am not a motorcycle fan (or fanatic). But seriously people - COME the fuck ON! Riding a motorcycle doesn't mean that someone hitting you isn't responsible because of the vehicle YOU are riding!!!

End of mini-rant.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Correlation is *NOT* causation

One of my guilty pleasures is my subscription to Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Nothing contentious about that – I like recipes and decorating and gardening ideas. But this month's issue had an insert in it that I just couldn't ignore. Before I go full-on rant here, I need to explain a little where I'm coming from.

It was recently brought to my attention that I've been quieter about my "former life" than I thought I had. So to explain my perspective, and to assure you all that I'm not a total raving conspiracy theorist lunatic, here's the nutshell version: before I became the happy hermit housewife you all are familiar with, I went to pharmacy school. The only degree you can get anymore to be a pharmacist is a PharmD – Doctor of Pharmacy. To do so requires enrollment in a 6-year PharmD program (which I did), or a 4-year degree in a school with a cooperative arrangement with a pharmacy school for completion of the last 2 years. The schooling is 5 years of classes – 2 years "regular" undergrad work and 3 years of "professional" classes – plus 1 year of clinical rotations, which are like medical internships, but you pay tuition instead of getting a salary. I completed my 5 years of classes up till the end of the very last semester, then quit before clinical rotations. I was already working in a pharmacy, doing everything except check prescriptions before they went out the door. The stress of school nearly killed me, and having to actually do the job definitely would have. Unfortunately, I had to have what I'm pretty sure was a nervous breakdown before I could admit to myself that I needed to get out. So I have all the knowledge and student loans, none of the stress or income or degree.

So yes, for the topic I'm about to dig into, I know what the hell I'm talking about. And the topic is a serious one – cervical cancer.

The insert I got was for an ad campaign called "Tell Someone" – here's the link provided: hpv.com. Before I get into the details of my beef with this campaign (and the underlying assertion), please note who this site is run by: Merck. And I will state it here, and reiterate it later – Merck has developed and is working on FDA approval for a HPV vaccine. Just so you have an inkling of the motivation here.

Just for thoroughness, here are three brief generalized paragraphs – one on HPV, one on cancer, and one on viruses.

HPV is the abbreviation for Human papillomavirus – this is the virus that causes genital warts. Much like genital herpes (and ANY virus), this virus can be treated and controlled, but not cured.

Whenever a cell divides or DNA is replicated for any reason, we have an enzyme that acts as a "spellchecker" to make sure that all the little nucleotides are copied verbatim. Sometimes, this spellchecker screws up. Many times, the resulting "mis-copies" are inert – the error doesn't cause any change in cellular development. Sometimes, they do cause something to happen, and the result is benign – the error causes a little lump of incorrect, but not *harmful* tissue to develop. And sometimes the errors cause a malignant growth – incorrect tissue that replicates and can break off and spread through the body. Considering how many time our spellchecker enzymes get things right, the errors are almost statistically insignificant. Except that those errors occur in a conscious being that knows what has happened and the consequences of that one little oversight, and fights to fix it however possible.

Viruses are tricky little thingies. It has still not been determined if they can even be considered "living" or "non-living" things (the wikipedia entry, should you care to read up: wikipedia.org/wiki/Virus). Basically they come in and commandeer your cells to replicate their genetic material. I think we (people) tend to think of them as living things because in many cases they are our adversaries and attackers. It's much easier, conceptually, to battle a creature that's intent on doing us harm or even kill us. And when they invade, we are often fighting them for our lives.

I think I should mention that I am very much pro-vaccines. There's a reason polio isn't the menace it once was, and that things like measles and mumps are pretty much a thing of the past. This is NOT a diatribe against vaccinations.

All that being covered, I am totally willing to entertain the idea that a virus (non-specific) can increase the likelihood of developing cancer (non-specific). In general, the more cellular activity occurring in your body, the more likelihood of "spellcheck" errors. Look at skin cancer – the more you damage your skin (via tanning, deliberate or otherwise), the more repairs your body has to come in and make. This means making new, healthy cells, which requires cell division/production. Which means potential errors. Hence tanning and burning (we all know by now that a tan is your body telling you your skin is damaged, right?) being one of the main causative factors leading to skin cancer. I know that's a major oversimplification, but you get my point. And an outside entity that acts directly on our genetic material? Of course it's potentially carcinogenic!

For some time now, it has been stated that having HPV increases a woman's likelihood for developing cervical cancer. Let me first say that the science behind this claim/notion is dubious at best. There are any number of women who develop cervical cancer who have never had HPV – I know one personally! And even more women with HPV who never develop cervical cancer. This alone should bring doubt into the mind of any rational person about HPV "causing" cervical cancer. Also, this so-called correlation doesn't take into account several factors, the primary one being that women who contract HPV are statistically far more likely to have contracted one or more other STDs in their lifetime.

My issue with the HPV connection is this: yes, the HPV directly acts on our DNA, so it does have more potential to cause cancer than other STDs. But any STD causes an immune reaction, which means increased cellular activity in that area. And, therefore, more potential "spellchecker" errors than a totally healthy vaginal/uterine/cervical area would face. Not only that, but an otherwise "normal" or "healthy" woman could have a spontaneous error caused/influenced by nothing, or chemicals in the household or workplace, or radiation/chemo treatment for an unrelated cancer. There are SO many factors involved in the development of a cancer, and it makes me beyond angry that anyone would try to oversimplify things this way. But now, after developing their marvelous vaccine, Merck is trying to convince people that HPV causes cervical cancer??? How many women currently neglect their annual Pap tests? I know I'm not on top of it like I should be. And although I'm sure even vaccinated women will be told to get their annual exams, how many will think they're protected, and not bother? Or put it off till it's too late?

As I said before, I am definitely pro-vaccine. I think the development of an HPV vaccine would be a major boon to men and women! Regardless of any possible cancer connection, anything we can do to improve the overall health of humanity is a good thing, in my opinion. And I think a campaign to inform people that an HPV vaccine is (or will soon be) available is a great idea. It's one of the least talked-about STDs out there, mainly because of the "ick" factor. I only know one woman who has ever shared with me that she had it (got it from a cheating bastard spouse), and she was only comfortable sharing about it after I started ranting on this subject, and it came up. Women talk about a lot of things, but STDs aren't high on the list. But to promote it under the auspices of preventing cancer??? That's negligence, as far as I'm concerned. And I shudder to think of the number of women in 20 to 30 years who will agree with me.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Clever thieves

As a bird-lover, I *had* to share this...

Bill owns a company that manufactures and installs car wash systems (Magic Wand Car Wash Systems, just in case you want to buy one). These are complete systems, including the money changer and money taking machines. Bill's company installed a car wash system in Frederick, Md.

The problem started when the new owner complained to Bill that he was losing significant amounts of money from his coin machines each week. He went as far as to accuse Bill's employees of having a key to the boxes and ripping him off. Bill just couldn't believe that his people would do that, so they set up a camera to catch the thief in action. Well, they did catch him on film!

Here's the bird sitting on the change slot of the machine:

The bird had to go down into the machine, and back up inside to get to the money:

Here's one with three quarters in his beak:

Also, they found that it wasn't just one bird - there were several working together. Once they identified and tracked the thieves, they found over $4000 in quarters on the roof of the car wash and more under a nearby tree.

In case any of you are interested, these birds are starlings. They're related to the Mynah bird (actually, Mynahs are members of the starling family), apparently make wonderful - though usually illegal - pets, and can learn to talk! Here's a great site about them, where you can get good info and also download clips of them talking:


Their voices are very airy/twittery, and (in my opinion) borderline creepy, but SO cute! And yes, I want one.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Common Sense (Part 2 of ?)*

*Note/disclaimer: I may refer to people who have been abused, who suffer from eating disorders, and other related issues/circumstances in the third person throughout these posts, but that's mainly a device. I'm mostly talking about myself, other people I know, and the results of research I've done in the furtherance of my own understanding of what the hell is wrong with me. I am by no means attempting to make blanket statements that apply to all (or even a majority) of people who are or have been in any situation I have been. Also, sexist though it may be, I'll be using "she", "her", "the girl(s)" and other feminine pronouns/references for my writing, though anyone with any sort of understanding of EDs and abuse knows that males are also victims and sufferers. I'm simplifying things for my writing, that's all.

*** Warning – potential trigger(s) for abuse survivors and/or ED sufferers ***

As I said before, one ideas I've learned of that really resonates with me is that for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, emotional development stops at the age the abuse begins. Being molested as a child changes the way a person views and reacts to life, the world, and other people in ways that are hard to explain, and probably harder for others to grasp. So I'm going to try to break it down a little.

First, the act/trauma itself has a huge impact on world view. The only "real world" example I can think of for non-survivors that might approximate the emotional devastation would be terrorist attacks. I know it's pathetically melodramatic, but if I could think of a better example, I'd go with it in a flash. I feel like the biggest asshole using this one, but these things are so hard to convey. Here's what I mean, though: something drastic, and horrifying comes without warning and causes you intense emotional pain (and for many children, physical pain, but I can't speak to that). Suddenly, the world you knew is gone. Gone. There are no safe places. People can't be trusted. You don't know how to understand, let alone *deal with* the terror and hurt you're suddenly left with.

Continuing with my terrible analogy, go one step further: imagine that one of the terrorists was someone you knew and trusted. That your family and friends knew and trusted. Maybe an actual family member or friend. Seriously, try to imagine this. Someone close to you, a terrorist. Keep in mind, you're considering these things as an adult. Remember all the fuss about how to talk to kids about these things? Can you actually conceptualize yourself dealing with them as the child you once were? Alone? Unable to talk about them, either because you're traumatized, or you were told not to, or both?

Ok – no more hypotheticals. Here's my experience. The fear and betrayal and hurt make you withdraw from people physically and emotionally. Although I don't remember my abuse, I do remember pulling away from others over that period of time. I remember wandering around on the playground by myself, not wanting to play or interact at all with the other kids. I remember one day I was so lost in my own head and detached from my environment during recess that I didn't notice when the teachers came out and got all the kids to go back in. I have no idea how long I was out there by myself – I just recall suddenly looking up and noticing that there was no one else outside, and running inside to rejoin my class. While most kids want a fun, noisy party with lots of presents and al their classmates there, I remember wanting only 2 or 3 particular girls at mine, but inviting everyone because that's what was "expected" of me.

Having been so misled by the person who did such a terrible thing makes you question your judgment about everything. Especially when – as with much molestation – the abuser is a family member or acquaintance (as in my case). If I was so wrong about that person, how could any of my judgements about others be correct? Who else do I trust who might secretly want to hurt me? I don't know if the withdrawal came as a result of the hurt and shock, or of this betrayal and fear, or both. But when you're a little kid and the world is suddenly full of people who might do bad things to you, what can you do besides pull away and try to avoid more hurt? If these things haven't been discussed with you (they weren't with me – public discussion of molestation came after I had experienced it, and I think my parents just thought it wouldn't/couldn't happen) it's not like you know you're supposed to tell someone. And who can you trust to tell? No one is safe anymore.

It's this withdrawal and paranoia, I think, that lead to the failure to develop social skills. Things like listening, reading facial expressions, and communicating openly and honestly – how can a child in the state of mind I tried to depict above even start to learn these things? I'm not listening to you – you might be lying to me. How should I know? Your facial expression could be a mask, hiding something terrible. It happened before. And since I can't interpret any of the usual social cues, how on earth am I supposed to learn to properly use them with other people? This lack of social skills, combined with the suspicion and fear, leads one to become defensive, confrontational, and hard to read. You don't trust others, and your closed-off presentation makes others distrust you, which strengthens your feelings that they shouldn't be trusted. It's a vicious cycle.

I know from my own experience that I often have no idea how the expressions on my face appear to other people. I used to get accused of giving people death-glares ALL the time, and I had no idea what my face was doing. The same goes with tone of voice – that harsh/bitter/angry tone I might take doesn't sound that way in my own head; it's part of my defense mechanism, and I only know it's there through feedback from other people. Chris and I used to get in HUGE fights, and in the end it would turn out that what had set them off was that I had said something to him in a way that was very abrasive and almost mean. I didn't hear it. We finally developed a system where if I say something with that tone, he asks me to check my tone of voice. That has helped us in TONS of conflicts.

I can't recall a time when I ever wanted to be "popular" or have lots of friends. Honestly, I'm happy with one or two, and these social issues are why. It is so emotionally and physically draining to try to interact with people from a place of having no tools to do so. The closest thing that might approximate it would be trying to drive without my glasses. All kinds of important data coming in fast, but fuzzy. And terrifying, because misreading something could have horrible consequences.

I know I come across as antisocial and unfriendly to a lot of people in "real life". Apparently, the last time I went to Atlanta no one (including Chris, but probably with the exception of my sister) thought I had a good time. I had a freaking blast! But I guess it wasn't apparent. I can (and do) sit quietly in groups of people, not talking and just listening and taking things in. And I'm happy in that situation. The best thing about groups of people (especially when they don't know me very well, so I don't really *have* to talk) is that the pressure is off me to interact. But then I guess I look like the miserable bitch who isn't having fun, and making everyone else uncomfortable. So how do I change that without overloading and stressing myself out and then actually becoming the miserable chick everyone already thought I was?

Any of you who has been to a Sniffa I attended may have noticed that at pretty much every stop we made, I had to go find somewhere quiet to sit by myself for a little (or long) while. Not because I didn't like the people or wasn't having a great time (because I love the people, and live for Sniffas!), but because all that input is just plain overwhelming. And it's harder there, because there are so many people there who I genuinely like and care about, and I want to spend time with each of them, and I just start feeling stretched way too thin.

All these things I just talked about are the main reason that I love communicating with people online. Although "tone" doesn't interpret well in cyberspace, that's not a problem for me because tone and expression are extremely difficult for me to read "in real life" anyway. I learned in school to only take meaning from the actual *words* in something written. I might be inclined to interpret a certain tone from something someone writes, but unless the words themselves are there, I know not to assume. So many conflicts online and in emails are due to people inferring meanings that really weren't there. For me, it's so much easier to deal with the written word because I can check and double-check to be sure that my intended meaning is what my words are expressing. I don't have to worry that I might use the wrong tone of voice, or unintentionally display the wrong facial expression, and screw up the dialogue. There's far less input, and most of it is the kind I know how to handle.

I have to say that not working has been a major blessing for me in all these regards. I told Chris the other day that I found the cure for depression/anxiety/insomnia: screw what society dictates – only leave the house when you feel like it, and sleep when you're tired! It works! I'm only sort-of kidding here. I know how incredibly lucky I am to be able to set my hours and stay in as much as I need and want. And although I don't take it for granted, I won't apologize for it either. I'm the happiest and most me I've ever been, and I wouldn't trade it for all the money in the world!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Fragrant Observations

Just a couple things I noticed this past week...

1. Flowerbomb goes quite nicely with Mexican food! Though not as well as Bois de Paradis, I must say.

2. Donna Karan Wenge is an EXCELLENT substitute for MWI! The EDT, anyway!

3. OJ Tolu is a wonderful scent for picking up your sweetie from the airport at the end of the week :~D

4. Emotional overload can cause one (*this* one, anyway) to shy away from direct sensory stimuli that would normally be more than welcome, fragrance included.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Common Sense (Part 1 of ?)*

*Note/disclaimer: I may refer to people who have been abused, who suffer from eating disorders, and other related issues/circumstances in the third person throughout these posts, but that's mainly a device. I'm mostly talking about myself, other people I know, and the results of research I've done in the furtherance of my own understanding of what the hell is wrong with me. I am by no means attempting to make blanket statements that apply to all (or even a majority) of people who are or have been in any situation I have been. Also, sexist though it may be, I'll be using "she", "her", "the girl(s)" and other feminine pronouns/references for my writing, though anyone with any sort of understanding of EDs and abuse knows that males are also victims and sufferers. I'm simplifying things for my writing, that's all.

*** Warning – potential trigger(s) for abuse survivors and/or ED sufferers ***

After way too much deliberation, I've decided to try to undertake this "series" by addressing bulimia first, with what I hope is enough of the necessary "background" to set things up properly. Bulimia is just one of many repercussions my molestation has had on me, but I'd like to try to get it as much out of the way as I can before getting into other areas. Not that it can ever be dispensed with. Don't I wish! But it's the most "topic-esque" of the things I intend to discuss, so I may as well start with it.

From my own experience, as well as what I've learned through personal research, my understanding is that there are some basic emotional/mental/neurological similarities between the majority of people with anorexia and bulimia. They tend to be above average intelligence, they are people pleasers, and they're more sensitive than the general population. I don't necessarily mean sensitive in the "sweet and caring" way – more that physical, mental, and emotional stimuli affect them more strongly than other people (an excellent book on this concept is The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron).

The main result of the coincidence of these three traits is that these girls often "see" connections between events that others might not notice. They'll often feel responsible for things they shouldn't. And, because they're people pleasers, they'll keep these feelings to themselves so they don't burden others with them. They naturally accumulate guilt, and also try to be the buffer or go-between in rocky relationships. And if the people they're trying to help bring peace to can't get along, the girls feel it's due to some personal failing, rather than just the fact of two people not being able to get along. I'm definitely guilty of this – for as long as I can remember, I've tried to smooth things between my little sister and my dad. Their personalities are SO similar that they used to clash constantly. I actually felt physical pain when they would fight, and would often insert myself into their altercations to try to "fix" things.

I'm certain that there are TONS of people with these traits who go through life just fine. And I think that at the beginning of everything, anorexics and bulimics are very similar people personality-wise. In my opinion, the development of "normal" behaviors, anorexia, or bulimia is mainly dependent on intervening circumstances. Using myself as an example, if I hadn't been abused how and when I was, I might never have developed an ED. Or, if something different had happened, I might have become anorexic instead of bulimic. I think the potential for all three was there, and life events led me to where I am.

In order to address my personal experience with bulimia, I think I need to elaborate on my abuse. When I was in first grade, the woman who babysat me after school was married to a man who had both of his legs amputated (I believe he was a veteran). He was bedridden, and had an orthopedic bed in their living room that he stayed in, as far as I know, 100% of the time. The arrangement was that the school bus would drop me off at their house in the afternoon, and I'd watch tv and have a snack there till my parents came and got me in the evening. I know she regularly babysat a classmate of mine (evenings and weekends, NOT at the same time I was there) but I'm not sure if she watched other children. And to this day, I have no idea if she knew what her husband did.

I have to say that I blocked almost all memories of the abuse – I know he touched me inappropriately and repeatedly, but only from fragments of memories. I lied to myself until I was 18 and told myself that those memories were false, that I was making them up. I realize now that I was too innocent and ignorant to have made those things up because they were outside my sphere of reference, but I think I had to tell myself that to cope. I'm still not sure if I'm glad about my lack of memories. I know I've been spared having to relive the things I've experienced, but not knowing can be just as bad.

I do remember him telling me on several occasions that the other little girl was never as bratty as I was when she was there, and that she always behaved and sat still. Of course, NOW I know that what he was doing is referred to as "grooming" – putting me in a position of having to earn his approval, so that I would comply with his abuse. Being the people-pleaser that I am, I tried to behave as he told me to. I don't remember him ever telling me NOT to tell anyone what he did, or threatening me, or anything along those lines. I was so young and naïve that it never occurred to me (as best I can recall) that he was doing anything wrong. My parents gave me back rubs, and my mom would rub our arms in church to quiet us down – this was different, but not so much so that I remember questioning it. Halfway through first grade, something came up and his wife couldn't watch me any more, so my parents made other sitting arrangements.

As I've said, I blocked those memories, and the few snippets that came through I would deny to myself and push to the back of my mind. I remember reading about molestation when I was a little older (there were several campaigns in the 80's to raise awareness and teach kids to say "no"), and thinking it was stupid. Why would some kid let an adult or another kid touch them in a way that was "wrong"? It was pretty much the ultimate denial. I truly had no conscious knowledge of what had happened to me, and when I learned about the concept, it was insane to me that anything like that could ever happen to me. That it already had wasn't even a blip on my radar.

The point of all this is that for me there was no conscious or direct correlation between my abuse and bulimia. It's actually kind of sad and ironic, the circumstances surrounding my decision to start purging. I was 15 years old, and had a subscription to Seventeen magazine. There was an article in one of the issues that was one of those scare-tactics articles they always have, like "My Boyfriend Convinced Me to Hold His Marijuana and Now I'm in Prison Forever". I'm sure you know the type. Well, this one was by/about a girl who was bulimic, and was clearly intended to convince "other girls like her" not to do what she had done. She talked about how her family knew what she was doing, and how it hurt all of them, and how she lost too much weight and almost died, etc. I wasn't happy with my weight at the time, and I figured that if this dumb bitch could lose weight purging, then I could too; but *I* was smart enough not to get caught by my family, and not to let it take over my life (that's literally what I thought – I was 15 and full of myself!). So I started b/p-ing (bingeing and purging) purely for weight loss, and I was thrilled! I could eat what I wanted and still lose weight. I thought I had found the perfect solution.

A lot of books don't say this (probably don't want to encourage the behavior), but purging brings a HUGE physical relief, and an emotional relief as well. It's hard to describe, but as the pressure of all that food leaves your body, it's like an emotional weight is lifted at the same time. It's also been noted/discovered/whatever that purging causes the release of endorphins, which contributes to that feeling. There are some women (I'm not one of them, probably fortunately) who actually orgasm when they purge, the release is so immense. It's the emotional/endorphin release that becomes addictive and takes over.

Even after I lost the weight I wanted to, I continued to purge several times a day. After every meal and snack. And I began overeating JUST to purge. This was still in high school, and though I wouldn't admit it to myself, it definitely went from a weight-loss behavior to a mood-altering behavior. I can't pin down exactly when the shift took place, but it did. I didn't realize it till years later, but this is how/where bulimia and molestation are linked. I don't think anyone starts purging with the conscious connection to their abuse. Rather, once they start (for whatever "reason") it's value as a sort of coping mechanism takes over, and they get hooked on that. And this brings it all back to the abuse aspect. Although I didn't undertake this ED due to my abuse, I have definitely continued because of it. This brings me back to psychology, and is where my buddy Dr. Phil comes in. I'm paraphrasing him in most of what follows, because he verbalized it SO perfectly on one of his shows that I wrote it down. He was able to articulate something I had never been able to express myself, something so vital to my experience as someone who had to grow up after being molested that I cried with relief when I finally had the words to explain it.

The main issue that survivors of childhood sexual abuse deal with is that their emotional development stops at the age the abuse begins. From that point on, no one can ever touch them and they can never touch anyone without being suspicious of the motive. They learn to be paranoid about every physical interaction with other people, and it's a child's mind that decides that. Emotionally, they're/we're like children who never learned to walk and are still crawling - there are tools we didn't get, abilities we didn't learn, social skills and coping mechanisms being among the foremost. We pretty much never developed past the point we had reached when the abuse began. We're basically emotional children soothing our hurts the best way we know how, and dealing with nearly everyone from a place of mistrust and fear.

What I'm trying to explain here is that I'm short on coping skills, as are most (all?) people with EDs. I don't know how to deal with things. So when purging had the unexpected side effect of making me feel better emotionally, even for a little bit, of COURSE I latched onto it. That's why these behaviors are addictive. Yes, there's a large "control" aspect to EDs, but I'm fairly sure that applies a lot more to anorexia than bulimia. When I'm in the middle of a binge, I feel so out of control it's scary. But again, I think it's due to life events – nearly all bulimics were molested at some point in their lives. This is not the case with anorexics. My *personal* belief is that anorexia is the result of a girl trying to establish control over some aspect of her life, and bulimia is the result of a girl feeling so out of control of her entire life that all she feels she can do is soothe herself with food and purging.

Ok, I think that's enough for now. As I think/hope I made clear these are just my opinions, based on mostly anecdotal evidence, much of which is firsthand. I welcome any and all questions and comments. And - as I stated in my "Dr. Phil" post - my purpose here is just to get this stuff out there. There can be no "common sense" about issues we keep hushed up. Although it's not comfortable, the more we talk openly about these things, the more solutions we can find. I'm not looking for sympathy, just turning stones over so the creepy-crawlies have nowhere to hide.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A fresh start

Well, it's back to square one for me. As of today, the last two otos are dead. Thankfully, I only had to euthanize one other one myself, but the whole situation really really sucks.

So I'm going to drain the 12-gallon tank, scrub down the plants and cave with hot water and an algae scrubber, and start cycling it again. I'll medicate it like there are fish there, and let it run for a week or so before getting new otos. And (on the advice of my darling hubby) I think I'll get the next bunch from the awesome fish store in Wilmington, rather than from PetSmart again.

I'm not saying PetSmart is at all to blame here - of course not! All blame is always on me in my own house/mind, and this year *everything* is my fault (thanks Sand and Barbara for that honor!). The otos in Goldie and Alfie's tank have been doing well for quite some time now, and they're all from PetSmart. I just need a whole new beginning. Plus, I really like that store!

I do have to mention this oddity: up until now, whenever any of the otos died, their bodies either disappeared (probably eaten by the goldies/Bill) or sank to the bottom. I thought this was odd, since dead bodies are supposed to float, but chalked it up to some possible aspect of their physiology. BUT *these* two little guys are floating, and strangely - they are totally vertical! One is at the top of the tank with his nose just barely poking out of the water, and the other is at the bottom of the tank, standing on his tail fins. What the HELL? I'd post pics (because it is strangely fascinating), but that would be disrespectful and morbid. But it is just SO freaking weird. Sad, but weird.

Dr. Phil

I love this man and his show, though I feel the need to explain a bit. I did NOT start out feeling this way. For a good while, he really got on my freaking nerves. My dad encapsulated it best, upon hearing my admission that I like Dr. Phil - he said, "Why? It's just common sense."

Here's the thing though - Dr. Phil applies "common sense" to issues and situations for which there often IS no "common" sense. For example - some time last year, I watched an episode where he dealt with a family rife with incest. The oldest son was molested by an older female relative, and he in turn molested his younger siblings. And some of them molested and/or had inappropriate sexual relations with each other. Shocking? Yes. Horrifying? Absolutely. Common? We would *love* to think not. But the sad and terrible truth is that it's far more common than any of us want to admit. And there IS no "common sense" approach for this family to even BEGIN to heal themselves. But Dr. Phil was able to start the process, and said a lot of things that made sense.

That was the turning point for me, in my fan status. It's not just that he's a common sense kinda guy - it's that he takes this approach, applies it to what many of us view as "extreme" circumstances, AND brings the enormous resources to which he has access (alone, and in his relationship with Oprah) to bear on these situations. Sure, most of us would recommend counseling to a victim of abuse, but the level of therapy needed for the family I mentioned before? That takes a LOT of work, energy, and expertise.

The reason I guess I'm going into all this is that, as many of you know, I have issues of my own that are sadly prevalent in society, but for which "common sense" answers/explanations don't really exist. I was molested as a child, and one of the results was that I became bulimic as a teenager. Most people don't understand how either of things affects a person. And I'm not claiming to. But what I *can* do is tell my own story, and apply the information I've gathered (through research and experience) to my situation, so people might have at least a marginally better understanding of the issues that have so profoundly impacted my life. For a few of you, this will be familiar from emails I've exchanged with you and/or conversations we've had (IRL, over the phone, or IM). For others any and all of this may be totally new. I welcome questions and/or comments, here or via more personal routes.

I guess my goal is to be as open about this with everyone as I have been with a few. No one benefits from keeping these things quiet, except the abusers. And since the abused often become abusers, I can't even say for certain that *that* is true.

So things are likely to be depressing and triggering here for a while (and I *will* do my best to warn people of possible triggers), but I'm pretty sure it's something I need to do. You have been warned.

And I love you all. This is for your own good. LOL!

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Jeez Louise! I just went to itunes to satisfy my Arctic Monkeys curiosity (thanks Mireille!) and was greeted with yet ANOTHER sign of the end times:

I'm N Luv (Wit A Stripper) is #4!!! Seriously, WHAT is wrong with people??? I'm not claiming to have the *best* taste in music, but seriously. Enough is enough. Please, Lord, do NOT let this song reach #1 on ANY chart other than my "Seriously Stupid Songs" list...

And although only tangentially related to this post, I have to say this: Arctic Monkeys may be lyrically talented (I'm still digging through their lyrics so I can't speak to that), but musically they suck. Sorry if there are any fans out there, but I'm simply speaking my truth. The vocals are beyond substandard, their range is laughable (I think they may perform in a generous maximum of 3 keys), and the instrumentals are a sad sad joke on me, the listener.

I don't know if I feel relieved, because I really don't know WHAT I'd do if "the next Beatles" actually came along, or sad that they don't even APPROACH a caliber where I'd have to question my faith/values/taste. As much as I adore the Fab Four, I honestly pray that someone comes along someday to challenge (and maybe even surpass) their place in music history, but today is not the day, and Arctic Monkeys are not the group to do so. So to whoever it was that hailed them as such: buy some damn q-tips.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Lord works in mysterious ways...

but the Devil doesn't fuck around. Case in point:

These are so damn good, "sinful" doesn't begin to adequately describe them. If you can't find them in your grocery store (where I bought mine, much to my shame) you can buy them here:


I know I shouldn't tell you guys these things, but if I'm going to Hell, I at least want some of my buddies there with me!

Sunday, February 19, 2006


I don't know how to go from a truly depressing subject like my last post to something new. I feel like if I post something funny that happened to me or that I thought of, it somehow negates the seriousness of the prior entry. That's why I initially wanted to have 2 blogs - so I could keep things separate. But that felt dishonest somehow, so I decided to go with just this one. Thus, my current dilemma. I know life can't be compatmentalized, but dammit I WANT it to be.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Yesterday was a BAD day. I wandered over to the little tank to check on the current bunch of otos I'm quarantining before adding them to the 65-gallon tank, to find one little guy lying on his side at the bottom of the tank. He was still alive and moving, just in some apparent distress.

So I pulled out a large, tall tupperware and put some water in it (I always have water sitting out in old milk jugs to age, for the fish) and added some water treatment chemicals and medicine. I scooped him out using our lovely bong-like fish scoop (see it here: petsmart.com/product_detail) and dropped him into the tupperware, along with a pellet of food. He perked up and swam around the bottom a bit, latched onto the side a couple times, came to rest on the food pellet, and munched a bit. And I, being the eternally hopeful and foolish girl that I am, gave him a name (Charlie) and lavished him with love and conversation and all the good vibes I could muster.

Of course, not long thereafter, Charlie worsened. He wound up unable to remain upright (kept falling on his side), and grew progressively stiffer. I eventually had to face the fact that there was nothing I could do, other than help him end his life with as little suffering as possible. And he *was* suffering. He was trying to move, but unable - his fins and tail kept fluttering, and he would twitch, but his little body was stiff and unresponsive. I could NOT just sit there and wait for him to die, seeing him the way he was.

I had always heard that the most humane way to euthanize a fish is to put it in the freezer, so I put the lid on the tupperware and put him in. But I started thinking that this method isn't all that fast, and might in fact NOT be humane. So (as with all things I don't know) I got online and did some research. As it turned out, the "slow" freezer method isn't the kindest way to put a fish down. The fastest and kindest way to euthanize a fish is by temperature shock, either hot or cold. For a more detailed explanation (as well as several other methods and evaluations of how humane they are), check out this site: saltaquarium.about.com.

Not having any ice or ice water on hand (I don't drink water, and my teeth are sensitive so I don't use ice) I had to get a little creative. I pulled out a tupperware of frozen homemade chicken broth, put it in a bowl, ran cold water over it, and chopped it into chunks. This got the water temperature sufficiently cold enough (in my mind), and I dropped little Charlie in. As far as I can tell, he passed instantly, but he was already very stiff from whatever was ailing him, so I couldn't say for sure. I left him in there a few minutes, and then chopped off his poor little head, just to be certain. Overkill, I know (ha ha NOT funny but what other word is there?), but I had to know it was done beyond a shadow of a doubt.

So two horrible milestones for me in one day. Hell, in one HOUR. I made the decision to euthanize a pet for the first time in my life, and I deliberately killed the most highly evolved animal I ever have. Well, as far as I know - who's to say what constitutes "highly evolved"? That's another discussion though. I've never knowingly, let alone intentionally, taken the life of a vertebrate creature. I've been in the position several times where I *should* have, but I couldn't bring myself to do it, and the guilt has eaten at me since. Now I have a whole different sort of guilt to live with, but I think it's an easier sort, or will prove to be over time anyway. I went and bought a bottle of vodka yesterday to keep in the freezer - if the situation presents itself again, I'll be prepared.

I can't stop crying, and I don't know if it's more for Charlie or me.

Saturday, January 28, 2006


Questions and notions that have crossed my mind of late...

If we live in such a male-dominated society, why is it that men are yelled at for leaving the toilet seat up, instead of women being to blame for not returning it to the upright position?

I absolutely HATE when people pronounce teat as "teet". I know it's considered a correct pronunciation, but it didn't used to be. Then again, I went to school hearing, "Ain't ain't a word" and now it's in the freaking dictionary :~P It's "tit" people! You might not want to say it that way, but that's the historically correct pronunciation. Now quit being squeamish.

I continue to love Jason Priestley, and will watch pretty much any show (or tv movie) that he's in at least once.

I also love tv shows that are narrated by the main character. At least, they weigh in a little more positively than those that aren't.

Why is it that the *best* indicator that I've used my inhaler correctly is the fucking hand tremors? Couldn't I just briefly turn a shade of orange or something?

I don't know why, or where/how my mind/heart draws the distinction, but there are some people who I just like, and when (like right now) I'm in the middle of a massive perfume-packaging extravaganza, I tend to give them preference in terms of sending something that multiple people want. I'm not talking about people I've established a friendship with off the board, or even necessarily people I'm particularly chatty with on the board. And I'm not trying to establish a closer relationship. It's just that if I have to choose between 2 or more people when I'm sending a sample to a new home, these people tend to win out.

I recently discovered why the the Jitterbug was so popular - they were clapping ass back in the 30's! I feel woefully ignorant...

Why do I get so *personally* happy about things that have nothing to do with me? Like hearing the latest Depeche Mode single on tv shows. I have no personal stake in their success, yet my happiness hearing them played so widely goes beyond the fact that they're one of my favorite bands and I love hearing their music. It's not that their continued success means a higher likelihood that they'll keep making music together (though that DOES make me happy). I get happy FOR them, in some weird way, that they're still going strong. Like I'm their mom or something.

My current favorite quote: "Help control the local pet population. Teach your dog abstinence" - Stephen Colbert

Friday, January 27, 2006


I know it's just fiction, but I'm *glad* about the character on this week's episode of CSI: NY that was murdered after swallowing live bettas. Bastard.

And I'd also like to add at this point that any asshole frat pledge who dies during hazing after swallowing goldfish *also* has nothing but scorn from me. I know it (the dying) doesn't happen as often as tv dramas would like us to believe, but a girl can dream, right? Ditto to the matadors and picadors. And I wish someone would croak on Fear Factor after eating live insects.

Sorry, but eating something alive is just cruel, and killing for sport and entertainment is as well. I'm not stainless, considering that I love meat, but I draw my lines where I choose.

Monday, January 23, 2006

I am a child

I know any good shrink could explain why I'm in so many ways immature. Hell, *I* can explain it. The negative impacts of some of my life experiences are massive and far-reaching. One of those results is that I am not an adult, emotionally. But I see no real need to "grow up", "act my age", or in any way conform to any of the other myriad euphemisms out there for NOT being a kid. I'm able to experience things with a wonder I find sadly lacking on most "adult" perspectives, and my humor is equally childish. I can giggle till my belly hurts at the most inane things, like going frame-by-frame on poor Jennaphr Frederick (because while she's a decent-looking person, she makes some AWFUL faces when viewed that way). God, I love TiVo!

Which brings me to the purpose of this brief post. As I've said in the past, I *love* tv. I like all kinds of shows, especially medical dramas. Some medical dramas are excellent - from a technical/medical correctness AND character perspective, House is hands-down THE best. Others are so bad, they make me yell at the tv - I thank God that Medical Emergency was canceled! And then there are those that are mediocre/passable, but allow for a totally different sort of amusement. Like Crossing Jordan. For anyone with a quick eye and/or TiVo, this show is an excellent source of entertainment. Hell – it would be great fodder for a college drinking game! I would give the game a title that honors one of my all-time favorite movies – Monty Python and the Holy Grail – and call it "I'm Not Dead Yet!"

The game is simple – watch the show, and any time a corpse moves in some way, everyone drinks. Seriously – is there NO editing??? Are the extras THAT bad? How many takes would it require to get a shot where the dead body DOESN'T twitch in some way? Clearly the cost of editing/hiring decent extras/filming further takes is more than the producers are willing to spend, because the damn cadavers are ALWAYS moving. Breathing and eyelid twitching are the most common tics, but there are others to be found if one is observant. You can play this game with any of the CSI series too, but Crossing Jordan is the real gold mine. And now that it's in syndication on A&E, there are even more opportunities to participate!

See you on the playground!

Monday, January 09, 2006

I've been a bad, bad girl...

According to the dictionary, I am a profane individual, in that I am frequently irreverent in regard to what some (ok, many) people consider sacred. I am a Christian, though not in any traditional sense of the word. It would take *way* more space (and time and effort) than I have here, now, to explain my beliefs. I believe that other faiths have validity, and I don't mock the religious beliefs of others. However, I *do* laugh at the eternal human presumption to know what God is thinking and planning.

I personally believe that an all-knowing, all-present, all-powerful deity could only be amused at our attempts to know and understand the vastness that is Itself. And to *assume* that we could possibly know what this unknowable being's Will, Plan, motivation, and intentions are is ludicrous even to this lowly human. In this regard, I take Neil Gaiman's stance: "God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players, to being involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time."

This is all going somewhere, I promise.

When last I visited my brother's family in Illinois, he was in Biloxi for the month, helping clean up after that bitch hurricane who used my name. I was helping my SIL watch the amazing children I'm lucky enough to play Tía to. It was somewhat late in the evening, and we were flipping through channels when we stumbled across THE funniest show in human history. Made all the more funny, of course, by it's intended deep seriousness.

The show is called, "Kirk Cameron" and airs on TBN. What it IS, is Kirk Cameron and his associates basically wandering around with a decent videocamera, accosting people on the street and trying to "save" them. I'm talking in the mall, outside nightclubs, you name it!

Now, we *had* imbibed a few glasses of wine, so I think our fits of giggles at his earnestness can (and should) be forgiven. What I'm NOT so sure about is this - I have started tivo-ing the show (yes, it's a SERIES) purely for my own amusement. I watch it to laugh at the absurdity that's so terribly lacking in modern sitcoms. Some of the cultural ignorance displayed on this show is truly sad, and sometimes downright scary, but it's simultaneously so ridiculous that it's laughable.

So... am I going to Hell? Or, rather, if I *believed* in Hell (which I don't) do you think I'd be going there?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

And they say poetry is a dying art...

The universe has thrown a number of stripper-related references in my path over the past 24 hours. Cases in point:



So after that second thread, I'm in the car headed to the store when the following song comes on the radio. I'm pretty sure it's not intended as a joke.

I'm N Love (Wit A Stripper) - by T-Pain ("lyrics" found on http://azlyrics.com/)

Goddamn Lil Mama
U know u thick as hell u know what im sayin
Matter fact
After the club u know what im talkin bout
Me and my niggas gone be together u know what im sayin
I aint gon worry bout them really though
Im just lookin at u
Yea u know
U got them big ass hips god damn!

[Verse 1]
Got the body of a goddess
Got eyes butter pecan brown I see you girl
Droppin Low
She Comin Down from the ceiling
To tha floo
Yea She Know what she doin
Yea yea yea
She doin that right thang
Yea yea yea yea ea
I Need to get her over to my crib and do that night thang
Cause I'm N Luv wit a stripper

[Chorus x2]
She poppin she rollin she rollin
She climbin that pole and
Im N Luv with a stripper
She trippin she playin she playin
Im not goin nowhere girl im stayin
Im N Luv with a stripper

[Verse 2]
Out of all the girls she be the hottest
Like n the way she break it down I see u girl
Spinnin wide
And She lookin at me
Right in my eyes
Yea She got my attention
yea yea yea
Did I forget to mention
I Need to get her over to my crib and do that night thang
Cause Im N Luv Wit a Stripper

[Chorus x2]

[Verse 3]
She can pop it she can lock it
Teddy Pendegrass down I'm bout to see this sexy girl
In My bed
She don't know what she is doin
To my head
Yea She turnin tricks on me
Yea Yea Yea
She dont even know me
Yea yea yea ea
I'd have got her over to my crib to do that night thing
Cause I'm N Luv Wit a Stripper

I didn't think it was possible to top "My Humps" (By the Black Eyed Peas, may they burn in perpetuity), but I'm pretty sure this song is worse. It's hard to convey how truly terrible it is here, but it may help to mention that it was sung in that overwrought R&B style often favored by Usher and his ilk.

I'm going to buy myself a motorcycle and become one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Terrible Song Lyrics. Definitely trumps Grievous Bodily Harm.