Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote and Be Counted!

Today's the day. I have already visited the polls and I have never felt better about the vote I cast. Get out there. Be heard and be the change we need!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The value of a vote

I hope by now the gravity of this election and the vote you will cast in November is very clear to everyone out there. We are all paying for the hubris and unbridled greed of the last eight years. This includes the those who voted twice for false words and tricks as opposed to substance, and those of us who didn't, but also didn't get involved enough to change the outcome (especially after the first "W" term).

For the past few years I have been saying we need something akin to the French Revolution to get these 'let them eat cake' phonies out of power. It takes "we" the people to stand together to fight the type of injustice we've witnessed. I am so heartened to see the amazing number of people - who have very little to cash spare - donating to the Obama campaign out of the sheer desire for change. It is when you have little and you still give that you speak the loudest.

One comment for the "undecideds" out there. Good God, what are you waiting to hear? That a magical fairy president will make it all go away with no taxes and a wave of the flag? Think again. Yes, you have every right to make up your mind, but I can't think of an election in recent times where there has been so much out there to digest on both candidates. If you are truly that conflicted - and I can't believe I am saying this - don't vote. It is so important that we have informed and committed voters rather than those that just show up and check a random box. Too much is at risk.

Resources for Voters:

By the way, if you want to read a powerful article on the real life and times of John McCain see Rollingstone's October 16th post by Tim Dickinson, "Make Believe Maverick" at:

Oh yes, don't forget that this election is also in the hands of the electronic voting machines, ballot counters and the ability of folks to get to the polls, get in and have their vote count. There is already a despicable effort to make this more difficult for voters in lower income neighborhoods. A great resource you can download to learn what to do about voter fraud before you hit a snag on election day is the comic book style sine called "Steal Back Your Vote" by Greg Palast and Bobby Kennedy Jr. Get you copy at:

On the radio the other day I heard and elderly man who called in to say he voted early for Obama to avoid the long lines. He also said in a very choked up voice that after he cast his vote he got in his car and cried because he was so overcome and saddened by this campaign season and by what has happened to his America. I couldn't put it better myself.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Barack and Bruuuuuce!

Here's my all time favorite musician on YouTube speaking in Philadelphia about support for my favorite presidential candidate. Have a look and a listen:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Debate #2: The professor and the intern

Well folks I have to say the debate was much more than I hoped. No, I don't mean that Sarah Palin was marvelous. She wasn't. I am talking about Joe Biden being the example of what a competent debater and good leader should be. He had the facts, he answered the questions (without winking) and he addressed the falsehoods. I was very comforted. Sarah just made me want to slap a sash on her and vote her in as Miss Congeniality. No substance and all show.

Her calculated ploy at the beginning of the debate was shameless - to ask if she could call the Senator 'Joe' was such an obvious plan of the GOP to keep the word Senator out of the debate so she would "seem" to be on a more equal footing. It might have worked had she not sounded like a parrot that was hoping to get a V.P. Cracker if she repeater what her owners told her to.
"Squawk - environment!"
"Squawk - maverick!"
"Squawk - Palin want a cracker!"

The other annoying aspect was the folksy - down home approach of Gov. Palin. I come from a once factory filled, working class town in Wisconsin. We know what real folks are. We also know when folks are trying to manipulate us and divert our attention to non-essential things. Her responses were so sweet the other night that my poor cousin had to up his insulin shots just to make it through the 90 minutes. Too bad that under the McCain plan he won't be able to afford extra insulin.

Okay - no more jabs - here's the facts folks. You can find Governor Palin and likable as you want. Heck, I'd have a cup of coffee with her. But I don't want an intern doing a manager's job. Our country is facing some of the toughest times I've seen in my 50 years and I was around for the Vietnam debacle. Please don't vote for nice - vote for capable. Vote for informed and vote for a team that isn't connected to what has been a failure for the last 8 years.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Obama vs. McSame

I can't say that it was the most inspiring debate I've ever heard, but the debate really couldn't be inspiring. We need more than a cheerleader to run this country (or a demented cowboy like we have had for the last 8 years). We're in it too deep for the usual campaign rhetoric and touching stories - I wish someone had told Senator McCain.

I tried hard to listen to McCain's plan for our country but I could barely find one. Instead I found a nice old guy who seemed peeved and wouldn't even look Senator Obama in the eye. He spoke of how we need to do "something" and I never got much of a sense of what that something is. Instead I heard a lot of "he's wrong" and "he doesn't know" directed at Barack Obama. It is the usual school kid trick of trying to sound tough without anything to back it up. I think he learned that from his mentor George Bush the king of huff and puff.

I was also not impressed by the Christmas card list of people Senator McCain knows being brought up throughout the debate. Satyric example: "Back in aught 5 Henry Kissinger and I shared a salami sandwich near the reflecting pool while we discussed how much we love our country and how bad those foreigners are." So tell me, how is this going to solve the our policy issues and end the endless war? Where was the substance? How can you love something and not protect it? We're hurting out here. Hello!

I appreciate Senator Obama looking the America people in the eye and giving us details. I want a leader who will lay it out there for discussion and not pretend to have answers. Sure it is easier to criticize a plan that is out in the open than no plan at all - which is the safe road McCain plays. If he doesn't tell them what he wants to do, they can say it is wrong.

We need to elect a leader in the White House who is willing to put the guns and the threats down for a while and attempt diplomatic discussions. I seem to remember that working pretty well for leaders in the past (current incumbent not included).

Senator McCain is a nice man - so go have a beer with him but for heaven sake, don't' vote for nice, vote for capable and prepared.

P.S. On that note, I cannot wait to hear Senator Biden and Governor Barbie in the next debate.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hiding under the "Bush"

Like most American's out there I have to leave for work soon. Except maybe for the poor folks at Lehman's who lost their jobs.
I am going to continue this blog later when I have more time. Right now I have a though for the day...

Where the hell is George Bush in all this mess?

The only people I see answering questions about the economy are Barack Obama and McCain. Where is the man who has let this country go down the toilet for the last 8 years while he played cowboy in the wrong country fighting an oil-driven war. Boy, that strategy has done the American people well, hasn't it? As we see our tax dollars go to bailing out AIG and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, any retirement we may have had be in jeopardy and nothing being saved for our seniors and our children. Nice job keeping and eye on the American economy Georgie.

I find it laughable and scary that anyone would even think of voting in another republican candidate with the chaos they have left in their wake from 8 years of their leadership. People don't change over night. Political parties don't change over night. John McCain will not change over night. And don't get me started on Sarah Palin. We need new leadership. Please don't throw away your vote this year by hoping the republicans got it. A boss would not let an employee mess up for 8 years and keep him or her on the job. Teachers will not let a student fail for 8 years before stepping in. Let's be responsible voters and think about what really matters in the future.

Look at the headlines and see if what has been in office is working for you.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Que Sarah, Sarah?

In what must be a never ending quest to clear the air and keep bullshit and half-truths from ruining what has otherwise been a very exciting election campaign, I have some thoughts to add tonight.

#1. What is this trash I have been hearing that Biden and the media should take it easy on Sarah Palin because she is a woman and they will seem like they are picking on her. I bring your attention back to the way the Grand Old Party and the media chewed on Hillary Clinton - who, by the way, showed she could take it and give intelligent, informed answers when on the defense. (Can I hear a Bush Doctrine Ms. Palin?) If you are are going to play in the big sand box you have to get in there with the big kids.

#2. On a similar vein - I don't want anyone who might take a high office and help run this country to be to be treated with kid gloves. We need to challenge the candidates and know what they stand for. I am sure other countries that are no so friendly to the United States will not care much whether our President and Vice President are old and female. I don't want to find out if they can take the heat at a time when the heat might be a threat to our nation.

P.S. By the way, how are those gas prices looking in your neck of the woods? I know I can barely afford to get the helicopter off the ground to go moose hunting anymore.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The GOP is 'Palin' in comparison

Thank goodness the RNC has left Saint Paul and, I kid you not, there has been a chill in the air here ever since they came. It's like the Dementors were in town.

I have been watching the hype over the Republican running mate choice and I think I need to clear a few things up.

1.) Let's not say what a "Maverick" and bold GOP idea it was to have a woman for a running mate in a presidential election. I believe DEMs Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro covered that ground at least 24 years ago.

2.) Let's not say Palin will capture the women's vote. We are voting on issues not hormones. As a woman voter I am insulted that anyone would think I would vote for someone just because of their gender. It is patronizing.

3.) Let's not try to usurp the name Party of Change without giving any examples of change. The RNC was big on insults and small on issues. I can tell where Barack Obama wants lead the country by the specfics in his speech but not McCain. He spoke a lot about what needed to happen but not his method of making it happen.

Let's here more about details and less about pony tails.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


I have had it. I have kept my tongue as long as an SB possibly can and enough is enough. What is going on with some people out there?

If we have the slightest chance of losing an election (an honestly - how could we if our eyes are open) to "one issue politics" again I am going postal. I am sad to see my Catholic paper plastering pictures of Sarah Palin all over it as if she is Mother Theresa. Holy cow! And I mean that. I am sure she is a fine woman in her own right but don't look at her as the sacred icon of anti-abortion. Abortion, although something I do not personally favor, is not the main issue plaguing our country.

So her 17 year old daughter is going to keep her baby. Great. Mom and dad make a good buck. She has health care and a stable home. Lots of support. Not a hard choice to make.

And while republican supporters say "Oh it makes Sarah Palin so human. It's just family matters and we should leave them alone." Human... uhuh. Why are republicans human when they err and democrats are called family values hating, flag burning, god-forsaken communists when they err. Can you imagine the grand old party field day if that has been Chelsea Clinton or Senator Obabma's daughter? I guess it only matters when it isn't a GOP family.

When did we become this country of people thinking you are only American IF you believe in my personal religion and all of the beliefs that go with it? I have a feeling that those folks who left England and decided to break away from their motherland did not do it because they wanted things to be exactly the same as the Queen felt they should be. (no offense Mum).

I also think that the Native Americans who inhabited this land long before the white settlers came had their own beliefs and own religions, which, according to our U.S. Constitution, they should be allowed to keep. Even our pledge says One Nation Under God but doesn't say Under the God of the right-wing Christians. Why then do people think everyone must believe only what they believe and not vote for what is best for all. ME the people not we the people. Geez!

This is only blog one on this topic. This country is in a mess. And YES - I LOVE MY COUNTRY. I AM PRIVILEGED TO BE HERE. MY FAMILY FOUGHT FOR IT AND IMMIGRATED HERE AND IT IS THE BEST PLACE TO BE. Got it? But it is not doing well right now. People are hungrier than ever. Having a home is an impossible dream for most of us. Health care is astronomical or unattainable. Seniors are struggling to survive. Children are going to be left with a humongous debt and a filthy environment. Now if none of those things bother you or effect you, by all means, vote to keep the status quo. You are fortunate to live in that bubble of yours. But if you are like the MAJORITY of us wondering how - with our full time jobs - we are going to pay for gas and school and food - then speak up! I want to hear from you. I believe we can do better.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Jesus loves the little children - Mom however...

Before I resume I have to thank my good friend and college roommate, Patti for the great gift she got me for my recent landmark birthday. I appreciate the replacement of my 'fake shit' since its untimely loss at my sons' elementary school. See My Son Was Framed blog for details.

Now to the topic of the evening - church. Now WAIT. Don't you dare leave early from this blog or sit way in the back of the computer. No matter what your religion.

I realize if you are not Catholic this won't have exactly the same meaning - but be it synagogue, temple or shrine, all places of worship are challenging to the small child in us. Especially when we were small children. When it came to sitting for long periods of time and listening to mass said entirely in Latin (as it was for a while when I was small) you could say I was like a kid with A.D.D. on amphetamines. In other words, I wasn't exactly focused.

I tried, Lord knows I tried, but when I began attending church we couldn't eat anything before hand. The low blood sugar mixed with the youthful adrenalin did nothing for my devout demeanor. On at least one occasion I recall two nuns setting me down after carrying out my limp, unconscious body from the pew into the fresh air to revive me. I guess today that would be called "March of the Penguins." No harm intended Sister Helene.

When I wasn't attending mass at school, I was there on Sunday with my folks and my brother. I am sure whatever Father was saying was very interesting, but to me, not as interesting as the open purse of the lady in the pew in front of me. This time it was my mother dragging my very conscious body outside to give me a spanking with her hair brush. Not very Christian of her now that I think of it.

I am bringing up church because tomorrow is Sunday and I will need to go through the whole long process of forcing my boys out of bed and getting them to the church on time. Not an easy morning at my home. Over the years I have found my solace and renewal at mass and the ritual is important to my family. Although I don't do the hair brush thing, I have had my share of reigning in my youngest as his attention spans turns to something under the pew or how loud he can make the kneeler sound when it hits the ground.

The mass may no longer be in Latin, but small kids understand it just the same.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The NRA - National Rummage Addicts

One outing that I enjoyed recently was five hours of garage sale stalking with my friends Lisa, Mike and Kevin. We circled the location of our prey in the paper. We entered our destinations in the GPS. We salivated at the thought of what might be in someones musty old garage or strewn about their back yard and we started the engine, sporting a a full tank of gas. The hunt was on!

Whether it was a garage sale, yard sale, rummage sale or estate sale - we were up for the challenge. First up to bag their game was Lisa who found a lovely, blue, floor-length satin dress that would only fit a SIZE 4 like her. She even slipped it on OVER her clothes! The only thing I would dare try on in public is a purse.
I was up next, cornering a sturdy, wood television table in a light wood that matched my living room. I had been seeking just such a table for months to replace the leaning tower that was currently holding up our TV set. I even managed to get the price reduced. SCORE!

Mike was slow out of the gate but rallied quickly by corralling a fine set of saw horses. He then regretted letting the vice slip by him that he spotted earlier in the day. It would have gone well with the horses.

Kevin, the youngest of our team did the best. Hiding in the "Free Boxes" he nabbed a Timberwolves jersey and a set of walkie-talkies.

All in all our safari into the neighborhoods and their mysterious alley-ways was fun and exhausting. We are putting together another expedition in the near future. Let me know of any special treasures you've found on your travel through the junkyard jungle.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

In tribute to the passing of a good man

A week ago I found myself crying for a man I never met...but feel I know very well. Professor Randy Pausch succumb to pancreatic cancer and died on July 25th. It was a sad loss, but he left us a real gift. If you have not taken the time to watch "The Last Lecture" I urge you to do so now. I have left a link to this amazing man's graceful and very human talk about life. DO YOURSELF A FAVOR and learn from Randy's wisdom. He has changed many people with his words. My prayers are with his family.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

How the other half LIVES

July is my birth month. I have always liked being a summer baby. This July I will be a summer baby for the 50th time...


I have never really dreaded a birthday because I strongly feel growing older is much better than the alternative.
I have always been okay with whatever age came before this one. However, my upcoming birthday, I admit, bugs me a little. I think it is that half-CENTURY mark that is tripping me up. I still feel like I just got out of high school, and as long as I don't pass a mirror or go to a reunion my mind can almost pull it off.
Lately, I've spent a great deal of time taking a look at life and everyone in the ages above and below me. A few years back my college dance teacher, a famous and fabulous person was retiring and a big hoopla get-together was planned at my Alma mater. My college roommate, Patti and I were planning to rendezvous there and relive some good times. Before she left home her husband teasingly asked her if she was planning to have a fling with any of the guys at the reunion. She aptly replied, "If I didn't want them when they were young, handsome and virile, what makes you think I want them now that their old, fat and bald.
Makes you think, doesn't it?
The point I am getting to is one that has been repeated ever since people started hitting landmark birthdays - you are as young as you feel. Or as your spirit feels.
I was blessed to have my paternal grandmother in my life well into her eighties. She had many wrinkles on her round little face, and everyone of them old me a story of how she lived her life; came to America; married, raised her 5 children; watched the men in her family go off to 3 different wars; welcomed her daughters-in-law; adored her many grandchildren; buried her husband and her daughter before her and then went off to heaven to meet up with those she missed. Her face was absolutely beautiful. Her hands, though lined and spotted were softer than anything I have ever touched. And, best of all - her laugh was that of a giggly little girl. And she laughed a lot.
So, please do me a favor. As a birthday present to me, be good to yourself, whatever birthday you are at. Put down the Botox; cancel the plastic surgeon and please have a piece of birthday cake. Let people know that you are alive and show the wonderful years of joy and sadness that created who you are.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Strife in the "Fast Lane"

It was only a few items for a picnic. The rest of the check out lanes were backed up like I94 out of Chicago on rush hour. I spotted the FAST lanes. An innocent looking row of self-check out lanes where you do all the scanning and bagging yourself. Brilliant. I'd be out in no time. I even had my trusty 12 year old son there to assist me.

Alex and I began scanning items and it was only then that I realized I was checking out on HAL, the computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

My first item went through benignly. Then I made the mistake of trying to enter the PLU on the produce. You know, the little sticker that is supposed to be keyed to the price. Well, as soon as I entered it the whole machine lit up like a jackpot at a casino and a gnarly looking attendant came to fix it. He punched in a bunch of codes, gave us a nasty look and left without a word. We tried the peaches next. BIG mistake. Same response, same ugly attendant. I wondered why he didn't just stay there and check out my last few items - but that would mean it wasn't... the FAST lane.

We tried scanning and bagging faster to make the machine happy but it kept droning on at us in that non-human voice saying that there was "a foreign object in the bagging area". What foreign object? Was it peas? This was a grocery store for Pete's Sake how could peas be foreign. I began to look around for the zebra that passed in front of the scanner, or possibly a UFO - something I could accept as foreign.

Then the diabolical machine began a new type of torture. With each item I tried to scan it asked me to punch in "skip bagging" before I could move on. I'll bet you can guess what I really wanted to punch.

In a mere half an hour (!) we got through the last item and paid. As we turned with our one measley bag to walk away, a sadistic, mechanical voice behind us said,

"Thank you for using the Fast lane".

Monday, June 16, 2008

Spit please!

The boys and I finally made it to the dentist today. It's been long overdue. Our six-month appointments were scheduled for last December but, in our family, neurosurgery trumps gum scraping. (See Feb. '08 blog for explanation).

I am no rookie when it come to dentists. I spent some grueling Junior High and High School years with the dreaded orthodontic braces. Forget that I had to have eight teeth pulled so the rest would fit into my petite little mouth. (I can hear you laughing out there - stop it!). You have never felt mouth pain until you have had metal braces pounded up into your gums and then removed so the Ortho could look at them and then pounded up there again. It was a scene straight out of Marathon Man. That lovely part of the whole proceedure comes only after choking on the over-filled mouth tray of impression cement and just before wincing from the ever tightening rubber bands of horror forcing your canines into places they do not want to go. Ah yes, good times, good times...

Today wasn't quite so brutal. I was comforted by my 8-year old son while I lay there, upside down. He held my hand as the hygienist worked, saying comforting things like:

"Does that hurt? What is that silver thing? You're bleeding. I don't' like blood. That looks really painful."

I didn't even get anything out of the prize basket when I was done.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Dye-ing to hit the jackpot

Who invented hair coloring? I don't know, but I can tell you this, whoever it was had to be a gambling person. I know every time I go to the store and pick out that little box I roll the dice as to what's going to happen next.

I've tried them all - Clairol, Loreal, Garnier

I've tried every mixture possible - highlights, lowlights, shine, touch up

I've tried every application possible.- foam, oil , nice and easy, long and arduous.
And no matter what I try, I never get the results they show on the box.
Take tonight for example. My hair seemed to be losing it's girlish lustre so I sprang for the high price box promising a lot of shine. My hair has nice auburn highlights so I went with this box with an image of a woman with auburn highlights. It promised to give your hair several color tones...and they were right. I got several tones and all of them are red. Lucille Ball and Mrs. Weasley move over, SB just died her hair again! In fact, this is the second Harry Potter character I've emulated during one of my dying adventures. A couple years ago I thought I'd pick a little darker shade that was close to the hair color of my youth. I came out looking like a middle-aged Severus Snape.

I suspect I should be grateful. A dear SB friend of mine who I talk about in my 4-part wired but not fired blog once tried to dye her eyebrows the same color as her newly dyed hair (and yes, the box does tell you never to do this). She may have pulled it off if it weren't for the phone call she got during the process - which made her miss the timer she set telling her when to wash it off. The immense burning sensation above her eyes finally alerted her. The next day she came to work with no eyebrows. Well, that's not entirely true. They were drawn in but the pencil she used certainly did not match her hair color.

I never was much of a gambler. Maybe it would be cheaper to buy a bunch of hats.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

My son was framed

In the world of stories honoring great mom's that are coming out just in time for Mother's Day ---this ain't one of them.

It goes like this: We had a big family event last weekend so I did the deep clean on the apartment and found many objects I hadn't seen for a while. One such object was my steaming pile of fake dog poo. This fake poo (in college days named the 'fake shit') gave us countless hours of fun at my dorm as my roommate and I found unique hiding places for other dorm-mates to discover it.
Being the great mom I am, I share this story with my soon-to-be 12 year old son. He says, "Let's you and I hide the poo on each other for laughs." I say, "Sure son, why not." So the poo starts its second life as an object of amusement.
I find it in my panties drawer.
He pours it out into his cereal bowl.
I discover it under my pillow...you get the picture.
So one morning he says to me, "Have you hid the fake poo yet mom?" I tell him I've been a little busy lately and when I see the disappointed look on his face I promise to hide it soon. Being the great mom I am, I carefully avoid putting it in his school backpack in case he doesn't see it and it makes its way into the elementary school.
Aha, his cargo pants! What a fun hiding place. I secretly put it in his front pocket. It's a sizable pile of poo. He's bound to feel it there when he gets dressed.
Pleased that the deed is done, I go to bed.
Fast forward to the end of the next work day. I drive to my child care to pick up the boys and on our ride home Alex forlornly says he has something bad to tell me. I, being the great mom I am, put on my serious face and say in a motherly tone, "What happened?"
He responds, "I'm really sorry mom but the Vice Principal took your fake poo. I found it when I was in the cafeteria and, well, kind of chucked it at somebody." (At this point I am very quiet in the front seat of the car). "I told her it was a joke you and I play on each other. She didn't laugh but the school secretary thought it was funny. I ended up having to sweep the lunchroom but, I didn't mind, it was worth it."
Yes, being the immature mom I am, I got my own son in trouble in school. I told Al it wasn't his fault and then found the VP by the buses the next day and took the rap for it. I never did get my beloved college days fake poo back.
What have my son and I learned from this you ask? Well, we learned three things:
1. Never assume your child will find the fake poo before getting to school.
2. Never take the fake poo out of your pocket if you find it there in school.
3. From now on, hide the fake plastic ant - it's much harder for the Vice Principal to see.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Who do you read?

SB's are usually very well read. As you can probably tell by the sidebar on this blog I love to read. I love words. I love books. I love authors and if I ever get my fanny in gear, I still want to be a writer. I have some poetry that's been published. I helped write a song or two for an original musical in college. I have written many a comedy skit, two blogs, newsletter articles and some pretty fiery letters to the editor. Okay, Jane Austen I am not, but I would still like to be her.

I was the kid with the flashlight under the bed covers and the big, dark circles under my eyes in school the next day. By the time I was in Junior High I had read "Gone With the Wind" four times and I haven't really changed all that much. Just the other day I was the adult at work with the big, dark circles under my eyes after having stayed up most the night to finish "The Kite Runner."

I can thank my mother for my love of books. She belonged to those book clubs you still see in magazines. There was always tons of tomes around the house and dad had to build her a huge bookcase in our little dining room just to hold them. Mom had to keep a pretty close watch on me with her collection. In my grade school days, she was especially relieved to catch me just before reading "Valley of the Dolls" which I though was about a magical place with lots of Barbies.

During dull classes in school I would hide a good book on my lap. I remember the whole class passing around a tattered paperback of "The Godfather" and whispering to read the page with Sonny and the bridesmaid. I cried in Social Studies as I secretly read the painful accounts of the plight of Native tribes in "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee." (Mr. C. never could understand why his lecture on the Senate was so moving).

In college I tried my hand at every style of writing I could - from Twain, to Poe to Dr. Seuss. Not long ago I was very pleased to find out that a college alum of mine who teaches at a prestigious college in Illinois uses a Chekhov spoof my old roommate and I wrote to teach his student's about parodies. At least my co-authored work is being taught somewhere.

I have been told by many that to be a writer, just keep writing. This blog is one of my methods of doing just that. I appreciate everyone who stops for a while and reads what I have to say. I better get going now; a friend just gave me a new book and I can't wait to get started.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

SB lesson #3

Wow it has been a long time since I wrote! I apologize but life is going about 200 miles per hour and lately I only seem capable of pulling a mere 150. I think it is high time for another SB lesson. (Check previous blogs for lessons 1 and 2 and other insights into being a real SB. Who knows, you may just be one).

I want to pause for a quick shout out to Cheryl, who I lost track of after college but recently contacted me again and read my blog only to find out she is an SB too. Welcome to the ranks.

In my original post called "I really should be in bed" I gave a quick-reference list on SB traits. I think it is time to look at one outstanding characteristics of SB-ism in depth.

I am talking about SB's as Fierce Friends. I can only illustrate the fierce friend phenomenon by giving you an example of a SB near and dear to me. I know she appreciates her privacy so I'll just call her SB #1.

I met SB #1 in 1988 and her loyalty and support have kept me going in the worst of times. The following is only one of the million things she has done during her protective watch over the boys and I.

SB #1 witnessed the entire rise and fall of my marriage and saw what I could not see long before I did. Love and blind faith in the wrong person can really make you lose your way, but love and true faith of a friend can help you find it again.

Our home, which I had worked like a slave to buy including cleaning up my then spouses horrible credit, was going into foreclosure after we separated. My husband had been out of work for over a year before we split and this was a pattern with him.

It was my dream to own a home and give our kids a yard to grow up in, play in and a neighborhood school we could walk to. We had lived for 12 years in a 1 bedroom apartment and 6 of those with children. I longed for space and freedom. The home we found wasn't big or fancy but it was ours. I could plant a garden, we could paint big flowers on the fence and watch robins nest outside the upstairs window... and after only 3 years it was all going away. My soon-to-be Ex just washed his hands of it (which was not wise as his was the name on the mortgage). I found 3 jobs and an apartment nearby so the kids could stay at their school but I couldn't find a way to save our home.

SB #1 stayed with me through the whole painful loss. She would show up every week with boxes, dinner and sometimes a beer or two and help me clean out the the entire home, garage and basement while the kids were with friends. It was heart wrenching and I had to give up, donate, sell and give away about 80% of our belongings. SB #1 hauled, cleaned and stayed by my side through it all.

To this day I have to drive by the house every day on my way to work and I still feel the loss in the pit of my stomach. My only comfort is that another family with children seems to be living there. I hope they love it as much as I did.

I don't wish our experience on anyone, but if something like it should happen to you, I do wish you a fierce SB friend to help you in that dark time. She let me cry and complain while saving me some dignity when it felt like there was nothing but shame. She is so much more than a friend and I am honored to have her in my life.

Monday, March 24, 2008

And on the first day God created NICK

Nick, what can I say about Nick. I chose his name from a fun piece of dialogue in a John Cusak movie called "The Sure Thing." Never pick your kids' names from a comedy. A drama maybe or a documentary if you're really playing it safe, but never a comedy. Nick was a sure thing alright. He came right on his due date - April 1st. It's been April Fool's Day for me ever since.

A brief run down on Nick and his personal educational quest:

Age 2 - learns that if you soak a sock in the cat's water bowl and suck on it you can get your own drink

Age 3 - Learns that an oscillating fan + baby powder makes a great indoor ski hill for your Power Rangers

Age 4 - December - finds switch on furnace in basement and learns that flipping it will make house very cool - again creating a nice ski hill effect for whole family

Age 5 - Decides to heat things up by spinning the fun dial in refrigerator just before Thanksgiving - turkey thaws early that year

Age 6 - Goes back to fascination with winter and creates neat and very fragrant indoor snow storm by emptying a whole shaker of Parmesan cheese around the kitchen (I am assuming this fixation with winter comes from living in Minnesota)

Now we come to age 7. This morning Nick discovers a new way to delight and entertain me.
It is a school day and I get him up for breakfast. He sits down to a bowl of cocoa puffs when I notice he isn't eating and his face is all flushed. I look at him more closely and see a red rash across both cheeks and some sort of red goo coming out of his right ear.
"Nick what happened? Are you okay?"
"I don't know." (This is never a good response coming from Nick).
"Do yo have a fever?"
"I don't know."
I reach for his forehead to check his temperature in the traditional "mom way" when my hand gets stuck to his hair. "What is this!?"
"Nothing?" I try to remove my hand but it takes some effort.
"Alex made me eat Airheads in bed!"
Two quick explanations here. Alex is his bigger brother who is still sleeping like a log so he makes a great scapegoat. Airheads are little slabs of sugary taffy in super bright colors.
My eyes quickly scan over to the remains of yesterday's Easter baskets. Feeling like a real air head myself, I remember that I didn't put the candy away before going to bed last night. I jog into the boy's room to find Nick's pillow hermetically sealed to his sheets and mattress by melted globs of red Airheads the exact same color as the feverish rash-like thing currently on Nick's face.
After scraping the goo from his face and hair I get both boys off to school. Once I'm at work I look at the calendar, take some Excedrin and lay my head on my desk. It is a little over a week until Nick's 8th birthday.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"It ain't no sin to be glad you're alive"

I can feel it, can't you? All the symptoms are there. The lack of sleep. The sweaty palms. The days looking brighter than usual. A faster pace to the world around me. Yes, it is definitely here.
Time to go to a Bruce Springsteen concert.
This will be my 8th tour with the Boss. Now I know there will be tons of folks out there who have never missed a show and who saved the wrapper from the gum they chewed at the Born in the USA tour along with the Kleenex they blew into during a song on Bruce's solo tour. I'm sorry, I am not one of those fans. I understand the adoration - believe me I do. But I am a fan of the heart of Bruce's music. I don't need the inside tube from the toilet paper roll in the bathroom at the stadium in Dallas to remind me what his songs mean to me.

Every time I go to see Bruce I make it a mission to take someone who has never been. It is our own personal pilgrimage to Rock Mecca and I am the guide. When I feel the life slipping out of me and I need to be reminded to breathe, I go to see Springsteen and a bring a fellow invalid to be renewed and reborn. It never fails.

Okay, okay, I have to admit that I did take a side trip to the Jersey shore on one of my acting tours. I also got a very straight-laced southern girl to pose with me in Miami Steve headgear next to a sign for Sun City. But all I took away was some photos and some great memories. I left the crumpled pop can outside the Stone Pony right where I found it.

Badlands has remained my favorite Bruce song. It's a survivor's song. After all I have been through in my life as an SB I can relate. If you are a follower, please email your favorite song and why. Hope to see you at the concert.

Star Ledger Photo

Sunday, March 2, 2008

We'll just keep on running

Today is the posting for the 8th Mystery Topic Challenge (I missed number 7 due to my son's illness but I'm back at the keyboard and raring to go). The topic is:

"Last Thursday I received a call from the fraud department at Visa. It seems someone created a duplicate of my debit/ATM/credit card and used it at truck stops in Alberta, Canada and again several days later at an amusement park in Baltimore, Maryland. I suspect I'll never know how they got the number, what they bought with my money or why they needed those things. Write a story with the above elements and shed some light on the mystery for me."

February 2, 2008: It was too easy. I could just look at the registration cards - pick one at random and get the name and number. A card would be no problem to duplicate. If the name was a woman's, she could assume the identity; a man's , I'd do the dirty work. It had to be done if we were ever going to be together. Let's see, ...damn, the name is Gwen. That means she's going to have to do it. It's okay, she's a strong woman and she's been in worse relationships than this.

Our spouses need never know. It's well known we both travel a lot. No one would suspect. I just couldn't wait to see her. But where? No where close to home. Too risky. I know! CANADA! No one will recognize us in Canada. No one recognizes anyone in Canada.

February 9, 2008: It took a week but we finally consummated our love. Sure, it was in a truck stop bathroom in Alberta but whose complaining when you have all that power in one room. Except for the few minutes she got that luscious blond hair caught in the hand dryer, it was pure magic. She said she used the card to get the condoms. No one would track us here. It made it all a little kinky. Knowing her history, I'll bet she' used to that. Well, we decided to meet in 9 days when our crazy schedules miraculously both had a break.

February 18, 2008: This truck stop bathroom gave new meaning to the tourist books claim that Alberta is Canada's leading producer of natural gas. Decided to have a quickie and get a bite to eat afterward. "Gwen" and I laughed nervously as we shared a tuna on white bread (her choice, not mine). How long could we keep this up? Thank goodness the truckers were all half asleep from their hauls. We felt just like them. Tired of the travel and the cheap sex but unable to give it up.

February 22, 2008: No time to get all the way back to Canada. I got an email from "Gwen" saying she bought something for me and could I meet her as I swung through Baltimore today. Always the thrill seeker she picked an amusement park as our rendez-vous site. Her instructions were, "the Midway - just before midnight. I'll be wearing a blue dress with nothing underneath."

When I found her she whispered in my ear her pet name for me "dark stallion." That always turns me on. "I bought something for you," she teased. I thought it would be dark glasses to disguise myself but when I looked in the bag she handed me it contained thong with little pineapples designs all over it. "I thought you might be homesick," she teased." She knows me so well.

I wanted to get her something to remember our special night. I knew things were just going to get more hectic in the months to come and I didn't want her to think I was so important and she didn't matter anymore. I saw the water race with the little squirt guns that made your car rise faster than the rest. That was the game for us. I'd make sure she won something tonight. We both decided to compete against each other and it was no contest. None of the others in the race even came close to us. She looked good at the start and I was a little shaky - but in the end my car pulled ahead of the others 11 races in a row.

I won many prizes for my lady that night but her favorites were the two small, matching pink elephants. She held one tenderly as we began kissing next to the mini doughnut booth. Then her cell phone rang. She had to go.

February 24, 2008: Damn, damn, damn! Life can be so cruel. The real Gwen is onto us. The account for the card has been frozen. It was over. I reached into my travel bag underneath the airplane seat and pulled out one of the stuffed elephants I won in the Midway. With a tear in my eye I turned it over and looked at the rear end where we had both written our initials.

H. C. and B. O. 4-Ever

Here's looking at you kid. We'll always have Baltimore.

POST SCRIPT: The BlogNinjas are raring to go with more Mystery Topic Challenge goodness. You don’t have to be a Blog Ninja to take part but if you want to read and then vote for your favorite, come by here.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pass this cheerful message along or you'll fry in hell

I received a "friends quiz" recently in my inbox. The ones were you read your friend's answers to a bunch of inane questions and then erase those and put in your answers and pass it along to more friends. Actually, I was in a pretty good mood and I cared for the person who sent it so I played along. Sorry.

I'm not a big joiner in chain-type emails. I somehow doubt the Almighty is up there in front of the PC pounding out sweet little emails that threaten eternal damnation if you don't send it on in the next 5 minutes to closest 8 friends you could annoy and not totally alienate with this heaven-sent missive. God as blackmailer - via Internet no less.

Let's make up our own "friend's quiz" shall we!

Ques. #1: How many times in the past year have you wished Kelly Rippa would fall into a deep pit never to be seen again?

Ques. #2: Name the last 5 places your cat/dog barfed in your home.

Ques. #3: If you could sleep with anyone in the world, why aren't you?

Ques. #4: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Ques. #5: When the hell are you going to grow up?

Ques. #6: Have you ever been on America's Most Wanted?

Ques. #7: What is your favorite Income Tax form?

Ques. #8: How many moles do you have? What color are they?

Ques. #9: Chocolate or maggots?

Ques. #10: What friend do you think will send this back without telling you how pissed off they are that you wasted their time with it?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sleeping with one eye open

Boy! I could use a break - how about you? I've been doing a little self-reflection lately. Yes. I do know it is well past the new year but a few things came up so I am doing it now. I've thought a lot about that old saying, "You're never given more than you can handle."


Sure, it sounds good on the bumper stickers but it's a load-o-crap. The saying should be, "If you want to survive you'd better handle what you're given".

Take this last Wednesday for example. I am sitting quietly at my desk. Doing my job. Minding my own business when the cell rings and it's the school nurse.

"You're son has had a seizure and the paramedics are here with him. He's not conscious and they are going to bring him to the hospital."

Al Unser , Jr. wouldn't have kept up with me on the way to that hospital. And even if he could have, I dare him to try it with a rosary in one hand and his stomach up in his throat.

As I waited for the paramedics to get there (I beat them there even though they were in the same city and I was in the suburbs). I realized I need to stop waiting for things to calm down. They are not going to. That's life. So instead of sleepless in Seattle I am sleeping with one eye open and my car keys under my pillow.

By the way, my son is okay and we WILL handle whatever comes next. I wish the same for all of you.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What a surprise, spam

I am confused about something. Let's be honest, I am confused about many things but this is a blog so I should be brief. To hone it down to one topic let's try figure out spam, shall we? Not the square meat product made south of me in Austin, Minnesota (by the way, the SPAM Museum there is an absolute hoot!). I am referring to the ever annoying, ever present, ever morphing and multiplying glut of messages sent to inboxes, junk email folders and the appropriately-named spam folder.

Due to spending every moment at my son's hospital bedside in December I was away from my email for a very long time. When I was able to return to a computer again I found a lot of welcome emails along with a junk folder full of hundreds of spam messages. When I examined my haul I discovered about seven distinct themes:
  • penis enlargement/duration

  • designer-like purses

  • perscirption pills

  • designer-like watches

  • computer software

  • strangers saying hi to me

  • notifications of a vast fortune awaiting me

With all the sex and drugs it's no wonder they reproduce so quickly. At first glance the list looks like the script notes for the first season of Sex in the City. However, what the spammers are offering is redundant at best and no where near as entertaining.

Here's what really puzzles me. If I keep blocking them, deleting them or just plain ignoring them; what is the point of continuing to send them to me ad-nauseum? Is being annoying really going to change my mind about crappy products? It reminds me of a great Spongebob Squarepants episode where Spongebob tries to get Squidward to eat his first crabby patty by bugging the shit out of him. Squidward thinks crabby patties are absolute garbage and wants nothing to do with them. When Spongebob follows him into the bathroom to entice him to try one Squidward replies,

"If I didn't want one out there - what makes you think I would find them more appealing in HERE?!"

That's exactly how I feel about spam messages on my computer.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The SB meets the SW

It's a new year and time for another SB lesson. We were in the third day of my son being in critical condition in Pediatric ICU. He was lying in a bed with tubes and wires coming out of every possible place in him and there was a shunt draining fluid from his brain. He was unconscious under heavy medication and could not speak. This is the stuff of nighmares folks.

My ex-husband had flown in and was watching over Al that morning while I caught my first bits of sleep. When I rejoined him at Alex's bedside there was the neurosurgeon standing with a woman I did not recognize. She introduced herself as the social worker - the SW, if you will.

I will pause here to say that I have had many helpful and extremely caring moments with SW's - they helped me find work, clothing and food for the kids during my divorce. I have great respect for SW's - well, for all but this one.

The neurosurgeon looked at us with one of those "Oh My God" serious faces that only doctors can give you and said, " I strongly recommend you take your son to Dr. XX and XX Hospital immediately. He went on to say that he was the best doctor to handle my son's upcoming surgeries. I said, "Well let's get him moved right away then..." Before I could finish my sentence the little SW says in a scolding voice, "Oh, no, no, no, no, no!" I replied, "What did you say?" She said, "Oh no, no, no, no. You better check your insurance first to see if it will pay for the ambulance to take him."

I was speechles for one moment - then the SB in me looked at my motionless 11-year old son and turned back and said, "Oh no, no, no, no no. We are moving him now. Look, I will be paying hospital bills for the rest of my life. Do you think one ambulance ride to bring him to the doctor that can save his life makes a bit of difference in all this. This is about my son, not about insurance."

Time was crucial. I rode with Alex in the first ambulance that had taken him from the ER and the first hospital to this hospital and I saw how complicated the move was for those EMTs. Did this woman want me to throw him in a taxi and hope for the best! Maybe we could hitchhike and save a few bucks. Who would say this to a mother?

Well, this story has a happy... no miraculous ending, because a couple weeks later my sons final surgery was a triumph and he is recovering beautifully today. Oh yes, and if that particular SW should ever see this - the bill for the ambulance that took him from their hospital to the third one is the only bill, in all of this, that was paid in full. My insurance paid the bulk and the ambulance company discounted the remainder.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Stir crazy and Valentine's Day too!

Winter always brings out the SB in me. It's been snowing and very cold for about the millionth day here in Minnesota and I could swear I heard wolves howling outside the apartment building last night. I know the cat looks nervous.

Being stuck in has me a little stir crazy. Since Alex is still in recovery we can't even do something as simple as bowling (the preferred sport of Wisconsinites present and past). I certainly haven't read a good book in ages so anyone reading this needs to send me some good authors and titles to look up. Quick!

Amazingly enough it was my son Nick's Cub Scout meeting that brought the most excitement this week. The magician that was performing a fire eating act set the fire alarm off at their school. Good times. If things don't pick up around here I'm thinking of setting one off in my aprtment building. A least we'd get some fresh air. I'm supposed to be building a pinewood derby car with Nick but I'm still trying to get over the raingutter regatta debacle of last fall. Anyway, we just made it through signing a hundred valentines and I need to give the kid a rest.

Oh yea, Valentine's Day.

I've only been a single for a couple years now so I can't say I am dreading the day. I have two small gentlemen to give a hug to. I will say that I have flashed back on certain valentine's of my youth when I found myself single and wishing I owned my own radio station. Remember how all you hear are these sappy love songs and drippy ballads. They really don't help when you are running solo. So, some friends and I started a playlist for Anti-Valentine's Day - you know, Linda Rostadt's "You're No Good", Carly Simon's "You're So Vain", Elton John's "I'm Still Standing" and who could leave out the Dixie Chicks' " Goodbye Earl". I think the call letters for the station could be SPEW (Single People Everywhere Whine) .

Now, let's hear your choices for the "Anti-Valentine's Day Top 20". Send me a comment with your picks and I'll post them in an upcoming blog. Until then, to all those with a loved one to share the day - be happy; and to those without one, I'm thinking of you.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Let's recap SB style, shall we?

(NOTE: I got a great email from an AVM survivor and I took a look at her website. My best to you and kudos on your courage. You are in our prayers and I'll be writing to you soon.)

Now, let's see what has happened since I've been away...

The Giants won the Superbowl yea! (but I would much rather have seen the Packers in it).

It's been a million below zero here in Minnesota for much of the season which confirms one of my earlier blogs on how winter sucks.

I caugh up on my email including my junk mail which obviously is trying very hard to tell me I need three things in life to be happy: a new watch, a bigger penis and better computer software. Who knew?

I'm actually feeling pretty good about the next election because nobody running in my party of choice is an ass (can't say the same for the other guys).

Britney and Lindsay went into rehab...wait that's not new news.

I'm so bored I started watching American Gladiators.

My laundry still isn't done.

An old boyfriend and an old friend found me on the internet which was a nice surprise.

And best of all, my son, Alex is still recovering beautifully from surgery. Life is good.

Friday, February 1, 2008

How have you been?

I think it is time to join the blogging world once again. I have had enough of real life for a while. Thankfully, my son has come through the operations and is recovering beautifully from his very frightening AVM bleed in his brain in December. Talk about life as we know it halting. I have always had the utmost respect for those who work in hospitals. I couldn't do it for long. Too much stress and heartache. Thank you to those who do and a million thanks to the huge (and I mean huge) community that has supported the boys and I through this. We are humbled and blessed.

I promise to get back to my old, sassy self next time I write. For now I just want to say I appreciate anyone who still logs in to check this blog after my long absence. I'll try to make it worth your while. Peace.