Thursday, December 07, 2006


I'm a bad, bad blogger. I've been neglectful. There's no other word for it. So, I'll make one big post to cover the latest news.

The Mississippi trip

Graceland was surprisingly interesting. I've never been a big Elvis fan, but I recognize the man's talent and contribution to the music world. His life was complicated, his death tragic. His home is a testament to that. I was surprised how accessible it appears. The wall around it isn't formidable. You can see most of the estate from the street. The meditation garden where he is buried was something he built as a place of peace, I'm sure never intending for it to be his final resting place I took the photo at the right in the meditation garden, with a lovely little light anomaly to the right of the Christ's arm.

I heard a few people comment on how "tacky" much of the decor was. To me, it epitomizes the 1970s. That decade defined tacky. The decor they are talking about is representative of the times. I mean, he died in 1977, when that style was in full swing. Lighten up on the King!

We also visited another home of the famous. Rowan Oak was the home of writer William Faulkner, until his death in 1962. It's beautiful and fascinating. You can still see where he wrote the plotline for his Nobel Prize-winning A Fable...on the wall. See?

Rowan Oak is in Oxford, MS, which is a lovely college town. We spent a lot of time at the town square, where I met this helpful employee of the Square Books store.

She didn't think I really needed more CDs. She also told me the most disappointing news -- I'd missed the chance to meet Paula Dean at the same store, just the previous evening. Dang.

If you're ever in a town called Tunica, in Mississippi, be sure to visit the ladies of Ann-Tiques on Main Street. They are a force of southern hospitality and that shop is packed with treasures! Thanks for the books, ladies! (1251 Place is next door, but they are too expensive on everything but football scores.) And yes, it really is Main Street USA there, complete with a gazebo and a Piggly Wiggly. But beware of Johnny Law (see right) or he might use that one bullet he's allowed to carry.

I also learned all about the Delta blues at the museum by the same name in Clarksdale, MS, and a Morgan Freeman's blues club called Ground Zero. Dang, that's a great place. Great music, too. Pick up some genuine soul food at Hick's restaurant before you go, though.

This trip was an education in more ways than one. Yeah, there was a conference at the center of it and I loved that, too. There's a couple of men I enjoy flirting around with each year, and I got to spend some time with them. One of them had the good sense to wear Guinness shirts and drink Newcastle. Whata guy.

Oh yeah, and I learned alot of good professional type stuff, too. Being a conference and all. I was even approached about a job. See, someone out there thinks I'm a bad ass at my job. They want me to be a bad ass for their university. We'll see if they have a bad ass paycheck to make me move far away from what's been home for nearly 30 years. So stay tuned.

Okay, there's some news. I'll update more later.

--- Blogget

Monday, November 13, 2006

Back from the land of the Delta Blues

I'll write more on my most recent trip later, when I get pictures posted. I've lost a few because of corrupted files on my media card, so I'm working on that problem.

However, I had one particular observation that has nagged at me since getting home. First, though, you gotta understand that I'm not a gambler by nature. I echo the sentiments of one of my fellow travelers on this trip. She stood at several locations inside the casinos and said, " I don't understand! Why would anyone bet on that?" She's not a gambler, either.

The place where we stayed was part of a casino resort. To get to our hotel (one of three larger hotels on the property), you took an exit off the higheay and drove a looooonnnggg time. Past golf courses and undeveloped land. This place wanted to be sure that going elsewhere wasn't so easy.

They also didn't want you to stay in your room. No desk. Internet was $11 a day. No business center, either in the hotel or the adjoining conference center. Gambling terminals were strategically placed, but no computers to be seen anywhere. The only restaurants were tucked deep inside the big casino.

Going through the casino to get to dinner, you couldn't help but feel the party atmosphere. People laughing, cheering, sipping on cocktails, and having a good time. We'd walk past an empty table and the dealer (or whoever presided) sounded almost like a carney trying to draw you to the game with, "Oh, ladies, ladies, ladies!" You knew most of the guests were losing money, but they seem to have come with the assumption that it was all part of the fun.

Another night, another dinner, another casino. They trucked us to a difference casino complex, but this one sits along the highway. The difference to me was startling. No party atmosphere. I've heard the phrase "smell of desperation" before, but never experienced it. The phrase doesn't do justice to the horror of it. Many of the people sitting at the slots looked like they lived there, in the same clothes, all the time. They looked at you with these haunted eyes, defeated and desperate. There was no fun in their game-playing.

Scared the hell out of me. No, I'm not a gambler. And after that experience, I doubt I ever could be. I won't forget those eyes anytime soon.

Monday, October 16, 2006

This might make me sound terrible....

I consider myself to be a fairly tolerant, non-judgemental kind of person to know. Wait, let me qualify that. I have very clear ideas of what I like and dislike for myself and those most close to me. However, I won't turn my back on someone or not socialize with someone just because they chose that path. Make sense?

For instance, I don't believe in getting tattoos. For me. But I don't care if someone else has one. I don't like "my" men to have earrings. I find that very unattractive But I don't care if a guy I'm not interested in has an earring. Or two. I have gay friends, straight friends, old friends, young friends, pretty friends, ugly friends, smart friends, dim friends, and friends of various religions. I generally just let people be as they are.

So, BF tells me that there's a couple he knows who wants to hang out with us. That's cool by me. This girl likes to talk about her sex life a little too much, but I can tolerate that occasionally. I've not met her botfriend, though. BF says he's a little "out there," so I'm warned.

I finally meet the guy and....goodness gracious me, that fella has more hardware in his face than an astromech droid. I found myself almost unable to focus on what he was saying. I was so absolutely repelled by it that the subsequent humming in my head blocked out normal thought.

Which explains why, when I looked at his girlfriend, I couldn't stop thoughts of, "You have sex with THAT?!" Unfathomable.

Yeah, yeah, I know....different strokes and all. I just was completely unprepared for the profound revulsion I felt. That's never happened to me before. Especially over something that I considered as trivial as physical appearance.

So, it delivered no small amount of guilt, too. Am I really so narrow-minded, at the core of it all? I never considered myself as such and would rather not do so now!

Friday, October 06, 2006


Lookie what I have in my office:

The Fishbowl Wars are over! No more threats of window markers and taped up photos of blinds. No more idiots tapping on the glass or Nosey Nellies watching us work.

We are triumphant!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

"A little less conversation, a little more action please...."

And with that, my business trip next week gets more interesting.

No, it's not what you think. I'm not getting "a little more action please." I am going to see the King. Yessirree, this rock chick is headed to Graceland.

I'm headed to Mississippi by way of Memphis, with 5 colleagues. For one of them, it'll be her third "pilgrimage" to Elvis's home. For another, it's her first and she plans to do it up right! The rest of us are along for the ride.

So, the place has gotten lousy with merchandising and licensing agreements gone bananas (fried? in a sandwich?). I go prepared to embrace the tourist within. Maybe I can find Elvis guitar picks for my son. Maybe some kitchy purse for my daughter, made out of blue suede. My mom's birthday is coming, so I see Elvis-isms in her future, too. I'll just spread the tourist joy to everyone!

I have to admit, I look forward to seeing Elvis's final resting place. There's something almost alluring to me about gravesites. If I ever make it to Hollywood for a vacation, you can bet I'll be on each one of those creepy graveyard tours. If I couldn't meet these people in life, then it's something to stand where they have finally found peace. Well....what peace you can find with kitchy tourists coming to see where you eternally slumber.... Sorry, but I'll be one of them!

Now, I also have every intention of heading out with one colleague for the Civil Rights Tour or Blues Music Tour. Somehow, I think the level of kitch in those experiences will pale in comparison to the King's licensing machine.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I'm officially insane

Yep, I got the notification just the other day. I'm officially a doctoral student. Walden University. Ph.D. of Education, specializing in Educational Technology. Woo Hoo!

No money. No sleep. For years. But at the end, I'm Dr. Blogget.

Yeah, I like that.

Monday, September 11, 2006

My addition to the wealth of memories

Today is a day of remembrance. All day, everywhere we turn, we see the images and hear the stories of that day, five years ago. This little blog will be no different. For me, it's important to remember and to make a record.

I know what I was doing exactly five years ago, right at this time. I was finally tucking in my children, emotionally exhausted and feeling a little shell-shocked from the day. That's how days that change the world feel.

My son was on the cusp of a milestone - his tenth birthday. September 12th, 2001. We had a big birthday party planned for the following Saturday. As I tucked him in, he said the most astounding thing I'd ever heard from a little boy.

"Mommy, I was thinking. Can we change my birthday? This isn't a time for people to be thinking of me."

I hugged him with all the pride I could have for this wonderful child. His tenth birthday. It would only happen once. But even he felt the magnitude of the day's events. He would wait while the world mourned. And he never complained. Later, I bought a book to keep for him: "September 12, 2001: The Day We Knew Everything Would Be All Right."

I called his friends' mothers and postponed everything a week. Everyone understood, and we had a great party the next week.

On his actual birthday, we had a family celebration. In the midst of the festivities, I didn't notice that the restaurant's televisions were playing the horrible pictures again. My little daughter, just 6, pulled at my sleeve. Her eyes transfixed on the screen, she quietly asked, "It's not happening again, is it?" I held her and let her know it wasn't a new attack. We were safe, and I moved her to a seat away from the television.

September 11, 2001 was dominated by shock, sadness, and overwhelming resentment for me. I know it sounds petty and selfish, in the face of much greater loss, but I resented the loss of that part of my children's innocence. I resented explaining to a 6-year-old little girl what "terrorist" and "hijacking" meant, and how some people have such hate that they cease caring about living, breathing beings.

I hated the moment when my children asked me, "Were there kids on those planes?" And the looks on their little faces when I had to say, "Yes." "And mommies and daddies?" they said. "Yes," I said. The resentment was not for their questions, but for those who made the questions possible.

I didn't allow the television on until we had talked about the images they would inevitably see. I knew I couldn't hide it forever. This had changed their world forever. If I didn't talk about it, someone else would.

In the aftermath, I noticed the polarity in the reactions. Among the people in my sphere, the men wanted to rush to war, to exact revenge. The women wanted to gather their loved ones close and stay behind the bolted doors of home. We all lost a bit of innocence, I suppose.

In the midst, though, was the beacon that was my son. Love and hope for another, better day survived in his heart. Thank God for small favors.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Should I be upset?

Or, should I be as upset as I am?

I've been at my job for three and a half years. In that time, I've not only performed my basic editor duties smashingly, but I've also taken on a lot more. I've finished a Master's degree in distance education. I have a particular expertise in online delivery of distance learning. I've overseen a major migration from one platform to a new, cutting-edge one. That included some temporary supervisory duties, even. I've become a researcher in our field, too, representing our organization and presenting several sessions at national and international conferences.

However, I'm still in the same position I started in, at much the same salary.

Two years ago, a new guy was hired to handle some of the red-tape stuff we deal with. He's well-suited for it. He's a retired administrator of a continuing ed program at a junior college in another state. He has handled personnel, contracts, and red tape before.

For my boss, this was a big plus because she hates dealing with people. On the phone. In person. And especially any potentially confrontational situations.

A couple of months ago, she asked me if I objected to him moving into a new position she was creating. After all, I am the most senior of the editors. He would be overseeing the non-electronic courses and faculty, dealing with more of the red tape and people issues she didn't want to handle. I didn't object. That's not where my expertise is. However, she promised to look for advancement opportunities for me.

The other day, she reminds us editors that he's moving into that position now. And she added this:

"I've decided that he'll supervise the editors, too, so you all report to him now."

WTF?! He's my SUPERVISOR now?! This was NOT part of the "Do you object..." conversation! This chaps my hide in a major way.

I see how this happened, though. He is well-suited for the parts of her job that she dislikes. She's just found a way to dump all of the people-dealing on someone else. That's her agenda in this situation.

What gets me is that I've busted my tail for longer than he has, and I've had NO (count 'em - NO) opportunities for advancement. And he's now my supervisor.

But should I be upset? He has decades of experience in this. I didn't want the position; I just didn't expect to get a third boss out of it.

Where are my opportunities? When does my hard work pay off? She has taken care of her own agenda along the way. I don't know that my interests are being kept in mind at all.

What rubs salt in the wound is that the very next day, I'm given even more responsibilities. I now monitor and mentor our online faculty. Also, new online course development is now entirely in my lap. I decide how it's done.

For that, I get a "Gee, thanks for doing that" (like there's a choice). Not a promotion. Not a pay raise. He's already receiving retirement benefits from his old job, his wife works, and they don't have kids to support. I'm a single mom with two kids, not making enough to support them without help. It just doesn't seem fair.

Personally, I think the writing is on the wall. She'll take care of her own convenience. My interests are my own to look out for. Maybe it's time to look around at other opportunities. I do love what I do, but other places do it, too. I don't want to move, but I have other things to consider. And maybe it's time for that doctorate. Oh bring on the torture!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


** WARNING: Part of this post has an EXTREME GROSS FACTOR. I'll warn you when it's about to hit so that the sensitive among you can avert your eyes. ***

Yes, indeedy, this post has a theme -- bathrooms. A few things happened recently that involved bathrooms, so I decided to go with the flow of synchronicity and mention them all in one post.

So, sit tight (haha) and here goes ;o)

Our old office building has a one-seater bathroom. So, if it was occupied, you waited in the hallway for it to be vacant again.

Now, I know everyone knows one of these people -- the kind who just can't find something nice to say. Ever. A complete sourpuss about anything going on. Well, I saw our resident Sourpuss waiting outside the bathroom one day. I try to introduce sunshine into this person's worls as often as possible, hoping it'll get through. She makes it tough sometimes.

Sourpuss: "I'll be so glad when we don't have to stand around in the hall anymore, waiting to pee."

Me (seeing a prime sunshine opportunity): "Won't that be nice? The pictures look great, with all that pretty tile and such. And there will be plenty of stalls for everyone."

Sourpuss: "Yeah, but it won't be private anymore, will it?"

Dang. Clouds over my sunshine again!

** WARNING: THIS IS IT! THIS IS THE GROSS FACTOR PART! If you're squeamish, skip to the next break. **

We have a beautiful, brand new bathroom at the new building. I'd post a picture so you can see how beautiful it is, but....that's just creepy. We are so appreciative of this building and the details (like pretty bathrooms) that give us such a wonderful place to work.

Well, most of us are. One of us is just dowright nasty.

I entered the beautiful bathroom the other day. I opened a stall and something caught my eye. The lovely tile wall was smeared with (**WARNING! GROSS FACTOR IMMINENT!**) blood. You could almost make out the handprint of whoever put it there. A could hurl just remembering it.

But the point is -- WTF is WRONG with some people?!?!

Switch from the nastiest of nasty to the proper.

Even bathrooms have etiquette. There are unspoken rules of community bathroom behavior. Things like, even if you can see through the gaps by the door, don't look. Knock on doors, don't try to open them. If there's no toilet paper in a stall, warn the woman about to enter it. Don't let you toddler peek under the walls.

And when the bathroom isn't crowded, respect some sort of perimeter of person space.

So, we have two rows of stalls now. I can't recall if it's eight or ten stalls, but there are plenty! I'm in the last one at the end of the row. The rest of the place is empty.

Now, if you were the next person entering the bathroom, which stall would you choose?

Or, more to the point, which stall would you NOT choose?

That's right -- you don't go for the one right next to the occupied one. Someone needs to inform the person who entered the stall right next to me.


(Or maybe it's just me and my chronic territorialism! But that's another blog.....)

Thursday, August 24, 2006


A couple of pictures of the Fishbowl window, to accompany the last couple of blogs.

I apologize for the quality, or lack thereof. The yellowish lighting is what happens when you snap a photo with your cell phone, in a mustard-brown room with flourescent lighting.

Note that in the second picture, you can see from my window straight into the Fishbowl office across the hall.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Empire Strikes Back

I've lost a battle in the Fishbowl Wars.


We all got an email from the Big BIG Boss today. We have groups touring our building starting tomorrow. So, among many other things, she said our windows had to be paper-, plastic-, and cardboard-free. Our "suite" is full of the plastic-wielding Fishbowl Warriors. Dang.

The Little Boss said we could hold our retreat until tomorrow, before the tours. We settled on a time to retreat in unison. And when to begin the charge again.

Then, the Big BIG Boss saw the Little Boss. And the order came down to retreat immediately.

It was tough on some of the Warriors. One had to leave to compose himself. (Then again, he always has to leave to compose himself.)

So, the battle was lost, but there's still hope for the War. They are still saying the mini-blinds are on the way. Could be propaganda, though. We'll see.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Things that make you go....dang.

(Wow, two blogs in two days. I'm on a roll!)

A little note, in typical "Blogget Jones" fashion: I'm proud of myself for spending five days out of town, eating out constantly, and not gaining a single pound! I'm even happier to say that I've lost three this week. WooHoo!


My birthday is around the corner. In four days, I'll be 38. My mother seems to think I've reached the point where birthdays should bother me. She keeps saying things like, "You're on the downslide to 40!" WTF?! "Downslide"?! I don't think so.

Heck, they say women don't even hit their sexual peak until their forties. If that isn't something to look forward to, then I sure don't know what is!

However, it has made me think about where I'm headed with the second half of my life. Before I turn out the light at the end of the day, I snuggle into my cozy (if maddeningly empty) bed and take a look around. I see my books, my momentos, the kitchy little gifts from my kids, my pictures, my makeshift curtains, the box of my dog's ashes that still brings a lump to my throat when I see. All the things I surround myself with. And I wonder, what becomes of it all when I'm gone from this earth? Who will care that it was here and why I put it there? It seems so important when we're living it. I imagine being no more and it stings.

I suppose what bothers me is that I tend to be the person that people forget. Example:

They'll say, "We'll call you when we're headed to lunch," and when they see me hours later, they realize they never did. The worst is getting stood up for dates. It's happened twice since I was divorced. One guy turned out to be married and the other was just irresponsible. But why did I deserve the short end, in their estimation?

I work hard at the office to make sure my contribution isn't forgotten. When I work on a project, I make my presence known. I work doubly hard to make a positive impression that people think of when they see the work done. Hopefully, it'll actually pay off someday.

The other thing that bothers me is the realization that much of my life has been lived for other people. The first independent decision I could make was which college to attend. I stayed close to home because my parents could barely handle me going across town, so leaving the city entirely would have turned them to rubble. I got married while in college. When I graduated, I stayed home with my son (a decision I will never regret). We followed my husband's career, even when it took me somewhere against my will.

We came back home when living in the pit he'd dug for us became nearly a life-and-death situation. I eventually made an independent decision to get a divorce -- but only when the situation hurt my kids.

There's a lot I put up with from him for my own sake, and I still occasionally deal with feeling unworthy of positive attention because of it. That was my bad decision to not put my foot down sooner, but I've not stopped since.

Even now, I live where I do and keep my job because it's what's best for my family. I see bigger and better jobs out there in my field, but I don't apply. Moving just isn't a good idea right now, or for a few years to come.

So, I travel when I can and experience other parts of this country. Someday, I'll see Ireland and walk in my ancestors' footsteps. I've slowly taken a little control over my job duties and become the one who does research, attends conferences, and makes those contacts.

But I don't like doing it all alone. I've made a committment to my kids, but it's hard. I want to love again and be loved. I might not be in a hurry for it, but I still dream of it. I'm still lonely without it.

When I love, I do so with everything I have to give. I yearn for someone who can reciprocate that kind of passion. I thought I had that a few years ago, but repeated betrayal put a damper on it. That particular man still wants to marry me....but he also has one eye on what's walking by. That makes me feel wonderful, lemme-tell-ya. I don't want a lifetime of feeling not quite good enough.

Somewhere, there's someone who can be as about me as I am about him. He and I will have great times together! Someday. As I said, I'm not in a hurry. And, hey, I still have that sexual peak to look forward to. There's just gotta be something in that for me!

The last 38 years have gone by too quickly. How much more time do I have to make my mark on this world? I have a story to tell and I'd better get to telling it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Cliff's Notes version

So, here's a rundown of recent events. I'll blog as much as I can to get caught up!

Peter Pan? Where are you?
My kids are growing up. My son is a high school football/baseball player. He's wondering about playig in college. COLLEGE?!?! It occurs to me that in four years, he's gonna be itching to live on his own. He'll go away somewhere, most likely. My daughter, as much as she loves her brother, has just figured out that she'll have her high school years as, in effect, an only child in the house. I really don't think she means to have that cheese grin on her face about it.

She's in Junior High now. I asked her to sort out her closet so we knew what to get for school. When I saw three large trash bags full of clothes she wasnts to get right of, I asked her if all that really didn't fit anymore. "It's not that, Mom. It's just that so much of it was so....5th grade." Oh good gracious. Adolescence, here we come.

What has 20 years done?
I am happy to say that the Lubbock High School Class of 1986 seems to be a largely successful bunch. However, we've lost seven of our compadres, and that stung. The planning process brought out the ugly side of a lot of people -- those who saw it as a chance to gain power over old classmates. Oh, for Pete's sake. Someone actually managed to turn it into a political process. And get this -- they continue to. They are already jockeying for control of the 25th reunion.

One surprise -- I got a letter of reference from this experience. After working together on the planning, our Class President (now a lawyer) proclaimed that "If you need a CEO of anything, [Blogget} is the one for the job!" Cool. Oh, wait, it was the 80s, so that's...totally awesome!

I saw many people I didn't know I missed, until that night. We'll keep track better through our new Web site and through email conversations that are ongoing as we speak. It was a surprise to see what professions we *really* ended up in, and how much we have in common still. And I love the silly things we talk about now -- like how much it hurts to step on Thomas the Tank Engine with bare feet and how much we've had the tunes from High School Musical drilled into our heads.

Something to remember for the 25th -- this group doesn't need icebreaker games.

Did we see this coming?
My ex called the other day. Background, for those just tuning in: he was divorced for the second time in November from a lovely troll of a woman. He started dating a nice woman (really, I'm serious!) not long after that. They've told the kids over and over that they aren't talking about marriage, not interested in that any time soon. That's daughter is freaky about him getting married at all. Even to me -- she really does not want us back together. (Whew)

So, he called, as he does nearly every day. Guess what? Yep -- they are getting married. In November. He told me about how he proposed. One of those big, public spectacles. I hate that. Puts the poor woman in a terrible spot. But I digress.... I had to break it to the kids.

My son shrugged and said, "Saw that coming." His dad had looked for rings when he took the kids school shopping. Nice.

My daughter cried for an hour. She knows how the last one worked out. A wicked stepmother and bratty half-sister to compete for Daddy's attention, to boot. Can we blame her for not wanting to risk that again?

THIS is why I promised them I wouldn't marry before they are grown. His life is about flux and chaos. Mine has to be their rock, their security. They have to come home to stability and reliability. Sure, I'd like to have someone to wake up to, but that will wait. No one is going to need me as much as they do, until they have lives of their own.

Some people have asked how *I* am handling the news. It's fine with me. There's no shock or surprise. She's a nice lady and my kids deserve a stepmom who likes them. And this means that the subject of us getting back together won't come up. I've had those awkward conversations, where he says, "I still love you, you know." He disappointed that feeling out of me a long time ago, so what can I say that isn't hurtful? I don't like to be hurtful, but I have to be honest.

They want me at the wedding. Wife #2 is being told to stay away.

It's War
It's becoming known as the Fishbowl Wars. See, my office moved into brand new, swanky digs this week. It's been a highly anticipated move and I LOVE my new office. The only thing is, there's this window. It's not an outside window...I don't rank one of those. It's a big ol' window into the hallway. Everyone tromping up and down the hall gets to rubberneck at what I'm doing in my office.

The Fishbowl.

As I was unpacking, it dawned on me that I didn't like this at all. Bending over to reach into a box, I realized passersby got a good peek down my shirt. Bending the other way, the window framed my backside. Nope, didn't like it at all.

A coworker and I took the plastic from our chairs and taped it into the windows, creating our own crude version of sheers. Apparently, the interior designer (who I now learned initially thought our offices didn't need blinds like everyone else's) didn't care for our handiwork. She was seen making angry faces and gesturing at our windows, from the hallway.

I hear blinds are on the way. I hope so because, truth be told, I don't much care for the look of plastic, either.

There's more, but it's past my bedtime. I'll catch up soon. Teaser: Nickelback ROCKS...again.

Love to you all,

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Things to come....

So much has happened lately....but it's been too busy to blog it! Here's the short version. I'll write a longer version later:

* My kids start new schools today. Junior High and High School. I'm just not ready for that yet!

* My 20-year reunion was last weekend. Wow. Someone said I looked just like I did in high school. Guess who's my new best friend? ::wink::

* I moved into a brand new office space today. Moving is always a trauma, but these digs are pretty swanky!

* I took some vacation time with my son last week. This is the dichotomy part: we visited historical sites that dealt with our own family history. Then, we jammed at a rock concert.

More later!

Blogget Jones

Monday, July 10, 2006

Now, that wasn't so bad, was it?

I survived the dreaded jury duty this morning. Someone advised me to postpone it, but it's kinda like ripping off a bandage. The faster you get it done the better.

You talk to some people there who are in their 40s and say, "This is the first time I've ever been called." Then, there's me. I'm in my late 30s and get called up about once a year. How do they determine who gets the Golden Ticket and who doesn't?

Anyhow, being in the jury room is interesting for a people watcher. I often wonder why people choose to do the things they do. What does it say about them? It starts with the clothing they wear.

Some of the younger fellas had fresh-from-the-laundry-pile (I mean, the one that still needs to go to the washer) t-shirts and baggy jeans. Immediately, the phrase about dressing "appropriately for the dignity and solemnity of the proceedings" popped to mind. But these guys looked fresh from bed, so getting them up at 8:00 Monday morning probably strikes them as a little rude. It did for me, at that age.

The older men wore nice button-down shirts and khakis or jeans. Some more suits and chatted loudly on their cells phones. Rearranging meetings, making sales calls, and so forth to keep their careers rolling while they spent a few hours with the justice system. Well, until the judge came in, of course. We were told he's known to take away cell phones and donate them to Goodwill. Might as well drain these fellas' life's blood as do that to them!

I'm one to talk. I was playing a trivia game on mine. I love trivia. No kidding.

The shirt in front of me told a story. The man had neatly-trimmed hair and moustache. Wore nice boots and jeans, with a golf-style shirt. Inside out. The collar was turned out right, but I stared at the tags for a couple of hours. If he's just look down at his buttons, he'd get a big surprise.

There were old ladies in their summer garden clothes. Professional ladies in their office attire. College girls in their sorority mixer t-shirts and flip-flops. Prim ladies in their coordinated outfits, handbags, and shoes. You could tell the ones who thought ahead by their handbags. Big enough to fit magazines and books? Prepared for the long haul. Small and dainty, with nothing in their manicured hands? Well, by the second hour, they looked distressed indeed.

Then there were the grandmas. I wished to be seated by one of them, but no luck. Not only did they engage the people next to them in conversation, but the entire vicinity was having a delightful time. I think they're vacationing together next year.

The guy next to me didn't talk, but made his displeasure at being there and waiting known by occasional fidgets, grunts, groans, and sighs. Either that, or it was hemorroids.

The women next to me spoke briefly, but I immediately wished she hadn't. I offered her some gum.

Then came the news we'd all been waiting for. They would need 198 jurors today. I did a quick count and some math. We had about 280 in the room. About 70 thought they shouldn't be there. My odds kinda sucked.

We took a break while the judge heard the excuses. I went to the restroom and waited again. The ladies room line was out the door, while men came and went from their own restroom. Why is that? Do men just not go as often? Or as long? Someone ought to do a study.... ;o)

A young woman asked me, "So what now? Do we just wait here until they tell us more?"
Yup. She had a tiny handbag.

Back at my chair among the Faithful, the guy in front of me had gone to the restroom, too. I saw him coming back with a goofy grin on his face and his buttons facing the right way. "I had my shirt on wrong," he whispered to the man beside him and laughed.

The Faithful were assigned and they called roll. "Just say 'Here' when your name is called," they said. A handful of dufuses decided to say "Present!" instead. WTF? Did they know it made them look like dufuses? I wonder how they intended it to come across?

I was called to the jury pool for the 140th District Court, which promptly ended in a plea bargain.

Back to the old grindstone and the usual suspects.

Until next year.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Welcome to my hometown

I've seen hundreds of dogs in trucks, but this is a new one on me. However, it speaks volumes about the town where I live.

Spotted right around the corner from my office. You gotta love it.

And a closer look:

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

How a day unravels

It felt like a Monday. It should have been a Monday. No major catastophies, but lots of unraveling.

And the major catastrophies thing might be wrong.

First thing in the morning, I was late to work. Dang. For the second day in a row. I just couldn't manage to leave my soft, cool bed to head out into the hot, sticky world. So, I called and left a message for the boss, to let her know I'd be late. I hustle to my office and see...that she's not even there. If I hadn't left the message, she'd never have known I was late. Dang.

I spent last week creating a Web and print version of an instructional manual we need for a new system we're implementing. It made the rounds and got everyone's little nit-picky, just-gotta-have-something-to-say "suggestions." I made many changes (but not all - some were, quite simply, stupid). That was last week.

Yesterday, I get it back from my other boss. He made changes. Little things, he said, just window-dressing. Are you buying it? I didn't either. Yeah, they were little things. In each paragraph. That means I get to painstakingly copy-and-paste his "window-dressing" into each paragraph of the HTML pages online. Dang.

I get a call from the mother of that lovely little piece of work my son is finally rid of. I cannot tell you how great he's been since NOT talking to her. You can almost see him mature, the more time goes by since he's talked to her. The moodiness is almost gone! Like magic!

So, Lil Miss wants to talk to him. She wants apologize to me and to him. Her mother says the girl has to call me first. Oh goody. There's a phone call I'll be pacing the floor to get. Dang.

I ask my son if there's anything he'd like me to communicate to her. "I can tell her or her mother that you don't want to talk," I offered. "No," he said, "I should handle it myself. But I just don't give a crap anymore."

Then the thunderstorm moved in. The clouds of brooding gathered. Flashes of temper and sound and fury. And this is just the thought of talking to her. She called and apologized to me, but I told her to hold off on calling him. This storm was going to take out anything in its path. She might as well take cover. Dang.

Back on the ranch, my colleague and general partner-in-crime (aka co-researcher) comes to my office. She sits in my big comfy chair and says, "Are you ready for this?" Oh no. Lemme say "Dang" before it even gets started.

We are planning a major research project. We've spent months on it. We're presenting the findings this fall. People are waiting. "Are you ready for this," she asks and my heart stops. What happened?

There's a big gaping hole in the middle of our project. What's worse is that it's one that has always been there. We simply didn't notice. With a little less self-control, I'd have been in the fetal position, sucking my thumb the rest of the day.

But I had to make my way home, in the 100+ degree heat. "But it's dry heat," they say. WTF does that mean?!?! It's still hot!

I walk into the air-conditioned house, take a deep breath, and let out the day for a bit. Kisses from my daughter. The storm front seems contained to his room for the time being. I pick up the mail from the front table.


Jury duty.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

But DANG, it's HOT!!! We're wrapping up baseball season here. About another week to go. No break from the 100+ degree weather in sight!

Hot, sweaty, dirty, nasty. And not the good kind. This kind has mosquitoes. So, you douse yourself in OFF and really give the dirt something to stick to!

But it's fun watching my son play. He just has such a great time at it. He's grinning and chatting with the umps. You'd never even guess that his coach is an idiot.

Yeah, I know. Little League (which is odd to say when some of the kids are 6 feet tall or more!) is luck of the draw. All volunteers, so if your umpire was any good, he'd be umping the high school games. And your coach is only as good as the guy who wants his own kid to have first pick of the positions.

My evidence:

As a third base coach, he sends kids to steal home while the catcher has the ball. Invariably, this happens when we most need the runs.

He leaves a pitcher in well past the kid's tolerance for exhaustion, until we're down by 14 runs or more. Hopeless situation, created by our dear coach.

Punishing some kids for missing practice or a game (for a legit reason). Is it coincidence that the only kids punished are the white players? And the only ones who don't play games on Sunday (for religious reasons)? I think not.

My son is an excellent first baseman. That's not just Mommy talk. He really is. At 6'2", he has a monster stretch and the ball rarely gets past him. This coach "punishes" him by either benching him or putting him in left field. For what? Well, here's an example:

Me: "Coach? Why is he on the bench?"
Coach: "He missed practice on Monday."
Me: Puzzled. "Coach? We had a game on Monday. He pitched in it."
Coach: Blank stare.

See, my son is white. This guy and all but two of the other boys aren't white. The three white kids get benched. The others never do, no matter what happens.

He also gets punished because we consider Sunday to be the sabbath and we don't believe in playing ball (or shopping, going out to eat, etc.) on Sundays. We're in the Bible Belt. This isn't an uncommon school of thought here. My son isn't the only kid who doesn't play on Sundays.

Here's what happened with that:
Me: "Coach, I understand there's a game on Sunday, but my son won't make it."
Coach: "Okay, why?"
Me: "We don't play on Saturdays because in our religion, Sunday is the sabbath and we don't do those things on the sabbath."
Coach: "Okay."
Coach walks away, directly to my son. He asks my child why he's not playing on Sunday. My son echoes what I said. This man says to him, "You should remember that we serve a forgiving God."

My son stared down at the little man (my son is a good foot taller than him) and said, "We just don't do that."

Grrrr. What that man did is wrong on so many levels that I don't even know where to start. But I'm proud of my son.

Religion aside, since we all have varying beliefs, that was a direct attempt to undermine me as a parent. I'm not his biggest fan.

We have at least two more games, then we're finished with Little League forever. I can make it. Ballpark nachos with extra jalapenos, and I'll sit down and shut up.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Round 2

I heard from the Suicide Advocate again. I am completely flabberghasted that anyone could be so astonishingly self-absorbed as to try to justify the advocacy of suicide. Again, I am not talking about right-to-die issues for the terminally ill. We're talking about people in emotional distress, which, although intense, is a temporary state. There are other solutions.

This person's message was sent to me from a "no reply-comment" box, so I'll post my response here. (Telling, isn't it, that they don't even stand behind a legitmate email address? Or any name other than "anonymous"?) Again, I refuse to publish their comment because of the link it provides to such an irresponsible and reprehensible site.

Response to the Suicide Advocate:
You said that you chose "the nicest" and "most thought provoking" words to send me. That's demented. There is nothing nice in your words. Furthermore, they are without ANY logical or meaningful support, and are meant to "provoke" the most self-absorbed and damaging thoughts imaginable.

You want to compare telling someone to stay ALIVE to telling them who to date or where to work? You actually think those things are equal? We're talking about LIFE here! This is not a decision that can be changed, like a date or a job, but someone's tragic DEATH! To compare those things is not only delusional, but completely irresponsible.

Furthermore, insisting on destroying the lives of others is beyond selfish. Suicide is NOT the answer to emotional struggles. You destroy not one life, but many lives. And they have to try to live with the irreparable damage you've caused.

Perhaps they should just ALL kill themselves, according to your (derailed) train of thought.

The support you offer for your argument completely defeats itself. You say no one should make you live with pain and it's not even their business -- yet you say you have the right to inflict great pain on those who love you. So, it's okay for YOU to make them live with pain? It's YOUR business to force that damage on someone else? You advocate a double-standard, and thereby defeat yourself. Take your own advice, anonymous, and "think about it."

Only the most selfish person would encourage others to take their own life and say it's all right to force others to live with the consequences. Your entire blog is dripping with selfishness, something I detest with absolute venom because of the lives I've seen it destroy.

Yet, you try to stick that label on me. How dare you. You should be ashamed for the lives you want to waste and the pain you wish others to endure. Your "quick fix" of suicide actually fixes nothing, but creates deeper scars on others. I am disgusted with your advocacy of self-absorption, self-serving wallowing, and astonishing disregard for others. But it goes beyond disregard. You advocate the destruction of others, from the suicide victim to the victims they leave behind. Their blood, their pain is on your hands.

And you have insulted me deeply, and repeatedly. I have no respect for you or your poorly-formed "opinions." DO NOT CONTACT ME AGAIN. As I said before, I have a life to live.

Friday, June 09, 2006

If I was any worse, I'd steal from crippled children (or "WTF?!")

I gave my first rejection to a comment yesterday. It wasn't that it was profane or insulting, but the site to which it linked was.

The person sending the comment was disagreeing with something I said. That's fine. I don't mind that. However, on going to that person's blog, I found something I thought to be harmful to anyone going there. To me, it was profane in its cavalier attitude towards life and the astounding selfishness of the posts. To me, it was dangerous to anyone teetering on the edge of taking their own life. In good conscience, I cannot provide a link to that from my own blog.

The irony was that this person said, in their blog, that *I* was the selfish one. In fact, they said I ranked just above someone who steals from a charity. (how's that for a crapload of judgementality?) And why? Because I think it's wrong to take your own life.

Yeah, it left me scratching my head, too.

Kep in mind that I'm not talking about "Right to Die" issues, with terminal illness and such. I'm talking about people in emotional distress. Still in that context, this person says it's no one else's business if you want to kill yourself. Not even those who love you. And loving someone enough to say you don't want them to take their own life is selfish. Wanting someone to live is selfish.

I keep turning that over in my head and it doesn't make sense, no matter how you look at it. It would make sense if that person was terminally ill, in insurmountable physical pain and dying. That's a different issue. We are talking about someone who sees their troubles to be so huge that they want to die. Yes, they are in pain. But not insurmountable pain. This too shall pass, even if it's hard to see it just then.

I stick by my words: Killing yourself is ultimately selfish. I have to think that a person who does such a thing is not in their right mind. The depths of despair can do that to people. But there's always a solution. It might be hard, but there's a solution.

And, most of all, it isn't right to inflict that kind of hurt on the people who love you. That's the bottom line. You might be hurting emotionally, but there's always another way out. If you give them that kind of wound, by taking your own life, there's no resolution for that. You've given them profound pain that will never heal. And they will ALWAYS be damaged by the knowledge that they weren't worth living for.

It's selfish and unfair to do that to people who love you. That's all they did -- love you. It not fair to give them a hurt that can't heal, that can't be taken back. They didn't ask to be damaged by you. They loved you.

I will not publish a link to anything that tells people in despair that they are doomed and that they are correct to ruin the lives and hearts of others. Again, who is the selfish one?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

He just didn't get it....

So, I'm sitting at my son's ball game last night and...

*****BREAK FOR A MOMMY BRAG MOMENT***** My kid is a GREAT pitcher, first baseman, and hitter. Ha! No runs scored while he pitched. No ball got past first while he played it. And he hit a home run. Woo hoo!! *****MOMMY BRAG MOMENT OVER*****

...the president of the league (who is otherwise a real jerkwad, but that's another story) was also watching the game. He's all wrapped up in this really close battle going on and his cell phone rings. I can't hear what he's saying (and really couldn't care less if I tried), but he gets off the phone and says (loudly) to us, "Can you believe that? She called just to tell me she got a $78 top for $14."

My friend asked him where the sale was and made a grab for her purse. He shrugged and we were oh so disappointed.

He came over to us to elaborate. "Actually, she said, 'I just got the CUTEST top. It's regularly $78, but guess how much I got it for?' I said, '$130 because now we need pants, shoes, and a bag to match.'"

Okay, so maybe he gets it more than I thought....


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Why can't we be immortal?

It's just not fair. I grew up knowing that if my dad was nearby, I was safe. We were all safe. He'd make sure of it.

Even when the danger took the form of a stray skunk in the yard, he was out there in the wee hours trying to run it out of the yard. He didn't even get sprayed! (disclaimer: in hindsight, we weren't sure it wasn' somebody's pet, but he didn't know it then!)

He knew the answers to everything. Smart, smart man, who always knew the right thing to do. He taught me all sorts of things, like how to shoot, fish, do multiplication, and act like a lady in public (although we could belch like champs in private). He teaches my kids now.

My parents are getting old. It's particularly difficult to watch it happen to my dad. Diabetes is eating his muscles and his brain. He's always been so large and strong, but his legs are now thin. His thought process slow and flawed. He's often cranky.

He never complains when he feels bad. This week, he complained. The pain kept him from walking. He's been in the hospital for three nights. They found the problem and fixed it, although it required major surgery. Seeing him in that bed, hooked up to all sorts of things, drugged up on pain medication....that was hard. He was so vulnerable. Helpless. He was talking nonsense and we had to intervene to keep him from hurting himself inadvertently.

It all scares me. That's not the Dad I've known. Sometimes, I've been hard on him for traveling and working so much when we were kids. I shouldn't have been that way. He was working for us, not because he liked being away. He regrets, and that makes me sad for him.

My parents are getting old. I dread the day when they are gone. I dread what's happening to them, for their sake. And that's why I ask....can't they be immortal? Can't they always be the people in the pictures in my photo album? Laughing and playing with their children, forever young and healthy.

Dad settling into his bed at home as I write this. My sister is coming to help during his recovery, and a little beyond. I wonder what she'll think?

My parents are getting old. They are still the best grandparents, and parents, any kid of any age could ask for. I just want them to be happy. I want them to know only the love of their family. It's funny -- I want to protect them as they've always protected me.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Blogget vs SWDWIAP

You've heard me complain about the weather in my office. It's either sweltering hot or a meat locker in there. I work for a major university, but our offices are in a satellite space, rented from the biggest money-grubbing cheapskates in the region, I swear.

The university decided that it's time to bring the wayward children back into the fold. After decades of bouncing us from space to space, we are getting our own building. A brand-spankin'-new building to call our very own. Our offices will even be a bit bigger. This picture is the artist's rendition of the new place.

All good things come with consequences, though. A new building means new decor. We've seen the furniture, wallcovering, and flooring samples. Now, we must deal with The Interior Decorator, or She Who Decides What Is Asthetically Pleasing. (SWDWIAP)

Apparently, George Strait isn't asthetically pleasing. His posters have been deep sixed by SWDWIAP. There was a vague mention of her being concerned about the decor in some offices not being what they want to public to see, so SWDWIAP will select art for some offices.

The art is immoveable. You can't take it down. I'm thinking, hey, no one said I can't cover it up....

I think I might be on the "let us decorate for you" list. I'm sure my office "decor" about gave her a coronary. At first glance, SWDWIAP probably smiled, seeing what I call my comfy corner. See? Comfy!

I love my comfy chair. I must have my comfy chair. I can even start a petition. Lots of people come to see my chair and feel it's healing powers. They are actually more interested in having the chair there than having me there.

Anyhow, SWDWIAP must have turned a little more and gasped in horror. There, in an its unbridled un-aesthetically pleasing hideosity is my collection wall. Of Star Wars beanies. With my Darth Vader mosaic print.

Hey! It's framed!

But it is only part of the Star Wars-ness that is my office. There's the top of the file cabinet with Yoda, Spud Trooper, and Darth Tater. There's the top of the hutch with the remaining beanies. There's the little Galactic Heroes sets that I think are so adorable. SWDWIAP's worst nightmare.

And I have art! I have the painting by the artist who is engaged to the Muse Killer. (sidebar: he noted the other night, on his own, that he hasn't produced any art since knowing her.)

I wonder if that'll fit over whatever mass-produced art - excuse me...I mean "art" - they put in our offices?

"You don't know the POWER...."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Twue Wuv

A fourteen-year-old does not know the nature of true love. I believe that and I'm sticking to it.

Especially not a fourteen-year-old son of mine who has been dragged around by the nose by a twelve-year-old (going on twenty) chippy for the last few months. Well, maybe not by the nose, but by something much more hormonal.

She's a well-developed twelve-year-old, but not just in the obvious way. She's highly manipulative and sexually-oriented. And my poor guy wasn't at all equipped to handle what she dished out. Fell for it and fell hard.

She played him for the status. An older, tall, cute boyfriend plays well on the popularity circuit. And if there's anything she wants, it's status among her friends. He catches a lot of hell for having a girfriend in a younger grade. She's so sympathetic: "If you don't like the jokes, then you'll just have to break up with me." Touching.

He was shocked to see her blog page, screaming such slogans as "I shake my Jello so the boys say Hello" and "I've got style, I've got class, I'm the white girl with the ghetto ass." Yeah, I see the style and class part, chickadee. My personal favorite was the animated .gif of cherries that said "Pop me." Her mother was really fond of that one, too, right before deleting the page.

I can only imagine what went through his mind when he saw the one and only blogring her site was in: "Do you want a hot girlfriend? Cum here!" There's devotion for you. She told him she didn't know what that meant. He bought it, but no one else did.

So, another guy enters the picture. She flirts with lots of them in front of him, but this one sticks around. He gets mad about it, so she tells my son that she's so confused and upset that she tried to cut her wrists. He gets very concerned and she promises to never try it again.

Her mother heard about it and checked her out. Not a mark on the child. At twelve, she's using a suicide ploy to keep a guy from getting mad at her. Something's rotten.

She pushes him into a more physical relationship. He's fourteen -- it didn't take much pushing. I catch them making out at a pizza place. He is in HUGE trouble, on the spot, and is very repentent. She's laughing about it. At home, she's confronted and says -- get this -- that *I* made it all up because I hate her.

Her mother new better and said, "His mom has better things to do in her life than follow you to a pizza place and make up stories. AND if she hates you, it's your own fault. No one could see that Web site and want you around their son."

And so it is. After the school year, they won't be in contact. He's furious with me because I don't want him to "be with the love of [his] life!" Oh, the drama! I told him to get a grip. He's been on this earth fourteen years. He has no idea what "life" really is. More importantly, I would hope the love of your life would respect your love for her and "forsake all others," and not lie and deceive.

That's not love. And that's not life. But he isn't equipped to understand that yet. It's up to me to help him find some perspective on the situation. He's still at an age where mothers can step in and help. Soon, he will be beyond that. He needs to be ready to battle for himself. Then, all I can do is hope and pray.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Makes me mad...and sad

I know an artist. He's brilliant and very "up and coming." I've been to a couple of his shows here. He's had others in Chicago and Denver. I have one of his paintings in my office and love it. He's abso-effing-lutely brilliant.

Then, he met a girl.

For awhile, they said they didn't even like each other that much, but the sex was just too great. They were all over each other, all the time, to the point of ooging out their friends.

Still, to hear him talk she was an idiot. He laughed at the stupid things she'd say and the pouts she'd throw. He laughed at how she dressed like every other college girl around, down to the makeup and hair. She's a clone, he'd say. A million more out there like her.

She talked about other men hitting on her, brought men back to his apartment to party with them, refused to participate in conversations in which someone disagreed with her. But he liked having a sure thing around, if you know what I mean.

Then, she became jealous of the time he spent doing other things. Like his art.

He started to care that she was mad about it. He started to listen to her stupid things. He stopped thinking for himself. He lost himself in what she wanted him to be. He became a clone, too, on the inside.

This is something that forever irritates me about some people who date creative types. For someone who is truly creative, whether it be music, art, writing or whatever, they are at the mercy of their talent. When inspiration hits, it's an overwhelming presence. You follow that muse or the muse leaves you.

To be involved with this person means sharing their attention with that muse, tht lightning bolt of inspiration. You must understand that they need to follow it. It's ingrained in them. It's who they are. It's not something to be jealous of. It's who they are.

It's part of that person you're in love with. Don't change it or you take away their core.

They've been together over a year now. I miss seeing his door open and him working away at his latest art on the living room floor. I haven't seen any new creations from over a year.

They just announced their engagement. I'm mad and sad at the same time. Mad that he let himself, his talent, down. Sad that she chased that muse away. Mad that he didn't fight for it. Sad that he might not see that happiness again. I can't imagine him doing anything else.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Along my travels

I took a trip recently with my child's class. The kids rode busses and the parents drove along behind. I learned a few things along the way.

Before getting into all that, I must say that the trip generally worked like an well-oiled machine. With about 100 kids and 40 adults, that saying something. The only time it didn't go smoothly was when someone was being stupid. So, props to the school for that.

However, some people ARE stupid. Okay, no news flash there. As you know, that's a favorite soapbox of mine. I don't really know why I'm still amazed by this. This time, though, I was a little disheartened to realize that most of the stupid people on the trip were women. We had a grand total of two stupid men on the trip, and one was the school principal.

I saw the first bit of stupid on the highway. When you're traveling with two greyhound busses, do not get in between them. It messes up their stopping distance because they have to compensate for your stopping distance, too. This rule is especially true when Bus #2 looks like it's been in a serious accident before. Do you really want to be between him and another BIG bus? Just stupid.

You had to really pay attention to the bus drivers or you'd be left behind. Speed limits figured into the equation about as much as red lights did. They'd either leave you in the dust of the open highway or lose you when they ran that almost-red light.

I laughed my ass off when they got pulled over. They'd left us all behind again, but we caught them when those flashing red and blue lights came into view. Laughed. My. Ass. Off. They didn't push the speed limit anymore.

One dad didn't get that being assigned a group in the dorm at night meant you were the leader of that group. After the trouble of the water fight (with the water intended to get us through desert heat the next day) and his boys peeking in the girls' windows (these are 10-year-olds) at 11:30 at night, he finally realized (in his own words), "They apparently want us to be some sort of [finger quotes] role model here."

And if you ever see that commercial about how great a place Alamogordo, NM, is to take the family, don't buy the bit about the kiddie mini-train. The "conductor" is a loon. Kids were watching the train go around as we ate lunch. He stopped the train, full of little passengers, and berated them for not being 20 feet away from the track and if they didn't move, he was calling the cops on them. On 10-year-olds. Watching the train. Sitting in the grass. Then, he completed the route at break-neck speed. What a stable man, driving kids around the park, eh?

I officially can't stand my child's teacher. The kids had two activities that required hikes in the desert heat. They were supplied with plenty of water, but one boy didn't drink it. Upon arrival at the second hike site, he began vomiting and complaining of a headache. Hmmm...can anyone say heat stroke? One lady got him some water and sat him at a table in the shade. He put his head down while she went to get wet towels to put on him.

In the meantime, here comes this teacher. She wants to take away his water because he doesn't have the lid! AND she wants to send him out on the second hike! The child is listless, with his head on the table, obviously in distress. A parent intervenes: "No, he's sick."
"Aw, he's fine. Just get up and go."
"No, really! He might have heat stroke."
Teacher makes a snotty, how-stupid-are-you face. "I'm sure it's nothing like that."
"He's vomiting."
That stopped her. "Oh yeah? Well, how much water have you had?"
He confesses the small amount. She says, "That's ALL?!" and began berating him for not drinking more water.

Just can't stand that woman. He did not go out on the trail.

She got mad at me later for telling my child and her friend to come away from the edge of a large drop. She scolded a few for the same thing a few minutes later, but had a big surprise.

See, Mr. Principal made sure the kids knew the rules of the hike. Stay on the path. Don't climb things. Stay with your group. When nasty teacher saw those other kids at the edge, she assumed they were looking down it. Wrong, they were hiking UP it. And who was their leader? The bright one leading them (remember, they had to stay with their group) off the path and up a cliff they shouldn't climb? The principal. Stupid.

I also learned that I'm competitive to a nearly unhealthy level. When we departed the school, I looked at the situation and maneuvered myself to a position that assured I would be first behind the busses. I did that the entire trip. As long as I did that, I wasn't left behind at a light.

We had to make a u-turn once and a soccer mom in an SUV cut me off to get ahead of me. Oh, it's a mistake to piss me off like that. I spent the rest of the trip not caring who was ahead of me, as long as it wasn't her. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities I had to cut her off throughout the trip.

One last thing I have to share. While passing through one of the many little towns along the way, I saw something that made me double-take. You often see vendors along the streets of these towns, selling rugs, fruit, rocking chairs, velvet paintings, etc. We passed one of these stands...selling acchordians. Wow.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

What do Canadian bands have against me?

I just have to wonder. I have three favorite bands: Nickelback, Three Days Grace, and Theory of a Deadman. They all happen to be Canadian.

First, Nickelback puts Lubbock on their tour -- on a Monday night. I don't think I've explained this before, but weeknights are a nightmare for me. Sunday-Thursday is work night, school night, homework night, and/or baseball night. I'm a single mom, so it keeps me pretty booked. Not much else happens at my house on those days.

Nickelback I managed because I was supposed to be gone from home anyhow. Another weeknight concert would be really hard to manage.

Well, someone clued me in that Three Days Grace (aka "3DG") is coming to Lubbock. Oh joy!!!! When? I look it up.

Monday. THIS Monday, May 8th.

Triple whammy: school, work, AND baseball night. What really sucks is that I know a cop working the concert. It could not only have been my son's first concert, but we would have gone backstage. Ouch.

Out of curiosity, or an innate desire to torture myself, I checked Theory of a Deadman's tour dates. Yep, they are coming here! Oh joy, again!

Sunday. THIS Sunday, May 7th.

They stuck it to me two days in a row. Can you believe it? I'm wounded.

By the way, here's 3DG's banner for their new song. Click on it and turn up your speakers!

See how much I love ya, guys? Even after you stuck it to me so bad. :::sniff:::

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Advice I gave my son today

Relationships should bring out the best in you. By relationships, I mean all kinds, be it friends or boyfriends/girlfriends.

Signs they are bad for you (or you're bad for them):

  • You feel bad when you finish talking to them.
  • You can't get your work, homework, or studying done (or done right).
  • Your grades or work performance suffer since being close to them.
  • You find yourself doing things you used to consider wrong.
  • You make excuses for their bad behavior.
  • You keep things you all say or do a secret (because you're afraid of getting in trouble or being embarrassed).
  • You're in trouble more often since being close to them.
  • You compromise or sacrifice the dreams or goals you had before knowing them.
  • You compromise your standards and values since being close to them.
  • You treat others around you poorly since knowing them.

The list could go on, but you get the idea. Being close to someone means discovering who you are and what you can be together, not losing yourself for what they want.

Look around. If you're in one of these relationships, grow a backbone and stand up for who you are, what you want, what you believe, and what's important to you. You are too valuable to lose.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Unsexy man? I think not!

So, some idiot columnist on made a list of the Unsexiest Men Alive.  Actually, it was two idiots.  Two MEN idiots.  Begs the question, what do they know about judging sexy men?

Never heard of  I can't imagine why not, being the entertainment experts that they are (not).  They even have a column exclusively about Moonsigns.  Wow.  (No wonder they thought it was a good idea for two men to write a list of unsexy men.)

Anyhow, #6 was dearly beloved Chad Kroeger. Oh, they did not.

How anyone (female) can hear that voice and watch him in all his rock-starness (see right) and not get tingly in the toes, I just don't know....  For pity sake, just LOOK at him!

I think they're just jealous. Hmph.

The depth of their idiocy went further, when they said he was listed for being in Nickelback, which they called the worst band ever. Oh really? Hey fellas, here's a photo (below) of Nickelback winning Group of the Year (and Album of the Year) at the 2006 Juno Awards (the Canadian Grammies).

Take that,  Must be deaf and blind.  Besides being idiots, that is.

So, rock on, Chad.  I got your back...and anything else you'd like me to get. Haha!  

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

It's really not that hard...really!

You've heard me say it before. Why can't people just do what they're supposed to do? Today, I'm left wondering, whatever happened to integrity?

You might remember a post in which I talked about a woman at work ("G") who refused to do her work properly, especially if I was the one asking her to do it. She'd report it complete and correct, but it wasn't. Even the corrections weren't correct. We went in circles for weeks! Why? Because the boss insisted that those responsible for the mistakes should fix them, and learn from them. It would have been easier for me to fix it, but she wouldn't have learned from it. (Or had the chance to learn from it. I'm not convinced the lesson stuck.)

So, we've been working on this huge project, with me taking the leadership role (again) with the group. "F" did well with it, but seemed almost too fast sometimes. We tested the system today and found two significant problems, totally of his doing. These are things he should have done properly in the first place, but he took the lazy way out and did a half-assed job.

Did he own up to it? Did he say, "Sorry, my bad. I'll get right on that"? Certianly not, or you wouldn't be hearing about it. Instead, I got:
"Uhm, I dont' think it's fair that I should have to correct that myself. That's going to be a real pain in the a--."

Mind you, I'm not a confrontational person, but I'd had it. This guy is in my office, bugging me, about six times each morning about what he doesn't like or what's "not his job." This was the last straw for today, and it came at about 9 AM. My response was a curt: "It's a pain in the a-- of your own making. Yes, it's fair."

I've spent the day with him whispering behind my back about that. Not a shred of taking responsibility for his mistake. Just complaints about how "it's not fair" that he have to fix it.

Reminds me of a particular Scotsman in California.

The Cliff's Notes version: Do not buy ANYTHING from Clansman Knitwear, at They have no interest in getting your order to you.

The long version: I ordered two shirts in February. A month later, I hadn't heard anything, so I emailed. And emailed. After several days, I received a call from a lovely woman who explained the mixup at the warehouse and said she was sending me an extra shirt for free. Nice! I should have had them in three days.

TWO shirts were mailed to me. A WEEK later. That's mailed, not received. And guess what? They were the wrong ones.

So, I'm called and emailing again. Days later, I get a call from the owner, Ralph. Thick Scottish brogue. I have to admit falling for the charm in that! I believed that he was making it right for me, although I had to tell him what my original order was.

Again, days passed into weeks. Nothing. I spoke with Ralph one more time. He even told me he'd send a SASE for the wrong shirts, if I'd please send them back. Guess what? You got it -- NOTHING.

This time, though, my emails and calls went unanswered. I finally contacted their local BBB, and found they had a history of such complaints. I also found that I could file a complaint with the FTC, who would investigate them for consumer rights violations and take legal action. They also recommended that I forward my information to the state Attorney General.

So, I wrote Ralph one more time, to let him know the Attorney General was about to learn his name. THAT got a response. However, Ralph blamed his staff for letting me down. He never took responsibility for dropping the proverbial ball himself. I mean, he spoke with me twice and knew how upset I was. He knew I was looking into the BBB and disputing the charge with my bank. But he didn't take ownership of the problem and see it through himself. He passed it off to someone else (allegedly) and they dropped it (in his story).

It boils down to integrity. Will you own up to it and take responsibility? Will you learn from solving the problem? Or will you pass it off as someone else's problem and make your escape?

Listen, we all make mistakes. It's what we do about them that shows the stuff we're made of.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Survey says....!

Sometimes, when your life seems it's darkest, a little trash TV is just the salve you need.

I was watching Family Feud last night. Man oh man, did Richard Karn have his hands full! On one side was a family dressed in pseudo-matching gold shirts/blouses (except for one fella who opted for a flashy gold satin, yeah). On the other side was a family who thought wearing hillbilly teeth on national, syndicated TV was a capital idea.

The gold shirt people handled most of the play time, but the hillybilly teeth kept stealing the points. By the end of it, I laughed my head off and felt a tad better for it. Sometimes, it's just unbelievable how stupid people can make themselves look to an entire nation.

Richard: "Name something with the word 'sponge' in its name or title."
"Spongebob!" Good answer! Good answer! "Survey says...." ::ding::
"Sponge bath!" Good answer! Good answer! "Survey says...." ::ding::
"Sponge cake!" Good answer! Good answer! "Survey says...." ::ding::
"Sponge nose!" Good answer! Good answer!

... Richard looks astonished....

"Survey says...." ::RRRR:: Strike one!
"Sponge cleaner!" Good answer! Good answer!

... Richard looks a little baffled....

"Survey says...." ::RRRR:: Strike two!

Richard to Satin Shirt: "Okay, you have two strikes. Your opponents are set to steal if you miss this answer. What'll it be?"

Satin Shirt: "Well, Richard, if I-uz in trouble with the law, I'd want my record..." Get ready for it. "...esponged."

Richard Karn had the best "WTF?" face I've ever seen, as the gold shirt family hollered "Good answer! Good answer!"

Hillbilly teeth stole the points and won the round. Shock and awe.

I saw the second best "WTF?" face when Satin Shirt was in the same one-more-strike-and-you-lose position and was asked to name a country that people admire. Canada is on the board. France, Italy, England.

And Satin Shirt says, (I'm seriously not making this up) "Europe!"

For a moment, I wondered how this man made the team. Then I heard to enthusiastic chorus of "Good answer!" and knew all I needed to.

Not that the Hillbilly Teeth family was much better, mind you. In the bonus round, they made 72 points (you need 200). Highlight:
"Name something you see at the side of the road."

And the man was emphatic about it. Evidently, the survey people haven't been to his neighborhood.

Okay, so I know I shouldn't laugh at stupid people. They can't help it. But I needed the laugh and they were on national TV. Better than chicken soup.

---- Update: No kidding, I heard this one the other day: "Name something people stick pins in." Answer: "Their eyes." Wow.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


It's hot. Not outside. Inside.

I know, I can hear y'all now: "But you live in TEXAS, Blogget! What do you expect?"

Some people are surprised to learn that we get snow here. Well, most years. It seems the only consistent weather pattern we have around here anymore is wind. Anyhow, it's not all sun and sweltering here. We actually have winter.

But this is in my office! 9:30 AM and it's 80 degrees in here! For the love of all that's holy and comfortable, why can't they manage to fix an air conditioner? The summers have always been unbearable in this building, on the upper floor (there's only two!). I think the A/C man's truck has a permanent parking spot around back.

Wouldn't you LOVE to have a job where you can accomplish nothing good, day in and day out, and still be paid? Still have a job?

So, we all invest in fans. That means we now have wind inside, too.

The drone of the fans can lull you into dreamland in no time. So...::yawn::...I'll talk to y'all later....zzzzzzzzzzz

Monday, April 10, 2006

His best friend

Honest, that's what he called me. He said I was the best friend he had, so he had to make sure things were worked out with me. What do you make of that?

As expected, he called back tonight. I'll spare you the color commentary and jump right into the Cliff's Notes version.

I explained myself a little more calmly. He's asking the impossible - for me to accept that he should take our children on a trip with his daughter (from the second marriage), his new girlfriend, and her son. For pity sake, they've been going out a very short time and they want to have this Big Happy Family trip with all the kids? How fair is that to the kids if this "just dating" thing doesn't work out? That's not even mentioning the appropriateness question.

Remove the girlfriend from the picture. I also don't believe he can handle the kids properly. Mr. Teenage Attitude can really push the limits. And he (my ex) is very insensitive to our daughter's viewpoint of everything. He's quickly forgotten the pain he inflicted when he sprung a new (and unpleasant) stepmom on them, quickly followed by a new baby. Those things don't go away so fast. And my daughter is particularly sensitive and that won't change. It's who she is.

The traveling thing is out for now. He does, however, want to spend more time with the kids. "I have to get your trust back," he said. Baby steps, because I'm hard to convince. I don't take chances with them.

For what it's worth, the new girlfriend had already suggested that he needed to spend more time with our daughter, doing things that interest her. So, she's seen the inequity, too. That must make it pretty hard for him to argue with me.

For the record, he still hasn't won an argument with me.

The best part of being a divorced mom....

...really has to be dealing with your ex-husband/kids' father. No, really. It's delightful.

(Is the sarcasm dripping from your screen yet?)

He wasn't this way when we dated. Honestly. He was attentive and loving and caring and romantic. He adored me and showed it. A few years later, he made a career change. I won't name the business, but it's one where you're always "on" and have to really promote yourself. I didn't want him to become that. He promised; his family would always be #1.

He was wrong.

It didn't take long for him to expect everything to revolve around him. He made some astonishingly selfish choices and things degraded from there. I could no longer trust him in any way. Now, he's a completely self-centered asshole. It's hard to watch your kids have to learn that for themselves about their own dad, while he lets them down repeatedly. I hate that heartache for them.

He's just past his second divorce now, from a marriage that was a surprise to everyone, with a child that was a surprise to everyone. My daughter didn't take the surprise well. This little creature was taking what little attention she got from her dad. She's understandably resentful. As is my son, who was asked his opinion of the woman only to be told it didn't really matter because Dad had married her over the weekend. It was a bad scene, beginning to end.

He has a new girlfriend, who has a son. My kids like her and she seems nice enough. The problem I have isn't with her, really, but how my ex is handling this. My kids stand by and watch him wrestle and play with her son just like he used to with them. You can guess how that bugs them.

My daughter already has issues about "How much does Daddy love me?" because he doesn't get jazzed about her activities like he does my son's. It's sports vs dance, so guess which one gets Dad's attention and applause? I know, I know -- it shouldn't be either/or, but it is with him. The man just doesn't see the lopsided treatment he gives, no matter what's said.

This morning, Wonder Dad called me. He wanted to know if he and his girlfriend could take the kids out of town, to a ball game in Dallas.

Wow, was that the wrong button to push.

I went ballistic. I let him have it, with both everything-I-can't-stand-about-you barrels. First, there's the issue of traveling with someone he's just dating. I mean, it's not like they are even engaged or have been going out for long. And they want to pack up her kids and mine and go stay in a hotel together. Oh, lovely moral example, Dad.

Even if she wasn't in the picture, I wouldn't agree to this. Just look at what he's suggesting -- a activity (ball game) that only he and my son are interested in. As is usual in such situations with him, he has my daughter there to babysit his little daughter. He's taking care of his own wants and needs, disregarding the little girls who don't fit the picture. It just works out nicely for him that one is able to babysit the other. Lovely, lovely.

You read what my daughter is going through. She just can't take a slight from her Dad right now. And I really don't know how he'd handle the crap my son is dishing out lately. He tends to say things like, "If you think you can whip me, then we'll go outside right now." Great parenting technique. That's what I want -- a crying, heartbroken girl and a boy worried about physical punishment from his dad, all 300 miles away.

I hate getting mad like that. I was relentless. He tried at one point to say, "Listen, according to the divorce decree, I can...."

I cut him off and said, in my best I'll-cut-your-balls-off-and-feed-them-to-you voice, "You want to push that decree? Try it. I can push back. Things will get really ugly and you will not like how it turns out." Don't threaten the mama lion, you pill-poppin', self-centered, nutjob.

The thing is that money speaks with this guy, more than anything else. When the decree was written, he LIED to the court to get his child support set lower. I've never pushed that, but I certainly will if I have to.

"Don't threaten me," he responded. Ha. Watch me.

Friday, April 07, 2006

It's a mean, mean world

Life isn't so easy for my easy child.

My mother picked her up from school yesterday. She has a way of disarming kids, so that they eventually talk about things they don't want to talk about. I think it has something to do with ice cream.

At that same moment, I was talking to one of my daughter's teachers. We discussed some trends we've seen with her behavior and possible solutions. When I got off the phone, my mother called and told me about the conversation she had with my daughter.

My heart is broken. Why does the world have to be so mean for kids?

My child is very much like me as a child. She is imaginative and often "in her own world." We just have odd thoughts richoceting around in our heads and it's distracting! She is tall for her age and looks like your classic porcelain doll, with ivory skin and a mass of jet black curls. All of this makes her very unique and memorable. Unfortunately, it also makes her a target.

She has a very open, loving, trusting personality. She doesn't understand why anyone would not want to be her friend. I remember once when she was little, she climbed into the ball pit at Chuckee Cheese's. She said the the little girl in there, "Do you want to be my friend and play with me?" The girl said, "No." My daughter turned towards me and yelled from the ball pit, "SHE SAID NO!! SHE DOESN'T WANT TO BE MY FRIEND!!" She was completely flabberghasted and wanted to share her shock.

Now, she just cries.

Apparently, she is sitting at the back of the room in most of her classes, with girls she once considered friends. They discovered that she is easily distracted by noise. It completely disrupts her brain. So, they make noise. Incessantly.

"I'm the kid everyone likes to play tricks on," she said. "And they laugh and think it's funny. Not many people like me."

That made my mother cry. It made the teacher cry, too, when I asked for her help. I cried, remembering that pain all too well. A classroom of kids laughing at the jokes being made at my expense. Name calling. Sneers. The delighted looks as they broke your heart. What was fun about that? What was it about me that they felt I deserved that? I have never understood. Words really can hurt as much as sticks and stones.

And my child is living it, too. I enlisted the teacher's help, in such a way as my daughter's name won't be known as the "victim." She felt so bad for her. She's just been telling me what a spectacular kid she is, then we learn about this private hell she's been enduring.

You just want to hold them and protect them all of their lives. I hate that I can't. The school does anti-bully activities and such, but something just doesn't get through.

If you have kids or even just know kids, make sure they know the damage their words or unkindness can bring. I have the scars still, thirty-some-odd years later. I have memories I'll never share with anyone because I'm too ashamed. And it's happening to another generation. There are other ways to deal with someone who is a little different. Hurting them isn't the answer -- getting to know them is.

For now, I want to keep the world away from her, even though that's not realistic. I'd do just about anything to take away that pain.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

"I have a headache THIS big...."

...and it has LIFE written all over it!

I'm stressed to the gills today. Writing makes me feel better. So, here I am, dear diary.

Do you ever just reach a point where one more thing happens and your brain snaps? I mean, I could almost hear it snap like a twig.

"Darling child of mine, what's this in your folder?"
"A progress report."
"This looks pretty bad. Why didn't I see this two weeks ago?" (reading the date on it.)
"Uhm, I had Nana sign it."
"Yeah, so I wouldn't get in trouble. I told her it was old, though."
"Well, you're in a lot more trouble now. What's this zero on your homework?"
"I didn't finish it."
"You've had four days now. Is it finished yet?"
"Why? You've been saying you didn't have homework this week."
"I dunno."

The end of the grading period is tomorrow. I can't do a danged thing about it now. The teachers probably wonder why they haven't heard from me, the hands-on parent. I can only hope my dear child pulled out the stops and brought up those grades on her own. Anyone laying bets on that?

And this is my easy child. She never does this kind of thing.

My son has been Mr. Attitude this week. Too much going on, with the time change, loads of homework, baseball, and the city track championship. I'm hearing some things about him and a particular girl that I hope aren't true. She is a typical teenager and can't keep her mouth shut, so her bragging makes its way to me. If she's honest, then he's lying. There's conversation #2 that I have to have tonight, but never wanted to have at all.

My boyfriend lost his job. It's not as bad as it sounds, but it's not good. It was only a part-time student job, but it was in his career field. The boss really targeted him and it looks as though the reason cited are bogus, so it wasn't a great environment to be in. Still, he has some trouble finding jobs because he has a rare disorder that is slightly disfiguring. It seems to turn people off. I worry about him not finding another job in his career field.

I'm concerned (again) about how our relationship is going right now. I'm getting that something's-going-on-and-I-dont-see it feeling. On the phone, he talks about all sorts of romantic ideas for our date nights. Then, the day of and in person, he says, "I dunno. What do you want to do?" Romance ::poof!:: forgotten. It's disheartening.

I think my aunt is dying and I haven't seen her in a long while. Her husband died last week and my folks traveled to his funeral. They were shocked at her state of debilitation. My mom wants to go visit again, but my dad hates this aunt. I'm in the middle of their bickering about it, and Mom's worry over her sister.

I got a kick-ass evaluation at work. So, I asked my boss about opportunities for advancement for me, in some restructuring that will happen at work soon. Totally broadsided the poor woman. She stammered and groped around for an answer, but honestly hadn't thought about it. That was disturbing. I mean, I don't want to be Director of Everything, but I'm over-educated and over-qualified for my position since finishing my Master's degree. I have proven a higher level of responsibility, especially in a leadership role. I like what I do, but I can do so much more! I'd like to move past the entry-level position I'm in. But she's never thought about it. I don't like the sound of that.

I've been traveling -- respresenting our division at international, national, and state conferences, presenting sessions and research, working on research with a high-powered woman who ranks well above my boss. So, I've visible outside of this little sphere of influence. I hate the thought of looking elsewhere, but I might have to.

I want a doctorate. I just have to find out how to pay for it. And have the time for it.

I haven't managed to finish the school newsletter yet, and it's deadline day. They'll just have to understand this time that I had bigger things going on.

I miss my dog.

Okay, stress-vent over for now. Thanks for listening :o)