Let me start this rant (ish) by stating that I FULLY support the protests against breaking the public unions in WI and other places. If I could have found somebody to go with me, I would be at the rally in Hartford right now. These are not opening shots against worker’s rights, but they are certainly a ratcheting up of the war on them.  But I find myself asking, where are the rallys, the protests, the rage against the ratcheting up of the war on women’s reproductive rights/health?  Yes, most of the people I surround myself with are outraged, we’re posting link after link, making every more subtle “The Handmaid’s Tale” references.  But, and i”m not calling anybody out, a lot of people are dismissing these ridiculous laws that are being proposed, simply dismiss them as “stunt politics” and do nothing.  Yup, they are stunt politics.  And, yup, most of them probably aren’t going to pass.  But….we should STILL be pissed about it.  And more than that, we should be scared.  In my never to be humble opinion, women should be enraged by every one of these “stunts.”  It’s ridiculous!  A law proposing that women who come forward and say they’ve been raped are going to be “accusers” not “victims”, but other people alleging other (non woman related) crimes are victims?  WTF?  Maybe instead of saying “X was raped” we should say “X’s vagina was burgled” as apparently, burglery victims are more victims than those who are raped.

and I have now reached the point where my rage is interfering w/ my ability to be cogent, so I shall change topics.  Sort of.

Do you know what I’d like to see?  People who are truly, sincerely anti-abortion who, instead of picketing, threatening, terrorizing, etc women who go to receive reproductive care, which may or may not include abortion, come away from the clinics, and offer to actually HELP these women.  Would it end abortion?  Of course not, but I bet it would decrease it at least a bit if women faced w/ an unplanned pregnancy were told, “ok, we will take care of you, physically and mentally and emotionally until you come to term, and we will place your child in a completely closed, fully vetted adoption”

That would be far more pro-life than screaming “baby killer” at a woman who’s trying to get a pap smear.

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I suppose now is as a good a time as any to discuss the glaring thing I haven’t been discussing in this blog.  My children.  Not the furbabies, my sons.  Both of my sons, when I decided I had to get out of AL, made the decision to stay, and who can blame them?  Al is home to them, they have spent their whole lives there, friends relationships etc.  So, I’m not angry at them, please don’t ever think that, but I don’t write about them often because I miss them too damn much.  Even in a blog that bears my real honest to God name, where I talk about epic failures and personal triumphs, there are things that are too private for blogs….at least in my opinion.  I will be honest with you, gentle readers, but that doesn’t mean I’m telling you everything.  I do censor myself for language, I do even occasionally proof read and spell check, and there are things that are not necessarily your business.  But I realized that those who knew my, and knew my children might think badly of me for not talking about them, so here is the truth.  I miss them to the depths of my soul.  Every day, hell probably every waking hour, I think about them.  Cuz, you see I don’t just love my kids cuz they’re mine, I love them because of who they are.  They are funny, sarcastic, witty, smart, wonderful humans, and I miss them constantly.  But that pain is one I try not to dwell on.  They are grown and practically grown, respectively, and it was their choice to make, and I understand, fully, why they made the decisions they did.  Hell, it’s the decision I would have made at their ages–Hell, I did make that decision at 19, when my parents moved to Southern Illinois.  So, I try not to think about it often.

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So, I’m a little behind the mark on this one, but Friday’s dinner with Rebekah and Andee was generally succesfull.  The pulled pork was fantastic, as it seem to usually be.  The cole slaw was improved drastically by changing the amount of vinegar from 2.5 teaspoons to 1/4 cup.  However, the bbq chik’n (fake meat) wasn’t as good as I hoped, primarly because I didn’t ration enough bbq sauce for it to be bbq…it was mostly just fried up fake chicken.  The cake, however…EPIC SUCCESS.  Guiness cake is going to become my bring to things dish, I believe.  Rebekah and Andee where also far too generous to us, bringing beer for dinner, (Newcastle, yum), two bottles for our liquor cabinet, a lovely pomegranate liquor  and a bottle of Bailey’s, and a BJ’s gift card. (BJs is a warehouse shopping place, like Sam’s Club, not anything dirty, ya preverts).  Such generosity meant so much to me, and I really do appreciate it very much.  Conversation flowed beautifully, from subject to subject, a lovely time was had by all.  Hope to see them again soon.
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housewifery news

I am coming to really appreciate the peace that seems to go along w/ having a tidy house.  How unstressfull my home feels when I look around and instead of seeing piles and piles of dirty laundry, dirty dishes, a floor that needs cleaning, all stuff that made me feel the continuing stress/shame/stress/shame/apathy, instead I look around, or I come home to a tidy, peaceful home.When I want to cook or eat, there are dishes and silverware.  When I want to wear something, I can easily find it.  It’s a feeling I never thought to appreciate it.  I mean, I think my brain got that, but I’m starting to understand it emotionally much more than I ever did.  I’m coming to love waking up and not being faced w/ the detritus of the day before.

and speaking of waking up

that brings us to a new section for the blog….Personal Triumphs!

Personal triumphs is a section where I will brag, shamelessly, about something I’ve accomplished that was difficult.

This weeks personal triumph–getting off ambian!  I’ve been taking ambian for about 3 years.  However, my insurance doesnt’ work up here, and it’s an expensive script, so, when it runs out, it’s gone.  I have gone 3 nights w/o any chemical help to sleep.  This is a huge deal for me.  Now, am I sleeping well?  No…it’s a struggle, and I usually don’t go to sleep til 4ish–hell, T got up for work this AM before I was asleep–but I am doing it!

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pork, pork chops, and poop.

I have been, until very recently, a TERRIBLE housekeeper, simply awful–the kind of person who doesn’t allow people in her house at all, because it’s just too messy/gross, the kind of person who if myparents didn’t come to visit once a year, and I was forced to do top to bottom cleaning, would end up on “Clean House” or “Hoarders” in a few years.  People think I exaggerate this, but I do not.  That is until I became unemployed.  T supports me fully at this point, and there is no job in sight yet.  It seems only fair that if he is paying all the bills, buys all my grocieries, takes me out to dinner once a week, etc the very least I can do is keep the house clean, cook, do his laundry etc.  This isn’t some weird gender role stuff, it’s simple courtesy and exchange.  If I made all the money, and was supporting him, I would expect the same courtesy.  So, I find myself for the first time since my kids were babies being a full time home maker, and when you have kids, well, the focus is slightly different. I’ve discovered a truth I may have known once and forgotten, or might not have noticed when the kids were little.

The more you clean, the more you have to clean.

Today, I did the floors.  Now, I sweep pretty much every day, cuz we have wood floors (oh, how I love my wood floors!) but I got proper floor cleaning stuff, and was excited to have them all shiny and pretty.  So, I did the floors in the dining room.  But, then I noticed the windows had dog nose prints all over them.  The clean shiny floors made this far more noticeable.  So, I cleaned the dog nose prints off the windows.  While doing that, I became aware that the windowsills were looking a bit dusty, so I cleaned them.  Oh, look there is a tiny lil bit of paint on the floor that I missed when I cleaned up from painting the other day, now let me scrub that up.  Oh, dear, the tablecloth looks all wrinkly surrounded by all this pristine goodness.  wow, I really wish I had an iron, so I could iron the tablecloth, so I’ll just go throw it in the dryer instead.  Wow, these napkins look kind of boring, maybe I should fold them all pretty, let me just google “napkin folding”

and so on.  Cuz when everything is messy, a little bit of dog nose prints or wrinkly table cloth don’t matter so much…..but the cleaner the things around these things are, the more noticeable become.  I guess, the next time I go to the thrift, I’ll look for an iron.  For the tablecloth.

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Adventures in Cooking

Tonight, Rebekah (I love the spelling of her name, btw) and Andee are coming for dinner.  Squee!  I’m preparing pulled pork and coleslaw, steamed green beans, vegetarian BBQ for Beka, and we have a guiness cake .  Full details tmw, but here is a little preview.  I forgot to take the big piece of dead pig out of the freezer last night.  The pulled pork has to cook for, like at least 7 or so hours, so it really needed to be in the crock pot by 10 am.  So, here I am in the kitchen with a frozen solid piece of pork at 9 am, trying to figure out how the hell to thaw it.

This is the meat, soaking in hot water.  It laughed (in my brain) at my attempts to run cold water over it.  At one point, I’ve got the meat soaking in the hot water, pouring boiling water into the sink as well.  It never thawed all the way, but it seems cooked all the way through, and still 2 hours to go, so it ended well.

Or, I presume it will.  We’ll see come supper time.

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104 in 2011

Last nights insomia read was “When will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops

Now, I love me some George Carlin (RIP).  However, I will admit I was a bit dissapointed in this book.  I suppose, after the other two, I should have expected that it would be another rehash of his stand up stuff, but I had really hoped that it would be something I hadn’t heard already.  Don’t get me wrong, I snickered, and giggled, and probably would have LOLed if Terrence hadn’t been sleeping like a baby next to me…that is, if a baby snored like a bear.   But, some original material might have been nice.  I really only mention it, cuz it was number 17.  So, I”m still far behind, but perhaps the fact that I’m off of Ambian for the first time in about 3 years will allow me to continue the pace of a book a night.

I’m still wading my way through “Why People believe Weird Things”  The last few chapters have a lot to do w/ physics, and space, and science.  There’s big words, and lots of numbers, so I’m kind of dragging through it.  I have to confess, though, I’m quite eager to begin “Persepolis”

It’s one of those books I’ve meant to read forever, and just never seemed to get around to it, but it is next!

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Furbabies.

Kind of like marriage, and babies, there are things that people don’t really tell you  about pet ownership before you get involved in it, and you have to find out the hard way.  Here is one of those things.

Poop.

Just like when you have a baby, you will worry a lot more than you ever expected to about poop.  Oh, no, the dog pooped in the house again!  I’ve walked him for twenty minutes, and he still hasn’t pooped!  Oh, jeez, he pooped in the wrong spot, where’s the pooper scooper?   Crap!  Not in the neighbors yard, not in the neighbors yard!  where’s the poop bags? You may even find yourself discussing these things with your co-pet-parent.  Did they poop?  Oh, Thor pooped an awful lot today, maybe the new treats don’t agree w/ him, did you clean up the poop? Occasionaly, albeit not often, you will have to examine the poop, if the dog is sick, or you suspect it may have worms.  If you’re very, very lucky, this may even be how you find out your dog has worms….Um, am I crazy, or is there something moving in that poop?

Well, in the words of a famous philospher, “Shit Happens.”

how do you draw the line?

We are having some trouble with Baldr.  98% of the time, he’s a great dog, smart, affectionate, easily trainable, tends to not bard w/o a reason, and generally quick to settle down.  However, in the last week, there have been 3 biting incidents.  None of them were unprovoked, in a dog’s world at least.  The first time, I was brushing him, and pulled a knot unwittingly.  He turned, and bit my hand.  He didn’t break the skin, but he has left a formidable bruise. Well, I thought to myself, you pulled his hair and hurt him.  What do you do when somebody hurts you?  What will make it stop, esp if it’s unexpected pain.  Second incident was a bit more worrisome:  He was sleeping on his pillow, and T stepped over him, waking and startling him, plus stepping over is apparently quite an agressive move in dogworld (who knew?).  T wasn’t hurt, primarily because his slipper took the brunt of it.  But the third was the most alarming…(warning for slight overshare, but jeez, I’m 41 and I live w/ the guy, what do y’all expect?)  I had been laying in bed, reading, Baldr curled up next to me, and T came in, and after a moments of convo, started to kiss me.  Baldr nosed his way over, to try to understand what those crazy bipeds where doing, and was pushed away.  Then, he growled briefly, and went at T’s face/head.  He scrapped his ear, but did no damage.

Well, we talked and I cried, and we decided that it was quite possible that this was a situation we did not have the expertise to address.  We would contact the American Eskimo rescue, and the Simon foundation, and see about surrendering him.  We would not give him to a kill shelter, cuz we are sure he can be trained out of it, we just weren’t sure how.

Unfortunately, neither of them are going to be able to help us by taking the dog.  So, it seems like our options are surrender him to a regular shelter, which would do nothing to help him, and if he were to get rescued again, the problems would likely be exacerbated.   Or, he would be put down.  Either is an option we’re not willing to accept at this point.  The decision was re evaluated this morning, and we have decided to ratchet up the training, find the money to involve a professional, (Oh, Ceser, why are you so far away??), and give him one more shot.  The problem is, we’re both a bit leery of him now, which doesn’t make for a good training circumstance.  But, we can fake it til we make it.  On the plus side, he’s not food aggressive, stranger aggressive, kid aggressive, and not particularly fearful, so these are all really good signs.  We took the dog, knowing it would be a commitment, and while we’re not sure we’re the best to handle the situation, we are apparently the best chance this dog is gonna get.  If it happens again, we’ll have to put him down.  If he hurts my T, I will be sorry for the decision forever, just like if he hurts me, T will.  However, this is the commitment I’m making right now, in public, in writing, to be held accountable for.  If we can’t fix him, and that is the step that has to made, I will take him to the vet, and stay w/ him while it’s done.  I won’t turn him into somebody else’s problem by surrendering him dishonestly, and I won’t be coward enough to just abandon him.

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104 in 2011

I’m dreadfully far behind on the reading challenge I’ve given to myself, only on 15 as of today.  The latest read, which I read yesterday afternoon while T watched Dr. Who stuff (gosh, that man loves him some Dr. Who!) and lat night when I couldn’t sleep was Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

This is a quick, dirty, fun, delightful read, far better written than I had expected from the author of Pride, Prejudice and Zombies.  (I found PPZ to be a lot like a delightful SNL skit turned into a full length movie–even the funniest joke wears thin after a while).  However, this one worked, and not just as a joke, but as a vampire hunting story.  There were moments of keen action, and even moments of genuine emotion.  I really liked this book!  One of the cool things about it was that throughout the text, there are “photographs” of Abe photoshopped to reflect his vampiric hunting calling, and civil war pics with things added to make them vampire-y.

But perhaps the coolest thing in this book was the idea that it was vamprism that led to the civil war.  Vampires came to the US in droves, not least of which because of the “peculiar institution” which allowed them a cheap, easy food source.  Of course, this works brilliantly, because of course what slavery did to people WAS vampiric, and not too far from literally.  Thomas Jefferson, I think, said something along the lines of one of the biggest evils of slavery was what it did to the slave owners, (I cant’ find the exact quote, and jeez, this is a blog, not a seminar paper) that the power over a humans life inevitably makes one a tyrant.  (this is me, now, not paraphrased Jefferson)…if a person is dependent on destoying other humans to survive, then what are they BUT vampires?  BRILLIANT!

I would recomend this book for fans of the reVAMPed lit genre (I just made that up, I wonder if it will catch on?) and or vampire books in general.

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Adventures in cooking:  Too depressed/worried to cook last night, so T whipped up some pasta/tuna/cheesey thing that was quite delish!  Tonight is date night, so no cooking tonight, either.  Sorry folks.  However, on Friday there is company coming, so I should have many wild/wacky adventures to tell.

 

Don’t eat the potatoes! They aren’t potatoes!

Or:

The kind of cooking catastrophe a nascent housekeeping blogger can only dream of.

Last nights dinner was to be a simple affair.  Paprika Chicken, Mashed potatoes, boiled cabbage.

It, however, did not work out that way. at. all.

The first problem was minor.  The first time I made paprika chicken, I used a recipe from a library book, which I had fully intended to type out, save as a gmail document, and would then have handy for my cooking pleasure.  As you probably gather by the phrase “fully intended” I did not do this before I returned the book.  Oh, well, no big deal, I think–surely the internets has a paprika chicken recipe, it’s not exactly esoteric.  Well, the internets did, but none of them were quite as I recalled.  So, I muddled through.

2 smallish onions (in place of one big one)

3 chicken breasts (in place of the whole fryer chicken)

3 tablespoons  of paprika (in place of the 1 tablespoon, 1 because well, I like paprika, and 2 because I spilled a bunch of it)

an unmeasured amount of sour cream (in place of the 1.5 cups, cuz by then I was tired of screwing w/ it)

half a stick of butter (which was precisely the amount the recipe called for)

brown onion, add paprika and chicken and water, cooking, add sour cream.

It was ok…not as good as the last time I made it, but ok.

but the real disaster?  The disaster which set me howling w/ laughter to the point where I could barely eat?  The disaster for which this blog entry is titled?

Mashed potatoes.

Now, gentle reader, you should know that mashed potatoes are like my crack.  I love mashed potatoes rivaled only by my love of doughnuts, good danish, and a multitude of other things diabetics should eschew.  So, it was with great excitement that I thawed the leftover mashed potatoes from the freezer, mixed them w/ fresh mashed potatoes (instant, I’m ashamed to say, we’re out of potatoes) added salt and pepper and butter.

I sat down at the table, and went straight for the potatoes.and my internal dialogue went a little something like this

..mmmmmm, mashed potatoes…..

wait…..these are awful sweet…..potatoes aren’t sweet……did I accidently add something sweet to them……the texture is off, too…..Self, are you sure those were potatoes in the freezer cuz these potatoes taste an awful lot like……..

DONT EAT THE POTATOES!  THEY AREN’T POTATOES!  THEY’RE COOKIES!!!!!

Yup, I had mistaken frozen sugar cookie dough for mashed potatoes.

let the mockery commence, I deserve it.

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Engagement pictures are being done tmw.  In preperation for this “epic” event—and by epic, I mean we’re going to the target photo studio, because we are too broke to afford a proper photography session…..I’m experiment w/ hair styles.  This involved rag curling my hair last night.  I was a sexy beast, let me tell you.

This is not me, as I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a picture to delight and amuse last night.

This, however, is me after the curlers have been removed, and brushed out a bit.

(please ignore the face, I had just woken up)  I like the curls, though they are a bit out of control, I think perhaps a bit less brushing, and a bit more mousse and crimping should do the trick nicely.

This is how it looks w/ my hair pulled back from my face:

(I’ve had a bit more caffeine at this point)

and a final option: The hat

I have to say, I’m leaning towards the hat, or around my face, but slightly less pouffy.

Thoughts and opinions are certainly welcome.  And fear not, I will not be wearing the little house on the prairie nightgown for the engagement pics.  I’ll be wearing a little black dress, which manages to be flattering and show off my tattoos a bit.  I tend to view my ink like I would jewelry–I paid good money for them,and I when it can be managed, or is appropriate, I like to show them.

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Just finished watching all the Harry Potter movies w/ T. (I seem to have abandoned all my fine upstanding moral views on getting films from the internet fairies) .  It was fun watching them with him, as I am a huge potterhead, and have been on a real HP kick lately, and he never had any desire to watch them, but I convinced him (season 5 of Dr. Who, Here I come).  It would get a bit frustrating at times, however, because T would do this…(here there be spoilers)

during “Prisoner of Askaban”, the first time we see Mad eye Moody drinking surreptitiously from a bottle .

Terrence says:  Oh, that’s polyjuice potion, that must be Barty Crouch jr.

or, during “Deathly Hallows 1”, during the tale of the three brothers–

So, that’s Dumbledore’s wand, and Harry’s cloak.

GAH!  Stop figuring everything out!!!!

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in the News:

Earthquake in New Zealand kills 65. Apparently, lots of historic buildings were destroyed, and the epicenter was something like 3 miles from Christchurch.  I find myself wondering which buildings, and following the story a bit more closely than I often do world news concerning earthquakes in far away places, because of a little movie called Heavenly Creatures.

For some reason, I felt a strange affinity for this film, and have watched it at least a 100 times, never failing to sob at the closing scene– (this is the closing scene, so you might not want to watch it if you plan on watching the film).  The movie is based on true Parker-Hulme murder, and is very much a story of Christchurch,touching on class relations, gender roles, etc etc.  I can go on about this movie for hours (in fact, I have) but suffice it to say that part of my concern for the city of Christchurch is directly related to the movie, which actually opens with a clip of a tourist film on Christchurch.

Also, it goes without saying that we should think positive healing thoughts, and for those of who are so inclined, prayers for the people of New Zealand.

 

 

It’s gettin scary out there

Politics:

A friend posted last week on her FB “is it me, or is it getting a lot like the Handmaid’s tale” up in here?”  (paraphrase).  She was being funny/ironic but pointing out that there is some very scary anti woman legislation being attempted.  But Today, when I saw this story,

http://www.care2.com/causes/womens-rights/blog/georgia-rep-investigate-miscarriage/ I started to wonder if maybe Heidi wasn’t right.

Seriously, in the last month or so, there have been attempts to pass laws that make a rape victim an “accuser” , attempts to make it legal to kill somebody performing an abortion, a police officer has told a group of college women that the way to avoid rape is to “dress less slutty,” Maryland is justifing cutting funds for headstart by saying that woman should be home w/ their children anyway. Oh, and never let us forget that their is also a move afoot to change the defination of rape altogether, so that the only rape that “counts” is the kind that is the most rare, stranger rape.  Or the plan to defund Planned Parenthood.

WTF, America?  I thought we voted the Republicans (and by “we” I mean whoever actually did it, cuz it wasn’t me!) to help create jobs, and fix the economy.  And yet, it seems that from all over the country, we have anti-woman laws turning up all over the place.  I fail to see how any of these are going to help the economy, or really accomplish anything but making the population of the poor who can’t afford birth control though any means but planned parenthood get even bigger, which it seems to me would INCREASE the economic problems–more people, less jobs, more poverty.  Cutting fund for headstart and planned parenthood is a terrible, penny wise pound foolish way to fight the deficit.  I can shrug off the moron who suggested that “woman stay home w/ their kids like his wife did” as sheer ignorance–obviously this poo poo head is not aware of the reality of supporting children in America.

So, no planned parenthood, no abortion, (hell, if Georgia has it’s way, even spontaneous abortion could be actionable), more kids, less education for them….Keeping the biggest part of the population always breeding, uneducated, and  in inescapable poverty worked really well for the Russian tzars and the French monarchy.  Oh, wait.

Yup, this sounds like a GREAT plan to make things better.

I was going to discuss the recent rape laws that are being proposed,  but realized I am far too angry about them to be coherent, so we shall save that for a later date, shall we?

On to more cheerful topics:

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Cooking adventures

Dinner w/ the Thom was a great success!  I enjoyed his children immensely, though being around teenage boys made me miss my sons in a way I’m not willing to write about at this point.  I cooked pulled pork using the following method.

1.  Take big piece of dead pig, I believe we used a loin cut

2.  put it in the crock pot

3.  add ginger ale and Guiness.

4.  put on high for about 6 hours.

5.   drain liquid,  and shred pork using a fork.

6.  Add bbq sauce of your choice, and put it back in the crock pot for another hour or so, the longer the better

7.  eat the hell out of it w/ friends and family.

This was so easy I couldn’t believe it.  I didn’t make the bbq sauce from scratch this time, but that is the goal for the next time.  I’m not even a big fan of the pork, but this was astounding.  Also, next time, I think I’m going to try using diet ginger ale, to cut down on the sugar content.  I also made homemade coleslaw using this recipe. It was tasty, though a bit bland.  I would suggest using a bit more vinegar than the recipe calls for.  I would also recommend getting the white balsamic vinegar instead of the red.  I used the red, and while it tasted fine, the red color results in the coleslaw looking….dingy, for lack of a better word.

For afters, I had planned to make my guiness cake, which I need to keep practicing, as I am planning on cooking one for the March 17 nuptials.  I had melted the butter, poured in the Guiness and sugar, and was toodling happily away when I realized that I had no more flour.  Moral of the story:  Make sure you have ALL ingrediants before melting a stick and a half of butter, and wasting half of a perfectly good beer!

The company itself was excellent.  Thom’s sons are polite and good conversationalists, quick witted and able to keep up with the sarcastic/affectionate banter of the adults, but equally willing to be entertained by really old episodes of Dr. Who while the adults visit among themselves.  One of the highlights of the evening for me was watching Terrence w/ the kids.

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104 in 2011

Today’s book is “Why people Believe Weird Things”  Just to note, I’m not really deliberately going on a skeptical/atheist reading binge, I’m just reading the books T recently unpacked.  This one is actually really interesting, primarily because it doesn’t necessarily deal w/ athieism at all, concentrating on the idea of “creation science”, Holocaust Deniers, Alien abductions, and things like that.  It isn’t as personally challenging to read as the last book, but does make me think about the weird things I believe, and why I believe them, and if I really do even believe them, or just observe the superstitions out of habit/tradition.  For example, do I really believe that untoward disaster should befall me if I say “Macbeth”—well, not not REALLY.  But I still avoid saying it.  Do I REALLY think that it’s bad luck to spill salt?  No, of course not, but I still dutifully sprinkle a little bit out, and throw it over my left shoulder when I do.  With such things, I tend to take a “why take chances?” attitude.  “Why People do Weird Things” is definatly a thought provoking read, and actually addresses some of thing things I’ve wondered about, and provides quite reasonable explanations for some of theweirder beliefs out there.

I’ve been trying to do a “tune in tmw” at the end of each post, not so much to titillate readers, as at this point I don’t really think I have very many, but mostly as a way to focus my own topics.  However, Tmw I believe I shall go wherever the day leads me.

Day Two: The furbabies, what I’m reading, and in the news

T and I have two dogs.  Thor, who was mine coming into the relationship, and Baldr, an American Eskimo dog we recently rescued.

I’ve had Thor for around 11 years, since he was a few months old.  My mother gave him to me for christmas, and she had been told that he was half beagle and half poodle.  This turned out to be only half true. He is without a doubt part beagle–he is ruled by his nose, and has that piercing, howling bark common to beagles.  The kind of bark you can hear 4 houses down, cringing, knowing that it is your dog making that horrible racket. However, at about 6 months old, it became apparent that the there was little, if any, poodle in him, and there was in fact marked terrier parentage.  I suppose, if I was into the whole designer dog thing..(which I’m not, and I”m sure there will be a rant on this subject eventually) we could call him “Berrier” or a “Teagle”–but he’s a mutt.  I wouldn’t have him any other way.  He’s old now, his black and tan coloring liberally sprinkled w/ white.  He’s not as spry as he once was, but he will still barrel out the door to parts unknown, chasing the scents of cats, kids, and other dogs if given half a chance.  His favorite place to sleep is on top of the radiator, though before coming to CT it was the back of the couch.    When I left AL, he traveled a 1000 miles on my lap.  He’s completly ruled by his nose…I’ve seen him be oblivious to the cat a foot away from him because he was following a scent trail of another cat. Thor is not a beautiful dog, but he is painfully cute.  Color and size wise, he looks like a rottweiller and Benji made sweet sweet love.  Kellye calls him “Mr. Scruffs” and this is an apt name, as is Terrence’s nickname for him, “fuzzy butt.”

Baldr is the new addition.  He’s a noble beast, and while we’ll never know, looks like he’s probably a purebred American Eskimo.  We’re not sure how old he is.  Hell, there was even some confusion about his sex!  Baldr was rescued from the  city of hartford animal shelter, (http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/cityofhartford.html)  and until the day I went to pick him up, he had been posted as being a female.  However, as Thor is meeting this new dog, and I”m making conversation with the animal rescue officer , she says, “oh, THAT’S a penis!”   He was found running down a busy road, he’s not fearful, and he’s overweight and is (mostly) housetrained, so it seems that he got lost and his owners never claimed him.  Part of me mourns for them, he’s a good boy, and beautiful.  Smart, too, though he can’t quite seem to master the “down” command yet.

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Now, I’m going to change topics.

A semi-regular feature that will be included on this blog:  2011 book challenge:  104 books in 52 weeks.

The book I”m reading now.

http://www.amazon.com/God-Not-Great-Religion-Everything/dp/0446697966/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1298132286&sr=8-1

It’s pretty scathingly merciless in it’s arguments on organized religion, and is causing me no little mental distress.  For you see, unlike the vast majority of my social group and family, I still believe in God.  Oh, not some white guy w/ a beard god, who snoops around bedrooms and love lives, worrying endlessly about who is shtupping whom, or what kind of meat we’re eating, or what direction we face to pray, or how our hair is did, or what we’re wearing.  But some sort of….ineffable, unknowable something that started it all.  As a younger person, I developed the “science project theory”–the idea that God started it all, just to see what we would do with it.  I’ve experimented w/ lots of religions, trying to find the ONE that worked.  Currently, I label myself a Buddhist, with pagan leanings. But what I really believe is that “God” (whatever you want to call it) is really just too big and ununderstandable, so what we do as humans is create “boxes” to try to fit God in.  Some people just accept the box they’re given by they’re parents, and never really examine it, cuz it’s they’re box, dammit! Some people decide they don’t need a box at all.  And some of us spend a lot of time looking for just the right box.  But “God”   is too big for the boxes we make, and nobody has the right box.  Because there is no right box.

However, I’ve always been comfortable with my belief that there is something to try to put in that box, even though I’ll never get it quite right.  But this book makes me question even that, makes me wonder if not only are the boxes man made, but what we’re trying to put in the box.  What if there really is….nothing?  I don’t like thinking that, it makes me uncomfortable and frightened.  I don’t like it, but if I’m to be honest, I must at least consider the idea, and if I do choose to reject the idea, understand why.

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In housewifery news:  Tonight’s dinner is pulled pork.  Following Seth’s suggestion, I’ve got a giant hunk of dead pig currently in the slow cooker in ginger ale.  As I side dish, I will be making home made cole slaw.  And since Thom and his boys are coming for dinner, I think I will make some sort of dessert item.  Which means, gentle readers, that it is time to get off the puter and into the kitchen.

Tune in tomorrow for dinner reviews, shameless navel gazing, and thoughts on conservatives and reproductive control.

Hello, again, interwebs

I used to blog.  I used to blog a lot.  That was before grad school.  Like reading for fun, eating healthily,  keeping up with daily housework, and having healthy relationships like those outside acadamia, blogging went the way of my personal dodo somewhere around the first year of the master’s program.

Now, I’m not saying other people are not capable of doing all/some of the above things and doing well in grad school.  I know plenty of people who do all of the above, have courted and married happily, cooking gourmet meals, and there homes tidy, or at the very least not looking like something out of an A and E show, but I could not.

Today, I shall discuss the burn out on acadamia.

I cant’ really trace the genesis of the moment when I realized I did not want to finish my phd.  I think, if I had a gun to my head, it would come down to buying the car.  Note:  I love my car, but the payments were too much for me to make.  I had never been able to have say in car purchases previously, having been married to a guy (a great guy whom I bear no ill will whatsoever, and am sad for the ill will I presume he bears me) who was much wiser fiscally than I can ever hope to be, and I was a bit intoxicated with the ability to research, purchase, and finance a car independently.  I bit off more than I could chew, and have never been the best with handling money.  I found myself struggling each month to pay the bills, getting further and further behind, and then when monthly pay day came around, making foolish decisions w/ the money I did have, constantly robbing peter to pay paul.

What’s that got to do w/ acadamia?  Well, the further in the hole I got, the more jobs I took on, trying to get ahead.  and the less and less my research/work mattered, the more I worked.  I became depressed, I suspect cliniclly, working far more than I (as an individual, again, I know people who manage the balance just fine) could handle.  The constant rumbling of “no jobs, no jobs” was an on going din.  I was studying to be a feminist Shakespearian…if there is one thing the world doesn’t need more of besides crazy ass religious fundys who blow things up, it’s feminist Shakespearians.  I was working, trying to keep up w/ the grading, the driving, the teaching.  Students became not blessings, but a burden.  I was a terrible teacher that last semester, a pretty shitty girlfriend, a horrible housekeeper, and just generally not a good or happy person.  I hid it well, I think, but there it was.  Mixed in with this was the growing belief that what I was training to do–teaching other academics–really was meaningless.  I would joke about how useless I would be when the zombie apocolpyse came, but the utter ….self indulgence of it all began to get to me.  I was killing myself mentally, to achieve some standard of academic greatness, so that I could teach others to …..achieve academic greatness discussing books?

It was the comps that broke me, the defining moment when I realized that what I was putting myself through was not worth it.  That the ends would not have been worth the means, for me. I would attempt to study, but my brain was always fogged by other things that I should have been doing.  The list of books unread, the dishes unwashed, the papers ungraded, would overwhelm me to the point that I would just….freeze up, and do nothing.  Gnawed at by all the things I should have been doing, I would lay on the couch and watch tv, too overwhelmed by tasks undone to do any of them.  Of course, the bigger the mess around me grew, the more student work left neglected, the more the large binder of notes, secondary sources, and medieval texts lay unread, the more intimidating all of it became, and the more I would just….do nothing.  At times, I would contemplate faking a suicide attempt just so I would get put in a hospital, and all the responsibility would just. go. away.  I was always sick, and would find myself longing for the sickness to be bad enough that I would be put in the hospital.  Occasionally, the urge to just run away, disappear, make like some character in a bad “finding yourself” novel and just….go start a new life would be so strong that I would have to physically fight it.  From the space of a month and a half distance, I’m pretty sure I had a breakdown of sorts

So, I quit. I tried to plan my running away rationally, but  I’m not sure in retrospect that I succeeded.  I did what I had to, and frankly, in spite of the mistakes made in the process, I am sure that the decision was the best one that I could have made in that time, in that place, in that frame of mind.

So, that leads us to where we are now, and where I hope to reblog successfully.  I am unemployed, and being supported by my fiance.  In exchange for this, I am a housewife.  I’m learning to cook properly, not just from boxes and mixes.  I’ve gone from the extreme of living in a pit that I wouldn’t let people into it was so bad to cleaning every day.  We have two dogs that I’m training.  In spite of the sort of gruesome start to this blog, I hope to document these rather dramatic life changes in an amusing enough manner that it might be worth while for other people to read.

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