Friday, January 30, 2004

Good ole Dubya wants to increase funding for abstinence sex education. Way to go. Not.

NPR conducted a very interesting poll on Americans' views on sex education. The majority of Americans do not favor abstinence-only education, although many do favor abstinence-plus programs (encouraging abstinence for school age kids, but also providing sex education). The also present the differing views of what defines abstinence.

I was lucky that my public school system provided a very good sex ed class in 9th grade. We covered physiology, contraception, and issues such as rape (which dispelled a lot of the dark alley, sexy clothing myths). I was given knowledge that helped me make informed decisions. I believe that all children should have a chance to gain this kind of knowledge since they often don't get it at home. I only sort of did. My parents bought me some books which explained intercourse and pregnancy, but they were outdated and pre-HIV and I don't think they got much into the emotional aspects of having a sexual relationship. But they never had any sex talks with me other than my mom telling me she was a "good girl" and waited till marriage and my dad warning me that "all some guys want to do is get you in the sack" which I had already figured out on my own.

Let's face it - some kids are going to have sex no matter what. Out of my 3 closest girlfriends and me, 3 of us started in high school and the 4th in college. None of us were married. Sex education classes provide and excellent opportunity to teach kids how to avoid disease, to learn the symptoms of diseases in case they need to seek a doctor's help, to avoid unwanted pregnancies, and also a chance to get into the emotional issues. They also are and avenue to discuss rape, especially aquaintance rape, which I think is one of the most important topics because it so frequently goes unreported and because the victims are often unsure if they have even been raped.

So, Dubya and the powers that be - think about what you're doing. Do you really want our youth to be given limited information? Or do you want them to learn the facts so they can make choices that are right for them (not the choices you think are right)? After all, those are choices that will affect their lives.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

My aunt's surgery went well. She spent 7 hours on the operating table, but seems to be recovering well. Mom talked to her today and she was coherent altlhough very much doped up on pain meds. She wasn't really feeling up to talking much, so I'll wait till tomorrow to check in.

My coworker's brain surgery also was successful. The surgeon feel confident that he removed all of the tumor. I'm not sure if she has tumors elsewhere, though. Cancer is an evil disease.

On a lighter note, I ended up on poopie patrol this morning. Somebody had left a furry poo on the livingroom floor, which I cleaned and Lysoled. When Zoe, the medium-hair cat, came over to me, I noticed a distinct poop smell. On investigation, I discovered that sure enough, she had dingleberries mashed into her butt fur. I lured her into the bathroom and tried to hold her and cut the fur with scissors. She was having none of that. Hubby was indisposed at the time (as in "taking a whammy"), so I ended up just yanking the dingleberries out with a wad of tp. Zoe was not at all happy. Tonight hubby and I will do some rear end trimming. Oh fun.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

A woman at work has been battling cancer and went in for emergency surgery today. I think it's pretty bad. I don't know her real well since we work in different buildings, but I really like her. She's one of those genuinely nice people. She always says hi when we bump into each other and she's always friendly. It just doesn't seem fair.

Best friend's daughter went in for surgery yesterday to have her tonsils removed, ear tubes put in, and to have a couple of biopsies. I hope that she'll finally stop having chronic infections and fevers. She's already had her adenoids out, had several MRIs and CAT scans of her sinuses, allergy testing, and has asthma. She just turned 3.

My aunt is in surgery today to have a portion of her back fused. She's had chronic back problems for years and therapy didn't work. I talked to her last night and she was really nervous about the surgery. They also had a shit load of snow last night and she had to be at the hospital this morning. I hope she's OK.

Another aunt has back surgery this Friday. She already had surgery last year for a herniated disk, and something didn't take, so in she goes again. If this surgery doesn't work, she's looking at fusion as well.

Augh. Things have to get better.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Lily went to the vet on Saturday for a shot and her post-bladder infection urine screen. She's the only dog I know who loves going to the vet. She loves the car ride there. She loves the vet's office...lots of new dogs, cats and people to meet. She loves the vet and the techs. She didn't even flinch when the tech gave the shot - she was great. I'd say it's 50/50 as far as Lily having a sweet personality and loving everybody who pays her attention and having a great vet and staff. They usually bribe her with a cookie before shots, so she's so busy chowing down she doesn't even notice the needles. And everyone makes such a fuss over her. The cats, on the other hand HATE the vet's office and the ride there and even getting in the carriers in the first place. I understand why they don't fuss so much over the kitties since they're usually hissing or growling, but I always feel a little sorry for them that they don't get any treats or lavish petting.

Every so often hubby will drop a hint that I don't have that many friends and I need to get out more. I don't disagree with this, although since we moved into our house I love to be at home. But I was a homebody even before that. I do have a few close friends. I've always been the type just to have a few close friends. I have a hard time making new friends, and if I don't find someone easy to talk to, it becomes very awkward for me to just hang out with them. I've also been burned by several friends.

The first was my childhood best friend. We met in pre-school and were inseparable. It was pretty much unavoidable that we would eventually drift apart - she was the youngest in a large family, went to public school, and was pretty worldly. I was an very sheltered only child who went to parochial school. Around middle school we started drifting apart. Then came the fated birthday party where she and her new best friend made fun of my tiny boobs. At 11 or 12, that was a seriously scarring incident and drove the final spike between us. We never spoke after that other than an occasionaly "hi" when we saw each other at church. Then they joined a new church and eventually she and I moved to different states. Now it turns out I live only 2 hours away from her parents, who also happen to be my godparents. I've debated looking them up, but it seems it would be really awkward. I haven't seen them in probably 15 years.

The second was my best friend at the parochial school. We met in kindergarten and were close until middle school (hmmmm...a trend? Middle school was a really difficult time). She started gossiping about me, making snide remarks directly to me, then tried to have another girl beat me up at recess. When I confronted the friend and told her to take me on directly if she had a problem with me, she backed off. She moved to another town and a new school. About 5 years later I got a phone call from her. I still lived in the same house with the same phone number, and she had come across it and decided to call me. We had a nice conversation and she wanted to get together. I was getting ready to move with my mom to a new state in a few weeks and never made the effort to get in touch with her again. Maybe I should have, but I didn't feel up for making the effort to try and become friends again, especially since I was moving 900 miles.

The third was another girl from the parochial school that I became fast friends with in 7th grade. Our school only went up to grade 8, so in 9th grade we went to public junior high. She lived on the other side of town, so she went to the other school. We would have been in high school together, but her parents moved after 9th grade. As soon as she moved, she dropped all her friends from the old town. I called her once that and she barely tried to hold a conversation with me. I took the hint. I think in her case, part of the reason she cut ties was because she had a lot of problems with some of the other kids at our parochial school. They taunted her in school, pranked her house and did other nasty stuff. Eventually her parents and the principal had to get involved to make the more overt shit stop. So I can understand why she wanted to make a fresh start, but damn, I never did any of that crap to her and tried to really be there for her.

The fourth was crazy roommate. I've already said plenty about her in previous entries. Enough said.

Friday, January 23, 2004

A BIG thank you to haloscan for picking up blogspeak's comments. I have my comments back. Yippee!!
Lily caused a bruise on my hand, the little shit. During the bunny incident the other night, she lunged at the bunny and the leash caught on my hand. She even had her pinch collar on and that still didn't deter her. (I know it looks like a horrible, medieval torture device, but it's really not that bad. When I was taking her to obedience classes, they made me tighten the collar around my arm before putting it on her, and it really doesn't jab that much).

She decided she needed to pee at 5 am today. I had already gotten up at 3 when I had to pee and didn't feel like getting up again. But I didn't want to be mean and make her wait an hour until I got up for good, so I took her. When I got back in bed, she was hogging up my side. I shoved her to the foot of the bed, she weasled back up in between hubby and me, and we went back to sleep.

Hubby took her out again before he left for work. The neighbor's little yappers were in their yard yapping up a storm. All of a sudden, the yaps got louder - hubby noticed a little head peaking out from under their fence. I guess pretty soon they'll be loose, which means Lily will go even more apeshit than normal.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Today at work, I've been isolating spores using the dissecting microscope. It's rather boring and tedious, so I like to listen to music while working. I decided to go retro and listen to Depeche Mode's Black Celebration. The music reminded me of my second boyfriend (he was really my first real boyfriend as the first one lived 4 hours away and our "dating" was mostly phone calls once a week). He totally broke my 15 year old heart. His hints to me that he wanted to break up with me were 1) to ignore me at his 16th birthday party and flirt with another girl the whole time and 2) to not call me for approximately a month after said party. I finally called him because I was so lovesick and depressed and needed to know if there was any hope for us. There wasn't. Once school started back up, he finally gave me a note with some pathetic excuse for his crappy treatment of me. He also started to flirt with one of my best friends whenever the 3 of us happened to be at the same place. Nice.

I moved away after my first year of college, but still kept in touch with several hometown friends. They kept me filled in on the ex. I knew that he had been fired or not kept on after the holiday season at a couple of jobs because we had worked at a couple of the same mall jobs. Turns out there was suspicion of him stealing. He also got busted stealing some floppy disks (back in the day when they still were floppy) from school and got kicked out of college for a year for hacking into their VAX (remember those) and trying to change some of his grades.

Flash forward a few more years - I'm finishing up grad school and preparing to take a new job. Out of the blue I get an e-mail from guess who. Apparently he had found me on the internet. I responded, but kept things purposely vague - I didn't know his motive and really didn't care to have him know too much about me. He sounded real happy about his life (even though I know from a mutual friend that he disliked his job and had never been able to finish college after the hacking incident) and even offered a pseudo-apology for his high school treatment of me. He also sounded very interested when I told him I was moving to Florida soon for the job. But I never told him where and never e-mailed him again after I moved. Yeah, I probably shouldn't have even responded to his e-mail at all, but it was really fun to pretend I didn't know about any of the stuff that had happened to him in the previous years and to hear his version of it.

All this reminded me of how happy I am that hubby and I met and ended up together. He never played stupid head games with me while we were dating and always stood up for me if his friends were acting like butts. He's not afraid to show his affection for me, respects me, and talks to me about how he's feeling and what's going on in his life. All this is stuff the ex never did.

Depeche Mode was my first concert ever. World Violation tour, Giants Stadium (the Meadowlands). Awesome show! The only better concert I've been to was a U2 show a couple years ago.

When I was taking Lily for evening walkies last night, we came across a lop ear bunny. It was obviously not a wild bunny. I knocked on a few doors to see if it belonged to anyone and noone knew about the bunny. One family said it had been in their yard over the weekend and did nothing about it. Poor bunny. If one of my pets were to get loose, I hope someone would try to find out who it belonged to or take it to the SPCA or a vet's office rather than just let it roam around. I was going to take Lily home and come back for the bunny when another neighbor caught it. I hope she can find the owner. If the bunny is just a dump-off, I hope it finds a good new home.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

I am having complete and utter baby lust. An out-of-state friend just gave birth to twins last week and e-mailed pictures. They are adorable little munchkin girls.

Hubby and I have waffled back and forth over the years. From the beginning we decided on maybe. For a while we'd think we'd like to have kids, then we'd think we really liked our lives the way they were and the freedom we have to take a long weekend and go away. But the thing is, we rarely do that kind of stuff anyway. Last year we started seriously talking about having a little munchkin of our own and decided once we were settled in the new house and had our finances worked out, we'd try to start a family.

Another friend who also now lives out of state has 3 little boys. When we first met, the oldest was just a toddler at the time. I babysat some for him, and she and I used to have each other over for dinner for a girls' night together. When she became pregnant with the second, she was my first real experience with a pregnancy from the beginning to delivery. It was truly amazing. She's such a wealth of knowledge of pregnancy, nursing, childbirth, and raising a child. I really wish she still lived close by.

Next month I go for my annual exam & pap. If everything's OK, and once I find out what to do about the prescriptions I'm currently taking, the light will be green. Yippee!

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Tuesday was the day of the homeless people. It's weird since I commute mainly on the interstate, so I don't usually see many homeless folks during the work week.

The first was the resident homeless guy in the small town where I work. He seems really interesting and the people in town keep an eye out for him since everyone knows him. The little cafes make sure he has food or a hot cup of coffee and one of the churches provides him with meals and a place to sleep. He's often out and about wearing garbage bags over his clothes and tied in his hair. On Tuesday he was wearing normal clothes, but as we passed each other and said our hellos I noticed he had some long stalks of flowering grass hanging off his backpack. It looked kinda cool and made me smile.

After work I was getting into my car after stopping to run an errand and a man walked up to me and asked "Can I ask you a question?" I hesitatantly said yes figuring that he was either going to ask if I had found Jesus or he was going to ask for money. It was the latter. I told him no, since I had no cash on me (and rarely do). So he came a little closer, at which point I noticed he smelled like liquor, asked if I was sure I had no money, and I told him so. Then he told me how if he gave some guy money, the guy would let him use his hotel room to stay the night and get a hot shower.

I felt bad. I felt bad that he was in a situation where he needed to beg for money. I felt bad that I didn't help, but I also had the suspicion that the money would have gone for booze. There's the Salvation Army and a couple of ministries downtown that provide shelter and food for the homeless and he wasn't anywhere near there. There also was an ABC store attached to the parking lot where we were. I'm going to buy some gift certificates to McDonalds or someplace so next time I can at least give that.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Hubby finally took a look at my blog this weekend. He was glad I refer to him as Hubby rather than The Bastard. Geez, he must not think too highly of me...or of himself for that matter!

I was getting ready to freak about my missing comments...I checked blogspeak and they are supposed to be resolved tonight.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Went shopping at Marshall's today. I love cheap clothes and housewares. I found a bunch of Groovy Girls dolls for my honorary niece. They're adorable machine washable plush dolls that come in a variety of skin and haircolors and have cool outfits with velcro closures that are easy to change. They ranged from $3-$5, so I bought her 5 of them. Why didn't they have cool dolls like these when I was a kid? I might actually have liked dolls. I want to play with them now!


Yesterday I had to pick up some supplies for the lab from Wal*Mart (aka Wal*Hell). I fucking hate that store. It was crowded as usual and people would not get out of the way. The aisles were clogged with stacks of merchandise which made it all the more congested. They discriminate against women , force employees to work off the clock , exploit illegal immigrants and use all sorts of nasty means to prevent their employees from unionizing. And I know 2 people who have been injured when items fell on them off of those super-high shelves. One was hubby's step-mom who was an employee at the time. It caused her painful neck and jaw injury that required her to wear braces and special mouthpieces for a couple years to realign her jaw and teeth and Wal*Mart didn't want to pay her medical bills or workers comp. Finally after about 2 years they settled with her. A friend in college had a heavy box fall on her - heavy enough that her head poked through the box when it landed on her. She luckily only had minor neck injury, but Wal*Mart didn't want to pay her chiropractor bills with the excuse that she may have already had neck injuries previous to the accident. Luckily she had a back X-ray taken at some point previous to the accident and was able to prove that the injuries were not pre-existing.

Oh yeah, before I got on my tirade, I was going to say that I accidentally got a pack of notepads and some pens for free. They were in my cart under a big filing cabinet that I didn't want to drag back out for the checker to scan it. I had so much crap, I totally forgot they were under there. I feel really bad about dishonesty, but I hate the store enough that I didn't go back in and 'fess up. Hope I don't rot in hell for that one.

Friday, January 09, 2004

My shoes must have super-duper static generating soles. I touch the car door...BAM, the wall...zzzt, the metal filing cabinet...POW. Now I'm paranoid about using the Bunsen burner. The gas jet is metal and I'm afraid I'll blow myself up when I turn it on.


Interesting stuff on the news....

Lea Fastow, who was assistant treasurer at Enron cut a deal with the feds and it looks as if her husband may also cut a deal. At least he may have to pay a huge fine and serve a long term. Now I think her plea settlement is actually a good idea, at least as far as their kids are concerned. It guarantees that the husband won't serve time until after she's finished, so one of them will always be with the children. But I have to wonder if they were a non-white couple and were convicted of say, selling drugs or grand theft, would the courts be so willing to help them, or would the children be whisked off by DCF?

This fucking sick asshole who allegedly killed his daughter, ex-inlaws, ex-step-daughter and kidnapped his own children was caught. How can someone be that fucked up?

I heard a cool story on NPR about mitochondria and metabolism. It was published in Science. Unfortunately, right now Science's webpage is down. Bummer. Anyway, the gist of the theory is that mitochondria have adapted depending on whether the ancestry is from a cold climate or a tropical climate. People whose ancestors were tropical tend to have mitochondria that produce ATP (which is basically cell energy) more effeciently and give off less heat, those with arctic ancestors are the opposite. So, arctic-derived folks would stay warmer. Our bodies and how they have adapted to various environments really are amazing. The mitochondrial effeciency also affects how much fat a body builds up, so the information has to potential to help understand why some people gain more weight than others. This is interesting too, but our society is so freakin' fat-phobic it's not funny.

I was talking with some coworkers the other day about W's guest worker plan. I still think in principle (principal?) it's a good idea, but realize it probably won't happen and that W and his cronies probably wouldn't fund it anyway. After all, if more folks are going to be eligible for assistance as far as medical care, etc. the money has to come from somewhere. And I wonder that if the plan did go through if the more unscrupulous employers would still look for cheap, illegal labor. I do think all people deserve the right to a decent job, housing, and medical care.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

As I was driving in to work this morning, NPR had a story about Pete Rose and how he admitted to and apologized for his gambling. Except the apology wasn't a good one. Rather than making a specific apology taking the blame for what he did, he made an apology along the lines of "I'm sorry it happened. I'm sorry for the people it hurt." That type of apology is so familiar. Crazy roommate used to make those. Except hers were always the "I guess I'm sorry" variety. Whatever.


Generally I'm a snob when it comes to humor. I just don't find a lot of things funny. Hubby on the other hand finds all sorts of stuff funny and laughs a lot. I even have times when I wonder to myself how the hell he can think something so stupid is so funny. But I do have my lowbrow humor weakness: farts. I came across this thunderbutt blog yesterday and it killed me. Our dog Lily is the queen of Ninja Farts (hubby's name for SBDs). She even occasionally has an audible fart or burp and I always crack up. We recently had her out for walkies, I heard a fart, asked hubby if it was him, he said no, asked if it was me, I said no, then we realized it was Lily and had a good laugh. She's also done the fart-and-stare-in-amazement-at-her-butt phenomenon. Even the cats get in on the Ninja Farts every so often. We had to stop feeding them canned food because it gave 2 of them horrid gas.

My all time favorite fart scene from a movie is in Scooby Doo. The part where Shaggy is inside the suit of armor next to a torch and farts and it makes the tinny popping sound. Ohmygod. I skipped the DVD back prolly 5 times to replay that part it had me laughing so hard. (Allright, I probably replaid it more like 10 times.)

How to poop at work also had me rolling compliments of Stacey.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

So today's big news is W's proposed plan to allow illegal immigrant workers to obtain legal paperwork. Personally, I think it's a good idea. Granted, I don't know much on the details and I'm interested to learn more. The major arguments against it are that it would allow terrorists in and that the illegals are taking jobs away from Americans. I don't know much about the allowing terrorists in aspect, but it sounds like the worker would have to prove that they have an honest job offer and I'm sure some sort of background check would be in order. As far as them taking jobs away from "unemployed and underemployed Americans", as one opponent put it, I disagree. Don't get me wrong, unemployment and underemployment are problems in the US. Big ones. But if we're going to go that route, then we need to fix issues like the pay discrepancies between men and women and between whites and minorities, and I don't see much of that happening. I would like to see a breakdown of jobs held by illegals vs. legals. I have a feeling that the legals aren't busting down any doors to get the jobs that the illegals have.

I live in Florida, where we have a huge agriculture industry and a lot of illegal workers, many of whom are Latinos. In fact, the lab I work in has ties to the citrus industry. I've participated in harvests of experiments and have yet to see a non-Latino working on a picking crew. It's ass-busting work - climbing up and down rickety ladders with a sack of heavy fruit. Pickers are paid by the volume of fruit they pick, so they work as quickly as they can. The weather can be anyway from 50-80 degrees and the pickers generally work from 6 or 7 am to 4 or 5 pm. It's a long day. The pickers also dress in gloves, long pants and long sleeves to help reduce the unavoidable scratches - many varieties of citrus have nasty thorns. And a good number of them are illegals. One time we worked with a super nice crew and I had time to talk with the guy in charge. He's only ever had 1 white guy work for him and that guy only lasted a day. So no, I just don't see these folks taking jobs away from Americans. A few years back the INS cracked down on picking crews. The pickers that weren't caught were afraid to work for fear they'd be picked up, too. The grove owners did a lot of worrying that year with the shortage of pickers. It's not like the Americans who were having their jobs taken away were now rushing in to fill the vacancies.

So why is it such a problem to allow these folks to live and work legally here? They're already here and working hard. Why not allow them legitimacy, security and protection from ruthless employers who may otherwise try to take advantage of them?

I found an interesting link:

  • Most Pickers Come From Other Nations; Earnings Lure Few
  • Tuesday, January 06, 2004

    The other day I got to thinking about religious fanatics. First off, I'll admit I have issues with organized religion. My first 9 years of school were spent at a parochial school. By the time I finished there, I was sick of having their version of conservative christianity shoved on me.

    In 8th grade we had a history sub for a few classes. She was a very animated and interesting teacher. I remember her giving all sorts of gory details about a Civil War battle. The whole class was enthralled. I think it was the only time I enjoyed U.S. History. Then she somehow mentioned that she could speak in voices. After some egging on by the class, she did. It was freaky. She spouted out some weird stuff, and when we asked her about it, she said she had no idea of what she said. So, was she visited by the holy ghost and given the ability to speak in some strange language. Or was she a kook?

    A few years ago I started taking T'ai Chi lessons again. I absolutely loved it. I had taken a semester's worth in college and again in grad school, but those times I either moved away or the instructor left. This was at a bona fide kung fu school that's been around for a while and isn't going anywhere anytime soon. I took lessons for about a year and a half and got to the point where I know the form set fairly well (far from perfectly, though!) and was even starting on the sword set which is complicated and beautiful. But the instructor is a devout born again and would often use our class time to preach to us. At first we just had regular classes and I knew he taught a bible study class once a week. NO big deal. Then the preaching became an occasional thing. Then it became frequent. I didn't mind the occasional stuff and he knows a lot of history, which I found interesting since I know virtually nothing about world history from the biblical times. Then he told us that God would speak directly to him and he would write the info down into crazy-assed books. I read one and it was some strange shit. Then he started spouting out homophobic and racist crap. That's when I had my fill and quit class.

    But the whole God speaking to him thing really interested me. Does God really talk to him? Who knows. He said he would get sort of a buzzing magnetic feeling and then God's words would just pour into his head. Sometimes for hours, sometimes for days. It sounded a lot like mania to me. And having a manic-depressive parent made that all the more interesting. Manic-depressives can have auditory or visual hallucinations during episodes. But this guy never seemed to get depressed and he wasn't constantly manic-y either. Maybe he's some sort of rapid-cycling unipolar manic.

    It's interesting, though how something that to one person seems divine seems just plain crazy to another.