Tuesday, February 24, 2004

I found out today that the woman who had a brain tumor removed is not doing well. She has additional tumors in her brain and lungs. She's undergoing radiation treatment and if she survives that will undergo more chemo. The outlook is bad. It's not fair.


As I mentioned a few posts back, spring has arrived. The ospreys are nesting, and an unfortunate pair has chosen a utility pole on the campus where I work. The power lines are dangerously close to the top of the pole, and there are several transformers on it as well. Not a safe nesting site. Last year another pair attempted to nest there and had a decent nest started until one of them was electrocuted. No one knows if the bird was struck by lightning, or if it crossed lines, but a coworker heard the boom and later found a charred carcass. I called Hogs & Frogs (that would be Game & Wildlive to you civvies) who referred me to the power company. The power company may try to do something in the next millenium or so, but claim their attempts at deterring ospreys are fairly futile, and that once a nest is in place, it's illegal to move or destroy it. I understand all this, which is why I called yesterday, immediately after I noticed an osprey with a clump of Spanish moss making the foundation for a nest.

I'm just waiting for the inevitable. :(

Monday, February 23, 2004

Last night was the final episode of Sex and the City. I was sad to see it end. It was my absolute favorite show. I can't remember when or why I started watching it - I think it was during the 2nd season and it had either been recommended to me or the commercials caught my eye. Anyway, it must have been around the time hubby and I moved and got cable with HBO, which I faught against because I felt like it was a big waste of money. Now I can't survive without freakin' HBO. Six Feet Under starts again in June or July and I'm anxiously awaiting another season of Carnivale.

Back to Sex and the City. Even though the show has its flaws: no diversity among the 4 women as far as race, sex, size, or economic status - they range from upper middle to upper class; I never understood how Carrie could afford all her Manolos and pay rent (although I think in one episode it was revealed that her apartment was rent-controlled), they each can be annoying, especially Charlotte with her almost-always-a-lady attitude, and Carrie's boughts of whining, I absolutely love the show and the friendship between the 4 characters.

I love how all 4 women support one another, how they all pulled together with Samantha during chemo and her battle against breast cancer, how they all eventually supported Carrie and her move to Paris, even though none wanted her to go, and their weekly brunch get-togethers. I've never had a group of such good friends. The closest I have are the 3 girlfriends from high school that I still keep in touch with. They live halfway across the country from me, but we all try to get together when I go back to visit family. I occasionally see them when they take vacations in my part of the country, but money and jobs get in the way. And we've all grown up and have our separate lives.

The ending to the show was good. I'm glad Carrie decided to go back to New York. She gave up her whole life as she knew it - her job, her friends, her home - to move to Paris and be (as my mom would put it) a kept woman. Not a good idea. As great as Alexsandr seemed while in New York, his art would always be first in his life. The slap made me angry - was is an accident or intentional? Why did that have to be in the script? And why did Carrie and Big find it funny later? There's nothing funny about someone being hit. I'm glad Samantha finally opened up to Smith, and that Charlotte and Harry finally know that they'll be able to adopt. I'm glad the Miranda has also opened up to Steve and that she's willing to make compromises with him, but a part of me was sad by that, too. What's wrong with an independent woman? I know marriage is about partnership and compromise, but I liked the stubborn, do-it-her-way Miranda. And Big's real name was a dissapointment - it just didn't fit. Although there were things to nit-pick, the ending was a good one. Each of the four women found the love they were looking for - whether it was love for themself, love with a companion, love with family, or the love of friends.

I'm truly going to miss the show.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Flea's blog today got me thinking. She wrote about witnessing a suicide by jumping, and how horrendous it was. She also mentioned the police who were there and walked over to the remnants of the body and how it's a job she wouldn't want. And that got me thinking about hubby, who is a cop.

I worry for him every day. I was scared shitless when he decided to switch careers from the relatively safe job of middle school teacher to police officer. I expressed my fears to him, when he asked my opinion, but told him to make the choice which would make him happiest. Honestly, I've never seen him so happy in a job. He loves helping people and he loves arresting the bad guys - the shitbags who beat their spouses, beat their victims unconscious before stealing from them, steal from the elderly, steal from their own family. He's a detective now, which at first was a relief, until I realized he'd be the one getting warrants and accompanying deputies when they're served. I pray none of the people he's arrested holds a grudge. It's a small consolation that he's not in the robbery unit and he doesn't handle murders. But he does handle attempted murders.

He's seen his share of corpses. Luckily, he's one of those few people that don't get all woozy at the sight of blood and innards (although he says there's no escaping the smell). He responded to a call one Christmas where an older man had shot himself and was found by his 10 year old granddaughter. I think that was his first, and it was very difficult.

He once went on a call where the body had festered in an un-airconditioned trailer in the Florida summer. At first the deputies thought the guy had died on a beanbag, until they realized the beanbag was his scrotum. Decomposition gases will do some funky things. A deputy rolled a body over in an attempt to identify it, and a roach crawled out of the corpse's butt...I still get to hear about that one every so often. They cope by joking about what they see. They mean no disrespect to the deceased, and certainly don't joke in front of the family, but they have to deal with it somehow. Hubby also jokes about how people seem to die either naked or on the toilet.

Another time he was called out to an attempted suicide. The victim had slashed his arms and was profusely bleeding. The victim's wife saw what happened and called 911. Hubby was able to slow the flow of blood with towels until an ambulance arrived and probably kept the man alive. Another time he was called on an ex parte order to bring a patient to the mental health unit. She was very distressed about leaving her baby behind, which hubby discovered was actually a doll. He told the woman she could bring her "baby", and when he brought her into the unit, he pulled a nurse aside and asked her to make sure noone took the woman's doll from her. I almost cried when he told me that.

I sure couldn't do his job, nor would I want to.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

The University of Colorado's football team is deep in the mire of rape allegations. A former kicker for the team, alleged that a teammate attempted to rape her, so the coach's response was to talk about what a horrible player she was. Of course, now that he's on administrative leave, he has apologized for his remarks that were "misinterpreted" or "taken out of context". Yeah, whatever. Dissing a woman and talking about what a crappy player she was is always a great way to dodge rape allegations. So if she had been a better player, would he have taken her seriously? Several other women also claim they were assaulted, and the team's use of strippers and an escort agency to recruit new players has come into light. One of the victims told the coach about the assault shortly after it happened, and his response was that he would back his player 100%.

When is this bullshit ever going to end? Why are athletes, especially male athletes, treated like gods? Yeah, I know it comes down to the almighty dollar that these teams bring in to their schools. I just can't understand the whole culture of athletics. Using strippers and prostitutes to lure in players? Why do they even need to use sex to attract new recruits? You'd think the coaches would realize it's not a good idea.

I've also been thinking about the Kobe Bryant case. It seems that the media and his defense team have done whatever they can to drag the victim's name through the mud and discredit her. Yet we've heard that he cheated on his wife, which to me shows a lack of respect for women. Even if the victim is bipolar, or has had an active sex life, or whatever the media is hyping up now, that doesn't mean that she's lying. Rape is rape is rape. When the hell are we going to wake up? When are men going to learn that they don't have any entitlement to women. When are they going to understand "No"?

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

I'm getting over an icky cold. I went home early from work on Monday and stayed home yesterday. It felt awesome to hibernate on the couch under a fuzzy blanket. Today I'm still sniffly and tired, but no longer hacking up my lungs and the scratchy throat is gone. Last night I took Ny-Quil gel caps about an hour before bed. Within 30 minutes I could barely keep my eyes open. Damn, that stuff rocks. I don't remember the syrup being so hard core.

Mom moved back into her place this weekend. Hubby and I installed her washer, but the drain is backing up and the dryer needs a different plug than the replacement one we bought. Hubby also replaced a leaky faucet, so everything's pretty much functional now. She and her housemate seem to be getting along well and the cats have really taken to the housemate. They sleep on her bed at night. Next week they're all going to stay at the housemate's place, so I guess this weekend I'll be schlepping the two ladies, two cats, and assorted gear across town. As long as Mom is healthy and functional, I'm really not too bothered playing chauffeur (although it would be nice if they'd pick one place to stay).

The 2nd bath at home is having big issues. I plugged the toilet yesterday (I swear I didn't flush that much tp), then I got it seemingly unplugged, then it plugged again, the sink and tub started backing up, and now everytime we use the kitchen sink, the bathroom drains start gurgling. Time for the plumber...again. Last time he couldn't find anything wrong and blamed it on air bubbles in the sewer line from laundry detergent. Ummmm...whatever.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Please keep Emilin and her family in your thoughts. She lost her mom to breast cancer on Friday.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Hubby and I went to dinner last night with a couple I know from work. It was the first time we went out with them alone and it really was a lot of fun. Hubby was hyper and in rare form, so he kept us all pretty well entertained. My co-worker asked me this morning if hubby is always that hyper. We had a good laugh.

Spring has arrived. The live oaks are dropping last years leaves and the other trees are budding out. There's an osprey nest I pass every day to work (as I have for the past 4 or so years) and mama is sitting on eggs. Papa is usually close by. Pretty soon I'll see little heads peeking over the top of the nest, then wobbly fledglings getting up the courage for flight. A few frogs have started singing and I can't wait until the full-blown chorus starts.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Two of our neighbors' dogs have been coming into our yard to poop. Mikey, aka Catdog (because hubby first though he was a cat. He's a black Pom and looks like a big, fuzzy cat) is an occasional visitor. Usual his owner stays outside with him and chases him if he wanders outside of his yard. Hubby recently witnessed him taking a dump in our yard, which finally explained the mysterious little turds that kept appearing overnight. The other dog lives a couple of houses down and is exceptionally well-behaved. His owners leave him in their unfenced back yard and usually he stays put...which is a helluva lot more than I can say for Lily. If she even thinks I have dropped the leash, she takes off like a bat out of hell. Hubby has gone home for lunch the past 2 days, and on both days the dog has trotted over to our back yard, taken a shit smack-dab in the middle, and trotted back home to be let inside.

Hubby mentioned this to me last night and we debated on telling our neighbors. We decided not to since we hope to have a fence up sometime in the next eon, and we really don't want to risk burning bridges with neighbors we only know by sight. Our yard also has a lot of shit from our own dog, so what's the point of potentially pissing off the neighbors? Although Lily does have the manners to shit at the end of the property so we don't end up with land mines in unexpected places.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

For the most part, this past weekend was a good one. Mom stayed overnight by herself at her place and will officially move back home this coming weekend. An elderly lady with health problems, who she met at the ALF, is going to stay with her. Neither of them can live alone and neither can afford a paid companion, so it sounds like an ideal situation all around. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it works and Mom doesn't end up panicked like she did last time she tried to live at home. Hubby and I got some chores done, found a really good (and cheap) Asian cookbook, and went to the local Asian market for some ingredients. We had a yummy dinner of miso soup, tamago, and chicken on Sunday. Tonight we're trying out a beef recipe.

We went out to dinner with best friend and her husband. We both worked really hard to be pleasant to them. It was difficult. The whole night was spent bitching about the situation with her mom, their medical bill$, and their daughter's health problems. I don't want to trivialize their problems, because I know things have been tough. I don't have kids yet, so I can probably only understand 1/10th of the magnitude of worry one can have for a child. I know how it is to have a parent who treats your spouse like shit. But I hate how their problems are always so much worse than anyone else's and no one can truly understand how bad they are unless they're in the exact same situation. If I even dare to mention a problem I'm having, they try to turn it into a pissing contest. It got so bad, hubby dozed off for a few minutes at dinner - no small feat at a loud, busy Italian chain restaurant on a Saturday night.

This is what I held in all night:

Warning: Big time rant ahead.

OK, so your mom is driving you and hubby nuts with her crazy-assed ideas that he treats you badly and is cheating/will cheat on you. And then there's her whole recent uber-religious development that the tv is satan in a box and the only safe channel is the religion channel. Your child is on heavy duty antibiotics to clear up a chronic infection which is freaking you out since it's also used to treat TB. But she doesn't have TB. But that doesn't matter. If it's used to treat TB, then the doctor probably lied to you about what's really wrong with her. Because we all know that a specific antibiotic can only be used to treat one and only one pathogen.

Let's pretend you have a child who's 30 years older than you. What the heck, let's call your child "Mom". Mom has a plethora of health problems including bipolar disorder, panic attacks, severe debilitating osteoarthritis, and macular degeneration which has led her to have spotty vision. A few years back, "Mom" was receiving shitty healthcare and went through an episode that left her so messed up she had spells of not recognizing you or her house, was wetting the bed every night, and couldn't even dial a phone. So you took a few weeks off work and brought "Mom" home to live with you until you could figure things out. You had to have boyfriend (who luckily was on summer break from teaching) stay with her every day so she wouldn't wander off in search of the grocery store or pharmacy or whatever. "Mom" also was hostile to boyfriend because she felt imprisoned. Finally you and "Mom" fly back to her home, pick up her car and cats (who have been cared for by a neighbor) and drive her 900 miles in her rickety car, that you pray won't break down, to your grandmother's house. You agree to this because you are so stressed and worn down you can't argue anymore. The whole ride Mom yells at you because you're driving too fast for the crappy car and the cats are freaking out. You get to Grandma's and realize "Mom's" siblings aren't going to help because either they are in denial or can't cope, and Grandma is in poor shape herself, so "Mom's" siblings want "Mom" to care for her even though "Mom" can barely care for herself. But you know that "Mom" has access to excellent healthcare if she stays there, so you leave her.

Now, flash forward a year or two. Gramma has ended up in a nursing home after much fighting between "Mom" and the siblings, who wanted her to take care of Gramma and didn't want to chip in with the care. During this time you've been paying "Mom's" mortgage, insurance and whatever else you can afford, in addition to paying your own rent and bills. During this time you've had to default on some of her credit cards because there wasn't enough dough to go around, so "Mom" is getting hassled by them, which is stressing her out even more than she already is. "Mom" finally sells her house, and is screwed out of several thousand dollars by her realtor who also runs a construction business, and took it upon himself to make repairs on the house without "Mom's" consent. Unfortunately both he and the attorney represent the buyer as well, and "Mom" and has to fly back home the day after the closing, and "Mom" is so desparate to finally have the house sold after a year and several failed deals, that she goes through with it. "Mom" is fortunately able to pay off the mortgage, her credit cards, and buy a trailer in your hometown. "Mom" still is not stable between then and the present is in and out of hospitals and day treatments. "Mom" ends up on Medicare, which thankfully covers a substantial amount of her medical bills, but does not cover prescriptions. "Mom's" monthly prescription bill ranges from $300-$500 depending on her meds. Guess who pays those bills. Guess who "Mom" calls when she's in a panic and begs to take the day off work and stay with her. Guess who often drives "Mom" to the doctor (which involves taking time off work), the grocery store, the pharmacy. Guess who buys groceries for "Mom" when she can't afford them.

So, no, best friend, I guess I can't fucking understand anything about your situation.

Friday, February 06, 2004

All week we were on an Amber Alert for Carlie Brucia. This morning the police announced her body was found not far from the carwash where she was taken. Joe Smith, the man charged with her abduction and murder sounds like a real shitbag.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

I wasn't going to write about the Janet Jackson boob fiasco. I'm so f-ing sick of hearing about it on tv, radio, and everyone talking about it. But this morning I heard that Justin Timberlake is putting all the blame on Janet. Now there is a slim chance that he thought she'd be covered underneath the bustier. But it was his damn hand that yanked her bustier-scarf thing off. I sure didn't see Janet reach up there and do it herself. Wait, maybe she used some sort of psychic mind-control and forced him to pull it off. Whatever. Pretty soon men will be blaming domestic violence and rape on women. Oh yeah, they already do.

I hate how our culture sexualizes women's bodies. We use T&A to sell everything from cars to beer. Breasts serve a biological purpose. If we weren't so damn obsessed with women-objects, the boob fiasco would never have happened.

Hubby and I are getting together with best friend (bf) and her husband for dinner this weekend. I'm really not wanting to go, but this week was her birthday, so it'll be a chance for us to give her the present, yadda yadda. I'm pretty sure the only reason they've been so willing to make and keep plans with us recently is the whole situation with her mom. Basically I think they just want an excape from the house and don't have many other friends to socialize with. Her mom also likes hubby and me, so she approves of them hanging with us (bizarre, I know) and probably doesn't give them shit about it. Yesterday hubby got some mild flak from bf's hubby. He had left a message a couple days ago to call him to give info on day spas. We don't know anything about any of them, so hubby asked around at work. We figured he was going to surprise bf for Valentine's Day, so we didn't hurry to call back. When hubby did call yesterday, bf's hubby got onto him for taking so long. Turns out he wanted it for her birthday. Like the saying goes "Lack of planning on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on mine." Petty things, I know, but they add up after a while.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Speaking of kick-ass women, NPR's Dava Ardalan had a great series on MOrning Edition this week about Iran and the work for women's rights that are going on there.
Several years I worked with the US Forest Service as part of a research project. A technician there was a totally kick-ass woman. She spoke her mind, no matter who it might offend or embarrass and I respected her for it even though I often disagreed with her. Yet I never had any difficuly getting along with her. Unfortunately, it did cause problems with her supervisor.

The Forest Service in addition to all the outdoorsy, foresty stuff they do also provides educational programs for kids. Smokey the Bear was commandeered by the state's forestry division, so the USFS folks got Woodsy "Give a hoot, don't pollute" Owl. Kick-ass woman was the only one short enough to fit in the costume, so she had the misfortune of donning it. Woodsy came home with several cases of lice, which required disinfestation, and led to no physical contact with the kids. Little kids, being little kids, love to hug bug, fuzzy cartoon characters. Woodsy also, in Disneyesque form, was not allowed to speak - only to hoot. This led to some unfortunate circumstances. Like one time when a kid hugged her so hard she could barely breathe and had to squeak out several hoots until her partner noticed and peeled the kid off. Or another time when they were doing an outdoor educational in the sweltering, humid Southern summer and Woodsy nearly went into a heat stroke induced coma.

She and I got a horrible, blistering case of poison ivy working at a field plot. Not fun. One time during an overnight trip, we stopped for dinner at a Japanese restaurant and a roach jumped out of a crack in her sushi platter. Yummy.

Otherwise, our research was tame and often boring.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I'm still having big time babylust. But I really, really, really hate it when people ask "So, when are you and hubby gonna have a baybeeeee?" We've told very few people that we'd like to start a family and they happen to be the non-nosey types who won't hound us. Our families don't even know.

We had dinner a couple weeks ago with friends and they asked us the question at least a half dozen times. Then they got their toddler in on it. They would whisper to her "Go ask selzach when she and hubby are having a baby. Tell them you want a friend." Puke. Then they tried a new approach on hubby "Well, you know, when a woman is pregnant, her boobs get big." Yeah, that's a GREAT reason to have babies.

Oy veh.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Hubby is investigating a case in which the victim's car tires were slashed and a book was stolen from the car. The victim suspected his ex and a witness placed her there at the time of the slashing.

Hubby called the ex to ask her about the case. The conversation went something like this:

Hubby: "I'm investigating a case in which victim's car tires were slashed and property was stolen. Will you answer some questions for me."

Suspect: "Which tire slashing was it? I did it the first time but don't know nothin about the second time."

Hubby: "What did you use to slash the tires and did you remove a book from the car."

Suspect: "I used scissors, but didn't take nothin from the car."

Hubby: "I'll need you to come in next week and sign a statement."

Suspect is hesitant.

Hubby: "Otherwise I'll have a warrant issued and you'll be arrested and I'll get your statement in jail. It'll be a lot easier for us both if you just come sign the statement."

Suspect: "Jail? Why would I have to go to jail?"

Hubby: "Ma'am you admitted to committing a crime."

The suspect got angry and the converation ended.

About 30 minutes later, hubby gets a call from Suspect.

Suspect: "I want to let you know that 2 weeks ago Victim spanked our baby so hard it left welts."

Hubby: "Did you report this to DCF?"

Suspect: "No. I don't want DCF involved."

Hubby: "Well, by law I'm required to notify DCF. And since you knew about this and waited 2 weeks to tell anyone, I'm reporting that, too"

Suspect: "What?"

Hubby: "Well, if he hit her hard enough to leave welts, why didn't you report it then? That's serious. Do you have anything else to report?"

Suspect "No. I don't want to talk to you anymore."

Ah, gotta love when stupid people try to get revenge on eachother.

Hubby also know several Hogs & Frogs (Game & Wildlife Commission officers). They deal with stupid poachers. One of the officers placed a decoy near a back road that poachers like to use and hid out to see if the bait worked. Sure enough a would-be poacher comes along, stops his truck and shoots the decoy. It doesn't move. So he shoots it again. The officer then arrests the guy. The guys admits that he was puzzled as to why the deer didn't move. Duh.