Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bullshit Politics

I hate with a capital H the bullshit of politics.

Some say that although our system is flawed that it is the best that exists in the world. I say that if we're a "Super Power" and the self-proclaimed greatest country on Earth, we can do better. The problem is, the people with the power to change it don't want it changed.

I heard yesterday that our country is currently experiencing the greatest disparity between classes than has been experienced since the Depression.

I hear the hollow words of the Conservative Right...especially those who are experiencing no real financial hardships...and they talk about how people have increased their financial status under Republican presidencies, etc. In my adult life I have worked while Democrats were in power and while Republicans were in power. My income did not rise or fall as either of these parties came into power. I did feel economic pinches here and there, received salary increases here and there, but never felt that my lifestyle changed in any dramatic way because of what party was in power.

I can say that during the current administration, my husband's salary has increased substantially. I can't give Mr. Bush the credit for it though as my husband was solely responsible for making the change the led to the increase. And although his salary has increased, we are now paying more for groceries than ever, more for gasoline than ever, more in the cost of utilities than ever...and the list goes on. We also had to sell and buy a home during the current administration. We lost money on the house we sold and got a great deal on the home we bought because the market was so depressed that developers were practically giving houses away just to get them sold.

What credit does the current administration get for these things? I personally have never been so fucking frustrated in my entire adulthood about the state of our country as I am today. We are losing American lives in a country in which we don't belong. The excuses for entering into war were bullshit and the reasons for staying are bullshit. A large portion of the country realizes it's bullshit and there is no way in hell that Bush could get re-elected if he were eligible to run again.

The vibe of the country has been growing increasingly negative. We're tired of high gas prices and of dependency on foreign oil. We're tired of being lied to and being bullshitted by the creation of agencies like Homeland Security. What a crock. We are less secure now than ever because all of our resources have been poured into a war on foreign soil instead of being poured into actual changes in our own country to better secure our borders and our citizens. We are currently at risk and incredibly vulnerable. Although we will never forget 9/11, we have already begun to grow impatient waiting in lines at airports to go through security.

We live in a country where only the wealthy can afford to run for the office of President. I don't know too many wealthy individuals...even those who have come from humble beginnings, who can remain in touch with the average American who struggles with hospital bills, latch-key children, the cost of gas for their two cars so both parents can get to work. How do the very wealthy find common ground with children from abusive homes who go on to perpetuate the vicious cycles of neglect and abuse? How do they stay in touch with single mothers struggling to provide the bare minimum for their children?

We are forced to choose between two wealthy candidates who are desperately seeking the power of the presidency. Anyone who comes up through the ranks of politics and has held a position of Senator, Governor, etc. already knows the reality of the office of President. That reality is that the President is powerless without the support of other politicians. Bills must be written to give a little and get a little. Elbows must be rubbed and proverbial palms greased. Party lines are for the most part never crossed and therefore often times good policies are never put into place because there's a staunch refusal to agree to something the other party has suggested because, was suggested by the other party.

This country needs government and don't let anyone bullshit you into believing that it doesn't. Our forefathers weren't idiots. They established government to protect its citizens, to establish the rules of justice, to provide help to those in need of help so that its citizens could get a leg up when needed. It was intended to be a government for the people and our founding fathers intended for us to be active citizens in our governmental process. How far we have strayed.

False pride and proud patriotism turn my stomach. Support our troops? Yes...but how about supporting what our troops have always fought for in this country? Freedom for its citizens. Freedom to choose for themselves whom they love and get to marry...freedom to choose to terminate a pregnancy rather than bring another welfare recipient into the world...or worse yet, another victim of neglect and abuse.

I am not so naive to believe that the candidate for whom I vote is going to affect major change in this country and be a savior who rescues us from all of our ailments. But we only get two choices and we need to make a choice and get our asses to the polls and vote.

My choice will not be for another Bible toting creationist who doesn't believe that my friends shouldn't be afforded the same rights as I enjoy because they happen to be gay. My choice will not be for another candidate who shamelessly wants to dictate what I can or cannot do with my body and who waves the flag and uses it to promote his own agenda.

No matter for whom I vote, I will still live with the dark thoughts that this country is in really bad shape. For all that is good in it, there is still so much bad. Those who refuse to see it are in denial. They want to believe that everything is peachy because hey...their lives are going just fine, right? And if they continue to believe that,they never have to face the difficult task of worrying about the future of their children and the condition of the planet and the pain and heartache and hunger that exists daily in thousands of homes across America. They never have to step outside their comfort zone and take off the rose colored blinders. They never have to hear the conversation going on at the other end of the table.

Too bad. We can learn a lot and be changed mightily by seeing things through different eyes and from truly listening to the dialogue that's taking place while the Conservative Right is singing God Bless America.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Holy Crab!

When my daughter was about nine years old she decided that she wanted a hermit crab as a pet. My first response was, "Ick". But, after investigating a bit I discovered that hermit crabs carry no diseases and are a relatively low maintenance pet.

We selected a cage, bought a giant bag of sand for cage cleaning refills and purchased several pieces of decor for the crab's new home. We then stood over a giant aquarium filled with disgusting looking little crabs who'd had the misfortune of at some point being plucked from their real home and had their shells painted up like billboards so that they could be advertised and sold on the crab market for juvenile entertainment.

My daughter selected a small crab with a red white and blue design on its shell and promptly informed us that its name was Cameron.

Cameron's home somehow ended up being just off the kitchen by the back door. I passed him hundreds of times a day and would often stop and look into his tank and say something like, "Hey Crab." Sometimes when no one was within earshot, I'd tell him how ugly he was. He seemed to know that he wasn't pretty and never responded to my insults other than to crawl into his coconut hut.

My daughter went to Colorado the first summer she had Cameron and I was charged with his care during her absence. I was diligent in my duties and fed and watered him daily, cleaned his cage, cut up some fruit for him and gave him a bath at least once a week. During the month he was in my care, we became reluctant companions. I quit telling him he was ugly and he responded by crawling into his coconut hut. Cameron didn't show a lot of emotion, but I could tell he appreciated my efforts.

One day after my daughter had returned from Colorado, I heard her scream in such a manner that made me think that she had just had her colon removed via her ear. As I ran with my heart beating in fear of the grotesque condition in which I would find my disemboweled daughter when I reached her, I stopped short at Cameron's tank. There my daughter stood with tears rolling down her face. "CAMERON'S DEAD!!!!" she wailed. Sure enough, I looked into his tank and there he was, sans shell, all dried up like a little shriveled cocktail shrimp.

We proceeded with funeral plans which included the placement of a headstone onto which my husband lovingly carved out a "C" and placed at the top of Cameron's grave. We buried him beneath a blooming rose bush in our front flower bed. We all spoke kindly of Cameron and waxed poetic about his kind spirit and how patriotic he was.

Cameron's tank went intact into the garage for the time being. We didn't want to pretend like he'd never existed and that we would soon forget him.

About two weeks later I was standing in the kitchen cutting up vegetables and singing and as I heard the screaming and panting of my son and daughter as they blazed into the kitchen. I inquired as to what in the name of Beejeezes was going on and was not properly prepared for their reply.

"CAMERON'S ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!"

"WHAT THE HELL????? He is NOT!!" I said. "We buried him two weeks ago in the flower bed!!" "HE'S ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!" They squealed.

Running with knife in hand, (after all if animals were being raised from the dead, I might need some protection) I followed my kids to the front yard. And there, on the sidewalk, some fifteen feet from where we'd buried Cameron...was Cameron.

I stood there on the sidewalk as all of the hair on my arms stood at attention. I felt confused and more than a little freaked out. I asked the kids why they'd exhumed the crab. They adamantly denied any participation in his resurrection. I ran to the flower bed and looked at the gravesite. It appeared to be completely untouched. I ran back down to look at Cameron and then ran into the house and Googled "hermit crabs".

Apparently as hermit crabs grow they periodically exit their shell, shed their exoskeleton, burrow into the ground and go into a dormant like state until their new exoskeleton hardens up. They then find a shell and un-burrow and go on about their business as though they're not the freakiest creatures on the planet. By what I was reading on the website, we had evidently aided and abetted Cameron's growth spurt by burying his little dormant carcass and his shell along side each other in a Chinese takeout container a half a foot underground. When he was all nice and rejuvenated, he simply threw his shell back on and dug his freaky little ass out of the ground and hit the road.

How he made it across the lawn and onto the sidewalk without getting trampled is a little crabby miracle, but make it he did.

For weeks after Cameron's resurrection, I would slowly walk by his tank with one hand over my eyes and cautiously peer in to make sure he was still alive and intact. I also stopped going down to the kitchen after dark just in case some supernatural crab event decided to occur during the night.

Cameron eventually died of old age or boredom or whatever crabs die of. It amazed me how few of his followers turned up at his service. I suppose after you've been raised from the dead, it takes awhile for all but the true believers to realize your divinity.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Journal Entry

Today my journal entry would go something like this:

Got up and decided not to clean my house in my p.j.s for once and took a shower. Got dressed after checking out the two pounds around my waist I gained over the weekend. Put on two tank tops at an attempt to disguise the muffin top. Finished the fifth load of laundry, vacuumed the stairs and decided I truly love my Dyson but can't vacuum the stairs with it anymore. It kills my shoulder. After three hours of housework, decided to not frighten the world today and put on some eye make-up. Ate a Lean Cuisine for lunch and loaded Alex in the car to hunt down the nearest Hobby Lobby. Ate a 100 calorie bag of snack mix in the car because I'm still hungry. Damn Lean Cuisine! Nearest Hobby Lobby turns out to be new, but in the hood. Crap. I like to mix in my hour at Hobby Lobby with some other retail therapy, but the only other thing close by was Wal-Mart. I hate Wal-Mart. I avoid Wal-Mart as much as possible and resent it when I find I actually need something from there that I can't find anywhere else. Damn Sam Walton! Took the long way home and ended up at Fry's Marketplace because I needed green peppers for sweet & sour chicken tonight. Spent an hour in the store because I couldn't locate egg roll wrappers. Finally located the spot where they were supposed to be and they were all out. Complained to the check-out girl when she asked me, "Did you find everything okay today?" Kids came home from school as I pulled into the driveway and within five minutes my three hours of housework this morning was completely destroyed.

Where's the vodka?

Blast From the Past

Wow. I have no idea what just happened.

I finished writing my last blog entry and went upstairs to go to bed. Happy as a clam I was. As usual, as soon as I shut my eyes to try to sleep, a million thoughts started racing through my brain. Like a flash of lightening, a scene from the past started running through my head like a much unwanted movie preview before the main feature.

The guy I'd been making out with minutes before pulls up to let me off in front of my house. A light in the living room is on and this immediately makes me say, "Oh, shit." I'd been late for curfew on numerous occasions and almost always my parents were already in bed. If they weren't actually asleep yet, I'd have a lecture in the morning. But not tonight. Tonight, the light was on.

I walked through the front door to see my father sitting in the chair in the corner of the room. He asked where I'd been and of course, I lied. Making out in the cemetery to Prince's "Darlin' Nikki" was not what I deemed appropriate to tell him at this moment.

Before my brilliant excuse as to why I was thirty minutes late for curfew had even escaped my lips, I found myself flat on my back with my father straddling me and punching me in the face. I can only remember a certain sense of calm as he told me that he was going to kill me. I also recall being really surprised at how fast he was able to throw me from one side of the room to another. It was like being in some sort of time vacuum.

I have flashes of memory of my mother yelling for him to stop and of my oldest sister walking from her room and gritting her teeth and saying, "Dad. Stop it" and turning and walking back down the hall. My sister Inga tackled him and jumped on his back. I remember him throwing her off and telling her that he'd kill her too if she tried to stop him.

I have no idea how long the beating lasted. It seemed like an hour. At one point I remember that my face was turned and laying against the carpet and as he picked me up to toss me around again, my earring caught in the fibers. As I ascended, I felt a burning sensation go through my ear and later discovered that my earring had ripped free of my ear via the skin of my earlobe, not the hole the earring was in.

When whatever caused him to stop, caused him to stop and I realized it was over, I started walking to the back of the house where Inga's room was. Dad said something to me, but all I remember was that..."next time I'll kill you".

As I opened the door to Inga's room, I saw her huddled on her bed in the corner. When she saw me, she began crying even harder than she was already and put her hand over her mouth to stifle her screaming. I panicked and said, "What?! What?!" Choking back tears and screams she told me to look in the mirror. I walked over to the mirror next to her bed and looked but didn't recognize the image. It took a second to register that the mess I was looking at was me. I put my hand over my mouth to muffle a scream.

Both of my eyes were black and swollen almost shut. My nose was crooked and bleeding. Both of my lips were grotesquely swollen and bleeding and I had cuts and scrapes all over my face.

I have no recollection of how I spent the rest of that night except for hearing excerpts of my mother and father's conversation, post-beating. My father kept saying that it would be best if he just left and my mother talked overtime convincing him that we girls needed two parents and that leaving us one parent shy was not the answer.

I spent the next two miserable days at another of my sister's house who'd had the good sense to get knocked-up and married so that she could get the hell out of our house.

What happened after that? Basically nothing. My sister whose house I'd stayed at was pissed as hell and told the Bishop of our church what had happened. I never heard another word. My mother never mentioned it, no one at my church ever mentioned it and it was only spoken about between my sister and I in a whisper until she decided to get the hell out less than a year later when she was seventeen.

So tonight I find myself in bed with tears streaming down my face because this memory is running through my head. I can't figure it out. I honestly thought I'd dealt with all of this. I'll be turning forty at the end of this month and I'm crying about something that happened over half a lifetime ago.

Before I came down to put my thoughts down, I went into my four year old daughter's room and sat on her bed and watched her sleeping for a moment. I whispered softly to her that I love her with all of my heart and that I will always be her greatest defender and protector.

I have suffered at the hands of those who should have loved me and protected me. Those hands taught me to accept abuse and instilled in me a sense of worthlessness.

I went on to marry (escape?) at the ripe old age of eighteen and fell right into the pit my parents had dug for me. I spent fourteen years digging my way out of that pit.

My life is happy now. I am confident and assured in most aspects of my life. I am married to a man who respects me and treats me with compassion and kindness. I have beautiful children for whom I try diligently to parent well. I know I have failed at times, but I keep growing and learning and trying to constantly do better and to be better for them.

But, I wonder...will these wounds ever heal?

Sunday, August 10, 2008


During the holiday season last year, I was working at Bath & Body Works. During that time of year, B&BW is to put it mildly, a delicious smelling fire trap of insanity.

For about two months prior to Christmas there were so many boxes of product being delivered to the store that from the back of the counter to the very back of the storage room there was a path carved out that was only one person wide. At times, you had to move boxes to get out the back door. Boxes were stacked to the ceiling and as workers climbed on them to find the products they were looking for, the boxes became rearranged and very precariously re-stacked.

During the craziness one evening, my manager asked me to get on a ladder and get some boxes down from the open loft in the back room. No problem. Up I went. After climbing around the loft looking for a box of size S/M fuzzy lambie slippers, I located my prey and tossed it down to my manager.

Because the storage room was so incredibly stacked from floor to ceiling, the ladder on which I was standing couldn't be opened up to it's full A-frame extent. It was just kinda-sorta opened up as far as it could be between a towering stack of boxes on both sides of it. I grew up on farms and as a kid, had climbed just about anything that could be climbed so this was no big deal.

So, down the ladder I go. Boy did I go. My foot hit the second step of that eight foot ladder, the ladder swayed, and down I went...grabbing boxes of lotions and soaps and anything else that might possibly help break my fall.

Ouch. My wedding ring had caught on the ladder as I was grabbing on for life and immediately began to balloon up and turn strange colors. My ass was throbbing and the inside of my knee was no happy little monkey either.

My manager freaked out and yanked my ring off my finger and sat me down on a chair and repeatedly screeched, "Oh my god! Oh my god! Are you okay?! Oh my god!" Feeling like a complete idiot with tears streaming down my face I replied, "Of course I'm okay. I landed on my nice padded ass!" She insisted that I go home and I insisted that I finish my last hour of work. I stayed.

By the time I got home and peeled off my slacks, my ass cheek, my arm and the inside of my left knee had gigantic purple and blue bruises on them. I looked liked I'd been on the losing team of an ass kicking contest.

I think that was on a Wednesday night and the following Sunday, I was in a car accident and was broadsided on my driver's side door by a truck going fifty-five miles an hour.

After I'd been extracted from my vehicle by The Jaws of Life, I was lowered onto a gurney and put in a neck brace. The paramedics began taking inventory of my injuries. As one of them looked me over, the other one recorded the findings. Evidently my collarbone had been shattered, my hip fractured, my ankle lacerated, I had a knot on my head from hitting the window, etc. As they started the list of "contusions" I heard them say, "Massive contusions on the left buttock, left knee, arm...."

I don't know whether it was the shock that I was in or just the fact that I was too chicken-shit to face the humiliation of having to explain that I actually received THOSE bruises from falling off the second rung of an eight foot ladder a few days before, but I just laid there and kept my mouth shut.

They probably wondered for days, in what position that woman in the car wreck must have been driving, in order to have bruised her ass like that.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Short Story

I used to have a part time job at Bath & Body Works. For those of you who live under a rock and smell bad, Bath & Body Works is a veritable cornucopia of lotions, soaps, perfumes, etc. Not a bad place to work. When you'd make a mess, a least it would smell good.

Working at B&BW required a substantial amount of physical labor. I worked at the store through the Christmas holiday and it was the equivalent to what I can only imagine Santa's workshop is like at the peak of the season. I unloaded literally hundreds of boxes of robes, slippers, soap, lotion, body spray and all manner of foo-fooey products every day.

On my best day, I'm 5'4" tall. Reaching the top shelves of the store was quite a stretch for me and I often had to enlist the help of a ladder in order to accomplish my task.

One day, sans ladder, I was stocking a shelf of Sweet Pea lotion when I heard a voice behind me ask, "Could you reach up and get a bottle of that lotion off the top shelf for me?" Without turning (as I was arduously engaged in my task) I stretched to my full length, reached to the top shelf and replied, "I'm a little short, but I think I can get it!". As I turned to hand the product to the customer, my gaze fell and landed on the midget standing at waist height in front of me.

With my words, "I'm a little short..." blaring through my head, I handed her the Sweet Pea lotion (Sweet Pea for hell's sake!), smiled sheepishly and walked away.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hello, My Name Is....

Have you ever worn one of those tags? Absolutely useless.

I've had this idea for awhile that we all ought to wear one of those tags, but instead of having our name on it, it should say "Hello, my name is Amy.
I'm an Atheist
I'm against a Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage
I have many conservative viewpoints, but I'm a Liberal
I loathe violations of civil rights
It pisses me off that I have to "press 1 for English"
I love vodka, love to swear and love to shake my groove thing

If everyone would wear a tag like this, we could avoid a lot of bullshit. Granted, I have a couple of friends that I wouldn't be friends with had I known some things about them in advance that I know about them now. But for the most part, I choose the people with whom I surround myself based on a few criteria.

By wearing a tag like this at a social gathering, I and those around me could immediately rule out the riff-raff. "Hello, my name is Bubba and I'm an ex-con who likes my beer cold and my women warm" would automatically get ruled out as a potential Scrabble mate.

Besides which, my husband never remembers names. I think he would however remember you if your tag said, "Hello, my name is Sandy and I like cupcakes, 4-wheeling and men who wear any pant size over a 36."

Maybe I would change my tag depending on my particular mood. Sometimes I'm in the mood to meet people with whom I can actually carry on a conversation. Sometimes I just want to meet someone who likes to let down their proverbial hair and throw back a few with me.

At this point in my life, my tag would just read, "Hello, my name is Amy and I'm desperately seeking human contact."

Uh...on second thought...I'll skip that.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I swear a lot. The more I become fired up about something the more I swear. I suffer no guilt over it. Of course, being who I am, I make every attempt to ensure that I'm in appropriate company while cursing like a sailor. I'm not out to offend anyone. But if I'm in the company of friends, I frequently use filthy words to say what's on my filthy mind.

What's the big deal about swearing anyway? And again, I'm talking about in the context of adult conversation. Let's think about this a minute, shall we?

Take the word "fuck" for instance. It's thought to be one of the top "dirty" words. While growing up in a Mormon household, my family always had Mormon missionaries at our home. These poor kids were forbidden all sorts of things...swearing among them. So, those crafty little geniuses brewed up a clever way of circumventing the system. Instead of saying "fuck", they'd say "flip". So, "It's so fucking hot riding this fucking bicycle in these fucking dark blue slacks all over fucking town," got it...nice and cleaned up: "It's so flippin' hot riding this flippin' bicycle in these flippin' dark blue slacks all over flippin' town." Sounds nice and squeaky clean doesn't it?

So the question is, isn't "flip" then a swear word? If you use a "clean" word in place of a "dirty" word, does it at all alter the actual meaning of what you're trying to convey?

My oldest sister will almost literally go into a convulsive attack when she hears the words "nasty" or "discard". She loathes the sounds of those two words for some odd twisted repressed psycho reason. They are the equivalent of swear words to her. I've been cracked over the head by her on more than one occasion as I've run through the house yelling, "Nasty discard! Nasty discard!"

As a society, a culture, as a whatever, we've assigned meaning to words. In Ireland, if you'd like a banger, you'd like a sausage. In America if you said you'd like to bang 'er, know what you'd like.

It's all just a load of crap. There you go!! Growing up, my mother would bellow, "CRAP" but freak out if we said a swear word. Who dictated that "crap", an altogether icky word in my book, is an okayish borderline word and that "shit" is worthy of a pop on the mouth. Why is it more acceptable to say that "the cow took a crap on my foot" than "the cow took a shit on my foot"? Either way, you've got one hell of a mess.

Anyway...this is my disclaimer. I swear a lot and my blogs will most likely contain profuse amounts of it at times. So there you go. Reader beware.