Saturday, February 28, 2009

Weekend Update (In No Particular Order)


(Okay...in absolutely no order at all. Don't believe me when I reference "today" because it probably wasn't today at all, it was probably yesterday. Or, today.)

*Every Friday night we try to do something for "Family Night." This almost always involves going out to eat because quite frankly, coming up with something to eat every night of the week, then making it, then cleaning up after it, gets really old pretty damn quick. So, off we went to the Outback Steakhouse. It's the best cheap steak money can buy.

As we were all sitting and chit chatting, our waiter walked up with our tray of drinks and as he passed behind me, dumped said tray of drinks straight down my back. I maintained remarkable calm as iced tea, Diet Coke and and a small army of ice cubes slid down my back and then down my pants. There's nothing quite like sitting with a wet t-shirt in a pool of beverages while ice cubes melt in your thong underwear. Typically when I'm in a wet t-shirt, I'm in some kind of contest with the possibility of at least winning a prize.

I spent the rest of the evening in wet pants. The manager was kind enough (scared enough?) to give me a dry t-shirt to wear. I noticed as I walked across the restaurant that all of the bus boys were wearing the same t-shirt. For a brief moment, I seriously considered clearing some plates and collecting the tip money. I spent a lot the evening reassuring our waiter that I was fine and that I was not upset. He tried to make it up to me by giving me a dessert, "on the house." Quite frankly, this was a much better experience than getting cracked in the back of the head with a three foot long pepper grinder at a restaurant a few years ago. Ow.

I don't get people who flip out when things like this happen to them. What's the point? I mean, the guy didn't walk up to me and purposely throw the drinks at me and call me Fatty or anything. If that would have been the case, I would have walked away with more than a free t-shirt and brownie. I would have made him pay for my booze!

*An old friend from high school...we'll call him M, contacted me through Facebook. Or, I contacted him. I can't remember. Anyhoo, the other day he told me that he'd read my blog from first post to last and that it was like crack. "Once I started, I couldn't stop and when I finished, I had a wicked headache." *sniffle* Isn't that touching?! So, I went to respond to a message from him on Facebook yesterday and BAM! He wasn't there. What the hell?! Wherever you are, M...thanks for reading my blog. And...I miss your wise ass e-mails.

*Today Mr. Right and I dragged (and I mean this almost literally. Snotty and Grumpy were none too happy about going) to Phoenix to a champagne brunch at the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation of Central Arizona. This was kind of a swanky little affair put on by UCP for the purpose of thanking those who have helped raise money for their center. Mr. Right is majorly involved in fundraising for them through his company and we wanted the kids to see what it is that he spends some of his time doing and what we as a family will be contributing to regularly. They were bored to tears. Ungrateful little dwarfs. I however, not only got to see where our money has been going (and I'm glad it's going there), but also had two lovely mimosas and got possibly the most stupid looking sunburn you've ever seen in your life.

After the champagne brunch, I slept all the way home which was an hour long drive. I walked through our door, somehow managed to get up the stairs, and sprawled out on the bed. I slept for three hours. I guess that muscle relaxer I took last night for my bum shoulder hadn't quite worn off yet. Between it and the champagne, lights out. I can't even remember the last time I took a nap in the middle of the day though! I should really do that more often! (Yeah...right.)

*Mr. Right played in a softball tournament for his office on Friday. My little Alex and I went to cheer him on. These were Alex's cheers: "Go Daddy, go Daddy, go Daddy, go!!" and "You're the best daddy EVER!!" About thirty minutes into the game, our little cheerleader was giving Daddy Advil for the muscle he'd just pulled in his leg. Daddy is not in very good shape. Daddy is now hobbling around like an old man and Mommy is going to tease him relentlessly to pay him back for constantly telling her how old and crippled she is.

*I've had dreams about my cockatiel, Darwin, for the past two nights now. I have no idea what's up with that. I think he's causing me to be really insecure. I baby this bird like...well...a baby. He has a freakin' palace of a cage with every little toy and dish imaginable. I love him and kiss him and hold him and I cater to him like he's a king. I change his water inside and outside of the cage three times a day or so and make sure he always has fresh food and Cheerios. He should LOVE me! But, as soon as Darwin hears Mr. Right's voice or sees him, he goes nuts. He runs to the side of his perch and sticks his head feathers straight up and waits for Mr. Right to come into sight. Then when he sees Mr. Right, he looks like he has the jitters and he paces nervously until Mr. Right acknowledges him. He will also only whistle in return to Mr. Right. He will carry on an entire conversation in Birdish with Mr. Right and looks at me like I'm a complete moron when I try to whistle to him. I try really hard not to take it personally, but I think it's really getting to me. Another small creature in my house who completely ignores me. Yeah, like I need that.

*Today in his hunt for lunch, Mr. Right opened the refrigerator, pulled out a dish and thrust it in front of my face. "Do you think this is still good?" I looked at him and said, "I dunno. Does it smell good?" He replied, "I don't know if it smells good! Just tell me yes or no!" This is a pretty common exchange in my house. Everyone who lives here is under the impression that I possess a 7th sense that they do not. They think that I can immediately ascertain whether or not leftover macaroni and cheese has expired just by looking at it. I think I'm going to get one of those magic 8 balls from the toy store and roll it in secret every time I'm asked if food has expired. I'll just let the 8 ball answer for me. "Honey...does this chicken look like it will kill me?" I'll roll the magic 8 ball and say mysteriously..."Signs point to yes..."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's That Time Again


Yes, Dear Friends, it's time for another crappy poem. But first, I'd like to tell you a funny little story. One of those stories that's funny in the sense that it is completely humiliating to me.

Mr. Right's Aunt H was to our house for a visit one time. We were discussing writing as Aunt H is quite an established writer and has been published. I told her that I dabbled in poetry and she asked if she could read some of what I'd written. "Well!" I told her, "I just happen to have all of my poems bound in this nifty notebook!" As Aunt H sat in the corner (not literally) and read my illustrious body of work, the rest of us in the room chatted away. About fifteen minutes later, Aunt H quietly closed the notebook and folded her hands on top of it. She caught my eye and looked at me in all seriousness and said, "You should write greeting cards."

Now, I don't know how you would have interpreted that, but I almost spewed Diet Dr. Pepper out of my nose. Fifteen years of pouring all of my artistic angst into my poetry and Aunt H reduces it to, "You should write greeting cards."

I thought for one brief moment about telling her that I was in fact a published author as well. I thought better of it quite quickly as I didn't think she'd be much impressed by the fact that one of my poems had been published in a local Oklahoma paper called, The Red Dirt Review. ( I mean, how redneck is that?) The other was published in an ever so classy staple bound half-book called, Voices From The Valley, which was another local publication. (I did, however, receive a royalty check for $7.00 from that one. Does this mean I've lost my amateur status?!)

Anyway, Aunt H ended all hope for me of ever being anything but a hack. The following crappy poem is one of about five that I wrote, egotistically thinking what marvelous children's books they'd make. (Maybe I should write greeting cards for children...)


To the moon and back on a witch’s broom,
Is what I’d rather be doing instead of cleaning my room!

Mom sent me in here to clean up the mess,
But there are so many things I could be doing instead.

I could make some tea to serve to my bear,
And bake a cake and comb my doll’s hair.

I could be a ballerina and dance ‘round the floor,
And bow to the crowd as they let out a roar!

I’d rather do anything but clean my room-
Like play the drum in a band...boom, boom, boom!

Or join the circus and ride an elephant’s back-
And swing from a trapeze and hear the crowd clap!

If I weren’t in here having to clean this place,
I could be swinging from stars and twirling through space.

I could be on safari feeding giraffes-
Swinging with monkeys and making hyenas laugh.

I’d rather be splashing in the puddles outside,
Or going head first down a fifty- foot slide!

Oh the things I could do, I could sing, I could dance-
Sail the ocean so blue and stomp grapes in France!

I could be a fairy princess in a shiny pink dress...
Hey! I hear Mom coming! I’d better get busy,
My room is a MESS!

So, I'm sure you want to go get drunk now. I know I sure do.



Getting To Know Me

It's interesting, this blogging community. Sometimes you think you can tell what a person is like by reading what they write, and maybe you can...sometimes. But people have lots of layers and lately, my Pessimistic Grumpy layer has been revealing itself. I've decided (after re-reading my promise to myself at the beginning of the new year to find my joy) to slough off that layer and let the real Amy out.

So, for those of you who think you know me by reading my crappy poetry and my gloomier (if it's not a word, it should be) blogs, here are some things you probably wouldn't know about me by reading my blogs:

1. I have no middle name. Actually, I do…now. When I married Mr. Right, I kept my maiden name as my middle name. Bada bing-bada boom. Unfortunately, my maiden name is 10 letters long, so I only use the initial.

2. I can spread my toes out on both feet into perfect fans. Throw in some webbing and I’d be a duck. This talent came in really handy when I wanted to run my sisters off so I could have their place on the couch to watch t.v. I’d throw the old feet up on the coffee table, fan out the toes and bodies scattered.

3. I have a nervous habit of pushing back my cuticles. Nervous habit = well groomed hands.

4. I love spicy food and can hold my own against most grown men when it comes to Scoville units.

5. I will try almost any food so long as it was not once an organ in a living thing. My mother tried to starve me during my childhood by frequently serving liver and onions. I didn’t know about D.H.S. then or I would have called.

6. I am a snob and have disdain for those who won’t even TRY new food. Oh…and just because you tried it once…when you were 10…doesn’t get you out of having to try it now. (Yes…I’ve tried liver, and tongue and…oh gag. I can’t go on.)

7. I love music and love to dance. (I hope to someday be the oldest living club hag. Maybe not. That just made me kind of sad thinking about it.)

8. I am 1/16 Cherokee, but I’m mostly German and French. This might go some ways in explaining my love of Grandmother Earth, my yen for good bread and my lack of a decent chin.

9. I read banned books because #1, they’ve been banned and I won’t have anyone telling me I can’t read them and #2, because if there’s something out there someone doesn’t want me to read, you can bet your aunt’s pajamas there’s some really good shit in there.

10. People think I’m mad when I’m not. My Deep in Thought look greatly resembles the look of someone who has just been urinated on. This is an impediment which I cannot seem to overcome.

11. I love books. Not just the reading of them, but actually the having of them. I would love to have a gigantic library in my home someday filled with tons of books. Then of course, I would need a gigantic tree in my back yard under which I would read. It’s the very best place for reading.

12. I get choked up every time I sing our National Anthem. (Except for when some yahoo sings it and completely jacks it up beyond recognition.)

13. My favorite candy is Smarties. I believe they’ve made me smarter.

14. I am 5’4” but thought I was 5’2” for two years. When my now husband and I were dating he asked how tall I was and I told him 5’4”. He said he didn’t believe it so he got out a tape measure and measured me. He said, “See?” and showed me the tape measure. Sure enough…5’2”. For the next two years I put 5’2” as my height on any form that asked. One day at my doctor’s office, he measured me and I said, “How tall does it say I am?” He said, “5’4.”” My husband looked at me and grinned from ear to ear.

15. I never believe anything my husband says.

16. I love salt. I salt everything except things that are sweet.

17. I have low blood pressure. Low enough that I have to list it on doctors and dentists forms. I love this because it pisses my mom off. She always rode me about salting everything, guaranteeing me that I was going to have astronomically high blood pressure.

18. I am married to the Perfect Man…for me. His name is Mr. Right. (Mr. Always Right.)

19. I used to be a disc-jockey. At a country music station. I hate country music.

20. I believe in random acts of kindness and try to find opportunities for them as often as possible. (Yes, I’m shallow and vain and sometimes crude…but I’m nice. Shut up. I am.)

21. I’m a Neatnik and am fine with it. Some people seem almost insulted by it. What’s wrong with neat? Neat is good.

22. I have completely inappropriate thoughts at completely inappropriate times. I manage to control it… mostly…and they just stay in my head. They’ve not stayed in my head enough times for me to have been dubbed as “weird” on more than one occasion. I used to hate the “weird” label but strangely, I’ve come to think of it as a compliment. It means I’m not one of the herd. Or, maybe I’m just weird.)

23. Thanks to my weird mother (Her name is Barbara. It means “strange”. Look it up. I swear), I use old-fashioned words and phrases in my everyday speech. (I also use a lot of Yiddish. Oy.) My tween daughter, The Snot, didn’t speak to me for a week because I used the word “shindig” in front of her friends. I’ve promised her I won’t use that word in front of her friends anymore. I’ll say, “hootenanny.”

24. I used to be the personal assistant to a Rabbi. (Bingo! Now the Yiddish thing becomes clear!) I worked in a synagogue that practiced a completely kosher tradition. I used to sneak beef jerky in and eat it while making copies in the copy room. I don’t believe in Hell, but if it turns out there is one, I’m going.

25. I loathe scary movies. My imagination is way too overactive to handle them. After seeing, I Am Legend, at the theatre, I didn’t sleep for days. I also wouldn’t go into a dark room for about three months. I had to start watching re-runs of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air just to convince myself that Will Smith was okay. I will not go to a scary movie with you. Don’t ask.

So, there you have it.

Oh...the picture is of me when I was four. This was my very favorite dress and my very favorite necklace. My sisters were horrified when they found out that our mother was taking me to their school to have my picture taken on picture day. They begged her not to let me wear that necklace with that dress. To this day, it's one of my very favorite pictures. (Thanks, Mom.)

Proceed With Caution


A realization just hit me. I've been censoring myself. Damn it!

When I started this blog, it was a vehicle (a cute little lavender diesel VW bug) for me to vent a little, journal a little, shoot off my loud mouth a little, etc. No one even knew I existed out here in Cyberland.

Then, somehow it seemed that overnight, a few people were reading what I was writing. Some of these people were strangers, some were extended family and some were in-laws. Without noticing, I began to self-censor what I was writing.

Don't get me wrong here. Self-censorship is the only censorship I think should exist. But, I was not writing certain things...like swear words...because I knew that some of the people reading might be offended.

Last night as I was laying in bed going through my usual ritual of trying to sleep but failing to do so before Mr. Right started his nightly freight train impressions, I was thinking about my blog (This is a strange new malady I've been struck with) and the censoring thereof, and suddenly remembered that my original blog post was a caveat of sorts. I believe I actually warned any possible future readers that I'm a loud mouth who likes to swear. I think it also contained a warning about my religious and political views. It was kind of a warning label, a buyer beware.

So, I'm uncensoring myself. In a way. I still will attempt to not write anything that I feel would personally hurt someone but can't quite help it if someone finds something in what I write that is offensive. I gotta be me!!

So, off we go. Feel free to come along for the ride. (Bring a cocktail or two. I'm not really driving.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Virtual Frustration


This word verification issue on blogger is annoying, no? I've decided to circumvent the system and have my say anyway.

*Amy Dubdbub - Regarding your Ina post: I love to cook with Ina and Paula! Eric & I tune in Sandra Lee for comic relief. We tune her in just so we can heckle her. (Yes, we're really that shallow.) And to Bob who commented: I can't believe you don't watch Sandra Lee! Her "abilities" are cracka-lackin!

*Alice - Regarding your spectacular Monday: I'm so happy that your day turned out to be such a nice one! And, what are you thinking?! Working out for two hours?! I started breathing heavily just reading that.

*Reya - Regarding your Steal This Book post: How do you keep coming up with these brilliant and beautiful metaphors?! I love reading what you write.

*CherryDawn - Regarding your comment: Thanks so very much for dropping in! Your comment was much appreciated.

*Angie - Regarding your book a day: I'm going through withdrawal! Hurry up, Blogger.com!!!

So, there. Just try and stop me from having my say!

A Love Note


While reading an article the other day, I ran across this tidbit:

"If you look around and you notice that all your friends are exactly the same as you, it's healthy to think something is wrong."

This made me stop and assess my friendships, past and present, and I must say...I'm pretty happy to find that my friendships continue to be diverse and colorful. My friends are all religions...or none at all, different cultural backgrounds and sexual orientations. For me, the diversity is what helps make my life seem interesting and full.

It's one of the cool things about belonging to the blogging community as well. You can interact with so many interesting people from all over the world and as you begin to read their thoughts, you see that you have tons in common with these wonderful people. It's further broadening my horizons and stretching my consciousness. Shazam!

Fellow bloggers Reya and Angela have both written blogs containing the idea of threads that weave us all together. It's such a lovely idea and it makes me think of quilts. A quilt of humanity, sewn together by assorted threads, resulting in a beautiful patchwork creation. I've always liked best, the quilts that have tons of various colors and patterns mixed up in them. To me, they're by far the most interesting and the most beautiful.

So, this is a little love note to my friends wherever they may be (sadly, most are so far away from me) and to my fellow bloggers. You add to my life and make it colorful and rich. I hope that as I weave my thread through the quilt, that I add something to yours as well.




Monday, February 23, 2009

Mob Mom


I'm beginning to think that my children aren't who they claim to be. I think they're members of the Capone family who turned state's evidence and entered the Witness Protection Program. They used my uterus as a clever hideout until it was safe to come out and now they live out their lives in this quiet little piece of Suburbia, strong arming their innocent "parents."

Sunday, Eric was preparing to wash his work car in the driveway and was gathering all of the equipment. The thirteen year old gang member, Fem Skinny A, inquired of him what he was doing. When he said, "Washing my car. Wanna help?" she narrowed her eyes and said, "For five dollars."

What?! I remember jumping at the chance to help one of my sisters wash their car in the front yard. It meant the opportunity to get wet and soapy and messy and that was reward alone!

The other gangster that lives in my house, Big Bubba B has mastered the skill of Will You Pay Half? He's also very skilled at, I Forgot My Wallet Can I Pay You Later? and, It's Only... (fill in amount here). He's so adept at these that he barely blinks an eye when he tries to pull one off.

Fem Skinny A has also really begun the strong arm tactics. When we ask her to babysit her four year old sister, she presses us with "How much you gonna pay me?" Or, "I may be available, I may not."

Again...what?!

I grew up in a family with five sisters and we NEVER got paid for babysitting. When my sister had kids, I babysat for them and it was a given that it would be pro bono. Now this little gangster thinks that allowing her sister to cut her own hair and destroy the house while we're gone deserves twenty bucks!

I'm not absolutely sure about the Capone connection here, but just to be safe, I've put in a call to Geraldo Rivera.

Ode To Joy


(I don't care who you are, this is just darn good advice.)

I don't know why, but when I saw this hanging on the wall in a restaurant, I erupted into laughter and couldn't stop giggling for a couple of minutes.

In school, I used to get kicked out of class for laughing. I never got kicked out of class for anything else, but sometimes things would just strike me as being unbearably hilarious and the snorting would commence and out I would go. The teacher would make me sit outside in the hall until I could calm down and somehow that made the situation all that more hysterical. Doors from the other classrooms down the hall would open and heads would poke out and I would hear, "Yep. It's Amy again."

The only high school reunion I've ever been to was my 15th. I arrived after dark to the backyard pool of the classmate that was hosting the party. My eyes hadn't adjusted to the lighting yet and I tripped over something and started laughing. As I did, I heard a choir of voices yell, "Amy's here!"

Laughter ranks right at the top of my list of favorite sounds. To me, it's incredibly viral and I have a weakened immune system to it and tend to catch it immediately. I have no shame in being the carrier of it either.

One of the things I find fantastically interesting is that we all cry and laugh in the same language. No matter where on this planet you live, what language you speak, what color, race or religion you are, we all speak the common languages of joy and despair.

How wonderful would life be if we all chose to speak the language of joy at every possible moment?

"Thy magic reunites those

Whom stern custom has parted;

All men will become brothers

Under thy gentle wing."

Partial lyrics from Ode To Joy

Friday, February 20, 2009

Lady In Waiting


Have you ever stopped to contemplate how much of our lives we spend waiting for things to happen? I haven't actually tallied it up, but it's a LOT.

I suppose there's some determination of character found in the spaces between the waiting. My character is still being formed. I haven't quite perfected the art of The Wait.
Wednesday I made the drive to Scottsdale to take care of pre-registering for my surgery and getting all of the pre-op lab work done, only to find that my surgery was getting postponed until March 7th.

Suddenly, the anxiety that I'd been feeling about having the surgery turned into frustration and disappointment. I had set my mind on February 20th and that was what my brain was prepared for. But now...I wait.
I ate two cupcakes tonight. Now I feel horrible. Not just sugar high/sugar crash horrible, but emotionally horrible. Those cupcakes were Frustration and Disappointment.

You see how I have some character building to do?


Monday, February 16, 2009

Status Update: Blah


Confession: Although I know very well that I am a very fortunate person in so many ways, I still have relatively regular bouts of The Blah. I wonder quite often, how many others are afflicted with this horrible malady. Maybe it's just me. Miss Ungrateful. Miss Dissatisfied.

There seems to be a lot on my mind lately but it's a jumbled up mess I haven't taken the effort to unjumble. Therefore, I don't seem to have the clarity to sit down and write anything I feel would be worth my while.

So, I'm just going to pull some things out of my brain and put them down in writing in an attempt at straightening up the untidy web between my ears.

*I've been verging on angry lately. I don't know why. Maybe not angry. That's too harsh. Irritated. That's better. I've had my head soaking in news and political books for months now and I think it may be getting to me. I need to live in ignorance for awhile maybe. They say it's bliss, you know.

*I read a comment on someones blog tonight that said that they'd never "actually met anyone who watched or got their news from MSNBC." My first thought was, "Wow, Dude. You really need to step outside that protective bubble you're living in." My second thought was, "Yes, you have. You've met me!" I know the person who left the comment and he knows me. (He is a Far Right Winger) I guess he hasn't discovered my not so secret identity yet. I guess he would be shocked to find out that he has actually had in his home, a Liberal, an Atheist, a watcher of MSNBC, a subscriber to the Huffington Post and a peace sign wearing new age hippie...and they are all me.

*The topic of Family has been popping into my head on a somewhat frequent basis and I haven't devoted any time to determining why. It's a touchy issue for me and I suppose I need to go through the mental frustration of facing it down and figuring it out. This is contributing to my Blah because I have gone through this exercise many times and am frustrated that I'm still having to do it. It means I'm not doing it right!

*Valentine's Day came and went and I could give a rat's patooty less. In my "former life," I was married for 14 years to an absolute nightmare of a human. Valentine's Day brought with it the hopefulness only the hopeless have of actually being put at the top of the list for that one day. Of course, my hopes were dashed each and every year. The last few years of the union were the years that completely ruined any chance for Valentine's Day ever being able to redeem itself in my eyes. I think it was year 12 when The Idiot actually asked another woman out on a date on Valentine's Day. He took her to dinner and then they went dancing. I spent the evening on my couch watching a Twilight Zone (how very appropriate, no?) marathon contemplating how in the hell my life went this wrong. Year 13, I saved and planned and took The Idiot out to a fancy restaurant and spent my hard earned money on some fabulous food. I had dressed up in my very best Look At Me- Aren't I Pretty- Please Love Me dress. Over dinner, I sensed something just wasn't quite right. As we pulled into the parking lot of our apartment complex after dinner, The Idiot hit the automatic door locks and proceeded to tell me that he was having an affair.

Those days are far behind me now and I am married to The Man of My Dreams. He treats every day like Valentine's Day. He tells me he loves me several times a day, never leaves the house without saying it, kisses me every morning and every night and calls me several times a day if for no other reason than to say, "I'm busy as heck, but I wanted you to know that I love you." So now my every day romance is better than most people's Valentine's Day. I know I'm very very lucky. And, I still don't like Valentine's Day.

*I'm going back under the knife on Friday. Dr. L has told me that when he takes all of the metal out of my shoulder, his hope is that I will experience relief from a lot of the pain that I've had for the past year since it was put in. This should have me jumping for joy in hope and anticipation. Instead, I am nervous and anxious. It's difficult for me to imagine not experiencing pain every day. I've seen the x-rays and my bones are in pieces. The metal was supposed to help the bones heal and instead the metal began failing. I don't know how it all works. That's why I go to doctors. They have almost always done right by me so I feel as though I should be feeling more hopeful. Instead, I keep thinking, "What if it doesn't work?" Dr. L has told me what will happen and it's not pleasant. And in Classic Me form, I prepare myself for the worst. I always tell my husband that if I'm prepared for the worst and then it happens, well...I'm prepared. And in the event the worst doesn't happen, well then...I get a pleasant little surprise.

*My daughter is here from Texas visiting. We flew her in for her 20th birthday because she wanted to spend her birthday with us. This made me feel good. I've spent the past couple of days talking with her and I am experiencing an inner whirlpool of emotion. She is not where she wants to be in life and not where I'd hoped she'd be. I have such a desire to rush in and rescue her and to make things better, but she and I have been through a lot together and I know that rescuing her is not the answer. All of my attempts at rescue thus far in her life have resulted in failure. She is not in any bodily jeopardy, mind you. If she were, I would most certainly rescue her. It's her heart and mind I'm worried about most. We all have to learn our own lessons and I have fulfilled my motherly obligation and shared my wisdom and my lessons with her so that she might use them for her benefit if she sees fit. I worry and I fret and I hope. I hope that she will learn her lessons earlier and without as much heartache as I did mine.

*Today the kids were home from school because it was President's Day. I cooked and cleaned and cleaned and cooked...and cleaned...all day long. I am tired. Eric had a mountain of homework to do after work today and four hours into it, he's still not done. I'm so proud of him for taking on school and doing so well. He'll finish his bachelor's degree this year and with all A's. It's been a mountain to climb, I assure you. Mixed in with my pride is the ever present selfishness of wishing we had more time to spend together. The last couple of years have been spent in between the work of our daily lives and his schoolwork. Our time together seems never to be enough. I don't know how much would be enough. He is my best friend, my sounding board, my partner in silliness, my Dancing Queen and my Knower of All Things. He also always smells delicious, no matter what he's been doing. Now you see....all the time in the world is not enough time with this man.

*sigh*

Sleep needs to happen soon, so this is it. Nothing brilliant, witty or of real importance.

I hope Friday is a sunny day.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Reba, Dolly...Are You Out There?

There is a notebook I've been keeping for years and it contains all of the previously discussed crappy poetry I've written over the years as well as other random pieces of paper that I've thought interesting enough to hang on to.

Since our move from Texas to Arizona last year, I haven't looked at The Notebook. I dug it out to start finding some of the crappy poetry and I found a piece of paper that made me laugh out loud.

Now remember...I am absolutely not a lover of country music in any way. I pretty much get nauseated when I hear it. So, imagine my shock to run across country music lyrics written by none other than, moi'. No...really.

It's hysterical to me. Every time I hear a country music song I carry on about how whiny and pathetic it is and tell my husband, "Oh, my gosh! Someone needs to put her out of her misery!"

So, there you have it. When I checked the date at the bottom of the page of lyrics, it revealed that I'd put my misery down on paper one month prior to getting divorced.

Reba, Dolly, Dixie Chicks...if you're out there, pull up a chair and grab a beer so you'll have something to cry into and get a load of this piece of work:

Losin’ You
(Divorce done country style)

I’ve been told I’m crazy but I don’t believe it’s true.
I’ve been cheated on and lied to and it’s all been done by you.
I’ve been pushed around and put down, I’ve got boot prints on my soul,
But you’re not gonna keep me down, it’s time for me to go.

(Chorus)

I’m gonna lose you and find me and never turn around
I’m gonna break free and you’ll see that I can’t be kept down.
So step aside and let me by I’m goin’ out that door.
The woman in me has finally seen you’re not the man I was lookin’ for.

You’d almost convinced me I wasn’t worth a dime.
That I wasn’t pretty anymore and that I was past my prime.
I came close to givin’ up on ever turnin’ heads my way,
But all that changed in the check out line and it’ll never be the same,
‘Cause a cute young thing was checkin’ me out and askin’ me my name.

(Chorus)

I’m gonna lose you and find me and never turn around
I’m gonna break free and you’ll see that I can’t be kept down.
So step aside and let me by I’m goin’ out that door.
The woman in me has finally seen you’re not the man I was lookin’ for.

Now I don’t want a guy half my age, I don’t want a man at all,
But it sure was nice to catch the eye of a stranger dark and tall.
I realized that I’m not the girl I thought I used to know.
That girl wouldn’t have stood a minute for the bull you like to throw.
So I’m gonna get to know her again. I’m packed, it’s time to go.

(Chorus)

I’m gonna lose you and find me and never turn around
I’m gonna break free and you’ll see that I can’t be kept down.
So step aside and let me by I’m goin’ out that door.
The woman in me has finally seen you’re not the man I was lookin’ for.

I'm going to start work on my Grammy acceptance speech. What ever shall I wear?!





Petits Morceaux de Moi, Part II

I don't know exactly when my relationship with my mother jumped the rail and went completely off course, but it's been a bumpy ride for many years.

For several years this was a difficult relationship to cope with, but I've learned to take it for what it is....and for what it isn't. As I've grown and matured and realized that not only do I not have to blame my mother for things anymore, I also don't need her approval.

What I can't change, and neither can you, my friends, is that the DNA of
our parents is all neatly and nicely woven into ours. This is a fact that has often times made me cringe.

One day as I sat pondering the relationship between my mother and me, it suddenly occurred to me to ask myself how I thought my daughters felt about me. That is a really humbling question. What kind of mother have I been to my daughters? Will they be like me and run as far away from their mother as they can when they have the chance?

I don't know the answers to those questions completely yet. My oldest daughter turns twenty this month and has asked to come home for her birthday so I'm flying her here from Texas. Our relationship has been like a roller coaster since she was about three. I take heart in the fact that it is here that she wants to be on her birthday.

What I do know is the answer to the question of what kind of mother I will be to my grown children. I will be the type of mother that is happy when her children call and share their news with her. I will be the type of mother that shows up for special events in their lives. I will be the type of mother that not only accepts them for who they are, but loves them too.

So, this poem was difficult for me to write. There are a lot of things that my mother wasn't that I wish she would have been. But I also have to acknowledge that she managed, with incredibly few tools, to raise me to be a pretty decent human being. And, there's no denying that as I mature, I recognize those bits and pieces of DNA that I irrefutably inherited from her.


Inheritance
I hear the familiar laughter and turn to find her,
but she is not there.

I look in the mirror and see her eyes and ponder
if my maturing face will someday look like hers.

I cry tears of anguish thinking that I am a failure as a parent
and wonder if she cried those tears, too.

In selfish moments, I think myself the selfless martyr
and remember times when she truly was.

I used to scorn the thought that I might be like her in any way-
but I am beginning to understand that there is beauty in the likeness.

I can take her successes and failures and learn from both.
But I cannot change the laugh, the eyes, and the sense of humor that
occasionally embarrasses my children.

They are her legacy and her gift to me.

So, I will embrace them and find comfort in them,
and inevitably pass them on to my daughters-

hoping that they will accept their inheritance
with more gratitude and grace than I .

August 2000
(The month of my 32nd birthday. I must have been doing some reflecting!)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Shocking Revelation!!

I just found my 5th grade report card from Pawnee Grade School. My teacher was Mrs. Gilliland and I really liked her. She stands out in my memory as one of my top five favorite teachers ever.

Now please, if you will, let your eyes wander to the lower right corner of my report card and look under the heading, “CONDUCT.”


“Annoys Others (Talks)!”

Okay, Mrs. Gilliland! What the hell?! I thought you liked me!

This made me giggle hysterically when I saw it. I guess some things never change.

Petits Morceaux de Moi, Part I


Okay. Here’s the deal. I write really crappy poetry. Or, at least I used to.

A few years ago I suddenly realized that I hadn’t picked up my pencil and Crappy Poetry Notebook in ages, so I sat down and began to think.

Think, think, think.

Nothing happened. Hmmm.

I used to be able to spit out crappy poetry like nobody’s business! What the heck was wrong with me?!

Then the light bulb went on. *bling*

I hadn’t written poetry since I’d started my life with Eric! I hadn’t written poetry since I’d become happy!

Over the next couple of years I did manage to churn out two more poems. Once right after I got married to Eric and the other, right after I had our baby, Alex. The poems are about Eric & Alex respectively. Duh.

So, it turns out that not only am I not creative enough to write poetry for the sake of writing poetry, but I’m not really even creative enough to write a decent poem even when overcome by artistic angst. Damn.

But, lucky you, Dear Reader! Since this is my way of journaling my journey, I thought that I would revisit some of those old poems and try to recall what miserable event in my past life inspired them. This ought to be fun. (Maybe not so much for you…)

Oy.

Let’s see. Where shall we begin? I could go chronologically…hmmm. I don’t know. I think it would be more fun to just pick one that strikes my fancy and go for it.

Okay. Poem #1:



Childhood Revisited

There was a place deep in the woods of Southern Illinois,
Where fairies danced and sunbeams swirled
and troubles gave way to joy.

A circle in the midst of trees where shafts of light touched ground –
Where grass so green and clover deep
made sweet every uttered sound.

I sat on stumps of ancient trees and read from treasured books –
Entranced, enchanted, lost in time,
in my dear sweet woodland nook.

In my dreams I remember this place so free from care and strife -
A lovely little paradise,
in this child’s life.



This was written in May of 1999, two years before my divorce. I’m pretty sure I was attempting desperately to cling on to any remembrance of happier times as my marriage was on its last pathetic crippled leg.


The place this poem is about was in the woods behind my grandparents’ two-story white farmhouse in Illinois. I loved everything about that house and the land around it. My sisters and I happened upon this little opening one day and decided that with its tree stumps arranged perfectly so, that it would be the absolute perfect spot to bring books to and sit and do our out loud story reading. The ground cover in the opening consisted almost entirely of dark green clover. When story time ended, we got a great deal of pleasure and frustration out of searching for four-leaf clovers.


For children who tried to stay out of sight so they would be out of mind and out of firing range of their crazy parents, this spot was a sanctuary. It’s as clear to me in my mind right now as if I were sitting there.


So, there you have it, the first of many amateur poems. Admittedly, although amateur, the writing of them certainly did provide me with some catharsis. Hallelujah for that.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

For What It's Worth


How did I become a hippie?

As I sit here in my camo pants and “Peace is the Way” t-shirt (yes…it’s a statement), I think maybe I can begin to sort it all out.

Some of my earliest memories are of living in Florida near sugar cane fields. I lived there from my first birthday until the time I was five. I must have been about four or so when I recall hearing the word “nigger” for the first time. It came out of my father’s mouth. My father had a low opinion of the blacks that worked in the fields and wasn’t shy about expressing his feelings. I however, couldn’t reconcile his words with my reality. My reality was that as I stood in our front yard by the side of the road at the end of the day, the black men would walk by on their way home from work and hand my sister and I pieces of fresh sugar cane to chew on. They always had a smile and a nod for us, and that was as much a gift as the sugar cane. I liked those men. I knew that calling them, “nigger” was wrong.

When I was about seven, my family lived on a racetrack in Illinois where my father trained horses. Many of the people that worked at the track were Black or Hispanic. There was a black family who lived a few trailers down from ours, who had a son close to my age. One day when my father came home, he saw me playing with my friend and called me inside. He told me that I was never to play with “that boy” again. I cried and asked why and was told that he didn’t want his kid to be seen playing with “dirty little nigger boys.” This child was my only friend and I loved spending my days running around the racetrack with him. He wasn’t dirty either. He was always neat and clean and had excellent manners. I knew my father was wrong.

I was raised in the Mormon church and it was there I was taught about the story of Cain and Abel and the “curse” of dark skin. For nearly 150 years, the Mormon church denied its black members the ability to hold the “Priesthood” or entrance to their temples. They also have a strict policy, documented in many speeches made by their “prophets” of disallowing interracial marriage. During my school years, I was friends with the black kids in my school. I had a very difficult time understanding what was so bad about those great kids that an entire religion would want to shun them.

When I was fourteen years old, I took a bus ride from Cushing, Oklahoma to Clinton, Oklahoma for the purpose of attending my boyfriend’s 15th birthday party. My reading material for the trip was a Mormon publication of some sort. When the bus stopped in Langston, a predominately Black populated university town, a young college woman got on the bus and took the seat next to me. She looked at what I was reading and struck up a conversation. She inquired about the church’s stance on Blacks. At the ripe old age of 14, I was in the position of attempting to rationalize racism in defense of my church. We spoke for quite a while and she got off the bus before my stop came up. She told me that it had been nice talking to me, wished me a pleasant trip and told me that she would pray for me. She said it with not one ounce of spite or bitterness. I never finished that book. I pondered what she’d said not only for the rest of my trip, but also for many years of my life. I knew the church was wrong.

I remember in High School being on the debate team and being given the topic of Equal Rights for Women. I was supposed to debate why the Women’s Movement would be a bad thing. I had lots of material because once again, the church was opposed to the Women’s Movement. I had a difficult time trying to rationalize what I felt inside with what my church leaders were telling me. The church viewed the Women’s Movement as “anti-family.” I knew they were wrong.

Although the Mormon religion, as many religions do, discouraged reading or watching of material that was considered to be in conflict with its teachings, as I grew and moved away from my family’s influence and from the influence of the tight knit church group in which I was raised, I began to seek for myself what I believed about the world.

Not only did I read volumes on world religions and about other philosophies, I found myself in the world making friends with people of all colors and origins. I learned how those from other parts of the world viewed religion and race and equality. The more I became exposed to people from all walks of life and not just the church group I’d grown up in, the more my mind and heart opened.

My first exposure to the gay community was in a bar in Denver, Colorado. It was Gay Rodeo weekend there and the turnout at the bars was huge that Saturday evening. I’d never seen anything like it in my life. Being from Oklahoma and having been to hundreds of rodeos, this experience was really quite something. Cowboys in Wranglers and boots and cowboy hats were slow dancing. As my Granny would have said, “Well! Now I’ve seen everything!” I had my foot stepped on by a drag queen in stilettos that night. In heels, she must have been almost seven feet tall. She was gorgeous and funny and I forgave her for the enormous bruise she left on the instep of my foot.

Since that time, I have had the privilege of becoming friends with several men and women who are gay. I consider some of them my family and would do anything in the world for them and know they would do the same for me. I don’t view them as my “gay” friends. I view them as my friends. The movement to deny them their right to marry and to legally experience the same marital joys and heartaches that “straight” people are allowed deeply saddens me. I know in my heart that those who wish to deny them their civil rights are wrong.

I don’t know if it’s a culmination of all of these events and the rest that are too numerous to mention that have resulted in my liberal views now. What I do know is that my heart and head are no longer in conflict as they were when I labored under the yoke of my religious upbringing.

My dictionary has two definitions of hippie. Number 1 is: “a person, esp. of the late 1960s, who rejected established institutions and values and sought spontaneity, direct personal relations expressing love, and expanded consciousness, often expressed externally in the wearing of casual, folksy clothing and of beads, headbands, used garments, etc.” This one made me smile. I was born in the late 60’s and have always felt a connection to that generation although I was too young to have been a part of it. I don’t wear beads and headbands, but I do have a groovy collection of peace sign jewelry and clothing. The part about love and expanded consciousness, I like!

Definition number 2: “A person who opposes and rejects many of the conventional standards and customs of society, especially one who advocates extreme liberalism in sociopolitical attitudes and lifestyles." Hmmmm….I don’t like the word “extreme” because I certainly don’t feel that my viewpoints are extreme. I actually have quite a few “conservative” viewpoints. The rest of it I’ll take though.

One of my favorite quotes is from Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins. It goes thusly: “Real courage is risking something you have to keep on living with. Real courage is risking something that might force you to rethink your thoughts and suffer change and stretch consciousness. Real courage is risking one’s clich├ęs.”

All I can say is….right on.

A Broken Compass, Part II


Not long ago, Eric, Alex & I took a weekend trip to the mountains. As we were preparing to leave for home on the last day, we were walking down a path that led to our car. We stopped to look out over a lake and the couple behind us also stopped and then struck up a conversation with us. They were an older couple who had recently moved from Colorado in order to be closer to their children and grandchildren. They had taken a ride on their new motorcycle to see some of the local sights.

We stood and talked for several minutes and then they said goodbye and went on their way. Eric & I stood and talked for a few more minutes and then continued down the path to our car. As we approached our car, we noticed a gleaming new motorcycle in the parking lot with a completely flat tire. Just as I turned to Eric to ask if he thought it might belong to the couple, with whom we’d just spoken, we saw the couple coming out of the park ranger’s shack. We waved at them and asked if it was their bike with the flat and they responded that it was.

We immediately offered to give then a ride to where they needed to go in order to get their bike taken care of. It turned out that they lived about thirty minutes up the mountain. We moved our luggage to the trunk and made room for them in the car.

As we traveled the road to take them home, they talked to us about their lives, asked questions about ours and thanked us repeatedly for our assistance and generosity in helping them in their hour of need.

Shortly before we arrived at their house, the man turned to Eric and asked, “So, what church do you go to?” Eric responded that we didn’t belong to a church. The guy appeared visibly stunned. A few seconds later, a small, “Oh” came out of his mouth. It was clear that this fellow couldn’t quite wrap his mind around the fact that the people who had just gone an hour out of their way to help complete strangers, didn’t go to church.

They tried to leave money in our console as they exited our car, but we promptly discovered it, and jumped out of the car and gave it back to them. We told them we hadn’t helped them because we wanted anything, we had simply done it because we saw that they’d needed help. As Eric & I left their house to make the drive home, we laughed and talked and wondered what those two said about us after we left. I figured they said something along the lines of, “It’s too bad those two don’t go to church. They’d make awfully good Christians.”

Not only am I not a Christian, I’m an atheist. It’s been interesting over the past few years to watch people respond to me when they find out. I’ve received comments ranging from, “No you’re not,” to “But, you’re so nice!”

So, the question is out there. Are atheists evil? Does being an atheist automatically define a person as somehow lacking in “moral” or ethical behaviors?

Since I am not nearly as brilliant as I’d like to be, I’ll let Sam Harris, one of my favorite writers, say it for me, because he says it best.

“If you are right to believe that religious faith offers the only real basis for morality, then atheists should be less moral than believers. In fact, they should be utterly immoral. Are they? Do members of atheist organizations in the United States commit more than their fair share of violent crimes? Do the members of the National Academy of Sciences, 93 percent of whom do not accept the idea of God, lie and cheat and steal with abandon?


We can be reasonably confident that these groups are at least as well behaved as the general population. And yet, atheists are the most reviled minority in the United States. Polls indicate that being an atheist is a perfect impediment to running for high office in our country (while being black, Muslim, or homosexual is not).


Recently, crowds of thousands gathered throughout the Muslim world – burning European embassies, issuing threats, taking hostages, even killing people – in protest over twelve cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad that were first published in a Danish newspaper. When was the last atheist riot? Is there a newspaper anywhere on the earth that would hesitate to print cartoons about atheism for fear that its editors would be kidnapped or killed in reprisal?
Christians invariably declare that monsters like Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, and Kim Il Sung spring from the womb of atheism. While it is true that such men are sometimes enemies of religion, they are never especially rational. Example: (Hitler’s atheism seems to have been seriously exaggerated…)


“My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man, I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison…as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.”
Adolph Hitler, April 12, 1922

In fact, their public pronouncements are often delusional: on subjects as diverse as race, economics, national identity, the march of history, and the moral dangers of intellectualism. The problem with such tyrants is not that they reject the dogma of religion, but that they embrace other life-destroying myths. Most become the center of a quasi-religious personality cult, requiring the continual use of propaganda for its maintenance. There is a difference between propaganda and the honest dissemination of information that we (generally) expect from democracy. Tyrants who orchestrate genocides, or who happily preside over the starvation of their own people, also tend to be profoundly idiosyncratic men, not champions of reason.


Kim Il Sung, for instance, demanded that his beds at his various dwellings be situated precisely five hundred meters above sea level. His duvets had to be filled with the softest down imaginable. What is the softest down imaginable? It apparently comes from the chin of a sparrow. Seven hundred thousand sparrows were required to fell a single duvet. Given the profundity of his esoteric concerns, we might wonder how reasonable a man Kim Il sung actually was.


Consider the Holocaust: the anti-Semitism that built the Nazi death camps was a direct inheritance from medieval Christianity. For centuries, Christian Europeans had viewed the Jews as the worst species of heretics and attributed every societal ill to their continued presence among the faithful. While the hatred of Jews in Germany expressed itself in a predominately secular way, its roots were religious, and the explicitly religious demonization of the Jews of Europe continued throughout the period. The Vatican itself perpetuated blood libel in its newspapers as late as 1914. (The “blood libel” – with respect to Jews – consists of the false claim that Jews murder non-Jews in order to obtain their blood for use in religious rituals. This allegation is still widely believed throughout the Muslim world.) And both Catholic and Protestant churches have a shameful record of complicity with the Nazi genocide.


Auschwitz, the Soviet gulags, and the killing fields of Cambodia are not examples of what happens to people when they become too reasonable. To the contrary, these horrors testify to the dangers of political and racial dogmatism. It is time that Christians stop pretending that a rational rejection of their faith entails the blind embrace of atheism as dogma. One need not accept anything on insufficient evidence to find the virgin birth of Jesus to be a preposterous idea. The problem with religion – as with Nazism, Stalinism, or any other totalitarian mythology – is the problem of dogma itself. I know of no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too desirous of evidence in support of their core beliefs.

While you believe that bringing an end to religion is an impossible goal, it is important to realize that much of the developed world has nearly accomplished it. Norway, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom are among the least religious societies on earth. According to the United Nations’ Human Development Report (2005) they are also the healthiest, as indicated by life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate and infant mortality.


Insofar as there is a crime problem is Western Europe, it is largely the product of immigration. Seventy percent of the inmates of France’s jails, for instance, are Muslim. The Muslims of Western Europe are generally not atheists. Conversely, the fifty nations now ranked lowest in terms of the United Nations’ human development index are unwaveringly religious.


Other analyses paint the same picture: the United States is unique among wealthy democracies in its level of religious adherence; it is also uniquely beleaguered by high rates of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, and infant mortality. The same comparison holds true within the United States itself: Southern and Midwestern states, characterized by the highest levels of religious literalism, are especially plagued by the above indicators of societal dysfunction, while the comparatively secular states of the Northeast conform to European norms.


While political party affiliation in the United States is not a perfect indicator of religiosity, it is no secret that the “red states” are primarily red because of the overwhelming political influence of conservative Christians. If there were a strong correlation between Christian conservatism and societal health, we might expect to see some sign of it in red-state America. We don’t.


Of the twenty-five cities with the lowest rates of violent crime, 62 percent are in “blue” states and 38 percent are in “red” states. Of the twenty-five most dangerous cities, 76 percent are in red states, 24 percent in blue states. In fact, three of the five most dangerous cities in the United States are in the pious state of Texas. The twelve states with the highest rates of burglary are red. Twenty-four of the twenty-nine states with the highest rates of theft are red. Of the twenty-two states with the highest rates of murder, seventeen are red.


Of course, correlational data of this sort do not resolve questions of causality – belief in God may lead to societal dysfunction; societal dysfunction may foster a belief in God: each factor may enable the other: or both may spring from some deeper source of mischief. Leaving aside the issue of cause and effect, however, these statistics prove that atheism is compatible with the basic aspirations of a civil society: they also prove, conclusively, that widespread belief in God does not ensure a society’s health.


Countries with the high levels of atheism are also the most charitable in terms of the percentage of their wealth they devote to social welfare programs and the percentage they give in aid to the developing world. The dubious link between Christian literalism and Christian values is belied by other indices of social equality. Consider the ratio of salaries paid to top-tier CEOs and those paid to the same firms’ average employees: in Britain it is 24:1; in France, 15:1; In Sweden, 13:1; in the United States where 80 percent of the population expects to be called before God on Judgment Day, it is 475:1.


Many a camel, it would seem, expects to pass easily through the eye of a needle.”


So, am I evil? Because I do not have religion as a “moral” compass, are my behaviors “immoral?” Most evidence, and there is increasingly more each year, points towards exactly the opposite. Most atheists are also “humanists,” and believe in and work towards the preservation of the human species and the planet. We don’t believe in Second Comings or Armageddons or Raptures, so we feel that it’s our obligation now, to save the planet for future generations.

That’s not so evil, is it?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Ugh


There are so many things wrong with this I don’t even know where to begin. Go ahead. I dare you to read it without getting at least slightly ill.

Coleman Says 'God Wants Me to Serve'

While Al Franken remains fairly elusive, Norm Coleman is keeping a high profile these days as his court challenge of the Minnesota U.S. Senate recount plods along.

Coleman is adept, somewhat too adept, his critics might say, at skillfully tailoring his message to his audience, and that skill set was on full display Friday.

On Friday, Coleman made the media rounds with radio interviews that included conservative nationally syndicated radio talk show host Mike Gallagher. Gallagher, an unyielding fiscal and religious conservative, who hosts one of the Top 10 rated talk shows in the country, has been an outspoken critic of the Congressional stimulus legislation. When Gallagher asked Coleman what he thought of the stimulus bill, Coleman replied that he would not sign it. Coleman did not, however, offer any thoughts as to whether a stimulus bill of some kind would be a good thing for the country and the state of Minnesota (no doubt because Gallagher, and perhaps a large share of his 4 million weekly listeners, is opposed to any sort of government ‘bailout’ - of industries or state governments).

When asked about the recount and how it is affecting him personally, Coleman said he starts every day with a prayer and that he knows “God wants me to serve.” Coleman did later temper those rather immodest remarks by adding that he “is not indispensable” and that others can serve as well. Coleman closed the interview with an appeal to Gallagher’s listeners for contributions to his campaign website.

Also on Friday, Coleman talked to Tom Crann at Minnesota Public Radio, and tweaked his message for a listening audience that is decidedly more liberal than that of Gallagher's. First, Coleman discussed his desire to serve without mention of God’s will. With more humble prose he stated, “I’ve been blessed to serve. I want to continue to serve.”

With regards to the bailout, Coleman reiterated his opposition to the current legislation: “I do not support the package in its present form.” But when asked if he could vote for a stimulus package, Coleman admitted, “I agree there needs to be one.”

Coleman also stated to MPR that the court in his recount challenge was being “very fair” and it that he has a “great deal of confidence” in the panel. He also acknowledged that if the absentee ballot and double-counting of ballots issues are addressed, and Franken has more votes at the end of the process, then Franken will be the Senator. On Gallagher’s show, however, Coleman made no mention of the possibility that Franken could emerge as the ultimate victor and did not contradict Gallagher's characterization that the election process to date in Minnesota has been a 'joke.'”

And we wonder why we’re called Ugly Americans.

Whether or not Coleman is a religious fanatic in earnest is unknown by me, but I have two thoughts running through my mind. #1: If he is indeed fanatical enough to actually believe that he knows the will of an almighty being, I don’t want him anywhere near politics. Remember George W.’s response to what his foreign policy was? Yeah. The answer was, “God.” That worked really, really well for our nation didn’t it? Let’s elect more religious fanatics!! We haven’t quite hit rock bottom yet! Let’s keep going! #2: If the guy isn’t a religious fanatic and he’s merely putting it on for the sake of the almost extinct overly zealous far religious right dinosaurs, that’s just plain frightening. Dude…did you not see the outcome of the presidential election in November? Your ideals and political beliefs got voted out. Maybe you were just too busy concentrating on the election in Minnesota, which three months later, still hasn’t been decided.

This brings us to another embarrassing reason why other countries hate us. We (and by “we” I mean the blowhards that were in charge of this country for the past eight years and plum wore out their flag waving arms) keep touting ourselves as the Greatest Country on Earth and yet we have such an incredibly flawed system, we still don’t know the winner of an election that took place three months ago. It’s not even laughable. It’s pathetic. I was so sure that after the Bush/Gore debacle that there would be a huge outcry in this country to modify and better our election system, but here we are again. We have so much technology at our fingertips and yet can’t devise a way to cast a vote and to accurately have that vote counted.

Then there’s the issue of the current stimulus package. He wants to be a “good” Republican and tow the party line and be against it “in its current form” but admits that there needs to be one. Asshole. Maybe he needs to take a lesson from, dare I say it, Sarah Palin who is one of his beloved fellow party-ers who has been going around Washington trying to make sure that when the stimulus package does go through, that her state gets its share. Interesting how so many of the Republican governors are wanting a part of that stimulus package. It’s the Repugs on The Hill who really aren’t affected much by the joblessness and foreclosure disasters in the states they represent who seem to be the ones digging in their well-shod heels against the bill.
This Minnesota race is such a disgrace. Franken, the comedian, ought to be declared the winner if for no other reason than he could make us laugh about this whole thing when it’s all over. If Coleman wins, everyone will be laughing at us, but not because he’s funny.