Friday, March 31, 2006

A View Of A Good Deed

Have you ever wished you could help someone in need but didn't know where to begin? Well, here's a way you can help someone in need of treatment for breast cancer without means to pay for it. All you have to do is visit the Breast Cancer Site (click on the link to go there right now), and click on the "Fund Free Mammograms" button in the center of the page. For every hit the site's receives, a woman in need gets a mammogram. The site even lets you see how many women receive treatment on a daily basis. There's no registration involved, you don't end up on a mailing list, or receive any annoying spam. Just click and help.

It doesn't get any easier than that. Try it. You'll like the feeling.

More to come later.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

A View Of A Fractured Fairy Tale - Now With A Happy Ending!

This is the mess
that started with a clog in the bathroom sink.
Drano didn't work at all,
because it turned out to be down deep in the wall,
the clog in the bathroom sink. So...

...Off with the pipe like a "U,"
with a grunt and a groan,
by a friend so true
to snake out all the gunk and the goo,
that caused the clog in the bathroom sink.

Then he took pliers to the pipes
but alas, the pipe to hold the "u"broke
(at first, I thought it a joke),
and the stuff that was left was
was rusted to Hell.
"It was all my fault," he started to tell.
"But it's not true," I began to reply
"the plumbing is old," I had to sigh.
"It was bound to happen, I have to think,
this problem and the clog in the bathroom sink."

And now here I am, left to rue
amongst gunk, rust and goo
(though with a nice buzz from the WD-40 fumes)
over the mess that started
with a clog in my bathroom sink.

So now stand I with a tear in my eye,
(nor a bit of the high left by the WD-40)
due to the realization that I now need to buy
a brand new face bowl tonight, or sometime
because of the mess that started, I think,
with a clog in my bathroom sink.

All that's left is my looming duress,
(not to mention the financial distress)
because this is the mess
that started with a clog in the wall,
and not in my bathroom sink, after all.

More to come later. My apologies to Mother Goose.

4/3: And now, the happy ending!

My sink is fixed! Hooray! No more bending over the bathtub to wash my face! Hooray! No more two-inch thick WD-40 build-up on my floor! Hooray! I can brush my teeth like a human again! Hooray! No more epic rhyming poetry about drain pipes and goo! Hooray! Now all I have to do is paint and re-tile the floor!


Monday, March 27, 2006

A View Of Age Creeping Up On Me, Part 2

Earlier today, I told you about how I'm beginning to feel older, if not old. Sometimes this is a good feeling. Sometimes it feels like the concept of age could sweep me away because the acknowledgement of mortality is hard to comprehend. These two examples, finishing the list of reminders of my increasing age, are perfect illustrations.

5) Learning that, sometimes, you can go home again. Back in middle school (around 6th grade), I was hit head on by my first crush. It was totally unexpected. I was playing with Barbie dolls one day, and in the grip of full fledged puppy love the next. I'm not even sure what it was about the guy that attracted me so, but it was there.

And it was totally unrequited. I was not a very popular kid in school, so I dared not tell anyone except my closest friends. I swore them to secrecy and bored them to tears with my pining. My mom told me that one day, she couldn't say when, I would grow past my crush and life would go on. Of course, I swore she didn't understand what I was going through because she was too old to comprehend it. She laughed and let the middle school drama play itself out. I never told the object of my crush how I felt and, as far as I know, he never figured it out.

Time marched on. One day, I realized that not only had I grown past my crush, life had indeed gone on, just like Mom said. There were boyfriends, serious relationships, even a marriage to my high school sweetheart that came and went. Still, from time to time, I wondered whatever happened to the boy from 6th grade.

A few months ago, I found out. I was reading the local paper and as I thumbed through the pages, there he was. He still had the same face but, just like me, he'd grown up. It was funny to see my grade school crush in a form other than the one I'd carried in my head for over 25 years. He'd become a teacher and was mentoring his students, using chess as a tool to mold young personalities - some probably going through their first unrequited crushes. On an impulse I sent him a note, congratulating him on his success and asking him to keep in touch. Dropping the note in the mailbox, I was convinced he wouldn't remember me.

I was wrong. Two days later, I got a call from him and we've been in touch ever since. We've shared memories of grade school, filled each other in on our lives, and discussed everything from politics to Penny on "Good Times." I've cheered on his chess teams - among the top teams in the country and preparing for national tournaments in Knoxville and Denver next month. It's been good to reconnect, to get past a long buried childhood fear, to make a genuine friend. To go home again, but not in the way I would've been capable of envisioning that day I put down my dolls, began to grow up and grow old.

6) Learning that, sometimes, you can't go home again.

This was my family's church. It was St. Agnes until around the late 80's when the Archdiocese of Detroit merged the parish with the former St. Theresa and Martyrs of Uganda was born.

It will always be St. Agnes to me. I was confirmed here. My sister was baptized here. My mother and grandmother made their profession of faith (the conversion to Catholicism here. The funerals for my maternal grandmother, my uncle, and my father were here. One of the reasons I stopped attending during my search for spiritual self was because the sanctuary came to remind me too much of loss - I was haunted by the pain of the deaths to appreciate the life in the church. Still, I always thought St. Agnes itself would endure in its new form as Martyrs of Uganda. Endure despite the pain of two parishes losing major parts of their identities when the merge took place. So many, like me, moved on to find a new church home or simply drifted away from the Catholic Church altogether. Endure despite hearing about the shrinking congregation. Sometimes, I'd been told, the church would only have a few dozen in attendance. The sanctuary could hold several hundred. Endure despite reports of the physical decay of the building because the church's spirit was of strong foundation. St. Agnes was built in 1922, but the building fallen into neglect because of the ravages of time and dwindling parish resources. Endure even though so many of the church's leaders, like my grandmother, had died or were reaching the end of their lives. Endure because, like so many things we take for granted, St. Agnes had always been there. It would endure because I just assumed it would, even though I, like so many of St. Agnes's other children, had moved on.

While it's not official - the official announcement comes later this week - the Archdiocese is preparing to close Martyrs of Uganda, close Martyrs of Uganda, close St. Agnes, for good. The Archdiocese says that the decision to close, merge, and trim local parishes is a tough but inevitable one. Demographic shifts, the aging population of priests and congregations in the Metro area and the costs of maintaining the older buildings simply means that tough choices have to be made. Metro Detroit Catholics have to sacrifice to endure. (See below for an update. 3/30/06.)

A major part of my childhood will vanish when the doors close for the last time this summer. The weekend youth group meetings, ones that helped mold and shape my personality, will be gone for good. The summer day camp, where I played, learned and grew, will never take place again. The Head Start classes, my first experiences with school, will no longer teach children how to count, tie their shoes, or the stories of the Bible. No one will seek peace in the confessionals, take communion, or kiss the bride in front of the altar with St. Agnes looking down on them, highlighted by the rainbows of light coming through the stained glass. So many happy memories of my childhood, of my fellow and former parishioners, will drift into memory with no concrete foundation when the final service concludes. The funerals of my beloved family members will finally come to an end when the lights are dimmed in the sanctuary for the last time.

The memories will live and the beauty of these memories will grow sweeter with age. Part of me, however, aches because when Martyrs of Uganda closes, a chapter of my life will die and I'll literally be unable to go home ever again. This is a sadness that will only deepen with age.

More to come later.

Update (3/30/06): The announcement came yesterday, Martyrs/St. Agnes will close in June. A date for the final mass has not been determined. Farewell. Your impact on my life is immeasurable, and I'll always be grateful for everything I learned during my time there.

A View Of Reason #16 Why I Am An Atheist

Because bigotry is not next to godliness, something the people at Westboro Baptist Church didn't learn in bible school. I saw this report on the Detroit Free Press website and couldn't believe what I read.

GRAND LEDGE, Mich. (AP) -- More than 250 military veterans and other supporters showed up Monday at the funeral of a Michigan soldier killed in Iraq to counter a group that has protested at soldiers' funerals nationwide.

The Patriot Guard Riders chanted "God Bless Corporal Yates" during their peaceful counterprotest.

Three members from the small Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., held up signs denouncing homosexuality. One said, "Thank God for dead soldiers."

Church members have shown up military funerals around the country for several months saying soldiers are being struck down by God for defending a nation that tolerates homosexuality.

While friends and family of Army Cpl. Nyle Yates III gathered Monday morning to pay their last respects inside Grand Ledge Baptist Church, the Patriot Guard Riders -- mostly veterans and motorcycle club members -- congregated outside to block the protest.

Yates, a 22-year-old from Lake Odessa, died March 16 in Bayji when he came under small arms fire by enemy forces during combat. He was assigned to a unit that operated out of Fort Campbell, Ky.

It was at least the third trip to Michigan by Westboro members, who in recent weeks protested at military funerals in Flushing and Flint. The group planned to picket later Monday at the state Capitol in Lansing to oppose recently introduced legislation that would restrict protests at funerals.

Several states are moving to pass similar legislation. At the federal level, U.S. Rep Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, has introduced a similar bill.

An attorney for Westboro Baptist Church has said the group will obey state laws banning funeral protests. The group canceled plans to protest recently in Oklahoma, Indiana, Missouri and Wisconsin, all states that recently have passed funeral protest laws.

The first Michigan bills dealing with funeral protests were introduced March 16 by state Reps. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan, and John Gleason, D-Flushing. The bills would ban intentional loud noises, threatening gestures and other intentional disruptions within 500 feet of a funeral ceremony.

Rep. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, also has introduced funeral protest legislation. More bill introductions are planned.

Reason #17: When I was a kid, I was told that, "God don't like ugly." Disregarding a family's grief? Using a funeral to showboat? It can't get any uglier, right? Not very Christ like, is it?

But wait, there's more. Creating a website called "God Hates Fags," using the Bible to justify prejudice? How I wish I were making this up. The church's minister created the site and says that, "God's hatred is one of his holy attributes." Click here to read the history behind this as reported by the Anti-Defamation League. That's a whole new level of ugly.

It's not so bad being a godless heathen if being on "God's side" means being this cruel and selfish.

How come you just know some of these people have "Support Our Troops" bumper stickers on their vehicles? Be for or against the war, but don't use the war or it's soldiers as a domestic weapon of mass destruction. The dead soldiers and the country they died fighting for, no matter how flawed the war may be, deserve so much better.

More to come later. My soapbox can only take so much weight at one time.

A View Of Age Creeping Up On Me, Part 1

I had to run out for lunch this afternoon. While I was out running errands, I saw that Thomas Dolby is coming to my fair city in May.

Thomas "Hyperactive" Dolby. Thomas "I Scare Myself" Dolby. Thomas freakin' "She Blinded Me With Science" Dolby.

I HAVE to see this show, especially since I read about how great the show was on the west coast in "The K Chronicles" a really cool blog and comic strip I dig. (You'll dig it, too. Read him. Laugh with him. Share him.)

Anyway, as I was doing my happy dance (as much as I could behind the wheel, anyway) at the idea of seeing Dolby in concert, I remembered I bought my first Dolby song back in 1983.

1983. When I was a sophomore in high school.

My ass is getting old. I'll be 39 this summer, one step away from the Big 4-oh. It's not that old - they say 40 is the new 20 - but I still get that "Sally Albright" reaction to the milestone from time to time. Especially when other little reminders pop up. You know the ones:

1) Forgetfulness. My company changed door codes this morning. Every time I've walked up to a door to enter the code, I could hear a voice in my head saying, "Don't forget the code changed. Put in the new code." What do I do? Put in the old code, turn the handle, swear under my breath silently ("How the f--- could you forget so fast?"), put in the new code and continue with my day. So far, I've done this four times. Don't even get me started on my daily leave the house and go back because I forgot my keys, my lunch, my head on my shoulders, etc.

2) My own personal summers. The routine is always the same: A sudden flash of searing heat. Break out into a sweat. Curse ("Why is it so effin' hot in here?!"). Take off jacket/unbutton shirt/pull at sweater in frantic attempt to whip up some coolness. Realize that the room is cold enough to freeze time 15-20 minutes later. Put on jacket/button shirt/pull sweater around neck in frantic attempt to whip up some heat. Find comfortable spot for about an hour. Repeat. My mom laughed when she told me about my family's tendency to start early stages of menopause early. ("Welcome to old age, baby," followed by a cackle that was 20% mocking and 80% I understand what you're going through.)

3) A realization that time is moving faster than you. Every once in a while, I'll hear a song on the radio, see a rerun for a show I haven't seen in a while, recognize a clothing or hair style that I wore back in high school that someone will say is old. "No it's not," I'll counter, "I wore that in high school..." My sister will chime in every time, "Yeah. Back in 1985," instantly turning me into Miss Jane Pittman. (MJP was made in 1974. When I was seven. So not helping.)

4) A realization that the worst is behind me. I married my high school sweetheart back in 1991. We divorced in 1995. The divorce was finalized in 1996. I've been divorce 10 years - more than twice as long as I was married. This is an example of how getting older truly means getting better. More on my marriage and divorce in later posts, by the way.

Two powerful reminders I've received recently are very good stories. Both are bittersweet, and both have endings with a bit of a twist. Come back later this evening to read them both.

More to come later.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

A View Of The Ingredients For A Great Saturday

If you want to have a great Saturday, you need to have the following ingredients:

1) The ability to sleep in later than normal. Check. I normally get up around 7:00 a.m. Today, I rose about 9:30.

2) A chance to lounge a bit and take it easy before getting the day started. Check. I didn't really start preparing for the day until about 10:35 because I spent a little silly time with my mom and sister while my mom watched The Rosary Murders (again) and my sis tried to get out of watching it. Again. Unsuccessfully.

3) Taking part in something you really love. Check. I had to attend an orientation session for volunteers working the upcoming pledge drive at WDET-FM, my favorite local radio station, and caught up with some good friends that I met through the station in the process. We still need help during the Spring campaign which starts March 31st and ends April 13th. Interested? Click on this link for more information. You'll meet some of the best people in the Metro Detroit area and support a really good cause - Detroit Public Radio - simultaneously.

4) Time to hang out with some really cool friends. Make new ones if possible. Check and check again. After orientation a few of us went over to the Cass Cafe for a bite to eat. It's a nice place for a quick meal, a good drink, a view of the local art scene, and all sorts of cool people. While I was there, we made friends with a local writer and fellow blogger. We had a really good time. I didn't want to leave, but it was to move next item on the list.

5) An opportunity to learn something new. Check. I went to my cousin Richard's studio after I left my friends. Richard is the one who did the lovely picture of me on this blog and he's working on a new group of pieces. One is of me sewing, one is a self portrait, another is a large scale painting of one his close friends and her father. We watched some really good films that I hadn't seen before (The Harder They Come, Night of the Hunter, along with portions of Being There and Gattaca), talked about everything under the sun, and had some really good laughs. His friend and studio mate Anthony showed up about an hour after I got there and added to the fun. This portion of the day was a nice combo learning something new and being with good friends. This qualifies as a bonus check.

6) Spend some quality time alone. Check. I didn't leave the studio until just before 9:00. When I left I was hungry, so I drove up Woodward into Royal Oak for a late dinner (which could've been better) at a local restaurant which shall remain nameless and a double caramel mocha at my favorite coffeehouse, Sweetwaters Cafe, which could not have been better. I read a little (I'll tell you about the book in a later post because it's too fascinating a read for a quick mention) and did a bit of people watching as I walked through the city's main drag, and called it a night, but not before I did the last two things on the list.

7) Get a little love and share a little love. A fuzzy, little check. The first thing I did when I came home? Gave my two favorite cats a scritch on the head and enjoyed them as one circled the monitor and the other circled my feet as I typed this post.

8) Reflect on all you've experienced and give thanks for the positive. Check by way of this blog. It truly was a wonderful day full of love and life. Hope your Saturday was a perfect as mine. Thanks to (in order of appearance) Mom, Deb, Suzy, Tracey, Beth, Kenn, William, Richard, Anthony, and the Fuzzy Bunch for being part of it.

More to come later.

Friday, March 24, 2006

A View Of Subversion With A Snappy Beat

As I was blog surfing yesterday, I came across a site called "REVOLVED." Some really clever folks took the Beatles "Revolver" album (one of my all time favorite albums) and mixed it with all sorts of various other cuts to come up with a very cool set of tunes.

I sent the link to my friends for them to check out. Points for coolness. Unfortunately, when I compared the music on the site to the "Grey Album" that was out a while back (the one that combined the Beatles "White Album" with Jay-Z's "The Black Album"), I said that Modest Mouse did "Grey."

Whoops. Minutes after I hit the send key, I realized I goofed. It was DJ Danger Mouse. Coolness points revoked. I've got 99 problems, getting the artist right is one.

Anyway, I get to redeem myself with this post. Check out REVOLVED before the meanies at BMI take the fun away.

Enjoy. More to come later.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A View Of The Silver Bullet

Or as I like to call it, rock bottom. You know, before I get started with this one:

If you're easily offended, this post may make you uncomfortable. If you're looking for something dirty, this post isn't for you either.

There. Now that we've gotten the preliminaries out of the way, we can begin. I was listening to a portion of Michael Baisden's "Grown Folks" radio show as I was driving home this evening. The topic being discussed when I tuned in was BYOB - Bring Your Own Bullet. He asked callers if they were letting their bullets or other adult toys get between, or even replace their partners.

Why is this rock bottom for me? Because it reminded me of something I forgot I had. Say hello to my little friend.

This is a "Silver Bullet." I got this as a gag gift recently after I confided to a friend about how I haven't been on a date since shortly after my boyfriend and I broke up, and am in the middle of a months long dry spell. My friend pulled me aside, slipped it into my hand (in a discreet brown bag, of course), and I was told to "go handle my business." I peeked in the bag and, through my laughter, said thanks and went home. There, in my bedroom, I sat on my bed, put in the two AAA batteries it required, flicked the switch to see if it worked, and then....

I turned it back off and put it in a catch-all box on my dresser under a couple of silk scarves. This was about two months ago. I hadn't touched it until I took the picture in this post a few minutes ago.


(Etiquette question: Does one send a thank you note upon receiving a vibrator and, if so, what should the note say? "Thank you for your gift of the 'Pocket Rocket.' I came because you care," perhaps? Where's Emily Post when you need her?)

Truth be told, I'm afraid of it. When I got it, the first thing that came to mind (after, "Oh no, she didn't....") was a woman with whom I worked several years ago. One day when we went to lunch, she talked about how her sex drive had gone off the charts when she got pregnant. Her husband was freaked out about how often she wanted to have sex - he was afraid it would harm the baby. She bought a vibrator. It was supposed to be a goof at first, but her and her husband tried it. She got so addicted to it, she began refusing him when he was interested because "he wasn't doing it right. I'd lie there for a few minutes while he tried, then I'd get frustrated and say, 'just get the thing, okay? Just get the thing!' and then I'd take care of myself."

This was the thrust (no pun intended) of the conversation on Michael's show. I only got to hear a few callers during my ride home, and only one of them said they preferred a man over their bullet or whatever toy they used. Think about that. It would seem that many relationships these days have come down to one question: Penis or plastic?

Now that's rock bottom.

And that's the root of my fear. Like I said, it's been a long time since I've seen any sort of action. And while the idea of, shall we say, getting to know my toy is tempting, I just can't bring myself to use it. It would be fun at first, but it would inevitably remind me that I'm missing a human connection. The touch of a hand, the look in the eye, the emotional bond - you can't get that from any silver bullet. I don't want to get to the point where I even begin to think of answering my question with the word, plastic.

So instead of firing up my bullet, I'm going to put it away again, grit my teeth, ride this dry spell out and start dating again soon. All things in their time. After all, there's only one way I can go now that I hit rock bottom. I can climb back on top. So to speak, anyway.

More to c....I'll just say I'll have a new post soon.

A View Behind The Magic Pill

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."
-Professor Marvel, Wizard of Oz, 1939

We all go in search of answers to the problems that trouble us. Often the answers are right in front of us but we can't see them. We go for the flash, the sizzle, the sexy new thing, only to be disappointed when we discover it's all smoke and mirrors - a man behind the curtain pulling the phony levers and pushing the phony buttons - because we know the hard work is ahead.

I thought about that man behind the curtain and the answers in our own backyard when I read this story on the MSNBC website about how a recent study found that anti-depressant medications fail to cure the symptoms of major depression in half of the patients with the disease - even when they receive the best care available.

Half of all patients with symptoms of major depression fail to receive relief from their medications. That's a lot of people seeking relief from a debilitating illness. That's a lot of people being told that a pill will cure all that ails them. That's a lot of people whose hopes are crushed when they see the man behind the curtain and discover their answer is, for them, merely smoke and mirrors.

Don't worry, I'm not about to get all Tom Cruise on you and say that all anti-depressants are phony. Not in the least bit. Tom and his Scientology cronies are free to have their opinion, however wrong it may be. The article discusses how patients who had their first pharmaceutical treatment fail did respond better with a second round of medication, switching to a new form of anti-depressant, or some sort of combination of medications to supplement their work with a psychiatrist or psychologist. It also discusses how depression in any form, and there are several, is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, though these imbalances are more complicated than originally thought.

In other words, it's going to take more than, "Take two vitamins and a read this copy of 'Dianetics', then call me in the morning," to cure someone of depression. The disease is organic in origin, not just a "blue mood" that will go away in time.

This topic struck me personally because I was treated for depression for years. The story of how my depression came to be will be part of another post, but during my treatment I was prescribed a low dosage of Prozac for a period of about nine months. I remember resisting the prescription from my therapist at the time because of my shame in having the disease, the flurry of reports about how Prozac was damaging and possibly more harm than good to those who used the treatment, and by the idea that my problems had to be medicated away instead of talked out. That was the depression talking, of course, not rational thought. I eventually took the medication and, with some intensive short term therapy, made it through.

I was lucky. My form of depression, called dysthymia, is a mild form of the illness and I've been relatively free of any depressive symptoms for several years. That doesn't mean that it won't come back, or even get stronger. When I went for treatment, I was very close to going into a major depressive episode. Depression is kind of like alcoholism - one can overcome the illness, but it never entirely goes away. One trigger and it can come back if one is not prepared to work hard and not let it overtake oneself. This article made me think of those who aren't as lucky as I was. Those who barely found the strength to seek help only to get the impression that their treatment may be a sham. Those who can't afford repeat treatments. Those whose illness is so debilitating, they can't fathom having to take another pill because their current treatment has failed them - like so many other aspects of life.

This quote from the article says it best:

"...Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, which funded the study, emphasized that patients should seek -- and stick with -- treatment. 'The glass is half full from our perspective,' he said. But 'the glass is half empty in that we need to come up with better treatments in the future....'"

Let's hope that we can take that man behind the curtain and make him powerful enough to help all those out there who need help. Read that guide in the article about the symptoms of depression and reach out to anyone you know who shows any of those signs. Encourage them to talk, to get out and do things - anything productive - no matter how much it may exhaust or overwhelm them. If you know someone being treated and they feel it's not working, encourage them to keep asking for help, and when they receive it to keep asking until they feel better. They may be one of the 50% discussed in this article who need follow-up care because their current course of treatment isn't completely right for them. If you see yourself in any of those symptoms, go get help. There's no shame in depression - the shame comes in not talking about it or pretending it's not there.

Be a man behind the curtain to whom attention should be paid - one with more than smoke and mirrors at your fingertips - and help those who need more than smoke and mirrors to find the right man behind the right curtain.

More to come later.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A View Of A Cluckin' Dumb Joke

This one is for my sister, who laughs so hard at that Burger King commercial with the "Big Buckin' Chicken," I swear she's going to catch the bird flu.


DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on "THIS" side of the road before it goes after the problem on the "OTHER SIDE" of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his "CURRENT" problems before adding "NEW" problems.

OPRAH: Well I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so badly. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

COLIN POWELL: Now, to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

HANS BLIX: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am for it now, and will remain against it.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hard working American.

MARTHA STEWART: No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

DR. SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain. Alone.

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: I envision a world where all chickens will be free to cross roads without having their motives called into question.

GRANDPA: In my day, we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its life long dream of crossing the road.

JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together - in peace.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

SIGMUND FREUD: The fact that you are at all concerned that the chicken crossed the road reveals your underlying sexual insecurity.

BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken2005, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your check book. Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken. The Platform is much more stable and will never cra...#@&&^( C \ reboot.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

AL GORE: I invented the chicken!

COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?

More to come later.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A View of Lawd Have Mercy...

I didn't think I'd be posting so soon, but I got some (ahem) divine inspiration during my drive home. I happened to glimpse this sign on a storefront church and laughed in spite of myself. The first thing that popped into my head when I saw it was something my father used to say: "Jesus wept."

I went home, grabbed my camera, and snapped this to share with you. When I pulled up to get a shot, that's when I noticed the church's other words of wisdom, "Hold on, help is on the way."

Hope it comes with spell check.

More to come later.

A View Of An Accident Going Somewhere To Happen

One of the last things my mom will say to me when I talk to her or drop her off at work is, "Be careful driving. There are some crazy people out there." I usually respond that I will in a tone that says not to worry. It takes me back to being walked to the school bus stop or being scolded for crossing the street without looking both ways as a kid. A few items - some serious, others in jest - let me know that I shouldn't brush off her worries as mere maternal fretting.

The first one was on the CNN website. A survey conducted by Response Insurance showed that 57% of all U.S. drivers fail to use their turn signal when they are driving for reasons as "being too lazy" to turn on their signal (because we all know how much energy the turn signal exerts compared to, say, dialing a cell phone while steering with a thigh) or "adding excitement" to their daily commute (as opposed to, say, watching a DVD, shaving, or putting on make-up while behind the wheel - I've seen these things happen). Women were less likely to neglect using their signal as compared to men - 53% compared to 62% - and younger drivers were less likely to signal as compared to older drivers. That's a lot of people seeking "excitement."

Here in Detroit, we often joke about the way people drive. This second item, which does have a little bit of truth about driving habits in the city, floated into my e-mail just before the Super Bowl. I also think it was published in one of the local papers. I'm sure you'll see a bit of your city in this, too.

Driving Rules for Out-Of-Towners During the Super Bowl

1. First, you must learn to pronounce the city name. It's Deh-troit, NOT DEE-troit. If you pronounce it DEE-Troit, then we will assume you are from "out of town" and are here for the Country Music Hoedown.
2. Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Detroit has its own version of traffic rules... Hurry up and get in front of the guy ahead of you, no matter how fast he is driving. Let no man pass!
3. The morning rush hour is from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. The evening rush hour is from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Friday's rush hour starts Thursday morning. Weekends are open game.
4. If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear-ended, cussed out and possibly shot. If you're first off the starting line when the light turns green, count to five before going across the intersection. This will avoid getting in the way of cross-traffic who just ran their yellow light to keep from getting shot.
5. Schoenherr (Shane-her) can ONLY be properly pronounced by a native of the Detroit metro area. That goes for Gratiot (Gra-shut) too.
6. Construction and renovation on I-94, I-96, I-75, I-275, I-375, The Lodge and The Southfield Freeways are a way of life and forever. Just deal with it.
7. If someone actually has their turn signal on, it is probably a factory defect or they are distracted by talking on their cell phone. Detroiters don't normally use them. We're known for cutting people off.
8. All old men (or women) with white hair wearing a hat have total right-of-way.
9 The minimum acceptable speed on I-696 and I-275 is 85 regardless of the posted speeds. Anything less is considered downright SISSY. Oh, and don't even think of allowing more than one car length between cars!
10. That attractive wrought iron on the windows and doors in Detroit is NOT ornamental. DO NOT get out of your car to take pictures.
11. Never stare at the driver of the car with the bumper sticker that says "Keep honking, I'm reloading." He/she is.
12. If you are in the left lane, and only going 60 in a 70 mph zone, people are not waving because they are friendly.
13. I-275 and I-696 is our daily version of NASCAR.
14. It's not M-10, it's "the Lodge."
15. That's not a lake, it's a pothole.
16. If someone tells you it's on Outer Drive, you better hope you have a map.
17. The Michigan left turn is simple. If you want to turn left, go a quarter mile past your turn, get to the left, then make a left, then make another left, then make a right when you get back to the intersection where you wanted to turn left in the first place. NOW you have gone left.
18. And those 2 really ugly arches over Telegraph? Don't even ask. Even we don't have a clue.
Welcome, enjoy your stay, and avoid eye-contact with the locals.

It's all fun, to paraphrase another warning you're likely to get from Mom, until someone loses a life. This third items is the perfect illustration. Last night here in Dearborn, a Detroit suburb, a 34-year old man on a major thoroughfare managed to take out nine cars in a very serious accident. He killed one man, injured two women (including a pregnant woman), and tied up traffic just as evening rush hour was coming to a close. To add to the excitement, he was traveling at a very high rate of speed - close to 90 MPH at one point. As is often the case in these stories, the driver wasn't seriously injured. He was treated and released to police custody a few hours after the incident.

We've had a rash of hit-and-run accidents here in the city over the past few months. The most recent one, the fourth story I came across about careless driving, occurred over the weekend when a young girl was struck and killed while crossing a major intersection on her bike. A friend who was with her and witnessed the entire incident, was not hurt. The driver was a man in his thirties who was turned in by his friend after he admitted he hit "something" on the way home and never stopped. There was no mention in the report I saw on the news as to whether the driver felt any remorse for not stopping or had any intentions of turning himself in. (Note: 3/21/06 - See below for an update to this story.)

The final story is a whopper. A local couple had recently been feuding - some sort of domestic dispute according to reports, possibly child custody. The argument came to a head late last week while the couple were in a parking lot. The man decided to end the argument with his girfriend once and for all by attempting to run her over. When she fled, that didn't stop him. He merely drove his car into the grocery store she ran in to for safety- not once, but three times. This was at the height of the grocery store's busiest part of the day. His SUV was just a few feet away from hitting a mother and daughter - innocent bystanders just trying to redeem bottles for deposit - in the market's foyer.

The common denominator in these last three anecdotes was alcohol: All three drivers were or were suspected of drinking and driving. Doesn't get more exciting that that, does it?

I don't point out these stories to be hard on Detroit, or that men are more reckless behind the wheel than women. I know there are similar stories with any combination of perpetrators and victims that could be reported on any city's newscasts or in any town's newspapers. I also don't want to seem as though I'm on some sort of safety patrol soapbox - I'm as guilty as anyone else of fiddling with the radio, blabbing on the cell, or not signaling from time to time when I make an "obvious" lane shift on the freeway. What I do hope to point out, the lesson that I gleaned from these stories, is that it couldn't hurt for me to listen to my mom's advice without brushing it off. We need to be more concerned about and aware of all the other people with whom we share the road. I know I'll be working to be a better, more courteous driver. If other people start with the person they see in their rear view, things can only get better. Think of how exciting that would be.

Be careful driving, folks. There are some crazy people out there.

More to come later.

3/21/06 UPDATE: An update to this story ran on the local news last night, and they provided some clarifications. The driver was 28 years old, the little girl was 15 years old, and the witness was her sister, not her friend. Also, the girl was crossing against the light at the intersection. The only glimmer of hope in this story is that three of her organs were able to be donated to other patients. I couldn't find a link to this story this morning, but when I do, I"ll add it to this post.

Monday, March 20, 2006

A View Of The Top 4 Adult Jokes From 2005

At least the top four according to the e-mail I received. Read. Laugh. Share.

Number 4: A man bumps into a woman in a hotel lobby and as he does, his elbow goes intoher breast. They are both quite startled. The man turns to her and says,"Ma'am, if your heart is as soft as your breast, I know you'll forgive me." She replies, "If your penis is as hard as your elbow, I'm in room 221."

Number 3: One night, as a couple lays down for bed, the husband starts rubbing his wife's arm. The wife turns over and says "I'm sorry honey, I've got a gynecologist appointment tomorrow and I want to stay fresh." The husband, rejected, turns over. A few minutes later, he rolls back over and taps his wife again. "Do you have a dentist appointment tomorrow too?"

Number 2: Bill worked in a pickle factory. He had been employed there for a number of years when he came home one day to confess to his wife that he had a terrible compulsion. He had an urge to stick his penis into the pickle slicer. His wife suggested that he should see a sex therapist to talk about it, but Bill said he would be too embarrassed. He vowed to overcome the compulsion on his own. One day a few weeks later, Bill came home and his wife could see at once that something was seriously wrong.
"What's wrong, Bill?" she asked.
"Do you remember that I told you how I had this tremendous urge to put my penis into the pickle slicer?"
"Oh, Bill, you didn't!" she exclaimed.
"Yes, I did." he replied.
"My God, Bill, what happened?"
"I got fired."
"No, Bill. I mean, what happened with the pickle slicer?"
"Oh...she got fired too."

Number 1: A couple had been married for 50 years. They were sitting at the breakfast table one morning when the wife says, "Just think, fifty years ago we were sitting here at this breakfast table together."
"I know," the old man said. "We were probably sitting here naked as a jaybird fifty years ago." "Well," Granny snickered. "Let's relive some old times." With that, the two stripped to the buff and sat down at the table.
"You know, honey," the little old lady breathlessly replied, "My nipples are as hot for you today as they were fifty years ago."
"I wouldn't be surprised," replied Gramps. "One's in your coffee and the other is in your oatmeal."

Be sure to tip your servers. More to come later.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

A View of the Fuzzy Bunch

Aren't they just precious?

This is the Fuzzy Bunch, the two cats who allow me to provide them room and board. The one on the left is Peppy. I call her the aging diva because she's 11 years old and is still as beautiful as she can be. She demands to be petted, knows how to use her looks to her advantage when she's in trouble and behaves like the queen she'll tell you she is. The one on the right is Bucky, named for the cat in "Get Fuzzy" before I found out she was a girl. She's a bit more timid and wide eyed, but loves attention on her terms. You can pet her, but only when she wants you to and only for a short period of time. Picking her up is not an option, but a good tummy rub is always a possibility. She's about four years old.

Both of them were strays who adopted me. Peppy followed me home from a summer festival when she was about three months old and wouldn't leave. Bucky was about six months old when she wandered into my yard and literally made herself at home. The two of them get along as well as you can expect an aging diva and a young upstart to relate to each other. Some days they are the best of buddies. Other days, it's like a feline version of "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane."

I wouldn't trade them for anything. Who could resist those faces?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

A View Of The Continuing Struggle

Have you ever heard the saying, "one step forward, two steps back?" As I was reading the paper yesterday, I found a vivid illustration of this in two small news briefs.

Let's go forward first. Alabama lawmakers are considering a mass pardon of people who were arrested for violating Alabama's segregation laws during the Montgomery bus boycotts. The idea had been floating around in the state's legislature for years, but had recently picked up steam after Rosa Parks's death last year. Can you believe her conviction is still on her record, even though the law she violated was unconstitutional and was overturned? If you want to help get this sorely overdue legislation passed, you may want to contact Alabama state representative Thad McClammy. (See below for update. 3/21/06)

Now it's time to be pulled back. Two paragraphs down from this story in the paper was this slap in the face. The FBI announced on Thursday that they will not be filing federal charges in case of Emmett Till, the 14-year old boy brutally murdered in Mississippi in the summer of 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman, because the five-year statute of limitations on federal civil rights violations had run out. They've passed the case on to Mississippi 4th Judicial District Attorney Joyce L. Chiles, who will decide if any state charges can be filed. If you want to help in the effort to get state charges filed in this case, contact Ms. Chiles at P.O. Box 253, Greenwood, MS, 38930. I'd also encourage people to write to your representative in Congress and the Senate to press for the government to right this wrong on the federal level.

That would be one step forward, don't you think? For more on the Emmett Till story, check out the website for the movie that helped get Emmett's case reopened, The Untold Story of Emmett Till. The movie is now available on DVD and the site tells his story in rich detail.

More to come later. Keep on pushin'.

3/21/06 UPDATE: There are some who view pardoning Rosa Parks and the others who were arrested during the Montgomery bus boycotts as wrong because it would give the wrong impression - like the people arrested were wrong to begin with. Another point of view, found in Clanton, Alabama's paper, "The Advertiser," argues that the effort is a "back-handed apology" and a case of too little, too late.

There's merit in both of these points. A pardon or total expungement of the charges from the records of everyone involved would have been better served during or shortly after the boycott. Taking this action now comes across as back-handed at best, and a cynical grab for votes based on public sympathy at worst - the ugliest form of striking while the iron is hot. Still, I'd like to think that something concrete should be done now instead of fretting over what the right thing to do would be to the point of paralysis.

Rosa and all the others who sacrificed their freedom (and in some cases their lives) deserve nothing less.

Friday, March 17, 2006

A View That Stays With The Theme

Found the perfect coda to this evening's coming out party. Enjoy.

God said, "Adam, I want you to do something for me."

Adam said, "Gladly, Lord, what do You want me to do?"

God said, "Go down into that valley..."

Adam said, "What's a valley?"

God explained it to him. Then God said, "Cross the river..."

Adam said, "What's a river?"

God explained that to him, and then said, "Go over to the hill..."

Adam said, "What is a hill?"

So, God explained to Adam what a hill was. He told Adam, "On the other side of the hill you will find a cave..."

Adam said, "What's a cave?"

After God explained, he said, "In the cave, you will find a woman..."

Adam said, "What's a woman?"

So God explained that to him, too. Then, God said, "I want you to reproduce..."

Adam said, "How do I do that?"

God first said under his breath, "Geez..." And then, just like everything else, God explained that to Adam, as well.

So, Adam went down into the valley, across the river, over the hill, into the cave, and found the woman. Then, in about five minutes, he was back.

God, his patience wearing thin, said angrily, "What is it now?"

And Adam said, "What's a headache?”

More to come tomorrow....

A View Of The TEM Being Outed

I'm kicking the door off my closet and I'm walking out.

I'm an atheist.

There. I said it. Feels good to get that out in the open, like that first spring breeze.

I've held this belief for a very long time - almost as long as I've been able to think seriously about religion, faith, and what role it plays in my life. I've explored several religions, did a great deal of soul searching, read, prayed (at least at the beginning), and finally embraced my viewpoint. I am now ready to live out in the open, proud of who I am and where my beliefs are.

I've come to see religion as a tool created and honed over time to make sure a group of people stick to a set group of social mores. In that aspect, I think the power of religion is used mainly for good. We all need to learn how to treat each other better, how to respect our fellow man, how to be civil and caring within our communities.

I've also come to see religion used as a weapon to smother dissent, encourage prejudice and oppression. I've come to see religion abused to bring out the ugliest, darkest aspects of human nature -religious beliefs used as a weapon against the weak of body and mind.

And that's where the root of my atheism begins. The concept of an all seeing, omniescient being with absolulte power, with the ability to create all in His/Her image, accepting and condemming at the same time just does not register with me. It's a beautiful idea when you think about it, but one that ultimately absolves us of our personal responsibility. It's easy to say, "I'll pray to God to make things better," than it is to take one's life into one's own hands and doing the work to improve one's life. It's comforting to think that when one dies, there's a beautiful, carefree place where the soul goes so we can live on, when nobody knows what happens to us once we make that transition or wants to contemplate how to find happiness and contentment while we are here on Earth. It's easy to imagine having our mistakes, our cruelty, our failings magically wiped away by a powerful being in the sky than it is to think about the mistakes we've made, are making, and will continue to make. Easier than thinking about how to correct those mistakes, move past them, and prevent ourselves from making them again. I'll be the first to admit I'm as flawed, damaged, dare I say sinful as the next person on this planet. Turning to a deity or an icon to dismiss or defy my faults, however, just makes no sense to me. I have to take responsibility for my mistakes, own them, face my fears of what will happen once I die, of dying itself, and finding my inner peace while I'm still alive.

The idea of a God, of messengers, of miracles, are sweet beautiful concepts that work for many people. I'm not one of them. The idea of a God who creates an Earth full of creatures modeled in His/Her own image, but then being told those creatures can be rejected by Him/Her because of who they love, the way they choose to create, the ways they try to cope with their own internal suffering is contradictory. The idea of a God who asks one to worship Him/Her fully and completely without question, but not being able to serve in one of His/Her churches because of their gender makes no sense to me. We're told spiritual texts like the Bible, the Qu'ran, the Book of Mormon or the Torah, are from the mouth of God, but in the next breath we're told it's the word as told to man, leaving the texts open to the interpretation and manipulation of a group who wants people to belive as only they believe. It's impossible to sort out what may be true in those texts and what may be the truth turned and twisted to fit one person's personal agenda over someone else because of greed, jealousy, or a lust for power. There's too much left to personal manipulation, to a grab for power, to a need to advance and conquer at the expense of someone seen as weak or inferior for me to even begin to subscribe to the belief of a God as we know it. It scares me to think of the way my country, one based on the concept of religious freedom, is using religion as a key test of patriotism, as a basis of law. The use of religion as a measure of national loyalty in any form; from it a pledge to God in a public school, or mandating the core beliefs of one religion over another discounts that nation's citizens as a whole. It's the personification of Orwell's lesson in Animal Farm: Everyone is created equal, but some are more equal than others. It is a perversion of belief and a further illustration of the way man uses religion for personal gain.

As much as I've tried, I cannot find comfort in religion or in the concept of a God because of this. George Clinton said it best for me: The kingdom of heaven is within.

Now before everyone picks up a Bible, a bottle of Holy Water, and begins preparing strategies for saving my immortal soul, let me say this: Please save yourself a lot of frustration and don't try. I've lived almost 40 years developing my self image, my opinions, and my views. I've earned the right to not believe in a God just as you have earned the right to believe. I would never try to sway you away from your faith in the religion you choose to practice. Everyone has their own path in life that they must follow. When they do, they have to accept the responsibilities and consequences that come with following that path. I've found mine, am exploring it and have accepted the responsibilities that come with it. It would be presumptuous to assume that because my path differs from the paths of others is wrong, and disrespectful to try and move me from my path onto yours just to make yourself feel better.

In other words, live and let live. I'm here. I'm an atheist. Deal with it.

I still follow some of the traditions of my religious upbringing. I celebrate Christmas because I like the concept of giving selflessly to bring happiness to others, not because I believe in a manger in Bethlehem. I say "God bless you," when someone sneezes out of habit and it feels weird to say "Gesundheit." I also say, "Goddamn it," but that's because I have a potty mouth. I say a lot worse, too. I've occasionally attended church over the past couple of years, mainly to support my ex-boyfriend's search for a new church home. I think it ultimately disappointed him when I stopped going after he joined a church that was the right fit for him and his spiritual needs. He had a hard time accepting my spiritual life would never be the same as his. I'm even beginning to tentatively explore Buddhism because its main tenets of personal enlightenment, karma and finding a sense of calm within seems to mesh with the viewpoints I've developed during my soul searching process. There will be more about my ongoing personal development in future posts.

In the meantime, feel free to read, comment, and share. The closet door is open now, so feel free to peek in and take a look around. I'll be happy to guide you along. You can also learn about atheism and agnosticism by visiting the Atheism Web, a clearing house site that discusses atheism and agnosticism.

More to come later....

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A View Of Something Shameful

As I was surfing along today, I came across a site called Urban Journalista. It's a pretty good site, one that I've added to my list of favorites. One of her most recent posts was about Damon Wayans and his attempts to trademark the word "Nigga" for, of all things, a line of clothing he wants to develop.

This makes me think he's shaving his head a little too closely or needs to be slapped with Homey The Clown's trademark sock. The idea of anyone using such a corrosive, damaging word as a sales tool is a disturbing display of self hatred. Has it really come to this?

Click on the title of this post to read her thoughts and for a link to the story as it appeared in the Washington Post. Feel free to weep over the loss of our dignity.

More to come later.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A View Of The Pink

I have a really cool friend named Tracey. She is really good friends with the guy who created "Pink Is The New Blog," a celebrity gossip and satire site. I've only met him a couple of times, but he's a cool guy. I admire the way he took his site from a personal blog to one that's now a career for him. Click on the title of this post to visit his site.

Maybe one day, I'll be able to do the same with this site. A girl can dream....

More to come later.

A View Of A Fallen Icon

I don't shop at Wal-Mart or any of its affiliated stores. I think their policies toward their workers, the way the company bullies itself into its locations, the way it had to be forced into providing items like the morning-after pill to women, and its record on discriminatory behavior towards minorities and women is appalling. I don't want a penny of my money supporting their corporate culture.

I did admire Andrew Young at one time. His work in the civil rights movement, his intelligence, and leadership abilities were top notch. I say were because his recent actions seem to go against everything he seemed to stand in the African-American community.

That admiration has dwindled after reading this article my cousin, the artist mentioned in a previous post and my mentor when it comes to progressive politics and social issues, recently sent me from The Black Commentator website. Click on the title of this post to take a look at the article. It's hard to watch someone so admirable willingly do something that's not admirable in any sense of the word.

More to come later.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Helping You See The View

One function this blog will serve for me is being an electronic sounding board. "The View From The TEM" is designed to help me sort through, analyze, and process all the experiences, thoughts, loads of crap, fears, pleasures, and other stuff life will bring my way. Needless to say, TVFTT will not always reflect a popular viewpoint, may be this side of self-indulgent, and will sometimes go against the beliefs and opinions of you, the reader. Read, reflect, feel free to comment, and hopefully learn along with me. If you agree with me, great. If you don't, feel free to say so, but be nice and respectful. A defining "View From The TEM" is agreeing to disagree and accepting people for who they are, not who we want them to be.

That said, I pick up a portion of the conversation that helped launch this site:

"One big thing I've learned over time is that there are worse things than waking up 40 and finding oneself single and not finding Mr. or Ms. Right For Me. What about waking up at 40, turning over and being consumed by resentment and disappointment...or not (even) waking up at 40?"

I pick up this portion of the conversation because I'm pretty close to 40 and for the longest, that age scared me silly. Some of it is the usual societal nonsense - from the pressure to be settled with a family by 40, the media pushing the idea that "40 is the new (insert younger age of choice here)." The majority of my fear came from a more personal demon. My dad died back in 1982, just shy of his 40th birthday and just after I turned 15. I loved my dad dearly, and his death haunted me for years. The story is long and involved - too long for the amount of time I have to post this evening - but I found myself comparing my life, my accomplishments and my insecurities to what I imagined he must have gone through at similar points. Now, after much introspection, experience, and time, I'm at the point where I've stopped making the comparisons. My dad suffered from depression but did little to seek help with managing it. I've suffered from bouts of depression throughout my life like him, but I've worked on finding ways to cope and manage the illness. My dad was insular and kept to himself. I have the same tendencies, but have been making efforts to get out of my shell. Granted I haven't been doing as much as I know I could, but I'm not living entirely within myself like I've done in the past and as he did for most of his life. I've also working on defining who I am, what I believe, and what it will take for me to live content and in a good, whole mental space that makes me comfortable and happy without concern of a timetable. Where once 40 was a big, looming red flag that stood for everything I hadn't accomplished, it now stands as a milestone of reflection. One that will allow me to see where I've been, release the mistakes of the past, embrace the lessons I've learned over time, and prepare for a hopeful future - one of my own making. By doing this, I hope that I am able to keep the parts of him I loved the most alive - the part that was strong, vital, and proud.

I dedicate this blog to his memory and work to live in a way that would have made him proud.

More to come later in the week.

How To Tell If You Need To Pray At Work

See if you can tell what kind of day I'm having on the j-o-b.

1. When a co-worker comes in a little too happy singing"good morning" to everyone and you think, "Somebody needs to slap the s#@! out of her"...You need to pray at work.

2. When someone comes in and announces, "office meeting in 5 minutes," and you think, "what the f*&% do they want now?"..... You need to pray at work.

3. When your computer is mysteriously turned off and you want to say, "which one of you sons of b*&^%$# turned off my computer?"..... You need to pray at work.

4. When you and a co-worker are discussing something, and a third person comes in and says, "well at my last office...," and you want to throw a stapler at him...... You need to pray at work.

5. When you hear a co-worker call your name and the first thing that crosses your mind is, "what the h*&^ doesshe want now?"and you try to hide underneath your desk.... You need to pray at work.

6. When you are asked to stay late and help do someone else's work and the first thing that pops in your head is, "both of y'all can kiss my a@@!!".... You need to pray at work.

7. When you're in the elevator and it stops to pick upsomeone who stood for five minutes waiting for the darn thing only to go DOWN one floor, and you say"that lazy b*&%$#"...... You need to pray at work.

8. When you take some vacation time and come back to find a mountain of paperwork sitting on your desk because no one else would do it and you think, "sorry a##M#$^%F%&#s"....... You need to pray at work.

9. If you have ever thought about poisoning, choking, punching, slapping or flattening someone's tires that you work with...... You need to pray at work.

10. If you avoid saying more than hello or how are youdoing to someone because you know it's going to lead to their life story ........You need to pray at work.

11. If you know all the words that have been bleeped out....You need to pray at work!

Hope yours is going better. More to come later today.

Monday, March 13, 2006

An Artistic View of the TEM

This is a drawing that my cousin did of me a couple of years ago. As you can see, he's a very talented artist. I'll be talking more about him in future posts and showing more of his work. I posted this to learn how to use Blogger's photo tools. I'm so not a techie.

Hope you like the drawing. More posts to come.

No Time Like The Present

I've been toying with the idea of writing a blog for at least two years. A recent turn in my personal life finally made me take the plunge and start posting. I was in a long term relationship, and it's recently come to an end. It made me think about my life - what I want, what I've had, what I would change if I could go back in time, and what I would keep the same.

One of the discussions I had about the end of my LTR touched on reaching 40 and dealing with any related regrets, like the possibility of being alone. The main point was that sometimes we learn our lessons too late and find ourselves at age whatever (40 in this hypothetical case) mourning what we let slip away.

Here's part of my reply:

"Isn't that what life is about though - learning, hard or easy? One big thing I've learned over time is that there are worse things than waking up 40 and finding oneself single and not finding Mr. or Ms. Right For Me. What about waking up at 40, turning over and being consumed by resentment and disappointment for Mr. or Mrs. This Is Who I Ended Up With, but continuing on anyway because what else is there to do? Or waking oup at 40 and finding out that Mr. or Mrs. Love of My Life has done something so hurtful to you that it crushes you to your very soul? Or not waking up at 40?

"I'm not worried about or afraid of being alone. If I were, I'd still be seeing (my ex-boyfriend) and seething (inside) over how wrong (the relationship had become), or I would've never divorced my ex-husband - wrong life partner, but excellent teacher of the lessons listed above. There are so many times in our lives when we are totally alone, even we are surrounded by the requisite friends and loved ones we all feel we need to meet our daily requirement of, 'Yep, I'm just as normal as everyone else.' What I do worry about, what scares me to death, is settling for someone who isn't right, but is just okay. Settling for someone because I don't like the way the floorboards creak at night when the lights are out in the house. Settling for someone because it's past time to give your family the requisite number of grandchildren required to keep up with those damned Joneses - even though you aren't sure marriage and children aren't for you. Settling for a life and, to quote David Byrne, asking yourself, 'Well how did I get here?' "

This exchange made me realize that when my life ends, I would like my list of accomplishments to be longer than my list of regrets. Saying I wanted to blog and not doing it would've been one of those regrets.

So here I am - thinking out loud and hopefully saying more than nothing. Fasten your safety belts.