Saturday, January 31, 2009

My two cents...

I'm sure you've all heard--to great extent--about the woman who now has FOURTEEN kids. If not, here's the quick and dirty version: a woman (who may or may not be married but lives with her parents) has six kids, ages 2-7. She then has OCTUPLETS! This has become a huge debate on ethics on the talking-head news shows and the blogworld. I'm not going to rant, because there's not much left to be said that hasn't been said and re-said. I guess the one issue I can't get past is WHY people can just have baby after baby without anyone checking them out. You almost have to maim a child before anyone TRULY gets involved and checks you out as a parent. I don't get it. Let's say I want to ADOPT a child. I have to prove I'm fit to be a parent, that I am emotionally, physically and financially able to care for a child. And that's a GOOD THING. But what if I want to have, oh I don't know, a dozen or more kids??? Shouldn't someone make sure I have the money to take care of those kids? Enough beds for them to sleep in? Common sense to properly care for them? Healthy mental state so that I don't chain them to a bedpost or drown them in the bathtub? (I know that's harsh, but seriously, it happens!). I just don't get it. And it doesn't take long in my career to see the products of poor parenting, even if there's only one kid. I hate to say it, but I'm getting to the point where I'm not joking when I say everyone shouldn't be allowed to reproduce. I'm not saying you have to be smart or rich to be a parent, but how about being loving and decent and possessing at least a few ounces of common sense?

I'm done now. Said I wasn't going to rant.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day... FACEBOOK STYLE!!! (Updated)

I've been hooked on CNN all day. Now I'm home and I'm hooked on CNN and Facebook. The status updates are coming fast and furious, and I'm sure you can guess the topic. Yep, President Obama's inauguration. I'm keeping a running list of all the different statuses. I guess I should ask to use these, but since they're all going to be anonymous, I'm going to hope none of you mind.

I'll start with mine: "Amber says 'Happy Birthday, Momma!' and 'Congratulations, Obama!' (Read it out loud. It rhymes. Hee hee)"

Here are the rest. I'll be adding to this periodically. All spelling and grammar has been preserved, even if it kills me.


…is lettin everyone know, "IT'S OFFICIAL... OBAMA IS IN THERE LIKE SWIMWEAR!!!"

...wants to know, "Do you smell what Barack is cooking?" saying "folks he is just a man our real Savior is Jesus Christ!!!! emotional as Obama takes office. What a special day.

...wants to ask Obama "How it feel to wake up and be the shit and the urine?!" thinking that O Bama cannot speak without a telepromter... how is this going to work? sick and tired of the "history making day"... I think I am going to go pray my beads for this country!

...witnessed history through tears, joy, and excitement.

...wants people to realize who is truly in control of our country, thats our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!! congratulating Obama. "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is NO power but of GOD the powers that be ordained of GOD!!! get in there, shut down gitmo, withdraw the troops, and get detroit in line, Mr. President. wanting people to realize that he is our President, not Jesus Christ. Oh and did you see him when he had to talk on the spot... Not good. OBAMA OBAMA OBAMA. watching the inauguration with a trembling heart.

...finds it interesting that my kids will read about today in their history classes. Praying for our new President.....GOD BLESS AMERICA ! praying that this great nation soon realizes that what we need is God not "so called change"!!!!!

...thinks the new president is sexiness and that feels weird.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sea kittens?

Just a heads up... this is going to be "rambley" because part of my brain leaked out of my ears after reading the article about PETA's new push to make us all "better" people.

Ashley Byrne, a PETA member who has a history of taking her clothes off in public to "raise awareness," has launched a new campaign to have fish renamed "sea kittens."

I'll let that sink in for a moment.


Her theory is that people will stop eating fish if they associate it with something cute and cuddly like a kitten. The campaign specifically targets kids, asking them to keep daddy from killing the little fish.


Okay, look, don't get me wrong. I love animals. I do. I can actually say that I would like to reach a point in my life that I don't eat meat because I really do hate the idea of eating something that was living. The problem is that I LIKE MEAT and I have a hard time resisting it. (I don't, however, buy leather, down or anything that came from an animal if there is a man-made alternative). I respect that some people actually have the will power to fore go meat. And I support their right to share their opinions as long as they are not obnoxious or completely lacking LOGIC in the process.

SEA KITTENS??????????????????????

This doesn't even make sense. I keep expecting Andy Samberg to pop up on the website and tell me it's actually a digital short. Speaking of the website, it's just plain embarrassing (anyone feel like building a personalized sea kitten?)

You know what burns me up most? These eff-tards at PETA spend time on campaigns like "sea kittens" and convincing Ben and Jerry's to use breast milk in their ice cream; however, when animal control seized Michael Vick's dogs from his compound, PETA demanded that the dogs be euthanized immediately, claiming the dogs would never have any kind of normal life. But guess what? While some of those dogs are possibly irrevocably scarred, quite a few of are doing well. A half dozen are either certified therapy dogs or are completing the training to be. A half dozen more received Canine Good Citizen certificates after passing the American Kennel Club's tests. Others have become cherished family dogs. (For more about these dogs, read SI's wonderful article:

Yes, I love animals, but I have no love for PETA. Years and years ago, I used to try to take the good with the bad, ignoring the craziness and embracing their supposed core cause. But I can't anymore. The whole bunch is rotten.

Sea kittens my ass.

Isn't this a form of child abuse?

Bear Grylls, one of the youngest men to climb Everest and currently the host of Man Vs. Survivor, recently welcomed his third son into the world. You may be asking, "Why is this news?" Well, my friend, he named his new baby Huckleberry. To be exact, it's Huckleberry Edward Jocelyne Grylls.

I don't even know where to begin.

Huckleberry? Is he a Mark Twain fan? Lover of blue animated dogs? Is it a Tombstone reference? I mean, c'mon, I love Tombstone but I'd never name my kid freaking Huckleberry. And Jocelyne? I've done some looking and cannot find that name used ANYWHERE as a male name. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume it's someone's surname.

But little Huckleberry isn't alone. Nope. His older brother's name is Marmaduke. Yep, like the Great Dane in the comic strips.

The oldest Grylls child is named Jesse, which means this child will either grow up extremely grateful that he dodged the retardo name curse or he'll feel that mom and dad didn't love him enough to give him a "unique" name.

By the way, Bear's real name is Edward Michael.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Death to the Fire Ants

This is actually OLD news, but I realized while sorting through some pictures that I never posted anything about my encounter with the fire ants last fall. John and I had done some landscaping, and I was measuring around our sidewalk for our solar lights. As I did some calculations in my head, I stepped back of the sidewalk to look at our landscaping. After a few seconds, I felt a sting. I looked down to find my entire foot was COVERED. I had stepped on a fire ant hill! I had on Crocs, so the little monsters had access to my foot (I suppose they thought I was the monster, but whatever). I immediately kicked my shoes off and ran into the house, slapping the ants off my feet. I headed toward the bathroom and stuck my feet in the tub, drowning them in cold water.

I ended up with quite a few stings (bites?) on my foot and ankle, as well as two on my pinkie finger from where I had slapped at the ants. I can't find the picture of my finger, but I'd rather not share it anyway. Let's just say I essentially had two thumbs on one hand, but only one was opposable.

I do, however, have the picture of my foot and ankle.

Mmm... hope you weren't eating. Anyway, it itched like nobody's business and I ended up scratching it so much that I think I'm going to have a scar.
Epilogue to this story? I had my revenge on the ants, 'cause unless they had an ark built inside that mound of dirt, they all went to a watery grave. Yeah, yeah, I know. They attacked because I stepped on them. But I wasn't leaving them there for one of the kids to step in.
I do plan on having my yard sprayed SPECIFICALLY for fire ants this year. This was a TERRIBLE experience.

Friday, January 9, 2009


I decided to repost some material from my old Myspace blog, "No Shoes Allowed." Here's the first installment, the first (and so far, only) part of a set of stories entitled "Saligia" (look it up). I never did revise based on feedback, but I'd like to revisit it. It's not my best piece by far, but I have certain attachment to it because of the time period during which I wrote it. Maybe I can work on the 2nd installment, "Eyes Shown Shut," within the next two weeks. I started it about 6 months ago.

Enough prelude. Here it is. Be BRUTAL.

Never wavering, the preacher's voice leapt from the speakers and sauntered across the dashboard. Each word wagged its finger in her face, that long finger of shame.

Run, my brothers and sisters, run from the sin of lust, the sin of the flesh.

She reached to change the station, her eyes drifting toward the rear view mirror. Her mother glared at her from the back seat, the look of constant disappointment staining her pinched face. Withdrawing her hand from the radio, she grimaced as a smile of triumph fastened to the corners of her mother's mouth. She quickly averted her eyes from the backseat.

"You can't stop me. You know that don't you? Dr. Perkins told me I don't have to listen to you, that I don't have to worry what you think anymore."

Even without looking, she knew her mother was shaking her head, so she turned the mirror down and focused on the green mile-marker sign ahead.

"Just because you spent forty years being ignored by daddy does not mean that you can guilt me into putting myself through the same. Don't pretend this is a moral issue, Mama. You're just jealous."

Remember, Joseph, church, and forget not his example when the whore wife of Potiphar threw herself at that young man of God. Did he hesitate? No. Did he falter? No. What did he do church? He ran. Say it with me, now. He RAN!

She had been running for years now. It seemed everywhere she went she was running. Running to pick up the kids. Running to get supper on the table. Running to this meeting and that choir practice. But she was mostly running out of excuses for the man she'd called husband for 14 years.

Run, I tell you. Husbands and fathers, run from the smut, from the pornography that fills your minds with evil thoughts. Burn your dirty magazines. Crush your filthy videos. Turn off your computers--no, toss them out with the garbage. And with them, toss out the pollution that is polluting your hearts and homes.

It had been over two years since he'd touched her, with the exception one or two rare occasions when he'd come home drinking after a night out with the guys. At first, she had blamed herself. She had gained quite a few pounds during her pregnancies and had struggled with losing the last twenty. She was convinced that he was just no longer attracted to her, repulsed by her soft body and stretch marks. But after six or seven months, she decided it couldn't be only her fault. It wasn't normal for a man to deprive himself so long, even if he was no longer turned on by his wife. She was a woman, wasn't she, and better than no woman at all?

Run, I say, run from those who tempt you. Men, do not find yourself alone with your young secretary. Women, do not be lured into flirtation with your male coworkers. Pray to God for strength to resist those who would join you in the sin of adultery. Resist them and flee as you flee the Devil. Run. Flee. Run.

She had met Ted eight weeks earlier. He was hired to perform upgrades on the office computers. In those first days, their interactions were innocuous enough: drinking coffee together in the break room, discussing the recent elections or laughing over the previous night's episode of their favorite show. Within two weeks, though, she was meeting him outside of work for coffee, making excuses for working late. Eventually, there were small signs of what her mother would call "wooing"—a brush of the hand on her lower back, her hand resting lightly on his chest as they laughed. Still, she hadn't put much thought into their dalliances. She was married and he was almost ten years her junior.

Run from the lies society and the media will tell you. They would have you believe that you should do what feels good, what makes you happy. Ignore what the Good Book says. Ignore the consequences of your actions. Ignore your neglected children, your shunned wives and husbands. But I'm telling you, church, what you want is sin. What makes you happy is black as your hearts without the blood of the Christ. So run from your soap operas and your romance novels. Run from those who laugh in the face of what God has joined together. Say it church: run!

She readjusted her mirror.

"Hear that Mama? What God joined together. Even you couldn't find God in our marriage."

The familiar green eyes narrowed. She braced herself for a slap that never came. With new determination, she continued. "You know, it'd be different if he were one of those paraplegics or something or if he was suffering with cancer. If he had some reason that he couldn't have… be intimate. A woman needs touching, Mama. He may be just fine touching himself, but that's not enough for me."


She was running, running from a life that she didn't sign up for. And though she knew she'd have to return—though there was no love left for her husband, she could not abandon her two children—she took solace in knowing she could run away for a little while.


When Ted had kissed her the day before, she felt like she was sixteen again. She could still feel his hands on her face and taste him on her lips. Her husband had never kissed her like that, not even on their wedding day. Or wedding night. Up against the wall, pressed against his body, she felt something inside her awaken.  

Illustration by Yury Darash


They had decided to meet two towns over, at a small, out of the way inn. Ted told her she deserved better than a cheap, by-the-hour motel. She had spent the afternoon in her tiny bathroom, surrounded by old copies of Cosmo, as she paid meticulous, ridiculous attention to each detail of her body. She was scrubbed, shaved, trimmed, lotioned and groomed—her body was different after having the children and she wanted to look her best for Ted.

I know that some of you do not struggle with this temptation like some of your brothers and sisters. I know that there are some of you right now who feel I am wasting precious pulpit time with this sermon I have been given. But I also know that some of you are struggling with temptation. Pray, my children, pray for God to remove this temptation. Pray that He give you feet to run away from those who would lead you astray. Pray for your Nikes to be blessed by the Holy Ghost and that they will carry you in the right direction.

When she pulled into the parking lot of the Magnolia Inn, she scanned the parking lot for Ted's car. Pulling into a spot at the far end of the row, she adjusted her mirror to check her makeup. Fire burned in the green eyes over her shoulder as she reapplied her Truly Toffee lipstick.

"Mama, you are not going inside with me, understand? I'm a grown woman and I can make my own decisions. No, I will make my own decisions." Her mother opened her mouth to speak just as she capped her lipstick and bent the mirror toward the passenger seat.

And if you find yourself mired too deeply in the black sticky tar of your sin, then pray for your fellow sinner to run from you. Pray that the opportunity to fornicate, to defile your temple, to sin against your God, will escape from you. Pray that the harlot will flee, that the lecher will take flight. If you aren't strong enough to run, pray that you will be run from! God is faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear! In the first chapter of…

Turning the radio off, she pulled the keys from the ignition and tossed them into her handbag. The gravel in the parking lot crunched and shifted under her heels and she walked toward the lobby. She still didn't see Ted's car, but she assured herself that he was just running late. The bells tinkled as she opened the door to the lobby, the air conditioning raising chill bumps on her bare legs. A man in a yellow shirt sat behind the counter, absorbed in the newest John Grisham novel. He put his hand up to motion he needed another moment, then finished the chapter and placed the book face down on the counter.

"Yes, ma'am, may I help you?"

"I'm meeting… we…well, I'm not sure what to tell you."

"Do you have reservations?"

"I believe so. Do you have a room for Ted Wyatt?"

The man wrinkled his brow, shaking his head.

"Um, what about under Ma—"

"Wait, what was his name? Tom?"


"Yes, Ted. I believe he was in here earlier. Left this."

He handed her an envelope with her name scrawled across the front.

"What is it?"

"I don't rightly know. He just asked me to give it to you if you showed up."

She sat down in a high-backed chair and opened the envelope. She read the enclosed letter—the very brief letter—three times before standing up, smoothing her skirt and walking toward the door.

"Ma'am, will you be needing a room?"

Her composure began to crumble. Without turning to face him, she shook her head, unable to speak. He made a soft clicking sound in his throat.

"Don't worry, hon. You aren't the first."

As soon as she crossed the threshold of the lobby door, she felt the tears burning her eyes. She kicked off her shoes and snatched them up as she broke into a dead run toward her car. The gravel dug into her pedicured feet but she didn't stop. She didn't stop running until she opened the door of her blue sedan, threw her shoes in the passenger-side floorboard and slid behind the wheel. The same gravel that had torn her feet now sprayed from beneath her rear tires. She was back on the highway in less than a minute; it was then she heard a low snicker from the backseat.

"Do not start, Mama."

But the laughter continued, escalating from a snicker to a chuckle.

"Don't you dare laugh at me you mean old crow. So help me, God—"

The chuckle subsided, replaced by a full-blown cackle. She could picture her mother's face, the lines around her mouth grotesque, her eyes open so that she could see the affect of her vicious mirth. Her mother had always looked her most malevolent when laughing, since she only did so when it came at the expense of others.

She fumbled for the radio, pushing the knob several times before she realized it was on. The sermon was over and a choir solemnly warbled out the words to a hymn she remembered from her childhood.

"Come home, come home, ye who are weary come home…"

Though it seemed her mother was lost in the throes of glee, she had obviously been restraining herself in some way. By the time the choir reached "softy and tenderly," the laughter grew louder and shriller, punctuated with gasps for air.

Desperately, she took both hands from the wheel. She fumbled for the button that would change the station while simultaneously turning the volume up until her ears pulsated. The voice was distorted by the strained speakers, a voice she immediately recognized. A voice that she had received a whipping for as a teenager when her mother had snatched earphones from her head to find out what type of filth she was filling her mind with.

The laughter from the backseat began to subside.

"Yeah, Mama, it's your favorite. Remember? I sure do. You took a belt to me over this."

She felt her shoulders begin to relax, her grip on the steering wheel loosen.

"I'm sure you're as pleased as punch about this, but it's not over. Ted said I make him feel electric. Electric, Mama. You'll see. This isn't over."

The backseat was silent again, save for the music being pushed from the speakers. She forced herself to smile and wiped at her eyes with the back of her hand. It was a lie. Deep down she knew it was over. It had taken fourteen years for her to work up the courage—and swallow the shame—to open herself up to another man. And she knew she would never forgive him for making a fool of her.

She had lied to her mother but it tasted good in her mouth.

She adjusted the volume to a more bearable level, but still kept it louder than customary. She rolled her window down, allowing the warm wind to make her wet face sticky. Her anger and embarrassment peeled from her skin, settling outside in the tall grass beside Highway 129. She had run. And she knew that eventually she'd have the chance to run again. Next time would be different. Next time would be truly… electric.

She pushed her hand through her hair as the familiar voice sang her home.

"Everybody needs somebody, you're not the only one."

Police Car

So a friend forwarded me this text today that read, "You see me in a police car. What would you think I got arrested for?" After responding, I forwarded the message out to some friends (it said "Play Along" and I follow directions, thank you very much)

Here are the responses thus far. My friends think so much of me. And some of them just know me too damned well. :)

Indecent exposure**
Stalking Angelina Jolie
Noise violation
Impersonating a police officer while delivering a strip-o-gram (WHAT???)

(** denotes duplicate response. Three, actually. sigh)

I'll add to this list as results come in. Feel free to comment.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Rings

Today, a friend of mine was teaching Guy de Maupassant's "The Necklace" and shared her own personal jewelry story with the students. She later shared the story with me. I'll try to do it justice.

Years ago, she had some rings. The rings were her only possessions of real value, and she admits she had a certain degree of vanity about them.

One day, she couldn't find the rings. Frantically, she searched for them, tearing her house apart from top to bottom. They were nowhere to be found. My friend was devastated. The rings meant so much to her, and she just couldn't understand how in the world they dissappeared. She obsessed over the rings, desperate to find them.

Eventually, she said she grew angry about losing the rings. Furthermore, she was mad at God. God knew where her rings were; why didn't He help her find them? Why didn't He reveal them to her? Come on, God! Cut me some slack, she thought.

Eventally her anger passed, replaced by humility. She had no right to be angry at God. Perhaps God was teaching her a lesson. Okay, God, she thought, teach me my lesson. What do you want me to learn through the loss of my rings. But even then, she more or less bargained with God, expecting him to return her rings once said lesson was learned.

Several months passed. She accepted that the rings were just gone. She began to move on, to heal from the disspointment of losing something that meant so much to her.

Then one day, she found the rings. They were tucked away in an interior zipped pocket of her purse... where she had placed them. All those months they had been with her on a daily basis, hanging from her shoulder.

I left school, thinking about her story. There was something in her simple tale that spoke to me. I started pondering my own "rings," the valuable things in my life that sometimes dissparar for a period of time.

Joy. Passion. Patience. Peace.

When I dip into life's valley's, how often do I turn my face toward God, angry or accusative? How can You let me be so sad? Why don't you heal my relationships? Why did you create me to be so anxious? Why shouldn't I be angry when you gave me these feelings?

I am so guilty of blaming God when I lose those things that are precious to me. And I am often demanding when I ask him to "fix" me.

But God doesn't take away my joy, he doesn't deprive me of peace. It is not God's hand that dampens my passion or robs me of patience. No, He has blessed me with those gifts. He has placed them in my heart. It is I who lose them, who burines them so deep that I forget where I placed them. I allow the world to convince me there is no hope, to drag me down into complacency and misery. My beautiful rings gather dust and tarnish... and so does my spirit.

At my darkest times, my rings are tucked away in my pocket, waiting for me to reach for them, to remember where I placed them. All I have to do is put them on and to accept the merciful blessings I have been given as a child of God.