Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I might be falling apart

I went back to the orthopedic place on Tuesday to see my podiatrist. The last time I was there was one year ago. At that time I received a cortisone injection in my left foot.  It lasted about six weeks before the pain came roaring back.  For the past year, I've just been managing the pain and doing my best to wear flat, boring shoes.  I know I need surgery but wanted to put it off for a while.

So, what is wrong with my foot? I have something called Hallux Rigidus, which (and I think you'll agree) sounds super sexy. My big toe joint is all jacked up (the joint where it connects to my foot). There is a bone spur and some other stuff going on in there. All of this is apparently a result of me falling up the stairs years ago and stubbing my toe while I was at it. My toe no longer bends properly and it hurts all the freaking time.

I was motivated to go back to my doctor because I need to wear heels at my sister's wedding and wanted another cortisone injection. I promised Dr. D that I will not wear the fancy shoes all night.  He fired up his needle and drove it into my foot. Owie owie owie.  So, I should be in good shape for a few weeks. I'm going to go ahead and schedule the surgery for the early part of 2014. It's going to cost a fortune, even with insurance, but I need to have it done.

I just don't think I'm ready for this aging business. I don't like saying, "this part of me is going to hurt until my death."  I explained to the doctor that I'm limited in certain yoga poses because of my left foot. At the gym I have to stick mostly with exercises where I can remain relatively flat-footed, such as the elliptical trainer.  The doctor said, "If it hurts, don't do it."  (That's why he gets paid the big bucks, no doubt.)  I don't want to give up stuff that I love, though. And I won't.

The surgery I'm having is called a Cheilectomy. Basically, the surgeon will cut open my foot, saw off the bone spur and a corresponding "lip" within the joint, and sew me back up.  He also said that if the cartilage is damaged, he'll poke holes through it to help it regenerate or something. I might have misunderstood that part. If you're not squeamish, here is a photo of what the surgery looks like.  Again, it's all very sexy.  The recovery sounds pretty sucky. The doctor says it will be at least two weeks before I can get a normal shoe on my foot. From patient reports I've read, it sounds like the pain is otherworldly.  Most pain medications make me queasy, but we'll see.  I don't want to be a pussy about this but I'm not looking forward to it.

Anyway, if you see me hobbling around, sometime in the early spring, with a stylish orthopedic boot on my left foot, you'll know why.  I'll probably also be waving a cane and screaming at young children to stay off my lawn.

Old lady out! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pretty Little Liar

My daughter. My only child. The day she was born was truly the best day of my life. Before I became a mom, I never gave much thought to the need to give my life for another person. I suppose one hopes that such a test will never, you know, come up. However, once I saw my baby girl, I knew: she is the one for whom I would trade in my beating heart if doing so would ensure that hers would continue to thump-thump away. She makes me happy. She is smart, beautiful, funny, feisty, and full of life.  She is everything I'd hoped my child would be.

However, she also possesses a couple of traits that were not specifically on my wish list: lying and cheating. Oh, and stealing. It's kind of a weird feeling, this realization that your baby has become a full-fledged person with character flaws and ulterior motives and whatnot.

A couple months ago, she stole her dad's tip money off the bed and shoved it in a container in her room. He was headed to the bank that day so it didn't take long for him to notice it. Needless to say, she was in big trouble over that. When I asked her why she did it, she started to say something along the lines of "You have money so you can buy what you want. I just wanted to be able to do that, too."

I cut her off pretty quickly and told her that when she does the wrong thing or makes a bad decision, it's important that she take ownership of her actions. I let her know that "I'm sorry, but . . . " is never a good response. If you're going to apologize to someone and then explain why you're not really at fault . . . well, then it's not an apology.

Her dad and I lectured her at length about the stolen money. If memory serves, we also removed a privilege of some sort. We usually take away the Kindle for some period of time as that seems to get to her the most. We've tried rewards, punishments, and everything in between.  We were so upset about the money that I think she actually did get the message.  Plus, I have pointed out to her a few about a hundred thousand times that if she would just do her chores, she'd have spending money. No chores = no money.

Since the money-stealing incident, we've had some minor issues.  She smuggles stuff to school in her backpack (stuff that doesn't belong at school).  Sometimes I catch it, sometimes not. I've found hand lotion, Squinkies, cash, hair elastics, gum, and a gazillion other forms of contraband.  I know a lot of it comes down to peer pressure and her desire to impress her friends. I also know that this behavior is normal. That doesn't mean that it's enjoyable for the parents, however. The sneakiness in general really bugs us. Then she throws in a lie or two and we're about fit to be tied.

One ongoing issue is with her lunch account at school. I put money into her account so that she can buy lunch. She also wants to participate in a milk program at school.  The participating kids get a milk break in their classroom at some point in the day. Now, I really did not want her in this program. I don't really buy into the whole milk-is-good-for-you thing. We use almond milk at home. I just don't find dairy milk to be a necessity.  You know those studies that talk about the important health benefits of dairy milk? Next time you see one, check to see who funded/sponsored the research. There are countless sources of protein such as beans, broccoli, etc.  But, I digress.  I could tell that she wanted to be in the milk program because her friends are. So, I relented.  The milk comes out of her lunch fund.  Because the school lunches usually have meat in them, she only eats the school lunch about once a week. So, in theory, the most that would come out of the lunch fund in a given week would be $4.25.

I've noticed, however, that her lunch money account seems to become depleted awfully quickly.  The food services robot calls me far too frequently and leaves me a voicemail telling me that my child has a low account balance.  I've been questioning the kid about it.  "What have you been buying?"

She gives me her best mama-you-so-crazy look and shakes her head. Finally, I decided to dig around on the lunch money website to see if they offered any reporting. Well, lo and behold, I can pull up a report that shows me everything my child has purchased for a two-week period. The little liar has been buying breakfast at school.  Needless to say, we do feed her breakfast at home as well. Is she a hobbit?  Does she need two breakfasts?

Kids, I tell you. So sneaky!  Her dad and I have not figured out what to do about this one, but I don't think we can overlook the lying. Or at least the lying by omission.  I think we are going to freeze the account and see how that goes.

If she thinks that not being able to buy milk is too embarrassing, the child has not seen anything yet. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

There is a difference. There is.

All the arguments to prove man's superiority cannot shatter this hard fact:
in suffering the animals are our equals.
Peter Singer

A couple months ago, my husband and I joined a new gym. And yes, we actually show up there pretty regularly! We like the new gym. The demographic skews to folks much older than we are. I see one senior citizen who - no lie -  hobbles from one machine to the next using a cane. More power to him, right? Some days, P and I are the youngest, hottest people there. And that's saying something.

My old gym had a wall of televisions, set to a variety of stations. All of the cardio equipment faced the wall o'TVs. You could just choose one, tune in, and listen via your headphones. The new gym features televisions as well, but they are mounted on various walls and at various angles throughout the cardio area.

During my second week there, I hopped onto a treadmill without paying too much attention to the TV that was mounted directly in front of the treadmill I happened to choose. I started walking (you know, as one does) and soon noticed that the TV was tuned to a hunting show. Great, just great. I looked at the time and realized that the show would likely end in about ten minutes. I figured I could just suck it up until then. I was listening to my music but it was a challenge not to look at the screen that was mounted just about three feet from my face.  Finally, it was 10:00 a.m. and the show ended. Whew! Well, guess what came on next? A show called "Meat Eater." From what I could gather, this guy kills the animals, rips them apart dramatically on screen, and then feeds them to his friends. What spice goes best with murder? Ugh.

Since I was new there, I wasn't sure of the protocol for getting a channel changed. I hopped off the treadmill and jogged over to the front desk to ask. The front desk lady was talking to a man who was evidently thinking of joining (he was 60+ so I'm sure he'll love it) and it seemed like this was going to take a while. So, not wanting my heart rate to drop too much, I jogged back to the treadmill and hopped back on. It was no small feat to avoid looking at that screen until I was done with my workout. After, I asked at the front desk about the channel-changing protocol. It turns out that any member can grab a remote control and change the channel, although of course they suggest that you might check with the others around you.

Fast forward to yesterday. I got to the gym in the morning and decided to start with the elliptical machine. There are four of them lined up, facing one TV. I climbed aboard and started my workout. I looked up at the TV. I saw guys in camouflage apparently trying to decide exactly what tactics to use in their quest to blow away an elk-type animal (I was trying not to look too closely).  There was only one other guy on the ellipticals so I asked him if he minded if I changed the channel.

"What do you want to change it to?" he asked me. I was somewhat taken aback, as I'd assumed he'd just nod. He didn't seem to be watching the show, but I couldn't say for sure.

"The news?" I responded. "Really, anything but this would be fine. I am not a fan of hunting shows."

He grumbled a bit but I grabbed a remote control and turned on CNN.  At that moment, they seemed to be discussing the re-opening of the JonBenet Ramsey case. The next story after that featured the case of a young man named Kendrick Johnson, who died under very odd circumstances - he was found rolled up in a gym mat at his school. The TV had captions on so I was just sort of reading along as I was sweating.

The guy next to me turned out to be the chatty type. Apparently, me asking him a question made me fair game for some sort of meaningful discourse or kvetching or whatever.

"See," he said, "Ever since you changed the channel, every story has been about murder. It's either animals or people. You're offended by one but not the other?"

I took the earbud out of my right ear. "I've been a vegetarian for 25 years and I donate all of my spare time to a rescue. I just have a hard time with gratuitous hunting," I said.

He blathered on for a bit about murder and how bad the news is. I smiled, nodded, and put the earbud back in my ear. He did have a point, albeit not a convincing one. I find it irritating when people who don't include animals in their sphere of concern make the assumption that people who care about animals . . . don't care about people. I can be concerned about the welfare of people and animals - the two are not mutually exclusive.

In my book, those hunting shows are mostly about sadism and mockery and some false theory of what it means to be a man. Good for you, camo man - you outsmarted some poor creature who was just munching some berries and being, you know, harmless. Now you're laughing and holding up the animal's head, a head that had breath coming through it just moments before. Good for you.

Caring about animals on a deeper level requires an awakening of conscience, I think. Many people just don't want to "go there." They can keep taking their kids to the circus if they just don't think about it too much. They can take their kids to SeaWorld to watch animals perform for the crowd (I truly hope that the BlackFish film will help people to think twice). They can pretend that the meat they buy at the grocery store died voluntarily. Lalalalalala

Everyone knows that killing a child is bad and wrong. What percentage of people think it's wrong to eat veal? It's a much smaller number, of course, but it's not an apples-to-apples comparison. We all have our causes - animal rights just happens to be near and dear to me. It's about oppression. It's about decimating the planet. It's about science and suffering and presumed superiority.

Dude at the gym . . . next time just let me change the channel with no questions asked. It's easier for both of us.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Random rants and stuff

Every so often, I think to myself, "Crap. I've finally run out of topics for my blog." And then, almost as if by magic, some cohesive topic will form in my head. And I write. But not this time, mister. Nope. Lately I am primarily occupied with my sister's wedding (I still need to lose about a gazillion pounds - it could happen, right?) and my child's seemingly rampant insolence. Twice this week she went to daycare with no breakfast. When you spend a solid hour rolling around in your bed because your father offended you by suggesting that you wouldn't see the Kindle for two weeks if you didn't get moving . . . well, let's just say that there's no time left over for Honey Nut Cheerios. Fortunately, they do provide breakfast at the before-school daycare center.  I suspect it's primarily intended for low income kids who don't get much grub at home, but what the hell.

Instead of a cohesive topic, here are a couple of things that are on my mind:

1. Black Friday sales. I see that all of the major stores are going to open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Awful awful awful. Black Friday isn't even fun anymore. I refuse to shop on Thanksgiving Day. I'm sure there is no way to put this (money-grubbing) genie back in the bottle, though. Next year, stores will open a little earlier on Thanksgiving, then a little earlier still, until they are open all day. Speaking as someone who did her time in retail (remember County Seat???) and who knows just how sucky it can be . . . I just feel terrible for those people who won't get to eat the pecan pie because they have to trundle off to their thankless job at JC Penney.

2. Candy Crush Saga Level 153. Who do I have to sleep with to get past this level??? Is this a sign that I need to put an end to this spectacular waste of my time? A sign that I should spend even more time on it?

3. Some goober recently returned an eight-year-old dog to the rescue. They adopted her when she was one. Now, I can deal with owner-surrenders all day long. But returns? I have a really hard time with those. It feels like, "Hey, thanks for letting me borrow that cute young dog. You can have her back now that she's got a grey face and a UTI and her back legs don't work right. Cheers!"  One of these days, I feel like I might just bite my tongue clean off.

4. In brighter news, we are refinancing our mortgage. It sounds like there is a slight chance that we won't have to make a mortgage payment in December since the new one won't kick in until January. If this happens, it will be a dream come true, I tell you!  We also got a new cable system. Time Warner kept increasing our bill so I called and pitched a minor fit. It turns out they have all these cheaper plans they could offer. Anyway, they sent a guy to the house to replace our cable boxes and upgrade our internet. For about $40 less a month. Go figure. I must admit it does give me a minor thrill that I can watch half of a show in the living room and then continue watching it in another room. It's magic, ya'll.

And finally, I took the kid to the dentist on Monday. The dentist is referring us to an orthodontist in six months. :::gulp:::  He suggested that it's better to start moving her teeth around now vs. waiting until she is a teenager. Every time I look at my daughter's mouth, I feel like I can see hundred dollar bills stuffed in there. Or maybe just the key to Dr. F's new Mercedes, which we will probably end up covering in full.

Crazy-toothed but cute.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Like seeing a ghost, only different

For the past few weeks, I've been working on a photo montage for my sister's wedding. I'm using One True Media to build it. The video will play without music at the wedding reception, but I'm adding music to it anyway. I figure my sister and her husband might like to have it with the music if they watch it sometime in the future.

This project has been a lot of fun for me. I really don't consider it a chore at all.  Sorting and editing all of the photos has been a walk down memory lane, as the saying goes.  Recently, my sister borrowed an old photo album from our dad. She and her fiance scanned a bunch of childhood/baby photos and sent them to me for the montage. Naturally, I'm in some of them.

As both of my readers are undoubtedly aware, I have some chronic self-esteem issues. I can trace many of my issues to growing up with a fun little treat called Vitiligo.  I went through de-pigmentation treatment when I was 14. It took about two years.  Most people with Vitiligo fight tooth and nail to keep their pigment but for me, there was no way to get it back. I'd lost far too much pigment. My skin was tan in some spots and fair in others (spots where my oh-so-helpful immune system had already killed off the melanocytes).  The treatment basically helped the process along and killed the pigment cells that were left.  Adios, au revoir, buh-bye.

When I appear in my own dreams, I am my usual fair-skinned self. I hardly remember being any other way. The emotional pain stays with me, of course. The stares, the comments, the bullying. Those things have a way of getting permanently lodged in one's psyche. It's just hard to remember a time when I was the same color as everyone else.

That's why the photos I received this week are so jarring. First off, I was cuter than I remembered.  I couldn't compete with my middle sister's chubby cheeks and effervescent smile, but I wasn't the hunchback of Notre Dame or anything.  Second, 1970s fashion . . . it was kind to no one.

Me, before:

That's not Jesus on the couch behind us. It's my dad.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Birthday Boys

Me and Khau
Today is the birthday of two of my friends. One of the revelers is my friend Khau, who lives in Ohio. I'm planning to visit him next summer. Happy birthday, Khau!  I have appreciated your friendship over the past 29 years. Thanks again for teaching me how to drive. I owe ya one.

The other birthday boy is Kevin. He would have been 44 today.  I still miss him terribly and think of him all the time. I still have his email address saved in my virtual address book. His Washington Post business card has not moved from its spot in my planner. I am not sure why I am unable to part with it. Maybe I am more sentimental than I thought I was. I also have a key to our old house in Springfield, Virginia. My parents have not lived there for several years. It would be funny if my key still worked. Maybe I should try it next time I'm in town. "Don't mind me! Just checking out my old room!"

I'm going to serve as a bridesmaid in my sister's wedding next month.  This is my first time as a bridesmaid and, in all probability, will be my last. I'm turning into an old lady and since my friends are also getting old, weddings have become few and far between. My middle sister got married in Fiji the first time around and my baby sister and best friend each held their weddings in a local courthouse. So, opportunities have not been that plentiful. Plus, my popularity is not such that I am a likely candidate anyway. However, I like to think that Kevin would have gotten married and perhaps would have made me a bridesmaid, though. Wherever he is, I hope he knows that marriage equality has gained a lot of ground over the past few years. I can't help but think his wedding would have been fabulous.

Happy birthday, gentlemen. I am a better person for having known both of you.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Halloween, take two

We attended two Halloween events yesterday - the first road test for the cat costume. I did make a couple of improvements on the costume since you last saw it. I am not artsy-craftsy and I cannot sew, so this puts me at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to Halloween costumes. I picked up some fabric paint and added a white belly to the leotard.

I said, "You'll be like Sylvester!" and she replied, "Who?" Kids these days. They do NOT know good cartoons.

I also retooled the make-up. I decided to skip the kitty nose. She said she couldn't smile while wearing the nose, because the nose would sort of slip into her mouth. And I think we can all agree that having a nose in your mouth is a bad thing. I decided it would be best to stick with a standard whiskers scenario.

Finally, I felt like the costume still needed something, so the kid and I decided that a boa would be just the thing. I tried several stores, looking for a black and white boa. Boas are not as plentiful as one might think. I finally ended up ordering one online from a novelty shop. It arrived in the mail on Friday. I could see right away that the feathers were not well attached. Perhaps I should have looked for a more upscale boa store. I took the boa out back and shook the bejeebers out of it, hoping to free any loose feathers. When I was done, it looked like I'd executed a penguin on the deck. White and black feathers everywhere.

When she got ready yesterday, she asked for a collar. So, I quickly made one using leftover elastic (I bought elastic to hold the tail on). I made her wait until we were in the garage before adding the boa to her ensemble. The boa lost a bunch more feathers in the garage, which now also looks like an avian homicide scene.

We ended up ditching the boa as soon as we got to the first event. The feathers were flying everywhere and bits and pieces were getting stuck all over her.  Ah well, not all of my ideas are good ones. Everything else worked out pretty well. When she headed to the restroom at the first event, I shouted after her, "Keep your tail out of the toilet!"  This was met with an oh-my-God-you-are-so-embarrassing look. I'm expecting to receive a few thousand more over the next few years.

The second event was at the local zoo. We paid $24.00 for the three of us to get in, so that my daughter could walk out with $.50 worth of candy. I'll just add the $23.50 to her tab.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Traumatized by lingerie

I admit it - I haven't got any fancy drawers in my drawer. I wash my bras with my jeans and my towels and then throw the whole shebang in the dryer. I don't have any matching sets of anything. I just don't see the point, I guess. When I'm shopping, I tend not to wander into the lingerie department at all. I think the last time I had to buy a "special" undergarment was for my senior prom, when I needed a strapless long-line bra to wear under my prom dress. Fast forward 25 years. I need something similar for my sister's wedding. I didn't even know what options exist these days. As I was eating lunch at work the other day, I jumped over to and did a search for bras. I took a quick look at the options and then decided I'd better close the browser. It seemed like a bad idea to risk having a co-worker walk by and notice that I had a sea of boobies on my screen.

On Friday, I went to Kohl's at lunchtime to look at the booby options in person. I couldn't seem to find a normal strapless bra or bustier. There were, however, lots of "shapewear" garments that seemed like they were right up there with water boarding when scoring them on the torture spectrum.  I am not sure why Amnesty International has not investigated the Spanx company.

I finally decided to try on this thing and see how it fit (note that the straps are optional and can be removed):

I grabbed what I believed to be my size and headed to the fitting room. I noticed that it had snaps in the crotch. "Great, it's a onesie," I thought to myself.  A few minutes later, I had it on and quickly realized that this is not the way to kick off a weekend. Well, unless you want to feel awful about yourself on your days off - in which case, go for it.

Now, I really should not make it sound like I just slithered into the thing. Despite the tag extolling the "easy up" nature of the shaper, there was nothing easy about the whole endeavor. I broke a sweat just trying to get the onesie over my hips.  My eyeliner was running and my hair looked like very bad things had happened to it. Then I had to contort myself every which way to get the hook and eye business in the back taken care of.  Eventually, out of breath and slightly nervous that I would never get back out of the contraption, I decided to take a peek at myself in the mirror. I didn't look like the lady pictured above, that was for sure. First off, my hair was not blowing. Second, I had fat squishing out every which way. I suddenly wondered why I bother with all that time on the elliptical, the eating carefully, or the gazillion yoga classes I've taken.  The whole scene was just depressing. And let me just say that the lighting in the fitting room is its own special kind of hell.

I worked my way out of the shaper and put it back on the hanger so that it could go back out on the sales floor and damage someone else's self-esteem at a later date.  Dejected, I drove back to work and wondered whether I might be able to get my sister to reconsider my "let's all just wear yoga pants" proposal. 

The next day, I worked all day at a pet expo and decided to stop at a different department store on the way home. Maybe their lingerie department would have something more suitable.  Honestly, I didn't really know what I was looking for. I just knew that I need to wear something under the dress. I thought I'd try my luck with a bustier.  I grabbed one that looked like this:

This one had even more hooks on the back than the last one. It almost takes an act of Congress to get one of these on by yourself. However, I sure as hell wasn't going to bring someone along or even to ask a salesperson to help me. This was a solo mission from start to finish.  Anyway, I got it on and was again traumatized by the florescent lights and the audacity of the mirror.  However, it seemed to fit better than the other contraption. I may go back for it later. I'm going to hold out some small hope that it will go on sale. I prefer not to pay too much for anything that squishes my boobs and damages my psyche at the same time.

The good news is that the bridesmaids' shoes are super cute and won't cause me any angst at all. 

"We won't squish your boobs, we promise!"

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Trial run of the Halloween costume

As much as I know it frustrates retailers who would prefer that I plow straight into Christmas, I hope it's okay if we acknowledge Halloween.  This year my daughter wants to be a cat. I figured it would be pretty easy. I bought her a long-sleeved leotard and some tights. We happened to find some cat ears in a store about a month ago. They have sequins on them, so that's a plus. The next challenge was to find a tail.  I figured I could find one online.  The kid was sitting in my lap while I started doing Google searches for furry cat tails. Um, yeah. So it turns out that this search will generally lead you to various fetish sites. You know, the whole furry thing? People who dress up as great big kitty cats and whatnot? Scared to click on anything, I just said, "Hey, how about we have Meemaw make you a tail?" Whew!

Last weekend the kid and I went to a Halloween store - one of those joints that opens up in an unoccupied store in a strip mall this time of year. We wandered up and down the aisles, killing time on Saturday night. We spotted some cat tails that seemed pretty decent. I called my mom to let her know that we'd found a tail and that she was off the hook. My sister's wedding is coming up next month and she has assigned a few projects to Mom. So, I figured it was better to let her focus on that stuff anyway. While I was talking to my Mom, the kid rounded a corner and then came back saying she needed to show me something. I finished my conversation with my mom and followed the kid down the aisle.

"I feel like I should have some kind of accessory to carry," she said.

"Oh, like a hatchet or a bloody sword?" I asked.

She gave me a look. "No, this!" She held up a black leather braided whip that she'd found in the 'sexy costumes' aisle.*

"Ah, no."  I shook my head for emphasis.

"Well, how about this belt?" she asked, pointing to some sort of dominatrix-themed necklace/choker.

"Let's just go pay for the tail," I said, ushering her to the register as fast as I could.

Tonight we did a trial run of the costume. It definitely needs something, though I'm not sure what. I'm toying with maybe getting some fabric paint and painting a white belly on the leotard or something. Also, I don't know what to do with her make-up. She wanted a white face but I think it looks goofy. I'm going to try to talk her into doing some standard whiskers instead. This is one of those times when I wish I had some artsy-fartsy skills.

 *In her defense, she and her dad read comic books together, so she was probably thinking of Cat Woman. I still didn't buy her the whip, though.

Be careful about what you think you know

Much of what I write in my blog is meant to be humorous. If I were to blather on about nuclear proliferation or the decimation of the rain forest all the time, I'm sure both of my readers would bail.  So, I usually keep it pretty light. Same goes for Facebook. I post funny stuff, photos, and bits of randomness. No one wants to hear about the bone spur on my left foot (which hurts like a sonofabitch, by the way) or about my angst over the eyelashes on my left eye falling out. I mean, I'm all about over-sharing on Facebook, but I feel like I have to set limits on that. Funny is easier.

I recently came to the realization, however, that my sense of humor seems to have left some of my friends and acquaintances with an inaccurate depiction of my life. Last Sunday, I asked my other half to take the kid to a movie so that I could steam clean the carpets. I sweetened the pot by telling him that I'd make him an apple tart while I was at it.  I posted an innocuous joke on Facebook about changing the locks now that I had the joint to myself (I wondered whether locksmiths charge more on Sundays). In response, a friend posted a comment about me opening a box of wine and another friend echoed the sentiment.  I know they weren't trying to be hurtful, but I have to admit that it was slightly annoying (if I'm being honest here and it's my blog so I guess I can do that). Who said anything about wine?  I don't drink on Sunday afternoons. Or even on Saturday afternoons. Or even daily, for that matter.  When I'm not at work, I'm usually spending time with my family, cleaning, doing laundry, picking up dog poop, cooking, playing Candy Crush, or sweating at the gym (or yoga class).  I spend at least 10 hours a week doing stuff for the rescue (website updates, paperwork, etc.)

I guess it's my own fault. I do enjoy a nice glass of wine and let's face it, wine makes a good punchline in a lot of cases. I make jokes on Facebook (and on my blog) because I don't think anyone wants to know what I am really thinking on certain topics. Granted, I do tackle some weighty issues and I do love a good debate. But, I shy away from the ones that will offend people who I like.

When someone posts a photo of bacon . . . I feel like saying, "You are eating the muscle of a murdered thing that died a horrifying and painful death. Just an FYI."

When someone posts a pro-gun sentiment . . . I feel like saying, "Just shut the fuck up. Seriously."

When someone posts some pro-Christian/anti-everything else sentiment . . . I feel like my head might explode.  Christianity is not mandatory.  And please don't assume that because I'm not Christian, I don't go to church. I'm there every Sunday.

I feel a stomach ulcer forming when a conservative Republican kvetches about foreign aid "because we should be helping our own people first." But then when it comes time to help our own people, they say, "No social programs unless you've been drug tested, worked 17 jobs at once, and don't have more children than I deem acceptable."  I just don't understand why everyone is so opposed to the idea of contributing to the general good.

Go-back-where-you-came-from sentiments towards anyone with an accent also irritate me. Unless you are full-blooded Cherokee or something, YOU WEREN'T HERE FIRST.  You don't get to be "more American" than the next guy.

I have opinions on the death penalty (against), factory farming (against), the prison system (sucks), and a host of other controversial topics. Expressing them puts me at odds with lots of nice people, though.  Isn't it easier if I just stick to the vino jokes?