Monday, January 31, 2011


I've been there.  the kids are talking back, anger flares and  builds with each outburst. The Florida mom who shot her two teens for being "mouthy"  brought me back to a morning in the car when my son, not even a teen then, talked back to me.  I slapped him.  Not my finest moment as a person or a parent.  I still remember it after 15 years. 

The option between the slap and being shot in the head is obvious. That Florida mom was depressed.  She had told her mother that she was struggling.  During that struggle she went out and bought a gun.  In her struggle, frustration, or whatever was going on in her mind - she shot both her children. 

So what might have happened if there had been a waiting period of say 2 weeks before she could have gotten a gun in her hands?  Her husband would have been home from his trip out of the country.  Perhaps her mother would have come for a visit.

Is it so much to ask of all those people who are so rabid about their rights to have guns to have to wait a bit to put their hands on one?  If she lived in Illinois where she had to apply first for a gun owners permit before she could purchase a gun - her purchase would have been delayed by up to 35 days.  Think of all the help or other options she might have chosen in all that time.

Her family would be intact and perhaps, like me, she would only have a slap on her conscience.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


In one of those interesting coincidences , a new study about female new anchors and their effect on men came out just as our local station has hired and his heavily promoting a new member of their news team.  Not an anchor, but very a very female member of the team.

The study by Indiana University researchers is one of those "I hope this wasn't funded with my tax dollars" studies.  It found that when the sexual attractiveness of female newscasters was played up, men watched, but retained less information than when a woman in plainer clothing without much makeup delivered the same news.  As they put it on the Death +Taxes websiteMen pay significantly more attention to attractive women, tuning in when they’re on TV, but they’re not actually retaining what they’re saying. They’re thinking about their boobies.

Christina Loren
I won't even go into the whole discussion about Fox "News" using this tactic and the phenomenon that is Sarah Palin.

I will say that we have been experiencing this in our home for the past couple of weeks.  The local NBC station has replaced the weather person with a woman named Christina Loren.  Her arrival has livenedd up our mornings.  Tom no longer lingers outside with his morning coffee and cigarette, he wants to check out Ms. Loren.  She is very vivacious and has what can only be described as a Barbie-like figure.  She dresses to emphasise it and the men at home camera just loves those profile shots.

Tom has joked that he keeps watching the weather over and over but can't seem to remember what the weather is going to be - as supported by the Indiana study.  Last week Ms. Loren was wearing a shirt with brass buttons.  Two of the brass buttons were, well, off center, maybe there were lapels or something, but the buttons were in mid-breast like big brass nipples.  Tom was amazed.  I said they were going to get complaints.  This week Ms. Loren is no longer wearing the wrap dresses with the ruffles and sweaters with oddly placed buttons.  This week Ms. Loren is wearing suits and plain shirts.

I guess they actually want men to remember what the weather is going to be.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Perhaps this crankiness comes with  advancing age but sometimes I miss the days when certain behaviours caused people to be shunned.  The consequence of their behaviour was to be ostracised by society.  Yes, sometimes it went too far, yes  people were hurt and judgement could be harsh when circumstances were not wholly exposed. 

What got me thinking about this was an promo for Kelsey Grammer coming onto a talk show.  I don't watch the show is soon to be ex is on, I know nothing about them except that they were married for 13 years and she was apparently blindsided by his demand for a quick divorce so he could marry his pregnant, much younger new girlfriend.

When I saw the promo I felt like it was an embrace of his behaviour.  It isn't like it is anything new, politicians and celebrities have been spouse hopping and worse forever.  I just wish that there was, at he very least, a period of time after doing these things that these people were not brought on to cheers and smiles on morning shows.

Monday, January 24, 2011


My life has been  more stressful than usual for the past couple of months.  I was coping well with it for a time, but following Christmas I found that I had slipped into bad old habits.  I was eating poorly and staying up late, not going to the gym regularly and sliding into another case of the blues.

I  wish that I could say that all my efforts to eat and live in a more healthy way have changed me, but these things run deep.  I realized today, though, that my coping mechanisms may fail me in some ways, but they serve their purpose in others.

One of the women I work with each weekend asked me today what my secret is.  She said I am always so positive and serene.  Was it spirituality, meditation?  I told her it was stuffing my feelings down with food.  She laughed.  It was a great compliment, though.  She kept saying how kind she thought I was.

We talked a bit about the fact that I have made an effort toward kindness.  I found cynicism creeping in years ago when we started having all our financial troubles and I chased it away with a conscious effort toward kindness.  It means so much to me that that my effort has shown through to someone.  When you are losing weight and people compliment the effort it feels good - I didn't know that a compliment about an emotional effort would feel even better.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


It is the beginning of awards season - I enjoy watching most awards shows

because it is an opportunity to see the fashions and celebrities in different circumstances.  It was more fun back in the day before they had so many professionals advising them and there were many more questionable fashion choices, but it is still fun to watch and to pour over the photos online in the next  few days.

But something is happening.  I will look through 30 pictures and recognise barely half of the people photographed. And it has nothing to do with plastic surgery gone bad - it has to do with...youth.  There are all these very young people I have never seen or heard of.  I googled a few of them and found out which TV shows they were on, shows on channels not watched in our home, apparently.  Hellcats?  Really?

And lest you think I am just an old bag, forever attached to the classic actresses of my day - I'll have you know I could spot Leighton Meister a block away, I think Selena Gomez is darling (though the Beiber thing is creepy) and I adore Emma Stone.

But who the hell are these people?

Really, it is just a rhetorical question...  I do have a teen in the house who watches Pretty Little Liars, but goes to her girlfriend's house to watch watch it every week.  Show me the cast of Twilight and I am in the know.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


This is the debate today:  Ally's first two classes of the school day are not academic classes.  She works as an aid in the office first period and has advanced drama second period.  Ally is something of an insomniac.  She also has nights when I am aware she is on her phone late at night, which I have pointed out is not conducive to going to sleep!

She has good grades, she is conscientious about attending her academic classes and will drag herself to school when she is sick so she does not fall behind.  However, there have been a number of mornings when she has needed to sleep in either because she is sick, has been sleepless much of the night or up very late completing homework.  At the beginning of the school year I allowed it occasionally and called the attendance office to explain that she would be in for second or third period.

Then the letter came.  It said Ally is a truant.  She has missed too many hours of school due to unexcused absences.  One reason was the day we took to visit colleges.  I thought that since she was signed out for the Senior Picnic we were good, but apparently not.  We were supposed to get permission in advance to take a day out of school to visit colleges, even though she would have missed school to go to the water slides. 

I spoke with the school attendance office about the other days which I had called in about and learned that even though I called, it was not excused.  Students are not considered sick if they are only out for a period or two of class.  She said in the future to say she had an appointment.

Since that first letter I have not allowed her to miss any classes except for real appointments.  Each time,  I have gotten another letter.  They are taking this stuff really seriously and I don't want to to cause a problem for Ally in the future (should it show up in some records search for a job, scholarship, etc.)

So - today Ally wanted to sleep in and miss the first two periods.  She has not been feeling well.  However, she managed to hang out with her friends all weekend, including last night to watch Pretty Little Liars.  So I said no, she had to get up and go to school or stay in bed all day.  She was very angry.  She texted me multiple times to state her case - they were not academic classes, they just sat around not doing anything important, in drama their production was over, etc.

I stuck with my position that I wouldn't lie so she could sleep in.  Am I being too much of a rule follower?  The attendance person handed me the proper excuse to use, so is that a still a lie?  Ladies of the internet - should I relent the next time this comes up?  I am not interested in being a hard ass, just doing the right thing.

Monday, January 10, 2011


I am so saddened by the shooting of Congresswoman Gaby Giffords, 13 others and the senseless deaths of 6 bystanders in Arizona.  It is apparent that the young man who caused all of this destruction is mentally ill and has been for some time.  Yet he was able to purchase the semi-automatic weapon  months in advance of the shootings.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik, who said Saturday at a news conference that “unbalanced people” could be affected by the vitriol, anger and hatred of anti government rhetoric.  That's a "Duh" statement if I ever heard one.  Yet they felt the need to analyse it on the Today Show.  Tom Brokaw pointed out that we are all at the drug store buying tiny bottles of shampoo and this paranoid young man was out buying a gun. Thank you Tom Brokaw!

Because this young man didn't have anything "on record" that he was mentally disturbed, he was good to go on the gun.  All the rest of us are still out buying tiny shampoo bottles - no matter how clean our "records" are.  Didn't this same thing happen in Virginia?  Unstable young man buys a gun and shoots a bunch of people.  In the effort to spare anyone from having a bad record haunting them, we don't report these aberrant behaviours (or make the reports available) which should prohibit the purchase of a gun and perhaps stop or at least make more difficult these attacks.

A cynical person might think that the shooting of more members of Congress might be what it takes to make some changes in these laws.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I attended the advanced drama class Children's Theater production of "It's UP to You" today.  Ally is playing Boo in this student written and acted musical comedy production. 

The students perform for classes from the local elementary schools.  They make the show interactive, pulling kids into the play and asking them to participate in other ways.  It is very clever with numerous characters and themes taken from popular cartoons and movies.

Ally's friend Annie plays Cruella DeVille who is the villain in the piece - she needs to learn a lesson about sharing and caring...and in the end, she does!

Monday, January 3, 2011


Not only did I take down and box up all my own holiday decorations, I spent hours at the hotel last night doing the same.  The nice part about doing it at the hotel, aside from being paid for it, was that I had a nice young man who did the heavy lifting and carted all the boxes away to store them for next year.  That part I have not done at home because I have no nice person who will help me without making a stink or requiring a bribe.

Today my left foot, which is riddled with arthritis, is swollen, very painful and making me unhappy.  My first thought was to go to the gym and work out and then take a jacuzzi.  My second thought was skip the workout and go straight for the soothing warm waters.  Instead I am blogging and complaining.  Happy?  Me neither.

My sister claims that the weather makes her ache all over.  Inwardly I have questioned this while offering soothing, supportive words.  Now I am beginning to think I am afflicted with the same issue.  The weather has been cold and rainy for weeks and I have been hobbling around that long.  The sad thing is that she is just 51 and I am her older sister.  I have arthritis in my left foot and both my knees and I think, though undiagnosed, a bit in my hands.  She has it in many more spots and more painfully,  in her back.

The internets say to use anti-inflammatories, heat or ice and lose weight in addition to piles of supplements which may or may not work - for me the glucosamine didn't work.  A physical therapist I talked to about it said that it works for some people and not for others.  I suspect that is the same story for many supplements.  The day t day handling of knee pain is in opposition in many ways to handing foot pain - so that doesn't help, either!

So now that I have started the new year off by complaining and not on the brightside, I will pick myself up and get to the gym!  If I were an emoticon person I would make a frownie face with a wink...