Sunday, June 28, 2009

SSG J Melton's funeral

This is what I was a part of yesterday. Seeing it on film really brings home for me just how significant it was, and I am glad that our actions helped the family of SSG Melton feel that they're not alone, that we all care and are all grateful for his service and their sacrifice.

(At the end of the clip you see Urbaner, me, FTS and her boyfriend standing as part of the flag line. I'm wearing a black EMS shirt - I couldn't take a poster with everyone's names on it, so I felt like wearing that would be my way of representing for the EMS community and especially the people I blog with).

It's not the kind of event that I look forward to attending, but now that I've been to one you can bet your butt I will be going to more - especially if Phelps' sheeple decide to show up.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fred Phelps, you've changed me.

Yes, you have, but not in the way you think.

You sir, are a megalomanic egotistical delusional FUCK who is the most hateful human I have ever come across. I've managed to make it through 40 years on this planet without hating anyone, but I hate you, Fred. I really, truly hate you and everything you stand for, and I hate the spineless sheeple who follow you and parrot your insane ramblings mindlessly.

Today I went out to a funeral of a person I didn't know, in support of a family I have never met. I talked with people I normally wouldn't have spoken with, and I stood shoulder to shoulder with people I might never have met were it not for you. I came away with new friends and as a member of an organization I might never have had the opportunity to join had you not pissed me off enough to make me take action.

You gave me the opportunity to show my children how to stand up for something you believe in and hold true, even if that something is dislike for another person or thing. From now on, whenever I get wind that you or your sheeple will be in my area, me and my new friends are going to make it our business to be there to drown you people out. Just as you are exercising your constitutional rights, we will be exercising ours - right in front of you and louder than you. We will not let you disrupt anyone's funeral or church service, Fred. Not on our watch.

So thank you, Fred, for changing me...and for changing my daughter and my husband and all the other people who turned out just to shout you clowns down. You've changed us for the better.


NinjaMedic, Military Spouse and new member of the PGR.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Westboro Baptist Church and SSG Josh Melton

I need your help.

One of our own came home in a casket yesterday.

SSG Joshua A Melton of Germantown, IL, was killed by an IED. His funeral will be tomorrow morning, Saturday June 27th at 10am at St Boniface church in Germantown IL.

Members of Westboro Baptist Church will be picketing his funeral. From their website (

'St. Boniface Church - Mourn for your sins DOOMED america! 306 Munster St Yet a little while, DOOMED america. Yet a little while and all that you have seen and known will be destroyed. You have made it your life's work to defy the Lord's Commandments. He will have his vengeance. When you see your dead brute brat lying in a box (or worse - sent home sloshing around in a leak-proof Ziplock bag) you know that God hates you.'

I cannot stand by and let these hate mongering fucks do what they plan to do. I don't think that anyone's family should have to see these fucking halfwits and their signs as they bury their loved one. So, I'm going totry to go to Germantown tomorrow, and I'm looking for people to go with me. Help me line the funeral procession route, help me create a human shield. Stand with me in silent protest.

Email me if you think you can and we'll try to arrange something (

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Canning, squirrels, bebehs and things that make you go WTF?

In anticipation of my garden's bounty, I got myself a water bath canning pot and an instruction book today.

I've spent a very happy morning "ooh!" ing and "ahh!" ing over recipes for pickles of all kinds (sweet melon pickles sound AWESOME) and salsas (all I'll have to buy is the onion, the rest is growing in containers in my garden, yay!), jams (I have strawberries growing) and jellies and preserves and chutney, oh my!

Urbaner has already submitted a request for "hot pickles" like the ones his grandma made once and FTS and Numbah Two want salsa. Littlest Ling (who is 13 now) has a couple of watermelon plants he's growing and has already agreed upon a 'per slice' price with his siblings.

As I get older I see myself becoming more and more like my dad. He was an avid homesteader; he grew up in pre WWII England where everything was rationed and you either grew it/caught it yourself or you went without. Consequently he learned to grow lots of vegetables and fruits and we kept chickens for quite a time when I was a kid. If it produced fruit or had babies, he was all over it, and that's how I am too. It makes me incredibly happy to plant a seed in some dirt and see it not only germinate, but sprout leaves and then produce something I can eat and feed my family with. I like that I can step out onto my patio and pick something to eat - and know exactly what that food has been treated with (no commerical pesticides; I'm using a mild soap solution for bugs and it's working) and how it's been grown.

Even though he's been dead for almost 3 years, I have found myself wanting to pick up the phone and get dad's advice more this summer than at any other time in my life, mostly for silly things like how to discourage puppies from chewing on pepper plant leaves and what you need to build a really good pea plant trellis. He was always good for things like that: one year I had a MAJOR squirrel problem and he helped me solve it. I had planted over a hundred daffodil, tulip and lily bulbs in the front yard and the resident squirrels thought that I did it simply for their gastronimic delight. The little bastards started digging up the bulbs and eating them and were very daring and blatant about the whole thing, even doing it when I was sitting on the porch right next to the flower beds. Dad's suggestions were: cayenne pepper (the first snoutful put them off for half an hour, but they seemed to think of it as a seasoning for the bulbs after that), chicken wire (they chewed through it), urine (I peed in a pitcher and watered the garden with it. It didn't stop them and made the flower beds smell horrid) and finally human hair (I got it from the barber shop. It got tracked into the house somehow and was a pain in the arse to get rid of - and the squirrels used clumps of it as nesting material). His final solution: a pellet gun and rat poison. "Squirrel pie is really quite nice if it's seasoned right, and you can use the pelts to make a hat out of" he said. Had he been in town I'm sure I wouldn't have had any more squirrel problems, but as it was he was in England and I was not - and the squirrels were particularly well fed that year.

I really do miss him some days.

The rat bebehs all have at least one eye open now and are getting adventurous. They've been nibbling at solid food as well as nursing and will come and say hello to FTS and I when we open the cage door. It's going to be really hard to sell them to the pet store, especially as I know that some of them will end up as snake food. FTS is having a particularly hard time with that and has threatened her brother with bodily harm if he sells them to the reptile speciality store in town. Personally I think she'll arrange for a ratty kidnapping before she'll let that happen. "No, Numbah Two, I have NO idea what happened to your rat bebehs" she'll say. "P'raps they escaped and are hiding. Or maybe they ran away. Yeah, that's it, there was a rat-ling mutiny. They rebelled and went to live in an anarchaic society so they could stick it to da man." She's articulate like that.

I have another blog on the go, and I'd like you to help me with it, if you can. It's called 'Whiskey Tango Foxtrot' and is dedicated to things that make me (and you, probably) say 'WTF??'. If you see anything you think is worthy, email it to me at and I'll post it (you'll get credit for it, of course). As long as there are people and they have the ability to post things on teh interwebs, there will be fodder for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

As mum says, 'there's nowt as queer as folk'*.

*translation for non England-dwellers: people are fucking weird.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A tale of two patients

Two of the three patients that assaulted me have died, and I am sad but glad that they are gone.

One had Alzheimer's. She had started on a gradual descent into dementia that increased into a much steeper slope when she arrived at our facility. She was lucid most of the time at first, but as the days went by she started to become more and more confused...and with that confusion came violence. She wanted to leave, she said that she was tired of staying at "this cheap hotel" and that she wanted to go home. We couldn't let that happen, and that's when we would get hit. She would be wheeling herself towards the doors, and when we'd try to turn her around away from the doors she would grab onto the handrails in the hallway and hold on for dear life. She would hit us and claw at our arms when we tried to get her back into the facility - she clocked me in the face with a roundhouse swing once. I have to say that I was impressed with her strength, she rocked me a little bit with that punch. She truly thought that we were kidnapping her or trying to accost her, and she fought us like her life depended on it.

When we would get her back to her room we'd take turns in sitting with her until she fell asleep. She'd lay in her bed and cry, confused and not knowing why we were keeping her there. She'd threaten to sic her son on us, saying "you wait until my boy hears about this. You'll all be in BIG trouble then". It was heartbreaking to see and hear her in that state, because when she was lucid she was an incredibly sweet, generous and gentle woman. If it was my turn to sit with her, I'd try to talk to her about her family and her husband and how she lived when she was younger. Sometimes it would work and she'd settle easily. Sometimes it wouldn't, and she would cry herself to sleep.

When I read about her death I was glad and sad at the same time. Sad because the world is a little dimmer without her presence, but glad because she's escaped the dementia that held her prisoner.

The other patient, however, is a different story. He was not demented, so the aggression and violence he focused on us was not the result of a confused mind, it was because he wanted to.

He was, to be blunt, a miserable fuck. I can nearly always find some redeeming qualities in people, but I couldn't find any in him - and I tried really hard. He fought us at every turn. Everything was a battle. EVERYTHING. Taking medications, bathing, emptying his uro-bag, changing dressings and pads, dressing, undressing, eating, sleeping....every single thing was a fight. He cussed at us, swung at us, grabbed us, hit us and kicked at us. One of the more assertive nurses told him once that if he swung at us again she'd be calling the police and pressing charges against him. That stopped the physical assaults for a day, but he more than compensated for that with his words. He was petulant and obstinate and I really think he enjoyed being a pain in our arses.

I thought about him often, wondering *why* he was the way he was. He had led a full and active life and was fiercely independent. He lived with some conditions and injuries that would have made other people take to their beds and stay there, but he never let it stop him. I can't decide if it was courage or sheer bloody-mindedness that kept him going, but I think it was probably the latter rather than the former. I think that was a huge part of his unhappiness at being in a long term care facility and that displeasure manifested itself in aggression and general nastiness towards anyone who came into contact with him. People that reside in places like that aren't there because they can take care of themselves, they're there because it's no longer safe or prudent for them to live independently. It's a very managed and structured way of life with not a whole lot of room for deviation; there's a schedule for everything. You eat when you're told to, you shower or bathe when you're told to, you go to therapy when you're told to, you can't get up out of your chair or bed without someone being there to help you, you can't go outside unless someone is there to watch you and unless you're lucky enough to have a private room, you have to share your living space with someone you don't know and may not's not an environment a previously independent person would find easy to live in, and I think that was a huge factor in this guy's behaviour.

When I read about his death, I had an immediate sense of schadenfreude and said aloud "good, I'm glad he's gone". I'm slightly ashamed of that reaction, but I cannot deny that I'm glad he's dead - not because I hated him (I didn't like him much, but I never hated him) but because he is now free from the misery that engulfed him in his final years.

Two very different patients with two very different reasons for their aggression. I'm feeling their loss - but for very different reasons.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I'm crafty

I didn't want plain white shoes like everyone else. I had originally wanted some white Chucks, but couldn't find any. So, I grabbed some cheap-o Payless canvas shoes and doodled on them:

I had originally thought about doing some tattoo styled ones, but with all the Ed Hardy doucheiness that's popular at the moment I decided against it and just went with what I thought the shoe shape lent itself to best.

I have some old-school Vans that I'm thinking deserve a Super Mario Brothers theme drawn on them. Littlest Ling's friend has some white DC's he wants me to decorate - he doesn't know it yet, but he's getting some musically inspired ones (he plays trumpet in the band with LL) with '*insert his favorite musician's name here* is my homeboy' written on the backs.

I haven't drawn or doodled in ages. I've never been what you could describe as an artist; I don't like working on a flat canvas and I don't do well with it. I'm better at drawing and painting on objects - a few years ago I painted saltbox scenes on a bunch of Mason jars I found at the thrift store, filled them with potpourri (again, I made that myself) and gave them to people for Christmas.

I listen to music when I'm crafting - those shoes were drawn on when i was listening to the Beastie Boys and Common. I can't help but think that had an influence on what I drew.

I have plans for a pair of old tatty jeans I have....they're Lucky brand, and I'm thinking that they need some shamrocks cascading down the legs. Maybe I'll listen to The Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly and The Tossers when I'm drawing on them and see what happens.

Anyone got shoes they want decorating?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, MICK!

Yet more random what-the-fuckery from CriagsList:

*this is completely unedited, it's exactly as it was posted. I took out the email addy at the end, but that's all*


My GAWD, there's so much stuff to work through on this post, I hardly know where to begin...


2) Why! So! Many! Exclamation! Points!

3) At first I thought that this was a letter to someone else. It starts with a name, as if the text is addressing someone else (but with an exclamation point, not a comma)....but then I waded through the rest of it and realized that it was, in fact, a personal ad.

4) 'You for me will be in a lovely of soft bodies in some moonlight nights'. If I didn't have the photos to prove me wrong, I'd have said that the author was Japanese, because that sentence is very Engrish-esque.

5) The photos. Oh, the photos...I think that he posted photos of his arms because he made mention of his 'strong arms' in the ad. At least, I hope that's why. The other photos....yeah. One looks like a scanned 80's WalMart portrait and the other....yeah, I'm not even going to go there. Not touching that one at all.

I would *love* to know what was going on in this guy's head when he posted this....


It was the best birthday ever, better than the one when I was little and we went to a safari park and monkeys piddled on the wing mirrors of dad's car and ripped the molding off the sides.

It started with posters that the 'lings made. I was greeted by them on the stairs when I got up and was tickled, but this is what I was greeted with when FTS and I came back from the DMV yesterday morning:

'FOUR T', get it??

They had tacked them up on the garage door so the whole street knew it was my birthday, and I love that!

Then, there was this:
The black balloons and the one that say 'Over The Hill' were a nice, touch, I think.

The 'lings gave me gifts (they chose them themselves) that were totally unexpected: Littlest Ling got me a silver heart necklace, FTS got me some organic lotions and potions, and Numbah Two got me Victoria's Secret perfumes (Urbaner really likes the way they smell, which is an added bonus).

Later, we went out to dinner at a hibachi restaurant. This is me and Urbaner right before we left:

He never smiles in photos. That's ok, I still think he's hawt. Like my dress? That's a $6 thrift store special, and I'm pretty proud of it.

Yeah, I have pink in my hair. That caused quite an issue at the DMV; the girl didn't know what to put under the 'hair color' slot on the form.
Future Trauma Surgeon and Numbah Two at the restaurant:
It was a really good time. I nearly drowned on saki, and Littlest Ling was really very impressed with the chef's skills, especially the onion ring volcano and the buring oils. Friends I didn't expect to show up were there, and Urbaner had apparently told the staff it was my birthday because they came out with drums and dragons and sang to me - they made me dance, and yes, there is photographic evidence of that. I don't know if it will ever see the light of day, but there IS evidence.
When we got home, Urbaner surprised me with a 'Mind The Gap' t shirt that he got when he was delayed in England over the weekend. I've wanted one of those for ages, and he made it his mission to get me one when he was gone. Not pictured is the matching thong....a mind the gap thong, indeed! LOL!!

There was a cake waiting for me when we got home (another surprise) and yes, there are 40 candles on it. A fire hazard, I know, but the smoke detectors stayed silent and I blew out all the candles in one go.

It really was the best birthday ever. Really. Urbaner got home Monday night after 11 days of almost constant flying (3 continents and too many time zones to count), so for him to be able to pull that off with NO notice...he busted his ass, and it showed, and I am incredibly grateful to him for doing it. I know he reads my blog, so...thank you, U. I'll remember that birthday for the rest of my life, and it's all because of you. I love you, I love you, I love you.




Monday, June 15, 2009

I wonder if she remembers me.

It's June 16th in England, so it's officially my birthday.

My parents are not my genetic donors; they adopted me when I was an infant. Mum has Rhesus negative blood and dad had Rh+. They managed to conceive one child (my big brother) but mum went on to have a ridiculous amount of miscarriages before they decided to adopt me when my big bro was 13.

They may not have made me, but they raised me. *They* are my parents, regardless of who's womb I was grown in.

I know a little bit about my birth mother. She was 21 when I was born; she wasn't married to my birth father, and he was married to someone else. She had complete renal failure when she was 22 weeks pregnant with me and spent the rest of her pregnancy hospitalized.

I was adopted when I was a couple of months old. I came with a little typed blurb about what my background was - mum and dad called it my 'pedigree'.

I know that I was under 7lbs when I was born and that I was a forceps delivery. I know that I was breastfed for the first week of my life. I know that my mother's name was Veronica Howse.

I did a search for her a few years ago. I needed a simple family medical history; I needed to know if there were any cancers or genetic nastiness in my background. I found her. She's been married 4 times, and I have a few half siblings. My birth father is deceased. Her last husband was incarcerated for child molestation. She's had a hard life, it seems.

I wrote her a letter, explaining that I was open to a relationship if she was, but that at the very least I'd like a medical history. I enclosed some photos of myself and told her a little about my family. I even added a self addressed envelope with enough money to cover postage.

I heard nothing back. I waited and waited and, after 6 weeks, I sent another letter, this time via certified mail. I asked again for a family history, explaining that I was having to have all kinds of tests done because my docs felt like they should assume I *did* have those diseases in my family and should be screened for them. I said that if she didn't want to have a relationship with me then I was okay with that, but that I really did need that medical history.

I didn't hear back from her.

It's probably a good thing; if that's how she is then we wouldn't do well together anyway. I can't tell you that it was without emotion, though; her silence stung me. I've kept tabs on her since then, once a year or so I'll go do a death records search to see if she's died.
I wasn't ever looking for another mum, I already have one and she does a spectacular job...but I would have liked some acknowledgment from Veronica. I just want to know whether she remembers me, if she thinks about me.

Because I think about her. Once a year, on this day, I think about her and I wonder if she remembers me.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

I just HAD to share this with you. Of all the funky, effed-up, mangled writing I have seen on CraigsList, this one really takes the biscuit as...well, the oddest and most effed. It's not just the spelling and punctuation either, it's the subject matter:

realscumbag rontatooman - $160

im writing about aman ron who lives at 172lampman ave he took my money and left my tatoo undone on my back right leg my son had a tatoo don saturday he had to go to the hospital because he got a bad staph infection from it the docter had to put him on antibotic pill and a antibotic cream all so this man is a real scumbag and areal asshole to take advantage of a woman who lives on a fixed income if some one could call me at xxx xxx xxxx an make arrangemts to com tomy houseand finish it forme iwould liketo get acall all i have is theout lineof the octoupuss head and the tresserchest and astar fish inthe front he was goingto make it look like it was a underwater ocean seen i have the dolphin onthe in side of the rightleg and on theouterside there is a seen with asunset water palmtrees and ocean water and two dolphins one jumping over the other one i just need the octoupuss finished and all the tentekils puton colored with megenta and pink colors and the treasurechestdon and the scubadiver putonn so maby someone will call me but i would not recomend no to go to 172lampman ave and have eney work don by ron


Oh my, where to begin...

1) I don't understand why some words - words that are supposed to be separate - are joined together, but other words - words that are meant to be joined together - are separate. For example: 'all i have is theout lineof the octoupuss'. What the hell?!?!

2) 'Tentekils'? 'Octoupuss'? 'Tresserchest'? C'mon, really? This is a grown woman writing this; a woman who has a son who also got a tattoo - that means she's at least in her 30's. How can someone that age make it through life not knowing how to spell basic words like 'doctor' and 'done' and 'scene'?

3) If she's on a' fixed income', how the hell can she afford to get an elaborate tattoo done? I'm not on a fixed income, and I can't afford to get inked like that.

4) I'm not so sure that advertising for someone to come to your house and finish your tattoo is a good idea. In fact, I think that that's what got her into this mess in the first place. I notice that she doesn't give a shop name for her ink man (for instance, I got my oroborous tattoo done by Matt Thrash at Black Hills Tattoo). That leads me to believe that she went to someone who isn't licensed and doesn't work out of a shop; it was probably a guy who happens to have a tattoo gun and works out of his house - in other words, he's one step above a jailhouse artist.

5) Everyone has staph bacteria living on their skin, so the infection her son got might not have been from the tattoo needle. If he wasn't keeping the ink site clean, wasn't washing his hands before touching it, was using contaminated lotion/protectant - or wasn't using any protectant or lotion at all - then he could be at fault for the resulting infection. However, if there were a cluster of folks who all got staph infections after being tattooed by the same guy....well, then that would tell me that the guy's sterilization techniques are not adequate.

6) I don't know about her, but I only have two legs - one right leg and one left leg. Every time I read 'on my back right leg' I envision a woman with smaller legs sticking out the back of her primary legs, much like Edison's chair that he designed so he could lean back without tipping over.

7) Finally, I don't think this woman ever met a comma or a period she liked.

(credit to )

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I'm incredibly happy with the way my garden is coming along:

Those are Straightneck squash, a petite bell pepper plant, and FTS's eggplant.

Those are Acorn and Straightneck squash.
Peas, both Snow and pod varieties, and that's my home-rigged trellis system that I'm pretty proud of.
Tomatoes! Lots of tomatoes!

Beans, and another trellis system.
Yellow pear tomatoes, and next to them is the newest addition to the garden: an habanero pepper plant. I got it for Numbah Two, but I'm not sure how interested in it he is. It has flowers and a couple of pepper buds on it and already has that distinctive 'hot' smell that peppers have, you know?

That's one of the two honeysuckle bushes we got for Urbaner. It had a couple of blossoms on it that smelled wonderful, but it lost those a couple of days ago. However, there are many more coming and I think that sitting on our patio is going to be a wonderful sensory experience in a couple of weeks when it's in full bloom.
Thos are the other peppers. Clockwise from bottom left: jalapeno, fajita bell, orange bell and sweet banana.

That's a close-up of the fajita bell.
Those are cantelope and honeydew melons, and whilst you can't really see it very well there's a single, solitary watermelon seedling in there too. Littlest 'Ling planted some seeds a while back and was very disappointed when none of them sprouted. I planted a few more and only one of them came up, so we're taking extra special care of it!

I also have a whole container of different varieties of lettuce: romaine, arugula, endive, red salad bowl, oak leaf, radicchio, butterleaf and green ice. I only planted the seeds a day or so ago so they're not germinated or spouting yet.

If everything keeps growing the way it has been, I forsee an abundance of fruits and vegetables in my future.

Time to learn how to can, I think!

Friday, June 12, 2009


I haven't done this before and I may never do it again, but I simply HAVE to share this with y'all.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Dennis:

Dennis is 23 and is looking for love on CraigsList. I'm going to post his ad so you can read for yourself what horrible luck Dennis has had with girls, how they leave him for douchebags who beat them and blah blah blah, but I wanted to let you know what Dennis' profession is first.

Dennis is a MMA cagefighter.

Yes, you read that right. Dennis here - Dennis with the double chin and distinct LACK of musculature, cauliflower ears and with the very straight nose - tells us that he, at 6'5" and 310lbs, is a heavyweight MMA cagefighter.



Here, *hahahaha* read for yourselves. *Hahahahahaah*I can't stop laughing long enough to read it for you:

'Hi my name is Dennis I am 23 years old I am a mixed martial arts cagefighter, but I have a really big heart which may be my problem I have only had two girlfriends both took advantage of my good heartedness i gave them everything they wanted for example I proposed to my first girlfriend after 8 months she said yes then one month later left the ring on the front door step and said she didnt want to marry me because she wanted to go back to her old boyfriend (who beat her on a daily basis) because I was too nice. It took me five years to get over that, and now the most recent girlfriend dumped me because she stills has feelings for her ex who burnt down their house, killed her cat, and destroyed everything she owned because she left him for me, but she lied to me and told me she wasnt going back to him. Well as you can see I have bad luck with women. Im just looking for a normal girl who wont screw me over cause im tired of it. Im 6'5 310 lbs im a heavyweight fighter. I have brown hair and blue eyes my picutre is kind of old i look better than that lol. Well I know I wrote alot of my ex's but i was just dumped today and i dont want to wait 5 more years. hit me up if you want to know more '

Oh, my belly hurts from laughing!

Dennis, dear....the likelihood of you being a cagefighter is slim to none. I say that because if you WERE a fighter (or even just an MMA fan, like myself) you'd know that the heavyweight class you say you fight in has a weight limit of 265lbs. You far surpass that, dude. If you DID fight, then you'd know you're in the super heavyweight class.

By the way, Dennis, have you ever thought that your lack of luck with the ladies might be due to the fact that you embellish the truth/outright lie about stuff? I'm just sayin'.

Dennis is a cage fighter. HAHAHHAAHHA!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tornadoes, First Sgts and babies.

It's been quite a 24 hours, y'all.

First, I came home yesterday afternoon to hear the sirens going off on base, advising us a tornado was approaching and to take cover immediately.

I pulled all my plant container in from the patio (it's an emergent situation, but I take the time I get my plants. I know, I know....) then the kids and I grabbed the dogs, some matches and candles and went into the little tool shed/utility room on the ground floor. As the roar of the storm got louder the lights started to flicker and then went out completely, leaving us in total darkness. All we heard was the roaring and pinging as the hail hit the roof.

I was okay until the lights went out, then I began to get scared. I didn't want the kids to know, so I twittered from my cell phone where we were and what was going on and pretended that everything was cool for the kids. I'm not they bought it, to be honest, but nobody freaked out....not even when we felt the walls shake and tremble.

After 45 minutes or so the roaring and rumbling subsided and an eerie quiet came down on us. I sat there, telepathically telling Urbaner to call home, to please call home because I needed someone to talk to, someone to tell me that I did the right thing, was doing the right thing and that it would all be okay.

He didn't call. So much for my telepathic powers.

After about 15 minutes of total calm, I ventured out of the shed to see sunshine coming from the west and the blackest sky I have ever seen out to the east.

The yard was a mess. The chairs were everywhere, a two-thirds full bag of potting soil I'd been working with (it was a 2cu bag) was against the fence - not spilled, not upside down, just against the fence as if I had leaned it on there - and there were a couple of shingles and some styrofoam blocks from the construction site 3/4 mile away all over the lawn. In the front there was debris everywhere and people were out, picking things up.

We waited for a little while and when the power didn't come back on (the base is usually pretty good about getting us hooked up again) FTS and I decided to take the dogs for a walk.

Now is a good time to tell you about the neighbors and the trouble we're having, I think. It's relevant.

We have had out sleep disturbed regularly since the start of the year. There are three families in particular that think it's okay to sit in the middle of the road - with a firepit going - at all hours of the night, playing music and laughing and screaming. If they're not in the road, they're in someone's driveway raising hell. A couple of weekends ago they woke us up at 1230 with their noise. FTS went out the front door to see what happened and she got cursed at. She came and got me and I went out there - still on my own porch, mind you - and I got the same treatment. So, I called the police. Urbaner and I turned out the lights and sat inside in the dark and heard them - one in particular - daring each other to "go over there". I can't say for sure what the plan was, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't to do good.
The next duty day, I spoke to the housing office and sent them an email detailing all the noise and the commotion. Apparently some military members got briefed about it, because the wives of the three families have made a point of making very loud comments about me whenever I'm outside, calling me a bitch and generally being miserable and rude. (the parties are still going on, btw)

Yesterday, as we stepped outside, all 3 of them were across the street. As soon as we became visible, the comments and snideness started, and this time I heard my daughter mentioned. We walked down the street, and as we approached them, the comments stopped. After we had passed by they started again, and again my daughter was a target as well as myself. They won't say anything TO me, they'll say it about me, but that's not the issue: they're now fucking with my kids, and mama don't play that game. Don't call my 16 year old a bitch and give her a hard time. Just don't.

I know that my confronting them will only end badly, so I decided to go a different route: I used the military chain of command EXACTLY the way it's designed to be used. I know that the ringleader's husband is a cop, so I went to the SFS First Sgt. I told him what was going on and that I didn't want to have to escalate it to an official level and get the civilian authorities involved, but that if it didn't stop, I would. I mean it, too. Whenever I'm in the yard I have my cell phone in video mode so that if shit starts I can record it and have evidence. I find it incredibly sad that I feel like I need to do that, but hey....I am NOT going to take this crap. I shouldn't HAVE to take this shit. If I knew who the other people's 1st Sgts were, I'd be in their offices, too, saying the same thing.

The 1st Sgt said he'd talk to the military member. I don't hold out much hope for any resolution.

It's not just us, half the other families on the street have complained, too. I'm starting to wonder what it takes to get these people either to stop what they're doing or asked to leave military family housing.

You want to know the REAL kicker for me? One of the very active participants has a home daycare in her house. Nice, huh? I wonder what the parents of her charges would do if they knew the crap that goes on around here in the evenings and on the weekends?

So, I am fully expecting there to be some repercussions from this. There were repercussions from my talking to the housing officer, so I expect the same again. This time, though, I am ready for it.

So, Numbah Two's rats, the pair that were supposed to be males? Yeah, not so much. I was sitting on the couch eating lunch and I kept hearing this really high pitched squeaking. I wondered what it was, so I went and peeked in the rat's cage....

...and saw Brennan the 'male' rat with a good dozen or so squirmy pink babies under her.

Brennan is a girl, and Brennan is now a mom.

I don't know ANYTHING about rat husbandry. Nothing. I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no rat babies, so I am slightly freaked out about this. I'm doing some reading and hoping for the best.....but I do know that we are NOT keeping them.

Anyone want a fancy rat?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hurtling towards 40

I will be 40 very shortly.

I've noticed some things about being this age.

For instance, things have moved/are moving south. I have scars on my belly form a lap-chole (gallbladder removal for you non-medical readers) I had done 10 years ago. They used to be in my right upper quadrant, but now they're a good 2 inches lower than they were originally.

My skin in changing. When I look at myself in the mirror I see subtle signs of my age appearing....crow's feet and a more pronounced naso-labial fold. My lips are getting thinner, too. My skin isn't as elastic and resilient as it used to be; I'm getting crinkles in strange right above my knees and on my butt. They're not there all the time, just when I move a certain way, but they're undeniably apparent.

I'm growing hair in some very strange places....I have a wiry hair that keeps appearing next to my belly button. I keep pulling it, but it keeps comng back. Hair is also migrating to odd places, instead of shaving just my pits I find that I'm having to shave the underside of my arms, too. That's true for other places as well, but I'm not going to talk about that because we'd be getting into 'too much information' territory, I think.

Every time I see a doctor I hear "it's your age". My shoulder hurts? It's my age. I have a headache? It's my age. Cut my thumb with a knife? That's due to my age too. Apparently I am now the right age for lots and lots of things: breast cancer, ovarian cancer, frozen shoulder syndrome, colon cancer....apparently cancer likes 40 year olds. Menopause has reared it's head: I'm the right age for that now and everything gets blamed on my hormones (or lack thereof). Itchy skin rash? Menopause. Doesn't matter that I've been in contact with strange plants in the woods, the first response is always "menopause". Foot pain? Menopause. No matter that I ran in shoes that don't support my arches properly, it's my hormones that are to blame. Hair going all dry and strange and falling out in the shower? Menopause, despite my having bleached it and colored it and teased it.

I now qualify for official cougarhood. I am a full fledged member of the MILF club (although I didn't think you had to be 40 to join that organization; I thought that you simply had to be a mom), much to my children's chagrin. They get really very upset when we're out and strange men check me out. I don't see it most of the time, but they do. It actually makes me feel pretty good about myself; if I'm still looking good enough to turn a head or two my age can't show that much. Of course, the guys that check me out are all 50 something knuckle-dragging southern Illinois mouth-breathers with beer guts, hair shoulders and infarcted synapses, but hey...I'm still getting looked at (it actually makes my skin crawl to catch guys like that looking at me). Then again, they could just be looking at me the way people look at freaks in a circus sideshow. I have that effect on people sometimes.

I've been asked when I'm going to grow up and start dressing my age. The answer is that I am not. I refuse to. I think it important to state that I'm not dressing the way I do as an act of rebellion, I do it because I want to. I'm just not going to fall into the deep pit of conformity; I haven't done it up until now and I'm not about to start. I won't conform because it's not in my nature.

I'm also asked when I'm going to start behaving in a manner appropriate for a woman my age. the answer to that is, again, I'm not. It's just not in my nature to. I am who I am, I like what I like and I do what I do, regardless of my age. Physically I may not be able to do the things I could when I was in my 20's (stay up all night drinking like it's no big deal. I can't do that without paying the price for a couple of days now), but that's more matter than it is mind.

I feel lucky to be this age. Yeah, I have a few dings here and there and have had to be repaired a few times, but I'm still here and I have all kinds of experience because of it (or in spite of it, however you want to look at it). I like who I am, who I'm becoming. I'm almost 40, and I'm cool with that.

In closing, I'd like to share a poem that accurately describes my view on aging:

'Growing Old The Willis Way'

The day my great-grandmother Willis turned sixty-five
she decided that she would spend the rest of her life
wearing fishnet stockings and red lipstick.

Her place of dwelling became Big Larry's sports pub
not because she liked to drink
but because she was simply aware of the fact
that the world's most interesting flocked to Big Larry's
like seagulls flock to the dump.
What she didn't know
is that is was she who compelled them.
That in the hearts located directly about Boston's
biggest beerbellies
she took precedence over all things
bottled or draft.

It was she who taught the women of my family
how to grow old
the Willis way.

her daughter, my grandmother
is sixty-five
and enrolling in ballroom roller skating classes.

She has become the old lady
she beats the Urkel-pants'd old men in the pool hall,
while discussing George W Bush
and how his presidency
will bring about the next apocalypse.

She is the old lady who paints pictures of Jesus on the cross
with money seeping out of his open wounds.
All the while fulfilling her lifelong dream
of becoming a fashion photographer.

She is the old lady who turned her one-bedroom apartment
into a homeless shelter.

And as my grandmother becomes a great-grandmother
to multiple great-grandchildren
my mother will grow old, remember her Willis roots
and get sudden urges to dye her hair fuschia
and buy a vintage Cadillac.
And as she reaches sixty-five
her vocabulary will consist soley of the phrase
"you go, girl!".

Around this time my doctor will tell me
I'm pre-menopausal
because apparently it runs in my family.

And I'll buy myself a cake
and imagine myself on my sixty-fith birthday:
streaking across the White House lawn, yelling "Save the Whales!"
with organic red lipstick smeared across my shrivelled little face
as I pull a bottle of malt liquor from my fishnet stockings
and toast my great-grandmother Willis:
"you go, girl!"

-Jamie Markus.

Friday, June 5, 2009

FTS and I had come home from walking the dogs this afternoon when we found this on the porch:
It's a polyphemus moth, apparently. All I know is it was huge, and that it's a male because it has these big feathery antennas on it's head.

We have swallows nesting on the front porch and I was worried about them eating him, so with much squealing and squirming we transplanted him onto my fuschia in the backyard:

His family is named 'Polyphemus' because of the eyes on his wings (the cyclops Ployphemus of mythology). He's beautiful and ugly all at the same time....don't you think?

He's enormous. FTS says she's never seen a moth that big. Neither have I!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sparkling and letters

This whole 'Twilight' thing is pissing me off. I started to read the books last year and ended up putting the first one down, disgusted, after 30 or so pages. It was so bland, so sweetened up and nicey-nice cute that I couldn't handle it.

Vampires aren't supposed to be nice or cute. Vampires are the undead; they sleep in coffins and drink people's blood under the cover of darkness. They transform themselves into bats and other nastiness and to kill them you have to pin them to the ground with a stake right through their hearts.


Vampires don't sparkle. Period. And they sure as fuck don't look like an traditional Eton/Hogwarts boy like Cedric fucking Diggory. Modern ones look like Keifer Sutherland in 'The Lost Boys' or like Max Schreck in 'Nosferatu'.


*Ahem* Now that I've got that out of the way, I have news from the homefront.

Littlest 'Ling got his first Letter yesterday, for his participation and grades in Band. He is the first member of my family or his father's family to letter in ANYTHING, period. He's not in High School yet (8th grade this coming fall) so he doesn't have a Letterman jacket to put his letter on yet, but that's okay. As soon as he's eligible, we're getting him one and he's going to wear that thing with pride.

MY SON GOT A LETTER. That's *tres* cool.

Well done, LL! We are incredibly proud of you!