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Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Note

If you're looking for new blog entries of the non-political variety, I've been blogging in my other space here. I'm just not feeling very political lately but I still have lots to say! Hope you stop by.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

They're All Together Ooky...The Adams Family

Happy Halloween...blah, blah, blah.

Two things happened this week that make me wonder if I'm living in some backwoods, one stoplight town and not one that I pay outrageous property tax for (seriously, you'd weep). I'm going to try to keep things as anonymous as is possible since I have to live near these people, but suffice it to say there is one house on this street that is quickly becoming "those neighbors". First, they've taken to parking on their lawn. At first I thought maybe it was a mistake or that they just had to run in the house really fast to retrieve some item that they had to have so badly that they just didn't have the wherewithal to park in their actual driveway. In fact, it looked like one of them had driven home under the influence and crashed into the tree, except the car was unscathed. Alas, no. They came and went several times over the course of as many days, parking the car in their new, albeit strange, spot. These are also the neighbors that have no less than 6 different cars at any given time parked hither and yon amongst the street, so it goes without saying that there is precious little space in their actual driveway. They finally stopped parking on the lawn, so I guess that's good.

"What about their garage", you ask?

"It's full of crap", I reply.

"What kind of crap", you inquire?

"All the shit they couldn't bear to part with from their old house, the one that was so much badasser and bigger than this current one that they often remind us how they had to downsize to live in our neighborhood; the poor dears", I say absolutely dripping with sarcasm complete with great big eye rolling.

When they decided to clear out the scraggly rose bushes and other unidentifiable overgrown brush that they call a garden, I figured "Hey! Finally!". So what if they did it not with a shovel and shears, but a strong rope and a pick up truck with a really kick ass bumper (who wants to be bothered with gardening tools anyway?); at least it was finally getting some attention. Imagine my surprise when it was discovered that they had done so, not to enhance curbside appeal, but to set up their Halloween graveyard. Sigh.

If this wasn't enough to just gal the hell out of me, what really chaps my hide is that their immediate next door neighbors have been trying to sell their house since midsummer. Now I don't know about you, but if I were a prospective home buyer and pulled up in front of this dilly, spotting the lawn parking and their questionable shrub removal tactics; I'd seriously reconsider plopping down my life savings to live next door to such a spectacle.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Post Dawn Cacaphony of Leaf Blowers in E Minor

Just how long DOES it take to blow the leaves out of a Southern California yard the size of a postage stamp? Apparently just as long as it takes to rake that of it's acre and a half, tree infested east coast counterpart. Like countless others, my weekdays start at the crack of dawn; in some cases pre-dawn. I look forward to the weekend. I like to sleep in even if "sleeping in" means 8:30am. Not today my friends. Not today. This lovely, peaceful Saturday morning was interrupted by the grinding, whining hum (screech) of the ever popular, and equally annoying gardening tool...the leaf blower.

Stay out of my way today. I'll be at Costco and I'm bitchy. You've been warned.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

You Don't Want to Know Where I Was Keeping That Plane Ticket

Sweet molasses on a cracker! I swear to freakin' God that it will not be too far off in the future that if you wish to travel by plane, you will have to do it naked as a jay-fuckin'-bird! Sans shoes, no carry-on luggage whatsoever, body cavity searches all around and infants will have to ride in the baggage compartment. It was reported in the news today that security at 3 of the nation's airports (LAX amongst them) failed miserably at detecting bomb making materials. Please stand by for security to kick it up a notch. This just HAD to come out right before the holiday season, didn't it.

And doesn't this tid-bit just scream bullshit to you?
Terrorists bringing a homemade bomb on an airplane, or bringing on bomb parts and assembling them in the cabin, is the top threat against aviation. "Their focus is on using items easily available off grocery and hardware store shelves," Hawley said.

Really? That is the top threat against aviation? Funny how a moderate Google search turns up quite a different statistic. It would seem that human error, pilot error, design flaw, fuel starvation, and yes, BIRDS are a greater threat to aviation than terrorists and their bomb making materials. And didn't the security for air travel reach hysterical levels AFTER September 11th? It would appear, at least to me, that people hijacking a plane and flying it into a building with their own two hands would be a greater threat. Will we have to start leaving our hands at home?

There are horrid people in the world and they're going to do despicable things, it cannot be obliterated. You just have to live life and be aware. I expect the airline that I'm paying for service from to provide a safe plane and a capable crew...and not send my luggage to an alternate destination. I don't expect to be kept safe from another person's actions totally unrelated to the airline. I feel more threatened by the woman driving beside me who is chatting on her cell phone while she simultaneously applies her lipstick and mascara, drinking her latte at mock 5 on the freeway. If I choose to pay for and use public transportation then I am taking the risk that I just may be flying along side someone who is not playing with a full deck.

Please don't make it so that we all have to fly in the nude. It is way too cold on that plane.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Mama Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys...

...Or soldiers, or rock stars. Okay, the rock star part I can get on board with; it just ain't that easy to achieve. In March of 2003, when this war in Iraq began, I remember voicing my concerns about my oldest son who was six at the time, at some point having to go off and fight. People laughed at me, belittled me and verbally pat me on the head..."He's six!" they scoffed. "You're being ridiculous" they're eyes read. Yet, here we are over four years later, and my son is now eleven; and no end in sight when it comes to the war in Iraq. President Bush won't be calling it quits; he's already admitted to leaving that to future administrations. Why should he clean up the mess he started? Seven years from now my son will be eighteen. Is there anyone out there who can say with absolute certainty that my fears are unfounded?

The recruitment commercials to join the armed forces that air on my television illustrate quite a rosy picture of what it means to be a soldier. They're dressed in their finest, travel to exotic lands, go to college, and apply their learned skills to their military branch of choice. Yeah, sure, that all goes on during a time of peace. They should also affirm the reality (one that I took upon myself to explain to my son) that you will have to kill someone at some point and is that something you are willing to do? You may be killed yourself, are you cool with that?

My thoughts are often about the mothers of our soldiers. The wives too, but there is a love and bond that is unique to the parent/child relationship. If my husband were a soldier and were to die, I would be devastated, yes but eventually I'd be able to pick up the shattered pieces of my life and persevere. There isn't enough Prozac in Beverly Hills to get me through seeing my son(s) off to war. If a child of mine were to die in that war, it would completely and utterly destroy me; I would spiral into an abyss and never return. I think of these mothers that are currently sinking further into this abyss and how torturous the pain must be.

It's easy to be a cheerleader for this war when it isn't your children that are sacrificed. And you need to be "rah-rah-rah" when it IS your child on the front line because you NEED them to LIVE.

It's 4 1/2 years later; am I still being a hand-wringing hysterical ninny?

Bring their children home.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Which Way the Political Wind Leans

Was June really the last time I posted anything to this blog? Egads! That's shameful. I have to admit that my lack of attention to my space here has more to do with my complete and utter frustration with the status quo with regards to politics than it does with what might be perceived as laziness or disinterest. Let's touch on a couple of things here before I get to the meat of my entry...
My choice for the Democrat Presidential candidate:
~ The jury is mostly out on this but I lean towards Senator Obama
~ This would change in an instant if Al Gore were to toss his hat into the ring

With that said, my mind has been hard at work trying to make sense of the hypocrisy that spews forth from the mouths of republicans whenever a celebrity (aka "Liberal Hollywood") voices their political opinion...unless of course said celebrity is a republican. With the emergence of Fred Thompson into the Republican presidential side of the race, I was all set to update my blog with a well researched "article" (for lack of a better word) about the aforementioned hypocrisy surrounding Democrats v. Republicans and politics. While compiling my list of celebrities turned politician whose opinions were/are considered acceptable by the right wing media machine (because they're republicans) I came across an article at TMZ (of all places) that sums it up quite nicely.
Obviously, celebrities aren't limited to disagreements with the right wing. Some see eye to eye on many issues. Charlton Heston and Ted Nugent (despite being the author of such "family friendly" lyrics as "Wang Dang Sweet Poon Tang") are darlings of the right for their stance on guns. And, it is interesting to note that over the years movie actor Ronald Reagan, singer/tv star Sonny Bono, and sports stars: Steve Largent, JC Watts, Jim Bunning and Tom Osborne all used their fame to win office as Republicans. These people actually made official government policy so you would think that those who say celebrities aren't qualified to speak out on issues would be outraged, right? But, consistency has never been a hallmark of the right wing's chattering class.

The article does go on to say (and I disagree with):
So, even though there is little substance or logical consistency behind the "celebrities aren't qualified to speak out" argument, I do agree with the general notion that they should stay out of politics. However, as I alluded above, it's for different reasons. After all, I hope these same celeb bashers wouldn't tell a plumber to stick to plumbing and stay away from political discourse. Indeed, by their logic, everyone but politicians and the self-appointed political elite would be disqualified from having a "valid opinion." You only need to flip through the Sunday political talk shows for the briefest of glimpses to see the irony and absurdity of that proposition. No, I think musicians and other celebs should shut up for a different reason. When these stars speak out, via some crafty public relations work, the stars themselves become the debate instead of the issues. All we hear is" the Dixie Chicks hate America" or "Hollywood wants the terrorists to win." The real issues get swept under the rug and the focus is on bashing the celeb for speaking out.

I don't agree that celebrities should quit speaking out. I believe everyone has the right too and shouldn't be silenced because issues get swept under the rug BECAUSE they're celebrities. The issue isn't the celebrities but rather, what's under that rug...don't let the pundits wield such a hefty broom.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Charity Run Amok

Being asked for charitable contriubtions for needy causes is getting out of hand. I prefer the old fashioned approach of being contacted via the United States postal service. It's unintrusive, I have time to peruse the literature, and then give if and when and how much I can. No pressure. I loath the dinner time phone calls, or worse, the Christmastime hardcore press (via phone).

Nowadays you can't go about your daily errands without being accosted by volunteers who've set up camp outside retail establishments. The tactic that grates on my nerves the most is when you're actually paying for your goods at some retail store and you're asked by the cashier if you'd like to contribute whatever amount to the cause du jour that they are sponsoring. In return you get to write your name on a slip of paper that they will prominently display on the wall of their store. Big woo.

Friday night, however, I witnessed a new low. Sitting in the movie theater, in excited anticipation for the movie that was about to start in 0.2 seconds; we (the audience) were greeted by two fresh faced teens, employees of the Edwards Grand Twelve Cinema. Clipboard in hand they proceeded to present to us how Regal Theaters is once again taking and matching contributions for the Starlight Foundation. A worthy cause, yes. Once finished with their spiel, the two then walked the ailes to gather any cash or loose change we movie goers were willing to part with. Apparently Regal Theaters decided that simply (and annoyingly) asking to donate a dollar when you are purchasing your tickets isn't intrusive enough. They are now delaying the start time of the movie and forcing you to sit through a presentation. As if having to watch commercials now isn't bad enough. Are they TRYING to repel folks from going out to the movies? If that is their goal, they're on the right track. It's like going out to dinner at your favorite restaurant only to have some waiter stand up and try to sell you a time share...you'd leave except that you've already ordered your food and it will be at your table any second.

I'm all for giving to charities and I do. If I wanted to learn about the Starlight Foundation I would have looked 'em up on the web; certainly not at the theater on MY dime. All they've done is repel me from wanting to give to the charity because their tactic is too "in your face".

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Outrageous Quote of the Day

...Comes from our own Commander in Chief:

"Either we'll succeed, or we won't succeed," he said. "And the definition of success as I described is sectarian violence down. Success is not no violence. ... But success is a level of violence where the people feel comfortable about living their daily lives."

Well no wonder we Iraq war naysayers were baffled by his insistance that success was being made there. That's not the definition of success, sir...that's deliberately misleading.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Lakadaisical Parents

Note to parents of small children: I'm not interested in keeping an eye on your kids while I try to enjoy time with my own. If you bring your kids to the park (or any other public place for that matter), here's a tip: watch them. While trying to spend happy family time with *my* family this past weekend, cheering on my son and his softball team, I had to play offense with a little "tweener" (not quite a toddler but not yet a preschooler) from hurling water bottles at my daughter. "I made a weapon!" he declared...super. His own mother was peacefully enjoying the game, ocassionally tossing a disinterested "stop that" over her shoulder, which had no effect whatsoever on her little darling. I had to supress the urge to pick him up and shout to his mother "go long" before hurling a hail mary in her direction.

These are the same kids who firmly plant themselves at the base of a slide and declare themselves king (or queen) of the castle, refusing to let others pass. They're the same ones that confiscate my children's toys in the sand box...my daughter came to build a sand castle, she needs her "tools"...bring your own. My daughter would happily share if sharing were something your child were interested in; they're not. Get off your phone, stop chatting with your girlfriend, take a look around once in a while. You're raising little bullies that are going to spend a great deal of time in the principal's office come school time; so don't be surprised when you find yourself there. I'm not your babysitter, nor do I want to be. Do YOUR job!

Rant over.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bedside Manner Escapes Henry Mayo

I know that judging by my posts here on my blog you'd find it hard to believe that I'm really not one to complain. I do, in fact, try to give people and situations the benefit of the doubt, but I have to say that I'm very disappointed in Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. I understand that they are the only emergency room in a valley consisting of 200+ thousand people and they have limited staff and funding to contend with, but that's no excuse for an attitude with your patients.

On Tuesday evening I prepared pork chops for my family and 20 minutes after dinner, my youngest son began gagging and heaving as if he were sick to his stomach. This went on periodically throughout the night and into the morning. We assumed he had some kind of stomach virus since the rest of us were fine. It wasn't until morning that he informed us that it felt like something was stuck in his throat. Immediately alarmed and considering that perhaps he had a fragment of a pork chop bone lodged in his throat, but knowing it wasn't an "emergency" situation since he could breath and swallow, I took him to the walk in doctor's office to investigate. They were wonderful and patient and did what they could... two hours later xrays didn't reveal any bone fragments, it could just be a scratch, however, it could be such a small bone fragment that it wouldn't show up in xrays and they suggested that I take him to the emergency room where they had a greater variety of intruments to use to detect the problem.

I brought him home and waited until dinner time, figuring it would be a less hectic hour for the emergency room. The waiting room wasn't terribly crowded and they brought us in to a curtained bed area within 45 minutes. After a brief consultation with the doctor, he ordered a barium xray. While we waited in the large, open "fast track" area, consisting of several occupied beds separated by curtains, I couldn't help but hear the converstaions amongst the staff. One nurse had a burrito she was willing to share with her co-worker. How sweet. One nurse had consistent complaints ranging from something (didn't hear what) that she agreed "just ain't right" with another co-worker, to some closet being improperly stocked...apparently "it didn't have shit". This same nurse was the go-to gal for the xray technician who came to collect my son. I can tell by the bemused expressions on their faces (how does one "hear" a bemused expression you ask? By the tone of their voice silly!) that because my son can breath and swallow, I'm just a overreactive mother wasting their precious time. The sound of their eyes rolling and their smirking mouths was deafening. Nevermind that I was at the emergency room on a doctor's suggestion; let's not let facts get in the way.

The tech was lacking in any smiles, impatient, and I think he figured it might have killed him to try even just a little bit to put my scared son's fears at ease. He was short and quick to threaten my son that if he didn't drink the barium properly that he was just going to have to do it all over again. Finally satisfied that he had the films he needed we were sent back to our curtained bed. An hour or so later, my son in a deep sleep, it was time to clear out the "fast track" area because at a certain time in the evening the staff is reduced and they put all of the patients in one area. I listened from our little corner of the room, patients being informed of their move and beds being wheeled off to somewhere unknown by me. I waited. And waited. Waited some more. I waited nearly 30 minutes. Long gone were voices, rustlings, or the sound of soft soled shoes on the floor. No beeping machines...not even a cough to clear one's throat. Zip. Dead silence. Fearing we'd somehow been forgotten (I mean, that couldn't be!), but hesitant to leave my sleeping son, worried that he might wake up alone in one wing of the hospital, I finally took a few steps out to investigate. We were, in fact, alone. I took one more look at my son and decided to try to find someone as quickly as possible. This forced me to leave the room entirely, through another room, and finally into an area that had some staff.

I asked the nurse sitting at the desk if we were also being moved. Luckily, I didn't blink when I asked her this question because I would have surely missed the extremely brief look of shock that flashed across her face when I told her where my son was. She resorted to her pat answer and informed me that they were getting a bed ready for him and someone would be there shortly.

We never did move. The doctor finally came in to discuss the results of the barium xray with me. The diagnosis? No obstruction shows up in the xray and my son can swallow. Gee...thanks. I already knew he could swallow which is probably why I said as much during my initial consultation with the doctor. What I want to know is, what is causing my son to gag and heave when he DOES swallow? "It could be a scratch on his cartledge or it could be a bone fragment so small that it doesn't show up in the xray"... well, here we are back to square one. This I already know, I tell him. He recommends an ear, nose, and throat specialist and gives me the number of a doctor to call because they have a fiberoptic camera they can snake down his throat. Henry Mayo doesn't have one of those in the entire facility? Couldn't they have done that while we were there? Well, I guess they've done all they're gonna do.

After a combined total of 7 hours in medical facilities, I still don't know what is going on in my son's throat and it doesn't seem to concern any of the medical proffessionals, so why should I be worried? Because I'm a mother and I can tell you right now that there is something wrong with my son. I'm not a nervous overreative mother. Aside from being born this was the first time my 7 year old son had ever even seen the inside of a hospital, let alone an emergency room. And they should take a lesson in bedside manner. It would serve them well not to treat scared worried parents and patients with belittling condesention. Give us the benefit of the doubt that we aren't there to waste your time...we're there because something just ain't right.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Bill O'Reilly With Extra Foam at the Mouth

It's must see tv and only a matter of time before this man's head literally explodes.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Taking A Spring "Break"

Hello all and happy spring break to you! Just a note to inform you that I'm heading back east for a 10 day vacation so there won't be any updates until I return. Have fun and stay safe...I know I will!


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Here Comes the Broke Bride

According to a recent article, the national average cost of a basic wedding is $20,000. That's national folks. Here in Los Angeles the average cost is $32,400 according to the handy little site, Costofwedding.com. Yeah right! Dream on kids cuz Mama ain't gonna foot that bill. I don't care if it is supposed to be the happiest day of your life; that is a colossal waste of cash. Giving birth to all three of my children were the happiest days of my life, and all three of their hospital bills didn't total that amount...and I got babies out of the deal! Actual human beings. True story, honest.

What a racket! Brainwash our daughters from the time they're old enough to hold Dream Wedding Barbie in their little dimpled fists, that walking down an aisle sprinkled with rose petals in a glorious ball gown to marry your Prince Charming-Ken is THE only way to go. Screw that. I'm giving my daughter Practical Barbie to play with. I'm going to not-so-subtley hint that 1960's retro weddings are making a comeback; that of tying the knot at city hall with your parents and closest family members and friends present, ONLY, and everyone will come back to our house afterwards for finger sandwiches, homemade potato salad and a suitable cake from the corner bakery.

Or better yet: elope. Call me after. I won't be mad, I promise. As a matter of fact I'll be so happy that I may help you with that down payment on your little starter home. Thirty two thousand four hundred dollars for a party...utter squandering. You might as well crumple up $32,400 and set it on fire.

Hurry Up and Get Married

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Trust Us...We've Got Nothing To Hide

It figures. President Bush has made his "reasonable in his mind" offer to agree to let Karl Rove and Harriet Miers meet (secretly, and no transcript) with congress (and not under oath). Oh well, that settles it! Clearly they've nothing to hide, whatsoever! Seriously, if there was no wrongdoing regarding the firing of several United States Attorneys, then why all the hush-hush? From the Associated Press:
Bush, in a late-afternoon statement at the White House, said, "We will not go along with a partisan fishing expedition aimed at honorable public servants. ... I proposed a reasonable way to avoid an impasse."

He added: "There's no indication ... that anybody did anything improper."
If a sitting president can be questioned, under oath, about his sexual escapades, then why can't White House officials be questioned about alleged wrong doing, under oath? And if everything is on the up and up why has Bush vowed to "aggressively fight in court any attempt to subpoena White House aides"?

This administration is channeling that of Nixon's. They feel they are above the law. This administration is hiding something and Congress better not back down from his threat of aggressive fighting to keep his aides from having to tell the truth.

Bush Warns Dems to Take Offer in Firings

Monday, March 12, 2007

You Got Served!

Jury duty. We're all entitled to a trial by jury, so somebody has got to do it. I, apparently, am on a short list of the only potential jurors in Los Angeles county. I have received four summons in as many months and I'm beginning to feel harrassed. The first one came in the form of a threatening post card informing me that I'd failed to register for jury duty when they supposedly sent my summons some time prior. I'm pretty diligent when it comes to my responsibilities and keeping myself from breaking the law, paying fines, or spending time in jail. So I called and spoke to a pleasant woman who went through the registration process with me, and my subsequent request for an excuse because I'm a full time mother to 3 small children between the hours of 8am and 5pm. She gave me simple instructions: to fill out my children's names and ages in the area she so helpfully highlighted for me. Because I'm not a total idiot, I was able to do this with no trouble whatsoever.

At the end of the following month I received an actual notice to appear summons. Once again I called, only to find out that my request for an excuse was under review and would be decided in 30 t 60 days. My dilemma was that my date to appear was before that 30 day timeframe. When I called again a week later I was told that my request for an excuse had been denied and waited for an additional 27 minutes before I could speak to an actual human being to plead my case. When I finally reached an oh-so-helpful employee she asked if I had indicated that my youngest child was under the age of 5; to which I answered, yep. She postponed my date for 60 days while she sent me yet another registration form to request my excuse, which I promptly completed and returned the same day I received it.

TWO days later I opened my mailbox to find ANOTHER request to register for jury duty! Good grief! And once again I had to go through the automated process and hold for several minutes to request my excuse. Apparently I'm holding up the entire legal system because I must be the only potential juror out there.

The kicker is, if I were to serve, it would cost me $15 dollars an hour to hire a babysitter for my children, for as much as a week (maybe more). I'm also stymied by their estimation that only children under the age of 5 are worthy enough for their parents to be excused from jury duty. Even if they're in school, they will still need a ride home and supervision afterwards, and it will still cost me $15 dollars an hour for that necessity. Even if I'm not the sole caregiver between the hours of 8am and 5pm in that case, I certainly am between the hours of 12pm and 5pm, what with all three of my children dismissed from school at noon, 2pm, and 3pm respectively.

I'm a tax paying, law abiding citizen who's just trying to live her life and it seems as if they're just trying to get me into trouble! Give me five years, please! I promise I'll happily serve my time when all 3 of my children are able to care for themselves while I'm away temporarily. There has got to be someone else on that damn list!