The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

My Photo
Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What Is The Air Speed Velocity of an Un-Laden Swallow?

While surfing today, I found this link. I admit it. I was more than a little amused. Why? I like Monty Python. I do. There, I've said it. They are about as goofy as goofy gets, but still I think it's funny. Sadly, my older girls have been afflicted as well. (Sometimes, genetics can play cruel, cruel tricks on us.) I'm thinking...Christmas gifts for the whole family! It's never to early to start shopping, you know!

Don't ask me to count how many times I've watched HOLY GRAIL (and, for the record I'm a fan of all their work, but this is my fave). I don't think I can. No matter how many times I've seen it though, I know this, I'll still crack up when I watch it. The groan-worthy jokes never get old.

If you're not a fan, you may just want to pass on this, but for those of you that share this passion, have a chuckle on me today. (If you haven't already, that is.) And if (for some reason I can't fathom) you haven't seen the movie, come out of your cave and get ye to the video store post haste.

Large Man with Dead Body: Who's that then?
The Dead Collector: I dunno, must be a king.
Large Man with Dead Body: Why?
The Dead Collector: He hasn't got shit all over him.

King Arthur: Old woman.
Dennis: Man.
King Arthur: Man, sorry. What knight lives in that castle over there?
Dennis: I'm 37.
King Arthur: What?
Dennis: I'm 37. I'm not old.
King Arthur: Well I can't just call you "man".
Dennis: Well you could say "Dennis".
King Arthur: I didn't know you were called Dennis.
Dennis: Well you didn't bother to find out did you?
King Arthur: I did say sorry about the "old woman", but from behind you looked...
Dennis: What I object to is you automatically treat me like an inferior.
King Arthur: Well I am king.
Dennis: Oh, king eh? Very nice. And how'd you get that, eh? By exploiting the workers. By hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society.

King Arthur: I am your king.
Woman: Well I didn't vote for you.
King Arthur: You don't vote for kings.
Woman: Well how'd you become king then?
[Angelic music plays... ]
King Arthur: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. THAT is why I am your king.
Dennis: [interrupting] Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
Dennis: Oh, but you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you.
Dennis: Oh but if I went 'round sayin' I was Emperor, just because some moistened bint lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away.
Dennis: Come and see the violence inherent in the system. Help! Help! I'm being repressed!
King Arthur: Bloody peasant!
Dennis: Oh, what a giveaway! Did you hear that? Did you hear that, eh? That's what I'm on about! Did you see him repressing me? You saw him, Didn't you?

Dingo: You must spank her well, and after you are done with her, you may deal with her as you like... and then... spank me.
All: And me. And me too. And me.

Dingo: Yes. Yes, you must give us all a good spanking.
Dingo: And after the spanking, the oral sex.
Galahad: Well, I could stay a bit longer...

[after slicing one of the Black Knight's arms off]
King Arthur: Now stand aside, worthy adversary.
Black Knight: 'Tis but a scratch.
King Arthur: A scratch? Your arm's off.
Black Knight: No it isn't.
King Arthur: What's that, then?
Black Knight: [after a pause] I've had worse.
King Arthur: You liar.
Black Knight: Come on ya pansy.

King Arthur: [about the inscription on the rock] What does it say, Brother Maynard?
Brother Maynard: It reads, "Here may be found the last words of Joseph of Aramathia. He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the holy grail in the Castle of Aaauuuggghhh..."
King Arthur: What?
Brother Maynard: "The Castle of Aaaauuuggghhhh"
Sir Bedevere: What is that?
Brother Maynard: He must have died while carving it.
King Arthur: Oh come on!
Brother Maynard: Well, that's what it says.
King Arthur: Look, if he was dying, he wouldn't have bothered to carve 'Aaaauuuggghhhh'. He'd just say it.
Sir Galahad: Maybe he was dictating it.

Tim: There he is!
King Arthur: Where?
Tim: There!
King Arthur: What? Behind the rabbit?
Tim: It *is* the rabbit!
King Arthur: You silly sod!
Tim: What?
King Arthur: You got us all worked up!
Tim: Well, that's no ordinary rabbit.
King Arthur: Ohh.
Tim: That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!
Sir Robin: You tit! I soiled my armor I was so scared!
Tim: Look, that rabbit's got a vicious streak a mile wide! It's a killer!
Sir Galahad: Get stuffed!
Tim: He'll do you up a treat, mate.
Sir Galahad: Oh, yeah?
Sir Robin: You manky Scots git!
Tim: I'm warning you!
Sir Robin: What's he do? Nibble your bum?
Tim: He's got huge, sharp... er... He can leap about. Look at the bones!

Knight 1: We are the Knights who say... NI.
Roger the Shrubber: Are you saying Ni to that old woman?
King Arthur: Um, yes.
Roger the Shrubber: Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history.
King Arthur: Did you say shrubberies?
Roger the Shrubber: Yes, shrubberies are my trade. I am a shrubber. My name is Roger the Shrubber. I arrange, design, and sell shrubberies.

King of Swamp Castle: We live in a bloody swamp. We need all the land we can get.
Prince Herbert: But I don't like her.
King of Swamp Castle: Don't like her? What's wrong with her? She's beautiful, she's rich, she's got huge... tracts of land.

French Soldier: I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.

1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: Who goes there?
King Arthur: It is I, Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, from the castle of Camelot. King of the Britons, defeater of the Saxons, Sovereign of all England!
1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: Pull the other one!
King Arthur: I am, and this is my trusty servant Patsy. We have ridden the length and breadth of the land in search of knights who will join me in my court at Camelot. I must speak with your lord and master.
1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: What? Ridden on a horse?
King Arthur: Yes!
1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: You're using coconuts!
King Arthur: What?
1st soldier with a keen interest in birds: You've got two empty halves of coconut and you're bangin' 'em together.

Cleric: And the Lord spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it.

Ah...I needed that...

(NOTE: Which of you will find the carefully placed blooper? Heh. If that's not asking for trouble, I don't know what is?)

Click here for more!

Flirting with Disaster

Are you a risk-taker? A dare-devil? Someone who throws caution to the wind and laughs in the face of danger? Nice to meet you. I wish I had just a little more of that in my make-up, but I'm far too practical and responsible to see it happening. It's a curse, I tell you.

Let me tell you, it's pretty darned hard to be this logical and still have a little whimsy...which I totally do. Maybe it's more about informed choices and choosing battles and all that stuff. Maybe I'm just a giant chicken. I'm not sure.

Knowledge is power, you know. And fear is, often times, based on a lack of knowledge. I'll be the first to admit that there are a great many things about which I know very little. Though, I'd like to add that when I'm in a situation where I need to act, and I don't have the information I need to do it with knowledge (instead of in fear), I consult the experts and try to make the best informed decision that I can make. Hardly a unique approach.

When my youngest was born and there were so many medical issues about which I had no knowledge, I drove the doctors and nurses absolutely nuts asking them questions. When they wanted to put a central line in, I had to know everything that meant, before I could feel comfortable with it.

But those are more calculated risks. Risks that have more tangible benefits, at least in my mind. What I don't get are unnecessary risks. I'm not one to ever jump out of a perfectly functional airplane unless I am forced to do so at gunpoint. Ditto bungee jumping. Now, I recognize that some people find great sport and thrill from these activities, but, personally, I have to question the sanity of those people.

Before my ex and I got married, he worked a job where he travelled a great deal. And so, because he had a penchant both for driving fast and getting speeding tickets, we purchased a radar detector to help him avoid at least the latter half of that equation.

The week before we got married, we were driving around getting last minute errands done and he, literally, reached up to where the radar detector was installed and turned it off. This made no sense to me. It didn't cost extra money to run it. It wasn't taking power away from other systems in the vehicle making them less functional. So, I asked him why he was doing that. "I know this area. There are never cops here." What difference does that make? You're not buying and using this product for the cops you EXPECT. It's for the cops you DON'T expect. And so, I'm sure you realize, that about fifty feet later, we heard the sirens and promptly got the speeding ticket. Unnecessary risk. You have the tools to protect yourself, but choose not to use them.

How do you feel about your personal, phone number, address...being in the hands of strangers? It bothers some people enough to have their phone number unlisted. Most people, however, are content with just not giving out that information to strangers. There was a time, recently, that my ex felt it was appropriate to give out my personal information to the various women he, himself, referred to as 'fuck buddies'. Casual sexual partners, with whom he was clear about never wanting a romantic relationship. Women he'd met through online singles groups. He (and his friends) would laugh (and I don't mean that figuratively) at me for being so uptight about it. I don't know. Maybe I was.

Hell, it bothered me that they had HIS information. My kids were spending two weeks a month at his house and all of these women knew where he lived and where they would be. But what could I do about that? Not much. And that sucked.

Giving out my personal information, though, I felt that was going too far. And it wasn't even as if he was giving them the information as an emergency contact kind of thing, either. It was just careless disregard.

The addage about a woman scorned was coined for a reason. I knew that at least one of these women had invested a great deal of time and money in their 'relationship'. He, himself, had told me he'd had to talk to 'Nancy' twice to tell her to back off and that he didn't want more than a casual sexual relationship with her, despite her begging him to give something more serious a chance. These women...these people...are strangers to me. I only know of them what my ex has chosen to share (which is, understandably, very little) or what my kids have mentioned to me. Consequently, I felt it was completely unnecessary for them to have personal information about my whereabouts. Even more than unnecessary, unwise.

There is story after story after story about the dangers of strangers having your personal information out there. Despite me asking him to keep me and my personal information out of his sexual liasons, he felt that was too much to ask. That I was overreacting. Perhaps.

But whose decision is that? Who gets to decide whether you are imagining a risk or whether it's reasonable? Who gets to decide where your personal freedom ends and the risk of another person's begins? Does someone else get to dictate what your comfort level with any situation should be? Aren't personal choices just that? And how does respect factor in?

Parents decide, for their children, what is in their best interest. It's our obligation to raise them in a safe and healthy environment. We decide what risks are reasonable for our children to undertake or be exposed to. Ironically, one of the standard things most parents teach children is not to give strangers your personal information. We teach them that they don't get to make choices for other people. We teach them that personal freedoms are important, and that if someone doesn't want to play, you shouldn't force them. We explain to them that all people are different and all people should be respected for those differences, and their individuality embraced. Well, maybe redneck parents don't teach their kids those things, I don't know.

What I do know is that it makes no sense to me that we work so hard to instill these values in our children, and then put so little effort into living them as adults? It just strikes me as very foolhearty. And even moreso in a situation where you have the tools to protect yourself and refuse to use them. Maybe I'm overthinking it, though. I've been known to do that.

Click here for more!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Snapshots From A Memorial Day Weekend


Highlander doing the happy dance when the kids said "We don't WANT to go camping Memorial Day weekend. Too many bugs!"


Taking my youngest daughter into a small part of the 367 miles worth of Mammoth Caves for the first time. She who fears small dark places and high open places and frozen peas. That last one may be more of a dislike than a fear. But, she doesn't like caves. I knew that one as roomy and well-lit as these would be a good starter for her. How well it worked out for her being as short as she is, too! She was brave and inquisitive and I love seeing both of those things in her eyes!


My youngest daughter tying her own shoes for the first time. Beaming as she did it. She's been doing it for about a week now, but during a visit yesterday with my parents and some out-of-town relatives, she was asked how she learned to do it. She replied, "I just practiced it and practiced it." My mom, goading her, said, "But who showed you how?" She looked at me and smiled as she said, "My parents. Mom and Highlander." Only she said Highlander's real name. It was sweet.


The teenagers dressing up to go to the X-MEN movie. I had to go out on Saturday and get temporary white hair color for my oldest, who dressed as Rogue, and some blue gloves for the middle child, who was going as Boom Boom. They were incredibly excited about dressing up, and had a great deal of fun with it. (Afterwards, we came home and made snowcones with our new snowcone machine!)


After driving through a couple of the nicer local parks, looking for an available grill and a picnic table (on Memorial Day...hey we're optimists), settling on the park at the end of our street. No grill (a few of us rushed home and did the quick cooking there, returning with food ready to go), but all three picnic tables were available and [Kid 3] had the entire playground to herself. We picked the table in the shadiest spot (under two big trees), only noting that we'd lucked into such a great deal because this particular park is a rife with squirrel carcasses. Only after we'd just about finished eating did we notice that not five feet from our table in two different directions, were very, very deceased squirrels. Eww.


Wrestling in the living room with my oldest two daughters until we had the hiccups from laughing so hard. They were only saved by the phone ringing. I was certain to be victorious in the tickle fest.


Snuggling with the littlest one in her bed after a long, long car ride. She telling me, "I'm too tired for a story tonight, Mommy...well...maybe I can stay awake long enough for a little one." Helping her into her pj's and tucking her in. Just looking at her and realizing that she's the last baby I have. That she, like her sisters before her, will grow into womanhood far too fast for my liking. I see a little more of it everyday.


Baking a birthday Derby Pie for [Kid 1] who turns 17 tomorrow and would rather have a Derby Pie than any birthday cake you could get.


Somehow, still working out Sunday morning snuggling with Highlander this weekend. Holding each other and cuddling and talking, knowing that all my babes were snoozing soundly just down the hall, and the rest of the world was far, far away. It's the most exquisite feeling there is.

I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend, too.

Click here for more!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Tell the bellhop I've got a few more bags...

That's right , folks! Here at the Hotel Supergirlfriend, the already advertised baggage isn't ALL you get. Oh sure, the smart, funny, sweet and adorable kids hardly seem like baggage at all when compared to our low, low rates and all of the extra amenities we offer here.

Just check the lobby, though, bags everywhere (including under our hostess' eyes). Oh you've seen the ample divorce collection...even the vastness that Samsonite has to offer is nothing compared to the volume here. Lately, though, not to be outdone, a couple of fellows with whom I'd previously had a minor involvement during the brief period between my ex-husband and my current significant other, have decided that gone should DEFINITELY not be confused with forgotten.

Last Friday, I was checking my email and found an address I hadn't seen in over a year now. Curious, I opened it and the note read,

Hoping you are well. I was missing you and thought you should know how much. I really think we should be getting together. I think you'll see why.

The note was followed by a photo montage that was so far beyond suggestive that even graphic might not be strong enough. And that includes the 'grand finale' shot. Forgive the bad pun, but it was what it was.

After I deleted the email, I fired back a short note reminding this particular fellow that while I considered him a friend, I was in a committed monogamous relationship and really wasn't interested in rekindling anything with him. Only I was sweet and demure and tried to take his feelings into account. Don't scoff. When I work at it, I can do that sensitive girlie stuff. And I do work at it, because it bothers me to hurt someone's feelings when they are someone for whom I've cared.

I mentioned the note to Highlander. Mostly, this was because I don't keep secrets from him, and I don't want to start, but also because he and I have had a couple minor trust issues that we've worked through and I don't want to complicate things in our relationship further, by having him find out some other way. There is no way I am looking for anyone else, and I know that Highlander isn't either.

Which brings up another point. Why is it that when you are in a relationship, all of a sudden you become more attractive to everyone else? I had an old friend that used to say he couldn't get a woman in a $10 whore house if he had a twenty in each hand. But as soon as he hooked up, all of a sudden women he'd known for years found him more attractive. Mostly, I just sat back and watched how he handled it. And I found it somewhat amusing.

Karma is a nasty beast sometimes, you know.

Anyway, that note was on Friday. On Saturday, I got a note from another guy from that same brief period in my life. (Was there some kind of cataclysmic spatial event or something?) That sweet-talking note looked a great deal like this...

Damn, I miss you [explicit sex act deleted]! Any chance? How about at my office?

And so, on Sunday, I was put in the position of writing ANOTHER 'thanks, but no thanks' note. Not to mention, dealing with Highlander's feelings as more and more bags get shoved through the lobby door. Highlander says he was fine with it. I suspect part of him is glad that other men find me attractive (even if they wish he would just move back to Florida...and quickly). And, as I said, I know he trusts me. But, still, I know I wouldn't much like it if our roles were reversed here.

My reply on Sunday wasn't met with anything close to rational acceptance, and so I got another note which was an attempt to make me feel guilty for ending things in the first place.


Does Angelina Jolie have to deal with this shit? Maybe. Looking like she does, at least it's justified. And, what I'm saying (badly) here, is that I AIN'T no Angelina Jolie. Not even close. Okay, I'm probably smarter than Angelina Jolie, but she's about a million times hotter and has a gazillion times more money.

And yet...

These guys aren't bad looking guys. They have good jobs and certainly have plenty to offer a woman. They know I'm not interested. Why do they force me into a position of hurting them. I sooooo hate that. Worse. While I'm tap-dancing around their feelings, the man I love is forced to navigate his way around even more baggage in this relationship.


There is not a part of me that doesn't truly and deeply believe with every aspect of my being that our pasts make us who we are now. Good or bad, events and people who came before have shaped us. And I adore Highlander for who he has become on the way to being mine. As this is a wisdom I know we both share, I realize he feels similarly. It just seems to me that his past seems so much more sedate, while mine keeps crowding our quarters with more and newer bags and spontaneously popping up like some ill-timed, bad-natured jack-in-the-box that is just never welcomed.

So, I guess I need to tell the bellhop I've got a few more bags to bring in. And, Highlander, I'm glad you're up for the work-out as you continue to climb over and around them on a daily basis. A lesser man wouldn't have bothered. Of course, my love, you are no lesser man. Here's hoping we can reduce the number soon.

Perhaps a bonfire.

I'll bring the marshmallows.

Click here for more!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Flashback Friday!

Tuesday evening, [Kid 1] and [Kid 3] accompanied me to pick up Highlander from work. As we got there a little early, we were chatting amongst ourselves in the car, and I was kind of absently mulling over a couple things for today's Flashback Friday! in my mind as we chatted. It occurred to me that I could let them pick the story for this week's episode. After all, any "Flashback" they were likely to have, would be my "Flashback", too. Right? Just nod your head and try not to think about it too much.

I, however, thought it was a stroke of brilliance, and so, it prompted this exchange:

Supergirlfriend: Hey, girls, I'm trying to think of something good for Flashback Friday! on my blog. How about if you guys pick the story this week?

(Of course, they were working diligently to stifle their enthusiasm for my plan. It just seemed like a "Boy, you are so lame, Mom." kinda moment. Sometimes, it's hard to tell the difference. But then my six year old, ever the center of attention, piped up with something.)

[Kid 3]: How about when I lost my first tooth?

(Okay, remember like two seconds ago when I said any "Flashback" they would have, would be one that we would share? That was then. This is now. And this where I've come to eat those words. Isn't that sweet how kids help you do that all the time? [Kid 3] was at her dad's when she lost her first tooth. But, what do you do now? Tell her, "Gee, that story won't work."? She's six. You go with it.)

SG: Okay, but I wasn't there, so you're gonna have to tell me about it.

[Kid 3]: Well, I was cleaning my room and I had to go to the bathroom and I lost my tooth.

(It certainly SOUNDS like one of my Flashback Friday! stories, huh? But, we worked a little on filler.)

SG: Did you bump your mouth on something while you were cleaning your room, or did it come out when you were wiggling it with your tongue?

[Kid 3]: I don't know.

(::sigh:: You see what I have to work with. And this was SUCH a good idea.)

SG: Were you excited, or maybe scared, when it happened?

[Kid 3]: Excited, I guess.

(It was like...pulling teeth...heh. Sorry. But, if you knew how this kid liked to talk, you'd be right here with me.)

SG: So you put the tooth under your pillow, and then did the Tooth Fairy come?

[Kid 3]: I didn't put the tooth under my pillow.

SG: You didn't? Why not?

[Kid 3]: I didn't have it.

(I don't care how long you pause. I tried two minutes. I was looking at my watch and everything. She really didn't feel any elaboration was necessary.)

SG: Why not?

[Kid 3]: I don't know.

SG: Let's see if I understand. The tooth was loose, but at the start of this story it was in your mouth, right?

[Kid 3]: Uh huh.

SG: And you were cleaning your room at your dad's house.

[Kid 3]: Uh huh.

SG: And then you had to go to the bathroom. Am I right so far?

[Kid 3]: Uh huh.

SG: And your tooth was with you, so far, right?

[Kid 3]: I don't know. I think maybe I swallowed it.

(Whew. This is one jacked-up Flashback Friday! Somebody please remind me never to do this again.)

SG: Oh. Well, did the Tooth Fairy come anyway?

[Kid 3]: Yep.

SG: How did she know to come if there was no tooth under your pillow?

[Kid 3]: She just knows when your tooth comes out. I don't think you have to actually put the tooth under the pillow. That's what Dad said.

SG: Well that's pretty cool. That's not the way it worked when I was a kid. The Tooth Fairy sure has changed.

[Kid 3]: That was the olden days Tooth Fairy, Mom.

(You know...I've got TWO spares. I don't HAVE to keep all of these kids. Especially, when they start patronizing me like this.)

SG: Did she leave you a dubloon?

[Kid 3]: A what?

SG: Sorry, I guess that's an olden days thing. What did the Tooth Fairy leave you?

[Kid 3]: Two quarters!

SG: That's great! Do you remember what you spent it on?

[Kid 3]: No.

(The nail-biting action of this Flashback Friday! is something else, isn't it?)

SG: And now you've lost four teeth all together, right?

[Kid 3]: Yeah! And I've got one loose one right now, too.

SG: Before you know it, you'll have a whole mouth full of new teeth! Thanks for sharing that, Sweetie. That's a pretty good story for my Flashback Friday! [Kid 1], do you have anything you want to share? Maybe something unusual, or funny, or scary. Something with dragons or six-legged cats. Anything. Help your Mom out here.

[Kid 1]: Have you told the story about me breaking my weiner off?

SG: Already done.

[Kid 1]: Nevermind then. I don't have anything else.

Let me just say that no children were smothered with pillows during the making of this simply riveting Flashback Friday!, though it was a close call. And no, you cannot have a refund.


Click here for more!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Don't Tell ME the Romance is Over!

I just HAD to share a little email I just sent to Highlander. Mostly because this is the kind of goofy stuff I do all day. I'm pretty sure he'd back me up on this...heh.


Are you thinking about me?

'Cause I'm thinking about you.

I'm supposed to be working on shop drawings.

And I kinda am.

But, mostly I'm thinking about you.

Part of it is because you are WAY more exciting than either gypsum wall panels and trim accessories OR non-load bearing steel framing assemblies, but most of it is because I love you.


I'm all ABOUT the romance, plus I'm totally the queen of the sweet-talking women...;)

Click here for more!

Happy Towel Day!

Towel Day snuck up on me! I hope it's not too late for the rest of you to participate! Let me suggest if you DO join in the festivities, that you don't involve Towelie. He's way more trouble than he's worth. Even on Towel Day!

If you're unfamiliar with Towel Day, it's celebrated every May 25th as a tribute to Douglas Adams.

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has a few things to say on the subject of towels. A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have."

Click here for more!

Skool's Out For Summer!

Things around here are simply bustling. Okay, that may be an exaggeration. But there's a unmistakeable excitement in the air! And my normally sleepy-headed youngsters were practically bounding out the door this morning, smiles plastered on their faces, in a skip-trot maneuver that I rarely see at 6AM.

Today is the last day of school, here in River City. Poignant, yes. Bittersweet, yes. Somehow, they seem to age more (in my eyes) by grade progression, than they do by their actual years. It doesn't make sense. But for some reason, me saying, "I have a high school junior, a high school freshman and a kindergartner." makes more of an impact on my brain, than me saying "My kids are 16, 15 and 6."

Tomorrow, if the fates are good to me, I'll have a high school senior, a high school sophomore and a first grader. The senior and first grader are shoe-ins. The sophomore...well...she's had a tough year. Despite being in the advanced program and having all the smarts she needs to manage that, she failed two classes the first semester of her freshman year. To be passed along to tenth grade, she needs to pass every class this semester. English is right on the line. So, send a little positive energy to [Kid 2], she could use all the help she can get.

And while we're on the subject of [Kid 2], she has been making remarkable progress with managing her trichotillomania. She hasn't pulled her hair, at all, in weeks. Between the finally finalized custody changes (which, despite the still too frequent flare-ups, have dramatically reduced the stress) and the constant wearing of the hat, she is doing SO well. Thanks to everyone whose thoughts and well-wishes helped seal that deal. All kinds of new hair growing in (though it's brunette and she'd bleached the rest...heh, it's a look) and the bald spots should be filled in completely in another several weeks. Certainly by the start of school next fall.

Speaking of school, next fall, both [Kid 2] and [Kid 3] will be starting new schools. All the kids have been going to schools fairly far from our apartment. [Kid 1]'s school is walking distance to her dad's house and, as she's a senior (and already has her class ring, etc., etc.) she wants to stay at that school. Since she is in the Honors program, our system will allow her to go to which ever school in the city she wants and will provide bus transportation for her to do so. It just means, she'll continue the 5AM wake-up time to get where she needs to be.

When [Kid 2] started high school, she had wanted to go to the school in the neighborhood where we are now. Because she was in the Advanced program, she was eligible to do so, however, there were no available spots left in their program for students transferring in, and she ended up at a school in my old neighborhood. Now, because she's in the original school's actual neighborhood, she has a more "legitimate" claim to a spot and cannot be turned down. She's pretty excited about it. It's one of the premiere high schools in town and has a HUGE arts department. She plays in the orchestra, so that will be a great thing for her. This school also has the biggest foreign languages program in town and, along with that, the largest population of foreign exchange students. Along with the standard Spanish, French, German and Latin, this school offers Chinese and Russian. And all of that interests her greatly. I'm sure the transition will bring with it some stress, but I'm hoping the excitement of finally getting into the school she wants will overshadow that.

[Kid 3]'s current school is in her dad's neighborhood. In fact, it's a mile or so beyond his house. Her new school is about two or three miles from our place. Hooray!! The old school was a newer facility, but it had no playground. The new school is an older facility (and it has kind of an old-fashioned flavor to it that I love) and has not one but TWO playgrounds, and a baseball field (that doesn't appear to get much use). She's going to miss some friends, but she's definitely one to make new friends easily. When she came home from school yesterday, she said, "Mommy, I told EVERYbody about my new school." and was practically bubbling over.

I need to go to both of the new schools tomorrow to get each of them registered. That way, they can be in the system before the new year starts in the fall, which will actually be more important for my high schooler than it will for my first grader.

In any event, that's on tap for tomorrow. Along with a trip to the post office. And, given the busy plans for the long weekend, probably the grocery shopping for the week, too. Gads, could this post get any more boring. Well, if I talked about darning socks, it'd be getting close.

Plans for the long weekend include a day trip to Mammoth Caves to do a little spelunking, a cook-out in the park, a visit with some family that will be down from New York and, of course, a trip to the theater to see X-Men III, which opens tomorrow. As I'm the only one working at all on Friday (and I'm only putting in four hours), it will be a virtual four day weekend for the entire fam, and clearly it will be packed with four day weekend-y goodness. The stuff of dreams, that is.

Now, one last thing before I get out of here, please stop by Mark Gibson's blog and give him shit. I mean large heaping helpings of shit. APPARENTLY, his wife has been blogging for over a month and he JUST TODAY sprang that gem on us. Okay, okay, maybe he was concerned that she'd be telling his deep, dark secrets and wanted to keep them that way. Maybe he is ashamed of us. Maybe he wanted to let her have her own space. Maybe he's been REALLY busy and just got around to it. (Though in contrast, he announced my blog within like two days of me starting it.) Whatever the case, his wife is a lovely woman and good blogger and he's a bad, bad monkey for keeping this from us for so long.

Whilst I'm bitching, let me just say "Taylor Hicks"?!?!? WTF are you people thinking?!?!? One of our local dj's around here has named Hicks' loyal followers (of which he included himself) Taylor Trash. 'Nuff said.

Click here for more!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Lighten Up a Little, Will Ya?

Hmmm, things have gotten too heady for some of my audience and too feisty for others. So, let's wash that nasty taste of 'truth' out of everyone's mouth with a little lighthearted goof fest? Links and pics and random doo-dads and gizmos. Everything is higgledy piggledy here at The Oral Report, today.

Yep. Another sign generator. You'd think I'd be over these, wouldn't you? Can't help it. This site has sign generators that are neon lights, late breaking news broadcasts, messages written in yellow snow, and something special for the geeky boys, a beacon (think 'bat signal'). I had lots of fun playing there.

On this date in Mythstory is a fairly well-written site that shares some relevant data, and then puts a little spin on it. Fun stuff. If I may, here's a little snippet...

May 22nd, 1939: Hitler & Mussolini sign "Pact of Steel," an alliance promising immediate aid and military support to one another in the event of war, and of collaboration in military and wartime production. Neither man makes good on the further promise to hide the porn of the other in case of premature death. Why Should This Make You Feel Better? Your "Buns of Steel" workout tape is considerably less lethal, especially since you have expertly contained it in your lower right hand desk drawer, still sheathed in the bag you bought it in. In 1996. (Atop a Jenny McCarthy Playboy from 1996. Might wanna get rid of that before you die.)

And for the tinfoil hat crowd (love you to death, Highlander...;), tinWiki will be right up your alley. But, as with Wikipedia in general, please take the information gathered there as what it is. Textual donations made by the general public. Some of it by folks that haven't had their meds recently. I just figured that since some of you already had your tin foil hats on, you might as well have a little fun with them.

Free Anti-War 'Posters' that you can use to paper your brief case, the bathroom at work, or your neighbor's cat. If you think the war is a good thing, you really shouldn't be here anyway. If you are looking for a way to make a statement, have at it.

Choose from about a dozen different varieties. Or, you know, with all the creativity that lurks around here, just make your own already.

You're sitting around the living room, broke. Wishing you had a few bucks so you could go out to the movies or buy that new widget you've had your eye on. Well, have I got something for you!! No need to thank me. That's what commissions are for!

At, you can find out how much your domain name is worth. I popped mine in there and...well...::sniff::...I'M GOING TO DISNEYLAND! Just as soon as I can find someone willing to give me what this puppy is worth!!

the oral report
Combined Value Score: 75
Top Level Domain Score: 1
Unwanted Characters Score: 10
Dictionary Word Score: 50
Length Score: 4 Score: 0
Google Search Results: 120 "". (0.61 ) . ? &; &; &; &; &; ! ....../ - 105 - 21, 2006 - - -: (..) ’ . .....//004164. - 88 - - : - ... 26 2006 12:34:06 -0400 < ="://.. /2006/04/-----.">, .....//. - 21, 2006 - , , , (..) . ’ - ..../2006/02/ - 53 - - : : - , 20 2006 00:00:00 ://.. /2006/01/-----. , , ' ...../?= - - : ...... (://../2006/03/------. ), ' . . ...../ 2006/03/------. - 28 - - : . 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 , , (://--.. ), (://../) ...../ 2006/02/--1-2-3-4-5. - 22 - - - ... . : , ' ... ' ... ://.../ ...-../++/ - 57 - - , 8 . , .
Yahoo Search Results: 0
MSN Search Results: 11
Search Engine Score: 10

Estimated Base Value: $225.00
Estimated Actual Value: $8,438.00


Don't ask me what the gobbledy gook in the middle is. I'm still digging on that bottom line.

If you haven't read/seen THE DA VINCI CODE (and want to), you may want to skip this next link. It's a breakdown on how the Da Vinci Code doesn't work. If you've already read/seen or (or have no plans to), please, let me ruin it for you.

This t-shirt site has a few that would make fabu gifts for your loved ones (or even your humble Oral Reporter).

I got a kick out of quite a few of them (especially some of the political satire options), but I've only included the one to the right, for obvious reasons.

In another story of 'nice' guys finish last. This news story of a thief whose help took one more child molester off the streets was difficult to read. Hard to feel sorry for a criminal, but you will.

Okay, that last won't do much to lighten things up, but maybe the rest will. As I'm busier than a box full of kittens, it'll have to be enough to keep you occupied. Have a fun one, gang!

P.S. - Mike Norton, one of these days I'm gonna send you the email I keep promising you. Honest Injun.

Click here for more!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Nature of Truth

Recently, I've been made aware of some intracies of 'truth' that I'd, honestly, never really considered. I suppose my ideals of what truth were had been pretty well set in my personality as a child. Things, then, were pretty black and white. Things were either true or they weren't. You'd get in trouble with your parents or your teachers or your friends, if you got caught not telling the truth. And while I hadn't much considered that there were different kinds of truths, I suppose that's at least a theory worthy of exploration.

It was suggested that truth is a very subjective thing. And I don't imagine I can argue with that. Each person factors certain bits of information and formulates their own truths.

According to his staff, when Bill Clinton said that "he did not have sex with that woman", he believed he was telling the truth. Subjectively, he took the information in, filtered it through his own criteria, and out popped what he believed was the truth. But was it? Did his staff agreeing with it, make it a truth?

When Dubya insists that he honestly believed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before we sent any troops in there, does that make it the truth? Have the subsequent facts borne his statement out? Perhaps it's, his truth. And, perhaps, his alone.

If each man has his own truths, how does a society have the ability to govern them? How do police have the ability to uphold the law? How do teachers have the ability to dispute a student's reasoning (no matter if it appears to her to be naive or faulty), and ultimately teach them the 'truth'? It would seem to me that, without benefit of some societal standards of definition, every transaction would be subject to interpretation. And while, largely, that is the case, there must be a definitive way to determine truths objectively, or the chaos would be quite maddening.

Because, how can what is the truth to one man be a lie to another? If both are looking at the same, objective facts, it would seem that both would come to similar conclusions. If the facts cannot change, then it must be in the subjective filter of information that we need to find the answer, right? Emotionalism can cloud one's judgment, making truths seem to be lies and lies seem to be truths. That is why, it's often necessary to have arbitrators, and mediators, and juries who can objectively review the facts in dispute, and determine the truth.

This, because, the truth should not be in flux. It should not be transient. It should be something we can all count on and all depend in. All successful relationships are built on a foundation of trust. If one man's truth is not necessarily another man's, how can people ever fall in love, or have a business relationship, or have any human interaction whatsoever without the very real risk of a disagreement, or a lawsuit, or a war?

And yet, even if we, as a people, are constantly attempting to make all truths objective, can they be? I mean, if they could, wouldn't there be some master list somewhere that we'd all know and believe? Wouldn't there be one faith? One political system? One set of values and morals? But there aren't. So, there is, quite obviously, at least some subjective factoring involved.

It is a jury's job to take the facts, and with the guidance of a judge, separate out the intentions and motivations of each party and come to a truth. One truth. One truth that we all subscribe to. That we all agree on. One truth devoid of the human emotional filters of motivation or interpretation of intent that make a truth subjective. One truth that everyone can, and has to, live with.

Pinocchio definitely didn't get to factor in what he, in his heart, believed, or his intent. When he got caught not telling the truth, it was there on his face for everyone to see. No explanations necessary. No "it might be a truth to me, but not to you". No "truth is subjective". He probably should have renegotiated his contract there, because he may have gotten a raw deal?

I don't think so. I'm gonna go out on a big limb here. (I have to. If it was a small limb, it'd just snap and I'd bust my head open. And where would we be? In the middle of an unfinished philosophical point. And that doesn't help anyone. Or, maybe it helps everyone. Tricky, tricky business, philosophizing!) I don't think truth is subjective. I think, perhaps, each individual's personal interpretation of truth is subjective. Truth, though, is the meat of the matter and it is, and must be, true for one and true for all. Therefore, it must be objective. The kernal of truth. The real, as opposed to the emotionally manipulated, deal.

Maybe it's not always obvious. Maybe you have to work hard to find it. But, just as we all know that Bill Clinton DID have sex with that woman (even though it's none of our business), it doesn't make it any less true to say he didn't believe he did when he originally denied it.

Arguments like that, get you a new white jacket with extra long sleeves and a ride to a private room with cushy walls. It didn't for Bill, because Bill finally admitted he lied. People who actively refuse to acknowledge truths are living in a reality tunnel of mental illness or emotional immaturity.

An elderly woman, battling senility, may tell you that she never had any children, even as they are gathered around her bed. Arguing against the obvious truth, because she doesn't have the mental capacity to accept or understand it. A child, who cannot comprehend where babies come from, may insist that the stork brings them, because he doesn't have the mental capacity to accept or understand the truth. Sociopaths make their own truths. They don't believe anyone else's interpretations of the facts, no matter how flawed their own may be.

Everything in life is based on interpretation. But truth is, I believe, a finite, very definable, very objective thing. I believe it can be mired in subjective speculation. If one points at the sky and insists it is green, is it green because they (subjectively) believe this to be the truth? No. It just means that their eyesight is bad or that they have some other deficiency that won't allow them to acknowledge a universal truth.

I also believe that how one objectifies truth is certainly a very defining character trait. How one comes to terms with reality vs. fantasy. Not all truths are absolutes. Sometimes, when you don't have all the facts, a truth has the potential to change. But when the case is closed, the case is closed and you have to accept the facts you have in hand and not pretend that your proof is just around the next corner. Accepting reality is something that we, as rational, functional grown ups, don't much like to do, but that we have to do. Every day.

::hopping off the soapbox, looking around:: Oh, this is a karaoke bar? Well, somebody else should take this microphone. And quick, too.

Click here for more!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Some Recent Developments

Some pictures back from the photomat and, I'm sorry, but the mother in me just INSISTED on sharing them with the world. So, I've asked my eldest darling daughter and, with her permission, here are a few pics of her before she headed out to her prom.

That's [Kid 1] on the left in the brown and teal gown. Gorgeous dress that she and her dad picked up on clearance months ago. I found some dynamite dressy brown sandal heels with beading on them that went so well with the beading on the dress.

A full-length shot of the dress, with my kid in it, of course. The look on her face says it all. She was looking forward to a great time and apparently wasn't disappointed. This is the gregarious, never-met-a-party-I-didn't-like kid. So, she was definitely in her element.

Though you can't see her hair well in this shot, it was just a waterfall of curls in back. My sister, who is a former beautician, came over and handled hair. Lucky thing, too. She'd have been much worse off with me trying to do it.

I, on the other hand, was in charge of make-up and corsages. The kids didn't have much money and they were going to the senior prom at the artsiest (is that a word?) school in town. I have been known to throw a silk flower arrangement together, so I volunteered to do some wrist corsages. While Highlander and I were out picking up supplies for this, he spotted some really pretty butterflies. And I immediately decided that I could get away with making them the centerpoint of an arrangement with some small white flowers and some greenery to round it out. Maybe too much, but they got tons of compliments on them!

Here are the girls just before they headed out the door, boogie shoes at the ready!

It seems like a million years ago that I was dressed up in a baby blue gown heading out the door to my own prom. How can it be that the baby, whose birth I just recently recounted in a Mother's Day Flashback Friday!, is old enough to be going to prom? It really does go so fast!

They really did have a lovely time and if you didn't notice, I'm one incredibly proud mama! Savor every moment, all you parents out there. They grow up at lightning speed.

Click here for more!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Flashback Friday!

Land o' Goshen, it's Friday again! I swear, I totally forgot I was supposed to be working on a Flashback Friday! for today. And today's here and I haven't a clue what to write about! I stuck up (FINALLY) that post on global warming that I'd been meaning to put up there for days and then it occurred to me that some of my rabid regular readers would probably be coming by sometime today looking for a little Flash! And me with nothing to show!

It doesn't help that I've been swamped not only in my personal life, but also in my professional life. What that means is you'll end up with a Flashback Friday! that you will be able to read in half the time it usually takes.

Maybe something about my first job. Not terribly exciting, I know, but there are a few funny things I can share. You'll all have to cut me some slack and I'll promise a better one next week. Is it a deal?

While I had plenty of babysitting jobs when I was younger, my first "official" know, where they take out taxes and make you punch a timeclock...was working for a fast food chain here in River City. I was 17, and one of my very best friends (and her boyfriend) was already working at Big Bob's Burger Emporium (BBBE), and they were able to get me an interview. From there, I was on my way to bigger and better things in the lucrative and fast-paced food industry. Or something like that.

Working at BBBE was, I suppose, like ANY fast food type job, a job. Mindless and, far too often, disgusting. The smells of hot fat and special sauce, along with the sights and sounds of customers drooling over putrid four pound burgers (and a small diet coke), well, it'd get to anyone, I think.

So, when, within days after I started, I was offered the opportunity to work with the marketing team, I leapt at the chance. Danced, even. Which only prompted them to make the following suggestion.

"Gee, Tammy, we are going to start offering a new menu item and think you'd be ideal to help us promote it!"

Did I mention I was 17? I did, huh. Just wanted to make sure.

See, when they pulled out the chicken suit...


I said 'chicken suit'.

When they pulled out the chicken suit, I still thought it was gonna be a gas. I'm a little odd-natured. Heh. Nobody's noticed that, right? You were waiting for the admission, huh? But, I still figured goofing around in a costume had to be better than working the counter or the grill. And, actually, looking back, I think I was right on with my initial judgment.

Where that fell apart was when they had me standing out by the side of the road, in a chicken suit, handing out coupons to slow moving vehicles and pedestrians. Now, leaving aside the fact that there are downsides to dressing in a chicken suit and going the sweltering summer heat of River City and the occasional lame-feeling moments that go with it, it wasn't a terrible gig.

The occasional carload of teenaged boys shouting "We want a little leg!", or "I like breasts!", was an interesting side effect that I hadn't considered. And after more than a few summer days of virtually any combination of remarks about legs and breasts you can imagine (and believe me, as MANY as you can imagine), it just wasn't nearly as much fun as I'd originally thought it would be. So, I had a little talk with the manager.

"But we NEED you out there, Tammy! You're doing such a great job!" Uh, huh. I know what it is. They're all inside in the air conditioning, laughing at me and no one else wants to do it. I hates them. I hates them all. And I really hate it when I'm gullible.

Weeks went by and we were at the end of August, which you'd think meant it was starting to cool down. Heh. Anyone who is familiar with River City knows better. Oh, we've still got a good 2-3 weeks of scorch left at that point. But the chicken sandwich promo, she was over. My brain dared to whisper, "Hooray!". Damn my brain. Damn it all to Hell.

Because the chicken suit went away and was replaced with another suit. Another suit that made absolutely no know, because the chicken suit did. It was...are you ready?...

A panda suit.

Quit laughing.

98 degree heat and I'm out standing in the blazing sun, not a tree or even a blade of grass for a mile in any direction, wearing a big fur panda suit. No coupons. No special panda burgers. No goofy little song and dance. Not even a lame social statement. Just stand outside and wave at cars. What the fuck?!?!?

I longed for the smell of hot grease and special sauce. In my heat-stroke induced hazes I would dream of cleaning up spilled milk shakes and mopping floors. Oh, how I longed to be inside working the horrible, nasty jobs I had been so eager to escape. My how green that grass looked in there.

It was only after I finally threatened to quit, that I was allowed back on the sacred tile floors of Big Bob's Burger Emporium. But even the joy of that only lasted another few months. The shine had definitely worn off of that whole experience and I had to move on to other things. The chicken suit and panda suit both hung, as a constant reminder, in the employee break room. And I knew, just as soon as another promo came up or things got slow, I'd be the one suiting up again.


Click here for more!

Global Warming, Incorporated

Here's the post I've been trying to get up here for like 3-4 days now. After all the hype, I'm sure it will be a disappointment, but it's certainly a good way to change gears. Let's quit thinking about the misery of my divorce and concentrate on the giddiness of Global Warming.

Global Warming, you know, that thing that the GOP says doesn't exist. That they not only don't take precautions to prevent or minimize, but that they don't even take seriously. THAT thing. Kind of like atheists and the whole Virgin Mary, thing. Only, we all die at the end of Global Warming, as opposed to the birth of baby Jesus at the end of the Virgin Mary thing.

As usual, I have already started digressing. I don't have to explain, to my uber-intellectual readership, the dangers associated with the very real threat of Global Warming. Hell, Al Gore has made it his personal mission to undertake the propogation of this 'imaginary threat'. See what kind of agenda we'd have had to put up with if he'd actually been allowed to win in 2000?

What I wanted to share were a few points that were new to me. A couple links that I'd found that made me kinda go, "hmmmmm".

I've wondered, sometimes aloud to the distraction and great annoyance of anyone within earshot, why this administration would be so eager to dismiss a threat that, even if it weren't imminent, could be addressed now to avoid further problems down the road. Mine is not a political mind. Mine is not a scientific mind. Sometimes, though, mine is a cynical mind. And when I saw this link, I started putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with 1X+1=4. Well, duh, no WONDER the politicized earth-raping corporate whores don't want to fix the problem, they're working on marketing a product to deal with the aftermath. Hell, keep driving those gas-guzzlers and polluting the air, folks! It's your God-given right as Americans! Those liberal nuts are just making that shit up about what this is doing to the environment! Don't listen to 'em! The sooner it gets here, the better for profits. Hallelujah, Halliburton!

When we move from a two party system to a corporate dictatorship, I have no doubt that Halliburton will be right there to show us the way. Where is the Justice Department and why isn't there some kind of anti-trust investigation swallowing this firm whole?

Following the lead of Al Gore, I must urge all of you, my readers, to do your part by not submitting to a five day work week. That's right. Work three days this week, five the next, four the week after that, then maybe take that next week off entirely. Do your part to protect the environment.

I mean, hey, if it's gotten to the point where even the anti-intellectual Ahnuld can't deny the validity of the situation (even if it's only until he's bagged the re-election), maybe the rest of us should be trying to do what we can to make a difference. Even if that's just saving up to buy our souls back from Halliburton.

Click here for more!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Drive-By's and Pick-Ups

As if that last stuff wasn't enough to last EVERYONE for the rest of the day (and sometimes it's just not and you have even more vitriol and you have to bitch and bitch and bitch wherever you can find an know what I mean?), I just had the weirdest thing happen. Scary, in fact. And I wanted to put it up here to let you guys know that this stuff happens.

One of the condo-owners (okay, okay, he's one of the one's that I should never be hearing from again, but he's one of the NICE ones) called me and wanted to pick up a set of drawings. As parking around our building is difficult, he asked if he could do a "drive by". For the unintiated, he was asking me to meet him downstairs on the street, so he wouldn't have to park. Not if he could shoot people rolling past. Slight difference. Not a problem. Again, he's one that I like.

So, he called me when he was a couple blocks up the street and we worked out which side of our corner he'd be on. No biggie. As I'm standing out there on the corner, plans in hand, a man walked up to me and struck up a conversation. Quite a few tourists in this area (3-4 major attractions in a one block area), so it's not unusual for me to have some one asking directions or for a restaurant recommendation in the area. Consequently, it didn't strike me as particularly strange that he'd walk up...other than the two suitcases.

MAN (with heavy latin accent): Do you know where the Mexican bar is?
ME: I'm sorry, I didn't quite understand you.
MAN: Do you know where the Mexican bar is?
ME (pointing): Well, there is a Mexican restaurant about 2-3 blocks up the street and there may be a bar in there. I'm not sure. I don't go there much.
MAN: You don't know if it has a bar? I'm looking for a bar.
ME: I don't know of any other bars close by. (Let me note, not that it makes a huge difference, that it's not quite 2PM when this takes place.)
MAN (noticing someone in a car stopped in traffic): Okay.

So, this man drops his suitcases where I am standing and walks over to a very young (maybe 18-19) black girl sitting at the traffic light, with her car window down. He was talking to her, but they were about 15 feet away or so and there was traffic and I couldn't hear any of what they were saying. They continued talking through two cycles of the traffic light, holding up traffic and causing more than a few people to get angry with them. Eventually, the guy walks back over to me and, without saying a word (which was actually okay with me), picks up his suitcases and starts walking over to the passenger side of this girl's car.

Okay, I was stunned. But not as much as I was when she looked at me. Beseeching me with her eyes and pointing at the guy, to get some kind of confirmation from me that this guy was "all right". I'd never seen him before in my life and there was no way I was gonna act like I had. So, I mouthed to her that I didn't know him and shook my head no (alot) with really big eyes all full of concern. And then to cap it, I mouthed "I've never seen him before." Maybe she's not a lip reader. Maybe she's really naive. Maybe he's her uncle and I didn't know it. Maybe she's gonna be on the 11 O'clock news tonight. Or, more likely her car and some blood. Because, that guy threw his bags in her backseat and climbed into the passenger side of the front seat and away they went.

I was terrified for her. My drive-by guy came and I gave him his plans and he thanked me and I went back inside. All the while, even now, I kept thinking about that girl and hoping she's okay. I just couldn't believe she let him in her car. I will say that if something happens, I totally studied the guy and can give a pretty good description. He's climbing into the car and I'm thinking 5'9", about 175, really broad nose, black hair, brown eyes, a white tank top that said "Chicago" on it and a pair of black pants, because I'm sure there's gonna be a 'quiz' later. You know what I mean? I hope not. I really hope I'm wrong. But that was scary shit.

Click here for more!

Easier Said Than Done

Even though I have this post on Global Warming that I'd like to finish up and post SOMETIME before the earth actually starts smoking, this morning I've been prompted to rant about something else entirely. And while, somebody probably should be saying sphygmomanometer (thanks, Nate) here. I'm not. And neither are any of you.

I'm clearing the air on this...AGAIN. And I'm hoping this will be the last time I have to do this (perhaps I should email it to all the interested parties...hmmm, there's an idea) and that people who feel obligated to read my blog and take the TRUTH out on my children (and me) can finally "move on". Something I'm accused of being unable to do...well, at least the "move on" part.

Though Highlander and I have been friends, good friends, starting in November of 2003, we did not become a romantic item until after my FINAL split. My ex likes to use, as an excuse as to why I would leave such a wonderful (though verbally and emotionally abusive and drug-addicted) man who has a psychotic family whose more and more frequent episodes (Please see previous blog posts) were deeply impacting our own family, the drummed up charge that I had this grand plan to leave him and embark on a relationship with Highlander, thus proving that he's not to blame for the failure of his marriage. And that is simply not true. Most all of it, in fact.

The majority of you reading this already know the whole story. Some newbies won't. You may not care. The older gang may not either. Lord knows my ex (who feels it is his God-given right to read my blog) won't believe it anyway. And as to his current squeeze, well, believe it or not, it's the truth.

FACT: Difficulties with my marriage had been brewing for years. (The last bout starting in January/February of 2000, when I caught him in a significant lie.) Long before November of 2003.

FACT: When I "met" Highlander (and Mike Norton, Mark Gibson, Tony Collett and Nate Clark...which all happened around the same time), I advised my (then) hubby and asked if he had a problem with me being friends with these people. Hardly something someone with a grand plan for romance would do. Thereafter, I would frequently discuss with both him and kids, various things that Highlander (and/or the others) had told me or that were going on in their lives. One of my favorites (which still cracks me up) was when Highlander was sick with a cold and Mike Norton remarked, based on a comment H had on his blog about chicken boullion cubes and orange juice, that there must be some strange alchemy involved with turning boullion cubes into orange juice. I've butchered it badly, but it still cracks me up. It cracked my ex up as well when I shared it. I was friends with all of these people.

FACT: Highlander wasn't the only single guy on the internet I had befriended. I'm pretty sure that Nate and I never had any plans to get busy. Not that I didn't have the same opportunities that I had with Highlander. I don't know Nate. Maybe we DID have a relationship and I have just buried it. Hell, maybe I had something going on with the married guys, too. You know you all want me. Heh.

FACT: If I had a plan to leave, why, after having been separated in June/July of 2004, would I have, in August of 2004, agreed to a reconciliation, thereby delaying/derailing my plan? Perhaps, because I genuinely believed that he would do the things he promised me he would do to correct problems in our marriage? Yup. Did he? Nope. In November, I could avoid the truth of the situation no more. He was who he was and making our marriage work was not a priority for him.

FACT: Highlander encouraged the reconciliation. Hardly the act of someone who was trying to get with me. And, in fact, during (much later) discussions, when I asked him, if he had romantic designs on me, he (in the most classy move I've ever seen) advised me that that was a discussion we were not in a position to have. That I was a married woman and that any decisions I was likely to make should not be influenced by thoughts of something with him. He wanted to see me happy and hoped that I wouldn't have to split my family up to achieve it. He was (and has always been) a very good friend.

FACT: During numerous sessions of marriage counselling (which was not the was the THIRD time we'd attempted this), he never once brought up any issues he had with any friendships I had. In fact, he never brought up one problem he had with me. Every session was working out problems he brought to the marriage. And every session, our counselor would ask him what issues he had and he would always say the same thing. "None." And, again, why would I have even attempted marriage counselling if I hadn't want to save the marriage anyway. In fact, I was the one who suggested it. (He declined and then changed his mind.) Clearly, I was trying to move into another relationship. Uh huh.

FACT: Despite the tens of thousands of dollars that my ex spent on illegal drugs, as well as the small fortune spent on his "hobbies", he became furious with me for sending a few boxes to Highlander (my friend) with goodies inside. Knowing that I often gifted people things and that I rarely, if ever, spent money on myself, I found this quite insulting. However, even as upset as he was about this, it happened before the reconciliation. So, obviously, any issues he had with my friendship with Highlander were not particularly disturbing to him.

FACT: So much so, that he (literally) got on his knees and begged me to stay when I told him I was leaving. At that time, Highlander's name was not mentioned once. It was VERY clear that the problems were his drug addiction and the impact of all the nonsense going on with his family, as well as how I was being treated. It's only after he has to deal with those things, that he begins looking for "other" reasons. Reasons he can live with. Reasons that will allow him to sleep nights after having lost a woman who was not only good to him, but good for him, and his children.

FACT: From November of 2004 until April of 2005, I dated two different guys locally. Highlander knew about them at the time and knows who they are. My ex knew about them at the time. My girls actually met one of them. Doesn't make much sense if I was in love with someone else that I'd be starting new romances.

FACT: After I was separated and living in my own place, I continued to correspond with Highlander (as well as, mostly, Mike Norton and Nate Clark...and even Steve Tice to some degree) about my life. All of them were wonderful friends. Each of them offered me similar advice. "Do what was best for my kids." And I made my decisions, based, primarily, on what I thought was the best course...but what my friends, as well as family members who had witnessed the long-term problems firsthand, advised me as well.

FACT: Once Highlander and I began to move our friendship to another level, we talked about him coming to River City and checking things out. Neither of us wanted to try to attempt a long distance relationship and, given my situation, I wasn't in a position to move. We had hoped that he would be visiting in April of 2005. To see if he liked the city and if he had an interest in moving here. However, when things in Highlander's world (primarily regarding his employment) began to blow up (shortly before the scheduled visit), we talked about how that might impact any plans we had, at that point, established. He told me that he had nothing keeping him in Florida and that based on my descriptions alone, he was willing to make the move...sight unseen. This moved things up rather dramatically. As we'd, tenatively planned for the visit in April, and then, if things went well, that he'd move here probably in the fall. This was going to move things up at least six months.

FACT: When this happened, because I knew that my ex would "assume" (and we ALL know what that does) that there had been something going on all along, I called him and invited him to lunch. I wanted to talk to him about what was getting ready to happen. He was very obviously tickled that I'd invited him and may have believed that it was an indication of us getting back together. That could be why when I told him that I'd invited him because I wanted him to hear from me that Highlander was moving to River City and that we intended to start a relationship, he blew a gasket. I'm not sure, though. I thought, given his previous suspicions and because I loved him and because he was the father of my children, that I owed him the respect to tell him to his face. I also felt that I had no reason to sneak around and keep it from him.

Now confronted with all of those facts, what does my ex do? Well, he discounts all of them. Entirely. And he tells his family, his various girlfriends and fuck buddies and, oh yeah, even our children, of his belief that I have been planning this grand romance with Highlander from long before my split. I have no idea how his various GF/FB's took the news. But, my guess is that they believe him. Most of them have no history with his inability to take responsibility for his own mistakes, or his willingness to lie to get what he wants. His family, even knowing some history there, probably believes him. They are, after all, his family. The fact that none of them make any effort to speak to me would testify to that. My kids? They laughed in his face. They know better. And, as far as I'm concerned, I don't CARE about the rest.

Why this post today? Well, because...and buckle up, gang, the road's gonna get pretty curvy...Highlander called my ex a 'tool' on his blog recently. The fact that he's behaving in a reprehensible manner to me and his kids, well, that may or may not make him a tool, I'm not the authority. I will admit that it IS (and I do admit that) in direct violation of a gentleman's agreement that he and Highlander had.

There appears to be, however, some disagreement on exactly what that gentleman's agreement was. It was my understanding that he'd work on trying to get along (ie: allowing Highlander on his property, in his house, come into our house, actually speak to him) if Highlander would stop using derogatory terms about him on his private weblog. We all felt this was somewhat ridiculous, as someone's private weblog shouldn't have to be censored. After all, it's easy enough to avoid reading something you don't want to read. You simply don't go there. But as more and more of his girlfriends kept finding the site (most of them directed by him) and seeing bad things written about him, I can only assume it became harder and harder for him to avoid dealing with the consequences of having to explain why Highlander was writing those things about him.

In any event, he told me this morning, that he believed that the agreement was for him to "keep quiet" about how he felt our (mine and Highlander's) relationship started. Wow. Well, miscommunication is definitely a buzzword when it comes to my ex, but, why in the world, after he's already told anyone I would have any care in the world of knowing about it, would that be of any concern to me? I can't believe he thought I had "bought" his silence on spreading vicious lies. And why would he not remember that he would not walk into my home because Highlander "might" be there and that things had changed now?

His girlfriend wrote on HER PRIVATE WEBLOG that I was being nasty to my ex (and that Highlander was, too) several weeks ago. This in response to me expressing outrage (I am so tempted to post the entire email exchange so you can see how in my rights I am, but you people don't need that) to my ex for what he was putting my kids through with all this custody crap. Ironically, crap that she herself is upset with her ex for putting her own kids through and doesn't see the parallels. Sad.

But, apparently, because he feels that Highlander has broken the "gentleman's agreement", he was letting me know that all bets are off and he intends (make that threatened) to start publicizing this story again. (Not that I believe he's ever stopped. But that wasn't the agreement anyway. It was, actually, an effort to get along in the best interest of the kids.)

I don't know. I hate looking at a MINIMUM of 12 more years of this crap. The bottom line is this, though. I can't stop him from making up stuff about me. I can't force him to look at the facts and realize that he's made a wrong assumption and that maybe, just maybe, I left him because our marriage counselor, my family, HIS family, my friends and even our children saw what a bad deal I was getting. And you know what, I don't care anymore. It's not about him and me. I have moved on. I did it a long time ago. It's about raising my kids and trying to keep their father from further damaging them and maybe, just MAYBE, helping them build some kind of relationship with a man they now have as little respect for as I do...which is just one more thing I tried to help him, unsuccessfully, avoid. But for him to continue to propogate these MYTHS is only gonna tear at what little chance he has there, too.

And maybe, just MAYBE, he'll see how foolish he is to spread more lies to make himself look better and MOVE ON WITH HIS OWN LIFE. Own what you've done and act like it. But from what I've seen...ever, that's unlikely.

Whew...I feel much better. Thanks for letting me rant. And I PROMISE, you won't hear this story again. I'm done explaining it. If he feels he HAS to read my blog (or Highlanders) he should respect that it's a place we come to speak our minds and vent our feelings. I give him that much respect. He definitely doesn't reciprocate. Even after my recent drama with a former commenter who shall remain nameless, she said she wouldn't be back to my blog (I didn't ban her) because she "recognizes that everyone deserves to have a private place to vent" and that you shouldn't have to censor what you say there. My ex, vehemently disagrees. If it's on the internet, it's public domain. Plain and simple.

Lastly, I don't like feeling as if I need to apologize for falling in love with someone who has never done anything but be good to me. And I won't. Highlander has been loving and supportive to me and my daughters in a way that my husband never was (and that may be why he takes issue with this). That speaks volumes for why I'd want to be with him. And even though I didn't know it would end up this way when I left my ex, I am not responsible for the misperceptions that he continues to have about the situation.

Click here for more!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I've been thinking about redemption alot lately.

Not so much because I feel I'm in immediate need, just that while I honestly believe that everyone is entitled to start anew, to leave behind past mistakes and to work towards being a better person, I've been wondering about what that means pragmatically.

Are there rules about redemption? Are there transgressions so heinous that people, having committed them, should never seek redemption? Do certain guidelines, or rules, apply? How does this work? And I'm asking in a completely secular sense here.

At least, that's what I've been pondering. The logistics.

I suppose it's predominantly because I look back at the type of father my ex has been to my children. Hard not to when we're dealing with all the drama we've been dealt as of late. While they were growing up, he always worked to provide for them. I did, as well. Together, we kept a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. But, does that make you a good parent? Better than some, I'd imagine.

Sitting up with sick kids, taking them to doctors, getting up early to get them ready for school, going to parent/teacher conferences, picking them up from daycare, planning parties and getting presents, buying clothes and making sure homework was done and lunches were jobs. Playing with the kids...his job.

My kids feel he didn't hold up his end. That (because of this and so much more) he failed them (and me) and that there are years and years he lost with them (mostly because of the drug use) that none of them can ever get back.

While I'm not entirely convinced of the data (he has a tendency to avoid the truth), I believe he's probably been able to kick his drug habit. Without any professional help in fact, which was something I had (given the history of the situation) thought would be impossible. And now, he's ready to be the dad I always knew he could be. A great shame that it took me leaving to figure that out. But, I suppose that's not in any way a singular example of how people learn those things.

What remains, however, is him finding his way with his children. Building relationships with children who have seen those failings and have the want for him to do better, but not necessarily the responsibility to mold him. His redemption. But what is the right way there? And is there only one right way?

A very, very wise man told me, some time ago, that your happiness ends where another persons unhappiness begins. Basically, that you cannot buy your own joy at the expense of someone else's. Making someone else miserable (or even inconvenienced) in order to gain self-satisfaction is something that should be avoided. And that strikes me not only as reasonable, but as very sound advice. Accordingly, I have to believe that redemption must certainly incorporate that notion.

And while I don't subscribe to all of the teachings of the traditional 12-Step Programs, there is some wisdom in the philosophy that you must make a list of all persons you have harmed and become willing to make amends to them all wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. Certainly, I'd expect a father to make amends to a child he has wronged. Drawing the line at injury is an appropriately wise codicil.

Learning from our mistakes and moving forward is something that parents teach children starting at a fairly early age. And it's good advice. But when the mistakes are far reaching and the wounds from them are deep, how do you know the best course to heal them?

I've been told that abandoning the option of trying to go back in time and fix errors, is far more likely to succeed than attempting to turn back the clock. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to "wake up" after having been forced to look back over your life at the detritus you've created and try to figure out how to put all the pieces back. It must, indeed, be far less daunting to move to a new piece of ground.

But the awakening is yours alone. The rest of the world didn't experience a "Sleeping Beauty" effect, drifting off to sleep when you did. People all around you have gone on with their lives. Especially the children, growing and changing, while you slept through it all. And, with children, the time is so much more precious, because forging relationships with them as adults, when there is damage in their childhoods, is going to require a great deal of patience and skill. Even then, I don't know that the odds are good.

I'm often accused of standing in the way of my ex's redemption. While that's entirely a subjective thing, I don't believe it's true. What I have tried to do (actively, in fact), is encourage him to make new traditions and to take their feelings into consideration as he moves forward on this already rutted path. To move slowly as they learn to forgive. And I've encouraged them to give him a chance, another chance, and to remember that he loves them and that he is trying.

Whether any of this is the "right" way to redemption, I don't know for sure. As I said previously, it's not unlikely that there is more than one right way, anyway.

Making new mistakes is an almost unavoidable situation, as one tries to find their way in a new place. It's how one handles correcting the new mistakes, making evident that changes have been incorporated, that will make the difference in perception and acceptance. I don't see how very much progress can be expected to be made otherwise.

I'm no psychologist, and I'm certainly not in a position to tell anyone else how to live their lives (and wouldn't propose to try), but, I am a student of humankind. And I try to think about how my actions affect others. That doesn't mean that I don't falter, or that I haven't hurt others. And I'll admit to being fiercely protective and loyal to my children...which I don't believe (again, that's subjective) is a fault.

Perhaps, there is no way to buy redemption without purchasing it with the souls of others. Perhaps, I am foolish to believe you can. Perhaps, it's all a myth anyway. Perhaps, the pain never goes away and you can never get back any of what you lost. But if redemption is real. If it is attainable. I wish someone would publish some guidelines. Because it seems to me that a great many people are getting trampled while those seeking redemption are trying to find the best way.

And some of those people are people I love more than life itself.

Click here for more!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Standing at the Gates of Hell

Yea, though I have walked through the Valley of Death (repeatedly and at constant great personal risk), I fear no evil (as I've looked it straight in the eye on far too many occasions). I have come out on the other side (virtually) unscathed. My dear, dear readers, I come to you today, not as a God(dess), but as a mortal woman who has survived a fifteen month stint at 'Hell'.

These links are to previous pages where I have discussed various aspects of my FORMER ordeal. But those days, my dear, dear friends, are now over. And even as the now faint memories, of far too many days in 'Hell', have begun dissolving around the edges, soon they will be gone altogether.

It was just this past Wednesday evening, when I received my reprieve. My key to the gate. My pass to freedom. I'd scheduled a meeting with the residents, as we had reached the deadline to turn over to building to them. And I was as delighted as I could be about it, too. You betcha!! Eager, I was, to hand over all of the woes of a construction job gone terribly, terribly bad.

It took three of us to carry all of the items, but I'd have recruited as many as need be, were three not enough. And once there, I began working my way down the list I'd prepared, gifting item after item to the residents, until there were no more sacrificial offers left to give.

Though, I had toyed with the idea of having a little keg party at my place know, anyone who had ever had anything to do with 'Hell', except for the residents (and any employees of Larry, Moe and Curly Construction), in the end, it just felt...I don't know...blasphemous. Having finally been given the means and opportunity to escape from the pits of despair, I had no desire to risk said escape on anything as preventable as irreverence.

There was no sacramental wine or communion wafers at the meeting. No crosses (in either position). No religious artifacts at all, actually. No mystical words uttered. And yet, it was as if the burdening yoke I'd been issued in 'Hell' was miraculously lifted from my long-suffering shoulders. The serenity that I now know, the calm that I feel, are all that remains from my time there.

I don't expect that the spawn of 'Hell' will ignore me completely. As it were, I received a call today. The horrific screeching on the other end made clear that fact. The difference is, not every problem will be mine to handle now. Not every crisis mine to resolve. Not every sin mine to bear.

Hallelujah! Say it with me, brothers and sisters!

Click here for more!