Monday, September 10, 2012

Not Never, But Today

Yes, I did. I did tell my sister that I was never going to blog again. I meant it, too. I have had very little energy for doing things beyond the bare minimum. And honestly, if you come look at my kitchen, you will see that I have redefined "the bare minimum" to a shocking new low. That's fine, really; I can live with a certain level of slovenliness. Honestly, I think that the mess isn't as bad as it has been, it's just getting on my nerves. I guess that's a good thing.

Here is where I tell you that this post has some language issues. If you are offended by the f-bomb, you might want to quit now. I think I use it twice. Maybe 3 times. You have been warned.

So what brings me back? I'm so glad you asked. Today is World Suicide Awareness Day. It has been a long time since I have been suicidal, but I still battle depression. I use the war metaphor advisedly. I battle that mother-fucker. Sometimes depression battles me, gives me a sucker punch to the gut and while I am gasping for air and squeezing out a few tears, it boxes my ears and pulls on my hair, twists my arm around my back and plunges me face first into the floor. I lie there for a while. The floor is a nice place to be when you are depressed.

Except I pulled up all of the carpets (as in a very dear friend pulled them up, and I watched) so at SOME point, I get a crick in my neck. At some point, the world comes in, and I might as well get up and do something. Getting up from that floor is quite often the hardest thing I do.

Most of this is figurative. I very rarely actually do a face plant on the floor. Usually when I am depressed, I am able to go to work. I am able to parent (sort of). I'm not very good company, and I think that has cost me some good friendships along the way, because it's hard to be a very good friend when you are figuratively face down on the floor. (True story: when I was in college, people used to say that I had a black cloud of despair over my head. These were my friends. I don't know if they knew I knew they said that, because it was only repeated to me, not said to my face. But they were right.)

What helps me is to figure out one thing. What ONE thing can I do today that will make me feel less of a waste of oxygen? What ONE thing can I do that I can point to and say, "See that there? I did that." The point of my one thing is that it has to be completely within my reach. None of this exceeding my grasp or what's a heaven for crapola. Nope. My one thing can be putting in a load of laundry. Unloading the dishwasher. SOMETHING that will take my downward death spiral of negativity and put the brakes on.

Every day, I try to find my one thing. Every day, I try to find something else to be grateful for. Because the thing is, that mother fucker depression? She's a lying whore. She will tell you that you can't. But trust me, you can. You just have to do whatever it is one manageable thing at a time. And if you should think to yourself that the one manageable thing is harming yourself, please don't.

In the United States, the suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255. When I just googled it, I got 3 more local ones. There are bloggers out there who want to help you. The Bloggess speaks out about depression, and recently someone posted a comment to her blog they were suicidal. Within minutes there were messages of love and support. You matter. I promise you do.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Patience

The word in the title is this week's writing prompt for a kickass group of women singer songwriters. You can find them on Facebook or on their youtube channel. Fourteen women. One song a week. 52 weeks. You really should go meet them now. The group of women are varied in age, style, and geographical location...but linked by love of song and the community spirit. I am so very much looking forward to seeing and hearing what they do in the upcoming year.

I had thought I might try to jump start my blogging (AGAIN) by using the weekly prompts. I didn't really think that the first one would be quite so timely.

I resigned from my job today. It hadn't been very much fun for a while, and things became unbearable over the past 10 days. The reasons aren't much fun to rehash, so I will refrain from doing so. However, it leaves me at loose ends (AGAIN) as far as what I want to be when I grow up.

There are a number of jobs that I think are more than jobs. Jobs that help define (to greater or lesser extent) who a person is. I don't just work as a nurse. I am a nurse. I was out with a co-worker some months back, and we were introduced to someone. In the usual way of small talk, we were asked, "What do you do?" I answered, "I'm a nurse." I indicated towards my friend and said, "She is a creative, free spirit, but she pays the bills by working in the administrative side of our practice." I didn't even know which words were going to come out of my mouth, but I knew that introducing her as "whatever-her-actual-job-title-was" would have been incorrect.

So, what does a nurse who isn't working do? I suppose looking for a job is priority number one. I will begin that process again over the weekend. It has now been two years since I returned to Atlanta from Houston. There has been little of that two years when I felt that the job I was doing was what I was meant to do. I'm really struggling with that. I know that I will land on my feet. I know I can get another j.o.b. I'm more frustrated about the fact that I'm not doing what I am supposed to be doing. I keep finding things that aren't quite right...for one reason or another.

I'm really, really patient when it comes to waiting in lines and sitting in traffic...this patience as I find the right spot for me to be the wonderful nurse that I know that I am is quite a bit more difficult to manage...but I will get there. In the meantime, if anyone has any patience to spare, I'm accepting.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Going green and getting clean!

Why, no, I did NOT fall off the face of the earth.

Life has been quite crazy lately, and my Cistern replied, "Never," when asked when she was going to post again, so there's that.

It is nice to have a paycheck, but this work thing isn't all it's cracked up to be. I love my staff. I love being around patients. However, the day to day administrivia is a bit overwhelming. I am working hard, doing what I can do to make the lives of the patients and the people who are taking care of them as good as I possibly can.

However, you don't want my reasons for being gone, you want me to say something! (At least I hope you do.)

I have been trying more and more to be kind to the environment. The old Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and the like. I have been interested in the "greener" products that are available, but the price is often much higher to the good old stuff with the chemicals of names unpronounceable.

My cousin Caitlin and her boyfriend Mike are living in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. The link is to her blog that describes how they are living. I have no intention of going to that extreme, but it got me thinking.

A few months ago, I made a batch of homemade laundry detergent. I have cobbled together a recipe from several different sites. I have done easily 100+ loads of laundry with this concoction--and never once missed the store brands. It costs approximately 3 cents per load compared to more than 30 cents a load for the average large-sized container of the popular brands.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Start with a 5 gallon bucket (available at the hardware store)

Ingredients:
1 bar of soap, shaved into small pieces or grated
1/2 cup washing soda--it is available near the laundry detergents at Publix, but you may have to look a bit for it
1 cup borax--also in the laundry aisle, usually easier to find than the washing powder.
water
essential oils (optional)--be sure to use body friendly oils; the ones for aromatherapy may not be good for your skin

Directions:
1. Heat 4 cups of water to just shy of boiling.

2. Add the grated soap. Stir until it is melted. Fels Naptha is very popular and might be best if you have tough stains. I live alone, do not hike or garden, do not do anything that results in grass stains, etc. I use unscented glycerine soap. I am thinking of trying a Dr. Bronner's soap in my next batch.

3. Move the soapy solution to your bucket. Add 3 gallons of hot water.

4. Mix in 1 cup of washing soda.



5. Mix in 1/2 cup borax.

6. Add several drops of the essential oil of your choice. (optional)

7. Add 3 gallons of hot water.

8. Stir periodically as the mixture cools. Let cool overnight. You will end up with a gelatinous gooey stuff. Use 1 cup per load of laundry.

I found this wonderful picture to help remember the ratios of cups to pints to quarts to gallons at thekitchn.com. Maybe I won't have to look it up every single time I make it any more.



Fabric Softener

Mix together in a squirt bottle:
2 cups white vinegar
3 teaspoons essential oil

~Some people add a small amount before the rinse cycle of the washing machine.
~Others have rags or washcloths they use only as "dryer sheets." They spray 10-15 spritzes onto said cloths and toss them in.
~My choice is to spritz directly onto the wet clothes. Very few loads don't have at least one pair of socks, one t-shirt, or old pajamas that wouldn't be worse for wear if there were some lingering effect from the spray. (Several loads in, I can't tell which items I have sprayed.)

I have also started using baking soda and vinegar instead of shampoo and conditioner, I have made homemade cleaners for the bathroom and the kitchen. I have made air freshener out of vodka and essential oil. I am thrilled to be able to choose my own scents. I am the queen diva fan of citrus, and it has been harder and harder to find lately.


Next on my list to try are the following: bath bombs, body scrubs, face masks, bath salts (not the kind on the news) and lip balms.

Have you found any great ideas or recipes for things like this? Any interest in trying these, or am I just a hippy freak?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fabulous show Saturday

I really should be doing laundry and getting ready to go to the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in two days. However, Saturday’s show at Eddie’s Attic deserves a few words.

Peyton Tochterman opened the evening with a fabulous set. I have enjoyed his music in the past, but I think this set was my favorite yet. Last year at Woodyfest, his was the only CD I purchased (I had said I wasn’t going to buy any, but such is the life of a music junkie). His stories were both funny and moving. He recently spent a couple of weeks in Afghanistan playing for the troops. He told us about one show where several women entered the show wearing burkas but removed them after entering (permitted due to the fact that it was a Western show). After one song Peyton noticed that the women were all crying. He later asked somebody why they were crying (he figured it wasn’t his brilliant lyrics as women didn’t understand English). The answer was that they had NEVER seen live music before. The set included a very much fun 3 day old song about loving a woman who loves horses . Peyton was incredibly patient with my nephew James who was chatting him up before the show. Peyton offered James a CD, but James said, “I think I should wait until after you play, so I can decide if I really am interested.” He is a practical child. He did get a CD after the show.

Rebecca Loebe was fabulous and wonderful as always. In great spirits and excellent voice.I got to hear a few songs I had never heard before including 10,000 Days, Awakening by Kate Chopin, and Call Me Baby. Highlights included seeing my nephew playing air drums to “Redneck Karaoke Bar,” among other songs. James loved it when Will Robertson used the upright bass for percussion. James also did a perfect imitation of the RCA dog when Will started playing the melodica. My (nearly) 12 year old niece, Anne, read her book at the table until it was hurting my eyes. She then went out to the merch table and annoyed Tommy K until she finished her book. I was very entertained to hear Anne sing along with Becca’s version of “Stronger” (original by Kanye).

As I have mentioned before, my Poppa plays the trumpet quite well. He and Becca were in New Orleans at the same time, and he accompanied her on a song. She graciously asked him to do the same for this show. It was great fun, and I know I am biased, but the rest of the audience seemed to enjoy it just as much.
His comment was this, “Unless someone steps forth to dispute my claim, I am claiming to be the only musician who has shared the stage with Maria Callas and Rebecca Loebe. Maria was in 1958 in Birmingham, and Rebecca was last night at Eddie’s. Similarities: Both superior artists and delightful entertainers. Contrasts: Maria more vibrato and operatic pitch compared to Rebecca’s PURE intonation. Maria’s boyfriend was probably richer (bet she didn’t drive). I doubt Rebecca has dated any guy named Aristotle. But, who knows? Plus, Maria didn’t write her own material and sefl-accompany. Just sayin’.”

This could certainly use some proofreading, but I’m going to leave it as is. Cause if I don’t get packing soon, I will be in hysterics tomorrow. Bottom line is this: if you have the chance to see Rebecca or Peyton—be sure to take advantage.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one. Oscar Wilde

Management is nothing more than motivating other people.
Lee Iacocca

Work is a necessary evil to be avoided.
Mark Twain

Work isn't to make money; you work to justify life.
Marc Chagall

By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.
Robert Frost

Without work, all life goes rotten. But when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.
Albert Camus

So, tomorrow is the day. Four months of unemployment ends at 7:30 tomorrow morning. I am returning to the hospital where "I grew up." I worked in medical records while I was in high school...as a nursing student I worked to get experience with patients (I was severely underpaid at this particular endeavor). I worked there when I was 22 years old and had no idea what insanity I would encounter over my 25 years as a nurse. They laid me off last June, and tomorrow I return...within a week to the day. I will be working under the same supervisor who was my boss when I was young, terrified, and skinny. This go around I am older, less terrified, and less skinny.

I will be supervising more people than I ever have before. I know I am good with people. I learned from one of the best managers ever. If I can be as fair, honest and deal with problems in as straightforward a manner as he does, it will all be just fine.

See also: Oakley is not going to be happy about this "Margaret leaves the house every day for hours" situation. As soon as the paychecks start arriving, I will be looking for a dog companion. Of course, she will just cower in the crate the first 37 times said dog companion arrives.

What are the things you liked the most about previous managers? how about the worst qualities?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Is it bad luck to sing in a graveyard?

Apparently the people at Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta this weekend were not concerned about singing or dancing among the burial plots...Cistern and I included.

The cemetery is an amazingly beautiful place. Established in 1850, it has plenty of shade and loads of character. This was the second year that they have had this music festival, but my first time ever even going to the cemetery. There are many beautiful memorials and statues, some notable residents--including Margaret Mitchell, and many Confederate soldiers buried there.

This is the most photographed memorial at the cemetery...built by a husband and father for his wife and daughter.


They used that image and added a fiddle and a guitar for the flyer.


We went to see Rebecca Loebe (one of my favorites) who is from Atlanta but I didn't "find" her until she was on Season One of "The Voice." If you watched the show, Adam and Christina both turned around for her, and she chose Team Adam. She was rudely eliminated during the battle Rounds, but I have been stalking to see her several times since, and I think she is awesome. She mentioned her TV time on Saturday, and was super kind in giving me a shout out from the stage, "...the most important judge who turned around was Margaret. She's been at every show in Atlanta since, and I need that a lot more than I need Christina Aguilera." Why, yes, I was beaming like crazy. She is sweet, has a wonderful voice full of power, range, and control, and writes some amazing lyrics. Go see her if you ever get the chance...and tell her I ordered suggested that you go. If you hate her, I'll give you your money back. For real...I have a job now.


The vendor selection was not as wide as I would have liked, but the guys from Pallookaville had a great sense of humor.


Their boiled peanuts lived up to the hype.


And the condiment selection included grape jelly and Hershey's chocolate sauce among many more traditional hot sauces. I'm boring when it comes to my corn dogs, and chose "Perfect--Gulden's mustard," and "Wrong--ketchup." the others were "Delicious--yellow mustard" and "Zesty--pickle relish."


My only complaint was that my shoes (with whom I had established a relationship) chose to give me three blisters--one between the toes. If you had any idea how often I wear flip flop style shoes, you would recognize this as the tragedy potential inconvenience this establishes for me. We did see an accident involving the leg one of the vendors getting caught between a golf cart and the vendor's cart. Cistern completed her obligations as she saw fit: 1. Pointing to me and saying "NURSE!" 2. Not puking. I need to send an email to check on her. She tried to tough it our, but did eventually go to the ER. I'm not sure it was broken, but I absolutely would not have sworn it was NOT broken. I guess that makes my blisters seem not even worth mentioning.

So, when was the last time you saw live music? Where is the most interesting place you have seen music? If you don't like live music, can you explain to me why? (I really do mean that last question...not being snarky, I just don't get it.)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A week's worth of trouble...

So, between the two of us we are managing a single post per week. Go us! We will try to do better.

I know nothing better to say than to give you a snapshot of my last 10 days. I have seen much music, many friends, and had great fun.

My first musical adventure was to seeCarsie Blanton at the Red Clay Theater just north of Atlanta. A friend from the neighborhood joined me. I had never seen Carsie before, but really love her. She lets you listen to whole CDs at her website...I'd suggest Buoy as a good place to start. I simply adore the title cut. She has a great blog post about her theory of songs. It compares song traits to desirable traits in lovers: brain, heart, and body. She posits that (like lovers) most songs have there three qualities in varying degrees.

She has a throwback "pin-up" kind of look that I love.

My fried Terry came into town, and the next two nights we saw Dan Navarro. He was the musical partner of my friend Eric who passed away about 2 months ago, and I love him and his mop of dark curls to pieces.

We were at Eddie's Attic which has been my go to venue for many years. My favorite place for my feet to sit is on the edge of that stage.

Seeing Dan for the first time without Eric left me less weepy than I might have thought. It was wonderful to see Dan and hear things in his voice that I didn't hear when he was half of a duo. We stayed late at the venue, then moved on to the next bar with Dan, another friend Tommy, and met three other guys: Kodak, Barry, and John. For those of you doing the math--that makes me the lone female at a whiskey bar (who had a BOOK listing all the available choices that was more than three deviations above my pay grade). This part of the evening started with the following joke: "What's the difference between a slut and a whore?" Answer: "A slut will sleep with anyone, and a whore will sleep with anyone but YOU." I'm a tough chick to rattle, but when Barry put his size 15 shoe on the table when I began to dissent with the "Foot to Male member correlation theory," and then unbuckled his pants, I caved.

The next night we drove to Athens to see Dan in a house concert in Athens. Somehow the theory mentioned above came back into the conversation. I swear, someone could start to think that I am the common denominator...

I saw the Jacob Jeffries Band Saturday night with a crowd much younger than I and even danced like I was in my 20's again despite being exhausted. Jacob is a terribly wonderful, sweet person and a hella piano player and songwriter.

Fast forward through Mother's Day (which is cool for everyone else but I'm not really into it).

Bryan and I went to see Jenny Lawson sign her new, fabulous book. Bryan got her photograph taken with Cee Lo our large metal flamingo.

I'm trying to be generous instead of jealous...and mostly succeeding.

Yesterday's adventure just might merit it's own post. Lots of fun(ny) photos. I'll get to work on it.

So, what has everyone else been up to?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother

Yes, we called her that. That's what she called her mother, so it seemed to be what one did after one graduated from "Mommy."

There are not enough words in cyberspace to capture our mother in print. You will never get a good picture of who she was. If I describe to you the laugh, the vibrance and the sheer wonder of her personality, and somehow capture that aspect of her (which I doubt I could do), you would never be able to round out that picture with an accurate aspect of The Crazy. Since it's Mother's Day, or will be by the time I hit post, I will skip (for the most part) The Crazy, and focus on the Fun. Because the woman was fun.



She enjoyed being the focus of attention, but she loved having the swirl of activity around her in a group. One night at a family reunion when she was so exhausted she couldn't stay awake another moment, she said goodnight to everyone and then admonished us "Y'all have to go to bed now! No sneaking around having fun without me!"

She was a terrific hostess. So much that the day before we had to be out of her house of 20 years, we had a party to celebrate it with her friends. Only one of the friends we called didn't think it was a fabulous idea; everyone else came with very little notice.

Her sense of style & bearing was such that when she realized at the end of a business trip that she could make it to a party at the High Museum and went straight there (wearing her long denim skirt and pink Reboks, I'm sure), no one blinked an eye at her attire. She realized later it was black tie.

In her mid-40s, she took up crewing on C-15s. In this video the crew is the person with their rear end just a foot or so off of the water. I'm about that age now, and I am not about to pick up that hobby. (This is just a random video off of the internet, she is not in that video. It's just an example of what the crew is so you can see how crazy it is.)

She was getting it together, I think. She was not equipped in some ways to handle what life brought her, and it took her longer to learn some of the lessons she needed to learn. And yes, she had a flair for the dramatic. It was not out of character at all for her to die on Mother's Day, although as I tell her frequently, it's not like we wouldn't remember her if she'd picked a different day.

I could tell more stories. All damn day, I could tell stories. I've tried to tell the stories, both of The Wonder and of The Crazy, to my kids so they have a fair picture of life. Some of The Crazy can wait, of course. Some of The Crazy they are getting a taste of, because I learned how to be a Mommy from her. I hope they are tasting The Wonder as well.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sundries

You would think that two relatively bright and literate sisters could maintain a blog with a bit more consistency than this. Evidently not. I guess part of it is that Bryan has been super busy and not really able to blog. The other part is that I have been not terribly busy except for with things that are not bloggable.

Nobody wants to read stuff written by a redhead who whines because she doesn't have a job. Who whines because employers are really stupid for not hiring her. Who whines because they are stupid for not hiring her and not even having the good etiquette to send a "drop dead, dumbass" email after she got dressed, drove for two interviews, and managed not to utter a single curse word during EITHER of those two interviews. This doesn't even include the people who are stupid and do things that make her thrilled beyond belief that she does not work for them...yet still won't offer her a job.

Please don't ask me why I wrote that last bit in the third person. Well, since I make it a point to not to bitch and moan about my employers while they are paying me, at least I can get a bit out of the way while I am waiting.

The other things that have been going on involve someone else's business and a bit of my own that I'm hanging onto for the moment.

So...some random nonsense:

I know that the more common method is for people to write their own lists of 20, 50 or 101 things, but I think I'm going to make a list of things about my sister and anxiously wonder what shit she might spew about me then let her do the same.

1. She is a Pisces
2. Her favorite color is blue.
3. She is one of the smartest people I know.
4. She cannot for the life of her close a kitchen cabinet. When we lived together I could always tell what she had prepared and eaten when I was gone.
5. She is the middle sibling...I'm older and we have a baby brother who is going to be 42 next month.
6. She eats pizza with mushrooms...anything else is a bonus but unnecessary.
7. She threw up when she caught me smoking and insisted on sharing.
8. She acted in college and was damned good.
9. She has a cat named Cassi Opeia.
10. When she was pregnant with my niece she ate more melon than she has eaten the rest of her life combined.
11. We didn't like each other for a bunch of years. Somehow we managed to get over that and become very close friends as adults. Kinda like soldiers who made it out of the same war.
12. My father refuses to let us be on the same team when we play Pictionary.
13. We have a bunch of weird phrases that came from movies, jokes and other long forgotten places that are woven into our language.
14. She doesn't have cable.
15. When I loan her books and tell her not to read them in the tub, she understands that it means I would like them back sans water damage and doesn't take it personally.
16. She will come over late at night when I am having an anxiety attack about packing for a trip.
17. She knows I would do the same for her.
18. We share the belief that a po boy sandwich from Henri's Bakery makes the universe look much less shittier even on a really shitty day.
19. She is an excellent educator and I wish someone would pay her to teach.
20. When we were in our 20's we used to go to a bar called "The Spot." It was kinda like our Cheers and people called us "The Slam Sisters."
21. Chances are that she will remember how we got that nickname. That kinda shit is her job, not mine.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

In the doghouse

Last weekend, my sister went out of town for some family business. I realize that sounds like we are the Mafia or something, but there was a kerfuffle and someone needed to attend to it. Two someones, as a matter of fact, my dad and Margaret. While she was gone, I spent much of Saturday night and the day Sunday begging and pleading for her dog to come out of the crate, do her business (preferably outside), eat and drink something, and go back in the crate. I was largely unsuccessful. I think the dog had 3 laps at the bowl, one mouthful of kibble, and didn't pee at all. She is, after all, very much a one-woman dog. I was very diligent at this task and made sure that I went over there before the times established by my sister.

She (my sister, not the dog) went out of town this weekend as well, this time for pleasure. And I was again tasked with the challenge of "Lure the dog out of the crate, then outside, then to the food bowls, then back into the crate." (You would think that the dog would recognize the advantages to being able to eat and poop and pee, but not so much.) She left yesterday afternoon.

Tonight at about 12:30, I sat up from my relaxing bed and hollered a bad word.

I forgot completely to go over there last night as well as today.

I write this blog post along the lines of those letters "To be opened in the event of my death." To wit: Margaret did it. Look in the kudzu.

Will it mitigate at all that when I got over there tonight, the dog got out of her crate (after some cajoling), went outside for a while, ate a bite, and is now resting comfortably back in the crate? I'm thinking that the 24 hours she spent cooling her paws did her some good, and she was glad to see me. I won't mention the part about how she disappeared into the dark of the back yard and I was pretty sure for a while that she'd gotten out of the yard, and then this would not be a letter to be opened in the event, because my death would pretty much be assured.

Confession is good for the soul. I am going back to sleep now.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Facebook Chat Conversation Between Sisters

Since we're a little light on posting this week, I thought I would give you some insight into the sisterly love. Warning: there is some profanity ahead. But I promise, we mean it in the nicest possible way.

Our conversation begins with Margaret's discussion of The Voice, and then she goes on a diatribe when Bryan mention that Cee Lo's arms are disproportional to the rest of his body. We discuss some minor housekeeping duties, and then...well, then it is just mayhem.


Margaret: It's team cee lo vs team blake for now, as far as i'm concerned.

Bryan:raar! i have a cat! Raar!

Margaret: i hate you SO much for that

Bryan: because I'm RIGHT

Margaret: but it is distracting now, and it wasn't until you pointed it out

Bryan: sorry, i was having a hard time with it so i had to share

Margaret: hate

Bryan: rawr

Bryan: bugg [innocent bystander friend of Margaret] agrees with me

Margaret: i AGREE with you, i just wish you hadn't told me!
Margaret: hate
Margaret: hate

Bryan: AAAAAARRRRRR!

Margaret: quit making me laugh..i gotta pee
Margaret: bitch
Margaret: Liz is so sad that Rappetite isn't real. [Rappetite is a very funny website for a restaurant that is fictional. Liz had a much funnier and more reliable blog. You should check both out.]

Bryan: Little Shop of Stories [local bookstore] liked my comment on their post!!!!!

Margaret: you are teh awesome

Bryan: didja read it?

Margaret: the whole thing? not yet
Margaret: your comment, yes

Bryan: story was meh

Margaret: oh yeah, just for you, I am recording Inside the Actors Studio
Margaret: GLEEpers
Margaret: you should read the handmaid's tale
Margaret: it was really good

Bryan: i will when you loan it to me
Bryan: Are you on in the am? [task re: the niece]

Margaret: yes
Margaret: all ams for now

Bryan: who is tomorrow afternoon? [more task re:kids]

Margaret: Wisconsin state senator said "women don't want equal pay."
Margaret: me
Margaret: I am tired of the Voice tonight

Bryan: RAAR

Margaret: hate. bitch
Margaret: did you watch Bones?

Bryan: quit asking me things 2 or 3 times
Bryan: in different places
Bryan: because you are confusing me

Margaret: i was trying to ask in the appropriate place
Margaret: i confused myself first

Bryan: because you are a bitch
Bryan: Raar


Margaret: good night mother fucker.
Margaret: FB just prompted me to tell you that I found you objectionable.

Bryan: as if.
Bryan: what?
Bryan: where?

Margaret: when you answered in the wrong place, i "x-ed" out your comment

Bryan: it's NEVER asked me if I found you objectionable, probably because it's SO FUCKING OBVIOUS.
Bryan: yeah, but it didn't delete it, it just removed it from YOUR sight.
Bryan: I had to delete it.

Margaret: and then it said I could give you feedback as to why i felt you were objectionable
Margaret: but it would take to fucking long to type
Margaret: my fucking fingers would fall off!

Bryan: Good night, cistern.

Margaret: good night!
Margaret: i will leave the book on the counter for you.

Bryan: okay. I need you to email me first pics of the canyon take a picture of it in process [canyon is project for nephew's cub scouts]
Bryan: for teh blog

Margaret: okay, but not right now.
Margaret: objectionable bitch
Margaret: that is your official name now
Margaret: OB
Margaret: sorry it is the name of a tampon, but it is shorter than your official name and thus easier to type.

Bryan: ok. I am posting this conversation to the blog
Bryan: because we need a post
Bryan: and this would work

Margaret: if by "work" you mean make sure everyone knows we should be kept from civilized society.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wherein I get a little crafty..and purple

The problem with being unemployed (well, aside from the obvious) is having time to do things and not having the money to do them.

I have had supplies for a couple of projects on hand and have been working on them the past week or so...here they are.

Recycling 2 Canvases for Bedroom

I definitely consider myself crafty rather than an artist, and fortunately, I'm completely okay with that. While I lived in Houston I had painted canvases directed by a project in The Big Ass Book of Crafts. If you like to DIY but put yourself in the same category as I put myself, this is an awesome book! However, they didn't fit in my new house. So, I covered up the old paintings with white and started over. I first did a wash (or maybe there is a more appropriate artistic term for it) in a pale pinkish gray. I thought I took a picture of that step, but it has disappeared. Then I painted 4th grade style flowers on branches, gave them a few details and painted leaves. Some of my leaves look kinda like bananas, and the turquoise is darker than I had wanted, but I'm happy with them.



Once I hang them and a few other prints, I will show you guys a "bigger picture" idea of what the room looks like.



The Card Catalogue

This is the project that might get some people riled up. Last July I was fortunate to come into possession of a library card catalogue. I posted this photo on FB and asked if it would be total blasphemy to paint it. Of course, asking the question indicates that I had some mixed feelings about painting it. My problem was that I wanted to use it in the kitchen, which is white, white, white with splashes of purple (my favorite color). There are only 3 narrow drawers in the kitchen, and none are wide enough for dividers for utensil storage. I wanted to use the card catalogue in the kitchen for utensils, seasoning envelopes, and whatever other small items I decide should go there. I sat with the wood in the kitchen until this weekend, and just couldn't make it work. So out came the paints...




First, the Cistern (who is going live on a new computer system this week and likely to be scarce) took off all the hardware. I meant to take a photo of all the pieces, but it didn't happen.

Second, I painted the outer cabinet white and the drawers three different shades of purple. I topped it with 3 coats of Minwax **water based** polycrylic. If you don't know about this stuff, you should. This is the second project I have used it on, and water based is one of the most beautiful phrases in the English language.

Here is a photo of the mid-project chaos...


And here is the finished product on the kitchen counter...


One more photograph of the window over the sink (which is to the right of the catalogue). I have the coolest and weirdest curtains in the world in that window. I got them at THIS awesome website.


So, any projects in the works? How did you spend your weekend? Feedback or questions about my funky card catalogue?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

They want to get ALL up in my business

There hasn't been much mainstream news media coverage about this, I actually tried to find a link that was a more "neutral" source and could not.

House Republicans blocked a measure Tuesday night that would have let the Federal Communications Commission prevent employers from forcing workers to reveal their Facebook passwords

This makes me nervous, pisses me off and irritates me to no end.

I have had pre-employment drug testing for every single job I have had since age 21. As a nurse, I totally understand why this is necessary. I think that it would open my employers to liability if they did NOT use drug screening. I think the same applies to construction workers, truck drivers and other professions. I understand and appreciate people who choose not to work for employers who drug test, but it simply isn't an option for me--given my choice of profession.

This FB thing is a totally and completely different level of invasion of privacy.

Georgia is a "right to work" state. This means that an employer can fire me for any reason that isn't protected by Federal law (race, sex, religion, etc.). Now they want to REQUIRE me to give them my Facebook password? Not just look at my Facebook page, but have my password. They want to be able to look at Every.Single.Post...even the ones that are not public? They want to be able to see every single message I sent privately? They want to have the ability to Log In as me?

I have heard people say that this is to cut down on employees wasting time while on the clock. I do not believe this for a single second. One does not need FB or even computer access to goof off when they should be working. (Remember the Nerf basketball hoops that used to be over every door?)

They want to get information about me. What could they possibly see on my FB page that would reasonably make them want to fire me or choose not to hire me in the first place? Will someone have concerns about my political beliefs? Will they check to see how many days I complained of a migraine? Will they frown on the fact that I posted my (painted) breasts to the internet to raise money for breast cancer research? Will they count the times I use the f-word? I have always taken care not to say crazy shit about my job on FB or on this site (which I link to on FB). However, I do say things that I would not say on the job, much less during the interview process.

FB pages have information that they are not allowed to ask in an interview...age, medical problems, marital status, pregnancy, number of children. To say that this is anything short of an invasion of privacy is preposterous. In this electronic age, FB takes the place of written letters, private emails, and gives a peek into my life that I do not want to be FORCED to give anyone. I don't really have anything to hide. I have cousins as young as 13 and conservative family members as friends on my FB page. I don't censor every single thing I say, but I don't have a lifestyle that forces me to do that. However, even if I did have outrageous statements, photos and more on my page, why should an employer have access to that?

This is a slippery slope, and it concerns me very much. If there is the presumption of privacy within my own home (if I remember to log out before giving anyone else my computer to borrow), why should employers be able to require employees to sacrifice this privacy?

What are your thoughts? Is my reaction reasonable? Or is it just a case of the redhead getting bent out of shape over something that isn't a big deal? What would you do if a potential or current employer REQUIRED you to give them your password?

************PS--What are you guys using to keep up with blogs? I have been using the Wordpress reader leftover from my old blog, but I seem to be missing LOTS of posts.**********************************************************

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Saying Good-bye to Eric Lowen




I was sitting in the theater Friday night waiting for The Hunger Games to start. It was after 11:30. I had gone to the movie spur-of-the-moment by myself. I was idly checking FB to pass the time. And I saw the post that made my heart sink.

Posted by Dan Navarro:
"At 5:13 pm Pacific time today, March 23, 2012, Eric Lowen peacefully ended his nine-year standoff with ALS (aka Lou Gehrig's Disease), surrounded by family and awash in love, gratitude and beautiful music. We all appreciate the support and well wishes that have come his way these many years, and will always hold dear the shining example he was, and still is, to us all."


I almost left the theater, but decided to stay for the movie. The moment I left, I burst into tears--running for the car. I sat sobbing for several minutes before I drove home. I knew this was going to happen. When I blew a kiss to him and turned away at The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA on June 6, 2009, I knew that I would never see Eric again.

I first met Eric when he and Dan Navarro joined my buddy Don Conoscenti on stage at Eddie's Attic on February 8, 2003. Sure, I had heard of the duo Lowen & Navarro before, but even though music is my biggest passion, there is only one me and there are MANY talented artists out there. One of my best buddies and I had just returned from crashing Folk Alliance in Nashville. I remembered passing a room where Dan and Eric were playing. They were somewhat of an odd couple. Eric--tall enough to make a mandolin look like a toy & straight blonde hair. Dan--less tall, and a mop of dark curls. What happened on stage that night was everything I love about live music. I never was sure who was supposed to open and who was the headliner. The three friends decided to just play. They played some of Don's songs, some of Lowen & Navarro's songs, some covers, and some shit they made up on the spot. They laughed, they sang outrageously beautiful harmonies, they insulted each other and made fun of me and some others along the way. They collaborated on songs they had never sung together before. There were shenanigans. It was magic. It was imperfect--yet perfectly wonderful.

After the show Don introduced me to his friends. There are times when you meet people and things just click. Tina and I stayed out past our bedtimes and had a blast. In the following years I would see Dan and Eric play in five more states. Sometimes there was a chance to hang out after, and sometimes not. If the timing was excellent, we would grab a bite before or after the show. At some point, I mentioned to Eric that Sunday lunch with my Poppa was a weekly tradition. I never saw him again that he didn't ask how the previous Sunday's meal had been.

I admired Eric before we were ever introduced. After his diagnosis, I would learn how well-deserved that admiration had been. He demonstrated a grace, strength, dignity and determination that amazed me. He did everything he could to help others who had the diagnosis. He wrote the song, "Learning to Fall" and recorded it with a group of 30 people affected by the disease. If watching that doesn't move you, nothing will.

Dan and Eric's most well-know song is often attributed to Pat Benatar, but I know better. If I have the correct information, it was one of the first they wrote together. This video of the two of them singing "We Belong" was recorded after Eric's diagnosis. It shows his and Dan's wonderful musical talent. It also shows the amount of grace with which he approached his disease--which at this time had him walking with a cane and using a thumb pick due to loss of finger dexterity.

He was a special person. He left a mark on my heart and on the hearts of many, many others.

Travel well, my friend. Travel well.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I can be pretty stupid for a smart person

I have never claimed to be a whiz when it comes to household finances. I generally get bills, put them in a stack on a flat surface, and hope that said flat surface doesn't get completely covered up before I remember to pay the bill. With the occasional exceptions, my failure to pay a bill has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with how much money I have available. I admit that my process has flaws.

The ability to see and pay bills online, over the telephone, auto pay, etc. has been helpful. However, I hit a stretch where I had to turn off the auto pay because the timing just wasn't working for me.

My furnace died the coldest week of the admittedly mild winter. It took several days for the repair folks to identify and attempt to repair the problem. Then they figured out that a new furnace was needed. The crawl space in my home is so small, that they actually had to dig out a larger area to squeeze the new furnace through to the very small area that opens up. My sister called me a lamer for not going down to look and see if it was just the pilot light, but the guy who came to work on it said it was about the worse crawl space he had ever seen.

Fast forward to Spring and the first warmish weather we have had. Of course, the A/C goes out. I also get an extremely high gas bill and decide it is time to finally tell my landlord that the water heater also needs work due to a leak. I noticed the leak about the same time as the furnace, and just didn't have the heart to tell her. She doesn't do rental property for a living, but used to live in this house and is hoping to get a better return on her investment than she would have when she got married and moved out.

The next night I prepare for my nightly bath ritual. Take meds, warm bath, read in bed, hopefully fall asleep at a reasonable time. This has been my routine for longer than I can remember. I'm letting the water run to warm while I brush my teeth...and....nothing remotely warmish is coming out of the tap. I start an email to my landlord to tel her that the water heater is now a higher priority than the A/C.

Thankfully, before I hit "send," I have a thought. My extremely high gas bill. I go find it in my stack of papers and while I had been correct about the due date of April 4th, I had failed to notice that it was a bill for 2 months...with a notice that my gas *could* be shut off as of That.very.day. Crap! I know it is my fault, but I curse the gas company for writing the note about potential cutoff in the corner with type the same size as everything else. I wonder why I didn't get one of those brightly colored postcards telling me to get my shit together. (I know they used to send them, I have gotten more than 3 in my life.) I curse the fact that my abysmal credit rating (which may or may not be related to my marriage or divorce) forced me to be on a pre-pay plan that does not cut me very much slack.

I am then grateful that I have the money to pay the bill. I jump online and do this immediately. I am grateful that I have a sister 0.5 miles away who will let me use her facilities and not mock me for my stupidity. I call the Customer Service department with my payment confirmation number in hand...only to jump through the series of "press this for that" and end up being told that they aren't open that late. I wash my face and go to bed.

So, the A/C is fixed...and it didn't cost my landlord anything...that's a good thing. They came out and turned on the gas today, so I only had to bathe at my sister's house for 2 days. Also, I should have a higher functioning or new water heater by tomorrow when someone comes to look at it...and if I'm lucky, that will leave me able to take a bath as hot as I wish, rather than really, really close to how hot I want it.

So, how have your appliances been treating you?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wow.

It is on now. Margaret has just upped the ante in a way that simply can NOT end well.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

All I'm sayin is that a WISER sister would have made up her own title instead of stealing mine.

UPDATED*************And the WISER cistern figures out that she can update/edit the younger cistern's blog posts. Things are going to get way more crazy around here. ~M




Because when she texted me that we'd won, I texted her back "IT'S A MAJOR AWARD." And that, friends, is how the cistern communicate, via movie taglines.

However, since Margaret went rogue (even though we had decided to write a post mutually for the award), I will give my answers.

***************Then you had one of those nights where you weren't really able to be social, and I thought that a MAJOR AWARD warranted a same day post*************************************~M

Maybe.

I've already taken the melatonin, so I may fall asleep before hitting post.


Favourite Colour: On this side of the pond, we spell it favorite and color. And mine is blue. A deep cobalt blue.

FavouriteAnimal: Um. I'm not really an animal person, in general. I have a cat. Her name is Cassie. My daughter says that her name is Cassiopeia. My son and I agree that the cat's name is Cassie O. Peia. This drives my daughter straight up the wall, which is always good for a half hour entertainment value. Unless you take it too far, in which case it's an hour or so of drama. Let me see if I can find a picture of the cat.





Favourite Non-Alcoholic Drink: I was born in Atlanta. I drink Coca Cola. Pepsi is a sin against God, I'm pretty sure.

MARGARET, YES, I WILL TAKE A PICTURE OF YOU IN A HOODIE. I UNDERSTAND THIS IS IMPORTANT TO YOU. I WANT ONE OF ME IN A HOODIE AS WELL. BUT PLEASE LET ME FINISH POSTING.

********************Okay, I get it now. My private messages to you are now fodder for snark in blog posts. Clearly, you couldn't take my picture right.that.second, but I just wanted to put the concept out there.***************~M

Sorry, I meant to put that in Yahoo Instant Messenger instead of here. But here it is, and here it will stay.

Facebook or Twitter: Facebook, no contest. I rarely Tweet; I am not a Twit. I did Tweet when I thought Mir read the blog, because MY GOD WOULDN'T YOU? Totally embarrassed myself in front of 3 real people and 29 bots. I'm pretty sure that's an accurate breakdown of my Twitter followers.

My Passion: Okay, this is where I feel a little dead inside, because I don't know if I have any passions. My sister does the music thing, but what do I do? Hmm. Thinking.  I got it! My passion is learning and sharing what I've learned. In a past life I was a software trainer, then I was a homeschooling mom, and now I'm a nerd on a continual education high. During down time at work, I read the Wikipedia home page just about every day. I love to learn about new stuff. If I won the lottery, I'd go back to school and get a BA in Physics, and volunteer at the library. I believe in education for the sake of education. My first BA is in English Lit, so I not only believe it, I lived it.
**********Interesting, I would have answered the same thing for you without having to think about it~~M

Giving or Receiving Gifts: No question here, giving. I love finding things for people and giving them.  I don't do it enough. I don't usually get people birthday gifts, though, more "just because" gifts. I do have my sister's birthday present, though. My son picked it out. I think he enjoys the giving as well, which is a pretty good trait to have as an 8 year old.

Favourite Pattern: Gorham Melrose. Wait, what? I don't think I'm the right person for this question, as the last sewing I did was in 1988 for a Costuming class in the Drama department at Furman.
********************I knew you would figure out a way to answer that question even though you've never sewn from a real pattern before. See, that is what SUPPORTIVE cistern do, believe in each other.*****~M

Favourite Day of the Week: Friday. Depending on the week, I'm either getting rid of the kids for a week or getting them back for a week, and either way it's the best day of the week.

Favourite Flower: Yellow roses.
***********************See, this is one of the things I didn't know. Do yellow roses mean something on Mother's Day? Like I know red means one thing and white means another, but why doesn't yellow mean something?

Favourite Celebrity Role Model: I do not have one of those.

I shall now bestow the Major Award on Willow. She shares my brain (the parts that my sister doesn't, or maybe those too.) And I shall sleep well tonight.
********************************The only reason I didn't bestow her with the award--I knew you would do it. ~~M

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Major Award!


On this very lovely first day of Spring,Seraphinalina kindly and generously gave us the Sunshine Award!


As a result, the Cistern and I will answer some questions and pass along the award to others who we deem fit for such an honor.

As the eldest and wisest Cistern, I , Margaret will go first.

Favourite Colour Purple! I have always loved purple, but it became even more favorite after a group of online friends used purple bandannas to recognize each other when we met in person for the first time at a music festival. I now have a purple themed kitchen.

Favourite Animal Elephants! I have collected them since Mother told me I had a memory like an elephant when I was a child. As I grew wiser (and less able to remember things) I learned that they are loyal, mourn their dead and function in a Matriarchal society. All of that works for me. As requested by Willow, a photo of my tattoo...

Favourite Non-Alcoholic Drink Coca~Cola. Even when I was really, really well-behaved and lost a lot of pounds (which I need to do again), I could not give up my daily coke. If left to my own devices, I'd drink 5 or 6 a day. I hoarded real coke during that New Coke bullshit. (Yes, I am THAT old!)


Facebook or Twitter I actually use both Facebook and Twitter. I like the speed of conversations on Twitter (at least I do when I am at the computer). I prefer the interactions among my friends from different worlds that happens on Facebook.

My Passion Music that moves me, books that let me escape my analytic brain for a while, I love the feeling that I get when I realize that I have actual made a difference in someone's life as a nurse.

Giving or Receiving Gifts Everybody tells me that it is tough finding gifts for me. I love finding the perfect thing, wrapping it in the Best.Possible.Paper for the recipient, and making the corners of the wrapping crisp and covering it with a pile of curling ribbon. I confess to having gone to more than 2 stores at least once to find the perfect paper for a particular gift. I own at least a dozen colors of ribbons, and I have even hand painted wrapping paper at least once. So, I guess that makes me the most obsessive giver around.

Favourite Pattern Well, this is where it all breaks down and you figure out that I never should have been considered for a Major Award. I think I only own one single pattern. It is a Simplicity pattern I have purchased more than once. I have made at least 3 dozen pairs of cute drawstring pants from this pattern. I have made a few costume-ish things just by faking it. Okay, this Major Award is really making me show my OCD side, isn't it?

Favourite Day of the Week Saturday. Just like the Bay City Rollers. I am currently unemployed, but my most recent jobs have been Monday-Friday. I do not have kids, so Saturday I allow myself to sleep in like a teenager. If sleeping were part of the Olympics, I'd win gold every single time.

Favourite Flower I used to say Gerbera Daisies, and I still love them. However, when I had the amazing good fortune to go to Alaska there was a plant called fireweed growing all over everywhere. It made me smile.

Favourite Celebrity Role Model I do not typically think of celebrities as role models, but I must say that I think George Clooney is living a purposeful, productive life. And he's easy on the eyes...not that that makes him a role model, but he IS pretty.

Okay, now the hard part.

I'm going to bestow the Major Award to Angela who is funny, smart, and brutally honest. She was one of the first bloggers who I followed and got followed by (we can't remember who started it) when I first started blogging however many years ago. I love her to pieces--even though her shoes could kick my shoes asses on a good day.

I am also going to send one Laurie's way. I read her blog for the first time today, and she brought me to tears. As I said in her comments, I don't know her, but found much common ground in my initial peek around her blog home. I hope she takes it as intended and not like an icky internet stalkerish thing.

Now it is the Cistern's turn. I thought about filling it out for her, but I actually do not know ALL the answers...most, but not all.

Monday, March 19, 2012

My teenage daughter ran away, my fine young son has turned out gay*

So, my morning was less than stellar. Actually, let's back up to last night, which was the third night in a row that my daughter did not sleep. As in, she said she didn't sleep all night long, and I have no evidence to contradict and plenty to support. Since no sleep means that she will be slightly more fragile (see yesterday's meltdown during the game of SmartAss), I kept her home from school today, which means some strategic planning. Fortunately, I still have a wife around the corner from me, since Margaret is kind enough to function in that role until she gets a better paying gig. There was always the chance that she would slam the door in my face, though. Unlikely, but possible.

And this morning didn't improve when I woke up 5 minutes after Dude was supposed to be at school. Eight minutes before the tardy, but no way were we getting there on time. As I was rousting the troops, I managed to drop a glass in Dude's room; shards of cobalt blue across his wood floor. Cleaning up, I cut my foot.

I won't mention that I did have to take several potty trips as this was going on, because that might be TMI.

I couldn't find my phone OR my car keys, so I took the second spare set. My co-blogger has the first spare set, but I might have to rethink this. We got halfway to school when The Dude speaks up.

"Mom? You didn't give me any breakfast this morning!"

And while I know that it is the most important meal of the day, I was going to make him suck it up and deal with the gnawing hunger, until I remembered that when I give him his food, I also give him his Adderall. It's just not fair to him or the school to send him without it. I pulled a 180. . .well, a 47-point turn; remember, I drive a minivan. Back home to get breakfast and medicine.

Once at home, I realize that the housekeys on that second set do not fit my door. I yank Dude out of the van and make him climb in the window to his room, which is about 5 feet off the ground, both inside and out. He unlocked the door and found my keys. Why he couldn't have done that before we left the first time, I do not know. Worthless kid.

At that point, I called the office and told them I was going to be late. My actual words were "I don't think you would believe me if I described my morning."  If you can't be at work on time, be entertaining. That's my motto, at least.

I did have to walk Dude into school & sign him in, all the while listening to him mutter about how much trouble he is going to be in for being tardy. I'm thinking, Dude. You are in the second grade. This is maybe your 3rd tardy of the year.  No one is going to bat an eye. The wise woman said nothing, as she was happy that Dude cares if he's late or not.

I got to the Cistern's house, and threw myself on her mercy. Fortunately, she was still half asleep & didn't really understand what I was saying until after I drove away, which was too late for her to do anything about it.

I only had one near-miss MVA, which is about par for my 6 mile drive to work. But I did notice that the pants I pulled out of the dryer this morning had a grease splotch that didn't come out in the wash. That was okay, though, because I had on my scrub jacket. (That right there is called foreshadowing, for those of you playing along at home.) When I did get to work, I sat in the parking lot for a couple of minutes taking deep breaths. Work is stressful these days, and even when it is not (if there is such a time), I need to leave home stress at home and work stress at work.

I got to work and was working away, whistling like a good dwarf, finding the spoonful of sugar, blah blah blah. I was looking at someone's chart, put it back in file and left the chart room. The pocket of my scrub jacket tried to stay behind. Big gaping seam rip.

So do I safety pin the jacket and hide the grease, or do I take off the jacket and let the greasy food splotch show? (Answer: some of each.)

After that, it calmed down a bit. Until I got the phone call from Dude's school that he'd been in a small kerfluffle with another boy. Said other boy now has goose egg on back of his head. Stories vary. This is a blog post of its own, but the bottom line is that tomorrow morning, my wife gets to keep another child. The sitter is coming noonish.

The last thing that happened was that as I pulled up to the house I noticed that Dude's window was still open. That means three things: Fertile Cat has been going in and out of the window. (Don't hate. I have made two appointments to get her uterus ripped out, but she has some kind of skin disorder going on, and she never goes outside, unless Dude's window is open.) Also that I have been trying to cool the world, since I just turned the AC on. And finally, since today was the Highest Pollen Count Ever, I now have pollen in my house.

I am looking forward to bedtime. Not just the kids' bedtime. My bedtime.

*The title does not describe my life, it's a hat-tip to my 80s roots. It could describe my life in a few years. Stay tuned.

Trayvon Martin


If you haven't heard the story about Trayvon Martin, get ready to be disappointed. Perhaps this article is the best place to start. I encourage you to follow all the links included as I did. I encourage you to get as many details as you can tolerate. I promise the 911 audio will break your heart.

I am disappointed in the police department of Sanford, Florida who chose not to charge Zimmerman with a crime simply based on the fact that he claimed self defense. In my mind, self defense should not apply to someone who was in his car, in contact with the police, and chased the victim despite being told by the police not to do so. The police chose not only to believe Zimmerman with little evidence backing up his claims, but they also chose to make sure that the witness statements "matched" the killer's story--even as these witnesses have come forward to dispute the statements as represented by police.

I am disappointed in the fact that people like George Zimmerman are cruising neighborhoods looking for kids who are "up to no good." Looking for kids while carrying a gun. Using that gun to murder a child who (by all available evidence) had done nothing more than walk to the 7-11 to buy Skittles and an iced tea.

I am disappointed in the reporters who when talking to the mother of a murdered black child asked if "he liked chicken." Really? That's anywhere in the neighborhood of an appropriate question?

I am disappointed that so many white people are upset about "pulling the race card." The fact that the victim was black, and that the man who killed him a white man who had a history of focusing on black males as being troublemakers. The last according to the very neighbors he claims to have been helping protect. These facts lead to (at a very minimum) consider that race was a component of this tragedy.

I am disappointed that white people seem to think that every time race is mentioned it is "pulling the race card." Much as I wish it were not so, the race card is always in the deck for people of color. Thankfully, we are past the days of hoods, burning crosses and "colored" restrooms. That does not mean that the race card has been tossed out of the deck. It just means that those who consider people of color "less than" or "up to no good" or whatever else those people thing must be more subtle, more insidious. Every single time a person of color experiences something negative--that person must wonder (to some degree) if the color of his or her skin played any part in that.

I am disappointed in reading reactions from people that say Zimmerman had a right to be "on the lookout" due to a number of break-ins in the neighborhood...and thought he was preventing a crime.

Let me be very clear about this: I do NOT want anyone patrolling MY neighborhood (and we do have neighborhood watch and some recent break-ins) to think they are doing me a service if they behave as Zimmerman did. I do not have a single THING in my home that is worth the life of a child. Call the police, but keep your personal bias and you 9mm INSIDE your car.

Trayvon Martin was a child. A child with a family who loved him. A child with a future. A child who chose to go buy candy at a moment in time that resulted in him crossing paths with George Zimmerman. Unfortunately, that innocent choice left him crying for help...and then shot to death. Let us not let his death go unnoticed and unpunished.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Alphabet soup

I know memes are considered lazy to some, but I actually LIKE to read them. Only tagging my co-blogger, but please tell me in the comments if you decide to do it…or just pick one or two you want to answer…pr make fun of my answers…it’s all good.

A – An advantage you have – Being white, born in USA to parents who valued education (being a sassy redhead doesn’t hurt, either)

B – Bed size-King, though my current sleep mate is a cat and I only take up a small portion of the bed. However, when (IF) I have another bed companion the King becomes imperative as I like snuggling but CANNOT stand to sleep tangled up.

C – Chore you hate – Cleaning out the litter box. I particularly hate it when that bitchy, superior feline comes to watch me do it as if to underline the fact that I am cleaning up her shit.

D – Dad’s name – Poppa/Herbie/Do you want me to call the home?

E – Essential start of your day – Wash my face and have a coca-cola.

F – Favorite color – Purple. Yes, it is the favorite of tween girls, but I still claim it…and I don’t much like tween girls.

G– Gold or Silver--I’ve turned to a Silver person the past couple of years, but was gold for most of my life

H – Habit you have – Calling my Cistern a “Bitch” whenever possible to fit it into the conversation

I – Issue you consider important—This month it would have to be my outrage over conservatives marginalizing women and wanting “smaller government” but at the same time wanting far too much say about my vagina and wanting to tell me what SHOULD and SHOULD not happen there. I use birth control, have for 20+ years. I’m a slut, fine, whatever.

J – Job title –Bitch Goddess (pay is shitty, but it’s quite entertaining)

K – Kids—none that I birthed. Nieces 11 ½ and 3, Nephews 8 and 3. The oldest belong to the cistern, the twins belong to my brother.

L – Living arrangements – Renting a house that I hope to buy. It has a red door, a million windows, is a ½ mile from Cistern’s house, and I love, love love it!

M – Mustard or ketchup—both, but if I could only have one it would be mustard. I hate mayonnaise with few exceptions. It disgusts me that my sister puts it on hot dogs.

Nicknames – bitch, cistern, Maggie Moo

O – Overnight hospital stay – neck surgery (1 night), work-up for chest pain (2 nights) Family history of people dropping dead from cardiac issues got me more attention than I wanted, but I appreciate the concern.

P – Pet Peeve –people who use the last of something without replacing it or telling anyone, people who don’t follow the damned rules at a 4-way Stop—you are NOT doing me a favor if you don’t go when it is your fucking turn, typos in profiles on dating sites. Shut up! I’m single, I don’t do church or bars. Gimme a break.

Q – Quote that you like most – Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
--Emerson

R – Right or left handed – Right

S – Siblings – one sister, one brother. I’m the oldest, and managed not to kill either of them growing up. Miracle, but a good one. I love them both to pieces—but not in a leperous kind of way.

T – Time you wake up –the very last possible minute that allows me to get where I need to be. I like sleep. I lay out my clothes the night before in the precise order I will be putting them on my body. Fuck mornings.

U – Underwear—usually wear it, most of mine is cotton

V – Vegetable you dislike—I like most of them…oh yeah! Greens—mustard, collard, turnip—there have been a very few exceptions that I have found palatable.

W – What makes you run late – my love for sleep, being disorganized, getting ready too early and then checking “just one thing” online. Yeah, right.

X – X-rays you’ve had – ankle, chest, neck MRI-neck, neck, neck, CT-head (shut up again)

Y – Yummy food you make – I am an above average cook when I do it, but my best ever would likely be chocolate cake with butter cream icing. (No, I do not use a box. I’m amazed at how many people look confused when I say that.)

Z – Zoo animal—I have come to dislike seeing animals in zoos. I have a huge love for elephants and have collected them since I was a kid. Got a purple one tattooed on my ankle about a year ago. I did LOVE seeing the otters swimming, smiling, and doing laps at the aquarium in Monterey.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Backing up just a little

My sister gave a bit of backstory with her last post, and perhaps it is time for me to do the same. I am the older, wiser sister. I am a redhead--yes, a REAL one--and I have the attitude that comes with the hair. I have been back in Atlanta since August 2010. I was in Houston for 4 1/2 years during which time I was married with 2 stepdaughters. My ex-husband and I had about as amicable a divorce as is possible, and we are still friends.

I am passionate, flexible, independent, opinionated, cynical and romantic. Yes, sometimes it gets confusing in here. I am a recovering slob, hopeless mark for animals that need homes. I'm a nurse currently unemployed. (woo-hoo) Um, this is starting to sound like a profile for a dating site, and while I AM single, it isn't my goal to have you guys tell me that I have great boobs and will I put them in your face. (Yes, that really happened. That and the fact that they matched me with my sister's ex-husband make me leery of that avenue as a means to success.)

Okay, now where were we. I moved back to Atlanta and intentionally moved into a house less than a mile from Bryan. I am renting but hope to purchase this house. I love, love, love it!

My sister calls me the Folk Music Evangelist. I don't know if she capitalizes it in her head, but it seems like she does. I'm sure she will correct me if I am wrong. ...not the Kum-by-yah kind (since I don't even know how to spell it), but singer/songwriter stuff that is hard to define. For me it means that the song tells a story of some sort, and that I can understand the lyrics enough to get the story. It can lean towards pop or country, but if I like the way it sounds and the stories it tells, I'm hooked. I go to the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival every July in Okemah, Oklahoma. I was led into this world of troubadours by Ellis Paul, hooked forever by Don Conoscenti, and my most recently acquired favorite is Rebecca Loebe. If any of you go to one of their shows and don't like it, I'll give you back the money you spent on your ticket.

I also have an artsy-fartsy side that I am trying to cultivate. I am using this out of work time to do some projects that have been on hold for a while. I'll let you know how things turn out.

Anyway, that is a rambling peek at how my crazy brain works. If it scares you a little, it probably should.

So, tell me something about you that I might not already know. pretty please?

Monday, March 12, 2012

I love pretty things!

It's kinda pitiful that I forgot the original reference that led to Bryan and me calling each other "Cistern." I'm sure if I remembered that, I might forget something important like my own address. Just for the record..it is my baby Cistern's birthday today, so wish her a happy! I had a nearly finished post in the drafts, but then Molly tweeted this link to some brilliant artwork. My favorite of those is Red Riding Hood, but I love Alice in Wonderland and Rapunzel as well.
The artist for the above is Christian Jackson . That beautiful artwork led me to this site Which is a very, very dangerous website for me. They have a varied inventory of many artists with prints at reasonable prices. These are the other two that caught my eye...
Scarlet by Jill Denton
World Map by Michael Tompsett So, go look around and tell me...What catches your eye about a painting? Who do you love that isn't famous? Realism or Impressionism or something in between?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

This life I lead

I'm going to back up a bit for the sake of clarity and introduce myself. I'm Bryan, sister to Margaret. Most often we call each other Cistern, which is a reference to a 30 year old Wizard of Id comic and entertains us both. We speak a secret language, sometimes, made up of fairly screwy references to long ago books, television, or events. Those of you playing along at home please feel free to ask for clarification if the need arises.

Friday night I started my week as a single woman, meaning that my two children were starting their week with Whatshisname. I'ma keep that reference, as it fits now better than ever. My daughter A. is in the 6th grade and in a school now that she loves and that loves her. My son J is in the 2nd grade, and I'm not sure what's going to happen when he goes to the middle school. A. is an Aspie, with all of the quirky delights and challenges that come bundled with the diagnosis. One of the classic Aspie traits is being very literal, and I saw that in the last week when we were out to dinner at our neighborhood Mexican restaurant. I had enough of the fart jokes (because my son orders a bean burrito with beans on the side intentionally, and as an 8 year old boy, the fart jokes are just the Funniest. Thing. Ever. to him), so I declared enough. But as an Aspie will, A. took the joke one step further. As the steam came out of my ears, I told her she needed to apologize to the table.

You can see this coming.

She got a funny look on her face and said, "I'm sorry, table."

Sigh.

J. has ADD, and a little bit of an anger management problem, but most of all he's just a sweet bright kid with a lot going on upstairs. 

Someone asked me today how I handled it when their dad hurt them through his dumb parenting and what I did when they called me upset about it. Fortunately, I have never had to deal with that situation; most of his stuff that he pulls is directed at me.

And now, I must rinse.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Competitive much?

Well, I'm glad that the cistern (singular) decided to chip in. Really. However, I didn't really know we were going to make this a She Said/She Said kinda deal. She DID give me permission to post first, and then she bitched about it. And, I called it that she was gonna complain about the "housekeeping." I would have given her "all access" if I had been given that option. Hell, I'l give her permission to edit my posts with her English Major red pen if she wishes. As soon as I figure out how to do it. I thought we were tight. I thought she could have come to me first. Oh well, I suppose airing laundry publicly is gonna be part of this whole endeavor--and now that I know, I will be ready. REAL POST It's interesting that the cistern said what she did. We come by our competitive natures honestly. Poppa instilled that in us early and often. We played board games as children. Parcheesi, checkers, backgammon, and we splurged on an Atari game system when we were able. Poppa denies it to this very day, but he bought new games, practiced them until he was proficient, and ONLY THEN did he allow the kids the opportunity to play against him. He acts as if this is blasphemy when we bring it up now, but none of us EVER saw a game wrapped in cellophane. Enough said. There was one particular evening when I was on a roll. Poppa and I were playing a game called Chase on Atari, and I was on a winning streak. It was a school night, and I was exhausted. I was BEGGING to go to bed. He was determined to keep playing until won. It didn't happen, and my step-mother finally told him to let me go to bed or she was calling Child Services (well, not that last part). I was in bed in that barely cognizant few moments just before slumber. He came into my room and kissed me on the cheek. The he whispered, "I let you win." I was jolted upright out of my near sleep, and yelled, "You did not!" He never LET us win anything in our lives, and I knew he had not started that night. One of his favorite games was "Harder or Faster." He would pin us on the ground and start softly patting our cheeks is a slow rhythm. That part was not so bad...then came the choice...we had to tell him to do it harder or speed up the pace. If we failed to choose, the result was HARDER & FASTER. This sounds far more abusive than it was, we actually asked to play on occasion...or maybe I just asked him to play the game with my little brother. PS-I realized as I typed that the graphics in video games today are better quality than what we could see on television when I was a kid. Now I am old. So, did you guys play board games as kids? Are you laid back when it comes to winning or losing, or are you out for blood?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Harrumph

Obviously, there is something terribly wrong here.

Error the first: my sister posted first. Which was fine, considering that she set the blog up & invited me to post and was all excited about it. Except she asked me to take a look at it when I am in the middle of finishing up my week of exhaustion, the week I have the kids. (Whatshisname has them on the other weeks, it's not like I have a deal with the goblin king or anything.)

Error the second: when Margaret invited me to post, she didn't give me any tweaking permissions. All I can do is post. So fine, I will post a rambley ramble, and then at some point over the weekend, I will force her to give me tweaking permissions so I can do things like add a blogroll, so everyone can tell that we are addicted to folks like The Bloggess and Mir. Yeah, (she said nonchalantly) we've met Mir. We went to Athens to see the play that makes my daughter Writhe! In! Horrified! Discomfort! when it is mentioned by title.

Let's see, everything else looks pretty okay. I like the background, but I agree with her, it would be better in purples or blues. She did change the name from Twisted Cisterns, after I pointed out to her that just as brethren is plural, so is cistern. She did it with pretty good grace.

We're going to have to do something about the contributors and profiles bit, too. Good thing I don't have anything else computer related going on this month. (Wait a minute. . .)




My Women

I’m not sure how I thought the introductory post to this blog might look, but this isn’t exactly what I had in mind. In fact, my co-author and sister just might not be thrilled that I started without her. However, she will get over it…because that is what we do. She has given me permission since I wrote that first part, but I think will now have to get over the minimal housekeeping I did before sharing.
As I looked at twitter and FB this morning, I saw multiple posts about International Day of Women. I started thinking about the women in my family.
I come from a matriarchy, in fact, my maternal Grandmother was often referred to as The Matriarch. She was a widowed mother to five daughters and one son. I remember hosting a brunch after my sister’s wedding and realizing that in a crowd of 40+ there were only 4 adult men to whom I was blood related. Of my thirteen cousins on that side—only four are male, and except for one, the males have older sisters.
All three of my Grandmothers outlived their husbands. I am told that I met my paternal Grandfather, but I don’t remember him. My parents divorced when I was 8. I was accustomed to seeing women functioning as solo heads of household.
There are certainly advantages and disadvantages to the way I grew up. However, today is about the gifts these women gave me.
Grandmother (not a single one of us ever mouthed a diminutive that stuck)--My maternal grandmother. She possessed a strong, Southern grace that I cannot begin to put into words. She was proper. She was a teacher. She also taught the grandchildren to make false teeth out of watermelon rind and told me a dirty joke even though she had to write the word “fuck” on a napkin and point to it instead of saying it.
Gammy—My “step” Grandmother She treated my siblings and me as if she had been present at our birth. She was boisterous, kind, generous, independent as hell (sometimes to the chagrin of her two sons). It is hard for me to remember her without a smile on her face.
Grandmother K—my paternal grandmother She is the source of my red hair. She was devoted to her three sons. She and her sister were the way I hope Bryan and I are when we reach that age. She played the piano beautifully, and instilled a love for music that has continued to touch even the great grandchildren she never met.
Joan—married my Poppa when I was 12 Feisty, Italian, 5’ even, but not to be messed with. Taught things about love that I didn’t comprehend until after she was gone. Somehow got stuck with teaching me to drive—and didn’t shriek once. Taught me that Poppa didn’t have to “know EVERYTHING.” Helped me to be a better step-mother to the twins during my brief marriage. Bravely battled breast cancer, even having radiation the day before (or morning of?) Bryan’s wedding. Best spaghetti with meatballs you ever would taste.
Mother—Divorced in 1973 when it really “wasn’t done.” I look like her when I am having a good day. She taught me to be responsible for my actions. She taught me that you can wear Reeboks to a formal event as long as you behave as if you meant to do it. She was creative and just by observing her, I learned things about sewing and painting and cooking that I didn’t even realize until after she was gone. She also taught me that if you are going to a pot luck and run out of time to prepare a dish—store bought potato salad can be passed off as an old family recipe as long as you put it in a nice bowl and add some paprika and parsley.
Bryan—my baby sister I don’t think I ever tried to smother her after they brought her home, but I really wanted to when I was 13 and she was 10. We have gotten over that, and she is my very best friend. When people ask me who my heroes are, she is the first to come to mind. She is strong, kind,and generous. She parents the hell out of my wonderful niece and nephew. She is funny as hell and writes like nobody’s business. Please read my posts even if hers are better. Pretty please?
These are just the bare bones of the women who had a hand in who I am today. Any strength, grace, wisdom, or wit I possess is due (at least in part) to them and many others…aunts, cousins, friends and sisters who just happened not to be blood relatives.
I’m not precisely sure what the official mission behind those who chose this to be International Day of Women was, but purposefully remembering those who have affected me and will continue to do so seemed like the right thing for me.
So, how about you? Who has had an impact on your life? What does this day mean to you?