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 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


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


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.


********************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.

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 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."


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


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?