Monthly Archives: April 2009

Picture It, High School, 1984

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This morning, the TV was on in the background as I was getting ready, and I heard someone say the words, “Impossible Dream” and BOOM! A memory popped right into my head:

He was Don Quixote. I was the Moorish girl. It was our first run-through of the scene. The Moorish girl dances and tries to seduce Quixote. She twirls around him, teasing him with her veil. She stands with her back against his chest, swaying seductively, and then…

Holy Shit!

It said something like “She takes his right hand and places it on her right breast. She takes his left hand and places it on her left breast.”

No really –Holy Shit!

Of course, we tried to be very professional about it and not even react. But we also realized that we were in a high school production and hands on breasts would never fly. So we improvised and wrapped his arms around me until he was holding me from behind. We thought we did an awesome job with it until we heard, “CUT!”

We were both thinking that we couldn’t believe that she was going to tone that down. I mean, come ON! We were all adults here (sort of). And then our seriously batshit crazy (not even kidding – she was insane) drama teacher said,

“It says she places his hand on her breast, not her waist. She is seducing him, not cuddling with him!”

Blank stares from us. Giggles from everyone else.

“Oh cut it out! Act like grown-ups for Pete’s sake! This is called acting! It’s not like it’s a relationship! She puts his hands on her BREASTS!

About six hours later (and for the next several months), we were practicing that scene in the backseat of his car. And his room. And the back of the auditorium. And the dressing room. And the…well, you get the picture.

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Shame!

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To whomever thought it would be a good idea to stand on the corner during rush hour, while school buses drive by with your huge anti-abortion banners, I have one thing to say: Shame on You.

At the time I went by, traffic was still moving pretty well, but at that 5-way intersection, it was pretty much a given that we would see. I am sure that’s why you chose the location. That’s exactly how I wanted to start my day – with graphic photos of aborted fetuses. But you know what? I’m an adult – I can handle it. I might not have liked it, but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that buses (and most likely cars) filled with young children saw your signs – saw those horrible, ugly images. Shame on You.

Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, and where abortion is concerned, there are certainly a lot of them. I have one. But my opinion on the legality or morality of abortion doesn’t really matter right now, because it has nothing to do with the issue at hand. Regardless of how I feel about abortion, I am against such a display simply because – while we are entitled to our opinions – we need to be responsible about the forum in which we choose to air those opinions. On a busy street corner while kids are in their way to school (or worse – as I experienced a few years back – a soccer field with teams of kids 10 and under, or last year – a panel truck driving around a park emblazoned with the same images) is NOT the appropriate forum. Shame on You.

Children are fragile and need to be handled with care. Exposing them to a topic such as abortion like that can frighten them. It’s a complex issue that needs to be dealt with carefully, regardless of your views. Anyone with any kind of conscience should be able to understand that, but you didn’t. Shame on You.

Maybe I’m the only one who feels that way. Maybe one person would tell me how abortion is murder and that young children need to understand and not be protected from it. That they need to learn right and wrong. That they need to understand the rights of the unborn. Maybe another person would tell me that even kids need to understand that they are not alone and that they have somewhere to turn if they are in trouble. That it’s important for them to know that no one can tell you what to do with their body, and that they need to understand the rights of women.

Well, I’m here to say that I respect the rights of women and the rights of the unborn, but it’s the rights of the existing children that you have forgotten about. They have the right to be children and not be forced into complex, adult, scary discussions like abortion. They have the right to have their parents decide when they are ready to learn about it. They have the right to a nice, sunny spring morning without graphic, bloody images and screaming old men. They have the right to be children, unburdened with adult problems. Regardless of the views parents plan to teach their children on the topic of abortion, the fact that they use discretion and compassion when deciding if their kids are ready shows far more conscience, good judgment, and just plain intelligence than you have shown us. You put your need to spread your opinion before the rights and needs of those kids. Shame on You.

Helping Others is Not All About You, Assholes

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This Saturday was a busy, volunteer-y day. First, our scout troop helped out in the morning with our town’s cleanup day – picking up trash, planting, mulching, etc. Then, when that was over, it was pick up day for Scouting for Food.

Every year, we spend one Saturday distributing bags all over town and then the next Saturday we spend the day picking up donations, sorting, boxing and delivering them to the local food bank. It is these kinds of scouting activities that keep me involved despite my absolute hatred for some of the policies of the organization. There isn’t a whole lot of organized giving-a-shit around these parts lately, so any time we can do good, it’s worth it.

Sometimes it’s hard not to get a little jaded when it comes to this kind of think, though. The folks that run the food bank out of a local church basement are kind of assholes. You’ve met the type – older folks who get their jollies by being big, obnoxious control freaks. Late year, we spent hours in the heat, collecting and sorting and packing thousands of pound of food. When we were all set, it turned out that the food bank decided to be an asshole. They were under the impression that they were doing us a favor. And so even though we have been doing this for approximately 20 years they decided that they could not possibly accommodate us for dropping off (and carrying in and stacking) the food. We had to do it while the food bank was open. But the food bank was only open from about 9-4 on weekdays. Exactly when all the boys were in school and t\all the leaders and parents were at work. We tried to explain this, but they wouldn’t budge. Not one single one of those old harpies would come in for less than an hour on a Saturday to receive huge donations of food to help the needy and fill their almost empty shelves. Not. One.

We kept trying to work something out, but they were adamant. OK, then. We still had a ton of food and we still wanted to help the needy, so we called the local salvation army food bank, which serves the entire surrounding area, in addition to our town. They were thrilled and immediately agreed to be available for the drop-off. All was well.

Until, that is, the food bank called a few days later demanding, “Where is our food?!” the leader explained to them that since they refused to accept the donation on anything but their strict hours, we were forced to donate the food elsewhere. Then the shit hit the fan. Someone from the food bank wrote a letter to the editor of our local paper accusing the scouts of stealing food out of the mouths of the local hungry. This couldn’t have been further from the truth and a rebuttal was sent by the leader, but it still got out there. It sucked.

This year, the leader spoke with the food bank and they gave him a little bit of a hard time about being available, but he reminded them about whet happened last year and they got a little more flexible. They still managed to keep us waiting in the alley in the heat just to make sure we know who’s boss, of course.

But sadly, this year, the donations were low. We passed many houses where people had left their bags still hanging from mailboxes, fencepost, etc. The donation we did get were smaller. It was sad, because it’s a vicious cycle – worse economy = more need, but it also means that more people are less able to give and fill that need. We definitely had less when we got back to the sorting location. And then, we had to weed out a lot of expired stuff, which shrunk the donation a little more.

I think the thing that pissed me off the most was that the large majority of the donations came from the poorest parts of town. There were people who saw us and ran in and filled up a bag, because hey missed theirs, etc, and clearly, they could ill afford it. But next, we headed to the most affluent part of town, expecting a haul. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Only a coupe of houses in a large neighborhood had donations out. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but in an entire development filled with in-ground pools and huge houses with Mercedes and BMW in the 3 car garages, you would expect more than just a few bags.

One lady saw us and apparently when her bag was labeled with the date, someone made a mistake and had Sunday’s date on it. She said to folks collecting, “This bag says Sunday.” They apologized for the mistake and told her that it should have had that day’s date on it. The she looked them right in the eye and snapped, “Well TOO BAD! It says tomorrow so I will put out my donation TOMORROW!!”

It disgusts me that so many people are too busy being superior, or controlling, or downright crazy that something important gets passed over. They don’t seem to realize that it’s not the Boy Scouts that they are punishing with their attitude, it’s the hungry and needy. And it pisses me off.

Helping others mean nothing if you completely miss the “others” part.

Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues

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Friday night, mr b, our nephew, and I went to see Buddy Guy. Back in the fall, as soon as we heard he was coming, we knew we had to go. I mean, he’s not getting any younger and we didn’t want to miss a chance to see this blues legend in person. Years ago, on a trip to Chicago, mr b and I went to his club, Legends to see Tommy Castro. When we got there, the bouncer stopped us at the door – they were full. There were a couple of people in front of us, who left after a few minutes, so we were the first in line and a few people came up behind us. After we stood there for about 15 minutes, waiting for someone to leave so we could go in, a limousine pulled up out front. And who stepped out but Buddy Guy himself! We said hi to him (the people behind us didn’t say a word – I don’t think they even knew who he was), and he asked what we doing standing around outside. We told him we were waiting to get in and he turned to the bouncer and said, “Let these people in.” We followed him in and shook his hand and he headed backstage. And then we both acted like little girls at an Andy Gibb concert in 1978 (OK, like me at an Andy Gibb concert in 1978). Because seriously? Buddy Guy! Squee!

That night, he did a quick walk-on with Tommy Castro, but it was nothing like really seeing Buddy Guy perform. And we swore if we ever got a chance, we would take it. So when we heard he was coming, I jumped online right away and got us some pretty awesome seats – only 9 rows back, on the end of the aisle. Now I have been to a lot of concerts, but let me tell you, this was one of my the best I have ever seen. He came out and blew us away. He is soft-spoken and kind. He was funny and engaging. And he can play the fuck out a guitar.

He plays with his entire body. His face shows every emotion of every song. He played with three different electric guitars and one acoustic, and each one was better than the last. He played his own stuff, peppered with old blues like Muddy Waters. He played a medley of music through the years who he claims inspires him, but many of those artists have said that Buddy Guy inspires them Artists like the Stones, Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix. He made the guitar speak and sing and scream and do things you never knew a guitar could do.

A little more than an hour into the show, he came over to our side of the stage and I thought Awesome – better photos. But then he did something odd. He took a step down. And then another. And then, OMG, he started walking up aisle! I wasn’t sure if I should,. Be taking photos, but I used the approximately eleventy-thousand other cameras going off around me as my moral compass. He was singing to people and joking with them all the while still practically setting his guitar on fire. And before I knew it, Holy Shitballs, Buggy Guy is standing RIGHT NEXT TO ME!!!!

This was truly the most incredible thing I have seen a performer do at a concert. He went all the up the aisle, climbed on some sound equipment in back, out into the lobby, up the stairs, all over the balcony, came to the edge of the balcony and leaned over the edge, back through the aisles upstairs into the side “boxes” or whatever they are called, down those stairs and back onto the stage. It was like a giant game of Where’s Buddy, set to the most awesome fucking music, ever. As he finished up his final song, he spent time shaking hands and handing out picks and signing autographs from the stage. I tried to get my poster signed, but just as I was in reach some asshole shoved me out of his way and stepped on my foot hard enough to knock my toe ring clean off. I hope he shit his pants on the way home.

And The Winner Is…

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Guys, I have to say: YOU ROCK! I wish I could send each and every one of you a prize, but since I can’t, I just want you to know that you are kind, caring, generous people and I am glad to consider you my friends. MWAH!

Anyway, because I gave additional entries for larger donations, I couldn’t just do a random draw from the comments. There were 57 entries for 12 people, which emphasizes your awesomeness. Instead, I put the entries into a spreadsheet and got a random number. And the winner is (sorry for the shitty quality):

Meno! Which is awesome because about 5 minutes after I posted my first entry (before the contest) about the March for Babies, she was on my walk page and making a donation. Congrats, meno. Email me with your info and I will get your prize out within the week.

Like I said, I’m sorry you all couldn’t win, but thank you so much for helping with this great cause!

Help

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REMINDER: My March of Dimes Giveaway/Raffle for Maddie is down to the last few days! Join in!

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Ever since I was a child, I have hated to ask for things. Even the smallest things. When people hear I’m an only child, they often say, “Oh I bet you were spoiled.” I won’t go off on all the reasons why this pisses me off – but basically, it has to do with a) judging me based on something that means nothing, b) way to be rude, asshole, c) you don’t know me so shut the fuck up, d) god, I’m so sick of stereotyping, and e) not knowing the meaning of spoiled. It’s the “e” that relates to what I have to say today.

I had a good life. I had toys and clothes and things and stuff. But to me, having things does not mean you’re spoiled. Not wanting for things (and believe me, I wanted) doesn’t mean you’re spoiled. To me, being spoiled is demanding things and getting them. And I never demanded. I rarely even asked.

I would want something and hope and wish and dream and occasionally hint, but I hated to ask. I can remember being very young (maybe 5 or 6) and picking up my grandma at work (Montgomery Wards “Buffeteria”) and dying for a donut from the donut case. I would hope that my Grammy or Gramps would read my mind and offer me one. I would look longingly at that case. And even though I knew they would give me a dozen if they knew I wanted it, I would never, ever ask. Not once.

I don’t know why asking for things was so hard for me. I can remember – as an older child – not wanting to inconvenience anyone, or worrying that giving me what I wanted would cause someone financial problems. But I felt this way even before I knew anything about finances and inconveniences, so it’s just something in my personality, I suppose.

And I imagine you are saying, well, it’s hard to ask for stuff. No, It’s not hard for me. It’s painful. I feel sick. I cry involuntarily. I hate myself. It’s like a little piece of me shrivels up and dies every time I have to ask for something.

I hate asking for things, I hate asking for help, and I hate depending on people for anything. And yet, depend on people, I do.

Three days a week, I drop my kids off at my parents in the morning, and they get them off to school and daycare. My girlfriend brings the boy home from afternoon band practice. Two of my friends often stop by to pick up the boy in the mornings when I am home, so I don’t have to drag the girl out. My aunt takes the kids to the gym when I can’t. If I have to work late, I call my dad or aunt. I hate it. I hate it with a passion, but I have to do it.

Every year, my company changes hours in the summers. We work an extra hour on Mondays-Thursdays and work ½ days on Fridays. So in the summers, I have to have my dad and aunt get the kids from daycare every day. Last year, my girlfriend pitched in, too. I hated it.

And when I say I hate it, I don’t mean to imply that I don’t appreciate the help – I do. I don’t know how to repay these people who I depend on. But God I hate depending on them.

Mr b and I rarely go out, because I hate to ask anyone to babysit. We don’t know any teens that sit, so it falls on family. And my family does enough. The thought of asking a friend makes my heart race and makes me feel sick to my stomach. So we don’t go.

So this week, I am extra stressed out.

First off, the daycare won’t be open Friday, meaning that I either have to ask my dad to keep the girl (I didn’t have to because he already told me he won’t be around). Everyone else works, so I am stuck. Sure, I didn’t have to ask anyone to watch her, but I have to ask my work to either take the day off or work from home. I don’t want to take the day off, since I need to hang on to my vacation days, but at the same time, I worry that working from home will be perceived as taking advantage of the company (and I would never, ever want to do that because I love Awesome Company). I hate it.

And then Friday night mr b and I have tickets to see Buddy Guy. Which means I have to ask someone to keep the kids. I hate it.

And summer hours are coming up and I will have to ask/depend on other people to get the kids for me almost every day. I hate it.

And kindergarten registration is next week and – of course – is during working hours (which – IMG I am so sick of the assumption that there is a mom at home to take care of stuff), which means asking to work from home that day, too. I hate it.

And then there’s pre-school “graduation” coming up. And a doctor’s appointment for the boy. And several kid-related events in the summer. And vacations. All requiring asking for days off/working from home/help with childcare/etc. I hate it.

And then finally the boy came home with his summer band practice schedule yesterday and when I saw that there will be mandatory practice all summer, Monday through Thursday from 8:00 – 10:30 am, I cried. I actually broke down and cried. Because, again, with the responsibility.

I need help. And I hate it.

They Aren’t Worth It

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REMINDER: My March of Dimes Giveaway/Raffle for Maddie is still going on! Join in!

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I was in the mall recently and overheard a couple of girls taking about some friends of theirs that were feuding over a boy. And I just don’t get it. Even when I was an angsty, needy teen, I never fought with my friends over boys. No matter how much I “loved” (or, more likely “lusted after”) my boyfriend/crush/booty call, it was never more important to me than my girlfriends. I always had the attitude that even if I married this guy today, on our 50th anniversary, I would b e celebrating my approximately 65th anniversary with Hedge. I had a friend who put boyfriends first. Every time she had one, you never saw her – it was all boyfriend al the time. This started when we were about 13 and continued well into adulthood. As in, she just grew a pair a coupe of year ago. But even she didn’t play those bullshit games that these girls seem to be playing. There were rules. You didn’t date your friends’ boyfriends. You didn’t date your friends’ exes. You took your friends’ sides in every disagreement. Because boyfriends come and go, but friends are (mostly) forever.

But you also know when to let it go. I have had people wonder if it’s weird that hedge is married to someone I used to date. No. It’s not. Because we are adults and high school was twentysmrrphnngg years ago. I’ll admit, if she had ended up marrying THE high school boyfriend, it would have been weird for a while. But she didn’t. She married the Freshman Night Date. Big fat deal. I think she may have written “Good luck with Asshole (not his real name)” in my freshman yearbook. By the time she started dating him, I barely even knew him anymore, so who cares.

We did fight over him once. Recently, in fact:

Hedge: You take him

Gina: Hell no

Hedge: Come ON

Gina: No way – why would I want him?

Hedge: You owe me

Gina: What? For what?

Hedge: Well…um..ooo – I know! Remember that time we hid a bottle of Old Granddad in the bushes and then we went back to look for it and it was gone?

Gina: Yeah?

Hedge: Well, you owe me.

Gina: Why on earth would I owe you for that?

Hedge: Did we not take photos of the bushes so we could use the flash as a light?

Gina: Yeah.

Hedge: And it didn’t work?

Gina: Yeah.

Hedge: Well, it was YOUR camera.

Gina: You’re crazy, bitch. I let you wear my prom gown any time you wanted. I owe you nothing.

Hedge: Eh. You want a beer?

Gina: Yeah.

Hedge: ……..

Gina: ……..

Hedge: Seriously, though. Take him.

Gina: Fuck you.

Hedge: Well, it was worth a try.

Gina: I know. Hey – didn’t he date that skanky girl? Maybe she’ll take him!

Hedge: Give me the phone.

I wanted to tell those girls not to fight over a boy, because 20 years from now, neither of them would want him anymore.