Wednesday, December 27, 2006


To paraphrase Heather B. Armstrong, I’m "Lana Wood" and this is MY blog. I write what I want, when I want, how I want. I do not write to please, entice, or impress anyone. I write what is on my mind at any given time.

I had a few reasons why I started keeping this blog. And after I realized people are reading it, I thought about how I felt about sharing my inner monologue.

When I set up the blog I sought advice from other bloggers about comments, intellectual property rights, and the vagaries of online writing. After gathering information, I decided to enable comments in the hope people would offer constructive criticism. I chose to have moderated comments with the reasoning that nasty people with snippy unconstructive criticism and too much time on their hands would not take the trouble to complete the steps to post a comment. I also felt that in the event someone posted something I found utterly reprehensible, I could choose not to post his or her comment.

I have learned how to check the "stats" for my site, and I know the most of the people who read my blog do not comment. Some do, and I am happy for their interest and the time they take to send me comments. So far I have had a couple comments that I was not quite sure where they are coming from but nothing I have found threatening or offensive. The comments section of a blog in an imperfect medium, and it is difficult to infer the intentions of others written reactions to my prose sometimes. To date I have posted all the comments I have received.

If you send me a comment and want me to respond let me know. I just figured out how to respond to comments on my own blog, but am not eager to have a back and forth in my comment section. You can send me an e-mail. I do write back, but I do not check e-mail frequently. I am pleasantly surprised people are reading and enjoying, or at least thinking about, topics I write about. I hope you will continue to visit me in cyber space.

That Wasn't So Bad

Christmas went much better than I expected. Even though I have endeavored to change things in my life, the old anxieties creep in.

When it comes to the holidays I have learned a few things. The people I love know I love them. I do not have to see them on actual Christmas day, buy them gifts they do not want with money I do not have, ply them with calories and food they do not need, or send them a generic card I have only had the time to sign without even dashing off a personalized sentence or two. And, vice versa. This takes the vast majority of the stress of EVERY holiday down to a very manageable level. I also use some very good advice a friend of mine gave me shortly after my parents died and things became insane with my siblings. "If it doesn’t matter, let them have it." This works very well for me both literally and philosophically.

It is important to me that I give some of my parents’ things to each of my sisters, and each of my nieces and nephews. My parents specifically stipulated in their will that they wanted to leave everything to my younger sister and me. They also stipulated that with the exception of the house, there is a separate section in wills for real property and the laws governing it are different than all other assets, that the disposition of everything is at my discretion. My Mom and Dad were adamant about their decision, but in my heart of hearts I do not believe they intended for me not to share. I think they meant for me and/or my younger sister to get the house and/or the proceeds from the house. Anyway, it does not really matter what they wanted me to do with their stuff, they gave it to me, and I can do whatever I want with it. I cannot keep everything. There are many things I had to discard for various reasons. I am planning a huge tag sale in the spring, and I am trying to share amongst my family those things that have meaning to us all. Things that carry good and comforting memories. Things that have meaning to those to whom I am giving them.

This is kind of tough since my sisters seemingly cannot even discuss this. I have to guess. It is all too difficult. And we are not getting along, so every conversation is like pulling teeth. My younger sister wants to keep everything, not because she wants or needs it, but because she cannot bear the idea of something being throw away. Then there is my oldestsister who wants everything because she feels she is entitled. No matter what my parents said, she just wants everything all the time. Her sense of entitlement on every level fascinates me. Her children because of the hardships of their childhood are heartbreakingly unsentimental, but are beginning to trust that they can have "things" and do need possessions that remind them of Gramma and Poppy. I do not know my next to oldest sister’s children well, and have no idea what might have meaning to them. They did not really know our Mom and Dad. Then there is my brother’s daughter. She is a really neat young woman and it's easy to think of things she would like. She is so gracious, and so eager to be sure everyone has something they will like. I give her all the things I find about her Dad, my brother, so she can learn whatever ever she needs to about him. Her Mom was great about her Dad. When she was a child, we all carefully and kindly discussed my brother, but now that she is grown up, we tell her what we know when she asks. I feel sorry for my brother that he missed out on the amazing person who is his daughter.

A few years before my Mom and Dad died, I went on strike. I am pretty sure I wrote about that somewhere in this blog. Basically I got sick of hosting all the holidays without any help, and much hindrance. Once everyone realized I was serious we explored alternative ways to celebrate. I laughed to myself just this Christmas day when it occurred to me what a dork I am. I felt bad about no longer trying to be the Hostess With the Mostess. This Christmas it occurred to me, nobody else got their ass in gear to do anything, and what kind of a dipshit am I to think it was my responsibility? I cannot express what a freeing and satisfying thing it is to stop feeling so freaking responsible. What we began to do was to scale back for things like birthdays. We stopped having all out shindigs. For Thanksgiving we went to a really nice restaurant, or happily accepted invitations of family friends. For Christmas we went to the movies and to get Chinese food. Once we got over the whole what we were supposed to be doing, the whole Norman Rockwell bullshit, we had a freaking good time. While a lot of people were seethingly enduring the company of loved, yet grating, relatives we were in a movie theater, literally laughing so hard we were sore, and afterwards eating delicious, hot cheap food, with tablecloths and real silverware, and no clean up.

This year most of my family lives over a thousand miles away. I saw most of my friends the week preceding Christmas. I spent Christmas day with my youngest sister. I like to go to midnight mass on Christmas Eve. For some reason my church no longer has midnight mass. They have 10 PM mass. My sister did not want to go to that mass, since she felt it would not be Christmasy enough. On the "if it doesn’t matter, let them have it principle," I agreed to go to 8:30 AM mass Christmas day. Then we went to the movies. We saw Night at the Museum, which was cute. Then we went to the nice Chinese restaurant. I really like this one because the food is good, the place is clean, they have real tablecloths, and most importantly, the people who work there are absolutely lovely. After that we went to my house to exchange presents. I always have a tough time thinking up what to get for my sister. We are very different people, and often what I’d most like to give her is a swift kick in the ass. I picked out some things I thought she would like to help her with her grief. She is very bummed out at holidays, our parents’ birthdays etcetera. It was kind of a "death isn’t sucky" gift bonanza. She has always done pretty well getting me stuff I like. Very seldom does she ever get me anything that makes me think; "what was she thinking?" This year she totally hit the mark. She bought me something I did not even knew existed, that I would not have bought myself if I did, and that I really like. It is all the episodes of one of my favorite shows on DVD. Holy crap! I was so excited like a total loser. And I said "oh man this is way cooler than what I got you, I wish I could think of better stuff for you." She said "nope, I like this stuff you got for me, it is good stuff for me, I need this stuff." See, in real life she is actually pretty cool, she just plays my annoying pain in the ass little sister on TV.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Hard Work

If you have read anything I have written you know a little bit about how I feel or felt about some really crappy stuff in my life. You also know that is not all there is to it. I have some very good memories of my family as well. As with most families similarly afflicted as mine, many of the good and bad memories are inexorably linked. Christmas when I was a child was nice in a lot of ways. We had a large family, and lots of company. That was fun to me. I liked, and still like, being around a lot of people. For me that is still the best and most important part of the holidays. I am not big on the whole compulsory consumerism component of Christmas. I feel like that about Valentine’s Day too. If you need freaking Hallmark to remind you to value your relationship, you might as well pack you bags and leave. My parents had a lot of kids, and hardly any money, hence we did not get everything we wanted for Christmas. We got stuff my parents thought we would like, and stuff we needed. And not a lot of stuff. I am appalled by the sheer volume of stuff people buy their kids. I cannot imagine why any child needs all the crap. When I was a kid, we did funky shit like go outside and play with other kids, or go to the library and read a book. Or do chores around the house, not for allowance, but because we lived there.

When I was little we made birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas Eve day. He liked chocolate with chocolate frosting, just like me. I also made stuff for my Mom and Dad, and grandparents, and older siblings. All of whom ooohed and aaahed over it like it was priceless art. Infinitely cool to me was the holy lean-to. This is what I call the little barn thingy for the crèche figures. I have not been able to unwrap it since my parents died. I get exhausted thinking about it. It has very old ornate figures. They belonged to my grandparents. One of the angels returned to heaven to help God, and one of the wise men is now a double amputee, but other than that, the figures have fared well. My Mom of course kept Jesus tucked away until his birthday, duh. So, when we woke up and found presents from Santa, we also found Jesus had been born. Speaking of which, I obviously still remember the good old days of being the baby of the family, until my younger sister came along and ruined it all for me. Hello, did these people not get the memo about me being the center of the universe? How dare my parents have sex, AND make another baby. Yuck!

It used to drive me nuts when my parents gave me the same stuff as my little sister. I wanted to be different. It just fried my ass that we both got the exact same gift, hence the gift had inherent little sister cooties. Also, my mother was a sicko. That demented woman lied to me when I was a very little girl, before I even started school. Back in the cave man days we did not go to school until we were at least five. I got these ugly ass puffy white boots I very ungraciously and vocally detested for Christmas one year. My mother, the woman who gave me life, the woman who I looked to for comfort in the chaos of the world, lied to me and told me the boots were cool because they were just like the astronauts wore.

Over the summer I asked my younger sister to help me go through my parents Christmas stuff so we could separate it out, and I could send some to my other two sisters, and she and I could take some things as well. My sister kept saying she would help me, but kept putting it off. She has really not done much to help at all. Basically when she helps me it consists of her showing up late, picking a fight, which I infuriatingly have learned not to give her in the past year, then she has a shit fit and goes home, and I do whatever it is alone. With all the things that had to get done in the wake of our parents’ deaths, I have not really had all that much help from any of my sisters. That sucks, but that is how it is, and the reasons are innumerable. I give everybody stuff as I come across it. But I get mad sometimes since I am doing a lot of this alone. My friends would help me, but it is a private thing to me. I want to be miserable alone, and share what I want to share of my feelings and discoveries. Finally right before Thanksgiving my younger sister and I started to go through the Christmas stuff. My sister crapped out after about 20 minutes. I did some alone. My nephew helped me with some, and my sister FINALLY helped me finish last week.

I had really wanted to get some stuff to my older sisters well before the holidays, and I am mad at myself for allowing my younger sister to guilt and stonewall me into subverting my own goal in that regard. Often, in an effort to be cognizant of the fact that others, including others who share my DNA, do not grieve at the same pace or in the same way as me, I am too patient with inconsiderate behavior. It was really hard for me to go through my parents Christmas stuff, and being pissed about doing it months later than I had wanted to, and largely alone did not help. I fondly remembered some stuff we have had since before I was born, and wondered what the hell my parents were thinking about some stuff they brought after I had moved out on my own. These animatronic fiberoptic thingamajigs give me the unholy creeps. I also was sad to discover many things no longer seemed to be here. I know my parents told me more than once that my oldest sister and her kids would come over and shop. This was my parents' cutesy little way of saying they stole stuff when they came to visit. This is also why when she came to visit my Mom would pretend to be asleep and my Dad would keep her entertained outdoors as much as possible. I also know that things were not well taken care of after I moved away. I used to feel guilty for leaving. Not anymore. My Mom and Dad were grown ups, and the choices they made about how to live and care for their home were theirs to make, and the consequences were theirs to live with. I know this because they told me so. It was the greatest gift they ever gave me.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Temper Tantrum

When my parents died they had two dogs. Both dogs were acquired from dire circumstances, both are female, both came with a name that is a people name, you know like Pauline, as opposed to Patches, and both have names that start with the same letter. Pretty freaky, huh? One is a Bichon Frise, the other, a mixed breed, has a lab looking kind of head, and a Corgi looking kind of body. The mutt dog has this really rambunctious personality. My parents had her less than a year before they died. We got the mutt from my oldest sister, who got it from the family of a neighbor lady my Nephew had made friends with. The neighbor lady had gotten too ill to live alone anymore, and her son came and got her to come live with him. Well, the Mom and the wife clashed, so my sister offered to care for the Mom, and along came the dog too. My sister did not like the dog, so when the little old lady went to the quilting bee in the sky, my sister pawned it off on my Dad. My Mom was technically the third little old lady who kicked off on this dog since the little old lady neighbor had gotten it when her little old lady friend had died. This dog knew my parents, particularly my Dad, were ill. She would sit by my Dad day and night. It gave my Dad the creeps, but she was constantly watching over him, and would become distressed when he had episodes of doing more poorly than usual. She also was aware of how fragile my Mom was and did not jump on her or jostle her.

Bichon Frise, for those of you who do not know, is French for either "never shuts the fuck up" or "constantly barks and whines" depending on the dialect. I have, since I met it, referred to this dog as the White Witch. My Mom loved this fucking dog; that right there should have been a clue to the fact my Mom was losing her marbles. My parents acquired the White Witch when an aunt of a coworker of my Mom’s died and the aunt’s son, who ended up with the aunt’s dog, wanted to have it euthanized because he did not like it. My Mom thought this was horrendous, and immediately went and got the dog. My Mom loved dogs, in particular fuzzy lovey ones that looked like stuffed animals, reference the story about the sheepdog as another example. My parents had the Bichon more than a year, less than two, I think, before they died. I personally am not fond or anyone or anything that whines, particularly in annoying little dog form. So, I was never too fond of the White Witch. This dog was a great comfort to my Mom. My Mom liked to hug her, and have her sleep with her. The dog did absolute wonders for my Mom’s psychological well being as she was dying, and nothing I could have talked Medicare into paying for would have been better for her in the twilight of her life. Consequently, the White Witch became a beloved pet in spite of her myriad of infuriating tendencies.

After my parents died, because my sister had been living with my parents, and would continue to live in the house temporarily until she found an apartment, the dogs became her pets technically. After my Dad died, and we had him taken to the funeral home, and went to the nursing home to tell our Mom, I took my sister and the dogs to my apartment. After about two weeks, the day after I buried my Mom, my landlord, who knew both my parents had just croaked, in writing informed me that while he sympathized with my loss, I needed to remove the dogs or he would have to take further action. Even though he knew they were not staying, and that they were family pets, and that I knew it was total fucking bullshit that his insurance had gone up because of my dogs, he pulled this stunt. The real problem was my sister was not picking up their shit, and was tossing cigarette butts all over the place to boot. She swore to me it was not her, but come on people, she appears and the poop and cigarette butts appear; I pry her off my couch, the poop and cigarette butts cease. So now my sister is responsible, and I use the term loosely, for the two geriatric chicky momma dogs.

So, anyway...

My youngest sister flew with my nephew to bring him to his new home with his Mom, my oldest sister. And I got to dog sit, which actually sucked much less than I anticipated. The dogs had a good time with the kitties, and vice versa. They seemed to recognize the house. They had fun being with someone who took them out every couple of hours, and they liked having lots of stuff to eat and drink, and almost immediately found the cabinet where I stashed the biscuits I had bought for them. However, the White Witch annoyed me to the edge of sanity. She barked all the time, and she has really stinky breath. So, I suffered not only the noise but also the stench. Yuck! She would never stop. She is pretty old for a doggy, and appears to me to be in pain. It seems to me like she really has a hard time getting around. The vet and I have been gently suggesting to my sister that the time is coming to euthanize her. I have never been able to figure out why she constantly barks. It is a trait of the breed to be seriously fucking annoying, but no matter what you do; the dog is constantly generating unnecessary noise pollution. Regardless of what I tried, she barked and/or whined. I carried her. I put her down. I held her. I talked to her. I took her out. I brought her in. I sang to her. I told her stories. I watched TV with her. I asked Jesus to please help the little doggy shut the fuck up. I gave her treats. I fed her people food. I gave her nice stuff to lay on. I called my sister and asked her how to make her stop. I considered having her put to sleep. I considered hopping on a plane with her and bringing her to my sister. I considered putting her in a kennel until my sister came home. I could not take it anymore. So I picked up the stinky noisy little dog, and put her out in the hallway, and slammed my office door in her infuriating little furry face. She sensed the door might drown out her barking, so she barked louder. Miraculously, when I returned to working on my computer, I blocked out the din.

Eventually, it occurred to me that I was thirsty. That’s when I remembered the latch on my office door is broken, and I have been on an intermittent quest to replace several broken latches on the interior doors of my house. I tried shaking the door, banging the door, pushing the little thingy that sucks in when you turn the knob in with a pair of scissors, no luck. Then I took off the hinge pins, but could not pry the rusted painted lower hinge apart. Now I had to pee, and the little doggy was barking even more feverishly. I tried many things to get the door open somehow. I could not get out the windows either. The wieghts and mullions are shot, and they would not stay up, I simply do not have enough limbs to keep from slamming myself in the window, and get out it at the same time. In sheer frustration, I acknowledged I hated the door anyway. Its damage reminded me of the incident when the policeman had to break it down, and I was planning to systematically replace it and many other doors in the house. So, I smashed the damaged top panel of that fucker to smithereens, all the while terrified the barking whining demon dog would be hurt by flying debris. I still could not get the fucking door open, and I could not get it off the hinges, and even that livid, I did not have the strength to bash in the undamaged lower panel. So, I reached into the hallway with a broomstick, and dragged over some cans of paint. Then I pulled one inside, stood on it, and climbed over through the broken panel. Then I went and got a hammer and knocked that motherfucker off the hinges. Miraculously the little doggy was unharmed, and had not peed anywhere while she was banished. I got a drink, peed, and took the dogs outside for a nice walk. Then I came back, put the door in the car trunk, and brought it to the dump. All of twenty minutes later I came home to find the little dog had peed and pooped in the house. Luckily, I love that freaking little White Witch for whom I will NEVER dog sit again.

It's Official, I'm Bored

A to Z Survey
A - AvailableYes
B - Best FriendYes, a Few
C - CrushNope, I Prefer Total Annihilation
D - Dad's NameThat's Classified
E - Easiest Person To Talk ToMyself
F - Favorite BandRubber, Followed Closely by Abba
G - Gummy Bears Or WormsBears, of Course
H - HometownI Could Tell You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You
I - InstrumentFlute, Piccolo, Drums
J - JobOk, but I like the Beatitudes best
K - KidsNope, not having any, scrambled eggs
L - Longest Car RideCan't tell ya where from or to, but it was 1,300 miles too many with my psycho sister
M - Milk FlavorGuida's chocolate milk/skim
N - Number Of SiblingsFour
O - One WishFuck world peace, I want firm thighs
P - PhobiasGetting germs from fucking slobs who do not wash their hands after using the bathroom
Q - Favorite Quote"Sometimes you gotta say; "What the Fuck."
R - Reason To SmileBarely dressed men with heaven sent body composition, I feel faint...
S - Song You Last HeardSleigh Ride
T - Time You Woke Up4:57 AM
U - Unknown Fact About MeI do not think I want to live here
V - VegetableNo, I have possession of all my faculties.
W - Worst HabitsBiting my nails, putting up with borish behavior, not cleaning the litter box enough
X - X-Rays You've HadEverything, really. Too many car accidents and bad family medical history.
Y - Your Favorite Foodice cream
Z - Zodiac SignVirgo
Take This Survey at

Monday, December 18, 2006

New Kitten

Here is a picture I took Saturday of Mon Petit Amour, on the left, and his new little sister, Girly Kitty.

She is five months old now, and settling in very well. I have had her almost three weeks, and I am so happy to have her. As with all the pets I have gotten since I became an adult, I adopted her from the animal shelter. I have wanted to find a companion for Mon Petit Amour for quite some time. After the debacle with the
Dominatrix kitty, the vet advised me to get either a dog or a kitten to keep Mon Petit Amour company next time I try adding a new pet to the family. There have of course been some territorial disputes. They scared the crap out of me this morning when they both decided to hang on the shower curtain and pulled the whole kit and kaboodle down. Man, I was wide awake then! Both kitties are having a wonderful time running all over the house. It is so nice to see Mon Petit Amour with someone to play with. I think he is enjoying being a big brother, and even when he is annoyed with her he is gentle in his admonishments.

If you decide to add a pet to your family this holiday season, please consider rescuing a pet from your local animal shelter.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Recent Conversations

At a Cookie Swap:

  • Fellow Cookie Swap Attendee #1: "I wanted to be a writer, so I could tell everybody what I think."
  • Fellow Cookie Swap Attendee #2: "I love animals, I wanted to be a vet, and be like Dr. Doolittle." "Lana, what did you want to be?"
  • Me: "I wanted to be a corporate attorney so I could make lots of money and buy shoes." "I have priorities."
  • Fellow Cookie Swap Attendee #2: "Oh yeah, you should be a lawyer, you love to argue."
  • Me: "No I don’t!"
  • (Group giggle over me arguing I do not like to argue.)
  • Fellow Cookie Swap Attendee #2: "You don’t like confrontation, you are great at arguing. You should be a lawyer so you can help people."
  • Me: "I get to help people being {profession deleted) and what is really great is they pay me and thank me for telling them how fucking stupid they are, I’m in the right career."

I love Cookie Swap Attendee #2, she is a really neat lady, and very shrewd.

Conversations with mooching nephew who stayed with me for a few weeks, he is 22, but is mildly retarded and schizophrenic, don’t drink when you are pregnant kids!

I Raking leaves on the front lawn:

  • Nephew: "Why do we have to rake the leaves? Who cares?"
  • Me: "I care, I want the yard to look nice. Don’t you like to help your poor decrepit old auntie?"
  • Nephew: "If you were not such an old hag, you would have a husband here to help you."
  • Me: "Your mother owes me big time."

II: After shopping for crap ungrateful moocher wanted at K-mart:

  • Me: "Where the hell is my car? I can never find my car since some loser stole my alien antenna thingy."
  • Nephew: "Here it is. Ooops, nope, not your car, too nice."
  • Me; "Hey Punky Brewster it is a long walk to {new house 1,000 miles away} don’t push your luck.

III In my living room after nephew was here a couple weeks, and his sister, with whom he mixes like oil and water, was also staying with me after flying back here to visit her boyfriend at his request. But she did not spend any time with him, and with no place to stay asked my nephew to ask me if she could stay with me after wearing out her welcome with her grandparents and best friend. I said sure, thinking it would be a few hours until she flew home, and this was going into her third day with me. I love these damn kids. Making long distance calls, eating me out of house and home, waking me up at all hours of the day and night. Laying on my couch in their underwear and/or grubby shoes when they take time to break away from annoying the shit out of me, literally, while I am in the bathroom. The upstairs of my house is not heated, so I had the kids sleeping in the living room on mattresses:

  • Nephew: "I pushed the couch up against the door so Mon Petit Amour and The Girly Kitty cannot get on my stuff. I am going to cut through your bedroom to get in the living room."
  • Me: "Oh no you are not. You may not go in my bedroom unless I invite you."
  • Nephew: "Fuck you, you have too many fucking rules! I am leaving and going someplace else where I can watch what I want on a TV that is just for me, and lay on the couch, and not have to have pants on, and I do not have your fucking rules. Fuck you with no phone calls before 8 o’clock in the morning, and no phone calls after 8 o’clock at night, and telling me to stop yelling at people when I am talking on the phone. You have too many fucking rules. How come I can’t come in the bathroom and take a shit when you are in the shower? Why the fuck am I supposed to wait until you rinse the soap out of your hair? When the hell are you going to finish fixing the house so you have more bathrooms? I am not coming here anymore, you have too many rules. Telling me I cannot have any more ice cream, and telling me I have to watch your stupid fucking show, or go in your office if I want to watch something else. How come I have to stop lying on the couch so you can sit on it and watch your stupid fucking shows? That Matthew Perry guy is a loser. Why do you like him? And I am not here to baby-sit your fucking cats. How come you do not punish them for walking on my stuff? They walk all over my clothes. And they mess up my blanket. How come they do not have any of your stupid rules? I am leaving and going some place where I can do whatever I want. Fuck your rules."
  • Me: "I promised your Mommy I would take care of you and keep you safe until we are able to fly out with you to bring you to her at your new house. So, make sure you tell me where you are going so I can let her know you are safe. Want me to help you pack?"

It is not fun to fuck with me and my rules ladies and gentlemen.

Conversation with next door neighbor about the house across the street that just was sold.

  • Me: "I didn’t want to be nosy, since I know how it felt to have the whole neighborhood minding my business when the shit hit the fan in my life, but I keep thinking something terrible happened. Do you know what happened to Mrs. Nice Little Old Lady Who Has Lived There Since I Can Remember? The For Sale sign just appeared one day out of the blue.
  • Neighbor: "Yes, Nice Neighbor Who Helps Everybody With All kinds of Crap told me she got very sick, and her daughter had to put her in and assisted living facility. They needed to sell the house."
  • Me: "Jesus that is awful. She was always so sweet and kind. I hope she will be ok. I know how hard this must be for her family."
  • Neighbor: "Well, you know it is more likely something like this will happen to all of us than not. It is just how things work out."
  • Me: "Do you know anything about the new people who bought the house?"
  • Neighbor: "Yup!" (wicked smirk)
  • Me: "What?!"
  • Neighbor: "It is a young single guy."
  • Me: "I wonder if he has a ladder I can borrow, I need to caulk my windows and clean my gutters."
  • Neighbor: "Lana, you have to check him out when he gets here. See if he is cute, and stuff."
  • Me: "Hi, my name is Lana, I am the advance team on Hottie Reconnaissance. Are you straight? How do you feel about yard work? Do you accept payment in beer and pizza? Yeah, I don’t care if he is hot, or straight, I just wanna borrow his power tools. All single guys have power tools, and great stereos."
  • Neighbor: "Good, then if he is a hottie, I will seduce him, and you can have his other tools. (Wicked peals of laughter.)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Stay Tuned

Wow, I have had an exhausting past several weeks. Lots of family stuff going on. I had unplanned house guests for an extended period of time. I also was dog sitting for a few days. Neither the house guests or the dogs were house broken, so, being the proud owner of my family's recessive neat freak gene, my nerves are quite frayed.

I just sent the dogs home a few minutes ago. I threw all the dirty clothes and linens into the basement for washing. Mopped the doggie presents off the floor, and Febreezed all the upholstery. I'll do the laundry and load the dish washer tomorrow morning, right after I buy a No Vacancy sign to put up in front of my house, and think of what to put in the extra bedroom so no one can sleep there. I think I will also get rid of my couch and get some really uncomfortable chairs instead.

I also have a new kitten I adopted a couple weeks ago to keep Mon Petit Amour company. I will get back to writing some stories, maybe some about what has been going on, tomorrow. Right now, I am going to have some ice cream and sit on MY couch, and watch MY television.

Friday, December 8, 2006

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

You Are a Sunflower

"When your friends think smile, they think of you. There is not a day that goes by that you can't find something good about the world and your fellow human."

I took a personality test too, turns out I have one.

My Personality
Openness To Experience
Test Yourself Compare Yourself View Full Report
Find your soulmate / pysch twin

Ugg Boots, MySpace Quizzes and Sheepskin Leather Factory by Pulseware Survey Software

I like Purple. I will be able to write more next week, still overrun with relatives. If one more person walks in the bathroom while I am in there, I will be finding out if they have internet access in prison. Seriously, these people have been my family my whole life, they KNOW I hate people talking to me while I pretend to have bodily functions so mere mortals are not intimidated by my perfection. What the fuck is it with the not even bothering to knock on a closed door?

Tuesday, December 5, 2006


My friend Sharky is like a sister to me. Like a sister is supposed to be, like on TV, and in movies. Not like my real sisters with whom I have very painful relationships. Sharky and I have been friends, our parents and older siblings claim, since we were fetuses. Sharky's been married to another one of my good friends, Sensei, for, lemme do the math, sixteen years. I met him a long time ago when he and Sharky were dating. He was a nice man, still is, and a really good Dad, and husband, and friend. Sharky's really cool, and a major freaking geek. She wears glasses, and has since I can remember. When we were little she always got in trouble for kicking the shit out of other kids. They had it coming. She is a soccer Mom who hates soccer Moms. Now that she is done breeding and lactating, she has gleefully returned to caffeine, chocolate and alcohol. She cracks me up with the rum and cokes because she gets buzzed off like half an ounce of rum in a 12-ounce glass over the course of an afternoon.

Sharky had a pretty crappy childhood too, worse than mine. Her parents got divorced when she was in grade school. Having had such a tough time growing up, Sharky made up her mind she was going to be a good Mom and be there for her kids. Sharky and Sensei have four kids who are some of my favorite little people in the world, actually nowadays a couple of them are more like medium people then little people. They have Charlie who is in fifth grade, Sally who is in third grade, Lucy who is in kindergarten, and Linus who is too little for any school just yet. Their kids are such different people from each other, it is amazing to me to watch them grow up.

When my Dad died Sharky was the first person I called after my older sisters. Sensei was a pallbearer. When my Mom died nine days later, they were the first people I called again. Sharky came with me to make the arrangements for my Mom. Church totally killed us all when my Dad died. We could not take watching another coffin going up and down all those stairs again. We had a nice service at the funeral home for my Mom where we could be much more irreverent. I do not remember much of anything about it at all, but my friends tell me it was nice. Sharky also made me feel a lot better about the whole crapfest about my birthday. I was so upset about it when my parents died, Sharky told me "Lana, sometimes my kids do stuff that make me want to peel off my skin and die, but I still love them all the time, and nothing they ever do could make me not love them. Your Mom and Dad love you like that too." Like I said, Sharky is pretty cool.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Friends In My Head

Once upon a time, long, long ago... Ok, so it was last May, after I was blessedly laid, layed, whatever, off. I have always been mighty sucklicious at the whole lay lie thing, get over it if I am wrong. I was looking on to try to decide if I wanted to stay in my field, do something else, get a boob job and some lipo and become a trophy wife, you know, exploring my options. They have an extensive boob job section on Monster dontcha know? There I found a link that led me to my new obsession: exploration of blogs. The link led me to the blogfather, Waiter Rant. And so it began. I was on the road to collecting my blog friends in my head. Much thanks for the "friend in my head" concept to Wendy Williams, the Queen of all Media, who I discovered after Howard Stern went to Sirius, and I was still making the commute from hell to get to and from work everyday. Someday I will write a post about how a white thirty seven-year-old woman from the uptight lily-white suburbs ended up listening to a black radio station. That’s a good story too. Today, I want to talk about who I love on the net, and why. I always thought blogs were something stupid horny junior high kids wrote to talk about the cute boy or girl they sit next to, and how mean their parents are for not letting them smoke pot in the house. Turns out some pretty cool people are writing some pretty cool stuff out here on the Internet.

I read through all the Waiter’s posts. I liked his irreverent reverence. His allusions to his decision to leave the seminary intrigued me. His posts about his wrestling with his religious convictions were experiences I could relate to wholeheartedly. I loved his insightful Aesopesque tales about happenings at the bistro where he works. His musings about his youth, relationships, his family, and his joint custody, and the intrigue at the dog park. So, man, I loved this guy. Oh, my God, thank you Jesus, God Bless America, GOOOOAAAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was thrilled out of my mind to have something, anything intelligent to read. Something that had some thought behind it, something that spoke to my soul and touched my heart and piqued my curiosity. I know a lot of wickedly intelligent people, and have some great conversations with them, but since my Mom and Dad died I have had two less wickedly intelligent people to talk to. My parents were two of the people who I could most easily talk to, so I have been intellectually lonely. I really needed some kind of sustenance for my brain. I’d read every damn book and magazine I have more than twice. I became in serious danger of being banned from both Barnes and Noble and Borders for hanging out and reading two or three books a day. Leaning up against the wall, Starbucks coffee clutched in my voracious little hands, blocking their aisles as I paced, and read and talked to myself. Thank God I found people with neurons that synapse effectively on the Internet. I would have otherwise slipped into a coma of complete lack of hope for the world months ago.

So, on the Birds of Feather Flock Together theory of life, I checked out the blogs Waiter linked to. Some I really liked, like Opinionistas, Clublife, The Hollywood Machine, and El Guapo in DC, and more recently the Barmaid Blog. Some not so much, some sucked big donkey dick, some had interesting ideas, but were so poorly written, and/or flat out stupid I just clicked back on my browser and tried again. These blogs I liked, and even some of those I didn’t like, led me to other blogs I have fallen in love with like D-Listed, Dooce, Post Secret, and Wide Lawns. I also discovered all kinds of things on the Internet I never knew about through mentions on these sites. I feel a lot less lonely in the world with my problems with my family. To know I am not the only one who is surrounded by people who make them upset, are so fundamentally different from them that it is amazing we are from the same planet, never mind family, and who love those people so fiercely and wholly that they would fight and kill and die for them. I found Craigslist which I totally love, for the freaks alone, not to mention the actual functionality. I found all kinds of place to shop, and eat, and learn. I am in total intellectual stimulation heaven. I have a lot more fun, and am a lot more able to be patient, and truly engaged, when I actually go outside and talk to people live in person because of the time I spend reading and writing in the vast and anonymous world of the Internet.

After I had been reading for a few months I decided to write. I needed to write. When I first went to college right after high school, I was an English major. I have always loved to both read and write. I know that when you write something, the meaning it has to you is lost to all but you. The experience of reading what someone has written is informed by all your own experiences and perceptions. I do not know any of these blogers I love. I do not know how they feel about what they write or why they write, I just know what it means to me. When I comment on their posts, or send them e-mail, I do not know if they are amused, or intrigued, or bored, or insulted, or if they feel validated or misunderstood. I have always been stingy with my writing. I did not want to share; I did not care how anybody felt, or what anything I wrote meant to them. At times I chose to share with a friend or family member, or some man who had managed to keep my attention for more than a New York minute. Frequently I had to share with a boss or teacher for whom I had to write something. I have always had a lot of positive support for having accomplished the task I had set out to perform. Now I am enjoying being selfish in a different way. I am sharing my writing now, and I hope if anyone reads it, that their perceptions and experiences converge to make what I write validating for them. My new selfishness is in that I write what I want, when I want, how I want. It is all about me, and I am utterly fascinated with myself, as you should be with yourself.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am cooking a small dinner for my younger sister and me tomorrow. Most of the rest of my family has moved to the Midwest to be Fundamentalist Christian Republicans. I have no idea how I ended up related to them. When I was a child I always hoped I was adopted, no such luck. My parents assured me I was indeed theirs, and the hospital gave them the right kid when they took me home.

I hope anyone who reads this is having a pleasant, low stress, relaxing holiday with people who do not piss you off too much, and some delicious food you do not have to cook or buy because that is the best kind.

We all have a lot to be grateful for, if you cannot think of something, think harder.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


One of the hardest things to deal with for my family has been the behavior of my oldest sister. She has been the source of a lot of pain for all of us. I am not sure exactly what her problem is in a lot ways. I know she suffered some brain damage as a result of a birth defect that was not corrected in a timely fashion, mainly because medical science had not yet discovered it. Her doctor, who took care of her once the medical problem was discovered, was the pioneer in the treatment, and was a world class and world renowned expert in his field. I talked about it with my Mom and Dad very often and in great depth. My parents explained that she had some very mild retardation as a result of the brain injury. This meant she would not be a rocket scientist, not that she could not go to school or work, or be a nice person. She has had, since her early teens, a terrible drinking problem. Though she did stop drinking about two years ago, there are just some things about her, her personality, and the ramifications of her abject failures as a parent that have been devastating to our family.

When my sister was twelve, she was ultimately removed from our home, made a ward of the state, and placed in a "home" by the state child protective services. This action was taken after my parents had exhausted all other avenues available to them at the time. The incident that touched off this removal was my sister’s attempt to burn down this very house for the second time. The door to the room she set the fire in that second time still is broken where the policeman kicked it in. My other older sister had tried to hold me away from what was going on when my Dad was trying to get my sister out. I wriggled free, and clearly remember watching the policeman knock the door in. I remember seeing my sister kneeling on the floor in her nightgown, feeding the small fire she had going. I remember the flames reflected on her face. I remember how it felt like all the air and life was sucked out of the atmosphere as I watched the police stamp out the fire, and drag her kicking and screaming from the house. Imagine the Exorcist, only worse. I was three; my Mom was pregnant with my youngest sister. Holy fucking shit, I still have no idea what the hell happened.

My sister has three kids. They are each about a year apart in age. She claims the youngest two have the same father, but that seems quite unlikely as the second child’s father was in jail at the time the third child would have had to of been conceived, but we really don’t know. Her kids are all in their early twenties now. The middle child has been married since she was eighteen, and left home several months before her eighteenth birthday. The youngest child has a two year old, who, by the way, is one of the freaking cutest little people I have ever met, and her oldest, her son, is a special needs person due in small part to a family predisposition for mental illness, but mainly to the fact that she drank heavily, and with abandon throughout her first pregnancy. He lives with her, I suspect in large part due to the fact she gets money and subsidized housing for having him there, and it sure beats getting a job and taking responsibility for herself. She also drank during her other pregnancies, but because she was living with the second child’s father’s family during the other two pregnancies her access to alcohol was limited, and she had a lot of people around giving her a lot of crap about eating right and going to the doctor.

One of the hardest things to deal with in being her sister, or her family in general, as it seems we have all discussed it at some point in spite of all our dysfunction, is that she lies, has an incredibly rich fantasy life, and apparently has absolutely no recollection of all the absolutely horrible things she has done to us all. My Mom and Dad made a lot of terrible mistakes themselves. However, I feel at some point, you must come to terms with yourself about you own childhood. When you are a child you cannot protect yourself, you cannot go some place else, and you cannot do much to affect change in your family dynamic. When you are a grown up, things that were difficult for you growing up color your life as an adult, but as an adult, you can choose who you will be, and how you will interact with the world, and the people in your life. My sister has never taken any responsibility for her actions, or the consequences of her actions to anyone, especially herself.

Inherent to their ages, and the point they are in their lives, all her kids are grappling with the inconsistencies of the world as presented to them by their Mom, and how the rest of the world perceives everything to have played out. I know how terrifying and heartbreaking it was for me to be my sister’s sibling; I cannot imagine how it must have been for her children. My sister has made a lot of decisions in her life that put her children in danger. A lot of terrible things happened to those kids. But she is their Mom. I know from experience that you can create a healthier relationship with your parents after a "bad childhood," but mine was a picnic in the park comparatively. That relationship cannot work unless the parent is willing to work at it too, I think. My sister will not even talk to her kids about what happened in their lives. She tells them all the things they experienced never happened. No matter who you are, or what happens in your life, what your Mommy says matters. To have their mother tell them that nothing bad ever happened, and she never did anything that hurt them is very hard for them right now.

I pray so hard for them all that they will be ok. I see them all trying to learn from scratch what "people do" and trying to figure out ways for themselves to deal with their Mom in a way that is ok for them. Since she is their Mom they want to have her in their lives, and since she is such a hot mess, they feel compelled to take care of her. So ironic since she hardly did anything that can be construed as taking care of them. But, they are scared and angry now, and have a long hard road ahead of them toward healing their hearts, and souls and figuring out who they want to be. The greatest sorrow of my parents’ lives, my fathers’ in particular, was what they felt was their failure as a parent to my oldest sister. Truly, my parents made some decisions as parents that were, and are, utterly incomprehensible. At the time my sister was a child, the resources for families with children with behavioral difficulties and special needs simply did not exist. Both my parents had less than ideal childhoods as well, and were ill equipped to deal with a child with such needs, as well as four other children who had varying degrees of difficulties of their own. But, the most important thing about my childhood, and that of my siblings, is that it is over, and we know better.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I Have an Owie

I’ve been very busy with family stuff the past few days. There is quite a lot going on, and I am doing my best not to "fix" everything. My family is never concerned if they are asking too much of me, or if they are a burden, or if they are annoying me, or taking advantage of me. Poopie heads. Also, I had to have an endoscopy yesterday, and I feel like I have internal road rash because my doctor took a bunch of biopsies. She is pretty sure I am the proud owner of some pretty gnarly ulcers, but there is nothing major the matter. I have a lot of stuff I want to write about, but I am distracted with things I want to get done around the house. Plus there’s the whole I really ought to get a job thing looming in the background.

Here’s a list of stuff in the past few days that have made me happy, pleased, or amused:

  • My nephew doing a wicked impression of my foul language when I am exasperated in some home improvement project or another, complete with inflection and hand motions. He’s 22, relax, I am not corrupting the youth of America.
  • The beautiful leaves on the trees outside my kitchen window.
  • My demented cat.
  • My sisters.
  • My house.
  • My car.
  • Men, seriously they are fun as hell, and fun to look at too.
  • Matthew Perry, I love Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. I don't care if anybody else does.
  • Law and Order in all its incarnations except SVU.
  • Good drugs and great nurses at my endoscopy.
  • Hot smooth soup on my sore throat.
  • Music.
  • My ability not take myself too seriously, while simultaneously effectively communicating to others that I am not one with whom to fuck.
  • Help from beyond the grave from my Dad whose tools, and equipment, and supplies I use every day.
  • Good toilet paper.
If I can teach the world something today may it be to never skimp on the toilet paper.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Church is an immense presence in my family. I, like most Roman Catholics, have a lot of issues with the Church. Some of them are ethical, some are personal, and some are crises of faith within myself. In our town there are four Roman Catholic churches, one downtown, one in the boonies, one on the west side shoreline and one on the east side shoreline. I’ve been to all of them lots of times.

The west side church was my Mom’s parish when she was a little girl. The house she lived in was her family’s summerhouse, and after World War II they moved down to the summerhouse permanently. The east side church was my Dad’s parish when he was a kid. His family moved to that neighborhood when he was in high school. The downtown church has been the place where I have gone to lots of weddings, funerals, and baptisms. The boonie church was the church my family went to when I was little, until I was in third grade. When I was in fifth grade, my parents began sending us to Catholic school in the parish where my Mom grew up. This is still the church we go to when we go to church just to go to church, and where we do all our "Catholic" stuff.

I am cool with God. My problem is with religion. It seems to me the more I learn about any religion, including my own, the more religion seems to serve to separate us from each other and whatever it is we call God. There seems to be a lack of comprehension of the meaning in the performance of the rituals, a lack of conviction in the espousing of the dogma, and an abundance in the use of God and religion as an excuse to persecute others on many levels. As has been said many times, more evil has been perpetuated in the name of God, than for any other cause, in the history of humankind. Everyone is so concerned with the idea that my God can beat up your God that it is not common practice to recognize and embrace the similarities of belief and humanity between all religions. All religions want to characterize themselves as superior. All religions want to purport to provide their proponents with the highest form of salvation possible. All religions have elitism, sexism, and classism ingrained.

The reason my parents stopped going to the boonie church was due to a falling out with the head priest. According to the Catholic Church my parents were not married and their children were illegitimate. This is because my Dad was divorced. If you are divorced you can through a lengthy and vigorous process to get an annulment, which basically makes your old marriage, the one you got divorced from, not to have existed in the eyes of the Church. You need to do all kinds of interviews, and all kinds of testimony, and get all kinds of witnesses. This was technically a piece of cake for my Mom and Dad. My Dad had become a single father with full physical and legal custody of three children in 1968. Eventually the courts stripped his first wife of all parental rights and my Mom legally adopted my older siblings. Trust me, you have to be one screwy character to have your kids completely taken away, even now. For a MOTHER to have this done was very unusual at the time.

The problem came in with the annulment process and some decisions my parents made. My Mom and my Dad, to a great extent, but to a lesser extent than my Mom, were heavily involved in church activities. At that time priests from several parishes in the area lived together in this gorgeous house I absolutely loved. It had tons of bedrooms and bathrooms, and a pool, and huge yard to play in. My Mom and Dad helped them a lot. My Mom took care of their administrative work, and my Dad fixed stuff. This was a wonderful experience for me and for other kids whose parents were also involved. It was a life forming experience to get to know the priests as people and get to know about my religion in such a way. It was fun to see the Italian priest cook and fight in Italian with his sister when she came to visit. To spend time reading and looking at art books with the priest who was an art historian, to get to know the tiny little priest who always wore cowboy boots, and the priest who had a dog a took everywhere.

My Mom and Dad became especially close friends with the priest with the dog. They were all about the same age, and had a lot of similar experiences of childhood as Catholics. They experienced the transition of the Church through Vatican II, and had vivid, and humorous to me, memories of masses said in Latin with the priest’s back to the congregation. He came to visit us very often. We all loved him and his dog. He was funny and kind, and loved children. He was working with my Mom and Dad to process my Dad’s annulment. The seventies were a great time of change and development for the Catholic Church in American, and many priests, parishes and parishioners were breaking with Vatican sanctioned dogma and protocol. One issue with my parents was the fact that neither of them could receive communion because my Dad was divorced. The irony of the fact that this was so important to them, and that I am just not able to make that leap on transubstantiation has not escaped me. This was especially painful for my Mom. After talking with the priest with the dog, my Mom began to receive communion again. This was cool with everyone. No other parishioners gave her any shit about it, and others began to also explore their faith and make conscious decisions to embrace the Church and technically disobey it at the same time, you know by doing stuff like not having Irish twins, and being gay.

Meanwhile that really nice priest with the dog who loved kids and was helping my parents with the annulment was also going through a crisis of faith himself. A crisis he discussed at length with my Mom and Dad, as well as, of course, other friends and confidants. In the Catholic Church priests and nuns cannot get married and/or have children. This is a vow they take in dedicating their life to the Church. As I am sure most people know from negative press the Church has received in recent years the Catholic Church handles dissention in the ranks, and discipline of their clergy in prescribed manner. Wherein the transgressing clergy person is shuffled off to a retreat to explore their transgression, and make decisions about moving forward in the Church. A big huge fat transgression is choosing to leave the active priesthood to do funky crap like date so you can meet someone you like and marry them and have babies. The priest with the dog really desperately wanted to be a Daddy, and only slightly less desperately wanted to be a husband. As you can imagine this was a major problem for our parish. Everyone loved him and would miss him, and the founding priest of the parish was furious.

The founding priest was the problem. Lets pretend his name was Father Judas. Father Judas had founded the parish in the late sixties, and my parents and others joked behind his back that he thought the parish was called Saint Father Judas. He was not a big fan of the young, hip, socially relevant priest with the dog. He thought this guy was going to screw everything up. So, when the priest with the dog got shuffled off the Arizona by the Church to reflect upon his decision, Father Judas was happy as a pig in shit. To celebrate, the first Sunday after the priest with the dog left, Father Judas refused to give my Mom communion while she was standing right there in line, and it was her turn. He admonished her, and kicked her out of the Church. So, we stopped going to church regularly. My parents kept in touch with the priest with the dog, and eventually we got a Christmas card of him with a picture of him with his wife, a former nun who he met after leaving the priesthood, and their baby. So, this is why I have a problem with religion. God does not give a shit if we love someone so much we want to marry them. God does not give a shit about Father Judas’ ego. God wants us to believe in something beyond ourselves. For our lives to have meaning, and for us to have solace in difficult times, and camaraderie in happy times. This is why I am trying to decide if I am going to give up on being Catholic. I want to be closer to God. I do not want to be separated from my faith by bureaucratic bullshit and rules created a long time ago to give order to a society radically different from the one we now live in. Rules that are enforced by people who are more interested in being in charge than in being Christian.

Friday, November 10, 2006


While I have been settling into being the proud owner of a construction site, I have been on an unplanned and much needed hiatus from working. I had a job where I was unhappy and was fortunate enough to be laid off a few months ago. I am incredibly, terrifyingly good at what I do for a living. I am too smart for my own good, and understand too much. There really was not enough for me to do at my job, so I was laid off for "lack of work." I always feel uncomfortable at work, as I always feel like a lot of people are waiting around for me to fuck something up, and the more I do not fuck up, the more hostile they become. This of course does not bode well for my enthusiasm to get my ass out of bed and go to work. I am sure that the door of displeasure swings both ways, and am at a complete loss as to how to change how I feel and function at work in order for it to not suck so much. This time away from work has been a wonderful time for me, so much so, that I have more than once wanted to write a thank you note to the man who fired me. I have been trying to decide what I want to do about my career. Undoubtedly, I need to go back to work in order to support my ridiculous habit of living indoors with heat and all.

Unfortunately I have realized I am afraid to go to work. I find job interviews to be utterly humiliating and dehumanizing. My complete failure to master even the basics of work place obsequiousness has led me to have a complete lack of confidence in my ability to ever get a job that does not suck huge donkey dick every day. I do not want to ever be in the position where I feel I cannot defend myself for fear of losing a job again. But, in the work place, telling people who desperately need it to go fuck themselves is career suicide. I have no idea why bullies are tolerated in the work place. I have no idea what purpose they serve except to drive the truly talented and capable out the door. I have no idea why it is the norm and the expectation to aspire to mediocrity and gleefully fall short. I have no idea how I will ever function in a working environment again. Things have never been easy for me at work. I have no patience for all the inherent junior high school level of social interaction that life at work entails. I do not care who is fucking whom. I do not play golf of possess the ability to give a shit about someone else’s golf score. I do not want to go to pseudo social work related events. I want to go to work each day, get some shit done, and go the fuck home and spend time with my family and friends.

I’m doomed.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Today is Election Day!

Please vote today. There are people fighting and killing and dying for us. We owe it to them to vote.

Less than one hundred years ago, in 1920, an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America was passed that granted women the right to vote. We owe it to all the women who could not vote, and who fought for that right, to vote.

Less than fifty years ago, in 1964, an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America was passed that granted all people the right not to be impeded from voting. We owe it to the people who fought so valiantly for our civil rights to exercise them and vote today.

The people who founded our country knew they were imperfect and that a country that could not, or would not, change when things were no longer working could not survive that is why they made our Constitution a living document. A tribute to the possibilities of the human race. We owe it to everyone not fortunate enough to have the right to vote to exercise that right which we so cavalierly take for granted.


Monday, November 6, 2006

Fear and Loathing in DIY (III of III)

So, me and the shrink obviously had a lot to talk about. When I arrived the first day she said, "Why are you here?" I said, "I have a lot of anxiety. I hate my new job. I crashed my car. My sisters are bitches. I am really pissed off at my parents for stuff I thought I had long since overcome. I am tired. I thought I was a grown up until my parents died. I have a lot of infuriating things and people in my life and they are not going to stop being infuriating, so I need to learn how not to be infuriated." And then I took a breath.

I had a lot to talk about and just needed to talk to an unbiased party about it. I would talk to my friends about therapy, and what I was working on, and how I felt about it. One of my friends cracked me up when I told her my shrink said I am not a bad person for not wanting to have anything to do with some of the people in my family. My friend told me, "hey we have been telling you that all along, but hey if hearing it from some stranger at a hundred and twenty five dollars an hour makes you feel better, fine be that way." I needed to work through all my feelings so I could make an intelligent informed decision about the house. In a very basic general sense when people die, all their stuff is given a dollar value, and added up, and then all the money they owe is added up. All the money that is owed has to be paid before the probate matters can be closed. My Mom and Dad had a house, and lots of freaking bills. So, the way to pay the bills was to sell the house. I told my sister she could buy half, I could buy half, or we could sell the whole thing. My sister thought it would be great for me to buy the house and for her to live with me. I told her, "Well, Mommy and Daddy chose to allow you to finagle an extended adolescence for yourself and mooch off of them, I am not interested in making that choice. You are my sister, and I love you, and I cannot live with you. I would kill you before lunch the first day."

So then I had to decide do I want to deal with this dilapidated center of most of my bad memories. Luckily, I had talked to my parents about the house, and how I felt about it and why. Of course when my parents became ill, all bets were off. Nobody was cleaning out the gutters, or finding out what leaked, or anything else. We were just taking care of my parents and trying not to spontaneously combust from stress. My parents had a very volatile and passionate relationship. They both had a lot of issues with each other, their parents, their kids and themselves. They so obviously and hopelessly were in it for the long haul with each other that I was well over thirty before I realized that most people do not try that hard at relationships. I also I am still not over the shock that most people do not say "see you later," or something to that effect when they leave the house and "hi, honey I’m home," or something to that effect when they come back. In our family we never say goodbye. Even when my parents were not speaking they still did this. Part of how their passive aggressive unconventional methods of pissing each off manifested was to not take care of the house. My Mom stopped cooking and cleaning, my Dad stopped repairing and maintaining. Obviously the house was in a great state of disrepair.

I spent the vast majority of my childhood under cars, or ladders, or workbenches handing my Dad tools. I knew that it was possible to fix stuff. I knew how to use a lot of tools. I knew I like to fix stuff. I knew I can do any thing I damn well please if I set my mind to it. I knew whether I decided to keep the house or not I was going to have to clear it out, clean it, and fix it, at least a little, myself. I knew I had always thought it was a good idea to get a fixer upper house if you had any ability with fixing stuff at all. I figure if you need to put some elbow grease into a house, you really get to know it, and get to make it your own. Since I would only have to technically pay for half of the house I wold have instant equity, and some cash to begin to do some repairs. The house is a good investment. It is in a desirable area, with good schools, convenient to public transportation and major roadways. Lots of shopping of every imaginable item you could dream to buy, and it has a big yard.

The yard is one of the main reasons I decided I wanted the house. You see, every pet I have had my entire life is buried somewhere in it. I mean except for mon petit amour, the current furry tyrant in my life. After I spent some time and some co-pays talking to the shrink, I got unpissed off beyond the realm of all human comprehension, and could think straight again. Sure this house is the center of most of my bad memories, but it is also the center of most of my good ones. We had so much fun just playing outside when I was little. Yes, back in the day children went outside in nature and shit and actually played with other children. We didn’t need no stinking SEGA. In our house music was important. It was fun. I often catch myself humming and wiggling everywhere including to the Muzak in elevators. To be honest I cannot really dance, it is more like jumping around like a lunatic to a soundtrack, but it is fun as hell. I learned this important life skill, this lunacy, at home.

Now here I am at my construction site. I have a hell of a lot of work still to do here. I call my garage my Hail Mary Garage because prayer is pretty much all that is holding it up. I call my kitchen my Fantasy Kitchen because I fantasize I someday will have the money to gut it. When I started writing this story a few days ago it was because I was having a flare up of being overwhelmed by this process. I have accomplished so much in the past six months. Nothing leaks anymore. I have dragged away dumpster fulls, and car fulls, and everything I could get the garbage men to take fulls of stuff, stuff, stuff and more stuff. I have organized almost everything. I have cleaned a lot of things. I have made a lot of decisions that, a year ago, I thought I would never have the strength to make. I have worked with contractors to make some very serious repairs that could not wait, and needed to be done for my own safety or sanity or both. I have twenty-four cans of paint through which I am slowly but surely working as I get walls scrubbed enough to paint. I have rewired outlets, and hung fixtures. I have overcome my fear of climbing on ladders. I have broken and healed my foot. I have learned how to take care of the furnace, and the plumbing, and the electricity. I have become the proud owner of a self-propelled electric start lawn mower. I have overcome any squeamishness I had about bugs, and rodents. Fuck PETA. I want to learn how to use my Dad’s shot guns so I can start picking off those squirrels who hold their insolent furry coffee breaks on my patio set. I need to call planning and zoning to see if I need a permit for that.

Fear and Loathing in DIY (II of III)

It has certainly been a long road from wanting to somehow get in the witness protection program to owning the house I grew up in. Sometimes I am not sure how I got here. I vividly remember the day I signed the paperwork at my closing six months ago. I looked across the table at my lawyer, who it turns out is one of the most truly kind and nurturing people I have ever met and said "I must have a secret drug problem no one has the heart to tell me about." She chuckled knowingly since she has been through many closings with many people in many different circumstances. I think everybody feels eviscerated at closing. It was a long and difficult process for me to buy the house. Getting a mortgage was very difficult for me. In retrospect mostly because I second guessed myself, and had no experience with getting one.

I needed to use a mortgage broker since I needed to finagle a lot. I could not go to a bank since they charge you up front for the loan application, and then may refuse you. Being the white sheep of my family full of black sheep I long since rebelled by having freakishly good credit. Most people do something they maybe should have thought out better in the throes of grief. I had made the mistake of impulsively and recently changing jobs. This makes you look like a bad credit risk. I am not a bad risk in any situation. For all the literal blood sweat and tears I put into deciding to buy the house, and knew I would have to put into the house for years to come, you bet your sweet ass I knew what I was doing and was hell bent on the commitment. I felt the mortgage broker was unscrupulous, but dismissed it as first time homebuyer jitters. I should have paid attention to what my parents called my innate asshole detector, and gotten a different broker. So, I consequently have an adjustable rate mortgage which loosely translated means "bend over bitch, and we ain’t even gonna kiss ya!"

My parents’ wills were identical. They left everything to each other, and in the event the other predeceased them, they each left everything to me and my younger sister. My parents told me many reasons why they made this decision. My parents told me they had shared this decision with all my siblings. Ooh, those geezers were lying bastards! They did not tell my siblings what they had decided. Which in retrospect explains why they all kept telling me what they wanted, and that I had to give it them right away. Seriously, based on the life of our family until the day our parents died, what the fuck did they all expect? Even though my parents apparently only discussed this at length with me, each other, and the attorney who drew up their wills, no one but my siblings was surprised by their decisions, or to leave me responsible to carry out their wishes. And I got tell my siblings. Have you ever seen someone in the cemetery pacing and yelling and gesticulating at the ground? That was me, yelling at my naughty old people who left me here alone with my siblings without their intercession.

The aforementioned kind and nurturing lawyer had a hell of a lot of fun, sarcasm intended, on her hands dealing with the siblings. She and the probate judge spent a lot of quality time together. They discussed lots of things like explaining to my siblings that yes I am in charge, yes everything I am doing is legal, and yes my parents really meant it. Yes I can tell them no, and yes I really do have to wait to pay all the bills before I give anybody, including myself, anything. This really sucked, to be dragged into court by my family. To be accused of killing my father by the most insane and delusional of my siblings. Apparently I must have done it with my psychic powers since he was alone at the time. To have no help from my family with sorting through my parents belongings and affairs. To have to fight tooth and nail for everything. To have to take my sister, my co beneficiary, who I love dearly, to a meeting with the attorney to explain to her that in spite of any moral obligation I may feel to her I had exhausted all other options and was now legally required to evict her from my parents home where she had been a non paying, irresponsible, property damaging tenant from hell.

There has not been one day that has gone by since my parents died that I have not had to deal with some painful and insane situation with one or more of my siblings. Truth be told there was not one day before my parents died either. I am grateful to an extent that cannot be expressed in any language known to the human race for the people in my life who love and care for me. I am grateful for my friends, who have stayed up with me through long sleepless nights. Who have climbed into the attic of the rickety garage, who have crawled through the rodents in the basement, who have helped me in every way I had the strength to let them. I am grateful for my neighbors who lend me tools, and teach me how to use them, and watch over me kindly, and generously. I am grateful for all the wonderful and kind people who have come into my life in the past two years.

I am grateful that almost a year to the day of when my father died, I did not hurt anyone but myself. I did not hurt myself anywhere near as much as I could have, when I was driving my car, hysterically crying on my lunch hour, trying to figure out how I could get in the witness protection program. I rear ended a Mercedes that I could not even see, at forty miles per hour. I am grateful all I have is a little scar on one arm from the air bag. I am grateful I had ass kickingly good insurance. I am grateful I hit a nice lady with a nice husband and nice son who came to help her. I am grateful to the nice police man who came and found two smashed up cars and two women hugging each other and checking each other for blood and broken bones when he arrived. I am grateful I took the whole experience as a message from the universe to slow the hell down and go to a shrink to figure out what I wanted to do about this damn house and everything in it.