Wednesday, December 23, 2009


"Humanism and Secularism will receive some great national media attention this week as Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe, by Harvard Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein, will be the subject of this Wednesday 12/23's episode of NPR's "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross, and of a segment on Sunday 12/27's ABC World News with Diane Sawyer."

Something to look for if you are home this weekend.

I was recently informed that there IS a group on our local college campus for freethinkers! A fellow atheist told me about it and I looked them up. They will be resuming meetings when the semester resumes in January. I am looking forward to meeting with and talking to like minded folks in my area.

It's about time.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Such a Day!

Yes, I spent most of this morning in the ER. Not something that I had planned or relished. I thought that I was having a heart attack at work. It was scary. I finally called EMS. They took me in and this is where the story picks up.

By the way, John took the pictures to get me to smile, he takes that camera everywhere. I did smile.

I have been feeling a heart flutter for about two weeks. I have also been feeling anxiety, an inability to deal with life & work in general. Light headed, feeling like I was going to pass out at work. Waves of nausea and light headedness. I have a girlfriend who had a heart attck at my age and it had me even more anxious.

So they hooked me up to all the gadgets & gizmos. Took me in with oxygen on and all kinds of pokes, pricks and prods! Not to mention all the blood they took. Enough that I was craving a big, bloody hamburger afterwards!

After a few hours of waiting for the blood work to return it turns out that I have a totally non-functioning thyroid. If you were not aware of this fact, your thyroid controls your metabolism. Since mine does not work at all it was contributing to depression and other health issues.

I am taking some beginning meds and they said since I have none that I should begin to feel a vast difference soon and I am looking forward to that! It means blood work regularly and I will be taking them for life, but it beats the alternative!!

By the way, the nurses loved my hair!!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Welcome Back

A recent article, in Newsweek, states that activism for AIDS is returning. Something that I have been wondering about for some time.

I have always been a supporter of the movement, but in recent years I was quite dismayed that so few people were seemingly concerned or active in doing things about awareness etc.

I was most surprised, when teaching, at how little correct information kids seemed to have. Both high school and middle school students still carried around such outdated ideas about HIV/Aids and all related issues. So I had activists and speakers come in to school and do presentations. I personally continued to make donations, wore tee shirts and ribbons and bracelets to keep myself visible. I have looked for local groups, but there are none around here. Sadly, one would have to go to Cleveland to find the nearest activist group. Even on a college campus the cause has lost momentum.

"In my early days as a board member and earlier, there was a great deal of concern, worry, angst about HIV that has settled into this kind of benign complacency," says Marjorie J. Hill, CEO for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Many people, she says, thinks AIDS can be treated with a pill, and that living with the disease is now similar to living with diabetes or heart disease.

Of course, HIV/AIDS is not nearly under control: it affects 33 million people worldwide, and in America, it's the No. 1 killer for women under 35, according to the MAC AIDS fund. The Centers for Disease Control reports that new infections have not declined in the past decade, and while people under 30 are at the greatest risk, so are those in their 50s and 60s. As patients living with HIV/AIDS get older, more potential side effects of the drug cocktails become apparent, including premature aging and dementia. And while many people think AIDS as a medical condition is no big deal, people are still afraid to confront it. "The stigma against people with HIV is still so strong," says Hofmann, who notes that fear of social consequences has kept many patients silent. '

How can it be the number one killer of women under 35 and people are just not that interested anymore? Especially when it is just not a "gay disease" any more! Like they say, the stigma is still quite strong, and people do not want to talk about or be associated with it.

Not only was I personally involved with someone who died from AIDS complications, but my brother-in-law had been the first person in Northeast Ohio diagnosed back when it first came out as a named disease and he was an active motivator in and with issues involving HIV/AIDS for many, many years. Sadly it did not kill him. Asthma did.

Even though I have many conflicting feelings towards my employer I am at least happy to say that they do make donations, like yesterday fro World AIDS Day, they donated 5 cents from EVERY hand crafted beverage sold. We sell mugs and coffee for the cause.

There are many other places, such as the GAP, who sells tee shirts, there are others who have bracelets that will make donations from their purchase. There are those still involved and still caring.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I watched this show once or twice, it was humorous and snarky, but not anything I want to go out of my way to DVR. That being said I did have to laugh when Time asked in a recent article if the show was "anti-Christian". Who cares!! I am SOOOO tired of this whole movement, started by the Christians, that suggests that everyone is out to get them.

For a better part of this year we have had to endure an onslaught of articles and news chatter about how the entire well-being of Christians is at stake.
Maybe they just need to get rid of their televisions, stop reading books other than the Bible, and just stick with folks of a similar mind. Seriously, maybe they need to find new places to hang their hat and leave the rest of the world alone!

There is still a great deal of unoccupied land in the Western U.S.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

Had my eyes opened. Took my corporate blinders off. The company comes across with all their cool,"we support causes and act on conservation", B.S. Yet they are really just another corporate entity complete with typical conservative values, beliefs and behaviors.

Guess the economy must be getting stronger because our fearless leader is giving himself a nice raise, or maybe it is just a cost of living increase! He had seemed to be feeling our pain when he decided to take a salary of $10,000 in 2009, but looks like he is jumping up to 1.3 million for 2010. Mama must need a new pair of shoes!!

That aside, I don't know him personally so I can only speak about the people that are in my personal orbit. That is where this all begins. I just am not the cookie cutter type management people that fit in with them. Seems that their idea is to use me for some ones maternity leave and then let them stay at my current location and move me a drive from home. Or I could just turn down the promotion, stay where I am and make enough money to get by AND go back to subbing until I can get back in to a school.

I went to a training class this week and they sent my boss a really crappy e-mail about my look and a few other tid bits. They had asked for us to share anything that we felt needed to be anonymous and then they went and included that in the e-mail too! Now this is going to stir up a whole ton on crap for me and others at work. So much for trust and anonymity. Assholes.

John says that I have been doing WAAAAY too much for my boss and the company for no increase in pay. That is just how I am and I am sure that some of you can relate. You just want to see stuff get done and you are driven and want it to be done right. I have always been a leader. That is how I ended up in charge of many different organizations etc.

It is hard to back off and let go. Today made it much easier. My regional person was in and did not even speak. Walked right past me as if I was nothing and that is the person who knows about my desire to get promoted AND is responsible for said promotion! Hell, even my boss did not introduce me to the regional other guy even as I was standing there putting my coat on!!

Needless to say I am tired and pissed off with the whole bunch and ready to throw in the towel, but like most of middle class America I am stuck because I need the health care. I am just another statistic stuck in a job I hate because I need the health care.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Something needs to happen with the health care system in this country. End of story. I won't claim to have all the answers or even begin to dissect all the arguments.....BUT.....

I am sick, sick, sick to death of hearing about the abortion issue holding crap up
. I am tired to death of people STILL using this outdated argument as a reason to argue!!!! I can not believe that there are so many kids/families out there who can not afford to care for themselves and yet abortion is still a sticking point.

This article, at Newsweek, points out that there are MANY other so called "moral issues" involved in our health care debate than just abortion.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Weird is Good

We must overcome the notion that we must be
regular. . . it robs you of the chance to be
extraordinary and leads you to the mediocre.

Ute Hagen

Today's Meditation:

In our family, "Weird is good." Whenever one of us does something that goes against the norm or that seems to be a bit strange, we tell that person, "You're so weird!" And the response is always, "Yeah, and weird is good!"

In this way we allow ourselves to stray from the normal--and not just to stray from it, but to embrace the abnormal, the different, the unusual. In the regular things of life, there's very little--if anything--left to be discovered. Because so many people strive to be "regular" every day of their lives, they take away the new and the extraordinary from that regular side of life, and they convert it into the boring and the usual. Mediocrity rules in the regular because the regular doesn't encourage us to take chances or to move in new directions or to try to find the new and extraordinary.

Our whole lives long, we're encouraged to be regular by teachers, parents, friends, relatives, and other members of society. If we're "regular" kids, we won't embarrass our parents. If we're regular in the classroom, the teacher won't face any new or different challenges.

There are times when being regular can be valuable. My employer would like it if I can maintain a certain degree of regularness in my job. My step-kids would appreciate it if I'm regular in my financial dealings so that they don't face serious financial problems in their future.

But regular doesn't have to rule our lives. There's much of the extraordinary out there in the world, and if we're to find it, then we have to look for it. And we can't do that by settling for mediocrity and boring status quos.

Questions to consider:

From where do we get the notion of the value of being regular?

What kinds of new and different things do we discover when we're focused on conforming to what society sees as "regular"?

What's the value in settling for mediocrity?

I loved this thought today. It has been a very long time since anyone, including myself, have seen me as a "regular" person. I tried for many years to change my image and inner self. Tried to be what I saw as acceptable in society. By the way I dressed, wore my hair etc. That was also a big part of my "church shopping" years as well. The trying to fit in and be a regular part and person of the acceptable parts of society and the community.

It wasn't until a few years back that I began to find my way back to my "real" self. The person that I had been in my early 20's. The girl that did not fit into any particular mold. The girl that read a great deal and questioned many things. A funny thing happened as I was bringing her back....I began to feel comfortable, once again, in my own skin! But....I also began to face opposition from the "main stream". I had forgotten how that felt. The churchy folk did not care for the "real" me and that was when I saw the hypocrisy and silliness of it all and got out of there ASAP!

I had been brainwashed for much of my child's life thinking that in order to be a good parent that I had to look and be just like the rest of them. I had to do things the way they all did them. I let myself be molded by mediocrity.

Now that I am free from it all I have discovered so many exciting things about life and myself and my place in the world. I enjoy it all so much more while traveling to a different drummer. Finding your own beat can make all the difference.

Doing the things I need to do in my work life, even when I was teaching, can all still have a flavor of me. I don't have to succumb to the demands of the status quo. Freedom is liberating. Breaking the bonds of regularity & mediocrity has made all the difference!!

Viva la difference!!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Playing Dress Up

My pal and I dressed up as beverages today at work. Our other friend dressed as "Toddlers and Tiaras". I hope to have some of those pictures later. I wanted to get therse out there. It is the first time in a very long time that I have actually made something to wear for Halloween. It was fun and a big hit as well!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Time has Come

With everything else that is going on in the world and in the U.S. isn't it about time to leave marijuana alone? Legalize it and let the medical marijuana shops and people be! As hard up and in dire financial straits that California finds itself they should legalize it first and make some money! It could be a cash crop for many and all states.

All that being said, it is also time to think more about the sick that it helps. I have spoken many times on the topic and talked about my friend that needed it to eat during his last months. Until you go through the experience you just can not imagine how ill many harsh drugs can make someone and that by smoking some pot they are able to tolerate food. These people are not just smoking to get high, but to be able to just get some food down to stay alive. For others it is to alleviate the pains associated with other medical conditions.

I am not saying that I would not buy it if it were legalized, hell yeah I would, but for those who really need it I believe it needs to be available and the government needs to back off!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Peckerheads & Jail Time

Got arrested this week. Spent some time in jail. Luckily I was able to raise my bail. Oh, did I mention that it was for Muscular Dystrophy? I went to jail as the representative from Starbucks. My boss was on vacation when they called and I said that I would do it. I have never participated and thoroughly enjoyed my time. My Starbucks gave me $100 towards my "bail".

The Red Bellied Woodpecker is on the picnic table in our backyard. We put out peanuts, corn and seed. Seems that the woodpeckers like nuts.

Max and I are both recovered from our illnesses. In case you didn't catch it on Facebook etc. aside from his H1N1 I also was ill, always one to keep up with the Joneses, I concocted an inner ear/throat infection. A good ol' Z Pack working its magic!

Today I am watching Green Bay kick some awful Cleveland ass!! You guys rock up there Mix!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's About Time

"The advertisements ask the question, written simply over an image of a blue sky with wispy white clouds: "A million New Yorkers are good without God. Are you?"

A group of Atheists have gotten together and have purchased a month in the New York subways to promote freethinking! Yippee! Slowly but surely this cool idea, started in England, is coming our way and why not. Fair is fair and every church that you pass has some sort of signage outside that promotes their business, so it is high time that the ideas and thoughts of the freethinkers has its time on display!

"First, the coalition hopes the promotion will enhance awareness of New York City's secular community. He explained that the coalition also hopes to encourage "talking and thinking about religion and morality," as well as support involvement in groups that encourage a sense of a social community for non-believing New Yorkers."

If the Christianity pushers ever got their heads out of the clouds and looked around them they would see that there are far more non-believers out there, or people who are fed up with the pushing promotion of said materials, and it is refreshing to finally hear from the other side. Luckily, I live in a more liberal area and do not have worry so much about expressing my thoughts and beliefs as there are many who share them.

With the holiday season fast approaching I think it is time to pull out "Religulous" and have a good laugh while reminding myself how the whole "holiday story" was stolen/borrowed/taken from so many stories before it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Swiney Among Us

After four weeks of living life SANS kid, and learning the routines of a COUPLE, Max decided to move back home. Seems that one of the stellar citizens he was living with lost their job and the whole scene was falling apart. Well, that is not really a problem, but the fact that he has brought the disease and pestilence with him IS!!!!

Sunday while he and John were moving all his stuff he was very ill and looked like crap. He had most of the sign of flu, so it was off to the ER for him. Since I have asthma and in the "high risk" group I could not sit there while he waited to get looked at, so we told him to call us when he was ready to go home. About two hours later he was done. Yep, H1N1 confirmed.

Fever 103, lots of technicolor vomiting, severe body aches.....everything that the networks are scaring you with. They forget to tell you that the Tamiflu costs over $100 bucks for kids and folks without health insurance!! We paid for it, but OUCH!!

Nothing says fun like the odor of bleach in your dishwater and vomit in the house!! I feel like I am now working in a hospital!! Not to mention the fifty, or so, boxes of kleenex that he has gone through. They say this could last about five days. I can not wait to see what this new day brings!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Afternoon

Nothing says Sunday like a nice bottle of Evil Chardonnay!! Walked in to my favorite wine purveyor, after work today, and saw this nice little bottle was their feature. I think I have discovered my new fave for taking to parties and cozy "get-togethers"! Also comes in a Cabernet.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Misc. Ramblings

Let's start with this whole mess with David Letterman..... is it really necessary to STILL be discussing this? We shake our heads that it is still fodder for the evening news and talking heads. The man was not married. Adults are entitled to conduct their personal lives anyway that they see fit. If he felt like having sexual relationships with people that he worked be it. Who's business is it anyway? Work place affairs happen all the time. It is easy and often safe to hook up with people that you work with, besides you spend so much time together you often know them well. I can't believe how much they are making out of this. They are all adults and until this other dirt bag dug into it there was nothing that anyone one else was talking about. Let it go!!

The weather here has gotten chill and quite "fallesque". When there is sun we are trying to spend as much time outdoors as we can. This weekend we went and got mums and pumpkins. We went back to the pumpkin patch where we used to take Max as a small child. It is a huge thing in this area. Many, many people attend and they have many other attractions besides pumpkins & mums. Carmel apples freshly dipped, hot cider, corn mazes and much, much more.

We went through the corn maze, a thirty minute walk, and then came home and had a nice fire in the backyard. We even cut sticks and cooked our own hot dogs over the fire! I haven't had a fire cooked hot dog, on a stick no less, in a very long time!

We used the rest of the weekend to watch the last episodes of Season One of Weeds. That show has such a fantastic soundtrack. I love it when a show stretches out and gets obscure music by little known or listened to artists. Even the theme song is funny!

Max hit week two of his new life living with two guys from school. Typical basement aptartment. Full of furniture, game playing stations and laptops. Each guy has his own room and all utilities are included. He came over yesterday to do laundry and we wnet out and had a nice lunch. hey, he's paying his bills and looking to the future, so what can I say? I moved away and lived life for many years before I settled down and went to school. At least he is making good choices thus far AND employed. Now we have to decide what to do with the empty room!! Thinking about looking on raigs List for a day bed so my mom has somewhere to sleep when she comes over. She can't hack the water bed!

Getting ready to read Dan Brown's new book. Working on mine. Living and loving life!! The way it's meant to be.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gold Stars

My job is NOT who I am. It is not what defines me as a person, writer, wife, mother, friend etc. So...why then do I continue to let it bother me that my boss is a jerk that does not give out recognition, but rather uses people, manipulates and rarely treats you as well as you should be for the work that you do?

I have been arguing with myself, since yesterday, that I should not give a shit. That I should just let it go and act like I don't care. BUT I DO!! All morning as I was running at the gym and then while trying to do my yoga, and simply concentrate on my breath, I kept telling myself to get over it and just move on.

A hard task. I just spent a week trying to NOT have overtime in a company that does not like to see it happen. I worked a 12 hour day on Monday doing HIS work while he was on vacation. Payroll and other tasks that are really not in my job description yet, but he did not want to have to come in and do it all while on vacation, so he taught me how do it all. Something that is good for me to know prior to a promotion, BUT... I took great care to keep things smooth, keep spirits high as we are busier than we have ever been and shorter staffed than we have ever been as well.

It was one of the most exhausting weeks that I have ever worked. Yes, I did it all as part of my plan to prove my worthiness for a promotion, but there should always be a little recognition for a job well done. I took the time, often, through this past week to thank those that I worked with and even bought meals over the weekend for the entire store. I fully recognized how hard people were working and on what short fuses. We never seemed to have a slow down moment where one could catch their breath. Not one.

I even did an interview with a potential new hire that I thought was excellent and recommended that he hire this guy upon his return. I know that I am pretty much his flunky right now as he takes advantage of the fact that I have something to prove,BUT...

A little thank-you, a note, or just some recognition of the effort that was put forth. He knows that I worked a 12 hour day and did not even ask why. he knows that things were smoothly attended, but he has chosen to say nothing. He came back and got right back to work without a single word about the work that was done in his absence.

Hard to get over and even though I know that I should not even let it phase me...why does it? That job is just what I do for money to allow me to write AND have health insurance for John & I. So why do I care if he recognizes my contributions or not? I guess we all want someone to continue to tell us what a good job we are doing no matter what stage of life we find ourselves entering or leaving. I guess it all started with that first gold star in our first year of school. After that we were all hooked.

I am still chasing the gold star. Are we all?

Monday, September 28, 2009

What's Up

Just a little catching up to do. As well as a few pics to go along. John just got back from Norway. The company he was working for is Laderal. They make all of the first aid matereials you often see with paramedics/medical people. The face mask I have for CPR and the dummies you train with during CPR made in Norway. He brought home the "skin" of the dummies and an arm used for practicning IV insertion and several baby heads from CPR babies. Max put one of the skins on his own head and the pictures are really creepy!!

We also took casey to the groomers this weekend and she looks more like a dog rather than a walking rug!! I also believe that she was sevarl shades lighter!! The weekend was so nice we also spent a good deal of time outdoors.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Change is Good

Today's meditation was good. It greatly reflects how Mixter, Guy & I have made changes in our lives and how change is a really good thing!! Not a group of people to stick with or be satisfied with the status quo or what society might tell us is main stream and appropriate. Kudos to anyone that can riser above the crticism and family crap to make out of their life what they wish it to become!!

Today's quotation:

The life you have led doesn't need to be the only life you have.

Carol Clurman

Today's Meditation:

Who and what have I been up until now? Does that determine who I'm going to be over the next five or ten years? I suppose the better question is: Does that necessarily determine who I'm going to be?

Many people stepped into the roles they now occupy when they're very young--far too young to be able to say truly what they wish to accomplish with their lives. And once they've been in those roles for a number of years and they've started to feel a sense of safety and security, they find it almost impossible to step out of those roles. Their choices for today are determined by trying to maintain the lives they've lived up until now.

But what if you're an insurance adjuster who dreams of being an actor? Are you limited in life to continuing to be an insurance adjuster for the rest of your days? What if you're a school administrator who dreams of being a classroom teacher? Are you truly limited to staying in the office for the rest of your working years?

Making a choice to step off in a new direction means that sacrifice will be necessary. Many people won't make that sacrifice because family members also will be affected by their actions; what they don't seem to want to admit is that their family members also are affected--even at a very subtle level--by their dissatisfaction and their unfulfilled dreams and ambitions.

We've been blessed to be born in a time of opportunity, days when almost anyone can accomplish almost anything. More and more people are finding out that they don't have to maintain the status quo for the sake of security, but that they're willing to make a shift in their lives for the sake of fulfillment. And even though struggles surely will rise up, they can't compare to the riches that we'll find through the fulfillment of our dreams and wishes and aspirations.

Questions to consider:

What kind of life would you like to be living? What would you have to do to achieve that kind of life?

How can it be possible for us to live more than one life?

Who determines the courses and patterns of our lives?
For further thought:

Life is the ability to start over again.

Joan Chittiste