This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Family Takes Manhattan

Well, not really. Not Manhattan anyway.

In 2008, we were fortunate enough to spend spring break in London and Amsterdam. In 2012, we will be breaking through the borders again, with a trip to the Philippines.

The Philippines? you may ask. Yes. My mother and my mother's side of the family are Filipino, which makes me half that and my daughters a quarter of it.

And as an Air Force brat, I spent a great deal of my youth there. I lived there off-and-on, while my dad was stationed at Vietnam and Thailand, and maybe other places I don't know about.  But from 1976 until 1982, I lived my entire 2nd-7th grade growing up years there.

In 1984, I lived on the island of Guam, until 1986, so my mom and I were able to take "space-A" hops to Clark, so I believe 1986 would have been my last visit there.

Tim was also in the Air Force and before I met him in 1988, he, too, had visited Clark while he was stationed in Korea.

We were international travelers before we settled down in our civilian lives together.
Why haven't I been back, you may wonder?

Time. Money. Maybe other reasons?

The day we left the Philippines, in 1982, was one of the most traumatic moments of my life. I don't know if anyone can understand the magnitude of leaving your home, your family, your friends, your pets, the love of your youth, the familiarity of everything you knew for nearly seven years, *for good*. The pain is tucked away deep in the recesses of my brain.

I am excited about going back. There are so many places I want to see and share with my family. There are foods that I am so excited about eating and especially, the exotic fruits that I can introduce to Tim and the kids.

Where will we be going?

We fly into Manila then drive to Angeles City, where most of my family lives. I want to take Tim and the girls to see a couple of churches I went to while I lived there: Holy Rosary Cathedral and Apu Chapel. Also in the area, Mt. Pinatubo, which pretty much destroyed what was Clark AFB, another place I plan to tour. My elementary (Wurtsmith) and middle (Lily Hill) schools were on that base, as well as all the places I hung out: Silver Wing (played bingo there), Kelly and Bobbitt Theaters, the NCO Club, BX, amongst many.

I also want to visit Corregidor Island and the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. I doubt I'll get a chance, but a trip to Baguio, which was my childhood vacation spot while I lived there.

Of course, I want to see my family: my Auntie Cely, who pretty much raised me, my auntie cora, neng, mher, and my uncle bong and uncle tony. Some have kids of their own, my cousins, that I haven't met. I definitely want to go back to the barrio in which my grandpa lived, and now the rest of my family, in Mt. Arayat, which is the only mountain I remember seeing while I lived there. I have no clue, from my memories, where the fuck Pinatubo is.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I Remember...

...September 11th, 2001.

I had gone into work. I was at my desk - my fifth floor office. It was a beautiful day. My manager stopped by to say hi and tell me something, then said, 'oh by the way. I don't know if you heard but a plane ran into the world trade center.' I was like 'what?' and asked if it was a small plane, thinking it was some small personal aircraft that had some pilot error. I think he said he thought it was and he left.

At the time, my friend Katie was working with me so we were working on something together. We went to my office to work and were engrossed in the work. I got up to take a break and headed out to the break room. There was a small group that was congregating and discussing the world trade center. In hindsight, in my ignorance, I smirked a remark: ah, talking about the plane crash, huh? When my friend Jim said: yeah...the two planes. I stopped, my heart dropping: *two* planes? I thought there was only one? He said: no there was a second. Did you hear about the Pentagon? And I remember my legs shaking, my heart stopping, and feeling like I was in a different world.

Then pentagon?  Yes, a plane crashed into that too.

I was stunned.  And I knew *no one* in NYC, who worked on the World Trade Centers, nor did I know anyone in DC at the Pentagon. Yet I fell into some fog just from hearing what was happening.

I walked into my office, shut the door, and explained to Katie what I just heard. We immediately went to the internet to see what was happening. And this is where we would remain for the next several hours. The clock froze and we just stared into this screen, looking at a world we never knew existed.

I remember watching when the first tower collapsed. The newscaster had been talking the entire time and had taken a break from his commentary. Katie and I watched as the tower fell and I remember thinking: did something happen that they are replaying something else? Is this live? I remember knowing what I was seeing but not believing it was happening. And the newscaster was still not talking so I thought it must not really be happening. We just sat for what seemed for minutes but actually just seconds until the newscaster started talking, in the most distressing sound I ever heard, saying: Oh my god. Oh my god. I cannot believe this is happening. The tower is collapsing. Oh my god. All those people in there. They're gone.

I don't know when I left work but it wasn't too much later after all of this happened. I picked CJ up from the daycare. All I knew was I wanted her with me. I just felt like I needed to be with my family. I didn't feel I was in danger but I felt like my perfect world was over -- to think about what happened to all of these people...for what reason? Since we still didn't know what was behind all of was like: why? I remember thinking that I was in a similar stupor when Columbine something that seemed to be something less dreadful: a small aircraft accidentally flying into the trade center...or in Columbine's case, some stupid kids killing one or two kids -not that I am downplaying two deaths - but to be so far off from what was originally in my head to something so catastrophic, it just does something to a person that all they want is to be with their family. At least that's how I felt.

Tim made it home and we just sat the rest of the evening watching the disaster unfold.

September was a time for Tim, CJ and I to go on vacation. CJ was only three at the time so we weren't bounded by a school calendar. September the weather is wonderful at Hilton Head, South Carolina and less crowded after Labor Day. We had been going every year after CJ was born. We didn't know if we should go after this, since it was just days after. I remember Mayor Guliani stating "we need to get back to normalcy" and despite feeling guilty, we went anyway.

It was somber. There were others on vacation and we all seemed to walk in a fog. Every day, Tim or I would grab the paper and read the latest, which wasn't much other than photo after photo of missing people posted by their family members. I have all of those papers in a box in our basement. I saved every one of them. Remembering those days right after is a memory I won't forget and is very different to what the "feel" is now...

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

If there is a higher power, he blessed my world with George R. R. Martin.


I first learned about Game of Thrones from the HBO series. The series was incredible that I had to read the book. I fear that reading the next book may ruin the next run on HBO but it's a risk I am willing to take.

Each chapter of the novel is written from the POV of a major character. In this novel, we meet Eddard Stark, his wife Catelyn, his daughters Arya and Sansa, a son Bran, Eddard's bastard son, Jon Snow, the Imp Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen. The novel follows the series, or perhaps, the series follows the novel *to a tee* **but** the reader allows us to know every thought that the character has that is only implied or not at all heard in the series.

Martin is a genius. This novel is not simple. And by that I mean there are so many connections. There is even a history to each House (family) that is not necessarily detailed in the novel but the appendix has it outlined. The thought in every aspect of the seven kingdoms, the families that support each kingdom is incredible, to say the least. Absolutely fucking incredible. I enjoyed every scintilla of every page of the 807 pages. I am in love with Martin.

And Eddard Stark, AKA Ned.

Martin has made an honorable character with the integrity that all those reality TV stars claim to have out of Eddard Stark, the Lord of Winterfell, who becomes the Hand of the King. The Hand of the King is like the vice-president. He takes over the rule when the King is away.

The King, Robert Baratheon is Ned's childhood friend, who he fought alongside with to help him take the throne as King. Robert is married to a douche, Cersei, who has three beautiful children by...her twin brother, the Kingslayer, Jaime. The King does not know this and those that figure it out, end up getting killed or maimed.

Including the honorable Ned Stark. I never read any novel (at least that I can recall) in which a main character, one that is as likeable as Ned Stark, get killed during the book. I knew I was coming to it based on the series because when it happened in the series, I was so shocked. But it is a necessary death that sets the stage for what the series entails. At least that is what I tell myself because, god dammit, the shit that happens by the bad folk is pissing me off and I'm ready for vengeance NOW.

But I must bide my time since I know of four more books I have to read.

And now, for standout lines from the book that I jotted down for this very moment.
Tyrion Lannister, the Imp because he is a dwarf, is the brother of the douche bag and her incestuous lover, Cersei and Jaime Lannister. They are the richest House among the seven kingdoms with the reputation for being brave fighters. He is, in the book and of course, in the HBO series, one of the most unique, funny, wry and witty characters I have seen in a long while. He is not a moral man but compared to the rest of his family? It's as honorable as they come.

During a conversation with Jon Snow, the young bastard son of Eddard, Tyrion calls him Lord Snow. First: anyone with the last name "Snow" is known to be a bastard. It's like the scarlet letter: they are labeled for life as not being a true blood of the House.

So Jon tells Tyrion not to call him Lord Snow and Tyrion replies:
Would you rather be called the Imp? Let them see that their words can cut you, and you'll never be free of their mockery. if they want to give you a name, take it, make it your own. Then they can't hurt you with it anymore.

Jon and Tyrion, along with Bran Stark, would have an odd bond between them. Tyrion will have "affection" for them but we'll see where the next run takes this since Tyrion's nephew, the horrific Joffrey (Cersei & Jamie's child; but known to be the King's) has Eddard (Jon and Bran's father) beheaded.

Upon the death of a new young Knight, Ser Hugh, during a tournament, where during a joust he is killed. The elite bodyguard to the King tells Eddard that Ser Hugh was not ready for knighthood; he was too young. To this, Eddard says:
None of us is ever ready.
For knighthood? [bodyguard]
For death.
Tyrion (the Imp) is captured by Catelyn Stark after she finds out his dagger was the dagger used in an attempted murder of her young seven year old son, Bran (he witnessed Cersei with her brother doing the nasty; the brother threw him off a tower where young Bran almost died but recovered with paralysis in his legs; the brother tried to kill him again during his recovery). During a "trial" at Catelyn's sister's House (House Arryn), the Imp has the option to fight for his freedom. He asks for someone _taller_ to fight for him and a sellsword (a fighter who sells his fighting to anyone who will pay well) by the name of Bronn volunteers and wins. They end up leaving together and "hanging out". During one conversation, the Imp tells Bronn:
I've no doubt you'd betray me as quick as you did Lady stark, if you saw a profit in it. If the day ever comes when you're tempted to sell me out, remember this, Bronn -- I'll match their price, whatever it is. I _like_ living.
Arya is the spunky nine-year-old daughter of Eddard; the very opposite of 11-year-old Sansa. She has learned to fight with a sword by her half brother, Jon Snow. She tells her dad that she wants to be a knight one day and her dad tells her that for her, her journey in life is to marry a nice prince and bear him sons. She tells him she doesn't want that.

To appease her wild ways, Eddard hires a 'dance' tutor for her. Syrio Farel is a master fencer and teaches Arya how to move when fencing; the "dance". Syrio is another fascinating character. I think of Inigo Montoya as Syrio.

So Syrio dances with Arya: left, low, high, left, high, low, left. She gets hit with his wooden sword and he says "You're dead now". She screams at him 'you lied. you said left but you went right!' And Inigo, um, I mean Syrio says to her:
Opening your eyes is all that is needing. The heart lies and the head plays tricks with us, but the eyes see true. Look with your eyes. Hear with your ears. Taste with your mouth. Smell with your nose. Feel with your skin. Then comes the thinking, afterward, and in that way knowing the truth.
 And lastly, Lord old, old, dirty old man who happens to be in castle with a bridge that needs crossing by Lord Robb Stark, the 15 year old son of Eddard. Lady Stark (Catelyn) approaches Lord Walder to ask, as he is a bannerman to her father's House, to allow her son Lord Robb, and his army, to cross the bridge to fight the Lannisters. She is not getting very far with the curmudgeon but discovers that Lord Walder has more disdain for Tywin Lannister (father to the Imp and the lover twins), a rich, reputable leader in wars:
Lord Tywin the proud and splendid, Warden of the West, Hand of the King, oh, what a great man _that_ one is, him and is gold this and gold that and lions here and lions there. I'll wager you, he eats too many beans, he breaks wind just like me, but you'll never hear _him_ admit it, oh, no. What's he got to be so puffed up about anyway?
In the end, he allows Lord Robb and his army to pass through, giving him men from his own army to fight the Lannisters.  There is a war. And who wins will be determined in the next book...?

If you know, don't tell me. I want to find out for myself.

Monday, September 05, 2011

My Domain

I have finally conquered my kingdom. My house is now a home. I have built borders around my domain.

Well, I helped Tim build the borders. Which, in actually, is pretty significant, seeing that I am not the DIYer type. I mean, I am FAR from it. Which is strange since Tim is a builder.

But I've wanted a fence in my yard from the day we moved in. I love seeing my dogs run free and for nearly five years, we have been fence-free. I don't mind walking the dogs but with three, it's not very stress-free. I am constantly walking or watching them and if I'm not, then Tim is constantly doing it and if not him, my kids do it with constant complaint.

I've asked Tim many times: just put something up; anything! No. I have to have something decent. I am not putting chicken wire up (which is one of the things I suggested).

So he said he'd put one up but I'd have to help. And I actually was OK with that because I wanted that fence desperately.

So Tim started the first part before we got to work last Sunday, August 28th - just a piece of it to show me if I approved the design. I did. :) And coincidentally, our neighbors had cut down 100 foot fir trees that divided our property line. This worked out perfect since it allowed Tim to have some wiggle room as we put the fence together.

Of course, Tim did a majority of the work. But I did help out where I could: carried lumber, dug post holes, watered cement with a bucket of water, set the level between each picket -- each picket was placed individually -- and kept Tim company. It sounds simple but I was dog-tired. I don't know how Tim does this for a living because for a few hours, lugging wood from one place to another, staying on your feet all that time, measuring, eyeballing, etc. is a lot of work. At one point, Tim asked how I was doing and I said that I felt like I had just done six hours of boot camp, my body was so tired.

So the pictures here show day one work, which is the left side of the house (facing the house). Our property is slope-y, so you can see how we followed the slope line and the fence caters right to it. You know if you see those panels of fencing that the hardware stores? You can't put those up without it looking like shit on a slope-y yard. This is how great my husband is at construction: he knows the lay of the land.

We didn't start back on the fence until this past Saturday. Our plan for the Labor Day Weekend was to finish the fence. I was so excited, which is also a strange thing since I had already experienced hard labor and yet, I welcomed it because, in the end, I would be rewarded with my boundaries set.

But the work was more grueling since, not only did we have a fence to put up, but we had a lot of natural landscaping to remove in order to get our fence in place. Tim had our fence line mapped out, which was a few feet within our property line. And with that, he started chopping shit down and I hauled it into a pile. We kept good bamboo for keeping and the rest added to our pile of debris that we have been accumulating, especially after Irene passed through.

We also had posts to put in which came from a retaining wall that Tim had built by someone years ago, that he is now tearing down (with much of complaining about the shoddy work he paid someone to do) to build our own retaining wall (I'm sure that will be the next weekend project...). I had to pick up the pieces and get them to Tim, which required me to pick them off the ground, where they had sat for many months. That means there are "things" under there. I managed to brave through maggots, ants, crickets and what I thought was a prehistoric egg, which turned out to be a nut from a tree, or a ground full of slugs, one of which MiMi captured a nice picture of.

I HATE slugs. I hate critters of any kind. They make me scream. But for my fence, I whined not a bit and took it like a person should.

We got the back fence done, with all the debris removal, hauling and making new posts, more cement, more drilling of holes (an augur, this time) and more slope to follow. I was getting REALLY excited at the prospect that by Monday, my dogs would have free roam of my kingdom.

You can see the bamboo on the _other_ side of our fence. That's what we removed, where you can see is bare in front of the fence on our side. It covered the entire back side of our property. It's like a totally different person's yard now.

We managed to do this work *and* have a date night. Tim had a date with MiMi, where they headed off to the SPCA and had dinner at the Irregardless Cafe; CJ and I went to the mall (where I had a visit to the genius bar; CJ went shopping) and had dinner at La Rancherita, which BTW, has one of the best steak tacos ever.
Sunday was going to hit the ball out of the park. We had the final side, a short side to put a gate up and we would be FINI!

To the left is what the right side (facing the house) looked like before we put the final long side in.

On the right is what it looked like afterward. Yes sirree...we got this done in a day, and overall, about three days of work although the first day was about four hours of work.

This is the front of the right side, which is actually two doors -- like barn doors, so that the riding lawn mower and Tim's big ass truck, can drive to the back (That's a shovel leaning against the middle of the two gates).

I can't tell you how fricking happy I am. It's surreal, in a way, because I've wanted this for so long. My dogs can now run least on paper, they will. Right now, they don't know what the fuck to do because they've been bound by a leash and a person watching over them for so long.  But for two days now, they've zonked out when they've come in from the great outdoors.

I learned a lot with this project:
1. I can be pretty brave about critters and the unknown critters when I want something bad enough *and* with Tim around.
2. Tim is *very* patient. He never screamed, sighed in exasperation, or said anything ill to me during the whole time I helped. He emoted appreciation for my help and encouraged me the entire time.
3. Work gloves make me brave. I put those on and I can touch anything. Those icky slugs are no longer fearsome once I have those gloves on.
4. I will no longer sit idly when Tim starts working on our home projects. I see the value I bring to him, even though it's laborer-type work and there's an amazing sense of accomplishment at having a hand in getting quality work done.

The West Memphis Three

I remember hearing about this within hours of it happening. My mom had called to tell me that three young boys, out riding their bikes, were found dead, hog-tied and one being castrated.  WHAT? I thought/asked when she told me this. And yet it was true and unbelievable that something of this magnitude would happen in my mom and dad's little bitty town of West Memphis, Arkansas.

I don't remember the stories that I heard afterward: who they thought did it (one of the dads), why it was done, all the made-up accounts that occur after something like this happens. The "talk of the town" where someone always knows exactly how it happened, even if they don't.  There's not much to do in West Memphis except gossip...and if you're a kid, you're screwed.  No, I didn't grow up there but I did go to high school (one of my three high schools in three locations) for my senior year, one hour west of the town.

Once Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelly, Jr, and Jason Baldwin were targeted, however, the story across the town was these boys *definitely* did it. Why? I remember asking my mom, doubting this account. Why would three friends decide to do what they did to these three young boys, who they didn't even know? They're sick. Into the devil.

That's it? Where's the proof?

You see: I have always doubted *the* story. Not just this story, but any story about someone's guilt. I was fortunate enough to have a dad who instilled the "innocent until proven guilty" right we all have that most people seem to forget. My dad studied criminal justice while in the Air Force, plus, he's just very anal-retentive about details as I am.

So back to this event, I wanted proof. It was 1993 and even though it had been four years since I left the area, I still felt like I understood those teenaged boys. They were boys I went to high school with. Loved to rebel, smoke pot, listen to heavy metal and some of my pals, liked 'worshiping the devil'. I only did a few of these things (listen to heavy metal...and my rebellion was against the preppies vs. any authority figures :))...and I wasn't fearful of my devil-worshiping friends...though they creeped me out from time-to-time.

But they were harmless. Just being kids. And that's what I saw in Damien, Jessie and Jason. I tried to find out what made them so guilty: where was the evidence. There was nothing. Absolutely fucking nothing. And yet, the town, the families, and the media convinced everyone, especially the juries, believed it to be true and these young men went to prison.

And they stayed in prison until August 19th, 2011. Damien Echols was actually on death row for all of those years and supposedly, stayed in 23 hour lockdown and solitary confinement for most of those years. The men were released using an "Alford Plea" which is "a plea of guilty containing a protestation of innocence". This, unfortunately, is a fucked up way of releasing them but IMHO, a way for the stupid fuckers of the Arkansas legal system to save face. Jason ultimately decided to go with the plea, even though he didn't want to admit any guilt and NOT go free, because it would get Damien Echols off death row.

I am happy for them. Finally, freedom. But I am sad too. Seventeen years in prison. They were 16, 17, and 18 when they were arrested. And the entire town, and others, had nothing but hate, spit and fire for these boys. And to be innocent and have no one hear you, or save you? This is why I despise the rush to judgement. Why would you risk sending an innocent person to prison over heresy? PROOF...physical PROOF. If only I had some power because it burns in me, so much, the belief that everyone should think about someone's innocence first and foremost. We are so easily swayed.

Read these two books: Picking Cotton and Bloodsworth. True stories of convictions: one (the first) with an eyewitness accusation by the victim and the second, a crime that fit perfectly against the accused.

And as for this case, one of the most chilling, sad documentaries I've ever seen, that I probably wouldn't ever watch again: Paradise Lost.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Don't Cry On My Shoulder

Growing old sucks.

My body starts breaking down. I need that 100,000 mile tune-up.

I have been experiencing pretty intense shoulder pain for several months. Have I seen the doc about it? No. Well, I saw a doc about the other shit going on with me earlier in the year. Remember those stroke-like things I had before? That's what I wanted to deal with then; I'll tackle the shoulder pain at another TBD day.

So while I waited for me to decide when a good time was to go back to the doctor for my shoulder, I suffered.

Every morning for the past few months, I start off with sun salutations, push-ups and sit-ups. The sit-ups don't seem to do much for me except give me hope that one day there will be a pay-off. However, my sun salutations give me tranquility (no bullshit) and my push-ups keep my arms toned.

If you are familiar with sun salutations, the first thing one does is raise their arms over their head. I can't do those without wincing in pain when my left arm goes about 30 degrees from my side on its way up. I still do it but it's very painful. Planks are also do-able and not as painful as doing the hand-over-my-head thing and then going down to cobra is also not so bad. But the end of a sun salutation, as many of you know, requires another hand-over-the-head move.

Sit-ups are nothing. No shoulder movement involved there.

Push-ups are another story. Yoga push-ups seem to be OK for my shoulder but once those arms are set out wider for a traditional push-up, extreme pain when I go down for the first one. After that, I grit my teeth and get the next few in without extreme pain; just pain.

I almost always notice the pain. It's gotten worse. And the worst hit me yesterday, during my amazing-and-yet-embarrassing yoga practice. One of the advanced flows put us in a side plank. Right side first? No problem. Left side? I collapsed. My shoulder could not physically hold me up. And actually, that pose came towards the end of the practice, after many hand-over-the-head poses, planks, half moons (which requires one to hold their body up on one leg and one arm), plus all the warrior poses - especially warrior 3, which also requires one arm and one leg to hold the pose. My shoulder was gone.  I still feel it today as I write this.

On top of that, my right index finger has been "sprained" or broken and now healing over. I never realized how much an index finger takes on in every day life. Want to put sneakers on? You know I use my index finger to slip the end of my sneaks onto the back of my foot. Can't do that anymore. Have to use my left then find out that my shoulder hurts. So I'm screwed either way.

I *will* be seeing a doctor.  Soon.  It's closer to a real determined date vs. the TBD time.

Friday, September 02, 2011

An Amazing Practice

I had a great Yoga Flow practice today. I even told the instructor “That was an amazing practice!” She looked at me with a strange admiration and a hesitant “Thank you.” I thought I must look thoroughly purified from the class and how much she appreciated my sentiment.

The class was difficult: a lot of half moon and warrior three poses. It was fast paced. I was so worried about my mascara running, as I decided to come to work with a little bit of “color” (make-up), which I normally don’t do. But you know, with the new “do”, I feel risqué.

I was shaking in most of my poses. I was just dripping sweat everywhere and since I didn’t put my “do” in a ponytail, my hair would just be stuck to my face. I was definitely in the moment.

So I had to share with the instructor how much I loved it. Then I chatted with my friend Nancy: talked about her kids, running, the incident at MiMi’s school yesterday. I was just slowly walking around, taking my time, enjoying my free time after yoga.

I got to the locker room, talked more with my friend, changed clothes, then finally made it to the mirror. Holy shit. My mascara was fine but my lipstick had smeared all around my lips so that it looked like I had the biggest lips in the world, or a clown's face, or worse, like Bettie Davis from What Ever Happened to Baby Jane. No wonder I had such odd looks on people’s faces when I was talking to them! Was I embarrassed? Yes. But only a little bit. If anything, I was more thrilled that I had a funny blog post to write. The image I have of myself, sitting so “pretty” on my yoga mat, patting myself on the back at telling the instructor at how fabulous the class was…and the thought of what went through her head, once she saw me and my ridiculous face…truly worth the eety-beety bit of embarrassment I had.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

How Bad Do You Want It?

MiMi does this occasional thing where she has a pen, pencil, stick, whatever has a pointy end, and she pokes me with it.

"Did that hurt?"

No, I would answer. Then she would poke me again either harder or longer.

"Did _that_ hurt?"

"No. But are you trying to hurt me?"

This is an analogy to what the whole hurricane Irene media fiasco: did you really want this hurricane to be as bad as you were thinking it should be?  I mean, it was bad. But it wasn't bad enough? WTF did you want? Another Katrina? A disaster as bad as the Japanese and Indonesian tsunami?

Well you know what? It _was_ a bad hurricane. Thank buddha that we didn't have 100s of thousands of death for it but perhaps it's because, gasp, the media and the states did a good job of warning people of the impending danger.

But instead...I see an article on CNN about why 'this hurricane missed its mark' or on twitter, tweets from random people about how "underwhelming" this hurricane is.

Really? I was miles away from the storm and the wind and rain was scary to me. I had a big ass branch sheared off a big ass tree, along with a lot of other big ass branches on other big ass trees. Did I mention: I was MILES AWAY from the fucking hurricane and I still  had some damage?

I wonder how underwhelming this couple felt about Irene:

Meekins said she and her husband stayed in their 6,000-square foot home to ride out Irene, but around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, she saw flames encircling the home.
"We just ran out of the house, down three flights of steps, as quickly as we could run," Meekins said.
Once outside, she said whipping winds and deep, rushing water made it difficult to stay upright.
"The wind was blowing so hard and we were kind of holding on to each other. I held on to my husband's hand so I wouldn't go under, but (with) the wind, my feet weren't touching the pavement, I can tell you that," she said.
Suddenly, in the darkness, she felt the hands of her neighbors, who had braved the storm to bring the couple life jackets.
"We had friends staying next door that saved our lives," she said.
They swam to a neighboring development, frightened, but trying to stay calm, Meekins said.
"I was praying. I said, 'Oh God, please spare our lives, please spare our lives,' and about time, we saw a light," she said.

Or the friends and family of the  42 individuals who lost their lives as a result of the storm.

Or the flooding in Vermont. The picture on the left is from this article. That sure doesn't look NOT disastrous to me.

And I'm not sure that anyone can watch this video without feeling a lot of sadness. My eyes watered watching this. The sounds of the people watching it is even worse:

So fuck you media, people, who wanted a more catastrophic outcome to this. Haven't you seen enough of it? Or is that what the expectation is now? I sure the fuck am glad I don't feel the same way.

Another Die MFer Die Candidate...

This is not going to be a good story. But it actually happened.

I got a call today at about 3PM. I recognized the number.

"Hi. This is the principal of MiMi's school. I have to tell you about an incident that happened to her and a couple of her friends today."

Uh-oh. What did MiMi do? What kind of drama did her and gal pals get into? I couldn't believe that two weeks into school, I was going to have to set MiMi straight with her and her elementary school drama.

Instead, I got "The girls were walking around the track today when a white van pulled up by the fence. It was on the outside of the school but the person got out and exposed himself to the girls."


It was the last thing I ever expected to hear.

I then detected the frantic-ness in the voice I heard over the phone.

Did they catch him? I asked. No but the police are on their way.

How did MiMi react?  The girls all thought it was gross.

She explained it further that, not only did the man expose himself to the girls, but he fondled himself.

Oh god. WTF. A sicko so close to a fricking elementary school?

She then stated that the police were on their way and that she thought that they may want to talk to the girls. Of course! I thought. And she then said "If you want to be here when they talk to her..."

I told her I'd be calling Tim but I was comfortable with her being there for her. I called Tim, explained the situation during my walk to another building for another meeting...and then, I swear to god, about 15 minutes later, I got a text message during my meeting that Tim was at the school, waiting to talk the principal. How the hell did he get there so fast? I was thrilled.

We talked to MiMi about it this evening. This was disturbing to hear an eight year old's view of what she had seen. It's funny but not really. So here it goes:

She explained that she and her two girl friends were walking around the track at school. They noticed a van pull up right next to the fence near the track. She said a guy rolled down his window, opened the door, then dropped his pants. He started tapping his thing and the girls just screamed and ran away. She said she looked back and he was still just tapping his thing. They told the teacher, who quickly got all the kids into the school, then went to the principal's office to report what they had seen.

Sick. Sick. Sick. And MiMi, fortunately, doesn't realize the half of what sick means. I don't believe she'll be terribly traumatized because I don't think she understands it, other than all the adults have become a bit tense about it...which probably has freaked her out more than the actual event. But that's OK. She needs to know that it *is* serious and that a normal, not-dangerous person would ever do such a thing.

Our school is right by our neighborhood. MiMi, and before her, CJ, can walk home from school. The idea that someone that sick is at a fucking SCHOOL, let alone my NEIGHBORHOOD, is say the least.  I'm not sure that an idiotic sicko of that magnitude would survive the wrath of Tim...or worse, the wrath of stay-at-home-mom's-on-the-watch. It's just too bad he wasn't bold enough to do that shit in front of them.