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Horror, Sorrow, and Anger

Up until a few days ago, I had never heard of Sandy Hook Elementary School.   Now, like just about everyone else in the world who has access to the news, I’ve become intimately familiar with the name.  I don’t know what to say about the massacre; the horror and sorrow I’m feeling – the sadness I can’t seem to shake – isn’t unique.  Anyone with a child – or a heart – is reeling.

flag_half_staffI have not talked to my kids about what happened, with the exception of Kevin, and to him only briefly.  On Friday, I lowered the flag in our front yard to half staff, and when the kids got home from school, they wanted to know why it was lowered.  I told them that we do that to honor people who have died, and they wanted to know who had died.  “Some people far away in a different state,” I told them.  How can I tell my kids that someone went into an elementary school and gunned down teachers and little children?  At almost 16, Kevin wasn’t satisfied with that explanation, so I told him briefly what happened in Connecticut, but I couldn’t even finish without having to swallow back tears.

I have refused to read any articles or watch any news segments about it – what’s the point?  Nevertheless, it’s impossible to sign online without seeing headlines: “NEW CHILLING DETAILS EMERGE” and “VICTIMS’ FAMILIES REACT” and “PROFILE OF A KILLER” and “FUNERALS SET FOR THREE OF THE VICTIMS.”  Words like “pimp” and “ratings” come to mind.

We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who
Comes on at five
She can tell you ’bout the plane crash with a gleam
In her eye
It’s interesting when people die-
Give us dirty laundry

Dirty Laundry, Don Henley

I don’t want to know the details.  I don’t want to see the photos of the sweet, smiling faces of those little boys and girls whose lives were so ruthlessly cut short.  And I’ll tell you: if I were any of their parents, I think having the details and photos splashed relentlessly across every news outlet would be the last thing I would want.  Even reading the headlines makes me feel like a voyeur.  Is the media just filling a demand?  Are we the people just feeding the media machine with our morbid curiosity?  If all the coverage promotes meaningful discussion about the underlying issues and encourages people to lobby for change with regard to gun control and how we approach mental illness, then perhaps it will have been a positive force.

We let those teachers and kids down.  We as a nation value our personal freedoms more than we value other people’s very lives.  We are a nation in shock and mourning now after Friday’s horror, but it wasn’t the first school shooting here in the US – although it perhaps claimed the youngest victims.  Mall shootings and school shootings seem to be gaining popularity – and this kind of thing doesn’t happen in other civilized countries.  How many mall shootings, how many school shootings, how many people have to be senselessly murdered before we take a good hard look at the way we do things here and make meaningful changes?

“Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?”

– President Obama

The religious rhetoric is everywhere.  I understand that people take comfort where they can, and it’s in the face of tragedy like this that, I suppose, the appeal and attraction of God and religion are at their most powerful, but if we lull ourselves with dreamy images of children running to Jesus and playing in paradise forevermore, we are doing nothing but living with our heads in the clouds, and effectively trivializing what happened.  In effect, these fairy tales justify what happened, and they don’t encourage meaningful dialogue about important issues.

It’s starting to feel dangerous just to be alive.  I don’t want to live in fear, but it’s hard to not walk around without at least a vague sense of apprehension.  I deeply hope that this latest tragedy brings about meaningful change; if it doesn’t, then all those little lives cut short will really have been for nothing at all.

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Bad Elf

Two years ago I bought into the whole Elf on the Shelf phenom.  It seemed like every family I knew suddenly had one, and not wanting to be the bad mom and cheat my kids, I succumbed.  At first blush, it seemed like a fun tradition to start, and the bonus would be motivating my kids to toe the line – at least during the holiday season, right?  Santa’s little narc, right here in our very own home.

Well, the experience didn’t go so well.  My kids were terrified of the thing (come walk down Memory Lane with me, won’t you?).  Plus, I quickly realized that “tradition” translates to “giant pain in the ass.”  Mom’s ass, to be specific, because it ain’t Dad thinking up creative places to place the Elf, and remembering to do it every damn night.

(Really, this is just another sadistic twist in the competitive game of Motherhood, isn’t it?  The good moms not only remember to move the Elf, and find super fun things for the Elf to do in order to amuse their kids and keep the holiday magic alive, but they take photos of their Elves and post them to Facebook so that we slacker moms can feel like the losers we are.)

Well, after that scarring experience two years ago, I said “no more!” and stuffed the blasted Elf into a drawer where it’s remained, forgotten about, all this time.

Forgotten about until a couple of days ago, that is.  Suddenly Annabelle (the child who was most terrified of it a couple years ago) got it in her head that the Elf must return, post haste! “Call Santa, Mommy, and tell him to send the Elf back!  I’m not afraid anymore!”  She said.  “Mommy, did you call Santa yet?”  “No.”  “Mommy, will you call Santa tonight and tell him to send the Elf back to our house?”  “Mommy, did you call Santa?”  “Mommy, when will you call Santa?!?!”

Great balls of fire!

So, against my better judgment, I dug the Elf out last night and put him up on the top of the mirror in our dining room.  The kids were thrilled to see him up there this morning.

Now, let me just stop for a second and wonder aloud how it is that Joey, age 10, no longer believes in the Halloween Ghost (an apparition who appears on Halloween night after the kids have gone to sleep and exchanges most of their candy haul for a toy or book; I made this up when Kevin was a tyke in order to convince him to willingly part with most of the crap he got trick-or-treating), but does still believe not only in Santa, but that this stupid, fake-looking Elf doll is a real elf.  Go figure.

Then the questions start:

“Mommy, when did he get here?”

“Did you see him come in?”

“How did he get in the house?”

“Does he fly?”

“Does he talk?”

“Why does he look like a doll?”

“Will he talk to you while we’re at school?”

“Will he still be here when we get home from school?”

My favorite: “Mommy, I saw a bunch of boxes at Target that said ‘The Elf on the Shelf’ on them.  What are those for?”

And leave it to Annabelle to climb up onto a chair to get a closer look.  “Mommy, why does it look like he’s taped to the wall?  I can see tape behind him.  How come there’s tape on him?”

Listen, kid.  If you keep up with the questions, your pal the Elf is going to take a header into the nearest garbage can.

I’m just not good at making up lies on the spot.  I need time to weave my lies to make them more believable, so if my kids are expecting wise, magical answers from me, I’m sure they’re sorely disappointed.  I give my standard answer to all of their questions pertaining to the Elf: “I.  Don’t.  Know.”

In any event, it does seem that our Elf is quite the rascal.

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There he is, up on the dining room mirror (pretend you don’t see the dust up there).  Oh my goodness, what in the world . . . ??

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Well, I never!

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Hey!  That’s my vodka!!

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Elf, you dawg!  You da man!

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Oh look!  He shits mini chocolate chips!  Isn’t it precious?

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Happy freakin’ holidays!

What We Did Over Thanksgiving Break … or, The Great Vomitfest of 2012

For the third year running, the kids had the entire week off from school for Thanksgiving.  We spent almost the entire week in a sea of puke.  Yes, the stomach flu that is going around has hit our house hard.  (Interestingly, the “stomach flu” is actually a misnomer, as it is not a flu at all, but rather gastroenteritis.)

It all started two weeks ago when Lilah vomited all over her bed in the middle of the night (isn’t that the best, when kids do that?).  She had eaten a whole lotta cantaloupe and also a filched chocolate bar from the Halloween stash, so you can imagine what her bed looked like.  In any case, I wrote the episode off as probably cantaloupe that was a smidge beyond its prime.

Then last weekend, Saturday night, Daisy began vomiting (thankfully, she didn’t hurl in her bed – a top bunk, which would have been all the more a bummer – but all over her bedroom floor, including a throw rug).  She vomited repeatedly for several hours, and then was in bed, weak and head-achey for a full day.

Sunday night, Joey got it.  He puked in his bed.  And all over the floor in his room.  The vomiting went on for several hours, just like Daisy, and he was in bed with a terrible headache for a day and a half after the vomiting stopped.

Late Monday morning, Annabelle began throwing up.  She was very matter-of-fact about it.  “Mommy, I’m going to throw up,” she told me.  Then she calmly walked herself to the bathroom and hurled in the toilet, thank goodness.  She’s the only one of the kids who made it into the toilet every time.  After the first time she puked, she complained that she was hungry!  Then she cried because I wouldn’t let her eat!  Then she puked again.  And again.  Just like the others, that went on for several hours and then she was in bed with a headache for a day.

Tuesday night, I was awakened by Finn screaming.  I went into his room, and sure enough, he had barfed all over his bed.  Now, with the other kids, once they started throwing up, I put them to bed with a bucket or empty trash can next to them for emergencies.  Can’t be done with Finn.  He doesn’t understand.  If he’s going to hurl, he’s going to hurl without reservation wherever he is.  So I changed his bedding and his jammies and put him back to bed, knowing full well that this was going to go on for several hours.  Sure enough, he threw up eight times before he was done, and I cleaned him up and changed him every time, and washed my hands until they were raw.  I gave up on bedding after the second time he threw up and just started putting towels down.  After a few hours, he was done throwing up and was lethargic for another two days.

As one kid after another was picked off by this bug, I started thinking that Lilah had actually been the first to get it when she threw up all that cantaloupe and chocolate a couple weeks back.  But Friday night she started throwing up again, and I knew then that, no, that first round was just bad cantaloupe after all, and this was the stomach flu (or whatever you want to call it).  I think Lilah probably had it worse than anyone.  Instead of vomiting repeatedly for several hours, she vomited occasionally over a period of two days.  She spent the entire weekend in bed or lying on the couch with a trash can next to her and I don’t think she ate more than a couple of crackers all weekend.  She’s finally better today, but I kept her home from school just because she’s so weak from being so sick and not eating, and her poor little face just looks thin and wan.

Through all this, I decided that by sheer force of will – that, and those Super Mom Powers I’m supposed to be endowed with – that I was not going to get it.  After all, days and days went by with kid after kid puking and me cleaning it up and looking after them, and I felt fine.

Then, this past Saturday night, around midnight, it started.  I woke up with my stomach feeling not right, and I knew.  I threw up repeatedly for five solid hours, with such force that I felt like my organs were going to come up, until I was weak and completely depleted.  Michael started throwing up within a couple of hours of me.  Both of us stayed in bed for most of the day yesterday, and I don’t know about him, but I had a killer headache, just like the kids complained of.

I hate that feeling of an entire day slipping by, of nothing productive getting done.  I’m a task-oriented person, and never is that more evident than when I am forced to not do anything because of illness.  It unsettles me.

Today I feel better, but still weak.  I lost four pounds over 24 hours, though I’m sure it will be back within a few days.  I am really sore, as if I did some hardcore upper body workout, which I guess, if you think about it, is what repeated violent vomiting amounts to.

Kevin and Scarlett are the only ones to have escaped it so far.  I’m not thanking my lucky stars just yet, though, because it’s too soon – they could still both come down with it.  I especially worry about Scarlett.  I have visions of her becoming quickly dehydrated from repeated vomiting and having to go to the hospital and be hooked up to an IV.  Worst case scenario, I know, but probably not far-fetched.  Hopefully the antibodies she gets from nursing will serve her well.

As for Thanksgiving itself, it was kind of a bust.  It was the only day last week that nobody was actively sick, but it wasn’t a day that went especially well.  I decided it would be the perfect day to do our annual family photo for our holiday cards, and that’s always an ordeal.  Just getting everyone dressed and out the door took two hours.  And then, trying to get everyone to cooperate for the actual photos is a torment.  We came up with a great concept this year, but the actual photos are a bit of a disappointment.  One of them will have to do, though, because there’s no way I’m putting us through that torture again for another year.  That whole process took up way more time than we thought it would, so Thanksgiving dinner wasn’t on the table until hours later than we had hoped, and tempers were flaring before then, so . . . yeah.

‘Tis the season.

Pressure Cooker: Friend or Foe?

I’m not one of those bloggers who regularly showcases her super creative accomplishments, step by step, photo by photo.  I’m just not.  Partly because I’m not super creative (although once upon a time I was – but who has the time anymore?  Once upon a time, I was a scrapbooker, a cross-stitcher, a veritable creative, crafting maniac . . . but I digress), and partly because I generally find those kinds of blog posts rather boring.  Unless you’re super creative and looking for inspiration, which I’m not.

Also, I hate to cook.  I really do.  My picky, complaining kids have killed whatever joy I may have once found in cooking (not that I recall ever really finding much joy in it.  A certain satisfaction?  Maybe.  But joy?  Highly doubtful.), and these days it’s drudgery.  That said, most nights of the week I do try to make a decent dinner and insist that we all sit down together as a family to eat.  Although it’s always a very noisy affair, and bickering often erupts, as well as complaining about what foods have been served up, it’s nevertheless a time when we all come together and focus on each other as a family.  Michael and I get to hear about the kids’ days at school, we laugh, we tease, we play games like Guess That Anything or Telephone, and sometimes we talk about serious issues.  I won’t lie and say it’s always the most pleasant part of the day, but it is a very important part of the day for us.

Anyway.  I kind of went off on a tangent there.  Back to the cooking thing.  I very much dislike cooking.  And I’m always looking for ways to make the whole cooking drudgery easier and more tolerable.

Recently, I was told about pressure cookers by my optometrist (who also happens to be the sister of a very good friend of mine).  I was told that one can make certain meals – entire meals! – in less than a half hour in a pressure cooker.  I’m all over that, I thought.  So that very day, I went home and researched pressure cookers.  Her assertions were confirmed: a pressure cooker can do anything a crock pot can do, as well as many things a regular stove-top cooking pot can do, in a mere fraction of the time.  Well, I was sold.

Then I had to decide which one to get.  There are a lot of pressure cookers on the market!  Who knew?  I visited several sites that rate pressure cookers and decided on the Kuhn Rikon Duromatic:

It wasn’t cheap: $185 from Amazon.  Ouch.

It finally arrived on my doorstep about a week ago, and it wasn’t until a couple of days ago that I finally got around to pulling it out of the box and perusing the directions.  As it turns out, it’s no more difficult to use than a regular stove-top cooking pot.  Really.

As my first experiment, I decided to try a pot roast.  I just picked a recipe from the instruction book (I’m guessing that you can use any slow cooker recipe and adjust the cooking time according to the information provided in the instruction book), went to the store and got all the ingredients, and got started on it at about 4:30 yesterday afternoon.

That valve on top is the key.  See, a pressure cooker is virtually air-tight, so heat doesn’t escape.  It gets and stays much hotter inside the pot, therefore, and the contents not only cooks quicker, but it apparently retains a lot more of its nutrients than with traditional cooking methods, and it comes out very tender – whether you’re cooking meat, vegetables, or whatever.

Prep time was about a half hour, and cooking time was an hour.  The meat came out very tender.  I’ll be honest, though, and say that I didn’t think this was a particularly delicious recipe for pot roast.  I think next time I make a pot roast, I’ll try the same recipe I usually use for my crock pot.  All in all, I think it was a success, though, and I’m eager to try some even easier dishes.

Two thumbs up!

One Year Closer to Vaginal Atrophy

Yes, you read that right – I said “vaginal atrophy.”  Say it with me!  VAGINAL ATROPHY.

This is, apparently, one more thing I have to look forward to as I become an ever-older woman.  You see, according to an ad I happened to come across in People magazine a couple of days ago, women of a certain age – that is, menopausal, or post-menopausal, anyway – can either sit by and helplessly watch their hoohas wither and shrivel, or they can unload unspecified amounts of money to buy miraculous products that will relieve them of such heinous inflictions by Mother Nature.

Sigh.

I’m kind of hoping that pushing seven children through the ol’ baby chute has kept it in tip-top shape – kind of like body building, you know?

Enough about my vagina, though.

It’s just that I had a birthday yesterday, and suddenly I’m 45 years old.  Forty-five.  I don’t know how this happened.  I thought maybe I could trick myself into, well, just not turning 45, but it didn’t work.  I don’t like the sound of it.  It’s not that I suddenly feel any differently than I did the day before, or even the week before, or, hell, even the year before, but forty-five just has a certain ominous ring to it.  Forty-five says, “Hey!  It’s time to get serious!  Stop being such a goofball.  Belching loudly to make your sons laugh just isn’t dignified anymore.  And hey, keep an eye on that vag!”

The deeper into my forties I get, the less I like the fact that I’m in my forties.  Yeah, yeah, life is good, I have a million things to be thankful for, blah blah blah, but you know what?  Listen up, ladies: your forties is when your youth truly leaves you.  In a way, it’s sort of like that awkward adolescent stage – you know, when you weren’t really a kid anymore, but you weren’t quite an adult, either, and half the time you didn’t know if you were coming or going.  I am finding that the forties are very much like that: I’m not old yet, but I ain’t young anymore, either.  The forties are when you have to start worrying about things like, “Do these pants make me look like someone who is desperate to be younger than she actually is (and, by the way, they’re not fooling anyone)?” instead of just, “Do these pants make my ass look big?”  Or, “Will one more tattoo that is a form of self-expression make me look ridiculous?  And to which as-yet unwrinkled portion of my body should I have it applied?”

 

I look at girls – yes, girls – in their twenties and thirties and think to myself, “Ha!  Enjoy it while you can, girlfriend!  Because eventually, it’ll be like you blinked and suddenly you’ll be forty-five!”  I know I didn’t appreciate it when I had it – youth, that is.  You just don’t think about it.  You’re completely oblivious to the fact that you have firm, perky breasts that won’t always look like that, or that one day you’ll develop a bunion on your right foot, or that, gasp! you might find yourself knocked up in your mid-forties and then you’ll have to cut your infant’s nails while wearing reading glasses!

Okay, it’s not all bad, being at this stage of life, I suppose.  It’s true that in many, many ways, I probably feel more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have before.  That’s not to say that certain insecurities I’ve carried around for years don’t persist, or that middle age hasn’t foisted some new ones on me, but inside, I know who I am and what I believe in.  I know what’s important, and I know that life is full of lessons, and wisdom means you never stop learning.

And hell, at least I’m not 46!  Yet.

Summer Summer Summer, Summer Summer Summer Time!

It’s official: the kids are out of school for the summer as of today (tomorrow for Kevin), and for the next ten weeks, they will either drive me out of my mind or remind me how precious my time with them is.  Probably a little of both.  In any case, I am looking forward to:

  • No morning rush!
  • No homework!
  • No fundraisers!
  • No schedule to keep
  • Late nights
  • Lazy mornings
  • Popsicles
  • Ice cream!
  • Reading to my heart’s content!
  • Baseball camp
  • Swim lessons
  • San Francisco to celebrate Joey’s tenth birthday!
  • Barbecued dinners a la Michael
  • Patio swing date nights

Oh yeah, and a new baby soon!

My Husband’s Secret Life

The wife is always the last to know – isn’t it the truth? I found out in quite a roundabout way, as these things tend to reveal themselves. Yes, my husband has been living a secret life. On the internet.

He’s a Blog Reader. Not only that, he’s a Blog Commenter.

We’re talking mommy blogs, the likes of KH and Mrs. Odie. (Are there others? How long has this been going on? Who knows?!) And apparently he’s been spreading his comment seeds willy-nilly, spawning bastard comments. He’s even made reference to “my wife” in some of his comments. Shudder. It feels as if I’ve been made a party, unbeknownst to me, to some far-flung group grope. I’m now half expecting him to blurt out “Oh, yeah, Mrs. Odie!” next time we’re . . . uh . . . well, you know, if there is a next time.

And when has he been diving between the sheets of digital paper with these other whores writers bloggers sluts bitches? When he’s at work, supposedly earning a living to support the offspring he keeps spawning at home? Or at night, perhaps, when I’m innocently asleep, dreaming of my next blog post all the ways to keep my man happy and satisfied?

It’s true (or so he says) that he’s only scanned KH’s blog recently, curious to see if she addresses the fact that her recently published book has generated some negative (gasp!) reviews; and it’s also true (or so he says) that he only found Mrs. Odie by Googling KH, and found her to be entertaining. How’s a wife to feel, though? Isn’t my blog enough for him? What have they got that I don’t have? I bend over backwards (ahem) to make him happy, and this is what I get? He’s looking for blog lovin’ elsewhere? He doesn’t even like the whole concept of blogging! He disdains it! At least that’s what he’s told me. I don’t know what to believe anymore.

Geez, what’s next? Am I going to find out he’s secretly writing a blog, too?

Legalese

Let’s get a few things straight here, shall we?

I’m so weary of the word “bullying” being so easily and liberally thrown around.  It seems to be the go-to accusation to make anytime someone gets their feelings hurt (or imagines that someone they revere has gotten their feelings hurt).  Bullying is a serious accusation to level at someone, and actual bullying should be taken very seriously.  Unfortunately, throwing it around willy-nilly only dilutes it and makes it mean far less than what it should mean.

According to USLegal.com,

Bullying is generally defined as an intentional act that causes harm to others, and may involve verbal harassment, verbal or non-verbal threats, physical assault, stalking, or other methods of coercion such as manipulation, blackmail, or extortion. It is aggressive behavior that intends to hurt, threaten or frighten another person. An imbalance of power between the aggressor and the victim is often involved. Bullying occurs in a variety of contexts, such as schools, workplaces, political or military settings, and others.

Furthermore,

Defamation is an act of communication that causes someone to be shamed, ridiculed, held in contempt, lowered in the estimation of the community, or to lose employment status or earnings or otherwise suffer a damaged reputation. Such defamation is couched in ‘defamatory language’. Libel and slander are subcategories of defamation. Defamation is primarily covered under state law, but is subject to First Amendment guarantees of free speech. The scope of constitutional protection extends to statements of opinion on matters of public concern that do not contain or imply a provable factual assertion.

***

The law of defamation protects a person’s reputation and good name against communications that are false and derogatory. Defamation consists of two torts: libel and slander. Libel consists of any defamation that can be seen, most typically in writing. Slander consists of an oral defamatory communications. The elements of libel and slander are nearly identical to one another.

Historically, the law governing slander focused on oral statements that were demeaning to others. By the 1500s, English courts treated slander actions as those for damages. Libel developed differently, however. English printers were required to be licensed by and give a bond to the government because the printed word was believed to be a threat to political stability. Libel included any criticism of the English government, and a person who committed libel committed a crime. This history carried over in part to the United States, where Congress under the presidency of John Adams passed the Sedition Act, which made it a crime to criticize the government. Congress and the courts eventually abandoned this approach to libel, and the law of libel is now focuses on recovery of damages in civil cases.

Beginning with the landmark decision in New York Times v. Sullivan (1964), the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that the law of defamation has a constitutional dimension. Under this case and subsequent cases, the Court has balanced individual interests in reputation with the interests of free speech among society. This approach has altered the rules governing libel and slander, especially where a communication is about a public official or figure, or where the communication is about a matter of public concern.

***

Slander is the oral communication of false statements that are harmful to a person’s reputation. If the statements are proven to be true, it is a complete defense to a charge of slander. Oral opinions that don’t contain statements of fact don’t constitute slander. Slander is an act of communication that causes someone to be shamed, ridiculed, held in contempt, lowered in the estimation of the community, or to lose employment status or earnings or otherwise suffer a damaged reputation. Slander is a subcategory of defamation.

The basic elements of a claim of slander include;

  1. .                a defamatory statement;
  2. .                published to third parties; and
  3. .                which the speaker or publisher knew or should have known was false.

Slander is primarily covered under state law, but is subject to First Amendment guarantees of free speech. The scope of constitutional protection extends to statements of opinion on matters of public concern that do not contain or imply a provable factual assertion. If the slander unjustly accused you of a crime or reflected on your profession, the court or jury can assess the damages. For other types of slander you generally must prove some actual damage to be able to recover.

You can read more about New York Times v. Sullivan here, if you’re so inclined.

Bottom line: publishing a blog post that states opinion about a public figure or their stupid book is NOT bullying, defamation, slander or libel (as any attorney – or even paralegal – worth their salt would know).  Bullying consists of aggressive behavior and an imbalance in power; defamation, slander and libel all consist of FALSE statements that the statement maker knows to be false and makes anyway with the intent to harm someone’s reputation and/or business opportunities.

If you put yourself in the public eye, if you write a fucking book, you better be prepared for not only praise and accolades, but criticism as well.

Got it?

Good.

The Beast

So, yeah, I know that last post was pretty heavy.  I’m glad I wrote it, finally, though.  There is a healing quality to writing.  It kind of dispels the power of the event to some degree, if that makes sense.  I wrote it, and I’ve re-read it since then a number of times, and I feel more and more removed from it each time I read it.

Anyway, all the supportive comments are very much appreciated.  And really, it’s like, wow, was that really my life?  Because my life looks nothing like that nowadays.  Amazing how far a person can travel in a few years’ time.

On a lighter note . . .

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That eight-pound puppy we brought home not quite two and a half months ago?  As of this morning at the vet’s she tipped the scale at 33 and a half pounds!  And she’s only four months old!

She’s very much into little projects around the house.  Here, I’ll show you some of them:

She’s adding some decorative touches to the buffet –

 

Refinishing the piano bench (the one Michael’s had since childhood) –

 

Recarving the coffee table –

She’s a very talented woodworker, wouldn’t you say?

But she also likes to work with upholstery.  Apparently she’s decided that the underside of the sofa must go.

And to think I was trying very hard to talk Michael into getting TWO lab pups!  It’s kind of like wanting to have a baby  – you think, “Awww, a cute widdle baby!  Who doesn’t love a sweet baby?!  Huh?  Who?!”  At that point, you’re not thinking of the whiny toddler that follows the cute, sweet baby, or the demanding grade-schooler, or the snotty adolescent, or the surly teenager . . . oh, sorry, I got sidetracked there.  Where was I?

Oh yeah.  Puppies.  Scout.  She’s a creative one, too.  She likes different art mediums, but especially crayons.  She eats them by the dozens and finds that partially digested?  They add very interesting hues to her poop.  I’ll spare you pictures of that.  Unless you really want to see?

At the vet’s today, she got her first rabies shot.  The doc told me it will probably make her somewhat lethargic for the next day or so.  I said, “Thank you!”

She’s a beastie baby.