Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Occupational Hazard

I haven't slept for two weeks.

I have trouble shutting off under the best of circustances, which is why I have to read almost every night before turning out my light. My brain needs a mechanism by which to make the transition from problem solving, list making, prioritizing, care taking....into a state of of peaceful limbo.

So as I said, even when there's nothing particularly bothersome or stressful happening in my life, my mind tends to churn ceaselessly as I lie there in the dark, desperately trying to escape into oblivion.

When I'm stressed, it almost doesn't even pay to get in the bed at all.

So I'm not particularly well rested these days. And then, yesterday, like clockwork, my monthly migraine struck. Usually, I retreat to my dark and quiet bedroom with an icepack and wait for it to pass. But I had phone calls to make, emails to write, documentation to print, timelines to organize and names to list.

By ten that night, my head hurt so badly I was close to vomiting uncontrollably. I really, really hate to vomit. Its almost a pathological aversion.

Finally, sick and exhausted, I crawled into my big inviting bed, turned out the lights, and arranged the ice pack delicately for maximum exposure. I laid there breathing deeply trying to quell the nausea and stay on top of the waves of pain that washed over me in time with the beating of my heart.

I was almost asleep when my door opened and Diminutive One whispered timidly...

"Mom? Are you still awake?"


" you think I could sleep with you? I'm feeling....afraid."

SIGH. I can't tolerate any movement or jarring when I've got a migraine, and Diminutive flops around like a fish out water when he sleeps. How he gets any rest is beyond me.

"Babe, I'm sorry, I just don't think I can stand that right now. What are you afraid of?"

"I don't know. Just afraid."

Well, he had plenty to be afraid of. Our meeting with the lawyer the next day had him worried that someone would be going to jail, even though we had assured him that wouldn't happen. His anxiety was in overdrive and he had no way to cope. get in bed with his Mom and take comfort in just being next to her. How could I refuse him?

"Alright, get in. But please try to be still."

"I won't move a muscle, I promise."

And he didn't.

We both laid there not sleeping and not moving for a long time.

It was I who broke the silence.

"Babe...I'm sorry I didn't take care of this a long time ago. I should have."

His head rose off the pillow and he peered at me, surprised.

"It's not your fault Mom. You didn't know it was so bad."

"I should have. It's my job to know stuff like that and to fix it. And I didn't and I'm sorry."

I was crying then, tears slipping down my cheeks and pooling in my ears. But I don't think he could tell in the dark.

"You took care of it Mom. You protected me."

"Not soon enough."

He slipped his arm through mine under the covers, and nestled his head into the space between my shoulder and my ear. I could smell his breath. He hadn't brushed his teeth. I didn't scold him.

"I still think you're a really good Mom."

Dear God, I'm not.

I yell too much. I swear too much. I'm impatient. I'm not consistent enough and I'm lazy about following through on threats and punishments and I let him play video games far too much because sometimes he is just so much work that I don't have the strength for even one more battle.

And I didn't fix this soon enough.

But he thinks I'm a really good Mom.

Fuck that makes me feel bad. Like I've been knifed in the gut and my entrails are spilling out onto the sidewalk, being trodden upon by heedless passersby.

Probably the kid who gets beaten black and blue every day thinks his Mom is awesome too.

Kids are so stupid.

Thank God.

Because they have no idea how inept we really are.

Someday, I'll make this up to you Diminutive One. I don't how, or when, or where, but I will. Maybe I'll buy you a new car for your 16th birthday and you won't even know that it's guilt that put those keys in your hand.

Maybe I'll co-sign for your first loan, or give you money to start your own business or babysit your kids like, a million times without being paid.

I understand some things my parents did a little more clearly now.

It's the secret they don't tell you about when they hand you that little pink or blue bundle. What you're also taking home that day is a lifetime of guilt.

Hey universe...I think I've reached my quota now.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Once again, I am stunned by the outpouring of support and offers of help. Some of you have even done research and sent links, which have been amazingly helpful. It's times like these that I really believe in the power of the people.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for all your support, kindness, and hard work on our behalf.

I am up to my eyeballs in red tape right now, and trying to straighten all this out.

But I will tell you that we have contacted an attorney who specializes in student's rights here in Georgia. As soon as it is determined that we have a viable case, we will move forward with legal proceedings which will include filing formal grievances against the administrators involved in this situation.

If it is deemed appropriate and not detrimental to our case, we will contact the local media. Parents need to know this kind of stuff is happening right under their noses and could happen to their child.

I never wanted to be that Mom on television in front of a phalanx of microphones and a cavalcade of reporters. It will get ugly if it comes to that. Every decision I've ever made as a mother will come under scrutiny.

But this can't be allowed to happen. Period.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hey, Guess What?

My son is being kicked out of school.

Yeah, my know...THE VICTIM.

Because we were redistricted last year, my son is attending his current school under a provision for those who wished to remain at the old school for their last year of Elementary education. Because my son is not particularly adaptable, and struggles with changes, we felt it was in his best interest to keep him there.

That is a decision I am right now regretting.

Regardless...the terms of this agreement state that attendance is a factor in granting that privilege. Now that he has been absent in excess of ten days, they can kick him out, aaaaaaaaaaaaaall nice and legal like.

And, he is being denied the opportunity to take the CRCT, which he MUST have to move on to sixth grade next year. Their position is that unless he is in attendace, he doesn't have the right to take the test.

I told you the principal was a bully. See, I can't win. I've accepted that. I don't have a team of legal eagles and iron clad policy to back me up. But I won't give in either.

So, instead of actually addressing or resolving the problem, they are just going to make it go away. And in the process, they are going to further punish one already very demoralized ten year old boy.

Incidentally, throughout this whole debacle, she has refused to consider the things that occurred as bullying. She says that Diminutive One is merely "uncomfortable" around this other child. I knew she was devious and evil, but I never thought she would try to place the blame in the victims's lap. I should have.

So I guess the decision has been made for us. Without the CRCT he can't be enrolled in a public 6th grade anywhere in Georgia. He will be homeschooled next year.

Nice, huh?

Hey, Atlanta Journal/Constitution....Cawl me. I think I got a story for ya.

P.S. If you live in Georgia, it might be that your child attends the same school. Does that frighten you? It should. I would love to trumpet her name and that of the school all over the internets, but that's not very prudent from a privacy standpoint, and probably a legal one as well. If you want to know, email me.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Whodda Thunk It?

There's been a lot of talk about homeschool around here lately. In truth, I've thought of little else.

The topic comes up almost every year.

School is difficult for my son under the best of circumstances. He is fantastically bright and creative. But he is an unconventional child. And public school is ill suited to educating children who are anything but "average" and/or "normal". It is also ill suited to nurturing gifts such as creativity, imagination and ingenuity.

Out of the box thinkers only make things more difficult for teachers who are already laboring under almost intolerable working conditions; overloaded classrooms, rigid curriculum, strict policies, and NCLB initiatives. They just don't have time to deal with a lot of free thought and extrapolating ideas.

For a lot of you, it's been many years since you were exposed to the charms of public education. And perhaps you, like me, have somewhat idyllic memories of your elementary school days.

I remember having two recesses every day, plus our lunch recess. We had art and music on alternating days of the week, so depending upon the week, we had one or the other three times.

My children are flabbergasted when I tell them this. They simply don't believe it.

Because there is no time for fun or creativity in school anymore.

Elementary school children get ONE recess a day, directly following lunch. And "specials" (art, music and technology) happen once a week.

My Middle Schooler gets 20 minutes for lunch, period. That is his one and only break throughout the entire day.

"Connections" classes are supposedly elective, but are chosen for you on a rotating basis. My poor Pubescent One has gotten Family and Consumer Science, Keyboarding, and Health so far this year. Finally, this quarter, he got Phy Ed, which he, strangely enough, really wants. But he's gone the whole year with no art or music.

This is nothing new, and I've written about it several times. It's one of my pet issues, which you know if you've been reading me for any length of time.

Our public schools are not breeding great thinkers, strong leaders, visionaries, trailblazers or captains of industry. They are churning out drones; worker bees who can follow directions and will take their place willingly in the natural order of things.

People who become wildly successful adults do so despite their public education, not because of it.

So there's that.

And then, of course, there's the bully issue. Being picked on constantly complicates matters and causes an already struggling child to founder further.

So...why the hell didn't I begin homeschooling my children years ago??? You may be asking.

It's a valid question.

I have no philosophical objections to home schooling. In fact, I greatly admire people who can take that on and make it work.

I can't.

One thing I've learned from taking this journey with my boys is that the reason I did so poorly in school is that I quite likely suffer from ADD as well. I doubt I could provide the structure, the constancy and the direction that they would need to succeed.

Oh we would do well for a while; a month, maybe two, while the idea was still novel and we, still enthusiastic. But then things would begin to slowly fall apart. We would sleep a little later every day. We would skip a lesson here, an assignment there. We would begin to blow off mandatory reporting.

And soon, my kids would be doing nothing but wearing their pajamas all day and playing video games until their eyes crossed.

And patience...lord people, I am not a patient person. God, if he's up there, has played quite a prank pairing Diminutive One and I. Because aside from having ADD, and possibly Asperger's, he's stubborn, defiant, persistent and agrumentative. His behavior is sometimes very difficult to endure. When you throw my impatience into the mix you have a genuine recipe for disaster.

But every year, when it becomes clear that public school has yet again failed my son, I revisit the issue; turning it over and over in my mind, running down the pros and cons over and over and over.

It always comes down the the fact that I am afraid to take on something that is supposed to be for his benefit only to wind up doing him more damage than the school could ever hope to do.

Quite simply, I don't want to be responsible for ruining my kid.

Last night, because he is not attending school right now, and because he had been waiting eagerly, I let him stay up watch "Waking The Baby Mammoth".

We chatted as we prepared a snack.

"I wonder how long that baby mammoth has been frozen?" he mused.

"I think the advertisement said she has been in the permafrost for 40,000 years!" I exclaimed.

"What's permafrost?"

"Uh, I think it's a mixture of dirt and ice that's below the snow."

"Hmmmm." he said thoughtfully. "How do they know it's been 40,000 years?"

"I don't know, but I'm sure we'll find out."

"Do you think she died in like, a meteor blast or something, or do you think she just got sick?"

"I don't know. I'll be interested to hear the answer to that myself."

We settled down to watch the two hour program, during which, we talked about the things we were learning.

We learned that Russian reindeer herders are nomadic and live in tents and that they move from place to place as they follow their herd. It was a reindeer herder who found Lyuba.

He thought it an ill omen and feared that his family might be cursed by the discovery. For this reason, the wife was not terribly pleased that the dead Mammoth infant had been named after her.

The scientific team that visited them in their tent was served raw reinder meat and hot tea. We agreed that we would have a hard time choking it down, but would try, for the sake of diplomacy.


"I guess they don't ever take baths, since they don't have a bathroom." Diminutive One hypothesized.

"I think it's probably too cold anyway..." I said. "I wonder what the average temperature is out on the Tundra?"

Moments later, our question was answered.

"Yep, definitely too cold to take a bath!" he announced.

For two hours, this continued. Both of us enjoyed the program immensely, and even after it had concluded, Diminutive One was full of chatter and questions. Those that hadn't been answered, we looked up on the internet.

And there, at midnight on a Sunday night, just he and I struck me.

This is homeschooling, dudes.

I've been homeschooling my kids for years.

What about that.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Eye Candy

The music? Meh. A little cornball. And I like his regular voice much better than the goofy deep throated immortal demon sex God thing he's doing here.

But looooooooooook at hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimmmmm.....

I toldja he was something in his youth, didn't I?

I needed something to take my mind off my troubles.

This? Will do nicely.

P.S. I realize that I am entirely too old to be doing the giggly, blushing fangirl thing. It's really not like me. I blame it on the stress. Yeah. Is there anything more pathetic than a cougar with a crush? Eh well. It is what it is.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Here's The Scoop, Part II

Mere moments after I completed my post yesterday, I got a call from the school social worker.

This caused me to experience a glimmer of hope. Sadly, it was fleeting. I quickly realized she hadn't called to offer assistance, but to issue a polite, but emphatic threat.

In short, if I don't get my son back in school post haste, they will pursue legal action under the auspices of the current truancy laws.

I was calm. I really was. I know that ranting and raving rarely achieves anything positive. People don't WANT to help when you behave like a carping shrew.

So I explained the situation. She knew of course, that bullying was at issue, but she didn't know any of the details. Nor did she know that I have had past dealings with Princiapl Dragonlady and do not have any confidence in her ability to resolve this matter with objectivity, fairness, or sensitivity.

In fact, I told her quite bluntly, I feel that Principal Dragonlady is something of a bully herself. I did not expect empathy or cooperation from her. I expected to be bullied into accepting measures that are ineffective at best, counterproductive and further injurious at worst.

"So what would you do, in my position?" I asked. "Obviously, he needs to be in school. He misses his friends and he needs the structure that the classroom provides. But right now, he is thoroughly demoralized and nobody is taking that seriously. I can't put him back into that situation without knowing measures are being taken to put a stop to it. And I have absolutely no confidence that that will happen."

She said that she understood, and I think she really did. "But..." she said, "We have protocols in place to deal with these types of situations. I can't protect you from legal recourse if you don't follow those protocols. I need to know that you understand that."

Protocol schmotocol.

I understood the consequences all too well when I made the decision to keep him home.

Here's the thing you need to know if you have or you will have a child attending a public school. It's important so make note:

The people that you think are there to serve your childrens best interests? Are merely purveyors of policy. Puppets. Minions.

Policy is the foundation of all governmental administrations. And public school is no exception.

Individually, they may empathize with your situation. They may see the wrong and wish to right it. They may think that the whole situation stinks like a dirty gym sock.

But as a collective body, they don't give a hang about helping you or your child. They care about crafting policy that will cover their asses and net the quickest, easiest, and least messy solution.

For example, instead of actually addressing the bully's behavior or meeting with the bully's parents, it was suggested MY son, i.e., the victim, be moved to another classroom. Quick. Easy. No muss, no fuss. What a great solution, huh?

Except that is's completely and totally WRONG.

I call it sounbyte administration.

Whatever the situation, they can quote policy. It sounds good. It sounds very official. It sounds very much like people who actually know stuff made it up.

But here's the thing:

Children are not policies. They are people. And the things that people encounter in the scope of life experience, do not always fall neatly in line beneath a series of bullet points.

My demands were not and have not been met, because the current policy on bullying prevention and intervention dictate that my demands are not "appropriate".

Fuck appropriate. What I need is to know that someone is being held accountable for this child's behavior, that consequences are being imposed, and that the persecution STOPS, immediately.

After an entire year of demoralizing treatment, "appropriate" is being taken off the table. And "effective" is being put in it's place. Though, again, if you read the policy on bullying, my proposed course of action is not effective either. Because according to them, bullying is not a conflict that needs mediation. It's an issue of abuse that needs to be addressed with the individual.

"To make an impact bullying should be addressed at home, at school, at play and in the community. It must be a systemic effort for sustained effect. It’s everyone’s responsibility."

Okay. I can see the sense in that.


I'lll tell you why:

Because policy isn't really there to protect anyone except those who crafted it.

They can say with conviction, "Well, we have a policy in place to deal with that." And it's true. They do. It doesn't matter that it's ineffectual, or, that nobody is really interested in actually using it. It's there.

Collective asses, covered.

So where does that leave us?

I told the social worker that I wouldn't even consider sending him back until I was convinced that his mental and emotional state was stable.

I had called Diminutive One's therapist when all this first started, but she's in the midst of a court case and wasn't able to see him immediately. But yesterday, after speaking with the social worker, I left a 911 message on her voice mail, to which she prompty responded.

He saw her this morning.

As I suspected, he is in "crisis", though most likely not a danger to himself or others. She was deeply, deeply concerned about his anxiety level, and his depressed state.

"You absolutely did the right thing removing him from the situation." she said emphatically.

In my heart, I knew this. But my brain needed somebody qualified to validate that decision.

"You did the right thing."

Funny how those five simple words can have such a huge impact on a Mom.

She is preparing a report for the school, and that should keep them off my case for a while. At the very least, it gives me validation for my actions, and a platform from which to reiterate my demands.

Honestly, I wish I had followed through on my initial impulse to circumvent the school altogether and just contact the parents directly. If I had it to do over again, I would. And I will, if there's a next time.

That's my advice to you. Handle things on your own whenever possible. Because you are the only one that cares about actually effecting change for your child.

It's all up to you.

Isn't that a cheerful thought?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Okay, Here's The Scoop

I yanked my son out of school.

If you remember, there's a child in Diminutive One's class who has been tormenting him all year.

There's one every year. Every. Goddamned. Year.

Diminutive One is different. Quirky. Unuuuuuusual. He doesn't have the same skills as other kids when it comes to social intercourse. He doesn't read social cues very well and he doesn't understand or acknowledge common social constructs such as pecking order, cliquism, and dog eat dog mentality.

In some ways, that's a good thing. He doesn't follow blindly and he doesn't kiss ass. He is not easily influenced to do things he wouldn't otherwise do. In other words, he is definitely his own person.

When he's older, I think these traits will be extremely advantageous.

But now, it simply makes him a target. He might as well walk around wearing a bullseye sandwich board.

And I don't know how to fix that.

So every year, there is some kid that zeroes in on his vulnerabilities and then exploits them to the fullest.

We've been dealing with one kid in particular all year long, with no real resolution. Nobody seems to be taking it seriously.

In fact, I learned at one point, that Diminutive One's desk was placed in a group with this child! First of all, I don't understand the group seating thing at all (I know AA, but I still don't get it). And secondly, why in the world would the teacher place my son in a small group in close proximity to a child that has made sport out tormenting him all year long??

Does that make sense to any of you???

My request that he be moved was honored without much fuss, but there was a definite sense of being placated.

Now, though he is sensitive, Diminutive One is very stoic. He doesn't want people to know he's upset, or angry, or hurt. He does not wear his heart on his sleeve.

He would rather stand in a room full of his peers naked, than have anyone see him cry.

Needless to say, it can sometimes be difficult to guage his emotional status.

So I thought after the last go-round, in which I expressed my dissatisfaction with the way things were being handled between the two, things had gotten better. He hasn't said much about the kid recently, except to complain that he wouldn't particpate in the class musical and was ruining everything by refusing to sing. Typical, but nothing that set off alarm bells for me.

Last week however, those alarm bells were ringing loud and clear. Deafeningly so.

In the car after a disappointing baseball game, I was haranguing him about giving up. They were losing badly, and at one point in the game, he simply stopped participating. I was yammering on and on about how that's not fair to his team and he can't let them down like that, and yada, yada yada....

And right there in the van, on a dark and winding road, my son had a complete emotional breakdown.


He sobbed until he was hyperventilating and dry heaving. He railed and he ranted. He pounded the window with his fists and he stomped his feet on the floor.

And all I could do was drive.

I was stunned. All this over a baseball game? I thought. But of course, it was more than baseball.

When we got home, I dried his tears and held him until he calmed down.

"So, there's more going on than losing a baseball game. Talk to me."

He was done yelling, but I was less concerned when he was angry. The complete and utter defeat in his eyes and his slumped shoulders sent tendrils of fear down my spine and curled into my belly.

He mumbled, "I just can't take it anymore. I just can't. Every goddamned day I have to listen to his bullshit. It never ends."

Right then and there I decided that he would not return to school until somebody fucking DID something.

People..if you could have seen the relief in my son's eyes when I told him he would be staying home until I could figure out a way to fix would have wept.

I did.

I wept all night long. I tossed and I turned, thinking about all the terrible things that could happen if I fuck this up; if I can't make it right for him. This is why children commit suicide. This is why they bring guns to school and shoot people. This is why they kill small animals or start fires.

Because nobody listens, and nobody takes their torment seriously.

But you know what? It's not a rite of passage. It's not a harmless little game of one upmanship. It's not boys will be boys.

It's abuse, pure and simple. If an adult treated another adult that way, would we be so blythe? No. We would not.

And I'll be goddamned if I'll find my kid hanging at the end of a rope.

So the next day, I took him to the movies. On a weekday, at 11:00 am. We had slurpees and popcorn and we put our feet up on the seats in front of us because we were the only ones in the theatre.

It was completely decandant and he was thrilled to bits by the sheer wickedness of what we were doing.

I was worried, to be honest. I've tangled with the truant officer before.

But the smile on his face and the bounce in his step assured me that I was doing the right thing.

That was almost a week ago, and he's still home. It's a long, story, and not pretty.

Tomorrow I'll give you "Okay, Here's The Scoop; Part II" alternatively titled, "Why Cobb County Sucks And Don't For a Minute Think They Actually Give A Shit About Your Child".

Footnote: I had qualms about sharing this with my readers. It's his business, afterall, not mine. And I'm not sure if I were in his shoes, that I would want my business being trumpeted over the internets by my Mom. BUT...

This is an important issue. If you read the link above, you know that elementary children ARE killing themselves. And if I can help someone by sharing our experience, then it's worth it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Sweet Arrangement

I'm on a completely different plane of parenting from many of my readers, although I think my demographic has changed over the years, as the essence of who I am has emerged through my posts.

Diaper days are long behind me. Breast or bottle no longer seems of tantamount importance. And I'm not embarassed over things that I once saw as parenting failures, such as potty training late, or having a binky until age 5.

I have older kids now. I'm not the sage veteran that some of you are, but as of today, I have 14 years under my belt. I think I've learned a thing or two. Mostly what I've learned, is that I still have a lot to learn.

But there is one thing I can tell you with confidence.

ALWAYS, always, your child's strongest advocate. Their greatest champion. Be in their corner. Trust in them when nobody else does. And never be afraid to stand and fight.

Because when it comes right down to it, nobody cares as much as you do. And no other person can infuse them with the kind of confidence that comes from knowing that you believe in them.

It's hard. I won't lie. Fighting puts knots in my stomach and makes me unable to sleep. I second guess myself. I worry. I wrestle with my conscience.

But when it's all said and done, no matter the outcome, I can say, and my child will know, that I did my damndest to make sure they got a fair shake.

I can't really gives details of what I'm embroiled in right now, other than to say...BULLIES suck. It's an ongoing problem for us, because Diminutive One doesn't know how not to be a target. He doesn't now how not to be terribly wounded by the onslaught of unkindess. Blytheness is just not in his nature.

But I'm fighting. And I will keep fighting until I'm satisifed that my son is safe and happy.

I thank my Mom. She showed me how to be fierce.

When the time comes, and it will, for you to be fierce, do it with the knowledge that you are getting something right. We all, as parents, have moments of doubt and insecurity. In truth, it plagues us, wouldn't you say?

But you are never wrong when you champion the one person in the world who looks up to you the most.

Maybe, just maybe, a day will come when you need a champion. And your kid will be there, ready to fight, just like you did for them.

Champions beget champions, I suppose.

It's pretty sweet arrangement.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Man of Steele

I have a lot going on personally right now. Parenting always seems to throw you a curve ball when you are least able to field it with anything resembling finesse or aplomb.

Consequently, emotionally, I'm kind of a wreck, which in turn, affects my ability to be interesting, relevant or witty (Assuming I ever was).

Still, I feel a certain sense of obligation to my readers and my offerings of late have been decidedly meagre.

I need to post something, but all I've got for you today is music stuff.

In the '80's when everyone else was heavily into metal and hair band mania, I was listening to Euro techno synth pop type stuff. You know...Pscychedelic Furs, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Cure, Howard Jones, Violent Femmes...

I completely bypassed my metal stage. I think that this has resulted in a state of arrested development in that, I never really got to indulge all that angry, angsty, bile spewing, poetry scribbling teenage melodrama.

I think that generally speaking, though of course I had the same predilection for sulking and moodiness as any other teen, I was really too happy to be into all the really dark stuff. I flirted with being punk for a while, but honestly, I just didn't have the necessary blackness of the soul to sustain the image for very long.

But it seems that missing that important stage of my emotional evolution has caused a regression later in life.

Because I've recently discovered "Goth Metal".

I am entirely too old to be mucking about with "Goth" anything, but I find myself mesmerized by the sound of one band in particular, which apparently, has been around since the stone age, but of whom I was completely unaware, immersed as I was in over synthesized, over mixed and over coiffed Eighties Euro Pop musical culture.

Which I still heart very, very much by the way. It was the backdrop of my formative years, and thus, will always have a deeply nostalgiac effect on me.

Anyway, most of this band's stuff is way too hard for me. Screaming guitars and shouted lyrics rattle my nerves. A lot of it is overblown, cheesy, and blatantly panders to the deeply misanthropic Goth mindset and love of all things related to death, sex, and death. Oh, and vampires.

So it's not something I would listen to normally, even though my musical tastes are almost schizophrenically eclectic.

But this guy's voice,'s Chocolate? No. Velvet. Yes. His voice is like...something. Whatever that something is, it makes you want to wrap yourself up in it and daydream of being kissed. HARD.

I think his talents have been wasted, frankly, because his voice can part knees like Moses parted the Red Sea. Had his career taken a more mainstream turn, he could have put any and all power balladeers to shame.

I think I've mentioned before that I am drawn to quirky, unusual men and he definitely fits that bill. Pretty boys just don't do it for me. Plus I have a strange fascination for those profoundly massive in stature. This guy is 6'8" and solid as an Oak.

In his youth...yowza. He truly something to behold. He's aged now, and not particularly well, thanks to the ravages of drugs and alchohol. But if you just close your eyes and listen.....

See what I mean? The ultimate Power Ballad. The ultimate Power Balladeer.

Check out the band's cover of Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl" as well. It's really good.

And, as an added bonus, he posed for Playgirl back in 1995. If you want to take a peek, click here, but be forewarned, these pics are most definitely NSFW.

He's definitely uh...proportional.

So there you go. I have expanded your musical horizons today. Don't you feel broader? I know I do.

FOOTNOTE: It turns out they will be in concert here May 23rd. For a brief moment, I considered buying somet tickets. But I think I would look and feel completely out of place, lacking as I do, any piercings or tattoos. I don't think I really have the attitude to pull off Goth and I know I don't have the bod to pull off the ripped fishnets and leather look. Once one passes a certain decade, such trappings look a little sad and desperate anyway. One can't exactly attend such an event in capris and a twinset, however, So there you go...not for me. SIGH.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Because I feel guilty for not writing something fabulous after my ten day absence, I will share pictures of my new, beautiful room.

Admit it, you were dubious, right? It turned out even more beautiful than I had hoped, though of course, taste is subjective, and you may disagree. That's okay.

It's not quite finished. There are a myriad of small details to attend to. The nail holes in the molding need to be puttied. I still need to paint the window panes (note the blue tape still adorning the windows) and the door insets. I have to paint and replace the ceiling grates. I haven't hung all the artwork yet.

The cheap shades will go. I absolutely LOATHE blinds and refuse to have them in my house. The shades are an interim measure until I can afford some really good quality window coverings. I found some beautiful Roman shades that were the perfect color, but they were $189 PER WINDOW.

My furniture is ugly. I loved it 16 years ago, oddly enough. Maybe it's just that it's wrong for the room. It needs something a tad more formal and sophisticated. Unfortunately, new furniture is not in the budget, so I will try to update it by changing the hardware and refinishing the tops.

My mother bought me a ridiculously expensive but incredibly gorgeous silk floral arrangement, which I can't decide where to place. It looks awesome on top of the highboy, but it also looks amazing in front of the mirror. Tell me what you think. I have it paired with two small brass etchings that I bought from a street artisan in Paris when we were there on our honeymoon. I love them very much.

I also have beautiful grave rubbings from Notre Dame that I plan to have framed and hung in there, but again...the budget prevails. Have you priced custom framing these days? OY.

The ceiling fan RAWKS. It really just changes the whole look of the room. Don't you agree?

It was one of the things I thought I would have to wait for. It was expensive, because everything I pick out is expensive. I can walk into any store and without fail, choose the most expensive item, every single time. To test my unerring ability, I chose another ceiling fan at random, and it was exactly the same price. I chose the two most expensive models in the store without even glancing at a price tag.

Knowing how much I loathed the fan that was in there, and how it made me physically ill to see my beautiful room marred by it's hideous 1984 brassiness...he surprised me last week by "finding" money with which to purchase it. Ahhhh.

I have so many more plans for the room. I need a bench for the end of the bed, an etagere for the woefully empty corner by the bathroom to hold my girly stuff, some throw pillows, some greenery, a frame here, a knick knack there....

But mostly, it's done. And I LOVE it. I was concerned about the ceiling color. It was Husband's idea and I was skeptical. But I have to say, it really WORKS. I didn't think so until the molding was up and then it all came together beautifully. White would have been wrong. So, so wrong. Envision this room with a white ceiling. Wrong, right?

So, the moral of the story is...take risks with color. I'm glad I did. But even if it had turned out horribly, all that was lost was some time and a little paint.

Oh and also? Do yourself a favor. If you decided to paint trim a dark color, for the love of all that is good and holy in this life...PRIME it.


Ugly, sickly (and dirty) mint green walls. Hideous brassy ceiling fan and fixtures.


DOH. That ceiling looks mighty dark! Will it work? Or did we make a BIG mistake??


YES! It worked. And June looks right at home.

Sad empty corner where something must go

Weird doo dad I bought on a whim that I now have no idea what to do with.

Wall Art that I found in a bargain bin for $1.50 ea. I swayer!

(And look! Even my pets match!)

I like these the best. They sorta, kinda, almost look like real art.

So there you go. My magnum opus. Now the attached bath looks REALLY shabby, and I'm chomping at the bit to get started on it. Wish me luck.

But damn, when all this is done, I'm not going to want to move!

P.S. I wanted to mention, that this was not an expensive project. You can make a big visual impact without a big price tag. The bedding was $30 from Domestications. The matching curtains $24.99. The mirror, the painting and the wall sconces I'd had for years, they were just repurposed. The weird little doo dad I got at Wal-Mart for $10.

I did splurge on a few items. The ceiling fan and the outlet covers were expensive. We also splurged on good paint because we learned when painting Pubescent One's room that cheap paint is difficult to work with. So, almost $100 for paint.

And crown molding is an inexpensive way to make any room look luxurious. We used four pieces of 16 ft molding that were around $13, if I remember right. The corner blocks were $3.

You can update and beautify for very little if you take the time to shop and compare.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Spring Has Sprung

And I have company. So I'll see you in a week. Be good, and don't let the trolls take over. Truly, one knows one has made it big when one has one's own groupies. Even if they are trolls.

Dudes, life is to short to waste being a gaping hairy asshole with dingleberries. Find the beauty in life. Chill. Cleanse your aura. Meditate. Do whatever you need to do to change your outlook.

Being a negative Nellie will put you in an early grave. And who the fuck needs that?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Home At Last

By now, most of you probably know about my deep and abiding love for a woman named June.

Sadly, she has been in a box for over a year. Every once in a while, I slide her out from between the cardboard and bubble wrap, and just look at her. It makes me happy. And oddly, looking at her imparts a serenity that is very pure and organic. The chemicals in my brain react somehow to the juicy hues and the languid pose.

This past week, we have finally begun redecorating our ugly, ugly, ugly master bedroom.

For thirteen years we have lived in this house. And for thirteen years, I have lived with sickly mint green walls, garish brass fixtures, and a vomit colored electric blanket tacked over the window in lieu of draperies.

Needles to say, it has not been a space that inspires. I don't know what it says about me as a person or as a possible headcase, but I need beautiful and tranquil surroundings to maintain my peace of mind. I consider it a form of Spiritual Lipstick.

We are hoping to move back to my hometown sometime soon, but of course, the economy and the housing clusterfuck that currently exists make that a remote possibility at present. So, while the powers that be labor to fix the problem, we are laboring to make our ugly little fixer upper as attractive as possible to faciliate a sale, if and when the economy recovers.

We have made much progress. And finally, the master bedroom is getting a makeover.

I love color. I don't care what is current or trendy or fashionable. I don't care that, according to real estate experts, I should really paint everything beige.

So I have agonized over what colors to choose for my new bedroom. Orange was a given. It's my favorite color in the whole world. But what accent colors? What metals on the fixtures? How to coordinate the attached bath without being too matchy matchy?

I chose colors I loved, but I worried that they were too bold and too deep for the space. I worried that they were not conventional.

My Mom, who, along with my Dad, has spent 30 years renovating their 100 year old Craftsman style home, convinced me that sometimes, you just have to take a risk. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn't. But the only thing that is lost is some time and effort, and a little bit of paint.

So I did it. I took a risk.

My color pallette:

Walls: Faded Clay (deep, earthy terracotta)
Ceiling, doors, window insets: Canyon (warm orange based tan)
Trim: Rustic Earth (deep rich brown)

We painted this past weekend, and from the moment the first stroke went on the ceiling, I was concerned. The colors are gorgeous. But I just didn't know if they were going to work.

And I have been inordinately concerned about lamps.

Long, long ago, Husband worked for a well known furniture company and we were able to buy home furnishings at deeply discounted prices. One thing we bought was a pair of ridiculously expensive green Carerra marble lamps that we could never have afforded otherwise.a They are not the kind of thing one discards. So we've had them for almost 20 years. Would they go with the new furnishings, or would there be too many conflicting hues?

And what about June, my beloved June?? Would she fit in with the color scheme and the bedding, which is beautiful, but busy? Perhaps it would be too much, the color of June's gown against the riot of color in the bedspread and the green marble lamps.

Would it all work?????

We aren't finished yet. The crown molding hasn't been hung and I haven't painted the insets on the doors and windows. But yesterday, I put everthing together to eyeball it.

Here is what I saw:

Here's a picture of the wall color and trim together. I'm still not sold on the brown, but I'm committed now, since I've done more coats of trim paint than I ever thought to or want to again. And I did it freehand. No tape. I think it would take an act of God to cover it now anyway. The crown molding will be the same brown as the baseboards.

And here is a picture of the ridiculously expensive outlet and light switch covers I had to have. Originally, I had planned just to paint the cheap plastic ones to save money. But I happened across these and decided it was fate. They were $8!!! I don't know about you, but that's strikes me as extravagant for an outlet cover. But, in my own defense, I only put them on the switches outlets that show. I still ended up spending a stupid amount of money on a relatively insignificant detail.

Eh well. Sometimes you just have to.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. I think it's so warm and inviting.

You might find it busy and garish, and that's okay. I find neutrals bland and uninspiring. To each his own.

But personally? I think June has found a home.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

In Which I Embrace The Saying..."If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em"

It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of overt displays of religious fervor.

Where I come from, religious affiliation is a very personal issue and not one that people broadcast at every opportunity. Which is why, after 20 years in the South, I still cringe when someone slips a little halle-LU-jah or Praise JeZUS into completely random conversations.


Conversant #1: "Wow, this potato salad is amazing! I finally persuaded Mary to give me the recipe."

Conversant #2: "Praise JeZUS!"

See what I mean?

Any and all such pronouncements bug the living snot out of me, but the one that really makes me want to bitch slap somebody is "Have a blessed day!"

The cashier at the grocery store said it to me this morning, and I reacted the way I always do. First, I blinked furiously, trying to process. Then I felt the smile on my lips freeze into a maniacal rictus. Then I bit my tongue to resist the urge to say something like...

"I'm really looking forward to roasting over the fires of hell, but I appreciate the sentiment."

Now, rationally, I understand that when somebody says "Have a blessed day!" they are simply trying to be kind. But part of me can't help thinking that it's also a fairly effortless way to hedge one's bets when it comes to the pre-judgement tally at the pearly gates.

I imagine St. Peter and his long suffering assistant standing at the head of a long line of the wretched and the damned, trying to decide who gets in and who has to kiss Satan's ass for the rest of eternity.

St Peter: Next.

Long Suffering Assistant: Let'sssssss seeeeeee. Oh yes. (clears throat) Candy Ann Spellman, 38, single, no children. Christian. Cashier at Kroger. Hobbies include scrapbooking and wet t-shirt contests. Killed in an MVA, attempting to flee the scene of a thwarted armed robbery.

St. Peter (raising eyebrows): Joel....what do we say about Christianity??

Long Suffering Assistant: One must walk the walk, Sir.

St. Peter: Exactly! Send her packing.

Long Suffering Assistant: Um, with all due respect Sir, it says here that she exhorted some 4,786,592 persons to "Have a blessed day".

St. Peter: What of it?

Long Suffering Assistant: Sir, I believe you are aware that such a dedicated display of pointless religious promulgation is grounds for a declaration of zealotism and as such, negates any and all prior transgressions as they pertain to eternal damnation.

St. Peter: Poppycock!!

Long Suffering Assisant (patiently): I assure you Sir, it is not Poppycock. Why else would Rex Humbard be here?

St. Peter: Shit.

Long Suffering Assistant: Indeed Sir.

St. Peter: We have got to do something about that loophole. Remind to speak to big G about that.

Long Suffering Assistant (scribbling): Noted, Sir.

St. Peter (sighing): Alright then. Let her through. A loophole is a loophole. What size halo?

Long Suffering Assistant (checking his notes): Ahhhhh, size 10, extra pious.

St. Peter (thunderously): Extra Pious! I think not! She'll get a size 10 semi devout and LIKE IT!

Long Suffering Assistant: Whatever you say Sir.

St Peter: Next.

Long Suffering Assistant: Yes sir. Next we have Alice Ghostly, 81. Widowed. Mother of 7. Agnostic. Character actress and stage performer. Cause of death...

St. Peter: She's in.

Long Suffering Assistant: But I haven't finished yet.

St. Peter: She's in, I say,.

Long Suffering Assistant: But Sir....

St. Peter: Big G wouldn't approve..even pretend witchcraft is a sin. But dammit, I like her. That Esmerelda, always in trouble. She had spunk! SIGH. They just don't make quality television anymore.

Long Suffering Assistant (dryly): Yes Sir. She certainly was a hoot, Sir.

St. Peter: She's in.

Long Suffering Assisant: Of course, Sir.

So...I dunno. I'll admit I'm a little touchy when it comes to such things. But, really...what's so wrong with plain ole "Have a nice day?"

It doesn't offend anybody. It doesn't exclude anybody. It isn't pretentious, self-righteous or contrived. It your standard all purpose social nicety, n'est pas?

Oh I know, I know...we have this weird need to customize every little colloqualism, aphorism and slogan to our own personal designations. I have no idea why. I suppose it's the American propensity for self aggrandizement and egocentricism.

Well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

So to all of you out there in the blogosphere, I say....

"Have a spiritually ambiguous day!"

(Originally posted 10/02/07. Yep. Still painting.)