Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What a Crazy World We Live In!

Well... I went ahead and sent an email to cartoonist Greg Evans. The man behind the Luann Comic Strip.

I wanted to express my support for this panel that appeared last Sunday:
I wrote about it here.

Well guess what... he emailed back.


Amid the disapproving emails,
it's nice to get yours!


Who would email a cartoonist to criticize him for pointing out that NOT everyone is doing it?!!

I'm shocked! People are idiots.

I mean... I can see where some people accept the fact that some teens are sexually active. But to criticize abstinence in action?!?! Mind boggling!

I also understand why some people disapprove of abstinence only education, but to criticize someone for presenting abstinence as an option?!? Dumbfounding.

Sounds like Mr. Greg Evans could use some more support. Do you believe in abstinence? Let him know and thank him for speaking to teens in a way they can understand.

I'm sure some teens are relieved to know it's okay to be a virgin - and okay not to roll over and have sex just because 'everybody's doing it'.

Reality Check

I have a great group of girlfriends here in Denver. They are all active and social and pretty much down-to-earth. There are a few exceptions where the bar for 'down-to-earth' gets adjusted!

But for the most part, we all work hard, play hard and shop hard. Some of us splurge on designer goodies. Some of us troll TJMaxx and Target for bargains. Most of us do both. We all look fabulous! It must be noted.

We get together once a week - on Sundays to watch Desperate Housewives. It may no longer be anyone's favorite show but it is our excuse to get together. There is someone new almost every week. Or at least someone we haven't seen in months!

Last Sunday was the first DH of the new season - and so the first time we've had a Sunday evening together since May. We nibbled on delicious treats for an hour before the show started, chatting and catching up. We talked about our boyfriends, our jobs, our hair color.

A new woman came into the fold. Man did she look smart. Amazingly highlighted hair. Coiffed in a perfect, messy little knot. The sort I can never manage to pull off! She works at some chi chi gallery and her husband is running for a Sen@te Se@t. She seemed fun and friendly.

Until she knocked the wind out of me.

I was telling a little story about how the tiny little TV that my parents bought me when I left for college 20 years ago (the only one I've ever owned) finally blew out the blue tube. The TV still works but the picture is very green and fuchsia. Ha ha. Then there's the converter box I bought to make my TV compatible with the new HD signal - good thing Mr. Burns never got around to hooking it up. Ha ha some more.

The other girls all know me and understand that I use a product of any kind until it is all used up. So they chuckled with me and sympathized that it was time to buy new one. They also know about my employment situation, the latest car drama - everything.

This new woman interjected halfway through my story and said something like... "Oh honey just go buy a new TV. They're so cheap."

I couldn't form my thoughts into words fast enough to respond. My first thought was.... "Lady, you've never been poor have you?" My next thought was, I have a car with driver's side window that doesn't work... which gets priority? A $300 repair or a new TV? Never mind that I still use an antenna! My next thought is... what if I told her I found a similar TV on Craig$list for $10? Would she die of shock?

Even if I could get a HD ready TV for less than $200 - that's a month or two of gas or groceries.
But I keep going back to... "Lady, you have no idea what it is to scrape by do you?"

When we left for the night, she turned to me and said, "We'll have to find a way to get you a new TV sweetie." I said, "Oh, thanks! I'll take all your efforts to find me a job first. "

"Oh." She had no idea what to say.

Now I'm not saying that I don't have respect for this woman, or that she's rude or anything. It's just been a long time since I met someone in my circle who didn't know what it was like to struggle at some point.
And, I'll admit, that's my greatest prejudice. Rich people who have no comprehension of what it's like for the rest of the world.

If your answer is "just go buy it" you are out of touch! I mean at least have the ability to relate to the context. If I haven't replaced a 19 inch TV in 20 years, maybe it's pretty low on my priority list. But maybe that was her point. Buy a TV already!

We obviously have different ideas about discretionary cash.
Lady, I don't even have an iPod! Or a season ski pass. Or skis for that matter. I've been saving for a couch for four years now! Something else always comes up.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Teenagers After My Own Heart!

Isn't this a refreshing perspective on teenagers?

Link here if the image is too small to read.

Kudos to cartoonist Greg Evans for promoting abstinence!!! This was totally me in High School.
I had no idea that some kids my age were having sex. I had heard some rumors and dismissed most as just that ... rumor. The others I chalked up to just being slutty. I couldn't wrap my head around the idea.

After junior high - I went to Catholic School in one small town and my best friend from grade school and junior high went to the public school in another little town. The public school where it was taken as fact that lots of kids were having sex. Those dirty public schools! Joke.

Needless to say, that friend and I didn't hang out much any more. Not by way of segregation... just that we were both now in different high school experiences. Different friends.

One weekend, probably sophomore or junior year - my friend and I were hanging out in her high school town. Football game or something. We were driving around with one of her new friends and the topic turned to sex. She (the new friend) asked if I'd had sex and I answered incredulously... "NO!"
Then she asked my old friend, and (in hindsight I realize...) she hesitated for my benefit. I interjected. "Ugh. Who would want to?!"
The new friend glared at me. "That's a mean thing to say!"

Oh... was I confused! I didn't mean that she wasn't pretty or desirable. It was my clumsy way of trying to say.... "We're just kids! Why would we be having sex? Sex is for grown ups... for married people!"

I couldn't get my thoughts out... and I sat there a little ashamed for unintentionally insulting my friend - and for not speaking the morals that were on my mind.

Anyway, that's why I like the girls in this comic. Brave (in an odd way) of the cartoonist to send the message... NOT EVERYBODY IS DOING IT! AND THAT'S OKAY!
I think I'll send him an email.

PS - I share Luann's sentiments on Algebra as well!

A Call for Prayers

Oh. Dear sweet friends of the Internet, I have had a distressing afternoon.

I had a confrontation with my neighbor. She lives below me on the second floor of a three floor Walk-up. She's a general nuisance but beyond that she is mentally ill. Bi-Polar or Schizo or both. I've written about her previously here and here.

She of course (of course in the sense of: in order to make my life as miserable as possible while at the same time behaving as a typical Bi-Polar case) refuses to take her meds, and prefers to self-medicate with alcohol.

When she's particularly agitated she comes home and blares her music so loud that there is 1) no way I can ignore it and 2) no way to drown it out. It vibrates my walls, floors and furniture. She slams her doors. Not just when she comes home but possibly when she is having arguments with the voices in her head. She sometimes slams doors at full decibel for 90 minutes at a time.

My neighbor below her works from home and has to sit in a coffee shop all day to do her work because she can't assume her days will be peaceful at home.

Everyone in this building but me is non-confrontational. They sort of take the attitude of "That's how it is so we'll just have to live with it." I am not that sort of person. Sometimes I wish I could be. Fact is I am not.

Instead, I embrace the fact that the law is on my side. So I went down and knocked on her door this afternoon and said, "If you can't start keeping your music at a neighborly level, we will have to start calling the police again to intervene."

She threw her door open and starting yelling at me. Told me not to threaten her. Told me that I'm loud all the time. She says I stomp around all the time. (I'm in bare feet 98.5% of the time that I am home - and I don't stomp.) Blames me for damage to her ceiling. (my bathroom pipes leaked - not that she bothered to tell me. She waited for the damage to infiltrate the first floor before I knew I had a leak.) I reminded her that I arranged and paid for the contractor and supplies to fix that.

I defended myself. Voices were raised. I wish I could have kept my cool but I didn't. And I am ashamed.

I am also scared. Our condo building has already taken her to court for throwing bricks through people's car windshields. She has keyed my front door... and my old car. I am now scared of what she'll do now that I've ticked her off good and well.

Mr. Burns reminded me to pray for her. And to pray for myself.
But my friends, I think I need help.
If you could pray for us too - I'd really appreciate it.

Side note: We are both unit owners in our building so it's not like we can have her evicted. Also - it's a terrible time to sell. I haven't had steady income in a year so I can't even prove income to rent a different apartment. I'm sort of stuck here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Death of Journalism & Impartial Voting Information

You might have gleaned from a few details scattered around this blog, that I - for a large part of my life and career - was once a telev!s!on news rep0rter. (That's why I'm anonymous - I don't want potential employers to find me here via G00gle and then judge my writing ability by the casual and personal prose that I set forth here. Also there's that whole journalistic impartiality issue!)

I left the Beast (as we call it) when it was clear that stories on Brittany and the Beckhams were more important than actual journalism.
Eminent domain threatening the homesteaded land upon which your family toiled for 5 generations? Is your local government spending money it doesn't have? That you'll end up paying in tax hikes? B o r i n g !! Tell us something interesting - like is that celebrity pregnant or fat? WE NEED TO KNOW!


I blame the 24 hour news cycle. CNN came about when I was in college. Their boon came at the start of the Gulf War. Operation Desert Storm was the first American War covered LIVE on a daily basis. I was studying broadcasting and was fascinated by the live coverage from the War Zone. I remember gasping in shock and fear when I witnessed simultanously, mortar fire and the loss of the live signal. It was incredible. It was scary.

But once the Gulf War faded from the flickering 28 frames per second on our screens- they had to fill their 24 hour news cycle with something else. How about 24 hours of the OJ Simpson trial? 24/7 Jonbenet Ramsey coverage?

Pundints and so-called experts got their own tv shows. The line between journalist and show host blurred and then faded completely.
The news industry, which once boasted trusted newsmen like Huntley, Brinkley and Cronkite became the least trustworthy profession... beating out hated lawyers and used car salesmen.

Worst of all - when corporations bought out the networks - after the Reagan Administration eased the restrictions on TV station ownership - (it used to be that there was a limit on how many telev!is!on stations could fall under the same ownership. It was a protection of the public trust) - telev!s!on news in the public interest died.
When once we had to operate in the public interest, and present news and information in an equal and unbiased manner - now it's all about the almighty dollar. (you'd be surprised if you knew how very little your local news anchors and reporters make in salary. The almighty dollar is for the big wigs. In many towns, that glamorous news anchor makes less than a first year teacher. Surprise!! )
Today even the network news programs are labeled liberal or conservative - Republican or Democrat.

It's impossible to get untainted political information these days.

So ladies and gentlemen - in the spirit of unbiased journalism - I want to offer you all a source of unbiased political info.

The League of Women Voters. The LWV provides non-partisian informaton of each candidate's stance on the issues. Here you can find the break down of the Presidential Candidate's positions on common issues. You can also find neutral explainations of ballot considerations for your city and state.

Make an informed decision. Vote for what you believe - not what one guy said they'll do better than the other guy.

Good luck and happy voting! Vote early. Vote often. Vote at least once!

If you have resources for other non-partisian neutral guides please share.
I ask that any commenters refrain from blatent support or detraction of any one candidate on my blog.
Thank you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


My new (used) car has a brand new stereo that the previous owner had installed. It’s pretty sweet – with a CD player, MP3 input, Sir!us capability and a cassette player – oh and a remote control! The guy I bought the car from said he discontinued the Sir!us service before he sold it to me, but it would take a few days before the service ended.

I wasn't going to subscribe to Sir!us so I switched the button to the radio tuner and forgot about it. Last week I bumped a button and discovered that the satellite service was still connected.

I scanned through the stations, found a Catholic network, and listened to a beautiful story about a mother who struggled with a very sick baby who was not expected to live. Understandably heartbroken, she talked with her priest who said, “You have to give this child back to God.” She was shocked. “But God gave her to me! How can I give her up?” The priest explained the importance of surrender and the incredible grace God grants to those who hand their most precious gifts back over to Him.

Of course the story concluded with a healthy child and a happy, blessed mom. I thought it was a great story and went on with my day.

A few days later, I found a set of cassette tapes that my best friend sent me a few years ago. They held a recording of a book on tape she wanted me to listen to. I haven’t had a working cassette player for years so I seized the opportunity to use my shiny new car stereo to finally listen to the book on tape.

The book was about living the big dream God has for your life. Our dreams are God given – to fulfill God’s plan for the world. We must face the obstacles and hardships to achieve our dreams in order to glorify God.

Listening to the tapes I tried to identify my big dream. Is it pursuing photography as a career? I doubt that factors into God’s great plan for the world. (however, this would qualify). I finally determined that my big dream is to be a wife and mother. But the more I thought about it, I couldn't understand why God would give me that dream – and then keep it out of reach for so long. Why would God wait until I’m 38 without even being engaged? How does He expect me to produce children… or even have the energy to adopt?! Why would He bring me SO CLOSE – finding Mr. Burns who is a righteous man of faith, matching me in family values and sense of humor – and still not make it clear that he is or is not the man for me? Isn't it unfair to give me a big dream that I can’t achieve on my own?! How can my dream be something that I need someone else to agree to pursue?!?!?!

Then toward the end of the book, the author reiterates his point that as we overcome the obstacles of the world… just when we can see our dream… almost reach out and touch it… God asks us to give our big dream back. It’s crushing. But almost every time, if you surrender your dream to God – He gives it back – bigger and better than you imagined.

Suddenly I understood. I have to surrender Mr. Burns. I must give him up and ask God to address his heart – to either make it right for a marriage with me – or whatever his heart may be destined for. And either God will give him back to me – even better than I imagined – or He will lead me to the fulfillment of my dream, in a manner I could never perceive on my own.

Tears rolled down my face as I was driving. Okay, God. I’m ready. I will surrender Mr. Burns’ heart. I know You will do what is best for both of us. What is best for Your will.

I have been praying for an unmistakable sign. Now here were two messages. Two messages I wouldn't have even heard if I hadn't totaled my car and bought one with a miracle stereo!!

The next day, I was to join Mr. Burns to attend a funeral. I wasn't sure when I would tell him about the surrender. Then a friend of his met up with us at the funeral and ended up joining us for brunch at a nearby restaurant.

I was a little uncomfortable…I felt I had to put on a little show for his friend while deep in my heart, I was preparing to end our relationship.

When our food arrived, as usual, Mr. Burns and I joined hands and the three of us said grace over our meal. Our friend smiled and said, “You know what is great about your relationship? The two of you can share prayer, and attend Mass together. You’re building your relationship on faith. That’s very important. I wish my wife and I could have had that. We have a great marriage but I always felt that was missing.”

Mr. Burns responded. "I agree. And I've never had this before." He smiled at me. "I was always looking for the wrong women. I didn't know that this is what I really wanted."

That stung a bit. Here I am planning to surrender the man I love – and God plants a big reminder of what is so right in my world. Why would I leave?

Later that night, Mr. Burns and I spent time together, wandering downtown, looking deeply into each other’s eyes, and discussing our relationship and some big concerns. Mr. Burns explained his struggle regarding his discernment about marriage. We had a great talk. I see progress.

So now what? Do I surrender? What is surrender anyway? Does it mean breaking up with a man who declares his love? Or does it mean that you just don’t struggle. You do your best and leave the rest to God.

When asked to surrender her child, a woman doesn't abandon it. She tends to the child's needs and leaves the rest to God.

But then again…
Tonight, in bible study we are exploring the life of Moses. We're at the beginning, in which the mother of Moses – in spite of the edict to kill all the newborn Hebrew boys – hides Moses for three months before she knows, by faith, that she must let him go. She sets him afloat in a basket in the Nile River and lets him go. Complete surrender.

Then God sneaks in blessing upon blessing.

There it is again.

Has God seen my willingness to surrender, and decided to show me what He has in store? Or is He showing me more of my dream? Bringing it close enough to taste and asking me again to surrender?

One friend told me that she sees I have been ready to surrender so many times, and God keeps giving me Mr. Burns back. In her mind, it is proven.

But I still don’t know. I prayed to see progress by the end of September – and here is progress on Mr. Burns' part. And a call to surrender on mine.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

An Accomplishment and a Gift

This a project I've had on the back burner for a while... and finished ... well... not quite in time.

This cheery cherry apron is a birthday gift for my very best friend. Her birthday is today. I already told her that her gift would be late.

I had her unwittingly pick out the fabric last winter. I sent her an email with photos of fabric options. She told me she was very excited upon opening photo links - thinking I had Bridesmaid dresses in mind! Hah! When she saw the flowered and cherried options she knew she was off track!

After she picked the cherry print I scoured a couple of fabric stores several different times for a suitable contrasting fabric. Finally, I found this red polka dot print. Cute huh?

In the end, I also used bits and pieces of three different apron patterns to get the style I had in mind.
Other seamstresses might just wing it... and I have before... but cannibalizing patterns works just as well.

Why an apron? I was inspired by this post from Conversion Diary. (She's an amazing writer and has beautiful things to say about the Catholic faith from the eyes of a former atheist.) But I especially liked her musings on what it means to have a well-worn apron.
It is my wish for my best friend. Happy Birthday Kim!!

Having a well-worn apron means:

You have food to eat
You have someone to cook for
You have someone to sit down at the table with you to share in the fruits of your efforts
You have the resources and the physical ability to make homemade meals
You have the energy and the money to wear clothes that are nice enough to be worth protecting
You care enough to do all of the above

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Why You Little...

Sometimes I just have to accept that getting my reusable, cloth grocery bags into the car is success in itself. At least I can always run back to the car for them.

During my last trip to the grocery store, I had ultimate success. Remembering to bring all 4 bags along into the store with me.

The cashier and I traded small talk. He (like most grocery clerks) agreed that most people manage to get their cloth bags to the car but not always into the store. Then for some reason the conversation turned to the bags themselves. Durability most likely... and I pointed to the most colorful one in my little collection.

I mentioned that I've had it for years. I got it as a freebie at some Earth Day event when I was in college.

"Oh I know." he said, "I had the same one for a while." Then he added, "My mom had it when I was a kid."

I glared at him. Then I shamed him a bit for proving my age!

"I got it in college and then you tell me you were a kid! How rude!"

He laughed. And hung his head a bit.

As we finished the transaction and he gave me the obligitory, "Thank you for shopping at Safeway Miss TRS."

I answered, "You're welcome... pipsqueak."

"I deserved that." came his reply.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Need Your Help With My Feet!

Fall is one of the toughest times of the year for me. Transition time.

Transitioning to cute, light fall jackets is no problem. My agony lies in the shoe department.

This will be the third fall in a row where all I find in my closet are cute open toed sandles and strappy heels .... and... knee high boots with 3 inch heels. Not much of a transition. I need something somewhere in the middle.

But all I find in the stores are chunky loafers sporting what appear to be tire treads on the bottom, or modest little old lady style shoes that look like they originated in the principal's office (or the convent).

The loafer just doesn't seem to cut it for me. For some reason I don't seem to like them. Almost everything else I see is a flat Mary Jane - which seem to oddly expose way too much sock! And every last one of them is uncomfortable. I try them on and they won't stay on my feet!

I scanned the latest InStyle Magazine (fashion bible) - and all I saw were open toed shoes and knee high boots. So at least I know I'm fashionable - but I still want something 'practical'.

The additional challenge is - I'm really low on funds right now so I'm looking at Ross and TJMaxx - hoping to stay between $15 and $35.

Last night I found these Mary Jane heels.
I think they look kind of cute with jeans and slacks and of course skirts - but I worry they are a bit too 'Last Year'. After all, I didn't see a single pair of Mary Janes in this fall's InStyle.

What are you wearing this fall? Show me pictures. I need help!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Only Because I'm Home At 10:00am

Since I'm home at 10:00am and I don't have cable... I switch the TV to the View in the mornings.

Joy Behar tends to get on my nerves. She is at once, a crotchety old lady and a junior high teenager who rolls her eyes when you disagree with her.
One would think that would be tough to pull off. Apparently she's had years of practice and has perfected the art.

What bothers me most is her stereotypical East Coast/ Liberal attitude that assumes "If you don't agree with me, you must be an uneducated idiot."

Joy, not all of us have abandoned our faith. I'm sorry the nuns picked on you in school - but some of us got past that --- sifted the truth from the propeganda and got on with our lives. Not everyone gives up on faith when it gets hard to explain and sometimes incovenient to practice.

Today as she nitpicked every tidbit of information that has been associated with Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin, she blurted out, "I'm sorry, but the Media is in love with this woman. It's out of control!"

Oh really? And you had blinders on during the Obama worship services?
Here's your own medicine. Have a taste.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Overheard At Target


11 year old girl to mom: "You know, I haven't had lunch yet."

Mom: "You had those cheesesticks. That was lunch."

Seriously? Look lady, you are part of the problem! Can I send you about a million articles on nutrition , childhood obesity, and childhood diabetes?

Even better... she gets to reproduce and I don't. Life is NOT fair!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

And Just Like That....

And just like that... it's Fall.

Mr. Burns mentioned it on Sunday, the last day of August. He said, "It seems as soon as it's September it's Fall."

Labor Day was still rather hot but... Tuesday - Boom!
That fall chill is in the air. Welcome to Colorado folks.

The one downside to living in Colorado, in my opinion, is that summer is so short.
In Nebraska - where I grew up and spent the majority of my adult life - it's usually good and warm until mid-October.
One doesn't have to carry a jacket along for the day until at least October 10th.
In Denver, boom... it's September 2nd and I need a fleece hoodie. At noon!

The trade off of course is that the fleece hoodie is good pretty much until mid-December - whereas in Nebraska you pull out the parka in mid-November and keep it handy until well into March!!

At least that's how I remember it. You know, absence makes the heart grow fonder and all.