Thursday, August 31, 2006

Three incidents, two days, one common denominator

There is clearly something about me that sets people off.

#1) Yesterday, as I was taking the Dude to the babysitter to attend a Work Function with Husband, I was nearly nailed by a skinny little man in a little red car. You know the guy: sketchy facial hair, baseball cap, needs a haircut, smoke in his mouth or hand AT ALL TIMES. He was hauling ass through a residential neighborhood, driving in the left-hand lane. I was making a right turn, directly into his path. I slammed on the breaks and made some astonished faces, but I did not yell. I did not shake my hands, I didn't even flip him off. He raced off and I went my merry way to the sitter's.

Just as I was taking the dude out of his carseat, Angry Little Man drove up, after having driven around the 'hood looking for me, and stabbed his smoke in my direction: "You need to learn to yield, bitch!"

I managed an indignant, "SUCK ME!" before he (surprise!) raced off again.

#2) I then drove to Local Historic Mansion for the Work Thing and decided to take the (free!) (unguided) tour.

I was inspecting some wallpaper (painted burlap, really pretty and not at all trashy looking despite the products used to achieve the effect, i.e., burlap). One of the docents snapped at me, "Don't touch that!"

Um. I am not 2. At least couch your abuse in friendly "I'm sorry but..." language. Bitter old bitch. Further proof that I need medication: I nearly burst into tears.

#3. I went to lunch at a local spot that is, when it's not Thursday, a social club for people with serious and intractable mental illness. It's a great place, especially if you like to eat, because the food is made from scratch and the coordinator is a dedicated dessert freak. My kind of people.

I was sitting with my regular crowd when a couple sat at the table next to us. The woman had two cigarettes in her hand and I *think* the man had a lighter. Either way, I don't know about you but when I see smokes out of a pack, I think they're about to be lit. So I said, "I'm sorry, I don't know if you know it but there's no smoking on the porch on Thursdays."

She freaked out on me and was all, "I"M NOT SMOKING! IS IT LIT? HELLO?! IF IT'S NOT LIT I'M NOT SMOKING!"

I said, "I know you're not but I wanted you to know before you did."

She ranted on. Clearly a member in good standing.

So. Dear internets, tell me: do I have a "Bitch At Me" sign over my head? Am I just too damned sensitive and should get the fuck over it? Is the world filled with bitter, angry, small-minded people who are assigned to persecute me at each and every opportunity? Somehow I think it's a tasty casserole of all the above.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Plum fantastic

I pilfered a bag of plums last week and started making plum butter out of them last night. For the record, all fruits removed were from branches overhanging the sidewalk, which I understand to be perfectly legal* and moral.

It turns out that the plums I took are the very same variety as the tree I planted several years ago. I only know this because I've actually managed to keep its few, precious offerings on the tree through the liberal use of Liquid Fence, a fetid (but effective!) concoction that contains, among other things, Putrescent Whole Egg Solids.

I'll just let you ruminate on that for a mo'.

I KNOW! ISH! But it works, so hey. But anyway, so I bought and planted this tree and it's THE SAME PLUM! Needless to say, I'm ecstatic. Just think, in five, maybe ten years, I won't have to steal any more.

In other fascinating news about ME, today I go see Nice Nurse at Evil Clinic about some antidepressants. Or committment, but really, I think it's worth it to start small and build up, don't you? Besides, I have NO idea what padded room fashion is this season, so I need time to shop.

When P was born, I filled the Rx of generic Pr*zac just in case. My mother had (what I suspect to be) post partum psychosis when I was born, and I already have a personal history of major depression, so it seemed the wise and prudent thing to do. Imagine my surprise when I didn't need it at all.

I decided to go the same route when the Dude was born, better safe than sorry and all that crap, and up until recently, I've felt pretty damn perky. Sure, I've had moments where I had to put them both in their respective containers and go downstairs to polish off a bottle of cheap vodka, but really, who hasn't?

It's only occured to me in the last few hours, hours, people!, that maybe I've been at least minorly depressed since before the Dude was born. I was certainly prickly, and poor Doggie took the brunt of it (verbal abuse, never physical, but still). Even today, she walks on eggshells if I don't come downstairs singing.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not so bad I can't function, but I certainly don't function well. And as the child of someone who went with undiagnosed depression for several years, I don't want to put my kids through that.

So when I get back home this afternoon, after an orgy of grocery shopping and craft-supply buying, I hope to have gobbled down my first dose of happy pills. I have no idea what I'll get but I need it to be safe for breastfeeding and if it could do something about my non-existant libid0, well, that wouldn't suck.

*please do not disabuse me of this notion. It's keeping me sane. Seriously.

Friday, August 25, 2006

What's that you say?

You want me to make love to the camera? Mwah, dahling!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

'Fess up

Because I can totally relate to the need for these blogs, and everyone on the planet doesn't know about them yet, I'm doing a public service and showing you where they are. If you've ever had an unvented rant, a heart-swelling moment you couldn't talk about in public, or a dirty little secret you're just dying to spill, you will probably love it here. Me, I like it for the people-watching. I'll also admit some of the confessions leave me with my jaw on the floor. Damn, woman! You did WHAT?!

I have *tons* of rants I've never posted. I like to hold my rage inside until it coalesces into a firey ball of hate, then let it all out on some unsuspecting, pimply faced bag boy with the bad teenage moustache at the grocery store who didn't listen to me when I said paper AND plastic. I mean, what's he going to do, hit me? Then I go into the parking lot and find all the expensive European cars and bust out their headlights with my umbrella, just because I love the imagery. Who doesn't get a kick out of watching an infant-toting hausfrau hauling a toddler by the elbow as she wreaks havoc in the rain?

Hey, it could happen.

If your particular beef is with your MIL (not me, I totally scored on that angle. Seriously!), perhaps you should check out this little gem.

Finally, if it's not husband- or MIL-related, you can dump at Her Bad Mother's Basement where they post anonymous rants and rages for the ease of one edification of all. Internets, you no longer have an excuse for being total pussies about your feelings not talking about your problems with people in the same boat.

God, look at me, I'm a freaking PSA all of a sudden. The More You Know. [cue shooting star graphic]

Anyway, go check them out, for the shock value, if nothing else.

Ursus minors

DUDE! A bear! A sow bear with
cubs! It just ran across the lawn and the babies were in the tree and I said to myself, "Self, anything that size and black climbing a tree that well has to be a bear," and it was! FIVE BEARS! In our yard! And Masher tried to kill them but I got her back before she was eviscerated by the mama bear. BEARS! Apparently that many surviving is practically unheard of, so yay, us!

Okay, sure I'm a huge geek. But this is my first wild bear sighting so I'm excited and a little freaked out because I'm guessing a toddler might look like tenderloin on the hoof to a mama bear who's nursing four cubs. So we may not be playing outside for a while. Still, I'm so terribly excited and proud that we have bears who feel okay about venturing onto our turf. I think they were after the apple trees in the driveway, which is right outside the bar, so I'm going to be watching TV in there for a while. Or maybe surfing. Or both! I can multitask!

Monday, August 21, 2006

In praise of not praising

For a few months when P was younger, I made a concerted effort to comment on her activities in a positive way, while at the same time not applying any judgement of what she was doing. If she went up the stairs on her own, I'd say, "You climbed up all by yourself!" instead of "Good job on the stairs!" Then I sort of fell off the wagon and went back to the generic "good job" whenever she did anything I liked. It wasn't even a matter of praising *her*, it was basically getting her to keep doing what she was already doing so I could have a few minutes' peace.

Then I read this. I am officially going to modify my ways. It's hard, not offering praise; she so clearly loves it, and it makes her feel so good. But I can also see how it will eventually come to undermine her view of her own skills and abilities. It's so easy to do the work for the praise, rather than the sense of achievement. I see that in myself, even today. Receiving praise from another gives me greater pleasure than my own sense of accomplishment, and that's a terrible thing. I want P and the Dude to be able to create their own feelings of well-being, rather than looking outside themselves for it. If that means taking praise away from them for the short term, it seems like a worthwhile endeavor.

But it's going to suck in the meantime.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Uncle Brother

Once again, the US government is sticking its fat nose where it doesn't belong. If you have *any* livestock, poultry, waterfowl, or farm any kind of animal, and you haven't seen this, you may want to take a look at this so you know when to start freaking out.

Of course, the government does a lot of good for a lot of people, and I'm the last person to deny that, but if you're a small stake-holder and only raise animals, say, for your own enjoyment or dinner, this is going to affect you. Big time. Maybe not this year, maybe not even in the next couple, but if the "voluntary" aspect of the program is repealed, your ability to rais a piggy for your freezer is going to change entirely. You won't be able to bring it onto your property, take it to a vet, take it to the slaugterhouse or butcher, or even to a show, without the government knowing. For the more paranoid amongst us, that also means they know where YOU are, at least for a while.

Pets are also on the list apparently. You ready to RFID your puppy and kitty? There's legislation pending that states if your cat or dog has babies, guess what? You're a pet dealer now and have to register as such!

How this isn't a massive invasion of privacy is beyond me. Even religious exemption may not be allowed, which has to violate some kind of clause in the Constitution. Hey, whaddya know, Wisconsin *already* requires we register our premises. Oops.

Keep your eyes peeled for local legislation. Whether you have livestock or companion animals, this is going to affect you.

Friday, August 11, 2006

...and on that farm they had some chicks

EIEI . . . Ohhh, crap they're all dead. Well, all but one. We have a lone auracana hen who manages to keep herself alive but that's it. All my guinea keets, all my pullets, and the last three layers. Husband and I have plans to work on finishing the chicken yard this weekend. If we could get a decent gate up and secure the bottom of the fence, they might actually survive longer than a few weeks. I figure we can cobble together a coop; we didn't heat them beyond keeping the water fresh, so it shouldn't be a huge issue if there's nothing fancy. Keep the drafts out, like, and things should be golden.

...She said, knowing the awful truth.

In other news, I found a guy who'll come here and slaughter, so next spring I plan on getting a couple weaner pigs and call him out in the fall. Mmmm, bacon. I'm also looking at maybe getting a small (seriously, 36-42" high! Awwww!) cow or two. Right now I'm looking at Dexters but I'm open to other breeds. All I really care about is that it's old-fashioned and hardy.

I'd also like some goats. Goat! They'd take care of the pasture right quick, I'll tell you that.

So, my sneaky plans to make Husband live on an actual farm are progressing, at least in my feverish little brain. Anyone who has practical advice (other than DON'T DO IT!), please drop me a line. I could use a little encouragement.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Romancing the drone

If you, like me, like to occasionally indulge in a bit of pot boilery, you need, nay, MUST check out the Smart Bitches so that you, too, can howl at their reviews. And then run to the library to check it out (ha!) for yourself.

When I lived in Minndeanapplelips and worked at the Fed, I was mired in a pretty brutal depression. When I'm depressed, I like to live vicariously. That tends to involve reading about other people's lives turning out better than mine. What better venue than a bodice ripper?

I hatehatehate getting into a book and finding it poorly written, untrue to the era (historical only, please!), and just plain lame. Enter romance reviews! I used to read them at The Romance Reader (actually, I still pop in now and again for kicks), but I've pretty much moved my fidelity to all things Smart Bitchery. Come on, they're smart. They're bitchy. What more can you ask?

An aside to the non-romancers out there: they do other reviews too, so you have no excuse to abstain. Get thee hence and laugh your ass off. Then go read a book.

Speaking of books: I hereby demand that everyone rush out and find a copy of The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Even if it doesn't change the way you eat (and I lay odds that it will), it will change the way you think about food, and that's just as important. Did you know that producing 1 calorie of prewashed, bagged salad takes 57 calories of energy (read: petroleum)? And that the "organic" produce at your local grocery store is still grown on an industrial scale, which is antithetical to the whole concept of organic food? Oh, and a commercially grown carrot is not as healthy for you as an organic one? It's true! I've been doggedly trying to finish it for the last month (what, me read?) and probably once a day, every day since I started it, I've demanded that someone read it. Seriously. It will change you and the way you look at and think about the food you eat.

When (if) I manage to finish it, I'm totally blogging about it in depth.

What books have changed your life or your views of the world? I propose a trade; you read mine, I'll read yours. Of course, this could take a while...

First on my list: The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien to my list. Spectacular. If I could write half as well as he does, I'd be a happy camper. I read it at least once a year. If you know anyone who was in Vietnam, read it. If you don't, read it anyway.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Your brain will melt but you'll keep reading anyway. It's funny, mindblowing, and thought-provoking. Or are those the same thing? Whatever, read it.

And because no book list is complete without a kids' book, The Island of the Skog by Steven Kellogg. Partly I love this book because of the illustrations. Partly because of the moral of the story. But mostly because I love the word skog. Skog. Marmot is good too. Mar-mot.

ETA: I am kicking (KICKING!) myself for neglecting Philip Pullman. If you have not read the His Dark Materials series, I demand you put down whatever else you are reading and concentrate on these books. Oh. My God. It is sublime. I can't for the life of me fathom how it's marketed as youth fiction, but don't let that scare you away. The ideas in this book are huge, the characters are engaging, and the story is absolutely luminous. I actually cried at the end, and I do not cry at books. Or get scared (barring House of Leaves which freaked me the fuck out. PS, don't read this unless you have A Lot Of Time On Your Hands.). Please. Do yourself a favor and read these books.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

TV Nation

The dude is entirely too interested in the television. P didn't look at it intentionally until she was about a year old, when we got her the Signing Time DVDs. Even today, she only wants to watch a select number of shows: Signing Time, Mr. Rogers, and Thomas the Train. Her relative innocence regarding all things commercial is actually one of my smug-mama points.

We took the dude in for his DTaP while we were in VA and there was a sticker catalog on the table, you know, those stickers kids get when they go to the doc. Of the 100+ pages, outside of animals, baloons, etc., the only thing she could identify was Thomas. No Barbie; no Bratz; no Strawberry Shortcake, nada. I was really quite proud.

The dude, on the other hand, he has me worried. He's SO tuned in (heh) to the TV. He's obviously very visual: he calms down from just about any situation if you just give him a little eye contact. From across the room. In a mirror. He doesn't care, just LOOK AT ME, FOR GOD'S SAKE, LOOK AT ME!!! It's a little alarming.

The trip to VA was good. I was writing a post about it when my laptop decided to crap out. The battery only holds about 20 minutes' charge now. Oh, the suck. So I'll come back to it and tell you, my friends in the internet, how to get around the TSA if your luggage is soaked in diesel fuel. The More You Know™.

It finally cooled down yesterday. Today it was a bit warmer than I'd like but hey, it wasn't a hundred freaking degrees. On the plus side, another chicken got nailed. Jesus. At least it was someone's dinner, but now I think we're down to one hen. I think the guinea is gone, too. Project the Next: gate and electric fencing for the new chicken yard. Oh, and a coop. Sigh.

Okay, I have NO idea why the font is so fucked up but I've monkeyed with it like five times and it still won't go right so I'm going to say to hell with it and have a drinkiepoo.