Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Miniversary Weekend


The Food Nazi Goes on Vacation

Our Miniversary trip to Boston was awesome. We took off fairly early Saturday morning and headed to Boston for the Chocolate Tour. We loaded onto a trolley and rambled around Boston listening to a very interesting history of chocolate and sampling various treats. The chocolate tart thing at the Top of the Hub was amazing. Then there was the all-you-can-eat chocolate buffett at the Langham. Oh. My. Dessert. I cannot exaggerate how much variety and how many different desserts there were. Chocolate soups, candies, tarts, cookies, ice creams, confections of all sorts, even a chocolate pasta bar. My favorite was probably the real custard with strawberries on top. But it’s a tough call. There was so much. We stuffed ourselves to a disgusting degree. But it was just impossible to stop.

I don’t want to hear any gripes about chocolate and caffeine and Pip. I have been assured and reassured by countless sources including my midwives that a little caffeine here and there is ok (I was told up to 200mg , my midwife said 300mg, a day – I never come even CLOSE to that, and I certainly didn’t on Saturday).
After that, we stumbled our over-full bellies over to check in to our room at the
Charlesmark. It was really an adorable hotel, though we didn’t spend a whole lot of time there. We spent some quality time recovering from our overindulgence before heading out to roam Boston for a while. It was a beautiful, lovely day, and the area of the city we were in was gorgeous. It really made me miss Brooklyn. It seems I really am a city girl at heart. The Boston Commons, The theatre district, and the Copley Square area were all so great. We wondered around for quite a while. Eventually, we needed to eat something that wasn’t dessert, ha. Even though I knew better, it was a special occasion, so we indulged in a HUGE Italian sausage with sautéed peppers and onions, mustard, and ketchup. It was SOOOOO good. I’m drooling now just thinking about it. It’ll be a LONG time before I let myself eat something that terrible for me again :-(

We also stumbled across the Bull & Finch, the bar that was the inspiration for Cheers. It was cute, and surprisingly not overpriced. So we had to stop in and have a couple drinks (I had an orange juice). Then we headed back to the room to change and off to The Elephant and Castle for a murder mystery dinner theatre (yes, more food – it was a food weekend). The show was funny, the food was good, I had the pasta – the only vegetarian dish they offered, and continued to over-stuff myself.

The walk back was also wonderful. We walked up a beautiful tree-lined greenway with all the trees lit up with white MacGyvertmas lights. Back at the hotel, we wanted to go hang out in the bar because it was a really nice bar and lounge, but we had just spent too many hours waking and eating, and we ended up just taking a shower, cuddling up, and watching documentaries on theTV. Even that was pretty awesome, though.

Complimentary continental breakfast in the morning (something I love in hotels) that lasted until 10, and we didn’t have to check out until NOON! Love the Charlesmark.

We mostly ate fruit because, really, we had had just about enough gorging. Then we took the Boston subway to the boat show. I like the New York subway better. I had so much fun in Boston, and really loved it so much, that I felt the compulsive need to continually point out to myself that New York is better, haha. For instance, the stairs down into the New York subway are spaced better, at a more natural space. Don’t you just hate steps that are too short?

The boat show was boring. I wish there had been a car show instead, but, alas, there wasn’t. So we got back on the Boston subway and wondered around the Boston Commons area some more then ate some delicious burritos at Boloco. Love that place! I haven’t yet decided whether I prefer Boloco or Chipotle. I love them both. Guess I’ll have to figure out which is more environmentally friendly thought they’re both up there.

And finally, we headed home, exhausted and happy. It was a good weekend.

There are some pictures. I’ll try to get them up soon. We’ll see ;-)

Friday, February 19, 2010

To Lose Someone So Dear

From Cheap Wine and Cookies

My best friend of almost 22 years, NotDonna, lost her mom, MMom, Friday night. She had been battling cancer for many months. NotDonna had stayed by her side, caring for her almost continuously for the vast majority of that time. Towards the end, NotDonna was the only person from whom MMom would take her medicines (which were required on an hourly basis). I have known NotDonna for going on 22 years, and she has been very close to her mom the entire time. These last few months have been unbelievably hard on her. Not just watching this amazing woman, such a significant part of her life, struggle and slip away, but being responsible for her care. Seeing the pain. Being, at times, completely unable to offer relief. Supporting and making decisions for her teenage sister in the midst of all this. And functioning in this environment on little to know sleep this whole time. She has been amazingly strong. Pushed beyond what any person would consider to be the reasonable bounds of emotional strength. I have seen some of her close friends and loved ones abandon her during all this, and I have ached with a need to help her, to support her, to ease a pain that no one can touch. I wanted to be there with her. To help. To care for her. To care for MMom.

Because I have also known MMom for most of my life. I called her Mom. She called me daughter. I can’t even wrap my brain around Fourth of July without her. I realized yesterday, and couldn’t stop thinking about how MMom is Sand Lake (my old hometown) to me. It’s almost like the whole town is empty now. Because NotDonna doesn’t live there. She moved away years ago. MMom’s house was a place to go back to. I can’t think of any visit that I’ve made in the 10 years since I moved out of MI that I have visited my parents and not MMom. I’m sure there have been one or two misses, but they were rare.

There is just this emptiness now. This hole.

I remind myself that she was a wonderful, amazing woman. Every memory I have of her is of her laughing and joking around. She had a hilarious biting, sarcastic sense of humor that couldn’t be contained. She was the central, anchoring force of a huge family. She has 6 kids (plus 4 spouses/fiances) and 9 grandkids (and counting). Who knows how many pseudo-kids like me. And dozens of friends. Her home was always busy and welcoming. There were always people around, always kids around. And good food. I can’t get the image of her 4th of July berry cheesecake out of my head. I’m not sure why I’ve fixated on 4th of July; I feel like that doesn’t even come close to encapsulating what MMom meant to me and everyone in her life. She was so vibrant and beautiful. She had so much life in her. Too much for this.

I can’t imagine what NotDonna is going through. I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around it. After all these months of pain and struggle, and it’s only just beginning. If I can’t imagine life without MMom, what is NotDonna supposed to do? And how can I possibly help her? I can’t even be there right now.

My life was better for having had MMom in it, and her loss will be felt for years to come. I will always remember her and treasure her the times I had with her.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hermaphrodites, Really?

The other day I was listening to some of the debate over overturning Don’t Ask Don’t Tell that has heated up so much since ADM Mullen spoke out in favor of overturning the policy the other day. I won’t go too much into my personal opinion on the matter, especially not on a semi-public blog because no matter how much I disclaim it, people will want to take my personal opinion as in some way reflecting the opinions of or in the Marine Corps. And, even if my opinion is a very common one in the Marines, I am not in any way authorized or inclined to speak or make representations for the Marine Corps.

All that said, I was listening to the discussions on
NPR the other night, and a former Marine came on ranting about how strongly opposed he was to overturning Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Without going into my opinions on the matter at hand, I will give my opinion of this guy’s argument:

It was asinine.

I don’t care what your opinion is, this guy just came off as an ignorant homophobe. What was this asinine argument? Basically, it was, “If we let the gays who are already in the military serve openly in the Marines (he specifically mentioned the Marines), then we will have to start letting hermaphrodites in.”

Really? No, NO, REALLY? Are you freaking serious?

Hermaphrodites? That’s your argument?


I’m sorry. One more time: Really? You must be screwing with me. I am absolutely dumbfounded (ok, I’m not – that rarely happens to me).


1) Do you even know what a hermaphrodite is? A hermaphrodite (or, more appropriately, intersexed person) is a person with an actual physical medical condition whereby they do not fall clearly into one category of biological sex. Some ignorant individuals (like you, sir), view this as a horrifying, terrible sickness or view it as making these individuals less human or “freaks.” While it can be very emotionally painful for the individuals in question, especially if not dealt with by informed or somewhat enlightened caretakers in early life, it is not some horrifying sickness and certainly does not make those people any less human, intelligent, or valuable. And I see no reason why a person with ambiguous genitalia who is otherwise perfectly qualified for military service should be denied that opportunity. In many countries/cultures around the world, hermaphrodites are treated *gasp* like regular people, or even honored. Some countries/cultures even recognize a third sex for these individuals. I strongly encourage anyone with limited knowledge on this issue to
read further. It is interesting and, in my opinion, will make you a more understanding person to know about. I know exactly how I would deal with it if Pip was born with an ambiguous sex. Do you know what you would do facing such a situation? Are you sure that’s the right thing by that child? At the very least, if you learn about this you’ll never sound like quite such an idiot on the radio.

2.) What the F does a hermaphrodite have to do with whether or not homosexuals should be allowed to serve openly? Someone please explain the connection to me. Are you trying to make some sort of point about genetic mutations? Please, please tell me that’s not the case. Because that is really, really stupid. Then again, I can’t think of any connection between allowing a person with ambiguous genitalia into the military and allowing a homosexual to be open about who they are in the military. Certainly not any connections that aren’t really, really stupid.

In conclusion:

That is one of the most asinine That is THE most asinine argument I have ever heard on either side of this argument. Ever. Please feel free to punch yourself in the face. And maybe think for a second before you go on the radio representing yourself as a “former Marine” and then act like a complete jacka*&. K? Thanks.


Karen over at A Peek at Karen't World posted a Wednesday Confessions today that I couldn't resist joining in on:  Dating Confessions.

We've all done things we regret (or at least should regret) in the dating arena.  Karen's were largely sins of omission - as in omitting acknowledgement of these boys' existances, ha.  Mine, quite humorously regrettably, were probably a little worse.  Before the most amazing man in the world won my heart and lured me (thankfully) out of the dating world, I was downright cruel not the nicest girl in the world.

MacGyver referred to my dating personna before I actually grew up a little and got serious with him as a sexual predator.  OF COURSE NOT IN THE SAME CONTEXT AS CHILD PREDATORS.  Ew, gross, wrong.  But I may have, in fact, been a little bit predatory - but that was only if someone was stupid enough to class themselves as prey!

I never went out hunting for idiot guys to be mean to.  I told them.  I warned them.  In some cases, I even had my friends warn them.  I did not want to be anyone's girlfriend.  I was not a nice girl.  I would carry on a relationship with you without any concern at all for your feelings.  Because I warned you ahead of time.  But did they ever listen?  Of course not.  I seemed so innocent.  I could never hurt them.  Or they were going to "rescue" me.  Gag me is more like it, ugh!

Now, I could delve into the possible reasons from my past that I so joyously wrongly treated these boys the way I did, and there are some biggies.   But really, I just found it interesting to see how much you could tell a person straight out that you were going to be mean to them and watch their own ego completely prevent them from taking you seriously.  This is a tactic that works out pretty well in court, too.

Apparently, I'm supposed to give specific examples.  Hmmmm . . .  There are oh so many to choose from.  My best friend from undergrad, the Producer's absolute favorite is this guy I had been dating for a couple weeks, to whom I had made the status of our relationship PERFECTLY CLEAR.  We are  not serious.  We will never be a "real" couple.  If you try to "relationship" me, I will come down on you with all due cruelty.  We will just go out, have fun, no emotional attatchment, it will be laid back and fun.  Did he listen?  OF COURSE NOT!

One day, The Producer and I are sitting in our favorite Anthropology class, and this guy walks up to me.  Shocked the heck out of me.  In the couple weeks we had been dating, I never noticed he was in this class!  Probably because The Producer and I sat off in our own corner and actually discussed class topics as opposed to the bubbly sorority crap that always seemed to be going on around us in that class.  Seriously, if you don't want to take a challenging class, DON'T SIGN UP FOR ONE.

So, anyway, this guy walked up to us. We had a little strained small talk (strained because in the back of my mind I was already annoyed with guy talking to me like he was my “boyfriend” or something, introducing himself to The Producer- who, by the way knew exactly who he was- and so on). And then, he asks (quite presumptuously, if I do say so myself), “Don’t you think we should sit together?” (implying that either The Producer or I should move). Well, considering the circumstances, the answer to that seemed pretty clear and straightforward to me:


A look of shock with a tint of confusion followed up with a glimmer of hurt feelings. The Producer almost lost it laughing. He always found my straight rational approach to relationships highly amusing.

That guy and I went out a few more times, but he kept trying to relationship me, so that was pretty much the end of it. Remarkably resilient ego, though, that one. He never held the above scenario against me. He just acted like it had never happened.

That is just one example of many similar situations. All of them amuse the hell out of me amused me at the time and still do even though I now know I was mean. Ha, I could go on and on with these stories. I know that sounds pretty harsh, and it really probably was, but I had a rule of honesty and rationality, and felt that that meant these guys couldn’t get mad at me for doing exactly what I had said I would.

Ultimately, though, MacGyver ruined my game. He never fell into the trap of not believing I would do something I said I would or of not taking me at my word. And for some reason, I didn’t want to do mean things to him, and I didn’t want to think of me as a person who would. At one point, I did anyway and pulled one very mean tactic on him (to find out my heartless move, see the paragraph labeled A Year In Limbo in
Our Story).  But in the end he won.  I finally recognized that maybe being a b*&^% wasn't quite as much fun as I thought it was, at least not if I wanted to keep MacGyver around, and I really, really did.  I let him relationship me.  And have been quite happy ever since.

I know it's not Wednesday anymore, but lets hear those confessions anyway.  What sort of cruelties did you pull in the dating world?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Breakfast on the Go

I’m not a huge breakfast before work person. I don’t typically get hungry until around 09:30, which is almost always well after I’m at work. I’ll usually bring some fruit, yogurt, veggies, or something with me to munch on then. Lately, though, I’ve been much more hungry much more often than in the past. Shocking, I know. (What sucks about it is that I can’t eat very much at any given time. Eating anything close to the size of a regular meal makes me immediately uncomfortably full and often nauseous.) So a couple mornings a week now, I want breakfast before I actually leave for work. Usually, I have time, but sometimes I get distracted by other things. I’m sure that’s enough said. On mornings that I get distracted, it’s even more likely that I’ll want breakfast. How’s that for a catch 22?

On those mornings that I get distracted and want breakfast early. I generally end up eating in my car. Yesterday, I had a lovely bagel with cream cheese and strawberries in the car on the way to work. Nothing wrong with that, as far as I can tell. This morning in the car on the way to work?

(whole grain, of course)

Yes, I ate pancakes in the car this morning on my way to work.  Don't worry - I didn't have to take my eyes off the road or anything, I cut them up before I left.  And they were delicious.  I only wish I had had berries to put on them!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dressing Myself

I get dressed in the dark every morning so as not to wake MacGyver. It's not really a big deal since I wear the same uniform to work pretty much every day. It's pretty hard to screw up. But not impossible.

I put my undershirt on this morning, and it felt funny. Tight against my neck, like it was backward. I pulled out the collar and looked, but no tag, so I figured I had just pulled it on funny and proceeded to put my sweatshirt on over it. But it still felt funny.

I walked into the bathroom to do my hair and looked in the mirror. And lo and behold there was a big white tag sticking out at my throat. My shirt wasn't merely backward - it was inside out, too. Apparently, I need a little more practice with this dressing myself thing.

Naughty Pagan

Happy Imbolc, All!

I've been really slipping in my observance of Pagan Holidays lately.  Just yesterday, I commented to my friend Java that I couldn't believe it was already dark out when we got out of class.  "The days should be getting longer, but it feels like they're getting shorter?  When is the Equinox?" 

And, lo and behold, today is Imbolc.  Obviously, I haven't hung my Multifaith Calandar back up since we re-did the bedroom.  Really, though, I've been a slacker pagan for over half a year now.  Many promises to myself to rededicate myself when we finally settle again at our ultimate duty station here in a couplefew months.  Put up my new alter.  Pay attention to the holidays.  You know, the basics that I can't seem to keep up with lately without any reminders glaring at me from secular culture.

Oh.  Wait.  There was a glaring reminder.  Groundhog's Day anyone?  Imbolc - celebration of the light returning?  Largely about the weather and expectations for the coming Spring.  So much for that excuse, lol.

It doesn't totally feel like Imbolc to me because, as I said, I've been feeling like the daylight hours are shorter lately.  I'm sure this is because of our very recent move north.  I have noticed how uplifting it is to drive to work around sunrise (as opposed to 3 or even 4 hours beforehand, a function of TBS, not lattitude).  Maybe lighting some candles in recognition of the coming light is in order for today.  I'm very much looking forward to celebrating the coming holidays (seeds growing in the Earth, the promise of Spring) in my current expectant state.  I am determined to have at least a couple good, meaningful ceremonies and lovely days, and, as I said, fix up my new alter.

Until then, Happy Turns to you all!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Where's Punky?

Oh my freaking A.  What the Hell kind of elementary school lets a 7 year old (who has only been attending the school for one week) walk home by herself?  WTF?  Oh, I'm sorry, not by herself.  They let her walk home with a third grader.  I say again, WTF?

We only live two blocks from Punky's school now, so MacGyver walks her to school and picks her up at the end of the day.  Except yesterday when he got there, she. wasn't. there.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Can you imagine?  I would've effing lost it.  Well, no.  I wouldn't have at that point.  I'm pretty good under extreme stress, but I can tell you that my mind would've been in all the worst places in that moment, and I would've been taking some serious actions.  MacGyver asked the adults in charge where she was.  No one had an effing clue.  Well, aren't you supposed to be watching her!?!?!

Apparently, they did not feel they needed to watch her.  Contrary to what we had originally been told, the kids aren't held until a responsible party picks them up.  The kids are just cut loose to do as they please unless you place them on a special list requiring them to be released only to a responsible party.  I think it bears repeating:
W. T. F?!?
Maybe I'm just clueless as to how things work with elementary schools these days, but I would never run a school that way!  Holy F!  THAT is the point where I would've lost my effing mind on some people.  YOU LET MY 7 YEAR OLD LITTLE GIRL LEAVE THE SCHOOL UNSUPERVISED!?! 

MacGyver rushed home to find Punky waiting, safely (Thank the Universe and any God, Goddess, or force you can think of), where it was explained that - apparently - a crossing gaurd (from what I can tell from the way Punky tells it) sent her with a third grader, and that third grader's mom joined that at some point after they had actually left the school.

I can't even.  I don't know what to say.  Needless to say, Punky is on the "Special List" of kids who aren't allowed to be tossed out on the sidewalk to figure out their own way home, and, more importantly, it has been emphasised to her that she is NOT to leave the school unless MacGyver or I am there to pick her up (or, just in case, our friend Java).

But, seriously!  Is this normal?  Do schools really do this?  I'm not talking Jr. High.  I'm not even talking about kids who are a little older who have permission to walk home in groups.  I'm talking about single little first graders just being cut loose with no accounting for them whatsoever.  UGH!!!


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