Saturday, October 20, 2012

On The Record

I want to take a few minutes to call some people out, in front of God and everyone, for being HEROES in my life this past week.

I was not sure how I had a right to feel about Jim's passing, when it happened.  I had given up my legal right to have an opinion about a lot of things, but, in the end, I did not give up the respect I had for Jim, and to the other people who also respected him, thank you, thank you, thank you, for stepping up and honoring him as he deserved to be honored.

Steve Young, The Masons, Glen Avon Lodge #306--All of Jim's brothers--words can scarcely do justice to the friendship you demonstrated.  I am forever in your debt.  Even through your own grief, you helped so many others get through this most difficult time.  Thank you for all that you did for Jim and his family while he was alive, and after he passed.  True brothers.

Kim and Marty--you have always been so kind, even when it wasn't fashionable. :-)  Thanks for keeping me connected.

Mike, Sarah, Greg, and Barb--thank you for listening while I vented.  I am not be the type of friend who cries on shoulders, and you get that about me.  Besides, you don't really want to be around when they crying is happening, because it's full-on, box of Kleenex, messy, snotty sobbing, and I think those things are best left for only the cats to witness.

To everyone involved who did not go completely bat-shit crazy, you are a credit to the human race.  When things like this happen, it's like a punch to the gut to all who considered the person a friend.  People react in a million different ways, some predictable, some not.  Relationships are assessed, and reassessed--I think we all, not just ex wives, are searching for answers to how we have a right to feel. Let me just say, you have every right to feel however you are feeling.  I knew Jim pretty well, and during the ten years he and I lived together, I can tell you that he shook his head, laughed, and declared most of you, individually, full of shit, at least once.  Some of you more than once.  Some of you, about once a week.  I'm sure he did the same to me after we separated (and probably before...).  I'll own that.  But you will notice, as I did, that even if he disagreed with something you did, it mostly didn't change the way he treated you.  For the most part, he was very kind to people, accepted them and appreciated them.  So go ahead and feel however it is that you are feeling.  You're not wrong in doing that. 

Having said all of that, my final thank you is to those who have respected my daughters and my right to feel however it is that we are feeling.  You know what?  It's complicated.  It was complicated when he was alive, and it's complicated now that he isn't.  The time he had with my daughters and me was just one part of the big, sometimes messy balancing act of Jim Payne.  It was 13 years out of the 58 he had on earth.  I don't expect anyone to understand the feelings, but sincerely appreciate those who choose not to pass judgement on them.  So thank you.  Thank you all.

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posted by Shelly @ 11:22 AM   1 Comments

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Jim Payne

I doubt that I will ever be able to fully describe what is was like to be married to Jim Payne, but I think the most telling tidbit would be in the pet name I had for him, which was....Jim Payne.

I never really fell into the "honey", "sweetie" habit.  He was Jim Payne.  Just, Jim Payne.


Jim and I worked together at a radio station, and some co-workers, Bill and Shelly, I'm told, coerced him into asking me out.  

I'm so glad they did.


What a long, strange trip it's been.  


We had a weird courtship, for which we were both to blame, and an awesome/awful marriage, for which we were both to blame.  We separated in 2008, and the divorce became final...this August.  Two months ago, he sent me an email joking about how I was a "free woman".  It seemed as if as much as we both knew we couldn't live with each other, really ending it came grudgingly, but it almost makes you wonder, considering the timing, if he knew something.

Less than a day after hearing of his passing, the realization that the thing I could never fully bring myself to let go of is gone, is a shock to the system.  A half a box of Kleenex later, I'm writing for my own indulgent comfort-seeking.  Please forgive what will surely be rambling and incomplete.


From February 1999 up until last week, when my phone rang and I saw his information on my caller ID, I would answer the phone with "Jim Payne!" as if to announce him.  He was worthy of the announcing.  After we were married, when I answered the phone "Jim Payne!" he would respond with a hearty "Shelly Payne!"  

It was our dumb little thing.


Around the house, when he came home from somewhere, "Jim Payne!"  "Shelly Payne!"

Attending some event, after losing him in the crowd and finding him again, "Jim Payne!"  "Shelly Payne!"

And recently, when he came to visit at my home away from him, "Jim Payne!"  "Shelly Payne!"

When we were separating and divorcing, my friends all asked if I would go back to my maiden name and I said that I would not.  This is why.  This precious, precious, dumb little thing that I will never hear again.


Our last conversation, a couple of days ago, was about a receipt, of all things.  Actually that was a fairly normal conversation for us--the man was somewhat pathological about losing receipts.  He used to joke about how his life was "on a million scraps of paper".  Knowing this about himself--how unorganized he could be--he still gave me crap for not keeping a daytimer.  Anytime I would utter the words, "I forgot," he would say, "What do you mean, you forgot?  Did you put it in your daytimer?"

No, he never did find that receipt.

Jim was in poor health from the day I met him until the end.  Heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart surgery, a melanoma, MS.  And then apparently, another heart attack that took his life.  When a man survives so many heart attacks and is still as hearty as any 30 year old might be, you figure nothing will kill him.  Of course, that's not true, but he definitely lived as if it was.  It was his defining feature.  You could tell that for him, it was just a body, and didn't have a lot do so with who he was.  He followed whatever doctors orders made the most sense to him, and ignored the rest.  Once, after having a stent put in a vein to his heart, he called me from his hospital bed to try to convince me to sneak him in some Taco Bell at the hospital.  My mother was mortified.  I thought it was kind of funny.  Of course I complied.

This picture of him with a cigarette in his month was taken after three heart attacks and a bypass surgery, by the way...he didn't give a shit.  It was what was so great about him, but also what was so difficult about knowing and loving him.  You knew he probably wouldn't have a long life.  You didn't want to believe it, but, you knew.

Jim often said that he felt like he had many lives.  He had a life as a young single guy, a whole different life with his first wife and their children, a whole different life with me and my children, and of course, the life of the last four years in which he returned to Duluth to continue the pursuit of his passion for radio.  This was a man who did a lot of things, and was loved by many, many people.  It was quite an experience to be married to someone like that, and, knowing how much he was loved by so many, I realize that it was an honor to have been chosen for the level of exclusivity that comes with a wedding ring.  Obviously, I'm not still wearing that wedding ring, so I'm not going to try sugar-coat what it was like in the day-to-day, but I can say without question that he changed my life, and my children's lives, for the better.  

When his daughter called me last night, the words she used were, "He was such a force," and that is as good a summary as I have heard.  The death of Jim Payne leaves a very big hole.  To his sister, friends, and especially his children, I wish you comfort.  Just think of all of the crazy shit he's going to do now that he's free of that broken body.

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posted by Shelly @ 5:36 AM   2 Comments

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Stop It

Last night, I got a couple of emails from my widowed aunt, a woman nearing 80 years of age, who lost her husband some years ago and has spent her time since doing whatever she wants "for a change".  God bless her.

Usually an email from Auntie is a Sunshiny Sweet Tooth of Jesus' Love, with bright colors and pictures of babies and flowers and Precious Moments kids, and cats doing funny things.

Cats are always doing funny things on the internet.  Did you ever notice that?

Nether of the two emails were about the Sunshiny Sweet Tooth of Jesus' Love, nor were there bright colors, or pictures of babies or flowers or cats.

And...that's good, right?  I mean...I used to think all of those things were annoying.  I'm not a Jesus person and although internet cats are always welcome in my inbox, I'd seen about enough Precious Moments sentiments to last a lifetime.

I was happy to see (or not see, as the case may be), none of the usual Annoying that  an older, religious typically likes to send their young(er) nieces via email.

What did I see instead?  Well, one  of the emails was about how that awful, awful Barack Obama was ruining the world for all of us, and the other was about someone thought it would be a great idea to implant all immigrants with micro chips (yes...like a dog), apparently to prevent them from running wild in the streets, or doing....whatever it is that they were worried about immigrants doing.

Really?  

You gave up The Sweet Tooth of Jesus Love for this?  For THIS?

Before I go any further, I just want to say that my aunt is a saint.  No, really, she is a wonderful, wonderful human being who would never hurt a fly.  She just forwarded a couple of emails, and she didn't add her two cents.  She didn't say that she personally wanted to micro chip people as they arrived in the United States.  She didn't personally say that The President was an awful, awful person who had to go.

But she didn't NOT say it, either.

I wanted to quote Ann Romney and just say "stop it" because let's face it, Ann Romney does Friendly better than I do.

Instead I took it upon myself to NOT say those things to anyone else, and I also took a few minutes out of my day to hit "reply" and explain to my aunt exactly why I was not going to repeat those things and why I wanted her to never repeat them again.

Yes....I yelled at my sainted aunt.

I figured if she felt the internet was safe enough for her to go all Road Rage on the administration and some people she didn't even know, it was cover enough for me to Rage back.  I took a moment to look up the specific claims being made in the forwarded emails and I sent them back to her with the fact.  I also took the extra step to say that I voted for Barack Obama and had every intention of doing it again (meaning: "Don't send me this shit, ever again").


Many times a day, as someone who voted for Barack Obama and intends to do it again, I have my patriotism questioned.  Usually it's by some internet bully, hiding behind a user name like "Righty Right" with a NoBama icon for a profile photo.  I ignore them.  The kind of help they need, it's not my job to give.  

Maybe I  should do less ignoring--I'm not sure.  

Here is what I do  know, for sure, about America--America the country, and America, the idea:  Every day, most people who live in this country, and many who don't, look out to the horizon, spot a thing they want to achieve or own and say, I'm going to go get that...thing, whatever it is.  I want that.  Things will be better when I get that!  And the thing might be a job, or a house, or a promotion, or a mate, or an "A" in Organic Chemistry, or...well, you get the idea.  Everyone has their "thing".  People who want to micro-chip immigrants have a thing, too, when they're not busy being thoughtless jerks--maybe they want to see their kids graduate from college, or maybe they want to retire in Arizona.  Who knows?   But they have a "thing".  I know they do.  And people who think Barack Obama is awful?  They have a thing.  Maybe their thing is that they want to be president of their local school board, or the United States.  Maybe they want to sell their house and travel the country in an RV.  

Hey, you never know what gets a person excited.  It could be anything. 

The great part about America--what defines America--is that as long as the "thing" you want doesn't harm other people, you have a pretty fair chance of making it all the way to that thing, if you work at it.  At least this is how I have always understood it.  You can be anything you want to be!  This is America!  Land of Opportunity!

And you can just come here!  And get your thing!  YOUR THING!  

*sigh*

Hatred of immigrants is nothing new in this country, and neither is hatefully diminishing people of color.  If you would like to see immigrant hatred portrayed in an entertaining way, please watch Daniel Day Lewis' flawless portrayal of The Butcher in Gang of New York, as I, coincidentally, did (again) this weekend.  And you don't need too look far to find a movie about racism in the United States--virtually any historical flick will do.  We've heard, recently, a presidential candidate saying that the best immigration policy is to make the immigrants not want to come here--to make it difficult for them to get a job, earn a living and get their "thing".  This is what is being proposed.  To not allow certain people the opportunity that every other person in the United States, the majority of whom trace their ancestry back to immigrants, has had,  To erase what has been up until now, the hallmark of this nation.

I dunno....I guess to me that's something worth not ignoring, no matter the source.

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posted by Shelly @ 10:30 PM   0 Comments

Saturday, September 8, 2012

You Built It

I'm only going to say this one time.  It's probably not going to be open for discussion, and since I'm being perfectly honest, I'm not all that interested in an opposing view.

Today, Illinois Representative Joe Walsh, while campaigning, decided he would like to talk about Sandra Fluke.  Here's what he said:

"Think about this, a 31-32 year old law student who has been a student for life, who gets up there in front of a national audience and tells the American people, 'I want America to pay for my contraceptives.' You're kidding me. Go get a job. Go get a job Sandra Fluke."

He then went on to talk about how it was embarrassing that she was asking everyone to pay for her contraception.

*sigh*

For a minute, let's pretend this isn't the same Illinois Representative Joe Walsh who, earlier this year, claimed his opponent, Iraq war hero Tammy Duckworth, was "unpatriotic" because she didn't hide the fact that she became a double-amputee after the helicopter she was piloting was shot down during the war.

Let's also pretend this isn't the same Illinois Representative Joe Walsh who was allegedly $117,000 behind in child support, who sent a Congressional aid to go to family court for him, rather than showing up himself.

Let's pretend he's just some regular guy making an observation, as opposed to a Proven Asshole making an observation.

And then let's talk, really talk, about Sandra Fluke. 


I'll start.


Sandra Fluke co-founded the New York Statewide Coalition for Fair Access to Family Court, which successfully advocated for legislation granting access to civil orders of protection for unmarried victims of domestic violence, including LGBTQ victims and teens.

She was a member of the Manhattan Borough President's Task Force on Domestic Violence and numerous other New York City and New York State coalitions that successfully advocated for policy improvements impacting victims of domestic violence.

She worked in New York City for Sanctuary for Families, which aids victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.

In 2011, Sandra was the recipient of the Women Lawyers of Los Angeles' Fran Kandel Public Interest Grant, supporting her production of a video that teaches abused women how to take out a restraining order.

Sandra has represented numerous victims of domestic violence and human trafficking and also worked to help  child victims of domestic human trafficking  in Kenya.

Ms Fluke graduated cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 2012 and served as president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice. While at Georgetown University Law Center, she worked on issues that involved domestic violence and human trafficking.

Sandra Fluke was chosen to address a congressional committee about women's health issues.  She was picked for this should-have-been-an-honor because of all of the things I listed above—because she was already working, and working hard, for women.

In her testimony before that congressional committee, Sandra stated that women's insurance companies should cover the cost of their birth control medicine, much the way they cover Viagra for men. 

She did not, at any time, say that taxpayers should pay for anyone's birth control.

The issue that she had the misfortune about which to testify that day, in front of that congressional committee, was whether or not a women's employer, be it a Catholic school, Ma and Pa woodcarving shop, a high powered law firm, or the US Government, should be able to decide whether or not the women they employ should be able to use a birth control benefit on her health insurance plan.

That's it.


That's all.


Wow, that's so much less exciting than "Sandra Fluke wants us to pay for her birth control."


Sorry about that.

I'm sure Ms. Fluke would have gladly left that congressional committee that day and gone back to the work she was already doing, but, something happened in the form of an oxycodone-addicted, rampaging so-called Republican Mouthpiece. 

Yes…we all remember:  Rush Limbaugh called her a slut.  And it wasn't just some passing thing, like mumbling it under his breath—he devoted several days of programming to the notion that someone who thinks her health is none of her employer's business, is some kind of awful person.

What I would like to say, now, to every person who has ever said a mean thing about Sandra Fluke, is this:


YOU BUILT IT


Uh-huh…that's right.  YOU made her a powerful voice for women's rights.  YOU made that happen.  Seriously, do you think we'd be talking about her right now if everyone had been NICE to her?  I don't think so.  Same with Lily Ledbedder, by the way—if someone hadn't opted to treat her like she was less important than a man she might have never become a national symbol for justice.

So now Sandra Fluke, this awesome thing that you made, is out there talking to women around the country, and on a national stage.  And we're listening, in part because she's trying to make a reasonable point, but mostly because we don't like the fact that people chose to treat her like crap. 

I don't know if Sandra needs defending by someone like me—I'm happy to do it anyway.  The very idea that you can't even state your case, and a reasonable one at that, without someone dropping a pile of shit on you, offends me to the core.  I hope that she knows that a lot of people actually know what she was talking about that day, and that we did not jump to conclusions or assassinate her character and reputation just because someone else said so.  I hope she knows that there are people out here that can see beyond the bullshit and the absolute lies that were told about her.

I also have one selfish little hope that I'd like to share, and that is, come November, that we have the chance to tell Representative Joe Walsh the same thing he told Sandra Fluke:  Get a job.

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posted by Shelly @ 5:29 PM   0 Comments

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Laughed. My. Ass. Off.

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posted by Shelly @ 10:45 AM   0 Comments

Monday, July 30, 2012

Bright Spots

I have been hiding inside all summer due to the heat. I feel a bit cheated because it hasn't been nice enough outside for me to get out and enjoy the fruits of my Spring labors.
Finally, the temps dipped enough for me to at least snap pictures...

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posted by Shelly @ 7:54 AM   0 Comments

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cook This For An Instant Addiction

Except for my friend @kazoofus, of course...she should not try to cook....anything.  She knows I say this with love.

OK, here we go--it's pasta, it's vegetarian, and it's ridiculously awesome.  What I have done here, because I am a horrible person, is crafted a version of the Pasta Fresca dish that you can find at Noodles and Co.  What can I say?  I'm devoid of original thought.  Also?  I'm not a chef, so this recipe doesn't have measurements so much as it has...estimates.  Sorry.  You can wing it!  It'll be good!


One box penne pasta
One half bunch fresh spinach, coarsely chopped and washed.  Actually, you should probably wash it, THEN chop it.  Just sayin...
Two roma tomatoes (or...just whatever kind of fresh tomato you have around...not a big deal), cut to about 1/2 inch dices
1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives
1/4 to 1/2 cup of diced onion (depends on how much you like onions, my dear...)
One Tablespoon diced garlic (the amount is also negotiable, but come on...it's garlic.  What's not to love?)
Roasted Red Bell Pepper (the jarred kind)
Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing--virtually any will do
Feta Cheese


Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Cook enough pasta so that when you eat this for the first time and notice that it's amazing, you'll have enough for you to come back for seconds.

When the pasta is nearly done, warm a few tablespoons of olive oil on low heat in a high sided frying pan for a few minutes, and add your onions.  Cook on low until the onions are fragrant, adding a bit of salt and pepper as you are cooking them.  When the onions are smelling yummy, add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring occasionally.  Now add the olives and a couple of tablespoons of chopped roasted red bell pepper, along with a couple of tablespoons of the liquid from the pepper jar.  Continue to cook on low for another minute.

When your pasta is done, drain it and hold on to it--you're not ready for it yet!!  You have some nice tasting stuff on the stove, but we're still building this dish!

Stir in a scant 1/3 cup of the vinaigrette and the tomatoes to your pan and continue to cook on low for two more minutes.  Check seasoning!  Now add the drained pasta and spinach, and stir to combine. Cook until the spinach is just wilted.

Scoop a large portion of this yummy goodness into a bowl.  Top with feta cheese (or parm, if you must) and FEAST!

There....I've done my public service for the month.  You're welcome!

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posted by Shelly @ 9:53 PM   0 Comments

Re-Creep

Because I'm all about me, and read my own writing like it's good or something, I thought you'd enjoy this old post from 2007 
 
 
You're welcome. 
 
 
(Was that bitchy?  Meh...I guess I don't actually care if it was...)
 
 
 
Creep
 
 
There is a guy who lives in my town, who runs a business and is successful and appears to have a lot of friends and all, but...

Something about him is just "not right".

And I don't know exactly what I mean by "not right"--I guess I would have to say that if somebody told me something "shocking" about him,  (ie he spent all of his "alone time" looking at wildly inappropriate materials on the internet) I would not be shocked. 

There is something happening that he's not sharing.

Anyway, even though he and I don't really run in the same circles, I do manage to run into him from time to time.  He is always polite and friendly.  And he always coordinates a seat right next to mine.

A lot of women think that they are Creep Magnets...I just happen to have some doozey stories about this kind of thing, so when sharing Creeper stories with other women, I usually win, trumping with the tale of the guy who hid out in a dumpster of the restaurant across the street from my apartment so he could watch all of my comings and goings.

Perhaps all the stalkerific experiences from my past have simply made me hyper-vigilant about this sort of thing.  Maybe he's a really nice guy who is simply misunderstood.

Or, he's a total Creeper.

Hmmm...

Lets approach from another angle--a bit of perspective...say you're out with friends, and there is a guy who has been staring at you enough for you to notice.  Do you base your Creeper Assessment on whether or not he's cute enough to make you want to stare back?  Be honest...

Anyway....the same Creepy Rich Guy, nice and all, not unbearably unattractive, but not cute enough to make me want to stare back, always manages to find me at any event we happen to be attending together.  The latest was one of those forced-march holiday things where they put you in a room with a bunch of people you can barely tolerate and a couple of people that you genuinely enjoy (Hey Kim and Marty!), so you spend the evening hanging out with the people you genuinely enjoy and make those audible pleasant sounds when the people you can barely tolerate make their "rounds" to wish everyone a Happy Holiday--really, you're just too nice to tell them that you'd really rather be at home right now, snuggling up with a warm cat and a blisteringly-cold martini.

Because Creepy Rich guy is, well, rich, and well known around town, he gets invited to these things, is non-committal about the invite ("...maybe I can make it...we'll see..."), then, when he shows up, it is almost unexpected.  He secures dinner and drinks for himself, and generally gets everything free most of the places he goes since everybody knows him, and gosh, what a surprise to see him, since it didn't sound like he was going to make it when he was invited. 

After all that, he plunks himself down in the chair next to mine and asks me if he can get me anything.  Six or seven times.

There are women, I suppose, who would find this impressive.  As you may have guessed, I'm not one of them.  "Beware of the man buying you drinks," I always say...

It is quite possible that there is some element of imagination in all Creep Magnets--that is, maybe this is all in our heads?  Maybe that guy means no harm, has no other motive than just being friendly, and he's just socially awkward?  I can accept that.  I mean, the guy doesn't hit on me or anything (in the traditional sense), he's just...there.  Creeping me out.

But when this sort of thing happens, I tend to run through the Creeper history in my brain and remember Creepy Dumpster Guy, Creepy Bus Stop Guy, Creepy Guy In The Parking Lot After Work At 2:00AM, Creepy Dude Trying To Get Me Into His Car, Prominent Creepy Guy Who Told All My Co-workers That He Was Madly In Love With Me (I never met him), Creepy But Nice Guy Who Never Took No For An Answer, Creepy Guy Who Tried To Get Himself Invited To Thanksgiving Dinner At My House, Creepy Guy From The Hotel Who Followed Me Around, Random Crazy People who always seem to find me in a crowded room when I'm trying  not to be noticed and insist that I "party" with them, along with other, less aggressive types, and I just sort of throw the Creepy Rich Guy in on the growing pile.  After doing the math, I realize that there have been a LOT of people who have wanted hang out with me who would never be admitted into the fortified inner circle.

*sigh*

The reality is...I'm such a weirdo.  Meaning, I actually have a Fortified Inner Circle--you can practically see the line on the ground.  I'm such a social idiot that I can't even imagine having a large group of friends--seriously, if I don't know you, the chances of me speaking to you at all are slim to none.  Mindless banter makes me twitch.  If I do happen to speak to someone who doesn't know me, I always feel like I made a complete ass of myself because they maybe just wanted to talk about the weather, and I, of course, have a STORY about the weather, which is long and may be damned funny, but, they don't have the time to hear the whole thing, so they walk away in the middle of it, leaving me smacking myself on the forehead and proclaiming myself a complete moron for trying to stuff a monologue in a hole the size of a "Yup".

Ultimately, the people who eventually become my friends have taken a fair amount of time out of their lives to dedicate to this purpose.  Believe me, I appreciate it.  They are also, like me, story-tellers.  Weird, Bizarre, or Cool things happen to them and they call me and they start off their conversations with "You would not BELIEVE what happened to me today..." and I perk right up because I love listening to stories, even more than I love telling them.

I think the difference between Creeps and Friends is the story.  Creeps don't tell a lot of stories about weird, bizarre, or cool things that have happened to them.  It makes you wonder what they are hiding (ie hours and hours of "alone time" looking at wildly inappropriate materials on the internet).  And they also hear stories differently from other people.  Usually, people just smile or laugh and move on with their day when you tell them a funny story.  Creeps hear a story and internally determine that you have now invited them over for Thanksgiving Dinner, then they get pissed when you act surprised.

Anyway...considering the fairly large number of Creeps in my life and my bizarre ability to rattle them off from memory (On Comet, On Cupid, on Donner and Bitzen!), I think that I might be, maybe, a bit of a Creep Magnet.  Just a little. 

But, like anything else, Creeps make for some (hopefully) interesting stories.  Like this one.  Which I will someday use to make an ass of myself at a party.  Where I will be seated next to someone who is, all the while, thinking:  How come I always get stuck next to the Creeps?

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posted by Shelly @ 11:29 AM   0 Comments

Monday, April 16, 2012

Talk It Out, M-Kay?

The sheer volume of catching up that would be required between the Paula Deen no-longer-an-announcement-anyone-is-talking-about thing and now will require some editing--not that I've been doing all sort of exciting things lately and don't have the room, but just because...meh, you'd be bored.

What?  You're already bored?  Oh....OK...

Here's the briefest of brief versions:

Dear Daughter #1 got a boyfriend.  He's hot and dangerous.  Well, probably not actually "dangerous" but he likes to portray that persona where, if someone told you he was in an Asian street gang, you'd find it plausible.  Which makes him hot.  He drives a BMW.  Normally, I don't care much what kind of car a guy drives, but if you're all, I-could-be-in-an-Asian-street-gang, it's appropriate that you drive something stylishly sort of expensive.

Dear Daughter #2, got a job.  Not to worry, she already had a boyfriend.  Boyfriend also has a job, at the same place.  Everyone but me warned her away from working with her boyfriend.  I dunno...I tend to like my work people more than I like my home people.  It's all business, very few tears shed.  Just...work.  Makes you mind clean, and if you're doing it right, makes your body dirty.

Which reminds me, I really need to check into getting a gig digging ditches.  My work?  I could use the distraction of a boyfriend, is all I can say about that.  BTW?  The lovely Vikki at uppoppedfox.com thought she'd like to join me in the ditch digging biz, and she even thought up a company name:  Bitchez Diggin' Ditches.

I like it.

One of my friends from college passed away last weekend.  When I say "friend" I do want to qualify that by saying that I hadn't spoken to him in a long, time--could be as long as 20 years--so I'm not going to go all, "I lost my (sob!) friend!" on you or anything.  He was an extremely memorable person, Stan.  We met at the college radio station, where I suppose he was our version of Dr. Johnny Fever.  He was ten years older than me, and I thought him very wicked, mostly in a good way. He was also a serious alcoholic who would occasionally show up at my house, wanting to talk, and he would end up talking to me about how wrong I was about everything, but mostly about abstract things, like, God and Heaven.  After he became sober, which he was for over 20 years, all the way through the rest of his life, he still managed to be right about everything, so, you know...he was obnoxious.  

But, he was cuddly obnoxious, if there is such a thing.  


Stan, I know you're up there, wherever the hell "up there" is, and I bet I'm more right about where "up there" is than you were, you bastard.  Besides, my "up there" is way nicer than any "up there" you ever imagined, so ha!  Suck it!  And...enjoy a little peace of mind, for once in your life--take a fucking vacation before you come back to Earth as another difficult person, sent here to teach me how to be tolerant of difficult people.

Yeah, I said it!  Reincarnation!  

I bet now that you're there, you're glad I was right, aren't you, Stan? 

Love you, man.


The rest of what I have to say is about the cancer.  

Not my cancer, my father's cancer.  


My father, 74 years old, has been diagnosed with lung cancer.  He has a two-inch mass in his left lung.  

I firmly believe that it is not the cancer that will kill my father.  If he should die any time soon, the ones I will blame are the craptacular doctors dragging their feet and telling him that he's "no spring chicken" as if they're not going to bother doing a fucking thing about the cancer.  I'd like to just take this opportunity to tell those doctors to fuck off.  No pussy footing around this one.  Get off your fucking asses and treat him.  Don't say, oh, you need an MRI and then tell him that the soonest he can get one is April 30th.  Fuck you.  74 is old, but it's not that fucking old.  He could do another 10 years, easy, if you'd all stop being such a bunch of bitches.

Here's the thing...although my father has a fair amount of skepticism toward these oncologists and surgeons telling him "it's serious" while simultaneously telling him to cool his jets, he's of a generation that still thinks doctors are some kind of gods.

I'm not.  I talk to doctors as a part of my work, and although most of them are great, really care and bust their asses, some of them are lazy, period.  They're just like you and me--in your job, you have the one guy who sort of sucks a little, right?  Maybe they're not quite as good at it as some of the other people at work? (If you don't have one, then maybe it's you...)  Well, doctors have the same thing.  Most of them?  Great?  Some?  Well, the reason they are accepting new patients is  close to the same reason the Phillip Morris company is accepting new smokers.

Problem is...exactly how does one insert themselves into this situation?  Or, does one insert themselves into this situation at all?  I mean, yes, my impulse is to say, "Dad, I'll be driving you to your next doctor appointment," but his doctor appointment is 400 miles away from my house.  So...I'm a little frustrated and pissed off.  

Well, obviously, I'm more than just a little pissed off.  

But I wonder if I'm pissed off because I'm thinking what I'm normally thinking, which is, "oh for the love of gawd, just LET ME DO THE TALKING!" , a statement usually followed by my stomping in and living my motto, If You Want Something Done Right, Do It Yourself.

Should I just....let them handle it without making a scene?  I mean...it's fucking cancer.  Not some dumb shit that will go away if you ignore it, but quite the opposite of that.  Cancer.  It could be the very worst time in my life for me to suddenly develop self control.  I'm going to have to meditate on this one, although, I know that's not what Stan would have done...

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posted by Shelly @ 8:06 PM   3 Comments

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

In Defense of Paula Deen...Sort Of...

I'll just jump right in and say it because I feel it needs to be said:

America, Paula Deen did not make you fat. 


Sorry, but, she didn't. 


She also didn't give anyone diabetes (except herself, apparently…)

Paula Deen did not (that I know of…) prevent anyone from exercising, did not force anyone (that I know of…) to eat fried butter and did not keep anyone (that I know of…) from attending regular doctor visits in which someone whose job it is to help a person make healthy decisions can give them advice about eating and exercising.

And now that we've got that out of the way...

Anthony Bourdain, I love you. I truly do.  I just don't think that the guy who smoked cigarettes on television on so many occasions is really the one to comment about anyone poisoning America.  The leg breaker comment, though, was f*cking brilliant—more on that, later.

As a grown up, I just don't get it.  I don't get the whole "Paula Deen Is The Devil" business.  I've been making my own decisions for an awfully long time now and I must tell you, neither Paula's cooking nor Tony's smoking has ever inspired me to do anything I didn't want to do.  I may be a sucker to some of the more subtle advertising messages that I see in the media, but with the giant, overt "isn't this yummy?" stuff, I've managed to maintain some level of control.  I like to think of myself as typical.  Don't we all?  And I don't think you'd find too many people in this country who would say that they do only what they see people do on television.  When we do find those people (there are a few out there…) we call them what they are:  Idiots.

If I want to eat fattening food and spend sickening amounts of time on the couch, guess what?  That's my doing.  Am I stupid to do that?  Duh.

Just like I was stupid to smoke cigarettes, which I also did and somehow managed to not blame Anthony Bourdain…

The notion that we don't have enough healthy role models in this country is ridiculous.  Anybody check their email around the New Year?  I personally had Eleventy Billion businesses offering to help me get healthy and lose weight.  Every grocery store in town had their "healthy diet" stuff on sale, and every Walmart/Kmart/QuickyMart had closeouts on exercise equipment.  I got so many emails from Jillian Michaels, I figured her next step to get me to sign up for her web site would be to reach through the computer and drag me in--and she was just one of dozens of such people touting fitness.  We have so many people telling us how to be healthy, we actually have to devote additional hours of television and other media to helping people sort which of the healthy information is the most healthful for their personal needs.  We're choking on information about healthy lifestyles.  For that reason I say, if you can't find healthy lifestyle role models in the United States of America, then you're not looking. 

And what I'm ultimately saying is, we're not fat because of Paula Deen.  We're fat because we choose to eat poorly and not exercise, even though we know better.

Does that make us stupid?  Duh.  Now stop pointing at "bad guys" and look in a mirror, fatty.


Now then….about the leg breaker.  In what can only be described as an incredibly bad PR move, Paula Deen has chosen to become the spokes person for a line of pharmaceuticals geared toward diabetics.  Yep, along with her many other products, the woman is out there shilling insulin.  In response to this announcement, Mr. Bourdain tweeted: "Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later."

Which is funny as hell…

I don't subscribe to the "we have a pill for that" attitude in this country—never have.  It used to drive my doctor crazy—I'd tell him if he diagnosed me with some random crap for which there was a convenient, accompanying pill, I'd fire him.  We came perilously close to a fibromyalgia diagnosis in the early days of the Chiari saga, but I put my foot down.  Whatever we could do that didn't involve a pill, we'd do that first—that included, among other things, traction (Woo!), quitting smoking (Didn't work!  Go figure!), neck braces and a host of "at least it's not a pill" methods.  Eventually, it was a combination of things, all of which involved changing my life, that brought me to a level of relief that was tolerable.  Also worth mentioning?  It took years to figure all this out, and figure out what kind of Chiari patient I would be.

If I had chosen the pill route, this post would probably have been written (or more likely not written…) by someone addicted to narcotic pain relievers, because that's about the only "cure" for Chiari malformation that the medical community has up their sleeve--except for surgery, which is not a guarantee of pain relief.

I see Paula making baby steps toward "lighter" meals and the possibility of maybe admitting to a thing or two about the food.  She appears next to her son on his show "Not My Mama's Meals" while he dissects her fatty recipes, makes lighter versions of them and gives her a grief about it, right there on TV, in front of everybody.  Baby steps.  She's no different from any other woman that age, including my mother, who was diagnosed pre-diabetic and faced a change in her life, too.  It's hard.  It sucks.  No other way to say it—having to change what you've known your whole life, sucks.

The best PR move for Paula would have been to take the three years she's been on TV not talking about diabetes and use that time to slowly lighten up—people would have hardly noticed you were serving steamed veggies after a 36 month lead-in.  Unfortunately, she didn't go that route, but again, she's not so very different from any other woman receiving that same diagnosis—how would you have reacted?  How long would it take you to change everything?

While her missed opportunity is a bummer, and it's a little boneheaded from a business standpoint, it certainly doesn't make her a bad person—nobody's forcing you to eat bacon, so lighten up, America.  We're all responsible for our own choices—we always have been.

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posted by Shelly @ 1:41 PM   0 Comments