Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What is Rape-Rape?

Whoopi Goldberg's comment today - in regard to the Roman Polanski ordeal - that what occurred was,"something else but I don't believe it was rape-rape," is halting.

Okay, I'm going to carefully walk away from the soap box and just say this: Whoopi Goldberg sucks. I am very surprised at her comment.

For those of us who are coherent, rational human beings, we can discuss what is going on with this case right now. (Whoopi, you are not invited.)

I am curious about the plea bargain that Roman made back in the day. What did he agree to, specifically? Unless what he agreed to was pleading guilty and only getting 40-something days in the clink, he still has time to serve, right?

Because, unless I'm reading this wrong, he plead guilty, did 40-something days in prison, where he underwent psychological testing, and then when it was time to get sentenced, he bailed, because he heard that they were going to violate his plea agreement. Which was...?

So, I need more information. Because if you plead guilty, you are going to serve some kind of time. Raping a 13-year-old child would seem to merit a longer sentence than 40 days of psychological testing in jail.

Beyond that, who I really feel for is Samantha Geimer. I know she has publicly stated that she forgives Polanski and doesn't want him to be further punished for this, but...I think that, even though it is undoubtedly painful for her and she doesn't want to be linked to and relive this for all time, Polanski must be prosecuted.

If not, it sets a precedent for all convicted felons that, if you're worried about jail time, you can just scoot off to a foreign country for 30 + years and emerge a free man. In the meantime, you can live a luxurious life, start a family, acquire wealth, exercise your talents and essentially thumb your nose at the government who justifiably pressed charges, and a victim who is left with years of torment and (hopefully) therapy.

The bottom line is that no means no. Plain and simple. It doesn't matter if Anjelica Huston thought that Geimer "appeared to be one of those kind of little chicks between — could be any age up to 25. She did not look like a 13-year-old scared little thing." It doesn't matter if, to fools like Goldberg, rape only counts as rape if someone jumps out of the bushes, beats the sh*t out of you and forces you to have sex. Date rape exists, but I can't even say that applies here because what...a 45 year-old man was on a date with a 13 year-old? And rape happens in families. We call it incest, but the act is still rape.

Stop blaming the victim, people. A girl who was too young to make good decisions on her own was groomed by a sexual predator who saw his opportunity to manipulate and impose himself on a child. And this child was unwilling and said NO many times. And even if she was willing, sex with a child is twisted and illegal. Just because he is wildly talented, has money and could afford rush airfare to London doesn't mean he isn't a perverted piece of crap. And it doesn't mean he can get away with orally, vaginally and anally raping a little girl.

And for all the people who keep coming forward, saying what a nice guy he is, what a devoted family man he is and how gifted he is - those things have nothing to do with the crime he knowingly committed. They don't know what he is like behind closed doors. Remember, that could have been your child or my child that he hurt...he'd met Geimer's parents and he certainly wasn't thinking of their feelings - or those of Geimer - when he plied her with alcohol and drugs, and raped her repeatedly.

Enough said.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Curing Myself

I love reading about health and wellness: scientific breakthroughs, super foods, organic findings...all that stuff. I know you have to be careful about some of the places you find this information, so I stay away from fanatical, faddish sites and sources that are designed purely to sell something.

I have endometriosis. I don't think I've discussed it here because...well, I'm not in the habit of discussing my innards in general! At the same time, endometriosis is a real disease that affects a lot of people. It's painful, and at the very least it is a nuisance. At the very worst, if you're trying to start a family, it can be devastating.

I've never been in the start-a-family-camp (though I think kids are great...just never made a place for my own in my life) so I don't have those concerns, but when my doctor found a large mass in my abdomen during my annual exam a few years back, it was startling to say the least. "It's either cancer or endometriosis," he announced, "but don't worry...we'll take care of it." He handed me a release form and told me to schedule diagnostic surgery right away.

I'd been in a lot of pain and throwing up on and off for a few months. Of course, I feared the worst. Poor Steinvic...quirky as I am, I'd been pretty normal up until that point, but the thought that - after all I'd been through to get to a happy place in my life - cancer was going to become part of my story was too much to take. I was a wreck for a month until the laparoscopy that diagnosed the endometriosis. Steinvic was supportive the whole time. He drove through an ice and snow storm for two hours to be there for that procedure.

Thank goodness it wasn't cancer, right? Right! But endo has a whole bunch of fun tricks she pulls out from her hat, and I've been trying to kick her stupid butt ever since I was diagnosed. However, there is no cure for endometriosis and you can do only so much to reduce the symptoms.

So, I'm reading Allure magazine this month and there is an article about a former model who had breast cancer. The article mentions that she'd been diagnosed with endometriosis and that no one had told her that it could be a precursor to breast cancer later in life.

No one told me that, either, though a study I once read indicated that endometriosis could be a precursor for some other female cancers.

Also, no one told me to avoid soy and processed soy, as these can make hormone levels soar, increasing the endo symptoms. But I found that information out on my own, too. As a vegetarian, I was gobbling soy like crazy and it certainly wasn't helping my cause.

So, I start thinking...the link for the model was estrogen - she started her period at an early age and had endometriosis - two indicators that she had a high level of estrogen in her body. What about foods and supplements that could control or reduce the amount of estrogen our bodies produce? I found this and thought, hmm... if the things on that checklist are really truly indicators that your body is on "estrogen overload," then I'm a candidate. There are nine - NINE - things on that list that I've been treated for. No doctor ever put those things together.

I'm not a hypochondriac. The fact is, though, that I haven't felt my best for a number of years. I am on a perpetual diet, hanging on to an extra 15 pounds even though I eat healthily and I'm energetic and fairly active. I've battled depression and been treated for migraines. I'm incredibly peppy, but I believe it's sheer will...I don't want anything to hold me back. But I would love to feel better. According to that list, a lot of the things I have experienced can be caused by an over abundance of estrogen.

So, estrogen-reducing foods have entered my life as of today. I am armed with broccoli. I ate oat bran hot cereal with dried cranberries for breakfast. I took Zinc and B6 today. I baked yams last night (and I added fresh sliced ginger, because it's so freaking good) and I have dry roasted walnuts to snack on. If there is extra estrogen in my body, I'm making it go away.

I am not fooling around.

And soy and I, for the time being, are probably going to part company, except for maybe the occasional cookout, but even then, my veggie burger could easily be replaced with an amazing marinated portobello mushroom.

Here is to being healthy! The excitement from thinking that I might be able to cure myself - to feel better through something as simple as eating a certain way - is a really good feeling!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Being Nice

Call me a dork, but if I get good service somewhere, I will hop online and comment about it.

If you managed to get through your teen/college years without working in some form of customer service, good for you! You're either independently wealthy or you discovered some other crafty way to make your bucks.

For me, I did 11 years of hard time in retail. Within the first few months at my first job, they figured out that I had a brain and that I was way too straight and narrow to even think about breaking the rules. Because of this, they gave me store keys and at 17, I was promoted to "junior assistant manager," which sounds silly, but it opened the door to retail management for me for the next decade. I was actually pretty successful.

I worked for a number of companies and eventually started "trouble shooting," which means a company would contact you to convince you to take over the crappiest store in their district, which usually meant theft (internal and/or external), bad sales, corrupt staff and inventory issues. My job was to go in, get the right staff in there, clean it up and start making money. I did that and loved it. Within 8 months, I could make even the worst hell-hole profitable, and I did it a number of times for three different companies.

In that time, I met a lot of outstanding people. Really nice students who were working hard to make money for school, moms who just wanted to get out of the house and plenty of folks who just wanted to work a few hours to get the discount. I worked hard to find the right combination of great people to better each store. And they worked hard. Magic. For not much money. I treated them like gold, though...worked around their schedules, listened, tried to make it a good, encouraging environment.

When I look back on my retail career, it's not the long hours, blisters, rude upper management, or low pay for myself that darkens my memories. It's sitting down at review time with someone - who has worked like mad to make the most of a rundown store, stood for hours ringing customers and smiling all the way, who vaccumed and Windexed obsessively to make the place presentable, who folded sweaters or hung new clothes for hours on end - and give them a fantastic evaluation, and then only be able to give them a five or ten cent raise to go with it. Darned corporate bastards! There was never any budget for rewards.

Granted, this was ten years ago, but I know that things haven't changed that much.

So! If you are in a store and the associate there is helpful and polite and smiles and does a good job...if he isn't leaning on the counter looking bored before you walk up...if she is busy doing something but not too busy to help you...get their name off that receipt and get online and take a few minutes to give them a thumbs up. Really. It can help them get a better increase or promotion, and even if it doesn't do that, at least it will make them feel better about their hard work.

After all, there is a lot to be said for putting the spring in someone's step, right? It will make you feel good, too.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I've got it...Vacationitis. This may be the most serious case I've ever encountered.

I don't like to wish the days away, but I am so ready to board that plane with Steinvic in 23 days, I can hardly stand it.

To get to the airport and have a cocktail while we wait for our flight to arrive. To listen to our MP3s and feel giddy as we wait in line to board.

To snuggle up during the four-hour flight, reading and enjoying free beverages, thanks to points we've saved through Southwest.

To arrive in Phoenix, sun shining, to hug his aunt and uncle and change into summer clothes.

To visit with cousins and more aunts and uncles, sit on the patio, play with Fred and Woody (awesomest puppies), cook for the family, maybe play a little golf, read, get some sun, and just be together.

Did I mention our four days in Las Vegas? And the awesome drive across the desert that gets us there? driving on another planet. The rock formations. Joshua trees. Snow-topped mountains in the distance forever and ever and ever.

Did I mention that we'll see U2 twice on this trip? TWO TIMES! A major treat...I totally can't wait.

So, for today, I am looking at this calendar and thinking of how nice it will be to finally exhale and enjoy our little travel rituals that I've come to love and count on over the last five years. (Never really traveled much before that...I think I flew four times in my whole life prior to meeting Steinvic!)

I am so ready...what a year...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Chasing Rabbits

Our weekend was sashaying along so very nicely, with lots of football-watching and family time and celebrating with out of town folks we just don't see often enough.

We decided to stay in yesterday to save pennies and also because I was cooking vegetarian lasagna - an all day affair.

And we watched Ghost Town. Have you seen it? Ghost Town is not supposed to be a sad movie. I was curled up against Steinvic, warm and comfortable, feeling content, and that is when I apparently dozed off for a few moments. When I woke up, I suddenly remembered that my Grandma was gone, the feeling of despair just overwhelmed me and I started crying.

And I couldn't stop. I made it through the movie, sniffling and eyes tearing non-stop, but then went right off to bed. Steinvic tucked me in and was completely understanding, but I felt like a fool. I cried myself to sleep and this morning, have the puffy eyes to prove it. Even through the makeup, my eyes look like someone socked me in them.

I know I may be a little preoccupied with death as it seems to be everywhere recently. Steinvic's Arizona uncles were in town this week because their sister (Steinvic's aunt) sadly passed away - I was going to write about that here and just felt that it was too private, but Steinvic's been dealing with that this week.

Also, just two months ago, one of those uncles lost his wife of 38 years. I made a point to talk with that uncle for a while on Friday night, explaining that I understood why he was so very sad, that I had just lost my Grandma, and that at times, I would look around at everyone going on about their normal lives and wonder what the hell was wrong with them...didn't they know that something horrible had happened and that nothing would ever be the same or right again? He grabbed me and hugged me and said that was exactly how he felt about his wife being gone. Exactly. And we both agreed that while we each felt this way, we were also painfully aware that we couldn't go on talking about it all the time...who wants to hear it?

I told him that I didn't know what his beliefs were about what happens when we die and how that part really didn't matter...that I knew for certain that what his wife and my Grandma wanted for us was the very thing they could no longer do - they wanted us to live, and live well and large and loud. That surely, we had their permission to grieve and cry and feel like crap...just so long as most of the time, we were focusing on living a good life. He nodded and agreed.

I thought of that conversation last night and how those words do not feel like they belong to me.

I am having some trouble taking my own advice and making sense of things. I'm struggling to keep from asking myself how I can laugh, eat or even dress and make up every day when the world is without my Grandma.

And I found myself, in my non-stop tears last night, wondering how she could be gone - how she could go and leave me here - and what am I going to do now? Sheer self-pity at it's finest...I know she would never have abandoned me.

So, I'm tip-toeing around that rabbit's hole, not even wanting to peer inside, not wanting to hear the echo of my breathing into it's vast, careening, vacant darkness...knowing that I have no business even being in the forest. I'm trying to move on as best I can, with no idea how to do it...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

This is Very Cool...

I was snooping around the Sharpie site, because, you know...they have a new retractable non-bleed-thru Sharpie, and I wondered where I could buy one. (Apparently not in Ohio yet - the site didn't tell me that, but I've checked in four stores in two cities and no retractable Sharpies...) I love Sharpies, always have, and hoped to snag one soon.

Anyway, within the site, I found the Sharpie Blog and then the Sharpie Squad and all the members of the Squad are cool, but this gentleman's project - making unique lunchbag art for his kid's every single day - really impressed me!

How fun it must be for his kids to see what their dad created for them when they grab their lunch sacks each morning! And I'm sure their friends think they are cool.

My dad, distant as he could be, would sometimes write a note to me on a little strip of paper, about the size of the fortune in a fortune cookie, and put them in my lunch sack. Since I realize now that he struggled to know how to be a father, those little messages mean something completely different to me today than they did when I was a kid: he was trying. (Certainly, he didn't always try - that's for sure - but at times, he did.) They would say things, like, "Have a good day! Love, Dad" or "Good luck on your test!" and you's the little things that make kids, or anyone, for that matter, feel special.

So, grab your Sharpie and do something nice! And thanks to the Lunch Bag Decorating Guy for reminding me about the lunch notes...I hadn't thought of that in a while...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

No One You'd Want to See...

Have you ever noticed that random nudity never involves appealing people?

My favorite exchange:

"I'm just trying to figure out why you don’t have any clothes on," the deputy said.

"Me too," Krauss replied.

(I also liked that I misread Krauss' place of incarceration as the "Moron County Jail.")

Feeling Creative...

I'm not sure if it's the change of the seasons or what, but I feel like makin' some stuff!

We're having a contest at work...we have an in house quarterly magazine, and each Winter, we do a special art cover. They're accepting paintings and I've decided to try to create something and submit it.

Since it's supposed to be Holiday-ish but not religious, I immediately had this image in my head of my Grandma playing the piano to her second-graders, many years ago. She's playing, and they're standing around the piano, singing.

When I told Steinvic, he was all for it. And when I got home, there were two new canvases waiting for me. (Thank you, Steinvic!) So I need to get busy...maybe tonight.


Kanye is a punk for picking on a girl. Not just because she is a female...I mean because she is a girl! A young person. It would be the same if I smacked an ice cream cone out of a little boy's hand - just not cool. Only to make it equal, the boy would have had to have worked for that ice cream cone his whole life AND have me destroy it in front of millions of people. MTV needs to seriously consider refashioning the stage so that freaks can't just stroll up and run their mouths, since it's happened in the past. And Kanye needs to seriously consider shutting the heck up, because no one cares what he has to say.

But frankly, it isn't about picking on young people. It's about messing with people in general.

And that brings me to a question inspired by this recent trend of rudeness... Are we becoming a nation of a-holes? Has blogging and twittering heightened our belief that what we think/have to say should be heard? And that these thoughts will be appreciated and considered? Are we becoming a nation of navel-gazers, who feel that our introspection isn't just worth recording in a blog or journal, but also worth broadcasting to a captive audience?

I mean, I write here. Some people read here. Most people don't. But even if lots of people did, I think I'd still recognize that it was a choice and that my thoughts and views shouldn't be forced on anyone. I don't think I'd wrestle the mic from our front desk lady at work and read my views to our employees every day.

When we were children, society reminded us that interrupting was a sin, that waiting our turn was a good thing, and that picking on people was uncool and could get you a detention, a missed recess or a swat. Is there something in the water that is rinsing good behavior away from our everyday dealings? Just curious...

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Howdy! Long time no post...didn't mean to be gone for a whole week but somehow, it happened. So, let's see...

1. Our neighbor, Virginia, is moving today. I would go over to help, but part of me feels that would only make things easier on her selfish son and his horrible wife, so I am letting them handle it. I went to see her this week and took her the most beautiful calalilly and took her little dog a new stuffed friend to beat up on. We had a nice visit, even though her son and his wife were there. It pained me to shake her hand and be nice to a person who thought that Virginia should live in subsidized housing so that she could move into the unit...I'll think of that every time I see her ugly, stupid face. (wow, that sounded really mean...oh well. It's how I feel. She sucks.) I told Virginia I'd see her soon...her daughter's new place is about a five minute drive from here so I will be sure to keep in touch. She is a precious lady.

2. I am so very bothered by the Annie Le disappearance. I can only imagine how very frightened and frantic her fiance and family must be right now. I read this morning that the police were questioning a professor who abruptly called off class right around the time of the mysterious alarm/evacuation and Annie Le's disappearance. I hope they find her alive but I don't know...with each day that passes, that seems more unlikely. Prayers...

3. Not even talking about political beliefs, but I think Obama did a rockin' job this week when he introduced his proposed health care plan. It has to be really tough to try to combine so many different philosophies and opinions and I think he's doing a nice job of trying to unify the parties and find a solution. That Wilson shouted out "You're a liar" in the middle of Obama's speech is pathetic. I think Wilson is clearly overly emotional and unable to control himself, which makes me feel that he is not qualified to lead or make decisions. He should resign. And for all the Obama haters who think his outburst is funny or that it's a freedom of speech issue, There is a difference between freedom of speech and being a rude a-hole. If someone shouted, "I used to bang your daughter!" during her wedding ceremony, is it freedom of speech or just wholly inappropriate? I think you might see my point.

4. Steinvic and I have been battling colds for more than a week. We're finally getting better. Also, I have been trying the hoodia supplement. When I take it, I feel completely unhungry within about five minutes. I don't think it's psychological, because when I'm hungry, I'm hungry, flat out. I am also doing the stepper or walking every day. Determined to look my best by the holidays!

5. Our friend, J, came out and blew off some steam with us last night at our local. We even came back here and ate pizza and chilled for a bit and it was a really fun night. (J, if you're reading, I hope you didn't have a hangover today...and look! I'm posting!)

6. Steinvic scored us some butt cheap airfare for our trip out west next month! (Thank you, Steinvic!) The only thing was that the best rates included a day that I hadn't requested off, but we took the chance and bought the airfare and fortunately, my boss approved the extra day. We're going to be gone for TWELVE DAYS!!! This is officially the longest vacation I've ever taken in my whole life. I'm totally excited. We'll be in Glendale and in Vegas, seeing U2 twice and visiting family. It's going to be awesome.

I think that's enough of a catch up, don't you! I won't be gone so long next time...for reals...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Easily Amused...

Most days, I hit the Google news headlines around lunchtime...I often work through lunch, and hitting the headlines is a nice, 5-15 minute distraction and lets me know what is going on outside my cubical walls.

So, I read, "Disney Wonder Cruise Ship Rescues Man," and I click. Which takes me to this story. It's all pretty matter-of-fact until the last paragraph, which strikes me as funny:

"Memorial Univeristy of Newfoundland professor Ross Klein tracks the number of people who fall off ships. According to his website, a total of eight people, including Thursday's jumper, have gone overboard on Carnival cruise ships."

Before you think I'm totally warped, I'm not amused because eight people have gone overboard on Carnival cruise ships. What struck me as funny is that Ross Klein has a Web site devoted to tracking this stuff.

I mean, it's almost as quirky as my father's "Ugly Bride" scrapbook he used to keep. (No, really. He did. In fact, he had it in his classroom, until one of his student's siblings was the ugly bride, and then he saw that it was in poor taste...)

So I go to Ross Klein's site and I click the summary of person's overboard from 1995 to 2009.

And then I scroll down on the page for the details, just to scan them, and I see this:

"Sun Coast News reports crewmembers from a pilot vessel rescued a 46 year old man clinging to a buoy at about 6:50 a.m., about one mile southeast of Mullet Key, in Fort Desoto, in St. Petersburg..."

Wait...there is a Mullet Key? And you can take a cruise there? And people want to? Sorry, but my feable, easily amused brain immediately visualizes this (Yes, I actually "enhanced" this map with a mullet shaped island...)

And also envisioned a beach where only mulleted people hang, women, children, pets...

Anyway, it's not a beach that Steinvic and I will be visiting anytime soon...we have to deal with enough mullets on the weekends at our local. Okay, not a lot...just one obnoxious, wormy one...

Yes, I'm easily amused...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

This is Why...

The crimes of Phillip Garrido are absolutely horriffic, and I have a feeling that we ain't seen nothing yet.

In case you haven't been in tune to what this "person" has been up to, Phillip Garrido is a convicted sex offender who abducted and brutally raped Katie Hall in the seventies. He raped Hall while he was married to Christine Murphy, who said that when Garrido was convicted, she was finally able to leave that marriage. Murphy says that Garrido abused her throughout their fact Garrido dug a safety pin through her face when she once tried to escape.

Even though he was incarcerated and sentenced to fifty years for his crimes, Garrido was released after only eleven. For what...good behavior? Of course - there are no women or children to rape in jail!

The details of what Garrido did next are spotty. But we do know one thing for sure...he kidnapped Jaycee Dugard, who was only eleven years old, while she was on her way to school. He and his wife Nancy kept Jaycee in squalor in a tented, junk-filled complex behind their home. This area was mostly hidden from view. He raped Jaycee repeatedly which resulted in her bearing two daughters, now ages 15 and 11. These children were also kept hidden within the complex all of these years.

Until last Wednesday. Perhaps Garrido was starting to fall apart or feel remorse, because he took Nancy, Jaycee (who Garrido called Alissa), and her two daughters to the police station for his parole meeting. At some point during the meeting, Jaycee spoke up, telling police her true identity.

Garrido may have committed some other crimes between the time of his early release from prison for the Hall rape and when he abducted Jaycee Duggard. There are reports of missing women and bone fragments and things being uncovered right now, all from areas where Garrido worked or had access to.

Obviously, Garrido is... what is the term? Evil personified? Not human? Dangerous? A monster?

That may be true. But what can we say of our legal system? Concerned neighbors called the police. They did! They're all over the news, saying they called, they reported seeing young girls in this private yard, that Garrido was a freak, they reported the tents, complained and what happened?


The police have gone on record apologizing, saying that they now realize that they could have done something more to end this situation years ago if they'd followed through on these reports.

But my question is this - WHY was Garrido out of jail in the first place? He beat and raped Katie Hall in a storage shed and she is certain that he was going to kill her. He brutally assaulted his first wife. It was on the books. He admitted in testimony to having "strong urges to rape." He was IN JAIL, which is where pieces of garbage like Garrido should be forever and ever, Amen! Why was he freed?

And more, what message do we send to women and children when predators get a smack on the hand - a few years in jail - and then are free to go out and continue being pervs? I just said this to a co-worker who I respect, who nonchanlantly replied, "Well, some time in jail is better than nothing." NO! Even my colleague, an educated woman with a good head on her shoulders, has been brainwashed!

Because really, isn't society saying, "We don't care. It's just your body. You've been raped...big deal. Get over it. It's just sex. It happens. What? You can still walk. You're not dead. What are you crying about?"

This is why women don't tell when rape or assault happens. IF you get someone to listen to you, you still face the humiliation associated with the process of reporting and prosecuting. IF you're lucky enough to get a conviction, the person who harmed you isn't going to serve any real sentence.

A real sentence for sex offenders is life in prison, because a prison is exactly what these raping pedofile pervert pieces of crap have built for every single victim they carefully select. Years of counseling, of coping, of being messed up inside and of never, never, never getting to feel completely normal ever again.

Shasta Groening, Shawn Hornbeck, Elisabeth Fritzl, Elizabeth Smart and Natascha Kampusch have all suffered at the hands of men who others identified years before as "just not right." In fact, many of the perpetrators were convicted for previous crimes before abducting and assaulting these children. So what will it take to get real laws passed that protect the innocent? When will we start sending the message to people that just because you're not physically strong enough, you can still be safe and protected?

I can't wait until Garrido is convicted and put away for good - this is high profile enough that finally, justice will be served. But more, I can't wait for Jaycee and her daughters to get as close to normal as they possibly can. It's going to take some time. It's going to take a lot of time...