Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sucking Off The Sofa

It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I hate to vacuum. It's not that I jump for joy over any type of housecleaning but I particularly hate to vacuum. No, I don't know why. It may be because I have always had animals so I have always had animal hair, which I find annoying so I choose to ignore it as best I can. It may also stem from Saturday morning housecleaning when I was a kid. One week I vacuumed and dusted, the next I alternated with my sister and cleaned bathrooms and washed floors. I really hated cleaning my mother's house because no matter what I did, no matter how long I spent, it rarely if ever suited her. I imagine that somehow contributed to my dislike for domestic duties. Or it may just be because my vacuum sucks. Or rather doesn't suck.

I used to have a big, black dog (see previous post with photos of said big, black dog). At the time of coexistence with big, black dog, I had a plush, bluish-grey sofa. Yes, I call it a sofa. Not a couch. Not a divan. A sofa. Just accept it and move on. This particular sofa was a hide-a-bed. Handy for those drunken relatives who don't want, or need, to drive home. I bought it with money I earned writing greeting cards. Yep, they pay you to write insipid crap. I loved that sofa. When I divorced the first time I took my computer (of course), my books (what are ya stupid? Got to have those) and my sofa. I moved that sofa all over Indiana and into Illinois where I moved it three more times. At this point you're wondering why I previously mentioned big, black dog. Because when the dog was being a pill, I'd tell him "go lay down" and he'd go lay on the sofa - his end of the sofa. The other end was mine.

Now this dog did his twice daily patrols of the farm his entire life, checking on cows, goats and chickens and keeping an eye out for trespassing critters which he would then chase off or shake....really hard, depending on the type of critter and his mood at the time. After 4 years or so of the slightly less than clean dog laying on the sofa, it wasn't really bluish-grey anymore. I discovered this when I flipped the cushions over and found that the underside was a different color than the upperside. Imagine that. Having kids in the house didn't help the situation but I have to place the majority of the dye job at the dog's feet or, to be accurate, belly.

When I moved from Illinois to Iowa (briefly), I auctioned off the not-so-bluish-grey-anymore sofa and bought recliners. I inherited a really ugly hide-a-bed from my grandmother so the chairs and ugly sofa settled into the new house with little fanfare. As did the dog. This time around, there was a sheet on the sofa which was removed in the rare event of visitors.

When I got divorced again, I took my computer (of course), my books (like I'd leave them behind) and the ugly sofa and moved into the smallest house on the planet. There really wasn't room for anything more than the ugly sofa. Two people, two dogs (one a really big, black dog) and two cats in a three room house doesn't really allow for a Better Homes and Gardens full page layout. We still kept a cover on the sofa though as I didn't want to be wallowing in miscellaneous animal hair any more than was absolutely necessary given the circumstances.

After living in the smallest house on Earth for a couple of years, we bought this place. Nice, isn't it? We brought the ugly sofa with us and I started looking around for a love seat or a couple of chairs that would match - sort of. Four furniture stores, with a bunch of ugly furniture none of which matched my ugly sofa, later we ran into (not literally) a beautiful, black living room set in the display window at a ridiculously overpriced furniture store. I looked and then I moved on to look at ugly stuff that might match the ugly sofa. Nothing. As we were leaving, I again looked at the living room set and sighed because it was way too expensive and wouldn't match the ugly sofa anyway; plus the set wouldn't fit in my new living room with the ugly sofa. My new husband looked at me like I was an alien and informed me that we didn't have to match the ugly sofa we could, heaven forbid, get something else and get rid of it. I'm cheap or more politely put, I'm frugal, so the thought of tossing out a perfectly good sofa, albeit ugly, didn't come easily to me and since I don't live in Kentucky, I couldn't just put it on the porch or the lawn.

Nice huh?

I him-hawed around until he talked me into it and we brought the gorgeous set home and gave away the ugly sofa. What could better? Black furniture, big, black dog. A wonderful match that. All of which leads me back to vacuuming. When the big, black dog went where big, black dogs go, we got small, light colored dogs. If you'll recall, the new living room furniture is black. Black sofa, black love seat, light colored dogs. Not good. One of the interesting things about cattle dogs is they look like normal dogs with normal dog hair when in reality, they have 400 pounds of static filled hair which is constantly flying off of their bodies at the speed of light right onto my black sofa. And black love seat. And green dining room rugs. And blue blanket on my bed. This requires a great deal of vacuuming if one doesn't want to look like a yeti in jeans or suffocate while sitting, walking or trying to sleep. Did I mention that I hate vacuuming?

So today we were half expecting company which means someone has to vacuum. I had the choice of cleaning out the garage and reinstalling the downstairs shower enclosure (unfortunate plumbing incident) or vacuuming. Sadly, I was delegated the vacuuming. Normally the Sicilian does housecleaning but today I had to and I was not pleased. I hate my vacuum. I hate that it won't suck up dog hair from the green rugs and that, rather than sucking things up, it blows things around on the hardwood floors. Two hours later I had vacuumed two rooms and there was still dog hair. Hubby emptied the filter for the second time and I took a break to smoke and tweet for a bit giving my blood pressure a chance to come down before resuming vacuuming duties.
The final job in my vacuuming regimen is to suck off the sofa and love seat. I have three vacuums in the house. An upright Dirt Devil, a Dirt Devil Broom Vac and a Dirt Devil Power Reach that was a gift to the Sicilian who likes to be tidy. I just realized those are all Dirt Devils. I hadn't known than until I typed it so how bizarre. Anyway, the upright has a flexible tube thingy and a high speed brush thingy that I normally use to suck off the sofa, but yesterday the high speed brush thingy got stuck and wouldn't high power brush. I tried the power reach which made quite a bit of noise and got the dog alarmed enough to start barking like a lunatic but didn't suck the hair off of the sofa with any degree of accuracy so I moved on to the old standby: the broom vac. I've had a broom vac since I was about 22 and got my first decent furniture, while living with three cats. I love this thing. It's been the only vacuum I've ever found that will actually make the hair go somewhere besides the sofa and surrounding airspace. This particular broom vac is old and tired but after a while, it did the trick. No more hair. I had to go over the sofa several times because hair migrates, you know, and the broom vac, being old and tired, wasn't up to its normal standard. But hooray, no dog hair. For about 15 minutes. Finally, being relatively hairless, I stood back all pleased and proud of myself and 10 minutes later got a call that company wasn't coming after all. Such is my life.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Adoption, Without The Platitudes

A friend was talking of another loss to adoption last week. She was enlisting the help of those who might be able to keep yet another young woman from losing her child. A 20 year old couple found themselves in "the family way" and succumbed to the pressure of self-serving adoption professionals and a couple hungry for a child they can pretend is their own. I say loss because although one couple will have a baby and adoption workers will have an income, a young mother will lose part of her soul and that's a permanent loss. She will struggle and suffer for the rest of her life, just as her child will.

This adoption is coined as "an open adoption" which means the adoptive parents agree to ongoing contact with the birthmother. Nice in theory, wonderful if it actually happens as that is the only way by which adopted children will feel a connection to both families, understand who they are and where they come from. However, open adoption is not legally enforceable so if and or when the adoptive parents decide they want the birthfamily out of the picture, they don't have to fulfill their obligations and promises and no one cares. The biggest problem with closed adoption is because so many things are genetic, growing up in a family not of your blood can be disconcerting and cause a child to feel apart from those called family. The continuing contact between adoptee and birthfamily also helps to lessen the intense emotional pain of the birthmother although that pain is never fully healed and will never really go away. It's the gift that keeps on ripping your heart out.

The vast majority of people see adoption through the rose colored window of outsiders not privy to the feelings of the parties involved. Some wayward girl gets herself into trouble, does the "right thing" by placing her child for adoption, provides a "gift" to the adoptive parents and life goes on merrily for all involved. Is that the storyline you believe? If it is, you're wrong. Dead wrong. That's the Juno storyline and it's the biggest line of bullshit still being spouted by the media while adoption professionals chuckle behind their hands while putting more money into their bank accounts by misleading pregnant women and couples wishing to raise a child and having to resort to adoption in order to do so. Here are some facts you may not be aware of. The vast majority of birthmothers do not have access to unbiased counsel. They are encouraged to sign adoption papers while still in the hospital and under the influence of medication. While different states have different time periods, the period during which an adoption can be revoked is between 1 day and 30 days so in the case that prompted this blog, the limit was 3 days. 3 days to make a permanent, life altering decision that will affect more people than the birthmother, child and adoptive parents. This birthmother was not made aware of that, as law requires she be, and because it is now 4 days past her signing of the papers the day following her child's birth, she can not rescind her consent. 3 days to make a decision of such import. Think about it...the lemon law when buying a car gives you 12-24 months to return it if you find you made a bad decision but when relinquishing parental rights in some states, you get 3 days to change your mind.

The adopted child loses the person closest to them without knowing or understanding why, during a time when that person is most needed. After 9 months of the mother being the baby's sole experience and the entirety of his universe, suddenly she's no longer there. The baby is left in a state of panic and loss so deep that it leaves a wound that the child often isn't even aware he has: The Primal Wound (http://www.nancyverrier.com/).

Adoptive parents who have desperately wished for a child of their own finally have the opportunity to parent believing that a baby is a blank slate upon which they can write their own story, their own image. Babies are not clay to be molded. They come into the world with their personalities largely intact. Personalities that are based on genetics. Interests, skills, needs that are embedded into their DNA and can't be altered to any noticeable degree no matter how much molding is attempted. Environment exposes them to things outside their inner self, it teaches them how to speak, how to read, how to function in society but genetics play such a large role that even handwriting is hereditary. Skills, interests, hobbies, all of these things are inherited, not taught. They can be influenced by environment, whether negatively or positively, but they won't disappear because the genes don't just die off if the adoptive family doesn't encourage the child to pursue those interests.

Adoptive parents also suffer a loss by not being able to produce a child of their own blood. I would never minimize that loss having had long, intimate conversations with a mother who still carried the pain of infertility, even after she was finally able to conceive, after she adopted my child. The pain of adoptive parents is splashed all over the media but why is it that the pain of birthmothers and adopted children is not? Just to make a point here, there are few couples who choose adopting a child over producing one of their own. Adoption is the last resort for them and I believe that says something. You decide what it means. The joy of adoptive parents is effected by the pain of another mother who will never be the child's mother again. A mother who will be ashamed, guilt ridden and profoundly depressed due to the loss of her child. The pain of the child who has forever lost his mother; the one whose heartbeat was his universe for 9 months. The one whose voice was heard, who nourished him, who gave him life and then left him alone and afraid in the arms of strangers.

Infant adoption is unrealistic and it's damaging. The fact that women are still being coerced into handing off their flesh and blood says something about our society, and it's not something good. While children languish in foster care, babies are becoming more and more a limited commodity. Now prospective parents go to China, Africa and the former Soviet Union to secure babies. By doing that, they don't have to worry about US adoption laws or those pesky birthmothers coming into the picture later on. They don't have to be concerned about the child finding himself through contact with his bloodline. Beyond the obvious differences in appearance, they can pretend it's "their" child.

I'm a staunch supporter of foster care adoption. I believe that if a baby or child is in jeopardy, that child should not stay in the possession of the mother but I also believe that infant adoption for the sake of appearances and closed records are is just one more thing that shows the seedy underbelly of American culture. I am a birthmother. My son is an adoptee. His adoptive parents struggled with infertility for 20 years before adopting him, having a child of their own and realizing that what they were told, the clay molding lie, wasn't the truth. Reunion has helped us all to heal wounds.

Talk to a birthmother. Talk to an adoptee who has found himself through reunion with his family of origin. Talk to either once they've reunited and discover the truth of the bond that can't be broken, and then see if you're still praising adoption and looking through those glasses.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Goat Tails

In anticipation of the birth of baby goats here on the ranch, correctly termed as kidding for you accuracy junkies, I'll share with you the complicated art of determining if a goat is "with kid".

I have great respect for vets. The kind that fix animals as well as the military. However, lest there be any confusion, I'm referring to the animal kind. So having great respect, it never ceases to amaze me that vets can fix damned near anything wrong with a critter. In most cases it doesn't take innumerable tests or specialists which says a lot about veterinary medicine as well as human medicine, doesn't it?

I have a great relationship with one of my local vets. Not so much with the other one cuz he seems to have no sense of humor and looks at me like I'm stupid when I ask him a question that I genuinely want an answer to. He's better than the former vet who kicked one of my cows in the head and mysteriously left the vet office a couple weeks later, but still, he's not my fav.

Anyway, said not-so-fav-vet came out the other day to see if the little black cowses were pregnant. For inquiring minds, 2 out of 3 are. While here I asked him how to see if a goat is pregnant. He looked at me like that was the dumbest question he'd heard all week.

Not so brief backstory: I'm on a goat list. Yes, there are people who actually sign up on an email list that talks about goats. Why the hell not, I say. So the very same topic came up on the goat list a while back and the responses were slightly less than scientific. It would seem there are two options: bumping, also known in some circles as bouncing, and the squooshy tail method. Why can't you just do a pelvic? I asked the vet that very thing resulting in the "what are you stupid?" look.

So, bumping. Bumping is a seriously hands on practice which consists of standing behind and straddling the goat in question, grabbing her around the middle and thumping her behind her rumen. Rumen = big fat stomach. Supposedly, if something hard is felt while basically punching your goat in the stomach, the goat is pregnant. Warning: goats don't particularly like this procedure and may kick the crap out of you when you attempt it.

The second method, and by far my favorite for comic relief, is the squooshy tail method. This is even less scientific, if that's possible. It's said that a goat is firm under the tail. Okay, tail: hairy on top, no hair beneath and not something one would be fondling under normal circumstances which makes this method a bit more complicated. So, in order to determine if said goat is pregnant, one is to grab hold of the tail and feel the underside for "squooshiness". Yeah, that'll happen. If you've never attempted to grab a goat's tail and smoosh it while trying to ascertain if it's squooshy, I'd recommend you pass. It's not one of those procedures that goats stand idly by while you, um, proceed. Baahing, head flinging and kicking seem to be the standard reaction. That and running away while goat tender tries desperately to keep tail in hand. Great for comic video, not terribly useful as a means of determining pregancy. What ever happened to the rabbits?

Back to our regularly scheduled program. Vet checked cows, looked at me like I'm an idiot and mounted Daisy the goat. She didn't seem to enjoy this; you could tell by the head flinging and squalling that insued. Vet was not deterred and proceeded to bump, bump, bump on her side, finally announcing that he believed her to be pregnant. I also believed her to be, without the thumping, due to her intimate relationship with formerly discussed buckling. On to goat number 2, Anya. Anya isn't really thrilled with anyone touching her but me so this process went even less quickly than that with Daisy. However, having not seen horny buckling having carnal knowledge of her, I wasn't confident that she was in the family way. Again with the bumping and vet concludes that she too is pregnant. I'm pleased but really would prefer confirmation through a somewhat more rational means.

So now we're hanging around the frigid ranch awaiting the birth of kids and hoping to hell they wait until the temperature is on the positive side of the thermometer. Keep your fingers crossed and stay away from those squooshy tails.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Apparently You Can Be A Predator As Long As You're Gay

(This story is from 2007 but blog is reposted for gimpygirls benefit: http://www.twitter.com/thegimpygirls)

This morning I received an email from an activist group I belong to. Normally I agree with about 90% of what they stand for: environment, human rights, etc, but this one just set me off. Here's a quote from care2petitionsite - the emphasis is theirs:

"During a discussion Tuesday night on MSNBC Live with Dan Abrams about Sen. Larry Craig's (R-ID) arrest for "lewd conduct" and eventual guilty plea, Tucker Carlson described to fellow MSNBC hosts Dan Abrams and Joe Scarborough his assault on a man who he said "bothered" him in a Washington D.C. public restroom.

MSNBC has replayed some of the segment, but cropped out Carlson's comments that he "…went back with someone I knew and grabbed the guy by the -- you know, and grabbed him, and ... [h]it him against the stall with his head." Carlson's comments, coupled with laughter from Abrams and Scarborough, suggested to viewers that physical violence is an appropriate response to an unwelcome overture. This is dangerous and wrong.

MSNBC has yet to acknowledge Carlson's comments.

Tucker Carlson should apologize immediately and condemn acts of violence against gays and lesbians. Sign and add your comments now telling Carlson and MSNBC why they must state publicly that they don't find humor in or condone the physical violence Carlson described. "

So here's what frosted me.....I believe that gay people have just as many rights as straight people or perhaps I need to say, SHOULD have as many rights as straight people. Noone can control whether they are gay or straight so why penalize a person for a fact of birth? But here's what pisses me off about this situation, because you knew there had to be something.....

The article and accompanying material say that the gay man in question accosted Carlson in a bathroom. What the hell is that about? If it had been a straight man accosting a woman and she knocked the shit out of him, people would have cheered for her. The guy would have been charged with attempted rape or, at the very least, sexual assault. Who decided it was okay for gays to be predators? Noone should have to worry about being assaulted in the john, or anywhere else for that matter and if they are, they absolutely should fight back and then press charges.

It's beyond reproach that Carlson took a friend back with him to smack the guy in question and that the friend thought it was funny but I don't fault him for taking action. If we don't make a stand against predatory people, they will continue to prey on others. How many people would like to injure a pedophile? Or a rapist? What makes this scenario any different? Oh, let's see....because the predator in question was a gay man and a large segment of the press/political arena are catering to gay people to the point of stupidity.

I'm not bashing gays in any way. Gay and lesbian people have been denied rights and have been abused for ages and that has to stop. Sexual orientation should not be a determining factor in housing, insurance, employment or anything else for that matter. But on the other hand, a gay or lesbian person has no fucking right to attack someone or even to make advances upon them. Straight guys have no business grabbing at me and gay men have no business grabbing at people in the toilet. What happened to seeing if someone was interested in you before you launch into overt sexual overtures?

What the hell is going on? Why should he apologize to all gays and lesbians? ALL of them didn't accost him in a bathroom. What he should do is tell the guy who did, "Man....you're an asshole and I hope to hell you don't do that to anyone else or you're likely to get the shit kicked out of you". It's a fine lesson for that guy to learn.

If I had a friend who had a man do this to her and she did the same thing: grabbed a friend and bashed his head into a wall, I'd be cheering her and hoping the guy wound up in the hospital. The other tv guys should have been more dignified than to think it was funny - someone should have said, "Wow....that must have been creepy but at least you handled it so it wouldn't happen to someone else anytime soon". Not laugh like hormonal 15 year olds....but still, the point I come back to is, since when is it okay to be a sexual predator just because you're gay? It's not okay. It's never going to be okay. The meaning of equal rights means you are equal to everyone else....not MORE equal, not SPECIAL rights, EQUAL.....the same as me, the same as the chick down the road, the same as my bi-sexual son. You aren't special. You deserve to be equal - you don't deserve to do whatever the hell you want to do without repercussions.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's Not Fair

Sometimes life is difficult. Not mine so much, I suppose; I'm used to mine. I just muddle through it trying to keep a grip on myself and telling everyone that I'm fine. Most of them believe me.

What's really hard is watching the lives of others and being unable to do anything but listen and offer a hug and wipe the tears away. My good friend has a history that would make a psychologist cry and probably has. She bears her scars with dignity and continues to discard the baggage one bag at a time. She's a wonderful woman who deserves so much more than she's been given and I hope one day she'll not only get it but believe that she's deserving of it as well.

One of the people I love most in the world has spent the last year in the clutches of incompetent doctors in an attempt to discover why her health is failing and why she's in pain all the time. A year of this....constant pain, swelling that moves from one lymph node to another and back again, unable to sleep, to eat, exhausted all the time even while struggling to finish college and care for her two little girls. It's so hard and it's so frustrating for everyone, her in particular. She's spent the past year wondering if she has an illness that can be treated or not treated or if she's suffering from something that will take her away from everyone and everything she loves. Why should someone so young have to face that? Where is the logic in that? She has no bad karma to atone for. She hasn't cursed the gods and isn't deserving of their revenge. All she's done is live a good life and care for those around her. She's a joy and now she's suffering and it's dreadful.

There are so many people who face trials and difficulties in their lives and I wish I could pick them up and put them in my pocket where they would be safe and secure and not have to suffer anymore but my pockets aren't deep enough, so instead I stand in the wings and watch the suffering and cry. I want to do something. Anything! Anything that could help take it away or at least lessen the burdens. It's so incredibly frustrating that frustrating just doesn't come close to expressing it. It actually hurts inside to not be able to help when I so desperately don't want those I love to be in pain.

I want life to be fair and it's not. Horrible people go through their lives never giving a second thought to the pain and chaos they create while kind, caring people struggle and suffer. They plod along doing the best they can and are continually knocked down only to struggle back to their feet and plod along some more. It's not fair and it should be and I will never understand why the cosmos doesn't pay attention but I will continue to hope that at some point soon, it will.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Don't Blow Sunshine Up My Butt

(This is one I've copied from my other blog site so you may have read it before)

I recently read a blog wherein it says that envy is the root of all unhappiness. This is supposed to be a Qabbalistic theory. I haven't spent a lot of time reading Qabbala because, frankly, I have other more interesting things to read right now. I like a little mysticism now and then and I'll even do some airy fairy New Age crap from time to time but having owned an occult store in the past, I'm in no rush to flush my mind down yet another toilet of empty platitudes that negate the need for me to take control of my own life by placing the blame or responsibility on my past lives, some invisible omnipotent being or the bad psychic fumes in my environment.

So....envy is the root, is it? I believe I can state several examples that misprove that theory. Um, let's see....no, it's not tough to think of one, it's tough to decide where to begin in this little game I've created for myself today.

Chronic pain causes unhappiness and not because the person is envious that other people don't have chronic pain. At that point, a person doesn't much give two shits if you have pain or not - they just don't want to have it anymore. They aren't sitting around thinking, "ya know, if Mary had chronic pain too, I wouldn't be so unhappy."

Poverty causes unhappiness too and that's usually not due to envy either. If you can't afford groceries and don't know where you'll be living when the rent comes due, you don't have an awful lot of time to be worrying about what the Jones' are doing. You're more worried about starving to death in the snow under an overpass. You aren't ruining your good mood by wishing you had a big tv like the neighbors, instead you're wishing you had a Ritz cracker and some indoor plumbing that works.

And my personal favorite, being a nutbag causes unhappiness. Or should I try political correctness since I'm paying $400, yep that's right, $400 an hour to take a class in it.....How bout this then, suffering from a mental illness often leads to unhappiness. Let's see...if you're a sobbing ball of depressed flesh laying in bed wishing you were dead, you aren't giving much thought to what others have or do or think or any other damned thing. You're thinking about where the nearest overpass is so you can drive off that bad boy and, hopefully, not smash into the poor guy underneath who just wants a cracker and a semi-clean toilet. So where does envy enter into this picture?

How's about we stop oversimplifying everything as an opiate for the masses? Maybe, just maybe, let's try looking a little bit deeper and discovering what each individual person needs in order to help themselves be happier? That's right, folks, help themselves. Cuz you don't make me unhappy - I make me unhappy and vice versa. My illness makes me unhappy and you not only can't change that, you can't do a damned thing about it either. Your individual struggles make you unhappy and I don't have a thing to do with that either.

If your life is miserable, figure out what you're doing that is contributing to it and knock it the hell off. If you're broke and out buying shit on your credit cards, STOP IT. Take some personal responsibility and stop blaming shit on other people. If your wife is a shrewish bitch, divorce her and move on. Seeing my point here?

I'm really tired of hearing and reading about how one group of people is causing so much discomfort for another. How about the unhappy people change their lives and stop looking for someone else to do it for them? How bout some other people stop saying "god/goddess/welfare/Barney the Dinosaur will provide" and go provide for their own damned selves. I taught my step-kids to take responsibility for their own actions, failures, successes and futures and they're doing fine. They don't place blame on others unless the others are actually to blame. I have respect for them. For those who place blame, I don't.

The theory of karma says that we create our own lives based upon what we do and have done in the past. All things are open to revision. So, beyond illness (and to a small degree, illness as well - go to the doctor, moron), you can change anything you wish and make your life a happier place.

So why the hell are you sitting around reading this? Go do something to improve your life and have a lovely day.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Steer Clear

(This is graphic so if you're squeamish, don't read it.)

I was awakened at the crack of dawn by my cell phone ringing accompanied by the voice of my charming spouse requiring directions and screaming at some guy in a fit of road rage. Maybe rage is too severe but road annoyance doesn't quite cover the resulting headache. The yelling following all night dreaming of developing thrush did not make for an auspicious day. However, directions duly provided, teeth brushed, tea steeped, computer on. Morning on the farm. Moo, Baa, Bwauk.

It's Thursday, an uninspiring day of the week, middelish (no, that is not a word) with no redeeming qualities but existing just the same there between Hump Day and the weekend. I don't really mind Thursdays since, in most cases, it's a day very like other days. Get up, engage in the (usually) uneventful morning routine: grumbling, tooth brushing, feeding of dogs, letting out of dogs so they can do their morning business, computer booting, email and tweet reading, blog checking in the event that there were comments made since the last blog check. This morning there was even more excitement than usual, aside from the telephonic road rage. This morning there was texting about cookies.

I love cookies. Almost any kind of cookie, particularly those that contain chocolate and to my elation, a friend will be bringing me cookies on Saturday. I love it when that happens.

So while basking in the glow of potential, future cooking snarfing, the day unfolds before me in all its glory.....I have to clean up cow remains. Joy. So much for glow basking.

"Cow remains?" you squawk. "Yep" I reply to your dismay, "cow remains". We decided it was time to butcher one of 2006's steers. Meat for the freezer which has a resoundingly hollow sound due to spouse's intense love of beef products.

New butcher guy came out at which time I discovered he does the killing and preliminary butchering on-site. That's right...in my barn lot. Yippee. So he shot the steer, slit his throat and proceeded to cape him. For those of you who don't have intimate knowledge of butchering things, that means taking the skin off. Those things I didn't mind. I do my own caping and butchering of deer and goats. I don't do the killing; the accompanying twitching alarms me so spouse does that part.

So the guy gets half the caping done and strings aforementioned steer up in the air to complete the process. Again, no biggie on my end although I could have done without the blood on the ground as I didn't know if it would adversely effect the sedate nature of the rest of the cattle who had by now gathered at the fence to find out what was going on.

What got me was when he said he was going to gut it. Right there in my barn lot. Ick. I asked what he planned to do with the innards and he said he planned to leave them right there, again, in my barn lot. Where my animals mill about doing animal type stuff. Where I have to walk during forays of animal husbandry. I don't think so. I don't want steer guts laying about in my barn lot. I wasn't so concerned at this point that it might disturb my other livestock but rather that it WOULD disturb me. And draw predators. And attract rats. And, um, no. I'll pass.

So I rushed out and got a trashcan for him to put said innards into. He looked at me like I'd lost my mind, obviously not considering that many people don't want steer innards laying around on their property especially about 100 yards from their house. Ick. Again.

At this juncture I decided I would go into the house. I'm normally not squeamish but the combination of meds and steer gutting wasn't going to agree with me and puking in the barn lot just didn't seem to be appropriate. In the house I went.

Butcher guy came to the door a short time later for a check. Killing, caping, quartering fee: $60. Fee to keep the hide: $25. What? WTF? I have to pay for my own hide? It's MY steer, MY barn lot, apparently MY steer innards and yet I have to pay to keep the hide? What the hell is that about? It would seem the butcher guy sells the hides so I had to pay him to keep it. Oh, well, he did give me a discount. Since he gets $35 to sell them to a rendering plant, I got it for the bargain basement price of $25. Man, that sucks. Even butcher guys are ripping us off. Damn!

So now that I've had such a glowing morning, I get to go pry a hide and head off of the frozen tundra and somehow carry a trashcan full of steer innards up to the chicken yard for the little dinosaurs to dispose of. Don't you wish you were me? So much for Thursdays.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I'm Tired of Being a Pariah

I smoke. Yep, as politically incorrect as that may be, I do it anyway. Since Nazis have taken over Illinois, I am no longer allowed to smoke in public. Well, I can but I have to stand in the middle of the street to do so. And you wonder why I don't go anywhere?

I know...smoking stinks - literally. It causes a myriad of horrible illnesses ranging from glaucoma, heart disease and emphysema to cancer. But I still smoke. One of these days I'll quit smoking and be one of those people who avoid those who do but at the moment, I smoke.

If you're a non-smoker, I won't smoke in your house. I won't stay long, but I won't smoke. Since I can't smoke in Illinois, I go to bars and restaurants in Wisconsin. I can smoke there. I don't enjoy wandering parking lots in the dark when it's 20 degrees out sucking down a smoke. Yep, it's unpleasant and in some places dangerous but I suppose I deserve to be hit over the head, raped and murdered because, heaven forbid, I smoke.

I'm the only person in my immediate family who still smokes. That in itself makes me feel like a second class citizen. All the well meaning advice and lectures in the world, while I appreciate the concern, aren't going to make me quit. They just annoy me and make me feel like a piece of shit. Thanks for your love and caring, now shut the fuck up already. I don't snort coke, mainline heroin, drink to excess, molest children or abuse animals; I smoke. My husband keeps telling people that I'm a "polite" smoker. What the hell does that mean? And why is it necessary to say in the first place? I smoke...if it bothers you that much, stay the hell away from me. If you don't bathe, I'm staying away from you. If you get stinking drunk and puke on your shoes, or mine, I'm going to avoid you too.

Most of my friends smoke and lately, that's a relief. We can go somewhere without me feeling like a total pariah. What I don't get is the push to legalize pot when I can't smoke a bloody cigarette in public. Let's do this: let's have smoking places and non-smoking places. Then you can choose which you'd like to go to and who you'd like to give your money to. I can choose to enter a non-smoking establishment knowing that I won't be smoking there and you can choose to enter a smoking establishment knowing that you will be exposed to my air pollution. Seems fair to me.

I'm ranting here. It doesn't require comments about second hand smoke or my health or any other well meaning platitudes. I smoke. Deal with it.