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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Truck Spills Two Tons of Pig Heads

Comcast internet news has the best headlines. Like the title of this post. The headlines are so good/bad that I never read the articles they entitle, because, really, the article couldn't possibly be as good/bad as the headline, which tells me all I need to know. "Letterman Rips Into O'Reilly." The visual from that is way better than what the article would say. But then there was that one time when the headline said, "Prince Dies in California Car Crash," and I went all Purple Rainy because I love Prince, and isn't that a damned shame . . . and I did have to read that article, and turns out it was the Prince of Tonga, which pissed me off but made me very happy at the same time. Wouldn't you have thought "Prince," "the artist?"

junior leopard

Anyhow, when I saw the headline about the spilled pig heads, and two tons of 'em, at that, it seemed to be a fitting headline for what's been going on around here the last coupla weeks. First, there's WTF Disease. I'm trying to write a post giving an update, a description, or some such thing but that's not done yet. Let me just say that things aren't going well. Yesterday I went to get the results of a biopsy -- a TONGUE biopsy -- that was done a couple of weeks ago. I didn't. Get any results, that is. Because after the ENT doc stuck a NEEDLE IN MY TONGUE to numb it, then CUT OUT A CHUNK OF MY TONGUE to send it away somewhere so someone could do things to it, the someone did the wrong things to it, and did not at all answer the questions that my doc was asking. So. Still waiting for that. More than two weeks later.

But before I could go to get the non-results, an hour away from my home, I had to get my husband to come home to stay with my little girl, who was puking. The day before Halloween. And when he got home, and I went out to get in my car to go an hour away to get non-results, my battery was dead. So I took Jif's car. Jif's no-freakin'-gas-havin' car. An hour away to a city where I don't know about gas stations because I can barely find the doc's office, but I have to just get there because with the puking and the battery and all, and with me not knowing at that time that I'm going there for NOTHING anyway, because the pathodoc didn't do the right things to his piece of my tongue . . . um, yea, I would've been late. If I'd stopped for gas. So I didn't. Until after the pointless appointment. Then I did find gas, but lost my gas card. For about twenty minutes. Then I found it under my tire. I have no idea.


And in the mail, I discovered that I'm a criminal. I must pay $75 or go directly to jail. Because I ran a redlight and got my picture taken. I don't remember doing that. I didn't intend to do that. But they have pictures. So what can I do? (Hmm, wonder if the prison docs are familiar with WTF?)


And then there's health insurance. I am extremely thankful to have health insurance. And I HATE it. A couple of weeks ago, they switched me from my "open access" plan to a "no access ever" plan. Without telling me. So I kept going to my docs, my tests, my scopes and procedures, and all the while, the insurance company was denying my claims. Do you know how hard it is to straighten out a mess like that? I have tens of thousands of dollars of medical bills being sent directly to me, and doctors' "offices" mad at me for falsifying my insurance coverage . . . . yadda yadda yadda. I think it's fixed, now. But it will be a long time of telling everyone to resubmit their bills. I'm so not in the mood for that. The insurance company cancelled my old cards and sent me new ones. I especially like this one. I have long needed to carry a card like this:

intentionally blank

I might not keep it in my wallet, though. I might glue it to my face, or staple it to the side of my head.

And then, LG, my little leopard being sick on Halloween. That shit just ain't right. She missed school yesterday and today, including the big party and parade. But, in accordance with doctor's orders, she did go trick-or-treating for a little while tonight. Honest, her pediatrician said, "Keep her home from school tomorrow, but give her some Motrin and send her out trick-or-treating. It's only once a year, it won't kill her."

leopard face

So that was a treat, getting to see her in her fancy leopard costume. Thanks to our friend Easy Writer for once again sewing a masterpiece. Makeup is by Mama. I did do a little bit better job tonight than my first attempt (see the Flickr photos). Biscuit went out trick-or-treating, but he didn't wear a costume. As you've seen, though, we did try a couple of looks on him. Even though neither LG nor I felt well today, we ALWAYS feel well enough to torture small furry animals.

And I did get one other treat. In the mail yesterday. My good friend, Katy, who comments here sometimes, and has known me since high school, sent me a shawl that she had knitted for me. A bling bling prayer shawl:

bling bling shawl

And I'm just in love with it. It makes me feel warm and loved and better. It joins another prayer shawl and a velvety blankie, sent by blogfriends to help me get through this WTF Disease. Although my symptoms are really kicking my ass the last few days, I am very thankful for shawls, blankies, books, cookies, cards, prayers, phone calls, emails, comments . . . all good medicine for WTF; indeed, the only medicine I'm taking for it, because "they" still don't know WTF WTF is. Thank you for the medicine, friends.

See why Truck Spills Two Tons of Pig Heads seemed a fitting summation of current affairs at chez Fairchild?

My condolences to the royal family of Tonga.

file under: &Family &Can't Make This Stuff Up &WTF Disease

Trick or Treat!

halloween biscuit

I can already hear you PETA types, "Oh, poor thing has no eyeholes again!" Yea, yea, I know. He has an appointment coming up at the Dog Wash soon. Believe me, with the way my hands work these days, you don't want me near his eyes with scissors. And frankly, a seeing-eye dog (that is, a dog with eyes that actually see) is low on my list of priorities this week. And besides, when he can see, he's only looking for trouble.

I've had lots of tricks and very few treats so far this week. I'll try to rant post more later. In the mean time, I hope your Halloween is sweet.

file under: &Biscuit

Sunday, October 29, 2006

squirl's road
Photo by Squirl

Sunday Post ~ "It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end." -- Ursula K. LeGuin

Psalm 143:10-11

file under: &Sunday Post

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Difference of Opinion

Met with a graduate student that I'm supervising. I have always had regard for my students ranging from love to respectful acceptance. This one, I may have to smack. A priest from India, getting a counseling doctorate. In our supervision session, he presents a marital therapy case in which the problem, as he sees it, after interviewing the couple extensively, is that the wife yells at the husband and does not treat him with respect. He goes on rather passionately about how the problem is that this woman does not respect her husband! This is not good, of course.

But upon listening to the tape recording of the counseling sessions, it would seem to me that the "problem" is actually that the husband has a girlfriend on whom he spends an awful lot of time and money. Hmm, wonder if this could account for some of the wife's yelling?

Respect, my ass.

file under: &Work

Sunday, October 22, 2006

morning glories

Sunday Post ~ a theme: Failure and Forgiveness

"You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down." -- Mary Pickford

". . . you have as many clean slates as you want with me." -- an email from a forgiving friend

"Forgiveness is the final form of love." -- Reinhold Niebuhr

Matthew 18:21-22
Hebrews 8:12
Psalm 103:8-12

file under: &Sunday Post

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Lingerie Nazi: Bringing Sexy Back

The weather is definitely changing here, and the nip in the air has me assessing my bedtime attire for its warmth and snuggliness. It also reminds me of a story from this time last year, when I went to update my intimate wardrobe at a local lingerie store. Not the one with "Secretions" in the name, but a nice small, non-mall store. I really only wanted to get a couple of black bras and a couple of white bras. That's all. Really.

But the cashier/saleswoman had other plans for everyone in the store that day. While I was making my selections, I became aware of big goings-on around the register. I heard the cashier, a voluptuous African-American woman with a voice that bounced as much as the rest of her, alternately cheering and scolding the other customers.

"Oh no you are NOT buying that bra without some panties to match! It is a SIN to wear a bra like this with your raggedy-ass panties!"

"You got pajama bottoms here . . . where's the TOP? Don't tell me you already have a top to match! What do you have, some ol' stained T-shirt?! You better GIT your butt over there and get you a CAMISOLE to match these pants!"

I had to stop moving the little hangers on the little racks and just watch her work. She cracked me up. Interestingly, the customers loved her or hated her. Some people in line actually dropped their selections on the counter or the nearest table, and walked out, grumbling, offended. Some of them got into the lingerie carnival atmosphere and started trying to choose things that would meet with the cashier's approval, or asking her advice, or trading quips with her. I was among the carnival crowd.

I thought since I was buying only black and white, I could get away with just bras. I also picked up a pretty flannel nightgown, because I love me some flannel in the winter.

The cashier, whose nametag told me she was "Antoinette," wasn't "having none of THAT MESS!"

"But I HAVE black panties and white panties at home, I promise I do! I'll MATCH!"

"Are you married?!" she demanded.

"Yes," I confided, timidly.

"Is your DAMN FURNACE broken? Is your man in a COMA?"

By this time I could translate: put the flannel nightgown back and come back with something sexy. As I walked back to the nighty area, she called to me, "I see you in something LEOPARD! And you KNOW you better get some new panties to match your new bras!"

I obeyed. At least about the new panties. And I came back with some nice, silky jammies and a camisole. And because I just thought she was such a hoot, I picked up a pair of sheer black panties with embroidered ivory flowers, and a bra that matched. Very pretty. Sure enough, Antoinette approved.

"Now THAT'S what I'm talking about, LOOK AT THIS, ladies!" She waved my undies in the air as an example to the other shoppers. "When you put these on tonight, and your husband wants to call and thank somebody, you tell him to ask for 'Toin!"

I told him. And he said Toin was right about the leopard. Maybe next time.

file under: &Can't Make This Stuff Up

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Sunday Post ~ a theme: Temptation (talk amongst yourselves)

"Every conquering temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.
" -- William Butler Yeats

"We usually know what we can do, but temptation shows us who we are." -- Thomas Kempis

"No temptation can ever be measured by the value of its object." -- Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

"We gain the strength of the temptations we resist." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"What makes resisting temptation difficult for many people is they don't want to discourage it completely." -- Franklin R. Jones

"The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little." -- Thomas Merton

"Naughty can be nice." -- inside the wrapper from the piece of candy I ate right after I took the photo

Hmm, to listen to great thinkers, or a foil candy wrapper . . .

Matthew 25:41
1 Corinthians 10:12-13
Hebrews 4:15-16

file under: &Sunday Post

Friday, October 13, 2006

Pardon the Intruption

As anyone who's ever been a parent -- or a kid -- knows, sometimes certain family members behave badly. They drive other family members crazy, with their not listening, and their interrupting, and their going on and on and not really saying anything helpful, and sometimes they yell, which is just rude. These certain family members, we'll call them . . . "parents," sometimes need to be reminded of the rules.

LG's Rules

Good thing these "parents" have kids, to offer guidance when they go astray.

(LG delivered these rules to us one evening after there had been way too much math homework drama. They're good rules. It occurred to me as I did the post-mortem on a most unpleasant evening, that we've been blessed to have her for 10 years. The time she has lived with us to date is probably longer than the time she will live with us in the future. Eight years from now, when she will probably leave our home, it will not matter whether the freakin' math homework was done to our liking. So many things won't matter -- homework, clean room, clothing choices -- what will matter, what will always matter, is the relationship. How foolish and short-sighted of us to risk harming our relationship for the sake of good grades or made beds or fashion. It's good to be reminded of the rules.)

file under: &Family

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Talking to William about "dunking" in the comments on the previous post, I was reminded of the time I learned of my religious heritage on my father's side. A while back, as part of preparation for a family reunion, my Aunt Weezie sent me a booklet in which a cousin had written the genealogy of Dad's family. I won't reveal my maiden name here, but it was a name of German derivation . . . let's say it was Wienerschnitzel. The family book on the Wienerschnitzels was exhaustively researched, going back several generations.

I learned about how the first Wienerschnitzels came from Germany and settled in the Allegheny Mountains. And then I read something that stopped me cold:

"The first Wienerschnitzels to settle in the United States were all drunkards."


It went on to say that they formed close-knit communities with other drunkards. Okaaaaaay. I knew very well that there was alcoholism in the family. But day-um! Do we have to say it like THAT? I wondered if Aunt Weezie had had a hand in editing the Wienerschnitzel history book. She is not known for her tact, and she IS known for getting her way. I began to prepare my rebuttal in my head -- what I would say when I called her:

Aunt Weezie, for heaven's sake, I know you want to be honest, but can't we finesse this a little bit . . . we could say they faced certain "challenges" . . . it IS, after all, a family reunion, it's a "feel-good" occasion . . . it's not like we're going on the freakin' Dr. Phil show . . . and come ON, surely they weren't ALL drunkards . . .

The more I thought about what was written, and what I had to say about it, the more annoyed I became. There was no reason for saying such a thing in a booklet to be distributed at a family reunion! There were elderly people there who would be embarrassed, offended . . . I couldn't believe it.

I went back to read more about the drunken Wienerschnitzels before I called Aunt Weezie. At some point, the historian cousin took to capitalizing "Drunkard," and even calling my kinfolk "devout" in their drunkenness. Devout Drunkards? Oh, wait . . . it doesn't say "drunkard." It says "Dunkard." Dunkard. A Christian sect, precursor to the Church of the Brethren, so named for their practice of Baptism -- of "dunking" church members in imitation of Jesus in the Jordan, for purposes of symbolically cleansing them of their sins and raising them in the likeness of Christ.

Ohhhh. Dunkards. Never mind.

file under: &Family &Can't Make This Stuff Up

Monday, October 09, 2006

I wonder if NBA players have this problem . . .

LG just had her "evaluation" for placement on a basketball team (although, since Jif is assistant-coaching, we kinda know what team she'll be on). She plays on a church-affiliated, inter-denominational league, in which the emphasis is heavily on sportsmanship, character-building, and such. No demon-parents screaming at kids, refs, etc. In fact, this is an excerpt from the handout she got at the evaluation, to give you the "flavor" of the program:

  • A reminder from last year is our concept of the . . . circle of praise. We only say positive things to our children, coaches and especially the referees. Referees are the highest authority on the court and it is our opportunity to show our children respect for authority.

I like that. Another thing they do, as part of the positive reinforcement, is awarding little stars after each game, to be attached to the players' jerseys. Every player earns a star for something: best defense, best effort, even most Christ-like (oh, yea, Jesus had a mean dunk). Two years ago, the little stars were iron-on, which was a bit of a pain for the moms. Last year, the star awards were attached by push pins, with a metal back protecting the little athletes from the pokiness. Another excerpt from the handout, the section talking about this year's uniform changes:

  • The uniform colors are dark blue and light blue this year.
  • The star awards for the jerseys are back to the iron-on this year because some players were chewing their shirts with the stars on them and they would come off in their mouth, creating a serious choking hazard.

Safety first :)

I went looking for a photo to accompany this post and I really couldn't do better than to show you this one again, because, well, one can never get enough of a public wedgy rescue . . .


file under: &Family &Can't Make This Stuff Up

Sunday, October 08, 2006

flower and fencepost

Sunday Post ~ "We call that person who has lost his father, an orphan; and a widower that man who has lost his wife. But that man who has known the immense unhappiness of losing a friend, by what name do we call him? Here every language is silent and holds its peace in impotence." -- Joseph Roux

2 Corinthians 4:16-17

file under: &Sunday Post

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ten Things About Me #6

51. In . . . I think it was 6th grade, I played the French Horn. Against my will. I wanted to play the oboe. But Miss Jackson had enough oboes, and she desperately coveted a French Horn in the band. She talked me into it. Not one blow went by that I didn't hate the dying-elephant sound of that horn. Um...I no longer play.

52. As I've said here before, I curse much more online (blog, comments, email) than IRL. My IRL speech is pretty clean except for the occasional sprinkle for flavuh. In my line of work, we have to be comfortable with pretty much all forms of self-expression. Sometimes it is even appropriate to match a client's language (I feel I must interject here, lest there be novice therapists reading, those sometimes would be few and far between and don't try this at home without supervision). I have always been able to handle whatever language a client used, and look past it to the message being conveyed. Even those who use God's name as a curse, which I don't do, and which hits me pretty hard. What I was NOT able to handle, early in my career, was a man who used "the N word." A lot. I had to get rid of him. I hope I referred him elsewhere appropriately. Truthfully, I'm not sure. I remember his face and I remember him saying that word repeatedly, and I remember knowing there was no way in hell I was going to get past that with him so I had to get rid of him. Today . . . I would probably just be upfront with a client and tell them that I found the language so objectionable it was hard for me to attend to what they were saying. And let the chips fall where they may. Back then I wasn't self-disclosing enough to handle the situation that way.

53. Girl crush: I fell hard for Flanella Jo Washington, who commented a few times on dooce.com. I don't know who she (or he) is, or whatever became of her, but I surely did love her.

54. The first teacher crush I remember was Mr. Queen. The music/chorus teacher in elementary school. Looking back, I realize he was gay. I'm not lying; Mr. Queen was gay. And he was drunk much of the time. I think I even knew that back then. Drunk, I recognized; gay, not so much. But he could play the piano and sing in a beautiful baritone, and bad behavior never fazed him. He'd just play and sing louder. Not a bad life strategy, I think (minus the alcohol).

55. After the very first client I had, in my very first clinical internship, I knew that I was in the right place, doing the right thing (even though I made LOTS of mistakes that first session). I have three students that I supervise now. Two of them came to see me after their first sessions and reported having that feeling. I felt incredibly happy and excited for them. It is really a blessing, a gift, to feel like you've found what you're supposed to be doing. I would wish that feeling for everyone.

56. Almost a year ago, I put a photo in a post, and declined to explain its meaning. One person guessed. We were nearing the end of the mountain of paperwork required to adopt a child from China. A toddler girl. All that was left was for me to update my physical examination, get a "clean bill of health." My kidney stone troubles started in late October, weren't diagnosed until February, weren't treated until March, weren't resolved until April. I couldn't get my doctor to sign off until all that was done. Still, we looked forward to sending our documentation away just as soon as the kidney stones were resolved. WTF began within days of my passing the last stone in April. I contacted the adoption agency and explained the situation, and that I was sure we'd figure out any day what was going on with me, and we'd have our paperwork completed and be back on track. They said the delay had been too long, and they were taking us out of the process. They said I could re-apply when my health issues had been resolved. Between kidney stones (which presented atypically -- that's why diagnosis took so long) and WTF, I've been unwell for nearly a year now. Even if I am cured tomorrow . . . I don't know what the future holds. It is not likely we will begin the adoption process again, though. I don't know for sure, but I really doubt that will happen for us now.

57. Only one blogger knows this. Until now. I am a Certified Beauty Consultant for a direct sale company . . . don't want to say the name, but think Av*n, Merry Kay and the like (it's not them). I buy the products and use them, make a purchase 3 or 4 times a year of the skincare stuff. A couple of years ago, the person I bought them from pointed out that if I bought the sales kit and attended a one-day Beauty University, I could save a lot of money and just buy my own stuff directly. So I did! I don't sell it, unless someone seeks me out for it. I just buy it for me and for family gifts. Beauty U was actually fun. Playing with makeup and colors. I almost got expelled for disagreeing vehemently with the "professor" about someone's colors. As a general principle, I believe it should be illegal for white women to wear orange. (Of course, there are exceptions.)

58. Sometimes I get very scared about this WTF disease. Sometimes I think it is the beginning of what will prove to be the end. But mostly, I think it is something that I will get through and leave behind someday. Heh. Maybe those are both the same thing?

59. The last time I renewed my driver's license, I added 20 pounds to the weight on it. I got tired of knowing, probably since I was 16, that I actually weighed more than what my license said. So I gave myself some growing room. And so for the last . . . almost 5 years, I have weighed considerably less than what my license says. And I like that better. I'll do it again when I renew in January. It's not like they weigh you, or like the DMV workers are observant or anything . . . they don't give a rat's ass what you put on your license . . .

60. Hey, speaking of rat's asses, we've had mice. In the walls. We haven't called an exterminator, we've used traps. In the little space in the bedroom where there's that tiny little "door" that goes into the pipes for the tub, etc. You know that space? That's where they've been. We put two traps in there. And one time, one mouse got caught in both traps! I didn't see it, but Jif told me about it. His little head was snapped in one, and his little tail was snapped in the other. Damn. That mouse was having a bad. day. The thought of that makes me really sad. And it makes me laugh, too. See, I'm not as nice as y'all thought.

(I realize I don't do the "100 Things" right. Not only have I not done it in one list, but it's not so much a list as a "100 little stories." I think more in little stories than in lists, I guess :)

file under: &About Me

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Another Sad Note

Those of you who've read here for a while will remember my friend, SierraBella. She hasn't posted much in recent months, having chosen to spend more time and energy on "real life," real loved ones. A good choice, as it turns out. Very sadly, I learned yesterday that her husband recently died, suddenly, unexpectedly. I knew some of you would want to know.

May you feel the love and comfort of friends, now, SierraBella. May you be lifted by their prayers.

file under: &Neighborhood Watch

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Update: Jess has posted that Bucky and Squirl's Mom passed away this morning. I know the family appreciates your prayers.


Sunday Post ~ "Life's ups and downs provide windows of opportunity to determine your values and goals. Think of using all obstacles as stepping stones to build the life you want." -- Marsha Sinetar

James 1:2-6

file under: &Sunday Post &Neighborhood Watch