Star, the Brave Hunter

Star, the Brave Hunter

I think my dog is honestly confused about the fact that the lizards won’t let her catch and eat them. Like she thinks that if they just knew what she wanted, they would be all, “Oh, catch us and eat us?! Why didn’t you say so? Here ya go – I’m a tasty snack!”


Real Life “Father Ted”?

Father Ted was an awesome series from the late 1990s that stared Dermot Morgan as Father Ted Crilly, the priest with a shady past who had been “sentenced” to live on Craggy Island off of Ireland with two other completely incompetent priests and a strangely effective yet scary housekeeper. Father Ted wasn’t above rigging a drawing for a car, judging a beauty contest, or letting some money “rest” in his bank account.

Apparently, he’s not the only priest in the UK that has an interesting life.

Vicar Paul Shackerley in northern England, who has facial piercing and a tongue piercing, posted on his Facebook page on a Saturday night that

“I think I will put my feet up. I’ve done f— all today other than jazz lesson and visit a friend. I hear the fizz of tonic in my gin beckoning.”

“Alas, I have religion tomorrow. At least I’m not preaching this week.”

He also talked about a photo of himself with a snowman, posting to
“Forgive my sin of frivolity. Sin is such fun! But I haven’t been having an inappropriate relationship with Snowy, who can longer be called a `snowman’ in the name of political correctness.”

Here’s the thing – I’m not sure he should get into trouble for it.

What’s so bad about what he said? He used a curse word. Oooh. How naughty. And he complained about having to work. Who doesn’t do that? And what’s the big deal about saying sin is fun? Can anyone argue that point?

I don’t know. For some reason, this vicar reminds me of our parish priest when I was growing up. I went to Trinity Episcopal in Irvington, NJ, and while the church has since closed, at the time, we had Father Bob.

Father Bob was cool. There’s no other word for it. I don’t know that I ever heard him curse, but he took karate, did karate as part of his sermons (including the one time when he tried to break boards to show how we can do anything if we believe, but then having to go down to fewer boards because he couldn’t do it), and finally left the church (not the priesthood – just the church) to join the army and be a chaplain and jump out of planes. He made everything fun. I remember confirmation classes when we played a game where he’d tell us a bible verse, and we’d have to flip through and find where it was.

I still have the Jerusalem Cross that I “won” when, during a Passover Seder, my sister and I stole the afikoman. (Really? Who offers a cross as part of a Jewish meal? Somehow this made perfect sense when I was a kid, but now I look back and shake my head just a bit…)

Yeah, and I was a shepherd every year in the Christmas pageant.

Anyway, after Father Bob left, the church started going downhill. My guess is because it became boring. Stale. The fun was gone.

And now it’s for sale.

So maybe Vicar Paul Shackerley shouldn’t get in trouble. Maybe he’s just what the church needs…


Do you want fries with that?

Crazy Old West Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Crazy Old West Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I don’t know if I really want to sound like a crazy 1840s prospector, or like an old guy yelling at some young punk to get off my lawn, but I think I’m just going to have to this time.

Why don’t people know how to bag groceries?

It’s not that complex a skill.  Really.

Here’s the problem: I learned how to bag groceries when I was a kid.  The rule in my house was that if I wanted anything from the grocery store, I had to do three things:

1. Go to the grocery store with my father.
2. Say hello to people (since I was painfully shy).
3. Bag the groceries.

So I’ve been bagging groceries for a long, long time.

Yet fully grown adults with no visible disabilities (hey, you gotta give some people a break) seem to have no clue how to put items that have been purchased in bags – doesn’t matter if those bags are cloth re-usable bags or plastic – not quite meant for re-using but perfect as packing material.

Anyway, the basic rules I’d like them to learn are these:

  1. More than one thing can go in a bag.  It’s true!
  2. Bread and eggs are fragile. They can go together.  But the bread should be on top, and you should not include a flat of single-serve apple juice cartons in between said bread and eggs.
  3. Some fruit and veg is more durable.  In the case of raspberries, however, watermelon *should not* be placed on top as it is slightly heavier and has a tendency to crush the poor little raspberries before they can be eaten.
  4. If you have a problem lifting the bag to put it into the cart, why do you think I will be able to carry that bag from the garage and into the kitchen without it ripping open?  (See rule 1, but not to an extreme.)

Seriously now, while at the grocery store, I managed to break a nail and stab myself with my pencil, but somehow the most painful part was when I got home and saw that they had put my watermelon on top of my raspberries, crushing them.

I’m beginning to think that next time I go to the store, I’m going to be the crazy lady who refuses to let the baggers touch my groceries and do it all myself, holding up the line.  Cause while I may be totally crazy, at least I know how to put food into bags.

(Image from: www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net)


Today is Intolerance Day!

Sheep and Pig - An Unorthodox Relationship
Sheep and Pig – An Unorthodox Relationship

People are people
So why should it be
You and I should get
Along so awfully
People are people
So why should it be
You and I should get
Along so awfully

So we’re different colours
And we’re different creeds
And different people have different needs
It’s obvious you hate me
Though I’ve done nothing wrong
I’ve never ever met you so what could I have done

I can’t understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand
(From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/d/depeche-mode-lyrics/people-are-people-lyrics.html)


Okay, so maybe it’s not really intolerance day, but it sure feels like it!

First, there was the news that showed up on CNN this morning about the ex-Rutgers student who, for bullying, harassing, and causing another person to commit suicide, was sentenced to a whopping 30 days in jail, three years probation, and some community service.  (Plus paying restitution, but this is really one of those cases where I think the money doesn’t matter…we’re talking about a dead guy here.  $11,000 isn’t really going to bring him back…)

Then there’s the awesome news on Huffington Post.  (Yes, yes, I know, talk about biased reporting, but they didn’t even have to put a bias on this one!)  Charles L. Worley, a pastor in North Carolina, suggested that gays and lesbians be put in an electrified pen so that they will eventually die out.

Okay, so far, all the news has focused on big stories that made the news and that involved gays and lesbians.  But the intolerance doesn’t always make the news.  Sometimes it’s found in much different places…

A humor website I love “White Whine” had a posting today that got me.  “Kyle” (whose picture and last name have been blurred out) stated that “If you play the lottery that is getting pregnant, you know the risks, and if you have a retarded kid, I shouldn’t have to pay for it its entire life. I don’t make decisions that you have to pay for.  The way it is now, if you have a retarded kid, that kid goes on Social Security from day one…and they haven’t paid a dime into it.”

Wow.  Just wow.

The problem is that people like Kyle exist, and they cause those problems that we see in the news, but until they make the news, we don’t know about them.  They are the problems that hide in plain sight, and until we know about them, we can’t do anything about them.


Do you need some aloe vera for that burn?

aloe veraSometimes I think it’s kind of scary how much TV influences my life.  Most of the time, it’s amusing.  Quoting TV one liners that are funny and appropriate, like The Big Bang Theory’s line about needing aloe vera for a burn.  But other times…maybe it’s not such a good thing that so much that I say references TV. 

 I’m slowing down my Facebook addiction by limiting my log-ins, but do I need to limit more than just Facebook?  Do I also need to limit my tv watching?

Although, to be fair, if I’m going to stop checking in at Facebook and stop watching so much TV, when do I stop listening to music and surfing the web? When do I become a total Luddite and start avoiding all technology? Should I stop blogging? Should I only look for jobs that are listed in the print newspaper?

I hate to go back to the old adage of everything in moderation, but that might just be where I’m going.  I don’t want to stop doing anything, but I do want to stop doing it as often.  Checking Facebook ten times a day is probably excessive.  Checking it twice, not as bad.  Watching an hour or two of TV a day, definitely not a horrible way to unwind. 

So maybe I won’t give up everything, but I will watch it.  And maybe I’ll let myself get addicted to something better, like a bit more exercise and writing.


The Contest of Who Could Care Less

Fine Pewter Portraits... Image by pixtawan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Fine Pewter Portraits… Image by pixtawan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

do ya never rest?  fighting the battle of who could care less 

unearned unhappiness
well that’s alright I guess

and I’ve got this great idea
why don’t we pitch it to the Franklin fuckin’ Mint?

fine pewter portraits of
General Apathy and
Major Boredom singing
whatever and ever amen

oh well
maybe not
I’ll try again

– Ben Folds Five, The Battle of Who Could Care Less



So I just started a new “class” to help me boost my writing output, and while I love the author, her ideas, and her willingness to work with us plebs, there is one thing I don’t love, and it’s something I run into all the time. The contest of who is busier.

Now, maybe the reason I’m all bitchy about it is because I am busy and I do whine about it sometimes, but what is up with the competition of trying to run ourselves into the ground? People brag about dropping sleep, having no time for friends and family, and how successful that’s made them.

Okay, I’ll give that avoiding, well, let’s call it “life” does give you a lot more time to work, but is that really so great?

Yes, I want my writing to be successful. But do I want to have to lock myself in a room and ignore my husband and son every night? Ignore my friends? Ignore my urge to sleep? Avoid exercise? Eat only take out?

And, really, what’s wrong with a good whine every now and then? Someone once told me that we all have our own personal hells. So maybe you have no problem teaching an overload of classes, dealing with an autistic child, and trying to find a job. Throw in some general stress, prepping for school – or attending it – paying bills, and running a household.

Yes, I’m busy. Yes, I’ll whine about it. Yes, I may even scoff at those who complain even when they have less to do, but then I try to keep in mind that we all are pushing ourselves to our limits – or doing whatever we can do to be happy. So let’s stop judging who is busier and instead go with who is happier.


Professional Student? Moi?

I love Calvin & Hobbes.  They have all the best answers to homework and tests.  When Calvin couldn’t do math, he wrote that answering the question was against his religious beliefs.  And when he was asked to define a pronoun, he said it was a noun that lost its amateur status. 

According to Calvin, then, being a professional means that you’re no longer an amateur.  We would say that a professional gets paid. 

So how can I, who gets paid nothing but instead expends time, money, and effort, be a professional student? 

How can I, who searches for jobs at least three days a week, be a professional student?

 How can I, who acknowledges just how much I have to learn, be a professional student?

Sure, there are those who get paid to be students (not loans – that’s a whole different blog posting!).  They get stipends and grants that pay for both their education and their living expenses.  They scoff at those of us who have to work to support ourselves while we study.  They come out with their graduate degrees, never having spent a moment in the real world, but instead constantly and consistently hidden in their ivory tower, complaining of being a “poor student” but emerging without the cocoon of student loan debt to break out of.

Okay, so maybe there’s a little bitterness there.  Maybe I would have loved the change to not have to pay out of pocket – and worse, to take student loans – but my choices were more limited for numerous reasons, and while I may be a bit bitter about it, at the same time, I’m happy to say that I’ve been out in the real world, and I’ve had real world experiences.  They make me a better student (and a better teacher).  And while I sure wouldn’t mind being a professional student sometimes, eventually, I’m not one now, and I doubt I’ll ever be.


I Miss Maurice Sendak!

Kate at the library in 1980! (She’s the one in blue…)

I learned to read when I was four.  Maybe five.  But only if you count comic books.  I refused to be taught how to read by my mother, regardless of her best attempts.  My logic, which I still hold true to this day, is that I didn’t know how to read, so how could she teach me?  (It’s the same reason I still can’t swim…but I can do a mean float, especially if I have those little blow-up arm thingies…)

For a while there, I could tell you what was in every panel of a Batman comic when the bad guys were getting hit.  Pow! Bam! Wham!  Because, honestly, what more did you need to read in a Batman comic?

But eventually, that wasn’t enough, and I learned to read real books.  The first book I remember reading by myself was not by Maurice Sendak, though.  I don’t even remember the title or author.  All I remember was that I won it at a birthday party for some game, and I brought it home and decided that I was going to read it since it was mine.  I underlined all the hard words with a pencil, and I read it, asking for help and looking up the words that I didn’t know.  (You know, all the ones that hadn’t appeared in the Batman comics…)

That’s probably when it started, although even before then, I loved books.  I remember going to the library, where we would go to the “secret room,” hidden in the bookshelves of the children’s department, where story time was held.  (I even remember the time that my mother lost track of time and left me there while she was off reading a book in another part of the library, and she came back to a crying child who was absolutely sure she had been abandoned…ah, the days before cell phones!)

Anyway, what’s my point?  My point is that once I learned to read, I didn’t stop.  I loved reading.  I still love reading.  And Maurice Sendak was a part of that love.  I loved Max.  I loved the “wild rumpus.”  And while I may not have read the book for a few years now, I still love it.  And when my son is ready for it, he’ll love it, too…


Oh Allegra and CVS – Why Do You Hate Me So?

Or is it that I hate you?

Yes, yes, I think that’s it.

I hate Allegra and CVS.  Which is really sad because, until yesterday, I liked them.

Well, I wasn’t that crazy about CVS, but I have been taking Allegra for an allergy for ages now, and it’s bloody awesome.  And now I have to find another allergy medicine.  Because of something they did.


It’s “The Allergy Makeover.”  As per their website – “Learn a not-so-obvious beauty secret…”  Hmmm.  My allergy medicine wants to give me beauty tips?  Really?  Well, okay…

If you go to the website and enter the contest, first you’re asked to “Select a model.”  I went with the Asian-looking one – she had the best smile. 

The next page – “Glamour Level: Don’t Look at Me!” and I’m supposed to use “Cucumber Slices” to make her look better.  Because, the message is (from what I can tell), that I’m not supposed to look bad, even if I have allergies. 

I try to put the cucumber slices in her mouth, but it tells me that they aren’t doing much for her “puffy eyes.”  The poor model!

So I go to the next page.

Now it’s time to use the eye drops because, I’m still at the “Glamour Level: Don’t Look at Me!”

I take the eye drops and try to put them in her hair.  Why not – a bit of moisture never hurt, right?

Wow, thanks to that “help,” her “Glamour Level” is now “You’re Getting Some Stares.”  And from the fact that I have “bad news” at the bottom of the page telling me that my poor model’s nose is “redder than ever,” I have to assume they’re the bad stares of an unattractive woman. 

Finally, I’m told to use Allegra!

Now she’s updated to “Glamour Level: Red Carpet Ready.”  Oh, thank god, Allegra.  Thanks to you, Allegra will now help “keep her allergies from getting in the way of her beauty.”

Oh Allegra, thank you, thank you, thank you!  I have been so worried that my feeling like crap would somehow make me less attractive, and what do we have if we don’t have our looks?  We are, after all, just women.

I don’t know who the genius is behind this marketing campaign, but I sure hope they’re enjoying their awesome flash game full of insults because I know I’m not.