Archive for November, 2007|Monthly archive page

11.26.07- OR State Government News Bite: Penalty Box edition

Seems our Gov decided that the second most powerful man in state government needed to step aside. In a press release designed to be overlooked on the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving, the Governor’s office announced that Lindsay Ball, the head of DAS (Dept. of Administrative Services- I know it doesn’t sound important, but it is here in OR), was “moving on to a new assignment”. See the article here.

Funny thing is, this new assignment has been around for ages since no one wants the job due to the fact that the legislature hates the project. There is no mention of whose decision this was, but certainly Ball wouldn’t have taken this position without having been asked to step down.

Sources say that Ball and one of the Gov’s chiefs-of-staff (he’s got two, and we’re talking about Chip Terhune in this case) were behind the recent labor negotiation debacle, in which management announced 25% raises for their staff while crying poor to the unions who just finished bargaining for a paltry, insulting increase only days before. In fact, some of the unions’ locals hadn’t yet ratified their contracts, and the votes were leaning toward strike, last I heard. The unions were furious, and all sorts of allegations of unfair labor practices and improper, dishonest bargaining tactics began to fly around the state. At least one head of a major union really lost their cool with the Gov, Ball and their staff, while the other was working behind the scenes to see if there was a way for the Gov’s office to get out of this mess gracefully. The smaller unions felt they’d been taken to the cleaners, naturally.

I don’t think Ball’s head on a now non-DAS platter is going to satisfy anyone in this case. The unions deserved, and have a contract right to, honesty at the bargaining table, instead of being sold a bill of goods. How will the Gov’s office really try to make it up to them? The Dems are complaining to him, his other Chief of Staff, Tim Nesbitt, is not happy about the turn of events, and the unions now don’t trust the Gov or the Dems to provide support to Labor, even after the Gov’s last challenging election cycle.

Will Chip Terhune soon decide to “spend more time with his family”?  Or just be moved to a penalty box like Ball’s?

Stay tuned to find out… as the State turns.

11.25.07 Thanksgiving 2007

Since we didn’t get to have Thanksgiving on Thursday due to the Wicked Witch, we had our own family dinner tonight.  My mom and dad came (he’s really my stepdad, but more of a father than I’ve ever had, so I call him my Dad, or Pop in person).  My friend and business partner came with her two kids, and we had a great meal.

We did two small turkeys- one fried in a deep fryer (husband’s specialty) and one butterflied and roasted in the oven.  This method allows a 13 lb. bird to cook in about 100 minutes, evenly and with moist white meat.   I did what is now my signature stuffing, made with half challah and half cornbread and sausage.   Mom brought candied yams (with marshmallows!) and my friend brought a squash dish, cranberry sauce and elderberry wine she made herself from a tree in my front yard.  Who knew?  She’s a real forager- hunts for mushrooms and everything.  I could never do the stuff she does half as well.

A great meal had by all, and then the seven year old nearly beat me at chess- OK, we tied- which is still a bad showing for me.  I should buy him a chess set for his birthday.  That kid’s too smart for his own good.

It was a casual time, with a formal table, just the way I like it.  No hassle, no judgement, just good food and lots of laughs.

To more holidays like this one!

11.24.07 No More Drama

The holidays are usually not a fun time in my family.  Historically, some kind of misery is meted out by someone, usually revolving around my grandmother in some way.  I’ve talked about this situation a bit in the past, and I understand that many of you could never understand having a grandparent who is truly worthy of being cast out of the family.  My own mother made this decision three years ago, and on Saturday I believed I turned that corner as well.  It’s a sad and horrible thing, and I’m sure I will think about it every single day.  However, I know it is the best possible thing for myself and my family.  In fact, the relief of my family at this decision was surprising to me.  Apparently, I misjudged the impact this woman had on them, and for that alone, I should have made the decision sooner.

We will continue to visit my grandfather at the facility he lives in due to his Alzheimer’s.  He has good days and bad days.  Saturday was a good day- a very good day- for him.  He joked with us, laughed, remembered everyone’s name on the first try, and even remembered the city we live in, which was shocking considering that hasn’t happened in the last two years.  It was like his old self, and we only got to have that for 10 minutes before my grandmother started doing what seemed to be her standard schtick- making everyone miserable- but it was worse this time.  She was furious that he got out of bed for us.  That he laughed with us.  She accused him- for the four millionth time- of making it all up, that he wasn’t really sick, and said she was going to stop visiting him unless he was truly sick.  Who does that?  What kind of person doesn’t want to enjoy the few glimmers of clarity he gets before being dragged back into the fog of this disease?

I asked her to stop, twice, three times- only to be ignored in favor of her fervor.  Then she got hold of some of the staff- telling them how to do their jobs, how they didn’t care about my PaPa.  How she was the only person in the universe who could take care of him the correct way.  The correct way is all about appearances- dress well, expensively, starched and ironed 24/7, and no one will think you’re poor.   Every hair in place, never lose your composure.  Don’t forget the most important part- viciously criticize everyone around you who does not conform to these rules.  Especially family members- show no mercy EVER.  Gossip to everyone you can about their faults, and if they don’t have any just make something up.  Make sure they are never forgiven for any slight- perceived or real- and that you relive those moments (actual or constructed through the mind-spin-o-meter that justifies every decision and action you’ve taken) every chance you get.  Tell everyone who will listen- and the numbers are dwindling- about how miserable you are because everyone in your family is so terrible to you.  And how much you want to make them pay for that misery, because it’s all their fault.  In your world, you are perfect with no mistakes, no failures, no bad choices.

Anyone can see that this plan for living life ensures a life never lived.  It is a life built around fear of being an outcast.

I can no longer subject myself or my family to this drama.  It just isn’t going to happen any more.

Glad I Don’t Live In Utah Edition

If you haven’t seen this bit of cop-deployed torture yet, you might be glad you don’t live in Utah:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMaMYL_shxc

Regarding this story, this is now on the front page of the Utah Highway Patrol’s website.  Apparently, they’re full up with the public comments about this cop’s act of torture upon a US citizen:

“Thank you for your concern regarding the use of a taser by a Utah Highway Patrol Trooper in the Uintah Basin. The Department of Public Safety appreciates your comments, concerns and most of all your patience.  Right now we are taking all appropriate measures to investigate and review the circumstances.  We can assure you that we are doing everything possible to look into this incident in a fair and impartial manner.  A proper investigation takes time and we would ask for your patience.  The purpose of this process is to determine if the Trooper acted appropriately.

The deployment of any taser by our Troopers is a serious matter.  Every Trooper who works for the Highway Patrol and carries a taser is required to complete a certification course on the use of this non-lethal weapon.  We continually train our officers on use of force issues and more specifically the use of a taser.  We appreciate the public awareness on this issue and are committed to answering the questions and concerns of the public we are dedicated to protecting.”

The local newspaper, the Uintah Basin Standard, states today that this act occurred on September 14, 2007- a full 10 weeks ago.  Naturally, the Highway Patrol hasn’t been able to get the investigation completed, most likely because it was never started in the first place.  Only now that the video has caused a national stir will it be “looked into”.

One should note in the video that not only was Mr. Massey tasered, he was physically injured and bleeding from the impact of his head hitting the highway after being tasered.  The cop, John Gardner, also threaten’s Massey’s 7-months pregnant wife with arrest if she didn’t simmer down and get back in the car.

What a horrendous experience for these folks at the hands of this caveman.  I understand cops deal with all kinds of dangers all the time, but just because you’re the hammer doesn’t mean everything you encounter is a nail.

I’d hate to be that cop’s wife or one of his kids.  Can you imagine the hell they must pay when they “disobey” his orders?

Not to mention that the cop is a total liar, which the tape proves as well.  When his buddy cop shows up, Gardner tells him he “warned” Massey he was about to be tasered.  Anyone who sees the tape knows Gardner did no such thing.

The State of Utah should pull Gardner’s badge permanently, and decertify him from any law enforcement positions.  This was an act of gross misconduct and abuse of power.

11.14.07

Once again, after a return from the coast I am longing to buy a home there.  Or at least part of a home there.  Or somewhere that’s not here, someplace vacation-y that is within reasonable driving distance.  I get into these moods every time we go, trying to see if we could squeeze the budget to allow us to have that elusive vacation home.  Usually, it’s hard enough to just get a week of vacation once a year, with a long weekend shoehorned in there someplace.

I just get tired of paying to rent a house for a week, or a few days- even though it’s a lot more practical than staying in a hotel- every time we hit the road.   I want a place of our own.  Easier said than done.

There’s a lot of ways to do just this thing, but the family budget and other needs must come first- like paying off all our credit card debt.  Now that is a worthy goal, and will be something worth celebrating.  I expect we’ll be able to accomplish this by the end of next summer if we’re careful.  Maybe then the real estate market will have fully tanked up here allowing us to get in on a great deal somewhere.

A friend of mine once told me never to pray for patience, because you don’t want to see the lesson God will cook up for you to learn it well.   Makes sense… I’ll just have to bide my time, and see what comes along.  If its meant to happen, the right opportunity will present itself.  You just have to be ready.

And I’m always ready.

11.13.07

Nobody’s listening.  I’m shouting into the wind here.

Opportunity to talk about things no one wants to hear about: how much I HATE my period.  How phony I think people who say they want to “serve” God are by following a lot of bogus self-imposed rules and forcing their family to do so, while ignoring those very same rules the moment the precious family they’re serving is out of sight.

God sees you everywhere, you idiots.  Even when you’re cheating on the lifestyle you martyr yourself to in public.  It’s just plain sickening.

Don’t get me wrong- I don’t hate people who want to serve God.  I only hate those who do it in such a phony fashion that it’s a joke to everyone, including God herself.  If you’re gonna do it, then do it right and for the right reasons.  Not so it gives you an excuse to play the power card over everyone in the family that they have to do what you say because “that’s what God wants”.  That’s bullshit.  That’s what you want, bitch!  Just own up to your power trip, get on with life, and let other people live how they want without you in their face 24/7.

I am sure in a hateful mood today, but so be it.  The holidays are upon me, and it’s the season for misery in my family.  Someday, I will be able to have holidays where I can enjoy myself and my family without a lot of crap to deal with from certain people.  Until that day, we all suffer together in silence.

I had the best cake today from a bakery whose name I cannot pronounce nor spell.  It was like a calming salve on my frayed nerves today.  Coffee and cake are a great treatment for short-tempered menstrual women.  Always clears my head and gives me space to think.

Can’t do anymore today… not enough energy to get creative.

I don’t know what day it is anymore: 11.12.07

Veteran’s Day… used to be Armistice Day once upon a time.  I think of my grandfather today- a young, scrawny soldier deposited at Normady’s beaches on D-Day +1.  He hardly ever talks about the war, sometimes I wish he would, sometimes I understand why he can’t, at least before the Alzheimer’s stole away his memory.

I think about my neighbor Phil who went to Vietnam with the swagger of a Marine Corps gunner and came home missing chunks of muscle from his arm, permanent shrapnel in his legs, and a lifetime of nightmares that haunt him to this day.  Phil is the kind of man you don’t expect- gruff and strong to look at him, but will talk so openly and honestly about everything that really matters to him, the juxtaposition is like poetry.  His son died of an overdose in LA last August, and I thought the grief was going to kill Phil and his wife.  Phil Jr. was buried as a veteran of the USMC at the local vets cemetery, where my husband’s dad (Army- Korea- Purple Heart) and mom are interred as well.  This is their second Veteran’s Day without Phil Jr., and I know it was tough.  Phil used to go up to the Vet’s Hospital in the week prior to Veteran’s Day, to see the old guys and talk to the newly returned soldiers.  Now he only goes for therapy, and I’m damn glad he goes for that.

This country owes so much to its armed forces- sent into battle ceaselessly by administrations blinded by ambition to be a “war president”.  When will they understand it is not the lives lost under their watch that make a true war president, but the real understanding of war and its ravages, the true cost that should be borne by all.  Such wars waged in our name, for the sake of freedom, should be about much more the oil, power and greed.  It should be about humanity- of those we aim to help, of those we send to help, and of those left behind to support and mourn.

Where is the humanity shown by the Bush Administration?  Where is the humanity of the MSM?  Where are the follow up reports on Walter Reed, on the crumbling VA health system, on the vets coming home with no way to access services?  Where is our gratitude for what these soldiers and sailors have given up in the fight they were forced to wage?  Where is the outrage on behalf of these injured, lost, or damaged in the line of duty?  Who will hold the administration’s feet to the fire on issues impacting all vets?

Is anyone listening anymore?

Day 9: Friday!

I know, it’s really too late to be Friday… too bad!

I had a terrible gall bladder attack last night- felt like I was gonna die.  It was terrible.  Feeling much better now… wondering if I have to lay off chili for a while.  That seems to be the biggest trigger.  My concoction of chili, tortilla chips, cheese and sour cream really shouldn’t be a problem for anyone, right?  Riiiight.

I finally got into QB today and got everything done- fully reconciled the bank statements and everything!  I had a couple of moments of panic, but things worked out OK and everything is correct as far as I can tell.  What a relief to have that done!  Now I just have to get started on the database.  Once that’s done, it will be seriously smooth sailing.

Going to the beach tomorrow for a couple of days, so I won’t be posting.  I know, how will you live without me?  Going with our business partner to do some planning for the next year’s activities.  Really, we’re just going to sit in the hot tub and drink some wine.  I’m sure some work will get done in there someplace.  We’re gonna make chicken fajitas, and a big Sunday breakfast, and go out to eat at my fave prime rib place in town.  Yum!  Oldest will be staying home alone, with strict instructions to have only two girlfriends over, and no boys, drinking, drugs or sex allowed.  We’ll see how it works out.

It’s nice to feel like I’m finally getting a handle on things.  If only I could do the same with my health.  Well, next week I’ll be able to go back to the gym.  Maybe that will help.  I’ve been taking my iron too, but I’m not seeing a lot of difference yet.

Safe travels…

Day 8: Thursday 11.5.07

I know, I know, I skipped yesterday.  I have a good reason, and I can even get a note from my dad if you need one.

I spent much of the day cleaning off my desk (again), and attending to the multitude of small things one finds on one’s desk after cleaning it.  Like scheduling appointments for the optometrist so you can throw out those reminder postcards, paying bills that were buried under the mess, signing things, mailing and faxing things, just generally taking care of business.

Then came Monopoly.  I got a free full download of Monopoly Here & Now for my Mac, and couldn’t not play a game to see how it was… and it was fun!  Now I want the Scrabble game from the same company… then I’ll never get any work done!

Slept a little later than usual this morning, took a shower and started some laundry- finally!  Got to the desk about 11am, after all that.  I’ve got articles to edit and email, and some bookkeeping to do yet.  I’m supposed to be in Salem tomorrow at 10AM, which means I won’t likely be home before 2-3PM.  I’ve just got to get this stuff done, and quit procrastinating about the bookkeeping.  I need to learn to not be afraid of this stuff.  Maybe it’s all the bad experiences I had in math as a kid that makes me believe I’ll never do this stuff right.  Or that if I screw something up, it will be a fatal mistake and I’ll lose our contract.  I just have to go slow and steady, no rushing.

I’ll try to post again tonight to make up for missing yesterday…

Day 6: Still feels like Wednesday

Up and at ’em early this morning- managed not to be late for our meeting in S-town. Went to the O Pancake House after- yum! Then came home, since my grandparents were no where to be found. Tried to take a nap, but the damn phone wouldn’t quit ringing. First it’s the Democrats asking for money, then it’s my husband on the first of about 400 calls he makes on the way home. Then my grandmother. 76 agonizing minutes on the phone with her. Detailed descriptions of everything that happened that day, topped off by questioning my parenting skills and whether I’m demonstrating a “good example” to my kids. I asked her about Thanksgiving plans, and all she had to say was, “You just do whatever you want, and don’t worry about me.” In code that means, “If I’m not the centerpiece of the entire weekend, I’ll cry, whine and yell at you for the next year, plus I’ll make the rest of the holidays even more impossible than usual.”

My kids say I should just bag it, and do what I want, like we did last year. Only last year, she was actually in AZ with other family, so there were no repercussions. This time, if I have the same group here and make her stay home, then I become the bad guy as usual.

I really don’t want her in my house. It’s been three years since she was here, and she’s literally cried, begging to come to my house. Then, the only thing she’ll do when she gets here is criticize everything she sees. She’s coming anyway, since I agreed to bring her up here to see Oldest’s school play on 11/16. That will be cake and coffee after the show, and then enduring the 45 minute drive home, during which I hope she falls asleep.

No getting up early tomorrow- yay! I’ll work on the books more tomorrow, maybe try some sample stuff in Filemaker. See how it works. It’s so nice to be working from home again. I feel so -I was going to say “blessed”, but that’s so overused and Christian sounding- let’s say grateful. This is working much better for me. Thank you Universe.