Dec 28, 2009

Two Top ten Lists that Only Equal Eight

On the top ten list of absolute crap that happened this year we'll include my husband getting laid off, moving away from my family and friends, my brother getting stabbed, my insurance being complete assholes about my health, and not being able to sell my house. I realize that's only five but really do I need to add to that? I could, but really it's all I care to revisit, so I think that's enough.

On the top ten list of pretty wonderful things I'm going to put Houston, new creative ventures and new friends. I realize I'm short seven items. While I could try to add more I'm not sure they are the same caliber as the first part of the list and I'll not cheapen it.

I haven't decided if it balances out or not. It may be close.

Dec 24, 2009

To the Left

There are things she learns in school that I don't know about until later.

The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of Texas. Yes, they say it every morning, and I don't have a big problem with it, it just surprised me. I didn't grow up here, I didn't know there was such a thing. The amount of pride people in this state have is astonishing. Maybe it's because I'm from a stateline area where we had both Packer fans and Bear fans under the same roof, or because the closest I've come to learning any songs about Illinois when I was young was playing our copy of The Super Bowl Shuffle 45 over and over until my Mother's ears bled.

Line dancing. They are doing it in gym class. Again, I have no objection and in fact when I was a kid we learned square dancing in gym class. I always wished we could've learned some break dancing moves instead. She's actually getting the best of both worlds in that she's learned the Cha Cha Slide which is sort of a hybrid of line dancing and hip hop (sort of.) Regardless, much cooler than a do-see-do.

"Y'all" not only is it used at school but Dan actually encountered it in a memo at work. We don't hear many accents here in the city, but "Y'all" is everywhere.


Dec 21, 2009

The Worst Present Ever

I received a letter from school that says Ella has to get the remainder of her shots before she can return after Christmas break. Her previous pediatrician "dropped the ball" (his words) on the ol' shot schedule and so at the beginning of the school year I was supposed to get her all caught up but wouldn't allow them to pump her full of vaccines all at once. I said we had to spread them out. The doc insisted it would be fine, but I am skeptical of too many vaccines at once as well as not super comfortable trusting the doctor who already jacked it up. So Merry Christmas Kiddo! I'm scheduling needles in your legs today.

Dec 19, 2009

On Strictness

I read this question about how strict you are as a parent and if you give in all the time or not and I will confess that I have no consistency when enforcing rules.

Sometimes all the whining and kicking reinforces my resolve to make Bratty McBraterson sit in the designated make shift jail cell complete with invisible bars, until she can speak like a human again and sometimes her feelings get really hurt and the genuine quiet sobbing melts my warden-like heart into puddles of come over here and let me wrap you up in my arms and hug you until we both feel better. Then there's the third and laziest option in which I haven't had enough sleep or am just worn down by the insaness of housing a kindergartner and can only find the energy to wave my hand in her direction and utter a faint "chill out" while pretending I don't know that she is emptying the bathtub one dolphin spit at a time onto the floor.

I think the desired result is a very confusing dance in which it's hard to tell when I'm serious and when I'm not. I'd like to think I'm aiding in the rearing of a little lawyer who will argue her case every time, exploring any loophole or chink in the defense to finagle her plan into fruition, a child who's spirit is strong and who isn't afraid to challenge authority. I don't know about the future but what is happening in the present is this; when I'm really at my limit I have to get the serious mommy voice out and sometimes throw in a swear word. Thus the following conversation:

Ella: Mom, you could open this present I made for you today if you want to.

Me: No, I'll wait until Christmas.

Ella: I'm sure the other moms opened theirs already.

Me: That may be, but I am no "other mom," I am an extra special mom and I can be patient.

Ella: Please?

Me: Nope, I'll wait until Christmas

Ella: Pleeeeeeaaaaaaaaaase! You will love it.

Me: If we open presents before Christmas Santa will be upset that we didn't wait

Ella: Please?

Me: No

Ella: Please?

Me: No!

Ella: PleeEEeeEEeeeEEEAAAaaaase?

Me: Do you wanna piss Santa off?

Ella: ok. (walks away)

I know I'm setting myself up for the worst teenage years in the history of teenagers, but I prefer to live in denial and tell myself that we'll be best pals and tell each other everything all open and honest and lovingly for our whole lives including when she's 16 and wants to go to Mexico for the weekend with her two wild best friends and why can't I just trust her to do that?!

Dec 18, 2009

new things

I reset my computer. I've been putting everything on an external hard drive for some time and most of the programs I use exist on the internet. So I have a scant few things to reinstall, and of course the million Microsoft updates. Hopefully things will be faster than ever. I'm very excited about it. It's like looking at an empty sketch book.

Ella gets out of school early today. We'll use the afternoon to go to the library.

Carpet cleaning dudes are supposed to be here this afternoon, they are late.

Boxes came in the mail today and one of them contained CHEESE CURDS! Woohooo! Thank you Mom, it was exactly what I wanted, just my size. And and Mrs. Fischer's Potato Chips - Dan opened the bag and inhaled deeply before eating enough chips to coat the roof of his mouth with grease. yumm.

Dec 14, 2009

It's Alway Sunny

Remember when I was talking about giving men's rolls to women? I especially enjoyed this piece today over at BITCH - Sweet Dee Reynolds is a Gender Liberator by Ischmeiser. In comments I read

"In the bonus material in one of the seasons that is currently out on DVD, she talks about auditioning. She talks about not knowing at the time that they were having her read lines that were written for one of the male characters because they hadn't written anything for the female character yet. She convinced them that they needed to write her character like the male characters because that's what was funny about the show." Posted by jordanb

That's what I'm talking about! Why does there need to be special dialogue written for women. Movie makers should cast more women, not because it's written into the script, just because.

The Bubble I Moved to.

Before we moved here I had the idea that Texas was very conservative. I figured the bigger cities were more liberal and so thought Houston would be alright. I didn't really think it was a big deal that Houston elected an openly gay mayor but I've received a few notes congratulating me, so I started thinking about it. First of all, I really didn't have much to do with it, not that I wouldn't have voted for Ms. Parker, she actually was my pick. She's the former city's comptroller and I think that makes her the best qualified to run the city. But I am not a Houstononian. I live quite literally across the street from Houston and couldn't vote in that race. (For those of you in Rockford, I live in the Cherry Valley of Houston. Good schools, smallish place next to the bigger place and lots of sales taxes from the shops and the big mall.)


I do have to admit for the first time in a long time I wasn't enamoured with the local election. It happened in my peripherals. The reasons; both candidates were democrats, I couldn't vote and quite frankly my utter exhaustion with politics after the last 15 years has killed my enthusiasm. So for what little I paid attention, what I can tell you is this - I really didn't think there was much emphasis locally that one of the candidates was gay, or a woman or black for that matter. I didn't get the anti-gay mailer her opponent sent, nor did I get a phone call from any advocate organization reminding me to vote for her. There weren't any yard signs in my neighborhood and I wasn't reading either of their websites. I was a silent and ignorant neighbor, glad to see the person I like move in across the street.

Dec 9, 2009

Ella Speak

"You have to get a license to drive a marriage and it takes a lot of practice."

"If you love something let it go, especially if it's a caveman."

"If people don't have food or enough to get presents, why don't they just write a letter to Santa?"

Shelter in Place Mode

I sat down at the computer this morning determined to get some things done today. It's a crisp cool morning so I opened the windows and out there the gardners were leaf blowing the crumbles off my patio. Out of nowhere I heard a "Kaboom" it sounded just like what an atomic bomb sounds like in the movies. I looked out the window as the gardeners shut off the leaf blowers and looked up. I sat still for a minute longer wondering what it was, looking at the sky.

It's fairly routine for fighter jets to fly over and do loops and twirls so I wondered if it was some sort of sonic boom in the distance. It sounded like it came from the bay. I called Dan and told him about it. I turned the news on and went back to e-mails, Yahoo groups and Facebook. I was lost in thought until about 20 minutes ago when the dog needed to go out and I finally turned my attention to the tv. About 6 miles away, the American Acryl plant had an explosion and plumes of black smoke can be seen for miles.

Ten minutes later I received a phone call from Ella's school, they're in a "Shelter in Place" mode. That means the kids don't leave the building, they turn the a/c and heat off. I closed my window and shut the air system down. I stepped outside to see if I could see the smoke. It smells like burning plastic out there, I went back in and here I sit.

Right this minute I hear BIG rumbling. Could be a plane, but it's going on for a lot of minutes. I'm not going outside to look.

KHOU







Dec 8, 2009

I'm Crabby

Dan was sick. I slept on the futon for two nights trying not to get what they had. I haven't seem the sun in three days and there is an insane amount of laundry to be done. Also dishes - I hate them. That is all.

Dec 4, 2009

Texas Snow

When I took Ella to school this morning I made her put a hat and mittens on as the forecast for today was snow, I barely believed it. When we drove it was indeed slushing from the sky and just now the slush changed to big heavy clumpy flakes, that technically are snow. I ran outside in my bare feet to take a picture (that's how un-cold it is.)

Dec 2, 2009

Four Awful Words in the Middle of the Night

"Mom I feel barfy" is what she tried to say before she threw up all over the covers. Luckily because we have an overabundance of blankets we got the bed clothes changed and were back to sleep after a quick bath. I was also better prepared to wake up and run to the bathroom with a kid in my arms the next dozen times she uttered the phrase. Finally we are out of bed and having Ramen noodles, but one of us has no noodles, just broth. Now we wait to see if the phrase comes back or if it morphs into the more dreaded "I think I got what she had."

Dec 1, 2009

Getting it all done

I'm still here. We're getting ready to bust out on the Christmas soon. This year we'll get a real tree and I'm going to try and send a real Christmas letter since we had so much happen this year (wish me luck on getting that together) and I took Ella to see Santa already. She got nervous and told him she wanted a basket and when he asked her what she wanted in it she told him eggs of different colors. He let out the most genuine ho ho ho he he haw I ever heard from Santa and said he was gonna write that down it was soo good. Then he added that he knew a bunny that may be able to help him with that order. When we left Ella exclaimed "Santa is Amazing!" Yes kiddo, he certainly is.

Nov 20, 2009

Sound it out

Ella's been reading for some time but in the last few weeks she is learning how to spell. This has my time filled with a million questions all of which I answer "Sound it out, you can do it." She's written notes "Mom, I am hngry I wnt a snak ples." signs "No blees ulaod in my room." (translation: no bullys allowed in my room) and this week she finished writing and illustrating her first book.

The Bst Frens Have a Playdayt By Ella



















4 Best Frens Play to Gether



















1 Frend asks if they can play with thum "Can I play?" "Shr you can."




















The end




















This all had me feeling very happy about her progress and my "sound it out" process until last night. And this I tell with the utmost sincerity. Under no circumstances should you tell your five year old to "sound it out" when she is trying to Google "Boobahs Videos" not unless you want have a conversation about "Boob Videos" with her. I'm downloading a new kid's browser for her today.

Nov 18, 2009

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

I haven't had much to say here. It just been sorta regular days here and I'm not yet bored with it so we haven't changed it up much. Mostly everyday we get up and eat breakfast and pack a lunch for school then I drop Ella off and clean house and meander around on the internet, shop, watch tv, run errands, work on some websites and then I pick Ella up. Sometimes we go to the library and sometimes the neighbor kids come over to play or Ella goes there and then I got to Derby or Dan games or we make dinner, watch tv, play games, read books. Not much else. The weather is lovely, right around the low 70s everyday and most days seem just comfortable and nice. So I've got nothing much to say lately and I think that's good.

Nov 12, 2009

Pakistan Schools

If you've got a half hour today go watch Frontline's Doctumentary Children of the Taliban by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. I'm interested in your reaction. Some commenters feel it is inaccurate, some feel it is propaganda meant for us to escalate our involvement, some say it is absolute truth.

It perfectly illustrates the importance of public schools and what happens in the vacuum of education.

Then if you're ready for a follow up you can watch Pakistan: Education's Fault Lines by Jow Rubin

Oct 30, 2009

Zombies

I have a zombie phobia. It's odd considering my husband adores zombie movies, games & literature, one of my best pals owns Zombie Logic Press, and I've been known to illustrate zombie cartoons. I'm not sure when it started. Sometime in the 90s I started having these nightmares about the slow lumbering kind. The relentless ones who have all the time in the world to chase you down and get you and no matter how fast you were running or how far away you went or how much the dream changed into a lovely cotton candied, carousel riding bit of happiness, still the gnawing feeling that the zombies were on their way tainted any dreaming that came after no matter how good for the rest of the night.

This lead to my inability to be able to be around anyone even pretending to be a zombie without getting a serious case of the slap-fight panics (Where you swing your arms like mad squeal and then run.) I took the quiz and would only last 2 minutes after the zombie apocalypse. Dan and I stumbled into a live action roll playing zombie game last year during Gen Con (game convention) and it was all I could do not to pick Ella up with my sweaty palms and run while the teenagers lolled about in heavy white and red makeup and torn up clothes. When we lived in IL, if I got home from skate practice late and some drunken guy was walking home from the bar up Main St. weebling and wobbling along the way I would get the heebie-jeebies and panic trying to get into the door before the dark shambly form could get close enough to chomp my brains.

Still I've watched in incredible number of movies and continue to be fascinated. My pal at Zombie Logic Press had the good fun to participate in a zombie film a few weeks back. He was part of the undead hoard and had an absolute blast doing it. Though I was jealous and wished I could have participated too, the fact is I may have shown up, got in full make up and then panicked, hyperventilated and then passed before the camera even turned on. So it's probably good I didn't. Anyway the film is short and it's for a larger project that is brilliant called Nation Undead.

"The objective of the filmmakers is to build and submit stories that fit within the larger Nation Undead back story. Because Nation Undead is truly a collaborative effort, musicians, screen writers and graphic artists are all encouraged to contribute to this deeply woven universe with their own perspective talents."

This is exciting to me on many levels. First of all I want to see the finished product no matter how scary. Secondly, I know some people that are submitting. Thirdly, the story line is really scary - it has to do with the flu and a flu vaccine and how the flu mutates. Germ warfare and mutating viruses are the new radioactivity in horror movies.

It's topical. My niece is just today pondering aloud on Facebook if she should take her son to get the H1N1 vaccine or not. Most of the people that responded said "Don't get it, it's too new, I don't trust the vaccine." I responded to her with an article about how perfectly healthy and robust children and adults are dying from it in Houston and if I could get it (if it even were available to us) I would - especially for the kiddo. It's a horror fest soup happening in real life. We no longer trust our government, the pharmaceutical industry, news media outlets and sometimes even our own judgment. We live in an age where one can find a plethora of studies and truths on both sides of an argument and frankly we are too tired from trying to live to do weeks of scientific reading to reach our own conclusions. Bombarded from every side with conflicting information, we turn to anecdotal evidence form our friends and families and instead amble along and follow the hoard.

This morning I was thinking perhaps my zombie phobia is really about the crowd mentality, the fear of one's own ability to think independently and break away from the frenzy that we can whip each other into while traveling down a dangerous road of misinformation. The way that we can create a monster that craves the horde's attention and approval so much he'd lie about his son being swept away in a balloon or the way the hoard can be convinced that standing idly by while a 15 year old gets gang raped at a school dance, are the real life horrors that stalk us daily. The inability for us to trust the information that is available to us and the value of our own judgment is dangerous. While we find strength in the hoard it's also where we loose ourselves and let our consciousness and autonomy die a little.

Or perhaps I am just afraid of inevitable death.













Photo stolen from Tim Stotz and the upcoming movie "Kept" by Travis Legge who also did "Jimmy's Basement" available November 2009.

Oct 26, 2009

Blonds vs Brunettes at Dairy Ashford Roller Rink

We played two 20 minute periods last night with everyone split into two teams. The rookies all made it out mostly unscathed. I jammed twice and it turned into 3 times on accident as I ended up in penalty in the second period and had to skate back into the next jam when penalty was over. This was when I was pretty sure I was going to die from exhaustion and when I didn't I considered it a win on the side of improved endurance. The pink team (my team) won and after we all went over to Big John's where I had a bowl of green beans and a beer. I am addicted to these green beans, for serious. They are garden fresh and drowned in butter with sprinkles of garlic, salt, and rainbow - unicorn - happiness.





















Yes, I am wearing my Diva shirt, it was ok, it the right color pink for the team and it had my name and number already on it (I represented a little. Holla - Viva la Divas!)


Oct 25, 2009

Tonight

This is what I'll be doing tonight. It'll be blonds vs brunettes aka pink vs black. I am on the pink/blond team tonight. Send us some good juju so that we all play hard and all (both teams) make it out in one piece. There will be a bake sale and hopefully we'll pack the house and make gobs of money for our travel team to get to Nationals. (I'll call you after wards and let you know I'm ok mom.)

Oct 23, 2009

Courage when your heart is out and running around the neighborhood

When Ella was first learning how to eat grown up food she once choked on a piece of watermelon and I had to grab her up out of the highchair and flip her over and smack her on the back. The piece of watermelon came flying out of her mouth and she laughed. I was so mad at her for laughing. I was genuinely scared that she would turn blue. For months after I had to make the effort to have strength when she ate. Sometimes she'd gag a little and have to re-chew whatever it was I had given her. I'd have to resist the urge to flip her over and smack her on the back again so that she could figure it out on her own while I just stood by in case of emergency. This was an excruciating exercise in parental courage.

I practiced this courage again while watching her learn to swing, climb a ladder, go down a slide, and swim. Each time it got a little easier to bare. This week it's all fresh worry again, just like that first time I thought she was in danger of being killed by a bite of watermelon. Ella just wants to play with her pals.

They knocked and said "Can Ella come over to play?" She's gone out the door, to her friend's house for an hour. The three girls walk two buildings down on their own. I feel immediate panic. I think "Why didn't I make them play here?" I think about the million reasons I should walk down there, knock on the door and see if she's ok. I pace. My stomach hurts with worry. I repeat the words "Courage Mom" to myself. I stand at my window and watch for her running up the sidewalk towards home knowing she isn't due back for another twenty-five minutes.

I recognize this feeling and think about all the times I'll do this. When she rides her bike to the library, when she takes drivers ed, when she goes to college, when she moves out and so on. Every risk she takes will make me pace and whisper the words "Courage Mom" to myself. I clean a little and distractedly check my e-mail again when I hear the door open behind me. Ella comes in smelling like wind and kid sweat I give her the tightest hug. She says she had fun but is glad to be home and she'd like a snack. I say "Good." but I dare not say anymore as I happily get her a bowl of corn chips.



Oct 20, 2009

Fall Goodness

Last Thursday was Ella's school music program, it was absolutely adorable (video to come.) Then on Sat. we went with pals to the Renaissance Fair for Fairy Day and total fun. Sunday and Monday roller derby and Tuesday and Wednesday too (yay!) Ella's made some friends in the neighborhood and today ran outside after school yelling over her shoulder "I'm going out to play!" We are looking forward to picture day, Cirque de something-or-other in the park for free on Friday, the balloon rally at NASA on Saturday, a derby bout on Sunday (yes, I'm skating,) then next week Halloween, and the air show. I'm hoping to add in there finishing this painting, blogging, pumpkins, a field trip to the bayou, a resale shop trade and a few trips to the library or half priced books. Now you are all caught up on what is good. (Hi Mom! - Love you.)



Oct 15, 2009

36

Pop Tart in the car

After my third attempt to rouse sleepy kid for school

"I'm up already! It's just my eye is watery and my body is heavy Mom!"

Oct 13, 2009

Late night thoeries & glimpses of a kid's day

"Do you know what it was like a long time ago, before the future? This was a dinosaur planet, but they don't exist anymore, only toy dinosaurs exist now."

***

After talking about Picasso's Blue Period "I understand, you know I think am in a pink period!"

***

"Aiden kept looking at my bracelet like he was going to eat it, then he chased me."

Oct 11, 2009

Sunday Tea

After taking a sip of her father's cup of honey laden tea:

"That wasn't soo bad, and the caffeine didn't make me jump off any walls - phew"

Oct 7, 2009

Breaking News in Australia

Sometimes I have to click on the BBC news to see what's happening in the world without being subjected to dancing with the stars or David Letterman's crotch. It turns out there is a fair amount of good news in Africa, tense news in Asia, boring news in Europe and Sad news in South America.

Australia's top story is this: Australian fans face booze limit. Australian police are gearing up for an annual crackdown on motor-racing fans - limiting race-goers to 24 cans of beer a day.

I say, if that is your top story Australia, I want to live there.












"...The "one-slab" limit was first imposed in 2007, with police insisting drunken hooligans were tarnishing the reputation of the race and causing disruption in town..."



Oct 6, 2009

How to Smooth Frizzy Locks Part II

You go to the hair cuttery across the street from my apartment because they advertise $5.00 hair cuts, then you let the nice Korean lady yell at you for 10 minutes about how if only you'd use the leave in cream rinse you'd have "good hair" while she snips an inch further than you asked just like you suspected, validating your suspicions that you should always say you'd like it longer than you'd actually like it. Then you buy the expensive salon leave in cream rinse that you'll likely use when trying to comb your kids hair after the pool and use on your own head should you remember and on a the rare occasion when you are leaving the apartment but not planning to wear a roller derby helmet. Then you smile and leave a tip.




Oct 5, 2009

She Took a Wrong Turn at Albuquerque or in the Hallway

Me: How was school?

Ella: Good, I didn't even get mixed into the wrong line today.

Me: That happened to you?

Ella: No, not today.

Me: When did that happen?

Ella: I think it was October or Wednesday.

Me: How did it happen?

Ella: I was in line in the hallway, then I stopped and did a u-turn on accident and then I wasn't in my classroom, so I peeked out the door and saw J. and found the right classroom. It made me a little upset.

Oct 3, 2009

New Link

Guess what kiddo and I worked on today at her request. Ok, don't guess, I'll just show you:

Sep 29, 2009

Whip It

I saw the movie Whip It tonight at a sneak screening. It was sooo secret, I went out to get a pop and then almost got lost because the theater we were in said "Jennifer's Body" on the outside and then I wasn't sure where I was going until I listened for the theater filled with 30 or so raucous derby girls in pink and black fishnets. After the movie people and the local stations gave away tons of movie merchandise and we talked about Houston Roller Derby to the audience we all settled in to watch what I found to be a very cute movie. I would not hesitate to bring my kid to this movie (some language, a little derby violence and a few make out scenes - meh, nothing she hasn't already seen in real life.)

Two things stuck out to me after this movie was over. #1 I miss my Dad, he always came to every roller derby bout and cheered as loud as Dan did and I'll miss that here. #2 There's a short scene where the main character (being in TX) sings "The stars at night, are big and bright..." and the ENTIRE audience around me clapped. Four times. No shit. Then the character sings "...Deep in the heart of Texas." And then nobody giggled about it - just me - but only on the inside, cause I didn't feel like getting my ass kicked at the theater tonight.

So what do I recommend? If your a derby fan go see it. If you have a daughter go see it and take her with. If you liked Ellen Page in Juno go rent Hard Candy (still her best movie) then go see Whip It. Need a light hearted movie on a Saturday afternoon - go see it. Wanna see Jackie Daniels from the Grand Raggidy Roller Girls kick some butt - go see it.

Whip It
opens Friday, October 2nd.

Sep 28, 2009

Imaginary

A list of seven things I like

1. Houston
2. A new pen
3. A tablespoon of instant coffee stirred into a glass of ice water
4. Tiger balm
5. Clothes pins
6. Palm trees
7. Dan Bull's quote: "When you’re between the devil and the deep blue sea, you need to stop worrying about pirates, and adjust your sails"

Sep 27, 2009

What's new with us

I've had derby practice 5 out of the last 7 days and it was glorious, though I am glad to let the muscles and blisters heal up and just watch my team on the internet play at regionals the past two days. Tuesday I'll get to go to the advanced screening of Whip It and Wednesday back to practice again. I also have this to say about housewifing - living in an apartment is amazing in that it takes me 10 minutes to vacuum the entire place front to back and another 5 to sweep and dust and I'm done, if we ever buy a house again it'll be small for sure.

Ella is loving school, and making lots of friends. She's doing great because she likes rules and is happy when everyone is following the directions. Since it's cooling off outside and only in the 80s and 90s we can do something more than sitting in the pool, she dons the little pink helmet and scooters around on the sidewalk like crazy. Also blanket forts have made a heavy comeback and have me wondering why exactly we moved forty boxes of toys when a blanket would do.

Dan has found his people at a local game store called Little Wars and our closet has exploded out into the bedroom with miniatures and paints. Work is still good, though the economy suffers here too, it's still a thousand times better than it was in IL. Do you believe people in TX still threaten to quit when they don't get their way?! It amazes us too. We celebrated our 13th anniversary last week by doing nothing. We were going to go out last night and opted for drinking Miller high Life, watching HRD play regionals on TV with a team mate and later ordering Chinese (thank you Dan - best 13th anniversary present ever!)

Also, it's not autumn here, it's mosquito season. I miss the crisp air and crunchy leaves, but in a few months I'll have a little bit of crisp air and nothing to shovel off my sidewalk so I think I'll get over it.

Sep 25, 2009

Crazy Optimist

I would just like one company to not try to wiggle out of what they promised today. Perhaps the skate company can send me the right bearings, the car company can find the part they ordered, the guaranteed ten day flowers won't wilt on day three, the realtor will post interior pictures of the house, the school will send home notes in English (not Spanish), the bag of apples won't have a rotten one in it, the ants will stop coming in the front door and the insurance company employees will find their soul.

I just don't understand how soo many people can get up in the morning, drink a coffee, drive to work and walk through the door to get paid for un-helping people? And when I say un-helping I don't mean just not helping them, it actually goes beyond that, because you think you are getting helped and so you don't make a back up arrangement, you actually count on a person/company to do what they said they would, you get lulled into believing that you can cross a thing off the list and relax and then Kablammo! I refuse to believe that I have the uncanny ability to pick the one agent, the one representative, the one company where the boss said

"You know what? That Integrity thing... too much overhead. We're cutting that today. Instead do everything to avoid delivering any sort of product to customers and we're going to see how that works out. Oh, and the automated circular customer service line is now open from 1:07 to 1:42 Australian Eastern Daylight Time."

If I could find a company that delivered what it actually promised they'd have me. I'd shop there forever, I'd blog about them, I'd recommend them, I'd invite them over for Sunday dinner.

Signed,
Loyal Consumer on Strike

Sep 18, 2009

Yeah! What they said!

Excellent post from Margaret & Helen you should read HERE.

"...The biggest problem facing America today isn’t the war, the economy, healthcare or even racism. The biggest threat to America is the lack of news coverage in our newscasts. Honestly I don’t give a damn what LaToya Jackson thinks, what Paris Hilton ate, what Hillary Clinton is wearing or who Brad Pitt is dating. And I especially don’t give a rat’s ass what 78,000 peckerwoods with too much time on their hands think about something as complicated as Universal Healthcare..."

And in case you aren't already rilled up this Friday you can go read about how insurance companies think a c-section is a pre-existing condition HERE. Some of the comments are great.

"misscoleopteramolly says: Lemme get this straight. When insurance companies won’t pay for childbirth, abortion, or contraceptives, what’s a person to do?

Oh. Right. Don’t have sex at all. Not even if you’re married. Because having sex is a “choice” — isn’t it?

So why do insurance companies pay for Viagra?"

Sep 17, 2009

The Note

Dear Teacher,

Please excuse kiddo from being tardy. It's not her fault. The Houston Roller Derby announced team drafts last night and I made the Bayou City Bosse$. Then I had beer with my new skatey mates and went to bed without setting the alarm.

Thank you,
Bombadee #00

Sep 16, 2009

Hard

Remember the scene in Conan the Barbarian where Conan is turning the big wooden spindled thing. What the heck - was it a well they were digging? A mill? Maybe it was just a torture device, anyway it's what makes him into Conan The Barbarian and then he's muscle-y and can't be beat. Well, Houston Roller Derby is kicking my ass like that and when I am on the 73rd pushup and my arms are threatening to go on strike and send my nose straight into the floor, I think of this scene and how I will be able to lop off Jame Earl Jones' head with one swipe at the end of these next few months of practices. I'll be loosing weight on two fronts; through the sweat valve that turns on by simply moving while in Texas and my inability to lift a fork to my mouth after practice. I'd like to post a before and after picture but I can't lift a camera. Also, I think HRD doesn't stand for Houston Roller Derby - it's just meant to be pronounced "hard."

(I looked it up - it's called "the wheel of pain" fitting with it's counter clockwise motion.)

Sep 14, 2009

Top 40

When I moved to Houston I spun the radio dial (another phrase that won't make sense to my kid) until I found 10 stations to program into my car and one station I could listen to in the morning with traffic, weather and a couple of playful hosts. I wake up to 95.7 and the hilarity that ensues with segments like "Whatcha Doin' at the Courthouse?" where somebody tries to justify running over a cop or insists they don't "fit the perscription" of the perpitrator and this morning I heard the gameshow "Are you smarter than a drunk girl? " I like Sarah and Booker, they're funny. Here's what I don't like and maybe this is how these whipersnappers do it these days and I'm just old, but they play the same 10 songs every morning. I keep changing the channel hoping to find a different morning show but dangit if I don't keep comming back. I just need to figure out how to fast forward or totaly skip those 10 songs.

Black Eyed Peas "I Gotta Feeling", Cobra Starship "Good Girls Gone Bad", Keri Hilson "Knock You Down", Lady Gaga "Love Game", Pitbull "I Know You Want Me", Sean Kingston "Fire Burning", Kate Perry "Waking Up in Vegas", Jordin Sparks "Battlefield", Drake "Best I Ever Had", 30H!3 "Don't Trust Me"

You can hear these half way down the page at www.hothits957.com - it's the red box on the right. I know them all by heart now. Not because I like any of them, I mean I might like them, but it doesn't even matter because they keep playing and playing and playing them and I think even if I could've liked one of them, now it's bruned into my ear drum and I don't ever need to hear it again. I did get a kick out of "I'm in Miami Trick" and here they play "I'm in H-Town Trick" it has just the right amount of ridiculous and screwy dance track and I get the feeling the musicians don't take themselves too seriously, with the name LMFAO, how can they? Then it was nearly ruined for me when I accidentaly flipped the television past the Kardashian channel and heard the song used in one of their shows. Still despite the masogony and it's use in the Kardashian mess - I still listend to this song three times while typing this blog post. (I know! What is wrong with me!?)

Sep 10, 2009

SEPTEMBER SALE!

Somebody buy my lovely house. It's 6,000 square feet of light filled space in a friendly little farm town in a fabulous school district. Too many adjectives? Selling it too hard? Too bad, it's all true and I need to sell it. Let me also add, it could be easily turned into a commercial property (it was once before.) In fact we just lowered the price, it's only $69,500.00. Call Jesse at Dickerson Neiman about this listing! And let me lay this on ya - if you got a 30 year mortgage (nothing down is what I calculated) it'd only be $403.00 a month. I don't think you can even rent an apartment for that cheap anywhere.






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Sep 8, 2009

Five Good Things

Last week I tried out for the Houston Roller Derby and got drafted! This is exciting for me as you can imagine. It'll be nice to have like minded women in my life and I look forward to being able to slam into them at full speed.

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Over the weekend I got a lot of notes from family and friends about the previous post. Thank you.

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I'm doing some web comics for Zombie Logic Press, go visit.

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Sep 4, 2009

I Miscarried

You read it right. Twice in the last year. I didn't write about it because it's more than I want to put out there and really what was I going to say that would've been new? I think I had all the normal feelings of loss and sadness and all that - so I didn't mention it. But I write about it today because I'm finally off the old insurance and need to tell you about what they did to me.

Let me start by saying I appealed everything and as it stands right now I believe they are going to be paying, so I may be running a risk of screwing that up by writing but I am tired of hearing people say they aren't sure about health care reform.

In June we moved. At the end of June I was feeling dizzy all the time and decided to pee on the stick and see. We'd been trying to conceive up until Dan lost his job in May and we knew we'd have to take the COBRA insurnace, so we weren't aiming for getting pregnant especially in the middle of the adjusting to a new job, packing up the house, moving three states away, and unpacking. But of course it seems this sort of thing always happens when you relax and aren't thinking about it. We were delighted to find out I was. I should explain, I lost a pregnancy last November (at 11 weeks) and I'm 36years old, so I knew I would be labeled as "high risk" and knew I needed to see a doctor right away. I called my insurance to find out what to do, they said I was not covered in another state unless it was an emergency and I could go to the emergency room if I felt it necessary.

Dan and I carefully weighed what to do. If I had a condition that wasn't covered by insurance when I went on the new insurance, it could be considered a pre-existing condition, and may not be covered. We decided I couldn't wait another day and the best thing would be to see an OB, one that would be on the new insurance, just pay for the first visit out of pocket. I would be spending a week in Illinois in August anyway and could see my regular Illinois OB while there and get all the necessary ultrasounds and expensive stuff while I was there dealing with the house (we haven't sold yet) and the insurance would be happy I was in network. Then I'd be back in TX when the new insurance kicked in, for the next round of appointments. I got on the phone and made all the necessary appointments in both states.

After that first out of pocket visit was when the complications started. Abdominal pain (I'd rather spare you the details) and some unsatisfactory labs. My OB decided to get me on a prescription and monitor closely. During this time we tried get the insurance company to cover the appointments since the situation had changed. Again they said they would not cover anything in TX and I'd need to again pay out of pocket for all the additional labs and ultra sounds. The insurance company said it wasn't an emergency enough to pay because I wasn't going to the emergency room. I couldn't bare the thought of sitting in a large city's emergency room with a rambunctious 5 year old trying to get very detailed and careful ongoing care over the next three weeks, out of the doctor who happened to be on call. Instead, I continued to see the OB, I was sure it was where I was going to get the care I needed.

The week after, I went in to my TX OB for an ultra sound -no heartbeat. At this point, she ordered a DNC (they remove the contents of the uterus) and run several follow up tests on the tissue to try and figure out why. We scheduled the DNC and all the follow ups. The billing department called for the pre-approval, the insurance company denied it and said if I was having an emergency I should go to the emergency room and they would cover that. I asked my OB if I went to the emergency room what would happen, she said they'd send me home to wait it out. My body would expel the cells on it's own, sometime in the next month. Or if I was having severe pain they'd do a DNC and send me home. I asked - what about the follow up tests? She shook her head. I asked who would do the surgery she said the doctor on call.

I spent frantic hours on the phone with the insurance company fighting about it. One insurance operator said they would cover the proceedure with my OB, the next operator on the phone with the OB said they wouldn't, I would have to go to the emergency room. It was like treating the heart attack but not allowing the heart surgeon to do the surgery and asking for the emergency room doc instead, then throwing the EKG results in the trash all because a person is out of network. The OB's office gave up and said they couldn't schedule anything unless they received payment up front ($1,200.00 at the minimum just to reserve the operating room) or a pre-approval from the insurance.

I considered just staying home and waiting it out. Pictured myself home with Ella, while Dan was at work and nobody to call to come watch her. I pictured, emergency situations and an ambulance. I pictured paying for the operating room out of pocket. I imagined not knowing why it all happened and attempting this all again because I didn't know about some thing the follow up test would reveal. I was hysterical for two days wondering what to do and I called my OB in Illinois to see if she could order the tissue sent from the emergency room to her office in Illinois for follow up tests and at that time I talked long with my dear nurse practitoner. Then I called the insurance back and asked them some very specific questions. It became clear, if I was in Illinois, like I was last fall with the last miscarriage, the insurance would cover everything 100%.

Dan packed me, the kid and the dog into the car and drove me to my mother's that night. We left Thursday night at 5pm after work and arrived in IL at 22 hours later at 2pm on Friday. My doctor in IL rearranged her vacation and saw me at 2:15pm that day and scheduled my procedure for 6:00pm that evening. The insurance company wouldn't approve it because it wasn't at the correct surgical location. Both me and my doctor would have to wait until the approved surgical location was available on Monday. We waited, and on Monday it was all covered 100%.

Now let me put this in perspective, I miscarried and the insurance company made me drive 22 hours, 1500 miles to be in-network and then made me wait three days before they would cover anything.

I'm sure they would insist they would've covered any life threatening situation and this was not. They would be right, this wasn't an instance where I was going to die in that moment, it was an instance where somebody else was dying over a period of two weeks and they made me drive across three states before they'd pay. Again, in fairness, I've turned in all the old bills under an appeal, and the agent on the other end of the phone said she'd recode them as an emergency and it'd be likely they'd pay because of the outcome. But I can't help but think about if I hadn't lost the pregnancy. What then? - Crisis averted and the insurance doesn't pay a dime? I'd have piled up a hefty collection of ultrasounds and labs by now. I'd owe thousands.

So bloggies, I write this for several reasons, if you didn't see much of me when I was in IL, now you know why - I wasn't feeling well. If you missed me writing here and have wondered what was up, now you know why - I didn't know what to say, and most importantly GET BEHIND THIS HEALTH CARE REFORM! This quagmire of red tape, paper work and pre-approvals is effecting the care we get. The insurance company is dictating my health based on how somebody codes something. It's ridiculousness. If your argument is that you want the government to stay out of it so you can continue to make your own health care choices - I say to you WAKE UP! We aren't making our own health care choices and neither are our doctors. The insurance companies are.




Follow up: I'm fine. Still disappointed, but expected. The tests all came back normal and we'll be clear for take off next month. It's likely you'll not hear much more about it unless there is good news to share.

Sep 2, 2009

today

It is impossible to be in a bad mood when the sun is out and there is mambo on the radio.

Sep 1, 2009

How to Smooth Frizzy Locks

I don't want to. I'm sick of hearing that I should - so piss off hair product industry. My hair is curly, and in Texas, even curlier. There is no way I'm going to spend any amount of time with a flat iron, blow dryer or any other type of smelly, fiddly product when it's likely that I will step out into the actual fresh air today and play with my kid.

In fact most sauna-like days it's going to be pulled into a bun or a braid and then all the little frizzles and ringlets will get free and be who they wanna be in all their spinny, swirly glory. Or my hair will be soaking wet because I'm at the pool or it's raining at wich time it will be getting ready to curl up. I also like my grey hairs, it took me a long time to earn them, and I plan to keep them.













Also see Chris Rock's new movie "Good Hair"

Aug 31, 2009

Aug 28, 2009

Fluorescent Bunny Alert

There was a point in my life when I was sure that everything had been done. Every story told, ever painting painted and everything after was just a variation of something else. I suppose we could still boil it all down to woman vs nature, herself etc... but I'm getting off subject. I thought this for a long time and sometimes I would get on the internet and type in "show me something new" or "original thoughts" it took years before I stumbled on Alba the work of Eduardo Kac. Seeing him shook me. Clearly I was mistaken and ever after when I see something truly new I think of it as a fluorescent bunny moment.

This morning, the main stream media showed me a story about a lady who does sand animation. I'm not sure what makes me more happy; seeing something new, or having proof that people en mass can and will appreciate art that doesn't involve boobs and explosions, or seeing the main stream media cover it. If you haven't watched it yet, here is Kseniya Simonova, a 24 year old sand animator who just won top prize in Ukrain's Got Talent, doing sand animation portraying life during WWII.

Aug 25, 2009

First Day of School

For the first time in five and a half years I am alone for seven hours. So far I've accomplished everything on my list. It's only 9:41am.

Aug 20, 2009

Someone Invent This

I'm tired of having the correct paperwork and documentation to sign up for life. Can't I just put it all on a flash drive and then bring that with me everywhere I go? The doctor, the school, the police, and whomever else that wants to update my information can do that and then I'll just wear it around my neck like a locket with pictures of my loved ones on the inside as well as all the pertinant information I need to fill a perscription or apply for fall classes. Then every month I'll update to some cloud floating around the internet just in case I loose my locket in the ocean.

Aug 19, 2009

Quick update and a link

So much is going on and amidst it all Ella, the dog and I just drove 1200 miles in the rain back home to TX. I'm signing Ella up for Kindergarten this week and that just needs to be all it's own post but today I need to tell you that I started another blog. It's called Clear Lake Newbie and I'm writing it for the Houston Chronicle. It's just going to be about what it's like to move to Houston (Clear Lake Area to be exact) and you can find it here http://www.ultimateclearlake.com/ page on down a little ways and you'll see my picture - I have the long hair going on there. So I hope to get that updated once a week as well as posting here every day again and since Ella is starting school I'll have the time to fill.

Aug 12, 2009

Boosters

The crazy fun happening on vacation ends today as I bring Ella in to see her Illinois doctor and get her school shots. The insurance won't cover school shots in Texas so this was on the agenda from way back. Apparently our health is only important if we are dying. Preventative medicine, like vaccinations, though much cheaper than an emergency room visit, isn't important. That's the problem with letting insurance companies decide what kind of care we deserve. It always irks me when people throw out there that politicians will be making the decisions instead of doctors, if we pass reform. My doctor hasn't been able to make a decision about my health based on what's best for me in years - she has to call the insurance company and get whatever it is I need pre-certified, then we all hope that every secretary and medical coder crossed every T and checked every box so as not to give the insurance company any reason to deny payment.

Years ago I had my appendix out and because the surgeon was very good and they let me go home the next day the insurance company decided it was an out-patient procedure and therefore anesthetic wasn't necessary and I received the bill for $4,000.00. It's nuts. I have more to say about this and oh boy is it a good story, but I have to be on my current insurance through the end of August. I'd rather not bite the hand that may still need to slap me around for the next few weeks, but on September 1st Blue Cross Blue Shield of IL better look out. And for now I will just say let's pass reform now!

Aug 4, 2009

I'm still breathing

I'm just breathing the air in Illinois again. Over the weekend Dan and I drove nonstop 19 hours back to Illinois (another story for another day.) We will be here for a couple of weeks tying up loose ends and closing bank accounts, stuff like that. Then back to Texas to start school. So far we have almost every day filled with relatives and activities. Poor kiddo has to get her shots for school while we're here. We'll be going to the Riverhawks tonight with some pals. I've got the dog with me and since it's the Dog Days of Summer at the baseball game we can bring her with us. I'll update after and let you know how crazy I am for attempting a baseball game with a five year old and a dog. Hopefully I can get my camera figured out and post pics.

Jul 26, 2009

Saturday

We drove around Galveston Bay and just after sunset we took the Bolivar ferry home. It was too late to see any dolphins. One helpful little boy told us you have to come down in the morning and look port side as he saw five of them surfing off the ferry wake just that morning.



Jul 25, 2009

What's new in Bugland

Very late last night a two inch cockroach tried to chew my butt off. Ok, maybe that's not the way it went down but it nearly happened. I was peeing and I grabbed for the toilet paper and as I unrolled it with a wizz a giant cockroach came flinging out and hit my leg at which time if I hadn't just peed I would've peed. It scurried under the step stool and sat there mocking me. I woke Dan up and he got the can of bug killer light and sprayed the thing. It accepted the cocktail happily and asked for another by running at Dan who promptly squished it while I jumped on top of the couch and screamed. Once it was flushed I immediately got online to read everything I could about them. The first thing I googled was "If I saw one roach are there more?" to which the overwhelming answer is "yes" although one reassuring bug expert said that if I saw just one big one - it likely came in from nature, but if I see babies then I'm in trouble.

We are the very first people to live in this apartment, it's brand new and I don't think they install roaches in the bathrooms of brand new buildings, and there's the whole obsession I have with crumbs these days due to the fire ant episode. I carry a handi-vac in my back pocket ready to quick draw the moment a crumb falls from a lip in the vicinity of the apartment. While I double cleaned every crumb from every counter last night, I opened cupboards like I was going to a surprise party for bugs, looking to see if there was any scurrying in dark places with food. I saw none. After I scoured every counter and closed every drain (thanks for the advice DD) I finally went to bed. So, now I will now walk around suspect of every neighbor in the building wondering who may have carried them in. Dan called the office this morning and the exterminator is going to drown my apartment in more poison on Monday. Yay!