Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy! New! Year!

Last week Greg and I drove up to Gainesville GA to spend Christmas with my Mom. We stayed at the guest room in her retirement home, and we had a really good time. We took her out to IHOP and had breakfast for dinner (it's practically a tradition with us now), and we opened Christmas presents (I made Mom a calendar from old photos I scanned) and watched the Game Show Network, and had a lot of fun.

Also! I have had the worst year of my life in the past 12 months, it all started last December 18 when my Dad died. Literally every single month following that terrible day, something awful happened; terrible injuries, serious illnesses, a job loss, debt, another death, it just went on and on. I got so stressed out and freaked out that I wasn't able to sleep and I would sit in the dark, alone on the couch in the living room, and just cry. I really was losing hope that anything would ever be okay again, and I absolutely knew that I didn't have any strength left to keep going.

But nothing bad has happened now for a couple of months, and at least some of the bad things that happened before are starting to look better, so I am hopeful again. And I've decided to stop worrying (or at least cut down significantly on the worrying) that something other bad thing will happen, and just be happy NOW.

Statistically speaking, it seems logical that having so many tragedies happen during the past year or so means that I should be tragedy-free for at least the next few years, right?

Okay then! :o) Yay 2009!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

December 18, 2007

Today it's been one year since my Dad passed away.

This is the first time in my life that I've lost someone really close to me. At first it was just overwhelming, then it kind of settled into a depressed hopeless sadness. My Dad was so many different things to me, it kept hitting me all over again: the guy who took me up into the mountains to chop down a Christmas tree is gone, the guy who always brought back Gobstopper candies and Archie comic books back from business trips is gone, the guy who drove me to all my orthodontist appointments is gone, the guy who always had my college graduation photo on his desk is gone.

For the first few months, any mention of someone's Dad dying on tv or in a movie would make me cry. Then it turned into only hitting me every now and then, at weird times. Once a few months ago I was watching something on tv and a woman getting married went and hugged her elderly father, he reminded me of my dad and for one split second I thought I miss him, I think I'll go call him...

My brother and sister-in-law are going to take my Mom out for dinner tonight, since today will be an extra hard day for her. I know every day is hard for her, but she is doing okay. I can't wait to see her, this time next week I will be in GA visiting her for Christmas.

I remember thinking that last year about Dad.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Everybody go watch The Hammer!

I have never done anything like this before, but recently I mailed a DVD cover (of his movie, The Hammer) to Adam Carolla to see if I could get him to sign it for me. And he did! Look:

Neato. I started wondering about contacting other famous people. If I picked a dozen or so famous people and wrote to them, how many would write back? I think it would be an interesting experiment to try a few and see what happens. Sending an email or a letter is pretty quick and easy, and if I hear back, how exciting would that be?

So I'm going to give it a shot. I made a list of celebrities that I like, and I'm going to write them quick notes to let them know. If any of these people wrote back, I'd be pretty thrilled.

People who I'm sure there is no chance at all that I'll get an answer from, but what the hell:
JK Rowling (ha!)
Adam Ant
Dana White
David Bowie
Ellen Degeneres

People who I think I might have at least a slight possibility at hearing back from:
Andrew Vachss
Jennifer Crusie
Fannie Flagg
Forrest Griffin
Augusten Burroughs
Neil Gaiman
Penn Gillette
Judy Blume

I am all UFC-oriented right now, having just re-watched the first season of The Ultimate Fighter (I love Forrest Griffin's fight with Stephan Bonner in the finale) and remembered how much I appreciate Forrest Griffin's weird sense of humor. And I have plenty of opinions about the UFC and what Dana White is doing wrong (don't get me started on how I feel about them having bikini models as ring-girls but not letting great female fighters like Gina Carano compete). So I'm going to start with Forrest Griffin and Dana White.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I have decided to try to trace my family tree. I got a cool program that lets me keep track of all my family members, and it is shocking me by forcing me to realize how little I know about my family -- even the ones who are still here. I am having so much trouble remembering distant cousin's kids names. I guess it shouldn't be too surprising, but somehow it seems like family information should be hard-wired into my brain.

I have been able to trace my father's mother's family back to the 1700's, and funnily enough, they were all right there in the same part of southwestern Virginia that I grew up in. My dad's father's family came from Scotland, and I'm having way more trouble finding out anything about them. Anybody got any tips for researching stuff like this without spending any money?

I went up to Gainesville GA to visit Mom over Labor Day weekend, and while I was there she got the news that her brother had passed away. He was 90, had retired from the Navy and was living in a VA nursing home in Washington DC. He had been sick for a while. Poor Mom, she is having a pretty hard time. She has an older brother, who lives in a retirement home in Los Angeles, CA after retiring from being a German professor at UCLA, and a younger brother who lives with his wife in New Hampshire. They are all getting old, and it's often depressing. They speak on the phone often, and send pictures in Christmas cards, but it's been decades since they all were together.

I have been trying very hard to be cheerful lately after moping around and grieving the first half of the year, but crappy stuff keeps happening. I'm okay, though. I am finding it kind of comforting to catalogue my family, and I think Mom is getting kind of a kick out of me constantly asking for people's birthdays and middle names and stuff.

We did have a good visit, other than her brother's death (and I am glad I was there with her when she heard). We got her two new bras at JC Penny's, which was very exciting I can tell you, and we had shrimp cocktails at Red Lobster, and we went for walks around her building, and we watched Deal or No Deal, and we went through some old photos, and ate breakfast for dinner at IHOP. It was fun. I like my Mom.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The "N" Word

Recently I came across a site, ostensibly about a mathematician, which turned out to have a hidden link on the main page. The hidden link went to a pile of images of various and sundry nekkid chicks, celebrities with their boobies or vajayjays falling out of their clothing, etc.

Then I saw the folder with a suspicious title and my uh-oh meter went off. Despite my better judgment, I looked, and the folder contained a hundred or so images. The half-dozen or so that I looked at all showed naked children. Not doing anything sexual, most were girls (who looked to be around 7 or 8) posing naked. Some with makeup on.

There was also a text file explaining why it was safe to look at these pictures, since they were legal and not child pornography. Maybe that's true, but I challenge anyone who is not a pedophile to look at those pictures without their skin crawling off.

As it turns out, it is kind of difficult to report inappropriate content. After some searching I ended up filling out a form on the Center for Missing and Exploited Children site (which the FBI site sent me to), but I never heard anything back, so I'm not sure if anything was actually done.

Although, if it's not technically "child pornography", is there anything to be done? The Center for Missing and Exploited Children site says that, "Under federal law, child pornography is defined as a visual depiction... of sexually explicit conduct, where it depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene... and such depiction lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."

Artistic value? My favorite photographer, Sally Mann (link), has taken beautiful black and white photos of her children, which do literally have proven artistic value (her photos sell for thousands, hang in museums, etc). However, in some of the pictures she took her children were naked, and she did get into a bit of trouble for it (link).

So, if some people can get all offended by Sally Mann's art, and obviously some people think the photos I found are just fine and dandy, then where is the line to be drawn, and who is to draw it? When it comes down to it, both Sally Mann's pictures and these creepy pictures are the same thing: deliberate, posed photographs of naked children.

I guess the difference is in the eye of the beholder. As foul as it seems to me, I'm sure there are some people who look at Sally Mann's art and see a naked child; and to them, that means sexual arousal. I suppose it might be less likely to happen with her art rather than with pictures specifically taken for masturbatory purposes, but ultimately, does it make a difference?

I question the wisdom of a legal system that says that pictures of naked children (that don't show overt sexual activity) are always legal, but I don't see how there is any way to make Sally Mann's beautiful artwork legal and this creepy weirdo's photos illegal, regardless of how obvious it is to me that Sally Mann's photos are art, and vital, and the weirdo was trying to sexualize a child.

Maybe I should be all like: It's not my kid so what do I care. Or, alternatively, get an "I heart PMS" button for my camo vest and take my machine gun out for a nice, juicy, pedophile-killin' spree (if you wear camo, they will not be able to see you sneaking up on them in their van parked across the street from the pre-school).

Obviously, I am aware that there are lots of ugly things on the internet, but I didn't expect to find this kind of thing hidden on a normal-looking website.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Look who managed to climb in between the window and the screen:

I guess we should pop the screen back in place, but even though there is just the tiniest sliver of space there, a lot of lizards and froggies seem to enjoy hanging out on the inside of the screen.

And our kitty enjoys it, too... Although, it is ultimately kind of frustrating for her. :)

Friday, July 25, 2008


What is wrong with Ellen today?

♥ Vaguely headachy, as though years of fluorescent lights and cubicle sitting are slowly nibbling away at my brain flap
♥ Lips remain slightly chappy, in spite of obsessive application of Burt’s Bees Honey Lip Balm
♥ Worried pointlessly about scary economy
♥ Co-worker just said we are soon upgrading our software to the new “four dot two” version, and no one but me seems appalled
♥ Will not be able to snuggle with husband/kitty/glass of Pinot Grigio for 6 more hours
♥ Co-worker went out to lunch and enjoyed a “pa-ninny”
♥ Worried about busy hurricane season
♥ Low-grade, constant resentment about stupid company’s no-iPod rule. Wish to listen to Adam Carolla rants, or Timbaland, or anything other than allergy-ridden co-worker’s continual sniffing
♥ Small zit in left eyebrow
♥ Co-worker wondered aloud about correct spelling of “similar” and ultimately settled on “simular”. Ironically, this is in Outlook, which has spell-check
♥ Sneezed three times so far, possible impending allergy attack, have decided to go ahead and worry about that, too
♥ Have consumed only 525 calories of granola bar/yogurt/tuna edibleness, when clearly Krispy Kreme doughnuts and quarter pounder cheeseburgers would make my body far happier. Haven’t I trained my digestive system to love sugar and grease?

What is right with Ellen today?

♥ It’s FRIDAY!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


You know who I hate? People who don’t appreciate how hilarious I am. One of the things I do at work is talk on the phone to the reservation agents in our call centers (one here in Orlando and one in Milwaukee). I am extremely funny, and it is just tragic how some of the people I speak to seem to be unaware of it.

Recent conversation, after I updated an agent’s schedule for them to make up some missed time:
Agent = It looks like, in my schedule, I have a thing that says make up time. What is that for?
Me = Sensors in the computer have decided that you are not currently wearing enough make up, and automatically scheduled you to put more on.
Agent = (long silence…) Really?
Me = No, not really. You got in late today, the make up icon at the end of your shift is for you to make up the time that you missed this morning.
Agent = Oh! (still confused) Um… okay.

You know what I don’t have ANY sense of humor about? Agents who call to ask me if they can hang up their phone because they have diarrhea. Lord, yes, please do hang up, and never give me that much detail again. Or agents who ask me for a long lunch so they can go home and change clothes, after having had a menstrual accident. Yesyesyes go now, and stop talking to me about it!

An agent called me a few days ago to ask if he could get off the phone for a few minutes to work on something, and his exact words were, “Ellen, can you get me off?” I, being ever the serious businesswoman, couldn’t help laughing. I restrained myself from making a crude but witty joke about getting him off. I doubt if he appreciated the effort it took.

I’m so underappreciated! :o)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Domestic Goddess

In the first or second season of Roseanne, there was an episode where Roseanne and Dan had been too busy to have their regular Wednesday “alone time”. Roseanne explains to Jackie that they don’t only have sex on Wednesday, but they always have sex on Wednesday – it’s their regularly scheduled sexy time.

It wasn’t until recently that it finally hit me – Wednesday is hump day! Ha. I love Roseanne. :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

People Are Strange

Three years ago I went on a diet and lost 30 pounds. I wanted to lose 50, but hey, 30 is better than 0.

For the past few months I have been going through kind of a hard time (my dad passed away, my husband hurt his back really badly, my brother got cancer, my husband got laid off, etc.) and I have been slowly gaining the weight back. I have gained around 20 pounds.

Gross! I have been going in the wrong direction! So two weeks ago I got serious and have been trying to lose it. I've been counting calories and eating 1,100 calories/day, plus I've been doing 30 minutes/day on the treadmill.

And I've lost 2 pounds! Go, me. I am really proud of myself, it's hard. So, I've been feeling good, right?

Until this past week at work when a co-worker ASKED ME IF I'M PREGNANT.

(FYI -- no doubt about it, I am not pregnant.)

Holy crapmuffins. If I hadn't been doing so good lately, I think I would have cried.

Why would someone ask that, for god's sake? Even if I were pregnant, if I hadn't told her about it, that would mean I didn't want her to know. Geez!

I know she didn't mean to hurt my feelings. The look on her face when she saw the look on MY face was pretty horrified, so she knows she said the wrong thing. And my body does carry weight in my tummy, even when I was 20 and weighed 105 I had a little round belly. Still, it's not like it's been getting bigger...

So, okay, people are retarded assholes, that's not new. I am continuing on my diet/exercise path to healthy skinniness (or at least less-fatness).

Did I mention that she is pretty overweight?

Sunday, April 27, 2008


It's been a long time since I've written a blog entry. I keep thinking I'll have good news to share soon, but so far no good news.

Hopefully things will look up very soon. In the meantime, here are some pictures:

Friday, March 28, 2008

Happy Friday!

11 days ago was my birthday, and it was nice. I got some great presents, including an Ansel Adams photography book at work, and some great running shoes from my sweetie.

He also got me some lilies:

Next weekend we are going to Cinema Wasteland, a horror/cult/grindhouse movie convention in Cleveland. Our friends from Canadia are driving down for it, too, so we are excited to see them.

I am trying to take relaxing lessons from our kitty. She is not tense.

I am so glad it’s finally Friday! :o)

Friday, February 15, 2008


I also got a white sweetpea flower from the florist last weekend.

I think this one might be crying. :o)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Boy, that florist was right. After keeping the iris in fresh water Saturday night and Sunday, here is what it looked like on Monday morning:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

My Dad Sent Me An Iris

I think things are getting a bit better now, but the past couple of months have been hard. Greg hurt his back pretty severely a month ago, and he is just now able to move around. He'll finally be going back to work tomorrow.

I've always known that Greg did a lot around the house, but holy cow, having to do all of it myself was pretty sucky and time-consuming. Last Saturday it took me 7 trips to get all the groceries carried in... that's just silly. Today he helped carry the groceries and he did the laundry, and he cleaned the floors. Good times...

I haven't been feeling at all creative since my dad passed away. I know a lot of creative people use grief as a kind of inspiration and end up doing beautiful works, but I have been so overwhelmed I just haven't had the slightest interest. But then coming home from running errands yesterday I had an idea and I decided to stop by a florist.

I bought a couple of flowers to bring home and take pictures of in the new lightbox that Santa brought me. When the florist brought out the flowers she had also included an iris that she gave me free, saying that she would never be able to sell it that day, she was closed the next day and it wouldn't still be pretty on Monday.

My Dad grew irises in our yard when I was growing up in Virginia. We had a huge yard, around 2 acres, and he lined our long driveway with irises, put irises at the corners of the house, and around some trees in the backyard. He had irises that were white and lavender, dark purple, maroon, bright yellow, and pink.

What a sweet surprise when the florist handed me that iris. :o)