Saturday, July 30, 2005

Another touchy subject...

Sorry, another rant. I think I'm hormonal this weekend...

My exchange with madman about my last post prompted me to get mad about the Public University System. The University of Tennessee is a prime example of all the problems I see. I'm going to get some numbers when I get a chance, but right now I'm trying to get us all packed for a little trip to see Thomas the Tank Engine in NC tomorow. But here's a little preview of what I'm thinking about...

Phillip Fulmer, UT's head football coach, receives a base salary of $325,000 and a total compensation of $2.05 million annually. For coaching a bunch of thugs to hit each other on and off the field. Yeah, the football program generates revenues, but my question is if it is so profitable then why does UT have to keep raising tuition by 10% every year? And why are professors paid piddly amounts compared to the g-d football coach? This is what I'm talking about when I say that government funded institutions are full of waste and bad priorities and all that. If they took half of what they paid Fulmer and put it into some useful research, just think of what could be done! Oh, I know. I don't understand. I don't know how the system works. Blah, blah, blah. But someone tell me why my hard earned money should go to Phillip Fulmer instead of to a professor/researcher who might find the cure, or at least a treatment, for some disease? Oh, I could go on about some of the crazy shit research at universities that gets government funding. But I've really got to go. I might get over my little fit before I get a chance to look more stuff up.

Sorry! Have a great weekend.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Little thoughts...

Just have to get these little rants down and out of my head.

Bill Frist (R-TN) has switched his stance on increasing federal funding of stem cell research. This makes me think of Legally Blonde 2 where we see all the wheeling and dealing behind the Congressional scenes. I wonder what his deal-maker finally was. I don't support increased federal funding for stem cell research. Let me NOT be misunderstood. I'm not against stem cell research or the use the ungodly number of frozen, unwanted embryos stashed away across the country. It's better to use them for research than to just leave them frozen or 'dispose' of them. Personally, I find that it was terribly negligent and excessive to create so many in the first place. I'm not criticizing the couples who have suffered the pain of infertility, but I am denouncing the 'businesses' who profit from the creation, storage, etc. of frozen embryos. (I haven't researched this so I might be blowing smoke in the wrong direction.) Anyway, I just don't think it's the government's responsibility to fund everybody. Why can't the drug companies redirect their generous advertising budgets into more research? And why the hell do we have to pay a hundred bucks for a prescription if advertising isn't the reason? Advertising doesn't come cheap. Back when I got shingles at the first of the summer my prescriptions cost a ridiculous amount of money. I just don't think it's necessary for the government to fund this controversial research. It's not the controversy that bothers me as much as the idea that people expect the government to spend even more on something that could be covered by the private sector. (For the record, my stance on abortion is similar. No federal funding.)

Next. China scares the hell out of me. I can't even express all the things that I see when I look into my little crystal ball. It's just scary!

Finally. I'm very impressed by the quick action of the British in response to their terrorist attacks and threats. I do think that having a much smaller country does facilitate their investigations. That's not intended as a back-handed compliment. Just the way I see it. I feel bad for that guy who got shot. But, dude, you just don't run from the police! Even when they are in plain clothes. I'm sure they hollered at this guy to identify themselves. Let that be an example to others. We see plenty of that here in the US, people running from the police and getting shot. What are the cops supposed to do if they think you're a bomber and you keep on running? Dang. It's just common sense.

Okay, I'm done now. I hope I haven't offended anyone, but if I have please feel free to say so! (Just be nice about it.)

I've evolved again!

Hey, just noticed I'm now a 'lowly insect'! Maybe it was all that spider talk?

Bumper Boats on the Sea of the Fourth Dimension

(taking the baton from hermes and running with it... and actually, this could also tie in a bit with what chris wrote)

Singing to an ocean, I can hear the ocean's roar, oooh
Play for free, I play for me and I play a whole lot more, more!
Singing about good things and the sun that lights the day
I used to sing on the mountains, has the ocean lost it's way?


(Led Zeppelin, "The Ocean")

Here we are. We all have our tickets and are getting into our little motor floats. I pick a pink one. Someone else chooses a green one, and yet another gets into a white one. Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines. When the light turns green, go!

We all putter along trying to gain control over our boats. No one is too concerned with bumping into others until we figure out how these darn things work. Oh, oops, I just bumped into you while I wasn't watching where I was going. Hey, like your boat! Yeah, yours is cool too! So we try to keep up and play along bumping each other every so often and then Bam! We bump into others in these fun games of tag. Somehow we all ended up on the same ride at the same time.

This is a magical place. Have we ended up here by some Design? Or is it just random Chaos? How long will our boats stay afloat? Will the whistle blow and end our fun? What about the Water on which we play? Are there Monsters just waiting for one of us to tumble overboard? And what about the sky above? Are there Deities engaged in their own games with us as their pawns? Does a game of tag ever have an ending?*

Down by the seaside.
See the boats go sailin'
Can the people hear, oh,
What the little fish are sayin'?


Oh, oh, the people turned away
Oh, the people turned away...


...Sing loud for the sunshine, pray hard for the rain
And show your love for Lady Nature and she will come back again
The people turned away
The people turned away
Don't they know that they're going?


(Led Zeppelin, "Down By The Seaside")


*I started on this post yesterday afternoon. Last night my 9 year old son asked me a question, "Does a game of tag have an ending?" I was stunned. I told him that I guess it could go on forever as long as everyone still wanted to play. Then I asked him what made him think of that question and he said, "Oh, nothing, I just thought of it."

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Dressing the Dead

(This is a long post about my mother's death.)

My mother’s terminal illness was found only a few months after her own mother’s death. Her first incidence of the liver cancer was in January 1993. She had surgery to remove about half of her liver and remained cancer free until April 1996. She had surgery then to remove the new cancer growth on her abdominal wall. She never was given any chemotherapy or radiation as neither was effective against her type of cancer. She tried to protect me from worrying about her. Even so, I was very sensitive to her anxieties and knew that she was upset and frightened. After this second surgery in April 1996 she seemed to be in a fragile state, but she carried on and tried to live like everything was normal. I’m not sure exactly when she found out that the cancer had spread throughout her liver because she probably waited a while to tell us that the prognosis was not good. In addition to wanting to protect her children from pain I’m sure that she had to go through her own process of acceptance before she felt secure enough to tell us that she was dying. She told us sometime in late August 1996 that she was given six months to a year to live. We were completely and utterly devastated.

Mom continued to work at her bank job until she was no longer able to withstand it. She stopped work sometime in October. By Thanksgiving she was feeling so ill that she could hardly eat. Since I didn’t have an outside job I spent as much time as possible with her at home. But I couldn’t be there everyday as I had a baby to care for and was still trying to regulate my own new life. She had hospice visits a couple of times a week, mainly at this point to evaluate the progression of her illness and to determine what support – medical, spiritual, and practical – she needed. This was of great help to her and to all of us. However, the time did come that hospice was not able to do everything she required. Mom had already decided that she did not want to die in the hospital. She wanted to be at home with her family. My dad was not able to take a long leave from work to be with her because someone had to pay the bills. I was increasingly depended upon to be there for her since I was more “free” than anyone else. I wanted to do this for her, and I appreciated being able to spend so much time with her while I still could. Even so it was hard on me.

Mom held on until Christmas. She was very sick that day but was still able to enjoy it with all of her family. I don’t think I realized, or maybe I tried not to see, how sick she actually had become. By her birthday on December 27, she was staying in bed constantly and was eating only a tiny bit of Jello a day. I still wasn’t accepting that she was going to die soon. But we did have that talk that people have when they know that there isn’t much time left. Mom told me that I was an excellent mother and to never doubt myself. I know she said some other important things, but I don’t recall the specifics now because I had become very upset. However, I do remember in my soul the gist of everything she said. And I did tell her that I didn’t think I would be able to handle actually being in the room at the time she passed. She said she understood.

On Thursday, January 2, 1997, I received a call from the hospice nurse telling me that Mom shouldn’t be left alone. I’m a little ashamed to admit that I felt somewhat defensive at being put on the spot when I was trying to be a mother to my baby, who happened to be scheduled to get tubes put into his ears the next day because of constant ear infections. In addition to feeling scared and sad about my mother’s impending death I felt guilty for not having seen that she had deteriorated so quickly. The nurse’s attitude was not especially supportive of my situation with my son that day and seemed alarmist. I’m sure she just wanted to make sure we understood the gravity of Mom’s situation.

Mom’s decline was very quick from that point. The last thing I remember her saying is that she wanted a cigarette. At that time she was barely coherent, her speech was slurred, and she could hardly stand and walk. This was on Saturday, the 4th. I stayed that night with her and slept in the bed next to her. Anyone who has ever actually watched someone pass out of this world into the next will tell you that it is nothing like on TV or in the movies. It isn’t usually so easy and quiet and peaceful. All the changes that a body undergoes in the process of death from an illness like cancer can be disturbing and startling to loved ones who haven’t seen that before. It was for me. The last hours of Mom’s life were the most difficult time in my entire life. It was truly the hardest thing I have ever had to do, trying to ease her way into her next life. The illness made her feverish so I had to give her Tylenol suppositories, a peculiar and uncomfortable thing, to me, to have to do. Her skin had become extremely dry so I rubbed lotion on her back, arms, and legs. Although she couldn’t speak she was able to let me know that it felt good. All I could think was, “Why didn’t I think to do that sooner?” I felt so inadequate at trying to make her more comfortable. Soon afterward, she slipped into a deep coma, the kind when the breathing is so labored and noisy with that rattling sound that haunts you for years after hearing it. (They never put that in the movies or on TV. It is much too raw and disturbing. Not that I really think they should show it anyway.)

The hospice nurse ordered a hospital bed for Mom on Sunday so that she would not fall out of bed. But it wasn’t delivered until the next day. Sunday night I came home to spend some time with my son and to get some rest. Then Monday morning Daddy called and said he needed help. He was upset and worried and overwhelmed. We kept a vigil by her bed all that night. I tried to sleep for just a little while, but I couldn’t. Her pastor also stayed with us that night. I read the Book of Job, to try to gain some perspective on struggle and loss, and then I talked to the pastor about it. He said it probably wasn’t the best part of the Bible to read at the time. I agreed, as it certainly didn’t comfort me any.

On Tuesday morning we all took turns watching Mom struggle to breathe. Daddy hurriedly took a shower while we stayed with her. We all were afraid that if no one was in the room with her we would miss something. Maybe she would come up and say something before leaving us. When he was finished my sister took her shower. I was sitting there exhausted and flustered, trying to decided if I should stay for a while longer or if I had time to go home and get cleaned up. Then I went in alone to Mom and told her that I was letting her go, that I didn’t want her to linger and suffer for me, and that I was going to go out for a while to get cleaned up and to maybe rest a little.

As I walked out the door on that January 7, 1997, morning into the cold but sunny day I knew that I wouldn’t see my mother alive again. I knew that she was going to die while I was gone as per our discussion a couple of weeks earlier. I drove home in a daze and looked at all the other people on the road and wondered how many other people had witnessed the things I had seen in the last few days. How many others had sat vigil over their dying mother’s bed? Given their own mothers a suppository? Felt like a complete and thorough failure at being nursemaid at such a critical time?

My eyes filled with tears while driving home, but I never did let loose and really cry. I came home and felt like I was moving through some artificial setting, some surreal scene. I showered and dressed but it seems like it took so very long, and I just cannot recall the period between coming into the house and getting dressed after my shower. My only clear memory is of sitting in my son’s room on his bed and feeling paralyzed and knowing that Mom was now dead. It was just a couple of minutes later that the phone call came from my dad saying that she was gone. I was moving in slow motion and it seemed to take forever for me to get out of the house and into the car to go back to Daddy’s. I was numb and inert.

Walking into Dad’s house was like entering a tragic play. I felt outside of myself, like I was watching someone else’s experience. I went into Mom’s room and saw her body lying there, spiritless and looking so old. It was no longer really her, but I was so overcome with grief and emptiness and longing for her that I burst into sobs. Suddenly, I was thrust back into my childhood when I was only very small and crying and terrified that my mother was gone forever when she was only gone out of view for a few minutes. But this time she really was gone. Momma? Momma? I need you, Mom. Mom?!

That night I was totally exhausted, physically and emotionally. I looked into the mirror and saw my mother’s lifeless, vacant eyes in my reflection. It was startling and frightening to see my image in the mirror looking like an old, tired woman. I wondered if I would ever feel good again. I don’t remember, but I must have fallen into a deep, dreamless sleep. After all this time, I want to imagine that I dreamed of Mom, but I just don’t remember.

The following days are a blur. We made the funeral arrangements and went through the motions required of us. The only thing I remember very clearly was the creep at the burial site who looked like some character from the X- Files. He was the mausoleum salesman, and he had this slicked-back hair. He made me very uneasy. I could just see him doing unnatural things with the corpses. He had some seriously weird energy around him. I’ve dealt with several different morticians over the years while making arrangements for my grandparents, and I had never before gotten that kind of sense from any of them. This guy was exceptionally disturbing.

Another strange image that persists is the mortician’s request for us to supply a pair of panty hose along with the clothes she was to wear in the casket. This was a terribly morbid mental picture, thinking of someone putting panty hose on my mother’s dead body. A different funeral home prepared her body than the one where she was interred and had that creepy salesman. Even so, I can’t imagine how anyone could be comfortable with handling and dressing the dead. But I know it is a necessary job, and someone has to do it. I just keep thinking about how hard it is to put on panty hose while alive. It must be even more difficult to put them on a lifeless body. Maybe I’m a little sick to even think of such a thing, but dealing with sickness and death can make you ponder all sorts of strangeness.

The day of the funeral was expectedly difficult. I felt like we were rushed through the whole thing and that I didn’t truly get to say goodbye. Mom had a Lutheran funeral which was nice, but more structured and formal than I was accustomed to.
Throughout the service her casket was closed which made me feel cut off from her. Some people don’t like an open casket funeral, but that is what I was used to. At the receiving of friends the night before I was so glad to see Mom looking so much more like herself. They did a very good job with her appearance. For me, it was good to have this vision of her to offset the vision of her looking so deteriorated right after her death.

The funeral procession to the mausoleum was fairly long through the trendy part of town that attracts all the I’m-more-important-than-anyone-else types. Nowadays, it seems that fewer and fewer people are aware of funeral procession etiquette. As a funeral procession we had the right-of-way through traffic lights. But of course, we had to encounter one absolute jerk who thought that his time was much too valuable to stop and respect the dead. My family was driving behind the limousine with Dad and my sister’s family in it. Since we had a child seat we couldn’t fit all of us in the limo. We were in a big, tough, full-sized pickup truck so that we could help haul the potted plants and flowers to my dad’s after the interment. As we approached a busy intersection we went through a red light to keep the whole party together. The hearse and limousine had flashing lights as did an escort ahead of the hearse, so there was plenty of warning for oncoming cars. We were going very slowly, too, to allow for quick stopping if necessary. All of the approaching cars stopped except for one.

All of a sudden I saw this little black pickup truck almost strike the hearse. This guy almost slammed into the hearse that carried my mother’s dead body! He tried to squeeze through the space between the hearse and the limo, but to the credit of the old guy driving the limo he didn’t get through. How rude can you get?!? I couldn’t believe someone would actually try to break through a funeral procession, much less to try to do it between the hearse and the family! Then this stupid moron asshole thought that he would try to get through in front of us. HA! Just as he darted in front of us my husband punched the accelerator and BAM! We hit him. And since we were in a much larger, heavier, tougher truck with a stainless steel bumper we didn’t even get a scratch. His little pseudo truck, however, was left with a huge dent all along its passenger side. I’m certain this was the biggest shock of that idiot’s life. Of course, he didn’t stop get any kind of insurance information or to file an accident report. He knew that he was totally in the wrong and that the police would have at least given him a substantial fine if not something much worse. I often wonder who he was and if he learned his lesson that day. I’d love to know what happened afterwards. How did he account for that huge dent in the side of his truck? When we got to the mausoleum everyone quietly applauded us. I was reeling with disbelief and hurt that someone could be so rude as to almost hit a hearse. All in all it was a terrible experience.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I'm Being Stalked...

by this little guy:




He keeps running all along the ceiling of my office. It's like he's making rounds. I can co-exist with him peacefully as long as he doesn't try to get on me. The kids saw him and got scared, so I told them he was my little friend. Now they aren't afraid. I was thinking that the Year of the Spider has passed and that this might be the Year of the Lightening Bug, but maybe Mr. Spider wants another year.

Does that seem wrong to say 'lightening bug' instead of 'lightning bug'? Have I already mentioned that? I think I say 'lightening' because it's short for 'lightening-up bug', like old timers who would have called them 'lightenin'-up bugs' because old hillbillies tend to have long, descriptive names for things. I just recently realized that I add that extra 'e' sound when I say it and write it.

Speaking of lightening-up bugs, on July 4th while I was sitting out on the swing with my Dad and waiting for it to get dark enough for the fireworks bonanza, I mentioned to him that it seemed like there was an unusually large population of lightening bugs this summer. He said that there had been an article in the paper about it and that it wasn't just me or my yard. I was so pleased to find out that I hadn't imagined that there were more than usual. For whatever reason their numbers are way up this year. Maybe they have population booms like the cicadas that people talked about so much last year. (We didn't have any cicadas in my yard last year, but some people had so many that their ground was covered by them. Oddly enough, we have more cicadas this year.)

I had been thinking that maybe all of that meant that it would be, shamanistically speaking, the Year of the Lightening Bug and that it would suggest enlightenment and communication. None of my books have lightening bugs and their symbolism defined, so I have come to my own conclusions about what they mean based on their behavior and appearance. I think they indicate enlightenment simply because that's what they do. I am fascinated by the way living creatures can create light like they do (and some deep ocean creatures too, very cool!), and there are places that buy captured lightening bugs for research. Their lightening up is related to mating (isn't everything when you boil it down?) and communicating. I think I've read that the females emit a pheromone that makes the male light up so they can 'talk'. Maybe that's an oversimplified explanation? Anyway, for my purposes, it goes along with the symbolism of communications with the visible (light) and the invisible (pheromones).

But I keep encountering spiders and that's making me wonder if they aren't done with me yet. Spiders symbolize a lot of things. They are very complex. Here is a tarot card I did last year that kind of touches on the basics:



What it says about the Wheel also applies to the Spider's Web. So I guess maybe both of these influences are important to my life right now. I'm sure I'll be writing more about this later.

Digital Inkblot

What do you see?


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Da Hoe Code




(for a cool story that makes an interesting companion to the picture, click here)

Did I Say That?

Well, I'm going back in time here to the 4th of July. As I had mentioned previously we had a huge fireworks show in my backyard. Here are some pictures of the arsenal. Now, I have to tell you that this wasn't all of it. This is only about 2/3 of it because after I took these pictures the boys went out and bought a whole bunch more. Plus they had been shooting off some of them the previous night.



After that picture I yelled for the kids to 'come in here and get next to the explosives for a picture.' As soon as that came out of my mouth I doubled over laughing. Did I actually say that? You know you're a Redneck when...



The dark haired girl is my daughter's friend who lives next door. She's here all the time. My oldest is giving me that 'you're so weird' look because I had been laughing so hard at myself. My daughter is showing one of the parachutes that came out of a fireworks thing they had just shot. My youngest is doing his own thing as always. I don't know why he has a dollar or what he is doing with it.

And yes, I was a little concerned about storing that much firepower in the garage just a few feet from my Corvette. But I guess if they had accidentally exploded the whole house would have gone up. I don't know.

More July 4th pictures to come as I have to baby my scanner and it's taking a while to get them all scanned in.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Another Wow!

I just noticed that I'm not longer an 'insignificant microbe.' Now I'm a 'crunchy crustacean'! Whoo Hoo!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Busy weekend...

So I'm just doing a 'wow' post. I just checked my technoratic account and my ranking jumped from 717,309 to 165,416. How's that for bragging rights? LOL (I know some people hate 'LOL', but I really do laugh out loud before I type it.) Can you believe there are that many blogs out there? It's crazy! But it a good, cool way. All of us people using our freedom of speech in so many ways. I love it! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Boys of Summer...(or I was a baseball groupie)

I was just reading mr g's post about baseball and it brought back memories of going to games with my dad back in the 1980s. As I mentioned in the Atlanta post we lived in Marietta from 1983 to 1987. When I was 16 (1984) I went to my first baseball game with my then boyfriend and his family. They had moved there from San Francisco and were big Giants fans, so we went to a Braves-Giants game. I don't recall who won that night. Anyway, it got me interested in the Braves so I persuaded my parents to get tickets for a game later that summer.

That was the beginning of a family tradition of Atlanta baseball even though the Braves sucked back then. We went to games as often as we could. During the summer of 1985 I had a job and would buy tickets for me and my dad to go on his day off. As teenage girls are prone to do, I fell in love with one of the pitchers, Zane Smith:


There was just something about him that excited my little teenaged self, so I would try to get tickets whenever he was pitching. The next summer, 1986, I embarrassed myself in the biggest way. We had tickets to a Sunday afternoon game, so in my smitten, brazen, hormone-soaked mind I decided to make a big "I 'heart' (I painted a big red heart) Zane" banner. People took banners to games all the time so I figured I would too. The people with banners usually got put up on the huge TV screen in the stadium. My parents didn't know about it. They knew I was up to something, but I wanted it to be a surprise. I put on the skimpiest little outfit I had, dolled myself up (which I really could do back then), and packed my little tote bag with my banner. I wish I could remember the exact date that day. I might have it in a memory book somewhere. Maybe I'll look for it later.

Since it was a Sunday game it was fairly crowded. It took me a while to get up the guts to get my banner out. I don't remember which inning it was, but I finally just jumped up and held my banner to my parents' astonishment. They pointed at the big TV thing and said, "It's upside down!" Talk about embarrassed. Shit! My big moment and I ruined it by being in such a rush that I didn't make sure I had it rightside up. But it was seen. And by lots and lots of people (and on broadcast TV too!). I don't know if Zane Smith saw it or me, but I after I got over my embarrassment I was kind of proud of myself for being so bold. Of course, nothing came of it other than a good family joke about it being upside down.

So that's my baseball groupie story. By the way, we were also at the game where Bob Horner hit 4 home runs on July 6, 1986. I don't think that was the 'banner day' though. And after I went away to college and my parents moved back to TN the Braves got good and went to the World Series a few times. Go figure.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Eye Candy...

here are those two crafty projects that I finished over the weekend:


That used to be one of those lamps that had a round plastic thing that turned from the heat of the bulb, and the colors made designs on the shade. They were real popular several years ago. The kids lost/destroyed the plastic part long ago, and I've saved this lamp part with a project in mind for years. I turned it upside down and decorated the shade and made it into a pretty lantern. I love girly, sparkly stuff like this.



This is my first ever attempt at weaving. I've been interested in getting a loom, and David got our daughter a little fun weaving kit for Christmas. I decided to get myself one to see if I like it. I love it! But I think I'll stick with this kiddy loom for now because I don't have time to do big projects. I like to experiment with things instead of following the patterns and instructions, so I used some beaded trim. It's all about the sparkle!

I have hoarded a bunch of stuff for times like these. Doing these little projects is good stress relief.

Funny....

This email was forwarded to me from one of my high school friends. My family lived in Marietta, GA, when I was in high school. I went to Joseph Wheeler High School in Marietta (Cobb County). I've italicized what also applies for Knoxville, TN.


This is for anyone who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, has ever lived in Atlanta, has ever visited Atlanta, ever plans to visit Atlanta, knows anyone who already lives in Atlanta, or knows anyone who has ever heard of Atlanta.

Atlanta is composed mostly of one-way streets.

The only way to get out of downtown Atlanta is to turn around and start over when you reach Greenville, South Carolina.

All directions start with, "Go down Peachtree" and include the phrase, "When you see the Waffle House."

Except that in Cobb County, where all directions begin with, "Go to the Big Chicken."

Peachtree Street has no beginning and no end and is not to be confused with:

Peachtree Circle
Peachtree Place
Peachtree Lane
Peachtree Road
Peachtree Parkway
Peachtree Run
Peachtree Terrace
Peachtree Avenue
Peachtree Commons
Peachtree Battle
Peachtree Corners
New Peachtree
Old Peachtree
West Peachtree
Peachtree-Dunwoody
Peachtree-Chamble
Peachtree Industrial Boulevard

Atlantans only know their way to work and their way home. If you ask anyone for directions, they will always send you down Peachtree.

Atlanta is the home of Coca-Cola. Coke's all they drink there, so don't ask for any other soft drink unless it's made by Coca-Cola.

The gates at Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport are about 32 miles away from the Main Concourse, so wear sneakers and pack a lunch.

The 8 am rush hour is from 6:30 to 10:30 AM. The 5 pm rush hour is from 3:00 to 7:30 PM. Friday's rush hour starts Thursday afternoon and lasts through 2 am Saturday.

Only a native can pronounce Ponce De Leon Avenue, so do not attempt the Spanish pronunciation. People will simply tilt their heads to the right and stare at you. The Atlanta pronunciation is "pawntz duh LEE-awn."

And yes, they have a street named simply, "Boulevard."

The falling of one raindrop causes all drivers to immediately forget all traffic rules. If a single snowflake falls, the city is paralyzed for three days and it's on all the channels as a news flash every 15 minutes for a week. Overnight, all grocery stores will be sold out of milk, bread, bottled water, toilet paper, and beer.

I-285, the loop that encircles Atlanta, which has a posted speed limit of 55 mph (but you have to maintain 80 mph just to keep from getting run over), is known to truckers as "The Watermelon 500."

Don't believe the directional markers on highways. I-285 is marked "East" and "West" but you may be going North or South.

The locals identify the direction by referring to the "Inner Loop" and the "Outer Loop."

If you travel on Hwy 92 North, you will actually be going southeast.

Never buy a ladder or mattress in Atlanta. Just go to one of the interstates and you will soon find one in the middle of the road.

The last thing you want to do is give another driver the finger, unless your car is armored, your trigger finger is itchy and your AK-47 has a full clip.

Possums sleep in the middle of the road with their feet in the air.

There are 5,000 types of snakes and 4,998 live in Georgia.

There are 10,000 types of spiders. All 10,000 live in Georgia, plus a couple no one has seen before.

If it grows, it sticks. If it crawls, it bites.

If you notice a vine trying to wrap itself around your leg, you have about 20 seconds to escape, before you are completed captured and covered with Kudzu, another ill-advised import, like the carp, starling, English sparrow, and other "exotic
wonders." (I think kudzu is pretty, but it is swallowing large portions of the South.)

It's not a shopping cart, it's a buggy.

"Fixinto" is one word (I'm fixinto go to the store).

Sweet Tea is appropriate for all meals and you start drinking it when you're 2 years old.

"Jeet?" is actually a phrase meaning "Did you eat?"

If you understand these jokes, forward them to your friends from Atlanta, Georgia and those who just wish they were.

re: wah, wah, wah

1. didn't get that nomination. have to keep hope up for replacing the Old Man

2. my dad has to have surgery in 2 weeks to have some lymph nodes removed to see if the melanoma has spread.

3. yesterday I was VERY depressed about a lot of things, especially #2, above

4. I'm worried that I've alienated someone I care A LOT about...

5. I feel sick.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Done List...

I don't like 'To Do' lists because I inevitably list too many things and get depressed and beat myself up when I don't finish them all. So I've decided to start doing 'Done' lists so that I can see my progress instead of what I've not gotten done. So here's my list from this weekend:

1. in-depth cleaning in my bathroom including taking down the shades on the light fixtures and washing the thick dust off of them, cleaning the year-old stain over-spray off the outside of the window, cleaning the dust off all the other hard to reach areas, and cleaning the inside of the window. It's so nice to be able to look through clean glass!

2. the usual laundry and dishes; this never ends...

3. repotted an orchid whose roots were growing all out of the pot

4. finished the other cornice for a bedroom window and hung it; this might sound simple but because I'm clumsy it takes me three times as long to do this kind of stuff than it takes a normal person. It's truly a comedy of errors to watch me try to do these things. Joanne Liebler, I'm not. I hate her. But I push on and get things done all the while grunting and cussing and yelling at anyone who happens to look my way or get within 20 feet of me. There are two windows in my room, and the one window has had its cornice up for at least a year. It took me this long to get up the gumption to struggle through hanging the other one. This was my biggest accomplishment this weekend. David doesn't do windows.

5. hung a support bracket under a poorly designed but pretty shelf. This task went relatively smoothly for me compared to the cornice.

6. won $20 on the lottery-- $15 on Powerball and $5 on a scratch-off; only spent $6 on the tickets. This follows winning $42 a couple of weeks ago. This is a good investment for me so far. My return is far greater than any of my mutual funds or other accounts.

7. finished embellishing a pretty little lamp... will post a picture later.

8. finished my first weaving experiment... will post a picture of it too.

Baseball, Music, and a Writer...

From the Stephen King newsletter:

Stephen joined World Series Champion Boston Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo on Bronson's album "Covering The Bases". The album, which includes various cover songs, was released on July 12. The album features many of the top musicians in music, including Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp), Leland Sklar (Phil Collins) and Mike Inez (Alice In Chains).

The album also features Red Sox players Johnny Damon, Kevin Youkilis and Lenny DiNardo, along with Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein.

Stephen contributed additional lyrics and spoken word on the fourth track "Everlong". Check out Bronson's album at http://www.bronsonarroyo.com.

Amazon.com is celebrating its 10th Anniversary with a series of events including a Hall of Fame which features an excerpt from a novel in progress (the working title is currently Cell).

We do not have a publication date for this new novel at this time, but you can read the excerpt titled “The Pulse” here.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Constitutional Study, part 1

I'm starting a new series of Constitutional studies. I think we Americans should do this in much the same way that church goers do Bible studies. This first one is a repeat of some research I did during the Presidential campaign last year. I have gay friends and family members so this issue is close to me, but I try not to let that bias how I read 'the law.' I look at the Constitution for what it says and not what I think it implies. That is where people get all messed up, when they start injecting their personal values on the law. That's not what our Constitution is about. It's about maintaining our freedom from excessive intrusion of government in our lives. The whole 'separation of Church and State' issue is concerned with keeping 'value judgments' out of our laws, but that's another study. This one was done in response to all the hoopla about gay marriage and a Constitutional Amendment about it and all the crazy crap people were throwing around about it.


Article IV Section 1: Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof. Section 2: The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States....

No matter what laws a State's legislature passes, if it's determined by the US Supreme Court to be unconstitutional then it can't stand. It seems by the above that each State is required by the US Constitution to recognize each other State's marriages which fall into that catagory of 'public acts and records.'

Fourteenth Amendment Section 1: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Again, I interpret that as a Constitutional guarantee that a person's rights, as a homosexual, should not be 'abridged' in any way that would deny them equal protection of the laws, including the right to marriage as well as employment or any other 'privileges' of 'life, liberty, or property.'

I have found nothing in the Constitution that would support any State not recognizing the marriages performed in other States. As for an amendment stating that marriage is between a man and a woman I just don't see why that's necessary. But that's not for the reasons that John Edwards said it was unnecessary in the VP debate:

"Under the law of this country for the last 200 years, no state has been required to recognize another state's marriage.

"Let me just be simple about this. My state of North Carolina would not be required to recognize a marriage from Massachusetts, which you just asked about.

"There is absolutely no purpose in the law and in reality for this amendment. It's nothing but a political tool. And it's being used in an effort to divide this country on an issue that we should not be dividing America on."

I think that Kerry and Edwards were doing more to turn it into a divisive subject.

The reason that I think an amendment is unnecessary is because gays getting married does nothing to invalidate, dilute, desanctify, or weaken heterosexual marriage. No one has given me any arguments strong enough to support that idea. If it's to do with 'sanctity' which means holiness or sacredness, then couldn't you just as easily say that purely civil marriages like are performed by the justice of the peace at the courthouse dilute, desanctify, and weaken Marriage too? But no one can reasonably say that a civil ceremony is less valid than a religious one. It seems pretty straight forward to me, but I guess I'm simple-minded or something.

When I first began my little Constitutional study last fall I stumbled upon one of the big legal issues of American lawmaking. It turns out that this 'full faith and credit' clause is and has been a big sore spot in our legal system. Ha. Whoda thought me and my little study would naively pick it out as a defense of gay marriage? If nothing else that tells me that someone without any 'legal' education can read the Constitution and come to a simple conclusion as to what it means in any particular case. I didn't know about any precedents that had been set in the past regarding states' marriages. In my research I found out that this clause has been used to defend polygamy among other things. So the Judges and Lawyers have decided that it doesn't stand if one state's law terribly offends or violates another state's 'public policy.' But to my simple mind it is clearly un-Constitutional to allow States to not recognize each other's laws. This is why some think that there must be a Constitutional Amendment to specify that marriage is between one man and one woman. An Amendment sounds like an easy solution, but it's wrong in the same way that the Prohibition Amendment (18th Amendment) was wrong. Yes, folks, that's right, don't you remember that there was a freakin' Constitutional Amendment about alcohol? Sometimes We the People do screw up. Let's not do it again this time with issue.

Also, please check this link that I saw on eatmisery's blog. Marriage Fairness. I haven't read all of that site, but it looks very informative. My own views on this issue have evolved from thinking that gay marriage was 'wrong' so many years ago to fully supporting it now because, as I said above, I have friends and family members who are affected by this issue.

And yes, I'm still a Conservative, a real one. Please, President Bush, nominate me!!

Friday, July 15, 2005

I really should be working, but...

You have got to read this! Johnny's World

I'm not interested in ingesting human flesh, but I did think of another wicked and evil idea last night. I was watching something on tv about alternative energy sources, but I don't remember now what it was exactly because I got involved in my own thoughts. Oh, now I remember, it was a preview for the movie, The Island.

I saw it and told my mister that it looked kind of Matrixish. Then I got to thinking evil things about how we could start using bad people as batteries like the machines do in the Matrix movies. Instead of prisons we should build power generating stations with them hooked up as the energy sources. That's a great way for criminals to repay society, don't you think?

That, and it's a renewable energy source. There will never be a lack of rotten people who otherwise waste our planet's resources. Let's recycle them! Yes, I have seen the movie Soylent Green.

(okay, I'm a sick little Hoe sometimes, and this probably won't help with my Supreme Court bid)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Hey, George, Don't forget about me!


That ruffly collar thingy has got to go.  Posted by Picasa

I see the crystal visions...

I've dedicated the song Dreams by Fleetwood Mac to Chief Justice Rehnquist.

I can't keep my visions to myself so here goes. I predict that he will not retire from the Court. I think he wants to die as the Chief Justice because he has a leaning for the dramatic, like his special robe.
Players only love you when they're playing

I could be wrong, but I guess we'll see.
In the stillness of remembering what you had, And what you lost

Blessings and Peace, Old Man Rehnquist.
When the rain washes you clean, you'll know

Duh!

Just realized I forgot the rest of the five famous people...

Tom Cruise, so I could kick his sorry ass,
The Dalai Lama, to see if he's all he's cracked up to be,
and Nick Danger!

Been tagged...

by gina, so here we go....



10 years ago, I was 27 and pregnant with my first son. I was sick a lot. I don't remember much more about it.

5 years ago, I was 32 and pregnant with my third child (son). We sold our house and moved into a nasty little rental shack where the bathtub fell through the rotten floor when I was taking a shower with my big, pregnant belly. Fortunately I wasn't hurt. This was one of the darkest times in my life for many reasons.

1 year ago, I was in the midst of a creative fury, perhaps a manic phase?, and created nearly a third of a tarot deck.

Yesterday, I took my oldest and myself to the dentist to get our teeth cleaned, then to the art supply store, and then to Walmart yet again. I was so busy I didn't even get to blog.

Today, I am going to try to catch up on blogging and laundry. I have to go to the bank later to sign the papers to refinance our house at a lower rate and to get some extra money for David to build another garage. Maybe I can hint some more about a pool....

Tomorrow, I'm not sure what tomorrow will be. I'll just take it as it comes.

5 snacks I enjoy: Oreos, Cheetos, Doritos, Ho-Hos, and what else ends with 'o'?

5 bands I know most of the lyrics of their songs: Led Zeppelin, Kiss, the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and that's probably it

5 Things I would Do with 100 million dollars: I'd pay off all our stuff and all of my dad's stuff and my in-laws' stuff, I'd set up funds for my kids that they couldn't have until they are 40, I'd give as much to all my friends as I could without any of us having to pay the 'gift tax', as well as a bunch to some of my favorite charities, and I'd travel as much as possible.

5 bad habits I have: emotional eating, picking at my skin, clutter, not really listening sometimes, and obsessing over stuff

5 locations I would run away to:

Green Valley Spa- I've been there twice and it's heaven on earth!
Peru- It seems like a very magical place.
Hawaii- I've been to the Big Island once and it was also heaven on earth.
Iceland- because I'm a geology freak and it has geisers and hot springs.
New Zealand- it looked so cool in LOTR.

5 things I would never wear: A bikini in public (I'll admit it, I'm past those years), A vest (just not flattering on me), thongs because I've spent 37 years trying to keep my panties out of my ass, a white wedding dress (been there, done that), acrylic nails

5 things I like doing: Sex, blogging, photography, gardening, computer art

5 biggest joys of the moment: lots of coffee, hearing the kids laughing instead of fighting, getting some 'me' time on the computer, hearing the quiet rain outside, stretching and releasing tension.

5 famous people I would like to meet: Brian Greene (physicist), George Bush (to convince him to appoint me to the Supreme Court),

5 movies I like: House of 1000 Corpses (gruesomely good if you like that sort of thing), The Big Lebowski, Little Nicky (always makes me laugh when I'm down), any of the Star Wars series, and any of the LOTR series.

5 TV Shows I like: the ones I like always end up getting cancelled, like Joan of Arcadia, but I rarely get to watch a show faithfully. I'm looking forward to the new season of Ghost Hunters on SciFi. I like to watch anything about science, space, etc. and I'll check the History Channel and Animal Planet frequently too.

5 favorite toys: my computer, my cameras, my Corvette, my sewing machine, and my vibrator (!!) LOL


I haven't made my rounds to everyone's blog yet today, but I'll tag bipolar princess, mr g, and sierrabella. But if you really dont' have time to do this, that's cool too! Love you all!

WOW!!

You know all those comments that didn't get emailed to me? Well, they were all in my box this morning. I signed onto aol and when I saw that I had 52 emails I was like 'What the?' Thank you Blogger! Keep those comments coming!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Your skin makes me cry...

Just got swept up in and tumbled about by a wave of desire... 50 Hoe Points to the first person to name the song that comes from (should be easy)...

Seduced Again...


by snazzy product presentation at Walmart....

I just love this little phallic bundle of wash cloths. I'm such a sucker for cute stuff. 6 for $2.50, so they were cheap too! They had other colors, but this one seemed to match my kitchen better.

And then I took my daughter on a girly shopping trip. We got a bunch of fun stuff at Claire's. I just had to have these pink skull earrings! They are like pink mirrors but that doesn't come through in this picture.

Monday, July 11, 2005

On a lighter note...

I set my 6 year old daughter loose with my cheapo digicam and the instructions to take some pictures of our yard and flowers. Here is what she did. I find her perspective refreshing.


Day Lilies:
day lilies

Tomatoes:
tomatoes

Butterfly bush gone wild and hiding back deck:
butterfly bush

Jasmine vine planted in old chair that was missing its seat (on back deck):
jasmine

Water lily growing in large bowl (I might have taken this one):
water lily


That's just a few of them. I'm working on some bigger posts but wanted to share a little beauty today.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


I was going to give Clarence Thomas big googly eyes looking down at my chest, but I decided I was being evil enough already. Posted by Picasa

I'm partial to pink. No, those are not my boobs. I borrowed them from Victoria's Secret.  Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 08, 2005


That ruffly collar thingy has got to go.  Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 07, 2005

It's no 9-11...

disclaimer and warning: I'm not a heartless bitch. The views expressed in this post are my personal response to the less than sympathetic words I've heard foreigners speak about America's responses to and American's feelings about the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

I met a Brit who said that he thought Americans over-reacted to the 9-11 attacks. He went on to say that we should get used to it and that it was about time it happened because the rest of the world has lived with terrorism for a very long time, some of it done by America itself (implied at that time, but much later said outright). He was a socialist. He was an artist which was how we ended up meeting (group art show). We tried to overlook and bypass each other's political views, but I pushed the topic as our election neared. His deep hatred of America and Americans emerged loud and clear enough that I realized he must also hate me. He also used that horrible sentence, "You're an intelligent woman, how can you support the Republicans?" As if no other view than his own is valid or intelligent. That's when I realized that even the most prejudiced Americans are more tolerant of differing opinions and ideas than this bloke. That's when I saw that I was tons more open-minded than this leftist snob. And then I realized that was the reason why so many foreigners hate the U.S. They hate us because we are so open-minded and tolerant of religious, political, ethnic, etc. differences. (Yes, I concede that not every single American is like that, but I'm speaking collectively and not individually. The fact that the KKK is still legal is evidence of America's tolerance.) We threaten their need to think that they are the One Right People. It takes their power away when their people see that in America there is no One Right Way to think or believe. (Aside from the religious fanatics, of course, but they aren't the majority.) When they lose their power they are filled with anger, fear, and hatred toward what took that power away, America.

I think all of that backgound needed to be explained for my next comments to really be understood.

When I got up this morning I felt like shit, my head hurt, my neck was stiff, and I was dizzy and tired. (No, not a hangover. I think I forgot to take my Effexor yesterday and that always makes me sick the next day.) And I had bad, stressful dreams all night. I turned on the tv and saw that London had been attacked. My first thought was (and this is evil, just-got-up-feeling-lousy thinking), 'Well, I wonder if Shithead got dead.' And then I felt strangely vindicated that he might be experiencing a little bit of the terror that we Americans felt on 9-11, especially New Yorkers. And I think I even said out loud, "But it's no 9-11. Big deal." Again, I remind you that I'm not really a heartless bitch, but I found it hard to feel bad or guilty for my unsympathetic musing about someone's possible suffering. I wondered if his potential hardship might help him to see how narrow-minded he was in his attitudes toward Americans. I struggled with my feelings and thoughts about all of it. And then I decided I didn't really care. It didn't really matter, and the likelihood of anything changing him was too little for me to hang onto.

Yes, I feel sad for the people who lost loved ones today. It's always sad when people are killed. As a whole today's attack wasn't that much more than a few carbombs in Baghdad. But just because it was in London supposedly makes it remarkable. Oh, 'that can't happen to us', right? Just like we Americans thought? Sorry, but my sympathy is all run out right about now. Try me again next week.

Maybe I am a heartless American bitch after all.

I love those little umbrellas...



How to make a vicious momma
Ingredients:

3 parts anger

3 parts arrogance

5 parts joy
Method:
Combine in a tall glass half filled with crushed ice. Add a little cocktail umbrella and a dash of wisdom

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Random ransom...

I want to share a fascinating blog entry I read today. It's a little long but very well worth it. Check it out... http://donlucifer.blogspot.com/2005/07/lucifer.html

I was listening to the Ventures earlier today and was very disappointed that there wasn't a liner notes booklet like was in the Les Baxter cd case. I have some ideas about their music, but it will require research that I'm not up to right now. Anyway, I can thank my cool cat Hoe Daddy for playing that music when I was growing up. It's so cool!

Hey, George Bush, here's your chance! Nominate me to be a Supreme Court Justice. Nowhere in the Constitution does it specify that the nominees must be actual judges. There are no requirements listed (Article Three) so anyone could be nominated. All Mr. Bush has said is that his nominee must have a 'strict interpretation' of the Constitution. I fit that requirement. My strict interpretation might be a little different from the usual, but it's strict. By the way, ALL Americans should study our Constitution (I first misspelled that as 'Constituition') and the Bill of Rights. Everyone should read it with their own eyes so they know exactly what it does and doesn't say. The US Constitution is a remarkably short document. Our Founding Fathers did that deliberately. It was never intended for our nation to require so many laws. They intended for the federal government to have as little as possible interference and governance in our individuals lives. They had faith that 'We the People' would have enough sense to know how to live our lives "... to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..." Perhaps that was too optimistic of them, but I don't think so. And I don't think it requires a law degree to be able to understand what it says and means. So, Mr. Bush, give me a call and I'd be thrilled to serve my country in that capacity.

Now on to a current hot topic, the whole anonymous source hoopla. I have to say that I fall into that catagory of people who think if it's anonymous then it's not good. I understand that there are sometimes (probably rarely) when a person giving information is in mortal danger by whistle blowing or divulging some horrible injustice or criminal activity. But this current situation involves someone talking who shouldn't have been talking in the first place. You don't protect that. That's stupid. You don't protect people for selling a juicy story. Journalists aren't the same as therapists and doctors. And they are the ones who are driving this issue anyway. Just like when they cover their coverage of events. That's not news; that's self glorification. But I was watching some cnn coverage of this topic while I was washing dishes and doing laundry. I liked what one woman said about it. I don't remember exactly how she put it or who she was even (selective listening is the result of having three young kids who all talk at the same time), but she basically gave this anonymous source grief for causing such an uproar. She asked how could he let things get this far. I agree with her. I think whoever is this source is a coward and only concerned with his reputation. That's not a protected reason for remaining anonymous.

Preventive Apology

Hmmm, it seems that we all are creating and learning the etiquette of blogging as we go. I read a post on sierrabella's blog about it, and I just wanted to make sure that everyone knows that I've never intentionally ignored anyone. I can be a real ding-dong (Ho-Ho) sometimes and forgetful. And that's not just an herbal after-effect. Another thing that has interfered with my replying to comments is that for some weird reason they aren't being emailed anymore. I've checked my settings and they are the same. I'm not sure what the problem is. I don't know if anyone has commented until I check the actual blog. I try to reply to comments as soon as I know they are here. So anyway, I'm feeling under the weather today and that makes me worry about offending people unintentionally. Please forgive me.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Quick Note...

I just added that really cool moon phase thingy. I saw it over on Kat's blog and just had to have it!

Lordy, Lordy, Look Who's 40!

.....


(on right is my Mister, David, and on left is my Hoe Daddy)


I hope everyone had a Happy Independence Day celebration. Here in Hoeland we had a big shindig with probably around 30 pounds of ribs and chicken with all the other fixin's (David cooked all day) like cole slaw, baked beans (from scratch, not from a can), corn on the cob, deviled eggs, potato salad, banana pudding, and more. My Mister's birthday is today, but we usually celebrate it on the 4th since everyone is together. And yes, he's 40. He seems to be taking it well. But in the photo above he's trying to look mean about it. On the left is my Hoe Daddy. He looks great for 68 doesn't he? There were about 20 here, mostly in-laws. It was a grand time, especially the fireworks show.

Speaking of, I found myself thinking, wow, we must have money to burn to have such a stockpile of explosives (photo coming soon, it's on film). I was told it was $500 worth, but a little bird (a.k.a Hoe Daddy) told me that it was actually double that. Wow! But I reminded myself that this man who has made so many of my dreams come true rarely asked for things, especially for a milestone birthday. This is the man who bought me a red Corvette convertible for the usually ho(e)-hum birthday #37, and if he wants to spend a $1000 on a gorgeous display of the male 'bringing-home-the-fire' power then I'm down with that. I think our show exceeded that of most small towns. It was really cool!

I'll be posting more about our celebration of our nation's birthday. There is much more to tell.

Happy 40th Birthday David! I love ya!

Friday, July 01, 2005

You think YOU'RE crazy?

digging up some real old shit:

9-22-88

psychotic mumbles jumble
my element obscure
the part of me that waits
and waits for some cure

it's getting stronger
building mazes
I blurt out words
and nonsense phrases

do all rank suffer?
am I just strange?
these thoughts do plague me
and begin to derange

be free my breasts
be free my mind
I want to be me
and never be blind

death is an orgasm
death is a cure
but I don't want it
that's for sure

give me a drug
or let me be free
do you like my thinking
as deep as the sea

now I have taken
the step to the end
I feel so much better
with the universe I blend


That's dedicated to Tom "Fucking RE-TARD" Cruise.

My mind explodes with eternity...

It permeates my soul
Yet leaves me with nothing
Eroding it until it is gone

She's nicer than I am...

Here is Brooke's response to Tom "Fucking RE-TARD" Cruise:

War of Words

By BROOKE SHIELDS, The New York Times

I WAS hoping it wouldn't come to this, but after Tom Cruise's interview with Matt Lauer on the NBC show "Today" last week, I feel compelled to speak not just for myself but also for the hundreds of thousands of women who have suffered from postpartum depression. While Mr. Cruise says that Mr. Lauer and I do not "understand the history of psychiatry," I'm going to take a wild guess and say that Mr. Cruise has never suffered from postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression is caused by the hormonal shifts that occur after childbirth. During pregnancy, a woman's level of estrogen and progesterone greatly increases; then, in the first 24 hours after childbirth, the amount of these hormones rapidly drops to normal, nonpregnant levels. This change in hormone levels can lead to reactions that range from restlessness and irritability to feelings of sadness and hopelessness.

I never thought I would have postpartum depression. After two years of trying to conceive and several attempts at in vitro fertilization, I thought I would be overjoyed when my daughter, Rowan Francis, was born in the spring of 2003. But instead I felt completely overwhelmed. This baby was a stranger to me. I didn't know what to do with her. I didn't feel at all joyful. I attributed feelings of doom to simple fatigue and figured that they would eventually go away. But they didn't; in fact, they got worse.

"If any good can come of Mr. Cruise's ridiculous rant, let's hope that it gives much-needed attention to a serious disease."
-Brooke Shields


I couldn't bear the sound of Rowan crying, and I dreaded the moments my husband would bring her to me. I wanted her to disappear. I wanted to disappear. At my lowest points, I thought of swallowing a bottle of pills or jumping out the window of my apartment.

I couldn't believe it when my doctor told me that I was suffering from postpartum depression and gave me a prescription for the antidepressant Paxil. I wasn't thrilled to be taking drugs. In fact, I prematurely stopped taking them and had a relapse that almost led me to drive my car into a wall with Rowan in the backseat. But the drugs, along with weekly therapy sessions, are what saved me - and my family.

Since writing about my experiences with the disease, I have been approached by many women who have told me their stories and thanked me for opening up about a topic that is often not discussed because of fear, shame or lack of support and information. Experts estimate that one in 10 women suffer, usually in silence, with this treatable disease. We are living in an era of so-called family values, yet because almost all of the postnatal focus is on the baby, mothers are overlooked and left behind to endure what can be very dark times.

And comments like those made by Tom Cruise are a disservice to mothers everywhere. To suggest that I was wrong to take drugs to deal with my depression, and that instead I should have taken vitamins and exercised shows an utter lack of understanding about postpartum depression and childbirth in general.

If any good can come of Mr. Cruise's ridiculous rant, let's hope that it gives much-needed attention to a serious disease. Perhaps now is the time to call on doctors, particularly obstetricians and pediatricians, to screen for postpartum depression. After all, during the first three months after childbirth, you see a pediatrician at least three times. While pediatricians are trained to take care of children, it would make sense for them to talk with new mothers, ask questions and inform them of the symptoms and treatment should they show signs of postpartum depression.

In a strange way, it was comforting to me when my obstetrician told me that my feelings of extreme despair and my suicidal thoughts were directly tied to a biochemical shift in my body. Once we admit that postpartum is a serious medical condition, then the treatment becomes more available and socially acceptable. With a doctor's care, I have since tapered off the medication, but without it, I wouldn't have become the loving parent I am today.

So, there you have it. It's not the history of psychiatry, but it is my history, personal and real.

Brooke Shields, the author of "Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression," is starring in the musical "Chicago" in London.