Saturday, March 29, 2008

Oh, and by the way, this WASN'T me.

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- The Transportation Security Administration said Friday its officers at a Texas airport appear to have properly followed procedures when they allegedly forced a woman to remove her nipple rings -- one with pliers -- but acknowledged the procedures should be changed.

Mandi Hamlin, at center with attorney Gloria Allred, demonstrates how she removed her nipple ring.

The woman involved -- Mandi Hamlin -- told reporters earlier Friday she was humiliated by last month's incident, in which she was forced to painfully remove the piercings behind a curtain as she heard snickers from male TSA officers nearby. The incident occurred at the Lubbock, Texas, airport.

The officers "rightly insisted that the alarm that was raised be resolved," the TSA said in a statement posted on its Web site Friday afternoon. "TSA supports the thoroughness of the officers involved as they were acting to protect the passengers and crews of the flights departing Lubbock that day."

However, "TSA has reviewed the procedures themselves and agrees that they need to be changed," the statement said. "In the future, TSA will inform passengers that they have the option to resolve the alarm through a visual inspection of the article in lieu of removing the item in question."

Hamlin and her lawyer, celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, said they want a public apology from the agency, as well as a guarantee that future passengers with piercings will be treated with dignity and respect.

Allred pointed out that TSA's Web site says passengers with piercings can undergo a pat-down inspection if they do not want to take their piercings out -- an option she said Hamlin was never offered.

"The conduct of TSA was cruel and unnecessary," Allred told reporters at a news conference. "Last time that I checked, a nipple was not a dangerous weapon."

She said if an apology was not forthcoming, "Mandi is going to have to consider her legal options."

Attempts by CNN to reach Allred for a response to the TSA statement Friday afternoon were unsuccessful.

TSA said in its statement it acknowledges "that our procedures caused difficulty for the passenger involved and regrets (the) situation in which she found herself. We appreciate her raising awareness on this issue and we are changing the procedures to ensure that this does not happen again."

The incident occurred February 24 as Hamlin, 37, was preparing to fly to Dallas-Fort Worth from Lubbock, where she had been visiting her elderly great-uncle.

Hamlin said she also has navel and ear piercings and has never set off a metal detector or been singled out for additional screening at an airport.

She did not set off the metal detector at Lubbock International Airport, but was pulled to the side for additional screening, Allred said. A hand wand used by a TSA officer beeped when it was waved over her breasts.

Hamlin told the officer she had nipple piercings, Allred said, and that officer called over another officer, who told her she would need to remove them.

"Ms. Hamlin did not want to remove her nipple piercings," Allred said, reading from a letter she sent TSA. "After nipple rings are inserted, the skin can often heal around the piercing and the rings can be extremely difficult and painful to remove. In addition, once removed, the pierced skin may close up almost immediately, making it difficult and painful to reinsert the piercing."

More officers were called over, and the group grew to four male and two female TSA officers, according to Hamlin. Also, a small crowd of onlookers had started to gather. The officers insisted that Hamlin remove the nipple rings, Allred said.

"She felt humiliated by the scene that the TSA officers were making," Allred said.

"With tears streaming down her face, she again asked to show the piercings to a TSA officer instead of having to remove them. She was told, however, she would not be allowed to fly unless she removed them. Had she been told that she had a right to a pat-down, she would have chosen that option."

She eventually was taken to a private area behind a curtain to remove the piercings, Allred said. One came out easily, but the other would not, and she called to an officer that she was having trouble and would need pliers. She was handed a large pair, Allred said.

"As Ms. Hamlin struggled to remove the piercing, behind the curtain she could hear a growing number of predominately male TSA officers snickering in the background," Allred said in the letter.

"Mandi Hamlin was publicly humiliated. ... Clearly, this is not how passengers should be treated."

Here's the video, if you wanna see it.

Afterward, Hamlin underwent another scan, but realized she had forgotten to remove her navel ring. She offered to remove it, Allred said, but an officer told her it was not necessary because he could see it. Hamlin wondered why a similar visual inspection of her nipple rings would not have sufficed, Allred said.

"I wouldn't wish this experience upon anyone," Hamlin told reporters. "I felt surprised, embarrassed, humiliated and scared. No one deserves to go through this."

In a statement earlier Friday, the TSA said it "is well aware of terrorists' interest in hiding dangerous items in sensitive areas of the body. Therefore, we have a duty to the American public to resolve any alarm that we discover."

TSA included in its statement a picture of a prototype training device it will use to simulate a "bra bomb" in training and testing its officers.

Hamlin said she had to visit the person who originally pierced her nipples to get the rings reinserted, and said the process was excruciatingly painful because of the scar tissue that had formed.

"People who are pierced should not be snickered at, should not become the object of ridicule, should not be singled out for special and uneven and unequal treatment," Allred said. "They should be respected just like everybody else."

She said she had received a call from TSA's public affairs office Friday morning. "We hope that means they're going to jump on this and do something about it," she said. "We want TSA to do the right thing now. We're going to give them the opportunity."

Hamlin said she will continue to fly but will avoid the Lubbock airport. The next time she visits her great-uncle, she said, "I will be driving."


Ok, two things. First of all... pliers? OW.

And secondly, nipples not dangerous weapons?
Mine have stopped traffic. ;)



Friday, March 28, 2008

Other Random Phone Pictures From The Trip.

HERE is why I'm OCD.

Every single picture on the walls at my parents' house - LITERALLY, every one - is askew. It drove me fuckin crazy the entire week. This is the one that greets you as you walk through the front door. They've had this picture all my life, and I've always hated it. It gave me nightmares as a kid. It's ugly, it's dark, it matches absolutely nothing and the critters with the gigantic eyeballs freak me out even today.

And here's why I love my dad. He can fix anything with Duct Tape, even things that aren't really worth fixing. Never mind that the basket could be easily have been replaced for 75% off of $1.50 two days after Easter last year. No, no. We've got duct tape. It's fine.

Here's what I love about Texas. The shape of Texas is ubitquitous.

Plus, ya got cattle heads sticking out of buildings.

And, of course, Margaritas.

Here's me and my sister. The name Wee is a bit of a misnomer, as she's 6'2".

Wee and Bubba took us to dinner at Plucker's, where I got to try a Deep Fried Twinkie.

Think funnel cake. That's what it tastes like. Now ya know.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Your patience is appreciated.

NOTE: All photos were taken by my phone.

Last Sunday we got up at 5am and got to the airport by 6:30. Kids were crabby and tired, and R was stressing me out by sighing audibly as we stood in line after line. He practically sprinted from the parking lot to the shuttle and from security through the terminal to the gate, leaving me and the kids gasping for breath in his wake.

I relied heavily on my trusty sidekick Xanax when we flew. And I'm really quite proud to say that the only Xanax moments of the entire week were both on the airplane, prior to takeoff (hope that disappointment doesn't prevent you from reading the rest of this post). I had packed each Ape their own backpack with their own snacks and distractions to minimize the amount of time each would spend nagging me for stuff. And it went well, the kids were great on the plane, and my parents met us at the car rental place where we picked up a Chevy Uplander.

Lemme just say that after having been spoiled by my Sexy Minivan, the Uplander was a piece of CRAP. In fairness, I don't usually sit in the back seat of the Odyssexy, but the seats were uncomfortable and while from the outside the Uplander looks like it would be wider, it's not. I hated riding in that thing. So did the kids, packed shoulder-to-shoulder in the bench seat.

And the worst part is that my dad - whom I love like crazy despite his countless quirks - for some reason has it in his head that repeatedly pumping the brakes does less damage to them than applying them gradually and steadily. It's SOOOO annoying.

It feels like a whole bunch of little bitty whiplashes in rapid succession. Almost like you're dry heaving. Normally, something has to really piss me off before I'll mention it (despite all evidence to the contrary in this blog), and I let it go until Wednesday. We'll get there, just stay with me.

Ok, so my parents picked us up and we went straight from the airport to the St. Patrick's Day festivities on the Riverwalk. The Riverwalk is probably the biggest San Antonio tourist attraction apart from the Alamo. And so when I slipped and fell down the Riverwalk steps at Presa Street, the fact that it took place in front of a tour boat like this one (pic from two years ago) added insult to injury.

I totally fuckin bit it. And I'm sure with all those tourists and all their cameras, somebody had to get a picture of it. I may even show up on YouTube.

I'd been in town all of five fuckin minutes and I'd already made a complete ass of myself. And it HURT like bloody fuckin hell, too. And of course, then I had to walk all the way to the theater in La Villita in serious pain.

We watched the Irish dancers, walked around and looked at the shops, and went home. And at home we discovered that Southwest Airlines had destroyed not one, not two, but THREE of the four bags we checked. Fuckers.

Monday we went to visit my sister Wee and her husband Bubba in Austin. Wee had promised me a trip to Hill Country Weavers, which never materialized (Sorry Entrelac, Robincat, and Ceci), and in fact during the entire trip I spent about five minutes at Yarnivore, and that's all the yarn-luvvin I got. Sigh. But I digress.

We went to a thrift shop (where I got a Schlitz Malt Liquor t-shirt and a pair of kickass leather clogs) and a Half Price Books store, got dinner, and then my parents kept the kids at the hotel while R and I went to 6th Street with Bubba and Wee. It was great.

I drank a LOT. And I've decided that I really enjoy being drunk.

I'm a superfun drunk. I drunk dialed some people and probably professed my undying love for them, who knows? If I didn't drunk dial you and you'd like to receive a drunk dial from me the next time I'm sloppy, let me know and I'll add you to my Drunk Dial Rolodex.

We had a great time with Wee and Bubba. We'd never really gone out, just the four of us, and I don't know if I've talked about it much on here, but my sister and I have a kinda - I don't want to use the word strained, because that might imply that there was some specific reason why, but there's not - distant relationship.

We just have different lives. Hers is getting high pretty much every day. And if that's your thing, whatever, I'll never tell you it's wrong, you go right on ahead - it's just not my thing. But hanging out and remembering funny stuff from our childhood out loud together with our husbands was refreshing. Plus, I was fuckin trashed, so that was great.

Tuesday we got up (hangover-free, thank you very much) and went to the Bullock Museum of Texas History. That place was pretty interesting, but it would have been more enjoyable to me if I could have been free to study the exhibits without the kids darting around all over.

We went to a 3-D movie at the IMAX called Sea Monsters. That was kickass, but even more kickass was the preview we saw for U2 in 3D. AWESOME!!! It totally looked and felt like you were at the concert, right there in the crowd. And how hot is Bono? Come to think of it, the guy I dated right before I met R looked like The Edge. I wish R and I could have snuck out and seen that movie instead, but the Sea Monsters were cool and the kids liked it. After dinner and another Half Price Books store, we hit the road back to San Antonio.

Wednesday morning we got up and went to Fredericksburg, which used to be a cute little town, but is now a cheesy high-end tourist Mecca. There's a yarn shop there, but I didn't get to go there. We had a fantastic lunch, got chocolate croissants at my mom's favorite bakery, and then R and I stopped at this really fun general store, where I saw this:

Would you EVER, EVER buy unpackaged underwear from a bin in a General Store in Middleofnowhere, Texas? That display creeped me out so bad it made my skin crawl.

From there, we went to a place I'd heard about during the brief time I lived in San Antonio - Enchanted Rock. People used to talk about going there on dates, but of course Fred, the loser guy I was dating at the time, was a total chickenshit and said he'd never go there. I'll have to tell you all about him sometime. Fred's a chapter in my life that I'd just as soon forget, but I'm where I can look back and laugh now.

Anyway, about Enchanted Rock. It's this big giant rock. Elevation is like 1800 feet, I think. It's tough to climb, too, because it's like a dome and there aren't any places to really get a foothold. Coming down is worse, too. Beeb wore her stupid Crocs, despite my insistence that she wear something with more traction, so she, Tito and my parents didn't get very far. R, Pie and I continued. See the tiny little people in the background on the right? We're way up there!

I got pretty close to the summit, but I started feeling lightheaded and I couldn't feel my legs anymore. I was a little afraid I would fall to my death and it would wreck the whole vacation, so I stopped and waited for R and Pie.

My little Pie - who because of his birth defect has decreased lung capacity and almost no abdominal musculature, made it to the top with R. And he wasn't even breathing hard. He was so proud of himself! And R was so proud of him. I was too, but it made me feel like a total puss. The way I look at it, though, he has a lower center of gravity, so that's why he made it and I didn't. Yeah.

On the way home we stopped in Luckenbach, which is one of my favorite Texas attractions. It's a post office where they sell a bunch of Luckenbach paraphernalia. Really, that's it. So unpretentious. I love it.

After an entire day of winding Texas Hill Country backroads is when I finally mentioned to my dad that his brake-pumping, while it might be less wear and tear on the brakes (which I personally doubt, but for all I know he may be right), the wear and tear on his PASSENGERS might be something for him to consider.

Dad, seriously. I can feel my brain bumping against the inside of my skull.

Nope. He honestly thinks he's right. There's no talking to him. He pumps them all the time, not just when he's pulling into a parking space and tapping them about nine times before he finally puts it into PARK. Middle of the highway, no reason to slow down, doesn't matter - when you least expect it, it's like somebody kicks you in the spine. Over and over.

Dad, it's a RENTAL.

After that, we had dinner at another of my favorite Texas attractions - Rudy's BBQ. If you ever go to San Antonio, you simply MUST experience it.

I wanted to buy a big ass bottle of their awesome sauce to bring home, but after Southwest totally mangled three of our bags, I thought we'd go for the smaller size. Plus we got a meat rub. I giggle when I hear the words Meat Rub. Not as funny as Instant Diarrhea or Baby Jesus Buttplug, but it still cracks me up. I swear, sometimes I have the sense of humor of a 9-year-old boy. But you bitches love that about me and you know it.

Thursday we got up and, after a quick stop at Yarnivore to see if they had the kind of row marker I wanted (oooh, and one quick thing about Yarnivore - they have an actual penny karma dish by the register!!), we hopped on the road to Corpus. Why Corpus? Because the kids wanted to swim in the ocean. And they did.

Remember how much I love bridges?

The water was maybe 59 degrees. The air was maybe 65, and it was really windy. I wore a jacket and capri-length jeans, and I was freezing my proverbial balls off as I watched my idiot children frolicking in the waves.

I didn't want to wear my regular jeans to the beach because apparently I'm shorter than every other girl in the world with an ass the size of mine, so all the jeans that fit my ass are really long on me. I thought they'd get wet if I decided to dip my toes in the water (of course, when I got dressed that morning, I had no idea how ass-chillin cold that water would be), and I didn't want to ride home in wet jeans.

As it turned out, however, I wish I had opted for the longer jeans, because when I got home I discovered that I had gotten sunburned from ankle to just below mid-calf on both of my legs (which are normally a color associated with Elizabethan royalty), when I put shorts on, it looked like I was wearing pink socks with my Pink Crocs.

Note the scab on the knee from when I went arse over tit at the Riverwalk.

Hella Fuckin Sexy, y'all. I think I'm gonna go ahead and officially change my name to Hella F. Sexy. Gettin' it on my driver's license and everything.

So the kids rode back to the hotel from the beach in their swimsuits and got in the hotel's outdoor pool as soon as we got there. Their lips were blue when we went to Chik Fil A for dinner and to yet another Half Price Books. R and I watched a Kathy Griffin standup show on Bravo and went to sleep.

Friday morning after a breakfast you can only get in Texas,

we went into downtown Corpus Christi with the intention of touring the USS Lexington Aircraft Carrier. But when we saw that for R, the Apes and I to get on would have cost us $50, I opted to just wait on the beach with whichever Ape didn't want to go. They all chose to hang with R. Whatever, fine with me.

My hair was blowing in my face and it was pissing me off, so I decided to go see if I could find a ponytail holder in one of the Spring Break tourist trap shops within a beer-bottle's throw of the beach.

Here's the beach, and here's the front door of the store I went in.

I never went to Spring Break when I was younger. I never really wanted to, I couldn't afford to pay for it myself and I knew there was no way my parents would let me. And I think you know you're a grownup when you realize your parents were right about something.

This store had all kinds of things to make your Spring Break memorable. Cuz I'm sure you'll always remember the time you spent your bus fare on this sexy banner to hang off your balcony and score all kinds of hot chicks with low standards.

They had Corona beach towels for $60 and baseball caps for $30, Mardi Gras beads with plastic penises and pot leaves on them for $10, shot glasses, sunglasses, sandals and an entire wall covered floor to ceiling with bikinis. Really, what more do you need?

I do not now, nor have I ever, had a bikini-worthy body. If I did, I'd fuckin wear the Princess Leia Jabba's Palace bikini everywhere I went. While I looked at the Wall O' Bikinis, it did occur to me to try on the Texas Flag bikini and snap a pic of it in the dressing room, just to be funny, but then I thought of all the drunk skanks whose rotten twats had been in those bikinis before me and I thought better of it. Like R would believe I caught crabs from trying on a bikini in Corpus.

So eventually I found a pack of ponytail holders (for $5), put up my errant tresses and walked back to a bench on the beach. I hadn't been there but a few minutes when I was approached by an elderly man carrying a portfolio and wearing a nametag that said J.D. Byars.

Suddenly I was keenly aware of the fact that I was wearing a very low-cut top and the wind was blowing it open a little.

He sat down beside me and asked if I liked poetry.

Well, sure...

He handed me a small paperback book called Dusty Memories and offered to show me a poem he had written that won Best Poem In the World in 1987. He recited it from memory as I read along. And it really was a fantastic poem with beautiful imagery. I asked him what inspired him to write it. And he said he wrote it when he first joined the Navy four years before the beginning of World War II.

He was 16 when he enlisted, but he told them he was 17 so he could join. And then when the war started, he feared that if he were to die, he would leave nothing behind. At that time he wasn't married, had no children, just a brother who also enlisted. And he started writing poems just so the world would remember him when he was gone. That spoke to my heart.

So I sat with him for a while while he read me more of his poems. One, he told me, he had written from the perspective of a new recruit, which according to him depicted what goes through every new recruit's mind - the possibility that they could very well die. The poem he wrote is engraved on the wall of a marine training facility building in San Diego, and he was very proud of that.

I wished I'd had ten bucks on me to buy his book, not out of pity, but because I really liked what I'd read and I thought he was such an interesting person. He and I went on talking about his life. He'd made a decent living as a stand-up comedian in Vegas until Phyllis Diller's opening act called in sick and he was asked to replace him.

He killed. He did eight minutes of original material and the crowd went nuts. And afterwards, he went backstage thinking he'd get a pat on the back, and the theatre manager said, "Son, are you stupid? You NEVER be better than the boss!" So he got fired for being funnier than Phyllis Diller.

Right now he's 88, his wife of 61 years (Mamie) died four years ago, and he lives all alone. He bought the house next door to the one that he lives in so that his only son can be near him and not in an institution. His son is, as he put it, a mentally deranged, manic depressive paranoid schizophrenic who doesn't really speak to him at all. His son can't hold a job, can't maintain any sort of relationships, and this 88 year old man is taking care of him by peddling his book on the beach. He was so sweet and so surprisingly not sad, despite all the sad things he was telling me.

I said something to the effect of, "That must be really difficult, to have to take care of your son who doesn't even say thank you for all you do for him." And what he said in response, I swear, will stay with me forever.

He said, "Well, I always say, everybody's carryin' their own sack'a rocks."

I think he meant that everyone goes through life with their own personal burdens, and everyone's are different. And no matter how perfect you might think someone else's life is, they're carrying their own sack'a rocks too. No matter how different we think we are from one another, we've all got that in common. Nobody's life is without struggle.

My sack of rocks contains, among other things, the FIL from hell; my inability to manage money; and the fact that I'm too short for my own ass.

I'm making light of it, sure, but I thought it what he said was pithy and profound in its simplicity. I must have sat with him for close to an hour, during which time my mom and dad came up and listened to him too, and after he had walked away we all agreed that he was a absolutely fascinating person.

So now that I've told you about him, I'll give you the link to his YouTube clips. I was so happy to find this first one. The second is his standup, and it's kinda hard to hear, but if you've got 10 minutes, watch this first one. He reads the poems I refered to and explains them.

And if you're interested in his poetry, I found some of it online:

Check it out HERE.

So from the Lex we drove three hours back to San Antonio, and that night R and the kids and I went to visit our friends Joe and Arlene. Joe and Arlene have an absolutely adorable daughter named Jolene. R used to work for Joe. Joe's awesome. And Arlene's awesome too. And their little girl, sweet lord, cutest thing you ever saw.

Joe used to be a wild man. He had great stories. Now he's a dad. And his best story that night was about the time his Lincoln Navigator got keyed and he took it to his regular car guy, who he's been going to for the last several years, to get it fixed. The guy refused.

Joe said he told the guy he was going to pay him to fix it, and still the guy said he wasn't going to do it. Joe couldn't believe it, so he asked the guy why not.

Joe, he said, you're about to be a dad. And I think it's time you learned something:

Sometimes, ya just gotta live with yer shit broke.

Parenthood has changed Joe. In a good way.

I loved that story. And it was a great evening. We don't really do stuff with other couples much. We don't have many couple friends. The kids were well-behaved and polite and I was so proud. Really, the kids were awesome all week.

Saturday was a quiet day at home. Really, it was the only day we actually spent all of in San Antonio. R and I got our Taco Cabana fix, and we all went to North Star Mall, where I used to work. I worked at The Body Shop, Victoria's Secret, and The Gap while I lived there. I loved retail. Kinda sucked that I had a college degree and was making ten bucks an hour, but I met some reeeeally interesting people working retail.

My kids love their Crocs, and every year my parents get each of them a new pair. This time Beeb got some cute pink Mary Jane's, Pie got some clogs that were a really cool Sherwood Forest green, and Tito picked clogs that were BRIGHT FREAKIN YELLOW. Like, don't look directly at them, cornea-singeing yellow.

People were pointing and giggling as we walked by them. I thought it was hilarious. If anybody's going to wear bright yellow Crocs, it's a five-year-old little boy named Tito.

We spent most of the day packing and just chilling with the folks. Sunday we got up early and went to 8am Easter Mass, which was followed by breakfast and a pinata for the little kids. Then Wee and Bubba came over for brisket and a hard-core Egg Hunt for the Big Kids with $20 bills in the eggs. My parents are kickass.

So Sunday at about 2 we left for the airport, our plane scheduled to depart at 4:40. This time I told R straight out, I can only move as fast as the slowest Ape, so he wouldn't leave me in the dust. We got through check-in and security really quickly, and sat down to wait at the gate. Then came the announcement that our plane would be delayed an hour, which meant our connection in Houston was gonna be fucked.

As it turned out, they told us they'd hold the plane for us in Houston, if we promised to hurry. After we landed in Houston, R grabbed Tito like a football and ran like OJ, while I lugged three suitcases. We totally hauled ass a la The Amazing Race through Hobby Airport. Classic.

We finally made it into St. Louis at about 9pm. When we'd left Texas it was 75 degrees there. As the plane landed, we could see snowflakes flying over the wings. Welcome home.

I'll give you all a chance to catch up before I post what's happened in the few days since I started typing this. Because Monday was rather memorable too.

Monday, March 24, 2008

We're Back!

Just wanted to let you know that we're home from my parents' house and I'm in the process of trying to remember all the stuff I had made mental notes to write about.

Might be a while before I get the summary of our vacation posted, but it'll be worth the wait. Trust me.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

While I Wait For The Meds To Kick In.

Indulge me. I'm scatter-brained at the moment. Lots to talk about, none of it particularly relevant, just venting, really.

Overheard this morning, while Pie got on the 'puter and brought up our home page:


I had no idea he was such a Baracker. And it's interesting to me because I know he doesn't understand the socioeconomic implications of Universal Health Care or whatever issues separate the candidates, he only knows what he sees on TV, so that's his only basis for preferring one candidate over the other.

Hope he hasn't been influenced too much by the meeeeeedia or anything.

I try not to discuss my views with my kids. Really, I don't care who wins. I'm completely apathetic, politically. Nobody's really going to change America. The best they can hope for is to get it to suck less for a while.

Next, I'd like to call your attention to this article about the New Deadly Sins just because SO many of my loyal fans asked me if I'd seen it:

Here's an excerpt. Click HERE for the whole thing.

When it comes to trespasses, there will always a place for the classics -- pride, envy, anger, sloth, greed, gluttony and lust.

But there are some new sins in town, every bit as deadly, a Vatican official said Sunday in L'Osservatore Romano, the Holy See's daily newspaper.

The day-to-day world is fraught with the potentially pernicious, said Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, who heads the Apostolic Penitentiary, responsible for issues relating to the forgiveness of sins in Roman Catholicism.

Among modern misdeeds -- polluting the earth, flaunting obscene wealth, promoting social inequalities and injustice, creating poverty, genetic manipulation, morally dubious experimentation, and drug abuse.

Such sins don't just deserve a slap on the wrist, according to Girotti. Instead, they and others form part of a new list of mortal sins, for which eternal damnation is an assured reward.

Suddenly, an urge to recycle.

Like I have tiiiiiiiime, what with my going out of my way to eat meat on Lenten Fridays just to be an asshole. Now I'm gonna have to dump oil in a stream or something just to feel like an asshole. It's a full-time job, for sure. And I'll be honest, sometimes I find it quite rewarding.

Hey, would this count as Morally Dubious Experimentation?
This one's NSFW, FYI, OK? LOL.

If so, sign me up.

Next topic, you know what we haven't talked about yet? The latest round of Reality Shows.

This season of Idol has been incredibly entertaining. I may be in love with David Cook after he rocked out Lionel Ritchie (which sounds dirty, but isn't. Check it out.).

I loved it. And he sang Ellenor Rigby last night, which was equally impressive. Didn't give me the Phantom Letdown Reflex like Hello did, but it was really good. I also love David Archuletta. He's a dollbaby. And it's fun to say Chikezie.

Another random thought, today I drove up to the kids' school at 8am, at 11:30am, at 12:45pm, and I'll go back again at 4:30.

Tomorrow's my Mental Health Day, and I'm takin' it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Note To Self:

Dear Sarah,

Don't ever let your prescription get that low again.

Part of the reason why I wrote down all the shit I have to do this week is so I could remember it all. And I'm glad I wrote it all down because I almost forgot about Tito's screening today.

Last night I went to the PSR registration thing. In the interest of full disclosure, the cost was less than I expected. I thought it was $200 per kid because I'd only ever paid for Beebie. It's $170 per family, PLUS $60 per child for supplies or something. So that makes it $350 for three children. Now, I know it's not $600, but it might as well be, because I don't have $350 either.

In my experience - and I have LOADS of it, ya know - it never hurts to tell someone how little money you have, because if you make the right person just a little bit uncomfortable, it could very well work to your benefit. And I'm not going to say I made a Big Fat Scene, but I definitely made a lil bitty scene, and I was prepared to be an asshole if necessary.

If they had insisted that I shell out $350 right then and there, no negotiation, I would have said something to the effect of Fuck You Very Much and I would have walked out of there, never to return. But it didn't come to that.

When it was my turn to hand over my paperwork, I asked if there was any way the $350 could be broken down into two payments (see, I started out willing to compromise). I told her I could do it if I didn't have to pay it all at once, but $350 right now is the difference between eating for a month and not eating for a month.

I want to do it because I know it's important and everything, it just feels like we can't afford to be Catholic.

Notice I didn't necessarily say that it was important TO ME.

I continued talking, my goal being to get her to shut me up by telling me not to worry about it.

And last year I didn't send my son because he was in Kindergarten and I know it's optional to send Kindergarteners, but now I have two more kids and it doesn't make sense to send one son and not the other...

And the lady said she understood. She'd "make a note on [my] application and They'll get in touch with me." Sure, that's fine, I can live with that.

On my way out the door - and I was hoping to get out of there as quickly as possible - I was stopped by a woman that I can't decide if I like or not. Her name is Cold Bird, and the first few times I met her, she really really rubbed me the wrong way. R tried to help me see that she didn't mean to come across as abrasive or rude, it's just how she is, so I've tried to keep an open mind about her because I want to believe that she means well, but Cold Bird just basically intimidates the CRAP outta me.

She came up to me and asked how I was, asked which of my children she'd have in her class (she teaches the Kindergarten PSR class). Tito, I said. You get the baby. My big girl is going to be in Junior High... I can't believe it...

She intimidates me because she looks me right in the eye and just waits for me to stop talking. And I keep talking even after I've got nothing left to say simply because I don't want her to START talking. Then there's a creepy awkward pause. And it's just totally weird.

You could probably guess this about me, but when I'm nervous, I just start babbling. When I don't know what else to do, I'll just fill the air with my voice, like I'm in a comic strip and I'm trying to cover the frame with word balloons so I can hide behind them. It doesn't work in real life.

It's ok, Sarah. Breathe, she said.

The woman told me to BREATHE. Oh, and she also told me if The Church Nazi gives me a hard time about the money, to let her know. See? I can't decide if I like her or not.

Yeah, so anyway, I got my kids into PSR for free, at least for now.

And for today, I'm pretty sure all I had written down was Tito's kindergarten screening, but I wound up having to add a few things to today's list of tasks. I had to take my glasses to the eye doctor so I could get a new lens to replace the scratched one (still under warranty, woo hoo!), then I had to get my prescription.
R also had a prescription for me to pick up.

So when I got there, the girl found R's, no problem, but for some reason mine wasn't where it was supposed to be.

Here's my advice to all you pharmacists out there:


Seriously, for your own safety, don't tell a woman that her prescription isn't there until after you've checked to see what she's there to get. It'll behoove you to prepare yourself. Because MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR PATHETIC FUCKING SOUL if I come in there and you tell me you don't have my Xanax, sister.

I will jump over the counter and just start stuffing my face with whatever pills I can grab before I'm tazed by Security. I don't care if they're fuckin extra strength Super Colon Blow laxatives and I leave with my Power Panties full of foam, at that point, I came for drugs and fuck if I'm not gonna get some.

She found my Xanax, but not until after I had a lil bitty heart attack and almost had to make a lil bitty scene. And by the way, when you say the words, "lil bitty scene," it helps to use a Deep Southern accent and pretend to fan yourself. Try it. I'll wait.

Anyway, I swung by Blockbuster (y'know, since I hadn't been there in two whole days) and picked up No Country For Old Men because I have been dying to see it for months and Bee Movie because the kids are going to have to be home alone for an hour or so while I'm with Therapenny. It was kinda vital that I get in to see her before we go to Chez Inlaw and subsequently to Texas.

Stay tuned for the next lil bitty scene.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A glimpse into the future.

You know when you look at the upcoming week on the calendar and wonder how in the world you accumulated that much shit to do in a short amount of time?

Today I have to go to Summer PSR registration. This is what I like to refer to as Minimum Heaven Requirements. We don't go to church but maybe 3 or 4 times a year (just lazy), then we go to a couple of MANDATORY goofy PSR workshops throughout the year (where they take attendance so they can pass the info up to St. Peter at the Gates). There was, for example, a workshop on the ten billion Saints they pray to/through, but it didn't explain why they pray to/through them, which totally irked me. Then we send our kids to get all their churchin' done over two weeks in the summer.

It would be one thing if this didn't cost me anything. But it's like $200 a kid. Of course, the alternative is to send them to Catholic school, but A) it's even more expensive, B) there's a waiting list, and C) just on principle, I wouldn't send them there even if it was free. I don't think we can afford to be Catholic anymore.

I don't know if I've ever gotten into it much on here, but I grew up a minister's daughter. I never wanted to convert when R and I got married, but R insisted, mainly to prove to (guess who?) FIL that I was for real and not just some random skank that his son knocked up. And for all the fuckin good it did me, I might as well have just remained Some Random Skank in his mind forever.

Oh, just as a tangential funny, last night R was making his weekly phone call home and his dad was bitching for ten hours about his cell phone service. Then when I asked R what he and his dad talked about, R mentioned that FIL was in a dispute with his cellular provider. God have mercy on that cellular provider.

R said, "Yeah, Dad basically said that (insert name of cellular provider) has him by the, uh, short and..."

That's a visual I SOOOOOOO do not need.

Anyway, so I have to truck my ass to PSR Registration tonight and somehow round up $600 so all three of my kids can go to Heaven. Yeah, I'm bitter.

Then tomorrow the kids have School Pictures. I have to do some laundry today so I can figure out what they can wear. Then after I drop Pie off at school, I have to take Tito for a Kindergarten Screening. That should be interesting. He lives in Pie's shadow so much, I almost think of the two of them as a unit. Tito's not as good a reader as Pie, but Pie's an excellent reader for his age, and Tito's really an excellent reader for his age, too. It's just that because their ages are less than a year apart, it's hard not to compare them as peers.

Wednesday I have to send Tito to school with an Easter Basket and 16 plastic eggs, each labeled with the name of one of the children in this class. Oh, and here's another random funny that you might like -

The kids in Tito's class were learning about Easter, and about how Jesus was in the tomb and then he was gone. So his clever teachers did a project which involved wrapping crescent roll dough around a marshmallow and baking it in the oven. The idea was that after it was done baking, the kids would peek inside and the marshmallow would, of course, be gone.

So the teacher was showing the class how the marshmallow was gone from the middle of the dough, just like Jesus was gone from the tomb. And my brilliant little smartass Tito yelled,


traumatizing the entire Pre-K class. Is it wrong to be proud?
I thought it was fuckin hysterical. Kinda like "Oh my God, you killed Kenny! You BASTARDS!"

Anyway, Wednesday morning I have Beebie's parent/teacher conference at 11:30 and I couldn't swing it so I could get hers and Pie's close together, so I have to truck my ass back up there for Pie's at 4:30.

Thursday I have to take Pie to his last swimming class - oh, and by the way, he has to miss a week of his awesome camp this summer. Why? Summer PSR.

Friday the kids are off school and R took the day off of work so we could go out to Chez Inlaw for the afternoon. The kids are looking forward to playing with their Wii, but R hasn't told them that it won't be opertaional when we go out there. FIL bought himself a big fat gigantic new TV and it's not hooked up yet. That means we might actually have to engage in conversation, and neither the Aldis nor the Lexi will be there for backup. FUCK FUCK FUCK.
God, I hope there's liquor.

The upside is that I will have been to the parent/teacher conferences by the time we go out there, and I'll be able to talk about whatever awesome things they're doing in school. The Aldi's won't be there, so it won't be nearly as much fun as telling them what geniuses my kids are while Aldigirl eats paste, but I take comfort in knowing that FIL will certainly pass the info along to them.

Saturday I have to take Tito to a birthday party, then I have to remember where I packed all of our summer clothes, because on Sunday we're leaving to spend a week in San Antonio with my parents.

I'm picking up my Xanax refill this evening.

It should be all right, it's gotten easier as the kids have gotten older. And this time, unlike last time, R will be coming too. I'm so glad. He and I could use some relaxing time together. One of the days I think we're going to Austin - so if you're in Austin and want to say hello to me, R and the Apes, let me know. And I think we'll go to Fredericksburg and maybe even the thriving metropolis of Leukenbach. I keep saying I'll get a t-shirt from there and the last time they didn't have the one I wanted in my size.

But then, maybe after a few days at my parents' house with no snacks, nothing but low fat, low carb, low calorie in the whole place I'll drop a few. I swear to God, a week at my parents' house is like Fat Camp.

I won't be able to make a trip to Yarntopia this time, and I'm quite bummed out about that, but my mom did say she'd take me to one of the shops in Austin and I know there's another one in Fredericksburg, so my vacation won't be completely devoid of yarny goodness. Plus there's Yarn Barn in San Antonio and another shop that was about to open the last time I was there. I forget the name of it. I'll have to check that one out too. If I have to go to the World War II museums with R and my dad, they're coming with me for SEX at the LYS.

Oh, Sweet Christ, that's a visual NOBODY needed.

I'm sorry.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

And Ya Wanna Know The REAL Irony?

Not only do I have Three-Out-At-A-Time Unlimited through the mail with Blockbuster Online, but I also have One-Out-At-A-Time Unlimited through Netflix as a back-up.

I'd actually... kinda... totally forgotten about that.

Anyway, as a pubic service (I meant to type Public but I decided Pubic was funnier), if you're snowed in, too, here's some fun stuff you and the kiddos can watch safely from home:

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

More Cameraphone Photojournalism.

Well, I'm glad to say that I didn't have to dodge any flaming carnage on my way to Blockbuster, but dude, that was STOOPID. The roads were HORRIBLE.

The whole time I was slipping side to side and unable to brake, I kept thinking, R will absolutely kill me in my fuckin sleep if I wreck the Sexy Minivan for Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. The kids liked the movie, so that's something, I suppose, but was it worth risking life and limb?

Um, probably not.

Where's the road??? Doesn't matter. I gotta get movies.

Oh, look, there's the road!!

Sarah, you are an eeeeeediot.

Here's what the road looked like after I got back from Blockbuster, an hour after I left. And this was before it even got really bad. At this point there was maybe 3 inches on the ground. We got a total of 10 inches. Which sounds kinda sexy, I know, but trust me, it ain't.

Cuz here is how I spent the afternoon:

I don't know if I could possibly feel less sexy than I do right now.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

And, Yet Another Quiz Nails Me.
Pun Intended.

The "Let's Make a Porno Movie" Quiz.

Your Score:
Bangs of Chicago

Real Type A here, perfect and creative, all brains but no heart. The kind of person that make the bedroom look incredible, then has no idea what to do with it. Martha Stewart anyone?

Link: The Let's Make a Porno Movie Test written by gobbo1 on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
View My Profile(gobbo1)

Speaking of movies, it's another snow day in St. Louis. That means if I want to get any knitting done (and hel-LO, what else would ya do on a snow day?) I need to get something to occupy the Apes.

Tell me if I'm alone in this - I don't care if the School District decides that weather conditions are dangerous enough that they will cancel school in the interest of public safety. If my kids and I are going to be stuck at home, I will brave ANY weather conditions to haul my ass to Blockbuster.

I will dodge mushroom clouds, charred bloody carnage, body parts falling from the sky if I have to.

Oh, and if you're going there too, get Death At A Funeral.
Not for the kiddos, though. That's for YOU.

Now all I have to do is keep everyone from killing each other until 10am. Yeah, I'll gladly take burnt, bloody random carnage falling from the sky over a bunch of Ape shit on my living room floor.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Drama In The Classroom. And In The SWAMP!!!

In my 5th Grade Daughter's Take-Home Folder -

Dear Parents,

As part of the District's Elementary Health Curriculum, we will be presenting a unit on Human Growth and Development. This unit will be addressed through a video and classroom discussion. Classes will take place on Tuesday, March 25th.

Topics which will be discussed include:
4th Grade Boys
*Personal Care

5th Grade Boys
*Personal Care
*Male Stages of development
*Male Reproductive Anatomy

4th & 5th Grade Girls
*Personal Care
*Female Stages of Development
*Female Reproductive Anatomy

Boys and girls are separated for the instruction. Fourth grade students will receive one, thirty-minute session. Fifth grade students will be provided with one, forty-five minute session.

A parent video preview session and informational meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 11. This meeting is to provide parents with the opportunity to become familiar with the material to be presented and to ask questions.

Before a child will be allowed to attend the session on Human Growth and Development, a parent must grant permission. Those not attending these classes will complete an alternate health assignment.

Can you even imagine my irreverent ass watching that video with the other parents? I'd get a fit of the Highly Inappropriate Silent Giggles and be asked to leave. I'm cracking up even as I'm typing this now.

I'm really not too worried about Beeb in Sex Ed. I think Beeb's got a pretty good grasp on the concept. What with all the naps we've been taking... ;)

I kinda wonder what the alternate assignment is.

In other news, Beebie has been teaching Pie to ride a bike! I'm proud of her for being a patient, encouraging teacher and of him for being persistent.

And last week the mom of a little girl in Pie's class - sweet little girl, cuter'n a bug's ear - called to ask if I was willing to help out with the class party Friday afternoon. I didn't want to say, "Well, I'll come, but only if you promise me The Swamp Thing isn't going to be there."

Ok, I DID want to say it, and I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be that big a deal because the last time I was over at The Swamp, I didn't write about it, but she told me this HUGE, long story about how she offered to help with the winter party last semester and how pissed she was afterwards. I think that's a story worth telling, actually, but, as you may recall, at the time I was too pissed to even get into it. Hang on, I'll get to it in a second.

I wanted to say that, because I really didn't want to help out at the party. But I don't want to spend one fucking minute in the presence of that woman probably wouldn't have been a valid excuse, so I pulled the other one I usually use.

"Oh, I would, but I've got a younger son and I'd have to bring him with me, and y'know..."

It usually works. It's gotten me out of more obligations than I can count. This time, though, it didn't. But it was fine because the Room Mom very sweetly and enthusiastically said, "Oh, sure, it's absolutely fine if you bring him! Younger siblings are no problem!" That was cool. And Tito had a great time.

Ok, so the story -

I don't remember all of it, because honestly, I tune into her voice just enough to know when I need to say "uh-huh... yeah..." or "you're kidding" or whatever. But she told me that she had contributed monetarily to the Winter Party, as all parents are asked to do. We were asked to donate $3 per child. Well, apparently she sent a $5 bill and, guess what?

The bitch didn't get her change.

She emailed the teacher asking if the extra she paid could be applied to the next party, so next time she'd only have to pay a dollar. Didn't hear back. Followed up and eventually the teacher told her that the contributions went into a "fund" of sorts, and the room mothers applied whatever was in the fund to the party, usually winding up paying at least a little bit out of pocket. That's the risk you take when you sign up to be a Room Mom.

How'd I learn that? Not by being a Room Mom, but by being the dummy in the Daisy Troop Puppet Regime. Yeah, I didn't have access to the troop's bank account. Clever, right? I don't even know how much I paid out of pocket for that shit.

Anyway, Swamp Thing expressed disbelief that a party for 22 kids could cost THAT much money. Lemme tell ya, friends - Three bucks a head for a party that includes snacks, activities and goodie bags is a STEAL. I had six kids at Pie's party (two of them mine), and granted, I went for an exotic theme and I could have gone cheaper, but I paid $50 for just the invitations, cups, treat bags, tablecloth and snotty pinata. I made my own kitty litter cake and dirt cups. Hope you caught the pics a few posts ago.

Then she hypothesized out loud about the injustice being a result of some crooked dealings amongst the ranks of the Room Moms. I've met the Room Moms. They all seem pretty cool on the surface. A couple of them didn't think my sarcastic remarks were all that funny, but fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, right? My favorite moms are John's mom and the Cuter'n a Bug's Ear Girl's mom. They're the coolest. Next to me, of course.

Swampy went on to talk about how before she sent in her fin, she was asked if she wanted to "help out" with the games. She's an artist, as I've mentioned. And a good one. She offered to make a snowman for some sort of game like a ring toss or something. I never saw the finished snowman, but according to her, she put a lot of work into it. And I'm not saying she didn't. I have no idea. Oh, PLUS, she paid for the posterboard herself.

She wanted it back after the party. She didn't tell anyone she did, but she assumed it would be returned to her.

It was made of posterboard.

So she swore she wouldn't be a part of any more parties. And I vaguely remember her saying that, after I remembered that story, but I didn't remember it until after I spent Friday morning with my stomach in fucking knots thinking, Please God, please drop something heavy on her from the sky. Please give her kids some bizarre unexplainable rash that warrants a trip to the ER. Anything, God. Really, anything. Just please don't let her be there. I can't fucking take it. Seriously, I can't.

And I totally almost - Yeah, totally almost, like that? I write like I talk. - had fucking instant diarrhea when I saw a red Sienna amongst the other Suburban Assault Vehicles in the parking lot. But then I saw about fifty other red Siennas and thought Maybe, just maybe, I'm okay. I spent the first twenty minutes of the party in a cold fucking sweat looking over my shoulder, but, true to her word, she wasn't there. Dodged a fuckin bullet, I did.

And I know what you're thinking. I know.

She's petty, she's paranoid, she's obsessive, she holds ridiculous grudges, she's neurotic, self-centered, loud, obnoxious and exhausting.


How are we not friends?

Oh, yeah.


Saturday, March 01, 2008

I love it when quizzes nail me.

I'm a sexy muthahfuggah.

Your Score: Sirius Black

Don't fight is who you are!

Wahey, you are the notorious Sirius Black. You can be reckless, fool-hardy, and very cruel but you are also clever without trying and will always protect the ones you love. Plus, you are a natural with the ladies, oh yeh.

Link: The Mega Harry Potter Character Test written by lucky_dip on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
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