13 July 2006

Princess Grace

If you read this blog regularly, you know some stuff about me: I am goofy about my dog; I am childless and a crazy single spinster by choice; I have two jobs, one of which is not that much fun but pays the bills and the other that is Too Much Fun and doesn't.

What you may have failed to realize from my writing is that I am the perfect picture of poise and grace. I know, it is hard to convey such a thing in this medium, but trust me - I am a lovely combination of Audrey Hepburn and Miss Manners, with maybe a touch of Princess Diana thrown in (the AIDS-baby hugging Princess Di, not the late-night anorexic party slut Princess Di).

Here is a perfect example: I was leaving work today and I was hungry, due to my failure to make a decent lunch for myself. I had a bag of the highly addictive Trader Joe's Banana Crisps in my car and decided to open them as I left the parking lot.

The package was one of those tough little bitches to open. Impossible to tear. But I was hungry and couldn't wait. I needed an implement. In my 100 degree car, I grabbed the nearest sharp and pointy thing - a blue pen. I took off the cap and stabbed it into the plastic bag, thus releasing an arc of hot blue ink spray all over the immediate area (including my neck, as I discovered later in the bathroom at the restaurant where I had gone with my family for dinner).

I looked for something to mop up the ink with. I had just cleaned all of the wadded up tissues out of my purse a few hours earlier, and had been feeling quite tidy and virtuous. I searched around the car, but all I could find was an Always Extra Long Maxi-Pad with wings. What the hell. You gotta work with what you have.

I opened it and mopped up all the blue spots I could find. Then I looked down at the pad in my hand. I realized that I had unwittingly re-created the wet pad they always show you commercials - the one that always causes me to ask "Do they really think women leak blue window washing fluid?"

Yes, dear readers. Class and elegance, that is how I shall ever be remembered.

Am I going to pimp Linkateria every single day? Why, yes I am. Because it is full of great stuff, that's why. And today it is especially hilarious.

12 July 2006

The agony and the ecstasy

It has been a weird couple days around Red Stapler.

First, Rachel Mosteller mentions me on Blogging Baby on Monday and my stats blow up like Melanie Griffith's lips (baaad photo!). Behold the mighty power of Blogging Baby!

I had a moment of pride and hubris until I checked another stat: visit length. 91 percent of visitors stayed LESS THAN FIVE SECONDS. It might have been because the Blogging Baby link was just to my blog, and the post to which Rachel was referring was an older one than the one on the landing page.

But five seconds. THAT will teach me to think I am interesting in any way. One line and they're out. Gone. Buh-bye, Red Stapler, you boring old hack. Die, blogger, die.

Then I take up Queen of Spain's Write Something Important Challenge. I wrote a post about why I have never had kids after I had consumed 2 (rather large) gin and tonics. Then I went to bed. I woke up thinking for sure everyone would hate me, but instead marvelled at the kind and supportive comments I got.

So now I am forced to take drastic measures. I am going to say every offensive thing I can think of about your kids so you can really hate me. You can play along if you would like:

1. Sure you think he's cute. Every parent thinks their child is cute.
2. I have never had kids, but I am sure mine would turn out better than that.
3. Does she always act up like this?
4. My friend Carla is a wonderful mother. Maybe she could give you some advice.
5. I have heard of a great book on parenting. I'll pick you up a copy.
6. Do you really let him go out looking like that?
7. I think that whole ADD/learning disability/Aspberger's thing is a myth. Back in the day, kids didn't get those things.
8. You're getting boring with all this kid talk. Don't you ever think about anything else?
9. Can't you control him?
10. With the way they are acting, I'll bet you wish you never had kids.
11. I can't believe you are going to have another one.
12. I can't believe you are going to have another one when you: are so young/are so old/will be having it so close to the other one/will be having it so many years after the last one/have so little money/have a career that is going so well/just got back to work.
13. Do you really think those fertility treatments are worth it?
14. Is he getting a little chunky?
15. I guess they don't know about using indoor voices.

Ok, that is enough for now. I will try harder to piss you off tomorrow.

Linkateria today: a good, detailed birth story, Fluid Pudding, tiny undies and other wonders.

11 July 2006

Don't make me do this

Queen of Spain has challenged us to write about Something Important before BlogHer.
I challenge all of you Mommybloggers to use that power sometime before blogher to post something BIG on your blog. Write about postpartum. Write about child abuse. Write about adoption. Write about abortion. Write something other than those "bubblegum" posts. Just once. OR, write a bubblegum post you know will mean something to some other mom out there.
Of course, in that quote she is addressing MommyBloggers, so I don't even know if I qualify. So many mommyblogger venues, so few childless bitch sites.

My blogroll is mostly MomBloggers. I ended up reading so many MomBloggers by accident. I like to read women's writing and, well, most women are moms. Momhood gives women something definite to focus on and to write about.

But like I said, I am childless by choice. "Childfree," some people say, but that sounds a little too maxi-paddish and cutesy for me. So how can I write about issues around motherhood and children?

I guess I can write about my lack of children and how the whole having children thing baffles me.

I never wanted kids, not for a minute. The need just never arose. People say they look at pictures of babies and their hearts just melt. Not me. Sorry to disappoint, but babies are not cute to me. Sometimes specific photos of kids doing specific things are cute. But for the most part, children scare the crap out of me. They are so small and fragile and unpredictable. They require so much...watching. It makes me weary to think of it. I don't think I have it in me.

I try to tiptoe around it with friends who are parents, because obviously I am missing some crucial puzzle-piece in my soul that just snaps into place for those who want children. I don't want parents to think I am judging them, but I have absolutely no context for understanding why people want kids. The parent thing seems crazy to me, like taking up crack or something. When I hear of people going through fertility treatments, the first thought in my mind is "Dear God, why?"

I always find it a little hilarious and dismaying when people feel sorry for me because I DON'T have kids. To me, that would be like feeling sorry for me because I never got skin cancer. (I can hear the trolls marching now: "Precious kids are NOT equivalent to a deadly melanoma!" Yeah yeah. Ok, it would be more like I would be the skin cancer of a mother and the kids would be the ones suffering. Enough bad analogy. Down, trolls, down).

My Mexican "mom" Gloria told me, when I was 43, "You still have time to have one!" Given my limited Spanish skills and my lack of cultural context, I couldn't even begin to refute that. I would just sort of toss my hands up as if I was leaving the decision to God.

Which I never did. I have probably singlehandedly kept the Ortho corporation afloat with my lifelong support of their birth control products. Only a series of stubborn OB-GYNs and a lack of insurance coverage kept me from getting my tubes tied. And I was good at contraception, I must say. Zero unplanned pregnancies. I may be a dyed-in-the-wool Jezebel, but getting pregnant was not among my sins.

I don't really know what I am getting at. Other than to say that I am glad I don't have kids, and I have no idea why you like yours so much, but I hope we can still be friends somehow.

When you moan "My friends who aren't parents just don't understand!" it is me who you are referring to.

Maybe what I am wondering is: Is it ok for me not to GET what the whole kid thing is all about? Is there a "Why children are cool for dummies" book I can read?

Crap. It is bedtime and I don't think I have fulfilled Queen of Spain's assignment at all.

10 July 2006


It is 9:45 and I should go to bed because I get up at 5:15 a.m.

But it only got good and dark about 45 minutes ago and that doesn't seem like it is enough time between night and sleep.

I want summer vacation again. Not a week. The whole summer.

It doesn't seem quite fair. They give you summer vacation for all your formative years, only to yank the rug out from under you when you become an adult.

I want to yell "But I wasn't raised like this!"

Today on Linkateria: Funny spam subject lines, the DaVinci code explained (almost) and a bit of political enlightenment.

09 July 2006

Weekend update

Note: names have been changed to protect the rightfully nervous

I got a phone message Saturday.

"Hey, Suebob, it's Ken. Wow, a lot has happened since I saw you in March. Call me. I have a new number because we had a murderous psychopath living next door so we had to move out of state."

Huh? THAT's not the type of message you get every day. I called him right away and we ended up talking for over an hour.

Here's the story: Ken, his wife Leila and their 2 young (under 5) children lived in a rural area where they could have chickens and ducks and goats and fruit trees. Living the good life, back-to-the-land style.

They had a neighbor, Dan, who seemed a little odd, but he and Ken worked on a few projects around the place together. Dan admitted to Ken that he had had some mental health issues, but they were controlled by medication and he was seeing a doctor.

As time went by, Dan began to talk paranoid crazy talk, saying that someone in town was out to get him. In fact, she was trying to poison him.

Ken asked Dan if he was still taking his meds and seeing the doctor. Dan said yes.

The weeks passed and Dan got more and more paranoid, saying that other neighbors were ganging up and trying to poison him, and that he thought that maybe he should kill them before they killed him.

What? Huh? Ken began to realize that this was a serious situation. He called mental health to see if there was anything he could do to prevent Dan from going on a killing spree. They brought Dan into a hospital for three days, then released him. When he got out, he was even worse and now he had transferred his paranoid thoughts onto Ken and Leila, saying that they were trying to poison him and control his mind.

Ken got in touch with the police. He found out something about Dan that made his blood turn to ice. About 15 years before, Dan had taken his wife and kids out onto a country road and murdered his wife in front of the children. He had thought she was trying to poison him.

He spent more than 10 years in a state mental health facility, then was released. No probation, no parole, no supervision. Just released.

Ken hired a lawyer and got a restraining order against Dan. He said the courtroom scene was surreal, with Dan saying "But I don't have anyone! I'm a widower!" Let us remember that he was a widower because he had shot his wife to death.

Ken also contacted mental health again. They suggested that he get a firearm to protect his family. THAT was the advice they gave him - basically kill him before he kills you.

Ken tracked down the police detective who had arrested Dan when he killed his wife. The detective wanted to help and asked if Ken had any evidence that Dan was engaged in illegal activities. Ken knew Dan sold drugs and told the officer that.

The police raided Dan's house. They found a bunch of meth - including some lined out on a mirror - and a whole bunch of pot. Apparently Dan was not only off his meds, he was high on meth and it was playing into his paranoia.

The police took him into custody. At the bail hearing, Dan's court-appointed attorney argued that he be released on his own recognizance. Ken went to court and gave the judge a long letter stating all that had happened and the judge, bless him, set the bail very high so Dan could not get out before his trial.

When Ken got home, he looked at Leila and she looked at him. Dan was in jail, but they knew someday he would get out and he thought that the two of them were his worst enemies. They had 2 little kids sleeping in the next room. They searched around, found jobs in another state, and packed up their stuff. Far from their friends, far from their families, but safer.

While they were in the moving process, Dan's brother came to clean out his house because he had been evicted. He told Ken that Dan had mentioned Ken to him, and that Dan said he sometimes sat in his chair with a gun and stared at Ken as Ken moved around inside his home. The brother showed Ken the gun that Dan had in his house.

"I realized," Ken said, "That I was probably almost dead."

So that's the story. That's our system, I guess. Something inside me thinks that once you shoot your wife, you should be locked up forever, no matter how little you can understand your crime because you are mentally ill. There has to be a better way to keep people safe - both safe from being hurt and safe from hurting others.


In other, more trivial news - it is day 9 of fourth of July here, since it started about the first. The dog, she is not eating, drinking, or going outside. I am ready to go scream at some stupid ass neighbors, thus cementing my status as a beloved member of our little community.

And I know my birthday was the other day, but I am getting younger. I can prove it by the red, pencil-eraser sized zit underneath my left nostril. I haven't looked this good since high school!


Check out Linkateria for lots o' link fun.

Summertime fruit drinkies

Update: I just added a hilarious link to a radio host hanging up on Ann Coulter to Linkateria.

I used to blog a lot about food over at Snackish but have been horribly lazy lately. I plan on getting back into it, after I turn my weedy yard into a garden paradise, detail my car and get my wardrobe in order. Right.

Here's a quick Mexican summer recipe for using up fruit that has gotten too ripe for anything else, or for that last bit of watermelon that is cluttering up the fridge...Most Mexicans hate to waste anything. They are good that way.

You can use any fruit, but classics include watermelon and canteloupe.

Aguas Frescas
2 cups fruit
6 cups water
1/2 cup sugar or to taste, or Splenda if there is something terribly wrong with your head

Puree 1 cup fruit with 2 cups water in the blender. Dump in a pitcher or big jar. Repeat. Add the last 2 cups of water and the sugar, stir until sugar dissolves and taste. Add more sugar in you need to. Chill. Pour over ice in tall glasses. Yum.

Agua de tuna y naranja
This is an agua fresca I made of tunas - cactus fruit - and orange juice. Pretty!
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