In Which The Dog and I Discuss the New Pope


Yay! I am honored to be a guest contributor to Long Awkward Pause today. Check it out, and while you’re there, feel free to poke around some. :D

Originally posted on Long Awkward Pause:

I had a conversation with the dog today.  We were talking about the new pope.  For the first time ever, I am actually not only aware of the Pope’s activities, but I am also finding I actually kinda like this Pope.  I tried to explain this to Malachi, but it turns out, he’s not a very adept conversationalist.

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Things Said in Homes with Small Children: Halloween Edition (1)

Tonight we carved our pumpkins.

Hubby had cleaned the insides of both pumpkins while I ran to the store for the batteries.  When I got home, we took turns helping five year old J with her pumpkin, which has patterns like a regular pumpkin, but instead of carving, involves poking a series of colored plastic pegs in the holes of a pattern, the light source being a fake candle that runs on a nine volt battery.  The end result is something that looks like a giant pumpkin-shaped lite brite showing whatever pattern you chose.

lite-brite-installation2After he took over helping her, I went about carving my own pumpkin in the traditional way… You know, plastic sppons and itty bitty saws… I swear I almost ended up needing stitches several times, and wondered exactly how many people per year have Halloween carving disasters.

As they were finishing up J’s lite brite pumpkin, I was doing the final touches on mine, including cleaning some extra mess out of the center.  When I am “arting” (as with my writing) I am usually intensely focused.  I didn’t care that I was getting pumpkin all over the place.

And since part of hubby and my relationship involves regularly taking the piss out of each other  (we celebrated six years married yesterday, so it must be an effective means of bonding,) hubby offered his wise ass opinion.

Him:  “I cleaned two whole pumpkins out and didn’t make that much of a mess.”

Me: ” What, do you want a fucking cookie?  Go in the kitchen and get you one.”

At which point my five year old daughter pipes up  “I want a fucking cookie!”


We really weren’t much good scolding her because we were both laughing too much.  And I think Mommy will be getting punished tonight.  But if that’s the worst thing she hears, I think she’ll be alright.  I’m 34 years old, and I don’t much believe in “watching my mouth” around my own kid.  I’ve earned the right to swear.  One day she’ll earn hers.  (“When I grow up, I can say ‘dammit’ ?”)
Yeah, dude.  But not until then.

I Need Feminism Because…Insurance Companies

There seems to be those who still doubt that there is a “war on women” in this country, even in the midst of the Republican’s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.  I have discussed and subsequently argued with friends who don’t believe sexism exists and don’t think they should have to pay for women’s health care.  Let me first note the irony in how the first statement is contradicted by the second.  I already addressed the second issue in a previous post specific to Planned Parenthood.

Now let me offer you some anecdotal evidence about the first statement.  Sexism exists.  It’s even institutionalized…which is likely a direct result of lobbyists for insurance companies and the effect they have on legislation politicians attempt to pass.

Fair warning: the following contains mentions of “lady parts” and women’s health.  If you can’t handle that…you’re too much of a sissy to be on this blog and especially not this post.

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Umpqua: The Mental Illness Panacea as it Relates to Gun Violence

In the wake of another school shooting, people are choosing their badnwagons of blame and as usual, the top two contenders are “gun control” and “mental illness.”

To add some spice, this time, there is the added element of the possibility that the shooter targeted Christians that has the small but vocal segment of the Christian population already on the “persecution” bandwagon practically frothing at the mouth.  But as much as they bug me, today I want to (once again) address the idea of mental illness as the “cause” of this scourge of school violence. Initially, I was going to let my last article speak for my feelings about this subject.  After all, it is very emotionally exhausting thinking about this kind of heavy stuff.  I’m sure you know what I mean.  Being inundated with awful news all the time takes its toll on a person.  But in the comments and discussion (hee hee…”discussion”) section of an article this morning, I came across some comments I felt needed engaging. (Sadly, this happens to me way too much and sometimes I should “engage” less with some of the more cretinous on the internet.)  But these comments weren’t too awful.

To begin with, I really recommend the article  to which I refer to…well, anyone.  It is a well thought out and informative view on the buzz word of “mental illness” in regards to gun violence.

One comment on the above article was actually valid and the others were typical ignorant (as in, underinformed) opinions from people who likely have never experienced real mental illness.

One commenter, claiming to be a retired mental health director, takes issue with the semantics of the article’s claim that “the mentally ill are 60 to 120 percent more likely than the average person to be the victims of violent crime rather than the perpetrators.”

His main point: There is not “The Mentally Ill.”  He states:

We are a diverse demographic, no broad statements can be
made about us.

We earn to the millions, hold every university degree, and
every professional, white, and blue collar job.

I agree. There is no “the” mentally ill, because speaking strictly using the DSM criteria, people with eating disorders would be categorized as “mentally ill” along with a host of other people suffering from afflictions that would have NO causative connection with violence. I myself am “mentally ill,” having suffered with OCD since I was a young child. There seems to be some misconception that because someone shoots up a place or kills someone else, they “MUST be mentally ill.” While I understand the desire to believe there is some answer or some easy way to detect and thus avert crimes like the Oregon school shooting or Newtown, it is a disservice to mentally ill people everywhere.

In a study of crimes committed by people with serious mental disorders, only 7.5 percent were directly related to symptoms of mental illness, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Furthermore the idea that it’s a simple correlation of mental illness ——> gun violence ignores the very big social component to these crimes and the reality that it doesn’t always take much for a “responsible gun owner” to become a criminal. It’s not black and white. The fact that an abused woman is five times more likely to be killed by her abuser if he owns a gun seems to support the idea that you can’t always tell by screening who would or would not become a murderer.  (To stave off the argument that domestic abusers already are criminals, do you think a psych exam or questionnaire could suss that out with enough accuracy to prevent murders or family annihilation?)
As I mentioned to the commenter, I do find the statement in the original article, “gun-owning, angry, paranoid white men,” to be very telling, because these “type” of people seem to be the ones screaming most loudly, to media and anyone else who will listen, for their “gun rights.”  So either facts don’t work in their favor here or the idea that you can predict who will be a mass shooter by a “type” is flawed.  You decide.

Moving on…

Next come the typical comments from ignorant people about medication for mental illness.  They run the gamut from suggesting that people who are mentally ill don’t really “need” medicine to the idea that maybe some kids just need a stern talking to from Daddy or the church pastor.

Well, yes…but that has nothing to do with mental illness.  We’re not talking about under-disciplined little shits who need a whooping or time out.  Although those type of self-indulgent, spoiled, and understimulated kids could conceiveably grow up to be disgruntled or angry adults.

Then there is the more ridiculous idea that drugs typically prescribed for many types of mental illness can actual cause a change in personality sufficient to cause a mass murder spree…

I’ll wait here until you stop laughing…

It’s ridiculous.  For one thing, refer to the above APA findings-  7.5 percent.

Secondly, while I am sure that overmedication has become an issue in our society, and many people think they suffer from any number of physical or mental maladies  (gluten free Prozac for everyone!) there are REAL people out there with these conditions, who are helped by medicines. I myself have suffered with OCD since childhood. Real OCD, not the , “ohh, I like things super clean at my house” self-diagnosed type.

One commenter mentioned that too much in psychiatric treatment with medication is trial and error.  To an extent, I’d give him that.  For instance, after years of trying different meds for efficacy, reduction of side effects, or safety during pregnancy, I have finally come upon one that works for me. When I speak to others with anxiety issues (because OCD is classified as an anxiety disorder) they often tell me they tried the med I am on and didn’t like it or it didn’t work.

Okay, but to address his idea of people as guinea pigs for psychotrophic drugs, let’s put this in perspective.  All people can’t tolerate all anti-biotics or all pain relievers.  People have different chemistries and sensitivities and doctors can’t always say why.  But you’d still likely take meds your family doctor gives you for a physical issue.  Is he using you as a guinea pig? The same idea goes for people needing psychotrophic drugs; different drugs affect people differently.
A commenter questioned the validity of the “theory” of chemical imbalance.  That actually has been proven, but even before there was quantifiable data to support the idea of the chemical imbalance, the theory was essentially proved, ipso facto that SSRIs work for depression and anxiety. SSRI’s are not your gran-mammas little helpers of yesteryear. They aren’t opiods, benzodiazapines, or anti-manics, so they don’t just “blunt” peoples’ moods or make their feelings tolerable; SSRI’s modify the re-uptake of neurotransmitters.

You would not tell a diabetic to go get a good stern talk from their Daddy because it wouldn’t help. Likewise, I never could “pray away” my anxiety and obsessions.  But these common misconceptions add to the stigma of mental illness in today’s society.

To conclude, aside from media coverage turning a killer into a celebrity and giving any disgruntled jerk with a gun a platform, there is no consistent answer for shootings like Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Newtown, the SC church shooter.  The details of the shooters all vary in age, agenda, mental state, social ties.  There is no single diagnosis to be shared between them, so to point a finger at mental illness as the “reason” for these tragedies is, well, a bit irresponsible, in my opinion.  Thanks for bearing with me.

AS always, feel free to comment, but especially given the sensitive nature of this topic, please be courteous.


Warning: I’m Just ONE Mad Woman (House Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood)

Because this can be such an emotional topic, at least in regards to the issue of abortion, I’d like to preface what I am about to say with this:  I have come to the conclusion that is real life sometimes there is no “good” solution.  There is only the best solution for a given person at a given time.  I have thought it over quite a bit myself and while I can definitely see the pro-life point of view, in the end, I can’t get behind one living thing, a person, (the woman), losing her rights in deference to another living thing.  Anytime a woman feels she has to make a choice like this, it’s a hard, shitty choice to make, but I do believe it still should be a choice.

Please feel free to offer an opinion in the comments if you like but keep it civil towards all involved.  Thank you.

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I am so angry right now.  And since I don’t smoke anymore, there are only two things I can think of to do; exercise and write.

I am likewise too angry to reiterate everything right now so instead I will copy/paste a letter I wrote to my landlord’s corporate office.  I’ll change names to protect the *bitchy innocent.

I already called the hotline and am waiting for a return call, but I wanted to elaborate on this issue.  I got a violation notice about my dog supposedly urinating on bushes in peoples front walks, and defecating  on public areas without me cleaning them up.  The first I’ll admit is true because I did not realize that a dog marking a bush was a violation, so I will correct that.  The second is unquivacally not true.  If any neighbors said they saw that, it’s is a lie, or *Jani has misunderstood them supposedly “following me back to my apartment” after it happened.  I carry doggy doo bags with me, bright pinks ones.  They can’t be missed when I clean up after my dog and I have WITNESSES, neighbors who have SEEN me clean up after my dog.  Jani put on her whole stonewalling routine and said “I’m just doing my job.” Frankly, I’d like to know what my recourse is.  I have caught Jani lying before and am of the opinion that half of this is just her being her.  Because I have had to get heavy handed when trying to get things done around here, she now likely sees me as a pain in the ass more than anything.  I have left quite a few messages asking for things (which she either outright ignores or claims to never have gotten when I ask her) and frankly, I am tired of dealing with her attitude and tired of having to push and push to get maintenance work done correctly..  I asked her what my recourse was for these false accusations and she said “Just make sure it doesn’t happen again…”  It NEVER HAPPENED IN THE FIRST PLACE!
As I said, I am certified trainer and this is a dog in training.  Yes, I let him mark bushes, but don’t you think I know better than to allow a dog to defecate and not clean it up?  I have a five year old child who loves to run around these grounds.  I don’t want her stepping in dog crap either.
Also, to make matters worse, Jani hung up on me.  I am sure she’ll say I “cursed at her.”  While I did swear, I assure you it was not directed at her.  I am understandably frustrated that I am getting in trouble for something I didn’t do, and simply put, she uses her “job” as a shield and the fact that she is a gatekeeper for a person’s residence to be a nasty snot.  If I am forced to leave here before lease term because of her, [your complex] will not see a red cent of my money for the rest of the lease.
In the end, I will basically try to limit my dog to my yard, not walking him, because short of wearing a camera on my shoulder, there is no way to prove I clean up after my dog unless you want me to have the neighbors who have seen me do it call you…)
Please advise.
I am so frustrated and I really just don’t have the bandwidth for dealing with her anymore.
Suffice it to say, this is just the latest in a string of issues I have had with this complex.  We only stay here because it’s convenient (or has been but for dealing with them.)  Many times I have thought of going to the BBB, but I don’t know that it would really do any good.  I don’t know what to do.  I just really hope the lady I emailed calls soon.  I have dealt with her before and hopefully she will have some advice.
Any other advice from my dearest readers is also welcomed.
Cuz I feel like this…

Saturday Observation (or… How Young Children are Like Politicians)


Young children, particularly preschool and kindergarten aged children, are a lot like fanatical Conservatives.  It doesn’t matter how much science or logic you hit ’em with; they are determined to keep believing whatever is their current chosen reality.  My daughter will not be swayed by the “facts,” and is determined that someday she will “grow little again” and once again be able to use her training potty.

Much like politicians, the apologies of young children mean nothing.  They should basically all have little paper signs taped on their backs that read “hashtag #sorrynotsorry”, because the only time you will get an apology out of them is when they have been caught doing something wrong, and they only apologize to mitigate consequences.  In other words…they totally don’t mean it.

Likewise, try getting a direct answer about even the simplest thing. If you try to get a young child to admit to anything that could even maybe, possibly, conceivably be interpretted as something that could get them in trouble, suddenly, you get complete silence… and maybe this face:


And no matter what you say, they just stare at you with that patient deadpan look that says, I can do this longer than you…


Or, maybe you get that look that’s one part stubborness and one part vacancy, all parts infuriating… that look says they don’t know shit, they ain’t saying shit!


If you can tease an answer out of them at all, young child doublespeak is about as confusing as a Lark Voorhies interview. You end up feeling baffled, and like you’ve been conned, but you’re not quite sure how.
The fact is, my five year old could probably drive me to drink the way she talks circles around me, and not with actual logic or anything, but just good old fashioned gaslighting.  Or, to use another geometric-shaped metaphor, her explanations tend to be extremely elliptical.  A conversation will go something like this…

ME:  You know you spilled juice on the floor?

J:  Hmm?

ME: You spilled juice on the floor.

J:  I spilled juice on the floor (a statement.)

ME:  Then why didn’t you clean it up?

J:  Because I spilled the juice on the floor.

ME: (trying to keep my voice even)  I know you spilled the juice, cuz I just stepped in it.  But if you knew you spilled it,  why didn’t you tell me so I could clean it up?

J: (matter of fact) I didn’t know I spilled it.

ME: (face is probably getting red…)  You just told me you knew you spilled it.  Did you know or didn’t you?

J:  I didn’t know.

ME:  Then why did you tell me you knew?

J:  I didn’t know.

We can go round and round like this, and the end result is usually her deciding on an answer and sticking to it, and me giving up in frustration and feeling like a bully for trying to badger the truth out of her.

As is often also the case with politicans, you can end up leaving a conversation with a young child, unsure whether or not even they know just what the hell is really going on.

Tonight I asked the five year old if she wanted to share the last piece of chocolate cake with me.  She said, no, and she asked her Daddy to make her some chocolate milk.  But he told her we were out of chocolate syrup…so she turned to me and said, “Can I have some chocolate mi- [ me giving her the look that says ‘ask me, I dare you’…]”

And she says …”cake?”

Related: Conversations with My Two Year Old


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