Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Free Advice Day

Mel suggested that the best way to protest the SOPA/PIPA bills would be to show Congress what they might be missing if they passed those bills.

Here's my free advice, worth more than you're paying for it:

Bad things happen frequently on Thursdays. Prepare yourself.

When you say what you mean, in a clear and direct manner, you are less likely to make people angry.

When you agree to something to avoid confrontation, and then get other people to protest what you agreed to, you're going to get confrontation anyway. (Related: Don't promise something if you're not already planning it out in your head. Disappointment and unrealized expectations are the quickest route to anger.)

General contractors are generally untrustworthy.

Censorship is a bad idea. There are better ways to protect your original content.

But really...is there anything original anymore? Do you have the right to an idea that you essentially ripped right out of Shakespeare? Sorry, not advice...just a question.

Since all of that is more of an indication of my frame of mind, rather than advice, I will share the following. It's fantastic, and actual good, beneficial, useful information.

And finally, for your entertainment, some of the web's best protest content can be found here (Oops - just noticed there's a pregnancy reference in there. Fair warning.)

Oh, one more thing. If you're having trouble accessing Blogger blogs...try a different browser. Several sites won't respond in Internet Explorer - but they're fine in Google Chrome. Coincidence? I think not.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

All right, enough of this depressing shit...

Look at me! 3 posts in a month! Apparently, all I require for more posting is...oh, never mind.

For your viewing pleasure: the singed trees that my husband created with his unusual spring clean up methods

2/3 of a tree - it used to look like the ones on the left

I grew these two trees from little sticks

What? You don't see a second tree? Look by the blue bird.

Here's what's left

Trees are very resilient...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 is NOT starting off well...

Maybe it can only improve from here. My FIL died last month. So far this month, my husband's grandmother (his father's mother) died, and yesterday, my aunt died. For all of them, I would considered it a blessing, but still...

I hope I've completed my death trifecta and we're done for the year (or longer!).

In other news, my husband has returned to work (out of state, of course) and I am quite displeased with his family.

I'm taking the week off of work. Maybe that will help.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Only one post last month...I guess I was lacking inspiration However, today, when following links from Stephanie, I came across the story of a staff Christmas party gone awry. This inspired me to recount some of my favorite fire stories. Sorry I can't illustrate them...

Once upon a time, I went to college in Colorado. A group of us loaded up into three cars one night to take a ride up into the mountains. We made it to the foothills, where we went off the road a bit and lit a fire. It was a beautiful night, we were having a great time drinking our 3.2 beer (it was legal for 18 year olds to drink 3.2 beer and wine coolers! So we did!) around the fire. After a while, we noticed some flashing lights coming up the mountain road. They kept getting closer, so, like any rational 18 year olds (HA!), we poured our beer on the fire and took off into the trees. We stayed out there for a period of time, until the firemen got on the loudspeaker and asked for the owners of the cars to please come up to the road. We determined that they were not going to leave, so we sheepishly made our way back up to the road. Since we were mostly a bunch of urban kids from the much more humid East and Midwest, we were idiots who knew nothing about fires and forest fires and dryness ratings. The firemen lectured us for about 20 minutes regarding fires and forest fires and dryness ratings and how would we like to pay the $5000 it cost for them to come up from the bottom of the mountain to deal with our idiocy? We would not like it. They ended up giving a $50 ticket to each of the cars, and we pooled our money to pay for it. All the people on my floor at school were big fans of the
Grateful Dead, but Fire on the Mountain has special meaning for a few of us...

Shortly thereafter, it was the fall break, where we got a 3 day weekend. That was as good an excuse as any for a road trip, so we decided to drive the 1000 miles from Denver to Chicago. My roommate, our next door neighbor, our RA, and I drove to my house and surprised my mother. It was a surprise all around because they hadn't told me that my father was in the hospital again. (He had heart disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis - he was in and out of the hospital quite a bit through my teenage years). Here's a tip - do not try to spare the feelings and worry of your out-of-state family member by not telling them about someone's illness. It will just make them angry. Anyway, while we were there, my RA took us to a Greek restaurant in Lincoln Park. Because my RA was Greek, she knew the owners, and we were therefore treated to some shots of flaming Ouzo. In case you're unfamiliar, Ouzo is a licorice-flavored, gut-burning liquor that produces a lovely blue flame when lit. The typical response to a shotglass of flaming Ouzo is to clink your glass, blow out your flame, and down that baby. Instead, the next door neighbor knocked her shotglass over and set the tablecloth on fire. It was a beautiful sight - pristine white tablecloth with perfect blue flames...

However, my favorite fire story was several years later. I think I was in my late 20s. My second oldest sister was home for Christmas, and we accompanied my mother to Christmas Eve Mass. The church had extra decorations in place and it was pretty full. As we sat there watching the people line up in the aisle to go up for Communion, my sister and I were doing our most dramatic renditions of the Christmas carols that were playing. Now, as it is, I'm not very well-behaved in church. It's probably pretty amusing to sit next to me, but you might not get a whole lot of spirituality. So, I do a lot of people watching in order to fuel my conversational topics. As I was watching the lines of people going up to communion, I noticed a woman in one of those parkas with the faux fur lined hood standing in front of us. She moved up a little and was standing next to a large candle. Since this was the first of the Christmas masses, the candle was much higher than the glass protector that would make it safer for the next several masses. They should have cut the candle, or burned it down a little, because as the woman moved back a little to let someone out of the pew, her faux fur lined hood went directly into the candle flame and lit up (like a Christmas tree - haha). Fortunately, there are many good and helpful people to be found in church, and the guy behind her started patting the flames out immediately. She hardly even knew what had happened.

Now I'm married to a part-time arsonist who likes to deal with yard waste by setting it afire. Last spring he had the brilliant idea (from his mom's crazy neighbor) to get rid of (i.e. cut back) the ornamental grasses by lighting them on fire. Unfortunately, he forgot that all of our ornamental grasses are quite closely placed near our pine trees. He got through a couple clumps of grass before he figured out that he needed to water down the trees before he lit anything on fire. So, one of our pine trees was scalded and seared along one side. The tree was probably 8 feet tall and beautiful - it was our nicest tree. Now, it's been cut down to about 4 feet and is totally bald on one side...but it perseveres.

Now, my toes are kind of cold, so I think I'll turn on the fireplace...