Friday, January 29, 2010

Judgement and Boundaries - These Are Not Bad Things

I've had the opportunity many times in the not so distant past to hear a lot about Judgement and Boundaries. Not simply as words in the dictionary, but more concepts of every day living. Judgement and Boundaries: Two concepts that I feel the need to explore. I have my reasons.

I've heard a family member, who shall remain nameless for this post, spend the better part of the last 4 years barking about people judging. The more stupid decisions made, the more barking about people passing judgement was heard. I don't know about you, but it has been my experience in life, people who are most worried about people judging them are the people who are doing things for which judgement should be passed. Call me Mrs. Judgy McJudgerson, but sorry, 9 times out of 10 it is true. I'm not talking about The Church Lady passing judgement on all those who don't attend every Sunday Service. I'm not talking about people for whom nothing is quite good enough. I'm talking about living with basic principles and moral codes to help all of us live a safe and well adjusted life. I realize for everyone these principles are different. And as adults the lines get a little fuzzy. But one thing is for certain: If children are involved, their well-being and safety should always come first and foremost. Children should be taught Good Judgement and Boundaries and those parents who think those are two nasty words, should step back and look around their lives to see if they are truly preparing their children for safe productive lives.

Every time I heard "Don't You Judge Me!" after finding out that said relative supplied their children with drugs, alcohol and sex partners, I remembered that I had heard this before. Does anyone remember the episode of "My Name Is Earl" back in 2005 (episode 10) called "White Lie Christmas"? Brett Butler was in the episode and played Joy's (Jaime Pressly) mother Connie. If you don't have time to explore the link and watch the show, here is a synopsis from

Episode Synopsis: At Christmas, Joy implores a reluctant Earl to pretend to still be her husband for the sake of her visiting parents, who she assumes wouldn't approve of Darnell. Meanwhile, Randy helps Earl cross No. 74 off his list by trying to win Joy a new car to make up for all of the disappointing presents Earl had given her on past holidays. Original Air Date: Dec 6, 2005

Brett Butler (Connie) walked around saying, "Don't you judge me!" after every stupid mistake. I bring up this episode because every time I heard my relative say this I heard Brett Butler's voice. At least that episode made me laugh at the truth instead of cringing when I heard it in real life.

My point here is this: there is absolutely nothing wrong with living with Judgement and Boundaries as part of your every day life. Yes, there is a fine line and it is really easy to take the concepts to a destructive level. However, we all need BOTH. Being able to walk through life safely takes good judgement. Good judgement of character, people, places and experiences is needed in order to protect ourselves from people who want to harm us or take advantage of us. We need to " judge people by the content of their character..." as Dr. King said. We need boundaries both physical and mental to be safe. If you don't teach a child these things through out their lives, you are setting them up to be hurt over and over and over again. And for what? So that someone can be the "cool parent"? So that someone can teach their children to "be just like I am" so that they can justify their own careless and repulsive behavior? How does this help one's children make their way in the world?

One thing is very true, a parent can't teach what they do not know. If a parent doesn't really know the difference between right and wrong or can't judge good character from bad, how can they possibly teach that to a child? I'm sure some sociologists and psychiatrists have long studied the effects of parental poor decisions on their children. I'm sure some of it is socioeconomical. But if you think about it, most all of these lessons come from the parent. I don't recall any classes in school on this subject.

I've seen this problem first hand in my own family. I have my own example of differing values and moral codes (or lack thereof for some, depending on where you are standing) within my own family. Looking around I've found if the self indulgent parent, who has no boundaries and lacks the judgement skills necessary to pass to their offspring, tries to teach the child that they (the parent) are the only one who is right and all other family members who they deem too judgemental or crazy or senile, then what is the child to believe? When you grow up in Crazy-Town, it is hard to know which end is up. It is even harder to break out of Crazy-Town, especially when the Parent is the Supreme Leader and threatens to withhold love and attention if the child "goes to the other side".

I've been giving all of this more thought as of late. This problem applies to people from all walks of life. And I'm not sure why, but Lottery winners seem to be plagued by lack of judgement and boundaries. Is there some sort of test you have to flunk before you win a lottery? I just heard the story of the Florida State Lottery winner, Abraham Shakespeare, who has been missing since April of 2009. Authorities have uncovered (and identified as of about 1 hour ago) his body in newly poured concrete at a house owned by the boyfriend of the number one suspect, Dee Dee Moore. If you haven't read the background story on this, do so now. This sad tale is one more example of people who have no skill for boundaries or judgement of character. It sounds like the victim in this tale started out life using poor judgement and he left this life with the same malady.

So what does my family story, "My Name Is Earl" and Abraham Shakespeare's tale of woe have in common? Sure, there is the obvious "Don't You Judge Me!" connection. But more than that, with most of these stories comes missed opportunities. Sometimes people are given a hand up or a chance to change their lives, but many times they misuse the opportunity or turn their backs on it all together. It is like they will choose the wrong road just to spite the people who are trying and willing to help. I'm sure Mr. Shakespeare had at least one level headed friend in the bunch who tried to help him. I know my family member has had many opportunities to step away from "Crazy-Town" but they keep going back for more. What is it that the comedian Ron White says, "You Can't Fix Stupid". It is harsh, but God is it true.

I'll leave this post with 2 great quotes from Eric Hoffer (1902-1983)

People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them.

An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything in to an empty head.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Conan O'Brien-Sorry you got screwed.

Jay Leno's prime-time show sucked. It sucked so bad that the local affiliates lost viewership to their nightly newscasts. Now, that is some powerful sucking. So, NBC is going to cancel Leno's prime-time show. End of story? No, far from it. Apparently, if you are Leno, NBC rewards your piss poor performance in a piss poor show by giving you your old job back! Who the hell are these NBC executives? They really need to pull their heads out of their posteriors and take a look at what they just did. Disgusting!

I used to like Jay. Now, with what he is doing, I won't watch his show no matter what time it is on. I can't be the only loyal fan who is turned off by this whole thing. Conan O'Brien deserved better. Jay has more money than God, but can't let go. Johnny Carson wouldn't pull something so unseemly. Jay could have retired on top. Jay came up with the idea of retiring in 5 years time back in 2004. 2009 came and he didn't want to go. I don't know what all the behind the scenes political trouble is. I want Conan to get a chance to get a loyal audience. 7 months is hardly enough time. And the way I see it, Jay is to blame for this. And Conan is getting screwed.

Read Conan's statement here

Monday, January 11, 2010

AVATAR-Now there is a movie! 3-D HIGHLY recommended


Since I gave such a hard time to "Nine" I was losing hope that Hollywood could create anything that would truly entertain me. Well, "Avatar" did the trick. On the main "good movie" scale of making me forget that I should have peed during the previews, it ranks very high. I had no memory of even owning a bladder. I was lost in the forest on the planet of Pandora. Hell, I've decided that is now where I would prefer to live. Is that so wrong?

It's been quite awhile since Mr. I or I have been moved by a movie. This movie not only is visually beautiful, it has many messages that were not lost on this viewer. First I'll talk about the graphics....message thoughts to follow. The 3-D graphics were beyond incredible. They were spectacular yet subtle. And when it comes to 3-D graphics, less is more in my book. What I mean by that is that this movie was made to tell a good story, in a visually beautiful way. The 3-D experience enhances the movie just as it is supposed to. This movie wasn't made just to make objects pop out on the screen and scare the bejesus out of you. It was only used to enhance the story. The 3-D glasses were actual glasses, not the paper things with the red and blue film. Hence the higher price for this movie. At least $3.50 is going to the 3-D glasses that you recycle after the movie. Mr. I took the time to ask the attendant if we had to buy glasses if we came back to see it again. The answer is yes. They sell you new glasses every time you come. So it is probably best to recycle the glasses. Although when it comes out in DVD, I assume it will be a packaged deal with glasses. Time will tell.

The messages...oh, there were many. Cameron was not subtle in expressing his thoughts and views of the world as we now know it, and where we could be headed if we aren't careful. What amazes me is that he was able to throw in so many messages in one movie. If you please the mind's eye, you can get all kinds of people to listen. Now, they may not hear you, but they are listening. I noticed that other than a few people coming in late to the movie, I didn't witness anyone getting out of their seats to go do anything. They were glued to the screen.

Messages, some of the ones I got, but aren't limited to any of the below:

LOVE: He told a story about love; love of the earth; love of people who are different from us; love between a man and a woman of two different backgrounds and two different "races"; love, loyalty and responsibility to friends, no matter if we truly understand those friends completely.

GREED: Cameron's story of people (corporations and countries) consumed by getting what they want at all costs-no matter if it was theirs to take or not-wasn't subtle, but it was so true. Those of us in that theater who lean more to the left got it immediately. What amuses me is that there are a lot of people who lean more to the right (or FAR right) who I don't think saw the movie as anything other than what it was....a pretty and entertaining movie. If those people got the messages, I haven't seen anyone saying so anywhere. But then, many of those people are good at ignoring the signals. Foreshadowing is not their thing....unless it involves the world coming to an end.

WAR: War is sometimes necessary. I understand that. However, in my opinion, it has been a long time since war was necessary. I'll save you the whole post 9/11 mishandled ruckuses rehashing. And now I've heard that because the Military Industrial Complex was shown in a bad light, soldiers are threatening to boycott the movie. That is their right. However, this isn't a movie made to show how bad soldiers are. This is a movie that shows if we aren't careful, wars can be started over non-righteous theories. That isn't a soldier's fault, he is taking orders. Cameron shows that war is hell. War, like most everything, usually boils down to the haves and the have nots. In the future, I have no doubt if we continue down the road of mass consumption, we will be the have nots looking to another planet to get what they have. Do I need to remind anyone about our latest "finding water on the moon" NASA episode? The event of "blowing up the crater" to discover water made me wonder; just who decided that we owned the moon? Because we put a flag there, we now own the planet? Things that make you go hmmmm.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS: This goes to the whole mass consumption theory. We are quickly using up Mother Earth's resources. We already have gone to other countries to wreak havoc over oil, it isn't that far fetched an idea to think we would go to another planet to wreak havoc. It shows a people who are truly connected to their planet. They care for it, respect it, protect it and learn from it. We Earthlings could learn that lesson.

RACE RELATIONS: When watching this movie, I couldn't help but remember the plight of the American Indian or even the Aborigines in Australia. People came, they conquered, and the rest is history. Ask an American Indian how he feels after he or she watched the movie. I'd be interested to know their reaction. There was a theme that tends to follow actions of conquering; think of the people as "savages", it is much easier to kill them and take what they have. That history keeps repeating itself.

I've gone on too long about this movie. You really must go see it. You don't have to think as deeply about the movie as a whole to enjoy it. It is entertaining on just about any level.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Resolutions: January-Find some shoes that don't kill my funky feet.

UPDATE: 2/17/10 A nice person from Kuru, Nate, just commented on my shoe journey. That reminded me that I never completed the update. What a long strange trip it's been.

I finally settled on the Keen Emily style you see below. The great arch support, leather insoles and nice wide toe box makes me forget they are sized strangely. I went back to the 8.5 because the 9's were like boats on my feet. I ended up getting them in both the brown below and black. So far so good. There is a toe issue in that they touch ever so slightly on my middle toe, but I've gotten used to it. After the Zappos journey of the 30 some odd shoes, I just couldn't find absolute perfection. These were the closest I found. I also got a couple of pairs of Keen sandals. The Keen Venice in Black and Keen Venice H2 in Blue and Black. Both are washable and protect my toes.

I also purchased a couple of Dansko slide sandals for summer. I'll save room by not posting pictures and just give you links: Dansko Marion in Tan and Dansko Sunny in Black . Since it is winter, I haven't been able to wear the sandals yet but I think I'll be fine. I better be for the price! I tried some of the clogs from Dansko and Sanita and I found them very uncomfortable. I'm going to try Klogs USA because I've heard great things about them. But I have to financially recover from this adventure.

Now I still had to find some athletic shoes of some sort so I could actually go for a walk without bending over in pain. I went through every major brand of hiking shoe with no luck and finally I had to leave Zappos for this journey. I knew that New Balance ran wide and you could buy them in wide as well. Well, I just went to the New Balance Store in Green Hills Mall and let them help me. Best thing I ever did. Told the sweet guy all my ailments and he fixed me up. So far, no more shin splints and my bunions seem happy on a walk. Both are milestones for this chubby girl! The shoe I chose was PRICEY $136 to be exact. But I don't care....they work.

New Balance WR1012 Running shoe has "Motion Control" which in layman's terms means it has extra stabilizers (Stabilicore) on the inside sole that helps limit over pronation. Plus, I could get them in a wide. They come up higher on my ankle than my other running shoes never did. Gives me a little extra ankle support without being too cumbersome. They also have these great "wavy" shoe laces that eliminate the need to double tie your shoes. Whoever invented those was a genius!

So, I'm now broke, but my feet are covered. So far so good. I'm keeping my fingers crossed because these suckers have to last me awhile to make up for the hefty price tag on all of them. It took me most of January and in to February to complete the task...but I'm done. Walk on my friends.

UPDATE: 01/13/10 Strike that 1/2 size thing on Keen. If you ever want to buy Keen shoes, go up one complete size. I found some that were even closer, but too short. This last trip to the UPS store will make about 12 pairs of shoes I've returned. But Zappos' free shipping both ways, makes it much easier. I am determined to find a shoe that fits. I just ordered 3 different colors of the Keen shoe in 1 size up because it was just about perfect. Impulsive, yes...but I figured if I find a style and size that works...I'm getting it in every color. I'll keep you posted on the "Emily" style when it comes in the right size. I can honestly say, I'm tired of shoe shopping. Just to be sure, I also ordered 5 pairs of shoes from 5 other manufacturers. I'm on a mission.

UPDATE: 01/12/10 Received my order from which contained the Naot and Keen shoes. Still waiting for the Kurus.

Keen shoes run 1/2 to a full size smaller than advertised. Keep that in mind if you ever order them. The shoes that came in, were to short, too narrow and very stiff. They would rub my feet in places I forgot I had. I mean that in a bad way. So back in the box they went.

Naot those have promise. Unfortunately, this style, although it was SO close to working, didn't quite make it. The only complaint I had was that there was a seam in just the wrong place, right across the bunion of my right foot. This made it impossible for me to keep them. I knew they would not last long before I had to rip them off my feet and run to house slippers. No need to spend that kind of money if I can't wear them everyday. So back in the box they went.

I ordered some more from Zappos. Now I'm giving this a determination I should give a good workout. I WILL find some comfortable shoes if it "Harelips the Governor" as my grandmother used to say. Stay tuned....


If I'm going to have any chance at all to possibly making 2010 a healthier year for myself, I decided one of the first things I have to do is find some footwear that won't cripple me. I have a closet full of shoes that either make my feet smell, are too tight, are too worn out, make my heels hurt, make my bunions ache even more and my Plantar fasciitis act up, yada, yada, yada. It is official, I have now become my mother....only with feet that even she's not sure which gene pool would claim them. That's right I now HAVE to have comfortable shoes. To hell with cute, fashionable or even, dare I say, inexpensive. Years of shoving these puppies into high heeled pumps and putting them through torture with my additional gravity pull (i.e. fat ass) have put my overall orthopedic health in jeopardy. Witness past entries of my falls, sprains and surgeries of the official 2008-2009 "Help, I've Fallen And I Can't Get Up" season. That is a REAL sports phenomenon and soon to be Olympic Event you know...really it is!

I realized that my very expensive Nike running/walking shoes that I've been wearing for several years (I've been through a few pairs now) just aren't cutting it anymore. I don't know why. I can't even seem to walk 1 mile without either my feet aching or having incredible shin splints. It really makes it hard for a chubby girl to get in shape when she can't even walk 1 mile without excruciating pain. I'm not exaggerating there. I have to stop and try to talk to my feet and legs to make them cooperate. Then, I just walk with the pain. I keep telling myself it will get better by mile 2. Nope, by the time I return from my sojourn, I'm worn out. Completely exhausted from just 2 miles! Ridiculous. There has to be a reason other than my additional weight. I know my age, 47, and my extra heft could account for some of the pain, but I don't think it is all the problem.

I started hitting the stores shortly after Christmas. No luck. So, what's a girl who owns an Internet based business to do in the face of a comfortable shoe shortage? My Lawd...they have just about every shoe ever made on that site. What is wonderful, you can buy them with free shipping, no sales tax (in TN anyway) and FREE RETURN SHIPPING! What's not to love about that. I gave it a whirl. Ordered 3 pairs of Clark's shoes in the "UN-Structured" line trying to find a loafer that would work as an everyday shoe. They were lovely, well made and pricey, but not one of them worked. So I packed them up and took them to the UPS store today. Off they go. But I'm not giving up on I'm going to give them another try. I never thought buying shoes on the Internet was a good idea, but I have to do something. And is doing well, so there must be a bunch of other people who did the same thing.

The last few days I've been reading reviews for all kinds of shoes. I love the Internet. All you ever wanted to know is at your fingertips everyday. What a beautiful thing. I've learned about brands of shoes that I never knew existed. This time I have ordered a pair of NAOT shoes, a pair of KEEN shoes and a pair of KURU hiking/walking shoes. The Naot and Keens I ordered from but the Kurus I had to order directly from them at I read most every review for every shoe trying to figure out if it was wide enough, what were the flaws, will they hold up and do people love Zappos? I find the reviews VERY helpful. So I participated and wrote reviews for the shoes I returned. I was nice, but honest. I think that is the point of reviews.

Here are some pictures:




With the exception of those bright orange/red Kurus, the shoes look "sensible". And even those are "sensible" albeit bright. Yes, if they work, I will fit in really well at the next Lilith Fair or Indigo Girls Concert. Fine with me. I'm a breeder who loves her some "Girls in Sensible Shoes".

I'll get back to you all when I get them. sends them out quickly and even though they advertise 5 days, you usually get them within a day or two. We'll see how quick the Kurus get here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Best Laid Plans

I was reminded of a story from my childhood today. When I was about 12 or so I was running around, driving my mother crazy, doing those annoying things that kids do out of boredom. If memory serves, this was about the time when "Little House On The Prairie" was debuting and becoming popular. I LOVED that show as a kid. I remember I announced to Mom in a flash of determination, "I think I will go build a covered wagon."

Seeing a chance to get some peace, Mom replied in a reassuring tone of voice, "Why Honey! I think that is an excellent idea! You go on out in the yard and start building that covered wagon."
Of course, we all know what she was really thinking. We know she wisely used some of that magical "Mom Logic".

With Mom's approval fresh in my mind, I boldly walked out in the front yard and took a look around. All of a sudden, in the heat of that Texas afternoon, that flash of determination morphed into the realization that I had no idea how to build a covered wagon. I didn't know where to start. And Boy, was it hot out here! Being the honest kid that I was, I walked back into the comfort of the cool house and announced, "I don't know how to build a covered wagon. I think I'll go play Barbies now".

That was the end of those best laid plans.

I tell this story because I can apply that little tale to much of what happens in life. We think of what seems like a grand idea, only to find that in the reality of the universe, our personal skills don't match up with that grand idea. In childhood we can afford to dream big. We still don't know what it takes to make an idea come to fruition. When we get into our teenage years, we still dream, but there is a little more sense of our limitations. By the time we become adults, with adult responsibilities, many ideas and dreams become welcome friends who don't visit often. Not that ideas cease to exist. Hopefully no one who happens to read my little blog will ever experience the lack of dreams or ideas. But when we grow up, most of us, if we are lucky and paid attention to our experiences, understand that in order to get to "Good Idea Land-Where the Ideas are Realities", we have to learn skills to accomplish the ultimate goal. There are necessary steps we have to follow to get from point A to point B and beyond. I am amazed that there are many people in this world who don't understand that.

For instance, I knew at a young age I wanted to have my own apartment. I wanted to be independent and live on my own. While some little girls were planning their wedding, I was planning my first apartment. As a child, I used to devour the Sears Catalog. That really was my book of big dreams. I would sit with the catalog and make a list of all the things I would need to set up my first apartment. I'll need a bed. Now how much does that cost? I'd look up the price and write it down. I'm going to need sheets for the bed. What color do I want for my bed? How much do those sheets cost? I would go to the linens section and look it up and write it on my list. I used to love doing this. Yes, I'm weird...dare I say a Geek? But I loved planning and decorating my little place, if only in the Sears Catalog. When life around me was too much to bear, I would go to a quiet place in the house (that was hard to find) and take hours planning and decorating my first apartment. Then I would total up the price tag to see how much money it would take for me to achieve this goal. I think I started doing this when I was around 10 or so. I don't really remember when I stopped. I guess at around 18 or 19. I got my first apartment when I was about 20.

I'm not saying that I was some gifted child who came equipped with necessary life skills out of the womb...far from it. But I knew that there were steps involved to get what I really wanted. I also knew there was a price to pay for everything. Mom taught me that I needed a decent job to achieve that goal. In order to get a decent job, I needed some skills. In order to get skills, I needed education...and so on. Mom would say, "Go put your application in", a phrase that she still uses today with my niece. She was always on the lookout for jobs she thought were good for me. As scared as I was about taking this step into the working world, I listened to her. I did go and "put my application in" to just about any place she suggested. Once I got the hang of it, I thought of some places on my own. When I was 13 or 14 I went to work at an ice cream shop, thanks to Mom. From the time I was 16 until 18 I worked at a Dry Cleaners. I went to work at a bank as a drive up teller at the age of 18. One job led to the other job and I worked my way through 2 years of College. As difficult as that time was, it also provided a good foundation from which I could learn to support myself and achieve that ultimate goal of my very own apartment.

Life skills are so important to teach a child. I'm afraid that so many parents now just assume that their child will just magically understand what skills are necessary to be a productive person. Don't get me wrong, I know there are good parents who know they are raising children to become good adults. I heard Michelle Obama telling Barbara Walters in an interview that life skills start early. You start at 10 or so. "You don't want the kid to be 18 and you just start to teach them what they need to know." Of course I'm paraphrasing. But that was the gist. But what about the kids who had parents who didn't possess any life skills? Parents can't teach kids what they don't know themselves. There is a whole bunch of confused teens out there who don't have a clue. There are also kids who don't want to learn and don't come by survival skills naturally. Those are the kids I'm worried about. Is there an entire generation of ne'er-do-wells headed down the pike? How do we reach those kids? How do we help them become productive, successful people? When they don't want help and think they know everything, how do we know their life lessons won't cause them irreparable harm?

How do we help them build their covered wagon?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Truth Hurts

There is a reason I never had children. I don't discuss it much, but it is there, looming above me, disguised by the phrases, "we never got around to it" or "female problems". The reason is, I never had the burning desire. We could have adopted. We could have invested in fertility treatments. But I just didn't have the need that so many people have. So I had dogs instead. They are much more forgiving and love me unconditionally. They are excited to see me when I get home and can't wait to enjoy the love I give them.

There is also timing to the reason. My younger sister had them first. I had beautiful nieces who I could lavish with love, affection and gifts. I could teach them, look out for them, buy them pretty things and experience the good side of "parenthood". Unfortunately, with the good, always comes the heartache. A lifetime of heartache.

There are reasons for the heartache. One niece died at 15 and the other, well, she loved me once. She was excited to see me once. She enjoyed my company once. But she grew up. And now, I really don't know anymore.

As with all relationships where heartache is involved, there is always a back story. There is always history that led us to where we are today. And with all these relations, there is usually a core person or event that sets the tone for future relationships. The core, is my sister. For better or worse she is the core to most everything that happens in the family. She was good hearted once in her life, but I'm not really sure who she is anymore. One thing is for certain, everything; the earth's revolution around the sun, the wind blowing, the price of tea in China.... it is all about her. The world revolves around her and if it doesn't, it should. She's a legend in her own mind. If she doesn't get all the attention, she will create a vortex to suck the energy from the room. She is the Texas Tornado. She will not be denied. When overly self-involved people have children, it has been my experience that children are arm candy. Children are used to justify behavior, leverage to get more attention, leverage to get more financial help, leverage to keep the other members of the family on their toes.....leverage....for everything.

Now the sister's oldest child is 18. Although I've wanted to pretend that her mother's tradition of bad financial decisions, faulty judgment of character and living in constant drama and total chaos isn't being carried on through her, I'm so afraid it is. Is it always true that Users breed more Users? The answer is yes, if the child isn't aware of what is happening. If a person isn't self actualized enough to understand what is happening, then they will repeat witnessed behavior. What more do they know? And if the child has been manipulated through the majority of their life and abandoned in their teenage years, then that treatment is all they think they deserve. It takes a strong constitution to pull out of a pattern. I see glimpses of that strong will every now and again from my niece. But she goes back for more from her mother. She craves her mother's love, approval and attention. My sister knows this. It is currency. It is so sad to watch.

All the things my niece has had to endure; never knowing her father, having a different personality from her mother (that is tough on a child of the Texas Tornado), being kicked out of her home at 16 for no good reason and the loss of her sister just to name a few. My mother, Grandma, and I have tried to make it all better. We've tried to help her. We didn't cause all the heartache, but we worked our asses off to try to fix it. But she can't recognize the people in her life who help her pick up the pieces of her broken heart because the lure of the call from her Mother is so persuasive, it clouds all judgment and reason. Her mother hurts her, manipulates her, abandons her, ignores her and she keeps going back for more. My niece was blessed with a romantic memory. My niece was cursed by that romantic memory.

Be that as it may, there comes a time when those who give and give and give some more just can't keep giving. I can't keep giving while she takes and goes back for more and more abuse. All it takes is a glimpse of this person I thought I knew and I would bend over backwards to see that she gets the help she needs. But sometimes, it is more valuable to get the glimpse of the person as she is now, at this point in her life. The one who is easily manipulated. The one trying to find her way in the world by listening to the wrong people. The one that isn't taking care of herself and doesn't really want to learn how.

There are those comments every now and then that showed me who she was. But I tried to ignore them. So did her Grandmother. But they are there. The little lies she tells even though she is basically an honest person. Those little "off-white" lies that she thinks will keep her from having to take her head out of the sand. The way she never called or even texted to wish her Grandmother Merry Christmas. When I asked her if Grandma was eating alone for Christmas Dinner, she didn't know and didn't want to find out... even though she was just a block from her house. The refusal to take her Grandmother to the eye doctor later in the month even when her Grandmother rarely asks a favor of her. The way she laughed and had no sympathy when her Grandmother told her that she became really ill at the doctor's office and threw up everywhere. The way she told her Grandmother very matter-of-factly that she was senile and that I was crazy and always have been. Yes, there are many glimpses into the character of an 18 year old girl who doesn't appreciate all that her Grandmother sacrificed and has done for her for 18 years. Flashes of a girl on the road to being a user. There comes a time in every "usees" life when a declaration has to be made. Here is my declaration: Enough! I'm tired of being afraid that she will cut off communications with us. I'm tired of pussy footing around the truth for fear of upsetting her. It is now so achingly clear that she doesn't give us much thought at all.

Therefore, if I'm going to practice what I preach, I have to stop being the "usee". I have to stop what I believe has become me trying to buy her affections. I thought I was helping her since only her Grandmother and I were even trying. But in the end it isn't wanted, welcomed or appreciated. So what is the point.

So, I now see the truth. I now see what Mr. I has been saying forever. I now see what my brother has been saying. As much as I defended my niece against any and everyone, in the end I guess they were right and I was wrong. I've removed the rose colored glasses.

Like I said, Truth Hurts.

Monday, January 4, 2010

RSVP Oh How I Love Thee...6 Step Program for "RSVP-atosis"

I'm turning over a new leaf this year. I'm going to stop inviting people who don't like to RSVP. As liberal a person as I am, there are just some social rules that are still in place for a reason. Letting a potential host or hostess know whether you can or can't make an event (be it small or large) is just common sense and common courtesy. This subject should be self-explanatory, but there are many people who either forget manners, don't know manners, or prefer to ignore manners. That is their right. It is my right to not invite them.

Mr. I and I have entertained quite a bit through the years. We aren't formal people, nor do we formally entertain. But 9 times out of 10 when we have a gathering, we don't know exactly who is showing up. Don't get me wrong, I understand the occasional forgetting. I understand that we all have busy lives. I also understand that people get sick at the last minute. I'm not Emily Post, so the RSVP doesn't have to be fancy. A text, email, call, fax, a shout out the car window as you race by, a rock wrapped with a note, a Morse Coded message or a smoke signal will do fine. Just let me know you got the invitation, that would be a start. There is nothing wrong with saying, "Hey! Thanks for the invitation. I need to check with __________(wife, husband, boyfriend, significant other, child, priest, therapist, rabbi, boss, dog, cat, parrot, gold fish...) to see if we have anything else going on. Can I let you know ASAP?" That is a WONDERFUL first step to recovering from "RSVP-atosis" and would be MUCH appreciated. Remember, the host with the most and the hostess with the mostess have to buy food, liquor etc. It is nice to know how much to buy.

For my friends and family who just can't quite commit to a Yes OR a No, here is a 6 step program for "RSVP-atosis" can thank me later.

  1. Acknowledge the invite. Send a quick text or email just to say you received it.

  2. Don't be afraid that an invitation rejection will hurt the host's feelings. He or she would rather know you won't be there.

  3. If you aren't sure you really want to go, then don't. Just say you can't make it.

  4. If you don't like the person who invited you, respectfully decline-quickly and change your email address and possibly your phone number.

  5. If you are waiting for some better offer from Brad Pitt, Rush Limbaugh, Sharon Stone or Sarah Palin, then do everyone a favor; Just Say No.

  6. If you are planning to go to the event, then say so! Don't assume the host can read your mind or happens to know your schedule.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

P.S. In case you wondered, or forgot, RSVP stands for "répondez, s'il vous plaît". However, you don't have to speak French to know what it means.

Here, let me update it for all those who care:


Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Well, here is 2010. I sure hope it will be a good year. Since it is Friday, New Years Day, that helps ease into the new year. Because does anyone realize that come Monday, January 4, will be not only the first Monday of a New Year, but the first Monday of the new decade. No pressure to actually complete those New Years pressure at all.

I never believed in making a declaration as to what you are resolving to do for the new year. Hell, for many years now, I didn't believe in resolutions at all. For a good part of my life, I made resolutions during the year so there was no need to make them at the first of a new year. But I'm wondering for this year, if I can pace them out. That way maybe some of the list will actually get accomplished.

Last year, I resolved to branch out and do different things and to start meeting more new people. I did this. Being the over achiever that I am, I even started early. I managed to do many new things starting October, 2008 and continued into 2009 including, but not limited to:
  1. Falling with the help of my WonderDog in October, 2008 and re-injuring my left ankle.
  2. Falling again with the help of my WonderDog in February, 2009 and severely strained my left hamstring.
  3. Managed to sever my ACL and severely tearing my meniscus of my Right knee on April, 2009 requiring surgery (May 18, 2009) and 6 months of rehab.
  4. Finally joined FaceBook after many invitations to do so.
  5. Actually went to visit many of my High School Classmates in Dallas for a mini reunion (29 years) most of whom I reconnected with through FaceBook.
  6. Started blogging for both business and personal reasons.
  7. Joined Twitter. Many reasons for this, but mainly just to prove to myself there were some like minded people out there that I would enjoy talking to. After FaceBook I realized 90% of my High School are now not only GOP they are RW.
  8. Met new minded believe it or not.
  9. Actually branched out and left the house to meet the new Twitter friends face to face. For those who know me well, know that was a big deal.
  10. Got even more involved politically. Wrote numerous letters and made many calls to my Representatives and President. Volunteered with Mr. I to drive voters to the polls on election day. We did what we could to fight the good fight for Health Care and Equality.
See...many new things. Some good, some bad, but most pretty new for me.
This year, I've made another list. I'll report on them when they are accomplished. Don't really want to set myself up for public failure. Much better to re-cap the year of what I did do, instead of what I didn't.
I think I'm going to make a list of 12 things. And tackle 1 per month. That is something new for me. But no matter how many things are on the list, it all amounts to the following:
2010 New Years Resolution:
Get Happy. Time's a Wastin'.