Thursday, August 30, 2007


I finally did it. I finally chose a new blog-server-host thingie, so here's the new address, and I will see you there later!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Bitch Is ... Still Here*

With all due respect to Elton John....

I've written before about this woman who started working in our office late last year. I had worked with her before this (actually recommended that she be fired from the last job we worked on together because she wasn't pulling her own weight and because she was a morale problem), but apparently her father (a prominent judge) is good enough friends with one of the partners here that she gets a job. Lest you criticize me for being overly caustic, I'm actually being kind given what she's pulled since she started working here, but that is a story for another day.

Anyway, Little Miss Thing had a hearing in a district court in Burton this morning and she noticed that there was a hearing scheduled for Client A – so she calls my secretary about it.
Not the secretary who handles the cases from this client, not her own secretary - my secretary. Like I'm not doing something I should be, and she's just found out about it so she has to tattle.

Fortunately, my secretary told her that I was in Lansing on another matter as directed by the attorney who is in charge of both cases, so it wasn't my file. Then, my wonderful secretary followed up on it and found out whose file it was. Turned out, it was another person in my office who had been given wrong directions, and he was on his way. Sheesh.

It’s one thing to have to put up with her being here when she’s such a know-it-all, name-dropper, her-crap-doesn't-stink, can't-see-past-the-end-of-her-own-nose anyway, but to know that she is actively looking for things I’m screwing up so she can tattle on me is just downright annoying.

I suppose I shouldn’t feel too bad – after all, this same client just pulled a file from her and directed it to me because she didn’t know what she was doing. :)
*The reference is to a song by Elton John circa 1974 entitled "The Bitch is Back." According to legend (OK, the internet), he was in a foul mood, complaining about anything and everything, and Bernie Taupin's wife, Maxine, saw him and said "Uh-Oh, the bitch is back." Bernie Taupin writes Elton's lyrics and thought it was a great phrase. He wrote lyrics around it and Elton put it to music.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Something To Look Forward To.....

Saturday, September 1, 4:00 – 5:15 PM, at the Carhartt Amphitheatre Stage. The Detroit Jazz Festival presents legendary pianist and composer Dave Brubeck.

"This NEA Jazz Master, who has been described as one of the “most enduringly popular jazz musicians in the world,” brings his indelible sound to DJF for a special afternoon performance. Although it has been almost 50 years since the release of his groundbreaking album, Time Out, Brubeck shows no signs of slowing down. The quartet features Bobby Militello on alto sax and flute, bassist Michael Moore, and long-time drummer Randy Jones."

Dude, I am so there! :)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

White Knuckle Days

Bad things:

1. After a long day during which I was not able to get much in the way of lunch or go home to let my dog out, I found out that my mortgage company for my second mortgage had AGAIN f***ed up my mortgage payment because their online system did not recognize the routing and/or account number for my bank (even though the supervisor who took my online payment after I explained what had happened was able to immediately identify the bank and verify that the account was valid).

2. This same company had botched the automatic payment that they had pushed - touting how much easier it would be to use their program! - for the August 1 payment, which I discussed with them on August 17, resulting in the one time draft I did (also on August 17) because the money had not yet been pulled from my account.

3. I had a 2004 exam this morning, and two 341 hearings this afternoon, which means that I didn't get back to the office until after 5:00 p.m. today, and I have a continued trial tomorrow that I haven't been able to devote the time for preparation because one of my colleagues and her husband went to Jamaica last weekend and got stuck in the hurricane zone.

4. I am on day 4 of the Cabbage Soup Diet, which means that, as of 6:30-something p.m., I have had 9 ounces of tuna fish, 1 cup of lowfat milk, 1 banana, 1 large cup of Starbucks coffee (with nonfat milk), and 1 20-ounce diet Pepsi. I am tempted to eat my chair.

Good things:

1. Tomorrow is Friday.

1a. Tomorrow I get to eat 10-20 ounces of beef, tomatoes (which for this anti-vegetarian means V-8 juice) and vegetables (i.e., green beans and salad). Yes, it sounds foolish to do the Cabbage Soup Diet when one dislikes vegetables, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

2. My colleague and her husband are safe and sound.

3. I was able to spend some of the down time I had between hearings at Borders, where I scored 4 books off their clearance table for $1.00 each. I am about 1/3 of the way through the first one, which is a nonfiction book called "Displaced Persons" by Joseph Berger. It's a fast read anyway, but I do read fast.

Much of my frustration today comes from the knowledge that I have this massive billable hour quota hanging over my head when I feel least able to handle it. Holidays are coming. Birthdays are coming - not the least of which is my cousin's oldest daughter's Sweet 16 - and I've already missed three that I didn't plan to miss. My parents are coming for a visit the end of September, and I want to take at least one day off while they're here, so that I can spend some real time with them instead of just a few hours here and there.

I have fewer of the things in my life that make it truly worthwhile to work, and more of the work, and still the threat of not having even this job that I am starting to resent because of the amount of time it takes away from things - again! - that make the life worth living.

And then I read "Displaced Persons" and feel like the most ungrateful schmuck on the planet. (Sigh).

This, too, shall pass. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. To everything there is a season. A time to work and a time to rest.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

How Goes The Battle?

I found this in an article on military families in relation to child abuse statistics, but it sounded equally applicable to some missionary families - not in the category of abuse but in another area:

Geographic Mobility and Isolation

The frequency of moves has a significant effect on the family and the personality of its members. They may develop a sense of restless transiency and superficial relationships with a tendency to avoid deeply felt extrafamilial attachments to lessen the hurt of separation. Furthermore, frequent moves disrupt ties to the extended family structure. This requires increased dependency on the nuclear family which itself is often confronted with periodic splitting because of temporary assignments and isolated tours of the father. Sorokin (1959) noted a definite relationship between pathology, alienation, and geographic mobility. Other studies (Gabower,l960; Hi11,1958; Pedersen and Sullivan,1964) also imply a detrimental effect of mobility. [Emphasis added].

Hm. Y'think this might shed any light on someone's fear of intimacy or commitment?

Of course, since this was just a study, there were no helpful tips on how to overcome any negative effects of the geographic mobility and/or isolation, but this is just a point along the path.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Long Week

It's just been a long week. I have: a motion to dismiss filed against me in one case, a trial coming up next Friday in another case, 3 foreclosures sitting on my desk that I haven't even started on, and I'm really just not sure what else. Oh. And the case in which I got the motion to dismiss has trial scheduled for October 9. Not to mention the fact that I got into a bitch-fest with a judge (on the phone, no less) on Monday. That was fun.

Then, I got a notice from the board of directors of my condo association (actually, everyone got one) that included a complaint about (and prohibition against) keeping dog poopy on the porch until garbage day, along with complaints about excessive water usage and other things.*

Here's what they want us to do: pick up the poopy because it's disgusting and unsanitary, take it into our unit, and either flush it down the toilet or store it inside until trash day. Excuse me? I'm not taking something "disgusting and unsanitary" into my house to sit for a week! If they think having it on the porch is smelly, what do they think it's going to smell like inside the house?

Not to mention the increase in water use that is going to come from flushing the toilet three times as often - let alone getting poopy out of a baggie that is containing it very well, particularly if it is a little, well, "messy." These are obviously people who do not have dogs.

I looked into the Doggie Dooley, which looks like a great idea, but that won't deal with the smell problem since it's really just a miniature septic system for dog waste that requires you to add water to it every time you make a "deposit." To deal with the smell, they sell a little "deodorizer kit", but that's just a bottle of "extra heavy duty" Oust-type spray with a little pad that fits on the inside of the lid to the Dooley. Not really a bad idea in concept, but not the most practical thing for a condo. If I had my own house, I would totally consider one of these.

So, it started out badly and now that it's Saturday, I am just sitting here thinking, "what happened? Where did the week go?"

Fortunately, my car is no longer making funny noises and my dog is just wonderful. As I said: it's been a long week. Hope yours is going better. Soon it will be time for apple cider and sweaters and raking leaves, and that's my favorite time of the year anyway, so for now, I'm just going to keep hanging in there until things settle down.

* Our condo complex has the water bill paid out of our association fee, which is really quite wonderful. Our association fee includes the water and sewer, natural gas usage, insurance and maintenance, so I really shouldn't complain.....

Monday, August 13, 2007

Must Be Something In the Air...

OK, I truly do not know where this is coming from, but ... there seems to be, ahem, something in the air that is leading me to getting ready to dip my toe back in the dating pool and see how the water is.

Yes, I realize that just by saying so, I've probably condemned the entire operation, but I'm not going to do the same dumb things I've done in the past. No sir! I'm probably going to come up with completely new dumb things I wouldn't have thought I could do!

I am, however, taking in a little dating advice from so-called "experts" (OK, it's iVillage's dating latest maven), only this time, I'm actually doing the exercises. The results have been a little surprising.

First, they ask you to write down the qualities you are looking for in a man - and you have to come up with at least 10. Fine. Done. The idea is that if you want to find something (or someone), it helps to know what (or whom) you're looking for.

Then, they have questions for you to answer - questions like: Why do you want to start a relationship? What scares you about starting a relationship? What will change in your life if you start a relationship? and What feelings -- good or bad -- might you have to let go of?

Those are a little trickier - for instance, I thought the "why I want to start a relationship" question would be a no-brainer, until I realized that my answer was that I don’t want to live the rest of my life alone. What scares me about relationships was an equally troubling answer: so much of my answer was "fear" - fear that I would "settle", fear that I would get hurt, and fear that ... (deep breath) I will have to make room for someone else in my life.

That was tough to acknowledge: that I don't really want to make room for anyone else in my life. That dovetailed quite nicely into "what would change" if I were to start a relationship: I would have to make time for someone else’s needs and activities. I wouldn’t have the autonomy I’ve learned to enjoy.

The way my life is now, I can come and go whenever I want. If I don’t want to go someplace, I don’t go. I don’t have to make meals or do laundry or clean house on anyone’s schedule except my own, and I don’t have to rush home to spend time with anyone (except my dog).

The feelings I would have to let go of would also be pretty telling: I'd have to give up my autonomy - my control over whatever in my life I can control. I'd also have to give up my defensiveness about not being married yet - weirdly, that's a bit comforting.

I mean, come on: what better answer is there to the question from the well-meaning little old ladies in my neighborhood and church: "you're such a nice person/wonderful cook/(whatever)! How is it that you're not married?" How can you not love that question? It presumes such lovely things about you and your character and abilities, and it places all of the blame for your singleness on the stupidity of others? :) In a relationship, I'd have to give up that assumption of my quality and character. I'd have to be a wife. OK, girlfriend at first.

Maybe that's part of the underlying fear: that, with all of the expectations of marriage because of my age, there would be no room for enjoying courtship or choosing someone who was right for me. My mother's mother was good at reminding me of that: I might not get another chance, so I should snag the first one that comes along.

But in this society, how do you say you want to take things slowly or that you aren't in a rush to get married without sounding like you're interested in a FWB* relationship?

We'll have to see. For now, I have a couple of goals - for one thing, I will feel much more inclined to meet someone if I am in better shape, and while I know "round" is a shape, it's not the shape I want to stay in! :) (And really, it's not that bad - it's not where I'm most comfortable, but it's not that bad.....OK, maybe it's worse than I think it is, but that's beside the point!)

I also know that I will feel more like meeting members of the opposite sex if take a little more control over my schedule and actually schedule time to be out and about. The Dating Doyenne had a good tip: I'm not going to meet suitably eligible men if I stay home all the time or confine my walks with my dog to my own condo complex. If I don't make time to meet someone, how will I make time for him in my life if I were to find him?

The biggest challenge is going to be the conversation portion of the exercises. I can talk all day about lots of different things, but I am not so good with the small talking. (No. Really.) I guess that's why one of the first exercises (after the identification portion) is to practice saying "hello" to random strangers - to get over that feeling that every encounter has to mean something.

The next stage after that is to practice light conversation: the weather, the surroundings, etc. Again, the goal is not to get a date or even a phone number, but to practice the art of conversation without it's leading to anything. Since that is probably about all I can keep straight for a few weeks, I'm going to work on those things first - as I'm heading out the door in my sneakers with my dog pulling at the leash!!

*FWB = "friends with benefits"

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Christmas in August

Shhhhhhh. Don't tell anyone, but there are rumors of a new Narnia movie coming May 2008!!


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

If You Have To Cheat, You Shouldn't Be In the Game

August 4, 2007 Saturday 12:40 AM EST


Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga. (11th CD), issued the following press release:

U.S. Representative Phil Gingrey, M.D., today blasted the reprehensible tactics of the Democratic leadership in the House, which culminated last night in the manipulation of a floor vote - for the benefit of illegal immigrants to the United States.

"We have seen time and again this week the willingness of the Democratic leadership to manipulate the rules and the procedures of the House to lock out Republicans from participating in the democratic process," said Gingrey. "But to disenfranchise the elected Representatives of the people so that federal welfare benefits might be given to illegal aliens - that is a failure to uphold the very Constitution those Democratic leaders have sworn to defend."

Last night, during debate on the Fiscal Year 2008 Agriculture Appropriations bill, Republicans offered a procedural Motion to Recommit which would have prevented any federal benefits - including food stamps - from going to illegal aliens. At the end of the allotted time for voting, Democrats gaveled the vote to a close, proclaiming a vote of 214 to 214 (a tie, which would have caused the motion to fail), when in fact, the actual vote count was 215 to 213 - meaning that the motion had passed, and illegal immigrants would have been barred from receiving federal benefits.

"I find it unfathomable that 213 Democratic Members of the House could ever believe that illegal aliens deserve to receive food stamps," Gingrey continued. "But the fact remains that the leaders of the Democratic Caucus are so desperate to ram their liberal, extremist agenda through Congress that they are willing to break the rules, change the vote, and trample the rights of any Members who oppose them. It is an insult to this institution, and an insult to the American people."

Last night was only the latest example of how far the Democrat majority is willing to go to stop any disagreement with its extremist agenda. Earlier in the week, House Democrats cut billions of dollars in Medicare benefits for our nation's seniors, just to provide healthcare insurance for wealthy families and illegal immigrants. Rep. Gingrey and fellow Georgian Rep. Tom Price of the Sixth Congressional District joined together on the floor to delay consideration of the Agriculture Appropriations bill to draw public attention to these tactics. The Democratic leadership responded by preventing House Republicans from offering any amendments to the bills under consideration, throwing out centuries of House precedent and silencing the voices of hundreds of duly-elected Representatives.

Contact: Chris Jackson, 202/225-2931.
August 6, 2007
Copyright 2007 HT Media Ltd.All Rights Reserved
US Fed News
445 words

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Other Side

Talking about the earlier question, "Did Jesus love the Pharisees?" I found some references to the same subject in comments to Everyday Mommy's latest Thursday Thirteen that led me in one direction. Then, as I started following up on the research side, I found verses leading in another direction:

Matt. 5: 43-48: You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

I have to confess - I don't understand this part. I don't know how anyone can do this, and I guess the conclusion that leads to is that, on our own, we can't. I think that was part of the point Jesus was making in the Sermon on the Mount - no matter what semantics come into play about whom to love, or what love means, this is really what is intended. I also think that He knew we can't on our own, and that He came because we need Him to be perfect, even as God is perfect.

I found an interesting take on this by a guy named Chip Bell. He writes, "Jesus says, I know that justice is important to you. I know that it hurts when you’ve been wronged. But be careful. There’s a danger here. Never let your thirst for justice turn into a quest for revenge. Don’t get even. You’ve been attacked and cheated and forced and taken advantage of. But answer the evil with kindness and generosity. And then leave everything else to God."

I know that seems to mix a desire for retribution with a lack of love - that's why I said this was not going to be about easy answers. The "head" answer to this is that, of course, Jesus loved the Pharisees, since He died and rose again to draw all men to Himself. But, even though He loved them, they made evil and purposeful choices that contradicted God's law.

One of the examples I see in the Old Testament is the story of Manasseh. He was the son of Hezekiah, and for the first portion of his reign, he was one of the most wicked kings of Judah - kind of like the Adolph Hitler of his day. The Bible says, "He made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger." 2 Chronicles 33:6.

But Manasseh was captured by the Assyrians, and in his distress, he called out to God to save him. "When he was in distress, he entreated the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. When he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God." 2 Chronicles 33:12-13.

It didn't happen with every wicked king, or even with every wicked person, but it happens. And I think the answer to the question "Did Jesus love the Pharisees" has to be "yes." No matter how evil we (or other people) may be, God's love is still there and is available to anyone who asks. I also think that, because God's love is there, if those who have done evil to others are forgiven by God, then God also can give the power of forgiveness and healing to those who were hurt by that evil.

Jesus said that He had come to draw "all" men to Himself. "All" - not just the ones that don't do evil things. Romans 5:8 says that God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were still in our sins, Christ died for us.

The earlier verses in that chapter of Romans were always a little mysterious for me. The passage that starts "tribulation works patience" was kind of a catch-phrase: don't pray for patience, because you're just asking for tribulation! Fear of tribulation or trials, though, kept me from really reading the rest of the passage:

"And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations (sufferings), knowing that tribulation (suffering) brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:3-5.


One thing I learned years ago: when the Bible says "hope" in this context, it isn't talking about the kind of hope that says "I hope I get [whatever] for Christmas" or "I hope this works out." It's the expectation of something that will come because it was promised. It's more like "trust" or "confidence." God's love can be trusted - it will not harm us or abandon us, and the Holy Spirit is the means by which God's love is "poured out within our hearts."

The same God whose love caused Jesus to come and die for my sins and to restore fellowship between God and me loves all people, even those who violate His laws and His people. His love is there - for anyone to accept or reject.

I don't know how to love like that. I'm almost afraid to say that I want to learn, because I guess I'm afraid of whom God will send me to love, but that's probably where the trust has to come. I don't think that the type of love intended is the doormat variety - that doesn't square with what I read in Proverbs or Ecclesiastes or some of the other passages that talk about wisdom.

But at the same time, I think that's part of why there are also recorded in the Bible stories of Jesus clearing the temple of the moneylenders and chastizing the Pharisees - to show that there are times to be tough, even with those you love.

I've written before that I don't trust answers that come too easily or too quickly. This hasn't been easy or quick, even if it seems like it might have been. And frankly, just because I can articulate this stuff doesn't mean I can do it! But at least the concepts have form - they're not just thoughts floating in and out of my head every now and then. Definitely a starting point. Thanks for coming along with me.

[All quotations from, New American Standard Version].


One question has been answered - the reason my clothes fit a bit better is that I'm taking vitamins. Not that the vitamins themselves are "magic pills" that are making me smaller; it's just that I forgot that B complex vitamins make me nauseous, so that as a result of taking them, the idea of eating anything is, well, unpleasant.

[Now if I could just get my office to stop moving around so much, I might be able to get some work done....]

* D*** It, It's Monday.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Today's Question: Did Jesus Love the Pharisees?

It's been one of those days. On the plus side, I slept in (oh, blissful sleep!) and didn't get up until 10:30-ish. I love it that my dog understands his mama's need to sleep and that he didn't bug me to get up.

On the other side (maybe plus, maybe not), I had weird dreams and thoughts in that half-wakefulness that comes in the morning when you know you really should get up and you really don't want to just yet. Aside from the rebuilding of whatever it was I was rebuilding (it had to do with hardwood flooring - I have no idea where that came from), I was thinking about .... stuff (I'll try to post more about that later).

Some of it has to do with the election. In case you didn't know, I'm sort of stumping for Fred Thompson. The more I read about the guy, the more I like him for the White House, if for no other reason than he really didn't want it - this is not the cumulation of a life-long ambition for him, but it seems to be something he would do as a public service. When was the last time you heard of a president taking on the role as a service to the public?

Flowing from that was the question about whether it matters if the person who next occupies the White House is a Christian or not, and I'm not sure about that either. That question came up when Harriet Myers was proposed for the Attorney General slot, and I still think that it matters less if the person is a Christian than if they're competent and moral - I'd way rather have an atheist plumber who is a good plumber than a Christian who isn't very good at all.

Thinking about politics, though, reminded me of this great book by Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson called "Blinded by Might," which talks about the Moral Majority and its influence on the political landscape. It struck me that good citizenship is a Christian responsibility - much of what the Bible says about loving your neighbor as yourself and doing good to those who persecute you is good citizenship, but that led me to the question of what the Bible means when it says "love" in that context.

I thought that the parable of the good Samaritan was a pretty good answer, but as I re-read it, I realized that the definition of neighbor is not about whom you see that might be in need. Jesus's answer to the rich man who had asked "who is my neighbor" was that, of the three men who saw the victim, the Samaritan was his neighbor because he showed mercy to him. If a neighbor is one who shows mercy, then is the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself limited to those who show you mercy?

If the public's perception of what it means to be a "real" Christian is that you love everybody indiscriminately, is that an accurate perception? And along that thought train, I wondered if Jesus loved the Pharisees? I'm not sure. Remember, this was the group that He called "a generation of vipers."

I'll have to think on this a little and get back to you. Not so much so that I can figure out where I'm going with this as so that I can do the research and formulate an answer. I'm really not sure where it's going to lead.

Friday, August 3, 2007


Seriously. I am so glad it's Friday, I could just .... sleep. :)

It's just been one of those weeks. I know, I know - I don't live in Minnesota, so I don't have it too bad. Even though a bridge didn't fall on me or on anyone I know (that I know of, anyway), it's still been a tough week. The end of the month always is. I missed my goal for billable hours by 30-some hours (which is the direct result of taking a few days off around the 4th, but too bad!). Now that a new month has arrived, I have a bit of breathing room, but it's still going to be busy.

My clothes are starting to fit a bit better. I'm not sure why, although I suspect this wretched heat has something to do with it. I just don't feel like eating when it's this hot and humid outside. Whatever the reason, I'm going to go with it - when my body decides, all on its own, that it's going to help me, I encourage it!

Short of eating vegetables, that is. I still have SOME standards.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Right or Happy?

My mom went back yesterday. She called when she got in, and while I think she was glad to be home, I also think she wishes I had come back with her - that I could just go "home" and be down the street. Not that she is alone in this!! :) Some of our struggles arise because of that tension between wanting home to include family and accepting that growing up means having a home of my own that may not be close in geography.

We were able to sort out the other issues, too, but the funny thing is, in talking to my mother, I realized I was talking to myself as well. F'rinstance, one of the issues that has been troubling for my parents is money. Not that this is a big surprise, since one of the most significant issues for any couple is usually money: how to spend it, who makes the decisions, etc.

My mom worked for most of her life at a job she was very good at but that she tolerated at best because she could make more money at it than my dad could make at his chosen profession. She resented the hell out of that imbalance, particularly since my dad was (and remains) actually an excellent teacher, but he chose to be a pastor to follow in the footsteps of a man he looked to as a surrogate father, even though he often resents the general requirements of his profession.

Anyway, in talking with my mom about the things that drive her to the despair she has lived with for a while now, I mentioned to her that she had choices - she could choose whether to agree to how these things were done, she could speak up, she could put money into her own account for her own use, etc. And, unlike some families I've heard of, she actually could. My dad can be selfish and manipulative, but he is not unreasonable. He's just too smart for his own damned good (like some other people I know.....)

As we were in this discussion, my mom kept saying that she's tried, but she can't. I told her that she can, but that she chooses not to because she gets a benefit from things staying the way they are. She said, "what benefit? How is this good for me?" I told her, "You like to be right. If Dad is wrong, then you're right." She thought about it for a minute, and then she said, "You know, I never thought of it like that....."

We'll see how things go - I think they are both motivated to move forward with this, and I think with my dad going back to school, he will have less time to get into mischief, but we'll see. My dad is pretty fact-driven. He can make great arguments around the facts, but he's usually up-front enough to admit when a situation is imbalanced. The hard part is getting him to follow through - but that's a tale for another day.

The discussion stuck with me, though, not because it concerns my parents, but because I know that I am like both of my parents in many ways. I started thinking about how their relationship formed the model for my own relationships (or lack thereof), and it finally struck me: How many times have I chosen to be right instead of happy? How many times have I been drawn to men who were unavailable for whatever reason, only to say that I had done everything right but I hadn't found the right person?

Definitely something to think about. Particularly since there is a really CUTE new neighbor that just moved in next door. Tall, dark, handsome, athletic, with dimples.....

Not too sure about the status right now. He had a very quiet blonde with him when I met him Saturday. I tried to say hello to her and introduce myself, but she wouldn't even look at me. He works midnights, so I'm not likely to seek him that often, but I will keep my eyes open for the blonde. If I find out anything more, I will let you know!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Today's Inbox: Something to Think About

I got this in my email today. And I think I have it bad....

Forgotten in the Shadows 7/24/2007
By Caitlin DeMarco

Save Darfur” a sign reads. “Genocide in the Sudan” reads another. The world today is justly outraged at the atrocities taking place in that area of Africa. Campaigns raise money to help stop the fighting in the Darfur area of Sudan. Actors and musicians give their time and celebrity to bring awareness of the conflict to the world. The Sudan campaigns are admirable, and the world hopes and prays that peace will come to Sudan.

Unfortunately, in the shadow of the Darfur genocide lies a tragedy that remains mostly unnoticed by the rest of the world. In northern Uganda and southern Sudan, around 66,000 children, primarily of the Acholi tribe, have been abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) since its creation by Joseph Kony, a pseudo-Christian spiritualist, in 1987. These children are violently taken from their homes, and at least 14 percent are forced to attack family or friends in order to separate them from society, to keep them captive in mental and physical slavery. They are then beaten and brainwashed into becoming killers and kidnappers, or forced to serve their captors as slaves and pack animals. Boys become soldiers and porters. Girls are soldiers as well, but often also become sex slaves or “marry” the LRA’s commanders. According to the Survey of War Affected Youth, though only about 15 percent of abductees are forced to kill in battle, 20 percent are forced to kill a stranger, and 58 percent are forced to steal or destroy property. Around 63 percent of abductees receive severe beatings and 78 percent witness a killing.

Fearing the LRA’s attacks, the government of Uganda placed over 1.6 million people in camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). These people were forced to flee their homes, their farms and businesses, in order to protect themselves and their children from the attacks of the LRA. Unfortunately, they are not always protected, even in the camps. In February 2004, the LRA killed at least 337 people in the Barlonyo camp in the Lira district, and there have been a number of other attacks on different camps where people have been killed, maimed, and kidnapped. The LRA is also not the only danger to the IDP camps. Women and girls are vulnerable to sexual assault and rape by men in the camp, and even by the soldiers of the Uganda People’s Defense Force, men assigned by the government to protect them. Often, to save themselves from attacks by the LRA, children will walk to larger towns to stay the night in shelters run by churches and other organizations. These “night commuters” remain vulnerable to attack and sexual assault, and yet they have almost no other choice if they want to stay safe. They commute to save their lives and their futures, to live with hope when the world does not seem to care and their future seems bleak.

According to a 2005 survey by Alertnet, the violence in Uganda is the “second most under-publicized emergency of [the] present day.” Still, there are people who do hear the cries from Uganda and work to bring peace and safety to the area. Recently the Ugandan government and leaders in the LRA began peace talks in the city of Juba, mediated by the Vice-President of southern Sudan, which has led to the return home of several thousand IDPs. The process is slow, though, and it remains to be seen if any future settlement will be able to be implemented, or if the talks will even do any good. Despite the talks, Ugandans still live in fear, and children remain in the LRA, beaten and terrorized.

While the government looks for a solution to the military problems of Uganda, others look to help the Ugandan people and the children affected by the violence. The Ugandan population is about 84 percent Christian, and the churches of Uganda actively work with Christian relief organizations to aid whomever they can reach with limited resources. Pastor Sam Childers is one of these good people with a heart for these children. Instead of waiting for child soldiers to be rescued by the government, he has gone out and rescued over 500 Ugandan and Sudanese children from the LRA himself. He then returns the children to their parents, and protects the orphans in Children’s Village, an orphanage that is protected by chain-link fences and armed guards. Other groups try and help former child soldier reintegrate into society, a hard task for children who have grown up killing and surrounded by death. Groups have been organized to help the IDPs and the night commuters, giving them aid in their time of need.

As Isaiah 59:15-16 says, “Then the Lord saw it and it displeased Him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; and His own righteousness, it sustained him.” Not only has God helped children escape, sometimes miraculously from the LRA, His hand reaches through these relief organization and churches to save His children from slavery and fear. Just as God cares for the people of Uganda, so His church around the world should reach out their hands in comfort and help. In the wake of all the terrible violence and suffering in the world, we cannot let the people of Uganda remain forgotten in the shadows.

Caitlin DeMarco is an intern in the Ronald Reagan Memorial Internship Program at Concerned Women for America. She is assigned to the Beverly LaHaye Institute.

McDonnell, Faith J.H. and Grace Akallo. “Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda’s Children.”

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Welcome to the Fish's Belly

I had lunch today with my mom, my secretary and another woman I work with, and something came up in the discussion that I can't get out of my head.

My one friend from work asked about my sister, who is in the Army and close to retirement. My friend asked if my sister was still talking about retiring to wherever she was talking about last year. My mom mentioned that there has a new development, i.e., that my sister's department may relocate and my sister may end up with a civilian job with the same department.

I said that she should make it a part of her contract that this one co-worker of hers (let's call him Hateful Harold) can't work within 500 miles of her, since this co-worker doesn't do his job and he refuses to control his diabetes so that he ends up in the hospital and doesn't have to work. My mom and I have also speculated that the reason he is still a thorn in her side because she is supposed to witness to him, but that's our theory. I had the same question about why this one co-worker of mine is working with me again - same topic, slightly different facts.

After we left lunch, I got to thinking - how do people who aren't Christians take comments like that? I know I am guilty of assuming that most people have at least one person in their lives that they wish wasn't, but they can't figure out why that person is still around. I also assume that my friends, whether they are Christians or not, at least have enough understanding about the Bible and Christianity to know that there is some mandate to tell others about their faith.

It just didn't hit me until today that if someone is not a Christian, it might not be funny to them that we were joking, really, about someone who was a pain in the neck being in her life so that he could hear the gospel, not to mention the implication that my sister didn't want to witness to him. It wasn't so much that witnessing to someone is a chore or an obligation, but that this person (and more particularly, in this case, with an illness) would be disliked enough to want him out of my sister's workplace.

It made me wonder: do the little inside jokes or expressions Christians use when they are together sound the same to anyone not in the group? Is modern Christianity little more than a clique? And how do "outsiders" take such comments if they overhear them? Does it sound self-righteous and smug, or do people get that Christians are as susceptible as anyone to make
"insider" jokes or comments that others might not understand? Are non-Christians offended by the idea that the reason a Hateful Harold might keep cropping up in someone's life could be that Hateful Harold needs to hear the gospel?

Foundationally, I think everyone needs to hear the gospel; I recognize that there is a time and a place for such discussions, and I also know that talking to someone about their soul is a tricky thing. We should always be praying for opportunities to share our faith, and the idea of talking to someone about becoming a Christian should be one of joy, not dread.

As I said, it just ... hit me that someone who isn't a Christian might not find this theory as humorous as I do, and I thought I would ask you guys what you think. I thought of Jonah when I started writing this, hence the title of this post. Let me know.....

Catching Up

Just another traumatic Thursday!

Mom's visit is really going well. We got through the initial phase smoothly. It helped that she left Monday morning to go someplace overnight with my aunt, and by the time she got back, we were able to have the Clearing of the Air Talk, which wasn't as hard as I thought it might be. So far, she's planning to stay til Sunday - :). I'm trying to talk her into staying for church, but she said she thinks it might be easier to get through construction on the way home if she goes on a weekend day, which is probably the case.

My dog is LOVING the extra attention!! He's just thrilled that his Nana is there all day to take him outside for little walks and love on him. We went to the local park (not a dog park - just a regular park) last evening, and he lunged after the geese and the ducks the whole way around the park.

What was kind of fun was that my mom loved the park, too. She didn't do much walking. We got someplace where there were picnic tables, and she sat there and watched people while Tanner and I walked, and when we got back, she suggested that we plan to go back again tonight and grill dinner.

Hopefully, it won't rain, 'cuz if it rains, we aren't going to grill outdoors......

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Slow Day Update

I wrote a bit previously about things to do to develop new friendships, and the last item on the list was "Hang out on your porch." Totally unintentionally, I ended up doing just that in the last week - not once, not twice, but three times.

All three times, I talked to a neighbor or two, and it was not "about" anything specific. We just had a really nice chat.

I could get used to that.

8 Random Things About Me

Kranki has a meme today and she invited people to "tag" themselves, so I thought I would publish my list of 8 Random Things About Me you might not know (for anyone who is interested):

1. I could read by the time I was three years old and could spell "elephant" at age 18 months. Apparently, to my family, this made me a prodigy... :) Now, at 43 - and a half! - I still read whenever I can, but I'm not much smarter, although I can still spell "elephant."

2. I hate to fold laundry - my mom is visiting for the week, and she was last here in June of 2006. During her visit last year, she helped fold laundry that was on the table in the basement, thinking I would put them away. I never put the clothes away - the clothes on the table are pretty much the same ones that were there last year.....

3. I hate to clean bathrooms and kitchens. Thank goodness for Tilex, Scrubbing Bubbles, Easy Off Bam, and various other spray-it-and-leave-it cleaning products, or I would have a farm of microscopic organisms in my house. I made a pot roast in my crock pot in February. I finally threw it out Thursday (since Friday was trash day), and I hadn't eaten any of it.

4. I will do almost anything to avoid going to bed. Still.

5. My dream vacation is to just get two weeks off and still get paid, without having to make the time up during the rest of the year. I don't have to go anywhere.

6. My dream job is to write, even though I have no idea what I would write about. I would prefer nonfiction over fiction.

7. I have never worn braces, and it is the one thing I regret not doing the second I got a job.

8. I actually contribute to my 401K at work. Who'd a thunk?

OK. Your turn! :)

Monday, July 23, 2007

What Are You Wearing Under There?

“Well, these thighs haven't gone out of the house without Lycra on them since I was 14.”
“You were brought up right.”
[Steel Magnolias, conversation between Truvy and Clairee].

Stockings, Tights, and Hose. Oh my. Watching British sitcoms is probably one of my less heinous vices, since it seems to prod me to look at the differences between British and American words for the same items. Today it was "tights" versus "stockings" versus "hose" - whatever you call them, they have a certain ... reputation.

A group of us were talking about our office's dress code relaxing to allow "no stockings" on casual Fridays during the summer, and I mentioned that I couldn't get used to the no-hose look because I always wore pantyhose, even under slacks. (At which one of the women in the group muttered something about that being too hot and too expensive, and we all changed the subject).

"Well-dressed" has different implications, depending on where you live and what resources are available to you. My grandmother would not go out of the house – even to the grocery store – unless she was wearing a clean dress or skirt and blouse and “stockings.” Grandma didn’t like “pantyhose.” She also never wore “tights” – at least, not as a grown-up. She was of the old school, where ladies wore girdles with garter straps and a single stocking attached to each side.

On one hand, that seems a pretty economical idea: if you get a run, you don't have to throw out the whole pair, because chances are, you have another singleton in the drawer. On the other hand, those things were not what you'd call.....comfortable.

My mother also used to wear the girdle/garter straps/hose combo, untill Leggs came out with the pantyhose-in-the-plastic-egg. She was a nurse back in the 60s and 70s, and early in her career, she wore the white dress with the starched cap, and white hose with white “nurses’ shoes.” [Each style cap meant a different school or hospital – I could never keep straight how they knew which was which.]

As a result of the elaborate (and particularly uncomfortable) uniform, getting dressed was a ritual. I remember thinking that the “getting dressed” process was very important and somewhat glamorous - although my mother stopped wearing makeup at some point, and the jumping and pulling to get the very tight and constricting girdle on was kind of like the animal dance sequence from Fantasia.

The thing was, there was a certain pride and self-respect about the process that got lost as my generation got older. I don’t know whether it was that standards in general relaxed to the point where just the fact that you left the house with undergarments on was a major accomplishment, or if it was just that getting older meant having the ability to just say "no" to anything uncomfortable or constricting.

I still think that leaving the house with undergarments on is a major accomplishment. Making sure they don't show under your clothes still seems beyond the reach of some..... But, the death and burial of the girdle/garter straps/hose combo was a major fashion accomplishment in some ways. I wonder if there will ever come a time when women can get their legs waxed, fake-tanned, and firmed/smoothed for less than the average annual pantyhose allowance?


Oh. By the way. This is all because I did not feel like working on a brief. That is due today.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Today's Word of the Day: Whinging

Main Entry: whinge
Pronunciation: 'hwinj, 'winj
Function: intransitive verb
Inflected Form(s): whinged; whing·ing or whinge·ing
British : to complain fretfully : WHINE - whinge noun, British

I love to watch the BBC America airings on PBS in Detroit, and one of my favorites is "As Time Goes By," starring Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer. The episode that was on Thursday night was about a trip to Los Angeles for a meeting about rights for Lionel's book (Lionel is Geoffrey Palmer's character). Jean made a comment apologizing for "whinging" about something, and it was cool because although I've seen it in print elsewhere, I hadn't heard it pronounced, let alone used.

Anyway, that's why "whinging" is today's word of the day! Enjoy!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Just a Quote

I found this today while looking for stuff on Ethel Barrett:

"We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do." - Ethel Barrett.

Ethel Barrett did some recordings of children's stories, most of which were Bible stories, and I can remember sitting in front of my grandparents' stereo listening to her tell these wonderful stories about baby Joash and Gregory the Grub. This is sort of what the stereo looked like:

Although it isn't the exact same stereo, it's close. You could lay on the floor right in front of it, and just listen to the records (we stacked as many as my grandma would let us up to the stereo's maximum).

That was fun.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

New Day Update

Well, here's the denouement. They both read the email, and they've talked, and my dad called and said, "you're right." Not entirely unexpected, because I was right, but that's not really the point.

He then says, "I've got somebody here who wants to talk to you," and hands the phone to my mom. Her first words are, "I understand - I understand that I'm just not going to be able to talk about my feelings."

AAAAAAUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHH! [head explodes]. We are now entering the "poor me" phase of the next who-knows-how-long.

Anyway, she's coming up to see my aunt on the 23rd, which is a week from yesterday. At first she said that she was going to go up there, pick my aunt up, take her to look at this place where the cousins' reunion is going to be in September, take her home, drop her off and then go home, "since I don't want to interfere in your life...." [head explodes again].

Either she doesn't get that her talking about how she feels is fine as long as she respects certain boundaries about it, or her life with my dad is so miserable that the only feelings she has about her life are that my dad is making her miserable - which I don't entirely believe, BTW. My dad can be a selfish brat, but he's not intractible.

So, we'll see. I know that part of the reason she's really pissed off at me is because she didn't want to admit some of what she said about the choices she made, and I don't think she wanted my dad to know any of it, either. See, my parents had what used to be called a "shotgun" wedding back in '63 (although, technically, there was no shotgun, and my grandfather and my uncle would have just as rather my parents didn't get married, but that's another story for another day).

There were issues there that pre-dated her and my dad's courtship that my mom has just sat on for 44+ years, and she won't let go of any of it, since it seems much more useful to hold it over his head for the rest of their married lives. As I sit here now, I don't know whether my mom is mad that my dad knows things she hadn't planned to tell him, or if she's sort of glad that it's out in the open because she wanted him to know but didn't want to actually come right out and take responsibility for it. Or both.

Damn! Raising parents is hard......

Slow Day (also known as Procrastination Syndrome)

From Yahoo! Here are some ways you can develop new friendships:

Get out with your pet. Seek out a popular dog park, make conversation with those who stop to talk on your daily neighborhood jaunts, or make pet play dates.

Work out. Join a class through a local gym, senior center or community fitness facility. Or start a lunchtime walking group at work.

Do lunch. Invite an acquaintance to join you for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Accept invites. When someone invites you to a party, dinner or social gathering, say yes. Resist the urge to say no just because you may not know everyone there or you may initially feel awkward. You can always leave if you get too uncomfortable.

Volunteer. Hospitals, places of worship, museums, community centers and other organizations often need volunteers. You can form strong connections when you work with people who share a mutual interest.

Join a cause. Get together with a group of people working toward a goal you believe in, such as an election or the cleanup of a natural area.

Join a hobby group. Find a nearby group with similar interests in such things as auto racing, music, gardening, books or crafts.

Go back to school. Take a college or community education course to meet people with similar interests.

Hang out on your porch. Front porches used to be social centers for the neighborhood. If you don't have a front porch, you can still sit out front with a cup of coffee or a good book. Making yourself visible shows that you are friendly and open.

Uh Oh....

Written by Jack Kelly
Friday, 13 July 2007

This Monday (7/16), the United Nations Security Council is scheduled to take up a report from Secretary General Ban Ki Moon which recommends the UN act to reduce the flow of arms from Syria to Hezbollah.

That same day or next, the Security Council also is expected to receive a report from its International Investigation Commission about the 2005 murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, which most Lebanese believe was orchestrated by Syria.

How will Syria respond? Here's a clue:

The Iranian news agency IRNA and several Arab newspapers have reported Syria has ordered all Syrian nationals residing in Lebanon to leave the country before Monday.

The al-Watan newspaper in Qatar reported last month that Syria has removed government archives from the Damascus area, a move al-Watan said indicates preparation for war.

Syrian troops have moved three kilometers (1.8 miles) into Lebanon and are digging trenches and building bunkers, the Lebanese daily al-Mustaqbal reported last week.

"There's not much doubt who is behind the military buildup, not to mention the growing violence in Lebanon itself," the Washington Post said of Syria in an editorial July 5.
"Syrian critics in Lebanon say they see their neighbor's hand in an ongoing militant

Islamist uprising in the north, and a deadly bomb attack against UN soldiers in the south," wrote Andrew Butters this week (7/11) in Time magazine's Middle East blog. "The idea is that Syria is going to do whatever it can to prevent the international noose from tightening around its neck."

Syria and its proxy, Hezbollah, are plotting a coup, al-Mustaqbal said. Hezbollah plans to form a "second government" that would include south Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley, both Hezbollah strongholds.

Hezbollah is Shia, as are about 38 percent of Lebanon's people. Slightly more are Christians. The remainder are chiefly Sunni Muslims, or Druze, an offshoot of Shia Islam. The government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora (a Sunni) has a narrow majority in the Lebanese parliament, a majority that's been thinned by the assassination, allegedly by Syrian agents, of three members of parliament who supported Mr. Siniora.

The coup attempt -- which Lebanese newspapers predict will take place this month -- could spark another civil war. And that war may not be confined to Lebanon.

"Well informed sources in Washington fear a confrontation between Israel and Syria may happen this summer," wrote Claude Salhani, UPI's international editor, last Monday (7/09).

If Israel doesn't vacate the Golan Heights (captured from Syria in the 1967 war) by September, Syrian guerrillas will launch "resistance operations," a top official in Syria's ruling party told the New York Sun.

The Israeli Defense Forces are preparing for a simultaneous conflict this summer against Syria, Iran, and the terror groups Hezbollah, Hamas and al Qaeda, IDF sources have told Israeli newspapers. The conflict would be "at least 10 times worse" than last summer's clash between Israel and Hezbollah, an IDF source told the Jerusalem Post this week.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered to hold "unconditional" peace talks with Syria, but Syrian dictator Bashar Assad rejected his overture, Israeli army radio reported Tuesday (7/10).

"Bashar Assad apparently has other plans than making peace with Israel," Israeli public security minister Avi Dichter said.

Syria wishes to reassert control over Lebanon, which it occupied from 1976 until 2005, and to head off UN-imposed economic sanctions. But in the past Iran, the senior partner in their axis of evil, has imposed restraints on Syrian ambitions. Rising confidence and rising fear are changing the calculus in Tehran.

Poor Israeli performance in the war with Hezbollah last summer has inspired confidence the Jewish state can be beaten militarily.

Fear in Tehran that its nuclear weapons program could trigger economic sanctions from the UN or an air strike from the U.S. makes the mullahs there more inclined to roll the dice.

Unrest at home over a terrible economy also makes the mullahs eager to deflect the anger of Iranians away from themselves.

Iraqi security forces seized 200 explosive suicide belts in a truck that crossed from Syria into Iraq, an Interior Ministry spokesman said Wednesday (7/11).

Syria and Iran have abetted much of the violence in Iraq, a fact which those who insist what's happening there is a civil war resolutely ignore. But Syria and Iran soon may make it harder to deny that Iraq is but one front in a worldwide conflict.

New Day

Well, one thing at a time, I guess. I wrote a long email to the parental units about everything. I haven’t heard from them, so I guess they either got it and read it and have disowned me, or they’re talking about it. We'll see.....

Monday, July 16, 2007

Cleaning House

Just as the cleaning of a home brings a sense of order and peace to the resident, so cleaning the inside of my head brings a sense of order and peace to, well, me.

I am inherently mistrustful of things that happen too quickly. If it's fast, it's probably not done well or thoroughly, and it's probably going to need fixing again. However, when a train goes off the tracks, putting it back immediately is usually a successful endeavor.

Last week, I went off the tracks. So totally off the tracks that I blocked out certain things I had agreed to do. I even forgot an appointment I apparently agreed to last week that I was supposed to go to my aunt's and uncle's yesterday. My aunt called me last night asking if I was coming - I hadn't even remembered agreeing to go.

I told her I was very sorry - that I hadn't written it down, and so when I was looking at my calendar yesterday and Saturday, I didn't realize I was supposed to be there. I told her that I would bring dinner next time since I was the one that had totally messed up.

On one hand, I think she was ticked because she'd gone to a lot of trouble to fix a nice dinner both weeks (I didn't go last week either because I had just gotten back, and I didn't realize that she expected me the day I returned from a 12-hour drive - she did).

On the other hand, I think she was a little relieved that even 40-something year olds forget things like that. Plus, she was going to call my mom anyway to confirm when my mom is coming for her visit, so that was probably just as well.

And on that, I have started working on what happened the last time I was at my parents' house, and as far as the boundary problem, I decided that one healthy boundary I can set is to tell my mom that I am not going to listen to her complain about being married to Dad. I love them both, and while I recognize they both have imperfections, I will not listen to either one of them criticize or tear down the other one. Either deal with it between the two of them, or seek outside assistance from a qualified and trusted person, but do not dump that crap on me. There. That’s one.

The other things I decided I could do were 1) get a quiet time diary from the bible institute I attended back in 1983 (which I ordered today); and, 2) get involved in something specific at the church that I can commit to doing for at least a year, other than the choir.

The church I belong to has a library of its own, and I've always loved libraries. They were places of refuge and places from which to explore the world without leaving the comfort of my own place.

The lady who has been in charge of the church library for what is apparently a very long time needs help, especially since the last donation Sunday yielded a contribution for a computer system for the library. She can only see out of one eye, and she can't do the computer work for long without a break, so I volunteered to help her - not just with the computer stuff but with the library as well.

I learned how the card system works, and I learned that I can help with the cross-referencing and indexing of subject matter when they get the computer, which will help people who want to research a particular subject but don't know what is out there on what they want.

Since that's how my brain works, I thought that would be a good idea. At least for a year or so - I don't want to just jump in and out of things, but I also want to try different things and see where my talents are best used. The church also has a website, and I'd like to do something there, too, but I need to go slowly. There is nothing like agreeing to do too much too quickly to get a really bad case of burnout.......

Saturday, July 14, 2007

If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother

Yeah, about that....

My mother is coming to stay with me for a few days some time toward the end of July. She isn't coming to see me, exactly, especially since I just spent 4 days at the parental units' house around the 4th. She wants to come up for a visit herself and see my aunt (her sister) and then the two of them are going to visit the place where my aunt has scheduled the cousins' reunion for the cousins on their side of the family.

So, she's going to stay with me when she comes up here, and hopefully we'll get to spend some time together. There are things to be said, and I'm going to have to think through what I want to say to her before she gets here, while at the same time, being prepared for things to be totally off-kilter. Or, for her to decide she can't come after all. Or who knows what.

OK, Where Was I?

Sorry for the recent crisis. I kind of imploded a bit with all of the stress, and considering the amount of stress that had piled up, deleting my blog was probably the best self-destructive choice on the menu if such a choice had to be made at all. Which it did.

I've had a few deep breaths, I've had chocolate, and while Blogger must have heard of the impending break-up, it's decided to forgive me a little. I have been able to recover 1/4 to 1/2 of my blog posts (although in no particular order), and I will try to put things back to normal as soon as I can.

While I'm on that subject, I know some people have moved from Blogger to other host services (why does that sound so parasitic?). Those of you who have moved from Blogger to another service, what do you think of your new host?

Monday, July 2, 2007

A Word or Two Before I Go....

Yep. I'm bugging out of here tomorrow at 5:00-ish - heading south for a long weekend with the fam.... CAN'T WAIT!

Just wanted to let those of you know who have held my hand (figuratively speaking) through the agony of refinancing hell, I decided not to go through with it.

Turns out, with the adjustment, the new payment amount versus the one I would get if I refinance, are only $7.00/month different. Yes, that's right: $7.00 a month. On top of that, the total mortgage amount would be $2,000 or so higher because of the refinance costs that would be rolled in.

So here's the real deal: not only would I not get a significant break on my monthly payment by refinancing, but I also would end up owing more over the life of the loan with a higher rate adjustment cap than I currently have, AND I would have to pay longer.

They wanted to do this as a 40-year overall mortgage, with 5 years until the next adjustment and a 3-year prepayment penalty period. I have just completed the 2-year prepayment penalty period on the loans I took out to buy this place in the first place. My adjusted interest rate for the first 6-month adjustment period is actually less than the new rate would be if I refinanced.

Granted, there are some unknowns. I do not know, for example, how much the rate will increase in February of 2008. I also do not know how much property values are going to fluctuate over the next several months to a year or two, if the overall payment gets to be too much.

But, I know that with the current loan documents, I am at least safer for the next six months than I would have been had I refinanced. The rate adjustment cap in the new package is 2.00% greater than the rate adjustment cap in the existing package, which I wouldn't have known had I not seen the loan documents - which they refused to send me until the day before the scheduled closing!!

I don't know what to tell people who don't already have mortgages, but with so many lenders selling their real estate mortgage portfolios to secondary market investment buyers, I can only say, read everything twice, ask questions, and don't sign anything until you do!! You can always say "no." If you're buying instead of refinancing, it might cost you some money in the short run, but it's better to lose a little up front than to lose a lot over the long haul.

Have a very safe and happy Independence day!! :)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Jesus Meme

Lynn, from Spilling Ink In Public, allowed me to "tag" myself with the Jesus meme, on which she posted and made some pretty good observations. The point of the meme is to post five things that I dig about Jesus, so here goes:

1. He shares my burdens and my grief. I Pet. 5:7 - "Casting all of your anxiety upon Him, for He cares for you."

2. He loves me so much He died for me. John 3:16 - "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, and whoever believes on Him will not perish but have everlasting life," and Ephesians 3:19 - "...the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge..." and Ephesians 5:1 -"live in love, just as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God," and I John 4:19 - "We love, because He first loved us."

3. He came back from the dead and brought me eternal life. John 11:25-26 - "Jesus said to her, " I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die."

4. He gave me the right be a child of God. John 1:12 - "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name."

5. He stands up for me. I John 2:1-2 - "if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world."

6. He controls the wind and the sea. Matthew 14:25-33 - During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

(That was an extra!!)

I liked how Lynn did this - if you want to participate, you can tag yourself in the comments, and then just let us know you're going to post. Cool idea!! :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Licensed to Snark

I'm in serious danger of committing assault with a deadly smart-mouth, so I thought I would share with you, instead of the individual I should share this with.

Thanks to Kim, at Hiraeth, I found this video clip of a DUI stop which I found so hilarious, I almost wet my pants:

No, it wasn't real; it was from a comedy show called Reno 911. Which it says on the caption of the video when you go to The point was, I had already committed one glaring smart-mouth offense yesterday involving a "reply all" that I should have just "replied."

Out of gratitude for the people who didn't let me sit too long with egg on my face, I sent them this video, thinking that it was just a funny video - i.e., not caring if it was real or not, only that it was funny. [Plus, it says right on the webpage the link directs you to that it's from Reno 911 - duh!]

Mr. Same Know-It-All responded to this olive branch with: "You do realize this is from a comedy TV show, right? Not a real stop? Just making sure…."

ARGGGHHHH! I wanted - oh, so badly wanted! - to respond with "and one wonders why you're still single, Radar...." But I didn't. I wanted to, but I didn't. Particularly since I am not the office politician in anyone's office, and you should never snark the hands that might pull you out of the muck one day.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Update - Mission: Truly Impossible?

Well, it was as I suspected. This is the corporate response:

"Thank you for taking the time to share your comments with us regarding the selection at our J.Jill retail stores. Please be assured that it was not our intent to slight any of our customers with our product selection. We do offer a service that allows you to order online through the concierge desk at the retail store, if your size or style is not available. Any in-store sales and promotions can also be applied to these orders. We look forward to the opportunity of serving your needs in the future. Should you require further assistance, please contact us via email at or call us at 1-800-343-5700, Monday through Saturday, 7:00 am to 11:00 pm EST."

Guys have it good – pants are in the right waist size and leg length, even if those measurements aren’t “ordinary.” They can buy shirts in neck sizes and sleeve lengths to fit, and they can get suit coats/blazers that actually fit (even if they have to be altered). When I’ve gone with my dad when he’s been suit shopping, the sales people look through what they have to fit him, and they apologize and go nuts if they aren’t able to find something that will work (he used to be 6’ 6” tall, but he’s shrunk a bit as he’s aged).

When women shop, the attitude is that if nothing fits, it’s your fault for not being able to wear the clothes. I often wonder how much women’s clothing standards would change if men had to wear pants that were too short, sleeves that were too short, darts/tailoring that was too high or too low, and then (even after you had alterations done), the garment only lasted one, maybe two, years – at the same price.

Even this email response holds the same veiled assessment: you can order through the catalog "if your size or style is not available." Why can't stores sell clothes that fit people instead of having a massive amount of junk that they end up having to put on clearance in order to shift?

Mission: Impossible

[Cue music from TV show - DUN-DUN-da-da-DUN-DUN-da-da-DADADA....]

Partridge Creek Mall (Clinton Township, Michigan) is opening a J. Jill store. In case you don't know or haven't heard of J. Jill, they carry clothes for tall women - IN THEIR CATALOG!! - as do Eddie Bauer and Land's End.

Eddie Bauer is also opening a store in this mall; Land's End decided to open "boutique" sections in your local Sears. Neither of them has ever had a tall section for women in their stores/"boutiques", and their sales people are almost snotty about it. I should also point out that BOTH retailers maintain a nice "petite" section for women. But I digress.

Since this will be a brand new store in a brand new mall, and the possibility exists that since they haven't had a retail store in this area before, they might be inclined to listen to people who would actually shop there, I thought I would start the campaign now to see if they will put a tall section in their new store.


Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to email J. Jill (you can email them online via their website at, and ask them to consider including a tall section in their new store.

FYI, there is one - yes, that's right, only ONE!! - store that handles clothes for tall women in this area. It's one of those "Tall Girl" shops (that's the actual name), but the selection is terrible with respect to any career clothes.* They carry "resort wear" style casual items, and a few suits and suit separates, but the quality is not very good for what they charge for it.

Anyway, that's my mission, too. I've already emailed them, and if you don't mind doing a good deed for those of us who can never find pants, tops, suits, jackets or skirts that fit properly, you can, too.

This post will self-destruct in 30 seconds. Good luck.

*Footnote: I once inquired at a local Mervyn's if they had any more professional clothes. When the sales girl pointed me to a section full of low-cut and clingy tops, short/tight skirts, and low-rise, too-tight-fitting pants, I said, "That's not the profession I had in mind, but thanks....." She didn't get it.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Happiness is a warm puppy.....

My darling dog is laying patiently on the floor in my office next to my chair. I came in so I could get caught up on the stuff I didn't do because I was stressed about the refinance, and he came along, just glad that Mama took him with her instead of leaving him in the house by himself all day like she usually does. He just was outside to be a good puppy, and he's gotten one of the treats out of the Kong toy (that goes EVERYwhere with us), and now he's sleeping.

What did I do to deserve such a great friend?

[Psst! He doesn't know it yet, but we're going to a local d-o-g-p-a-r-k after Mama finishes her work..... :) Don't tell him!!]

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sisyphus Speaks

Ever have a day when you just don't want to care anymore? I know that I'm going to do a good job, because that's what I do, but in the back of my head is a three-year-old stomping her feet and saying "but I don't WANT to do this anymore! I want to play with the puppy!"

I added my hours for the month (to date) and subtracted the total from what I would need to put in to make up the amount of time I am behind for the year thus far, and yes, I will make it if I bill as many hours per month for the rest of the year as I am on track to have this month if I keep plugging along like I've been doing.

But my life for the rest of the year won't seem like it's worth living.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My 300th Post

WHOO-HOO!! 300!! (Um, wait - that means I've spent how much time blogging that I can never get back???) :)

Part of the reason I haven't been posting as much is that I’m discouraged right now. Aside from the work issues, a big part of that is my current refinance thing.

Short version of this story: I screwed up. I should not be allowed to play Monopoly, let alone participate in commerce. I'm great at figuring out how to get out of stuff, but not at all good at how to do it right the first time. (Note to self: remind Mom that she was wrong all those time she told me that if I spent half as much time doing things instead of trying to get out of them, I would be much more productive. If I'd listened to her, I wouldn't be as good at my job as I am now.)

Long version: when I bought my condo, I got an 80/20 loan package which allowed me to purchase the property since I had ZERO money to put down. The first mortgage was supposed to be at a fixed rate, and the second was supposed to be an ARM. I made the mistake of using, and chose a company that I thought I could trust because they were local (I couldn't) and that I thought would keep the loan in-house (they didn't).

My first mortgage was at 7.100% - high for 2 years ago, but the lowest rate I could get at the time. I thought that with the way housing prices were going up, if I didn't buy soon, I would never be able to buy because I would always be behind. Plus, I had the upstairs neighbors from hell with no help at all from the property management company I was renting from.

First of all, the company I found through didn't even give me the loan documents to review until the day I was supposed to close - and this, after I'd already put the closing over once because of their delays. I did not see any of the loan papers until I was at the closing table with the van out in the parking lot because the movers had already arrived to start packing things up.

Second, the loan package was written backwards from what the guy told me - instead of having a fixed rate loan on the first and an ARM on the second, it was an ARM on the first and a fixed on the second. Maybe that's the only way they do them, but if he'd told me that up front, I wouldn't have done the loan. I am not, after all, a complete idiot. Inexperienced at how these things work, but not an idiot.

Anyway, my ARM was only locked in for 2 years. Then, it adjusts upward by, like, 3.5% - YIPE. Because there was a prepayment penalty if I'd refinanced sooner (and because I didn't have the money to pay those costs), I waited until the prepayment penalty period was almost over.

As you might have realized, the Michigan housing market (not to mention the economy - thank you, Jennifer Granholm!), has pretty much bottomed out in the 2 years since I bought my condo. I feel like the kid playing musical chairs who's running around looking for a seat only to find that there aren't any left.

So, now I’m stuck with either a changed payment amount that will kick in when the ARM adjusts (translating to an increase in my mortgage payment of about $300), or the adjusted payment terms the lender will give me to refinance everything. Not being made of or married to money, I am pretty much a hostage to whatever I can get.

Now, it seems that the guy handling the refinance - which they laughingly call a "streamline" - seems to be pissed at me because I don't want a prepayment penalty for an undisclosed period of time, since I’ve already had a prepayment penalty period that kept me from refinancing to a lower rate when property values were still fairly solid, and since I made my mortgage payments on time every single month for the last 2 years.

It’s all fine and well and good for him to be pissed – it’s not his mortgage or his life that will be disrupted.

Anyway, I talked with this guy at a company I should have gone with in the beginning - everything he told me 3 years ago checked out (STILL kicking myself over not going back to him) - and he said that I’m doing all the right things. I just have to ride this out and see where I am when the property values rebound.

I’m just so tired.

This is really what the curse is all about: sweat and labor to eke out any kind of life, and you can’t let down your guard for an instant, because all around you, there are plenty of people poised to take it away from you. If it isn’t mortgage scalpers, it’s taxing authorities or thieves. Not that there is much difference among them...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Weekend Remnants

Benjamin asks some good existential questions. He sometimes gets the answers wrong, but he’s asking the right questions. The most recent one (June 17) involves adventures in decorating. I feel his pain, although I'm doing my decorating solo. I'm almost there but not quite. I have some really nice things in my place, but I haven't figured out how to tie it all together.

My cousin and her husband (who have more money than almost anyone else I know) just redecorated two of their bathrooms. I honestly don't know how many bathrooms they have, but it is enough that the master bathroom and the powder room inside the front door were both under construction at the same time, and with four people in the house, no one died. Both places look beautiful. I now feel inspired to put white crown molding in my powder room that I just painted Ralph Lauren "light sky" - it might be overkill, but who cares.

Our choir director at church is going to her ENT today. I don’t know her that well, but I keep thinking about her – I can’t imagine how it feels to be reduced to speaking in a whisper as a grown-up. I had laryngitis regularly when I was younger, but after we moved to South Dakota, I didn’t have any more trouble with my throat. I had migraines, chronic sinusitis, and other maladies, but not laryngitis.

She said that the last time she had this kind of problem, it was a lesion on her vocal chords. She’s hoping that this time, it’s just gook. Me, too.

Time Flies

Wow. I just realized it had been over a week since I posted anything. I hate when that happens!

I wish I could say that it was because I was having a great time, but that's not the case. Work interferes in ways that I can't always control or predict, and it felt like I was doing very well to just read what was going on in other people's lives.

We had a practice group meeting Wednesday – the attorneys were asked to stay after, because Managing Partner had a bone to pick with everyone about their time. One of the others had something to say as well.

Apparently, the firm has written off a total of $300K+ this year, compared to $60K as of about the same time. Plus, the amount of time billed is 1000 hours less for the same time period from last year. Which is a bad thing. That amounts to about $450K down from the same time period last year, and they can’t afford to do that. Nobody can.

Since those of us who aren’t billing attorneys don’t have any information about what gets written down, it was a surprise to us, but supposedly the one guy was going to sit down with each of us and talk about it. I haven’t seen/heard from him all week, so I’m just keeping my head down.

The fun part was, Managing Partner sniped at me in front of the whole group because I had only billed 110 hours last month. I told him that I had gone to one of the guys who has been complaining that he's overloaded 2 or 3 weeks ago to ask for work and I never heard back. Short of parking my behind on his desk, I didn't have any other options.

Apparently, other attorneys in the room were stung for me – one guy called another attorney after the meeting, because she wasn’t there, and he said that Managing Partner had done that but that I’d refuted his charge well. One of my other friends said I looked like I was still upset by it, but that it was good that I was “soldiering on.”

I didn’t want to say anything to them about it, but as far as I was concerned, Managing Partner’s comment only made him look bad himself. I don’t know what he thought he would accomplish by doing that – if he thought I would get emotional in front of everyone or get in his face or make excuses or whatever, he underestimated me greatly.

For some reason, I keep thinking about that story about the bird who fell out of the tree into the snow in the dead of winter. The bird was almost frozen to death when a bull pooped on it. The poop warmed the bird up, and he began to sing. A passing cat heard the singing, dug the bird out of the poop and ate it. Moral: Not everyone who puts you in shit is your enemy; not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend; and, when you’re in deep shit, for heaven’s sake, don’t sing!

I’ve gotten good reports from other people – the one friend has been so cool about giving me good feedback, and another guy was over the moon about that appeal brief and the job I did on a motion hearing (without any complaining, thank you very much). This other partner, too, is good about telling me when I do a good job.

The thing is, I think that with some people, the fact that I don’t mix with others can send a message that I’m not as good as they are. I’m just not that type of person – I keep my mouth shut and I do my work. I’ve had people bigger and more powerful than the Managing Partner yell at me in front of more people, and it just doesn’t rattle me. I’ve gone nose to nose with my dad and my oldest brother – these guys are pipsqueaks compared to either one of them.

I still remember that one New Year’s Eve that my parents went out and my oldest brother and I were home. My parents had 2 boxer puppies at the time, and my brother started squirting the dogs while they were locked up in their cage. He refused to stop until/unless I listened to something he wanted me to listen to. We ended up fighting, and even though I ended up with muscle strain and PTSD afterwards, I didn’t give up. You can say whatever you want about the intelligence of that, but not many people will take on a soldier – let alone a Marine – over something like that. (The good news was, while he was dealing with me, he wasn’t tormenting the dogs).

Anyway, that’s why I say, I’ve dealt with bigger and more powerful bullies than him.

The funny thing was, I was walking my dog at lunchtime, and all I could think of was that song from the 1940s – “Ven der Fuehrer says, "Ve iss der master race," Ve HEIL! [phlebth!] HEIL! [phlebth!] Right in der Fuehrer's face! Not to luff der Fuehrer iss a great disgrace, So Ve HEIL! [phlebth!] HEIL! [phlebth!] Right in der Fuehrer's face!” Not something I want to spread around the office, but still highly amusing and destressifying.

So, now you're caught up. :)

Sunday, June 10, 2007


There are days when I really miss the good ole days of the King James Version. A conversion the apostle Paul had in his conversion experience is set forth in the book of Acts (in the New Testament) like so:

"And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."

Yes, I know. They didn't mean the same thing we mean when we use the word today. The same word is translated "goads" in the New King James version, and the entire comment is left out of the New American Standard and the New International version - apparently, some of the early manuscripts did not contain that comment.

Anyway, it was one of the fun things to do during the morning service when I was a kid: go through the Bible and find all the naughty bits. I read Genesis and Deuteronomy gleefully, looking for the cool stories, the prohibitions, the stuff proper people didn't discuss in the late 60s.

But I digress.

It took this morning's message to help make the connection about what I've been struggling with in terms of People I Don't Like, whether they're family or cow-orkers (oooo. sorry. "Co-workers"), and the connection had absolutely nothing to do with the message. However, the message did serve as a goad to a part of my brain that, thankfully, I wasn't using at the time, thereby allowing one of the pricks or goads to prod it to realize something it wouldn't have realized on its own.

The message this morning was about faith and works, and the connection I got out of it instead was that no matter what insanity is going on around me, I am not responsible for anyone but myself. Gotta hand it to my mom - whenever I would whine about how my sister (or brothers) got away with stuff, or how I shouldn't get in trouble because "she did [whatever]," my mom's response was always: "I don't care what she did. You just take care of you." [Completely unfair, but y'know, right on the money in terms of preparing me for real life!!]

I spent most of yesterday (beautiful day though it was) and this whole afternoon (also a beautiful day) getting my decks cleared at work for more stuff, and as I was whining and feeling quite sorry for myself and grousing about how so-and-so got this or that, I also sent emails to people from whom I have gotten good billable work before, because I really do like my job.

This morning, two of the three people I emailed sent replies telling me that they have work - one said to come see him on Monday. How cool is that! Here I was blubbering like a little kid about how somebody got my office and somebody is getting all the work I used to do and everybody else is going on these things and I'm not, when I only had to ask to be put back in the rotation. My favorite response was "perfect. let me see what is available."

"Ye have not because ye ask not." That's another one from the King James.


There are days when I really miss the good ole days of the King James Version. A conversion the apostle Paul had in his conversion experience is set forth in the book of Acts (in the New Testament) like so:

"And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."

Yes, I know. They didn't mean the same thing we mean when we use the word today. The same word is translated "goads" in the New King James version, and the entire comment is left out of the New American Standard and the New International version - apparently, some of the early manuscripts did not contain that comment.

Anyway, it was one of the fun things to do during the morning service when I was a kid: go through the Bible and find all the naughty bits. I read Genesis and Deuteronomy gleefully, looking for the cool stories, the prohibitions, the stuff proper people didn't discuss in the late 60s.

But I digress.

It took this morning's message to help make the connection about what I've been struggling with in terms of People I Don't Like, whether they're family or cow-orkers (oooo. sorry. "Co-workers"), and the connection had absolutely nothing to do with the message. However, the message did serve as a goad to a part of my brain that, thankfully, I wasn't using at the time, thereby allowing one of the pricks or goads to prod it to realize something it wouldn't have realized on its own.

The message this morning was about faith and works, and the connection I got out of it instead was that no matter what insanity is going on around me, I am not responsible for anyone but myself. Gotta hand it to my mom - whenever I would whine about how my sister (or brothers) got away with stuff, or how I shouldn't get in trouble because "she did [whatever]," my mom's response was always: "I don't care what she did. You just take care of you." [Completely unfair, but y'know, right on the money in terms of preparing me for real life!!]

I spent most of yesterday (beautiful day though it was) and this whole afternoon (also a beautiful day) getting my decks cleared at work for more stuff, and as I was whining and feeling quite sorry for myself and grousing about how so-and-so got this or that, I also sent emails to people from whom I have gotten good billable work before, because I really do like my job.

This morning, two of the three people I emailed sent replies telling me that they have work - one said to come see him on Monday. How cool is that! Here I was blubbering like a little kid about how somebody got my office and somebody is getting all the work I used to do and everybody else is going on these things and I'm not, when I only had to ask to be put back in the rotation. My favorite response was "perfect. let me see what is available."

"Ye have not because ye ask not." That's another one from the King James.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay.....

I like it that the rest of that line is "....wastin' time."

This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town
And beats high mountain down.

Yes, it's from "The Hobbit."

My whole life I've felt that I'm either trying to catch up or moving too fast. If I can ever retire, I hope that I will not feel so out of sync with time.

I wrote earlier about the whole lawyer/time/billable hours thing. I realize now why I felt so stressed: I have done (almost) everything on my plate to do, and the work won't add up to enough time to meet the goals set for me by myself and others. I don't have enough work to do to justify my existence.

I'm a little ticked off, because on one hand, they (the powers that be) have hired not one but two new associates just in the last 8 months, one of which is worming her way into the environment like a fungus. Fortunately, the other one is studying for the bar exam, so I have a little time to change the landscape there, but I can't seem to do anything about the other one.

Remember when I wondered if the reason she was here was that I needed to witness to her? I've figured out that that isn't the reason. The reason is because she's like my sister in this one respect. She seems to believe that her own advent onto the scene means that anyone else who won't further her position is dispensible and irrelevant. She is here to replace anyone who a) isn't male, and b) doesn't have the connections she's looking for to advance her own career - for which she is going to ride on her father's coattails for as long as possible.

My sister's attitude was the same from the time we were children. She was the youngest - the baby, for about 5 years - so everything revolved around her, regardless of anyone else's needs. Notice, I didn't say "wants" but "needs." It was never a question of whether something she wanted should trump anyone else's wants - it never entered her mind (and still doesn't) that anyone else's needs were important to the extent that they interfered with her getting her own way (even over things that were not "needs").

This new one is just like her. I never learned to fight that in my own family and that's why this biatch is here now - so that I will learn.