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Wednesday August 31, 2005


Apparently was quoted in the Sunday section of the Plain Dealer this last week. For those of you who aren't from Ohiyyyo, the PD is the big one up here. Can't wait to find it.


Monday August 29, 2005

Maria has a faux hawk


Faux Hawk


Reason #87 I don't watch MTV

Last night, after twenty minutes of unsatisfying channel flipping, I decided to check out the Video Music Awards for old time's sake. When I was a kid, I watched every year; memorized every moment. But the last few years have been a turn-off, with the awards (and MTV in general) becoming too hip-hop heavy for my taste.

At first I was optimistic that things would be different. Green Day opened the show with a great performance, but aside from a brief moment or two (Dane Cook's brief comedy bit and My Chemical Romance's insane performance) the rest of the show was a bust.

What was that weird, melodramatic, new age Lord of the Dance on crack number that Diddy used to open the show? I half expected Enya swoop down from the ceiling and start a duet with Kanye West. It was really strange. They really need to give Chris Rock a standing invitation to host the darn thing from now on.

Although I was pumped that the Britneys and Christinas were noticeably absent, I wasn't happy with the performance roster. It seemed to me like the Source awards, complete with night club shootings, and a few rock acts mixed in to appease the Emo heads. I'm hoping that next year's show will be a little better, with so many great rock bands and musicians coming out with new stuff soon.

I won't be holding my breath.


Friday August 26, 2005

The news

After months of endless bitching about the horrors of my job, I've managed to score a new position doing exactly what I love: behavioral research (wooo for psychology!) Sometime next month, I'll be leaving the Pleveland Plinic forever and moving to Pace Pestern Peserve Puniversity, about a mile down the road.

This means I'll be sticking around Cleveland for a little longer instead of kickin' it with My Old Roomie in Atlanta, but in a strange twist, I may be moving in with My Old Roomie's other old roomie. Weird how things work out like that.

Wish me luck on the job and on finding a new apartment. Time to shop.


Wednesday August 24, 2005

Maria blogging

My niece is too cool for school

Maria so cute

Her fat cheeks look just like mine. I have a feeling that someday she'll have an affinity for Chin's Pagoda.


Monday August 22, 2005

Things on my mind, miscellaneous edition

Lately I've been wondering whether I'll ever find a job that I can stick with for more than a year and a half. I look at people who've been at the same job for twenty years and think, I'll never be able to do that. I can't stay in one place for so long. It might make me settle down.

I am really glad that Jenn got her blogging mojo back.

My niece Maria is getting too cute for words. Every month my sister-in-law has been taking her to get professional photos, and every time she comes back with an even cuter face. I love her little fat roles. She's got the chubbiest little thighs.

Why can't chubby thighs be considered cute for non-babies? I have chubby thighs. Somebody needs to start appreciating that.

Of course, my own chubbiness is slowly but surely diminishing. I've lost over 25 pounds. It's thrilling to put on a pair of jeans that used to require the lay-down-suck-in method before they could be zipped, and then find they give you a hip hop saggy look circa 1997. I just wish someone else would compliment me. You know you've got your work cut out for you when you lose 25 pounds and your family doesn't notice.

I can't stop buying sheets. It's out of control. I now live at Linen's N' Things.

I have nobody to eat at Chin's Pagoda with me now that My Old Roomie has started a new chapter in her book of life elsewhere in the United States. Of course, this may be part of the reason that I've managed to lose 25 pounds, but I still don't like it. Certain days out of the month I crave Chin's Pagoda, and no one will come with me. I miss My Old Roomie.

I have some news. It'll have to wait, though.


Wednesday August 17, 2005

I couldn't have said it better: Jesse Kornbluth's thoughts on Cindy Sheehan

It's probably not kosher to steal an entire article/blog entry from another website, but I couldn't hack this up and just quote some lines. It has to be read from beginning to end.

From the Swami Uptown blog, August 15th, 2005:

Richard Herrin, a Yale student, killed his Yale girlfriend, Bonnie Garland, in the bedroom of her parents' home in Westchester, New York. She was going to date other guys, so he smashed her head with a hammer as she slept. I sat with her father and mother for hours and hours as they struggled to explain what it meant to lose a child.

A few years later, I read about the murder of Johnny Pius, 13 years old and an only child. He had been beaten in a Long Island schoolyard, and then six rocks were stuffed down his throat. I sat with his mother for hours and hours as she struggled to explain what it meant to lose a child.

A few years after that, I wrote a small piece about an 18-year-old New Yorker who had died of cancer. And, again, I sat with a mother as she struggled to explain what it meant to lose a child. A few months later, I sat with her again--her 17-year-old daughter had been killed by a drunk hit-run driver. This woman had, in 18 months, lost two of her three children. I leave it to your imagination to picture what it was like to sit with her the second time.

And then there was Beulah Mae Donald, of Mobile, Alabama. Her 18-year-old-son Michael had been lynched by some Ku Klux Klansmen. Somehow the local cops couldn't find evidence to arrest them, but Morris Dees, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, had found a way to sue them, and, on Mrs. Donald's behalf, he had won all the Klan's assets and bankrupted the organization. I sat with Mrs. Donald in the living room of her apartment in an Alabama housing project for hours and hours as she took me through her son's murder and its aftermath, and how she had, right from beginning, turned her grief over to Jesus and how, now that she had some money, she was going to give it away to people who were hurting worse than she was. Can you imagine?

Those of you who have read this column from the beginning can guess one reason I kept writing magazine pieces about children who die and the parents who survive them--when I was 4, I was on the short list of kids to be kidnapped and killed. Luckily for me, the killer realized my parents weren't rich. Unfortunately for a boy named Bobby Greenlease, his parents were obviously wealthy, and so he was chosen for the kidnapping and the murder. I have always felt that I'm here by a stroke of great luck; clearly, I've always wondered what happens when a family is not so lucky.

But as a journalistic impulse, I also see this: I'm curious how people survive that which might well kill them. Because there's nothing more unnatural than the death of a child. To put that small coffin in the ground and live on--how do people do that? To be more specific: How does a mother of a dead child go on, having carried that child in her belly and fed it from her breast?

In my time as a witness to the unthinkable, I developed a deep admiration for these parents. Their bravery was breathtaking. Sometimes they wept or cursed or shared inappropriate memories because they were out of control and using me as a therapist--no matter, I thought those parents were just as noble as the mothers and fathers who nobly suppressed their tears so they could better tell me their child's story.

In my last marriage, I helped raise some stepchildren I love as if they are my own, and I would come home from these reporting stints weak with gratitude to see them sleeping peacefully in their beds. And now, as many of you know, in this final marriage, there is a child in the household, and the joy of that is indescribable--as is the dread of what it would be like to lose her. Those of you who are parents know what I'm talking about; those who are not can, I hope, empathize.

It is largely because I always see situations in human terms that I have, from the beginning, opposed the Iraq war. Like all conflicts of this kind, it is not about soldiers fighting soldiers; it is about demoralizing the civilian population. And that means killing civilians. The 'insurgents' have a special gift for this. But we're not exactly bad at it, as families who get it wrong at Iraqi checkpoints have learned the hard way.

And then, of course, there are our soldiers, some of them so young it's no insult to call them kids. I've watched "Gunner Palace" and a bunch of documentaries about the war, and I'm dazzled by who we send to fight. Yeah, aging reservists. But also, a lot of kids just out of high school. They have no idea what they're doing. How do I know that? Because when I was 18 I had no idea what I was doing. And my friends didn't either. And you, friend, probably didn't as well.

This is a very long introduction to today's sermon, which is about how we should think about Cindy Sheehan, the woman who has been standing outside the President's Crawford, Texas ranch in hopes of having a chat with him. Her son, Casey, died in Iraq. He was 24.

Mrs. Sheehan has all kinds of views. She has an opinion on Israel. She has a view about her income tax. And, of course, she has a view of the war which is not the one heard on Fox News.

If you have a shred of imagination and compassion, you realize that Mrs. Sheehan is in the middle of a trauma that will last all the days of her life, and you will be glad that you are going to sleep in the comfort of your own bed tonight instead of a motel room in Texas. Which is to say: You will cut her some slack. How much? All you have to give. Because she's in the grip of emotions that are off the charts. She hurts more than--please God--you will ever know.

Cindy Sheehan is a Compassion Test. Your willingness to support her in her grief--whatever your opinion of her politics--says volumes about your tolerance for people in pain who don't remind you of yourself. Me, I think she can be strident. And, sometimes, wrong.

But, dammit, I admire her guts.

I cheer her love for her son.

And I have her back.

We come now to the commentary about Cindy Sheehan by Loose Canon. As some of you know, one reason I stopped daily blogging--not the biggest reason, but definitely a factor--is that I regarded LC, my ostensible debating partner, as an operative of the wingnut branch of the Republican Party. She is one of a bunch of pundits who get their talking points from the Republican National Committee or Lucianne Goldberg or whomever in the morning and then recycle those views, verbatim, in the afternoon. I have tried, since I decided to write longer (and, I hope, better) and publish just once a week, to ignore LC. It's not, after all, as if you can engage in a meaningful dialogue with a political operative.

Alas, because I have decided to champion Cindy Sheehan, I must now condemn every foul word LC has written about Cindy. I'm sorry, LC, but some things are bigger than politics. More important than 'respect' for a President whose most familiar expression is a sneer. A whole lot bigger than the 'Christianity' you profess to embrace.

When Jesus was crucified, Mary had a unique reason to grieve. So does Cindy Sheehan. So do all the mothers--on every side--who have lost children in this war. Give them respect. Stand aside. Lower your eyes. And if you have a tear left, for God's sake and yours, shed it for these poor people who gave all and will get nothing back.


Monday August 15, 2005

Trying not to be paralyzed by indecision

For the first half of this year, the problem that most plagued me was the fact that job recruiters wouldn't give me the time of day. I sent out resume after resume to no avail. A couple of the gracious ones sent me e-mails essentially saying, "Thanks, but no thanks." Most, though, didn't even bother.

Now I'm in a different pickle. Several employers have expressed interest and even put offers on the table. Nice, but for someone as indecisive as me, overwhelming. What do I do? Other than shop and worry, of course.

My friends have all given me the same advice: do what's best for you. Or me, rather. That sounds good and dandy, but figuring out what the best is, exactly, is a little tough. I'm so worried that I'll make one choice and instantly regret it. I do that a lot at restaurants (Damn! Should have gotten the sesame chicken instead. Why did I pick cajun??) So I imagine that regret over a career choice is going to sting a little more.

What's a girl to do?


Friday August 12, 2005

My macaroni killed!

It's gone... all three pounds of it.

Thanks, Patti.


Thursday August 11, 2005

Is there anything wrong with this picture?

A snapshot I took while on my trip last week, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport:



So much macaroni

Tomorrow is my department's big soul food barbecue.

Despite the fact that I'm a Croatian, I still have to bring a dish to share. Joy. When the sign-up sheet came my way, I picked macaroni and cheese thinking it would be easy. I mean, come on now, it's all I ate in college.

I wasn't expecting anyone else to sign up for it as well, but they did. And this someone apparently has a kick-ass recipe for down home southern-style mac n' cheese. So I have competition. And in preparation for that, I turned to Patti LaBelle's Over the Rainbow Macaroni and Cheese recipe. Patti would never disappoint me.

Just look at the 3 pounds of carb goodness about to be smothered in six cups of four cheeses:


I do hope they like it.


Monday August 08, 2005

A stressful week deserves CD shopping

At the end of another 7-day work week I decided to treat myself yet again to an hour at Best Buy perusing the music section and picking out some new CDs. My picks:

Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie
MMHMM by Relient K
Weezer by Weezer
Move Along by the All-American Rejects

I remembering listening to Weezer in junior high. My best friend Sarah and I would shout out the Sweater Song thinking it was the funniest thing we've ever heard. I saw the album while looking for All-American Rejects new CD and had to pick it up just for the nostalgia.


Thursday August 04, 2005

Good day, bad day

Why do the good times never last?

The last few days have been a mix of triumph and frustration for me. The night before my job interview in Atlanta I met up with my old roomie, who's now a Georgia peach herself. We hit Applebees for a late dinner, where she ogled the cute southern waiters, and I giggled whenever our waitress called me hon. Waitresses just don't do that in Cleveland. After some late night chatting, my old roomie took me back to my hotel.

[start good day]

Early the next morning I was picked up by the organization's supervisor, who gave me a tour and took me to lunch. My heart started racing about ten minutes before she arrived (damn that anxiety!) but after she showed up wearing jeans and a ponytail, my pulse returned to normal. We hung out for a few hours and talked a lot about the job. Everything went without a hitch.

When the interview ended, I was left at the hotel where I waited for my Nascar-wannabe-on-speed shuttle driver to escort me to back the airport. The flight home was short and I actually arrived early. It had been a really good day.

[/good day]

[start bad day]

The next morning I got up for work tired as hell after two days of running around, catching flights and yapping non-stop about what a wonderful employee I am. After clocking in, I was greeted with a tidal wave of unfinished work that left me scrambling. I dropped things, broke things, missed things... I became so consumed with getting things done that I clocked out more than 30 minutes late by mistake (which I will be reprimanded for, I'm sure). By the time I left the building, no shuttles were available to pick me up, and I had to walk a mile to my parking lot. Walking a mile isn't hard, unless of course you've been on your feet for 8 straight hours.

Halfway on the drive home I noticed that my gas light was on. I made it to the next exit and coasted into a gas station. After trying two different pumps that read Replace nozzle and see attendant, I realized the gas station was closed. Of all the stations I chose, I had to pick the ONE station in the entire city of Cleveland that closed before 8:00 pm.


I then had to call my dad to bring his gas cannister and give me a boost. Ten minutes later I watched his car roll past and drive off without me. He returned home convinced that I must have gotten home somehow because he didn't see me. My mom sent him back, and by 8:40 he finally showed up with gas, annoyed that I described the place as a gas station, not a car wash. When I made the point that a gas station with a car wash is still a gas station, he got snippy. Just what I needed.

By the time I got home I was so frustrated that I turned off my cell phone, shut down the computer, and headed for a trusted friend's house. I just needed a place away from home where I could relax, eat some comfort food, and talk to a friend. I fell asleep on her big purple couch while she watched an old episode of Buffy. I slept through the night, feeling better after "getting away" for a while.

[/bad day]

The frustration has yet to completely wear off.

Someday I'm going to have two good days in a row. Until then, I'll have to settle for ice cream and Buffy.