July 29, 2008

I love you, as long as you don't touch my beer.

I am a simple woman. It doesn't take moonlight dinners over the Seine River to make my heart warm, though it would be nice. For that reason, I only have a few earthly things I hold dear: my darling children, of course, my family and friends, hearty laughs, good literature and, above all, beer. Perhaps you noticed that my husband Rowdy isn't on that list. Well, as you read, you'll understand why. He committed the cardinal sin against me, as well prophetized in Shonda Chapter 6(pack): 12(ounces). Like it's my religion, get it?
Anyways, Rowdy's known since day one about my love affair with beer. And I mean since DAY ONE. Although we'd met a few days before what we consider our "first date," we made no plans to see each other. He knew where I worked, came in for lunch and decided not to leave until I got off work. It was a marshy April afternoon, midway between noon and the socially-acceptable 5 o' clock. I'm too cheap for pop, so my only available amenities were limited to tap water and Bud Light. No ice, of course, that shit's just a waste of freezer space.
Never one to charm a suitor with the false perception of being ladylike, trust me, I showed Ole' Rowdy what I was made of. After we sucked down the few brews in my barren refrigerator, I suggested a trip to my favorite watering hole, The New Oasis, which was just a few blocks from my bachelorette pad. The Oasis is a classy establishment, to say the least. Decades and decades of molded smoke has penetrated even the beer koozies and most of the regular patrons are 10 years older than my grandfather and possess the same infectious charm as Marty Crane. I love it there! After a couple hours of shuffleboard fun, Rowdy opted for responsibility. He decided to go check his cattle a solid hour's drive north from where we were. But, the charmer that he is, he persuaded me to come along. I think he was trying to exploit labor, really. Without a doubt, he bought those two 30-packs as a means to impress me or possibly stocking up for the weekend. He quickly realized that was the wrong move. Contrary to his account of the night's wobbly events, I swear I only drank my 30-pack. We'll debate this to our death. Rowdy stopped drinking before we went to bar #2, Cheyenne's local haunt, the Boyett Tavern, or before someone suggested we venture over to bar #3, The State Line Bar. Needless to say, I've been to a honky tonk or two and this is the one and only time I've been to the State Line. But from that sole experience, I can truthfully proclaim it the most frightening salon I've ever been in. Through all of this, I feel confident that I can pinpoint the exact moment Rowdy fell in love with me. Around 1 am, a few hours after Rowdy had started drying up, a skinny old man who kinda like resembled a less frightening version of Charles Manson stumbled into the bar and, naturally, pulled up a chair beside me. With a salt-and-pepper beard longer than any member of ZZ Top, this gentleman of the wilderness looked like he'd been trapped in a cave for the last year. We hit it off! This lead me to repeatedly ask the man if Jimmy Hoffa was hidden in his beard. Thank God he thought it was funny. And, considering that his name was Jimmy, my new friend and I were totally bewildered by this coincidence. In hindsight, it wasn't a coincidence at all, but I honestly believe it was in these moments that Rowdy took the crazy bait. Poor bastard.
Now, the reason I rambled through this ancient piece of our romantic history is so that you, my devoted readers, are supplied with ample evidence that Rowdy damn well knows the cardinal rule: NEVER TOUCH MY BEER!
He started off this day screwing with me, revving his jalopy 4-wheeler mercilessly by our bedroom window, ripping me from my sleep like a tornado through a serene dawn. ASSHOLE. Keep in mind this was ur-lee, before 7 am early. I was up until 2 in the am working. But, I knew he needed me to help work cattle, so I was on board. I just think a gentler wake-up call would've started my day off on a more chipper note. Instead I leaped from my cuddly covers as though my room was a second away from mortar fire. Then, after I woke two sleeping angels from the quiet rest, thus morphing them into rumbustious hyenas, I wandered to the cattle pins, only to be greeted with a full team of big grinned, wide brimmed cowboys. Rowdy had more than enough help. He knows I hate taking the youngest boy down there, as keeping him out of vet supplies and, literally, bullshit is like keeping Britney Spears out of the tabloids. You can pray for it, but it's just not gonna happen. I threw Rowdy a glare, he threw me his saving grace grin, the keys to my heart. I was happy to be there.
"Okay," I think to myself, "he just wanted us down here."
Cattle worked, I headed back to the house with the baby boy to start writing my articles for the paper. When Rowdy is about to head to the north end of the county to check cattle, he calls to see if the little guy wants to go with him and the bigger boy. Hell yes he does. It's a rare gem to write without a live monkey in my lap.
Rowdy and the boys are gone for the bulk of the day. I finish my newspaper articles, consider folding laundry and go to town to vote. Not long after I returned home, Rowdy showed back up with Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.
As I removed steaks marinading in teriayki sauce from a fancy glass bowl, a Bud Light caught my attention. Well, hello lover! You are right, this has been a long day. Some of your tender affection would do my heart well.
I crack the frosty can, the cool ale flows like a river of sweet goodness down my throat. I set the full beer, minus one tiny drink, down on the counter and turned toward the stove to start our meal.
I don't know if my sudsy beverage gave Rowdy the same idea, but he then got into the refrigerator, taking the last of the two beers and pouring it into a frosty mug.
"Shit," I thought, "I wanted both beers. Oh well, Rowdy's worked hard, he deserves that one."
From my experience, drinking beer from a mug is typically like unleashing the dam. In one second, the beer is gone. Like I said, I was busy cooking, so my beer remained untouched as I jabbered on the phone with Lyndi. As I was turning to grab sliced pineapples, I spotted the sinful criminal in the act. Rowdy, that asshole, was pouring MY beer into a second frosty mug.
I was dumbfounded in the way most women are when they catch their men in bed with their friend. Oh no he di'int!
"Ummm....did you just pour my beer into your mug?" I asked in total dismay.
Then Rowdy, all indignant and, frankly, a bit cavalier with his physical well-being, "Yup!"
And just when I thought he couldn't go any further of the line, this smart ass pops back with this pearl, "Sure did, go ahead and tell Lyndi about all the sacrifices you make for this asshole," he paused for a minuted and then, with a mocking tone, resumed, "Girl, you should know I'm always giving stuff up for him. I prepare his meals, I clean his clothes and now he's drinking my beer."
It has now occurred to me that I haven't freaked out on him in a totally righteous, fear for your life, Whitney Houston on the crack-is-whack in too long. That's really the only explanation for our break in command here. It's on now, bitches.

July 28, 2008

Ashley Dupre: The Dr. Phil of High-Priced Hookers?

I stirred a little slowly from my slumber this morning. Although I'd been awake for a few hours, when The View came on at 10 am, I was still moving at a snail's pace. Breakfast was on the table, but that was really the extent of my productivity thus far.
Just as I was sipping coffee from my favorite mug, wishing a bolt of electric energy would uproot my weighted ass, a discussion between Whoopi, Barbara, Joy and Elisabeth shocked me right out of semi-comatose state.
I'm sure you all recall the March, 2008, hooker fiasco that left the formerly high-powered Governor of New York Elliot Spitzer out of a job, out of dignity and nearly out of a wife, to say the least. As a Democrat, I've always been completely amazed by our uncanny ability to throw a monkey wrench in what would otherwise be a glide to victory, but even I was shocked by the rat-faced, alien-eared Spitzer's involvement with hookers that pricey. I mean, he is Jewish, right? I don't think they have coupons in the Yellow Book for that, do they? (Calm down, I'm only joking.) For the first couple of months following the high end prostitution ring, laughably the "Emperors Club," was busted, Spiter's girl Ashley Dupre aka Kristen sprinkled the gossip magazines and late night talk shows as though she was Britney Spears in a barber shop. First she was publicly offered a hefty check to be in one of the Girls Gone Wild videos, but then Joesph Francis, the class act who started up that national embarrassment, realized, you guessed it, he'd already filmed Ashley when she was still an up-and-coming high-priced hooker. Even Joe was surprised that he hit the proverbial jack pot. He already had her on tape showing off those million dollar goodies, so he tore up whatever check he was planning on sending Ashley. Just imagine the profit margins on that little gem!
As if the whole fake-named hooker with the beady-eyed gnome wasn't funny enough the first time around, apparently the veteran reality television show producer David Knieff believes there is still plenty of ridicules profitability left to be made. You know funny, ridicules and, of course, sex are the three most important elements of a successful reality show. What other explanations would there be for the upcoming THIRD season of Rock of Love with Bret Michaels, which is, by the way, totally freakin' awesome! It's like The Bachelor with crack 'hos! Love it!
So, Knieff has offered Ashley $2 million for the full rights to her story, which will include a show and possibly a book. The best part is he plans to cast her as "a kind of Dr. Phil."
I can totally see the similarities: they are both media whores, they've both broken up a few marriages and neither one is a bit scared to drop their ethics like panties in a frat house for a good pay day. I know this girl has been to college once or twice, but does this mean she will be interviewing guests and giving them advice that can be applied to the general population. On Dr. Phil this afternoon, a wife sought counsel from the good doctor on coping with her unfaithful, porn-addicted husband who periodically frequents the service of call girls. What do you suspect would be Ashley's guidance in such a situation?
Of course, Krieff and Ashley's publicist (Yes, the hooker now has a publicist) both gave statements claiming that Ashely is seeking "a show to clean up her image."
Meanwhile, some poor schmuck from New Jersey, Thomas "TJ" Earle is joining Elliot Spitzer in cleaning up his life after admitting last Friday to purchasing a little love time with Asley. I think it is interesting that in their secret business transactions and now the subsequent fallout from them, Elliot and TJ got screwed and Ashley, well, she got paid.

***Just for your entertainment, I'm going to post a few excerpts from the Emperors Club wegpage. I mean, holy shit, that's the name of your hooker ring and then you create a website that all put spells out, "Yes, we are peddling ass, very tight, top-of-the-line ass," and you are somehow mystified when the authorities catch on. Apparently, once you become a "VIP," which only means that you have LOTS of money and aren't scared to spend it, you can go to the site and check on the "merchandise." Naturally, the page has come down since the media firestorm broke out last Spring, but just for you, my beloved readers, I have saved them. You will notice that on the individual girl's profile, her attributes are advertised or "pimped," as it would be called if they on the corner instead of the computer. Now, on top of the descriptions, they are rated with diamonds. It is basically the same set-up as book reviews in People magazine, except the diamonds represent not only quality, but cost. If you got a five carat call girl in mind, let's just hope your stocks have been rising like these prices or, well, you know. I would write more funny stuff, but there is really no way I can stop this shit.

Looked at all her diamonds!

She's good, but clearly, no Maya! And finally, the "estimates" for what a day and/or night with these world class call girls might run a "VIP." I know Elliot Spitzer comes from a little money, but Jesus, how was he paying for these rendezous without his wife Silda sniffing out the perfumed trail? He has, after all, been on government pay for several years now.

Playing Chase

All little children love the parental interactive games, i.e. peek-a-boo, hide-and-go-seek, etc. Typically it doesn't matter who is playing with them or which of the games it is, if they can reel in a willing participant, their hearts are content.
While my boys get excited just to play, as I said, they both have always had their favorite adult-included games. Ridge's is bucking bulls, a never-ending living room rodeo with Ridge as the cowboy. Guess who gets to be the bull?
While Rolan loves this horseplay, the sport of his heart has always been chase. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that pleases him more than someone, anyone, running after him. As he is dashing down the hall or wherever else the game may be taking place, he periodically looks over his shoulder to see if his playmate is still in pursuit. If they are, his eyes burst to half dollars and a deep giggle bellows into his lungs. He is off again.
He loves this so much that he has, in fact, learned to tease my mom's dog Harley with food to incite a good game of chase. I didn't realize he had started doing this until we were at Mom's for the Fourth of July, her birthday. From the corner of my eye, I spotted Rolan extending a piece of bread to Harley's nose, shaking it back and forth. Just as I was thinking, "That's sweet. He's feeding his buddy Harley," Rolan yanked the food back into his torso, turned on a pivot and sped toward the other side of the yard. To his delight, Harley took the bait, running just a few steps behind Rolan for a minute or two. Each time Harley would finally tire of the game, Rolan would tear a little bite of bread of his slice and toss it to Harley. The was, of course, just enough to reignite Harley's interest in the bread, thus opening him up for another round of play. Once again, Rolan would wave the bread in Harley's face, jerk it from him as though he should be saying, "SIKE!" Knowing how much Rolan loves chase, I was really impressed with his ingenuity. I would've played chase with him myself, but I was too busy celebrating our country's independence the way our Founding Father's intended. Of course, Anneheuser Busch was sold to some Belgium brewing company, so I don't know how I will commemorate the holiday next year.
Harley hasn't been the only prey in Rolan's game. Hell, he's been doing the same thing at our house for a long time. He keeps his little eyes constantly peeled for some possession forbidden from his touch to be within his reach. Once it is, he snatches it up, making sure his actions are deliberate enough for you to see that he has it. For the most part, he takes the same path each time: as soon as he knows that you see him, he spins off toward the hall, looking over his shoulder gleefully, eagerly hoping that you've taken the bait and then hustles into our bedroom and scurries behind our headboard. The space between the wall and our headboard is small enough that only he and his brother can fit between it. He knows if he makes it back there, his beloved game of chase can be prolonged for quite some time.
Rolan has had some wrecks in the pursuit of this game, although none has been quite as brutal as his collision Saturday night. Rowdy came in from a long, laboring day in the punishing Oklahoma heat Saturday evening, ready to kick back in his recliner and soak up some of the holy air conditioning in the house. I had just pulled supper from the oven and stove: corn flake chicken, Brussels Sprouts Aug Shonda and mashed potatoes. The boys were ready to eat, too, so all three dug in.
After the meal was reduced to lowly crumbs, Rowdy asked if we could walk down to the pins and assist him for just a second. Predictably, the boys were bouncing up and down, squealing, "I want to go! I want to go!"
And I like helping Rowdy. I'm not always the best help since, honestly, I don't know what the hell is going on as far as ranching is concerned, but I like helping, nonetheless. Rowdy works 7 days a week, so if my bumbling assistance is any help, I'm willing to give it.
So, we headed out in the golden Oklahoma evening, warm and marshy as fresh bread pudding in a window seal. I love this time of day in the summertime, or at least I tolerate it. In fact, it is the only time I willingly leave my home until, like, November.
Rowdy needed to put a bale of hay out in the south cable pins, a big lot with two smaller pins within it. He and Ridge jumped into the tractor while Rolan and I opened the gate. As the two of us were waiting for the two of them, Rolan looked for ways to entertain himself and, of course, the old, trusty, stand-by game of chase was his first instinct. At first we teetered around the amputated bed of a truck long since retired. I would stand at one end, staring at a giggling Rolan on the polar opposite side of the antique metal, and then dart over one of the edges. With each sudden move, Rolan would succumb to a deep, rolling laughter.
And then a large telephone pole standing out one foot from the fence caught his eye. He has a real knack for locating these types of areas, big enough for him to maneuver in out and of like a flounder in a fish bowl bolting through plastic rocks and reef, but small enough that no adult can venture behind it to grab him. Really, it's perfect. This is a true instance when being two-years-old is an advantage.
He ran to the upright pole, going back and forth, back and forth for several seconds. His bright face could've illuminated a dark room. As I was playing along, taking in the images of his joy, he grew brave to entice me further into his sport of chase. He inched out from behind the pole, locking his eyes into mine, purposely tempting me to come closer to him. Slowly, I crept over. When he was near my reach, he sprung back toward the pole, looking over his shoulder to enjoy his cleaver victory. Just as he turned his head back toward the pole, he was upon it. His nose collided violently the sturdy piece of round wood, his body slammed into the solid earth. All the excitement he was consumed with just seconds before was vanished, replaced with sharp pain and shrill screams.
Without missing a single beat, I scooped my two-year-old son up from soil. This isn't the first accident resulting from his beloved chase, but his reaction is typically the same. It can be described with only two words: heart break. As any scorned lover can testify, betrayal by the object of your affection is a stinging blow. Perhaps that description seems a bit melodramatic to you, but that is seriously the best way I would describe it. I know that a big part of his tears are shred for the physical anguish of crashing face first with a telephone pole, but as his mother, I also know that a big bulk of them were because he was suddenly yanked from the warm, fuzzy feeling he gets from chase into semi-consciousness on the ground.
After I gave Rolan a few minutes of undivided pampering, he was fully recovered. In fact, we spent the entire walk home from the pins, you guessed it, playing chase.

July 26, 2008


I got this in an email today and I laughed my ass off! As a feminist, I know I'm not supposed to to, but it really rubbed my funny bone. What do you think?

July 25, 2008

Brent Rinehart Doesn't Speak (OR DRAW) for Oklahoma!

Before you read any further, let me warn you: there are going to be a lot of cuss words. This post should have been filed under the Complaints and Grievances tab, but I'm so pissed that I couldn't run the risk that some of you might miss it back there.
When the hate-filed products of a hidden camera at a fund raiser for Sally Kern, the prune-faced Republican Representative to the Oklahoma House, were leaked to youtube, I was mortified. Although much of my shock stemmed from her insane charge that some invisible gay agenda was penetrating (I picked that word on purpose...What up!) our public schools, I found it even more alarming that the entire country knew this crazy bitch served in Oklahoma's government. Now, Oklahoma is definitely a conservative state. We haven't given our electoral college to any Democrat since Kennedy, but we are also a state of loving and intelligent people. I know it is very unliberal of me to say that while I disagree with some of my conservative friends, most of them are good people at heart. Perhaps the most offensive allegation was that this "homosexual agenda," which is in a full-swing recruiting period according to Sodomite Sally, poses a bigger danger to the American public than TERRORISM. Re-read that sentence. Seriously, terrorism. Sally's not a native Oklahoman, so perhaps that is why she would compare, I don't know, the second largest terrorist attack on American soil, the Murrah Building bombing on April 19, 1995, with tax-paying, law-abiding and often God fearing Americans seeking equal protection under the law. As this letter to Sally from a young many whose mother died with 168 other innocent people that day proves, this isn't the right place to be watering down the impact of terrorism. We know all about it and it wasn't some Middle Eastern fundamentalist who unleashed all that blood mayhem upon the Oklahoma City Federal Building. Rather, it was a Middle AMERICA buzz cut country boy with militia delusions who ended many lives and damaged even more.
But, as outraged as I was at this Oklahoma move-in Sally Kern and her ridicules bullshit, that pales in comparison to the out-right anger I'm feeling toward Oklahoma County Commissioner Brent Rinehart. Like I said before, as pissed as I am at Brent's homophobic insanity, I'm even more pissed that these two nut jobs are solidifying the rest of the world's poor opinion of Oklahoma, the state of my heart.
Brent's been no stranger to inflammatory comments about homosexuals, but he's kicked it up about a million notches. Earlier this week, a comic strip dreamed up by him and drawn by some asshole named Shane Suiters was leaked via email. See the full comic here. Of course, Brent apparently plans to mass produces them, so we would've seen it one way or another.
The motivation for this outrageous comic isn't just to draw attention through some twisted shock and awe tactic Brent must've picked up in the military, but also because he is facing felony campaign finance charges, alleging Rinehart and his former campaign manager illegally funded the 2004 campaign for county commissioner. A trial has been scheduled for September, which is after next week's primary. One donor, Jerl Methvin, has already plead no contest to one count of making a contribution to a political candidate in excess of $5,000. He was given this week a six-month deferred sentence, ordered to pay court costs and will testify against Rinehart and others implicated in the scheme.
So, I guess to weaken the creditability of these charges and Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, a comic foe of superhero Rinehart, Brent got drunk on crazy juice and hatched this plan. Apparently, he thinks that Oklahoma voters are so stupid that we would get our hands on this poorly-drawn piece of shit and then believe that he must be innocent.
On page seven of this garbage, the two fictional Oklahomans, one imaginary neighbor explaining to another just what a servant to the good Oklahoma principles Ole' Brent is, the balding dude says to the big haired woman,
"The last big gun the Good Ol' Boys could fire at Brent was to get a Democrat and homosexual advocate Attorney General Drew Edmondson to file campaign charges against Brent at a time that prevents Commissioner Rinehart from clearing his good name."
Then some stiff in glasses, who I assume represents Rinehart's attorney or maybe some other lunatic helping him further this madness, explains to the two comic neighbors,
"He is innocent and will be proven so in September, unfortunately after the primary. But that's part of their plan to defeat Brent."
There might be Oklahomans who carry these homophobic regards, but again, no one likes to look stupid. Thanks, Brent! Not to mention that, Drew Edmondson may be a Democrat, but he is far from a liberal. I think Brent is also a bit willy nilly with "advocate." Yes, Drew has vocalized his belief that homosexuals shouldn't be discriminated against in the work place, but he hasn't gone out and campaigned for any radical social reforms, either. But, I think Brent's loose definition of advocate probably includes people who don't have wet dreams about cracking open skulls outside the Copa Cabana.
As I scanned through the 16 paged masterpieces (seriously, 16 pages of CRAH-ZAY!), I was bewildered by a cocktail of emotion. On one hand, I was enraged by this asswipe trash. On the other, it is soooo over-the-top that I couldn't help but giggle. In all seriousness, I hate that each gay friend that I have started their week here in Oklahoma worried that this incendiary bullshit might inflame some rage-consumed homophobe who might use this as justification to hurt them. But, still, it's hard not to laugh at this.
As fantastically crazy as the entire thing was, the best part came from two supporting roles: Satan, who naturally supports gays AND any political adversary of Brent's, Republican or Democrat, and an angel, an avid Rinehart supporter, of course. Truthfully, I'm awe-struck that this blasphemous asshole didn't roll out the big guns with a flying Jesus. I suppose this where his finely-tuned editing eye came in.
Poking his pitch fork toward a frumpy mother grasping her potato-head son, Satan says,
"If I can just get the kids to believe homosexuality is normal."
Then the pixie angel gleefully declares,
"Hey Satan, not with Brent around you won't!"
When I read through all this witty Satan-Angel banter, I truly thought this shit couldn't be any more like a religious acid trip gone awry. I was wrong. As I scrolled to the next page, I was shocked by a penciled protest where Satan, a true star in this classic, and men dressed in togas like Julius Caesar are waving signs in support of Brent's opponents. Where's Waldo is also there in full protesting form. I guess he's gay too! That explains why we can never find him. All this time he's been hiding in some dude's asshole.

Naturally, the comic declares gay men and pedophiles as one in the same. By the way, the brilliant artist spells pedophile with a "F." Maybe that stands for faggot, who knows. I'm the queen of typos, so don't think I'm getting all self-righteous. But, if I were going to print something like this, I would get the important words like that right. They also declare Brent as a staunch opponent of "anal sodomy." I'm not sexpert, but is there another kind of sodomy? Oral sodomy? Vaginal sodomy? If anyone could clear this up for me, I'd appreciate it. The cherry on top of this homophobic sundae is that Rinehart repeatedly refers to liberals as "good ol' boys." This thing is really ground-breaking. We've been called a lot of things, but good ol' boys has never been one of them. That's typically reserved for the White Knights of the Klu Klux Klan. You know how pro-gay they are. It's no wonder you can never find affordable Prada and Gucci in white! I know it's hard to pick up on sarcasm on print, so let me just specify that I AM being a wise ass here.
Clearly people like Brent Rinehart and Sally Kern believe that only values that are values are theirs and the only laws that matter are the ones they support. That explains why for the SECOND time, Sally Kern smuggled her gun onto the Oklahoma State Capitol this last Wednesday. While Sodomite Sally does have permit to carry a concealed weapon, firearms are strictly prohibited there. Thank God the x-ray machine at the check point caught her. I know some fabulous gays at the Capitol and I don't want this ticking time bomb bigot armed around them. Jesus, what if they criticized her terrible hair cut? She looks like Jimmy Johnson in a pant suit. Like I said, this is the second time Kern has brought a damn gun in. She, of course, claims to have forgotten the firearm in her purse because she was in a hurry, but you and I both know if this would've been a rainbow-clad member of the non-existent pink army she's waging war against, she would be calling for their pretty little heads. Rinehart would be right there with her. Then again, maybe Sodomite Sally was packing heat because she suspected Rinehart's gay gaffe would reignite the fire storm that her comments sparked. I mean, she did receive death threats. Oh wait, law enforcement went through each message and each email she received and they could never find the death threat she CLAIMED to receive. Liar, liar, Sally's pants are on fire!
Clearly only a pathetic, insane and, above all, desperate man would stoop to such ludicrous measures to win a primary. Now, unfortunately I don't live in Oklahoma City, so I won't get the distinct pleasure of voting against this dickhead next Tuesday. But, for all of my readers who do, please get to the polls. We can't stop Brent Rinehart from making himself look like an asshole, but we can stop him from making us look like one!

July 24, 2008

Keep the Dream, Young Blood

This poem was written by Ashlyn V. Gary. As you are reading you, I'm sure you will be struck by the emotion and strong command of the language. Well, hold your breath 'cause it gets freakier. This awesome little poet is just 13-years-old. As a writer myself, or at least someone who masquerades as one, I think it is important to encourage the future of literary genius. Trust me, if Ashlyn is this good now, she'll be turning out classics in a decade or two. Let's push her in the right way. So, if you dig it, leave a few comments of encouragement. I hope she continues to contribute not only to my blog, but the written world in general.

PS -- I have a super brilliant, super edgy blog coming tomorrow. Here's a preview: love the gays, hate insane, narsacistic politicans who make comics about themselves. Asshole! Stay tuned.

I want to forgive. I want to forget

But you don't want to

and it hurts to feel that regret


You want that person , to stop numbing the pain

Because when they're through, it will start again.

So all you can do now is wait..

Wait for it to click.

Wait for them to remember that you still love them.

And that we can Re-INTRODUCE them to those lovely little things

That use to make them smile.

When your back, I will tell you your forgiven

Because I love you that much. (not just smitten)

Its hard to live without you,

your one of the best.

Maybe one day if I'm lucky enough ;

I will forget.

Though I'll always remember what i know to be true.

" I'm Everything I am , Because you Love Me"

July 21, 2008

"Carp"e Eat 'Em

My life, as I have well documented, provides plenty fodder for this quirky little blog. However, while exploring the internet for damning news stories, I often randomly stumble upon some obscure tidbit that proves I may not be the nuttiest person on the globe. I think it would be a disservice to you, my brilliant readers, not to share this, the bountiful treasure of my explorations.
Logging onto msn.com this evening, an image linking to a story immediately captured my attention. Like a flashing sign in a dimly light room, it sprung from the page, begging to be read.
So, just as the sly webmaster intended, I clicked on the link. Finding this story was particularly interesting considering just few weeks ago, a friend was itemizing her budget aloud to me and, while doing so, filed pedicures in the "needs" folder. We laughed about this as she admitted to treating herself every week and a half. From the few pedicures I've had, I can certainly understand how anyone could be lured into the savory scent of chemicals, a sweeter aroma than roses in spite of a few burnt nose hairs. My friend said she was joking about forfeiting food for the massaging, manicuring pampering, but I've known her long enough to see she was lying. Hell, if I didn't live so far from the toe nail saints and wasn't such a tight ass, I'd probably sacrifice food for the pedicures. God knows I could use it. Now beer, that's another story.
The hilarious comic Dat Phan, who happens to be Vietnamese-American, kills audiences with poking fun at his ethnicity's take on the United States. In one of his sets, he pretends as though he is a military-isque commander of some sort, rallying his people to conquer America from east to west, one nail shop at a time. I'm paraphrasing here, but trust me, it's some funny shit.
The most hilarious jokes are often that which resemble the truth. While my hometown of somewhere around 15,000 people has just two grocery stores, it boasts three nail shops owned by Asian people. And, that's not to mention all the beauty shops that offer a mani-pedi service. So, needless to say, the demand is here, there, everywhere. And, with these new businesses popping up to provide the same or similar services to their local competitor, each one has to work to be noticed in a sea of sameness.
With that very notion in mind, a Virgina spa outside of Washington D.C. concocted a new service guaranteed to "lure" new customers. The "bait" is a luxurious new treatment to rid the feet of dead skin and the spa owners hope both new and past customers will "bite."
John and Yvonne Ho, owners of Yvonne Hair and Nails, were seeking a satisfactory treatment their customers were pond, I mean fond of while offering something un"lake" the competing salons. God, the puns are just "streaming" out of me. Jesus, somebody turn of the corny!
So, when the husband and wife team heard of a rare treatment that spawned in Turkey and spread into Asia, they took a gamble in its success in the D.C. metro. Now, you know if Elk City, Oklahoma, is experiencing this nail salon boom, the Beltway must be bulging over with them.
So, if I understand it correctly, here's the deal: before the filing on your nails begins, before sticking your feet into the personal whirlpool typically resting at the bottom of the pedicure massaging chair, you plunge them into a pool of hungry, yet bare-gummed carps. Rather than your nasty foot crud being scrapped off a razor, which health departments have proven to be unsanitary, starving little fish devoured it. Perhaps your toe jam can elevate you to humanitarian status, thus saving small strands of species. Right?
As you can imagine, customers were at first weary about this new service. Apparently, a few still are. But, according to Ho (their last name is Ho, as if I weren't laughing already. I love that this family hasn't been seduced into the bland tradition of changing their name to blend into main"stream" America. But, maybe then bought a Snoop Dogg cd on the flight to the US and think they have.), if he can get 'em to take the nibbling plunge, they leave with fresh feet, raving about the fishy result.
So, my faithful few, I want to know your opinion. Would you do this? Are you grossed out by the idea of your feet as a feeding frenzy? I'm curious enough about your thoughts on this interesting subject that I think I'm going to open up a contest. Here's how it works:
Today is July 22. On August 1, I will close the contest. If you leave me a comment, any comment, about your opinion upon this new spa treatment, you are entered in it. On that day, I will call one of the three nail shops in Elk City and I will ask for a number between 1 and the enter number. For example, if I have 100 comments (unlikely, I know), I will ask them to pick a number in between that range. Now, I don't know one from another, so I myself will select this randomly. Whoever happened to leave that numbered comment will win a free pedicure on me. And if you send one of your friends to the blog to give their opinion, screw it, if they name you as their referral, I'll give one to both of you if their number is picked. But, remember, they have to leave your name like, "So glad Shonda sent me. Here's what I think."
Now, for you out of towners, DON'T FRET! If you are selected, and you could be, I will send you a money card for the value of a local salon to do your own in your own town. Hell, I'm pulling for you, anyways. The locals are already reading to see what ole crazy Shonda is up to, but you guys don't know of my nuttiness.

Another Mom Update

If your soul could bellow a sigh of relief, that would be the best way to describe my overall demeanor today. I'm still at the hospital with Mom, though I plan to go home for at least a day sometime this afternoon. With Mom's slow, but steady improvement, my desire for the simple presence of my husband and my children can be ignored no longer. Of course, if Mom's progress slipped even a little, I could shuffle that to the side once again. I won't stay home long because each time I leave, it seems to be an unspoken invitation for havoc.
My gratitude for all your concern is paramount. Once again, I have to sing deserving praise to my husband and mother-in-law. They have handled things at home without me even asking so that I can handle things here.
Much to her disappointment, Mom won't be going home for at least two days. Trust me, I can only imagine her eagerness to get home. I haven't had the tube in my nose, which was removed today, or the two surgeries or the freakin' pneumonia, but I'm ready to be free of this place. I compare it to Las Vegas, without the booze or, well, fun. With the exception of beer, everything you need is here. Night or day, you never see the sun or the moon. The light is a low hum.

July 20, 2008

A Rambling Update on my Mother

Humor has always been my most public emotion. Don't get me wrong, I cried until I had an asthma attack when I watched Armaggedon. Just ask Bobby Wechsler. I think he wanted to take me to the emergency room. But, for the most part, I've always preferred to communicate my feelings through laughter. I try to make that as apparent in my blogs as I do in my life. So, when you are reading one of them, assume that before thinking honestly that, for example, I believe Osama bin Laden is the SpongeBob Squarepants mastermind. I do think it might dumb down an entire generation. I don't think it is really al-Quada warfare. By far and large, my blogs are intended to entertain you.
This, however, will not be one of those. I'm not really writing it for anyone in particular, just bouncing it out of my mind, into the vast nothing.
If you haven't been reading or aren't one of my close friends I've actually spoken with, my mother had an emergency appendectomy on Wednesday, July 8 -- almost two weeks ago now. Although she was discharged from the hospital the following Friday, she made her return visit the next day. We've been here ever since.
I've tried to be at the hospital as much as possible and, for the most part, I have. I did, however, go home to my babies the night before last. My longing for them was consuming and, truthfully, Mom seemed to be on the upswing when I left. Of course, I planned on being back yesterday, but I expected to return to a patient on the near mend. And, that's exactly I found. It was just with the patient across the hall. Don't get me wrong, I was glad for Joe. I just hoped for the same with mother, whose progress instead had totally backslid. Blood transfusion. High fever. Another bowel blockage. More high fever. Rising white blood count. And, lastly, fluid on the lungs.
When I got back, my aunt was definitely stressed about all these combined new complications. Together, we started discussing our options, including a possible transfer to Oklahoma City. On one hand, a fresh pair of eyes might bring a new innovation to spur the healing process. But then on the other, moving any patient in the fragile condition Mom was in would usher in the new possibility of complications. Its just a balancing act.
After exhaustion fell over Mom, I stared at a blank screen last night. I expected that poetic words of blessing and concern would well out of me like a fresh spring from earthy soil. But, instead I just gazed at an empty page, paralyzed by the day's unexpected downturn and the fear of what might be ahead. One of my favorite authors, Hunter S. Thompson, used to say that WRITING WAS THE ROCK IN HIS SOCK. Of course, he was applying this to the likes of the bullying eye of Richard Nixon, but still, that's always resonated with me. When life hits the skids, I find solace in pouring myself into the written word. Yet with all this going on, with a thousand cluttered concerns scattered through my brain and with a million more thought fragments floating around them, I couldn't write one legible sentence.
Mom had about three good sessions of sleep last night, all of which were interrupted by mounting pain or spiking fever or rumbling nausea. We'd remedy the guilty nuisances as best as we could and then she would partially slumber for a couple of hours. Sometime after midnight, as I helped her to the restroom, I noticed that her flushed skin felt like a stretched heating pad. She was running fever.
Of course, her body temperature eventually lowered to normal. Each time Mom woke through the night, I did, too. Well, at least I think I did. I remember stirring briefly at 6 am to calculate on which hour we did what. Honestly, it wasn't waking up, but more like taking a brief time out from sleep and then plunging back into it. Even in a semi-conscious state, I could count each aged spring in the two-inch cot. It's no thicker than the average book. Not Gone With the Wind or some fancy parlor room Bible, but The Scarlett Letter. That size, by the way, is perfect in terms of reading, but not so awesome in terms of comfort.
Even so, I've been grateful for each night I've spent on the cot and each morning I've woken back up on, for I know that even the most wretched coil in my makeshift bed leaves me a million percent more cozy than my poor momma.
I feel asleep last night dreading the dawn of this day. We had made the decisions collectively, as a family, that if the antibiotics produced no progress, we would probably transport Mom to Oklahoma City. Beyond that, I worried each individual problem would had yesterday might get worse.
But just like the first day after winter's last frost, with daybreak, the color in Mom's face bore small traces of recovery. Now, I know I've already blogged this once and then 36 hours Mom started the worst day she's experienced thus far, but I do have renewed optimism.
Mom had yet another cat scan this morning. The surgeon filling in for our guy, who is celebrating his 60th birthday in New York City his weekend, came in after seeing the initial report and told us that he thought another surgery may be imminent. The partial bowel blockage, it appears, is not just a temporary effect of surgery, which is relatively common, I am told. Instead, it is possibly from scar tissue left from the ruptured appendix. The surgeon then explained that he was also having a radiologist look over the scan. After he received that report, he said that, compared to the cat scan from three days ago, the blockage is shrinking. The only reason this isn't totally greek to me is because I've had it explained to me as though I'm a kindergarten. (THANK GOD FOR THAT!) So, I don't know if I've done a very good job of relaying all this, but it is good news. Another surgery is still possible, but doesn't appear to be necessary at this moment. Mom's only been on the antibiotics for a day and a half, so he wants to see if this will continue to improve that situation.
While this turned out to be good news, the cat scan was not without peril. Yesterday's x-ray showed signs of a small amount of fluid in her lungs. The result of today's cat scan indicated that it is now pneumonia. This, of course, is always a serious condition, but is also easily treatable. I think. Hell, I don't know. What do you think? Any of you, drop an opinion.
Hopefully the antibiotics she's already on while correct the double lung conundrum, but only time will tell. Like I've said before, with each step we take forward, we take one back. Hell, sometimes we take two.
I've been in the lobby for quite some time now, pounding away at this keyboard. I left Mom's door cracked so I could check on her without interrupting her needed slumber. I've never been one to publicize my prayers, but I'm gonna break precedent. And to many of you, this might be a funny place to start since I'm throwing vulgarities around like a Death Row rapper. But, with all my strength and infallibilities, I know that God sees my genuine plea for the remedy of His hand. My mother, who has been a good and faithful servant to Him and a heaping bounty of her fellow man, needs repair. Now, I know her life isn't threatened, but it is difficult seeing your mother ache and hurt as I have seen mine for the past week and a half. Walking through the electric doors for the millionith time this morning, returning a hefty round of phone calls to concerned loved ones, it occurred to me that our hellish two weeks is the never-ending reality for those living with chronic and/or fatal diseases. Regardless of whatever anxiety I feel at the time, I mask it for my mother. I can only imagine what she's feeling. But, with that said, I'm confident within the next few days, we will finally wake from this nightmare. So, for all of you who spend your life or a big bulk of it scheduling medicine and re-wearing clothes because you thought you'd be home a day before you were and working from hospital lobbies so you can be with your ailing loved one and walking assisted because you are too weak to walk by yourself, you have my unfettered respect. We've had to not treat one sickness to properly treat the other. We've had to add one medicine because we've added another. It's impossible to balance, no matter how hard you try.

Well, I actually went home for two different nights, but I've tried to stay with her around the clock. Through me, she does a better job explaining what she is experiencing to the doctors and nurses. Plus, Mom and I have always been close and I think my presence is a small comfort to her. Just a few moments ago, I slipped away to the cafeteria for some much-needed coffee and she sent on of the nurses to find me. When I got back to her room, she apologetically whispered, "I hope I'm not smothering you."
That in itself tickled me. I've been worried that she might want a break from me, her ever-present chamber maid. As agonizing as its been to watch her painful and often scary journey to wellness, I've enjoyed our alone time. Since I become a mother nearly four years ago, we are seldom together when a bouncing Ridge and Rolan aren't soaking up the attention of the NaNa they so adore. I almost never leave my kids. Most of my work is done from home so that I can be an overbearingly watchful momma, so naturally my heart is aching in their absence during my lengthy hospital stay with Mom. But, like I said, this roller coaster ride has at least presented us with the rare opportunity to be a mother and daughter instead of a mother and a mother. That entire train of thought my be complete jibbish since I'm running on high stress and little sleep.

July 17, 2008

Home, in a figure of speaking.

It's midnight and I'm just finishing up the tail end of my household chores. Since Mom's first surgery, an emergency appendectomy, last Wednesday, I've slept all but two nights on a hospital cots. The thin, spring-riddled mat was most likely borrowed from some wildly underfunded prison in a third world Asian country, yet for some reason I slip into an abysmal slumber while laying upon it. Truly, this baffles me. And beyond that, it guilts me. Each night I have pep talk with my subconscious, pumping myself up to wake at least each hour. I want to be up to check on my mothet. But, in spite of my best intentions and the stiff coils of my cheap cradle, my body falls into a hypnotic trance. As my mind travels through the comatose Land of Nod, I dream the same continuously loop of actions -- just the desire to wake up and care for my mother.
In no way do I want to make this blog about me, but rather, just my earnest concern for my mother. While an appendectomy is a relatively common surgery, Mom's endured many complications on her path to recovery. Most appendix patients are children and young adults, it seems to me, so maybe her golden years are a disadvantage. Then again, she gets around ten times as good as most 20 year olds, so who knows. Her ailing body has battled infection, extraordinary pain, vicious sleep deprivation and a list of other nagging afflictions. After several days of sickly regression, she seemed drowning in a sea of hopeless despair. But, on Tuesday the surgeon performed a laproscope to tie down and correct the sneaky offender reeking such havoc upon my momma's body. It turned out to be a kinked intestine.
Though Mom was essentially back to square one in the surgical department, Mom's optimism and faith was restored when the doctor said the problems should be fixed.
And, honestly, for the first few days after the second operation, they seemed to be. Now that I've briefly skated around the situation's overview, I can go back to the achy place I started -- the hospital cot. Now don't get me wrong, I've longed for my fancy bed like the some long, lost lover. But, I've jumped from this cot as though it were a heavenly bed of massaging clouds each morning. My body, I suppose, knows its well-being is the least of my concerns.
Though the rickety old pallet has been more restful than I anticipated, I also didn't think I would miss it when I got home. But, now that I'm back, my family is asleep and most my chores are done, I find myself yearning to be back in it. Since I left the hospital, Mom has developed a few new complications. Don't get me wrong, none of them are big, just something that will keep her a patient of Great Plains Regional Medical Center a day or two longer. However, with that on my mind, I wish I could will myself back in that cot, in the shadowy corner of my mother's room.

Momma, get well. You are the NaNa-iest NaNa of them all. (Yes, I know I just made up a word. Eminem does it all the time and he's no whiter than I am.) And, to all our friends and family who have said prayers and sent well wishes to my mother, thank you. The concerns and love of such an eclectic group of friends is a true testimony to my mother's goodness. Thank you!

July 16, 2008

The Things You Do For Love

***Play the music video I posted below either before or during you read this. I also posted the lyrics to this song in this post, but I think listening to it will really help get you in the right mindset for this story.

Before I tell you the following story, you need to know that I fully believe that Rowdy sits around with some of his wayward friends and brags about the bullshit he can get me to do. Now, he swears he doesn't, but why else would he make me shimmy into a rusty grain truck, seed scurrying into my clothes, to unroll the top canvas? What other explanation could be given to talking me into shoveling pounds and pounds of mud out of an ancient water tank and then periodically making me attempt to heave the heavy slosh pit above my 8-month pregnant tummy? Rowdy is constantly talking me into ridicules bullshit. What's worse is that I know it is ridicules as I am doing it. What can I say, I'm a devoted wife. Even as I type this, that catchy '60s tune by Jimmy Soul is be-bopping through my mind.

A pretty women makes her husband look small
it very often causes a system fall
As soon as he marrys her then she starts
looking for things that will break his heart
but if you make an ugly women your wife
you'll be happy for the rest of your life
An ugly women will put peals on that
and she'll always give you a piece of that.

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty women your wife
Go for my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

Don't let your friends tell you you have no taste
go ahead and marry anyway
Her face is ugly her eyes don't match
take it from me shes a better catch

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty women your wife
Go for my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

Dude 1:say man
Dude 2:hey man
Dude 1: I saw your wife the other day
Dude 2: Yeah
Dude 1: Yeah and Shes Ugly
Dude 2: Yeah shes Ugly but she sure can cook baby.
Dude 1: Yeah

Now, you may be wondering why I'm listing a few of the grand gestures I lavishly pour upon Rowdy and, furthermore, why I am printing a catchy classic to explain this. Well, the answer to those questions are quite simple, really. Listen up, fellas. This is valuable and honest and will most assuredly save you a ton of heartache, disappointment and, above freakin' all, money if you heed my warnings.
You can either have a good-looking wife or an accommodating one. You simply can't have it both ways. In vain, you will try to fight that. You will search the world or, in the very least, the local honky tonk, tirelessly to find the shiny bombshell blond who will labor gladly over gourmet meals and pre-set your coffee pot so that you'll have a warm pot brewing before you stumble out of bed and gleefully mow the yard because she thinks it is really her job. Oh, and when she's not freshening up you and your buddies' beer koozies while cheering on your favorite football team, she's busy dreaming up kinky new "bedroom" positions to both limit your physical effort while maximizing your "O" face.
I don't mean to break your heart, guys, but this woman doesn't exist. And before you go emailing me that you've already stumbled upon this Kate Hudson/Jenna Jameson/Martha Stewart mirage, I have three more names for you: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama. IF you happen to love one of these guys, chances are you don't like one or more of the others. But, the reason the American people have all at one point or another picked these guys, as different as they are, is campaigning and marketing. And any dolled up broad who is pimping more bling than J. Lo as she's serving homemade buffalo wings to your friends while she whispering her desire to give you a hummer in your ear is simply that. Lying politicians wrap themselves up in the nostalgic images of leaders of old to get elected and high-maintenance women masquerade as a laidback, freaky Betty Crocker until that take that stroll down the aisle. And, with both, once the deals official, all bets are off. The "Contract with America" becomes null and void. And once Barbie has your credit card number, the highway hand jobs and packed lunch boxes are as withered as your wedding bouquet. Then you realize they were merely a ploy to get your money, jack.
The previous paragraph might lead you boys who are living with buyer's remorse over this poorly thought out purchase, so to speak, to believe I am sympathetic to your plight. That is absolutely NOT the case! You could have had a woman who would've gleefully performed these tasks for the rest of your life. After all, each of you had ample opportunity to tie down multiple ladies who are the truly devoted to pleasing their lover. (Calm down, feminists. I am one of you. Devotion isn't the same thing as enslaved. No matter how liberated we are, no matter if we are male or female, we should all be devoted to serving our lover.) But, while some band geek or slightly fleshy debate captain longed for a chance to love you, you competed for the fleeting affection of the glossy-lipped, Prada-clad socialite. Whether you want to admit it or not, you got exactly what you sought.
Personally I believe that men shouldn't marry until they are at least 30 and I will preach this to my sons. So, if you do want to chase the glittery switch of the glamour girls, do it in your "single years." It's like buying a car; it's just fine to test drive a sexy, high octane Ferrari, but when you get out the check book, you better be pulling off the lot with a gas efficient, smooth riding mini van. You might not feel quite as cool when you pull up to the Elks Lodge, but you'll be more comfortable on the cross country journey with a vehicle full of kids.
Now, for those of you who have taken the route of my husband and heeded the caution of this song, I'm sure you are satisfied, in the kitchen, in the bedroom and in whatever bullshit garage or barn you also have her working in. The newest evidence I am presenting to you, my brilliant readers, is the current "experimental treatment" Rowdy and his chiropractor have me dutifully performing on him twice daily. As you may or may not know, about 8 years ago, Rowdy was hauling hay in an International tractor when two semis collided with him. Well, he actually lept out of the tattered ride before the second plowed into the tractor, but he has some back problems as a lingering result of the accident.
Keeping his back in line is a constant challenge for him and, because he is such a devoted provider and servant for my children and me, I consider his well-being in this regard as one of my top priorities. Unlike most men, Rowdy is willing to try non-traditional treatments if it will yield results, so when I made him an appointment for acupuncture last October, he was more than willing to give it a whirl. While this eastern medicine has been by no means a cure all, it has also been the most effective therapy thus far. After the initial three procedures, he now returns about once every three or four weeks for a tune-up regimen, basically.
Like I said, I am generally pretty eager to help him in any way. But two weeks ago when he returned from Dr. Stover's office, handed me a tooth brush and then explained how twice daily I must rub it across his finger nails and toe nails because Doc Stover believed this would keep his back in place, I scoured the house for hidden cameras. THIS HAD TO BE JOKE!
Bewildered, I said, "What choo talkin' 'bout, Willis?"
Rowdy then spilled into his medical mambo jumbo, explaining to his leery lady that each side of your nail cuticles houses pressure points and, when conjoined with his needle therapy, the treatment will be productive longer. If my mom's appendix nightmare hadn't unfolded, I probably would've already called Dr. Stover to question him about this new medical regimen he has me performing on my husband.
I don't think this has anything to do with acupuncture or Rowdy's back. On the contrary, I think Dr. Stover and Rowdy are now competing to see who can get their wife to do the most ridicules bullshit for them. And then somewhere in this sick game, one of them said, "Hey, let's see if you can get Shonda to scrub your hands and feet with a toothbrush two times a day."
I bet Stover's trying to convince his wife Holli of some off the wall nonsense as I type this. After all, the toothbrush "therapy" is going to be hard to beat. But, I'm going right along with it, whether or not its a bet. As absurd and daft as I may look, down on my hands and knees brushing away on Rowdy's "pressure points" like I'm a Vietnamese nail girl, I'm willingly going along for it. If it is a treatment, maybe it will help Rowdy's back throb a little less. And, if it's a competition, which is my guess, maybe Rowdy can take a little cash off his bet with his chiropractor.
Now, the reason I first typed out the Jimmy Soul ballad, then busted the myth about the 3-in-1 wife and lastly documented the latest series of hogwash Rowdy has convinced me to do is this really to further prove that you can either have the gorgeous wife or the good one. Just like you, I know a few real lookers who are very dedicated and self-sacrificing where their men are concerned. But, I think you will find that they still perceive themselves as the geek they blossomed out of after high school. Trust me, boys, low self-esteem is an absolute must when you pick your spouse.
Drinking beer at the local tavern with Rowdy's recently single cousin last December, we listened as he and a few of his other single buddies bitched about their disappointment from all the women they date. Rowdy and I made suggestions of a few unattached local ladies, but they quickly dismissed each one. Apparently, these girls weren't up to their beauty par. After Rowdy explained to his cousin how each of his love affairs will produce the same money-drained result until he re-evaluated his choice in ladies, he wrapped his arms around me and said, "You want to see what the ass of a good woman looks like. Well, here you go."
While some of you might be gasping as though this was horrible, I want you to know I consider this one of the sweetest statements he's ever made about me. Of course I want him to think I am beautiful. I want to feel beautiful. But, far more than that, I want him to see me as the foundation on which his life is built. When his friends bemoan all the accommodations their wives won't make, I LOVE that Rowdy brags about all the star treatment he receives from me. And, you know what, he does, too.

Groggy Froggy

Dr. Ahn scheduled Kate Frogg's operation for this morning, so she checked in at 10. Last Saturday, while attending the chaotic Christmas in July festivities, her hand was broken.
In spite of unlashing witty verbal badgering upon me, she apparently wants her big sister with her before her surgery. The procedure is out patient and won't take long. Nurse Dawn who is now taking care of my family on a regular basis, it seems, shot a dose of some anxiety medicine through Katie's IV and she's sawing logs. I'm sure the procedure will start soon.
Like I said, oddly Katie wants me with her, so I haven't been in Mom's room for almost an hour now. I know everything is fine, but I'm nervous and anxious about being away. As soon as Kate is out of surgery, I will update.

Also, I have some knee slappers coming soon, including some quack bullshit therapy Rowdy makes me perform on him twice daily for his back. I'll just say this, it includes a tooth brush and nail cuticles. Oh, and while it may be old news now, I'm gonna pin a little diddy about that asshole Phil Gramm, a Texas millionaire, and his incendiary statements about this brutal economic environment being in our heads. Well, if I was profiting off of $140 a gallon oil like Ole Phil and his country club campaign contributors, I might think the same thing. Of course, if I was the serving on a presidential campaign of my buddy John I would think it, NOT SAY IT. Yeah, gas prices and fuel prices wouldn't seem like a big deal if the tax payers were footing the bill for us, too. But, as it is, they aren't and Rowdy and I are thinking of selling our kidneys or smuggling Mexican Bam Bam to pay for this year's wheat crop.
Now, you might think that is enough bitching about Phil Gramm, but I really just have too much foul-mouthed material on this asshole to just let it go. And, like Iexplained earlier, Mollie loaned me her laptop for my prolonged hospital visit, so I'm all high tech up in this biznotch now.
But, until my sister is out of surgery and until I have a new update on my mother, I will leave you with this recent quote from Phil the Pill. Even more interesting, Phil Gramm was John McCain's economic adviser. Naturally John wiped his hands of his old congressional pal faster than an illegitimate love child in front of the spouse after Phil declared to laid off auto workers and struggling single parents and farmers and ranchers whose expenses have more than quadrupled while profits have not and restauranteurs who are seeing costs skyrocket and retailers who are forced to either absorb higher fuel prices or lose customers when they pass them on while the entire country is in the middle of the highest rate of home foreclosures ever, YOU ARE PUSSIES! Of course, weathering economic crises such as Fannie May and Freddie Mac's recent meltdown would be easier if you had a lucrative lobbying job like Phil lucked into and where married to a physician. I mean, if Phil had been born to some dirt poor sod farmers and built his success around that then maybe I wouldn't be so offended by his brash statements. But, he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and it sure is easier to survive economic down turns when you have a trust fund. Right, Paris? Right, Nicole? And honestly, Phil isn't the economic mastermind he likes to credit himself with being. Sure he has some degrees in the field, but the only real finance legislation he ever wrote was The Commodities Futures Act of 2000, which many economists blame for allowing the ENRON scandal to occur. I wonder if the loyal Enron employees who lost their livlihoods and their entire life savings due to Phil's attempt to secure profits for his wife and her corporate buddies are the same whiners he was referring to. Did I mention that at the time Phil co-sponsored the commodities act that she was on the Board of Directors for ENRON.
Here's part of the Phil Gramm wisdom that has my feathers ruffled.
"You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession," Gramm said. He went on: "We have sort of become a nation of whiners."

Well, Katie is snoring away, totally zonked out as they prepare her for surgery.

July 15, 2008

It's a New Day

Tuesday, July 14

After the first post from my long hiatus this week, I'm sure you don't believe me when I say that I'm about to get back on schedule. I know I promised cuss words. They are coming, I swear. If you've found your way to my blog, chances are good that you like 'em. SHIT! HELL! DAMN! I hope that will tie you over.
Although Mom was definitely still sore, she went home from the hospital on Friday. Albeit slowly, she was getting around. However, her recovery took a turn for the worst on Saturday and she was re-admitted to the hospital. Her tummy was extended as though she was several months pregnant, throbbing and tight from an unexplained blockage. Her skin wrapped firmly around her slim frame. To say she was uncomfortable is an understatement.
As excruciating as threading that plastic tube up through her nose, then looping it back through her nasal cavity and down her throat into her stomach was, Mom more than willingly accepted this treatment if it were a means to an end. Of course, this is not a natural path, so one of the many unsavory side effects was a bloody wound at its entrance. Her throat is now raw and her ears and teeth hurt. But, a full container of murky green bile, a sickly Everglade swamp broth, pumped out of her body within five minutes. Another followed within three hours and, by the end of two days, the nose tube had produced nearly six.
The relentless tormenting pang in her abdomen has steadily remained, at times being worse than the day after the surgery. Of course, each inch of her body that laid in the treacherous path of the nose tube was an avenue of agony. Days and days of laying bed left her back stiff and strained. It's been difficult for me to watch my mother in this endless bounty of pain, but it has been even harder for her to live it.
Each time I've left the hospital, the situation has been in utter disarray when I returned. I'm certain that's a coincidence, but that is the truth, coincidence or not. So, for that reason, I insisted on staying when they re-admitted her early Saturday evening. Cousin Stephanie fetched me a cot and other amenities. She proved quite useful since she was practically reared within the Great Plains Regional Medical Center. Now, if you know me well, you are probably surprised that I'm not belly-aching about the sleeping situation. I am, after all, more attached to my knock off Sleep Number bed than I am to the Bud Light. And you know how I love the Bud Light. Interestingly enough, I woke up Sunday morning bouncing from the spring-riddled cot, undoubtedly the first one ever made and recently stolen from torture chamber in Estonia. I expected to be stove up like an arthritic octagon, but oddly, my body was flowing freely like a trickling creek. Either way, I'm sure my concern for Mom has given me the energy of that drum-beating bunny with the jolted adrenaline of a skydiver. I am fully aware that Mom's care runs smoother when I'm there, so I push forward without even realizing that I am. I
cannot explain it, but I am invigorated by, well, just being needed.
Sometime around noon yesterday, Mom started perking up. Just two hours before that, I remember thinking that she seemed to be making no noticeable progress and then almost instantly, new life was somehow breathed into her body. I had been at the hospital, living in the cot in the corner, for almost three days. As much as I hated leaving, I missed by man and my boys. Oh, while it's on my mind, I need to brag on Rowdy. An appendectomy veteran himself, Rowdy recalls the wicked misery of his own vicious surgery. Plus, Mom likes my company, I suppose, and I fall slightly in the control freak category. He and his mother Glenda have been tremendous in caring for the boys so I can care for my mother. I am never, ever away from Ridge and Rolan, so their absence is tough enough for me. If I had to fret over their welfare in the midst of this, I would feel like a rag doll, torn at the arms in two different, but equally urgent directions. So, kudos to my hero, my man, my Rowdy. At times I forget that a marriage is basically a team and, during this horrific week, I wouldn't want anybody else taking the world on with me.
Though craving kisses from my children was drawing me home like a moth to a faint copper fire, I knew if I didn't return soon Mount Laundry, whose summit is impossible to conquer under regular circumstances, would overtake my ceiling. Around Hacienda Little, socks are mystic fibers, capable of total evaporation literally in front of your eyes. Regardless of the small fortune I spent on these woolly undergarments, I have to keep these bitches constantly washing for Ridge and Rolan to have some barrier between their soft feet and their muggy boots. With Mom's slow, but steady improvement yesterday afternoon, I headed north to baby cuddling and spin cycles.
Of course, I knew I would come back to the hospital today, so I stayed up late tackling the ominous pile of our filthy wardrobes. When I called the nurses' station at 2 am, one of my favorite nurses, Merrilee, told me that Mom wasn't sleeping much. As much as I feared for what this day might hold, I remained optimistic. I never would've imagined this outcome.
Because my little sister broke her hand on Saturday, she had an appointment with the bone guy, Dr. Ahn, to schedule her surgery to repair the vertical break. That fun will go down tomorrow, time unknown at this moment. Anyways, Katie was over here, so I knew she would stay with Mom until I tidied my cluttered home into relative hospitality. But then Katie got here. The dreadful tube had been removed from Mom's nose yesterday, but the physician was informing Mom that it might be installed again to combat the problem in her belly. As a surgeon who receives rave review from all my surgical nursing friends, I was impressed that he admitted that he really wasn't sure what exactly was our nagging culprit. He ordered a cat scan, but also said that he would probably perform a surgical procedure called a laproscope to better pin down the menace. When I told my friend Miranda, a surgical RN, that the doc would be doing this procedure, she informed me that this was a big surgery. The incisions from Mom's first operation would be reopened.
With my step dad, grandmother, aunt and bandaged sister with me in the waiting room, we all watched as the surgical nurse Dawn, a true testament to her profession, rolled Mom away, back behind the double doors and into the cold, sterile world of surgery.
After an hour or so in the waiting room, most of which was spent absorbing the cleaver charm of our grandmother, Dr. Horrileno came out of the operating room. Apparently her intestine had a small kink, just like a ornery water hose, and an unexplained hematoma on her left side was the cause to our obstacles. He cleaned this up, straightened out her kink and patched her back up.

Wednesday, July 15

We got her settled back into the mauve and taupe room that now seems to be our home. Although the nurses hooked Mom's morphine pump back up, they also gave her an extra shot of pain and sleeping medicine to lure her weary body to rest. God knows she needs it. From the unrelenting grips of agony, Mom stole about two hours of sleep. At about 2 am, the partial numbness wore off and Mom was up again for a bit. For two more hours, she hit the morphine pump every 15 minutes, which is what it's timed for, so that it could build up for more slumber. At 4, the nurses pumped one more round of the good stuff, which under normal circumstances I would be totally jealous of, and that put her out for another two hours. Four hours of choppy sleep typically wouldn't be something to celebrate, but it is by far the most Mom has gotten since this mess started a week ago.
As I said before, last night's procedure basically reopened her original wounds, so we know that today and tomorrow will be essentially the same as the first two days after her appendix was removed. But, with the intestine straightened out, we also are confident that by Friday, she should be sailing through the healing process. She finally sees the light at the end of the tunnel, which until today seemed like an unreachable desert abyss. Of course there will be pain as her body mends, but she now has a revitalized hope that was all but extinguished yesterday. To me, that's the most exciting recovery from yesterday's procedure. With each day that brought no new progress and often ushered in regression, I was starting to see my mom resign almost to defeat. It was truly heart-breaking.
I pulled her shades open this morning and the amber dawn cascaded into the room, across my cot and onto her face. It's a new day.

July 11, 2008

A Whirlwind Surgery

To all my faithful readers, the most intelligent demographic of the population, I am so sorry for my two day hiatus from blogging. I realize you are probably suffering from Shonda withdrawls. God knows I've been jonesin' for you!
This has been the craziest of weeks or definitely at the top of the list. Tuesday night I held Rolan's poorly planned second birthday party. Originally, I was having it at the Cheyenne Pool, but that fell through so I moved it to the Cheyenne Park. Well, I'll be damned if it didn't start raining, so at the last minute, I frantically called all the people I managed to invite. (If you didn't get the call or email, please note the poorly planned. I'm not kidding. With weddings and family reunions almost every weekend, I couldn't tie down an available day until just a few days before.) I spent the day writing and baking and then baking some more. My sons knocked the one of the cakes on the floor, the little shits, and then devoured it like a pack of starving dogs on some lifeless carcus. Fortunately, my procastination had most Rolan's buddies already busy, so we actually only had two mommas and their kids, equaling four. My mother brought my nephew Gage. The small turnout resulted in a sea of leftover pizza and enough cake and ice cream to kill four diabetics, but it was still a great party. In fact, it went smoother than any other one I've organized and planned since I started having kids and the boys had as much fun as they ever do.
After I came in Tuesday evening, I cracked a beer and relaxed. I thought the madness would be over for the week. Boy, was I wrong! For several months, my mother has been plagued with periodical abdonomen pain and nausea and Wednesday morning turned out to be the culmination of that misery. Her appendix was rupturing and she had to have an emergency surgery to rectify that. Her gall bladder will likely also have to be removed, but the appendix had caused too much infection for it all to be done together. So, while during the party I thought I might should have waited, yesterday I was glad I had it when I did. There is no telling when I could do it now and my mother would have been devastated if I would've hosted one she missed. She is all about being NaNa.
I spent most of my day at the hospital with my mother. When I got there, her pain levels were literally off the chart and being the never-rock-the-boat rug she often is, she wouldn't say a word. The day nurses on her wing at GPRMC, especially Carol, Sheila, Donna and Kelli, were amazing and the nurse who cared for her after the shift change last night, Gina, was also great. Sadly, I can't say the same for the woman who was suppose to be caring for her the night before, but I'm not going to turn this into a rant about some lazy nurse who wants to play doctor. Plus, as upset as I was at her, the other nurses are either Earth Angels or just labored to compensate for that one. Either way, I cannot sing enough acalades about them. I'm sure dealing with me required a pound of patience, too, because I wanted my momma to be comfortable.
After about 10 hours with Mom, I decided to come home. I think my wild hoodlum boys had driven my mother-in-law to a margarita or at least made her desperately need them. I wish I could be at the hospital today, especially because I think Mom is going to be discharged and I would like to be there to take notes for the doctor. But, I have a wedding in Mangum and that's not the kind of gig you can call in sick for. After Ridge's t-ball game in the morning, I plan on spending as much as my day with Mom as I can. She is, by nature, such a busy bee and she cannot relax if her house isn't in some perfect Home and Garden layout.
I'm so thankful for her well-being and all the thoughts and prayers we have received from you guys!
Oh, I am going to blog tonight about that asshole Phil Graham and the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac debacle. I know you are excited about that. There will be cuss words.

July 08, 2008

The Stand By Girl

I've always enjoyed sports to a degree, but I've never understood how people could get mad enough to fight or mourn or be depressed over a game or a team. Well, at least people who didn't have money on the game or a kid or spouse on the team. Of course, I have roosters I love more than others and I certainly want to see all the local teams do well. But, I'm not going to wear a rob for a week solid and drink vodka in my drink because I'm too distraught to deal with the reality of a loss. Okay, I might drink vodka in my coffee, but I'll only be using a sport as a reason.
Unless you live in Oklahoma, Washington State or are just a sports junkie, you might not know that Oklahoma City business man Clay Bennett won his lawsuit and is moving the Seattle Super Sonics to Oklahoma City.
I'm excited about this because it will give us something to do in Oklahoma City. Plus. I enjoyed the free Hornets tickets Pfizer gave us than the bullriding thing. But, if the Sonics should someday leave here, I won't go on a kicking, screaming protest.
Now this super fan of the Seattle teams has continue his passion, even though he now lives in California. I hope this isn't offensive to all your Californians, but that really doesn't seem like a good place for already chemically unbalanced people. If you have your mental health, you'll be fine. But, if you are, for example, a Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan ticking time bomb, this shit will just send you over the edge. Perhaps this is the case with Scottsdale Samson. Who knows?
In this video "Sam," puts a curse on the now Oklahoma City Super Sonics. He freezes it, he runs it over with a bull dozier, he burns it. Unless he owns a equipment rental company or just has this shit laying around, he definitely spent some money to send out the video bad omen.
As the little video starts, the written legend of some Irish curse on ball players or some none sense cascades down the screen. In fact, it even compares what this guy thinks he is going to do to Sonics as baseball's curse of Babe Ruth. Now, I don't want to be petty here, but before all the trading of Babe Ruth, both the Yankees and the Red Sox had actually won championships. And I know that sometime in history the Sonics have been good, but I don't think it has been for a while. Then again, I've done very little research for this, so maybe they've been winning titles season after season.
If they have been bringing home the gold, I have to question even more why the Seattle fans are so bitter. They have about 20 different sites they visit daily to bitch and cuss Oklahoma City and, moreover, Clay Bennett. With all this uproar, you wouldn't think that Seattle has had one of the worst attendance rates in the NBA. You would think that the City of Seattle would have at least tried to meet their agreement to keep the team, but they didn't. It's kinda like your old stand-by girl, the faithful lover who keep on the back burner for years and then are devastated by when she snatched up by a more appreciative suitor. Although they had years to show their undying love to the Sonics and have had more than a year to attempt to get a new venue and up their ticket sales, now that the move is solid, they all LOVE the team. Yup, it's just like the old stand by girl.
The description the poster used for his video is a light-hearted way to say good-bye and as I started watching it, I thought it was kinda funny. It was crazy, but funny. But, then he calls Oklahoma, my home, my land of common sense, a "flat land from hell."
Now I understand this guy is sad. Everyone is when they lose their stand by girl. But, there's no reason to insult the people who are swooping up what you took for granted. I don't know if this guy's ever been out here or not, but if I had to guess, I'd think he's never seen an Oklahoma sunset. Honestly, I hope the fruit loop stays on the West Coast. He'll be in better company. I know a lot of Oklahomans who have a lot of money, but they wouldn't waste it in such a obvious attempt to draw attention to themselves. Beyond that, we just have too much damn work to do. I suppose if this guy and all the other belly achers had spent all this energy on keeping the Sonics, maybe they wouldn't have this to bitch about in the first place.
I know the Sonics have had faithful fans in Seattle and I know losing that must be difficult. I hope their loyalty will follow the team to Oklahoma City.
And to the Sonics, welcome home, baby. You weren't be the stand by girl now.

Piece of Cake?

Yesterday was my baby Rolan's second birthday and, while Ridge loves his brother, he did not love the adoring shower of attention Rolan received. By the third or fourth phone call singing Happy Birthdy over the speaker phone, he went into a full-on protest, demanding that it was HIS birthday.
He's enjoyed the birthday parties for a long time now, but it was sometime in the last year that he has become so passionate about attendance. And, it really doesn't matter whose birthday it is. As long as he gets cake, ice cream and, most of all, to run in circles screaming like a clothed animal, he's beyond content. I'm sure conincids with Mollie's ridicules bonanzas she organizes for months before each of her four kids' parties, so I guess I'm gonna lay blame for all this obscene behavior at her feet.
Ridge normally has no problem with some other kid being the guest of sugary honor, but I suppose all the pinata-stuffing and icing-whipping was just too close in proximity for him to willingly let this be his brother's birthday. By the time Rowdy made it in last night from a long, hot day of work, Ridge shut down any musicial celebrating he planned.
Since the birthday party, ***insert sarcasm*** an utter joy for momma's everywhere, isn't until tonight, I didn't bake the cakes until last night. I pulled the two round cakes out of the over, placed them on a cooling rack and started a phone interview for The Elk Citan. In case you don't know, The Elk Citian is the newspaper I contribute to weekly and if you aren't reading it, you should be. Can you imagine how much of my literary genius you are missing?
Anyways, while I was speaking with the little girl I wrote about today, Ridge rallied Rolan away from the television they were suppose to watching and the two snuck into the kitchen. Because I was in the kitchen, leaning against one of the counters while taking notes, I'm particularily amazed and, frankly, impressed that the two were able to sneak by me without a peep.
Now, because I didn't actually see these two little shits in action, I don't actually know how this went down. So, I'm just gonna guess.
Rolan can get himself on the counter, but he's still unsteady and awkward in his maneuvers. As I said, I didn't hear a peep until the destructive mayhem was beyond repair. I had moved the cakes far enough back on the counter that there is no way the boys could've reached them without vertical action of some sort. For that reason, I have to assume Ridge, a crafty, experienced climber, was the culprit.
By the time I realized what was going on, one of the round cakes was dumped on the floor and my darling boys were circled around it like a starving pack of dogs on an injured cat. Needless to say, the cake could not be salvaged. Perhaps I should have let this two urchins finish what they had started, satsifying all the sugar cravings I so rarely let them indulge in. After all, they'd already eaten half of it off the floor in two big bites a piece. I had just mopped, so I'm sure it was all saturated in that toxic, but lovely smelling Orange Pine-Sol.
But, I was pissed. Thank God I hadn't decorated it yet because I probably would've had a break down. And not because of the sticky mess it would have created. Decorating cakes is time consuming, in case you have never done it.
So, there you go. If you make it to Rolan's party tonight, and I sincerely hope you do, smile when you see the cake.

The Princess and the Pee (and Poop)

This is the first post submitted to me by a guest author, my long-time friend Derek Baden. While this story definitely made me chuckle out loud, it also made me think this was what Derek deserves for trying to potty train a one-year-old. Derek, that son of a bitch, has always been an overachiever and this newest ambition is just more evidence to put up in the full school schedule, 50-hour-a-week work schedule with a part-time job while volunteering at two homeless shelters. All jokes aside, I'm sure if anyone can teach a one-year-old to pee in the potty or anywhere close to it, it would be Derek. And, I'm sure Miss Hannah is a child prodigy like her daddy.
by Derek Baden

We are in the process of potty-training Hannah, and for the most part she is taking to it pretty well. However, there may have been some miscommunication of some sort. Last week, Miss Hannah needed to use the potty, so we took her into the bathroom, undid her diaper and sat her on the potty for her daily constitutional. Shannon turned around to run a bath, and when she turned back around Hannah was in fact doing the deed. The miscommunication part was the manner in which she was using the potty. She was facing her potty, and using the sides for balance, while she was pooping on the bathroom rug. She finished, turned around with utter delight dancing in her bright blue eyes, and clapped. She had gone to the potty all by herself.

July 07, 2008

Love Letters of Great Women

This was written by my friend Ammie (Crutsinger) Wright for her husband Dave on their first anniversary. After watching the Sex and the City movie, I rushed home and immediately got on amazon.com to purchase the book of love letters Carrie frequently referenced. When I read this open letter to Dave on Ammie's myspace, I asked her if I could repost it here.
Dave and Ammie's wedding was the first one I ever photographed, so my heart was especially warmed my heart when I read this public ode to their love.

Warning: If you are reading this and you are not Dave, it will contain lovey dovey stuff.

Okay, so it isn't the song you want me to write you, but hey, I'm posting my love for you on the web, LOL. It's the least I can do since you sang a song declaring your love for me in front of 50+ people at our wedding. Although, after reading the letter you wrote me today, I'm not sure I can measure up.

I do remember when you called me after hearing what makes a marriage last on the radio that day, and yes, I do agree gratitude is very important. But, there are a few more attributes that I think are just as important to make a marriage last. And you really can't have one without the other, they all build upon each other.

Trust. I love that we are secure in ourselves enough to know that we will resist whatever temptations that may come around. And to be honest, I have no desire whatsoever to be with anyone but you. I choose not to go out to bars with my friends without you not because I'm worried about what I will end up doing (I do know how to carry myself in the proper manner), but only because I know this town and there are alot of people in it who like to start shit. I never want you to have to hear some made up rumor that concerns me. It is hard that you are gone so much working, but only because I miss having you here. I love the fact that we can be apart from each other and not worry about who or what the other is doing.

Intimacy. I love that we can self-disclose with one another. When my dad was sick and then died, you saw me at my absolute worst and yet you never thought any less of me or felt as if you loved me any less. And I never felt like I had to hide that side of me from you for fear of you leaving me. It was most definately a test of through good times and bad times, and we made it. I appreciate you being there for me, listening to me when I'm upset and missing him. I once knew a guy(LOL!) who when I was going through a bad time in my life a) cheated on me and b) said to me, "Can't you put on some makeup and stop wearing boxers and a t-shirt all day". Hmmm, just one of the differences between infatuation and true love.

Willingness to accept and adjust to change in one another and the relationship. I love that you and I roll with the punches, so to speak. I am not the same person I was ten years ago, nor will I be the same person I am now in ten years. We have only been together four years, so we haven't had to deal with this one much, but I know that we will not have a problem with this one either.

Reliability and Security. I love that I can rely on you, thus making me feel secure. Okay, I will admit it, you are way better at this than me. You are the only person other than my dad that I know no matter what happens, you will find a way to care and provide for me. You are the strongest, most self-assured person I know. At times I would have just lied down and given up, you find a way to make it work.

I trust you, Babe, which in turn means I can be intimate with you, share feelings with you, which means I feel secure with you. And I know we will grow with each other and not apart from each other. Thank you for loving me and letting me love you.

Finish This Page, but click on the older posts, too.

The knee-slappin,' cursin,' GOOD TIMES don't start or end on the front page, so read the older posts! Maybe you missed something. Maybe you forgot. I try to post daily, so read the older posts!
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