Sunday, August 31, 2008

My summah in N'awlins

With Gustav bearing down anytime, with Katrina still fresh in our memories, with worry for everyone in the area in our minds, let's take a trip in the wayback machine to a happier time.

Waay back when I graduated from college (1995 to be exact) I treated myself to a summer in the Big Easy. Alone. No children, no friends, just me and the French Quarter. It was a match made in heaven. Of course, had I known of the oppressive humidity of a Louisiana summer, I probably would have chosen a winter trip. Unless you've experienced it, it simply cannot be explained, so I won't try. But night! Now nighttime was a different story. After the daily afternoon thunderstorm would end, I would hit the streets (not like that, you freaks) and explore. I would usually have four or five hours of daylight, arrive at Bourbon Street at around midnight, get "home" between 3 and 4 a.m. Frankly, I'm lucky I survived. I assure you I couldn't keep that kind of schedule now. I'm in bed by 11, not starting the night at 11.

I started out the summer at the Fair-something (mont, field, view?) Inn. But at over $200 a night, I decided I should find less pricey digs if I wanted to stay the whole summer. I moved to a quaint victorian on Prytania Avenue, right on the trolley line. (a dollah gets you anywhere!) It was a student hostel run by some group I probably should have checked out more thoroughly than I did, but I had my own room, bathroom and a/c. I was good.

I spent the afternoons touring the mansions and gardens and zoo. I wandered the french quarter. I befriended taxi drivers ( a font of information for wherever you are) and found out the best place to eat on the cheap (Port O' Call) and what parts of the city to stay out of ("now here on this corner two tourists got robbed and killed last weekend"), and how to use the trolley and bus systems to save on the ginormous taxi fares.

I spent evenings in the Old Absinthe House bar listening to jazz. I discovered a cajun band headed by Waylon Thibodeaux and his fantastic fiddle. I met Harry Connick Jr. (swoon) in a sunglass shop. He gave me free tickets to his show later that week. (I took a guy from the hostel named Skillet, true story) I went to a water park in Baton Rouge that had the biggest waterslides I had ever seen. If someone had told me that these slides relieved the slidees of their bathing suits before I went down, that would have been nice.

When August rolled around, I was both reluctant and anxious to leave. I had had a wonderful summer immersed in the culture that only New Orleans has. I didn't want to leave it, but I couldn't stay. So I returned home, taking memories that will be with me all of my life.

When Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, I watched and cried. When I saw those people confined to that stadium, dome, whatever it was, I remembered attending the JazzFest there. When I heard of the atrocities committed by our own government against it's own citizens in the form inaction, I was incensed. But I did nothing. I contributed nothing. I ranted and railed against the injustice and the inaction. I was appropriately offended when our own countrymen were labeled refugees. I would have put Ray Nagin in the White House given the chance, such were my emotions, my anger, my helplessness. Why didn't someone DO something? But not me. I did nothing. And I will always regret it.

Now I have a chance to diminish that regret. When Gustav reaches land, if the destruction is anything near the results of Katrina, and if we are needed, my company will be contacted by FEMA. I will mobilize whatever equipment they request and head south. I will leave Silas with my mother and I will put whatever meager resources I can toward helping those who I so grievously ignored at this time three years ago. It may not be much, but a few pieces of heavy equipment to clear debris and help clean up is more than I offered before.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The most dangerous chemical in the world

Silas will be five next week. What is it with five that makes an adorable, sweet little tyke turn into a fit throwing, door slamming, pseudo-swearing little tyrant? After being made to finish his chores (which involved much wailing and gnashing of teeth), I went with him up (it's all up here on the mountain) to his swingset. He's recently learned to swing under his own power and, as with any new skill, wants to do it constantly. Since it's just not as much fun without an appreciative audience, I must go along and provide a running commentary about height achieved, speed reached, and how no one else, EVAR, in the history of the world has swung so high or so fast.
We have cushioned the playground with a very thick layer of finely shredded mulch. When he tumbles from the overhead ladder (and he will), we prefer he land on some cushioning. Because his parents are owners of real excavating equipment (loaders, backhoes, dozers, etc), Silas is the proud possessor of quite a fleet of Tonka dump trucks and equipment. Bear with me, I'm going somewhere with all of this drivel, I promise.
Anydigger, after the swing session is over, he starts to play with his loader and dumptruck. He's happily scooping mulch, hauling it around a little road he's carved and dumping it in the truck. He asks if I'll play with him. Um, no. No, I won't. Firstly, mama don't do crawling around in the wet mulch. Secondly, who would hold my coffee? Thirdly, it's hot, buggy and I'm outside. That's all your getting. So I tell him that I'm the supervisor. That I'm here to make sure he does his work right and to make sure he doesn't slack off. He scoops two more times, looks at me and says "you gonna pretend you a mister? Misters gotta be the bosses."
What?the?fuck??? Did my son, who has spent his ENTIRE life being hauled around to construction sites by his mother, (who is the boss) just tell me that the bosses had to be misters? Where did this notion come from? How did it get into his head? He doesn't watch television other than Spongebob (because I like it, shut up) and I don't read him fairytales where the prince saves the damsel and I even explained that Mary Jane is a useless waste of skin because all she does is sit around and WAH WAH WAH Save me Spidey and still, he has this notion.
He doesn't watch violent movies yet he will take a stick and wage war with it, whether it be a sword, a rifle, or, in one particularly imaginative instance, tied a balloon to it and made a mace. He will take his dolls, or "action figures" which are dolls for boys but good lord don't call them that, and they will beat the hell out of each other. This from a child who has never been struck in his life. Nor has he ever seen anyone struck. This violence, this hardness, this boyness. It's the testosterone. The cause of world wars, schoolyard fights and everything in between. The most dangerous chemical in the world.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Me me me me me me me me or the 8 thing meme

Soooo, Candy tagged me for a meme. Eight things to do before you die, or a bucket list. Now, I made one of these back in high school for a drama club project (because we were all sooo dramatic) and I've actually crossed four things off of it. So do I use that and show the four that are done or do eight new ones? Who runs these things? Who do I ask? Someone appoint a Queen of the Blogosphere and get me an audience with her. In the meantime, I'll make it up as I go.

My wide eyed high school senior, the whole world is open to possibilities list:

1. Go to college. Check.

2. Go to law school. Check.

3. Practice law. Kinda check.

4. Become a judge. Pshht. Ain't likely.

5. Live in NYC. Not sure how that fit in with the others, but not happening now.

6. Visit England. Check.

7. Live in England. Working on that.

8. Own a Mercedes. Check. (yes, I was a shallow high schooler. and yes, said mercedes was a 1963 boat that barely ran. your point??)

My cynical, weary, world wizened, grumpy old woman list:

1. Not commit murder. So far, so good.

2. Raise good kids. 3 out of 4 ain't bad. Jury's still out on the 5 year old.

3. Learn to cook. Haven't yet. Probably should soon, kid is skinny.

4. Go back to practicing law. Honestly, this probably won't happen. I've just been away too long.

5. Live in England. Seriously, working on it. Ease up.

6. Own a small cafe/coffee shop. This one's possible.

7. Be peaceful and present. This is the hardest and also the one I want the most.

8. Be loving. I'm trying. I really am.

So now I'm supposed to tag. Bwaaaahaahaa! I'm giddy with the power of it. I'm coming for you! (In no particular order)



Coast Rat






I picked each of these bloggers because I would truly like to know what their eight goals are. Each of them are very interesting and I will pout and cry like a little baby if they don't play with me. Then I'll get over it and we'll make out.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The untimely demise of Katharine Hepburn

The following events occurred several weeks ago. I was just in too much pain to relive it by telling the story. As time is wont to do, it has made the pain fade somewhat. But never the memory.

My cutest puppy in the world, Katharine Hepburn, was killed accidentally. I was walking her in the yard when she saw a squirrel. Her collar had been loosened earlier, I suppose by playing with one of the labs. As spaniels do, she took off after the squirrel, slipping out of her collar. She ran directly under the rear wheels of Sam's truck as he was turning up the drive. To say we were devastated is an understatement. I got to hold her in my arms for her final minutes and tell her how much I loved her and what a wonderful dog she was and how so very, very sorry I was. And then I lost my shit.

And my mind. I saw her everywhere, curled up on my pillow, peeking out from under the bed, everywhere. I truly believe that her death was the catalyst that sent me right over the edge. That loosened my tenuous (at best) grip on sanity and/or reality. That sent me to the psychiatrist for medication I obviously needed before she died.

Once I stabilized a bit, I started looking for another dog. One just like her. Morbid as that sounds, it made perfect sense to me at the time. I had to have her back, somehow. I imposed upon the ever patient and understanding Candy to contact friends of hers who raise that breed. I went to every website that catered to Cavaliers looking for a tri-color female. It took me three years to find Katharine Hepburn, so my hopes were not high. While the breed itself isn't rare, the tri-color females are hard to get. (Well, I could have had my pick of many if I were willing to pay upwards of $2000. Distraught as I was, I retained some sense). As luck, or fate, or whatever stirring of the winds you chose to believe in had it, I found her.

Meet Betty Boop. She's snuggled in the paws of my ancient Rottie Athena, who is in desperate need of a pedicure. She is sweet and beautiful. She has many of the same mannerisms of her predecessor, but she isn't her. And I won't dishonor Katharine Hepburn's memory by pretending she is. But I will pour all of the love I had for Katharine Hepburn to her.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A plea to my British readers

I am an anglophile. There. I've said it. I admit it and I'm looking for help. I am obsessed with England. I have a romanticized notion of living in a quaint cottage in a village near the coast, biking to town to buy fresh produce and meat pies.
I want to say "ring me up", "you don't say?", and "do come by for tea" in my pretend accent. I want to go to the Graham Norton show. I want to see Kim and Aggie, French and Saunders and the dude from Cash in the Attic. I want to drive on the opposite side of the road in my little, teeny tiny roadster, convertible of course. I want to dress Silas up in short pants and a beanie and send him off to school. I want to take the lift up to your flat for a visit.
So I need help. I need someone to disabuse me of this notion. Let me know that living in England isn't all I've made it out to be. Tell me of the 'orrible weather and how expensive everything is and anything else that will help get this idea out of my head. If that doesn't work, help me figure out how much it's going to cost me to live there for six months. Help me find a cottage to rent, tell me which papers to read (the metro uk really isn't cutting it), how to find information. Real information.
All of this stems, I think, from researching my ancestry. I have traced my maternal parentage back to 1500's England. Paternal back to 1600's Scotland. Perhaps the urge is calling through my blood, because I've always, even as a wee bairn, wanted to live in England, so who knows. Of course, I could just be trying to escape the uncertainty and stress of my life here. In the wise words of Tony Soprano (season 5) "there is no geographical solution to an emotional problem". But I'm willing to give it a shot.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Weekly Update

Already?? Where did the week go?

Sentence I never thought I'd say:

"I'm gonna crawl through the sunroof to get a better shot."

We were on Skyline Drive and saw a mama bear and two cubs foraging for berries at the side of the road. Not being a complete idiot, I knew enough not to get out of the truck but I wanted a good picture.

Favorite Fail: I'll just go ahead and apologize for this now. But think, someone not only had to look at that, they actually took a picture of it.

Favorite Engrish: I'm so getting one of these nighties.

My "DUH" moment:

Sam and I were walking through Costco, that evil mecca of over consumerism, and he asked if I wanted to get some books. I said no, we'd already spent enough and they're about $25 each. I walked on a bit more quite seriously pondering to myself. I shared my enlightening thoughts: "you know what we need? Somewhere to rent books like you do dvd's and games. Once you're done with it, trade it for a new one and then we wouldn't have to keep buying new ones all the time at $25 each". Poppets, I was dead serious. I can only hope the people who heard thought I had a devastatingly dry wit and didn't think I was some stupid hick who'd never heard of a library.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Doctor, Doctor, Gimme the news

I went to a psychiatrist last week. I talked to him for an hour. During that hour he never asked me if I felt suicidal. I didn't volunteer the information.

He did diagnose me with depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He explained that my Prozac hadn't stopped working, I just wasn't taking enough of it. So I went from 10mg to 40mg per day. He also gave me Xanax to calm my startle reflex and help with the anxiety attacks.

Me likey the Xanax. Knowing my genetic predisposition to addiction, I questioned him very closely about how to tell if I'm becoming dependent. I'd really prefer not to find myself burgling various establishments or pawning Silas' sports equipment to finance my habit.

It's been 5 days now and the change is remarkable. The hopelessness has dissipated somewhat. I can find some modicum of joy in activities that I used to love.

I'm beginning to reconcile myself to the fact that I will take some form of medication for the rest of my life. I have a physical condition, depression, that requires medication. I have an emotional condition, the remainder of years of stress and anxiety and uncertainty, that requires medication. It's this medication that will let me have a "rest of my life".

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Weekly recap

I sometimes find myself, on a quiet Sunday evening after Silas has been tranquilized, hog tied, and tossed in his bed, the herd (of dogs) has been fed and penned for the night, and Sam is sprawled on the sofa staring at the idiot box, having a few moments to reflect upon the ending week. Let me share with you my recollections:

The "Sentence I never thought I'd hear myself say" of the week:

"Silas, do NOT pee on the dog". In his defense he was peeing outside and the pup thinks it's great fun to try to bite the stream. The poor kid is trying to pee and evade a scampering puppy at the same time.

My favorite LOL pic of the week. I'm sure you've all seen it, but it's just so.....perfect:

more cat pictures

My favorite Totally Looks Like pic:
Wilford Brimley, Diabeetus Cat
see famous look-a-like faces

My favorite Fail:
see more pwn and owned pictures

My DUH moment of the week:

Me (ringing my aunt): Hey, what are you doing?

Auntie: Playing solitaire.

Me: I thought your computer was in the shop.

Auntie: It is.

Me: Then how are you playing solitaire?

Auntie: Um, with a deck of cards?

Me: oh.

At this point I was just glad it was finally Friday. Tomorrow we return to our regularly scheduled program of "The Not So Young and Medicated". Tune in for updates, it'll be a blast! Even more so if we crush up the meds before we take them (so I've heard).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Beware the curse, me mateys!

Apparently, I carry a curse. I don't mean to curse anyone. In the last week, whilst traipsing around the blogosphere, I found five new blogs that I really liked and I added them to my reader. Within the last three days, all five of them have decided to quit blogging. All FIVE of them. I mean, good grief, do I offend? *sniffs armpits*

Getting added to my reader is the kiss of bloggy death. If I've added you recently, run, don't walk, for the door. Not you, I've subscribed to you forever. It's only new adds that are cursed. In the interest of not shutting down the interwebs, I think I'll refrain from new subscriptions for a bit.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I feel pretty..Oh so pretty

Well hello! Please, do come in. Have a seat. Coffee? Tea? Why yes, I have spruced up a bit! Thanks for noticing. The lovely Sam has coded her little fingers to the bone. Isn't it amazing what these designers do for us? Is designer the right word?

I went to an image site ( which sadly, has since shut down. I purchased a bunch of images, threw them at Sam and said "can this one be the background?" "can this mark the archives?" canyou, canyou, canyou?????

You know what? She DID. I mean, look at this place. Gorgeous. It's like having Vern Kip come into your house. So please, have a look around. Stay as long as you like. The coffee's fresh and there may be some scones in the kitchen.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Please Excuse Me While I Create

Sam here. Please excuse the mess while I create magic here at Craving Silence. *roll eyes* I'm so funny.

It will only be a short while longer, then Shania can have her blog back. Promise.

You only have to put up with me for a little.


p.s. those are my pictures in the header while I fix up this place.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I must be doing something right

Look at the joy on that face. That alone is worth it all.

Also, may I present the Jefferson County '6 and under' tennis champeen? Because here he is, cheesin it up for ya'll. In order to avoid sounding like a "tennis mom" I'll leave out the part about him only being FOUR. (I'll also leave out how it really comes down to which way the wind is blowing at that age)

Here's some random creepiness that just skeeves me out. This is what happens when you just don't care whether your son covers up his sandbox or not: tadpoles, then frogs. In plague amounts. On the plus side? No flies.

Creeped out yet? Glad I could share.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Is there a doctor in the house?

I wrote what would have been this post a while ago. Then I read Heather's post and I couldn't publish mine. Because it would have seemed as though I plagiarized her. What spoke to me was when she says she thought of ways to crash her car just enough to spend a few days in the hospital. And that is what let her know she needed help. That paragraph woke me up.
Because I have done the same thing. Only my calculations weren't designed to insure my injury. They were designed to make sure I wasn't only injured. They were designed to make sure I was dead.

The way this came about was quite insidious. I never really realized what I was doing. Just toodling along in my expedition, the thought would come to me. How hard would I have to take this curve to go airborne right about here and crash into that wall? Then later, I would find myself at Ford's website checking on crash ratings and safety features. FYI, the expedition? A fecking TANK.

Before too long, I had figured out the exact rate of speed, velocity, angle of impact..everything I needed to know that I would not emerge from that crash with a heartbeat.
And I did not find anything unusual or alarming about this.

I have made an appointment with a psychiatrist for next week. Obviously, I need some med adjustment or changes. Some talk therapy probably wouldn't hurt (ya think?). It seems I've been in a downward spiral for some months now. I actually sat up and took a look around today. What I saw frightened me. While my son has been well cared for, physically and emotionally, I have apparently sent everything else to hell in a handbasket.
Poppets, I just don't care. I just don't care that the carpets are filthy. I just don't care that the bills haven't been paid. We don't need no steekin' lectricity. I just don't care that I haven't renewed my business licenses, insurance, and whatever the hell else I've let slide. I just don't care.
My lawn looks like the house is abandoned. I've not weeded the flower beds all summer. I didn't even fill the pool this summer. The pond is clogged with algae. There are scary things growing in the shower. I just don't care. I'm scared to check my voicemail. I don't know why. I cringe when the phone rings. I don't know why. I jump when the door opens, when the oven timer goes off, when someone walks around the corner in my own house. I don't know why.
When I manage to sleep, I wake up in a peculiar way. Imagine that you're sleeping and someone is standing by you. Now they grab you by your arms and start screaming in your face. The feeling that you would have from that, the adrenaline rush, the pounding heart, the fright. That's how I wake up several times a night.

So, I have made an appointment for a check up from the neck up. Hey, at least I'm not tore up from the floor up! yet, anyway. We'll have to see how those meds work.