Saturday, April 28, 2007

Parental Alienation is a Crime

There's some news making the headlines that hits quite close to home in my family - the topic of Parental Alienation (via the Alec Baldwin mess).

I'm not a big fan of Mr. Baldwin's politics or his temperamental antics, but on this issue, I can relate and sympathize.

My brother, one of the most gentle and kind men I know, has been going through the nightmare of parental alienation for more than five years now.

His marriage broke up after nine years and two children. During the marriage, my brother was the "attentive" parent -- the softball coach, the guy who went to Indian Princess with his daughter, the tee-ball leader, and on and on. His wife, who had been married before and raised two other children now out of the nest, was the "absent" parent - never attended the softball games, didn't take interest in the kids' activities, and pretty much did nothing for them, declaring to my brother during the marriage that she had already had "her kids" and these were really "his kids".

After the breakup of the marriage, the kids continued to see their father on a regular basis, even spending 'extra' time with him above and beyond what the court ordered, and things seem to be going okay, as well as they could go in the wake of a marriage break-up. The kids still continued to see all of us -- aunts, uncles, grandparents - whenever possible, and relationships were amicable all the way around.

After a while, my brother started dating a woman and became engaged to her later on, and this seems to coincide with the timeline where the trouble really began.

Without going into great detail, the tone of the relationships changed with an event where one of the children (who is ADHD) threw a temper tantrum, leading to the exes becoming hostile with each other during the situation. While the event ended without incident, my brother's ex wife chose to blow up the situation into a huge deal and decided to use it as an opportunity to alienate my brother from his children. And it's only spiralled downward from there.

For over five years now, my brother (and the rest of us) have been alienated from the children completely. He pays full child support but is not able to see them. His ex has taught the children to fear and hate him (and us). They have gone from freely spending time with all of us to hating and fearing us, for absolutely no reason other than the spite and hatred spewed by their mother.

During the last five years, my brother has been through two lawyers, three judges, countless court hearings, years of counseling sessions (with and without the children), close to $100,000 in legal fees (which he cannot afford), and years of heartache and lost time with his children, all to no avail. Nothing has changed.

He's done everything the court has told him to do. His ex wife has done nothing the court has told her to do. But the courts will not enforce any judgement on her. She's been in contempt of countless court orders, and the judges won't do anything about it. At this point, she knows they won't, so she stands in court and agrees with the judge, then walks out and does none of it....and gets away with it every time.

In the meanwhile, the children have grown from being 8 and 10 to becoming teenagers. Soon, the eldest one will be graduating from high school. And my brother has missed all of it, all the while writing an expensive child support check into a black hole each and every month.

And it's not just his loss. Grandparents have lost grandchildren in all this; as an aunt, I have lost a niece and nephew forever. Since I have no children of my own, they were particularly important to me. Our side of the family has lost two precious members that we will probably never get back. The worst part is that they live across the city from us. I can drive to their house in 20 minutes, but we are unable to see them. We've tried, but their mother has taught them to hate us, and they now refuse to see us.

We've sent endless birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, cards, checks, letters, you name it, only to find out that they are thrown in the trash as soon as they arrive.

On Monday, there is another court hearing to ask the judge to once again enforce its judgment on the mother, who has failed to do what the court told her to do over a year ago. I feel certain it will once again result in nothing. She won't be made to do anything, and once again we will have all wasted our time.

I cannot begin to describe the heartache and frustration the family has gone through in losing these children, all because of the vile hatred of their mother. My brother is more than heartbroken, and no one will help him. Not the courts or the judges or the counselors or anyone. It is monumentally unfair. Something needs to be done about Father's rights, and I can only hope that Alec Baldwin's situation helps to shine a light on it. He is an unlikely hero for me, but at this point, we're looking for anyone or anything that can help, because the Texas courts won't.

Parental alienation is a crime against everyone involved, but mostly against the children, who are hurt the most by it.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Le Artiste at Work

Nature's surprises are often so beautiful.

These were taken on Easter Sunday in Central Texas, where the bluebonnets bloom only in the spring, and it almost never snows, especially in the spring. So this beautiful palette is brought to you by Mother Nature, as only She can paint it. Simply gorgeous.


Speech Impairment

There's been a lot of focus in the culture here lately on what people say in public forums. From Don Imus being fired from a 30+ year broadcasting career for uttering stupid, disrespectful, unneccessary comments on air to Rosie O'Donnell leaving 'The View' under questionable circumstances and under fire for her outrageous, overblown opinions.

Whenever things like this happen, those in the line of fire quickly run to hide behind "free speech" as a defense for saying anything they please. They claim that we live in a country where anyone can say anything they want without fear of retribution or losing their jobs or having their record sales (or whatever else they pedal) go south... And when they get a negative public reaction to their over-the-top comments or opinions, they're just 'apalled' that people would react that way. After all, we have "free speech", don't we?

Yes, we do have free speech, but that claim is one of the most used and abused reasons cited on the planet as a defense for saying any darn thing anyone pleases, and I'm pretty sick of it.

Yes, we have free speech. Tecnically, it means we can say anything we want. But it doesn't mean we SHOULD say anything we want. And why is it that we suddenly want to say all these things that we probably shouldn't? When did that happen? What has happened to our culture?

We've had free speech here for over 200 years so why suddenly do we feel the urge to pull out all the stops and say so many things that cause us to constantly run and hide behind the First Amendment? What ever happened to "self-editing"? When did we lose our ability and/or will to do that? And why? Weren't we just a little bit better as a society when people actually thought before they spoke and considered the impact of their words on the rest of us?

Even though free speech provides the ability to 'say anything', it still requires us to be responsible in what we say, particularly in public forums. You can't scream "fire" in a crowded theatre, because that would be irresponsible. You can't encourage people to go out and 'shoot the president' because it's highly likely that some fool will then go and do that. Free speech does not absolve you of the requirement to speak responsibly, especially in a public forum where you may have undue influence on those who hear your words.

And I'm so tired of the 'other defense' -- that he/she's a comedian; they say controversial things, and it's okay. Well, not in my book. You don't get a pass because somebody out there thinks you're funny. You still need to play by the rules of healthy society. I don't care how funny you are. Your words have impact, and you need to consider what that impact might be on even the least of us out there.

So in speech, who gets to decide what's over the line? That's always the question, isn't it? What's indecent? What's disrespectful? What's okay?With the general degradation of the morals of society, with the rampant disrespect for authority of late, with the rise of the 'shock jocks', with the gangsta rap overflowing on the air waves, I don't think we can trust anyone to tell us that. But here's some general thoughts I think we should consider in both our speech and general behavior:

Is it something the uplifts society? Does it move forward the human condition? Does it have the ability to inspire us to something more? Does it promote the good in us, rather than the bad? Is it what we want to plant in the minds of our children? Are we better for having said it? Are we better for having heard it?

These are things we should be striving for, not the "shock" value of what we CAN say, but the inspirational value of what we SHOULD say.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Looks like the sympathy vote has run its course, and Heather Mills finally got the boot from 'Dancing with the Stars' earlier this week.

Now maybe the "charity organizer" will go home and stay there. But I'm betting not. She likes the limelight too much. Maybe she'll stick around and become the next 'Bachelorette'. We haven't yet had one with a prosthetic leg and a $60M divorce prize. Could be fun. :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Beauty is Magazine Page Deep

People Magazine released its "100 Most Beautiful People" issue today. Alas, once again, I'm not in it. *sigh*

On the cover this year? Drew Barrymore.

My reaction? ho-hum. Must be a slow 'beautiful' year.

And by the two-minute television report on it this morning, it sounds like they just regurgitated all the same beautiful people from last year, shuffling them like a deck of cards.

I have to think life is a real bitch today for that unfortunate beautiful person sitting at #101.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Life Perhaps, but Intelligent?

Big news from the cosmos -- scientists have discovered a potentially habitable planet 5 billion years away. It's the most evidence we've seen that there may be life - just like us - out there somewhere. It's got the same climate as Earth, water and gravity. And the really powerful telescopes have revealed several Starbucks locations, a Subway and a McDonald's drive-thru already operating at full tilt. :)

A Pulse and a Vote

I'm convinced more than ever that people should have to take a knowledge test before they're allowed to vote in a national election.

Just saw research poll results that after seven years in office, more than 31% of Americans do not even know who the current U.S. Vice President is (Cheney). Less than half know who the current Speaker of the House is (Pelosi), and only 29% can name the Senate Majority Leader (Reid).

It seems grossly unfair and extremely dangerous that a vote by someone who is informed and attentive to the real issues confronting this country can be cancelled out by the vote of an uninformed idiot who has no clue what's going on.

I propose that before we're allowed to go the ballot box on election day, everyone ought to be forced to take a 10-question test about current events. If you can't pass the test, you can't vote. Go home and read a newspaper and come back and try again in four years.

Imagine the howlings of the ACLU, the 'politically correct', the 'victim' lobby and the liberal left over this one. Actually requiring voters to have a brain and not just a pulse to pull the lever. What a concept.

By the way, even that's stretching the current requirements a bit. Right now, in some elections, a pulse is purely optional.

Eat Crow, Sheryl

Enough already.

Unless you are an educated, experienced fully qualified practicing scientist who is a trained expert in this field....then shut the F* up!

I am so sick of celebrities spouting their "global warming" expertise to all of us mere mortals out here (aka 'the little abusers'), I'm ready to emit more than just some excess carbon. Geez!

The latest? Reknowned global warming expert and celebrated scientific environmental genius Sheryl Crow is now instructing us to 'wipe' with a single square of toilet tissue when nature calls. Apparently, we can save the entire planet and all of mankind if we just learn to squeeze the Charmin one little square at a time. She's proposing a 'limitation on how many squares of toilet tissue can be used in any one sitting'.

Oh this is choice! I can just imagine the enforcement phase of that. You're in a stall, doing your business and uniformed 'tissue patrol' enters to inform you that you've exceeded your one square limit. "Sorry, m'aam. You'll just have to do the drip-dry dance now. Oh, and don't think of wiping with the citation I'm about to issue you either. Carry on, learn to wipe efficiently next time, and thanks for saving the planet. We owe you one."

Well, hey, Sheryl, go ahead. Ration the tissue. Heck, re-use it if you can figure out how to do that. But at my house, I don't think this is how we're going to be saving makind. Not in my lifetime, anyway.

By the way, this morning I read about how Sheryl Crow 'saves the planet' each day on her very important concert tour across the country....she only needs three tractor trailers, four buses and six cars for entourage when she performs. Oh, and apparently, only one square of toilet paper.

Time to eat some crow, Sheryl.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Life Imitates Art?

It's odd how often this happens -- something significant makes news headlines and then, as if in joint step with the news, as if it knew something ahead of time, Hollywood eerily brings something similar to us in the form of entertainment, filmed PRIOR to the real-life event.

It's the final season of one of the best shows ever on TV, "The Sopranos", and at my house, we're eagerly watching to see what becomes of Tony and the gang after all these seasons.

Last night's episode was a bit eery to me. This particular show followed the activities of Uncle Junior in the mental/prison hospital and the new relationships he has built there. One new ally, a young mentally disturbed Asian man, could not help but bring to mind the recent VTech killer. Towards the end of the show, the young man snapped and violently attacked Uncle Junior in a clearly disturbed mental state.

While none of this is a reflection on young Asian men in general, I couldn't help but notice the eery similarity of it -- the actor's physical attributes (build, haircut, age, etc.) were very similar to that of the VTech killer. And his mental state and hostility towards others clearly brought Cho to mind for me.

While I'm sure the story line and the selection of a young Asian male in this role were purely coincidental, the timing of it all was just eery. A week after the VTech killings, television' s top show airs an episode in which a young, mentally disturbed Asian man snaps (albeit on a smaller scale). Still, it seemed strangely topical, especially for something that must have been written and filmed months ago.

Maybe we should look ahead and see what Hollywood is working on for future release. It might just tell us something about what's next in the headlines.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Other Henry

I've always been interested in history and historical figures, so I tuned in recently to the new Showtime series , "The Tudors" starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry VIII. Based on the royal court in Tudor England, it's basically a soap opera with a historical backdrop. Heavily laden with the seven deadly sins (and all the more riveting because of it) and despite a bare breast count that's now off the charts, it's actually pretty good. Beautiful people in (and frequently out of) beautiful costumes and the romance of history make it a fairly entertaining hour each week, racy as it may be.

One actor who, for me, is upstaging the main star (Meyers) is Henry Cavill (pictured above). I've never seen him in anything before this, but I must say that he makes one fine 1st Duke of Suffolk. He's hot, and the whole 'knight' type persona works for him, big time. I am surprised he's not a bigger star already, and I won't be suprised if he comes out of this as a major heart throb. (Gosh, he's only 23....I'm feeling so Mrs. Robinson right now....) :)

Historically, the show is interesting to watch because the characters, major events and settings (Whitehall Palace, Tower of London, etc.) are all real, even though the personalities and daily antics are purely speculative. Who knows what they were all really like? We can only imagine, and the script writers have done a fairly decent job of doing so.

But it is fun to read about the real historical characters as you watch the show. For example, Henry Cavill's character, Charles Brandon, was actually the grandfather of Lady Jane Grey, who reigned for nine whole days in 1553. And his father was killed on the battlefield by Richard III when Charles was a child. Interesting stuff all, if you are a history buff.

I do wonder if the real Charles Brandon was this hot. I doubt it, because if he was, Henry VIII would have probably had him beheaded. He didn't seem the type to enjoy being upstaged in his own court by a real hottie.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Special Delivery

The wonderfully awful balloon saddle-bag pants featured on SandDancer's recent post reminds me that I have a somewhat more fashionable pair of trousers on order right now, and they should be arriving via Fed Ex today, in fact.

Believe it or not, I found these in maternity style originally. Loved them, bought them, returned them....and then subsequently found the same jeans in non-maternity style. Ordered them as an early birthday gift for myself. Awaiting delivery any minute now.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Students Gone Wild

The news is reporting that so far, there have been 13 threats at school campuses around the country -- bomb threats, letters, suspicious packages, etc. at both high schools and universities -- in the wake of the VTech shooting.

What in the world is wrong with these people? And where are the parents?

Anyone Want to Contribute?

Following up on my earlier post regarding the infamous $400 haircuts received by golden boy John Edwards....

Yesterday it was reported that he paid for these things not with his own money....but with CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS. !!! ???

So I guess the average joe IS spending $400 on a haircut....just not their own.

Unbelievable arrogance, vanity and poor judgement. Again, next candidate PLEASE.

System Failure

There's an abundance of news (and speculation) all over the media about how this VTech shooting happened, what or who failed, and what can be done to prevent something like this from ever happening again.

As predicted, the anti-gun lobby and the hard left are coming out of the woodwork to ban guns again. This always happens when there's a shooting like this that gains huge media attention, and especially in a year where presidential candidates are popping up everywhere.

While I'm not a huge gun advocate (never owned one myself, not a big fan), I hesitate to jump to the conclusion that stricter gun laws would have stopped the VTech shooting from happening. I don't think that's where the system failed.

While it's still all very preliminary, it's coming out that the killer had a history of mental health issues and in 2005, he was sent to a mental health facility for evaluation. After that evaluation, the judge who ordered it ruled that Cho should visit a mental hospital to get help BUT ONLY ON A VOLUNTARY BASIS. If the judge had ruled that the visits were MANDATORY, Cho wouldn't have passed the background checks currently in place as a requirement to buy a firearm.

From this perspective, it appears to me that the current gun laws didn't fail us; the current judicial system (and specifically, a lenient judge) did.

We seem to suffer from that a lot in this country. There are far too many times when a criminal commits a horrific crime, and we subsequently find out he had done something else before but was let go by a liberal judge.

The speculation and debate over this will go on and on ad nauseum until some other horrific news blows it off the headlines. And unfortunately, it's highly unlikely that anything will change significantly.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

He's Doing That on Purpose?

"Nasally is a form of singing. I don't know if you knew that."

What a ridiculous and embarrassing response from an American Idol contestant to Simon's critique of his annoying performance last night. Oh yeah, it's a form of singing -- a really bad, annoying, ear-bleeding, headache-generating, change-the-radio-dial-now type of singing.

I thought this might finally be Sanjaya's week to get voted off, but instead, I'm going with Chris. What an idiot.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Media Circus Time

The mass murder that took place at VTech this week is truly tragic and senseless. My heart goes out to the students and families impacted by this, and in no way does what I'm about to say diminish any of that.

BUT....part of the reason I just hate it when these things happen is that the media just goes completely off the charts with the coverage. While this is a story that deserves our attention, I just hate the "theatrics" that are created around it by the news networks.

Within hours, the tragic story (whatever it may be) has an official title, a full logo and ominous theme music associated with it. And every time the network goes to or comes back from commercial break, they display the official "Campus Massacre" logo and play the ominous background music to further enhance the level of drama surrounding it. It's almost like they're advertising the movie of the week with full-fledged marketing strategy in place. Next, there will be t-shirts and action figures on sale everywhere.

I hate the marketing themes, the 24 X 7 coverage, the stupid reporters shoving microphones into grief-stricken faces and asking such intelligent questions as "how do you feel?". How do you think they feel, you idiot? What a profound question....

The other thing is that all news everywhere else just goes away. Like it's not happening. No telling what else is going on out there that we're not hearing about because every single network and local news station has sent all of their reporters to the site of the tragedy, as if we need all of them there at once.

The media is so annoying and even more so when we're dealing with real tragedy.

President Goldie Locks?

Unfortunately, the race for U.S. President has started unusually early this time. Candidates are throwing their hats into the ring at an alarming rate, hitting the campaign trail and making as much media noise as early as possible. It's nauseating, and I'm already sick of it.

But here's the best 'candidate' story of the week.... John Edwards, who in my estimate has no reason to believe he's even qualified for the job (he's made his living as a personal injury attorney, a turbo-charged ambulance chaser who's made millions driving healthcare costs up, and who lives in a 20,000 square foot house, while claiming to be 'for the average joe')....clearly fancies his locks. Records show he went to a top Hollywood hairdresser on Feb 20 and again on March 7, both times spending $400 on a haircut. $$$$ FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS $$$$

Do you think he gets that the 'average joe' does NOT spend $400 on a haircut? In an entire year?

I don't see how anyone could even consider voting to have this man become the steward of spending our tax dollars. Next candidate, please.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Hard Act To Follow?

It's all over the news....that Wills and Kate are no more. Makes me wonder....from Kate's perspective...after dating a prince and then breaking up, where do you go from there? I mean I had some bad break-ups as a single, but I never got dumped by the future King of England. Wow. Bummer.

Back from the Detour

After taking several days to clear our heads and talk about what's next, we've decided to resume our former path and go ahead and move back into the city...back to Plan A. But instead of moving into the original unit we purchased, we're contracting for a different one with a bit larger floor plan and an extra bedroom (3 in all). We just felt we needed a bit more space, since my husband's daughter will be living with us for a while after she graduates college in December. So our quest to sell the original unit continues, and we may already have a buyer, or at least someone who's expressed strong interest in it, which is a good start.

So....we are busy putting our home in the 'burbs back on the market and are starting the process to downsize and move into the other unit in the next couple of months.

Now my thoughts turn back to paint colors, furnishings, what to keep, what to send to the consignment store, what to donate to the family shelter , what to toss out. Definitely a project.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Kindness of Others

Since finding out the unfortunate news last week, I've been working to 'rewind' some of the 'unwinding' we did and trying to 'undo' some of the 'doing' we did upon embarking upon this unexpected, short and bumpy adventure.

In general, I think of myself as an observer. That's my role here. I often sit back, watch and ponder people and the world and what makes it all tick. It's actually a bit of a hobby for me, analyzing things to pieces, and it provides rich content for my magazine column, appropriately named "Observations from the Edge." So for me, everything brings insight, something for the mental database.

The first thing I've noted from this experience actually brings me hope and makes me feel better about the world around me -- it's the amazing capacity that people have for kindness. And sometimes it comes from where you least expect it.

While I did not tell many people about my news -- exercising caution in case this very thing happened -- I am amazed at the level of kindness and empathy shown towards me by people who did know, some familiar faces, some complete strangers.

Starting at home, it has really highlighted for me what a wonderful husband and partner I have in this world. His care and kindness have no bounds, and this experience has actually brought us to an even deeper level in our relationship, a place that people who have been married for a dozen years may have a hard time finding together.

Next, my husband's daughter (from a previous marriage -- age 21, at college nearby) has shown a side of her that I wasn't really aware existed. While she is a great young lady, her feelings often seem a little detached, and she can be hard to read. But her reactions to our news (both the good and the bad) have revealed just how much she feels for both her dad and I. She made me feel really special through this whole ordeal, and that is something I did not expect from her.

Then there are the strangers -- the lady at the maternity clothing store, where I purchased some rather expensive maternity jeans -- the store which has a strict "no refund" policy, only exchanges for store credit. I loaded up the untouched new jeans, went back to the store and expected to receive a big fat store credit that I would probably never be able to use. But when I told her I was no longer pregnant (yet understood the store credit policy), she immediately opened up her register and gave me a full refund. Kindness and caring, so totally unexpected.

And the lady at the desk of my gym -- she knew I had been going to pre-natal yoga for a reason and became what she called my "biggest cheerleader", as she has a daughter over 40 who is also expecting this year. She doesn't know me at all yet took me under her wing and showed such warmth and kindness.

And then there are my online friends -- people whose faces I have never seen -- who have sent hugs and kind messages for days on end. I am overwhelmed by it all, truly.

So while this is an experience I would not wish on anyone, I am finding good things to take away from it. My heart, while still heavy, is warmed by the simple kindness of others, and that helps so very much.

I am actually feeling gratitude, thankful for the experience, no matter how badly it may have ended. And I am recalling this mantra: "Nothing good in the universe can come to you without gratitude." Maybe it's really true.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Road Curves Yet Again

I just returned from my OBGYN appointment and got the news that no pregnant woman wants to hear: there's been a miscarriage, or a 'spontaneous abortion', as the doctor put it.

I'm very sad today but mostly in a daze after the roller coaster ride of the shock of being pregnant, the acceptance of that and an enormous pending lifestyle change, and now the word that it's suddenly all off. Game over.

I'm in too much of a tailspin to talk much about it right now. Mosty I feel like I've been put through the emotional ringer. It will take me a while to fully process this and understand what it all means, how it will impact my life in the long run and what meaning I can take away from it. I believe every experience offers us a nugget of something to take forward, but it might take me a while to figure out what this one brings to bear. It's been a short, bumpy road full of curves, and I'm not sure where it's headed now.

Taking the Stage

It's all about the marketing. I think.

Because we will now not be moving into the townhome we purchased a couple of months ago (thanks to 001), it is now on the market, and we are working to sell it. To give it a real push, yesterday I hired a "stager" who comes in and makes your property look like a model home to entice someone to buy it quickly. While this may sound a bit extreme, statistics suggest that a staged home sells on average in 27 days, as opposed to around 90 days, and can garner an additional 6-10% in sales price. If that happens, it's definitely a positive ROI for us.

So today, my "stager" is out finding furniture and accessories to make this place look like the ultimate urban living destination. She'll bring in the whole works -- furniture, rugs, dishes, artwork, plants, etc. And even though I had to write her a check upfront to do this, it felt pretty good knowing that she is the one out doing all that today, and not me.

It should be staged by mid next week. Let's see how long it takes after that to get a good nibble.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Age is the Rage

Inspired by thoughts on a post by Miss F, I am reminded of a dinner setting recently with friends, where an interesting conversation took place.

My husband and I were out with seven friends -- the oldest being 53 and the youngest 43 (with the exception of a random daughter - age 20 - who was the only real age outlier in the group).

Someone posed the question to the table -- if you could go back in time, what age would you want to go back to?

No one at the table wanted to go back to any age younger than 35. Not one. Several did not want to go younger than 40. The lone twenty-something present was extremely puzzled and surprised by that. She thought for sure that all the 'old' folks would want to be young, 'hip' and in their twenties again. But no one did. Not one of us.

I think that says a lot about life and how it gets better with age. We might be uncool and have a few more wrinkles and gray hair, but apparently, it's worth the trade-off, as evidenced by the responses at the table that night.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Spring goes MIA

Unbelievable. It's the Saturday of Easter weekend, and we have SNOW FLURRIES in the area. It's freezing out there, colder tomorrow. Clearly, spring has gone on spring break, somewhere else.

So much for new spring Easter outfits. Tomorrow, I'll be wearing winter's finest to Mass in the morning. Aargh!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Now They're Yelling at You

Are you going to yell back?

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Re: Watch This

As promised in an earler post....finally, here are a couple of shots taken of Daniel Craig's watch that I wore to the theatre in London a few weeks ago. It's taken me a while to get the photos off of my digital camera (no cords, battery dead, etc.) but they are.

They're not very clear, but it does show the Omega Seamaster a la Craig, and especially in the one photo, you can see just how much larger his wrist must be than mine. Yes, that would be the wrist attached to those big, strong, manly arms and biceps and those wonderfully sculpted, sexy broad shoulders. *sigh*

Birthday Hell

The month of April is a field of landmines for birthdays in my circle of family and friends. At the beginning of the month, I literally have to make a list to ensure I don't forget who's having a birthday on which day. Some of the celebutantes will get a phone call or an email, some will get a card and others will get a gift, depending on how close the relationship is.

This brings me to my philosophy on birthdays, as callous as it may seem. To me, birthdays are not a big deal. Every person on the planet has one every year, unless they die of course, so really...what is the big deal? Outside of celebrating the day of someone who is really special to you, do we need to make a big fuss?

Now I have to scour my brain to think of something to buy for a couple of people, and I find that to be sheer torture. I had the same problem at Christmas, so I decided to make charitable donations in their honor and send them a card letting them know that a donation had been made to a children's hospital in their name. I thought that would be a great idea, since none of us needs anything anyway. I was so surprised when no one said a word about it to me! Not even an acknowledgement, or 'oh, good idea'. Silence. Crickets chirping. I found that to be very odd, really. If I had spent the money on something FOR THEM, they would have been thanking me for the gift. But since I tried to do something better with it, they didn't say a word. I've been scratching my head about that ever since.

Guess I won't be doing that for the birthday scene and instead will be pulling my hair out to find something for people who already have everything. Aargh.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Queen Scene

Finally got to see "The Queen" this weekend. It was on a return run at an art theatre nearby, and it was still showing Friday night, so we hopped over there to see it before its run is up.

Of course, Helen Mirren was terrific. I knew she would be. And while it wasn't a riveting movie, it was certainly interesting to see the sort of thing that probably went on behind the scenes the week Diana died.

I remember that was Labor Day holiday weekend in the U.S.. Last vacation days of the summer..... And it was mid to late evening here....most people were still up watching television. I remember hearing the news of the car crash and that Diana had been taken to the hospital. For a while, the reports seemed to indicate that her injuries were not life-threatening. Then it was a shock to suddenly hear the report that she was dead. And I remember thinking that due to time zone differences, we were probably hearing this in the U.S. before most people were hearing it in the U.K., since it must have been in the wee hours there. I thought how devastated the entire country would be once they awoke in the morning to this. How very sad.

I do wonder how much of the movie was speculation about what went on behind the scenes. I mean, who would have had access to specifics about that?

And it was interesting to see such different perspectives of Diana from inside the palace versus outside the palace. She was so loved by the public but must have been the daughter-in-law from hell for the Queen, who clearly had a different take on her.

I wonder, did all of that really damage the monarchy in the eyes of the UK public? And what's the attitude today?