Saturday, September 23, 2006

Plan B.

Plan B is going to be available over-the-counter soon, but until then women have to deal with crap like this: Blogger Denied EC by Every Hospital within 100 Miles.

In Ohio.

It is a v. slippery slope when pharmacists and doctors are allowed to deny people medication because of "morals."

"Oh, I'm sorry. I'm against smoking. Your lung cancer is pretty much your own damn fault, so I refuse to fill/prescribe these prescriptions to help you fight it."

"I don't believe in 'depression.' It is in indeed all in your head, but not because of a chemical imbalance in your brain. If you want to start feeling happy, then stop acting like a damn crybaby about things. I'm not filling/prescribing this Paxil prescription."


On a lighter note, I dressed the Brat in baby clothes. He wasn't all that amused.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

"Walls has joined the company of writers such as Mary Karr and Frank McCourt who have been able to transform their sad memories into fine art." -- People

I've just finished one of the best (if not the best) memoirs I've ever read: href="
4337517?ie=UTF8&s=books">The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls.

I'm not the best at describing books or why I like them, so instead I give you some obersvations from people who are paid to review books:

Book Description:

    The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility of raising a family.

    The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

    The Glass Castle is truly astonishing -- a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar, but loyal, family. Jeannette Walls has a story to tell, and tells it brilliantly, without an ounce of self-pity.
    Jeannette Walls's father always called her "Mountain Goat" and there's perhaps no more apt nickname for a girl who navigated a sheer and towering cliff of childhood both daily and stoically. In The Glass Castle, Walls chronicles her upbringing at the hands of eccentric, nomadic parents--Rose Mary, her frustrated-artist mother, and Rex, her brilliant, alcoholic father. To call the elder Walls's childrearing style laissez faire would be putting it mildly. As Rose Mary and Rex, motivated by whims and paranoia, uprooted their kids time and again, the youngsters (Walls, her brother and two sisters) were left largely to their own devices. But while Rex and Rose Mary firmly believed children learned best from their own mistakes, they themselves never seemed to do so, repeating the same disastrous patterns that eventually landed them on the streets. Walls describes in fascinating detail what it was to be a child in this family, from the embarrassing (wearing shoes held together with safety pins; using markers to color her skin in an effort to camouflage holes in her pants) to the horrific (being told, after a creepy uncle pleasured himself in close proximity, that sexual assault is a crime of perception; and being pimped by her father at a bar). Though Walls has well earned the right to complain, at no point does she play the victim. In fact, Walls' removed, nonjudgmental stance is initially startling, since many of the circumstances she describes could be categorized as abusive (and unquestioningly neglectful). But on the contrary, Walls respects her parents' knack for making hardships feel like adventures, and her love for them--despite their overwhelming self-absorption--resonates from cover to cover. --Brangien Davis

From Publishers Weekly
    Starred Review. Freelance writer Walls doesn't pull her punches. She opens her memoir by describing looking out the window of her taxi, wondering if she's "overdressed for the evening" and spotting her mother on the sidewalk, "rooting through a Dumpster." Walls's parents—just two of the unforgettable characters in this excellent, unusual book—were a matched pair of eccentrics, and raising four children didn't conventionalize either of them. Her father was a self-taught man, a would-be inventor who could stay longer at a poker table than at most jobs and had "a little bit of a drinking situation," as her mother put it. With a fantastic storytelling knack, Walls describes her artist mom's great gift for rationalizing. Apartment walls so thin they heard all their neighbors? What a bonus—they'd "pick up a little Spanish without even studying." Why feed their pets? They'd be helping them "by not allowing them to become dependent." While Walls's father's version of Christmas presents—walking each child into the Arizona desert at night and letting each one claim a star—was delightful, he wasn't so dear when he stole the kids' hard-earned savings to go on a bender. The Walls children learned to support themselves, eating out of trashcans at school or painting their skin so the holes in their pants didn't show. Buck-toothed Jeannette even tried making her own braces when she heard what orthodontia cost. One by one, each child escaped to New York City. Still, it wasn't long before their parents appeared on their doorsteps. "Why not?" Mom said. "Being homeless is an adventure." --Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Freebies / Life List.

Recent items received that I discovered through freestuff:

The Brat is not all interested in the catnip from Halo. He basically shows no reaction from smelling or eating it. At first I thought he did because he attacked the bag it was in at first, but then I realized that he just attacks everything. It's prob. best if catnip doesn't affect him, because he's already fairly crazy.

Item added to my Life List:
    16. Eat at a sushi bar

Monday, September 11, 2006

Look at the Date.

I haven't watched any of the memorials or human interest stories or "how the U.S. has changed" or etc. (the polite term for it) segments on the television this week. I just...don't want to. Too many emotions would come from them, bad or good. I don't think I'll ever be able to watch any of those movies dealing with September 11th.

It just feels surreal still. I can't believe what happened. I can't believe what terrorists and OUR OWN government have done to us. I can't even read lj entries about it because I never know if they will make me want to cry or throw something--either at the media or the government or the poster. Wow. I think I just realized George W. Bush makes me angrier than terrorists. Maybe because they are abstract and so far away and Bush is supposed to be HELPING us, not making everything so much, much worse.

But I did watch Ellen today, and she had a segment about a woman, Ann Nelson, who died in one of the World Trade Center Towers. A while after she died, her parents found her Life List on her computer. (Ellen has been all about life lists this season: those lists where you write down everything you want to do/be in life.) Ann's story has been in The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, etc., and she has inspired people to keep their own life list (one such woman was also on Ellen, with Ann's parents). Her list was all about bettering herself and the people around her, not superficial things like "own a car" (which might actually be a big thing for some people).

I don't know what is was about her and her story. It was her picture, her parents, her love of life, the woman she inspired and what she told Ann's parents, the shots of her actual list...But my mom and I looked at each other, and my mom was crying, and I said, "I know! I feel like crying!" and then I started crying and...even if I had spent all day watching stories about 9/11, no other story would have touched me as much.

I tried to find something online about her with no luck.

I should make a Life List...but I'm almost afraid to. Like I'm afraid I'll never accomplish anything on it. I don't even know what I'd put on it.

ETA: I found The New York Times's article! Read it below.


May 17, 2006
About New York
Hope, Saved on a Laptop

For a long time, Ann Nelson’s laptop computer remained dark.

It had been returned to her family in North Dakota, along with the other belongings she left behind in that great city 1,750 miles to the east. She was 30, lively, working near the very top of the World Trade Center, and — you already know.

In the small town of Stanley, halfway between Minot and Williston, a fog thick enough to blur time’s passing enveloped the Nelson home. Amid the many tributes to Ann, amid the grieving and the absence, it became hard to remember just when and how the laptop wound up in the basement of the one-story bank that the family owned.

There the laptop sat, for years, tucked away from sight in a black case. It was a Dell Inspiron 8000, bought shortly before Ann called home that day in early 2001 to say she had gotten a job as a bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald — in New York! Soon she was living near the corner of Thompson and Spring, and working in an office 104 stories in the air.

Ann’s parents, Jenette and Gary Nelson, say the laptop remained unopened because they are not computer savvy. But it was more than that, Mrs. Nelson admits. “To tell you the truth, it was just too painful.”

Three summers ago, during an art class Mrs. Nelson was teaching in that basement, a couple of students showed her how to use the computer. After the class, she says, “I just left it there.”

Who knows why never becomes someday, and someday becomes today. One day last fall — “when I got to feeling stronger,” she says — Mrs. Nelson finally opened her daughter’s computer. She pushed its power button and started by looking at the photographs stored in its memory.

Soon Mrs. Nelson was learning how to play the computer’s games, including solitaire and hearts. These distractions both relaxed her and reminded her of the games she used to play with Ann. Somehow, this little black machine made Ann seem present, there beside her.

Getting lost in the computer became part of Mrs. Nelson’s after-work ritual, though she never bothered to open a file that said “Top 100″; probably some music, she figured. Then, two months ago and who knows why, click.

What she found was a catalog of goals, humanly incomplete: a list that reflected a young woman’s commitment to the serious, to the frivolous, to all of life. That night, Mr. and Mrs. Nelson sat down with the list, and were with their daughter again.

1. Be healthy/ healthful. 2. Be a good friend. 3. Keep secrets. 4. Keep in touch with people I love and that love me. 5. Make a quilt.

Mrs. Nelson used to sew all the time, until it simply became too hard to guide a needle properly with a joyous little girl frolicking in her lap. Then, when Ann grew older, mother and daughter decided to sew a tablecloth.

“I don’t think we ever finished,” Mrs. Nelson says, laughing. “She had to be doing 100 things at a time, and consequently some of them didn’t get finished.”

As for this goal of making a quilt, she adds, “I’m sure that I would probably have been deeply involved in this process.”

6. Nepal. 7. Buy a home in North Dakota. 8. Get a graduate degree. 9. Learn a foreign language. 10. Kilimanjaro. 11. Never be ashamed of who I am.

“Ann was in many environments where being a girl from North Dakota may not have been the most sophisticated label to wear,” Mrs. Nelson says, recalling that her daughter had traveled to China and to Peru, and had worked in the high-powered environments of Chicago and New York.

Even so, Ann always conveyed pride in who she was, who her parents were and where they came from — though never in a boastful way. “It’s an important point about her personality,” her mother says.

12. Be a person to be proud of. 13. Always keep improving. 14. Read every day. 15. Be informed. 16. Knit a sweater. 17. Scuba-dive in the Barrier Reef. 18. Volunteer for a charity. 19. Learn to cook.

By her late 20’s, Ann had actually become a fairly decent cook. Still, her mother laughs in recalling late-night calls, like the one that began: “Mom, what’s drawn butter?”

20. Learn about art. 21. Get my C.F.A. 22. Grand Canyon. 23. Helicopter-ski with my dad.

Then Ann Nelson’s list repeats a number.

23. Spend more time with my family. 24. Remember birthdays!!!!

Birthdays loomed large in Ann’s life. She would celebrate her birthday not for a day, but for a week — in part because her father’s birthday came the very next day, in part because she was proud to have been born on Norwegian Independence Day — which is May 17, today.

“Ann would have been 35,” says Mr. Nelson, who turns 65 tomorrow.

25. Appreciate money, but don’t worship it. 26. Learn how to use a computer. 27. Visit the New York Public Library. 28. Maine. 29. Learn to write. 30. Walk — exercise but also see the world firsthand. 31. Learn about other cultures. 32. Be a good listener. 33. Take time for friends. 34. Kayak. 35. Drink water. 36. Learn about wine.

Ann was supposed to attend a wine class the evening of Sept. 11, in keeping with Nos. 13, 19, 31, 36 — the whole list, really.

After 36, there is a 37, but it is blank.

Mr. Nelson reads the list as an inventory of his daughter’s values. “You don’t see any Corvettes in the garage or any of those material things you might expect from someone that age,” he says. “She recognized that you appreciate a few things and kind of live your life wisely.”

Mrs. Nelson interprets the list as another way in which Ann seems to communicate with her when she is most in need. So, just about every day in a small North Dakota town, halfway between Minot and Williston, the screen of a laptop computer goes from darkness to light.


My Life List--Updated Regularly.

1. Love myself
2. Don't worry so much
3. Keep in contact with my friends/resist being a hermit
4. Learn how to knit or crochet (even if it's something small!)
5. Read at least one book a month
6. Don't let people get away with being bad friends
7. Dance (badly if necessary)
8. Don't take my anger/frustration out on other people
9. Finish a novel (publication would be lovely, but not necessary)
10. See panda bears in person
11. Visit the ocean
12. Don't feel guilty for saying "no"
13. Volunteer for a political campaign
14. Write letters to editors/politicians/newscastors
15. Keep improving
16. Eat at a sushi bar
17. Visit an art gallery displaying local artists

Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve Irwin. : (


Steve Irwin was killed this morning.

I used to love watching his show when I was younger. : ( That is sad. His poor kids.

Tom Cruise.

Aw, 'lil Tom Cruise is trying to do damage control now that no one wants to watch his movies.

Tom Apologizes to Brooke.

"'[Cruise] came over to my house, and he gave me a heartfelt apology,' the actress told Tonight host Jay Leno. 'And through it all, I was so impressed with how heartfelt it was.'

Won over, Shields accepted the apology, she said."

Um. Isn't he, you know, an actor?

I still think he's bat-shit crazy. Of course, I never liked him even before the whole brainwashed Scientology-thing.

Ugh. I hate people who think they're doctors. You don't understand the effing history of psychiatry, either, asshat.

I actually rather like this article.

"Cruise, who has never given birth, accused Shields, who has, of spreading 'misinformation.'"


Right On.

"Let's be honest. Sometimes there's nothing harder in life than being happy for somebody else." --Carrie Bradshaw

Oh, Sex and the City. I had forgotten how much I loved you.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Al Gore = Sexy.

"I actually was not intending to be here tonight, but then MTV explained that Justin Timberlake was bringing sexy back, [so here I am]." --Al Gore, at the MTV Video Music Awards [which I did not watch, snooze and (mostly) mediocore music, but did see a clip of this OBVIOUS highlight of the night]


Oh, Al Gore. I wish you were our president.