God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut

"I am, incidentally, Honorary President of the American Humanist Association, having succeeded the late, great science fiction writer Isaac Asimov in that totally functionless capacity. We had a memorial service for Isaac a few years back, and I spoke and said at one point, "Isaac is up in heaven now." It was the funniest thing I could have said to an audience of humanists. I rolled them in the aisles. It was several minutes before order could be restored. And if I should ever die, God forbid, I hope you will say, "Kurt is up in heaven now." That's my favorite joke."

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., A Man Without a Country (2005)


annamaria at 9:27 AM

0 spoke



Bomb.Repeat.Bomb is the new video off the latest Ted Leo & The Pharmacists album, Living With the Living. I've had the album for about a month now*, but I've refrained from posting anything on it (despite really, really wanting to) out of deference to Rich who refuses to do anything fun like listen to leaked copies of albums from super kick-ass punk icons. Silly Rich.

*Standard Disclaimer: Yes, I know, having a leaked copy of an album is both highly unethical (illegal, some might say) and possibly detracts from the experience of purchasing the album, ripping off the annoying plastic, and finally listening to the songs while perusing the artwork and liner notes. I say fuck that. It is a fangirl's prerogative to eschew the trappings of nostalgia-riddled rituals in the digital age. Oh, and I still bought the album anyway. On CD and vinyl.

Labels: ,

annamaria at 4:46 PM

2 spoke


“Pro-Lifers” once again show their commitment to death

Almost exactly five years ago, I fulfilled my six-month probationary period at work and was finally eligible for health insurance benefits. One of the first things I did was skim the provider handbook to find the nearest Planned Parenthood so that I could make a date with a speculum. But Planned Parenthood wasn't listed in the provider directory. So, I called MCARE and asked if there was a PP near me that I could use for my gynecological needs, only to be told that MCARE doesn't cover PP for annual exams—only abortions. Pleased as I was to find that first-trimester elective and therapeutic abortions would be completely covered at the PP of my choice, I was a little dismayed to find that my insurance company didn't think that PP, the largest provider of women's health services in America, had any utility beyond abortion. In fact, they'd probably be shocked to find out that most PP affiliate offices don't even perform abortions (or if they do, only one or two days a week), focusing instead on boring stuff like pap smears and breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Apparently MCARE and Missouri's Governor Matt Blunt have something in common:

For fifteen years, Planned Parenthood of Southwest Missouri clinics in Joplin and Springfield have offered free breast and cervical cancer screenings as part of the state’s “Show Me Healthy Women” program. Now Governor Matt Blunt has announced that he will cut off all program funding to Planned Parenthood and redirect it to other health clinics. “Patients should not have to go to an abortion clinic to access life-saving tests,” Blunt declared. Refusing to fund cancer screening at the clinics, he said, “ensures women may access important preventative care without contributing to abortion providers’ goal of facilitating the destruction of innocent life.”

PPSM has been providing quality health care to poor women for years—breast and cervical cancer rates have been dropping in the United States, and that is thanks to increased awareness and access to regular breast exams and pap smears, both of which help diagnose cancer earlier making treatment more effective. With lack of access to health insurance, and lack of funds to pay for life-saving treatments out-of-pocket, low-income women are disproportionately affected by breast and cervical cancer and have a higher mortality rate.

Governor Blunt is correct though—no women should have to go to an abortion clinic to receive cancer screenings. Of course, no women should be prevented from going to such a clinic if it is is closer to home or already that women's primary provider of reproductive health services. Or just because she feels like it. Cutting off access to health care—particularly from the largest provider of women's health services in the country—just to prove your fetus-love doesn't really do much to prove your pro-life (no scare quotes) chops. In fact, it shows a stunning lack of regard for the lives of poor women, who are more likely to use Planned Parenthood than a private doctor.

Oh, did I mention that PPSM doesn't actually provide abortions?

"[Governor Blunt] was being dishonest," says Kellie Rohrbaugh, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Southwest Missouri, who says her office received a fax alerting them to the funding cuts 45 minutes before the governor's press conference. "We asked the administrator of the program if women had complained about going to Planned Parenthood, and she said we'd been a very good partner. We could get people in quickly, have them seen, refer them to treatment quickly if they needed it."

Hmmm...efficient, friendly, providing affordable quality care to people who most need it. It's obvious why PPSM's funding was first on the chopping block—it's giving lie to the anti's claim to the pro-life banner.


Labels: , , ,

annamaria at 7:56 PM

0 spoke


Theatre of the Absurd at Casa Annamaria

La Famiglia does Albee proud

Friday night dinners are a tradition for La Famiglia; all the Mitten State dwelling siblings congregate every other Friday at Mama and Papa G’s house for pasta and political discussions. Okay, so the political discussion is a relatively new thing, and one that only happens when we’re feeling particularly feisty. Mama G hates it when we talk politics, mostly because the four siblings that usually show up to dinner are Republican Brother, Fundie Sister, Liberal Brother and Me. Needless to say, discussions quickly turn to arguments which often give way to bedlam. In deference to Mama G’s hypertension, we do our best to temper discussions with humor, despite the heartfelt desire to jump across the table and settle the issue mano a mano.

Last weekend Liberal Brother had prior engagements that prevented him from joining us for our biweekly brawl. As a result, the righty faction was in high form, tossing about their particular brand of religio-conservative inanity. I present Friday Dinner, a Comedy in Four Acts:


Fundie Sister brings up the case of a California girl who was suspended for saying “that’s so gay” in response to a boy who was taunting her for being Mormon. Actually, I take that back, the girl wasn’t suspended, despite Sister’s protestations to the contrary; she was given a warning and a notation was made in her permanent record (are they still using that one?). The school instituted a zero-tolerance policy on hate speech (including what some—not me—consider innocuous phrases like “that’s so gay”) after two boys were paid to beat up a gay student the prior year. Sister immediately starts on the persecuted Christian tip, and lambastes the school for not equally punishing the boy who used anti-Christian hate speech, all but arguing that the incident is proof positive of the homosexual agenda’s attempt to eradicate and marginalize Christianity. Had the boy asked if a Muslim girl’s father was a terrorist, Sister argues, he would have been punished for his anti-Islamic hate speech, but anti-Christian speech is just fine and dandy in today’s godless and secular world.

Remember, I’m without the assistance of Liberal Brother here, and am trying not to further stress my poor mother’s already beleaguered heart, so I’m silent as a church (ahem) mouse while my sister does her best impersonation of the severely unhinged. Finally, I agree that suspension is too harsh a punishment* but argue that some kind of correction or punishment was necessary. Even if, or perhaps because, the girl in question did not understand that “that’s so gay” is never an appropriate euphemism for “that’s stupid,” someone at that school needed to explain to her that homophobic language has no place in the public square. Further, I agreed that if indeed that boy was making anti-religious statements, he should have received an equal punishment or correction. Sister rolls her eyes to indicate that I am so naïve if I really believe that anyone cares a whit for the poor, persecuted Christians. I bite my tongue and restrain my hands so that I don’t smack the smug look from her face.


Dinner is served. I erroneously assume the conversation will turn to less controversial topics. I am wrong. Republican Brother can’t help but bring up the plight of the poor Mormon girl again, only this time to weigh in and declare that he doesn’t even consider Mormons to be Christians anyway. Fundie Sister agrees.

Seriously, read that last sentence again: Fundie Sister agrees that Mormons are not really Christians. Then whence the fucking anti-Christian hate speech? Honestly, I know that it’s folly to expect consistency, but I have to wonder if anti-Semitic speech is somehow going to be used as proof of an anti-Christian bias in her mind. After all, Christ was a Jew!


Somehow the conversation turns to Anna Nicole Smith. Don’t ask. Sister tells us that John Travolta was on TV saying that if only Anna Nicole had been a Scientologist, she would still be alive today. Sister and Republican Brother then take turns mocking Scientologists for their “crazy” beliefs. Annamaria bleeds from the mouth as she bites her tongue some more; apparently mocking (the beliefs of) religious folk is just fine so long as you can claim the moral high ground of being a Christian.


Dinner ends. I set about clearing the table to get the hell away from my siblings and avoid further mouth injury. Unfortunately, I can’t help but overhear them discussing the Republican presidential candidates. Republican Brother distrusts McCain and Giuliani; Sister agrees and vows to vote for Romney in the Michigan Primary.

Mitt Romney is a Mormon.


* I also take this back. Having not read up on the case of the Maligned Mormon Miss, I was unaware of the specifics of the case. Turns out she was not 8-years old as my sister claimed, but fifteen at the time of the incident. At fifteen, you know better. Suspension is a completely appropriate punishment (even though the school thought otherwise).

Labels: ,

annamaria at 2:50 PM

3 spoke


On this day in history

I was eight hours old when Johnny Rotten took the stage

Roman Emperor Caligula is assassinated by the Praetorian Guards

Hadrian, Roman Emperor, is born

King Charles II of England disbands Parliament

James W. Marshall finds gold at Sutter's Mill, California Gold Rush begins

The University of Calcutta is formally founded as the first full-fledged university in south Asia

Edith Wharton, American writer, is born

Robert Baden-Powell founds the boy scouts

In Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad, the Supreme Court of the United States declares the federal income tax constitutional.

Oral Roberts, American evangelist, is born

St. Petersburg, Russia is renamed Leningrad.

Maria Tallchief, American ballerina, is born

Alfred Hitchcock releases his first film, The Pleasure Garden, in England

Neil Diamond, American singer, is born

Klaus Nomi, German synth-pop messiah, is born

Winston Churchill dies

An Air India Boeing 707 jet crashes on Mont Blanc, on the border between France and Italy, killing 117

Massacre of Atocha in Madrid, during the Spanish transition to democracy

A blogger is born

Another blogger is born on this day, but I'll spare her the indignity of mentioning the year!

The first Apple Macintosh goes on sale

L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology founder and general crackpot, dies

Wapping dispute. Newspaper workers in London launch ultimately unsuccessful strike against Rupert Murdoch's News International

Ted Bundy, American serial killer, is executed

Thurgood Marshall, first black U.S. Supreme Court Justice, dies

The United States Department of Homeland Security officially begins operation

Disney agrees to purchase Pixar in an all-cash deal, making Steve Jobs the largest shareholder in Disney

Annamaria takes a silly idea way too far


annamaria at 6:41 AM

4 spoke



Today is the 34th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, and in commemoration feminist bloggers are celebrating in our own way: we're blogging for choice. This year's topic is so straight-forward and simple, I almost feared I wouldn't have much to say. After all, isn't obvious why I'm pro-choice? I'd think that anyone that knows me, or reads this blog with any regularity, would recognize immediately why I work so hard to maintain reproductive freedoms.

I don't remember a time when I was anything but pro-choice. From the moment that I was aware of and able to conceptualize the issue of abortion (back when I was a wee little one of ten or so), I understood implicitly the importance of recognizing that women are and should be the guardians of their own bodies and reproduction. I used to wear buttons in middle and high school that looked like this:

It was an indelible image, and despite never having lived in a time when women were forced to resort to back alley butchers and dangerous home remedies, I still felt with passion and conviction the belief that we cannot, will not, go back. My Catholic upbringing did nothing to disabuse me of the notion that it is simply just and moral to recognize a woman's right to choose. I argued with priests and Catechism instructors, I argued with teachers and friends, and I went to college and volunteered at clinics, and argued with protesters bent on shaming women but not lifting a finger to help them. But in all that time, in nearly 20-years of feminist consciousness, never once have I articulated precisely why I am pro-choice. I never had to; it was enough for me to know that I am. So here is my attempt to remedy that.

I am pro-choice:
Nothing I have said here should be shocking. When faced with the reality of an individual woman's life, only a tiny minority of people still cling to the but it's a baby! point of view. Any society that aspires toward freedom and justice must recognize when women do well, society as a whole does better. And the only way to ensure that women are successful in every other area of their lives is to ensure that women are given the respect and moral authority to control their health, bodies and lives. And that's why I am pro-choice.

Labels: , ,

annamaria at 6:34 AM

0 spoke


Friday Random Ten: Damn the Man! Edition

It is really Friday already?

I'm still annoyed that I can't blog at work anymore. I do my best thinking when I'm pretending to be working! I'll do my best to write at work and blog from home, but I trust you'll all forgive me if I slack a bit. After all, I've been slacking for months now and you all still love me, right?

I'm really enjoying this MyPlaylist thingy...though the site is slower than molasses at times. And apparently I have strange taste in music since I can't find half the songs on my FRT, so I have to upload them to the site. But it's fun to think that people are listening along with me, singing along just as poorly to Woody Guthrie.

So, here's my ten, leave yours in the comments:


annamaria at 6:14 AM

1 spoke


Damn you, corporate overlords!

Damn you all to hell!

So, I tried to log on to Blogger this morning to post something, only to find that it has been added to the list of restricted sites by my employer. I can read blogs, I just can't post anything to mine. 'Cause I might say something nasty. Of course, I'm more liable to cast aspersions about my Major American Automotive Industry (MAAI) employer now than I was when I could actually log on to my blog.

That means that I'll be posting mostly in the evenings from now on. Oh, I'll still blog during the day--I'll just have to save them* and upload the posts on my own computer. The MAAI thought police won't stop me completely.

*using my wonderful 1GB flash drive, a christmas gift from Republican Brother. If only he knew he was enabling my liberal rantings!

annamaria at 5:35 PM

0 spoke


New Year New Template

My blog template was boring as all hell and it was time for a change.
Thanks to Beth at Pink Design, I now have something cute and sassy. Like me!


annamaria at 9:57 PM

2 spoke

The President who cried wolf


Labels: ,

annamaria at 10:37 AM

1 spoke


Friday Random Ten: Long Weekend Edition

If only I were Irish...

I know I just got back to work from a glorious week off, but I really need this long weekend. What I don't need is my white coworkers wondering why we get Martin Luther King day off work, but not President's Day. I've finally started asking them these two questions:

1.) Name one, just one, thing that Dr. King did to make this country a better place.

2.) Name one, just one, thing that James K. Polk did to make this country a better place.

If I get more than a vacant stare at question number two, I will deign to engage the speaker in conversation about the merits of treating Dr. King's birthday as a holiday. Because, it's not like we don't live in the blackest city in America or anything.

  1. Fiesta - The Pogues
    Come all you rambling boys of pleasure, and ladies of easy leisure
  2. I Was Meant for the Stage - The Decemberists
    Rays of light shone down on me and all my sins were pardoned
  3. Promises of Eternity - The Magnetic Fields
    No Seven, no 8 1/2, no Nine, and no 10
  4. Penny for a Thought - Saul Williams
    We're performing an exorcism on all this keep-it-realism
  5. The Angels' Share - Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
    We saved and saved, only to find them spent
  6. B.O.B. - Outkast
    Seventy-five emcee's freestylin' to the beat
  7. Neapolitan Bridesmaid - Tarkio
    Albert Camus said living is anguish
  8. Tokyo Storm Warning - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
    Death wears a big hat 'cause he's a big bloke
  9. Ana Ng - They Might Be Giants
    I don't want the world, I just want your half
  10. Try a Little Tenderness - Otis Redding
    Ooh she may be weary
Leave your ten in the comments, as well as any accomplishments of the esteemed President Polk of which I may not be aware.

UPDATE: I did another FRT just that I could share with you this fun new toy:

Click on standalone player, and you can listen along!


annamaria at 7:16 AM

11 spoke


Oh Noes!!1!1!

The most important thing in the whole world ever has happened!

Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz are officially kaput. The duo, dating since 2003, confirmed their split Thursday in a joint statement.

"We have, in fact, ended our romantic relationship, and have done so mutually and as friends, with continued love and respect for one another," the pair said.

The two said they usually prefer not to comment on their relationship, but recent speculation and inaccuracies prompted them to issue the statement.

Oh, and an American soldier was sentenced to 18 years in prison and three other "bad apples" were charged in the murders of three Iraqi detainees in Samarra last year.

Guess which of these two stories was on the Fox News front page, and which was not. Hmmm...


annamaria at 8:39 PM

0 spoke

Fundies say the darndest things!

Via Shakespeare's Sister, I found what is destined to be my new favorite spot on the interwebs: Fundies Say the Darndest Things! Check out these gems:

Fundies explain atheism:
"No, everyone is born Christian. Only later in life do people choose to stray from Jesus and worship satan instead. Atheists have the greatest "cover" of all, they insist they believe in no god yet most polls done and the latest research indicates that they are actually a different sect of Muslims."

Fundies explain physics:
"One of the most basic laws in the universe is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This states that as time goes by, entropy in an environment will increase. Evolution argues differently against a law that is accepted EVERYWHERE BY EVERYONE. Evolution says that we started out simple, and over time became more complex. That just isn't possible: UNLESS there is a giant outside source of energy supplying the Earth with huge amounts of energy. If there were such a source, scientists would certainly know about it. [emphasis added]"

Fundies explain away their kid's obvious gayness:
"I am a bit troubled. I believe my son has a girlfriend, because she left a dirty magazine with men in it under his bed. My son is only 16 and I really don't think he's ready to date yet. What's worse is that he's sneaking some girl to his room behind my back. I need help, God! I want my son to stop being so secretive!"

Fundies explain etymology and how to ignore history:
If your original Hebrew disagrees with my original King James --- your original Hebrew is wrong. If your original Hebrew agrees with my original King James, your original Hebrew is right."

Fundies explain simian biology:
[Replying to 'as for not seeing evolution it takes several million years... incase you missed that memo...']

several million years for a monkey to turn into a man. oh wait thats right. monkeys dont live several million years."

Fundies explain moral consistency:
"I appreciate your recommendation, and it is intriguing, but as a pro-lifer, I cannot support an organization that is opposed to the death penalty."

Fundies explain Michelle Malkin:
"[On homosexuality being a condition one is born with]

Just because you are born a certain way doesn't meant that is the way you have to be. Some people are born Asian, but through surgeries and counseling they can change."

Fundies explain closed-captioning:
"But God don't talk in Arabic. He talks in a REAL language, namely, English. It's true that back in them days He translated that to some other language after Speaking it in English, but after all, it's His universe and He can do what He doggone well wants to do."

Fundies explain Neanderthal* courting rituals:
"If u have sex before marriage then in Gods eyes u are married to that person if a man rapes a woman in Gods eyes they are married it sucks for the girl but what can we do lol"

Fundies explain Marlene Dietrich:
"Men should stick to blue and women should stick to pink. We dress babies in the right colors so why can't we do the same as adults? It is a sin to wear clothes that belongs to the opposite sex and women are particularly bad at violating this rule. Men don't wear dresses (apart from a few sickos) so why should females wear pants? It's a sin! Most women today are transvestites and abominations. [...]

So please dress like a man if you are a man and dress like a woman if you are woman and stop flaunting your satanic lifestyle and defiance of God. Thanks."

No, thank you!

*Just kidding! Neanderthals are a lie perpetuated by godless evolutionists!


annamaria at 7:08 PM

0 spoke

Someone get James Kopp a new dictionary

click on the map, then click on a state to see a history of abortion clinic violence


  1. desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another, either because of a hostile impulse or out of deep-seated meanness: the malice and spite of a lifelong enemy
  2. Law: evil intent on the part of a person who commits a wrongful act injurious to others.

  1. an act or instance of premeditating.
  2. Law. sufficient forethought to impute deliberation and intent to commit the act.

On the evening of October 23, 1998, anti-choice terrorist James Kopp* laid in wait in the woods behind Dr. Barnett Slepian’s home with a high-powered military rifle equipped with telescopic sights. Dr. Slepian and his family had just arrived home from his father’s funeral; when Slepian passed in front of a kitchen window, Kopp fired the shot that killed him—in full view of Slepian’s wife and two of their four children.

In Federal Court on Tuesday, Kopp apologized to Lynne Slepian for murdering her husband. In an effort to save his own ass from serving a mandatory life sentence, Kopp (acting as his own counsel), defended himself against murder charges by arguing that he didn’t mean to kill the doctor, only maim him. According to Kopp, since he’s so very, very sorry, and he surely never thought that shooting someone in the shoulder with a military rifle could possibly kill them, he is totally and completely innocent of these silly murder charges.

Earlier Tuesday, Kopp used his opening statement to tell jurors that Slepian's death was "a full-bore, 100 percent tragedy" but was not murder because it was not malicious or premeditated.

Kopp has acknowledged planning the shooting for a year and then firing a high-powered military rifle with telescopic sights from the woods behind the Slepian home, but he has said he meant only to wound the doctor to prevent him from performing abortions."Shoot them in the head, blow up a car, riddle their body with bullets like they do in the movies. That's how you kill someone" with premeditation, Kopp said.

He urged jurors to look for evidence of premeditation or malice toward Slepian. "If you don't see it, that's me proving my case," he said.

Apparently, intent to do harm and a year's worth of planning are lost on Kopp. As the old adage goes, a man who represents himself will have a fool for a client.

*And I will damn well call him a terrorist. He’s a member of Army of God, whose other members include Eric Rudolph and Clayton Waagner. AOG "Chaplain" Michael Bray has also spoken approvingly of the public beheadings of homosexuals in Saudi Arabia. How very pro-life of him.

Labels: ,

annamaria at 12:40 PM

3 spoke


Friday Random Ten: Back to Work Edition

In a just world my hair would be this color.
And I'd have a voice like Patsy Cline.

Hey, it's Friday! My first week back at work since the holiday has been really fucking boring. Somehow, I was elected to the position of "hey-we're-about-to-undergo-a-quality-audit-and-shouldn't-someone-make-sure-we-don't-fail" task force. Yes, I am the task force. I've been putting little labels on practically every non-moving object in the office so that we are not in violation of these completely bullshit corporate information standards, and going through co-worker's files and emails to remind them to purge everything in accordance with said bullshit corporate information standards, in the event that Major American Automotive Corporation is sued and the documents that would spell our doom are somewhere in someone's filing cabinet tucked between a Chinese take-out menu and a quarterly revenue report from 1986.

By the way, neither the take-out menu nor the 21-year-old revenue report should be in that filing cabinet anyway.

Also, just because our corporate overlords have installed neo-Orwellian software on your email client that automatically deletes messages after six months doesn't mean that a.) you never have to purge emails on your own or b.) it is acceptable to simply print out said emails and keep them indefinitely.

Finally, clean your fucking desks for fuck's sake! Seriously, coffee stains are unsightly enough, but dirty dishes in the bottom of a desk drawer? I didn't think it possible to respect some of my coworkers less than I already did, but then I became the task force.

But, as I said above before I degenerated into can't-stop-bitching-about-work girl, it's Friday! And Friday means music. And music is good. Nearly as good as music is the news that we might be getting a dog! Mama G suddenly got the yen for a cute little doggie pet while in the hospital, and lo! a friend-of-a-friend of hers is moving and unable to take the little puppy to their new residence. So, Mama G is seriously considering taking in the little raggamuffin.

I just noticed that I have prefaced every reference to the dog with "little." though I have no idea what type of dog it is nor have I actually even seen it. Just wait, Mama G is going to pull up in her ginormous SUV* someday soon with a fucking rottweiler! And, as anyone who has ever met Mama G can attest, that's actually pretty appropriate!

My music goes here:

1. If You Knew - Neko Case
She spends her Daddy's money, and she drives her Daddy's cars, and what's crazy is the way you think that's style.

2. Detachable Penis - King Missile
I woke up this morning with a bad hangover, and my penis was missing again.

3. Heartbeats - The Knife
And you, you knew the hand of the devil

4. In My Arms - Rufus Wainwright
I ain't a soft and saccharine wannabe

5. Avenue B - Gogol Bordello
Oh little Sally with the magic pebbles, now she sells equipment to the Chechen rebels.

6. Filthy/Gorgeous - Scissor Sisters
You make me feel so nasty

7. Gimme Shelter - The Rolling Stones
I tell you love, sister, is just a kiss away

8. 50ft Queenie - PJ Harvey
Tell you my name: F-U-C-K

9. Julie's Been Working for the Drug Squad - The Clash
You could've been a physicist, but now your name's on the mailbag list

10. L'Italiano - Toto Cotugno
Lasciatemi cantare con la chitarre in mano, lasciatami cantare sono L'Italiano

Your music goes in the comments.

*Until you've seen a little 70-year-old Italian grandmother efficiently parallel park one of these, you've not truly lived.


annamaria at 8:36 AM

0 spoke


Yay Gifts!

With Mama G in the hospital, we had to delay Christmas this year. So, we finally got to open our gifts tonight. It was pretty cool, actually. We were able to enjoy a nice family dinner, with surprisingly pleasant conversation (Republican Brother and I managed to joke about politics without it degenerating into a screaming match!), and the gifts were pretty much an after thought. Well, until dinner was over, and then the greedy bitch in me totally took over!

Anyway, here's my Christmas haul:

So...what did y'all get?

annamaria at 10:14 PM

7 spoke

Mama G

A few people have asked about Mama G, and I figured it would be easier to reply in one blog post than countless emails and phone calls; since I am fundamentally a lazy girl, this seemed the obvious solution.

On Christmas morning, Mama G was taken to the hospital because she appeared to be having a stroke. She had been on the phone with one of my cousins in Italy, when her speech suddenly became slurred and she was having trouble forming words. She handed the phone to my father, and I asked her if she was feeling all right. Her speech was still slurred and halting, and I noticed that the left side of her face was drooping. I called for an ambulance, and by the time they arrived (approximately five minutes later), her face was back to normal but her speech still slightly impaired.

She was taken to the emergency room, where an EKG and chest X-ray were performed. At this point, while we were convinced she had suffered a stroke, we were still optimistic about her returning home in time for Christmas dinner. Unfounded optimism is a family trait. She spent about an hour in the ER before they took her for a CT Scan, which confirmed that there was a "spot" on the left side of her brain. She was admitted that night for observation and further testing.

Since my siblings had all intended to have dinner together for Christmas, we ended meeting at the hospital and having a small Christmas celebration in her room. The kids opened a few gifts, and gave their Nonna some presents but, needless to say, Mama G was deeply depressed at the prospect of spending Christmas in the hospital.

On Tuesday, she was given an echocardiogram and ultrasound of the carotid arteries. She was also scheduled for an MRI, but for some reason that is beyond my comprehension, the local hospital does not perform MRIs on Tuesdays. Her doctor wisely delegated the responsibility of informing Mama G that she would have to spend another night in the hospital to me. Obviously, as her child, she was less likely to maim me for delivering the bad news. Her doctor, on the other hand, was fair game. She took the news in stride, and told the doctor he had one more day to diagnose her, because she was going home Wednesday no matter what. If you've ever been on the receiving end of the determined glare of an Italian woman, you'll understand her doctor's inclination not to delay her homecoming any longer than absolutely necessary.

The MRI was performed on Wednesday morning (I'm pretty sure there were people with brain cancer that were passed up in favor of Mama G that morning!), and a comparison to prior MRIs and CT Scans showed the presence of a new "spot." She was finally officially diagnosed with Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), or ministroke. The cause was a blockage in the carotid artery that is currently being treated with medication. Due to the rather minor blockage (though, apparently, not minor enough), medication was prescribed rather than surgical measures. Which is good, because as much as I want my mommy healthy, I just can't wrap my head around carotid artery bypass surgery.

True to his word, her doctor discharged her on Wednesday evening. She is doing very well, and seems to have enjoyed being doted on for the past few days. She attempted to load the dish washer yesterday, and I'm pretty sure I saw a knowing smirk on her face when I shooed her away and insisted that I would do it for her.

One of the benefits and disadvantages of TIA is that patients always make a full recovery. This is good when you want your mommy healthy. This is bad when mommy didn't even realize she was having a stroke because the effects were so temporary. When I asked her about her facial impairment on Christmas morning, she wasn't even aware that she was having trouble moving the left side of her face. Had no one been there to witness the physical effects of the stroke, she most likely would have chalked up the speech impairment to tiredness, and would not have sought medical attention.

So, here's my PSA:

Symptoms of Transient Ischemic Attack*
Mama G experienced all of these symptoms over the course of an hour. If you or someone in your care are experiencing these symptoms, it is imperative to call 911 (that's 999 for our British friends) immediately. My mother was very, very lucky to have two people in the house with her who were able to recognize stroke symptoms and demand that she seek medical attention. Had this been a full ischemic attack, the rate of recovery is absolutely dependent upon the length of time between the attack and the receipt of medical treatment.

As for me, I'm doing okay. I was a complete wreck on Monday; I'm surprised my siblings didn't have me sedated. Full blown panic attacks, crying spells that lasted hours, and the irrational fear that everyone would hate me for calling the ambulance that took our mommy away on Christmas. When Mama G was in the ER, we realized that she was in the exact same room where she had been in February prior to her angioplasty. She jokingly suggested that they put a plaque on the door, since she had no doubt paid to keep that room open for at least another year. She also said that since the third time's the charm, the next time she found herself in that room it would be for good. To which I replied, the next time she's in that room she'll walk out healthier than ever and I'll drop dead of a heart attack!

*Do I really have to mention that I'm not a doctor and none of this should be construed as an alternative to seeking medical advice?

annamaria at 9:14 PM

0 spoke


Happy Solstikwanzanukkamas!

Props to everyone who notices the very special cameo appearance

The Decemberists - Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas)

annamaria at 2:13 PM

0 spoke