God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., A Man Without a Country (2005)
Labels: Men We Love
annamaria at 9:27 AM
*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.
annamaria at 4:46 PM
“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.
annamaria at 7:56 PM
Theatre of the Absurd at Casa Annamaria
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).
annamaria at 2:50 PM
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
Labels: Shameless Self Promotion
annamaria at 6:41 AM
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:
Because I trust women. I trust women as rational creatures to evaluate the circumstances of their own lives and decide for themselves if they are ready, willing and able to have a (or another) child. I trust that women understand the risks and consequences of pregnancy, motherhood and abortion, and to weigh those risks and consequences according to what is best for them. I don't trust outsiders, no matter how earnest or kind-hearted, to fully recognize the impact that unwanted pregnancy has on a woman's life. I don't trust that people wholly unrelated to any individual woman can ever have her best interests at heart when forcing her to make a decision contrary to her own feelings and reality.
Because the leading cause of death for pregnant women in the United States is murder. For some women, the decision to continue a pregnancy will literally put their lives in danger.
Because there is a inverse relationship between laws restricting reproductive rights and the quality of women's lives. In every country that recognizes women's bodily autonomy, women are safer, make more money, are more educated and generally happier. The ability to determine when, if and how many times she becomes a mother is the leading determinant of every other factor in a woman's life: her level of education, socio-economic status, her ability to escape an abusive relationship, and her overall health.
Because babies are not a punishment. Right-wing rhetoric, you know those moral people who constantly blather about family values, is rife with accusations of women avoiding the negative consequences of sex by having an abortion. They argue that these women made their beds and now they must lie in them, as if children are some punishment from on high for failure to live by someone else's moral statutes. Children are cute, they're adorably naive and often say funny things without meaning to. They make life better for those around them because they bring with them the promise of hope and a better world. They remind us that our time of this planet should be filled with wonder and joy. They make messes and sometimes smell funny, but that's okay because they also laugh at butterflies and give us kisses with chocolate-smeared mouths simply because they felt like it. They are not scarlet letters to be worn as evidence of moral failure. They're too precious. And their lives are too precious to forced upon someone unable to care for them as they deserve.
Because I believe that pregnant women are to be supported by society, not co-opted. Pro-choice activism in the United States often centers around the termination (or prevention) of pregnancy, but inherent in the belief that women should not be forced to continue a pregnancy, is the concomitant conviction that women who choose to remain pregnant should have the full resources of society available to them in that choice. That means pre-natal care for poor women who often go without due to lack of access or resources. It means the availability of midwifery for women who would rather not submit to the often patriarchal nature of obstetrician/hospital birth. It means calling a ceasefire on the public shaming of pregnant women: if a pregnant women is addicted to illegal substances, she should have the ability to get treatment for both her addiction and her child. No more arresting women post-labor for the presence of alcohol or drugs in her system—the crack down on addicted mothers does nothing to help children and everything to prevent these women from seeking quality pre-natal care for fear of imprisonment. And most importantly, it means helping women and their children after pregnancy—public housing and assistance for poor families, access to inexpensive yet healthy food, government funded or subsidized quality day care, paid family leave, flexible work hours, asserting the right of mothers to nurse in public, etc.
Because I am pro-life. I respect life, and more importantly, I respect quality of life. I believe that women's lives have value, that we are important, we are human and we contribute more to society than simply our ability to populate the earth. Treating pregnancy and child-rearing as a yoke to prevent women from fully participating in the public sphere oppresses not only women, but men and children as well. It prevents men from fashioning for themselves an identity beyond breadwinner and monetary provider. It treats men's relationships with their children as secondary and incidental, particularly as concerns a child's emotional development. It tells men that their ability to be an effective and loving father is not natural, that they will never be able to bond with their children in the same way, or to any degree similar to, a woman's ability. And as I've blogged about before, children who are the result of unwanted pregnancies suffer as well, even into adulthood:
The adverse health consequences of teenagers' inability to control their childbearing can be particularly severe. Teenage mothers are more likely to suffer toxemia, anemia, birth complications, and death. Babies of teenage mothers are more likely to have low birth weight and suffer birth injury and neurological defects. Such babies are twice as likely to die in the first year of life as babies born to mothers who delay childbearing until after age 20.
Both unintended and unwanted childbearing can have negative health, social, and psychological consequences. Health problems include greater chances for illness and death for both mother and child. In addition, such childbearing has been linked with a variety of social problems, including divorce, poverty, child abuse, and juvenile delinquency. In one study, unwanted children were found less likely to have had a secure family life. As adults they were more likely to engage in criminal behavior, be on welfare, and receive psychiatric services. Another found that children who were unintended by their mothers had lower self-esteem than their intended peers 23 years later.The biggest lie anti-choicers tell is that they are pro-life. When they fail to recognize that mere existence is not a life, all they achieve is making the lives of others more difficult, more miserable and less fulfilled. When they argue that the only moral abortion is my abortion, they betray an hypocrisy that undercuts any semblance of integrity or virtue. They show themselves as they truly are: zealots who fear and hate women for not being afraid or repentant or cowed by a misogynistic worldview.
annamaria at 6:34 AM
Friday Random Ten: Damn the Man! Edition
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
Damn you, corporate overlords!Damn you all to hell!
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
New Year New TemplateMy 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
The President who cried wolf
annamaria at 10:37 AM
Friday Random Ten: Long Weekend Edition
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.
- Fiesta - The Pogues
Come all you rambling boys of pleasure, and ladies of easy leisure
- I Was Meant for the Stage - The Decemberists
Rays of light shone down on me and all my sins were pardoned
- Promises of Eternity - The Magnetic Fields
No Seven, no 8 1/2, no Nine, and no 10
- Penny for a Thought - Saul Williams
We're performing an exorcism on all this keep-it-realism
- The Angels' Share - Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
We saved and saved, only to find them spent
- B.O.B. - Outkast
Seventy-five emcee's freestylin' to the beat
- Neapolitan Bridesmaid - Tarkio
Albert Camus said living is anguish
- Tokyo Storm Warning - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Death wears a big hat 'cause he's a big bloke
- Ana Ng - They Might Be Giants
I don't want the world, I just want your half
- Try a Little Tenderness - Otis Redding
Ooh she may be weary
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
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...
Labels: Pop Culture
annamaria at 8:39 PM
Fundies say the darndest things!
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!
Labels: Fundies Say The Darndest Things
annamaria at 7:08 PM
Someone get James Kopp a new dictionary
click on the map, then click on a state to see a history of abortion clinic violence
- 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
- Law: evil intent on the part of a person who commits a wrongful act injurious to others.
- an act or instance of premeditating.
- 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.
annamaria at 12:40 PM
Friday Random Ten: Back to Work Edition
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
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:
- A lovely burgundy cardigan, two warm and woolly wrap sweaters (one brown, one grey), tweed pants and suede gloves from Mama and Papa G;
- Monogrammed knit gloves from Niece #2;
- A DVD slideshow of my baby pictures made by Niece #1;
- A 1 gig flash drive from Republican Brother and SIL (I love geek gifts!);
- A gift certificate to Target from The Sister and her family;
- A gift certificate to Bath and Body Works from the boss;
- A "Smush Bush" squeeze toy and "National EmbarrassMints" from Katie and Joe; and
- A really cool handbag made by a Mexican woman's art collective, made from old candy bar wrappers, recycled and woven into this really kickass little purse, from Liberal Brother and SIL. Look how cute it is:
- Also, an as-of-yet unreceived gift from Rich. Of course, I didn't manage to get his gifts in the mail until yesterday, so I'm in no position to complain about my gifts being late!
So...what did y'all get?
annamaria at 10:14 PM
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:
- Weakness or inability to move one side of the body: arms, legs, face;
- Numbness on one side of the body;
- Speech impairment or aphasia, the inability to understand or remember words;
- Dizziness, vertigo, clumsiness or fainting. Also, a "drop attack," which is the sudden loss of strenght in the legs;
- Trouble swallowing;
- A sudden, severe headache;
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
Props to everyone who notices the very special cameo appearance
annamaria at 2:13 PM