Thursday, June 29, 2006

Larry Hawkins

I don’t remember a whole lot about the year 1973. I have a vague memory of pre-school which I must have been in during the first part of the year. I started Kindergarten in the fall of that year. And sometime before that, although I don’t remember exactly when, a new family would move into a house a few doors down from the one we lived in.

I remember being very excited about it because I realized that there was a little girl who was about my age moving in. So I remember that moment when I knew of the family but hadn’t met them yet but I honestly do not remember the actual meeting of any members of the Hawkins family. If I didn’t have that memory of the excitement of a new family, I probably would consider them to be in that small group of people I have known my entire life.

The daughter of that family, Anna, and I became very good friends and school mates. We were on swim team together and hung out together a lot, even after her parents got divorced and she lived for a time with her mother in a distant suburb.

Anna’s father, Larry, was a really cool guy. He always seemed a little bit more cultured than some of the other parents and was forever taking us kids to really neat cultural activities. Sometimes it was classic movies at the Detroit Institute of Arts, sometimes it was to quant little French pastry shops. Sometimes it was Eastern Market. Sometimes it was a visit to the Renaissance Center just so we could experience urban Detroit. If there was something urban and hip in the 1970’s, he seemed to know about it. I don’t know for sure but I suspect that he was behind a trip our families took to see the King Tut exhibit in Toronto. He used to let us watch Saturday Night Live when I went over there for sleepovers. He always respected children’s intelligence and encouraged not only his own kids but also the neighborhood kids to spread our wings.

Anyhow, I got a phone call from Anna on Tuesday night. Her father, Larry, is very ill and she says that it is pretty hopeless and she is probably going to have the hospital turn off life support today. I am really sad.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Weather

Holy Cow. We just had one mother of a storm blow through here.

There was a LOT of rain. At least a couple of inches fell in 15 minutes or so. Plus there was a good amount of pea sized hail. And of course, some wind. We lost power a couple of times but only for a little while.

Monday, June 26, 2006

He's Just Not That Into You

I spent the weekend up at the lake which was, as usual, rather fun. I found some time to do some reading which is something I always enjoy. I didnt end up reading the book I brought up with me though. It turned out that my sister has a copy of He's Just Not That Into You which I have wanted to read for a while but was unwilling to buy. I figured that if I read it, it would piss me off so much that I would regret having supported the author by buying the book.

Yes, I went into this book thinking that I would hate it and that it would have me ranting and raving and getting pissed off. I certainly didnt feel I needed to read the thing even though in the past I have been prone to deluding myself that men had feelings for me that werent really there. The thing is that even while I was doing it, I always have known deep down that I was.

Still, I typically hate these kinds of books. Mostly because they are a testament to the pressure our culture puts on women to have a mate. So much pressure that books such as list are often on bestseller lists. I would die of shock if I ever saw a book titled _She's Just Not That Into You_ hit the shelves and sell well.

So, I read this book and found that there were indeed parts of it that pissed me off. But I was surprised that there were a great many messages in the book that I agreed with and think are probably a healthy way of looking at things. Things that would, btw, apply equally to both men and women in the dating world.

The things that I disagreed with were mostly things like "he's just not that into you if he doesnt ask you out" since I dont really buy that it always has to be a man's responsibility to ask women out and I know for a fact that there are lots of men who are shy and dont frequently ask women out. It just seems like too much game playing when a woman really likes someone and instead of being up front about it, waits around waiting to be asked out. Which doesnt mean that I dont like being asked out. No, I love it! But so do a lot of the men I know. I also didnt like message that if he isnt constantly calling, it means he isnt that into a women. I mean, I am pretty bad about calling my friends and it honestly doesnt mean that I dont love them. It means that I am kind of scatter brained and sometimes forget when I said I would call. Maybe it even means that I am jerk. Sometimes, when I am REALLY into someone, I wont call them on purpose because I am afraid of coming on too strongly.

The messages I did agree with though were that it is ok to have standards when it comes to dating and that it is better to be single than to be with someone who doesn’t meet those standards. For instance, if being married is very important to one, then dating a guy who wont get married or who is already married is probably a dead end. And even as far as the phone calls and being asked out is concerned...well...if being asked out and getting phone calls are important to a person, then asking someone out and dating guys who dont pick up the phone probably isnt the best idea. And most importantly, if being treated well is what one wants then making excuses for a mate's bad behavior is probably not the best thing.

But, of course, I already knew all of that. I had to learn it all the hard way. I suppose this book could be helpful for some women (and even some men) but all in all, I would have to say that most people I know also already know all of this stuff and, in fact, have been telling me a lot of it for years. So...if you are like most of my friends, this is a book that would be wasted on you. You would read the sensible parts while thinking "well duh" I mean a lot of it boils down to if he doesn’t treat you nicely, then he doesn’t like you enough. Well DUH!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Unexpected Benefits

A while ago I was complaining to my mother about some of the noises (snot snorting) coming from co-workers in the cubes next to me. I said that what I needed was a air filter to hopefully reduce allergies and a white noise machine to drown out the sounds. My mother is one of those people who has trouble throwing things out. But in this case, it worked to my advantage because she went down into her treasure trove of a storage room in the basement and came back up with a white noise machine and a little miniature ionic breeze air cleaner that she got for free when she bought her big one. Thank YOU Mom!

I took both of those things to work. I dont know if the ionic breeze thing helps but I quickly found that the white noise maker did actually make things much more bearable. It certainly stopped me from bothering my co-workers.

One of the sounds is the sound of ocean waves and that is my favorite sound. The ionic breeze thing makes the air smell very fresh and kind of reminds me a little of the smell of the Great Lakes.

It especially reminds me of a hiking trip I took to N Manitou island. One day I walked all the way from our campsite on one side of the island all the way to our next campsite on the other side. It was a rather hot day and the walk was dusty and long. Near the end of the hike, I was exhausted but had no choice but to continue since I was alone and was meeting my companion at the site since he had wanted to take a different trail. I walked along with sweat dripping into my eyes and my water supply nearly gone. I walked up a hill and as I neared the top, a breeze kicked up and I smelled the most wonderful smell: Lake Michigan. It was the sweetest smell. On it's own it would have been heavenly but since it also meant the end of a difficult journey it was all the sweeter. As I continued on the path for not much longer, I could hear the waves crashing on the shore.

So now, every day. Every single day when I go to work, I get to have that sound and that smell and that memory. It makes me so much less stressed out and maybe even helps me work harder. It makes going to work a lot easier and that is certainly something.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Insomnia, Google, and Fire

  • Insomnia:I always have trouble sleeping this time of year. It is frustrating too because it really seems to eat up a bunch of my time. I mean, I either lie awake in bed or sit in my chair in the living room, too exhausted even to watch a movie. Then I end up being very unproductive on my day off. bleh. Well, at least I have the day off today. I think I would be really miserable if I had to try to go into work after not getting any sleep last night.
  • Google: I am wondering if I should regret being so open on my blogs with my real name and whatnot. I keep reading articles about people who get fired for blogging or who find that they cant get interviews because of what they say on their blogs. It is a tough call. I mean, the truth is that there are a lot of things I dont say online here because I know it is so public. All anyone has to do to find my blog is to google my name. And people do it too at least according to my web stats. It is a weird feeling too knowing that people find this place by googling my name without me knowing who they are. Are they old friends I dont keep in touch with anymore (in which case, Howdy old friends), or what? If I start applying for jobs in earnest, will this blog be a big hindrance to me? I hope not because it is something I certainly enjoy doing.
  • Fire: I heard on the news today that Oak Creek Canyon in Arizona is on fire and that kind of bums me out because it is my favorite part of Arizona. I liked it even better than the Grand Canyon. I had a couple of good days in that neck of the woods one July when my friend Debbie and I visited there. I remember that I kept wanting to drive through it. We even found a place where we could go swimming in Oak Creek. I guess Oak Creek is one of those places that stores some especially good memories for me and now it is on fire. What a bummer.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Neighborhood

So I went to the HESNA meeting last night and I managed to get through the whole thing without calling anyone from the ordinance enforcement dept any bad names. Actually, it turns out that these guys have only been around for a about a year so, since they had nothing to do with any of my lawn issues, there was hardly a reason to make a stink.

Some of the people at the meeting complained about a dog barking and I kind of had to chuckle because on my block, there are six dogs and they like barking a lot. But those people dont live on my block so they werent complaining about my dogs or my neighbor's dogs so I didnt speak up in defense of dog barking. Besides, I dont know their situation, it might be much more barking than what happens at my end of N. Grove St.

People complained to the police officers at the meeting about speeding and the police officers seemed to take the complaints seriously. So let me be the first to warn all you folks who drive around Ypsilanti. Slow down! Yup, that is the message I got from the cops there. Slow down and no more prostituting myself on weekends since apparently I live in some sort of NO PROSTITUTION ZONE. Anyone arrested for street walking or for picking up a hooker is apparently not allowed to enter the zone as a condition of their bond. Which means, I guess that I wouldnt be allowed to go home. Here is what I want to know though: Would it be illegal for me to try to get "the ladies" to mow my lawn?

It was after 9p before I got home and I sat on my front porch for a while watching the firefly show. I love those little buggers. It is better than TV. There is something hypnotic about fireflies. They are one of the great pleasures of life.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


I gotta admit it. Even though most of the time I don’t mind being single, there are moments when having someone around seems like a good idea. I was thinking about this, just this morning as I was drinking coffee and reading the NYT. I think this is because I have this big fantasy of living with someone and drinking coffee in bed with the Sunday NYT spread out before us. And it is silly to let a fantasy make one lonely because I know that my little Sunday morning fantasy would never even come close to reality.

Fantasy:: It is Sunday morning and I am in some very stylish pajamas
Reality: I don’t own stylish pajamas and I don’t think I would suddenly run out and buy some just because some guy walked into my life.

Fantasy: The guy is also wearing stylish pajamas
Reality: I don’t think I have ever known a guy who has owned stylish pajamas.

Fantasy: I am drinking fabulous rich dark coffee with real half and half and sugar and everything.
Reality: Half and Half in this house? I am so not together enough to remember to buy it. For that matter, I don’t usually remember to buy coffee either. OH and in my fantasy, I didnt actually have to get my butt out of bed to make the coffee either but that is hardly realistic is it? If someone could make a coffee maker that made the coffee, brought the coffee into the bedroom, and then cleaned itself, they would be everyone's hero, no?

Fantasy: As I read the NYT, I make very thoughtful and witty remarks about the stories I read (This is sadly the purpose of the guy in my bed. In my mind, he is there to listen to me and to be VERY IMPRESSED with all my very thoughtful and witty remarks I make. Now that I think about it is a kind of pathetic reason to want someone in one's bed)
Reality: I never make any thoughtful or witty remarks before noon on Sundays.

Fantasy: The bedroom is very clean. There are no dust bunnies rolling around the floor, no spider webs in the corners, no clothes all over the place, etc.

So there you go. Now that I have performed that little comparison exercise, I feel much better. :)

Friday, June 16, 2006


I have been reading a number of feminist blogs lately and have found them to be very enlightening. I stumbled upon them while searching the internet for fat positive blogs and it turns out that a lot of the fat liberation stuff is closely tied with the women’s liberation stuff which isn’t all that surprising since even though fat men get their share of hate, fat women get a double whammy. Mostly I think this is because so many men value women mostly on how they look rather than any other qualities they might have.

As a person who has been fat for her entire adult life, I can talk about how this particular cultural value has hurt me. But I don’t really want to talk about that – not because I don’t think my experiences have value but because I am simply not in the mood to remember some of the more painful times in my life. Instead, I want to talk about this cultural value hurts the very people who perpetuate it most: MEN. That is right, our fat phobic patriarchal society hurts MEN too and the men it hurts the most are the very men who seem the most eager to engage in behavior designed to keep women and especially fat women down.

I recently read an article linked on a blog called Fatty McBlog (an excellent blog, btw. I highly recommend it). This article was about a practice that some men engage in that they call ‘hogging’ – having sex with a fat woman in order to humiliate her. Read the article in the link to get a fuller understanding of the practice. Granted, this particular practice is most likely only engaged in by a minority of men. I have been lucky in that none of the men I have ever called friend has never to my knowledge ever engaged in any of the behavior described in the article. Nevertheless, this practice of ‘hogging’ has been on my mind since I have had the misfortune to encounter such men in the past.

After I got over my initial anger towards the men in the article, I found myself feeling a little bit sorry for them. That there are men in the world who honestly view women only as a warm hole for their penis and/or a trophy deeply disturbed me. Because I know that relationships can be so much more than that. Any man who sees women this way, who basically views women with contempt, surely is unable to form the type of emotional attachment with one. Deep emotional attachments are highly rewarding and frankly, these guys are totally missing out. Even if they happen to find a woman who they consider trophy material, they are still missing out. And missing out not on just some small thing but missing out on one of life’s greatest pleasures: emotional connection to another human being.

I cant imagine not having that in my life. I would rather die and I am not exaggerating when I say that. It is *worse* that suffering the occasional humiliation at the hands of that sort of person. I can honestly say that I would rather be me (a fat middle aged single woman) than one of them.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Lone Daisy for a Lone Wolf

I am such a rebel. Yesterday I mowed my yard but didn’t mow a single daisy in the middle of it even though it is clearly above the 10 inch rule. Bwa ha ha ha. Take THAT Ypsilanti!!! I feel so dangerous. The only problem is that if I come home from work tonight and find the daisy missing, I will have no way of knowing if it is missing because of the lawn enforcement people or if someone came by and picked it. I have to admit too that once I had cut down all the grass around the daisy, it looked quite pickable. I really had to resist the urge myself.

In an odd coincidence, one of my neighbors came by while I was mowing the lawn with the annual HESNA newsletter. I cant remember the neighbor’s name even though I have met her before and think she seems nice. Sometimes I am not so good with names. Oh well, I guess there is a neighborhood meeting on Monday and one of the topics apparently is ordinance enforcement. Could it be fate that a neighbor comes by with a newsletter informing me of a such a meeting while I was engaged in an activity that I hate that I was doing because of the way the city enforces ordinances? I really want to go to this meeting. I might have something to contribute if I don’t find myself getting too shy. But even if I just go, I might learn something about their process that will help me avoid having them cut my lawn in the future.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Lethal Injection

Last November I had to have my elderly dog, Crissy, put to sleep. It was a painful choice but the one part of the experience that I found comforting was how peaceful the process actually was. They gave her an overdose of a barbiturate and she simply let go of life in the most peaceful and painless way possible. I remember wondering at the time why our prison system doesn’t use a similar method for carrying out the death penalty.

It seems, however, that is just the question others have and are bringing before the Supreme Court. Our current method is terrible. It is bad enough in my mind that our government even uses capital punishment at all. I would prefer that they didn’t but on a day to day basis, it isn’t the biggest issue to me. This is mostly because I live in a state that does not have capital punishment and I feel reluctant to involve myself in the politics of states where I do not live. Nevertheless, any improvement in that area is a positive in my book. And if states are going to insist on continuing to have a death penalty, I think that the very least they can do is to use the most humane method possible.

If a method of putting people to death isn’t considered good enough for dogs, we might want to rethink the method.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Quite a Weekend

I have had quite a busy weekend but it was really fabulous all around.

I went to the Michigan Opera Theater’s production of Salome at the Detroit Opera House on Friday with my friend Angela. Our tickets were right on the main floor near the center. The view was wonderful. The performance was pretty good too although for whatever reason, I never would expected this opera to be quite as racy as it was even though it was based on a play written by Oscar Wilde. I guess I knew that the Dance of the Seven Veils was erotic but it was a bit more erotic than I was expecting. The singing was excellent at least to my very untrained ear. It was a nice evening.

On Sunday, I went to my friend Verlaine’s parents’ 40th Anniversary party. That was a blast. Verlaine’s family is a HOOT! Plus I finally got to meet Verlaine’s brother. It was kind of like meeting a unicorn or a gryphon or something. I mean I have known Miss Verlaine for 17 years or so. Maybe 18. (I am not so good with the math, you see) and I have never met this brother person. I really thought he was some kind of mythical beast. But it turns out that he exists after all.

Today I have started a new schedule at work. I had to change my schedule because my team is now 25% smaller than it was. I think I might end up liking this schedule. I am working 4 ten hour days which means I will have a day off during the week for appointments and oil changes and such. It also means one day less of commuting plus an easier commute in the evenings since I am working two hours later. Ten hours is a long day though.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Some Fat Related Links

As many of you know, I have been working on dealing with a lot of my crazy feelings about food. It hasnt been easy but I feel I am making progress. At any rate, I dont know how I missed This article in the NYT but I think it really addresses some of the issues people have regarding food and weight especially when it comes to children.

Another article that was brought to my attention via Big Fat Blog is this one from a news paper in England. It isnt hard to feel attacked as a fat person reading things like this especially when so many of the comments support the author's opinion.

I would say that such views are rare and dont represent the way most people actually think if it werent for a couple of recent online conversations I have had HERE and HERE

Monday, June 05, 2006

I Write The Blogs

If you had a neighborhood with a lot of teenagers causing a lot of trouble, what would you do? One neighborhood in Syndey Austrailia thinks they are going to get rid of the souped up cars and general rabble rousers by piping Barry Manilow music over loud speakers. Click HERE for a link to the article.

It might work or it might not work. But I think I should warn them. When I think of Barry Manilow, I think of my mother and her friends who would sometimes drive carpool BLASTING Barry Manilow’s “Copa Cabana” while peeling out of the parking lots in wood paneled station wagons. These were some of the same ladies who I remember getting pretty rowdy at the bar sometimes. I am talking 70’s moms here. Not really exactly 50’s moms if you know what I mean. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the home movies that showed the neighborhood adults hanging out had to be edited just to make them PG-13.

All of these ladies would be in their late 50’s and early 60’s now. Certainly the grey haired little old lady types right? Well they might have grey hair but they can still get pretty rowdy. I don’t know why but part of me kind of hopes that once they start piping in the Barry Manilow, the streets will be overrun with drunk women belting “I write the songs” while puking in the gutter and calling everyone “ASSHOLES.” Oh and I REALLY hope that their designated drivers drive some really loud classic 1970’s souped up wood paneled station wagons.