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excellent! October 31, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in news.
3 comments

from Yahoo! News

Jury awards father $11M in funeral case

By ALEX DOMINGUEZ, Associated Press Writer

A grieving father won a nearly $11 million verdict Wednesday against a fundamentalist Kansas church that pickets military funerals out of a belief that the war in Iraq is a punishment for the nation’s tolerance of homosexuality.

Albert Snyder of York, Pa., sued the Westboro Baptist Church for unspecified damages after members demonstrated at the March 2006 funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq.

The jury first awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages. It returned in the afternoon with its decision to award $6 million in punitive damages for invasion of privacy and $2 million for causing emotional distress.

Snyder’s attorney, Craig Trebilcock, had urged jurors to determine an amount “that says don’t do this in Maryland again. Do not bring your circus of hate to Maryland again.”

Church members routinely picket funerals of military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, carrying signs such as “Thank God for dead soldiers” and “God hates fags.”

A number of states have passed laws regarding funeral protests, and Congress has passed a law prohibiting such protests at federal cemeteries. But the Maryland lawsuit is believed to be the first filed by the family of a fallen serviceman.

The church and three of its leaders — the Rev. Fred Phelps and his two daughters, Shirley Phelps-Roper and Rebecca Phelps-Davis, 46 — were found liable for invasion of privacy and intent to inflict emotional distress.

Even the size of the award for compensating damages “far exceeds the net worth of the defendants,” according to financial statements filed with the court, U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett noted.

Snyder claimed the protests intruded upon what should have been a private ceremony and sullied his memory of the event.

The church members testified they are following their religious beliefs by spreading the message that soldiers are dying because the nation is too tolerant of homosexuality.

Their attorneys maintained in closing arguments Tuesday that the burial was a public event and that even abhorrent points of view are protected by the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and religion.

Earlier, church members staged a demonstration outside the federal courthouse. Church founder Fred Phelps held a sign reading “God is your enemy,” while Shirley Phelps-Roper stood on an American flag and carried a sign that read “God hates fag enablers.” Members of the group sang “God Hates America” to the tune of “God Bless America.”

Snyder sobbed when he heard the verdict, while members of the church greeted the news with tightlipped smiles.

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October 27, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in food.
3 comments

A paleo kitchen for a single, working mom who relies heavily on Wal Mart and doesn’t have the time or inclination to go in search of free range chicken or organic ANYTHING!

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Salmon, chicken, lean ground beef, almonds, walnuts, raisins, eggs, berries, sunflower seeds, greens, tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, grapefruit, bananas, onions, natural applesauce, natural peanut butter with flaxseed, and beef jerky. Throw in some canola oil, olive oil, vinegar, and some spices, and this is what I have to work with, people. Wish me luck!

October 26, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in food, health, life, movies, work, worship.
1 comment so far

Tomorrow, after Boy-o’s dad comes to pick him up, I will be cleaning out my cupboards and refrigerator, giving the food in them away, and making a shopping list. I’m starting over from scratch. After a decade and a half of laughing in the face of Mother Nature and willfully refusing to take care of myself, type 2 diabetes has finally come a-knocking at my door.

I’ve always had a genetic predisposition to developing it, courtesy of my maternal grandmother, who controlled hers through diet alone until she was in her 80’s, but my love of all things sugary has definitely aggravated the onset. Before I began the lifestyle changes that helped me lose 60 pounds in 2006, my lab work placed me in the pre-diabetic category, but after 9 months of intense discipline in my diet and exercise, my blood glucose dropped to acceptable levels. I had stopped smoking and my asthma had improved dramatically. And then a year ago, I started a job as a child welfare caseworker, a job that made me desperately unhappy. I was fired 8 months later, and the following month saw the demise of my marriage. Since then, depression and a lack of energy and financial resources (for weight-loss meetings and depression and asthma medications) have meant that healthy habits went on the back burner. And now, the chickens have come home to roost.

I’m a little afraid, but strangely, I’m also filled with a sense of “I always KNEW this was going to happen – and finally it HAS, so let’s get on with it now!” Inevitability. Yeah, that’s it.

geico-cavemen-restaurant.jpg I’m going to try a version of the Paleolithic diet, sometimes called the Neanderthal diet or the Caveman diet. I’m not going to go slaughtering my own food, but I’m going to try to stick to lean meat, seafood, eggs, and stuff that I could pick off a tree or dig out of the ground. And I’m going to have to make friends with herbs and spices and give up on sauces. Lots and lots of water, though that’s not really a problem, as I love water. It just takes discipline to be a water drinker, and lack of discipline is what landed me in this boat to begin with. I’ll keep juice and milk in the house for Boy-o, but snacking on fruit and seeds instead of cheese and crackers will be better for him, too. Fortunately, he loves broccoli “trees” and all manner of other raw veggies – it has just been pure laziness on my part buying packaged snacks.

So, that’s that. Change of subject…since I’m too lazy to do another complete post!

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Well, I’m really hating my job…as in I have complete and utter loathing for it. No, really, I’m not kidding. I work in a call center as a customer service rep for a wireless phone service provider. I’ve done this kind of work before, in college, and for a little while right after I figured out a career in the field I majored in wasn’t in the cards for me. And it sucks. I was telling someone today that the more I work in customer service, the more I realize how much I really, really hate people. I also said that the thing about the call center industry that doesn’t make sense to me is that the entire job consists of being on the phone and being nice, yet all rewards and promotions and incentives in the company are geared toward getting to spend time OFF the phone. The people actually on the phones are the ones who keep the call center engine grinding away, who are told how important it is to sit in your chair, keep taking calls, to document all conversations quickly and thoroughly, and to move on to the next call. Doesn’t it seem kind of strange that, for doing your job well, you are rewarded with OPT (off the phone time), which means…NOT having to do your job? Or am I overthinking this?

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Lastly, I watched this little piece of cinematic fluff today. It made me cry. Whether that’s because I’m overly fragile or because it’s a really good story with lots of great stuff about a compassionate and loving God, I don’t know. But I do love Ben Stiller. And seeing Anne Bancroft made me smile, because she was one of my very favorite actors of all time.

It really made me want to go back to church.

October 21, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in moving, sickness.
3 comments

 I’m beginning to wonder if calling in sick on Tuesday when I was only “sort of sick” from a cough and general lethargy (but more truthfully wanted to spend a day with Boy-o) isn’t going to come back haunt me. I thoroughly enjoyed our day, and returned to business as usual on Wednesday, but as you can see from the previous post, I was called to come pick Boy-o up from day care because he had strep throat. The strep put him out of commission Thursday and Friday, which meant I couldn’t return to work. When I went to the office on Thursday to hand in my doctor’s note saying such, I was told it was an unexcused absence. I asked why, and the director of HR told me he appreciated me bringing the doctor’s note, but as I have not been there long enough to have accrued any sick time, the absence is unexcused.

My regular days off are Friday and Saturday. I might have worked them to make up for the loss of time Tuesday, half of Wednesday, and Thursday, but even though (thanks to the miracle of antibiotics and state-sponsored health insurance for children of low income families) Boy-o was on the mend, I was getting worse. I spent my days off in bed, and called in sick this morning again. I have burning pain deep in my chest, I’m wheezing uncontrollably, and I have pulled muscles in my back and side from coughing so hard. I no longer think the cough is due to quitting smoking…the symptoms are definitely that of a lung infection, but as I have no health insurance, my only option is the emergency room, and I can’t get myself to go there and saddle myself with a bill for hundreds of dollars for a lousy cough that won’t go away.

So, I’m thinking that I hope I don’t lose my job. 3 and one half days out of work due to illness doesn’t sound like much in the grand scheme (especially considering I have yet to miss a single hour for anything since I started there in July), but with this company I have the feeling that when I get back tomorrow, I’m probably going to be receiving either some type of written warning or, in the worst case scenario, a termination, considering I wasn’t willing to go to the emergency room to prove that my illness is sufficiently severe. And while there is a backup plan, it’s not ideal – if I lose my job, I’ll go ahead and break my lease and move home to Texas, 2 months earlier than planned.

UPDATE: Almost immediately after posting the above, I crawled to the bathroom in the midst of another coughing fit.  I had it in my head that running some hot water and giving myself a steam treatment might help, except I should have known better because steam treatments are for croup and congestion-based coughs, not asthma attacks, which is plainly what I’ve been in the middle of for the last several days.  As I was running the water, I became incredibly dizzy and began seeing double.  At this point I decided that, heinous bill or not, I had better get to the ER or I was going to pass out.

A brief explanation of how I got to this point:  I have asthma.  I’ve had it my whole life.  Since the invention of the inhaled steroid Advair, however, I have not needed breathing treatments, rescue inhalers, or seasonal ER visits.  Advair is a very expensive drug – a one month supply is almost $200 retail.  I was paying $65 a month for it when I had insurance, but then I lost my job in June, and with it my insurance.   I’ve been feeling okay – a little short of breath, but then last week it started getting cold in the mornings, and I could feel my chest starting to tighten.  I stopped smoking at that point, thinking I could reverse what was about to happen, but no dice. (Please don’t lecture me about how insane it is to smoke with asthma.  I know this.  And I take full responsibility for what has happened as a result.  But I can tell you it would have happened anyway,  smoking or not.)

I drove myself, since it’s a small town and the hospital is close.  When I got there, I told them (in between coughs) that I was having an asthma attack, that I have had asthma my whole life and just needed a breathing treatment and a prescription for steroids and an inhaler, and then they could let me go home and treat someone else who was really sick.  I was asked if I had insurance.  I answered in the negative.  So they wrote “self pay” in my chart, and proceeded to do a host of things that will ensure my bill tops out at over $1,000.  On the other hand, though, my O2 saturation was at 87% when they hooked me up, and I have never, ever seen it that low before.  I was given oxygen, IV antibiotics, steroids, and a sedative (that part was nice…I like Ativan).  I was given 2 breathing treatments and a chest x-ray, and they took 5 tubes of blood for some unknown reason.  I was also given prescriptions for more steroids and a rescue inhaler, as well as a prescription for Advair that I hope to be able to afford to fill sometime next month.  But my breathing is peaceful at last for the first time in almost 2 weeks, and I will be able to sleep tonight for the first time in several days.

October 18, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in Boy-o, sickness.
2 comments

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My “sort-of-sick” day led to real live sickness! Boy-o’s day care called me at work yesterday to say that while he wasn’t running a fever, he had been very lethargic and crying all morning while complaining that he was cold and his mouth hurt. This is a very healthy kid, who aside from his regular checkups has been to the doctor once in his life only, for pink eye. So, I picked him up, and we went home and rested. I kept pushing glasses of water on him, and he kept drinking them and crying, but he never did run a fever. This morning, I got him into the pediatrician, who was finally able to get him to open his mouth using her magic grape-flavored tongue depressor, where she found a beautifully raging case of strep throat.

You wanna know what’s even more beautiful, though? When I called his dad to say that I was going to keep him tonight since he’s not feeling well, he answered the phone with a croak. Yep, he’s got it, too!

I think I’m going to make sure Boy-o gets some ice cream for that one.

sick day October 16, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in Boy-o, reading, thoughtful.
2 comments

I haven’t been feeling 100% for about the last week (I’ve had a cough I can’t shake, probably due to trying to kick the cigarettes yet again), so this morning I called in sick to work. I’m not sick enough to be bedridden, but all that endless explaining on the phone to lousy people who think it’s my fault their mobile is shut off just didn’t sound like too much fun today! Instead, I’ve been laying around reading Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends” to Boy-o.

WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know,
The place where the sidewalk ends.

I didn’t want to look. Honest. October 14, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in Episcopal.
2 comments

This evening, I had to, of my own free will, visit the Web site of the Anglican Communion Network.

No, I haven’t turned. I’ve been somewhat careful up to this point of revealing my whereabouts – some may remember that I had to take up residence in this anonymous spot out of respect for my soon-to-be-ex-in-laws, who were upset that I was blogging about our marital problems and using our real names. That brouhaha has settled down, and so I have decided that I will continue to refrain from using our names, but as I will be moving soon, there’s no longer any particular reason to hide my location. I am moving home to Fort Worth, Texas, an uncomfortable spot for progressive Episcopalians since, oh, the inception of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth in 1983.

I’ve been doing a side-by-side comparison of the churches listed on the Diocese’s Web site versus the churches listed on the Network’s Web site to see where I might end up, and as best as I can figure, in a geographically spread-out diocese of 55 parishes, there are a grand total of TWO that are not members of the Network. TWO. Sheesh.

I’ve attended this 114 year old church when I’ve been home visiting, and it is simply lovely (added bonus: folk Masses! Hey, I grew up in they heyday of Catholic guitar Masses, so I’m partial to ’em) – but it is a bit of a drive (about 45 minutes) to make every week. There is also the fact that when you have a family, it’s harder to participate in mission and outreach opportunities with your church when it’s that far away, and as Boy-o gets older there would be youth activities that he would miss and kids he wouldn’t have the opportunity to get to know well because tired mom might be too tired to commit to driving 45 minutes on a school or work night.

25 minutes away is this church that’s not much older than me, with its motto of “family centered, lay led, clergy guided”. I don’t know a single other thing about it. And as I read their history page, I found myself laughing at all the challenges and pitfalls those first 5 families faced in their effort to get their church planted (they were given an actual historic church building, only to have it burn down a few weeks later)…and wondering if someone who is rising from the ashes of her own fire may have a place in this community.

“I wasn’t going to say anything, but…” October 14, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in friends.
2 comments

I rolled out of bed at my parents’ house yesterday morning, stood up, and promptly heard *snap*. I squinted down in dismay at the (blurry) sight of my glasses beneath my freshly tattooed right foot, in two pieces with the break right across the nosepiece. As any glasses wearing person knows, this is really an irreparable break – my dad the engineer once explained it had something to do with torsion vs. tension, and this is why it can’t be fixed with superglue…whatever, all I know is, I have a gorgeous rose on my foot and I CAN’T SEE IT…not to mention there was the little issue of not being able to drive home without them! Fortunately however, I was in the big city, and so I was able to get an optometrist appointment within the hour, and glasses shortly thereafter. Had I been at home in Small College Town, I would’ve been screwed, with no eye doctor appointments on the weekends, no “glasses in one hour” places, and no way to drive to a bigger city that has these things!

(I had to borrow the money for the specs from my mom, since I had spent all mine on this lovely rose on my foot, but I will pay her back next week – yes, I am a LOSER.)

I think I tried on every pair of plastic frames in the store, with the saleslady standing behind me oohing and aahing every time I tried on a pair that was marked $119.99 and displaying decidedly less enthusiasm as I tried on the ones marked $69.99. Eventually, I settled on some in the middle of the price road, and was able to get a free pair of prescription sunglasses, too. I was talking with her, and I told her I was glad I hadn’t chosen the last pair I tried on, though I had been considering them – they were dark purple with turquoise highlights and little rhinestones, and she had been pushing them as young! and FRESH! but all I kept thinking was that they were the kind of glasses I will be able to get away with when I am 80, but not now. She then told me that she was glad I hadn’t picked them, too, that she hadn’t wanted to say anything, but the ones I ended up with were far more flattering. I looked at her strangely, wondering why she was selling them so hard only to tell me that “she hadn’t wanted to say anything.”

As I walked around the mall, waiting for my glasses to be ready, I mused on the tattoo experience of the night before. My sister and I went to hang out with my best friend. It was my 5th wedding anniversary, and I had been a mess all day. I would be saying something, and tears would just spontaneously well up. My mom took The Princess, my sister, and me out to dinner, and I spent the whole meal staring into space. Even after my mom took The Princess home and my sister and I headed to my friend’s, they talked and caught up on their lives since they had been in my wedding 5 years ago, while I nursed a beer and was silent for the most part. I had been talking about a tattoo, but I think they were both mildly shocked when I stood up and said, “okay, lets go.” I had the drawing of the rose (it’s the logo from Depeche Mode’s 1990 album Violator), and I knew it was going somewhere on my right foot or leg. I envisioned it rather large, actually with the flower near my toes and the stem winding it’s way up my ankle, and my friend said, “all right then, whatever you want!” When the artist looked at the drawing, he shrunk it down and placed it middle and center on my foot, and it was just perfect. While I did a happy dance afterward and said that it looked SO MUCH BETTER than I had imagined, my friend said, “Yeah, I didn’t want to say anything when you showed me how big you wanted it, but this is much better!”

My final weekend experience with the ubiquitous “I wasn’t going to say anything, but…” was when I mentioned to my mom that I have just about made up my mind to go ahead and file for the divorce using an attorney, so that if it becomes ugly, it will be on my terms. I am considering this because, it has recently become clear to me that, with the extent of The Princess’s legal problems, my ex could conceivably say that he doesn’t want his son living in the same house with her, which would really throw a monkey wrench in my plans to move in with them. This hasn’t happened yet, but it COULD. And my mom said, “Yeah, your father and I were talking about that…we didn’t want to say anything to you, but you need face the reality that if he (the ex) wants to raise a big enough stink, it could cause you problems.”

What the hell???! Why is everyone so afraid to tell me what they think I should do? Is this a reaction to ME, or a bigger societal problem akin to not wanting to tell someone how to discipline their children or run things in their home?

Ok people, this is an open invitation: obviously, I have proven myself to be incapable of making wise decisions. Obviously, I DO need to be told what to do. Yes, I am well aware that sharing your wisdom with me used to make me fly off the handle, but I am here to tell you, that is NO LONGER the case. If you think you know better than me about a given situation, please tell me. I promise to listen. Really! I still can’t promise I will do what you think is the right thing, but I WILL listen.

“Mother, can’t you see I’ve got to live my life the way I feel is right for me…might not be right for you, but it’s right for me…”    -Sarah McLachlan

my present to myself for my non-iversary…and yes, it hurt getting it there! October 13, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in tattoos.
2 comments

happy non-iversary October 12, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in divorce, marriage.
2 comments

Today was my 5th wedding anniversary. I made it through the day…that’s about all I can say.