Sunday, May 31, 2009

Grocery check-out etiquette

Once again, a trip to the store reminds me that it would be a relatively pleasant errand if only there were no people involved!

So today I would like to introduce some new rules for grocery store check-out etiquette. (This is just one more reason the farmer's market is superior to the conventional store, but alas, I cannot buy all of my groceries there, and they are only open for a few months out of the year.)

Rule #1: Do not ask a question if you do not want to listen to the answer.
Today's question from the chirpy checker, in the 90-degree heat, was, "Enjoying the weather?"

Me: "No."

Silence ensued. It's like how clerks always ask how your day is going, and you're always supposed to say, "Great!" or some other b.s. because they won't listen to your answer anyway. Once I replied, "I'm having a really shitty day, actually," just to see what the checker would say.

Him: "That's nice." I am not making this up! So Rule #1: if you feel compelled to say something, just leave it at "hello."

Rule #2: Do not ask me if I want certain items bagged.

Of course I want them bagged, because I am not a juggler, and I have been born with only two arms. When I figure out how to grow extra ones spontaneously after checking out, I will let you know.

OK, I can understand not having the already-bagged bag of cat litter in a bag. But a sack of potatoes? Do I want them leaking dirt everywhere? A sack of oranges: do I want them bruised? A container of laundry soap: do I want to hit someone with it? OK, best move on to Rule #3.

Rule #3: Please don't ask me if I found everything I was looking for. Because inevitably, if I say, "no, you're out of cat food," the reply will be, "Um, sorry about that," or, "Oh, I see." There is no solution, no prize to collect, so why ask me? Also, what if I was also looking for world peace or sex toys in aisle 5? What would you say then, hmm?

Rule #4: Don't overstuff a sack that looks like it's about to break the second I will pick it up. Case in point: today the cashier piled so much stuff in there that you couldn't even see (let alone use) the handes, and said, "Does that work for you?" I must have given her a funny look, because wordlessly, she unpacked some of the items and grabbed another bag.

Rule #5:
Don't tell me I look familiar. I am reasonably certain that in this life, at least, I have not slept with you.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What, you? Stupid?

Do you ever work with smart people who say stupid things? Or talk to you like you're a complete idiot? OK, that was an idiotic question, wasn't it?

I've had so many of them in the past week that I just want to dump a milkshake on the head of the next person who makes an asinine comment. Sorry, sarcasm is my second language.

Like our national organization, which supplies our event with t-shirts, ordered many fewer shirts for our event this year. And we had 500 more people there than last year, so - surprise! - we ran out of shirts. I sent the request for extras. One of the people on the list runs an entire chapter of our organization, so she's down for 25 shirts.

I get a call from our national director. A CALL FROM OUR NATIONAL DIRECTOR ABOUT FUCKING T-SHIRTS THAT COST $1.85 APIECE! BECAUSE SURELY THIS IS THE BIGGEST CRISIS FACING MENTAL HEALTH CARE RIGHT NOW! This man runs a multi-million dollar, 80-event-a-year program. Mind you, I have already gotten a lecture about remembering that only people who raise $100 can have the hideous nipple shirts that I have previously written about. I have reminded him that I edited the event manual for our national organization - and I can read - so I know these things.

Him: "So, I see Madam X is getting 25 shirts?"
Me: "Yes, she is the executive director of chapter X and she took all of the requests from that county." (Mind you, he LIVES in that county!)
Him: "Oh. So I guess I should just trust you on these things."
Me: "Yes, you should, at $1.85 per shirt. Madam X is not having a t-shirt party."

Then later on one of our volunteers, who barely came to any event meetings, says her suggestion for next year is that we get both major metro papers to sponsor our event AND give it great press coverage.

No problem! There are NO OTHER EVENTS in our metro area of 1.5 million, and they aren't practically going out of business, and they actually cover every single walk and run, but I just forgot to ask! They have nothing else to write about! Nothing!

Oh yes - and had you bothered to come to any meetings, you would have known that we sent our event information far and wide anyhow, just in case! And one of our other volunteers knows the publisher personally and STILL couldn't get a sponsorship because things are so tight for that family of billionaires!

In fact, let's take this one step further - here's an idea - why don't we just simply ACHIEVE our big unrealistic fundraising goal?! No one thought of that!

Sorry, I couldn't figure out anything else to write about, so there's my rant.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This is just so wrong

I can't express my disappointment that my home state let segregation stand today. In other words, Proposition 8 - a ballot measure that outlawed marriage equality after the California Supreme Court's decision allowed it - is still law.

Hello! How is this possible? Not only the fact that a fucking ballot measure can override a state supreme court, but how is the "left coast" so far behind the likes of Maine and Iowa - Maine and Iowa!! - when it comes to civil rights?

Sadly not all of the people I know support marriage equality. Peeps, I hate to tell you, but it comes down to segregation because of dick: one dick too many or one dick short, and the government decides who you can and can't be with.

Yes, that sounds ridiculous, but it's true! That is the reason we're fighting these battles for civil rights: the government and right-wing nuts think they have the right to tell you how much dick should be in your life.

Tell me how this is any different than any other kind of segregation and discrimination? I am a product of interracial marriage, and not too long ago the same kinds of arguments were being made against that (it was also illegal until a few decades ago.)

Why not just set up separate restaurants, straights or in-the-closets only?

That is the sick, sad state of affairs that the court has handed us, folks.

And fuck you to California's embarrassment of a governor, who said, essentially, "Well, some day civil rights will be granted, but in the meantime, I won't protest or risk any of the skin on my political ass. I'll just sit here and be complacent."

Fuck you, Arnold.

The rest of us - as humans - have no excuse not to champion the cause of equal rights.

Get out there and do something!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial for whom?

I have never been in the military, but my family is essentially a peace-loving family of veterans.

In my work, we do a lot of work on behalf of vets who come back with mental health issues - who the hell wouldn't, after being sleep-deprived in a combat zone? - so I have learned more about my own family.

My grandfather, who lied about his age so he could fight the Nazis in World War II, still sleeps with the light on. He probably doesn't know what PTSD is, but he would wake up screaming with nightmares about the war when my dad was a kid.

For a bunch of liberals, we have quite the military history: my great-grandfather also lied about his age to join the Navy at age 15 (this is the same great-grandfather who captured Baby Face Nelson when he was a volunteer sheriff, and organized the Milwaukee Railroad - I come from a long line of people much braver than me), and his grandfather fought on the Union side in the Civil War.

I have interviewed vets and been in awe of their courage.

I have talked to my father very seldom about Vietnam The most he would say was, "Some of my friends did not come back."

This half of the family was very pro-troops and anti-Iraq war, while the other half, who are a bunch of alligator-hunting Republicans (I'm serious - check out this post) with nary a service member, were all for it and probably wet their pants when Obama won the election.

I think it is disgraceful how little we, as a government as a country, do for those who risk life and limb for us.

Even those who come back in one piece do not necessarily come back whole. We need to provide adequate mental and physical health care for our vets.

Equally disgraceful, in my opinion, is how this has turned into a "holiday" weekend, full of white sales and drunk drivers and parties.

Mr. RK and I spent the day with a friend whose family fled Russia because of religious persecution; I think they have a lot better appreciation of what "freedom" means than the rest of us.

Friday, May 22, 2009

First jobs

Grannie Annie's post about her first job brought this to mind...

When we were unloading stuff at my office after the walk Sunday, my boss remarked that he worked in a warehouse in college, in part to help pay for tuition.

"But my first job," he said, "was as a janitor. I had to help clean the entire Dairy Gold building. I lasted a week." (Dairy Gold is a big dairy in the Pacific Northwest, for you non-native readers.)

I said, "My first job was better."

My boss: "Oh yeah? What was it?"
Me: "I had to call men who had penile implant surgery and ask them how it was going."

Needless to say, that conversation didn't last much longer!

But it's true...while I had earned a little cash doing babysitting from age 13 on, my first "real" office job was in the urology department at Stanford Hospital.

I was taking a "work experience" class in high school, which meant if you had a job and attended one meeting a month, you could have a free period during the day, and this meant I could leave early. I hated every minute of high school, so this was an attractive proposition.

Well...the guys in the urology department didn't explain the details of the position to the department chair at the high school. (She was horrified later, when she found out.)She was told the job involved calling patients and taking surveys...which was true.

So I used my middle name and began my task, at minimum wage, which at that time (1993) was $4.25 an hour. One of the residents thought I was cute and bumped me up to $6 an hour within the week.

Let me tell you - I realized from the first call that the best ones were the ones where no one was home! You could not pay me $425 an hour to do this today.

One guy totally denied having the surgery. "Nope, it wasn't me."
Me: "I'm so sorry - your name is XXXXXXX and you live at XXXXXXX, right?"
Him (clearing throat):"Yes, but it wasn't me."

Another one gave me waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much information.
Him: "Well, after I first had the surgery, I was able to get to the full size I had been before. Then a couple of months went by, and it was only about half the size, and now I'm only getting to be about a third of the size-"
Me: "Well, thanks very much, please feel free to call Dr. K at xxx-xxx-xxxx, BYEEEEEEEEE!"

My favorite was an 82-year-old guy (the ages were on their info. sheets), who said, "Well, the only problem is I've got too many girlfriends now, heh heh!"

I only lasted two weeks - I just told the doctors that I was too embarrassed, and they said they understood.

I used my $60 check to buy a Polo shirt for my dad, and he wore it until it wore out.

What was your first job?

Oh PS...I also worked as a (clothed) cocktail waitress in a topless bar for a month...but that's another story.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Happy birthday, baby!

*Ninja update! The Word Garden is public again, so you can wish Shay a happy right now!*

By the time you read this, it will most likely be Friday - and I am wishing the happiest of birthdays to my friend S., who unfortunately had to take her blog private due to a stalker.

No matter - she reads my blog and you can leave your well wishes for her here in the comments section!

She is a fabulous person - brains, looks, great writer, compassionate human being - OK, S., I have gushed enough, go have a great, girl!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Last time I checked, it wasn't 1955

I took yesterday off to relax and do a bit of self-spoiling. I am not the girly type and I don't do a lot of pampering, but a manicure and pedicure were a treat I thought my feet and hands deserved after several days of moving, packing, loading, unloading, and being on said feet nearly nine hours nonstop Sunday. (OK, I did sit down for three minutes to sneak in a sandwich.)

Silly me - I entered the land of GIRL. There was a rather chatty middle-aged woman getting her nails done with pink (I opted for clear, the least girly shade possible - and turquoise toes)sitting across from me.

The manicurist asked me a couple of questions to make small talk. Did I have any kids? Because she saw a wedding ring.

Me: "No, no kids. How about you?"
Her: "Yes, I have a son who is four."
Me: "That's a cute age."
Her: "Do you think you will have kids someday?"
Me: "No, I have my hands full with a husband and two cats and my job."

You would have thought I had pulled the needle across a record and brought it to a screeching stop.

Woman next to me: "Oh, don't say that - you might change your mind one day."
Me: "People have been telling me that since I was five years old."
She: "And how old are you now?"
Me: "32."
She and the manicurist: "Oh, you look really young!"

Note to readers: this is the only reason I did not launch into a really nasty diatribe, because they both went on and on...Never? How did I know? Was I sure? Why didn't I want any?

HELLO! Had Mr. RK been in a similar situation (ok, not getting his toenails painted, but you get the idea), do you think that conversation would have taken place?

This is 2009, not 1955, and I am not Donna Reed. I was born without that gene.

Does everyone with a uterus have to reproduce? Hell no!

I am just not the maternal type. If people want to have kids and love them up that is just great! If I wanted kids I would go to adopt anyhow, because there are so many kids who want loving homes. I enjoy (some) other peoples' children. I have just not ever wanted to be a parent.

Can you imagine the flip side of a conversation like that, if someone expressed the desire to have children? Would there be such a talking down or interrogation? "Why do you want them? Why? Are you sure you won't change your mind? Really!"

Stay out of my uterus, ladies.

Perhaps I should come up with more clever responses (as opposed to the truth) next time.

"I actually have a phobia of penises, so it wouldn't be possible."
"Sniff. Actually, I had sex with an alien and my uterus exploded, so I'm sterile."
"I'm married to a Republican, and I don't think they should breed."

Any other suggestions?

Monday, May 18, 2009

This is what I am doing today

The walk was fabulous - t-shirts notwithstanding - some of our national staff joked that we'd decorate the other side of the shirts and do a "nipples for NAMI" fundraiser. ;)

Seriously - it was sunny, and we had more than 500 more walkers than last year - many of whom had never come to the event before - all of that awareness was fantastic!

1,780 bottles of water and more than 1,000 cookies later, we are still counting money (and still accepting donations until July 17, hint, hint) and I am taking today off. Yeah, I can't stay away - I've checked e-mail a couple of times and updated the web site - but mostly I am coasting on my new high of relaxation.

By the way- Mr RK, in addition to helping move and load stuff all weekend, and being my event photographer, and helping all day yesterday, is treating me to a manicure and pedicure. (And yes, he's straight! Read it and weep!) :)

I was so thrilled to raise more than $1,200 (so far - all of you can still show your love by donating five bucks!) because I don't run in wealthy circles. (Or walk or swim in get the point.) This was so touching to me because most of the donations I received were $10 or $20 - and so many people gave! (Thanks again, Green Tea!)

And I had amazing volunteers...point being that so many people were so sweet, thoughtful, and helpful - I'll try to revisit this when I get back to work tomorrow and the irritating shitheads start calling ;)

Friday, May 15, 2009

My action figure

We went to go see the new X-men movie tonight - I was disappointed, because they're usually fun, and this was more violent than anything.

Mr RK complains: "It was only eye candy for girls! There wasn't what's-her-name in blue paint!" (I might edit, eye candy for heterosexual girls...and he is referring to Rebecca Romijn, who played Mystique in the other X-men movies.)

I love comic book characters, action figures, and movies, even though I never read actual comics. When I was a kid, instead of collecting dolls, I collected action figures. Needless to say, my parents got a lot of lectures about how it wasn't "ladylike" for me to do that...and my parents, to their credit, essentially told people to fuck off. Not exactly in those words - this was Minnesota in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

So check it out... I LOVE this action figure, because it looks like me! My arms aren't quite that muscular, thankfully..."If they were," says Mr RK, "you would scare me."

So wish me superwoman strength for our event Sunday...I was going to post a picture of someone wearing the shirt to see if YOU would wear it, but Mr RK said, "If you do that, you will no longer be anonymous! Someone can Google your city, the name of your workplace, the name of the walk...and find you."

Translation: I would no longer have anonymous breasts, either ;)

(If you want to see the picture with the shirt, let me know and I will e-mail it to you.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What motivates you?

I did a lot of thinking after reading Claire's most recent post, which asked readers, "What motivates and inspires you?" (Check our her post - it's awesomely beautiful.)

What motivates me? I don't want this to sound Pollyanna-ish, but I have always wanted to be in the place where I felt that I could do the most good. That's why I became a reporter - and that's why I quit being a reporter and tried very hard (finally succeeding) to move into nonprofit work.

Love motivates me - love for my friends and family, and the friends who have adopted me (and vice versa) and become family. I have this protective mother-bear attitude about the people I care about - and my claws come out when anyone hurts them, or takes advantage of them. Sometimes I am not too gifted about how I come across - and I just come across as angry, rather than protective. I'm working on this.

Justice motivates me - I believe we are put on this earth to help other people. That is why I do the work I do at a mental health nonprofit: I didn't ever realize how lucky I was until I came to work here. I have had bad, bad depression - as in, making a list of reasons not to off myself depression - and I'm so grateful that the right combination of medicine (which I could afford) and therapy has made it managable.

Other people are not so lucky, which is why I am raising money for them. (Hint: our big fundraising event is Sunday. I will take a buck, five bucks - anything is appreciated!)

Hope motivates me. I am not unreasonably optimistic, but I try to find the good and the reason in everything that happens. Trust me, it took a long time to get to this point - I remember ranting at an AA meeting a dozen years ago because someone was saying how grateful she was for all of the good things in her life. I was just a few weeks into sobriety and mad as hell at everything - and I said, "I'm so SICK of people saying how grateful they are!" The woman who had shared just smiled at me serenely.

She was right. There is a lot to be grateful for.

What motivates you?

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's official...

...I am known as a potty mouth.

How do I know this to be true? Because when Pheromone Girl's 14-year-old son sees this pack of postcards, and says, "Hey! This would be a great present for your friend Riot Kitty!", well, I think that pretty much sticks me with the title.

I am not making this up. You can even go buy them on Amazon if you like.

So in a nutshell, someone (or someone plural) had some fun with photoshop, my favorite word, and public signs.

And there are so many of these in the pack! I had to look at every single one when I received them (thanks again!!) and PG is my witness, I had to set my drink down and almost put my head on the cafe table, because I was laughing so hard.
So what are you waiting for? You, too, can own this glorious collection.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Never. Again. EVER!

For the first time in a long time, we have a nice, warm, sunny day here. It could be worse weather for having to do errands, right?

I thought I might as well go round up some supplies for our upcoming event at work - stuff for the day of the event, like balloons, ribbon, etc. Cheerful stuff.

Wanting to save as much money as I could, because we are a nonprofit, I looked for these things at craft stores that have great sales. Finding everything but balloons, I stupidly - repeat to self: STUPIDLY - thought I'd save a few bucks by doing to a dollar store.

I will NEVER, EVER go there again.

First of all - the parking lot is a fucking nightmare of SUVs and stupid people getting in and out of them. (Oh, sorry, that was redundant.) Inside, my already terrible allergies went haywire because there is so much shit in there stinking of bad fragrance and perfume.

I had to walk up and down every single aisle looking for balloons because - surprise! - none of the aisles have signs telling you what's in them. That would make too much sense - as would having any available employees there to direct you.

The place itself is a fucking mess. It looks like they have never vacuumed or dusted. You could not pay me to come here; why is the parking lot full?

After going through every last fucking aisle - and encountering items as diverse as spaghetti sauce and headbands and neon tiki-themed party decorations - I finally found the balloons. Somehow even those seemed cheap and unlikely to last.

Checking out, I saw the coup de dollar store: a $1 ovulation test, hanging by gum and other sundries. Hello! Would YOU trust a $1 ovulation test? Were these the defective or suspicious ones? How did they get to be in the dollar store? I have never tried to have a kid but based on my experience with other contraceptive/family planning (or in my case, planning to not have family) goodies, nothing runs cheap.

And on the way out, the cashier wishes me a "happy mother's day weekend."

Instead of saying, "Up yours!" I take the high road and swear to myself in the car all the way home.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

A note to Miss J's ex: please go fuck yourself

I'm sure you will all agree with me when you find out why.

Awhile back, many of you admired the brains and writing talent of guest blogger Miss J, who is a big feminist and an awesome person.

Unfortunately we found out this week that she married a big asshole.

Miss J's soon-to-be-ex-husband has not only been screwing around with one of her friends, in their apartment, while she was at work and school (oh yes - he's unemployed), but it turns out he also has a big coke problem.

And he's totally unapologetic. He told her that he had nothing to say for himself. Well, bucko, I have plenty of things I'd like to say to you.

According to the former friend, it's Miss J's fault because "she wasn't making him happy."

Well you know what? Fuck him and the whore he's screwing. Miss J is a strong person and she will get through this - she already told him that she will look back on the day she kicked him out as the best day of her life - but in the meantime, needless to say, it sucks.

AND he took the car.

I don't know how many of you read Pheromone Girl's post about Elizabeth Edwards, but I think this behavior is almost equally as low.

Anyhow - I have some advice for you, fuckhead: Go stick your dick in a vat of muriatic acid before you do more damage with it.

The next time you and your whore go snort coke, I hope you get powdered sugar instead. Then I hope you get the nastiest allergic reaction ever, and feel more miserable than a slug in a salt mine.

I hope, when you exit rehab, that you feel so fucking guilty that you will never get over it. Ever.

I hope Miss J follows through on her promise to tell everyone at home back in California what a low life sack of shit you are and that you never live this down.

Finally, in case you don't stick your dick in a vat of muriatic acid, I hope you become impotent.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


The T-shirts for our work event arrived today - and I was so mad I almost spit.

But try not to read this without laughing. I double dog dare you.

The people at our national organization - which provides the shirts and designs the front of them (the back has sponsor logos) - came up with the brilliant idea of including their logo within the number 30 and putting it on the front of the shirt, because it's the organization's 30th anniversary this year.

The number 0 is round, right?

Guess where they put the logo? Left and center. Chest level.

Now imagine being a woman. Would you even THINK about wearing this shirt?

The worst part is - it wasn't a mistake. Two women and one man designed it but, alas, no one tried it on before going to print with thousands of shirts for all 80 walks they're having this year.

The guy at national was really apologetic.

I told him, "I understand. You're not used to thinking like a woman with large breasts. I am."

For the first time in any conversation I've had with him, he was quiet. As. A. Mouse.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Things I have grown in my house

I am so excited that I have plants that I have not only not killed, but that are actually bearing fruit! (Stop snickering. I have accidentally killed cacti before.) Check out these little beauties, who will soon go into an omelette:

Mr. RK noted that things do tend to grow in this house...including Earl Grey, who is a good 2 lbs. more than he was when he moved in less than a year ago:

And Mr. Lucky, who weighs about half a pound more than he did when he moved in last May (which is nothing to sneeze at when you come in at 12 lbs!)PS...He didn't become Alien's just the flash.

Mr. RK also filled out a bit (in a good way, because before he met me, he'd spend hours in the shop and forget to eat for entire days at a time), but he refuses to let me put his picture on the internet. So here's a likeness:

So there you have it! A sappy post.

(Oh, and PS - "Fuck!")

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Heal thyself, then fuck off!

Is it me, or are people who are interested in psychology - including every therapist/counselor I have met on a non-professional basis - totally and completely fucked up?

I have recently decided that a friend who is a therapist has behaved in ways that are such to make me consider him an ex-friend. After a week of wondering if I had pissed him off, and having no replies to concerned e-mails asking about this, I got a short e-mail reply saying how "massively busy" he was. No reply about if I had ticked him off or not.

By the way - the incident in question was a lunch where I told him he came across as really negative about some things and that he should stop complaining or work on them. I am wondering if it took me two+ years to figure out that he is one of those Eeyore types that just loves to be in a rut and bitch about it. I HATE being around people like that.

I didn't reply at all because my immediate responses were along the lines of, "Take your space...permanently!" and "Sorry, I think someone is e-mailing from my friend's account, and he is a selfish jerk!"

This from a guy who is always emphasizing the importance of communication! And it fits this pattern we have...he shares something personal, then I don't hear from him for awhile.

I have decided that instead of agonizing about people like this I don't need them in my life. It's too short to worry about people and things who won't worry about me. This is a big step for me, because I am usually the kind of person who will take on anything to help someone else, or say yes automatically to anyone who asks for help with anything...which I have decided is not a good thing if it's at my own expense or it's something I really can't or don't want to do.

Is that selfish?