Monday, January 28, 2008

happy birthday

He was born 32 years ago today, in spite of his mother's attempts to terminate the pregnancy.

His face remains just as fresh in my mind as it was when we first met. I was only 13 at the time and had no idea that the brooding, long-haired 14-year-old in the leather jacket would become such an integral part of my very being.

Five years later we stood together before a magistrate, the hem of my dress fluttering as my entire body shuddered at the gravity of the promises we were making.

I can still taste that first kiss as his wife, still feel his breath warm on my ear as he murmured "not even death," sealing the eternal vow with a kiss as well.

Five years later, at the age of 24, he slipped into eternity, leaving me with only my memories and the son we were blessed with.

As the years pass, it seems so strange that I continue to age, while he remains forever young — my imagination unable to envision the man he would have become had he been given the chance.

Not a day passes that I do not think of him and even fancy I feel his breath warm on my ear.

I imagine that when it comes time for me to join him again, the wrinkles and scars and gray hairs he never saw will fade and I'll once again be a mere child, the hem of my dress fluttering, one vow remaining unbroken.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

somebody's babies

A local artist and business owner was shot and killed Thursday during an armed robbery.

It was one of those senseless deaths, the cold-blooded murder of a man who wanted nothing more than to share the beauty of this life with others.

Three young men were arrested — 16, 18 and 20 years old. I had to blink back tears during their first court appearance yesterday as I thought of their families. They too are someone's babies and I hate to think of the myriad of emotions their families must be experiencing right now. How horrible it must be to know your baby is capable of such a crime.

The community is devastated by the loss and reeling in shock that the crime was committed by three of our own. I guess most folks prefer to pretend that people capable of such things don't live right down the road. In my line of work, I don't have the luxury of such denial. I'm faced with the utter cruelty of people on a regular basis and I am always mindful of the need to maintain my own humanity in the face of it all. I feel awfully sorry for the journalists, law enforcement, EMS, etc. who allow their own humanity to slip away, leaving them jaded and cynical, but I can certainly understand how it happens.

snow is falling!

Those of you who live in colder climates are probably sick to death of the white stuff, but down here in the south, it's a real treat!

When I was a kid, it seemed like we got at least one decent snow a year, but now we consider ourselves lucky to get one decent snow every couple of years, so those of us who love snow are jumping for joy this afternoon as snow falls, getting heavier as they afternoon progresses.

It just started not long ago, so it hasn't even had a chance to cover the ground yet, but I'm really enjoying sitting at my desk, legs propped up on the arm of my love seat, watching through the window as the flakes dance to the ground.

The local weather man (who has long ago been pegged as a "snow hater") is predicting a scant 1-3 inches, but we're holding out up that the system will surprise everyone and dump enough of the white stuff for a decent snowman.

corporate assholes strike again

Well, they made up some flimsy excuse and fired my husband...after which they immediately called yours truly to see if they had pushed me far enough to tell them to "fuck off" and quit.

As tempting as it was, I refused to give them the satisfaction.

I just wish they'd quit with the phony concerned "how are YOU doing, how are YOU feeling, how are YOU holding up, how DO you keep from cracking under the pressure" routine.

Since it's become common knowledge that negotiations for the company's sale are underway, they decided to "be up front and honest about the situation" and held a company-wide conference call Tuesday to announce their intent to sell. Awfully white of 'em.

Friday, January 11, 2008

you're kidding me right

I've been slack as hell and haven't been at all faithful in my blogging, but, as is the norm, the collective world around me seems to have lost their flippin' minds.

It's just so damn typical and I can't help but ask when it gets to be MY turn!

I was supposed to be working mostly from home so I could concentrate on this whole cancer-thing I've got going on. Great idea right? Yea, in theory maybe but have I mentioned that I am constantly surrounded by drama?

Just before Christmas I find out the ad rep is going out for knee replacement surgery...before the end of January.

On Christmas Eve the reporter's husband gives into his crack addiction (again) and tried to kill himself, landing in the ICU...coming home eight days later, despite his wife's attempts to get him into a residential treatment place. He's flipping out, she's missing work...yada yada...same song and dance as it's been since he got out of jail a year ago. (Did I mention he was on probation stemming from a malicious wounding charge, had since wrestled a group of cops to the ground after flaking out during a routine medical procedure and attempted to kill one of the family dogs with his bare hands.)

The breaking point came on Monday. No sooner than she manages to drag herself into the office, she gets a call that he's flaking out and races off to his rescue. Three hours later, as they drive away from the mental health clinic with a new set of meds, he's badgering her to stop for some booze. She refuses and drives him straight home where he promptly grabs the rubbing alcohol. She leaves him (and the rubbing alcohol) at the house and returns to the office long enough to tell me she can't take anymore and is going to the doctor.

I get a call a bit later. My reporter needs someone to come pick her up from the doctor's office because she is completely flaking out, her blood pressure is through the roof and they don't want her to drive or be left alone. Add to all this the fact that she herself is a recovering alcoholic and had apparently crawled into the safety of a bottle after the Christmas Eve fiasco and stayed there for a few weeks.

Involuntary committal papers are taken out on him and she is handed over to a family member to transport her to the ER for the help she needs. Five hours later, he has been sent home and she is still waiting in the ER.

As of tonight, she's still in the hospital, still accepting calls from him and still spending the majority of her day trying to keep him from doing anything stupid.

Meanwhile, back in the world of newsprint. Carnival Cow (otherwise known as the new shitty publisher with the fake degree and shitty reputation who doesn't have a clue what she's doing) sets her sights on my husband. I'm the one who exposed her as a fraud, but am not nearly as easy to touch and not nearly as much of a threat to her as my husband, who serves as general manager at a different location and really DOES know what he's doing and really DOES have a strong educational background.

Oh and have I mentioned the company my husband and I both work for is about to be sold?

Anyway, she pissed him off today and he snapped back pretty strong and found himself suspended for a week without pay.

"You're kidding me right," I laugh and shake my head. "Oh well, it doesn't really matter anyway."

"Why," my mom starts, "oh right, because we're all going to die anyway?"

That got me tickled, partly because I was touched she remembered my thoughts on such shit and partially because it rings so true despite how crazy it may sound.

"You know momma, it's pretty fucked up when the one thought that gets me through the day is that none of this shit really matters because we're all going to die anyway."

But I guess I'm not too far off.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

I can hardly allow the beginning of a new year to arrive without a word, so here is a slightly modified version of the New Year's Greetings I shared with the readers of the paper. (Slightly modified being that "crappy" became "shitty" here and I deleted the name and location of a church.


I know it was difficult for many of us to imagine ever seeing the year 2000, yet here we are, embarking on 2008.

It may seem hard to believe, but here we are, so I suppose we need to make the best of it.

Each year brings us a new set of challenges, which in turn, could make each of us just a little bit wiser - IF we take the time to reflect on what we've learned.

Let me share a few of the things I've learned in 2007.

• You certainly can't please everyone all the time and there are some folks you can't please anytime. I've pretty much always known that, but I've just now realized that it's usually simply not worth losing sleep over. We are each faced with decisions, many of them difficult, on a regular basis and we simply have to choose what we know to be the right thing, whether others agree or not and as long as we've done that, we can't give ourselves an ulcer over the judgment other folks may pass on those decisions.

• Bad things are going to happen. No matter how good life is, things are going to get shitty. I've always known that, but it's taken me this long to realize that it goes both ways. What gets shitty, must and will eventually get better again.

• Having a positive outlook on life, or, at the very least, being cheerful really does make life better. I've frequently been accused of being a cynical pessimist, but I've always viewed myself more as a realistic optimist. It's not that I see the glass as half empty, I actually see it as half full. I'm just keenly aware that it may get knocked off the table and spilled any minute. I'm still not sure I've learned how to have a positive outlook on life, but I have at least learned how to approach life cheerfully — most of the time. I've found that even if I'm not feeling particularly cheerful, if I try to be cheerful, I catch my mood improving.

• No matter how hardened you think you've become over the years, some stories will still make you go home and cry like a baby.

• A good church service on Christmas Eve will shake you out of a severe case of the "bah humbugs". Many thanks to my mother-in-law and her church for welcoming me to a service that reminded me why we should all rejoice.

• You can quit smoking four times during the course of a year and still find yourself standing in the parking lot on New Year's eve smoking a cigarette. Hopefully in 2008 I will learn that I can't smoke "just one" cigarette and hopefully I will develop the discipline not to smoke that "just one" cigarette that inevitably leads to countless more.

I am afraid that 2008 will be a difficult one for many of us as violence and mayhem escalates across the world while our economy here at home continues to decline. Hopefully we'll all be able to face it together, cheerfully, without being judgmental of one another and if it gets really shitty, we'll all sneak out to the parking lot for "just one" cigarette while we wait for it to get better.