On the way home from work last night, I began composing a brilliant blog entry about U2 and my love affair with their music that lasted up through Rattle and Hum. My My-U2brain wove magnificent textural tapestries about how U2 and I grew apart with the arrival of Achtung Baby but how vital they and their music had been to my existence up until that time. How their songs and message inspired me to begin writing letters for Amnesty International and to try listening to Billie Holiday, something for which I will forever be grateful. Poignant memories of listening to the Joshua Tree while in the depths of depression following my father's death and how the music would lift my soul so that I could survive to cry another day drifted through my cerebrum. In particular I waxed rhapsodic about the impact of one scene in Rattle and Hum when Bono is singing In the Name of Love and he entreaties the audience to sing the words and when they do, en masse and perfectly, the look of awe and amazement on his face truly captivated what I loved so much about this band at that particular moment in time. The narrative wound its way through my grey matter with coherence and continuity, sentences supporting my thoughts and opinions with incredible clarity.

Alas, I didn't write any of that Pulitzer Prize worthy post down and it's all gone up in a puff of smoke and scattered into the ether, never to coalesce accurately again. *sigh* [Please visualize Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects when he says "and poof, he was gone." I cannot find a screen shot of that to save my life. Thank you.]


Edited to Add: Tim is great! He made this screen capture for me! This is what I was talking about - Kevin Spacey wonderfullness. Yay!!

This is why I have taken to carrying around a little notebook so that I can write down such wonderful thoughts as they occur. However, this is not so useful a method for capturing such musically inspired brilliance when one is driving approximately 65 miles per hour down the freeway. Yep. I put safety first and look where it got me - a really dorky blog entry.

But then, what else is new?

Last night I was doing some 2nd job typing work and while sitting at the computer, I had the television on. Luckily for me, Pretty in Pink was showing on HBO. As you may or may not know, this is my absolute favorite John Hughes movie. I've seen it more times than I can remember. It was from this movie that my love of Andrew McCarthy was born.

I've always identified with Andie (Molly Ringworm's character). She was a bright, personable outcast with a unique fashion sense. While I was smart, I wasn't particularly personable (too shy and insecure) and I did have a unique (read bizarre and strange) fashion sense. Regardless, I LOVE this movie and have ever since it came out all through the years and even as I begin the downhill slide toward middle age (have I mentioned I'm going to be 40 next year?!?).

I do have a point to this post (honest, I do!) and here it is - while watching the Ringworm last night, I noticed how incredible her make-up was in this movie. I mean, it's beautifully understated and tasteful. The most amazing thing, however, was how perfectly they did her undereye make-up. No shadows, no bags, nothing. Granted she was a teenager/young adult when she made this movie but even so, the make-up was masterful! When I was that age, I had bags and shadows that necessitated regular applications of concealer. We won't go into how much worse those bags and shadows have gotten as the years have mercilessly gone by.

What I'm trying to say is, I never noticed how perfect her undereye make-up was before. I always gloried in the Ringworm's quirky clothes, pink car, Andrew McCarthy's cuteness and Annie Potts' craziness. Now that I'm older, my perspective has changed. I want to be able to hide my undereye issues like that! I wonder if I can find a site that lists what make-up techniques they used for that movie. Hmmmm....

Yes, I ponder these important, vital issues so you don't have to. Isn't that nice of me?
Everyone has stuff they're illogically scared shitless of, I'm sure. I'm not talking about normal fears like harm befalling a loved one or death or even taxes. Of course those things are scary and well they should be. I'm talking about stuff that if you were to think clearly and logically about it, they really shouldn't scare you to the point of being a blubbering idiot. For me, it's heights. I'm scared of heights. Not abnormal, really. Many people suffer from this phobia. My particular iteration of this phobia doesn't make sense even within the illogicality of it to begin with (that really didn't make any sense but I'm going to move forward anyway).

For instance, I can't drive over a really tall bridge or freeway transition or things of that sort. Well, I can if I HAVE to but I get sweaty palms and my heart starts knocking a thousand miles a minute in my chest, etc. However, I'm fine being the passenger in said car. No worries there. I can even enjoy the view.

Tall buildings, me no likey if I'm near the windows. Inside where I can't see the tremendous number of feet high that I'm up in the air, I'm fine.

Flying I'm generally okay after take-off. I don't like take-off. And I don't like turbulence. I pray a lot when I fly and I'm not even particular which God I pray to. Jesus, Shiva, Mother Mary, Jack Nicholson - they're all equal in my eyes when I'm fearing the screaming descent of a plane plummeting to its imminent (and consequently my) demise.

Roller coasters are not fun for me either. Little coasters like Space Mountain at Disneyland or Gold Rush at Six Flags Magic Mountain are fine. I can handle those. They're nice little diversions with no real perceived possibility of careening off of the tracks and hurtling to a fiery death. I can even ride The Mummy at Universal Studios. But the time I tried Montezuma's Revenge about 15 years ago left me a crying mess with a nauseated tummy. That's the scariest roller coaster I've ever been on. As you might imagine, I've not gone on too many because of this fear.

Why do I bring this up, you ask? Well, my best friend Shannon works for a local police department. As such, she receives various perks and benefits, one of which is free admittance for her and a guest to Knotts Berry Farm over the course of a month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In addition to the free tickets, she gets 6 seriously discounted tickets. Pretty sweet, huh? She's asked me if I'd like to go. She's also been bugging me to try some of the roller coasters there and has even accused me of being a fuddy duddy for not wanting to ride said roller coasters.

To explain a bit here, I've not ridden many roller coasters primarily because the idea of them scares me. I'm not a thrill seeker and honestly do gravitate towards being a fuddy duddy. Now herein lies my dilemma. Since I've not really tried many roller coasters, do I go and try them and if I still don't like them, at least I've tried? How can I be so scared of something I've not really given an adequate chance? My mom never forced me to try any of those scarier rides to at least see if I'd like them, primarily because she didn't like them either and was fine with me not pushing it. Shannon, however, has taken the approach with The Nephew of making him ride scarier rides at least once and if he didn't like it, fine. At least he'd given it a fair shot before coming to a definitive conclusion. Truthfully, I wish as a child I'd been told to at least try it once before deciding those stupid coasters scare me to death. (Consequently, The Nephew now loves roller coasters - mainly because he gave them a fair shot). It's much easier to suffer through a death-defying experience when you're a kid and have been told you have to than when you're a scaredy-cat adult who makes her own decisions.

Honestly, it's not logical that I'm so terrified of them because they take massive safety precautions to ensure that you're not hurt when you go on these rides. People have been going on and enjoying roller coasters for years and it's been fine. So why do I get myself so worked up in this fear of something I really shouldn't be so afraid of? It really makes no sense while I calmly think about it while miles away from the aforementioned (there's that word again) coasters. It's just when I get there and I see these roller coaster cars going so fast and upside down and etc that my stomach gets queasy and my pulse rate speeds up and feels like a drum roll. I don't know so I'm agonizing over this stupid question of do I force myself to try a couple coasters at least once and see if they're really so horrible. Bah.
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November 8, 2008

Hemo Globin
My Blood
My Body, USA

Dear Ms. Globin:

I would like to take this opportunity to express my extreme displeasure with your inadequate presence in my bloodstream today. An appointment for this afternoon had been made by me with the American Red Cross for the express purpose of donating my platelets. This appointment was made with the understanding that the hemoglobin levels in my blood would be such that my donation would be acceptable. However, upon my arrival at the Red Cross donation center, I was informed that your numbers were not sufficient to allow my platelets to be removed from my person, as I had hoped.

I am unsure whether this was a deliberate act on your part. Perhaps this was a conspiracy brought about by those crafty platelets as they did not wish to be forcibly taken from my bloodstream. What did they offer you, Hemo Globin?! What diabolical extortion did they exert upon you to force you to abandon me in such a disheartening way? I should have known those platelets would turn against me. Why do you think I need to get rid of them?! How could you do this to me when you've always been plentiful and supportive to me in the past?

I shall be filing suit with the proper authorities on the next business day. This defection shall not be taken lightly!

Sincerely yours,



The management would like to apologize for this breakdown on the part of the this blog's primary writing source. We shall return tomorrow for our regularly scheduled blog, after ingesting some leafy green vegetables. Thank you for your patience.

bill2 Ack! I'm the lone liberal in a sea of ultra-conservatives! Orange County is about as red as the ink on the national budget which leaves little ol' me as the lone blue spot in this office.

I'm trying to be good natured while keeping my opinions to myself. While the bosses are very nice and accepting of differing viewpoints, some of the other people who end up passing through this office are not.


Before coming to work at an accountant's office, I was under the misguided perception that April was the only time of year that an accountant was overwhelmingly busy. Oh how naive I was in the ways of taxation and its merciless deadlines. Turns out if you get an extension on your taxes in April, they then are due in October. Add to that the corporate extended deadline which was September 15th and it gets pretty darned busy here in the accounting world. Granted, my workload is nowhere near what it is for my two bosses (both CPAs) as all I do is type the letters that ask clients for their information as well as the cover letters that go out with the returns, as well as my various other clerical duties. But even just the typing is enough because the people who get the extensions are generally those who have the more involved returns (at least the clients here anyway) and those returns have lots and lots of questions that need to be answered before they can be completed. Enter Lil the Wonder Typist and many, many, many 4 and 5 page letters full of questions and requests for documentation/information.

The-e-e-e-n, as if that weren't enough, I've had pretty steady work from the 2nd job. Now trust me, I'm not complaining. It's good to be busy and secure. I'm liking it, really. It just doesn't leave a whole lot of extra time for blogging and etc. However, I feel I'm being neglectful so I'm writing this short update on my lunch break for you perusal, enjoyment, opportunity-to-mock, etc.

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I was never into sports growing up. My grandma loved baseball and the Dodgers were her team but that's as involved as I was in sports. I never followed any team, never really thought much about sports in more than a peripheral way.

In 1993, I chanced to catch a hockey game on tv and I was hooked. I was a passionate hockey fan for many, many years. My first loyalty to any sport was a game that not only cherished the tough guy but expected it. This is a sport where if a player sustains an injury, not only does he want to play anyway, he is generally expected to and to be stoic about it. And that's just during the regular season. During playoffs, a player could be near death and still not only be expected to play but they'd WANT to play. In no other professional sport have I observed such dedication and love for their game as I've seen in hockey. Granted, I'm no expert but this is just what I've seen. This dedication and zealotry became my reference against which all other professional athletes were to be judged.

While I'm not such the die-hard hockey fan anymore, I still can appreciate a hockey player's dedication and desire, actually more like NEED, to play. I still love the sport and think it's the most fun game to watch but I've become more of a baseball fan of late, specifically the Angels. I find I need to have a team to get behind that actually wins once in awhile. I'm totally a sunshine fan and the Kings just couldn't/can't win. No matter who they have as a coach or what players they sign, they're perpetually at the bottom of the standings. I couldn't do it anymore. I need some happiness from the team I'm watching and I just cannot be a fan of a hockey team (see tough guy stuff above) that calls itself the Mighty Ducks. Yeah, sure, they're just the Ducks now but it's still a way stupid name for a freaking HOCKEY team.

But I digress. We've established that hockey players are way tough and that's what I'd come to see as the norm for a professional athlete. Now I'm watching baseball and I really admire the finesse aspects of the game, the logic and planning that goes into building and maintaining a winning team. Mike Scioscia is great at this and his Angels' place at the top of the American League West is evidence to support his management style. Anyway, long story short (too late) is that I was reading the recap of the Angels 12-1 victory over the Yankees last night and saw that Jered Weaver isn't pitching tonight, as he'd been scheduled to do, because he has cuts on his hand. (Before I get a good head of steam going, let me just say that I like Jered Weaver and think he's a pretty darn good pitcher and that I also have no idea of the exact severity of the aforementioned cuts on his hand and therefore reserve the right to be completely unjustified in the ensuing rant).

What? Cuts on his hand? What kind of weak-ass excuse is that?!? Sure, he's a pitcher but come on! If a hockey player tried to get out of a game because he'd cut his hand, he'd be ridiculed and practically kicked off his freaking team - and that'd be the least of his worries. Besides, no self-respecting hockey player would EVER even DREAM of not playing just because he cut his hand. And it's actually quite the apt comparison because both pitchers and hockey players wear gloves and truthfully, a hockey player uses his hands much more than a baseball pitcher does.

I just had to rant about that for a bit. It just seems to me that most professional non-hockey playing athletes are a bunch of wusses when it comes to injuries. Stuff that a hockey player wouldn't even think twice about playing with are causes for ending a season in other sports. I guess it comes down to more of a passion for your sport kind of thing. That's the best thing about hockey - these guys play not for the money (although I'm sure they like that), they play because hockey is in their blood and is as necessary to their survival as oxygen. I mean, these are people who routinely played without contracts and at one point only stopped playing when the owners locked them out. It's more about love of the game for a hockey player than anything else.

I know I'm not the most informed sports fan in the world and most of what I say is generally full of crap but I figure this is my blog and if I want to sound like an uninformed girly girl, I can do that. Thanks for reading.
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I figure this might be a good idea seeing as I refer to most of these people on a fairly regular basis. I'll link it on the side so you can all have it handy for future reference ('cause I know you're all so fascinated by my life ). The idea for this was born from someone asking who The Nephew is. I realized that if you're new to me, of course you wouldn't know who The Nephew is.

Shannon - Shannon is my best friend. We've known each other for over 20 years. We met in high school when we were in the same English class. She's been my closest friend ever since. She's family more so than my biological family - I consider her my sister. In fact, her family is more so my family than my biological family. They've always accepted me as I am - a complete dork - and have loved me unconditionally. I can't say the same for a few of my biological relatives.

David - Shannon's husband (married in early 2008) and also a friend I've had since high school. I actually had a crush on David for about 2 weeks or so before he and Shannon discovered each other. Their story is really disgusting in a Harry Met Sally movie kind of way. They dated for 3 years way back when and then broke up. They were apart for 13 years during which they both got married to other people, had a kid each, and then split up with their respective spouses. I remained close friends with Shannon during that time but lost touch with David. Then a couple years ago, Shannon finds David on She e-mails him. They got back together almost instantly and have been together ever since. Isn't that just so gross?!

Adam - David's son who is 12 years old and is pretty much David's mini-me. I swear - they look exactly alike! He now lives in Florida with his mom and stepfather and seems to be very happy there.

The Nephew - Shannon's son whom I consider my vicarious child. I've been around him since he was conceived, basically. You've all heard about him and his many exploits as well as his cleft palate and the many surgeries he's gone through. He's an amazing kid and I call him my nephew because that's easier than saying "my best friend's, who's pretty much family because we've known each other so long, son" over and over again. I talk about him more than Adam because I'm closer to him, having been a part of his life for so much longer.

The Niece - Shannon and David's daughter who was born in 2006. She's freaking adorable and has the best personality already at just 2 years old. She is currently obsessed with happy faces and the Backyardigans (damn their insanely catchy musical hides).

Tofu - the cutest doggie alive today - she was given to The Nephew by his great-aunt Carol for his birthday in 2003.

- the most kick-ass independent beautiful kitty alive today. Shannon and I have had her since we moved out of our respective parents' houses in 1993. Sadly, Shasta died a few years ago (she was 13 years old). I still miss her.

Vigilantes -
the group of people I've come to know through the Vartypants' Vigilantes Love Lounge message board, which I co-own. I've been hanging out there since November of 2002, when I was a fan of Michael Vartan, an actor on the tv show Alias. The show has since become a piece of shit and I no longer fancy Varty but the people I've met through the board are some of the greatest psychotics on this planet. I recently met two of them in real life in Toronto. The Vartypants Vigilante site has been shut down for some time now. I really miss the message board and the people I met through there but it lived a good life and died at the right time, I think. I'm horrible at keeping in touch with people and am ashamed to have let these relationships lapse. One of these days I'll have to do something about that.

Work - I work in a small CPA firm in Southern Orange County. There are only two other people working here - the owner and my immediate supervisor. Both very nice people. I also have a second job doing transcription/general typing work for a local secretarial firm. My boss there is also incredibly nice. I'm seriously lucky.

WCIL - this is a past job, where I worked for a little over 7 years (from 1997-2004, which is when I moved to Orange County, CA). I made a lot of friends there and miss them very much. Luckily, they're not too far away and I talk to most of them a few times a week. Please see aforementioned comment about how I'm awful at keeping in touch with people. I recently connected with a couple WCIL people on Plaxo and one of them said "you're still alive!" *hangs head in shame* Also, this is a very worthwhile non-profit organization. WCIL helps people with disabilities to live independently in the community as opposed to being institutionalized. I firmly believe in what they do there and have gone from being an employee to a donor. There are independent living centers (ILCs) all over the country and they all do the same good work so if you're looking for a good cause to support, this definitely qualifies. To find the independent living center near you, go to They've got a list of ILCs in every state and also in Canada. </plug> I left there in 2004 to move to Orange County. This was the singular best place of work in my life. The pay was crappy but the people and the workplace were wonderful and inspiring. My amazing boss, Mary Ann, died just this year (2008) from pneumonia and I miss her terribly.

So that's it. Those are the people I'll mention the most around here. If I talk about someone and don't explain who they are, just ask me. If I end up talking about them a lot, I'll probably add them here.

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When I was younger, I had these grand ideas of going out and changing the world. You know, travel to far off lands, solve world hunger & end poverty, bring equality and fairness to all people, etc, etc.

Then reality set in and I starting working full-time and got caught up in all the minutiae that life entails. Changing the world faded to the background and I settled for changing minor things here and there. I revised my far-reaching goals and tried to make the bit of world around me a little better for me being in it. I have no idea if I've succeeded or not but I keep at it.

Because now, my goals are much less grandiose. I just want to be able to be safe, secure and comfortable for the rest of my life. I no longer need to be a world leader or a saint or an insanely rich captain of industry or anything like that. I figure if I can manage to keep a roof over my head (and the heads of those I love), food in my belly (and in the bellies of those I love), and still do my minuscule bit to make the world around me a better place, that's good enough for me.

There are people out there who are ready, willing and able to change the world, who either have the means or find ways to create the means to effect global change. I admire the hell out of them. They manage to satisfy buckets upon huge ol' buckets of need with their intelligence, drive, and caring.

Me? I use my little eye dropper and put my drips in whenever I can. And my soul is happy with that.
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I don't know about any of you, but I have a thing for voices. I don't just mean a quiver factor, either. That's a separate category really and is different for everybody. For me, the quiver factor is maxed out when the voice is male (that's just how I'm wired), deep and gravelly. There doesn't have to be an eye candy factor because it's all about the experience of the voice. Favorites of mine are Michael Wincott, Lance Henriksen and Will Arnett. None of these men fit any kind of societal measure of attractiveness but their voices - whoa mama. Throw an accent in there and I'm all aquiver. Favorite accents for me would be Irish, South African, and southern U.S. (particularly cajun/New Orleans area).

But quiver factor aside, there is another category of voices that are just plain glorious to listen to. They make your ears sigh in bliss for their passing through on their way into your brain. These are voices that could be saying anything and it wouldn't matter, within reason, because the sheer joy of experiencing them is far more important than the message being conveyed. Voices that fall into this category for me would be Susan Sarandon and my all time favorite, Morgan Freeman. He has the most incredible voice and his delivery just makes the experience rapturous. I could listen to him read the dictionary for hours upon hours and enjoy every second of it. He's just that amazing. There's a good reason he provides the narration on any of his movies when it's required
We just had a 5.8 earthquake. It was centered not too far from me and it lasted a good 30 seconds or so. Long, in earthquake standards. It was a shaker as opposed the a roller. The rolling quakes are actually kinda fun, barring being involved in any kind of injury or damage (I've lived in So Cal my whole life so one must get used to earthquakes and the view of them gets skewed a bit). Shaker quakes are scarier but this one wasn't too bad where I'm at. What gets me is the stupid people whom I can hear going down the stairs to get out of the building - WHILE THE QUAKE IS STILL GOING. Hello?!? Dumbasses, just move away from the windows and be ready to hide under your desk if stuff starts falling but walking down stairs while the building is moving? Stupid, stupid people. Let's see if we can fall down and hurt ourselves when we would have been perfectly safe had we stayed put. Yeah, that sounds like fun.
Proofing sucks. Well, at least for me it does. After I've just spent hours typing a document (or documents) or transcribing something for the 2nd job, the last thing I want to do is painstakingly go through the file and make sure I didn't screw anything up. Do I do it anyway? Yes, I do because I want to keep getting more work and won't be able to if I turn in crap. Also, I have this stupid thing called pride in my work. I hate it when I goof up.

I even play this little game with myself with my primary job work. Whenever I type a letter or anything going to a client, my immediate boss always proofs it before it gets sent out. I have no problem with this as I'm human - I miss things, I make typos. She always makes the corrections on the draft copy in red pen - just like school, right? Well, anytime I get the draft copy back without any red marks, I celebrate (quietly, mostly, to myself) be it either with a smile or a silent "hehehe" (complete with correlative enthusiastic head movement - think "Night at the Roxbury"). It's a dorky incentive to myself to do the best job I can when typing something. Sometimes I'll even proof it before I give her the draft.

I'm actually finding I hate the painstakingness of proofing things. I tend to want to do cursory comparisons between the original and the typed draft, trying to focus on major points instead of reading through word by word. It becomes a war between wanting to make sure I did a good job and just getting it over with already. Damn my lazy ass.

Exciting work, typing. Oh yeah.

On a completely unrelated note, partners in law firms make insane, obscene amounts of money. No wonder you lawyerly types want to make partner as a career goal. Wow. I mean, really.


That is all.
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Scene: The kitchen at Lil's house

Time: This evening

The Nephew walks up to where his Aunt Lil is cooking her dinner at the stove

The Nephew: Can I have a hug?

Lil: Sure.

The Nephew hugs Lil

The Nephew: Thank you.

Lil (quizzically): For what?

The Nephew: For being here.


Lil: Love you, buddy.

The Nephew: Love you, too.

This is how The Nephew manages to stay alive while being 13. He's really such a good kid.

Before I get to the meat of this blog entry, I want it to be clear that pedophilia is wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. In no way should it EVER be excusable, acceptable or in any form ok. Have I made this clear enough? Bad, bad, bad pedophiles. Be reviled and ostracized oh practicers of the pedophilia for you shall never be accepted anywhere and rightfully so. Even prison inmates hate the kiddie porn pushers - how's that for a final say on the matter?

Which brings me to the blog seed that was sowed in my brain by a news item I heard on the way home from work the other day. They were reporting that a group of prison inmates had beaten a fellow inmate to death (said fellow inmate was a convicted pedophile). It's common knowledge that if you're into kiddie porn or are an active pedophile in any way and you are sent to prison, you're going to know a world of hurt. In true old testament fashion, I'm actually glad of this. If there is one thing that I find more reprehensible than any other crime in the universe, it's preying upon those who are unable to defend themselves. This is what pedophiles do. However, as I was ruminating upon this, my thoughts went down a different path.

What if pedophilia is a sexual orientation? As far as sexual orientation goes, I believe that this is something that is innate from birth. Either you're attracted to men, women or both. That's it. You don't really have a choice in the matter, it just is what it is. There's nothing wrong with any of the aforementioned options. Love/sex between consenting adults is wonderful no matter what the formation. However, what if pedophiles don't have a choice in who they're attracted to? Maybe they just can't help themselves - they are only sexually excited by children.

Now before anyone gets all upset, hear me out. I'm not positing this so as to engender sympathy for pedophiles. Quite the opposite. If they can't help themselves in being attracted to children and then acting upon those impulses, then perhaps there isn't any way to "fix" them or make it so they don't harm children. Perhaps their sexual interest in children is an innate behavior for a pedophile, something that is not within their control. In that case, I think prison inmates are nature's way of getting rid of a horrible, vile, unacceptable force of nature.

It's like in the awful remake of Godzilla (the one starring Matthew Broderick). Godzilla isn't a bad creature, it is merely unable to function within the real world. It is just too damn big and thus doesn't have a way to lead its radioactively huge lizard life without causing harm to millions of tiny humans. In the same way, pedophiles can't exist within the confines of normal society without inflicting significant harm upon those who are unable to protect themselves. However, unlike our friend Godzilla, they are bad guys. Maybe the only way to handle pedophiles is to get rid of them. I'm a firm believer in capital punishment. I think the only reason it doesn't work is that it isn't enforced sufficiently. I'm of the opinion that there are just some people who can't function in the world without hurting others and there is truly no hope for them. I think perhaps pedophiles fall into this category. However, let us not be diverted onto the death penalty and who is fit to decide who dies and who doesn't discussion. That's a whole other can of infected, writhing, pustule-riddled worms.

Disclaimer: This isn't a call for the death penalty for the crime of pedophilia nor is it suggesting vigilante justice is the way to go. I'm merely thinking out loud and possibly providing an impetus for discussion. I am fully aware that such hot button topics like pedophilia are never black and white - there are many, many layers of gray. As such, these opinions are just that - opinions, to be agreed or disagreed with according to your own ideas...which I'd love to hear, by the way.
Setting: In Lil's car on the way home from the park

Time: The other day

Players: Lil (38-year old auntie extraoidinaire, sitting in the driver's seat), The Nephew (13-year old nephew extraoridinaire, reclining in the passenger seat)

Atmosphere: "Slow Ride" by Foghat begins playing on the radio

The Nephew: Hey! It's Slow Ride. (begins playing air Guitar Hero guitar)

Lil: Yes, that it is.

The Nephew: It sounds just like in Guitar Hero III (continues playing air Guitar Hero guitar and now adds rock n' roll guitar player scrunchy faces)

Lil: (Perplexedly) That's because the song in Guitar Hero is the actual song.

The Nephew: Yeah, but it sounds JUST like it! (throws in wild air Guitar Hero guitar movements in addition to air guitar playing and rock n' roll scrunchy faces)

Lil: (Pauses for a moment) Well, this version does have the guitar playing throughout the whole song while during Guitar Hero, there are parts where there isn't any know when you miss a note and the guitar part cuts out.

The Nephew: (Stops playing air Guitar Hero guitar long enough to glare at Lil)

Lil: (Smiles)
This morning, I was tooling along down the freeway on my way to work. As I drove, I flipped through the radio stations, as is my wont to do (gotta love those radio controls set into the steering wheel). Flip, flip, flip. I end up on a station with the traffic report so I pause long enough to see if there is any impact on my drive time. After the announcer is finished with her report, a song starts to play. Tender Love by the Force MD's. Blast from the past, right? For me, that song isn't about a love gone awry or anything romantically related. I'm sure that I've mentioned it previously but the instrumental version of this song is what I listened to almost non-stop the week after my father died in 19-ought-86. He'd died on Sunday March 23rd and I left for Hawaii for a chorus competition the next day. The instrumental version was the B-side to the actual song. I owned this on a 45. (Excuse me while I take my Geritol) Anyway, I'd recorded it onto a cassette tape (oops, wait, gotta rub some Ben-Gay on the arthritic fingers here) because I liked the piano part more than the actual single with all the formulaic R & B singing. For some reason, my 16-year old grief addled self felt comforted by the repetitive piano part of that song. As you might guess, for that reason Tender Love has a very strong emotional connotation for me. I haven't listened to it in over 20 years.

So hearing those opening piano notes this morning out of the blue was like being t-boned by a mack truck you didn't see speeding toward you. Tears immediately started spilling from my eyes. I was a bit shocked at first. Honestly, you'd think after 22 years I'd have some distance to at least keep from crying out of the blue like that. Luckily I didn't start all out bawling - just a few hastily wiped away tears that didn't even ruin my make-up.

Just shows to go you that while you may move on, even come to terms with the loss of someone important in your life, the grief and pain never fully goes away. While I know this to be a fact, it loses its impact until the Force MDs come out of nowhere and throw that left hook into your gut.

A long time ago, in a county far far away….

Truthfully, it isn’t actually that far away, it’s about 40 miles which takes about ½ hour to 45 minutes to drive and, well, you get the picture.

When I left WCIL back in 1997 and moved to Orange County, I was hopeful and excited to be entering a new field that logically seemed as though it would always be around. No longer would I feel threatened by the State of California’s annual budget wars. Everyone would always need a house, right?

I’ve worked at three different jobs since leaving Los Angeles County. Two of them were in the mortgage industry. I left the first because it was wearing me down, body and soul. Endless hours of work, not enough help and way too little acknowledgment.

Second job was only slightly better. I was working with friends, which made it more tolerable but, for me, it was not good for my self-confidence and self-esteem to be trying so very hard to learn a job and do it well but not succeed in any fashion. For so many years, I was the queen of the Office – I knew how to do every office job and was able to do it well. Not so much with the loan processing.

It would have been better if I was able to multi-task under immense pressure but I’m not. That, in a nutshell, is what loan processing is all about. One has to keep track of innumerable details all while wheedling with underwriters to approve the loan, begging doc drawers to send out the loan docs before the borrower’s go out of the country (because what better time to travel than when you’re buying a house) and prostrating oneself to funders to please, please, please fund this loan. Then add to that the loan officers needing this, wanting you to call that person, and WHY HASN’T THE LOAN FUNDED YET!!!!! It’s an incredibly difficult job and not one that I was meant to do. This has been a very difficult realization to come to. I tried for 2 ½ years to get it right and to be completely honest, the only reason I stayed so long was this little girl:

Jaiden 08-18-07

I was working as Shannon’s assistant and after she had her baby (in May of 2006 - please see above photo) due to HIGH child care costs, The Niece would come to work with us. Trying to make it as a loan processor while helping to juggle a baby (albeit an adorable, sweet, even-tempered one) is a disaster. With the housing market imploding into oblivion and mortgage companies going under left and right, the number of loans went into a decline. This was offset, however, by all of the lending rules changing and becoming more conservative. These changes required a great deal of creativity (completely legal creativity, that is) to get loans approved and funded, which often meant submitting a loan to multiple lenders. One person could not take care of a growing baby and do this job – hell, two people had a hard time with it.

The workload got to the point where Shannon would not have needed an assistant had The Niece not been going to work with her. Had we continued to be able to close the high number of loans possible prior to the mortgage meltdown, Shannon’s income stream would have allowed for day care much sooner than it actually happened. However, mortgage rules tightened, numbers of fundings decreased, and as a result, the company we worked for was not doing so well. Add into that an owner who is not so good at managing his finances and you may see where this is all going. For much of the second half of last year, our paychecks would suffer cuts that we didn’t know about until we actually got the check. Or we wouldn’t get a check at all. There were other financially creative measures on the part of my former boss that I won’t go into but suffice it to say, I made just about as much from unemployment when I was finally laid off in December as I was getting paid the last six months of last year.

I’d been looking for a different job from about October on but I’d really shot myself in the foot by going into the mortgage industry. People didn’t want to hire someone without recent administrative assistant experience. It didn’t matter that my skills were still good or that I’d been doing much of the same office work that an administrative assistant does. It was only through a contact known by one of the loan officers I’d worked with that I was able to be signed up with a temp agency and they in turn found me my current job.

I’m only now finally getting my shit back together, both financially and in regard to my self-confidence. By no means am I out of the woods completely but I can see the tree line from here. Perhaps it’s a sad reflection on me that so much of my self-image is related to being good at what I do for a living. If that is the case, then so be it. I’m finally feeling better about me and having a steady, reliable paycheck, even if it is a wee bit smaller, is worth its weight in gold.

I’ll have to save the rest of my update for the next entry. My lunch break is almost up and I have to get back to work. It’s April and I work for an accountant – ‘nuff said.