Category Archives: Rants and Raves

I occasionally go on a tear and spew out an opinion on something. Might be on any topic – generally social issues, media, popular culture and politics.

So Today Was Weird – But Aren’t They All? Stream of Consciousness

Musings on a day gone strange. Stranger perhaps than usual, or maybe less strange than usual. It is getting hard to tell, as the days gone away from work add up towards running out of protected time and towards “will I lose my job” territory.

I got an email from my manager informing me they are sending – via certified mail – a “planning” Performance Evaluation to me. I need to sign it and send it back ASAP. Note that I have been off work nearly two months now, thanks to meningitis and this damnable back thing.

Image: Aliaksandr Shuliak

At the time of this writing, I will be off till at least 2 November, by which time the Cyborg Laurel back implants should be installed and if the Gods are good the meningitis will have retreated. I have also been on unpaid leave almost all of this time, having used up all the paid leave being sick, in and out of the hospital, with whatever was trying to kill me before the meningitis was diagnosed. Who knows, it may have also been the meningitis.

Mayhap I am tougher than we think, and fought the stuff off for six months before it finally got me in August. Wouldn’t that be just a thing? We may never know, since LMH only did base blood panels, and certainly never a lumbar puncture.

In any case, the days have merged into one bad sleep schedule after another. I go to sleep when I am tired of being awake, and I wake up when my back hurts too bad to stay asleep. This rhythm has nothing to do with that of the normal human cycle. I rarely know what day it really is, unless I look at a calendar in conjunction with an email date or something.

I had a speaking engagement for the SCA this evening, in the southwest part of Kansas City. That required being awake, showered, dressed and “up” – as in semi-perky, enthusiastic and able to speak coherently about a topic that is indeed dear to my heart. However, it also involved 3 hours of driving for about 20 minutes of talking, in front of a roomful of people, most of whom I don’t know or only knew decades ago. I think I succeeded, at least it appeared to be so as people were taking notes and nodding. No one threw rotten vegetables or booed, either. We shall call that a success.

Image: H is for Home

In the meantime, nothing at all has been done towards moving in two days. I completely overdid it prior to that, moving two very full loads alone, and my body has been calling me bad names ever since. As a result, severely enforced total back rest has been the name of the game. I get up, I might remember to eat something, I stretch, I put myself in a back neutral position and I start working on the computer.

I continue to do this until I remember that the new house has a really smart thermostat that doesn’t the house off unless it thinks I am awake. I get up and touch the thermostat so cool air blows around, I might grab something to drink and take some medicine. Return to back-neutral position and computer. Repeat until time to go to bed. I interact with people via the internet.

Image: Annas Hamirzul

I might attend Fighter Practice, or in the case of today, a group meeting to talk about something. I wait for back surgery. I wait to feel better. I wait.  I live in my head, having conversations with people I want to be with but who are not here, and who may not have any interest in being with me. If they do have the interest, they aren’t doing much about it, or they can’t for various reasons.

I try not to dwell on that, because then I go to tears. Depression stalks me even in this new place, because I’m very alone and very in transition from the old place with no good way to get it done. To do it all myself would cause pain that I cannot bear – I’ve tried. Even my level of pain tolerance is insufficient. Doing it piecemeal as I’ve been doing is all I can do.

Dwelling on who is not here, who doesn’t want to be here, who cannot be here even if they did want to be, does me no good. Driving to just hang around someone like a lonely puppy seems useless – after all I should be doing something purposeful, even though I’m not.

I am a ghost, a shadow in people’s lives. This is not the purpose for which I was made and I know that. Dwelling on that, too, causes deep sadness.

Image: Irina Popova

I want more. I want a rock and a safe harbor in another human being, even though I share that person. I don’t expect one person to have all the answers, because I certainly don’t have all the answers for anyone else. Just a safe harbor, someone who will be here when the chips are down. Someone to be with when being with is what is necessary and right. Someone who is willing to hold my hand in public and name me theirs. Someone who will walk the path with me, even when we wander off to have other fun from time to time.

Image: stephen silvestri

I am not ready to be a shadow or a ghost.  The longer I sit alone in a big house, empty of many of the things I meditate on when I lean towards these ruminations, the worse this gets.

The depression closes in like darkness, from the corners and the shadows of this unfamiliar place. I brought some of the things with me, and we cleansed the house, so the darkness is certainly in my own mind and of my own making.

Damn the chemicals in my brain and the injuries caused by lazy people. Damn the flashbacks of hells created by sick people so many years ago and inflicted on the body of a child. Damn the hells created by things happening for no good reason I can fathom other than chance and random events.

These things come with the darkness, and even with every window shade open during the day, the darkness comes. Being a thing of darkness myself, my own cycle slips more towards nocturnal. I set the alarms and sleep past them. Worse, I get up then go back to sleep mid-day, making it impossible to sleep at night. Sleep deprivation worsens the darkness.

My appetite is nearly gone most days, except to snack or graze. Not eating makes the meningitis last longer, as does dehydration. Yet, most days I simply don’t care to eat or drink and have to force myself to it.

I don’t wish to die. I have friends I love dearly, and children I love dearly. My youngest turns 26 tomorrow, or in 9 minutes depending on your counting of these things.  I’m simply fading away, it seems. It is too much work, and I am not a lazy person.

Will it improve once the wires are in my back and the pain retreats? I hope so, although the injury will not be cured. Will it also improve once my brain and nerves are no longer ravaged by this infection? Again, I hope so. They say the cure for that is rest, which is not mine to have being in transition and surgery territory.

Plus, rest is never really mine anyway. Anyone with nightmares, flashbacks and demons that haunt their sleep can tell you that. There is never really rest, only restless exhaustion that leads to unconsciousness for a time.

So this has been weepy, self indulgent tripe. Am I suicidal- no. Am I self-harming–no. Not planning to be, either. Do I very much want a significant other in my life who isn’t ashamed or afraid to claim me such – yes. Do I mind sharing – no, but I want to be the one in front, not the last in line, or the one that has to hide. Do I want this damned pain and sickness to go away-yes. Soon.

Image: Charlene Sequeira

Do I want to be able to lose myself again in art and beauty and music and the things and people I love – hell yes. The sooner the better. Do I still have faith that I will be able to – yes, or I’d be watching the sunset from a certain mountainside, filling up on great wine and more than lethal doses of certain stockpiled medications, waiting for my spirit cat to finish me off, if the hypothermia, narcos and alcohol didn’t do it first.



Lazy Lady’s Exercise Excuses

As I inch ever nearer to having to do active physical therapy for my shoulder, the specter of actually having to exercise again looms large. Sure, I’ve been doing household chores, stairs, and stuff like that for a few weeks, but in general, I’ve been trying to take it a bit easy and let my body heal. That alone is a first for me. In the spirit of firsts, then, I present exercise excuses and some ways I plan to deal with them, once I am given clearance to actually resume exercise.

Excuse: I am hungrier when I exercise.

Excuse Buster: If I was exercising rationally – like walking briskly – this might actually lessen my appetite. I might also have better luck if I make sure to eat a light snack and a heavy-duty protein drink right after a work out or walk, to give my body recovery fuel. I can probably do this for 150-200 calories with skim milk and a protein powder plus a piece of fruit. This might also help me feel full until meal time so I don’t just waste my workout binge eating.


Chocolate-y Post workout Protein Drink


Excuse: I don’t have time.

Excuse Buster: As long as I am off work, that is just baloney. I have nothing to do BUT work out. Once I return to work, however, things get dicier. I work afternoons and evenings, and often overnight as well. In addition, I do this blog thing and freelance writing on the side, have a house to maintain alone and five pets. I even have vague aspirations to have a social life occasionally. The American Heart Association says I need to get about 75 minutes of vigorous exercise in per week. By my bad math that is about 15 minutes 6 days a week of hard exercise on top of my personal goal to walk an extra ½ hour most days of the week.

Hard exercise for me is something like doing a brief plyometrics, cardio or ab killer workout from my P90X DVDs, or doing what we called a “burn out” workout from the police academy. The burn out is this: Do 1 minute of pushups as fast as you can, rest for 30 seconds, do another minute then another rest, then another minute. Rest for 1 minute then do the same routine with sit-ups. Rest for another minute then do it jogging in place, running steps or sprinting. Total time actually working out = 12 minutes, not including the 30 second rest breaks or the 1 minute rests between exercises.  Just for fun, keep track of your number of push-ups, sit-ups and distance on stairs or running during each 1 minute burn, and see how much you improve. This one was a killer, but it worked and it didn’t take much time. We did this about every other day in order to give the muscles time to repair before the next killer session with lighter stretching and walking on the in between days.


Burnout Exercise

Excuse: I hate to get sweaty.

Excuse Buster: I get sweaty doing many things. Get over it, whiner, and take a shower after you work out. You know perfectly well the warm water will make you feel better. In addition, it is not good to just crash on the couch right after a workout. The body needs time to get blood pressure and heart rate back to normal. Work out, drink my protein drink, have my fruit while walking around the house, and cooling off, then take a shower. I can handle that. I don’t have to like getting sweaty, but I am a grown up and can deal with it.


some ecards

I hate to sweat

Excuse: I’m too tired/I’m too sore:

Excuse Buster: Supposedly, regular exercise actually increases energy and you get less sore over time. However, due to multiple medical issues like fibromyalgia, arthritis, thyroid issues and some replacement parts I don’t rebound like a normal person. I stay sore as long as I keep exercising. I was in the academy for 4 months and exercised every day. I never got more energy and I never got less sore. I did get much more fit, however. I need to set my mind to this fact and decide whether comfort and rest is more important than being fit, or the other way around. Somehow, I survived the academy and kept up with people literally half my age. I probably whined twice as much as they did, too, but I did it. There is no reason I can’t do it again.

Hit Girl

Kick Ass Hit Girl

I need to figure out the best time of day for me, given my weird work schedule and my dislike of mornings. Probably the answer will be working out before work – say, noonish – then taking my pre-work shower and dealing with the soreness by continuing to walk most of my work hours as I do anyway. If I take care with my food packing for work, I can have energy boosters like protein and slow carbs to get me through the evening. I also tend to drink a lot of water while I am at work, because we have one of those cool Sonic ice makers and I love Sonic ice. Drinking tons of water after I workout might help the energy level and the soreness. I have also already started taking a prenatal vitamin to boost my basics and add more B-complex vitamins. This might help me out in this department, too.


If I want your opinion….

 Other things I might try:

I can have my workout clothes and shoes laid out on the chair beside the bed when I go to sleep. That way when I wake up at noonish, I can climb into them before I am all the way awake and my body and brain have a chance to rebel. I can grab a yogurt to cushion my hunger grumbles, get the workout done, eat the post workout “second breakfast” and hit the shower.

I can log my workouts on again and actually occasionally interact on a message board and read some articles there. I can track my progress on my burn outs, and add my food and water tracking, too. I have a cloth tape measure and can record and track my inches. That is much more motivating than tracking pounds since I tend to lose inches faster than weight. And really, it is the inches I care about more since my ultimate goal is to look better.

I can actually use the fitness app I downloaded to my Android to do similar things, and to keep track of stuff during the day when I can’t get to a computer. This might be tricky at work since we can’t carry our phones. I can carry my little notebook, though, so I might as well use that.

I can get back into doing a yoga routine a few times a week as my exercise. This hurts a lot less and actually helps the fibromyalgia and arthritis. I still sweat, because yoga isn’t easy, but it is a less stressful sweat.


Yoga – Cobra Pose

Therefore, it is resolved. It is written.


Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford Bitch Slap

This article is copyright © 2013 Holly Cochran/

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“On Thursday afternoon, CNN showed footage of Vice President Joe Biden meeting with gun rights groups and talking to reporters about his ongoing efforts to curb gun violence in the United States. Biden said that he would present his recommendations to the president on Tuesday. But before Biden could finish his presentation, CNN cut into his remarks to report on another school shooting. This morning, “at least two people were shot at Taft High School” at 9:00AM and the shooter has reportedly been taken into custody. ”  From – entire article and video there.

WAKE THE HELL UP. Guns everywhere, a cop for every student in the school, not gonna solve this. Limit the clip/magazine size, tax the ever-loving hell out of every bullet sold and every mag/clip sold, enforce the existing registration laws, have massive gun buy-backs, reinstate the assault weapon ban, and throw as much money as possible into mental health services for the poor and under-served. A gun in your home is NOT going to protect you from an intruder – you are many times more likely to shoot someone in your family or to have the gun used against you. Unless you are a trained marksman with combat or police training, your chances of using a gun effectively in any confrontation are less than 20% according to studies. That means 80% of the bullets you fire are going to go somewhere you don’t want them to go. How many more kids and adults have to die over this stupid bullshit?

Stop the Killing

Taft Union High School 1-10-2013. Stop the Killing!


1/2/2013 – What the hell is up with people anyway?

I realize I am old, decrepit and otherwise un-hip in a plethora of ways. However I also realize that my kids were not raised to be disrespectful or to make inappropriate requests to anyone, much less someone their parents’ age or more. And my brother and I were certainly not raised like that either.   So why is it that when I sign on to a seemingly innocuous site like Meet Me in a moment of boredom while waiting in line at the movies, I am suddenly hit upon by all manner of trolls? It is even worse on so called “dating” sites like Plenty of Fish. I got lucky once on that site – had a decent relationship and lots of fun until things weren’t fun anymore. Other than that one guy, trolls!

bad date

Bad Date



Troll Variety 1: Younger guy hitting on older woman.  By this I mean much younger guy around my kids’ ages chatting up me. Flattering, sure, until it turns creepy. They start out asking about general stuff like any other contact. I ask them why they are chatting up an old broad, and the usual response is something like “I like older women. They are smarter, funnier, sexier, better in bed…”  All of which are undoubtedly true. I can’t really speak to that because I have never had sex with an older woman. However, these young guys quickly progress to asking for photos. Not just a head shot, but “send me pix of you in something sexy” requests. Quickly as in a matter of a couple of days and maybe three emails.  They pepper the email and the text with shirtless photos of themselves and in some cases pants-less. I just got one of a very nice looking young man in a towel. Seriously. An unsolicited towel picture to a woman old enough to be your mom.  That is an instant “See ya” from this older, smarter, funnier, sexier, better in bed lady.

guy in a towel

Unless this is really you in a towel, don’t send it to me unsolicited.


Troll Variety 1A: Younger and demanding guy hitting on older woman.

Similar to Troll 1 but with a twist, this young man pressures for “dates” early. And presses and presses.  They don’t seem to know how to take “no thanks” or “maybe some other time” for an answer. Nor do they take “how about a nice, well lit public place frequented by cops” as an answer. I suspect these guys are trying to set people up to get mugged, raped or worse, especially when they become somewhat verbally – or text-ally – abusive when turned down. Why do they think this tactic will work, and intimidate me into meeting them in a dark alley downtown or something?  I don’t care how hot their unsolicited towel pictures are, it isn’t happening.  And no, they cannot buy me a drink and roofie me on a first meeting, or a second. I prefer to stay sober and in control of my faculties when scoping people out. Intoxication with others requires a certain level of trust.  These fellows love love LOVE sending virtual gifts, especially the naked or near naked variety. I have a fairly good collection now of virtual breasts, butts, camel toes, vibrators and naughty French maid outfits. Also, please don’t start conversations on email or text with “Hey ya ho, how are you?” and don’t refer to women as “bitches” or “ho’s.” Bitches don’t like that.


Get back. Bitch you don’t know me like dat.









Troll Variety 2: Inconclusive Photos.

These guys – I assume they are guys, because their profiles say they are guys – post non-identifiable photos as their only profile shots. I’ve seen college logos, race cars, motorcycles, hot rods, the Rocky Horror Picture Show lips and record cover art on profiles with absolutely no picture of a live human being. These guys contact me and start to chat me up, say they like my photo – a head shot – and ask for more pictures. Standard protocol for me is to ask for photos of them first, before I start dumping my hard drive into their email box. Besides that, very few decent and recent photos of me exist. I tend to look like I have the crazy eye in a lot of pictures, probably because I have the crazy eye. I also look fat – the camera adds way more than 10 pounds. Ice cream adds 40 or so. Anyway, few photos and most of those are with family members.  When with family members I don’t wear lingerie and only lingerie, and I avoid wearing spike heels as a general rule. I might fall and break a hip. Usually my requests for real photos are ignored and met with more requests for photos of me.  I may be old but I know once something is on the internet it is there forever. I happen to not enjoy the though of me with too much skin showing on the internet. In fact I find it rather nauseating. It is also not great for job seekers. So guys, no, I will not send you an identifiable photo of me wearing nothing but a smile and a pair of heels.  I can send you pictures of Monica Bellucci in a corset for days, though, and that will likely make you happier anyway.

Bad profile pic

This photo tells me nothing


Troll Variety 3:  Mid-Life Crisis Guys.

These are the guys who have recently gotten divorced or who are just now getting back into the dating scene. They might be between 40 and 60, and usually are pretty decent guys. They have no social skills from being married for however long, but they are happy to show you their new truck, motorcycle, hot rod or photos of them doing some extreme sport. They are also prone to talking endlessly about their kids, and asking to meet a “good hearted, honest woman who doesn’t cheat.” That statement alone tells you about all you need to know about how their last marriage ended.  Hey guys, clue: Good hearted is a meaningless requirement. It is undefined. No one on the internet is going to claim to be a liar, so might as well not even ask. Just saying.  Dating hint for mid-life crisis guys: Develop some friendships with women about your own age, who will give you honest feedback and with whom you do not have a “want to date/bed” relationship. Develop your social skills, like having a conversation that does not involve moving back to your mom’s basement, buying your new motorcycle, or your unnatural relationship with your pet parrot/Chihuahua/chinchilla/whatever. I love my pets and kids, too, and will talk about them, but I have other interests and can speak about those. You should, too.  These guys are not so much trolls as desperately lonely souls, so I have more pity on them than most. I, too, am pitifully shy. That doesn’t seem to stop me from talking someone’s ear off once I get going.

Midlife crisis guy

Mid Life Crisis Guy


Troll Variety 3A: Mid-Life Crisis Guys Trying to Be Playahs.

These guys fit some of the variety 3 criteria, but like to post shirtless posing pictures of themselves in their profiles. I am thrilled you still work out at this age, and yes you do have nice biceps and still have a decent chest. Hooray. Put some damn clothes on, you’re not 25 anymore! Show me a picture of your degree, or your bank account, or your house (not the bathroom). Show me a picture of you smiling and doing something fun that doesn’t involve your bro-skis and some brew-skis. Show me a picture of you and your damn Chihuahua, you in clothes and the dog NOT in clothes thank you very much. Dogs in clothes on a man’s profile are weird, unless it is joke clothes for Halloween or for Dog Shaming.  Balance your profile with pictures of you in a suit, in casual clothes, in adventure or travel clothes, and maybe one swimsuit picture. And for Pete’s sake, ditch the Speedo and the thong bathing suits. No one is that hot unless they are on the Olympic swim team. I don’t need to be able to tell your religion by looking at your suit, know what I mean? These chaps send virtual “gifts” that tend to be romantic – roses, candlelit dinners, etc. – for about 2 days, then progress to “sex me up” type gifts. Delete, delete, delete. Send me a real gift, like cash or a good dinner out with good company.


Midlife Crisis Guy Trying to be a Playah


Troll Variety 4: Truckers, Rednecks, Good-Ole-Boys and Hillbillies.

Something about my presence online seems to act like a magnet to stereotypical truckers, rednecks, hillbillies and good-ole-boys. I am talking about the ones with the Confederate flag as their profile background, pictures of them in the cab of their big rig. Their profiles read like a right wing militia wet dream recruit. Mine reads like an ultra liberal progressive hippie chick who is also a cop because that’s what I am. I even put things like “must be liberal and progressive and also tolerate cops” to warn off Troll Variety 4. I tried putting “no truckers, rednecks, good-ole-boys or hillbillies need apply” as the subject line one time. Didn’t work. I’ve concluded these types either cannot or do not read, only look at the photo and click “DATE ME.” They are also fond of sending virtual “gifts” that flash, glitter or otherwise annoy and have wildly inappropriate messages on them. One I got recently had a woman’s bright shiny red lips around what appeared to be a flashing banana, and the words “lick me” on it in neon Broadway bulbs.  Classy.


Add some flashing neon lights and “lick me” caption, you’ll get the idea




Troll Variety 5: Hi, I’m married/it’s complicated/I’m in a relationship but wanna go have sex?

Really? How does your wife/partner/girlfriend/complicated relationship other feel about this? Might want to state up front “we are in an open relationship and looking for a third” or “we are in an open relationship, you are hot and I want to play around” or hell, just go with “I want to cheat, you look like you could do with some cheating, let’s hook up.” Some of these scenarios may be do-able, and you may be do-able, but as a rule I try not to be a home wrecker. It seems to be bad karma, as my own marital record will attest. Also, read my damn profile. It asks “what are you looking for,” and one of the options is “casual hookups.” Note I have not checked that one or added it to my profile. Their might just be a reason for that. Something to consider, gentlemen. Now, if you are single-single, hot, non-trollish, and put it right out there that you think I’m hot, here’s a pic and you are hot, and you want to casually hook up – say that and we can negotiate I guess. Maybe. Not in a dark alley downtown, though.

not a good pick up line

I can do you all night baby. I’m nocturnal.


Unclassified Variety: Getting Hit on by Women:

I can’t really speak to this, because it hasn’t happened much other than “let’s be friends.” Friends are cool. Friends with benefits are cool. Chicks are cool. I am not opposed to any of these options in particular, I just don’t have the experience to rant about it. Maybe I will get my chance one of these years.


Who could object to pretty girls kissing?








So, you might ask, what IS the ideal dating/meet up site profile in this woman’s opinion? And how to proceed once you have acquired a target?

1. Be honest. Just honest. If you’ve been married multiple times, say so. If you have PTSD, or only one eye, or an unnatural attachment to your Chihuahua, say so. Let me decide if I can deal with the real you before you spend any money or time on me.


Honesty is important.



2. Post real photos, preferrably ones taken in this century. Ones taken this year, at your current weight and hair style are good, too. Post a few – work attire, casual attire, dressed to the nines, goofing off. Let me see the real you shine in those pix.


I haven’t done anything interesting in 15 years






3. Complete your profile. Put enough information out there for me to determine whether I even want to talk to you. If I

don’t I won’t. If you don’t have enough information to even start a conversation, I won’t even try.  Make more money than me. This is really easy, because I have zero money and work really hard just to not go under water.

4. Read my profile before contacting me. If we don’t match well, move on. Just move on to the lady who wants a good ole country boy to call her own. If you can’t read, don’t join online sites that pretty much are based on …. reading.

This guy

Don’t be this guy

5. In your opening salvo, start with something witty like “Hey, I read on your profile that you like going to the Parade of Homes. I LOVE going there, too, and can’t wait for the one in the spring. What do you like most about it? I’m always looking for friends to go with, because it is not everyone’s cup of tea.” Or something that relates to the profile. I put plenty of information out there to make it easy for you to find something of mutual interest to remark upon. Promise. 

6. Start with non threatening emails or chats. Wait to see if there is a connection before asking for a phone number to text. Text a few days before ASKING “can I call you?”  Talk on the phone a few times, maybe starting to bring up meeting in person and working on making plans. Go slower than it seems necessary – I have made this mistake, and it ruined a perfectly decent relationship by moving too fast and pushing too hard.

7. Make your offer of a first meeting something tangible, like “Hey, would you like to meet up at Sheridan’s Unforked on 119th and Metcalf on Tuesday around 7:30? I’d love to meet you in person.”  As opposed to “So, can we meet sometime? What do you like? ” This implies it is all on me to set up the great ideas, and I may not have any. I can usually answer a yes or no question, and most days can even suggest an alternate if the first idea won’t work. “I can’t do Tuesday because I work, but how about Sunday instead? I love ice cream!” Understand I have zero money, so make it clear if you will be paying or not. If it’s a free thing, say “Hey, Free Admission night at the Nelson-Atkins! Let’s go!” or something.  Keep paying and being obvious that is what you are asking for (“Let me take you to dinner at this fabulous tapas restaurant”) or coming up with free ideas, so I don’t feel pressured to have to cough up money I don’t have to reciprocate.

8. Try to at least appear less awkward than I am, and less shy than I am feeling. I want you to be strong and outgoing and confident to some degree, and I am lazy enough not to want to do all the talking. Have a game plan of stuff to do or talk about, a path to lead me down as it were.  Long awkward pausesare long, and awkward, for both of us. I will try to do the same. Try to listen when I am talking instead of planning what you are going to say next. I’ll try to do the same. Make occasional eye contact, but don’t be all stare-y creepy. Dress appropriately to the setting. Bathe and brush your teeth – on a regular basis. Chew with your mouth closed. Don’t have previously undisclosed meth-mouth.

meth mouth

Don’t have meth mouth, or a spiderweb tat on the front of your mouth. Don’t me this guy.


9. Keep it to under an hour the first time, unless things are going really really well. This is why casual is good at first – easier to escape. If you think you might want to see me again, ask if you can call me in a day or two. If you think it is not a good match for heaven’s sake say something but be nice about it. “I really enjoyed meeting you and having ice cream. You seem like a really nice person, but I just don’t feel much chemistry. I’m sorry. But I am sure you will have good luck with finding someone. Would you like to keep in touch with an occasional email to see how each of us are doing in the market?” or something is better than nothing. I tend to text after a first meeting with “thanks for the ice cream, it was nice meeting you” and leave it open. Crickets in the night as a response is tacky. If you think things went great and say so, and I think not so much, I will say “I’m sorry, I’m just not feeling the chemistry, but I really appreciate meeting you. ” I generally try not to kick you in the balls for asking me out and not being the person of my dreams.

getting it in the nads

America’s Funniest Home Videos, summarized in one photo








10. Keep the PDA down until we are sure we are a “thing.” Asking “can I have a hug?” after the first – and possibly only- meeting is a bit pathetic. Diving in for tonsil wrestling is too forward. Either one will likely net you a spot on my blocked list.

public display of affection

Laying on one’s partner in public is considered too much PDA in some cultures


11. Deal wtih my cussing by cussing -lightly. Don’t worry, we can both cuss more as we get to know each other better.

Most of all, don’t be a troll, a bully, a jerk, a play-ah, a tease or an all around asshat. I will do my best to do the same.  

Don't be an asshat

Asshat. Don’t be one.







Officers Down

2 Topeka officers killed in the line of duty – responding to check out a suspicious vehicle car.

1 Missouri officer killed in the line of duty.

More and more and more. This has got to stop.

Blacked out bar

Hodgeman County, KS Badge – I was Undersheriff there, am still a deputy. In honor of the Topeka KS and other officers killed in the line of duty.





  • Charlotte Bacon, 6
  • Daniel Barden, 7
  • Olivia Engel, 6
  • Josephine Gay, 7
  • Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6
  • Dylan Hockley, 6
  • Madeleine F. Hsu, 6
  • Catherine V. Hubbard, 6
  • Chase Kowalski, 7
  • Jesse Lewis, 6
  • James Mattioli, 6
  • Grace McDonnell, 7
  • Emilie Parker, 6
  • Jack Pinto, 6
  • Noah Pozner, 6
  • Caroline Previdi, 6
  • Jessica Rekos, 6
  • Aviele Richman, 6
  • Benjamin Wheeler, 6
  • Allison N. Wyatt, 6


  • Dawn Hochsprung, 47
  • Rachel Davino, 29
  • Anne Marie Murphy, 52
  • Lauren Rousseau, 30
  • Mary Sherlach, 56
  • Victoria Soto, 27




There are no words to express my sorrow and horror at the events in Newtown, CT Friday.  A friend of mine perhaps said it best, so I repost her words. I trust she will understand.

Goddess Danu, Mother of All, help me to be of help.

Use me to comfort the comfortless; give me Your grace.

Make me peaceful and soothing, for I, too, am a

Mother. So Mote it Be.



Homeowner Woman Conquers Again!

Welcome to the never ending fun in the Annals of Homeowner Woman. Sadly, the first year and a half of Homeowner Woman was not fully documented, due to the brainpower constraints of Yours Truly. Now, that has been at least partially corrected with the assistance of Homeowner’s Daughter aka Goddess of All Webthings, Marketing, Blogging, Googling and SEO-ing stuffs. I will think of a clever acronym or something eventually.

In any case, moving along. Homeowner Woman was initially Single Apartment-Living Woman, who relied on the maintenance dudes to solve problems bigger than changing the light bulbs. Eventually, she began to learn primitive skills, such as picture hanging, refrigerator defrosting, and -near the end – changing the washers in faucets to fix drips.  I know. Amazing, right? 

SAL-Woman decided to go big, go bold. Buy a house. A duplex, anyway, but a house, not managed by a landlord, or a company, or another person. And without the help of any Homeowner Husband, Boyfriend, Spouse, Significant Other, or even nearby friendly neighbor trustworthy enough to be allowed in the HOW’s home.  No tools to speak of either, except a basic hammer, screwdrivers (one of each kind), pair of pliers and a few of those adorable and clever little compartmentalized boxes of things sold at Home Desperate and such – the hanging stuff collection, the hammering stuff collection, the screwing stuff collection. Those sound dirty. Truly, though, they keep HOW from becoming Cluttered Homeowner Woman, or CHOW. I think you, Dear Reader, can see a few reasons why CHOW would not be flattering.


Cute little girly  hardware kit





So we packed up the truck and moved to …Gardner, KS.  But still, it’s a decent-ish duplex,   more than big enough for me, the dog and the 3…4 cats. Early successes included moving in without breaking anything or any one. Getting rid of the boxes, and saving the important boxes like the one for the HDTV. Very important.  Getting rid of the 6000 bags of newspapers used to wrap stuff. Recycling this paper and those boxes, by the way. Go green.


Duplex. 1/2 a house.            Stunt double.





HOW successfully set up her HDTV and DVD player, including surround sound, without intervention by any XY chromosome-enabled humans. Granted, it took perhaps three times longer than it would have if an XY did it, and HOW had cleverly labeled each wire and plug, with its corresponding slot or plug in, prior to taking the system down at the apartment. And said previously put together system had been set up by HOW’s mechanically inclined son in approximately 15 minutes of work. But HOW did it. She pushed forward into the unknown lands. She set up and configured her wireless internet connection, including a new router. What wonders were this! She knew her own password for the wireless, for lo she had created it herself.


This did not happen


Other early successes came, like setting up the collapsible compost bin. One would think unfolding 4 sides of a cube, into a cube shape, and setting in on the ground would be easy. One would be wrong, if one were thinking of HOW.  A few small treelets were planted, to start giving shade to the vast open expanse of the back yard. Granted, such shade will only come after several years, but at least Yours Truly remembered to Call before She Dug. Advertising works. HOW also purchased, installed, and used a hose to water the treelets. Sadly, said hose was too short to reach the far end of the yard – and the compost bin, which required water. A second short hose was acquired and successfully joined with the first, solving the problem.


Call before you dig. Otherwise this could happen.




Later, as HOW became more adept at finding her way around the house without a map, she began experimenting with using tools. Tool Using Home Owner Woman (TUHOW). She was brave. Brave-ish. Pretended to her friends she was brave, and only reported on successes. Stop judging.  HOW hung pictures, and invited her Dear Old Dad to help with the big ones that were high on the vaulted ceiling-side wall. Dad enjoyed participating, and did a great job. He also helped hang the smaller gallery pictures in a neat grid pattern in the Mistress Bedroom, and gallantly pretended to be impressed that HOW had purchased a level, a T-square, and a yardstick to assist with the grid. HOW did not tell Dad she Googled it, but whatever.


Stunt double shower massager



HOW became courageous, and purchased a handheld Shower Massage thingie for the Mistress Bath. It sat neatly in the deadly plastic clamshell on the bathroom counter for months, as HOW eyed it guardedly. Put off by the nasty sharp teeth of the clamshell packaging, HOW did nothing but look at the directions, and “plan” to install the thing.  Finally, the Day of Installation came. HOW was off work for a period of time, and had already completed the other mundane tasks at the house. There were no more excuses. It was install or be ashamed forever. The time for being able to return the thing was nearing an end. HOW’s health insurance was possibly going to expire soon. It had to be done.  Carefully, using tree pruning snips, the pliers, and many colorful Anglo-Saxon farming terms, HOW extricated the foul beast from its lair. Once exposed, it’s long metal hose ominously curled on the floor, detached from its head and other connectors, the Thing looked even more scary than it had in its cocoon of heavy plastic. However, no blood had been shed and the cardboard sheet of directions was preserved, so HOW was pleased.


Stunt double bravely fighting clamshell packaging




The directions were spread on the floor and examined. They appeared to be written in HOW’s native language, and were accompanied by clever hieroglyphic drawings which seemed to give indication of how to reassemble the Thing and attach it to the Mistress Bath shower. First, the old shower head was removed, an easy enough process.  Then, HOW grasped the assembled Thing firmly about the neck and again about it’s rear-end attachment bit. Together, we approached the shower, and began installation.  Much to everyone’s surprise, HOW and the Thing’s especially, the Thing worked perfectly the first time. No sprays, nothing upside down. It just — worked.  HOW triumphantly threw the dreaded plastic clamshell, along with the directions, into the recycle bin, and proceeded to take a HAND HELD MASSAGE-Y shower.

Such went life for HOW for many months, tackling chores previously thought to be unattainable.  Wire shelving was purchased, and assembled, and loaded.  A misfiring dryer vent tube was rerouted and repaired – after some significant wrestling to move the dryer, and then impressive acrobatics by HOW to get into the tiny space behind the dryer to complete the quest. Duct Tape deserves an award for assisting in this repair job.  Advil and Ice also get honorable mention.  More trees, shrubs and even a rose bush were installed in the back yard, and did surprisingly well given the harsh conditions they faced in the summer. More bits of furniture were acquired, assembled, arranged, used.


Bad dryer hose, no biscuit



All of which brings you, Dear Reader, more or less to the Present Day. The handheld shower Thing had sprung a leak, at the attachment end. This resulted in spraying water on the ceiling of the shower enclosure, which HOW recognized would quickly lead to the ceiling texture coming down. That would lead to a giant mess in the bathroom, followed by an untimely need for a bathroom remodel, the likes of which HOW could in no way afford. Nearly simultaneously, HOW observed gaps around her doors, even when shut, which seemed to have appeared since the last winter. The weather having suddenly turned cold, this presented certain difficulties such as astronomical utility bills – even larger than the already large utility bills.  HOW pondered less than a day. The way ahead was clear. HOW went to the local hardware store, staffed by many informed locals, containing only a few aisles of necessities. This was a far different experience than HOW had at Home Desperate, where there were multitudes of aisles of every variety of thing, gadget, bit, part, materials, and other things, and said to be staffed by the mythical Sales Associate. 


Helpful Hardware Man


HOW bravely entered the hardware store, scanning the aisle labels. She quickly and efficiently located the plumbing aisle, and fended off a helpful sales-dude. HOW knew what she needed, and informed SD she was headed to get plumbing pipe tape. Perhaps this was the incorrect terminology, as SD pointed her to the correct aisle anyway, and identified the tape. HOW agreed this was what she was in search of, and obtained the necessary tape. She thanked SD, and went on about her search. She located the weather stripping section, identified and obtained the necessary material after only a few moments of reading the labels to determine the proper course of action. After returning home, HOW unattached the shower Thing, rapidly utilized the tape to bind it’s inner wounds, then reattached the Thing to it’s mooring. A quick check, and success was hers! HOW had stopped the Thing’s spewing fluids all over the Mistress Bathroom. 

Emboldened, HOW immediately moved on to the next task – filling the gaps between the doors and the outside. Bolstering her castle against the vagaries of the harsh environment known as Kansas. Fortifying her mansion to hopefully keep the lights on another few days each month. The weatherstripping was deceptively easy to install and use. Deceptive, because it did not take into account the actions of Cats. Cats, being small, furry, woodland and desert creatures, are naturally drawn to the Outdoors. To them, it is a mystical wonderland, glimpsed heretofore only through glass, or on brief, highly supervised outings in an enclosed area. 


Weatherizing hottie not included




Cats, seeing HOW with the Door to the Outside open, and HOW engaged  with the tantalizing Crinkly-Paper-Long-Thing CPLT), conferred. They decided to send one of their number to make a run for it, to see if she could attain Freedom in the Outside, while HOW was observed by the others, and occupied with her task.  The youngest of the Cats, Miss India Inkbottom, only 8 months old, was selected for her speed, her smaller size, her legendary acrobatic ability, and her solid blackness – all the better to hide in dark places, the others thought. India eagerly accepted, and watched HOW for a time, gauging her best course. 

not my cat

Stunt  Double Cat Escaping




As HOW bent to affix the last of the CPLT to the door frame, India took her opportunity. Vaulting nimbly from the stair case, across HOW’s back, through the Door, she was Outside. Quickly, she took off for the neighboring foliage, and disappeared, before HOW could so much as stand up and turn around. The other Cats watched from the stair case, hardly deigning to hide their sneers at how easily HOW’s defenses had been breached by the brave India. HOW was clever, though, and unlocked the door handle, before shutting the door in the faces of the Cats. Taking with her the remains of CPLT, including the inner spool, HOW obtained the Intriguing Long Stick from the back porch. ILS had been used to entertain Cats on the porch in the past, and might be useful in luring India back to the house.

cat toy

Upgraded version of ILS + CPLT device



HOW used her superior Cat tracker skills, and located India by the rustling in the dry foliage. The ILS with the CPLT attached to the end was deployed just outside India’s hiding place, and dragged ever-so-tantalizingly along the ground, twitching, twirling, teasing. The Cats had chosen their scout well, she had escaped in the blink of an eye. They had failed to account for her youth and curiousity, her inability to resist the new and interesting. This proved to be her downfall, as she emerged from hiding to chase the infernal device. HOW quickly nabbed the escapee, who complained bitterly to all who would listen. She was returned to the Inside, the the horror of her companions. HOW was merciful, however, and allowed India and the others to have some quality time inside with the ILS+CPLT device.   Mollified, they quieted down, and did not attempt to escape while HOW completed the second door.  Thus did HOW triumph on three fronts this day: Triumph over injury to the shower Thing, triumph over Cats, and victory over the invading elements of Outside.


Triumph! (Body Double)


Powerball, Voting, and Why I Want to Emigrate to Holland 11/30/2012

11/29/2012: So, yesterday was the big Powerball drawing. Something like $539 Million will ultimately be split between a winner in nearby Dearborn, MO, and one in Arizona somewhere. A bunch of other people across the country won $1 Million prizes, and who knows how many won smaller prizes. I, too, dropped $4 for 2 tickets – neither of which had any numbers matching the prize drawing. As I was waiting in line to purchase said tickets, at the local Casey’s store, I realized something both aggravating and disturbing.
The line for Powerball tickets was longer than the line was to vote on the Election Day less than a month ago. True, we had a rush at the polling site when we first opened, and again at lunch time. But, no one waited hours to vote. I think the longest anyone waited at my site was about 45 minutes, according to the voters. Hurray for early voting. What does it say about our society, though, that more people – by orders of magnitude – are willing to stand in a line to drop $2, $10, $100 or more on lottery tickets. The odds to winning the Big Deal were something like 175 million:1. The odds of voting for the winning president were approximately 1:2, giving that third parties were not very well represented in good ole Gardner, KS.
Voting is free, it is participating in our Participatory Democratic Republic system of governing. You have earned yourself at minimum the right to protest policies, participated in choosing the people who will choose the President, elected representatives who are supposed to “represent” your interests. Hence the name “representatives.” Sadly, those elected folks seem to think representing the goals, ideas and preferences of their constituencies are merely quaint provincial fairy tales placed on a pedestal. The real work of being in politics is to feather one’s own nest, and that of your cronies, and to ensure that absolutely nothing truly changes to benefit the great amoebic mass of homo sapiens in the country.
Powerball costs money, and gains you generally nothing except a piece of paper to clutter up the floorboards of your car for eons to come. It will sit there along with the soda straw wrappers, used kleenex, and giant piles of cat hair that fell off your shoes. Yet even educated, reasonably intelligent people like myself, who do understand the Lottery is merely a tax for people who are bad at math, stood on line and bought tickets. We did it knowing we were not going to win. We did it knowing it was stupid to even waste the $2 per ticket, when $2 will buy a 1/2 gallon of milk, almost. I can’t even begin to analyze the issues with people who are barely scraping by – like me – living paycheck to paycheck, almost literally flushing money down the toilet. Are we hopeless optimists, willing to wish upon a star, pray to the Diety of our choice, perform endless good luck rituals, whatever, for that 1: 175 million chance the Universe is listening and drops a giant wad of cash in our laps? Or are we just victims of advertising – whether paid, or hyped by our local and national news outlets?
If the latter, why in the world should political parties NOT engage in the tactics we see so prevalent these days. Only 6 companies (SIX) own the vast majority of media American’s come into contact with – newspapers, TV, cable, radio, magazines. The FCC is facing pressure from these companies and their friends to further de-regulate their industry, so companies can further consolidate power and influence, restricting the information Americans are allowed to get. Silvio Berlusconi style, single-handedly controlling access to knowledge, influence and coverage of events.
So, what is the answer? Mandatory voting? Regulation increases, rather than decreases, to ensure small and independent media has a chance? Overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which ruled Corporations are people, money is speech, and thereby selling our Country to the oligarchs like the Koch Brothers and Rupert Murdoch? All the above, in my humble opinion (go to to see more on this topic). Because, Dear Reader, losing $4 on the Powerball is not, in fact, equal in importance to the future of our nation and our children.
What would I have done with the money, had I been that lucky soul hit by lightning? After taking the lump sum payout, I would pay my fair share of taxes on the winnings. I would have set up off shore accounts to shelter the remaining funds, ensured trust funds would care for my children and loved ones for eternity, and then moved to the Netherlands where I can smoke dope and gad about Europe in the grand old style. I’d have done so because the vulture capitalists and the banksters already own our country, our government and our futures.
Those of us who call ourselves Progressives cannot hope to out perform them financially, to influence the future in a meaningful way, so long as “conservatism” means favoring the rich, powerful and elite ruling class in all legislation and policy. Progressives, or the “little people” as we may be called in the right wing dialect, are simply little cogs that allow the great machine of servicing the powerful to continue. Our country may well be doomed, if the banksters, the right wing religious fundamentalists, the so-called “Tea Partiers”, and the other far right fringe factions continue to dominate our state houses, our cities and local government, and the highest echelons of power. Electing a so-called Democratic president, who is actually more of a moderate, centrist Reagan Republican, only forestalls the inevitable. It might, at best, allow us to make the tiniest of dams to hold back the inevitable tide of change. I prefer to watch the collapse of the Dream that was America from a comfy seat I’ve got picked out in a much more liberal countryDutch immigration.
I’ll probably be able to play Lottery from there, too.