Monday, April 30, 2012

Transfiguration Today

What would your Patronus be?
Not to copy Hermione or anything, but I know my Patronus would be an otter. When I learned what a Patronus was, I instantly thought "OTTER!!" And then later in the book, when Hermione's turned out to be an otter, I was like "bitch...."  But I love Hermione and am similar to her in many ways, so I don't mind that we share a Patronus. I think hers is a river otter and mine is a sea otter, so we'd be able to distinguish between the two if there were ever a crisis.

What would your Animagus be?
A lion. I love lions, albeit fearfully. They are majestic creatures that fascinate me! I am a Leo through and through, and always wear a gorgeous lion-head ring with a ruby in its mouth that was my Dad's. I would love to be able to transform into a lion, and can think of several instances where it would come in handy...

What character are you most like?
As mentioned above, Hermione. I am bookish, bossy, was definitely a teacher's pet, and I am blessed with an academic mind. I get along best with boys, am loyal to my friends, and don't run from a fight. And I would totally have gone underground, and helped form Dumbledore's Army. She is flawed, but I love her. I can only hope we are as similar as I think....though there are moments when Eli will smile wryly and say "babe, you are so Hermione."

I have a little bit of Luna Lovegood oddity in me as well, and Ginny's fiery temper and sassiness. 

Who are your least favorite characters?

Bellatrix Lestrange.
She killed my love, Sirius Black! I just hate her, which is a credit to Rowling's writing. She is so insanely foul, joyful in her wickedness, and just so menacing! And she has this weird sexual tension with Voldemort, which is wrong on several levels. Let's be honest-- they probably had twisted, evil sex at some point. In a cemetery. 

Her cough. Those cardigans. The cats. Her simpering immorality. Ew. Hate that bitch.

Gross. He should have stayed a rat and died in a sewer. He had too nice a death after the kind of life he lived, the people that he hurt. I've noticed that I have this bizarre quirk: when I am very disgusted with someone's behavior, I subconsciously associate them with Wormtail!! I only recently realized that I do this. Weird, huh?

Favorite Magical Creatures
Pygmy Puffs (I want one!!), Boggarts (oh the lessons we could learn from them) and...well, House Elves shouldn't really be classified as Creatures because they are so similar to humans (see, I'm going all Hermione again!! S.P.E.W. my friends!).

Who Would You Chill With at Hogwarts?
Definitely not Cho Chang. Skank.
I could hang with Ginny, but I would get sick of her boy-crazy escapades pretty damn quick, and Ron is just so temperamental... I imagine I would make the rounds like Harry-- little sessions with Dumbledore, eating chocolate with Lupin, wasting a rainy afternoon with Hagrid over dandelion juice and rock cakes, and ending my evenings in the Gryffindor common room, cozied up by the fire with a book and pumpkin pasty.

Favorite villain:
Severus Snape. Because he is a villain, even though he isn't. And his death scene brings me to my knees every time.
Also, I love love love Alan Rickman.

Favorite professor:
McGonagall. Pure badass, and looks good doing it. I adore her!!!! And when shit goes down at the Battle of Hogwarts and she is all shazaaaam!!! it just confirmed what I already knew. She is the best. And the fact that Maggie Smith did her pure justice in the movies makes it that much sweeter.

And on that sugary note, this concludes today's Harry Potter post.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Female Paul Revere

First off, I don't have anything against oldy Pauly baby.
He was fabbity rabbity. I even have, sitting in my cubicle, an antique blue and white Paul Revere teacup and saucer! Yes.

And he served America well, though I think he should be more renowned for his artwork (engravings and prints). He actually did this famous rendition of the Boston Massacre:

But he was an adult--41 at the time of his ride--and a man. Which was a safer gender to be, back in the day. There was a girl 25 years younger than him that did the same thing, and rode TWICE as far as Revere, and she needs a helluva lot more credit!!!

And so, I present to you, a poem written by yours truly. Dedicated to Miss Sybil Ludington.
Disclaimer: I am no Longfellow.

Paul Revere in a Dress. By Mare.

Listen my friends as I tell of a lass
Who could hand Paul Revere his sorry ass.
Few know the tale of this young dear
That made a trip superior to Revere,
but has been neglected as time has passed.

Her name was Sybil Ludington, she was sixteen
And daughter of a Colonel in the Revolutionary time.
Though young, she had the spirit of a Marine
and vowed to give all to aid her country’s climb.
She had no North Church, no signal light
But when her family heard of a British attack
she jumped from her bed and into flight
to warn the countryside from horseback.

She ran outside, out into the rain
And onto her horse to spread the alert
She battled the elements, the night, the terrain
Determined to spread the warning word.
The moon rose high to light the road
as to Mahopac she rode southward,
Cutting fields and across where a spring flowed
Musing on the colonizers she abhorred.

From Danbury, Connecticut, she saw the fire
as the British burned the town.
She whispered a prayer her mare would not tire
And shivered in her drenched nightgown.
Miles and miles she doggedly rode
Calling out to the militia to rise.
In the distance the fiery Storehouses glowed
As Sybil increased her cries.

There were British soldiers and Loyalists in the area
Sybil had to get around to succeed.
And she did so without hysteria,
Navigating shortcuts on her steed
She avoided capture as she spread the word.
North to Stormville she now turned,
her body aching, her eyes blurred,
But still her devoted patriotism burned,
and she rode on.

At one point she was offered help,
Which she eschewed
By a man who would ride alongside her.
She nodded, said, “I’ve got this, dude”
And sent him to warn those in Brewster.
The militia gathered at her father’s house
And went off to fight their foe.
If it hadn’t have been for Sybil’s rouse,
well, for that we’ll never know.
The militia couldn’t save Danbury,
the fire was too far gone,
But because of the warning and their hurry
They got their foe on the run.

As for Sybil, that badass chick,
She rode forty miles that night.
That’s twice as much as Revere, that brick,
Who gets credit because he’s a guy.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Losing It All.

I just got home from work, stripped out of my professional clothes in a snap, cracked open a Heineken, and here I am. I'm all worked up and need to write it out.

To me, there are only two things in this world you cannot lose.
You can lose it all--everything--your family, job, money, objects, hair, clothes, the polish off of your toenails, even your eyesight, but you still have your memory, and your education.
And the latter is quite truly part of the former.

My greatest fear in the entire world is losing my memory. Because lets be honest--once that is gone, what's the point? Your memories are what make you who you are, and the knowledge that you are creating new ones every second of every day is what makes life worth living.

I am horrified at the mere existence of Alzheimer's. There are worse things in this world, but I can't think of any at this moment. I'd rather have my arm cut off, frankly.

Today I realized that my boss has Alzheimer's. And it is rapidly getting worse.
I wondered how well he would function at his age (late 60s), but he is smart as a whip and catches even the most minor of mistakes a lot of the time.
But he has all of the symptoms. It is heartbreaking to watch.
He can't remember a conversation that was had 5 minutes ago, and he gets incredibly stressed and upset when you try to re-explain it to him, or say "don't you remember...?"

His beautifully tailored clothes were delivered to the office and I was keeping them in a back closet for him. I reminded him several times where they were, showed him where they were, even laid them out for him to take home. Today he saw them hanging in the closet and proceeded to have a temper tantrum -- "WHY WASN'T I TOLD THAT MY CLOTHES HAD ARRIVED? WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THEY WERE BACK HERE???"

All day I had been gradually realizing that he has Alzheimer's. And it depressed me. How can you tell a person they need to be examined for a thing like that? So when he unloaded on me I only once said "I told you about them." And then I apologized to him.
I am going to confer with someone else in the office about speaking with him about it. I think some part of him must know what is going on, but he is in denial. Both of his parents had Alzheimer's and it is a highly genetic disease. He is in the key age group. He has all of the symptoms and has been dismissing them for months as "stress."  He is very prideful of his health and this is going to be the lowest blow someone could deal to him.

Whew...I just had to get that out. Today has been terrible. Besides all of the horrors of memory loss, I had to lug 3 giant paintings in ridiculously ornate frames up and down 5 flights of stairs and out to the dumpster, and 2 spiders live fell on me today (one inside of my blouse).

The highlight of my day was that while I was out running silly errands for my boss (getting his watch fixed, buying hair gel) I got to drive through Sugarhouse, my old stomping grounds!! I lived there all through college and it is my favorite part of Salt Lake.
And who should I see but an old hippie philosophy professor that I happen to love, a man that can be seen leaning against buildings with a cigarette glued to his lip like Bogart, discussing Hilberg and Nietzsche off-the-cuff, a man that refuses to go anywhere without his beloved books, carrying 2 dozen of them in canvas bags (a man after my own heart!!).This causes his already hunched frame to droop even more, much like his drooping, bushy moustache.

Eli has great seats to the Jazz game tonight, but I am just too fatigued to deal with a screaming crowd right now. I will take a bath, a book, and some Lucille Ball to fill my well again.
And a prayer that I will never, ever, lose the memories that I cherish.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

When your boss tells you you're fat

Hopefully that day never comes for me.
For two of my co-workers, that time was today.
One of them is only slightly bigger than me! I'm curvy, but not fat, not really..


Today was a beast. This whole week actually.
On Monday I wore some cute new shoes and, as is the curse with most cute shoes, they destroyed my feet, which is not very difficult to do actually. I have the worst kind of feet--flat, sensitive, prone to twists and sprains, and more of a 3/4 size than anything.
But I can handle mean shoes, especially in comparison with the worst part of my Monday; an old history pal of mine committed suicide. I can't even talk about it.
The IBS I have that is stress triggered has a bit of a delay, so the stress from hearing about my friend hit me on Tuesday and left me bloated and just...not in a happy digestive state.

So Tuesday found me in flats and my loosest dress pants.
My boss, The Boss, just couldn't help himself. 
"Get your damn pants tailored!!! Where are your legs? Why aren't you wearing high heels??!"

And so, today, a sleek new lavender dress, my damn nylons, and cute (uncomfortable) pumps.
He didn't say a word. Well, outfit-wise at least.

He had his fangs out all day! Everyone in the office was on eggshells and asking me to conduct their business with them because no one wanted to even cross the threshold into his office, AKA The Pit of Despair. I was the messenger, and The Boss doesn't believe in that saying "Don't kill the messenger."
I was timidly choking that phrase out today, after he threw a microphone at my coworker, and he looked a me, venom in his eyes, and I stopped short.

But I can only stand by and take it so much. Then my fangs come out. And my fangs have some pretty good girth to them, due to years of exercise. They are the most exercised feature on my body! Ha.

But going fang-to-fang with your boss is tricky...anyone who has seen one of those tacky vampire movies knows that.

So I kept it subtle..and sweet---sugared fangs, if you will.

When he snapped at me "WHERE YOU BORN IN A BARN??"
I smiled innocently and wide-eyed at him and said
"No...I was just raised in one."

At the end of the day he bestowed a gift upon me... his iPad.
No, not for keeps. He wanted a new protective cover put on it, and then for me to deliver it to his home. He waited until the end of the day to tell me, knowing it would make me work late and get stuck in traffic.
Oh, the price I pay for my wit.
It goes unappreciated, but not unpunished.

And coming out of SimplyMac I twisted my ankle (in those f$#%i%g high heels!).

I made a stop at my local haven, AKA the liquor store, on my way home.
No surprise, I ran into another co-worker who had been driven to drink by the day we both had.
Smiles were exchanged, words unnecessary.

I finally got home and was reaching into the cupboard for the appropriate drink supplies and the god-damned metal martini shaker came crashing 5 feet down onto my pinkie toe (on the twisted ankle).
I think it is broken.

This was taken 15 minutes after the fact.

But...the workweek is winding down. And my favorite flower in the world is in bloom.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Non Sequiters

Did you hear... Wal-Mart is being investigated for a bribery scandal!? They may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which is no mean feat.

I have an impromptu potted herb garden! When Eli and I sit out on the patio I munch off of my edible little plant friends.

I am counting down the minutes until my Spicy Green Curry arrives for a delicious lunch.

Mel Gibson went on an anti-Semitic rant...again. Is anyone surprised? It was recorded and now Mel is up in arms, claiming that releasing the audio to the public violates his "basic human right" to privacy.
I don't even need to state my response to this hypocrisy--we're all thinking it.

It is hot in Salt Lake. And the air conditioner at our apartment is broken, of course. "Maintenance is on the way!" is not reassuring when you live in a sweat box and they can't give you any sort of time frame.

I love the show Dorm Life, on YouTube, WAY too much.
They are selling George Washington's own copy of the Acts of Congress, printed for his first year as president. It has Washington's personal annotations in it. WTF?!
I have one of those dreadful post-nasal drip drip drips going on.  Maybe the curry will help.

19 minute phone holds suck. They suck bad. Thank you, Delta Airlines.

Intelligent, self-driving cars are going to be a reality soon--and hit the roads! This scares the hell out of me; as if we weren't dependent enough upon technology. The robots are going to take over...

I have a deep love for office supplies. And organization. Even though I'm not really..ahem..organized. I believe in DISorganization: Things aren't neat, but I (most likely) know where they are!
If only I could transfer my office managing skills to our poor little apartment...AKA the Cluttered Heap We Live In.

So they're having a Titanic festival in Belfast, where they built the ship. Normal.
Not normal? They're having a concert, hosted by MTV, on the slipways where the Titanic was launched.

Curry is here! That is all for now!

Monday, April 23, 2012

let's wag another tale!!

Guys, do you remember Wishbone?
That amazing children’s show that was on PBS in the mid-to-late 1990s?? I miss it!! It was the best. A little Jack Russell terrier that draws parallels between his teenage owner’s life problems and classic literature, and RE-ENACTS FAMOUS NOVELS WITH HIMSELF AS THE PROTAGONIST (costumes included). It does not get any better.
He covered A Tale of Two Cities (I cried), Phantom of the Opera, The Odyssey, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Time Machine, The Prince and the Pauper, and many many others. It was intense.
Here we have Wishbone dressed as Robin Hood!

And Romeo....
Wishbone not only affirmed my love of books, he proved that being cute and smart is possible and badass. And he had some hysterical one liners! Wishbone was the John McClane of dogs...with more education.

I saw this video on Funny or Die that is a funny remake of the trailer,

 showing Wishbone covering literature that is a little more racy... love it.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dental Implant Removal

Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles!!!
Yes, this is an occasion to quote Fiddler on the Roof because it is really, truly, a miracle.

I just have to share my exciting news very quickly ------
My surgery was yesterday, they removed the last post and.. I am already feeling extraordinarily better!
This confirms that the entire problem was a
severe allergy. I have health issues, yes, but I am not in as bad a shape as I thought; the majority of my symptoms that have left doctors clueless (oh, the agony of being a "medican mystery") over the last half a year can be traced back to those damn implant posts!

Over the last 6 months I've had:
--severe constant ache/pain at the implant site
--muscle/joint aches
--constant headache that often became a migraine
--Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
--Frequent nausea (sometimes to the point of dry heaving)
--Severe swelling of the face (my left cheek, near the implant site)

When I woke up from surgery yesterday, even through the bright blur of the drugs, my first though was My headache is GONE. I've had this headache SOLID for the last month. We were very nearly friends, I knew that headache so well. I could always depend on it being there.

I came home from surgery and crashed for a few hours, took my Percocet, and was shocked at how energetic I felt (those drugs usually make me a vegetable, or a sleeping vegetable). The pain in my jaw was gone! Even after having surgery on it mere hours before! All of the above symptoms are dwindling away. Today I marvelled at how the swelling I've had for 2 months on my cheek is almost gone (pictures to come).

I cannot believe I've been living in this much misery for this long, all caused by this simple allergy to nickel/bismuth/atrimony. Thank God it was diagnosed and I got those posts OUT!
I feel like a new woman.

Now time to go watch some old Bette Davis movie, ice my face, zone out on painkillers, and smile...because I can fully smile now without it being painful, or my face looking dreadfully lopsided.

Special shout out to my hubby, family, and bestie Torie for being by my side (in FaceTime spirit, ha ha) for these difficult months.

Oh frabjous day!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Implant Post Allergy

This is a Tale of Two Implants.

Because of my childhood cancer (long story for another day...or month!), on the bottom left side of my mouth I haven't had teeth. For like 15 years. And the bone on the half of the jaw was taken from my leg (the fibula) so it is verrrrry little and thin and generally fragile (Translation: no sports for Mare).
So last February I had a bone marrow graft from my hip into that weak jawbone, to prepare it to get some implants so I can eventually have fake teeth. This procedure was not cosmetic at all--you can't even tell the teeth are missing--it is to secure the remaining teeth on the bottom of my mouth because they are starting to lose gum tissue without anything there to protect them, and I obviously don't want perfectly healthy teeth falling out like dominoes.
So, February 2011--bone marrow graft. Youch. Then in July he went back in and put some posts deep into the bone, took a graft from my palette (roof of my mouth) and laid that over the top so it healed over and my gums were solid again. A few months later, he punctured through the gums to get to the posts (now healed and looking perfect on x-rays), and added another attachment piece.

Everything was going according to plan, and the only pain I was having was normal (from getting cut open and such). Until... November 2011. He added the external post attachments--2 little titanium rods that screwed into the internal device. And then the false teeth go on top of these and I would be done with the whole process. These little guys looked like this ------.>

For the first few weeks, everything seemed fine. I felt a little more tired than usual, but figured I was just recovering from the surgery.And then the swelling started.

First it was between my last real tooth and the first post--a little knot of irritated gums. I went to the oral surgeon and he was concerned with this abscess because it got very nasty very quickly and we were worried about an infection disrupting the implant site.
He took a biopsy, it just showed an infection, and I had surgery to remove it and 2 bouts of antibiotics (which completely killed my stomach!).

But still I was getting a constant ache around the implants. I figured they were taking a while to heal.

And then, just a few weeks later, another infection. My cheek/gums were so swollen that they began to wrap around the post and even start growing over the top, and I was struggling to literally pry the skin off of the posts so I could clean around them and prevent another infection.
I was thinking what the hell is going on?! because I had never had an issue with any part of the process and then suddenly, 2 painful infections.

Again, surgery to cut out the infection and a ridiculous amount of antibiotics, me writhing on the floor from stomach pain (I have serious digestive issues and a sensitive tummy).

My surgeon was thrown off by why I was suddenly getting these infections and everyone kind of assumed I must not be keeping the area very clean. I asked him about the possibility of me being allergic to the posts, but he didn't think that was plausible because the external posts are the same material as the internal pieces, and those never bothered me.
I explained to him that I am highly allergic to nickel--if I wear nickel earrings or belt buckles I have a severe rash within 30 minutes, and yet I have nickel inside of my body--in my heart, actually, and that has never given me a problem.
He dismissed my concerns, saying "I have never had a patient or heard of a patient in my 30 years doing this with an allergy to titanium." 

I bought a WaterPik and used his rotten prescription mouthwash (which stains your teeth brown--lovely side effect!) and obsessively tended to my mouth, but it kind of stopped healing at all.
It hurt all the time, to the point where you just stop mentioning it or complaining because you think people won't believe you, and they are just sick of hearing it. I learned to live with it.
It was a constant throbbing on the left side of my mouth and I struggled to stop taking Lortab. I literally needed it all day every day if I wanted to function. And I felt exhausted all of the time. I would need to load up on B vitamins or a 5 hour energy to make it through the work day and then I would get home and collapse. I also had a bunch of other illnesses, and just felt shitty 80% of the time, and in pain 100% of the time. Not a fun way to live, friends.

I expressed my concerns about having an allergy to my hubby and my family, but we figured an allergic reaction would come across as different than the bizarre swelling/infections/constant pain that I was suffering through. Personally I thought it must be some kind of allergy, but when I called my allergist about a test, he asked if I had been referred by a doctor (nope) and later let me know they didn't test for metal allergies and that there are few doctors who do. So I let it go until...

A third infection!! The third one in 2 months. The second post was completely swollen over so you couldn't see it anymore. I cannot express the frustration! This time the oral surgeon decided to take that second post out. His reasoning was that my cheek on the left side is extra fatty and has some scar tissue in it, so it was rubbing on the post more than regular cheek skin should. So we decided I would only have one post, and therefore one fake tooth. I was very disappointed but would do anything to get rid of the infection and the pain. Desperation kicked in.

That surgery was over Easter, just 2 weeks ago. Before I went under I asked him AGAIN "what if this is an allergy to the posts?" He repeated that he has never seen it (there is a first time for everything buddy). He didn't advise I get tested, or refer me to anyone. He kind of shrugged it off.

And although he cut out the swelling and part of my cheek and stitched it all back up, a few days later the vicious cycle began again.
This time, I'm proud to say, I fought through recovery without Lortab. Yes, it was a challenge (it still is), knowing that I have a full bottle in my purse and I can take away all my pain here and now.

So there I am, with one post, more pain, more swelling, and things looking not better from the removal of the 2nd post, but worse.
I called up my insurance and began the hunt for an allergist that does the metal testing.
There is one. ONE. in the Utah valley.
And they don't accept insurance, but if you want to try you have to do the Medical Review Board thing. WTF?!?!
So I went the natural route (and thank God). I saw a Naturopath and he did some kind of electro-something test on me (I don't remember the exact term, but it was not ElectroDermal).
 It was the coolest.thing.ever.  You hold these two metal rods that are connected to a machine, and the machine is connected to the computer, and basically it runs electrical waves through your body and detects imbalances and health problems in detail (it came up with my exact teeth that have infections, my various food allergies, everything).
This test revealed that I am heavily allergic to nickel (which I knew), as well as bismuth and antimony (2 metals very common in alloys).

I called the oral surgeon, told him as much, and told him to get his ass in gear and contact the implant manufacturer to see exactly what are in my posts.
He called me this morning and SURPRISE! They are not 100% titanium, they have quite a bit of nickel and alloys (probably bismuth and atrimony).

I felt justified, and angry, and not very surprised. I kind of thought it was an allergy all along, and I am peeved with myself that I didn't seek out the test sooner (I tried, but gave up when it became difficult).
And...this metal allergy has been putting some toxicity into my body and causing a lot of the other problems I have been having, namely the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I've been diagnosed with.
The oral surgeon didn't apologize, or acknowledge that I was right all along.
He scheduled me for surgery tomorrow in the morning to get the other post out ASAP, because it is making me so sick.

I have been mad about it all day. All of these surgeries (the 3 previous ones, tomorrow's, and the future one to get new implants, made of a different metal) were totally preventable.
All of the antibiotics that wiped out my stomach lining (the previous bout gave me colitis) were unnecessary. The pain was unnecessary.

The great news coming out of something this crappy is that we know what is wrong. So we can treat it, and I can get better, and eventually get new posts, and 2 teeth!!
And lesson learned: if I suspect something, I should follow my instincts instead of letting someone who is "qualified" falsely reassure me. I know my body better than anyone, renowned doctor or not.
Lesson 2: Naturopathy is badass, and shouldn't just be an alternative to traditional medicine.

So under the knife tomorrow I go, and it is only downhill from there!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Stock Market

I ended up in finance, somehow. At least for now.
Me, the history nerd that devours books like a beast, loves art and tea, gets nervous around large amounts of money,
that despises math and science and has to have the economy explained to her on a monthly basis.
“How do mortgages work?” I ask The Dude (my husband) frequently.
“How do you get money out of the Stock Market? How do you know when? But then why put it in? Why is it so intangible” I’ve been asking my Dad the last decade.

I am the executive assistant to an investment firm’s President/Founder, and also help our COO.
It is very Devil Wears Prada. I am given 2 dozen impossible tasks in one sitting, sometimes have to pull the broccoli out of my boss’s lunch because they got the order wrong and I don’t have time to pick up a fresh one, have phone conversations with presidential candidates, and decline his tickets for The Masters.
My boss, who shall remain nameless, is like the brilliant professor that can cure polio but can’t tie his own shoes.

His socks, by the way, are cashmere and always match his shirt and/or tie. True story. He will ask me to do things for him that would take him less time if he did them himself, especially considering my workload. Sometimes he brings me his water bottle with a sad little look on his face and says “it’s empty. I’m thirsty.” As if he is required to hike 30 miles in the desert to get more water.
I take the bottle, go to the break room, get out our refrigerated case of Fiji (just for him—he doesn’t like the “taste” of any other waters) and he will watch me pour fresh water into his bottle (which actually wasn’t empty, by the way). A lot of people would find this frustrating, and on occasion I bite my tongue to keep from taking him by the hand and saying very gently “honey, put on your Big Boy Pants and do it yourself. It is really quite easy. Especially considering that the only other thing you will be doing for the next hour is deciding what color Hermes pocket square you want to order next.” But I don’t.
It is like babysitting a small child. A genius small child that can multiply your investments in a matter of years, but still…. It is teaching me patience. I am on the verge of becoming Zen.

I go to meetings nearly every day and scribble notes and action items like a maniac, things about our new REIT candidate, ROTHs versus regular IRAs (ROTHs are better, though it would take me a while to explain why to you), foreign stock investing and what emerging markets are reaching their peak, the benefits and drawbacks of small cap funds, and how to secure retirement income.
98% of the time they are speaking Swahili to me (up until a week ago, in my notes, REIT was Reete) but I am starting to kind of get it, and that is encouraging. Maybe one day (soon hopefully) I will be comfortable investing my own money and drawing up trusts and stuff like that.
I really enjoy the challenges here, the atmosphere, the camaraderie, and the fact that every day is different and unexpected--who knew I would have a knack for handles multiple crises??

Some of the financial advisors will come up to me suddenly and demand “HOW IS THE MARKET DOING?!” and I panic. I made the mistake before of saying “it is up” because on YahooFinance the green arrow was pointing up and it looking very friendly and promising and, well, increasing!
 When I told the advisor that he said “what?! Really?!” and checked for himself and then went into a round of expletives that don’t deserve repeating.
I am going to hang up my favorite Michelangelo quote in my cubicle:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Diary of Anders Breivik

Oslo after the attack of July 2011.
This absolutely broke my heart. I have spent some time in Olso--gorgeous harbor city--and have 2 former roommates near and dear to my heart that both live there. 

The guy that caused this
is a complete nut job, this we know.
He looks like this:

Before he was a psychotic murdering bastard....

And after.
A bit eerie, right?

He says he did it because he was
protecting Norway from Islamification.
Norway!! Islamification! Is it just me or does he sound like a crazy fundamentalist Tea-Partying American?! One of those who stereotypes and condemns all Islamists based on the small radical, dogmatic faction of them (that have only come to be in the last couple decades) instead of the monotheistic religion that believes in loving and serving God (gee, that sounds like Christianity!! The word “Islam” actually translates to “voluntary submission to God”) and has been around a couple thousand years.  Yes, “Jihad” is one of their six pillars of faith, but it originally and actually refers to the internal struggle against temptation (sinfulness, the devil, etc.) and not bombing non-Muslims.

The term "Jihad" has been tainted by militarized Islamists, kind of like how Hitler took the swastika and turned it from an ancient symbol used by numerous cultures (Buddhists, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, Celts, Native Americans) to signify well-being, luck, peace, and magic, into a terrifying thing that now means something else entirely.

As we know, Anders Breivik is a complete nutter. He is a pudgy, smirking, self-righteous, intensely focused nutter that thinks it is acceptable to bomb a public street, and then go to a Labour Party youth camp to gun down more, killing 77 people (Norwegians!!) to protect them from Islam. Yep, killing your countrymen is going to keep a non-radical culture that isn’t even trying to take over from getting them.
Makes complete sense, right (can you tell I’m rolling my eyes as I say this)?

He also says he is a member of the ancient secret society Knights Templar and his deadly act was an “anticommunist” (WTF?!?!) resistance to multiculturalism (which, in brief, is integrationist philosophy—the whole “melting pot” ideal that has kept cultures alive in our modern world).

In his own words, what he did was "the most sophisticated and spectacular political attack in Europe since World War II" and something he would not hesitate to do again "because offenses against my people and my fellow partisans are as many ways as bad." Um..okey dokes, that make any sense to you?
Of course he believes Islam is substandard to Christianity and that it cannot co-exist with the democracy of the West (kind of sounds like Herman Cain…).

He won’t plead guilty because what he did was a “necessity.” Man, this guy scares the poop out of me! He actually wrote a f*($^*&g insane Manifesto that this book is part of (don’t read this after 7pm, you will not sleep, for terror that people that actually think this way are living in your world).

Brievik is so systematic in his thinking (and writing) and comes across as highly educated (making him appealing to those who aren’t) and in these ways, among others, he reminds me of Hitler.
I’ve read some of his journal entries years before his attack and they go something like this:
“I am required to build a capital base in order to fund the creation of the compendium. I don’t know if I will ever proceed with a martyrdom operation at this point as it simply seems too radical. My plan A is to attempt to acquire 3 million Euro, in which case I plan to establish a pan-European organizational platform that will attempt to grow organically as a support organization which will distribute a “legal version” of the compendium.If I fail to generate the specified amount I will move forward with the operation, in order to market the compendium that way.”

“I just bought Modern Warfare 2, the game. It is probably the best military simulator out there…”
“It’s a shame I have to purge my 5000 Facebook contacts. It took so much time and work to acquire all those contacts and I get the feeling I’m purging a little piece of my life, lol. But I did get what I came for after all; every individuals email address.It is still too snowy and cold to initiate the acquirement phase (acquirement of weaponry and armour etc)...”

The month of the attack: “I wonder if it is possible to acquire specialized "aggressiveness" pills on the market. It would probably be extremely useful in select military operations, especially when combined with steroids and ECA stack...! It would turn you into a superhuman one-man-army for 2 hours!<3”

The diary has comprehensive details on how he planned everything, built his bombs, etc. (I don’t think that they should have allowed the bomb-building part to be published online, for obvious reasons). Brievik planned this for about a decade. And was very precise and strategic and patient in his preparation…like Hitler. He also had no fear of losing his life (like Hitler) and didn’t plan on surviving the attack.
He scares all hell out of me. I'm not a huge fan of the death penalty in most cases but...we know he did this  purposefully (and the diary entries are evidence of extensive planning and determination to carry it out), band still believes it was right (and would do it again). We need to get rid of him so he can't do it again. After all, Ted Bundy escaped prison to murder more women, and he seems a bit dopey compared to Brievik.

Monday, April 16, 2012

remains of the day: The Titanic

Can you believe it has been 100 years?

Why are we still engrossed? Admittedly there is the fact that Titanic was the iPhone of its time, if you will—the hottest improvement to existing technology that everybody was talking about. Bad metaphor, I know, but imagine in 1912 something as astonishing, matchless, and formidable as the Titanic and what she symbolized (the Edwardian Era and all that--read about it here).

She was crushing in her size (which makes the whole notion that she could “conquer the ocean” understandable), and so plush and luxurious in her trimmings…What an intriguing and appealing combination to people! We are so used to this idea today, the result of cruise ships, but Titanic was the first of this kind of ship, and before her ocean travel was uncomfortable and strenuous—a trial to be endured, not a journey to be savored.  Then there’s the fact that she went down on her maiden voyage, which is just horrifying, to be honest.

If she had sunk after 5 years of service, or even a few runs across the Atlantic, that would be one thing, but when you imagine this gorgeous, carpeted, majestic ship blazing with light dipping into the ocean, icy sea water washing over the spanking new porcelain, the elaborate wood carvings, and reaching out to swallow the ladies of 1st Class, swathed in furs and dripping in jewels…well that is a damn good story, and the fact that it is true makes it even better.
But when it gets down to it, I think the real gut behind our human obsession is the wealth. Plenty of bad happens to the impoverished, and quite frequently, but it doesn’t get near as much attention as stories like this.
There are probably those that get a kind of sadist delight when the rich suffer indiscriminately, and the rich themselves are undoubtedly sickened by the reality that it could happen to them too, and all of us in the middle consider it a slice of life that validates the fact that death does not discriminate. And that Mother Nature should not be questioned because she’ll break your shit.

And yes, humans are a bit morbid in that we like disasters. And what makes the story of the Titanic that much better is the fact that there were survivors that witnessed the excruciating sinking and were able to tell the stories that are now locked into the collective memory of history—of the ignored warnings of icebergs, the Marconi operators using the new “SOS” signal to no avail, the band playing up until the very end, the outline of the rising ship against the starry sky.. It made it more real than if nobody had survived to tell the tale.
And, of course, the fact that once she went under, she disappeared for 73 years, the wreck not being discovered (despite much searching) until 1985. And then those ghostly images of the wreck, rivers of rust flowing over the once glossy woodwork, albino ratfish swimming past chandeliers, and spindly crabs clinging to Baroque fireplaces. It is just incredible.

And, most haunting of all, the places where bodies should be, because of the leather shoes that survived (due to chemical preservatives) and their positioning on the sea floor.
Recently, an image was captured that would suggest a partial human remain, and there is a conflict on whether or not a portion of it should be sample for DNA tests (to identify the body), if possible. It sure looks like...part of a leg, doesn't it?

I’m just relieved that it took so long to find the Titanic, and that the technology to do so didn’t exist until decades after, so that the bodies were entirely gone. Can you imagine..?
It is also a stroke of luck that she lies in the Mariana trench, deep within the sea, so that attempts to raise her have been easily squashed.

These images do no justice to just how huge the piece is--my head didn't even come up to the porthole. It is massive, 25x15 feet.

I’m fine with recovering some artifacts here and there—I have seen them myself several times—and they truly bring history and the tragedy to life. Last time I was in Las Vegas I went to the display in the Luxor and it was incredible. The best part was seeing The Big Piece, which put the size of the ship into perspective for me like nothing ever had before. My heart was palpitating just looking at it and I was literally shaking as I restrained myself from reaching out to touch it (ropes and signs everywhere forbidding this). I can’t describe how I felt stranding in front of it, after years of loving and researching my heart out for the Titanic. It was rewarding and heartbreaking and tremendous in so many ways.

In Defense of Ann Romney

Not that she needs it, and others have already rushed to her aid, but I want to say my part anyway.

I’m not sure if CNN contributor Hilary Rosen was doing the whole women hating women thing, or just resentment because of Ann Romney’s wealth and status, but come on. We’ve got to stick together!
Saying that wife to presidential candidate Mitt Romney "never worked a day in her life," undermines motherhood. And that is just not cool.
Being a “little wife” is a stereotyped that has gripped us since the 1950s—that a stay-at-home-mom’s day is:

Get up, make breakfast for husband and child. Pack lunch for child. Kiss both, send them off.
Get back in bed, sleep in.
Take a bath, read a gossip magazine.
Bake a cake.
Manicure nails, have lunch.
Curl hair, put on lipstick.
Go visit neighborhood girlfriends. Gossip, drink cocktails.
Go to grocery store, come home, toss something in the oven.
Vacuum something.
Watch television.
Have another cocktail.
Collect child from school, send them to do homework or relax in living room with them and engage in calm, wholesome conversation.
Husband comes home. Give him cocktail, serve dinner.
Pop dishes in dishwasher.
More cocktails.
Read unimproving literature, watch television.
Put on a sexy little nightie and crawl into bed for 10 hours of beauty rest.

(which reminds me of these hysterical Anne Taintor Vintage Revisited pieces that I love)

Get real. These pigeonholes leave out the heavy amount of work involved in both housework and tending to a child, or multiple children. There are the dishes lying depressingly in the sink, scads of laundry waiting to be done, cooking is time-consuming and tricky, and I won’t even go into the mothering part. Not being a mom myself, I can’t really speak from direct experience. But I can testify as a witness to all of the moms I know. I have 3 nephews and 2 nieces and seeing the mothers of these kids take care of them—even when I can pitch in and help them—is enlightening. Parenthood is the most challenging thing in the world, perhaps because there is no “right way” and “wrong way” (besides the obvious feeding the kids, and not smacking them around), although the myriad of books on the subject preach otherwise. There are so many situations that are unpredictable and morally conflicting and what do you say when a 4 year old looks up at you with teary eyes, lips quivering, and says “does the Easter Bunny exist? Why are there plastic eggs upstairs if the bunny is supposed to bring them?” Damn! It’s hard! And unending. Once a parent, you are always a parent. It gets into your blood and your instincts and every cry from a child, even if it isn’t yours, is gut-wrenching and sets your heart going.

So yes, Ann Romney may have had maids and nannies and wealth to help her along in this most difficult of life’s challenges, but Ann gave birth to and raised 5 kids. FIIIIIIVE. That is inescapable, even if there is someone to change their diapers floating around, and it is pretty hard core.

Let’s hear it for the Moms!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Great Gatsby Style

I am really, really, really eager for the new Great Gatsby to come out.
Both because I have a long-standing love affair with the book and the culture of Gatsby, and because Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby should be absolutely incredible.

I don't know how I feel about Tobey Maguire playing Nick--Maguire doesn't look naive enough to play narrator Nick--just look at his expression in both of these screenshots!! I think his acting style is a little weak, fluttering, generally weasel-ish, and over-agitated for the role, but I'll keep an open mind when I see it.
I'm also not a huge fan of Isla Fisher, who is going to play the role of Myrtle, who is dowdy, flawed, and insecure in her desperation for Tom's love. I don't want Isla to do her typical over-acting goofy character as Myrtle. Because although Myrtle is illogical, she isn't the airhead that Fisher typically represents---I'm crossing my fingers that this is a breakthrough role for her where she shows some serious insight and acting chops. And lastly, Carey Mulligan as Daisy...hmm, fascinating casting here. I have every faith in her doing the character some serious justice!

But enough about my film desires--lets get into some Gatsby inspiration!

 This look on the left is very Myrtle--
trying to be up to the times (the Roaring 20s), but still mixing some plain, casual pieces with a few trendy, nicer ones (something we've all been known to do, and a look particularly dear to my heart).

These whimsical, flowing dresses are very Daisy--as we see in the excerpt below.

"The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon. They were both in white and dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house." page 10.

For dudes! I know, you can't all look as dashing as the Redford...but damn. You can try!

Getting the look today....
LOVE this.

Here's to hoping the new movie brings back this sense of fun and lavish, otherworldly styles!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Why you should love otters too.

Fact #1: They are cute as shit.

More Facts:
  • They have been around at least 30 million years.
  • They consume up to 25% of their body fat daily (I'm down with that).
  • They are bilingual--water and land.
  • Watching them open shells and such with rocks is very cool (I speak from much experience here).
    --they are part of the elite handful of mammals that use tools!
  • They are the only marine mammals that have fur instead of blubber.
  • They are endangered in many places. They need all the love they can get.

Not sure why there is a person tickling an otter.... but there you have it.

There will be a rain dance Friday night, weather permitting

Title quote, courtesy of the brilliant George Carlin.

I am back in the office today, exhausted, dehydrated, but with that crap (pun intended) out of my system. I am unbelievably stoked just to sleep in tomorrow.
Bless you Friday!

Gawwwd I love Arthur!



In advance, I declare this next one the obvious winner....