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Washington state, we have to have a little chat. I have spent over $600 since April trying to get a massage license from you. I have complied with all of your (sometimes unreasonable) demands. I transferred into and "graduated" from a school here, even though I'd already graduated in Maryland. I gave a practical exam even though I already had a month of clinic in Maryland. I had my records sent from NCBTMB, so you would know that I passed my national exam. I re-certified on CPR and First Aid. I spent 4+ hours researching and writing the paper on HIV that you demanded. I took your jurisprudence exam. I filled out and mailed in your application, along with the hefty fee. I even had myself fingerprinted and mailed those in when you decided you wanted that (would have been nice if you'd told me you wanted that up front rather than waiting until long after I'd mailed in my application).

I've been good to you, Washington state. I gave you everything you said you needed. And what have you done for me in return? Nothing at all. My application is always "Pending" when I check it, with no other information available. I really feel ripped off at this point, and I am starting to tell people about how difficult you are, and warning people away from moving here if they want or need to practice massage for their livelihood, because you make it soooooo difficult for those from out of state. I don't want to badmouth you, but you are leaving me no choice. I was looking forward to practicing massage in you, but you've made this nothing but unpleasant and difficult.

You seem satisfied to take my money and time and give me nothing in return. I am ashamed of you, Washington state. I thought you were better than that.

Current Mood: annoyed annoyed

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In my mailbox when I arrived home this evening was a letter from Ron Paul endorsing Roscoe Bartlett for US Congress. Congressman Paul's letter is so rife with misspellings and grammatical errors that it appears to have been written by a child--and not a particularly bright child at that.

The cringe-inducing clunkers on display include:
  • "No other Congressman co-sponsors more of my bills then Roscoe." I believe they teach the difference between "then" and "than" in grade school!
  • "He is one of two Congressman with the courage..." Again, I believe they teach singular vs. plural forms in grade school. And what is with the continued capitalization of "Congressman" when it does not precede a name?
  • "Roscoe Bartlett voted with me twice against the Bailout twice." Just because he voted with you twice doesn't mean you need to use the word "twice" twice, Ron! And again, what's with the capitalization of a regular noun (Bailout)?
This letter appears to have been addressed to Independents like me in the hopes that we would make up our wishy-washy little minds about whom to vote for. It certainly did the trick in my case. I've had it up to here [Cynthia stands on her tippy-toes and stretches her hand skyward as far as she can] with our society's determination to embody the movie Idiocracy, and I won't be voting for a candidate who proudly associates himself with someone who couldn't pass a fifth grade English exam.

I'm sure some people will think I should not hold Congressman Bartlett accountable for the Paul campaign's mistakes. But in the same envelope as Paul's missive was a letter from Bartlett himself urging his constituents to read the endorsement letter. Bartlett and his staff either chose not to vet Paul's letter, which shows a lack of attention to detail that is no doubt also reflected in Bartlett's work as a congressman; or they didn't notice any mistakes, which shows that they should be clawed to death by a troupe of angry wombats.

I think I'll vote instead for the candidate whose web site accurately describes her as an aspiring congresswoman, not "an asspiring Congresswomen".

Current Mood: frustrated frustrated

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"Keep the image of your death cheerfully before you at all times" -- some guy on craigslist
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I went to a funeral on Saturday. I didn't know the deceased well but her husband was a friend of my father's, and I had some personal association with him as well. I have fond childhood memories of G. handing out rare coins to us kids as prizes at community functions, and I later wrote a school paper on his experiences as a soldier in WWII.

I don't really remember his wife, but I attended the funeral out of respect for G, and to honor the life of his wife, who had clearly been a good person. Apparently respect and honor were about the last things many of the other attendees were feeling. I was absolutely horrified to find that many in attendance considered the funeral a combination fashion show and gabfest.

I wore a simple black sweater, black pants, black flats, and no makeup. There is a reason we traditionally wear black, or at least dark colors, to a funeral, and that we do not dress and make ourselves up as though we are out on the town. Dressing in a subdued manner places the focus, rightly, on the deceased and on his or her family. A funeral is about honoring the departed and supporting their loved ones as they try to cope with the loss.

But quite a few women at this funeral were wearing hot pink or red sweaters. 3 and 4-inch spiked heels were not uncommon. More skin was visible than was appropriate for the season, let alone the setting. Copious amounts of makeup, and elaborately styled hair was prevalent. People (again, mostly women) were behaving as ostentatiously as if they were at a dance club.

I understand that people often see distant relatives or community members they have lost touch with at a funeral. It is understandable that folks would want to reconnect. But as I sat quietly and observed these creatures as they chatted, I saw no sign on their faces of any awareness of where they were. They were enjoying themselves immensely, not mourning or grieving. They were discussing irrelevant topics, not talking about what the deceased had meant to them. And they were leaping up and flinging themselves across the room to share jovial belly-laughs with each new person who entered. Flirting was clearly going on as well.

I'm not a big fan of humans in general, and this experience has sunk my opinion of them further. I am utterly disgusted at these people's dress and behaviour.

Do we have NO respect left in our culture? Not the slightest iota of consideration for others? Is absolutely everything to be focused on the Self and what it wants wants wants wants wants?




Additional notes: This was NOT about people "celebrating the life of the deceased" as one person has suggested. I would stake my life on the fact that nary a passing thought crossed these creeps' minds about celebrating anything other than their own egos.

Nor was it about "what the deceased would have wanted". The family members were all dressed in dark colors, in the front few rows of chairs, and behaving appropriately. The people who were acting like they were at a dance club were largely congregated in a central path between two large groupings of chairs and at the sides of the room, until they were finally herded into seats so the service could begin (it took quite a while for them to sit down and shut up, and the service started 10 minutes late).

This was not just a few people, either. Probably half of the 200 or so folks in attendance were behaving raucously, and a fifth or a quarter were dressed inappropriately. And it wasn't just young people who didn't know better; there were quite a few culprits well into middle age. My family was seated at the front of the second group of chairs, so I had ample opportunity to observe the revelers, to hear what they were talking about, and to be nearly choked to death by the perfume.
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I don't often make New Year's resolutions. But recently an understanding of something I need to do differently has gradually, organically developed, so I'm sticking the "New Year's resolution" label on it.

There are always going to be problems in life, but I don't care to list a bunch of problems to overcome and things about myself and my circumstances that need to be "fixed". That could be a long list, and realistically, next year at this time I'll probably have just about as many problems as I do today. Even if a few of my current problems are resolved, they will likely be replaced by others.

I have been beating myself up over the idea that I haven't used the past near-year as wisely as I could. I haven't gotten enough accomplished, nor have I enjoyed my freedom as much as I should have. The thought then occured to me that if I live another X years, I may at that time be beating myself up over how I didn't enjoy or use well the time I have NOW. The time that I am spending beating myself up. What I need to do is focus on the day at hand, and live that day as best I can.

I want things. I have goals and desires and plans and dreams and hopes. And I am going to work on the things standing in the way of achieving those. But my singular New Year's resolution is to enjoy life more, problems and all.
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I have been accused of not updating my blog often enough. I plead guilty, but with an explanation: First, not many people read this blog, and those who do rarely comment. If you want me to write more, please comment more; that will motivate me. You don't have to be a livejournal user to post a comment.

Second, I have been doing some "serious" writing lately and haven't had the energy to write blog posts on top of that. In upcoming weeks, I plan to post some of these "serious" pieces on my blog. These posts will all be set to "friends only", so you will need to be logged in to livejournal if you want to read them. If you are not a livejournal user, I can send them to you over email.
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I'm one of the least religious people I know of. I inhabit the extreme far end of Agnosticism, right before the last curve in the spiritual path that leads to Atheism. I think it is vaguely possible that this "God" character exists, but no more likely than that, say, a purple unicorn will appear in my living room and ask to stay for dinner. Actually, if I had to place a metaphysical bet, I'd pick the unicorn.

But there is nothing like sickness in the family to make one feel helpless and ready to grasp at straws.

My parrot, Sammie, has been ill with a heart valve problem (aortic stenosis) for the past month. He also seems to have hypothyroid, which could possibly have caused the heart problems. Aortic stenosis is rare in parrots (our avian vet has never seen another case), and the usual surgical remedies when it occurs in people don't apply here. The technology isn't available, and even if it were, it's unlikely he would survive the surgery.

In people, this condition would be fatal within a year or two without surgery. It's reasonable to assume the prognosis is not good in parrots either. Even if we get the hypothyroid under control, it's very possible that the damage to the heart can't be reversed. I can't bear the thought of losing this sweet, gentle, relatively young bird with whom I have shared my life the past four years, and have grown to love with all my heart.

Sammie is on four different meds, seven times a day. He's having trouble getting around, loses his breath easily, and we have to feed him and offer him water on his upstairs perch most of the time. He whines often. Ever since I adopted him, I've known him to be a gourmet who savors a wide range of foods, but it's hard to get him to eat enough these days, especially of raw fruits and veggies that he needs for health. His keel bone is very sharp, even though his weight has gone up because he is retaining fluid. And he has a heart murmur that is "as bad as heart murmurs get" according to the vet. When he is sitting on my shoulder, I can actually feel him pulsating irregularly.

I got a terrifying call one day in the spring of 2004 that a friend of mine in CA was at death's door from end-stage liver disease. I was told to come right away because he wasn't expected to live for more than a few weeks. Over two years later, he's still alive and healthy enough to meet me in Seattle in a couple of weeks for a jaunt out to the Olympic peninsula (a trip I HOPE I don't have to cancel, since I've already cancelled on him once because of Sammie). The doctors can't explain it. He's not supposed to have made it this far. This anomaly could be explained by several different factors -- the love and support of many devoted friends and family members, the best medical treatment we could muster up, luck.... and then there's the fact that his mother asked many people of different faiths to pray for him.

But I digress. I can't hope to explore in any depth here the psychology of a person turning to something she patently doesn't believe in as a source of possible help. But the simple fact is, we're out of options. We've tried the vet, medications, rest, warmth, good food and water, and most importantly, an unending stream of love. And he doesn't seem to be getting better.

So, having nothing rational to do, I lit a candle. And I've asked that a blurb about Sammie be added to a prayer list. And I've posted a prayer request on the web site of a buddhist monastery located in gambrill park right here in Fredneck (I felt too weird about just showing up on their doorstep as a friend suggested).

Buddhism doesn't seem as ridiculous as Christianity to me, maybe merely because I am not as familiar with it so I give it the benefit of the doubt. But from reading their web site a bit, I'm disappointed that they seem to fall into the trap of hierarchizing and status-izing everything.

But I digress again. I'm asking that anyone reading this say a little prayer for my Sammie bird. I'll take anything I can get -- novena, Satanic chant, voodoo ritual.
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Dear wetbacks et al:

I cannot BELIEVE you have the nerve to complain that you are being unfairly treated.

I and other American citizens are the ones who are being unfairly treated. We are forced to fund services such as medical care and schooling through our tax dollars, while you take money under the table which you pay no taxes on, and funnel much of that money back to May-hee-co. We are forced to play pantomimes with you at parking garages and restaurants, and to print documents in foreign languages, because you can't be bothered to learn English. Some of us are forced to accept low salaries because you drive wages down with your cheap (and I do mean that in both senses of the word), expendable labor. And now we must look at your whiny, entitlement-seeking mugs on the news.

Many of you were waving flags of your countries of origin at the rallies yesterday. I think that really says it all. You don't consider America your home. You remain loyal to the countries from which you came. You aren't here to participate, you are here to exploit -- to get whatever benefit you can while giving as little as possible in return.

Those of my ancestors who were non-native immigrated to America because they wanted to BECOME AMERICANS. They learned the language, they worked hard, they integrated into American communities, and they APPRECIATED the opportunity. The American flag WAS their flag. They got respect because they EARNED respect, not because they stuck their hand out in a "gimme" gesture and whined.

For the most part, illegal immigrants are those who simply cannot cut it in their home countries. You are the dregs of your societies. You foster racism by creating a negative impression of the intelligence and resourcefulness of people from other nations.

A local paper ran stories about illegal immigrants in our community. Any other CRIMINAL who had the audacity to appear in a newspaper article, complete with photograph, place of work, and full name, would be ARRESTED. But our government does not bother enforcing immigration laws, perhaps because the gummint is not in fact the will and voice of the people, but a tool of big business.

As reprehensible as I think your actions have been, perhaps something good came out of your boycott. After all, many of the roads were less congested yesterday. American children got to learn in smaller, more well-behaved classes. And perhaps Americans who have been too busy or distracted to notice the deleterious effects of you illegal immigrants will finally pay attention. Perhaps they will join or support the Minutemen. Perhaps they will ensure that their representatives pass legislation that protects American citizens' interests.

Yes, I think we have to call it a success. In fact, I think you should continue "boycotting". Indefinitely. Show us exactly what our communities would look like, long-term, with no illegals. Safer, more prosperous, less congested, more cohesive... yeah, that'll really teach us.

Sincerely,
a pissed-off gringo
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When looking in The Joy of Cooking to get ideas for what to do with the red kale I bought, I came across a recipe whose first step was to strip the leaf away from the stem and discard the stem. CLEARLY this is a misprint. It should say, "strip the leaf away and give the stem to the bunny who lives under the shed."
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I usually take my daily walks in the afternoon so I can get some sun, but the last coupla times have been at night.

I have noticed LOTS of bunnies out, way more than in the daytime. On my 40-minute walk tonight, I saw one bunny hopping across the path, two bunnies leaping and frolicking together, and two bunnies standing still so I wouldn't see them (I assured them I wasn't a predator, but I don't think they believed me). Also I saw several more indistinct moving small animals that may have been bunnies.

I didn't think wabbits were nocturnal creatures. I wonder if the artificial light from homes and streetlights makes them think it's perpetual daytime. I wonder if their sleep schedules are as messed up as mine.

I also saw some ducks floating on the kiddie pool at the community center (it's not open yet, so I think they were in rainwater rather than chlorinated water). Again, I thought ducks were diurnal critters. They were annoyed when I came up to admire them, but couldn't be bothered to fly away -- they got out of the pool and quacked at me for disturbing their bath until I moved away.

Most of these creatures seem to be very hearty and almost indifferent when humans cross their path. Maybe when humans finally blow each other up, what will remain is not cockroaches, but rather bunnies and ducks.
I don't mind that idea one bit, it would be a much better world.
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Cynthia
User: ideaful
Name: Cynthia
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