My Novels

Saturday, April 27, 2002

Just had to post this joke I found on the internet:

President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell are sitting in a bar. A guy walks in and asks the bartender, "Isn't that Bush, Rumsfeld and Powell sitting over there?" Bartender says, "Yep, that's them." So the guy walks over and says, "Wow, this is a real honor. What are you guys doing in here?" Bush says, "We're planning a nuclear war." And the guy says, "Really? What's going to happen?" Rumsfeld says, "Well, we're going to kill 25 million Iraqis and a bicycle repairman." The guy exclaims, "A bicycle repairman? Why kill a bicycle repairman?" Bush turns to Powell, punches him on the shoulder and says, "See, smart guy! I told you no one would worry about the 25 million Iraqis!"

Unfortunately, this would be funny if it weren't so TRUE.

Nothing much to report here, I'm still waiting to start my writing courses at the Virtual University on May 5th. Hoping those will help me get back into writing regularly.

Pretty still hasn't had her kittens, and I scrubbed the sunporch today (where the cats stay) so it'd be clean in case she has them soon. Overcast and humid here today, another typical Southern day in Spring.

Till later...

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

We spent a very, very busy week working around our house/yard. DH built new fencing on one side of the house, and replaced some worn places on the other side. We also put stucco on our cement-block foundation, and a huge aluminum pillar on the small front porch, which turned out great. Somehow it made the house look more modern, and the pillar was a nice touch. Still have to do the foundation at the back of the house, but we'll do that as time permits.

I took in one of the stray cats I've been feeding, a female black-and-white tuxedo cat. And I think she may be pregnant. It was a bit of adjustment for the other cats and her, but now they've more or less accepted each other. If the female, "Pretty," is pregnant, I'll just try to find the kittens good homes like I did the mother/three kittens I rescued last summer. Lots of work, but fun to have kittens around. And having them from birth means I can tame them, and make each one a great pet for potential owners.

Last Tuesday we drove over near the stateline, quite a trip...DH bought some saddles wholesale, and then resales them for a profit. It was a good outing.

Unfortunately the weather turned unseasonably warm last week, and we hit 90 before the weekend. NOT pleasant. It has cooled down by now, back in the 70s, and I've been riding the bike each morning regularly.

We decided not to buy the land, and are just going to continue saving and see if we can't find something better in the future. Or just stay here. I don't know if I could move, since we've lived here over 20 years -- and that's a long time! I took the 'for sale' sign out of the yard, since we were getting too many calls and were not sure we wanted to sell.

I paid the $15.00 tuition today for the Virtual University courses to start on May 5th. Several course on writing, one about memoir writing, one on breaking writer's block, and one as writing as a healing process. Should help me get back in the writing mood!

Here's an excellent article about not having children:

Childless and Ms. understood


Saturday, April 20, 2002 – Page A19

The other night I got together with a couple of girlfriends (okay, so they're a little long in the tooth) to enjoy the unseasonably balmy weather and a glass of wine or three. They both have neat jobs and nice husbands, just like me. So I told them I needed to conduct a focus group.

"Are you miserable?" I asked. "Does your grief come in layers of bitterness and regret because you missed out on Mother Nature's gift?"

They looked at me blankly.

"Maybe you need more of this lovely Chardonnay to get in touch with your feelings," I said.

But it was no good. They kept arguing about the Middle East and swapping recipes for creamy no-fat chicken sauce. Finally, I had to confront them outright.

"It says here," I said, "that there is an epidemic of misery among successful women because we never got around to having babies. It's the hidden social tragedy of our time. So confess, already."

The person who diagnosed this epidemic is an American economist named Sylvia Ann Hewlett, who has a bestselling book called Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children.

Maybe you saw the cover story about it in Time. That would be the cover featuring a sad-looking woman with a baby blanket and a Palm Pilot where the baby's supposed to be. Or maybe you caught the item on 60 Minutes,where a bunch of women with Harvard MBAs groused about how they can't get dates. As soon as they mention the H-word, the guys vamoose.

"Nowadays," writes Ms. Hewlett, "the rule of thumb seems to be that the more successful the woman, the less likely it is she will find a husband or bear a child. For men, the reverse is true. The more successful the man, the more likely he is to be married with children."

According to her, 33 per cent of women who are "high achievers" are still childless at age 40. Among the "ultra-achievers" the figure is 49 per cent. "Childlessness," she mourns, "haunts the executive suite."

I contemplated our three nice-guy husbands, who had gathered in the kitchen, the way men do, to yak away about wine and gardening. Poor saps. They got a raw deal when they got stuck with us.

In case anybody cares, Ms. Hewlett's statistics are just a little bit dubious. It turns out that she confined her survey to large corporations of more than 5,000 people. Most of the high-achieving women I know, both mothers and non, don't work at places like that. They're lawyers, doctors, consultants, fundraisers and TV producers. Some of them took one look at life in the executive suite, decided it was hell on Earth, and bailed.

But never mind. The premise of the book feeds several robust myths.

The first myth is that women never get an even break. Either we have kids young and stay on the Mommy Track forever, or leave it till too late and endure the heartbreak of infertility. Men don't have to choose. They can have it all: the little wife, the kids, the big career. Better yet, there's always someone else to do the housework. (Okay. This part is definitely true.)

The second myth is that women who put work ahead of family are misguided careerists who will wind up feeling cruelly duped.

People who don't like capitalism like this one. So do social conservatives, who think that our best and brightest are weakening the gene pool by refusing to reproduce. This fear goes back at least as far as Teddy Roosevelt, father of six, who warned: "If Americans of the old stock lead lives of celibate selfishness . . . disaster awaits the nation."

Other people have found other whipping boys. If only we had better workplace legislation like the Swedes do, then women wouldn't have to quit their jobs when they have kids. And society wouldn't have to squander all that precious brainpower on menial activities such as child-rearing.

"What an incredible loss of social capital," mourned one highly placed female academic, who discovered that women with PhDs are more inclined than men are to slow down their careers when they have kids.

Which raises a couple of interesting questions. Do these people think that only stupid women should stay home with the kids? Or do they think that only stupid women would want to?

Oh well. One thing I've learned is that whatever phase of life I'm in, someone's going to diss it. I have a favourite headline from the 1980s, back when I was single. "Singles Lead Lives of Quiet Despair that Sometimes Lead to Morgue," it said.

Somehow, I escaped the morgue. But reliable statistics said that women over 35 were more likely to be struck by lightning than to find a husband.

This, too, was interpreted as the penalty for selfish careerism, or else as further proof of life's raw deal for women (take your pick). It turned out not to be true, and eventually even I got married.

But that won't stop people from chewing over the fresh insult to our sex exposed by Ms. Hewlett. Even Maureen Dowd is doing it. She blames men, too, because they won't date up. They don't want us, they want a little wife. Smart career women are too much challenge to their ego.

But she forgot the women's part in it. All those female Harvard MBAs want to marry male Harvard MBAs, and PhDs want to marry other PhDs. And that's their problem. Smart career women won't date down.

If they really wanted what the guys have, they'd go to different bars, where they could meet a nice carpenter or kindergarten teacher or artistic type. You know, a nurturing guy, maybe a few years younger, who's happy to stay home with the kids while the high-achieving one tends the big career. A guy who says things like, "I'm happy my wife works, because the more money she makes, the less I have to." But will they do it? Hah.

So what about my focus group? Well, that brings me to the third myth. In spite of what the experts say, being childless is not necessarily devastating. At times, it's even rather pleasant. It turns out that all three of us tried for babies once, and we were disappointed when it didn't work. But we recovered with unseemly haste.

Maybe we're just shallow. Or maybe we know that anyone, man or woman, who claims to have it all in life is probably lying.


Till next time...

Friday, April 12, 2002

What a weird week this past one has been. Last Sunday DH and I spotted some land, 4 acres, about 7 miles from the city and called the real estate agent about it. Well, it was very reasonably priced, but then DH made an offer for 5,000 less than the asking price and to our amazement, the owner accepted it! Then we were suddenly struck with the fact we just might have to buy it. I mean, we didn't think the owner would drop that much from the asking price.

At any rate, we then started trying to decide whether we wanted a house built there. Since it's just land, no house, we have to do something if we want to live out there. We also looked into modular houses, but even though much less expensive, don't like those too well. Right now, we're undecided, but have 30 days before the closing of the sale. IF we do buy it.

In the meantime, DH has next week off and we're going to some work around this house. Build more fence. Some painting inside the house, etc. We took the for sale sign down though, as we were getting too many calls and if we buy the property, we won't have to sell our house and may just rent it out instead when/if we move.

And that's pretty much all that's happening here for now.

Thursday, April 04, 2002

Just logged in, and see that Blogger is 'temporarily not publishing.' Blah! IF I want to upgrade to the Pro, then it'll work better. No thanks.

I haven't done much this week, other than go on the early morning bike rides and clean house. I'm still sorting and cleaning out stuff around here, the closets, cabinets, etc.

I'm considering taking three writing courses at the Virtual University online, starting in May. Perhaps those will kickstart my writing again, since I am unable to stick with any project very long these days.

The week of April 15-21, DH will be off, and we plan to build more fencing on the side of our house by the carport. We have a six-foot tall cedar fence all the way around our large backyard, and along one this will be adding to the one side of the house without fencing. I LIKE my privacy! Although the noises sometimes are annoying, and I don't even want to begin complaining about the small child issue that is going to come up in the next few years. Yuck. I dislike screaming kids. Good reason for me not having any! But we MAY not even be here then, as we're still trying to sell our house and move somewhere with more space/property.

I have a couple of articles to post, and think these are very interesting. Here they are:



April 3, 2002 -- OPRAH Winfrey fired back at the White House yesterday - saying she felt "extremely used" by the Bush administration for implying that she was too busy to tour Afghanistan schools on behalf of President Bush.
Winfrey called her pal, "The View" co-host Star Jones, before yesterday's show and told Jones the story "was just not true."

"Oprah called this morning . . . and she wanted to talk a little bit about what the real story was," Jones told viewers at the start of yesterday's show on ABC.

"She told me that she was approached several weeks back [by the White House] and was told that the plans were ultra-sensitive.

"She was really, really quiet and the White House said check your schedule and she did but she had some fund-raisers that she had committed to and anybody knows when you do these things . . . people sell tickets expecting you to be there," Jones said.

"So she couldn't get out of doing [the fund-raiser] and she didn't want to because she had made the commitment."

Word first leaked last week that Winfrey declined to make the trip to Afghanistan. In a prepared statement from her office at Chicago-based Harpo Productions, Winfrey said she had too many other things to do. Some took her refusal as a blatant snub of the president.

"The White House knew she wasn't going to be able to go, but [Bush adviser] Karen Hughes told her they were going anyway," Jones said.

"So Oprah says for the last couple of weeks she thought, 'Oh, they had gone [to Afghanistan]'.

"She said, 'So imagine my surprise, I wake up and read in the newspaper that I'm being cavalier, I'm too busy.'

"She said it didn't happen that way and it really wasn't fair," Jones said of Winfrey. "We all know what kinds of philanthropic things that Oprah does across the country and across the world so that wasn't fair.

"She did say, 'Star, I felt extremely used by the Bush administration.'

"So I just wanted to set the record straight that Ms. Winfrey did not just cavalierly throw this away."

Yesterday's phone call and subsequent on-air lovefest wasn't the first time a celebrity in the news has used the ladies of "The View" to get her point across.

Rosie O'Donnell did it in February when she placed a pre-show phone call to Barbara Walters to say it was OK for Barbara to refer to Rosie as a lesbian in the air - the first time O'Donnell's sexual orientation had been publicly acknowledged.

Like I said before, "You go girlfriend!"

Here's the other article:

Information & Press Library
By Charley Reese
The Orlando Sentinel

Question: Which country alone in the Middle East has nuclear weapons?
Answer: Israel.

Q: Which country in the Middle East refuses to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and bars international inspections?
A: Israel.

Q: Which country in the Middle East seized the sovereign territory of other nations by military force and continues to occupy it in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions?
A: Israel.

Q: Which country in the Middle East routinely violates the international borders of another sovereign state with warplanes and artillery and naval gunfire?
A: Israel.

Q: What American ally in the Middle East has for years sent assassins into other countries to kill its political enemies (a practice sometimes called exporting terrorism)?
A: Israel.

Q: In which country in the Middle East have high-ranking military officers admitted publicly that unarmed prisoners of war were executed?
A: Israel.

Q: What country in the Middle East refuses to prosecute its soldiers who have acknowledged executing prisoners of war?
A: Israel.

Q: What country in the Middle East created 762,000 refugees and refuses to allow them to return to their homes, farms and businesses?
A: Israel.

Q: What country in the Middle East refuses to pay compensation to people whose land, bank accounts and businesses it confiscated?
A: Israel.

Q: In what country in the Middle East was a high-ranking United Nations diplomat assassinated?
A: Israel.

Q: In what country in the Middle East did the man who ordered the assassination of a high-ranking U.N. diplomat become prime minister?
A: Israel.

Q: What country in the Middle East blew up an American diplomatic facility in Egypt and attacked a U.S. ship in international waters, killing 33 and wounding 177 American sailors?
A: Israel.

Q: What country in the Middle East employed a spy, Jonathan Pollard, to steal classified documents and then gave some of them to the Soviet Union?
A: Israel.

Q: What country at first denied any official connection to Pollard, then voted to make him a citizen and has continuously demanded that the American president grant Pollard a full pardon?
A: Israel.

Q: What country on Planet Earth has the second most powerful lobby in the United States, according to a recent Fortune magazine survey of Washington insiders?
A: Israel.

Q: Which country in the Middle East is in defiance of 69 United Nations Security Council resolutions and has been protected from 29 more by U.S. vetoes?
A: Israel.

Q: What country is the United States threatening to bomb because "U.N. Security Council resolutions must be obeyed?"
A: Iraq

THE BEST facts/information I've read about the whole Middle East situation!

Till Later, I EXIT...