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My mother always said “You gotta get them on the rug before you can pull it out from under them”. And never have truer words been spoken. Until that is, you are the one on the rug and The Powers That Be decide said rug should operate like a roller-coaster.

The Powers That Be, forthwith to be referenced as “TPTB” are starting to piss me off.

Let me clarify: TPTB are the are college elders who decide your provisional fate in the doctoral program. In the best case scenario, they guide, they advise, they extol academic wisdom and virtue; in the worst case scenario, and that’s exactly what I am talking about here, they fuck with your very existence.

In the last 4 months, the TPTB has decided:

  • That the “roadmap” or document stating “things you can expect from u while you are here” (a basic agreement issued to any student in higher education) is null and void
  • I now have an extra class to take
  • I also have an internal realignment where I will now take up to 4 methodology courses
  • Where in the past, if you fail candidacy, you can do a maters thesis and based on its success/failure, you can/cannot continue on to a doctorate, now, if you fail candidacy, you risk being tossed out wholesale
  • The document I signed that guaranteed 4 years of funding is null and void
  • That candidacy, which is supposed to occur in the fall, is now, after securing internships and other travel/moving arrangements, occurs in the summer

TPTB, in short, have decided to become a bunch of bastards. TPTB, additionally, have made it pretty clear that I cannot trust them in any way, shape, or form. Which sucks rocks when you’ve hitched your wagon to them for 4 years.

Not that all the changes are bad, these are tough times, I understand the funding crisis, and another class won’t kill… But when we signed, what essentially is binding agreement, and TPTB has reneged on half of it within a 4 month period, I have to wonder what the bloody hell I have gotten myself into.

Seriously, this is beyond the Pale.

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Bell Tower that is. Probably not in the style of Charles Whitman, or that German soldier, ass-hat from Inglorious Basterds, but one where I rain down a storm of insults and expletives because I’m just so damned pissed off of late.

Where do I start? With the GOP’s attempt to redefine rape? With the South Dakota’s attempt to legalize murder? I can also throw in the Federal govt’s attempt to pull funding away from Planned Parenthood – again. Or do I go with the publicizing of Lara Logan’s sexual assault as a pre-emptive measure because some other a-hole of some other news agency thought it made for a great story? Or how about this despicable misogynist, Nir Rosen, who thought Logan’s experience was a humorous affair?

We’re just past Valentine’s Day and I’m not feeling the love from the men. I feel like it is open season on women and women’s’ rights, and that we’re half a step away from legalizing honor killings in this country.

Seriously dudes?? WHAT THE FUCK? I woke up today feeling like it’s not 2011 but 1918.

So here’s my 2-cents and then I’m done.

  • I am sick of the idiot men who comment about the “tragedy” of Logan’s experience and how all Muslims are evil when in this country, the United damn States of America, 1 in 6 women can expect to be raped and only 6% percent of rapist will ever serve prison time.  However, Logan wasn’t raped but sexually assaulted, not that many people, men or women, learn the difference. But here’s the fact of the matter: Logan’s assault wasn’t about religion, it was about the same damn thing assaulting a woman is always about: a man feeling free to dominate a woman simply because he fucking could.
  • We are a country of majority rule.  The majority of Americans support a woman’s right to choose. And while we’re at it, Pro-Choice does not mean Pro-Abortion. And Planned Parenthood is exactly that: an organization dedicated to the education of women and men on family planning while providing access to contraceptives. No one in this country does more to prevent unwanted pregnancies than Planned Parenthood. No other entity in this country provides low-cost, basic medical services to women than Planned Parenthood. So anyone who wants to yank their funding while damning abortion is a complete moron.
  • Abortion being “murder” is a matter of opinion, whereas killing someone who performs what is a legal activity in this country is, in fact, murder.
  • Nir Rosen, while removing the offender tweet, quitting his job, and apologizing profusely, still doesn’t get what is most disturbing about what he did. His response: “i apologize and take it back. joking with friends got out of line when i didnt want to back down. forgot twitter is not exactly private“. Whether or not it was a private conversation, whether or not you were “just making a joke”, rape and sexual assault are not hilarious frivolities, they are extreme acts of violence. And what is most horrifying about you, Nir Rosen, was that you heard a woman was raped and your very first instinct was to make a joke. I hope this event kills your career.

I’m trying to remain positive despite all this news right now. I’m trying to be thankful that I live in this country when it sucks to be a woman in about 75%  of the other places I could be living. But that being said, it isn’t always a party here either.

Men, you are all officially on my fecal roster until such time that matters improve. In the meantime, get a clue.

I awoke at the magical and lovely hour of 5:45am today because the neighbor above me has a toddler more akin to a Tasmanian Devil than a human child. Said child ran frequent laps around their apartment and was dragging furniture along with it which presents itself like thunder down below in my apartment.

This wouldn’t be so bad if I had gone to sleep at a reasonable hour, which I did not because said child was doing the same activity until well after 10pm, making it impossible for me to get my work done before 1am.

I’ve spoken to my neighbor three times now, hell, I’ve even taken to banging on the ceiling with my shoe. Mostly, I find myself staying out of my apartment until late at night which is a shit-policy because it really only rewards bad behavior.

I finally bit the bullet and went to the building manager. Manager had words with the tenant above and came back with the two most dreaded words in the English language: Single-Mother.

“She doesn’t know what to do The child will not quiet down and she is a single mother.”

Groan!

I’m not a cold-hearted bitch, at least, not all the time, so I automatically generate some sympathy for this woman. The manager said she moved to campus late, couldn’t have known the floors were paper thin, is looking off-campus for housing, and will try to keep the noise down.

My options in this situation? Complain. Call them. Don’t go to her door. If enough complaints are racked up, they’ll break her lease and she can move.

Great. I know what it was like to find housing here. It’s a competitive sport where you best bring your mouth guard. I really don’t want to be the impetus for this woman and child getting tossed out, but dammit, I need sleep and I need some peace and quiet to get work done.

So now I am pitted up against Single Mom and Child. It sucks. I hear her leave at 7am and return after 7pm. I’m sure this kid is in daycare all day so I totally understand the  desire to run like crazy once home. I also understand the desire for Single Mom to want to spend time with her progeny before she goes to bed.

What I don’t understand is the apartment management pitting us up against each like this. I blame them for placing her in a building that is all couples and no children. I really blame them for putting her on the second floor. Single Mom may not have known the floors are paper thin but building management damn well did.

But Single Mom also needs to realize that part of the reason her child is so effen crazy is because it is sleep deprived. Yes, I know, I don’t have children, but I have siblings and friends with children and know enough that toddlers require more sleep than 6 hours a night. Hell, I know I certainly do.

And since there is plenty of blame to go around, I know I could try and be more understanding. However, I was here first (I was), I pay rent too, and the big marketing scheme for this little building is that it caters to “adults and professionals looking for quiet and peaceful living”. So I don’t feel like I should have to stay away from my apartment, coming home ridiculously late on the off-chance that it might be quiet enough to work.

I passed Single Mom in the hallway getting mail. She gave me the stink-eye like no one’s business. I went back to my apartment and Child above began playing with its (I have no idea the gender) favorite toy – the couch, which it drags around the apartment floor.

Well, the passive-aggressive battle lines apparently have been drawn. It will be interesting to see where this all leads.

Puppy Dog, on the right, staring me down with her intense cuteness

Never put your dog to sleep during final exams if you can avoid it.

I am capping off the most terrible week of my life. Wrapping up projects, final exams, finishing papers, packing to move, mourning my dog and missing Sailor like I never have…

“To grieve”, in the Greek translation, literally means to have been robbed. And no truer words could describe where I’m at right now. It’s been a week since Puppy Dog  passed on and I am sure everyone around me right now wishes I would simply get over it, but it is hard to move on from such a profound loss when I have been conditioned to behave in such a way that accommodates having Puppy Dog in my life.

For instance: the other night I frantically drove home from the lab because I “remembered” I hadn’t let Puppy Dog out. Every time I come home, I still call for her. When I leave, I still close all the doors in the house and put the ottoman up on the leather chair to keep Puppy from crawling up on it. I wake up several times a night because I do not hear her snoring.

And it’s not that I think about these things, I know she is gone, it’s just that this has been my life for 13 years, the majority of my adult life, these acts are second nature to me and changing now seems like a foreign, utterly alien thing to do that also feels very, very wrong.

But every day is a bit better. I stopped crying days ago. I mean, I literally stopped and can do no more. The Opthamologist  informed me that my tear ducts were so traumatized and inflamed that they basically have ceased working.

I basically cried myself dry.

But I’ll recover. I am recovering. Friends have been plying with me with company and alcohol, but I’ve stopped the drinking for now. I certainly don’t need a depressant making me feel worse than I already do. I am surrounded by truly the best possible people to get me through this, except the most important person.

And of course I worry about Sailor being away on a boat, lacking the luxury of indulging in grief as I feel we all must at some point to ever truly get passed it. If I’m feeling this bad, I’m sure he feels worse. Puppy Dog may have been my girl, but she was definitely Sailor’s soul-mate in some way I could never be.

I hope he has the same support around him. I think he does.

So I’m moving on. This old dog is learning something new as much as I hate it being forced upon me and no matter how much I just want my fucking puppy dog back. And I continue to fail in understanding why this can not be.

The brain understands that all things must die and life is a greater cycle, yadda, yadda, yadda, but the heart fails to comprehend and is insanely angry at the injustice of it all. So in the meantime, I’m consoling myself with the memories, insanely cute puppy pictures, and the funny stories that always accompanies this crazy animal I was so utterly blessed to have shared a life with.

I have ceased the tears and resigned myself to an inevitable sigh a few times a day that I’m sure signifies some thing although I’ll be damned if I know at this point what that something is.

Exhale

“She’s gone.”

Didn’t need the vet to tell me that. Her last breath was like the sound she used to make when we rubbed her ears and then she was utterly still; still for a creature that hadn’t had a still moment in her entire long life, even while sleeping.

We’ve been preparing for this awful moment at the vet for months but what you don’t prepare for is coming home that first time and being confronted with the enormous void that now exists in the house.

Sailor flew home to be with Puppy Dog at the end and had to fly out this morning to be back at the boat. So now it’s not only that he is gone, but she is as well.

I’ve never felt Sailor’s absence so intensely. I realize this now because I had Puppy and she was an enormous vessel in which to pour in a lot of love.

But she’s gone now and all this love for her is still there. I wonder where it goes if she is not here to receive it.

I do. I have. It’s made. It’s literally eyeballing me from the calendar as I type.

After an agonizing conversation with the vet and consultations with fellow pet fanatics, Puppy Dog’s time has run out. She’s nearly twice the average age of her breed, she’s traveled far and wide, and she’s had an epic life most dogs could only dream about.

So here’s the rub: this life is being somewhat cut short. She has a good month left in her. Maybe more but that’s doubtful. However, I am moving across state in a month and Sailor is out to sea in a few weeks for the whole summer. So we’ve decided that it is more fair to have both of us with her at the end rather than put her through the stress of a possible move and/or wait until such time that she is in (what has been described to me) what will be excruciating pain.

The vet has been called. An appointment made. Services pre-paid (nothing says heartless like whipping out the credit card after a beloved companion is gone). And a flight arranged for Sailor to come home.

And it’s on the calendar. Staring me down.

It feels unfair. It feels cold and calculated. It generally just feels shitty. I tell myself that if it were me, say, if I had an inoperable brain tumor or some other such malady, I would want control. I would set a time and a place. Make myself comfortable. Be surrounded by loved ones. And hopefully go gently into that dark night.

So Puppy Dog will be given appropriate pills to make her calm and comfortable (she never did like going to the vet). She will have her bed and blanket and her favorite Sailor t-shirt. And she will be with both Sailor and I who love her to the point of insanity.

She will be cremated and her ashes will be distributed amongst Asbury Woods, the island back in Maine, her favorite woods up in Northern Michigan, and I am even sending some to a friend to be sprinkled back in Italy, where I first met and fell in love with her. A little part of her will be in every place she loved even if she is no more.

So I am trying to focus on loving her now rather that starting to miss her before she’s even gone.

Sailor’s Granny E died ten days ago and I wrote how it seemed odd to me to cry over such a good life.

Well, Puppy Dog is having a bad day. In fact, she’s having more bad days. Her back knees are going and she’s falling down. A lot. I’m getting verklempt just writing this, but I had to call Sailor (and leave a message – he’s out to sea) about our girl and what I think may be happening very soon.

I cant write it. I can’t. I can not type the words of what is likely to happen.

I know what is going to happen so very soon and I can not even give the situation the dignity of words.

Puppy Dog has had a good run. She’s has had the best run. She’s 14…6 years older than the age of the last pup in her litter to pass on. She’s been ever-loving, frustrating as hell and just here. With me. In every new house, in every new town, on every adventure. She’s been my longest most successful relationship aside from my husband.

She fell down, again, this afternoon. I had to carry her into the house when she couldn’t make the stairs. Pain pills make her sick and aspirin doesn’t do anything.

I lie down with her and I read her Rumi. I don’t why. Rumi always makes me feel better. I read her e.e. cummings, Langston Hughes, and X.J. Kennedy. I don’t know why all the poetry.

Puppy Dog managed to hobble out to front lawn where she now lies. She’s on top of the hill overlooking the squirrels and kids she usually chases or barks at. Normally, I would be out there, watching her like a hawk, but I don’t need to. I know she’s not up for the chase.

I’m letting her enjoy the evening. I’m going outside now to enjoy it with her. We have so little time left and I’m terribly greedy of every minute.

I was just reading CNN online when I noticed an article about a court ordering two men to have their noses and ears cuts off. Obviously, a story like that makes you do a double take.

So I click on the story and as I am reading about these “poor” Pakistani men, I then get to the part of the article where the men were sentenced this very specific punishment because they committed this same act on woman.

Apparently, a young woman and her family refused an offer of marriage from a young man (maybe because they knew bad medicine when they saw it?) and in retaliation, the young man and a friend attacked the woman, strangled her, and performed this truly heinous act upon her.

It’s incredible how an opinion can turn a 180 on a situation, because while I at first exclaimed “WTF? We’re allies with these people?” as soon as I read the rest of the story, I more or less was saying “Well done! Bravo!”

Of course, if you at all follow the news, this is also coming from a country where last year three young women were beaten and buried alive for daring to choose their on husbands and three women who came to their defense were murdered as well. And four years prior to that, a woman was savagely gang raped when coming to the verbal defense of her brother falsely accused of a crime…And these are just the stories that somehow make the world media. Imagine how many are left untold?

I know, I know, turn the other cheek, and an eye for an eye makes us all blind, but here’s the thing: It pretty much sucks to be a woman on about 75% of this planet. So if a country wants to make an extreme example out of a pair misogynistic bastards who commit a horrific violent act against a woman, I am perfectly content to let them do so.

Merry effen Giftmasukah.

Every other year, Sailor and I trade off going back to Detroit or staying here in Erie for  T-Giving or Giftmasukah. Whether I prefer to spend time with his passive-aggressive-big-on-uncomfortable-silences-in between-the-food-and-excessive-drinking-clan or spending time with my own personal verbal-pre-emptive strike-force-with-the-pleasing-tendency-towards-the-excessive-imbibing-of-alcoholic-beverages-that-can only-be-described-as-not a holiday-but-a-24/7-“happy hour”-while-waiting-for-a-good-old-fashion-Irish knife-fight-to-break-out, is simply a matter of asking myself what side of the bed did I wake up on.

Sigh….

I really don’t wanna do it this year.

Honestly, aside from our mutual predilection towards sizing up liquor purchases based on the quality of bottle with which to make a Molotov Cocktail, how the hell did I ever come to share genetic material with these people?

Let us review 2009:

Big Sis engaged in a trans-continental verbal smackdown of La Parentsia after Father Unit spilled the beans to Mother Gossip about something or other where Mother Unit invariably spread the word around the hood. They waged a three month war of Celtic-Silence which translates into not arguing with each other but through all the people in their lives over the phone. They apparently came to an accord but until the treaty is signed I want nothing to do with that mess.

Second Son then got involved, don’t ask how, but Irish-Saga-Made-Short is that he thinks the family needs to forgive him for effing up his first marriage with another woman 7 years older and her own epic tale that results in my brother being husband #3 in as much as 7 years…(which, side note, I actually have forgiven him, in fact, I’m rooting for them as a couple for the simple reason that he will stay married to this harlot forever out of stubborn pride and to prove a point he certainly will not remember in another ten years, and quite frankly, my brother deserves the merry hell that woman will give him until he is dead).

Where was I?

Father and Mother Unit simply refuse to believe they have done anything wrong – ever – even in light of the overwhelming evidence of a gaggle of supremely messed up kids. But then, if their measure for this success centers around the fact that none of us are on an international watch list, yet, or by the fact that none of us have been picked up, drunk, singing Christmas Carols along the freeway in June in the last 10 years, well, they should consider raising the bar.

Of course, there’s also Third Son, aka the 30 year old child still living in my parents’ basement smoking everything but his bed linens and who always seems to be just one step shy of attending a Star Trek convention…He’s been unemployed for a while. His last job, where everyone hated him for his ignorant and racist attitude….well, if it were me, if I knew everyone hated me and then mysteriously, one day, I am asked out to lunch where I am offered a joint…let’s just say I wouldn’t be too surprised at returning to work to find a drug test waiting for me….

First Son is in a tiff with me for un-friending him on Facebook. I just figured that he should save his hate and vitriol for family gatherings and not post that shit on my wall.

Of course, I’m a perfect ray of sunshine. I don’t what the hell is wrong with those other people.

Sailor’s family is supremely uncomplicated by comparison. All I have to do is sit next to Grandma E and remind her who I am every ten minutes until I’m drunk enough to forget who I am to answer. A relatively simple evening, geopolitcally speaking.

I’m thinking we should stay put. I have the excellent excuse of having ventured into No Man’s Land by staying with sister for T-Giving…that should satisfy some quota somewhere. But then, there’s something to be said for tradition…

I was really pretty shocked to have read that Henry Louis Gates Jr., professor extraordinaire of long standing at the venerable institution Hahr-Vahrd, was arrested two days ago.

But I wasn’t shocked to have read the context and circumstances of his arrest. Sure, there’s the easy explanation of racism in America (you really will never convince me a white professor would have been treated the same way), but then there’s the even easier explanation that no one seems to be talking about and it is this: the arresting “officer” in the affair is yet another example of a douchebag cop with a Napoleon Complex.

Sure, I have no doubt the cop behaved in a racist manner, but that is an action coupled with a personality trait and that trait being that the he is yet another douchebag cop with a Napoleon Complex.

A professor here at school is a retired cop and relayed to me the different types of people who become police officers:

1. The Fitness Nut: the guy or gal who somehow relives their high school athletic glory days by being a cop. They are all about how they look in the uniform. Being a good or bad cop is strictly a matter of happenstance.

2. The Gun Nut: I think this speaks for itself. The Gun Nut, who is almost always male, is also closely related to the Penis Insecurity Nut.

3. The Righteous Nut: this person has an overwhelming sense of self-importance and truly thinks that the worse they behave towards the general public, the better cop they are.

4. The Drunk Cop: who is actually a pretty okay person who took the job as a way of redemption but at the same time, does not know how to handle the stress better.

Now according to Professor Cop, a police officer can actually be a combination of these varying traits but one is always more dominant than the other. Like the thing about Elvis and the Beatles: you can like both, but you always like one more than the other.

With regards to incident involving Professor Gates, my money is on Cop #3. Then again, I’m not at all familiar with the inner workings of cop-hood and the public perception I have garnered of them over the years is really just boils down to the simplicity of the douchebag cop with the Napoleon Complex scenario.