"If you were happy every day of your life you wouldn't be a human being. You'd be a game-show host."

Just got a phone call from Bearer to let me know that another of our aunts has passed away, this time in England. Sadly I'm not torn up about this one, since I never spoke to her and haven't seen her since we visited when I was 5. I feel bad for my cousins, though, since it was unexpected... but since they're overseas how I feel doesn't mean dick to them. So some other family members will go and represent us in the U.K., and for once I get to miss out on a funeral with a woman weeping over a casket clutching a set of rosary beads like a lifeline while wailing over the corpse. By the way, we call those the "professional mourners". It's like the only occupation available to Italian women after retirement. The health plan is amazing, except maybe for the dental.

Bearer tells me that recently she had another relative commit suicide, and she said "Suicide is just a selfish act." Which I agree with, but in a world where everyone is out for themselves, to get whatever they can with no regard for anyone else, what can we expect of people who are desperate and sad? That these people will be the ones to scoff in the face of selfishness and consider the consequences?

We've all been talking lately about the young people who have committed suicide because they've been bullied. Tyler Clementi and Phoebe Prince could not have been more different than one another, and yet met pretty much the same end. It proves to me that kids just don't understand consequences, that what you say or do to someone has a repurcussion. That taking your own life will bring so much pain to others. That it lets the bullies win. That's right -- in the game of life, when you bow out, you forfeit. You lose. They win. If nothing else, that should be your reason to live. IT WAS FOR ME.

I've been there. I've been teased and bullied, both at school and at home. My classmates called me Miss Piggy, my father's nickname of choice was Bubble Butt. Plus, I was smart and that didn't help me in any way to escape ridicule from my peers. Once I had skipped a grade, even the other smart kids teased me, called me a baby. I did have friends here and there, but for the most part I was a pariah -- and like so many other kids, the only way for me to feel powerful was to find other kids to pick on. There weren't many beneath me, but you only need one. I wish I could say I rose above it. I didn't. We are all flawed creatures.

But you can learn. You can find strength. You can look at yourself in the mirror and decide that you will not give any of these people the fucking satisfaction of knowing that they beat you. That was my fire. That's what kept me going. I remember seeing Pretty in Pink as a teenager and hearing Andie say "I just want them to know they didn't break me." I remember saying that to myself so many times, like when a boy said "Do you want to dance?" and I said "Yes" only to hear "How's it feel to want?" I lay in bed at night and thought of every horrible thing anyone might say to me, and thought about how I would respond to them. I started to jump the gun for people who wanted to tease me. I would laugh in the face of their taunts. It made me funny. That earned me respect. My life changed. It wasn't easy, I don't want to make it seem that way; but it was possible, and it happened, and I'm living proof that IT GETS BETTER. That the portion of your life that will suck is a small percentage of all that you can do. That no one -- not your peers, not your parents -- will be making your life hell forever. I used to think I couldn't go through with suicide because I was a coward. I WAS WRONG. Dying is easy. Anybody can do easy. Just ask Staples.

There's not enough selflessness in the world anymore; people have to know what's in it for them before they'll do something. If you read my previous post about my other aunt who passed, you'll know that small things can have such a huge impact. A gesture, a word, a gift. I know in my life I've had the opportunity to give those things to people and didn't take it; I don't do that anymore.

There was a girl in my Women's Studies class one year. She was pretty, but a little strange. I would see her around the campus sometimes, but I never made the effort to get to know her. She, however, made an attempt to befriend me one day in the student center. I blew her off, and I wasn't shy about it. I felt kind of bad about it, too, but I couldn't think of a reason not to be rude. Why should I be nice to her? She was nobody to me.

She committed suicide not long after that. We found out in class. I didn't want to know her when she was alive, and now I can't forget her. Her name was Shoshanna. I wish I had a live friend, instead of a sad memory of a dead girl. Maybe all she needed was kindness. Now I'll never know.

Instead I smile at everyone I meet. I say hello. I'm free with compliments and praise, and if I tease people I make sure they know I'm not serious. I listen and try to give advice. I love people, and I tell them so. This is what Shoshanna taught me. What life taught me is that it is never OK for people to treat you as less. To smother you with disrespect. That there comes a point when you can put those people behind you and live your life as yourself -- but do it kindly. Lead by example. Show kindness and love, and if you can't bow out and move on. Don't turn into a bully. Don't turn into a statistic. Live.

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"Relax, would you? We have seventy dollars and a pair of girls underpants. We're safe as kittens."

You know what I wonder about sometimes? I wonder why we can donate organs, but I can't donate my excess fat to people who really, really need it. I mean, honestly: no one needs this much breast. I could donate one of my breasts to TWO really needy flat chested women and they could each have a decent B cup rack to go home with. I could divide my remaining breast into a solid D cup and move on with my life. How is it possible that in this day and age we can take a male penis, stuff it into the body cavity and make a vagina but I can't donate breasts to the needy? There are women injecting fat from a total stranger into their lips. Do you have any idea how many sets of full lips you could get from my ass? All of Beverly Hills, at least. I don't know why there are all these commercials asking me to send my money to needy cultures, when it's obvious to me that what these undernourished kids need is some body fat. Easiest way to accomplish this is certainly by fat transplant; it's going to take WAY too long to fatten them up by food alone. Those kids look cold!

Um, so anyway... yeah. Just this place my brain went to for a sec. Now... *shuffles papers around on the desk* where are my damn notes? *shuffle shuffle* Crap, I have no idea. Damn, I was gonna talk about something profound, too, I think. Oh well.


"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal."

Almost 20 years ago, some distant family of mine came to the states to visit from Australia. As with most of my relatives on the Italian side of things, I couldn't really describe to you exactly how we're related, only that we are. Things are kind of complicated on that side; the cousins closest to me in age are actually my second cousins, for example. Anyway, I was still living at home and so was there the day that these distant relatives stopped by to visit with us: an Italian uncle, his Irish wife, and two of their children who, having grown up in Australia, had accents of their own. Watching all of these people converse with my dad, with his heavy Philly patois, was certainly an entertaining afternoon, one that never left me.

The aunt introduced to me that day was a lovely and kind woman. She gave me a beautiful bracelet, gorgeous green stones in a gold setting. I wore it for years, until it finally went, literally, to pieces. She had made such an impression on me; I was a girl who had not known much sweetness, and had certainly not known a love like she gave her children. I have never forgotten the lilt of her voice, though I never saw her again. Now I never will, for she has passed away.

Her passing says so much to me about how impressions can be made in such a short time. How just being nice to someone can touch them in ways that last a lifetime. How family means not how closely tied you are, but how you affect one another. I wish now that I had cared better for that bracelet in my youth, so I would have something to remember her by now -- but then I realize that I still remember it vividly, just as I remember her. So if I could go back and tell her anything that I never said then, it would be this: I will never forget you, though we shall never meet again.

Death is inevitable. Everything dies. But not everything is remembered. I remember you. I remember.


"We're sorta like 7-11. We're not always doing business, but we're always open."

Well, hot damn! It has been a LONG fucking time since I posted anything. See earlier entry about not having the urge to write when I'm happy.

You're probably wondering what's been going on in my life in the 16 months since I last posted. Or you're not, and you're only reading this because there's nothing on TV and you've run out of new porn to look at. It makes no difference to me. I've been in both situations, myself. Although I'm always willing to revisit old porn if it's a particular favorite, and that's not actually what I was planning to blog about but sometimes I just never know where this damn brain is gonna take me. It's like a maze!

I was rereading my entry from April and thinking "wow, kind of an angry place, that." It actually took me a minute to remember what the hell it was about, but then I remembered the Smaug Spawn and I just had to laugh all over again. Sometimes I look at the things that happen in my life and wonder if it was actually a movie and I just watched it so many times that I THINK it's happening to me. That's how weird some of my shit is!

So I last wrote in April of 2009. Two. Thousand. And. NINE. Crazy! Since then I bought the condo I was renting (November), adopted a new dog (December), did my first big home improvement (February), my first minor one (May) and another major reno a couple of weeks ago. I have been so busy spending my fucking money that the past 16 months are a blur.

The latest thing I did was replace all the carpet in my house with brand new flooring. Aside from the bedrooms and the stairs, I put laminate throughout the house. I'd been wanting to do it for some time, and it is GORGEOUS. However, if I had known just how goddamn funny it would be watching my dogs walking on it, I would have done it WAY sooner.

First of all, Puppy seems to be completely unaffected by the slippery surface. Well, maybe not unaffected as much as ignorant. He still runs laps around the furniture like a cat on a nip bender, except that now he has trouble taking the corners and so his ass slides way out of his controlled loop and he's scrabbling for purchase with his tongue hanging out looking for all the world like an extra on Ren and Stimpy. Occasionally he will try to get air from the slippery surface and it's just a miserable failure of epic proportions. Baby Girl is not much of a crazy runner, so you would think I'd find nothing amusing about her transition to laminate flooring -- except that every so often she slips and looses her footing going from the couch to the food bowl for no good reason. Seriously. Step step step FUMBLE. It's HILARIOUS.

I've started to realize that Baby Girl, though she's been with me less than a year, is the blood of my blood. Puppy is awake every morning 15 minutes before the alarm goes off at 6, because he wants to be ready for it. Baby Girl is not going to move from that fucking bed until ABSOLUTELY necessary. Puppy is active and can never have enough exercise. Baby Girl loves her walk, but can't wait until it's over so she can lay down, preferably on a cool surface, and not move for the rest of the night. Tripping over her own feet while walking? Yeah, she TOTALLY gets that from me, because I am a klutz of epic proportions. Which is how I dropped a sectional sofa on my own foot, but only managed to severely sprain one of my toes. Klutzy, but lucky as hell!

These days my passion is Zumba. Zumba, zumba, zumba. I never thought I would be crazy in love with an activity that spends an entire hour kicking the shit out of me until I'm dripping sweat like a priest at a choir boy convention. I even bought special sneakers just for Zumba, hot pink Nike crosstrainers. Yeah, baby. Yeah. I think most of the reason I love it is because my instructor is AWESOME. In the early days Short Stack and I went to check out a class in another facility, and it was like Dancing with the Oldies. Nice people, but sheesh. What a drag. It's just not a good class unless the next day I dread going up the steps and have to hold on to the half wall as I gingerly lower myself onto the toilet in the middle of the night. THAT'S when you know that you are burning it up. No more boring hours on the treadmill watching Law & Order for me, wishing my time at the gym was up. Dance, baby. Dance.