Monday, September 29, 2008


This is a little story about Sarah Palin and rape kits.

It seems when she was mayor of Wasilla, AK, they enacted a little budget saving policy to cut costs at the police department. They started charged rape victims for the cost of their rape kits and forensic exams. It was, afterall, costing the town between $5,000 and $14,000 a year to process the evidence themselves. Not like there was oil money floating around and God forbid we burden the tax payers!

The practice stopped when the Alaska Legistlature found out and outlawed the practice. Seems it was part of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act that victims cannot be charged for the for exams and the kits containing the medical supplies needed to conduct them and that states become ineligible for federal grant funding if they are. It's an awfully good provision, considering we would never ask any other crime victim to foot the bill of their own investigation. Could you even imagine suggesting it?

So, the question is, did Mayor Palin know about the practice?

Well, she hand picked the police chief. Her signature is on the budget which includes the procedure, again strongly endorsed by the police chief. And she micromanaged the town down to the books in the library collection.

I think it's safe to say YES. And, what an unfeeling bitch.

Now explain to me HOW any woman could want this lady in the white house just because she has an X chromosone?

Isn't being HUMAN a more important quality???

And did I mention that the author and sponsor of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, the catalyst that moved the Alaskan Legistlature to stop Mrs Palin's sick little penny pinching project, was none other than Joe Biden?

Yeah, he's done more for women than Sarah Palin will ever do.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Duke, Duke, Duke

How sick am I of Duke???

Let's go over this one more time.

Just because they didn't rape a stripper at THAT particular party on THAT particular night, does not make them eligible for sainthood. SERIOUSLY!

"That story is over in SO many ways" and I quote ESPN. Was it far that their entire 2006 squad, 33 players, got an extra year of NCAA eligibility? For them? Maybe. For the rest of the Division I NCAA Lacrosse players? Definitely NOT. For the 4th year seniors at Duke? Probably not. In fact, it sucks to be them.

They've interviewed a few fifth year seniors at Duke. Now remind me, is Duke the really academically difficult school with the kick ass school of engineering??

Wait, no, THAT'S Johns Hopkins! Or, it could be UVA... But it's definitely not Duke. Listening to the commentators fawn over the academics of the Duke players I find myself wanting to vomit.

Seriously. We've already identified their complete lack of integrity, character and the fact that they wouldn't know propriety if it kicked their ass. Last year they were congratulated for all their community service and what not.

Here's what I know about Hopkins players: I considered several of the players in my class to be friends. They did the same academic work that I and every other Hopkins student did. Many went on to highly, highly competitive jobs at Morgan Stanley and Andersen Consulting or to top tier law, business or even medical schools. They belonged to fraternities (keeping in mind that the Greek system at Hopkins isn't a stereotypical Greek system ~ think MIT or CalTech) and were involved in significantly more philanthropy than Duke's players. And at Hopkins, there is no "gentleman's B", there is, however, a C- curve if you were lucky enough to get Herk the Jerk for econ.

Hold on, Quent just admitted that he played for Hopkins!! The casual observer would have NEVER suspected such a thing the way he fawns over Duke!!

Maybe the Duke story will finally be over now that Hopkins has once again beaten their sorry arses.

Finals on Monday.. Syracuse vs. Hopkins! GO BLUE JAYS!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sitting back and enjoying the ride.....

Sometimes you just need to stop questioning everything and just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Quit wondering if you're upping the ante by wearing make up and sexy sandals. Don't question why he didn't hold your hand in the movie theatre.

Love the fact that he actually calls when he says he will. That sometimes he just calls to say good night.

Enjoy how he presses his arm against yours as you sit together on the couch watching a movie and apologizes profusely when his arm falls asleep and shoulder cramps up and he has to move them.

And wonder at the fact that when you rest your head on the right side of his chest and he wraps both arms around you, that you can still hear his heart beat on the other side of his chest.

But most of all, take comfort in the minutes he holds you, clings to you, like there is no one else in the world.

Quit questioning anything else. Let that be the answer to your question.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Friends, More than Friends???

Who the hell knows?

And just when I had got myself to a particularly horrible place in my life. Seriously, Intensive Outpatient Psychiatric Treatment.

You have to love Treatment Resistant Depression. Okay, well, you actually have to hate it. Seven drug alterations and I lost the ability to hope-this-will-be-the-one-that-does- it! somewhere around number five.

So we've moved on to the touchy/feely shit. Just between you and me, I don't really believe in this stuff. I'm a scientist. I work in medical research. Whether or not I was breastfed (beyond the intrinsic nutritional and immunological value of breast milk) and my potty training have NOTHING to do with my emotional well being as an adult. NOTHING.

So, as I'm going along through this month long group therapy ~ where they tell me daily that I have no self esteem (also know as a symptom of depression) ~ we talk about self love, parenting, defense mechanisms, etc. Terms that never came up in the grad level course I took, "The Epidemiology of Psychosis." An obvious oversite on the part of Hopkins School of Public Health, I'm sure.

And it becomes apparent that they don't even seem to be reading my chart. "Jennifer is beginning to learn the signs and symptoms of Bipolar type II disorder" reads my first progress report. SERIOUSLY? I've been living with this disease since 1995. I've figured out ALL the signs and symptoms at this point. And if they think one of their objectives is to teach me ~ well, let's just say a whole lot of time is being wasted...

Having decided this last resort treatment is a waste of my time, I just can't bring myself to get out of bed to get there. They threaten to throw me out of the program and actually begin to realize how much pain I'm actually in. I think someone actually reads my chart even.

And then something really strange happens.

A very attractive, single, age appropriate man joins our group. Almost immediately, everyone is aware of the attraction between us. We connect on so many levels. We have shared life experiences, shared family relationship difficulties, shared loss of friends to marriage and parenthood.

We're not allowed to socialize outside of group until one of us is discharged ~ which is me, a week and a half after he's joined the group. We've already spent breaks together, walked out to our cars together and talked before group every day.

On the day I'm discharged, we rent videos and get pizza and hang out together. Some time during the evening we both admit the we hadn't intended to get involved with anyone until we had straightened out our own lives, but meeting each other had changed things. We decided to continue hanging out together and see what happens.

He holds my hand and when I leave, he walks me to my car and hugs me, holding me close and not releasing me for a long time, as if to say exactly what I'm feeling ~ I'm lonely. I'm so lonely, it's palpable, but keep it at bay. ~ I have no idea how to interpret any of this, but I feel like if we started to kiss, we wouldn't be able to stop.

When I talk to him, we chat for hours until we have to go to sleep. Every evening together ends with the same hug, but I can't help but wonder if one of these days instinct is going to take over and when we pull apart he might just kiss me without thinking about it. And I'm not even sure how I'd react.

But I worry, what if we cross that time where is you don't become more than friends, you just stay friends forever. It's not the worst thing in the world, but I do think I'm falling in love with him.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Isn't It Time You Got Over How Fragile You Are

It's been weeks now.

I've been feeling like I'm missing a piece of myself; like I misplaced it somewhere.

The concept is nothing new. In deep depression one loses all sense of self.

And it's a struggle, trying to grasp for things that you think might bring you closer to the person you're supposed to be instead of the ghost that wanders about haunting your life.

This is different. [Somehow, every time it's different so that just when I think I have the hang of it, I really don't.]

I'm not sure if I'm losing myself in stages or pieces are falling off or if this time I'll just lose parts and not the whole. And frankly I'm not sure what's more frightening.

So, I'm sorting through all these old photographs trying to see what part of me is missing. Maybe if I can identify what is missing I can remember when I last saw it? I'm not sure when that statement stopped sounding rational, but you have to understand that sense of missing something ~ it's like I left it in the pocket of a pair of pants that I haven't worn in a while or it's packed in some box I haven't unpacked in the two years since I moved.

The obvious answer to the part of me that I have lost is the part of me that can feel happiness and hope and love, that can look to the future and see more than darkness. I can't remember ever being happy. I'm not sure I've ever been loved. The one great relationship of my life ended with him saying, "I don't love you anymore. I'm not sure I ever loved you."

Can you even imagine HOW much I want to get him on the phone and make him take those words back? I can't even look at the photos of the two of us because I'm convinced they'll reinforce his statement. There will be something in his expression or body language in the photo that will SCREAM, I don't love this woman and I never did.

I asked my mother if she ever remembered me happy. She mentioned a number of different things but one of them clicked and now I cling to it.

It was a late weekend afternoon and I had gone for a walk in Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. It was nearly the end of a special butterfly exhibit they were have in one section of the new glass conservatory. I had been in no rush since I had gone to a similar exhibit at the Museum of National History in NYC not too long before, in fact I had planned to skip it. But after wandering through the orchid room in the conservatory, I decided to check out the butterflies. The Gardens were set to close in 5 minutes and I expected to be kicked out, but instead the garden personnel just left me alone with the plants and the millions of exotic moths and butterflies, letting me know to make sure the door was fully sealed with I left.

I can't remember the last time I had seen such beauty or was filled with such wonder. It was like being a child again and rediscovering the magic that surrounds you. Everything else, every crazy stress, left my mind and I was completely alone with the flutter of tiny colorful wings. I remember just stopping everything and sitting down on a bench and taking in all that surrounded me until tears of joy ran down my face. It was exactly the transfusion that I needed for my crazy life and my crazy job and everything else I just couldn't stop juggling.

So now as I risk losing myself to disease I hold on to what I believe is a vital part. I remember the beauty and the joy and the wonder and the happiness of that afternoon and I remind myself that I am more than capable of that.

And I sing along with my theme song....

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Oh NO He Did NOT!!!!

Jimmy Kimmel is back with his revenge for Matt Damon ~ He's f*ckin' Ben Affleck!

Funny story ~ Affleck apparently had the idea before Kimmel did, almost as soon as he saw the Matt Damon video...

As for all the celebrities? The were nearly lining up to be a part of it. And who got the big fish? Apparently Ben's wife Jennifer Garner is the one who mentioned the projected to Harrison Ford who immediatedly wanted in. And when he arrived in wardrobe for the shoot he asked, "Don't you have anything in mesh?"

I have to admit, I prefer the Matt/Sarah video, but the Josh Groban appearance kills me as does the bumper sticker on Harrison Ford's convertible. (I'd like to see one of those on my way home from work one evening...) And who can resist McLovin or Robin Williams...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I Blame the WGA....


I invest four years of my life ~ alright, maybe 18 months of my Tivo's life ~ to FINALLY seeing Peyton and Lucas wind up together and now he's marrying someone else?!?!?!?!

What ARE you people doing to me????

Taking a step back...

Let's be honest. If there were other actual scripted shows to watch on television that could absorb my emotion, like say Bones or the Office or Grey's Anatomy, I wouldn't feel like my entire life was tied up in the outcome of one character's life. But, NOOOO, you leave me the most inane reality shows (Project Runway, you're excused), that even my cat, who has been falling for the fake throw for FIFTEEN YEARS, is too intelligent to stand.

And, et tu, PBS? Where did my Jane Austen go?

Damn you all!! You're even running short on episodes of Frontline!!

How is it possible for a woman in her thirties to garner any self respect when her world twists and turns on the love lives of fictional twenty somethings???

And what's with killing off Georgie on GH??? Was that even necessary?? I don't even watch the show (often) and I'm just too upset for words.....

Friday, February 15, 2008

Oh those Wacky New Englanders...

We know, of course, Boston's favorite sons (when it's not baseball, football, basketball, or hockey season, that is) Matt Damon & Ben Affleck and of course late night comedians Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien**; there's Rhode Island's contribution, Steve Carrell, the boys from Newton, John Krasinski & B.J. Novak, Manchester, NH's own Adam Sandler and who would have thought Bedford, NH would churn out both Seth Meyers AND Sarah Silverman??? (If anyone can figure out how Maine and Vermont have contributed beyond their excellent lobster, maple syrup and ski slopes, just let me know...)

So, Sarah Silverman.... Matt Damom.... Where could I possibly be going with this....

Only to the funniest thing I have probably ever seen on Youtube! (pause here for a short prayer to thank God for giving us youtube....)

Now, my sister swears that after you watch this, like, a hundred and twenty times, it becomes obviously that Matt can bearly keep from breaking and laughing. I have not yet reached the 120 mark, but please feel free to comment on this when you do hit that threshold....

I just LOVE the enthusiasm!!! And, of course, the referral to her publicist. If only we could end every relationship so well...

**We wouldn't take Letterman in a trade if you promised to take Pamela Smart, the more embarasing Kennedys AND all memories of Roger Clemens wearing a Red Sox uniform from our brains....

Monday, January 28, 2008

That Kennedy Thing

You grow up Irish in New England and it can't be avoided.

Now, I know every baby boomer or pre-boomer can tell you exactly where they were when John F Kennedy was shot. But it was different if they were an Irish and grew up in Massachusetts.

It's like the whole Challenger disaster ~ every kid who was old enough to be in school that day can tell you where they were when the space shuttle exploded, but it was a whole different story if you were in a New Hampshire school, like the one Christa McAulliffe came from.

But back to the Kennedys. I didn't really get it at first. On our first trip to Washington, DC, my mother and aunt both cried at JFK's tomb and my mother never cries.

As I grew older and read more about "the Kennedy Curse," they became more mythical. The eldest and best son killed in the war. The beautiful eldest daughter marries into British royalty, but dies in a plane crash. The daughter who was never quite right and despite pleas from her mother, the father decides then allow doctors to attempt a new procedure on her ~ a lobotomy ~ is she is locked away for life. The two middle brothers who seek political glory and gain it, but lose their lives in the process. It was like a cross between Emily Bronte and Danielle Steele.

And then there were all the Kennedy children. You'd see pictures of them looking like a J.Crew add playing touch football on the waterfront family compound in Hyannisport. The ferry from Hyannis to Martha's Vineyard gave you a spectacular view of the sprawling white house and porches and large grass lawn pierced with an enormous white flagpole bearing the US flag. It was impossible to keep track of all the kids ~ well, except for JFKjr. His every move was publicized. But the rest, you only heard about them when they were getting married, running for office or going on trial, each of which happened with equal frequency.

In New England, it wasn't uncommon to hear one of the children referred to as not even being the child of one of the "good" Kennedys. I believe Patrick (son of Ted) took the brunt of that joke when he first ran for congress in Rhode Island.

The Kennedys have since lost their mythical aura for me. I understand why they were so revered by the Irish Catholics as they proved that "no Irish need apply" was truly a thing of the past. They broke every glass ceiling that stood in the way of every member of my family and provided them with more hope for the future than anything else could. In the culture of Ireland, where emigration is such a strongly entrenched part of their history and their present, there's a reason that even still you find two pictures on the wall of every home: the pope and JFK.

I met Ted about 10 years ago, when my mothers' college presented him with an award for his work in improving the health and well being of the citizens of Massachusetts. He was all red and bloated back then. I saw Joe (one of RFK's sons) speak about 15 years ago and have never seen someone with as much charisma just pouring out of them since. I've also sat beside a unknown Kennedy at the Hyannis airport ~ no one else on earth has that many teeth and dresses casually out of Ralph Lauren's latest collection.

Caroline (JFK's daughter) wrote an OpEd in the NYT yesterday comparing Barack Obama to her father. (see link in title) She provides a rather persuasive argument, enough so that her uncle Ted Kennedy (Edward, not Theodore)has decided to endorse him as well and join him on the campaign trail.

The Clintons are rather miffed and have released that Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (daughter of RFK)is supporting them. She has made a statement that not only is she supporting Hillary, but so are her siblings, Bobby* and Kerry. The irony being that their mother, Ethel, has repeatedly introduced Senator Obama as "the next President of the United States" at events including Kennedy family events.

* Bobby is someone we would refer to as a "bad" Kennedy as he was arrested for heroine possession in 1983 and if that weren't enough, he's using his name to keep the whole vaccinations-cause-autism movement alive, despite the fact that no scientific study has found ANY proof of this, and despite the fact that the "toxin" in vaccines thiomersol has been removed from childhood vaccines since 2001, the incidence of autism has only increased.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

My fondest wish....

As if network television hadn't gotten bad enough ~ American Gladiators, Don't Forget the Lyrics, Celebrity Apprentice, Dance Wars, and TWO HOURS of the Biggest Loser, I'm talkin' to you ~ we have to endure yet another State of the Union address next week.

Like we're not all aware of the state of the Union? It sucks! We're headed into a major recession. (If I click my heels three times might Alan Greenspan come back?) We entered a poorly thought out war with no exit plan and, guess what?, we can't get out!! We seemed to have misplaced the middle class. Our health care system is broken; overtaxed by some, underutilized by others and still our population is ridiculously unhealthy. Who's to blame? Well, we're getting screwed from about 8 different directions by the insurance industry with increasing health insurance premiums and medical liability premiums. And if the pharmaceutical industry was spending a fraction of their marketing and advertising budget on research, we'd all be doing much better and not be so concerned about health coverage. AND, don't even get me started about education.....

Let's get back on topic. While I realize that the writers of the State of the Union are not members of the WGA ~ how? Because the best State of the Union addresses ever televised were given by a fictional president (Jed Bartlett) and written by a fictional writer (Sam Seaborn) ~ Wouldn't it be refreshing to see the WGA-East picket the State of the Union? At the very least, some members of the news media would not be able to cross the picket line and members of Congress who receive strong support from the Teamsters (heavily involved in film and television) and other large unions couldn't be seen crossing picket lines.

So this is how I imagine it.... George W. giving his speech to a partially filled House chamber while Dick Cheney tapes the event on his camcorder.

It's probably too much to ask for, but I can still dream...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

If this is the new face of mental illness...

... then I need a closet, STAT!

Seriously, though, why is it that whenever someone does something crazy, it gets equated with mental illness?

Why is it so difficult to accept that some people are just NUTS and it has nothing to do with an illness or process in their brain? Sometimes it's completely behavioral and all the antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anti psychotics and anticonvulsives in the world aren't going to fix that.

People magazine thinks that Britney is bipolar... So that would mean she's been manic for what, 8, 10 years now? Sorry, guys. Affective disorders, like manic depression, are cyclical and have periods of normalcy between episodes. One of your people on the editorial board should have gotten a psychiatry degree, or at least a copy of DSM IV!

How about this for a try? Maybe she's just a narcissistic personality type on drugs.

I hate to have to be present for those ridiculous conversations about this murderer or that evil soulless criminal ~ They must be sick! And by sick, we're not talking about a particularly bad case of the chicken pox, although a very far gone case of syphilis could cause some pretty insane behaviors.

But to suggest that serial killers, drug lords and pedophiles fall into the same category as the mentally ill is ignorant, hateful and promotes the stigma that keeps so many amazing talented and accomplished individuals with mental illnesses from ever letting on.

Society needs to learn the difference between sick and sick. They need to understand that diseases of the brain are no different than diseases of the heart or lungs or kidneys except that because the brain is so intricately involved in so much of EVERYTHING we do, when it breaks down, we simply drop with it.

Kay Redfield Jamison, (who I shudder to think I am mentioning in the same blog post as Britney Spears) both the coauthor of the medical text on bipolar disorder and a Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School, is also one of the sick. In speaking of her own experiences, she has sad of manic depression, "It is not a gentle or easy disease." And it is not. 15% mortality rate. No cure. For those whom the treatment works, the side effects can be horrid. And the disease still returns in its own due time, completely unconcerned with your schedule or current intentions. It tears through your life with hurricane force winds destroying everything in it's path and leaving you buried beneath, clawing your way out to see what remains among the rubble.

I have several times been privy to the conversation about how selfish suicide is: the many variations of how much more we have in America than other places; the backward logic of how it could make anything better; the narcissism that could drive it. I ignore these conversations. I am not about to admit that I have spent years of my life plotting its demise.

So let me pose my question here instead: Imagine how much pain you need to be in and how hopeless you need to feel and how long you need to be trapped in that place for suicide to become the most rational action you could take...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Don't look at me, I'm from Vermont....

I'm renouncing my status as a native of NH. I refuse to claim it.

Doesn't anyone remember Edwin S. Muskie? He was the favorite to win the 1972 Democratic Primary in New Hampshire, that is until one of the Manchester Union Leader published two articles, one letter that proved to be a hoax (casting the former Maine governor as a racist moron) and the other attacking his wife. William Loeb, while he was still alive, was one of the really ugly men in American political history, he was survived by his wife, Whacky Nackie (whose real name I honestly don't know), as the publisher of the Useless Leader (as it is affectionately known by those in NH, I'm told, being as how I'm from VT and all.)

As a child, it always seemed odd to me that the editorial was published on the front page, above the fold ~ basically saying "my opinion is the most important news of the day!" We never subscribed to that paper, we read the Boston Globe in my house, but that's another story entirely.

Back to Loeb and Muskie... The letter was eventually proven to be a fraud ~ someone in the Nioxn administration actually took credit for it ~ but Loeb's attack on Muskie's wife crossed the line in the candidate's opinion. He held a press conference on the front steps of the Union Leader offices to defend his wife. Now, it was a snowy day, as it often is in NH in February, and Muskie was rather seething with rage as he made his remarks. There were no televisions to record the events, only print reporters and a single photograph. It's hard to say what actually happened, if it was melting snow or an angry and frustrated man pushed to his limit, but the story that came out was that Muskie had cried.

And that was the end of his Presidential candidacy.


Now fast forward 35 years and we have a female candidate for President and she happens to tear up about how exhausting it is to get up look her campaign best every day (like she doesn't have staff) and NH is suddenly drawn to how "human" she is and votes for her in droves.

Keep in mind. It's not like she was talking about the millions of children that go without needed health care because they have no insurance. It's not like she was talking about the problem of women and girls being kidnapped trafficked as part of the sex trade. It's not even like she was talking about our own troops still stuck in Iraq and their worried families back home and the condition they are returning in and the poor care they're receiving after the sacrifices they've made.

I could be touched by someone tearing up over any one of those things, in fact, I'm having a tough time not tearing up just writing about them.

So, sorry guys. Mother nature isn't the only who's snowed you this year.

For the time being, I claiming to be from the upside down triangle...

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

WHAT have I been tellin' y'all???

What if Iowa Settles Nothing for Democrats?

That's the headline from the political memo in this morning's New York Times.

It would seem that they're finally figuring out that all these early primaries are going to mess with the usual culling of the field and we're going to wind up with entirely too many candidates for entirely too long.

Who woulda seen that one coming.

Yeah, I know, but I don't need to brag about it.

I think there may be some charm to having the national conventions without having selected a nominee first. It would at least give people a reason to watch. There would be an air of anticipation, viewers sitting on the edge of their seats awaiting the completion of the national roll call. Never would Vermont and Wyoming garner so much of the Nation's attention. Will there be back room deals? Delegates gone renegade? Who knows?

We could at least have Michael Kors there to critique their wardrobe and Heidi Klum to say Auf Wiedersehen to the losers. And you KNOW you want to see Tim Gunn back stage going over stump speeches saying things like: This really screams 1984 to me; You have an awful lot of work to do here and not a lot of time; Is this how you intended it to be?; and, of course, Make it work!