Thursday, February 28, 2008

Getting to know me...

Everyone else is doing it . . .

1) Ever been in a relationship lasting over 5 years?
18 with my boyfriend/husband, 17 with one dog, and 14+ with my two cats.

2) What was one of your dreams growing up?
I would be trapped in a white maze with statues that were white, and they shot darts out of their heads. It was freaky and creepy.

Oh. That type of dream. Be able to fly. Or be an astronomer. To have a zeppelin.

3) What talent do you wish you had?
Perfect pitch.

4) If I bought you a drink what would it be?
I'm usually the driver, so a Coca-Cola. Otherwise, depending on my mood and the place it'd be a Midori Sour, a bitter beer, or a scotch.

5) Favorite books?
The Silmarillion, Shadow of the Moon, Childhood's End, any RAH, The Aeneid.

6) What was the last book you read?
Like a Charm
Currently reading The Hidden City by Michelle Sagara West

7) Astrology: Menace to science education or entertainment?
It's so silly how can it be considered a menace?

8.) Any tattoos and/or piercings? Explain where.
I think I have 5 holes between the two ears. That's all. For now...

9) Worst habit?

10) Best attribute?
I don't know. My stellar charm and wit?

11) What are your favorite hobbies?
Reading, playing games, quilting, cooking, eating, adventuring

12) Do you have a negative or optimistic attitude?
Optimistic pessimist. I like to hope things will go well, but I don't expect them to. I know better.

13) What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?
See if we could figure out how to make it work or escape, because that would be fun.

14) Worst thing to ever happen to you?
Not something I choose to disclose. Not to be a downer, but hell, bat at #6 I was honest enough to admit the last book I read.

15) Best thing to ever happen to you?
Probably my super spouse. I'd probably be dead without him.

16) Tell me one weird fact about you.
I can flex my pectoral muscles, and make my breasts move. I can do the Ahhhnaald/Hans & Franz thing.

17) What if I showed up at your house unexpectedly?
I'd wonder how the hell you got here without letting me know (I'm easy to find, but it is Alaska!). I'd encourage you to admire my redneck compound, and suggest we grab some coffee somewhere else. 400 sq ft of cabin is awfully small.

18) What was your first impression of me?
Made me smile. That's a good thing.

19) What scares you?
On a small level - creepy bugs creep me out. On a big level, feeling helpless. I hate it, hate it, hate it.

20) If you could change one thing about how you are, what would it be?
More trusting. But I'm not comfortable with that.

21) Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?

22) What color eyes do you have?

23) Ever been arrested?
Not yet.

24) Favorite dessert?
Rhubarb pie/Rhubarb crunch

25) If you won $1000 today, what would you do with it?
Pay some bills. $1000 isn't much money these days.

26) Tell me something you want me to know about you.
Once I'm done with grad school I'm thinking about getting my CDL and working in the construction industry because I like the people.

27) What’s your favorite place to hang out?
Someplace peaceful and stress free

28) Do you believe in ghosts? Aliens?
Ghosts. No. Aliens. Life off of earth, of course.

29) Favorite thing to do in your spare time?
Read or cook/bake. Play with Lego. Admire my fabulous shoe collection. Play with makeup. Target practice. Cat wrangling.

30) Do you swear a lot?
Like a sailor. I was raised by sailors.

31) Biggest pet peeve?
People who are cluelessly inconsiderate. If you're being an asshole on purpose, I can live with that. But if you're an asshole because you're just clueless and self-centered, well, you probably piss me off.

32) In one word, how would you describe yourself?

33) Do you believe in/appreciate romance?
I'm a sap, or course. Easier to believe in romance than horoscopes or ghosts or the afterlife.

34) Most unusual place you’ve had sex?
Unusual by whose standards?

35) Do you believe in an afterlife?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Which SF Author are you?

The Slush God aka John Joseph Adams, assistant editor of Fantasy and Science Fiction, put a link to a "What Science Fiction Author Are You?" quiz on the F&SF blog today.

Drumroll please...

I am:
Frank Herbert
His style is often stilted, but he created what some consider the greatest SF novel of all time.

Which science fiction writer are you?

Hmm. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Could be worse, I guess.

RIP William F. Buckley Jr.

I loved watching Firing Line on PBS. A show where people were encouraged to think and discuss big ideas, in a civil manner. Wow! Even in the early eighties, we didn't see much of that in the MSM, and we sure as heck don't see it at all today.

Buckley's vocabulary - glorious.
Buckley's politics - for the most part, not my own.

Mostly, I like that he didn't take himself too seriously.

Thank you Mr. Buckley. You helped open the mind of a kid from backwoods Alaska, and I have always been grateful

NYT - William F. Buckley Jr. is dead at 82

Sunday, February 24, 2008

When I grow up

I'll be stable, when I grow up I'll turn the tables...
I love that song. Yes, I enthusiastically sing along with Garbage's song When I Grow Up.

I want to be Helen Mirren when I grow up. With Jeremy Irons and Billy Zane and Gina Gershon as my eye candy attendants. I'd like to be Isabella Rosselini too, but I think I'm too tall and too pale.

Of course, this is prompted from watching the Academy Award presentations, though it's not the first time that I have expressed a wish to be Dame Mirren when I grow up. She is such a classy dame. Me, I must not be too classy, because I'm currently thinking lustful thoughts about Jeremy Irons. :sigh:

Friday, February 22, 2008

Unfortunate Typo Of The Day (UTOTD)

TCM is showing Love Story right now. I popped on over to TCM's web page to look at some of their information on it. Some person put in the comments "I balled like a baby".

Um. Yeah. That word does not mean what you think it means. I'm not even going to go there.

I have to wonder, why did Ali McGraw get an Oscar nomination? She's not that great of an actress. Just wondering...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Born On This Day (in 1907): Wystan Hugh Auden

I like poetry. I read poetry magazines. I write doggerel because it's fun and keeps my brain from getting any flabbier. Today, according to my calendar, is the birthday of W.H. Auden. Auden is one of my favorite poets, his work is layered but still direct and free of pretentious obfuscation. Unlike the phrase I just used. Sorry.

The Auden poems that most people are familiar with are Funeral Blues and September 1, 1939. For your reading pleasure, I would like to point you toward my favorite, Law Like Love. In addition, Random House has made available an MP3 of Mr. Auden reading Law Like Love. Thank you Randon House!

I know we're all readers, and some of us are writers. What authors connect with you on a visceral level? Is there someone you read because they make you think and you like their writing?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Police Blotter Fun (long)

I love the Unalaska/Dutch Harbor police blotter. Not because I'm laughing at the people who are in it. I love it because it is written with such a droll yet loving tone. Here are my favorite excerpts from August 2007 through January 2008. Enjoy!

Disorderly Conduct – Officers responded to a bar fight and discovered a man’s nose had been broken after he was punched in the face by another man. The victim did not want to press charges, but did tell officers he wanted to hunt down and kill the suspect. An officer advised that would not be an appropriate course of action.

Drunk Disturbance – Inebriated caller reported being slapped on the back of the neck by a short fat man. He was unable to provide any additional information.

Disorderly Conduct -- A frantic male caller reported that “a crazy old lady was going nuts and that an officer better come right away before someone gets hurt.” Officers responded to the scene and determined that a tenant and apartment manager had gotten into a dispute over the age and general condition of certain food items in a common-use refrigerator.

Suspicious Person/Activity – A person reported hearing a woman screaming near Church Hole. An officer responded and contacted a lone fisherman, who said he had recently seen and heard a fox yowling.

Suspicious Person/Activity – Caller reported two juveniles chasing an eagle with a knife. Officers found several boys fishing. An eagle had taken one of their carcasses and a boy, knife in hand, walked to where the eagle had flown in order to look at it more closely.

Disorderly Conduct – Caller reported a fight in the lobby of the Grand Aleutian. The victim, who had a bloody nose, said he and his friend got into a fight about something, but he could not remember what. The victim did not want to press charges.

Suspicious Person/Activity — Caller reported a man in black was talking to his roommate, and his roommate was crying. The caller asked that police ensure his roommate was safe. Officers responded and found both the roommate and the man in black in the residence. Both men were safe, did not appear to be in distress, and said they had been listening to sad Spanish songs.

Suspicious Person/Activity — A woman reported that a mumbling, stupid-looking man had been following her and staring at her residence for several days. She also said this man had done the same thing during a previous fishing season, and that she was becoming concerned for her safety. The responding officer immediately recognized the man from the woman’s description, contacted him, and gave him explicit instructions regarding all the things he was not allowed to do to, with or around the complainant.

Animal — Ferocious feline fought with a woman who had caught it, believing it to belong to a neighbor. The feline left multiple punctures and lacerations on the woman’s face. An officer issued the woman a cat trap.

MVA Injury – A woman, thinking she had run over a cat, stopped her vehicle but fell down as she was exiting the vehicle. She had left her vehicle in gear, and the vehicle struck her, causing minor injuries, before subsequently striking a parked vehicle, causing damage to both vehicles. The woman refused medical treatment.

Disorderly Conduct – Caller reported what appeared to be a fight in front of Latitudes. The responding officer determined two men had been wrestling in front of the bar, while several others watched. One man had received a bloody nose, but all of the men confirmed the wrestling had been entirely in jest.

Suspicious Person/Activity – Bar employee told an officer that a patron seemed to be avoiding the officer. Officers identified the man and observed him for several minutes, but ultimately found nothing criminal in his behavior.

DUI – Officer observed a vehicle drifting into the oncoming lane of traffic and nearly hit a curb. The officer stopped the vehicle and contacted the occupants, both of whom had been drinking. The driver was not intoxicated, and the poor driving was the result of fatigue.

Drunk Disturbance – A fisherman reported that a woman boarded his boat and lobbed a 12-pack of beer at him before skulking away. The fisherman told officers he did not know whom the woman was, and did not know what she looked like. Officers were unable to find the beer.

Assault – Complainant reported an unidentified co-worker had allegedly provided him with a marijuana brownie, which he believed had caused strange physiological responses in his body.

Environmental – A taxi spewed several quarts of oil on the Eagle parking lot after a clogged filter burst. The owner and operator of the taxi arranged for cleanup.

MVA Damage – Security officer reported a vehicle window had been broken. Investigation revealed a bottle of soy sauce had slipped from somebody’s grip and had hit the window, breaking it.

Suspicious Person/Activity – Caller requested assistance locating her mother, who was not answering her phone. An officer eventually located the mother, who had decided to sleep in this morning.

Animal – Dead eagle.

Welfare Check – UDPS received a strange phone call from a woman who stated if she called again and did not say anything, that there was a problem. Officers located the woman in a hotel room, along with several other intoxicated people, and determined that there was nothing amiss.

Welfare Check – A man asked officers to check on his grown son and make sure he was not drinking. An officer verified the adult son was sober.

Suspicious Person/Activity – Officers spoke with an intoxicated man who believed some of his luggage had been stolen. Officers accompanied the man to his hotel room, where some of his baggage was found. The man thanked the officers for their help and said it was his own fault his other bags were missing, because he was drunk.

Assistance Rendered – Local resident asked officers to help remove a dipsomaniac from his house.

Trespass – Resident requested that another resident be barred from her property, because of his propensity for leaving refuse on her land. An officer advised the man not to return to the other person’s property.

Animal – Man reported a national emblem shot out of the sky, snatched his hat from his head and in so doing left a three-inch gash on his scalp. The victim refused medical treatment

Theft – A man reported his laptop computer had been stolen. Five people who were within three or four feet of the computer, at the time of the theft, told the investigating officer they had not seen anyone take the computer.

Welfare Check – Several drivers reported local drunk, wearing dark clothing, was standing and walking in the middle of the road, creating a traffic hazard. An officer contacted the man and moved him to a less hazardous area.

Welfare Check – An officer assisted a drunken woman and her drunken companion locate and enter a taxi.

Harassment – Officers responded to Magone Marine after one man allegedly used his finger to poke another man in the forehead, while threatening to chop him up with an axe. During the investigation, officers contacted a man who was found not to be involved in the original altercation, but who was belligerent and abusive to officers and threatened to assault them. Hoi Trinh, 44 yoa, of Anchorage, was arrested on one count of Assault IV. Thomas Bewak, 52 yoa, of Sutton, was arrested on one count of Disorderly Conduct.

Civil – Employer reported a recently terminated employee had stuffed dead fish in his mattress, the heating ducts and into wall panels in his former room. An officer advised the complainant that the matter was civil in nature.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I do my best thinking in the bathroom and

in my car while driving down the highway.

Tonight while driving home my brain's sub-processes were sorting and filing, a standard practice. About 4 miles out of Fairbanks I found myself thinking about an article on Amish X-Cultural health care issues and how it related to Jim Wright's vitriolic diatribe about bigoted fuckwits.

Tania's Insight Of The Day:

For people like my MIL and Jim's unwelcome penpal the following rules apply:

Amish aggressively not assimilating, speaking a non-English language at home = Pride in one's heritage.

Norwegians belonging to Sons of Norway and doing nutty things like eat lutefisk = Pride in one's heritage.

People with lily-white Northern European skin have cultural pride. All persons with pigmented skin hues that maintain any allegiance to the land or culture of their extraction are ungrateful miscreants that are trying to destroy Uhmuurricah and all that makes it the best darn place on Earth. An Earth that was created in seven days with dinosaurs living at the same time as Methuselah, btw.

I have two friends that I can immediately think of from whom I would put up with blathering on about the immigrant threat. They're Athabaskan and might have a point about unwelcome people invading their land, refusing to learn the local language, etc. In my not even remotely humble opinion, all other people that gibber on about immigrants ruining this country are ignorant hypocrites. If they want to know what's ruining the country, they need to go look in a mirror. When they're done with that I can introduce them to a few choice members of my family that really don't deserve the privileges of being a citizen. I'd rather have citizens that appreciate the USA and want to live here rather here than lackadaisical fuckwits with delusions of entitlement because of a fortunate accident of birth.

Enough ranting for this evening. Happy President's Day!

A busy week

I'll give an update and some blatheration later on in the week. Until then, I provide, for your entertainment, the following Alaskan oddities:

Redneck City, USA

Danger - Falling Moose!!

The Unalaska/Dutch Harbor Police Blotter - the best police blotter writing in Alaska

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sing it, Al...

Things you should know:

I can't tell you how I did. I will let you draw your own conclusions based on the following:

1) I actually have read a couple of books about Henry VIII
2) Sometimes a brain cramps up
3) I am cursing Elizabeth I and the Neville family, because I got it all jumbled in my head
4) Yes, I know I wrote down the name of the author of The Eight
5) Hey, it's not like anyone else up there got it right, cut me some slack

So, John did not get the Valentine's Day present I hoped to give him. But, watch your telly's on April 28th to see me not completely embarrass myself. That's about all I can say for now.

Oh, and for laughs...The night before, I told John "You know, there's always a Henry VIII question" and proceeded to not bone up on that, but reviewed world capitals and stuff like that. Sometimes you just gotta listen to yourself...

Apparently, I need to learn to trust that I'm not always blowing smoke out my butt.

It was fun, the other contestants were a really nice group of people. I can tell you, it's not that people don't know the answers when they aren't buzzing in. It's because they haven't mastered the timing of buzzing in, which was a big problem for me. One person in my round was infamous within our group for his reflexes. He was fast.

Oh, and to let you know (Cindy) - Alex Trebek is as hot in person as he looks on TV. Alex Trebek, a thinking woman's sex symbol, along with Steve Martin and Billy Zane.

Friday, February 8, 2008

You Gotta Love Those Dogs!

It's time for the 25th running of the Yukon Quest! That's right, the toughest sled dog race on Earth (or any other planet, as far as we know) starts on Saturday morning.

John and I have become friends with people that are heavily involved in The Quest, and consequently been exploited as volunteers for the last few years. In 2007 John was one of the people breaking trail and setting trail markers over from Chena Hot Springs to Mile 101 on the Steese Highway. Me, I tend to keep the home fires burning. Literally. Saturday morning will find us with "fire sleds", braziers on skis, down at the starting line. Fire sleds are places for people to warm up and socialize. I expect we'll be popular because it's damned cold in the Tanana Valley this week. John will also likely end up helping out with getting dogs to the chute and keeping them untangled until the race marshall says 'GO!!!'.

I have no interest in being a musher, but I know some pretty nifty people that are into it. My favorite is Aliy Zirkle, not because she's a woman, not because she's attractive, and not because when she used to bartend to support her mushing habit she'd give me free drinks on my birthday. Nope. Aliy is my favorite because she's a nice, sincere, and funny. And she looks out for our mutual friend Kris, who's getting on in years and his health is questionable. Aliy is a class act, all around.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Four Days of Forty Below and Counting

We've been damned close to -50ºF here at the house every morning this week. John doesn't work if it's -20ºF or colder at 0600, so he's been cat wrangling all week long. Bastard. When I looked at the thermometer this morning and it said -47.8ºF, I wanted to crawl back in bed and pull a cat on top of me. But, no. I went to work, like everyone else. We don't get things like weather days up here in the stubborn, macho sub-arctic.

With that, I am going to share an off the cuff list of things one should not forget when the weather is really $%*&*(*#@(*$!!@#$*^ cold. Yes, this is without wind chill.

Oh, and one other thing. The cold is cold, but it could be worse. The cold will be gone by the end of March. And yes, it makes going outside unpleasant. But, have you ever been to Phoenix in August? I have. It's like staring into the gates of Hell. We go from our warm buildings to our warm cars to our warm buildings. People in Phoenix go from their cooled buildings to their cooled cars to their cooled buildings. It's not that much different.

It's late and I need to go to bed. If you have any suggestions for things I left off the list, please share!

Weather coverage from
Anchorage Daily News
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
National Weather Service Advisory

Things to remember when it’s -40ºF or colder

1) Don’t put your keys in your mouth. It’s like licking a mobile lamp post.
2) The tires on your car will be square when you start to drive. Drive slowly, and pretend like you’re riding a horse that’s trotting until they round out.
3) The cv boots on your axles are cold – don’t put your car through any sharp turns if you can avoid it.
4) If your gas gauge reads <½ then you need to fill up. If you can keep your car running, you have heat. Heat = Survival.
5) Make sure your coolant is adjusted for the cold.
6) Put some sort of winter front on your car – the radiator will freeze solid at these temperatures.

1) Toss a cup of hot coffee up in the air to see it vaporize.
2) Blow soap bubbles so you can watch them crinkle up.
3) Super chill your beer and soda, and watch it turn from liquid to solid when you open the bottle.

1) Make peanut brittle, because it will be ready to eat in under five minutes, if you put the pan on your porch
2) If you are out of room in your freezer, just leave your stuff on the porch. It’s not going to thaw until the weather warms up. In March.

Anatomical and Sartorial
1) Appreciate your eyelashes and nose hairs – they frost up when you’re outside, and the frost melts when you come inside. Proof that they are there and doing their job. Makeup wearers, please note that this is hell on mascara.
2) Frostbite. Serious problem. Weather like this is why Alaskans are not known for our fashion sensibilities. Freezing your ass off is not just a figure of speech.
3) I don’t care what you say – fur and feathers are where it’s at. They are warm at these temperatures. Unlike polar fleece, they are a renewable resource. You might look cheesy wearing fur and puffy down coats, but you won't be called "Stumpy" or "Paddle Paws" by your less than generous family members.

To the woman I married...

Give me a call about 6:30 PM, I should be home by then, if the icefog doesn't slow traffic on the Rich to parking lot speeds.

To the rest of you - what, you didn't know I'd married a woman? Well, gee. I've been a bride, a groomsmaid twice, and a marriage commissioner once. So, yes, I did marry a woman.

Look, just because my state's Republicans endorsed Romney doesn't mean I participate in plural marriage. As long as everyone involved is/are consenting uncoerced adults, I don't care if you do.

Oh, and if you know anyone who is looking for a bridesmaid/matron of honor, I'm available.

ETA - John says he wouldn't mind a plural marriage, especially if it meant he could be a kept man

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Gods, but I love politics. Reading, discussing, analyzing. Why did I end up with all these obligations right now? For the next ten days I've barely got time to eat, much less read up on or comment on current events.

I like to read Scalzi's I hate your politics to keep things in perspective.

I know he's not all there, but I love Mike Gravel.

And Alaska overwhelmingly voted for Obama? Isn't that just grand?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Bowl XLII - Tania's Live Blogging Attempt

Yup, I'm working on my homework and watching the ads. Not every ad will get reviewed. If you want to see the ads, they will be up on YouTube and MySpace

I'll be ranking using the following scale

-1 - was that amusing?
0 - eye roll (oh, please)
1 - snort
2 - giggle
3 - hah!
4 - belly laugh
5 - time to change my clothes, I peed myself

Bud Light Breathing Fire - 2. Cute, and I have friends that are allergic to cats.

Diet Pepsi Max - 1. Not that great until the SNL guy at the end told everyone to stop it.

Under Armour - Um. Well, it wasn't going for laughs. I likes me a dystopian future as much as the next geek. I own Under Armour, but it's their winter gear. Tasty pieces of eye-candy.

FedEx carrier pigeon ad - 3. I liked the helmets and the giant pigeons. Then again, I also liked the Heavy Metal film, and the large pigeons made me think of that film.

Pepsi Justin Timberlake - 1. The Dick In A Box shoutout was about all I found clever.

Corolla Sleeping Badgers - 3. Hah! Gnawing his face off. Tee hee.

Budweiser Clydesdales always get a pass. I don't like horses that much, but the commercials are always so saccharine cute and wholesome. It's a nice change from the T&A on the other ads. And I have nothing against T&A. I approve of T&A. But it gets old. I want clever and innovative.

Career Builder follow your heart - 2. Hits a little to close to home for me to find it funny.

LifeWater Thriller ad - 2. Lizards dancing, eating other lizards. Yeah!

Planters Cashew Ad - 3. Hah. I loved the clothes and makeup.

T-Mobile & Charles Barkley - 0. I find Sir Charles charming but I don't know how good an ad it was.

Movie Ads - Iron Man!! Wanted!! Prince Caspian!! Jumper!!

Halftime Show - Well, it's about to start. I know I'm not the only person to note the convergence of the sounds of Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, I guess I'm about to hear if it is an ongoing phenomenon.
Oh, that was it? Kinda boring. Maybe if I'd been there in person?

NASCAR Daytona 500 ad - I would totally play that video game, if the ad was for a video game. But I'm not going to be watching NASCAR anytime soon.

Vitamin Water & Shaq - 0. Wasn't offensive, but I didn't really find myself entertained, inspired, or moved to check out the product. I am familiar with the product, btw.

Alice Cooper and Richard Simmons in the same ad? Weird. And obviously aimed at people my age and older, because who else knows who the hell they are? That was the oddest tire ad I've ever seen. It's like the person is tripping on a road trip? Maybe? *shrug*

Bud Light Commercial - 1. Not as funny as I would find it if I didn't know how a jet works. I should lighten up and suspend my disbelief!

Coke ad with Stewie and Underdog and Charlie Brown - 3. Charlie Brown won! Hurrah!!!

Coke ad with Carville and Frist - 2. Segways?? Hee! Wee!

I don't know what this dog ad is, but man have I known doggies that slorp just like that one is. Oh, Gatorade. The dog is cute. We'll give it a 2.

Bud Light Will Ferrell ad - 0. Innuendo, sure. But it wasn't that clever. Maybe before Ron Burgundy, but now it's just a shtick.

Snooooze. I'm bored. When will the ads come back? Apparently the Patriots are ahead again. Like I care. I want to see a commercial. *glares at television* Oh! It worked!

Victoria's Secret Ad - Pretty Tame. 1

Amp Ad with nipple clamp jump starting - 0. OUCH.

Huh. Looks like the Giants won. Cool. I hope my friend Beth doesn't read this, she's a Patriots fan.

I want more ads!!

Looks like we're all done. Well, it's been real, it's been fun. I don't know if it's been real fun.

Did any of you watch the game and the ads? Which ones did you like?

To comply with the Cute Critter Pictures Requirement

Here's her highness, princess O, Lady Beard, Destructo-Cat, lounging on her catnip mat in a camp chair in the front yard.

Here we find Mr. Lowe and his cat enjoying one of their favorite activities - napping together.

From John's Favorite Film

Apparently I am....


Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Every time we say goodbye...

Thursday afternoon I got a phone call, one I've been expecting. My grandfather has not been well for awhile (multiple system failures. Take diabetes seriously, even when you're a skinny fella!), and after much consideration has decided to cease inpatient treatments for his myriad of ailments and let his body finish shutting down. He's now only going to be on peritoneal dialysis and palliative treatment for his pain. It is a decision I completely respect, and one that, quite frankly, is the right thing to do.

Grandpa is my grandmother's second husband, the step-father to my mother and her five siblings. He brought four kids of his own to the marriage, and thankfully they didn't have any together. Believe me when I say that I have plenty of family. And that's just my mom's side. They've been married for about 45 years.

The relationship that we all have with him is complicated, like you see in most families. Grandma loves him, and that's what matters now. We need to focus on taking care of her once he is gone. I have a certain amount of affection for Grandpa, but it is tempered by a lifetime of being aware of just how much of an abusive bastard he has been to all of us in one way or another.

I don't have the greatest relationship in the world with my mother. She wouldn't be someone I would choose to socialize with if we were not related. The following is an example of why I just don't get along with her.

Her step-brother, my uncle "Z" is the only son of my grandfather. He has a wife, five kids, and a number of grandkids. [Disclaimer]I have always liked him, even though I know I'm not cool enough or athletic enough for his crowd. I think he's rather shallow and self-centered. But I sincerely like him and his wife.[/Disclaimer] My mother has said that she will not be especially sad to when grandpa dies. In the next breath she starts castigating Uncle Z for not doing his duty and dedicating himself to a bedside vigil for his father (grandpa). Jesus H. Christ on a crutch, woman - have you ever considered that maybe he has an even more troublesome relationship with his father than you do? Oh, no, wait. I know you. It's always all about you, and your need to denigrate others so you can feel superior. Sigh...

I've let the despots at work know that I will be having to make an obligatory "It's been nice knowing you" visit in the next few weeks, and a funereal visit sometime in the next few months. Everyone is appropriately sympathetic, and I appreciate their kindness. I really want to be inappropriate and say "Thanks, but I'm actually more worried about my grandmother than anything else. Grandpa dying is going to be hard on her. Grandpa dying, not so hard on me. I'll need more sympathy and understanding when one of my cats dies. I have a closer and better relationship with the feline overlords."

Really,I know disclosing that is not a good idea. So, I will be going through the motions, and acting as expected, because that's what you do. People don't need the peculiarities of my family dynamic thrust upon them when they are trying to express a kindness. And I do appreciate their kindness. Making a nice person uncomfortable because I suddenly feel the need to spew the truth is rude and unkind of me. Thoughtless, too.

But let me tell you, this is one funeral that I will not miss unless I absolutely have to. I expect the hypocrisy levels to be at an all time high, and if at the gathering afterwards punches aren't thrown or a shriek-fest doesn't break out, I will be completely shocked. These are people with 40+ years of grudge carrying, gathered together in an emotionally charged situation. Me, I hope to stay on the sidelines with my cousins, catch up, and let our parents go at it. It's been over 20 years since the last blowup (Christmas 1984?), I think they're due.

In closing - write your will and file it. Prepare your medical power of attorney, a living will, and decide if you want a DNR. Write out your wishes for disposal of your remains, and explicitly state what you don't want if it could be an issue. The people that survive you that have to deal with your affairs once you can't need all the help they can get.