Tag Archives: Contretemps

Embracing Uncertainty

Chart of United States Personal Savings Rate f...
Image via Wikipedia

missjunebug has decided it’s time to fully embrace uncertainty.

She has been through a couple of years of semi-compromised mega-troublesome health issues that have contributed to a setback or two or three: loss of hair…everywhere, loss of feeling in her feet, the dreaded cankle, weight fluctuations, funky scarring to name a few. But there is no neat wrap-up to this cancer thing despite top-of-the-line treatments, vigilant follow-up, supportive friends and family, and super-charged, super-positive attitude except for a day or two every month or two of pure blue bug funk about it all.

On the bright side, missjunebug feels great and her hair is well back, but that’s not all that might be back. A few exams down and a Pet/CT Scan to go will hopefully provide the information missjunebug’s doctor needs to make that determination. But it has got missjunebug thinking that with this disease you never really know what’s going on completely. A rogue cell. A few replications. An uncertain future.

It’s kind of like the economy. For a while there were some leading indicators of slowly improving job numbers, a tick up in the savings rate, a modest increase in the GDP, stock markets rising, then WHAM! the debt ceiling debate stalls out, S&P downgrades our  red, white, and blue USA AAA credit rating, and all hell breaks loose in the worldwide markets encumbered by debts growing like…wait for it, wait for it…a cancer and the future of our once robust free market economy looks bleak indeed.

My super JBSis-in-Law sent a funny missive today that included a little internet humor and aligned perfectly with missjunebug’s post for the day.

THE ECONOMY IS SO BAD THAT :

I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.
CEO’s are now playing miniature golf.
Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.
I saw a Mormon with only one wife.
I bought a toaster oven and my free gift was a bank.
Angelina Jolie adopted a child from America .
Motel Six won’t leave the light on anymore.
A picture is now only worth 200 words.
They renamed Wall Street “Wal-Mart Street”.
And, finally……..
I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars,  jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc., I called the Suicide Hotline.  I got a call center in Pakistan …. and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited,  and asked if I could drive a truck.

Time to hunker down and embrace uncertainty because that’s about all that’s offered these days.

missjunebug plans to take her medical matters and the conundrum of the economy one day at a time and keep her sense of humor in perfect health. She suggests you do the same.

 

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Boomerang Children Surprise Boomers!

Saving a space just for you, TinyJB!! Photo by mjb2010
Saving a space just for you, TinyJB!! Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug is sure this is not news to most of  you: There’s a high probability adult children will boomerang back home sometime during their twenties or thirties. Blame it on these uncertain economic times and the current job market. Blame it on the willingness of Boomer parents to continue to provide extended refuge from the real world for their children. Blame it on what ElderJB calls a generation “Slow to grow up.”

Or maybe there’s another way to look at it: Celebrate the second chance to bond with adult children who bring with them their indefatigable exuberance and outrageous opinions and recently lived life experience! That’s the way missjunebug plans to look at it!

Having just had both ElderJB and TinyJB home for a good chunk of time during the holidays, she has fresh appreciation for all they bring to her sometime circumscribed world. These bugboys are smart! insightful! cynical! hilarious! loving! and always surprising! Chances are pretty good ElderJB won’t be calling the Hacienda home again anytime soon since his semi-permanent digs are in Rwanda(!), but TinyJB may be joining the junebugs as he plans for his next steps. missjunebug admonished him to do all he could not to end up back home and he assured her he only ever wanted to be a guest here, not a resident, but missjunebug wants TinyJB to take comfort in the little mat outside the kitchen door that says “Welcome!”

missjunebug remembers her own fleeing from home and never looking back, but she lived in chaotic-question-authority-never-trust-anyone-over-thirty times! She’s pretty sure that things are different today and parents and adult children share iTunes playlists, facebook pages, twitter tweets, emails, Skype time, and Kindle recommendations! Maybe it’s technology that’s provided an even playing field and means of connection that missjunebug’s parents’ generation could not even begin to dream of. Or maybe economic realities necessitate pulling out Plan B: Move back in with the peeps!

The best of all possible worlds will provide a seamless transition from university graduation to interesting and challenging work for the Boomers’ adult children. But in case Real Life 101 requires some recalibration, know that despite what Mr. Wolfe said, you can go home again.

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Anything

So missjunebug was minding her little bug business on the way to the dry cleaners to pick up Mr.JB’s clothes when she takes her usual ramp off the 101 and comes to a stop at the light. She sees something she’s never seen before. The scruffy guy sitting along side the curb with a sign–she’d seen that before. But this time instead of the usual Will Work For Food (Don’t we all do that?) or Vet in Need or Homeless & Need Your Help, this guy’s sign says ANYTHING. That’s it. Just ANYTHING.

Now missjunebug has a rule and the rule is she gives her money to her very trustworthy church who vets those who receive the help they need. In other words, she knows reliably where the money goes and it goes to help people in need. The same can’t really be said of giving money to hands-outers in front of the local Von’s or at the busy intersection where her CVS pharmacy (erstwhile methamphetamine enablers according to the news this week, but mjb digresses) or this scruffy guy on the off-ramp from the 101. But the sign really moved her.  ANYTHING.

By the time she had thought through the implications of such a sign, she was well through the light. She looked in her rearview and saw that the car behind her had handed the scruffy guy something, but she wasn’t quite sure what. Not money. Whatever it was, it was wrapped up in a sack, so who knows? Certainly, not missjunebug. She does remember one of her students explained to her once that her dad always helped those asking for hand outs from the street by handing them a few cans of tunafish. Not an altogether bad idea. Such a gesture assuages the need to lend a hand and assures that the hand doing the lending won’t be bilked by a poser. So maybe that sack contained a few cans of tuna, but missjunebug will never know.

But the thing of it that missjunebug keeps coming back to is the ANYTHING. Like this guy wasn’t going to be picky because he was truly desperate. Desperate enough to ask for help in the most humble of ways. He would welcome ANYTHING, because apparently he had nothing but this sad little cardboard sign with the word ANYTHING scrawled on it.

Maybe missjunebug should have given this guy a twenty. She had a few in her wallet. But she can only say this with her perfect hindsight since she didn’t realize how that word ANYTHING would haunt her so much after the fact. In such situations, one fears a rip-off, or a volatile mind, maybe even a dangerous one, or a 20-dollar misinvestment in a liquor bill or drug habit.

But what if this scruffy guy was truly as desperate as the sign suggested? In this economic recovery totally bereft of jobs or even a modicum of reassurance for the average guy on the street (literally in this case), what’s a little well-meaning bug to do for the man holding up a sign that says ANYTHING?  missjunebug keeps thinking she should have done something.

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Abby Sunderland…What if? Wonders missjunebug

Sailboat in San Francisco Bay
Image via Wikipedia

As the devoted mother of ElderjB and TinyJB, missjunebug can’t help but wonder What if? when she thinks of Abby Sunderland, the intrepid 16-year old round-the-world-or-bust sailor. What if Abby hadn’t been rescued? What if she had died in that interminable stretch of ocean between Africa and Australia? What would her parents be saying to the media if such a tragedy had occurred? Call missjunebug a worrywart after the fact, but she can’t help but wonder.

Of course, missjunebug is as delighted as all the fans who support Team Abby must be that she was picked up without incident by the French fishing vessel (Viva La France!). Still. Was it worth the risk?

Without a moment’s hesitation, her father says they would do it all again if given the chance. Hmmm. missjunebug looks askance at that glib response. This coming from a man who by his own admission is “broke” and recently inked a television deal for Adventures in Sunderland (catchy name, Mr. S!) that will encourage kids to try new adventures. Really? Really? Now missjunebug thinks there’s adventure and then there’s foolhardiness. She’ll let you figure out which category she thinks Abby’s quest fits in.

missjunebug wishes Abby and the Sunderlands well with the multimedia blitz that will no doubt follow them where ever they go: Interviews! Televisions Shows! Book Deals!  This may be 15 minutes of fame x millions! Just in time, Sunderlands, with that baby on the way and that bank account so low!

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Stacked Against the IRS

AUSTIN, TX - FEBRUARY 18:  Smoke billows from ...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

So missjunebug is tuning in to one of her fav shows, Chris Matthew’s Hardball to get the political smacktalk for the day when what does she see? Breaking News! Some wingnut in Austin flew his little single-engine airplane into the IRS building located there inflicting maximum damage on the building. This heinous act was performed after said wingnut burned down his own house.

What’s going on? missjunebug is no great fan of the IRS but puhleeze! This “deliberate attack against a federal building” is every shade of wrong.

missjunebug’s heart goes out to all those traumatized IRS and government workers in the fiery building at the time. She also takes pause to consider the extreme mental anguish Mr. Joe Stack must have been experiencing to drive him to this extreme act of violence but that can in no way excuse it.

Thank goodness the Austin Police Department and Austin Fire Department did such a great job mobilizing against this tragic act. Perhaps in the days to come people smarter than missjunebug will be able to make sense of this tragedy after closely examining the rants of Mr. Joe Stack posted on his website. But missjunebug doubts it. How does one make sense of the insensible?

With all due respect to the tormented Mr. Stack, missjunebug’s definition of insanity? Burning down your own house, ranting on the web against the democratic government bound to protect you, then flying a plane into an IRS building to stop the “insanity.”

May God help us all if Mr. Stack represents more than his singular, demented self.

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Eclipse of the Century: A Pox Upon Your House!

This is about as close as missjunebug got to seeing a solar eclipse!  Photo by mjb2009
This is about as close as missjunebug got to seeing a solar eclipse! Photo by mjb2009

So missjunebug and Mr.JB took the trip of a lifetime to sail the East China Sea to see the Eclipse of the Century! missjunebug loved the days in Shanghai and the fab suite she and Mr.JB had on their Costa Allegra Cruise Ship sailing to South Korea and Japan.

Fun times 10.

Except for the rain. Except for the clouds. Except for the thunder and lightning. These all occurred the day before the big day, but 24 hours was not enough to dissipate the gray overcast and those pesky clouds proved to be a serious impediment to eclipse viewing! But, no matter! The bar opened at 11 am and she and Mr.JB along with many, many others drowned their sorrows (briefly!) in libations.

missjunebug and Mr.JB knew their chances for seeing the total solar eclipse were only about 50/50 due to the prevailing weather conditions in the area this time of year, so they weren’t devastated. Just a little sad. They did think the 6 minutes of surreal darkness at sea was pretty cool! And they made a pact to try for totality again. Did someone say 2012??

Look very, very closely for mjb's single eclipse shot.  Photo by mjb2009
Look very, very closely for mjb's single eclipse shot. Photo by mjb2009

mjb Buzz: Inside the Beltway Shenanigans

Congress! Do we have your attention?  Photo bymjb2009
Congress! Do we have your attention? Photo bymjb2009

missjunebug recently took a little trip to see ElderJB in Washington, D.C. She was really looking forward to the Capitol Tour for which she’d secured reservations through the prompt ministrations of her Congressional representative. Thanks, Elton. mjb thinks you rule!

But missjunebug got more and less than she bargained for. She and ElderJB were first in line for the nifty12-minute film intro to the many legislative triumphs of the Congress in the past 100 years or so. They patted themselves on the back really well! She even teared up a few times! But the fun was far from over.

When the tour guide in the red coat led their group into the Capitol Rotunda, everyone in the gorgeous statue-filled round room got a big surprise. A few people from mjb and ElderJB’s group walked to the center of the room and peeled off their shirts to reveal nifty protests shirts, signs and even some plastic chains that they used to join them to all their other protest buddies in a moving circle that chanted really, really loudly CLEAN NEEDLES SAVE LIVES, CLEAN NEEDLES SAVE LIVES, CLEAN NEEDLES SAVE LIVES. All the while the touristas stood dumbfounded at this highly illegal show being performed for their benefit? No, not really. The intended audience was the camera guy’s camera that kept rolling (Film at 11!!!) and, no doubt, Congress who according to these folks wasn’t paying attention. Not that Congress has much on its plate these days.

missjunebug remarked to one of the many Capitol security guards who descended enmasse into the Rotunda when these shenanigans broke out, “Wow, this is democracy in action, don’t you think?”  The well-cut, yes, one might say ripped African American guard said as he pulled on his black let’s-get-this-confrontation-on-gloves, “You about to see some democracy in action, all right.”

Whoa! Then missjunebug, ElderJB, and the remaining members of her tour group and the others were quickly and efficiently ushered out of the Capitol Rotunda. And that was the end of missjunebug’s Capitol tour! But make no mistake: she wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything!

Note to Congress: Look into those clean needles asap!

Sneaky Protestors Pretend to Be Tourists Then...Not   Photo by mjb2009
Sneaky Protestors Pretend to Be Tourists Then...Not!! Photo by mjb2009
Do You Hear Me Now?  Photo by mjb2009
Do You Hear Me Now? Photo by mjb2009
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Don’t Want to Be an American (Political) Idiot!

Mark Sanford, governor of South Carolina, seen...
Image via Wikipedia

missjunebug usually does not weigh in on political matters but she must comment on the contretemps Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina stirred up in the last few days.

Here’s her comment to Gov. Sanford: Stop talking. Now.

You’re like Shakespeare’s tragic and ambitious Macbeth without the murder: “I am in blood stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er. Strange things I have in head, that will to hand, which must be acted ere they may be scanned” (3.4.167-172)

Governor, you are in shame stepped in so far with such strange things in your head it astounds! Clearly, there’s no going back for you, but drop the “soul-mate” lament and think about your family for just one minute.

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Post Traumatic Vet Syndrome

Two Cats to Go! Photo by mjb2009
Two Cats to Go! Photo by mjb2009

missjunebug did the annual trek to the vet today with her furry entourage. Her million-year old cat Whisper did just fine except for the incessant howling meows.

Her fab Australian labradoodle Spoon did just fine except for the staccato stress barks. They started when missjunebug brought out the cat carriers. That dog of hers gets it. She knew they were on the way to boarding or poking and prodding. Neither of these makes her Top Ten List of Fun Doggie Things to Do on a Monday.

Lefty, missjunebug’s half-blind, semi-brain-damaged kitty (she only circles to the right; hence, the clever name Lefty assigned by Mr. Irony, TinyJB) did not do just fine. In fact, she did just the opposite of just fine: just awful.

By the time she arrived at the vet, missjunebug knew that Lefty had pooped her little kitty pants. This happens everytime. And everytime missjunebug thinks this will be the time Lefty makes it to the vet with a clean carrier. Alas, it was not to be. Once again. Thankfully, the vet techs. were super helpful and got little Lefty cleaned up, and shot up with her feline vaccines in no time.

Whisper was next with a quick temperature check, eyeball look-see, and samples for a little blood and urine work since she’s advanced in age. Her teeth have the lasting admiration of her vet. They are still strong and clean at 17+ years old. missjunebug attributes it to the diet of crunchy cat food Whisper has had her entire life.

Spoon had a quick weight check and rattlesnake vaccination since she dwells in rattlesnake country. missjunebug wishes she were holding her weight as well as her svelte Spoon is! Maybe missjunebug needs to just eat one snack and one meal a day. Hey! That’s a great idea for a new diet!

missjunebug thought she was home free after paying the $$$ vet bill. But Lefty finished off the trip home in true Lefty-style by throwing up!

mjb looks forward to the next trip to the vet. Fun times with fun pets!

Come Out Whisper! That Vet Won't Bite!  Photo by mjb2009
Come Out Whisper! That Vet Won't Bite! Photo by mjb2009
Spoon Checks on Lefty! (Note bag o'soiled towel on top) Photo by mjb2009
Spoon Checks on Lefty! (Note bag o'soiled towel on top) Photo by mjb2009
GET ME OUT OF HERE! says disgruntled Lefty  Photo by mjb2009
GET ME OUT OF HERE! says disgruntled Lefty Photo by mjb2009

mjb Discovers Key to Rapid Weight Loss!

Dow Jones Industrial Average
Image by ftosete via Flickr

April Fool’s!

Oh man, that felt good to missjunebug. Made you look, didn’t she?

Seriously, this is a strange little holiday, isn’t it? Like mjb hasn’t read enough ridiculous April Fool’s-type headlines already this year, and in the Wall Street Journal, no less.

From Madoff making off with buckets of money (poor Kyra & Kevin, but especially Elie) through the AIG party-meisters still trying to live the good life on their taxpayer-subsidized bonuses, to the very Tart n’ Tiny 3 automakers private jet-setting into D.C. with a “Wazup, Congressionals! We need some more money, and oh yeah, did we mention, then we need some more money?”

Come on, people! This cannot be happening. But there it is.

missjunebug wants to officially declare a complete and comprehensive moratorium on April Fool’s Day this year (except for maybe the tricked-out Google April Fool’s).

With apologies to The Who, mjb speaks for all the little bugs and little people (read: taxpayers) in America, when she says, “We won’t get fooled again.”

Damn straight.

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Beat It: A Modest Proposal re Speeding Tickets

speed limit 55
Image by TheTruthAbout… via Flickr

A week ago to the day, missjunebug was returning home from her fab book club meeting, minding her business, doing what she thought was maybe a mile or two over the double-nickel speed limit as she headed down a teeny bit of an incline. In the second or two required to dial back her speed to adjust to what she now calls the perfectly natural and inevitable acceleration incline effect, she sees a highway patrol car coming toward her in the opposing traffic lane of the two-lane county road. She doesn’t think a thing of it and continues to toodle down the country lane.

But wait, what’s that she sees in her rear-view mirror? A highway patrol car pulling a Bat-turn, flashing lights blazing, pulling up right behind her. mjb swallows hard and pulls over to the shoulder. Because this is a G-rated blog, she will omit any verbal references to sexual activities the human body is capable of she might have made sotte voce as she watched the officer get out of his car and approach her passenger-side window.

Oh my, did mjb forget her anti-perspirant this morning because by now, she is sweating the big time fear-of-authority-figures-who-carry-guns sweat.

mjb knows you can probably guess the monotoned rest: license and registration please, you were exceeding the posted 55 mph speed limit. mjb’s nonplussed response, Officer are you kidding me? How can you tell coming from the opposite direction what speed I was going? Miss, I am a trained expert in sight recognition of speeders. Coming from the opposite direction? mjb asks now very skeptical, brain working furiously to figure out how to get out of this without getting a ticket.

She reels out a breathless response: But Officer, mjb was going maybe a mile or two over the speed limit and she was coming down a little bit of an incline and you, Officer, must realize she’s a safe and responsible driver and this is her neighborhood and she’d never intentionally speed in her own neighborhood, she has respect for her neighborhood for goodness sake, and she was having a great day and she was just returning home from her wonderful book club and she was driving down an incline which you must know, Officer, produces the perfectly natural and inevitable acceleration incline effect which she would have perfectly adjusted her speed to. Miss, I clocked you at 64. Do you want to see the read-out on my radar? Well, yes Officer.

As a matter of fact, mjb does want to see the heinous radar read-out. Which she gets out of her car to see which shows that yes, for some split-the-atom second of time she was going 64 in a 55 and at that moment she realized her little missjunebug wings were clipped.

mjb modestly proposes with all due respect to Jonathan Swift that before rushing to write out that ticket, a highway patrol officer consider the perfectly natural and inevitable acceleration incline effect if the road’s topography warrants it as in mjb’s case it most certainly did.

Now on to the real reason mjb wrote this post: CAN SHE BEAT THIS DAMN SPEEDING TICKET? She’s has until April 20 to set a court date for defense or pay the man and be subjected to spirit-crushing online traffic school. mjb welcomes all helpful comments regarding this little contretemps.

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