Family Ties

April 27, 2009 | Filed Under Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy | 1 Comment

I’ve been a bit absent lately due to a bunch of outside pressures, not the least of which was my mother in hospital. If you saw my earlier post about bloomex, you’ll have some idea of what was going on. 

She was diagnosed, via routine colonoscopy, with suspected bowel cancer.  Fortunately, she was able to get in for a CAT scan, and then surgery in relatively short order – just over 6 weeks from diagnosis to surgery. At one point, her biggest fear was “that I’ll lose my asshole.”. Yep, that’s my mom. 

She finally came to terms with the thought that she might be on a colostomy bag for the rest of her days, but her doctor assured her they would do everything they could to “save her asshole” if they could.

He saved it by THIS much (she shows you just 1/4 inch between thumb and forefinger). She came out of hospital last week, and is back on her feet, running around like nothing has happened.

And the biopsy results came back within a week: the tumor was benign.

WHEW. 

We can ALL heave a sigh of relief, not just because she doesn’t have to do chemo, and we don’t have that big “C” word hanging over our heads, but also because now maybe she’ll stop nagging ME to go have a colonoscopy… at least for a little while.

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My neighbors are going to hate me…

April 26, 2009 | Filed Under Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy, The Heartless Bitch Way | 3 Comments

I recently received a letter in my mailbox from our neighborhood community association.  They are concerned about thru-traffic in our neighborhood and want to close off five north-south streets at their south ends. I live on one of those streets.

They are basically proposing closing down all but one of the streets in this area that connect to a major thoroughfare and by way of that, to the freeway that runs through town. The alternative for me, and everyone else in this area, would to be to drive 13 blocks out of my way, or drive through a school zone. And this would be the case if I just want to go to the gas station, or get groceries or rent a movie. All these shops are at the south end of my street.  A street they want to close.  My street has a sidewalk.  It’s not like pedestrians HAVE to walk in the street and therefore are at risk from cars.

Why does the community association want to do this? Because, as near as I can tell, they want their kids to be able to play in the street.  And this is why I am unpopular right now. I happen to think their kids should play in their YARDS, or at the local PARK – which is two short blocks away, or the SCHOOL – which is also two short blocks away – or in the field across the street, which is ONE block away, rather than in the street. I think that we should leave the streets open, and if you want to let your kids play in them, you can teach them the game of “natural selection”.

My god, what a Heartless Bitch I am. 

Yes, traffic is increasing. The neighborhood is growing. You want your property values to increase, and the growth of the neighborhood amenities assures that.  Those amenities like the Sushi restaurant, and that grocery superstore, and the yoga studio where you do your mom-and-tot yogacize, and the Starbucks where you get your morning latte, all have a price. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. 

I looked at the proposal and it was immediately apparent to me that all it would do is SHIFT the problem and concentrate a bunch MORE traffic in a school zone.  It would make one of the primary east-west streets incredibly busy, by diverting all north-south traffic from this quadrant onto it, in order to get to the freeway, or shops at the south end.

As you might suspect, I am vehemently against this and have let the city know how I feel about it.  This does not make me very popular with my neighbors, most of whom have young children.  I didn’t even bother to attend the community association’s meeting about it, but I heard it was an utter disaster.

I think there are alternatives that would encourage more drive-thru traffic (non-residents using these streets to get from one area to another) to use the main arterial routes that the city would prefer. These involve actually CONNECTING one of these arterial routes to a major through-street at the north end. There are north-end closures they could make that would not have NEARLY the impact on the residents, but would act as a deterrent to non-residential through traffic.  They could put in traffic circles (as they have done in other areas) to reduce traffic speed on some of the north-south streets.

I just have a real problem when people move onto a street like ours, that HAS through-traffic, and a light at the intersection, and then want to CHANGE it because THEY have kids and have a problem with the traffic.  You moved onto a THROUGH street. If you wanted to have a street where your kids could play, then you should have moved onto a cul-de-sac! This is tantamount to people who move next to a pig farm and then complain about the smell.  It really annoys me when people get an over-inflated sense of entitlement and think that because THEY don’t like the way things are laid out, the city should change it for them – regardless of the wishes/needs of the other residents who might have moved to that location precisely BECAUSE of its accessibility and easy connections to other parts of the city.  And it’s not like they don’t have parks, greenspaces, bike paths and schools in abundance close by!

But mostly, I’m just irritated by the short-sightedness and sheer insanity of the proposal. We want our kids to be safe, but hey, it’s OK to shunt all that traffic through a school zone?

This was a through-street when I raised MY kids on it. I saw no reason to change it then, and I see no reason to change it now. 

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I will NEVER use “bloomex.ca” again

April 17, 2009 | Filed Under The Heartless Bitch Way | 1 Comment

What a HORRIBLE experience.

My mother is in hospital after having had surgery for bowel cancer.  She’ll be on liquids for days and then on a restricted diet.

I ordered a set of flowers that are supposed donate some proceeds to the canadian cancer society. The total value of the order was over $80.

I got an email this afternoon saying that they didn’t have any of that product in stock and had substituted “Gourmet Gift Basket” instead.

I tried to phone and tell them this was completely unacceptable and grossly inappropriate. There are no customer service agents available. I try the order desk. They tell me to go to the website. I connect to “live help” and “Crystal” responds with “One moment please” and then never responds after that, and disconnects the session.  When I try to connect again, it says no agents are available.  I called back to the order desk. Said it was VITAL that this “gift basket” was not sent and explained the situation. The woman there was COMPLETELY unhelpful, insisted there was no other number she could give me to talk to a person to stop this order from going out, and then she hung up on me.

I replied to their “email” about the subsitution and told them I want the order cancelled and that if they charge me for it I will dispute the charges.

I will NEVER EVER use Bloomex.ca again.  Do NOT order through this company. It’s AWFUL.

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“Crazy Love” or just plain Crazy?

April 5, 2009 | Filed Under Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy, Popculture, The Heartless Bitch Way | 9 Comments

Today we have a wonderfully frothy GUEST poster… Fabulana steps in to vent her spleen.

….

NPR just ran an interview with a woman, former Washington Post writer, who just wrote a tell-all book about her marriage to an abuser, whom she hasn’t seen in 22 years. The lead in was maddening–it starts out with asking us to imagine we hear about a woman who is abused, and then asking you to picture that woman, and then presuming our SURPRISE to find she’s–gasp–actually intelligent, and gasp, successful in her job and gasp, has an IVY LEAGUE education!!!! Holy smoking crap, people, NPR of all people, do you think we are still back in the day where we think abuse only happens in “working class” homes and abusers always helpfully dress as Stanley Kowalski so we can recognize them? Toni Morrison wrote a book about domestic abuse (ok, child abuse, whatever) happening in a privileged white millieu 25 YEARS ago… So where was this woman then? Not reading Toni Morrison. I guess books DON’T help people who don’t shy away from being massively beaten to a pulp and psychologizing it as “love.”

Most insulting of all was the notion that anyone equates an IVY LEAGUE education (Harvard) with a) street smarts or b) survival smarts or c) emotional health. WTFFFFFF? (That’s a lot of Flying, Farting,  Frigging, etc. FUCK in there).

I mean, who does she think she is helping, by writing this book telling us that “smart” women stay in abusive relationships sometimes, too? I presume to think it be herself.

I probably underestimate the need for and value in such a book. But at some point, when do these memoirs become documents of self- justification? Reading that a woman who was throttled and thrown against a wall 5 days before her wedding and got married ANYWAY, then beaten again on her honeymoon and lovingly called “retard” as a, sic,  term of endearment, stayed married and had a Harvard degree, and  golly, gosh, gee, I guess abuse can happen to anyone…that doesn’t  explain anything for me. I don’t get how people can miss the warning signs. Maybe I’ve read too many letters to HBI, too. Not sure.

Some choice excerpts for you from the NPR story online:

“All Things Considered, April 2, 2009 ·  Former Washington Post executive Leslie Morgan Steiner is a best-selling author with degrees from two Ivy League schools, three adorable children…”

I remember thinking: oh great, do the children have to be “adorable,” too?

“…and a loving and successful husband. If you met her on the street you might never guess her secret: that she was once married to a man who beat her with abandon on a regular basis — an experience she recounts in the memoir Crazy Love.”

You mean I’d have to get to know all the sick things inside Leslie, that or see her black eyes, to understand that she was living a lie, a total, ugly self-justifying lie and knowingly did so despite her money, education, being white and blonde, having adorable offspring,  etc! And she still wears fucking polka dot halter dresses! Why does this photo annoy me so much? Grrr…

“Steiner says when she first met her ex-husband, whom she calls “Conor,” on the New York City subway, she had no inkling that he was capable of such abuse.”

Meeting guys on the subway; greeeeeaaaat.

“He was really clean-cut, dressed in a business suit,” she tells Michele Norris.

Doesn’t this just tell me that SHE is a fucking airhead, if she thinks “clean cut” and “business suit” means, don’t worry, I’m sure his outer appearance coincided with whatever you have filed away in your brain under “good person.” Isn’t she just a victim of her own stereotypes and psychology?

“But early in the relationship, there were certain warning signals that indicated Conor’s violent nature.

EARLY in the relationship. Really, this reporting and as a consequence this airheaded memoir really make me mad. Unfortunately, this review is probably playing straight into the book’s prejudices: Oh gee, preppy blond thinks no one in a business suit would ever hurt her.

 For instance, he referred to her as “retard,” which, Stainer [sic] says, was “a term of endearment, as sad as that sounds.””

Wow, so she goes from “retard” to “Stainer”! Nice job, NPR! I’m sure she’ll stay with you forever now…

This whole book treatment suggests that it’s a portrait of an abuser, like she’s doing this big reveal, you know, of HIM (and he has no idea she’s writing a book.) You know Eleanor Roosevelt was right, no one can belittle you, beat you, throw trash at you, and throw you up against walls without your consent. At least not repeatedly, short of human trafficking and enslavement.

What I want to know is, is this a  “portait of my abuser” book, all, nyah nyah, my new husband is ‘loving and successful’ (or so she says–why is this a red flag, that even now  she is CLAIMING to have the perfect life?), or a “portrait of ME” book  that really explains why she STILL calls such endearments “love”?

I think the book does arrive at wisdom–“you can’t trust someone else’s rage”–right. You can’t trust a maniac not to go to far. But otherwise, how is she different from ANY OTHER abused woman? The focus on the wonder part, of how “great” her life is supposed to be, is really really fucking annoying.

Oh, the book has “Love” in the title. It’s her “Crazy Love” story.  Really? Is this a dysfunctional romance novel, or what?

I just went to her website: http://www.lesliemorgansteiner.com/
The blurb for the book is, “a memoir of abusive love.” REALLY?! How  about, “a delusional diary of loving abuse.” WHAT is the difference?  Isn’t this like calling rape sex? Hello, NPR, why the fuck are you helping this rich lady with her book club? Oh, and now there’s a “Crazy Love Project,” i.e. a message board where Leslie can gather YOUR stories, for “research” for her touchy feely sequel, no doubt. Oh yippee. Don’t feel used, anybody–oh wait! You’re USED to it!  To her credit, the front page sidebar has domestic abuse hotlines, advises abuse victims to call police, says in big bold, “RELATIONSHIP VIOLENCE IS A CRIME.” Or is it…CRAZY LOVE? We don’t know, Leslie. Maybe that amounts to a legal disclaimer, eh.

NPR, “boo” once again for drinking the Koolaid directly from the Thermos, without even using a Dixie cup (oh yippee, three trademarked words in one sentence). This is from LESLIE’s website:

 “CRAZY LOVE
  
If you and I met at one of our children’s birthday parties,”

We all know that’s a place where parents “go deep” and don’t judge other people based on how they look, how much money they make, etc., *snort* 

in the hallway at work, or at a neighbor’s barbecue

That pegs her pretty well, doesn’t it? When is the last time SHE has actually been to a “neighbor’s barbecue,” do you think? Really now? Do you think she’s Marge Simpson? I DON’T. I feel like this shit is spewed directly at the people she thinks she’s selling this book to.  Suburban shock and awe.

you’d never guess my secret: that as a young woman I fell in love with and married a man who beat me regularly and nearly killed me.

I don’t know about that. Her obsession with status and her image to others is giving me one big honking CLUE as to the depths of her insecurity.

I don’t look the part.

WHAT the bloody fucking hell is THIS? Just proof that you CAN go to Harvard and still be a bloody rich ignorant boob who thinks only plumbers beat their wives. And god knows LESLIE would never marry a man PLUMBER, she dates exclusively men in business suits–and she finds them on the subway!!

I have an MBA and an undergraduate degree from Ivy League schools.

Well congratulations there, Leslie. Does she think she is breaking news with this schtick? She is 40 years late getting to feminism. And notice, this is the exact same lead NPR used. Spoon fed, if not IV!

I live in a red brick house on a tree-lined street in one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Washington, DC.

Aw. I’ll bet she’s got adorable kids. And kittens! This whole thing is a flashback to The Rules, remember? When women authors trotted out their family accessories as proof of their qualifications to give us advice?

I’ve got 15 years of marketing experience at Fortune 500 companies and a best-selling book about motherhood to my name.

This is all making sense. Understandably I didn’t read her book on motherhood. Guess I don’t go to the right barbecues!

A smart, loyal husband with a sexy gap in his front teeth,

I want to kill myself. Is it also just “so cute” when he chews with his mouth open? The world wants to know, Leslie. NOT.

a softie who

Careful about bragging to the world that your husband is “soft.” That marriage is only as solid as your contract for a book sequel. Remember The Rules!

puts out food for the stray kittens in our alley.

I KNEW it! *fuming* So what in fucking bloody christian hell does your CURRENT husband have to do with YOUR abused past? Trying to prove that you are “fixed”? Methinks she doth protest too much. Can you imagine talking to this windbag for more than 5 minutes at a barbecue? You’d be ready to pull some Chester the Cheetohs Cheetah antics on her white linen dress.

Three rambunctious, well-loved children.

Count ’em! Three. Nope, no chance this woman is still “damaged” in any way. She’s normal! She has the perfect kids to prove it! Though “rambunctious” does read as if Mother Leslie is a little stressed out. For “well-loved” my internal translator says spoiled.

A dog and three cats of our own.

And they’re kind to animals, too. Aw. I’m sure NOTHING could be wrong in a household with 1 man, 1 woman, 3 children, 1 dog and 3 cats!!! Man, they sound more like my psycho neighbors all the time. The type who think that by building out their nuclear family they are doing god’s work for civil society.

Everyone in my family is blonde (the people, at least).

Ok, this book is inspiring ME to violence. I can only say WTF so many times to good effect. And Leslie, honey…we have heard about hair dye. You’re umpteen however many years old now, and you’re telling us you didn’t touch up the ‘do for those PR photos? UNLIKELY

Ah, if only being well-educated and blonde and coming from a good family were enough to defang all life’s demons.

Ah, yes. Pity me, because EVEN THOUGH I’m blonde and well-educated, bad things happened to me, boo hoo!
As if “demons” didn’t often come FROM being well-educated and blonde and coming from a “good” (i.e. wealthy?) family. We can only assume ignorance is one of them. And deep, deep, deep insecurity. Gee, Leslie, are you sure you really DESERVE all that perfect life you have now? Then why are you trotting it out as the lame justification for a tell-all book that is also 22 years too late? That’s right folks…her abuser wrote HER a “farewell” note, and she STILL HAS IT. And you know what else? You can see a wedding portrait of Leslie on her webpage! Neat! Absorb the delusion!

-Fabulana.

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