Friday, September 30, 2011

And so endeth this lesson.

It is officially the end of Crochet Month.

I accomplished zilch, other than seriously frustrating myself and wasting a good amount of yarn.

Learn to Crochet = Epic Fail.


Details to follow when it's officially October - can you stand it?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


My life is so effin' amazing, I can hardly stand it.

Except for in this one...little...area.  So I've written this little blurb on the one little area to cleanse it from my effin' amazing life.

How Tina Crochets
by Tina, the siren sex goddess 

I make this little chain.  It looks like some sort of post-War Games perforated caterpillar or something.  After that, it all goes downhill.  Theoretically I am supposed to then hook into my caterpillar chain and start making these different knots, but then they get stuck on my hook and piss me off.  So then I throw my yarn, drink a Diet Coke and jump on my mini-trampoline for a few minutes until I calm down.  I retrieve my yarn, cut off the knotty chunk, throw it away and swear to start again tomorrow.

The End

To continue my cleanse, I have also written this haiku:

Hate mowing the grass
Hate stubbing my toe at night
Hate crochet even more.

God, I'm good.  It's like a mental colonic.  I think.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Is There a Fireman in the House?

I've been terribly neglectful, haven't I.  I've been a little anxious over the past week, waiting to hear when my divorce hearing will be - and guess what, I heard on Thursday it's going to be this coming Tuesday.  I will be a free woman on Tuesday...I can't flippin' believe it.  After 11 months, it will FINALLY be done.  And you know what, dearest reader?  That's all I'm going to say about that.  If you want more, scroll through the archives, you can probably dig something up.  But trust me - my FUTURE is waaaay more interesting than my PAST.

So, what is my excuse for not blogging from Friday until today,  you ask?  Well, I'll tell you.  Friday was my birthday, and with my court date looming, symbolically the end of a really crappy phase of my I went out of town for the weekend to Spokompton.  I stayed in a hotel that was nice 15 years ago, and is average now; but has a great location for walking around the city.  I had no agenda, no plans, nothing on docket...well, almost nothing.

HF.  I finally got to meet HF.  On my birthday.  How freakin' awesome is that.

No, I'm not going to give you the details of our time together on Friday, you letch.  Mind your own business.  But he has a smile that makes your heart stop....and he smiles, a lot.  Sigh.

So, I spent most of Saturday and Sunday answering a barrage of texts from my friends - "did you MEET HIM?"  "when are you going to see him again?"  "is he there NOW?"  Which goes to show you, married women love nothing more than to have a newly-divorced friend that's their age so they can vicariously date through them. 

Anyhow, for the rest of the weekend, I sat in the park and read; ate my dinners in a trendy little bar and drank something called a "flirtini"; bought a red dress at Nordstrom (I've never actually bought anything there before, but what the eff, I'm 42 now, why not) that is absolutely going to make HF swallow his tongue, and in a size that I haven't worn in YEARS, thank you very much; flirted with the front desk clerk who was half my age (and probably freaked him out a little, but what the eff, I'm 42 now, why not) and napped. 

I also drove around a bit, seeking out my new hometown, but then the weather turned nasty so I quit.  I'm a fair-weather seeker.

It was a heavenly weekend.  It's going to be a wonderful week.  Life is good. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

National POW/MIA Day

This is a shot of me earlier this evening, holding my POW/MIA bracelet.  I've had it for 20 years, since my Navy days.  I remember, vividly, the day I got it.  There was this table set up at the Navy Exchange where you could buy these bracelets, showing the name of a POW or MIA from Vietnam.  I picked this one because he was from Washington and he was in the Navy, like me.  For a while, I wore it all the time.  Now I take it out occasionally, wear it for a few days, and put it away.  Which is pretty much a metaphor for America's memory of the Vietnam War.

His name was John Riordan.  Back when I got his bracelet, the Internet was only a fantasy; I didn't know how to get any info about him.  Today, of course, is different - Congress has declared it NATIONAL POW/MIA DAY.   I invite you all to join me in honoring AMS3 John Riordan today.

Please read this.  He died before I was even born - but he was some American mother's son.  I am a patriot through and through, but war is real and war is hell.  Thank God for those who go, and God's tender mercies on those who don't come back.


Name: John Michael Riordan
Rank/Branch: E4/US Navy
Unit: Air Antisubmarine Squadron 21, USS KEARSARGE (CVS 33)
Date of Birth: 01 January 1944
Home City of Record: Seattle WA
Date of Loss: 10 November 1966
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 173000N 1083000E (BK346365)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: S2E
Refno: 0514

Other Personnel in Incident: William T. Carter; Thomas J. McAteer; Eric J.
Schoderer (all missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 May 1990 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W.


SYNOPSIS: In 1966, there were several search and rescue (SAR) destroyers
parked off the coast of North Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin. When the attack
and fighter people would egress, they would be there to assist a cripple or
pick up a guy who had to punch out or ditch. During the night when the
strike activity would ebb, the SAR DDs would steam around their small areas
waiting for the next day's activities. It was during these night and early
morning hours that high speed surface contacts would probe their positions.
The "Stoof" (S2) helped provide air cover for these surface ships, as well
as utilize electronic technical gear to pinpoint locations of enemy

As antisubmarine warfare was all but unknown in Vietnam, there were a
variety of duties handled by those trained in antisubmarine warfare. As
marking submarines, and/or destroying them involved the use of marking
buoys, electronic "ears" and other technical equipment suited for target
marking, antisubmarine teams were frequently used for search missions. They
also sometimes assisted in attacks on small enemy water craft. The Stoof
(also called "Tracker") was technically an anti-submarine aircraft, but had
other missions in Vietnam. There were only a few of such planes assigned to
Vietnam at all.

For example, if a ship thought its position was being probed by enemy boats,
it might vector the Stoof out over the target. The Stoof tactic was to drop
a parachute retarded flare from about 10,000 feet over the target, circle
back around at a low altitude (about 300 feet) and investigate. If the
target was unfriendly, then the S2 would engage and destroy it. There was a
certain amount of risk involved in these operations, as the Vietnamese PT
boats had radar that enabled them to strike with no visual contact.

In the dead of night, at 10:30 p.m. on November 10, 1966, an S2E launched
from the USS Kearsarge with pilot LT Thomas J. McAteer, and crewmembers LTJG
William T. Carter, AX3 John M. Riordan, and AX3 Eric J. Schoderer. (AX
designates Antisubmarine warfare technicians and related duties). Their
mission was a surveillance flight in the Gulf of Tonkin.

McAteer's Tracker was last in radar contact with the control ship at 1:45
a.m. It was not uncommon to lose periodic radar contact with a Tracker when
it dived below radar to investigate a surface target. But when the Tracker
did not return to the ship at their expected time, a search and rescue
effort was begun. The search produced aircraft wreckage and personal
survival and flight gear, but no survivors.

The cause of the crash of McAteer's aircraft was not determined. It was
suspected that the aircraft made an uncontrolled contact with the water. The
aircraft was determined lost about 55 miles east-northeast of the city of
Hue in the Gulf of Tonkin. The crew status was initially Missing in Action,
but was changed the following day to Killed/Body Not Recovered.

When considering a personnel loss at sea, the criteria for survival involves
both the location and the cause of the loss. In the case of the S2E, no
reason for loss was ever determined. Therefore, it was either shot down or
went down due to mechanical difficulties or "pilot error."

If mechanical difficulties resulted in the downing of the S2E, in an
entirely non-hostile environment, then there can be little chance of
survival for the crew of the S2E unless they managed to cross 50 miles of
ocean. If enemy activity was present, however, there can be ample room for
speculation that the crew might have been captured.

The crew of the S2E is among nearly 3000 Americans who remained prisoner,
missing, or otherwise unaccounted for at the end of the Vietnam war. Since
that time, cases have been resolved by the return of remains and by other
means. Since the end of the war, nearly 10,000 reports relating to these
Americans have been received by the U.S. Government, convincing many
authorities that hundreds of Americans remain alive in enemy hands today.

Whether the crew of the S2E survived to be captured can only be speculated.
It would be kinder to them and to their families if they died on November
10, 1966. It is impossible to imagine the agony they must feel to have been
abandoned by their country. It is heartbreaking to consider that Americans
still await rescue by the country they proudly served.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

She Hangs Her Head.

I can't do it.  I just...can'

I can give up meat, cheese, any and all things animal.  I can live out Benjamin Franklin's virtues.  I can become the kind of person who drinks lots of water and takes her supplements.  I can even, on occasion, Zumba. 

But I can't crochet.  It's too hard.

This is the point where all of you crocheters come out of the woodwork to reassure me....I'll wait.

Okay, and I have to be honest - I can't Zumba very well, either.  It's DIFFICULT.  I'm not terribly coordinated, and making my arms go one way, my hips go another and then somehow moving my feet along an as-yet-to-be-discovered dimension is, well, like crocheting- only sexier.  I do try, though - and usually just end up dancing around my living room like an idiot.  But it's fun, and it still counts as exercise, and it gives me an excuse to wear my Zumba shoes.  I Zumba slightly better than I crochet. 

Is it October yet?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Life, Interrupted

You know what sucks?  Tell me, dearest reader, if you do this, too.  I have this tendency to forget to live my life TODAY, in anticipation of some future event that's going to make everything different and perfect, so that at THAT point I can start living my 'real' life.   Can you relate?

I was just reflecting over all the things in my "pending" box - each of which is going to make my life effervescent, perfect and wonderful, right?  RIIIIIGHT.  Here's what I'm thinking:

Tina's "Pending Box"

1.   Figuring out what's going on with HF - meeting him in person and hashing it all out - because either he's the real deal or he's not, and then my life will be in order for the...

2.  Long-anticipated finalization of my divorce - which should happen before the end of September - at which point I will be FREE, all questions concerning property and debt distribution will be answered and I can start my life over, right?  Because then everything will fall into place for....

3.  November to arrive, which I can't reveal too much detail on because it pertains to our blog and my novel, but anyhow, I'll get that novel wrapped just in time for...

4.  Wintertime, when my schedule will settle down, because we only have cello lessons once a month; all that extra time will give me security and serenity in my life, aligning the stars for....

5.  June 2012, when school gets out and I move to my "new hometown", wherever the hell that ends up being, and I find a job that pays enough to put a roof over my head and the wonderful man who holds the other half of my soul shows up, and I can AT LONG LAST be happy.

Geesh, it's MY list, and even I don't buy that I will have contentment when I arrive at #5.

Anyhow, do you get my drift?  Case in point - I spent all day, a very hot Saturday, sitting around the house thinking about how I can't wait to power through this list and "start my life."  It's now evening, and all I've accomplished today is 12 hours' worth of collagen loss.  Absolutely no living done today, thank you very much.  I made a batch of laundry soap that will probably last me until next year and watched 5 episodes of "Rescue Me" on dvd.  That's it, baby.  Pathetic.  I didn't even work on that stupid potholder.

What a waste of a beautiful soul.

Friday, September 9, 2011

K-Town: Peace Out

Crocheting sucks.

I'm not Amish, and I'm not currently in prison.  So why on gawd's green earth am I doing this?

You make this chain, and then you are supposed to go back into the loops you made with this hook and make more loops.  But I either end up making my loops too loose, and end up with something that could be used to haul in tuna off the back of a Japanese fishing vessel, or too tightly, resulting in this impenetrable mat of Kevlar in a pleasing tri-color shade.

Who's frickin' idea was this, anyway?  Too pissed to try again today.  Will try again tomorrow.  I'm making a freakin' potholder before the end of this month if I have to quit my job and crochet 24/7 to do it. 

Let's move on, shall we?

I'm on vacation this week, for the simple reason that I have vacation to burn and not much time left in which to burn it.  I went to K-town yesterday to visit my cousin Queenie - and here we are:

We are standing in front of what used to be her Mom's, and our Aunt's, family business.  It USED to be a wonderful, magical place - a jewelry store filled with all things sparkly and delicious.  When I was a kid, we would visit several times a year, and my darling auntie always sent me home with a "souvenir."  Now, the windows are painted black, and it looks like the kind of place you don't let your teenagers go to, but they immediately head for when you aren't looking.  I'm smiling in this shot, but I seriously just wanted to cry.  It was like going to Disneyland and discovering that someone had turned it into an adult bookstore or a Gap or something since the last time you were there.

And my cousin Queenie - isn't she cute?  Just look at this shot - my arm is like the size of her head.  Life lesson - never have your picture taken at a bad angle with someone dressed in all black who's half your size.  Or at least make them stand in front.

Just to prove that I am, in fact, not a Sherman Tank in a pink top, here's another shot of me at Queenie's Nightclub:

I am a Siren-follow my call at your peril, sailor boy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

If You Read Nothing Else, Please Read This.

I recently got a silver dog tag on a ball bearing chain.  On September 11th, it hangs from my neck.  The rest of the year, it hangs from my rearview mirror in my car.  It is inscribed as follows:

You might not immediately know what “The WTC” stands for, until you see the date that immediately follows it.  Then I’m sure it’s crystal clear in your mind.  “VOT” stands for “Victim of Terrorism.”

This is his picture.  Cute guy, huh.  Looks like a baby to me, but maybe that’s because my years are advancing.  Tierney’s aren’t.  It keeps me awake most nights lately.

I wanted you all to meet Tierney, get to know him the way I have.  Here’s his story.  I’ve cited my sources below, and I hope that you will visit those sites to learn about other heroes like him.
John Tierney was last seen in the lobby of One World Trade Center. Tierney's shift was ending just as Ladder 9 received the call to head to the financial district, said his cousin, John Schreiner. Tierney, 27, of Staten Island, was told he didn't have to go, but he insisted, even though it meant he'd have to sit atop another firefighter's lap. At the World Trade Center, he again was told he didn't have to go in; again, he insisted. He has not been heard from since. He attended St. Joseph's by the Sea High School and was graduated from St. John's University in 1997 with a degree in psychology. This was his rookie year as a firefighter; he was graduated from the fire academy only in July. "For the past two years or more, all he could think about, and his only goal, was to be a firefighter," Schreiner said. Tierney loved fishing and camping, "but his passion was the guitar. He'd just started playing a year and a half ago, and he wanted to be really good - he practiced until he had blisters, and he loved Bob Dylan." Patriotic, "he has a picture of George Washington kneeling before he went into battle of Valley Forge, and a picture of Paul Revere." As a probationary firefighter in Queens, Tierney achieved a bit of immortality: a newspaper photograph caught him holding a hose, spraying down a building. It was his very first fire. "He died a hero, and we know it must have been quick," Schreiner said. "He would have been so proud of what he did." He is survived by his parents, John and Helen; a brother, Thomas; sisters Mary and Jeanne; two nephews and a niece.
And this is the tribute submitted by his brother, Thomas:

John Patrick Tierney was a firefighter with FDNY Ladder Company 9 (located on Great Jones Street in Manhattan). Johnny, as his family and friends called him, was an amazing young man. At the young age of 27, Johnny was among the 343 missing firefighters helping the thousands of New York citizens down to safety. He was last seen in the lobby of the North Tower, 1 World Trade Center, by a fellow firefighter from Engine 33, located with Ladder Co. 9 on Great Jones Street.

Johnny was born and raised in Staten Island, and is survived by his mother, Helen, his father, John, his brother Thomas, his two sisters, Mary and Jeannie, his two nephews Thomas and James, and his niece Margaret. Johnny attended St. Charles Catholic Elementary School, he then attend St. Joseph by the Sea Catholic High School and went on to attend St. John's Catholic University all located in Staten Island. He was an amazing person, not only to his family, but to all those who encountered him. He was very happy with his life and for that I am grateful.

His dream was to become a firefighter and he was for 8 months before his death. He worked for Ladder Company 9 for 6 short weeks before September 11th. The morning of September 11, 2001, Johnny had worked an overnight shift which had ended that morning at 9:00 a.m. His fellow firefighters insisted that he go home, but being Johnny, he jumped onto the fire truck going to the World Trade Center. That was Johnny, a very loving and giving person, never concerned for his own safety, but the safety of others.
(Tribute submitted by Mildred Rodriguez and Thomas Tierney.)

On Father's Day, as Helen Tierney heard the news that three firefighters in Queens had been killed on the job, her heart broke. For the men who died, she cried. For her son John Patrick Tierney, 27, a probationary firefighter training in Queens at the time, she rejoiced that he had had that day off. "He always said, 'Don't worry, Ma. Everything will be fine.' And it was."

So, on Sept. 11, when his unit, Ladder Company 9 in Manhattan, was called to the World Trade Center, she clung once again to her youngest son's words. Her prayer was that he had headed home to Staten Island that morning. But Mr. Tierney had hopped a fire truck so crowded that he was forced to sit in a colleague's lap. "The other guys told him he didn't have to come," Mrs. Tierney said. "But from the first day he went to probie school, he worked hard, he really wanted to be part of the Fire Department."

And he was, for six weeks.
I can’t personally memorialize all 343 firefighters who died that day.  But I can remember one, and Tierney is the one I’ve chosen.  And I can tell people like you about him.
Back on September 10, 2001, the day before life changed as we know it, I was 31. I would have looked at Tierney and said, “Meow! FDNY! Sign me up!” He’s definitely someone I would have wanted to date…I’ve always had a thing for first responder-types. Seriously, even as a little girl, I liked the firemen/police officers/paramedics/military guys. Any man in a uniform was all right with me-okay, and still is. I guess I’m a groupie.  God, was life ever that carefree?

Fast forward 10 years. I’m 41 and twice divorced. Tierney is still 27, and always will be. He never got married, he never had kids. He’s still a probie with 6 weeks on the job. In these intervening years, we’ve sent thousands upon thousands more of our young men and women to Iraq and Afghanistan to satiate and protect Americans like me. I sent my own son, and praise be to God, he came back to me. I no longer look at Tierney’s photo and think about what a nice guy he would have been for me. I look at him and think, what a nice boy for one of my daughters. I don’t think of him as “Tierney” so much now. I think of him as “Johnny.” Like a mom would. Like his mom would. The difference being, my son came back. Her son didn’t. I didn’t get the call that Mrs. Tierney got that morning. I didn’t have the memorial service for my son, and my son’s name isn’t engraved on some random girl’s dog tag, hanging from a rearview mirror.

My son didn’t have to go into the Army, there was no draft.  He knew when he did that he would certainly go to war; it had been well underway for years.  But he did it anyway.  Johnny didn’t have to go either.  Read the articles – he had just finished his shift; his supervisor told him to go home.  But Johnny did it anyway.  Because that’s what our American sons do when we raise them right.

On September 11, 2011, the memorial will be open to the public at the site. Next year on September 11, the associated museum is scheduled to open. I hope to go someday. The Patriot in me wants to put my hands on Tierney’s name etched in that bronze slab and honor what he did. The Mom in me wants to wash Johnny's name with my tears.

I’m proud of Tierney. I’m proud of Johnny. God bless FDNY and everyone else who runs into the building when everyone else is running out. As long as I live, at least one of you will never be forgotten.

Information about John P. Tierney was pulled from these sites and publications:
New York Times 11/28/2001
For info on dog tags and other memorial items for military MIA, KIA and 9/11 victims, go to:

Monday, September 5, 2011

There She Goes Again...blahblahblah

Wow, the 5th already?  Seriously?

Today is Baby Girl's birthday - 19 - her last year of teen-dom.  Woot woot.  When I was 19, I was married and pregnant.  Thank gawd the apple fell a little further from the tree.

All is well with HF, I think, if you consider what we have to be something that can be classified as "well."  It works for me.  Yes, if it were you, and you were telling me that you were involved with somebody in a relationship like this, I'd tell you that you need to be committed for your own safety.  But that's you, and this is ME.  Duh.

I glanced at the yarn and crochet book today.  Baby steps.  Also, I'm on vacation this week, and tomorrow when The Boy is in school, I'll probably get really bored and pick it up.  I'll make sure and take pics.  It's gonna be pretty impressive.

Oh, also this week, the ex's attorney is deposing me, for reasons unknown, as we prepare for divorcepalooza on 9/22.  I plan on dressing up.  What does this say about my love life, that the only opportunity I have for dressing up is a meeting with opposing counsel???  Again, the phrase "committed for your own safety" comes to mind.

On an completely unrelated note, the 10th anniversary of 9/11 is coming up soon.  I'm already working on my post.  This year it's hitting me much harder than in the past....maturity sometimes sucks, doesn't it.

Looking forward to a road trip on Thursday to spend the day with Cousin Queenie, who I am sure has a fun-filled day all planned out for us.  Actually, sitting around, talking and eating crapola that neither of us would normally eat even sounds good. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dat Dah-Dah Dahhhhhh!! (That's Supposed to Sound Like a Trumpet.)

Gawd, I'm tired.  Considering the amount of caffeine and diet pills I consume in any given day, this shouldn't be in the realm of possibility.  I think it's because it's cooler today; I know that I'm going to sleep like a log tonight.  I'm already in the mood.

No word from HF lately.  He's either still out on the fire, or my pen pal has moved on to more interesting prose.  If he-or any other man, for that matter- could see me in my new skirt and $9 black heels I got last week, he'd drag himself to my doorstep on his lips. 

But I digress.

It is now...SEPTEMBER!  Our project for this month is a lesson in futility - an invitation to the cosmos of insanity -  30 days of frustration, temper tantrums and flying objects.

I'm going to learn how to crochet.

I've been wanting to do this, believe it or not, for years.  You see, my Mom has "the book" which shows even impaired people like me how to crochet.  In turn I, with the help of "the book", make these long chains, call them "bookmarks", and abandon the project for a handful of Oreos.   But not this month.  No sireebob, I'm in possession of "the book" and we are going to do this.

If you already know how to crochet, well, bully for you.  My excuses are:  I'm left-handed, I'm impatient, and I'm Tina, which means that I'm not expected to do anything that doesn't involve instant gratification.  People who know and love me understand these facets of my personality.

But we are charting a course into the New Tina, who seeks to steadily improve herself, exorcising the demons which have repressed her true nature all these years, and creating a siren of such complete beauty and cultured refinement as to have men shooting themselves in the street over her.

Or maybe I could just make a potholder.