Who Does She Think She Is?

Rants N Raves

Blog Post

This Old House

Posted by Joni in General, Rants N Raves


Lately for some reason, I’ve been trawling HAR.com (Houston Areal Realtors). Not because I want to buy a new house, because I love my house and plan to be carried out of it feet first in a pine box. Possibly just curiosity and a love of older homes (like mine). Old 1930s-era bungalows and Art Deco homes. Even some mid-century ranch style homes have their Leave It To Beaver charm.

But there is a right way and a wrong way to sell a home.

The Right Way

This is some serious staging, people!

And the Wrong Way

You are selling a house, not starring in the next episode of American Hoarders, for crying out loud!

2531 Oakdale Street

Blog Post

Brain For Sale, Slightly Used, $3 Million OBO

Posted by Joni in General, Rants N Raves


Can you believe THIS was on my Twitter feed? (And the @jonimueller feed, no less; not the @pixelitadesigns feed, which would make SOME sense.) Atrocious grammar and all. Yeesh. “@jonimueller hello i am a graphics designer like you,but i just a beginner,can you teach me some of you’r portofolio, please follow back.” What happened to picking up a book, taking an online course?! What am I? Some kind of cement mixer you just roll up to and receive my brain contents? And why ME? Go ask Dan Cedarholm or Dave Shea or Jeff Zeldman. Leave me alone!

Blog Post

Why Patriotism? Why Today?

Posted by Joni in Culture, Current Events, General, Rants N Raves

Unless you live at the bottom of a well, if you are a U.S. citizen, you know that today marks the tenth anniversary of the attacks of “9/11.” There’s been so much hyperbole leading up to this anniversary, with local events, television specials, etc., all serving to remind everyone in earshot, “We will not forget.” Well, we seem to forget quite a bit where this country is concerned. And this blog post probably won’t be very popular, today of all days. But this blog isn’t all that popular to begin with so it’s not like I’m shooting myself in the foot here.

We forget the crimes against humanity that the U.S. has visited upon the peoples — often innocents — of other nations. The media has everyone whipped into a frenzy over this Tenth Anniversary. Personally, I believe what happened on September 11, 2001, was an atrocity. I’ve always believed that. But it is no more, or no less, an atrocity than anything we’ve done to, for example, the people of Viet Nam, Africa, Iraq, Japan, Yuguslavia, Central America, etc., etc., etc. It is a cause for remembrance, to be sure. But not of the things being remembered. What we should remember, and not forget, is that this country is imperfect, but dangerously so, because it believes itself to be invincible. And patriotism of this kind is dangerous because it isn’t really patriotism. It’s nationalism disguised as patriotism.

And I am acutely aware that it this accident of my birth that allows me to sit here in the comfort of my nice home, with a solid and fast internet connection and a very nice computer system, and post this article, an article which some might label as “anti-American.” It is “anti-imperialist” if it is anything. I’ll leave you with a few choice quotes on the topic of patriotism.

[V]oice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

~~ Hermann Goering, in an interview with Nuremberg prison psychologist G.M. Gilbert, 1947.

Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who have had the fortune of being born on some particular spot, consider themselves better, nobler, grander, more intelligent than the living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill, and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all the others.

~~ Emma Goldberg

If people would but understand that they are not the sons of some fatherland or other, nor of Governments, but are sons of God, and can therefore neither be slaves nor enemies one to another — those insane, unnecessary, worn-out, pernicious organizations called Governments, and all the sufferings, violations, humiliations, and crimes which they occasion, would cease.

~~ Leo Tolstoy, May 1900

But American Labor Leader Eugene Debs said it best:

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth, and I am a citizen of the world.

~~ Eugene Debs

Further Reading

Blog Post

Drive-Thru Drive-By

Posted by Joni in About Me, Current Events, General, Rants N Raves

, , ,

Coming home from the hospital tonight (I took the night off from Big Law to take care of Robo’s medical issues), I ended up in a drive thru in an admittedly not so great part of town (between TMC and my hood). Next thing I know, I am rear-ended and pushed forward several feet by the idiot in the black SUV behind me who was actually gunning for her passenger who’d stepped up to the drive-thru window on foot. They fled the scene of course. Police were called, but what could they do, really? I’m sure that by morning those two will have forgotten the episode. However, just in case a dead body or two should turn up, there is at least a semblance of a report and a vague description of the vehicle and occupants (on my part), eyewitness accounts (on the parts of two servers), and drive-thru lane video footage. Oy. The damage wasn’t bad; I probably won’t even report it. The irony is that there is this exact establishment blocks from my home, but I wanted to sip iced tea on the 20 minute drive from TMC to my driveway; otherwise I’d have waited until I was closer to home.

Do you want crime scene tape with those fries, ma'am?

Blog Post

Just Do Your Job. Why Is That So Hard?

Posted by Joni in Daily Grind, General, Rants N Raves

I just got off the phone with Robert’s durable medical equipment (DME) company. It was two weeks this past Monday since he went into their office and picked out a new wheelchair. The Ti-Lite he’s had since his injury is quite a bit worse for wear and, in fact, I had them replace a wheel bearing on his left front wheel while we were there because it was acting like a bad grocery cart.

I sent a follow-up email to the rehab specialist making sure he had everything he needed; I had made sure he had the doctor’s letter of medical necessity (LMN) and all the doctor’s contact info before we even showed up for the appointment.

We’ve been calling and emailing them asking about the status of things. The last update was Monday when they told us the doctor hadn’t responded to (signed and faxed back) a letter they needed. Robert called his doctor yesterday and was told they never received that request.

Today I call the DME back to follow up and was told that they had the doctor’s fax and telephone information wrong in their “system” and have just refaxed the information to the doctor. WTF? I asked her if she’d gotten the information I provided, which was the signed LMN and a scan of his current business card (for their convenience in contacting him). I thought to myself, maybe I screwed up and didn’t send it. No, she confessed that when she looked in Robert’s file, the correct information was there.

No Wonder I'm Insane
No Wonder I'm Insane!

WHAT. THE. FUCK?!?!? So I very calmly asked her, my voice seething with unbridled rage, “You mean to tell me that the whole time, you had the correct information and you never once bothered to READ THE GODDAM FILE?!?!?” Then she really set me off. “Well, doesn’t he HAVE a chair?” Oh, boy, bitch, you don’t know what you’ve unleashed, do you? “Yes, he has a chair, but it’s broken. And in fact, I believe that the very least you can do is fix it so it works again at least while we wait around and twiddle our thumbs SOME MORE waiting for the new chair that he could have had already had it not been for this tomfoolery!” So please arrange it for me and tell me when I can come in to bring the chair for repair. And almost as an afterthought, I added, “And I plan to leave my wallet at home, if you know what I mean.”

So she put me on hold and then returned to tell me that I can come in at 9AM in the morning and they will fix the chair free of cost and they are so sorry. Yeesh. Customer service? I doubt they even know what that is. I’ll bet any amount of money I get down there in the morning and they will be clueless about this whole conversation. (That’s why I just now sent a confirming email to the idiot woman and copied the rehab specialist on it.)

Do your job right and I am likely to write an email to the owner of the company praising you to the heavens. Screw up or jack me around — and especially jack Robert around — I’ll make sure you don’t keep your silly little job. Does that make me a bitch? Probably. Do I care? Not really.

Blog Post

Mother, May I?

Posted by Joni in About Me, Rants N Raves

My mother has been on my mind a lot lately. I lost her to congestive heart failure in 1980 when she was hours shy of her 75th birthday. I was 21. (I’m adopted, which explains the age difference.)

I was lucky to be adopted by this feisty Irish woman. While alive, she regaled me with tales of her marriage to my (step) brother Fred’s father, a lieutenant colonel in the Army. They had a nice home in Helotes, Texas, in the Hill Country north of San Antonio. She lacked for nothing. Her pride and joy was her big black Buick.

After she was widowed in 1957, for some reason known only to her, she decided to take on a baby (me) to raise. (Of course, I didn’t know that I was adopted. I didn’t discover that fact until we were in the car on the way to her funeral. One of my sisters-in-law blurted it out!)

But all during my childhood I was always made to feel loved and cherished. Even when I was being punished, I did not feel abused or unloved. Growing up I had a healthy respect for my mother and the belt that she wielded from time to time. It was a healthy fear, borne of respect (and a sense of not wanting to get a strapping perhaps, too). I didn’t want to disappoint my mother, to see displeasure or disappointment in her eyes.

She was ill most of my life. She had her first heart attack when I was four years old. She also suffered from emphysema. (I was the only one in my third grade class who could spell that word!)

By the time I was grown and had started working we were living on my starter salary as a secretary and her fairly generous (by today’s standards) widow’s stipend from the Army. It paid the bills and I was free to spend one of my twice monthly paychecks on clothes and other silliness.

I also remember having to make a car payment on my first car, a 1976 Honda Civic CVCC. I remember that we financed that car. $2995 and we toted a note! Of course back then, that was a fair amount of money. I think my car payments were $45 a month or something outrageous like that! Manageable on my then-current wage of $1.98 an hour.

We grew to be friends. “Our” theme song was Helen Reddy’s “You and Me Against the World.” The lyrics fit our situation exactly. The day my mother was to be released from the hospital was the day she died. I was devastated to say the least. I walked around in a fog for months afterward. I have only anecdotal evidence of things that I did or said. I must have done them and said them. Other people say I did. And I have no recollection one way or the other.

But eventually the pain of her loss subsided and I was able to brush back tears and remember the good times. The laughs, the giggles, the hugs.

Other things came to light after Mother’s death. And relatives came out of the woodwork. After having so suddenly learning that I was adopted, and the one person who had the answers to my questions was now gone forever, I turned to my family for answers. My first question, naturally, was “What 53-year old woman in her right mind would take an infant to raise?” My brother didn’t know anything. He was surprised I had a birth certificate. Examination of it revealed that the person listed as my mother was 32 years old at the time of my birth. But my mother was 53. And she didn’t have two children, she had three. In the space for father was listed “Unknown.” (Thank Bob “twin birth” was NOT checked!) I was delivered by midwife. The midwife’s name was Ofelia De La Vega. Very strange. Basically, my mother forged a legal document. She put in all the physical details of my birth mother and just popped her own name in as “Mother.”

Well, apparently, my Aunt Helen (Mother’s sister) told me that Thelma had always wanted a little girl. She’d had three boys of her own, plus raised Fred from the age of four. She wanted a little girl. My aunt and brother recall a woman who rented out Mother’s garage apartment. She had two small children. Her husband was overseas. Apparently this woman became pregnant by someone else. Back in 1958, you just didn’t go public with that kind of scandal. So rather than fess up to her husband abroad, the woman quietly had the baby (me) and my mother, who was a midwife by profession, apparently delivered me. Mother had simply switched her name with that of my real mother on the birth certificate. Made sense when you thought about it.

I’ve never been curious about my “real” mother. To me, Thelma is my mother, my real mother, and my only mother.

To this day, I believe she watches over me. In fact, about six months after she died, I had a vivid dream. It was so very lifelike, not surreal like most dreams. We lived in the house we were living in when she died. We had been grocery shopping at the local Skaggs-Albertsons. We came home and put the groceries away. Then I was in my room sitting on the edge of my bed, facing the mirror on my dresser. I was worried about something, I don’t remember what, but definitely something was weighing on my mind.

Next thing I knew, Mother came into the room and sat down next to me. She took my hands and patted them with hers, they were bony and arthritic, but I knew the touch well. She looked at me and said, “Baby doll, everything is going to be alright. You are doing fine and I’m so proud of you.”

I remember in the dream looking at her, puzzled, wanting to say to her “Don’t you realize you’re dead?!” I looked in the mirror. It was just me sitting there by myself. Mother was nowhere in sight.

But I think she’s right. Everything IS going to be alright. Finally.


A Piss List

Posted by Joni in Rants N Raves

Top Ten Things (or People) That (Who) Pissed Me Off This Week (in no particular order):

  1. The jackass in front of me at the grocery store with $60 worth of groceries who stared, bovine-like, at my groceries (a bottle of coffee creamer, two cans of cat food and a small package of cheddar cheese) who didn’t have the decency to let me in line ahead of him. On top of that, the motha-fucker paid with fucking food stamps. A bureaucratic nightmare for him and the checkout clerk both. Ugh.
  2. People (no one in particular, but if the foo shits…) who read my blog and assume that they now know everything there is to know about me, and who even go so far as to presume they know me better than I do. Fuck off and die. And not necessarily in THAT order.
  3. People at work, at home and elsewhere who think I’m their unpaid HELP DESK for all eternity. (No one in particular here, but if you are guilty, you ought to damned sure know who you are.) There’s a PayPal link on the sidebar for this reason. Use it.
  4. The fucktard in our Purchasing Department who, when I place an order for supplies (usually because my Bossette wants something for a project), tells me how expensive something is. Uh, I didn’t call you for a price-check, I called you because I need for you to send the damned shit up to me ASAPtually. Without sidebar comments.
  5. The shithead in the stall next to me at the car wash with his fucking subwoofer. That pounding throbbing ear-sore makes me want to CASTRATE everything in sight. I had to move my car, or I was going to get carried away in a squad car. Yes, I moved my car so that this young turd could live. Could live to infect the world (or at least the airspace around him) with his non-music.
  6. Fucking Anna Nicole Smith. If I want to watch someone on a heroine nod, I’d just go cruising the Fifth Ward. Shit, this bitch almost makes me want to lose weight just so I won’t be a Fat Chick (like HER) any longer. It’s almost more than I can stand. Lee Ermey said it better. The best part of [Anna Nicole] ran down the crack of her momma’s ass when she was conceived.
  7. People who get a dog or cat for a pet, then decide it’s tearing up the furniture and decide to either get it declawed (if it’s a cat) or dump it on the side of the road (cat or dog, but mostly cats, because people always, stupidly and erroneously, think it can “fend for itself”). No, it can’t, you dumb shit. It’s a fucking pet. It doesn’t know about hunting and prey (or being prey). Anyone so fucking self-involved that they go into a hissy fit over an inanimate piece of furniture doesn’t deserve to have a single living fucking THING in their house. Get a goddam fish. Then you can flush the fucker down the toilet when you’re tired of it.
  8. People at laundromats (and elsewhere for that matter) who let their crotch droppings (otherwise known as children) run wild, dirty and free among MY fucking clean clothing. At least I have enough sense to know I never wanted kids, can’t deal with them and don’t care for them all that much (unless they are sweet-smelling and VERY WELL BEHAVED).
  9. The shitstain at Radio Shack who LIED TO ME and told me I could bring back the package of 25 Phillips CD-RWs for a refund of what I paid. Turns out the best they could do was issue a store credit. No, I don’t want any more inferior shit from Shadio Rack. I brought this inferior piece of shit product back because it wasn’t functional. I want to stock up on more nonfunctional, nonworking, poorly manufactured crap? I may be fat, but I’m not stupid.
  10. The blithering, grinning asshole female anchor (Taslyn Alfonso, if you must know) who butchers the English language and when she’s not busy doing that sits behind the anchor desk looking like nothing so much as a crazed cow. She was gone for two days this week and replaced by the eloquent, educated Patti Shieh. I was so hoping the bitch had been shit-canned. But she was back, fucking up my Friday from the word go. Ugh.
  11. Oh, and I’ve disabled comments because I really don’t give a shit what you think this time.


A Tasty Helping of Spam

Posted by Joni in About Me, Online Life, Rants N Raves


This SPAM was just too funny.

“Have a Wonderful Day!” Now how can I have a wonderful day if, according to this e-mail SPAM, I have cancer, am overweight, my baby’s father isn’t paying my child support AND I’m single…. It could be worse. I guess I could need a good cure for a raging case of the clap!