Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Crash - The Real Story

I ordered a new car yesterday. As documented in a previous post, I come from a long line of car lovers. My parents would get *almost* more excited to hear that I got a new car than they did when I announced the conception of a future grandchild. They'd squeal: "Congratulaaaaaaaaaaaations!!!!!!" (Then again, they used to say "Happy Bowling!" to my sister as she left to play in her weekly league game. Weird.)

Any-who, I'm getting my new Rav4 Limited in the next week or so and I'm really excited about it. But it also leads me to want to tell the story of me and cars. Mostly other people's cars, but it's still a little unsettling.

As I mentioned in my 100 Factoids, I've been in 13 car accidents and 1 moped accident (I wasn't driving any of the cars). Most of these took place during my adolescence and teenage years, not so coincidentally because my father was the King of All Tailgaters. Several of those accidents were with him, one on the way home from the showroom with our brand new Mercury Lynx. I was about 9, and clearly remember him yelling "Son of a bitch!" when he rearended the car in front of us, also sending our groceries flying.

One accident involved my mother, stopped at a light with my friend and I in our 1967 Toyota Corolla. We sat paralyzed in horror as a truck careened out of control and crashed into us. No one was hurt, not even the truck driver. The rest were mostly fender benders, but I was always sitting in the passenger seat. I say "mostly" because there was ONE serious crash.

I was 16 and had gone to my cousins wedding, riding from Brooklyn to Connecticut with my sister C. (the one I don't speak to now). My parents and grandmother rode in my father's car. During the wedding my sister was drinking quite a bit, but no one hesitated when it was time to leave and she got behind the wheel.

As we drove down I-95, I was aware that she was swerving a lot and that we were going over 75mph. At the time there was a concrete divider on the highway, and I felt our tires hitting it several times as she raced on. Finally, just as I thought "Shit...the people behind us must really think this chick is drunk..." our left rear tire blew out. The car did a 360 (at least one) and flew broadside into a pole.

The next thing I remember was waking up, laying on the ground, unable to move. I opened my eyes and saw my sister stomping around in the grass, grabbing hands full of weeds and saying "My car! My car!" over and over. A group of people had stopped to help us, but what they soon realized was that the reason I could not move was because the car had done air time (there were scratches on the pole 8 feet off the ground) and landed on my HAIR.

My hair was pretty long at the time, but the tire had come to rest about 2 inches from my head. Probably against their better judgment, the good samaritans collectively LIFTED the car to free me (How many people get to stare up at a car tire? Hopefully not too many). And then, in another lapse of judgment, they lifted me and laid me on a board they found in someone's trunk. (Thankfully I had no internal or spinal injuries).

In fact, with the exception of some minor lacerations from the safety glass, a head full of leaves and twigs, and split seams on all of my clothing from the impact, I was fine. My sister hit her nose on the rearview mirror, but that was it for her. I was transported to a nearby hospital where my parents were notified (they had not gone straight home from the wedding, or they would have seen the accident as they went by).

My father went to the State Trooper station the following day to see the accident report. In a really bizarre twist, a neighbor of ours was a trooper. He was 27, and I had been having an affair with him for about a year when the accident happened. Needless to say, he nearly had a seizure when he saw my father walk into the station that morning. I'm sure he was so relieved when he found out I had been in an accident! Anyway, he told my father that the cops at the scene knew my sister was drunk, but decided not to do anything about it. They were more appalled at the fact that she showed no concern at all for me, just cried about her car.

The car, a 1970 Mercury Comet (we called it the Vomit), was not just totaled...it was destroyed. It had hit the pole so hard that the chassis was broken in half. The impact was directly behind the front passenger seat, which is why I was ejected. I was not wearing a seatbelt, and in this case that probably saved my life, but I know that's the exception to the rule and would never ride without one now.

That was the last of the crackups until the honeymoon of my second wedding, where I became yet another statistic in Bermuda's long line of dopey tourists who crash their mopeds. I skidded on a gravelly road, crashing head first into a stone wall so hard that my helmet cracked along with my sternum. I managed to retain my sense of humor, however, when we went back to visit the scene of the crash the next day:

Sunday, February 26, 2006

South Dakota Approves Abortion Ban

If you haven't read this article yet, you need to.

Sometimes I think this country is slowing spiraling backwards in time. I hope that South Dakota is prepared for this legislation, with three very important things:

1. A substantial pot of money to dole out in welfare checks. Oh wait a minute... you mean those anti-abortion folks don't believe in subsidies for poor families? Hm. RIGHT... "no big government". How could I forget? (I guess government just big enough to burrow into a woman's uterus is acceptable.)

2. A population that is prepared to adopt about 800 children every year. (including the less desirable non-white and/or crack addicted ones), But of course, since the children of rape victims can now be raised by their rapist fathers under this bill, some of that slack will be picked up.

3. An EXTENSIVE sex education curriculum for the public school system. Unless, of course, someone is opposed to teaching teenagers about birth control. In which case, see items 1 and 2.

If you are opposed to abortion, don't have one. This legislation is a frightening indication of what can happen in this country if the inmates continue to be allowed to run the asylum.

You know when the government MIGHT back off? When the women of South Dakota want to declare their fetuses as dependents on their tax returns...

To help Planned Parenthood fight this battle, go here.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

I Never Learn...

While we were in Atlanta, my sister and I took Lucas to see "Eight Below". If you read my post last July about our experience seeing "March of the Penguins", you might ask what the flock I was thinking...taking Lucas to see this film based on the true survival story of eight sled dogs that were left behind by a team of scientists in Antarctica as a result of an emergency evacuation.

It is not an exaggeration to say that Lucas spent MOST of the movie crying. Not just welling up, but sobbing. Now, without giving much away, I will tell you that *this* version of the story ends [mostly] well. (There's a Japanese version that is closer to the truth). But Lucas spent the entire movie anticipating disaster, and with the building subtitles of "Days on Their Own: 55", etc., he got more and more hysterical.

I kept trying to tell him that it was so amazing that the dogs survived as well as they did... but he was not having it. The movie was quite good, actually, with the exception of the blubbering kid. Yes, it's sweet that he's so sensitive, but honestly I worry for him. It's painful to go through life so raw.

So, if you can handle the dog-drama, go see it. And Paul Walker...well.... WOOF!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Another Vacation Rerun to Keep You Busy

Since Lu asked me in comments if my new haircut was the shortest it's ever been, I decided to rerun this visual history of the various hairstyles of Panthergirl over the years... I had LONNNNNNNG hair all through high school (the down-to-your-ass kind that gets stuck in the toilet if you're not careful). I have to scan a pic of that, though.

Here's an 80s version, replete with spikes... and with the clearly visible tan line!!

I was probably about 22 in this photo... this was after I had cut off most of my mane.

This is another '80s photo...after the spikes grew out. I was trying out my friend's new bathtub. (doesn't this hair look like a wig?)

1988 perm. This one didn't last long. My hair is so straight that a full perm would only stay curly for about a month.

This was SUPER short, circa 1992. I was really, really thin so I could pull it off, but EVERYONE told me I looked like Liza Minnelli (hello? that's NOT a compliment!) so I grew it out and I will never, ever cut it short again.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Still in Atlanta...

Went to the Georgia Aquarium yesterday. It was really great... saw lots of stuff I hadn't seen at other aquariums (and I've been to several good ones, like Boston and Chicago).

Here we are in a photo op moment. Me (with my relatively new shaggy haircut), Lucas and my sister Loretta.

We'll be returning on Saturday. Here's one guy we ran into at the Aquarium:

Monday, February 20, 2006

Lick the Habit Again

Originally posted in March '05, but I'm still seeing the Philip Morris ads and they've gotten worse than ever. Now they even have people saying "I know smoking kills..." Ay yi yi.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Seeing yet another ridiculous Phillip Morris TV commercial about quitting smoking (or about preventing kids from taking up the nasty habit) prompts me to post a link to my FAVORITE jab at the tobacco industry site. Great stuff. Enjoy.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Goin' South

Lucas and I are heading to Atlanta tomorrow morning (and I do mean MORNING...car is picking us up at 6 AM) for the week, to visit my sister. We're also planning to go to the new Georgia Aquarium which should be awesome.

My sister has been down there for over 30 years. Right now she's in Atlanta proper, but for years she lived in Marietta GA, not far from this "landmark".

We laugh every time we see it, because on one visit my mother instructed another family member to "keep an eye out for the giant coffee pot."

Speaking of laughing, Luke and I had to stop at our local CVS today to buy "Earplanes". Those are the special earplugs you use when flying. I tend to suffer from "ice pick through the temples" on descent, so finding these things is critical before any trip for me. We couldn't figure out where CVS would shelve them, so we split up and continued our search. Suddenly, from three aisles away, I hear "MOM... would they be in FAMILY PLANNING??" I called back, "Er, NO..." But Lucas persisted: "C'mon, if a FAMILY is PLANNING to go on VACATION...???"

Kids. Gotta love 'em.

See you guys next weekend. I'll have my laptop and may throw out a few reruns during the week... **and of course, please visit One Man Bandwidth, the sidebar tenant of the week! Gotta love that blogname.**

Friday, February 17, 2006

Photo Friday: Baby

This week's theme was almost too easy. While I have mounds and mounds of baby pictures of both of my children, this is definitely one of my favorites. I love the movement of Tony's head as he tickles Lucas, and the pure delight in our baby's face.

When you lose a parent at 8 years old, I think one of the biggest fears is also losing your clear memory of that person. I am glad that I have SO many photos and videos of Lucas with his dad together, so he can always have them to spur his memories when he's an adult.

[click photo to enlarge]

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Olympics and the Perfect 10

I love watching the Olympics, particularly the Winter Games. Really I do. But am I the only one who finds it very curious that there are no elite athletes who look like this?

Seriously, how is it that the kick-ass skiiers, snowboarders, speedskaters and so on are all candidates for the covers of Playgirl or Maxim? Do looks play a role in who gets picked for the Olympic team? One has to wonder. Bode Miller is pretty damned cute, but he couldn't get both skis around the sticks? C'mon. And that downhill skiier chick? Cute as all get-out, but clumsy as a drunken teenager sneaking into the house at 5 AM (not that I know anything about that). The Chinese skater with bobble-head good looks went flying through the air with the greatest of ease...but then ker-plunk. (don't get me wrong...it was amazing that she got back up and skated to a silver medal, but one has to wonder if the ugly girl who didn't make the team wouldn't have gotten it right.) Michelle Kwan: Gorgeous, but was confusing figure skating with skeleton. And do they get any cuter than Apollo Oh-No? Of course not. But we know what happened to him on Monday night. (ok, he's redeemed himself. But still.)

We have the "Special Olympics" for, well, "special" people. Until we have the "Homely Olympics", I'm afraid these games might wind up looking like the talent portion of a beauty pageant.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy V-D!

Hope you are all enjoying this wonderful Hallmark Holiday, designed to instill fear and guilt (kind of like the Catholic Church, but more about that another time), induce panic, and drive home the message to us poor lonely singletons that no one loves us. ;)

So, just to smite the Hallmark gods, I have an annual Valentine tradition of my own: I buy myself a piece of jewelry. In the past few years I've bought something from Blue Nile, but this year I haven't found anything there that moves me.

According to the newest trend in jewelry, nothing says "I Love Me" quite like a Right Hand Ring, but does buying onesself a substitute wedding band really send the right message? I'm not sure. But then again, I am definitely stuck with ME "Til Death Do Us Part".

***Update! I was reminded to check out the jewelry website of my blogfriend Madame Butterfly and I bought myself two incredible necklaces! Check these out:

Sunday, February 12, 2006


(where are the stairs, Mom?)

Having a dog without a yard is REALLY not fun on days like today. Kelso is not going out again until after dinner, and not until he's ready to burst. It was so hard to walk him this morning!! I actually got light headed after about 10 minutes and had to lay down when I came indoors. It was freezing cold, and he couldn't find a 'spot'. Ugh!

The last time we had this much snow was in 1996, and I remember it very clearly. It was in the wee hours of the morning of Lucas' first birthday. He had been crying in the night, so we brought him into our bed. Suddenly, I jumped up because it felt like someone had stowed a hot coal under the covers. It was 3 AM, there was two feet of snow in our driveway, and our baby boy had a temperature of 107.5! Yes, you read that right. I took his temperature three times... 107.5.

We were able to gradually bring the fever down, but it was very scary for about an hour. The good news was that, unlike his sister, he did not have a febrile seizure problem. By sunrise he was happy, giggling and ready to celebrate his birthday.

Fast forward ten years... he's busily working on his Science Fair project. And me? I'm gearing up to do THIS again...

Friday, February 10, 2006

Photo Friday: Blur

Don't you love it when people disappear? The strange part is, I can still identify who this is...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Shocking, Yes. Surprising? Not at all.

This is what they mean by the theory of natural selection. Stupid people doing stupid things that kill their don't-have-a-prayer children. What I really loved was her contention that she was doing whatever she could to keep her baby safe.

Uh, Britney? How about this: Let bodyguard drive, while you put baby in car seat, facing backwards, in the rear of the vehicle. Instead, bodyguard was chatting on a cell phone in the passenger seat while Brit used her baby as a human air bag.

But hey...what do I know? Someone recently "accused" me of being a Child Protection Fanatic. Guilty as charged.

Thank you!!

The pups thank everyone who participating in the Comment-a-thon! I'm rounding up the 96 comments to a $100 donation to Greyhound Rescue and Rehab.

The winner of the pendant is Lorianne of Hoarded Ordinaries! She made a very generous donation of $30. Unfortunately, hers was the only one. :( But again... I appreciate the comment support. And it's always good to spread the word!

Monday, February 06, 2006


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and after...

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...but only thanks to the hard work of volunteer groups like Greyhound Rescue & Rehab (GRR) of Cross River, NY.


For every comment posted here, I will donate $1 to GRR (up to 100 comments, and $.50 per comment beyond that.) I will leave this post up through Tuesday night.

In addition, you are encouraged to go to the GRR site and make you own donation and put "panthergirl" in the memo field of the PayPal form. The commenter who donates the most to the GRR site will win a $30 gift certificate at Jakk's Magic Bean Workshop., donated by wonderful blogger Jul of the Day. She makes gorgeous pendants and you'll have trouble picking one!

Groups like GRR cannot help place the retired racing greys into their "forever homes" without our help. These athletes have worked so hard for humans...the least we can do is make sure they are loved and cherished in their retirement. (if you have any doubt about how hard these guys worked, check out this link!)

Please promote this fundraiser on your blog, or on any message boards where it might be of interest to people.

Comment away... and feel free to poke around the rest of my blog. And read more about retired racing greyhounds below. (and note...Haloscan will show "0" for comments when you repeat an old post, but when you open the comments box it will show all the comments from last year too... the only ones that will count are 2/6 and 2/7/2006...)

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Friday, February 03, 2006

Photo Friday: Disguise

In keeping with the greyhound theme... meet Jake and Elwood Blues. What better disguise? ;)

photo taken at our annual greyhound picnic...this is not me, and these are not my dogs. I was the 'official' photographer of the day!