Please be advised that all of the content of this blog is the intellectual property of by Claudia H. Schlottman!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Family Night

11/09/10 Family Night A RANT

Years ago, Clint and I began having our Monday evening meal with his children and grandchildren. It began in 1996, the year we moved to Saint Simons Island. We kept a condo in Macon for visits to play golf, see our friends and spend with the family. When we were in Macon, Monday evenings were devoted to the family, and we gathered at a local pub for burgers and beer. It made Clint very happy, and I was always glad to see everyone, especially the grandchildren. The tradition continued when we were forced to move back to Macon because of Clint's health.

After Clint’s death, we tried to continue the tradition, but none of us was happy in the place where Poppy was so terribly absent. So, we started meeting at my house and ordering pizza. It went well for several months. We all needed one another, needed to share our grief.

Robert, Clint’s son - who lives with his mother and in unemployed because he can’t find a job that is good enough for him - is an alcoholic. Since his father’s death, his drinking has escalated to the point that he is completely unreliable. He can’t remember anything because he is booze saturated pretty much 24/7. He is a know-it-all, rarely right but never in doubt. There is a quote that draws a good picture of him: “The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism.” Sir William Osler (1849 - 1919)

Last night’s “Family Night” was like an episode of Jerry Springer. Robert and his daughter, Emily, came in, and when I asked Robert to run to the store for me to buy beer for Kristy - his sister who was running late - and for himself, (I don’t fight battles I have no chance of winning) he plopped his scrawny ass into the blue wing chair and simply refused. Instead, he left a voice mail for his sister to bring beer when she came. Then he went to the fridge and popped the top on the only beer in there - a Miller Lite, his sister’s preferred brand.

Emily sat down on the sofa and threw her head back and began to whimper about being tired. I complimented her on her new haircut and highlights and got something akin to a sneer in response. This is a 13 year old who just got a $125. hair job. She also treated us to a whine about how her Coke tasted awful because it was room temperature and had to be poured over ice and thus was watered down. My observation that she had chosen to use a mountain of ice was met with a cold stare. (Hey, I just gave you a Coke, you little ingrate. No whining allowed.)

Robert asked me about the concert on Sunday, then began to give me a lecture on Itzak Perlman, whom I had the privilege to see and hear in Atlanta the day before - told me all about what a fun guy he is and shit like that. He wanted to know who the pianist was in Mozart’s Little G, then proceeded to argue with me when I explained that there were no pianos when Mozart wrote the symphony.

I got up and took an Ativan and made a drink.

Then Emily began to obsess over a few scratches on her DAVID YURMAM sapphire and diamond ring which she had worn to school. She and Robert began to argue about what was wrong with the ring - went into a tirade about how it had never fit right and had been taken back to the Yurman store in Nordstrom’s but that no one there had done anything with it. I am not making this up. They talked over one another, interrupted one another, got more and more hostile with every syllable. All this over a fucking ring that a 13 year old has not business owning, never mind wearing it to school.

I flipped through a New Yorker and tried to focus on the cartoons, refusing to take part. Finally Kristy arrived. She did not pick up Robert’s voice mail until she was in my driveway, so there was not a beer for her to have with her pizza. She refused to let me go to the store. Robert offered to go, but she told him to stay put.

Kristy is usually a fairly calming influence on her brother and his daughter, but they just, both at the same time, tried to recruit her for their side of the unbelievably ridiculous interchange.

I jumped on my laptop and ordered pizza, working hard to get them out of my house as soon as possible. I knew that the moment we finished eating, Emily would start to pout and whine about being tired and wanting to go home and do her homework.

We went out onto the deck for them to smoke and the contentious behavior continued. Any time any of us asked Emily a question or remarked on something she said, she huffed and pouted, even turning her chair around at one point. He father fueled the fire by constantly interrupting and correcting her. Most of the time, his “corrections” were questionable. After a lecture to me from Robert on the subject of my patio propane heater, the food finally arrived and we ate. They were gone within 20 minutes of finishing the meal.

Kristy, who is the only one of them who is worth a shit, was exhausted and left with the other two. The real shame is that I love her dearly, respect her mightily and have missed her over the last month. We were unable to meet because my wife-in-law, their mother, has been critically ill.

Because of the other two, my time with Kristy was tainted, and I resent the hell out of that.

PS: When Loren called and I told him about Robert’s inquiry about the pianist for the Little G, he texted me the following: “It was Little Richard, of course. Same group who played in the Nutcracker.....the Almond Brothers.”

So, I went to bed laughing!

© cj Schlottman

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Real Woman

It's been a while since I've ranted or raved. Too many excuses to list........BUT I felt compelled to RAVE about A Real Woman, Lisa Moore. So, here goes.

A Real Woman - 10/24/10

My good friend, Lisa Moore, is a real woman. She is suffering the effects of a protracted divorce that would have sent a lesser woman into the bottom of a dark closet, sucking her thumb.

Not Lisa. She keeps her life full and meaningful in spite of all the stress. She has two wonderful daughters, Meredith, a freshman law student at Emory University, and Marion, a sophomore at The University of Georgia. They are fine young women, giving and loving, as is their mother.

She sings in the choir at her church - like a bird, I might add. She volunteers at The Macon Volunteer Clinic, an organization that provides health care for the working poor who have no health insurance. She’s an expert bridge player who constantly works to improve her game.

Lisa works out and stays fit, and she is beautiful - inside and out. Her husband must be blind.

I recently bought a table for ten people at a fundraising gala for Hospice of Central Georgia and then proceeded to break my wrist. I couldn’t drive for two weeks, and without her willingness to take me shopping and helping me with planning and decorating the table, I would have been lost.

Almost every Monday, Lisa takes our friend, Frances, who is in her early 80s, to drinks and dinner. Sometimes I go with them. She makes us laugh, and her energy is infectious.

I know this woman sounds too good to be true. There aren’t many like her, and we could all learn a great deal about survival from her. She refuses to play the victim role, choosing instead to look forward and prepare to move into the future as a single mother.

She never fails to ask everyone about their lives, their interests and goings-on, rarely mentions her own. She has sparked in me a renewed interest in classical music, about which she is very knowledgeable, and she has encouraged me unfailingly in my journey as a widow.

Lisa does not whine, choosing instead to pick up a bottle of wine and take it to a friend. I am blessed to have her in my life, and I’m not the only one.

She is a real woman.

© cj Schlottman

Friday, July 16, 2010

Blasted Blog Buttons!


I am here today to RANT! For days, literally, I have been trying to create a button for my blog, “The Red Sweater.” I have followed all manner of formulae, copied and pasted numerous codes, followed all instruction to the letter, and every time, I get a button with text beneath it, but NO IMAGE. Arrgghh.

Is it me? Is it my MacBook? I am a intelligent woman who is good problem solver, but this has be totally addled, baffled and just plain pissed of. I finally resorted to commissioning someone to make a button for me.

The Button Exprt, however, is on vacation for the month of July, so I am on a waiting list for her assistance when she returns in August.

Now it’s time to get over it, let it go. I’m still cranky, but I’m going to stop torturing myself about this. I should have started working on a button months ago. If I had, would I have one today?

See you in August when I proudly display my very own blog button! (I hope).

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bloggers Rock!


No rant today.  Instead I am raving about my day in the blogger’s spotlight as the Blogger of Note on Words of Wisdom

My first rave is for Pam and Sandy, the kind and patience souls who guided me through my own technical inadequacies and finally showed me how to get my information to them.  They rock!  And I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their patience and kindness.

Now, for the bloggers who visited “Living Through It” and left comments and compliments.  Thank you all -

Java at

Cheryl at 

Jennee at 

Lizzie at 

Katherine at 

Katie Gates at 

cronandbearit at

Domestic and Damned at

Blogged out Grandma at

These busy women with blogs of their own to maintain, took the time to visit “Living Through It” and leave comments.  

Over the next week, I will make it my mission to visit each of their blogs.  This community of supportive writers deserves to be acknowledged and applauded, and they get my rave for today.

Friday, June 25, 2010


I published this post on 06/18/10 in my blog, The Red Sweater, so some of you may have already read it  But when I started My Rants and Raves, I knew it really needed to be here......................cj

Today, Nancy, my friend of 38 years, came and picked me up to go eat lunch at a Mexican restaurant we frequent, though less often now that we’re in our sixties and take Prevacid.  When she parked the SUV, I climbed out of my side and glanced over to see her looking in the car parked next to us.  She wore a look of shock and fear.  I rounded the front of her SUV and looked for myself.  There, in a black car, two windows slightly cracked, on the passenger seat, was a tiny white puppy with brown ears .  She was mewling like a kitten, panting, her eyes wide and terrified, beginning to cloud over.  There was no water in sight.  I clicked The Weather Channel icon on my Blackberry to find that at that moment, the temperature was 95º with a heat index of 100º!

Yes, some idiot person(s) who should be arrested and made to sit in a black car with no water and inadequate ventilation in 100º heat had left that little puppy, who looked as though she were too young to be taken from her mother, in the car under the blazing sun, no shade in sight.

I was almost physically ill, choking back the taste of bile that rose in my throat.  We rushed into the restaurant and I went from table to table until I found the two teen girls whose combined IQ must have been that of a squirrel, who said the puppy was theirs.  I asked if I could take him some water before he died of heat stroke.

“The windows are cracked.”

“Yes, they are, but in this heat the temperature of that car is probably close to 135º.  May I please take the puppy some water?”


“We have a water bowl, the younger of the two said.”

More Shrugs.

“May I please put some water in it?”

“Okay,” the older of the two finally said. She appeared to be about 17, and she handed her younger sister the car keys.  Nancy had gotten a cup of cold water and handed it to me as the girl and I walked outside into the scorching heat, me praying that the puppy was still alive.

She opened the driver’s side door. The puppy was nowhere to be seen.  I was at the passenger door and had to ask her to unlock it, and she reached across to let me in.  The puppy had crawled under the front seat seeking shade, I suppose, and she was still crying, only much more softly.

I reached under the seat and pulled out the puppy and put the cup to her lips.  She drank weakly, hardly able to lap at the water, but as he continued to drink, her tongue started working harder at getting the water down.

“Where is the water bowl?  Will you give it to me?”

The girl, who seemed to be about 12, opened the trunk of the car and retrieved the water bowl.  Now there's an idea:  leave your puppy in a hot car and her empty water bowl in the effing trunk.  I poured the cool water in the bowl and placed it beside the puppy, whose name, as it turns out, is “Carly.”

“How long have you had your puppy?”

“I got her yesterday.  She’s a early birthday present.  My birthday is on the 25th.”

“Don’t you want this dog to live until your birthday?” I queried, coming as close as I would to losing my temper.  "Please, if you don’t have a safe and cool place for her, take your food to-go and take her home.  I’ll buy your lunch if you will take it to-go.”

She said not a word, and returned a blank stare in my direction.  I walked back into the restaurant with her, imploring her and her sister to remember how hot that car would get.  Another shrug.  I asked them to keep an eye on the dog.

Nancy and I choked on our food, so worried we were about the puppy. I got up and went outside to check on it and found it lying beside the bowl, a quarter of the water gone.  She looked a little better, had some shine in her tiny eyes.  The mewling had stopped.

The restaurant manager approached the girls and gave them a stern lecture about dogs in hot cars, and they finally got up and paid and left.

And that’s not the worst of it.  Carly is in for a tough life, and I wonder if she might have been better off to die right there than to go home with those careless girls.  

What kind of people raise children who don’t realize that puppies are not stuffed toys, that they have hearts that beat and lungs that breathe and that they need to be protected from the world around them?  I have been weeping all evening, every time I think of that puppy.

This feeling of helplessness is almost paralyzing.  Should I have called the Humane Society from the restaurant, written down their car tag number?  Shouldn’t I have done more?  

The awful truth is that it’s too late now to do anything.  All I can do now is pray hard that some of what the restaurant manager and I said made some impact on the girls.  Maybe, just maybe, they heard what we said.  I don’t think I can sleep if I can’t convince myself that they did.

Designated Driver

06/25/10  © Claudia Schlottman

This is a tragic but true story, and I feel the need to write about it.  I did not know Jordan Griner, but he was a close friend of Madison, daughter of my good friend, Lisa.

In Atlanta, in the wee hours of Saturday morning, June 20, Jordan, who had volunteered to be the designated driver for an evening out with friends, delivered his last passenger home safely, and within minutes and only a few blocks from his apartment, he was struck and killed by a drunk driver.

Jordan left behind his parents, his fiancé, two sisters and a host of other relatives.  He graduated from The University of Georgia in 2008, and he was serving as a fellow in the Office of the Governor of Georgia.  He worked directly with the governor on many occasions and was looking forward to his marriage and another fellowship in the office of the state’s chief financial officer.  He was avid volunteer and lover of animals.  In short, he was a good guy.  Now he is lost to everyone who loved him, and the world has lost a wonderful soul who would have added to the goodness in this world, had he been give the chance.

Crista Scott, the woman who caused the wreck that killed Jordan, had a blood alcohol level of 0.229, nearly three times the legal limit.  She spent one night in jail, then bonded out in less than 24 hours. (I would venture to guess that she still had alcohol in her blood when she was released).  Scott is charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, DUI and reckless driving.

A young life snuffed out by yet another drunk driver.  The irony of this story is beyond any understanding, and I am interested to learn whether or not this was Ms. Scott’s first DUI.

What is it going to take to keep drunk drivers off our streets and highways?  I am frustrated beyond belief that so many people are maimed or killed because of alcohol.  

Again, what is the answer?   I have a few suggestions.

 - Keep drunk drivers in jail until their preliminary   
hearings, not matter how long. 

- Take away their driver’s licenses at the first 

- Make prison time mandatory at the first offense.

- Post their photos in the newspapers and online, 
describing the charges against them.  (Some 
areas already do this).

- Go after the person or persons who over-served the 
drunk. Charge clubs and bartenders who
knowingly continue to pour drinks for people
who are already drunk, then turning them loose
to drive away in spite of their condition.  Make
them accountable for their illegal actions.

That would be a start, but only a start.  This problem as its roots in so many places:  over indulgent parents, absent parents, college frat parties where pledges are required to “funnel” beer or distilled spirits while their “advisors” look the other way.  There have been several deaths from the alcohol poisoning that results from “funneling.”.  And then there are those who just drink to get drunk.  Jesus.  If a designated driver is killed by a drunk, there is no explaining it.  
Once again, my faith is shaken and tested.  Who is the God who lets these things happen, or even better, where was he when he could have prevented it?   My private struggle with this is something that only I can work through, but surely there is more that the judicial system can do to stem the tide of drunken drivers who are a menace to everyone in their paths.