Friday, June 30, 2006

If you have some time to waste (I am constantly in search of procrastination destinations) flying cats works for me.

I love how the bedroom matches the cat.

Or does the cat match the bedroom?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Why are some people so shocked when after the clerk is finished ringing up their purchases that they are asked to present some sort of payment?

Yesterday, in spite of my suspicions that my flare up of allergies was really a cold (it is), I went in search of a bluebird house. I'm glad I spent a little time in researching what constitutes a proper establishment for the little guys because most of what was labeled 'bluebird house" at both Lowes and WalMart (yes, I KNOW they are evil, but I'm CHEAP, okay?) was, in fact, entirely unsuitable and perhaps even dangerous for bluebirds. The most glaring error was in the depth from entry hole to the foor of the house - it was too shallow, allowing for possible raccoon or feline predation. But I found a very pretty one at Lowes, made for and approved by the National Geographic Society and fitting the exact specifications I found in my research.

But they only had one. So I stopped by WallyWorld to see if they had any. And to buy something for my rapidly becoming more symptomatic cold. Fever in Charleston summer heat and humidity is almost a hallucinigintic experience.

Alas, no proper bluebird houses. But a good deal on DayQuil for my cold. And while I was there, I found two plastic storage bins for the approximately 50 tons of bird seed and/or squirrel and raccoon feed I keep on hand. Big piles of bags under my entry way table was just NOT attractive.

So, back to my point, and I think I have one. I approach the 'fast' check out line (under 25 items!) with my DayQuill and two storage bins. I am cut off by this elderly couple with a couple items in a shopping cart. So I'm waiting in line. Sniff, sneeze. Sniff, sniff. Wobbling to and fro as the fever is spiking.

I've learned in the south "fast" is a relative term. The cashier was acting out her favorite song, "Easy Like Sunday Morning". I didn't even know it was possible for human beings to move so slowly. Finally, she announces the total purchase amount.

Little old man looks at little old lady. Little old lady looks at little old man. He digs in his pocket and comes up with a wallet. Opens it up and peers into it like all the answers to the universe are there. Pulls out a five.

"Dat all you got?" little old lady asks.

He peers back in the wallet. Shrugs. "Yeah."

She sighs and puts her purse down on the counter. Opens it up. Takes out her glasses case. Opens the case. Puts on her glasses. Puts the case back in the purse. Digs in the purse. Pulls out a wallet. Holds it up close to her chest and half turns so little old man and cashier can't see what she is doing. Starts riffling through a wad of bills. Asks cashier how much it was again. Cashier has to look at the computer screen to tell her. Little old lady hands her some money. Little old lady gets her change. Files it all away properly. Takes her glasses case out of the purse. Takes her glassses off. Returns glasses to purse.

They amble off into the sun.

I am drooling quietly in a light stupor.

Really. I've noticed this on many occasions. It was especially annoying back in the days (God, I am old) before debit cards. That checkbook would remain in the purse until the final total was announced and only then would the person even begin to hunt through the purse for the checkbook.

It annoys me. That's all I'm saying. You know they are going to want money, in some form. Have it ready. For Pete's sake.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

At the entrance to my subdivision, there is a short street that intersects with mine. There are only two houses along this street and they each have massive live oaks in the front yards. One of them has a tiny (about six foot) Bradford Pear tree growing next to an oak.

For several weekends, when I am arriving home at about 730 am, there is an army of squirrels in that yard. Really. One morning I slowed down to count and there were fourteen of them, all hanging out, snarfing up acorns. As I drive closer to the stop sign, they all take off, as squirrels are wont to do.

Fourteen squirrels scrambling up the branches of that poor little pear tree to leap into the more substantial arms of the oak. Sometimes there is a back-up and all the little squirrels are left clinging and swaying on sagging limbs, waiting their moment to escape danger.

It makes me laugh everytime I see it.

A very large squirrel nest appeared in my oak tree last week. I guess so many of the pines were murdered, I mean cut down to preserve the profit margins of insurance companies, that the squirrels are moving to the oaks.

I want to buy some bluebird houses this week. When I moved here, there was quite a large family of them (about five or six) that I would see rather frequently. Since then only a few random sightings. This morning, gazing out my back window, I saw one lonely little male just sitting in the middle of the lawn. Maybe if I help him out with some shelter, he can get a gal and start raising up little blue babies.

I know that starlings and sparrows will take over bluebird nests. We have some migrating starlings, but I don't see them on a year round basis. We do, however, have the noisiest, rudest, eating-me-out-of-house-and-home flock of sparrows living in my gardenia plant and I don't care to have them take over. I read somewhere that sparrows don't like rectangular entrances or shallow boxes. So I shall see what I can find.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The television weather teams in this town must be stopped. They are simply out of control. I rarely watch the local news, I never watch the local weather. But when I got home from NC Friday, I turned on the local news because sometimes something actually happens around here.

Each and every local channel was LEADING the news off with a "let's go to insert-name-of-drooly-chinned-wild-eyed-with-hope local weatherperson here story.

The story? Tornados? No. Apopcolyptic June snow storm? No. Category Five Hurricane in the Atlantic? No.

A tropical wave. A weak tropical wave off the coast.

A bunch of high-faluting big words and a bunch of graphs on their new little viper toys later, I surmised that we might get some rain. Just like we do ALL THE FREAKING TIME in the summer when not in a dry year.

But the newbies, those not real familiar with hurricane terms and formation, were once AGAIN left with the impression that we were in IMMEDIATE DANGER from this lurking monster off the coast that could turn into a hurricane AT ANY MOMENT and KILL US ALL!!! screaming in to the night....

Stop it. Stop stop stop. And while you are at it, go stand in the corner for ten minutes.

You should be ashamed of yourselves. Really. Think about it. You are hyping everything up to get attention, to justify the expense of those fancy doppler toys you convinced management to buy, and to give yourselves some apparantly needed sense of importance. Stop it.

How about this. "Hey guys, there is a tropical wave developing off the coast. It's not well formed so it isn't anything to worry about, probably just some tropical moisture going to bring us some much needed rain. But as a wave is step one in the process of how a hurricane develops, we'll continue to watch it."

The public has been "informed" without all the dire predictions that this is GOING to turn in to something because you all saw some rotation at some point. You got your face on television at the top of the hour. You got to use your fancy computer models. It's a win-win situation.

What is not a win-win situation is the continued false alarms. People who aren't used to this remember the scenes from Florida, from the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. It frightens them. And it should. When there is a real threat. Your continued Chicken Little dance is only going to make them stop paying attention. And when you've been 'wrong' everytime you predicted 'disaster', why should they listen to you when there is a real threat? You are being irresponsible.

Me: Hey Thor, the weatherman says there is a Category Three hurricane bearing down on us right now.

Thor: Whateva!

Me: Loki! We need to evacuate right now. The weatherman says there is a tropical depression off the coast of Africa that could become a Category Five Hurricane and will probably strike Charleston harbor at high tide on a full moon and we will all drown.

Loki: Zzzzzzzzzzz..huh? Suppertime?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Oy! My legs aren't speaking to me anymore. What's funny is my bum knee is pretty much okay. It's my calves, specifically my right one, that are killing me. Hiking 1.5 miles up a mountain, then 1.5 miles down another path on said mountain, then following it the next day with a one mile hike half way up a mountain to see a waterfall, tends to piss off various muscle groups.

But it was fun. I had a scary moment the first 15 minutes in to the first hike when I seriously thought I wasn't going to be able to keep going. My mind and spirit were willing, but my heart, lungs and legs were all "WTF? Sit down you crazy ole wench. You are too old for this shit."

I knew, and I turned out to be correct, that once we got past the nine billion stairs (yes, real stairs) and on to the trail, I'd be fine. I walk almost continously during my 12 hour shifts. I can walk, literally, all night long, and an uphill grade doesn't bother me. After that, it was a good hike.

So, what did I do on my summer vacation? We went on a lake cruise of Lake Lure. We rode the elevator to the 'chimney' part of Chimney Rock, then as mentioned above, hiked to the top of the waterfalls there (past where some of Last of the Mohicans was filmed and where I irritated Jason by acting out scenes "Stay alive! I will find you!" (mmmm...drool..Daniel Day Lewis....mmmm) Oh! You're still here. Sorry. Then we hiked down to the base of the waterfall and over to the parking lot level.

Then we went to Black Mountain and Montreat, where I got seriously, I mean SERIOUSLY, creeped out. Okay. Montreat is a religious spot and they were having what appeared to be several summer camps and meetings and education things going on. The place was wall to wall people. I'd noticed almost immediately, but didn't say anything until Jason noticed too. There was not one single person of color anywhere to be found. There wasn't even anyone with a really good tan! After an exhaustive search, I did spot one young lady who appeared to be Vietnamese. It felt like klan heaven or something. Not what I am used to by any rate.

Then the next day, we drove to Brevard and went to see some waterfalls there. We saw Looking Glass Falls (along with nine billion other people), we hiked up to Moore Cove Falls. We tried to get in to Sliding Rock Falls but the parking lot was full. (Tell you how old I am, as a kid, we went there when there was barely a road through the forest and it was just a dirt path to the falls.) Now you gotta pay to get in. So we drove up a gravel road to Slick Rock Falls, but it was getting dark with an approaching thunderstorm, so we called it a day then.

Ate a ton of yummy breakfasts at our B&B, the Gaustehaus Salzburg. The local food wasn't all that great, but okay. I'm sure the food is better at some of the fancy resorts around there, but us po' folks just got to eat regular.

Sorry, no pictures from me, mine are all crap. Seriously. Well, except for this one:

You knew I'd find a vacation kitten, right? This is Tigger who lives at the Gaustehaus. He was found at about three weeks of age and bottle fed in to this gigantic lizard terrorizing specimen of feline-attude.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Off we go to the wilds of western North Carolina for a few days. Lake Lure to be specific. Where we shall cruise the lake, climb the Chimney, go giggle at the fire truck license plates at Bat Cave and hopefully make a side trip to Black Mountain and Montreat, although we might head in the opposite direction to a nearby vineyard. We shall see.

I am having my normal pre-road trip spasm of house cleaning. I don't know why, but the house must be spotless before I leave. Not that it won't be knee deep in cat fur when we get back. Hmm, perhaps I can add vacuuming to the list I'm leaving for my brother. I wonder if he'll fall for it.

Monday, June 19, 2006

I was on call for a few hours last night. So to waste time (because really what can you do when you have to be able to be at the hospital in 20 minutes?) I was surfing around the Cute Overload site, looking at kittens because I could so easily be that crazy cat lady with 50 cats. There was a link to a site called "Rate My Cat" so I went there, looking at all the cute kitties. Then this image popped up on the screen:

I about fell out of my chair because that cat is practically identical to my Boo Kitty. My Boo died about six years ago. I've told people that he was the only cat I've ever loved like a human. He was the most amazing cat - broken, then amputated tail, neurogenic bladder (from nerve damage in the tail break) two operations so he could pee. Daily trips for a year to the vet for hand expression of his bladder until the nerves regenerated (I said I LOVED this cat).

Through it all, he remained the sweetest, smartest, funniest cat I ever owned. And the best hunter. He once brought me a fish. Only a very large minnow, but a fish. And he loved to be vacuumed. He would lay in front of the vacuum until I vacummed him with the hose attachement. He loved it.

He was the best.

My Boo

Sunday, June 18, 2006

I have found that many people are willing to come by your house and feed and check on your cats when you are away.

The numbers drop off drastically when they find out that scooping the litterbox free of three cats digestive remains is part of the package.

See, and my brother thought I was lending him my truck so often just to be nice.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Okay. I took my mom to see The Da Vinci Code today. Why? Because she wanted to and it's her birthday next week and she's 71 years old. What she wants, she gets.

I haven't read the book. I hadn't planned on seeing the movie. I really had very little interest.

But, it was a nice little movie. Nice twists and turns in the plot. I still can't see why the head honchos at the Vatican got all hot and bothered about it. I mean, sure, suggesting that Jesus had a kid, the cover up, the lies. All they had to say was it was a work of fiction and be done with it. Protesting too much always makes me raise an eyebrow.

When it was all said and done though, I was supremely pissed off. Really. Don't waste my time getting me involved in a story where the final reveal isn't even biologically possible.

Don't read any further if you don't wanna know yet.

Okay. The "Holy Grail" is Mary Magdelane's sarcophagus. Holding her remains. And it must remain hidden because if the people who want to prove that Jesus and Mary had a baby found it, they could use her remains to DNA match the last known descendant.

Anyone know what it wrong with this picture?

I sat there, sputtering, "But, but, but, but....that would only prove that MARY had a baby. " Could have been any old Joe Schmoe's baby. Having Mary's DNA wouldn't prove diddly shit about who the baby daddy was. Unless there is some Jesus DNA laying around that the author and movie makers didn't think we needed to know about.

I absolutely hate that. HAVE IT BE REMOTELY POSSIBLE. Whatever fantastic tale you tell me in a novel or movie, I'll buy the fantasy, I'll buy it. But don't hand me a shit sandwich at the end of it.

Like that movie with that stupid short man syndrome having mysogynistic cretin Tommy Cruise, when it turned out they'd kept a sort of consciousness going in his DEAD BRAIN. Here's a clue, call a doc, and ask next time. A dead brain is a dead brain. You can't make it dream, think or do anything except be dead.

And momma DNA tells you who is the baby momma. You need daddy DNA to know who daddy is.

For Pete's sake.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

How I wasted at least an hour yesterday:

Reading the comments is a must, I giggled until I cried.

But then, I'm weird like that

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Did we all manage to survive what I heard one local weatherman call "the wrath of Alberto"?

For Pete's sake. Rant warning.

This is exactly why people do not leave when they should. The local and national news coverage of this rain event scared the ever living snot out of the newbies and irritated the ever living shit out of us veterans.

At one point, one of the national channels was calling it a hurricane when it wasn't. A strong tropical storm, yes, hurricane no.

The problem is two-fold. One, the nationals who just want ratings. They are drooling over the possibility of video feed involving flooding and traffic signals swaying in the breeze, hopefully falling. They want their reporters to be able to stand out in the wind and say, "Gosh I can barely stand up in this, so all you people at home: DON'T TRY THIS!" It is for ratings and hype, nothing more. Their claims at "educating the public" are crap.

The second part of this problem and the ones who should be the most ashamed of themselves are the local media. They should be providing the information we need without the hype and hysterics. I know it is the only time the poor ignored, much maligned weatherpeople get to have their mugs on camera for more than a minute, but for Pete's sake, get the gleam out of your eye, the saliva off your chin and the glee out of your voice. It IS noticed. We all see it.

You are directly contributing to hurricane warning fatigue. See, over the past several days, you have scared people who aren't used to this, made them anticipate huge problems and destruction with your dire warnings. rains. Oh MY GOD. It rained. It was windy. It was just like all those thunderstorms we've been having.


So now they all feel silly, those people who got so scared. And they blame you, Mr. and Ms. Chicken Little Local Weatherperson. And next time, they aren't going to listen to you. And next time maybe they should. But they won't. No more than we veterans of many hurricane seasons listen to you.

You justify the theatrics to yourselves by believing that you are providing valuable information for the public. And you would be doing that if you just provided information that is in direct line with the level of threat. But you don't. You must hype it all up to the worst case imaginable scenario, get your face on the screen as much as possible, and mislead the people who are depending on you to tell the truth. And you wonder why it is more and more difficult to convince people to leave?

Because they don't believe you anymore. And why should they?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Oh. My. God.

The stork is virtually hemorrhaging babies.

Two words people: Birth. Control.

A few more words: Go. To. East. Cooper. Hospital.

After I left the hospital this morning (actually I ran, screaming down the hall and peeled out of the parking lot at about 90 mph), after I stopped by the grocery store because those spoiled rotten furbags who get to live here in the lap of feline luxury have decided that anything less than Friskies SHREDDED canned cat food is flat out kitten abuse and they have assured me that they have the SPCA’s number on speed dial, after I walked through a giant spider web going out to the creek (the spider web was giant, not the spider or I’d probably be rolling around the yard, screaming and hyperventilating) after all that, I made a couple neat discoveries.

The passion vine that Jason planted is loaded with flower buds.
My pepper plant has flowers on it.
Two sunflower plants have survived the squirrel and bunny hit squad.
The basil plant is flowering and I think it said, “Feed me.” when I walked by it.

And Thor did not run into the pantry and hide when I left the door open for half a second. I think my ADD kitty is growing up.

And I ate an entire plate of nachos with hot salsa and chopped up avocado for “breakfast”. Just wanted to let you day time normals know what we night shifters do when you are on your way to work.

Friday, June 09, 2006

My lost post from Thursday

Things I saw at the creek today:

Dozens of blue and green dragonflies.

A red winged blackbird.

A turtle.

Fresh racoon tracks to the water's edge.

A blue-claw crab (first I have seen here) patrolling the water's edge, looking for a fiddler crab to have for lunch.

A blue-claw crab swimming for its life across the water with a gang of minnows hot on its tail.

An egret.

Otto III, King of the Fiddler Crabs, standing his ground and waving his claw at me.

And in the good news department:

My son made Petty Officer, Third Class.
Whoo-hoo!! Conga-rats to him!!
Forget the National Weather Service! Forget all other hurricane predictions you have heard so far. This is the REAL deal.

Based on the fact that I am on the "lock down" team at the hospital, there will be: five hurricanes come in our general direction, but veer off (poor Wilmington, just sticking out there like a sore thumb). There will be two that come near enough for the "emergency management team" issue proclamations for us to pack up our "hurricane kits" and haul them to the hospital and prepare to stay for the duration. Neither of those hurricanes will hit Charleston and we will have to haul our stuff back home.

Now, I'm unable to predict if one will hit us directly or come close enough for us to get the effects because, yes, I am on the lock down team, but my fellow detainees are two of my favorite people to work with. So it's a toss up.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Quick! To the voting booths everyone! The gays are storming your churches, your synagogues, your mosques demanding to be married!

Last time this was the whip-up-the-vote issue, I had an acquaintance tell me that she was voting for whoever was against gay marriage because her pastor had told her that if "the law" was allowed, they would be "forced" to perform gay weddings in her church.

I asked her, "Is your pastor now required to marry anyone who asks?"

"No," she replied, "you have to take his pre-marital classes before he agrees to marry you."

"And he wouldn't be able to say no to a gay couple?"

"Not if the law passes."

I was going to try to explain to her that her pastor's right to refuse to marry a couple on any grounds wouldn't be affected by a gay couple being allowed to enter in to a civil union (I know a gentleman who was denied marriage at his fiancee's church because she is white and he is hispanic), but my head hurt too bad.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Anne Coulter was popping up all over my television today.

It isn't her political views that make me dislike her. I like lots of conservative Republicans.

It's the depth and strength of her bitter hatred and the vile accusations that flow from her lips like poison.

It must be eating away at her soul.

I'd feel sorry for her if I didn't get the impression that she likes being that nasty.

Or maybe I should feel sorry for her for liking it.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Okay, I'm probably the last person to know about this, but I saw a clip on some morning show this morning and went on-line to look it up.

I laughed until the cats hid under the bed.

Since my computer expert is not available (and I'm a total idiot) I can't do a link, so you're gonna have to google "evolution of dance" and click on the first link.

Update by "computer expert" - EVOLUTION OF DANCE.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Today I saw what is truly the first sign of summer: three young teens suntanning on a roof. Yes, laid out side by side on blankets, ladder propped up on the eaves.

Why, you ask?

Gosh! The closer you are to the sun, the faster you will tan. EVERYBODY knows that.

Really, I had to laugh. We used to do the same thing. We would use my rooftop because where the garage had been enclosed, there was a connected laundry room with a lower roofline. No ladder needed, just climb the iron trellis, fling a leg up on the shingles and pull yourself up. Girls down below then toss blankets, kitchen timer, radio, baby oil and lemons up.

Now, I was a few years behind the girls who put iodine in the baby oil they slathered on. We would spread out our blankets, cover every inch of skin with baby oil, then squeeze lemon juice in our hair (for highlights!). We would turn on the radio and lay back, carefully spreading our hair out in a fan around our heads and set the timer. Fifteen mintutes. Ding. Turn. Fifteen minutes. Ding. Turn.

This was just a few years away from the big education push about the dangers of the sun. I don't think we would have cared even if we knew, any more than those girls I saw today. You needed a base tan before you started cutting class to go to the Washout on Folly Beach to watch the surfers. (I was a geek- me and my geek friends went one row down from the Washout cos we weren't cool enough to actually hang out there, just cool enough to go watch. From a distance.)

I just hope those girls today don't have the pleasant experience of having a dermatologist remark, while burning pre-cancerous spots off your face, "Yes, you are of an age now, time to pay for the sins of your youth."

That was uncalled for.

True, but uncalled for.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Jason planted an herb garden in a big wooden tub right outside the back porch. It has basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley and catnip. There was an orange mint plant in there too, but it and the basil were growing so large, one had to go. So the orange mint got moved to where the sunflowers would have been if 1) the squirrels hadn't gotten to the seeds and 2) the rabbits hadn't gotten to what survived the squirrels.

Yesterday, I made spaghetti and walked out the door, picked a handful of basil and oregano and in to the pot they went. (Yes, I washed them first, for Pete's sake!)

So today, I went to Lowe's and bought a cayenne pepper plant, because in my cooking, that is an "herb".

I got so depressed, standing there with my little pepper plant in hand, looking at the tomatoes and squash plants and watermelon plants. They even had sweet potato plants.

But it has been tried. By better gardeners than me. By people with mesh netting and chicken wire cages around the plants. Between the squirrels, the rabbits, the racoons, the possums and the birds, nothing survives.

Oh, but how I miss it. Strolling out to the garden and picking what looks good for supper. Sitting on the back porch with a salt shaker and a big hot-from-the-sun tomato, so much juice running down your arm, you need to rinse off with the hose.

Hmmm.. maybe if we plant a row of "decoy" veggies along the marsh line....