Monday, July 31, 2006

Every time my mom gets sent out to another specialist, they "discover" her slightly enlarged heart and odd little heartbeat. Never mind that she has x-rays going back ten years to show no increase in size and EKG's for just as long showing that the funny little beat is the just the drum she walks to.

This time, however, her new cardiologist found a leaky mitral valve. Not too much, just a little. Not enough to cause her any symptoms.

But enough for him to schedule her for a trans-thoracic ultrasound of the heart this week. Which is a fancy way of saying they are going to knock her out, put an ultrasound wand down her throat and look at the problem a little closer to the origin.

Of course, she doesn't remember half of what the docs tell her, so if I don't go with her, I get reports like, "He said he was going to do this thing. A thor-a-something. Do you know what that is?"

Sure, Mom. A thor-a-something. I do them every day.

For Pete's sake.

When I finally figured it out and she was asking ME what the doctor might want to do about the leaky mitral valve (do I LOOK like I know?), I was dredging into very dark, dank corners of my mind where I'd stored all the repressed memories from nursing school. I don't like to go there. I could only come up with two options: replace said leaky valve, or there is something that they can snake up through the femoral artery into the heart and stick some sort of widget on it. (Really, this is exactly what I told her and she believes me.)

Then she sighed. "I'm not ready for all this."

"All what?"

"All this getting old crap."

So I cheered her up by telling her that Arnold the Govenator had to have his mitral valve replaced.

Now she feels all macho about it.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

File under I know I'm weird, but I'm okay with it.

I ordered another cat tree for the kittens. Now we will have a cat forest. Or would it be a glen? Perhaps a glade?

Some rational part of me knows it is a little off kilter to be so happy and excited about getting new toys for my kittens when most humans on this planet are struggling.

But there is that ever-ten year old part of me that LOVES them and is grateful that the grown up part of me hasn't forgotten how to indulge that love.

Random Thor picture (with a little Loki the cat model who Daddy just thinks is soooo much handsomer than Thor)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

I have hope that I may actually see a penny or two of my Social Security withholdings when (and if) I am allowed to retire.

Surely, we are in the middle of another baby boom. Surely, these babies will be working adults by the time I am able (allowed) to retire.

But enough thinking. Random Thor picture day:

Thor loves to help. Here he helps me decorate for Jason's birthday party last spring:

Friday, July 28, 2006


Really? Outrage?

Why are we as a society so f-d up? Was it the Puritans? Some-one explain this to me. We are not outraged by anorexic models with silicon, size D breasts flopping out of dresses cut down to below the belly button. We are not outraged by Diana Ross patting Lil Kim’s pasty covered boob on national television. We are not outraged by bare breasts in movies.

But let a baby nurse. Oh my heavens! It’s the end of the universe. The horror! The disgust! What if a child saw? What if a grown man saw? It might make him not like breasts anymore. It might ruin sex for him. It’ll confuse the children – we’ve been carefully presenting the media image of breast=sex - what will happen if the children learn that – gasp – breasts are for feeding infants!!!

The world may end!

This is what I think. If you think breast feeding is “gross” or anything other than part of the natural order of things. Then you have a problem and need to get over it.

Breasts are for feeding infants. Period. That is their function.

Yes, we use them for other things, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are there to feed infants.

I have never seen a woman in public just expose her entire breast and latch the baby on in full view of God and everyone. All use a little discretion and cover up with a light blanket. And if you find even that disgusting, because you “know what’s going on under there”, my question is: Why are you looking? Why are you looking to see what some total stranger is doing with her breast?

Grow up, America!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Taking my first meme challenge from Notoriously Nice Mike.

My Five Songs:

Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty. Backing out of my mom's driveway, on the way to Folly Beach on a hot summer day.

We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions by Queen. Stomping bleachers in the gymnasium of Middleton High School with the entire school body after the basketball team won the state championship.

Under the Boardwalk by The Drifters. Trying to learn to shag in the sand under the old Folly Pier.

Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer. Leaving the house at o'dark thirty after a phone call from my once again arrested for drunk driving (now ex) husband, the pure irony of the song title in relation to my task at hand cut right through all my excuses and denial and left me unable to continue my part in our little dance of dysfunction.

I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor. Disco dancing with some dude at the 'Henge (Stonehenge at Rivers and Aviation - anyone old enough to remember that?) when the summer sausage he had taped to his leg worked loose and slid down his pants out on to the dance floor, nearly causing a riot and left me laughing so hard I nearly wet myself. Ah...the seventies. Good times.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

So, Andrea Yates finally got the sentence she deserved. Not guilty by reason of insanity. I haven't followed this second trial as closely as the first. Perhaps it was in the news less. Perhaps the first one just left me with too many bad feelings.

The kids. As is often in this land that claims to love our children, they suffered the most.

What shocked me was not the mysogynistic religious cult that placed unreal expectations upon her, not the callous husband blithely planting his seed as instructed by above mentioned religion, not the medical community that fails to understand post-partum issues, whether baby-blues or full blown pyschosis, not the doctor who yanked Yates off all her anti-pyschotic meds days before the incident. None of those things shocked me. Many women in American still live as second or even third class citizens in their homes and churches and workplaces.

What shocked me was the utter condemnation by other women. I understand it in a way. The crime was so horrible, that it appalled us to see a nice, religious, married former nurse guilty of it. Women had to pull away, to condemn, to reassure themselves that no, they would, could never be capable of such a heinous act.

A reaction born of fear, I think. Fear of recognizing that we are all capable of madness. Our minds can be co-opted by hormones or chemical imbalances that we have no control over.

It's too scary to look at Andrea Yates and think, there but for the grace.....

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Forty thousand.

That is the number of "housing units" developers are expecting to put in the Bee's Ferry Road/Glenn McConnell/Highway 61 corridor over the coming years. The new "downtown West Ashley" with Super WalMart as its hub.

Just the idea of Super WalMart as a hub for a downtown area is, in a word, appalling. How much lower can we as a nation sink in this swamp? We ain't even near bottom yet, I suspect. Money talks, art and culture and class walks.

I'd like to see two things come to pass. One: I would like for the developers of strip malls to be fined heavily if, after one year, any stores in their strip are unleased. With interest compounded daily for each day said store remains unleased.

Two: Developers must for a period of ten years live in and send their children to public school in the new housing developments they create. They must ride the same roads as the rest of us. They must have their children educated in over crowded schools with trailers, oops, I mean "mobile learning units", filling up every inch of what used to be the children's playground.

That's all.

Random Thor picture:

"She'll never notice this red sock..."

Monday, July 24, 2006

Random Thor picture (because some-one hands out business cards with some-kitty's picture on it but never even tries to make business cards with some-other-kitty's picture on it).

About a billion years ago, I earned extra money on weekends by assisting a high school buddy and his wife install window film. Not car window film, but million dollar, ten thousand window, Kiawah and Seabrook mansion film.

So, when once again the sun on the front of my house began to drive the temperatures inside up to the 80's, I said, hmmm. I wonder if I can buy that stuff.

Yes, I can. At Lowes. Promises to reduce 70% of the heat and 99% of UV radiation. It even had a handy little installation kit with cleaner and a squeegee and a tiny little box cutter.

Theoretically, I know how to do this.

Realistically, I'm wondering just how much cat fur is going to be entombed in my little project.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The only television show I watch with any regularity is Jeopardy. We shall, for now, put aside the bizarre obsession I had last year with America's Next Top Model. I liked to look at the photographs at the end!! I know, it's a weird twist on people saying they buy Playboy to read the articles. I'll admit it, I got sucked in to the reality sewer.

So, last night at the end of Jeopardy, they ran that stupid commercial: Head On: apply it directly to the forehead, Head On: apply it directly to the forehead, Head On: apply it directly to the forehead.

I was examining my reaction to the efficacy of repetition in this particular advertisment and determining that it did not make me want to run out to the CVS and buy the product. It did, however, make me want to head on up to the advertising agency and apply my foot directly to some-one's arse.

So, I missed some of the next commercial's opening and I was too flabbergasted to fully retain most of it, but there was a nice looking 40-ish woman, clean cut enough to be Wally and Beaver's mom, talking about how she liked things to be clean. Oooh, me too! I just don't like to clean things. Including her colon. WTF?? So she uses Colon Cleanse, so she can be clean from the "inside out".

First of all: GROSS! Second of all: GROSS, I was eating my frozen strawberry fruit bar!! Third of all: I think we all have a general respect for our colons, they go a good job for us. I know I try to be nice to mine and cut back on red meat and increase my fiber intake, but, isn't it sort of the colon's JOB to be dirty?
Fourth of all: I'm trying to get in the Jon Stewart mood here, don't be talking colons and shit (tee-hee) to me. In prime time. When the kiddies are watching. "Mommy? What's a colon? I want to see if mine is dirty. I don't want a dirty colon. Waaaaaaaah. Why can't I wash my colon???"


Thursday, July 20, 2006

2:07 a.m. - Awake to Thor meowing.

2:10 a.m. - Let him in as instructed by vet.

2:11 a.m. - 2:34 a.m. - Alternately whisper, "shhh, lay down and go seepie" and "ow!" as fingers are licked and chewed.

2:40 a.m. - Fall asleep with purring sack of fur stretched out along side.

2:45 a.m.- Wake up to sound of glasses being knocked off bedside table.

2:45 a.m. - 2:50 a.m. Grope around under bed for glasses.

2:55 a.m. - Get thumped by a suspiciously well placed Jason elbow.

3:00 a.m. - Wonder if shaking just felt was an earthquake or Loki joining the party.

3:05 a.m. - Smile sleepily at Thor's attempt to use a "quiet" meow.

3:06 a.m. - Wonder if Thor's new meow sounds strangled. Begin to obsess that maybe he ate a spider and it bit his vocal cords on the way down and even now, his little throat is swelling shut and all this hand licking and biting is just a way for him to try to desparately get your attention as his oxygen levels plumment and you don't really want to wake up to a dead kitten, do you??

3:10 a.m. - Give up. Get up. Discover that what Thor wants is for you to lift his hind legs while he pretends to climb the wall and attack the attic door pull-string.

3:11 a.m. - Consider strangulating him yourself.

3:12 a.m. - Worry some more about his hoarse meow. Pick up the tape measure he knocked off the desk. Catch the calculator before it hits the ground.

3:15 a.m. - Feed the horde in attempt to make them go back to sleep.

3:20 a.m. - Make hot chocolate and peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

3:25 a.m. - Faciliate rise in blood pressure by reading on-line news.

3:30 a.m. - Let Thor up on lap. Allow self to be sucked in to forgiving him by the sonic boom level purrs and the cute squinchy eye face.

3:35 a.m. - Give up on sleep.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I have a new goal. World peace? No. Re-insulate the attic? No. Finish the laundry? No. Study for my RN-C exam? No, well not right this minute. Paint the house? No.

My new goal?

Get one or both of my kittens on Cute Overload - the kitten edition. I am in the process of scouring my embarassingly large photo collection for the cutest of the cute.

Thor on oral hygeine:

Loki and The Red and White Polka Dot Ball:

Lean on Me:

So much cuteness. So little of it on film.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Okay. Enough is enough. Even for a bird/squirrel/racoon/possum/bunny feeding crazy cat lady like me.

Every morning this weekend, coming home from work, I have been greeted by the rustle of azalea bushes, followed by the flight of the rat across the porch. He/she/it then leaps into the japonica and scurries it's big fat ratzy self through the branches.

Yesterday morning there were TWO of them.

I am so ready to go all Erin Dailey on them.

Scuzzy fat disease carrying disgusting filthy nasty rats.

Not even cute little field mice, I could deal with that.

I had thought yesterday of unleashing the feline furies upon them. But. I was sleepy. I had to go back for an extra shift last night. The prospects of two inexperienced hunters and one old psychotic scaredy cat who has in the past only brought live captures home to me didn't seem very promising.

It had the potential to be a drawn out bloody mess that I'd probably have to clean up after. Plus, I'd just sworn to the vet that they never went outside so didn't need any vaccinations other than rabies (I will get them distemper shots at a later date). So I'd be in real trouble if I had to call him to tell him that they both got bitten and/or scratched by marsh rats. Or even worse, that they ate a marsh rat.

This morning I'm standing on the sidewalk, watching the azaleas bushes rustle. The damned things don't even run any more, they are just sitting there, waiting for me to walk up on the porch, probably so they can run up my leg and chew my face off. Or make me scream loud enough to cause heart failure in several of my elderly neighbors.

So, I ask myself the obvious question: What would Erin do?

Answer: Pick up the stray bird feeding bowl, throw it at the bushes while yelling (quietly, of course, it is 7:30 am), "You motherfuckers better get out of my bushes. Or stay there until I get in the house!"

Okay, a little wimpy, but it's hard to work up steam when you have to be quiet about it.

What I need is a ten foot baseball bat. Or a hit-kitty. Yeah, that's an idea. I need to find some lean, mean, rat killing feline machine.

But they must go. It is only a matter of time before they find a way in to the house.

Then there will be a bloody mess.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Several months ago, a couple co-workers and I were discussing the sad situations into which we sometimes send the little ones.

I made a comment along the lines of, "According to some Buddists, the soul actually chooses which life it will enter so that it may learn the lessons it will need to move closer to perfection and Nirvana."

One co-worker was taken aback and asked, "Why would any soul choose to live in the ways that some people live?"

My short answer was a shrug. I'm not a Buddist. It's just something I read somewhere that actually managed stick in my brain.

My medium answer was, "I'm sure the soul knows what it's doing."

My long answer was, "Why wouldn't it? You don't learn hard lessons about yourself and others and life on this big blue ball while living the easy life."

That would seem to be a given. But her reply sort of stayed with me, making me think, sending my little overactive imagination awhirl.

If it were true, if your soul really did choose this life to learn a lesson, or lessons, what would it be?

I look at my life and I think my lesson was to learn how difficult it can be to come from behind and learn to stand on your own. How to be completely at peace with, and come to treasure above all else, my independence.

And then learn to open up and let someone in there with me, to walk beside me. To truly share.

Friday, July 14, 2006

What fun the blogger party was last night! I am amazed at what a diverse group we are, yet we have so much fun together. Being the lumbering dinosaur that I am, I have no photographs, as I still use -gasp- film.

Many thanks to Joan for her organization of the shing-dig.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Insomnia sucks.

What does not suck is the letter I recieved yesterday from an agent requesting the first five chapters of my novel.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I am completely discombobulated. My work schedule has been different for the past several weeks and it is throwing me off.

Last week after the first plumber left me high and not so dry with my burst water pipe and my so called warrenty company turned out to be not so into customer service, the battery on my truck died. Literally. That same evening. After not having had a shower in two days.

Let me take a moment to sing the praises of Mr. Rooter. I called them Saturday morning at eight a.m., they scheduled me, called back at eight-thirty to tell me the plumber was going to come at eleven due to a cancellation. The guy was here on time, pleasant, did the work in about three hours and was on his way.

Unlike the ones who shall remain nameless (for now) who knew I had no water, made me wait two days, refused to give me an estimate, and on Friday (pipe blew on Wednesday) told me they would call Monday to set up an appointment on Tuesday. Almost ONE WEEK with no running water? They were meanies.

Now though, I feel my karma train might be turning around. I just hope it stays this way for a little while. During the "bad" week, I snail-mailed off fourteen query letters to agents, some with samples, most not. Also sent were two e-mail submissions. We shall see.

I know some agents do not like to receive submissions that are out to other agents. But they were taking up to three months to get back to me so I could go on to the next.

I ain't gonna live that long.

I did touch each letter to Thor's pumpkin nose and each envelope was rubbed on Loki's Buddah-belly for luck. I just hope no-one at any of the offices are allergic to cats.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Well gosh. Uncle Z caught my blog title on the CBS Sunday Morning News. They did a story on blogging and used my title page as part of the graphics. I'd be completely flattered if I didn't have a strong suspicion that this was chosen for its goofy name.

I've told several people, if I'd known this blog was going to be read by anyone other than Jason and my son, I'd have given it a better name. Kittens on the Keyboard was an in-joke.

But, well, there was a nice spike in my traffic that day. So anyone coming by to visit: Hey there! Ya'll come back now, ya hear?

Friday, July 07, 2006

If you live in the First Congressional District and are opposed to off shore oil drilling in South Carolina, do as I did and email our so-called "representative" and remind him that he represents we, the people and not them, the oil companies who line his pockets.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Ah, the joys of home ownership. I gathered my nerve to leave the house yesterday evening to pick some herbs to use for dinner. As I lingered there, I heard the gut wrenching, heart stopping sound of running water. Gushing water. Niagra falls water. Coming from under the house where even I know it isn't supposed to be. I peered through the (what are those things called???) the openings in the foundation. (Ventilation holes? I dunno) Anyway. Couldn't see a thing, but pinpointed about where it was coming from - the kitchen. Went to inspect the kitchen, couldn't find anything leaking/wet/out of the ordinary.

So Jason got home and insisted on crawling through the hobbit hole under the laundry room closet to under the house. And wouldn't Thor just LOVE to know that is there.

Diagnosis: split open pipe leading to the water faucet on the back of the house outside.

Temporary solution: turn off the water to the house.

Solution: Aha. I have this covered. Everything in my house is insured/warrentied, except for the fridge and the cats. Call the home warrenty place. Spend an hour carefully ennuciating for the voice activated "customer screw-you, I mean customer service" computer. First half hour was spent listening to them tell me that I had an outstanding balance due that I needed to pay before they could help me. They bill my credit card monthly, how can I have a balance? I asked the computer that, but it said it didn't understand me and just went on asking questions. Sigh. But it's only $45 to fix it.

Plan: They emailed a local plumber who was to call me. They gave me local plumber's number which either they gave me wrong or I wrote down wrong. Hadn't heard from them by eleven this morning so tracked down the right number and called. Talked to a GREAT (in my overactive writer's imagination, I've created an entire picture and biography for her) lady - Donna. God, she was funny. Even when I hadn't had a shower, she was funny. So, some-one is supposed to amble by here Friday (!!!!) to fix it.

Backup Plan: 20 gallons of water from Bi-Lo later, I'm ready for the duration and/or have my H-supply of water taken care of.

Discovery: Missionary baths suck.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

When I got home from work this morning, I followed my usual routine. Change clothes, fix a sandwich, tell the kittens that no, I don’t believe that Daddy forgot to give them breakfast and no, they are not getting a second breakfast, chase them down one by one for kitten kisses and futz around on the computer, usually racking my brain for something interesting to blog about and turning various shades of green over other people’s brilliant blogging skills.

Usually when I do this, the kittens gather in their window spot to laze around, watching the sparrows, whose population is rapidly approaching that of India’s.

Today however, Thor was standing up, staring down in to the bushes with a focus that I have never seen in my little ADD kitten. Loki was also staring, thumping his tail against the window sill.

So I went to stare also.

And didn’t see a thing.

So I opened the front door to get a better look because Thor was ALL about whatever he was staring at.

I hadn’t even got the deadbolt flipped back when they both landed on the floor. Loki was doing that feline “freeze and stare”. Thor was having a purple conniption fit. He was meowing, he was jumping up to swipe at the storm door handle, he was digging at the bottom of the door. He wanted O-U-T and he wanted it NOW.

Then I saw it. A snake in the pine straw in front of the azaleas. Being a girl, I screamed. Well, being a girl who was pretty sure it was a garden snake, I sort of surprised yell/screamed. Thor looked at me like, “Mooooooom! You’re going to scare my new friend away!”

Then the giant field mouse, possibly marsh rat, ran out of the bushes, across the porch, into the other bushes.

That time I did scream. And slam the door. I think one of Thor’s whiskers is caught in the door jamb.

So I did what any normal red blooded American gal does when there is both a snake and a giant rat on her front porch. I called my man.

Who said, “Cool!”

I said, “You don’t understand. I can never, ever leave the house again. I have to stay here forever now.”

Because I’m a sleep deprived idiot, (or just an idiot, that’s possible), I repeated the scene above just to make sure. Snake, check. Giant field mouse, check.

I thought about unleashing the feline fury, but 1) Sutu has never killed a small animal. Brought them to me, still alive, yes. Killed one, no. I’ve caught and released a field mouse and a mole. I did not want to add whatever this was to the list. 2) Thor would just want to lick it and make friends with it. 3) Loki would either kill it in some bloody brutal fashion, dragging gross stuff in to my house or be afraid of it and hide under the bed.

And, although I knew in my mind that it was a garden snake, that little part of me was whispering: Are you sure? Could be a baby copperhead.

So, I can never leave my house again.
I watched the shuttle take off yesterday. A nail biter to be sure after all the press recently. But really. Yes, space travel is dangerous. So is driving an automobile. Yet we strap ourselves and our kids in them every day and take to the roads.

I did find it a bit too eerie when certain shots mirrored the ones of the Challenger in its last moments. Exactly the same. I had to look away.