Friday, September 29, 2006

Yesterday, we were taking a table back to my cousin's condo on Seabrook Island. When turning left on Bee's Ferry, a young man passed us, his hand slipping out the half opened window.

"Is that a joint?" I asked.

Above mentioned hand then withdrew back in the car, and raised to the mouth in the classic tokin' position.

Bold as brass balls, toking up right there in traffic.

It was kind of funny. One of those 'drugs are bad for you' 'you shouldn't be high when driving' moments overlaid on memories of my own high school age self doing the same damn stupid thing.

Ah, youth. I feel like an old geezer.

In other news, I sent out two more query packages today. I've run through all my first choice agents that just wanted a query letter. Now I am in the special requests list. This agent wants a letter, a one paragraph synopsis and the first 10 pages. That agent wants a letter and a five page outline and the first chapter. And this one wants a letter, three chapters, a bio and a publishing history.

It's time consuming. And postage stamp consuming.

But the good thing is that I learned how to print labels!

Eyes of the Thor-bee

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thanks to Pam, well and Jason who actually did the planting, I have a tea olive along the side fence. It's a nice healthy size, about three feet tall already, so I'm looking forward to good spring growth. Next up on my "smells yummy" list is a banana shrub.

The weather yesterday was wonderful. I got the front bed cleaned up and re-strawed. I'm a pine straw gal. Don't give me that hideously fake red cedar chip stuff - the palmetto bugs LOVE it. Yum. Yum. Yum. I trimmed the dead branches out of the Japanese maple in the front yard and now it looks horrendous, but they were dead, whatcha gonna do about it? Hope it can rebound in the spring. I started to limb up the palm tree, but the approximately ten billion bees that were working the bloom stalk didn't particularly care for the idea and I didn't particularly care for being stung, so..that chore awaits for early early morning before the bees wake up.

Okay, now it's time for Mystery Plant! Beneath the sheltering arms of my big oak, I found this:

It is basically a stalk coming out of the ground with a ball of flowers on top. The flowers look like honeysuckle blossoms:

And then, over by Jason's garden of snake root, passion vine, roses, sunflowers and the mint plant we've named Loki (for its massive spread) this popped up:

I think it looks like a castor bean plant. It had little white flowers and now has some sort of berry on it. If that's what it is, then we need to get it the heck out of there, because if I recall correctly, castor bean plants get huge.

Today: Painting with poison. My canvas: blackberry brambles. (I let them be in the marsh, but hate them under my back porch.) Pulling invading grass out of the Miss Kitty and Conan Memorial Garden. Restrawing around the back porch.

Sometime this fall we are going to add a fig tree (or two) for the birds and squirrels and the other creatures of the swamp.

Over the winter, we'll be working on our next big project: the approximately 12x8 foot area between the back porch and the a/c unit. One back room window and the kitchen window are within that space, so our plan is to create something that will attract birds and butterflies for the enjoyment of both kittens and humans. The spot is completely bare, nothing but grass, so we can create whatever our imagination, abilities and pocketbook allow.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I'm trying to plan a short mountain jaunt to see the fall color. I've pretty much decided on a two day tour of the Cherokee Foothills Highway, a 115 mile scenic road that runs from Gaffney to the GA/SC border.

What I'd like to do is stay somewhere in the middle - around Greenville - and tour the highway in two chunks, one way one day, the other way the next day. That'll leave plenty of time for hiking to waterfalls and stopping by interesting places.

Problem is what appears to be a profound lack of hotels in the area. I have been told about cabins for rent in a couple of the state parks, but I am afraid to book one sight unseen. Remember, my idea of "roughing it" is a hotel without room service.

I'm looking at two B&B's in Landrum - The Red Horse Inn and the Barking Fox Farm. Anyone out there in blog land know of them? Or anything else in the region you'd like to suggest?

Loki sez: What do you mean you are going out of town? Who will feed me? I mean, us? How will we open the cans? We don't have thumbs! We'll starve! That's right, starve! You'll come home to three dried up cat skeletons and it'll all be your fault! I...what? Oh, granny is coming to feed us? Nevermind.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I miss spinach

I can feel my iron levels dropping even now. As an (at least) two bag a week household, recent events have left a rather large hole in our diets.

I appreciate the work the news channels have done in getting out the word. I mean, if it weren't for their coverage, I'd have no idea why there was no spinach in my grocery store, or why there were big signs posted about the ban on sales.

But one channel (probably Fox, they are the most frothing at the mouth to make a story even bigger and scarier than it ever had to be - Toy pandas..cute or...DEADLY COMMUNIST MENANCE from CHINA???), took it to a new level.


Yes, America. Forget the fact that most of those spinach fields were flooded last winter/spring and most flood waters contain human waste. Forget the fact that some government agency (DHEC or FDA, I can't recall which) suggested that farmers have their soil tested for contamination after the floods. Overlook the fact that the migrant workers willingly stooping over in the hot sun and picking your spinach for probably fifty cents a bushel are afraid to leave the fields lest they attract any kind of attention to themselves, so may relieve themselves in said field.

No, forget ALL of that. The MOST REASONABLE conclusion to pole jump to is agro-terrorism.

Yes, Mr. and Mrs. America, while you slept, Islamo-fascist terrorists snuck into California, armed with Ex-lax and Feenamint, and pooped all over the SPINACH fields because we KNOW how much Americans love their dark green leafy veggies, especially spinach. School children across the nation are devasted and terrorized by this evil plot (probably planned by the Iranians, let's go bomb them! Okay? Huh? Can we can we can we can we can we?)

Here is a news flash. Bad, weird things happened in America before 9/11 and bad, weird things will continue to happen in America and not all of it will have terrorists behind it. And just like the weathermen and their death-doom-destruction rants everytime a tropical storm forms, constantly trying to contort a story to provide a possible terrorism angle will begin to make people pay less attention.

Stop it.
Thank you.

(Imagine cute kitten picture here because blogger won't upload it and I have a dentist appointment and I can't sit here all DAY trying to see if blogger feels like uploading my picture or not.)
It was a cute one, really, way cuter than any other picture I've put here, I swear. It is so cute that it should be posted around the perimeter of every brussel sprout farm in America to protect them from the feces-jihadists that are spraying our most beloved veggies with Islamo-fascist poopie because to look upon such sweet cuteness would surely melt the hardest of terrorist hearts.

Monday, September 25, 2006

One of life's mysteries?

Over a dozen people (two in a 24 hour period) have found my lonely little blog by searching for "Eric Clapton's yacht".

I know why my blog pops up on the search. Because my son saw the yacht when he was in Rhodes and I mentioned it here.

The mystery is why are so many people searching the web for "Eric Clapton's yacht"?

Another of life's mysteries: Why does Loki like to be upside down to chase his tail?

Kitten Monday

Yikes. I am tired. Busy busy weekend. So you will have to endure kitten pictures instead of my random thoughts.

Loki, when interested in something, is casually curious

Thor, when interested in something, focuses like a laser beam.

But they both snuggle their favorite toys.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

eewww! I gotta meme on me!

A - Accent: to Southerners: none. To Yankees: Southern
B - Breakfast Item: peanut butter and jelly sammie
C - Chore you hate: cleaning the bathroom
D - Dad's Name: duh, dad.
E - Essential everyday item: water and chapstick
F - Flavor ice cream: chocolate
G - Gold or Silver?: I don’t wear jewelry, cat hair is my main accessory
H - Happy Place: on the couch, book in hand, cat(s) on lap
I - Insomnia: frequently
J - Job : baby wrangler
K - Kids: one
L - Living arrangements: shackin’ up is the correct term, I believe
M - Mom's birthplace: Holly Hill, SC
N - Name your pets: Sutu, Thor, Loki and Mick Jagger, although technically, MJ is not MY pet.
O - Overnight hospital stays: tonsils out when I was 12
P - Phobia: crashing off a bridge in to the water and drowning
Q - Question: What do cats see when they stare at walls?
R - Religious affiliation: none
S - Siblings: three brothers, two older, one younger
T - Time you wake up: depends, am I night shifting or being normal?
U - Unnatural hair colors you've had: All my hair colors are unnatural – been gray since age 25
V - Vegetable you refuse to eat: beets, asparagus
W - Worst habit: procrastination
X - X-rays you've had: knees, chest once when I had bronchitis
Y - Yummy: dark chocolate
Z -Zoo animal: tigers

Loki is worried the squirrels will get in the house and eat all his cat food.

Friday, September 22, 2006

This week, Stuff on My Cat's contest theme was the letter B.

I sent this:

Bunny on my Cat

This morning I eagerly checked to see if Thor had made the cut.
He had not.
These are the pictures chosen for the contest.
I ask you, is my obvious favoritism for Thor depriving me of the ability to accurately judge a good picture?
Are any of these better than my sweet faced darling and his bunny buddy?
I think not.

I voted for the Botox kitten because it was, at least, original.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Last night I went to a meeting of the writer's group I belong to. When I first joined four or so years ago, I was a closet writer. I'd never really shown any one my work, much less read it out loud to a group of strangers.

But my timing had been perfect. The group was on fire at that time with a large core of talented writers all making huge leaps in their writing careers. We had published writers, about to be published writers and raw new beginners like myself. The most important part was that we all liked each other, we all were supportive of each other. Critiques were honest, fair and done without damage. It was within that support network that I wrote my currently being schlepped out to agents novel.

But as groups tend to do, it fell apart a little. People were busy. People moved. New people came in and the dynamic changed. Not so much for the better. I began to not want to go, not want to share my work. The four or so key people who I trusted and depended on and respected their opinions were rarely around. The feedback I was getting wasn't helping. Wasn't hurting, but wasn't helping.

As I have struggled in the past six months to get this current project off the ground, floundering around, changing this, convinced every word is a giant steaming pile 'o turds, I was convinced it was one of two things. Either the story wasn't wanting to be told or I had told the only story I had in me already.

But last night, all those core people whose opinions I trusted and relied upon were there. The energy was there. We were fairly vibrating with the buzz. It was clicking along. And they liked my new stuff. I hadn't realized that what was wrong was that I was writing in a vaccuum, that I had come to depend upon those people. I was, in part, writing for them. Wanting to have something new and exciting and good to share with them spurred me on in the writing.

It feels great to have that spark back. Hopefully it'll catch hold and the fire will last. Hopefully.

I feel a little guilty about all the goofy, non-flattering Thor pictures recently, so here he is being A-Thor-able.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Write Your Own Caption

My captions were:

Thor reacts to the news that breakfast is not shredded Friskies.


Thor reacts to Loki's announcement that he will vote Republican.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Random Thoughts

Lindsay Graham. What a weenie head. What a shimmy-shammy flippa-floppa-ding-dong. Who did his spine-ectomy? What's he doing? Reading the newspapers and writing out sound bites so he can get re-elected? I wouldn't trust him if he came over and painted my house for me.

Muslims. Okay, I'm one of the dozen liberals in Charleston who actually admit out loud to being one, but WTF? These people need to get over themselves. Every religion is criticized and/or ridiculed. Deal with it. Shooting nuns and calling for jihad and whipping up huge chanting crowds (don't these people have jobs?) is just regoddamndiculous. The vast silent majority of Muslims need to start standing up against this sort of behavior.

"I Had a Baby Signs". Some are suggesting that the woman who had her throat slashed and her baby stolen should bear some of the fault because she had one of those signs announcing the birth. Good God. The crazy pyscho lady who did it bears 100% of the fault because she is the one who did it.

Remember the story about the ER nurse who came home after a hard shift, found a man in her home, then strangled him to death with her bare hands after he began attacking her? Turns out he was a hit man hired by her ex. Moral of the story: don't fuck with ER nurses and especially don't fuck with ER nurses after a bad shift. Bet she was picturing some dickhead doc the whole time she was strangling the guy.

Oy. Off to work with me. Welcome back party tonight for a co-worker who has been out for almost four months with a broken ankle. Jason declined to sleep for four hours, wake up, get dressed, drive to the hospital, attend the party, return home, sleep some more, then get up and go to work. I don't know why.

Thor is so damn goofy. I just want to kiss him a million times.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

For Pete's Sake!

Last week Stuff on My Cat ran its weekly contest. The theme this time was basically: what my human does to keep me in Friskies and cat nip.

So, I decided to try to enter. Problem is, my cats won't sit, stand or lie still for stuff to be placed upon them. I worked all day and the best I did was this:

I was going to call it "Nurse Sutu patiently awaits his next patient."

When Jason got home, I showed the fruits, okay the fruit, of my labors to him.

He said, "Sutu got elected Pope??!!"

Sigh. Arts and crafts was never my forte.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Vehicular Sociopathy

That is my new term for people who speed, tail-gate and run red lights simply because they don't feel they should have to wait. People who, once they lock themselves in their vehicles with their cell phones, CD players, lap tops, and air bags, feel they have every right in the world to completely disregard the lives of others.

Because they have places to go. They have things to do. They are IMPORTANT and we are in THEIR WAY.

I'm sorry, I didn't get the e-mail that the road belonged to you today. So sorry for venturing out and doing really stupid things like yeilding to oncoming traffic, driving the speed limit, remaining in my lane at all times and actually stopping at red lights.

Oh, don't be trying it at Magwood and Paul Cantrell any more. So many hospital workers have had so many near death experiences (including moi and the 90-mph tractor trailer that I saw about two seconds before it would have broad-sided me) that all our complaints to the police have not gone unnoticed. Last weekend alone, I saw four cars pulled over for running the reds.

I hope the ticket is a million dollars.

Self centered jerks.

Thor sez: That's right! You'll be sorry when you kill some-one!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I had in mind to don a surgical mask and venture into the wilds of the hall closet, where rumor has it that dust bunnies the size of elephants lurk behind the suitcases, spewing their evil allergens out from beneath the door.

But instead, I find myself host to some annoying virus, one not virile enough to render me incapacitated so that I might sleep through the worst of it. One not weak enough for some ibuprofen to knock back its symptoms and allow me to soldier on.

No this one is just enough to make me miserable. So I fritter the day away. Nap, read, watch TV. Nap, read, watch TV.

Thor sez: You say nap like it's a bad thing.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Cat Napping

Big Spot (Loki) Little Spot (Thor)

Turn, stretch.

Resume napping.

You woke us up for nothing?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Lily Livered Coward

That's me. I went to work last night at 11pm with a plan. I was to fast until quttin' time (0730), with occasional sips of water allowed, then drive across the street to the lab my doc uses to have my yearly blood work drawn.

By two a.m., I was asking things like, "Would a Tic-Tac count as eating?"

But I made it through until almost seven, when the parents of a patient showed up with Dunkin Doughnuts and coffee.

Even then, I resisted temptation. (Although I did accidently lick the frosting off my fingers as I was packing up a couple of 'to-go' doughnuts.)

I get to the lab, they are practically empty and while I'm waiting a phlebotomy student comes in to do her clinical work. With the lady drawing my labs. Man. I'm stitting there in the little chair, my arm strapped down (I'm not THAT bad), while she explains everything to the student and I know I should offer to let the student stick me. I mean, some-one allowed me to plunge a hollowed out razor sharp chunk of steel through their flesh for the first time at some point in my education.

But I'm a baby. Really. A whimpering whining anxious baby about needles. I don't think I could have taken it with out fainting or screaming or crying or something. Then the student would have felt bad and maybe quit school then she'd be living in poverty her whole life, just because of me.

So, hey, maybe I did her a favor. That's it. I'm not a coward, I'm a hero!

Loki sez: Excuse me, but did you mention doughnuts?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

White Cat

She moved in two doors down a few months ago and roams the neighborhood like it is her personal palace. She spends a good deal of time sitting in my back yard, staring up at the branches of the oak tree, where the squirrels and birds twitter at her.

I don't let my cats go out for a variety of safety reasons, but mostly because I'm too cheap to buy monthly flea control for all three of them. But they are very interested in what goes on outside the windows.

Loki on high squirrel alert.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Who is to "blame" for Bin Laden. There is a lot of talk about fault these last few days. Here is the thing, Bin Laden is at fault.

Even a casual reader of my blog would know that when I'm not being lazy and posting inane cat pictures, I am not a George Bush fan.

But Bin Laden is not his "fault". (I don't agree with how The Decider has decided to deal with it, but that isn't what is being discussed.) Holy Alliteration Decider-Man, that's way too many d's for only one cup of coffee.

If one must affix blame to someone, then let us travel back to the 1980's when Reagan's administration was ALL about this young upstart and his band of merry men fighting off the mighty Soviet Army in the mountains of Afghanistan. How his administration sent equipment and people to train Bin Laden. Why? So that the Soviet Union would be bogged down in an unwinnable war, drain its economy, devastate its armed forces, demoralize and polarize its people, leading to its collapse.

Just as before that, we trained and equipped our buddy, Saddam Hussein, over in Iraq when we were all mad at the Iranians for the whole nasty Embassy thing.

Maybe we should start being a little more careful about who we crawl into bed with.

Loki sez: I'm not too sure about this fellow.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Warning: Girl Stuff Discussed!

Ah. The tiniest bit of coolness in the air. Forecast highs in the 80's. The first hints that autumn is on the way. Well, other than the Halloween decorations and candy I saw in the grocery store yesterday. Next week the Christmas stuff is coming out, I'll bet.

For some, fall is the return to school.

For me, it is the return to the doctor.

Annual physical time. Yeah! Whoo-hoo! Yipee! Sorry, just trying to rustle up some enthusiasm. My list of things to talk to my doc about gets longer every year.

A lot of women schedule this near their birthdays so they don't forget. I'm sorry, but a pap smear and mammogram aren't exactly the kind of birthday present I want to get.

And speaking of mammograms. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if men had to have their testicles squashed flat between two plexiglass plates every year, there would be an "advancement in technology" before the week was out. And there is a new way to do mammograms, where you lie down with your chest in water and they use sonography (not sure if that is the absolute correct term). And why isn't it in use everywhere? Costs too much to replace existing equipment, train operators, train the docs to read them. Again, I say, if it were men's balls.......

Okay, off to drink water so I can pee in the cup.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

New Toy Wednesday

Not that they get new toys every Wednesday, it just happened to be today.

Thor sez: I must destroy you!

Thor sez: Prepare to die!

Thor sez: gnaw gnaw gnaw

Sutu sez: Do I perhaps smell a bit o' catnip?

Sutu sez: Oh yes, catnip.

Thor sez: Sutu drooled on my toy!

Loki sez: No, I do not wish to play with that disgusting drooled upon, chewed upon thing. I'm happy with my chicken.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

For the WTF file: I was in the drug store last week, stocking up on drug store stuff. First of all, there are too many varities of "sanitary" products. It takes me five minutes of shelf scanning to find what I am looking for. But my WTF moment: discovering THONG liners. Yes, sanitary pads for thongs.

It is just wrong.

Yesterday, I indulged my biblioholism by blowing a chunk o' money in Barnes and Noble. What I got:

Nickel and Dimed. On (Not) Getting By in America. By Barbara Ehrenreich.

A Walk in the Woods. By Bill Bryson. It's his account of hiking the Appalachian Trail, which in fantasy sounds like something I'd love to do, but in reality, there are no hotels, bathrooms or coffee makers along the trail, so nevermind.

Schoolgirls. By Peggy Orenstein. A look at "young women, self-esteem and the confidence gap". I haven't started reading it yet, but she looks at 8th grade girls and the choices they make.

1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Women's History. By Constance Jones. This is a fun book. I was skimming through it (it is highly skimmable), with an extra large cube of post-it notes beside me. The book is now sprouting neon yellow flaps on all sides.

Some post-it note markings:

"The Equal Rights Amendment is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians" (from my buddy, my pal, my favorite comedian) Pat Robertson, 1994

"How has this Women's Rights movement been treated in this country, on the right hand and the left? This nation ridicules and derides this movement, and spits upon it, as fit only to be cast out and trampled underfoot. This is not ignorance. They know all about the truth. It is the natural outbreak of tyranny. It is because the tyrants and usurpers are alarmed. They have been and are called to judgement, and they dread the examination and exposure of their position and character." William Lloyd Garrison, 1853 (gee...that

Sutu sez: Male, female, makes no difference to me. Do you have an opposible thumb? Can you open a can of cat food?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Monday, Monday

I love this day. Usually means no more work for me. But I spend it in a sleep deprived state of semi-lucidness, just waiting until it's late enough to go to bed.

Funniest/strangest thing anyone has said to me: (back in the day when I was only packing around 115 on my 5'8" frame) "You're so skinny. If you were pretty, you could be a model."

Um. Thanks? I think what I said was, "Yeah, right."

And while I am on the subject. Once, I was walking across a parking lot and a total stranger yelled, "Hey Allie, go eat a McBeal-burger." Her friend laughed along.

Luckily, I'm all fluffy now, so people don't need to make fun of me any more.

For Pete's sake.

Thor sez: Humans are strange.
Photo by Jason Zwiker

P.S. To our ANOTHER TROPICAL STORM!!!!! friends - as of 0500 - this little blob is approximately 2,700 miles away. Two THOUSAND. Seven HUNDRED. MILES. AWAY.

Friday, September 01, 2006

How many people out there knew that while every major news network and every local channel were chasing poor little Ernesto up the coast there was a Category 4 hurricane beating the heck out of the Mexican coast and a Super Typhoon rampaging across the Pacific?

Oh yeah, NOT AMERICA. Doesn't count or exist other than a sound bite or two to "prove" that we give a snot about anything other than ourselves.

But enough of that. We will have plenty of false alarms and perhaps the real deal as we move into September, traditionally the most active time of hurricane season.

All my laying around on the couch, staring off into space has about paid off. See, it may look like I'm not doing anything, but actually I am thinking. And that's hard work.

I was having all kinds of problems with my work-in-progress. Actually it's pretty much a work-dead-in-the-water. But I've almost got it figured out. The problem was Tilly, the next door neighbor, who is going to be a major character, but she was just absolutely refusing to fit in the skin I was giving her. It took her a while, but she was able to get through to me just what her story is.

So I shall, for the fourth time, scrap most of what has been done so far and begin again.

Loki sez: Leave me alone! I'm thinking!