Thursday, November 30, 2006

May I have a mid-life crisis?

Or just a bad mental health day?

I once took a nine billion page test that covered every aspect of my life and the lives of my ancestors. It said I would live to be ninety-two. If this is true, I am at the mid-point and I'd like to have a mid-life crisis now, please.

I want to get a tattoo.

Or a sports car.

Plastic surgery? A new career?

Something pierced?

A younger lo....hmm..nevermind.

I don't want to live to be 92. Really. Who could afford it?

Thor sez: Eat! Sleep! Stretch! Relax! Run up and down the hall like a maniac! Repeat!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What I want for Christmas

World peace. An end to hunger. A cure for disease.

Oh, wait, I'm a selfish self centered baby boomer.

I want two new knees. Seriously. This not bending routine is getting old.

I want a profitable market for shed cat hair.

I want fat and cellulite to be sexy.

I want a kitten (or two).

I want to know why I have wrinkles and pimples. This is not fair!

I want to know at what age I have to stop saying I have "prematurely" gray hair.

I want to know why my mortgage company has ignored my three requests for more coupons and why, if they want me to pay on-line, do they charge an extra $17 for the service, when in fact, it saves them money and they should DEDUCT some $$ from my mortgage if I pay on-line.

I want a real car.

I want pistachio nuts to be fat and calorie free.

That's all.

And world peace, sure, why not?

Loki sez: I want more toys.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

All Loki Tuesday

Too many cat pictures recently? Too bad. I'm tired.

Loki. See, everyone thinks Loki is so handsome and intelligent. He is the calm, cool, collected big brother to the constant spaz that is Thor.

Loki sez: This is true. It cannot be denied that I am the most handsome cat in the house.

But as intelligent as he is, Loki is, after all, still only a cat. A furball. For instance, he doesn't know what photographic evidence means.

Goof ball.
I rest my case.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Breaking News

Sutu the Amazing Psychotic Shrinking Cat has:

Gained a pound! Whipped Thor!'s A$$. Played with a toy!

In other news:

Thor! and Loki have melded into a giant, two headed creature!

Thor! sez: No we have not melded. And that old bag of fur did not whip me. I let him 'think' he did. The things you make up!

Loki sez: Excuse me, but exactly where did Sutu find enough food to gain a pound? Cos, I missed second breakfast. And elevensies. And lunch. And second lunch. And pre-supper. And supper. And bedtime snack. And midnight snack. Just saying, ya know.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

My new favorite photo

(Please click for a larger image)

Thor sez: My name is now Thor-exclamation point. Thor!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Acceptance or Pessimism?

In the last fourteen months, I have gotten news of breast cancer in five women I know. Four of them under age 50.

I've come to realize that my view has shifted from "if I get it" to "when I get it".

I'm not sure if this is healthy, that it will lead to a more vigilant screening routine (like most women, I'm a little lax on my monthly self exams) or if it is a negative mind set that will lead to no where but needless worry.

It's getting scary out there.

Loki sez: No more bad thoughts! Look at my cute parti-color toes!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Post Feast Blahs

It could be due to the over-indulgence in wine.

Or turkey.

Or food in general.

Ah, but what fun. We traveled to the wilds of Seabrook Island

(Moi, freezing.)

where my cousin and cousin-in-law and aunt and uncle have a condo. Most of the gang was there - only missing one cousin and his bride. We came from California, Georgia and North Carolina to attend. There seems to be a southeastern migration going on in the extended family.

The best part was we were participating in the very first Thanksgiving celebration of Vitaly and Anna-Lise, my cousin and her husband's newly adopted children. Much fun. Much to be grateful for.

Vitaly making paper airplanes for everyone.

Anna-Lise and her Aunt Julie

Momma Francine watches Anna-Lise trying her first taste of pumpkin pie.

So this year we are thankful for families. For the new beginnings and the re-forging of bonds weakened by years of living at great distances.

I hope everyone had a great day.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Current Stack O' Books

Am I the only person who reads three-four books at a time?

Barely begun: A Crack In The Edge of The World by Simon Winchester. About the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. I love the nature/science stuff explained to me in an entertaining way.

Almost done: The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama. I'm a sucker for a thoughtful intelligent person thinking thoughtful intelligent thoughts. (Especially when he is putting my own poor thoughts into much better words than I ever could.)

A good chunk in to: Spinning Straw Into Gold, What Fairy Tales Reveal About The Tansformations in a Woman's Life by Joan Gould. About...fairy tales.
This looks at the real, original fairy tales, not the 'if-only-I-had-a-man-everything-would-be-perfect' versions made popular by Disney. Looking at the transformations from child to maiden, maiden to matron, matron to crone.

Finished and about to pass on to another: Yiddish with George and Laura by Ellis Weiner and Barbara Davilman. Funny. Infuriating. Funny.

Seen in the bookstore: Reprint of the original 1920 Girl Scout handbook.

Thor sez: Books, schmooks. All I need is a plastic strip and I'm happy!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

It Is Freaking Snowing in November

So, I'm ambling out of the hospital this morning and open the back door to some strange white blobs mixed with rain falling from the sky.

"Is that snow?" I ask a passerby.

Indeed. Freaking snow.

Once home the Southern/Northern dichotomy of our home is underscored.

Me: It's snowing! Look! Oh, look, there's a HUGE flake! OHMIGAWD, it's snowing!

Jason: Uh-huh.

Then I remember an little bit I'd written a couple of years ago. In honor of this most unusual occasion, may I present:

Southern Snow Forecasts
....An Interpretation for Yankees...

Snow Flurries:

At least three snow flakes have been spotted in the county.
Call your place of employment and let them know you will be late/staying home.
Tune in to favorite local news station to watch the near continuous coverage.
Call at least five friends/relatives and discuss whether or not bread and milk should be purchased.

Snow Showers:

More than five snow flakes have been spotted within town limits.
All normal activities shall be cancelled.
Local weathermen will be broadcasting continously, fielding calls from Bubba Joe Shoehorn from Strawberry, SC about the near siege conditions inland.
Your presence is now required BY LAW at the nearest Piggly Wiggly. Wear an extra parka to help protect you during the milk/bread riots.


Snow is now visible to the naked eye. Some may be collecting on tree leaves and in shadows.
Every form of business/government is now shut down until the crisis has passed.
Local weathermen begin to drop dead from caffeine-induced heart failure. The talking heads will attempt to carry on, somehow, in the face of sure grim icy death to let you, the viewing public, know that the Piggly Wiggly in Ladson still has two half pints of skim milk available. Bread riots are being reported at the Merita outlet in West Ashley.
The governor will be calling out the National Guard if the snow doesn't melt by noon.

The Day After:

You are required by SC State Law to purchase the extra special edition of the Post Courier, which will have the Blizzard of Whatever Year photo insert, showing the frozen pineapple water fountain, 10,000 filthy, pinestraw studded snowmen, and one poor deluded Yankee soul wandering the streets with a sled, in search of a slope.

Thor sleeps the sleep of the spoiled rotten kitten, unaware that if ever in his life time, there is snow on the ground, he will be tossed into it. Oh yes. He will.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Goofy Kitten Monday

Sleepy Loki

Itchy Thor

Sleepy Sutu

Sunday, November 19, 2006

This is so wrong

I feel like I should wash my monitor screen off with bleach.

Give my PC some PCN (penicillan).

Bathe my files with AZT?

From Site Meter:

(Please note the search words)

Language Japanese
Operating System Microsoft WinME
Browser Internet Explorer 6.0
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows 98; Win 9x 4.90)
Javascript version 1.3
Monitor Resolution : 1024 x 768
Color Depth : 16 bits

Time of Visit Nov 18 2006 7:56:56 pm
Last Page View Nov 18 2006 7:56:56 pm
Visit Length 0 seconds
Page Views 1
Referring URL
Search Engine
Search Words i want to watch a video of a person licking the breast of a woman

One thought: eeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Loki sez: I can't even look!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Nibbles and Sledgehammers

Four of my SASE's (self addressed stamped evelopes) came home in the mail yesterday. I did my spastic ballerina dance across the kitchen, while doing my best Steve Martin impression: The new rejection letters are here! The new rejection letters are here! Four of them. In a single day. Less than a week after I sent the query letters out.

See, this is how you do it. First, make sure that your SASE's are in thin envelopes, not the security kind. So you can sort of see what is in them.

A small card is very bad news. "Dear Author:" it will read. A small card means that an intern opened your letter, tossed the letter (probably still folded) in the shredder, stuffed your SASE with the card, stamped it and tossed it in the outgoing mail pile. I imagine rows and rows of these tables, staffed with harried and exhausted interns, imps from hell with whips driving them on, faster, faster: I don't have if you have a paper cut! REJECT! REJECT!

Just as bad is the half sheet or three quarter length sheet. It's practically the same scenario as above, but sometimes the poor intern had to write your name at the top, so you get a "Dear Janet" (you suck!) note.

The full sheet of paper is the one that will mess you up. Hope, that nasty beast, will fly no matter how hard you try to keep her tethered firmly to the ground. A full sheet could go either way.

I had in my hands: one card, one half sheet and two full sheets.

Oh sweet dilemma! Which to choose? I am not afraid to admit that these things make me so crazy that I balanced them each in a hand, trying to see if one weighed more than the other, on the chance that a rejection letter would be on cheap, lightweight paper and a request for more would be on the good office stationary. Or have more words and the ink would make it heavier and that some how in my state of anxiety, my senses would be so acute I would be able to discern the extra ink weight.

And my theory was sort of right. I opened the one I felt was the heaviest first and it was a very nice request for a detailed synopsis and three chapters. Very nice, very full of "if I like this I might want to see more"...But THAT DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING!! Poor woman. I can dig it. I've been around enough writers groups and been to a few conferences to know that all aspiring writers are not playing with full decks (perhaps myself included). I can just imagine an agent wanting to see more, then rejecting and finding a falling apart would be writer on his or her doorstep, weeping like a discarded lover.

But I'm cool. I know how the game is played.

So, I dutifully trot off to the computer and print out the requested materials. Bonus: I figured out how to do the big envelope label all by myself! Yeah! (claps hands) I type up a brief response. I give letter to Jason to read and approve and off it goes.

So oh happy day.

Then about seven thirty that night, while I am attempting to keep my big fat frigging mouth shut during The DaVinci Code ("oh, if only we had a map, here's one. Oh, if only we had a plane, here's one. Oh if only we had a cell phone, here's one."), there is a sudden burst of kaliadascope looking lights along the outer edges of my right eye. I ignore it, but it grows and grows to a ring of blue and white and yellow and green flashing lights with a blind spot in the middle of it.

Now the flashing lights sometimes come and go with no consequence, but the blind spot, that means there is some serious migraine shit about to go down. And I have to be at work in about three hours at this point.

So, I do what I can, cup of caffiene and 800mg of Advil. I can't take any of the fancy migraine drugs because of my family history of stroke and cerebral anuerysms. Lucky me.

But, I called to work and they were going to put someone on call, so I begged for it to be me. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU if it was some-one else's turn instead of mine.

So I was able to wallow about in agonizing pain until I passed out around two a.m., sleep for eight hours and now am just wallowing around in the post-migraine slow and stupid zone. A friend with migraines and I were discussing the after stage some time ago and we both found that after the "big ones" we have what is almost like a post-ictal (after a seizure) stage were we just aren't "right". Her's in the form of extreme clumsiness and some slurring of speech. Mine much the same, uncoordinated physical movements (more than usual, I mean) and while I don't have slurred speech, I have a kind of foggines to my thinking process.

What else is funny is how many nurses get migraines. And how many of them had migraines before they became nurses - it's not the job stress. Maybe I could get funding for a grant to study the correlation between caregiver personality and migraines?

Thor sez: Perhaps you need federal funding to study why you cannot grasp the concept that we need six cans of cat food a day. Shredded! What's with this loaf crap? Shredded Friskies!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Visions of what is to be

You can call me a crazy conspiracy theorist all you want, but I know this is a real plan. Whether it will ever come to pass is (hopefully very) unlikely, but for all you women out there who are in favor of consitutional amendments being based on biblical teachings, you need to sit down and really think this over.

A cornerstone placed.

The guiding beliefs.

I don't want to get into an abortion discussion here, because that is not what I am talking about. But overturning Roe v. Wade and getting a constitutional ban on abortion is step one in the extreme Christian fundamentalists plan.

Step two is birth control.

They believe that using an IUD is murder because it prevents the implantation of a fertilized egg.

They believe that hormone therapy, either in the form of pills or patches, is wrong because it interferes with God's plan (for your womb).

They believe that condoms are wrong, again, interfering with God's plan.

They believe that family planning, even within a marriage, by use of contraceptives and even using the rhythm method is wrong. Again, it's God's will what happens in your uterus, not yours.

These are the people who twisted the gay civil union issue into some montrosity that was going to destroy civilization as we know it, that so scared the non-extremist population that reasonable debate on the issue couldn't even take place and people felt that they were doing God's work to legalize discrimination, that they supported this issue without a qualm of guilt over the blatant discrimination. Because in their minds it was okay to tell others how to live because it was good for them.

So the next attack will be the rampant teen birth rate in this country, the falling morals of our children because sex is too prevalent, that sex is too easy because of birth control, that it is against God's will that people have sex outside of marriage and we need a constitutional amendment "protecting the family" and making any sexual act outside of marriage illegal.

Then within the family, you are to submit to your husband and to your God and control of your body is placed in the hands of God. Never mind if you can't provide for those 10 children, if it's God's will, so be it.

Overly dramatic, I am? Perhaps, but I'm not saying this will happen in the next year or two. But with the passage of legislation based on scripture, we have set a precedent that extremists will use to slowly begin to lead otherwise sensible people down this path.

I fear for any granddaughters I may have in the future. I hope they have the same freedoms and choices that we women have today. Or will their choices in life be legislated on what a few interpreters of the Bible think they should have? Because it will be good for them?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Try it, you'll like it!

This is interesting. From Think South

I think everyone should try it for at least two weeks. And since many using food stamps run out of food by the end of the month, anyone who tries this needs to start from nothing, using nothing currently in their kitchens, but have to buy their food for the week and use only it.

I'm not going to participate because I have already lived it. For a period of about eight months, I fed a family of three on $25.00 a week. Now, that was a bit over eleven years ago, but still it came out to only $1.19 per person per day.

You get to try it on $2.83 per person per day!
Weekly budget: One person: $19.81
Two people: $39.62
Three: $59.43

Don't forget to include taxes when figuring out how much you are spending. I recommend taking a calculator and adding up each item as you place it in the cart, when you are done, figure out what the tax is going to be, then you'll know what you have to put back or if it's a real good sale week, maybe you can buy a box of Little Debbie snack cakes for your children as a treat.

And if you have very young children and are concerned about their nutritional health on this diet, you can always go sell your blood, that should give you enough extra cash to buy vitamins and some extra milk.

Here are some helpful hints: spaghetti, chili with rice, beans and rice, macaroni and cheese with cheap hotdogs cut up in it, plain oatmeal, grits.

No soda, no cookies, no chips, no pretzels, no ice cream, no breakfast cereals, no (or very very rarely) fresh fruit (even canned fruit is out of budget), few fresh veggies, the cheapest (fattiest) cuts of meat.

Try it. It's only two weeks, what could it hurt?

Oh and remember, you don't have $100 up front to go buy in bulk to save money, you have to start like the poor do - with nothing.

Sutu sez: Holy Land of Plenty, Batman! I eat better than a lot of American children!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Warning: Extreme Rant Ahead

Woman kicked off plane for breast feeding.

Once again, Puritans of America, get the f*** over yourselves. Take your ignorant, sexually retarded backwards selves and go somewhere where you can watch “Girls Gone Wild” videos to your twelve-year-old-boy mentality’s content.


That is their biological function. That is what they are there for.

It is not gross. It is not disgusting. It is not wrong. It is not immoral. It is not indecent.

It is feeding a child.

Again, why is there widespread acceptance of female nudity in movies, television and magazines? Why is there widespread acceptance for push-up bras and low cut shirts or dresses (that reveal far more than a breast feeding mom reveals) in public?

Why do we barely notice the almost constant display of breasts when it is done for the amusement/enjoyment of men, but OH MY GOD, let a woman put a baby to that same breast and it becomes the most disgusting gross thing on the planet?

Why do we need LAWS to protect a woman’s right to breast feed where-ever she happens to be?

Good Goddess, people, deal with your own sexual hang ups without involving innocent little children just trying to do what nature meant for them to do.

I’m sorry about the f-word, but this pisses me off to no end.

Loki sez: When my mother breast fed me, everyone thought it was adorable. Humans are strange.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Taking up Serpents

Funny what you will find skimming through the news. Like this.

I actually have been to a snake handling church. I was sixteen and visiting with a friend's family way up in the high high hills of Southern Appalachia. We had to bring our own chairs (my friend's granny had lawn chairs in the trunk of her car). We drove pretty much straight up the mountain, parked and walked a ways to the church which could have passed for a run down old barn, just a wood frame rectangle with double doors on the front and a single back door.

Everyone came in, set up their chairs and the preacher started preaching. Now, I tell you, I thought I'd heard some preachin' in the Southern Baptist Church, but I ain't heard nothing like that. The old preacher man looked to be about 80 years old (remember, I was 16, he was probably 50) and although he held his Bible, he never looked in it nor read from it. But he was quoting pages of scripture from memory.

What I had been expecting was a hellfire and brimstone sermon. One of those that make you feel the flames of hell licking at your sinful ankles and has you sniffing because you are sure you can smell the sulfer. A sermon to strike fear of God into the hearts of sinners.

But no. This sermon, no less passionate, was a message of hope. Was a message of love. Was a message of peace. It was the single most amazing sermon I've ever heard preached.

The congregation was singing some hymn, one I'd certainly never heard of, but sure could clap along to, because the singing was more in the jubilant style of gospel choirs I'd heard than the slightly off-key, dragging litany of the staid Southern Baptist choirs I'd endured, when it happened.

No-one had told me.

Two deacons went out the back door and came back in, each with a rattlesnake held in each hand. Four snakes in all, dangling out of their palms at the altar. And people started moving forward, touching one of the snakes and returning to their seats.

They didn't handle the snakes, just touched them, to prove God would keep them safe from harm, if they had faith.

I'm not really surprised it is still going on. It was, in it's own way, very beautiful and moving.

Not that I touched one. Nuh-uh, no way, you must be crazy up in your head.

Thor sez: I woulda touched it! I woulda grabbed him like this. I woulda flipped him like that. And then I woulda gnaw, gnaw, gnaw'd him like this.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

All Kitten Sunday



Double Slurp:

Ow! Not so hard!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sleigh bells ring...

are you listening?

On the TV muds-a-slinging.

Not only has the retail world conspired to make us all hate Christmas before it is even December with the constant ramming of decorations, candy and gift buying hints down our throats. Hmmmm...perhaps there is some militant retail agenda going on here...

No, it is not enough that we have been enduring Christmas programming since before Halloween, now the news networks have to get in on the fight.

Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays.

Militant anti-Christmas liberals are trying to take away your Mrrrrican rights as a Christian to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

For Pete's sake.

Let's try this.

Salesperson: Happy Holidays!

You: Thank you!

Person on the Street: Merry Christmas!

You: And to you, also!

Do we really care if someone says Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays? I mean, if some complete stranger is taking the time to say something NICE to you, is it really his or her problem if you take offense to how he/she said it? I know I'm hopelessly out of date with all these new things for liberals and conservatives to be all offended about, but this is what my momma taught me. If you know some-one is Christian, you send them a Merry Christmas card. If you know some-one is Jewish, you send them a Happy Hannuakah(sorry about the spelling, but I have to leave for work in like one minute). If you don't know, you send them a Season's Greetings or Happy Holiday card.

It's called being polite.

And if some-one says the "wrong" thing to you, you let it go, smile and return the greeting. After all, tis the season.

Sigh. I used to get sick of "this time of the year" around December 15th. Now it's more like October 1st.

Thor sez: Does this mean no presents? Because I was going to ask for a kitten this year.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Round Two

Today ended a four day marathon of preparing for the second round of agent submissions. Scouring through Writers Market, looking for a match, researching each agency to try to ensure that they aren't rip-off artists, trying to puzzle out which agent within a multi-agent agency would be most receptive to my work.

Trying to not feel like a big-fat-faker-who-is-going-to-be-found-out-very-soon when I have to say things like, "readers of Sue Monk Kidd or Pamela Duncan would also like my work".

Yeah, RIGHT, my inner voice screams, those are REAL WRITERS with REAL TALENT and REAL BOOKS IN PRINT you little wanna-be, how dare you even think that, much less say it? Those agents are going to see that and laugh their asses off at you!


Then it is on to the various requests. This agent wants just a letter. This agent wants a letter and a one paragraph synopsis. That agent wants three chapters, a letter, and and outline. And that one wants a letter, an author bio (I was born, I grew up, I wrote a book, the end) and a two paragraph synopsis.

To the post office for stamps.

Back to the post office for more stamps.

Scream, yell and cry because no matter which way I put the envelopes in the printer, it prints the address upside down.

Figure it out.

Beg Jason to make the labels for the large envelopes.

Shove everything in the post office mail box.

Wait for the SASE's to start coming home.

Thor sez: Relax! Just do it!

Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day to any and all who served this wonderful country.

Thank you.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Big Question

What’s next? This is the question on everyone’s minds in the wake of the elections that give Democrats control of the House and possibly the Senate. And the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld (see, I spelled it right this time - I freely admit to spelling deficiencies).

Here is my fervent hope and dream: That we stop fighting. That the Right can take a deep breath, realize that the election of so many moderates is WE THE PEOPLE’S (you know – the people you represent) way of sending you a message. We do not like the atmosphere that has been pervading our country the last five or six years. We are tired of the fighting. Step back, get in touch with the people who elected you and listen.

That the left, the Democrats who now head to Congress to take the lead. Do NOT GLOAT. Do NOT allow the power to go to your heads. Remember why WE THE PEOPLE put you there: because we want solutions, we want movement, we want the country reunited for the common good. Reach out to the other side and get to work on finding common ground that moves us forward.

To the media (especially Fox and CNN, but really ALL of them) stop using politics as a ratings booster. Stop pandering and encouraging infighting and division and hatred and misunderstanding. Be the professional journalists you are supposed to be. Where are your investigative reporters? Where are your in-depth (half hour, hour long) stories that explore important issues and calmly and factually show all sides of said issue? Why are you wasting 24 hours a day on screaming, yelling, half stories and pretty talking heads who don’t know what the hell they are talking about, only that they are supposed to stir up controversy so that people will tune in?

To the people, find out how to contact your state and national leaders and find their email addresses. Google it, for Pete’s sake, it’s right there, you don’t even have to know their names, just “senate representative for insert-state-here” will do. Write to them, tell them what you would like them to do. I know there are so many issues and it is hard to keep up, but pick one or two that are close to your heart and learn about them, keep track of what your representatives are doing about them. Give them feedback.

Nothing is going to change unless we demand it, and that is what this election was about. But old habits are so easy to slip back into and if we don’t keep our representatives focused on who they are there for, we will slip right back to the old ways.

If you aren’t registered to vote – do so now. Please. Please. Pretty please with sugar on top?

We'll be watching you!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Holy Cow!

Rumsfield resigns??

Dare I hope Bush, Cheney, Rice and Gonzalez will follow suit and rid America of the evil that has torn it apart these past six years?

I really, really, really hope that this is the beginning of a real conciliation between the parties. That the politicians can stop jockeying for the most favorable media sound bite and actually began to hammer out some way to a middle ground that is going to bring this nation together again.

Random Thoughts

No Deep Thoughts, just random shit that goes through my head.

I wrote my aunt who lives in another state and mentioned the Amendment One thing to her. She was appalled to say the least that such a thing would even be considered for the state's constitution.

I'm so happy John Graham Altman isn't my representative any more and Leon won that I'd kiss George Bush on the lips (NO TONGUE THOUGH!)

Why do national polls say that most Americans support stem cell research, sex education other than abstinance only, and aren't against gay civil unions, but then those people never go out to vote on their beliefs?

Why does Sutu the Amazing Shrinking Cat have to sit up in my lap instead of curling up like a good kitty?

I was going to write a long, thoughtful blog entry about my new political crush - Barack Obama - I've been reading his new book "The Audacity of Hope". I think everyone needs to read it, Republican, Democrat, Independent, whether you agree with Barack or not, whether you think he is playing up for a run in 2008 or that he is sincere. Why? Because he is speaking a message that is going to resonate with the American people. He is offering thoughtful consideration of all sides of an issue, he is willing to concede to a differing point of view if it is shown to give results that are good for the whole of America. We are sick of sound bites. We are sick of people screaming at each other on news shows. We are sick of the words "liberal" and "conservative" being slung back and forth like the vilest of profanities.

I heard a Republican on TV this morning claiming that we don't "have a Democratic America and a Republican America, only America". Well, how now, gosh and golly gee whiz, since when?? Since yesterday?

Okay, well good then, let's play together nicely now, shall we?

And now, a photographic essay:

Is that a car pulling in the driveway?

RUN!!! (Note Super-Loki had, in a single bound, lept from the sofa to the hallway and was probably already under the bed by the time I could take the second shot.)


Thor: Wait, it's probably just Daddy.
Sutu: Outta my way pip-squeak, it's a cat murdering psycho and if you want to die, fine!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day

I feel like a bad reporter. No, scratch that, I AM a bad reporter. I just went willy-nilly off in the rain with my World Wildlife Federation umbrella proudly proclaiming my tree-hugging liberal ways, without a thought as to actually documenting my experience at the polls.

I arrived at Springfield Elementary School, St. Andrews 32, about nine-thirty. There were about ten people ahead of me leading in to the door and perhaps thirty or so in line past the desks, waiting on a machine.

The only problem I saw (and it wasn't really a problem, more of an annoyance since there was only one district voting there) was the signs for the A-K or L-Z lines were hanging from the front of the desks and couldn't been seen. But as the desks were only inches from the door, it wasn't causing any mix-ups. (And what really drove me crazy about it was the lines were backwards - the L-Z line was first, then the A-K line. ARRRGH!)

I don't remember what number I signed in on, but the poll worker there told me they had been "really busy" earlier in the morning.

There were only three machines, but the line moved at a reasonable pace, for all the special things on the ballot, although judging by overheard conversations, most already knew how they were going to vote on them.

I didn't have any problems with my machine, everything was correct as I touched the screen. (The poll worker didn't clean it after the last person, are they supposed to do that? I mean, I don't even use "public" pens anymore - I use my own. I'm not as bad as my mom who carries alcohol wipes with her and wipes down everything she might come in to contact with, but it has cut way down on the number of colds I get.)

I finished about 10:20 or so. Jason was in line, second or third from the door when I left, and he got home around 11 for lunch. (We live only a few blocks from the school.)

He didn't have any problems either.

We had smoked turkey and swiss cheese sammies with lettuce and tomato for lunch. Oh, wait, that's not news.

Thor sez: Remember: If you don't vote, don't complain!

Missed Opportunity

I feel sorry for Ted Haggard. I feel even sorrier for his wife and children who were unknowing hostages in his deception.

I feel sorry that he, for whatever cultural or religious teachings he absorbed, felt that a natural part of himself – his sexuality – was evil and shameful.

It isn’t. It’s just part of who he was.

I’m sorry that we still live in such a judgmental and cruel society that he felt he had to hide his true self.

I’m sorry that he felt he had to let his secret fester and putrefy into something that led him to dangerous behavior.

I’m sorry he felt that he could reduce his feelings of guilt by attacking those who were like him.

I’m sorry he couldn’t just be open and be accepted and be loved for who he was, the real person he was.

Isn’t that what we all want? The love and companionship of others? The security of an intimate relationship with a person who loves and understands us? Who we love and understand?

And I am extremely sorrowed and sickened by the fact that instead of this ugly incident being used to examine the perils and pain caused by narrow minded judgments, instead of it being lifted up as a reason for tolerance and understanding, it is going to be used by James Dobson as a platform for his homosexual “recovery” program.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Dobson and others are going to counsel Ted Haggard until he isn’t a homosexual anymore.

It sickens me and causes me despair to the point where I can’t even imagine how my gay friends and neighbors bear such hatred in the guise of Christian love.

But excuse me now as I go to PROUDLY vote NO on Amendment One. It will probably pass in this state of "Christian love", but at least I will know that I stood up to legalized discrimination.

Loki sez: Vote NO or I'll jump on your head.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Cognitive Dissonance

See. This is how it is. Last week, while I was out of town, my mother's little store got held up at knife point. Not my mom, but her employee, mom was in the back room fixing her lunch.

The guy came in, pretended to look at fabric, then pulled out a knife, threatened to kill the employee, demanded all the cash in the register, asked her for her personal money, then cut the phone cord and left.

He ran, at high noon, across both lanes of traffic on Savannah Highway, which is pretty close to a miracle that he didn't get creamed by oncoming traffic. (Oh, and wouldn't that be rich? Oh, sorry Mr. So-Tuff-I-Hold-Up-Elderly-Women Man, I'd call an ambulance, but, gosh, you cut our phone line.)

Everyone is okay, except the poor employee, who is still scared and upset. (I'll go today and talk with her, having had the wonderful experience of having a gun put in my face during a robbery once, I hope I can help her in some small way.) The guy got his money for his drug fix or whatever he needed it for.

So, here is where it gets complicated for a so-called bleeding-heart-liberal like myself, who is really working class po' white with an education.

If that man had put a knife to my momma's face, me and my brothers would cheerfully hunt him down and relieve him of his balls.

That hot blooded need for revenge, to inflict the same fear that was inflicted on us, to protect our own is still right there, just below the surface.

But, this is where my cognitive dissonance begins to vibrate. The guy wanted money for drugs, most likely. What are we (as a society) going to do if he is caught? Put him in jail? Let him out? Allow him to return to robbing little old ladies?

The liberal part of me would rather see him locked up in some sort of rehab program, given some skills, and give him a chance to turn around so he doesn't keep on robbing people until someday he steps over the line and kills some innocent person just trying to keep one step ahead of the bill collector by working some $10/hour job.

It's been proven that good rehab programs that provide not merely drying out, but real life skills and real job opportunites do significantly reduce recidivism.

But I still want to pop him one upside the head.

Sutu sez: Want me to scratch his eyes out? I can do it. Really. No, I won't hide in the cabinet! No, I won't throw up! I'm a mean and vicious attack cat!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

All or Nothing....Again?

Being out of town has its advantages, one of which is that I don’t follow the news while attempting to enjoy myself. So I got to miss most of the John Kerry “botched joke” fire storm.

Let me preface my remarks with some qualifiers. I am an Air Force brat, my father served over twenty years. My ex-husband served in the Army. My ex-father-in-law served three tours of duty in Vietnam with the Marines. Two of my brothers served in the Army and Air Force. My son is currently serving in the Navy. Jason is an Air Force veteran. I seriously, seriously, considered enlisting in the Air Force after receiving my BSN degree, and the sole reason I did not enlist was legal issues with custody of my son.

I have great respect for our nation’s military forces. So much so that I believe there should be a minimum one year mandatory service for all American citizens at age 18. I think that fulfilling a mandatory year of service in non-combat roles (unless the person wanted to continue on in the service and chose that route) would instill discipline, the ability to work in a team, a sense of self-pride in having accomplished something difficult and establish a bond, a working understanding of the military and how important it is to our country.

Okay. We got that out of the way. On to John Kerry’s stupid remark. It was idiotic. It was idiotic if he meant it as a “joke” against Bush, it was idiotic if he meant it as many eagerly rushed to announce he meant it.

I have railed against this “all or nothing” mindset we have in this country before. Here is a truth: the military is a microcosm of American society.

There are stupid people in the military. There are smart people in the military. There are patriots in the military. There are people trying to get out of trouble in the military. There are people looking for help with college funding in the military. There are people doing their “time” with an eye to the future and how it will look on their records to have served. There are poor kids, middle class kids, and wealthy kids in the military.

It is an insult to them that Kerry used them in any type of joke.

It is an insult to them that the media jumped on the “he meant everyone one in the military is stupid” bandwagon.

But now we are fighting over whether or not our troops are stupid and not looking at the fact that our troops are sitting ducks over there. That they are dying and being maimed over there and it looks more and more like it is all just because Bush cannot accept responsibility for his poor Decider skills and admit that we need a new plan.

Can we stop fighting amongst ourselves long enough to save the lives and arms and legs and eyes of those young men and women who we are so loudly proclaiming we believe are heroes and patriots?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

We have returned..

All my fears of a too-post peak leaf tour were for naught. We missed peak by about two to four days, depending on which local you asked. Still plenty of color. Gorgeous. It's been several years since I've been to the mountains for autumn and I didn't know how much I missed that smell. That crisp, fresh, millions of leaves falling, clean water over rock, living planet smell.

I met a pit bull who tried to lick me to death, even after I got him temporarily put in doggy-car-jail because I must have looked nervous when I first saw him. (I'm sorry, I'm ultra-cautious around dogs I don't know). I met a deaf dalmation. I met a boxer named Bentley who was almost as cute and goofy as my Thorby Kitten.

I met a man who might know someone who knew my grandfather from when he (Grand-daddy) was a peach inspector for the state.

I met a whole bunch of very nice, hardworking people who were kind and generous.

I met some-one who I didn't think was a nice person at all.

I saw millions of yellow, orange and red leaves. I said "This is gorgeous." about a million times.

I convinced myself that I was in shape because I could hike for ten minutes, then rest for fifteen while Jason took pictures, thus allowing me to complete "moderately difficult" hikes.

I almost had an asthma attack on one particularly grueling back up the mountain hike. If I'd had the breath, I'd have broken the camera because, really, girls, do you want a picture taken when you are sitting on a rock, next to some squirrel or racoon or possum shit, sweating, huffing and puffing and aiming to get your heart rate back under 200, half terrified that the wheeze in your chest is going to turn in to the real thing and you left your albuteral inhaler at home because it's been well over a year since you needed it and probably you are going to have to get the rescue squad down there to haul your old fat ass off the "easy enough for babies and really old people" trail and won't THAT be embarassing as all hell.

Yes, take my picture right now. Good idea.

But he deleted it and I was so happy to not have an asthma attack that I forgave him.

It was fun. Check out Jason's blog for photographs. I know he has one up, perhaps with more to follow.

But, now, without any further delay, as I know my entire readership has been suffering the pangs of kitten withdrawal, your kitten picture of the day.

Thor sez: No! I am NOT ready for my close-up!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

On the road again...

We will be out of town for the next couple of days. A post-peak, post-crowd jaunt to leaf county. Actually, we are going to do some driving and hiking and photographing along the Cherokee Foothills Highway in the upstate.

I'm having my usual day-of-leaving guilt attack that I don't want to leave my kittens. But their Uncle Mark is coming to take care of them, so they won't starve.

But I'll miss them.

Halloween was semi-quiet around here. We seem to be hit and miss with the trick-or-treaters. Last year, we had quite a lot, this year, some, but not quite as many. We managed to rid ourselves of most of the chocolate temptations.

Ezmerelda and Melvin prepare to greet visitors.