Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Spring is in the air

The two undeniable signs of spring have appeared.

1. I have the urge to garden.

2. The mockingbirds are looking for love.

I listened to one running through his play list while cooking up cheesy chile chicken corn chowder (double YUMM-O!). I counted fifteen different bird songs before I got lost and couldn't tell if he was repeating himself yet. Mockingbirds are interesting. At the apartment complex I lived in before I bought this house, there was one that had a telephone ring in his repertoire.

Thor sez: Oh, if I had a mockingbird, I'd grab him like this and...gnaw gnaw gnaw.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Kids today!

As I find myself grower closer and closer to old-fartdom, stories like these stir up a voice in my mind that is beginning to sound, not like my mother (have you had that experience, you say something and there is a weird echo deep in your brain that overlays your words with your mother's voice?), but now I'm sounding like my freaking grandmother.

"Spoiled little brats," that voice sneers. "Don't know what easy is."

Then I may or may not begin a "Jantrum" (new term, shamelessly stolen from Jason, loosely defined as me ranting about something). This bit of "news" stirred up the old self esteem rant.

Self esteem in children is not earned by being told how great/special/talented/wonderful said child is. It is not earned by getting a trophy or ribbon for everything the child does. It is not earned by wrapping children in bubble wrap and never letting a harsh or discouraging thing appear in their little worlds.

Self esteem is built by a child who, in a loving, positive environment, is allowed to accomplish tasks on their own, allowed to initially fail, encouraged and supported in trying again after failure and then succeeding. Or trying and succeeding at something the child was afraid to do.

Self esteem can not come from an outside source. It is internal. My son was in public school during the "you are special" educational blitz. Even in kindergarten, he knew (on his own) getting a ribbon for crappy work was bogus. Most kids did, even if they kept it to themselves, they knew if they did or did not deserve the accolades they were receiving.

But then I read something like this and I think: teens and young adults are self centered. It is what they are supposed to be, to an extent. They are developmentally in the stage of life where they are breaking away from their families and deciding what they want their lives to decisions, work decisions..they have to be some what self-centered for that.

But you know, America loves its labels. Loves to splash around that broad brush and get a little on everyone so we don't have to think, don't have to look at people and statistics objectively, but can merely dismiss or support the labels that we like or not.

Thor sez: But, I am special.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Saturday, February 24, 2007

An Intellectually Gifted Woman

I've been reading Peggy Orenstein's book "Flux". I was enjoying it, the intimate exploration of women's lives, their choices and doubts about career, marriage, children.

Right up until the chapter that focuses on Shay, an African-American woman in medical school. Momentarily exhausted, Shay wonders if she wouldn't be happier if she just became a nurse or a secretary or found some 9-5 job where she could support herself and still have "a life."

An understandable flight of fancy from a stressed out medical student.

But then the author speculates that as "an intellectually gifted woman", could Shay really be happy with those choices.

And that rankled me. Now, I don't claim to be any more intellectually gifted than the average American, but this is part of the problem that Orenstein seems to be trying to address: the choices that women in America make and how those choices impact their self-esteem and their lives.

And dragging out the old too stupid to be a doctor so became a nurse stereotype is not helpful to any woman. Whether doctor, nurse or patient.

Degrading secretarial work is also not helpful. Degrading any choice of profession that a woman enters in to is not helpful. Pointing to certain careers as "less than" so that some can feel "better than" is not helpful to the cause of women in America.

Thor sez: She said what?!

Friday, February 23, 2007


White cat provided some entertainment on Cat TV today, attempting to dig up and catch a mole in the front yard.

There is a mole living in my front yard.

Not a single blue bird has expressed interest in my National Geographic Society approved blue bird house.

Jason thinks this is not an appropriate kitten birthday present. I think it's a great idea, like getting cable for Cat TV.

Thor sez: What? Not doing nothing.

Sheesh, my cats are weird!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Not a Snob

I was reading this post over at Xark and I think the author is being too harsh. On herself.

No, you are not a snob.

Expecting half way decent service at any establishment where you are spending money isn't snobbery, it is merely what you deserve.

I'm sure I'm not the only one observing this trend. And it isn't just restaurants, in fact, most restaurants I've been to are the only places where I still do receive warm and friendly service.

I have had a clerk tell me to "pick that up" when I placed my basket on the counter. Not only did I not pick it up, but I left it right there as I walked out.

I have had a sales clerk in a shoe store chat with her two friends in an obviously personal conversation while I stood at the counter. When I politely interrupted the conversation, the clerk said, "Excuse me, I'm talking." I also left my merchandise on the counter, but got a lovely extra added bonus comment of "old bitch" and some giggles on my way out.

I have had a store employee throw a box to another employee, said box passing close enough to me for my hair to catch a breeze. When I left the area, the thrower followed me up an aisle and loudly punched a hole in a cardboard box.

Okay? I am not a bitch. I am not annoying. I used to work in retail for Pete's sake (a billion years ago, but still) I know how rude and obnoxious customers can be so I try extra hard not to be. None of these situations occurred in any circumstances other than me just wanting to hand them my money.

When my son was in high school, he worked at a big electronics type place. They basically told him not to do any customer service, to deny service or coverage because "where else are they going to go?".

Clerks talk on cell phones while ringing up your purchases. Gaggles of employees stand around gossiping and act like you are an inconvenience. And this isn't limited to retail or restaurants.

I don't know what it is. Is the the Wal-Mart effect, where big business doesn't have to care if one lowly customer is happy or not, because there are a million others who will continue to shop there? Is it because we have lost the local, mom-and-pop type business who served in their community, where they knew their customers?

Is it because we have just lost the ability to be respectful of others?

Thor sez: Excuse me, but I'm busy right now.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Levolor Blinds and Cat TV

It's a personal taste kind of thing, I know. But I've got white Levolor blinds in most of my windows. I like the white. My walls are painted in different colors (yellow in front room and hall, light green in kitchen, medium green in TV room, gold and burgandy in the boudoir) but all my trim work is in bright white. I just like the look. And I like my expensive blinds. Especially the gigantic one over the double window in the front room.

So, I was a wee bit miffed when I saw it had been bent. And while I had my suspects (not Jason or the guinea pig), I had no proof. Then yesterday morning, the culprit showed himself.

Seems like a certain furbag can't wait for Cat TV to "come on" in the morning.

See, I thought it was Thor too. But no, Loki, the quiet one. The 'good' one.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The sweetest words ever heard...

"Would you like to be on call?"

Yes, I think so. After sleeping 10 hours yesterday, I fell asleep watching a documentary about the 1918 influenza epidemic and slept another four hours, woke up, fixed a chicken sammie, ate it while watching some info-mercial about how I can make a jillion dollars a second by selling worthless crap on E-bay, fell back asleep for another hour.

I was tired.

So, I'm watching the early news this morning and I see a commercial for what I assume is a new product: cream cheese cake filling. It is in a plastic tub. You buy it, you buy a pre-made graham craker pie crust. You put the cheese cake filling in the crust and hey look ya'll: I made a cheese cake.

No you f-in didn't make a cheese cake.

It's the same damn thing as those commercials that tout the joys and everlasting childhood memories created by baking cookies with your child(ren). Cut to mom and said kids slicing off chunks of trans fats and high fructose corn syrup in a tube that Pillsbury has convinced you is cookie dough.

That is not baking! You have not home made cookies.

I know a grown woman who didn't know that you could make your own spaghetti sauce. She just put plain Ragu (shudder, vomit, shudder) on top of her noodles.

Does anyone know how to cook anymore? You know, all that stuff that your mom or grandmother or great-grandmother made? Pan drippings gravy? Mashed potatoes that began as real potatoes? Oven baked macaroni cheese pie? Cookie dough so thick you had to rest between bouts of stirring in the flour? Pancakes that began life as flour and milk?

I'm hoping it is just a marketing tool and that people are really carting home bags of veggies and stuff and quietly making real food for the kids.

Loki sez: Oh, yes. Because that swill you feed us is sooo fresh and home made.

Monday, February 19, 2007


To my three constant readers, I apologize for the dearth of fresh material. This new work environment is just exhausting.

So until I obtain some good night-time sleep, ponder this:

How can they go from this:

To this:

In about 30 seconds?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Is it possible to be in love with a vacuum cleaner?

Because if it is, I am in love, love, love with my brand spanking new Dyson DC17 Animal vacuum cleaner!

Seriously. In love. Vacuum everything in the house in love.

Now, I won't pretend my knees weren't knocking together in time with my heart as I handed over my debit card for that almost $600 purchase. "For a vacuum cleaner!" my mind kept screaming at me. "Are you freaking insane? It's a vacuum, not a freaking car!"

I'm glad I was able to wrestle my miserly little mind into submission. I got that thing home and after a few tears and cuss words, figured most of it out. I'm not the most technologically gifted person and the instruction manual was done by someone who figured anyone who could afford the product was supposed to have a couple of decent brain cells floating around. Alas, not I.

I first tried it on the five by eight rug in the front room (I only have two rugs in my house, which would seem to make an expensive vacuum a waste of money, but please consider the new sof-zilla, two cats, two cat trees, loveseat, curtains, and if Jason doesn't move the time for the damned virus scan thing, his ashes.) Um, where was I?

Oh yeah, so I'm merrily vacuuming the little rug, having fun with it, it seems like it has power drive it is so easy to push forward. Then I look down and see the cannister is completely FULL! On a rug vacuumed with the old thing two days prior!

My back room rug, which is something like eight by ten feet, I had to empty the can three times!

And quiet enough not to interupt naptime:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Why I shouldn't be left alone with a scanner.

The Horde, June 2005:

The Horde, December 2006:

So good, it'll put a spell on you!

Yesterday, Jason and I traveled to Magnolia Road and Savannah Highway - the look-at-me-I'm-the-so-hip-and-cool-little-brother-of-gentrification.

I had selected Marie Laveau's for dinner, one of three contestants on "What do you want for dinner tonight"? It just seemed fun to go to a restaurant named for the most famous voodoo queen in NOLA.

First off, I loved the funky chicken decor. I saw at least three paintings I could have cheerfully parted with major dollar signs to own. I loved the cajun music, it so reminded me of strolling down Bourbon Street, pretending to be shocked at the transvestite bars and other assorted weirdness that is Bourbon Street (there was one place where you could give your pole dancer a bath, seriously).

But the food! I had the soup of the day: shrimp bisque. So yummy I almost licked the bowl. But then came my entree, red beans and rice with andouille sausage. Oh, insert major Racheal Ray YUMM-O moment here. Orgasmically good. Eat still your stomach hurts good. Scrape every bit of leftover rice and beans into a take home box good. Made me wish I hadn't had the soup good.

Seriously. I know my beans and rice. You don't grow up po' white without beans and rice and smoked ham hock being a staple in your diet. "More protein than a steak," my momma used to say. These were some good beans.

Jason had the Tuesday special, a Lowcountry boil, looked like Frogmore stew to me, and he said it was very yummy also.

I've got to go back and try their Jambalaya. Swoon.

Loki sez: What? None for me?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentines Day

I love you all, well, maybe not all of you, but most of you. And you know who you are.

This is a holiday that I don't make much of a fuss over, the others being just about all of them. (Me on December 15th: Oh is it Christmas again???)

I am proud that I managed to get my sweetheart a gift and card before today. And that I found a gift that proves how much I love and adore him. No, I'm not telling, he hasn't opened it yet and it'll spoil the surprise.

And Happy Valentines to those who love the theoretical kittens who no longer prance on the keyboard, one of my most recent favorite double portraits:

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

He ain't heavy

He's my brother.

Monday, February 12, 2007


My hospital is growing. Adding a couple extra floors in fact. And a brand spanking new gi-normous nursery. So last week we were moved out of the old nursery for the duration of construction. Into a couple of rooms with a huge plastic wall cutting a wedge down the middle and a lovely air filter pumping at about 150 decibels.

I've spent the last two nights saying: "Does anyone know where they put..."

Insert anything here. Diapers. Formula. Pacifiers. Blood culture bottles. Heel sticks. Bandaids. The medication cart. The blanket warmer. New charts. Old charts. The fax machine. Syringes.

It's tiresome. We want to put a MASH 4077 sign up on the plastic wall.

But, it's sort of like a pregnancy too...we've been excited about this for about three months, now we are going to be uncomfortable for another six months or so, but at the end, we'll have a beautiful new nursery.

At least that's the plan.

Thor sez: Tiresome is your constant whining when you could be adoring me.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


It seems that there is some common sense and decency left in this country after all. The Naples, FL branch of the Center for Missing and Exploited Children has cancelled Bill O'Reilly's appearance at their convention.

And (yes, there is more!) Lowes has pulled advertising from O'Reilly's show. I don't know about you, but no more comparison between Lowes and Home Depot for me, I'm heading straight to Lowes. And I'm letting them know that they are getting my money because of their decision.

Now if poor Ted Haggart could just be gay if he wants to be and his wife can stop being blamed for causing it by "letting herself go", I'll be a happy little liberal.

Loki sez: At last I can relax!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

RIP Vickie Lynn Hogan

Like many of you, I felt a sense of sadness when I learned of the death of Anna Nicole Smith. Mostly, I felt sad for her, not about her.

I felt sad because here was this girl, this poor girl, Vickie Lynn Hogan, from some nowhere small town who wanted to be famous and admired and loved.

And I admire her gumption, because she certainly became famous.

But she never really seemed to be happy. It never seemed enough.

And I got to thinking about what I wrote a few days ago, about transformation. Vickie Lynn obviously wanted a life different than the one she saw before her in that little town.

But the transformations she made were all external. She relied on her beauty and her body to get her where she wanted to be. And it didn't seem to quiet the demons inside her, the thirst for love or fame or whatever it was that she thought she didn't have.

So, I'm sorry she never got to find that inner peace and be really happy.

Friday, February 09, 2007

And now, a return to the inane

This morning on Cat TV, we had several special guest appearances:

The Blue Jay gang showed up.

And played 'chicken' with Thor.

Carolina Chickadee made a brief stop.

Miss Meanie Mockingbird tried to chase everyone away.

Mrs. Cardinal wasn't afraid of the mockingbird.

Tufted Titmouse only stayed a moment.

Thor and Loki say: Play it again, mom!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thank you, Janis Ian

I was just turning fifteen when Janis Ian hit my radio waves with the song, At Seventeen:
I learned the truth at seventeen
That love was meant for beauty queens
And high school girls with clear skinned smiles
Who married young and then retired
The valentines I never knew
The Friday night charades of youth
Were spent on one more beautiful
At seventeen I learned the truth.

I was a teen during a time of narrowly defined female beauty. Blond, blue eyed, busty women were the ideal. Gals with brown eyes distorted behind thick glasses, brown hair, flat chests, thick lips, and silver braced teeth complete with head gear were not the ideal.

And those of us with ravaged faces
Lacking in the social graces
Desperately remained at home
Inventing lovers on the phone
Who called to say come dance with me
And murmured vague obscenities
It isn’t all it seems at seventeen.

I had no sisters to guide me through the horror that is high school. I knew my mother was doing all she could to simply put food on the table and keep up with the mortgage, electricity and phone service were, at times, expendable. Yet I still burned with longing for Levi jeans and Clairol Herbal Essence Shampoo. I wanted friends, but years of physically and mentally hiding from my father’s verbal and physical abuse had left me a quiet mouse of a girl, desperately torn between wanting to be noticed and just wanting to slip away in to invisibility. If only, if only, if only. If only I could figure out what was wrong with me, I could fix it and be popular and be pretty and be happy and loved. I scoured the pages of Seventeen magazine, looking for clues, only to realize how impossible it was.

A brown eyed girl in hand me downs
Whose name I never could pronounce
Said – Pity please the ones who serve
They only get what they deserve
The rich relationed hometown queen
Marries into what she needs
With a guarantee of company
And haven for the elderly.

And like millions of love starved girls before me, when a facsimile of love appeared before me, I grabbed at it, at first just merely grateful that I wasn’t alone any longer. But like those before me, I soon realized that there was a high price to pay for under valuing yourself in love. After spending too many years in a loveless marriage, I somehow managed to break free. And still, I am unsure exactly how I feel about those “wasted” years. A small part, a very small part, is bitter about the loss of my youthful years. A bigger part of me is grateful for all I learned about myself during those years. That by having had my faults and fears and weaknesses used against me for so long, I became inoculated against them. I had to, for my own sanity; really look at these perceived faults. And I had to reconcile them in my mind in order to gain power over them. And somewhere in that process, I began to shed many of my preconceived notions of just who and what I was.

Remember those who win the game
Lose the love they sought to gain
In debentures of quality and dubious integrity
Their small-town eyes will gape at you
In dull surprise when payment due
Exceeds accounts received at seventeen.

If I did one thing right after those loveless years, it was that I didn’t repeat my mistakes. I knew that I could not trust my judgment and refrained from entering any more relationships. I began to understand that I was all I had in this world. No matter how close family and friends may be, ultimately, it is just you and your thoughts moving through the world. It is no coincidence that once I was truly able and happy to be on my own, once I was truly and completely happy with myself, that I entered into the best relationship I’ve ever been in.

To those of us who knew the pain
Of valentines that never came
And those whose names were never called
When choosing sides for basketball
It was long ago and far away
The world was younger than today
When dreams were all they gave for free
To ugly duckling girls like me.

This song still makes me cry. Then, I cried because it was true and it hurt. I also cried with a tinge of relief, knowing that I wasn’t alone. Today I cry because I feel sorry for that girl I used to be, but know that I wouldn’t really change it if I could. I wouldn’t be me without her. Pain is a powerful motivator and I like where I’ve ended up. It could have turned out much worse, I’ve seen women repeat abusive cycles over and over again. Somehow, I got off the merry-go-round.

We all play the game, and when we dare
We cheat ourselves at solitaire
Inventing lovers on the phone
Repenting other lives unknown
That call and say – come dance with me
And murmur vague obscenities
At ugly girls like me, at seventeen.

At the end of the movie Napolean Dynamite, when Napolean does his dance and everyone in the audience, except the few popular kids, explodes in cheers and applause, I wondered, “Why did we never understand this? That there are more of us outside the circle looking in?” But I guess it didn’t matter how many ‘outs’ there were, we all just wanted to be ‘in’. Inside where everyone was happy, everyone was pretty, everyone was smart and confident and heading for a life of success and happiness. If we could only just get inside that circle, we’d be magically transformed.

But it doesn’t really happen that way. Transformation, real transformation, is a long, hard, painful process. It doesn’t come from anything outside yourself. It’s all internal. I’ve tried to explain it, but I can’t. I think it’s because everyone’s journey is different.

That I know. Now. Thirty years later.

And what of that hard-won knowledge would I share with a teen today? That I’m sorry it has to hurt. But it does. To try to find something, anything to make yours and hold on to in the worst of times. To just keep moving forward, no matter what.

Just keep moving.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Browsing through my site meter, I found several hits on my blog from searches for Bill O'Reilly and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

If anything could convince me that civilization as we know it is about to crumble under the vast ignorance of the Wal-Mart generation.....this is it.


What makes it more disgusting is the Center's thoughts are probably that they can drum up interest and sell more tickets.

Can no-one take a moral stand?

In this land of God fearing Christians?

No-one is capable of saying enough, money be damned?

Praise the Lord

...and pass the bologna. Ted Haggert has been cured! Yes, I tell you! Cured!

For a religion that claims loving understanding and forgiveness, they sure want people to walk narrow little paths.

The question Teddy boy and his friends should have been asking is not whether Ted was gay or not, but rather, why did he feel compelled to use drugs and indulge in a destructive sexual relationship? Perhaps being brainwashed in to hating yourself isn't so good for you?

But fear not, the sweet soothing balm of denial has been applied. Ted can go back to hating himself in the quiet corners of his mind and not embarass the rest of his ilk.

Loki sez: I smell something rotten and it ain't Thor's cat food breath!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Bowling for Puppies

Let me begin by saying that I am not a football fan. I didn't even know the Super Bowl was this weekend until Saturday morning and by this afternoon, I'd forgotten about it until the cheers and groans from the party next door reminded me.

I am, however, a fan of Animal Planet and Saturday morning found me relaxing on sofzilla, enjoying a few minutes of one of the dog shows before heading off to bed. Loki was on top of the cat tree when I noticed that he was intently watching the television from his vantage point. I assumed that it was the motion of the show dogs running around in circles that caught his attention.

Because he'd never looked at the television before. I mean, he's looked at, but never watched it.

But, I don't think it was the motion. I think it was the dogs. Today, post supper feast, I was flipping through channels and came upon Animal Planets Puppy Bowl. And this happened:

When the Kitten Half Time Show came on, I thought he'd be ALL about that, so I left the television on for it, but when the kittens came on, Loki hopped up on the couch and went to sleep.

Apparantly, he's a puppy loving kind o' guy.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


I never adopted siblings before Thor and Loki, but it was the best thing I've done. They are so bonded that I can't imagine how they would be if they'd been separated.

And I need to stop looking at the John Ancrum SPCA and the Frances Willis SPCA sites because it's making me sad.

Like the two five year old kitties given up because their owner was pregnant. Don't get me started.

Or the 15 year old cat. I just want to bring her home and spoil her rotten for her few remaining years.

I'm going to end up with a hundred cats.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Put the crack pipe...I mean cell phone..down!

On MSNBC's website, there is a feature, Pictures of the Week. You can look at pictures from around the world and vote on which one you think is best.

One of the pictures this week, from Belarus, is of a man talking on his cell phone while sledding down a hill.


I hate and despise cell phones. No, I take that back. I hate and despise cell phone owners who think that I have the slightest interest in their lives. I hate people who talk on cell phones while walking through stores. And it's never: Oh my God! Is everyone okay? I'm on my way! No, it's more like: Oh no she didn't! I told that girl that he was no good. I'm gonna cut her ass next time I see her. Or: That is not what I ordered. I ordered 500 of the royal blue at ten dollars each, I did not want the robin's egg blue, those only cost seven dollars each.

Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!

In the stores, in the bank, in the doctor's office. In the mall, everywhere, people are walking around with those damned things glued to the sides of their heads like a junkie with a crack pipe. I saw one girl in the grocery store, we passed in three aisles and she wasn't even talking to anyone, just holding the damned thing to her head.

I even have to discuss my patients with their parents while said parent has a cell phone jammed up an ear most of the time. Put the damn thing down!

I understand the value of a cell phone for emergencies or even for business occasionally (but not like the woman in World Market who followed me all over the store, bitching about one of her real estate customers to someone on the other end of the line). Please just lower your voice. Do not carry on a conversation in your "outdoor" voice in the middle of a store.

And keep your private life private. You are not impressing me with the details of your personal life. I don't care. I don't know you.

And no, I do not own a cell phone.

Loki sez: I don't trust humans who can't abide silence.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Losing Nouns

For some time now, I've been losing my nouns. You know, when you are just talking along like normal then suddenly stumble and stammer because your brain simply refuses to allow access to a particular word?

Getting old is the correct medical term for it, I believe.

But I noticed the word I could not find was almost always a noun. Occasionally a proper noun, but most often a regular old noun like "table" or "keys".

Then I started noticing that adverbs were slowly disappearing from the memory banks also. I began to write with an open thesaurus on the desk.

Well, yesterday the mystery was solved. I went to the dentist for a routine cleaning and they found a tiny cavity on one of my wisdom teeth.

All my wisdom has been leaking out!

I have an appointment next week to have it filled, so we'll see if it makes me any wiser.

Or able to locate my nouns.

Thor sez: Chill! You don't need words to adore me, just keep the food coming.