Saturday, June 30, 2007

Living on the Edge

It's all the rage around here these days. Kittens hanging off the edges of things to play. Normal playing is too boring now. No, there's gotta be an edge to it, an element of danger. I blame video games and movies.

Or catnip.

Friday, June 29, 2007


or perhaps, merely Thor-bitude.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Rich Are Different

Not only are they different than us normal slobs clinging desparately to the middle of the ladder, they don't actually give a flying fig leaf about us, even when they swear they do.

See, I made a ton of jokes about Daniel Island residents allowing low-income housing to be built on the island. Why? Surely not because they just love us po' folks and want us to have the same opportunity to live in beauty along side them. Most likely because CARTA doesn't run out there and they got tired of driving their maids home.

Now. Tommy Ravenel. Okay, he made his money the old fashioned way: he used Daddy's name to get proper financial backing and business contacts, then he did a good job. So, he deserves his millions. And now that he got caught holding the spoon, he's off to rehab land. Oooh, Sierra Tuscon. Looks posh. And at an average treatment cost of $45,180 - 65,995, I'll bet he gets all sorts of good help. I wonder if his health insurance is going to kick in for any of this? Nah. He'll pay out of pocket.

And I don't have a problem with this. Hell, he made his money (used his Daddy as a stepping stone, but hey, that's the way of the world, right?). I don't care if he spends that much a day on his rehab. But this is what ticks me off:

He and his ilk have cut funding and gutted social programs as if it were all coming out of their pockets. When a drug addict in Charleston finds out she is pregnant and goes to get help, she is told that there is a waiting list up to three to four months long, but just say no until then. When a homeless drug addict in Charleston just decides that he has had enough and wants to get better and a little help so he can get a job and a little apartment and become a respectable citizen, he is told to put his name on a list and maybe, maybe in four to six months, there will be a rehab bed available for him. And it don't come with no Olympic size swimming pool and gourmet dining hall.

Tommy Ravenel and his ilk have spent their lives making sure that the most down and out of us have no resources to call on when we need help all the while making sure that they have all the resources available to themselves.

That's what makes me angry. Climb that ladder, make your millions if you can, but stop cutting off the rungs for those below you.

Oh, and 500 grams, for our American audience, equals one pound, one ounce. A POUND.

Thor sez: Oh, please, poor people choose to use drugs because they are weak and immoral. Rich people like Tommy and Rush have medical conditions. Silly girl. Bring me some tuna. Human grade tuna, none of that swill cat food stuff that lazy retired people who were to immoral to save enough for retirement have to eat so they can afford their medications.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Chicken in Every Pot

and a book in every room. My biblioholism is in full swing these days.

Currently reading:

The next to last book, Sorceress of Darshiva, in David (and Leigh) Eddings series, The Malloreon. (Jason bought me the entire two series, The Belgariad and The Malloreon and I'm almost done, then have Belgarath the Sorcerer - a stand alone from the same series.)

Dreams from My Father, by Barack Obama.

The Assault on Reason, by Al Gore (Jason told me he purchased this with cash so "they" can't trace the purchase back to him.)

Finished reading and need to pass on:
How to Tell if Your Boyfriend is the Antichrist, (and if he is, should you break up with him?) by Patricia Carlin

A must read by any single woman!

FYI, no he's not and no, I'm not.

Loki sez: Does the Antichrist look like this?

Mom: No, he looks a lot like this.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Blinded by the Light

..or more specifically, my piss-poor paternal genetic donation. I went to get new glasses today. I am about a single lens strength away from legally blind. Seriously, next time I see you, take a peek through my peepers. It hurts normal people.

I spent the better part of the late morning wandering around the eye glass store because I have learned one undeniable truth about purchasing glasses: What ever the frame style is that I like, it will not work with my prescription. So I always pick out a couple. Today I was lucky. We only had to go through seven frames before finding a pair that I liked and would work with my required two inch thick lenses.

And what is this insanity of having normal mirrors in these places? I can't see shit for shinola without my glasses, but I'm supposed to plop on a pair, lean in to approximately half an inch away from the mirror so I can see the damned things and then still be able to discern if they look good on me?

That, plus the fact that I was the only customer under 75 in the store, plus the fact that lunch time came and went while waiting my turn, plus the fact that I still had a stop to make at Wally World (yes, I know they are evil, but tell me where I can buy Vassarette bras for $9.00 - remember, I have a bra eating cat and my replacement expenses do add up, thank you very much), well, all that made me a little cranky.

So to the person who I called a flipping stupid self centered jerk when you ran the left turn well after it had turned red and cut me off as I drove perfectly legally and within my rights through MY GREEN LIGHT and had to slam on the brakes and swerve a little to avoid your stupid self centered jerk back bumper, I'm not really sorry because you can't run red lights just because you don't want to wait! You are not more important than any one else on the road, so get over yourself. Brat.

Ah. I feel much better now.

Loki sez: I said NOT! Two heads are NOT better than one!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Too Much Time on My Hands

This photo album of flying cats is one of my favorite places to waste time.

So today, while attempting to exercise the kittens (I'm serious, Loki is getting fat and they are out of the kitten play all the time stage) I wondered if I could create my own flying cats album.

Thor sez: You want me to do what?

Thor was pretty good:

Thor sez: Wheeee! That was fun!

Loki's turn:

Loki sez: (licks lips) Whew! That was a work out! Can I have lunch now?

I Get Annoyed

Why do those stupid magazines like Family Circle and Woman's Day always have a picture of a gigantic cake or some such dessert on the cover, but the top headline is: "Lose 10 Pounds In A Week" or "Walk Your Way Into Bikini Season"?

Why don't we go back to non-childproof medication bottles and people just take responsibility for their kids?

Why is there a commercial for a new "prescription strength deodorant" which demonstrates the three layers of protection: layer one fights wetness, layer two fights odor and layer three is a special skin conditioner. Well, how the hell does the conditioner get to the skin through the wetness protection barrier?

Why has Elizabeth Edwards "strayed" by having a different opinion than her husband?

Loki sez: Why don't I fit in here anymore?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

May I have Another Root Canal Instead?

It's official. The car formerly known as the-first-new-car-I-ever-bought-for-myself is totalled thanks to the inattentive driver who slammed in to it.

Give me a I loved you...

Okay. Now another round of vehicular shuffle.

See, the Saturn was mine, but when Jason's old car died, I sold him the Saturn, then bought the truck formerly known as my son's because he didn't need it while in boot camp and couldn't afford it any more but didn't want to sell it. Sheesh. You didn't think I actually CHOSE to drive a freaking pick up truck, did you?? Blech. Thing drives like a mule.

So the plan is to do the time warp again. Jason is buying the truck and I get a new car. I'm thinking about a PT Cruiser. Oh how I hated those things when they first came out. I thought they were the ugliest things on the planet. But they've grown on me, sort of like a fungus. Now I think I want one.

But I hate and despise going to car lots. Why? Here is why:

Me: How much is this car?

Slime ball salesman: Well, that depends young lady. How much do you want your monthly payment to be?

Me: Oh, what we say fifty dollars?

SBS: Well, hehehe, little lady, I don't know about that.

Me: I have my own financing. How much is this car right here?

SBS: I bet we can do better for you on your financing, young lady.

Me: That's okay. How much is this car?

SBS: Well, what interest rate is on your financing, because I'm betting we can beat it. Come on in and let's talk to my sales manager.

Me: No. I. Do. Not. Want. To. Do. That. I. Want. To. Know. How. Much. This. Car. Costs.

SBS: That depends.

Me: Never mind, I'm going to need my down payment for bail money after I kill you.

Any car salesmen reading this, here are some hints in case a partially gray-haired lady shows up on your lot next week.

1. Don't call me "young lady". Especially if you are younger than me. It makes me want to vomit and I may do so on your cheap suit. I am not young. I am old and I want the deference and respect that being old with an excellent credit rating deserves.

2. Answer my freaking questions. I am not an idiot. I know what I want and how I want to do it. I do not care about your input into my financial decisions.

3. Shut up.

Loki sez: Want me to go with you? Rough 'em up? Show 'em my deadly claws?

Edit: Sorry Heather. Everyone involved is upright and breathing!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Thor is Weird

Thor sez: I'm comfy, what's your problem?

Yes, that is his belly. He likes it. He gets mad if you cover the hole. Who am I to deny my kitten fresh air on his belly?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Parents Today!

I suppose it's reassuring that it isn't only American parents who have lost their minds.

Fifteen year olds performing surgery.

Weird names.

Oh, could I tell you about some down right cruel names parents give their babies.
But I won't.

Loki sez: How inappropriate.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I Heard the News Today

I've been reading the news and blogs about the loss of the firemen here in Charleston. It's so sad. I worry about their families and friends and coworkers. How do you begin to wrap your mind around the loss of so many at once?

I'm proud of the way the entire lowcountry has stepped up to express their condolences and to thank those who serve us. I hope our feelings of gratitude will be remembered next time the fire chief approaches, hat in hand, to ask for salary increases.

And Tommy, Tommy, Tommy! Tommy Ravenel, you bad bad boy you! What family value endorses (allegedly) shoving cocaine up your nose? For shame.

And this from Katon Dawson, chairman of the state Republican Party, called Sanford's suspension of Ravenel "proper," but said this was not a public corruption case.

"To me, it looks like a private issue and a legal matter for a public official," Dawson said.

I'm sorry, but a(n alleged) coke-head with access to my tax dollars is not a private issue.

It'll be interesting to see if there is any "Paris Hilton" effect. In other words, is Second Cousin Tommy going to be treated like all the other (alleged) drug abusing coke heads in the state or will his name buy him time in some posh rehab somewhere after paying a nominal fine (if found guilty)?

I'm betting he walks away free as bird after shedding a few crocodile tears and claiming to have returned to the loving and forgiving arms of Jesus (if found guilty).

Thor sez: Plu-eeze! A rich, white, old Charleston family name having, politically connected male doing jail time? Girl, have you lost your mind?

Monday, June 18, 2007


I know, other people's dreams are boring. But I've been having such weird dreams lately. So weird that I can't even grasp the details of them once awake because the narrative is so disjointed.

The other night I dreamed I was with people who weren't who they were supposed to be, but I knew it wasn't really them so it was okay. And I was mad at a kid in a wheelchair because he was making us late to a coffee shop where I was supposed to begin working that night.

Last night I dreamed I was trying to check out of a hotel in London with a female friend and there was another female friend with us, but we couldn't find her, the bill was $8,000 so I wrote a bad check and we couldn't find the train station where we were going to catch a train to Italy. Then I was on a plane going to Germany and my mom was worried about the passport for what was supposed to be my younger brother, but in the dream was my son (and weirdly enough that makes sense to me because for past year or so, I mix their names up). When the plane bounced down into a swimming pool before landing, I told my brother/son that it did so to "cool the jets".

Fortunately I was awakened by the dulcet tones of Thor's meow at that point and spared any further WTF moments.

Thor sez: What do you mean by 'dulcet tones'? I have a perfectly lovely meow. It's not my fault it can be heard all the way to Summerville!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunday Stuff

I was scanning through the news today, trying to latch on to an idea worth blogging about as I feel I've become a little to kitten-heavy here lately. But all I managed to do was get myself whipped up into a furious frenzy over a particular story. So angry it is still impossible for me to even consider blogging about it or my feelings about it.

So. You get a final kitten update: all has returned to completely normal. They are even play fighting again.

Loki sez: Yep, he's my buddy.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Busy Bee

Poor Jason. Really. He puts up with me so well. As we did our hello-goodbye routine as I arrived home just as he was leaving for work, I greeted him with these words: "Listen to the bushes when you go out there."

Being the absolutely great guy that he is, he said, "Okay."

Then went out and listened to the bushes.

Which were buzzing very loudly with the sounds of several hundred bees collecting pollen. Not honey bees, I think they are more akin to bumble bees. But bees no less!

Thor sez: I can make a bee sound....zzzzphffft.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

How Not to Spend Wednesday

Emergency root canal.

Ouch. Well, last night was really ouch. Today was ouch followed by that still hurts but differently.

Why my cats aren't allowed to go outside:

Photo by JAZ (at around 10am this morning while I was at dentist appointment number one). That is inside the fence in the back yard.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Silver Streak, The Update

I think I only have another couple of weeks to go before the cutting of the hair. I'm starting to get a little nervous about it, but have told myself that we will do this and I must live with the results for no less than four weeks before I make any decisions about returning to putting poisonous dyes on my scalp every three weeks. (see how I try to influence myself?)

Tomorrow, I am going to look for a new pair of eyeglasses. Something a bit lighter.

I've been scouring my big books o' hair cuts for something suitable.

I've been preparing Jason for the inevitable George and Barbara Bush jokes.

And so, soon, after twenty years, I will embrace my follicular destiny.

Or cry.

We'll see.

Monday, June 11, 2007

When I was a kid...

(I know, I sound like an old fart.)

See, the other day at the Piccolo finale at Hottown, I mean Hampton Park, while I was panting in the shade, slurping down the snow cone that Jason so kindly bought for me, I had an opportunity to watch families arrive for the festivities.

This one group, two sets of grown ups and perhaps three kids, had me staring in slack-jawed disbelief.

One grown up was pushing one of those giganti-strollers that had all the kids strapped inside. Another was pushing some contraption that had at least eight folding chairs, a cooler and a shade umbrella attached. Another had what appeared to be two giant diaper bags slung off each shoulder. I honestly don't remember what the fourth adult had, probably a complete computer system with DVD player and four hours worth of Veggie Tale discs.

I mean, come on people!

When we went to the beach or a park, this is what we had: one mom, up to six kids depending on who was or wasn't on restriction that day, two blankets (one for mom, one for ALL THE KIDS), one gallon jug of ice tea (frozen) plus a Dixie cup for each person and a bag of peanut butter sandwiches.

Note the period at the end of that list.

And you know what? We had fun. We ran up and down Folly Beach for hours and those peanut butter sandwiches were the best tasting food we'd ever eaten. We crawled through clover patches in the grass, searching for four leaf clovers and usually only found a honeybee stinger. And survived. Without any great emotional trauma.

I am beginning to seriously worry for our nation's artistic future. A little boredom is the catalyst for so much imagination. If you have all the conveniences of your living room at the park and even in the car, when do you have time to think, to dream, to imagine?

Less than 30 minutes ago

I took these pictures:

I'm so happy!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Baby, It's Hot Outside

Yesterday, we went to Theater 99 to see The Complete History of Charleston for Morons. It was very amusing, although I knew the Great Earthquake was in 1886.

Then we went to Hampton Park for the Piccolo Spoleto finale. Hot. Hot. Hot. What was the heat index? 110? Something like that. I was dressed for sitting in an over air conditioned theater, not roaming around the scorched plains of Hampton Park and wilted like the belle that I am.

And being an idiot, I decided this morning that I just had to mow the front lawn. Had to. I had told Jason not to mow it because we had several large dead patches due to grubs. We'd killed the grubs and reseeded the dead spots and I wanted the grass to grow enough to flower and seed so the dead spots would fill in faster.

Which was fine until Friday afternoon when someone not paying attention rear ended Jason's car, which is most likely totalled now. Jason's fine so far except for the usual sore muscles but I'm not 100% convinced that some neck/back trouble isn't looming over the next couple of days so I didn't want him to mow the lawn.

I did have to have him start the lawn mower the first time because I never can. Then after doing half the front yard of very tall, thick grass, I had to sit down and take on a gallon or so of water, obsess over the giant purple lump on my arm where something bit me and catch my breath enough to complain that I thought the lawn mower had self-propel.

"It does." Jason told me.

"Well, it doesn't work for shinola then." I replied.

He insisted on finishing the half of the front yard, went out, cranked up the engine and started off, walking casually behind the mower. Not even pushing at all, where I'd been pushing with my hips against it because I didn't have enough arm strength to get it through the grass.

Then I noticed he was holding down a lever that I hadn't been. Yep. The self-propel.

I'm an idiot.

But I got a heck of a work out this morning!

Kitten update:
They are buddies again. Came home yesterday to find them snuggled up together sleeping on our bed. But. This is only true in the bedrooms and the front room. Loki is still afraid of Thor in the kitchen and back room. I'm assuming this is because those rooms are where most of "The Incident" took place. I'm also not going to worry about it. He'll get over it when he gets over it.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


Kitten update. We seem to be on the road to reconciliation. Yesterday we opened the barriers and let them mingle. There was a little hissing and growling, but no fighting. The turning point seemed to be when Thor cornered Loki and began licking his head. When Loki tried to hiss and run, Thor got him in a head lock and continued to lick his head.

Shortly after that, we found this:

This morning, I released the Thor and there was a little hissing when he rushed up to Loki, but a few minutes later I found Loki playing with a puff ball on the bed and Thor watching.

So I broke out the nip:

I think we are well on our way to a complete recovery.
(Crossing fingers)

Friday, June 08, 2007

That's not hot.

A temper tantrum is not a medical condition.

Undesired withdrawal is.

Boo hoo.

I Have Questions

Why do the manufacturers of vitamins and vitamin supplements feel the need to make horse pills? Really, must they all be so gigantic? I feel like I should count my morning pills as a meal.

Why can't I lose weight in a logical manner? Why does it have to be lose three pounds, gain four, lose five, gain two? Why can't the numbers just descend in an orderly fashion? I'm getting cranky because I promised myself that when I got down to 140, I could have McDonald's french fries. Just once.

Why do manufacturers put high fructose corn syrup in EVERYTHING? It's in your barbeque sauce, your stewed tomatoes, your ketchup, your cookies, your canned fruit. Start reading labels. It's shocking. I've pretty much given up buying anything in a can or plastic container.

Why do I hate to exercise when I know how much better I feel when I do?

Why am I fixated on Sheryl Crowe's song Like Steve McQueen, going as far as to continually replay it in the car over and over and over again? Is it just for the line "I ain't taking shit off no-one, baby that was yesterday"?

Why can these retarded cats of mine sit next to each other in cages, eat off the same plate at the same time, play with each other through a door, yet turn into growling, hissing, spitting Tasmanian devils if they see each other on the loose?

Why am I sitting here thinking up more questions when I have like a million things to do today?

Sedona, Arizona, the hiking trail behind our hotel in early morning
Photo by Jason A Zwiker

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Castle! Montezuma's Castle! Not revenge.

Camp Verde, Arizona
Photo by Jason Zwiker

This was the last sight we saw in Arizona. Actually we saw a ton more on our drive back to Phoenix, but this was the last attraction we went to. Jason had picked up a little cold and was running a low grade fever, which when combined with the 95+ degree weather, was not a good thing.

I was sitting on a bench, chatting up old people when I was treated to two examples of parental misconduct. (Now, I've raised a kid and I know it is SO much easier when you are sitting on a bench watching, but still.)

The family: Mom, Dad, Daughter (about age 8), and Son (about age six)

First: The Wimpy Parent

Son attempts to climb up the rock wall into one of the lower levels of the ruins.

Mom says, "Oh, honey. I don't think you are really supposed to be on there."

Oh honey, I don't think you are really supposed to be smoking cigarettes.
Oh honey, I don't think you are really supposed to be shooting up heroin.
Oh honey, I don't think you are really supposed to be impregnating girls at fifteen.

See how stupid she sounds?

Be a grown up, for Pete's sake!

How about this: "Son, get down. You are not allowed to climb on that."

Second: The Liar Parent

Dad says to Daughter, "Give me your camera and I'll take a picture of you where ever you want."

Daughter gleefully hands over her little digital camera and immediately strikes an adventurous pose, pretending she is scaling the mountain of rock before her, tossing her ponytail saucily over a shoulder and with a sassy head tilt, grins up at Dad.

Who isn't paying attention, but looking down the path. "Go down there," he says, never looking down to see her great pose, "And sit on that rail, I'll take your picture there."

He never looked down to see the look on her face either. That one bothered me. A lot. Dad, this girl's male role model, her pattern against which future relationships will be measured, just told her that he would lie to her with impunity, that her ideas were not good enough and that he would do her thinking for her.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Signs You're Not in SC Anymore

1. Liquor. Hard liquor in the grocery stores. Stroll on in the local Safeway for bread and vodka.

2. A television commercial for a radio station that featured a woman taking a friend shopping in her husband's truck. As they walk in the garage they see, dangling from the truck's tow bar, a giant pair of blue balls. Testicles that is. Wife gets a pair of hedge clippers and clips them.

3. Bubonic plague. Signs everywhere reminding people that not only are Arizona squirrels cute, but they carry the Black Death.

4. A sign at the Grand Canyon visitors center illustrating the dangers of hiking unprepared in the climate that prominently featured a young man down on his hands and knees forcefully vomiting what appeared to be Niagara Falls. (I begged Jason to take a picture, but do you see one here? No. Pardon me while I pout for a moment.)

5. Tame deer.

6. The Partridge Family.

Not the greatest picture, but not bad for an oh-my-god-look-I-think-those-are-partridge-babies, grab a couple of snaps before they all disappear back in the brush. There were two adults and at least four or five babies.

The only thing missing from this trip is that I did not meet a vacation cat. Unless you want to count the stuffed mountain lion at one of the Visitor's Centers (I can't remember which one now).

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Kitten Update

Jason told me today, "If they don't get over this soon, you'll have to change the name of your blog to 'Hissing Kittens on the Keyboard'.

Much remains the same. They love each other, they want each other, they cry for each other but the minute they see each other, they hiss and growl and spit.

The plan: two small dog cages. Put them each in one and move the cages closer and closer for longer periods of time until they are used to/bored with the sight of each other.

We've been doing that in small increments since returning from Arizona. Today I was so frustrated with the "Mommy, be on my side" wailing that I stuffed them in the cages and set them about two feet apart.

Nothing happened. They grumped a little, wanting out, but mostly just looked at each other. So I moved the cages closer. Thor took a nap. Loki amused himself with a puff ball. So I moved them about six inches apart. Close enough for them to reach into the other cage.

So much nothing was happening that I was tempted to let them loose and see what would happen. But I didn't.

After about twenty minutes, Loki started getting antsy about being locked up, so I let him out. He wandered back to the bedroom to get in his safe place under the bed, but it seemed more of a habit than an actual need.

Hopefully we'll make more progress with this on my next long stretch off.

Thor sez: I didn't mean to start trouble!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Standing on a Corner

I'm usually not a fan of the "in front of" picture. I rarely have my picture taken in front of places I visit. And oddly, when Jason and I are at places and he is so obviously Mr. Professional Photographer with all his equipment and I'm standing around slack jawed and drooling, people always ask me to take their picture together in front of whatever it is we are in front of.

But there are exceptions. I had pictures taken in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. And now the Grand Canyon. And I wanted one standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona.

They have a park.

It just tickled something in my tail-end of a baby boomer self who grew up listening to the Eagles (and Jackson Browne with whom Glen Frey wrote the song, Take it Easy). I just had to have my picture taken there with the statue.

But alas and alack and asbestos:

So I had to settle for standing on the corner across the street:

And two truths I learned:

1) The desert sun laughs at sunscreen. Even 50 SPF sunscreen. Laughs! The poor skin on my face, which hasn't felt the kiss of a UV ray in years, is in shock.

2) "But it's a dry heat." Is a pile of buffalo dung. It's freaking hot and the only merit to dry heat is that you aren't dripping sweat five seconds after being outside.

All photos by Jason A. Zwiker