Monday, April 30, 2007

My Personal Forest

Saturday, we ventured to Park Circle in North Charleston. We went, as good tree hugging loonie leftist liberals, to the Earth Day celebration. To learn all about conservation and ecology and stuff.

Not really, we went for the free trees. I already know most of the conservation stuff.

Free trees. Six of them to be exact. Six non-pine trees so my home owner's insurance company can't attempt to extort me for ruinous amounts of money unless I cut them down.

Two river birch. Two dogwoods. (I am such a BAD southerner, I have not a single dogwood in my yard, but I make up for it with my unnatural fondness for azaleas.) And two crape (crepe) myrtles, which were Jason's pick. We don't even know what kind they are. I guess it'll be a surprise next summer when they bloom.

Poor Jason got four of them planted that afternoon. Our back yard is 60% clay and 20% oak tree root and 20% hard packed earth undisturbed since the last ice age.

Our total tree planting for this year is now seven.

Take that you nasty developers!

Mr. Bluebird checking out the neighborhood, which includes a brand new bluebird house up for grabs.
(Um, that's the shed, not the house)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Show Down at the Front Door

Loki: Mom, I think it's a Jevohah's Witness cat.

White Cat: I'm here for your food you fat spoiled feline.

Loki: What did you call me?

White cat: Uh oh! Nothing. You're handsome! Wanna go on a date?

Loki: Mom, does date mean food?

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Continuing Saga of Home Ownership

All homes are money pits. There is always something that needs to be done. Usually something expensive that requires annoying sweaty men with butt-crack pants to stomp in dirty boots across your hard wood floors. And it's usually something invisible, like repairing burst pipes under the house, so you don't even get the satisfaction of it looking prettier when it's all over and done with.

And then there are the things you can do for yourself. Some of which are fun, like ripping out disgusting carpet and putting down pretty fake wood flooring, because there is a HUGE ta-da! factor there. Or painting walls. I love to paint walls. There is nothing that you can do to a room for so little money that makes it look better than a freshly painted wall.

And then there are the ceilings. Oh and how easy is it to ignore your ceilings, because, they are, well way up there and who walks around looking up all the time? I'm usually looking down so I don't trip over a furbag who thinks that he deserves fifty meals a day.

But there comes a point when you have to face the fact that your ceilings look like 50 kinds of crap and it must be done. And you have to face the fact that you are too cheap to hire someone to do this for you.

Then you realize that you do not own a ladder. Now, what sort of self respecting home owner doesn't own a ladder? Me, that's who. It's probably not very safe for me to own a ladder, but I need one. Like a hammer and water key, it's one of those things that you just got to have.

This is my summer project then: buy a ladder, buy paint and painting supplies, including some tarps. Lay in an extra large supply of pain relievers and get a new heating pad for the poor neck that is sure to object to the whole looking up part of painting ceilings. Post the correct number for the emergency vehicle (I can't use 911, my insurance only pays to save my life in an emergency if I call their ambulance service) on the phone.

It's only six rooms and two bathrooms. Easy-cheesy, right?

White cat sez: Just don't forget my snacks!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


That's me. A sucker. A soft touch. Able to be swayed over by the tender gaze of mint green eyes and a sweet meow.

See, it started out innocently enough. A strange cat lurking in my yard, a little skittish, a little friendly. I had to investigate. She lives two doors down and her owners let her run the streets at all hours of the day and night. But they seem to take good care of her because she has no fleas and is (as this picture shows) a healthy chunk o' kitten.

But then she started hanging out here more and more. And I began to wonder as she seemed to be trying more innovative ways to catch birds, like crawling up under the pine straw. It's pretty hard to sneak up on a bird when you are blindingly white. I worried maybe she was hungry. Poor little thing. And here I was with an entire four pound bag of dry cat food that my spoiled brats turned their noses up at.

So I gave her a little.

And now, every afternoon around five, five-thirty, she sits on the sidewalk, staring plaintively at the door. When I open it, she runs up the stairs, hisses at Thor, and retreats to the sidewalk to await her evening snack.

She's very appreciative and gives me lots of kitten head rubs and purrs.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Cry Me a River

Seldom do my conservative tendencies come raging to the forefront than when greeted, pre-coffee, with headlines such as this:

Executed in U.S. may be awake as they suffocate.

Excuse my profanity, but who the fuck cares?

I'm pretty sure their victims were awake while they were raped and strangled or shot or stabbed or suffocated.

I'm pretty sure their victims didn't get a virtually painless death.

These criminals are being put to death for a reason: they have been proven (we hope) to be unfit to live in a civil society because they willfully took the life of another.

Their victims were put to death because someone chose to do so.

I don't really care if they feel some discomfort or pain.

Now, with that out of the way, my liberal self comes out. I think we execute too many people in this country. I think the death penalty should be reserved for the most heinous of crimes. Rape/murder of children or women. Serial murder (like the DC snipers). Mass murderers (like the school shooters).

Deep breath. Kitten picture makes it better:

Monday, April 23, 2007

Mother Earth

We finally planted a fig tree in the back yard. It is near the loquat tree, so it'll be like a little produce market for the creatures of the yard. There are a few more creature feeding trees/shrubs I'd like to plant back there. Blueberry. I haven't decided on much else.

Yesterday, I spent an almost embarrassing amount of time watching The Planet Earth series on Discovery Channel. I could hardly drag myself away, it was so beautifully photographed. This blue ball is pretty spectacular.

Friday, I watched an episode of Oprah, something I rarely do because she tends to annoy me. Don't get me wrong, I have a huge amount of respect for what she has done for herself and her commitment to giving back to the world. She is an amazing human being. But her show annoys me.

I digress.

Her show on Friday was about living green. It had all sorts of helpful hints and stuff about reducing your energy use within your home. Pretty interesting.

Here's the thing. Even taking into consideration the nature of the shows I watched, I noticed a disproportionate number of "green" commercials. Companies touting their green products or green production methods.

Every other item on my grocery store shelf is now labeled "organic". Last night at work, I came across a little poster from one of our formula reps that was giving us the 4-1-1 on their new "organic formula".

And I'm a little conflicted about all this.

Because I don't care if you subscribe to the Judeo-Christian religions and believe that God made this planet and gave humans dominion over it or if you lean towards the pagan viewpoint of Earth as Mother, a living being in Her own right, or if you are an atheist who just believes that this is all we got and we better not mess it up.

Let's just not turn saving the planet into the latest fad to sweep across America like no-carb diets and Pet Rocks.

Whatever 'side' you are on in the global warming debate, I think we can all agree that there are a lot of people on this rock and we need to start getting serious about our stewardship. So I'm very excited about the new technology and education that is going on. I've always believed that private industry would lead the way, not government.

But I really hope we are beginning new habits and not just jumping on some fad that will pass in a year or so.

Loki sez: Look at me! I'm America taking its head of of the sand!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

I Love Loki

All day yesterday, I was running about a 101 - 102 degree temperature. I spent most of the day curled up under blankets on sofzilla, alternately dozing, reading or flicking through channels. (Note: channel surfing plus dozing while feverish can lead to strange moments, i.e. coming back to semi-consciousness and becoming completely disoriented because you realize you cannot understand a word the man on the television is saying before realizing that it's the Spanish language channel.)

So, I was coughing and sniffling and shivering and sneezing and shuffling back and forth from sofzilla to kitchen for more cups of tea, and through it all, Loki was at my side.

He stretched out beside me within easy petting reach. If I was shivering, he would curl up on my lap. He purred and stretched and slept with his tongue hanging out to keep me amused.

He's a good cat.

Loki sez: Yeah, I'm pretty great.

Why I love Thor In Spite of the Bra Thing:

He sleeps like a dog.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Lion and the Bra

Some of you may remember The Bra Incident.

Thor is out of control.

After the above mentioned incident, there were two more. One with a bra left drying in the laundry room, which was found on the floor with a couple of teeth marks in the strap.

Another when I'd carelessly left a bra on the dresser top. Again, found on the floor with teeth marks.

So I began to be much more careful, making sure every bra was put away properly or left to dry behind a closed door.

Then today, I look down the hall and see this:

As I investigate, I find this:

The little brat OPENED up the drawer, PULLED out a bra (and of course, my brand new one that I bought to replace the OTHER FREAKING BRA HE CHEWED IN HALF) and chewed the strap. In half. Again.

I'm completely flabbergasted. I'm going to have to start locking up my bras. Locking them up!

And as usual, I get this attitude:

I'll tell you, someone isn't getting any nip any time soon.

The Lion and the Gazelle

When Loki was a wee little lion of only a few months of age, he awoke early from his morning nap and slunk down the hall, to the back room where he pounced from around the corner and was immediately struck a mighty blow to his ribs by an in-motion gazelle.

(Not a real gazelle, but one of those annoying Tony Little Gazelles. Not that the gazelle is annoying, except for the squeak it develops when I forget to oil it, but that Tony guy, he is annoying.)

In spite of this tremendous blow to his tiny little kitten ribs, Loki managed to run to the opposite end of the house and hide himself away in the cave of under-the-bed. He bravely endured an examination and graciously accepted many a tear-stained apology.

Tough little lion that he was, he was, of course, fine.

Because of this incident, the gazelle was moved to the back bedroom, behind a closed door, so that there would be no more accidental kitten crushings.

Two years go by.

Gazelle is located in left corner of room at end of the house. Whenever it is in use, Loki is located in right corner of room at the opposite end of the house.

Moral of the story?

Exercise is bad for your kitten's mental health.

Loki sez: I remember the wasp bite too.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Wheels on the Bus

I wasn't going to write about the tragedy at Virginia Tech. I was trying to avoid the news coverage as best I could. I purposely waited until the following evening to read about it, knowing the first reports would be highly inaccurate and full of speculation.

What a waste. I read the lists of the victims, as they are the important part of the story. Who they were, what they hoped to become. The promise of the future for the students. The bravery of a Holocaust survivor, giving his life for his students.

But I can't take the coverage. I can't take watching reporters scavenging through the emotional ruins, looking for a survivor, preferably one who saw someone die or knew someone who died, so they can parade the person's grief and shock on television. For ratings. For a clip for their resume so they can move on up on the job.

I can't take the rush to judgment. I can't take the political platforms that are being constructed on campus. More gun control! More guns!

My only opinion is this: I am not surprised with what we are learning about the killer. I've said it before. We do not care about the mentally ill in this country until they kill someone. One of this man's teachers went to the POLICE with her concerns, but was dismissed because the threats weren't specific. Everyone who knew him says the same thing: quiet, loner, disturbing. But he was left alone for his mental state to fester and deteriorate.

Thor sez: I'm sad.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Enough Already!

I found a copy of a Kurt Vonnegut speech on my kitchen table this morning. I skimmed through it while munching on my oh-so-healthy breakfast of 2% cottage cheese and apple slices.

In this speech, he told about a party that he and Joseph Heller (Catch 22) attended. The party was held at the home of an unnamed "multi-billionaire". Vonnegut asked Heller how he felt about the idea that the multi-billionaire had probably made more money on a single day than Heller had made from all the sales of Catch 22 over forty years.

Heller replied that he had "something he can never have".

Vonnegut asked what that could be.

"The knowledge that I've got enough," was the reply.

I've watched so many people over the years. Buying this car or that house in that neighborhood. Buying those designer clothes or being seen eating at that restaurant. Working and working and working to have things but with no time to enjoy them. Worrying ulcers into their stomach linings whenever bill paying time comes around.

I've watched people skip from job to job, from career to career. From lover to lover or marriage to marriage. From city to city. Hot in pursuit of what they think they need or want.

And those people never seem really happy to me. They seem too busy to be happy.

I'm happy that I have the knowledge that I have more than I need.

I've got enough.

Loki sez: But what about cat food? Do we have enough cat food?

Monday, April 16, 2007

What'd you call me?

When my son was about six, he was playing in the neighborhood pool while I lounged about with a book, blissfully in full denial of what the sun was doing to my poor face. There was an older boy, perhaps 10, who was trying to entice my son away from the wall (my boy was not the best swimmer at age 6) so he could dunk and/or splash him. "No," my son said, "you are just trying to humiliate me."

"What'd you call me?" the older boy shouted back.

What we say may not be what people hear and what people hear may not be what we said.

This is my last foray into the Imus situation.

Time magazine this week had an excellent article on the subject of who can say what and the wonderfully brilliant writers for that magazine don't need my sloppy help in presenting the kaleidoscope of angles found within this topic.

But I did want to say something. I've been hearing all sorts of comparisons - that rappers and comedians use the same sort of language and get a free pass, but let an old white dude say it and he gets fired.

Sort of.

It isn't exactly like that. Now, right off the bat, let me say that denigrating a race or a group of people in any capacity is wrong. But it's going to happen. I've listened to enough "dumb Southerner" jokes in my life to understand that. And people should speak out against the casual use of hateful words.

But. Rappers and comedians are generally speaking of a non-specific person. They are usually speaking of a fictitious person or persons.

Imus singled out very specific, very real women. Women who are the exact opposite of what the most racist among us hold out as the stereotype. These are accomplished, hard working, educated young women.

That is what doomed Imus, once the team had its press conference and the nation saw that these fine young women had had all they worked for, all they accomplished, all they strived to become, all that was brushed aside by Imus with a few words that reduced them to nothing but their skin color and gender, there was no wiggle room.

Telling redneck jokes is wrong, not hiring someone with a Southern accent because you think Southerners are stupid is more wrong.

Telling jokes about Jews is wrong, not allowing a Jewish person to join your club is more wrong.

Telling jokes about gays is wrong, denying a gay couple the opportunity to rent an apartment is more wrong.

I only hope that what happened to Imus isn't swept under a rug and forgotten about.

I only hope that next time Anne Coulter implies the "F" word, she is fired.

I hope next time Rosie O'Donnell does an insulting impersonation, she is fired.

I hope next time Bill O'Reilly calls a child a willing participant in his own molestation, he is fired.

I hope next time Nancy Grace declares innocent men guilty, she is fired.

I hope that the days of officially sanctioned hatred via "news organizations" broadcasting their employees' vile words into our homes is over.

Loki sez: It drives me to the nip, all this meanness.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Random Madness

Thor's song:

Does your belly hang low? Can you drop it in a hole? Does it swing to and fro? Oh, does your belly hang low?

Loki's song:

I don't know you.

Silver Streak Update:

Since The Streak has become such a source of amusement for my family, friends and co-workers, and I am always striving to improve life on this planet through humor, especially at my own expense, may I present The Streak:

The Streak is currently approximately one inch. The goal is to reach a length of three inches. At that point, there will be a massive hair cutting ceremony and ta-da - I can end my twenty year love affair with Preference by Loreal. That, or I'll not be able to tolerate it and go running back to my beloved bottles of chemical youth.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

In Lieu of My Normal Routine

Today for exercise, I de-thatched the front lawn. Well, most of the front lawn. With a rake, by hand. And keep in mind that I live in one of those old neighborhoods with real yards. My front lawn is bigger than most newer developments' back lawns. So be impressed. Very impressed. Now to cast out the weed and feed if the promised rain looks like it may actually show up tonight.

Pardon me while I go collapse now.

Thor sez: I would've helped! I'd rip all that dead grass out with my bare claws!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Poke me with a fork...

I'm done. Three nights on, one night off, three nights on. zzzzzzzzzz zzzzzz

No more work until next Friday.

This is the best you'll get from me today:

Fun with 50% off Easter stuff.

Loki sez: Oh hello my little sugary confection.

Thor sez: Hey, this isn't chocolate!

Loki sez: I'll hide behind here and assume my secret identity: Super Bunny!

Thor sez: Eww, keep your secret identity offa me!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


If only Bunny knew, he wouldn't be smiling.

Thor sez: Hope everyone enjoyed their Easter celebrations.

Me, I'm hippity hoppity-ing off to work now.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Can there be such a thing? It seems I can't get through a day without Googling something. Remember the good old days when if you were asked something random like, "What was the actor who played Buffy on Family Affair*?", you'd either know or not know and that was that? Now, you get to Google it. And easy cheesy, all you ever wanted to know about Family Affair.

My problem is Google maps and the hybrid satellite/highway maps. I've gone over every mile of our Arizona Grand Tour so many times, going in person may be like deja vu all over again.

But I love Google. I want to go work for them when they open up in Goose Creek. Of course, the fact that I know next to nothing about programming or anything other than Googling, emailing and blogging may be a bit of a problem. But surely they need a nurse? Right? I could tend to the carpal tunnel syndrome and give out flu shots, right?

Please, Google, I'm real good at giving shots. And I love you.

Thor sez: Try to give me a shot. Go ahead, make my day.

Photo by JAZ

(*Anissa Jones played Buffy)

Monday, April 09, 2007

You're Fired!

My morning news was filled with calls for the head of Imus. I've tried to watch his show a couple of times - they air it on MSNBC in the mornings - but he is boring. Mushmouthed, slurry words boring. He could be funny, I guess, I just can't understand half of what he says.

But I guess he was clear enough when he said something really bad about a college women's basketball team. Clear enough for Al Sharpton to be calling for Imus to be fired.

He should be fired. I mean, he called a group of women athletes from a very prestigious college, um..."nappy haired ho's"...I believe is what he said. That is wrong on so many levels that I can't believe it came from a grown man.

And after we are finished firing Imus, let's fire Bill O'Reilly for saying that an eleven year old boy enjoyed being sodomized by his captor for four years. Let's fire Rosie O'Donnell for her hideously insulting "Chinese person" imitation (and most of everything else that flies out of her mouth without checking in with her common sense first). Then let's fire Rush Limbaugh for all the hateful things he says, then Anne Coulter.

Let's fire them all! Looney liberal lefties and fundie fanatic righties and everyone in between! Fire them! Restore some dignity and decorum to the "news". Restore civility and good old fashioned common courtesy.

(But we won't, will we, America? Come on, admit it, you just love it when someone on 'your' side gets a good, nasty zinger off on someone on 'that' side. It sends a jolt of pleasure right on up into your cerebellum, that sneaky, oh-so-bad-it's-good feeling that you love love LOVE. Admit it. You must love it. Those nasties have the highest ratings going. Some one is watching.)

Loki sez: Look ma, we're playing Rosie and Donald! Maybe CNN will do a report about us! Because celebrity feuds are BIG NEWS!

Sunday, April 08, 2007


I was going to participate in the Blogswarm on the topic of separation of church and state, but twelve hour night shifts do little to enhance my writing and reasoning skills. Besides, Jason and Xark have said all I believe in far, far better words than I ever could muster, on or off the night shifts.

But I do have a few things I'd like to say.

Nonreligious types: please stop making a fuss over things like "in God we trust" on U.S. currency and the "one nation, under God" part of the Pledge of Allegiance (just don't say that part when reciting the pledge). Stop making a fuss over Nativity scenes in front of fire stations and city halls at Christmas. We live in a predominately Christian nation and there are going to be representations of that all the time.

Let's save our objections for the laws that are being passed that use religion to restrict the rights of American citizens.

Religious types: Stop complaining about prayer in school. No-one has "kicked God out of the schools". You and your child are free to pray at any time during school, on school property, your child can bring his/her Bible and read it, they can participate in group prayers and religious clubs. Really they can and you know it. What they can not do is make my child participate if he/she does not want to. Stop saying we want to ban the Bible. It is not right and you know it, it is just something you say to try to stifle conversation by creating an enemy.

That's all.

Oh, wait. No, I am not "mad" at God. Nothing "happened" to "turn me away from God". No, I am not "afraid of going to hell". And no, I don't think I should believe "just in case".

Thank you for asking.

Thor sez: I believe in butterflies.

Friday, April 06, 2007

It's Friday

Good Friday. That's the day my employer has deemed a holiday. Which means that all the management type people get a day off, but us poor slobs working nights and weekends get to work Easter without holiday pay.

It's back to work Friday. I'm starting a new cycle of six on, seven off. We'll see how the old broad holds up.

May I just say that I don't mind the wrinkle on my forehead. I don't mind the zit on my forehead. I do mind terribly the zit IN the wrinkle on my forehead. It just seems mockingly cruel.

This cold snap is probably my fault. I planted a patio tomato in my patio container. It just seems wrong that the day after my A/C guy came to do my pre-summer maintenance check, I had to turn on the heat. Wrong.

Random cat picture because I like it:

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

An Idea

SEATTLE, Washington (AP) -- A University of Washington researcher was shot to death in her office Monday morning by a former boyfriend who then turned the gun on himself, police said.

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- An Atlanta man fatally shot his ex-girlfriend Tuesday at the CNN Center complex in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, before being shot by a security officer, police said.

BARNESVILLE, Md. - A mother found the bodies of her two young children and their father in a wooded area Tuesday after the man called her threatening to harm them, police said.

On the heels of the two Monck's Corner police officers being killed responding to a domestic disturbance, these stories seemed to jump out at me, reminding me of how little progress we have made in the thirty years since domestic abuse was dragged from its closet of shame.

There is better education. There are better laws. But still the mayhem continues with women and children bearing the brunt of the violence.

Then an idea came to me. Now, I'm not the smartest person in the world, so I wouldn't be a bit surprised if this hasn't been thought of before, but here is what I thought.

We have been reviewing new security systems for the nursery where I work. There is one system that has a feature where the baby and the mom have bracelets that are linked via the computer monitoring system. If the wrong baby is brought too close to the wrong mother, the alarm sounds.

So I thought, why can't we do something like that with men who have restraining orders against them? Put a bracelet on him (like the house arrest ones), put a bracelet on the woman and if he gets too close to her, he gets zapped with a Taser-like discharge from his bracelet. This would allow the woman time to get to safety or call the police. It would also be safer for the police responding, to find a partially incapacitated violator of the law rather than an out of control, possibly gun wielding man.

Woman, children, police officers safe. The end.

Thor sez: I vote we drag them away by their short hairs and toss them in the hoose-gow forever!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Stock Tip

Invest in Post-It notes because I'm going through them like..well...Post-It notes. It's gotten to where I can't walk from one room to another without forgetting what I was going to get. No wonder I need afternoon naps.

Random stuff:

I've almost got the Arizona Grand Tour 2007 booked and mostly paid for. I need to book one more hotel, but have grown weary of bouncing back and forth between Expedia and Google researching every hotel I consider. I also need to book the rental car.

I bought a tomato plant and I am going to murder the parsley plant in the herb container garden because it is growing weird and looks stupid and I've cut it back and it is still growing weird. So there.

The giant sunflower seeds I planted are starting to grow.

I bought a bag of corn feed to tempt the raccoons away from my garbage can.

I had something really cool to blog about in mind last night, but can't remember what it was now.

Random Thor:

Monday, April 02, 2007

Why Fundies Love Newt

1. He served Wife One with divorce papers while she was in the hospital being treated for cancer, while (allegedly) screwing Wife Two-to-be.

2. Jesus said that 'he who was without sin' could cast the first stone at the adulterous woman, well Newtie was lobbing boulders at Clinton for screwing Monica (or whatever they were doing) while Newtie was boffing (admitted) Wife Three-to-be while still married to Wife Two. (But he said he'd drawn a "moral line" in his mind about it).

(Rhetorical question: Which is the worse "sin"? To commit a sin or to condemn a sinner for the same sin you are committing?)

3. He is racist. (Spanish is a ghetto language). Go read some Jorge Luis Borges. (Oh yeah, those types don't read no furrin' books, if they were any good, they'd be Americans.)

4. I'm pretty sure he's homophobic. (I get your religion says it's wrong. That's cool. Don't be gay, smoke crack and deny and blame your wife for driving you to a male prostitute, whatever you need to look yourself in the mirror in the morning. But what if I don't follow your religion? Don't I have the freedom of an American citizen to pursue my happiness?)

5. James Dobson likes him. The end. (insert sound of fundamentalist minds slamming shut).

Loki sez: Oh relax, have some nip.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Kitten Sunday

Thor and the Euphonium