Saturday, May 31, 2008

For the Birds

It is difficult to photograph the birds through my front window because I have that film stuff on them (the windows, not the birds) and it makes everything dark. But if I can catch a bright enough cloudy day or the late evening sun, I can usually get something recognizable.

This week, I've had mommy and daddy birds bringing their fledglings to my feeder. The sparrow babies have been out. A black bird, maybe a crow, I'm not sure. A starling. Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird have been extremely busy. Their house looks like O'Hare with all the take offs and landings. Haven't seen any little blue babies yet.

Thor sez: The end.

Friday, May 30, 2008


Rick Bragg was just as funny, just as teddy-bear huggable, just as brilliant last night as he ever is. My mom went with us and she had never read his books nor heard him speak and it was fun to watch her fall under his spell.

I had Jason's book signed for him because he had to leave early to cover an event for Spoleto. I also bought one and had it signed for my son.

And I don't know who is in charge of publicity events at the West Ashley Books A Million, but I was embarrassed for Charleston. I happened to be walking up the sidewalk when Mr. Bragg's driver dropped him off. I greeted him at the door and we walked in together. I was looking around for a store employee to tell them to find whoever was in charge of the event, but couldn't find one. Meanwhile, Mr. Bragg was surrounded by the fairly large crowd there to see him, all asking questions. The store did not have an area set up for a reading, only one small table by the front door, as if Mr. Bragg was just supposed to sit there signing books for random people who walked by.

He is a Pulitzer Prize winner! He has a huge following. You do not leave him standing alone at the front of your store.

Finally one employee came up and just started handing out numbered tickets. Jason told him to move the table back away from the door and then he started hauling chairs out of the cafe for some of the people to sit in.

During the reading, the store employees continued to run whatever machine it is in the coffee shop that sounds like a jet engine taking off. Halfway through the reading, an employee came on the overhead to announce that Mr. Bragg was there signing books.

Whoever was in charge of this event should be ashamed of themselves. Mr. Bragg, being the person he is, took it all in stride and never said a word (except a joke about shooting the loud machine).

That's all I've got to say about that.

Other stuff:
My dishwasher is coming next Tuesday. I already bought dishwasher soap.

The raccoon stole the three raisin sized grape tomatoes also. Brat.

I'm very sad that Harvey Korman has passed away. One of the best laughs I ever had was from the expression on his face when Carol Burnett came down the stairs in the Gone With the Wind spoof, wearing a dress made from the curtains, with the curtain rod still in place.

I have a secret, but I can't tell you right now. I can tell you in a few days. I'm just afraid if I say it out loud, it won't really be true. It's a left over poor person thing: only when something is in your hand are you sure you are going to get it. And even then there is a little fear it will be taken away.

And now, some totally self indulgent stuff:
The Dinner Show.
The head butt.

The Loki stretch.

The what-is-it-crane.

The Thor double check. (Whle Loki stares at where the plate will go.)

Shows plays 7 days a week, 365 day a year, 5pm, my kitchen.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thor's Day!

I've been teasing Thor that he is the guardian of the garden because he sits on the cat tree by the window overlooking the containers and watches every little thing that goes on in the backyard.

Last night, I don't know what time, I briefly came awake, thinking I had heard him meowing and thumping the kitchen door. I didn't hear anything once I was awake, so did what any reasonable person does at o'dark-thirty. I went back to sleep.

This morning I peeked out the back door to find my lone tomato gone. Stolen green and bitter from the vine by the raccoon. I hope he gets a tummy ache.

Poor Thor. He tried his best. I gave him some yummy treats for his efforts.

Thor sez: I tried to scare him away!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Like Christmas, Your Birthday and the First Day of Vacation All In One

Say the name with me......Rick Bragg. In Charleston! Let me try to be clear so you understand: I love Rick Bragg. Love, love, love. Adore him, adore his books, swoon with envy over his flawless prose.

I discovered him by accident many years ago while wandering the aisles of Books A Million. The stories he told of his childhood and teen years (we are about the same age)were so familiar, so real, so beautifully written that I was both transported with joy and crushed by despair that I could ever hitch together words in such a fashion.

My most favorite part of All Over But the Shouting was a tale he told of when he was studying on a fellowship at Harvard. There was a Russian journalist there also and he admitted when he heard her accent, he would ask her, "So, vere is Moose and Squirrel?" It's my most favorite because I've done that, heard a Russian accent and instead of thinking something urbane and sophisticated, Tolstoy or Baryshnikov, my mind goes to Bullwinkle and Saturday mornings spent on the floor in front of the television.

And as much as I loved the story he told of his childhood, essentially fatherless and poor, his mother shielding him as best she could from the reality of their lives, I also loved the stories he told from his newspaper career. Stories of poor people, people with no voice. And he cared about those people and he told their stories with dignity and respect that they seldom received elsewhere.

You can't fake that compassion.

And I can't wait to see him (again - I saw him in New Orleans many years ago), to listen to him tell a little more of his story and to thank him once again for allowing me to believe that there is worth and healing in our stories.

One of two cardinals that were fighting in the yard yesterday. While the female gorged herself on sunflower seeds.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Day After

I wanted to write yesterday about Memorial Day and the awful hypocrisy we Americans participate in by devoting one day to teary eyed, goose-bumped devotions to those who have fallen in the service of this country while we allow our government to cut veterans benefits and deny benefits to the wounded. We house our beloved soldiers in moldy substandard housing, we pay them so little that military families qualify for food stamps and WIC.

But Rose beat me to it.

So I will only add my heartfelt, "Tell it, sistah!"

Patriotism means more than taking five minutes once or twice a year to "remember" before you go boating or out on your picnic.

If you truly love and respect the military, you will pay attention to what your representatives are doing to them and make your voice heard.

That's all.

And to my favorite man in uniform, thank you!

That's my baby boy on the far right, goofing off with his buddies. I know he is goofing off because he knows I will whip him with a belt if he is still smoking!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mick Monday?

Jason thinks that I am being horribly unfair to Mick Jagger. Not that Mick Jagger. This Mick Jagger:

It is no secret I am in no way fond of the guinea pig who lives in the laundry room. But I am kind to him. I feed him fresh veggies and fruit. Which he snatches from my fingers while managing to bite me, then squeals rudely as if I had kept him waiting. He stinks. He poops on his food. He poops and pees where ever he happens to be standing when the urge hits him.

I do not find these qualities attractive in a pet. Two of the best things about cats are: 1) to litter train you show them where the box is, once. 2) they bury their poop.

And personally, I think we should change his name to Keith Richards because he is about six years old (10,400 in guinea pig years) and he just keeps going.

But I suppose it is a bit unfair that Thor and Loki get all the attention.

Loki sez: Pungent.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Loki Sunday

Holy Cats, Batman. I almost let the day get away from me.

Loki's new favorite thing, a self-groomer bought by his daddy. Basically it is a giant pipe cleaner on a platform.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Of Shoes and Salesmen

Yesterday's torture, I mean shopping, was fairly fruitful. I did my normal once around the women's department of a higher-end store, left with a vague sense of po' girl outrage that the only thing I saw that I liked was a pair of pants that cost $180.

There is no way in 47 hells I could/would pay $180 for a pair of pants! Not even if I won the lottery.

So I ambled on down to my favorite slightly-better-than-Target-or-Walmart-store and found two very nice pairs of pants and three very nice blouses for just slightly less than the pair of pants.

So there.

Then came the worst torture ever. Shoes. With a wisdom born of age (and pain), I forced myself to stay away from the Pick-and-Pay and other cheapo shoe stores. I marched my fat ass right back to higher-end store and plunged into the shoe department. I managed to dodge shoe salesman guy for a while, at least long enough for me to find a pair that I wanted to try on.

Okay. Here is the thing. I know it is wrong to complain about actually getting some customer service, and yes, I know poor shoe salesman guy is working on commission, but he was annoying the everliving snot out of me.

I pointed to a pair of shoes. I told him, "I would like to try these on in the black and the brown, size 8 1/2 and 9, please."

He brought me back something like ten boxes of shoes and started laying out all these shoes that he thought I might like to see. I politely watched as he took them all out and then tried on the two pairs I'd originally asked for. They were a bit tight in the 8 1/2 and he hadn't brought the size 9, so I asked if he could please bring me those. I said I really liked those two pairs and would purchase them if the size 9 fit better. (HINT HINT)

He came back with even more boxes of different shoes along with my size 9's. Now at that point, I started to get a little pissed off. Not because he was trying to increase his commission, I get that. But because somewhere, some-one told him that we women were powerless over our obsession with shoes and if he just kept bringing more of them, little ole me wouldn't have the will power to refuse an extra pair or three of shoes.

And I wanted to say something along the lines of, "Hey, dude, don't waste your time. I am not going to buy extra shoes, I hate and despise shoes. I'm only buying these because I don't want to embarrass my fellow by showing up to a fancy play opening wearing tennis shoes."

But why ruin his day?

On the other hand, the shoes were probably the most expensive I'd ever purchased, outside of a pair of screaming hot boots I had in my 20's, and they actually didn't hurt my feet while I was wearing them.

Thor sez: No shoes, no pain.

Friday, May 23, 2008


we have a tomato:

We also have a problem. Spoleto is upon us and as the dutiful girl friend of a journalist, I shall be attending performances for review.

And as a laid back, jeans and t-shirt kind of gal, I only have a few "good" outfits. You know, the funeral dress, the wedding dress, the job interview dress.

All of which fit me about 20 pounds ago.

So today I must do the one thing I despise more than a mammogram: Go clothes shopping at the mall.

Even worse, worse than a Pap smear: shop for shoes.

I'm the worst at being a girl.

Loki sez: I get a new shoebox to chew?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thor's Day!

Can I go outside for a minute?



Tuesday, May 20, 2008


1. I dislike liars.

2. I do not care to be set up to fail, then kicked in the shins about it so that another can feel superior.

Thor sez: Want I should unsheathe the Claws of Doom?

Monday, May 19, 2008

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Pretty well, in spite of the katydids having lunch on the leaves.

Everything has flowers blooming, the tomato plants grew so quickly, I barely got the cages on them. I know, I should have put them on when I planted. I found an organic pesticide that I'm going to try. Jason bought me a solar powered motion detection light that we mounted at raccoon height, so if the critters come too close, the light will go on and (in theory) scare them away. I also put mothballs in the grass around the containers on the advice of an acquaintance who is a seasoned raccoon invasion fighter.

If I can bring a crop to harvest, I may add a few more containers. The herbs are doing very well, I can probably start drying small batches within a week.

Meanwhile, the boys are learning to spell.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Loki Sunday

It's not easy, being Thor's brother.

Loki sez: He's right behind me, isn't he?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Two Things

1. To the medical-type person who was riding his motorcycle to work this morning in scrubs, Crocs and no helmet - are you an idiot?

2. How do I get rid of a cowbird? He is driving me insane (although Loki loves him). Screeeech, puff, tap. Screech, puff, tap. Screech, puff, tap. Continue on until, nature lover extraordinaire that I am, I want to kill him. I put a stuffed chipmunk on the window sill and that helped. But it looked tacky. And kept falling over into the bushes. So I went and bought a large metallic decorative gecko and that worked for about two days. Now he is back. Seriously. I've changed the type of food in the feeder, but he doesn't eat, he just sits there screeching, puffing and tapping. It's like Chinese water torture. Tap, tap, freaking tap.

Loki sez: But I love him! He's my friend!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thor's Day!

It's difficult, keeping indoor cats physically active and mentally stimulated enough so that they don't shred your entire house to bits out of boredom.

I think they amuse themselves by suddenly deciding that no, I no longer like that toy. Then they sit and stare at me until I figure out what they want to play with. I call it the "making the human look like an idiot" game. I think it is their favorite.

Thor's new favorite game is chase the feathers on a stick toy but only on the bed in the spare room.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lights, Camera...Fines!

I have had enough. (I know, it's all about me!) As most readers know, I tend towards tree-hugging, flaming liberal status. I'd probably even be a vegetarian if sausage just wasn't soooooooo good.

But on law and orders matters, I tend to run conservative. And I am completely fed up with the repeated attempts upon my life by people who feel they have the right to kill and/or maim me simply because they don't want to stop for a red light.

Twice, I have narrowly avoided accidents in which I literally, really, ya'll'd be coming to my funeral would have been killed.

First was a tractor-trailer ran the red light at Paul Cantrell and Magwood. My view was blocked by a SUV on my left and it was only when I saw the SUV hesitate in accelerating that I braked, waiting until I could see why he slowed. The semi missed my little Saturn by less than a foot, enough to rock it back on its wheels.

Second was just this last Friday when I was leaving West Ashley High School, making a left on to Paul Cantrell. Two cars had already gone straight through OUR green light while I hesitated because the person coming towards me in the opposite lane did not have a turn signal on and I was waiting (in the intersection!) to see where he was going when a large SUV came barrelling through the red light on his side. Two cars had already gone through - it wasn't a last minute, run the yellow and it turned red.

So here is my proposal. I think Charleston County needs to put a camera on every single solitary red light there is in this county and snap a photo of the license plate of every car that runs a red light. Send the registered owner a $1000 ticket. Don't care if your Aunt Sally borrowed your car that day. Don't care if it was your teenager driver.

It is your car, it is your personal responsibility to monitor who is driving it.

Remember that good old fashioned American value? Personal responsibility?

Take the money from these fines and establish a Charleston County School district supply fund. The teachers (not administrators) will be in charge. They can get supplies from paper and pencils on up to laptops for their students. We could get every single child in the county a laptop with just the fines from Paul Cantrell and Magwood within a week!

Come on, it's for the children!

And perhaps we'll go to less funerals. Perhaps our insurance rates will drop.

The boys say: How many red lights to we have to go through to the vet?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I suppose it isn't technically insomnia if you can't fall asleep until 3am and sleep until 9 or 10am. Annoying as all hell, but not insomnia. It is getting more and more difficult to flip my sleep cycles from days to nights. So much so that I'm thinking about asking my doc for some Ambien or something. Problem is, I don't want to take it every night (or day), just once in a while so I can switch more smoothly from day sleeping to night sleeping.

My economic stimulus money is here and I need to decide if I am going to participate in this sham and spend it (depending, of course, if I can find something I need that is actually made in America, by Americans so that I am stimulating the proper economy) or if I'll just put it in my savings account. I'm really sick of hand washing dishes. And I want a back patio. Decisions, decisions.

And now, Twosday:

And, no my window sills are not that dirty. I have the UV protection window film on them and it just looks like that. My windows, on the other hand, are that dirty, having been slimed up by Mr. And Mrs. Cowbird for the past two weeks and having sparrows, cardinals and chickadees run into them by the psychotic mockingbird.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday Morning Weirdness

The mockingbird nesting in the pear tree just off the front porch screams at every living thing that comes within a mile of her nest. I usually ignore her, but this morning she was on the sidewalk, rushing at the bushes and I thought perhaps brown cat was out there. I didn't see anything when I opened the door and so went back to the business of caffeinating myself.

A while later, the boys were in their playroom/guest bedroom, staring intently out the window. Thinking the cat was back, I opened the front door and found a puppy on my porch.

A rather large liver colored perhaps a Labrador puppy. One of those already bigger than a grown cat with huge paws puppies.

A bit surprising, so I exclaimed, "Oh! A puppy!"

And puppy ran away up the street. He got about three houses up before being distracted from his romp by some interesting smell.

I hope he knows where he lives.

Thor sez: Puppy could live here?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Loki Sunday

Not so low key. I awoke this morning around four a.m. to the sound of thunder. How far off, I didn't have to sit and wonder. It was right on top of us. So I had to go check on Thor, because despite being the God of Thunder, he is afraid of it. Plus he had a little teeny tiny drop of blood from his nostril yesterday, followed by some drainage (he is a sneezy allergy cat) and in my usual fashion, I'd whipped myself into a frenzy of fear that he has some sort of cancer of the sinus. He's fine.

And now we are under tornado warnings and it makes me think of several years ago, we had tornadoes on Mother's Day. Well, bad weather or not, today I must put gasoline in my car and groceries in my cabinets.

And now, caffeine into my bloodstream and Loki into your day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday Day Fever?

Forget the price of gas! I just paid $20 for a pack of 8 razors! I'm thinking of going hippie and not shaving my legs anymore.

And speaking of gas, I went to fill up this morning (at the same place where Jason witnessed the "I'll put a cap in yo' azz" incident) and there were blaring horns and a full grown man yelling at another full grown man because man #2 had his ginormous boat and humongous truck blocking both pumps on one side.

I just went home.

People need to get a grip.

Thor sez: Chill! It's Caturday.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Freaky Friday

Ever since yesterday when I wrote that Thor isn't snuggly, he has been snuggled up beside me every opportunity he gets. I've had three snuggles today and right now he is laying on the floor behind me. Do you think he reads the blog at night?

I tried to do errands this morning, but got so dizzy and woozy I ended up getting a bottle of orange juice in Target and drinking it as I picked out Mother's Day cards. Then the cashier shook the half empty bottle when she rang it up and I had to admit I'd run out of the house without eating breakfast and my sugar was crashing and I had to drink it or I would have passed out.

I'm still trying to find a hanging lamp for the front room. My eyes have gotten so bad that unless it is high noon, I can't read in there. Actually I can't read any where unless there is an interrogation strength spotlight shining down on the page.

Tonight is my drama queen niece's last high school play. Soon she'll be drama queening it up at USC. The girl has got it going on. When she was thirteen, she came with me to a writer's group I attended and, in front of complete strangers and in public, read a section of a story she'd written. I'd have never had the guts to do that at 13, hell, I was 40 and the first time I read for the group, I almost fainted.

Loki sez: Fascinating. In other news, I hocked up a hairball in the laundry room.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Thor's Day!

Yeah! Off work Thor's day. And just in time too, my poor knees look like tree trunks.

Thor is not the most loving, snuggle cat. He rarely sits on a lap. The only time he curls up next to me is when I'm reading in bed. Then he loves me more than cat nip.

But he can be unbearably sweet:

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Polite Non-theist

Last night, a member of the clergy was wandering the hospital, blessing the hands of the nurses and doctors and other care providers. I was in a patient's room when she went through the nursery and she asked me in the hall if I wanted my hands blessed.

If I am at a gathering and there is prayer, I will bow my head in respect for the beliefs of those praying. I have nothing against the blessing of hands or the laying on of hands or whatever religious ritual you wish to engage in (unless it is spiritually marrying 14 year old girls, of course).

I smiled at the lady who offered to bless my hands and very nicely said, "Oh, no, but thank you for asking." (Once some-one at work asked if I was feeling ill and I told her I had a little cold and she grabbed my arm and starting calling on Jesus to heal me, which I wouldn't have found as offensive if she had A) asked me, and B) we weren't at the bedside of a woman who was, at the time, pushing out a baby.) I will show respect when you are performing your religious rituals, but for me to actively participate in something I do not believe in, is not respectful, it is a sham.

And I got "the look". That taken aback, slightly aghast look. I saw it recently when an acquaintance told me I needed to read some book as a supplement to my Bible studies and I very politely told her that I wasn't a Christian. She could barely comprehend what I had said.

I know there are rude, in-your-face atheists out there, just as there are rude, in-your-face theists out there.

But I am polite. So stop giving me the look. Show me the respect I show you. Save your Satan and hell speeches for the rude.

Thank you very much.

Loki sez: This look?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Blogger Spotting

Spotted wandering the halls of a local hospital: the Pat half of Pat and Kathie.

And just why was Pat wandering the halls of said hospital after midnight on a week day?

Because she is marvelous. And she was bringing me strawberry shortcake and presents. Because I am marvelous. No, because it was a part of the Nurses Week celebration and I was swamped and wasn't going to be able to get down to the give away spot before they stopped giving stuff away.

Told ya she was marvelous.

And I got to personally tell her how I was glowing green with envy over her upcoming trip with her sis and fellow blogger Joan to hike across England along Hadrian's Wall, wandering from countryside inn to countryside inn.

Green. With. Envy.

Loki sez: But you'd miss us, look how cute we are, how could you be away from such cuteness?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Put On Your Big Girl Panties America

The other day, we were discussing the P&C article about how the current economic climate is affecting (effecting?, hell hold on, where's the big print dictionary?) the ordinary person. Rising food and gas prices have certainly been a potent one-two punch on the household budget.

Leaving out the working poor and those on fixed incomes, who always feel the pinch because they basically live from penny to penny, has it really been that bad so far for "middle class" families? Those with a couple of cars, several computers and cell phones and all the latest "must have" gadgets? Or is it just that we are now having to face the fact that we can't always get what we want when we want it? We are having to spend our "fun" money on necessities?

There was a couple mentioned in that article. Their reported income was a bit over what my gross income is. Now, after approximately $15,000 a year melting away in the form of taxes and insurance, I still pay all my bills comfortably. I haven't had to use a credit card to buy food like that couple claims they have to do. Maybe there is something else there that the P&C didn't tell us about them.

I was at the gas pump the other day when the gentleman on the other side of the pump complained about how much it had cost to fill his pick up truck. Trying to sympathize with his pain, I remarked that I had four gallons in and the pump was reading $14. He said that "something has to give, this just isn't right." I agreed and trying to be positive said, "at least it isn't as expensive as gas in Europe, I've heard it's twice as much over there." To which he replied:

"I don't care. This is America, not Europe."

Leaving me quite at a loss as to how to respond. All I managed was a faint, "Yes, this is America." Yes it is. But why did that translate into high gas prices being wrong for us? Why should we have it better than anyone else on the planet?

I once read some social commentary that described recent American culture as in the adolescent stage of behavior. Like adolescents, we are convinced we are invincible, we love to spend, spend, spend, we don't want to work and grind away, we want to have fun.

I think, if that was an accurate description, America is now at the stage of early adulthood. Our culture is graduating from college and, facing all those student loans and credit card balances, realizing we've got to get to work and cut back on our extravagances.

It isn't fun, though. It isn't fun to work and only spend what you have. It isn't fun to watch all your money go to bills and to have nothing to spend on yourself. It's boring to take lunch to work with you everyday instead of going out with the gang. It's boring to eat a home cooked dinner every night.

It's not fair that you can't buy the latest version of whatever technology you want. Everyone else is getting the newest cell phone, laptop, television, gaming system, fill in the blank.

We have been brainwashed into thinking that a family with a large home, two or more cars, several televisions, cell phones for every member, enough computers and laptops and gaming systems for every member, the latest fashions in clothes, every member engaging in more than two paid-for activities, going out to dinner several nights a week, going to Disney at least once a year, we've been brainwashed into thinking that that is middle class.

People, that is rich. That is lower upper class. That ain't middle class. And we need to start acting like our income brackets. I was speculating that a nice little mini-depression, although not wishing for one for the vast harm it would do to the working poor, wouldn't be such a bad thing for spoiled middle classers who have no idea of how spoiled they are.

Everyone is talking about budgets and cost cutting and saving for extras. That is what you were supposed to be doing all along. Maybe it is because I was raised by a woman who still washes out and reuses plastic baggies, who has been known to wash off and reuse aluminum foil. A woman who put her knowledge of what was important, learned growing up in the rural South during the Great Depression, she put it to good use when left alone with four kids and no job skills. Maybe it was because I lived in poverty in my young adult years.

I was taught to fear debt. I was taught that if you don't have cash for a "want", you saved until you did or you did without. That's what we need to learn. How to do without for a while.

I think it will do America good to get back to the basic values of hard work, frugal spending, saving for the proverbial rainy day, and teaching our children respect for money and the appreciation of the simple things in life.

Thor sez: So, this is probably a bad time to tell you that I'm bored with the two cat trees I have and I want a new one?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Loki Sunday

Yesterday, Jason said that, unlike Thor, Loki doesn't have any goofy pictures. I begged to differ.