Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thor's Day!

The Three Faces of Thor:

The back is much better now after 48 hours. So hopefully no MRI.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Magical Medical Tour Continues

I wish I had a great story for how this happened. But I don't. All I did was get up to make a cup of coffee, turn to the left to put a spoon in the sink and boom! Massive muscle spasms in my lower back.

I've limped along the past few days with heat/ice/anti-inflammatory but yesterday had to admit defeat and go to the doc.

Who thinks I may have herniated or ruptured a disc.

For Pete's sake!

So I have 48 hours of muscle relaxers and pain pills. If no improvement, I get to add an MRI to the long list of expensive tests I've had this year.

My insurance company is probably having apoplexy.

Loki sez: Back up here and I'll massage your back with my Magic Paws.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Fine Line

This weekend, Jason and I had a conversation we've had many times before. It began when I mused that perhaps we should pull the book shelves away from the wall (they catty-corner around a, uh, corner) and dust/clean behind them. I'm pretty sure there is a picture or two and maybe a book back there.

Then the conversation ensued:

Jason: I really need to go through all my books in the spare room and get rid of at least 50% of them.

Me: Yes, I need to go through these out here and do the same.

We've had this conversation at least twice a year for years now and still, we have ten trillion books shoved in every corner of the house.

We should probably just codify the entire conversation:

Me: Books.

Jason: Uh-huh.

Current reading list:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (just re-read Order of the Phoenix and The Half Blood Prince)

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (a young adult vampire tale). I've nibbled on the first chapter enough to know I want to go ahead with the whole book.

Presents from Jason because we discussed Mark Twain and the desire in some quarters to remove the "N" word from Huck Finn and I mentioned I'd like to expand my Twain reading beyond the books that were required by my high school:

The Innocents Abroad, or The New Pilgrim's Progress and (on my son's ultra groovy half brother's recommendation) Following the Equator.

In the stack:
What's the Matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank
The Big Squeeze by Steven Greenhouse
Nixonland by Rick Perlstein

It's a fine line we walk, between bibliophile and biblioholic.

I fully admit to my powerlessness over books but Jason still thinks he is just a lover of books.

Thor sez: Frankly, I don't understand why you stare a marks on a page when you could be looking at my abundance of cuteness.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Loki Sunday

Loki, life of the party.

Which I am definately not right now. Goodnight all.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Frittering Away Friday

As I have to report to work in five hours, I have spent much of today doing nothing at all. Sleeping in until eleven. Oh, I did one load of laundry.

The web version of our slowly dying grand dame newspaper had an article about hurricane evacuations and such.

I won't evacuate, mostly because I will be locked down in the hospital (pssst, Joan, how big of an air mattress can I fit in your office?). Jason will stay because his day job requires him to be on the relief team.

My house survived Hugo with the only damage being a what's-it-called-the-part-of-the-roof-that-overhangs squished by a pine tree that fell on it. There was no flooding, but the storm came in well north of us. Unless a storm comes straight up the Ashley River at high tide, I don't think flooding will be too bad.

Since the neighbor's insurance company blackmailed him into cutting down the two hundred year old pine trees in his back yard, there isn't really anything close to the house unless a branch comes off the oak tree out back.

But I've taken a lesson from Katrina. Part of my hurricane preparations this year will be to put an escape kit in the attic - a hand held hatchet and a hammer, some heavy work gloves and perhaps a length of rope. If I want to get super paranoid (which I am certainly capable of), a raft. Just in case.

I do need to double check the plywood in the shed. The only window I plan on boarding up is the big double window in the front. The rest can blow out, I want new ones anyway.

My top two tips:

1. Make sure you have a manual can opener. Many people thought of that too late.

2. Unscented baby wipes for "bathing" and hand washing saves on water.

Our new visitor the Downy Woodpecker came by yesterday:

And having nothing to do with anything,

Loki licks a leg.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thor's Day, Part Two!

Hey world, Thor needs your help!

Jason talked me into entering Thor in WEZL radio's contest: Charleston's Top Cat.

This is the photo I entered:

Please vote (if you can stand the sign in process, it made me cuss a bad cuss.)

Oh, and I plan to use the prize, if Thor wins, to buy supplies to donate to the Charleston Animal Society.

Thor's Day!

The things I see just walking down the hall. Check out the ear action in the last picture.

Thor sez: Do you mind? You scared the squirrel away.
(Note to self: Rewash sheets on guest bed before having a guest.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wednesday Wanderings

I see by the morning news that it is reporters-standing-out-in-hurricane-force-winds-while-telling-you-to-evacuate season again.

Has anyone told them that they look like complete idiots doing that?

Not to mention, hmm guess I am mentioning it, why should I leave my comfy home, sit in a huge traffic jam for hours, pay to stay in some flea bag hotel, spend money on meals and gas for a storm that some dude can stand outside in?

And what is it about WalMart? I know they are evil, but sometimes they are the only place that has what I need. I left here this morning, bright eyed and perky, still feeling the burn from my workout. Five minutes after entering the building, I could feel my brain glazing over. My eye lids started to droop and I just wanted to curl up and take a nap. I could feel my IQ draining away and the drool beginning to form on my lips.

Every time I go there it happens. Is it the lighting? The air quality? Some Zombification Agent they spray in the air?

Why I can't get anything written:

Thor sez: It's okay that you threw me down here on the floor. I'll just lay here. Alone. And die. Of loneliness.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Humming Right Along

A few weeks ago, I put up a hummingbird feeder. I had seen a hummingbird cruise through the front yard to check out the crepe myrtle blossoms. I hung it up, filled it with pre-mixed "nectar" and waited. Never saw a thing.

Then I spotted Patrick's amazing photographs on the Lowcountry Blogroll. So I asked him how he got such action at his feeder. He gave me a home made nectar recipe.

Literally, really, Jason was here and witnessed this, within 10 minutes of putting up the new nectar, I had a hummingbird at the feeder.

(Now all I need is a camera like Patrick's!)

In other feathery news, I counted 22 house sparrows having a party on the lawn, in the drive way, in the jacuzzi - I mean birdbath - yesterday.

We have a trio of tufted tit mouses (tit mice?) that show up pretty regularly, one of them has chewed off tail feathers. I've named him Stumpy. Perhaps it should be Lucky.

Loki's favorite continues to be the Carolina Chickadees and he meerphs every time one comes near.

My favorites are the Carolina Wrens and I've put up a wren house hoping they might use it next spring.

We've had a new visitor, a Downy Woodpecker, but I've not been able to grab a photo of her yet. This Red Bellied Woodpecker is a frequent guest at the swinging suet cake buffet.

And I think I've put this here before, but I simply love this photo, so here it is again.

And a rare sighting of the Two Headed Cat Bird:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Where I Stand

This morning, while tooling down the highway, well more appropriate to Hwy 61, inching down the highway to another indecently early mandatory education class, I saw this bumper sticker:

If you don't stand behind the troops, stand in front of them.

Well, excuse me, but I believe that by protesting our entrance into Iraq, by writing to my representatives urging them to support legislation that helps our returning veterans, by asking them to not support the cutting of funds for veteran's benefits and by sending goodie packages to my Navy son every so often that I am already standing in front of our troops.

See, they have no choice in the missions they are assigned. It is my responsibility to ask, is this worth having men and women die in my name?

Afghanistan and the search for Bin Laden? Yes.

Iraq? No.

So don't slap a sticker on your car and consider your duty to the troops done.

Thor sez: I'll stand in the window until my human brother is serving in peace.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Loki Sunday

I asked Loki what he wanted the theme of today's Loki Sunday to be and he said, "Meh."


Loki sez: It's perfectly clear to me.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ghosts In My Machine

Long ago and in a universe far away, I was once a young and fair novice nurse. My first place of employment was on a pediatric unit. It was there I learned the things you will never, ever learn in nursing school.

It was there that a handsome young man, trailing a length of oxygen tubing at least a mile long, gave me a double take in the hallway one fine morning.

"You're new," he said.

"Yes. I'm Janet."

He tilted his head to the left, a gesture I would soon come to learn heralded some sort of tomfoolery.

"I can't believe they went and hired a new nurse without consulting me," he said, shaking his head and looking very put out.

(He had a chronic illness and was in the hospital many times a year for up to two weeks at a time, you see. He knew us all very well.)

"Well, would you like to sit down and talk?" I asked.

"Yes, can you come to my room in ten minutes?"

Ten minutes later, I knocked on his door and heard a firm, "Come in."

I stepped inside and he had set up a miniature office, using his bed side table as a desk. He had his room phone on one corner and neatly arranged were stacks of paper, pens, and a stapler, all scavenged from the unit secretary, I'm sure.

He asked me to sit in the chair he'd placed in front of his desk and proceeded to interview me, asking some better questions than my real interviewers had asked.

Finally, he ran out of questions and leaned back, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.

"Do I get the job?" I asked.

He said yes. He said I had a kind smile and he would hire me.

Two years later, he died in another hospital, following a double lung transplant.

He was the first to break my heart and I'll remember him forever.

Loki sez: sigh

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thor's Day

Thor, disgruntled.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What I've Learned Since Sunday

Bush isn't President of the United States, he is President of Big Oil. Got it. Good for them. Sucks for the rest of us.

Chugging half a liter of barium isn't quite so bad when you've been on your feet running around like a crazy person for ten hours with nothing to eat or drink.

Chugging a second half liter of barium eleven hours later isn't quite so bad when all you've ingested is a cup of tea since the last chug-a-thon.

Getting injected with CT scan contrast is the single most unusual sensation I've ever experienced, legal or non.

Wolfing down Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ as your first meal after an extended fast, while extremely tasty, isn't the best re-introduction to digestion.

Only having two cups of coffee or tea a day does not protect one from massive caffeine withdrawal headaches.

Letting an almost 13 pound feline who has a normal body temperature around 101 degrees sleep on top of you isn't conducive to a restful night's sleep.

What I hope to learn by Friday:

Why I have had pain in my right lower abdomen on and off for the last year or so. (Well, we got the whole shortness of breath, heart palpitation mystery cleared up, so it was time to move on to mystery number two.)

That I don't have to have the second procedure that the GI doc recommended, quote: since you are going to have to have it in two years anyway, end quote. Evil freaking scope crazy fiends.

One of my new favorite pictures (taken by Jason, of course):

Loki sez: Excuse me! I'm playing with this toy right now, thank you very much.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Loki Sunday

Red bird sitting in the middle of the bed...

Here's a Loki claw for you...

All day long, you were only waiting for the Loki to arrive...

Red bird die, red bird die, at the end of a Loki claw.

with apologies to the Beatles.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Cat Days of Summer?

I think Thor is melting.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

A few days ago, I mentioned to Jason that we needed an updated photo inventory of the household contents for insurance purposes. Like the utterly marvelous fella that he is, he immediately grabbed his camera and began roaming from room to room, clicking away.

He then brought the camera to me so I could review the photographs. The man can make me laugh (aided and abetted by two glasses of wine). I'm scrolling through pictures of the fridge, the dishwasher, rugs, beds, chairs, books, computers and find several taken just for my amusement.

Loki's puff ball.

My pink shoes.

The litter box.

Grumpy Thor.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thor's Day

Thor is afraid of thunder. As Alanis would say, "Isn't it ironic?"

Thor sez: I'm not afr....what was that?!?

And besides, I'm not afraid of thunder, I'm afraid of the sound it makes.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

That Room

You know, that room. The one where everything that doesn't have a place ends up. The room where things pile up until it approaches fire and health code violations.

Yeah, that one.

Around here it's the laundry room.

Well, no more. It had reached the point of making me insane and something inside me snapped.

Three loads of stuff marked "Free Stuff! Warning: May contain cat hair." have been laid along the road.

Two trash bags and one box full of trash are in the shed waiting for next trash pick up day.

Two loads of stuff have been carried up to the attic.

I've swept up enough kitty litter from under the dryer to supply the Charleston Animal Shelter for a year or two.

I've swept up enough cat and guinea pig hair to make several new pets.

I won't even begin to mention the GP turds.

I cleaned out the closet in there (yes, drool if you must, I have an 8' by 8' laundry room with a ginormous closet and built in shelves, why do you think it always becomes that room?). We now have one empty shelf, the vacuum cleaner put away, the steamer cleaner put away. One shelf for tools, one shelf for paint stuff (because I swear I am going to paint the ceilings....some day).

The floor has been swept, vacuumed and mopped within an inch of its life.

This clean.

The boyz say: About time you quit clanging and banging and cussing. We're trying to watch Cat TV here.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Forty Miles

In a little while, I will stuff both cats into carriers and begin the forty mile journey to the vet.

The first ten miles will be filled with outraged kitten meows demanding an explanation of this most horrible treatment. I tell them they are required by law to have a rabies shot and if they do not, the kitten police will arrest them. They do not care, preferring to live as vaccination banditos, the Under the Bed Gang.

Around mile eleven, Thor will have a massive freak out, screaming and clawing at his cage.

Around mile fifteen, Loki will begin hyperventilating, panting like a dog. (Once so loud I thought it couldn't be him, there had to be something wrong with the car.)

At mile twenty we will arrive at the vet. Silence will fall as they huddle in the very rear of the carriers, which we will have to dismantle to get them out.

The kittens that I had to shove into carriers will at this point leap back into the safety of their shelter.

The twenty miles back will be mostly silent, broken occasionally by a heart felt "I hate you" meow from Thor.

They will spend much of the afternoon hiding in the Under the Bed Gang Cave, refusing to even acknowledge my presence. Unless, of course, I open a can of tuna.

Loki sez: Look how sleepy we are. How can you disturb us?

Monday, July 07, 2008

The J-Files

I'm not much into conspiracy theories, they tend to be long on fantastical thinking and short on facts, but occasionally things happen that make me go, "hmmmm".

Enron loop hole law allows for speculation on oil.

Oil speculation contributes to sky-rocketing oil prices.

Sky-rocketing oil prices lead to sky-high gas prices.

Spoiled Americans have to spend more money putting gas into their Hummers and giant SUV's and start wailing like two year olds who don't get a candy bar in the grocery store check out line.

Sweet, innocent, trying to do their best oil company execs shrug their shoulders and say they'd sure love to help you out there buddy, gosh golly darn it all and gee whiz on the side, if only we could drill off shore for oil.

Spoiled Americans start screaming for off shore oil NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Damn the environment! Damn the coastlines! Damn the wetlands and marshes!

Fuck the fish!

We want off shore drilling and we want it now!

(Can you imagine the room gift baskets at The Sanctuary at Kiawah having tar remover in them like the fancy hotels in the Gulf region, so tourists can get the oil and tar off their feet after a stroll on the beach?)

What no-one seems to recognize is that, laying aside all my crazy environmentalist blither blather, there are no off shore oil rigs ready to go.

It would be years (some estimate 2030) before the oil companies had them built and running. And you really think they are going to eat the cost of building all those rigs? You think they are going to eat the cost of cleaning up?

No, you are going to pay for every penny and then some that they spend.

But they'll get the laws changed and get to drill off the coast so they can maximize their profits, oh yes, indeed they will.

And we'll still be paying over $4.00 a gallon for the privilege of having sold our children's future a little further down the river.

Just because we were too lazy and spoiled to wait and invest in new technologies, which will probably take just as long as Big Oil getting the rigs up and running after having the laws changed in their favor.

Playing us like fiddles they are.

Thor sez: Smells fishy to me!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Loki Sunday

No, that isn't Loki. That's an OMG grab the camera before she leaps the fence picture of what I awoke to this morning.

And the liberal tree hugging environmentalist animal lover in me felt guilty about closing the gate so her baby couldn't get any yummy fresh tomatoes to munch.

But not too guilty, I'd like some yummy fresh from the vine 'maters myself, ya know.

Loki sez: Excuse me, but I thought Loki Sunday meant it's all about me.

I'd get that deer. I'd jump up like this and grab her and bite her ear!

Saturday, July 05, 2008


Please be aware that I am on the hospital hurricane lock down list this year. This means that every tropical storm and/or hurricane that forms in the Atlantic will threaten the Charleston area. (Note last year, I was not on the list and nothing came anywhere near us.)

Sorry. I have tried to explain this phenomenom to the powers that be to no avail. I mean, I'm not trying to get out of anything, it would be a public service, you know.

Loki sez: Yes, and if you feed me the $1.00 a can cat food, you wouldn't have to change the litter box as much. Just a public service, you know.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Thor's Day!

The old cat and the shoe?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Well, we've had Thumper hanging around, why not Bambi and his mother? Just so long as Flower doesn't show up! (If you haven't already, I highly recommend reading Felix Salten's Bambi: A Life in the Woods. Forget the Disney crap.)

They didn't do too much damage to the tomato plants (after Jason woke me at o'dark-thirty to tell me about it, I had a dream they'd eaten all the tomatoes and the entire planter of green beans). Just nibbled a few branches on the grape tomato plant and took all the fruit off. There are still plenty of blooms and I have three finishing up on the kitchen window sill.

As surprised as I wanted to be that deer showed up in my backyard (I live in a very suburban area), I'm not all that surprised. Nearby Bee's Ferry Road which is being developed faster than ice cream melts in August, was almost entirely hunt club land. Driving home from the Publix yesterday, I noticed an entire new area, scraped clear of every tree and bush for acres and acres, barely concealed behind the ten feet of "green space" left between the carnage and the road.

I looked at the Google map of the area and I suppose they could be living in the small wooded area behind the Canterbury Woods subdivision and just walked along the creek edge to my backyard. Or up Parsonage Point Road, there is a large property that the owners so far have resisted the lure of big money promised by developers. Perhaps they live there and took a swim across the creek to get here.

I really don't like the idea of deer eating my garden, but I'm happy they are managing to survive so far.

I won't go on a rant about out of state pus pockets on the bellies of leeches, I mean real estate developers, who come in, buy up land, strip it bare, plant a tree or two, slam up some vanilla slum McMansions, then leave with all our money. Not even when the housing market pretty much sucks and I sure hope that desecrated land doesn't just sit there, destroyed, because no-one wants to buy a house there.

But I'm sure people will buy. They'll be happy to live in a subdivision named for what it destroyed. There is already a Hunt Club Subdivision built on the deforested land of what used to be a real hunt club, rife with life. Now dead and sterile, the only reminder of the abundance of life once found there is the occasional carcass on the side of the road.

So maybe I'll mosey on up to Cross Seed and buy some deer feed and put it out in the marsh.

Thor sez: I would have run them off for you, but as you can see, I have no thumb with which to turn the deadbolt.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Enriching the Lives of Others, One Tall Tale at a Time

We didn't go on my May birthday trip to some where we'd never been before this year. Deadlines, financial obligations, skyrocketing (no pun) air fare all contributed.

I had been planning a trip to Utah's south east corner to look at canyons and dinosaurs, but alas, it was not to be this year.

Instead we are looking at a big Autumn get away. Jason mentioned an art gallery or museum or something that had a display of one of his favorite artists. It is in East Stroudsburg, PA. So I looked and East Stroudsburg is right next to the Pocono region, nestled up to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

That sounds good for October. Crisp cool mountain air. Pretty leaves. Nice hikes to scenic vistas.

The problem I am having is finding accommodations. While I do not mind the likes of Budget Inns and Best Westerns for single night use, staying for a long stretch just doesn't appeal to me. (Because I'm a luxury snob, that is why - if I am on vacation I want to live an income class or two above myself - it's my vacation!)

So I have been looking into B&B's in the area and have found one in particular that I really, really like, but the cost per night is making even me blanch a wee bit. The only real problem I have with B&B's is the feeling that you have to mix with the other guests at breakfast (although we are usually up and on the trail hours before the 9am breakfast time - got to get that early morning light).

Once, at a B&B in the NC mountains another couple struck up a conversation with us, telling us all about the property they had looked at the day before, but at one point whatever-it-was million dollars, they just weren't sure if it was exactly what they wanted. The conversation then drifted to where-are-you-from. When I answered that we were from Charleston, the wife gushed how beautiful Charleston was and the husband asked if we lived near the Battery area. I gave him my sweet smile and replied, "Oh, no, we live up near the Gardens." Jason about choked on his coffee.

In preparation for a possible B&B breakfast in the Poconos, which will most likely be rife with fresh faced, dewy eyed honeymooners, I have concocted a story in which I add about ten years to my age, subtract about ten from Jason's age and tell the tale of true love discovered, never mind his six children he left behind or my ex-husband with the problem that even Viagra can't cure.

Jason won't go along with it. But really, I'm thinking of the poor honeymooners who lack the imagination to come up with a better spot for honeymooning than the Poconos (which I'm sure will be lovely, but it is a bit of a cliche to honeymoon there, no?). What a great bit of gossipy storytelling they will have to tell once they get home.

Loki sez: I'm amazed you are let out in public.