Monday, August 31, 2009

Ugh, It's Monday?

Saturday night, we went on a whirlwind artsy evening. We went to FIG so Jason could take a picture of a dessert for an article he is working on for (I believe) Charlie. The massively yummy looking lemon and blueberry concoction was offered to us for consumption after the photo shoot, but alas, we were on our way to Jestine's for supper and I did not want to ruin my appetite for what awaited me there. (Turned out to be crab cakes, swoon.)

We then went to an art show opening and a play.

I'll say a little something about the play first. PURE Theater always puts on a fantastic show. "The Year of Magical Thinking", a play by Joan Didion is their latest. Just go see it. It was awesome on so many levels that I can barely begin to describe how awesome it was. The subject matter (the playwright's husband and daughter died within a year) made me stuff half a box of tissues in my purse in anticipation of crying my eyes out. But I didn't need them. The dialogue is riveting but free of sentiment that allows for easy tears of empathy. It is sharp and crisp and real. Lucille Arrington Keller is the phenomenal actor who carried this one-woman play. I can't even begin to imagine the talent it takes to play such a part. But she was absolutely amazing. At times, I forgot that I was watching a play and fell completely under the spell of the words.

Just go see for yourself.

Now, the art show opening. It was at the Circular Congregational Church. (As was the above mentioned play) The theme of the art show was She Shall Be Called Woman and explored the role of women in religion.

All the art work was absolutely amazing, but as I was already a huge (no pun intended) fan of Fletcher Crossman, it was no surprise that his work for the show made me sit down (with my glass of sparkly wine inside the church with all my reformed-Southern Baptist hangups freaking out about it). Please go to Fletcher's website and look at the process of bringing this painting - The Apple Thief - to life.

It took me a few days to figure out all the emotions I felt during the time I had to just sit and stare at this enormous work of art. It is 15 feet by 12 feet in size, so the size of it alone has an impact. (Most of his work is on this scale, but I believe he told me that this was the largest he'd attempted). As I said, I just sat there and could not take my eyes off this painting, feeling all sorts of things that I couldn't properly identify at the moment.

Today I can say that it provoked in me a sense of anger and frustration. And a real sense of loss.

The depiction of a modern young woman in chains with the words "Apple Thief" over her head represented to me the pure waste that the world's leading religions cause with their teachings of women as less-than men.

That in today's world, women are still handicapped by a centuries old myth of the Garden of Eden that was probably no more than an attempt to discredit the matriarchal societies that predated the founding of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Women still, even in this nation, start out with the fiction that we are less than men. From childhood, women are taught this. Still. In approaching 2010.

We, as a world community, are not using half the talent, half the intellect, half the energies of our community.

We are still chained, marked as thieves and the bringers of evil. For nothing more than to keep secure the power and privilege of men. And on the basis of nothing more than a myth.

And yes, things are better in some countries than others, but even here women are told from the pulpit, that the god they worship thinks they are second class citizens. Even though these women might be educated women with careers of their own, they still are told they are nothing more than handmaidens to their husbands.

And I can't even begin to address the plight of women in some Middle Eastern nations and the cost of their chains to the societies they live in. Every study done shows that an educated, empowered mother leads to the betterment of her children, her family, her community, therefore to her nation and the world.

But still, we as a world, believe a fable that keeps women from participating freely in their world. Even in our enlightened culture, women must first overcome the idea of themselves as less than.

For a myth. A made up fable.

Thor sez: This is why humans should worship cats. All we require is the ability to open cans of cat food. Male, female, that isn't important. Opposable thumbs, that's all that counts.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Loki Sunday

Loki and his bird.

If pictures had sound, you could hear the Loki grumble, not quite a growl, not quite an "ahem" sound but a definite this is mine sound. And if the camera had been quicker, there would be the picture of the Loki smack upside Thor's head. And the general mayhem that soon followed.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Extraneous Thor

Because there is no such thing as too much Thor.

My current favorite Thor picture.

Friday, August 28, 2009


I think the entire nation needs to be required to participate in yoga. It might help with the super-tanker of anger that people seem to be carrying around and venting out on others. Breath. From the belly, people. Are Americans the only people who don't even know how to breath? Or are we just "too busy" to actually take a full breath?

Do all night shift workers get fall-on-the-floor-hysterically-laughing-crazy around 5am? We have recently adopted some you-tube video about some chick working in a Burger King (I can't remember the character's name) and the word "Rude!" properly applied can make us laugh until we cry.

Don't you think a fresh blueberry and dark chocolate diet sounds like one you could stick to?

If it weren't for bacon and Fiery Ron's barbecue and ribs, I could be a vegetarian.

Ever notice how I sit here and spew out crazy stuff when I am avoiding doing something productive with my day?

Loki sez: Tater Tot? Thank you, but no thanks. A little too plebeian for my refined palette.

(Note to the squeamish: first, that is Jason's fork and Jason holding it. Second, we had finished eating and he was offering Loki a left over tot. Jason buys tater tots solely for the excuse to do the scene from Napoleon Dynamite "Come on give me your tots." "No I'm freaking starving I didn't get to eat anything today!"


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thor's Day!

The art of the Thor nap.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Say What?

Tropical Storm Danny? Heading toward Virginia?


The boyz say: Will our human big brother be okay?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Little Bit of Reality

Here are some truths.

1.Every person admitted to a hospital is asked, in compliance with current federal regulation, if they have a living will(aka advance directive) and/or medical power of attorney. Every one. By law. If the person does not have one and is capable, they are offered a visit by a hospital employee specially trained to assist with the completion of the living will.

If granny comes in in a coma due to a stroke or heart attack or something else and she does not have a living will and no-one in the family nor her doctor know what her wishes are, it will be left up to the family to decide. And in most cases, no-one will want to be the one so poor granny has a vent tube shoved down her throat, an NG tube down her nose into her stomach, an IV inserted into her jugular through which a complex cocktail of drugs attempts to keep her heart beating and her blood pressure at a level compatible with life. There is a catheter inserted into her urethra up to her bladder to drain urine, there is a tube in her anus to drain stool. And despite even the most meticulous care, if she survives more than a few days, her skin will begin to breakdown and she will develop open large open sores. Then when the drugs don't work anymore, her heart will stop and a "code" will be called. Most of her ribs will shatter during the resuscitation process, perhaps even her sternum. This will go on until someone finally says enough.

And that is fine if that is what granny wanted - keep her alive at all costs no matter what. But what if she didn't want to be kept alive on a vent? What if she didn't want her heart kept beating artificially? What if she didn't want to be revived if she died?

And wouldn't it have been nice if she had been able to sit down and discuss this with her doctor in an appointment separate from one devoted to some medical problem? Had the medical terms explained? The possible complications and treatments of such for her individual case explained and discussed? So she could think about it? Have a conversation with her family about it? Calmly, not in the fear of an emergency?

2. Every person who presents to a hospital must be treated. Yes, in certain cases, they can be sent to another hospital, but in the end, every person with a medical concern is treated by a hospital whether they have insurance or not.

And just like the retail store that raises prices to cover for losses due to shoplifting, the hospitals raise prices to cover the losses for treating the uninsured. And insurance companies raise the price of premiums and cut services to cover for the larger hospital costs.

So, we are paying for the uninsured right now. The problem is that instead of paying for a doctor's visit to have blood pressure checked and then paying for blood pressure medication, we are paying for a person to come in with a full blown stroke due to sky-high blood pressures. We are paying for emergency department bills, ICU care for weeks, rehab if the person survives, then home care and now we have a person on disability who we will continue to pay the medical costs for.

It doesn't matter why the person does not have insurance. They can be working a part time job that doesn't provide insurance, they could be students who no longer qualify to remain on their parent's policy, they can be alcoholics living out on the street. They can be cheapskates who didn't want to pay and ran the odds.

It does not matter. We are paying for them anyway. We, who pay our insurance premiums dutifully, are still going to pay the costs of the uninsured NO MATTER WHAT. We pay with higher premiums, we pay with less coverage. We pay by having insurance companies dictate to our doctors what they can order, what drugs they can prescribe, how often a treatment may be given.

I, for one, would rather pay for a doctor's visit than a catastrophic illness that will end up costing millions.

And, lastly, as I asked a friend the other day, what has become of this nation? What has happened to compassion in this country? Why are we so hateful?

Loki sez: I thought humans helped those in need.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Looking Out My Back Door

Yesterday, Momma Deer and the fawns were hanging out again. They are so skittish - they will bolt if they see a curtain move or spot one of us in the window - that you forget that it is a MOMMA and her babies.

I managed to snap these just after a squirrel had knocked over a bird feeder and startled the deer. Momma charged towards the spot, head and tail up, looking very scary for a moment.

Carolina Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse

Mr. Cardinal (on the trellis over the new patio)

Scared straight:

The boyz say: We'll be good, no deer hunting!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Don't mess with the Bradford Pears! - A special JAZ Guest Blog.

JAZ here. JanetLee gave me permission to guest blog on KotK today.

I was mowing the grass when JanetLee pointed out some weird web-like stuff enclosing a couple of the lower branches of one of the Bradford Pear trees.

It was obviously killing the leaves. This is not a good thing.

I am not sure if it is a fungus or the handiwork of some kind of evil spider-like monster that hates Bradford Pears, but either way, I want it gone so that my big, beautiful trees can stay healthy.

I went to the shed, grabbed a saw and some pruning seal, and proceeded to amputate the branches that were damaged. Luckily, it seems like only two very low branches have been impacted by this.

Here is another look at the damage:

If anyone has any insight into what might be the culprit (or, more to the point, how I might successfully get rid of the culprit), that would be extremely copacetic.

We live in a semi-tropical climate near a marsh, if that's any help.

Thor sez: "Let me at those spider monsters! I'll teach them not to hurt the Bradford Pears!"

Friday, August 21, 2009

Blatant Product Endorsement

As my faithful followers may remember, Thor recently had a little problem with an almost really serious fecal impaction due to a hairball. One of the recommendations for prevention of another incident was to give Thor some hairball remedy every other day.

No problem.

Oh, wait, serious problem.

Thor HATES hairball remedy. I must have purchased at least six different brands and flavors (at up to $8 each) and he hated them all. So did Loki. So we had to force him to take it. Sneak up on him, pry open the jaw and scrape the goo on his teeth. We tried putting it on his paw but all we got was a very dirty paw and goo on furniture.

Then I saw Nutri-Vet's Hairball Paw-Gel for cats at the Pet Smart and actually stood there berating myself wanting to throw more money away on another product that Thor would not take. But then I gave in because it was all natural, no preservatives or artificial colors or flavors. Figured if I had to force him, at least let's make as healthy as possible.

He was a little gun shy whenever he saw the tube and an outstretched finger. But after touching it to his nose, he decided he sort of liked it. (Hey Thorbie!) Now he would eat the entire tube if I kept giving it to him.

And now we have another problem. Loki loves it too. And he isn't supposed to have it as much as Thor because he doesn't have a, um, digestive problem. So I have to give him a little taste while feeding it to Thor.

And now, instead of a cat who runs and hides when we come near, we have this:

Thor sez: This is TEH BOMB!

Promises, Promises

I solemnly swear that I will get at least one of the special chores on my chore list done this weekend. Or by Monday.

(Scouring list trying to find the least work, least sneezy stuff involved, easiest chore.)

Thor sez: Build a stairway to the way up high place?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thor's Day!

Ben, the two of us need look no more

We both found what we were looking for

With a friend to call my own

I'll never be alone

and you, my friend, will see

you've got a friend in me.
(Ben, songwriters Walter Scharf, Don Black Performed by Micheal Jackson)

Loki sez: For Pete's freaking sake!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wonky Wednesday

Still in CEU hell. Getting dizzy staring at computer screen. I did find something of interest of all you out there with new babies - a research article that seemed to find (because with infant behavior it's never 100%) that when getting the DPT(diphtheria, polio, tetanus, pertussis) and PCV(pnuemococcal) vaccines at the same time/visit, giving the DPT first, then the PCV seems to lower the infant's pain response.

So if you have a baby getting both, just ask them to give in that order.

No-one died from my Thai-flavors inspired meal last night, believe it or not.

New computer is making me feel old and cranky. The old stuff was good enough. I haven't figured out how to download, edit, save, and (most importantly) FIND photos, so we are stuck with choices from the few folders I can find.

Thor sez: I almost died of starvation cos you said Thai food wasn't appropriate for felines.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I'm seriously craving some Thai food. Hot, spicy, cilantro-laced, eggplant molten lava poured over rice.

Since trotting up to my favorite place, Mai Thai, in North Chuck is not good for tonight, I shall engage in my favorite googling activity: "how to...."

Two hours of sleep. This should be good. If either of us is hospitalized, I swear it's not my fault.

The boyz say: This is not cilantro!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Brain Busting Monday

Nurse stuff day. TB negative. CPR renewed. NRP..still valid, yeah! NCC recertification done. Classes enrolled in. CEU collection underway. Need 15 CEU's for hospital, 30 for the state.

Ugh. What happened to the days of only needing to renew CPR, pass the fire safety and proper body mechanics tests and get a TB test?

The boyz say: Mom's concentrating, let's start some shitake.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Why The 'Tude?

Sarcastic commenter on why there should be no health insurance for the poor (from this morning's P&C site, paraphrased): "Because it's never their fault that they are poor, unemployed and stupid."

Actually, in most cases it isn't the individual's fault that they are poor, unemployed and stupid.

I shall again climb on my soapbox for the babies of this state that everyone seems to love so much.

From birth to approximately two years of age is the "make or break" time for stimulating the brain to grow so that the individual can learn once they get to school age. If not properly fed and stimulated, the potential intellect of the individual is limited. Sometimes slightly, sometimes severely.

From birth to approximately three years of age is the "make or break" time for development of inter-personal skills and self esteem. If in those years, you do not receive the proper discipline and teaching of how to behave and interact, then you will have extreme difficulty fitting in at school. Not to mention that infants and toddlers who have been emotionally and verbally abused come out of those years angry, fearful and incapable of trusting themselves. Those children are pretty much doomed once they hit school age. They don't have the skills to get along with others, they don't have the basics such as ABC's, counting or even colors, they don't have any idea that they are capable of learning.

Children who have had their brain development stunted in infancy, their sense of themselves as capable beings destroyed by age three are rarely able to succeed in school, leading to dropping out, drug and alcohol use, a drift into crime, teenage pregnancy, and unemployment and poverty.

And for most, this was set up before they had reached age two. So I can hardly see where they can be fully blamed for their position in life.

And as for personal responsibility once reaching adulthood, I'm all for it. But the problem is that there are very few resources for those who seek to improve themselves. Want to get off drugs/alcohol, but don't have $30K for private rehab? It's months and months and months on a waiting list for public rehab. Want to enter into an apprenticeship program to learn a skill? Sorry, did away with those when we decided that every child should go to college.

It takes a very determined, mental illness free, drug/alcohol free person to overcome the damage done to them before age two. There are few options.

The only reliable option our society gives the poor is to go on welfare. We punish them when they try to get off (the minute you get a job, you begin to lose benefits, benefits that the entry-level job pay will not replace, making people worse off working than when on welfare, instead of weaning the benefits as the person gains experience and gets raises, etc.).

We need to do a better job of reaching parents and infants before age two and provide them with not only financial assistance in the form of welfare, but give them real life help with nutrition, child development, parenting skills, educational assistance, job skills training.

But, people scream, we don't want to have to pay for this! People should just learn to do this on their own!

True, but they aren't.

And we can pay for it now or we can pay for it later with increased crime, increased welfare rolls, decreased employment.

Thor sez: There you go being all common sense and stuff again! People don't want a solution, they want someone to feel better than and something to bitch about.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Finally Friday!

Yippee! There has been much weirdness in my world this week. I'm finding myself deeply disappointed in people, something which rarely happens, because I am probably deeply disappointing to others, so I am extremely tolerant.

But the levels of stupidity I am witnessing in otherwise intelligent human beings is so profound that I cannot believe they don't know better, but rather are choosing to embrace lies and meanness and bitterness.

That is disappointing.

What is not disappointing is the brand spanking new desk top computer that JAZ the marvelous purchased and set up. It's faster than an American jumping to a conclusion. (okay ladies - he even cleaned off, organized and dusted the desk. He even PULLED UP THE RUG and swept underneath. uh huh)

And speaking of the great and powerful JAZ, if you happen to be wandering around West Ashley tomorrow, he will be reading one of his super fab short stories for Trident Literary at Barnes & Noble 11am.

Thor sez: I noticed all the rubber bands, pencils, pens, paper clips are gone. All the fun stuff.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thor's Day!

The keyboard creep.

Thor sez: Ha ha, you're a pillow!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Subtle Art of Self-Manipulation

Sometimes it's more like the sledgehammer of self manipulation.

See, I am a very lazy person. It takes next to nothing for me to talk myself out of doing something I should be doing.

I really admire people who can just do everything they need/should/want/gotta.

I am so not like that. I have to manipulate myself into doing things I know I should be doing when flopping on the couch and reading seems like such a better idea. And it is very hard to trick myself as I know all my tricks.

Need to update my blog? Spider Solitaire is so much easier and who cares if half the links are defunct?

Vacuum? Why? Is a cat hair allergic person coming over today? Besides, they know when I vacuum and start actively re-hairing up the place.

Scrub the toilets? But Gilmore Girls is on!

Funny thing I noticed though is that years ago, I used painting every room in this house as a way out of working on Since I've Been Loving You. Now that I need to repaint (and am several years older and a lot less "OMG I BOUGHT A HOUSE BY MYSELF AND IT'S MINE MINE MINE"), I'm finding the reverse is true. Just the act of buying paint and paint brushes drives me to the computer and my latest project.

I have a list of projects. Stuff like: clean and paint laundry room (that one is done); clean out and paint inside of kitchen cabinets (I opened up all the cabinets, said "oh that's not too much, it'll just be the hassle of dragging everything out", sighed and closed the doors); clean out the hall closets (now this one, I have a real excuse - we have something like ten trillion old blankets and towels and sheets and stuff and I can't just throw them away and need to check with the shelters for both humans and animals to see about donating); sand and repaint the front porch rail (well, that's pretty self-explanatory that ain't getting done until it isn't 10 trillion degrees outside).

Maybe if I couldn't listen to Pandora radio or look at I Can Has Cheezburger until I'd done one productive thing....just one.

Thor sez: Productive? Like taking pictures of my spots?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Getting My Bird Geek On

I hung a new feeder off the back porch (Cable Cat TV) because I'm trying to move all the bird stuff to the back yard. The usual suspects began showing up right away:


Tufted Titmice

Carolina Chickadees

Then I peeked out at just the right time and found this little lady, a bird I'd never seen before although I knew they had to live close by.
Mrs. Painted Bunting.

I'm patiently waiting for her husband to show up. Loki is on watch, with orders to meow if there is a sighting.

Loki sez: Can't talk, on duty.