Monday, August 29, 2011

Hello Monday!

I've got a bad case of the Mondays. My kitchen sink was leaking again. So I'm going to just replace the entire thing rather than fix it again (the leak is in the faucet). I've been wanting to do it for a while. So will be waiting on plumbers all week.

Last week of medical leave and I still can't walk through the grocery store without pain so not really looking forward to a couple 12 hour shifts.

Had a nagging other person's problem that I was trying to help with, thought I had fixed but the solution fell through. Turned to another person who has more experience and resources than I who should be just as invested in finding a solution only to be smacked down like a fact checker at a Tea Party rally.

Hunkering down and riding this day out.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Loki Sunday

This Loki Sunday is dedicated to my long time NY reader Sharon. Be safe up there!

Loki sez: May the furs be with you!

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Own Personal Jim Cantore

Wait! I see something! Run to the hall!

False alarm, just a sparrow on the porch.

Wait! Drat. Just a lizard. Carry on.

The hurricane is expected to pass about 200 miles away from us. We might have some rain bands.

So, of course, we must panic. Schools must be closed. Government offices shut down. I fully expect Jason to be sent home before noon.

It is currently cloudy.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Just realized I posted Thor's day on Odin's day. Oh well, Thor doesn't mind.

Here is a trio of photographs. See if you can spot a trend.

From top to bottom, that's my son, my nephew and my little baby brother.
I can play the radio. Barely.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thor's Day!

This is why Jason is the photographer in the family:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Twisting My Own Knickers

This morning I clicked on a link to a story about the military. It was sent round via my Twitter account by an awesome photographer who is also an awesome person.

But one line in the article made me just stop reading it. "Liberals are especially careful to make the right noises" it said regarding support for the military.

And pardon my french but that fucking ass pissed me off.

Just in case you didn't get the memo America, Liberal does not equal unpatriotic.

And to hell with anyone who thinks so.

That's as plain as I can make it.

I was raised in the military. I was raised with a great respect for this country and the men and women who serve it. My son has been serving this country for over six years now and I ENCOURAGED him to join. Two of my three brothers are vets. I live with a vet. My ex was a vet. My former father in law was a career marine.

The respect I have for their service is immeasurable.

I don't have a yellow ribbon on my car. You know why? Because it's an empty gesture.

Instead, I keep track on MegaVote of what votes are coming up, who voted for what. And when something that impacts the men and women serving our nation comes up, I write my freaking Representative and Senators and tell them how I feel about it.

When the current congress killed a vote to increase the combat pay for those risking their lives for us in battle, I complained. (Oh? you didn't hear about that? Probably because it was at the exact same time the Weiner dick photos were "discovered" and we were all distracted by that.)

President Obama proposed an FMLA type bill so the parents of soldiers gravely wounded in battle could take time off to go to their children. Congress shot that down.

I fly THE AMERICAN FLAG on my house, not that traitorous yellow thing.

So why don't you go be especially careful about that?

I don't care if you have a different opinion than mine on political matters but don't you DARE say I don't love my country.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

All Kitten Twosday!

Two things the boys have been doing:

Taking swimming lessons:

Watching mommy try to take photographs of lightening and freaking out over the thunder.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Radical Feline Agenda

In order to secure our natural Bastet given rights, we make the following demands:

All the tuna belongs to us!

There shall be a minimum of ten naps a day.

There shall be six meals a day.

Baths are outlawed.

Research shall be funded in order to create a renewal source of fuel from shed cat hair, the collection rights of which we shall retain as we already have collection minions working for free.

All yarked up hairballs are artifacts of great awe and should be treated as such. Have you seen how hard we work to get those things up? Some respect, please.

There shall be equal retail space devoted to cat toys, treats, etc. No more ten rows of doggie crap and half of one shelf on the bottom row of cat toys. Blatant discrimination!

Catnip shall become the .....

sorry, naptime....

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I Have a Story About Applying for Food Stamps

When I was in nursing school, I applied for food stamps. This is what happened.

I was struggling in to stay in school. I wanted to be a nurse because I wanted to do work that meant something more than the clerical positions I'd held since high school. I wanted to be a nurse because it was financial freedom to one who had barely made more than 10K a year.

But at the time, I was married to a hard core alcoholic and drug addict. While the emotional, psychological and financial abuse I endured were bad enough, I can say that other than a few incidents, I was not routinely physically abused.

I had just transferred to the MUSC College of Nursing. I was on track to get my BSN, they were offering me amazing financial assistance that would greatly lower my need for student loans.

I had the goal in my sight. All I had to do was keep jumping the hurdles thrown into my path by the alcoholic who did not want me to succeed, knowing that if I did, I would no longer be under his control.

(Why didn't I just leave? That's a longer post, but the short answer was my son. I had no custody rights as a step parent and if I left, I would not have been able to take him with me, would have been forced to leave him there, alone in that environment.)

About three months into school, the alcoholic lost two of his biggest contracts. 90% of our income was gone within two months. I was not working at the time. The curriculum was dauntingly challenging and I had a little bit from loans. So I started picking up jobs here and there where I could.

But after a while, I had to start selling my plasma so I could buy milk and vitamins for my son. I could eat Ramen noodles 14 times a week, but he could not.

So I applied for food stamps. If you've never done this, it is a humiliating and soul sucking experience, even when you know you are doing it for the right reasons (to feed my child nutritious food). I didn't even apply for myself and the alcoholic, just for the child.

And was turned down. Oh, we met all the requirements except one: we had two vehicles. (This was 1993) I had an 1982 chevette and the alcoholic had a 1974 van that he used in his landscaping business.



Yes, there was a but.

Since there was a child in the household, if I wanted to DROP OUT of MUSC's College of Nursing and enroll in a DHEC training program for nurses' aides, I would qualify.

That was my option: If I quit a course of study that would give me and my child financial security in two years, entered a program of study that would pay me less or equal to the clerical work I once did, trapping me in working poverty, my child would get food.

Or stay the course and go hungry.

Luckily, I knew I had some options. I had family I wasn't too proud to beg from at that point. I still had blood to sell. For six months, I fed three people on $25 a week.

See, this is how low income people get trapped. They reach out, trying to get help to pull themselves up, but are only offered assistance that further traps them in the merry go round of poverty.

And as the middle class slides further and further down toward working class and the working class disappears into poverty, think about how close you are to that tipping point. One job away? One car transmission away? One unexpected hospital bill away? One missed paycheck?

How close are you to the food stamp line?

Probably closer than you think. Probably about as far as this nurse thought she was:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Retirement Planning for the "New Economy"

Going to our company financial guy. Going to see about starving the beast that is the retirement pension that I was required to put into the stock market which was worthless after 2008 and I'm just going to shred any reports I get from them for the next 10 years or so.

Going to see about upping my payroll withdrawal up to the max on the 401k (the individual savings plan). I don't get my employee benefit of matching dollars on that one (just the stock one), but that's just what it is going to have to be.

Will spend this fall and winter preparing my house and will put it up for sale this spring. Roll profit if any, over into the 401k. (Or stuff it under my mattress, that might be safest) Downsize to an apartment where I won't have to pay taxes, carry full insurance or repairs.

Sell off most of my stuff that won't fit into an apartment.

My car is 5 years old, but only just yesterday hit 20K miles. So it should last me a while.

Hunker down and wait.

The boyz say: This new place better have good cat TV like this one.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

What Does Hate Look Like?

I stumbled upon this video today. Please watch it. I found it extremely powerful.

But what I also found interesting is that in the comments, someone had put a comment along the lines of "you aren't oppressed, get over it."

And that puzzled me, because I didn't think it was about the Civil Rights struggle at all.

It seemed to me that the viewer who made that comment had slammed shut his/her mind the moment images of the Civil Rights movement were shown. He/she couldn't have watched the entire thing. And I can't really hold that against him/her, it's hard to watch.

For me, it was about the face of hatred.

The images shown illustrate clearly what hatred looks like. How hatred is used as a means to an end. An end that rarely benefits the majority.

This hatred is alive and well today. Against homosexuals. Against liberals. Against conservatives. Against the poor. Against those with Hispanic sounding names.

So, please, look at it. Look at the faces of the people in the photographs.

That's what hatred looks like.

That's what hatred does.


Two things I'm doing:

1.Working like a demon on Book One. Got some really, really good feedback on it. And got some advice on Book Two that also applied to One. The rewrite is going like a house afire. I'm in that giggling, maniacally typing until Jason takes the keyboard away, then lie awake in bed for hours while my brain keeps whirling stage. Bottom line: I'm closer to querying agents than I thought.

2.Teaching Thor to swim. Well, teaching Thor to walk around in the bathtub. He will get in, on his own, when the water is just past the top of his paws and walk around and drink the water. I put him in with the water about half way up his legs and he just stood there, looking around and calmly walked to the side and got out. Why am I doing this? Because. I'm crazy. And Thor seems to enjoy it.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Remember This is 2012

For posterity's sake.

From the S&P's own release explaining why they lowered the US credit rating:

"Aug 5, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Reuters reports: “The United States lost its top-notch AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor’s on Friday, in a dramatic reversal of fortune for the world’s largest economy.” The new rating is AA+.

In explaining their decision Standard & Poors cites both the decision by Republicans in Congress to turn the debt ceiling into a political football and the Republicans intransigence on tax increases. Some excerpts from the release:

[...]The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy.

[...]It appears that for now, new revenues have dropped down on the menu of policy options.

[...]The act contains no measures to raise taxes or otherwise enhance revenues, though the committee could recommend them.

[...]Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act.

Standard & Poors indicates that they could improve their rating for the U.S. if “the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for high earners lapse from 2013 onwards, as the Administration is advocating.”"

It was the Tea Party and the GOP who are terrified of that small minority that caused this. This is part of their plan to destroy the economy so they came blame it on Obama and win in 2012.

WTF do they think they will be winning? They DON'T CARE. Billionaires and multi-billion dollar corporations will be sitting pretty as a picture and that is their goal. The rest of us can eat cake.

You R zombies in SC and elsewhere better remember this in 2012 when they start saying it's Obama and those evil job creator destroying, bible stealing, illegal alien welcoming, baby killing, gay marriage lover liberals' fault.

I may print this out to give to the inevitable Obama blamers I run across.

Thor sez: Is the Tea Party in hot water?

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Southern Summer

Southern summer. Running like feral children in the woods, along the creek banks, tossing rocks to scare off snakes before jumping into muddy water.

We were pirates, we were shipwreck survivors, we were brave explorers of new lands.

We sat on concrete porch steps, beefsteak tomatoes as big as softballs, still sun hot from back yard gardens were our lunch. A shaker of salt, juice running down tanned arms. Water from the end of the garden hose and back into the wild.

Wild children of the forest, the creek, the marsh, the river until dusk fell and the mosquitoes swarmed.

We lounged beneath street lamps, watching moths and bats battle for life until one by one our mothers' voices could be heard, echoing down the suburban streets.

Calling us home to supper.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Monday, August 01, 2011

Monday Morning Mountain Mourning

Made good on my threats and ran away from home this weekend. Used Hendersonville as a base camp and went on a photo shoot.

Started in East Flat Rock, NC at the Carl Sandburg House

Tested my knee on a very short hike (more like a walk) to the house.

Found where the male/female protangonists will have their first date (in East Flat Rock):

Wandered among some kewl kitschy shops (East Flat Rock, NC):

Got on the Blue Ridge Parkway just south of Asheville and drove to Mt. Mitchell State Park:

Met the cutest puppy on the planet on the way up to the peak of Mt. Mitchell (he wouldn't hold still for a portrait)

Jumped off the Parkway and drove into one of my most favorite mountain towns, Black Mountain, NC, had a delish ice cream treat, supported the local arts community, and generally just wished I could stay there forever.