Friday, May 27, 2011

Musical Friday

I was putzing around the inner webs last night, looking for a decent video of John Belushi imitating Joe Cocker cos I loved that bit. Found one, but the sound quality was poor.

But I stumbled upon an old love that I had completely forgotten. This was way back in the days of cassette tapes and I wore this one out, it had great white patches on the tan strip of tape when it finally popped.

I speak of Leon Russell's Carney. Gonna get another copy today.

Here's a taste:

Magic Mirror and Me and Baby Jane are my favorites.

Loki sez: does this mean there will be more singing?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thor's Day!

Thor is officially the weirdest cat I've ever known. Possibly the weirdest cat in the world. Every day, he knocks the plug off the side of the tub. Every. Day. It's in his little cat routine between naps and putting fur on stuff.

The back door has a dead bolt lock. When we put the key in, we say, "One, two, three, Thor" and there he is. It's actually how we locate him when he's found a new hiding spot. Now he has learned how to pop open the back door if it isn't locked.

Today, he worked a plastic bowl out of a plastic bag and carried it around the living room a la Snoopy and his food bowl. Of course, the moment I got the camera, he dropped it and walked away.

And let's not forget his shoe fetish.

Thor sez: You'd like to prove that, wouldn't you? Get your name in Cat Fancy Magazine?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I was reading this article on the CNN website, an interview with Maya Angelou.

And this quote jumped out at me:

"Growing up, I decided, a long time ago, I wouldn't accept any manmade differences between human beings, differences made at somebody else's insistence or someone else's whim or convenience. Or boundaries of a state. (That is why I say proudly and without apology that I am a Jew and a Muslim.) I'm not separate from any human beings by any artificial difference. Only their actions can separate me from other people." - Maya Angelou.

Wow. It made me sit back for a while.

I have struggled mightily with the two very different worlds I spent my childhood in. While my father was in the military, I never heard anything regarding race. When I entered the sixth grade at Wallace Middle School the year after the historically black high school it had been was merged with the newly created interracial Middleton High School, I walked into a volatile situation without a clue that blacks and whites weren't supposed to get along.

It was a rather rude awakening and I was battered from both sides for my ignorance. And since I was a scared 11 year old white girl in a strange new world, I sought shelter with those who would have me: the other white girls.

As an adult, I have shed almost all of the teachings I absorbed during those years. Not all, they are still there, an auto-default position at times.

But I know now that it isn't always true.

Whatever you are thinking you know about that black person or that Hispanic person or that white person or that Asian person, or that gay person, or that liberal or that conservative or any other label you are auto-defaulting to that human being before you, it isn't always true.

So I try, sometimes fail, try again.

I like this quote because it puts clearly into words what I feel I should strive to be in this world.

Thor sez: I'm still gonna hiss at dogs.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I'm concerned that Thor might be a hipster cat.

Loki sez: I'm a hipster too!

I think Loki's more of an emo-cat.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Morning Mush

Oy! Added another row to my back yard patio yesterday. Yikes, digging up grass with 50 year old root systems is hard! Had to take like 50 million breaks to sit in the shade and drink water (3 liters). I think the next phase - doing the other side of the porch is just going to have to wait until cooler weather.

So, hopefully none of my dear readers were too disappointed about the Rapture not occurring this past Saturday. A friend told me that if I had ever said the "magic prayer" I would be raptured up with everyone else.

That is such a depressing thought. I have NO desire to live forever. Seriously, forever? And not even on earth, doing stuff, but sitting around heaven in some sort of eternal church sermon? No thanks, I'd probably end up having to sit by Jerry Falwell instead of Mother Teresa so I wouldn't even have someone interesting to talk to.

Jason had a photoshoot at 6pm Saturday. Before he left, he asked me if I wanted to repent "just in case". (Now, I've had that just in case tossed at me many times, but, um, if your god is all knowing, wouldn't he know I was just faking it? And if he did and it still counted, well, what does that say about his ethics?)

But I digress. The family Jason was shooting told him that if they starting disappearing, to just keep taking pictures and he got a good laugh by asking, "what makes you think I'll still be here?"

But his remark to me left me thinking. And me, glass of wine in hand, thinking, isn't always a good thing.

So, this is what he came home to later on. I was hiding in the laundry room, giggling myself into a hernia. I heard him walking around, then "Oh, you are funny." I kept hiding and he didn't even look for me! Went to get his camera and found me when he was trying to get a better angle for the photograph. Sigh.

Loki sez: I'm ready to be raptured! Human grade tuna and cat nip every day!
Thor sez: Dude, those people don't think you have a soul.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Crunching Numbers

I will be eligible for full retirement in the year 2027. Believe it or not, and probably not as acting like a grown up isn't really something I'm famous for, I have actually been planning for this.

So, I had four points to my retirement plans:

1. Social Security
2. IRA via workplace
3. Personal savings
4. Home equity

I'll say right up front, that my personal savings is pretty much a joke. But it has provided me with a nice cushion for emergencies so I don't have much debt, and my credit card debt is low ($400).

My IRA via the workplace was nice until I was forced several years ago to choose a stock plan instead of the straight savings account I wanted it to be. Then you know what happened with that. Even though I chose the safest, most stable stock package offered, almost half my money was -poof!- gone.

I had planned when I turned 50 (last year), I would sell my house, use the equity to buy a small condo on a 15 year mortgage, have it paid off by 65 and be sitting on the entire value as equity. Poof! That's all on hold indefinately.

That left me with Social Security, my rock, my anchor that I could count on against the storms of economic forces that batter we middle class wage earners.

Poof! If the GOP gets to put through its plan, that will be gone five years before I can retire.

So now, I'm scrambling, trying to look at numbers, increasing what I can increase, decreasing what I can decrease, but the plain fact is that I don't make enough money to make up what I've lost before I retire. Not unless I go live under a bridge now instead of when I'm 67.

If there is no social security or Medicare, I will not be able to maintain any sort of life style. What little I do scrounge up won't last me through one hospital stay.

Well, I suppose I could just kill myself when I turn 67, save society the burden.

The boyz say: Don't worry, we'll hunt food for us to eat!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Random Thought

I recently read a proposal for an initiative to reduce teen pregnancy. The people were very earnest, but it isn't going to work like they hope it will. Why? Because they were on the right track, but in the wrong station. They proposed increasing self esteem in teens as an antidote against early and unprotected sex.

That's too late.

They should be starting around age two. Not with sex education, but with real opportunities to develop self esteem. Because it isn't something you can give. You can't compliment and praise a person into self esteem. The overblown sense of their own superiority that comes from excessive, baseless compliments is not self esteem.

To gain self esteem, a child must do something. Must work at something. Preferably, the child will fail at first attempt, then get it on the second. Because self esteem is essentially just having confidence in yourself. Confident that you can figure things out and accomplish things on your own. That you are capable.

Trying to start instilling self esteem in the teen years is a good thing, children should be met where they are with the help they need. But if we are serious about intervening in the cycles of teen pregnancy and poverty, then we need to start at the beginning.

Ask any child development specialist and they will tell you that the first three years of life are the most important. It is there that intellectual, emotional and physical capacities will be set. What a child gets - love, support, validation, education, nutrition, freedom to explore - or doesn't get will impact the growing brain and developing social skills, most likely for life. It's the rare individual who comes out of a neglectful situation and rises above it. Most are just repeating the cycle.

We, as a nation, will never solve the problems of teen pregnancy, crime, education drop outs, child abuse, and cycles of poverty until we get serious about those first three years of life.

My fantasy? The Nurse-Family Partnership fully funded and staffed in every county and offered to every pregnant woman who wants it, not just first time Medicaid mothers.
We'd put ourselves out of business within 20 years.

Just saying, when all you public officials get tired of chasing your tails around in circles, pouring money into programs that don't work, that in fact, make things worse, why don't you take a gander at the across the board success of the Nurse Family Partnership.

Loki sez: Look, she's trying to be all reasonable again.
Thor sez: Just look like you're listening.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Yeah! My back is no longer seizing up and I can breathe without pain! But I haven't just been lounging around in a flexiril coma, no, no. I have the final scene of part two of the current novel(s) in progress to write and will be done with the first re-write of both. Then I will begin the second rewrite of part one and edit part two. Part three is just gonna have to wait until I've got part one polished enough to leave alone.

Tomorrow marks the end of my Jubilee year. There were no spectacular changes or upheavals this past year, but two very important things occurred: 1. I successfully weaned myself off the anti-depressant I was on, and 2. I'm writing again!

It's been almost seven years since I've written at this pace. Jason and I were just friends in the same writers group the last time I was this possessed by a story, so he'd never really seen how immersed I get. My house is a wreck, dishes aren't done, there is an inch of cat fur on everything, I'm wearing the dregs of my wardrobe because I don't do laundry, the fridge has gone empty on several occasions (last time I went to the grocery store, I did so because there was only an old bag of corn that I use for knee icing and a pie crust in the freezer).

I had a cup of chai with Andra a few weeks ago, and we talked about how the characters of our novels just yammer on and on in our brains until we write down their stories. It was nice to say that, out loud, to someone and not get that humoring look.

So that is where I have been for about a month now. It isn't so much the main characters, it's all those little people who show up here and there, they've got something to say, they want to explain themselves.Writing a novel is like building a house. First you get the foundation ready, then you put the frame up, then the plumbing, the electrical work, the walls, the roof, and finally, you decorate. I've just finished framing.

Thor sez: Run out of cat food again and I'm going to pee in your laptop.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thor's Day.

I know I've posted this before, but it's my current most favorite Thor picture, because of the perfect capture of the Thorbikewl. (He heard how well the movie Thor is doing and still thinks it's about him.)

Catch up stuff:

Everything is fine. I had a problem with a muscle in my mid-back that was spazzing and causing rather accurate heart attack symptoms. Everyone I know: you should go to the doctor/emergency room. Me: You can't poke a specific muscle and cause pain with a heart attack. Flexiril makes it all better. It just seriously hurt to do anything. And of course, Flexiril turns my brain to mush.

Several of our most amazing ACTs at work recently graduated from nursing school. I asked one of them if she knew the world was going to end on May 21 and she said, "It better not! I'm taking boards (the big test you have to take to get your nursing license) on the 20th and if the world ends the next day, I'm gonna be MAD."

Super excited to be attending my friend Heather Solos' May 16, 6:30 pm book signing at Charleston County Library. Come on down and bring a donation for My Sister's House.

Yes, I missed Loki Sunday last week. It was not intentional, but try to explain that to him.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ten Days Left

According to Family Radio, the world will end on May 21. Actually they say the Christians will be raptured that day.

The rest of us are going to hell.

Or at least that's what they say.

When I was in church, I was taught those left behind would be given a second chance. But then, there are so many interpretations of Revelation, that everyone forgets it was written about Nero, not some phantasmagorical vision of 2011

That is some seriously mind boggling self centeredness to think that the removal of human beings equals the "world" ending. We are only a small part of this planet.

I always get a squishy feeling of fearful pity when I see these things, people quitting jobs, abandoning their families and placing all their hope on a day selected by just another man. I hope they can pick their lives back up without too much hardship.

I've always thought the end of the world stuff was being used as a massive cop out. Why do anything about problem X? The world is going to end soon anyway.

It's a psychological balm. The world seems like such a mess, wouldn't it be nice to just - poof - leave it all behind and all those icky people will die horribly and all the nice people will be lounging around on clouds having mimosas with the big guy.

Way too convenient.

But I'm still not going to do all those stupid boring continuing education mandatories until after the 21st.

Thor sez: wake me when it's over.

Monday, May 09, 2011


The SC GOP has named its new leader, some old white dude. And his first order of business? To declare that he is "going to be Obama's worst nightmare."

That's the SCGOP, keeping it classy.

Does anyone else get a mental picture of a bunch of thuggish football player types, all hyped up on their own testosterone, surrounding the kid who did something horrible, like tutor one of the thugs girlfriends, telling him they were "his worst nightmare"?

Come on, people, grow the fuck up. Is that the best you have to offer? Teenage bully threats?

How about focusing on SC's deplorable education system, job loss and lack of medical care? How about working on solutions to our problems instead of just vowing to take out the other guy?

Because you can't, that's why. You have no solutions. You have nothing. NOTHING. That's why you have to make juvenile threats. It's all you have.

And as a resident of the state, I have been to the upstate where this new "leadership" is from. It is the most overtly racist place I have ever been to. In the nation. In the world. So the underlying echo of old klan threats to be a black man's worst nightmare are not lost on me.

Thor sez: A SC politician embarrassing the state? Yawn. Wake me when something different happens.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Check, check

No, I am not dead.

I am experiencing technical difficulties.

Regular posting to resume shortly I hope.

Look, kittens:

Monday, May 02, 2011

First Thoughts

When Jason woke me up at o'dark thirty, I came up out of bed with a twinge of fear. But he said, "We got him. We got Bin Laden."

It was a Facebook note from my son, serving in the navy, that alerted Jason.

I got up and switched on the news. It was with a sort of grim satisfaction that I watched the replay of the President's announcement.

And since I am a human and therefore a wee bit complicated, I've been bee-bopping through various emotions. Visceral then thoughtful, mature, then immature, proud and annoyed.

I have always supported the hunt for Bin Laden. Reinvent whatever history you need for your own peace of mind, my red neighbors, but I've never met a single "liberal" who thought we should just let the whole 9/11 thing go.

I was 100% behind President Bush when we went into Afghanistan, lo these many years ago, to hunt the man down like the dog he was.

It was the straying from, and therefore weakening, that mission that lost Mr. Bush my support.

I am happy that at long last, justice for the murder of all those innocents has been done.

I am sad that there were so many more innocents killed for this moment.

I am happy that Al Qaeda has suffered such a blow.

I am sad that it will most likely not go unanswered.

I am furious that my congressional representative had the low class nerve to go on national television and crow about American "vengeance" being done.

I am as sickened by those reveling in the death as I am about those who spew out bitter bon mots against President Obama that seem to completely contradict what they expected him to do about Bin Laden just the day before.

So proud of the young American servicemen (and women) who carried out this mission with skill and bravery. We'll probably never know who you are for your own safety, but thank you.