Monday, October 20, 2014


Me, at bank, to teller:  "Hi, I was here on Friday afternoon, and I think I left a pair of sunglasses in here.  Do you have a lost-and-found box?"

Teller:  "Blue sunglasses?"

Me, excitedly:  "Yes!  Exactly.  Sunglasses with blue frames."

Teller, rummaging around behind counter:  "Hmmm, they're not here ... Hey, Matt, did you lock up a pair of sunglasses?"

Matt, aka Teller #2:  "Sunglasses?  Let me check out back."

Matt comes back.  "Nope, no sunglasses.  Sorry."

Me:   -----

Me:  "So ... you don't have a pair of sunglasses?"

Matt:  "No.  Sorry."

Me:  "Ummmmmm ... okaaaaaaaay ... thanks?"

WTF?  The first teller knew my sunglasses.  He remembered them.  But then Teller #2 said nope.  No sunglasses at all. 

I know I left those sunglasses at the bank.  I walked in with them; I realized five minutes down the road that I no longer had them.  And  I mean, they were dollar store sunglasses, which is why I didn't go back right away, but still.  They were pretty dollar store sunglasses, which is why I went back at all.  And sure, it could happened that the next person in line behind me saw the sunglasses sitting on the ledge and scarfed them, but Teller #1 remembered the sunglasses, and yet did not contradict Teller #2 who said no sunglasses.

I guess ... enjoy your new sunglasses, Teller #2?  Although I do think they'll look kind of silly on you, having blue frames and all.

Recently Read

As usual, skip it if you wanna.

1.  Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast.  Ms. Chazt is a noted cartoonist, so I'm not sure why I was surprised that her memoir, about her aged parents' decline and death, was in cartoon form, but I was.  Anyway, it's really good, and a really quick read, and her Dad had dementia, so I could relate to it in a billion different ways.  Plus, she's flat-out funny.  Favorite line:  "Where, in the Five Stages of Death, is EAT TUNA SANDWICH!?!?"  (Her mom, er, lived a little longer than the doctors expected.)

2.  Heartbreak Cafe by Penelope Stokes - Novel about a recently widowed woman who opens a restaurant. Think Fannie Flagg lite.

3.  Cruddy by Lynda Barry - Novel about a young girl with a hard childhood.  I was having a hard time getting into this one, but I knew I had read one of Ms. Barry's novels before and really liked it, so I did a blog post search and ...  it was this book!  I read it back in 2008 and, according to my review, really liked it!  This time around, I didn't like it, couldn't even get very far into it,  so it just goes to proves that your own life situation at any given time has a lot to do with whether or not you'll enjoy any particular book, I guess.

4.  Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  I wanted to read it before the movie came out.  It's a memoir from a woman who hiked portions of the Pacific Coast Trail.  Good.

5.  The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club by Laurie Notaro.  Humorous essays.

6.  Untamed:  The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island by Will Harlan.  Biography of  naturalist Carol Ruckdeschel.  Really, really good.  Along with a fascinating portrait of a woman who truly loves wild things, this book also explains, in an entertaining way,  lots of subjects that might ordinarily be considered dry, like the Social Darwinism concept, and why Jimmy Carter is interested in monitoring elections,Very, very good and highly recommended.

7.  Whistling in the Dark by Leslie Kagan.  Novel about a child murderer on the loose in a small town in the fifties told from the viewpoint of a young girl.  Okay.

8.  Let Us Build Us a City by Donald Harington - Nonfiction about several small Arkansas towns and their inhabitants.  I loved, loved his novel When Angels Rest and I enjoy reading about small-town life, so I thought I would like this book as well.  Nope.  It just wanders all over the place, and not in a good way.  Didn't even get past the first town.

9.  O Pioneers by Willa Cather.  No, I'd never read it before.  Novel about Nebraska farmers in the late 1800s, written in the early 1900s.  Interesting, because unlike a lot of books of that era that come off as really dated, I felt like this one could have been written today.  Good.

10.  Found by Davy Rothbart.  Series of essays, mainly written by hipsters and people in bands nobody's ever heard of, about found things.  Meh. 

So!  That's what I've been reading lately.  How about you?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Stones of Jones

So, Sunday I ended up playing hooky from my responsibilities and I headed to Jones Park.  If you can do boring household chores on a gorgeous fall afternoon, you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

I was happy to see that the stone arrangers have been out in full force.

Their works range from the fairly simple:

(I love the little pebble on the top - it's like a cherry on top of a sundae.)

To large-scale fortresses:

To the spectacular.

That last assemblage reminds me of the scene in Poltergeist when the mom walks into the kitchen and all of the chairs are balanced on top of each other.

Who builds them?  I do not know.  The Stones of Jones are a mystery.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Yet another jam-packed weekend in RockyCatlandia

So!  Saturday was carpet-ripping day.  But I did lots of other stuff this past weekend as well:

I bought some corned beef hash because I'd never had it, and I thought it would be ... like hash browns?  Yeah, THAT was a nasty surprise when I opened up the can.  Do people actually eat that stuff?  Because I wouldn't even give it to the cats.  Straight in the trash can.  That sh*t ain't right.

I got home from work on Friday to discover that SOMETHING had chewed most of the bark off the bottom two feet of one of my brand-new baby willow trees.  Son of a B*TCH!  Can the tree be saved?  I do not know.  Whatever went to town on it (deer, I'm looking at YOU) did not manage to totally gird it, so I'm hoping like heck that it might recover.  In the meantime, I stapled aluminum window screening (sometimes it helps to never, ever throw anything away) around the trunks of all three of the new trees.  Chew through THAT, a**hole deer.  Gah. 

I was driving out in the sticks when I saw a calf in someone's driveway.  Why on earth would somebody have a calf in their driveway, I pondered as I slowed down to get a better look.  Turns out it wasn't a cow; it was a dog!  Dogzilla!  It was the biggest damn dog I've ever seen in my life - thing was HUGE.  Judging by the look, it was part Rottie, part Shepherd, and part Incredible Hulk.  Thankfully I was driving by the house and not walking - I think I would have had a heart attack.

I was supposed to do all kinds of chores on Sunday.  But by the time I got home from the grocery store early in the afternoon, it was gorgeous.  Sunny and in the 50s.  So I looked at my to-do list.

Raking leaves ... can wait.
Mowing ... can wait.
Washing the windows ... can wait.
Planting the daffodil bulbs?  Well, maybe I can get to that when I get back, because it's too nice of a day not to hit the woods.

There is a snake in this next picture.  Shhh, don't tell anybody ...

Tune in next time for Jones Park Part II: the Stones of Jones.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Demolition Day

Remember when I discovered that there was hardwood underneath the carpet in my house?

I was going to have the contractor come in and rip it up out of the foster bedroom, but he kept pushing back the schedule, and I was dying to get a look at all the pretty wood.  So on Saturday, I bribed a friend with the promise of a yummy! diner! lunch!, and we got our game on. 

Here is the room, before:  (You can see where I had already started pulling in the far corner):

I will tell you what, it was a lot of WORK yanking all that carpeting and padding up.  And then there were the tack strips, which looked like some kind of medieval torture device, which we ended up crowbarring up off the floor, but in the end we got it all done.  I still have nine kabillion staples to pop out of the floor, but that'll come.

Are you ready?

Are you ready for the awesome floor reveal?

Ready ...

Set ...


Dudes.  Duuuuuuuudes.  Granted, it only looks so shiny because I had just mopped it, and I'm still going to have to put some kind of finish on the floor (suggestions welcome), but can you believe it?  Can you believe somebody covered that UP?

I keep going to the doorway, just to gaze at the pretty wood.  Hot DAMN that's a good-looking floor.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Freaky Friday: Crazy Crafts!

Okay, I think we all could use a little respite from my racist boss (see yesterday's post if you missed it), so let's do a Freaky Friday.

I know you guys all think I'm nuts.  Truth is, I am.  But there is a method to my madness, and today I thought I'd give you a step-by-step look into my world.  Previous Freaky Fridays have given a glimpse into some of the weird sh*t around my house; today I'll show you how one such item came to be. 

 Start here, with a flat-back birdcage I picked up at Kohl's using one of the gift cards they keep sending me.  Original price thirty-nine bucks, marked down to fifteen, and I had a ten dollar card so it cost me five bucks.  But it's plain!  This can not stand!

Let's see, it needs some background.  Maybe some sky?

Nah, not quite right.  How about some lizards?

Oooooo, better.

I was gonna go with the lizard motif, and maybe put a little hanging plant in there, but ... eh.  It's been done before.  I needed something different ... something really different.

I wanted to have a cage of light.  Of brightness, for the winter months.  But I couldn't quite put my finger on the idea ...

And then, I went out walking the other weekend, and the trees and the asters all looked like fireworks going off, and I thought, "fireworks.  I want a birdcage full of fireworks."

Well.  I knew I had some wrapping paper or a gift box or something at home with a fireworks print.  I thought I'd head for the dollar store to see what else could remind me of fireworks.

I was looking for anything sparkly.  Metallic sparkly.  I picked up some cheerleading pompoms, one of those balloon-weight thingies, some shiny gold wire garland and some bead necklaces.  It was time to go to work.  First up was deconstructing the pompoms; I was pleased to discover that the strands were all attached to some plastic backing and not just running amok once they were removed from the handles.

(Yeah, I was working out in the backyard. It was a beautiful day.)

I started with the fireworks-printed gift box; I unfolded it and put it in the back of the birdcage.  There wasn't enough to cover the whole back, but I figured that wouldn't matter once I put the other stuff in there.

 The balloon-weight thingie went in the center as the main firework; I draped a dismantled pompom across the back of the birdcage, arranged the garland to look like streamers, and ran the bead necklaces down from the top.  In progress:

Close-up view:

Here it is inside:

Hmmm.  Looks a little dark, there in the corner.  Needs more light.  I took a nightlight, attached it to an extension cord, and stuck it in the back of the birdcage.  Let's LIGHT IT UP, BAYBEE.

Close ... close ... getting closer ...

The light needed to be ... more firework-y.  (Am I insane?  Don't answer that.)

I pulled out the nightlight, threw in a small string of Christmas lights, and tried again.


A birdcage full of fireworks.  Oooooo, pretty.


Thursday, October 09, 2014

Oh holy sh*tballs, guys, you're not even going to BELIEVE this (now with updates)

So, I was at work this afternoon, sitting at my desk, typing info into spreadsheets, lalala, and I'm still kind of cheesed at my sister and also about some other stuff and my jaw was killing me because stress and my boss and a client were standing in front of my work area, at the (open) door to the outside, as the client was getting ready to leave.

And they're yakking away, blahblahblah, and I'm not really listening because

 (a) They weren't talking to me, and

(b) boring whitemanspeak, no1curr, and the client is going on and on about a cousin of his who's having trouble with the IRS and the federal government and yadda yadda yadda and then

"I've got one thing to say about that," my boss says, laughing, to the client.  "Isn't the n*gger wonderful?"

I sat there, my mouth hanging open, thinking, "Oh no he didn't oh no he didn't"

except he did.

I grabbed my purse and pushed past my boss, who was heading back into the office.

"Are you going somewhere?" he asked.

"Yes," I said.  "I'm going home."

"Is there something wrong?" he asked.

"Yes," I said, "I feel SICK."  and I left.

And now I have to decide if I really want to work for a man who has no problem calling a black man a n*gger.  What. The. Actual. F*CK.

Anybody want to go to Mexico?  Like, now?  Spiffikins, it looks like my schedule is WIDE OPEN. :)

UPDATED TO ADD:  My boss called me at home a couple of hours after I left the office and wanted to know what was going on.  I explained that what I had overheard him tell the client offended me, to the point that I felt sick and had to leave.  I said that I wasn't sure I wanted to work anymore for a man with such cavalierly racist attitudes.  (I have known this man  for many years.  I knew that he had outdated, offensive views, and is an old white man seeing the world as he knows it change around him,  but I also know that what he said upset me deeply.  Would it have upset me as badly if I hadn't already had ten tons of sh*t piled on top of me in the past few days?  I don't know.)  He apologized profusely and said that he would never say such things in front of me again. 

I just ... I don't know, guys.  There is no world I want to live in,  in which it is all right to call the President of the United States a n*gger (or any black man,  as far as that goes), but I also know that small-minded people express small-minded attitudes, and Freedom of Speech and blah blah blah.  And on my end,  I don't know if being tolerant also has to include being tolerant of attitudes that make me want to scream.  I do know that he will continue to be a racist, whether or not he expresses it in front of me.  He apologized for saying something I overheard, not for being a damn racist in the first place.

Am I being oversensitive?  Undersensitive?  I DON'T KNOW.  Will I go back to work tomorrow?  Yes, since he apologized, repeatedly.  Does that make me as bad as he is?  Holy f*ck I do not know.

Come on,  you guys, Mexico is looking better and better.  Let's go!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Son of a f*cking BITCH

Sis is backing out of the trip.  Says she's worried about ebola.

The travel agent was basing the rates on double occupancy.  I don't think there's any way I'll be able to swing this, budget-wise, as a single traveler.

God f*cking DAMMIT.