Friday, October 31, 2008

The Good Little Witch

This photo was taken on Halloween in 1967, when I was almost five. My Mom made this witch costume, and I LOVED it. It had orange appliqued bats and cats, and orange fringe, and a hat with a buckle - what's not to love?

I have no idea what I was doing with my hands in this picture - maybe Mom told me to "act witchy", and that was the best I could do. Hey, I was four years old - cut me some slack!

Also, check out the haircut. No wonder my Dad called me "bowl bean".

Oh, and that bush on the right? We had bushes like that all across the front of the house. They grew to Olympian size and had to be trimmed back a couple times a year. And they would grow little red fruit-things in the fall, and my sister TIB would grab a handful of fruit-things, tell me they were poison, and then chase me around the yard, trying to shove them in my mouth.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

That's why the lady is a tramp

Back when I was a kid, "tramp" was a popular Halloween costume. (That's my sister TIB on the left (the one in a tramp outfit, holding a BEER CAN (how prescient is THAT, is all I'm sayin')), and me on the right, circa 1966 or so. I have no idea what the hell my costume was; it looks like there's a cartoon rabbit on the front, but I have no clue what that red thing on my head is supposed to be.)

The "tramp" or "hobo" costume was ideal for last-minute trick-or-treaters; you just threw on some of your dad's old clothes, rubbed some charcoal on your face, and you were good to go. If you wanted to go into a little more detail, you could take a pillowcase, stuff it with some towels, and tie it to the end of a stick for your "belongings".

And looking at this picture, I wondered if kids still dress up as tramps. But then, I realized that yesterday's "tramp" is today's "homeless person", and it's probably not very politically correct to dress up as "that bum who lives under the bridge and panhandles in the K-Mart parking lot" for Halloween.

Then again, if Metrodad can dress his little girl as an underage Chinese Olympic gymnast for Halloween, I guess anything goes!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Both The Runt and Little Girl were hair-suckers when they were younger. As in, they liked to suck on MY hair while I slept. I'd wake up to the pain of paws kneading my scalp, and disturbing slurping noises, and two little kittens attached to my head like barnacles. And it was CREEPING ME OUT.

And it was all really weird, because I had always heard that the reason cats would pretend-suckle was because they were weaned too early. And I knew that these guys had not been fully weaned until they were, like, eleven weeks old, which is not too early.

But! I had the problem of the hair-suckage. So I did what any self-respecting cat owner would do and went out and bought pacifiers. For my cats.

They were not interested in the pacifiers, and after a couple of weeks, Little Girl seemed to grow out of the whole hair-sucking thing. Which left The Runt, who would still happily suck away whenever he got the chance, i.e, whenever I fell asleep. Or sat still long enough for him to get to my head. And did I mention that it was CREEPING ME OUT? The only reason I can figure for this behavior is that, as the runt of the litter, he was always the first to be shoved out of the pack when they were all nursing. Maybe he's making up for lost time.

I finally hit on the thing that seems to be working: A fringed towel. Now I keep a towel on the bed, and The Runt is content to suck away on the towel fringe, while kneading his paws against the pillow and making nuk-nuk noises.

Hey, at least he's happy. And Jeesus, at least he's not sucking ON MY HEAD.

Questions I will have for the toilet-fixer-person* tonight

1. Hey, third time's the charm, right?

2. Is my brandie-new toilet supposed to make ominous gurgling noises every time it's used?

3. Could you please make it so I don't have to remove the top from the tank and yank up the float to make the damn toilet stop running?

4. For the love of God, can you please, please, PLEASE just fix this thing so it stops leaking water all over the bathroom carpeting?

5. Could you please wear a belt? PLEASE? Your plumber's crack is scaring the kittens. And me.

*I call him the "toilet-fixer-person" because I think it's been pretty well established that no matter what he may CALL himself, he is NOT a plumber. And really, even "toilet-fixer-person" is a misnomer, as he has yet to actually FIX anything.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Easiest Halloween Costume EVAH!

I was at the grocery store on Saturday morning, and some of the employees were dressed up in costume. My cashier, a guy, had on a black suit, black tie, black shoes, white dress shirt, sunglasses, and a small flag lapel pin - Secret Service guy!

Is that not the best easy Halloween costume ever?

Here's another easy one: Oversized flannel shirt, untucked and unbuttoned, worn over an undershirt, along with ripped/dirty jeans and unlaced sneakers = Kurt Cobain! If you have a guitar, take it along. If you wear glasses, tape black "x"s over the lenses and go as Dead Kurt Cobain.

You're welcome!

Monday, October 27, 2008

......And Boy, Are My Arms Tired

So! Yesterday, I raked leaves. Wet, heavy leaves. It rained all day Saturday, and even though the rain stopped by Saturday night, by yesterday morning, those leaves were still soaked. And yet I went ahead and raked anyway, even though I had made up my mind that I would not rake wet leaves.

Why, you ask? Because I have a maple tree that hates me in my backyard. Truly, this tree is evil. It's huge, and it waits until the last possible moment to drop its leaves. long after all the other maples in the neighborhood are bare. And when those leaves finally come down, it's a good four-hour project to get them all to the curb.

I decided to outsmart the tree this year. I decided to rake once when about half the leaves were down, making it an easier job, and then rake the remainder in a couple of weeks, avoiding the palm-blistering, shoulder-aching four hour marathon.

But! I forgot to factor "wet, heavy" leaves into my equation. And so what should've taken me a couple of hours yesterday took me three and a half hours. And I'll still have to rake again when the rest of the leaves come down.

Evil tree wins again. But watching teh kittens jump around in the leaf piles was pretty entertaining.

Friday, October 24, 2008


It's Friday afternoon, and I just realized that my weekend plans are to ....... um ......... wait ....... I have no weekend plans.

I was going to rake leaves, but it's supposed to rain all day Saturday. Which means the leaves will still be soaking wet on Sunday, so ........ no raking leaves.

If it stops raining by Sunday, I could go for a walk ......... I guess.

I think I'll try a new scalloped potato recipe. (SUCH excitement! *sigh*) And I need to put that Artscape stuff on the bathroom window. Has anybody tried that? It's like stained glass film for your windows? I was reading the instructions last night, and I foretell an upcoming clusterfuck of enormous proportions.

I could try to get some more (picture) painting done, but I just don't know if I'm feeling it. Lack of talent is a great stifler of enthusiasm.

See, here's the thing. I'm one of those annoying people who must have plans. If I don't keep my time structured, I tend to get into trouble*. And the idea of an entire weekend of crappy weather and nothing to do .......... frankly, it's a little scary.

So! What are you doing this weekend? Any plans (that I could steal)?

*And by "trouble", I mean the wasting-half-a-day-at-the-mall-buying-bullshit-I-don't -need kind of trouble, NOT the heroin-and-crack kind of trouble. Sheesh! You guys!

First! Catnip! ZOMG!!11!1!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

All Hail Queen Texas!

After winning the Garden Cup Championship, tradition dictated that my sister Texas promenade around the country club with a tiara, sash and bouquet of roses while doing a "queen wave". Oh, and she got a kick-ass crystal trophy, too!

Rock on, Texas!


Especially at this time of year, health care professionals keep telling people to "wash your hands, wash your hands, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD wash your hands" to prevent illness.

Here's the question: Is this supposed to prevent ME, the hand-washer, from getting sick, or prevent THOSE AROUND ME from catching my (possible) illnesses?

Because it seems to me like I could wash my hands all day, but if I then walk into a germ-filled office, I'm screwed.

So is this supposed to be, like, a collective effort? If we ALL wash our hands, nobody's getting sick? Because, I mean, I wash my hands anyway, but I never realized I could be doing it for purely altruistic purposes, i.e., preventing other people from catching my (theoretical) illnesses.

And I swear I am the ONLY PERSON in the office who washes their hands after using the restroom, which is kind of nausea-inducing if you think about it. I mean, these guys are handing me paperwork and stuff! Bleeecccchhhhh.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm gonna have to rake the leaves ......

...... just so I can find the kittens!

Where is that Little Girl?

Oh, wait, I think I see her .....

There she is!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Way My Mind Works

So, I was sitting here bemoaning the fact that it was dark out when I got up this morning, and it will be dark out again just a couple of hours after I get home from work. (I'm not even gonna mention the fact that it's currently 39 degrees out. That's just wrong.) And pretty soon, it will be dark out on my drive to work, and dark out on my way home.

And then I was thinking, I could handle the snow and the cold, if it just wasn't so damned DARK OUT all the time. And then, I was all, like, wait a minute. If we can do the Daylight Savings Time thingie in the summer, so it's still light out at nine at night, why can't we just do that all year round? Just keep jiggering the clocks so that it's light out later.

And then I realized, well, duh, all the clock-jiggering in the world isn't gonna change the fact that this part of the planet only gets about nine hours of daylight in the middle of winter. So while we could, technically, jigger the clocks so that it's light out at nine at night, that would mean that the sun would be coming up at about noon.

And then I realized that I'm an idiot.


Movie Reviews - "Baby Mama" and "Superbad"

First up, "Baby Mama". I finally got around to watching this one, several months after everyone else in the free world saw it. Hey, I'm retro! Anyway, I really wanted to like this one, and it got pretty good reviews, but ..... well...... I thought it was just "meh".

Next, "Superbad". I taped this one (on my VCR! Because I am ANCIENT) the other night when it came on Encore at, like, three a.m. And I had really low expectations, because I'm not real fond of the whole "American Pie" genre. But "Superbad" cracked my ass up. Seriously, I was laughing out loud. When Seth throws a tirade at the Home Ec teacher? I think everybody who ever had to take Home Ec can relate to that. And then, when he's making .... well ..... obscene gestures behind the back of his classmate ........ HAHAHAHAHA!! And the dick illustrations that rolled with the end credits ..... I want to know WHO DREW THOSE, so I can shake his hand. Because I am, evidently, a twelve-year-old boy.

So! "Baby Mama" - meh. "Superbad" - Excellent! I would definitely watch that one again. Oh! And speaking of watching again, there are some movies that I call "time suck" movies. These are movies that, if I happen to find them playing while flipping through channels on a Saturday afternoon, I will end up watching all the way through, almost against my will, even though I've seen them (several times) before. "Parenthood" comes immediately to mind. I have no idea how many times I've seen that movie, but it's ..... well ....... lots. It just sucks me in, and I HAVE TO WATCH IT.

Does anybody else have movies like that? Movies that suck you in and make you watch them?

(Oh! Also! "Sixteen Candles". Must ........ watch ......... Sixteen Candles.)

Monday, October 20, 2008


First, a little backstory: I live in an apartment building. My apartment and the apartment next to mine both have access to the attic, which is plywood-floored and is used for storage. There are two lights in the attic; bare bulbs in fixtures attached to the rafters, one on each side of the attic. The lights are turned on and off by pull cords.

So! On Sunday afternoon (after the Bills WON, holy shit they're having a winning season; it's like a MIRACLE), I went to put some stuff up in the attic. I went up the (pull-down) stairs, turned on the light, and noticed that the light on the other side of the attic was also on. I thought that was kind of weird, as that apartment's been vacant for a while now, but I knew that workers had been over in that apartment, and I figured that one of them must have gone up in the attic for whatever reason, and then forgotten to turn off the light.

So the light was on. And then, as I watched, it sort of ........ browned out. Just faded out, until the light was off. "Huh!" I thought. "It must have just burned out, just then".

And then the light came back on again. And then went off. And then back on.

And then I hightailed it back down the stairs.

Here's the thing. I grew up in a haunted house. You can call bullshit all you want, but I know whereof I speak. I am intimately acquainted with things that go bump in the night. And that's why I can't watch those ghost-hunting shows on TV; I lived that shit. And I don't want to EXPERIENCE IT AGAIN.

So: Dear possible-ghost-in-my-building: I am warning you. If you come anywhere near me, I will kick the living shit out of you. Just knock off the bullshit with the attic light RIGHT NOW, and go find somewhere else to live. Someplace whose occupants will find your antics amusing, or at least intriguing. Because I HAVE HAD IT WITH GHOSTS. And I WILL kick your ghost ass if you don't leave me alone. Got it? Good. Now GO.

Friday, October 17, 2008


That I Would Be Grateful

My week so far:

Sunday/Monday: The Runt stuck up tree.

Tuesday evening: Take cats to vet for shots. Which, thanks to an emergency case which came in right before I got there, and an extremely thorough vet, took an hour and a half. And I actually had to leave the room when they gave Little Girl her shots, because she pitches such a fit and I couldn't bear to watch. (Also, frankly, I wanted to be out of the line of fire when she went berserker.)

Wednesday: I was supposed to leave work early and meet the toilet-fixer-person at my apartment at five. Guess where I was at five? Stuck at work. Rescheduled for six, and then had to stay as far away from the bathroom as possible, because of the truly alarming amount of plumber's crack on view. (I really, really wanted to snap a pic and post it here, but my camera has a rather loud shutter, and I couldn't figure out how to get a shot without alerting the subject.)

Wednesday evening: Call the shelter to schedule spaying/neutering. Am told that I cannot do it over the phone; I must come to the shelter in person to schedule. Sigh......... Realize I am out of readable reading material; resort to old Playboys that are sent to our office for an employee who no longer works there. (Srsly, there are some good articles in Playboy. And the "advice" column cracks me up. I think Bill Clinton writes half the questions: "If she goes down on me, it's not really sex, right?")

Last night: Made appearance at shelter to schedule surgery. Was told the earliest opening was for November 20. Expressed fears that the cats may become, well, active before then, and was told not to worry; they could do an abortion if necessary when they spayed Little Girl. Sheesh - I thought these guys were trying to save teh kitties. Stop at library for something to read. Go home and check to see if bathroom carpet is still soaking wet ......... that's a yes.

And I could go on and on and on, as I so often do on this blog. And then I thought about some of the bloggers I read who are going through really hard times right now. Dealing with things like recalcitrant children, and divorce, and illness, and death. And I thought, what right do I have to complain?

But then I thought, there is always going to be someone out there worse off than I am. Does that mean I can't complain at all? Because, frankly, this blog is a huge outlet for my venting. And just because I write it, doesn't mean anyone has to read it.

So what do you think? Is it okay to moan and whine and complain, knowing there are people out there much worse off? Or should I be all Suzy Sunshine and only write about the good stuff? Because frankly, I don't want to forget about the bad stuff. It's all part of life, right? Hmmm.... Maybe it's okay to complain, as long as I remember to count my blessings as well.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Don't Lie To Me

So, I watched (some of) the debate last night. And as I was watching, I knew that the first thing I would do when I got to the office this morning was go to (thanks, Exador, for letting me know about that site) to see what was real and what was bullshit.

And some of what those guys were saying last night was bullshit. On both sides.

I know that McCain and Obama have advisers who help them formulate their platforms, their speeches, etc. And so someone probably said to McCain, "Hey, under Obama's plan, Joe the plumber's gonna have to pay a penalty if he doesn't insure his workers". Now. Did McCain not check to see if that was true, before he flung it out there last night? Because it wasn't true. And when Obama said that 100% of McCain's ads had been negative? Not true. And at one point during the campaign, Obama was actually running a higher percentage of attack ads than McCain.

Here's the thing. If these guys are just repeating what their advisors told them, without bothering to find out if it's true or not, that's disquieting. But if they KNOW that what they are saying is untrue, and they're saying it ANYWAY, that makes me furious.

I don't want to vote for a Lying McLiarPants.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


On Saturday, I walked the Cascadilla Gorge:

On Sunday morning, I went to the local nature preserve. The fog was still burning off when I got there:

Pretty soon, the sun was out in full force, and the leaves are spec-TAC-u-lar:

I have a love-hate relationship with fall. The foliage is beautiful, but we all know what's coming: six months of cold, crappy, miserable weather, with extra doses of darkness. If only fall were followed by spring, instead of winter.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Valuable Lessons

1. What goes up, must come down. Sooner or later.

2. If you are inside watching TV and drinking a beer and you hear your neighbors out in their backyard calling for your cat, you need to go out and join them. Even if you think it's useless and that the cat will come down when it's damned good and ready. After all, it's YOUR cat. And if THEY'RE nice enough to be out there, YOU need to be out there as well. And no, you don't get to finish the beer first.

3. The reason that cats can get up a tree but can't get back down again is because of how their claws are shaped. Their claws come out from the paw and curve down and back, making them excellent for use as grappling hooks on the way up, but useless on the way down. The cat has to figure out that he needs to turn around and back down the tree. And cats don't like to back up.

4. If your cat needs to go to the bathroom badly enough, he WILL do so in mid-air. Stand back, is all I'm saying. If you thought getting crapped on by a bird was bad, well ........

5. See Number 1 above.

The Runt Has Landed

My neighbors pulled out all the stops last night, launching a spectacular rescue effort that included a twenty-foot ladder, an extension pole with tuna smeared on the end, and a very brave man who is not afraid of heights. And about half an hour after we had given up for the night, The Runt came sauntering home.

He is currently safely INSIDE.

Monday, October 13, 2008

And in other news.........

Grumpy McGrumpAss still has not been back to fix my evidently-improperly-installed, leaking-all-over-the-floor toilet. I called him last Tuesday, and he said somebody would be over in a couple of days. Hmmppff. I guess there's been some kind of warp in the space-time continuum, because "a couple of days" have come and gone and come and gone again, and still no toilet-fixer-person.

Yesterday, I had to return DVD/VCR Number 3, as it ceased operation after three weeks of use. I am now on DVD/VCR Number 4, all in less than two months. On the bright side, if you need me to come over and hook up your DVD/VCR, I can do it in about thirty seconds flat. I've had lots of practice.

And the icing on the cake:
GIANT SPIDERS are invading. Great. Just great.

How is this even possible?

The Runt's up a tree. Again.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Roadside Memorial

It's not just a southern thing - they do them up here, too.

A person who was much beloved by the local biker community ran his bike into a tree at the entrance to a local park. (You can double-click the pics for a closer view.)

I like the hand-painted rock. That's a bottle of Rolling Rock beer in the lower left corner. Which is kind of ironic, because if he met his maker the way most of the local gone-before-their-time bikers do, he was drunk off his ass when he hit that tree.

And you know, these kinds of displays tend to be put up by lower-income folk. I mean, if my boss crashed his Mercedes into a tree, I kind of doubt that his friends would be painting rocks and arranging plastic flowers.

And why is that? Truly, I'm not trying to start something nasty here, but why is it the poor people who tend toward these displays? Is it because they have poor taste? Less brains?

And keep in mind, I used to belong to the low-income demographic. If it ever occurred to me back then in the bad old days to paint roadside memorial rocks, I don't recall. Hmmm.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Above and Beyond

The Runt is down.

And have I got a story for you .....

On Monday night, my neighbor's (two doors down, diagonal to my backyard) dogs treed The Runt in their backyard. I did not discover this until Tuesday morning, when he had not come home and I went looking for him. My neighbor and I spent all day Tuesday trying to get The Runt to come down. No luck. The neighbor placed a twenty-foot ladder against the base of the tree, hoping The Runt would come down far enough so we could reach him, but he stayed too high up.

Oh! and have you ever seen a cat poop in a tree? I have. Turns out that they pee in trees, too. Stand back.

Wednesday morning, The Runt was still up the tree. I had to go in to work, but my neighbor said he would keep trying to get The Runt down. He was keeping his dogs out of the backyard, afraid they would scare The Runt worse.

When I got home Wednesday afternoon, The Runt was out of the tree! I went over to profusely thank my neighbor*, who had spent as much time trying to help The Runt out of the tree as I had.
When I asked him when The Runt had come down, he said, "Welllll, he didn't come down." I gasped and said, "did you ..........", and he said, "Yep. I went up after him."

This guy, whom I did not know from Adam before my cat met his tree, had climbed to the top of the twenty-foot ladder, called to The Runt for half an hour until he got close enough to grab, and then one-armed him down the ladder, getting scratched in the process.

There are still good people out there. You just have to meet them.

*(And yes, there was a thank-you card and gift involved. I'm not a complete heathen.)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Runt

The Runt went up a neighbor's tree Monday night.

He's still up there.

Any ideas?

Monday, October 06, 2008


Congrats to my sister Texas, who is this year's Garden Cup Champion of her golf club! After a two-day tournament, she finished two strokes ahead to win it all. You rock, sis!

Friday, October 03, 2008

More Gratuitous Cute Kitten Pics

For those just tuning in, these are The Runt and Little Girl, the "feral"-formerly-fosters turned permanent household members.
They're getting bigger .......

Do you remember, in the very first Waltons movie, when Elizabeth is in the barn and she decides that if she just keeps squeezing the sides of her head, she'll alway stay small and never grow up?

(I'm not saying I'm squeezing the sides of their heads (!), but still ....... )

Click Here

I was going to write about last night's vice-presidential debate, but as usual, Chez over at Deus Ex Malcontent said it much better than I could.

Click on the title above (where it says "click here" .... yeah ..... that's the ticket) to get his take.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I Cannot WAIT For Tonight

I hope Biden mops the floor with Palin.

I don't think Palin is stupid. Vindictive, petty, manipulative, stubborn: Hell, yes. But I don't think she's stupid. So I'm sure she's been cramming like crazy for this debate. And if Biden's not careful, this whole thing could backfire, with him coming out looking like the big bad meanie who unnecessarily shredded his poor defenseless opponent.

But if Palin performs as she has in interviews, winking and smirking and avoiding the questions and repeating meaningless phrases, she's gonna be in trouble.

And I cannot WAIT.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Pissing Me Off Right Now ........

1. My boss, who has spent the last two days dicking around with his amended 2004(?!) tax return, as opposed to doing any actual work-related work. Oh, and he's not taking calls, which means I get to deal with all the irate clients waiting for their reports. And then, he called at ten this morning to let me know he had overslept. Know what, boss? How's about just getting your butt in here and doing some work, mmmkay?

2. The lady interviewed on the local news last night who was waiting in line for free food at a food pantry. With a bluetooth in her ear. How about cancelling the cell service and buying your own damn food, honey?

3. The nurse at the doctor's office yesterday who acted like she was doing me a big favor by deducting two pounds for my clothes when she weighed me. For the record, I am 5'-5" and weigh 112. Don't act like I'm overweight. Please.

4. The dude on the way to work yesterday who was slaloming his shitmobile in between cars like it was a skills course. Don't make me hold my breath waiting for you to crash, buddy.

5. Grumpy McGrumpAss, the repair guy, who apparently FAILED at replacing my toilet, as now the bathroom carpeting is soaking wet. Grrrrrrrr.........

Okay. I feel (a little) better now.