Monday, December 30, 2013

Mom



My mom died at three-thirty this morning, of complications from dementia.

Her passing was peaceful, and I was there with her.  It was truly a beautiful thing.

Please send kind thoughts to Marjorie Grace Clark, born June 14, 1924, died December 30, 2013.

I love you, mom.



Friday, December 27, 2013

On the day after Christmas, my dear cats gave to meeeee ...




One cat a-limpin' (AND with chunks of fur missing.  Stop FIGHTING, Tinks!)

One cat with tinsel hanging out of his butt (Festive, Pony!)

One cat who had diarrhea-pooped all over a dressing gown which had mysteriously fallen into a litter box in the foster room

and a disembodied mouse head in the bathroom!



Where's the five gooooooolden rings, is what I want to know.








Thursday, December 26, 2013

It's a Christmas miracle!



This time of year, whenever something good happens, even something stupid like winning a hand of computer solitaire, I like to think to myself, "It's a Christmas miracle!"

I dunno why; it just tickles me.  It seems like the word "miracle" is thrown around so freely, and this time of year it gets all connected with Christmas somehow, and voila.  Christmas miracle! hee.

I don't really believe in miracles, per se.  Serendipity, sure; but true miracles?  Nah.  Maybe because miracles get tied up with God, whom I believe in about as much as I do Santa, so not so much.  Even if someone is "miraculously" cured of cancer, I don't think it's a miracle so much as it is dumb luck.  The cancer came and nobody knows why; the cancer went and nobody knows why; why is one a terrible thing and the other one a miracle?

And I was trying to think if I'd ever experienced a "miracle", and I guess the closest I ever came is back when I was young and poor and working fast food, and a week came when I had lots of bills due and I'd had a short week the week before, so I knew that my paycheck was going to be crap and I had no idea how I'd be able to eat, let along pay the bills that were due, and then my paycheck came and due to reasons I do not remember, it was a normal paycheck instead of a short one and the day was saved and tada!  Miracle!  Or just happy event, either way.

How about you?  Ever had a miracle happen?



Tuesday, December 24, 2013

So then I told my sister TIB,




"Go f*ck yourself, b*tch,"  and I hung up the phone.

Oh yes I did.

My sister TIB has always gotten her way in the family via bully tactics and intimidation.  And if you've never seen a sixty-three-year-old woman pitch a full-on temper tantrum, I can tell you, it's not a pretty sight.

So her latest episode, on Sunday in the nursing home in front of my mother and assorted others, was the last straw.

And last night, at quarter after eight, when I was FINALLY sitting down to some dinner and the phone started ringing and caller ID revealed TIB's number, I could have taken the high road and let it go to voice mail.

But I didn't.

I picked up that phone and let fly.  Both barrels.  I told TIB exactly what I thought of what she was doing, and I made it clear that the sh*t stopped NOW or she WOULD be dealing with me.  I am normally the most mild-mannered of nerds, but all I can say is, sometimes when you mess with the bear, you get the claws.

I let her have it.  When I burn a bridge, it's to the ground, baby.  And then I told her to f*ck off.

And it felt GREAT.  My only regret is that I didn't do it YEARS ago. 

Ahhhhh.  There's nothing like family for the holidays.



Monday, December 23, 2013

Treating themselves to an early Christmas



So, I got home from running errands yesterday to discover that somebody had managed to pop open the lid to the giant plastic storage bin full of adoption event stuff that I keep out in the garage, climb into the bin, drag out the double-ziplocked-bag full of catnip toys that was in the bin, claw and chew through BOTH bags, and strew catnip toys from one end of the garage to the other.  Somebody also managed to claw/chew/slobber over ninety percent of the toys, thus rendering them unusable for sale at adoption events and thereby instantly turning them into gifts to my cats.

Way to go, somebody.  Enjoy the fruits of your success.  I admire your tenacity.

And the caper made me laugh out loud.  Thanks!






Saturday, December 21, 2013

Decorated






My tree is having a party.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Recently Read

Okay, first off, I went into the library the other day and a book I'd been wanting to read (The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell) was there on the new books display, and I was so! excited!  Because usually any new book worth reading is checked out for, like, the first YEAR or so that it's at my library, so to have first dibs on a good book is a big! deal!  And please tell me that I'm not the only one who gets excited at the sight of a wanted book.

So I haven't read that one yet, but here's what I HAVE read:

 1.  The Grail Bird - Hot on the Trail of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker by Tim Gallagher.  Everybody's got to have a hobby, I guess.  I was actually really excited to read this, until I discovered that Ivory-Bills (possibly extinct) are almost identical to Pileateds (common).  Did they find the bird?  Read it and find out. 

2.  Movie Review!  "Little Birds" is about two teen girls living in a trailer park by the Salton Sea who decide to head for L.A.  Classic indie, including the obligatory opening scene featuring a nubile young actress's tits.  Includes lots of artsy lighting shots, etc.   I dunno.  My first exposure to filmed teen angst came via "Over the Edge" with Matt Damon. Another example is "Where The Day Takes You", with Lara Flynn Boyle.  This kind of movie can really clobber you, or leave you saying "eh", depending, I guess, on where you are emotionally on any given day with memories of your own adolescence.

3.  Music Review!  The eponymous debut CD by The Band Perry is a bright, country-pop mix of songs.  Think Dixie Chicks, but skewed toward a younger demographic.  I am sure that millions of tween girls all over the country sobbed into their pillows listening to "If I Die Young", which admittedly is a touching song. "Miss You Being Gone" and "Double Heart" are fun breakup songs, and what young girl couldn't relate to "Walk Me Down the Middle",  about a girl wanting to show off her new boyfriend?
        Yes, the CD skews young, but it's very enjoyable, and since the Dixie Chicks are evidently not coming back any time soon, these guys fill the bill just fine.  I know that they've put out another CD since this one, and I'll probably give that one a listen, too.

4.  Haunted Southern Tier by Elizabeth Tucker - Local ghost stories.  Okay.

5.  Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth - Memoir about a midwife in post-WWII London, now a miniseries on PBS.  Interesting, if a little more graphic in its childbirth descriptions than I expected.  Still,  an entertaining read.

6.  How about another movie review?  "Mama" is a spooky movie about a young couple who are tasked with raising the man's feral nieces.  I usually stay away from horror movies, but this one got (fairly)  good reviews, and Guillermo del Toro (sp?), who I like, produced, so I Netflixed it.  The premise is good, and despite gaping plot holes, it truly is scary.  I actually had to stop watching at one point, go do something else for a while as a little palate cleanser, and then come back to it.  Hopefully I'll be able to sleep again someday.

7.  Back to books.  "The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope" by Rhonda Riley.  It's kind of tough to review this without giving too much away,  but suffice it to say that it's about a young woman who finds a mysterious stranger on her farm, and their life together.  Mystical in a good way, and an entertaining read.

8.  The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman - I understand that Mr. Gaiman has something approaching a cult following,  and my brother recommended this book  to me.  It's a novel about a little boy and his young neighbor facing a supernatural challenge.  It's really short - Folks who think the articles in People magazine are too long would probably like this one, as well as people who aren't really "readers".  It's certainly good - Think if Stephen King's editor told him that he had to cut a book by ninety percent.  I liked  it!

9.  Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles - Think, The Road (Cormac McCarthy) meets Gone with the Wind.  Considerably grimmer than her book Stormy Weather, but still a good read.

10. A Midwife's Story by Penny Armstrong and Sheryl Feldman - Memoir by a midwife to the Amish - interesting.

Okay, so that's what I've been reading lately. How about you?








Thursday, December 19, 2013

Nothing's changed, except for hope, maybe



Despite the fact that my mother has a pretty crystal-clear Living Will, the social worker at the nursing home is pushing my sister Ditzy and I, mom's health care proxies, for more clarification, as it is becoming apparent that mom is not eating and drinking enough to keep her alive.

Her Living Will specifies no tube feeding, no artificial hydration, no extraordinary measures, no resuscitation, and maximum pain relief.

I dunno, I think that's pretty understandable, personally, but if the social worker needs me to skywrite it for her, I certainly will if it will make her feel better.

"Dope her up and let her go," I'm tempted to say, but I guess that would make me some kind of monster, wouldn't it?  Then again, if I can think it, I already am one.

I will move heaven and earth, if I can, to ensure that she has a peaceful passing.

That's all we can wish for,  in the end,  isn't it?






So am I supposed to take them or not?!



Vitamins, that is.

I was in the foster room the other morning,  watching the morning news to postpone the inevitable ride into the office, when a report came on stating that vitamins are actually BAD for you.

Well,  sh*t.  I've been taking vitamins for at least thirty years. A multi-vitamin, and extra Vitamin C, and Calcium plus D, and let's see, recently I've started taking cranberry extract and probiotics for my guts, which, those last two might be okay, because technically they're not vitamins, but the rest of 'em?

Crap.

I mean, I'd just as soon not spend the money, especially seeing as how evidently I've been spending that money on something that is actually BAD for me, but I really wish they could've told me a little sooner.

Oh, and apropos of nothing, what the heck is A&E going to fill their schedule with, now that the Duck Dynasty dude has let it be known that God doesn't like gay people, and blacks were actually HAPPY in the old south?  (Who knew?)

You know, I've been hearing rumors for quite a while now that one of the Duck Dynasty dudes is gay.  And now I really, really hope it's true.



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"Ship it UPS!," she said. 'It'll get here on time!," she said



Not sure if any of you remember the shipping fiasco I went through last December, when I entrusted a Christmas package to the United States Postal Service, who managed to get it to within fifteen miles of my sister's Fort Worth home before inexplicably sending it to Atlanta and then losing it forever.

Way to go, post office!  F*ck you very much.

Lesson learned, this year I used UPS.

UPS managed to get this year's Christmas package to Mesquite, Texas, approximately 44 miles away from my sister's house, before losing it.

Advantage?  USPS, since they got within 15 miles of the intended target as opposed to UPS's forty-four, although some day it would be nice if a delivery service was actually capable of getting the package to her doorstep.

I guess that's just too much to wish for.




Tuesday, December 17, 2013

They were almost bigger than the cats



So!  Saturday brought another adoption event, smack in the middle of a snowstorm.  Despite the crappy roads, intrepid shoppers came out anyway.  One cat, Farah*, a beautiful young black kitty, found her new home, and we had inquiries for some of the other cats, so a good time was had by all.

And no one, NO ONE, could resist the kitty in the cradle.


That's Angel in the cradle, with Charlie behind him.  Angel hopped in that cradle as soon as we set it up, and he stayed there the entire time.  Farah is the one UNDER the cradle.  It was kind of amazing that she found her new home, considering she spent the entire event pretending she wasn't there.

(In case you are worried:  The ONLY time these guys are in cages are at adoption events.  The rest of the time, they are in foster homes, stirring up all kinds of mischief.)


There were other rescue groups there - a horse rescue had miniature ponies dressed up as elves.  But the indisputable stars of the show were these guys:


Dude.  DUUUUUDES.  Giant BIRDS.  And they TALKED.  It was AWESOME.

You get to see all kinds of stuff at adoption events.  It's kind of amazing that I didn't come home with a bird.  Or a pony.



 
* I do not name these cats.

 


Monday, December 16, 2013

Half past exhausted




I will tell you what, this "family" stuff will wear you right out.

Meetings were held and discussions were had and tempers were mostly kept in check; at one point I got a glimpse of myself in a mirror and I looked alarmingly like that angry Eagle dude on the Muppet Show, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing, given the level of negotiations I was navigating, and in the end, Mom is safe and warm and where she needs to be right now.

And the dementia unit of a skilled nursing facility is an ... interesting place.  

I don't know what the future holds, all I know is that for right now, things are stable, and tree lots are alarmingly devoid of trees by the fifteenth of December.

But!  I got a tree; the selecting goes really fast when there aren't many to choose from.  And the tree is up!  And the lights are on!  And that might be as far as I get this year, but that's okay.  I kind of like it with just the tree and the lights, anyway.

And I did manage to get to an adoption event Saturday, driving through Snowmaggedon to get there, and I'll have pics up soon of the special visitors who stopped by.

Sleep is overrated, am I right?  *yawn*




Thursday, December 12, 2013

So then I pulled out the big guns.

Mom's still in the hospital, still not much change.  The hospital is waiting for space to open in a skilled nursing facility before they release her.

My sister TIB and her contingent were strongly pushing for her to go back to the no-skilled home where she had been staying, which MY contingent strongly opposes.  She needs to be someplace with 24-hour care and actual, like, medical professionals, as opposed to the minimum-wage dipshits at the no-skilled home who waited until she was almost dead to call a damn doctor.

Yeah, I'm a little bitter.  And I was prepared to wage war.

But.  Way back in 2003, when mom's dementia was starting to progress, I insisted that she lawyer up.  She needed an updated will, and someone with Power of Attorney, and a living will and a Health Care Proxy.

Guess whose name is on the Health Care Proxy?

MINE.

She WILL be going to a skilled facility, where she WILL get the supervision she needs, and my sister TIB and her crazy-ass buddies (who, sadly, include my sister Alabama and my brother) can go pound sand.

Suck it, TIB and crew.  Just suck it.



(My family makes me crazy.  Can you tell?)





Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Seriously? A loaf of bread?




So,  with all of the drama that is coming with my mom's hospitalization and continuing family drama, I'm finding myself a little ... frazzled.  I'm usually pretty good at holding it all together, but I stopped at a dollar store on my way back to the office from the hospital this afternoon, and standing in line, I realized I was so tired I was dizzy.

And then, tonight, I went to make a sandwich, and  I ate it, and now, a couple of hours later, I realize that the remainder of the loaf of bread has ... vanished.  It's ... not  in the fridge, which is where I usually keep the bread, and it's not in the cupboards, and I even checked the garbage to see if I mindlessly threw it out, and ... nope.  I lost a loaf of bread.

So tell me, friends, what's the oddest thing you ever lost?  And where did it eventually show up?


Monday, December 09, 2013

and in brighter news ...



... Saturday was another big! adoption! event! day!

First, we suck in the little kids ...


... and then we get the parents.


We had two "hard-to-place" (i.e, adult, long-haired, male, BIG cats) get adopted!  Congrats, Muffin and Snugglebunny!  (I DO NOT NAME THESE CATS.) Woot!

And we're gonna do it all over again this weekend. I'll get my tree up ... someday.




Friday, December 06, 2013

Battle lines are bein' drawn




Well, it took all of three days for my sister TIB to fly into a blind rage over something my sister Ditzy is doing regarding the care of my mother.

I swear I must be a foundling.  The alternative, that I am actually related to these a**holes, is too sobering to consider.



Dropping the old bombshell



So, I was reading a book the other day, and I came to the end of a chapter, and here's the last line:

"My father was your father, Lucy.  I'm your half brother."

ahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

I'm sorry, but every time I come across a bombshell announcement, all  I can think of is that scene in Tootsie, where Dustin Hoffman's soap character finally owns up to his own little surprise:

"For I am NOT Emily Kimberly, the daughter of Dwayne and Alma Kimberly! No, I'm not! I'm Edward Kimberly, the recluse brother of my sister Anthea! Edward Kimberly, who has finally vindicated his sister's good name! I am Edward Kimberly! Edward Kimberly!

Oh my God, now I wanna go watch Tootsie again.




Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Take the Long Way Home

Okay, so, my mom's in the hospital.

She's eighty-nine, and she was diagnosed with dementia/Alzheimer's shortly after my dad died in 1999, and  now she's sick.  She has pneumonia (yes she DID get a pneumonia shot this fall, fat lot of good it did her), and a blood clot in her leg.

And various family members are sh*tting bricks, and dusting off the ol' Health Care Proxies, and trying to figure out when to alert the plane-flight contingent, and I'm all,

whoa whoa whoa

Because my mom is going to take the long way home. She ain't in no hurry, here.

This is her first hospitalization since her dementia diagnosis, and it won't be her last.  I used to joke, back in the day,  about how she was going to outlive all of us, and then she outlived my sister-in-law, and she came damn close to outliving  me this past summer, and all of a sudden that joke? well, I stopped making that one.

My mom?  She's gonna take the scenic route, bless her.





Tuesday, December 03, 2013

These are a few of my favorite ...




... books!

First of all, are any of you going to watch the live! Sound of Music special?  I am going to watch the SH*T out of that.   I loved that movie as a kid, and I cannot wait to see the new staged version.  Singing! Dancing! That pretty blond country singer! Let me at it! 

Now.  I was clearing out a dresser in the foster room the other night when I came upon a book stash.  Books that  I had forgotten I even had - how does that happen?  They were actually duplicates of some of my all-time favorites.  Am I the only one who does that?  Buys copies of favorite books to give away to friends?  I guess maybe it's a book nerd thing, wanting to give away favorites. An, "I loved this book, so you will, too" kind of thing.  But, you know, you never give away the ONLY COPY you have of a favorite, because that would be crazy.  You have to save one copy, for when you need to read it again.

Here's the books I uncovered:

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (two duplicates)

Growing up by Russell Baker

All Over But the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg

Boy's Life by Robert McCammon

Different Seasons by Stephen King

Fanny and Sue by Karen Stoltz

When Angels Rest by Donald Harington (I have three! duplicates of this one)

You know what's funny?  Looking at that list, it's almost all male authors.  And I would say that probably ninety-five percent of the books I read are written by women.  Hmmmm.

And the crazy thing is, I keep buying new (used) books - just picked up eleven more at a Better World Books sale yesterday - and taking books out of the library - and I will never, ever have time to go back and read my favorites over again if I keep getting more books, dammit.  I'm like that dude in the ruined library in the Twilight Zone episode, except minus all the time in the world and the busted glasses.

How about you?  Any favorites, the books that you'd read over and over again?  Do you save them?  Or am I the only crazy crackpot who stockpiles great books?




  p.s.  Not too late to get a Christmas card! Email me!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

It's that time of year again ...




... Oktoberfest is here again!

Whoops, wrong holiday.

First off,  I  hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving.  Go ahead and eat that last leftover piece of pie - you deserve it for not strangling any of your relatives over the Thanksgiving table.

Now!  It's time for Christmas cards!  I've got all my crap, er, arty stuff  strewed all over the living room floor.  Tinks the Destroyer just strolled into the house, and I predict imminent card disaster, so quick!  Here's your chance!

If you want a Christmas card, let me know!  Just email me your name and address, using an alias if the Feds are on your tail, and I'll send you a card!  If  you got a card last year, relax, you'll get another one this year.  If you got a card last year and would prefer NOT to get one this year *cough*, just let me know.  But if you've never gotten a faaaaaaabulous Rockycat Christmas card, and you'd like one this year, give me a shout at rockycat24 AT yahoo DOT com. You'll get a card. 

Oh, and Kate?  I never did get a new mailing address from you last year, so let me know if you want a card.  I mean, I know you're busy with the new hubs and all (yay!), but I need your new address.

Oh! And one more thing!  I grabbed a roll of paper towels off the counter this morning (Bindi, must you puke, dear soul?), and there was a gigantic SPIDER on top of the roll.  That's it.  I am never using paper towels again.

But I AM doing Christmas cards, so let me know if you want a card!




Thursday, November 28, 2013

Have a happy, happy Thanksgiving.



I was gonna do a post all about the things I am thankful for, but meh.  Everybody's doing that.  So here.  Have some adorable kittens:



These are all former fosters of mine.  All of these guys were at one time homeless, looking for a place to call their own.


If you ever take a look around and think maybe your life is kind of blah, maybe a little ... empty ...


Or if you feel really blessed, and think maybe it's time you gave a little back ...Become a foster parent.


Your life will be fuller than you can even believe.


Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Criminal



So, I was at the dentist the other day for my six-month cleaning and some x-rays, and Look Ma!  No cavities!

While I was there I asked her to write me another prescription for Flexeril for my jaw pain.  I have TMJD, and while it is much, much better than it was ten years ago, it still flares up occasionally, and I've found that if I take a Flexeril before bed when my jaw first starts to act up, I can usually nip the episode in the bud.

What is Flexeril?  It's a muscle relaxer, often used by sufferers of back pain.  It helps my jaw unclench before things get all wound up and I'm in awful pain.  So every six months, my dentist writes me a prescription for a whopping ten Flexeril pills, which get me through to the next appointment, usually with a couple of pills to spare.

And as I found out the other day at the dentist's, Flexeril is now on the list of prescribed medications that get very careful scrutiny from the Feds.  My dentist now has to fill out extra paperwork and send it along to the pharmacy with my prescription, evidently so that my medical records can be flagged in case I ever decide to GO WILD with the Flexeril or doctor-shop or whatever else it is that addicts do.

And you know what?  I don't like being made to feel like an addict or a criminal just because I'm in pain and am seeking relief.  I'm not doing anything wrong, or anything illegal, and yet my records are getting flagged because I'm taking a ... muscle relaxer.

I dunno.  It just doesn't seem right, somehow. 

If I'm gonna get flagged on a watch list, it should at least be for some GOOD drugs, dammit.



Sunday, November 24, 2013

Most ridiculous use of flannel



I was at Jo-Ann Fabrics the other night, picking up materials for the catnip toys I make for the rescue.  And as usual, when I got to the cutting table to have the fabric measured, the nice lady with the scissors asked me, "So!  What are you making?"

And I gave my standard answer of, "Well, I volunteer for an animal rescue, and I make catnip toys to sell at adoption events ... " and as usual, I started to redden up and kind of rub at my face as I realized how lame I sounded, like, this is what my life has become, an old lady making freaking catnip toys, and I vowed then and there that the next time I go to the fabric store and the nice lady chirps, "So!  What are you making?", I'll have a more ... interesting answer.

Something along the lines of, "bondage blindfolds".  Or, "a blanket for my time-travel machine.  It gets cold at night."

Whaddaya think, guys?  Let's toss some ideas around.


Friday, November 22, 2013

I'm not sure, but I think Fall may be their favorite time of year


How many cats in this picture?:



How about this one?:




They do love the leaves.











Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"Pretend like you're swimmin'! Stroke, stroke, breathe, stroke, stroke, breathe ..."



Okay, I just accidentally stumbled on a show called Key & Peele,  on Comedy Central, and all I can say is, watch it.

You WILL laugh until you cry.  And/or scare the cats.




Thoughts on Doctor Sleep



First off, okay, I'm gonna talk about Doctor Sleep, and that INCLUDES the ending, so if you haven't read the book and plan on doing so, stop reading this RIGHT NOW.

Okay.  Doctor Sleep by Stephen King.  First thought, reading Stephen King books is kind of like listening to ZZ Top songs - they're all pretty much the same.  Some are more epic than others, some run to a thousand pages instead of five or six hundred, but still, pretty much the same.

That said, I enjoy his books at lot.  He really is a good writer, and unlike with a lot of books I read, I don't think I've ever winced over an awkward turn of phrase while reading one of his.  He makes it look effortless, which I am sure it is not, even for him. 

What I enjoy most about King is the plot setup and the character development.  Once the story gets to the last few chapters, where it's good vs. evil and good wins and at least a few of the bad guys meet horrible, grisly, graphic deaths (King is very fond of splattered brains, and intestines are always good, as well), I kind of lose interest.  Because you know the good guys are gonna win (with maybe a minor good character or two killed off just to keep it real), the bad guys are gonna lose, and Amen.

And there is ALWAYS a big showdown. The shootout at the O.K. Corral, so to speak.  Even in a book like Doctor Sleep, where everybody's psychic and technically they could have just phoned the whole thing in, the good guys have to do a road trip halfway across the damn country just so everybody can meet-and-greet in person.

One other thing that stuck with me is how Dan pulled the dude out of his mental lockbox so he could kill the gal in the shed.  It was a deus ex machina, like Indiana Jones pulling the gun out of his belt and shooting the saber-wielding bad guy dead.  I mean, it was cute, but I was kinda like, "Whoa ... THAT'S convenient".

But then again, if you can keep people locked in boxes in your mind ... the whole premise is just fantasy, of course.  The True Knot doesn't really exist, although it WOULD explain some of those spooky old f*cks I see in Walmart.

Final thoughts?  I liked it.  I like most King books.  It only took me a week or so to tear through Doctor Sleep, even thought it's right around five hundred pages, because he really does know how to write a page-turner.  It's just, I never seem to get a chance to go revisit his older stuff that I REALLY liked, like The Stand and Carrie and The Long Walk, because he churns out the new stuff so fast.  Which isn't a bad thing, really.

I tell you what, Mr. King.  You keep writin' em and I'll keep readin' em.  How's that?



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Meet the neighbor





Yeah, that's B., the crazy f*ck who lives next door.  On Sunday, he was out wandering the neighborhood in the rain.  (I don't know what he's got in his hand; his diary, maybe.  Before the sh*t hit the fan last week,  his wife told me that he's now writing down every. single. thing. that he does, every day.)  I kind of half-hoped he'd wander over to the creek and drown, which just goes to show how upset this whole fiasco has made me.   I'm seriously considering a fence at this point.  I have had it with ol' crazy-a**.

Isn't it terrible that instead of feeling sorry for this obviously disturbed man, instead I feel anger?   I just ... I have no compassion for him.  None.  I just want him to stay the f*ck away from me.  That's awful, I know it.  It's just ... he refuses to take his meds, he refuses to stop drinking, he kept drinking and DRIVING until a judge finally pulled his license, then he barged into MY house last week to spew his crazy all over MY place, and it's just ...gah.  Just ... go get help, dude.  YOU NEED IT.

And in proof that crazy does not, in fact, skip generations, his son was over at B.'s house last night, mowing the lawn.  On the riding mower, with no headlight, in the dark.  Mowing.  For over an hour.

Did I mention it was dark out?  And that it's November, meaning that no mowing needs to be done?  AND IT WAS DARK OUT?

I want my old, quiet neighborhood back.  That's all.







Monday, November 18, 2013

Back in the saddle again



Wanna be irresistible?


Provide kittens and stand back.


We had a bunch of teenager cats on Saturday, and also three, nine-week-old kittens.  People lose their SH*T when they see teeny-tiny kittens.   One weeny went home with his new parents on Saturday, and the rescue leader is trying to decide between several good applications for the other two. 




The response was really incredible - we had people waiting for us when we got to the store, and we were busy all day long.  We'll be going back for two dates next month. 

Man, I have missed this.  It felt good to be back at it again.





Friday, November 15, 2013

Let's change the subject, shall we?



The other morning, I woke up to a herd of deer grazing in my front yard, about ten feet away from the house.  When I rapped on a window, they just looked up quizzically, like, "derrrrrrr?", and went back to grazing.  This morning, there were deer SLEEPING in my backyard.  What does my place look like, some kind of damn hobo camp for deer? 

On the other hand, hunting (gun) season starts tomorrow.  I predict less deer grazing in my yard very shortly.

Hunting season also means I need to stay out of the woods for a few weeks.  Oh, sure. blaze orange is fine, but those dipsh*ts who come up from Jersey will shoot anything that moves, no matter what color it is.  Cows, look out.

Last night I made cookies for an adoption event coming up tomorrow.  I'm really not a baker, but I remember making snickerdoodles as a teen (and I remember my mom being furious because I was making them for the high school band director, whom she was convinced I had an inappropriate crush on, which I totally did, only going to prove that teenage girls are the stupidest creatures on the planet), so I pulled up a recipe on line, dusted off the decade-old containers of flour and cream of tartar and shortening, which, what is that stuff even MADE of, (and I had to go buy more because while the flour and cream of tartar seemed to be just fine, the ten-year-old shortening was decidedly less so) and baked some cookies.

And I pulled them out of the oven, and let them cool a little, and then took a bite, said "meh", and proceeded to eat a HALF-FREAKING-DOZEN, what the hell?

But yeah, adoption event this Saturday!  This will be the first one I've done since I got sick back in May.  Dammit, intestines, you can't hold me down!  Okay, that sounded kind of gross.

Anybody got any big weekend plans?


Wolf



Last night, I pulled in the driveway, got the car in the garage, went in the house, and started closing all of the curtains.  If they ring the doorbell, I thought, I'm just gonna ignore it.

Yeah.  Good times.

And I got to thinking, you know, I like to think that if a neighbor was truly in need, if a neighbor was frightened, or hungry, or needed a ride to a doctor's appointment and came to me for help, I would help them and be glad to do it.

But these two?  One of these guys could come over to my house ON FIRE at this point and I'd turn away.

And that, I guess, is the problem when you constantly stir up drama in your life.  When you constantly manufacture crises just to get the old adrenaline pumping, at some point, the crisis is going to be real.  And everybody you run to for help is going to shrug and keep walking.

Then again, these two have made it into their SEVENTIES without learning that particular lesson, so who knows?  All I know is that if they knock, I'm not answering.

Let's hope for a peaceful weekend, shall we?







Thursday, November 14, 2013

How to break up with the neighbors



Okay, so, yeah, B. comes barging over last night, and at first he just wanted to plop himself on my couch and b*tch about L., but then he started not making any sense, and he started ORDERING me to look up phone numbers for him so he could dial his buddies, and I'm all, like, "Dude, you do NOT order me around.  I WILL tell you to leave," and so then he took my landline phone and threw it on the FLOOR when he couldn't dial a number right

and it was then that I told him I had to go check on my laundry and I grabbed my cell and ducked into the garage and called 911, which, holy sh*t, is there anything worse than having to call 911?

and yeah, you guys can probably tell that I'm still a little worked up over this whole clustermess.

So the cops come, and by this time B. had gone outside so he could have a smoke (thank GOD), and they talked to B. and L., and L. left to go stay at her son's house, and B. agreed to stay home and not cause any more trouble (HA), and I DID find out that they yanked B.'s driver's license on Monday, which is a good, good thing because driving drunk is NOT FUNNY and

and now I have to figure out how to break up with my neighbors.

"It's not you, it's me"?

Okay, no, no, that's complete bullsh*t.

"It's not me, it's you"?

Much closer.

How about, "I have had it with your crazy*ss antics, and I am TIRED of listening to the two of you b*tch about each other, and obviously you've had this kind of dynamic going for the last, oh, FIFTY F*CKING YEARS or so, but LEAVE ME OUT OF IT!"

Yeah, I think that might do it.

Christ on a cracker, why did I have to end up living next to these people?



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Holy Mary Mother of F*CK



Dudes.  Duuuuuudes.  I just had to call the COPS on my neighbor B.

I am TOO OLD for this crap.



Why not just shoot 'em up with crank and be done with it?



I was watching The Biggest Loser last night in the foster room, as I often do, at least until they get to the weigh-in part, because that part is ridiculously drawn out and boring.

So I was reading my book while they were doing the weigh-in, and then I heard something about a disqualification and I looked up to see Jillian Michaels with that smirky, constipated look on her face.  Turns out she's been feeding her team caffeine pills, i.e., legal speed.

From an article on Huffpost about the episode:

"When Jillian was asked if she had anything to say, she defended her decision. "I stand by my opinion. A caffeine supplement is significantly healthier than unlimited amounts of coffee. My only regret is that my team, they are the ones suffering the consequences of my professional opinion.""

 Oh, man, I KNEW those trainers had to be juicing the contestants.  There is NO WAY you can lose the amount of weight in the amount of time portrayed on that show unless you are doping.  The only surprise is that it was just caffeine pills; I'm surprised those guys aren't  handed bottles of Benzedrine and cartons of meth-laced smokes when they show up at the "ranch".

And this is what's wrong with The Biggest Loser:  It is giving millions of overweight people the false hope that they can lose a sh*t-ton of weight in a very short amount of time, if they just work out enough and stop overeating.  IT'S NOT POSSIBLE.

I actually kind of liked that "Extreme Makeover:  Fatass Edition" show, or whatever it was called, because it did show a more realistic portrayal of weight loss:  It takes TIME.  Weeks, months, years.  TIME.

And I'll bet you that all the MLMers who are pushing Xying and all those other crackpot drugs were standing up and CHEERING in their living rooms last night, in anticipation of all the sales they'll have to desperate overweight people who just heard Jillian Michaels say, on national TV, that it's okay to take potentially dangerous supplements to help you lose weight.

Jillian, Jillian, Jillian.  What were you THINKING?



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It was like "Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle", except without the weed



So I'm at  work yesterday afternoon,  cleaning up my desk because it's almost quitting time,  when the phone rings,  and the Caller ID says it's my neighbor,  L.

Please forgive me,  but my first thought was, "What NOW?"

But!  L. just wanted to take me out to dinner, because I'd done her and her husband B. some favors lately.

Awwww.  How nice.

Except, as I was to learn, I'd have to drive, because, as it turned out, B. had taken their car to do a little bar hopping, so L. was all pissed off and wanted to teach him a lesson by being out when he finally wandered home and

these people are in their SEVENTIES.  What. the. f*ck.

So we started for dinner, me driving, except L., after asking me where I'd like to eat, turned down the places I suggested because they don't serve alcohol and L. wanted a drink with dinner (oh, honey, maybe learn a lesson from the hubs, here) and the first other place didn't have enough cars in the parking lot, never a good  sign, and the second other place was packed, and then L. remembered that she had to stop at an ATM, and right after THAT her phone rang and it was her son who reported that B., her husband, was at a local Legion and had lost his keys and could I give her a ride back home to pick up the spare keys and then take her to go pick up B. at the Legion, twenty miles away, and

you know what?

I used to live with an alcoholic.  I've DONE my time in enabler land.  I have PAID my flipping dues.

Yes, I took her to the Legion, because I did not want that old f*ck of a husband of hers to drive drunk and possibly kill someone on the way home.  I will tell you what,  I don't know why, but for whatever reason, drunks would rather slit their wrists then call a damn cab. It's like admitting that hello, I have a problem here, and that is ONE thing that a drunk will not admit.  So I took her to the Legion.   NO, I did not go inside.  I told her that what went on between her and B. was their business, and I was not going to get in the middle, and that she should leave with the car (she had not been drinking before I picked her up, so I knew she was good to drive) and tell B. he'd have to call a cab whether he liked it or not if he refused to come along. 

I just ... you know, I'm all for helping neighbors, you know?  And it wasn't like I had any big plans for last night, so dinner with L. sounded good to me, except for the clusterf*ck it turned into. And when I got home,  I discovered that she had tucked a twenty into the car console, evidently for gas money.  But this whole thing just makes me uncomfortable.  I am NOT going to start being drunk B.'s car service, and I am NOT gonna get swept up into alcohol drama. And I never did get any damn dinner. And why can't I have normal neighbors?!

Sheesh.









Sunday, November 10, 2013

Remember Petey?


Petey, the cat who tried to kill me?

I have often wondered about Petey over the past six months.  Through the puncture wounds, and the nerve damage, and the c-diff, and the ensuing intestinal disasters, I kept thinking about Petey.  Wondering how he was doing and hoping that he'd come out of his shell in his new home.  Hoping that the whole ordeal wasn't some terrible, useless mistake.

Well.  I got a notification on Facebook the other day, from the woman who ran the now-defunct rescue that took in Petey:

 "this is especially for you. I saw Petey's owner today.    Petey is doing amazing. He is Heidi's best buddy and follows her everywhere. He is the most loving cat, and now has a new playmate (a retriever). They are still getting used to each other. He promises to send pictures soon. They love him dearly. He said to tell all of us THANK YOU! Rocky, they hope you have recovered from your ordeal. It took a while to break him, but he said it was worth the wait. Thank you all for your hard work and dedication."

Man oh man, I SWEAR it was all worth it.

Because  I'm crazy.


Friday, November 08, 2013

That word. I do not think it means what you think it means.



Entitlement, that is.  As in, "entitlement society".

Oh, the tea-partiers and the Republicans are fond of throwing it around, of reminding us just how many Americans are deadbeat losers who would rather slit their wrists than go out and work for a living.

But when *I* think of "entitlement", I think of Rich David.

Rich David, a Republican and business owner,  just won the mayoral election in the city in which I work.

Rich David was caught out several times violating campaign laws during the course of the campaign.  Each time it was pointed out to him, he shrugged, called it an "oversight", and coughed up the fines.

A couple of weeks ago, Rich David illegally parked his Caddy outside his place of business IN A HANDICAPPED SPOT (actually, in TWO handicapped spots - he straddled the line) and left it there overnight.  I don't know if anybody called him out on it or not, but if they had, I'm sure he would have shrugged, paid the fine, and gone on his merry way.

THAT, to me, is the epitome of "entitlement".  A rich white guy who decides that laws are for the little people.  A rich white guy who, when caught breaking the rules, just shrugs and pays the fines, because who cares?  Rules don't apply to people like him, after all.

Did I mention that he won the election?

Okay, one more example.  My boss, who is a fair employer and an intelligent person, is also rich and white and Republican.  I had to run some errands on my lunch break the other day, and when I pulled back into the office parking lot, I noticed my boss pulling the ashtray out of his car, walking it over to one of the recycle bins, and dumping it in.  For the record, if he had gone another fifteen feet, he could have dumped it into an office garbage can.

Oh, man, I could NOT keep quiet.  When he came back into the office, I said, "Just so you know, cigarette butts are not recyclable."

"What," he said, straight-faced.

"I SAW you dump your ashtray into the recycle bin," I said, laughing, because I would like to keep my job, and laughter is a leveler. 

"That wasn't a garbage can?," he asked, still straight-faced.

"Oh, come ON.  Bright yellow, with the recycling logo on the side?  No, boss.  That's not a garbage can."

"Hmpf," he said.  "Oh."  And he continued on his way.



No, to me, "entitlement" is not some lazyass welfare mom spitting out kids so her benefits will go up, so that maybe she'll get a princely five hundred bucks a month in food stamps instead of four.  "Entitlement" is people breaking campaign laws and parking illegally and dumping their shitty cigarette butts into a recycling bin.  Because the rules are for the downtrodden and the little people, not for the ones who rule.

And that's all I'm gonna say about that.




Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Do you know Joey Williams and Gwen English?

Do you?

Do you know Joey Williams and Gwen English?

Facebook has been sending me an email, almost every day, for the last few YEARS, asking me if I know Joey Williams and Gwen English.

Oh, every once in a while, they'll mix it up and throw a few other names at me, but most of the time, it's good ol' Joey and Gwen.

Do YOU know Joey Williams and Gwen English?

Because I sure don't.

And at this point, a couple of years down the damn road, I kind of wish Facebook would stop asking.

I DON'T KNOW THEM!

sheesh.




Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Nitrites and leukocytes and blood, oh my!



Yep, it's a bouncing baby bladder infection.

What  the F*CK, you guys?  I hit fifty last year, and all of a sudden my intestines went to sh*t.  Is this common?  Is this  what I have to look forward to?  A lifetime of colonoscopies (upcoming on the twentieth, thankyouverymuch), and antibiotics, and  flipping  PEEING IN CUPS?!

Old age, so far I am not a fan.

So I have to go pick up my prescription for bladder-specific antibiotics this morning, and I have to call the doctor on Wednesday to find out what exact blend of bacteria is cooking in my bladder, and oh!

on my lunch break today, I get to go try to gender-determine a litter of kittens, which ... okay, I'll give it my best shot, but man oh man nothing is guaranteed.

Is anything guaranteed right now? Sometimes I wonder.

Bah humbug.



Monday, November 04, 2013

A master of military strategy, living right next door



On Saturday morning, I was outside taking down the giant halloween bats, when I saw my neighbor B. heading out to his mailbox.

"Rocky!", he called.  "I've got a secret!  I'm comin' over."

Oh boy, I thought.  What now?

He shuffled his way over, still in his bathrobe, although without the cigar and giant glass of scotch that usually accompany him, probably because it WAS only ten-thirty.

"Guess what I did on Halloween?," he said.  "I tricked the whole neighborhood!  Oh, I got you guys GOOD!"

ummmmmm...

"You did?," I asked.  "What did you do?"

And then he went into this long story about taking dishwashing liquid and something else which I can't remember and making fake blood and getting someone to write notes and smear the blood all over the neighbor's CARS and

"Waaaaaait a minute," I said.  "That ... baggie?  In front of my garage? That was YOU?"

The day after Halloween, when I left for work,  I noticed a little zip-lock baggie with what looked like liquefied coffee grounds in it on my driveway.  I really didn't think much of it, just picked it up and put it in the trash, thinking maybe it was some weird Halloween kid thing.  Little did I know, it was my pushing-eighty NEIGHBOR.

"It was ME!," he chuckled.  "I got you, and J. next to me, and ooooooh, there was blood all OVER that Corvette across the street!  It washes right off, you know!"

And now I'm thinking that this guy is lucky he's still breathing, if he or whoever wrote the notes for him was going around marking up people's cars.  Hahahaha that's not funny.

And THEN he goes into this big long story about going to see Captain Phillips and he's telling me the whole story line, so now I guess I don't have to bother to get it on Netflix, and he's telling me about how he STOOD UP in the theater and told the people on the screen how they're doing it wrong because everybody KNOWS that when you call in a naval military strike you need air support and

I'll bet he's a real scream to go to the movies with.

He then proceeded to give me a blow-by-blow on Gravity, so now I guess I don't want to rent that one EITHER.

*sigh*

I think the dude needs a hobby or something.  Or something.


Sunday, November 03, 2013

Because pissing blood can't possibly be a good sign

Ladies. And gents.   I have a question.

I'm pretty sure I've got a urinary tract infection (my first one ever ... yaaaaay!)

From what Dr. Google is telling me, the standard treatment is antibiotics.

But ... antibiotics give me c-diff.

Houston, we have a problem.

I've been chugging cranberry juice all day and upped the probiotics and even bought some cranberry extract capsules, which are probably snake oil but hell, any port in a storm.

Anybody got any other suggestions?  I'm at a bit of a loss, here.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Yeah, THIS was probably a foregone outcome




I could not WAIT to take my coffee break this morning, so that I could light into the Snickers bar I cadged from the goodie pile last night.  (Goodie bag production update:  60 down, many more to go.  How many more days until Halloween?)

I don't normally eat candy bars.  Mainly, because the calorie content in one lousy candy bar is approximately nine kabillion, and if I'm going to gratuitously squander calories, I'd rather save them for my personal kryptonite, white cake with white frosting.

I KNOW.  White cake with white frosting is basically pure sugar.  I had might just as well open up the sugar canister and grab a spoon, but I cannot help myself.  When I was a little kid, Freihofer's made birthday cakes, and I used to BEG my mom to buy me one, whether it was anywhere near my birthday or not, just to get that white cake with white frosting fix.  How I don't weigh a million pounds, I will never know. 

So, long story short, basically the only time of year I have candy bars in the house is at Halloween.  And I know myself well enough to know that every. single. candy bar that isn't scarfed up by trick-or-treaters will be scarfed up by me.  Eventually.  I have been known to stretch out Halloween leftovers until Christmas, for Pete's sake, at which time rescue group bake sale fundraisers will pick up the slack, thereby putting my one true love, white cake with white frosting, onto the back burner until ... oh ... February or so.

How about you?  Any ridiculous relationships with sugar?



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I ... I don't know what's come over me


So!  Halloween!  I used to just lame-ass it with some Dollar Tree candy and a couple of plastic pumpkins, but ever since I bought the giant rats a couple of years ago, I've become more ... enthusiastic.

The vampire bats have been hung. This year I took a bunch of plastic pumpkins and hung them from the tree branches out front to make pumpkin trees.  When a neighbor said that there was no such thing as pumpkin trees, I told him, "There is now."

Instead of doing Dollar Tree candy, I've stocked up on Snickers and Milky Ways for the trick-or-treaters.  Hey, if I'm gonna end up with leftover candy, it's gotta be quality, dammit.  I ordered fortune-telling fish from Oriental Trading, and I've got a bunch of spider rings and skull erasers and the whole nine yards.  I think ... I think I'm gonna do goodie bags. *gasp*.

Dudes ... what is happening to me?  Has the ghost of Martha Stewart taken over?  Because I am the ANTI-Martha.  I have never even LOOKED at Pinterest.  I don't DO that sh*t.

It's like I don't even know myself anymore.

If I start posting recipes for zombie punch or something, hold an intervention, okay?  I would appreciate it.



 


Monday, October 28, 2013

Oh, well, who ISN'T?!



My neighbor L. came over last night, to collect the mail I had been gathering for her and B. while they were out of town, and she got to chatting.

"B. sure does like to talk, lately!" she said.  "He's driving me crazy!  It's because he's bipolar, you know."

Okay, (a), TMI, and (b), who ISN'T?!

I swear to God, isn't everybody, these days?  If they're not bipolar (back in my day, it was called manic-depressive, but I guess that phrase must have been offensive to somebody sometime, because now it's called bipolar), they're "on the spectrum".  Or they've got Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  Or adult ADD. Or the motherload of pull-out-your-(insert disease here)-card, Fibro-my-freaking-algia.

If I ever get cancer, I'm gonna be PISSED at all these a**holes trotting out their medical diagnoses like they deserve some kind of flippin' AWARD. 

Disease is not cool.  Disease is not fun.  No, it's nothing to be ashamed of, of course, but it's also not some f*cking flag for you to fly over your damn house.  It's not something for your wife (or husband, or whoever) to bring up in casual flipping conversation with the NEIGHBORS. 

Whoo boy.  I dunno.  I just get tired of people trotting out their speshul preshuss disease like a show pony.

If you want to be proud of something, be proud of the kick-a** muffins you make.  Be proud of the incredibly complicated spreadsheet you created for your job.  Be proud that you made someone smile today.

But don't be proud of being sick.  That's just ... odd.  Deal with your illness as best you can, but don't let it define you.  Don't let it become you.

Because then?  Then it's won.

But wait.  Am I missing the boat?  Isn't "owning" a disease supposed to be some kind of empowering tool?  But, I mean, it's good, of course, to acknowledge your diagnoses, and not to be weirded out by what's wrong with you, but are we really supposed to be bragging about it, now?

Help me out, here, guys.  What do you think about illness-as-empowerment?

Personally, I'd rather be healthy.  Or be sick and just deal with it, and not ask everybody including the check-out dude at Walmart to deal with it along with me.







Friday, October 25, 2013

Forever Young



Do you guys remember the Spectacular Six?  The six kittens I fostered this past summer?  You know, THESE guys:


Remember little Boots?



He of the Glamour Shots poses?


WELL.  Look who done went and got himself all grown up:


Just LOOK at him!  

When you foster kittens, and send them off to their new homes all small and smoochable, you tend to forget that they do, indeed, grow up.  Surprise!

Don't worry, Bootsie.  I'll always remember you as a leeetle ball of marshmallow floof.





You're always a baby to me.


Monday, October 21, 2013

The Saga of Table Rock Ridge



So!  Table Rock Ridge is a local geographical formation featuring big rocks.  It used to be accessible via the French Tract, but then a sportsmen's group bought up the land and started restricting access.  I had actually hiked some of the French Tract trails before, looking for Table Rock, but the last time I was up there, an old dude on a four-wheeler had some stern words for me.  He agreed to let me continue hiking as long as it was just me, "and don't go bringing any of those damn hiking clubs up here!", but hey, I don't wanna be where I'm not wanted.  If there is one thing hiking does, it teaches you to respect boundaries.  That, and stay away from drunk guys with guns.

Then!  A while back, I heard that you could access the ridge via Aqua-Terra Park.  By this time, Table Rock Ridge had achieved mythical status in my mind.  It was a local hiking landmark, and I couldn't find it!  Clearly, this could not stand.

The side of Aqua-Terra from which you could gain access to Table Rock Ridge is basically a swamp most of the year.  A wet, boggy, boot-sucking swamp.  But a couple of weekends ago, the weather had been fairly dry, and armed with some rudimentary, hand-drawn maps I had gleaned of the area, I was off!  To find Table Rock Ridge!

Yeah!  As in, "no"!  I tramped around and tramped around and bushwhacked and swore and could not find Table Rock Ridge.  None of the trails were marked, and lots of them petered off into nothing.  Chastened, I headed back home.



Yesterday, it was time for another shot.  Now that I had a better idea of the existing trail system, such as it was, I was ready to give it another try.  It was a nice day for a walk, if awfully chilly.

Here we go ...



After about a half an hour of flailing around, I caught a glimpse of a rock formation a ways off a trail.  Could it be ... Table Rock?  More bushwhacking (and swearing) ensued.



Eureka! There it was!


















Oh, Table Rock Ridge.  You were there all the time.  I just had to find you!



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Table! Rock! Riiiiiiiiiiiidge!









Story to follow.

It's Table Rock Ridge, b*tch!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Yeah, that's feckin' bullsh*t



"Everything happens for a reason!," I heard somebody chirp today, and man, I must be gettin' my postal on, because it just about made me livid.

NOTHING happens for a reason.  Everything is random, and planes drop from the sky, and sometimes it snows in May, and maybe you fall ridiculously, madly in love with someone whom by all rights you never should have met, and none of it happens to provide some "reason" for something else to occur.

Bah. 

Let's see ... other platitudes I do not like, but have been known to spout at random if I think it will make someone else feel better:

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."  Nope.  Sometimes it just reduces you to a shell of your former self for the rest of your days.

"When a door closes, somewhere a window opens."  Nope.  Sometimes your options just got reduced by one.

"It's always darkest before the dawn."  Except when dawn never comes at all, of course.

Oh, man, I could go on.  Oddly, thinking of this kind of thing actually cheers me up.

How about you?  Got any hated platitudes?  Let's be grumpy together.



Thursday, October 17, 2013

Recently Read



As usual, skip it if you wanna.

1.  Rennie's Way by Verna Mae Slone - Semi-autobiographical novel about a woman growing up in the Appalachians in the twenties.  Very good.

2.  Nora, Nora by Anne Rivers Siddons - Novel about a girl coming of age in the South  in the sixties, and about her free-wheeling cousin who arrives and shakes the town up.  Good.

3.  One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus - Novel about a (fictional) governmental program in the 1870s to send "unfit" women to be Native American brides.  Preposterous set-up, but the story, written as journal entries of one of the women, is interesting, and the ending (spoiler alert) is absolutely heartbreaking.  I sat in the backyard in a lawn chair on a bright sunny summer day and absolutely sobbed as I read.  Very good.

4.  The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen - Novel about an unhappy woman who finds another woman living in her closet.  Chick lit, but not in bad way.  A quick read, if not as interesting as Allen's "Garden Spells".  It'd make a good Lifetime movie.

5.  Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles - Novel about a family of women in depression-era Texas.  Fascinating storyline and beautifully written.   I really, really liked this one.  The author has a true gift with words and phrases.  Highly recommended.

6.  The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini - I read her book "The Quilter's Homecoming" and enjoyed it, but this one was just a tad too ... there wasn't any there there, if that makes any sense.  The plot wasn't interesting enough to keep me going.  I didn't finish this one.

7.  Strange Fruit by Lillian Smith - Novel about race relations in the South in the 1920s.  Almost a hundred years later, I'm not sure how much has changed.

8.  Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin - Novel about the child who posed for Alice in Wonderland.  Set in Victorian England, a setting for which I have no patience ("and then his hand brushed against her forearm, and she felt a chill pass through her" type of thing - meh.)  Didn't finish.

9.  Horns by Joe Hill - Novel about a guy who wakes up after a night of partying to discover that he's grown horns.  Interesting, and lots of plot twists, and a book I kept thinking about even when I wasn't reading it.

10.  The Ice Master by Jennifer Niven - Account of a doomed 1913 Arctic exploration.  Well-written, but depressing.  I got about ninety pages in and decided that I didn't want to stick around to find out who made it and who didn't.

11.  A Cure for Dreams by Kaye Gibbons - Short novel about a woman during the Depression.  I loved Ms. Gibbons' "Charms for the Easy Life", and this one is good as well.

12.  Movie review time!  "Ted", with Mark Wahlberg and a talking bear.  Jury's still out as to which one was the worse actor.

14.  Saving Grace by Lee Smith - I find Ms. Smith's books kind of hit-or-miss,  but this one, about an Appalachian woman who is the daughter of a snake handler and becomes the wife of a preacher, was good.

15.  Reba by Reba McEntire with Tom Carter - Autobiography.  I really like Reba, but this book was just ...boring.  Dry.  "First I did this,  then I sang this, then I married this guy ... "  Meh.

16.  Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty - Novel about high-schoolers circa 2001.  The problem is, the author was so determined to jam in every current pop culture reference possible, that reading the book twelve years later just makes it seem impossibly dated.  Didn't finish.

Okay, so that's what I've been reading lately. You?









Wednesday, October 16, 2013

844 out of 869


I should be proud, but oddly, I'm just disappointed that it wasn't perfect.  Coming up 25 points shy is KILLING me.

What can I say - I'm an aspiring overachiever.

 Anybody out there with a perfect score?




Monday, October 14, 2013

How to make a thousand dollars with one quick phone call



So!  I called Cinnamon this morning, after doing some research this weekend.  I explained that they were coming in over book on the Hyundai, and I gave her some examples of dealerships semi-locally (within a hundred miles) who were selling the car cheaper.  I told her that I knew hers was a "no-haggle" dealership, but surely they could either come down on the price of the Hyundai or come up on the Kia trade-in.

She said she had to run it by her managers (yeah, yeah), and a little while ago, Dino, the trade-in appraiser, gave me a call.

They're gonna give me $6150 for the Kia, instead of $5150.

Woot!

Ain't life grand?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Decisions, Decisions

So!  Yesterday was my fateful meeting with Cinnamon at the dealership.

Cinnamon was very nice and helpful, and I feel bad now for thinking of her as a stripper.  Well, not really, but you know what I mean.

Three hours at a car dealership is not exactly my idea of a good time, but I test-drove lots of cars, and at least found out what I DIDN'T want.

I need a hatchback, because of the hauling  I do for the rescues.  I started with a Chevy Aveo, which was waaaay too small.  Next up was the Chevy Sonic, which was too rattle-y.  And there was some weird vibration in the engine, and the check engine light was on when I got in the car, which ... no.

Cinnamon actually steered me away from the Dodge Caliber SXT - she said in her experience, they're kind of spotty, repair-wise.

The Mazda2 Sport was too small,  and the Nissan Versa had too many miles for the price.

And then we got to the Hyundai Elantra Touring GLS.  This is a wagon, very similar to my  Kia Rondo.  The one they have on hand is a 2012, and here's the kicker:  It only has 15,000 miles on it.  It's practically a new car.

Cons?  It's more than I want to spend.  I was looking in  the 12K range, and this one comes in at 16K.  I may have some wiggle room, there, because the book  value on it is between 14.5 and 15.5, so I might be able to talk the dealer down on the price a little.  Either that, or get them to come up on the trade-in on my Kia.  They're offering 5,150, which is a little on the low end.  Then again, I knew not replacing the timing belt would come back to bite me in  the butt. 

Let's see, we're doing  cons.  Because I still owe 1,800 on the Kia, that's gonna cut into my trade-in.  Instead of having $118 monthly payments for the next eighteen months, I'd go up to $225 monthly payments for the next five years, depending on how much cash I  bring in.

On the other hand,  I really doubt that the Kia is going to make in another eighteen  months.  It's only five years old, 79,000 miles, but I've had  an ongoing problem with the heating system, the car clunks like a motherf*cker (that's normal for this car, the garage told me.  "It's probably a loose strut plate."), and now it stalls out and the check  engine light comes on every time I put gas in it.  BIG PROBLEM, and the computer is  coding with an emissions problem, which could be nothing, or it could be several hundred dollars.  If I hang onto this thing, I'm gonna have to dump some serious money into it.  So we're looking a possibly spending a grand or so (and that's not including the pending timing belt), to hang onto the car and those $118 payments. 

Pros?  With the Hyundai, I'll have a large chunk of the three-year, 36,000 mile warranty to play with.  I don't put a whole lot of miles on my cars, so even five years from now, when the car is six years old, it'll only have 65,000 miles or so on it. And it'll be paid off then.  It gets better mileage than my Kia, but then again, that's partly because it's only a four-cylinder, versus six on the Kia.

Oh, but another con is going to be the same problem I had with the Kia - It's an import, so there's gonna be a three-day wait for any repair parts.  

I dunno.  I'm looking at substantially increasing my monthly payment, in order to get out of a bad car and into a newer car.  Can I afford it?  Well, sure, I can, but a question is whether I WANT to spend that money on  a car.

Dear reader, what is your advice?  Have you ever owned a Hyundai?  Do you regret your car payments?  Enquiring minds want to know.






Friday, October 11, 2013

Well, what about this?



Okay, so, first off, scroll down to the last post, where I express my potential distrust of a car salesperson named Cinnamon.

Okay.  Here we go.  What if she was named Karen, and when I showed up for my appointment in the morning, she came out dressed in a lion costume?

Is that still okay?  Am I still supposed  to take her seriously?

Or, what if, say, she came out dressed in a sixties op-art maxi dress and platform shoes? 

Look.  I like to wear "fun" clothes, too.  But fun clothes are not professional attire.  They're just not.

And a name like "Cinnamon" is not a professional name.  Oh, sure, she may have a lot of knowledge in her field (or not), and she may be an excellent salesperson (or not), but unless and until she opts for a different name in her professional life, she's gonna have a hard row to hoe.

Thoughts?


I suppose "Cinnamon Girl" jokes will be out of the question

Okay, so, the Kia's been sh*tting the bed on me lately.  It's been acting more like a ten-year-old car than a five-year-old car, and frankly,  I'm getting tired of it.  Just this morning, the check engine light came on.  Again.  Motherf*cker.

So I'm thinking I'll trade it in.  I've spent the last few days snooping around on line and checking out my options.  I still owe a couple of grand on the Kia, and I hate to trade in when I'm in the hole, but frankly, I think this car would end up in the junkyard before I ever paid it off, so I'm thinking cut my losses, while the thing still has some Blue Book value.

ANYhow.  I LOVE car shopping on line, because the pressure's off, and you can make some rational choices.  And it turns out, the same dealership I bought the Kia from has some cars I'm interested in.  No, I don't hold it against them from selling me the Kia; I bought a cheap car and that's what I got.  And yes, I did ask if the salesperson who sold me the Kia is still around; the dude treated me fairly and I'd use him again, but it turns out he got bumped up the food chain in the organization and is no longer on the floor.

So!  I've got several choices to start with, car-wise, and I'm in a good position to bargain.  I'm  ready to start with test-drives.

With Cinnamon.

I set up an appointment for Saturday, and the salesperson assigned to my cranky butt that day is Cinnamon.

I ... you know?  Am I just old?  I almost emailed and asked to be given someone else, because I cannot take seriously someone named Cinnamon, and I cannot trust someone named Cinnamon to negotiate this process without someone else above her pulling her strings, and I think she probably won't  know anything about engine sizes and the advisability (or not) of  traction control, and I cannot believe that she'll be working for the organization very long anyway, because let's face it, her true career is either stripper or Hooters employee, because with a name like Cinnamon?

She's obviously not too damn smart.

Does that make me an a**hole?  Yes it does.  Is that how I feel?  Yes it is. 

And I don't really know how to elevate myself to a higher plane where a name like Diamond or Starr or Cinnamon doesn't automatically call to mind "dipsh*t".   And it's not just women's names, either; I would be equally disinclined to take seriously a man named ... I don't know ... "Starship".  Or "Canoe".  I CAN'T HELP IT.

Anybody want  to help me out, here?  I KNOW it's not rational.  How can I get past this?






Thursday, October 10, 2013

Here comes the bride ... get out your taser



From a local paper:

Bride and groom arrested on wedding night for bar fight


— A Cazenovia couple spent their wedding night in jail last week after being involved in a bar fight at Henneberg Tavern and then resisting arrest when Cazenovia Village Police and Madison County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the disturbance.

According to police reports, village and county law enforcement officers responded to a call of a large fight in progress at Henneberg Tavern between a group of white males and females and a group of black males, apparently as the result of racial slurs. While village police and county sheriff’s deputies attempted to arrest Richard J. Bradley, 24, of Cazenovia, who had just been married that night, the new bride, Ashley P. Stowell, 23, of Cazenovia, interfered with the arrest and yelled at the officers. Stowell was warned by police to stop her actions, and, when she did not stop, handcuffed and placed in the back of a patrol car. Stowell continued to yell and began kicking the car window and door. When she refused to stop, a sheriff’s deputy had to use pepper spray on her to keep her from breaking the window, according to the police report.

Stowell and Bradley both refused medical treatment at the scene once CAVAC arrived. They were brought to the Cazenovia police station where Stowell was arraigned before Village Judge Timothy Moore, ordered held on $500 bail and transported to the Madison County Jail.

Bradley was held at the Cazenovia station before being charged by the sheriff’s department with one count of disorderly conduct. While Bradley was in the Cazenovia station holding cell, however, he urinated on the wall. A criminal charge for that action will most likely be brought against him by the Cazenovia Police Department, said Chief Michael Hayes."


I give it either six months or sixty years. The marriage, that is, not the prison sentences.


Wednesday, October 09, 2013

xoJane: It Happened To Me



... My neighbor asked to fertilize my lawn.

First off, are any of you familiar with the ridiculousness of the "It Happened To Me" column at xoJane?  If you ever need to kill a few hours being amazed at the cluelessness of people, head over there.  It's kind of like Dear Abby, except without an Abby, and the comments are priceless.  It's like where the Dur brigade gathers.

Okay!  So!  I'm out puttering around in the yard last night after work, when I notice that my neighbor B. is lawn-stalking me.  This is actually kind of oddly adorable; whenever B. wants to talk to me, instead of just coming over and ringing my doorbell, he'll wait until he notices me out in my yard, and then he'll come out himself and kind of ... shadow me until he sees a conversational opening.  Last night, first I was cleaning out the car (miracles do happen), and I noticed that he was sitting on his front steps with a cocktail and a cigar.  Then, I headed out back to pick up some branches, and sure enough, there was B., out back by his picnic table.  FINALLY, he wandered over, started to chat, and then said,

"Rocky?  Can I ask you a favor?"

"You can ask me anything you want, B.," I replied.

"Welllll," he said.  "You know I use a lawn service, right?"

"Well, sure, B.,"  I said.  "They come and do the fertilizing, right?"  And I can only WISH that they did his mowing, too, because this is the neighbor who grass-scalps my back yard.  This is ALSO the neighbor who parks in my driveway for months at a time, but, whatever, bygones.

"Right!," he said.  "Now, you see this grass here?," he asked.  We were standing pretty close to the shared property line, where it is obvious that he chemicals the sh*t out of his lawn and I do not, because my lawn is grass and crabgrass and creeping charlie and god knows what, while his lawn is ... grass.

"Yep!," I said, laughing.  "You sure can tell the difference, right?"

Look.  To me, a lawn is a lawn.  From a distance, you really CAN'T tell the difference between his lawn and mine, and frankly, I don't care if it's crabgrass or creeping charlie or spray paint, green is green.  But I understand that some people take great pride in their lawns, and hey, whatever floats your boat.

"Yep, you really can tell!," B. said.  "So I was wondering ... this little patch here ... between your garage and the property line ... would it be okay if I fertilized that? I'll pay for it, of course."

whaaaaaat?

"Um ... sure!," I said.  "I'm not really a big fan of the chemical stuff, pet-wise, but my cats already run all over your grass after you've fertilized THAT, so ... go for it!"

"Okay!," B. said, obviously relieved.  I'll bet he's been stewing over this for weeks.  "The next time the TruGreen guys come, I'll tell them to go ahead and do that area."

"Okay, B.," I said.  "Good talkin' to ya!"



I ... we're talking about MAYBE fifty square feet of lawn, here.  In between my garage, and the property line.  On that side of HIS house are the bedrooms, and they keep the blinds drawn, and the only VIEW out of those bedroom windows is the side of my garage so ... it's not like they're looking out on that grass all the time or anything.  I ... am baffled. 

But if B. wants to fertilize that little scrap of lawn, well, he can be my guest.  Now if he'd just send his plow guys over in the winter ...