Tuesday, June 30, 2009

NOT the feel-good movie of the year .....

...... Slumdog Millionaire, that is.

I'm not really sure why I thought this was going to be a happy-go-lucky, song-and-dance movie. Maybe all those cute Indian kids at all the premieres.

Don't worry, I'm not going to reveal the ending, because I never made it that far. Actually, I didn't get much past the scene where the guy is being tortured by having a car battery wired to his toes.

Call me a wimp.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Random stuff from the weekend

At 4 a.m. Saturday, I was awakened by yelling from downstairs. The downstairs guy's girlfriend was bitching him out, LOUDLY, because he stole money from her purse. And I would have liked nothing more than to have trotted downstairs and said to the loudmouthed girl, "Honey, here's an idea! How about if you just LEAVE?" Every single time she comes over, all she does is yell, so I'm not really clear on why she keeps coming around.

Then, at 10 a.m. Saturday, I was awakened again when thugs from the local rent-to-own outlet tried to break down the downstairs guy's door, and then when he finally opened the door, they threatened (LOUDLY) to break his kneecaps if he didn't pay up on what he owed.

In my opinion, renting f*cking furniture is not a good idea. It never ends well.

There are currently catalpa cuttings rooting on my windowsill! That may not end well, either, but heck, it's gonna be at LEAST ten years before they're big enough to make a mess of my yard, so I'm not gonna worry about it now.

I once again got sucked into watching "Working Girl" this weekend. It's just one of those movies with an odd force field around it; if I happen across it while changing channels, I end up watching the whole darn thing. And I am starting to realize that the reason I love that movie so much is because I AM Tess. I pulled myself up and out of the secretarial pool by sheer force of will.

When the movie first came out, I had just put an illustrious career in burger flipping behind me and had started my current job. It was my DREAM to move up, like Tess, and become something more.

And while I'm still working for the same company, my job (and my salary) is now so much more than it was back then. I did it. Wheeeeee!

There is a bathroom rug that dare not speak its name residing in a Boscov's bag in my kitchen right now. I bought the rug for - Shhhhhhh! - the new place. Right now, waiting for closing, the - shhhhhhhh! - new place is taking on almost a mythical quality, like something that's not quite real.

There! was! a! firefly! in the backyard Saturday night! Woot!

There are a bunch of crows in the neighborhood that are driving me insane. Every single time one of the cats goes into the backyard, those goddam crows start cawing and cawing and CAWING and it's driving me nuts. Sometimes they'll get all worked up when the cats are INSIDE, so I guess it's not just my cats that are driving them bonkers. Sunday afternoon I was out in the backyard when they started up their cacophony, so I walked under the maple tree they were hanging out in to have a little heart-to-heart with the noisy bastards, and I shit you not, one of them grabbed a good-sized twig from the tree and chucked it at me. I swear, that bird grabbed a branch and THREW it at me.

Time to buy a BB gun.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I'm just not getting this. At all.

Okay, so Michael Jackson died yesterday, and all over the blogs, people are all, like, oh boohoohoo!! Michael's dead! So sad! He was a genius! Gone before his time!

Um, hello? The guy was a pedophile who like to "adopt" little boys and stick his hands down their underwear. And before anybody can jump in here and say, "They never proved it!" Um, honey? The reason "they" never "proved" it is because he paid off his victims.

Any grown man (and I use that term loosely, considering the subject matter) who invites prepubescent boys to live with him and sleep in the same bed with him is not someone deserving of respect. And I'm not even going to get into what I think about those boys' parents.

Yes, the guy was brilliant. Yes, he made some absolutely unforgettable music. Man in the Mirror was a personal favorite of mine.

But he was also a sick bastard.

In my opinion.

Supersize Me

So, I went to McDonald's for lunch yesterday as a special treat*. And yes, I know EXACTLY what it says about me that I consider McDonald's a "treat". Put it this way, until I quit smoking, I considered a cigarette a "treat", as well. I know, I KNOW.

So! I ordered a burger, and fries, and because I noticed a sign stating that all size sodas were a buck, I ordered a large, natch.

And that soda was huge. HUUUUUUGE. I actually went back to the office and showed my soda around, saying, "Look how big this freakin' soda is! I have to hold it with both hands!" Yeah, like THAT wasn't annoying. And I'm sure my co-workers were all, like, "what, she's never gone to McDonald's before?" Sorry to make you cringe, guys. I don't get out much.

But ANYWAY, I ordered a diet soda, cause I always drink diet soda. But if that had been a regular soda, I can't even imagine how many calories it would have had in it. Like, some unreal percentage of your recommended daily calories, I'm sure. I'll bet that soda, had it been non-diet, would have had as many calories in it as the burger and fries combined.

And that's why everybody's fat. The end.

*and I was "treating" myself because something pretty awesome may have happened yesterday morning. I can't really talk about it yet, lest I jinx it, but it may be pretty damn cool. Yay!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What in the hell IS that?!

I saw this ..... thing ..... down by the creek the other night. The plant itself is actually more of a tree, easily thirty feet tall, with these ginormous blooms in clusters. Each bloom in the cluster is around an inch-and-a-half across.

I mean, come on, it's GORGEOUS ....... but what in the hell IS it?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Last Saturday, we got so much rain I thought I was gonna drown unloading the groceries from the car. It rained, and rained, and rained, all day. When I woke up on Sunday the sky was still menacing and showers were predicted, but I decided to head out anyway. And it turned out that orange was on display.

Who knew there were so many shades of orange?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I've spent more time agonizing over a hangnail

So! I admit it, I watched last night's Very Special Episode of Jon & Kate + Eight, wherein Jon and Kate reveal that they're divorcing. BIG surprise there, eh?

And Kate's going on and on about the breakdown of the marriage, and she said something like, "and I had half a day where I let myself fall apart and hyperventilate", and then she got a good night's sleep and decided to get a divorce.

And I thought, oh honey, I've spent half a day falling apart and hyperventilating over a CAR REPAIR, and that's all you could spare for dissolution of your marriage?

But anyway, what's really driving me crazy about the show is all the product placement. First it was Emeril, then it was those motorcycle dudes, which honestly, I did not watch much of either of those episodes, because I do not like Emeril OR the motorcycle dudes, and last night it was the flippin' goddamn playhouses, which if anyone had said "Crazy House" or whatever the hell they were called ONE MORE TIME my head would have exploded. I would lovelovelove to know how much those playhouses actually cost, because I'll bet they're pretty pricey. And those kids got FOUR. Then again, Mom and Dad are splitting up, so it's time to haul out the really EXPENSIVE toys. Paid for by the show, of course. And I'm sure the Crazy House people gave them a bit fat discount, seeing as how their product was mentioned about every three seconds during last night's show.

Oh! And Kate's outfit when she was on the Loveseat of Confession? Did anyone besides me think it was a little inappropriate to wear a push-up, strapless top to emphasize the boobage? No? Just me? Okay then.

Frankly, I always leaned a little bit toward Jon's side. But after last night, I think they're BOTH kind of self-absorbed jerks. I just feel for those poor kids.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Too much of a good thing

Bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin sounded good in theory, but in practice?

Too much pig.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Runt Takes Dumps

..... right in the middle of the front yard, in front of passersby and any neighbors who may be outside at the time. Any other cat I've ever had has chosen to do their bizness out of sight of people, but not The Runt. He marches right to the middle of the front yard, like he's getting ready to give a freakin' speech or something, and goes to town. Actually, I was kind of hoping he'd do it when the Little League parade passed by a couple of months ago, because I think it'd be really funny to watch a bunch of little boys laugh themselves silly over a cat taking a dump in plain view.

The other night I was rinsing out a bucket with the garden hose, and discovered that The Runt loooooves to chase the hose water around. If you put a finger over the water to make it squirt really far, he'll chase that spray around all day long. And he doesn't even bitch when he accidentally gets squirted right in the head - he just shakes it off and keeps chasing.

Oh, and his other current favorite toy is a bag of rocks. That's right. I discovered this when I was hauling stuff out to the yard for the big sale and dropped a zip-lock baggie with some jewelry in it. He pick that sucker up in his mouth and carried it around, then batted it back and forth, then laid on it and rolled around. So I took another zip-lock and put some little pieces of gravel in it for weight, and that's his new favorite toy. I think he thinks it's some kind of weird mouse or something.

I don't begin to pretend to understand this cat, but I think he's pretty cool.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Not that I'm paranoid, but ......

After work tonight I'm going to look at a used lawnmower that was advertised on Craigslist.

If I don't show up here again, you all know what happened ..........

Recently Read

As usual, go ahead and skip this one if you want to.

Cavedweller by Dorothy Allison - Novel about a rock singer who returns to her hometown. I got about three-quarters of the way through before I realized I'd read it before, so obviously, it didn't make much of an impression, but it was still a good time-kill novel, i.e., when you don't have anything else to read and are too lazy busy to get to the library.

The Great Husband Hunt by Laurie Graham - Novel about a woman who was an obnoxious jerk. Blerrkk. (Sorry, Ms. Graham. It's just that the character was so unlikeable, it made me not like the book. And I know it was done for comic effect, but still ....... )

Snow Angels by Stewart O'Nan - Novel about the deaths of a daughter and her mother. O'Nan is always good.

Bound South by Susan Rebecca White - Novel about Southern women - meh.

So Brave, Young and Handsome by Leif Enger - This was a western, which I don't usually read, but I like this author, and the book was pretty good.

The Way the Crow Flies by Ann Marie MacDonald - Novel about a murder in a small Canadian air force town in the sixties - The beginning is good, and the ending has a real twist, but the middle was just so-so. I feel like it needed an editor willing to cut. A lot. 800 pages, for this particular book, was about 300 too many.

Now in November by Josephine Johnson - Originally published in 1934, this novel by a twenty-four-year-old won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Good book.

It Ain't All About the Cookin' by Paula Deen - Food Network chef's memoir - interesting. I've tried a couple of her recipes and they weren't all that great, but the book was okay.

Just After Sunset by Stephen King - Short stories, most of which were published elsewhere previously. I still think Stephen King is one of the best contemporary writers, although his early work is much stronger than his newer stuff. I just keep wishing he'd try a non-"horror genre" book, because I think it could be excellent.

Girlbomb by Janice Erlbaum - Memoir about an NYC teenager who becomes homeless - Interesting, and also very funny, believe it or not.

Monkeys by Susan Minot - Short novel about the breakdown of a New England family - Odd, but kind of interesting, and a quick read.

The Invisible Wall by Harry Bernstein - Memoir about a little boy growing up poor in England in the early 1900s - If you liked "Angela's Ashes", you'll like this one.

Tiger, Tiger by Galaxy Craze - Yet another coming-of-age novel - So-so.

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields - See post below. Do not put photos in a novel. Please.

You know, it's a good thing I have this blog, because I'm having a hard time remembering these books, not that long after I read them. But I'm a little gun-shy about hitting publish, now that I know that some authors, well, google themselves and pop in on sites that review them. On the other hand, it's just a blog. So whatevs.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Is it just me?

So, I'm reading this novel (The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields), and I get to the middle of the book, and there's a section of .......... photos. Of the people in the book. Except the book is a NOVEL. Which means that the people are made up. Which means that unless someone has come up with some technology that somehow photographs FICTIONAL PEOPLE, the author or her publisher took a bunch of random photos of people and stuck them in the book and said, "This one's Mercy, and this one's Cuyler, and ........ "

And for reasons I can't quite figure out, I am so put off by this that now I don't even want to finish the damn book. The photos of, well, whoever they are look NOTHING like I pictured the people in the book to look like, and I just don't understand the whole concept of photos of FICTIONAL PEOPLE. Do I need to say again that the characters are FICTIONAL??? No? I didn't think so.

Is it just me, or is this really strange? Or is it just me who's strange?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It costs HOW MUCH for flood insurance?!?!

Holy shit, you guys. A THOUSAND BUCKS A YEAR for flippin' flood insurance.

I got that number and then I died.

And then I remembered that I pay, like, eight hundred bucks a year for car insurance, so what's the big deal, right?

And then I was all, like, WHY am I paying eight hundred bucks a year to insure a paid-off, nine-year-old car?!

So then I was on the phone to my insurance agent for, like, the nine BILLIONTH time in the last couple of weeks, getting my car insurance reduced.

And then I called some other agents to get some competing prices on the flood insurance.

And everybody's talking about "flood vents", and how they can reduce your premium, but I guess these vents are actually kind of mythical, like unicorns, because everybody's heard of them, but no one's actually, you know, SEEN one, or knows how to install one, or knows anyone who might know how to install one, or ....... and all the agents are, like, "go to the FEMA website", and I'm all, like, "F*ck you! YOU go to the FEMA website, you lazy sonofabitch!" Yeah, not really, just in my head.

Holy shit, dudes.

Updated to add: Why yes, yes I DO know how to use google, you wiseasses. The problem was finding the exact technical specs for the vents, to meet both NFIP and local/State codes. I finally called my insurance agent AGAIN (come on, Ed, you know you love me!), and he is going to get ahold of what the underwriters use to determine which vents meet requirements.

This is hard! Waaaaaa.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Notes from a yard sale

Wear sunscreen. When the weatherman calls for cloudy skies and possible showers, HE IS LYING. And you will wake up the next morning looking like a lobster.

Nobody buys record albums. Or books. Or framed frickin' photography, even when you are selling it for less than they could buy the damned FRAME for. Oh, the indignity.

People WILL buy useless knick-knacks and assorted crap. By the boatload. I could've sold twenty times the amount of Disney World souvenirs, decks of playing cards, and opened packages of generic greeting cards (I'm not even kidding here) that I had on hand.

When you have only sold a few Breyer's horse models, and the day's half over, and someone comes along and offers to buy the entire remaining lot, thank your lucky stars and grab the cash.

If you don't have any "big ticket" items, i.e., furniture, electronics, etc., it is still possible to make over a hundred bucks. One knick-knack at a time.

If you sell a Dane Cook* CD to a kid who looks to be about 10, tell him not to tell his mom where he got it.

There are a lot of really strange people out there. Who drive cars. Frankly, I was a little surprised that some of these people had driver's licenses.

And people will try to bargain you down, no matter how ridiculously low the price already is. If you're asking twenty-five cents for a skirt with the tags still on it? They'll ask if you'll take a dime. Sheesh.

All in all, it's not a bad way to spend a day. Just be prepared to load up your car with the remains of the crap and haul it to the thrift store afterwards. And forget about selling those old record albums.

*No, I do not like Dane Cook - someone gave me the CD. Honest.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Yard Sale!

It looks like the yard sale is a go for tomorrow. The weatherman keeps switching up the forecast, but right now it looks like the morning, at least, may be rain-free, so I'm going to give it a shot.

I have got a shed FULL of crap to sell; I've spent hours and hours sorting through my stuff. All that photography that I framed and matted (and tried and failed to sell at craft shows)? It's going. The Breyer's horse models that I collected as a kid back in the seventies? Three bucks a pop. Boxes and boxes of books? See ya!

If I make enough for a good used lawnmower, I'll be thrilled.

Wish me luck! And if you find yourself in the beautiful Southern Tier of upstate New York tomorrow, feel free to stop by - it's gonna be bargain city!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Over my dead f*cking body

Anybody remember last month's drama? Wherein my sister Ditzy, having decided that she is tired of actually, you know, working for a living like the rest of us wage slaves and/or letting a Sugar Daddy support her, chose to hit up my soon-to-be-85, Alzheimer's-inflicted mother for money?

Well, my sister Texas and I banded together and stopped that particular train from leaving the station, knowing that the first request for money-from-Mom would not be the last, and would, in fact, be just the tip of that particularly nasty iceberg. And Texas, my sister Alabama, and my brother A., all wrote out generous checks to Ditzy to help the poor gal *cough* out.

Problem solved, right?


Yesterday I received an email from Ditzy herself, informing me that Texas and I may want to "reconsider our decision", in light of the fact that Ooooops! The four grand my sisters and brother GAVE HER is not enough, and she wants more.

Oh honey. I haven't had a cigarette in over two months, and I WILL cut a bitch (metaphorically, of course) if this does not stop.

No means no. Today, tomorrow, next week, next year.


Can I have a moment to MYSELF, please?

Last Saturday, Little Girl was enjoying a peaceful afternoon, lounging on my her beach towel.

Poor Little Girl hadn't gotten to enjoy her peace and quiet for very long when her brother came around:

What's a brother for, if not to pounce on you and bug the crap out of you:

Some flailing paws were exchanged, and pretty soon they were rolling off the towel and onto the grass:

So much for peace and quiet.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Breaking News!

The ospreys have hatched!

Click here for the osprey cam at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge!

Such excitement!

I'm a nerd.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I'm pretty sure I'm going to hell for this*

When I read about today's explosion at a Slim Jim plant, I chuckled. I mean, COME ON!! Explosion at the Slim Jim plant? Heeeeee ......

And then when I read further, where an official was describing the "toxic cloud on and around the plant"? HAHAHAHAHAHA .......

I'm gonna burn.

*if, you know, I believed in that stuff.

A little unsolicited advice

I was talking to a contractor a while back about getting a written estimate of the repair costs for Moldy House. So that I could, you know, GET THE HELL OUT OF THAT DEAL OMFG. And I offered to email the inspection report to the contractor, and I asked him for his email address, and he started spelling it out, a letter at a time, you know, "J like in Jeep", and this was his email address:


(add @blahblah.blah) (blogger keeps trying to make this into an ACTUAL email address, with a link and everything - cut it OUT, blogger!)

His email address is, basically, "johnsluvr".

And my first thought was, ewwwwwwwwww. TMI! TMI!

I don't care if this dude is gay. I really, really don't. I was just, um, unnerved that he would use an email address like that for his professional work.

I mean, the email address that I use for this blog, rockycat24, is kind of silly. I made it up on the spur of the moment, in a hurry, and really, it's just a blog email, so who cares?

But my work email address is totally boring and professional, which is as it should be, in my humble opinion. I mean, if I have to ask a big client to email some info to me, I don't want to have to ask him to send it to loves2drinkshots at blahblah.blah.

First off, I don't even like drinking shots. Blech. And second, what kind of an impression does it give when your work email is something totally ridiculous and way too revealing?

It gives the impression that you're not a professional. Which is NOT the look you're going for.

Disclaimer: I may be just a tad over-reacting here, but at the time I was dealing with this dude, I was FREAKING OUT about the (old, failed) house deal, and the realtor's assistant was being a pain in the ass, and now I have to deal with some dude whose work email is johnsluvr? Nooooo.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Harmonic Convergence

On Friday night, I went to a party and was introduced to a woman who grew up on the street where my house is.

She told me about how all the kids sled and toboggan on the town easement that runs behind the houses. She told me about how she used to babysit for the kids who used to live in my house, and about the time the kids lit the curtains on fire (!) and she got in trouble for putting out the fire herself instead of calling the fire department (there was no 911 back in those days). She told me about what a peaceful neighborhood it was, and how much fun it was to grow up there, with the park and the creek at the end of the street.

I think I'm gonna like it there.

Oh, and just because these guys haven't been getting enough blog time lately:

There are plenty of napping options on the deck, but this toweled-covered chair has obtained Favorite status. They'll cram into it together rather than nap somewhere else.

Friday, June 05, 2009

I will gladly pay you Tuesday .....

.......for a hamburger today.

I had to go fill out the mortgage info yesterday for the new house. And my mortgage dude, whom I love, was going through the various financing options with me. He showed me an option whereby I would put 4K less down, pay $17.00 more a month, and take the 4K and sock it back into the mortgage once I closed, thereby shortening the life of the mortgage by four years.

And I know it probably made sense, and I know I probably should have done it, but you know what? I just didn't feel comfortable with it, I did not want to pay an extra seventeen bucks a month, and I turned it down.

Yeah, there's a reason I didn't go into accounting.

Oh, and on my way there, the driver's window in the car decided to stop working. Woot!

Oh! Oh! And did you know that when you apply for an FHA mortgage, they run your name past the Department of Homeland Security to make sure you're not on the terrorist watch list? No shit. Which makes me wonder how that asshat down south managed to get all those weapons before he showed up at the recruiting center and opened fire. I mean, he MUST have been on the list, right? And yet he got the guns anyway.

So, now I've done my part. Time to let the moneylenders get to work. And I sure hope that they hurry.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Box of bones

I have an odd habit of rescuing weird stuff from thrift stores. So when I was at the flea market a couple of weeks ago and saw a box of bones, well, let's just say it had to come home with me.

Technically, these are antlers. Lots of them. I got the whole box for ten bucks, which may or may not be a deal; I'm not familiar with current fluctuations in the deer antler market.

I don't know what I'm going to do with them, but they're home with me now. And soon they'll be going to my new home. The one for which I am signing the financing paperwork this afternoon. I can't believe I just typed that; I can't believe it's true.

I'm going to own a home.

(And I'm going to decorate it with bones. Howdy, new neighbors! Pleased to meetcha!)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


They signed the contract.

All systems are go.

I've never been so scared in my entire life.

Time to hold that yard sale! Pronto!

Two months

I quit smoking two months ago today.

Honestly, there are STILL some moments when I want a cigarette more than anything else in the world. This past week, especially, has not been kind to my stop-smoking efforts. However, I persevere. The last time I smoked a cigarette was on April 2.

Number of cigarettes I would have smoked between then and now, had I still been smoking: 1800.

Amount of money saved to date: $321.00.

Not having to worry that my "quit date" will be the day my doctor tells me I have lung cancer: Priceless.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The backyard

Supposedly, the sellers are going to be at the realtor's office at 2 p.m. today to sign off on the deal. Then the sellers have to get an elevation shot to find out how much insurance I am going to need (all depends on if the house is up out of the 100-year flood zone or not.). (I'm making the sellers pay for this. Because I can.)
Then I have to get my financial info and my application fee over to the mortgage dude. And then? Umm ....... not sure. I've never done this before and have no idea of the sequence of events, even the little stuff like how and when to get the water and sewer switched into my name. (I'm assuming that happens the day of the closing, but honestly? YA GOT ME.)
Yikes .......

Under Pressure

So! On Friday night, after discovering that I had eight weeks to find a house I liked, make an offer, have the offer accepted, go through closing, and move, I looked at some houses.

I found one that I liked, but told my realtor (hereinafter referred to as Judas) that I would have to have my structural guy (i.e., my boss) take a look at it before I would make any offer at all.

On Saturday, my boss and I went out and did a thorough inspection. I was ready to make an offer; however, there was going to be an Open House on Sunday, and I decided to wait and see if any offers came in via the Open House before I put in my own bid, as I could not afford to go in at the full listing price.

On Sunday I spied on the Open House. I parked down the street and watched to see how many people showed up. There were plenty of people, but only a couple who stayed long enough to show any real interest in the place. So when Judas (my realtor) called the listing agent on Monday morning and the listing agent told him they'd had "plenty of offers", we knew it was probably bullshit, and I went in low.

The sellers countered my offer. I countered back. We may have a deal. My heart may stop.

Oh, and see all that baby shrubbery in front of the house? When I looked at it on Friday night, that planting area was full of huge, dead bushes. When I went back on Saturday, the landscaper was pulling out of the driveway, and Voila! Brand new baby shrubbery.