Monday, December 30, 2013


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


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?


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?


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."


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!