In the interest of settling a debate that really wasn't:

What makes more sense, and will do the greater good...buy a bunch of random toys to place in a local toy drive bin or Toys For Tots bin, or pick names off a Gift Tree and buy specifically requested items for kids in need?

Charlie (wife of He Who Never Blogged, and hence he lost his blog address to someone else, but that's neither here nor there) and I have been discussing this in email and we really aren't sure. For both our families, Christmas isn't Christmas without toy shopping, and tradition is to go out and buy stuff to donate.

But which is better? Just buy random things and let someone else match toy to kid? Perhaps spend a little less and get a few things someone has specifically asked for? Does it even matter?

Discuss amongst yourselves. Just do it in my comments :)


Dear Santa,

I've been pretty good this year. I mean, I didn't beat the living crap out of anyone and I'm pretty sure I can get through December 25th without going apeshit on anyone. I didn't throw any major temper tantrums, and for the most part I played well with others. I didn't even run over any old people in the grocery store with my cart when they turned theirs sideways and blocked the aisles, even though I wanted to.

So, since I've been so good, I'm hoping you can get this for me for Christmas.

Isn't it pretty? It's so freaking awesome...it's not a sport bike, but it's not a cruiser either. It's a 680cc wonder, and it's automatic! It's my dream bike. If I get this I'll never ask you for another thing. Really, I promise.

Oh, I know that so far Honda has only shown it as a concept bike, and they aren't planning on rolling it out until next year, and then only in Europe, but you're so good I know you can get your hands on one. I have faith in you, Santa. You want me to be the only one in the U.S. with this beautiful little toy, don't you? I will love you forever.


P.S. If you bring me this, I'll make cookies and vodka slush for you. If you don't, you're only getting cookies.


People...you're all supposed to be out power shopping, not in the library with your crinkly papers and hacking coughs. Go on. Get up and take your wallet to WalMart, so I can get back to concentrating*.

*If I pound out 2200 words a day for the next 4 days, I'll actually hit 50K. Yay me.


It's already November 22, only 8 days left in the month. I'm only 30,000 words into my NaNoWriMo entry...I don't think I'm going to hit 50K by the 30th (unless I cheat by typing one word 20,000 times, and no one but me would be the wiser...) While I am terribly, terribly sad (crushing! I cry daily!) that I won't win that nifty PDF certificate download for hitting fifty thousand words, I did get out of it what I wanted going into it. I finally fleshed out the story that's been rolling around in my head for well over a year.

I have thirty thousand words of what is essentially Really, Seriously, Completely Horrible material, but it's Really Seriously Completely Horrible in a reedemable kind of way; it's the bones that, if I keep at it, should become 80-100 thousand words with a little meat on those bones, and if I'm lucky, some savory fat, too. Maybe even with gravy and a side of mashed potatoes.

(Um, yeah, food on the brain right now.)

So, I'm an utter failure. I doubt I'll hit 50 thousand words. But it's been fun, and I'm not going to stop writing this month, just in case...


5:30 a.m.
28 collective pounds of kitty pounding up and down the hallway outside the bedroom.
In spite of threats to the fur on their little butts.
I was not amused.



I'm not sure where I got this picture, but substitute that cat for a chubby black and white tux kitty, and you'd have Max. He does not like going to the vet and has become so good at expressing his displeasure that he's earned a reputation.

Last month we took Buddah in for his shots and checkup; we took him in Max's blue plastic tomb, because it's nicer than the average pet carrier, and we figured Buddah would like to be able to stand and look out the car window on the way there. The thing about that tomb is that it's quite distinctive, and as we pulled it out of the car the people in the vet's office were watching out the window; as soon as we were through the door they took a closer look and sighed in unison "Thank God, it's not Max."

Yesterday Buddah had to go back for a booster shot; he was terrified and trembled horribly, but he purred for the vet and even rubbed against him, but again, as we walked into the waiting area, the two people up front expressed relief that the kitty in the carrier was not Max.

They haven't seen Max since May, and it had been a good 6 months before that, but as the king of pooping at will, he's hard to forget.

Not only did Max poop all over me during at least one of his visits while he was so sick, all over the exam table, and the cage in the back, it seems that in a frenzy of You Will NOT Touch Me! Max pooped mightily and was able to smear it all over the wall.

Oddly, I'm a little proud of that.

They have six months to brace themselves, because he's going back. And I imagine he'll have saved up an awful lot of poop by then...


Anyone out there who uses Blogger and Haloscan for comments, and has migrated to beta Blogger...do the comments work with the enw setup? I'm hesitant to make the switch...


What's The Frequency, Kenneth?

I have tinnitus. It's not bad, at least I don't think it is. I always have some ringing in my ears but it's not distracting unless I think about it, or unless the room I'm in is very quiet. Hell, I think I was 14 before it occured to me that not everyone has a persistent background noise that follows them around like a lost little puppy.

When it's incredibly quiet, it manifests itself as more than just a ringing; late at night, when everything is silent, I often think I'm hearing a TV on in another room. It's convincing enough that I sometimes have to get up to check to make sure no one left one on, which is a little bit odd since the sound rides on the air like a muffled auction or horse race announcing, and I don't think anyone in this house watches auctions or horse racing on TV.

I can ignore it for the most part. I hear it, have to think, and once I've pinned it on those odd sounds that my brain just makes up to annoy me, I can roll over and go back to sleep.

Four thirty this morning I woke up, (and surprisingly my first thought wasn't I'm alive!) and as I stirred awake and thought I heard a TV on in another room, but a peek out the door suggested everyone was still asleep, so unless a cat sat on a remote, it wasn't likely.

But... What I was hearing was Dan Rather.

Dan Rather, voice muffled.

Dan Rather, sounding rather drunk, repeating the same phrase over and over, though I could not tell exactly what that phrase was. It wasn't for lack of effort; I strained to hear, thinking that maybe one of the cats really did sit on a remote and turn on a TV. It's not implausible; they've stepped on them and changed channels before.

So I slid out of bed and went into the hallway; nothing. It was quiet and every light in the house was off. There was no tell-tale flicker of a TV to be seen, and no Dan Rather muttering from the living room.

Five minutes later, back in bed and trying to drift off, there he was, muttering from the ether, that authoritative deep rumble bouncing off the walls.

This is annoying.

I can deal with the auctions at night. I can deal with the horse race announcer. I can deal with the persistent ringing.

But Dan Rather talking to me at night?

There's just something wrong with that.


I had just pulled out of my driveway and was headed down the street, destination library, when a lady in a minivan blew the stop sign at the corner near our house; she missed me by about an inch--no exaggeration--and stopped only long enough to look at me like "Why are you there? No one is supposed to be there."

I pointed to the stop sign and yelled "There's a freaking STOP SIGN!"

She went on, looking confused. I don't know why; the stop sign is always there. It's not exactly a suggestion; you're supposed to come to a complete stop behind the limit line where a stop sign exists. It's one of the first things you learn in driver's ed. It's not even a difficult concept: see the red octagon, and stop. You don't even have to be able to read.

But she looked confused, and I wondered if she was having a bad day. Maybe she just lost her job. Maybe someone died. Maybe life was just so overwhelming at that moment that she just didn't see the stop sign.


But I don't care. Her right to have a bad day and drive ends where my personal safety begins. If I'd been a little quicker on the gas coming out of the driveway, she would have slammed into the passenger side of my car. And while the car is just a thing and can be repaired or replaced, the person inside might not be so lucky. And if I'd been on the bike, I would have been a little quicker on the gas. And that would have ruined MY day.

And we all know my day is more important.

It's all about me.

Yes, I'm now having an All About Me Day; I'm at the library and there are kids over in the corner laughing, and it's irritating the crap out of me. Normally I don't care. Some guy just answered his cell phone, and usually that doesn't bother me if they speak in a soft voice. He's dang near whispering, and I want to grab the phone and shove it up his left nostril. (You thought I was going to say ass, didn't you? Ha! But that would not be nearly as painful as a nostril, I don't think. People shove things up their buttockal region all the time, but I've never heard of anyone going to the ER because they tried to wedge a hamster up their nose.) There's a Library Lady shelving DVDs and the tick of the plastic on the metal shelf kind of makes me want to get up and scream This is a farking library! It's for BOOKS not some freaking movie rental place!

Yeah, not a good day now, though it was when I got up, even though I was woken by an odd dream about alien invasion and not being able to find the cats to get them to safety at the Little House On The Prairie. When I left the house I was in a good mood.

Some lady blows through a stop sign and now I want to chew nails and spit them out at little children.

So. I am going to shut the computer down. Stick it in my backpack, leave without saying a word to anyone lest I really offend, and I'm taking myself out to lunch, because we all know a burger and fries cures all.

And maybe this afternoon won't be all about me. Well, it should be all about me, but not in a I-want-to-rip-your-face-off kind of way.

My battery is dying anyway.

That's as good an excuse as any to stop working. A dying battery, and a desire to say mean things to small children.

Yes, I should definitely go.

Maybe a chocolate shake is in order.



Wandom Wabbit Dwoppings

  • I voted. Thus, I get to complain until the next election.
  • Voting required me to go someplace brand new all by myself.
  • AND I had to TALK to strangers, because I had no clue what precinct I live in.
  • I didn't even think twice about this until I was done.
  • Pat me on the back and give me chocolate. Trust me, it's a big deal.
  • Spouse Thingy had to work a day shift, so he had the car. So I rode my bike.
  • After I voted I took myself on a nice 2 hour tour of the town.
  • I said bad words at a stop light when it wouldn't change for me. I waited 4 cycles, then turned right because I didn't want to turn left that badly.
  • I have done no writing today, though I may stop playing online in a few minutes and try to cough up a good 2,000 words.
  • Or not.
  • Remember how we had to move? Because the owners wanted to sell?
  • They took the house off the market.
  • So their son could live in it.
  • That annoyed me for about 10 minutes, even though they had every right to not renew the lease and honestly intended to sell it. The kid really needed a place to live.
  • I know this because our kids know each other.
  • Even though it cost us a chitload of money to move, we at least got to move into a better house.
  • Yes, we are still loving this house.
  • If you did not vote, no chocolate for you. Give it all to me.

And now, for some total cuteness, sent to me in email today by my mother-in-law... The real Bambi and Thumper, as captured by photographer Tanja Askani


Nothing says Good Morning like waking up to a cat-spit-covered furry toy mouse being dropped onto your face by a hopeful kitty...


Dear Maniac Driving The Car Behind Me,

This may come as news to you, but in the state of California, bicycles are considered vehicles and they have every right to share the road with cars and motorcycles (so do wheelchairs and those nifty little scooters you see old people tooting around on, but we're talking about bicycles here and I don't want to confuse you any more than you already seem to be.)

Now, when I am on my motorcycle and there is a group of bicyclists ahead of me at a stop light, I am not going to crowd them. I am not going to rev my engine to make them take off at the light as fast as they can, and I am certainly not going to try to blow around them. They have every right to be there, too.

What I will do is protect their lane space by staying a little bit behind them at the stop. When the light goes green, I am not going to engage in a jackrabbit start, and neither will I blow past them, even though I have enough room. I am going ride safely behind them until they have crossed the intersection, and then I am going to ride slowy and give them time to get past the cars parked at the side of the road, so that they can get into the bike lane. Then, and only then, will I speed up and pass them.

So...get off my freaking back tire and quit trying to press me into pressing them to get out of the way. If you won't protect their right to be on the road, then I will.


The Rider Of The White Rebel That Went 15 Miles Under The Speed Limit A Lot Longer Than She Needed To Because You Were Pissing Her Off.


Music Of The Night

I doubt I'm alone in that I have these moments where I ponder life, both its meaning and its end. Dying is my greatest fear; it's not just that I've got this deep feeling that I'm not going to measure up to the standards that could get me past the Pearly Gates, or even that I'll be spending eternity wishing I hadn't bitched and moaned about spending my Living Years shivering through the 3 layers of goose bumps that seemed to crawl across my skin like fungus. A part of it is this niggling feeling that I've got it all wrong and there's nothing after this. We're born, we live, we die, and that's it.

I can't stand that thought. So I live on the idea that we're so hardwired to believe in something that comes after--whether you think there's a hell or not, how many levels of heaven there might be--that it has to be true. We can try to use logic to dismiss the notion of afterlife, but it's been a part of the human condition for as long as humans have been able to communicate; I can't fathom anything that long lived not being true.

(I'm not seeking debate on the matter. This is my gut feeling; you're free to listen to whatever gut feelings you have. We have gut feelings for a reason, for both good and bad.)

Most nights I wake up at some point, and I almost always wake with the same thought--I'm alive--as if it's a total surprise. Usually I fall right back asleep, and come morning that middle of the night waking feels like a distant memory, something stupid that I'd done years before that was mildly amusing to no one but myself.

But the last couple of months I've woken up, and while I'm not 100% awake, I haven't fallen back into those deepest places of slumber. I'm half awake, curled around a body pillow, sometimes with a cat pressed up against my chest, and I wait.

I haven't been entirely sure what I've been waiting for. I simply hold onto the pillow and breathe, or reach out and rub a furry little kitty head, and wait. I'm not waiting to fall back asleep, I'm just waiting.

And then last night I realized what I was waiting for; as Max stretched beside me, his paw sliding across my cheek in a most un-Max-like caress, I heard a soft bong...bong...bong... coming from the living room.

The clock. It was going through the machinations of announcing 3 a.m., and I realized that was what I was waiting for, the gentle bonging of the clock my father-in-law gave us last year, the clock he made by hand, each and every amazing, delicate cut of it.

And I realized it's the same time every night that I wake up; just before three a.m. I hold myself in that twilight of not quite asleep and not quite awake, and wait for that sound to drift up the stairs.

I'm alive...

...I'm alive...

...I'm alive.

Max stretched and jumped off the bed, and I felt myself slipping back into sleep, chasing after fragments of a dream abandoned, wrapped in the comfort of having the music of the clock to cling to when I inevitably wake in the middle of the night.