EOY Randomnesses

  • If you give a kitty a toy mouse that looks an awful lot like a real mouse, at some point you will wake up to said mousie on the bed next to your face, and it will not be a pleasant Good Morning.
  • 50 mph winds can remove 90% of the Christmas decorations from your front lawn.
  • They can be shoved in the garage, but eventually someone is going to have to put them away.
  • I still love French Fries. In fact, I think I want to take myself to lunch somewhere I can have some French Fries.
  • I am still a milestone kind of person; I think I always will be.
  • Friday was the 5th anniversary of my friend Moe's death. A big milestone.
  • I've spent several nights thinking about death; too many people that have touched my life in one way or another have gone.
  • 4th grade, the music teacher, decapitated in a wreck on the Autobahn in Munich. Our class was too young to be told that much detail, but told we were.
  • 6th grade, Kyle, leukemia.
  • 7th grade, Chris, Hodgkin's Disease.
  • 10th grade, Glen, hit by a car.
  • 11th grade, Rita, leukemia.
  • 11th grade, Alan, drunk driver plowed into him. On the sidewalk.
  • 11th grade, David, a heart attack at age 16
  • So many others since then...and then Moe 5 years ago.
  • And my father in law this year.
  • Grief never really leaves, it just settles for a while and then rises in these little wisps of choked back tears and half finished dreams.
  • It comes at you in the middle of the night, the sound of a clock chiming.
  • Or the way your own husband walks, reminding you of his dad.
  • It just comes at you, sometimes quielty, sometimes a slap in the face, but it's never really gone.
  • I miss Moe
  • I miss my father in law
  • I seriously, seriously miss my father in law.


If you braved the mall're insane, and I hope you survived.

We braved Costco, where there was tons of parking and very short lines, even at the gas pump. But, sadly, there were not enough really good free samples, which is always the real reason for going to Costco. On really good free sample days, you can go around two or three times and get a free lunch!

Christmas with the Wabbits was nice, quiet, and fun...We got a late start (Spouse Thingy worked the night shift Christmas Eve, so he kind of needed to sleep a few hours once he got home) so we opened gifts around noon, then putzed around for a bit before heading out for a movie...which turned out to not be playing at the time the newspaper said it was, so we headed for Sharky's and played pool (verrrrrry badly) instead. Later we went to dinner at Denny's--which was packed, unlike last year--and then headed home.

It was nice to just spend some time tgether. Getting presents was a bonus :)


I woke up at 5:30 this morning to Max sitting by my pillow, petting my cheek. He's been playing the cute card all day, talking to me and sitting in my lap and rubbing his face against mine. Every time I had to get up to do something, he waited in the chair for me, and curled back up on my ap (keeping me warm, as I asked him to) when I sat down.

He's either planning something, or he knows Santa comes tomorrow night.

I hope my cat believes in Santa...


Whoa...soooooo many people out and about today. Sooooo many people crowded into WalMart wearing 32 tons of cheap perfume that I had to hand over my box of benedryl to the Spouse Thingy and go outside to wait in the car.

Peoples...please...when you put on perfume or cologne, think of others who will have to inhale your scent of choice. And those with asthma who will feel like dying right there beside the feminine hygeine products aisle.

Tomorrow is supposed to be the busiest shopping day of the year. Tomorrow I will putz around the house, very grateful that I'm done shopping and that I don't have to throw myself into the center of the masses. The heavily perfumed and cologned masses.

Well, I might have to go gas up the car.*

And I might have to run to the grocery store.**

But other than that...I'm staying home and annoying the kitties, who are now all hopped up on kitty crack, couresty of their Secret Paws.

*Want a convertible? We're thinking about selling it or trading it in to get something we both like, now that we're sharing a car...I figured I'd ask, seeing as how the Mazda went so fast...

**Mebbe I'll get stuff to make cookies. Mmmmmmm...cooooookies...


Now see, you missed your chance.
You could have had this spiffy car, but no.
Someone else beat you to it.
I hope he and BooBooKittyPhk* will be very happy.

Don't ask me, my son named the car...



Screw getting any work done. I'm shooting for 20 million now...


Here ya go.
Just what you want to buy that special someone in your life.
Go ahead, I know you want to.
It's fun to drive, you'll love it.


Well now, nothing says You'll Sleep So Well than finding out there's a serial rapist terrorizing the part of town you live in...


File This Under 'Oh Holy...'

Cute kid, eh?
And she just got her red belt in karate.
She's two years old.

Two years old.
She got it by proving she could do a front kick, a punch, two turns and four defensive blocks.

Mollie got her passion for martial arts from her parents, both black belts and full-time karate instructors.

Ok. I used to train in a martial art; in the system in which I trained a red belt is just 2 steps away from black belt. It takes a couple of years at least to get to red belt, and you have to show considerably more skill than doing a front kick, a punch, two turns, and four defensive blocks. Those skills won't get anyone from white to gold belt (or yellow or orange, take your pick based on your own school's colors.) In some schools, red is the last belt before black.

Yes, different schools in different martial arts styles and systems use different colored belts. A green belt in Jhoon Rhee TKD is not the same as a green belt in a Goju Ryu school which is not the same as a green belt in, say, Kung Fu, if that Kung Fu school used belt or sash colors at all. So her red belt might not be any different than a beginner in another school.


But but but.

Red is generally recognized as having at least a modicum of proficiency in the styles I am even minutely familiar with. There is no way that a 2 year old has even a basic understanding of martial arts and fighting concepts. A 2 year old shouldn't even be taught fighting concepts.

I'm not one of those people who thinks 10 year old kids shouldn't test for black belt; I don't think a black belt indicates the ability to kick ass, nor is it proof that the student can take on any potential attacker. It simply means the student has shown a grasp of the fundamental concepts of their art and can physically demonstrate those concepts, and is ready to become a Student. Before that, you're really just dabbling in the art.

So I don't have a problem with kids in martial arts. I do have a problem with this. There's no possible way that kid knows enough nor understands enough to have earned a red belt. Or even a white belt.

It should be duly noted that her parents are karate instructors.

Wanna guess who tested her and awarded the belt?

Um, yeah...that was my guess, too.


Why is it, when watching The Biggest Loser I get the worst case of the munchies?


In my blog hopping this morning, I landed at Carmi's blog, as I am wont to do many mornings a week (and often evenings, too, as I check to see if he's posted more than once in a day) and his "About Me" blurb caught my eye. I've looked at it a dozen times, yet this morning something clicked in my brain, a memory that I tend to dig out of the recesses of my mind several times a year.

I believe strongly in random acts of kindness, and know we can all do a better job making our planet a happier place to live.

(Go on. Go over there and peek, read his post for today. I'll be here when you get back.)

So, hey! My brain still works.

This time of year people all over are engaged in random acts of kindness; one person empties his pocket change into a red kettle; one person buys a bag of groceries and places it in the Food Donation bin by the door; someone else buys a cart load of toys and hands it over to the Marines standing next to the Toys For Tots bin outside the WalMart entrance.

It occurs to us to do simple things for others this time of year; sometimes the act occurs without a lot of thought. We see the red kettle, we automatically reach for the change. That it's often a remote act doesn't lessen the impact--those simple gestures add up and make a difference in someone else's life.

Like last year--heck, almost exactly last year, on Dec 11--when I was standing in front of a vending machine, fishing for nonexistent quarters in my pocket, this guy that just bought himself a soda, gave me 2 quarters so I could get one, too. That made a difference to me. It might not be up there with curing cancer or bringing about world peace, but it was a kind gesture that stuck with me.

But when I was at Carmi's blog this morning, reading his blurb, I remembered something that made a huge impact in our lives. A very simple gesture, a random act of kindness that has likely been long forgotten by the person who touched our lives, but provided us with a jaw dropping moment that kept on giving.

The Spouse Thingy and I--very newly married, living on 10 cent boxes of generic mac and cheese and boxes of blueberry muffins sent in care packages put together by my mother in law (ha! Be jealous. She's my MIL and not yours, so nyah nyah nyah, :::sticking out my tongue:::)--were standing in line at a Safeway in Provo, Utah. We normally didn't shop there, because the generic mac and cheese was 12 cents instead of 10, but they had this thing where you got a stamp for every $5 you spent, and if you saved enough of the stickers, you could get a dinner plate for free.

These were nice plates, too. Yes, we owned plates, but only a couple of them, and when you have to choose between food and dinner plates, you buy food. But we really wanted those plates.

So there were were, counting out what was essentially small change to buy a few boxes of mac and cheese, and some vegetables, a woman walked up and asked us if we were collecting those stamps. And when we said yes, she reached into her purse and handed us several sheets of them.

Enough stamps to get an entire set of plates, 8 of them.

She handed us the stamps, saying she wasn't going to use them, and walked away. She essentially gave us an entire set of dinner ware, and walked away with only a suprised thank you.

This woman never knew what that simple random act of kindness meant for us.

Sure, we would have done just fine eating off the same couple of (very cheap) plates for the next few years. We eventually would have collected enough stamps to get one or two plates, and we would have been happy with that. But instead, two almost-starving college students were able to go home with this gift...more than stamps, more than plates.

In the thumbnail version of this picture it's just a couple of sheets of stamps that got us some free plates. But in the full sized image, the progressive JPG scanned at 1200 dpi... That I've never forgotten it says alot. Those extra pennies we were spending to get those stamps added up; when you're living on $2.25 an hour and only working part time because school is the Main Job, pennies matter.

Pennies add up to extra boxes of macaroni and cheese that come in plain white boxes with black lettering. Pennies mean you can actually put the right amount of milk in the mix. Over time, pennies mean you can buy a pound of hamburger, even if it is 25% fat.

When the Boy moved into his own apartment, just before we moved to Ohio, we still had those plates to give to him. Having those meant he didn't have to scrape together anything to buy his own. When he and his roomates parted ways, he passed them on to someone else.

And thusly did that one simple act live on.

One tiny never know where, or if, it will end.


Not For The Kiddies To Read...

Or "WHAT Was He Thinking???"

Or "File This Under WTF? & OMG!"

I tried to find an article online that wasn't locked behind a You Must Register To Read link, but the only one I could find was at The Daily Republic Online which not only requires signing up to read, but a paid subscription. So, in order to not violate copyright, I've snipped a small portion of the article regarding a Santa at the mall near us:

Vallejo resident Kelley Johnson said her 7-year-old son had just gotten his picture taken when Santa beckoned her over.

"He whispered 'Would you be offended if I called you a picaninny' and I said I would," Johnson recalled. "He said 'What about a coon,' and at that point I told my son to get up.

"I had tears in my eyes. The young ladies running the booth asked what he said. I said 'Young ladies, you may be too young to understand,' " Johnson said.

The Santa, who was not identified, was fired on the spot

I read it once in the paper yesterday and had a major WTF? moment, read it again and had another. Seriously, what was this guy thinking? Is he some young jerk who thought he was being funny? Some old fart who has slipped a gear and lost all ability to use his inner filter? Did someone whack him over the head with a giant hammer 10 minutes before taking his Santa Seat?

The article goes on to explain that the photo company who hired him fired him on the spot and the mall fully supports the decision. I would certainly hope so. And the Santa in question wrote to his managers and explained he "didn't intend the questions to be offensive."

How could anyone not realize how offensive that would be? And how could anyone even have that pop into their head?

Johnson said her son didn't hear the comments, but "got the sense that mommy was very upset."

Nevertheless, she said she was very happy with how the incident was handled.

"No one said it was no big deal or we'll deal with it later," she said. "If he would have said that to the wrong person, there are so many other things that could have taken place."

Oooh yeah, Like bloodshed. She showed remarkable restraint. I think I would have bitch slapped Santa right there in front of all the kidlets.

:::wanders off, still wondering WTF?:::


Today's possibilities:

  • Clean house
  • Go to the library and write
  • Go shopping for that one last gift
  • Go buy cat food for the little piglets
  • Sit here and play online all day

So many things to do, so little desire to do any of them...Or rather, I hate cleaning house; I'm not insane and don't really want to get caught up in the weekend holiday shopping insanity; the cats could eat the Other Dry Food (aka so calorie laden they love it and want to roll their bodies in it until they become One with the Fancy Feast); and I would feel a little bit guilty just sitting here all day.

That leaves the library.

Dammit, that means I have to think.

:::looks out window::: Stupid rain. I could bo out on my bike ignoring everything, but nooooo, it had to cloud over and get all rainy and chit.

I'm not sure I'm prepared to engage my brain. Maybe I'll do one load of laundry, and maybe the dishes.

Oh gawd...I'm choosing hosuework over writing.

Maybe I'll go to the ER instead. Obviously, there's something wrong with me...


Because I'm still in the letter writing mood...

Dear Panhandler,

It might not be a good idea to sit there on that corner of the Walmart parking lot, with a sign begging for change because you're homeless and starving, with your $1300 Trek bike right there for the whole world to see.

Just sayin'...

Dear Max and Buddah,

Look, the store didn't have your regular dry food and we had this free sample bag in the obviously love it, but don't get used to it. And cripes, stop making those grunting and snorting sounds while you eat. It's very disturbing.

Dear Holiday Shoppers,

Slow down. Enjoy it. The world will not stop if you don't find that PS3 for junior. But your heart might, if you don't take a deep breath and a step back.



Dear Companies That Send Gift cards Instead Of Rebate Checks,

Look. I appreciate a rebate, even a small one. Heck, I would have purchased said item even without a rebate; odds are I intended to buy it without knowing there was a rebate offered, but was quite pleased to learn that my new toy came with one.


Stop with the gift cards as rebates. It's a ripoff. No one ever uses the last 5 cents or dollar or even two dollars on gift cards, so that money winds up in the pockets of either you or the issuer of the card, and that's not right. How many millions billions of dollars a year does VISA rack up in expired, unused card values?

Oh yeah...expirations. I also don't appreciate that my rebate-as-gift-card expires in just a couple of months. WTF? If the offer of a rebate had been the deciding factor in my purchase, I would be more than the little bit miffed that I am right now. It's my money now, shouldn't I be able to spend it six months from now if I want or need to? Or twelve months from now? Shouldn't I be able to stick that money into savings instead of being forced to spend it?

Yeah, I know. It's on the books as debt owed and you want to be able to clear that debt as soon as possible. But that's not my problem. It's your problem, and one you created when you decided to create debt in lieu of sending a check. Remember checks? That's how rebates used to be issued. We'd get this spiffy check in the mail for $20, take it to the bank, cash it, and buy a pizza. It worked quite well and we got every penny to which we were entitled.

Gift cards, as shiny as they are, are a ripoff. So stop sending my rebates in that form. I want a computer generated, signature stamped check that will require me to stand in line at the credit union, behind Joe Blow who hasn't bathed in 6 weeks. Because even though that's a pain in the butt, at least I get my entire rebate.


Annoyed Wabbit Who Has $1.27 left on a rebate card that will never be used because NO ONE WILL TAKE IT.



Last night I printed out what I'd written for my NaNo novel, and began to read, thinking I would start re-writing, and adding to each far-too-short chapter, with editing to follow in 4-6 months.

You know the old saying about train wrecks that you can't help but slow down to look at?

That's my NaNo novel. It's a giant trainwreck, horrible and awful and bloody and gross, but I could not stop looking at it. I cringed when reading the opening, I groaned and snorted and rolled my eyes at my own literary prowess, and I laughed at places that were not supposed to be funny. It's a what the hell is this??? piece of Junque, so bad that one has to keep reading.

It's a repairable train wreck, so once I pick away the blood and guts and assorted pieces of broken Amtrak, I think I'll be able to read it without laughing at the horror of it.


I get to a certain point in all my work where I absolutely hate it. Face it, you can only read something so many times before it seems like the author committed a literary mortal sin. It does matter if it's something I wrote. In the rewrites for Finding Father Rabbit--probably the book I'm most satisfied with and that has garnered the best reviews--I wound up reading that sucker over 20 times, and by the 13th or 14th I wanted to barf all over it.

I have a few manuscripts tucked away that are still awful after several rewrites, and they'll never see the warmth of print, their fictitious glory nestled between a spiffy 4 color paperback cover. I pull them out once in a while, just to laugh at myself.

So. I think I'll take my print-out over to the library, where I will sit and begin to pick away at the scabs already forming on my bloodied literary trainwreck. I might see Library Bob, I'll probably see Krinkle Kris (lady who sits there and pays her bills the first Sunday of every month, it seems...she brings everything in a giant paper bag, and between the bag and the little cellophane windows on the envelopes, she creates quite a bit of irritating and annoying noise) and I might even get something accomplished before becoming distracted by something shiny.

No, I don't know what might be shiny in the library.

Maybe someone will have dropped a quarter, and I'll find it.

That would be spiffy.


WooHoo, it's December.
Christmas is coming.
New Year is coming.
NaNoWriMo is over.

I didn't hit 50K. I will not get the spiffy PDF certificate. In NaNo terms, I am not a winner, but I'm not a loser, either. I like how that works out.

In the last few days I had to make a concentrated choice: finish NaNo, or work on the layout of a book, the royalties from which will be donated to an animal charity. Get a PDF certificate or get the book to print in time for people to order it for the holidays. And there was the whole sit down and write, or go for a ride mentality working on me.

I opted to finish laying out the book (which might still get to print in time, I'm still waiting on a couple of publishing agreements; even though people submitted work specifically for this book I can't go to print without their John Hancocks) and to take a few bike rides. The thought occurred to me that I could cheat and just type nonsense for 10,000 words and "win," because GOSH DARN IT that's one spiffy PDF certificate (or it was when I did NaNo year before last) but my initial goal was to get this story out of my head, and in that I succeeded.

Before November, it had been tumbling around in my head for well over a year, but I didn't have a clear enough vision of it to do more than take copious notes. I had no idea how it would end; now I do, and it's ending in a way I honestly did not expect.

While I was pounding the story out, once in a while I worried that some people would eventually read it and think I had written them into the story, and not in a favorable light. I had to keep writing, because if it didn't get out of my head I wouldn't be able to move onto the next project; and two, it's fiction. Pure fiction, albeit wrapped around familiar truths.

So when I finish, if it becomes a you-can-buy-it book...No, it's not about you. It's not about me. It's not even about the dead guy walking around in Goth makeup.

There ya go, something to look forward to, and to discuss amongst yourselves.

Who's the dead guy in Thumper's failed NaNo...?